Southern Maryland Woman - November/December 2021

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NOV/DEC 2021


Women Warriors HONORING











Our new ER providers

We’re here when you need us most.

Avery Alatis, MD

Dylan Bailey, PA-C

Brittany Downing, PA-C

Stephen Doyle, PA-C

Delys Gribbin, PA-C

David Hager, MD

Maria Lawrynowicz, MD

Amy Prescott, MD

William TenBrink, Jr., MD

Saad Zaatari, MD

Big changes, new faces in the ER. From virtual visits to in-person emergency care, you can feel safe knowing MedStar Health has options to help you feel better as quickly as possible. And if you are coming to the Emergency Department of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, you might notice some exciting new changes—a new team of providers dedicated to providing safe care and an improved and remodeled waiting area with amenities to help keep you comfortable while you wait to be seen. Whether it’s online, after hours, or in our ER, MedStar Health makes it easy to get the care you need, when you need it most.

MedStar eVisit

Offering 24/7 on-demand video access via smartphone or computer. For minor health issues not requiring a physical exam or testing such as cold or flu, pink eye, rash, minor cuts, or urinary tract infection. Visit to get started.

Urgent Care

Twisted ankle, stomach virus, need stitches? MedStar Urgent Care can help. When your primary care doctor is not available, visit one of our five Southern Maryland locations, all offering extended and holiday hours. Walk-ins and appointments available. Visit to save time and check in online.

Emergency Department

Open 24/7 to care for patients experiencing a major or life-threatening issue including chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe abdominal pain, a head injury, heavy bleeding, stroke symptoms, or seizures. Visits to the ER for minor conditions may result in a longer wait. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

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Now open! MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s new front entrance and emergency department. Our hospital recently completed its exciting expansion and renovation project—the largest in our more-than-40-year history. MedStar Southern Maryland has a state-of-theart emergency department (ED) that provides our community with the best care, as well as a beautiful, new front entrance. Our new ED now offers: • A total of 40 ED treatment rooms— almost 50 percent more than before • 18,000 more square feet of space in the ED, for a total of 70,000 square feet • Designated space for behavioral health patients • An enhanced, spacious waiting room • Easier access for EMS personnel • A separate area for patients who may have been exposed to pathogens (coming August 2021) We also have a new front entrance with a 24-hour café and brand new gift shop for patients and visitors.

For more information or to view a video tour of our new emergency department and front entrance, visit

ON THE COVER For decades, Southern LIDAY 2021 HO



Maryland has been home to


C 2021 NOV/DE


a higher number of military personnel due to our close proximity to bases surrounding

rs Warrio WomTHenERN MARYLAND’S n SOU y Wome Militar NG HONORI











D.C. and the Naval Air Station Patuxent River. In honor of Veteran’s Day, we sat down with some of our very own women warriors from the

A Community Publication Proudly Inspiring, Educating & Connecting Southern Maryland Women Since 2007.

tri-county area. Flip to page 10 to read on about four local Publisher Oda Solms

military women’s triumphs, sacrifices, and service.

Editor Rachel Lytle

IN THIS ISSUE 9 17 19 29

Graphic Design Dave Schindler Dana Foody

Young Women and Breast Cancer

Photography Beth Graeme Photography

Common Estate Planning Pitfalls Holiday and Festivities Guide

Distribution Christian Solms Carlisa Kent John Cook

Car Seat Safety Tips


Every issue produced in loving memory of Melissa Solms-Baruth

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PO Box 1656,Leonardtown, MD 20650

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health&wellness By Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS

Regenerative Periodontal Therapy According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 percent of Americans over the age of 30 have periodontitis, a more advanced form of periodontal disease and don’t even know it. In its early stages, periodontal disease is called gingivitis, with symptoms that include swollen, inflamed gums that may bleed during tooth brushing. When allowed to progress, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis. How Is Periodontitis Treated? There are a range of options available for treating

periodontitis depending on the severity of the disease. Initially, a deep cleaning may be recommended to remove the infection and allow your gums to heal. In some advanced stages, the instruments used to perform the deep cleaning may not be able to reach the actual bacteria that is leading to the problem. If the disease is more advanced, a regenerative periodontal therapy procedure may be the most effective treatment approach.

What is Regenerative Periodontal Therapy? A regenerative periodontal therapy procedure is used to reverse the effects of advanced periodontal disease. When the infection has already begun

to remove the disease-causing bacteria. Depending on the degree of damage, membranes, bone grafts, or tissuestimulating proteins can also be used to stimulate your body’s natural ability to regenerate new bone and healthy gum tissue. Eliminating existing bacteria and regenerating bone and tissue helps to reduce the pockets between your teeth and gums and restore your mouth to optimal health.

to destroy the underlying bone that supports your teeth, this type of therapy is recommended to: • Remove bacteria from beneath your gum line • Regenerate lost bone and tissue • Reshape the bones that support your teeth • Prevent future gum damage

Who is a Good Candidate? People with severe or advanced gum disease are usually good candidates for regenerative periodontal therapy. Common symptoms of advanced gum disease include:


• Red, swollen, or bleeding gums • Deep pockets between your teeth and gums • Damaged or loose teeth • Loose gum tissue • New tooth spacing or the appearance of “getting longer” • Pain while eating and chewing • Bad Breath • Receding gums

What Should I Expect? Regenerative periodontal therapy can be done with local anesthesia or a comfortable sedation. During the procedure, the gum tissue is folded back


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Periodontal disease and the inflammation that it generates within your body are associated with a number of very serious health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even cancer. Because gum disease is progressive, early treatment is always best. If you have symptoms associated with periodontitis, you may be a candidate for regenerative periodontal therapy. Schedule a comprehensive periodontal screening right away. Gain peace of mind that you are not at risk. My friendly team is standing by to help answer all of your questions. A referral is not necessary. Call 301-638-4867 or visit us online at Dr. Karl Smith has been in dental practice for more than 34 years. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1981. He retired from the US Air Force as a Lt. Col, in 1996. Dr. Smith has advanced education in the specialty of Periodontics with additional training in Sedation and Dental Implants. He is consistently voted TOP DENTIST by his peers and listed in several publications including Washingtonian Magazine.

health&wellness By Andrea Wolf, Brem Foundation

Young Women and Breast Cancer: These 3 Things Can Save Your Life The past two years have brought a lot of worry. COVID has been an unprecedented source of worry for people young and old. Women, in particular, were hit hard. Obligations at home collided with work and life. At times life felt like a swirling abyss of melding obligations. Even before COVID, young women had a lot on their plates – career, family, meaning, and health. Typically, breast cancer was not on the list of worries for women between ages 25-40. I am in my late 30s. I have four young children and a career. I know the juggle. I live it every day. The last thing I want to do is give other women at this moment in their lives something else to worry about. So, I won’t. What I will do is give younger women, like me, a way to take control; to feel as though there is something that you can do to increase your chances of leading a happy, healthy, balanced life. The key is to be vigilant about breast health – even now. Women at average risk for breast cancer should have annual mammograms starting at age 40. But even younger women who are not eligible can do three things to lower breast cancer risk significantly:


Breast Self-Exam

Breast self-exam is a literal way of taking your life into your own hands. There are many videos and tutorials online that explain the best way to do breast self-exam. It takes about 10 minutes, can be done at home, and is often lifesaving.

