Monthly Archives: February 2014

#WCBC Shops LM

Today I’m writing my first ever ‘Fashion Post’ about a piece I bought at an event. Just an FYI- This is a sponsored post. I did/can receive compensation from Langford Market in exchange for blogging about the brand. However, all of this was inspired by true/real events

So do you remember last week before I crawled into a hole and disappeared from bloggy world how I talked about going to a shopping event at Langford Market with Windy City Blogger Collective?

So, here’s the scoop. I’m going to start this story with something funny- and somewhat embarrassing because that will make up for my awkward “modeling” photos later in this post.

So I got off work and was heading downtown to the shopping event which was in Lincoln Park. I knew the general area where the store was, but wasn’t 100% sure as I had never been. Welp, I just spoke to my trusted friend Siri- who I have become newly obsessed with since getting the new Iphone. I’ve never had a Siri before. Well, me and Siri are now in a fight because when I asked her to take me to Langford, she took me to what used to be Langford. Which now looks something like this: langarm

Actually, at 6 PM on a really cold night- it looks a lot less appealing. Especially after paying for parking, and trying to jump the giant snow mounds in flats (with no socks) to get to the meter box (AKA- parking highway robbery box). So basically, Siri betrayed me and we aren’t friends anymore. After some further research, I found the proper address and ended up at the right place.

Which, by the way- is a delightful little treasure. The event was a lot of fun, and I met a few very nice girls which is always a bonus!

P.S.- Major cred to all fashion bloggers out there for multiple reasons. First, I don’t know how you manage to take these adorable, not awkward photos outside in the middle of winter. I was freezing my lady parts off, and the wind was legitimately trying to blow me over. Also, what do you do with your hands?! Ugh, honestly, the most awkward experience being photographed alone. You probably won’t be seeing a ton of fashion posts from me.

ANNDD we’re back. I found this super cute jacket which I am now more obsessed with than Siri.

It’s pretty light weight, but still warm and cozy. I styled it four ways, because I was trying to think of two ways to do it- and as I was thinking of it more and more outfits came to mind that I could work it into. It’s super versatile. So- here’s goes.

outfit1This was my more casual approach- crop jeans, flats, and a simple black tee.  I paired it with gold accessories- which you can’t really see. Oops.

Looks Two:
outfit3
A bit dressier look. Everything under the jacket is Cabi (Carol Anderson by Invitation). If you need a consultant for Cabi, just click the link!
Shoes: Similar found here, here, here and here.

Look Three- AKA; My Favorite.
outfit2
I’m a casual girl through and through so this was right up my alley- except for the fact of course it’s not Spring (even though it should be!) and I was really cold.
Pictured: Skirt similar here & here, Similar-ish Tank, Button Down-here or here, Shoes.

And Look Four- Fancy Sauce:
outfit4
Similar: Dress 1 or Dress 1. Shoes: Here, here, or here.

Overall, this piece is great. It is super comfy, warm but not too heavy or thick and has some black detail on the shoulders which means you can wear it with just about any color! My only con with this piece would be the material seems a bit delicate so you have to watch out for snagging it or getting it caught on things. The shop itself had a ton of stuff for all different tastes- and everything was reasonably priced which makes life even better!

And that was how I was a model for a few hours. And it was weird.
Props to WCBC & Langford Market for hosting such a fun event. And of course, props to my one and only- who happens to be my photographer as well.

The End.

 

Pet Peeves

Okay guys- today I want to talk about pet peeves because, why not?

“A pet peeve is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to himself (or herself), to a greater degree than others may find it.” via Wikipedia.

Actually this is inspired by true events. One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when there’s an ambulance coming down the street all lights and sirens- and people don’t move/pull over/stop/get out of the way. UHM HELLO!!! I’m sorry (not really) but I think that person in the back of the ambulance is having a heart attack or maybe just has a really bad paper cut that needs some serious medical attention- but either way, MOVE IT DUDE. Wherever you’re going isn’t as important as that person getting to the hospital- for them every second counts, you can wait at that light for a hot second. It happened this morning on my way to work- I pulled over to the curb (I was in the right lane) to get out of the way and this guy behind me cut into the center lane (where the ambulance was) to pass me and keep going. Then because people don’t get the concept of getting out of the way the ambulance had to drive in the oncoming traffic lane because people wouldn’t move! Makes my blood boil. Also, props to ambulance drivers, because I think I would start going at cars that were in my way demolition derby style. (Sidenote- if you’ve never been to the demolition derby- go. It’s amazing. NOT even kidding.)

