Lori Pickens

Click Pro Set Little Girl Jumping

10 Summer Essentials That Will Make Your Life Better

As the sun shines brighter and the days get longer, we know what’s on your mind – yes, it’s time to gear up for summer! Whether you’re a mom planning fun-filled activities for your little ones, or a photographer waiting to capture the golden summer hues, we’ve got you covered. With Amazon Prime Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to stock up on those summer essentials. But with countless products on sale, how do you decide what’s worth adding to your cart? Well, that’s where I come in!

In this blog post, I’ve handpicked 10 essential summer items that will not only enhance your sunny season but also help you seize the best deals of Amazon Prime Day. From outdoor games that promise hours of fun for your kids, to camera accessories that will level up your photography game, these must-haves are set to make your summer unforgettable.

But why take our word for it? As a mom and a photographer, I’ve personally tried and tested these items. Each one has a story to tell, a memory attached, and a summer experience enhanced. Curious to find out what these items are? Keep reading to discover the treasures we’ve unearthed from the vast ocean of Amazon Prime Day sales!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Bose Sound Link Speaker

We use this portable speaker just about every single day!  We love to take it out to our playset when I’m pushing my daughter on the swings or they are jumping on our trampoline.  I love to either set it up in my kitchen when I am cleaning or put it near the laundry room when I am folder or putting away clothes.  It’s also super great when we have get-togethers and can play background music when we have pool parties or sit around the fire pit in the evenings.  I also have to give a shout out to this thing’s durability!  My husband takes his (yes, we own two!) out when he does yard work and gets it dirty and the kids and I have accidentally left mine in the rain twice, but still sound amazing and connect to bluetooth like they were brand new.  It can also be super fun to bring to a photo session if you want to set the mood for a senior or loosen up kids at a family session.  I mean, who doesn’t love a good dance party?  

Click Community Photo Hunt List

I feel like I had lost a little bit of my creative spark and inspiration as we came off a busy spring and transitioned into our summer schedule. The Summer Photo Hunt has me buzzing with a whole slew of new ideas.  Plus it is always fun to get the kids involved in planning the shots, and they LOVE marking things off our list.  

Reusable Water Balloons

My kids and their friends love these darn things!  Like most kids, they love water balloons and while I found the quick-fill Bunch o Balloons lifechanging, my kids will burn through them in five minutes and quite frankly, those things aren’t cheap.  While scrolling IG one night, I saw an ad for reusable water balloons.  I bought a small 12 pack just to check out the quality, but the kids all loved them so much, I immediately bought another larger set.  They play with them a ton, both in the yard and in our pool  

iRobot Vacuum Cleaner

Our summer schedule is crazy busy!  Not quite like Maycember and it’s 8 million scheduled activities, but we want to make the most of our long summer days, pool weather and time with the kids at home.  All that does not leave as much time for housework and this little guy has been such a time saver.  We named ours Geoffrey (like the butler from Fresh Prince), and he does a great job keeping our floors at least feeling clean.  Kids track in sand from the sand box or just dirt from their shoes, even just dust the piles up in the hallway and good ole Geoffrey takes care of all of it for me.  It’s also a great incentive to keep the floors tidy, because I will often give the kids a 10 minute warning to make sure all legos, beads, cords are up and off the ground before I set Geoffrey loose.  This is actually the third one we have owned – Geoffrey 3.0 as the kids like to say.  This one is a little noisier than the second one we own, but I love that it connects to the wifi and app on my phone, so I can either schedule him to run when we leave or start him from my phone if we are out and about.  

Freezer Pops

We got through a giant bag of these things every week!  I love that they are less messy than a melting popsicle on a stick!  We get the Kroger Fruity Freezer Pop brand that include a pina colada flavor that is a-mazing!  

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo

On days that I don’t work out or don’t want to wash my hair, this is my go-to!  My amazing Mentor friend Dana told me about it, and I have never used another dry shampoo since.  It’s also really great on my daughter’s hair in between washes or when her hair has dried outside after swimming in the pool.  

Wet Brush Detangler

And while we are on the subject of my daughter’s hair, I cannot tell you how much we love these Wet Brush Detanglers.  I think we own just about all of the different Disney princesses at this point, but I keep one in each bathroom, one in my car, one in my purse.  They just make fixing my daughter’s hair so much easier and do a fantastic job when she’s just out of the pool or shower.  I will note that we bought most of ours from our hairdresser Maggie because not only do we like to support local businesses when we can, but it’s also a super fun tradition for my daughter to look through Maggie’s collection of characters when we go to see if she has any new ones we don’t have yet. 


Taylor Swift’s Cruel Summer

Any fellow Swifties out there?  This song – and her NEW SINGLE – is my favorite summer jam.  If you have been to her Eras tour, please tell me all about it in the comments so I can live vicariously.  

Marco Polo 

Marco Polo is a video chat app that lets you stay connected to all of your photo besties – stress free.  You leave a message for them, and they can listen to it and respond whenever it is convenient for them.  Let’s face it, mom life is crazy, and making time to schedule phone calls with my friends – many, thanks to this community, that live in different places around the world, can be a little difficult.  There is also just something so heartwarming about hearing my friend’s voice or seeing her face that can’t be replaced with texting.  

Outsourced Photo Editors

For a little over a year now, I have been outsourcing all of my client work to editors.  I used services like Image Salon, and also occasionally use AfterShoot AI editing for my bulk or first pass edits, but the real game changer has been finding private photo editors that I work with consistently and love!  It took awhile, and I went through some that weren’t reliable or weren’t a good fit, but I actually have two now that I adore.  I had back to back wedding weekends in June, and just last week, as we were sitting poolside, my husband asked if I had photo stuff that I HAD to get done tonight.  I happily said, “Nope, everythings already been sent off to my editors.” I had to adjust my pricing slightly to accommodate this extra expense, and might have slightly lower profit margins now, but I can tell you the peace of mind and extra time it has made in my weekly schedule is worth it ten times over.  Not to mention, that I am heading into the fall season knowing that my workflows and systems are all set up to keep my stress levels minimized with a busy booking schedule.  

If you’d like to chat more about how I found my editors, the workflow process or any other questions about it, feel free to ask away.  I’m an open book and love to help others find balance in their schedules.  

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