When breast cancer is found in its earliest stages it is over 98% curable. If you take steps now to protect yourself and your family, you will have one less thing to worry about and one more reason to celebrate. 2

Find out about your family history

You are never too young to find out whether breast, or other, cancer runs in your family. Ask your mother, grandmother, aunts, cousins, and sisters what they know about breast, ovarian, and other cancers in your family. If you come from a family with many men, it may be helpful to ask extended family too. If you find that there is significant cancer in your family, talk to your primary care doctor or OB-GYN about early screening, genetic testing, or any other steps

you may need to take to protect yourself and your family.


Be a secret weapon

As a young woman, you have a lot of ability to influence others’ lives. Be sure to check in with your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and other women older than 40 who you love. Help them make their breast screening appointments and maybe even go for a pedicure or for a lunch date afterwards. No doubt, COVID made life seem crazier than before. But take breast cancer worry off your plate. When it comes to breast cancer, you have the tools to find it early. When breast cancer is found in its earliest stages it is over 98% curable. If you take steps now to protect yourself and your family, you will have one less thing to worry about and one more reason to celebrate. Commit to tackling breast health for yourselves, the people you

love, and those who love you. If you want more information, go to

Andrea Wolf is the CEO of the Brem Foundation to Defeat Breast Cancer. Andrea works to maximize every woman’s chance of catching early, curable breast cancer. Since assuming this position in 2015, Andrea has significantly expanded the Brem Foundation’s reach. Prior to assuming this role, Andrea served as the Director of Public Policy for Girls Inc. Before that she was an attorney at Patton Boggs LLP. Andrea graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and got her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. Andrea lives in Washington DC with her husband and four daughters. Learn more about the Brem Foundation at or contact:

N ovember/December 2021 |


n e m Wo Photos by: Beth Graeme Photography, Veteran

By Rachel Lytle

Chris ti Heath na Hutchi son e Jaclyn r Julian Ambo Jewel King s


November 11 marks an important day known as Veteran’s Day, a day to honor and thank all military personnel who have served, or currently serve in the United States Armed Forces.


In 2021, women make up nearly 17 percent of all those actively serving in the U.S. armed forces, with the Air Force leading the way – more than 21 out of every 100 Airmen are women. While this might not seem very high, statistically it is the highest percentage on record, and continues to grow – albeit slowly.

residing within our tri-county area, it should be no surprise that the annual Leonardtown Veteran’s Day parade is the largest celebration in all of Maryland.

For decades, Southern Maryland has been home to a higher number of military personnel due to our close proximity to bases surrounding D.C. and the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in St. Mary’s County, built back in the 1940s. In fact, between the dozens of government contractors and thousands of federal and civilian employees

Joining the Military

Our community truly offers a unique insight into the armed forces, and there’s no better way to say thank you to those who serve than to appreciate their story. To do so, we sat down with four local military women to learn about the details of their triumphs, sacrifices, and service. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Christina Hutchison knew she wanted to join the military since she was a child and joined after high school in 1995. “I was enrolled in community college, paying for it with student loans and I figured there was no better time to join. I didn’t hesitate to head

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to the recruiter and sign myself up. I have since completed my bachelor’s degree, all paid for by the G.I. Bill,” she said. Local Army Sergeant Jewel King joined the military after seeing her stepfather’s service first-hand. “He was proud of his accomplishments and the uniform, so I wanted to experience the same for myself,” she said. “The day I enlisted I felt proud and honored to serve and protect my loved ones.” After enlisting, of course, comes boot camp. “It was an incredibly humbling experience. I honestly learned so much about my own inner strengths and weaknesses and how to use them to get me through any adversity,” Jewel reflected. For some, the choice to serve brings new opportunities not otherwise readily

available. Growing up a self-described military brat, Technical Sergeant Jaclyn Ambos knew what the military world could offer and joined the Air Force in 2010 because she needed a change. “I was in a job that didn’t have growth and I just finalized my first divorce,” she said. “The military was an option for me to start a stable career with benefits. It also gave me the opportunity to travel away from St. Mary’s County and experience new things.” But not everyone joins right away. Senior Airman Heather Julian joined the DC Air National Guard in 2017. “I was at Tyndall Air Force Base watching men and women in uniform walk by me and had a wishful longing to walk alongside them in service,” she said. At the time, service seemed a dreamslength away because of her young children and pursuit to finish school. “It took me 12 years to finally take the oath, but I did it,” Heather said. “For me, basic military training was likely different than what it was for 18-year-old women. I was already a mother, had a career and had been around the military for 12 years as a spouse. I knew that it was just a step to take to get back to my daughters, family, and friends. It was physical and demanding but incredibly rewarding to finish.”

Jewel King | Waldorf

Christina Hutchison | Huntingtown

Army (2012 – Present) Sergeant/E-5, Information Technology Specialist

United States Air Force (1995 – Present) Chief Master Sergeant/E-9, Manpower Analyst

Heather Julian | Waldorf DC Air National Guard (2017 – Present) Senior Airman, Security Forces Command Support Staff

Jaclyn Ambos | Hughesville

Family Life Serving in the military is different than a “normal” job – it quite literally controls your movements. And this can make for some difficulties when it comes to marriage, dating, and children. “It can be a challenge trying to juggle a marriage, kids and household with deployment or temporary duty schedules,” Christina said. “It is especially difficult being away from family and not having the support to help out when needed.” Through this experience, she insists that communication is key. “The demand of the military can be very stressful for couples. Ensuring that you keep those lines of communication open and honest is extremely important for a successful relationship. Managing priorities is another very important aspect for a military couple, and understanding. Understanding that things can change, and that we need to adapt. Many things are outside of our control. Sometimes you just need to go with the flow.” While becoming flexible has its perks,

children don’t often adjust as easily. “Having kids while in the military is both a challenge and a blessing,” Heather said. “The challenge comes when I am activated and have to leave for training purposes or deployments. The blessing is that I am raising strong girls who are resilient and able to adjust. They understand that my service and sacrifice of time with them is bigger than just us,” she described. “My best advice for military couples is to adapt – to your surroundings, to your new friends and to the ever-changing circumstances that are sure to come. Seek the support of your friends and family in good times and bad.” Jaclyn found dating others in the military is helpful because they better understand the lifestyle, but it also means their schedule might not align with yours. “I got married in July 2015 and then left for six months in 2016 after I joined the

Air Force (2010 – 2016); Air National Guard (2016 – 2021) Technical Sergeant/E-6, Security Forces Combat Arms & Training

Air National Guard while attending HVAC technical school. The following year, my then wife left for training (1-2 months) and deployed for six months,” Jaclyn explained. “Essentially, over the course of the first two years of our marriage, we were separated more than half of the time. This may be an extreme example, but serving sometimes takes you away from those you love, and it can be hard to cope. Technology allows for video calls to keep in contact, but that lack of touch and physical presence can be difficult,” she said. For Jewel, her family acts as her motivation to continue. “I have three sons and if it wasn’t for my children, I probably would have gotten out. They are my main reasons to finish my 20 years, I want to show them that their mom is capable of ‘finishing the job’,” she said.

