Why I Might Be Renaming my Blog...


 I haven't written any new posts on my blog for quite a while.  I have at least 100 excuses why and I'm afraid only a couple of them are good ones.  I haven't felt really well in the past couple of weeks which has made writing and editing photos difficult.  I've also had some health issues which I have written about previously.  The main problem I am having has to do with a precancerous skin condition.  The skin condition is called Actinic Keratosis which I am likely to continue having from time to time throughout the rest of my life.

Here is the post I wrote about my first scare with a precancerous skin condition: 

Island Girl's PSA: Tanning is OUT and Your Skin is IN!!!

460881_4208426543007_1838610959_oThe above photo was taken in Kauai at an area called Queen's Bath

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The Spectacular Beaches of Cancun, Mexico

I loved my view in Cancun last week and not sure who wouldn't! 

I haven't posted any while because I was in Cancun with a friend from college and we were very busy visiting the sites and exploring the area.  I have been to Cancun for more than 10 times over the past 20 years or so.  I cannot believe how much it has grown since my first visit.  When I first visited back in college we got on a bus after exiting the airplane because there wasn't even an airport!  We could get a taxi anywhere for $2, bought pineapples for a quarter and a bottle of beer for a quarter as well.  Now it is very similar to visiting Orlando, Florida with similar prices.

 The beaches are still just as beautiful with their white powder air conditioned sand and turquoise water with very large waves to play in.  The weather is fabulous especially in February!   Sometimes it is recommended for people to not go in the water because the waves are so big!  Of all the times I have visited Cancun I have never been in February.  The weather was perfect for doing all the sightseeing I did as it was not terribly hot.  It was great looking out my window and seeing the ocean and listening to it at night even on the night it was really stormy!

You can see (and use for free) a lot more of my photos of Cancun on my Pixabay account here:  Mariamichelle's Pixabay account


 This pelican was so big I didn't think it was real when I saw it floating around in the water!


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Here I am practicing with my new remote control for my camera on my little balcony
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Untitled (1 of 1)-147Here I am with the windblown look and my friend from college at a public beach where there is a sign saying Cancun.  We had to wait in quite a long line to have it in our photo taken there.  I must say this is a beautiful beach for people staying and the city hotels that don't have their own beach.
Untitled (1 of 1)-147 What beach that you've visited is your favorite?

  Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope to hear your questions or comments and I'm curious if you have visited Cancun or anywhere else in Mexico.  Have a great week!




Island Girl's PSA: Tanning is OUT and Your Skin is IN!!!


I had a wake up call this week regarding sun exposure and wearing sunscreen.  I live in sunny Florida and have visited some very nice places with great beaches that are near the equator.  I've mistakenly thought that my olive tone skin would protect me.  While darker skin is less likely to be affected negatively by the sun, no one is immune.  I want to share my experience in case it can help someone else.

1535385_10202946244611175_2027794919_nPaia Beach, Maui, Hawaii




when I am out exploring beaches and Islands.  I grew up in Vermont where we only had a few weeks of really hot and sunny weather during the year.  We didn't really think about sunscreen because we wanted to soak in as much of the sunlight as we could.  I was a tomboy and I was always outdoors. We also had a pool and I never really worried about getting a sunburn.

I  As a teenager we used baby oil when laying in the sun.  When I went to college, we made a point of being out during the PTH 's - also known as the prime tanning hours between 10 AM and two PM.  I will tell you in this post are the hours when the sun is the strongest and most dangerous and we need to be the most careful. 

When I was in my 20s I discovered tanning beds.   At that time most people believed that tanning beds were better for you than the sun.  That belief is now said to be very untrue. 

I went to a dermatologist last week and pointed out some moles that I have developed in adulthood.  I also pointed out a small spot on my nose which the doctor might not have noticed if I hadn't pointed it out. It was on the side of my nose which is a very typical area for certain types of skin cancer to develop.  When the doctor saw it, she immediately said that it needed to be removed. 

I had to wait nearly 2 weeks for the biopsy to come in it came back as a pre-cancerous lesion so it is not cancer and basically had about a one in five chance of becoming cancer.  If it had come back as cancer, I would have faced 15 days of radiation five days a week for three weeks.  She did recommend that in the fall I go back for a very deep chemical peel.  She wants me to wait because having something like this done in the summer can make your skin extra sensitive. 

So what will I do differently in the future?  I will do my best not to spend a lot of time in the sun between 10 AM and 2 PM if I do need to be in the sun I will make sure that I use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF or above.  I will wear a wide brimmed hat and reapply sunscreen every hour or so.  One should also need to make sure that the expiration date on my sunscreen is good as it doesn't last forever. 

I have also learned through this ordeal that everyone should check their skin frequently for any changes.  Our skin is the largest organ in your body and it's not a bad idea to have a yearly check up or more often if you are at risk for skin cancer.  If you have a relative with the most serious type of cancer called melanoma, you are more likely to develop it.  Any moles that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser or that are very dark colored or have an asymmetrical border should be looked at by a doctor.  Melanoma is almost always curable if caught early.  If is if it is not caught early it is extremely serious. 

I will still visit beaches, but thankfully I stopped just lying on the beach in the past five or six years.  I prefer to sit under umbrellas or inside.  As I've gotten older I don't really like just to sit still.  I like to explore and walk around so just laying on the beach and baking in the sun is no longer fun to me. 

All of this said I will still be very vigilant when it comes to my skin and visit a doctor at least once a year.  Unfortunately it can take as much is 20 to 40 years for the full effects of sun damage to show up on your skin. You can read more about skin cancer here:  Skin Cancer Facts

Here is a list of what I will do differently in the future:

1.  Avoid the sun and or be extra careful between 10 AM and 2 PM

2. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF making sure to check the expiration date and re-apply every 1-2 hours.

3.  Wear a wide brimmed hat at the beach - sunglasses are good too.

4.  Visit a doctor at least once a year for a skin scan check.  Anything suspicious especially unusual moles need to be checked immediately.

Luckily I love stormy weather - even at the beach:


Thank you so much for stopping by please leave any comments or questions.  I hope you all have a wonderful week.