Staying Safe in the Texas Sun

Staying Safe in the Texas Sun


Sunscreen Tips to Stay “Sun Safe”

Sunlight is a part of our everyday summer, spring & fall life here in Texas, and I always recommend protective clothing and sunscreen on a daily basis. Here are some tips for this important skincare step that can help prevent brown spots, sun damage, deeper wrinkles and skin cancer.


What level of SPF should I use?

Make sure that your sunscreen is broad spectrum with transparent zinc oxide. This ensures that you protect against ultraviolet radiation from the sun (which includes ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B.) The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a minimum of SPF 30 for daily use. SPF 30 blocks 97% of ultraviolet rays (UVB) and SPF 50% blocks 98%, so SPF 30 is sufficient.

SPF stands for sun protection factor. It tells you how long the sun’s UV radiation would take to redden your skin when using the product exactly as directed versus the amount of time without any sunscreen. So ideally, with SPF 30 it would take you 30 minutes longer to burn than if you were not wearing sunscreen.


How much sunscreen should I use and how often to reapply? 

To get the full broad spectrum of protection of your sunscreen, it is recommended that you apply one ounce of sunscreen (about a shot glass full) all over your body. Reapplication every 2 hours is recommended, especially if you are outside all day.


Who needs to use sunscreen?

Everyone! Men, women and children over 6 months of age should use sunscreen every day. This includes people who tan easily and those who do not; your skin is damaged by sun exposure over your lifetime, whether you burn or not.


What is the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens?

Chemical sunscreens work like a sponge, absorbing the sun’s rays. They contain one or more of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, oxtisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.  Physical sunscreens work like a shield, sitting on the surface of your skin and deflecting the sun’s rays. They contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.  I generally recommend the physical sunscreens as they are safer for the environment, better for sensitive skin and provide a great barrier to the harmful UV rays.

When should I apply sunscreen?

Every day! The best practice is to apply 30 minutes before going outside to allow the sunscreen to adhere to your skin. Reapply after every 2 hours of sun exposure and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.  Even when it is cloudy, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV radiation reaches earth. Thus, going unprotected on an overcast day can lead to skin damage.


How can I protect my baby from the sun? 

Ideally, parents should avoid exposing babies younger than 6 months to UV rays. The best way to protect infants is to keep them in the shade as much as possible, and by wearing sun protective clothing. However, if sunscreen needs to be used, physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide formulated for infants will cause less irritation.


What type of sunscreen should I use?

The one that you will use! But, to further answer that question, make sure it offers broad spectrum protection and is at least SPF 30. If you are swimming, opt for one that is water-resistant (but you still need to reapply after 2 hours).

Available sunscreen options include lotions, creams, gels, ointments, wax sticks, and sprays.  If you use a spray, make sure that the product is widely used and recommended to ensure they are safe and effective. Current FDA regulations on testing do not apply to spray sunscreens.


What is UPF?

Ultraviolet protection factor is UPF, a label for clothing, hats, and fabrics that offer protection against UV rays. A shirt labeled UPF 50 allows 1/50th of the UV radiation to reach your skin.  There are many new fabrics that offer high tech protection and breathability, too.  Also, wearing UV blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around them help as well.

Vitamin D and Sun Protection

While a small amount of Vitamin D can be obtained from exposure to the sun’s UV radiation, the health risks of UV exposure, including skin cancer are great. The Skin Cancer Foundation advises for one to get their Vitamin D from items such as fish, fortified dairy products and cereals, and supplements.


Do not forget to live a “Sun Safe” life and use sunscreen, sun protective clothing and seek shade, but still enjoy this Texas summer!


Content provided by Dr. Anita Gill, The Gill Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology. Dr. Anita Gill is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA, which is linked to the world-famous Charity Hospital. She earned a prestigious dermatology residency at the Texas Medical Center at the University of Texas at Houston and the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center. She served as a chief resident in her final year of training. Before her residency, Dr. Anita Gill authored numerous publications during her research year in Dermatology. Together, with her husband, Dr. Paul Gill, a board certified plastic surgeon, they own The Gill Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology where they focus on quality and comprehensive cosmetic plastic surgery and dermatology.

