Category

life’s a beach

Pieces of Summer

By fashion statements, life's a beach, memories, summer One Comment

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Earlier this summer, I treated myself to this Kiel James Patrick nautical rope bracelet. I’d been wanting one for over a year, and finally forced myself to choose one of the three or four eight options on my wish list. Since it arrived, I’ve hardly taken it off (other than to sleep, shower and head to the beach) all summer. I held off on posting about it because I’ve been through many a braided bracelet in my life, and I wanted to make sure this one held up. Three months later, it’s still going strong.

When I was a kid, each summer we’d spend a week or so in Long Beach Island with family friends we didn’t see very often. One year, three of us girls used our own money to purchase braided rope bracelets as a reminder of the days we spent together jumping waves and collecting sand crabs on the beach. (I can hardly remember, but something tells me those three bracelets came from The Parlor at Bay Village.) After vacation was over, I wore mine as long as I could, well into the fall, until it started to unravel and I put it away in a box for safekeeping.

I bought a few more over the years. Those braided rope bracelets were little pieces of summer I could keep with me long after beach days were just a distant memory. Now, I’ve finally got a grown-up version to keep the tradition going. Autumn may be on its way, but my KJP bracelet is staying right here on my wrist, and I might even buy another one to keep it company. =)

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NJ Trip #1

By life's a beach, lifestyle, new jersey, road trips, summer, take me away, the places you'll go, travel 3 Comments

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Now that my first little string of vacations has ended, I’ve finally got some time to post about them. =) You already know I kicked off New Jersey Trip #1 with Suttonpalooza, so this pretty much sums up the rest.

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I made it a point to enjoy a few breakfasts featuring pork roll (a Jersey staple) at Amy’s Omelette House (above) and a little bakery/cafe in Atlantic Highlands (below).

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I spent lots of sunny, relaxing hours at the pool with my favorite magazines and my mom and dad.

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I wore a nautical dress (first photo of this post) to an impromptu rendezvous with my parents and their friends at the new 9th Ave Pier in Belmar.

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I spent an evening chasing the sunset around the marina in search of the perfect shot.

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My mom and I paid a morning visit to the Twin Lights

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…followed by an afternoon in the city…

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…where we ducked into La Maison du Chocolat to avoid a drizzle and split an eclair between shops on Madison Avenue…

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…and then indulged in just a few pastries more at Ferrara after dining al fresco in Little Italy.

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I sought some late afternoon shade in the old Casino with my best friend and her little girls on the boardwalk in Asbury Park.

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I picked up a few treasures along the way  — a classic striped top (St. James), madras shorts (Cape Madras via Brave New World), Saltwater Soap (Saipua via Warm), and starfish earrings from a boutique on the boardwalk. I bought my friend Tina a matching pair, too. =)

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I met my mom for lunch on the boards before I left to drive home. Nothing beats a cold Diet Coke in a shiny red cup on a sizzling afternoon.

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I raced the sunset down to the bridge. It was nothing short of perfect timing as I (literally) swerved off the road at the CBBT scenic overlook and launched myself out of the car to snap this shot just as the sun was dipping below the horizon.

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I stopped to revel in the last 20 minutes of my trip. After the sun went down, I rolled down the windows, sat back in the driver’s seat, stared out over the bay, and savored a cup of she-crab soup I picked up from The Great Machipongo Clam Shack.

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What I Have (And Haven’t) Been Doing

By life's a beach, lifestyle 2 Comments

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The last few weeks have been a little bit of a roller coaster ride. I’ve been getting over the shingles, working excessively, taking lots of photos, avoiding the heat waves, catching up with old friends, doing a little shopping, watching the Olympics, and crossing lots of bridges and tunnels. I’ve managed to catch quite a few gorgeous sunsets, but not nearly as many sunrises. What I haven’t been doing is hitting the beach, riding my bike very much, swimming in the ocean, sleeping very well, and relaxing. I’d like to get caught up on those things soon, that’s for sure.

Fisheye!

By life's a beach, photography 10 Comments

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This is the first photo I took with my new fisheye lens this morning! I got up extra early to go roam around on the beach and take photos of the sun rising up over the ocean. =)

I sprung for this Rokinon 8mm f3.5 Ultrawide Fisheye Lens last week during an Amazon Lightning Deal. I don’t know all that much about it yet because I’ve never shot with a fisheye before (and it’s the first completely manual lens I’ve owned since I was last shooting film in 2000), but it seems pretty decent, and I’m looking forward to learning how to use it over the next few weeks. =)

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P.S. Check out this article for some great tips on capturing photos of fireworks this 4th of July! (If you’re into that sort of thing.)

