The Secret For A Successful Year

Well, here we are again: at the end of one year and the beginning of another. I don’t know about you, but I always have mixed emotions around this time of the year.

On one hand, I love the energy of the holiday season. I love the excitement and joy that fills the air. I feel it everywhere I go – the newsroom, the stores, even at the gym. It’s like everyone has an elevated level of happiness, cheer and manners – to the point where I don’t even get upset spending my entire paycheck on presents.

One the other hand, I get reflective about my life. I think back to the high and low points of the year. I think about strides I’ve made in my career. I think about family members that have died and the babies that have been born. I think about my spiritual and emotional growth. I think about the state of politics and our place in the world. I wonder where this journey is going and what I am destined for.

This year was a quite a rollercoaster ride. I got engaged. I lost one job and got another. Both of my parents experienced life-threatening health crises. My fiancé lost his mentor. I released my first book and started this blog. There were moments that were exhilarating and happy followed by others that were scary and sad. To say 2017 was a weird one is an understatement. I’m leaving it behind feeling both fragile and empowered. I think this happens to most of us as we get older. We comprehend the fragility of life while feeling more secure and centered about who we are as individuals.

No matter what went down this year, we can’t linger on that for long. That traps you in the ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda.’ Ain’t nobody got time for that! You can’t regret anything because the decisions you made, you made because they were the right decisions for you at the time. The losses you experienced, for the most part, are out of your control. It is only your reactions to losses that you can control. If you didn’t react the way you should have – then you know what you need to work on 2018.

Here’s the great thing about this very moment. This is the time to set your intentions for the next year. To envision how you want to live your life, who you want to be and the dreams you want to make reality. Want 2018 to be abundant? This is the secret to achieving the success you long for.

Here’s the caveat: I don’t believe that wishing for success is enough. While there are many positive aspects about intention-based theories like the Law of Attraction and “The Secret,” the problematic issue I have with both is that they blame failure solely on the purity of a person’s intentions. That just doesn’t jive in a lot of situations. I believe hope and intentions are often the only thing a lot of people have – single moms, men sold in the Libyan slave trade, refugees, young girls who have been human trafficked and orphans. Can you really blame their tragic situations on negative thoughts or lack of intentions? That ideology just rings a bit privileged and preachy to me.

The fact of the matter is, we all experience self-doubt. We all have some level of fear. We all have negative energy floating around in our brains at any given time. This is human nature. While negative thoughts and actions can affect your success, it’s not the only element in play that determines it. Luck, timing and happenstance are very real things.

Here’s what actually works to manifest success: Aligning your thoughts and feeling, (intentions) with actions. By setting your intentions you instantly begin to change the vibrational energy surrounding your dreams. This seemingly insignificant action has been scientifically proven to make a huge impact on your brain’s reticular activating system (RAS). The minute you actively focus on your intentions, your brain’s RAS begins to sift through millions of bits of sensory information and prioritizes those related to your goals. Think about how your computer or phone marks an important email with a red flag. It’s the same thing.

Where the Law of Attraction comes into play is that once we begin to visualize the process and adopt behavioral patterns that prioritize our goals, that attracts us to people, opportunities and situations that are like-minded. Like energy attracts like energy. But what’s really amazing about this phenomenon is that is begins in your brain!

And now – just days before the start of the New Year – is the perfect time to think about what you really want for your life in 2018. Here are three easy ways to start that process and to see it through successfully:

Write Down Your Intentions

This sounds so basic but you’d be amazed how many people don’t know what they want in life because they’ve never allowed themselves to articulate their desires or dream of the possibilities. Taking pen to paper makes you have to acknowledge what goals/desires are most important to you and helps you prioritize them. When everything is written down, the vision of your life and your purpose becomes clearer, quicker.

Tip: My most honest writing happens when I am alone and can be unguarded with my thoughts. Set aside some private time, grab a notebook and your favorite pen and then start writing down all the things you want for yourself. This is the time to dream big! Write each thing in the present tense to assert your ownership and belief in it.

 

Create An Inspiration Board

I love inspiration boards. I have one in my home office right in front of my desk. Every time I glance up, I see all the happy and uplifting things I have pinned on it. I pin thank you notes, photos of me and my friends, favorite quotes, fashion editorials and trinkets from trips. It may seem silly but this board helps keep my creative juices flowing and reminds me to seek inspiration everywhere.

Tip: Don’t over pin your board to the point of messiness. The whole point is to be able to derive visual inspiration at a glance. If you can’t see any one thing, that will defeat the point. Start with a clean board and when it starts getting cluttered, remove the items that no longer serve as inspiration.

 

Make moves

Writing your intentions and creating a mood board only does so much. Seeing your dreams materialize requires you make them a project that is prioritized. This means working on them consistently. When I first started writing my book, I would do my interviews early in the morning before I left for work. I didn’t have a lot of time to spare, but I spent one hour every other morning interviewing experts. Then I would spend the weekends using those interviews to write various chapters. It was a slow grind but after six months, I finished my book.