This got me thinking about random pet peeves I have, and how funny it is that certain things bother people more than they do other people. So here you will find my complete list of pet-peeves.

Also- “they” think the phrase ‘Pet Peeve’ became popular around 1919. And the word ‘peeve’ actually came from the Latin for the word “Perverse.” Now, don’t say I never taught you anything here.

My [Random] Pet Peeves

  • Loud Chewers (see this Instagram post)
  • The noise Mac & Cheese makes when you stir it. Only a Mac ‘n’ Cheese Connoisseur would have this issue.
  • When people wear socks to bed (EWEEEE).
  • People that don’t move for ambulances, as seen above.
  • When people scrape their teeth on their forks.
  • When someone calls/texts you and you miss it, but call/text back right away and they don’t respond.
    text
  • People that honk at you .0034 seconds after the light turns green.
  • Slow turners- you know you don’t like those people either.
  • People with music/TV ADHD- Please can we listen to the WHOLE song instead of you changing it at the best part!?!
  • Poor customer service- this one is pretty general, but it DRIVES ME NUTS.
  • When you call/email a company/event/professional about something and they don’t respond for DAYS or at all. COME ON. You are a company- answer my damn question!
  • When people use the words….ugh. I don’t even want to type them.”Panties” & “Moist.” UGH I need to go take a shower now.
    (My family & friends love to taunt me with these words- they even combine them in really gross ways to watch me wig the eff out. #RUDE)
  • People at the gym who get on the treadmill right next to you when there are other open ones that aren’t near to any other runners. GET OUT OF MY QUADRANT.
  • Couples who sit on the same side of the booth/table as each other when it’s just the two of them. WEIRDOS- sit across from one another- you’re creepin’ me out!
  • People who use too many hashtags. Stop yourself. 4-5 is the max, and even that’s pushing it. When you have a paragraph of hashtags I’m instantly annoyed.
  • When people squeeze the condiment/shampoo or conditioner bottles and then close them with all the air sucked out…just, don’t even ask.
  • When you ask for the guac at Chipotle and they shout at you that it’s an extra $2. “Yes, I know- this is not my first Chipotle rodeo. No, I don’t care. Yes, I want the guac. Just, yes- right there in my burrito bowl.” IT SHOULD NOT BE THAT HARD. I JUST WANT SOME GUAC.

I think 15 17 is a good number to leave things off at. It was going to be 15- but then I found THIS.
What about you?! Let me hear about some of your pet peeves. I need to know I’m not alone in this.

Keep an eye open for my post about last night’s shopping event!

Cara Box Link-up & Some Random

So let us start with this. I participated in my first Cara Box Exchange this last round. It was great fun- and I’m really excited for the next one! Today is link-up day where we show off the fancy stuff our match sent us.

One of my matches was Jessy, she blogs over at The Artsy Cajun. She is a fabulous gal who I had a ton of fun getting to know.

She blogs about all sorts of stuff and does a lot of fancy DIY type things. Here are some of the fun things I got in my box!

First of all- what a smarty pants- she put everything in a reusable shopping bag- I am a bag lady so this was exciting in and of itself. Also, super cute an Valentine’s-y (which you know I love if you read this post).

photo 1

 

Then she put a bunch of fun goodies inside- it’s funny- how did she know I’m slightly a bit of a wino? How did she know I paint my fingers/toes like once a week? Or that I write notes a lot? I don’t even know- I mean we talked and shared a lot over the course of the exchange- but man, she nailed it. photo 2PS- How cute is that ‘F’ she hand painted?! You can’t tell but it’s all sparkly. #CUTE

I think one of my favorite things though, besides the cute ‘F’ are these here Post-It’s. I have a problem with habit of Post-It hoarding collecting (please see Figure 2 for evidence). Anyways, these new ones- they are bright colored and say #yourock- I think YES about these!

Figure 1 (Cute, new ones for the collection)
photo 3

Figure 2 (I keep Post-It’s in two spots on my desk- all of varying color/size- you never know what you’re gunna need)

picstitch

Anyways, lets not focus on my Post-It problems and instead let me say how much fun it was to participate in the Cara Box Exchange! I sent a box to Ashley who blogs over at Our Mitchell Moments and I think I was just excited to send my box  as I was to get one!

