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I just love summertime – the opportunity to be outside and in the sunshine every day, regardless of temperatures, makes it my favorite season.
We live about two hours from the ocean, which is close enough for easy weekend getaways, but far enough that it generally requires an overnight stay. That’s why I like to sometimes pretend our backyard is its own mini-getaway, just without the beach. One of the best ways to celebrate summer is by giving yourself a “backyard spa day.”
While we don’t have a pool at our house, I sort of picture this kit like the perfect companion for a day of poolside lounging. And a kit makes your spa day seem like a legit retreat, even if you may be cheating by hiding out steps from your home office or piles of laundry. Nevertheless, be prepared – here’s what to pack in your own backyard spa kit.
1. Lounging Mat or Chair
I happen to be allergic to grass, but no matter lush your backyard green is, I suggest something comfortable to lounge in. I found the bamboo mat pictured above on sale at Walgreens for $3.50 – I do suggest something that is sturdy yet comfortable; towels aren’t necessarily a good choice on grass as they can get damp between sweat and moisture in the yard.
2. Carrying Bag
I know you’re just heading out a few feet from home, but keep yourself organized with a carrying bag to put everything in. (I also think there is some psychology here – taking a bag with you outside makes it feel like you’re heading somewhere special.)
3. Journal + Pen
Whenever I find some clear headspace, I usually have great ideas – or I think of things I’ve forgotten. Resist the temptation to run inside the house to your computer; instead, jot it down in your journal and deal with it later. A paper journal is also nice for doodling or just writing out some thoughts you’ve been holding on to.
4. Magazines + Books
One of my favorite luxuries is enjoying a magazine or a good book, and sitting out in the sun in the backyard is the perfect backdrop to do so. Treat yourself to a new issue of a magazine you’ve been wanting to flip through – many ‘zines have special summer editions on gardening or travel, you might find yourself inspired for a new trip or project.
5. Spa Products (Of Course!)
The whole point of the spa kit is to, well, spa. When it comes to picking spa products for your kit, I encourage you to pick at least one “functional-I-really-need-this” item and one “try something new” item. One new thing I’m trying this weekend with my spa kit is the AVEENO® lavender chamomile lotion – nothing like a bit of stress-busting aromatherapy to make your backyard complete. If you’re spending the day in the sun, make sure you’re applying products with SPF factor.
There’s nothing like a refreshing beverage while you’re relaxing in the yard enjoying your spa product. You can make your own spa water, which I always like to enjoy while outside, but I also love to get flavored sparkling waters (that aren’t filled with extra sugar) for a nice outdoor treat – the Pomegranate Berry water pictured above is particularly delightful.
7. Creative Cool-Down Items
If you live somewhere that gets quite humid/toasty in the summer, you’ll want to get creative regarding your cooldown options. Spray mists, ice pouches, and whatever it takes for you to be comfy. Shown here is one of those ice sticks that you freeze and then place in beverages or near foods to keep them cold. Or rub on your forehead if necessary.
Ironically, one of the things I am most allergic to is grass. So much for the backyard bliss, eh? I don’t let it get me down, and you shouldn’t let allergies ruin your summer celebrations. Be prepared and pack your ZYRTEC®, TYLENOL®, or whatever you need to keep the enjoyment going.
Stop squinting – get yourself an extra pair of sunglasses (I know I’m not the only one who loses sunglasses every few months or so) and read/relax comfortably in the sun. I always prefer polarized lenses with UVA and UVB protection – once you go with polarized, you’ll realize how harsh normal sunglasses are on your eyes. You can find polarized lenses for under $15.
It’s not a true spa day without something decadent, so plan ahead with your favorite snack or treat. You, no doubt, can find something tasty from our recipe index, but for simplicity you might want to pick out your favorite treat. Yes, you can have a chocolate bar in your backyard spa kit – just put it in the refrigerator overnight first. (Cold chocolate melting in your mouth in the middle of a hot afternoon? It’s delight – trust me.)
11. Lip Balm
Last, but not least, grab the lip balm – preferably a brand with SPF protection, and if there’s a flavor you like (chocolate? strawberry?). Lips often get the short straw when it comes to protection from the elements, and a nice lip balm is a nice treat.
Your spa kit is now full, and the backyard is waiting. Enjoy your afternoon! (P.S. If you’re actually heading beachside, Margo has a similar set of recommendations on what to pack for the beach.)
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