Cancer VS Suicide: Team Angels Won by Christine Handy

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Christine & a few of her angels, today! 

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with breast cancer and completed my chemotherapies and surgeries before I felt full inside. I felt loved in a way I didn’t even know existed. I found the Holy Spirit through the teachings by my team of friends that we called my “team of angels!”

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The first days of my diagnosis I was set on suicide. In my mind I felt unworthy of the time and devotion I knew it would take for my family and friends to care for me. I was coming off an already brutal health problem and I felt like I had used up my “reserves” of care from my husband, parents and friends. I was ashamed to ask for more and yet I knew I couldn’t care for my 2 sons while fighting breast cancer. I believed everyone would be better off without me and without the intensity of my health pressures. I rationalized that decision and it made sense at that moment in time.

Then came my angels.

My friends rallied around me and made me believe the truth, Gods Truth. I was worthy and God loved me so much that He knew every hair on my head. The hairs before chemotherapy and each one as it grew back. I became overwhelmed with love, devotion and care by not only my family but my friends. They became my “team of angels”! And they were.

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Christine’s hair began falling out in the shape of a cross! 

I asked many of my friends why they gave up so much to help me. They gave up their time with their own families to care for mine. They gave up their lives in so many ways for my secured health and well being. And through their faith and teachings, I came to realize why.

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They did it for God, the Glory of God. Those woman didn’t want thanks, they didn’t care about the thank you cards , they taught me that the thanks went to The Lord.

I don’t know about you, but being raised a Christian doesn’t guarantee learning the principles that these woman taught me.

They taught me that my life was important and that I was worthy.

They taught me to give all my worries to The Lord .

They showed me what to serve really looks like even in a society that wants to take all the praise and the credit.

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They not only saved my life they taught me how to live. I went from giving up when I was diagnosed to fighting for my life with their help. I believe God put those woman in my life to change me, refine me and save me.

I am cancer free and love my life. I am never alone, I have the Spirit inside me. The terrors of diagnosis and the fears that come with it are devastating. But my life and my story are bigger than that day I was diagnosed, October 1 st , 2012. God has a plan for me that’s so great. There are days and nights where I feel doubt or fear but I remember my faithful angels and how they modeled the Truth for me.

My fears go away and I pray and feel comforted.

John 15:12-17
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other.

BE FAB FRIDAY: 5 Ways To Layer Without Getting Lost by Guest Blogger, Tina Hamilton

How Women Can Avoid Getting Lost in Fall Layers

Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan

Beautiful fall is finally here and everyone is getting excited about getting cozy with a cup of hot chocolate and their family in front of the fireplace. This year’s fall fashion is also something to look forward to, embracing a lot of new trends and some bolder colors that every woman can get excited about. However, a lot of women don’t get as excited about fall because the weather means they need to start layering their clothes. Layering can be a great way to create a beautiful & feminine shape and make a woman feel confident about her style, but many women still shy away from layers.

The most common reason why women try to avoid layering is because they think that it will make them look bigger than they actually are. Though it is true that layering does add more weight to the body, it can actually make a woman look a lot smaller and more perfectly proportioned when utilized correctly. Every woman should know the basics of layering to stay warm and look great this fall.

Here are some tips to help women avoid getting lost in fall layers:

1. Start with thin, fitted layers

When a woman starts layering, it is important that she start out with layers that are fitted to her body to create the best base. This even starts with appropriately fitting bras and the best fitting panties. Adding light tank tops and t-shirts will make warm layers effortless and comfortable. These kinds of layers can be topped with anything to create casual or work appropriate looks for fall.

2. Utilize color, texture and pattern to add dimension

Women tend to layer a lot of basic neutral colors for fall. This look can turn any woman into a lifeless blob, so instead, women should take some time to mix up their basic layering pieces with other pieces that utilize color, texture or pattern. An example of this would be layering a basic brown t-shirt with a tweed jacket and a chunky tan sweater-style scarf. This is a classic fall look that combines textures in the same color palette to create an interesting and elegant look. This can also easily be done with accessories, like a bright jeweled necklace over a basic sweater.

