Rachel noticed something felt wrong and went to her doctor for confirmation. I won't tell her story here, because it is her story to tell. The diagnosis was breast cancer. Not just breast cancer, but Stage 4 breast cancer that had spread through her body. It was a complete shock. Rachel still looked healthy and happy. Knowing what we knew about cancer, we knew this was not a good diagnosis. We were all really scared. We were all at a loss for what to do and what to say. Rachel showed us all. She screwed up her courage and used it to fight the cancer. She did what she had to do. She had a mastectomy. She took her chemo. She visualized beating the cancer. Over the course of the past 6 months, she has managed to shrink her tumors. I say she because there's only so much credit you can give to the chemo. I think her power showed that chemo where to go and what to attack. She shaved her beautiful hair. She bought wigs and scarves, and changed her wardrobe slightly. But, she also continued to live. She continues to live. She refuses to let cancer dictate who she is. She is beautiful. She is strong.
We try to make sure Rachel has support when her husband leaves (the business our husbands are in causes them to be gone for stretches of time with little notice, hers and Alex's husband far more than mine). Rachel came over about a month ago for dinner. I missed most of that dinner, but my husband took a few pictures. I looked through the pictures and saw how Rachel had all the girls climbing all over her. They were all trying on her wig. And, I thought, God, she is beautiful. Rachel is so much more now than she ever was. You see her strength, her courage, her beauty far more than before cancer. You see the scars of cancer. But, you see the triumph. Her spirituality and heart are more noticeable now. It appears that she takes everything in her stride. Before cancer, she was pretty. But, I didn't really know her. Now, I know who she is. She is a woman of incredible character and strength. She is a woman who loves her husband, family, and friends so much that she is willing to go through hell to make sure she's there for them. She refuses to be sidelined. She refuses to change. She is living her life, beautifully. She deserves to know that we all are amazed. She needs to know that her beauty is stronger now. She is a model for us all. The fight is not over yet. There is a long way to go before she is cancer-free. But, today, Rachel is beautiful. Today she is loved. Today I am proud to be her friend.
Meeting Tim Gunn was, in a word, Fabulous! The only thing that could have made it better is if he asked me to develop a fashion/style program aimed for moms and working women. Since that didn't happen, here's what did:
I ended up arriving at the Galleria pretty early because I wasn't sure when things would start and I did not want to miss a second. After an initial snafu, I was able to get a fairly good seat for the fashion show. A short time later, the show began and TIM was there. Wow. The Fashion Show featured Kate Spade, Juicy, and Lucky clothing and accessories. I don't usually look at those lines or the stores, and I really didn't see anything that I "had" to have. The show featured rompers and "dress shorts" neither of which is a style I support or would wear. I thought the colors were pretty pedestrian and wasn't too wowed by anything. But, Tim and his co-host (in a romper with hose/tights) were very entertaining and did a good job of showing how a few changes could really make each outfit very different. She lost me 1) with her romper, 2) when she suggested wearing a pair of leather shorts with leggings to the office. Tim said No. Ha-I agree.
Think of your body in 3rds, break it up with a belt, scarf, etc.
He encouraged mixing patterns but said to make sure that the scales work so that you don't end up wearing a "test pattern."
Tim suggested that there is nothing wrong with finding your "uniform." He said Michael Kors has a uniform, he has a uniform. For example, Nina does not, that got a huge laugh!
He stressed the importance of great foundation garments. He mentioned Spanx and that he's tried them on (not that the wore them or needs them) and almost dislocated his shoulder!
What to wear with jeans- depends on the situation. But, please wear dark wash denim. (I agree) Best jeans are those with no taper, no flare, dark wash, not ripped or torn-"talk about war torn."
