BE UNFORGETTABLE: Importance of the Thank You Card

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Hi Gorgeous Girls!

As I sit tonight and write “thank you’s” to everyone who blessed me on my birthday, I thought it would make a great topic for a post. I love to send handwritten thank you cards and it’s an etiquette my mom taught me at a very early age. How about you? Do you take the time to write a note or do you rush and think a text or email will suffice?

Here are the top 3 reasons it’s so important to me: 

1) STRENGTHEN THE BOND between you and the receiver. Whether it’s a business follow-up, personal thank you for a gift or hospitality at a dinner party- people want to feel appreciated. From writing the heartfelt note, stamping then mailing it tells that person you took the time for them.

2) BE UNFORGETTABLE and stand out. I cherish the handwritten thank you cards I receive from friends, family and clients. I received a lovely monogrammed one recently from a dear client which I have sitting right here in front of me on my desk. Her handwriting is beautiful and her words- so very generous and encouraging. I’ll remember her forever.   

3) SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY and choose a card that reflects you and your style. When the receiver opens the envelope and pulls out the card- it’s like receiving a little piece of you and your heart. I always look for thank you cards in random places and find cute ones at Tuesday Morning, TJ Maxx and even Target. It’s great to take it a step beyond and have cards designed with your name, logo and/or company. But, I always seem to find unique, fun styles and like to keep plenty in my desk at all times! I think I’ve always been a bit obsessed with stationary. The ones in the photo above are so me and SOS – don’t ya think? They are by Roobee by Mara-Mi and I found them at TJ Maxx for $4.99. 

Obviously, a text or email is better than nothing, but it’s really the lazy girl’s way out. Expressing gratitude is so important so why not go above and beyond to show your appreciation. Be of excellence.  It’s another way we can practice ‘walking tall’ sistas.  Everything is so instant these days with technology, but the art of a personal handwritten thank you note is an etiquette we should never allow to fade away. 

Share, tweet, comment and give me your two-cents on this topic!

Love, Tiff

A Lil Beauty, Style + Inspiration. Love, Tiff

Hello Sweet Sistas!

I’ve been MIA due to being severely spoiled for my birthday last week. They say everything is bigger in Texas and my hubby, family & besties blew my mind with a Texas size week-long celebration. So here’s some beauty, style and inspiration to kick off the last week of August.

BEAUTY:

I had minimal time to style my hair for a fancy birthday dinner and attempted to copy a rocker chignon by the fabulous Canadian Hairstylist of the Year (4 x’s) Rocky Vitelli. Super fun and simple. Side-swiped bangs, low side pony then divide the pony in 2 sections. Wrap one section around the ponytail holder and pin. Do it again with the 2nd section. Leave a few hairs loose and messy for an edgy look. Voila! 

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STYLE: 

While I was shopping the end of Summer sales (remember it’s one of the best times to shop because stores need to make room for all the new Fall merchandise) I scored at Nordstrom Rack. never underestimate the power of a bold blazer, v- neck tee and skinny jeans- Paige Denim originally $239 for ONLY $30! Paige Denim is one of my favorite denim brands because they are cut so flattering and made with durable & stretchy fabric.

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INSPIRATION:

This is a beautiful & powerful affirmation for us all to take into the week ahead…

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Who aspires this with me?

Enjoy the last week of Summer sistas.

Love, Tiff

 

 

MONDAY MOTIVATION: Change Your Bad Attitude to Gladitude (with a must see video)

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You awake and stir in your bed. You roll over – yawn, stretch and moan for a minute. This moment is one of the most critical moments of the day. This moment can determine whether you start the day with a bad attitude or with ‘glad’itude. I am naturally a morning person, but as I get older with more nights of disrupted sleep and ever changing hormones – I find that I wake up feeling exhausted more often than I care to count. Thank God for coffee!!! But, even more important than coffee is being conscious of our thoughts in that very critical moment when we wake up.

Do you feel the flood of thoughts race through your mind from what you have to do that day to how your neck hurts from sleeping on it wrong to that demanding email someone sent you the night before? In that moment, it’s vital to put up a stop sign in your mind and flip your thoughts to things you are grateful for. I try to be diligent with this practice and by the time I’ve pee’d and made it downstairs to the coffee pot- I’m saying ‘thank you’ and feel the exhaustion lift and my attitude transformed. Of course, I’m not perfect at this every single day, but I try my best. That’s all we can do, right- try our best. 

