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Friday, August 05, 2011


The ultimate way to de-stress your life, at least for a little while, is to do something you love to do. Some find exercising until their bones ache, a great endorphin release. Others will seek to destroy their partner on a tennis court. Some find a soothing path in the art of meditation. But for me, the ultimate way to relax, unwind and de-stress is to read.

I don’t know too many (if any) writers who don’t love to read. Finding TIME to read …ah, therein lies the problem. When I’m home, there are always 10 other things I should be doing other than reading. Guilt follows and often distracts me enough to make me put down the book and attend to my edits, my looming deadline, the kitchen floor that hasn’t been swept in a week, an oh yeah, thinking about cooking dinner for my dear loving hubby.

So, my way of seeking a full day of reading and leaving my cares and worries behind, is to pack up the car, put on my shades, grab my Kindle and head to the beach! (Thank you Dad, for moving the fam to California!) On any given summer day, the sun shines, the air is warm, but not hot, the sand is fine between my toes and the water exhilarating at sixty-five degrees. There’s so much I love about California.

But like every other activity, there are do and don’ts. So take heed.

Here is my Guide to the Perfect Beach Read:

THE YELLOW --Don’t even think about setting your gear down on the sand if you see a yellow school bus parked nearby. Soon fifty screaming daycare kids will bombard your territory. And you’ll get sprinkled with sand times fifty, as they race by, oblivious to your presence and need for quiet.

BYOF – Bring your own food! Pack a lunch and try to stay clear of the beach cafĂ©. You don’t need the distraction of having the smell of French fries right under your nose or be in the rush of noontime sunbathers, who weren’t as smart as you by bringing their own lunch.

BRING A FRIEND – who likes to read too. You didn’t come to the beach to gossip and talk, did you? Yet, a friend will dip their toes in the water with you and watch your stuff when you go to the bathroom.

LIFEGUARD – Stay away from the lifeguard station if the man in the red trunks looks like hero-material. (And let’s face it, most of them do.) You know you’re in trouble if you remove your reading glasses and push on your designer sunglasses, titling your head ever so slightly to steal glances his way. Trust me, you’ll say it’s in the name of research as you peruse every move he makes, every smile he takes and every muscle he flexes. You might as well, kiss Chapter One good-bye.

STADIUM SEATING – is not an option. But you should bring a comfortable chair – the Cadillac of chairs, with full recline, padded back, umbrella attached and two cup-holders. Plant that chair in a remote spot, close enough to the water to get the westerly breezes, but far enough away from the rising tides. You don’t want to pack up your gear when the water starts seeping onto your blanket, right?

PROTECT YOURSELF – with gobs and gobs of sunscreen. You’re still gonna need your skin after today. This is not your day to get the ultimate tan. There are tanning salons for that!

DIG – not into the sand. We did that as kids. Dig into your beach bag. Your favorite author has a new book and you come up with your ULTIMATE reading pleasure. The gentle roar of the waves becomes your backdrop as you open the book. The hours melt away as you immerse yourself in the story.

FEEL – the hum of satisfaction and a little sadness too, when you read The End. You’re relaxed. You have been entertained. . You have escaped into another world. You’ve forgotten your own problems for a stitch in time and you feel so good, you won’t even think about the traffic you’ll face later on.

THE BEACH - is nearly deserted now. The sun is setting in a pink glow on the horizon. You close your eyes and envision the story in your mind one last time. That thrilling hum is still there, buzzing through your system.

It was a good day. You’ve achieved the Perfect Beach Read.




Caridad Pineiro said...

LOL! Great advice which also applies to those on the Jersey Shore. I love going to the beach to unwind and read.

Charlene Sands said...

Ah, the Jersey Shore? That beachline has gotten a lot of media attention lately.. wonder why? I'm going to the beach today, actually! TGIF!

Lynne Marshall said...

Great advice, Charlene! And I feel so relaxed now, too. Here's wishing you a wonderful weekend. I love your self-released book cover! As I do all of your Desire covers.

I enjoyed your blog. Thanks!
From one California girl to another.

Christine Ashworth said...

We're lucky to be California girls, aren't we? Great beachy advice!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Lynne -thanks! I'll pass along the compliment to my son-in-law who did the cover! I'm heading to the beach today!!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Christine - yeah, the Beach Boys were right about California Girls!! Glad you liked my advice!

Tanya Hanson said...

Awesome post, Charlene, and it reminds me of days of yore...(with a real book, not my Kindle.) For the pasta few years, beach days include our little grandson...which means digging, making sea animals out of sand, actually getting wet LOL.

But yes, I love the beach, the ocean wind. Love living close. You and I are very lucky in that way and so many others!

Love you!

Linda Broday said...

Wow, Charlene, you sure have this all worked out. Shows that you've been doing some serious thinking about the subject. Especially the part about the hunky lifeguards. Too funny. Congratulations on the e-release of your first book. Looks great. You have a smashing cover.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Tanya - oh you are so sweet to say that. Love ya,too. I'm looking forward to beach days with little ones and making mud pies again!!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Linda - Yep, you nailed it. I have learned how not to get distracted when I'm reading at the beach. It's been years in the making to get it right!!

Kathy Bennett said...

When I really want to relax I get a facial or float on a raft in the pool in the back yard.

Carol Ericson said...

A girl after my own heart - I love the beach! I walk there almost every day. I haven't spent much time reading at the beach, but now that my boys are older and I don't have to peer at the water watching them boogie board and surf, I plan to remedy that. Maybe I'll even get some writing done at the beach...

Mia said...

Ah, you made me wish for a day at the beach. Of course my favorite month for the beach is September. Still warm, but less people.

Anonymous said...

Gee Charlene, here I am just a few miles from the beach and I haven't been there in years!! But I'm with Mia with the timing... I like September when the kids have gone back to school and water is actually warmer. I may have to take a day to do just as you've described. Have a great day today!!
Debbie D.