Beach day essentials

This little heat wave has me thinking about parking my tooshie in a beach chair and sticking my toes in the sand. Instead, I'm sitting at a desk in an overly air conditioned office. Major bummer. A girl can dream, can't she? I'm headed to Ocean City, New Jersey for the Fourth of July Weekend with a small group of friends, and since I'm a crazy planner, I'm already writing my lists of things to bring. When you're a beach bum like me, you have to be prepared or there's no way you're going to make it all day in the sun. So here's my list of beach essentials, for a full day on the beach. 

The key is an even mix of activities, entertainment and relaxation tools:

1. First up on the list, an over-sized beach towel, preferably in a nautical print. Whether you're lying directly on the sand, or sitting in your chair, you want a towel made of nice fabric, that's going to keep you comfortable and dry. 

2. Sunnies - beach sunglasses should be a) cheap and b) mirrored. This way if you happen to go in to the ocean with them on, you won't be too bummed when a rouge wave rips them from your face and you can eye up the man (or lady) candy without looking like a major creeper. 

3. Havaianas - I'm specifying the brand of flip flops because in this case, it matters. Sure, you can score 20 pairs of Old Navy flip flops for the price of one pair of Havaianas, but they're not going to be as comfortable and they're definitely not going to last as long. These are the best. Hands down. 

4. Sunscreen - I don't care how well you tan, grab a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and apply that goop in liberal doses every hour. Believe me, you'll still get tan, but you'll protect yourself from the harmful rays, the ones that lead to a trip to a dermatologist years down the road. 

5. A hat - Don't forget your scalp when applying sunscreen, but I know it's hard when you have a full head of hair. Sometimes when you feel like your face or head is getting a bit too much sun, the hat is a perfect solution. I am a fan of the fedora variety, which has an air of cool and casual, but if you can pull off the wide brim Gone-with-the-Wind-fabulous look, by all means... 

6. Kindle, book or magazine - People-watching at the beach is one of my favorite past times, but I also love getting lost in a good book or gossip magazine at the beach. What I love about my Kindle is that it's super light and easy to pack, has an anti-glare screen and allows me to have a handful of books loaded up, so I never run out of reading material. 

7. Games - When you need to stand up and stretch your legs a bit, Pro Kadima is the perfect game to play with a friend. BryGuy and I love to play a version where you stand at the edge of the water and count how many times you can hit the ball before it hits the ground. If you're feeling a little less active, but still want to interact with your beach mates, spread out a blanket and play another board game like Bananagrams, cards or Scrabble. 

8. Boogie board - If I go into the ocean, it's usually just for a quick cool off and then I'm out again. But if I have a boogie board, I could stay out there for hours, trying to catch a wave, or just bobbing along. 

9. A good beach chair - We just invested in some Tommy Bahama beach chairs, they are definitely a little more expensive than I'd typically spend on a beach chair, but they are so comfortable, easy to carry (they come with backpack straps) and have a cooler pouch on the back! 

10. Beverage koozies - You need a way to keep your beverages cold in the hot sun, so grab a clever beer koozie and stay refreshed! 

11. Cooler - Keep your beverages and food cold all day long in an insulated cooler. Don't forget to pack plenty of water and lots of snacks! 

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