How To Take Control of Your Mornings With Kids

Take Control of Your Mornings

The Importance of a Morning Routine & Creating Responsible Tiny Humans

Do you struggle with taking control of your morning routine and feel rushed to get out the door on time? Me too. Let’s talk about how to take control of your mornings with kids. I’ve been using this simple free printable to help streamline our morning to-do list.

It’s back to school time! My son started First Grade at the beginning of August and our mornings became very rushed very quickly. My husband travels a lot for work and I am often functioning as a single parent, as is the case right now. We also have an 18 month old so it has become more and more important to make things as easy as possible. Oh, I should probably also mention that I am NOT a morning person. I like my sleep very much. It’s become much more important to streamline what has to get done in the morning in order to maximize sleeping time and still get us all out the door on time. Here’s what my mornings look like:

5:35 am- my alarm goes off. I hit snooze at least 2 times

6:00 am- seriously consider getting out of bed

6:08 am- must get out of bed now and in the shower or I’ll have to go to work with wet hair (not a good look for me)

6:09-6:35 am- shower, make up, get dressed, blow dry hair at least half way

6:35 am- go get my 18 month old out of bed and dressed

6:40- 6:45 am- wake up my 6 year old and get him started on his morning routine (more on this below!)

6:45 am- while he is doing his morning routine, I finish assembling his lunch (most of the prep is done the night before so all I have to do is toss it in his lunch box at this time)

6:55 am- load up the baby and hurry the 6 year old out to the car. Sit in the car and make sure we have backpack, lunchbox, purse, phone. Away we go!

7:10 am- drop off the 6 year old at his before and after care program

7:20 am- drop off the 18 month old at the nanny’s house

7:45 am- arrive at the office bright eyed and bushy-tailed

Couple things you might have noticed: it only takes me 25 minutes to get ready (I do half my makeup at home, the other half in the car), it only takes my 6 year old 5-10 minutes to get ready (he picks out his clothes the night before), and no one here eats breakfast. OK, so the 18 month old gets his cup of milk before we leave but then he has breakfast at the nanny’s house. My 6 year old grabs his breakfast and eats it in the car or when he gets to before care (it’s usually an apple or a cereal bar or something grab and go) and I usually skip breakfast in favor of coffee at work. Please save the “importance of breakfast” lecture for another time. I’m a work in progress.

We recently started following a chore chart, using the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace plan for kids as guidance and my first grader has really done well and gotten excited about doing chores, getting check marks and most of all, getting paid on Saturdays. (If you want to know more about this plan, let me know in the comments and I will write a post about it). So he was happy when I added the Morning Routine as a chore on his chart. One more opportunity to earn!

How to Take Control of Your Mornings with Kids (& a free printable!) | athomewithannmarie.com

If your child is anything like my 6 year old, his or her morning routine is probably very similar. I created this simple chart to help remind my son what he needs to do in the morning. I simply have it hanging on my refrigerator so he can easily check it out and see what’s next. You could frame it and use a dry erase marker to check off each item every day, too.

You can download the PDF version here: Morning Routine

My mother and my mother-in-law and my husband are all morning people and I am totally jealous of them. They can get up at 4 am, exercise, have a leisurely cup of coffee, get ready without rushing and in the case of my mother-in-law, even cook dinner for that night in the morning. Seriously. This is not me. But it is something I’d like to work towards. For now, I’m going to be honest and say that mornings are tough for me and I’ll do whatever I can to make it as easy as possible. Unfortunately, I’m also not a night person so I’m cutting corners there too. It’d be nice if I had the energy to bake a cake and vacuum the house at 11 pm, but I’ve already been in bed for 2 hours at that point. #sorrynotsorry

What steps do you take to make things easier on yourself? Do you have any advice for a struggling mom like me?

Fixer Upper Farmhouse Style: How to Get the Joanna Gaines Look in Your Home

Fixer Upper Farmhouse Style: 9 Keys to Creating the Look in Your Home

Farmhouse style interiors are experiencing a major boost in popularity due mostly to the success of Joanna and Chip Gaines’ show Fixer Upper on HGTV. I think we’ve all seen an episode or two (or 100!) that gives us all the feels with the simple clean, classic décor and the love and humor between Joanna and Chip (marriage goals!).

