Monday, October 23, 2017

10 Things to Get You Ready For Summer?

Beach and ocean scenics for vacations and summer getaways

“naplesIt was seemingly just two or three months ago that we were putting things away from the holidays, then we were spring cleaning- thinking to ourselves “wow school is going be over pretty soon, I need to start planning.” Well, for most of us that good idea about planning never came to pass, nor did the spring cleaning really get finished and school will be out about in about 4 minutes.

There are several things that could be done ahead of this transition that would make everything go more smoothly and make life easier, but most of us would never get to all of them.  Here we will focus on things that will make a significant difference in our living experience, wellness and general sense of wellbeing… the important things!

1. Not terribly exciting, but of significant importance considering its already nearly 90 degrees and 80% humidity! Get your air conditioner serviced and change those intake filters. With the increase in humidity, we have an increased risk of black mold. Be certain to keep you’re A/C at no higher than 76 degrees (holding humidity at no more than 60%, preferably 50%) to keep mold at bay.  If mold takes hold in the walls or under furniture, it can have devastating consequences structurally and to your health. Many people have serious mold allergies and they can have extreme consequences. If you have low-level sinus issues that have no seemingly discernable reason, it may be mold… it’s an extremely common allergy. Here is a link to mold issues in Florida and how to deal with them.  If you want to go the extra step, buy the Friedrich AP260 5-Stage Air Purifier

It has a five-layer filter and has the highest recommendation by several allergen review sites.

2. Also not exciting but easy and gratifying. The first time you may be turning it on, after it has been off what may have been several months, your ceiling fans may well have created a small city of dust bunnies that will go flying across the room upon their initial grand tour launch. Dust the ceiling fans.

3. Get your vacations days decided on and applied for. This is huge if your time off requires approval and you are competing with others for shift coverage. Ask for summer vacation days- either as a proper vacation, or, if you can’t manage to string your vacation days all together, then ask for the Fridays off. There are nine Fridays total in June and July and how amazing would it be to have a three-day weekend, every weekend of summer. Get them applied for before somebody else gets them.

4. Get ready for the abundance of local summer produce. Local, seasonal produce offers wonderful, delish new opportunities for keeping it fresh, while offering exceptional nutritional value. The below list includes items from the current harvest available in Southwest Florida farms. Begin pulling together recipes and creating menu ideas for upcoming weeks-when we do this we naturally begin eating healthier. Here is a list of local farmer’s markets and local farms, such as Inyoni organic farm in Collier County, they also list lovely recipes to go with each of the organic produce items they offer.

  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Barbados Cherry
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Figs
  • Goji berries
  • Lychee
  • Mangos
  • Mulberries
  • Papaya
  • Passion Fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pomegranate
  • Strawberries
  • Surinam Cherry Watermelon
  • Arugula
  • Basil (Italian Large Leaf)
  • Buckwheat
  • Broccoli
  • Daikon Radish
  • Fenugreek
  • Mizuna
  • Peas
  • Red Cabbage
  • Red Rambo Radish
  • Sunflower – Black Oil
  • Sunflower – Grey Striped
  • Bush Beans
  • Yard Long Beans
  • Carrots
  • Chaya
  • Chinese Spinach
  • Collards
  • Eggplant
  • Egyptian Spinach
  • Kale
  • Malabar Spinach (green & red)
  • New Zealand Spinach Mustards
  • Nopales
  • Okinawa Spinach
  • Okra
  • Peppers (Hot)
  • Philippine Spinach (Ceylon) Seminole Pumpkin
  • Sissoo Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tomatoes (salad) Vegetable Amaranth
  • Basil
  • Bayleaf Begonia Bronze
  • Fennel
  • Calendula
  • Catnip
  • Chives Culantro Epazote Garlic Chives
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Grass Lovage
  • Mint
  • Moringa
  • Oregano (Greek & Cuban)
  • Parsley
  • Perennial onion
  • Pipcha
  • Papalo
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Stevia
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme

Want to learn more about local gardening? Head to Shangri-La Springs and take the garden tour of their organic farm.

5. Invest in a few wonderful new spices and oils to enrich the fresh produce you will be working with this summer. PJ Kabos Olive Oil just won two gold medals at the 2017 New York International Olive Oil Competition for the 3rd consecutive year, it is a most extraordinary. I am a huge fan of Penzey spices and Sunny Paris is my favorite spice mix from them. Salt Traders is where Life with Moxie acquires the best salts, including this Danish Viking smoked sea salt, the tiniest pinch will make fresh produce absolutely pop. They also offer great recipes on their site.

6. With the increase in humidity and all the adorable new summer sandals and wedges, Invest in a stock of blister band-aids and keep a few in your purse at all times.

7. If you are going to intentionally spend time being in the sun, find a sunscreen that actually works and that won’t cause worse side effects than what it’s attempting to protect you from.

