The Look Good, Feel Better Program

I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t know someone who has or had cancer. Thankfully, there have been major strides in cancer research–my own mother survived brain cancer–and it is not the death sentence it was even 15 years ago. I think it’s safe to say we all also know people who have beat cancer, which is awesome. But it’s a tough fight, and anything us non-doctors can do to help is, in my opinion, totally worth it.

The little bit I can do comes in the form of the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better Program (LGFB). LGFB is open to all women going through cancer treatment. Sessions are held at hospitals or clinics, and they are free. Huge cosmetics companies–like Chanel, Lancome, MAC, Dior and dozens more–donate beauty products to the program. At the session, each woman receives a bag full of cleanser, moisturizer and makeup. Trained volunteers like myself (all licensed estheticians or cosmetologists) walk the women through the makeup application process. So they do a self makeover, with us volunteers there for instruction and guidance. There is also time devoted to wigs and sometimes head coverings that can be worn if someone has hair loss and wants to cover it.

The sessions are non-medical and LGFB does not sell or endorse any particular products. The sessions are a great place for women to connect with other women they can relate to. I have seen friendships start at these sessions, and that’s one of the things I love about being there. I agree with the name of the program–I think most women feel better when they look better. It’s not a superficial thing, it’s a confidence thing. Whether it’s makeup, hair, or clothing, looking put together tends to make the majority of women feel better. And especially when a person is dealing with the appearance side effects of cancer or cancer treatment–loss of hair, eyebrows or lashes; dark circles under the eyes; dry skin; dull skin; etc.–a little boost on the beauty front may actually make them feel better. Those side effects can be extremely hard to deal with, and I don’t think that’s something you really think about unless it happens to you. Much of our confidence is tied into how we look and present ourselves to the world. If you’ve ever cried over a bad haircut, you know what I mean. But imagine your hair fell out, or your eyelashes, or your eyebrows. This program can help bring some of that confidence back, and that’s a big part of what makes it so important.

I can’t explain how much I love doing these sessions. To know that I am contributing in a small way to making someone’s life a little better or easier or more fun…it’s a great feeling. And the women who I have met through LGFB the last few years have been amazing. Talk about positive attitudes! Here are women who are going through a serious illness, and they show up with smiles on their faces, laughing and joking throughout the session. They are always so grateful and so kind. They thank me effusively, and I’m not even doing anything hard! They are they ones dealing with tough circumstances. I’m just sharing what I know and hoping that it helps.

The reason I’m writing this post is because I want people to be aware of this program and how amazing it is. If you have cancer, or know a woman who does, please pass on the website link LGFB really makes a difference, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

I Simply Remember My Favorite Things…

Did I get that song in your head? Try searching YouTube for Saigon’s version. (That’s my favorite version, but WordPress doesn’t like to let me link.)

I’ve been the worst blogger ever this year–business has been BOOMING, so it’s hard to get to the many blog posts I want to write–but I’m trying! Today, I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to talk about a few of my favorite things from Summer 2012. Some are new (or new to me), some are old standbys, and they are not all beauty-related. I know this is a beauty blog, but I’m trying to be well-rounded…

In no particular order, I am loving:

Exfoliation. I have always been a big proponent and user of exfoliators. Three times per week seems to be my skin’s magic exfoliation number, so I try to make it easy for myself and exfoliate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My absolute favorite face exfoliator is ExfoliKate by Kate Somerville (Sephora). It’s both a physical and enzyme exfoliant, which means you can use it to either manually exfoliate, or you can let it sit on the skin and it will do the job itself. It doesn’t feel sandpapery, but it makes a huge difference in the look and feel of my skin. It ain’t cheap, but it is AWESOME.

Cupcake Wine. My friend Julie and I discovered the Red Velvet one last fall, and we were hooked. I’m not a big drinker, but I would find myself thinking about how good that wine was for a few days after whenever I drank it. It tastes like dessert, but somehow not in a super sweet way. I can’t write anymore about it because it’s making me want a glass and it’s 8:15am.

