Friday Favorites: Summer Essentials

If you weren’t sure if we were going to have a typical summer in southern Indiana this year, this week definitely confirmed it for you: 100 degree days with 200% humidity. Great days to enjoy some Netflix and chill in the AC. (Literally chill, guys.)

Today I’m going to share a few of the things I’m loving this summer + a few of the things that I feel like are saving my life. The bugs. The heat. Sigh.

I’m also linking up today for Friday Favorites, so be sure to check out all the other posts today! ❤

Bug Stuff

You guys, the bugs are insane this year. I think it has something to do with how warm it was all winter—things didn’t die as they were supposed to as part of the circle of life. I am particularly susceptible to mosquito bites, and my legs look like those of a child who has been playing outside all day (minus being tan, because I’m in an office all day). These are the products I’m relying on to help with all the bugs.

Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray

I love pretty much anything put out by Badger Balm, but this bug spray is pretty legit. You will smell like citronella. But I think this natural bug repellant is much more effective than some of the other hippie ones I’ve tried.

Witch Hazel

I’m convinced witch hazel will cure anything. But this is one of the ONLY things I’ve found that actually relieves the itching/pain from bug bites. I put some on every night after I get out of the shower.

Badger Balm also has an after-bug balm that works nicely, although I think witch hazel is a little better. Also, I’ve tried lavender oil to repel bugs a few times, and it worked pretty OK. It’s nice in a pinch if you would like a more natural bug spray.

Sunscreen

Speaking of Badger Balm, I’m a big fan of their sport sunscreen.

This is a zinc-oxide (HAY) based sunscreen, so it goes on pretty white—I recommend applying it with a mirror nearby so you can see what you’re working with. It’s waterproof for up to 80 minutes, which I think is a nice bonus. I definitely miss the convenience of the spray-on sunscreens, but I’m getting used to this natural option.

Sandals

I splurged on 2 pairs of sandals this year, and I have no regrets. My first purchase (which was technically this spring) was this pair of Birkenstock Mayari sandals.

I wanted these sandals like whoa last summer, but you couldn’t find them anywhere by August. So I got on it this year and ordered them in April. Sizing was a little challenging—I ordered a size down, and think I really should have gotten them in narrow, but I was sick of ordering and sending back and reordering at that point. Anyway, I tightened the straps and have never looked back.

Next up is this pair of Chacos.

First off, the style is called Dorra, so how could I not get them?? They are probably the most comfortable sandals I’ve ever owned right off the bat—no breaking in necessary. I also love that they are really functional, but could also be worn with a summer dress or out for a nicer occasion if needed.

Drinks

I got this Healthy Human stainless steel cruiser tumbler a while ago, but it has been a life-saver this summer.

The “keeps cold for 24 hours” thing is legit. I bring my iced coffee in it to work every morning, then on lunch will stick the tumbler out in my car for the rest of the day. In the 100 degree heat. In my car with black interior. And there is still ice in there when I get in at the end of the day to go home. It’s magic.

Also, this nettle tea from Republic of Tea.

I read an article earlier this year about how nettle tea can provide allergy relief, so I figured I’d give it a try. I don’t know if it has really affected my allergies, but this tea is dang delicious—it almost tastes like cake.

Fresh Fruit

Specifically, cherries.

I’ve never bought cherries before, mainly because they are $$$ at the grocery. This year I’m splurging on them every week and cannot get enough. They are the perfect amount of sweet and so refreshing.

Much thanks to Erika, Narci, and Andrea for hosting today’s linkup—be sure and go check them out!

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Tuesday Things

Hi! So, a quick update. You may have noticed, but the blog has a little bit of a different look now. I recently purchased my very own domain —> indianahearts.me <— (!) and am working on a few other upgrades. Basically, I started this blog in 2013 and have really not updated it since. And a lot of things need updated. 🙂

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(RIP original banner.)

While I’m working away on that (and hopefully finishing it up this week), I thought I’d leave you with some quick Tuesday things.

  • Mosquitos and southern Indiana humidity are a nightmare. I cannot walk outside without getting an insane amount of bites. Luckily, some googling led me to the only remedy for bites that has worked for me so far: witch hazel. Of course, right? I’m a firm believer that witch hazel can cure everything. It doesn’t immediately take the itch away, but after I put some on a bite, it’s noticeably more bearable.
  • Now that I’m done with school, I’m happily back to reading for pleasure. In fact, I’m currently reading 2 books. The Fire Starter Sessions was recommended on another blog I read, and I’m working through it on lazy evenings after work or on weekends (I cannot read non-fiction before bed; nothing is less enjoyable to me). It’s basically a self-help book, although I really hesitate to write that because it sounds very voodoo-ish. But so far I’m really enjoying it and learning a lot. Before bed I’m reading Mrs. Hemingway, which was given to me by my best friend. It’s amazing and has reminded me to go reread A Moveable Feast again.
  • My favorite nighttime treat right now is these strawberry popsicles. I randomly picked them up at the grocery store a few weeks ago and remembered how much I love them. I have one every single night after dinner because it’s summer.

