Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by DiscountGlasses.com but all thoughts and opinions are my own. There are affiliate links included below, you won't pay more but we'll receive a small commission made from purchases after clicking.
Over the past year and a half, we've learned alot about protecting ourselves from germs. This summer, make an effort to protect yourself from the sun! We're talking sunglasses, sunblock, and UPF50+ clothing. But don't worry, you can be sun safe AND be cool - literally and figuratively LOL! With that in mind, here is my quick list of 2021 Summer Must Haves!!
Proper sunglasses not only protect your eyes but also the delicate skin around your eyes. I went way too many years without wearing any, and you know what? My crows feet have crows feet. But it's never too late to start taking care of yourself, so I always wear sunglasses outside now, year round! Having a few fun pairs to choose from helps, that's why I love DiscountGlasses.com - they have an amazing selection of glasses and sunglasses for kids and adults, some for as low as $20!! What's more, they have virtual try-on, you can update your prescription online for free, and they have free 365 day returns!
My latest pair (above photo) are the Lunettos Jean, which feature an oversized but super lightweight matte black plastic frame that is so fun and flirty! I upgraded to prescription lenses since I can't see anything past my nose these days LOL! With 100% UVA/UVB protection, you'll see me rocking these poolside, in the yard, at the park, pretty much everywhere this summer!
UPF 50+ Clothing & Swimwear
I grew up thinking tanned skin made me more beautiful. *cringe* Now, I understand tanned skin is actually DAMAGED skin, and while I still long for a tan I'm doing my best to keep my kids' and my own skin protected from the sun. When I can avoid sunblock, I do, with UPF 50+ protective clothing. I've been putting my kids in long or short sleeve rash guards since their very first time at the pool as babies! But I just got MY very first rash guard (from UV Skinz - see our 2 youtube reviews below) and wore it while we were at the waterpark for 7 hours last weekend. I was worried it'd be hot and annoying but actually, it had the opposite effect - if I kept it damp it kept me comfortably cool!! Not to mention I didn't have to worry about my shoulders, chest, and back burning like they almost always do, even if I put on sunblock! So, yeah, that's it, rash guards for life!
Waterproof Phone Case
Protect your phone from water but still use it to take calls, photos, and videos in a CaliCase! These waterproof phone cases are padded, float, and are simply amazing. Check out my full review here (with video demo to show you how great your photos and videos come out!) and get 20% off yours here with code: japanfam
(No, I'm not wearing my rash guard in the above photo, I took it off at 4pm LOL)
When you can't cover up, you gotta lather up - in UVA/UVB water resistant SPF 50+ mineral sunblock! I always refer to the EWG Skin Deep Database to make sure any products I'm buying are "safe" and our favorite, is ThinkBaby / ThinkSport (same product, just different packaging). It's vegan, reef-friendly, zinc oxide 20% (non-nano), is creamy (easy to apply), and smells SO GOOD! Free from PABA, parabens, phthalates, BPA, oxybenzone, avobenzone, petroleum, gluten, dairy, and toxic chemicals! We love this stuff! We always get the regular cream but they also make a sunscreen stick. While sunscreen sprays look easy, I avoid it because I don't want me, my kids, or nearby folks inhaling that stuff!!
Blended & Iced Coffee Drinks
Coffee and caffeine is a yearround need for me (and most), but in summer, it's gotta be cold brew, iced coffee, or blended like a DIY frapuccino, am I right?! I've recently fallen in love with Javy liquid microdose coffee - no brewing, you just add 1-2 tsp to your drink and boom - ready to enjoy! It's delicious, and effective LOL!
Insulated Travel Mug / Water Bottle
We are huge Contigo fans here, our kids grew up on their straw and sippy cup plastic bottles and now they've graduated to the huge insulated stainless steel water bottles my husband and I use, too! Throw some ice water in there in the morning, leave it in the hot car, and at the end of the day it's still icy!! They keep drinks hot up to 7 hours and cold up to 18 hours! They are amazing, a must have all summer, and quite frankly, all year. You can get the auto-seal kind where you squeeze it to drink (great for kids since you can't spill!!), or get a snap top, in 16 - 24oz sizes!
