Summer top shopping picks: From Turkish pestemal towels to picnic backpacks

Summer top shopping picks: From Turkish pestemal towels to picnic backpacks
2016-06-15 12:03:42 UTC

Although some cities feel like summer all year long and others take their sweet time to not feel like winter in the spring (read: Chicago), summertime is officially upon us. The official first day of summer is June 20, and it's shopping time.

Here are seven handy summertime equipment recommendations* that’ll make the next few months even more of a treat.

1. Skip the basket, bring the bag: Uncommon Goods picnic backpack

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                                                       Photo credit: Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Depending on where the picnic is, sometimes lugging along that water cooler and picnic basket can become quite the task. Uncommon Goods makes this much easier to do with their picnic backpack. The lightweight, sturdy bag includes two plates, two utensils, two cups, napkins and a wine key. The pockets are insulated to keep hot items hot and wine chilled, in addition to side pockets for a cell phone, keys and any other knickknacks. It’s the perfect way to hang out with friends or have a romantic picnic. Just don’t forget the SEVI (mentioned further down).

2. Twirl around: Hula hoops

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                                                   Photo credit: Shamontiel L. Vaughn

There will always be those family members and friends who want to go the regular route and play basketball, baseball or volleyball, but some people are more comfortable with solo activities. No, not swimming: hula hoops. If this article on Nubian Spin’s professional hula hoopers wasn’t cool enough, just keep this in mind: Thirty minutes of hula hooping burns 210 calories. It works the core and hip muscles, in addition to being fun, and could help get that bikini-ready body in no time. Even if you’re a really bad hula hooper, it’s definitely still good for a few laughs.

3. Good hair days: Sofn’free, Parnevu, Shea Moisture hair products

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                                                       Photo credit: Shamontiel L. Vaughn

The problem with some hair products is they all promise results that don't always happen. In the case of these three hair, their words really are their bonds for summer hair.

Sofn’free milk, olive oil and protein hair products smell good enough to want to eat on top of being great as a hair conditioner.

Recommended Reading:
The real hair relaxer, deep conditioning for black hair with Sofn'free
M&M Products Company introduces Sofn'free GroHealthy, Chicago slow to sell
Sofn'free Three-Layer Growth Oil better for styling than pre-shampoo

T-Tree by Parnevu is especially good for styling thicker, dry hair types.

Shea Moisture is ideal for conditioning and moisturizing, but it can be a bit pricier than the other two brands.

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                                                       Photo credit: Shamontiel L. Vaughn

The Raw Shea Butter line is a favorite, and it’s cheaper in some stores, such as Target, than it is on the website. While there are beauty supply stores full of products that promise great results, these three get a major co-sign.

4. Wrap it around: SEVI Turkish pestemal towel

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                                                       Photo credit: Erin Hernandez5, Arturo Cordero

From first glance, the SEVI towel just looks like any other kind of towel. But it’s the multifunctional techniques that could win a consumer over. According to SEVI website, it can be used as a scarf; a bikini cover-up; a towel; a sarong; a picnic tablecloth; to dry hair or even a yoga mat. The towels come in multiple colors: teal, lilac, red, multicolor and gray.

The gray one is probably the safest bet because it will match more clothes and looks the most fashionable, but the other summer colors could be more eye grabbing. The biggest difference between this Turkish pestemal towel and a regular cotton towel is the pestemal towel will take up less room in a bag, dries quicker and has a lighter feel. The website also confirms that SEVI towels get softer after each wash.

5. Luggage ready for vacation and class: Atlas camera backpack

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Photo credit: Shamontiel L. Vaughn

On first glance, an Atlas luggage bag like this may seem like it has an exorbitant amount of pockets for anybody other than a photographer. Not so fast. The luggage easily converts from a rolling cart to a backpack. The padded insert, specifically the one for the laptop, is sturdy. And the adjustable dividers make the bag easy to roll up shirts and pants as much as it would camera gear. Even if majority of your photos end up on a smartphone, this bag is worth a try just to keep things organized while traveling to summer college semester classes or out of town. Add anything: cell phone chargers, headphones, cleaning supplies, wallet(s), cosmetics, umbrella, etc.

6. Team Air Dry: Gold 'N Hot bonnet dryer

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                                                       Photo credit: Shamontiel L. Vaughn

It is way easier to let hair air dry in the summer months, but this may be easier said than done for those who need to know the end result fast. Depending on the hair type, the look and feel of hair 24 to 48 hours after air drying can’t be controlled any other way than a messy bun or afro puff ponytail. Both are cute hairstyles but may not necessarily fit the fashion goal of the day.

But in the summer it’s too hot to hold a hair dryer  or comb, brushing hair back and forth while blowing heat on an already humid day. Ditch it. Opt for one of the most tried and true brand names, Gold ‘N Hot, for the bonnet hair dryer. Yes, you will look like an alien while your hair dries. But it’s easy to pack and unpack, works quickly and effortless to use. All of those magazines, Internet posts and journal entries you’ve been putting off can now be read while you hang out in a comfy chair and let Gold 'N Hot do its thing.

7. Smooth it over: Nadinola cocoa butter

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                                                       Photo credit: Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Dollar stores are not the first place to go to for cosmetics products, but Nadinola cocoa butter is almost only sold here. For 19 years, this has been the only thing needed for my face to stay smooth. No soap. No facial cleansers. Wearing makeup or a naked face, this product consistently works to keep skin smooth and bump free. And it's only $1 to a maximum of $2. For anyone who breaks out very easily from facial cleansers and/or has dry skin, just wash your face with water and apply this. If it ever stops being sold, this writer will cry real tears because of all other cocoa butter products, this is the only one that has worked consistently for almost two decades.


* All products have been tested by Shamontiel to confirm their summer handiness.