Published on August 1st, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz


10 Items That Are Making Summer Fun, Healthy & Productive For Me

Whether your ideal free time in the summer is spent on the beach, by the pool, on a road trip, at a festival and/or somewhere air-conditioned and indoors, the summer season is when millions of people plan to kick back. To maximize the fun of the summer, it is essential to stay healthy and relaxed. Sometimes all of that can be achieved easily by making a few small purchases.

As a New York-based writer and editor who receives hundreds of story-related pitches on a daily basis, at times it can be overwhelming to figure out what is truly great and worth your time and money. However, I have made it one of my missions of the moment to curate a list of 10 items that are helping to make my Summer 2018 fun, healthy and productive. Below are some key recommendations for how you too can make the remaining days of this summer as enjoyable as possible.

Tenth Street Hats

Music festival season is upon us, and there are a few essentials that festival attendees should bring with them: water, good vibes, and a smart hat. Tenth Street Hats produces fashionable yet high-quality hats, many of which UPF50+ and with a waterproof barrier. The Amiens model is wide-brimmed with vibrantly-painted wool. The Namaste has a braided leather tail, leather bining, and a peacock feather. All sorts of styles for all sorts of folks, all of which making sure that you maximize your comfort in the sun. More info is online at

Alba Botanica

The mission of the Alba Botanica brand is to make organic skin and hair care products that are both good for your body and the Earth. The Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ is a hypo-allergenic and pediatrician-tested mineral sunscreen. The Alba Botanica Fast Fix Sun Stick SPF 30 is ripe for touching up hot spots, easily fitting in a small bag or a pocket. The Alba Botanica Anti-Bug Spray is a DEET-free insect repellent made with natural, non-toxic active ingredients. Ultimately, if you are going to be outside for an extended period of time, Alba Botanica undoubtedly has an affordable yet organic product that will meet your needs. More info is online at


While every high-end bakery carries “macarones,” very few of them carry the delicacy known as “macaroons.” FreshBakedNY makes absolute stand-out macaroons, and the success of the company started with its founder developing Michelle’s Maccs, as originally sold out of a Hamptons bagel shop. Michelle’s Maccs are currently available in 13 flavors, including Orange Zest, Salted Caramel, and Peanut Butter. These macaroons are of course made with fresh ingredients, yet they manage to be eggless, flourless, and gluten-free. Refinery29 named FreshBakedNY’s macaroons as “NYC Best Sweet Treat 2017,” and deservingly so. Nationwide shipping is free via


Chomps produces the only meat snack that is Whole30 approved. The top-selling brand recently introducing Original Turkey and Jalapeño Turkey flavors to the market, both of which made from free-range turkey and only natural ingredients. Original Turkey can be found at traditional retailers, including Trader Joes, while Jalapeño Turkey is a brand exclusive only sold online at If red meat is more suitable to your diet or preferences than turkey I also recommend Chomps’ beef jerky, which is non-GMO, 100 percent grass-fed, and gluten-free.


ParmCrisps are artisan-crafted, crunchy crisps made with 100% aged Parmesan Cheese. In others, cheese crafted into chip form. ParmCrisps are both gluten-free and sugar-free, free of artificial ingredients. You can add them to a salad or a soup, pair with wine, or simply eat like chips on their own. This is one of my favorite new snack discovers of 2018. More info on ParmCrisps — including recipes — can be found online at

Dave’s Sweet Tooth Toffee

The creation of retired Detroit firefighter Dave Chmielewski, Dave’s Sweet Tooth Toffee started off as a hobby, as made in Ball mason jars with homemade labels. Less than a decade later, Chmielewski’s toffee has been featured on The Today Show and Good Morning America. Dave’s Sweet Tooth Toffee is made with basic ingredients: real butter, real sugar, real milk chocolate, and hand-sliced almonds. Its offered flavors include Beanilla Vanilla Bean Toffee, Milk Chocolate Blueberry Toffee, Peanut Butter Crunch Toffee, and Dark Chocolate Toffee. These items all ship nationwide, and for people who want to order the toffee with ease and at a discount, all flavors are available on a subscription basis.

Heavy Duty: Days & Nights In Judas Priest by K.K. Downing

As a co-founder of the legendary band Judas Priest, K.K. Downing played an instrumental role in creating many rock anthems, including “Breaking The Law,” “Living After Midnight,” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.” Downing left Judas Priest in 2011, and has remained relatively quiet in the years since. Heavy Duty: Days & Nights In Judas Priest is Downing’s memoir and a rare look into life behind the scenes with his former band. Downing gives a lot of insight into his past, yet he generally takes the high road, coming across as a true gentleman. Downing keeps an official home online at, while more on Heavy Duty itself can be found on the Da Capo Press website.

Ball Jars

One brand comes to mind when it comes to jars, and that is Ball. Jarring has come back as a hot food trend in recent years, and Ball has further come into the spotlight via its collaboration with Damaris Phillips, as known as the co-host of the Food Network’s The Bobby and Damaris Show. The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can do with Ball Jars. From pickles and jams, to cocktails and general storage of spices, these are items that are functional while also looking cool, as suitable from both a barbecue and your kitchen shelf. And for those looking for an official guide on how to most effectively use a Ball Jar, there is the 2016 guide titled The All New Ball Book Of Canning & Preserving: Over 350 Of The Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, & Preserved Recipes.

FORTO Coffee

FORTO is the first-ever 2-ounce oz. shot of organic cold brew. It packs the caffeine of a full cup of coffee into a ready-to-drink shot. It is brewed with a high concentration of coffee beans,giving you more energy with every sip. FORTO comes with either 100mg or 200mg of caffeine — as depending on the flavor — which is equivalent to one or two cups of coffee. Its ingredients are USDA organic and its packaging is TSA-approved. Available flavors include Hershey’s Chocolate Latte, Pure Black, Chocolate Late, and — my favorite — Vanilla Latte. You can find FORTO Coffee for sale on Amazon beyond the coffee section of over 3,700 Walmart stores.

China Salesman now on DVD

Seeking a new action movie? Perhaps one with both Mike Tyson and Steven Seagal? Then check out China Salesman. Supposedly based on a true story, China Salesman is a film about the dangerous and epic adventure to Africa where a Chinese engineer/salesman comes face-to-face with a corrupt competitor over the contract for the first African mobile telecom technology. Tyson plays a local tribesman, while Seagal portrays a mercenary. China Salesman — which reportedly had a production budget over $20 million — is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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