Making the Sunscreen Grade: Warding Off Burns Through Labor Day & Beyond

Coppertone in the sand

Samples provided. This article is not intended as medical advice; always consult with a doctor regarding skin care.

Whether you’re headed to the beach, a picnic, or have other big Labor Day plans, you’ve probably remembered to tuck a bottle of sunscreen in your beach bag. But what is your sun care routine like after the heyday of summer, as we transition into back-to-school and beyond? Most people think of sunscreen as something they apply on a hot day, but sun protection is important year-round.

In light of this, Coppertone has released their 2nd annual Making The Sunscreen Grade program, which includes hints, tips, and a downloadable sun care guide. There is a special section dedicated to “Back to School”, which outlines some common things to be aware of regarding sun care at school. This has been an issue in the news recently, as some schools have restrictions on whether students may bring sunscreen or not; the American Academy of Dermatology recently released a statement encouraging schools and summer camps to allow sunscreen without requiring a doctor’s note. There’s a lot to think about on this topic, so it’s good to be proactive and aware.

Personally, my skin burns very easily, and in the last two years I’ve been very careful to slather on more sunscreen than I think I’ll need. Guess what? I’ve stood under some blistering sun and traveled to hot places without sustaining any burns. Yeah! In fact, I’m often the only person in a group to have sunscreen in my purse, and I notice my pals will all say they don’t need any of my sunscreen…then a few hours, they’ll notice their skin starting to turn pink and say, “Hey – do you still have that sunscreen by any chance?”. And I am always eager to share! And in fact, I have quite literally shared my bottles of Coppertone that I’ve written about here on a few occasions.

So, what with all that sunscreen getting used, I was glad to replenish my supply as it began to dwindle after a summer of traveling! Among the samples I received were:

  • Coppertone Sport AccuSpray: I really like the Sport line from Coppertone, and spray sunscreen makes it SO EASY to apply and really saves time!
  • Coppertone ClearlySheer Beach & Pool Spray: This spray is really unique to any sunscreen I’ve ever used because it has a consistency more like a moisturizer than a sticky sunscreen, and it has a really nice fragrance. This is one of my very favorites because I rely on sunscreen so much and it’s usually a little greasy/gross to wear. This one isn’t pictured because I just got through traveling for 3 weeks and it was a staple in my bags during that time…and I’m not sure where it is right now. ;)
  • Coppertone Clearly Sheer For Beach & Pool: Of course, we can’t take large aerosol bottles on planes, so this one will be great to pack in my bags for long trips.
  • Coppertone Clearly Sheer For Sunny Days: And this one is the perfect size to take in my carry-on luggage since it’s 2 oz!

Did you go through a lot of sunscreen over the summer? Are you re-stocking for Fall, too?

RhinoShield Screen Protector: Keep Your Phone From Getting Hammered

RhinoShield

RhinoShield Screen Protector provided for review.

I am very, very protective of my iPhone. I guard it carefully because I’m so worried about getting it scratched or worse. But vigilance can only help so much – as careful as I am, I travel with my phone constantly, and one of these days it’s going to flying out of my pocket at the airport or get eaten by an alligator or something. I have a really nice case that Jai got me for Christmas that cushions it nicely, but I’ve been meaning to get a screen cover as well to avoid scratches and help protect it in the event that it falls out of the case or has an accident while I’m charging it.

Enter RhinoShield. This screen guard inspired me to finally get around to this task because their marketing is a little more ingenious than most screen protectors. This is meant to protect your phone from shock in a way that most traditional scratch guards just can’t – watch the video above where they test it out by dropping it on concrete. I was intrigued!

RhinoShield kit

The RhinoShield kit comes with the screen protector, an applicator to smooth it out, and a cleaning cloth with dust removal stickers to clean your phone thoroughly before application.

