What's In My Beach Bag + Sun Tips from a Beach Girl

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 18 comments
*This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click them and purchase something, I will make money to support this blog at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting TPT!

Well hey there, peculiar treasures! I hope you are doing well and thriving this week! I know you can, so make it happen! 😊
Personally, I am so stinkin' excited I can hardly stand it! By the time you start reading this, I will probably be on my way to the beach to visit some of my best friends. If you saw my last post, then you know what tunes I'll be listening to while I drive down to the coast (and if you didn't read it, then you need to so you can listen to my awesome, free playlist 😎). I plan to sing loud, roll my windows down, and let the wind whip my hair against my face. I.CAN'T.WAIT. 

Since I was raised at the beach, I always feel at home when I get there. I grew up knowing what to pack for a beach day, what to skip, and what is unnecessary but still good to have. These things are a no-brainer for me, but that doesn't mean they are for everyone. I mean, if you have spent all of your life in rural Iowa (as a super random example), why would you know what to pack in your beach bag? Chances are, you've never really needed to know!

So today I am sharing a list of what I pack in my beach bag, along with some tips to go along with it. I am also specifying whether the item is a necessity or just enjoyable to have. You're welcome! 😉

What's in my beach bag? What are the necessities for a good beach trip? What should you really pack?  Find out more at The Peculiar Treasure!

Sunscreen (Necessity)

I know you've heard it a billion times before, but sunscreen really is important when going to the beach. You should always wear sunscreen when you are going to be out in the sun for long periods of time to protect against harmful UV rays, but when you are near water, the sun reflects off of the water and, in my experience, makes it way worse. That's not based on science, so don't quote me 😉. But it does seems that when I am around the water, I get burned a lot more quickly and severely. So though I know I should be wearing sunscreen anytime I spend prolonged time in the sun, I am much more willing when I am laying by or swimming in the water, lest my skin resemble a not-so-adorable lobster.

Tanning Oil 

Ever since I was little, I have always loved the smell of tanning oil. I love any of it really, but my absolute favorite is Australian Gold. For me, the smell of it rivals my love for the smell of coffee, so you KNOW I mean business about this stuff.
Tanning oil is not a necessity, and should only be warn in addition to sunscreen (NOT in place of), but I always pick up a bottle when I am going to be at the beach or by the pool. 

Sunglasses (Necessity)

I get the worst headaches if I am out in the sun without sunglasses. If I didn't have them, the trip would be miserable and I would just end up with a migraine. Trust me. Pack the sunglasses. If you can't find yours, go buy some.


For a while I avoided hats because I didn't like them, but lately I've realized that not only do I feel really cute in a hat, but I also get less headaches when I wear one. My dark hair absorbs so much sunlight, and a hat helps a lot!


For whatever reason, I have always loved bandannas. I love wearing them at the beach in particular because the hold back the wisps of hair that usually fly into my eyes while still protecting my head like a hat would. So while a bandanna is not a necessity, I try to make sure I have one in my bag.

Chair (Necessity for all-day trips)

Growing up, it was the "mom thing to do" to bring a chair to the beach. A young, thriving lady should be able to lay on a towel all day and not have any back pain as a result. But 10 years and 100 pounds later and I've changed my tune.
I still bring a towel to lay on (and because of that whole "drying off" thing), but if I want to read a book or sit on the shore for an extended period of time, a chair really is a necessity.

A Good Book or Magazine

Speaking of reading, one of the most relaxing things in the world is sitting on the beach, listening to the waves roll in, while reading a really good book.
For this trip, I am bringing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and two issues of Good Housekeeping. I probably won't finish the book while I'm there, but I know it's something I will enjoy. That's the goal- to relax and enjoy.

Snacks (Necessity for all-day trips)

I know that a bag of Cheese-Itz don't exactly help you accomplish that wind-blown-beach-hottie look, but trust me, pack the dang snacks. No one is paying attention to you anyway, so you might as well not starve. Just sayin'.

Bottled Water (Necessity)

Hydration. Nuff' said.

What's In My Beach Bag? And what should you pack for your beach trip?

