Spoiler alert…this one is a bit of a stream of consciousness. It got so long that I decided to split it into two parts. Especially since you already lost an hour to daylight savings last night. Here’s to longer days and more sunshine hooray!
I spent most of my teens, 20s and 30s to present feeling self-conscious or over-worried about various aspects my body. And while I know I’m not alone in this self critique, it really is a HUGE waste of time. However, while my logical side knows this, my vanity side still strives to be physically pleasing to the outside world. It is what it is. But writing this post vocalizes the voice in my head so bare with me on this one. I was struggling for a blog title for this post. Then JP, aka @ocean.ave.id popped into my feed with this beauty…thanks JP!
On the up side, I can truthfully say I put effort into my overall health mostly because I want to live a long healthy happy life. I want to run up a flight of stairs without being completely gassed. I’d like to pick up weights without pulling a bicep muscle and swim a strong 50 without hanging out at the wall for a five minute recovery. So I make a mindful effort to think about how wonderful my body is and what it can do for me on a daily basis. Forward fold, touch my palms flat to the floor, no problem. Fold my legs into lotus, you got it. Go bod go! And on the darker days when I’m overly critical of something – dimples (not the cute kind), a muffin top, then maybe I do a little something extra in my routine to work the feeling out.
When M and I were in Mexico last month, I felt super strong, healthy and, yes, blush, sexy in my own skin. We’d just come of 21 days of super clean eating and I’d been on a solid 4 days of Pilates a week routine. Even benched from running w/a calf injury (yes, still going on 6 months!!!) with limited cardio, I was happy to rock my bikini/cutoffs/trucker hat/barefoot uniform all week. Cover up? Nope, not me. It helped that M and I were the spring chickens in with a bunch of Canadian snowbirds on the beach, but even without I felt good.
Cleanse aside, maybe I’m just getting smarter as I’m getting older. For instance, no matter how good my eye cream is, how much sunscreen I use and sit ups I do, I’m going AGE. And it’s OKAY. I love that my Mom pointed out a wrinkle under my eye and said, “Look, we have the same wrinkle under our eyes. I was worrying about it and then I see you have it too”. How honestly lovely! It made my day that my Mom and I have the same smile lines. ♥
Okay, so getting to the meat of what this post is really about…With this season’s crop of itty-bitty, teeny-tiny cheeky bikini bottom styles, (Holy crap Acacia really???) there is no room on the beach for the faint hearted if you’re staying on trend. So here are some of my tips and tricks for this upcoming bikini season. I will be reminding myself of these fun, little nuggets as we cruise through peak sunshine season…these tips or as much for me as anybody else who may be interested!
For those of us who live in sunny coastal places, there’s no set bikini season. I’m not complaining, but definitely tend to slack in the “off-season” which is November to January. Even still you can get perked with the 75° heat wave at any moment. (Sorry for you folks buried in snow this winter, I truly truly am) Just trying to say, it’s best to stay toned year round just in case.
Pilates. It used to be the workout of the wealthy. But thanks to places like Club Pilates, Core 40 and some scouring of Groupons and Class Pass memberships, now there are affordable options out there. I’ve been consistently on the Pilates band wagon for about 3 months now. Going about 4-5 times a week has been a game changer for me. My arms and back are strong. My jeans fit differently b/c me bootie is more muscular and the backs of my legs are much more firm that they were back in December! Another bonus? I went up to the 5 lb weights and can do teasers without dying or throwing my back out…success!
Hydration. Yes, I know you know this, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing it. Drink lots of water. I’m great at work. I can plow through 5-6 refills of my 22 oz Lifefactory bottle a day no problem. But I’m not that great on the weekends. To change it up, I do the 50/50 split of regular H2O and coconut water. I hope, hope, hope you can aquire a taste for coconut water. It baffles me that people don’t love it because it tastes like the tropics, vacation, heaven. You can get organic coconut water at Costco these days. Check the ingredients…there should be only one :)
When I drink a lot of water, I look and feel better. Not a fan of coconut water? Squeeze in fresh lemon, lime or muddled mint. Add some frozen berries to carbonated water, drink out of a fancy glass, get creative, it’s worth it!
