Carolina’s story: When Insurance Doesn’t Fully Cover Cancer Treatment

It really sucks that we live in a time where we need GoFundMe fundraisers to help pay for cancer treatments. But such is the case for 26-year-old Carolina. I found out about Carolina from a fellow colleague, who is good friends with her. When I heard her story, it instantly broke my heart. So let me tell you a little about her.

Carolina hails from Ohio and had always dreamed about being a vet. When she scored a coveted spot at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Canada – she did what so many of us would have done – she jumped at the opportunity. But her dreams were dashed not long after when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she came back to the US to get treatment and be with her family, she found it difficult to find an affordable insurance plan that would take her on. After an exhaustive search, she found a plan, but the financial costs of Carolina diagnosis are going to exceed what her family can cover.

I want everyone reading this to just take a minute to think about how tragic this situation is. Besides dealing with a life-altering diagnosis, think about how scary it is to struggle to find obtain health insurance when your life is at risk. Think about what a burden it is to carry that stress into surgery and treatment? You know that can’t be good for the body. And just think about how devastated you would be if you were thisclose to grabbing your life’s dream, only to have a health crisis force you to let it slip through your fingers. It’s one punch in the gut after the other.

You may think a $2 or $5 donation is inconsequential (it’s less than a Starbucks Venti Latte after all), but enough little acts of compassion means Carolina can afford life-saving tests and treatment without her parents going into bankruptcy to save her life.

I am pleading support for Carolina and I ask all of you to do so to.




“Gratitude is shown to G-d through acts of kindness to others.”

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!



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.



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.




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!





…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!


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!


Barnes & Noble



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!!!




…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!


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


Barnes & Noble