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Limes Are Dangerous

January 27, 2012

I’m baa—aack!

I returned Tuesday from my trip to Hawaii. I know, I know. I’m a little slow. Return Tuesday and don’t get a blog post up until Friday. You have to understand, it’s been a crazy couple of days. First of all, I have been super jet lagged. This was sort of a surprise to me. I always thought jet lag was a lie rich people told to brag about their amazing trips.

“I’m so jet lagged from my trip to Tahiti,” they’d say.

“You just want to brag about your trip to Tahiti,” I’d think. Insert a silent “bitch” at the end of that sentence, if you’d like.

Well, I am soooo jet lagged from my trip to Hawaii. AKA: I can’t wait to tell you about my trip. Which I plan to do next week, once the official vacation photographer (my sister, Natasha) shares all the pictures with me.

I’ve also been super busy worrying about a nice little skin condition I picked up in Hawaii. Let me tell you, WebMD is not your friend when you have an unidentified rash. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about – just about everyone with access to the Internets has decided an innocuous headache is a brain tumor and held a tearful goodbye with their loved ones. I know I’m not alone here.

I had these random patches of darker skin: one on my forehead and three on my legs. They didn’t hurt or itch or anything, but since being diagnosed with psoriasis, I’m trying to take better care of my skin, so I headed to the dermatologist. I know you are just begging for a picture (you weirdo), so here it is:

phytophotodermatitis, margarita dermatitis, skin irritation, beach rash

I waited anxiously at the dermatologist’s office, wondering what terrible Hawaiian disease I had come down with. Am I going to live? Okay, let’s not be silly. Of course I’m not going to live. How long do I have?

The dermatologist took one look at the mysterious spots and asked, “Did you happen to handle any limes while you were in Hawaii?”

Well, yes … yes, I did. One day, I was making a mixed drink on the beach, and realized I didn’t have a knife to cut my lime. Well, a lime is a citrus, like an orange, right? So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to peel a lime, like you would an orange.

Okay, I know you are wondering what a peeled lime looks like. You’re welcome.

Peeled lime, lime on the beach, beach, how to peel a lime

Trust me, I would not suggest peeling a lime. The lime juice got all under my nails and stung something terrible. And, my fingers were all sticky. At which point, I must have rubbed my hands on my thighs and touched my forehead.

Apparently getting lime juice on your skin and then sitting out in the sun is a no-no. It causes something called phytophotodermatitis, or Margarita Dermatitis. Totally safe, and it will go away on its own, but no fun and definitely not cute when you are trying to show off your tan to all your pale friends.

Because Simply Solo is a purely educational blog (ha!), I felt the need to share this compelling information about Margarita Dermatitis with you. Together, we can fight this epidemic. Will you please do your part to ensure not another person has to needlessly suffer the terrible effects of eating limes on the beach?

Anyway, some big things happened while I was in Hawaii:

  • I spent more time with my dad, step mom and two sisters than I have since middle school.
  • Addendum to the above: We spent all this time together, and didn’t kill each other. (We actually had a TON of fun!)
  • Chef took down my Christmas tree. (For the record: It is January 27 and my neighbor’s tree is still up. I admire their bravery.)
  • Based on a bunch of your suggestions, I started reading The Hunger Games series. So far, loving it.
  • Thanks to all of your help, I won the Rioja Wines contest!**

Okay, so that last bullet has a little ** next to it, which indicates fine print that you really don’t want to read, but it’s suggested you do. It’s kind of like that miracle diet pill that will make you lose four pounds a week**, and the fine print details how you’ll be throwing up constantly and lose all the hair on your head, but grow it back on your butt. So if you are the kind of person who would rather avoid the fine print, CONGRATS! Together, we won the Rioja Wines contest and I am now $250 richer! The end.

Now, here’s the fine print (and back story). If you remember (if not, read this post), I was up against some really competitive coworkers to get the most entries for the contest. I begged encouraged you all to enter and tell everyone you know. I also enlisted the help of a few blogging buddies, clients, friends and coworkers (BIG shout outs to Rosalie, Samantha and Jennifer!) to get entries. At the height of the competition, I resorted to asking complete strangers in Hawaii to enter. Key learning here? Ask people after they’ve had a few drinks. It makes a huge difference.

But I was up against a very worthy competitor. Toward the end, it was down to my coworker Pia and me for the grand prize. Pia happens to be the most gloriously competitive person I’ve ever met. She’s also pregnant, and she totally milked (pun NOT intended) her need for baby items to get entries for the contest.

