The Beachy Products I Use To Embrace Summer After Three Seasons Of Hibernation

"Beachy" is my beauty trigger word.

I grew up in North Dakota and Minnesota, where winters can get as cold as -35 and it’s not uncommon to see snow in April. (This year we got some on May 1!) My sophomore year of high school, we were not allowed to come to school for a few days because it was too cold and nobody’s cars would start anyway.

This year, I came back from a sunny Los Angeles vacation in mid-April to a full-on blizzard in Minneapolis. You can imagine how amused I was to get off the plane and step into ankle-deep snow when I’d been wearing flip flops that morning.

This is probably why I am obsessed with summer, a season we Midwesterners wait for and try to convince ourselves makes the rest of the cold, crappy year worth it. I’m kind of thinking it doesn’t anymore. (Time to move to L.A.!) I guess my mom’s right when she says that shoveling my car off and digging myself out when I get stuck in my own driveway makes me independent, but it also makes me MISERABLE.

I so yearn for summer all year long that when it’s here, I do nothing but sit in the sunshine. I bask in it like a little blonde lizard. I take a week off to go “up North” (regional colloquialism since lots of Minnesotans have cabins by one of our numerous lakes) and hang out on the pontoon with my family. My girlfriends and I frequent bars right on Lake Minnetonka, where getting a drink from a guy is easy as breathing. Sometimes they buy you borderline gross things like Grape Apes, but we’ll take what we can get. (Dudes never be buying me drinks in Minneapolis--what gives? Gotta go out to the suburbs, I guess.)

My obsession with warm weather makes me a sucker for any product described as “beachy,” especially when I feel like throwing myself off the rotunda at the Mall of America in the middle of a frigid unrelenting January. (Does Jimmy Buffett have a son? Can I marry him and live on an island forever?)

Since summer is finally upon us, it’s time for beauty companies to roll out their beach girl products and for me to spend a bunch of money pretending I am a mermaid and not a pale Norwegian chick. Just reading that something smells like an island is reason enough for me to throw down my money at Target. (Well, wait. The expanded, remodeled beauty section at Target is dangerous enough as is.) I can’t even go into Victoria’s Secret, which is a store I don’t even LIKE, when they put out the PINK Beach line. Take it from me, a true sucker; these are the best in beach.

My natural hair texture tends to run a bit beachy with crazy waves, but I love to mix Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Spray with a little Sun-In (I’m a blonde, so it’s OK!) and twist random sections of my damp hair for surfer-girl waves.

I’m have to mention Bobbi Brown’s now-classic Beach fragrance and its luxe body oil, but the beachy scent I really love right now is Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess. They release the scent--a lovely blend of sandalwood, bergamot and orange blossom that smells like an ideal tropical isle--as part of a Bronze Goddess-themed makeup collection every summer. You can only get this stuff in the warmer months, then it hibernates. As I should be doing.

My icon and queen Britney Spears is releasing a new Fantasy flanker (read: companion perfume to an existing scent) called Island Fantasy, and even though I know it sounds heinously sticky and sweet (citrus, berries, melon, freesia) I still want it! Get a load of this cheesy copy, describing the scent as reminiscent of “an ideal paradise where [Britney] can rejuvenate and relax with her loved ones.” Take me to that beach with Britney, Sean Preston and Jayden James, dammit!

Isn’t that beachy smell the best, though? A little bit marine salty, a little coconutty, a little sweaty and warm. I have an arsenal of lotions specifically for this purpose, but right now I am loving Mountain Ocean Skin Trip lotion. It smells like fresh coconut and is loaded with skin-softening goodies like coconut oil and aloe.

Marci is going to kill me, but I am terrible about sunscreen. I always wear makeup with SPF 30 on my face, but I’m pretty lax about it otherwise. I KNOW it’s a terrible thing and I KNOW you guys are gonna get mad at me, but I really love to lie around in the sun. I love to be tawny and tan. I grew up watching my mom and aunts bake away on my grandma’s deck, sometimes coated in a fine slick of baby oil. They looked so bronzed and glamorous that way that it’s permanently ingrained in my brain.

I prefer Maui Babe lotion. If you want to get insanely tan, this stuff is the ticket. It stinks like soy sauce, but your skin will suck up sunshine. Beginners, don’t spend more than an hour in full sun with this stuff on; it’s serious business. I do get my moles checked every time I go to the dermatologist and I am aware that I should be more vigilant about sun protection. Don’t kill me, Marci.

If you wanna fake that tawny color I lust after, do it with one of my favorite bronzers: NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder. I’m obsessing over the NARS Beach Lover set, which is based around Laguna. Don’t you just yearn to be that Tahitian goddess with a flower crown? These are the best, most realistic tan shades I’ve used, so even if you weren’t lucky enough to traipse across the Florida beach, you can look like you did.

Are you a beach babe? Do you like to “lay out” like me, or are you hyper-vigilant about sun protection? More importantly, do you have any beauty trigger words like “beach"?