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Last week was my 30th birthday!  I decided way back during our Polar Vortex winter that I wanted a beach birthday, so I invited my friends to Sandy Hook, NJ.  It is a little island at the top of the Jersey Shore, easily accessible by ferry or car, but it somehow feels worlds away.  The first time my husband and I went there (back when we were just boyfriend and girlfriend, having our first summer together), we both said it felt like we took a plane and went on vacation.  So of course it was my top choice for my big day.

Because our beach day started with picking up a rental car in NYC, I didn’t want to just wear a skimpy coverup.  This caftan maxi dress from Rachel Pally was just the thing.  It feels like the softest pajamas, but looks compliments-from-strangers-on-the-street great 🙂  I want to wear this all the time.  If you haven’t tried Rachel Pally yet because the price is a bit out of your budget, I recommend giving her line a shot through Gwynnie Bee like I did.  I’m a convert now.

Once we hit the sand, the caftan came off and it was bikini time.  If you told me at 21 that I’d be rocking a bikini at 30 (when I wasn’t even wearing one back then), I would have never believed you. I’m so happy I found great curvy and plus size bloggers and the body positive community online – it truly has changed my outlook on life.  I am having so much more fun with fashion as a result – I mean, this wonderfully 90’s printed “Nala Midkini” designed by Gabi Gregg is just a good time in bathing suit form.

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This is the second Gabifresh for Swimsuits for All bikini, and the second one I own (I plan on making a collection of em!)  The mid cut is better for my short torso, and the cut outs on the sides of the bottoms are just so fun.  The Galaxy Print bikini that made news last year was super cute, but not the most supportive thing in the world, boob-wise.  This year’s style has more support, with underwire and foam cups.  For larger chests like mine, there will be some spillover on the top, but nothing unmanageable.

More importantly, it held up to getting hit with some serious waves once we got used to the temperature and dove in – which had yet to happen here:

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Clearly I’m not a professional model 😉

After a day filled with friends, drinks, wave jumping, an adorable baby in a bikini wearing our hats, and a wonderful variety of potlucked snacks (including my contribution – whip cream vodka soaked strawberries – thanks Melissa for the idea!), it was time to head home.  I threw on my Rachel Pally dress again, snapped a couple of pictures to document my serious beach hair (which the wind determinedly thwarted), and we hopped in the car.  We capped the trip off with a stop at the old-timey Dairy Queen on the way home, and I was completely happy.  Birthday beach day success!

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Now for the outfit details:

Caftan maxi dress: Rachel Pally (via Gwynnie Bee, currently on sale here)

Clear floral beach bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs (also available in cheeky cat or dog prints)

Blue and gold flip flops: Ipanema (bought in DR on our honeymoon; similar styles here and here)

Multicolor “Nala” midkini: Gabifresh for Swimsuits for All

Sunglasses: Gift from Eloquii blogger event, similar style here