Fifty Two Shades of Shay: Swim Bag Essentials

Ahhhh…we’re getting close ladies!  I only have 18 more lunches to make, 18 more “school appropriate” outfits to lay out, 18 more mornings of “wake up”, 18 more afternoons of carpool line, 18 more evenings of homework, 18 more school days until freedom.  
I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one excited about summer because recently, I have had more emails and comments on the pool bag post I did two years ago…you guys thinking about the pool too?  On Thursday, Ashby and I ran to Target to get a lovely assortment of things: construction paper, a new pillow for Smith, toothpaste, milk and…stuff for my pool bag :).  I thought I’d share my finds with you.
And disclaimer…I went through your comments on the perfect sunscreens for both my kiddos and myself and wrote down most of them (and there were A LOT!).  I’m on my own personal mission to find my favorite using your suggestions, but that’s going to take a bit…we have to get out there in the pool and experiment, right?  So, I’ll let you know when I find my faves.

1. Little bag: I always keep a little bag inside my swim bag for my personal items (keys, phone, lip balm and whatnot).  Any bag will do but I love this Stella & Dot one because it’s clear, so I can see what I need right through it.
2. Kid Sunscreen: I bought two different versions of kid sunscreens off of your recommendations…I’ll let you know which one is my favorite after I try a few more.
3. Face Sunscreen: I really try not to wear makeup when we’re swimming…just lots of sunscreen (again, this is one of your recommendations).  I love that it’s for sensitive skin…I don’t want my face breaking out!
4. Hair conditioner: I’ve given this tip many times before and it’s one of my very favorites!  I always apply a big dollop of conditioner to my hair prior to swimming.  About 4 years ago, I spent the entire summer trying to get the green out of my hair (insert sobbing here), so I became really proactive about protecting my hair after that.  Any conditioner will do but I love the smell and the very affordable price of this one.  I used to keep a full sized bottle in my bag but recently both Target and Ulta started selling mini versions.  I put conditioner in Kensington’s hair too, and then we pull it up and go swimming.  So far, I’ve gone the last 3 summers with not only no green but really soft hair too.
5. Antibacterial: For quick hand washing before we eat (I don’t know about you, but we’re constantly snacking poolside).
6: Kid Face Sunscreen: For my babies’ faces :).
7. Lip Balm: Baby Lips is my favorite for the pool!  This stuff doesn’t melt in my bag when it’s out in the heat…I have unfortunately learned how important this fact is the hard way.
8. Adult Sunscreen: You guys recommended this and my first opinion is that it smells so good!  Usually sunscreen smells like…sunscreen, but this stuff smells so good!
9: Swim Diapers: You’ve heard my embarrassing story…controlling pool accidents is a priority in my life :).
Okay!  I’d love to know what essentials you keep in your swim bag!!  Comment and share!
And just in case you missed my previous favorites…here you go… 
Here’s hopin’ you’re only 18 days away from your freedom too.

Happy Monday!
Pssst: don’t forget, it’s Meal Planning Monday on the foodie blog today…

…yum-my!  Click here to see my week in meals.

And if you’re missing my summer pinning on Pinterest…here are some of my favorite boards…

Follow Shay Shull’s board Spring and Summer Style on Pinterest.

Follow Shay Shull’s board Dinner for Spring and Summer on Pinterest.

Follow Shay Shull’s board Red, White and Blue on Pinterest.

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  • Erika Slaughter May 11, 2015 at 10:11 am

    I can't believe there are only 18 days?! This mama is so ready for our summer by the pool!

  • Katie Compton May 11, 2015 at 10:14 am

    This teacher-momma is counting down with you! 17 days until my girl and I are free for summer fun! Thanks for the pool bag tips… totally trying the conditioner trick. Thanks!!

  • Anonymous May 11, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Love this post, I'm dying for summer too ๐Ÿ™‚ your beach bag post was the first of your posts I read and I've been back everyday since ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for your blog and the few minutes of tips and tricks each morning!

  • Narci May 11, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Woohoo! We are almost there. Great pool bag tips!

  • Coreline Mayfield May 11, 2015 at 10:32 am

    My kids are on a swim team so we are in the water a lot! One tip their hairdresser gave us was to buy the liquid spray leave in conditioner. I pour half of it in a jar to save for later and dilute the rest with water. Then I spray their hair all over before swim practice. The chlorine was making their hair really brittle and this moisturizes and provides a barrier on their hair. The spray makes it super easy to apply ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jami May 11, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Not counting today, we have 21 more days. It's almost too much for me to want to start a countdown. We are on a balance calendar, add a yucky winter and we are up to June 10th. Add a tonscillectomy in there for my 4 yr old and I could start counting hours soon.

