My love affair with the beach began while I was still in diapers. Born in Eastern North Carolina with a Dad who grew up spending summers frequenting Cherry Grove, Myrtle Beach and OD and a Mom who spent her childhood summers in pluff mud, salt marshes along Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach, it was natural that I’d be whisked to the Atlantic Ocean before I could walk. So what do I pack for a day at the beach?
The chair is key. I love a good sand chair, one that is perfect to sit in the water with the tide. Umbrella and straw mat are other necessities. I typically grab a grass mat at the local beach store. They tend to cost around $3.00 and are great for lying on to sunbathe. They also serve as a place for the cooler, beach bag and other assorted items to avoid dumping everything in the sand. As gorgeous as the Carolina coast is with that sugar white sand, I try to avoid bringing it home with me.
Next up is a cooler packed with ice, drinks, sandwiches and a spray bottle of water. There is nothing better to cool off with than ice water. I love Evian but there are multiple options that include just a drugstore pump spray filled with water. I keep a bottle of Evian in the refrigerator so I always have one cold for tennis and the beach or pool.
My beach bag filled to the brim with all those things one needs – sunglasses, sunscreen, towels, goldfish, my kindle and my iPod. This year I’ve got a new beach bag, the Goyard Belharra. I am loving it. It is easy to stuff with everything I want for a day walking along the beach, reading in the sun, and swimming in the ocean. See my post from last summer for What’s in My Beach Bag.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever anticipated a summer as much as I anticipated this one. Snow in April was my undoing. I love all four seasons but I was ready for a spring that never quite seemed to arrive. This made me long for summer and it is here!
Hot days, warm nights, long walks on the beach and visits with family and friends are all on my schedule for this summer. The pace seems slower in the summer; time to enjoy life in a way I don’t seem to manage in the rest of the year.
I’m prepping for the summer. Here is my checklist:
- Mani/Pedi in preparation for flip flops and shorts
- A case of new tennis balls as I plan to spend hours on the court.
- 50 sunscreen – I’m serious about sunscreen. I go with 50 for most of the summer and titanium dioxide as an ingredient. I love to spend time in the sun either walking, playing tennis, or spending time on the beach or at the pool but I don’t want to risk skin cancer so it is time to lather on the sun screen.
- Sisley Lavender body scrub for the shower. Nothing like it to make you feel great post outing and make the bath smell wonderful.
- A visit to the bookstore and audible for beach reads. Audio books are a must as it is a drive to the coast.
- Review beach gear – suits, hat, and bag to see if new additions or replacements are required.
- Trip to the farmer’s market for fresh veggies!
What is on your summer prep checklist?
To any golf enthusiast The Masters or Augusta National is an event not to miss. There is something magical about the place. The sport of people watching is second only to the main attraction of golf. I’ve been fortunate to score badges for several years and confess to loving the four days, rain or shine.
Masters etiquette is placed at a premium. You arrive early in the morning, hopefully to warm but not too hot weather and an absence of rain. Parking is provided for thousands and you make your way through security. Might I suggest that the guys in Georgia can give the guys at LaGuardia a lesson or two. You are greeted as a valued guest with a Welcome to the Masters and Have a great day. This is not simply a pro forma greeting but they mean it and you will.
Cameras and all digital devices are prohibited with the penalty being permanent loss of badges. If only there were more places that had such a strict rule about digital devices! Can I tell you how wonderful it is to be away from the attention demanding device? I am always a bit sad about the absence of a camera. The place is spectacular; not a flower petal or blade of grass out-of-place. They are even known to move fully grown trees around – I mean the 100 foot kind. Better yet, they provide everything you will need from banks of phones to make calls and carefully designed and placed seating for a day of watching the best of the best.
In a day and time where one can spend a fortune for a coke and bag of popcorn at the movies, The Masters is easy on the pocketbook. The best pimento cheese or egg salad sandwich you will ever eat will cost you all of $1.50 and a sausage or chicken biscuit for breakfast is similarly priced.
Packing for a visit is key. It can be cool suggesting pants and it can be hot suggesting a golf style skirt. You will want a pullover and sunglasses. I recommend a small bag for a bit of cash and the absolute minimum of essentials like lip gloss or a bit of sunscreen and eye drops. The size of bags is restricted so it is time to embrace the minimalist approach.
Go, chat, make some new friends and simply enjoy a beautiful place.
The fun in a weekend get away is not having to work while you are getting away. At the same time you want to eat and eat well so what is the answer to the question? I have two favorite make ahead breakfast items that I make, freeze and take with me. Both are perfect for the guest who gets up early and the guest who sleeps in late.
Take one pound hot Italian sausage (either pork or chicken will do) and fry it until it is done. In a separate bowl empty two jars of Kraft Old English cheese. Scoop the done sausage hot from the pan and pour over the cheese. Let the heat of the cooked sausage melt the cheese as you stir the two together to combine the sausage and the cheese into a spread.