The good news is that anyone can bring this style to their home. With so much DIY inspiration out there, if you can dream it, you can do it! Here’s a few keys to achieving this look:

Secrets to Fixer Upper Farmhouse style | athomewithannmarie.com

Canadian Log Homes

  1. Neutral color palettes. This actually has some historical significance. Early farmhouse owners kept the walls light because most couldn’t afford the more expensive colored finishes. Mostly white walls and light furnishings with light wood or white washed wood works well.

Fixer Upper Farmhouse Style Secrets | athomewithannmarie.com

Farmhouse5540

2. Farmhouse sinks. An apron front farmhouse style sink works wonders to update your home’s look to this Fixer Upper style. Add in white ceramic accessories and some chunky wood cutting boards to complete the look. Also try to update your kitchen with white cabinets and a few open shelves.

Rustic Finishes | Fixer Upper Farmhouse style | athomewithannmarie.com

Julie Blanner

3. Rustic finishes. Farmhouse furnishings were actually used. They were not meant to be just looked at, they were meant to serve a purpose and be used every day. Because of this, most furnishings show some wear and tear. Recreate this look in your home by looking for weathered antiques or shabby chic finishes on painted furniture. The distressed look is easy to create by layering different paint colors and sanding down the edges to let the base color show through for a worn look. Shop your local vintage market to source items that can be re-purposed in your home. See my blog post on how to shop at a vintage furniture market.

Farmhouse Table via Shanty 2 Chic | athomewithannmarie.com

Shanty 2 Chic

4. A farm table. Duh. You can find large farmhouse tables pretty much anywhere, but if you’re like me, you’d prefer to DIY it. My favorite tutorial can be found here.

Shiplap Walls | athomewithannmarie.com

Pop Sugar

5. Shiplap. I’m sure you’ve seen this trend popping up everywhere. Shiplap is a brilliant way to add character and texture to your home. And bonus- it’s not that hard to achieve. Check out Pinterest for tutorials or see this one.

French Doors | Fixer Upper Farmhouse style | athomewithannmarie.com

Hayburn

6. French doors. If you watch Fixer Upper, you know one of Joanna’s favorite things is a set of French Doors. Replace your sliding glass doors with new French doors or divide a space while retaining the “open” feel with French doors. Or, hang an old French door on a wall.

Farmhouse Fixer Upper Style | athomewithannmarie.com

7. Open concept. If you have the budget for a full-on renovation, definitely tear down some walls to create a more open concept. Many farmhouses are one large room on the lower level, where the kitchen can look out into the living room and dining room. Help define each space by centering each area around a focal point- the sofa, a fireplace, the kitchen sink or island, or dining table.

Farmhouse Fixer Upper style

I heart naptime

8. Let the [natural] light in. Farmhouse style feels light and airy, due in part to the light colors and fabrics but also because of the natural light. Large windows and reflective finishes make sure there is plenty of light. If you don’t have the luxury or a lot of natural light, add some extra lamps and recessed lighting.

Hardwood Floors | Fixer Upper Farmhouse style | athomewithannmarie.com

Fresh Farmhouse

9. Real hardwood floors. Some people get lucky and discover real hardwood under their existing carpet. All you have to do is sand and refinish it! If you’re not that lucky, go ahead and bite the bullet on real hardwood. Laminate comes close and will certainly do, but hardwood will give you that genuine look.

Guess what? You can easily update your home with a few small touches that can be found pretty much anywhere. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites from Amazon for you. Click on the link below the image to visit the item.