Thanks to Kaitlyn of Wifessionals who organizes this whole huge production! And of course, thanks to my match Jessy- who was such a delight to get to know, and sent me some very thoughtful stuff!


First- We need to take a moment to recognize the fact that it is SPRING outside right now. And how fabulous that really is. Or how I put on a skirt and a jacket today without fear of going outside and instantly freezing?! Hallelujah- I think this is really what I needed to keep me from throwing a real hissy fit over how cruel this winter has been to us here in Chicago.

Second- I am 1 stamp away from winning about 5 different prizes on this damn Jewel Monopoly game. I am SUCH a sucker for this stuff. That brings me to the following conclusions: A) I want your pieces if you aren’t playing- and no I’m not kidding. B) I HAVE to win something- even if it’s just the $10 grocery gift card or else I will be really upset. C) How in the world did I even get sucked into this?!

Third- Erica over at Erica Jacqueline did a lovely feature about me in her post yesterday, which you should check out if you haven’t already!

And finally, I’m going to an event hosted by Windy City Blogger Collective tonight at the Langford Market which I’m pretty excited about- you’ll get to hear more about this later in the week!

Well- I’m just rambling now, so off I go to obsesses over my Jewel Monopoly board….

 

A PSA for the Bro’s

Let this serve as a Pre-Valentine’s Day PSA for all you dude’s out there. Rather, you ‘Bro’s’ because you are clearly the only people left on the plant that are delusional enough to think the way you do. (GUYS- I have been waiting a HOT MINUTE to have a post where I would write about people being delusional. This is an exciting time right now).

To be honest- I don’t even know where to start. I’m all full of chuckles, and completely baffled by this whole situation. Sometimes, life hands you the best material.

How about we picture this. Picture your typical Bro. 6’1 maybe, works out, works at a GNC (maybe takes more than his fair share of “supplements”), drives a fancy car that has more balls than he does. You know the type- don’t pretend you don’t.

Well, long, long ago- in a land far away, a family member of mine may or may not have briefly dated this type of Bro (and by “dated” I mean talked to casually, had a couple dates with- the whole thing probably lasted a month). Well, this whole deal only lasted the space of month because this ‘Bro’ who we will call “Justin” to protect…well, I don’t know who I’m honestly trying to protect- but anyways. “Justin” invited my sister over for a little get together with him and a bunch of his friends. Well, apparently he forgot to mention to his friends that the girl he was trying to date on the side had no clue he had a long-term girlfriend. So, as we’re all standing in the kitchen having the awkward small talk type of thing that happens at parties, someone let the cat out of the bag- and needless to say, my family member decided that was enough of that. And, a big thank you to “Justin’s” friend who has a flappy trap- it really saved everyone a lot of time.

Well- let’s pretend we have a fancy little FF button on life and we move ourselves about 6 years into the future. Said family member (who if you haven’t gotten it yet guys- it’s my sister, but you’ll never know which one, I’ll never spill!). Anyways said family member sister is now happily married with some children, some three children (if you know me in real life, and haven’t figured out which sister it is- PROCESS OF ELIMINATION is a fabulous tool in life).

Anyways, I’m out one night last summer at my favorite local watering hole (BANDITO’S FOREVER) with one of my girlfriends. We’re bopping around the patio and are lucky enough to find two seats next to each other at the bar- so we grab them sit down and start BS-ing. WELL, I very quickly notice that the guy next to us on the right has NO SHOES ON. In a public place, I mean for Pete’s sake (who is Pete anyways?! And why do we always use him and his ‘sake’? I don’t even get it…) WE ARE IN A BAR- put some shoes on, you’re gunna get AIDS or something. Anyways, weird “Shoeless Joe” starts talking to my friend while I’m ordering another round of fireball shots distracted. Well we take our round of shots and are just minding our own business when the dude on the left of us (on my side, my friend got stuck with “shoeless Joe” on her side) pokes me and says ‘Hey, I think I know you’. Now, let me start by saying this- I do not recognize this person at.all. And I’m kind of taken aback at how he could have gotten a good enough look at me to conclude he knows me, as my back was mostly turned on him (facing my friend) and his facing his friends. So immediately I’m thinking this dude is just trying to hit on me. So me, being married, trying to just have a girl’s night with my friend, and completely disinterested in trying to put this guy down nicely- turned and said (very flatly, pretty bitchy); “No, I don’t think so- I don’t recognize you” and turn back to my friend and go to work on my drink.

