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15 Life Hacks for the Beach or Pool

15 Life Hacks for the Beach or Pool

Have a small problem that’s getting in the way of your beach bunny dreams? Concerned that a lack of funds will get you down? No worries! If there’s a problem, there’s a hack. Find a solution to your summer woes with 15 of our favorite hacks for the beach and pool.

1. Fashion a Cheap Beach Locker

diaper DIY

    Forget about buying a beach locker or paying a mermaid half your life savings to watch your valuables at the beach. (Don’t pay a mermaid to do this; they’re very untrustworthy, not to mention fictional. You’ll get ripped off every time.) Instead, DIY your own protection with common and/or cheap household items.

    Finally finish off that jumbo sunscreen bottle from Costco? Clean it out and rig it into storage for your keys, cell phone and money clip. Unless they’re extremely fair skinned, thieves aren’t likely to try and steal sunscreen. For things thieves definitely won’t touch, try wrapping your valuables in a disposable diaper or putting them in a tampon box (guaranteed to make male thieves abandon your bag post haste!).

    2. Create Your Own Waterproof Bag

    beach bag DIY

      Unless you have an untreatable thirst for brand names, there’s no reason to pay top dollar for a waterproofed bag when an afternoon spent playing with melted wax will yield the same results.

      To make a DIY waxed bag, all you need is a double boiler (probably don’t want to use that shiny new one in your kitchen), wax, a paint brush, an old (but not sentimentally important) pillowcase (so, not the one you cried into the first time you watched Marley and Me), a dryer and the bag in question. Melt the wax in the double boiler, brush it over the entire bag, tie the bag up in a pillowcase and toss it in the dryer (on high) for 30 minutes. Voila!

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      3. Speed Up Sand Removal

      sandy feet-kath haboc lee

        Baby powder isn’t just for baby’s bums, no matter what the packaging tells you. True, it can help kill some of the funky foot smell from your favorite shoes, but it’s also a beach bag essential. Ready to head inside but feel like your hands are covered in sand-gloves? Shake out a little baby powder and use it to brush off sand. Not only will you be sand-free but you’ll also be baby-scented!

        4. Re-sealable Phone Protection

        phone at beach

          For those that aren’t still rocking the near-indestructible, we-laugh-in-the-face-of-danger flip phone, try putting your phone in a sealable plastic bag. You won’t have to worry as much about sand or water, plus you can still use the touch screen through the bag.

          5. Weigh Down Your Beach Towel

          sand-beach

            You don’t want to spend prime sun-bathing time trying to make yourself into the perfect starfish so your towel doesn’t flip up. Instead of keeping your hands and feet glued to the corners, try sewing pockets onto each corner. Tuck shoes, books, water bottles, sunscreen, etc. into the corners to weigh them down and keep your towel from flipping up and flicking you with sand. Now you can lay like a starfish because you want to, not because you have to.

            6. Cool the Burn

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            sunburn boy

              Aloe gels are perfect and soothing sun burn relief. To improve upon perfection, pop your bottle of aloe into the fridge before you go to the pool or beach. The cool temperature increases the relief.

              Whatever you do, make sure you’re using aloe gel, not some moisturizing lotion with aloe. Lotion will only trap the heat from a burn, prolonging your pain instead of relieving it.

              7. Iced Tea to the Rescue

              iced tea for burns

                Use your favorite beverage—well, if black tea or earl grey is your favorite beverage—to relieve sunburn. Just steep a few bags in water, soak a rag or shirt in the tea, and apply the rag to your poor, lobster-red skin.

                8. Pee Is Not for Pain Relief

                Jellyfish

                  That “Friends” episode was hilarious, but it shouldn’t be taken as a medical absolute. You’re actually NOT supposed to urinate on a jellyfish sting. (Hilarious as your friends’ reactions might be.) Instead, scrap off the tentacle (if it clings) with sand and sea water (not fresh water!), then use vinegar or a baking soda/sea water paste to deactivate stingers (depending on type of jellyfish).

                  9. Hack a Tattoo

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                  sunburn by nollij

                    Want a temporary tattoo that doesn’t require you to hold a wet piece of paper to your arm? Try using a sticker for a suntan tattoo. Pick up a store-bought sticker in a fun shape, or make your own with bandage tape. Then catch some rays and watch the skin around the sticker get a golden tan, while the skin underneath keeps its winter color.

                    10. Broken Flip Flop Remedy

                    flip flop

                      It’s a bummer when your flip flop strap pulls free from the sole. Luckily, there’s a quick fix to get you through the rest of the day (or to the nearest flip flop emporium): bread clips. Those colorful little clips can find purpose beyond keeping your bread fresh. Just clip them above the wide end of the thong; since it’s bigger than the hole, it’ll keep your flip flopping.

                      11. Make Your Own Giant Tote

                      DIY beach bag

                        Need an extra-large tote for your pool games, beach toys, inflatables or boogie boards? Don’t bother shopping for a big (expensive) bag to fit your needs. Instead, repurpose an old patio furniture cover. Furniture covers are strong, durable, water proof and easy to clean: perfect for an oversized beach bag. Just add a strap or handles to a cushion cover and you’re set to go.

                        12. Highlight with Citrus

                        lemon by tim hoggarth

                          Classics are classic for a reason. Lemon juice as a natural highlighter has been a summer staple for years because it works. Just comb some lemon juice through your hair and let the sun do the rest. (However, the acid can make your hair more susceptible to damage, so you may want to combine it with a little hair sunscreen.)

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                          13. Edible Lip Stain? Oh Yeah!

                          lip stain

                            Before you mix up that batch of Kool-Aid, use a little of the powder as a lip stain. Kool-Aid is the perfect summer lip stain: tasty and long lasting! It’s simple too, just lick your finger, dab it in your powder of choice, rub over lips, then go over your lips with damp cotton swab to even out the stain and get rid of clumps. A variety of flavors means a variety of colors.

                            14. Blow Away Ear Clogs

                            how to make your ears pop

                              Ears clogged from swimming? Inflate a balloon. No, really, it’s that simple. Keep a balloon handy and inflate it a few times after each dip. If you ears still feel like they need to pop, try plugging your nose while you blow up the balloon.

                              15. Summer Steering Wheel Trick

                              steering wheel

                                Tired of playing hot potato with your steering wheel? Turn your steering wheel “upside down” when you park at the beach or pool. The sun will beat down and super heat the bottom of the wheel, but the top will be protected from the brunt of its rays. Now when you go to leave all you have to do is straighten the wheel for a cooler grip.

                                Featured photo credit: Pierre-Olivier Bourgeois via 24.media.tumblr.com

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                                Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                                How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                                We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                                So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                                Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                                What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                                Boundaries are limits

                                —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                                Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                                Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                                Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                                Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                                How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                                Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                                1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                                Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                                You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                                To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                                You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                                • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                                • When do you feel disrespected?
                                • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                                • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                                • When do you want to be alone?
                                • How much space do you need?

                                You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                                2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                                Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                                Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                                3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                                Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                                That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                                Sample language:

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                                • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                                • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                                • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                                • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                                • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                                • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                                • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                                Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                                4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                                Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                                Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                                Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                                We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                                It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                                It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                                Final Thoughts

                                Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                                Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                                Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                                The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                                Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                                Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                                They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                                Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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