Sarah’s Story: Stila’s Living Beauty

Living Beauty Sarah Lucero, Global Executive Director of Creative Artistry for Stila Cosmetics, shared special tips with fellow Living Beauty Ada on how to wear comfortable, natural and bright makeup during cancer treatment. Then, Sarah sat down with us to share her incredible story.

Finding The Light Again.

Sarah Lucero of Stila’s Journey With Cancer, As Told to Trina Smith.

As a dynamic employee at Stila, Sarah Lucero’s whirlwind life had no time for cancer. Then 34, dozens of work projects and world travel entertained her youthful spirit and enthusiasm. In the fall of 2010, a lingering pain in her chest led Sarah to a trail of suspicions about her health. Might the irritation be from a pulled muscle? Bronchitis or a cyst? “I couldn’t ignore it,” explains Sarah. Even during a trip to Australia, Sarah found herself considering her discomfort on a daily basis but never suspected cancer. Upon arriving home, she booked an appointment with a doctor, who further reassured her that cancer was an unlikely possibility. “She said, ‘It’s probably nothing. You’re 34, don’t have family history and seem healthy.’ I thought that it was even better she wasn’t worried, so I wasn’t worried,” explains Sarah.

Testing proved less generous. “We see something that could be cancer,” Sarah was told. “That’s when I didn’t hear anything else,” she says. Sarah went home and awaited what she hoped would be relieving news. The next morning, a doctor called at work to explain that Sarah had Stage 3 breast cancer. Fortunately, Sarah’s support system rallied, from her workplace to new sisterhood at the Foundation for Living Beauty.

Friendly knowledge bolstered Sarah’s spirit during a challenging process. She needed to decide about surgeries including a mastectomy, as well as a full body MRI and an entire course of action for treatment. Seeking multiple opinions helped Sarah gain a well-rounded outlook. “That second opinion changed everything. They helped me understand.” Sarah’s doctor was Kristi Funk, a leading MD at Pink Lotus Breast Center. Responsible for the surgeries of celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Sheryl Crow, Funk guided Sarah through decisionmaking regarding her breasts, surgeries and treatment schedules. Sarah additionally worked with an oncologist, but didn’t neglect a more holistic route. “Acupuncture and herbs were so helpful. They got my immune system strong for treatment and after.”

Sarah started chemotherapy treatment right around Christmas, and later started radiation after a double mastectomy in April. Sarah’s breast and nipple surgeries featured revolutionary work, including the use of her own fat to round out her reconstruction. “I took a few months to like my body,” she says.

Through her treatments, Sarah began to recognize the importance of balancing her emotional wellbeing, work and cancer. Despite her steadfast, in-the-moment focus on her treatments, Sarah’s work life continued to pan out perfectly. “Everything I wanted to do that I was so afraid of missing out on, it turned out okay. Big deals I worked forever to achieve happened. There’s never a good time, but at least I could still do these things. I thought it was over and it really wasn’t.” By living in the “now”, Sarah continued to accept her illness without letting it define her routine or goals.

Sarah’s continued successes at work also translated into solace. “[My bosses] were fabulous,” she explains. Indeed they were, accompanying Sarah to meetings and appointments while offering incredible flexibility and accommodations. “What I started to realize is the energy of people. Worry and fear are negative, and I didn’t want to burden people or be looked at differently…My bosses treated me normally and gave me opportunities but understood I couldn’t predict how I felt each day.”

Despite its challenges and intense drawbacks, Sarah’s breast cancer also presented mysterious blessings. “I really felt in the now,” she explains. “I learned so much about myself. Being patient, not labeling things good or bad. I would never question anything good, so I accepted and allowed everything that happened.”

As Sarah learned the importance of peace and letting go, she found herself introduced to the Foundation for Living Beauty. After attending an FFLB Day of Living Beauty event built with help from her Stila coworker Janice, Sarah herself became a Living Beauty. After attending a yoga retreat and interacting with other strong, spirited women, Sarah emerged with an even more powerful mindset. “What I loved when I came to the yoga retreat was I hadn’t been able to stop, take a minute and relax. It taught me that there’s so much more healing that has to happen after physical problems stop. Mentally and emotionally, being able to look back is a different process. There’s no start or ending to healing. I’ll forever try to be healthy and care for my body and beauty. When women say, ‘My skin glows, I look like me!’, it’s a light of how they feel and beauty that comes out. From retreats and yoga, you see your light again.”

Sarah’s experience with cancer has left her with the gift of peaceful present-mindedness. “When you’re there and present, that’s when all the miracles happen.”

