Favorite Must-Haves for Summer

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I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love when bloggers share their favorite finds and from-the-heart product recommendations.  I can’t tell you how many products I’ve discovered I loved because I read about them on a blog!  As promised, I have a few favorite summer must-have items I know you’ll adore.  Everything from a book that’s changed my life to a sanity saver when it comes to the kids, here’s my top 10 favorite finds for summer 2013.  Hope you love them as much as I do!

PS- Rest assured everything here is something I use and adore on a daily basis… well, except for the Jack Daniels unless it’s been a rough week.  😉

Summer Must Haves

{some of the links below are affiliate links which help offset the cost of running this site; thanks for your support!}

Tovolo Popsicle Molds

I’d been searching for BPA-free popsicle molds and was happy to find this set at Whole Foods.  What makes them great is I can use whichever juice we want, in whatever flavor we’re digging that day.  We fill them up in the morning and they’re ready by late afternoon.  Plus, the holder is designed to catch drips– hooray!  Little details like that make all the difference.  They are a sanity saver because they guarantee a few moments of silence as the kids race to eat their melting pops.  Plus, aren’t they cute as a bug?

Favorite Finds for Summer

Moroccan Hair Oil

When I was in the Outer Banks, I made an ’emergency’ trip to the salon for a much needed root touch-up.  My hair stylist used this Moroccan Hair Oil Light (for fine hair), and it was love at first sight!  I went back the next day and got a bottle for myself.  It makes my hair shiny and controls the frizz.  It’s perfect for summer hair styles (like the easy breezy summer ‘dos Stephanie shared with us).  I apply it to the mid to ends of my hair and style as usual, but it totally kicks my hair up a notch in terms of combating frizz and making it look better.  And the scent?  It’s amazing and light, like summer in a bottle!

Kate Spade wallet

I have a bad habit of changing purses way more often than I should, which means I need to steer clear of the expensive ones or else my husband will divorce me.  Instead, I splurged on the striped Lacey wallet I’ve been coveting from Kate Spade.  I figured it’s okay to spend a little more because I’ll have it awhile.  Plus, I purchased it at the Kate Spade outlet for 40% off– making it quite a deal!  Huge props to the clerks for not blinking an eye when I rolled my double stroller into their store with two kids eating Auntie Annie’s pretzels.  The staff could not have been sweeter, my kids kept their buttery hands in the stroller, AND I got my wallet.  WIN!

Favorite Finds for Summer

The Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin

This book deserves it’s own post, but it’s almost hard for me to talk about since it’s changed my lifestyle so much (and, since the diet itself is pretty intense!).  Ever since having Bee, I simply have not been able to lose these last 10 pounds and have dealt daily with bloating, digestive issues, and more.  I tried Weight Watchers, I’ve been working out at the gym and working with a personal trainer, and still saw very little weight loss.  One day (while running at the gym, ironically) I saw the author of this book on a segment of Rachael Ray.  She discussed how many of us have an intolerance to 7 specific foods that wreak havoc on our bodies and we don’t even know it.  After reading the book and adopting a new diet– free from gluten, corn, soy, peanuts, dairy, sugar, and eggs– I’m now much happier physically AND dropped those last stubborn 10 pounds.  To me, this book is more of an exploration of food intolerance with a side effect of losing weight.  It’s not always easy to stick to such a strict plan, BUT the way I feel now is well worth the sacrifice.  I’ll never be what’s considered skinny, but I can strive to be in my comfort zone– and this plan put me back there.  On another note, I’m always on the hunt for great gluten-free and dairy-free recipes so if you have them please share!

Favorite Finds for Summer

Nalgene Water Bottle (for me) and Camelbak Water Bottles (for the kiddos)

I’m really bad about drinking my 8 glasses of water a day.  Like, really bad.  But having a cute pink BPA free water bottle that fits in my cupholder has made it way easier!  And I’m totally head over heels in love with the Camelbak Water Bottles for kids.  We’ve had ours for years, and they are still leak-free.  My son even sleeps with his in his crib and it doesn’t leak.  They’re easy to use and we carry them with us everywhere– the pool, restaurants, the car, EVERYWHERE.  Not only are they BPA free, but it’s a straw-type cup as opposed to a sippy cup.  From our years in OT for feeding issues, I learned that straw cups are preferable because they emulate real-life drinking… whereas sippy cups don’t engage the mouth the same way you’d drink ‘in the real world.’  Every little bit helps when you have a child with a feeding or speech issue!

Crabtree and Evelyn Hand Recovery (the yellow tube in the middle):

Must Have Finds for Summer

I still remember the day I strolled into Crabtree & Evelyn, pre-kids of course, and an employee led me over to a sink to try their Gardener’s Hand Recovery cream.  You rub it on your hands dry for about 30 seconds, rinse off, and OH MY GRACIOUS YOUR HANDS ARE AS SMOOTH AS A BABY’S BOTTOM.  True story.  This is great for gardeners or DIYer with rough hands, it’ll have you fixed up in no time.

Banana Republic Elephant Shorts

I’m being a tease, because the truth is I haven’t been able to find these ANYWHERE.  Actually, that’s not true– I walked into Banana Republic and they had two pairs left in the store, neither of which were my size.  A store employee said they basically sold out the first day they were in stock.  They’ve disappeared online.  Darn you, Olivia Palermo, and your adorable elephant print shorts!