Fixer Upper Farmhouse Style Secrets | athomewithannmarie.com

Arrow Sign | >Botanical Print Set | >Turquoise Chair | >Mug Rack |>Rug | >Ceramic Milk Carafe | >Clock | >Desktop Drawer Chest | >Bookends | >Chandelier

Here’s a list of a few other sources for Farmhouse style items:

The Magnolia Market

Target

World Market

Michaels

Hobby Lobby

Ballard Designs

Paintedfoxhome.com

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, I sure enjoyed putting it together for you! What do you think about the Fixer Upper/ Farmhouse style? Is it for you? Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest and Instagram for more inspiration! Thanks for stopping by!

Fixer Upper Farmhouse style | athomewithannmarie.com

Christmas in July: 6 Things to Do Now

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Christmas in July-6 things to do now | athomewithannmarie.com

Christmas in July: 6 Things to Do Now

It’s Christmas in July, people! OK, it’s hard to get down with that here in Florida where it’s 102 degrees. BUT, July is a great month to start thinking ahead and make a plan. Get started on some projects now so you’re not rushing around in December.

Christmas in July

  1. Pick a color palette. This was one of the hardest things for me to do. I had a collection of tons of Christmas stuff, but none of it really coordinated so it ended up looking like Christmas threw up in my house. It was more cluttered looking than Christmas-y. I finally came to the conclusion I needed to decide on a color palette and commit to it. The hard part here is committing to the colors you’ve chosen. But just do it- commit! Then every time you are shopping for Holiday decorations, pick up things you like that are in the colors you’ve chosen. If you are lucky enough to buy all new stuff every year and change your color palette every year- then please, skip this step and just do whatever your heart desires. For the rest of us, it’s more budget friendly to pick 2-5 colors and stick with it. My original color palette was red, green and gold. Any shade of red and green will do, paired with gold. I’ve recently been adding in more of a lime green, which has made things pop a little more and seem more fun. Maybe your color palette is pink, turquoise, red and white. Maybe it’s black and white. Whatever makes you happy, go for it. Check Pinterest for “Christmas color palettes” and pin a few that stand out to you.

Color Palette Collage | athomewithannmarie.com

  1. Schedule your Christmas photo shoot for your cards. This usually occurs to me in October, and by then, my favorite photographer is booked up on all the good days and times and I’m left scrambling to order photos and cards at the last minute. Call your photographer now and get on her calendar! Aim for an early October date, which will leave you plenty of time to review your photos, choose your favorites and order your prints or Christmas photo cards.
  2. Speaking of cards, get your mailing list in order. Update your list with any address changes, marriages, new family members or any other changes. Tip: I use Excel to organize my list so I can easily print labels using a mail merge in Word. When I’m creating my list in Excel, I add a column where I give each entry a “label”- A, B, C, or D. The “A’s” are the people that are DEFINITELY getting a card. The “B’s” are the probably people, and “C’s” and “D’s” are people that will get a card if you have them left over or if you are sending more than usual because you’ve had a major event in the family (new baby, new house, etc).
  3. Set some ground rules. Christmas is a very stressful time. If this is your first Christmas as a family, the pressure can be even greater. Set some ground rules now so everyone knows what’s going on. In my house, the one rule is that we don’t leave the house on Christmas day. With all the grandparents and family members around, everyone wants us to come over and celebrate at their house. I don’t think it’s fair to my kids (or my husband) to drag them all over town on this very special day. So we keep everyone at home so my kids can stay in their Christmas pj’s all day, they can play with their new toys, ride their new bikes, take naps in the middle of the floor when they are completely exhausted and we can enjoy our time as a family. Let me be clear on this- anyone is invited to join us on Christmas day! We tell all our family that they can come over in the morning, the afternoon or the evening to spend time with us. But we don’t go anywhere. We make the rounds to other people’s houses on Christmas Eve or the weekend before or after. Let your people know about this rule NOW! Trust me, they will not be happy, they will be resistant and want to find a reason to convince you to come see them on Christmas. Stand strong. Do it for your kids and your sanity. This is also a good time to establish some fun traditions. Plan ahead. Another tip: don’t plan an extravagant meal for Christmas Day. We either do lasagna (make it ahead!) or take out Chinese. If I’m craving a big meal, I make a brunch.
  4. Get started on a project. Here’s my project list for this Christmas: a stocking holder with 4 hooks for our growing family (we don’t have a fireplace mantle here in Florida), modern Christmas trees made from scrap wood, and a nativity sign using vinyl decals on a painted piece of scrap wood (you can find similar decals on Etsy, here)

