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! 😉

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.

Aloha from Ruby Ovitt

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Author, support group leader and ovarian cancer survivor Ruby Ovitt sends her love to Living Beauties all the way from Hawaii! Ruby first found the Foundation for Living Beauty in 2009 when she was invited to speak at an FFLB retreat. Recently, her daughter Rochelle shared her photography skills during our 2016 Day of Living Beauty. Now, Ruby is a top-selling author in Hawaii, with multiple guides on both cancer journeys and personal relationships. Her first book, My Journey of Healing from Cancer, was a best seller in Hawaii. Now, her new book Reaching Out to the Brokenhearted shares insights from 28 years of providing support groups for widowed, divorced or separated individuals. Ruby holds book signings in Honolulu, including one upcoming event on April 2, 2016 at Logos Bookstore from 11-1 pm. We checked in with Ruby about her books and the greatest lessons she’s learned from her own time with cancer and her outreach to families and couples.

Foundation for Living Beauty: How did your time on retreat with other Living Beauties impact your cancer journey?

My participation was a very memorable and enriching experience for me. In that retreat, I was further empowered by the brave and beautiful women that I met because of their honesty in sharing how they handled their physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual pain; how they continued to love their loved ones in spite of their limitations; how they approached each day with a very positive attitude; and how they nurtured and loved themselves to the best of their abilities. It was in this retreat that I laughed, cried, and danced with these beautiful souls because we all felt as ONE; the power from within all of us gave us the strength to move on with Life with courage, peace, and joy.

Foundation for Living Beauty: What is the most enriching part of working with the support groups?

RO: The most enriching part of working with people in my support group is to see them heal emotionally with the strong support of people who love them, including family, friends, professionals, people they do not even know, and [in my belief] God’s love which gives them comfort, strength, patience, and determination to move on.

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Foundation for Living Beauty: What is the greatest lesson you’ve taken from your own cancer journey?

RO: The greatest lesson I have taken from my cancer story is that life is fragile. Therefore, we have to live each day as if it is our last day on earth. If we think this way, we learn to value people and not things; we learn to love people around more deeply; we enjoy each day to the fullest; and we thank God for our blessings everyday!

To meet Ruby, visit Logos Bookstore at 760 Halekauwila Street in Honolulu, Hawaii. Call them at 808-596-8890 for more information.

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Women’s History Month: Angelina Jolie

As an award-winning actress, Angelina Jolie’s beauty and talent have captured public attention for many years. Despite her incredible accomplishments in film, Angelina has been lauded for her humanitarian work, as well as her brave encouragement of women everywhere.

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via Vogue UK

Angelina has won three Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and an Oscar, with her famous roles ranging from an action hero to a determined mother. Even with these successes, her most incredible roles exist in real life as she raises six diverse children and speaks on behalf of education and health around the world.

Early in her career, Angelina witnessed suffering in Cambodia while filming for her famous action film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It was after this experience that she became an ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, working to support refugees worldwide. Although Angelina donated to the cause, she personally visited refugees in over 30 countries, connecting on a human level with those she wished to help. Jolie has also made efforts to support environmental conservation in many countries.

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via CBS

Women, children and education are also central to Angelina’s work around the world. She consistently advocates for young immigrants and strong education in America and around the world, both through political lobbying and fundraising. She has opened schools for girls and children in many countries, including in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Kenya and Ethiopia. Additionally, she has launched campaigns against sexual assault in multiple countries, condemning it especially in times of war.

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via CBS

Among many awards, Angelina has received the Citizen of the World Award, Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and honorary damehood from the Queen of England. Recently, perhaps Angelina’s biggest accomplishment has been making her private battle public in hopes of encouraging other women’s health and self-appreciation. After learning her high odds of developing breast cancer, she underwent a preventative double mastectomy in 2013, as well as a preventive oophorectomy. She explained that these measures would hopefully protect herself and prolong her role as a mother. Angelina has received much public praise for her openness on the issue, and many women have undergone preventative tests as a result of her journey.

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via Getty

For her openness, tireless dedication and incredible attention to the world’s diverse people and needs, The Foundation for Living Beauty treasures Angelina Jolie.

Introduction image from UN

Women’s History Month: Misty Copeland

In honor of Women’s History Month this March, we’ll be sharing stories of world-famous women who inspire us as they break barriers, conquer personal battles and share their powerful stories. Just like our Living Beauties, they embody inner strength and exude positivity that touches others daily.

