This week, we go Under the Umbrella with Amanda Vowels, PR Professional and extremely active, outdoor loving mother of two. Between her time spent in Australia and her family history with skin cancer she has become one sun savvy lady. You don’t want to miss this hilarious and honest interview!
Name, Age, Location
Amanda Calnan Vowels, 37, Portland, Oregon
How would you describe your lifestyle?
I am Pacific NW all the way. Born in Washington; living in Oregon.
Winter snow skiing. Spring and fall salmon fishing on a boat on the Columbia River with my dad. Hiking, camping, river swimming and picking blueberries, raspberries, blackberries all summer with the kids and my husband. These days, we’re all outside with our new puppy daily. Rain or shine or wind or hail! Dogs are great for that.
We eat as seasonally as possible – which works out pretty well in the Pacific Northwest. We have so much to choose from, year-round.
Oh, and of course . . . dark Oregon beer in winter, light Oregon beer in summer!
When did skincare become a priority?
After my second pregnancy, in my early 30′s — after spending a month visiting my sister in South Africa, I noticed a large melisma spot on my forehead. That’s when I started to take daily face sunscreen serious.
Then, when I was 34 we moved to Brisbane, Australia, for a few years. Everything we did there revolved around sunscreen, shade and brimmed hats. Aussies don’t muck around with the sun since Australia is under a very thin part of the ozone. We all hated how much sunscreen we had to wear – it was in our hair, on our sheets, on our clothing, in our mouths. I wore gloves driving around town to protect my hands while they were on the steering wheel and I’d see other women wearing loose men’s shirts backwards in the car to protect their chests and arms from damage. It was a real eye opener.
Why is your skin a priority?
My Mexican mom and grandma are ageless but my mostly-Irish dad had basal cell carcinoma removed from his nose. Genetics are incredibly important and I am the only blue-eyed, blonde out of my siblings. They take after my mom.
Living in Australia really opened up my eyes to the realities of the sun. Our family adopted the Australian Cancer Council’s prominent “Slip! Slop! Slap!” campaign. “Slip on a sun shirt. Slop on sunscreen. Slap on a hat.” The historic campaign is part of the Aussie psyche. School kids are required to wear broad-brimmed hats to school and playgrounds have shade sails. Even with all that, skin cancer clinics are all over the place in Australia.
What is your healthy skin regimen?
I’m always trying and learning new things – so I change it up daily. However, the one constant is drinking lots of pure Cascade Mountain tap water. We are so lucky in Portland. It tastes like nothing else in the world. In winter, I’ll drink it warm with lemon.
Also, unless I’ve worked out, I don’t over scrub my entire body with soap every time I get in the shower. I think our bodies are over-soaped which leads to quite a bit of skin problems. I also try to keep our family’s soaps, shampoos and sunscreens as pure and natural as we can afford. Which isn’t always easy.
And, I’m totally going to sound like a complete snob here, but right now, I’m into really into the French-style micelle waters for washing my face. Trader Joe’s has them as wipes and I use them just at the end of the day.
What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet, and why?
My black Target Australia cuffed rayon cargo pants. I paid a premium for them (because everything is expensive in Oz) and they go with everything and look sporty or dressy and can be worn with riding boots, heels, booties or running shoes.
Which shoes do you pair with your little black dress? Your jeans?
The LBD, goes with black leather sling back pumps, for sure. All my jeans are cuffed and go with ankle boots right now.
How would you define your personal style?
Oh my gosh, in my mind — I think I’m pulling off “Reese Witherspoon”, but in reality it probably comes across looking more like “Helena Bonham Carter”! I really do believe in finding a few style icons you want to emulate, though. It’s something I learned to do in recent years. Find someone with your proportions or coloring – not Jennifer Lopez for me – and think about what they’d pull-off.
If you could go back, what would you wish you could teach your younger self?
So many things . . . first, to use my athletic body in every possible way when I was younger. I wish I’d tried more sports earlier. I would have also traveled more before kids. And, I would tell my self to find and wear a hat style I like – I would have saved myself a lot of forehead sun damage.
If you are interested in participating in our interview series, please answer as many of the questions above as you would like, and send them to us at email@example.com, and feel free to include a picture of yourself in Your SummerSkin!