What’s in my Beach Bag?

Guys, I live near a beach so I got this one down pat. (Ok so it’s not the ocean-only a lake- but it’s still pretty close.) I can’t get enough of the fresh air and sunshine after being cooped up indoors all winter, and apparently people around here feel the same way, because in the summer this place gets packed.

Lucky for me and my dog, we’ve lived here long enough that we know all the best places to steal a quiet moment to contemplate the water, listen to music, read a book, or simply enjoy the feeling of the sun on your skin.

Here’s some of what I take along to make the experience enjoyable:

  1. A large towel to sit on, although you may want to bring a second one in case you decide to go swimming.
  2. I read somewhere once that the majority of the skin’s aging process is largely attributed to sun damage so I never leave the house without sunscreen. Vanity aside, there’s also a history of skin cancer in my family which is exacerbated by my pale, pale skin.
  3. As such, my line of defense also includes a large floppy hat and sunglasses, although the glasses are mostly so I don’t get recognized. (Kidding!)
  4. Hydration is important so I always have two reusable water bottles; one for me and one for my dog.
  5. I practically never leave the house without a book, and if I’m going to the beach it’s almost certainly a guarantee. (I blog about what I’m reading all the time here, if you’re interested.)
  6. I have a little emergency kit that goes everywhere with me in my purse- I just pop it into whatever bag I happen to be carrying that day.
  7. As mentioned in this post, I’m kind of a grazer when it comes to eating, so I usually stash a granola bar or a piece of fruit in case I get too much sun, or feel like my blood sugar is too low.
  8. My beauty routine doesn’t involve too many lotions or potions, but I do enjoy indulging in a face misting spray to throw into my beach bag. It’s good for setting make-up on sweaty skin, a light cleanse after going swimming, or simply helps to cool you off after sitting out in the sun.

I keep my beach bag pretty simple- it’s hard to relax and enjoy yourself if you’ve brought too much to carry, or you constantly have to rummage around to find things.

Of course, depending on your lifestyle the contents of your bag may look a little bit different than mine. Maybe you’ve got some sand toys in there if you’ve got little kids in tow, or maybe you’ve got lots of food and drink for a picnic with friends.

Some of the stuff on my list may change if I have my dog with me. In that case, I’ll bring her water bottle (see above) as well as some treats and maybe a ball or a Frisbee to play with. Honestly, she’s pretty into hanging out on a towel with me which makes her a total beach bum.

The best part of my list, in my opinion, is the fact that I haven’t included any electronics and I don’t really plan to. I’m so attached to my phone that I’ve taken to not bringing it with me on my dog walks so I can enjoy the experience more. I might bring it along with me if I’m planning to meet up with friends and I need to be reachable; other than that, I prefer keeping my beach visits blissfully phone-free.

After all, what’s the point in staring at a screen when you’ve got that beautiful summer weather to breathe in and enjoy all around you?

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I want to know what’s in your beach bag! Are the contents sweet and simple like mine, or do you really go on a big adventure when you make a beach trip? Have you even been to a beach? Let me know! I’m looking forward to your answers below, or in my inbox at keepingbusyb@gmail.com.

For more tip on having more summer fun, I’ve got some ideas here. (As if you needed advice on how to have fun, right?!)

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The Busy Girl’s Guide to Managing Your Health

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Working at a doctor’s office gives people the impression that you’ve received medical training the same as any nurse. I have to remind people over and over that I’m not a doctor, and I cannot give medical advice. But I have picked up a couple of useful tips that I wish more people knew about managing their own healthcare.

The biggest complaint I receive from patients is that they don’t know how to communicate with their doctor, and they often come away from their appointments with only a vague understanding of their problem. Even though you may feel like you’re being rushed, you need to speak up! You have a right to know and understand what’s going on with you.

You’re also allowed to do your own research although I urge you to proceed with caution- there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so take what you read on the Internet with a grain of salt. I don’t advise trying to diagnose yourself, but I do encourage gathering more background information so you can ask the right questions during your appointment. Your doctor might also be able to provide with a starting point in your research, or have access to resources that may be able to provide you with more information and/or support.