Stocking Hanger | athomewithannmarie.com

Listfully Beautiful

DIY Modern Christmas trees

Inspired by Charm

DIY Nativity Sign

Poofy Cheeks

 

  1. Make a budget. Christmas BudgetThis is so important. Unless you’ve recently won the lottery, Christmas always impacts the budget more than we think it will. Please don’t use your credit cards for Christmas gifts. It will make you sad in January. Start stashing away money now. Make a list of all the gift recipients, a list of ideas for their gifts and a dollar amount to spend on them. Total everything up, divide it by number of paychecks between now and then, and come up with a dollar amount to save each paycheck. OR, do it the other way, come up with a dollar amount that you can afford to set aside each paycheck, come up with the total you will have at the beginning of December, and let that number dictate how much you spend on people. Make a list of other Holiday expenditures, including:
    • Gifts
    • Food
    • Entertaining
    • Giving
    • Décor
    • Travel
    • Cards & photos

That’s about it for now! Thank you so much for stopping by. What are some of the projects on your list? What are some of the ground rules and traditions for your family during the Holidays?

XO,

Ann Marie

Vintage Furniture Market Shopping Tips

Vintage Furniture Market Shopping Tips

Vintage Market Shopping Tips | athomewithannmarie.com

Once a month, in St. Pete, Florida, the Brocante Vintage Market opens its doors to the public for a 2 day vintage shopping bonanza. Some vintage markets are open year round but Brocante claims the reason it’s only open once a month is to allow its “Brocanteurs” the time to find the perfect vintage items for shoppers to browse. Bonus- when day one is over, the market clears everything out and rebuilds with all new items for day two! This was my first trip to the market and I went with my Mom and my sister. Here are my tips when shopping at a vintage market.

Vintage Furniture Market | athomewithannmarie.com

Get there early. Brocante opens at 9:00am. We arrived at 9:30 and there were about 3 people in line ahead of us waiting to get in. This market only lets in a certain amount of people at a time. By the time we left at 11:30, the line to get in was starting to wrap around the building. Another motivating factor to get there early? Buy the good stuff before it’s gone!

DSC_0033E

Plan ahead. Before you go, make a list and take some measurements of your home. Even snap some pictures to give you an idea of some spaces you have to fill. You’ll be so mad at yourself if you spot the perfect dresser but aren’t sure if it will fit in the space you have.

DSC_0040E

Bring the largest vehicle available to you. See that chair? Would it have fit in your car? This market helps coordinate delivery service if you need but you don’t want to have to worry about that. Throw some moving blankets in there for good measure.

Vintage Furniture Market | athomewithannmarie.com

Jump on it. See something you like? Jump on it. At least sit on it or have your hand on it while you’re thinking about it. If you think you will go around a second time and it will still be there waiting for you, you might be in for a disappointing reality check. At Brocante, you can flag down one of the “Brocanteurs” and they will mark it sold or put it in the check out line for you with your name on it.

DSC_0048E

Show me the money. Some markets take only cash, some accept credit too. Know what forms of payment are accepted at your particular market and make sure you have what you need.

DSC_0052E

Know your limitations. Vintage furniture was made way better than modern furniture and can withstand mostly anything. Don’t like the color? No problem. Sand and repaint or refinish. Turn that chair with a missing cushion into a patio flower planter. Recovering upholstered furniture is generally easy, too. However, if it wiggles and won’t stand straight, you may want to walk away. Structural issues are a little more difficult to repair. Not impossible though.

