A thing I bought that I L-O-V-E is my Tuffo Water-Resistant Outdoor Blanket with Carrying Case, which I purchased from Amazon in 2010 for Shawn's birthday. It was something we used in the parks in New York, which we'd hit a few times a month to read the paper and just hang out outside.
Now it's a regular Jane accessory and was perfect for the beach. The sand shook off easily, it folds up nicely into its carrying case and is machine washable. Now I'd probably choose a different pattern (pink, perhaps?), but I like the brown dots we got -- it seems neutral but I still have never seen another just like it. (I also love the bag we used for the beach this trip -- it's one I bought at Pearl River in NYC, which I read is closing due to high rents!)
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