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I love the magazine Coastal Living. I really love it. When it arrives in my mailbox, I try to strategize when I can read the whole thing cover to cover. It’s like taking a mini vacation. I obsess over the cottages, drool over the recipes and develop a case of wanderlust. In the summer I read it on the deck and in the winter I crawl up on my sunny indoor porch with a blanket and devour the issue.

One of my favorite columns is “What’s in Your Beach Bag?”. If you are not familiar with it, basically they feature a celebrity (actress, chef, model, pro-surfer – you get the idea) and ask what is in her beach bag (I’m not aware of any men participating). Of course, these ladies have fabulous tunics, sandals, perfume oils, bikinis, lip balms and beach bags. I’m not trying to make fun of this as I’ve actually become a huge fan of a store Giada de Laurentiis mentioned a couple years ago.

It got me thinking, what’s in my beach bag? It’s August and I’ve been lugging this thing around for awhile. At this point, it is a dirty monogrammed bag. It’s one of the few bags that survived Sandy in my garage so I know it is trooper. But what’s really going on inside that bag? I’m not know as a neat and tidy person so I figured taking a good hard look might be interesting. Here is what I found (and this is unedited):

- Plastic pirate
- Swim diaper
- Tomato (A neighbor handed this to me the other day and I completely forgot.)
- A wedding invitation (Shoot! I need to RSVP by August 14th. Good thing I looked. I must have grabbed it out of the mailbox and shoved it in my bag.)
- Bag of cereal
- European coffee cracker (See, that shows some sophistication.)
- Plastic shovel
- Three pounds of sand (I thought this thing seemed heavy.)
- Bottle of water
- Baby sunscreen (I’ve started using this myself as it leads to one less thing to carry and smells nice.)
- Electric bill (Whoopsie.)

As I sit here, I realize that no magazine is going to come calling and feature these contents! But it did give me a good laugh. I’m sure if I had a publicist I’d have a more glamours beach bag, but what more do you need?

Next time you head up to the beach, do an audit of your bag. Unless you are a super organized person, you may get a good laugh at this point in the season.

- by Beth Foster deTuro
Beth Foster deTuro believes Long Beach Island is the best little sand bar in the whole world. Passionate about clams on the half shell, sailing on Barnegat Bay and taking long naps on the beach are just a few of her favorite Island activities. When is she not busy staring at the ocean she can be found pulling weeds at her cottage in Harvey Cedars.