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Hey, so forgive me for not posting last week, but I was caught up in the thrill of starting a new job (your girl is now with Elite Daily and loving it!) and I decided to wait till I headed home for the 4th of July to bring you this, my beach day essentials.

As someone who lives by the ocean when I'm not in NYC, I've become somewhat of a pro when it comes to packing my beach bag. I like to be a little over-prepared, but also don't want to drag around a 50lb bag all day, so it's all about nailing that perfect balance.

I get a lot of questions about this beach bag, but like all my good finds, it was a one-time boutique item, and is tragically unavailable for me to link. This one, however, is equally amazing with the incredible addition of some tassels. If you're buying on a budget, this straw number might be more your speed, or pick up this cute bamboo find, which is even more on trend.

In this trusty tote, I've got all my must-haves. Most importantly, a good sunscreen or two—and don't you forget it—but besides that, here's what I'm packing for a day of sea and sand:

Bronze in a Bottle

Okay, so this is more of an "apply the night before" than a "throw it in your beach bag" kind of item, but it's essential nonetheless, and too good not to share! A longtime St. Tropez tanning lover, I recently converted to Bondi Sands, and to be honest, and I wouldn't dream of switching back. Their Self Tanning Foam in Dark gives me a perfect tan every single time, and it's the only tanner I've ever used that doesn't smell bad. Ironically, a ton of brands advertise a "great scent" as a selling point for their tanner products, but I have literally never applied any without smelling that signature fake tanner stench. This is the first product that has a light, subtle scent that's nowhere near tanner-esque, so between that and the color payoff, I'm hooked.

Glossy Lip Balms

Liquid lips are dead to me—from now on, I'm all about a glossy, subtle lip color. My favorite is my old faithful Dior Lip Glow in just about any shade, and my newest love affair is with the Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hydrating Lip Gloss Stick. It looks like a classic lipstick bullet, applies like a lip balm, and shines like a gloss. The shade P(r)each is a fun peachy coral that still feels natural, and it looks good even when I've got no other makeup on at the beach!

Marine Collagen

I recently received the Collagen Pop by Hum Nutrition (you know, the brand responsible for all those cute vitamins and gummies?) and my first instinct was to keep it in my bag for beach days. The tablets dissolve into your drink and give off a lemony rose flavor, and while it's fine in water alone, I really love adding it to lemonade to keep me cool at the beach while also helping out my skin. Sitting out in the sun isn't great for your skin, but marine collagen peptides and Vitamin C keep skin hydrated and help with elasticity and firmness, so drink up!

Beachy Wave Blend

You guys, do me a favor and pick this up next time you're at the drugstore—you won't regret it! For under ten dollars, no product has changed my hair texture as much as the Marc Anthony Texture and Volume Beach Waves Cocktail. Whether I'm air-drying after a dip in the ocean or about to blow dry at home, I take a dime-sized amount of each side of this two-in-one styling product and "scrunch" it into my strand early 2000s style. The result? It elevates my already wavy texture and amps it up without making it crunchy or stiff. I throw this in my beach bag if I don't want to "do" my hair for activities later, and it basically does itself!

The Perfect Sunnies

I bought these embellished aviators on a whim from Free People about a month ago, and I've received compliments every. day. since. From strangers to friends to my own grandfather, everyone has made a point to comment on how cool and fun (but not too dramatic or extra) this style is. I bought the black pair in-store, and online they're available in silver, a neutral gradient, and even pink, which I might have to cop for myself to change things up.

A Little Extra Protection

You all know I'm a freak about preserving my blonde melt at all costs—right now, I don't see myself ever returning to my naturally almost-black hair, so it's important that I protect my color when I'm exposing it to the sun. Think of this Moroccan Oil Protect and Prevent Spray as SPF for the hair: it helps colored hair avoid sun and other environmental stressors that can screw up your dye job. As a bonus, it leaves hair feeling soft and smelling beachy!

Something to Glow

I don't exactly cake my face for the beach, but sometimes it's fun to throw on a little highlighter if I know I'll be taking photos or going out afterwards. The Marc Jacobs Beauty Glow Stick is a really fun product to keep in my bag because it isn't easily damaged, won't melt or break, and I can whip it out and swipe it on at a moment's notice! I use this on the tops of my cheekbones and tap it in with my fingers, but I also love to accentuate a tan by running it down the center of my calves and blending it out with my hands. In the sun or with a cell phone flash, the result is a gorgeous glow.

Along with the above, I've usually got a good book or new magazine in my bag and a drink in my hand to keep cool! Hope you enjoyed checking out what I bring on a typical day at the beach—and let me know if there's something you love I need to be adding to my lineup for next time.

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