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!

 

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 Gift: Ida Rosenberg

A beloved Living Beauty, Ida Rosenberg describes her cancer journey as one of empowering discovery, both of others and of herself. “The biggest gift I got [during this journey] was becoming friends with women I would have never previously had the opportunity to know. They have so enriched my life and you really can’t put a single value on that.” In fact, The Foundation for Living Beauty’s community of women and focus on positivity led Ida to recognize her own strengths as a rock and optimist. “The fact that I found out I had the ability to touch people and make a change in their lives through a positive outlook was empowering. I considered myself a survivor from the second I was diagnosed. I believe my positive outlook healed me faster and healed my family as well.”

Through her emotional healing process, Ida also came to peace with new elements of her body, including those carved by cancer. “Every warrior has scars, emotionally or physically. Mine are on my body. It’s a sign of strength: To show my scars only shows my journey and the fight that I fought.”

The Gift offered Ida an opportunity to not only showcase her scars, but also celebrate her womanhood. While Ida approached her photo session for The Gift with peace, she felt even more comforted and encouraged by our photographer, Cynthia Perez. “Cynthia was great,” Ida explained. “When she first started taking pictures, the fabric I had brought with me was more in front of me and I was a silhouette. By the time we were done, the fabric was behind me and I was in front of it. I think that speaks volumes. For me to feel comfortable and bare all, that shows how she put me at ease and made me feel better and better about what I was doing as we went along. Then I felt totally free.

Purchase Tickets to The Gift

The Gift: Dikla Benzeevi

As a true leader and spiritual inspiration to other women with metastatic breast cancer, Dikla Benzeevi believes that despite the physical and mental challenges associated with her journey, the people she has met and challenges she has overcome have provided her with the gifts of sisterhood and self-assurance. “I think it has allowed me to be more open to people, both other women with cancer and just people in general. It has helped me create bonds of sisterhood and open up more, to flourish. I’ve met amazing people from all walks of life and fields of work, from different countries and cities that I would never have met prior to cancer.”

Dikla discovered The Foundation for Living Beauty in 2013 through two friends who told her about it and raved about their experiences. Her first Summer Sisterhood celebration in 2013 was a pool party and nutrition lecture. “Everyone was themselves and so accepting,” says Dikla. “You could be yourself and not worry about how you were perceived. As I got to know the Foundation for Living Beauty better, I attended retreats and even a Beyonce concert. Even the names of the events are warm and comforting. They symbolize how one feels with the women there. It’s a safe haven to feel good in your own body, space and environment.”

For Dikla, The Gift project was an opportunity to overcome insecurities and be in a vulnerable but safe place at the same time. “It is a scary thing to reveal yourself in all your natural glory to the public. But by doing so, I overcame fear and insecurity. The photographer, Cynthia, was so wonderful and created a very comfortable environment in which we took the photos. I just felt at peace. It’s not something I would normally do, but it was nice to try something different.”

In true Living Beauty fashion, Dikla blew us away with her interpretation of the term scar. By displaying her own scars in our photography project, Dikla says, “I hope we provide an empowering framework by which women will find courage, freedom and acceptance of themselves as they are and without judgement and fear. We want to share messages of hope by bearing our souls and selves. Not to mention, SCAR could be an acronym for ‘Shooting Courage And Resilience’.”

If anyone radiates both courage and resilience, it’s certainly Dikla. Purchase tickets to The Gift now to see the intimate photos Cynthia Perez has captured of our Living Beauties embracing their scars and enjoying their newfound gifts.

Purchase Tickets to The Gift

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.

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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Spring Clean Eating with Lilly Padilla

Lilly Padilla is the author of Anti-cancer Habits & Anti-inflammatory Nutrition. She is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach, Holistic Nutrition Chef, and 13-year cancer survivor.  Lilly’s Anti-cancer book is on sale right now at  https://www.createspace.com/5553140.

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FFLB: What are your favorite spring foods?

