Top 5 Picks for Summer

Memorial Day has come and gone, today is the first day of June, and summer is well on its way.  In addition to breaking out the hats, sunglasses, flip flops, and a cool drink, here are my top picks for things to help you enjoy this warm and travel-filled season.

1. Neutrogena Sunblock

Photo Credit: Neutrogena.com

Photo Credit: Neutrogena.com

We all know sunscreen should be a staple item in our beach bags.  There are numerous options on the market, but my personal favorite for daily use, as well as for in the water, is from Neutrogena.  Their products cover the gamut to include various levels of activity, coverage, and for all members of the family.  As part of my makeup routine, I often start with their Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock.  It goes on smoothly and dries quickly without being greasy, allowing me to apply my power makeup on top without clumping or streaks.  It protects against both UVA and UVB rays, which is something to pay attention to rather than the highest SPF number.  Anything over 50 SPF is really splitting hairs concerning protection levels and no sunblock is 100% guaranteed.  So purchase the 100+ if you like, but I generally go for the SPF 45 because it seems to be easier to find in stores, and it is a few dollars cheaper.  As mentioned, they also have great sun protection specialized for time in the water, sports, for infants and children, and even an SPF enhanced cooling spray, perfect for when you are laying by he pool.  Make sure to enjoy your time outdoors, but don’t let it be ruined with sunburns and skin damage.  With so many great choices, there is no reason to not put on the sunblock this summer.

2. FlightTrack

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

If you or any members of your family are doing any sort of travel by plane this year, it is worth your time to check out the FlightTrack app by Mobiata.  Normally I only suggest free apps if possible, but this is one that is worth $4.99.  You can download it for Android or iOS for the same price.  We were actually fortunate enough to get it for free during one of Amazon’s App of the Day deals.  If I ever see it discounted again though, I’ll be sure to let you know.  What makes this application stand out above the rest is the real-time updates and notifications.  You simply go to the home screen, add your flight number (or search by route and airline), save it to your list, and you will automatically receive instant information regarding those trips.  You can click on the flight to see departure and arrival times, a delay forecast, the actual progress on a map when the flight is en route, and contact information for your airline.  I have always appreciated the precise information this app provided, but it truly surpassed my expectations this week.  My husband had a business trip and his return flight was less than ideal.  One of his connecting flights ended up being cancelled, then he was on standby, that flight was delayed and they didn’t end up having any extra room, and finally the last fight he was guaranteed was supposed to depart around 7pm and actually left the ground close to 9pm.  Since I was the one picking him up at the airport when he arrived, I was so thankful that not once, not twice, but three times it saved me from leaving the house and making the trek only to find out his flight would not be in for several more hours.  He also said that the information he received on his phone with the updates was actually quicker than what he was receiving while waiting at the airport.  Thankfully this is not the norm when traveling and it’s nice to just be able to see that the plane took off and is on schedule to be landing at the appropriate time.  However, let me tell you, when weather plays a role and nothing is guaranteed it’s a wonderful peace of mind to have the latest information at your fingertips.

3. Friction Block Stick from Band-Aid

Photo Credit: Band-Aid.com

Photo Credit: Band-Aid.com

For me summer often constitutes a new pair of cute sandals or at least some inexpensive flip flops for running around outside.  But as the heat rises and with nothing between the straps and your sensitive skin, it can be blister city by the time you kick off your shoes at the end of the day.  Enter in my favorite solution: the Friction Block Stick from Band-Aid.  It comes in a small tube allowing for easy application, almost like a mini stick of deodorant.  It is a “lubricating formula that glides on smoothly to instantly reduce rubbing on the skin.”  You can barely feel it once it is applied, and it is clear, not goopy or messy.  I tried it with great skepticism at first. I had recently got a new pair of flats that were rubbing on the back of my heels and becoming extremely uncomfortable (especially with a little bit of pregnancy swelling thrown in).  I grabbed a stick from the bandage area of our pharmacy and tried it out the next day.  I honestly wasn’t sure if I had really even put any on at first since it is completely invisible and didn’t feel sticky or tight.  But the results were enough for me.  After an all-day shopping trip there were no sore spots, redness, or rubbing.  Since it is very compact I now carry it in my purse to re-apply if needed.  Also great for breaking in new shoes for sports and especially dress shoes Friction Block is my new favorite product.