I know that some of these are common sense- like the sunglasses, water, or towel. But honestly, it's easy to forget the necessities and it's also easy to get carried away and bring too much. But trust me when I tell you to leave the floats and "noodles" at home, and opt for a chair, a book, and a bandanna instead.

And now, my lovely peculiars, I am going to go dip my toes in the water and forget about technology for a while!

Nothing But Fun Summer Playlist

Monday, May 15, 2017 25 comments

When Summer rolls around, I want four things: to feel the sun on my skin, to lay on and swim at the beach, to drive with the windows down, and to sing loud to fun music.

Sun is inevitable. Honestly, by the time we are halfway through Summer, I'm going to probably end up complaining. It just gets so hot here. But for now, I am happy that the sun is bringing out my freckles and hints of red in my auburn hair.

The beach is something I crave the second it gets warm enough to be in the water. You don't have to do much convincing to get me to take a trip to the small beach town I grew up in. It makes my heart so happy!

I really don't even mind the drive down to the coast most of the time, because a large portion of it is on back, country roads, or highways that have a similar feel. I roll the windows down, prop my arm on the window sill, and crank up the music.

This coming week, I am planning on going to the beach to visit my friends, so the beach, the sun, and a long drive with the windows down will be covered. But for a trip like this, good music is a must. So today, I am sharing a fun playlist that you can listen to whether you are road-trippin' it up like me, or are simply cleaning the house. Either way, it's a great, Summer pick-me-up!

A Fun, Summer Playlist for singing loud with the windows down.

I like sharing playlists with you because I want to 1.) give you something fun to dance around to, and 2.) I want to help you find your new favorite song. So this playlist is a combination of well-known favorites, and some lesser-known songs I think you'll like.

My favorites include La Bicicleta, Jackie and Wilson, and Sing. I hope you love these, and I'd love it if you'd follow the playlist on Spotify if you do.

What are your favorite songs on the playlist? Did you find something new that you love? Comment below!

And if you want to read more posts about Summer, I'm teaming up today with some awesome ladies. So click the links below to check out their Summer posts too.

Summer Cookout Party- Curbside Overhaul

The Easiest Plants For Kids to Grow- Little Sprouts Learning

Looking Back at School Year Reflections- Everchange Productions

3 Things Christians Don't Have to Do

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 6 comments

Whether you are a Christian, Mormon, Atheist, Muslim, Agnostic- really, as long as you are human- there are always going to be people who disagree with you, and that's okay. And even when you are part of the same religion, there will always be certain topics that are debated heavily from person to person. That's okay too, I guess. I mean, its part of life anyway.

But sometimes, well-meaning Christians start mandating things that were never discussed in Scripture. Their goals may have started purely, but when we start making rules about things that God never felt the need to make rules about, then we quickly become like the pharisees.

And that's when I can't stay silent. That's when I start voicing my differences in opinion. Not to be a jerk and not to put myself on a pedestal, but in order to combat ideas that will inevitably be harmful if they are mandated as things that a Christian MUST do.

So today, I am sharing 3 things that Christians do not have to do. Things that are allowed, permitted, and even good, but should never be presented as rules to be followed.

Have Quiet Time...In the Morning

Quiet time for the Christian is crucial. If we aren't spending time with God then we won't be able to continue growing in our relationship with him. It's just like any human relationship you have- if you stop spending time together, you grow apart and become strangers.

But you know what you've never been told about human relationships?
"If you don't hang out with your friend first thing in the morning, you aren't prioritizing your friendship"...um, no. The important thing is not what time of day you are spending time with your friends, family, or Savior, but rather, that you are spending time with them often.

I used to feel so guilty if I didn't read my Bible before I did anything else. And one of the reasons for that guilt was because I had heard people say "God deserves the first part of your day because He should be first place". So if I wanted to sit and read a novel in the morning when I was home from school, I felt guilty if I did that before reading my Bible and praying, because I thought it meant that I was putting the novel before God.

But you know what? The order in which I do things throughout the day is not necessarily equivalent to the order in which those things are important to me. I may unload the dishwasher before I kiss my husband, but I am certainly more fond of kissing my man than I am of doing the dishes.