Here’s a few ways to keep a positive attitude:

1) STOP BLAMING: Your attitude is your choice. It’s easy to blame other people (our kids, our spouse, our boss) for why we have a bad attitude. You are giving them power over you. It’s not really about what happens TO you, but what happens IN you. Your happiness is YOUR responsibility. Bad things happen to us everyday, but what counts is our attitude toward it. That ensures we retain the power. 

2) COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: I know I mention this quite often on the blog, but it truly changes everything. When we focus on our burdens instead of our blessings- inevitably we bring more burdens into our lives. That’s the foundation of keeping a bad attitude. The moment you choose to focus on the many blessings in your life- watch more blessings arrive keeping you in a state of ‘glad’itude! 

3) GO BEYOND LIMITATIONS: All of us face limitations in life like lack of talent, money, from the wrong side of the tracks, learning disabilities or even physical disabilities, but it’s our attitude toward those limits. I grew up in a lower income family in a not so great area outside of Houston, Tx and lived in a trailer park until my little sister was born at age 5. My family was also of mixed ethnicity, but I didn’t know that would be an issue until I was in junior high. Whatever it was within me- maybe a deep desire to see the world- I had a firm attitude that I wanted to go beyond that small town and achieve my dreams. We may start out in a trailer on the wrong side of the tracks, but that doesn’t mean that’s where we have to end up. 

Please take a moment to watch this. This man’s attitude is remarkable. I need to watch this once a month when I start complaining about the cellulite on my legs- at least I have legs! 

It makes that demanding email we got or that massive pimple we woke up with seem so unimportant. Be grateful. Do not energize the things that feed a bad attitude.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Go out there and strut your stuff sista,

Tiff Xoxo

BE FAB FRIDAY: 4 Fashion Rules the Media Doesn’t Tell You By Guest Blogger Tina Hamilton

Fashion Rules the Media Doesn't Tell You

Image Courtesy of Cosmopolitan

It starts at a very young age for most of us with your mother telling you that you can’t go to school in your ballerina tutu. It continues when you hit middle school and your friends tell you that braces are dorky and weird. The issue furthers in high school when you are told that you need to look like all your favorite celebrities or you won’t be popular. Just when you think it would get better, it only gets worse as you reach your twenties and thirties when you are supposed to maintain a perfect look, the ideal corporate job and a stable relationship. We don’t even need to talk about the brutal scrutiny that women over the age of 40 are under!

Women are constantly given rules by our peers and the media telling us how to look. These standards seem impossible to maintain, and for many of us, they are simply unrealistic. We all have different bodies, different needs from our style and different tastes that do not always fit into the mold that the media creates.

Instead, we should create our own set of rules, rules that focus on the true meaning of style; to make every woman feel beautiful and confident every single day. Here are the fashion rules that the media doesn’t tell you, and why you should ditch everything else and follow them instead.

1. The garment should work for you, not the other way around

Every piece of clothing and every accessory should work only to enhance you and your beauty. You should never feel the need to squeeze into a tight pair of jeans in order to look skinnier if you are not comfortable doing so. Instead, take those jeans in the next size up. You will feel better and look better in clothes that fit you properly.

2. You should never cast out a style because of your size

Many girls are told they cannot wear certain styles and trends because of their body. For example, girls who are small on top are told they cannot wear sheath dresses. These ideas should be cast out for every woman, you need to try the look on yourself and find the right fit before you determine that the look works well for you or not.

3. Never buy anything before trying it on

Some big changes have been made in the world of online shopping, so the need to spend hours in a department store dressing room is no longer necessary. Most online stores offer free returns and exchanges and free shipping, so you can get the same items at lower prices without leaving the house. You can even buy bras online with new bra sizing apps that ensure that you will get the best fit possible.

4. You can wear trendy looks at any age

Celebrities today have proven that age does not need to determine your style anymore. You can still pull of trendy looks no matter what your age is. Look to celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Stacy London for trendy looks that are still age appropriate so you can maintain your fashion forward style.

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Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on Twitter.

 

Stay Cool & Chic in the Office {New Style Webisode}

Hey Fellow Fashionistas!

Many of you have been asking for new style videos and today is the day! Thanks for being patient. I must admit- I thought I was all tapped out with style tips and started getting burnt out on it all. My right hand is in pain for a week after editing a video and I was starting to lose creativity. I realize I have to put in the grunt work and won’t have to edit everything forever. I don’t know how full-time computer graphic artists do it. Just keepin’ it real. I have so much more inside me to share than just shopping & style tips and many of you have expressed how much the motivational candid vlogs inspire you. That makes me so happy. But, I realized this is par for the course when you’re on your path & purpose. We have to take a breather and a step back in order to regain clarity of purpose, rekindle the flame and gather energy for the next part of the journey.