Applying RhinoShield

After giving my iPhone 4S a thorough clean, Jai and I set about putting the screen guard on. Well, he put it on, I took the photos. ;) The screen protector comes sandwiched between two layers of protective plastic, with markers telling you which side goes down. You line it up to fit the screen, and remove the “Back” piece of plastic so that it will stick. Then you take the thin applicator tool to smooth out any bubbles. It went on pretty well – there’s a teensy tiny bubble on the side that didn’t squeeze out, but it’s not really noticeable.

Once you have the screen protector smoothed out, you remove the top layer labeled “Front” – this makes it so that the RhinoShield screen itself is protected through the whole application process.

iPhone 4S With RhinoShield Screen Protector

And here’s the finished product! I’m quite satisfied with it thus far. It looks like a nice sturdy screen shield, and it has been easy to clean as advertised. Above and beyond that, I can’t attest to its protective powers, because I’m not about to take a hammer to my phone for the sake of this review – sorry about that! ;) But it seems like a no-brainer to me that my phone is more protected now than it was sans screen. As I embark on a week of travels tomorrow, I’m very happy to have some extra protection for my precious phone!

Learn more about RhinoShield by visiting their online store and following them on Twitter and Facebook.

Merrick Flossies: Dental Chews For Doggies

Merrick Flossies

Merrick Flossies provided for review.

Grandma regularly buys dental chews and treats for her dog, Bob, as a way to give him something healthy for his teeth to chew on. I recently brought over a bag of Merrick Flossies, a new-to-me-treat, because I thought this would save her a trip to the store for Bob’s nightly chews! She’s always happy to get new, quality treats for her beloved doggie, and this was no different. She noted that these treats are both grain-free and gluten-free; and beyond that, they are also made in the USA. They looked a little like licorice candy and we all joked that we might have to steal one from Bob and try them ourselves. ;)

Bob gets ready to taste a Flossies treat

It was a beautiful day, so we took Bob down to the beach for a walk. As he ran around and got excited to dig in the sand, we added to his happiness by pulling out a Flossies treat for him. The #1 sign that a dog likes something? When he chomps it down too fast to get a clear photo:

Gulp!

CHOMP! Bob devoured these greedily, and although he made short work of them, it did take a few seconds for him to chew them over – which, for Bob, is pretty good because he can demolish a snack VERY quickly. So I think these will be a great little chewy for his teeth, as well as being obviously tasty gauging from his reaction!

Merrick Flossies are available on Chewy.com in 5 oz bags (8 chews total) for $13.99.

Alan Partridge DVD Review

Alan Partridge

Screener copy provided for review. This post contains my Amazon associates link.

When I received an email letting me know that there was a feature-length Alan Partridge movie coming out, I knew I had to check it out. Alan Partridge is a fictional character that has been portrayed by Steve Coogan in a number of comedy shows on British TV over the years. Partridge’s character is an obnoxious, egotistical and incompetent DJ and TV host whose misadventures have always been funny to watch. The last time I personally saw the character was in re-runs of a series that aired some time ago – Alan Partridge made his initial debut in the 1990s – so I was glad to hear of a new spin-off and wanted to check it out.

In the eponymous Alan Partridge, we see Partridge in the present day working for the radio station North Norfolk Digital. As the station gets taken over by corporate interests, there is a shake-up that leads to the firing of fellow DJ Pat (Portrayed by Colm Meaney), thanks mostly to Alan throwing him under the bus. Pat decides to get his revenge by taking the radio station hostage, putting Alan in the position of being the negotiator between Pat and the police…and you can just imagine how well that all goes.

I found the humor in this movie feature to be a bit different that what I was used to previously from the character. Since this was a film rather than TV, it seemed they were “Going big” with a lot more over-the-top humor and unsubtle gags. I thought there was promise for Alan facing off against the equally-smarmy young DJ who joins North Norfolk Digital, but the film mostly focused on the “action” storyline with the hostage situation at the station, which ran too long and fell flat for me personally. I’m still an Alan Partridge fan, but I felt like the talented cast was under-utilized in this outing.

Alan Partridge comes out today, June 10th, and is available on Amazon – click here for more details.

Casual Fashion From ApparelnBags

Beeb wearing pants from ApparelnBags

Pants provided for review.

