AD Editors Share Their Summer Essentials: From Sunscreen to Seating, Books, and More


Many of us have a staple that’s extra clutch when the warm weather hits—the odd purchase that, if you found yourself without it, would render summer just a little bit empty. Maybe it’s a cooling fan that lets you turn your otherwise sweltering apartment into a frosty oasis, or perhaps it’s a trusty outdoor chair that accompanies you on park days and rooftop tanning sessions. With all of that in mind, I asked my coworkers to tell me about everything they’ve been loving this season. Below are their (very shoppable!) answers, which include tons of sunscreen, lots of outdoor seating, and even a couple of books for your beachside leisure.

Searching for a sunscreen I love is a very real struggle—as a person who burns easily, I’ve tried them all. This summer I found my nirvana in the limited edition Tory Burch x Shiseido Sunscreen collaboration. The 50+ Sun Protector Lotion is pleasantly viscous rather than thick and gloppy, so it glides on easily (like a moisturizer would), absorbs quickly, and leaves a silky, clear finish (without endless rubbing, residue, or fruity scent). The sunny orange bottle with charming flowers, inspired by Tory’s garden in Antigua? Irresistible! I toss the chic little sunstick in my car and bag for quick application as needed, though my friends and family are always trying to swipe it from me.

You could even go all in with the ’70s flatform flip-flops in the matching floral. The kicker: Tory Burch and Shiseido support Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center with a grant to fund one year of a clinical research fellowship in dermatology to expand knowledge of skin cancer—which, for me, ticks all the boxes.

Is there anything more essential to summer—especially this sweltering one in NYC—than AC? This year I splurged on a Midea U-Shaped Window AC, which is extremely quiet, cools our whole two-bedroom apartment, and looks a lot prettier in the window than its predecessor.

Tommy Bahama’s backpack beach chair puts all other beach chairs to shame. It’s easy to transport (hello, city people going to the beach on the subway), it adjusts to a bunch of positions, and there’s a cooler involved. Next time you’re at the beach, you’ll notice a surprising number of people are always sitting in some version of this chair! I can’t survive summer without two.

Unlike traditional Birkenstocks, which take some time to break in and mold to your feet, these cushiony versions made of ethylene vinyl acetate are insanely comfortable from the get-go. They’re also waterproof, so you can use them as shower shoes or take them to the lake. I wear them around my apartment in lieu of slippers, but have also walked long distances in them, and they never hurt! They’re a staple on summer weekend trips, but I’ve also been known to carry them around in my purse when I go out to dinner with friends—I wear these on the subway, then change into cuter but less comfortable shoes right before I walk into the restaurant. Yes, I am that girl.

I love these etched glasses from Chez Panisse, a famous restaurant in Berkeley, California, not far from where I grew up. (The ones I have look just like this but were made for their 40th anniversary.) They are such good quality for the price, and are truly unique! They’re also the perfect size for water, chilled wine, or a light cocktail.

Almost a decade ago I snagged a pair of these Pendleton blankets on sale from a store and hardly ever touched them. Now I rarely leave the house without them if I’m going on any sort of outdoor outing because it’s the perfect picnic blanket! The best part: They’re easy to transport thanks to the leather strap. (And don’t worry, it won’t make you sweat more than usual!)

Water is essential, so when the hydration station won’t come to you it’s best to bring your own. These days I’m almost always carrying a Nalgene bottle at the bottom of my bag. This one in particular from the skincare brand F. Miller is my favorite because of the graphic design—there was a period where it was sold out for months, so you could say it’s become quite the status symbol.

I like to call these my new “party favors,” but they’re such a treat to share with friends. I’ll stash a pack of Delights in my bag and sparingly distribute a few to those who are interested in trying them. I’ve yet to be disappointed by any of the flavors from Rose so far and can confirm that this collab with Nünchi is absolutely divine. There are 20mg of CBD per cube, which is just the right amount to get you blissed out. They’re essentially a light stoner’s version of Turkish delights. Très yummy! (I’ve also written about them before here if you want the full info.)

I go through phases when it comes to reading: I’ll read a few books in a row, and then nothing for a few months. One thing that’s consistent is that I always read the most during summer, since there’s nothing better than having a book on the beach or by a pool. I love nonfiction, but when I do read fiction I want it to have a lot of action. Mother May I is one of the most suspenseful books I’ve ever read—a little scary, but not gruesome. Mostly, it’s a thrilling mystery read and definitely my go-to book recommendation for this year. (Trigger warning: There is a kidnapping that anxious parents of young children might find tough to read, and there is discussion of sexual assault, though it is not graphic, and I think the author presents a very smart take on the topic.)

I’m only one episode into The White Lotus, but it’s my ideal summer summer show: Intrigue! Satire! Tropical locales! Each element tops the next, from a starring role by Jennifer Coolidge to an A+ story from filmmaker Mike White. The story follows several guests and employees at an exclusive resort where it seems as if trouble (and so much awkwardness) is lingering at every corner. The limited series spans only six episodes, released once a week (wait for August 15 if you want to binge it all in one go), and feels like a summer entertainment essential.

Growing up in Florida (and having a very intelligent mom), I have been slathering on sunscreen every day of my life for roughly 16 years. I go through phases of favorite sunscreens, but my current #1 comes from Vacation. Since you can never wear too much sunscreen, I put this all over my arms, neck, shoulders, and face on a daily basis. Vacation also nails the retro glory of classic sunscreen brands—you even get a custom, summer-themed scratch-off when your order arrives! Come for the graphics, stay for the quality ingredients.