N ovember/December 2021 |


Favorite Experiences Many individuals join the military for the opportunity to travel – and protect – the world. Christina reflected on her favorite assignment – at the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne, Australia. “I loved working with the Australians and got to explore all around Melbourne!” Her best memory, however, was volunteering to help post packages at an Air Post Office in Aviano, Italy over the holidays. “We worked around the clock to ensure the military families received all their gifts for Christmas.” Jaclyn also had the opportunity to go abroad. “My favorite assignment was when I deployed to Incirlik, Turkey in 2011 for six months. This was before the Turkish coup attempt. It was the first time I traveled overseas as an adult and we were allowed to travel off base and enjoy the local attractions.” Heather’s favorite memories hit closer to home, helping our regional community. “My favorite tasks would have to be while serving in this unit. I have been able to assist


incoming members of the military as well as Marion Center Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps members. It is so rewarding to work with our future members of the military and community,” she said. “The cool thing about being in the Air National Guard here is Southern Maryland is that the people who join tend to stay and work here so we are truly investing in our community,” Heather said. “My favorite memories thus far have been assisting the community during domestic operations. Whether it was responding to the attack of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, or assisting with peaceful protests in Washington D.C., aiding members of the community and restoring peace is the ultimate satisfaction.”

Being a Woman As women, it’s important to feel supported in a male-dominated field. “I was so fortunate to be surrounding by many strong successful women during my career, many of which took me under their wing to mentor and develop,” Christina said. “I believe the military has come a long way in accepting women. I always felt equal to

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my male counterparts. Never once in my military career did I feel disrespected or treated unfairly. I can do anything I set my mind to,” she continued. “I love to serve, and my passion is helping people. I was privileged in my career to be able to build on these qualities.” Heather is the first woman in her family to serve. “It’s an honor I take seriously and hope that someday my daughters, nieces and nephews may consider as well.” “I truly feel like the tides have changed and women are respected now more than ever. I have never felt like my male counterparts have had a better shot at something over me. It is simply earned rank and respect based on performance,” she said. “Although that’s not always the case for all woman, this is when your voice matters. Don’t ever forget your voice.” Jaclyn too found support while stateside, but sometimes traveling overseas to nonWestern locations proved interesting. “The only time I felt like being a woman in the military was a challenge was when I

was deployed to Afghanistan,” she said. “I did a few missions with my team off base in Bagram and the locals have a different viewpoint about women. The men on my team were very protective, as we women were with them. Spending that much time together, and being put in the situations we were put in, we all created a lasting connection. Like I said, military members tend to form an extended family bond.” Through it all, “I’ve learned that I’m pretty resilient,” Jaclyn said, who separated from her post this past September. “I think moving into the civilian world I’m better prepared [having been in the military] to try something new. I had no prior experiences in either military jobs, yet I think I excelled in each while I was serving.”

Mentors and Connections Often times, military members make friends to last a lifetime. “I am lucky to have served alongside some of the most influential leaders this military has seen,” Heather said.

the first B-52 pilots shot down in Vietnam. He was held as a prisoner at war at the Hanoi Hilton from Dec. 19, 1972 to March 29, 1973. He was an amazing mentor and leader. He took time to show me what I needed to know. He even helped me negotiate when buying my first car. I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to serve under him.”

sometimes don’t get to choose what they are specifically doing or where they must go. We serve our country and follow lawful orders from the leaders appointed over us. We have the same rights as any other person, but we can’t simply say things like, ‘No, I’m not going to work today’,” she said. “It can be hard, and we appreciate empathy.”

Heather is thankful for the many people who have remained by her side over the years. “I have friends all over the world, but I am lucky enough to have some of the closest right here in Southern Maryland, from military spouses to women I serve with. The women in this story with me have all had an impact on me and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of women to stand next to.”

However, if there is one thing military members wish civilians understood better, it’s that, “we are just like you,” Jewel said. “We have a family, we have friends, we have a home, but every three years we must relocate, so please be kind.”

Jaclyn feels similarly – mentioning her good friend Laine, who has always been there for her. “We went through basic training and security forces technical school together. I think we’ve been each other’s one constant best military friend over the years. We’ve shared many good and bad experiences and have been able to continuously support each other through our lives.”

Understanding Civilian Life When it’s all said and done, the next step after leaving the military is adjusting to civilian life, which can be a new challenge all its own. “The military mindset and lifestyle will stay with some people,” Jaclyn said. “I still have the military mindset; it was a part of my life for 11 and a half years, about a third of my life. So, when I was getting out of active duty, I attended a Transition Assistance Program course, which provides great resources for all service members.” Jaclyn said the course focuses on a capstone and three main areas: continuing education, getting back into civilian workforce, or entrepreneurship/starting a business. “Some other great resources I’ve used are and”

“One of my biggest support systems for the past several years has been Retired Chief Master Sergeant Leonard Jordan, a fellow Security Forces member. He has been a wealth of knowledge and it was an honor to serve alongside him.”

With Veteran’s Day in November, Heather wants civilians to take the time to ask veterans questions, if they have them. “Pick up the phone or send us a message and ask questions if you want some information. Understand that not everyone’s experience is the same and some veterans require more empathy and understanding than others,” she said.

Christina also remembers the Commander of her first squadron fondly. “He was one of

Jaclyn added on “Yes, while those who serve in the military choose to serve, they

What would you tell another woman about to enlist? “Go for it! It was the best decision I have ever made. I continuously mentor young high school women who are unsure of what they want to do, or who have an interest in the military. The opportunities are endless, you just need to be willing to go for it.” – Christina

“Ensure you understand what the lifestyle will be like. The branch of service and the type of jobs will vary that lifestyle, but ultimately it is kind of a different world in the military. Do some research and ensure you choose the job you want before signing a contract.” – Jaclyn

“You are your own best advocate. Nobody will care about your career more than you will. Use your voice to find the information you need and to continue to get where you want to go.” – Heather

“It is an opportunity to see the world, meet remarkable people, and show yourself how independent you can truly be.” - Jewel

N ovember/December 2021 |



TO EXPLORE, ENJOY, AND PROTECT THE PLANET The Maryland Chapter of Sierra Club has more than 70,000 members and supporters and our local group in Southern Maryland always needs volunteers! Our organization is unique in that much of the work is done by volunteers, supported by a small number of paid staff for the whole state. We work together to protect the environment in Maryland, and we cannot do it without you. Please consider a gift of any size today.

“The Sierra Club Maryland Chapter is an inclusive and diverse organization that prioritizes both people and the planet. They have created a resilient community that is always looking for new ways to learn and grow, even during a pandemic. I will continue to support the Chapter; it is an honor to volunteer surrounded by so many powerful women.” - Ashley Cobaugh, volunteer social media coordinator




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finances By Stephanie Taubert

4 Reasons to Refinance Your Auto Loan Has your financial situation changed since you first financed your vehicle? It might be wise to consider refinancing your loan, which can offer many moneysaving benefits for both new and used auto loans. This is especially true if you currently have a high interest rate or a monthly payment that doesn’t work for your budget. Here are four reasons to consider refinancing your auto loan.