I don’t really own a lot of casual clothes – I’m either dressed to the nines, or in my pajamas. Because I have a home office, I will readily admit that I work in my pajamas a great deal of the time – it is one of the perks of self-employment that I choose to take advantage of. Besides, “Home office” means that work never ends, so if I have to work on a project in my office at 11 PM, I think I’ve earned the comfort of pajamas. ;)

At any rate, I’m always on the lookout for pajama pants that are comfortable and not too frumpy. So when ApparelnBags.com reached out to me for a product review, I thought this would be a great time to add to my cozy pant collection. My goal was to find a basic, comfortable pair of plain black PJ or sweatpants. I found scores of activewear and yoga pants in their women’s clothing section, and browsed through several different styles. Some of the sizes seemed to run small, but it totally varies by brand – I appreciated that they put an actual sizing chart in inches with most of their pants, which made it easy to know which pants would fit or not.

I settled on this pair of Gildan Ladies Open Bottom Pant in size large:

Gildan pants

The pants fit exactly as the sizing chart said which was awesome! It can be hard to get pants that fit right, especially ordering online. The material is thick and seems quite durable – they are comfortable and very warm, so they’ll be best suited to colder months.

Beeb's casual outfit

I guess I can’t say that I don’t have any casual outfits anymore, since I paired this with a pink top and it was pretty cute – the perfect thing to wear for a relaxing night in with close friends!

The only bummer is that I seem to have inadvertently shrunk these pants – the tag says they can be machine washed on warm, but I think I might have messed up and thrown them in a load of hot water with towels, because they seemed smaller last time I put them on. Duh!

ApparelnBags have all kinds of activewear, PJs, outerwear, and accessories, and I’d happily browse their store again. You can visit them at ApparelnBags.com, and become a fan on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

But First, Let Me Take a Selfy

Selfy

Complimentary Selfy provided for consideration.

“Selfies” have become a ubiquitous part of cell phone culture, even earning a spot in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 2014 edition. And now selfies even have their own cell phone case: Selfy, the case for iPhone 5 that has a removable wireless shutter button built-in.

Selfy case

Unfortunately, the Selfy iPhone case is only made for the 5 and not compatible with my iPhone 4S, but the wireless shutter still works. It was surprisingly fast to set up – Selfy pairs quickly with your device via Bluetooth, and when you click the button, it immediately snaps a photo.

Selfy packaging

Here’s the photo I took with the Selfy clicker, of the Selfy packaging. Very meta, I know.

I could see this being fun for taking better photos with friends without messing around with a self-timer, or filming quick v-logs on the road. Although the case itself doesn’t work for me, I’m still going to keep it so I can use the shutter button, as I can see it coming in handy.

Selfy is currently running a contest for your chance to win a case by sharing your own selfies with hastag #iLuvSelfy – so get your duck face ready and click here for all the contest details!

Lysol No Mess Max Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Review

Lysol Automatic Toilet Cleaner & iTunes Gift Card

Lysol No Mess Max Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner & iTunes gift card provided for this article.

According to a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research, 1/3 of respondents said that they regularly use a digital device in the bathroom. This points to the overall trend of phone obsession, work overload, and multi-tasking that are now daily parts of life. Although I relish any time that I can get away from my phone, I do like using it with one of our bluetooth speakers to blast upbeat music while I’m taking a shower. It seems silly, but when I’m getting ready for a work event at 4AM, having peppy dance music going helps get my energy up. I do have a regular old radio in my shower as well – remember those?! – but our local stations are fairly limited, so it’s nice to be able to switch it up and listen to my custom Pandora stations, too. Using my phone to play tunes is also nice, because I can set alarms and timers to interrupt the music while I’m getting ready – this helps me keep track of time while I’m doing beauty treatments.

Lysol No Mess Max Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Since we’re all so pressed for time, Lysol has introduced the new No Mess Max Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner. This is an updated take on the traditional “Blue” tablet cleaners, featuring gel tablets that affix to the rim of your toilet bowl and clean with each flush. They sent me one of these cleaners to try out – along with an iTunes gift card in honor of their bathroom survey!

