International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! In honor of this celebration of women, we’re reflecting on ten ways Living Beauties thrive and support each other through Sisterhood.

1. They share an instant connection through empathy and understanding.
Even if they’ve only met once, Living Beauties are instantly drawn to each other. Their shared experiences bring guards down and lead to deep, enriching conversations. Overnight retreats often build friendships that last forever.

2. They share and trust each other’s knowledge.
Living Beauties understand each other’s journeys, and they share information on doctors, treatments, recipes and holistic care. This knowledge is invaluable!

3. They praise each other’s inner and outer beauty.
During Days of Living Beauty, Beauties speak words of affirmation and inspire confidence in one another, whether it’s to remove a wig or strike a pose.

4. They prioritize keeping in touch.
Gatherings like First Wednesdays, sometimes even held in Living Beauties’ homes, allow Beauties to reconnect and talk in a relaxed, comforting environment.

5. They support each other’s undertakings, goals, treatments and dreams.
Some Living Beauties start businesses. Some work towards yoga teaching licenses. Others speak on Capitol Hill. Many complete rigorous courses of treatment. All the while, there’s a crowd of women cheering each other forward.

6. They learn together.
Living Beauties are open-minded and enjoy the process of education together. Whether it’s learning about nutrition, yoga, CBD, stretching or makeup techniques, there’s a vast array of knowledge that Beauties are eager to soak in.

7. They face changes – both good and difficult – with solidarity.
Whether it’s embracing a plant-based diet or adjusting to major life changes, Living Beauties can not only relate to one another, but encourage one another.

8. They give the best hugs. It’s true!

9. They bring out the best in others.
From board members to facilitators and local businesses, the joy and gratitude that Living Beauties radiate brings out the best talents and generosity in our community.

10. They’re bonded for life.
Even when life takes them on different paths, Living Beauties are consistently thinking of each other, sharing updates and encouraging one another’s journeys. There’s no mountain high enough for this Sisterhood!

Meet The Pizza Plant

We are so grateful and excited to join forces with The Pizza Plant! The Pasadena restaurant’s plant-based comfort food is healthy, vegan and delicious. Led by founder Marvin V Acuna, The Pizza Plant has generously offered to support The Foundation for Living Beauty on an ongoing basis. When you place your online order at www.thepizzaplant.com, please enter Goddess in the promo code box. Living Beauty will receive 10% of proceeds from all orders who use this code – including catering orders!

Before (or after) you grab a slice, continue reading to learn how The Pizza Plant decided to support Living Beauties, and why they believe in the power of plant-based living.

LB: What can people expect diet/lifestyle wise from The Pizza Plant?

MA: Our human need for community and connection is as fundamental as our need for food. Food is in fact the bridge to community and connection as well as being the centerpiece of most of the major milestones in our lives.

Food connects people from all walks of life. Over a meal, people can experience and share a wide range of emotions. They can celebrate together, express love for each other, and convey heartbreak and disappointment; they can form and foster business and personal relationships;
and so much more.

Arguably the most popular food in the world, and therefore undeniably one of the leading foods that bring people together, is pizza.

THE PIZZA PLANT with its 100% organic, whole-food, nutrient-dense, made-with-love, craveable, plant-based pizza, is committed to building community and to making the world a better place.
LB: What are the benefits of plant-based eating?

MA: I’d happily put you in contact with one of the foremost experts in the world on this subject as she would be more qualified to respond. However, to quote the father of medicine, Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Plants are our medicine.

That stated, our company motto, we believe says it all. Better Planet. Better Health. Better Community.

LB: How were you drawn to The Foundation for Living Beauty?

MA: One of the most cherished people in my life was afflicted by a very rare, unpredictable, and incurable disease. Yet, due to the unwavering support of our friends and family she has gone from her deathbed to a world stage inspiring others to overcome chronic illnesses and/or life challenges.

We were fortunate to have unlimited resources to focus on her healing. Other individuals are not as lucky. The fact that this organization steps in and provides the necessary healing tools, positive resources and a safe haven for women afflicted with such a devastating diagnosis spoke to the values of my company. Upon meeting Nancy Davidson and Michael Rahimzadeh, it was apparent to me that our company had to find a creative way to lend our support.