  • J Lemmons May 11, 2015 at 11:04 am

    As a skin cancer survivor, sunscreen is super important to me! For my face I use Clinique's City Block SPF 40. It's a little pricier but it has great coverage, doesn't come off, doesn't make you break out, is waterproof, etc. I wear it every day on my face and neck and tops of my ears!
    My kids (ages 14 & 12) prefer it to regular face sunscreen when they are playing outdoor sports because it doesn't run in their eyes when they sweat.
    It is tan in color and smells a little weird but it's the best face sunscreen I've ever used. And like I said, as a skin cancer survivor, I've tried them all!!!

  • Anonymous May 11, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Hi Shay, what is your favorite pool bag? We just moved to FL and now have our own pool, and of course, the beach!! I have two kids and a third on the way, trying to find a bag big enough to fit all the towels and suits, etc. Thank you! Carly

  • kimm atwood May 11, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Cannot wait for school to be out for the summer

  • Lauren May 11, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Always enjoy your product recommendations !! In your various product searches, have you ever come across the perfect body lotion? I live in Houston and summers in the sun and pool always leave my skin dry and ashy. Need a good lotion!

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} May 11, 2015 at 11:36 am

    18 DAYS! Yeah mama! We can do this!!! And then it's lots of kids and lots of cobb salads at the pool! WooHoo!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kelly Heard May 11, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Love your blog! After you talking about going to the Dermatologist I thought I needed to get in for a check up and they also found a mole that also had to be removed. Yeah, not a fun process! But everything came out fine. But my Dr recommend Elta MD sunscreen and so far I am loving the facial sunscreen. Have a fun summer!

  • Leigh May 11, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Ahhh I can't wait for our pool to open!!!! I am still on a swimsuit hunt but hopefully I'll find a good fit soon. I love Neutragena sunscreen for my face and the kids faces. I normally use Banana Boat kids and Hawaiian Tropic or Banana Boat myself, so I can't wait to read your thoughts on different sunscreens. I've been using the same ones for years.

  • thebusybrunette May 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Hi, Shay! I am so ready to get our pool essentials ready! You've provided some great suggestions, and I'm actually making a trip to Target tomorrow… so I've added them to my list. I am ready for summer! Bring it on!
    Hope you had a great Mother's Day weekend!!!
    "The Busy Brunette"

  • Slightly Askew Designs May 11, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    EEEEK!!! Pool time is almost upon us!!! Can't wait, girly! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kelsey Mann Peacock May 11, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing the goodies you found! I'm going to check out that conditioner and face & adult sunscreen, they all sound great!


  • Shannon Cook May 11, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    We recently got a pool built and it's almost done! I'm worried about my hair and my daughters hair turning green. Do you put the conditioner on dry hair, or wet hair? Thanks so much for your advice!!!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 11, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      I typically have dry hair when I'm about to hit the pool, so it almost always goes in dry. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kara Bonilla May 11, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      After years (7 to be exact) of endless pool days due to swimming and playing water polo in middle and high school, I have had to figure out how to keep the green away in my blonde locks as well! And Sometimes pre-conditioner just doesn't do to the trick! My solution for this was before I would shower, I would mix shampoo and lemonade kool-aid -yes you read that right- in a cup and take it in the shower with me. Shampooing with that not only smells yummy and sweet, it seriously strips the green right out! After I rinse that, I sometimes shampoo regularly again, but most often just condition like normal. It seems funky but it is a cheap way to fix chlorine green!

  • Natalie Zambreski May 11, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Could not agree more about conditioner before jumping in the pool! Really is a hair-saving tip!

  • {Hi Sugarplum!} May 11, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I absolutely can't wait for no more schedules!!!!

  • Emily R. May 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    I recently bought the Sun Bum sunscreen spray (SPF 50) from Nordstrom and love it! I also bought their after-sun lotion and it smells amazing!

    I have naturally curly/ wavy hair and this is my time of year when I put away the blow dryer and flat iron and let my hair air dry. I know you are always on the look out for a good product to enhance your beachy waves and wanted to recommend Unite Beach Day texturizing spray to you. It works really well and even smells like the beach ๐Ÿ™‚ I also love their leave- in conditioner and pretty much all of their products! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous May 11, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Regarding the conditioner tip, we don't have our own pool, but swim in grandma's or neighbor's pools several times per week. Does the conditioner rinse out and leave a residue in the pool water? Or does the filter prohibit that? Is your pool salt water? I wonder if there's a difference…

    • Mix and Match Mama May 11, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      I have never noticed any residue! My pool is chlorinated. Happy Monday!