Day Trips

Following years of careful civic planning in accordance with George Mitchell’s original vision, The Woodlands has everything residents need. Unless a job or special event draws us outside peripheries, we’re just fine right where we are to live, work and play. On occasion, however, a change of scenery is good for the soul. For those with a yen to explore our stretch of the greater Houston area, there are nearby locales that clear the mind, entertain the kids and satisfy the palate.

Less than an hour’s drive from The Woodlands, nestled in one hundred acres of rolling Willis, Texas countryside is a farmhouse J.C. Hill built for his family in 1885. Time and the elements had taken a toll on the place when the Bradbury Family purchased the house and land in 2017 with a vision for restoration, expansion and repurposing. The result is Historic Hill House and Farm, an enchanting Bed and Breakfast featuring first-rate service, accommodation and recreation.

The main house, the barn house and two cottages offer seven well-appointed rooms and suites for overnight booking. Upscale farmhouse in design and comfort, these rooms offer true repose. Dining here is an equal treat. The talented and passionate culinary team at Hill House serves fine country fare three times daily to guests in the same dining room, incidentally that same room has been hosting friends and family for over one hundred and thirty years.

Active families enjoy time by the swimming pool at Hill House, fishing from a massive pond, hiking, jogging, biking and wildlife watching among its ample acreage. Inside the pool barn, an activity room equipped with board games, lawn games, crafts and puzzles are yours for the taking. And for those seeking a more tranquil escape, there is massage, painting and photography lessons and enough distance from the real world for midnight stargazing.

Hill House is a perfect location for family reunions, book clubs, yoga, writing or corporate retreats. A recent restoration of the Hill’s historic barn has added a dreamy venue to the property; 7500 square feet of climate-controlled country-chic ambiance. Not surprisingly, Hill House has additionally become a sought-after wedding location.

Roughly the same distance from The Woodlands, halfway between Conroe and Plantersville on Highway 105 is a similar escape. Named Melrose House when it was constructed in 1854 by Richard Willis, this humble yellow farm-style home and its grounds quickly became a central location for social gatherings in Montgomery County. During the Civil War, resident and local surgeon Dr. John Irion treated patients here, and Sam Houston is rumored to have been a frequent guest.

Several subsequent owners renamed the place for their use as a private residence. When the Weems family purchased the property in 2012, the goal was to restore the original social aspect of the historic property. Following renovation, the estate was reopened to the public as the Hodge Podge Lodge, a delightfully rustic Bed and Breakfast and event venue.

Current owners Jeff and Mistie Angelo recently acquired the dream and took it up a notch, adding a pergola, an open-air pavilion and other wedding and event accoutrement to the grounds. The greatest challenge, and pride for Jeff, a ‘retired-refired’ entrepreneur, was the addition of a commercial kitchen and restaurant inside the historic house without compromising its delicate original features. The Eatery at Hodge Podge Lodge has become a celebrated addition to the gourmet dining scene in Montgomery. Head Chef Rick Adams along with Jeff Angelo (also a chef) created The Eatery’s nicely balanced menu of hearty entrees, light salads and sides. Locally sourced produce and meat, and dishes made daily from scratch are hallmarks of the operation’s excellence.

Whether in need of a location for a girl’s weekend getaway, a nearby escape for the family, or a beautiful environ for time alone to read or write, the Hodge Podge Lodge fits the bill.

Article by: Karen Carroll

Hindu Temple

India is a country with multiple languages, subcultures, culinary styles and traditions, so when the Hindu Temple of The Woodlands began operating in 2011, one of the first questions the founding members began to address was: How do we bring people together? They quickly realized that the way to do that was through shared experiences.