The thing about spending time with God is that we should be doing it whenever we can be most focused, grow from it most, and in whatever way we can best make it a part of our day. The point is to spend time with out Lord, not to legislate what time of day everyone should be praying and reading scripture.

Have a Natural Childbirth

Maybe it's just me, but I often feel this unspoken pressure to (when I start having kids) breast feed until my kid is at least 6 months old (bonus points if they are over 12 months), keep my kids from the evil that is television until they are a teenager, and above all else, have a natural (non-medicated) childbirth.

Natural childbirth is awesome. I have the utmost respect women who have given birth naturally. I cannot imagine doing that without needing some serious therapy after! But you know what I want when I have kids? All the needles and all the medicine. I have enough hip and back problems without trying to have a natural childbirth. So when it's time to give birth, I will proudly ask for #allofthedrugs.

If you want to do a natural childbirth, I honestly think that is great. And I am almost automatically going to be impressed. But having an epidural is not bad or sinful, so please stop pretending like it is.

Avoid Medication

Speaking of medication and "drugs"- yes, I know that doctors can get a little prescription-happy these days, and sure, natural options (when they work) are preferred. But so many Christians assume that essential oils and vitamins work perfectly for everyone. But just as everyone's personalities are different, so are our reactions to medications and natural supplements. What worked wonders for you may not do a thing for me and what worked well for me may not help you at all!

I'm all for natural products-seriously, I am- but some Christians make other Christians feel that natural is the only way, and that taking medication is a sin or somehow means you trust God less.
Don't even get me started on that! 😡
I plan to eventually do an entire post on this subject, but until then, please know that if you feel like you need medication and others are seeing the same thing, there's no shame in that. Talk to your doctor, do thorough research, and if you decide to start taking it, you aren't less, it's not a sin, and that doesn't have anything to do with your level of trust in God.
So take the dang Ibuprofen, use the cough medicine, and take the antidepressants (if you really need them). You can rest assured that if you are using them responsibly and as they were intended, I will have nothing to say about it.

Friends, if you want to have your quiet times solely in the morning, use only essential oils for medication, and give birth naturally for every kid you have, then that is great. You should keep on keeping on if that works for you. But if you are someone who can't make quiet time happen in the morning, prefers an epidural for childbirth, or who's body doesn't seem to respond to natural remedies, that's totally okay to. It's just as okay as the other scenario.

God didn't mandate these things to us, so we shouldn't mandate them to one another. Let's strive to have compassion on and understanding for one another, and stop telling each other what we HAVE to do when it's an issue that God clearly wasn't concerned about.

DISCLAIMER: Please know that the three things I discuss in this post are not bad things in and of themselves. If you do any of these things, it is equally good and admirable. This post is not to criticize the way in which some Christians do things. Actually, on the contrary, I wrote this post so that Christians can remember that there are certain things that we have freedom in. We get to decide how to live the life God has given us, so we shouldn't be constantly criticizing one another but building each other up instead. 

We Are More Than We Feel: 10 Empowering Truths About God's Children

Monday, May 8, 2017 10 comments

Yesterday I was driving to meet my mom, brother, and Nana for lunch and thinking about what I was going to write about for today's post. Despite having having a lot of extra time this past week, I was still incredibly behind.  No pins scheduled, no post written, and no idea what my Monday would look like. But was that surprising? Nerp. Not at all. My middle name is last-minute. Kristin Last-Minute Cook... It has a nice ring to it, huh? 😋

Honestly though, being behind all the time can get real old, real quick. It's easy to get discouraged when I feel like I can't keep up with a day job, a side biz, and a blog. It's even more frustrating when my energy level plummets to the point that I feel completely useless. But feeling useless, discouraged, and incapable are only lies that keep me down. I may be behind on things, but that doesn't define who I am. 

How I feel has very little bearing on reality. It doesn't matter if I feel bad about myself, frustrated about my day, or whatever. What matters is what God says about me and my life. And believe it or not, God says a whole lot about my life. He says a lot about the lives of His children. So when we start to believe lies about who we are, all we have to do is look at God's word to realize that we are so much more than we feel we are.

