Parkbench Interview with Dr. DePasquale

Meet Dr. Kalpana S. DePasquale, DO at Avanti Medical Spa

Are you looking to combat the aging process of Mother Nature? If so, then you are at the right place. Avanti Medical Spa can help you reverse the hands of time and enhance your natural beauty. To revitalize your appearance, we offer the following cosmetic procedures:
Botox
Fraxel
Facials & Peels
Dermal Fillers
Visia Skin Analysis
Facial Waxing
To learn more about our spa services, contact us at 904.461.6797, or better yet come see us:
In St. Augustine, Monday thru Friday between 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (NOTE: Office is closed for lunch from 12 PM – 1:15 PM). Avanti Medical Spa St. Augustine is located on Anastasia Island, 1.5 miles east of Flagler Hospital at 1301 Plantation Island Dr, Suite 401A, St. Augustine, FL.

What do you love most about the neighborhood?

There are so many different people constantly moving into this area so I feel like we’re in a small, big town. I meet people from Europe, people who are on vacation who come to me with a specific problem sometimes, or people who’ve recently moved from the North or West Coast. I just love the melting pot of all kinds of people from diverse backgrounds–I think that’s my favorite thing!

The Entrepreneurial Life Chose Me

I was trained  to be an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician, but the life of an entrepreneur chose me.
 
My employee mindset changed as a result of an interview during residency. The interview was with a private practice physician, who I had known during my training. He had first-hand knowledge of my assets as a physician: surgical skill, sound judgment, physician-patient rapport and superb communication skills. Despite my positive attributes, his job offer for my annual salary was significantly less than the price of the Porsche 911 he was driving and much less than the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) standard for physician compensation. MGMA is the resource leader for healthcare salary compensation.
 
This experience left me baffled and humiliated but I realized something very important… I didn’t have the employee mindset that most physicians do.  I wanted the freedom  to create and design my own practice and there was no reason I couldn’t do that. I thrived on risk to experience a greater reward. I despise rules, structure and predictability. I wanted to change the world, not just have a job. Failures in my mind were setbacks and an opportunity to learn. Despite all the challenges I have faced over the years, starting my own practice was the best decision of my life. I was able to build a team and office culture of stellar employees.  I was able to tailor my practice to the aspects of ENT that I enjoyed most – minimally invasive procedures to treat chronic sinusitis and improve nasal obstruction. My patients are so thankful to be offered minimally invasive solutions to avoid the downtime, healing, and expense of more aggressive surgical alternatives.
 
Once my ENT practice was successful, my next venture was adding a Medical Spa to my practice. So many patients would not consider cosmetic rejuvenation procedures because of artificial and unnatural looking results. My goal was to achieve a well- rested youthful appearance without the obvious tell-tale signs that a procedure was performed. This difference in approach allowed me to attract patients that were looking for intervention that appeared natural, not artificial.
 
Things were going so well for me until I was diagnosed and treated for Thyroid cancer at the age of 34.  I had surgery to remove my entire thyroid gland and I had radioactive iodine treatment. Because the exact cause of thyroid cancer is unknown, I suspected that my diet and choice of personal care products I used could be a contributing factor.  I decided to detox my life by eating better quality food and avoiding pesticides. I reviewed my personal care products that I was using; like shampoos, lotions, deodorants; and eliminated chemicals as much as possible.
 
I reviewed the ingredients in the skin care products I was recommending to my Medical Spa clients and I was appalled that some products didn’t clearly list their ingredients and all of them contained chemicals that I didn’t approve of.  I was appalled when I found out that there is no federal regulation of ingredients to protect the consumer from dangerous chemicals.
 
From my frustration with the cosmetic industry, my next entrepreneurial venture was born.
 
