They say that a woman never reveals her secrets…. or is it a magician??
Anyway, if you’re anything like me you guard the contents of your handbag like a Momma bear protecting it’s young. Come too close to peeking into my bag and I may just claw your eyes out and leave your lifeless body for the crows. Women are protective over the contents of their handbags and with good reason–they are like a window into our soul. Take a peek in mine and you will see that I’m a tired, hungry and scared mother of three who could use a warm shower, a clean pair of socks and a truly platonic, non-sexual backrub from her husband.
But today, I’m breaking girl code.
I’m going to let you take a look inside my beach bag because it contains eight of the hottest natural summer products to hit the shelves this season! In addition to a handful of stale, wet and moldy bunny crackers, a couple sippy cups from 2010 and a scratch and sniff Ariel sticker (who now looks like a beatdown garbage pail kid).
- Chapman At Sea, The Sandbag, Surf Tribe Boho Aztec: $138
I am annoyingly picky when it comes to the annual selection of my beach bag. And I say “annual” because I have yet to find one that can survive a summer of being smashed, dropped, sprayed on, peed on and used as a weapon of mass destruction in a fight over who gets the middle seat in my car.
My requirements include:
- durability (see above)
- washability (not a word, but you catch my drift)
- Big enough to hold my 75,000 beach essentials
- Not so big that I can still carry it in addition to 5 lawn chairs, my Swell bottle full of Pinot Grig and two kids on my back.
I saw this bag on Pinterest and….swoon. Not only is it the perfect size and can fit all of my beach essentials, but is is made from an ultra sturdy combination of canvas and burlap. Oh and the cute little sailor knots on the side…I mean get out of here with that hippness Mr. and Mrs. Chapman.
Each bag is made by hand by a cute little husband and wife team, who also make surfboard bags and dog leashes. Sailor knots included.
And true to form, #2 splattered chocolate ice cream all over me and my new Chap bag about a week after I got her. I promptly doused her with baking soda and vinegar and threw her in the wash, waiting on pins and needles to see whether I needed to throw a complete kniption fit and safe surrender my daughter at the fire station.
Came out clean as a whistle!*
*Note: After the fact, I read the care instructions on the Chapman website which say to NEVER put the sandbag in the laundry machine, as it can wear out the burlap. Hand wash only. Will do next time. Oh the joys of reading instructions after the fact.
2. Pure Vida Shibori Round Beach Towel: $50.00
This is your new go-to beach towel for summer. Crafted from ultra-soft pure cotton, it features a beautiful Shirbori inspired design. So beautiful, that I’m not sure whether I want to roll around on it and drown out the ear piercing sound of #1 getting repeatedly assaulted with a Nerf squirt gun OR hang it above my bed and give new meaning to the phrase “Mippy Chic” (Mommy + Hippy).
But seriously, this beach towel is probably the coolest thing I own and makes me feel like an adult. In fact, if I close my eyes for one hot minute I can revisit the old days as a twenty something lounging on the glorious beaches of Santa Barbara. Now it’s lawn side at the community pool or freezing a** Baker beach, where I am usually wearing sweats and praying for one drop of sunshine to hit my forehead.
In addition to making gorgeous beach towels, Pure Vida has a stellar collection of beaded bracelets which are handcrafted by artisans in Costa Rica. They even have a charity line of bracelets which support a wide range of causes, from army veterans to brain cancer research. They have partnered with 190 charities and donated more than $935, 358! I think it’s super cool to rock a stylish bracelet that supports a cause dear to your heart. They truly are a company with a conscience and I have no qualms about spending my kids allowance on any of their products!
3. Justin’s Almond Butter Packets: $18.00 for a pack of 10
**You can also find them at Whole Foods, Safeway, Costco and Target
And I’m not being dramatic. I eat like three of these a day. Made from high-quality, local ingredients, Justin’s almond butter packets are a natural, healthy and convenient alternative to chips, granola bars and fruit snacks. In addition, they are packed with protein and calm the nerves of adults, as well as little pissed off passengers on the “Hangy Train.” All aboard! Destination: “Get Me The Hell off”-Ville.
And the company is pretty cool too. They are committed to reducing their carbon footprint by adopting environmentally friendly practices and they strive to make the world a better place (and end world hunger!) by collaborating with awesome organizations like Conscious Alliance and Whole Planet Foundation.