Tan those buns – I am sure somewhere a dermatologist just felt a shooting pain, but i’m sorry, I feel better when I have a healthy glow and my skin is brown. Especially if I am wearing a cheekier bottom! And these days, with a lack of non-cheeky bottom options out there, it’s kind of a must. Not brave enough to face the open air to acquire the base? No problem, a quick trip to the spray tan place will give you a healthy glow and a visual jump start- again sorry dermatologists. I don’t go on a regular basis, but if I’m going on vacation or need a little color this is my occasional solution. Plus, I’m a klutz w/self tanner and never mastered the application or got used to the smell.
Invest in a good quality swimsuit bottom or two. If you’re like me, barely a b, you can cheap out on triangle tops all day long, but the bottoms are key. It pays to be picky. When I find a style I like I usually go back and buy reinforcements in different colors. As cute as the phrase ‘Suns Out Buns Out’ is, I’m just too meek to really go for it. My absolute favorite, go-to suit bottom is L-Space Monique. Just enough cheek without feeling over-exposed. It’s cut low and straight across in the front so it sits on the hip bone below the muffin top. And has a touch of ruching for lift. Genius! A word of caution do not be confused with the L space Monique bitsy (see pics further down). That one is beautiful, but definitely a little skimpier! Vitamin A also has a good one called Tamarindo. Not sure if they still make the style because I have to hunt for them. The good news is you can find it here on 6 PM.com and it’s a bargain. No matching tops, no problem, just got Hawaiian style and pick up solid tops from Victoria’s Secret or Swell.com. Have you seen those gorgeous, confident girls rocking all kinds of cheekiness? They’re amazing!
A huge tip…find a suit you love? The picture is dreamy, the model’s bod is to die for? See if it’s on Zappos.com. They use relatively “real” models and their pictures aren’t airbrushed to the nines. You get a much more realistic view of the style and cut. This has saved me from a few starry-eyed purchases. Vitamin A, Mikoh, L-Space, LeTarte are all on there.
If strutting your stuff up and down the beach in a bikini just isn’t your thing, there are two staple pieces to your wardrobe in addition to great bikinis that must be purchased or acquired on vacation. The Pareo. You simply can’t have too many. I was lucky enough to be on a photo shoot with the queen of all things beach, Rebekah Steen, aka Goldfish Kiss, and she had a few from saltypsy.com. I have been eyeballing these for a while, but had never seen them in person. After seeing Rebekah’s, I’m going to have to go purchase one, or five. They are supersoft and the size is amazing.
Whenever I go traveling, be in Mexico, Costa Rica, etc., I always pick up one or two pareos. It’s a fun souvenir, usually super affordable if you’re willing to haggle, make great presents and will be a lovely reminder of your trip. I have some that are 10 years old. They get softer and better w/ age and they work as coverups, scarves when the plane is chilly, a beach towel and a turban when you’ve accidentally flipped your hotel towel over the balcony after a shower, it happens – true story.
Option 2, a cute little pair of slip on shorts goes along way when you’re feeling more rippled than ripped from the backside view. My girlfriend bought me a pair of shorts that look like these from Free People last summer and I’m still living in them. They are one-size-fits-all and super cute. I wear them so much that alas, they are disintegrating off my body and I still can’t give them up. When I can convince her to give me the purchasing source, I may reveal her secret here… Just don’t say anything until I can secure the information.
Hat, hat, hat. I don’t make a move without a trucker hat. As I’ve gotten older my cute little freckles have turned to the darkside, literally. A flirty sprinkling across your nose can easily turn into splotchy blotchy mark’s if you’re not careful. But never fear it’s not too late. Stop the madness and cover thy face. You can go fancy with the trucker hats or find them in drugstores for under five bucks. Seriously not kidding. My favorite hat is my girlfriend Kristin’s Betty trucker. Pick your favorite color, she has a ton. This is the hat I buy most often because I usually end up giving them away to people who like them when I’m wearing them. Good thing she keeps a healthy supply.
So, you’ve done the prep. Pilates, check. Hydration, check. Bikini selected. Trucker hat, on. Pareo and cute shorts packed into your beach bag. You are ready for a good beach day! In the next installment of this riveting series, we will explore The Recovery, aka how to keep your hair and skin from getting overly brittle after a day out in the heavenly sunshine. Stay tuned and, until then, happy daylight savings. Enjoy the sunset tonight♥