Meet Living Beauty Marion!

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month! We asked our Living Beauty Marion to share her experience with metastatic ovarian cancer and how The Foundation for Living Beauty has helped her on her journey. Marion was diagnosed in 2006 with ovarian cancer and was given six months to live. She beat the initial cancer, but it returned again in 2009 with another terminal diagnosis. With her wonderfully supportive husband Moshe by her side, she refused to give up and she has been the epitome of a warrior ever since. Marion has been an active part of Living Beauty since 2015, attending workshops and programs as often as she can and becoming a beautiful light for all her Living Beauty sisters as she supports them on their journeys as well. Keep reading to hear Marion’s experience with Living Beauty!

“The Foundation for Living Beauty is the wind beneath my wings as I navigate living with metastatic ovarian cancer.

Through creative and well thought out thematic programming Living Beauty has provided me with a safe place to gather and bond with other cancer survivors as we learn and grow together through a wide variety of presenters and modalities. Body, mind and soul. The tools I have collected from attending these events have helped me develop healthy habits in exercise through yoga, chi gong and meditation. Through a wide variety of cooking classes and instructors I have learned simple easy ways to prepare healthy and tasty meals that have kept me strong.

A wide variety of healing modalities such as reiki, energy, sound baths, meditation and tapping techniques, just to name a few, have helped me build a healthy support network of practitioners and provided numerous tools to apply on my own. Through Living Beauty’s events I have developed healthy habits and practices such as focusing on gratitude, being present in the moment and finding meditative and calming creative outlets to cope with stressful moments or negative physical events. For example, during a recent hospitalization I used the Resilience Tool Kit to control my pain and anxiety. I did meditative walks around the ward floor repeating calming mantras and prayers as I walked off the pain. I used Y4C, yoga4cancer, stretches and poses to reduce stress and feel in control of the situation. All tools I picked up from attending Living Beauty events. I also stayed in touch with fellow Living Beauties who made me laugh and cheered me up. The friendships and bonds I have formed with other Beauties are powerful, uplifting, and forever.

The Foundation for Living Beauty has really kept me sane and forging forward through covid times as it’s kept me connected with others through zoom events and kept me stimulated, engaged, learning, growing and moving forward. When my husband sees my spirits or energy start to dip he always says ‘Time to sign up for a Living Beauties zoom!’ He’s right! Their magic works every time.

I am forever grateful to Living Beauty, their team, the board members, and the amazing programming that keeps me coming back for more. Thank you for helping me spread my wings and helping me ‘fly’ through many of the toughest times in my life. Forever Grateful.”

The Foundation for Living Beauty provides wellness and support services to women with any type of cancer and who are at any point in their cancer journey. If you are interested in becoming a Living Beauty or would like to learn more about how to support the foundation, please visit www.livingbeauty.org.

Transforming Your Home in Easy Ways

Transforming Your Home in Easy Ways

By Hillary Lefebvre

Fall is knocking on the door and it’s almost time for leaves falling, sweater weather (hopefully we get them sooner rather than later in So Cal!) and crisp cool days. Several years ago, you would have found me in the candle and soap aisles buying up all the fall scents to make my house smell like pumpkin spice and everything nice. I’ve learned a lot though since then and am here to share, help and empower you to make the best choices for you and your family too.

When I had my first child 10 years ago, I started looking at labels and safeguarding my family from toxins. I read and read and read. Researched about “clean” products and discovered that some name brands who claim to be green because of the way they were marketed aren’t actually clean! Ugh, can’t they just be honest?? But I came to understand that we are the gatekeepers of our homes. No one else! We have to do a little more than believing what’s on the surface. Many products on the shelves today contain a ton of toxic ingredients regardless of how pretty the label is or what they claim to be. And toxic overload accumulated in our bodies over time causing lethargy, inability to focus, sleep trouble, chronic inflammation, unexplained pain, fibromyalgia, skin issues, adult acne, hormone imbalance, hot flashes, stress, anxiety, and fear. If you face any of these issues, it’s time to kick chemicals to the curb.

 

You’ll want to say adios to anything with:

Fragrance (biggest offender! This word is the umbrella for thousands of toxins!)

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Laureth

Methylisothiazolinone

Sodium hypochlorite

Ammonium Chloride

Sodium hydroxide

Surfactants

Parabens

Phthalates

PEG’s (polyethylene glycols),

Propylene Glycol

SLS/SLES

 

Easy button – download the Environmental Working Group app to look up products, ingredients and scores!

 

Now for some good news…many companies are doing their best to make products that are actually safe for us! So, after digging some more, I found our favorites! We have now been using Young Living Essential Oils for 7 years now for most of our cleaning products and household necessities. They send us a box that we customize each month with anything we need. So easy! Here is the full breakdown of how we use these products to clean our house.

 

 

We have a diffuser running 24/7 to recreate my favorite seasonal smells and we use Thieves Household Cleaner to clean the entire house! Literally – the whole house. It is infused with essential oils and all plant based. And to answer the question everyone asks…yes, it really works! In fact, here is an amazing video of how well it does.