Favorite Finds for Summer

Vega Protein Powder for Smoothies (and my Magic Bullet Blender)

I’ve always been a huge fan of smoothies (hello, a smoothie station was the first clue) and now that I’m on the Virgin Diet I drink one every morning for breakfast.  Believe it or not, I actually start looking forward to my smoothies the night before because they are so delicious!  I’m thankful I found the Vega protein powder at Whole Foods because it’s free of gluten, corn, soy, peanuts, dairy– the biggies.  I adore both the Choco-Lot and Almondilla flavors, they are amazing mixed with frozen berries, coconut milk, half a banana, and whatever else I decide to throw in there.  You can find it at Whole Foods, too.  My Magic Bullet Blender has been getting a workout as well, and it hasn’t failed me yet!

Favorite Finds for Summer

Smashbox Lip Gloss in True Pixel and Benefit’s Coralista Blush

Last year I attended a makeover event and told the stylist, “don’t use any coral on me!  I look terrible in coral!”  Of course, what did she use?  Coral lip gloss and blush.  And I LOVED it.  Both are pretty universal colors and very summery.  When I do where makeup during the summer, these are in the top two for favorite products.  Just don’t go to Ulta to buy it with two kids eating cookies in tow.  TRUST.

Favorite Finds for Summer

West Elm Striped Shower Curtain

Right before I left on vacation, I had the opportunity to attend the store opening party for West Elm in the King of Prussia Mall.  It was a blast for a design nerd like me!  West Elm is just hands-down a great company, too– very supportive of artisans and independent businesses.  I spotted this striped shower curtain and loved it so much I bought it the day after I returned from The Outer Banks.  It now lives in the kids’ bathroom.  Those stripes just make me so darn happy!

Favorite Finds for Summer

And seriously, how many things do I want just in this one photo?  FIVE!  At least five things.

West Elm King of Prussia

from the West Elm King of Prussia media tour

Jack Daniels Honey

Can you guess who told me about the new Jack Daniels Honey?  Our BABYSITTER.  It’s okay, she’s 22 and certainly doesn’t drink when she’s babysitting.  But I felt so hip to be in on this new little secret, it’s the new ‘it’ drink of the young’uns out there.  I let the guys do shots of it, personally I like mine mixed with… wait for it… LEMONADE.  Served chilled over ice and you’ve got a great summer drink.  And, if you know me, you know it was love at first sight with this label:

Favorite Finds for Summer

Lemonade + Jack Daniels Honey = ahhhhhhh…….

Favorite Finds for Summer

Those are my all time favorite things this summer.  What are you crushing on right now?  Anything new in your home, your glass, your plate, your bookshelf, your closet?  Dish it, friend!  I love hearing your favorite things!

{if a product is available on Amazon I’ve linked it below so you can see their price and additional reviews; enjoy browsing!}

Meet Carrie Higgins

Dreamer, thinker, + lemon squeezer; you'll usually find me clutching a mug of coffee, glue gun, fandeck of paint colors, and a child at any given time. This mom of two (and wife to one) loves to share freshly squeezed ideas for home and family. Join the adventure as we learn most lemons can indeed become lemonade-- with generous amounts of sweetness, perspective, and love.

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  1. I need those ice pop molds too. We only do BPA free in this house!

  2. Wow, I didnt realize you had gone gluten/dairy free. And corn and soy and sugar? that is hard! I know that soy and corn and sugar are bad for us (I am in denial about dairy) but I haven’t been ready to give those up yet. I’m so glad you’re feeling better. I should check out that book. And I have been coveting that Kate Spade wallet ever since I saw you carry it at Type A Philly. My neighbor has one too. I need to head over to the outlets!

    • I know, I’m now in the PSMM food intolerance club, ha! (we should totally have a PSMM subset for that…) It’s hard, but I feel great so it’s a good trade-off. And I’m not 100% free of all 7 foods, but I’d say about 95% free (corn starch slips through every once in awhile). Let me know if you are ever up for a Kate Spade trip; that store is GREAT!

  3. I’d love to hear more about the Virgin diet. Congrats on staying committed! I follow you on Instagram, and have been impressed by your commitment! I’m curious if wine/alcohol is allowed, or if you splurge with the spiked lemonade. And is it just sweetened with honey? No sugar or corn starch? It sounds delish! I’m pregnant now, but looking forward to losing weight and having a drink in a few months! Thanks in advance?

    • Those are SUCH great questions. There are three phases of the diet. The first is 3 weeks long and is the strictest– you can’t have even one bite of any of the allergens, which allows your body to heal from them. The second phase is 4 weeks, and it’s a testing phases where you cycle in each food to see if you have a reaction. The last phase is adopting the lifestyle for life, trying to limit all 7 foods but using your personal test results as a guide for what you can allow back into your diet. If you didn’t react to a food, you can put it back in your diet. I didn’t react immediately to any of the allergens, my reactions were more like bloating, joint paint, disgestive issues, etc. So I can allow most in my diet on occasion (a bit of bread every 4 days, etc.) Alcohol is technically allowed in the last two phases of the diet, but she urges you to avoid it if possible because it loosens inhibitions in terms of making good food choices. I have a drink about once a week, and lemonade a few times a week with stevia or natural cane sugar only. The sugar chapter in the book is very interesting, not only is sugar bad for your diet but also as a trigger to crave more sugar (a HUGE problem for me!) So I’m about 95% free of the 7 trigger foods, with a little wiggle room like the occasional Jack Daniels Honey with lemonade. 😉 Let me know if you have any more questions, and congrats on the pregnancy!!!


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