Dressed for: Reading in the Park

Already Pretty outfit featuring Eileen Fisher navy tunic, cropped jeans, Miz Mooz sandals, Dana LeBlanc agate necklace

Tunic, Eileen Fisher (no longer available) – similar
Cropped jeans –  Gap – cropped by my scissors – similar
Sandals, courtesy Miz Mooz (no longer available) – similar
Necklace, Dana LeBlanc 
Earrings, courtesy AWE Designs
Wrap bracelet, Quince – similar

I wore this casual, comfy ensemble for an afternoon of reading in a nearby park with Husband Mike. It was a lovely, cool day and I felt marvelously relaxed … until the mosquitoes attacked. My poor, exposed ankles and feet got the worst of it, but one managed to sneak in and bite me right where my bra band hits. Be grateful you’re not hanging around me right now. I’m a crabby, itchy mess.

Do you deal with mosquitoes where you live? Got any bite remedies to share?

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  • Kate

    I love that tunic. Eileen Fisher is kind of a dream for me. Love the look, but not sure most of it would work for me, plus it’s pretty spendy. Have perused ebay. How does sizing run compared to Banana Republic or Ann Taylor?

    • Sal

      Generally, Eileen Fisher sizing runs really big … but it can vary quite a bit, unfortunately. Check or request measurements from those eBay sellers!

  • Elizabeth

    This is going to sound weird, but try toothpaste on the bites. My sister swears by it!

  • Elizabeth

    calamine lotion

  • Marsha Calhoun

    Prevention: Apply Avon Skin-So-Soft to skin before exposure; also, burn citronella candles (maybe not in the park!).
    Post-bite: Pat each bite with a bit of dampened baking soda. I have also been known to put vinegar on them (I put vinegar on almost everything). Don’t dampen the soda with the vinegar unless you are seeking a foamy moment.

  • Viktoria

    Vodka. On the bites and orally (one small shot), with beetroot soup, which is basically liquid antibiotics/miracle cure.

  • Erika A

    Soak the affected body parts in ice water (or apply ice), then put either witch hazel or dish soap on each bite.

  • Erika

    I’m going to be trying some of these solutions as I’m allergic to insect bites – and have yet to find a replacement for an awesome figwort/cider vinegar ointment which became unavailable several years ago.

    Other options that may work for you (particularly if you don’t swell up into huge lumps at each bite site): hot compress (whack a damp facecloth in the microwave), as hot as you can bear without burning yourself. Neat tea-tree oil or lavender oil (be careful with the tea-tree, it will irritate if you overdo it). Don’t know if it’s available in the US, but RID is a good repellent and treatment (http://www.rid.com.au/faq.htm) plus there’s also a tropical version.

    Lovely overshirt!

  • Jen F

    I hate mosquito bites! Benadryl cream or ice are my only remedies. Cortisone does nothing for me.

  • Very cool reading attire! I use witch hazel and it helps a lot.

  • A cotton ball with rubbing alcohol might give some relief! Oh what is the point of mosquitoes?!

    • Anna

      Mosquitoes feed the birds! We pay a relatively small price for that loveliness.

    • Galena

      I agree with the rubbing alcohol – it dries out the bite and keeps it from itching better than benadryl for me, and I am SUPER allergic to mosquito bites so they get very big and very inflamed. It also helps them shrink and go away more quickly.

  • If you haven’t scratched the bites open, put Tiger Balm on them. You can get it at walmart or any grocery store. It’s a “muscle rub”, but it’s got the exact same ingredients as Burt’s Bees insect bite stick only in greater concentration. And the tingling makes the itch stop, but the ingredients actually bring down the swelling and help heal. I’ve been using it on all sorts of bites all summer. Bugs LOVE me. (Example in today’s post about last night’s spider)

  • Yan

    A friend of mine swears by dead sea salt soap, which I haven’t tracked down locally yet. But mosquitoes and other biting things love me, so I’m going to order online.

  • Kathryn

    Jewelweed– it probably grows in your park. For just a few bites, you can break off stems and dab the fluid from the plant on the mosquito bite. I’ve also extracted it in oil and made lotion out of it (works for poison ivy too).

  • GreatCanadianBeagle

    You look wowzers! That tunic is such an amazing colour 🙂

    For the mosquito bites, I use an AfterBite stick. It’s a white pen looking thing with orange writing, available at most drugstores I’ve seen. I believe the active ingredient is some sort of ammonia compound based on the smell, but it works like a magic wand! And it lasts forever….I’ve had one since the turn of the century and it’s still going.


    Hey, found it!

  • CC

    Oh, honey, I live in Eastern Arkansas where we grow tons of rice which equals mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds! (Almost) 😉 I carry a Benedryl itch stick in my purse and have about four in the house in various locations. There is no escaping them around here. 😉 The itch sticks work pretty well and are reasonably priced. 😉

  • Natalie

    I like calamine lotion. The key for me, though, is covering the bites in band-aids so (a) the bites don’t rub up against anything, which causes them to itch more and (b) it’s a lot harder to scratch. Once I get out of the omg-I-have-to-scratch-or-I’ll-go-crazy cycle, I’m fine. Scratching releases histamines, which makes the bites itch worse! The best way to get out and stay out of that cycle is to keep the bites from being irritated or rubbed by anything accidentally.

  • Aziraphale

    I’m fascinated by all these suggestions for dealing with mosquito bites. My favourite is the one from Viktoria that involves vodka. I’ll be trying that if I ever go camping again!

    My suggestion is to move to Vancouver, Canada. Head them off at the pass! I can’t remember the last time I had a mosquito bite.

    • Sal

      Hahaha. Love it, Aziraphale! Oh to live in a mosquito-free zone.

