All Posts for July 2010

Single Parenting and Money Matters

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Note: Photos are from the rose garden at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C., Canada.  I purposely selected single roses.

I have written about the subject of money before, but the book I just read has such hard core facts that I wanted to share this information with you.  The book is called The Two Income Trap by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi (mother & daughter duo). Most of the book is about the cost of owning a house with the startling statement that the average middle-class family can no longer buy a home unless both parents work.

Since those of you reading this blog are probably divorced or considering it,  you may have already realized that if you do separate or have separated, one income isn’t enough to keep your house, if you are a homeowner. (Please read more below about single parenting and bankruptcy.)

In this book, there was an entire chapter devoted to single parenting called “Going it Alone in a Two-Income World.” What I found interesting was the quote that “This year more children will live through their parents’ bankruptcy than their parent’s divorce.” (This book was published in 2003 by Basic Books, so the stats are seven years old.)  Since my ex-husband went bankrupt with our family business, I experienced both of these—bankruptcy while going through divorce. Not sure there is a statistic on that one! But the loss of income was devastating and I never regained the middle class standard of living we had while I was single.

What was even more relevant was the co-authors’ statement that, “If current trends persist, more that one of every six single mothers will go bankrupt by the end of the decade”…..And they estimate that the number of single mothers in bankruptcy has increased more than 600% in the last 20 years.

If you are facing bankruptcy, I suggest you find someone who can help you through this difficult period. Unfortunately, my husband went bankrupt with our business and the bank took our home, a big insurance policy, and much more.  Since it was business-related, and I was no longer a partner, my hands were tied.  But if you are facing personal bankruptcy, either while going through divorce or after you become legally single, please get help. (See below.)

I Googled the topic of single moms and bankruptcy and found this information:

“If you are a single mom facing overwhelming debt that you have no hope of paying, we urge you to take charge of your situation. Call for a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney and learn about your options.”

You can call: 602-468-3328 · 602-GOT-DEBT · or go on their website,, and contact them for help.

Sun Protective Clothing

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

A few years ago I came across a catalog called Sun Precautions, a line of clothing that protects from the harmful rays of the sun. While I absolutely believe that we all need a certain amount of sunshine to promote the manufacture of Vitamin D in our bodies, I also believe that the hot rays of the midday and afternoon sun are too strong for my skin. So in the early morning or late in the day, I do not worry about the sun as much as I do during the heat of the day. Thus, clothing that blocks the harmful “day rays” seem to make sense for my body.

First, let’s define our terms. Since most people confuse the terms sunscreen and sunblock, I Googled the topic and found definitions on According to Vincent Ianelli, M.D., sunscreens absorb the ultraviolet light so it does not reach your skin, while sunblock physically blocks the sun’s UV rays. And sunblock has the added benefit compared with sunscreen of blocking UVA and UVB rays. Also, sunblock ingredients include (protective) titanium oxide and zinc oxide.

I also Googled the different ultraviolet rays, A, B, & C and found this on (Excerpted)

“UVA was touted in the 1980s as the safe ray and sun beds were the rage. Some dermatologist backed this idea as a safe and healthy way to look your best. Since then science has found this ray actually does more damage to the body than UVB. UVB rays only have the strength to penetrate the very top layer of your body called the epidermis, which has the same thickness as a silk scarf. No blood vessels or nerve endings are present. UVC, shortest from the sun, usually does not reach the earth’s surface, being absorbed by the ozone layer above the earth. Occasionally, articles are written on the ozone depletion and the possible exposure to UVC, where only a brief exposure can cause light sunburn. Prolonged exposure to UVC is considered fatal.”

Since finding that first catalog, I have found two other companies. Below are the websites and a photo of one of their items, in case you want to check out their clothing. The clothing is pricey, but you don’t need a whole wardrobe, just a few items, like a shirt or lightweight jacket, a hat, and a pair of every day pants. I am gradually building a “sun wardrobe ” which I will take that on a trip that promises lots of sunshine.

The first company I used was Sun Precautions, as noted above. You can click on the link to their website: to check out their online catalog.  According to the catalog, “Sun Precautions was the innovator, with its Solumbra line, which blocks more than 97% of UVAs & UVBs.”  Here are two of their jackets:

I found out about the second company, Coolibar, from my neighbor Harriet, who joins me in our condo’s pool every morning. She wears her Coolibar shirt in the pool for protection. Here’s a quote from their website: “Our name is taken from the famous eucalyptus tree found in the harsh Australian outback. Like it, we promise welcome relief and reliable protection from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Sun protective clothing has been popular for over a decade in Australia, where it gets very hot and many of its citizens are fair-skinned. In fact, Aussies now prefer UV sun-wear to sunscreen alone! Using expertise developed down-under, and elsewhere around the globe, Coolibar’s high quality fabrics are guaranteed to be the most dependable on the market

If you go to the website,, you will find more information
on why we should wear protective clothing and why sunscreen does not do the
whole job.

Here us a picture of my neighbor Harriet “modeling” her Coolibar jacket:

The third company is a local (PA) company called Sun Threadz, started by
Colleen Dougherty Brontstein. Here is what she says about her company:

“How do I know so much about Skin Cancer and Sun Protection? …
I was
treated for Malignant Melanoma through the Melanoma
Program at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania…
I have taken a personal interest in all things related to Melanoma.
It is important to me to understand everything I possibly can about
this type of cancer. I am dedicated and committed to being an advocate
for sun safety. …”

I love the clothes on her site because they are so fashionable…
and they are made right here in the Philadelphia area. I plan to
go to a home show in my neighborhood this month, interview Colleen,
and give you more information about her designer sunwear.
Here’s just one example from the website:

Finally, last year (and this) Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group, sent me an email of their newsletter on the best sun screens. If you click on, you will find an interesting article entitled , “Which Sunscreens are Safest?” Based on last year’s report, I purchased Badger Brand Sunscreen.

The EWG website also has excellent information on all aspects of environmental health. I subscribe to their newsletter and I urge you to do so also, since they provide the latest research. At the bottom of the page on sunscreens is this statement:

“EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.”

To be honest, because I wear my Solumbra hoodie when I go to the pool, I do not use a lot of sunscreen/sunblock, since I swim laps and return to my apartment and don’t come back to the pool until late afternoon and sit in the shade. The few minutes of sun I receive while swimming laps in the morning, when the sun is low, is what I feel I need to get my Vitamin D —- a short, healthy exposure to the sun for its benefits.  Here I am in my jacket, which I have had for four years and it is still in good shape. The $100 price ticket bent my budget, but I can wear it as a regular summer jacket as well, not just at the pool.


Me in my Solumbra (Sun Precautions brand) beach/pool jacket.
Hope you are having a joyful summer, enjoying the sun, without overexposure and with protective sunscreens and clothing when appropriate.  Check with your doctor or your dermatologist to find out a safe level of exposure for your body.

Note: The three sun protective clothing companies are the ones with which I am familiar, but if you Google sun protective clothing, you will find more choices to investigate. ellensue ♥