03 February 2020

My beach bag essentials

We are going to St. Lucia! And I am so excited.

Two years ago, on my 30th birthday, we were in Jamaica sipping on mojitos (or mimosas ... who knows) when we met Jenny and Derek. Actually I lied, I met Jenny during a pit stop on the way to the resort -- we were both in line for the washroom, and the boys were likely already drinking Red Stripe. Anyways, fast forward and after that vacation we stayed friends! Our birthdays are one day apart, which explains a lot. I've always gravitated towards other Sagittarius' and some of my best friends have birthdays close to mine! All this to say, we are heading to St. Lucia WITH Jenny and Derek ... and the countdown on my phone isn't even a small inclination into how excited I am for this trip. We normally go away early January, but with my new job we had to wait a bit longer for a winter getaway. BUT BRING IT ON!

I spent the afternoon at Yorkdale getting some vacation clothes, which I might share in an upcoming post -- or in my Instagram stories (so follow me here!). But realistically, most of what I wear on vacation will be a repeat from our honeymoon... I'm trying not to buy unnecessary stuff anymore since fashion can be so unsustainable. Instead, I'm focusing on shopping for timeless, good quality items I can get a lot of wear out of.

One item I did splurge on today was a new beach bag. I've been using my beige Longchamp Le Pliage tote as a beach bag for years (and I mean YEARS!) but now it's serving as my gym bag so I thought it would be a great time to update my beach tote. The Tory Burch Ella Mini tote has been on my mind for a while. My grandma -- yup! you heard right -- has the black patent mini and I just love it. It's the perfect size for my petite build, and BONUS! it was on sale today. Unfortunately it's not online anymore, but you can shop a similar one here.

So, what will I be carrying in my tote during our trip to St. Lucia? Read on for my beach bag essentials.

1. Not really IN my beach bag per say, but my L*Space Lee Lee bikini will be the first thing I pack for this trip. I bought it for our honeymoon, and it was the best bathing suit splurge I have ever made. It's reversible, comfortable and amazing quality. I got it at Sandpipers in Yorkville, which is a great bathing suit shop with tons of amazing brands. I was hoping to find a Vitamin A swimsuit I loved there, since their fabric is Ecolux (made of recycled Nylon) but unfortunately none of them fit me, so I got this awesome L*Space bikini instead and I'm very happy with it.

2. Coola sunscreen has been a favourite of mine for YEARS. Like even before "clean" skincare was on anyone's radar, Coola and I were buds. For a long time it was really hard to find, but it's now available at Sephora, and my nail salon The Ten Spot sells it too which makes me very happy. The Cucumber Matte lotion for face is my favourite because it calms my skin and protects it from UV rays while reducing shine. This is a great product to use as a primer under makeup as well! (Note: If Coola is out of your budget, try this Attitude SPF30 Face Stick!)

3. For midday touchups, I love the Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder, because it's high in SPF, clean in ingredients, and great for reducing shine. It's pretty hard to find in Canada, but I usually order from Revolve and it comes pretty quickly. Whenever I'm in the states I buy a few at Anthropologie or Sephora -- I'm notorious for stocking up on beauty products in the U.S.

4. As a body sunscreen, Tyler and I both use the Beautycounter Countersun mineral sunscreen. It's formulated with non-nano Zinc and California poppy to deliver sun protection, and hydration. I love this sunscreen. It was really hard to find a good clean sunscreen that didn't have oxybenzoate in it, and wasn't overly greasy. Anyone who has tried other clean sunscreens on the market knows that GREASE is a common complaint, but this one is amazing and has a subtle lemon scent to it.

5. A cute beach hat is a must! They block the sun and protect you from heat stroke. The one in the photo above is not my exact hat, but it's close enough. I actually got my actual "Beach Please" hat in the dollar zone at Target for $5 USD last year. I love it and can't wait to wear it on the beach in St. Lucia.

6. I haven't bought a new pair of sunglasses in years. I probably should, but I haven't found any that I love lately -- except this cute pair at Tory Burch that I tried on today, but had to talk myself out of. I have about four functional pairs from when I worked retail way back in the day, and to be honest since nothing is wrong with them I find it hard to buy new ones. I absolutely LOVE my Ray-Ban aviators. I have a gold mirrored lense pair, and an all-black pair. I will bring BOTH on our trip!

7. Zinc oxide is the only all-natural, broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen on the market. Hurraw uses non-nano Zinc in this lip balm to provide sun protection for your lips, which means only clean ingredients can be absorbed into your body. I love this lip balm, it feels like silk and really prevents my lips from burning. You can buy Hurraw lip balm on well.ca.

8. I would be lying if I didn't list SNACKS on my beach bag must-have list. Anyone who knows me, knows I always have food stashed in my car, desk and purse. I have a fear of going hungry ... that or I just love food. I'm packing enough Usana Wholebio bars for my week in St. Lucia, since I've conditioned myself to eat one a day now. I love these bars, they're stacked with gut-friendly nutrients and tons of fibre - wink! wink! I order them through a friend of mine, her website is here. (Note: Other products I love by Usana are: Nutrimeal Free meal replacement powder, and the Digestive Enzymes)

9. I can't get enough sun protection for my face! Beautycounter Dew Skin is a tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 and sheer coverage, perfect for a day at the beach. It's one of my best sellers, and for good reason. It's perfect for a beach vacation, or to wear under more full-coverage makeup that maybe lacks sun protection.

10. Another item that isn't exactly IN my beach bag, but is a beach day necessity is the Beautycounter After Sun Cooling Gel, to soothe your sun-drenched skin and boost hydration. It smells exactly like you'd imagine a beach vacation to smell like, so it's also the perfect vacation sidekick.

11. I love a good book I can read while getting some sun! Although, as a former English-major I am not sure I can call Stassi Schroeder a good writer. Regardless, I'm almost positive Next Level Basic will be entertaining, as I did hear a sneak peek on a recent episode of Vanderpump Rules, and it sounds like the PERFECT beach read.

12. The PERFECT beach tote, I am obsessed with my NEW Tory Burch Ella Mini tote.

13. Another recent purchase are these Tkees Gemma slides. I bought some Tkees for our honeymoon and had them personalized with my new initials, but they came in and they were too small. So, I sold them (ya, someone bought them even with my initials on them ...) and ordered a new style in a bigger size! Can't wait for these bad boys to get here, I'm really hoping they fit nicely because I just love the Gemma style and think these will look great with so many of my warm weather outfits!

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