Lower Your Interest Rate

What’s the current interest rate on your auto loan? If it is over 1.99% APR for a new car or over 2.49% APR for a used car, you are

Auto Auto Auto Auto Loan Loan Loan Loan Monthly Monthly Monthly Monthly Payment Payment Payment Payment Example Example Example Example AVERAGE AVERAGE AVERAGE AVERAGE 5.06% 5.06% 5.06% 5.06%



94 94 94 94 $899. $899. $899. $899.

15 15 15 15 $859. $859. $859. $859.


69 69 69 69 $691. $691. $691. $691.

72 72 72 72 $650. $650. $650. $650.


96 96 96 96 $566. $566. $566. $566.

70 70 70 70 $525. $525. $525. $525.


98 98 98 98 $483. $483. $483. $483.

38 38 38 38 $442. $442. $442. $442.

missing out on a serious moneysaving opportunity. Cedar Point offers these low rates and can refinance your loan to help you save money on interest over time. Even if you just bought a new vehicle in the last six months, it’s worth it to explore your options.

Same Car.

Lower Payments.

Scan & Save.

After all, simply lowering your interest rate could possibly save you hundreds of dollars over the life of the loan.


If your monthly payment is too high, refinancing could help lower your monthly payment. With a lower monthly payment, your budget will have more flexibility so that you can afford life’s other essential necessities. On the flip side, if you now have more flexibility in your budget and can afford to pay more per month, a refinance could help you pay off your loan sooner by making a higher monthly payment.


1.99 % APR

Refinance & Save. APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rates accurate as of 11/1/21. Not available for vehicles already financed through Cedar Point. Limitations apply. New vehicles can be refinanced within 6 months of purchase date to receive the new car rate.

Change Your Monthly Payments

Change Your Term Length

Besides lowering your rate and monthly payment, refinancing also allows you to change your term length. Whether you need more time to pay off the loan or would like to pay it off sooner, changing the term length gives you more control. Cedar Point offers term lengths between 36 and 84 months with varying interest rates.


Your Credit Score Improved

Has your credit score changed since you financed your vehicle?

If you have taken steps to improve your credit score, such as making on-time payments, your credit score may have improved. With a higher credit score, you might qualify for a lower interest rate. If you are a Cedar Point member, you can monitor your credit score for free using the digital banking platform. If you find your credit score has improved, it’s a smart move to explore refinancing.

Ready to Refinance? Now that you understand the benefits of refinancing your auto loan, stop by any Cedar Point location to discuss your options with a Member Service Representative. Our experienced credit union staff can help you determine a course of action to get you on the road to savings. For more information, visit Stephanie Taubert Dali is the Marketing Communications Specialist at Cedar Point Federal Credit Union. She has lived in Southern Maryland for most of her life, currently residing in St. Mary’s County. Stephanie is an active member of the Newtowne Players, a nonprofit theatre group in Lexington Park.

N ovember/December 2021 |


finances By Carlisa Kent

A Quick-Start Guide to Allowance When do we start giving our kids an allowance? Age 7, 9, 12? And how much is appropriate? $3, $8, $15 a week? The rule of thumb is typically a weekly allowance of one dollar for each age. So, if a child is age 7, they should receive a base weekly allowance of $7; age 9 should receive a base weekly allowance of $9, and so on. But, we also need to be mindful of the child’s maturity and what they might spend their money on. Before we start an allowance, it is best to discuss the reasons for receiving it, such as doing household chores. Do you have a chore chart at home indicating tasks like taking out the trash or washing the dishes after dinner?

What about individual chores, like cleaning their own bedroom and washing the dishes they used to prepare a snack? You might also use an allowance as an incentive to do better at school. For instance, receiving $5 for every ‘A’ on a report card or $2 for every increase seen on their progress report. Another point of discussion should be how to handle this newly earned money. An allowance should help teach children the importance of not only spending but saving and giving. When a child receives their allowance, it can be divided into three parts (spending, saving, and giving). This can be accomplished with the threejar system: a jar for spending,

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a jar for saving, and a jar for giving. It is up to the parent to decide the percentage per jar. This way, the child will not only have spending money, but learn the core concept of saving and giving. Also, it will lighten the shock when they receive their first paycheck and realize all the money is not paid just to them.

that planning for their money is a first step to building good, lifelong financial habits.

So now that we have decided our child is old enough and mature enough, how do we pay the weekly allowance? For younger children under 10, I suggest using cash and the three-jar system because it gives them a visual of where their money goes. It can also be a great way to have them learn about saving for something they want to buy. For 10 years and up, try allowance apps such as,, and, which all reinforce the core concept and easy to use.

And remember: your budget does not need to be stressful. It is a habit that alleviates financial surprises.

Finally, once you have set up a system with your child, take time to sit down with them weekly to review how everything is going. Look at their spending patterns; what are they spending their money on? Praise them on their savings and giving plan. Answer questions about their progress or struggle with money. Its important for kids to understand

I will be offering a personal finance course for young teens in January 2022. If you are interested in more information, email with “Personal Finance” in the subject line.

Contact me today and set up a time to go over your plan and how to best execute it. The best plans are the ones we put into motion! My calendar link can be found at Carlisa Kent is a Ramsey financial coach, helping individuals to conquer their finances in a smart and sustainable way. She is a graduate of Trinity College, Washington D.C., and a proud mother of four. Having lived through a financial crisis of her own, Carlisa learned to save for her future before the emergency hit. This impactful experience inspired her to help others prepare for the unknown and share her successes.

law By Attorney Laura T. Curry

How to Avoid the 5 Most Common Estate Planning Pitfalls When thinking about your estate plan, it is important to create one that avoids common pitfalls and mistakes. You invest your time and money into your estate plan, so you want to be sure it works and will protect your loved ones in the event of your incapacity or death. Making sure you are aware of common estate planning oversights means that you’ll be likely to avoid them. So, what are these common mistakes? Here are the top 5 estate planning pitfalls:


Failing to plan.

The reason most people do not plan is procrastination. Whether we think we are too busy, or the cost is too

expensive, the price of not planning is evident when the unexpected happens and our loved ones find themselves in either guardianship or probate court to manage or distribute our assets without our prior input. Simply put, none of us have a crystal ball. Planning for the unexpected is the best we can do for our loved ones now.


Not discussing with family and friends.

It is absolutely critical you share with your executor, agent and trustee that you have a signed estate plan and where they can find the original documents. You want your fiduciary to know your documents exist so they

can use them when needed. We always encourage you to share your health care power of attorney, HIPAA release form, and living will with your agent(s) so they have a copy available to them. Whether you share more details about your estate plan is ultimately up to you.

Keeping your plan up to date is critical to a successful estate plan. Just like any investment, you want to review the terms periodically and adjust when your life circumstances change.


Forgetting a power of attorney.

Both property power of attorney and health care power of attorney documents are extremely important as they allow your agent to step into your shoes during times of your incapacity. If something unexpected happens and your family needs to speak to your bank to handle your monthly bills, they will need either a valid property power of attorney or a court order appointing you as a guardian. The guardianship process is long, costly and public. The power of attorney avoids the need for a guardianship petition.


Not naming back-ups.

Throughout your estate plan, it is important to plan for contingencies. This means that if you name person A to be your trustee, you should think about who you would want to act if person A is unwilling or unable. It is important to have a backup, so someone is available to

act on your behalf if person A is incapacitated or has passed away. We always recommend having at least one back-up, but it may make sense to list more in certain situations.