1) Stand at the Great Wall
2) Snorkel or Scuba the Great Barrier Reef
3) Go on a photo safari in Africa
4) Take the girls to New York at Christmastime
5) Ice skate in Rockefeller Plaza
6) Walk part of the Appian Way- DONE
7) Take the girls to Paris
8) See the Mona Lisa- DONE
9) See David- DONE
10) Meet royalty- DONE
11) Take the family to my British home
12) Take girls to look for seashells- DONE
13) Family trip to see the Grand Canyon
14) Family trip to Disney
15) Take classes taught by Supreme Court Justice- DONE
16) Hear oral arguments at the Supreme Court- DONE
17) Mass with the Pope at the Vatican-DONE
18) Become fluent in another language (and retain that information)
19) Punt on the Thames- DONE
20) Family trip to Washington , D.C.
21) Visit Alaska
22) See Britney Spears in Concert- DONE
23) Meet Tim Gunn
24) Own a pair of Christian Louboutins
25) Find the perfect Black Dress-DONE
26) Take the girls to a Texas football game
27) Watch Texas play in the NCAA basketball tournament
28) Go as a family to the Texas v OU football game
29) Watch Texas play for the BCS National Championship-DONE
30) Take a picture with Bevo- DONE
31) Watch an Olympic sporting event in person
32) Run a 5K- DONE, 10K- DONE, half marathon
33) Do my girls' hair and nails for Prom
34) Swim with Whale Sharks- DONE
35) Swim with huge Manta Rays
36) Swim with as many species of shark as possible
37) Swim with dolphins
38) Own a great pair of cowboy boots-DONE
39) Zipline a forest canopy
40) Go rock climbing
41) Learn to ski well
42) Collect sand-dollars with the girls
43) Visit giant Redwoods
44) Take family to the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna
45) See humpback whales up close
46) Visit the Great Pyramids
47) Visit pyramids in Mexico
48) Learn how to make yummy empanadas
49) Have Phil Pritchett play a private party
50) See Las Vegas showgirl show- DONE
51) Gamble in Monte Carlo- DONE
52) Gamble in Las Vegas- DONE
53) Foster love of art in my kids
54) Participate in Oktoberfest in Germany
55) See Ayers Rock, Australia
56) See the Taj Mahal
57) Make a river raft-DONE
58) Meet Lance Armstrong
59) Learn to Sew-DONE
60) Go to the Sound of Music locales as a family
61) Catch a deep sea fish by myself
62) Eat crepes in France-DONE
63) Eat pizza in Italy- DONE
64) Visit great castles- Neuschwanstein, Versailles, Alhambra- DONE
65) Family trip to see European castles
66) Attend Mass at Notre Dame-DONE
67) See Willie at Luckenbach-DONE
68) Finish girls' scrapbooks
69) Take family stargazing
70) Go caving- DONE
71) Go open water kayaking- DONE
72) Eat haggis in Scotland-DONE
73) Take the girls to play in real snow
74) Make a difference
75) Gift husband with a really great hunting trip
76) Make cake pops
77) Go through The Daring Book with the girls
78) See Broadway show (not touring)
79) Learn to surf
80) Family trip to the San Diego zoo
81) Abseil/Rappell off a side of a cliff- DONE
82) Have one paid photo shoot
83) Own our own ranch
84) Go camping as a family
85) Sew dresses for the girls
86) Finish decorating the house, room by room
87) Take girls horseback riding
88) Chase butterflies with the girls
89) Visit Canada
90) Visit Tuscan countryside- DONE
If you haven't written a Life List, it is a great exercise. Let me know if you write yours, I'd love to see what is on your list.
I adapted the project slightly from Viv's art since I already has a canvas for the Family Rules project. Viv's tutorial, and Lil Blue Boo's are dead on, so I am just going to add a few things I learned: 1) Live by the Nester's advice "It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect To Be Beautiful," that will make it much easier. I stressed out way too much on centering, lettering, etc. I finally just gave in and let it be. 2) If you can find vinyl lettering/stickers in a close enough style, I would go that way. The contact paper works, but it is pretty frustrating to try to separate the layers on that many letters.
Even though this wasn't my idea, I am posting it because I am incredibly proud that I finished the darn thing...it only took 5 months from idea to completion! Even though it took forever, I am happy with the way it turned out.
Updated* At your request, here is a wider picture so you can better see the area.