LP: Because of the natural Renewal energy in spring, Sprouts (baby foods full of energy) are probably my favorite foods to add to my recipes in Springtime. Sprouts, especially broccoli sprouts, which are known for their anti-cancer properties, along with daikon radish sprouts both make easy adds to salads, soups, beans and whole grain dishes. They provide high amounts of vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients. Just what we need in spring!

FFLB: How have you seen a clean, fresh diet positively affect a cancer journey?

LP: Over more than 9 years of working with cancer survivors, and in my own experience as a 13-year cancer survivor, I have noticed that overall, survivors who have changed their eating habits and consistently consumed a clean diet have a better outcome than those who occasionally eat conventional vegetables but don’t really change their diet of  processed foods.

There is a harmonious wellness between nature and the human body. Most people do create and release the same type of energy that they ingest through food. For example, eating leafy greens consistently makes people become more flexible and feel lighter, fresher and more energetic. And the opposite is true: When eating heavy fats, like animal fats, people often feel heavy, slow and dull. The nature of the food will be reflected in the type of energy release. For thousands of years Chinese Nutritional Therapy has worked with the concept that we are ONE with nature and that what we eat impacts our human nature, health, mood and energy. I have seen amazing results when survivors prioritize consistent healthy lifestyle routines that include a clean healthy diet, exercise, mindful meditations, healthy cooking and a set menu that works for their unique nutritional needs.

For more info on the subject, feel free to send Lilly a note or questions at lpadillacreate@gmail.com

Lilly’s Springtime recipe:

Lilly’s Detoxifying Spring Salad

 Beets, carrots and apples have all been traditionally used for liver detoxification.

1 large beet, coarsely grated (good source iron- supports liver function)

1 organic green apple cut tiny pieces (antioxidant protection)

1 large carrot coarsely grated

5 tbs. fresh dill

1/2 c. parsley leaves chopped

1 c. dandelion greens (excellent liver cleansing)

2 c. seasonal mix green salad

1/2  c. broccoli sprouts (anti-cancer protection)

1/2 cup watercress (support lungs detoxification)

DRESSING

¼ c. flaxseed oil or toasted sesame oil

1 lemon juice – add more to taste

3-4 tbs. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. turmeric powder

1 clove garlic minced tiny

hand full sprouted almonds chopped

Himalayan salt to taste

In a medium salad bowl mix grated beets and carrots, then add apples, lemon juice, turmeric, salt and garlic. Then, stir in your green salad mix, watercress, sprouts, parsley, dill and dandelion greens. Lastly, add oil and almonds. Mix all ingredients well and add more lemon to your desired taste.  It makes a delicious, nutritious cleansing salad, and your liver will love it!

 Chew truly and enjoy the flavors!

Living Beauty Movie Review: Miss You Already

Our Living Beauties were treated to a special pre-screening of Miss You Already, an inspirational film about friendship through cancer starring Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore. We’re thankful to the film’s team for letting our women have a special, reflective night out together at the theater! Now that the movie is out, here’s one Beauty’s take on her viewing experience:

“This film was Beautiful, hilarious and sad. Being a survivor, I related to ‘Milly’ in so many ways and at the same time – surprisingly, it was uplifting!! But it’s as raw as Cancer can be. A must see movie!” -Yolanda C.

We recommend grabbing a close friend and seeing the movie together. It has honest, raw moments, as well as humor and warmth. Overall, it’s a great reminder of the power of sisterhood. Check out showings and times here, then make your own healthy variation of cinema snacks!

Living Beauty Playlist

As summer fades to fall, we all feel the need for a fresh new ratio of pep-to-step. We decided to search out an inspirational, bright playlist to share with our community. For music with spirit, we knew our Living Beauties had just the right advice. Here are their favorite songs, including some you can joyfully dance to and others you can use for peaceful reflection.

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A special thanks to our incredible Living Beauties for helping us compile this great playlist! What is your ‘Fight Song’?