Fave 5: Things to pack for the beach

Spending a lazy, sunny day at the beach is as much a rite of summer as eating corn-on-the-cob and ducking out of work early to enjoy a drink on the patio. Too many times we find ourselves in such a rush to plant ourselves on the sand that we forget to pack some essential items. To keep your trip waterside as blissful as possible, we’ve done the work for you and rounded up the top five things you should bring to the beach. 

Beach Blanket

Make sure to match your bathing suit to your beach blanket.

A towel is important if you’re planning on taking a dip, but no one wants to sit on a soggy piece of terry cloth (at least, not us). Enter the beach blanket. You want one that is lightweight, large enough to share with friends and preferably in a fun colour or pattern. We love this throw from Anthropologie or this upcycled blanket from Etsy, but you can use an old sheet if you’re in a bind. 


The easiest sunscreen application. 

We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but we can’t stress the importance of wearing sunscreen this summer. Be sure to apply at least 30 minutes before heading outside and throw it in your bag to re-apply every 1-2 hours. We already gave some suggestions on our favourite organic sunscreen brands (read it here), but wanted to share one more. Lesa Hannah tweeted about this sunscreen “game changer” Janine Falcon introduced her to: Sun Defense Minerals by Eminence. This mineral-based face protector is easily applied with a brush and is hypoallergenic – perfect for those with sensitive skin. 

Hydrating drinks

We’re partial to this flask from the Drake General Store. 

As much as we love Ontario’s lakes, we wouldn’t recommend gulping it down if you’re thirsty. It’s extra-important to stay hydrated in the heat, so pack some hydrating drinks (and no, alcohol absolutely does not count) to bring with you. Water is always your best bet, but a refreshing home-brewed iced tea would work too. Gracie Carroll has an easy recipe over on her blog.

A good read

Can’t beat a great love story at the beach.

Whether it’s a trashy gossip mag or you’re re-reading Anna Karenina, a good read is a beach essential. We’re partial to fun, lighter reads in the summertime. Some of our top suggestions: Summer Sisters, Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century, The Night Circus or Your Voice in my Head.

A cute cover-up

Better than cute, this cover-up is on sale right now at Shopbop.

After a day in the sun and sand, there’s nothing less appealing than putting on “real” clothing. Cover-ups are easy to throw on over you bathing suit whether you’re heading to the restroom or  wanting to keep that beach-y vibe going once you leave. The perfect cover-up should be lightweight, so its also perfect to throw on if you’re getting a bit too much sun. 


Rave: Best Skin Seminar – Summer Radiance

The lovely folks at Consonant Skincare regularly hold Best Skin Seminars out of their store (2479 Yonge St.), since education is such a huge part of their mandate. Along with producing innovative products, they strive to contribute to their patrons’ overall well-being. Held on what felt like the year’s first really sunny Monday, their latest seminar was aptly titled “Summer Radiance”. The seminar featured two experts — Marina Cortese (www.nour-ish.ca), a holistic nutritionist and Donna Bishop (www.greenbeauty.ca), a green beauty expert and founder of Bamboo Magazine — each of whom applied their area of expertise to the theme of “summer radiance”. We’ve decided to share the knowledge with our faithful readers. 

Healthy Eating for Healthy Skin

With warmer weather comes the return of delicious, in-season produce. For many of us, this means that our diets naturally tend to integrate more raw foods. Raw foods are rich in enzymes, which are a great source of fibre, water and skin-beautifying vitamins and minerals, all of which are fantastic for your skin. 

Raw, delicious food. 

Hot weather also means our beverage consumption increases (and no, we aren’t talking about cocktails!). We’re sure you’ve heard it before, but water is your #1 beauty food. It makes up 75% of our body, and keeps skin and organs healthy by flushing out toxins. As the body’s largest detoxifying organ, water is supremely important to our skin and in the summer months it is essential to keep hydrated. A good rule of thumb is to drink 1/2 your weight in water (for example, 150 lbs = 75 ounces of water) daily.

Alongside water, you should be drinking lots of fresh juices*. Juicing is a great way to deliver vitamins and minerals directly to your body, helping to energize you and support your body in cleansing. Think of it as a heroin injection of antioxidants. The combinations are endless, but the juice Marina brought was especially delicious: cucumber, celery, green apple, mint and lemon (she called it the “green zinger”, one sip and we could see why). 

Elixir of beautiful skin. 

To close out the seminar, Marina left us with her “Top 10 Food Beauty Tips”:
– Hydrate
– Chew your food (should be paste-like, to decrease the work for your digestive system)
– A juice a day keeps the doctor away
– Listen to your body
– Eat a variety of foods and rotate (don’t eat the same thing everyday)
– Eat organic, “happy” foods (think of meat as a treat, not an everyday staple)
– Eat nutrient-dense food
– Do some spring-cleaning
– Quit your bad habits
– Have fun and never feel guilty!

*We are not talking about Tropicana here. Juice means fresh-squeezed, no sugar added or from concentrate nonsense. And juice doesn’t just mean fruit – veggies are an amazing juice ingredient, too.

Healthy Makeup and Skin Care

Before launching into summer skin care, Donna gave us an overview of the cosmetics industry and, damn, is it a terrifying landscape. Donna compared it to the “wild west” — impurities and by-products don’t need to be listed on product labels, there’s no standardized testing of products before going to market, and companies often hide behind the guise of “proprietary information”. If we weren’t sold on organic products before, we certainly are now. 

Moving on to summer-specific skin care, Donna’s guidance was fairly straightforward — sunscreen, sunscreen and more sunscreen. The sun is the #1 cause of skin damage, with 80% of damage happening before the age of 18. Yikes. She also gave us a general rule of thumb as to the difference between UVA and UVB rays: UVA rays age us, while UVB rays burn us. 

Lotion up!

During the summer months, especially with more of our bodies being exposed to the sun, we should always be wearing sunscreen. Donna suggests applying it after your shower as part of your morning routine to ensure you don’t forget. Curious as to how much you should use? A good guideline is using a shot glass full per adult. And steer clear of spray or powder sunscreens, as you end up inhaling just as much as goes on your body. Gross. 

Organic sunscreens get a bad rap. They tend to have difficulty blending into the skin and end up looking like you’re slathering a white paste all over. However, there are brands making great strides to be both good for you and easy to use. Donna’s tried-and-trusted favourite organic brands include Devita, Original Sprout and UV Natural

Donna’s favourite organic sunscreen.

When applying sunscreen this summer, try to put it on 30 minutes before going into the sun to allow time for it to absorb properly. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your forearms and hands daily. We tend to focus on our faces, while forgetting that our hands often belie our age first.  Finally, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by high SPFs. Studies show that anything above a 30 SPF offers only marginally more protection than a 30 SPF, so you should still reapply every 1-2 hours you’re in the direct sun.

Interested in learning more about your best skin? Upcoming Best Skin Seminars as as follows:June
4, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Healthy Aging

June 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Summer Radiance
July 96:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Healthy Eating for
Healthy Skin (Advanced Course)

July 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Healthy
Eating for Healthy Skin (Advanced Course)*

For more information, please call Consonant Skincare at 416.925.2855.

*tentative date, subject to change.