I'm updating to link to the CSI Project page for Wall Decor projects because I'm just so darn happy with how this turned out!
Updating to join Jen's Subway Art party
Love Cooks (even when, I'm sure he would have rather been watching ESPN!).
I couldn't post this without sharing the recipe:
4 whole pheasants (You can substitute any meat you want-turkey, chicken, or pork would work extremely well)
6 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp chicken base
1 10 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes with green chiles
20 yellow corn tortillas
1 lb cheddar cheese, grated (original recipe uses 2)
2 10.5 oz cans cream of celery soup, undiluted
2 18 oz cans enchilada sauce
1 10 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes with green chiles
1 cup Velveeta Cheese, cut up
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
Heat each tortilla in a pan with a small amount of hot peanut oil (I assume you can use vegetable or canola if there are allergies) to soften the tortillas. Place 3 tbsp of meat in tortilla, roll and place in a large pan. After all are rolled, pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle with grated cheese and paprika. Bake for 30 minutes.
These enchiladas are reeeeaaally cheesy and reallly good. You can make this spicier based on the kind of Ro-Tel you use. I know you will love it!
As I mentioned the other day, I have been feeling "off" lately. Yesterday was one of those days, a gas tanker overturned about ten blocks away from our house. This resulted in our entire neighborhood being shut off from the hours of 11am to 7pm. My husband left for lunch and could not get home until well after dinner. It was frustrating and snarled traffic for miles. Waiting for me once I made it through the traffic was a jury summons. "What a day," I thought. When I started complaining about it, I was reminded of the good news that happened yesterday. A close friend of ours is battling cancer. She found out a few months ago that she had breast cancer, metastasized to her lymph nodes, liver, and lungs-stage 4. Since I worked at MD Anderson Cancer Center for many years, I knew this was not good. She's our age and the news was devastating. But, she's been fighting like hell and yesterday got her latest scan results- the largest tumor shrunk to less than a third of the original size and several of the smaller tumors are not visible anymore. GREAT NEWS. It really put things in perspective. I can complain about the frustrating things that happen in my life, or I can rejoice in my life.
Yesterday was a good day. Yesterday was full of perspective.
A funny kid story is keeping me sane for now...
My husband heard M yelling tonight after bedtime (our girls share a room). "Em, be quiet. Em, BE QUIET." He went to investigate and Em was sound asleep, snoring. M was yelling at her to try to wake her up so M could get to sleep! Classic.
Oh, this is better than shopping and full of sunshine-we found out a few days ago that our sponsored child Sandrine survived the Haitian earthquakes with no major injuries. Her home has been damaged but her family (mother and grandmother) is fine. Great news so far!
*All images Getty via New York Mag
Alberto E. Rodriguez
Including Kristen Stewart in my "Best Dressed" post is my biggest surprise. I do not get her as an actress and she generally looks so distressed, dirty, and grungy. I have to give her credit, she actually smiled last night (not in this picture though) and she chose the right night to look like a million bucks. Well done Kristen. Please take note and dress like this (well, maybe not exactly like this) from here on out. At least smile once in awhile.
I came close to including Penelope Cruz, Jane Seymour, and Maggie Gyllenhall. Did I leave your favorite out? Anything grab you?
Find someone you love AND give them a kiss or seven today! Happy Love Thursday.
First, the invitation, selected by my daughter because it had a "diamond." I've included the wording in case anyone wants to use it:
Please dress as your favorite princess. Finishing touches will be provided by the Royal Salon.
We painted nails and offered princess tattoos; you never know what princesses will want to wear!
We put out bowls of jewels for all the girls to make their own necklaces and bracelets.
Goody bags full of lots of Princess paraphernalia.
* Princess story time, read by the Fairy Godmother (Grandma), we read "The Paper Bag Princess"
* I laid out pink vinyl on our front sidewalk as a pink carpet for the girls.
* One of the best ideas I had was to "hire" two of our neighbors for the salon. We have two awesome tween girls who live on either side of us. They were great. I put them in princess aprons and they painted nails and then stayed to dance and play with the girls.