More to come...

But I wanted to put up some photos to show what a pink and sparkly good time was had by all!

The event raised over $3300 for the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. That's 5 women, just like me, who can take a break from worrying about how they are going to pay their bills to focus on just healing and getting through this heinous diagnosis. You guys are amazing - #somuchlove

I also want to give a big, big thank you to the generosity of the sponsors who made this event so delicious/fun/sparkly! It would not have been possible without you guys!!





My mama, the amazing Kathy, and her BFF (my second mom) Jackie

My cancer twin and the person and sexiest bald girl ever, Alona

My celebrity guests, Mark & Saschka, the compassionate geniuses behind Standbuy.us

You thought I was kidding about the boob touching... I was not.



Chemo Beautiful: Nature's Beauty Bounty

Let's be real here, after 8 months in treatment I am starting to resemble to world's most adorable petri dish. I feel like an oil tanker -15 pounds heavier, greasy, and filled with chemicals and toxins. It's not a good feeling. 



On top of that, I've learned the hard way that sometimes using a real "pharma" to treat a side effect can then cause a new, sometimes worse side effect. It's a vicious cycle. Chemicals on chemicals on chemicals. 


Now, don't get me wrong - I am not giving up my Kadcyla (or my antibiotics or my Retin A) anytime soon, but swapping out meditation and ice packs for tylenol, or these fab products listed below, just makes me feel cleaner. And at the end of the day, I want things that WORK. 

I am not messing around here - efficacy over natural all the way, lovers. I'm looking for powerful natural ingredients, that do what they're supposed to without hurting more than they are helping. The name of the game is balance. 


The trick is to look for a combination of the best scientific delivery method for natures wonderful bounty - not so much  natural remedies for beauty woes, but a focus on nature's most potent ingredients. Science magic + nature = awesome. Consider these ingredients (and products) tried and tested in the world's most adorable petri dish. 


xoxox

Dena


Natural Wonders




Ingredient: Olive Polyphenols


Now, it is no secret that I am obsessed with Perricone MD. I go there to get their facials, and they cure everything from folliculitis/acne to chemo induced dryness/premature aging (how is that combo fair, right?) 


I have recently become even more obsessed with their Hypoallergenic Nourishing Moisturizer because not only does it help with the chemo dryness, but it has antiseptic/antibiotic properties that help with my skins tendency towards infections/acne/horribleness. Plus, it's both gentle enough for my sensitive skin and potent. Let's be honest, sometimes "sensitive skin" products are just plain wimpy. 


I'd also like to add that it may seem pricey, but it's I use the teeniest, tiny bit and so it seems to be lasting forevs. 



Ingredient: Moomiyo


"Moomiyo is a strong Adaptogenic herbal, mineral and organic acid complex from Russia with strong natural anabolic healing properties. It has been used by the Russian military, Olympic athletes, cosmonauts and sports establishment for over four decades for increasing strength, lean muscle mass and for its recuperative powers on mental and physical stresses. It's main purpose is to is to enhance physical performance and to help the body adapt and recover faster from both physical and emotional stresses." Wow, I say. Just wow. I mean if it's good for the cosmonauts, it must be good for me, right?


Well, it turns out it's also used as a folk remedy for skin lesions. Willing to do anything to be able to wear shorts again, I tried it on my leg pneumonia (yes, I have pneumonia in my leg skin - how terrible is that?) and I swear it has healed up faster than ever before. Now granted, I am also on some powerful antibiotics, but having been through this before, I have to say, these things typically don't heal up overnight - but all my white heads were gone after one topical application and the "scars" have vanished after just one day of applying. My mom went to a crazy russian store and got me this gel, which my (Russian) step-dad says is the best, but I can't find it online so I plan to test some other methods out as well. 


Ingredient: Sulfur


Not to be confused with Sulfates (bad bad bad)Sulfur is a potent natural antibacterial which gently dries out and heals skin infections without drying out the rest of your skin. When I had folliculitis on my scalp, I literally covered my entire head front and back with a sulfur mask in the shower. Not only does it treat, but it feels really good, and somehow magically reduces the pain and pressure that the deep, sebum filled, painful "cystic" acne can cause. 



Ingredient: Fruit Acids


Acids are natures slougher. And it may seem counter intuitive, but fruit acids tend to be more gentle on my sensitive skin than grainy scrubs with physical agents like sugar/almond etc. I have to say, I have become a huge fan of this SUPER potent 3-step facial from Ole Henrickson whose ingredient list reads like an organic breakfast bar menu, but which feels incredibly potent and which had a magical effect on my wannabe acne scars.


Is it breakfast? Is it a facial? You tell me.

Almond Polish:
-Almond Extract, Oat Kernel Flour, Bamboo Stem Powder, Honey, and Orange Peel: Exfoliate.

Lemon Strip:
-Lactic, Glycolic and Fruit Acids, and Licorice and Algae Extract: Peel and refine.

Chamomile Comfort:
-Chamomile, Evening Primrose Oil, and Jojoba Seed Oil: Soothe and calm.


And of course, it's free of Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Dyes, Petrochemicals, Phthalates, GMOs, and Triclosan (all potentially carcinogenic ingredients) but it's still super effective. Just one use left my skin clearer, smoother, cleaner feeling and softer. And, bonus, it comes with two.


