November

trees

Image: Blog.zealousgood.com

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fire burns
And the kettle sings,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

~Elizabeth Coatesworth

Posted in Cool Quotes | Leave a comment

birkinbag

Image: Hermes.birkinbag.net

I’m up yet again in the middle of the night with insane hot flashes. Hour number 2 and counting. WTF? Thank you, F-bomb Tamoxifen.  As I lay on the couch (after removing my flip-floppy self from my bed I find myself pondering how on earth I ever stayed up all hours of the night in college. I’m so NOT a night person after 12:00 a.m.

But yet, here I am – AGAIN. Schvitzing. F-bomb.

The Shining Moments here are that I’m up fewer nights than I used to be AND that Henna (cat) waddled out to sleep right next to me on the sofa. There is nothing more sweet than the sound of her snorning. Really.

I always have some Black Birkin Bags under my eyes (I would really prefer for them to be on my ARM!) the following day.

Since I need heavy duty concealer for under my eyes, I decided to go shopping for beauty products at Sephora. This is such an overwhelming, perplexing and paralyzing experience to me. I found a wonderful make-up artist who deftly shuffled me from counter to counter saying, “You need This. This. And This. Don’t buy that.”

So, when we exchanged emails the other day, she promised to send me some fantastic Five-Minute Fixes to Pack (Under Eye) Bags. Boy, oh boy! Talk about a Shining Moment!

DIY ANTI-INFLAMMATORY STRATEGIES
GOAL: Restrict capillaries, reduce swelling and increase circulation

  • Ice
  • Witch hazel soaked cotton pads
  • Green tea-tannins and caffeine draws out fluids/speeds circulation
  • Cucumber compress (grind ¼ cucumber rolled into paper towel) reduces swelling
  • Cold soup spoons-decreases swelling
  • Reducing salt intake to decrease water retention

STEP 1
UNDER EYE SERUMS/ CREAMS

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

  • antioxidants like green tea and pomegranate
  • Caffeine to speed up circulation
  • Retinol (retinoid) and peptides to stimulate collagen production
  • Hydrating ingredients like Vitamin E, K, grape-seed extract, rose extract, chamomile

STEP 2
COLOR CORRECTORS
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

  • Pink, green or peach-based product (depends on your skin tone) which neutralizes the purple skin with a yellow when layered under concealer

STEP 3
CONCEALERS

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

  • Creamy, smooth and super blendable product with nourishing ingredients to tame puffiness

OTHER TRICKS

  • Decongestant eye drops relieve redness and irritation
  • Lengthening mascara opens the eye
  • Apply white line to the inside of eyelid to brighten eyes
  • Curl your lashes to make the eyes pop!

Now, maybe one day, I will be able to wear a real Birkin Bag on my arm, and not under my eyes!

 

Posted in Retail Tips | Leave a comment

BC

Image: Clickyooo.com

After I completed my treatment for breast cancer I went to a fancy schmancy black-tie event in Philadelphia. At the party, a friend referred to my attendance as my “coming out” party (because I hadn’t seen most of these people since before my diagnosis).  I had spent a lot of time thinking about this phrase. Prior to the party, I spent a lot more time than usual focusing on my personal appearance because subconsciously, I knew that it was indeed my coming out party.

Seeing people for the first time after having been sick was quite a unique experience. With their heads turned sideways, people asked, “How arrrrrrrrrre you?”  I consistently felt compelled to put their worries at ease and generally put on my biggest smile and said, “Great!” because the truth of the matter was that is what people wanted to hear. People didn’t want to know that I was totally wiped out and not really myself and that there were residual side effects to my year with breast cancer. People wanted to hear and believe that life was back to normal, as if nothing happened. Ever.

I never realized until I arrived at the event that being in a big group of people whom I hadn’t seen prior to my diagnosis was a very stressful and nerve-wracking burden to bear.

At this event, I had the stark realization that I was officially a part of a club for which no one applied and no one wanted to be a member. What I knew for sure was that I was forever changed after my experience in “The Pink Bubble.”

