March Odds & Ends

An App That Will Help You Determine the Best Sunscreen For Your Family

Sunscreen Buying Guide App

Spring Break is right around the corner and many of you are headed somewhere sunny for a little rest and relaxation. Sun-soaked days means stocking up on sunscreen which can be expensive and confusing to purchase. The sunscreen aisle of the drugstore is a jumble of brands, ingredients, claims, and application methods. I am always on the look out for the best formula for my skin, the environment and my pocketbook. Trying to figure our which option is best makes my head spin!

A friend introduced me to the EWG’s Healthy Living App. It is an app that rates more than 120,000 food and personal care products including sunscreen.

“The EWG Sunscreen Guide rates the hazards and efficacy of sunscreens, and daily moisturizers and lip products with SPF ratings. Each product’s score ranges from 0 to 10, and reflects both the degree of UV protection from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and the hazards of all ingredients on the label. They base two-thirds of the overall score on a product’s UV protection. One-third of the score reflects the hazard score, based on toxicity concerns of listed ingredients.” -ewg.org

Now, when I am shopping for sunscreen I simply type in the brands that catch my eye or are currently on sale and I can compare which ingredients are more highly rated. This doesn’t mean that I’ll only buy sunscreens with a perfect rating, but it allows me to make a more informed choice and perhaps buy the lesser of two evils that are offered at the same price point. For example: my kids prefer spray sunscreen to lotion. The highest score the EWG has given a spray sunscreen is 3. I am not going to stop buying spray sunscreen, but I do try and pick sprays that have a score in the green or yellow instead of the red. The EWG does have its share of critics, and as with most things you have to weigh the pros and cons of the organization before deciding if you feel comfortable taking their advice. If you are interested in a tool that can help you determine which sunscreen will best suit your needs I would recommend downloading this free app.

Costco Product of the Month

My favorite sunscreen is back at Costco just in time to stock up for spring break. The Alba Botanica Hawaiian sunscreen pack contains two 50 SPF 6 oz. spray sunscreens and one 45 SPF 3 oz. lotion sunscreen. The coconut clear spray smells wonderful and doesn’t leave a sticky residue.

The spray received a 4 rating and the lotion received a 3 rating from the EWG sunscreen guide I mentioned above. The other spray sunscreens available at Costco received a 7 rating according to the EWG.

The lotion is the perfect size to throw into a small bag for on-the-go application and the spray is quick and easy to apply when you have kiddos that can’t stand still. We go through 1-2 bottles of spray sunscreen for a family of 4 on a beach day. I try to pick up several packages on each visit to Costco during the spring and early summer so that I have a enough sunscreen to see us through the summer.

Last year, the Alba Botanica Hawaiin sunscreen was not available in our warehouse after mid July. Alba Botanica Hawaiian sunscreen Spray sells for $16.99 at Costco compared to $24.99 at a big box store.

sunscreen available at Costco

A Great Deal On One of My Must-Have Hair Tools

In my Odds & Ends post last October, I shared where I found a smoking deal on my fabulous hair dryer. Not only did it shorten my drying time, but it also left my hair smoother with noticeably less frizz.

Unfortunately, it didn’t come with a diffuser and my old diffuser wasn’t compatible with my new hair dryer. Lately, due to the fact that it has rained more days than not, I have been embracing my hair’s natural wave. I decided investing in a new diffuser was a must-have. I found an amazing deal on the T3 SoftTouch 2 Diffuser.

This Tourmaline-infused diffuser volumizes, defines curls, and eliminates frizz for curly, fine or hard to manage hair. Its ionic finger extensions distribute heat gently and evenly to speed up drying, leaving hair smooth, shiny and healthy. It fits the T3 Featherweight 2, T3 Featherweight LUXE 2i, and PROi dryers only.

The T3 SoftTouch 2 Diffuser regularly sells for $30, but I found it here for $9.97. My new diffuser works beautifully and I’m so happy with my resulting waves that I haven’t even needed to touch them up with a curling iron like I would resorted to in the past.

Here is a picture of my hair today after applying Pantene curl defining mousse, diffusing my hair with the T3 SoftTouch 2 Diffuser, and finishing with a light layer of Unite U argan oil.

diffusing wavy hair


Display and Storage Solutions for Your Child’s Artwork

I love the warmth and personality that children’s artwork brings to a home. Custom framing individual pieces of art can cost a fortune and limit what you are able to display. It can also be difficult to find standard frames that fit the dimensions of the construction paper that a child typically uses to create their work of art at school.

I was thrilled to find these Li’l Davinci Art Frames for my home. Not only does it professionally display my kiddo’s masterpiece in a pre-matted frame, it can also store up to 50 additional pieces of artwork. The frames hang vertically or horizontally and open easily to change out which piece is on display or add additional pieces to be stored. Artwork is gently held in place by 4 corner, spring loaded tabs. Li’l Davinci Art Frames are available in white, black and cherry and range from $29.95 for a 8.5×11 frame to $99.95 for a set of 3 various sized frames.

These frames are a great solution to de-cluttering your refrigerator and proudly displaying meaningful artwork on the walls of your home.

An Easy (customizable) Dinner to Transport to the Playing Field for Evening Games.

The little league and softball season has begun and many families find themselves at the ballpark during dinner time these days. I thought I would re-share one of my family’s favorite meals that we often take with us on nights that we are eating on the go and I don’t want to resort to take out.

This BBQ chicken quinoa salad can be prepared in a jiffy using Trader Joe’s microwave quinoa, pre-roasted chicken and an assortment of other ingredients that require minimal to no preparation. My kids love the fact that they can make their own and customize it to their personal tastes. On days that we have evening games, I set all of the ingredients out on the counter after school and each available family member fills a reusable individual storage container with their choice of fillings. I throw the containers in a cooler with some beverages and we are ready to head out the door in minutes.

gluten free BBQ chicken quinoa bowl

Did you find anything useful in this month’s Odds & Ends? Send me a message or leave me a comment to let me know what tips and tricks have worked for your family and what you would like to read more about on Parker Posts.


Leave a Reply