Edisto Beach Rentals

Sunny Beach

Whether you are chemically sensitive, to whatever degree, or you just love the fresh ocean air, you know how cathartic the ocean breeze can be. And how invigorating it is to be outside, away from the deluge of artificial substances.

On a recent vacation to Edisto Beach, South Carolina I discovered that those wonderfully refreshing qualities on the actual beach carried into the rental house inland where I stayed and that made my trip there very comfortable. If you’re looking for a vacation spot, try a beach house someplace (This is sounding like Stefon skit from SNL: “New York’s hottest club is TRASH…”). They are open, sunny and most importantly aired out naturally from the salty wind. Beach houses usually have blinds instead of curtains, tile and wood floors in the common areas and may have carpet in the bedrooms. And you bring your own linen and towels.

club-cottage-851-smallIf you have a big family these houses are made to accommodate, but if you don’t, perhaps you can vaca with another couple or some friends. That way, you can split the cost too. Prices vary according to the proximity to the beach and size of the house.

A house that is a few blocks in from the beach can average about $416 a week for a 2 bedroom, 2 full bath, that sleeps five. The amenities listed:
Central Heat & Air Washer/Dryer, Dishwasher, Microwave, Cable TV, VCR, DVD.
Pets are allowed, usually with a deposit ($150 Pet Fee & refundable $200 pet security deposit).

Edisto_Beach-3If you want to go all the way and not have to walk or bike the two or three blocks to the beach, the beach front housing can run from a 3 bedroom that sleeps 8 for $900 a week to a 7 bedroom that sleeps 17! with a sun deck and private boardwalk to the beach and outdoor shower that is $3,255 a week.

Edisto Beach is a very secluded, quiet beach retreat that is laid back and peaceful. The sunrises over the ocean are spectacular and the sunsets over the marsh are equally breathtaking. In between there are a few island restaurants and a grocery store to stock up the full kitchen. There is golfing in the area, some historic sites and of course shell collecting and sand castle building!

Here is just one of the sites for information: http://www.edistobeach.com/. And as always you should request green cleaning prior to your arrival, when you make your reservation – you never know, they might actually do it!

Photos by Laura Hardesty

Photos by Laura Hardesty

Happy Summer!
Laura Hardesty

Summer Solstice Sun

Happy Summer Solstice Everyone!

If your locale is going through a heat wave anything like the south east United States, you know it’s pretty darn hot!

Here in Miami we’ve been fortunate enough to have the ocean breeze to keep the heat at bay… or the bay breeze to keep the heat at bay. That is until last week when we also reached record breaking temperatures of around 98 degrees. Factor in our famously disgusting humidity and it is over 100!

There is little shade here in South Florida, what with our trees being the tall skinny palm variety. So an outing prudently requires sunscreen. But with chemical sensitivity, this can be difficult. My doctor recommended a couple of brands to try, one of which is really quite expensive, so I’ve been using the less pricey one – Vanicream.

Now, using the Vanicream on my arms and legs works fine, I’m very happy to finally have a sunscreen I can actually use without getting dizzy, spacey and headachy as I do with traditional sunscreens. But I still cannot apply it to my face. It has no odor that I can detect, there are no formaldehydes, masking fragrances, etc. But I still get itchy eyes and sinus pressure. So how do I protect my face from the sun?

Luckily for me, on this longest day of the year, I came across a photo of a woman at the summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge in England, who obviously has the same problem. She came up with a very creative way of covering her face from the sun since she clearly cannot use sunscreen. Check out the woman in the short yellow skirt… the one with the horse head on her head.



Fragrance-Free Hotels

“You have to breath,” said Marc Levy, vice president of sales of the company, Air Esscentials, who provides scent creations (not natural), fragrance machines and air-conditioning scenting systems.

To that Captain Obvious I answer, “Narf!” And you’re not helping us breath. This quote came at the end of one of the most annoying articles I’ve read lately, “For hotels in S. Fla., the scents make sense.” I know, you can feel the ants crawling under skin already, right? Hotels in Miami, Miami Beach and elsewhere have been branding their chains not just with exotic decorations, stunning views, but now with laboratory concocted scents that are spewed into the air on a timer, or burned into your nostrils from strategically placed incense.