I set out to create a skincare line that addressed common anti-aging issues such as dark spots, loss of elasticity, blemishes and more. The ingredients would be plant and mineral based, contain no harsh ingredients or chemical preservatives. The ingredients needed to work synergistically to provide superior results. KalVera Skincare was created to provide consumers with healthy skin care and to support my mission to educate consumers about hazardous ingredients found in personal care products and empower them to make safer choices.
 
My journey as an Entrepreneur has been euphoric but it is not the lifestyle for everyone. Entrepreneurship is often a lonely, risky, anxiety-provoking and ever humbling expedition. It can also be addictive. Although KalVera Skincare is my most recent creation, I doubt it will be my last entrepreneurial endeavor.
 
*Cheers*
-Dr. D
 

Retail Madness

The National Retail Federation forecasts a 3.7 percent increase in holiday sales this year with U.S. spending at more than $630 billion or approximately $800 per person.  This is significantly higher than the 10 year average of 2.5 percent.  Additionally, close to 136 million Americans planned to shop on Thanksgiving weekend.  This year, I got an early start to my holiday shopping so that I could avoid the crowds.   I figured I could accomplish more in a shorter period of time without the mass crowds of shoppers.  Much to my dismay, the retail madness had already started.  There was no parking, plus huge crowds and lines made the experience intolerable. Unfortunately, I was too late to avoid it all.
I grew up in a different era.  Holidays were about spending quality time with family and life was simple.  The holiday season started with watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on television and making a turkey figure using a paper bag stuffed with newspapers for the body, a toilet paper roll for the neck, and balled up newspapers for the head.  Construction paper was cleverly utilized for feathers, wings, and other important turkey parts.  After that, we had a nice family dinner.  There was no television turned on to watch football and there was definitely No Shopping!
I am no opponent of capitalism and I certainly understand the retail industry’s desire to maximize the holiday season.  I also understand the excitement of consumers to get great deals on gifts and household purchases for themselves and their families.  It is important to realize there is a hidden cost to retail madness.  Close, personal family contact and unity can become eroded and replaced by the desire to accumulate material objects.  I am not sure if this is a cost that America can afford.  
I personally support the retailers who refuse to open on Thanksgiving Day – so their employees can have time off with family and friends.  Let’s think about the real meaning of the holidays…the spirit of love and kindness and generosity.  

What Does Beige Say About You?

We live in a world of conformity. No one wants to stand out or be different. Fitting in feels like hanging out in your favorite pajamas. Beige is neutral so we wear it, paint our walls with it, cover our floors in it, and even drive in it. No other color makes a more unoriginal statement than beige.
What if we all had beige personalities? Beige means dependable, conservative, and flexible, as well as neutral, calm, and relaxing. But beige is boring as h#$*.
 
Here is what goes through my mind when I see someone who is beige:
 

  1. They are afraid to be unique. Being beige is the perfect way to fit in and not get noticed. This works especially well if you are uncomfortable in your own skin and don’t have a sense of who you are.
  2. They are safe and conservative. Beige people will not take risks. If you can’t take a small risk with your wardrobe, how can you possibly be interesting?  This is not the person you want to invite to a party, unless you need furniture for the corner.  
  3. They have no sense of style. If you have a burning desire to wear beige, please coordinate it with a bright accessory or a bright wardrobe piece that has a significant spark of color. Don’t wear beige because it matches everything, and it allows you to be lazy.  
  4. Their house is beige so they can sell it easily.  The walls are varying shades of beige, and so are the carpets and floors. Most likely the residents are wearing beige, so they can adequately morph into their surroundings.

 
My advice to anyone who just can’t break their beige habit is to move out of their comfort zone and get uncomfortable.   Embrace color with your own individuality so that the world can benefit from your unique contribution.  Remember, beige is boring…are you?

Nutritional Supplements — Are They Necessary?