  • I use aromatherapy products for lots of things, Espec. for bugs – they like me Way too much! Mosquito bites espec., welt up on me. And Crazy Itch. So I Always have Lavender Essential Oil with me / on hand. I wouldn’t recommend using it straight tho’ [even tho’ I have ;} ] for safety should Always dilute every essential oil use.
    For keeping the things away to begin with, again I use essential oils. Natures Gift [ http://www.naturesgift.com ] has great info’ and help, and quick shipping. I have used for years.
    here’s info’ about her keep bugs away formula that she mixes –

    And check out her other info’ on how to treat bites etc… [can search her site fairly easily – come across great info’ 😉 ]


    Good luck! And Great outfit!

  • FiaFideli

    Over the counter antihistamines that contains loratadine, for example Clarityne here in Europe. (Don’t know if you have it in the U.S.)
    One 10mg tablet stops the itch within the hour. One tablet a day for one or two days usually does the trick for me.

  • I’ve become quite a good mosquito assassin, but that doesn’t really help when they’ve sneak-attacked. I usually take an antihistamine to help with the swelling, and try to remember to slap the bites when they itch (rather than scratching them).

  • I’ve been told that scotch tape over the bite will cut off oxygen to the skin there and stop the itching- but I couldn’t find my scotch tape for my last bite, so I don’t know myself yet. Otherwise- ice/frozen vegetables Or something very hot (one stops the reaction temporarily, the other uses up the available histamines or whatnot so that it itches horridly for a little while, then won’t itch again for some hours).

  • Ammonia neutralizes the enzymes that mosquitoes have in their saliva (ew!), vastly reducing the body’s histamine reaction. There is a product called “After Bite” that is basically ammonia in an easy-to-use pen-type applicator. Look for it near the calamine lotion. Costs about $2-$3, lasts for years.

    It works great if you use it right after bitten; much less effective later. I have one with me all the time. The skinny tube fit easily in my purse.

    Other insects use different chemicals to annoy you, but After Bite is great for skeeters. Of course, you can use regular ammonia, too, but it’s tricky to carry around.

    Oh, and since we last tweeted about bugs, I got a cluster of 8-10 No-See-Um bites on my neck! I’m never going outside again 🙁

  • Jessica Schiermeister

    My grandmother makes her own bug spray. I will try to remember to get the ingredients for you — it works and smells better than store-bought bug spray.

  • Sal

    You all rock. I shall never be itchy again!

  • Dee

    Sal, I jsut heard on the TV today that West Nile virus is rampant this summer, is it a problem up there? Its caused by (some) mosquito bites as you probably know. I don’t know anything else about it except it can be very dangerous – its the first thing I thought of when you mentioned getting bitten. I just say this as a precaution! I live near Chicago and although they keep saying mosquitos are a problem here I really have not noticed it, and I am outside a lot. I think the drier air have kept them more at bay this summer. I am sorry your nice afternoon got ruined by the bugs!

    • Sal

      I don’t think it’s been too bad around here, Dee, but I’ll keep vigilant!

  • Diana

    Love that tunic! I must get me some Eileen Fisher…

    Re: the mosquito bites. This is going to sound REALLY WEIRD but I swear it works. Use your hair dryer to blow hot air at the bites until they start to hurt (for some reason, the bites start to hurt before normal skin does, so you won’t get burned, I promise). It might hurt/itch briefly when you’re doing it, but they remain blissfully itch-free for hours afterwards. It’s the same idea that some people say to take a really hot shower, but a lot more efficient and works better in my opinion.

  • Anonymous

    For warding off those pesky ‘skeeters’ I have two suggestions – only one of which I have personally tried.

    1) Dryer sheets. Rub one over the edges of your clothing and any exposed skin. Apparently something in the smell wards them off – and YOU don’t wind up smelling like bug spray!

    2) Vanilla. This one I can wholeheartedly endorse. I am one of those people who are unluckily “highly attractive” to mosquitoes and will have half a dozen bug bites when no one else in the group has gotten any. Last summer a friend told us about this and I have tried it out several times and NEVER had a bite. Rub vanilla on exposed skin and under edges of clothing. You’ll smell like a sugar cookie (which is far better than citronella!) and the mosquitoes will leave you alone. I’ve been meaning to purchase a vanilla body spray and see if that works as effectively but haven’t done it yet.

  • Becca


    No, seriously. Rub a little vanilla extract (it can even be the imitation kind) on your exposed skin and those pesky skeeters will leave you alone. I’m “highly attractive” to bugs and it works like a charm for me.

    I keep meaning to buy a cheap vanilla-scented body spray and see if it is as effective.

    Supposedly dryer sheets have the same results. And frankly, I’d rather smell “spring fresh” or like a sugar cookie than like citronella or bug spray any day!

  • Tori

    In West Texas, the mosquitos are generally not too bad- but this year we are having a problem with them in our house! We have to lather my poor three year old in (all natural) bug spray or else she wakes up with 10 bites 🙁 We don’t have standing water and assume they are coming from the drains- but we don’t know how to get rid of them.

  • Loreen

    Hi Sal! I love how you pull together pieces that are similar to what I have in my closet but have never thought about pairing. This outfit is a another example of something I’ll have to try.

    Like you, I’m fair-skinned. I used to think my pale skin made me a prime target for mosquitoes. I also have a lot of blue in my wardrobe. It turns out that mosquitoes love dark colors, but they especially love blue.

    I would never tell you to avoid blue or dark colors, so if preventive measures don’t work and you don’t have a Benadryl stick handy, you can rub antiperspirant on a bite to quickly stop or reduce itching and swelling. (I can always find room in my purse for a travel size antiperspirant stick.) Most antiperspirants go on clear, and you’ll have no residue.