Ah summer! Some of us loathe it, while others love it. Me, I’m just counting down the days until autumn arrives, but until then I need some essential tricks and treats to get me through the sunny summer months.
I wanted to share some of these helpful tips that keep me happy and healthy all summer long with you, dear readers. One of my main goals during the summertime (besides staying cool) is to keep things simple! Let’s face it, we all want to do the least amount possible, especially in 100 degree heat, so more time can be spent with friends and family doing quintessential summertime activities!
I like minimizing my routine during the summer by preparing fresh, easy food, using products that have multiple uses, keeping cool and bug-free with simple, eco-friendly and DIY sprays, and, of course, indulging in some summertime sweets as well! I have a handy list of my top 10 summer essentials, which I call my Tricks and Treats to Beat the Heat. Some of these items are new products that have already seen a lot of use this summer, others are old standbys that I have been using/making for many sweltering summers here in Southern California, but all are Spooky Vegan approved.
1. Gardein’s Fishless Filets Thanks to Gardein’s Fishless Filets, vegans can now indulge in a SoCal summertime favorite fish(less) tacos! I make mine with Gardein’s Fishless Filets (just bake in the oven, add a twist of lemon and either serve whole or chop into pieces), corn tortillas, cabbage, salsa fresca and Follow Your Heart’s vegan tartar sauce. They taste so great that you’ll swear you are standing on a beach in Baja! I have been living off these all summer!
2. DIY Cooling Mist Need a quick cool down? Fill a small spray bottle with peppermint oil (a few drops go a long way) and water. Spray on the skin for an instant blast of icy refreshment! Try it with ice water for extra cooling power! Added bonus: you’ll smell minty fresh!
3. Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap Since we are on the subject of peppermint, I gotta tell you that I adore using Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap in the shower on a summer day. It gives your skin a cool, tingly feeling even when it is sweltering outside! If it’s extra hot, stand in front of a fan after showering with it for exceptional cooling!
4. Watermelon Lemonade Agua Fresca Hydrating, delicious and easy to make ? just chop up some watermelon, throw in a blender, add some lemonade and ice cubes and you have a refreshing drink with minimal work. Add fresh mint for an even more refreshing experience. Here is my recipe!
5. BB Creme Foundation Like everything on this list, my makeup routine is all about simplicity in summer, which is why I love using BB creme instead of foundation. BB cremes are lightweight, sheer, blend into all skin types easily, contain SPF and are moisturizing. It keeps my skin looking dewy and doesn’t cake when I sweat. I use love E.L.F.’s BB creme, which is vegan, cruelty-free and affordable!
6. Farmer’s Markets Save money, buy local and treat yourself to delectable, fresh summer produce! Plus, most fruits and veggies require little preparation, can be eaten raw or even barbecued! And biting into a fresh, ripe peach is pure perfection!
7. Steve’s Non-Dairy Desserts I couldn’t make a summertime list without ice cream! And this stuff is some of the best I’ve ever tasted! They have several vegan flavors, with my favorites being the Cold-brewed Cinnamon Coffee and the Chocolate Caramel! I love adding fresh fruit, crumbled up bits of vegan candy bars or cookies, but most of the time I just eat these out of the pint container cuz I can’t bear to share!
8. Pacifica’s Sea Foam Cleanser Looking for something to remove all that sunscreen, salt water, and sand from that beach trip while still pampering your skin? Pacifica’s Sea Foam Cleanser pulls triple duty and acts as a cleanser (it even removes heavy makeup or sunscreen, etc.), toner and moisturizer! It does a great job of cleaning your skin, but my skin also feels pampered after using it as it is packed with antioxidants that help repair your skin from all the sun you soak up this summer. Plus, it works well for both women and men. You can read my full review here!
9. Sunscreen Of course, one of the most important aspects of having a pleasant summer is sun protection, especially when you are as pale as a ghost like me! I burn quickly, so I always opt for an SPF of 30 or above. I like Alba’s sunscreen, but Trader Joe’s also makes a cruelty-free and vegan sunscreen that is excellent (and less expensive, too!).
10. DIY Bug Spray I seem to attract mosquitoes and other bugs so much I sometimes loathe leaving the house, but this DIY bug spray does wonders at keeping the blood-suckers away! Just take some tea tree oil and add a 10 drops or so to a spray bottle filled with water. Spray on skin and, if needed, clothes (especially if you are going to be hanging out at the park or going hiking) and this tends to keep the pesky buggers away.
I hope these summer tricks and treats are helpful to you in making through these next couple months and I hope that you will join me in counting down to autumn and Halloween!
The Spooky Vegan is Sarah E. Jahier, an Orange County-based blogger who wanders the night in search of vegan options. She writes about the vegan lifestyle and her other two obsessions, Halloween and horror, on her website The Spooky Vegan. You can follow her daily esoteric ramblings on Twitter.