10 Beach Bag Essentials

From The Pool To The Beach: What You Need To Stay Cool, Yummy, and Refreshed

10 Beach Bag Essentials

I can't believe it is mid-July already. Summer is going by really fast, and that makes me sad. I wish I could just press pause, because so far, it's been an incredible summer, and I don't want it to end. I'll take this heat wave over the cold and snow any day of the year!

This summer we've been spending our days swimming by the pool or in the ocean. I've always been an ocean girl. I love the lying in the sand, I love swimming in the ocean, I love the sound of the waves, I love collecting seashells with my boys, and I love everything about being near the ocean or sea.

To maximize the fun we have by the pool or beach, I pack an oversized black beach bag that holds our essentials.

Here's what you need to keep you cool, fresh, and happy for your days in the sun:

The essential Beach Bag: I found the perfect black oversized beach bag at the GAP a few years ago. I've use it every winter for our warm getaways and every summer, too. It's one of those perfect bags that will last for years, it's easy to clean, and it holds an incredible amount of stuff—for my children, and for me. Other great big beach bags (canvas or straw) can be found at stores like Bikini Village.

 A floppy sun hat: I love wearing big straw hats when I'm on the beach. It helps keep my beach hair under control, it protects my face from the sun's harmful rays, and it can look stylish! I found my latest most favourite beach hat at the GAP, but you can find awesome hats at stores like Bikini Village, Old Navy, and more.

 A beach cover-up: My favourite beach cover-up is the ever-popular sarong (that's only $12.00) from Bikini Village. It's a MUST for me, and I have it in white, black, and brown. It can be worn long, or short, wrapped around like a dress, or tied around your waist.

 Sunglasses: I cannot leave my house without my sunglasses, especially if I'm spending the day outside by the pool. I even wear my sunglasses in the ocean, which is probably a really bad idea. Now that I think about it, I should probably invest in a cheap pair of sunnies so if I lose them in the waves, I won't cry!

 Flip-flops: I mean, can you wear anything else during the day, in the summer, by the pool? I really don't think so. Flip-flops from Old Navy are great! So are my beloved Tory Burch flip-flops.

 Make-up: I know most people don't put on a lot of make-up when they're at the beach, but I always carry a little make-up bag with me with lip gloss, powder, and some mascara for touch-ups. This way you can do a quick touch-up before you go to the bar to order your next pina colada!

 Tank top or a little dress:  I always have a tank top and a little dress in my beach bag, just to throw on if I'm playing in the sand with my boys, or if I want a little more coverage.

 My iphone: And a plastic ziplock bag to keep it in, of course! I need my phone with me at all times and I love snapping pictures of my boys when I'm out and about with them. If I'm alone on the beach (ha!) I'll bring my ear phones so I can relax while listening to my music, too.

 A big beach towel: My boys each have their own favourite beach towel (the one pictured here is my four year old's favourite Batman and Joker towel, from the Gap.)  

I love this one from Ralph Lauren:

 Sunscreen: Of course, if you're spending a day outside by the pool or beach, you will need a lot of sunscreen. I went to a Coppertone Canada event earlier this summer in Toronto where we were taught all about the importance of sunscreen (something we already knew, of course) and just how much we need to apply to stay safe in the sun. I pack a couple of bottles in my beach bag so I'm always ready! I love the new mousse sunscreen, and my boys don't mind me applying it on their soft skin, either. Win-win!

Other items I'll always have with me in my beach bag include wipes (can be used for SO many things!), bottles of water, band-aids, polysporin, snacks, and moisturizer.

What are your must-have beach bag items?




Bal Harbour Shops: My Happy Place

Dining, Shopping, and People Watching At Its Best

Bal Harbour Shops: My Happy Place

It's my happy place. It's the place I go to, year after year, to get away from it all. It's a brief escape from my reality of housework, homework, and work-work, and it's basically my paradise.

Bal Harbour Shops, the number one designer shopping destination in North America, is the place to go to be seen and it's the place to go to shop for all your designer must-haves. From sunglasses to a new pair of shoes, there is something here for everyone who loves to shop. Since I don't personally have a money tree in my backyard, shopping here can be challenging, but I never leave without a few new purchases for me to bring home. Shopping here is my therapy, and this upscale open-air shopping mall is lovely for so many reasons.

Since 2004 I've been happily shopping at Bal Harbour (with my mom by my side, and now, my children) whenever we visit south Florida.

The drive is one I can do with my eyes closed, and I know exactly how many steps it takes to get from Gucci to Tory Burch.

We start off by eating dinner at Carpaccio's, the heart of the Bal Harbour Shops. This Italian restaurant has been open for over 15 years and "continues to be the restaurant of choice for power brokers, politicians, sports stars, socialites and celebrities alike."

My boys love the food, the service is amazing, and the people watching? Well, it can't be beat. Sitting on the patio watching Ferrari after Ferrari pull in to the parking lot, while the palm trees move softly in the evening breeze is heavenly. Everything about Bal Harbour Shops is beautiful, from the people, to the stores, to the experience. My children are well-behaved, and even though I don't drag them with me from store to store for longer than an hour, they still have fun, looking at the turtles and large fish in the many fountains, and sitting in all the chairs in Saks Fifth Avenue.

A few years ago my sister and I bumped into Pharrell shopping in Louis Vuitton. He happily posed for a picture with us and all I remember was how good he smelled and that he great taste.

If you love to shop luxury retail, Bal Harbour Shops is somewhere you have to go. It even puts Rodeo Drive to shame!