This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® and OFF!®. The opinions and text are all mine.
All of my life I’ve really enjoyed being outside. When I was very small and we lived in West Texas we were only 18 miles from the town my grandparents lived in. Mimmie and Poppa were strong believers that my sister and I shouldn’t be cooped up inside and encouraged outdoor play. I remember climbing the tree in the backyard and playing with Baby, Poppa’s Boston Terrier by myself. But sometimes I got lucky and Poppa would be home from work and it would be nice enough to play a game outside. We’d sit on the cellar door and play “High Ho Cherry-O”, my favorite, or Chinese Checkers, one of Poppa’s favorites. As an adult I kind of lost spending time outdoors. Often slaving away in front of my computer I don’t have lots of opportunity to take my work outdoors. And most people don’t. We sit in cubicles or stand behind a register and make a living underneath those awful, blinking, fluorescent bulbs. Spring and fall have always beckoned me outside but come the super hot or cold months holing away indoors has been just as well by me.
But since I’ve moved to a sub-tropical region I’m finding myself called to the outdoors all year long. It may be blistering hot in the summer here but it also doesn’t get very cold in the winter, either. The climate here seems to be a constant state of warm to hot, at least so far in my experience, albeit limited. And I’m finding that this fairly steady climate has been encouraging me to go outside often, even while it’s getting crazy hot this summer. In the past 6 months I’ve spent far more time outdoors than I have in the past 6 years of my life and I have to say that I’m enjoying it quite a bit. I spend at least an hour outside almost every. single. day. And my time outdoors does something amazing for my spirit and well being. There’s nothing quite like hitting the beach in December. And I’m naturally getting used to the heat. There are two things I have NOT been able to naturally get used to… the sun and the bugs.
A few weeks ago Rob and I went to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and we were absolutely eaten alive by mosquitoes. I came home with THIRTY-FOUR mosquito bites just on my right thigh. I was an itchy, uncomfortable and unpleasant mess. And the bugs didn’t seem to get going until we got about a mile or so into our hike so we were just kind of stuck with all of these awful flying things making terribly high pitched sounds all around our heads and giving us bites all around. Lucky for Rob I was around and I’m like the mosquito magnet. I’ve heard it’s something in my blood (maybe because I eat too much sugar? :) but nobody can deny those nasty little blood suckers beeline straight for me every time. And as a local ER nurse just warned us, protection against mosquitoes in this region is not just about comfort but also about overall health. Rob, as it turns out, is actually chigger central and when we got home his feet and ankles were COVERED in bites. One got so bad he actually had to visit the doctor. We were both an itchy mess by the time we made the drive home. We went back not a week later but after hitting up Walmart, this time we were PREPARED.
Boom. We brought the OFF! DeepWoods® Now the last time we went hiking at Santa Ana the scenery was AMAZING. But as we drove home we discussed how we didn’t enjoy it half as much as we thought we would. Instead we were swatting at mosquitoes and I even got all sorts of upset when we were walking across the treetop canopy trail and Rob and had to calm me down. I now know what Rob’s game face looks like as he put it on to assess the situation try and get me to calm down.
And using OFF!® is pretty simple. You just shake well and hold the container 6-8 inches from your skin or clothing (but never under clothing), making sure NOT to spray cuts, sunburns or otherwise irritated skin and there is no need to over-apply. And to make sure your face is protected, simply spray the palm of your hand and sparingly apply to your face, taking care not to get it in your eyes.
We’re pretty new to the whole hiking thing and we’re learning as we go. We now have a gear bag that has my camera, a zoom lens to switch out for close up photos, bottles of water, medications and now OFF!®.
And on our second visit to that treetop canopy trail I was cool, calm and collected. Okay, I was still scared of heights but I wasn’t in this weird, uncomfortable place that was conducive to a horrible freak out.
Since we stayed a lot longer than we intended and watched the sun begin to set over Santa Ana we were really glad for that gear bag so that we could reapply the OFF!® as needed, according to the label, through the day. But we don’t JUST like to spend our time in the woods and with our location we can also experience the beach within the same amount of driving miles. How cool is that? 30 minutes from the beach and 30 minutes from some of the neatest hiking you ever saw?
We’ll take it!
As a fair skinned person I got my first taste of sunburn earlier this year. I seem to have a year-round farmer tan now that I can wear tee shirts all of the time but when that sun hit on my whiter than all get-out shoulders I found myself in a bad way when I went to bed later that night.
But after yet another trip to Walmart we now we keep Banana Boat® Sun Comfort in our beachy gear bag. It’s the one we’ve found we like best because it is a spray rather than a lotion making it tons easier to apply.
It also is great for the beach specifically because the formula allows sand to brush off easily. Have you ever been the victim of an accidental exfoliation when that sand gets stuck all over your skin and it constantly rubs at you? It’s the worst!
It’s available in both 30 and 50+ SPF and since I’m the fairest of the fair in my normally cloth covered regions we went with 50!
While I enjoy hiking, I can honestly say that the beach is one of my most favorite places in the entire world. I tend to prefer the easy-going beach of Boca Chica where the nearest fellow beach go-er is a good hundred yards away, making you feel like you have an almost private beach to yourself. And since Rob and I are both actively trying to get into shape after my initial “food in South Texas is amazing and I want it all!” phase it’s nice to hit the beach in a bikini with a bit of privacy even in the middle of summer vacation :) I know that I’m quite lucky that there are so many amazing things I can do year-round outdoors and I’m not going to let the opportunity to live life to the fullest pass me by. Because being outside makes me happy. And being outside with OFF!® means I’m not uncomfortably itchy for a week after a hike and being at the beach with Banana Boat® means I can sleep peacefully without a terrible burn rubbing on my sheets the wrong way every turn I make.
Written by Allison Murray - Visit Website