Sun Hats & Headbands
Sun hats help keep your face shaded - you'll stay cooler and avoid sun damage. You may want to opt for one that is adjustable size or has a chin strap if using in windy location (ex. beach), and finding one with good ventilation is key to avoid major sweat. Speaking of sweat... if you have bangs, like me, ugh. Summer sweaty forehead and bangs do NOT mix. I have a newfound love for headbands!! I'm loving this 6-pack of boho headbands I found on Amazon! Many colors to choose from, they're comfy, and bonus, they fit both me and my 5 year old girls! Sharing is caring!!
Nothing says staying cool like an easy breezy sundress! From tank and tee swing dresses to minis and maxis, even some have POCKETS (yes, now that song is in my head...) There are SO many to choose from and you can find them for cheap, I'm talking $10-30 a pop!!
So, what do you think? Have I inspired you to up your game this summer? What is on your must-have for summer list??
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by CaliCase but all thoughts are my own and completely unbiased. In fact, I reached out to them because I was so interested in the product, which is often the case for our reviews. I'm no sell out :) I got you! That said, affiliate links follow - we receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking, cuz ya girl gotta eat!
Remember back in they day, those little single use Kodak underwater cameras?? They still exist, and most of you probably believe to take photos or videos in the water you need that or a $500 GoPro. But what if I told you that you could just use your own cell phone. We pay a lot of money for these phones that have amazing cameras, so why not use them!? But how to protect our phones while at the beach, pool, lake, or waterpark?? I'll tell ya how - CaliCase Waterproof Phone Pouch (it floats, too)!!! These are amazing not just for adults and our primary cell phones, but to let your kids have fun shooting photos with their phones or your old cell phone (more on how to use old phones here!)
Watch my full unboxing, demo, and review video here and read on for more details:
In a nutshell, I LOVE our CaliCase waterproof phone cases! They're an amazing bang for your buck and allow you to safely use your phone in and around the water - you can make calls, send texts, take photos and video, everything!! I'll go into more detail about the phone by answering some of the burning questions I had going into this, which you probably are wondering about as well:
Are they really waterproof?
How's the sound and camera quality?
Any other standout features?
My takeaway: Get it. Get it today! You can have your phone close by without having to worry about it getting splashed or dunked. You can even throw a credit card in there, which is what we did at the water park so we had everything we needed right on us! The universal size fit my phone (Motorola G Stylus) and my husband's (iPhone 11) only if we took our regular cases off, the extra large size fit them with cases on, which is easier, so I recommend that bigger size.
BUY YOUR CALICASE on CaliCase.com (affiliate link) - use code "japanfam" to get 20% off!!
Disclaimer: We were provided tickets in exchange for sharing our experience, but all thoughts and opinions are our own.
We moved from Brooklyn to Hudson Valley a year ago, but last summer was pretty much a wash for any kind of theme park experiences. Thankfully everything is opened back up now and we are HERE. FOR. IT!!! Yesterday we ventured half an hour up to Fishkill, NY to spend the day at SplashDown Beach Water Park and had the best day everrrrrr!!! Be sure to watch our highlights video here, and read on for details!!
We arrived at 11AM, got our bags checked, tickets scanned, rented our locker for the day (you get a handy wrist band you simply scan to open the locker), and rented our Cabana, which is an extra splurge but I highly recommend it - it was so nice to have a quiet shaded spot to come back to for a break. There's a buzzer so you can easily call your waiter and order food and drinks to be brought to you. You need a special wrist band to enter the private cabana area, so we felt safe leaving our clothes and water bottles and sunblock and other non-valuables there with no worries, just putting wallets and keys in a locker (in another area). We had a cheese pizza delivered for lunch and it was delicious!!!!