This week, Misty Copeland serves as our ultimate inspiration! Currently making waves as the American Ballet Theater’s first African-American principal dancer and Under Armour’s leading lady, Misty has truly carved her own place in history.

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(image via @underarmour on Instagram)

Misty discovered ballet at the age of thirteen at her local Boys and Girls Club. While thirteen might not seem too old, ballet training often starts very early on as young dancers learn proper form and strengthen their muscles, feet and ankles. Considered a prodigy, Misty began attending classes at a nearby studio and was dancing on pointe within only three months. Usually, young dancers have practiced for years before beginning this difficult training, so Misty was an absolute standout. Soon, Misty won starring roles in ballets like The Nutcracker and Don Quixote, drawing in thousands of viewers. She was even named the best young dancer in Greater Los Angeles. All the while, Misty endured familial struggles but still balanced dance with academic excellence.

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Later, Misty successfully auditioned and garnered interest from three of the best ballet companies in America. Between 1999 and 2000, Misty began working intensively with the American Ballet Theater. She continued to break down personal and professional boundaries while embracing her athletic, curvy body as a unique vessel for dance. Despite her status as an “atypical” dancer in background and body type, Misty worked to redefine the public image of a ballerina.

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(image via @mistyonpointe on Instagram)

As ABT’s principal dancer, Misty has more than redefined the image of a perfect ballerina. She embodies it and claims it as her own, with an entire generation recognizing her as dance’s most famous face.

Opening article image from Rolling Stone. 

And a Healthy New Year.

Resolutions are popping up everywhere, and often have a stigma of being unrealistic or unfulfilled. But at FFLB, we believe in the power of positive goals, wishes and self-belief. Resolutions can be reframed from restrictions, “no’s” or “should not’s”.  Resolutions can be full of joy and self-encouragement.

WE are going to continue a joyful community of Living Beauty.

We can all give our bodies time to rest, time to recover, time to be challenged and even time to be pampered.

We can all give our hearts and minds moments of peace. Meditate, embrace yoga. Look out the window and admire the rain. Pray or reflect. Build treasured friendships. 

We can all embrace the power of food and hydration. Learn about antioxidants, vitamins and protein. Try new recipes to get a great taste of unique ingredients.

Resolutions don’t have to sound like limitations. They can be joyful and inspiring. And they can be made together. Here’s to a 2016 filled with infectious joy and love.

Rachael Yahne’s HerAfter.com

Rachael Yahne’s career and life have been beautifully abundant. She has fallen in love in London, studied yoga in India and written poetry in Manhattan. Her inspiring blog, HerAfter.com, has been featured by major media outlets like Yahoo. She generously offered to share her story and daily inspirations with FFLB.

FFLB: When were you diagnosed with cancer, and what have treatment and recovery been like/taught you?

Rachael Yahne: I was diagnosed at age 17, while attending college (I started college early). The cancer was stage 4B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and had spread throughout my body and even into the bones. Unfortunately, my hometown simply didn’t have the resources to cure it, so a few days after Christmas my mother and I flew to LA to visit a doctor at Cedar Sinai Medical Center. He prescribed an experimental chemo, one that had been used only a few times before on less severe cases. It was a bold move, but we trusted him completely, and the chemo was not only successful, it was presented to a national board of doctors and has since been used to help other people survive. I am a very, very lucky lady to not only have gotten this chemo, but the guidance of that doctor, who saved my life.
Both treatment and recovery have taught me so much, but in vastly different ways. In treatment, I learned the power of the human spirit, what can happen if you really believe in yourself against all odds, and what human connection is really like. Powerful things can happen when two people converse with each other without the pretenses of having to pretend you’re ‘ok’ or that everything will turn out fine. Real love and real understanding can happen in those moments, even between strangers. Other patients taught me that you don’t have to have a long, healthy life ahead of you to be happy right now, being alive, and accepting the gift of this moment. But maybe most importantly, I realized that our hearts really do speak to us. You just have to listen…

Recovery, on the other hand, was for me really the hardest part of cancer. During treatment there is a deadline when all the medicine will stop, when you’ll be out of the hospital, and there’s structure and, strangely, a bit of clarity there. You’re focused. You know what you’re doing and what matters and everything else fades away. But going back to the real world, especially bald at 18, was a challenge. I had a hard time relating to peers, because what mattered to most 18-year-old’s didn’t much matter to me anymore. Recovery is a journey that never ends, but even the heartbreaking moments have taught me so much. I’ve learned to value the good and the bad of life, because I know how lucky I am to have all of it. I’m lucky to fall in love, I’m lucky to have physical pain that isn’t needles and surgery, I’m lucky to have accomplishments and failures. It all teaches me the richness of life, the beauty in every facet of existing, and the entire gamut of emotions -from despair to bliss- to feel when you’re ALIVE. Sure, there’s fear and sometimes there’s anger, but mostly there’s just gratitude. And gratitude is the absolute key to a happy life.

