14 Things I Bought For Summer That I Can't Live Without - Skillful Cook
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14 Things I Bought For Summer That I Can't Live Without

Let's go on a summer shopping spree! These are the 14 things I now cannot live without for summer and I'm excited to tell you about them.

Daisies (white with gold center) close together on a bed of greenery.

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Let's go on a summer shopping spree!

These are some of my summer favorites, and I've split these items into 3 categories:

So here it is - a list of 14 things that I've purchased with my own money that I now cannot live without for summer!

Actual Growth For My Eyelashes and Brows

White hand holding up beauty products next to a stock photo of eyelash serum and eyebrow gel.

Product: Dime Eyelash Boost Serum* and Eyebrow Enhancing Gel*

What I love:

  • Noticed lash growth
  • Noticed brows filling in
  • Beautiful product design
  • Easy and fast to use

What I don't love:

  • Eyelash serum occasionally stings

I bought these a couple months ago for my thin and sparse eyebrows and eyelashes. And while it's not like people are stopping me on the street to ask me about my fluffy lashes and brows, I have definitely noticed growth on both my eyelashes (longer) and eyebrows (fuller). In a couple weeks, it took my brows from “Extremely Sparse” to “I Can Live With These”, and that is a very happy thing for me.


The Softest, Coolest, Best Sheets Ever

White handing touching white sheets next to a stock photo of white sheets.

Product: Layla Bamboo Bed Sheets*

What I Love:

  • So incredibly soft
  • Cooling, which makes them especially great for summer
  • Easy to care for

What I Don't Love:

  • Nothing!

I bought these sheets almost two years ago and we have since bought two more sets because we REALLY really love them! Super super soft, lightweight, and nice and cool which is especially awesome for the summer. Every single night when I get in bed, I feel like I am at a luxury resort (minus the toys and clothes strewn about my bedroom). They've held up well and are still silky smooth even after almost two years. Highly recommend!


New All-Time Favorite Denim Shorts

Woman taking a selfie in the mirror and wearing a black shirt and blue shorts next to a stock photo of blue denim shorts.

Product: Gap Low-Rise Stride Shorts*

What I love:

  • The length is perfect - not too short, not too long
  • The rise is perfect for me - all my slightly cropped shirts land just above the waist (like the picture)
  • Not stretchy, so they wash well and stay snug on my hips without riding up
  • Fitted but not tight
  • Distressing on the light wash gives them the perfect casual look and feel

What I don't love:

  • Nothing!

I am passionate about these shorts! I am wearing them right now while I write this! I have the light wash, which I just absolutely adore, and I just bought purple lotus and the indigo wash as well. They are, hands down, my favorite shorts right now. They're my perfect rise, my perfect length, and they give the perfect casual-but-semi-put-together look. It depends on how you want them to fit, but I sized down one full size from my normal jeans size and they fit me just right.


Really Good Basic White Ribbed Bodysuit

Woman taking a selfie in a mirror next to a stock photo of a model wearing a ribbed bodysuit.

Product: Kinship Ivory Ribbed Bodysuit

What I love:

  • Super soft
  • Super stretchy
  • Ribbed texture gives it some interest
  • Good sleeve length
  • Ideal for all kinds of sleek layering

What I don't love:

  • Runs a bit small, IMHO - I prefer to size up on this one

Seen here with a Canadian tuxedo, but most commonly worn with overalls (my uniform) or a cute pair of shorts! I wear a lot of overalls and just denim in general, and this bodysuit is a go-to. It gives a perfectly sleek look, but the ribbing on the shirt prevents it from being overly tight or showy. It's on the thinner side, but I actually enjoy the weight of the material. It's breathable and light so you don't feel so heavy and constricted - just make sure you wear a nude bra if you don't want it to show. I would recommend sizing up on this one! There's enough soft stretch in it to keep it form-fitting, and the bigger size will make it a little more roomy and comfy.


Now I Wear A Sun Hat

Woman wearing a sun hat taking a selfie next to a stock photo of a sun hat.