There have been many times since I started SOS that I wanted to quit. I cried to my hubby a few weeks ago because I felt like I was in limbo and being stretched to my limits. I wondered what was to come next. I had just passed on a publishing deal for my book and that broke my heart. It just wasn’t a ‘fit’ for me and my mission. I actually got mad at God. WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO? I prayed…. and yelled a bit. Then, like always, I’m given peace and perspective. I thought of all the women who have written me saying how the blog & videos helped them transform and feel more confident. That is what motivates me to keep on keepin’ on!  SOS isn’t for me, it’s for you.

The TD Jakes quote came to mind, “Whenever God pulls back a bow, the arrow is going to go further than it’s ever gone before.”  I share this with you all because I know there are many of you who are feeling stretched right now. Summer is nearly over and the kids are going back to school. Schedules are changing and you are the one who has to keep it all going smoothly. The world is so fragile and we’re getting horrible news daily. Don’t allow the stretching or the shaky feelings to derail you from your purpose. Do not give up. Take a beat. A time out. Then get ready to go farther than you ever have before. WooHoo! 

Ok- enough of that. Ready for the new video complete with a brand spankin’ new intro!?  I’m so excited for the new look and vibe. I have to thank my hubby for supporting me and pushing me to take things to the next level. He cares about all of you sistas as much as I do! I read him the messages you all send me and it inspires & touches him to keep helping me.

Just as we need a ‘makeover’ from time to time- so does SOS. Hope you like it…

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H&M Black Sleevless Shirt

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Forever 21 Harem Pant

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Target Bomber Jacket (on sale now!)

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Sheath Dress with Peplum

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Stay tuned for more Fall webisodes coming soon! 

I want to hear any video ideas and topics you have. 

Strut It Sistas,

Xo Tiff

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P.S. Don’t forget the ReJuve MD giveaway ends this Friday the 15th. 

Win the serum & eye serum I mentioned in the new video! $264 VALUE!

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TO ENTER: 
1. Follow ReJuveMD on Twitter @ ReJuveMD 
2. Follow Tiff on Twitter @ TiffanyHendra 
3. Tweet “Rejuvenate my skin” with the hashtag #RejuveMD
4. Tag both RejuveMD & Tiffany on the tweet! 

If you don’t want to wait to find out if you won- ReJuve MD has set up a special discount for SOS’ers

15% OFF one product: promo code at checkout SOS15
20% OFF for both products: SOS20 

www.rejuvemd.com

BREASTLESSNESS: Part 2 by Guest Blogger Christine Handy

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Christine Today.

OCTOBER 1

The call came in around 8:45 am. The diagnosis was stage 2 level 3 breast cancer, triple receptor positive. It was a Monday morning and I was home alone. I knew right when I picked up the phone that it was the doctor himself, no nurse to tell me everything was fine. As I was listening to the doctor, I sat down in my bedroom with the phone at my ear- trembling. I then asked one question, “was I going to die”?  I have no idea what the doctor said after that, other than he never answered the question. The rest of the day was a blur.

Things happened pretty quickly the days that followed and then weeks. I had a lumpectomy 6 days later in Phoenix, Arizona and shortly thereafter my parents, my husband and I flew back to Dallas to begin the immediate search for an oncologist. I begged every doctor I met not to have chemotherapy, but by doing so I raised my chances of survival. Finding an oncologist that I trusted was not easy. The trauma and disbelief over my arm overwhelmed me. I wasn’t sure I would ever find a responsible and honorable doctor again.
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 My older son was away at boarding school when I was diagnosed with cancer. He was 14 years old. I could not fly to tell him in person about my diagnosis. My husband would tell him the following weekend which happened to be his schools parent weekend. I did call him right before going into surgery to tell him I could not be there. This would be the second parent weekend I had to miss. The spring before, I was having the PICC line placed in my chest and arm to kill the infection that was destroying my wrist. Now this. I called him after we landed in Arizona and I had to tell him something before I went into surgery. I tried to calmly tell him I would not be at his parent weekend, but that his dad would be there. He didn’t even ask why. There was silence. I told my son that I wanted desperately to be there. And as my tears were streaming down my face, I told him that I had to have another surgery. He said, ” what’s new mom?” ” You always have to have surgery”. He was referencing my arm. I told him that I couldn’t talk about it, but that daddy would tell him when he got there . I’ll never forget what he said next. He said in a defensive and yet brave tone “Mom, it’s fine. At least you don’t have cancer.” It stopped me dead in my tracks. You see, in his 14 year mind I can only surmise that he felt that his mom was letting him down with her arm problems, but that she was going to be ok. Now that it was cancer, he would have to go through the agony of not knowing if I was going to be ok. I wanted to hold my son and reassure him, but I couldn’t. I wanted to scream and yell and run and hide. Forget the lumpectomy, I’ll just end my life and my sons won’t have to suffer through any more of my health problems. I was their mother and I wanted to protect – not cause pain. I wanted to love not put fear in their tender souls. I wanted to be a mom, not a woman needing constant care and help from others.
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My younger son was not in boarding school.  We told him the night I was diagnosed. He was 11 years old. He too had been suffering because of my arm. The previous year he never knew who was driving him home from school. Between my arm surgeries and physical rehab appointments and then the discovery of the infection, the ramifications that bled through our family were exponential . There was never dinner on the table, I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t drive, I was in bed constantly recouping and coping with pain. My presence as their mom was sporadic and limited. My son would call me after school and ask, ” Mom who’s picking me up today? ”  A couple of times I had forgotten to have someone there to get him.  I was failing as a mother, the only job I ever really wanted to have. The fear I felt was hideous to me, but the thought of what my children were feeling was paralyzing.