DSC_0055E

DSC_0063E

DSC_0071EGlobes were everywhere! I love maps of all kinds and if I had more room for a real collection, it would most def be globes. DSC_0073E

Vintage Furniture Market | athomewithannmarie.com

DSC_0079Psst– That’s my Mom and my sister in the reflection. See how I did that? Sneaky sneaky.DSC_0083These trophy’s are SPRAY PAINTED! They were amazing. I’m definitely trying this at home.Vintage Furniture Market | athomewithannmarie.com

Vintage Furniture Market | athomewithannmarie.com

DSC_0104

DSC_0115E

DSC_0125E

 

DSC_0131E

Finally, linger a while and enjoy the neighborhood. This market is in downtown St Pete, in what is referred to as the warehouse arts district. It’s full of neat surprises, like this sea life mural on the side of a building.

DSC_0128E

Happy hunting my darlings!

Coastal Style Home Decor: How to Make it Work for Your Home No Matter Where You Live

Coastal Style Home Decor | athomewithannmarie.com

Coastal style home decor defined –

Bright and breezy, Coastal Style transports you straight to the beach, no matter where you call home. Experts say you can pull off the look even if you’re hundreds of miles from a shoreline.

Coastal Florida Home by Ashley Whittaker Design

Ashley Whittaker Design

Summer has our family headed to the beach and strolling through beach town boutiques and little shops. These places always have the cutest nautical and coastal home décor items such as throw pillows, mermaid and seahorse wall hooks, and coral figurines. They always get me thinking about decorating our home in this style.

Coastal Kitchen by Kevin Thayer

Kevin Thayer Design from House of Turquoise

Coastal Style has seaside colors, light woods, natural fibers. Think blues, turquoise, salmon, pink, greens, even navy and red for colors. White or painted furniture and light wood floors. Natural elements like seagrass, wicker, rattan, sisal. Look for casual furniture that you can flop right down on, slipcovers are very popular and practical.
Tarpon Springs FloridaHere is the question that always comes to mind when I consider this style for our home: is this just for beach houses or can inland homes use it? How close do you have to be to the beach? Or the lake? We are about 3 miles from the nearest beach, about a 5 minute drive (though we don’t go nearly often enough).

I used to travel a lot and it always amazed me the places I’d find that were heavily into the Coastal Style. For example, I was in Franklin, Tennessee and some of their boutiques are flooded with Coastal décor pieces. Tennessee is inland! I’m sure they are referring to lake houses, so can it apply anywhere?

Lake House Decor

Source Unknown

I also notice a difference in Coastal styles depending on the region. Here in Florida, we focus on the light blues, the turquoise, the white coral decorations, mermaids and seahorses. When we visit family in Maine, I notice the style has more whales and lobsters and the colors are a more muted gray blue or a navy blue with red or yellow accents.

Maine Beach House

Home Bunch

Does the architecture of your home have to define your interior style? I say sort-of. To really master the Coastal Style, your home needs a lot of bright natural light. Coastal homes feel light and airy, never dark and closed in. So consider how much natural light you have when deciding if Coastal Style will work for your home. Don’t have great windows and glass doors? Fake it with ceiling lights and lamps.

Architecture also plays a role if the style is very clearly defined. You wouldn’t want to decorate an obviously Spanish Mediterranean home in all mermaids and seahorses. Or would you??? Here’s what I say: if the Coastal Style makes you happy and reminds you of relaxing at the beach, spending time with loved ones and loving life, then GO FOR IT!

Here’s a tip: it is incredibly easy to go overboard with this style theme with too many nautical accessories – anchors, starfish, whales, palm trees – less is more with this one. Buy what you like, then take it home and play with different placing and EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. Take the time to remove any extra and unnecessary accessories. Choose a color palette and carry a swatch or a photo around with you so when you spot something you like, you can consider if it will work in the space.

Check out my Pinterest board here for tons of coastal style ideas!

Here’s a few of my favorite sources for Coastal Style Home Decor items:

Pottery Barn

Zulily

Birch Lane

The Iron Fish

Island Creek Designs

Joss & Main

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

DIY Upholstered Storage Ottoman

How to Build an Upholstered Storage Ottoman

How to build an upholstered storage ottoman

I have wanted an upholstered storage ottoman for a very long time. I was wondering if I could make a DIY upholstered storage ottoman. Several months [update: now years] ago, I was flipping through an issue of Fresh Home Magazine [very sad update: this magazine is no longer being published] and saw the plans for this ottoman.

