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Product Review: Block Island Organic Sunscreen

I was contacted by Block Island to see if I would do a review of their organic sunscreen product.  I am a firm believer in lots of sun protection, so I was happy to do this.

Block Island is a family-owned USA company that makes a line of organic skin care products from moisturizers to sunscreen. The sunscreen is made with natural mineral sunblockers.  According to their website, there are 2 different types of sunscreens:  Mineral and chemical. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays. A mineral sunscreen prevents the rays from reaching the skin by scattering them (like with zinc or titanium dioxide).  Both types of sunscreen protect against UVA and UVB rays.

You all know I am really pale, so I wear a lot of sunscreen when we go biking (and other times). While it would be ideal to go out with full sleeves and no skin showing for protection, that just isn’t practical in the summer. :D  I wear a high SPF because I will burn in about 10-15 minutes without protection at noon.  With that said, studies have shown that anything over 30 doesn’t give you exponentially better protection, so you are better off with a 30 and and reapplying several times.  I don’t have a preference as to mineral or chemical sunscreens, as long as they work.

Block Island Sunscreen


The active mineral sunscreen protection in this product is Zinc.

The Block Island is a little thinner than other sunscreens that  I use:


Here is after one swipe with my thumb:


The thinness of this makes it easy to squirt too much out of the container, so be careful with that.

The sunscreen rubs in easily and is not greasy at all, which is a huge plus for me.  Even with the zinc, it doesn’t show on the skin, although after I was sweating a lot while riding, I noticed some white lines in the crook of my arms.

While this says there are no artificial fragrances, it does have a scent to it. One is the smell of the zinc – that sunscreen smell. The other is the very faint scent of eucalyptus.  There is eucalytpus oil in it and it gives just a hint of the menthol. I was sniffing my arm several times after applying each time (I am sure the people in Saratoga were wondering what I was doing) and could just catch a whiff of it.

So, how does it work?  No burns at all!  I applied before we left for Saratoga and then applied again before riding home. We spent a good 4 hours in the sun. Proof is that I missed about a 1 inch section on one thigh at the top of my bike shorts (probably because they rode up a little) and I have a small stripe of red there from sunburn. Nowhere else. I used this on my arms, legs, neck, throat, ears and face.  It did not cause any breakouts so far, either.

So, if you are looking for an organic mineral sunscreen, this will certainly do the job.

This 3.4 ounce bottle is normally $19.99, but there is a sale going on through Father’s Day where it is $15.99. Good timing on this review, I guess! This seems a little above average for organic suncare on the market.

Whatever you use, protect that skin!

Disclaimer:  Block Island sent me this sunscreen product free of charge to review. All opinions are mine, good and bad. I don’t receive any compensation if you purchase from them.

Ride and parade!


We had a super active weekend around here.  Seems like it is that way every weekend lately :D

Saturday was long ride day, as per usual. We went down to Saratoga again.  I tested out a new sunscreen that I will be doing a review on this week:


It was a sunny day!  We decided to go early and have lunch down there.  We booked along and didn’t stop too much. Most of the ride is in the open sun, but there is a shady section where we go by a state park.



Quick stop for a rest and a date snack.


We got into Saratoga around mile 20 and hit up Comfort Kitchen.  We love this place.  The portions are large, so we split  an order of Mac and cheese with a slide of slaw and rosemary sea salt sweet potato chips.



I was loving the salt after a sweaty ride down.  Good thing we left early.  After lunch, we started walking around town and I thought I heard a band. Sure enough – we headed up the street and ran into a parade!


Saratoga is celebrating its Centennial this year, so this parade was part of that.  It was a long one!




One of my favorite parts:

After the parade was done, we went for our dessert :D   You know it!


This was a gingerbread cupcake with maple frosting.  Really good, but the service at this place new to us was not very friendly… and the coffee was weak. 2 strikes.

Then it was time to head home.  Full tummies and all.  We made really good time on the ride, too. We took just one break riding home, which was around 30 miles.



Sunny, sunny, sunny!


How nice is that shot?

Home, very sweaty!



Ride stats:

Total miles: 41.2

Average speed: 14 mph

Top speed: 27.1 mph

Calories burned:  1236

We are in pretty good bike form now. You can tell when the average speed for the same ride goes up.  40 mile rides are a good distance. Not so long that you get super tired, but long enough to get in a really good workoug. And cupcake :D

What’s blooming!

