11 Little Buys We Can't Live Without This Summer

Remember when you were ticking off the days on the calendar until summer? Well, now that the season's actually here — along with the heat and humidity — the novelty of neon-bright nail polish and splashy bikinis has slightly worn off. Don't get us wrong, we'll still be dashing off every summer Friday, but it's going to take more than just a thermos of ice-cold lemonade to get us through the dog days.

In the spirit of making it through the season in style, we asked Refinery29 staffers to share the essentials they rely on most. And what we learned was that R29ers are nothing if not inventive: From soothing sun-parched skin with a facial oil to stocking up on toilet-seat covers (it's not what you think), we've put together the summer arsenal you need. Bring on the heat.
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American Apparel Bike Shorts
"I usually wear these bike shorts under my little summer dresses for comfort and hygiene reasons. There's something about sitting on a subway with bare thighs that just feels icky. Furthermore, before I started wearing bike shorts, I flashed my undies to half of New York thanks to subway grates and surprise summer winds. One time, it happened when I was walking past Robert De Niro. I've never quite gotten over it."
— Kelsey Miller, Senior Features Writer
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"There's nothing more essential for summer than a pair of sunglasses. I love everything about this pair from Krewe, from the classic cat-eye shape to the super-cool blue gradient lenses. I've somehow managed not to lose or break these babies since I got them about a year ago — pretty good, considering I average two broken pairs of sunglasses each summer."
— Jada Wong, Assistant Beauty Editor, Brand Experiences
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Stumptown Coffee Cold Brew
"I will gladly pay the cash for a cold-brew coffee with almond milk from Stumptown. It tastes incredible and gives me that instant rush to get through the day."
— Maria Del Russo, Beauty Writer
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A Canvas Tote Bag
"Summer means lots of walking around the city, which leads to impromptu shopping and hangouts. I always carry a tote big enough to carry my life in — extra shoes and top, a blanket to lay on, deodorant, bandages, sunblock, snacks, and a water bottle — plus room for anything I might pick up along my way. I've been rocking the same tote every summer since 2009, and whenever I break it out of storage, I feel like summer has officially arrived."
— Brittnee Cann, QA Team Lead
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Facial Oil

"My mom lives 10 minutes from the Jersey Shore, so that's where I spend most of my weekends in the summer. I'm pretty careful in the sun these days (sunscreen, floppy hat, sunglasses, big umbrella — check!), but my skin always needs extra TLC after a full beach day. I love using a natural facial oil, like Olay Regenerist Luminous Facial Oil, post-shower. My skin sucks it right up, and it feels incredibly soothing."
— Erica Metzger, Freelance Beauty Writer

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Saltwater Sandals
"To survive a summer in NYC, you definitely need a pair of sandals that can handle anything and everything and still look cute. My favorites are Saltwater sandals. They're waterproof, so you can get stuck out in a rainstorm and you'll be fine."
— Jennifer Refat, Senior Front End Engineer, Web

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A Convertible Backpack/Beach Chair
"This backpack beach chair is super-easy to carry around in the city. Although not the most fashionable or maneuverable in a subway turnstile, it's definitely practical! Plus, it's way better than fighting for blanket space when lounging in the park with friends."
— Amanda Mulligan, Account Manager
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Dark Sky
"Dark Sky is the only app I've ever actually paid for — it's a whopping $4 — but it's so worth it. The app gives minute-to-minute weather updates and extremely accurate rain predictions up to an hour ahead of any other weather forecaster. I've dodged a lot of freak summer storms thanks to this one."
— Lily Di Costanzo, Associate Lifestyle Editor, Brand Experiences
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A Park Blanket
"I like to spend my weekends reading and people-watching in McCarren Park, so I can't survive summer without a great park blanket. Currently, I'm coveting this one from Caroline Z Hurley."
— Bethie Girmai, Assistant Stylist
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Goody Ouchless Black Ribbon Elastics
"In the summer, I love these 'crease-less' hair ties. I always have one on my wrist or in my purse for those too-hot subway commutes or windy rooftop happy hours. They keep my hair from sticking to my neck, without that dreaded crease afterward. So when I finally cool down, I can give my hair a shake and go right back to my signature beachy waves."
— Alyssa Coscarelli, Assistant Editor, Contributor Network
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Toilet-Seat Covers
"A makeup artist taught me this amazing trick a few years ago. When it's a horrible, humid NYC summer day, and you're shiny AF going into a meeting or date, duck into the bathroom, pull a toilet-seat cover from the dispenser, and get to blotting. Lighter than tissue or TP, toilet-seat covers will absorb any shiny spots without ruining your makeup. Just don't do this at the dinner table."
—Tanya Edwards, Weekend Editor