LB: Why is helping the community so central to your business?

MA: My parents did not live a fanciful life. They were never confused by anyone who met them as the subjects of a John Singer Sargent portrait. They did not drive the most luxurious cars, they did not wear the hippest fashion, they did not dine at the trendiest restaurants, they did not travel the world in private jets, and they did not have an instagram account with millions of followers who enthusiastically liked and shared their posts, showcasing themselves flanked by the beautiful and famous.

No, they were not fazed nor trapped by those shiny objects that often distract us from the true meaning of our lives.

Instead, my parents drove a simple car, they wore simple clothes, they preferred mom-and-pop restaurants, their most extravagant trip was the treacherous, many-thousand-mile trek they made by foot at night crossing the borders of Guatemala, Mexico, and finally, the U.S.

Yet, my parents walked this earth armed with the secret to happiness and riches.

Give to your neighbors.

A Passion For Pigmentation

This Spring, we connected Living Beauty Kim with Misti Barnes, certified Collagen Restoration Therapist, Micropigmentation Artist, and Phibrow Microblading Technician. Together, they began a journey to enhance Kim’s post mastectomy scars with areola pigmentation.

What is an areola pigmentation service?

MB: Areola Pigmentation is the placement of organic pigments – via a tattooing device – in the breast where the nipple/areola complex.  The look as natural and real as possible, with proper shading that gives the appearance of a nipple/areola. It is relatively painless, and may require one touch-up four weeks after the initial procedure.

 

How do you feel this can influence a women’s inner confidence after cancer?

MB: Breast cancer can be a devastating illness that affects a woman in many ways. Often times, after treatment and surgery, clients may have scars, or a lack of color in the areola area, which leaves them feeling “incomplete.” After the treatments, my clients say they feel, “more feminine and whole looking.” It is so rewarding to be a part of a process that can give a woman the sense that she is the woman she was prior to the diagnosis.

 

Kim, how did Living Beauty help you connect with Misti?

 

KA: I discovered, to my dismay, that post mastectomy, and post reconstruction nipple tattooing, for breast cancer, was not covered through my insurance.  Indeed, my insurance wanted me to show why areola pigmentation “was necessary” and to submit records of double mastectomy and reconstruction! In San Diego I got prices of $600-$800. Considering my medical fees already, nipple tattoos became less important although I felt aesthetically, I needed them. It is a shame that one has to go through these hoops, after having undergone such radical treatment in the first place.

 

So I posted in the Facebook Living Beauty page asking if anyone had information on how to get around this. Within a couple weeks, Ariana from Living Beauty called me to say that Misti had been in touch with Living Beauty to offer her services, as this was one of the many things she does, and she was willing to help in any way possible.

 

Misti, why did you decide to share this service with a Living Beauty? What makes this organization special to you?

MB: I wanted to be of service to others, and this seemed like a way to use my talents in a meaningful way. When I saw what The Foundation for Living Beauty was doing, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. There’s nothing better than feeling you have helped someone – in whatever small manner – feel great about themselves.

 

Kim, what was the process like with Misti? Did she make you feel comfortable, excited, empowered?

 

KA: Misti genuinely cares. She sincerely wants to do the best job possible.  Given the permanent nature of tattooing, this is so important, because what if I wasn’t happy with, let’s say, the size of the areola, if they were, for example, too large, or too dark?

 

Misti has an incredible personality: She is easy to get on with and very open to discussing all my concerns.  Because of how sensitive, in every way, this was, the fact that she reassured me, and that I felt I was in excellent hands, allowed me to feel comfortable baring my scars, and excited to know she was helping me achieve something that was previously unaffordable.

 

What does this process mean for you and your journey?

 

KA: Aesthetically, pre-tattooing, my scars were visibly the main focus.  All I could see were my scars. The art and beauty of my new tattoos took away the focus on the scars and made me feel so complete. It was like I’d had eyes without pupils! Misti completed something that was disturbingly incomplete. One always carries the emotional and physical scars of breast cancer, and after reconstruction, I was “kinda” happy with my boobs, but they still looked weird. What Misti has done for me now is to complete my journey, and give me the best outcome possible.  My scars will always be there, but behind perfect nipples, which make a world of difference!