4. Hurraw Coconut Lip Balm: $3.79 (plus shipping or for a dollar more, prime!)
Made from a heavenly combination of cocoa butter and almond oil, this is the lip “bomb” of all balms. It is super moisturizing, the texture is light and soft, and most importantly it doesn’t feel like someone poured a vat of wax on my lips like other natural brands I’ve tried.
And I don’t know what is more exciting–the fact that it is made with organic, raw and vegan ingredients or the fact that it smells so good I want to huff the crap out of it all day. Every day.
Comes in multiply unique flavors, including coffee bean and chai spice and they even make an SPF version using non-nano particles!
5. LAVA Essentials: Lava bead essential bracelets (assorted): $20.99
“Simple minimalist and bohemian jewelry for all essential oil loving souls.”
I stumbled upon these little treasures while surfing Etsy and immediately knew I had hit the jewelry jackpot. The owner, Chynna, makes each and every one of these essential oil necklaces and bracelets by hand, using lava beads, a heck of a lot of creativity, skill and passion for her craft.
Just place a couple drops of your favorite essential oil onto the lava bead and it acts like a mini diffuser, emitting a steady stream of oils throughout the day. It’s like perfume, Xanax and cool as f*ck jewelry all rolled into one! Oh and I die over her Instagram account, which features simple, beautiful and minimalist-esque photographs of her jewelry worn by exceptionally cool and artsy people that have mastered the skill of tilting their head in such a way as to make me want to be them.
6. ThinkSport Sunscreen: $9.72
**You can also purchase at Target and REI
Remember the Lord of the Rings trilogy? I do. It’s the best three naps I ever had in a theater. Anyway, substitute the ring wraiths and the actual ring for little old me and sunscreen and you got yourself a great description of my seemingly endless journey toward finding decent sun protection. As it turns out, finding a safe sunscreen that actually works and won’t leave you looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost is damn near impossible.
But I’m special.
I originally bought this sunscreen for my kiddos and decided to give it a test run when my adult brand ran out. I fell in louvre. No white residue, no frying in the sun like a piece of paleo bacon and it smelled terrific and I was actually able to wash it off at the end of the day. It’s become a family favorite!
7. Jackson Reese Kinder by Nature Herbal Baby Wipes:
Over the years I have found that keeping a pack of baby wipes in my beach bag makes life, and summertime, tolerable. No sink to wash your hands after changing a dirty diaper? Check. Sand, mud, last night’s dinner stuck to your feet? Check. Realizing at the end of the day that you cruised around town with a piece of a Questbar stuck to your cheek? Check and check.
I had a heck of a time finding a brand of baby wipes that was safe of course, smelled decent but also had some tread (similar to a paper towel) so that I could really go to town on things like that damn piece of Questbar stuck to my face. Several other brands I tried smelled okay and were smooth to the touch, but did not nothing in terms of actually removing food and other gunk from my face, hands and feet. And I love that they don’t use sodium benzoate!
8. Yarok Feed Your Sunshine Sun Protection Serum: $29.50
Just when I had pretty much given up on Goop (thanks Gwen, but I don’t need a $200 face cleanser and $500 vibrator to make my life worth living), this serum caught my eye and I just knew that I had to try it. And my current post sun serum was loaded with so many chemicals that it could double as lighter fluid.
While Yarok’s serum is pretty oily, my hair soaked it up almost immediately and it felt clean and moisturized throughout the day. Plus, I rubbed the excess into my old lady hands and it felt amazing. And the smell? To die for.
Tip: Once the serum is applied, you will need to wash your hair before you paint the town red. Or your new nickname will be “Grease Lighting.”
And that’s a wrap on my top natural summer products!! That you need in your beach bag. Immediately.
Stay tuned friends….after I get back from my vacation where I will be covered in my ThinkSport sunscreen, lying on my ultra hip Pure Vida towel, donning my lava bracelet and noshing on a Justin’s, I’m going to show you how to make a low sugar, low calorie, healthy cocktail and paleo potato salad that will knock those Stepford Wives on their booty! So good.
What do personalized trucker hats, goggles, sweating to death and beloved beach bags without chocolate stains…have in common?
So what are my favorite recipes, health and lifestyle tips, products and kid-related stuff?
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