Continuing work in the beds.  I have cleared out a lot of the shade bed. I wasn’t thinking I would get to much of that this year, but we have been making such great progress this spring.  I had some astilbe roots to plant, so early in the spring I cleared a section and then finished the rest later. Here is what it looked like last year:


What a mess!  There really wasn’t much salvagable in there. Lots of weeds and a couple grape vines, which were old and not great.  The bush there on the left had been cut in half and was bare on one side, so that came out.  I did keep a few daylilies and some Virginia creeper.

I also found a tick on me after working in this area. Not really a surprise there, but it is good to get this cleaned out.

Here is it cleared out. Still some stuff popping up after I got the beds cleared, but without mulch that is going to happen.



I was pondering what to do here and John suggested a water feature!  I hadn’t even thought of that. It is close to the house, so running electric wouldn’t be too hard. That would be pretty cool.

Those hostas in the background. Now that they have filled out, I remember why I didn’t like them so much.  They are huge and need dividing.


I thought I would show one of my favorite tools for gardening. It’s one that I use every time I go out for all kinds of stuff.  You know how inside I love the taping knife because of its versatility. Same thing with this tool.  It’s called a Cape Cod  weeder.

cape cod weeder

I use it for more than weeding, but it does a great job at that. You can use the pointed end to uproot taproot weeds, or lay it on its side like this to scrape surface weeds:


See? Makes quick work of it.


It’s easy to get around and under plants with this.

My snapdragons are just starting to bloom in the front. I got the rocket ones, which are going to get several feet tall.



Geraniums blooming.


These are at the very front of our sidewalk. My hope is to put a peony on each side in this spot. Maybe this fall.



This weekend is the big craft festival in town. I can walk there this year, which is pretty neat. No worries about parking!  I am going to look for garden stuff and a walking stick if that particular vendor is there this year. Have a great weekend!

Thursday random thoughts.

– The weather has been great the last couple of days. We got much needed rain and everything is really green.  Time for a ride!


I love riding in the mornings before it gets hot and the traffic builds up later in the day.  For those counting, I am over 650 miles on the year. Right on target to finish with 2000 miles.  Yay!

– Have you seen the new Zone bars? There are 2 new flavors and this is one of them:


It’s pretty good, although I would like it a little spicier :D

– This is some of my birthday bounty. Gift cards for garden centers. Think people know me or what?


My work did a server reboot after lunch, which meant down time – so I figured I would spend one of my gift cards. Garden Time  is only about a mile and a half from the house, so I popped over there.  They finally had their specialty coneflowers in stock. I have been waiting!  I loved the Milkshake, so I got one of those. This is a picture taken of my garden last year. I didn’t snag any of this coneflower before we sold the house (does it ever feel good to say that) because they were too small for me to divide.



I was quite happy to see that one available. I also got one called Supreme Cantaloupe.  Here is a stock picture of that:



It’s hard to wait for these to grow and bloom!

– I have been mulling over different options for a job. As many of you know, mine can be a bit stressful at times, more from the actual company than the work.  Problem is that I will not get paid what I get paid here if I work for another company and it just would not be worth it.  I am toying with the idea of getting certified in coding and billing since those are jobs that are going to be around and growing for a long time. Not to mention there is the big switch from ICD9 to ICD10 on October 1st and there will be a lot of turnover. BTW –  My advice to all US peeps is get all your medical appointments done before 10/01/15 and then don’t go for  a while until all that change shakes out. ;) 

I get a tuition discount if I go through my previous school that I did the MT training for, so that is an option.  Flipping a house would be good, too, but I am tired of real estate at the moment…

There’s no hurry though, unless my company goes belly up, which actually wouldn’t be too surprising. For now the status quo is a good thing. I don’t mind surfing along for a while and enjoying our new calm.


Trudging along

When I posted my goals for June, I didn’t put a weight related goal in there because I have been working on that for a few months now and it hasn’t changed.  It’s slow going, but I am actually seeing some progress.  I am down 7 pounds since the beginning of March.  A rate of about 2 pounds a month, but it adds up over time.  

There are a lot of reasons for slower loss, but the biggest is really how much I am willing to cut out. I love food. I have no interest in giving up all kinds of stuff.  Cut down, yes.  I do eat a lot of the same meals, like various forms of chicken:




No veggies with that meal. I try to eat them with every dinner, but it doesn’t always happen. I was out of broccoli here.


