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  • Writer's pictureKristen Garaffo

My Late Summer Pool Bag Essentials (and pool day self-care tips!)

Happy August, Happy Summer!

To me, August usually heralds the beginning of Fall. Even though it’s still way too early for pumpkins imo, I can’t help but get a little excited for cooler weather and all that fall encompasses.


This summer is not the usual summer I’m used to, especially after summer 2020. This year I’m still hanging on to the warmth, the longer days, and the colors - all of a sudden my wardrobe got a bit more colorful this season! I want to enjoy this summer for as long as I can.

Summer self-care for me is an afternoon at the pool. It's intentional time when my work day is over, and it’s a time to relax and unwind. I don’t have any kids, so I’m not packing a ton of stuff in my pool bag or watching little ones, but I believe you can still find pockets of peace at the pool whether you’re there by yourself or with loved ones. I’m excited to share some pool day rituals, how to make the most of your self-care at the pool, and share the essentials I love for my pool bag! It’s taken me a bit of time to really find products that I truly love (I’m looking at you, non-toxic sunscreen!) and I hope you find this blog is helpful as you soak up the tail-end of summer!

Lather Up in Non-Toxic Sunscreen

I’ll admit, I freaked out a little bit when I heard about the recent Johnson and Johnson sunscreen recall, and remembered traveling to Costa Rica for the first time and learning that not all sunscreen is created equal (my group at a retreat center was told why my brand of sunscreen was toxic for myself and the ocean and I felt TERRIBLE because it was the only sunscreen I packed and I didn’t know and I couldn’t buy more and AGH I'M SO SORRY). It’s taken me a while to find a brand that I love that doesn’t leave a hefty white cast - and Bask suncare is IT. You can read my full review here, both the lotion and the non-aerosol spray are gorgeous.

For my face, I am OBSESSED with Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen. I was getting Instagram ads for it all the time and everyone seems to be talking about it and I get it now. I originally bought some cerave face sunscreen and it made me look like a ghost, but Supergoop goes on clear, smells nice, and is super soft. I think I gasped the first time I tried it because I wasn’t expecting the texture to be so silky. Definitely lives up to the hype.

Put On A Cute Suit, A Cute Hat, and Cute Shades

For a self-care day, I want to look cute. Bathing suit shopping is probably my least favorite thing to do in the world, but Aerie swim has taken away so much of my dread because their suits are super flattering and adorable. My favorite suit is the Jacquard Longline Scoop Bikini Top with Ribbed Crossover High Cut Cheeky Bikini Bottom and I get compliments every time I wear it. Yes! These black aviators go with basically everything, and my new favorite thing is this cutie straw hat. It rolls up, so it doesn’t take up a bunch of room in my bag, and I love that I can have a high pony on the top of my head lol. I love the back too because of the bow! Honestly, one of my favorite purchases of the summer. (I have the beige brown one!)

Pool Day Self-Care Rituals: Find the Perfect Spot and Relax!

Now that you’re lathered in sunscreen and looking cute, find a spot and have a seat. This is where the self-care choose your own adventure begins - here are some of my favorite ways to relax by the pool.


I never read more than I do over the summer. My favorite read this season was Suleika Jaouad's gorgeous memoir, Between Two Kingdoms, where she shares her story about being diagnosed with leukemia to living cancer-free. Perhaps my enneagram 4 is showing, I tried reading some other beach reads and just couldn’t get into them, but this one hooked me right from the start.

Visualize and Manifest

Ok, hear me out on this one. I think the pool is the perfect place to daydream - and why not daydream about living your best life and how you want the rest of the year to pan out! You’re at the pool and hopefully already feeling chill and relaxed - it’s the perfect time to visualize yourself achieving those goals and celebrating. Put your earbuds in and pick a song that makes you feel amazing, close your eyes and visualize anything that you want. I tend to like music without words when I do this - Hounded by Wild Heart is my absolute favorite song to visualize too!


My other favorite thing to do at the pool is literally nothing. I relax. I people watch. I dose off. I get in the pool when I get too hot. I dry off, and hop back in when I get hot again. Most of my pool days are solo, but I love going to the pool with girlfriends. TBH, you don’t really need a step by step guide on what to do at the pool, you know how to fill your tank! Do what’s gonna make you happy and enjoy!

As always, you can shop this post by clicking on the images below, and they're linked above as well! These are affiliate links, thank you for supporting my blog!


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