Not updating your estate plan.

Keeping your plan up to date is critical to a successful estate plan. Just like any investment, you want to review the terms periodically and adjust when your life circumstances change or if there have been fluctuations in the law. We recommend you review your plan every 3-5 years or sooner if there have been major changes to your life, finances or health. Laura T. Curry first became interested in estates and trusts when practicing as a family law attorney at the start of her career. It was quickly apparent to Laura that each family had their own dynamics which shaped their goals and desired outcome. She focuses her practice on estate planning, incapacity planning, and elder law issues. Laura was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2009, and is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association. She is also a member of the Women’s Bar Association and a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. Laura is dedicated to educating the public on the estate planning choices they can make to provide both financial and emotional security for their families and loved ones. She is currently offering a popular Wills and Trusts seminar online so you can watch from the safety of your own home. To view the details and register for an upcoming webinar, please visit:

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Holiday Shopping & Festivities Guide


N ovember/December 2021 |


2021 Holiday Shopping & Festivities Guide

Give Gift the of Fash ion

Hometown Heart Apparel has the coolest locally

designed apparel…t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, kids clothes and onesies. Hometown Heart Apparel, a local woman owned company, began as a way to celebrate our hometown, St. Mary’s County as well as Southern Maryland. You can purchase your Hometown Heart Apparel online — as well as at SPICE Studio in the Leonardtown Square.

the e Giv ift of G rise p r Su

Searching for a gift for the man, or woman, who has everything? Boudoir by Beth may have just what you are looking for- if you dare. The “little black book” leather album consists of 20 boudoir photographs with a dream print coating on museum archival quality paper. Photo sessions are priced at $350. This fee includes professional hair styling and make-up application by a highly talented beauty team, wardrobe add-ons, beverage and treat. The sessions can be either at the studio or on-location in your home. Photos purchased separately. Studio located at 22760 Washington Street, Unit 1, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Online:


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2021 Holiday Shopping & Festivities Guide Give the gift of Gold Medal winning local wine this holiday season! Port of Leonardtown Winery, has won top honor trophies and multiple gold medals this

the Give of Gift Wine

year. Open seven days a week, offering a wide variety of wine styles ranging from sweet and fruity, to bold and dry. Prices range from $13-$45 per bottle. Also offering private events, Wine Club memberships, and lots of fun gift ideas. Check Facebook @portofltownwine for latest live music and event details. Port of Leonardtown Winery & retail store located at 23190 Newtowne Neck Road, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Online: Call: (301) 690-2192

Award Winner

Give t Gift ohe f Beau ty Super


Natural Looks by Victoria Lash Extensions Gift certificates available

for Lash Extension, $100 for initial application for new clients ($25 savings), or Lash packages, $355 for initial application PLUS 4 fillers ($85 savings). Gift Certificates also available for oneon-one Make up Made Simple class. Victoria Ronan, Certified Make-Up Artist & Certified Lash Extension Specialist’s located at Barefoot Wellness 445 Main Street, Prince Frederick. Online: Call: 410-474-7620

the Give of Gift Food

Craving a handcrafted and classic apple pie made to order? Well now this can be delivered to your doorstep by local bakery Finer Sweets. Finer Sweets offers cookies & cupcakes, custom cakes, treat boxes and their seasonal Apple Pie for $25.00. Order online! Vegan option available! Delivery available in St. Mary’s, Calvert, and Charles Counties. Order via phone, email, or online. Online: www. Call: 301-200-1945 Email:

Proud to be a woman and veteran-owned business.

N ovember/December 2021 |


Events Nov. 11 Annual Gals Lead Veterans Day Festival Gals Lead, a teen mentorship and leadership program powered by the local non-profit Dream Queen Foundation, is excited to bring you our First Annual Gals Lead Veterans Day Festival, Celebrating Today’s Heroes and Tomorrow’s Leaders. The event will occur directly after the annual Leonardtown Parade. Attendees can enjoy live bands, a photo booth, veteran service providers, raffles, a 50/50, veteran vendors, food trucks, the winery, and more. This is going to be a wonderful day to celebrate those who protect our freedom and raise money to support teen mentorship. Admission: Free; donations welcomed. Time: from 1-5 p.m. Location: Port of Leonardtown Winery/ Park, Leonardtown, MD

Nov. 12 - Dec. 12 Elf, The Musical Enjoy a live performance of Elf, The Musical by The Newtowne Players for the holiday season! If you enjoyed the movie, you are sure to enjoy this musical. This



modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. Admission: Adults $18; seniors/ students/military $15; children $13; Thursdays $13 all day. Days/Times: Thursday - Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. Location: The Newtowne Players Theater, Lexington Park MD

Nov. 13 Hospice of St. Mary’s Service of Remembrance Each year, Hospice of St. Mary’s invites anyone who has lost someone to a Service of Remembrance to honor their loved ones. Each person we are asked to recognize will have their name on a luminary that will be placed in the center of the park, thus creating a safe and reflective environment to walk so that we can remember, and honor loved ones. Admission: Free Time: from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Location: Chancellor’s Run Park, Great Mills, MD

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Nov. 13 NovemBEER Enjoy an assortment of craft beer while listening to a local band (Flippin’ Eyelids), perusing items from artisan vendors, and playing lawn games. Food appealing to all taste buds will be available for purchase from food trucks. Wine will also be available for purchase. Admission: VIP drinkers: $30 in advance, $35 at the door; general admission: $20 in advance; $25 at the door; designated drivers & non-beer drinkers: $10 Time: from 1 – 5 p.m. Location: Historic Sotterley, Hollywood, MD

Nov. 24 - Dec 24 Christmas at Flat Iron Farm Come kick off the holiday season right in St. Mary’s County! Come visit Flat Iron Farm for fun holiday activities, say hi to Santa, hayrides and pony rides, a petting zoo, crafts, hot cocoa, holiday shopping, and much more! Admission: Free Times: evenings Location: Flat Iron Farm, Great Mills, MD



Nov. 26 - Jan. 1 Garden in Lights

will have terrific items just in time for your holiday shopping. Raffles of donated craft items throughout the day.