Given that Hindu culture and religion are expansive and expressed in various ways, the members of the Temple needed a way to connect despite their different beliefs. To do that, they established three guiding principles: the expression of their collective faith, preserving and enhancing knowledge and culture, and community service. Rather than homogenizing the traditions in the Temple, they respect and keep these separate distinctions but celebrate together.

Indian Festivals

The congregation had their first Woodlands’ Holi festivity in 2011, Holi is an ancient Hindu festival of colors celebrating the coming of spring. The Temple has seen attendance grow from 150 people in 2011 to 2,500 in 2019. Holi is unique because it celebrates music, food, color and diversity; the festival symbolizes love and friendship and people from all walks of life can enjoy it.

The Temple also holds an annual Diwali festival honoring light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance, all of which are values that can be universally appreciated. Diwali is celebrated by the Temple every autumn for two days, based on the lunar and solar calendars.

“We are trying to create the complete Indian experience in the Temple and are expecting 5,000 people this year,” mentioned Sudharsan Arunachalam, President of the Temple’s Executive Committee. All of the food offerings are homemade and made from scratch by volunteers. Attendees dress up in beautiful attire, enjoy food and sweets, exchange gifts and pray for the general well-being of the community and their families. People have many different ways of celebrating Diwali, as each region of India has a myriad of customs and traditions. Given the diversity of the Temple’s members, the holiday can be enjoyed by Hindus and Non-Hindus alike.

Diwali and Holi, as well as the other festivals celebrated by the Hindu Temple of The Woodlands, are all about multicultural exchange. Every member of the community is welcome to join in, free of charge, and enjoy an enriching experience with their family and neighbors, including live performances and activities that epitomize the incredibly vast range of Indian culture.

A Center for Culture and Devotion

“Hinduism is a set of beliefs; it is a platform of expression rather than a religion and the Temple welcomes people of all faiths,” mentioned Praveen K. Gottipati, Chairman of the Temple’s Board of Trustees. The Temple offers many activities: yoga and meditation classes as a platform for higher reality and enlightenment, youth and senior programs, as well as Hindi, Sanskrit and other Indian language classes. They also offer classical Indian dance, percussion and vocal singing lessons.

“We are so excited to see so many people do yoga with us, celebrate festivals with us, get some education about what we are doing; it’s a wonderful way that we are progressing as a community within the larger community,” mentioned Beth Beckwith Kulkarni, an American-Hindu and volunteer worker who was recently awarded the Lifetime Community Service Award by Hindus of Greater Houston for being an active community member for over 40 years.

The Temple is operated by volunteers, and relies on monetary donations and time contributions. Throughout the years, an active gardening community has formed among the congregation. The herbs and vegetables that they grow are used for their Annadanam Program, where every Sunday, 150 volunteers cook a meal and serve about 150 devotees and visitors.

Showing remarkable long-term vision and care for the environment, the Board of Trustees and Hindus in our community are working to protect the future of the planet. The Hindu Temple is environmentally friendly, gets its energy from solar panels, and has replaced plasticware with biodegradable plates in all of their festivities. Recently, the Temple had to remove some trees to make room for new facilities, but with the help of their youth program participants and The Woodlands Township, they have planted over 1,000 new trees.

To expand and offer additional programs and services to the community, soon the Hindu Temple will start construction of a new building. It will have a multipurpose hall for performances, events, dance recitals, concerts and more. It will also have a full kitchen, seating area and activity rooms. “Indian celebrations mean cooking, eating, and dancing,” said Rashmi Gupta, a Hindu Temple board member and resident of The Woodlands for 22 years. Gupta exemplifies the Temple’s success in bringing the community together by building bridges of understanding and acceptance. “I feel very close, and I feel the whole community as a family,” she remarked.

The Hindu Temple members invite families in The Woodlands to come out and experience the next Diwali Festival on October 19th and the Holi Festival in March of 2020.