Tip: Set aside a block of time each week to work on anything that moves your dream closer to reality. That can be 30 minutes, 2 hours, a whole day – whatever you can afford to spend. Little task or big job – doesn’t matter – as long a its project-related: 20 minutes for networking phone calls; 1 hour learning Word Press; 4 hours taking an online class – you get the gist. Don’t stress if you don’t see instant success. Baby steps are still steps forward. You will get to your destination (the adverb for destiny) if you just moving toward it. Remember that.

 

Wishing you a happy, healthy and successful 2018!

Xo

Cait

Why Is This Happening???

I know it’s been a hot minute since my last blog entry. But the last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind. And to be completely candid, it’s left me a little life-dizzy.

Things started getting hectic back in August, when Amazon cancelled Style Code Live, the show I was the beauty producer for. The abrupt cancellation was a shocking, to say the least, but one veteran producer that I worked with told me this is typical in the TV industry. One day you have a job working on a show, the next day that show is cancelled and you find yourself unemployed. That didn’t cushion the blow but such is life in the media industry these days…

Before taking the job at Amazon I had never produced anything. But over the course of two years, I became adept at producing live, daily, in-studio segments and video vignettes with leading beauty experts and key influencers. As sad as the end of the job was, it came at a very serendipitous time – one month before my first book, Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women, launched in the US and UK.

Having free time allowed me to focus fully on launching my book, so that’s exactly what I did. I met with editors, did interviews with the press, traveled for speaking engagements and did a radio satellite tour. I got to talk with hundreds and hundreds of people about the book and share its empowering message. I was working overtime to promote my book and I got to do it because I was out of a job. Oh, the irony.

By October, my schedule was fully penciled in with book-related appointments, interviews and events. The highlights of the month included an appearance on the Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee and my book party. Benefit Cosmetics hosted the book party at their flagship store in Soho and part of the pre-party festivities included a makeup tutorial class for women in cancer treatment. The women that attended the class were such an inspiration. Each one of them had faced life-changing adversities yet remained positive, loving and grateful women. Spending time with them was a real honor. The party was everything I wanted it to be: intimate, meaningful and filled with the people that mattered most to me. It was the perfect evening.

Days after the book party, I began a slow descent from Cloud 9 back down to reality. I immediately became anxious thinking about what would come next – especially since I didn’t have a job. For two months, I had watched, in an almost dream-like state, as my personal project (one that I worked tirelessly on for two years) came to fruition. The feedback was beyond positive and it felt deeply rewarding to see it succeed. But I couldn’t linger on that for long. Girl has bills to pay! I needed to focus on getting back to work.

The obvious answer, short-term, was freelancing. I had freelanced years prior and during that time, I did my best work and wrote for all my favorite publications/websites. But freelancing is not for the faint of heart. And the fact that the media industry is slowly devolving doesn’t make it any easier. Where before it was a hustle, today it’s a grind. And the only grind I’m cool with at this point in my life is one I’m doing on the dance floor. Ya know what I mean? As fate would have it, that’s when I got a job offer.

The job – as the beauty director of Star and OK! magazines – wasn’t something I was expecting. Having done the celebrity weekly gig many years ago, I didn’t think it was something I thought I would ever do again either. My initial thoughts were, “been there, done that.” But the more I thought about the fortuitous timing of it, the more I felt like it was something the universe wanted me to do. That there was a reason that it was this opportunity at this time. (Plus, I am a sucker for celeb beauty and fashion stories.) So, I accepted the job.

The thing is, I keep wondering why life has lead me on a crazy journey the last few years only to wind me down this familiar road? What is to be gained or learned this time around? What didn’t I learn or master the last time? I’m curious.

But that’s the thing – life is some f*cked up shit. Just when you think the road is headed one way, it takes you in a totally different direction. After everything I’ve been through, you’d think I’d be a little more malleable. But I like knowing what comes next and where I am headed. That’s just not how life works though. What’s that Yiddish proverb? “Man plans, God Laughs.” Truer words have not been spoken.

As I started really thinking about the ‘why’ and mystery of what is happening in my life, I happened to hear a podcast that seemed to answer my questions. I was commuting home one night and decided to pass the time listening to a podcast: Oprah’s Super Soul conversation with Eckhart Tolle. During the interview, Oprah mentioned a quote she loved from Eckhart’s book, A New Earth: Awakening Your Life’s Purpose. Here is the quote: “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”

The quote struck me and I listened to it several time to fully absorb its meaning. The quote made me reflect on my life over the last few years, even the last few months. In that moment, it dawned on me that everything I have experienced, all the pain and sadness, joy and success, has helped me evolve as a person. It has helped me become more tuned in with what truly matters and helped me achieve greater success in my relationships and career.

I mention all of this because life can be baffling and unpredictable. One day you can experience the greatest highs, the next day, the deepest low. A parent dies and then a child is born. You get fired and then hired. You get sick and then you get healthy again. It can be scary, frustrating, even overwhelming but you have to trust the journey. You have to trust that what you are experiencing at any moment is going to lead you to a more evolved, fulfilled life. Did I like having cancer? Hells to the no! But it did give me a deeper appreciation of everything in my life and a focused purposed. Much like how a new mother forgets the pain of labor when she looks into the eyes of her newborn baby for the first time. An examined, expanded life nullifies growing pains.