What I also realized was that I was less comfortable grinning and gripping in crowds. I no longer wanted to be a schmoozer (not that I was really a full schmoozer before, but I could definitely work a room).  Rather, I learned that I preferred being in small groups of people and having depth of conversation.

Throughout the years, people have asked me how my time in “Cancerville” has changed me. Though most people expected me to say that I ate differently and exercised more; that is not the case (especially since I still consider myself a chocoholic and continue to eat anything with sugar).

Rather, I am drawn toward depth. Depth of conversation. Depth of experience. Depth of relationships. Depth. This is quite a Shining Moment. And you all know that finding Shining Moments has been my true north during my time in the abyss.

I learned that breast cancer is the disease that keeps on giving; however Shining Moments give more. Always.

 

Posted in Other Gems | Leave a comment

greeny

Image: En.wikipedia.org

Green is one of my favorite colors (next to pink and purple, of course!). So, I thought I’d share some inspirational tidbits about the color itself. (Shining Moment)!

Grass green is the most restful color. Green symbolizes self-respect and well-being.

Green is favored by well-balanced people. Green symbolizes the master healer and the life force.  It was believed green was healing for the eyes. Egyptians wore green eyeliner. Green eyeshades are still used (though not by moi).

Green is the color of balance. It also means learning, growth and harmony. Green is a safe color, if you don’t know what color to use anywhere use green.

Green contains the powerful energies of nature, growth, and desire to expand or increase.

Green says growth – balance – harmony. It is a color of healthy relationships.

Balance and a sense of order are found in the color green. Change and transformation is necessary for growth, and so this ability to sustain changes is also a part of the energy of green.

Green is the color associated with the Heart Chakra. This chakra deals with higher consciousness and love. Green is the color of nature, fertility, life.

You should eat raw green foods for good health (DUH).

Put some green in your life when you want:

a new state of balance
feel a need for change or growth
freedom to pursue new ideas
protection from fears and anxieties connected with the demands of others

Hope you have a green day!

 

Posted in Just for Fun | Leave a comment

lesson learned

Image:  StacyRobbins.com

When I was diagnosed with cancer five years ago, I never asked, “Why?”  Asking why would have been a logical response, especially considering the fact that I was a 5K runner, ate healthy, and didn’t have first-degree relatives with breast cancer in my family.  However, rather than ask “Why?” I wondered, “What am I supposed to learn from this experience?”  As it turns out, one of the shining moments of my experience with breast cancer was learning some valuable life lessons.

Lesson #1:  Honor the feelings and let them out. Prior to my experience with breast cancer, I was a grin-and-bear it kind of girl who was reluctant to share any feeling other than joy. However, once ‘Roid Rage (the intense feelings of anger brought on by pre-chemotherapy steroids) and my Chemo-Sabe cocktails that entered my life, I had no choice but to let it all out. And you know what?  Expressing feelings, all feelings, happen to feel good, really good.  Though I no longer have either ‘Roid Rage or Chemo-Sabe (thank goodness!), I continue to openly express my feelings.  And it still feels good!

Lesson #2: Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.  As John Donne so memorably wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.” It took a cancer diagnosis for me to really get the meaning of this.  I now know that seeking support is both the loving and strong thing to do.  By getting the right help, whether in making decisions or making meals, I came to realize that letting go of control and delegating is a way to honor yourself and to honor those around you.

Lesson #3:  It’s just hair.  One of the things that I was most anxious about prior to starting chemotherapy was losing my hair.  There are studies that show that for many women, losing their hair is worse than losing a breast.  I feared chemotherapy more than I feared cancer.  Although I elected not to shave my head, as soon as my hair started falling out, I had a Chemo Coiffure that I called, “On the Good Ship Lolly-Bob.” My hair was cut to my chin.  What I learned was that anticipation was far worse than reality.  While I didn’t exactly think bald was beautiful, I realized bald wasn’t bad.

Lesson #4:  No Should-ing. I used to be a big “should-er.” I was always saying “I should go to this. I should do that.” True, there are certain things in the world that are not options, e.g. taxes, death, eating, breathing, and of course, reading to your children.  I also believe that being kind is a moral imperative that is nonnegotiable.  Aside from these things, “should-ing” does not make for a happy life.  I now make decisions based on whether or not it will make my heart sing.