 

Misty, what is your relationship like with your patients, woman to woman?

MB: I like to think of myself as a coach and a friend through this process, educating my clients, and cheering them on. They’ve been through a lot of trauma, and they need to feel cared for. Honestly, I’m more excited than my clients are, most of the time, because I know how great they’ll feel when they’re done, and that the rewards for doing this procedure are priceless.

Corporate Spotlight: stila’s Living Beauty, Sarah Lucero

Currently serving as Global Executive Director of Creative Artistry for stila Cosmetics, Sarah Lucero is without a doubt a #GoddessBoss. Given her rockstar status, charismatic spirit, and experience with The Foundation for Living Beauty, we asked if she’d be willing to chat with us to kick off our first corporate spotlight. We covered everything from yoga retreats to brow pens, and how The Foundation for Living Beauty serves as a source of community and strength for women journeying with cancer. Our conversation unfolds below.

How did you get involved with The Foundation for Living Beauty?

My friend Janice, who was the head of PR at stila at the time, had arranged this event. Women were getting their hair done and their makeup done by stila, and were getting totally pampered. At the time, I was still going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, so for me it was great that she had aligned stila with that group. I’m so grateful that she did that.

I know that Janice had wanted to align with an organization like Aime’s, which asked the question: for women going through this right now, how do we help them during or after their experience in a way that’s less stressful?

On that same day, I got to meet Aime, mingle around, and meet these amazing women who were getting their makeup done. It was an emotional experience for me, yet it was this interesting environment that was both healing and comforting at the same time.

With The Foundation for Living Beauty, Janice found this great opportunity, stila donated money, and then through me and my situation it was the perfect timing and organization to align with in every way. I’m incredibly grateful that it all came together.

How did The Foundation for Living Beauty help you during your journey with cancer, and how has it impacted you since then? 

Number one, it connected me with so many other women going through something similar, which was comforting and a relief to know, in a way. When you’re going through cancer—or even after—you don’t know how you’re feeling. Especially afterwards, everyone’s like, “Yay let’s celebrate, it’s over,” and you’re still facing it.

It’s very lonely, and having a community of women who understand that without having to say or explain it is a blessing. It’s a relief to know that it’s ok to feel that way, even if you can’t quite articulate it. The Foundation was a community of support and strength that I didn’t even think I needed.

Number two, the yoga retreats… Tari Prinster who leads them is such a gift. The retreats taught me how to navigate my body, learn to trust my body, and feel strong again without fearing surgery or scar tissue or feeling unsure about something.

Meeting people just through the retreat, having the classes, learning the basics of nutrition and which things to incorporate now—the knowledge is exceedingly important.

There are so many different ways The Foundation has helped me and is still helping me. It’s a completely new way of life, and when you’re exploring something new and unfamiliar, your confidence has been shot down. So everything is a little bit different. That’s hard in and of itself. Things change, but having The Foundation has helped me find my confidence again in so many ways, which is incredibly healing.

More than that, the retreats and programs they have—even if it’s just a one day makeover—remind me to take the time. Be in the moment. Look at what’s happened or is happening—don’t ignore it. It reminds me that healing is a process that takes time, however long it needs to take. I’m just realizing that now.

It’s all great, but the healing emotionally and mentally is a long time coming…which is ok! But knowing I have that support, it’s less scary. It may be unfamiliar, but it’s ok. I have a group of people I can ask or reach out to and not feel judged. If I want to know how to navigate something, see what they did in a particular situation, or share my own tips, it’s a safe space.

I also love when people do something that is missing or needed. A big corporation can’t find that little missing link, but these are the things that are important. They are right now, and your money is going toward something that is helping someone—whether they’re going through it, or after. It’s lifelong wellness.

And caregivers are an important thing too. These people have been around helping, and sometimes you forget about what they went through. There should be more for them, but there’s not.

What’s one stila product you can’t live without?

Number one, the brow color Stay All Day pen. It’s an eyebrow pen. I was actually able to lab-test that product, and product development gave me them when I was going through chemo. I got to test it, and it works! Now I use it every day, so I love showing women how to boost their brows naturally.

My other one is called convertible color. It’s a cream blush you can also use as lipstick. It comes in a compact, and gives your face a glow and your lips a flush. It’s definitely a makeup bag must-have.