Pinterest. I’ve been on this website for a while, and it has become one of my staple sites. I don’t go on it every day, but usually at least once a week. It’s a great place to post ideas for my clients and for photoshoots, and I created a “Quotables” board that I love. I fill it with positive quotes, and sometimes I read them when I need a little mood boost. If you’re not on Pinterest yet and are thinking about signing up, just be warned–it can get addicting! 30 minutes can go by very fast when you are pinnning. And 30 more minutes won’t hurt…

Brazilian Blowout. I know, I know–formaldehyde. But I’ve had it done four times, and I feel fine! 🙂 It really has made a huge difference with the way my hair feels. I still have to round brush straighten my hair every three days, but the Brazilian Blowout makes my hair dry quicker, it almost completely eliminates frizz, and my hair just looks prettier.

Orange Leaf. Oh my God, this place. I have a soft serve addiction and Orange Leaf is my dealer. These self serve, soft serve frozen yogurt places are popping up all over the country, and I am thrilled. They switch the flavors out so you get variety, but my favorites so far have been Peanut Butter, Hazlenut, Coconut, and Wedding Cake. There are a ton of toppings (which I don’t use, because I’m a soft serve purist) and you can sample any of the flavors. So.friggin.good.

“Anatomy of the Spirit” by Caroline Myss. I am big time into the connection between our emotions and how consistent negative thinking can cause disease, and this book thoroughly explains those theories. I borrowed it from the library and liked it so much that I bought a copy, because I knew it was something I would re-read many times.

Shellac Manicures. They are long lasting, they don’t chip and they stay shiny. To me, that’s the Holy Trinity of manicures, so I will look no further. I feel so much more polished–no pun intended–when my nails are done, and the no-maintenance upkeep for the shellac manicure fits right into my lifestyle.

The Diamond Ultrasonic Toothbrush. I bought one a few months ago with a Living Social deal and I love it. My teeth feel so clean, and I feel very futuristic using it. It took a little getting used to, but I caught on fairly quickly. It’s timed to turn off after a few minutes, so I don’t even have to think when I’m brushing.

Blueberry Vodka & Lemonade. This was my favorite drink during the summer, and I don’t see why I can’t carry that through the fall. My tastebuds don’t change just because there are leaves on the ground. I realize it’s not low calorie, but I typically don’t have more than two drinks per outing, so I’m cool with that.

Subdue Styling Cream by Minardi. I use this product before blowdrying, to get a smoother blowout and on dry hair as needed, to smooth it down when necessary. It smells good, isn’t sticky or heavy, and a little goes a long way. It is the only product I consistently use in my hair. I used to buy it from my hair stylist but she carries a different product line now, so my next tube of Subdue will probably come from Amazon.

LARABARS. I’m gluten-sensitive hypoglycemic and have a job that doesn’t always allow for sit down meals (or the whey protein shakes that I usually have for breakfast and lunch) so I am a nutrition bars girl. A few years ago, I was big on Zone Bars, then I switched to Luna Bars and I recently discovered LARABARS. They are dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and never contain more than 9 ingredients. Best of all, they taste GREAT. Some of my favorites are Peanut Butter & Jelly, Blueberry Muffin, Banana Bread and Coconut Cream. When I’m on a film or photoshoot set, I sneak them between takes and during setups and they are my saving grace after wedding jobs where I haven’t eaten for hours.

Jergens Natural Glow. I tried this self tanning moisturizer years ago when it first came out and every few years, I remember how much I like it. I got back into it this summer, both when I had my normal pale skin, and as my maintenance lotion during a spray tan. This stuff really works. Yes, it has a slight self tanner smell, but I think they all do. But it doesn’t really get streaky, and the gold flecks in it really do give a “glow.”

So, those are some of the tangibles that made my summer a little more enjoyable/prettier/easier. What are your favorites?

Have a beautiful day 🙂