Upholstered Storage Ottoman The plans seemed pretty simple so I tore out the article and filed it away in my “Book of Ideas/ Dreams” to be completed some other time. Recently, my husband has started to develop some woodworking skills and we’ve acquired a few basic tools, so I thought, “Hey, we can do this!”

We started by taking measurements that would work well with our existing sofa. It has a chaise on one end of it, and I like to refer to it as our “Chofa”. I needed something just the right height for feet with room to walk around and get in and out of the Chofa. After my husband had worked up some plans (good thing he’s good with math and a pencil – not me!), I was on the hunt for the perfect fabric. I knew I wanted something super durable and kid friendly, so I settled on checking out outdoor fabrics. After many trips to Joann Fabrics and some other local fabric stores, I found myself on fabric.com. They have a TON of stuff on there, and it easily gets overwhelming. I found this Richloom Jubilee Outdoor fabric for only $9 a yard!! [Update: this fabric is no longer available but they still have lots of great floral outdoor fabric options]

Richloom Jubilee outdoor fabric

I was super nervous to order fabric online, but I went for it! In a couple days, it had arrived.

Meanwhile, my husband was hard at work building the box.

Build a Storage Ottoman
He decided to work with Oak (a very hardwood) plywood because we knew we needed something that could withstand kids jumping all over it and slamming the top down repeatedly. Pretty soon, he had it fully assembled with these really cool barrel hinges that are completely hidden! (You can find them on Amazon Universal BH104 Soss Invisible Barrel Hinge)

Storage Ottoman Hinges

Then he attached the chain so the top doesn’t fall backwards every time you open it.

Storage Ottoman Build
Then it was my turn! I managed to attach a layer of batting (available at any fabric store) with my puny staple gun, but then called in the Big Guns (my Mom) to help with the fabric. I wasn’t quite sure how to join the fabric on one of the sides. I knew there would have to be a seam, but wasn’t sure if I had to use the sewing machine, or if there was a secret way. Turns out, there’s a secret way! Fold the fabric edge over a very thin piece of cardboard (we used a shoebox), wrap it with tacks on the inside, poking out, and hammer it to the ottoman! See?

How to Upholster a Storage Ottoman

upholstery2

upholstery3

All that’s left is to finish up stapling the fabric along the inside and underneath.

upholstery4

I bought some furniture legs at Home Depot, painted them the same color as our walls, using leftover paint…

Feet for the Ottoman

My husband screwed them in… and Voila! Simplest project ever! Here’s our cat checking it out [sad update: Mac is no longer with us] –

DIY Storage Ottoman

Here’s the finished product in its home –

DIY Storage Ottoman

We love it! The fabric is awesome, I have a TON left over, and it really adds fun color to our room. For the next one, we’ve learned that you should route the edge of the top with a roundover bit so you don’t get such a harsh lip. It’s a little hard on the calves when you put your feet up for awhile. I’ll be posting the update to this ottoman soon.

Have you done any projects life this? Any tips you picked up while you were working? Any fun blooper stories or accidents with the staple gun??

This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

5 Best Sunscreens For The Summer

The 5 best sunscreens

Here’s a round-up of the 5 Best Sunscreens; the 5 sunscreens you need this Summer (and 2 you probably shouldn’t waste your money on)

Summer is here! Prepare yourself with the proper sunscreens.

Summer Sunscreens

Take it from this Florida girl, who has had her fair share of sunburns. I’ve chosen my favorite sunscreen from each of my must-have sunscreen categories: lotion, spray, stick, kids, and faces. I usually keep all of them in a gallon size zip lock back that I just throw in my beach bag or stroller or whatever bag I’m using that day. If I’m travelling light, I’ll pick the one best suited for the occasion.

