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.
Do you have a go to sunscreen? My favorite sunscreen has not been available for the last few summers and I continue to seek out the perfect sunscreen. I’m fanatical about applying sunscreen. My Dad was the quintessential southern outdoor guy – hunting, fishing, golf, tennis, gardening – you get the idea. He also had several skin cancers removed when I was a teen. From that point on, hats and fifty sunscreen with titanium dioxide became the routine.
I’m no expert on sunscreen and know next to nothing about what makes one better than the other. The titanium dioxide was a recommendation for my Dad from his doctor. I am also prone to what my Mom calls sun poising – little bumps around my knees and on my hands after prolonged time in the sun. Given my love for the beach, pool, and tennis court, prolonged time in the sun was a given for me in the summers. I quickly discovered there were some sunscreens that seemed to exacerbate this condition. I also tend to like a product specifically designed for the face for my face. This means I typically purchase a 30 and 50 for the face and a 30 and a 50 for the rest of me. I also like a spray rather than a lotion. With this in mind, I recently went shopping at Blue Mercury. I opted for two old but goodies, and two new to try.
For the new – Moroccan Oil 50 – This one is a spray lotion. It sprays out but you have to rub it in. I like it but it is much more lotion than spray. The other new is Soleil. I purchased the spray version in 50 and a lotion version in 30. I love the spray. It has great coverage and stays after swimming. The downside is that I went through a bottle a day on the beach. That is a bit pricy given how much sunscreen I go through.
The tried but true include Coola and Supergoop. I love the Coola spray. The face lotion and lip balm also get a thumbs up from me. Supergoop (no TD) is another go to from last summer but I’ve only tried the lotion version. I just picked up a spray mousse version that has strong possibilities. So, what is your favorite sunscreen?
Whatever else, remember the sunscreen and the hat! Protect yourself!
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?
I occasionally get to travel for work and recently I decided to take advantage of a presentation I was making on a Monday and spend the weekend in south Florida at the beach.
The Waldorf Astoria Beach Resort is a beautiful hotel designed by Addison Mizner as part of his plan for Boca Raton. The resort is divided into two by the intercostal waterway. The original hotel is designed in a mediterranean cloister style with a more modern hotel on the beach side. You can take advantage of the beach, multiple pools, golf, tennis and a world class spa. I also recommend walking around the grounds. The grounds are manicured with lush vegetation.
If you elect to stay in the “old” part of the hotel you can take advantage of either Mizner’s Dream, a boat to shuttle you to the beach club, or the resort shuttle. There was something so fun about taking a five minute boat cruise down the ICW to the beach club.
I took advantage of both the pool and the beach spending a lovely weekend day submerged in the Atlantic and the pool. The ocean was so clear that I could see my feet. I was fortunate to have a calm ocean with gentle waves but just enough to make it fun.
Since I’ve not met a resort spa I was willing to pass up, I booked my weekend with the Sip, Sun, and Spa package. This gave me credits for the spa, dining, beach chairs and a free drink at the Monkey Bar. If you are a gin drinker, try the homemade infused gin at the Monkey Bar. I’m not, but a friend is, and they highly recommended the home infused gin. I opted for the Southern Hospitality at Bar Luna.
The spa package included a “ritual bath” that was to die for. My favorite parts of the ritual bath are the sorbet and the plunge pool with the rain shower. I think I could have remained in the plunge pool for ages. The entire spa experience was out of this world. I followed my ritual bath with time in the steam room, the inhalation room, and an artisanal massage. The facility was beautiful and the staff lovely. They also have a private pool and waterfall jacuzzi. I arrived at 9:30 spent the morning in a lounge chair under an umbrella with sporadic dips in the pool. Around noon, I opted for lunch by the pool. If you need to pamper and indulge, I highly recommend a visit to the spa. It was the perfect prelude to a long day of work on Monday in the wonderful conference center!