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FFLB: How has your support system influenced you?

RY: My support system is a strong one; I come from a family heavily plagued by cancer. We’ve had many members fight it, and some didn’t win their battle. Through it all we’ve really fallen together rather than apart. Through my years in adulthood since cancer, I’ve explored many paths, including non-profits and even the fashion industry. My family support system has always encouraged me to live up to my greatest potential, especially now as I’ve returned back to facing cancer again, this time through writing about it. I’m also lucky to have an incredible partner in life, who believes in my ability to change the lives of women and cancer survivors with my website, HerAfter.com. A support system is of vital importance throughout life. Especially for women, there’s a certain stigma in our culture that if you break down emotionally, or admit the hardships of your journey, it means you’re ‘weak’. But that’s simply not true, there’s great bravery in allowing yourself to release, break down, and build up again stronger. A support system is what helps remind you that you have all the pieces and armor to succeed, and there’s only love and courage in reaching out to others, not weakness.

FFLB: How does the positive attention your blog has received motivate you as both a woman and survivor?

RY: Well, as a survivor it’s incredibly motivating because I realize that there are a lot of patients out there, just like me, who feel that the battle never really ends. It’s a hard thing to explain, but things like having hair again or going about life pretending you don’t realize how brief and precious it is are big and soul-shaking concepts for survivors. I think, in a lot of ways, we don’t really prepare survivors for everyday life because we’re not sure how to yet! But survivor rates are growing, and so should our resources to help them thrive. So when I receive letters back from readers saying that the message of the website resonates with them, I know we’re on the right path, together.

As for women, it’s been a huge boost in not only my personal concept of femininity, but also my outlook on the future of women in this age. Look, there are enough magazines and websites telling women what to wear and how to look and what to say or do. But when I started HerAfter, I truly believed that women didn’t need all that, they needed the reassurance to trust themselves. They don’t need to be told what lipstick to wear, they need to realize why the deserve to cherish their individual beauty. They don’t need to be told what to wear, they need to learn to trust their instincts, and enjoy style as an act of self-expression. Women today have the ability know themselves, to trust themselves, they just need to access the power they already have inside! The basis behind HerAfter is that if we can help women find personal peace, that will create world peace. And you know what? It’s working. The feedback I get from women finding their power to fall back in love with their own lives is incredible. And that motivates me in both knowing I’m fulfilling my purpose, and also that women are waking up. The future looks bright!

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FFLB: What’s your favorite: Activity, Recipe, Mantra for getting through rough days?

RY: I have a few, because to be honest rough days are always out there for you. It’s not as though you survive cancer and every day is sunshine and rainbows; especially because part of you is constantly questioning ‘why did I survive?’ and ‘what should I do with this short life of mine’? Those are questions we’re all asking in some form or another, survivors or not. My strategy for dealing with the rough days where those questions are bringing me down is two-fold:

First, addressing it head on. Even if that means being uncomfortable, afraid, or even to cry. I believe it’s important that we don’t just try to avoid a bad day or a scary realization, but instead that we experience it and go into it. Allow the feelings to occur, allow the questions to arise, and really take a moment to analyze: why am I feeling this way? Have I done something I don’t feel good about, or am I feeling this way because I’ve let myself down, or someone else has let me down? Going into it is the only way to get through it, and get real clarity.

Second, I like to do some kind of activity that boosts my sense of strength and esteem, so I can be brave enough to solve whatever is going on. For me that usually means a long run outside, or a few moments of meditation, or even just an evening, in bed alone, with some tea and a documentary (I love biographies about women who’ve overcome the odds, for obvious reasons!). What will boost me up is different on different days; sometimes it’s hard work and sweat, and sometimes it’s resting and giving myself a break. Either way, I implement the mantra: “I trust you, universe” behind it all. This crazy life has lead me through some incredible moments! Ultimately, even as I try to sort out my emotions, I trust the universe for putting me wherever I find myself.