Product: UPF 50 Summer Sun Hat*

What I love:

  • Floppy and cute
  • Brim is nice and wide
  • Stays put really well
  • Beautiful golden color
  • Quality of the straw-like material feels really nice

What I don't love:

  • Can be hard to travel with since it's big and you don't want it to wrinkle

I had to have plastic surgery on my face this spring to remove a severely atypical pre-melanoma spot, so now I am aggressive with my sunscreen and my sun hat usage. The good news is I actually really enjoy this hat! It's pretty, feminine, casual, and the quality feels super nice. I think you probably could travel with it, but I love mine so much that I don't want it to bend or wrinkle, so I travel with my less-nice hat instead. This is my prized favorite summer sun hat!


The First Chunky Gold Hoop Earrings I've Ever Loved

Man and woman taking a selfie in New York next to a stock photo of gold hoop earrings.

Product: A New Day Thick Gold Hoop Earrings*

What I love:

  • The chunk factor is so cute
  • The size is great for a statement that's not TOO statement-y
  • Holds up well to pool usage, outdoor time, and daily wear and tear
  • Comfortable even for sensitive ears
  • Costs less than $10

What I don't love:

  • Nothing!

I bought these as a “let's try these and see if I might become a gold hoop person” and it absolutely worked. I especially like the weight of these - they are chunky in the cutest way, so they really pop and have a bit of playfulness to them. I've worn them in the pool, on several trips, for lots of daily activities, and they are still holding up great, especially for costing less than $10.

The Holy Grail Of Kid Jammies

Girl wearing hippo pajamas next to a stock photo of hippo pajamas.

Product: Cat and Jack Kids' Jammies*

What I love:

  • SOFT SOFT SOFT
  • Supremely comfortable
  • Fun patterns that are not overly gendered
  • Affordable

What I don't love:

  • Nothing!

In my experience, Target kid jammies have historically been kind of stiff and scratchy, and I'm really particular about making sure the girls have something comfy to sleep in. We buy a lot of jammies from Little Sleepies, but they are super expensive, which is why I'm SO, SO happy that Target is now starting to sell similarly soft and comfy jammies with fun patterns at a fraction of the price. This is the first season I've seen these soft ones, and we absolutely love them. We bought every single pattern available for both girls! Our 4-year-old giggled about her “hippo jammies” for two weeks straight and I love that they're - did I say this already? - SO soft.


And The Holy Grail Of Kid Sandals

Girl wearing pink sandals next to a stock photo of pink sandals.

Product: Ten Little Kids' Sandals

What I love:

  • Cute for all kinds of outfits
  • Super supportive and “healthy” for all types of kid movement
  • Cooling
  • Secure with closed-toe coverage - I never worry about flopping or slipping
  • Not meant to be waterproof, but dries out easily

What I don't love:

  • Nothing!

My children wear all manner of weird and obscure clothes to play in, but when it comes to jammies and shoes, I'm kinda picky. I want their shoes to be cute enough for my eyeballs to not glitch every time I look at them all summer, but also I want them to be top-notch comfortable and supportive for all types of activities - running, jumping, climbing on things they shouldn't climb, etc. These sandals are THE ONLY SHOES my girls wear in the summer. We have water shoes, tennis shoes for soccer, and these. They both get one pair of summer shoes and this is the one! We love these shoes.


A Really Great Kids' Bike

Family getting ready to go on a bike ride next to a stock photo of a red bike.

Product: Woom Kids' Bike

What I love:

  • Top quality
  • Intentionally designed for kids
  • Lightweight which makes it easy to maneuver, balance, and learn
  • Simple styles

What I don't love:

  • Expensive

We are new to the bike era of parenting! We've been getting by with cheap or free bikes from Buy Nothing, Facebook Marketplace, and neighbors, but this summer the time has come for us to get a proper kids' bike for our 4-year-old. This bike brand was recommended to us by some friends who have older bike riders, and it is awesome. High quality, while also lightweight, for easy balancing and learning.

The Glass Bottles I Use For Everything

White hand holding juice in a clear jug next to a stock photo of clear jug.

