Hey Labor Day! Read on for Beach Bag Essentials

Ahhh Labor Day weekend. Some folks call it the ‘last weekend of the summer’ but most of us New Englander’s know that we probably have a few more weeks left of summer weather. It is really a toss-up around here. it could be 80 degrees in Oct or blustery cold. Either way, I never give into the ‘last weekend of summer’ mentality. Other than the fact that I try to take advantage of going someplace fun and summery for the long weekend.

Although most of us have already used our beach bag a few times this season – below is a list of beach bag essentials. These are the ‘must have’ items I keep in my beach bag. Don’t get me wrong, there are often a lot of other extras thrown in there – but these are the items I can’t go without. Hopefully, this list will help you pack ya bag this weekend and ensure you don’t forget anything so you can lounge all day long!

ahhh Cape Cod summer, love it. Looks like we have an beach over-packer here

ahhh Cape Cod summer, love it. Looks like we have an beach over-packer here

  • BEACH BAG – rather than use an old purse or dump out your gym bag, it makes sense to have a bag just for the beach. Then, you don’t have to worry about the lingering sand or trying to re-pack your gym bag once the work week rolls around. I go for the durable tote. Screw zippers. Screw backpacks. I want a bag with a wide open top so I can plunge right in and grab my stuff
    • I love the good ole LL Bean Boat and Tote Bag with the open top. It comes in a variety of sizes should you be carrying for a family or just yourself. I like the Medium size tote.
      • There are a few different colors to choose from. I like the traditional navy with the cream colored body, very nautical! And you can get it monogrammed (makes a great gift!)
      • Medium size tote is $26.95 with always free shipping

        the tried & true LL Bean beach tote

        the tried & true LL Bean beach tote

  • BEACH TOWEL – I’ve been known to grab one of my own bath towels for the beach. But let’s be honest, that’s a no no. Invest in an actual beach towel. One that’s long and colorful and just for the beach. And seriously, you don’t want to forget a towel…be it for drying off after a swim, to wipe the extra sunscreen off your hands, or to have something to lay out on, it’s an essential
    • You can buy one anywhere and certainly don’t need to go the fancy route. But, if you’re looking for a good quality towel – I’d point you towards LL Bean, once again!
      • The LL Bean Seaside beach towel is large, dries fast, and comes in some cute designs
      • For $29.50 it will last you years. It’s a great towel that you can just keep in your beach bag all year
  • SUNCREEN FOR FACE & BODY – this is a must have. I always feel bad borrowing other people’s sunscreen – no matter where you get it, it’s expensive and you need a good amount to cover your body. So, invest in your own tube and keep it in your bag. I use one kind for my face and one kind for my body
    • My favorite brand is Coola. It is a little bit of a splurge but I got a sample of this sunscreen and I love it. To me, I don’t mind spending the extra dough to protect my skin. Coola products are free of parabens, phthalates, and petroleum. Work great on sensitive skin. My two faves:
      • For body: The Coola SPF 45 Sport Classic Sunscreen – Mango scent. Comes in a convenient, snap-top tube. Love that I can squeeze every last bit out
      • For face: The Coola SPF 30 Face Classic Sunscreen – Unscented. Comes in a convenient, pump top tube with a cover
  • LIP BALM/SUNCREEN – I’m separating this from the above because it’s important to call out on its own. A regular balm might not do the trick. A sticky lip gloss isn’t the right fit for the beach either. You want something that’s moisturizing to keep your mouth comfortable in the sun, salt, and sand. You also want a sunscreen to protect this tender area
    • My favorite brand is Coola (surprise!). I love this balm-like stick! It’s a twist up stick with a solid cover. Super moisturizing
      • For lips: The Coola Liplux SPF 15 – vanilla peppermint scent. I also like this because it doesn’t have color and my husband can borrow it. He usually forgets this beach bag staple!
      • $12 @ Dermstore
  • BEACH COVER UP – If it’s walking back to the car or walking to get a snack, I want a cover up I can quickly throw on. Something that goes on easy and isn’t tight.  It also has to be something that really covers me up – not something with large holes or only touches the top of my thighs. I want to be able to walk into 7/11 without getting kicked out
    • One of my favorite cover ups is by Splendid. It’s terry cloth so a great fabric for the beach. Flattering cut but not too form fitting/tight. One piece, so easy to split on.  Light weight but also covers what you need to cover. The last one I got has lasted 2 summers
    • Splendid Circus Terry Cover Up $95 @ Piperlime 
  • CUTE HAT – everyone looks better with a tan. Lets face it. But wrinkles suck. Especially on your face. So I always use sunscreen on my face now and keep a hat in my bag if I’m going to be out in the sun for hours at a time. This ensures my face doesn’t get too much sun. Hey, that’s what bronzer is for!
    • A hat is a hat…I like a looser fitting baseball hat or, if you want something more girly – I wore the below on my honeymoon (my husband kept calling me his ‘great aunt pearl’) – but I thought it was fashionable
      • White (beachy!), floppy, durable, and comfortable: by Helen Kaminski Istria Canvas Sun hat
      • On sale right now @ Nordstrom for $65.66

        me in my Helen Kaminski Canvas Sun hat on our honeymoon last October <3

        me in my Helen Kaminski Canvas Sun hat on our honeymoon last October ❤

Couple other good to haves:

  • Small brush to quickly/easily brush out knots. love this one available at Drugstore
  • Big bottle of water. If you don’t have your own re-usable travel bottle (this is one of my faves by Lifefactory) – I’m a big fan of the Smart Water 1 liter size for the beach. Literally, a torpedo that fits well into your bag and is a good amount of water!
  • Couple snacks – I prefer grapes (because they’re good warm or cold) and nuts (ya, protein!). Pack a couple healthy snacks so you have something to munch on. Never a good idea to be hungry in the sun or rely totally on the beach snack bar 😉
  • Hair elastics – any kind will do. Although my all time favorite is The Twistband…won’t pull or rip hair
  • Last but not least, but definitely an essential – a good READ! There is only so much talking, beach volleyball, snacking, swimming, and lounging you can do! I always love to have a good read on hand. May I suggest this book by Ann Patchett called, State of Wonder
    • A fun read. adventurous story. great writing. click the link to get the synopsis. I read this book in 1 weekend, it was hard to put down!

      State of Wonder By Ann Patchett - Excellent beach read...or anytime read!

      State of Wonder By Ann Patchett – Excellent beach read…or anytime read!

Work out gear to kick off the new year!

As some of us look to revamp our work-out routine or at least get back at it after some indulging and lazy days, I thought I’d share a few work-out favorites.

(Links through-out the post, just click the underlined/hyperlinked product names)

  • Victorias Secret Supermodel Cami Sport Bra – currently on clearance for $19.99 @ Victoriassecret.com
    Victorias Secret Supermodel Cami Sports Bra

    Victorias Secret Supermodel Cami Sports Bra

    • Designed for lower impact sports (i.e. yoga or barre) I love this bra because it’s comfortable and for me, it has the right amount of support. The straps are adjustable so I tend to tighten when I’m ready to work out or need more support. The bra has removable padding so you don’t have to worry when it gets cold out, if you know what I mean. I have a couple of these bras and sometimes wear it to run errands or just hanging out because it has a flattering fit without underwire which can be uncomfortable
  • Lululemon Run Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve – $68 @ Lululemon

    Lululemon Run Swiftly Long Sleeve

    Lululemon Run Swiftly Long Sleeve

  • When the weather gets chilly, motivating yourself to ‘get out there’ and work out can be harder. I love this Lulu long sleeve top because it provides a warmer layer that I wear over my tank top. It is breathable and sometimes I wear it throughout my work out without overheating. I like that there is no zipper or hood to get in my way
  • Reebok Women’s No Show Socks 6-pck  – $18 Marshalls/TJ Maxx – also found online
    Reebok No Show socks

    Reebok No Show socks

    • The Reebok No Show socks are comfortable with a bit of padding and just the right height so I don’t have to worry about ankle grabbing. I got a black pack the last time so that I can tell them apart from my 100s of white socks!
  • Lululemon Wunder Under Crops – $78 @ Lululemon
    Lululemon Wunder Under Crops

    Lululemon Wunder Under Crops

    • These are my go-to year-round. I tend to get too hot in the Lulu floor length pants. These crops hit my leg at the right point – mid/lowcalf. Sometimes crops that fall at the knee can be distracting or uncomfortable during your work out because they’ll bunch behind the knee. These crops fit great, no wedgies, never sheer. They wash well and will last you a long time – which is good because they’re a bit pricey
  • IAMMAI Women’s Racer Tank – $45 @ Iammaiapparel.com
    IAMMAI Womens Racer Tank "Work Harder Right Here. Right Now."

    IAMMAI Womens Racer Tank “Work Harder Right Here. Right Now.”

    • This tank is definitely a splurge – but I love the inspirational/motivational messages on IAMMAI gear. When you look at it dead-on, it looks backwards – but in front of the mirror (i.e. while you’re working out and working hard) you can see the message the right way. The cotton is super soft and the cut is very flattering – and although working out shouldn’t be a fashion show – I’m definitely more motivated when I feel comfortable and confident in my work out gear
  • The Twistband Headband – $4 @ thetwistband.com
    The Twistband Headband in color Bubblegum

    The Twistband Headband in color Bubblegum

    • An absolute must when I work out is a good headband that doesn’t slip off. It keeps the loose hairs away from my face that can tickle and be distracting. The traditional Twistband headband is one of my favorites. It’s simple and stretchy – doesn’t loose stretch, isn’t too tight and stays in place. It comes in a bunch of different colors and patterns – super cute!

