Inside Trudy’s Beach Bag

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I’m all packed for a day at the beach! Come take a peek inside my beach bag so I can share with you my ten must-have items for a fabulous island day in the sun.


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1.The Nantucket Beach: There’s nothing so beautiful, peaceful, and restorative in all the world as the gorgeous sandy beaches on Nantucket. I’ll never get used to how lucky I am to enjoy such a wonderful spot, even after a lifetime of summers on the island.




2. Sunscreen: The most important thing we need for a day in the sunshine is a good sunscreen. Mine is made without nanoparticles from Nurture My Body. Made in small batches, their 100% organic sunscreens are made with non-nano zinc oxide and they never use any harmful petrochemical sunscreen ingredients. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 10th Annual Guide to Sunscreens has more information on safe sunscreens.


coyuchi beach towel


3. Beach Towel: The beach towel I can’t live without is the organic beach towel from Coyuchi, made of 100% organic cotton, grown and made in Turkey. Coyuchi is part of the 100% Club, a group of 17 brands that exclusively use organic fiber in their cotton products. They also use low-impact dyes and non-chlorine bleach, and never use wrinkle-resistant finishes, which contain formaldehyde.


4. Things to Read: I may need to bring a second beach bag just for my reading material. After a week of busy days, my reading can pile up. Here’s what I can’t do without:

  • The latest copies of The Inquirer and Mirror, where the first page I turn to is Marianne Stanton’s column “Here and There.”



nancy thayer

The Rumor, by Elin Hilderbrand

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Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

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and for my educational reading, Environmental Psychology for Design by Dak Kopec

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5. Snacks:

I pack a jar of my favorite crunchy almond butter with a spoon, and a granny smith apple with a knife. I cut up my apple into slices and spread it with the almond butter for a delicious, healthy mini-meal.

Raw Organic Almond Butter on a Background

6. Water

Because I avoid drinking from plastic, I carry two glass bottles of Mountain Valley Spring Water with me. It’s refreshing and has no potentially harmful chemicals. Plastic is particularly unstable and can release BHA (among other dangerous chemicals) when it gets hot, as is it very likely to do on a sunny day at the beach. Why drink spring water? It’s been filtered by the earth and contains trace minerals the human body needs.



7.A Baseball Cap

A baseball cap is essential to shade my eyes and protect my hair.

baseball cap

8. Doggie Comforts

My three dogs love to come to the beach with me, so I bring what they need for their comfort, too: homemade organic dog biscuits (recipe follows), raised dog beds to keep them off the hot sand, and tennis balls for playtime.

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Dog biscuit recipe: Mix together rice flour, olive oil, chopped fresh parsley, eggs, and parmesan cheese. Roll into cigar shapes and bake them at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, depending on their size. I keep them in the freezer, then defrost a few at a time and wrap them in wax paper bags (not plastic!) for transporting to the beach.


9. A Beach Umbrella:

beach umbrella

We need more protection than sunscreen for a day at the beach. Plus with a brightly colored umbrella, you can find your way back after cooling off in the surf.


10. Prosecco and Champagne Glasses

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Once the sun sets, it’s time to break out the Prosecco, and champagne glasses–real ones, because you can’t properly toast the end of a perfect day with anything else.





A Healing Oasis Right in Our Midst

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The art of self-care and healing is something we should all learn from an early age, but unfortunately, too many of us don’t. That’s why places like the  Arogya Healing Holistic Center in Westport, Connecticut, can be an important part of our wellness plan. “It’s all nature,” Wei Bertram, Arogya’s founder, says, looking around her at the serene space she created. “Healing is about being in nature. It isn’t normal to sit in front of a computer all day, and drive through traffic to commute. Our brain is not made that way. Arogya is about living in harmony with nature, and bringing body, mind, and spirit into a new awareness.”

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“People get many things done in a day, and then there’s more to do,” she added. “I work on myself. I take care of myself. No one will take care of you other than yourself, but we have to be taught. More than what we say, people walk into Arogya and want this feeling in their lives.”

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Wei explains that she has always been fascinated by her traditional Chinese heritage, and the mystique of Chinese medicine. By founding Arogya in 2000, her intention was to bring the healing traditions of the east into our contemporary lifestyles, which she sees as being in desperate need for true balance and well-being.

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As a longtime believer in holistic lifestyle practices, I was delighted to find Arogya so close to home. It’s easy to forget self-care until our bodies are in a chronic state of dis-ease, but as I have learned and as Wei believes, the best time to support our health is before we lose it. Luckily for those of us in Connecticut or the greater New York area, Arogya is a healing resource right in our midst!