Thank you, Sarah, for your support and willingness to share your story with us!

 

Facilitator Spotlight: Kitty Blincoe

Kitty Blincoe has a particularly unique perspective as a yoga facilitator for The Foundation for Living Beauty, because she herself is a cancer survivor. Fourteen years ago, Kitty was diagnosed with kidney cancer in the midst of a successful, fast-paced career as a fashion executive. After her oncologist recommended reiki, Kitty began to recognize the power of blending Eastern + Western modalities. She says that after discovering yoga and reiki, she left fashion with a drive to dive into wellness. “Learning to breathe + practice yoga taught me boundaries and self care,” she explains. “I refer to myself as a ‘recovering type A.’ But [if you have cancer], you can find a new normal, day by day.”

Kitty has attended yoga retreats with The Foundation for Living Beauty as both a participant and a facilitator – she now assists Tari Prinster, who was one of the first instructors to help Kitty “slow down.” Instructor Max Strom, whose mantra is “breathe to heal,”  also influenced Kitty’s journey and commitment to yoga. “It was the breathing that hooked me – it’s a tool in my toolbox.” Also in Kitty’s yoga toolbox? Remixed Beatles music, restorative yoga and sound baths.

After reflecting on her journey from the busy corporate world of New York’s fashion scene to a peaceful community in San Diego, Kitty professes: “I like to say that doctors saved my life, but yoga gave me a life worth living.” It’s this life in San Diego that she’s generously sharing with The Foundation for Living Beauty, working to help facilitate future yoga events in San Diego. “I’m happy to introduce the Foundation to my community in San Diego, because the people are so authentic. The foundation honors our craft, and honors us as people. They honor each and every woman and the facilitators alike! My experience has always been that the events attract a special group of women who come together for a place to unwind, heal, learn tools to cope and manage daily life after being touched by cancer. No drama, no politics, just pure love and sisterhood. A tribe connected by cancer, strengthened by each other. A way to have the important “support group” without it being a traditional support group. An studies have shown being a part of a support group increases chance of survival significantly. It is my honor to share Light with anyone who needs a little to brighten their day.”

You can learn more about Kitty at www.kittyblincoe.com, or visit her in person at Sanctuary Z, her Sleep, Stretch and Stress Management space in Carlsbad, CA. 

Temple City Dental Brings Serendipitous Smiles

There’s nothing like a beautiful smile, and Temple City Dental Care is spreading them in more ways than one.

Now through June 30th, the team at Temple City Dental Care is offering Opalescent treatment, the best teeth whitening system available, at half off for only $150. Part of the proceeds will be donated to children through the Smiles for Life Foundation, and the other half will be shared with…The Foundation for Living Beauty!

Denise Williams-Jones, the office’s scheduling coordinator, first heard our Executive Director Nancy Davidson speak at a Pasadena networking event. “I was in tears. I knew we had to work with them. We’ve worked with different nonprofits over the years, and I knew we had to choose to support these women. Nancy really moved me to participate.”

Williams-Jones brought her story back to Dr. Von Bulow, who soon found himself enjoying lunch at the office while learning more about the foundation. “This is something that has touched everyone. We’ve been doing this program since 1998, and when we met Nancy, it was a no brainer to support these women.”

Adds Denise, “We have been asking, what do THEY need or want? And we’re making it fun. For every milestone in our fundraising, we’re going to spray Dr. V with a super soaker! Maybe we should pie him in the face…”

One loyal patient listened in the lobby, and shared that she in fact had already participated. “The same day they told me about this, I had a close friend get diagnosed. I felt I could do something in her honor this way.”

Serendipity.

Call 626.285.3161 to schedule your appointment, or visit templecitydental.com.

 

 

The Power of Support: TLBC

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If you’ve been receiving our emails this month, you may have seen how many incredible companies are stepping up to support The Foundation for Living Beauty during Breast Cancer Awareness Month! While our Living Beauties have experienced journeys with many different types of cancer, breast cancer has definitely affected many members of our precious community. With these and all of our women in mind, we’re glad to join with The Little Bra Company this month as they share 10% of proceeds from their pink bras.

