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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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Madewell Summer Picks

I love Madewell, mainly because not only do they carry their own brand, but others as well. Their clothing and accessories are casual or edgy, depending on how you style the look. They have a vast offering of merchandise, the quality is great, and the price points vary. It’s a great place to find anything you’re looking for and you know you’ll walk away with pieces that will last you many trend-filled seasons. I’ve put together my picks for this summer. Hope you like them!

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DRESSES
A must have for summer, but I think I’ve selected a range that can go through all seasons with the right accent pieces.

TOP:
Holepunch Tee Dress $99.99
Tickertape Stripe Shift $89.99

MIDDLE:
Stitchwork Silk Dress $159.99

BOTTOM:
Attic and Barn Kami Dress $235
Attic and Barn Kaoma Dress $255

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TEXTILE ELIZABETH AND JAMES
One of the brands designed by this year’s CFDA winners, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (and one of my favorites). This collection offers fabulous denim pieces and quirky dresses. I love that they chose to do the jacket in a bright pink, the jeans offer that 70’s vibe I dig, and the shirtdress is right on trend for this season.

Sid Denim Jacket $365
Morrison Jeans $245
Alex Shirtdress $245

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SUMMER MUST-HAVES
Everyone needs a fantastic bikini, a great hat and sunnies, and some tops for summer. These are my favorites warm-weather pieces.

TOP:
Pen and Ink String Bikini $46 for top, $44 for bottom
Sunny Day Tortoise Sunglasses $49.50
Sheercheck Smocktop $69.50

BOTTOM:
Mara Hoffman Cocoon Tunic $213
Biltmore Straw Fedora $58
Stoneskipper Sweatshirt Tee $49.99

All items available at Madewell

Summer essentials, for me, are pieces you can wear year after year. Bikinis, sunglasses, denim, tees, a great dress-these all are essentials. Add some trendier items and you have the perfect outfits for the season.

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Rainy Days

Yesterday was a very rainy in Minneapolis and I spent the majority of the day trying to keep our laundry room from flooding. In between changing and spinning out towels, I played around with instagram. I’ve been on it forever, but never really use it. It’s actually pretty fun! For those of you that don’t know what it is, it’s a social network based on photos. You take a picture, edit it with fun features, and then post. You can follow people, share on other social media sites, and find a lot of inspiration. Here’s a look at my day…

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The day definitely called for a top knot. I achieved this one by putting my hair in a high pony and wrapping it around. Secure with a pin and voila! You’ve got an awesome bun. For my lips, I needed something bright and moisturizing. This is the latest color from Fresh-Sugar Coral. I love the shade and it keeps my lips moist for hours (available at Sephora).

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I had my Hunter rain boots on a lot (available at Nordstrom) and since it was chilly, I pulled on my cozy fleece-lined leggings (Anthropologie). In between loads of towels and wet-vacing, I paged through this wonderful book, Stylists-New Fashion Visionaries (Amazon). On such an ugly day it felt good to look at some beauty.

If you are on instagram, look me up. You can find me under “chegpie”, which was my dad’s nickname for me (he actually called me “cow pie” until I figured out what that was). Hopefully today will be a sunnier one!

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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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Discover Club Monoco

Club Monaco has to be one of the most visually appealing stores in the mall. Founded in Toronto in 1985, this international lifestyle brand offers affordable luxury with modern sensibility. Headquartered in NYC, in the heart of Chelsea’s art gallery district, the brand appeals to the creative consumer who likes to mix fashion must-haves with timeless classics. The apparel and accessories can easily transition from work to play,and there is the right ensemble for every occassion.

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Stunningly merchandised

Club Monaco has a very eclectic mix of merchandise. Here’s a look at some of my favorite pieces. I think you’ll agree that they are fashion forward, classic, and pretty awesome.

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Frida Dress $198.50
I love the color and the way this dress drapes. Very pretty and a little edgy too.

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Julissa Beach Short $59.50
Who can resist a little eyelet? These shorts are perfect for a day at the beach or an evening out on the town.

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Isabelle Sweatpant $89.50
Every girl needs a pair of sweats. These has fashionable details (like the pockets) which keeps them from being grubby.

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Levis 501 Roll Short $79.50
I’ve already written about how much I love a good cut-off, and these are classic.

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Sasha Silk Top $129.50
This is a super feminine top that is work appropriate but would also look adorable with cut-offs.

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Jennifer Embellished Dress $249
Stripes are a huge trend this season and this is a great weekend dress. And the moccasins are a nice touch!

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Pamela Silk Peasant Top $129.50
I like me a peasant top and this one is super duper. The print and fabric are light, which is great for summer.

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Janice Dress $89.50
Loose dresses will keep you cool on a hot day. I love the cut of this!

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Liza Medallion Ankle Jean $129.50
Polka-dot is another hot trend. These are pretty funky, but that’s what I like about them. Tres chic!

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Alexis Slouchy Sweater $98.50
Even in the summer I carry a sweater with me (air-conditioning can be chilly). This is an adorable layering piece.

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Hilary Skirt $98.50
A floral skirt is essential in the summer. It can get you through many types of occassions.

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Blake Dress $229
This dress will easily transition from summer to fall.

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Charlie Light Cashmere Top $169.50
Cashmere can be a great fabric for summer. This has a casual vibe, but paired with a skirt and heels, it can easily take you out to dinner.

Club Monaco is one of my go-to stores when I need something really special. The quality is top-notch, the service is outstanding, and the environment is inspiring. For more information, please visit Club Monaco

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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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Marvelous Maxis

Today is the first day of May (Happy May Day) and that means summer is almost here. Temperatures are getting higher, the sun is shining brighter, and the stores are full of amazing warm weather fashions. Once again, the Maxi is ruling the dress selections. Sexy, free-flowing, comfortable, and multi-functional, these dresses are the perfect staple for summer fun. The Maxi will take you to the beach, dinner, and everything in between. Here are some wonderful options in various price ranges. I know there’s one for you!

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Mossimo maxi dress with bra-top $34.99

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Mossimo Hi-Lo halter maxi dress $27.99
both available at Target
I love both of these dresses. They are the perfect beach cover-up or for running errands.

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Floral maxi $39.50 available at Delia’s
A lovely print at an affordable price. What’s not to love?

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Sparkle and Fade pleated empire maxi $49.99 available at Urban Outfitters
A very sexy option for a night out. I love the pleated skirt and empire top.

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Tiered-ruffle satin maxi $25

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Smocked-chiffon tiered maxi $39.94

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Smocked-gauze Mexicali maxi $24.94
all available at Old Navy
These are three of my favorites, especially the orange one. This is what I think a maxi should be-great colors, flowing bodies, and super summery.

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The Sexy maxi $88

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Ruffled maxi $69.50
both available at Victoria’s Secret
What I love about the two of these is the bohemian feel they have. They appeal to the hippy in me.

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Lattice back printed maxi $88 available at Express
This is more dressy and would be stunning at a summer wedding.

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One World sleeveless printed maxi $78 available at Macy’s
This one is so adorable and peasanty. I love the print!!

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Felicity and CoCo chevron print jersey maxi $78 available at Nordstrom
I can picture this on a boardwalk with a straw hat. I love summer….

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Medallion print maxi $69

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Stripe button front maxi $89
both available at Arden B.
Both of these could be worn to work.

I always thought I was too short to wear a maxi, but there’s nothing a good tailor can’t do. A little hemming and I have a fabulous go-to dress for everything summer throws at me.

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