Take one package of English muffins and slice each muffin in half. On a cookie sheet spread the sausage and cheese topping on top of half of an English muffin. Pop tray of muffins into freezer and wait to serve. When you are ready to serve, pop the now frozen muffin into the microwave or the oven to heat until bubbly. In the microwave eat for about 30 seconds.
Dice onions, green pepper, and tomatoes and sauté them in olive oil in a fry pan. Do the same for prosciutto. Set vegetables and prosciutto aside. In a bowl add six eggs, salt, half a teaspoon of lemon juice, and several dashes of hot sauce. Whisk together. Add in half a coup of grated cheddar cheese and whisk again. In a cupcake pan, preferably a silicon one, add the vegetables and meat into each cup then pour the egg and cheese mixture over the vegetables. The egg mixture should reach the top of each cup. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes. Once done let cool. Pop each mini frittata out and place in a ziplock bag. Microwave to reheat when ready to serve.
A good friend of mine always worries about the airline losing her bag. I’ve never fully considered this until my most recent trip overseas. On a trip that was jinxed from the start and when everything one might imagine going wrong does, what do you do when you finally sink down in a chair in your hotel room with only your carry-on and a blizzard outside?
By the time I arrived at the hotel, I was exhausted. I normally sleep on an overnight flight but sleep eluded me on this flight. Then the re-booked connecting flights, the train, the weather and the new destination of London. All I wanted was a hot bath and a change of clothes. Of course the majority of my clothes were on a holiday of their own – if only my bag could speak.
In my carry-on bag, I had basic essentials. My makeup bag, brush, toiletries, a wrap I always include in case the flight is cold. It always is. Things were not looking good for me. While the idea of shopping for a new outfit is normally appealing, I’d been up for over twenty-four hours, there was a blizzard outside, and evening was quickly approaching. A quick word with the concierge and I was out the door to procure essentials. Just down the block was a chain store. I ducked into it delighted to find a clearance sale. That might be interesting. I grabbed a cotton tank, a long sleeve white tee, and a pair of leggings.
Next up was the pharmacy. While I had the majority of my toiletries, I still needed a couple of things. This was beginning to be fun. I had no clue what one would find in a London pharmacy in travel size containers. I grabbed what I needed and journeyed on to one more store for socks. I desperately wanted to get out of my shoes and socks to the point it was becoming an obsession with me.
Essentials procured, I was back to the hotel for a wonderful dinner and most importantly a hot bath.
Three days later, my bag finally arrived; a bit worse for the wear.
I am happy to say, I love my new purchases. They were serendipitous and basic but they worked with what I had. The tee and tank were wonderfully soft. I was able to pair them with the sweater I had in my bag and the cardigan I’d worn on the plane. I eventually broke down and purchased a beautiful sweater I saw as I made my way back to the hotel after a visit to the National Gallery. I confess, I probably would have purchased the sweater regardless of my situation. The greater point being, I added for relatively minimal expense a few basic items which enabled me to thrive with what I had. Did I really need a checked bag or is a carry on all I truly needed? Here is the secret I learned – I was fine with what I had.
I confess, that I was elated when I opened my bag to find all the things I’d packed. No more washing things out overnight and leaving them to dry. Oh the conflict- minimal versus comfort! I know what I will have in my carry-on for the next flight. I learn and adapt.
So my capsul wardrobe ended on consisting of : black cashmere turtleneck, grey cardigan, grey poncho style sweater, white long sleeve tee, white tank, black leggings, and jeans. The color scheme of black, grey, and white served me well. I was able to mix and match for the occasion.
Did I ever need Pamper Sunday. Last week was one of those weeks that wouldn’t stop. Saturday I spent the morning cleaning out the basement. By noon, I was covered in grime but had the basement sorted into trash and charity with the Christmas decorations finally put away. Mission accomplished!
A good friend and I had long planned for a girl’s day at the spa at the Greenbrier. As I stood there in the basement covered in yuck, all I could think about was my long-awaited day at the spa. The Greenbrier is located in an area rich with mineral springs and is famous for its spa as well as the bunker. A short drive this morning and I was looking at the great white hotel decorated by Dorothy Draper and Carlton Varney. After a wonderful lunch at Drapers in the hotel, we headed to the spa.
Note about Drapers. It is wonderful. Famous for its sweet southern ice tea and chicken salad, the ice cream counter will make you drool. I opted for a BLT with a delicious tomato. That is a miracle given it is the middle of winter. I passed on dessert and we headed to the spa.
The first hour of our experience was spent in the relaxation room. There I began to let the toils of the week evaporate. Next up, a sulphur bath from the springs, then followed a scotch spray that reminded me of a water massage and finally a Swedish massage. Now I was relaxed. Back to the relaxation room where I quickly found my comfort zone in a lounge chair with a soft blanket and I was in my happy place.
Despite the fact that the day was a rainy, grey, winter day, it was perfect. Time with friends and a wonderful visit to the Greenbrier. I think I’m ready to face Monday! I’m also plotting my next trip to the Greenbrier.