It's Getting Hot, Hot, Hot

No way around it- it's just plain hot.  It's been hot for weeks and there's no real relief in sight.  It's times like these when it seems like even your swimming pool isn't going to cool you off.  So how are you supposed to cope with this hot, muggy weather?  

Just Add Ice

Depending on the size of your pool, tossing in some bags of ice can drastically lower the temperature.  Just stop by the grocery store, Water n' Ice, or gas station on the way home and grab some ice.  Obviously you'll know how many you need, but a respectable start would be at least 10 bags.  Toss them in the pool and then dive in!  Of course, once the ice melts, you will want to double check your pH balance and make adjustments as needed.  

Make It a Party!

Nothing helps ease misery than being around your favorite people!  Grab some beers (and waters!), invite your friends over, and let the good times roll!  Grilling, chilling, and messing around in the pool are basically the definition of summer, and it's always more fun together.  After a few games of pool volleyball, you won't care about the heat... you'll just be looking to perfect your epic spike!  

Can You Feel It In the Air Tonight?

Sure, with the high humidity that is a cornerstone of July weather in North Texas, it may not feel like it, but nighttime temps are usually much cooler than day temps.  Try running your equipment at night to circulate the water and take advantage of the "cool" air.  It won't make your pool 60 degrees, but it will definitely help lower the temperature.  

Adjust Your Schedule

I mean, as much as your work schedule allows, try doing your outdoor activities at night.  No one hates a late-night swim, so get those laps in after The Late Show.  Any yard work and gardening that can be done after sundown, do it.  Finally gonna dig that moat around your property to fend off advancing armies?  WHY DO YOU WANT TO DO THAT IN THE SUN ANYWAY???

 

Countdown to Fall

Y'all.  It's already July 26th.  We've made it this far... we can do this.  Hang in there!  

 

Sunscreen, Use It!

As it continues to heat up here in North Texas, it's a good time to talk about sunscreen- when to wear it, why we wear it, and what happens when we don't wear it.  

When?

Always.  Seriously.  Well, maybe not at night.  That would be overkill.  But seriously, you should always wear sunscreen if you're going to be outside during the day.  If you're outside time is mostly spent going from car to air-conditioned building, back to car, back to air-conditioned building, you can get away with a lower SPF but you should still wear sunscreen.  If you plan to be outside for extended periods of time, you should definitely wear it and you should have extra with you so that you can reapply it every two hours as the day goes on, as well as after swimming or where you sweat it off.  You think those clouds are gonna protect you?  They ain't.  In fact, those clouds are tricking you into thinking you're safe when, in reality, you're even more likely to get burned.  So the moral of the story is, you should always be wearing sunscreen when you exit your house.   

Why?

The sun gives us all life.  It lights up our planet, feeds our plants, and keeps us from all freezing to death in the icy cold of space.  But it's not as friendly as we'd like to believe.  We've all heard about UV rays, but do any of us really know what they are?  Ultra Violet rays, or UV rays, are a type of electromagnetic radiation, transmitted from the sun in waves.  Their energy is strong enough to break chemical bonds, making them harmful to living tissue, like for example, human skin.  Protecting our skin from UV rays is a top priority for our bodies, which is why we get tans.  Our body, in an effort to protect our skin, sends melanin to the skin cells to shield them from damage, resulting in that bronzed look that we all crave.  Too prolonged exposure to UV rays, and our skin can get overwhelmed, resulting in a burn, so you need to help it out a little bit.  Wearing sunscreen has been proven time and time again that it will help you avoid damaging sunburns, decreasing your risk of developing skin cancer.  

How does it work?  Basically, sunscreens use minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to physically block UV rays by reflecting the light back towards the sun.  They also use organic chemicals such as oxybenzone to absorb UV rays before they reach your skin.  Pretty cool, right?  

What If I Don't Buy It?

That's fine, but just know that, besides the fact that the sun can literally kill you (read: CANCER), it's also going to make you age faster.  Remember the neighbor from There's Something About Mary?  Yeah, that's totally what you're going to look like in your 40s and 50s if you keep rolling the skin care dice.  Think premature wrinkles, sun spots, moles, and that's if you're lucky.  People with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, often have to have surgery to remove the cancer, resulting in missing noses, lips, huge swaths of skin, you get the picture.  So don't let your stubborn desire for a tan now sentence your future self to painful and unnecessary suffering at the hands of a surgeon or radiologist.  

 

I think we've made our point.  Wear sunscreen.  All the time.  Period.  

Memorial Day, Summer, and How to Throw a Killer Party in 3 Easy Steps

It’s Memorial Day Weekend (almost)!  Summer may officially start on the solstice, but in Texas, we all know that it really starts on Memorial Day.  After all, what could scream summer more than pool parties, barbecues, cold drinks and great friends?  We spend the weekend outside, by the pool, laughing and getting into the mood for the season.  So how are you going to kick off summer this year?

Step One- Clean That Pool!  

If you haven’t yet, seriously, go clean your pool!  You want to wow your guests with a sparkling and refreshing pool to jump into, so put in some time after work tonight and give your pool a good once over.  If you haven’t checked the pH balance yet this year, definitely do that asap, because you will want to give your pool a good 24 hours after adjusting the chemicals before opening it up to guests.  If you try to swim too soon, the chemicals will not have had time to cycle through and you could experience very severe eye, skin, and breathing problems.  

Step Two- Food!  

You can’t have a party without tasty treats, something to give your guests lasting energy for a day of fun in the sun.  Whether you want to just put out nibbles or have a full-blown barbecue, planning a menu full of filling and delicious food takes some time and forethought.  Check out this great article from Delish with some truly inspired BBQ ideas!  Two words- pickle dogs.  

 

Are you invited to someone else’s super cool pool party?   Check out this article from Food & Wine for easy-to-transport party dips that are the perfect way to say thank you to your host.

Step Three- FUN!!!

Owning a pool is the ultimate life hack for planning party fun.  Seriously, place a few lounge chairs on the deck and throw some inflatable toys in the water and you are all set!  However, if you want to get more creative, try out a few of the following ideas.

Diving for Treasure- this is a great one for kiddos, so if you’re planning on your guests bringing their minis, plan ahead and pick up some sinking toys from your favorite pool supply store.  Toss them in the pool before the kids arrive and let them loose to find as many as they can.  The one with the most treasure wins!  What do they win?  That’s up to you!  :) 

Volleyball- if you have a play pool (pools with a maximum center depth of 5 feet), try setting up a volleyball net.  There is nothing more fun than a friendly game of v-ball while splashing around in the cool water!  

Basketball- not a volleyball fan?  If you’ve got the time, try putting in a basketball hoop.  You can buy portable ones, or install something a bit more permanent.  You can also get a floating hoop at most sports retailers, designed for smaller, Nerf-like balls.  There is just something about some light-hearted competition taking place in the pool that makes it feel like summer!  

Pool Jousting- this is a fun update on the classic (and classically dangerous) game of chicken.  Get some floating toys, like an inflatable shark or the like, and then try to knock your opponent off their float using pool noodles.  You can pick up these toys pretty much anywhere, even Target


So there you have it.  Three easy steps to having a stellar pool party to kick off summer.  Don't forget your sunscreen and have a Happy Memorial Day!