We are more than we feel we are. Our feelings don't determine our worth- God does. So here are 10 Empowering Truths About God's Children

10 Truths About God's Children

Leaning on these truths is extremely important, because throughout each day, it's inevitable that we will have feelings of insignificance, self-loathing, or incompetence. We cannot give into those feelings and believe what God says about us at the same time. We have to choose. And trust me- choosing God's truth is the best decision any of us can make.

I hope you have a very happy day, friends!

What Does It Mean To Live With a Clear Conscience?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 7 comments

Have you ever been sitting alone and suddenly realized that you don't really like who you are? Do you ever think "why did I do that?" after acting on a selfish impulse? Trust me, you are not alone.

It's not a popular message, but we are all sinful humans. We make mistakes, we make bad choices, and we often choose selfishly instead of putting the needs of others first.

But one thing that the Bible talks about is living with a clear conscience. And when I read verses that talk about that, sometimes I have a hard time with them. It can be difficult to see how exactly these verses work in my own life since sometimes I feel guilty when I haven't done anything wrong and sometimes I put more pressure on myself than is necessary. They can, when not interpreted correctly, make me feel like I just have to live by my feelings, and live to satisfy the false guilt in my life. Is that what those verses are advocating for?

No. Of course they aren't.

When these verses talk about a "clear conscience", they aren't talking about satisfying our self-made condemnation or our guilt over things that aren't bad. What they are talking about however, is extremely important.

Do you live your life with a clear conscience? Or do you find yourself feeling guilty and beaten down? Read more to find out what it means to live with a clear conscience and how it can benefit you.

Excuses We Make and Lies We Tell Ourselves

"It's okay that I am cutting this person off in traffic. They are making me late."

"It's not a big deal if I watch this movie, even if it does have a bad affect on me."

"It wasn't exactly a lie...I just left out part of the story. They'd be mad at me otherwise."

"It's okay that I am sharing details from Samantha's life with Tanya. Tanya won't tell anyone, so it's not really gossip."

"I'll tell Laura about Samantha's nasty divorce so she can pray for her...then it surely isn't gossip. I mean, when Samantha asked me not to tell anyone, she probably still wanted prayer."

Do any of those excuses sound familiar to you? Do you find yourself justifying actions that are sinful and selfish? I know I do! I am constantly trying to defend my actions to myself when I know they are wrong. I know that cutting people off in traffic is rude, is a terrible witness, and is not considering the other person's feelings. They could have just finished a twelve-hour shift and are so tired they can barely drive. They could have just been verbally abused by a spouse. Or maybe they just spilled their coffee on their work clothes. Either way, when I cut them off, I cause them more stress and frustration.

After these sorts of incidents happen, I feel little twitches of guilt, because I know that I wasn't living life the best I could have. I know in these moments that I still do a lot of things solely because they benefit me, without caring for the feelings of others. If Jesus were in the seat beside (and He might as well be), I would turn 50 shades of red and feel awful. This begs the question: Am I living life in a way that produces a clear conscience even in the little things?

The Little Things Are A Big Deal

I know that cutting someone off in traffic doesn't seem like a big deal. And I know that you may feel that this is an overly-simplified example. However,  the thing about living with a clear conscience is that we are called to live a life of goodness and holiness. And goodness and holiness come from the little things too.

When the Bible talks about living with a clear conscience, it calls us to examine our lives and see if we are living in a way that pleases God. Are we living our lives as the peculiar treasures we were called to be? Are we different than the rest of the world (and not just when we are being watched)? Basically, if Jesus popped into the room with you at any given moment, would you be ashamed? Would you be embarrassed? Or would He be pleased? If you are anything like me, you've got a lot of work to do- particularly in the "little things".

Strive to live life with a clear conscience- not just in the big things, but in the little things too.

Can They Find Real Fault?

 "I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law (Scripture) and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man." (Acts 24:15-16, emphasis added)

When the apostle Paul was being tried in court for his faith and his testimony about Jesus, he made the statement above. He had been accused of causing riots and disturbances over his teachings about Jesus, but Paul was saying that he knew the accusations against him were false and therefore he had a clear conscience. He also knew that he needed to continue to conduct himself in a Christlike way, despite how frustrating these accusations were. He was choosing to live a godly life that would free him to live without worry or a guilty conscience.

