Tween skin issues


Teen (or tween, rather) acne. Its something no parent wishes on their child. Growing up, neither my husband nor I suffered from acne in the true sense. As a teen, I can attest to suffering from breakouts. But it was nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing a little Clearasil didn’t clear up.

When our oldest child hit his tweens, his skin sailed right through, continuing on its flawless path. So with our twins in tow, we didn’t give much thought to them entering their tweens.

And then our son started breaking out. Only it wasn’t just a few…it was more than a few. And some were cystic.

At first, I tried treating it with an OTC benzoyl peroxide. But that wasn’t doing anything. So off we went to the dermatologist. She prescribed us a cream, but frankly, at age 11, I was a bit hesitant to put it onto his skin. Afterall, the skin is a gateway to your body. Much of what we place on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. I did research this cream and while it seemed relatively harmless, I was still not entirely comfortable with it. I started applying it (because I didn’t want him to get scarring) and immediately started researching more natural options. And then, one evening while watching some crap on TV, I saw a commercial for the anti-acne light therapy mask and sat up. What the what? I jotted it down on a pad of paper and several days later, went looking for it online.

I was skeptical. I figured it would be another one of those BS things. But low and behold…the reviews were legit. It was FDA approved for treating acne. And I could get it at Target. And a few weeks into the Rx cream and it hadn’t done a darn thing. So…sold!

Let me just say that This. Mask. Is. Legit.

Seriously…my husband, my child, and myself are all in awe by how well his skin responded (I’d show before and after photos, but he specifically said no). Aside from a few pesky blackheads and some small, occasional pimples around his hairline, his skin is amazing.
acne mask

The product does not use harmful UV lights. Rather, it uses blue and red light to penetrate deeply to kill acne-causing bacteria, reduce inflammation, heal breakouts and even skin tone. Each treatment lasts 15 minutes and shuts off automatically. Unfortunately, the mask only lasts for 30 treatments. But given the cost of prescription creams and even harsh OTC treatments, its a cost effective method. When we first started treatment, he was using it nightly after showering. Once he was about 15 days in, he went down to every other evening and that seems to be working great.

I am not in any way affiliated with this product or being compensated. As the mom of a teen and 2 tweens, I just wanted to share an awesome non-harmful solution that worked for us!

And I’ll be back next week to share my own skin solution…the road I’ve traveled this last year to better skin!

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The Scare.


The dreaded breast cancer scare.

Everyone knows someone it has happened to, and no one wants it to happen to them.

Mine happened back in late fall.

In late September, I went in, whistling, for my 2nd annual mammogram. The first one was easy peasy and was followed up with a happy letter, telling me to come back in a year, and this second one? Just as easy. I went on my merry way, enjoying the rest of my day.

And then one day in LATE NOVEMBER (was the radiologist on an extended vacation?), I opened the mail, thinking I would find a letter similar to the one from last year, only to have my heart end up in my stomach as I read a letter than summoned me back to the hospital for additional scans of my left breast because they found something that was “probably benign, probably not cancer, but…”

Can I just pause for a moment and ask, A) when the hell did these types of letters start coming in the mail? I thought bad suspect news always came in the version of a phone call? and comment that B) That’s not exactly wording to ease one’s mind when sent via USPS.

I called my OB/GYN’s office and the nurse assured me that there should be no cause for alarm…that should it be serious, I would have received an ominous phone call and they would want me to come back NOW. So I tried not to panic. My friends assured me this is a normal thing….that people get called back all the time.

But you know what? A tiny part of me thinks about it every. single. day and wonders and panics just a little bit -and will continue to for the next 19 days, until I get my mammogram and ultrasound.

I will take being scared any day over having the actual thing. If anything, this has taught me the importance of being diligent with annual screens. Its also made me focus on clean, healthy living even more than I was in years past.

Ladies…be sure to get your baseline mammograms done and follow up with annual scans!


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Let’s talk about Botox and fillers.

Why is the perception of women who get Botox or fillers as that of vanity? Whereas women who spend money on creams and lotions as an attempt to keep their skin looking young, not? Why is it cute to embrace wrinkles and frowned upon to do something about it? Why is there such a negative social stigma to (delicately) fighting the signs of aging? Why is it ok to buy the best push up bra, but there’s that stigma attached to having the girls lifted and re-inflated after nursing several children?

As a part of my beauty regimen, I get my eyebrows waxed and my hair colored regularly so that I look and feel good. And I work hard to keep my body fit. To keep it healthy. And frankly, to keep it looking good. And while my skin finally looks great (the adult acne is gone and I’ve gotten rid of some dark spots), I don’t feel great about myself, especially in photos, because I don’t love the deep laugh lines or the permanent 11′s that have made themselves at home on my face. I just can’t find peace with them.

I am not looking for an appearance that is ridiculous. I don’t want to look “young”…I am just not ready to look old! I am not looking to get so much Botox or fillers that you cannot see my facial expressions. I am not looking to look even remotely like Joan Rivers or the freaky cat lady or Dr. Frampf Grant. I just want to feel good about myself.

Vain? I don’t think I am vain in the sense that people use the word. But sure…I care about how I look. And when I look good, I feel good. So I guess I am vain in that sense. Besides, it would be nice to not look like I have Bitchy Resting Face 24/7. And I am not saying I will go forth and hit the needle. I just wanted to know why so many people say that creams and serums are ok, but draw the line at that?

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kitchen facelift


Four years ago, I shared our kitchen remodel that we DIY’d.

At that time, I was already unhappy with my countertops. Four years later, they are even worse. They are literally falling apart in places and are pulling away from the walls.

So here we are…
kitchen countertops and backsplash-2

I just can’t decide what type of backsplash I want. I thought I wanted subway tile. I found this on Pinterest and used it as my muse.