Article by: Ana Beatriz Priego

The Woodlands Methodist School Boots & Bling

The Woodlands Methodist School held its 5th annual fundraiser and auction, Boots and Bling , at the architecturally stunning Glade Cultural Center. At the museum-themed event, guests enjoyed the steady flow of flavorsome hors d’oeuvres from Truluck’s and the smooth sounds of Jeremy Schwanke. The school’s volunteer-based Parent Enrichment Organization, led by Fundraising Chairperson Tina Stackhouse, orchestrated the event to raise funds in support of The Woodlands Methodist School.

The Woodlands Methodist School provides a Christian education for children 18 months through 8th grade. For more information or to schedule a tour, visit

Photo credit: Ouh La La Photography by Bella Lataste and TWMS Parent

Fundraising Chairperson Tina Stackhouse and PEO President, Salley Chung

Tina Stackhouse and Melinda Brieger with auctioneer

Salley Chung, Mary Beth Beijers, Melinda Brieger, Tina Stackhouse, Kristin Weaver, Laura Graham, Rebecca Schneider


Women Empowering Women Luncheon Helps Interfaith Community Clinic Serve Uninsured

The 7th Annual Women Empowering Women Luncheon presented by CHI St. Luke’s Health was held on January 31 at The Woodlands Resort. Nearly 400 guests were uplifted by inspiring and talented Grammy Award Winning Artist Mandisa, the featured speaker of the event. Mandisa spoke candidly about overcoming her struggle with depression through faith, counseling and help from her friends, and the importance of access to medical and mental health resources like those provided by the Interfaith Community Clinic (ICC) for individuals in need.

The Women Empowering Women Luncheon raises vital funds for the Interfaith Community Clinic, the only clinic that provides medical, dental and mental health services to the uninsured for all of Montgomery County. Since inception, the Women Empowering Women luncheons have raised over 1.1 MIL for healthcare services for individuals in our community with no medical coverage. The ICC opened in 1996 and is the epitome of neighbors helping neighbors, with approximately 90% of the services performed by licensed professionals volunteering their time. The clinic serves over 10,000 patients annually through the support of generous donors, volunteers and the Women Empowering Women luncheon proceeds.

Photo credit: Derrick Bryant and Jen McDonald

To volunteer, donate or learn more about the Interfaith Community Clinic, please visit

Wildlife in The Woodlands

The vision of the late George Mitchell, founder of The Woodlands, was to create a community in harmony with nature. Of the 28,000 acres in The Woodlands, 7,665 acres are now devoted to green space in parks, golf courses and greenbelts. Nearly 8,000 acres (28%) will remain undeveloped green space upon completion of The Woodlands build-out for aesthetics, but also largely to conserve the natural habitat.

It is not difficult to encounter wildlife in The Woodlands with 220 miles of hike and bike paths and 150 lakes; George Mitchell’s intent was that a resident of The Woodlands could walk to a body of water within ten minutes from any point in the area. The close proximity to nature and access to wonderful outdoor amenities is one of the major attractions of The Woodlands, but combining nature and growth is a delicate balance.

According to Chris Nunes, Head of Parks and Recreation of The Woodlands Township, “Being able to see and touch nature has a decompressing effect.” He emphasized though that most nature (wild animals) should be admired from afar. They discourage residents from feeding the wildlife in The Woodlands, particularly waterfowl, as it will cause the animals to develop an inability to survive and a reliance on outside food, as well as high cholesterol. However, there are plenty of ways to appreciate and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Nunes encourages residents of all ages to go out into the preserve or trails, close your eyes and first listen for and experience the sounds of the environment – birds, frogs and insects. Then open your eyes and look for the myriad of nuanced colors; watch for tracks, feathers and droppings along the trails to determine which animals may be in the area. The vast array of wild creatures one can find are all part of the complex ecosystem of The Woodlands and The Woodlands Township Parks and Recreation team spend considerable time and effort educating the public to respect and value all types of wildlife.