10 Summer Essentials

By life's a beach, lifestyle, lists, shopping, style, summer One Comment

10 Summer Essentials

Summer’s in full swing, and I’m ready to make the most of the next few months. My calendar’s full of beach days, weekend trips, work events, cookouts, and more, and I’m sure yours is, too. The days may be long and scorching, but that’s no reason to go around looking (or acting) like a hot mess. =)

Here are 10 of my favorite summer essentials to get you through the season in style.

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1-Shorts
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From the beach to the bar to the office, I’ve been wearing these J.Crew 3″ Chino Shorts ($45) virtually everywhere this summer. I’ve got navy, khaki and hot pink on repeat, and since they’re so easy to wash, dry, pack, and wear, I see no end in sight for these shorts throughout the rest of July and August.

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2-Sunscreen
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If you’re one of those people who still doesn’t wear sunscreen, then you may as well be smoking a pack a day. I can’t be out in the mid-day sun for more than 20 minutes without long sleeves or some kind of SPF on my skin. Here’s what’s in my beach bag right now:
Ultimate Sun Protection Cream For Face SPF 55 PA+++ ($35)
Fresh Sugar Coral Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($23)
Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen SPF 30 ($7)
Hawaiian Tropic Shimmer Effect Lotion SPF 20 ($10)

And one I’d like to try out soon:
Margaritaville Parrot Head Floridays Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 30 ($14)

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3-Beach Chair
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I’ve been using an older version of this Nautica beach chair for the last few summers. It’s the best one I’ve ever owned, and it’s held up quite well. You can usually find these at Bed Bath & Beyond, Sam’s Club, Costco or other local stores that carry name-brand beach chairs. Surprisingly, the best place to find Nautica beach chairs (in a variety of colors) online right now seems to be eBay ($60 + free shipping).

Tommy Bahama carries some really nice beach chairs, too — complete with backpack straps and cooler pouches.

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4-Swim Suit
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Most of my favorite suits come from designers Trina Turk, Vitamin A, and Nanette Lepore (mostly via Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, 6pm.com, and sample sale sites). For budget-friendly options, I love JCPenney’s Arizona Mix-and-Match Separates, which is where I stumbled upon the pink-and-white striped suit pictured above.

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5-Tote Bag
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I’ve been hauling the same tote bag back and forth to the beach with me for going on ten years now. I’m ready for something new, and this Parrott Canvas Windjammer Ketch Tote ($75) is on my radar. Not only will it easily replace my past-its-prime beach bag, it will also make the perfect summer travel carry-on.

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6-Self-Tanner
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It took me a good 30 years to realize I was never going to turn the enviable color bronze I dream about, and it’s been a challenge to find a self-tanner that doesn’t turn me a ridiculous shade of orange. Spray and airbrush tans are off-limits for me, but this summer, I discovered St. Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan ($30). It’s available in Light-Medium and Medium-Dark, the first of which is perfect for me. I love using it right after a day at the beach. =) Best part about it? It doesn’t smell like self-tanner. People actually tell me I smell nice when I use this stuff.

A budget-friendly alternative (that’s almost as good with a pretty tolerable scent): Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer ($10)

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7-Sun Hat
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I never thought I’d be able to pull off hats like these, but once I started wearing them, I couldn’t stop. A hat is the best way I can think of to protect your hair and face from the sun on a summer day. Not to mention, the right hat is an easy outfit-maker. My four favorites (from left to right):
Nine West Packable Super Straw Floppy Hat ($40)
Tommy Bahama Medium-Brimmed Scarf Hat ($115)
Charlotte Russe Bow-Back Straw Fedora ($10)
Straw Boater Hat (very similar for $30 here)

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8-Beach Cruiser
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Summers were simply made for riding bicycles. Obviously, a beach cruiser isn’t the best choice for everyone, but mine are my two prize possessions. Beach cruiser #1 is the 2008 model of this Electra Women’s Coaster 7. Beach cruiser #2 is this year’s Electra Women’s Cruiser 1.

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9-Bronzer
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I’m big on low-maintenance make-up in the summer. A light-colored eye shadow, a coat of mascara, a dab of lipstick, a dusting of bronzer, and I’m out the door. These two have had a presence in my make-up bag for years, and I can’t imagine spending a summer (or winter) without them:
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder ($29)
Benefit Hoola ($28)

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10-Sunglasses
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I can’t go anywhere without sunglasses, and ever since they put a Sunglass Hut inside Macy’s, I haven’t been able to stop buying them. These Ray-Bans are my latest acquisition, and the last pair I bought before I realized I needed some way to organize them all. Can’t get enough sunglasses like me? You can find a few more of my favorite pairs here.

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And that’s all I’ve got. What are your summer essentials?