Monthly Archives: July 2014

Cotton, Keeping Cool and Keeping Your Cool

Keeping cool and keeping your cool can be challenging as we hit the dog days of summer head on. When the forecast includes words like sweltering and scorching, the blood pressure can skyrocket, just like the temperatures. When it comes to keeping cool and keeping your cool, cotton can help!

fanOne of the biggest keys to keeping your cool when it gets hot is getting enough sleep. This is where cotton comes into play – it is the ultimate fabric for a good night’s sleep.

Sleep like an Egyptian! Wrap yourself in damp cotton (cotton sheets or an over-sized cotton t-shirt). Cotton breathes. Its evaporative properties can help you get some shut eye when the nighttime temperatures don’t let up. Add a little air current to the mix and you’re in business.

The ancient Egyptians had this method down. Thousands of years ago they used an ingenious form of air cooling. Windcatchers, or wind shafts were built on the rooftops to catch the evening breezes and funnel them over water thus carrying cooled air into the sleeping quarters. You can recreate this effect just by putting a bowl of ice in front of the fan. Sleeping with a frozen hot-water bottle can also bring some relief.

During the daytime, ancient Egyptians dressed head-to-toe in cotton – to keep the sun off and to catch the breeze. Many modern Egyptians do the same. The Jellabiya “is basically an oversize long sleeved shirt that covers the entire body in a baggy piece of fabric.  It is normally loose fitting for ultimate comfort and style!” (Check out this wonderful man-dress here: http://migrationology.com/2010/12/egyptian-jellabiya-man-dress/)

Breathability is one of the great inherent characteristics of cotton. Each of the fibers of cotton fabric transports moisture (and air) from one side to the other. If your body is sweating, cotton will move the moisture away. If your cotton is cold and wet, the fibers will move that cool moisture to your skin – a fan helps facilitate this movement.

Be cool.

 

 

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Good Manners and Offensive T-shirts

Take a look at T-shirts in the news and you’ll find a slew of offensive Ts. It’s a real head-scratcher. Dirty words are passé. Things like four-letter words and radio DJ shock-jocks are just so Turn-of-the-Century (and a t-shirt last so much longer than a radio program).

have a great dayBetween the media and the marketplace there is just so much noise these days that it takes a lot more than a dirty word or a untoward thought to get people’s attention. Good news is becoming more news worthy. Good manners might even be making a come back. Manners are so retro and elusive that they are starting to be considered cool…again.

Here are two examples in the news that support our good-manners-are-cool theory: LeBron in Cleveland and the Boardwalk in New Jersey. LeBron James went back to Cleveland. The whole town wore “Forgiven” t-shirts. They were very polite about it, too. And he was gracious, he even sent cupcakes to his neighbors to apologize for the fracus his return caused the locals. The other side of this story is illustrated in Wildwood New Jersey where the Boardwalk’s king of t-shirts is having a bad summer. The pithy and profane T’s that are normally such a hit with the younger set are falling flat. The Bad-Choices-Make-Good-Stories and White-Girl-Wasted T’s are not flying off the shelves like they once did. Maybe documented bad behavior is losing its appeal?

Good manners and politeness are so hard to find they are starting to have a new cache. Think about it. Who teaches us to behave well in the digital age? It’s like a completely new frontier. All the books on etiquette and manners are too dated to keep up.

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Keeping the Sun off: T-shirt Vs. Sunscreen

sunscreenSunscreen has been all over the news lately. It happens every summer, but this year there seem to be more warnings about the potential dangers of the ingredients found in many sunscreens. These stories have gone viral.

Consumer Reports warns against spray-on sunscreens for kids, claiming the spray-on type of sunscreen puts children at risk for asthma or allergy attacks. A Florida  news source (and who knows sunscreen better than Floridians?) called Click Orlando reports:

Flip over your sunscreen. Take a look at the roughly 25 ingredients. The environmental working group or EWG — an organization that focuses on product safety — says some of these chemicals are cause for concern.

Like Oxybenzone. This chemical penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can also trigger allergic reactions.  One study links oxybenzone to endometriosis.

And look out for Retinyl Palmitate which the EWG claims may speed development of skin tumors and lesions.

Those chemicals are why dermatologist, Dr. Kathleen Judge prefers her patients to use physical sunblocks. (http://www.clickorlando.com/news/ingredients-in-sunscreen-may-pose-risk/26842626)

Business Insider counters with:

“The short answer is that while people have raised legitimate questions about possible harmful effects of sunscreen, the harms that come from too much sun exposure are clear, known, and often deadly. There’s no contest.