Those 48" and above can do all the rides, though 42" and above can do pretty much do everything, sometimes solo and sometimes needing to pair up with an adult. There are some HUGE and terrifying slides (like Humunga Halfpipe and Megalodon), some medium thrill ones (like Bullet Bowl and Arctic Plunge), and some super chill ones safe for babies and babies at heart (like the lazy river, regular pool, and wave pool), and even some areas just for smaller kids.
One of our 5 year old twins was too scared to do a solo ride at the start of the day, but after doing several rides with a partner she was ready to try again at the end of the day and SUCCESS! She loved it and begged to ride again and again!!! So, my tip, if you have a more nervous kid like her, do parter or group rides first to get their confidence up a bit, and avoid any potential tears and inner conflict!
They have complimentary coastguard certified lifejackets available throughout the park - for adults (over 90 pounds), youth (55-88 pounds), child (33-55 pounds), and infant. Our kids can't swim yet so having them wear these helped me feel more reassured.
I was really impressed with the lifeguards, too. At the pool, you can see them scanning in very strict grid patterns - each line up and down the pool from one side to the other, the perimeter, and back to start - they obviously have very detailed training and when one of my kids had trouble exiting from a water slide at one point that lifeguard did not hesitate to blow her whistle, jump in, and rescue my little one who had been sucked back to the corner by the current (you can see the action in our video). While she luckily hadn't been in any real danger, it was amazing to see how confident the lifeguards are in knowing exactly what to do. So so so important at any water park, and this was the first time I ever got to see their training in action!
They have changing rooms, bathrooms, lots of dining options inside and outside. We left when they closed at 6pm, after a full 7 hours there, and honestly, still hadn't had enough LMAO!!! It is a SUPER FUN day out and I can't recommend it highly enough!!
LOCATION: 16 Old Route 9 W, Fishkill, NY
TICKETS: from $29.99 - $49.99 per day (half day, weekday, weekend/holiday rates vary), infants 2 and under free (but first visit you must purchase their reusable swim diaper cover for $9.99), $129.99 season's pass.
Quick shoutout to some items that made our day in the sun even better:
For more NY / NJ area reviews and recommendations, be sure to check out our roundups:
Disclaimer: Affiliate links included below - you don't pay more but we receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
Prime Day 2021 is almost here! Epic sales are set to run June 21 - 22, 2021 but some early sales will be hitting as early as June 11! We'll be updating this page as we hear of great products for families - for babies, big kids, and parents! You can expect amazing deals on Ring Video Doorbells, Alexa & Echo smart home gear, and much much more!!! Personally, I'm hoping to score a deal on a GoPro, new Fire Tablet (any edition but need that 32gb),
But to get in on the Prime Day deals, you have to be a prime member. It costs $12.99 per month but you can sign up for a 30 day free trial here!
Amazon Prime membership includes:
PRIME DAY HUB on AMAZON - get the most up to date deals here, or log onto your app and have it notify you of upcoming deals.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased :)
We just got back from a full (hosted) day at the Liberty Science Center and had THE. BEST. TIME! For the full experience of the new dinosaur exhibit and see what the entire center has to offer from the largest planetarium in the western hemisphere to hot wheels exhibit and and so so soooo much fun for the kids (and adults!), be sure to watch our highlights video here, then keep reading for details on their latest exhibition, Sue the T-Rex Experience!
I've always been into dinosaurs, I mean, who isn't!? I've seen my fair share of fossils and full-size replicas but honestly, Sue the T.Rex Experience at Liberty Science Center is a completely different ball game and you will LOVE. IT!
Upon entering the exhibit, you immediately find yourself face to face with the huge and menacing Sue, named after the paleontologist who discovered the fossils during a commercial excavation trip in South Dakota in 1990. Standing at 40 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hip, she is the most complete and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever found and has helped scientists learn more about T. rex than ever before... and now we can learn about her at Liberty Science Center!
They do a great light show on Sue, which is beautiful and educational - they highlight different bones as they talk about what each finding has revealed about her life, and death! This was fascinating, as well as the large movies they play on the opposite side of the room where you can watch daily life for her and other dinosaurs at the time, including some pretty action-packed fight scenes which my kids found especially captivating (me, too)!