On that note, I’m going to go help myself to a handful of chocolate chips and call it a night. And hopefully I’ll be back next week and the site will be totally updated and ready to move into the future! 🙂

What I Learned on Vacation

About 2 weeks ago, I got back from vacation. My boyfriend and I went to visit some friends in California, and it was amazing.

We had a nightmare day of travel out to California, but like the champions we are, we didn’t let it get us down. On the docket for the week was a visit to Yosemite National Park, hanging out in Sacramento (kind of our home base for vacation, where our friends lived), and a trip to San Francisco. It was a lot to cram into 1 week of vacation!

I’m not going to recap the play-by-play of our vacation, because I honestly HATE reading vacation recaps. I don’t want to read about you lounging on the beach and going out to dinner at a different restaurant every night! It’s boring! What I am going to do is leave you with some things I learned during vacation—after all, the purpose of taking time off is to recharge and get some new perspective.

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Sunshine and movement is everything.

Some of you may know, but I have had anxiety issues for the last several years. The week we were in California, I felt SO GOOD. Like, it was kind of unbelievable. There are a lot of factors here—we were on vacation, all of my everyday stresses were on the back burner, we were spending a week with friends doing fun things—so feeling good is to be expected. But I think a large part of it was that we were outside in the sun getting lots of exercise. The weather was amazing and I got like 2 mosquito bites the entire week. We WANTED to spend time outside.

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So we come home and the humidity is 200% and mosquitoes feasted on my arms and legs the moment I stepped outside. It’s a little harder to enjoy being outside in summer in southern Indiana, but I’m trying to exercise a few times a week and walk our big dog in the morning, before the misery sets in.

I’ve been keeping a journal for the last few weeks and documenting how I feel each day, especially in relation to what kinds of food I’m eating and how much exercise and sleep I’m getting. I’ve noticed such an improvement on the days that I make time to go for a run or take Cooper out in the morning.

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Be willing to try new things.

I am more of an indoorsy city girl—basically a wimp when it comes to roughing it. So I knew that our plans included visiting Yosemite for a couple days, and to be honest, I thought that I would tolerate it. Joshua has always wanted to visit and I thought I would just play the role of supportive girlfriend while we were there. I was much more looking forward to San Francisco and being in the middle of a busy city.

But I absolutely LOVED Yosemite. Guys, it was by far my favorite part of vacation. We walked in streams! We saw a mama deer nursing her babies! We drove really far up a mountain and saw breathtaking views!

Moral of the story—sometimes you have to suck it up and try something you’re not super excited about. But sometimes that pays off. I’m so thankful that I had an open mind and positive attitude about our visit to Yosemite because it helped me realize that I can learn to enjoy things that maybe aren’t what I would expect. (Also I’m currently planning all of our future vacations to national parks.)

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Friends over phones.

File this under “duh,” but it never hurts to reinforce this lesson. Did I take lots of photos on Instagram during vacation? Yes. Do I regret that? No. Do I regret basically ignoring social media for the rest of the week? Heck no.

While I love being able to see what my friends are up to, social media can also be depressing as hell. Especially since most people (myself included) are only posting their highlight reels—not real life. So it’s easy for me to go in a black hole of scrolling through pictures of other people’s lives and forget to live mine or to fall into the comparison trap. Our week away helped me to see how much better I feel when I’m connecting with real life people instead of worrying about what other people are doing. Since we’ve gotten back, I’ve found myself on my phone less and less, and it feels really good.

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Since we’re back to reality (and have been for the past few weeks), I really want to try to keep these vacation habits going. Plus, it’s fun to pretend that I live in sunny California. 🙂

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Tuesday Things

Hello and happy Tuesday to you! Since Tuesday is the worst day of the week and I’m feeling kind of foggy today, I thought I’d share a few things that are making me happy lately.

Busy Weekends and Quiet Evenings

Friday night through Sunday night were basically nonstop—dinner with friends, a going-away party, and a full day at Holiday World with my whole family. We had so much fun (and got so sunburned—or maybe that’s just me), but I was very thankful for a quiet Monday night at home. I went to the grocery, did laundry, caught up with the roommates, and did some cleaning in my room. I love those kinds of nights because they are so immediately satisfying—I feel like a weight has been lifted off me.

