Tag Archives: beach

Holiday Weekend at Itasca State Park

Over the 4th of July holiday weekend, the hubby and I took a spontaneous trip to Itasca State Park. Now, we have been to MANY state parks, but Itasca is by far the best we’ve ever experienced. Located in northwestern Minnesota, this park is the oldest in the state. Founded in 1891, the park offers year-round camping (most with electrical hook-ups), a lodge with a restaurant (the french toast is scrumptious), rental cabins, and that’s just the accomodations.

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The main room at Douglas Lodge. Named for former Attorney General Wallace B. Douglas who was a pivotal figure in the battle to save timber in the park at the turn-of-the-century. The lodge was built in 1905.

Itasca State Park is set on 32,000 acres and contains 100 lakes. Lake Itasca, which is crystal clear, has a fabulous beach and the best changing rooms/showers I’ve ever used. The sports facility offers the rental of bicycles, boats, and other outdoor recreational equipment. There are several boat launches and it’s quite nice to paddle to the lodge for a meal.

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Lake Itasca Tours offers a 2-hour boat excursion on the Chester Charles II. The lodge will pack you a picnic lunch or you can purchase snacks and beverages on board.

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Wilderness Drive is a 10 mile stretch that takes you through the heart of the forests. Beautiful winding road with plenty of wildlife and nature. Gorgeous!

There are so many hiking trails there’s no way you can experience them in one trip. We took the Dr. Roberts trail. This trail winds for 2 miles through forest and bogs. There is also the Old Timer’s Cabin on a point that was once used for honeymoons. It is only 4 logs high!

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On the trail. So tranquil, but the flies were stalking me!

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There was a huge storm a few days earlier and there were many trees down. It didn’t matter-I would have found my way around anything to get away from the bugs!

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The storm knocked a tree onto a tent (no one was hurt). The hubby goofing off!

The park also features the Aiton Fire Tower. This 100 foot tall tower, which was restored in 1998, is worth the climb. The view is amazing. You can see over the top of the forest, spot the lakes, and really appreciate the wonder of nature.

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Only 6 people can be on the tower at a time. I didn’t think I’d make it to the top, but I am so glad I did.

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Guido 100 feet up. Look at that view!

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I’m trying to summon the energy to climb 100 feet!

One of the really special points of the park is the fact that the headwaters of the Mississippi River are located here. Here the mighty Miss begins her 2552 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s quite spectacular. Very small, very clear, and full of people! Some were swimming, some were wading, and others were walking across the slippery boulders.

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Can you tell the hubby is a writer/photographer? Look at all that gear!

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The rocks were way too treacherous for me, but there were plenty of others willing to give it a go.

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We always stop to listen to the demonstrations. Here, a young park ranger teaches me about fishers.

After a day of exploring, we headed back to our camp. One of the best parts of the trip was that our good friends live close by. They came over to hang out with us for the evening.

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Best buds, campfire, and being outdoors. Makes for a very enjoyable evening!

If you’re looking for a wonderful place to camp and explore, I highly recommend Itasca State Park. It’s a true gem!

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For more information, please visit the DNR

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What’s In My Beach Bag?

Yesterday was super warm and balmy here in Minneapolis and it called for spending some time in the sun. I dug out my beach bag and did a quick inventory since I haven’t used it yet this year. I always leave it packed (even in the winter) so I can just grab it and go. I added some new items and got rid of some old (and let me tell you-some have been in there for 10+ years!), but all are essential for spending the day at the beach. Here’s a peek!

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1. Sephora wide tooth comb
2. Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch SPF 30
3. Hawaiian Tropic Dry Oil SPF 12
4. Chanel Sunglasses
5. Sunsilk UV Shield for hair (not available anymore)
6. American Eagle beach towel (at least 10 years old!)
7. Charlotte Ronson beach hair spray
8. Target bikini top
9. Radio Figi bikini bottoms (old)
10. American Eagle beach bag (old)

Because so many items are unavailable now, I’ve put together a new list for you.

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1. Sephora Collection wide tooth comb $4 available at Sephora-perfect for getting my snarls out
2. Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch SPF 30 $8.99 available at Target
3. Ouidad Sun Shield Leave-In Spray $20 available at Sephora– essential for protecting locks from damaging rays and elements
4. Hawaiian Tropic Dry Oil SPF 12 $8.99 available at Target The SPF isn’t very high but the smell is wonderful. I use it in conjunction with a higher SPF
5. Sunglasses $4 available at Forever 21 every girl needs a chic pair of sunnies
6. Charlotte Ronson Beach Hair $20 available at Sephora You know it’s my fave-spray on wet hair and get ultimate beach waves
7. Xhileration Striped Side-Tie bottom $14.99
8. Mossimo Mix and Match Halter top $17.99
I love pairing a solid and print when it comes to my bikinis-both available at Target
9. Farmers Market Tote $45 available at J. Crew I think “straw” beach bags are super cool and durable
10. Flip Flop beach towel available only in Target stores. A cool and cute beach towel is a must. I’ve had mine for at least a decade and I still love it!