There are some very easy swaps we can all make in our homes to eliminate a lot of the toxic load our bodies accumulate each and every day!

Here are my top 10 things to ditch and switch:

 

  1. Swap your candles and air fresheners for a diffuser + essential oils (my favorites are from Young Living)
  2. Swap your chemical cleaning supplies with Thieves Cleaner (one bottle for the whole house!)
  3. Swap your dryer sheets for wool dryer balls (grab a pack at Trader Joe’s or on Amazon; look for organic New Zealand wool)
  4. Swap your hand soap and dish soap for my fave Lushious Lemon Hand soap and Thieves Dish Soap
  5. Swap your laundry detergent for Thieves Laundry Detergent
  6. Swap your hand sanitizer for Thieves Hand Sanitizer
  7. Swap your makeup for Savvy Minerals or Beauty Counter
  8. Swap your sunscreen for one free of parabens, phthalates, PEG’s (polyethylene glycols), propylene glycol, and SLS/SLES
  9. Swap your deodorant for something free from fragrance, parabens, triclosan, phthalates, propylene glycol and aluminum
  10. Swap your shampoo/conditioner for ones from fragrance, sulfates, parabens, PEG, Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA), color, Dimethicone, Retinyl Palmitate

 

I know that this may seem overwhelming to read all at once but trust me when I say, baby steps and grace. Choose one at a time or go full throttle and do it all at once. Go at your own pace.

 

You can buy Thieves Cleaner and any of the other products I listed above at wholesale by heading here.

 

Remember, YOU are the gatekeeper of your home! Let’s transform it!

 

xo Hillary Lefebvre

https://thewellandgoodcollective.com/hillary-lefebvre/

 

Empowering Ourselves During Uncertain Times

For the past 15 years, The Foundation for Living Beauty has provided programs that are built to address the mind, body, and spirit. Although our programs are specifically for women with cancer, the tools and education that you gain can be applied to any situation. Our goal is to provide you with as many resources that can benefit you throughout your journey and we want to continue to create connection and community especially during this time of social distancing.

Last week we had our first online meditation with facilitator Kristin Dwan and in preparation for her meditation we collected responses to help shape and facilitate the group based on your needs. In the responses that we’ve received, some ladies have shared that during this time of uncertainty, they are feeling anxious, overwhelmed and uneased. These emotions may be familiar to you as it relates to your cancer diagnosis. Together we are working to find the light in a very difficult and dark situation, and instead of allowing it to distance us completely, we are working to connect even more and be even stronger.

Below we’ve listed some resources that can transform your feelings of unease and uncertainty to empowerment.

Something for the MIND

The CALM app, is offering free resources during this time, including meditations, mindfulness resources and more.

Another way to start your meditation practice would be to go outside…Listen to the birds, and see how many different ones you can hear. Take off your shoes and stand on the earth (another plus is that the gravitational pull from the earth neutralizes some of the radiation in your body). Smell the flowers and the grass.  Find shapes in the clouds.  Sit quietly and listen to the universe talking to you. These are great tools for meditating when your mind is racing with other things.

Something for the BODY

Many of you have experienced the soothing calm of essential oils at our retreats.  Now is a good time to pull out those oils, including lavender, chamomile and more.  Here is a link to a great article about anxiety-reducing and soothing oils, and features info from our wonderful facilitator Hope Gillerman!

Try to take 10 – 15 minutes each sunny day and sit outside in the sunshine. A vitamin D deficiency causes anxiety in many women. Most women are already vitamin D deficient.  Staying indoors now contributes to that deficiency.  Ten minutes will boost your vitamin D intake!

Something for the SPIRIT

Our talented facilitator Chris Causey is posting free guided meditations on Facebook.  We encourage you to follow him here and take time to experience his calming presence.

Something for COMMUNITY

Now that we are practicing social distancing, it is even more important that we maintain emotional connections with those we care about and be sure to not isolate ourselves completely.  Check out this great article about staying emotionally connected during this challenging time. 

And as always, you can connect with your Living Beauty sisters! Log into our weekly zoom open chat and connect with other Living Beauties.  Keep a lookout for our emails with the link to join.

Question of the week:  What are you doing during this time to lower your anxiety?  Please share your tips for calm!

We’re sending much love and virtual hugs to you, today, and every day!

Nancy, Indyra, Ariana, and Mariella

More Resources –

Yoga 4 Cancer – Tari is offering a FREE yoga class every Monday at 11 am PST (2pm EST). Click here you register.
Tari is also offering on-demand classes that are available 24/7 also free of charge. Click here to view her library of classes.

Healing Breath Yoga – Sharon Holly is also offering donation-based virtual yoga classes. Contact Sharon for her weekly schedule.

Healing Studio Online – Facilitator Pierre Etienne and his colleagues are offering weekly group sessions on topics such as, “Practicing Wellness in Times of Crisis”, “Reduce and Manage Stress” and “Empowering Our Best Selves”. To get information on how to register, please email Pierre at [email protected]

Insight LA – is offering free online meditations in Spanish every Wednesday at 9 am PST. Please contact the Living Beauty office for the conference dial-in number.