4. Waze

Photo Credit: Play.google.com

Photo Credit: Play.google.com

If your travel this summer is keeping you closer to home or you just want to stay updated on traffic, the new GPS app Waze might be for you.  I have recently started using this app more than Google Maps (as previously mentioned in a Top 5 back in February).  Don’t get me wrong , I still love Google Maps, they are more established and have the links and contact information for locations.  However, Waze has the upper hand when it comes to current driving conditions and live traffic.  It is a free app for both iOS and Android but is still in the earlier stages of getting all of the roads and routes mapped correctly.  So far it has performed very well for us, but there are a few times when it takes us down a wrong route or misses and exit, especially in dense residential areas.  This is where the social community comes into play.  As you are driving with the app it will intituitively transmit the information to assist with updates, and you can also log on to your computer once you get home to view your trips and add any suggestions there, as well.  The popularity of Waze is quickly taking off.  The biggest draw is that other drivers can add road hazards, traffic information, accident reports, map issues, and even notify you of police or red-light cameras coming up.   The app also allows you to confirm or deny their postings to keep things running as smoothly as possible.  When driving in heavy traffic it is a wonderful asset to know beforehand that there is a huge pot hole just ahead, or that there is an accident and you can be directed to another route.  If you are the type that loves social interaction, you can even post messages in the “chit chat” section to connect with other Wazers or share updates and locations through Facebook, email, and Twitter.  Practically there are pros and cons for both this and Google Maps.  Waze is much better about describing what lane I need to be in to avoid confusion around high volume areas such as heading to the city and the airport.  The updates are also wonderful, but unless you have a passenger to check them all out, you cannot respond to or even view them all.  Thankfully it does voice navigate and speak out some of the alerts, but not all.  As more Wazers start to use the app and help update the maps, it will only continue to get better.  I am excited to see how it progresses and if this becomes my only GPS app soon.

5. Jergens Natural Glow

Photo Credit: Jergens.com

Photo Credit: Jergens.com

Summer crept up very quickly this year.  The area we live in didn’t seem to have weeks of steadily climbing temperatures, but rather lots of rainy, dreary days; until last week.  Memorial weekend hit and so did the heat.  Like it or not, we all had to break out the shorts and tank tops.  I was ready for it; my white pastey legs however, were not looking so amazing.  I am not an advocate for tanning, but I have to admit a little bit of color can make a big difference.  To help ease into swimsuit season and take the edge off winter-pale skin, I use Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer.  It functions just like normal body lotion but has a slight sunless tanner added.  I prefer this product over others because it increases color gradually and is extremely natural looking.  I am very fair skinned and didn’t have to worry about streaks or an orange tint; I started to see results after just a few applications.  This year they are also offering a new product with SPF; color and protection all in one. Since these do have tinting aspects to them, even though they are very subtle, make sure you allow several minutes before dressing and rinse your hands after applying the lotion.  The aroma is much better than normal self-tanners, but there is still a slight hint, so it’s best to use the product when hanging out around the house and not when you are getting ready to sit in on a business meeting.  For its overall performance, great value (usually around $7 per bottle), and natural results, Jergens Natural Glow has my vote for the best way to start your summer tan. (Just a note, since I am currently pregnant I have not been using this product.  And if you are pregnant or nursing, always check with your doctor before you take any medications or apply any enhanced lotions to your skin.  The jury is still out on sunless tanners and often elevated hormones can cause your skin to react differently too.  This particular type would most likely not pose any threat, but better to err on the side of caution.)

What are your summer must-haves? Drop me an email or share them below, and enjoy the sunshine this season!

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