A well-stocked beach bag will allow you to have hours and hours of fun in the sun. And I do recommend keeping it packed. This way you can just grab it and head outdoors-no thinking involved!

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Caftan Crazy

Through the magic of Pinterest, I discovered this fabulous brand that makes amazing dresses, tunics, and caftans. Two New York is a small collection of chic and effortless pieces. They are made from hand-loomed cotton saris and textiles, and are hand-made in their Brooklyn studio. And the designer, Monica Patel-Cohn has a very impressive resume. She has worked with Simon Doonan (the wizard behind all beauty at Barney’s New York) and in Milan at Prada. She so understands that women want to be chic and comfy whether they are at the beach or trying to beat the heat.

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Seema Sari Tunic $270
I love the color and the length.

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Camilla Tunic $260
This is perfect for the beach or a night on the town.

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Saira Caftan $310
Gauzy and gorgeous-love it!

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Isha Dress $286
Oh my goodness, I would live in this dress all summer long.

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Kerala Dress $260
This would be my go-to event dress during the summer months. Simple but oh-so-chic.

For more offerings and information, please visit Two New York

I am going crazy for caftans right now, but it’s really hard to find ones that don’t look like pajamas and aren’t super expensive. I’ve also found some vintage offerings on Etsy and Ebay, and even some original patterns from the 70’s (too bad I can’t sew).

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Rachel Pally “Gwyneth” Caftan Maxi $295
Still expensive but a true caftan.
Available at Neiman Marcus

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Michael Stars “Eve” Caftan $117.30
This is a modern caftan and would rock at the clubs.
Available at Bloomingdale’s

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Victoria’s Secret Caftan Dress $59.50
Same dress, different colors. This is my favorite and it’s affordable. Great for lounging, errands, or lunch with the girls.
Available at Victoria’s Secret

And here are some inspiring pictures that I “pinned” and have me dreaming of lazing my summer in a caftan.

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FABULOUS!!

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Summer Inspiration Board

Spending the day outside has got me thinking about my favorite summertime items. I was inspired to do a board that showcases my favorite things right now. I love doing inspiration boards because I am very visual and they help get my mojo flowing.

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TOP
*Charlotte Ronson “A Perfect Touch” rollerball fragrance $20
This new fragrance was inspired by endless beach days. With notes of fresh citrus, blossoming florals, vanilla, and creamy musk, this harkens back to the summers of my youth. Charlotte created this scent due to the all the feedback she had regarding her “A Perfect Mess” beach hair. Everyone loved the smell and now it’s captured in an easy-to-use rollerball.
Available at Sephora

*Watermelon Lemonade. I first had this beverage when the hubby and I were in Las Vegas. We had spent the day at the pool and decided to try this little Mexican restaurant in Mandalay Bay. It is really the most refreshing summertime drink I’ve ever had. Yummy!!

*Sun-kissed hair. I love the color of her hair (and she is adorable). It truly captures the essence of days spent in the sun, sand, and surf. Gorgeous!

MIDDLE
*Who wouldn’t love to spend the day laying in a hammock with their girlies? Sand between your toes, sun on your skin, listening to the surf. It would be absolute heaven.

*1960’s swimwear. And people think bikinis are scandalous now? This was quite risqué back in the day. It makes me think of a much simpler time. And vintage photos are always inspiring.

*Flip flop flower baskets. What a super cute and fun idea. I live in flips all summer long and this would be perfect in our backyard oasis.

BOTTOM:
*Chanel Orange Fizz nail varnish $27
Such a scrumptious color. It would be a great accent color to your tan fingers and toes.
Available at Nordstrom

*Top knots-the perfect summer accessory. I find myself sporting them more and more as the days get warmer. It’s much easier to relax on my lounge chair with a top knot. A ponytail just gets in the way!

*Free People “Ruffle Me Up” mesh tunic $88
I am dying over this retro-style tunic. The ruffled tiers are fabulous. This would be ideal as a beach cover-up or with a colorful slip under it. It’s one of my favorite pieces for summer.

Available at Free People

So, what inspires you this summer? I’d love to hear about any great products, recipes, or cute decorative pieces you may love.

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Bunny Bronzers In A Compact

The first bronzer I remember using was my mom’s Indian Earth. It came in a terra-cotta pot and was a fine powder that could be used as a bronzer, eye shadow, ect. My mom loved this stuff. I found it difficult to apply, maybe because as a teen in the 80’s we were a little heavy-handed with the blush brush. I was often left with something that was far from a natural tan. Luckily, bronzers have come a long way. There’s one brand that has the market cornered-Too Faced. They have probably 10 different types of bronzers that give a very natural sun-kissed look, but I prefer their “Bunny” line. Today I’m going to feature my top three, but I do urge you to check them out. There is the perfect bronzer for every skin type and they are all gorgeous!

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Caribbean in a Compact-Sun Bunny $29
This combination of satin suntan and rich satin bronze is a silky, golden warmth combined with an under toned bronze that mimics a natural tan without looking like an Oompa Loompa.

