This Just In

Fun in the Sunshine State

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen. As always, the stories, opinions, feedback and all content below is 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy!

It still kind of pains me to write it, let alone say it aloud, but yes…I am now a Floridian.

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Until now, I have tried to cling to my New England residency but as a friend gently pointed out, I’ve now lived in the Sunshine State longer than I ever lived in New England. I’ll always be loyal to my wicked awesome hometown but truth be told, I was SO wrong about what life could be like in Florida for a 20-something (now 30- headed toward 40-something).

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Lucas and I have talked a lot over the years about going back. We miss our families. I miss the sports, desperately. We kiiiiiiind of miss winter, although it’s in a distant “it would be nice to feel snow on our eyelashes” kind of a way that somehow forgets that that also means chipping ice off windshields, dry cleaning salt stains off your hems and being generally miserable and cold for 2/3 of the year.

We may go back someday. Having a kid certainly changes the game, and I wish she could be closer to her grandparents. But what New England will never be able to compete with is:

THE BEACH.

{No, Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, while nice, are not the same.}

Now that we have moved from Orlando to St. Petersburg, we are now that much closer to my idea of heaven: the Gulf beaches.

The sand is soft and white and warm but won’t burn your toes. The water has that salty, refreshing bite that magically brings you to the perfect temperature the moment you step in. The sounds are a mix of surf, happy children, food vendors and lifeguards and I exaggerate not: it is PERFECTION.

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We went to the beach the day after we moved, before the boxes were unpacked. And three days later, when the weekend officially started. We have gone every weekend since we arrived and I think Lucas knows that it’s as good for my health and well-being as any vitamin or pill.

Audrey thinks it’s pretty cool, too.

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However…protecting ourselves in the sun is of crucial importance. Unfortunately, like so many families, skin cancer has affected people very close to me, and as a fair-skinned, mole-covered person, I’m hyper-aware of how quickly and brutally the sun can cause damage.

Like many kids of the ’80s, I probably let myself get sunburned more than I should have, although I grew up with a mom nearly obsessed with slathering us in zinc (thanks, Mom — I didn’t really get it then but I do now!). While my friends all established base tans before Spring Break and turned their faces to the scorching sun while on the beach, I chose to stay pasty pre-trip and found myself so miserable with peeling skin and burned shoulders that I opted for the sunscreen route while they were using that coconut-scented oil.

Now, it’s an even bigger mission. Just stepping outside to walk Audrey to school, we’re hit by the rays. And with a toddler, I’ve become a crazy person about ingredients. My first stop is the Environmental Working Group list, which assigns scores to each product (and my second task is to look for zinc as the main ingredient — my esthetician friend is a stickler!).

I spend the money — sometimes it really is a splurge — to buy sunscreen that gets top marks. It’s just too important.

Which is what I told Blue Lizard when they asked if I was interested in trying their sunscreens out. I’m picky. I want products that check marks off my list.

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And they more than came through, as you can see from the mission statement:

“Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen originated in Australia, where standards for sunscreen are the highest in the world. Even though Blue Lizard is now manufactured in the U.S., we still adhere to those strict standards to offer the most advanced formulations available in sun protection. Using only the highest quality ingredients, Blue Lizard delivers clinically proven, broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection in a mineral-based, water-resistant, SPF 30+ formulation. Our patented BPA-free Smart Bottle™ changes colors in the presence of harmful UV rays, reminding you to cover up. We offer an array of products for every skin type and outdoor need. It’s no wonder Blue Lizard is the brand most recommended by pediatricians, dermatologists, pharmacists, and moms that know a thing or two, nationwide.”

They sent me four products:

  • Sport
  • Face
  • Sensitive
  • Baby

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Two important notes: sensitive and baby are chemical-free, paraben-free and fragrance-free, so they’re a good pick for the whole family. They also get an EWG grade of 1, which means they’re classified as “low hazard.”

The sport formula gets a grade of 4, making it a “moderate” hazard. That’s higher than I feel comfortable using on Audrey or on my face, but I did use it on some of my less sensitive body parts (lower legs, etc. that aren’t as exposed to the sun and not nearly as prone to burning on my body).

(You can learn a lot more at http://www.bluelizard.net/pages/about-us and http://www.bluelizard.net/pages/faqs.)

I love that the bottles change color in UV light — it’s sort of an early warning sign of exposure. The 5oz bottles change color and the lids on the 3oz tubes do the same.

The products are full-spectrum with broad UV coverage, and after three weeks of using them, we had no skin irritation, funky smells or other downsides that often come with new sunscreens.

So, you’re thinking…how can I try it for myself? I have a coupon code you can use!

Blue Lizard Coupon Code

 

P20KTYWD will get you 20% OFF orders over $35 (expiration 8/31/15). You can shop right from the Blue Lizard website.

To connect with Blue Lizard, check out:

 

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