Another highlight was the life-size replica of Sue enjoying a tasty meal (see above right image) - you can see the bloody tooth marks on her prey, you can touch the skin, it's just really breath-taking and makes it feel so incredibly real! Just next to it you can even take a whiff of what they think her breath smelled like. WARNING: it's revolting!!!! Watch our video to see our hilarious reactions! But as with everything at LSC, it's a fun learning experience - we learn her breath would have smelled horrible, of rotting meat, because they had small gaps between the teeth where meat would get trapped, and obviously, they couldn't brush and floss LOL!
While large and in charge Sue dominates the exhibit, there are some other fossils and replicas to see and learn about, like the life-sized Triceratops (above right)! Give yourself at least a few hours (if not a full day) to explore this exhibit and the rest of the museum. It's a great family-friendly trip!!
We hadn't been to Liberty Science Center (or any indoor activities like it) since the time I now refer to as #PrePandemic, so I was very curious to see how things would be handled. Rest assured, we felt completely safe! They took the kids' temperatures upon entry to the science center, masks are required for ages 2+ (regardless of vaccination status), they kept exhibits to a low capacity with short lines outside so they could maintain safety without crowds, and the cafe is closed, however they do have limited spaced out indoor dining seating (outdoor as well) and if you find yourself in a pinch they also have some vending machines with drinks and snacks.
You can have your kids make dad breakfast in bed, give him a handmade card covered in their little hand prints, and give him the rest of the day off to play golf and drink beer with his buddies... OR you can think totally outside of the box and get him something from our Unique Father's Day Gift Guide!
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, you don't pay more but we receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
Thank you, Dad, we know we're EXHAUSTING!
Fatherhood is exhausting, so a coffee-related gift is always a win! If dad is too busy to brew or wants to cut back on wasteful pods, how about some liquid microdose Javy coffee!? You just add 1 teaspoon to water for a quick and delicious coffee!! Learn more about it and get 10% off by clicking this affiliate link!
Hey Dad, you're a cut above the rest!
Chef's Vision makes really unique and beautiful knife sets (as well as blade covers, magnetic knife holders, cutting boards, blade sharpeners), so whether he's the king of the kitchen, loves fishing or hunting, or is into some other knife-involving hobby, this could be a fab father's day gift!
I love you so much, Dad, keep me with you always!
Surprise Dad with some bling this year! Like this beautiful braided leather bracelet with each of his kids' names, perhaps! That's what we will be gifting my husband, check out all the options over at oNecklace.com!
Dad, thank you for putting up with our sh!t
It's no secret that dads spend more than their fair share of time on the toilet. With an easy-to-install Whisper Bidet, they can enjoy that quality me-time even more LOL! And hey, with a bidet in the house, that's less butts to wipe and no worries over another toilet paper outage!
You couldn't be a better dad... so we got you better teeth!
Who has time for things like orthodontist appointments or wants to be rocking braces for a couple of years? Certainly not Dad! Candid aligners can be done 100% from home - from taking dental impressions to regular scans on your smart phone to communicating with your orthodontist! Great deals found here!
Personally, I'm almost halfway through my 8 month treatment with Candid and it truly couldn't be easier!
Spark that joy, Dad!
Many dads love grilling and all things FIREEEEE! But maybe you live in an apartment where barbecuing is just out of the question. How about one of these little City Bonfires? Basically a 4" portable bonfire that burns for 3-5 hours, you can even use it inside! Wanna go for something bigger? Solo Stove is all the rage recently - it's a portable fire pit (in many sizes) with a unique design that creates an efficient secondary burn with minimal smoke. Their smallest, The Ranger, is only 15 pounds, great for the backyard and camping.
Time flies, Dad - now you can look back anytime!
From photo books and calendars to glass-like acrylic, metal, and canvas prints, MixBook can turn photos into meaningful gifts and long lasting home decor! Photo gifts can make great traditions, gifting an updated photo of dad and the kids each year to collect and cherish forever!
And if you still need more ideas, check out the Amazon Father's Day Gift Shop!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)