Cancer sucks, believe, a dream come true, and a little bit of sparkle

Once upon a time, a queen met her king, had a princess, and then was forced to face a fire-breathing dragon.  What follows is the roller coaster of the past few days.


I admittedly have a few posts that I started and couldn’t bring myself to post over the past few days.  Today I’m able to approach everything that happened with a smile in my heart and a little bit of sparkle.

Cancer sucks.  Tomorrow I will attend the memorial service and celebration of life of one of my mommy friends.  We met three years ago when our girls were newborns.  They were in Gymboree together, in a playgroup of “gymkids” together, and in dance class together.  Allie should be celebrating her 32nd birthday in a couple of weeks.  Instead, she lost her 2 year battle with colon and liver cancer on March 1st, at home, surrounded by her family and friends.  She leaves behind her amazing little girl, her incredible husband, and her loving family and friends.  To say I’m devastated for Brian and Riley would minimize what I’m feeling.  I look at my little girl and can’t possibly imagine not being here for her, or her growing up without me.  Things like this aren’t supposed to happen.  Cancer sucks.

Believe.  For two years, this is what Allie told us to do.  Believe in them, believe in her, and believe that she was going to send cancer packing.  And for most of those two years, I was sure she was right.  She never stopped smiling that contagious, beautiful smile.  She never stopped living and being an incredible mom to Riley.  She was there in the mommy & me dance class with her chemo pump on her back.  She was at the park.  It was only last week that I heard she looked sick for the first time.  On Monday morning, I learned that she was in ICU and not expected to make it.  By Monday night, we learned that she was home, unconscious.  Tuesday morning, I purposefully didn’t check my phone/email until I was at a friend’s house because I knew I didn’t want to check it.  I got to my friend’s for a private zumba class, and there it was… the email telling me that Allie lost her battle the night before.  I can no longer believe that she will beat cancer, but for her, I will continue to believe that all things are possible.  I won’t let the little things upset or discourage me.  Those times that my little princess is driving me nuts, I will hug her and love her because Allie can’t do that for Riley any more.  She has changed my life and the lives of so many for the better and for life.  We have a new angel looking out for us.  Believe.

Dreams do come true.  Allie’s dream was of course to beat cancer.  And when she did, she wanted to throw a huge party in a big red barn and have Brad Paisley sing.  His music has been what someone called the soundtrack to her life with Brian and Riley.  A video was made in attempt to get Brad’s attention to do something for Allie’s celebration of life (ideally to have him here live).  I’m happy to say that in less than 24 hours of that video being posted, Brad had not only heard of Allie and seen the video, but he had called Brian.  Dreams really do come true.

A little bit of sparkle.  Today I had the pleasure of hanging out with some new friends at a little home boutique.  Of all of the vendors there, and of all the jewelry that was displayed, this bit of sparkle jumped out at me and called my name.

The photo does not do it justice.  It is a beautiful lime green and clear crystal, sparkly bangle.  I normally would walk right by the green jewelry and head straight to blue (my favorite color) or pink (for my princess).  But today, the sun was shining, people were happy, and this beauty called to me.  It reminds me of Allie and reminds me of the type of person I want to be.  Green for her Relay for Life team logo and as her signature color, sparkly like her smile, and just plain beautiful which is what Allie was both inside and out.  I know that I had posted that my charity of choice for my Rodan + Fields business was the American Heart Association for both February and March, but in honor of Allie’s life and loss, I will be donating to her Relay for Life team.  Allie gave us all just that… a little bit of sparkle.

Allie, I am honored to have known you.  I learned so much from you about how to be courageous and how to truly live life to the fullest.  You will be forever missed.

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What does your future hold?

Once upon a time my magic mirror gave me a glimpse into the future and what I saw wasn’t pretty.

Have you tried the Age-o-Meter yet?  You may have seen it on my Rodan + Fields Facebook page.  Upload a favorite photo or capture a new one from your webcam.  Be sure to share your results so your friends can fast forward 30 years too!  Try the Age-o-Meter.

Afraid to see what the future may hold?  Check out this Skin Age Test by Artistry that I found on Philstar via @megansturde.

Does Your Skin Show Your True Age?

