My Summer Essentials July 2019
Taking stock of some life savers and little hacks that I've come to rely on during this very hot summer.
Swelter, sweat, and simmer - summer 2019 has been a scorcher in NYC. Lately, where the sun shines, you break into instant sweats. Some nights, we exit our apartment building into thick humidity that lasts for days until a drenching rain breaks it for just a matter of hours. Who needs a steamer when wrinkles in any garment surrender their lives within five minutes of being outside?
My summer essentials so far are the things, old and new, that make the season tolerable, and I daresay somewhat comfortable, in the most persistent of heat waves.
My new favorite hot weather clothing hack. Soft material and the lack of foam and padding make them more breathable, helping me keep cool. They also often have fewer seams than a regular bra, and this has been a huge deal for me because my skin is really sensitive to scratches or pressure, and the recent heat has made it significantly worse: I’ve been breaking out in hives every single day. If the dog leashes pull against my wrist, I’ll get raised welts where they chafed. If my arm rests on the edge of a table and it creates a dent in my skin, that dent will turn into a hive. Sometimes I'll catch myself scratching a spot absentmindedly and within 15 minutes I'll have hot, blotchy, angry hives that last for almost an hour.
These hives also constantly pop up spontaneously where nothing has irritated my skin because they’re assholes like that. All in all, summer has been varying degrees of itchy, with my daily anti-histamine mitigating but not preventing reactions. Any relief is appreciated, and not having underwire, clasps, and seams rubbing against my skin has really really helped.
These have been a household favorite for years, and do wonders to cool you down quickly from the core. You can eat them by the handful, and they are tart and delicious and treat-like. My pups love them too. We've gotten quarts of organic blueberries with our last two CSA pick-ups and so the freezer has been well stocked as of late. Just make sure to rinse and dry them before freezing so they aren't all stuck together and icy.
Everlane The Day Crossover Sandals
These sandals are just refined enough to get away with being worn to work. They stay on well, are truly very soft, and did not require any breaking in. That said, there is virtually no support for your feet, and I can feel the ground pounding with each step I take due to the amount of walking I do each day.
As a result, I purchased a pair of The Form Three-Strap Sandals in black to try. They arrived today and provide plenty of foot support, but it remains to be seen how comfortable the straps are against the top of my feet.
Trader Joe’s coconut cold brew and big batches of chilled chamomile tea
TJ's coconut cold brew has probably been my favorite discovery of the season. At $5 for a bottle of concentrate that lasts a full work-week, I'm saving at least $15 on iced coffee every five days.
Chilled chamomile tea is another favorite in the household. We fill a pitcher with cold water and two tea bags to steep overnight.
A snappy makeup routine
I’d estimate that it takes two minutes flat to do my makeup. My full routine includes a powder blush, eyeshadow, mascara, and brow tint. I can also get away with just blush and curled lashes. This is certainly helpful year round to allow me to get out the door at a reasonable hour, but in summer, the simplicity also means my skin can breathe.
Culottes are a perfect fit for my lifestyle. I can wear them to work and then head to the studio and straddle a pottery wheel without worrying about wardrobe malfunctions all while staying comfortable the whole day. Even better if they’re high waisted and I can pair them with a crop top on the weekends.
Linen has long been a favorite material. I have very early memories, from living in China, of my mom making comments about how much she liked linen whenever she took me clothes shopping with her. The garments that I’ve swiped from her closet over the years reflect her penchant for natural fibers. The majority is split between linen and another favorite, silk.
I think for many, linen is associated with beach days and casual dress, but that isn’t the case any more. In fact, my wedding dress was made of linen and it was no less dressy than a gown made of lace or satin. It had intricate embroidery and sheer organza panels, covered buttons, and a delicate apron front. I said yes to the dress the moment I held it in my hands. It was beautiful, it was unusual, it was linen, and it was so me.
Anyways, linen is for everyday now, I promise! Perhaps more brands are utilizing it as consumers have demanded more sustainable options. This summer, MANGO has had a great collection. I bought a dress for work and a wide legged jumpsuit that I wore recently to a bridal shower (which would also work at the office with a cardigan).
Refrigerated toner with aloe
This is an old trick, to transfer toner to a spritz bottle and to keep it in the fridge for quick pick-me-ups. In summer, this little bottle acts more as a cool-me-down and calm-my-hives tool than as a skincare step. Soothing rituals, even small ones like this, can help so much.
Sticking around town this summer has been a nice change from previous years. But that has also meant finding new ways to cope with sometimes extreme temps. I hope one or more of my current summer essentials can be of help to you, wherever you are, sometime soon.