Shop special products to benefit FFLB here!  $1 from each purchase will benefit Living Beauties.

Stila and FFLB would love to hear your story. How have you let your inner light shine during a journey with cancer? Share with us using the hashtag #stilalivingbeauty.
Find us on Instagram and Facebook (@stilacosmetics and @livingbeautyorg) for more beautiful shots of Sarah and her story. 

Talking With: Art of Tea

We’ve been fortunate to have many great facilitators throughout the years at FFLB. One of our generous supporters has helped us “tea” up for greatness over and over again! Steve Schwartz, known throughout his industry as the “Master Tea Blender”, has always been ready to support our women and team with generosity and immense knowledge. We asked him some pressing questions about his area of expertise. Start a brew, sit back and learn a bit about the art of tea!

FFLB: How do you source your tea?

SS: Direct from origin whenever possible. I have relationships with farmers all across the world and work with them to source the top 2% of the world’s finest teas.

FFLB: Can you offer a brief two-sentence summary about tea’s origin?

SS: We believe true tea should come from Asia. All true teas come from the camellia sinensis evergreen shrub, which is the foundation for white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh teas. If it isn’t from this shrub, it just isn’t a tea.

FFLB: Are there any types of teas that you recommend avoiding? If so, why?

SS: No, any tea that allows you to take a moment out of a busy day – whether it’s for the taste, health benefits, or simple satisfaction that brewing the perfect cup brings – is a good tea in my eyes.

FFLB: Are loose leaves better than teabags? Vice versa? Or is there no difference?

SS: High-quality, organic loose leaf and specialty teas are typically better in quality and taste.

FFLB: The most enriching tea or type of tea for general well-being is ___.

SS: I deeply enjoy gyorkuro for its grounding effect. It has a clean mouth feel and a grassy finish.

FFLB: Is there a type of tea you would recommend for cancer patients?

SS: I would recommend the process of brewing loose leaf teas in general. The mindfulness used in preparing the water, selecting the leaves, brewing the tea, and finally enjoying the cup can be highly therapeutic.

FFLB: The most popular tea from the Art of Tea collection is ___.

SS: That’s a close one. I’d say it’s a toss-up between our Earl Grey Crème and Classic Black teas.

FFLB: The healthiest and most effective tea sweetener is ___.

SS: I recommend either stevia leaf or raw local honey.

FFLB: How does tea compare to pure water consumption?

SS: 98% of what is consumed while drinking tea is water, making it a great way to hydrate while also experiencing the benefits of whatever tea is brewed. Therefore, a great water source is very important for enhancing the tea experience.

FFLB: Forget jam and bread! The best tea-time snack in your opinion is ___.

SS: Fresh baked, warm chocolate chip cookies.

Follow Art of Tea on Instagram, and take a look at their award-winning teas on artoftea.com!

Featured image. 

Happy October! Pumpkin Paradise is Here!

Walk through the aisles at Trader Joe’s, and there’s no denying that autumn is officially here. Pumpkin bars, seeds, bread, jam, pasta sauce, salsa…you name it, it’s there! Before you get to carving, consider munching, too. Turns out, pumpkins and their seeds have a whole patch of health benefits.

Remember how mom told you to eat your carrots for good eyesight? The same goes for bright orange pumpkins! Carotenoids are converted by the body into Vitamin A and work as a boost for proper peepers.

Pumpkins are also a large, healthy source of fiber, so a pumpkin snack will help keep you full and satisfied. This may be helpful for wait and diet management.

Just like other nuts and seeds, pumpkin seeds are a particularly healthy snack choice. They have chemicals known to reduce cholesterol and help with heart protection and blood pressure. Plus, they are known to provide a mood boost!

As for specific cancer benefits, pumpkins are a good choice. Full of antioxidants (just like cranberries and other similar fruits and veggies), pumpkins also have plant sterols that may help with cancer prevention and limitation. These same characteristics can help keep skin wrinkles and discoloration at bay. Pumpkins are also a hot source for Vitamin C, widely regarded to boost the immune system when consumed at healthy levels. In fact, consuming one cup of cooked canned pumpkin would cover 100% of your daily Vitamin A intake and 20% of your daily Vitamin C intake.

Check out Huffington Post and Medical News Daily for more information. In the mean time, get carving and munching! Here are some of our favorite healthy pumpkin recipes. They’re a total treat.

Simple Pumpkin Soup

SIMPLE-Pumpkin-Soup-with-Sesame-Kale-Topping-vegan-glutenfree

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

83

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

No-Bake-Pumpkin-Pie-minimalistbaker.com-vegan-glutenfree

Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte 

skinny-pumpkin-chai-latte-3