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Arogya means “whole health” in Sanskrit. In addition to integrative Chinese medicine, yoga and massage therapy, the center also offers a wide selection of organic teas, all natural skincare products and personalized herbal remedies. The beautiful store also offers natural candles, essential oils and artisan perfumes created by Wei.


If you aren’t close enough to experience the beauty of a treatment at Arogya spa, be sure to check out their blog, which has dozens of articles on self-care and holistic healing. Here are five ideas from Wei and Arogya to help you be the best caretaker for yourself:

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1.The first step is to make a choice: Either you stay on the path of conventional, emergency-based medicine, waiting for serious symptoms to arise, or you make every day about your health and well-being, knowing every moment is an opportunity for wellness and wholeness.

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2. Making your life a wellness journey not only means feeding yourself nourishing foods, and taking care of your body, it means transforming every aspect of your life so you can truly be your most radiant, present, loving, and grounded self.


3. Chinese medicine says, “It takes more than one night to freeze a pond.” Likewise, the accumulation of decades of poor nutrition, stress, negative feelings, etc. can result in poor health. If you want to thaw the pond, it will take more than one day or one treatment to magically transform what ails you. Though the road may be long, every step you take towards healing yourself ripples out into your life and relationships.


4. In Taoist philosophy there is a saying: “It’s best to eat healthy food. And if you already do that, you still need to exercise too. And if you already do both of those, best of all is to meditate to nourish your heart, the core of your being.” With meditation, we can see the conditioning that keeps us falling into the same traps again and again. From a place of awareness, it’s easier to make better choices.


5. Though stress is a real and valid experience, it need not run your life. Read Arogya’s blog post, Combating Modern Day Stress. From first recognizing where your stress is coming from to to getting rid of all kinds of clutter, including toxic relationships, to finding time for your own creative pursuits, Wei’s gentle guidance can help you transform your life.


One of Wei’s final de-stressing tips is “find time to be in nature.” Understanding the limits of our own nature, and how we are part of the amazing world around us, is a wonderful way to live a deeper, richer life. As Ghandi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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And you must also be the change you wish to see in yourself.

Watch Wei discuss the importance of tea here.




Let the Sun Shine In!

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After a long, cool spring in the Northeast, the calendar–and the weather–have agreed that summer has finally arrived. Let’s throw open the windows and doors, and rethink the way we live at home. it’s easy to feel as F. Scott Fitzgerald did when he said, “I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”


Start with spring cleaning: To fully embrace the beauty of balmy breezes and abundant sunshine, we need to remove winter’s dry stuffy air from the house, and scrub the hidden spaces where dust collects. We don’t need to bring toxic cleaning products into our homes. It’s better to clean with baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar, or else choose environmentally friendly products, rather than dousing our living space with chemicals.  I’ve written about how to Clean Green before: read more here. 


Think about re-establishing order. Stacks of books and blankets left by the fireplace should be put back where they belong, and then you can recreate the room for a completely different experience. Once the room has become a blank slate again, bring out the things of summer! Bright colors and garden stools definitely belong inside.

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Add beauty and fragrance with fresh flowers. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, then you have a florist shop at your fingertips! Cut flowers early in the morning while the sun is still low in the sky and the dew has not yet dried. They’ll be fresher, and last longer. Immediately plunge the stems into a bucket of water, then put flowers or a flowering plant in every space you can, including the bathroom. Summer is a celebration of things that grow!

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The days of blocking our windows with heavy draperies are behind us. Make sure your windows are sparkling clean, then let the natural light pour in with minimal window treatments, or if you need the privacy, wooden blinds are a good choice. Simplicity is beautiful.

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Change your bedding from heavy down comforters and dark colors to light and white. Your spirits will be lifted each time you enter the room. Color affects our emotions in powerful ways.

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I love this room in my Nantucket fisherman’s cottage, decorated with vintage sand pails. Go ahead and celebrate what you loved about summer from your childhood, when the hours between sunrise and starlight seemed to last forever.

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Red, white, and blue always works in the summertime. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, let your patriotic flag fly.

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Don’t be afraid to have a little fun.

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Go nautical, and let your rooms remind you of  beaches, boats, and ocean breezes.


The time it takes to change your home’s look to sunshine and summer shouldn’t be seen as work. Homes need to be loved, just as people do. By making your home a welcoming, bright and sunny space, you will effortlessly bring more laughter and joy into your life.

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So go ahead: let the sun shine in!