I don’t know where my life is headed, and even though I’m not psyched about that, I am going to trust the universe on this one. It hasn’t steered me wrong so far. And while I’m taking this journey, I’m going to work hard, have fun and be grateful for ALL my experiences.

Xx

Cait

The Path of Most Resistance

I’m going to admit something. I hate exercising. I really do. Just getting to the gym feels like an exertion. But not working out is not an option. You see, cancer cells get stored in fat cells. The more body fat a cancer survivor has, the higher their risk of having a reoccurrence. Plus, I like food and wine too much to deprive myself of them. (Life is about enjoying yourself, right?) So, workout it is!

The other day when I was taking a spin class at Soul Cycle, my instructor, Trammell, said something that struck me. During an uphill climb, he instructed the class to turn the knob on our bikes to increase the resistance on the wheels. I hadn’t been to class in over two weeks because of my book tour, and was feeling the burn. So, I turned the knob but just barely. Trammell wasn’t near me but at that very moment he said to the class, “Don’t be one of those people that fakes the turn. Embrace the resistance! It makes you stronger and more powerful. Rise up to the challenge!”

His message instantly resonated with me. Over the last six years, I have face two serious health crises. In 2011, I had spinal fusion surgery and less than a year later in 2012, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Each health issue was a resistance in my life. Each put a break on the momentum of my career. Each forced me to find out who my friends really were. Each made me dig deep to find who I was and what I was made of.

The thing is, even though I was emotionally and physically exhausted, it wasn’t like there was a knob I could turn to lighten the load. That, sadly, is an option only available in spin class. I was up against real resistance. I won’t get into the specifics (if you are really curious, though, you can read some of my other blogs. Writing about them time and time against is almost like re-living them. It’s enough to cause me PTSD – seriously.) Suffice to say, there was a 4-year span of my life that was full of really tough challenges and lots of resistance.

Resistance is a force like none other. Even the definition of ‘resistance’ is interesting as its two meanings are polar opposites. Used one way, ‘resistance’ means the act of not complying with something or someone. Use another way, it means an ability to not be affected by something or someone. I find this dichotomy very interesting.

Resistance IS the key to our personal growth. When we struggle with change. When we are impervious to messages loved ones are sharing with us. When we refuse to let go of things not meant for us. When we fight against things that are happening to us. That resistance – whether it’s generated from outside forces or from within ourselves – stops us from experiencing emotional growth.

It was only when I stopped fighting against all the shitty things happening in my life – and actually embraced them – that things started to get better for me. Rather than agonizing over my failing health, or being miserable that the life I wanted wasn’t the one I was living or turning a blind eye to changes everyone else could see I needed to make – only then – did life become an easier road to travel. In letting go, I resisted being affected by all the hate, sadness, pain and misery that no longer had a place in my life.

Don’t misunderstand me, though. I still fought like hell for the things that mattered. That resistance is often crucial for survival. I fought for my health. I stood up for myself when I didn’t think people valued my work or me. I refused to let anything interfere with my friendships. I struggled, pushed and worked my ass off for a better life. I resisted – and still do to this day – when it is necessary. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, I turn the knob in spin class just to remind myself how blessed I am to be here.

Resistance plays a huge role in how we approach problems and react to them. It’s up to you to choose which of its definitions you will put into play. Will you choose to resist the things not meant for you? Or will you resist not being affected by the obstacles in your path. I suggest we listen to Trammell’s advice: Rise up, embrace the resistance in our lives, and meet the challenge. I promise the work is worth it.

xo

Cait

MY BOOK COMES OUT TODAY!!!

Today is a day I have dreamed about for more than 3 years. It is the day my first book, Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer, hits shelves!!!! I can’t tell you how surreal, scary and exciting it is.

I decided to write Pretty Sick back in 2012 after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time, I was a magazine beauty director and continued working during treatment. It was important for me to try and look like a version of my ‘normal’ self so that I could keep things relatively routine at the office and when I was interviewing people. To me, there was nothing worse then when people would ask me, in a hushed tone, “Are you okay?” While I appreciated the concern, it was such an awkward question to deal with. The reality was, I wasn’t okay. I was fighting for my life and I really didn’t want to discuss it casually with colleagues and sources. I was barely processing the situation by myself. So, I’m sure you can understand why I wanted to do whatever I could to maintain my appearance, my sense of self, during that terrible, trying, time.

Knowing how to care for my body during cancer treatment helped me maintain a sense of normalcy and control that the disease stole from me. I had hives all over my body from the chemo. My nails were peeling and ripping like crazy. I had mouth sores that made it hard to eat and talk (some might argue not enough). All these things made it tough to stay positive, focused and engaged in my life. It was only when I turned to my Rolodex of beauty experts and sources for help that things started to turn around for me.

The thing is, there are solutions for many – not all – side effects from cancer treatment. Solutions that can mellow the harsh. With each side effect that I was up against, I had an expert on speed dial – and I called every one of them. It’s why I was able to get through treatment looking so “healthy.”

Problem is, most of the advice I was receiving wasn’t really out there. When I was having surgery and going through treatment, I did a ton of research and often came up empty-handed. There wasn’t one place I could go to get the Intel I needed to learn how to care for my nails, skin, mouth, hair – even my vajajay – during cancer. And let’s be honest, the web can be a scary place with a lot of inaccurate information. Who needs that when you are dealing with a real health crisis??? That’s when I decided to take all the advice that really helped me and make it into a book.