Annmarie Garden In Lights will transport you and your family to an enchanted world full of glowing “light sculptures” and wondrous light installations. Discover magical creatures, wintery wonderlands, musical holiday scenes, deep sea treasures, sparkling trees, and so much more! You’ll find sparkling delights and fun photo ops around each corner! Admission: Tickets on sale soon Times: 5 – 9 p.m. Location: Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, Lusby, MD

Nov. 26 Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in the Leonardtown Square The holiday season officially begins when Santa arrives for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting in the Town Square. This year’s festivities include holiday music, entertainment, horse and carriage rides, sleigh rides, train rides, hayrides, live nativity, petting zoo, face painting, children’s crafts, hot drinks, fresh kettle korn and other fun activities! Admission: Free Time: 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Location: Leonardtown Square, Leonardtown, MD

Admission: Free Time: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Location: Thomas Stone High School, Waldorf, MD

Dec. 10 - 12 Kris Kringle Christmas Market Modeled after the famous

Dec. 1 - Jan. 2 St. Clement’s Island Museum Christmas Doll & Train Exhibit Enjoy a holiday exhibit of antique and collectible dolls (like Barbie, American Girl and more), classic trains and other retro toys in this festive holiday display inside the museum. Admission: $3 Adults; $2 seniors and military; $1.50 children; 5 and under are free. Time: 12 - 4 p.m. daily Location: St. Clement’s Island Museum, Colton’s Point, MD

Dec. 4 Solomons Christmas Walk and Boat Parade Enjoy Solomons’

markets in Germany, this annual event at the fairgrounds offers light displays, holiday food, handmade crafts from local artists and crafters, children’s activities, shopping, music, and much more. Activities will include Santa’s arrival, Christmas tree lighting, Strolling Carolers, music from local school choruses and bands, an array of sales by local non-profit groups such as the Boy Scouts, children’s activities run by the 4H club, a lighted holiday path and Christmas Village. This year, we will again be having winter fireworks! Admission: $3 Dates/Times: Dec. 10, 4- 8 p.m.; Dec. 11, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Dec. 12, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Location: Charles County Fairgrounds, La Plata, MD

annual Christmas walk and lighted boat parade. Explore the shops in downtown Solomons, listen to music, indulge at restaurants, and watch the boat parade at dark from anywhere on the island. Admission: Free Time: 5 – 9 p.m. Location: Solomons Island, MD

Dec. 4 Southern Trail Holiday Market

Nov. 28 - Jan. 2 Piney Point Lighthouse Museum Holiday Exhibit Come enjoy guided tours during the holiday season at Piney Point Lighthouse Museum & Historic Park. We’re proud to unveil our BRAND-NEW exhibits inside the museum (and maybe a little holiday decorating at the lighthouse and keeper’s quarters!). Admission: $7 adults and $3.50 for senior citizens, military personnel, and students Times: 12 - 4 p.m. daily Location: Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park, Piney Point, MD

Kick-off the holiday season with this holiday market at Southern Trail Distillery! This holiday market will feature local vendors, giving you the perfect opportunity to start or finish your holiday shopping. Keep warm with handcrafted beverages from this family-owned distillery and even find the perfect stocking stuffer with handmade flavored moonshine. Admission: Free Time: time TBD Location: Southern Trail Distillery, Mechanicsville, MD

Dec. 5 Humane Society of Charles County Annual Holiday Craft Fair The best crafters in Southern Maryland

Dec. 11 Northern High School Holiday Craft Fair Check out more than 80 expert crafters and vendors. Door Prizes! Santa Claus! Santa’s Workshop for kids! All money raised at this event goes directly to the band program. Admission: Free; donations welcomed. Time: 9 a.m. -3 p.m. Location: Northern High School, Owings, MD

COFFEE BY DAY, COCKTAILS BY NIGHT Social Coffeehouse & Cocktail Bar, located in Leonardtown, Maryland, is built on the Buy Local philosophy - artfully combining local ingredients into mouth-watering espresso, cocktails, light fare, and gourmet tapas.

Day or night, stop by for a drink!

apple cider


Provided by Social Coffeehouse & Cocktail Bar

GET SOCIAL! 301-475-2400 |


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INGREDIENTS: 1 oz 1904 Apple Brandy Liqueur, The Baltimore Spirits Company 3 oz Roaming Dog Chardonnay (or Chardonnay of choice) 3 oz Apple Cider

DIRECTIONS: Mix all ingredients with ice and garnish with dried or fresh fruit like apples or cranberries. Enjoy!

home care By Gene Wright

What Will Keep Spiders Away? Thirty-two different spider species can be commonly found in Maryland. Spiders are an extremely common pest people deal with not just in Maryland, but all over the United States. Because of how common it is to find spiders in homes and gardens, it may seem overwhelming to know how to keep spiders away. Despite how hard it may seem, it is possible to have a bug-free home. Knowing the basics about preventing spiders is the first step in properly getting rid of and preventing an infestation. Continue reading to learn about spider infestation prevention.

Harmless and Harmful Spiders

The first thing to decipher before worrying is whether or not the spider you are dealing with is harmful. Some of the spiders that are most commonly seen here in homes are usually harmless because they typically have no desire to bite you. They prefer to be in dark places. Here are some harmless common house spiders: • American house spider • Cellar spider • Wolf spider • Barn funnel weaver spider These spiders will rarely bite you unless they feel threatened. If they do end up biting you, there are little to no effects, the most you may experience is a slight pain from the bite, but that is

nothing concerning. Now, there are house spiders that can be harmful, but bites are not extremely common. Knowing which spiders to look out for though in terms of the harm they can cause is important. Here are two harmful common house spiders: • Brown recluse • Black widow These two spiders can cause serious harm if they bite you. The brown recluse can cause deep sores, fever, vomiting, severe pain, and more. The black widow can cause very serious issues such as severe pain, muscle cramps, and difficulty breathing.

Infestation Prevention Now, there are different ways you can go about keeping spiders away from your home.


Making sure any cracks and holes are sealed properly will keep many bugs, including outdoor spiders out of your home. That is the most common way spiders and other insects get into homes. If you see any webs, it is best to get rid of them, as webs may attract even more spiders. Spiders tend to hide out in areas that are cluttered and where their food sources are. Cleaning up any

clutter will prevent them from having places to hide, making them easier to see and get rid of. Try to not leave out any food that spiders can get to, as that will attract them to your home. Spiders eat many different bugs that can be commonly found in houses such as flies and ants. Taking care of other insect infestations will help as well.

Keep Spiders Away Today If you have a spider problem that begins to feel out of your control, contacting a pest control company is the best option. Here at Planet Friendly Pest Control, we are here to help you with your pest needs in a way that is helpful to you and harmless to the environment. We offer a variety of services and are here to help you keep spiders away. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding pests. Gene Wright is the president of Planet Friendly Pest Control, a locally owned and operated pest exterminator company focused on providing their clients with the very best in pest control, rodent extermination and termite control, while reducing the overall impact on the environment.

N ovember/December 2021 |



Pursue Lifelong Dreams Locally First CSM Scholarship Recipient Selected in Memory of Melissa Ann Solms-Baruth, Southern Maryland Woman Magazine Founder parents. It was a reminder that life is short. Before my dad passed, I had the chance to learn from the most amazing home health care nurse. She made the impossible seem possible. She was a wonderful caretaker and teacher, and I hope one day to be the same for a family facing similar circumstances.

Do you have any advice for others who are considering returning to college?

Tell us a little about yourself: My name is Virginia Allen-Anderson. I have lived in Calvert County since 1987 and graduated from The Calverton School. I live in Owings with my husband and our three girls. I currently work in the automotive industry but have returned to school to pursue my lifelong dream in nursing. In my spare time, I enjoy shopping, playing with our dogs, gardening, and cooking.

Do it! Take the leap! Apply online and then go meet with an advisor and research financial aid. It is scary but so worth it. My biggest fear was not being the oldest in my class but being able to make the payments. Fortunately, there are very generous people who want to help make your dreams a reality. Years ago, I used my children as an excuse as to why I could not go back to school, but I realized that was misguided. By not returning to school and investing in myself, I was teaching my girls that I wasn’t worth it, and one day that could make them believe they aren’t worth it either, which is simply not true.

