Summer Essentials

Updated: Dec 31, 2018

Emily Vance & Ashleigh Konopaski bring you their favorite summer essentials. Everything from binge worthy shows to skin & haircare musts!

“Cause a little bit of summer is what the whole year is all about.” -John Mayer

This desert summer is completely new to me. It is an entirely different type of heat. While I absolutely love the sunshine, it is taking some getting used to. For starters, constantly drinking water is a must. Unfortunately, you often don't realize your are dehydrated until it is too late. Our first few days here were spent in front of the freezer battling wicked headaches; we had to "calibrate" our bodies to the dry climate. In southeast Kansas it was much easier to remember to stay hydrated, the humidity practically forced you to drink up. It seems silly, but it took us a couple of days to realize what the problem was. It also didn't help that we chose to move to Arizona in June, which is notoriously the hottest month of the year here.

In an effort to stay cool and actually enjoy the summer I thought it would be fun to put together a summer essentials list with one of my favorite gals, Ashleigh!


Emily Vance

1. How do you stay hydrated?

Emily: Frozen fruit is my go to for flavoring my water without all of the added sugars and chemicals. I eat so much fruit in the summer, but I still don’t usually go through it all before it goes bad. So instead of tossing it, I freeze it just before it starts to turn, which is when it is the sweetest! In the morning, I pop a few pieces into my water bottle and it keeps it flavored and delicious throughout the day! For an even tastier treat, I add a few pieces to my moscato at night!

Ashleigh: If I’m being honest…I am likely to reach for the rose before water in the summertime heat! However, water is so important! I try to go glass for glass….forcing myself to drink water so that I can drink more rose. Staying hydrated is so important! Especially for those of you in high heat like Emily and I (which we are not used to!!) but AZ and CO sun can get you real quick!

2. What are your favorite podcasts and books?

Emily: Binge worthy podcasts and audio books have gotten me through so many road trips. Living in three states in one year has brought on what seems like never ending drives. While I have LOVED being able to explore the country, it can get extremely monotonous. My favorite podcasts lately include Lore, Moms & Murder, and Martinis & Murder. I also have been doing so much “reading” with Audible. I finished listening to Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney in just one day and I cannot rave about it enough! It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire drive and made the ten hours of driving fly by! I have quite a bit of travel coming up so I picked up a self-development workbook called Zen as F*ck by Monica Sweeney that I can work through on airplanes. I can't wait to dive in and start working on this fun and entertaining journal.

Ashleigh: I have been trying (and usually succeeding!) to reach for self-development books over “kill time” reads. However, in the summer I absolutely love me some Sarah Dessen! I’ve read all of her books at least twice. Super easy, fun, and relatable reads for young women. My current favorite podcast is “Whine Down” with Jana Kramer! Can you say girl crush?! It’s very real and easy to listen to. So inspiring to listen to someone in the limelight just talk about the nitty gritty of real life! I also love “The Joe Rogan Experience” I have learned so much from this podcast! With new guest speakers every week you get to listen to a wide varieties of topics, ideas, and perspectives.

3. What are your go to Summer shows?

Emily: I find it super important to have one or two Summer binge worthy shows. Yes, I am a firm believer in getting away from the TV and going outside, but sometimes you just want to sit in a cool air conditioned room and do nothing. Especially when the weather reaches 110+. I am currently binging Riverdale season 2 and rewatching The Office for the 20th time. While I love watching new shows, sometimes I just like to rewatch classics like Friends so my brain doesn’t have to pay too much attention.

Ashleigh: I typically don’t watch too much TV in the summer! I love to be outside too much! Especially with the longer and lighter days. I will admit though, I just started a new show “The Bold Type” and it is SO addicting! I binge watched the first season in 3 days!

4. How do you stay caffeinated in the heat?

Emily: Iced coffee has become my new obsession. I typically prefer my coffee hot, even on hot days, but sometimes I just have to have it over ice. As much as I love going out for coffee, my wallet doesn’t always enjoy it. So most mornings I just make it at home, and it is easier than you think! At night, typically around six, I prep my French press just the way I normally would to make hot coffee. I add eight tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee to our 34oz French press. Instead of adding hot water, I fill it up with cold filtered water. Twelve hours later, when I wake up, I press it and that is it! It is much tastier than brewing hot coffee and pouring it over ice. It might take a few days of experimenting to get out the way you like it, but trust me, once you find a way to do it, you will love it!

Ashleigh: Lucky for me, I’m a tea drinker! I might treat myself to the occasional caramel frappuccino, but tea is my go to! Not high in calories, easy to drink iced, and so refreshing!