3. Don’t forget about hemlines

Hemlines are very important for women to keep in mind when layering clothes. Choosing the wrong hemline can take a layered look for put-together to frumpy. Women should choose hemlines based on their body type and the features they are trying to accentuate. For example, petite women should avoid long tunic shirts and instead opt for structured layers that sit above the hips. Hemlines can also be used to hide or accentuate certain body parts. For example, pear shaped women can layer a full skirt with tights to camouflage a wider lower half and balance out their body.

4. Balance loose layers with structured pieces

This season’s trends involve a lot of loose and flowy fabrics that are void of a lot of structure. To avoid getting lost in a lot of loose layering pieces, women should try to balance a loose trendy piece with a structured piece to balance out the look. For example, maxi skirts have become a great option for fall, and when paired with a structured boot and a tailored blazer, the look becomes sophisticated and trendy. For women who are more apple shaped, skinny jeans with a long loose sweater is the ultimate comfort look perfect for fall and winter.

5. Add accessories to create shape

Accessories are always the perfect way to take a boring or lifeless outfit to the next level. Women can use popular fall accessories to liven up their look and stay warmer in the fall. Scarves are a great way to add color, pattern, texture and an extra layer of warmth to any outfit. To make things simple, women can opt for infinity scarves that don’t involve as much fuss or know-how to tie in order to look fabulous. An additional fall favorite is a belt that can create a waistline in even the thickest outerwear. This helps women maintain their feminine figure while staying warm and cozy.

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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.

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BE FAB FRIDAY: 5 Fun Fall Bags

Hey Fab Girls!

We all have to carry a handbag. It’s one of the most important accessories because most of us keep our life in there, right?! So why not switch them out on a regular basis to add some fun & oomph to your wardrobe this Fall. Especially as the weather changes- a great bag can add some happy to a cold dreary day. 

Here’s 5 fun bags I am loving:

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BOHO ‘JOPLIN’ FRINGE TOTE

By Deux Lux (amazing vegan bag co). Lightweight, but huge and will carry your entire life plus a laptop! Retails for $130, but I found it at TJ Max for only $49.99. Also comes in chocolate brown and black with beautiful gold hardware. 

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BLACK & GOLD CLUTCH

I’ve been in love with the black & gold combo for as long as I can remember, but this Fall it’s hotter than ever. It’s got a disco vibe and pairs with just about any outfit. A popular style this season is the “box clutch” which I found at Sam Moon for about $16. I was beyond thrilled to score this pristine vintage genuine snakeskin clutch at a thrift store for $5.99. WOOP! These will be my go-to’s this Fall!  

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VIBRANT BLUE

Bright blue accessories are making a major statement for Fall. A great way to add a pop of color to a fun outfit and be handsfree at the same time is with a crossbody messenger bag from Target. They have so many fab styles right now! 

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FUN & FURRY

Faux fur and shearling is on everything this Fall. From coats, sweaters, scarves, boots and even handbags. I’ve had this cute shearling bag for about 10 years. One of my vintage souvenirs from my life in LA. 

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Here is an amazing current shearling style by Burberry $2,995. Join me in drooling for a moment! 

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METALLIC & CHAINS

A great metallic bag is a must have for every fashionista’s collection and rose gold is taking over this Fall. I love this cross body with a slight rose gold tint and Stella McCartney-esque chain look. Sam Moon $19.99

Which one do you love and must have? 

Comment, share, tweet and let me know. 

Walk Tall,

Tiff

DRUGSTORE DIVA HAIR

Happy Sunday Sista,

I think I’ve found the perfect combo of products to give hair volume and staying power! Since moving to a much more humid climate, it’s been a challenge to find the right hair styling products. You know I’m a drugstore diva and the products I’m loving that keep my hair full of body and texture are by Garnier Fructis. I didn’t plan this, but after a few really great hair days recently – I noticed all the products on my bathroom counter were in matching green bottles. 