The No Mess Max is easy to install – you’ll want to look at the directions since it’s not necessarily intuitive just by looking at it, but it’s not at all difficult. The plastic holster affixes to the side of the bowl – it can be done without even touching the bowl if you’re careful! The gel then sits on the side and releases cleaning agents into the water when flushes.

It’s a little different than other cleaners in that it doesn’t turn the water blue, which I actually like, but I can notice suds going into the water. As is the case with all “Automated” cleaners, this doesn’t eliminate all cleaning, since you’ll still need to clean the top of the bowl/seat/etc., but I do feel like having the cleaning solution dumped into the water every day helps avoid build-up and lends to an overall cleaner appearance. The No Mess Max also has a fresh fragrance, which is nice. Now maybe I can use some of that extra time saved cleaning to do another beauty masque!

Kushyfoot Have Got Your Tootsies Covered

Kushyfoot

Kushyfoot socks provided for review.

I’ve been in love with Kushyfoot socks ever since I was first introduced to them last summer. These cushy dress socks fit perfectly underneath my “Business” shoes – they have become a staple in my suitcase every single time I travel. In fact, as the year has wound on, some of my favorites have disappeared/been eaten by the dryer/gone wherever it is that missing socks go, so I’m down to just a couple of trusty pairs that I wear every time I go on a trip. So when Kushyfoot reached out to see if I’d like to review their new Spring 2014 line, it was a total no-brainer!

Kushyfoot low cut

First up, we have the Ultra Low Cut Foot Covers and the Extreme Low Cut Lace Foot Covers. I actually find the “Ultra Low” foot covers to be too tight to wear – I think this is because they are one size, as opposed to the “Extreme Low Cut”, which fits sizes 5-9 – I wear between an 8 and 9 in shoes, so these ones fit me well.

Kushyfoot in LA

Wearing my Kushyfoot Lace Foot Covers in my hotel in Hollywood as the lights of LA twinkle in the background.

I wore the Lace Foot Covers during my recent trip to LA, and they were great! Kushyfoot are awesome to wear on business trips, because they are thin enough to fit underneath my dress shoes, but still provide a little bit of padding. They also protect your feet from the ground when you take your shoes off to go through airport security, which is nice too!

Kushyfoot Sport Foot Cover + Others

I also LOVED the Sport Foot Cover – this gives more coverage to the foot, but still stays tucked underneath my shoe. Very comfortable cotton! The Sheer Anklet is also really cute – since this one comes up higher, it would be good to wear with a pantsuit…or with pajamas around the house, if you’re me. ;)

Finally, we have these Toe Cover Pads. I was expecting a pair of dainty covers, which I thought would be great for open-toed heels. I was surprised to see that they also have a clear plastic strap that wraps around your heel to hold them in place – that’s actually a pretty good idea, considering that it is see-through and could be tucked underneath shoe straps.

These felt pretty good with their padding on the bottom of my toes, although it was a little tight around my big toe, probably from being one size. It’s interesting how two of the “One size” varieties fit great while two of them were tight or borderline tight – such is the variables of sizing. Since I haven’t been wearing high heels due to leeriness about my knees, I haven’t had a chance to see how these wear under shoes yet – I could certainly wear theses with my flat dress shoes, but I prefer full foot coverage for those. But I think these will be great to try with a pair of strappy pumps in the future!

I’m as big a Kushyfoot fan as ever and happy to have added a few new pieces of my dress sock collection – I know they’ll serve me well this summer! For more on these and other products, visit Kushyfoot.com.

Healthy pet treats from Halo

Halo 1

Samples provided for review.

