Each year as the weather warms and children are unleashed from the confines of their classrooms, masses of moms prepare for their kids' departure to summer camp.
Last year was my son's first experience at overnight camp and I've listened to endless tales of "epic" hikes, nightly bonfires and long days spent riding horses and shooting arrows into things. I'm longing for someone to open a summer camp for moms.
But since I'm left packing the bag, I've tracked down some summer camp-inspired gear that will at least allow us moms to assume the role of happy campers, too.
I just discovered these ultra lightweight checkered shirts at L.L. Bean and they scream to be knotted in front over a white tank top or worn alone in all their Mary Ann-from-Gilligan's Island glory. Pair one with white jeans or rolled up denims and you are the picture of campfire girl chic. I think these shirts are perfect for shuffling your kids from camptivity to camptivity this summer or for a festive cookout in the backyard. $34.50, llbean.com
I dig anything called a satchel. Add the classic style of a Native American blanket and a place to put lipstick and I'm all in. I think this is the ideal cross-body bag for all of our summertime debris. It comes in two colors, brown and red. I think one must go red. $39.99, Urban Outfitters
If you're a mom, you make lists. And while you may now do most of your memos digitally, sometimes you just need paper. These vintage agricultural memo books are a down and dirty way to keep track of your daily grind, from crops you need to harvest to treasures you find just below the surface. Comes in a set of three journals, one lined, one with graph paper and one blank. $12, curiosityshoppeonline.com
Walk softly and carry a big stick (for s'mores). I bought a pair of these fantastically comfy moccasins in the North Woods of Wisconsin a few summers ago and they're still my go-to summer fun shoe. Paired with white cropped denims, summer skirts, shorts or rolled up jeans, they add instant woodsy charm to your urban/suburban adventures. They come in a bunkhouse of colors, but I'm partial to the classic light brown. Go ahead girls, get your Pocahontas ON! $39.99, Zappos.com
This bit of Robin Hood bling adds playful whimsy to any get-up. They're from a brilliant little site called The Curiosity Shoppe. $16, curiosityshoppeonline.com
I adore the look of hair pulled back in a bandana, but I often end up looking like I'm 6 or a rapper with a messed up doo-rag. That's why I'm loving these no-fail bandana headbands. Tons of colors to choose from and no assembly required. Done. $7.99, onlybandanas.com
If you haven't wandered into Renegade Handmade in Chicago's Wicker Park, you are missing some serious awesome. Named for the Renegade Craft Fair, this shop is home to one-of-a-kind goods, including these stunning Birch Bark Cuff bracelets. Save this knotty bobble for a grown-up garden party or summer date night. $45, Renegade Handmade, 1924 W. Division St., Chicago. renegadehandmade.com