I’ve heard that writing a book is hard. For me, that was the easy part. I love interviewing people. I love hearing other people’s stories and experiences. This life thing is, after all, an interesting journey for all of us. I also loved working with my illustrator, Jamie Lee Reardin. Long before I was diagnosed, I had seen her work and instantly fell in love. One day, I emailed her saying that if I ever wrote a book, she needed to illustrate it. Years later, when I had started writing Pretty Sick, I emailed her again and she instantly agreed to be my artist. I knew her colorful, stylish and sometime quirky artwork would be a source of happiness and levity. I mean, just look at these illos from the book! I’ve looked at them a million times and I’m still obsessed.

The tough part of creating a book is putting it out there. It’s like sending your child to their first day of preschool or off to college. It’s frightening because you are sending them out into the world alone but it’s also exhilarating because you can’t wait to see what they do, how they succeed and who they help. Today, I am a nervous parent.

I do know that a beauty guide for cancer patients will raise some eyebrows. I know people will say, “You should be focused on your health, not your damn eyeliner or face cream!” To those skeptics, I say this: Live through cancer, then tell me that a woman doesn’t deserve to look her best when she feels her worst. Just because we are sick, we have to look sick too? I don’t think so! We are still living after all! I said this in the book and I will say it again here: Beauty treatments are an adjunct therapy to cancer treatments because when you look good, you feel better. In many ways, Pretty Sick is a resource that is less about looking pretty and more about being empowered.

So, as my baby goes out into the world, I want to take a moment to thank all the experts and fellow survivors who believed in this project and gave up their time to help me make this dream a reality. And to my fellow Pink Sisters, I hope Pretty Sick provides you with advice and encouragement that helps make this difficult time transformative and positive. This book was all for you!

 

XO

Caitlin

 

…Hello again! If you got all the way down here, then I’m assuming you liked what you read. Good news! There’s more where that came from – including snippets of Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer and news relevant to us Cancer Cuties. Go visit and (like!) the Pretty Sick Book FB page! https://www.facebook.com/prettysickbook/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Pretty Sick is officially out and you can score a book for yourself – or for a friend who needs it – by clicking any of the links below!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

iBooks

The Post-Cancer Closet Shakedown

 

Life after cancer. I know how blessed I am to even be able to write those words. My life is a gift and I am grateful for it everyday. The thing is, life after cancer wasn’t the smooth sailing I thought it would be. In hindsight, I realized I wasn’t prepared for this phase of the journey. The fact is, being a “survivor” changes you – mentally, physically, and spiritually. The ripple effects can be felt for a long time.

For me, the biggest challenge was getting used to my new body. Implants, scars and weight gain wrecked havoc on my physical appearance and how I felt about my body. Accepting these things were a real challenge. When I decided to have a mastectomy, I accepted the fact that my chest would never look or feel the same again. That is just the reality of the situation. The scars, well they suck but I try to view them as badges of honor and proof of my strength rather then seeing them as flaws. This perspective saves me a lot of grief. Surprisingly, it’s the weight gain that makes me feel the most disconnected and depressed.

For the first year after all of my cancer treatment was done, I had a lot of trouble dressing my post-cancer body. I know this sounds completely trivial but it really f*cked with my mojo. Every time I stared into my closet, I saw a ghost of my former self staring back at me. My clothes were tangible reminders of when I was skinny, sexy and healthy. And let’s not even talk about the melt-downs I would have when I tried, unsuccessfully, to squeeze into my pre-cancer jeans.

For me it was weight gain. For some of you it might be weight loss. Either way, it sucks staring into a closet filled with clothes that don’t fit. Besides taking up space, these items also create emotional clutter. Who needs that? Not us! I don’t want you to go through the same torture I went through. It’s just not worth your energy. Plus, there are some really easy fixes to help avoid post-cancer fashion drama. They are:

Do Spring Cleaning (No Matter What Season It Is!)

During treatment your weight will fluctuate. After, there will be a number that settles on the scale. (I can’t promise you’ll like that number either.) Once all the chemotherapy and steroids have had time to leave your system and your body has adjusted to any long-term meds you’ve been put on, then you can go into your closet and start to make space for the clothes that actually fit. I donated a lot of my clothes because I knew that I was never getting back into a size 0 or 2. If the idea of ditching your duds sends you into full-on panic mode, then don’t get rid of them! Instead, pack those items into a bag or bin, and put them into storage. Getting them out of the way, even if it’s temporary, makes selecting your outfits more efficient and less emotional. Talk about a win-win!

Plan Your Outfits!

At some point, I realized that my daily closet meltdowns were not serving me well. I knew that negative emotional cycle needed to end. STAT. So, one Sunday, I started planning out my week’s worth of outfits. I continued to do this until I was comfortable dressing my new body. I can’t tell you the time and energy this saves. Try it – you’ll see for yourself.

