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Sunscreen Favorites for Summer

How do you choose your sunscreen for the summer? Do you try new things constantly? Stick with what your mom or dad slathered on you as a child? Did you do a lot of research before settling on a favorite?

Last year, Aron and I embarked on an epic search, ordering about 20 different brands based in part on the EWG scores—we were looking for a mineral-based sunscreen to use routinely on our kids. We wanted to avoid aerosol sprays entirely, and find something affordable enough that we’d use it liberally. I wanted something that rubbed in easily (no ghosts, please), and would hold up in the water (at least for a while).

But I was dismayed when I read an article in Consumer Reports this year reporting that “of the 62 lotions, sprays, sticks, and lip balms,” they rated this year, “23 tested at less than half their labeled SPF number.”

They went on to say, “In our tests over the years, so-called ‘natural’ or mineral sunscreens—those that contain only titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or both as active ingredients—have tended to perform less well than those that have chemical active ingredients, such as avobenzone. None of the mineral sunscreens in our tests this year did well enough to make our list of recommendations.”

Well. Sh*t. [Throws hands up in exasperation.]

Clearly the best defense, if you’re concerned about chemical active ingredients, is to wear rash guards (required for our kids), hats, and sunglasses, and to avoid the sun when it’s at its peak, between 10am and 4pm.

When those precautions can’t be taken, the conclusion that I’ve reached (for what it’s worth), is that any sunscreen is better than none. As the article noted, “Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., and the benefits of sunscreens outweigh potential risks from their ingredients.”

Here are some more use tips shared by the dermatologists behind the study for making yours work for you:

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Coffee Talk: Why cafe coffee tastes better

Last summer, I sat down with Cole Cuchna, a lifetime Sacramentan and the Director of Education at our local favorite, Temple Coffee. We were together to talk about how the business evolved after a leap of faith, but I had one other—unrelated—question: why can’t I get my cappuccinos at home to taste as good as the ones they make? What are the baristas doing differently?

Without skipping a beat he surprised me by answering…

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The Science of LEGO Organization

Last month, in a burst of organizational energy (which has ebbed, but I’m hoping it will be restored soon), I got serious about organizing Hudson’s growing LEGO collection. It’s not an easy task!

I wanted to come up with a system that would both foster creative play and allow Hudson to recreate the specific designs we’d initially purchased. In general, Hudson would follow the directions to make that one specific project, and then leave it to gather dust on a shelf.

Here’s how the experts in the LEGO group handle their collection…

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