Some of us faithfully suck down our vitamin supplements every morning, while others do not believe supplementation is necessary. These people state that they do not feel a difference or improvement in their health when they do take their supplements. Why do we need to take supplements? Don’t we get all our nutrients from our food?
Declining Nutritional Value in Our Food
A landmark study, conducted by Donald Davis at the University of Texas published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition in December 2004, compared nutritional data from 1950 to 1999 that compared different fruits and vegetables. There were reliable declines in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorous, iron, riboflavin, and Vitamin C in our produce. This decline can be attributed to pesticides and efforts to breed crops to provide greater yield. There have also been declines in other nutrients, such as magnesium, Vitamin B-6, and E.
Healthier soil undoubtedly leads to healthier produce. But, to keep soil healthy, fields should be alternated between growing seasons because it gives the land time to restore. Pesticides and fertilizers are avoided in organic growing methods, and therefore, vegetables and fruits are more nutritious.
Supplements to Bridge the Gap
As much as this is preferable, it can be difficult to achieve for those of us who live in an urban setting. This is where supplementation can bridge the gap by providing essential nutrients not found in our food.
But, do supplements really work? Are they all created equal? These are the common questions that most of us need to know the answers to prior to making an informed decision.  
In the US, prescription and non-prescription drugs are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Supplements are treated more like special foods, not drugs, so they are not put through the same safety and effectiveness requirements that drugs are.  Supplements do not have to be proven effective before being sold.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is the minimal daily allowance of nutrients necessary to prevent disease. It isn’t necessarily the amount of that nutrient that is required for optimum performance, as we have been lead to believe.  
Self-Regulated Supplement Industry
The supplement industry itself is not well regulated.  Therefore, it is the responsibility of the supplement company to maintain a standard and be self-regulated. As you can imagine, this is costly, and therefore not a common practice.
There are multiple issues with supplement distributors.  Most supplements do not even contain the actual supplement noted on the label or the amount claimed. Additionally, herbal suppliers may mix or substitute their crops with less expensive or more readily available plants. There is accidental contamination when one plant grows in with others or mistaken identity – when one plant looks like another.  
Now, let’s take a closer look at what really happens.  In 2013, researchers in Toronto sampled and analyzed 44 herbal supplements sold in the US and Canada that contained single herbs. DNA bar coding analysis was used to test the supplements and less than 48% contained any of the herb listed on the label. More than half contained substitutions, fillers, or contaminants.
In 2015, the New York Attorney General sent warning letters to major retailers selling supplements that were mislabeled after performing a DNA analysis. Some herbal supplements have even been found to contain prescription drugs or other compounds not listed on the labels.  
What’s in Your Supplements?
Needless to say, once I found this information, I relocated all my supplements to the trash bin and started searching for effective and safe supplements. After months of research, I found high-quality, effective supplements good enough for my family and patients.
I strongly believe supplementation is vital to those of us who wish to thrive. Obtaining the RDA of some nutrients isn’t enough for some of us who want to live the best and healthiest life possible!  
The company I chose personally sources their raw materials.  Additionally, the supplements are manufactured in an FDA facility which has stricter standards. They have multiple seals from Leaping Bunny, Good Manufacturing Practices, Natural Products Association and many others. The supplements are non-GMO, gluten-free, and do not contain soy, binders, fillers, chemical slurries or artificial sweeteners. Finally, my search has ended!
Want to check out the company I trust for my supplements? Click here to view my store

That Time I Became a Car Racing Enthusiast

My husband is a car enthusiast. He has been this way since the day I met him 25 years ago. He drove a Plymouth Sundance Turbo with a modified exhaust which made the car sound like a hot rod.
 
He has collected Car and Driver and Motor Trend magazines since 1993, and he knows everything about cars – how they work, how to make them look, sound and drive better, and how to fix them. Horsepower, torque, and stance used to be foreign terms to me, but now they are common household conversation amongst our two sons.  Although my husband can’t remember names of people he has met, he can remember everything about them once he knows the car they drive.
 
Throughout my life, I have been drawn to car enthusiasts. Two of my best friends in medical school were wired the same way – obsessed with cars.  Needless to say, they got along great with my husband. I could not understand the obsession, so I thought it was silly. I was everything but supportive.  
 