All in the hopes that after you’ve gone home and the next time you get a whiff of say, Pure Sunshine or  Hawaiian Tropical (do they mean the punch drink?) that you’ll get an uncontrollable urge (as if you had been hypnotized to flap your wings like a chicken when you hear the term plum blossom) to jump on a plane and hand over $499.00 per night to stay with them again – in this economy. Hey, don’t smirk at that! The ultra luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel has really taken a hit since people realized their investor’s name started with Bernie and ended with Madoff.

I have noticed an abundance of chemically-odoriferous people here in Miami, and all the stores are heavily perfumed. The heavy hand with the bottle may be attributed to the heat and humidity here, because those who do not partake, smell quite ripe. So, I kind of get that hotels don’t want tourist to be run off from the foul odors of the natives, but their answer does NOT make sense!

BOceanHotelThe B Ocean Ft. Lauderdale hotel says, “We live in an environment where we have an ocean breeze; how do we capture that ocean breeze (scent)” Well, maybe if we all put our heads together, Shaggy, we can figure out this Scooby – Doo mystery for you.  “Ocean” is in the name of the hotel and you’re in Ft. Lauderdale, so you must be near some ocean, right? Oh, you’re just across A1A and you can see the ocean from your front porch? Ah, I know, open the front door and get some free ocean breeze!

Another hotel really take the cake, or should I say cow dung. Their signature scent is called “Wild Cow,” but it’s not what it sounds like. It is lemongrass, ginger and rosemary. That actually sounds very nice, if it is natural and not manufactured to smell like lemongrass, ginger and rosemary. Hey, during Christmas I boil apples, cinnamon and cloves and the house smells wonderful, naturally!

I remember taking road trip vacations and stopping at a Holiday Inn or the equivalent. But since getting chemical sensitivity I have not made a road trip like I used to. Finding a green hotel is not always the same as chemical-free since ozone-blasting a room for allergens and cleaning with the highly scented Tea Tree Oil does bupkis for us, right?

So I did a search for chemical-free lodging and came up with Green Vacation Hub that has a general listing from which you would have to research further to determine if an establishment is actually chemical-free or allergy-free.

The best way to find safe lodging is by personal recommendation, so I wonder if any of you have had a positive experience and can share it with everyone here, as well as on the forum: MCS Awareness Forum. And share this with your MCS friends so we can compile a world-wide reference for people who just want to take a day off from being in the house!


Born This Way – Not

Was I born this way? You bet! But not when it comes to MCS.

I’m rather nostalgic today, as I’ve been looking at pre-mcs photos. I’ve shut myself off so much, physically and emotionally – so that I don’t think about how profoundly my life has changed. The old (over nine years old!) photos show a person who always hung out with her friends at their house, at clubs, at my house, after work. I went to this great Thai restaurant with coworkers for lunch and always had a great time.

I wore perfume, I danced with friends in the smoke and fog filled dance floors. I barbecued! I threw parties and went to parties. And most importantly, I really hugged my friends and family, where now it is a cursory, brief hug, if at all.

So for me, it all started to change when I noticed a dizziness and congestion. So I stopped wearing any scented products but other people’s perfume, scented laundry detergent in their clothes, etc. still bothered me if they came in my office or near me. Along with that came sinus infections, complete lethargy and exhaustion. Then came the environmental inspection of the building I worked in. Then I went home and I’ve been here ever since. No more sinus infections and I only get the exhaustion when I’m exposed to those dastardly triggers when I go out.

I am very curious as to how other people have developed their chemical sensitivities. Or were you born that way?

Okay, boo-hoo Cindy Lou, so I can’t wear perfume. No big deal. But I do miss socializing. But now I can do that online. So, I encourage everyone to play Lady Gaga’s video below – enjoy the fog machine and crowds without worry, and dance with me!