My favorite summertime activity? Beer festivals. There's nothing better than a gorgeous, sunny day hanging out, sampling brews, and talking beer with fest friends. With so many beer festivals under my belt, I decided to share my tried and true essentials to ensure that you, too, survive summer beer fest season in style.
1. An Easy, Breezy Dress
A dress is an entire outfit in one easy swoop. Since Iowa summertime involves sweltering sunshine and horrendously high humidity, I reach for lightweight fabrics and a comfortable cut. I like sleeveless because I have enough Iowa showing without a farmer's tan. And pretty patterns make me feel pulled together even when dripping with sweat and slightly tipsy.
2. Sweet Sunnies
Whatever you do, don't forget you sunglasses! The sun gets bright. The beer goes to your head. And a bit of shade over your lovely eyes will help keep throbbing headaches at bay and prevent squinting.
3. Crossbody Bag
The purse might be the trickiest accessory to choose for a beer fest. There's a fine line between too bulky and too itty-bitty. A medium sized bag is usually best – big enough for your survival items, but small enough that you're not bumping into fellow beer drinkers with it. 'Cause that's a festival foul.
4. Trusty Water Bottle
Basically, your bag needs to be big enough for this baby. Bring a water bottle. Sometimes beer fests provide free bottled water and/or cups to get free water... but err on the safe side by bringing your own. It's so important to stay hydrated between all of the beer samples. Just stash an empty water bottle in your bag and fill it up at the fest.
5 & 6. A Pencil and Notebook
While most beer fests provide some sort of brewery/brew listing along with a pen or pencil, it's not always the easiest task to take notes on a text-heavy pamphlet. Whether you're a pro taster or a budding beer nerd, it's a good idea to keep a small notebook on hand to jot down your favorite beers. Even though you tell yourself that you'll be able to remember your favorites, you'll forget. I promise. So if you love, record it.
7. Serious Sun Protection
This one is so important and (like the water bottle) to keep you healthy. Don't just rub on the sunscreen before you hit up the festival. Toss your sunscreen bottle into your bag so that you have it with you when you've sweat it off or start to notice that missed spot burning.
8. Double Duty Deodorant
Deodorant pulls double duty for festivals. First, it keeps the body odor at bay – well, your body odor at least. You can reapply it your underarms to feel refreshed late into the sweaty afternoon. Second, solid deodorant has the amazing ability to prevent chaffing. If you're like me and lack the renowned thigh gap, walking around all day in sticky summer weather gets pretty uncomfortable. And a rather than pass up the luxury of wearing a nice, cool dress... just apply some deodorant to your inner thighs. It sounds weird, but it's one of the best summer beauty tips I was ever given.
9. Handy Hair Tie
While I love showing off sexy, beachy, wavy hair during the summer, sometimes a girl (especially a girl with a thick head of hair) gets hot. Have a hair tie or two handy to avoid messing with your sweaty hair all afternoon. Put your hair up and drink up!
10. Long, Lush Eyelashes
Keep your makeup simple and summery for the beer fest. Repetitively drinking from a glass will smudge your bright red lipstick. The sun will sweat off your foundation and powder and blush and eye shadow. So go light and go natural, but amp up what you can: your eyes. Some thick black eyelashes work wonders. Bonus points for the waterproof stuff.
11. Fabulous Finger Nails
Since you're going easy on the makeup and forgoing the cherry hued lips, bring a pop of color to your look with bright nails instead. Plus, your Instagrams will look so much more enviable when your little beer sample glass is framed by bold red nails.
12. Strappy Sandals
Comfy should be your top priority, followed closely by safety. So ditch the wedges and any sort of heel – beer has been known to cause loss of balance. Skip the flip flops – they're comfy, but prone to breaking or getting lost and a beer fest is no place for bare feet. I usually opt for strappy or gladiator sandals. They're comfortable, secure, and often very cute.