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?!)

Filling Up Your Summer Bucket List

KBB_along_the_shoreAaah, summer! How I love thee. Yet, you and I (like so many other people and things that I love) have a complicated relationship. You arrive very late here in Canada. You’re not always that warm. And somehow every year I get so caught up in your splendor, so overwhelmed by the sun and sand and all of the people along the shore, that by the time I pause to take it all in it’s over, and all of the hopes and dreams that I harbored over the winter months have been dashed before I’ve even had a chance to remember what I wanted to do in the first place.

I’m not a big goal-maker, but what I do love is making lists: this year, I’m making a summer bucket list with only the super-fun awesome things that I want to get up this summer. No nasty to-dos allowed! If you want to follow along, your only homework is to enjoy yourself. Take time to relax. Do something that you’ve been putting off, or something that scares you. You don’t even have to take time off or travel to a new place or spend any money or anything. The only rule about filling your bucket list is just that- they have to be things that fill you up with joy, or are fulfilling to your soul.

Here are some of mine so far:

  1. Read, read, read. But that’s a given.
  2. Make the perfect ice cream sandwich. I figure that I’ve already made an ice cream cake; putting ice cream between two cookies can’t be that hard.
  3. Spend one day doing nothing. Seriously. I am a slave to my lists and my type-A habits; it’s hard to remember the last time I didn’t have my day super-scheduled, or the last time I did something truly spontaneous. Or not. I could just spend the day in my pajamas (which for me is practically unheard of!)
  4. Go for a picnic with my sister. There’s one particular spot that I’d love to take her too, and I experienced some health issues last summer that unfortunately caused me to spend a great deal of time indoors. I crave fresh air and sunshine, and I love spending time with my sister.
  5. Wear shorts. This is a weird one, because I have an irrational fear of shorts. Maybe it’s because every year without fail someone comments on my translucent legs. Also, how do you know when your shorts are too short? Where is the line (or in this case, the hem) drawn?

Even if you don’t complete everything you’d like to do on your summer bucket list, it’s a great exercise for the over-worked and the over-stressed to plan ahead for relaxation time. Working through big projects, figuring out tough situations, and pulling long hours all seem easier and worthwhile when we set aside actual quality time for ourselves (no chores or errands please!), and the act of writing down the ways in which you would like to spend your spare time is like a stepping stone to building a life for yourself that’s happier and more fulfilled.

Yes, I’m trying to get you to make another list. You know you want to.

KBwB-BFlower-50I’ve shared mine- now you share yours! Email me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com, tweet me at @keepingbusyb, send me a picture on Instagram @b_side317 or comment below and tell me what your plans are for the summer. If all else fails, I’m afraid we’ll have to resort to using a carrier pigeon. Or an owl.

Summer 2016 Reading List

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The summer I turned thirteen my mom hauled my sister and I off to spend the summer with her and her relatives in Sweden. For two months we camped out in a sweet little house up North, spending our days walking, swimming, boating, fishing, and playing badminton.

And of course, reading. So much reading. A voracious reader like me should have known better than to take only four books on a two-month trip, and by the time our seven-hour plane ride was over, I had already demolished two. Thank goodness for my mother’s cousin. She very kindly let me have the run of her bookshelf while we stayed in her house that summer and because she was an English major in university (score!) I ended up spending most of the summer continuing my education in the classics.

Fast forward many years later (more than I care to admit) and I still can’t help but associate this time of year with classic literature. Maybe it’s because the days are brighter and longer, and provide readers like myself with more opportunities to delve into a juicy story. Maybe it’s just the warm, dreamy weather that makes us feel like we’re being transported across space and time. Either way, there’s a few old standards out there I still haven’t read which is why I’m filling up my summer reading list with classics to catch up on.

  1. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  2. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  3. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’m always inspired by classic reading lists claiming to boat the most-loved books of our time, or greatest books of the century. It gives me great suggestions to expand my reading horizon, and whether you end up loving or hating the book, at least you can finally claim that you know what all of the fuss is about.

KBwB-BFlower-50I love to read and I love sharing my favourite books with you. (For more reading inspiration, click 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 a book from my site. It keeps this blog running and food in my dog’s bowl, but rest assured I’d never suggest you buy something I wouldn’t buy for myself. Enjoy!