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Spring Break Bound

March 24, 2009


Spring break is here and I’m off to the beach later this week. It puts me in mind of the Spring breaks of my college years (at least the parts I can sorta fuzzily piece together) where my girlfriends and I would load our massive suitcases with platform sandals, satin dresses and tube tops – not to put too fine a point on it, we’d slut it up. Hilarious when you consider that we truly believed our sartorial choices were classy; even when I ate it big, tumbling down an entire flight of stairs in a denim mini skirt (eek!) I managed to not spill a drop from my yard glass! That’s class, folks. Sadly, I’ve never really grown out of my tripping habit.

But these days, my suitcase is filled with kinder fabrics like cotton and jersey and I’ve traded my dolled up ways for a simpler approach. So, here are a few of my beach essentials for the perfect warm getaway…


At the beach, headgear is key – all it takes is one painful hair part burn and you’ll see what I mean for yourself. What’s on your head says a lot about your look – you can be low key in a baseball cap, stylish with a Fedora, or more Euro with the faithful scarf. When I was a teenager, my father gave me a silk Chanel scarf, which I use as the perfect head topper for the beach. Never mind that you’re wearing silk on the sand, when else are you going to use it? DVF has some beautiful ones this season.


At the beach I basically live in my swimsuit and cozy cover-up all week.

I am thrilled to report that the bandeau bikini is back baby! My first bikini ever was a bandeau – an Oscar de la Renta black and white number – acquired the summer before my sophomore year of high school; the first season in which I actually had something to fill out the top. Boy, did I love that suit…ah – what a great summer that was…I digress.

This year, I’ll be sporting something similar to that faithful fit of so many years ago coupled with something a little more modest – a simple tunic that also can double as a dress for any last minute cerveza or sandwich runs.


My must this season is the shorts jumpsuit. It’s so sweet. And makes me think of that Diet Coke commercial where a girl is roller skating on Venice Beach with the Starry Eyed Surprise song blaring in the background – seems like something that girl would wear.

But, honestly, I’m all about warm weather dressing in general. Sundresses, tank tops, tees, and shorts…oh and white jeans! Love it! But, I always remember to pack a cardigan or pashmina to fight the AC chill.


I’m what most call short, or when being polite, petite (I’m 5’2”). And I’m cool with that (why stress about the stuff you can’t change?). But, it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve truly embraced the short and chucked a lot of my taller shoes. Sure, I’m a stiletto and boot person for a night out, but at the beach, the only heightening I do is through flip-flops or sandals – with one exception…espadrilles.


Taking care of your skin pre- and post- sun exposure should be the only challenging thing about sunning yourself. I do like to get a nice tan (I’m not all Rachel Zoe here with browning yourself to a crisp, but a little sun is ok). My younger days of baby oil now make me cringe. Now I don’t go below a 30 SPF – ever.  I don’t need an expensive brand – my tried and true is the green bottle of NO-AD. Also, once I’ve gotten a little color, I like to use a tinted moisturizer on my face. Keeps the beachy glow going even after you’re back to the cubicle grind. As for the beach mani-pedi, I trade the trendy dark, wintry shades for bright colors (for the tootsies) and sheer (for the fingers). I adore the shades from Essie.


I’m not exactly what you’d call an adventurous accessorizer – beach or not. I rarely take out the diamond studs my husband gave me as a wedding gift and never go without at least my wedding band (although I don’t always wear my engagement ring). I do though like big hoop earrings and bangles and both of these are cute and beady for the bohemian chic beach look.

I’m a sucker for the classics when it comes to shades…I wear my Ray-Ban aviators for everyday, but they are not the best for staring into the ocean for hours on end. My favorites for that exercise are Spys – sporty, yet sleek and sturdy. Plus, they have styles with thick sides that help me feel better about preventing crow’s feet. My dream shades, however, are these Oliver Peoples – so cute, but not budget friendly, and almost stack up to Ray-Bans for wrinkle prevention.


I don’t need a whole lot of entertaining at the beach – just a few key things I bring with me – gotta have books, a beach umbrella, a rattan mat, a towel and something to lug it all in. As for the reading – I generally enjoy something thought provoking, but I’ll also toss in something just downright trashy for good measure.

Amazon,  Anthropologie,  Bluefly,  C & C California,  Delias,  Diane Von Furstenberg,  Essie,  Forever 21,  Fossil,  Havaianas,  J Crew,  No-AD, Oliver Peoples, Ray-Ban,  Roxy,  Seychelles,  Spy,  Target, Topshop,  Urban Outfitters,  Victoria’s Secret