Dinner is often time for eggs, too.


This is why one of my goals was to do more recipes – I am kind of in a rut.

Lots of yogurt for lunch. I loves me some Fage!


The usual suspects for breakfast.



oat bran

Daily afternoon latte, of course.  Iced lately with warmer weather.


In the evenings I eat a lot of fruit. I eat a ton of blueberries, especially at this time of year.


Then there are the things that I add in here and there for the enjoyment of food, like going out for coffee:


A non-ride cupcake (these have to be smaller on non ride days):


The bagel days:


Even a beer on occasion from a local brewery:


I guess this is considered moderation. It makes the weight loss slower, but this really is eating like you would eat forever – or I would eat forever – everybody’s moderation is different.



Hiking in Vermont

Finally – a trip away! It was a short one. My birthday was Friday and I managed to get in my 47 miles of riding. That was a bit tiring, but very good to get it done!

Saturday morning, we left for an overnight trip to Vermont.  We stopped first in Rutland to do shopping. Poor John, I dragged him to all the Vintage shops I could find :D


I did manage to score a couple chairs at a sale from an auction house. 


The one on the left is going to get painted a color and go into the garden with a flower pot where the missing seat is. The one on the right will get reupholstered for the inside.  Grand total for both chairs was $4.  Can you believe that?  One was $3 and and one was $2, but then the lady said it was $4 for both.  Who can pass up a deal like that?  Not me  :)

We booked a place in Killington at Mountain Valley Resort, which is a B&B.  What a gem this place is!




Our room was lovely looking out the back:



Our hosts were very nice.  They also told us about a hiking trail just down the road, so we headed down to check it out.  It started in the marshy area with a nice bridge:



Then we got to the climbing area. You could head 2 different ways and we took the shorter one to the falls since it was in the evening.





So beautiful and what a nice treat to find!



We decided the next morning to go back up there and hike the other side. After a wonderful breakfast from our hosts, we headed back.


This climbed up quite a bit.



Turns out it is part of the Appalachian trail!



It went on for quite a while going up.



It’s a very well marked trail as well.  Our new hiking shoes did great, too!



We could have gone on for a long, long time, but we weren’t really set up for a whole morning of hiking. We ended up doing about 3 miles.

I would for sure come back here to hike these trails again.  I love my biking first and foremost, but we are enjoying the hiking :D

It was also great to get away and relax for the weekend!


What’s Blooming!

I am glad for this weekend to have arrived.   Yay!  The baby garden is shaping up now.  The first couple of years will be bare, but that is okay.  This is the year for annuals while I decide on perennials.

We need a ton of mulch for the beds in the front and back, but I figured that would wait until next year since any money spent was going towards the plantings.  Well, one of our neighbors stopped by and said she had extra mulch in her driveway and that we could have it.  We offered to pay for it, but she didn’t want to take any because it was good to see the neglected house being taken care of.  How nice is that?  All of our neighbors seem really nice.

Anyway, we hauled that mulch over 1 wheelbarrow at at time.  It was a lot of mulch, too.  She would have had to pay to have someone haul it all away.  We filled up the big front bed and have a bunch left to put probably in the back or on the other side of the front.



A lot less weeding will be happening now.  Up here, anyway.

The mulch makes everything pop, like my mushroom:


The cleome have some blooms on them.  These are supposed to be 3 to 4 feet tall by later in the summer to help fill in this spot.



This is my baby calycanthus shrub.


It has a ways to go to get to 5 feet tall :D

This is the cosmos:



I have never had cosmos or cleome in my gardens before. 

The other side of the front is the wild and wooly side. 


I will be really glad when those bushes are gone.

The back garden is coming along.  We have this tree/shrub thing that is blooming.




It provides a shady canopy and now that I got the ground cover cleared out from beneath it, I put in some of Debby’s fairy impatiens that she sent to me.


My sad little back garden.  My roses are doing well, though, and have some buds on them!  This bed is going to take a long time to get going, but that is the fun part.



I want to buy allllllll the plants for here :D

The back yard is great for gathering, too.  We had cake and firepit enjoyment!






Have a great weekend!

Feeling good

You know, there really is something to be said about removing major stressors from your life.

Today I felt really content.  It’s like a big huge exhale happened that we have been holding for a long time.  Sometimes you don’t really understand how much stress you have until it is gone. You know it’s there, but you don’t understand the degree when it is constant.