Welp- that wasn’t enough- he pokes me again and says; “No, really, I do, I know you” (I must have confirmed his suspicions with my bratty response). He then proceeds to start listing off facts about my family. At this point I am intrigued, totally creeped out, and overall confused (he got me like a Venus Fly trap!). Well wouldn’t ya know it- its “Justin” who has shaved lost his hair (and probably stopped working at GNC and taking all those supplements- because he seems to have lost his muscles too). Well anyways, “Justin” is now married to his girlfriend who he loved so much from back in the day and now has a few kids. We play the awkward “haven’t seen you in six years, didn’t even really know you that well back then” catch up game and part ways. Because while I’m tied up in my conversation with creeper on my left who happens to remember random details about my family, and what my face looks like after 6 years (PS- I met him twice for about a total of 25 minutes altogether). My girlfriend is sucked into conversation with “Shoeless Joe” on her right—TALK ABOUT A CREEPER SANDWICH! No wonder those seats were open. “Shoeless Joe” offers us a ride home-which I turn down as I don’t let people who are creepy, who don’t wear shoes, I don’t know drive me home. So, we do what most women in weird situations do and go to the bathroom, run to exit and give the bouncers all the singles we have to call us a cab and hide around the corner so “Shoeless Joe” (who we are pretty sure got up at this point to come look for us) can’t find us until our cab comes. Ahhh, that was a fun night.

Fast forward to about a month ago- I’m at my local gym, listening to one of my best friends talk me through the intricacies of her latest relationship fiascos getting my sweat on. We forgot water so we walk up to the juice bar to grab one. A guy in line next to us (clearly, bro’s also don’t get how lines work) says; “Hey, I think I know you…” I look up and am like: ‘Huh? Why do I keep getting this lately?!’ (Those are my thoughts, in my head. I think I said something out loud like “What did I do this time” or “Depends on who’s asking” or something annoyingly overused like that) Well, I am going to bet you can guess who it was. Me and our friend “Justin” have our perfunctory ‘Long time no see, how are your kids, how’s your husband’ talk. It last about 3 minutes and my friend and I go back to doin’ our thang at the gym.

 

Today in a work meeting I get a text from my family member sister;

photo 3

And then this conversation ensues:

photo 2

 

So, clearly we need to travel wayyyy back to that kitchen and profusely thank Mr. Flappy Trap for saving my sister from “Justin’s” insanity. Because apparently this Bro thinks that when I bump into him a few times and don’t completely ignore his existence- I am “flirting”- you know, as I tell him about my husband, and ask about his wife and kids. I just can’t help myself…what can I say…?

 

SO- PSA of the day is this-

polite

I don’t care who you are (unless you’re my husband- then this is totally flirting-because anything is flirting with you baby. 😉 Hahaha)- If I smile, and say hello, maybe ask about your wife & kids- THIS IS NOT ME FLIRTING. This is me being nice, and not ignoring you when you say- “Hey I think I know you”. Also, as a side note- let us remember the part of the story where I tried to ignore him at the bar until he started reciting facts about my life. Creeper.

I don’t know what your issues are Mister Bro- whether it be ego/narcissism/insecurity or some cocktail of all of that- but please, for the sake of any other polite women out there and Pete (let’s not forget him) GO GET A SHRINK. Work through your social issues-It will really help.

Also- just to show you how predictable the whole situation is:

 photo 1 (1)
*SERIOUSLY, Auto-correct? A mini can? You think you’re so intuitive, but you can’t even catch that one?! You’re not as smart as you think you are. Also, before you all start correcting my spelling of “Odyssey” I know. I spelled it wrong. I’m not Greek/don’t own a suburban family hauler with stick figure people on the back (see more on this; here– 4th paragraph in). I struggle spelling words sometimes- whatever. 

Alright ladies, please tell me I am not the only one who this has happened to?
I am dying to hear your stories! Spill the beans!