Find a Uniform

Everyone has a uniform – a go-to outfit that feels good and is flattering. I’m a baggy jeans and blazer type of girl. While it sounds pretty basic, it took me a minute (and by a minute, I mean years) to figure out my uniform. One way to avoid a fashion funk is to find your go-to get-up. Something that you can throw on – even when in a rush – that will make you look and feel like a million bucks. Don’t know how? Let your figure guide you. Choose items that play up your best physical feature and start there. For example, blazers accentuate up my broad shoulders while baggy jeans are roomy enough for my bubble butt. Paired together they compliment my curvy figure and work for my vibe. It’s that simple.

Let me know how it goes!!!

XO,

Cait

 

…Hello again! If you got all the way down here, then I’m assuming you liked what you read. Good news! There’s more where that came from – including snippets of Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer and news relevant to us Cancer Cuties. Go visit and (like!) the Pretty Sick Book FB page! https://www.facebook.com/prettysickbook/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Pretty Sick is out September 19th, but you can order your copy now! Just click below on the retailer of your choice!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

iBooks

 

 

It’s my Rogue-versary! I’m celebrating!!!!

This weekend while everyone is celebrating Labor Day, I am celebrating my 4th annual Rogue-versary. WTH is a Rogue-anniversary you ask??? It’s when I made some drastic changes that blew up my life. Changes that eventually made my life better than ever.

I’m going to tell you exactly what happened. But first, let me set the stage.

In 2013, when I was a beauty director of a magazine, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was pretty shattering but it was made worse by the fact that less than a year prior I had undergone emergency, life-threatening spinal fusion surgery. The recovery process was emotionally and physically brutal that even to this day, I consider it the scariest and most horrible time of my life. I had barely gotten my life back when I found the lump in my right breast.

If there’s a silver lining to both of my medical situations is that it kept me so busy that I didn’t have a lot of time to have a real meltdown. Sure I cried and freaked out a lot but I pulled my shit together and rallied when I really needed to. My life depended on it.

That resolve started to wane by the time I had reached the reconstruction phase of my cancer treatment. Just trying to keep my health in check was exhausting but my life was layered with other dramas. I had a very rocky relationship with my live-in boyfriend. We had dated for 9 years, but really only two of those years were happy and healthy. The rest were just an ongoing cycle of fighting, breaking up and getting back together. We were a messy lot.

My job wasn’t any better. I had started out as a beauty editor and over the course of 10 years, I was promoted to beauty director. Toward the end of my tenure, the publishing company that owned the magazine (and several others) began consolidating the staff. The editors that were “lucky” enough to keep their jobs were then required to write for several magazines. (This is common nowadays but back then it was shocking). The thing is, this type of situation can be tolerable if – and this is a big if – your skill set or bank account are growing. Neither was my case. I felt that I was being taken advantage of and wasting precious time. But I never did anything about it.

That was until the Friday before Labor Day. The minute I got to work, my boss starting yelling at me for a story that a junior editor hadn’t finished before leaving on her vacation. Even though I wasn’t this editor’s supervisor (my boss was!), I was held accountable for the unfinished story. The story wasn’t even due until the week after the girl was expected to return. While screaming at me, my boss took off her glasses and tossed them forcibly onto her desk. Instead of landing on her desk, they flew across it hitting me in my chest – the chest that was still in the middle of being reconstructed after battling breast cancer. I calmly picked up her glasses, put them on her desk and walked out of her office. I then walked right into her boss’s office and quit.

Getting flicked by a pair of glasses was the straw. In that moment, I wanted out of all of it. I was sick of being sick. I was fed-up with my boyfriend. And I was over being mistreated at work. I didn’t want to be a doormat anymore. That became the moment that I started going rogue on my life. Two weeks later, while on a post-cancer treatment celebration trip to Napa, I caught my boyfriend texting his 27-year old colleague at 1am. When we returned, I found out she was more than just a colleague. So, I packed up his stuff and changed the locks to my apartment

Bye-bye old life. Hello new life!

My new reality wasn’t instant rainbows and unicorns. Loneliness, fear and hardship are cruel playmates. But they will show you who you really are. They made me resourceful, disciplined and determined. But most importantly, they made me grateful. Grateful for my health. Grateful for my life. Grateful for the people in my life and for those no longer in it. Grateful for work. Grateful for the roof over my head. Grateful for it all.

By letting go of all the things that defined my life, I had to start over. I pitched new editors and starting dating new people. It was scary AF but it allowed me to see my worth for the first time in my life. It’s amazing how life can change for the better when you surround yourself with people who value you and respect you.

Fast forward to today. I can happily report that my life barely resembles the life I was living when I went rogue. I have a resume with all the best publications and companies on it. I am engaged to a funny, sexy, smart man. And my first book, Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer is hitting stands this month (yay!!!!).

The other night I heard an expression that really resonated with me: “Look back to learn. Look forward to succeed.” The lesson for me – and the reason I’m telling you this long story – is that going rogue, hopping the rails, switching gears – whatever you want to call it – can actually set you on the right path. The path that was intended for you. It isn’t easy to make changes, especially big ones, but I truly believe the universe rewards that kind of bravery. When you put in the hard work, when you try to make yourself a better person each day, when you act out of love and empathy – the rewards are endless. I know this first hand. And that is why I celebrate my Rogue-versary because it set in motion the life I am living today. And it’s one that’s a helluva lot better.