Do you have any work-out gear must-haves?

Purse essentials – don’t leave home without them

Most women have them – ‘purse essentials’ – those few beauty items we have to carry at all times. Unless of course we’re going totally minimalist and all we need is a debit card, license, and lip gloss…there are those nights. But for the nights when we want to be prepared…

I’ve thought long and hard about my essentials…and which ones have been the most handy and why. Below is the VIP list

1. You need a handy pouch to keep it all together in your purse. Without this everything flies loose and can’t be accessed easily…leaving you helpless in the ladies room

My favorite: Bloomingdales ‘Little Brown Cosmetic’ Case ($12 @ Bloomingdales.com)…just the right size, zip top, it’s vinyl so if you drop it it will wipe off easily

THE case

2. A good cover up. Since typically, I already have make-up on at the point in the day when I need my beauty essentials kit – I need something that’s good for touch ups and not super thick. It needs to be easy to apply. An open pot of concealer just won’t do it for me when I’m in a rush. I’d rather not stick my fingers into a pot of concealer and close it back up.

My favorite: Chanel’s Highlighter Face Pen ($40 @ select dept store – Bloomies, Nordstrom etc.) this product boasts: “In a single stroke, adds new radiance to makeup and dark areas of the face. It reduces the appearance of fine lines with an optical effect and lightens dark circles.” courtesy of Bloomingdales.com. Couple swipes under the eyes and on either side of the nose and I’m immediately more refreshed looking. I use the color ‘Light’

3. A blush to add some color to a ghastly complexion at the end of a long work day. Nothing like looking in the mirror and feeling drab – with a couple pats of this blush, you’ll literally look ready to head out to a dinner date

My favorite: Koh Gen Do Fresh Face Cheek Color ($41 @ Barney’s) I use the Pink Coral color. Why does this absolutely rule? You don’t need a brush…you just pop off the top and use the puff-top applicator to dot on your cheeks. Not sure about you…but I’ve broken multiple blush compacts in my purse, so sad. This is bust proof because the blush is already in powder form. Lasts forever too!

Koh Gen Do Fresh Face Blush

4. A lip gloss that doesn’t need your finger for application. If you know me, I love lipgloss and have many favorites – my current go-to’s:

For a natural hint of color and really good gloss/moisture: Mineral Fusion Liquid Lipgloss (~$5.24 @ Drugstore.com) I like the color ‘Enlighten’ – which is a light pinky nude

For a bit more color and some glitter: Chanel’s Levres Scintullantes Glossimer ($29.50 @ dept stores Macys, Bloomies etc.) – in layman’s terms, this is the lipgloss wand. I like the color ‘119’ which is a fun glimmery pink

5. A good MINI mascara…and frankly, I’m not too tied to a brand here. Recently, I’ve been alternating between a Bobbi Brown sample and a Laura Mercier sample. Either does the trick…I got them in free gift sets and they’re perfect purse size!

I like Bobbi’s mini ‘Party Extreme’ mascara in Black

Thanks for the free sample, Bobbi! Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara mini

6. Travel size perfume this is another item you can get for free. Nordstrom is good about putting out free Joe Malone perfume samples. I like to carry a purse size of my favorite perfume which I splurged on for my wedding…

What: Byredo Gypsy Water ($110 @ Barneys for a set of 3 purse-size spray bottles)…why I like and why I splurged = I wanted a perfume ‘no one’ had for my wedding. I walked into Barney’s which is THE place to find unique/harder to find pefumes…I tried so many and landed on this scent. It’s light but it also has some deeper notes. I’ve never smelled anything like it and therefore, I knew it would always remind me of my wedding day. The pack includes 3 pretty good size bottles – one for my purse, one for home, and one for my gym bag…or, as back up for when one runs out. Most perfumes run you at least $50-$60 these days so I was willing to pay a little extra for something more unique. And the regular bottles are beautiful – the whole line is super creative and offers many different scents: Byredo website

Byredo Gypsy Water regular sized bottles – gorgeous

7. Last but not least an extra hair band…better known to me as a twistband ($5 for a 3 pack of solid hair ties @ Thetwistband.com)! This is clearly an essential – if you don’t need it, a friend will. Nothing sucks more than not having a hair elastic when things heat up and you feel your hair start to puff. I am a huge advocate of THE TWISTBAND – these elastics keep your hair back and don’t snag at strands. And they look cute on your wrist 😉

Details on the Twistband: http://wp.me/p1kq6s-bv

Twistbands! so many pretty colors

And that’s it…a few essentials…something to cover up blemishes and discoloration…something to give your cheeks a pop of color…something to lighten up the lips and freshen up the lashes, a scent to kick off the night…and a cute hair elastic in case the night ends with a wild dance party.

What are your purse BEAUTY essentials?