 

 

 

Show Some Love

VALENTINES DAY IS COMING. And I don’t care what you say about this being a “Hallmark Holiday” or being totally commercialized, blah blah blah- all I’m sayin’ is- don’t rain on my parade. The one time of the year that everything is covered in pink and red and sparkles and hearts- how can you be mad at that!? Unless of course, you are the Grinch of Valentine’s Day and your heart is two sizes too small. Then by all means, continue grouching.

grinch heart

Now that we cleared the air on that topic- I wanted to show you a great DIY Valentine’s Day gift (or if you really refuse to celebrate this holiday- it works as a birthday, mother’s/father’s day gift, etc.) that is thoughtful, budget friendly, and fun to work on! I made this a few years back for the mister and it still is one of my most favorite gifts I’ve made/bought for him.

20140206-_DSC1326

I don’t really have a name for this- and everything I thought up for a name was really corny, so I’m just going to give you pictures and directions and you can name it whatever you want!

What You’ll Need:

  • A dictionary/encyclopedia (I found a really cool vintage one from  a used book store- you can use a new one if you want, I just wanted something that looked cool on the outside)
  • A Glue Stick
  • Clippings from magazines/newspapers/stickers etc.
  • Decorative Paper Fasteners (See below)
  • Stamp pad & stamps (or if you have nice handwriting you can just write)
  • Fancy paper/card-stock
  • Fancy scissors
    (the last four things on this list are optional, you can get away with using regular paper/scissors and just writing the words- it’s up to you how fancy/involved you want to get)

 

So, what I did was this. I made a list of all sorts of character traits, or things I think of when I think of my husband; I.E. strength, youthfulness, loving, caring, smart, etc. I then looked through a bunch of magazines/newspapers/stickers to find words that said those things, or related to those characteristics and cut them out.

In the first few pages of the book I made a cover page that looked like this:

image
(My husband’s nickname is “Flik”)

 

Then every few pages I would make a collage with one of the character traits I had written down. Like this:

20140206-_DSC1336

Because it would take a long time, and a lot of words,  I didn’t do one on every page- so I fastened pages together with the paper fasteners like so: PicMonkey Collage

 

I also just glued some of the pages together with a glue stick.

image (1)
(This page theme was “Character”)

image (4)Add in little quotes, or love notes, or whatever comes to mind! 

image (5)

 

20140206-_DSC1327The End!

Do you have any great Valentine’s Day gift or DIY ideas?
What is the best Valentine’s Day gift you’ve given or received?

This post is a part of Helene & Sarah’s Valentine’s Day Link-up!

Helene in Between

 

 

Stories for the Fighters

Today is World Cancer Day. Unless you’ve been stuck under a rock today (which if you were, I’m terribly sorry and I hope you got help quickly and were unharmed) but otherwise, you probably know this.

myths

“World Cancer Day is a chance to raise our collective voices in the name of improving general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease. From a global level, we are focusing our messaging on the four myths above. In addition to being in-line with our global advocacy goals, these overarching myths leave a lot of flexibility for members, partners and supporters to adapt and expand on for their own needs.” ~ From World Cancer Day.org

(Quick disclaimer- this is a long post- brace yourselves) 

My encounters with cancer have been fairly often, but somewhat removed. My Grandma had Leukemia (cancer which attacks blood cells) before I was born, and she lived through it. She would mention it here and there, but we have never really had any in depth talks about it. My Great Grandma (who I will post about again soon because she’s probably the coolest person I know ever, in all of life) had breast cancer and Melanoma (skin cancer)- and lived. My Grandfather on my other side of the family died of Pancreatic Cancer. While most wouldn’t call this ‘removed’ it came on pretty quickly, and he lived far away so I didn’t have the first hand experience of watching it all unfold.

gpa

So today, on World Cancer Day, I want to honor the stories and lives of those who have fought to tell the story of cancer life, whether they are here to tell of it themselves or not.

My best friend who I met in college, has lost her uncle and her father to cancer. I didn’t know her yet when her uncle died of Leukemia at the age of 34. But I knew her dad, and her family. I watched them fight through this experience, this life changing event and it was so foreign and yet felt so close to me. I watched my friend go back home for the weekend instead of go out like the rest of our peers were, or go to the hospital everyday after classes or work, I watched her grow into who she is today- before my very eyes. While her dad was going through some very serious treatments for Renal Cell Carcinoma (a form of kidney cancer), she managed to keep up good grades in college, and managed to graduate just 10 months after her dad passed. When I asked her how old he was when he passed she said;  “He was 49 years old, he couldn’t fathom the fact that he would be turning 50.” She is one of the strongest people I know, being able to bring humor into possibly the hardest situation of her life. I think she got that from her dad. I asked her to describe her dad in one sentence she said:  “It’s hard to describe my dad in one sentence. He was a lot of things. He had such a great personality and outlook, on even the worst situation. It rubbed off on people.” (FACT: It rubbed off on her)
I also asked her if she had to give advice to someone in the position she was in what would she say. She said; “My piece of advice would be to be patient. Nothing ever happens when you think/want or are told it’s going to happen. You might need to see 4 doctors, and try 10 different medications before you find what works. Also, be there for the other person in whatever way you can. They have it a lot worse than you.”
I have watched their family carry on his name, his memory, and his legacy in one of the most beautiful displays of love I have ever seen. And for that, I am thankful to them, and to Rich.

