Friday, August 5, 2011

Which Spray Sunscreen Works Best?

I have absolutely no claims to a scientific mind, so y’all just take what I’ve got to say with a cup o’salt. 

We just returned from five days in Virginia beach. Now, if you’ve ever seen pictures of my family, you may have noticed that we are as lily whitebread as the day is long on the solstice, and all that jazz. My family goes back at least as far as the Salem witch trials, and my husband’s goes back to Jamestown. We are British Isles, British Isles, British Isles, with a bit of German and Dutch thrown in. So, yeah, we don’t exactly TAN.
This means we are sunscreen, hat, umbrella, and beach coverup fanatics. Like, strap on a stink bomb and raid the baby oil suntan manufacturer’s headquarters fanatics. (As pacifists, we still think nasal passage violence is okay).
So, here’s what we found with our unscientific study of spray on sunscreen usage:

Banana Boat Kids Tear Free UltraMist Spray Sunscreen - SPF 50: 
Cons: Sprays on horribly. Really, really, sucky spray. Bad coverage. Hurts your finger to press for as long as it takes to get on your kid, or your own feet. Rubs off easily.
Pros: Doesn’t make kids’ eyes tear up and turn into golf ball sized agents of parental sanity destruction.  

Coppertone Continuous Sport Spray, Ultra Sweatproof SPF 50
Cons: Runs out really fast. One bottle will cover one family with two adults, one 7 year old, one 2 year old, ONE TIME. If it gets in your kids’ eyes, there will be screaming of a SAW movie type variety. Buy prophylactic earplugs. And eyewash. Also, if you happen to open your mouth and inhale while spraying, your throat will hurt, a lot. 
Pros: Fast, even, awesome coverage. 

Pros: Fast coverage. Long lasting. Stays on until you scrape it off with a spatula and a pumice stone. No sunburn unless you decide you need to loofah yourself in the sand fifty times while body surfing and applying battery acid to your body.
Cons: See other Coppertone Spray for cons. Basically, eye and throat misery. Runs out super fast. 

And there’s the scoop, folks. Use at your own risk.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Birthday #amwriting!

Writing is a lonely pursuit. It’s two minutes until 5am, and I’m penning this blog post. The sky is still dark. In the distance, the lights of a ship remind me that my closest colleagues may be far away and separated by an ocean of time and space. 
It’s not all bad, of course. For most of us writer-folk, solitude is a precious thing. I’m on vacation, so I happen to be sitting on a beach, waiting for dawn, and watching the white foam of the waves in the darkness. 
But even though we crave our solitary time with the words, sometimes it’s good to have a friend out there in the darkness, someone’s hand to grasp when the abyss threatens. 
Two years ago, I joined Twitter. I mostly did it in anticipation of attending my first Romance Writers of America national conference. There was no local chapter, and I knew only one person. That year, Twitter made little difference to my conference experience, though it has since enhanced that week immeasurably. 
It was not a good time for me. I was all fired up from the conference to write, but my son was five months old and had begun having sleeping issues. I was often up in the wee hours of the morning, holding him in one arm and nursing, while typing one-handed on my laptop in the dark. My progress was excruciatingly slow. Then, one day, I discovered the #amwriting hashtag. I now realize it must have been right at the beginning. Johanna Harness had decided to get up early and write before her kids were awake. The other folks using the hashtag were all writing in the wee hours like I was. I wish I could describe the excitement of finding those people.
I would post my measly word counts. 62 words written while nursing, I might tweet, and people would jump in and cheer me on. #amwriting became my spiritual gatorade in the midst of a long, slow marathon. Later, as more and more people found the hashtag, it morphed. No longer just for a.m. writers, it came to mean I AM WRITING. 
Since that time I’ve found that when I’m not on Twitter regularly, I’m also not writing. Isn’t that strange? You’d think it would be the other way around. But the #amwriting hashtag and the community of writers I’ve found there feed me in so many ways. When I’m not feeding, I lose energy. I lose heart. 
So thank you, #amwriting community. Thank you for two wonderful years, and may we have many, many more together. You nurture my spirt, you feed my soul. You make me WRITE.

Now, to continue the #amwriting party love, please check out David Ozab's site. The #amwriting community is wide and varied. There's room for all!