What are you studying at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and what do you plan to do after graduation? I am pursuing my associates degree in nursing at CSM as well as looking into my options for the associates-to-bachelor’s or dual enrollment nursing pathway. I hope to work as an RN after graduation.

What inspired you to go back to school and change career paths? I have wanted to be a nurse since I was young. I always had excuses as to why now wasn’t the time to go after my dream, but I finally asked myself, if not now, then when? I think the final push was losing my


How has the Melissa Ann Solms-Baruth Scholarship helped you in achieving your goals at CSM? The Melissa Ann Solms-Baruth Scholarship has been an integral part in pursuing my dream. The scholarship allowed my biggest fear of returning to school to be a distant memory. Without the constant worry of payments, I can focus on the program and my family.

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Melissa Ann Solms-Baruth was a

committed mother, wife and daughter who strongly believed in the power of education to lift up individuals and families. As a mother of three, she pursued professional education part-time and entered the workforce later in life, bringing creativity and business-savvy to her career as a real estate professional and cofounder of the Southern Maryland Woman magazine. The Melissa Ann Solms-Baruth Memorial Scholarship was launched in 2020 and provides assistance to returning adult students who are residents of Southern Maryland. If you would like to help support returning students with ambitious goals, please consider contributing to the scholarship fund. As part of the CSM Giving Tuesday campaign, donations made to the fund during the month of November will be matched by the Solms family. By scanning the QR code with your smartphone, you will be directed to the CSM Giving Tuesday landing page. Click on the “Give Now” button. From there, please select the Melissa Ann SolmsBaruth Memorial Scholarship under “Designation” and enter the details for your donation. For further details about the scholarship or to make a donation by check, please contact Chelsea Clute, Executive Director of the CSM Foundation, at crclute@ or 240-429-0959.


Meet Maryanna Lanham

Leading local mentorship and networking for women and girls dedicated as I am. I think they would say that they are surprised at how much I have accomplished so far and are excited to see where we go next. I do crack a lot of jokes and try to keep meetings light and fun.

It’s six months into your tenure. How will the board know they made a great hire? They will see successful fundraising events to bring the club to the high schools in all Three counties. The board will also see a surge in volunteerism and word of mouth about our programs.

Local non-profit The Dream Queen Foundation recently hired a new executive director to bring their Gals Lead teen program to all high schools in the Southern Maryland region. Their new director Maryanna Lanham formerly acted as the club’s secretary, program facilitator, and network leader. The board felt Maryanna had the organization and the fire to bring their mission to the forefront of the community. Maryanna is the first director hired by the organization and will have to pave the path for future leaders. We took a few minutes to interview Maryanna during her busy schedule to get to know her a bit better and see what makes her tick. Why did you want to lead the Dream Queen Foundation? I have been a dedicated volunteer for over five years and after a pause in my financial services business, I realized I now had the proper time to truly dedicate myself to the foundation. Leading in this role will allow me to get the messaging out to the community and I want to shout our mission from the roof tops.

If I took one of your current direct reports out for coffee to get the real skinny on you, what would they say? I am the only full-time employee and am blessed with volunteers who are as

What exactly is the Gals Lead Teen Mentorship Program? The program helps young women learn things I wish I knew when I was 15. We are helping these girls to empower themselves and live their best lives. I feel this will be a big win in the battle against mental illness in our community and is necessary for the growth of young women.

What are some final words you would like to say to our readers? First, find something you love and believe in. You are perfect exactly the way you are, and you can move mountains. You are where you are supposed to be right now. Your circumstances don’t define you. Your decisions are what make you who you are. Help me help the teen girls in our community overcome obstacles and encourage them to make their dreams come true. You can start by joining us at our annual Gals Lead Veteran’s Day Festival, an event I hold near and dear to my heart as my father is a veteran.

Dream Queen Foundation is hosting their annual Gals Lead Veteran’s Day Festival on Nov. 11 at the Port of Leonardtown and the adjacent park from 1-5 p.m. directly following the annual Veterans Day Parade in the Leonardtown Square. We invite you to come out to this free event, support our cause, and enjoy a wonderful day full of bands, vendors, veterans, food, and more! Learn more about the Dream Queen Foundation and Gals Lead at Contact Maryanna directly at

Sign Up for Gals Lead Today!


The Dream Queen Foundation’s signature program for teen girls helps develop confidence, connection, and career clarity to live their best life. Girls gain the clarity and confidence needed to create intentional career paths they love – ones that align with their passion and purpose. Highlights of the program include guest speakers, vision boards, personality assessments, motivation, inspiration, and a certificate of completion for college or employment applications. There is no cost for the girls to join. September/October 2021 |



Taking their cues from me, the kids seem much more confident in the water... even if neither ever gives Katie Ledecky a run for the gold.



gift of being present



From the moment my first child

was born, I’ve been crushed by the tinselwrapped weight of wanting to create the perfect Christmas. It’s evergreen-scented, cozy and twinkly, lit with the glow of a tree decked out in homemade bulbs. No one is bickering. Or whining. Or sneaking off with a sibling’s stocking stuffers. I’m drinking a peppermint mocha at just the right temperature, as I have not misplaced my mug after making an emergency dive to help a potty-training toddler. No one has been up all night with a stomach bug or excited insomnia, and there are definitely — definitely — no Christmas Day fevers. It’s happy. Calm. Simple. And all my responsibility. It took becoming a mother myself to understand that moms are Christmas. I spent the first couple years thinking I wasn’t doing the holidays “right,” whatever that was. I was also resentful that the success of the season seemed to rest squarely on female shoulders. I didn’t yet know how to ask my husband — or anyone — for help. Mostly, I worried over whether I’d really enjoyed any of it, you know? It was a blur. That anxiety deepened when


our daughter, Hadley, arrived. Suddenly I had a second child I couldn’t disappoint — one who also needed documentation of all her “firsts.” Another little person I wanted to enjoy those with, but often felt I couldn’t. It’s so easy to get caught up in having “enough”: exciting presents, parties, plans. But an accidental gift of COVID-19 was the need to scale it back last year. And you know what Oliver and Hadley talk about most? Reindeer food. We tossed dry oats mixed with glitter from our porch on a damp, rainy Christmas Eve. When the mixture hit the spotlights in our yard, it exploded in a shimmering cloud. Magic. Weeks earlier, we’d been treated to cookies from Buddy, our visiting Elf on the Shelf. He brought sweets for the Johnson children, which he’d (very wisely) hidden and frozen beforehand. As Buddy’s loyal helpers, Spencer and I had planned to take them out to warm up the night before. We forgot. Panicked but wanting them to have the special cookies, I mentally scanned the questions that 5-year-old detective Oliver would ask. Instead, our son was uncharacteristically speechless. His eyebrows shot up. “Whoa, they’re cold!”