Has my search for a perfect sunscreen finally come to an end? I have very sensitive skin—more or less looking at a fragrance gives me a rash—and pretty much all sunscreens have let me down in the past. What good is a summer tan if you’re breaking out or covered in a ghastly white film while you get it? So far I’ve been overwhelmingly pleased with Resting Beach Face, which has not left me with zits or streaky white residue like many other creams. RBF includes spinach(!) in the list of ingredients (as well as hyaluronic acid and green tea), so it already sounds like it has to be good for you.

This tower fan has become an integral part of my cooling setup this summer. My AC unit lives in the back of my apartment, at the end of a long hallway, so I’ve positioned the tower fan to pull the cold air through the hallway and into the front rooms of my apartment, where I spend most of the day working. At night, I can use it if I need a little extra cool on me as I sleep—the nighttime setting is really great for that, because it dims the light the fan gives off and gradually goes from a full-force blow to the lowest setting as the night progresses.

I’d say 80% of the time I’m an over-ear headphones person, but for the other 20%—which involves exercising or any time temperatures reach above 90 degrees—I succumb to earbuds to avoid completely overheating. I have a lot of trouble finding ones that feel comfortable and won’t fall out, but these JBLs do the job and do it well. On top of impressive features like ambient sound mode and noise cancellation, they’re equipped with a 32-hour battery life so one charge lasts me at least a couple of weeks. The sound quality itself is clear to the point where you might look over your shoulder to see if Frank Ocean is actually crooning in close proximity, and they come with five different-sized rubber earpieces so you can choose what’s most comfortable. Case in point: I recently wore them while sprinting to the dentist in 95-degree NYC weather and these bad boys didn’t budge once.

Counterintuitive, I know, but I love drinking hot tea in the summer. (Earl Grey just hits differently in July!) I love designs that make huge, unapologetic statements, but also admire the quiet precision of minimalism—making my adoration of this whimsical yet spare design from Ginori 1735 all the more surprising. Festooned with illustrations of creatures both earthly and imagined (hello, eyeball-sprouting tulip!), it’s just the right mix of fantasy and pragmatism. I especially enjoy the tea set, which exudes refinement, particularly when paired with like-patterned pieces. But when I’m feeling cheeky, I also have the option to step up the fun factor by partnering them with more vibrantly colored china and accessories.

This Instagram-worthy glitter-flecked tube is perfect for lazy afternoons floating around the pool. And can you beat the price? Absolutely not—it’s less than a venti iced latte. You can get the glittery float in pink, silver, or teal—or do what I did and get all three.

This is hands down the best bronzer I’ve ever tried. It’s matte, so you get that good, good contour, and it actually smells like chocolate. It stays on all day, comes in a pretty case with heart-snap closure, and lasts forever. I wear it year-round, but it’s especially essential during summer.

This light, airy fragrance has a subtly sweet, fresh vibe. As the name suggests, it calls to mind beach days and sandy toes. Notes include bergamot, pink pepper, lemon, heliotrope, coconut milk, and musk—and I’m wearing it every day this summer.

I bought this chair last summer (along with most of my friend group) and it has truly elevated our park get-togethers. It’s a camp chair, sure, but it’s for more than just camping: It’s comfortable enough to sit in all day while soaking in some rays, so light that you won’t even notice it in your summer tote, and compact enough that you have plenty of room for that pack of spiked seltzer. Between May and September, I never leave home without it.

This book is a great summer beach read and one of my favorite books in general. Perfect for any fiction lovers out there—dark humor, romance, coming-of-age novel all in one.

I love Supergoop’s Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40 Serum all year-round, but especially in the summer because of the extra sun protection it provides. I use it on my face in the morning and/or before applying makeup, which keeps my skin looking super dewy and hydrated throughout the day.

I live near Central Park and having a lawn chair in my apartment has been a life-changer for city living. Since my favorite part of the summer is the longer days, having a super comfortable chair that I can easily take to the park after work, even if it’s just for 15 minutes, makes New York in the summer feel less claustrophobic. It’s also great for the beach and any other daylong activities, plus it has an attached cooler as well as a netted compartment that I put a book in.

Real talk: A brutal heat wave decided to sweep NYC this summer just as my window AC units blew out. Due to the pandemic, acquiring new window units took some time, making my tiny NYC apartment extremely hot and stuffy to the point where I thought there was no way I’d be able to sleep. Thankfully, that first AC-less night I got into my bed, which is decked out in Slumber Cloud from the mattress pads to the pillow covers, and what did I find? My bed was a heavenly frozen icebox. I need to be cold when I sleep, especially my pillows, and these products are engineered to keep your body temperature regulated. Shout-out to Slumber Cloud for getting me through the hottest nights of this summer’s heat wave when I was without air conditioning, I could not be more grateful.

Yes, the $34 price tag is steeper than your average Burt’s Bees, but for me, who notoriously refuses to put anything on her lips, this lip balm is worth the price. I spend a lot of time at the beach in the summer, which inevitably leads to some seriously chapped lips. A few swipes of this Tata Harper Skincare lip treatment and that problem has disappeared! It truly does hydrate, volumize, and heal the most chapped of lips.

These beach chairs are absolutely incredible. My partner bought them three summers ago to see if they’d work out for a beach trip to Jacob Riis Park and they turned out to be the perfect purchase. They’re lightweight, portable, and always stay clean. They definitely feel like a chaise lounge that you could take through the subway on to the beach. They also have pockets if you want to keep your sunscreen, books, or phone out of the sand. I even use them at the park and at home to sit outside and get some sun.

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