My friends finally persuaded my husband to go to the track so that he could drive in a safe manner. They assured me that this would reduce his erratic driving on public highways. It seemed counterintuitive – how could driving on a track with a bunch of testosterone crazed men trying to one-up each other be safe?
 
One day, I finally decided to see what the hype was all about.  I went to a track event in Georgia, only to find that the drivers were considerate and most weren’t there for their ego but to fuel a passion.  The drivers were required to point by to allow a faster driver/vehicle to pass, and the point by’s were mandatory.  
 
Driving on the track isn’t as much about speed as it is finesse.  There is a driving line for the track that you must learn to properly execute each turn safely and efficiently.  Until this is mastered, you cannot increase speed safely.  
 
I took it a step farther and signed up for a track event where I drove.  The atmosphere was exhilarating; hearing the sounds of the race cars, and the visceral sensation of executing each turn properly was intoxicating.  The weekend was full of nonstop excitement.  Even though, I was exhausted from all the focus and adrenaline, I was hooked and signed up for another weekend.  
 
I think I finally understand what all the hype was about.

That Smell!

Breakfast on the griddle, jasmine in the garden, your lover’s favorite perfume – No doubt each of these conjure a particularly pleasing emotion. After all, our sense of smell, more than any of the other senses, is psychologically linked with memory and can have a profound effect on the ways in which we connect with the world around us.
 
Common Reasons for Olfactory Loss
So, imagine for a moment, that you’ve lost your sense of smell. Scary, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-common occurrence. Among the top direct or indirect contributing factors to a partial or full loss of the ability to smell are:
 

  • Nasal obstruction
  • Degenerative nerve disease
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as pesticides or solvents
  • Head and neck cancers and related radiation treatments
  • Chronic respiratory infections
  • Oral disease
  • Radiation therapy
  • Dementia, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s
  • Traumatic head injuries
  • Hormonal disturbances
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Certain medications or drug abuse
  • Advanced age

 
Dangers of Olfactory Loss
Any of these conditions can negatively affect the functionality of not only our olfactory nerve cells (those responsible for your sense of smell) but also your gustatory nerve cells (those responsible for taste). That loss of functionality can affect not only your quality of life, but your safety, and perhaps your very life, as well. For example, the smell of certain gasses, smoke, or spoiled foods can alert us to danger, allowing us to act before it’s too late. And, research on the psychology of smell shows that body odor, produced by the genes which make up our immune system, can help us subconsciously choose our life partners.
 
While most people would report a loss of sight or hearing as a top worry, it’s clear that the loss of smell is a far underestimated misfortune. Fortunately, however, help is available.
 
Treatment Options
If you suspect you’re beginning to lose your sense of smell, a highly-trained otolaryngologist can perform a thorough examination of your head and neck to pinpoint signs of infections, inflammation, or physical obstruction that may be affecting your sense of smell or taste. Treatment options may include prescription or over-the-counter medications, including decongestants or antibiotics, or surgery to remove nasal polyps or other obstructions.
 

Confessions in a Medical Spa

The number of clients I see in my medical spa increases rapidly from September to December.  Everyone wants to look great for their holiday parties and look amazing when they spend time with family members, ex- husbands and ex-wives.
 
Women Confess “Biggest Secret”
I often hear quite a bit about the lives of my clients and their incentives for keeping up their appearances. Recently, I have had several women confess some of their biggest secrets. “I need to look as good as I can because my husband is over twenty years younger than me!”
 
This was a confession that I don’t hear often. So needless to say, it caught my attention. “Isn’t that stressful?” I asked. “Not at all!” my client replied, “I just need to keep up on my preventative maintenance.”  What was most interesting to me was that my client felt she needed to confess her marriage to a younger man. She wasn’t necessarily ashamed by it, but she felt she needed to confess to avoid being judged.
 
