It must be summer, because the kids are home and the house is a disaster and somebody wants a snack every 7 minutes and no one can take off a swimsuit without leaving it inside-out and sopping on the floor. But the sun is shining and I feel like every day is a grand excuse for ice cream and we have so many fun outings planned for the next couple months! But also: OMG the summer vacation bickering. MAKE. IT. STOP.

Anyway, I thought I would share some things I am enjoying lately, most of which are summer-related. I have a sidebar for this type of content plus a long-neglected second blog but the first is too time-consuming and I have forgotten the password for the second, so here we go:

The following cute dresses, which I got from Zappos. They all fit my criteria for casual summer wear: the fit is comfy, the fabric is soft, there are no zippers or fastening shenanigans, they are forgiving in the midsection (see above re: ice cream), they can be worn with a regular bra.

Marmot’s Larissa dress. This is so super cute, with the contrasting fabric on the bottom.

Toad&Co Marley dress. This isn’t the dressiest of dresses, in fact it’s basically a long t-shirt. But it somehow works, and it’s so incredibly comfortable I ordered a second one in a different color. Perfect for lounging around the house, but not so sloppy you wouldn’t wear it out and about.

KUHL Møva Aktiv dress. I am becoming devoted to KUHL, their stuff always feels nicely constructed and cute in an outdoorsy way. I usually err on going up a size with this brand. This particular dress is very comfortable and is gathered in the bust, which does something flattering I’m sure I could describe if I understood how fashion works, and also the back is all sporty and interesting while still covering bra straps.

Toad&Co Muse dress. This is another dress I love to wear around the house because it basically feels like a nightgown. This has the drape-y appeal of a maxi dress without drowning you in fabric or dragging along the ground because you’re 5’5” and spiritually opposed to wearing heels.

Now for something gross. If one of your children comes home from school with LICE during one of the very last days before summer break, and your combing/haircutting/general hand-flapping doesn’t solve the problem, this right here is what you need. In my experience you have to use it over several days because it’s hard not to miss a tiny nit here and there, but (knocks wood) I think it finally did the trick. (Thank you Leah for bringing it to my attention!)

Back to summer wear: Clarks Breeze flip flops are amazing. My mom has given me a few pairs so I have them in pink, teal, and gold. They’re sturdy and comfy AF and while they probably don’t pair well with fancy outfits they’re perfect for walking, rock-scrambling, water-navigating, backyard-lounging, and so on.

I am a huge fan of this sunscreen by Shiseido, discovered via recommendation from Noemi. I initially bought this and loved it, but it takes a million years to ship via Amazon. The “aging care” version is available via Prime and I can’t tell the difference. No white cast, no greasy finish, no yucky product-y feeling, just awesome coverage that sinks into your skin with no fragrance.

The Kan Jam game is a big hit with our family. It’s portable, really simple and action-packed, and the only downside is that it costs $40 for what essentially amounts to a Frisbee and two pieces of plastic, PLUS we swapped the game’s heavy Frisbee for the more hand-friendly one we already had. Still, very fun and a nice option for those long summer evenings.

Books! Recent reading: The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, which was difficult and heartbreaking while also gorgeous and life-affirming; Dark Matter, which wasn’t 100% up my alley but the pace was so relentless I liked it for that aspect alone; The Nix, which is hard to describe because it’s so much more than the sum of its parts, just read it I promise it’s fantastic; Theft By Finding, which duh, David Sedaris, and also it’s so cool to watch his writing skills strengthen over time. I just started Every Heart a Doorway and it’s dreamy and lovely and oh boy I would have been obsessed with this book when I was a misfit teenage girl. Lastly, I will mention In the Words of Olympic Peninsula Authors, because my aunt worked her butt off bringing this anthology to life, and I have a short story in there.

This powder from It Cosmetics is great. For a while I was really into Glossier’s skin tint, but as the temperatures have been heating up I like having a mostly bare face. The It powder provides light coverage without feeling chalky or settling into lines, and helps tamp down on shine.

On a final note, if everything in your house is starting to smell sort of like Sweaty Unwashed Socks and Funky Boy Bedroom and Essence of Dog and you’re not really a floral-scent fan, may I recommend this deliciously woodsy candle from Paddywax? Bonus: pretentious packaging so you can be all, yeah I’m totally literary. *hides Us Weekly*

I would totally be one of those capable, outdoorsy women if it wasn’t for the mosquitoes.

This occurred to me over the weekend when we were hiking into a lake in the Mt. Washington Wilderness Area. The sturdy, confident strides I am certain I would have been taking had transformed into a sort of herky-jerky crab scuttle as I tried to escape the ever-present clouds of bugs. Whenever we stopped, instead of serenely gazing into the distance as I absorbed the peaceful energy of the great outdoors, I was wildly chopping my hands Fruit-Ninja-style while hissing “Shit! Fuck. Get off. Goddamn.”

Take away the insects, and I am basically ready for my own survival-focused reality show.

Except for peeing in the woods. I don’t know what kind of quad exercises are necessary for performing a squat that does not result in a moistened shoe, but I have yet to master it. Do not even get me started about the logistical and spiritual challenges inherent in a Number Two, which my body refuses to even consider and thus I have spent every backpacking trip in a state of increasing Digestive Distress until I am finally reunited with my own bathroom. Frankly I can’t even poop in our trailer because of proximity issues so what I’m saying is the only thing holding me back from being the sort of person who achieves their full potential during the zombie apocalypse besides bugs is bathroom stuff.

Well, that and the bedding. Did you know that when you spend the night in a tent you just sleep, like, on the ground? I mean you can use those inflatable sleeping pads for about a half inch of cushioning that will instantly slither off to the side as soon as you shift positions but essentially camping involves not just observing nature but lying on it and spoiler alert, nature is dirty, prickly, and hard as hell.

Aside from those small challenges, I like to think of myself as the sun-kissed type you see in Patagonia catalogs, standing next to a kayak and looking adorably low maintenance, the only small difference being that in order to appear even marginally presentable I require, at minimum: shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair, hair dryer, leave-in spray, curling iron, primer, bronzer, blush, eyebrow pencil, a “luminizer” powder, regular powder, lipstick, mascara, eyelash curler thingie, plus deodorant and a fully charged Sonicare toothbrush and lotion and a razor and tweezers.

If I am allowed to pack a very large bag for my outdoor activities, perhaps carried by a well-compensated Sherpa, then I am going to look so awesome standing on top of a narrow rocky outcropping that can only be accessed via a pants-shittingly difficult 5.11 climbing route or posed in front of a jungle waterfall with arms spread wide and sporting impressive yet feminine trapezius muscles or mid-leap from a daunting cliff face above the ocean while absolutely rocking a slightly-too-small rash guard.

Except of course I dislike heights, water, exertion, being too cold or too hot or uncomfortable in any way, confining clothing, and the dietary requirements to have the sort of body fat percentage that results in visible muscles.

But listen: with just a few tweaks, I am extremely outdoorsy. What I really like about my living room is the window that looks right outside. I can sit there on the couch with a book and taste the adventure, any time I want.