I also found that each packet is really enough for 2 applications, so it's good to share it with a friend since it's better fresh. It's especially great for after a breakout, when it seems like those damn rascals might be trying to scar you for life, and of course, exfoliation is the key to fighting off wrinkles and banishing dryness. 





Power Lemonade

Sometimes I feel like my two jobs are staying hydrated and fighting off side effects. In my quest to find more natural remedies, my mom dragged me along to her herbalist/acupuncturist and I have to admit it's been really totally helpful. There is something to be said for a combo of western science magic and "alternative" therapies.

My acupuncturist was the inspiration for his recipe because he got me hooked on lemon water (anti-bloat, good for "detox"), ginger powder (amazing for nausea) and the special honey called Manuka honey, which is supposed to be highly antiseptic and good for the immune system. In fact, he warned me that only this kind will do and so, thank you amazon, it is listed by brand specifically.

If you're as lucky as I am, your mom's friends have lemon trees and will bring you buckets of sweet meyer lemons, but really any kind will do.

Oh, and of course, the ginger is organic (from India, not china if you want to get real nitty gritty)


Power lemonade





What you need:
 6-8 Lemons per gallon of lemon water (I make this in bulk and keep it stored in the fridge)
cup of hot water
tsp honey
organic ginger powder

Do the night before:
Juice the lemons, then throw them in a closable gallon container. I love mason jars. Fill them all the way up with water, close and stick in the fridge.

Directions:

Heat up some hot water to not quite a boil. Pour into a small cup and mix with 1tsp of honey for every 8 oz of water you plan to mix it with. While the mixture is cooling, poor the lemon water into a cup with a dash of ginger powder to taste. Shake it up really well. When the honey water is cool, add it to the lemon water, mix really well, and serve. 

Treating Boo Boo Mouth & Other Lip Related Tricks




Lip Must Haves



The theme of this week seems to be treating side effects, which is cool because it's basically my full time job these days. That said, the wide array of mouth related injuries I've suffered in the last 8 months is in no way unique to those of us "in treatment". Lots of people get super dry, cracked lips, right? Lots of people have pale lips that need a boost of color to help them look healthy. Lots of people like to distract from bad hair (slash no hair) days with bright lipstick.

With that helpful thought in mind, I thought it was time to share some lippy goodness with all of you. And of course, as always, I am VERY open to recos, so send them my way.

xoxo
Dena

Treat Yo' Mama (or Yourself)



So, fun fact about chemo - one indicator that it's working is horrible folliculitis/acne. I mean horrible. Having been blessed most of my life with relatively good skin, I felt like I was hit by a truck. A painful, itchy truck. 

Another fun fact about chemo - while it turns you into a pizza face, it also dries out/ages your skin, especially hormonal cancers like BC which can trigger fun things like early menopause. 

Does this combo seem fair to you? Me neither. 

So there I was, feeling like a pimply-faced, dried-out prune, and feeling sorry for myself...

And then I found Perricone MD. At the time, I was living in Oakland, and Fourth Street in Berkeley is basically Chestnut street in San Francisco but with a Crate & Barrel Outlet store. And so, sometimes when I was feeling homesick for the Marina (yes, it happens, you locals judging me I don't care) I would go to 4th street. And there was this delectable menu of skin treatments that were basically promising magic and I thought, why not? Worse case scenario someone rubs my face for 30 minutes. 

I walked out a convert and begged for a package for xmas. I mean, I could see the difference immediately. After one treatment! One treatment! 

The machine they use is also used in dermatologist offices but it literally costs thousands of dollars per treatment. Plus, you get the potent, NATURAL skincare products from Dr. Perricone, who is sort of a genius, and who's emphasis on natural, super effective products is world famous. 

Let's just say it's my happy place. Having bad skin makes me very,  very sad. But then I go here, they whip out these science magic wands that gently exfoliate, and then boost collagen, kill acne bacteria, tighten, firm, beautify, moisturize your face and send you home glowing and smooth. 

And it's not one of those places where you come out all red and puffy and then like 4 days later your skin looks good - it looks good immediately. Acne melts away. Everything is tighter. It's the ultimate instant pick me up. My only warning is that it's dangerously addictive.

It also needs to be said that the whole team there is super awesome. Hopefully some of them will be at the Pink & Silver Party in person so you can meet them. They have the best energy and I swear, it makes a difference. Very healing. 

And in the vain of them being awesome, the Berkeley Perricone MD has generously donated 5 of their unbelievable Electro Stim combo facials ($250 value) + travel sized products AND Dr. Perricone's awesome recipe book(another $100 value) to make up one amazing gift bag of skin magic. 

More about the facial:

The Electro-Stim Lifting Facial is paired with a light pore cleansing treatment to purify the skin of pollutants and environmental build-up. Instantly tightens pores and minimizes their appearance over time. Ideal treatment for skin showing signs of loss of elasticity, fatigue and dullness. 

Want to get one for mama (or you?

100% of your purchase goes to benefit the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund (BCEF) and I am selling the gift bags for a super score price of just $90. Because I love your moms (slash you) and I want you to be able to treat yo'selves.

Buy it here!

xoxox
Dena

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