Urban Eagles- Bald Eagles Call The Woodlands Home
The most famous wild residents of The Woodlands are undoubtedly the bald eagles that now call our area home. The first eagles were spotted in The Woodlands in 1999. Fred LeBlanc, Environmental Manager at The Howard Hughes Corporation (then Mitchell Energy & Development Corporation) was alerted that a family of bald eagles was nesting in a commercial space that was undeveloped at the time (across from Mitchell Island on East Shore). Bald eagles were protected on the endangered species list and that spurred debate on the path forward.

As a result, the development corporation contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and sponsored a study on eagles with Stephen F. Austin State University. They applied for a 10A permit to continue development with safety provisions. Provided they allowed sufficient buffer zones from the nest, they were permitted to continue construction in the non-nesting period of June through October.

For the following four years, the eagles would come back each year to nest in that same spot. Interestingly, even once construction began in the area, still in compliance with the prescribed buffers, the development company noticed the eagles were not phased by the construction and chose to continue to nest and mate there in spite of the construction. Over the years the eagles have built five nests in various locations in relatively close proximity to that original nest, most recently at Lake Front Circle. Aptly referred to as “urban eagles”, this new breed of eagles seemingly does not seem to mind busy suburban areas such as The Woodlands.

A second nest, or eyrie as they are called, which can be up to ten feet across and three feet deep, appeared a few years later in the Bear Branch area. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are now four nests in the township, although they will not disclose the exact locations. Between the various nests, The Woodlands with its multitude of lakes and abundant pine trees has been home to at least 36 eaglets hatched since 2000.

In 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the Federal Threatened & Endangered Species Act as the eagle population began to rebound across the country. However, they are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagles Protection Act among others, which prohibit harassment of the birds. The bald eagles have garnered quite a following in the area with one local resident, Randy Scott even starting a Facebook page called “Save The Woodlands Eagles” featuring etiquette tips to watch the birds without disturbing them.

On any given day during the nesting period and now sometimes even beyond those times, you are likely to find a plethora of avid bird watchers with high-tech lenses as well as neighborhood residents trying to catch a peek with the naked eye. One of the best viewing locations is the Lake Front Circle location in Hughes Landing adjacent to The Woodlands United Methodist Church parking lot. The beauty and wonder of these majestic birds is definitely a sight to behold and a highlight of the wildlife in The Woodlands. The hope is that these urban eagles will continue to call our area home for many years to come.

Article by: Janelle Romano  |  Photography: Derrick Bryant

The Woodlands Chamber Hosts Taste of The Town 2020

Foodies from every village in The Woodlands came out earlier this month at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott to feast on tastings from over 40 local restaurants at The Taste of The Town organized and hosted by The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce.
The annual event attracted over 2,000 attendees that enjoyed a wide range of samples showcasing bites from simple to refined for every palette. In addition, guests were able to help determine who receives bragging rights by casting votes to select “Best of Taste” winners. The winners taking home the accolades this year are as follows:

People’s Choice Award: Killen’s Steakhouse
Smoked pork belly burnt ends with a cherry habanero BBQ glaze

Best Appetizer: Johnny’s Italian Restaurant
Johnny’s Steak Nachos

Best Entrée: The Butler House
Malbec Braised Short Ribs, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Reduced Braising Jus, Sautéed Carrot

Best Dessert: Nona’s Italian Grill
Panna cotta (a creamy Italian jello /pudding with special berry sauce and fresh fruits)

Best Decorated Booth: Zanti Cucina Italiana

“Best thing about this event is, of course, the food,” JJ Hollie said, CEO and president of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce. “But it’s also a good event for the community to gather and enjoy the different kinds of food.”

The event spotlights Chamber members and demonstrates the wide array of options for residents of The Woodlands to eat, socialize and enjoy while supporting local businesses.


For more information on the event or The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce please visit or


The John Cooper School Signatures Author Series Features Maria Semple

An enthusiastic crowd of over 720 people were in attendance for the 15th Annual John Cooper School at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott featuring Maria Semple, internationally recognized bestselling novelist (Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Today Will Be Different, This One Is Mine) as well as a producer and writer for television shows, 90210, Mad About You, Saturday Night Live, Ellen and Arrested Development.