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I’m often asked to do a hair tutorial, but for now here is how I style my hair. This is a great system for long hair. Step by step:

  1. Apply the GF Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk after towel drying.
  2. Blow dry with large round brush turning head upside down the last few minutes. Gives hair more fullness.
  3. Set the crown of hair with 4 large velcro rollers. 
  4. Lightly curl ends with 2″ barrel iron spraying each section with the GF Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Hairspray. 
  5. Remove velcro rollers and shake hair upside down running fingers through curls.
  6. Back comb the crown with teasing comb or brush.
  7. Spray the GF De-Constructed Texture Tease Dry Touch Finish Spray around the crown & sides of head at the root.
  8. Lightly spray entire head with the GF Hairspray.

I know this is a lot of work & steps and I only set my hair like this about once a week. (Unless I have a very sweaty workout) In between washes I use the Volume Extend Instant Bodifier Dry Shampoo. A hairstylist from my girlfriend’s salon, ERA Salon showed me how to back comb and tease properly with the right type of comb or brush. I found this great set by Goody at Target:

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Voila.. End Result! 

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I leave you with this thought as you prepare for the week ahead…

I captured and shared the photo above on Facebook because in the midst of a wirlwind week (on top of being sick) I was given this gift of such a beautiful, calm & peaceful moment. It was most unexpected in a totally unexpected place. I sat near a window looking out at the gorgeous sunset and realized how blessed I was. I mean, I start each day in prayer and gratitude, but life gets so busy and even down right chaotic. It’s important to find those moments of calm & quiet throughout the busyness of life. Those are my favorite moments and they tend to give me a little ‘fill’er up” to go on with the day.

Don’t allow yourself to run on “E”. 

Love, Tiff

 

 

 

FLUFFY TO FIT AGAIN: Tiff’s Thursday Thrive Tips

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Tiff Before/ June 2014 – After/ Today, October 2, 2014

Ok, this is tough to share, but- HEY, I’ve been working hard over the past 3-4 months and people scoff at me when I say I’ve gotten “fluffy”. It’s all relative and 5-8 lbs on me definitely shows and makes it a challenge to fit into half my wardrobe. I got SICK of hearing myself whine about it and was TIRED of being tired… and did something about it!  With fluctuating hormones, we need to change diet/ supplements/ workouts/ lifestyle to keep our energy levels up and our waistline down. Basically, we have to put in the work! I’m not afraid of a lil hard work and won’t just throw in the towel and give in to my hormones. Plus, I have a closet full of great clothes I would like to wear and I’m fitting back in to most of them. Yay!

WE CAN CONTROL THIS LADIES!

SOS Sista Suanne Rieker of www.riekerfit.com  gave me that advise a few years ago. She said women can control their hormones instead of their hormones controlling them and their life. She is over 55, but looks and acts like she’s 35. She was overweight and exhausted at one point and did something about it! Such an inspiration! Just check out the video on her website homepage and you’ll be inspired too. 

Want to know what I did to go from fluffy to fit again? 

Before I do, I want to give a DISCLAIMER and reminder that everyone’s health & fitness needs are different. Please take in to consideration any blood sugar/diabetic and thyroid issues which alter your metabolism. I am simply giving the tips that worked for me. Here ya go…. 

AMP UP THE WORKOUTS

Working out is a part of my lifestyle, but it’s easy to plateau and get stuck in a rut with your workouts. I’ve been a powerwalker since I was about 14 years old, but as I age I’ve had to amp it up and add light weights to see results. I admit, I tried the appropriately named workout DVD’s called Insanity, but geez, those workouts are just too jarring on my neck & back. 

  • Cardio 4-5’s a week. Combo of power walking, a light jog & sprints. 
  • Hot yoga once or twice a week at Sunstone.
  • Strength training for Legs, abs & arm 2-3 x’s a week by the Tone It Up girls on YouTube.
  • Or various YouTube barre workouts to keep from getting bored. Check out my workout playlist on my YouTube Channel. 

