*This post contains affiliate links and gifted products. All opinions are my own.
Summer is here, whether you're ready or not! Memorial Day weekend is behind us, kids are wrapping up the school year, the days are getting longer, and the beach is calling your name, right? But before you hit the beach, there are a couple of things you should make sure you have with you. I've compiled my top 5 items for a day at the beach. These work whether you have kids or not - they're really just essential beach items to keep you comfortable and safe in the sun!
If you take nothing else with you to the beach, take sunscreen. Melanoma is becoming more and more prevalent, and it's so scary. There's a big debate going on about chemical vs. physical sunscreens, and what you need to know is that chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and then release them from the skin, while physical sunscreen literally acts as a physical barrier to UV rays. This article has a good breakdown, and it says that at the end of the day, as long as you are using something that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and use the product correctly (which means reapplying often), then you should be fine. For the kids, I really love using Blue Lizard sunscreen, and I actually use it on myself, too. My skin is really sensitive to the sun and I have found it to be what protects my skin the best.
2. A Towel ft. Tesalate
Any towel will do, but Tesalate sent me this sand-free towel for a review and it has come in so handy! First of all, this "Mojito" design is gorgeous. Secondly, Tesalate towels are made with AbsorbLite™ fabric. They rapidly dry compared to regular ones, while still being able to absorb a lot of water. It's also compact and light, and folds to about a quarter of the size of a regular beach towel. It's perfect not just for the beach, but also for yoga, picnics, and any outdoor activities. And even when it's wet, the sand comes right off of it.
3. A Beach Bag ft. Tingueli
I have been through dozens of beach bags, and this is the first one that I can say is truly functional and does everything I need it to do. The Tingueli beach bag was also sent to me in exchange for my review. It is large and the main compartment comfortably holds 2 full sized beach towels and multiple hats, a book or magazine, baby wipes, and diapers for Chloe. The bottom of the bag is a leak-proof cooler compartment, where you can store drinks and snacks along with ice or ice packs to keep everything cold. It has several pockets on the outside, as well as an inner compartment and a zippered pocket on the outside for things like cell phones and keys. It's truly such a functional beach bag, and at a really great price point!
Your skin needs protection, but so do your eyes! Sunglasses are a necessity for me - otherwise I'm squinting, which in turn creates wrinkles. So bring sunglasses along. We've got really cute ones for Caleb that the kind people from Toucca Kids sent for him. They've got UVA and UVB protection, they are polarized, and they're shatter and scratch resistant. Plus they look really cute, too!
5. A Hat
We all bring hats to the beach in our family, but it's especially important to me for the littlest ones. Chloe won't leave sunglasses on, so the hats helps shield her eyes from the sun, as well as protecting her head, her face, her ears, and her neck. The one Chloe is wearing here was a gift and I'm not sure where it's from, but I've linked another great option here.
Those are my top 5 items to take to the beach, but we definitely don't JUST take five items with us. What else do we take? Here's an extended list...
What did I miss? What are your must-have beach items? Let me know!
And get ready to enjoy the sunshine!
On Sunday, May 5, I had the chance to celebrate the third anniversary of the blog with some friends, family, and followers that I was able to put faces to. It was a great day, and I'm so grateful for all the people who came out to say hi and show their support, as well as all the amazing people who helped make the event a success.
We were hosted by Cao Bakery in their flagship location on Miami Beach. If you grew up in South Florida, you know the iconic Vicky Bakery, and this is a branch of Vicky Bakery. They have some of your classic favorites like pastelitos and croquetas, but they are also bringing new items to the table (no joke, they bring it out to you!). We are so grateful for their hospitality and for the beautiful location and tasty bites they gave us to sample.
The first 15 guests to arrive received goody bags, filled with all kinds of awesome stuff. We had items from Johnson's Baby, Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, and Aveeno. There were discount cards for a photo session with me, and discount cards for an organizing session with Jessica of Thoughtfully Organized. There were full sized Mary Kay products thanks to Mari Grenillo, a travel-sized bottle of Erase makeup remover from Selah Skin Studio, and mini liquor bottles thanks to my friend Mari of Royal Liquors.
Our guests enjoyed some bubbly and rose from Obvious Wines, courtesy of my incredible husband and his company, Freehold Real Estate. Parents could also have some of the great sitters from College Nannies Sitters and Tutors watch their kids so they could enjoy some time socializing and grabbing a bite! My beautiful friend Sasha De Almagro was snapping away throughout the entire event to capture all these awesome photos for me to share with you!