1) Best Lotion: NO-AD Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion, 16 Fl. Oz. – When I was a kid, we were told that this sunscreen was called No-Ad because they didn’t advertise their product, and therefore were able to keep the costs down. I don’t know if that still is, or ever was true, but it’s a good story. It’s also a good product. It’s a winner for your basic good coverage lotion sunscreen. It applies easily and stays on well and I’ve never been burnt when I’ve used it. The top also stays closed and I feel safe tossing it into my beach bag. Lotion is my go to for days at the beach or pool because the coverage is reliable and I believe it stays on longer than the sprays in the water.

2) Best spray: Banana Boat Sunscreen UltraMist Sport Performance Broad Spectrum Sun Care Sunscreen Spray – SPF 100, 6 Ounce –  this sunscreen is the best spray I’ve found. It won’t break the bank (you can usually find it for $8-$12), it doesn’t feel greasy at all and the spray itself is controlled enough that I don’t feel like I’m wasting a ton of it straight out into thin air. They say it’s SPF 100- I seriously doubt that. I have been told that there is no such thing as any SPF over 45, so it’s probably just marketing hype but that doesn’t matter. The product works. It’s easy to use. I suggest using it when you’re outside at an amusement park, or a sporting event. I don’t really trust sprays at the beach or pool as much as I trust a lotion or a stick, but that being said, I have used it at the pool and the beach and so far so good. It also has a locking cap so I can toss it in the bottom of a backpack and it will be just fine.

3) Best sunblock stick: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70, 1.5 Oz – Stick sunscreens are great, they are thick enough that it stays put, won’t run into eyes, perfect for faces and kids.  Feels sheer and light. You can even use it over your make-up! Personally, I find I use it mostly for my 18 month old’s face. It’s easy to smear on quickly while he’s squirming around and keeps him protected. Bonus- I use mine as Chap Stick to protect my lips from the sun.

5 Best Sunscreens4) Best for kids: WaterBABIES Pure + Simple Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 50 – 8 oz– this one contains Zinc Oxide, which is great for sun protection. It does have that white cream appearance until it gets rubbed in all the way, but the whiteness helps to see where you’ve got it on! Make sure you get the one that says “Pure & Simple”.

5) Best for faces: Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream SPF 35+. I have to thank Birchbox for this one. I never would’ve tried this brand had it not been included in one of my Birchboxes a while back. I love the fact that it’s a CC cream, so it has a little bit of color and coverage to it. The real reason I love it is because it is a great base for my foundation. The CC cream is a little bit sticky, which I think helps my makeup last all day (I use a full coverage cream foundation). No joke, it has lasted through sweating at the beach, swimming in the pool and a full day at an amusement park. Best thing about it is that it contains the SPF, which is great for my freckly pale skin. Honorable mention in this category is the Supergoop! Sun Defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadowfoam SPF 50. This is another one that came in my Birchbox, but I just got it last month so I haven’t had a chance to use it many times. First couple uses have made me happy so far!

And here’s 2 sunscreens you shouldn’t waste your money on:

Coola SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray – I really wanted to love this product. I use a makeup setting spray every day to keep my face in place, and one that has an SPF would be a Florida Girl’s dream come true. The problem with this one (in my experience) is that the spray nozzle clogged up early on and instead of applying a fine mist, it was more of a harsh stream that sprayed into my face. Also, for some reason it stung a little. It even made my eyes water, even though I didn’t get it anywhere near my eyes. I’m not ready to close the book on this one completely, I may have had a bad experience. But at $36.00 a bottle, I’m not sure it’s worth the risk.

Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock Spray SPF 30– this sounds like it would be a genius product but I didn’t find that it worked any better than any other sunblock spray. My original advice stands- if you’re going to be seriously in the sun, in and out of water, stay away from the sprays. They don’t provide enough cover and are unreliable. We have gotten burnt a few times using this product. Take the sunshine seriously, take the extra time to dry yourself off and properly reapply the right sunscreen. You won’t be sorry.

I hope you have found this post helpful. I know how frustrating it can be to buy sunscreens that don’t live up to their expectations, especially when they cost so much these days. Have you found a favorite?

This post contains affiliate links.