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My Beach Family Vacation Checklist

beach essentials

Whether it is for a business presentation or going on a family vacation, being organized makes your life easier and so much enjoyable. Over the years, I compiled a checklist of beach essentials filled with stuff that brings us comfort, protects from the sun and will not overload our car trunk. Whenever it is possible, I select double-duty items. I organized my checklist by purpose. Continue Reading


Keep Cool this Summer under a Beach Tent

sombrilla sun protection

sombrilla sun protection
photo: Sombrilla by Hollie & Harrie

Although we love the warmth of the sun, sometimes it is too much and we start looking for a shady area.

bohemian beach tent
photo: Alysha Findley via Apartment Therapy

To enjoy a full day at the beach or to entertain friends a hot afternoon, you could built your own Bohemian beach tent, like this gorgeous one I saw on Apartment Therapy.

sombrilla sun orange
Photo: Love’n The Sun Orange $180 AUD by Hollie & Harrie

If you prefer to buy one, check out the nice Sombrilla by Hollie & Harrie. I do not know why the nicest patterns are exclusive models for Australia. It comes with everything including aluminum poles and a shoulder bag. I like the cheerful Love’n The Sun Orange.

diy canopy
photo: Martha Stewart

My last suggestion is to make your own cloth canopy. The hardest thing would be how to hang it; that depends of your space.  Supplies that you may need are a grommet kit to punch sturdy holes into your fabric, tent poles or bamboo sticks, stout cord, and sturdy pegs. Make sure that you invite 3 friends to help you with the canopy installation. Head to Martha Stewart for more details.


Giant Plastic Bottle Fish Sculptures Shimmer on a Rio Beach

fish sculptures shimmering at day on Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro

fish sculptures shimmering at day on Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro
Photo credit: Victor R. Caivano / AP

I woke up this morning to a sunny, hot summer day. It felt natural to look for beach stories since I sat next to my pool. I discovered one that it absolutely a treat for the eye and your sense of creativity. Enjoy!

Discarded plastic bottles never look so good! Hundreds of empty water bottles were used to reproduce the effect of fish scales. And what effect! The fish sculptures glitter under the sun. The effect is as stunning at night, thanks to a mix of LED and projected lights.

giant fish sculptures at night in rio beach
Photo credit: Alexandre Macieira / Riotur

These huge fish sculptures are installed on popular Botafogo Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They were created as a part of the Rio +20 conference, which is about sustainable development. Despite the beauty of these sculptures, we must also think about how much waste we created on a daily basis.

+ Via Inhabitat, Hungeree and Colossal


Ice Pops For Grown Ups: Margarita, Martini and Mojito Popsicle Recipes

watermelon margarita popsicles :: margarita ice pops

Serving alcohol popsicles adds a special touch to a pool party. Instead of a digestive, keep the party alive and serve Havana Mojito popsicles as an after-dessert treat on the patio. Or great your guest with a margarita popsicle. This way, you will not lose time making drinks as your guests arrive. Plus, it will spread the joy right away.

One thing you have to remember is that alcohol do not freeze well. It is best to create use small ice pop molds. No need to buy molds if you do not have any. Instead, use individual plastic yogourt containers that you only fill up to the three quarter mark. Keep on the freezer until the last minute. And serve them on a tray filled with ice cubes.

Here are recipes to try:

+ Watermelon Margarita Popsicle Recipe – via YumSugar
+ Margarita Ice Pops Recipe on Epicurious
+ Tangerine Rum Popsicle and Watermelon Rum Popsicle Recipes

Trendy bars are serving alcohol pops. The NINETEEN12 bar located in the Beverly Hills Hotel sells for $14 martini popsicles (bottom right image). Patrons have the choice of three martini flavors: apple, watermelon and sour cherry.


Four Summer Vacation Essentials

metro seat and bbq carver set by picnic time :: birthday party cake stands, chesapeake changing cabana by Pottery Barn

They are plenty of small items that can make your stay at beach or at the park more enjoyable. It is better to shop for them before your vacation starts. These summer essentials display style and function.

Recreational Recliner

The Metro Seat by Picnic Time is a portable, recreational recliner with shoulder strap. The Metro Seat is available in 4 colors. It is color coordinated with the Metro Basket that I introduced last year. Looking similar, the Metro Melrose Bag is an insulated tote with a picnic service for four.