Product: Liter Glass Milk Bottles*

What I love:

  • Perfect size for small batches
  • Multi-use - iced coffee, simple syrups, juices, etc.
  • Cap makes it easy to travel with - we often to take these to friends' houses

What I don't love:

  • Nothing!

We use these things ALL THE TIME, and especially in the summer! I put batches of agua fresca in them, or iced coffee, simple syrup for the NA Margs... they are so versatile. I never knew I needed them until I bought them, and now we can't live without them.


The Griddle That Never Leaves My Stovetop

Cast iron griddle resting on a gas stovetop next to a stock photo of a cast iron griddle.

Product: Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Griddle*

What I love:

  • Reversible!
  • Perfect for quesadillas, pancakes, grilled sandwiches, smash burgers, reheating or re-crisping things
  • Heavy duty
  • Long enough to cover two burners so you can do lots of food at one time

What I don't love:

  • Can be heavy and awkward to move - which is why we don't move it! 🙂

This is now a permanent fixture in our kitchen! It sits on our stove and it gets used almost daily for anything ranging from pancakes to grilled sandwiches, quesadillas, smash burgers, toasting buns, and fried bread for toasts. I can do a bunch of food at one time which means less waiting around for everyone's food to be ready. As a family of 4, we love this thing!


Smash Burger Essential Tool

White hand smashing down a burger next to a stock photo of a burger smasher tool.

Product: Lodge Cast Iron Grill Press*

What I love:

  • Solid and heavy
  • Works perfectly for smash burgers

What I don't love:

  • Nothing!

Two words: Smash Burgers! We make these smash burgers all summer long, and you just can't do it quite right unless you have a grill press. This is the one we use and love!


My New Summer Hobby

Woman grilling on a Blackstone flattop next to a stock photo of a Blackstone flattop.

Product: Blackstone Flat Top*

What I love:

  • Can cook a wide variety of foods on it: pancakes, smash burgers, stir fry, etc.
  • Fun for summer and fall entertaining
  • More user-friendly for people who aren't huge into grilling (me)

What I don't love:

  • Requires a moderate level of maintenance

This is a fun toy. I prefer this to our grill because it's just like having one huge frying pan, but outside! And it works well with the types of foods I like to make: pancakes, eggs, bacon, sandwiches, quesabirria, noodle stir fry, fried rice, smash burgers, etc. It takes a bit of work to season it - I'm still getting mine perfected since we got some rust this winter - but it's such a fun way to bring a bigger variety of food into your outdoor cooking repertoire.


I Am So Passionate About These Drinking Glasses

White hand holding a clear drinking glass next to a stock photo of a set of drinking glasses

Product: Glass Tumblers by Williams Sonoma*

What I love:

  • Delicate glass
  • Thin lip
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Really nice size
  • Just so beautiful

What I don't love:

  • Nothing!

I get that not everyone cares about glasses the way I do, but I am certifiably obsessed with these glasses. We've been drinking out of mason jars for years and while that's totally fine and good, I really get a lot of enjoyment from a delicate, thin-lipped glass. So I decided to go for it and buy an actual adult-like set of glasses, and these are now my pride and joy. For sure one of my top five favorite things in my kitchen. Drinking out of these is a very delightful experience.

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25 Comments

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I bought the DIME Eyebrow enhancing gel too and feel the exact same as you. No one is asking me where I got my new eyebrows, but I can tell a difference in less than 30 days. I am pleasantly surprised. They have a great product line all around.
    This is an excellent list, thank you for sharing Lindsay!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a fun post! I saved a few of these on my wishlist.

    I agree that Ten Little shoes are amazing. We also love See Kai Run shoes in our house. Both brands are a little pricey, but they last SO much longer than the cheap ones we used to get at Target (and we’re Target devotees). All of the Cat and Jack clothes are great as well!

