Around the Pond with the Frog~May 2014 (Plus Mom's Summer Essentials)

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We're knocking on summer's door here. I know some of you aren't out of school yet, but my boys have been out since May 21st. We've been at the baseball field and the pool and the zoo.We're hitting the ground running, my friends, and it's gonna be messy.

I've put together a list of summer survival essentials for Mom that will keep you going through all of summer's activities:

1. A tinted moisturizer with an SPF. You have to love a product that pulls triple duty. With all the kids around clamoring to go places, you'll barely have time to comb your hair, much less apply any makeup. Try Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. I got this little beauty as a sample, and I love it! Not only is it oil free, but it gives just the right amount of color needed to look natural, but not too made up. It's the perfect price point to try it out.

2. A tinted lip balm. Summer outings are not really the time to display a bold lip, but a mom's gotta have a little color, right? Try Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm. They're all natural, super moisturizing, and come in lots of pretty summer colors. I think my favorite has been discontinued, though (sad face). It was called Tiger Lily, and it was a nice, sun-kissed orangey color. I might try the Honeysuckle next, as it looks similar.

3. Waterproof mascara. There is never a day that I don't curl my eyelashes and put on mascara, even when I'm going to the pool or gym. I have such short, barely there eyelashes and teeny, tiny eyes that it's a must. I definitely have my favorite mascara, but a brand that you can never go wrong with is Maybelline. It's been one of the top mascaras for decades. Try their Lash Discovery Mini-Brush Waterproof Mascara. It stands among the more expensive ones as one of the best.

(For more summer time make-up without the huge price tag, go visit my gal Frugie of Frugalista Blog. She's got you covered - in more ways than one.)

4. A spray or bottle tan and sunscreen. Seriously, I cannot emphasize this enough: protect your skin. As a person who used to get blistering sunburns every time I was in the sun as a child, I use copious amounts of sun screen now. With skin cancer being the most common form of cancer in the United States, we need to start being more careful. Whether you like lotions or sprays, whether you are naturally pale or have olive skin, there is a self-tanner out there for you. And if you like spray tans, check around for specials. Some salons will even text clients when the day is slow and offer cheap sessions just to generate business. Go fake or stay home!

5. A bathing suit you look and feel great in. It breaks my heart when I hear women say they refuse to get in a bathing suit during the summer. Every year, I look around the pool and sure enough, there are women with kick-ass bodies in bikinis. It makes me feel fat and gross. But, there are so many body types and shapes. The women who look good are the ones who are wearing appropriate suits for their body type, and they are having fun and feeling confident. Those last two points are the most important, but the hardest for women to accept. It's just all in what makes you feel comfortable - bikini, tankini, one piece, swim skirt. Just find what works for you and own it! Check out ModCloth's line of suits for every body and find something that's right for you. Your kids will be delighted you are playing in the pool with them.

6. A list of free or inexpensive activities and places to take the kids. Kids want to be constantly on the go. Keep them moving, if only for your sanity! Check out Kids Activities Blog for everything from chore charts to crafts and games and learning activities. Many movie theaters now have reward programs and $2 - $5 movie days - great for those rainy or sweltering hot days. How about the Kids Bowl Free program? You don't have to be a pro bowler to participate. Even our two-year-old bowled the other weekend - he just used a little plastic dinosaur ball roller thingy to help him (he even beat one of his brothers' scores!). Take a tour of parks in your town and check out hydrant parties. Get creative. Save money anytime you can so when something special comes along, you can splurge. (If you're local to me, check out this page for great ideas.)

7. Your favorite inexpensive wine or summer drink.  I have found the perfect inexpensive drinkable wine. I love a good Pinot Grigio. Whole Foods has one called Quail Creek for $6 a bottle. If you buy 6, you get 10% off. Stock up, Mamas!

8. A great maxi dress or other go-to outfit. Something that is cool, comfortable, and looks great is a total score. I love both the color palate and price point of this maxi-dress from Forever 21

Tell me in the comments what some of your favorite summer essentials are.

Finally, you're going to need some great things to read this summer, too. Be sure to check out the hilarious, snarky, and sometimes sentimental anthology I Just Want to Be Alone featuring yours truly. It's nice for car trips or pool trips when you might only have a short block of time to read one or two of the stories. Check out some of my other summer reading recommendations here.

You also need to know about Mamalode. I really love that website. Not only do I write twice a month for them, but some of my favorite bloggers do as well; and I have found amazing new voices through them. Check out my two latest posts here and here

Lastly, in case you missed it, here is something new I will be writing about. I think one of the best and worst things about parenthood is that there is always something - good, bad, new, different - we discover while raising our children. They always keep us on our toes. 

Happy summer everyone!!

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