  • soozq97 May 11, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    This might be a silly question (I live in Southern California) but why go to a pool when you have one in your backyard? Also, looking forward to trying the sunscreen. I can't stand the kind that seems to stay on every article of clothing no matter how much it's washed

    • Mix and Match Mama May 11, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      We swim in our pool a lot…but we love going to the nearby pool where all of the people are too :). It's great to swim with the community, meet our friends up there and not just swim at our house. We swim at home almost every night during the summer when Andrew is off work…so during the day, we hit the local pool for a nice variety (and friends!).

    • soozq97 May 11, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks for the reply! We don't really have community pools where we live, so it's just a lot of play dates at our house because we are the ones with the pool ?

  • tonra sean-riehl May 11, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Shay!! Thank you for your prompt response!!
    We use california baby and we just bought honest company. Both make a face stick too which my kids tolerate much better and it doesn't sting their eyes. We also try to limit sun exposure– to morning and late afternoon. It was easy when they still napped. Now we picnic in the shade at high noon or run an errand or two to take a break from that wonderful fire ball. We also are diligent about sun hats (we started young– like infants and we live in Vermont with long cold winters– so hats are a way of life for our guys. We love Sunday afternoons sun hats. Adjustable, non pinching toddler proof chin strap, quick drying, firm large sun visor even when wet and with adequate neck coverage. I buy bright colors so I can always pick them out in and around the pool.
    Thank you for helping Mama's from coast to coast! Happy Summer!! Go Red Sox!
    Shea and Tegan's Mama
    Ps. I'm hoping you trial R and F before I splurge on it for a belated Mother's Day gift to my self! ?โ˜€๏ธ?

  • Anonymous May 11, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    I didn't comment on your original sunscreen post, but I use Trader Joe's enrich facial lotion w/ SPF on my face & neck every single day all year long (whether going to the pool or not). It's light, no scent…I highly recommend!

  • Hannah Hardy May 12, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Love these pool bag tips! I am always on the hunt for a good sunscreen. Excited to try that Chapstick that doesn't melt in the heat!!

  • Katie Bauer May 12, 2015 at 1:10 am

    Great tips! Can you do a shade on keeping your car so clean? I clean out (vacuum and everything) like once a week and it never looks as clean as yours!

  • Elaine Welte May 12, 2015 at 2:11 am

    We love California Baby for sunscreen; it's a bit pricey, but it contains safe ingredients! So, it's totally worth the price tag to me!

  • Ashleigh @strawberrysophia May 12, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Totally agree with you on the summer countdown!! Can.not.wait!!! I'm thinking we should buy stock in sunscreen we use so much, ha! Awaiting your sunglasses pic ๐Ÿ™‚

  • GiGi May 12, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Where can you buy the Baby Lips lip balm? I would love to find one that doesn't melt in the heat! It's the most used item in my bag! Thanks!

    • Katie Bauer May 12, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Target has it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous May 12, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    What snacks to do you take to the pool for yourself and kids? I feel like my snacks are pretty boring…goldfish, grapes, watermelon, or chips

  • Lindsay Gay May 13, 2015 at 4:25 am

    I started using the Thinkbaby sunscreen last summer on my kiddos – and liked it so much, I use it on me, too! It has safe ingredients, is not too greasy, and stays put for quite a while, even in the water. I have not found it locally (I live in Frisco), but order it from Amazon. Might want to add it to your "try" list! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for your blog – love reading it!

  • Nina Fullerton May 13, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Shay! Thanks for the tips. I'm wondering if you've tried the conditioner-in-hair trick in salt water? My parents just got a condo on Kauai and I see a lot of ocean swimming in our future! Wondering if the conditioner trick would improve hair texture after ocean swimming? Thanks!

  • Lynn May 13, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Shay! I'm new to swim diapers this year with a 7 month old boy. I saw and purchased a reusable (cloth-like) swim diaper at Target (there was only one available in his size), but wasn't sure if I should go with disposable. What do you recommend? Thank you!

  • Megan May 14, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I love your blog and all the great suggestions! I'm looking for a good self tanner, any ideas?

  • Hilary O'Neill May 18, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Thought I'd come back to this post to let you know (that is if you don't already know) that I just read Moroccanoil is releasing sunscreen! It is scheduled to be available June 1. You might already know about this since you're basically a spokesperson for them ๐Ÿ™‚