Jan 30, 2013

10 Things to Pack in your Beach Bag

Escaping the endless winter gloom is essential when you live in Seattle. Thankfully, you can fly direct to somewhere tropical like Kauai in just a little over six hours to bask in the sun. Here are my top 10 must-have items when heading for the beach.

# 1 - Sunscreen
Getting a beautiful glow is great but protecting your skin should be your number one priority while on the beach. Several years ago a skincare specialist recommended that I try SkinMedica Daily Physical Defense Suncreen because it was oil-free and non-comedogenic and I was worried that wearing sunscreen on a regular basis would make my skin break out. I've been using it ever since and I've never once had a reaction to it. It's sheer, fragrance-free and provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, plus it helps protect against free radical damage which can prematurely age the skin.

# 2 - Sunglasses
For extra sun protection and to avoid squinting which causes wrinkles around the eyes I also pack several pairs of stylish sunglasses. Your shades don't need to cost you a fortune. The beach is a great place to bring a pair of cheap glasses that you don't care about getting sandy or god forbid getting left behind. Zumiez has lots of stylish sunglasses in stock for under $20.

# 3 - Pretty Toes
Before heading to the beach it's important to paint your toes with a fresh coat of polish. Not only will this make you smile when you look down at your toes while lounging at the beach but it will also make wearing your new sandals more fun!

# 4 - The Playlist
A great beach playlist is essential for setting the mood. Unwinding on vacation doesn't usually happen until at least day two or three so speed up the process by making yourself a relaxing playlist before you hit the beach. My beach playlist includes music by Jack Johnson, Bebel Gilberto and to spice things up, a few songs by Janet Jackson like Escapade and Pleasure Principal. I used to bring my mini iPod to the beach but now that all my songs are automatically loaded on to my phone via my iTunes library I skip the extra packing and just listen to music on my phone instead. Plus, if there's no one around I can listen to music using the speakerphone without having to worry about the headphones.

# 5 - Colorful Bracelets
I'm a sucker for colorful accessories which is probably because I like to wear a lot of black. My go-to accessories for the beach include anything I don't mind getting sandy or wet. Plastic bracelets are a good idea because you can layer them on and easily slip them off if you decide to take a dip.

# 6 - A Multi-Tasking Scarf
Betsey Balch of Cashmere Wrappings gave me a beautiful leopard print cashmere scarf that I take with me on every single vacation whether I'm going somewhere cold or somewhere tropical like Kauai. Scarves are amazing accessories because they take up very little space in your luggage and can be used for so many different things. I use my cashmere wrap on the plane as a mini blanket, upon arrival as a stylish scarf and at the beach as a swimsuit cover-up.

# 7 - Lipgloss
My lips get parched when I spend a lot of time in the sun so I always pack an easy gloss in my tote bag. Lipsticks will melt in the sun if your bag gets too hot so a lipgloss with a lid is much easier to use. A tropical vacation is a perfect excuse to play with bright colors that you wouldn't normally wear at home. The brighter the better!

# 8 - An Insulated Bag
In addition to my cotton tote bag I always pack a small insulated bag to bring to the beach. You can fill it up with ice from the ice machine before you leave the hotel and then add drinks and snacks before hitting the beach.

# 9 - Studded Earrings
If you're planning to take a dip at the beach or in the pool it's best to wear earrings that won't fall out while you're in the water. I always wear studded earrings and make sure the backs are securely adhered before diving in. Gold studs are great and they won't get caught in your hair while you swim.

# 10 - Colorful sandals
When heading to the beach a pair of brightly colored sandals can pull together your entire outfit. I love Volcom sandals because they pack flat, slip-on and most importantly, they're super comfortable to wear.

Last but not least, don't forget to stay hydrated by drinking lots of WATER when you're laying by the pool. It's easy to get dehydrated before you know it when you're sipping on a mai tai in the sun. Do yourself a favor and don't forget to pack an icy cold bottle of H20.

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