I think I still want subway (all the way down to the countertop), but then I saw the other one and thought that the colors in it drew out the cabinet color nicely as well as brought in grey, which is what I want the walls to be (a very very light greige).
kitchen countertops and backsplash-4

The countertops will be this ‘Pulsar’ color…a white with flecks of grey and subtle honey marbling.
kitchen countertops and backsplash-5

I worry that anything besides a plain, smooth tile will be hard to clean (ohmygod, our house is so dusty! damn old homes!). Plus I worry that I will get sick of it.

Thoughts? Opinions? Feedback? All is welcome!!

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Changes in latitude


Key West. Close to perfect, far from normal. Key Weird. Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes. Key West- where a chicken can cross the road and his/her motive will not be questioned.

All these and more. All true.

Recently, my husband and I had a chance to get away for a little 6 day trip to Southern Florida. We kicked off our vacation in Key West and wrapped it up in South Beach. Those 2 locations couldn’t be more opposite of each other. The keys are so laid back, relaxed, and chill. Kind of an anything goes type of place. South Beach was filled with beautiful cars, gorgeous people, thumping clubs, expensive food and drink, and more fake breasts in any square mile than I’ve ever seen. But the beach? Oh the beach. It was heaven on earth.

key west chickens

key west rooster

key west chicken
s’up with all the roosters down there, anyway?

When in Key West, one must do all the touristy things, like Hemingway House…

I would die for a porch like this

I would die for a porch like this

cats cats cats...everywhere with the cats

cats cats cats…everywhere with the cats

a urinal from the original Sloppy Joe's made into a cat water trough

a urinal from the original Sloppy Joe’s made into a cat water trough

Hemingway's office

Hemingway’s office

one of the kitties just chillin in the master bedroom

one of the kitties just chillin in the master bedroom

the floor in Hemingway's boys bathroom

the floor in Hemingway’s boys bathroom

a view of Lighthouse Tower from Hemingway House

a view of Lighthouse Tower from Hemingway House

….and Southernmost Point…
key west southernmost point

…as well as Fort Zachary Taylor State Park (a wonderful place to bike to and around, by the way)…
key west fort zachary taylor

key west civil war fort

key west beach

key west beach sign

…and Fort East Martello, where we visited the very creepy Robert the Doll.
key west robert-the-doll
(by the way, Key West has a few ghost tours, but I recommend this walking one. We saw the house where Robert resided and my camera captured an orb by his room…and no one else had one. EEK!)

All your life, you hear stories of refugees trying to come to Florida from Cuba. But when you actually see exhibits like this in person? Wow. It has an impact. I mean…how awful was it for them to get on something like this and attempt to make that 90 mile journey?
key west and south beach-14

key west and south beach-13

We caught some amazing sunsets that Key West is famous for. This one was from Mallory Square, which is much like Florida’s version of Bourbon Street.
key west signature sunset

This evening was more overcast. We enjoyed the sunset on the beach from Louie’s Backyard Upper Deck.
key west sunset

key west upper deck

There are coconuts everywhere. Instead of hot dog street vendors, they have coconut vendors. Homes have 3 trash cans – trash, recycling, and coconuts (not kidding).
key west coconuts

I took great pains to research a list of places we would enjoy dining at. And my list didn’t disappoint. It’s always worth it to do a little legwork, in my opinion.

The view from Half Shell Raw Bar, where Chris enjoyed a plate of oysters

The view from Half Shell Raw Bar, where Chris enjoyed a plate of oysters

Checking out the area adjacent to Key West Bight

Checking out the area adjacent to Key West Bight

Among the other places we ate and would recommend were The Café, Firefly, and La Creperie.

When we left Key West, we headed North and made a pit stop at Bahia Honda State Park, the home of some gorgeous beaches and great snorkeling. Unfortunately, there was no snorkeling that day because of a jellyfish warning. But we did get some gorgeous photos.
key west bahia honda

key west historic bridge

key west and south beach-32

South Beach met us with a faceful of sunshine, beautiful blue waters, and white sand beaches.

the view from our hotel, The Stanton

the view from our hotel, The Stanton

south beach view

south beach

He got a cigar in Key West and couldn't wait to smoke it. Blech.

He got a cigar in Key West and couldn’t wait to smoke it. Blech.

When it comes to food in South Beach, the recommendation I’d give is to skip Ocean Drive. Definitely walk down it…the experience is something else. But skip the overpriced, underwhelming food and go off the beaten path.
The two dinners we had were phenominal. One was at Tap Tap, a Hatian restaurant.

and the other was at Pane Y Vino, a tiny Italian restaurant right outside of Espanola Way, where they handmade all their pasta.
pane y vino south beach

espanola way

I had 2 things on my ‘to do’ list while in South Beach. One was to have a drink at the Rose Bar in the Hotel Delano. I had read about it on the Travel Channel’s website and was intrigued. Let’s just say that when they mention that drinks are more than $10, they really mean it.

These 2 cocktails came to $64. Hot damn.

These 2 cocktails came to $64. Hot damn.

It was definitely one of the most gorgeous hotels I’ve ever set foot in.
hotel delano

south beach

The other thing on our list was to explore the Wynwood neighborhood. We opted to once again, rent bikes, so that we could casually check out everything on the way there/back as well as get some exercise.

South Beach views

Wynwood is quite the odd place. Its located just west of Midtown Miami (and you have to bike through some very sketchy areas to get there). Its made up of many wholesale clothing businesses, art galleries, and industrial buildings, as well as some wonderful dining establishments. Amid all this are the Wynwood Walls – completely stunning. Every wall, door, fence, sidewalk, etc is a canvas for artists. Nothing is off limit.





















Have you been to any of these places? How often do you have a chance to getaway without your kids? Do you have anything on the radar?

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