Growing Old Gracefully….Take Care of Your Skin in the Sun……

When I was in my 20’s I always thought about being in my 30’s and 40’s and thought “that is SO old!!”.  I couldn’t really fathom what my life would/could be like at those ages, and to be honest I was truly living in the moment and not thinking about aging too much.

My brother Brian and I.  I was in my early 20's
My brother Brian and I. I was in my early 20’s

In my early 30’s I gave birth to two little boys and most of my 30’s was spent spent being married and raising these little boys.  Then the next thing I knew I was single, retired from the Navy and trying to figure out my next move. I have made MANY mistakes in my years, and some that I even wish I could have a re-do on, but one thing I have always been is resilient and I have ALWAYS had a Plan A, Plan B, and even a Plan C!

So before retirement I started looking for work, and landed a job with a Dermatologist in Hampton Roads within a month after my final Active Duty paycheck!

However, all of those years of sun worshiping at the beach, and working on flight decks, and having fun had taken its toll on my skin and I showed up with my melasma covered face, and in particular I had a melasma induced mustache I was NOT happy with.

While working for the dermatologist I learned about skin care, and started paying more attention to my skin.  I did not want to look like the little old ladies who are sun worshipers and have leather like skin. Too much sun is NOT our friend, and can make our skin leathery, not to mention give us skin cancer!!

NOT attractive...or healthy!!
NOT attractive…or healthy!!

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to be at the beach, the pool, or just outside.  In fact I often comment that I am “solar powered”, and need the sun to keep me happy.  However, I use my sunscreen and wear a hat to keep the sun off of my face!  The key to properly using sunscreen is to apply it 30 minutes before you go out into the sun, and reapply it every couple of hours.

I like to use a “sport” spray because you get great coverage and it isn’t sticky.  SPF 30-45 is fine.  SPF 30 blocks 97% of harmful rays, and SPF 50 blocks about 98%. To be honest anything above SPF 50 is  really about marketing, because you think you are giving your skin more protection, but in reality you aren’t.  Sometimes the higher SPF levels costs more, and we are conned into thinking we need a 70 for super light skin, or our kids.  Don’t fall for the hype.  SPF 50 is FINE! Another downside to SPF higher than 50 is that since we think we are protected “more” we tend to not reapply the sunscreen as often.  This is a mistake.  Reapply every couple of hours, and even more frequently if you are in the water or sweating!

So what is UVA and UVB anyway?  The easiest way to explain it is this:  UVA means aging, and UVB means burning.  UVB is the main rays that cause skin cancer, and UVA are the ones that make your skin look like leather. So you always want UVA and UVB protection in your sun screen.

Now for those of you who deal with Melasma, (which I do as well), the best protection for you in order to keep your skin even toned and not looking splotchy is to wear sunscreen and if you are going to be out in the sun wear a hat, or visor.  Whatever you can do to keep the sun off of your face is what you need to do.

Melasma can occur at any age to any skin tone and any gender, but it primarily affects women over the age of 35.  It can be more obvious in those people with lighter skin tone, but darker toned people can also suffer from melasma.  There are lots of treatments for melasma, but in my opinion (after working for a noted dermatologist for 9 years) I feel that the best treatments are chemical peels (we use a salicylic acid peel) and microdermabrasions.  I have heard many people talk about laser, but that is a very expensive option, and the darker your skin tone the less powerful the laser can be in order to avoid permanent damage.  So medium and darker toned people have to be VERY careful with lasers. I  wear a visor whenever I am in the sun, and give myself a microdermabrasion every 6 weeks or so in the winter and once a month in the summer.

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and we need to remember that as an organ it needs proper care and nourishment.  Use your sunscreen, drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods.  All of these things contribute to healthy glowing skin.  If you are local to the Hampton Roads area, I give free consultations, and am HAPPY to see you in either our Hampton or Virginia Beach office  Quite often products and proper care can improve your skin, and you can avoid procedures, but those are available if you need them.

If you are NOT in the Hampton Roads area still feel free to make a comment if you have a question and I will do my best to answer or point you in teh right direction for ways to improve your skin, and help your skin “grow old gracefully”.


Sweet Sunday: Cinnamon Bun Scones recipe with Cream Cheese Icing! (Diabetic friendly)

I love Facebook!  I love to reconnect with old friends, and make new ones.  I have written about my high school reunion and how Facebook changed my high school memories, and I have wondered if we are truly honest on Facebook?

Another thing I love about Facebook are the recipes.  My friend Chanelle is forever sharing yummy looking recipes.  She even has a blog with recipes (which is on my Blog Roll) called The Vegan Virtuos0.

She posted this recipe and (as I usually do) I appropriately healthified it (she vaganizes things), and made them.  They were DELICIOUS!!!  This recipe was adapted from a recipe found on Recipe Girl.

These also froze VERY well!  I made a couple of batches and froze them individually so we could defrost them for a yummy breakfast with a banana! or other fruit!

Cinnamon Bun Scones

Yield: 12 servings (12 scones) Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 13 min

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal uncooked
8 packets of Truvia (or Stevia) (which is also 1 tablespoon + 3 teaspoon), divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled salted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup fat free milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 4 teaspoons nonfat milk


1. Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray 12x 18-inch pan with nonstick spray (I used Pampered Chef baking stone).

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, 6 packets Truvia, baking powder and salt; mix well. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. In a small bowl, combine milk, egg and vanilla; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir with fork or rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are moistened.

4. In another small bowl, combine remaining Truvia with the cinnamon; mix well. Sprinkle evenly over dough in bowl; gently stir batter to swirl in cinnamon mixture. (Do not blend completely).

5. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls (or use an ice cream scoop) 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire rack; cool 5 minutes.

6. To make glaze: In small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk for desired consistency; mix until smooth. Drizzle over tops of warm scones. Serve warm.

Source: (adapted from Quaker Oatmeal)

Dry ingredients mixed together
Dry ingredients mixed together
Cut in butter with pastry cutter (or two butter knives)
Cut in butter with pastry cutter (or two butter knives)
Add in wet ingredients and gently mix until moist
Add in wet ingredients and gently mix until moist
cinnamon/truvia mix
cinnamon/truvia mix
sprinkle cinnamon/truvia mix on top of batter and gently fold in
sprinkle cinnamon/truvia mix on top of batter and gently fold in
I made mine into oblong shapes and baked.
I made mine into oblong shapes and baked.
I was gentle with the icing, but they were TRULY yummy!!!
I was gentle with the icing, but they were TRULY yummy!!!


Sorry there is no close up picture, but I will make these again today, and take one and add it here.  🙂

Enjoy these scones.  Easy to make and delicious!!!


An Occasional Mom “Win”…….Makes the Questionable Decisions Fade Away

Being a mom is not an easy job.  From the beginning it can be daunting…..I read EVERY  “What to Expect” book there was.  I still had no clue what to do when somehow nursing didn’t come easy, (both Joe Cool and The Genius) or why my baby screamed in the swing that was supposed to soothe him (The Genius), or what to do when my baby was so colicky and cried and cried from 7-9 pm EVERY night for his first 5 weeks of life (Joe Cool).

what to expect books

You can read the books, and follow their advice, and talk to friends, and try their ideas, but at the end of the day, there is NO parenting manual that covers every scenario, and to be honest, parenting is really just flying by the seat of your pants, and praying and hoping it works.

I have always done what felt right, and hoped it would work out in the end, and these boys would turn out to be “okay”.  My deepest desire has always been for my children (birth and step) to be happy, healthy, responsible adults, who contribute to society and care about the world in which they live, and the people in their lives.  The oldest two have moved out, and seem to be accomplishing that, (for the most part), although like most young adults they still need Mom “guidance” and they call Karol regularly to talk things over with her.

So, now that the younger two are 17 and 15 and I look back over the years, I can see that there have been plenty of mom “fails” or less than stellar moments.  Like the time I left The Genius at church.  (yes I really did that..I will tell that story another day).

Or the time I was called in to the Principal’s office when Joe Cool was in third grade (three times in the same month) because he 1) helped a kid eat his pudding by pushing the spoon which scratched the kid’s throat, 2) playing leap frog when a kid wasn’t expecting it (knocking the kid down),  3) pushing a kid who was calling him a “vanilla cupcake”, (another story for another day).

Or the time that The Genius decided to say a “bad” word (damn) quite loudly during a quiet moment at church.

Or the time I “forgot” a kid.

Or the time the security officer at Sea World found me to let me know he “could” arrest my son (Joe Cool) because he spit on an employee. (They were on the Manta ride at Sea World, which is a ride where you “lay down”, and Brandon bet Joe Cool, he couldn’t spit and hit something on the ground……the employee walked by just at the wrong moment……)


How could they pass an opportunity to spit on the ground from the ride???


Yes those moments are moments I shake my head, and wonder what I did wrong….

And when you are about to question every decision you ever made, and just resign yourself to the fact that you are a horrible parent things like this happen:

I walked into our local Starbucks on Saturday am on my way to a swim meet in which The Genius was competing.  This is the Starbucks where Joe Cool works.

As I was waiting for my drinks, the lead Barista walked over to me, (most of them know I am Joe Cool’s mom), and said, “Hi, I just wanted to let you know that Joe Cool is a very nice kid.  You did a great job with him.  He is polite, and works hard, and always does what he is told.  I really enjoy working with him.  I know most parents don’t hear about their kids doing good things, and I thought you would like to know that he is a great kid.”

WOW!!!  I was bowled over and felt something well up inside me that felt awesome, and warm, and a bit bubbly.  I think it was pride and joy that my kid had “turned out” okay.

That really made my day…….. and then an even more amazing thing happened.

I had to back to Starbucks that evening because Joe Cool was working, and I needed to swap vehicles with him.  I was standing and waiting for him to get his keys, and one of the adults who work there walked over to me and said, “By the way, I just wanted you to know that I really like Joe Cool.  He is a good worker, and is always funny.  He plays sometimes, but he is young and that is to be expected, but you should know that he is a really good kid, and you did a great job raising him.”

To be honest, at that point I wondered if Starbucks was doing a “say something nice about employees” thing. That somehow the management had said , “If a person’s relative walks in, especially if it is their mom, make sure you say nice things about their kid”, or something like that.  Or maybe I was being “Punk’d” and any minute the camera crew would walk out from the back….  No really, I thought this…..

because “punk’d”

Of course as soon as I thought that I realized it was as ludicrous as you probably thought when you just read it, but seriously???  To hear great things about your kid TWICE in the same day???

It is a bit over whelming…..

Joe Cool....June 2014
Joe Cool….June 2014

(If you doubt that, you might want to re-read the parts about the principals office and what we refer to as “The Sea World Incident.”)

So my weekend was made by these two random people.  Who said such nice things about my kid, and thereby about me and my parenting skills.

That Mom “Win” made the fails, and questionable decisions fade away, and was a moment to revel in….

And then the next day he left all of my windows and moon roof of my car open overnight when we had monsoon like rains, and I had ponds on the floorboards of my car, and the seats were soaked through……

Oh well… least I had one day to bask in my mom glory……