FFLB: What advice would you give to a fellow woman diagnosed with cancer?

RY: Oh, I’d tell her so many things! I receive a lot of letters and contacts from women diagnosed, or who are currently battling or have battled. First and foremost, I tell her to honor her journey. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it is of the utmost importance that they make that battle their own. That they learn to listen to their intuition, to honor their own instincts, and to allow themselves to make their personal battle just that – personal to them. It doesn’t have to look like a Hallmark card or a Komen breast cancer walk-a-thon. It won’t always be smiles, in fact it will be incredibly, incredibly hard. But if she can really allow herself to feel it, to honor whatever emotions come along for her – sadness, bliss, anger, gratitude – I think only then can she realize all there really is in this life is love. Love is greater than anything, and it can exist for you even while you’re feeling angry or scared or nervous or whatever. Love is that big and powerful. If she honors her journey and herself, she can access a love deep within her that will carry her through.

FFLB: Can you explain your Weekly Loveletter? What can women who sign up expect to enjoy?

RY: The weekly loveletter is such a fun new part of HerAfter.com! It all started, truthfully, as a way to reach more women out there. I know there are women out there who need to read some of the articles on the site, and I will do absolutely anything to reach those women because I truly believe they deserve to live their best life! So the loveletter started as my take on a newsletter. What we first read and hear in the morning makes a huge difference in our entire day, including our productivity and our happiness. So the loveletter is designed to give readers and women a chance to read something positive first thing in the morning, for a change! It’s full of great stuff from the site, links to other inspiring articles and sites, plus other fun tid-bits. So even if they never make it to read the weekly post on HerAfter.com, they still get a little dose of inspiration and encouragement delivered right to them. I’m loving this personal touch to the project! And who knows, maybe after she reads something that lifts her up first thing in the morning, it will encourage her to do something else positive for herself that day!

And the loveletter is just the beginning! We’re also releasing a new mini-book edition for kindle and e-readers, to give women a quick guide to living beautifully and consciously! It will have all the essentials they need to transform their lives in everything from beauty to health and wellness to home decorating and even dating. It’s really going to change lives and it’s coming out soon! They can find more info about it on HerAfter.com in the coming weeks.

Happy Birthday, Amie!

We’re celebrating the birthday of our gorgeous and gracious founder, Amie Satchu. She’s dedicated her heart and soul to supporting Living Beauties, so we asked them to share their birthday wishes with her. These beautiful responses demonstrate just how amazing and treasured Amie is!

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“Best birthday wishes beautiful Amie. Thank you for everything that you do for so many. You truly are an inspiration. Much love from NC.” – Jayne A.

“Happy, Happy Birthday, dear Amie! Much love to you and your beautiful family.” – Cindy S.

“Love you, Amie! I hope you get a little break from mommyhood to have a fun night out! Happy birthday with all our best wishes upon you.” -Vera B.

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“Happy Birthday Amie! I hope you had a great birthday day and I’m sure you celebrated in style!” -Judita M.

“Happy Birthday Amie! You are such a blessing to us all. May your next year be filled with lots of joys and memories as you share life with your family and us! Thank you for creating this loving community. We love you!” -Deb K.

“Happiest Birthday to you, Amie. I thank God for you and all that you do. Love you so much.” -Linda M.

“Happy birthday Amie! Love you and miss you.” -Susan RB.

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“Happy Birthday Amie and lots of love to a beautiful person, inside and out!” -Leslie S.

“Happy birthday to an amazing woman who does so much for others! XOXO!” -H Carol R.

“Happy Birthday Amie! You are a beautiful woman who has touched my life in an inexplicable way through your kindness generosity and most of all for connecting me to such beautiful Living Beauties! I hope you are having a beautiful birthday! Hope to see you at the Holiday gathering.” -Debbie H.

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“Happy Happy Birthday Amie! Wishing you a birthday filled with love & joy that continues on throughout the year! Much love for all you do! Xo” – Sharon H.

“Happy birthday Amie!!” -Ilena B.

“Happy Birthday Aime! Thank you for all you have done for us!” -Norma P.

“Happy birthday Aime. Many blessings to you!” -Emilia F.

Happy Birthday from the entire FFLB community, Amie!

Share more birthday wishes for Amie on Facebook or in the comments, or celebrate by supporting her beloved organization.

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!

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