I recently adopted a cat from a local rescue organization. I spent weeks preparing and planning for her arrival, getting all kinds of toys and treats. Here’s a small corner of what my apartment now looks like.

halo cat (2)

However, I knew that simply getting toys and a ridiculously good name (Purrtrude Feline, after author Gertrude Stein) was not enough. I also wanted to think about her long-term health.

halo cat (1)

Enter Halo Pet Food. They only use all natural ingredients, fiber from fruits and vegetables, and no artificial flavors or colors. This ensures that your pet stays trim and healthy, and isn’t eating empty calories from fillers like corn, wheat, or sugar.

halo cat (3)

The Healthsome Seafood cat treats interested me in particular — they’re small and crunchy, to help keep cats’ teeth clean. Poor Purrtrude has some dental problems — that’s what happens when you’re a street cat for a few years! — and so needs to make sure her canines stay in good repair.

halo cat (6)

Yes, but how does it taste? As you can see, Purrtrude enjoyed chowing down on a small handful.

halo cat (4)

She’s still a bit skittish around new people, and so I plan on using the Seafood treats to help socialize her around visitors. That way, she can feel more comfortable around guests — and I can rest easy, knowing that even when she’s snacking, she’s eating right.

Halo Healthsome Seafood cat treats are available on Chewy.com for $3.79. And don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Delivery Man Blu-ray Review

Delivery Man Blu-ray

Promo copy provided for review. This post contains my Amazon Associates link.

You may recall that last summer, I was one of 533 bloggers to share a sneak peek at the trailer for Delivery Man, which came out in cinemas in November. Once again, I am grateful for how quickly movies are released onto DVD and Blu-ray these days, because I never got a chance to watch this in the theater while it was running – Jai and I got so sick over the holidays that I barely made it into the cinema to see 47 Ronin, and I’m usually at every Keanu movie opening at midnight. As you can imagine, my “To-watch” list has gotten huge with all of the movies that have come out in the past few months, so I was pleased when a Blu-ray of Delivery Man arrived in the mail this week so that I could get caught up on one of the flicks on my list!

Starring Vince Vaughn, Cobie Smulders, Chris Pratt and Bobby Moynihan, Delivery Man follows the life of loser-with-a-heart-of-gold David Wozniak. David isn’t having the greatest week: He’s in huge amounts of debt to a couple of goons who will break his kneecaps if he doesn’t pay up, his family is mad at him, and he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. Things take a turn for the crazy when an unexpected visitor shows up: He figures it’s a gangster coming to kill him, so imagine his shock when he finds a lawyer, serving him with a class action lawsuit…from 533 children. As it turns out, David made numerous donations to a fertility bank in the ’90s, which resulted in hundreds of pregnancies. Those children, now grown, want to know the identity of their biological father and are suing to find out.

David then embarks on quite the adventure, enlisting his friend/aspiring lawyer to defend him in the suit. When he receives a stack of legal paperwork naming the plantiffs – over 100 of his biological children – he decides to track down each one and casually make friends with them, not revealing his true identity. David starts to think of himself as their “Guardian Angel” and tries to help each of them on their path in life. As the lawsuit closes in and David’s girlfriend approaches her due date, this slacker faces some tough decisions as he tries to figure out the right thing to do.

The next part of my review contains some minor spoilers, so click on the blurred text to read it!

I have to say, this is one of the most upbeat movies I’ve seen in a while. I kept expecting some tragedy to befall David and unravel everything – I thought for sure one of his daughters was going to overdose after he signed her release from a hospital rather than send her to rehab, but nope, everything turns out just fine; better than fine, because everything is perfectly resolved and everyone is happy at the end of the movie. It’s really, really sweet – the film is not realistic by any means, but honestly, most of the time I am complaining because movies are too depressing. Films are escapism for me, because as far as I’m concerned, real life is stressful enough without having to be stressed out over fictional characters, too. It’s very relaxing and nice for me when a movie is just straight-up happy!

This film raises some questions about modern-day fertility treatments and navigating the ethics of them – Delivery Man veers towards being a little hokey and stereotypical at times, but it’s well-meaning (Just like David!) and really is a cute movie to watch if you want to forget about your problems and watch something really happy.

Delivery Man was released on DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday and is available on Amazon and other fine retailers.

What would YOU do if you had 533 children?