My mother is beautiful. She has an inner beauty that radiates through her dark molasses eyes that can open up to you and welcome you in. She played basketball for most of her life and is still fit - her leg muscles attest to that. I've seen her walk the beach for miles. She has a calming smile and an easy laugh. But my mother is not a vain person. She takes care of herself, not needing to go overboard on hair and make up. However, once a year, actually all summer, she takes a new pride in looking good. For her, this means her tan. Now this is not the tanning bed-fake-orange-spray tan. She just wants to get out in the sun and close her eyes for a few minutes. It is a "healthy tan" as she and my grandmother used to call it. It means that you have found time to relax, to let your cares drift away. You sat in the sun and soaked up some of the goodness in the world. This could happen in your backyard, or down at the beach. Back in the day my mother used QT by Coppertone, SPF 2! SPF2. Can you imagine? I don't think you can buy it anymore. It's probably against the law. But it was my mother's go-to regimen for summer for years. I can remember her sending me to the sundry shop in Stone Harbor assigned with one mission, pick her up some QT. In case you didn't know, QT stands for Quick Tan. That's what she was and still is about. Now that there are warnings on sunscreen, she heeds them a little bit. She is proud that her moisturizer has SPF 15 and she uses it every day. Every day! she tells me, as if she were shocked that this is an actual habit she has gotten into. I'm glad.
But there is more to it than just soaking up the sun. Summer provides many more benefits. After a long winter when we are pushing through headwinds and fighting against deadlines and projects and who needs what, and what needs who, our brows become furrowed. We have fought some good fights and others not-so-good. We wear those battle scars on our faces and sometimes deeper inside. Many might go to their doctor to try to fix it or get rid of it. My mom and I know all you need is a beach chair. Slide that baby way back to slot number 1, or 0 if you have it. Put down that book! Put away that magazine or phone or device. Close your eyes. Get under the umbrella if you want to. But lay your head back. Put a little rolled up towel under your neck. Maybe a travel pillow is a good idea here. Now don't move. Your body is fully supported. Your feet are in the sand. Your hands are free! Your kids are fine. Breathe the ocean air. Listen to the waves. Drift off. After about 20 minutes you will have reached level one of the Beach Botox procedure. When you sit up, even you won't recognize your face. The little furrow between your brow will be gone! Crowslines, schmoslines. The winter wrinkles that you accumulated from December through March, vanish! A little sun on your cheeks, a little Beach Music from the ocean. For added benefits, stay in this position up to 2 hours, longer if you can. Repeat daily as necessary.
There is a reason why sea salt flavors are all the rage right now. We need the sea and we need the salt. The sea heals us. The salt nourishes us. If you can't be by the ocean, find some water somewhere. If you can't get to the water, make a bird bath. Run through a sprinkler. (Really, run through it.)
If you want to make summer linger, check out these. ( I am not paid to do this, I just found these items and thought I'd share...)
Swedish Dream will make you feel like you are at the beach all year long.
Seawicks has so many fun scents to choose from! This is the one I bought and I LOVE it. I had it in the bathroom, but I never lit it. I moved it next to my bed and light it while I read at night. It takes me back to the Attic Room I had at the shore house from the time I was about twelve. So heavenly! (And this is authentic Maine - from Boothbay Harbor! If I ever go missing, you will find me in Boothbay Harbor!)
And no matter where you are, spread this out and voila! Instant Summer!
Then, find yourself the perfect hat!
Conner has an amazing collection! And seems to be responsible to the earth too!
I like the Charleston. Summer in Charleston
Finally, whether you got too much sun, or just enough, after an outdoor shower, slip into the perfect sleepset.
This year on our trip to Massachusetts, I'm stopping at the Pine Cone Hill Outlet and picking up this set. Blue Asian Capri
Wherever you go, wherever you are, I hope you have time to relax and soak up some sun, sea, and salt. Beach Botox... never a better beauty treatment. Just ask my mother.