Striped Midi and Paisley

paisley turban with stripes

striped midi dress with headwrap

paisley chemo turban

turban with striped midi

Dress: Old Navy – similar here, here, or here; Shoes: Franco Sarto – similar here or here; Sunglasses: Maui Jim – also here

First off, thank you to everyone who sent a little love, positive vibes, warm wishes, and prayers my way. I was truly overwhelmed with the support. So, thank you, from the bottom of my very full heart! Sorry for the long delay in getting back here to thank everyone…I needed a little time for all of those feelings to settle in, then my hard drive crashed.

Comfort was all I wanted any time I got dressed in more than lounge wear this summer. I picked this dress up from Old Navy for $8! Yup, 8 bucks. I loved it so much I got it in all black too. Both the stripes and black have been on regular rotation the past several months. I love that I can add heels to dress it up or flats for casual running around…or a stroll through a rose garden.

As for the head wrap, this was one of my favorites. It is actually an old piece of fabric my grandma had hanging around that she let me put to good use. The paisley print made it fun and the colors kept my blacks and whites from getting too boring. To be honest, during treatment I usually didn’t wear a head wrap if I ran to the grocery store or went out for a walk, especially in the summer heat. I saved the head wraps for dinners with friends or more crowded places where I didn’t want to make it as obvious that I was going through chemo. It took me a bit to get comfortable walking around with my bald head, but I decided that however I felt the most like myself was how I was going to be. Of course people would look twice, its not everyday you see a woman with a bald head, but I felt like I got as many looks with the head wrap as I did without, so however I felt most comfortable is how I went out.

I didn’t take any blog photos without a head wrap. I thought about it, a lot. I have pictures of my bald head. But, the reality is, I don’t want pictures of my bald head living on the internet for years to come (not to mention the painted on eyebrows and lack of eyelashes). It just isn’t how I want to memorialize that time. Instead, I’m hoping I’ll look back at these photos and feel a little glamorous looking at myself in a fancy turban and aviators…hey, a girl can dream right?

Thanks for reading!
Tiffany

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Floral Romper and when life gets real

Magenta Black Floral Romper

CancerScarfTurban

Floral Romper Magenta Turban

Floral Tan Leather Belt

Floral Romper with Magenta TurbanRomper: ASOS (old) – similar budget , splurge, love this one; Belt: LOFT – similar here or here (on sale!); Sandals: old – similar; Bracelet: Henri Bendel – similar here; Sunglasses: Maui Jim – similar here or budget

This romper is super comfortable, perfect for summer, and I’ve been wearing it on repeat. I picked it up last fall on sale and it was a great purchase. One of the reasons it has been on repeat is because I have a matching head wrap. See the turban, that is where life gets real. On February 1st, after my first day at my new job, I was diagnosed with Lymphoma (anaplastic large cell alk negative; one of the rarer types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).

In October 2015 I discovered a small, swollen lymph node in my groin area. It was 1.5 cm then. After no change, in December I had an ultrasound to confirm it was in fact a lymph node. I met with a surgeon who was relatively sure it was nothing and I should give it some time. It was small, hadn’t grown much, and didn’t have any characteristics of a cancerous growth. I also didn’t have any symptoms. I wanted to be sure and the only way to know was to biopsy it. So, at the end of January, I had that one lymph node removed. A few days later, I found out I had cancer. After a slew of tests, I was lucky to find out I was stage 1A; the cancer was localized to the one lymph node we removed and I had no symptoms. But, because it is a blood cancer, chemo was a must.

So, after all of my preliminary tests, a few surgeries, and one month at my new job, I took a medical leave and started chemo. I was on CHOEP therapy. I had 6, three-week cycles (three days of outpatient treatment, followed by two and a half weeks of rest). Chemo definitely hit me harder than I expected, but I was lucky. Staying home from work allowed me to focus on one thing, staying as healthy as possible. When I was immunocompromised I was able to avoid public transportation, elevators in office buildings, and just generally being in crowded public places. I was able to stay home and cook healthy meals. I did light yoga and took walks with my husband (he was seriously my rock). I painted and made jewelry when I had the energy. For the first time in my life, I was forced to  slow down. I learned a little self-love and a lot of support from my loved ones goes a long way.

So, here we are, 6 months later. With the support of my amazing care team, family, and friends, I am cancer free! WOOHOO! A huge thank you to everyone who sent a little love my way, said a little prayer, brought me nourishing food, and was just plain there when my hubby and I needed you. I am back to work. My hair is growing back little by little every day. Every day it becomes easier to talk about this journey. I’ll have scans, blood work and follow up visits for years to come, but for now, we’re figuring out how to get back to life after cancer.

I don’t want this blog to become one focused on my battle with cancer. Its my creative outlet, and now part of my way to move forward. I want it to still be my happy place. But, this battle with cancer is a part of my story…a big part. It has reinforced my priorities and helped me focus on the present. It has made me realize the inner strength that so many people have, but don’t recognize until they are tested. It has made me value relationships and experiences over things even more than ever before. It has made me believe in being your own advocate when it comes to your health and doing what you need to do to get answers. I’d be happy to talk more with anyone who has questions, or who has been through it, or who is going through it. Support goes a long way, but talking about it can also be the hardest part.

So, this post is one of my first in moving forward, happy and healthy 🙂

Thanks for reading!
Tiffany

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I’m back with Strawberry Lemonade Pitcher Cocktails

Strawberry Vodka Lemonade Pitcher Cocktail

Strawberry Vodka Lemonade

Strawberry Lemonade Ice Cubes

Strawberry Lemonade Pitcher Cocktail

Strawberry Lemonade Recipe Card

With the summer winding down, I figured there was no better way to start back on the blog than with the perfect summertime cocktail to help you enjoy your the last few outdoor get togethers with friends. It is light and sweet and takes advantage of all the fresh strawberries you can pick up at your next trip to the farmers market. And with the strawberry simple syrup (recipe here) the color is gorgeous. If you have leftover syrup, you can always use it in this cocktail! Or, if you don’t want the hassle of making strawberry simple syrup, you can always us plain old simple syrup, you just might need to add more fresh strawberries. The ice cubes are just lemonade with sliced strawberries. They keep the drink cold without watering it down…and aren’t they so cute!

A lot has happened in the past year that I have been away. Initially, my blogging was limited by my search for a different job. Finding a new job is a full time job! I even looked at getting out of law altogether. I ended up staying in law, now in the public sector, and it was such a great decision! I’ll be sharing more in next post about just how real life can get…but in the meantime, enjoy a cocktail!

Thanks for reading!
Tiffany

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