Riding today:



Life isn’t perfect, but it sure is good.

Closing done and June goals.

Monday was the closing on the old house.  Do you know that we put in an offer on Radiance Manor the day after Thanksgiving in 2013? Then there was the whole closing fiasco with that and then the long winter where nobody was looking at our house. In our area, the real estate season seems really short and we got the offer right when the market heated up again.  We only had 4 showings on our house believe it or not.  Anyway it has been a year and a half for this whole process to finish. 540 days, give or take. 540 days.

What a relief.  Those of you that have held 2 properties at the same time know what I am talking about. Double everything. Double mortgage, double utlities, double taxes, double property maintenance. Then there is the worry of owning a vacant house and hoping nothing happens to it while it is empty.  It just gives you a level of stress that is constant and, frankly, quite wearing.

I think it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

We went to dinner to celebrate this whole shebang being done.  We decided to go to Bistro Leroux, which is where we like to do special dinners.  They do the half portions, which not only is easier on the wallet, but the waistline! And it allows us to try an appetizer as well.  We started with a goat cheese en croute that had a dried cherry and vanilla sauce drizzled with honey.

goat cheese

I don’t like cherries, so John ate those :D  This is very tasty.

John’s entree was the Eggplant parmesan risotto, which had a little parmesan crisp on it with a tomato herb cream sauce.


My entree was the Buttered Lobster Risotto with a corn salsa, potato crisps and topped with a fried lotus root chip.


The lotus root tasted pretty much like a root vegetable potato chip. Really good.

Anyway, it has been a few months since I did goals – and part of that was because it just felt like we were spinning our wheels in a lot of ways. A lot of the major landscape heavy work is done, which took up the majority of project time. Now that has slowed up some, I can concentrate on a few more goals for June other than just trying to not go crazy from waiting.

1. Trying new recipescipes.  I have been pinning some new recipes and darn it – I am going to make them!

2. Finish my trunk. I need to get this one done and up for sale since I have a couple others waiting in the wings. Need to just carve out some time and get the last bits done on it.  I might move it out to the back patio to work on since I don’t like being indoors when the weather is nice.

3. Get away weekend. I have not even had a weekend trip in an entire year – not even an overnight anywhere.  That changes this month.

4. Ride 47 miles for my 47th birthday.  I’ll be doing that hopefully on Friday :D

Welcome June!

Bike riding and finished path

Saturday was a warm and muggy day.  We wanted to get the slate path finished up before the rain moving in over the next few days.  Here it is pretty much finished:


We need to back fill in dirt on each side by the edging and will be putting in more sand as it settles after the rain.  It is slightly meandering around the garden bed.  At some point, we will be doing the other side – with lessons learned from this side :D

Then it was riding time! We opted for a shorter ride since storms were supposed to be coming in the afternoon.  We thought a lake ride was in order.  At least the path sections were nice and cool to be on:



John trying to cause an accident:


The little theme park for kids is open in Lake George now.  Magic Forest.


It’s not a total rip off of Mickey riding Dumbo or anything ;)

The lake was surprisingly uncrowded. It was Elvis Festival weekend, so we thought there would be more people, but then there are the inside performances as well as outside performances.  We stopped at the park for lunch.



Another packed lunch:


I have been inhaling blueberries lately.

The sun was going in and out behind clouds and it was feeling pretty humid. We walked around town before having our treat.





We stopped by the Lake George Baking Company.  It was hot enough for ice cream, but the bakery is so good and we can get ice cream right near our house any time :D

View from a cookie:



You could hear a few different Elvi singing around the village.  The better ones you pay to see, the ones that are free to see can be hit or miss.  This one was not bad, though.



Not sure Elvis wore too many flannel shirts, though…

Ducks all in a row:



I noticed after I took this that all of these are male. Wonder where the ladies are?

It was time to head home.  This is one of my very favorite sections of the path:



It was really starting to feel hot in the sun, too. You could almost feel the rain was going to come.



We took a longer route home just to get in a few extra miles.  It passes by this cool old barn.



And then we arrived home.  It started raining maybe 45 minutes later, so good timing!



Temperatures when from muggy mid 80s to 50 degrees and raining on Sunday. What a turn around!

House closing happens on Monday – we can’t believe it is actually going to happen!