1. The Cute Bag
Any fashionista knows that you can't be caught anywhere without an adorable bag! Not even the beach. So if you haven't got your adorable beach bag already, you better go snag one before they're all gone! I got this Lilly Pulitzer You Gotta Regatta beach bag way back when there was still snow on the ground! I absolutely love it, not only because it is in my favorite Lilly print, but also because it's big enough to hold all of my loads of things! It's also plastic, so the sand rolls right off! Since I got this bag so long ago, it's no longer available on the Lilly Pulitzer site. However, here is the link to the same style bag if you really like it!
2. Beach Seating
Some use a chair, some use a towel, and then there's me. I use this awesome beach mat by Tommy Hilfiger. Another thing that I've owned for quite some time. This mat is comfortable with a built in pillow and super convenient because it rolls up and has a handle! Bonus: it's adorable. Pink and green palm trees can do no wrong! Here is a link to a similar mat, but I've seen them around at places like Walmart and Target. I have also seen these Tommy Hilfiger ones up for bid on eBay!
SPF is sooo important when you are at the beach! I'm sure you've seen countless articles on the importance of sunscreen and that you have to reapply constantly, so I won't lecture you. What I will tell you is that this Sun Bum sunscreen in SPF 30 is to bomb diggity (am I showing my age yet?). As a mixed chick, my skin likes to be difficult; sometimes it's Puerto Rican and tans instantly. Other times it's German and burns instantly. So finding the right sunscreen to balance those out is essential. I've tried just about everything. After coming to the conclusion that I couldn't follow in my father's footsteps and use SPF 3 (jerk.), I settled on about a 30. That seemed to be enough to protect my skin, but still let me tan! Then I found Sun Bum. I'm not going to lie, I bought it because it was cute. But the slightly hefty price tag was totally worth it! I have been using it, sparingly, all summer and I absolutely love it. It smells delicious, and I've burnt ONE TIME. ONE! And that was my "first real sun of summer burn." So it's definitely worth a try! And the company also makes companion products, like lip balm and a face stick!
4. Lip Protection
And that brings me to my next item! Lip protection! People often forget that your sensitive lips need protection from the sun as well! So make sure you bring a lip balm or chapstick with SPF to protect your lips from those harmful UV rays! My favorite of the moment is Baby Lips by Maybelline. I'm in love with all of these lip balms, but make sure you grab the one with SPF when you're headed outside! Also, if you like a little more punch, top it off with a neutral lip gloss! I'm in love with Beach Party by Philosophy! It gives me just a little bit of shimmer, isn't goopy or sticky, and it's rightfully named!
Whether you enjoy a good sci-fi novel or a fashion magazine, don't forget to bring something with you to read! There's nothing like cracking open this months issue of Glamour with a backdrop of waves and sand! (Can you tell I'm dreaming of the beach? I live 10 minutes away and the weather has been awful!!) Pro tip: Don't expect to see your iPad, Nook, or Kindle out in the open sun. Believe me, I've tried and you can't see squat. The only one you might be able to use is the ones that are "paper white"
6. Perfect Beach Waves
Everyone is going gaga for beach waves, and I am guilty. Personally, I enjoy just throwing my hair in a bun and dunking my head in the ocean. Let dry and take out of the bun and viola! However, my hair already has somewhat of a natural beach wave texture (told you I was a mermaid) so for those of you who don't I have a handy dandy tool for you. My favorite beach spray that I've tried is Not Your Mother's Beach Babe spray! I've been using it for a couple of years and I love it. It really works and is super affordable! You can use it on wet or dry hair, and it always looks like you just stepped out of the ocean! Use it if you want to feel like Ariel!
One thing I will never ever understand is people bringing their super expensive sunglasses to the beach. One, your chances of losing them multiply by at least 100, two, you will get sand on them and they will get wet. Why tempt fate by even bringing them? I always bring a cheap pair that are still cute but that I won't have an emotional breakdown if they get messed up. I honestly don't even remember where I bought the ones in the picture, but I usually get them on sale at places like Charlotte Russe or Forever 21. They'd probably only last you a couple weeks anyway so who cares? These are super cute ones from F21 and they cost a little more than $5. #STEAL.
8. Electronic Companions
What are the two worst things that can happen to your phone at the beach...within reason. It gets wet/sandy or the battery dies. Well, I have two solutions for you. First is the waterproof pouch. You just stick your phone inside, lock the top and you're golden! Now, I wouldn't recommend taking it in the ocean with you, but if someone splashes you or you drop it in the sand, your phone is safe. (phew!). Some of them, like mine, come with a lanyard for extra paranoid protection services! Next is the solar charger. If you get a decent one that doesn't quit working after a few uses (lammeee.) then this is a great concept. Especially when you are directly in sunlight. Just plug your phone cord (or any other USB electronic cord) into the charger and then plug it in to your phone! Presto, chango, your phone is now charging! Now keep in mind, this works like other solar powered things: you have to let it suck up some sun first. Don't expect it to work if you've had it out for ten minutes. I assure you it won't. But this is great if you plan on being at the beach all day.
9. Lots of Hydration!
Whenever you plan on being in the sun for a long period of time, make sure you bring lots of fluids to keep you hydrated! Obviously, water is the best, but I'm difficult and don't particularly enjoy water. So the next best thing is tea! Even though some of them are high in sugar (calm down, you're on vacation.) they are delicious and made mostly of water anyway. The one I have here is a Marley's Mellow Mood Tea. I believe the flavor was the black tea with peach raspberry passion fruit, but I do remember for sure that it was delicious and very thirst quenching. I got mine at Lowe's supermarket, but you can probably get it at Walmart or other grocery stores. Also, don't forget to bring a koozie to keep that precious drink cold!! Nothing worse than hot tea or water or anything for that matter when you're already baking in the sun! Koozies keep those puppies cold for longer so you don't have to chug! I mean, how cute are these monogrammed ones from Haymarket Designs??
10. After Sun Protection
Whether you burn or not, it's essential that you moisturize after prolonged sun exposure. When you burn, you're more likely to put on aloe or something to sooth the burn. But don't overlook it when it comes to getting a tan! Being in the sun all day strips you skin of moisture, so after you get a shower make sure you use something to replenish that essential moisture. The leathery look is so not cool. My favorite thing to use is the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun Lotion. Not only does it give you tons of moisture, but it also locks in your tan! Plus it also smells really, really good. (Can you tell I like to smell really good? Because I do.)
So those are my top ten (respectively) beach essentials! I'm sure I could go on forever with things I didn't mention (like headphones, but duh right?), but these are the ones that made the cut! What are the things you can't leave for the beach without? What's your favorite sunscreen or lip protection? Have you tried any of these things? I want to know your opinions and suggestions! Don't be shy, leave me a comment!!
*I have not been compensated to market any of these products. These are my personal opinions.
**All photos linked to their source as well as where they can be purchased, unless otherwise noted.