My oncologist was witty and informal which was a relief seeing as though we were there for such a serious reason. I walked in with my husband and the doctor immediately looked over at my casted arm and said in a lighthearted way, “what’s going on over there?” We were off to a good start. He asked me why I had my lumpectomy in Arizona. He said he would have preferred to have done chemo first to shrink the tumor and then surgery. The doctors in Arizona had said the same, but all of the doctors pointed out that the bone grafts on my arm would be destroyed by chemotherapy. Therefore, the decision was made to do the lumpectomy first and buy us some time to allow the grafts to graft.

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The lumpectomy would be the first time of many that I had no use of either arm. I was unable to move my right arm from the fusion. It was casted from my fingers to almost my arm pit. The bone grafts on my arm had to stay exactly where they were placed in order to be properly fused. Cancer was on my left breast. After the lumpectomy I had limited movement on my left arm. I couldn’t open a door, bathe, get dressed or feed myself . Putting in my contacts was daunting. I had lymph nodes removed from my arm pit as well so lifting my arm up was not possible. I couldn’t hold a glass to drink. My mom had to hold a straw up to my mouth. Sleeping was almost impossible . I remember laying in my bed at night on my back feeling petrified, exhausted, in pain and confused while desperately wanting to curl up into a fetal position to give myself comfort. The “I couldn’t do’s ” replaced the ” I could do’s”. I couldn’t even wash the hair I was about to lose to chemo. I had gone from being a 41 year old thriving wife and mother with an incredible passion and talent for yoga and other sports to a woman with a fused dominant arm and breast cancer. I had not had a day without pain in almost 3 years. I was the healthiest unhealthy woman I knew.

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From October 2012 to March 2013, I had 16 rounds of chemotherapy. I lost all my hair including facial hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. I am 5 feet 9 inches and my weight at the sickest part of my chemotherapy dropped to 98 pounds. In April 2013, I had a mastectomy and then in June that year my first reconstructive surgery. Just 2 months later I had another arm surgery where the metal and screws were removed from my wrist/ forearm . This part of my arm was now totally fused and the hardware was causing my frail arm a lot of additional pain. During these surgeries from April 2013 through December 2013, I continued to have treatments for breast cancer. Starting in April, one week after my mastectomy, I began 12 rounds of a drug called Herceptin that was administered every 3 weeks . I was scheduling chemotherapies around surgeries ! I couldn’t fully wrap my brain around the magnitude of what was going on. I was showing up physically to the surgeries, the appointments, the chemotherapies but emotionally I was dying inside. The days when I wanted to quit were too many. I felt desperate to live to raise my children, but the suffering was endless. My last arm surgery was in August 2013 which brought the grand total to 6. My last breast surgery was in January 2014 and I am not finished with the reconstruction. In total, 12 surgeries in 2 1/2 years and 28 chemotherapies.

My husband had his job and now he had to take over my role as mother, caretaker, carpooler, cook etc. It’s hard to describe the pressure it put on our whole family unit. We were all trying to stay afloat, but there were days where I wondered if people and households could just explode. The tension and pressure was so high. We were trying to function in this new environment and every single day was horribly hard. And as we at home were coping, my son at boarding school was suffering in ways we will never know. I often think about the ghosts of who I used to be and I loved that girl, I’m different now.

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My parents were my rocks, my sons out of fear pushed me away, my husband was busy and my friends saved my life.
To be continued………….