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Ollie sputtered, turning to his delighted sister. “Hadley, Buddy brought us cold cookies. Probably ’cause they’re from the North Pole!” Huh. Well. Accidentally genius. Those are the real precious moments — the ones this planner just can’t plan. Understanding this better now, six years into motherhood, I’m giving myself permission to relax more this year. Perfection really comes from delighting in the unexpected, so I want to stay in the moment . . . and not worry about creating the perfect anything. Because being present? Well, friends, that’s it. That’s everything.

lov e , Budd y

Megan Johnson is a writer, reader, and pumpkin eater. Author of the former long-running “Right, Meg?” column in Southern Maryland Newspapers, she now works in healthcare communications. Megan lives with her husband and two children near Waldorf. Follow her on Instagram at @writemeg.

Car seats What You Don’t Know

CAN Hurt You

In southern Maryland, find Saving Calvert’s Littles on Facebook and send us a message, or contact us via email at – it’s free!

45 out of


car seats are incorrectly installed. Are you making these common mistakes? Is your tween ready to ditch the booster seat? Proper seatbelt fit is crucial. Incorrect fit can result in the passenger sliding out of the seatbelts in a crash. Make sure your older child passes the “5 Step Test” for seat belt fit. Your child may fit correctly in one vehicle but still need a booster seat in another vehicle. Is your car seat still safe? Car seats have expiration dates. Are you certain of the history of the seat? Most car seats should be replaced even after a minor crash. Damage sustained to a car seat in a crash may not be visible. Car seats that are beyond their expiration date may have stress to the shell that you can’t see (they’re subjected to extreme temperature changes while installed in a vehicle over many years!), which could cause a failure in a crash. Is your car seat recalled? Don’t panic – you don’t

necessarily need a new seat. Many recalls simply involve getting a part from the manufacturer or ensuring the seat is installed in the recommended manner. Check out or download the SaferCar app to see if your seat has a recall on it.

“Most car seats can be safely installed with the vehicle seatbelt or a LATCH system – never use both on the same seat.” Is your seat tight enough? Or too tight? Your car seat doesn’t have to be welded to the seat to be installed correctly. One easy way to check your installation is to grab the seat near the belt path (where either the car seat belt or the LATCH straps) go through the seat and gently wiggle. If there is one inch (or less) of movement, the seat is installed tightly enough. The seat does not have to be wiggle-free to be safe. Too much tension on the seat belt can lead to stretching over time

or higher stress on the belt in a crash. LATCH or seat belt installation? Most car seats can be safely installed with the vehicle seatbelt or a LATCH system – never use both on the same seat. LATCH systems (sometimes called ISOFIX in European cars) have weight limits – check your car seat manual for specifics. If your child is beyond the weight limits of the LATCH system, you must use the vehicle seat belt for installation. LATCH systems are not always safe to install in the middle seat of some vehicles, so always check your manual or with a CPST first. You can get help! Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) are certified by SafeKids Worldwide – safekids. org – and stay current on car seat technology. A CPST can help by checking your car seat installation for errors and making sure the seat is properly fitted to your child and in the right seat in your vehicle.

rear-facing carseat

Lauren Wawroski is a full-time working mom of two who lives in Calvert County. She has been certified as a CPST since 2015 and she is a founding partner of Saving Calvert’s Littles. When she’s not working or helping other parents with good car seat installs, Lauren enjoys running, baking, and knitting – badly. Please reach out via “Saving Calvert’s Littles” on Facebook for free car seat help.

N ovember/December 2021 |


caregivers for our children and our aging parents women make purchasing decisions on behalf of the people who live in their households, as well as for extended family and friends.*








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three Women are the decision-



makers. Women impact 70FWM specifically

80% of all consumer purchasing designs and produces our through their buying power and influence. publication for women More specifically, women make 85% of all age 35+. This influential household purchases and 87% of medical age group is sometimes appointments for families.



four FWM distributes 17,000+ copies each SMW features meaningful issue, reaching 42,500 local editorial content. women in Fairfax, Tysons, Vienna, In every issue, we offer McLean, Reston, Herndon, Great inspirational stories of local women doing Falls,great Alexandria Falls Church. things inand our community.

referred to as the sandwich generation, caring for their children and have agingaparents. Women


We offer multi-media marketing. FWM features seven All of our contributors’ articles are multiplier effect. featured in both printmeaningful and online. Digital Because women serve as primary presence includeseditorial both a dedicated link to content caregivers for children and aging parents, each article and within the digital edition of in every issue and women decisions on behalf the publication. sixmake purchasing FWM hand-delivers copies to over we offer inspirational of the people who live in their households. 400 locations throughout NoVa. Our stories of local women publications are strategically placed More than 70% of our doing great things in in grocery stores, retail shops, salons, Southern Maryland full-page advertisers renew spas,(SMW) cafes, libraries, hospitals and our community. Woman specifically their advertising with us. waiting rooms across the region. designs and produces our In fact, we have customers who have been publication for women ages 35+. with us for 10+ years.






We mail 2000+ copies Looking to make directly to affluent neighborhoods McLean some extra incash in to ensure our advertisers are the New Year? with a in front of households large disposable income. We are NOW HIRING Sales Reps! Email our publisher at

nine Over 70% of our full-page advertisers renew their advertising with us. In fact, we have a contributors that have been with us for 6+ years.

to learn more and apply.

This influential age group is sometimes

eight referred to as the sandwich generation, caring

Wechildren offer multi-media marketing. for both their and aging parents.



We encourage our


Weto encourage our advertisers to write editorials to All of our contributors’ articles are advertisers write complement their marketing. Content marketing, or featured in both print and online. Digital informational articles to editorials, are known to develop lasting relationships with your presence is through both a dedicated SMW distributes 12,000+ complement their marketing. audience, improve brand awareness and recognition and link to each article and within the copies each issue. Content marketing, or editorials, are create loyalty and trust with current customers and prospects. digital edition of the publication. All in all, this reaches more than

known to develop lasting relationships 30,000 local women in St. Mary’s, Charles, with audiences, improve brand Consistent both in print and online, positions your business as an expert in your industry. Call us today at 301-904-3366 or and Calvert marketing, Counties each issue. awareness and recognition, and create email to schedule an appointment to learn more. Visit us online at

SWM hand-delivers copies to more than 100 locations throughout Southern Maryland.


Our publications are strategically placed in grocery stores, retail shops, salons, spas, cafes, libraries, hospitals and waiting rooms across the region.

loyalty and trust with current customers and prospects.


Celebrating 15 years of advertising in 2022

Consistent marketing, both in print and online, positions your business as an expert in your industry. Call us today at 301-904-3366 or email to learn more. 30

N ove m be r/ D e ce mbe r 2 02 1 |

g n i k o o B Now


Learn more about the boudoir photography experience, pricing and packages and read reviews at

“For our wedding anniversary I scheduled a boudoir session with Beth. When I first met Beth, I instantly felt comfortable and empowered by her. We got down to business and went over my “wants and desires” for the shoot. We selected an amazing hotel in Old Town Alexandria with a beautiful soaking tub and amazing lighting throughout the room. It was simple but stunning! I just knew that the pictures were going to be above and beyond my expectations and my husband’s reaction was all the proof I needed. The smile that slowly creeped as he opened the photo box and the metal print made me realize that these pictures were going to be something he would cherish forever!”

Beth is a female boudoir photographer. Her studio is located on the square in the Historic Arts District of Leonardtown, Maryland specializing in tasteful, beauty portraiture and the luxurious experience of confidence and relationship enhancing boudoir photography for women of all shapes, size, and age.




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