We also had some great prizes to raffle off, and I couldn't have done that without the generosity of so many of my favorite brands!
You definitely want to check them out!
I am eternally grateful to all of you for your continued support and for trusting in my recommendations and what I share with you. YOU are the reason I continue to do this. I couldn't do it without the support of my family and friends, and I hope that I can continue making you proud for many years to come!
Last year Mind Body Social launched Mother’s May Wellness Series presented by Publix to empower and celebrate moms in the community.
Thanks to its success, and continued support by Publix as presenting sponsor, this year they are bringing the series to ten different areas in South Florida: Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale, Aventura, Miami Beach, Brickell, Coral Gables, Doral, West Kendall and Pinecrest.
The series consists of one weekly FREE event for moms in each one of the areas during the entire month of May, at local public parks and community centers.
Week 1- Pilates & Nutrition
Week 2- Prenatal Yoga
Week 3- Mommy and Me Zumba
Week 4- Meditation
Week 5- Workouts & Snacks
All participant instructors are moms too!! Most are from local studios or independent practices.
Tonight I had the chance to attend one of their first events in Pinecrest, and I have to say that it was a really awesome event! I encourage you to take a little time for yourself this month, look up an event near you, and make the effort to make it out. Grab another mom - I invited my sister-in-law along - and have a great time together while doing something great for yourself!
Head to Mind Body Social's Events Page to find an event near you!
A couple of years ago, my friend Jenny Rose over at Princess Turned Mom shared an idea for Valentine's Day that really stuck with me. As an alternative to giving out chocolates and stuffed animals for Valentine's Day, why not give books? They last longer, and they won't give you or your kids cavities! Ever since I read that idea of hers, I decided I would implement it for my own kids for Valentine's Day.
With one week to go until Valentine's Day, I decided to compile a list of books we have enjoyed in our home and that I thought would be cute to give as Valentine's Day gifts.
In compiling the list, I reached out to the amazing people over at Books & Books. If you're in Miami and have never been, get yourself there ASAP. Books & Books is my favorite bookstore. It's local and it has a couple of locations in South Florida, but it has such an incredible variety of material. Plus, the staff there are true bibliophiles - they absolutely love books. I actually love this place so much that we had Caleb's baby shower at the Coral Gables location - it has the cutest cafe and courtyard space!
They sent me list of some of the books they currently have on their shelves, and there is something here for everyone. As a matter of fact, I may swing by there this weekend and pick up a couple of these (including a new read for myself!). If you're into this idea and have the spare time this weekend, head to your nearest Books & Books and pick up a copy of one of these, totally perfect for Valentine's Day!
Love You More
By: Gary Urda
Publisher: Little Bee Books
A Hug Is for Holding Me
By: Lisa Wheeler
Publisher: Abrams Appleseed
The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs
By: Mark Sperring
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
French Love Poems
Publisher: New Directions Publishing
Dumplin’ (of Netflix fame)
By: Julie Murphy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
99 Percent Mine
By: Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Don't have time to stop by and pick one of these up? Head to my Amazon List to see some other options that you can get via Prime, with more than enough time for Valentine's Day!
Love is a Tutu and Goodnight Miami are also available from Books & Books.
I'd love to hear if you do this for your children or loved ones and how it goes - so if you do it, use the hashtag, #chaptersnotchocolates so I can see your posts!
Is it really the Christmas season if you haven't had your kids' photos taken with Santa? I like to think of photos with Santa as a way to kick off the Christmas season. This year, thanks to Dolphin Mall, we got our photos done really early!
Instead of going to see Santa and having to wait in a boring line while your kids ask, "Is it our turn to see Santa yet?" 75 times, head over to Santa's Flight Academy at Dolphin Mall and experience a fun, interactive setup. Kids get an official badge with their photo on it and get "fitted" for their virtual flight suit.
Caleb loved dancing in front of the "Flight Suit Visualizer," and we had a really great time watching him.
They also map out Santa's route and help collect cheer to power the sleigh. The sleigh is enormous and filled with all kinds of cool details.
And then they get to dance and play in the falling snow. Once they've done all of that, they get to see Santa and have their photo taken with him.
Santa's Flight Academy runs from noon through 10 pm daily until December 24th, on the Second Floor Ramblas, near the entrance of Cinebistro.
If you're looking for a fun way to kick off the Christmas season, look no further! Head over to Dolphin Mall and get your Santa photos done!