Managing your healthcare is really a collaborative effort between you and your healthcare provider (see here for more reasons on why this is important). They have the knowledge and experience to diagnose and treat ailments, and you have the working knowledge of your own body and mind to help decide what treatment is best for you. Should you take your doctor’s advice? Probably. But they don’t always have time and funding to do the legwork to seek out second opinions, treatment opinions, alternative therapies, or insurance resources you may need or want. Sometimes it’s up to you to take the reins.

Being an active and engaged patient also helps improve your relationship with your doctor. Be honest. Share things about your life. These are all important methods of communicating what’s going on with you, and it actually might make a big difference in the long run.

It’s also the nurses, pharmacists, therapists, counselors and support staff like myself that are assisting the doctors behind the scenes. The more they know you the better they understand what your healthcare needs are, and these relationships in turn might help give you insight into the inner workings of your particular healthcare system.

Going to a doctor’s office can be scary and intimidating- believe me, just because I work for a doctor doesn’t mean I feel any better when I see my own- but knowing what to anticipate, understanding more about the system, and building a working relationship with your doctor can hopefully lead you to a clean bill of health, as well as a sense of empowerment.

And that’s the kind of thing that in my job that keeps me satisfied.

KBwB-BFlower-50I firmly believe that the key to staying healthy is leading a balanced lifestyle. It’s something I’m constantly trying to achieve in my own life, and from time to time I like to share my trials and tribulations here.

Fabulous Reads for the Single Girl

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This one is for the single ladies- all those super awesome independent ladies that live by their own rules and don’t let their lives be ruled by their relationship status (or in this case, lack thereof).

In fact, I read an article recently that predicted the rise of the single female professional, and how they would eventually take over the workforce.

Who knows? Girls really might end up running the world.

Here’s some of my my favorite fabulous reads for all of you fierce females out there:

One of the quintessential books for single women would of course have to be Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved it as much as every other woman that read it, but I think her follow-up, Committed, is definitely underrated. Part essay, part memoir, it’s a pretty interesting look at the institution of marriage and how it has shaped our culture.

If that doesn’t make you re-think the way we look at weddings and marriages these days, then you’ve got to take a look at Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Marriages in Literary London 1910-1939 by Kate Roiphe. You’d be surprised at how many marriages were just as messy as modern ones, except their society had a much lower tolerance for things that are more readily accepted today: Mistresses! Open relationships! Polymory! If you’re a bookworm and you like gossip, this one is for you.

Bachelor Girl by Betsy Israel is another walk through history with a different slant: in it she chronicles the trials and tribulations of the single woman, starting with the spinsters who were put into homes as an act of charity, to the working women of the early 1900s forced to room together in tiny, cramped rooming houses with marriage as they only means of escape. If anything, it will remind you of the privilege you have of being a single woman who is able to read this at her leisure right now.

If you read any book on this list, I hope it’s On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone by Florence Falk. I read it after a really bad break-up and it was a real epiphany; even if you’re in a healthy, committed relationships I think it’s still an important read. Even though it’s aimed at widows or women going through a divorce, it’s not really a book about grief, or life after marriage. It’s about learning how to enjoy your own company, the importance of exploring one’s own interests, and ultimately fostering a healthy relationship with one’s self. As women we place far too much of our self-worth on our relationships and what we can give to other people. Folk’s message is a gentle reminder that being alone allows one the time and space to give back to yourself.

I’m not knocking relationships; it can be really nice to have a partner. But it’s my firm belief that relationships only work if you can still remain true to yourself, and your own interests and values. They key is finding someone that you can learn and grow with along the way. If you’ve found that person, great. Still searching? Sometimes people enter and exit our lives for good reason; most of it is just meeting the right person at the right time.

But if you’re still feeling bad, consider this: you get to have the bed all to yourself.

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I love to read and I love sharing my favorite books with you. (For more reading inspiration click here or here.) These lists are totally my own creation and I was not paid or perked to share my opinions with you by any author or publishing company. Full disclosure: I do receive a small commission from Amazon when you choose to buy from my site. It keeps this blog running and food in my dog’s bowl, but rest assured I would never suggest you buy something I wouldn’t buy for myself. Enjoy!