Canplan – is offering a free digital download of their cancer planner starter kit. This is an organizational tool to help with your cancer journey and track your health journey overall.

YSC – The Young Survivors Coalition is also hosting virtual support for cancer survivors, along with other educational materials and blogs. Check out the links to learn more!

Cancer and Careers – Cancer and Careers has a ton of online resources that can be accessed. From ongoing webinars to their video archive and their free publications and blogs. They are also offering virtual support from career coaches and resume reviews.

Mind Over Money – Rita is offering free online support services, including her Money 101 workshop. Check out her website for more information.

Lyft – the LyftUp program is here to help people who need access to reliable and affordable transportation.

Food Resources – in Pasadena and in Los Angeles.

Meditation Apps – Calm and Flow.is are both free meditation apps that are available.

Breath Exercises to Strengthening Lungs – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qViH3a4S-Uk&feature=youtu.be

Grocery Store Deliveries – although there may be a fee associated with the delivery, we wanted to share these grocery stores that are delivering in order to avoid going physically!

https://delivery.sprouts.com/ *first delivery is free!

Critical Delivery Service –
the Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services Department is offering temporary delivery services of groceries, household items and vital necessities for those who cannot leave their homes. Deliveries can be made 24/7. Call (888) 863-7411 to request services.

How to Make Your Own Face Mask – http://blog.japanesecreations.com/no-sew-face-mask-with-handkerchief-and-hair-tie

If you know of any other resources that can be helpful during this time, please email [email protected]

Also, we are continuing to offer weekly virtual programs. Please be sure to look out for our weekly emails or check out our calendar of events page to stay up to date!

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. 

Olivia

Surviving cancer has given me the ability to soar.  Though my body is still in pain, I’ve learned if I focus on spirit, I experience true freedom, joy, and awareness. My spirit gives me the courage to speak out about my journey, and I now hope to be a voice for all who cannot speak for themselves.  The inner bliss I feel gives me an infinite knowing of our universal oneness and of the greatness we all possess.  I now see inspiration all around me.  I see inspiration in you.

Debbie

When I received my medical diagnosis in 2010 a spiral of negative thoughts began to overwhelm me.   “What’s going to happen next? How will I pay my bills if I can’t work? How will I tell my friends, my loved ones?”  I felt caught in a web of inertia — a tire stuck in the mud.

I began practicing a wide variety of calming techniques ranging from recognizing negative thoughts and replacing them with more productive and empowering ones, to incorporating a mindfulness practice into my daily routine.  The expression of gratitude, repeating meditative affirmations as well as allowing humor were key ingredients in healing and dissolving fear.  Once I set foot on this particular path of awareness my road of treatment was paved with clarity, strength and acceptance.

I was introduced to the Foundation for Living Beauty.  It is difficult to find the words to express the gratitude and undying love I have for this organization and all involved. All I can say is attending the “Goddess Wellness Retreat” sponsored by The Foundation for Living Beauty in November of 2014 was like landing in the arms of a million angels.

It doesn’t take a bout with cancer to be a strong and powerful warrior. Coming to know the profound connection between our mind and body and embrace our scars (whether they be physical or emotional) gives us strength of character.   Obstacles and limitations mean nothing. For it is not what happens to us that matters, it is what we become through experience that is significant.

Gena

I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer on October 1, 2009.  I don’t think anyone wants to hear those words but I knew I would beat it.  The gloves were on and I was ready to kick butt.

 

After nine months of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, I thought I knocked it out.  To my surprise winning that fight was only the beginning.  I spent another year fighting autoimmune issues.  So the testing begins, MRI’s, PET scans, CT scans, blood work.  I was told I would need a liver transplant within a year.  I was in a wheelchair for about 6 months caused by my lupus diagnosis and fatigue that would keep me in bed for days.

 

To say that this was a lot to deal with, it was.  I know that I’m a strong person but at a point you need someone or something to hold you up.  I had my loved ones and friends but I needed someone to really understand what it was like to walk in my shoes.  I joined support groups and cancer organizations that were all very helpful, but I believe the biggest transformation was my first yoga retreat that the Foundation for Living Beauty hosted.  I will never forget the first day.  I felt like I belonged and I was understood.  More importantly, I was embraced so tight I felt completely supported.  I could be strong and vulnerable at the same time.  I met women whose fight was harder than mine and the courage they possessed only made me stronger.  It was the strength in that room that first day that I carry with me.

 

Now when I’m told how amazing I look or how great I’m doing or what an inspiration I am, I know that I carry the strength and courage of these beautiful women.  That is the gift the Foundation for Living Beauty gave me and others fighting cancer.  I did know that first day I was diagnosed that I would survive cancer but I could have never imagined the sisterhood that empowers me every day.  I’M GENA AND I’M A LIVING BEAUTY.

Dyan

My first diagnosis taught me that I needed to be vulnerable.  With my second diagnosis, I am learning HOW to be vulnerable; to embrace all its power, its strengths, its beauty and its full potential…that being vulnerable actually makes you stronger.