The Environmental Working Group (the EWG), creates an annual list of the worst scoring sunscreens based on ineffectiveness and toxic chemicals. They maintain an extremely thorough website stocked with research and great alternatives. Sign up for their newsletter, you won’t be disappointed.

According to the EWG, there are a lot of sunscreens on the market. Parents have some good choices, but there are other products you should avoid. Thirty-seven products marketed to children earn an EWG sunscreen rating of 7 to 10, the worst scores for products in this year’s Sunscreen Guide.

The most worrisome thing about high-SPF products is that they give people a false sense of security and beguile them to stay in the sun too long. High-SPF suppress the skin reddening and pain of sunburns, but they raise the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering barring SPF above 50+.

These 13 kids’ and baby sunscreens have at least three strikes, if not more, against them: oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate and SPFs above 50+. Four have an additional strike: they’re aerosol sprays that can expose sensitive young lungs to potentially hazardous chemicals. Convenient? Yes. Good for kids? Absolutely not.

The worst offenders from the latest 2016 guide include:

Banana Boat Kids Max Protect & Play Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Coppertone Sunscreen Continuous Spray, Kids, SPF 70
Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Kids, SPF 70+
Coppertone Foaming Lotion Sunscreen Kids Wacky Foam, SPF 70+
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+
CVS Baby Sunstick Sunscreen, SPF 55
CVS Kids Wet & Dry Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
Equate Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Hampton Sun Continuous Mist Sunscreen For Kids, SPF 70
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 70+
Up & Up Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55

The 2017 guide should be released within a matter of weeks. Signup for the EWG newsletter to stay on top of product recommendations.

Sky-high SPFs

The EWG states, “more than 10 percent of the sunscreens we evaluated this year claim SPFs above 50+. SPF stands for sun protection factor, but that term refers only to protection against UVB rays that burn the skin. It has little to do with a product’s ability to protect skin from UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the body, accelerate skin aging, may suppress the immune system and may cause skin cancer. The FDA is considering barring SPF above 50+.”


The EWG notes “more than 40 percent of the beach and sport sunscreens in this year’s guide contain oxybenzone, an active ingredient in sunscreens. But it penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic skin reactions. Some research studies, while not conclusive, have linked higher concentrations of oxybenzone to health disorders, including endometriosis.”

Retinyl palmitate

Shockingly the EWG notes that “sixteen percent of the sunscreens, 14 percent of SPF-rated moisturizers and 10 percent of SPF-rated lip products in this year’s guide contain retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A. On sun-exposed skin, retinyl palmitate may speed development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies.”

Here’s what EWG recommends we buy instead:

Blue Lizard


Babo Botanicals




For those of you who use a moisturizer with sunscreen in it- do not use it at night!  Sunscreen is not good for your skin or body, it’s to be used as protection only when you are knowingly putting your skin at risk in the sun. Using it at night you are only doing harm, not only your skin, but to your body as well, as the ingredients will make their way into the bloodstream.

Consider switching to a natural organic brand like Moxie Creed made up of extremely effective ingredients like almond oil, and kiwi and watermelon extracts all of which protect against the suns skin damaging rays without the chemicals and won’t cause the collateral damage to your body that sunscreens will. In the meantime it will be healing and renewing skin from prior damage.

8. Make a mini vision board for your summer- do you want to finally decide to throw that neighborhood 4th of July party? Do you want to do a few weekend mini trips? Head up to Sarasota to visit the Selby Botanical Gardens or to St. Petersburg and go to the Ringling museum or head over to Santos in Ocala and do a mountain biking weekend in the deep woods or do a weekend at Disney? Get these on the calendar so you have them to look forward to and you can start planning, because once schools out- time both stands still and flies by at the same time and come July 3rd, you’ll remember that this was the summer you wanted to do that 4th of July party.

9. Take the time to go through your closet and pull out the colder weather pieces to make room for summer. Wipe off and polish the boots and box them up, pull your sweaters and take them to the cleaners so they can be put away without dirt and oils damaging them and then put them away apart from the current seasons collection.

10. Get yourself a new a mesh style beach bag ready. One that breathes and allows sand to fall through or a rubberized edition like this BOGG BAG X Large Waterproof Washable Tip Proof Durable so that it can easily be washed out. Review your beach towel situation, get yourself a new sunscreen like Blue Lizard sunscreen, get yourself a water proof phone pouch to keep it dry and sand free and get yourself a great light beach read like Funny in Farsi. Hysterically funny, light, easy authentic read- just like summer should be.

Now let’s get to work checking these off as summer will be here in 3… 2… and…

Have ideas you’d like to add? Need more suggestions? Let me know!

Julie Koester is CEO of Life with Moxie, a Lifestyle Revolution Company and Host of Life with Moxie Radio, Saturday’s at 1pm on 98.9 WGUF in Southwest Florida. You can reach her at

Passionate Living by Design, That’s Life with Moxie

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