In fact, researchers are aware of consumers’ simmering fears about sunscreen and have looked closely at the evidence on both sides. In a 2011 study on “sunscreen controversies,” a team of doctors from Memorial Sloan-Kettering did a thorough review of previous research in order to answer the three main questions people have about sunscreen:

  1. Does it protect against skin cancer? (Yes.)
  2. Does it cause Vitamin D deficiency? (No.)
  3. Are toxic chemicals in sunscreen harmful to human health? (No.)

…The researchers also take care not to dismiss concerns about some ingredients, like oxybenzone, in sunscreens. They discuss at length the growing body research around the effects of such compounds, which have been tied to changes in hormone activity, among other things.But while caution is not unfounded and there is still more work to be done, most evidence suggests that when used on human skin in appropriate amounts, these ingredients are safe.” (http://www.businessinsider.com/anti-sunscreen-warning-on-lululemons-bag-2014-7#ixzz376GPjSEG)

desert_sunAt the end of the day, too much of a good thing (sunshine) is not great for your skin. Cancer.org suggests that clothing should be our first line of defense against the sun’s harmful rays. Though our image of desert dwellers is largely influenced my film and the media, people who live in the sun tend to cover up. Clothing protects us by absorbing or blocking much of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

“The more skin you cover, the better…” (http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/clothing) But how much better? Weave and fabric are obviously important. Some materials are better at absorbing UV that others; thicker, tighter weaves block more light. Color is potentially more important. “Dyes work by absorbing various frequencies of visible light, and many of them will absorb UV too. Of course, high light absorption at visible frequencies doesn’t necessarily imply high UV absorption, but as a general rule of thumb, white or lightly colored fabrics do tend to let more UV through than darker fabrics.” (http://outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/1226/whats-the-upf-of-a-t-shirt-or-jeans)

Blue jeans have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 166, while heavy twill denim in white rates a 12. Your typical lightweight cotton t-shirt has an SPF of 4, dyed blue, that same shirt goes up to an 18.

While we are still on the fence about the dangers of sunscreen, we are pretty sure that color is good for summer sun protection. And the only reported side effects of wearing a dyed t-shirt in summer are looking and feeling cool.

Keep cool.

 

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Fourth of July Facts – Who Knew?

Fourth_of_July_FireworksIt’s our Nation’s birthday. What other holiday could be more patriotic? Picnics, parades, soldiers, salutes, Shriners…you name it. We love it. We know how fun this day can be. But there are some things about the Fourth of July we did not know. Here are just a few:

    • Yankee Doodle was originally sung by British military officers prior to the Revolution as a means to mock the disorganized American colonists who fought alongside them during the French and Indian Wars.” (http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeschooling/2013/07/twenty-interesting-things-about4th-of-july/)
    • July is National Hot Dog Month. “Every year, Americans eat an average of 60 hot dogs each.” (http://www.factmonster.com/spot/hotdog1.html). The Fourth of July is peak hot dog consumption day.
    • Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Munroe died on July 4.
    • July 4th was not an official holiday until 1870! It was not a paid holiday until 1938!
    • Benjamin Franklin did not want the Bald Eagle to be our national symbol. “He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.” (http://www.greatseal.com/symbols/turkey.html)

The biggest Fourth of July unknown for many people is the date. We should probably be celebrating on the 2nd rather than the 4th of July.

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Britain on July 2, 1776, when it approved a resolution and delegates from New York were given permission to make it a unanimous vote.

John Adams thought July 2 would be marked as a national holiday for generations to come…After voting on independence on July 2, the Continental Congress needed to draft a document explaining the move to the public. It had been proposed in draft form by the Committee of Five (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson) and it took two days for the Congress to agree on the edits.

Once the Congress approved the actual Declaration on Independence document on July 4, it ordered that it be sent to a printer named John Dunlap. About 200 copies of the Dunlap Broadside were printed, with John Hancock’s name printed at the bottom. Today, 26 copies remain.

That is why the Declaration has the words, “IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776,” at its top, because that is the day the approved last version was signed in Philadelphia.
(http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2014/07/when-is-the-real-independence-day-july-2-or-july-4/)

The declaration was not read publicly until the 8th of July. Maybe we should celebrate Independence Week instead of just Independence Day? Regardless of the date mix up, John Adams did make an amazing prophecy in a letter to his wife Abigail about the occasion:

 “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” (http://www.nps.gov/foju/historyandculture.htm)

We absolutely love the notion of being transported with Enthusiasm and hope that you too will be transported with Enthusiasm on this wonderful American holiday. Have a great Fourth!

 

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