One of The Little Bra Company’s most powerful goals is to give women confidence and comfort, inside and out. Their bras are made to embrace and enhance natural body types, including those of women who have had mastectomies. One woman shared: “Not only have I found TLBC to be comfortable, supportive and beautiful, but I have learned to love my little curves because ‘less is more’ and ‘good things do come in small packages!’ “

Please join us in showing appreciation to The Little Bra Company this month! You can shop their wide selection of pink intimates here.

PS – We love the Lucia bra for daily wear and the Elizabeth bra for yoga retreats! 😉

It Takes a Village of Joy: Jennifer Robinson’s Story

In honor of our collaboration with BIRCHBOX, Goodshop and Youtube blogger ALLTHINGSFABULOUS101, we’re also looking towards Mother’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate self-love and care. Living Beauty and proud mother Jennifer Robinson recently shared her story with us, and we couldn’t be more inspired by her journey. The power of family, friendship and Living Beauty sisterhood brought Jennifer to a place of incredible joy. Here is her story.

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My story of unravel begins at age 28. That was the year of the ultrasound “just in case” which led to a biopsy that was “surely just a precaution,” which lead to a breast cancer diagnosis.

I was a very sick, overwhelmed mother of a 2 year-old son, trying to process that I had cancer. Overnight, life morphed into a whirlwind of medical appointment after appointment, tests and procedures, waiting rooms and bills, pain of every sort, and bad news at every turn – generally, just a lot of ugliness.

Fortunately, someone recommended The Foundation for Living Beauty to me early-on. I attended my first event, a weekend retreat, in between rounds of chemotherapy. I found a family of women who were fighting the same fights and shedding the same tears and an organization who knew how to reach out with the kind of support we badly needed.

 

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I slugged through rounds of chemotherapy, losing my hair and energy, and generally falling apart in horrible ways. I underwent a bilateral mastectomy which removed the 5.5 cm tumor that had been silently growing across my chest throughout my 20’s. I learned that I would need radiation treatment as well, that I wouldn’t be able to have the 2nd child I desperately hoped for… that maybe I wouldn’t live to raise the son I had. It’s a whole lot of ugly to process, however your story goes after being told you have cancer.

The Foundation for Living Beauty was a bright spot for me, as it is for so many. It gave me amazing and helpful events to look forward to during a time when it was hard to look forward at all.

Then, as my life did move forward and I conceived a miraculous and healthy baby girl amidst my radiation treatment – against ALL odds – the women of the foundation were there to throw me a baby shower and share my joy. My daughter’s middle name is Joy, for these women.

Not only during the depths of our struggles but also, for those of us so fortunate as to have lives that creep back toward normal, The Foundation maintains a role in being there to meet our ongoing needs. They know our struggles blanket a lifetime and so remain a long-term support for coping through physical and emotional side effects. They offer education and friendship, beauty and belonging.

Women’s History Month: Freida Pinto

After earning critical success in 2008 for her performance in Slumdog Millionaire, Freida Pinto has gone on to become a powerful force for women in film and philanthropy. Freida’s journey to success was one of complete dedication and focus on goals she formed as a young girl in India. After deciding to be an actress, Freida tried out for many roles in both Bollywood and Hollywood, taking initial rejections in stride. When she found herself cast in Slumdog Millionaire, well-deserved acclaim followed.

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photo via famousfix.com

Once she found success in Hollywood, Freida began using her prominence to promote feminism, equality and humanitarianism. Inspired by the likes of Angelina Jolie and Malala Yousafzai, Freida has taken many women’s and children’s causes under her wing. She has repeatedly taken public stands against violence and for education.

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photo via anokhimedia.com

Freida has been appointed the global ambassador of Plan International’s Because I am a Girl foundation, which promotes gender equality and aims to lift girls out of poverty around the world. Additionally, she worked with Gucci in 2013 to raise funds and awareness for women’s rights around the world. The campaign encouraged women’s education, rights and justice. Freida also works tirelessly with organizations and political groups to combat violence against and mutilation of women.

The Foundation for Living Beauty could not be more inspired by Freida’s love for women everywhere! Along with the other diverse women we’ve honored this month, and our Living Beauties, Freida inspires us to embrace womanhood as a path of grace, intelligence and compassion.