Luckily, I had two secret weapons: A chance encounter on the plane with the hilarious TV producer Don Luciano and my wonderful family. Let’s start with Don. (Like how I think we are on first name basis?)

I met Don on the flight from Atlanta to LA. He told me about his fabulous projects, including the upcoming reality show on OWN, Beverly’s Full House, featuring the supermodel Beverly Johnson. I told him about my blog, and then quickly realized he would probably never read it, and took a nap.

When I woke up, Don had subscribed to the blog and followed me on Twitter. And, he agreed to help me win the contest. He got some of his famous friends – including Taylor Dayne (Twitter handle @taylor_dayne) and Beverly Johnson (Twitter handle @BeverlyJohnson1) – to tweet about the contest. Not only did that help secure some entries, but it was super fun to have famous folk tweet about my little old contest.

My other secret weapon, my family, literally brought a tear to my eye. My mom, stepdad and two sisters spent hours texting, calling and begging everyone they know to enter the contest. Their friends seriously stepped up too. Between my mom and my step dad, I got at least 175 entries!

After my sister and I spent hours (literally) on the beach inputting entries with our cell phones, I was ahead. And my parents had about 50 additional entries that we were going to save for the last minutes of the contest, to catch my unsuspecting opponent off guard.

Here’s where the fine print begins.

There was a little confusion over when the contest actually ended. Pia and I were under the assumption that the contest ended on different days, but we didn’t realize it. We were both right; we were both wrong. We just received conflicting information. Problem is, Pia thought the contest ended 24 hours before I did. So just like I was strategically saving entries for the last minute, so was she. Right before midnight (the day before I thought the contest ended), she entered a bunch of entries and took the lead. I thought I had another 24 hours to sweep in and win. Because of the confusion, the third place winner very generously gave up his winnings so that both Pia and I would win the grand prize money.

For the record, I still entered the entries I’d been saving for the next day and ultimately took the lead by about 45 entries. Not that I’m competitive, or anything. I apologize for all the fine print – but after all of your very generous help with this contest, I wanted to let you know how it turned out.

I absolutely could not have won without you. You are the best readers a girl could ever ask for. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And the little detail of the prize money? Don’t think I forgot about that! I promised you I would spend it very irresponsibly and do something fun. And I did. Which I’ll tell you about next time.

Now, will you join my crusade to eradicate Margarita Dermatitis? I’m already training for the first annual 10K. Who’s in?

Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

36 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2012 8:57 am


  2. January 27, 2012 9:18 am

    I’ve heard about phytophotodermatitis in almost every dermatology lecture I’ve ever been to, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen it. Because I’m a medical geek, I think this is very cool. 😀

    Winning $250 is also cool (in a slightly more conventional way).

    • January 27, 2012 9:53 am

      LOL! I’m so happy to help further your medical career. YOU can make a difference and help someone with phytophotodermatitis now! 🙂

      I’m so excited about the $250. Even more excited to tell you guys how I spent it! (Yes, I already spent it. It was clearly burning a whole in my pocket.)

  3. January 27, 2012 9:29 am

    I hate my phone… It posts weird comments. Margarita dermatitis is the best ailment EVER!

    • January 27, 2012 9:52 am

      Haha, I know right? It feels like a very fabulous ailment to have. I knew drinking on the beach was dangerous…

  4. January 27, 2012 9:31 am

    So glad you won! I will never peel a lime in the sun. Thanks for educating me!

    • January 27, 2012 9:54 am

      No problem! Anything I can do to make sure not another person suffers needlessly. 🙂

  5. January 27, 2012 9:52 am

    Hey, I just wanted to let you know I have nominated your blog for One Lovely Blog award, you can check out my post in a little bit to get more info. I love your blog!

    • January 27, 2012 9:54 am

      Oh thank you so much! I really appreciate it, Jenna. Can’t wait to read the post. And stay away from limes in the meantime. 🙂

  6. Jes permalink
    January 27, 2012 10:39 am

    OMG, i once spent about an hour making fresh squeezed gluten free margaritas (my bestie is a celiac) in Vegas and immediately went straight down to the pool after ward…
    I had no idea what DANGER i had put myself in!!!
    Wow.. i really got lucky.
    Thank you so much for enlightening me, i will never deal with limes in the sun again!!

    THis post is hilarious!! Congrats on winning the contest!!

    • January 30, 2012 10:17 pm

      Whew, you are SOOO lucky! Someone was looking out for you that day. Just make sure never to make that mistake again 🙂 Dangerous stuff.