Colorful Dinnerware and Serving Ware

Stock bowls in punch colors to serve ice cream, cereals and cold soups. The Medium Orange, Large Green and Small Blue Birthday Party Cake Stands are currently on sale at Pottery Barn. At $29 for the set, it does not cost an arm to add a festive touch to any table.

Outdoor Changing Rooms

I love the romantic mood of pool cabanas. I think they have drama next to the pool. Do not forget to dress them up the cabanas with accessories for a party. Think about comfort first and ask a chair, baskets, bags or hooks. If the party runs until nighttime, add some safe lighting.

The multi-stripe Chesapeake Changing Cabana in is my favorite. If you prefer solids, go for the green apple or the stone fabric.

BBQ Accessories

The BBQ Carver set by Picnic Time is really cool. The white teak cutting board with a reservoir for juice run-off and removable seasoning tray create the perfect meat cutting serving area. The stainless steel knife, tong and basting brush can be stored on the hanging bag when not in use.

>>> Sourcing:
Buy online: Metro Seat at – price: $30 USD
Buy online: Birthday Party Cake Stands at Pottery Barn – on sale: $29 USD
Buy online: Chesapeake Changing Cabana at Pottery Barn – on sale: $299 USD
Buy online: Picnic Time BBQ Carver Set at – on sale: $44.25 USD

+ Recreate the beach club atmosphere at home
+ Hip Nautical Color Palette


Get Inspired by IKEA Summer Collection for Canada Day and the Fourth of July

ikea summer collection :: dyning :: sommar : fourth of july : canada dayLiteral party themes are not my thing. You do not need to fill the room with maple leafs or over saturate the space with the flag patterns like it is suggested by the mass produced dinnerware and party supplies.

You can still show your patriotism at your party by doing it on a more subtle way. Deconstruct the element of the flag, reinvent the color palette by adding a trendy accent color. The idea is to create a unique modern and more sophisticated party scheme.

If you look closely at these styled pictures by IKEA, you can devise around the Summer IKEA collection a beautiful scheme to celebrate either Canada Day or the Fourth of July. At least, you will be able to enjoy the stuff the rest of the summer.

Dining On the Lawn Setting

Do a picnic in your backyard. Lay down several eating areas with DYNING, a beach mat available in red and light blue.Fill the floor with red and white HEMÖN rugs, SOMMAR table runners and GRENÖ round cushions.

Hang multicolor wind-sock on the tree to create an instant festive look. Create your own with a flag using SOMMAR as a template.

Individual Lunch bags

Stock SOMMAR beach bags for everyone. Use it as a welcoming party favor. Or fill each beach bag with an individual lunch. Assign a color to each lunch type: red for the meat sandwich package, yellow for the fish or poultry based package and blue for the vegetarian lunch.

Block Candle Lanterns

Fill small and medium height lanterns with red and blue SOMMAR block candles. If you do not find the lanterns in the right colors, you can paint the lanterns with outdoor metallic paints.

Sharing Your Opinions

I gave you ideas to think outside the box for your Canada Day or Fourth of July party. I want to hear your view about the question. How do you plan to celebrate Canada Day or the Fourth of July this year?

+ DYNING mat beach at IKEA – price: $12.50 CAD
+ HEMÖN rug at IKEA – price: $7.50 CAD
+ SOMMAR table runner at IKEA – price: $3.50 CAD
+ GRENÖ round cushion, assorted colors at IKEA – price: $8.50 CAD
+ SOMMAR Wind-sock at IKEA – price: $1.50 CAD
+ SOMMAR beach bag, available in assorted colors at IKEA – price: $0.75 CAD
+ SOMMAR block candles – price: $1.50 CAD


Hip Beach Theme for a Wedding Anniversary Party

wedding anniversary beach party :: the shore club in miami :: bang & olufsen loudspeakers :: onfalos grill

We owe a lot to our parents. After all they gave us an environment to flourish and expand our horizon.

The customs want that you throw a big party at the 25th and the 50th anniversary. Kids should be the ones that organize it. The problem is that kids are still in school for the 25th, so they cannot afford an extravagant party. And 50 seems so far and your parents will be old.

Why not throw a big bash when the kids are able to pay for it and the parents have not yet retired? This way, it can be a real threat.