Lesson #5:  Breast cancer isn’t a fight (at least for me).  Were the treatments awful? Yes. Was it a struggle? Yes, of course.  Omnipresent in our culture are cancer “fighting” messages.  Frankly, the thought of “fighting” makes my stomach turn and has a tremendously pejorative connotation.  Why add insult (fighting) to injury (cancer)? So, if I didn’t “fight,” what did I do, you ask? I harnessed energy.  I found shining moments.  I laughed (at myself, mostly).  I rested. I allowed the treatments to work.  I tried a whole lot of things that I’d never done before (writing).  I didn’t fight.  I looked for inner peace and understanding and saw my life as a blessing full of shining moments.

 

Posted in Other Gems | Leave a comment

There are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.
~ Mark Nepo

Posted in Cool Quotes | Leave a comment

pumkinseed

Image: CountryLivingMagazine

I absolutely love pumpkins, but most of all, I enjoy the seeds! Sure, pumpkins are festive and fun, but the seeds REALLY rock. I eat them all year-long and found a recipe from Country-Living Magazine that I just had to share with you. It’s so easy and SO incredibly delish.

Ingredients:

  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups pepitas (raw shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • (approximately 7 ounces)
  1. Line a 9-by-13 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment, coat with cooking spray, and set atop a wire rack.
  2. In a medium saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, bring sugar, cinnamon, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring just until sugar is dissolved.  Continue cooking until temperature reaches 238 degrees F., about 8 minutes.  Stir in pumpkin seeds and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 290 degrees F., about 5 minutes more.
  3. Remove mixture from heat and carefully pour onto prepared pan.  Using a rubber spatula coated with cooking spray, spread into a thin layer.  Let cool completely, about 1 hour.  Lift brittle from pan and peel away parchment.  Break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Makes 16 servings.  Working time 20 min. Total time 35 minutes, plus cooling

So scrumptious!! Feedback, please!!!

Posted in Remarkable Recipes | Leave a comment

question

Image: En.wikipedia.org

This question, “Who are the most important people in your life?” is a challenging one for me because as much as I want to say, “My friends” and “My family” I am encouraging myself to narrow it down from a general response to a specific one. This is helping me cultivate an immense amount of gratitude for the people who are most important in my life…which is a great and special Shining Moment today. I hope that it is the same for you! I am giddy to hear your response to this question!

 

Posted in Other Gems | Leave a comment

survivor necklace

Image: malibeads.com

Ladies, do you want to be simple and stylish? The survivor necklace by MaLiBeads is so cool and a true statement piece. It’s a beauty, isn’t it?! This casual necklace is only $150 and 20% of the proceeds go to Susan G. Komen. Check it out at malibeads.com. I’m ordering mine today!

Posted in Retail Tips | Leave a comment

cancer fighting foods

Image: eatingmywaytobetterhealth.blogspot.com

Did you know what you eat for dinner affects how you feel 15 minutes later? Eating right can really make a difference. Consuming more fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a smart plan for cancer prevention, but there are some foods that may give you extra protection.  Here are six items to add to your grocery list:

  1. Rosemary – Rosemary contains carnosol, a natural chemical that has been found to potentially help reduce breast cancer.
  2. Ginger – Fresh or dried ginger has antioxidant properties that may aid in cancer prevention, says research.
  3. Tea – Compared with those who don’t drink tea, regular sippers (green, black oolong or white all count) are at a lower risk of certain cancers, such as breast, colon, ling and ovarian.
  4. Pecans – This pantry good as well as walnuts and pomegranates contain ellagic acid, a nutrient that research suggests inhibits cancer cell growth.
  5. Grapefruit – This juicy citrus fruit – along with bell peppers and oranges-is chock-full of vitamin C, which may block the formation of cancer-causing compounds.
  6. Cruciferous vegetables – Raw broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower contain glucosinolates, a type of phytonutrient that can help kick-start the production of toxin-clearing enzymes.

Stock your pantry and refrigerator with these delicious foods. You’ll feel better and lower your risk for cancer.

Posted in Clue Me In with Medical facts | Leave a comment