My favorite things about summer break
1. Waking up without an alarm clock.
2. The frequency of days when I don’t have to leave the house and can wear whatever I want, regardless of how much of a mess I appear to be.
Things that are helping me feel much more relaxed this summer
1. I’m done with grad school! I submitted my final paper at the end of June and it has been very weird to know that I don’t have any coursework to do this summer. Weird, but wonderful.
2. Owning two cars. A few weeks ago, after getting a DNR on our 2005 car that we’ve been driving exclusively since 2011, we purchased a second vehicle. As well as being a single car family worked for 4 years, it was beginning to be tricky as Brian and I added things to our schedules and it’s really nice to be done jockeying around cars and schedules.
Ways I’m attempting to keep from getting sunburned this summer
1. I was recently given the opportunity to try this sunscreen from Block Island Organics. I love that it’s free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals and phthalates, as I’m attempting to choose better products for my body and the planet. Block Island Suncare was rated highly in this year’s Environmental Working Group ratings, which I frequently check before purchasing cosmetic products. The sunscreen goes on smoothly and isn’t greasy or scented, which means it solves my top sunscreen complaints. I did find that it didn’t hold up great to sweat or water for me, but I will definitely continue to wear it when I’m out in the sun. Want to try it? Visit the Block Island Organics website and save 15% with the code emilyp at checkout through July 27th.
2. I also got to try out some awesome Sunburn Alert stickers (apparently the word is out that I’m prone to burning). I received these as part of my role as Healthy Living Blogs staffer and they are really cool. You apply the stickers and put sunscreen on top of them. As your sunscreen loses effectiveness and the sticker is exposed to UV radiation, the sticker changes color, alerting you to apply more sunblock or get out of the sun. Initially, I was skeptical because Brian tested one and found that his sticker didn’t stay attached for long and the stickers seemed sort of big for children. However, we tried them again with myself and my 4 year old nephew with great success. He played for over an hour at a local splash pad and the sticker didn’t budge. It also fit fine on his little hand and he was too fascinated by the gradual color change to want the sticker to come off. Similarly, I had no issues with my sticker. These stickers (or bracelets, which I haven’t tried, but also sound great) would be awesome for a long day at the beach or other outdoor activity.
Full disclosure: Block Island Organics sunscreen and Sunburn Alert stickers were both provided to me for free in exchange for review by their respective companies. As always, my opinions are my own.
Home improvement projects I’ve slated for the coming weeks
1. Covering the lampshade in the guest room with fabric. Wish me luck! (Sometimes, I think I am a crafty person, then I realize not so much.)
2. Finally painting our first floor bathroom. This is a project that I intended to have completed before my in-laws visited in June, but clearly, that didn’t happen. We have the paint; I just need to do it.
Food projects I’ve enjoyed so far this week
1. Pickles! Brian picked up 10 pounds of cucumbers for me at Mighty Food Farm during a recent CSA pick up and we turned them into 16 jars of pickles on Sunday. The more canning I do, the more comfortable I feel about the whole process. It used to seem like such an ordeal and so time consuming, but now it doesn’t seem much more difficult than anything else I make. I’m hoping to get to blueberries this week as well.
2. Revisiting these Chocolate Covered Banana Bites. I haven’t made them again since last summer and, with all the heat this week, it seemed like the perfect time. They’re in the freezer solidifying as we speak.
Summer events I’m looking forward to
1. The tag sale we’ll be participating in next month. I love going to tag sales and getting great deals on things, but I’m also really, really looking forward to making a couple dollars on things we’re not using anymore and cleaning out our house a bit.
2. Seeing Kristin Chenoweth at Tanglewood. I think my excitement is self-explanatory.
Berkshire institutions I had the pleasure of exploring recently
1. Edith Wharton’s house, The Mount. This has been on my to do list for years, but it took a visit from the in-laws to make it happen. The tour was excellent and very interesting. Now I’ve added “read more Edith Wharton” to my to do list.
2. The Clark’s Van Gogh exhibit, also with my in-laws. Well worth the visit, if you can make it.