It is always good to know the biological age of your skin in order to choose the right skin-care. Here’s a test by Artistry to determine just how old your skin really is regardless of your age.

Take the test yourself; write down your chronological age (age based on your birth date) and answer the following questions. If your answer to any of the question is YES, add or subtract as recommended the number assigned to the questions from your chronological age:

1. Do you wear Sun Protection daily? -2

2. Do you use a tanning bed or booth? +17

3.Do you spend more than eight hours per week outdoors during the day? +8

4. Do you use daily skin-care products (cleanser, moisturizer, etc)?  -2

5. Do you use age-defying treatment products (like Miracle Worker)? -5

6. Do you use a mega multivitamins every day? -4

7. Do you use a one-a-day vitamin supplement? -3

8. Do you take an additional antioxidant like vitamin E or C every day? -1

9. Do you experience high stress? +3

10. Do you sleep seven to eight hours per night? -3

11. Do you exercise a minimum of 60 minutes weekly? -2

12. Do you live in a metropolitan area? +2

13. Do you consume four or more alcoholic beverages per week? +3

14. Do you smoke? +8

15. Are you exposed to second-hand smoke? +7

16. Do you drink eight or more glasses of water daily? -2

Whatever the result of your skin age test is, it is never too early to be proactive in taking proper care of your skin. Remember, the best cosmetic a woman can have is great looking skin.

If you refuse to look your age at 25, 40, or even 80, check out the item that Allure Magazine touted on the Today Show as a “must have for anti-aging in 2011.” (<– click to watch the video clip)  Skip expensive (and scary) injections and try this at-home anti-aging routine today.  Be sure to ask how you can save 10% and get FREE shipping.

As Drs. Rodan and Fields say, “the best wrinkle is the one you never get.”

Happy (and Healthy) Hearts Month — Shopping for a Cause

Once upon a time, a newlywed couple arrived back home after their wedding.  Life would NEVER be the same.

Four days after our fairytale wedding, my husband and I drove to his parents’ home to retrieve the gifts and other wedding paraphernalia they had brought back for us.  In my old life, that autism specialist life, I lived on my phone when I was away from work.  I was the boss and was admittedly a work-a-holic.   We pulled into the driveway and my husband went into the house while I finished a call.  He soon came running out to tell me that his dad was there and he couldn’t wake him up.  I won’t go into the details, but what I can say is that all of the efforts were to no avail.  Married for only 4 days and I had lost my new father-in-law, my husband had lost his dad, and the not-even-yet-thought-of princess lost the papa she’d never know.

We knew he had a heart condition, congestive heart failure.  He had a pacemaker.  The doctors had wanted to change it out for one with a defibrillator, but he refused.  What we didn’t know is that two years prior, he’d been given 2 or so years to live.

What some of you know and others may not is that each year I donate to charities as our holiday gift to our friends and family.  I’ve donated some of my Aerowyn’s Castle items to good causes, but had not yet thought to link my Rodan + Fields business to a charity.  It was listening to Julia Fikse of Save the Tatas at Tory Johnson’s Los Angeles Spark and Hustle Conference last week that finally pushed that idea into my thought processes.

I’m sure you all know that February is American Heart Month.  But to honor my father-in-law’s passing 5 years ago next month (March 29), I am offering the following from February 1st through the end of March.

For all NEW Preferred Customers, I will give you the option of receiving a check for $14.95 to “refund” your enrollment fee at the end of your first 60 days OR I will donate that same $14.95 to the American Heart Association at the end of March.  It’s your choice.

For all returning Preferred Customers, I will donate 5% of your replenishment order or 10% of any “off-month” orders.  You still get your 10% savings for off-month orders, but are responsible for paying shipping.

For all NEW Business Partners, I will continue to purchase your first set of business cards and name tag.  In addition, I will donate $20 for signing up and 5% of your replenishment order if it occurs before the end of March.

My fund-raising goal: $500.  While it doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s a big goal if you do the math.  Please share this with your friends and family.  Know that you can contribute to a great cause while getting the best skin of your life.  For those who want to determine your own financial success, join me on the Rodan + Fields journey.  What will your legacy be?