    A few things I’m loving this summer:

    – The Chai Box chai concentrate (perfect for iced chai lattes)
    – Trader Joe’s lemon biscotti
    – Madewell Brightside tanks
    – Thredup and Poshmark for some fun second-hand finds
    – Anything from Marine Layer. My wish list is full of their summer clothes.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Seeing Sage sitting nearby while you work on the Blackstone makes me wonder if you would do a Sage update? She is such a gentle soul and I always love hearing how she is doing.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay!

    I am dipping my toe into the land of sunscreens for myself specifically for my face. I, of course, already have my favorite for my kids. Have you found a face sunscreen that you like? Would love to hear. Thanks!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love this! Could you explain how you clean your Lodge griddle? I have one & find it’s a pain to clean.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a fun post! I saved a few of these on my wishlist.

    I agree that Ten Little shoes are amazing. We also love See Kai Run shoes in our house. Both brands are a little pricey, but they last SO much longer than the cheap ones we used to get at Target (and we’re Target devotees). All of the Cat and Jack clothes are great as well!

    A few things I’m loving this summer:

    – The Chai Box chai concentrate (perfect for iced chai lattes)
    – Trader Joe’s lemon biscotti
    – Madewell Brightside tanks
    – Thredup and Poshmark for some fun second-hand finds
    – Anything from Marine Layer. My wish list is full of their summer clothes.
    if you want to know about more cooking i have a site about cooking and you can visit it :Visit bonnakitchen.blogspot.com/
    !

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay, could you tell me where you buy your “slightly” cropped t-shirts? Most are too long and some of the cropped are too short! Thanks!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    i have that Lodge reversible griddle and yes, it’s amazing! I don’t always keep it on the stove so when I do move it’s 10# heft, I do a few overhead presses and shoulder raises just to make it worthwhile 😉

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have the impression that the sandals are too small. Children’s shoes (inner soles) should be at least 12 mm (~ 1/2 inches) and not more than 17 mm longer than their feet. There are popular studies from Europe that too small shoes cause harm to kids feet such as incorrectly-aligned big toes.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsey! First of all I have to tell you THANK YOU for your yummy food blog! We eat mostly plant based over here and it is soooo hard to find good plant based recipes that are tasty and not just look pretty in the photo but are absolutely tasteless!
    I also have to second the woom bike! We are a mountain bike family and I have one 8 year old that absolutely loves the sport but is little and the up hills are so hard with the heavy mountain bikes. Woom is the only bike brand we were able to find that had quality components and was light enough for my smaller kid to maneuver up hills! As a side note we loved the mircro kickboard balance bikes when our kids were little. Both of my twins much preferred it over our strider.
    Now I am eyeing a whole bunch of other things on your list (I am looking at you cast iron reversible griddle)

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    The glass bottles are definitely a good buy to stock up on for the summer, simple because they can help you keep fresh pressed fruit and vegetable juice cold in the refrigerator for up to 3 days while lowering estrogen levels in men.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m curious if you find that you have a ton of grease splatter on your deck when you grill smash burgers?? I make them and it leaves big ole grease stains on our deck.. Those grills are super popular for those kind of things and all i can think about is the mess!! Is it just me??

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      This is a great question, Jules! Just checked with Lindsay on this and she said she hasn’t run into that issue or if there is splatter, it’s pretty teeny tiny and not noticable. Hope this helps!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    During this summer, I made some essential purchases that have become indispensable to my daily life. Among these items, I can confidently say that the Whiskey Cake restaurant has been a delightful addition to my summer experiences. The restaurant’s unique and delectable offerings have captivated my taste buds, making it a place I can’t live without exploring further.

    From stylish summer outfits to practical outdoor gear, my purchases have enhanced my enjoyment of the season. In the same vein, Whiskey Cake’s delectable dishes and refreshing beverages have elevated my culinary adventures, leaving a lasting impression on my summer memories. You can visit : https://theopeninghour.com/whiskey-cake-happy-hour/

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Absolutely enthusiastic about the Lodge reversible griddle! That kitchen essential seems to have taken up a permanent residence on my stovetop for a solid 4 years. I’m genuinely perplexed at how folks manage their cooking endeavors without this game-changer! Fairfield Inn