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(This is before the sunburn had really set in.)

The Balanced Bites Podcast

I mentioned I was looking for some new podcasts to listen to, and this one had been recommended by one of my best friends, along with some blogs that I follow. So Balanced Bites is basically a paleo podcast, and while I don’t consider my diet paleo (at all, ha!), I am in love. Diane and Liz are so relatable, and even though they eat a paleo diet and believe it is the healthiest, they are by no means paleo-nazis. I’ve flipped through their 200+ episodes and just downloaded ones that look interesting—some about anxiety, hormonal balance, exercise, whatever.

You guys, I feel like I’ve learned so much. I also think what’s exciting is I’m not letting myself feel overwhelmed by all of this info, or stressed that I have to eat a strict-anything diet. This is another reason why I love Robyn’s blog so much: She is all about listening to your body and finding what’s best for you. There is SO MUCH nutritional info available now, and pretty much everything is conflicting. But what I think we can learn from this is that what’s good for someone else does not mean it will be good for you. All of our bodies are different and complex and amazing, and they all need to be treated differently. Moving forward, I’m planning on focusing on real, whole foods and seeing how my body does—with and without grains, dairy, animal products, etc.—and then trying to eat the way that makes me feel best.

Spotify’s Discover Weekly Playlist

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I’m not super good with Spotify—I would say I just now can barely use it confidently. So maybe this is old news to everyone, but yesterday I found this Discover Weekly playlist—basically just music they think I would like based on what I listen to I guess? I’m actually surprised there’s not more embarrassing pop and rap songs included. I turned it on this morning at work, and it’s pretty good!

And with that, I’ll leave it to you—what Tuesday things are on your mind? I hope you all have had a lovely day!

One Month of Summer

Hello and happy Monday to you!

So on Friday, I realized (with a slight sense of panic) that I had exactly one month until classes start again. What.

I realize that the first part of my summer was taken up with a summer session at school, so maybe that’s why it feels like it’s gone exceptionally fast? Who can tell. But I do know that, while I’ll be sad for summer to end, this is the start of my last year of school—PTL for that! It has gone by so quickly, and while I’ve loved my classes and am so glad I decided to take the plunge and go back to school, I will be so glad to just be a normal adult again. You know, just working for the weekends and all that (I kid).

OK, one month of summer left, and I want to enjoy it. I came across this post on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and I became sort of obsessed with it. I just really love the idea of developing habits that are focused on self-care. And you know I also love to-do lists. So kind of combining those two things, here’s what I want my last month of summer to look like.

1. Get up with my alarm.

If you ever think you are going to find a list of goals on this blog that doesn’t include becoming a morning person, you are a fool.

2. Commit to a regular yoga practice.

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Earlier this summer, my roommate and I joined a hot yoga studio for their promotional summer class rate—basically three months of unlimited yoga. Yes! Like with most things in life, I started out super strong, then fizzled for the last few weeks. I love yoga, and yeah, I really want a yoga body, but it is time-consuming. So I would like to commit to practicing in-studio three or four times a week for the next month—I think that will give me the benefits of practicing hot yoga, and also the benefits of having a life and seeing the people I love.

3. Take Dora for more walks.

While we’re talking about moving, little Dora has had little to no exercise this summer. OK first of all, it has been super hot and I am worried about her hydration (yes, that was an obnoxious dog mom thing to say). But I also just haven’t made the time for it, and I feel bad about that. So along with getting up when my alarm is going off, I’d like to take Dora at least for a short walk in the morning. It’s a lot cooler then (mostly) and the sun is up early these days, and I’m hopeful that getting up and moving for a bit will help me wake up and clear my head.

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4. Rekindle my love for podcasts.

I do this thing where I exclusively listen to playlists on my phone or CDs for a few weeks, exclusively listen to the Top 40 radio stations for a few weeks, and exclusively listen to NPR for a few weeks. Podcasts used to be in that mix, especially during the school year when I was practically living out of my car and driving out to campus all the time. I really haven’t listened to any lately—perhaps this entire year (the horror!). Over the weekend I downloaded a few different podcasts that I’d heard good things about, and I’m excited to get back into them.

5. Try some dessert recipes.

I came across this dairy-free ice cream the other day, and it looks amazing and refreshing.

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And also this fruit pizza. Fruit pizza! A dessert I love but somehow always forget about.

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There you have it folks: My summer to-do list. Let me know if I’ve missed anything, or what plans you have for the rest of your summer!