How often, however, do we live our lives just toeing the line. How often do we choose to see how far we can go without "doing anything bad", instead of trying to live a life that is completely undeserving of accusation? How often do I justify "little" things like giving someone the cold shoulder because they were rude to me? How many times have I watched something on Netflix that messed me up physiologically or caused me to stumble, but justified it as "not that big of a deal".

But at the end of the day, I feel guilty about those things because I know that they are not good. They may be simple, but they still matter. I'm not killing, stealing, or cheating, but that's not the standard- Jesus is. And when Paul talked about living with a clear conscience, he meant changing the way we live so that there is absolutely no reason to feel guilty. It not only keeps us walking in Christ-likeness as an example for those around us, but it also brings a peace that we cannot know if we are always toeing the line or being selfish in the little things.

Paul knew that no one could accuse him of living a shameful life. He wasn't perfect, but he absolutely took conscious steps towards godly living at every turn. He knew they had nothing on him, he knew he was innocent, and he knew his life was pleasing to Jesus. And he had freedom and peace because of that!

No One Is Perfect

We can never be perfect on this side of Heaven. I know that. And we are going to find ourselves sinning sometimes. But as much as it depends on us and our daily, conscious choices, we are called to live a life that produces a clear conscience. So, if you and I know of areas in our lives where we are "toeing the line" or are clearly not pleasing to God, we are called to change those things. When we do, we are free to live with a clear conscience, a sound mind, and freedom from worry. How awesome does that sound?!

What I'm Loving Lately (Coffee Sips and Lovely Links)

Friday, April 28, 2017 7 comments

It's somehow already Friday again, peculiar ones! How? How does that happen?
Day by day we eat, work, sleep, and repeat and time goes by so stinkin' quickly. Because of #adulting, this is necessary to a certain degree, but we also have to take the time to relax, smell the roses, drink the coffee, and do the fun things.

I only work outside of my home Monday-Wednesday right now, and I am still on the hunt for another job. I've been really stressed about that lately, and it has been critical for me to make sure I am taking at least a little bit of time for myself. When I don't, I end up with a horrible migraine and high blood pressure. No bueno.

I enjoy a lot of different things, but right now my "me time" is either reading through the Harry Potter books, singing to Pentatonix as loudly as I can, playing Harvest Moon for Wii, taking Epsom salt baths, and just sitting and watching Netflix with the hubby.

Another way you can relax is by getting cozy, sipping coffee, and reading really good, helpful blog posts. Sure, I do that all the time anyway, but it's different when you have been wanting to catch up on your favorites.

So today, I am sharing a hodge-podge of posts that are only connected by the fact that I enjoyed them. My hope is that you will too.
So grab your favorite beverage (you already know what I'm having!), settle in your most comfy of chairs, and enjoy these posts that I've been loving.

DIY Industrial Shelves by Love Doing Life
If a project reminds me of Chip and Joanna Gaines, it's a winner for sure! And that's exactly what happened with these industrial shelves that Elizabeth of Love Doing Life put in her home. It's a great project!

8 Productivity Hacks to Totally Transform Your Day by Coming Up Roses
Anytime Erica of CUR posts about productivity or blogging I am interested in what she has to say. She is an absolute rock star when it comes to those topics!

Why I'm Still Boycotting Target (1 Year Later) by Small Town Soul
Clearly, this one will be controversial. Lots of awesome people have varying opinions on this, but I just loved that Abbey was brave enough to share this post articulately. I don't necessarily agree with every single thing she says, but I fully know where she is coming from and I support her bravery. This is NOT a popular opinion and I've been in her shoes.

Why I Want To Be Worth My Weight In Salt by Pretty Simple Ideas
Friends, this is my absolute favorite post by Sarah of PSI. The Bible says that we should be the salt of the earth, and Sarah does an awesome job of explaining what that means and why it's so important. Check it out!

DIY Macrame Herb Garden From Recycled Bottles by Craftivity Designs
This is a super cute project that Lora of CD created using plastic bottles from tea. I really want to make one!

Which of these links is your favorite? Comment below.

She Deserves More: A Mother's Day Gift Guide

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 12 comments

*This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click them and purchase something, I will make money to support this blog at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting TPT!

