The sky was dark; the clouds were menacing; the thunder was rumbling. The telltale signs of a summer storm were in the air, and my flip-flop chose that moment to break. Rather than take my chances barefoot on the questionable city pavement, I channeled my inner MacGyver. Armed with a hair tie and a sense of purpose, I wrapped the hair tie around the strap of my sandal (after pushing it back through the hole) and hoped for the best. It managed to stay secure for the walk from the park to the drugstore to buy some new footwear.
Luckily, there are numerous ways to fix this common fashion emergency. If you have a lighter with you, maybe in preparation for a barbecue, carefully melt the strap to the sole of the sandal. This can secure the loose piece for a short time. Be mindful that you do not let the whole sandal melt. Plastic bread tabs, such as those found on hot dog and hamburger bun packages, can act as an anchor for the strap. After inserting the strap back into the sole, attach the plastic tab around the tip of the strap and orient the tab so that the opening points toward the heel. This will make it harder for the end of the strap to pull out again. A paper clip can be used in the same manner, though it might be harder to find one on vacation.
Once your flip-flops are again beach-ready, it is time to prepare yourself for other summertime mishaps. Though it should be a place of relaxation, the beach can also cause stress. How do you protect your things while still enjoying the surf? If leaving your valuables at home or in the car isn't an option, it might be time to get creative. Putting your valuables in a child's lunchbox is an unexpected trick. Few thieves would think to check behind those Goldfish crackers for a cellphone.
If you don't feel comfortable leaving your valuables on the shore while you frolic in the waves, waterproof containers come in all shapes and sizes for your phones, tablets or wallets. The company Dry Case has vacuum seal technology that prevents water damage and leaves you able to make phone calls and use your touch screen.
For those beachgoers who like to plan ahead, there are other ways to protect your stuff. Diversion safes come in a variety of containers; Pringles cans, soda cans and water bottles are all available options ($20). Cleaning out an old sunscreen bottle or lip gloss container also provides an innocuous place to store cash or other small items. And you don't have to purchase anything new!
The ULO Beach Safe ($25), from Montclair Beach Products, attaches to your beach umbrella and is spacious enough to hold your cellphones, iPods, wallets, cameras and keys. Though it's easy for a thief to snatch a wallet hidden under a towel, carrying an entire beach umbrella would be more cumbersome. This safe might also help with another common summertime problem -- the beach umbrella that won't stay put.
All it takes is a gust of wind for most beach umbrellas to go rolling away. To avoid having to chase your umbrella down the shoreline, be sure that it is correctly mounted. Open your umbrella, and stick the point in the sand. Gradually rock the pole so that the sand moves out of the way as it drops down. Secure the pole at least 18 inches deep, and have the umbrella tilted in the direction of the wind. If you find that your plastic umbrella is difficult to work with, try wood. Wooden poles tend to move through the sand with ease. Alternatively, Beach Pockets ($19), from Aqua-Leisure Industries, anchor your umbrella down. They can be filled with sand or beach supplies and can withstand winds of up to 20 mph.
The best way to avoid any summer snafus is to plan ahead, wear sunscreen and enjoy your time in the sun!