Beach Bag Bingo for the Relaxation-Challenged
The beach is the best, but devoting one's entire day to enforced lounging, defying open container laws, and swimming takes some planning--you can't just go, plop down in the sand, and relax! You have to make lists and go shopping and be very, very organized about it.
Photo by Davenbelle I want to go to there.
(Or at least I do.)
If you're like me, the planning and the doing and the list-making is almost as (more?) fun than the relaxing end game--and this list is for you!
Step One: Beach Bags
Root around in your closet for your old beach bag. Do you love it? Proceed to Step Two. Do you hate it? Shop for a new one!
Backpacks make great beach bags: lots of little pockets, zippers to keep out excessive amounts of sand, and usually a little key fob to protect your keys from a beach burial. If you want a more traditional tote, but you're looking for something with more pockets than your average beach bag, consider a diaper bag. They come with lots of built-in pockets for diapers and bottles, and diaper bags are usually done in fun, bright colors. This Storksak Tote in yellow ($132, diapers.com) also fits a laptop, so you can stash your electronics; an insulated bottle holder will help keep a tube of sunscreen, or a small drink, cool for up to four hours.
Step Two: SPF
Sunscreen is not optional, so don't opt-out. If you've ever had a freaky looking mole, you know what I'm talking about. Bring a two sunscreens--one for face, one for body--and use liberally; like, Rachel Maddow liberally. If you aren't wowed by this list of five new sunscreens to try this summer, check out some other options:
Kate Somerville Daily Deflector™ Waterlight Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ ($48, Sephora.com) is lightweight, powerful, and free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Great under make-up, and Shiitake Mushroom extract is said to offer anti-aging benefits. If you're looking for a little coverage, Dr. Brandt Signature Flexitone BB Cream ($39, drbrandtskincare.com) has an impressive SPF 30, and a tint that "blends seamlessly with most skin tones." It's also kind of fun watching the formula change on your skin. Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreens ($10-$14, drugstores) come in SPF 30 or SPF 55, go on with a matte finish, and use natural ingredients like cinnamon and cedar wood to help prevent breakouts at a fraction of the price of high-end skin care brands. Buy a bottle or three for the golfer in your life.
The general rule for sunscreen is a one ounce serving slathered generously over one's body, to be reapplied after periods of swimmin' and sweatin'. The spray-on versions from Neutrogena are a favorite with golfers and tennis players, but they are also great for the beach--no rubbing on a handful of sand with your SPF 50.
Sunscreen isn't the only sun protection you need to tote--sunglasses are a must, a hat to shade your face (and neck, and ears), and a beach cover-up are all de rigueur at the beach.
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