My advice to you is this: If there is something in your life that isn’t working, that doesn’t make you feel good, that causes you suffering or dulls your shine – be brave and change it! Give yourself permission to go rogue so you can finish your journey on the right path. I promise you, you’ll be glad you did.

 

XO,

Cait

 

…Hello again! If you got all the way down here, then I’m assuming you liked what you read. Good news! There’s more where that came from – including snippets of Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer and news relevant to us Cancer Cuties. Go visit and (like!) the Pretty Sick Book FB page! https://www.facebook.com/prettysickbook/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Pretty Sick is out September 19th, but you can order your copy now! Just click below on the retailer of your choice!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

iBooks

 

 

Trouble is Transformation

It’s hard to keep your chin up and be positive when you are going through a rough time. For me, hearing the words, “You have cancer” was shocking. But it had nothing on seeing my hair fall out, having my breasts removed and gaining so much weight that I didn’t recognize my body anymore. Those things, well, they broke my heart.

Cancer changes you. It changed me forever. I didn’t look the same after cancer. And I certainly didn’t feel the same. Now, when I want to remember the girl I was before I got sick, I have to look through pictures. It seems like another life.

Change sucks. It forces us to pivot – even when we don’t want it. Maybe you were diagnosis with illness. Maybe your spouse asked for a divorce. Maybe you lost your job. Whatever the case may be – change, or “trouble” as I call it, forces you to face a new reality, one that takes you out of your comfort zone and tests who you really are.

I had the Trifecta of trouble: I was diagnosis with cancer, quit my job and dumped my long-term boyfriend – all at the same time! I figured that since my whole word had turned upside down because of the cancer, I might as well just take the wrecking ball to it and knock out some other necessary changes I needed to make. Looking back, I realize this wasn’t the smartest move. I probably should have given myself a minute to get healthy first. Hindsight is 20-20, right?

The thing is, I knew that if I didn’t make the changes then, I never would. I had gotten too comfortable, too complacent, in my day-to-day life. I tolerated situations and behaviors that didn’t reflect my true self or core values. By accepting, even participating in them, I was preventing myself from being the woman I wanted to become. I was stopping my own growth. And it wasn’t until I had cancer – and lots of hours alone in the chemo suite – that I was able to reflect on how off track my life had become.

That’s the thing about “trouble.” It is often a catalyst to a better life. Each uncomfortable change is really a chance to transform into a better version of ourselves. It pushes us beyond our expectations. It helps us expand our frame of reference, awareness and attitude. It presents us with unexpected opportunities. Trouble is transformation.

With no job to speak of, I decided to make a list of every publication and website that I loved and I set out pitching those editors. I was also single (and sometimes really sad about it) but I forced myself to have a positive attitude and enjoy dating. And I took the time to focus on my health and tune into my mind-body connection. It wasn’t easy. It was a pretty painful process at times. But I am a much different woman today because I didn’t back down from the challenge. Now, I have an impressive resume. I am engaged to a wonderful man. And I am healthy and happy.

The question is: How are you going to handle your “trouble?” Are going to let it crush your spirit or are you going to kick its ass? Are you going to complain about your tough boss or are you going to see that person as someone who is going to push you to expand your skill set? Are you going to look at your bankruptcy as hard knocks or an opportunity to let go of burdens and responsibilities that weighed you down and have a start fresh? Are you going to get angry or sad about your cancer or will you use it to find the true purpose of your life and to help others. The choice is up to you. I know you can do it!

XO,

Cait

 

…Hello again! If you got all the way down here, then I’m assuming you liked what you read. Good news! There’s more where that came from – including snippets of Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer and news relevant to us Cancer Cuties. Go visit and (like!) the Pretty Sick Book FB page! https://www.facebook.com/prettysickbook/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Pretty Sick is out September 19th, but you can order your copy now! Just click below on the retailer of your choice!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

iBooks

 

 

Look Polished! A Nail Derm and Celeb Manicurist Share How to Keep Your Nails Healthy During Treatment

There are certain physical changes we all know to expect during cancer treatment – like hair loss and dry skin. But many patients, including myself, are caught off-guard when we start having issues with our nails. It makes sense, of course. Chemotherapy targets and kills all the rapidly dividing cells in our bodies – including the ones that help our nails form and grow.

The good news is that nails are resilient structures and can endure a tremendous amount of trauma. That’s way many people that have chemotherapy won’t lose their nails or won’t show any signs of stress but much of it depends on what type of chemotherapy protocol you have. Studies show that Docetaxel and paclitaxel have a 44% incidence rate for dramatic changes to the nail structure. Changes can include nail loss, discoloration, Beau’s lines (transverse grooves in the nail) and periungual lesions – just to name a few. I had CMF chemotherapy – a relatively “light” protocol – yet my nails still got really weak and began peeling like crazy.

What sets these side effects apart from those of the skin and hair is that they aren’t immediate. Since nails grow at a slow rate, under one millimeter per day, it takes almost two months for the nails that were formed during the days of chemo to grow out long enough to be seen! Because of this, there is nothing you can do to reverse the damage that was done to the nail’s matrix months ago. That said, there are things you can do to keep your nails as healthy – and pretty – as possible.