  7. January 27, 2012 10:58 am

    I think you’re totally going the wrong direction here. We as a society need to eradicate Margarita Dermatitis … FOR THE CHILDREN! For just the cost of a cup of coffee, we could completely stop this dreaded disease. With the platform provided by your blog and a celebrity appearance by Sally Struthers, we can beat this thing…

    (Please tell me this cultural reference is not lost on younger generations…)


    So glad you’re back, you won**, and you’re not dying of some misdiagnosed WebMD disease. I was once convinced by that evil website that I had Werewolf Syndrome. Turned out, not so much.

    • January 30, 2012 10:16 pm

      Hahaha, Mikalee. I’m very embarrassed to admit that I have no idea what the Sally Struthers reference is :). But you did give me some fun Googling Werewolf Syndrome. Never heard of that either 🙂

      But I totally should have said this was for the children. That would have gotten more participants for my 10K!!

  8. January 27, 2012 11:31 am

    Thank God you talked about this, I leave for Dominican Republic tomorrow – I’m sure a point will come where I am in the site of limes…I will be extremely careful! 😉

    • January 30, 2012 10:19 pm

      Happy to have helped at least one person avoid this awful condition! Have a BLAST in Dominican! 🙂

  9. January 27, 2012 12:39 pm

    Even if you don’t get Mikalee’s cultural reference, I do. Which really just means I’m old enough to know what she’s talking about.

    God, I hope you get the cultural reference, Catherine…

    And I have to say, I lived in Hawaii for nine years and never once came down with a case of Margarita Dermawhatever. BUT…I did come down with a bad rash after handling mangoes on the island once upon a time. I wonder if there’s such a disease as Mango Flavored Margarita Dermatitis?!

    • January 30, 2012 10:14 pm

      Haha, I’ll look into your Mango disease. PS…. got the shaved ice…AMAZING! 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation!
      And I’m soooo ashamed…. but I have NO IDEA what the Sally Struthers reference is! LOL!

  10. Nikki permalink
    January 27, 2012 12:58 pm

    You got lime disease. HAHA!

    • January 30, 2012 10:13 pm

      Nikki… LOL. Your comment literally made me laugh out loud.

  11. January 27, 2012 1:25 pm

    Youch! And now I suddenly have a killer craving for a frozen margarita. Sounds like you had a super weird but super fun trip! Can’t wait to hear more 🙂

    • January 30, 2012 10:12 pm

      You and me both…but I now have an irrational fear of limes. I’ll have a strawberry daquiri instead. LOL 🙂

  12. January 27, 2012 10:12 pm

    Well, I got the Sally Struthers reference, I have never gotten the Margarita Derma…., but I have gotten that horrible “day after drinking too many margaritas” disease. That’s a bad one. I think next time, you should rub the limes on your body in some sort of pattern. Like a heart on your belly. Then go in the sun. At least that way you would have a cool looking rash.

    Welcome back! Look forward to next week’s post!

    • January 30, 2012 10:12 pm

      Ha, Rambling. That could be a cool way to get some sort of tattoo without it being permanent. I think you are onto something! And I’ve totally had the “day after too many margaritas disease”… I’m thinking it’s worse than Margarita Dermititis! Thanks for commenting!

  13. mom permalink
    January 27, 2012 10:34 pm

    Retraction: Who put in those last 45 entries? A special thanks to Kelley for those 40 and Josie for all those friends of yours kudos ladies! !!!

    • January 30, 2012 10:10 pm

      Haha Mom… When I first wrote it, I mentioned you entered the last 45 but it sounded really awkward so I changed it. For the record, my mom entered the last entries!! 🙂 Thanks Mom… you, Kevin and your friends ROCK!

  14. Debbie settles permalink
    January 28, 2012 10:02 pm

    You didn’t mention how we got 10 of those names standing in line at the bearfoot bar on the beach lol. I look forward to reading the story about our trip 😉

    • January 30, 2012 10:08 pm

      Haha yep you were a HUGE help in getting those from the bar! Thanks sis!

  15. Nancy permalink
    February 3, 2012 10:36 pm

    And I just bought 3 limes this morning! But they are for Superbowl Sunday…indoors…so I think we will be okay.

    • February 6, 2012 8:11 pm

      Just be safe, Nancy! You just never know – those limes are VERY dangerous! 🙂

  16. February 24, 2012 10:07 pm

    thank you for the peeled lime picture.

  17. August 3, 2012 6:53 pm

    Hey Catherine, Thanks for sharing your story. I am suffering from the same rash from limes on my hands. How long did it take for it to go away?


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