When I think back over my childhood, I think of trips to the beach, reading fun chapter books in bed, playing basketball in the yard, riding my bike through the neighborhood, and lots of time watching Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys. And you want to know what all of those things have in common? My mom was a part of every single one of those moments.

My mom didn't mind watching Rugrats- she laughed along with me. My mom didn't try to shorten our beach trip so she could go home and finish housework- she packed a picnic so we could stay longer. My mom didn't tell me to go read in my room- she let me crawl in bed beside her as we each read our own book.

Me and my mom's relationship obviously looks different now. I'm married and have my own house to take care of. Visiting my mom requires an hour drive instead of a quick shuffle into her room. My mom has a bazillion things on her plate. She's a farmer, she tends the garden, she runs an Etsy Shop, and she still takes awesome care of my dad, my brother, and my Nana. She cooks, she cleans, she tends to her farm animals, the farm dogs, the house dogs, etc.

But with all her busyness, my mom and I still talk every day. We see each other a couple times a month and that time is cherished. My mom is one of my very best friends and I am so thankful for her. And in all honesty, she deserves a lot more than just a gift from Amazon or  a local shop. She deserves more than I could give her. But when Mother's Day comes around, I always want to do my best to find her something she will love.

A good Mother's Day gift can be hard to decide on because not only do they depend on our mom's personality, but they also seem so feeble when we think of all our mom's have done for us. But I know our Moms appreciate it when we put thought into their gifts. I also know that it shows when we wait until the very last minute.

So with Mother's Day just around the corner (May 14th), I have put together a gift guide so you can get your shopping done on time. You're welcome! 😘

A Mother's Day Gift Guide for the Women Who Deserve More Than We Can Give

At Home Spa "Package"

If your mom is anything like mine, when all the work is done, the last thing she wants to do is leave the house. She would much prefer that whatever she do be within the comfort of her own, cushy chair. She just wants to relax.

So what about this: Instead of buying your mom a trip to a nail salon or an expensive massage session (my mom wouldn't even enjoy that), why not buy her a budget-friendly foot bath, a few essential oils to add to the water or an Epsom salt and Tea Tree Oil soak, and a nice, moisturizing lotion. She can sit in her chair while soaking her feet and breathing in the relaxing oils. When she's done, she can apply the lotion for the extra moisture.

Garden Cuteness

Mother's Day being in the Spring is pretty dang serendipitous if you ask me. A lot of Moms love to garden, love to spend time outdoors, and love decor in their homes that reminds them of the beauty they see in God's creation. Think things like herb and flower prints, farm-house-y, silk floral arrangements, or some adorable little succulents. You could even create her a little "garden basket" complete with cute gloves, a shovel, and a hat, all sitting in a pretty new flower pot.

Support Her Hobbies/Passions

Does your mom like to craft or DIY? Does she love making things with her hands? Why not support her interests by buying the supplies she needs for for projects. Things like buttons, lace, paints, brushes, or yarn. These are easy things to find, usually inexpensive, and if your mom is a crafter, I am sure she would appreciate you taking that into consideration!


If your mom loves to read, adding to her library is a great gift idea. I know for my mom, The Magnolia Story is at the top of her list. But again, this is completely subjective. It depends on your mom's interests. If she hates non-fiction, then The Magnolia Story probably isn't the best choice. If she likes crime/mystery books, it's probably best to leave the rom-coms on the shelf. But there is so much out there to choose from and there is something for everyone.


Another idea is to get your mom a year's subscription to her favorite magazine. You can do this by going straight to the magazine's website or you can go to places like Recycle Bank to earn points, which you can use to get free subscriptions to magazines, gift cards, and more. It doesn't take long at all to earn points and that particular website is dedicated to trying to care for the planet which is definitely a bonus!

Mother's Day Gift Guide

No matter what you do for Mother's Day, try not to stress. If you have a good relationship with your mom, I am sure that she wants to spend time with you more than anything else. Get her something special for Mother's Day, but don't get caught up in the gift. Remember that the reason you even care about her gift is because you love her and know that she deserves the world. And for that reason, the most important thing you can do this Mother's Day is let your mom  know how much you love and appreciate her. A present is secondary.