FAT BURNING FOODS & SUPPLEMENTS

If you watched my videos on healthy snacks & meals, you know I try to stick to a lean protein and low carb/sugar/dairy diet. So, to amp up my metabolism I added a few fat burning supplements.

  • Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA, brand name Tonalin) – Increases metabolic rate, decreases abdominal fat, enhances muscle growth, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, lowers insulin resistance (insulin resistance is a risk for some hypothyroid patients, and lowering it can also help prevent adult-onset diabetes and make it easier to control weight), reduces food-induced allergic reactions, enhances immune system. via About Health
  • Rodiola Rosea Amps up your energy, reduces belly fat (calming effect on our body and mental state because of an ability to reduce cortisol- which creates belly fat), helps with mood & depression (many women experience these symptoms with hormone fluctuation).
  • Cayenne- Added it to my protein shakes. Hot peppers cause the body temperature to rise. When the body temperature rises it needs to be cooled and you burn more calories when the body is forced to go through a cooling process. They also act as an appetite suppressant. By simply adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to a meal, studies show you will consume 600-100 less calories at your next meal. 
  • Chia Seeds- Also added to my protein shakes. I introduced you to chia seeds a few years ago with my friends drink called Drink Chia.  Chia seeds expand in the stomach giving you a satisfied and full feeling. They are also packed with nutrients like protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium and more! 

A few other small tweaks I made were trying not to eat after 6pm and limiting wine to once a week- which I admit is a challenge because I enjoy my Pinot Grigio! I kept up with pizza “cheat night” once a week with my hubby, but cut out my weekly popcorn. (sad face) I actually pop my own popcorn with olive oil or coconut oil and light sea salt, but my problem is that I can eat an entire massive big bowl by myself. A few cups is a great low fat snack, but honestly- I can’t eat just a few cups so I’ve only been eating (gorging on) it about once a month during this 3 month weight loss challenge. Corn is a carb, remember. Also, before I got started on all of this- I actually did a light detox/cleanse with no wine for 3 weeks to shift my body & shake up my metabolism a bit.  

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I am always asked how I stay in shape so I share my experiences & weight fluctuations (that’s what is great about having your own blog)  to show that I battle health/weight issues, too! 

It’s all about feeling strong, energetic & WALKING TALL….not just the jean size, but it sure is nice to be able to wear the clothes I already own. 

What are your thoughts?

Tweet, comment, share.

Love, Tiff

4 Little Innocuous (but revolutionary) Phrases by Guest Blogger Natalie Bolton

 

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Scientists have done studies on “happiness” and why some people seem to grasp it and why it eludes others. MINDSETS are one of the possible factors that will determine the quality you are able to see reflected in your life. And let me say, I am no perfect master at this, however, it I can just set an intention or two for the day it does help.

Take the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, if one decided to challenge their everyday life with just one of these agreements a day this could totally shift the baseline of the mind, just by focusing on one.

These four little innocuous phrases can be revolutionary!

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BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD. (I may just take this one on everyday for an entire month)

If I can make the promise to myself to be impeccable with my word that means that I believe that what I say means something and impacts my life and others. If I just say “YES” to everything and over schedule myself then I end up flaking out of something and letting someone down. So my “yes” should be solid, strong, and valuable. And if I’m putting my word behind it-I need to pay close attention to what I am signing off on in my life. People are affected by my loose over scheduling, over committing, and under delivering (one of my life challenges).

DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY.

I am uber sensitive. I have pinned it on being creative, artistic, a Capricorn, and moody. Blah blah blah…whatever. I have been sensitive in my life because I have taken things personally. What is so amazing in this life is that no one is ever really doing anything on account of anyone else. Honestly, we are so self-consumed that when someone hurts our feelings 9 times out of 10 the hurter of the feelings was completely unaware and in their own world. When someone “consciously” seemed to personally hit you where it hurts it is due to his or her own fear- his or her own perception, and his or her own battle that they are fighting. When I can remember this I am no longer at the affect of someone else. Yah, we all act out sometimes but if we can pause and think that maybe just maybe that person’s issue has zero to do with us it allows us to continue to buzz throughout our life. Then we are able to put our efforts into things that truly matter.

DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS.

There have been times more often than not, sadly, where I have written an Oscar-worthy drama of “Gone with the Wind” proportions that actually in reality never even happened. Now, don’t judge me and say ”Oh, hmmm, did she just admit that she hears voices in her head…hmmm? Did she just announce her crazy to the world?” NO. What I am saying is I think we all at some point have created storied to back up our colorful imaginations. For example, someone doesn’t pick up his beautiful Great Dane’s poop from your yard turns into “Why does so-and-so hate me?” Or a teenager cackles you from across the street turns into “Oh my god! My cool factor has expired and I am officially old.” Or your partner forgetting the dinner at 8 date turns into “He doesn’t love me and he never did love me!” I know I am NOT the only one so reader don’t squint your eyes and poke fun-we all have done it (hormonal fluctuations could be the culprit most times). Nevertheless, we all have had these ridiculous conversations with ourselves. If I can make the choice to NOT assume, I can show up in the world as an adult and ask real questions to get the real answers. Such as, “hey, poop perpetrator, I have a stash of bags here in case anyone walking their dog needs one in a pinch. Have I told you before that they were here?” Poop perpetrator replies, “Oh man, good to know, the other day we totally left a present in your yard because I forgot the bag and also locked myself out of my house resulting in being late for work and forgetting to come back and pick it up. That is what these flowers picked from my garden are for. My sincerest apologies.” The teenager scenario is simply a teenager scenario. And the forgetting of the date drama? Maybe a question such as “So, by you forgetting about our dinner plans is a simple glitch resulting from you being overworked and overscheduled?” And that gives your partner the opportunity to express his or her love for you and how they were actually getting so involved in planning a surprise weekend get-a-way that they simply forgot about the dinner at hand. Problems solved with simple real questions.

ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST.

What does “The Best” scale look like? Well, it is different everyday and moment by moment. One minute I can extend love to a complete stranger on a plane by listening to her heart for the entire 3-hour flight, and the very next moment I can get annoyed and react to the person kicking the back of my seat. Our best is continually changing but if we are striving to always keep our best forefront in our minds we can avoid the all too common abusive self-talk and regret we love to punish ourselves with. You may be able to run the LA marathon after training at your best, but when you are laid out sick from the flu just getting up from the couch to go to the bathroom is your absolute best. Be kind to yourself and always keep your “BEST” as the goal.

 

Fall can be our best season yet. It can be a time of restoration on many levels.  And our mindset can be the solution to problems we have been unable to fix until now.

Small tweaks powerful impact.

 Thrive on,

 Natalie.

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In Natalie’s own words she shares her personal philosophy, “The mandate for my life is not only bringing beauty to people by external means with new technologies, and cutting-edge technique, my goal is to also refresh the spirit. I pray every morning to bring beauty to the spirit of everyone I touch-so they leave feeling more beautiful and at peace after they leave me. I want to live my life like that as well. I want to leave the world more beautiful than when I found it.”

From CBS’s SURVIVOR to skincare, my sister Natalie Bolton has landed at VANITY LOUNGE in Houston, TX. (Yay, do you know how happy our mom is to have both her girls back in the Great State!!)  Having the opportunity to fulfill her desire to bring beauty, healing and a sense of well being to men and women alike, Natalie has found her calling. As a state-board licensed aesthetician and certified Epicuren specialist, Natalie enhances the appearance and condition of her clients’ skin and their sense of self. Her specialties include rejuvenation and anti-aging. Natalie is also an expert in the areas of acne and problematic skin.

To book your appointment with Nat, call 713-942-9177 or book online.   Vanity Lounge is located at 2800 Kirby Drive #B110
Houston, TX 77098 in the Tootsies shopping center across from Eddie V’s.