Baby boomers are cooler and healthier. Forget the golf course and throw a hip Miami club scene. If the family is not ready to travel south for the party, here are the key elements to recreate the setting around a pool or on a sandy beach.

Unisex Party Theme

Devise a theme that will appeal to your mom and your dad. This scheme uses a lot of round shapes and feminine touches. But the metal, the futurist look of the Onfalos grill and the Bang & Olufsen loudspeakers talk to your dad.

Onfalos Grill Brings Style Outdoors and Indoors

Milan Furniture Fair in April, the Onfalos grill brings a feminine look to an object that is typically associated with men. The colourful Corian trays simulate petals. Mario Bellini designed for Smartech Italia a sensual BBQ available in three formats. It is worth noting that this grill is designed for indoor and outdoor usages.

The Onfalos grill also reminds me of The Jetsons animated TV series. Without the petal trays, it shares commonalities with the robots of the 50s and the 60s.

Pump Up the Music

The BeoLab 5 with its little brother BeoLab 9 loudspeakers could pass for aliens straight from Dr. Who’s universe. We all know how men love their sound system. I will leave it to the specialists to explain the virtues of these high end speakers. What interest me is that they look better than the square box.

Remember to play music for all ages if you wish your party to last. Ask a DJ to update the beats of the songs that your parents used to dance when they were young. Make their era looks hip again. Hire some dancers to teach everyone the current moves on the dance floor.

The party concept behind this wedding anniversary is to make the party about the future, not the past.

>>> Sourcing:
Learn more: OnfalosGril by Smartech Italia
Learn more: Loudspeakers by Bang & Olufsen
Learn more: The Shore Club in Miami
Via: Put Your Petal to the Metal [Dwell Kitchen Blog]


Cool Picnic Gear for Father’s Day

cool picnicware for father\'s day :: john lewis :: picnic funFather’s Day is the third Sunday from now (June 15th, 2008). I will give you a head start with these tasteful and practical gift ideas for your dad.

Picnic Drinkware

The red and aqua outdoor tumblers, hi-ball glasses, wine glasses and jugs by John Lewis remind me of the hip nautical palette I showed you two weeks ago. I enjoy these gender-neutral festive hues for summer.

Picnic Blankets / Rugs

For lunches on the grass or free summer concerts in the park, a picnic rug comes handy.

I have never seen picnic blankets as fashionable as the John Lewis Ascot Picnic Rug. Very British style!

But dads may prefer the more masculine brown or navy John Lewis Picnic Rug in a Bag. The look is also more casual.

Food Cooking and Carrying

If your dad likes going to the games, here is something to impress his pals. He will be thrilled to receive a Tailgater Grill and Cooler. You can join an optional trolley.

For a vintage look, go for the red tin picnic basket. Discover inside a removable willow tray filled with a painted flask, 2 ceramic plates, 2 mugs, cutlery for 2 including 2 embroidered napkins. It is a no-brainer picnic kit for dad. And mom too! We know that with their busy schedule, parents appreciate things that simplify their life. A picnic basket for 2 will give your parents a chance for a romantic get together.

+ John Lewis Aqua Acrylic Picnicware – price: 1.50 – £10
+ John Lewis Red Acrylic Jug – price: £10
+ Blyton Vintage Picnic Basket for 2 at Picnic Fun – price: $160 USD
+ Vulcan Tailgater Grill and Cooler – price: $145 USD
+ John Lewis Ascot Picnic Rug – price: £50
+ John Lewis Picnic Rug in a Bag – price: £35


New Styles of Swim Rings and Beach Balls by Designroom Group

swim rings and beach balls by designroom group

It feels almost like summer. You could bring the Daydream swim ring and Day dream beach ball to complete my first birthday party theme. If you want bright colors, get inspired by the Moroccan pattern.

Revive your inner child spirit and throw some beach balls at a grown up pool party. These designs are brand new. Designroom Group launched them on April 15th, 2008. They have other patterns including a camouflage and a punk pattern.

>>> Sourcing:
Buy online: Beach Ball Daydream by Designroom Group – price: $12 USD
Buy online: Swim Ring Daydream by Designroom Group – price: $12 USD
Buy online: Poolside collection by Designroom Group
Via: {outdoorables!} [Daisy Chain]

+ First Birthday Party Ideas for a Girl