PicMonkey Collage
(This quote is from Mitch Albom‘s Five People You Meet in Heaven– which I hightly recommend) 

My next story is not mine at all, it belongs to my friend Chrissie. A girl who I met in college who was diagnosed with brain cancer this past summer. I’m not going to say much more about her story beside the questions you see me ask below, because no one can tell it better than her- and she does a damn good job.
Without further ado, my friend Chrissie:

chrissie

So how did you discover you had cancer to begin with, I mean you’re a healthy, active female in your 20’s (she’s 24 to be exact).
I had been having headaches and a sharp pain in the back of my head for about a month. Finally, something told me to see my doctor. She didn’t seem to be too concerned, but sent me for an MRI anyway. We both thought it would just be a migraine disorder. One hour after the MRI, my doctored called and said I needed to get to the ER immediately for more tests because she could see a huge mass in a dangerous spot. Long story short, I barley had any spinal fluid left and I had surgery the next day. The surgeon told my mom he didn’t know if I’d survive. It was on July 23, that the biopsy results came back the tumor was malignant… Meaning brain cancer.

How would you describe yourself as a person who was diagnosed with cancer? Especially at such a young age.
Cancer does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone. BUT I am still Chrissie. I am still a daughter, friend, granddaughter etc…. Cancer does not own me or define who I am. It cannot take away who you are.

“Cancer does not own me or define who I am. It cannot take away who you are.”

What was your first thought when you heard the results? I can’t imagine what would be rushing through my head at that point?
I knew by the look on the Oncologist’s face when he walked in what he was going to say. My mom dropped to her knees and cried. I just stared at him like he was crazy. I thought, ‘This could not be happening.’ Then I just broke down. I was still recovering from major surgery and in immense pain and then I got this bomb dropped. Ironically, as my doctor was walking out of my room my pastor walked in. I took it as a sign from God that I had to fight and that I was going to make it through. But I was still terrified.

Besides your faith- what gives you the hope/strength/motivation to fight through all this?
I could have easily said ‘no’ to treatment and just given up- but I wanted to be an example. It took some time to find the hope, strength, and motivation to fight. I was mad at the world. I couldn’t walk without a walker. I couldn’t even shower alone. Then I started radiation, and I saw this little girl being taken away for her treatment. And it was then I decided I needed to fight and be as positive as possible to be an example for others. I’ve said all along if I can have just one person look at me and say “She did it, she fought- so I will too” then this is all worth it, and I’d do it over again.

 “If I can have just one person look at me and say “She did it, she fought- so I will too” then this is all worth it, and I’d do it over again.”

(WHOLE BODY GOOSE BUMPS RIGHT NOW.)
Ok can you kind of explain to me your path of treatment?
Well my Oncologist chose Proton Radiation Therapy. Proton Radiation Therapy is different than regular radiation in that it only targets the spot where the cancer is so that the rest of your body isn’t getting hit with radiation. I also had a spinal tap because the cancer cells could have dropped down into my spine during surgery but those results came back clear which meant I would not need chemo, just radiation. So I went 5 days a week for 6 weeks.

So outside of maybe some of the more obvious ways, how would you say having/fighting/beating cancer has changed/affected your life?
While I may be healed physically, I still deal with the emotional aspects of it all. Because it all happened so fast, I really didn’t have time to process. So that is happening now. It completely changed me. It showed me that I am strong, that I am a fighter, and the thing it did the most was show me how much love I have in my life. I cherish every moment that I get to spend with a loved one now more then ever. I say; ‘I love you’ every chance I get. And I just feel so thankful to be able to say I fought and I won.

‘And I just feel so thankful to be able to say ‘I fought and I won.’