5. What are your favorite pool accessories?

Emily: Just because you are an adult doesn’t mean you can’t be a kid at heart! Fun pool toys are a great way to bring back some of your childhood memories of summer! I personally have a doughnut and a pizza shaped pool float! This time of the year you can typically get them at any store. I have seen some adorable pool floats at Target, Marshalls, and even the Dollar Store!

Also, If you are going to be spending lots of time at the pool or beach invest in a waterproof phone case. You will thank yourself later after your phone ends up in the water.

Ashleigh: EASY!!! I HAVE to have sunglasses. Always. Sun or gray skies. But if I am poolside sittin’ you will definitely see me in DIFFs! My favorite brand of sunnies—that gives back! For each pair of sunglasses purchased, a pair of reading glasses is donated to children in need. My second have to have item for a day at the pool is my Brumate insulated wine glass! It fits half a bottle of wine (no need for refills) and keeps my rose chilled while I’m relaxing and sipping slowly!

6. What does your summer fitness routine look like?

Ashleigh: Again…OUTSIDE! To some people this sounds completely miserable in the heat. But the sunshine motivates me! Hiking is probably one of my favorite ever activities, so while I enjoy the beautiful views, I also try to choose hikes based on what’s going to challenge me, whether it be distance, terrain, or elevation gain. It’s also so easy to run, bike, or even get a good walk in with a girlfriend, and reward yourself with a beach trip or a dip in the lake…and hey, swimming is good for you too!

Emily: Luckily, my job keeps me pretty active. I am outside several days a week exploring the desert with clients. I have never been one who enjoys the gym, however, I usually force myself to go in the cooler months. Fortunately, our apartment has a gym so when I do want to go it is a few dozen steps from our front door. With the Arizona heat, being active outside during the day is pretty tough. But I always try to park a little further away and take the stairs to make sure I am moving and not sitting at a desk all day. I also just got a bike! So on the cooler days I can bike to the grocery store in less than ten minutes!

7. Any tips for proper summer hair care?

Emily: Leave in conditioner is completely new to me. I have never had the problem of dry hair. In fact, in the Kansas humidity, I was constantly having to use dry shampoo, Batiste if you were wondering. Unfortunately I know that not all products work the same for everyone which is why it has taken some trials and error. I recommend talking to your hairdresser before investing, after all they are the professionals and know whats up!

Ashleigh: My biggest piece of advice on this point is to save your washes! For those days you are swimming in salt water or chillin’ in the chlorine, you obviously want a good wash afterwards. I try otherwise to keep it light and natural—an effortless look is so acceptable in the summer months anyway! And try to wash only as much as necessary! To keep your hair happy and healthy.

8. What does your summer skincare routine look like?

Emily: Protect your skin! While sunscreen is an absolute must I always accessorize with sunglasses and a hat; my go to is usually a big floppy sunhat! My morning routine consists of a little eye makeup and a sensitive face sunscreen. Even if I don't always cover every inch of my body with 30 spf, my face ALWAYS is. As I get a little older, I realize more and more how important it is to protect my skin. I used to hate looking younger than my age, but now I love it. And to make sure that my complexion doesn’t start to catch up with my actual age, proper skin care is a must. Nightly skin care consists of a gentle exfoliant/cleanser, extractions, a few mists of witch hazel and moisturizer.

Ashleigh: I use SeneGence skincare…the BEST there is! 
I honestly used to not even wash my face. I got into these skincare products and now there is no going back!! I use a 3 in 1 facial cleanser (which comes specific to 4 different skin types--I use normal to dry) then follow that up with a moisturizer-specific to daytime/evening, and finish with an under eye cream! Something I absolutely add in the summer is the SeneGence Climate Control. Applied after cleanser, but before moisturizer. This product is hydration in the purest form—to keep your skin hydrated, healthy, and glowing! And of course.. don’t forget your SPF!!

9. What are your tips for tanning?

Ashleigh: Everyone loves a good tan right? I have fair, freckly skin. Sun=more freckles. I used to lather up in coconut oil and sit out as long as possible until I could see color! But this is HORRIBLE for your skin! I decided flawless, non wrinkly skin in the long run was more important to me. I still enjoy some sun time, but I am sure not to fry myself. I ALWAYS wear sunscreen, because I HATE peeling! I also steer clear of tanning beds, but do use (by SeneGence, again) a self-tanning bronzing coconut milk spray that works wonders! Streak free and looks natural and pretty!

Emily: I'm just going to leave this one to Ashleigh. After 26 years of trying to tan, I have officially given up! Just like Ashleigh, I completely agree that I prefer my pale freckled skin over wrinkles! However, when I do need a little color I usually hit up the tanning salon for a quick (light) spray.

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