Be Sun Smart

sun smart

The days are longer and lighter, and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to play outside! Whether you’re headed to the pool (even if it’s in your own backyard), the mountains or a nearby waterpark, make sure you take the time to protect your skin.

Painful burning, skin cancer, and premature aging are all the result of unprotected moments under the sun. To protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays, consider these tips. Adjust them based on your individual needs, lifestyle, and susceptibilities.

Stay hydrated

You’ve heard the message a thousand times, but there’s good reason – staying hydrated is essential for our overall health. During the summer, it is especially important to stay hydrated before, during and after spending time outdoors. Most individual adults should aim for 64 fluid ounces of water a day. For someone who exercises or works outdoors, this amount should be greater. Most experts agree: Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink – by this time you’re already dehydrated. Drink every 15-20 minutes.

Limit sun exposure

Stay indoors when the sun is at its most intense, usually between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). You are at greater risk of skin damage during this period. If you must be outside during these hours, hang out in a shady spot, or create your own shade using an umbrella. Take precautions even when in the shade.

Apply sunscreen every day

Consumer Reports recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40 that contains chemical active ingredients such as avobenzone rather than “natural” or mineral active ingredients such as zinc oxide. Only sunscreen with broad-spectrum coverage can shield your skin from UVA and UVB rays, both of which contribute to skin damage. For CR recommended sunscreens, click here.

Liberally apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, including the delicate skin around eyes, face and neck 30 minutes (the amount of time it takes for it to start working) prior to going outdoors. Keep in mind that most products only last for two hours. Make sure to reapply every 1 to 1 ½ hours if you’re going to be out in the sun longer. Always follow manufacturer recommendations.

Don’t forget to accessorize

A wide-brimmed hat can protect the delicate skin around your face, ears and neck, while sunglass protect your eyes and prevent cataracts. Wear sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection. Make sure to still apply sunscreen even when accessorizing.

Don’t let cloudy days fool you

By now, you know the importance of applying sunscreen on sunny days, but did you know that 80% of all UVA rays can penetrate cloud cover? With their longer wavelengths, UVA rays can pass through clouds and glass, penetrating the dermal layers of your skin and affecting the epidermal layers where wrinkles are formed.

Planning a Summer Pool Party

summer pool party

With temperatures rising throughout Arizona, one activity most people can’t live without is slipping into their swimsuits, and taking a dip in the cool blue waters of a swimming pool.

The only thing that beats diving in on a hot day is a summer pool party. There’s nothing like inviting some friends over, eating some amazing food, and lounging poolside. We have some great suggestions for invitations, decorations, food, games and of course, music.

Invites

Looking for a way to really wow your friends and family? Write your summer pool party details on an inflatable float or beach ball using a sharpie. You can choose any color sharpie you’d like. Be sure not to smudge the ink. For detailed instructions, click here.

Menu

No summer pool party would be complete without everyone’s summer favorites: burgers and hot dogs hot off the grill. Sandwiches, sliders, and chicken and pineapple kabobs are all low-maintenance options. Also, a refreshing snack, sliced watermelon. Don’t forget desert; perhaps a mixed berry cobbler or classic strawberry shortcake? Be sure to have lots of bottled water available to help your guests stay hydrated.

Activities

For fun activities that are family friendly, set up a few lawn games, such as Twister, Tic Tac Toe Frisbee and Jumbo Jenga. A quick Pinterest search will yield many other fun games. Additionally, a pool party can never have too many pool floats or pool noodles for guests to float around on, especially if there are children in attendance.

Decorations

If you’re hosting the party by the pool, be sure to set up a shady area or two for guests who prefer to relax in the shade. Add color to your pool by throwing in some balloons. With a little imagination, you can also create mini beach ball garland using paint, nylon string and Styrofoam balls. Get the tutorial here.

Songs for Summer

  • Firework by Katy Perry
  • School’s Out by Alice Cooper
  • Summer in the City by the Lovin’ Spoonful

How To: Cool Your Pool During the Summer

cool

During the summer months, Arizona’s extended run of triple-digit temperatures can heat a swimming pool to uncomfortable temperatures, making it feel like you’re stepping into a bathtub. If your pool has a depth of 6 feet or less, or receives a good amount of sunlight throughout the day, then you’ll likely benefit from adopting one of the following techniques for keeping your water temperature cool, crisp and refreshing.

Water Features

Water features are a fantastic way to add beauty to your pool while keeping the water cool. It’s a known fact that moving water stays cooler than stagnant water. Adding a simple fountain is one idea. You can also consider installing a sheer waterfall, spillway or pool slide to help accelerate the cooling process and keep the water clean.

Pool Coolers

Pool coolers are the perfect answer to uncomfortably warm swimming pools. An affordable, easy to install and energy-efficient solution, pool coolers are powered by an electric fan cooling system. The water circulates through the system, as airflow instantly removes the heat, and pumps the water back into the pool.

Shade Sails

Blocking your pool from the sun is one of the most effective ways to keep the water cool, but as most Arizonians know, shade is hard to come by in the Valley of the Sun. Shade sails are an increasingly popular option that can be placed in a variety of unique angles, giving the pool a very edgy, modern look.

Pergolas

A picture of comfort and style, pergolas can provide ambient shade with just the right amount of filtered light over the pool, provided they are correctly installed. Pergolas can be constructed using a number of high-quality materials including wood, stone, and rock. Aside from providing shade, they also help to add value to your home. Win-win!

Labor Day Backyard Bash

labor day backyard bash

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Labor Day may indeed by the official end of summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t soak up the last days of summer with one last backyard bash.

Labor Day, observed Monday, September 5, 2016, is a holiday devoted to honoring American workers and their contributions to the strength and well-being of our country. For most of us, Labor Day also means a day off from work and with school already back in session, the unofficial end of summer.

There’s a lot to celebrate about this Labor Day including American workers, the end of summer, and a new school year. So before you press the send button on summer, fire up the grill, throw some noodles into the pool, and invite your friends and family over for an enjoyable Labor Day Backyard Bash.

Here’s what you need to do for a memorable Labor Day Backyard Bash.

Send Invitations in Advance. With Labor Day just around the corner, literally, you’ll want to send invitations out via email or social media for the fastest response. It’s always a good idea to get a final head count at least a week before any event; but three days will suffice when you’re short on time.

Plan Your Menu. Labor Day is a great day for grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, and ribs served up with classic favorites such as potato and fruit salads. Don’t forget the chips and sodas/bottled waters. Need inspiration? Search Pinterest for “Labor Day party recipes”. Plan your menu in advance according to your tastes and budget. Prepare salads and marinades a day in advance.

Plan Fun Pool Games. Set up your volleyball and/or basketball hoop for lively fun. Plan to play games like Marco Polo, Watermelon Push Relays, Lap Races, and more. You might be surprised to find the adults having just as much fun, if not more, playing these games as the kids. For more pool game inspiration be sure and check out Pinterest.

Make Sure Your Pool is Swim Ready. Before your guests arrive, it’s a good idea to check your pool’s chemical levels, and run its filter for eight hours (this is something you should already be doing daily). After the party simply brush or vacuum your pool, add chlorine, and clean your filter to prevent the algae growth.