Seems like it really was a fast process, how long were you dealing with everything as far as doctor’s visits and treatments and that sort of thing?
Since being told it was a tumor on July 17th until October 4th 2013, when treatment ended. During that time I’d have to meet with my Radiologist every week. And I had a nurse coming to my mom’s house, where I had to move in. I also needed physical therapy twice a week. Now, I need to have follow up MRI’s of my brain and spine every 3 months for 2 years.

What is one myth you would say you have heard or felt you experienced/lived through regarding cancer?
You always hear that cancer will ruin your life. That it’ll defeat you. Take away everything you love. That myth is not true. Yes, cancer is extremely daunting and scary and so hard to cope with but it cannot control you unless you let it. I chose right away I would not let it define me. I don’t want people to look at me and immediately think cancer. I want them to see me. My heart. Who I am. Cancer is just something you go through. It’s NOT who you are.

Cancer is just something you go through. It’s NOT who you are.”

What would you tell supporters of people who have been diagnosed/survivors?
I would say allow yourself to feel every emotion. Good, bad, and ugly. If you don’t and you bottle it up….pretend like it’s not happening, it will eat you alive. My advice would be to always live in the moment. It’s all we really have. Tell the ones you love, that you do and seek help or therapy if you need it. There is no shame it that. Most importantly, always believe you CAN beat cancer. No matter what the odds are. Miracles happen every day.

What would a piece of practical advice be? Like something that helped you feel better?
Taking walks once I was able was the best way to get out and clear my head. Also, self-help books with inspiring quotes are great to read before bed, or first thing in the morning. Also, if you feel as though something is not right in your body see your doctor right away.

For more about Chrissie’s story you can check out her blog.


Many, many, many thanks to my friends and my heroes Danielle & Chrissie and the many more I don’t have listed, or who I’ve yet come to know- who have or are fighting this battle themselves, or alongside someone they love. Thank you for your candid honesty, and your willingness to share your journey. Most of all, I respect your strength, grace, and will to fight on. Cheers to you.

 

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The Birthday Bowl

THE GREATEST HOLIDAY OF THEM ALL!!! My birthday ya’ll!! (I’m calling this weekend “The Birthday Bowl” as I think people who have to share a birthday weekend with the Super Bowl should get some recognition too.)
My birthday was actually on Friday, but I was too busy celebrating to post about it.
Also- Friday was my Aunt/Birthday Twin’s birthday as well. So, that being said- I thought we should do a special birthday feature!
I asked my lovely Auntie Luisa 12 questions (because 20 is cliche) and these are her answers! (My questions are in bold, her answers are below, and my commentary is in italics)

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What has been your favorite birthday?
I’ll have to say Sweet 16. You’ll see why when I answer the next question.

Have you ever had someone throw a surprise party for you? If so, Did you have any idea what was going on?
Grandpa planned an elaborate surprise Sweet 16 birthday party for me.

No. So here’s the deal, my parents were divorced and my dad decided to take me out for my birthday (what 16-year old wants to spend their birthday with their father?!) We went to the Ramada Inn in Schiller Park where he worked and sat in the dining room. I just ordered a Coke and was literally sulking (being a brat!). He asked me to come to the banquet room with him as there was an “issue” (so his restaurant staff came to our table and told him) and he didn’t want to leave me sitting there by myself. Of course when we walked into the room, it was a surprise party for me! He had two busloads of my friends from high school driven from the Arlington Heights library to the Ramada. We had a magician, a hypnotist, a band and dancing. IT…. WAS….. AWESOME! You know Grandpa knew how to throw a party! (I asked this because I am of the opinion that everyone should have a surprise party throw for them at least once in their life. It is such a cool/surreal feeling!
PS-My grandpa was THE MAN when it came to party throwing. He worked pretty much his whole life in the restaurant/banquet/event coordination business so he knew what he was doing. Seriously, who has a hypnotist at their birthday?! I totally would have messed with people.) 

Do you like having a winter birthday?
Did I have a choice?! (I asked this because I HATE having a winter birthday! It’s cold and you can’t do anything. I mean honestly, an “Ice skating party”- that’s lame.)