The compelling event included an Antarctic 11-day cruise drawing prize and Warby Parker sunglasses signed by Maria Semple among other items. Another highlight of the event is the addition of visiting authors, 20 authors were in attendance this year, including numerous local authors. The funds raised from the Signatures Author Series will help fund the Montgomery County Memorial Library System to replace books lost due to Hurricane Imelda. Past events have featured authors such as Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Nicholas Sparks and Gillian Flynn.

“Lisa and I could not be more pleased with this 15th anniversary event,” said Malin Melin, who co-chaired the event with Lisa Hollingsworth. “Ms. Semple was both lighthearted and thought-provoking and was rounded out by Visiting Authors whose talents enhance our event every year. We are very grateful to the sponsors and many volunteers who create an experience to celebrate literature and authors in a festive atmosphere for a good cause.”

The John Cooper School is a college preparatory, independent school located in The Woodlands that has a current enrollment of 1,284 students in Pre-k through Grade 12. For more information please contact Deb Spiess at

HOPE Under the Stars 2019

This past Winter, 600 guests filled the Grand Ballroom of The Woodlands Resort to raise funds and share the message of HOPE for The Will Herndon Research Fund at the 11th annual HOPE Under the Stars event. The guests experienced a genuine glimpse into the world of Will Herndon, a 16 year old Woodlands resident that has been battling a rare degenerative brain disease called juvenile Batten disease. The evening’s theme transformed the ballroom from black and white to a world full of color and HOPE. The transformation represented the hope and optimism personified by Will and his love for life. The event honored long-time supporters, Dr. Scott and Amy Young and corporate honoree, Waste Connections for their overwhelming support.  The event raised over $570,000 for research and funding for the anticipated clinical trial to begin in early 2020.
“The Woodlands community embraced Will as their own son and stood by our family, funding research and sharing prayers to help save our boy,” said Missy Herndon, Co-Founder of HOPE: The Will Herndon Fund. “After 11 years of support, awareness and fundraising, we are excited to share Will will be in a clinical trial in the coming month.”

For more information on juvenile Batten disease and the fight to Save Will visit or

Photography Courtesy Derrick Bryant & Jen McDonald

Non-Traditional Holiday Celebrations

Courtesy of The Woodlands Hotel Management Co.

Whether you have family in town visiting or are just looking to start a new tradition this holiday season, here are some fun non-traditional ways to celebrate in The Woodlands during the holiday season. Consider escaping your home and getting away to a local hotel for your next family gathering where you can enjoy time with loved ones and make memories without all of the stress and distractions of hosting.

Holiday Traditions and Elf Tuck-ins at 
The Woodlands Resort
Celebrate the holidays at The Woodlands® Resort beginning with our annual Grand Illumination Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 29th. Enjoy an evening of family-friendly holiday cheer with live music and kids’ activities including a visit from Santa. Take your family photo in one of our holiday photo booths, and marvel at the lighting of the Resort’s exquisitely decorated 20-foot tree. Other community events include Breakfast with Santa and holiday brunches in The Woodlands Dining Room and Robard’s Steakhouse. Make it a holiday staycation, and weekend guests will be delighted with holiday movies, ornament decorating, letter-writing to Santa, and roasting s’mores. Treat the little ones to a special Elf visit to tuck them in at bedtime complete with storytelling, and milk and cookies. Visit to discover more.

Spectacular Rooftop Event Space on The Waterway
The new rooftop terrace on the pool deck of Como Social Club is one of the most chic and unique venues in The Woodlands. Overlooking the stunning Waterway, the stylish setting captures the ambiance and allure of Lake Como, Italy, and is the perfect backdrop for your next special event. Choose from an array of handcrafted cocktails, a selection of wines from our award-winning sommelier, and exceptional cuisine created by our acclaimed chef. From dream weddings and intimate family gatherings to holiday parties and corporate receptions, the skilled team at Como Social Club can help coordinate an event to remember. Call 281.419.4300 to book your site visit today.

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