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Caribbean in a Compact-Snow Bunny $29
This is my go-to bronzer in the winter. A golden bronze, delicate pink, white, and fawn glimmer create a natural and skin-perfecting glow. The color combination (just swirl together with a brush) mimics a “just got back from vacation” tan that will leave everyone envious.

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California in a Compact-Beach Bunny $29
This compact features four (bronze, soft peach, golden ivory, and golden tan) illuminating shades of sun-kissed bronzers and shimmers that add the right amount of deep summertime tan. Everyone will think you are the ultimate “California Girl”.

All are available at Sephora and Ulta.

Too Faced also offers liquid bronzers and they have a fantastic cream-to-powder bronzer as well. If you’re looking for the perfect sun-drenched look. then Too Faced is the brand for you!

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Surf’s Up-Protect Your Assets

The days are getting longer, the temperature is getting higher, and it’s only a matter of time before my days can be spent at the beach. I’ve written several times already about the importance of proper sun protection, and although I have not always been diligent, it is now a top priority when I’m having fun outside. I’ve discovered some new, super fun and fabulous products that not only look good, but they offer excellent protection. So, all you need to do is have a blast soaking up the rays and playing in the surf. These amazing items will take care of the protection!

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SUN PROTECTION

Sun Bum Zinc Oxide SPF 50 $9.00
This clear zinc oxide is waterproof and sweat-proof and clear in color (no white noses here). It provides excellent coverage and hydration as it’s formulated with SPF 50 and a blend of aloe and vitamin E. It has a delicious beachy scent too.

Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Spray $10
This is the ultimate spray to cool your skin after a day in the sun. Enriched with soothing aloe, cucumber extract, and vitamin E, this spray hydrates and restores your skin’s natural moisture balance. Plus, it feels amazing.

Sun Bum Lip Balm SPF 50 $3.99
A lot of people forget to protect their lips, but this balm makes it super easy. Approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation, this lip wonder is enriched with vitamins A, C, and E, plus cocoa butter and provides SPF 50. This banana flavored balm will relieve the drying effects of the sun, wind, and sea, leaving your pucker very kissable.

Check out Sun Bum products at Trust the Bum. They are also available for purchase on Amazon.

SWIMWEAR

Heatwave Swim Bottom $48
This lovely bottom is a medium rise and has medium coverage. The fabric has UPF 50 to provide the ultimate sun protection. They are reversible and the rear pocket has a nifty key ring so you don’t have to worry about losing them in the sand.

Heatwave Bikini Top $54
This bikini top offers low to medium coverage, depending on how busty you are. It also has fabric made with UPF 50 so your tatas won’t get burned. Reversible with adjustable straps, you get the look and coverage you need while looking fantastic.

Lucky Luon Headband $12
Keep the sweat out of your eyes with this moisture-wicking headband. Made from stretch luon, this band will stay in place while you tear it up on the beach and in the water.

All available at Lululemon.

And don’t forget to hydrate! I love coconut water, especially Vita Coco. They have really yummy flavors and a nifty straw (kind of like a juice box). It’s the perfect way to stay hydrated and refreshed while at the beach.

You can find Vita Coco and other coconut waters at all grocery stores.

And remember to reapply your sunscreen. This is the part I always forget and I have the sun spots to prove it.

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The Webster Comes To Target

Today Target launches it’s latest retail concept, “The Shops at Target”. This new concept features limited-edition collections from popular boutiques across the United States (including one of my favorite beauty stores, The Cos Bar). On the fashion front, Target has partnered with the upscale Miami boutique, The Webster. Co-designed by The Webster owner Laurie Heriard Dubreuil and Target, this collection is made up of amazing pieces that have that South Beach vibe. Tropical-printed dresses, short suits, and accessories are just the beginning. There are party and work appropriate sheaths, swimwear, wedges, and beach totes, as well as pajamas, hats, and many other goodies. While I don’t have exact pricing for each item, I can tell you that the line ranges from $8-$50. Not bad for fabulous items that have major summer appeal.

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Marvelous maxis, just what every gal needs for summer.

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Shorts for work or play. The color is yummy and I adore the fact that the legs have more fitted opening. Super cute!

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The swimwear screams Miami and the cardigan channels Jackie O. (as do the sunnies).

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Dresses are a huge part of the collection. They feature many fabulous prints and the silhouettes should work on almost every body type. Add some stellar accessories and you’re ready for anything summer throws at you.

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A great beachy look or perfect for lounging at home on a hot summer night.

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Pretty and lightweight robe and chemise are essential for warm weather nights and mornings. Or you can go for a shorts option. Either way, you’ll be super sexy.

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Tribal bangles have a tropical feel and every girl needs a floppy sun hat to protect her face. Patterned handbags and killer wedges add that little extra something to every ensemble.

Remember, the collection launches today and we all know how quickly the specialty items sell out at Target! For more information and pricing, please visit Target. I suggest you hurry!

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