What did you do this year for your birthday?
At work, I got a flower delivery with a Happy Birthday balloon attached from Marketing and HR departments that I report to along with a fruit tray and yogurt dip. Brownies are coming Monday. At home, went out for a steak dinner with my wonderful husband, and my sons Chris & Mike, and Grandma Irene and Uncle Frank. And for dessert we had Portillo’s chocolate cake with a scoop of Premium Vanilla Ice Cream at home as my birthday cake. It was a great day. (All I have to say here is PORTILLOS CHOCOLATE CAKE- if you’ve never had it you need to get your life together.)

What is the most memorable gift you’ve gotten for your birthday?
A diamond tennis bracelet from Uncle Joe. (DIAMONDS- a girls best friend, amiright?!)

On a scale of one to ‘Sending Justin Bieber back to Canada’ (that means you were really, really excited) Just how thrilled were you to find out we were going to be birthday twins?! 10! It’s a special bond — between me and you. (So, clearly she means “Send Justin Bieber back to Canada” and not 10- and that’s pretty awesome!)

Onto non-birthday related questions:
What’s one of the best pieces of advice you’ve gotten and still live by/think of often?
Being from a “short” family, the saying, “It’s your attitude, not your altitude that counts most.” More recently, my favorite is, “God’s got this”.

How do you feel about Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow this morning? (P.S.- he saw his shadow if you didn’t know, and that means at least 6 more weeks of winter- BOOO!!!)
Not too pleased. Fortunately me, I’m getting out of dodge in about a week to a much warmer client — can you say FLORIDA. (JEALOUS)

Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?
Bears aren’t in it so not that invested, but I think Seattle will win. Best defense always wins. (Smart lady over here)

Have you set any new years resolutions? If so, what is one of them, and how is it going? (Now that we’re a month in it seems like a good time to check in on those!)
I set three resolutions: 1. Lose weight – not going so good so far — too many birthday celebrations. Now that that’s over, I’m on it.  (Me too & me too)
2. Get to work on time (8:00 a.m.) every day. Not good again – made it only once this year so far.  (I mean come on, who is ever at work on time, there’s like a 10 minute grace period I think….right???)
3. Wear lipstick every day – protects your lips in winter – this one is working! (Got your priorities in order on this one! I am really getting in touch with my lipstick game as of late too)
1 out of 3 – time to work on the other two with the new month upon us.
(we got 11 months to get back on track!)

What’s the best movie and/or book you’ve seen/read in the last 6 months?
I’m reading “Managing Up” by Rosanne Badowski – she was the assistant to Jack Welch, CEO of GE during it’s greatest growth in history. It is written in a down-to-earth, no-nonsense style with takeaways at the end of each chapter that are very helpful and make a lot of sense. (So sophisticated sounding!!)

What are you most looking forward to in 2014?
Brittany’s graduation from Residency in June and getting our condo construction fully completed and finally settling into a comfortable routine. (My cousin is working on becoming a pediatrician and taking over the world. Round of applause for her.) 

Have any good stories/answers to these questions?! Let’s hear ’em, leave a comment!

Also, FYI Kerry Washington and Justin Timberlake are our birthday twins too. So I’m going to go on a limb here and say some very good looking, talented, and classy people are born on January 31st.


Also something else very cool happened this week- my wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty! Our photographer Michael Novo submitted it and it looks great! Check it out here and here. PS- Every time I see my wedding pictures I want to go back and do it again. BEST.DAY.EVER. Here’s a taste:

PicMonkey Collage(Photos courtesy of Michael Novo Photography – the best wedding photographer around!)

As you just read, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, guys. So while having a very lovely and enjoyable birthday weekend (er, Birthday Bowl) it has now been poopooed all over by this little runty groundhog. Honestly, who does he think he is to snow on my parade like this?! We have had the most Polar Vortex-y winter I can recall, and now he sees his damn shadow and now 6 more weeks of this unbearable cold. MAKE.IT.STOP.

So let’s all have a moment of honesty here- I don’t care about the Super Bowl because my team isn’t in it (just like my Aunt!). And just like everyone else whose team isn’t in it- if we’re all being honest. BUT I am excited for commercials, and of course the greatest bowl of them all- THE PUPPY BOWL!!!!
How about you guys, what do you look forward to most when your team isn’t in the Superbowl?

Cheers on this Super Birthday Bowl Sunday…Happy Birthday weekend to all the birthday people out there!! Also, for some good entertainment follow me, Chicago Blogger Network and their members for some good old fashioned live tweeting. #CBNBowl.

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PS- I want to hear from ya’ll!!! Who are you rooting for today -in both the Football and the Puppy Bowl?