the formula

Tuesday has barely begun, and here I sit making plans for the weekend. I have a bit of a one-track mind when it comes to how I spend my weekends in the summer. Every chance I get, I drive to my parents' home on Cape Cod where my days revolve almost entirely around going to the beach. I also like to throw in an easy bike ride, leisurely meals and family time for good measure, but time in the sand and surf is certainly my priority.

 Relaxing with sweet Bella on the patio

I can pack my L.L. Bean tote bag blindfolded (long handles are a must), and these days I keep it ready to go so I can toss it in my bike basket and ride to the beach. I think of this whole routine as a formula, and so I thought it would be fun to share a list of my summertime beach essentials.
I have a trusty Souleiado bandana that I use to keep my hair out of my face at the beach or when I'm driving with the sunroof open. It's also great for drying off your face when you get out of the water.
As an unabashed sun worshipper, I typically like to get as much color on my face as possible. I know this is a terrible thing to admit, I just feel so much healthier and prettier with a good glow. Despite the fact that I risk getting melanoma, I do tend to worry about chemicals in the products I use, so I've been depending on natural Badger SPF 15 (smells like lavender and stays on), as well as these two Kiehl's products of late.

When I decide that I need added sun protection on my face, I wear this paper (yes, paper) fedora from Target. Not bad for $12.99, huh? I think it's sold out. Sorry.

Let's talk sunglasses. I have these Sunclouds in two different colors. They are polarized, inexpensive and a great shape. I can't tell you how many compliments I've received on them (thanks, Jen, for the introduction!), and they offer good protection if you're worried about wrinkles or crow's feet.

Hydration at the beach is key (especially considering how much sauvingnon blanc I typically consume on summer evenings), so I never leave home without my Klean Kanteen, whose opening is wide enough to fit ice cubes for my water when it is extra hot.

A sarong of some kind is always in my bag, and I have a half dozen different printed sarongs that I alternate and use to wrap around myself when I'm running to the bathroom, cushion my head when I'm lying down, or cover my chest when I feel like I'm getting a little too much sun. I've found many of these on sale at the Gap, Old Navy, and thrift stores. Here is a pretty one from Calypso:

My bikini of choice usually comes from J. Crew, this being the one I've had for the past year. No visible tan lines and a flattering shade of slate that matches everything. I always check the sale rack at Old Navy in the summer because I've been able to score some cute bikini separates there, some for as little as $1.99! Rarely do they match, but I think that's part of the fun.

Depending on whether I'm walking or taking my bike, I either wear my Vans Slip-Ons or Birkenstock Sparta's.

I tend to follow a pretty regimented 30 minutes on my back, 30 minutes on my belly tanning routine.

When I'm not lying on a towel, I choose to sit in one of these great WearEver foldable chairs. It can be carried as a backpack and has an extra huge pocket for storing things like a towel or a book. It has an adjustable neck bolster! It also has a cup holder! Yes, I know you can get these almost everywhere now, but when I found them in California years ago, I thought they were the greatest things and bought two. To this day I'm very protective of them and worry that someone will borrow them and leave them on the beach where they'll be stolen!
Last but not least, throw in a good magazine like Vanity Fair and some snacks like almonds, sliced apple, celery and hummus, and you are good to go.

This has been so fun I think I will start working on a summer wish list post. What are your beach/summer essentials?

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