For my book Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide For Women with Cancer (that hits stands on Sept. 19!) I interviewed celebrity manicurist Elle Gerstein, who counts Blake Lively and Jennifer Lopez as longtime clients, and Dr. Dana Stern, NYC-based dermatologist and the founder of Dr. Dana: Natural Nail Care System, the first dermatologist-created nail care line. Both nail experts shared advice on how to keep your nails in tip-top shape during treatment. Here’s how:

Keep Your Tips Dry: Water is the harshest thing for our nails. I know this seems crazy, but water is the leading culprit behind weak, peeling, breaking nails. The solution is simple: Wear rubber gloves when doing wet work around the house and leather gloves when going out in the rain or snow.

Break out the Biotin: This water-soluble B vitamin is the only supplement that has studies that back up with efficacy. Nail dermatologist (yes, that’s a real thing) recommend 2.5 milligrams a day. Make sure to take them!

Get Growing: If Biotin doesn’t do the trick there are two FDA-approved prescription topical medications that can transform fragile nails. Genadur (a hydro-soluble lacquer) works by filling in the microscopic gaps within the nail surface to create a physical support to the nail bed. Nuvail (a polyurethane protective solution) creates a flexible sealant over the nail plate protecting it and helping to maintain moisture levels.

Don’t Use Your Tips as Tools: Most of the damage our nails endure is self-inflicted. When we use our fingernails as tools – like as a screw driver or a scraper – we cause them to fray and tear. Being aware of this bad habit will help you correct it – and keep your nails healthier.

Cuticle Oil is Key: Want strong, healthy nails? Cuticle oil – specifically those made from Vitamin E, almond, jojoba and olive oil are super hydrating and keep the nails pliable and prevent delaminating. Applying it on the cuticle twice a day will get the blood flowing and help stimulate cell regeneration and growth.

 

I hope these tips help! If there is a nail treatment or tip that worked wonders for you during treatment I’d love to hear about it!

XO,

Cait

 

…Hello again! If you got all the way down here, then I’m assuming you liked what you read. Good news! There’s more where that came from – including snippets of Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer and news relevant to us Cancer Cuties. Go visit and (like!) the Pretty Sick Book FB page! https://www.facebook.com/prettysickbook/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Pretty Sick is out September 19th, but you can order your copy now! Just click below on the retailer of your choice!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

iBooks

 

 

Mouthing Off about Oral Care During Cancer Treatment

 

Sink your teeth into this: More than 40% of cancer patients having chemotherapy, and almost every patient undergoing radiation, will experience oral mucositis (mouth sores), xerostomia (dry mouth) and oral thrush.

Now, I know what you are thinking: what’s the big of a deal? The fact is, oral care issues can have serious implications on a patient’s health. Mouth sores, which can get as large as one and a half inches, can become so painful that it causes a patient to stop eating and become malnourished. Dry mouth is problematic because saliva contains enzymes that help break down bacteria, preventing cavities and infections. Oncologists have been known to stop chemotherapy or radiation if a patient has either issue. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to find yourself in this position. There is nothing worse than having to delay treatment by weeks or months because of issues related to your teeth and gums.

Since the stats show that almost half of the cancer community will experience some sort of oral care issue, I’m here to share some tips from my book, Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer, that help prevent or minimize these side effects. They are:

Make a Dentist Appointment STAT!

I know that last thing you want to do is to go see another doctor’s appointment but the sooner you can get to the dentist so he clean your teeth and check out your mouth, the better the chance you stand for avoiding these irritating issues later on.

Brush up on your technique

It’s not rocket science but how you brush your teeth (and gums) has a direct impact on how healthy they are. Most people brush side to side or back and forth. These are not correct and will lead to the erosion of the enamel and will inflame the gums. Instead, hold the toothbrush (one with soft bristles) at a forty-five degree angle and brush downward.

Get Flossy

I’m going to admit that I wasn’t always the best at flossy. I would skip days on end without doing it. That’s just gross. The only way to get rid of the bacteria, plaque and residual food that linger in the spaces between the teeth is to floss them out. The American Dental Association recommends flossing daily, the ideal time being after dinner. While in treatment it is important to avoid creating any cuts or irritation to the gums. If string floss is too harsh, try “Go-Betweens” cleaning brushes or this ADA-approved Waterpik Water Flosser.

https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/g-u-m-proxabrush-go-betweens-cleaners-tight/ID=prod6270077-product

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/waterpik-reg-waterflosser-platinum-dental-electric-water-jet/1016883581

If You Experience Dry Mouth:

  • Make sure you are drinking the recommended eight eight-ounces glasses of water per day.
  • Sucking on ice throughout the day will keep your mouth lubricated. This is especially helpful to do just before and during chemotherapy infusions as the ice helps to limit how much of the chemical agents reach the blood vessels in the mouth, preventing sores. My tip is to suck on a popsicle or make flavored ice cubes. It just makes the process more yummy and enjoyable.
  • Mouth rinses that are formulated to help with dry mouth and oral thrush make a world of difference. The Oral Cancer Foundation recommends Biotene, an alcohol-free rinse formulated with ingredients that lubricates the mouth for hours and helps balance the PH of the mouth. Periosciences is another good one using antioxidants and polyphenol to prevent cottonmouth. Before using, make sure to discuss with both your dentist and oncologist.