Double Standard Alive and Well
In contrast, my male clients boast about being married to a younger woman. Perhaps society is more accepting of this phenomenon. After all, it is much more common, but it reflects a common double standard in our society.
 
Men tell me that they are attracted to younger women because they are more attractive (aka haven’t let themselves go like women in their age group), and they participate in similar activities. They feel younger women are more compatible with them from an energy and vibrancy standpoint.
 
This doesn’t just apply to women, as I have certainly seen my fair share of men who have completely given up on themselves and on life. So the question is, when will the double standard become extinct? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, isn’t it? And who are we to judge what makes others happy?  
 
Live Your Life
I personally appreciate how honest my clients have been with me over the years, as it has expanded my perspective and changed the way I viewed things in the past.  My personal opinion is that people should be able to live their lives fully in the way they see fit.  The judgment of others is inconsequential.  But I guess I will only know how I really feel if my son brings home a woman twice his age.  
 

Don't Commit These 5 Social Media Faux Pas

Everyone has their own approach to social media.  Some people become friends with everyone they meet, and others, like me, are more careful with whom they invite into their social media circle. That being said, every so often, in the same way that I evaluate my closet for unstylish clothes, I evaluate my social media contacts. During this time, I make note of recurrent offenses that may lead to an un-friending scenario.
 
Here are the top five offenses that may eliminate you from a social media circle:
 

  1. Only posting about your kids to show that you are the luckiest parent in the world. Your social media friends would like to see some posts about you so that we know you are living a life of your own, not a life through your children.
  2. You are so in love with your spouse or significant other that you post your love on social media daily.  If you are truly in love, does the whole world really need to know?
  3. Boasting about material possessions. This may not be as offensive if your entire social media network is in the same socioeconomic status, but more than likely, they are not.  Is it really polite to make others feel bad about their life circumstances?
  4. Posting comments that are derogatory to men or women regularly because you had a bad relationship or two. One bad relationship doesn’t make the entire gender malicious.
  5. Daily religious posts. Be mindful that everyone has a right to their own religious beliefs, and everyone may not share the same faith as you.  It may be more respectful to others to minimize these posts unless all your friends share the same religion.

 
Social media has many positive attributes.  It is a great way for people to reconnect and stay in touch. However, we should be mindful in maintaining a certain respect for others in our posts.  

What You Need This Holiday Season Doesn't Come From a Store

The National Retail Federation forecasts a 3.7 percent increase in holiday sales this year, with U.S. spending at more than $630 billion or approximately $800 per person.  This is significantly higher than the 10 year average of 2.5 percent.  
Additionally, close to 136 million Americans plan to shop on Thanksgiving weekend.  This year, I got an early start to my holiday shopping so that I could avoid the crowds.   I figured I could accomplish more in a shorter period of time without the mass crowds of shoppers.  
However, much to my dismay, the retail madness had already started.  There was no parking, plus huge crowds and lines made the experience intolerable. As it turned out, I was already too late to avoid it all.
I grew up in a different era.  Holidays were about spending quality time with family and life was simple.  The holiday season started with watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on television and making a turkey figure using a paper bag stuffed with newspapers for the body, a toilet paper roll for the neck, and balled up newspapers for the head.  Construction paper was cleverly utilized for feathers, wings, and other important turkey parts.  After that, we had a nice family dinner.  
There was no television turned on to watch football and there was definitely no shopping!
I am no opponent of capitalism, and I certainly understand the retail industry’s desire to maximize the holiday season.  I also understand the excitement of consumers to get great deals on gifts and household purchases for themselves and their families.  
However, it is important to realize there is a hidden cost to retail madness.  Close, personal family contact and unity can become eroded and replaced by the desire to accumulate material objects.  I am not sure if this is a cost that America can afford.  
I personally support the retailers who refuse to open on Thanksgiving Day – so their employees can have time off with family and friends.  Let’s think about the real meaning of the holidays . . . the spirit of love and kindness and generosity.