Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Beach Recap

Leave it to me to post my best beach tips in the middle of August when most people have actually gone to the beach already, but well, I guess I’ll go back to this post next year to remind myself. Here are my best bits of wisdom accumulated over last week’s beach vacation:

Backpack chair – (Ours are by Rio.) Greatest invention ever, totally worth the money. Kids can carry their own. I was actually smart enough to have the kiddies (age 7 & 9) test this before we cut the tags. These are brilliant. You have the backpack straps, so your hands are free (for the sand toy bag, the cooler, etc.). The seat back has a huge pouch, so you can stow your towel, sunscreen, book/magazine, even a few toys in there. And, equally important, the cup holder is attached to the arm of the chair to keep your water, soda, or other beverage of choice out of the sand (yeah, these were great for happy hour on the beach). And…as we discovered this week, you can strap a boogie board in the outside of the pouch sideways, so the kiddies have 1 less thing to carry. They did look like a herd of turtles walking down to the beach, though. So sorry I didn’t get a picture of this because it was pretty comical to walk behind them at watch.

Test out your sunscreen in advance – Spray sunscreen is my 2nd favorite invention for the beach/pool/whatever. But I have to share what happened this year. I have used Coppertone Sport before with no problem whatsoever. And I love my usual Neutrogena spray sunscreen, especially the Cool Mist. But I was tempted by the “25% More Free” on the bottles of Coppertone Sport spray at Target, since we were going to the beach for an entire week and I needed it several cans for 3 of us and I was thinking the Sport formula would be great for staying on the kids. (Hubby is strictly a rub-on sunscreen dude, not a spray fan at all.) No brainer, huh? Yeah, not so much… By the end of the week, my skin had reacted to the Coppertone Sport spray and I had little tiny itchy red bumps on my arms and legs. So not fun. Kids were totally fine with the spray, though, so they will continue using. And I’m back to my Neutrogena.

Drink lots of water – Duh. Plus this helps flush your system from all the junk you’re eating. C’mon, I know you do, what’s the beach without a carton of Whoppers in the fridge and a baggie of frozen Snickers in the cooler? Ok, maybe that’s just my version of the beach.

Sunglasses – (again, duh)

Get a big, floppy hat – ok, you’ve all (or mostly) heard my diatribe on sunscreen. And equally important is a hat at the beach. Outside of the skin benefits, it is amazing how much a hat does – in combination with the sunglasses – to reduce glare and therefore reduce the eye strain & headaches. I used to always get a headache after a day at the beach or pool and I almost never get them now. Yes, I do need to get that J Crew headache tee as I am so prone to them. (plus if you do anything color-wise with your hair, this will help save your color, too)

Pedi pointers – Nothing like a beach vacation for showing off your cutely polished toes. But I do have a few tips:

1 – Sand is a great exfoliator, so get out there and walk, walk, walk. Plus a walk on the beach combined with the water you are drinking (see tip above) will offset the Whoppers and Snickers, or at least that’s what I was telling myself.

2 – Colors can fade in the sunlight, particularly bright cool magenta/pink colors. I’ve seen this happen across several polish brands, including Chanel (Organdy) and OPI (Strawberry Margarita). Funny story about Strawberry Margarita – a couple of summers ago we popped down to Richmond to visit my sister for a couple of days and I was admiring the lovely pale Barbie-pink polish on her toes and inquired about the shade. It was SM, just faded from a week or two at the pool! Essie makes a UV top coat, but I have never tried it, so I can’t vouch for it one way or the other.

3 – Some sunscreens can have a weird effect with some polishes and top coats. I don’t really want to know why because I assume it is some weird chemical reaction that would totally freak me out. Just know that it can happen. You may want to bring top coat with you. Me, I don’t mind if I have to change polish mid-week since I love changing up the colors, but I realize that not everyone wants to deal with that on vacation.

And finally….Carry Corona under the case, not by the handles. Remember when I mentioned that I dropped a 12-pack in the driveway and then had to dig a piece of glass out of hubby’s foot a few days later? I didn’t get it all. There was another piece that he got out Friday afternoon. Sigh…. My sister-in-law, with whom I had gone to the grocery, mentioned “you know, I’ve seen signs before with Corona saying to carry it underneath, but I never understood why.” (I still like my sister-in-law though, since she’s the one who introduced us to the backpack chairs.) Guess Harris Teeter didn’t have their signs up. And we didn’t sweep the driveway well enough.

And leaving you with a pic to explain why maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing that Lucy had to stay home and not come to the beach with us (from the kiddies sandbox, one of her fave chilling out spots in the backyard):


tastymoog said...

I am so on board with the floppy hat rule. My friends make fun, but I don't care. I have dark, thick hair and hate when the top of my head feels hot from the sun bearing down. I have a white one from JC and had a madras one, but lost it.

Emily said...

OMG I just came back from the beach and I had the same rash from the Coppertone spray sunscreen!

I also carried a big floppy hat & oversized sunglasses.

I love all you great tips!

SallyO said...

I have that same chair and I use it on the beach every day! Love the HUGE pocket in back. I have a love/hate relationship with that little pillow, though. Sometimes it feels "just right" and I love it, and sometimes I just have to rip it off 'cause it's really uncomfortable (I like to have options!).
Still searching for the perfect big floppy hat that looks good on my head!

GingerSnap said...

I love those RIO chairs too! My in-laws have them and Hubby and I use them all the time (we need to get our own set!) They truly are so easy to transport and are really comfy!

As for the spray sunscreen - I have given up on it. I like to apply my sunscreen before ever stepping outside...well I used the spray stuff in my shower before leaving for the beach and when I returned home the residue from the spray left all my white tile and grout YELLOW! It took two bottles of clorox cleaner and some serious elbow grease to get the bathroom back to normal! Uh! - So I'm sticking with the rub-on kind from now on!

HeidiG said...

tastymoog - Plus the hat saves scalp sunburn, too! I like my white hats best since they reflect the light, instead of absorbing it, but I bet that madras one was cute!

Emily - thank you - so it's not just me!! and it's funny b/c the kiddies did fine with the Coppertone.

SallyO - I agree with you on the pillow - my problem with it is the proper placement with my low ponytail or bun in the back to keep my hair under my hat and off my back - it's hard to place the pillow right so it's not uncomfortable - but I love that we can just rip it off!! Re: floppy hats - I have had great luck at Target and at Kohls in past years.

GingerSnap - yellow on the tile & grout? Ok, that's scary, but I know what you mean because I have had it react with a white terry coverup that I have. At home, we step out onto the back porch to apply...and now I know never to do it in the bathroom, so thanks!

dinagideon said...

You know I love sunscreen.

Best advice? The beer one. You are funny. Your posts always make me smile. :)

monogramgirl said...

You have the BEST advice, and I absolutely want your doggie.

Suzy said...

Wow, we have been at the beach in New Jersey this week - and we need new chairs desperately - these look great! I was wondering if you bought them at a store, or ordered online? I wanted to see if i could maybe pick some up/end of summer deals since now I don't need them til next year! Thanks for the chair tip!

HeidiG said...

dina - so glad I could make you smile! Seriously, I'm off beer bottles, and onto just cans. Actually, I've mostly migrated to Vinho Verde after your wine party - it's my new fave beverage. I've tried 3 different vineyards and love them all, so thank you!

monogramgirl - thank you!

Suzy - We got ours at Dick's Sporting Goods, they were $25 each. They were in store but not online. I also understand that they are at Costco sometimes.

Lissa said...

that seems like a great beach chair. and that is my favorite sunscreen for sure!