 

If you Experience Mouth Sores:

Dealing with canker-like sores is no joke. The first line of defense is a warm saltwater rinse. Saline helps disinfect aphthous ulcers and minimize inflammation. Here’s how to whip it up from stuff in your kitchen:

  • Mix a teaspoon or two of salt (or baking soda) with a glass of warm water.
  • Hold the mixture in your mouth and swish around from side-to-side.
  • After three minutes, spit it out. Do not swallow, as it can make you dehydrated.
  • Repeat after meals and before bed

 

I hope this helps! If you have any oral care fixes that worked for you, I’d love hear all about them!

 

XO

Cait

 

 

 

 

… Good news! There are more tips and tricks like the ones listed above in my book Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer. Go visit and (like!) the Pretty Sick Book FB page! https://www.facebook.com/prettysickbook/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Pretty Sick is out September 19th, but you can order your copy now! Just click below on the retailer of your choice!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

iBooks

 

 

 

Cold Cap Therapy: Keeping Your Hair Through Chemo

 

Hair defines who we are. The cut speaks to our personality. The texture hints at our ethnic background. The color, when natural, can point to our age. Hair is also the ultimate accessory, allowing us to accentuate features, minimize flaws and transform into anyone we want to be. As my dear friend and celebrity hair stylist, Ted Gibson, says, “Hair changes everything.”

 

So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that one of the first questions oncologists hear from patients after being diagnosed is, “Will I lose my hair?” I can relate, as it was the first questions I asked. The thought of losing my long brown wavy locks was overwhelming, scary and sad. Who would I be without my hair?

 

For many women, maintaining their mane during cancer treatment is a priority. For some, it’s about privacy in the workplace. For other’s it’s about having sense of control. For other’s it’s about protecting their children from a horrible truth. Fortunately, many patients who wish to keep their hair can, thanks to cold cap therapy.

 

While cold cap therapy is getting more popular by the day, there is still a lot of mystery and misinformation surrounding this treatment. For example, I assumed a patient wore a cap only during each chemo treatment. But, alas, I was wrong. It was only after researching and interviewing patients about the therapy that I realized how time-consuming and exacting it is.

 

If you are considering doing cold cap therapy, below is a quick Q + A that provides a basic breakdown of what you’ll need to know going in:

 

What is Cold Cap Therapy?

Cold Cap Therapy is a hair-saving treatment that uses snug, gel-filled hats, chilled to –15 to –45 degrees Fahrenheit, to help constrict the blood vessels, limiting the amount of chemotherapy that reaches the scalp. It is believed that the cold temps help reduce the metabolic activity of the follicular cells, reducing the effectiveness of the chemo on the hair allowing it to remain in place.

 

How Does Cold Cap Therapy Work?

The caps, which vary in design from company to company, resemble a combination of an ice pack and a swim cap. In order to maintain a consistent, cold temperature, four caps are stored in portable medical coolers over dry ice and patients are required to rotate caps every twenty to thirty minutes.

(Photos courtesy of DigniCap)

How Long Does it Take?

Cold capping is a huge time commitment. One patient I interviewed for my book Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women With Cancer told me there were days when she had to wear her cap for up to 13 hours! The reason why is that the caps need to be worn for up to an hour prior to chemotherapy, during the chemo infusion (which can last up to six hours), and then for four plus hours post-infusion. It’s a real commitment.

Is Cold Cap Therapy Painful?

That depends on your tolerance to cold temperatures. Some patients/survivors I talked to told me they would get bad freezer burn headaches that lasted throughout the treatment and that the caps left ice chips in their hair. The treatment also makes the entire body cold, so patients are advised to keep warm by wearing heavy sweaters, extra layers of socks and by wrapping themselves in an electric blanket. One great tip I learned was to apply Dr. Scholl’s moleskin or panty liners on the forehead and around the ears to prevent freezer burn on the skin.

 

What Is the Cost?

Patients can hire trained “cappers” whose will tote the coolers and ensure rotation and application of the caps is done properly and efficiently. But this comes at a price. Typically, cold cap rental costs roughly $600 per day. “Cappers” cost an additional $350 to $750 daily. Most insurance companies DO NOT cover the cost of this therapy. In 2015, a cold cap system, DigniCap, was cleared by the FDA, so there is hope that in the future insurance companies will pay for or offer partial reimbursement but for now it’s an out-of-pocket expense.

 

What Companies Offer Cold Cap Therapy?

There are four companies in the United States. I have listed their names and websites below:

 

DigniCap

https://dignicap.com/

 

Penguin Cold Caps

https://penguincoldcaps.com/us/

 

Chemo Cold Caps

http://chemocoldcaps.com/

 

Arctic Cold Caps

https://arcticcoldcaps.com/

 

 

Got any questions about cold cap therapy or any other cancer-related beauty question? I’d love to hear from you!

 

XO

Cait

 

 

…Hello again! If you got all the way down here, then I’m assuming you liked what you read. Good news! There’s more where that came from – including snippets of Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer and news relevant to us Cancer Cuties. Go visit and (like!) the Pretty Sick Book FB page! https://www.facebook.com/prettysickbook/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Pretty Sick is out September 19th, but you can order your copy now! Just click below on the retailer of your choice!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

iBooks