Boho black tie... Mint green frill dress

I consider this dress basically what a mermaid would wear to prom in the 70s. It's stretchy, light, comfy, a gorgeous pastel mint that made my skin glowed. Paired with excessively beachy mermaid hair and a bomb fake-tan, all that was missing was a talking sea-gull. No, I did not use a fork to style my hair... (but I wish I did!)

Twin Sister Big Frill Maxi | Boho Pouch | Rose Gold Heels

The Sexy Ruffled Striped Romper

Oh, boobs. I have had a love/hate relationship with these things since before they gave me cancer. Yes they are "sexy" and I have at times reveled in that. Right now I freaking hate them. I'm taking this medicine (lupron) and they make my breasts so tender that at worst the pain can be excruciating and wake me up at night, and at best I am just constantly aware of them. Not just them, but this gigantic, golf-ball sized lump protruding from the high corner of my right breast. In workout clothes it appears like a floating, misplaced, slightly oversized erect nipple. With a layer of padding it disappears, but the aforementioned bra presses on it... causing a throbbing pain. Short of never leaving my house again, this leaves me with few options. Suck it up and put on a bra, or hide away in my room where nobody can see me.

With all the chemicals and their reactions in my body the last thing I feel is "sexy" but guess what? Forgoing a bra... Pretty damn sexy. And I am not ashamed to say that it made me feel better to feel thus. Plus, with the hot flashes, this outfit was probably one of the few things I've worn in the last few weeks that didn't make me feel a little wilted and sweaty after a few hours.

I'm not an insane person so I know calling this outfit practical is out, but for my very unique set of life circumstances it definitely gets the job done. And for those of you out there wondering how the logistics of this worked out... There was in fact some duct tape involved. I call it a #DIY stick on bra.
I'm pretty sure this style was created for much less endowed females but I guess I'm just trying to give new meaning to the term "hot flash"

Striped Tie Front Romper | Army Jacket (similar) | Vintage Purse (similar) | Mirrored Ray Bans | RMS Sacred Lip Balm 

Off shoulder tops look amazing on everyone #plussizefashion

It's true. There is no common more for what a "sexy" shoulder looks like. Same with collarbone.

This one is comfy and long (no crop tops for me please! showing shoulder is enough) and light and breezy and also looks great with jeans #summerinsanfrancisco but i here's a few others I'm lusting after that are all under $100:

BlackPurple flower print (pre-order)
Black and Big white flowers with short sleeves

ON DENA: Auguste Gypsy Top | Old Cutoffs (similar) | Madewell  Braided Black Belt | Snakeskin Clutch (similar) | Dune Sandals  (currently on sale!) | Ring Nastygal (similar)

Dark Chocolate Chia Pudding

I love chia for so many reasons - the gooey, tapioca like texture being top of the list. It also has very little flavor, making it the perfect vessel for other delicious flavors when you want texture. Of course, there's also the health benefits; loads of fiber, more omegas than a piece of salmon, protein. It's good for you, filling, delicious and the perfect base for making a healthier but still indulgent treat.

The other day I ran out of Almond milk but I had a terrible craving for chia pudding. Knowing that just water wouldn't have the flavor I needed, I started canning my pantry and my eyes came across this dark chocolate powder I got for another recipe...

A pinch of sweetness, some cocoa powder, water, chia seeds, swirl it all together and the result was this incredibly decadent treat that satisfyingly reminded me of chocolate mousse (but sooo much healthier!)


2 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp dark chocolate powder

3/4 cup water to taste 

Sweetener to taste (I used Low Glycemic Coconut Sugar)

Mix all the ingredients together in a small cup or bowl.
Place in the fridge overnight or until the pudding solidifies, stirring as needed.

ftr: Dizzy Double Old Fashioned Glasses by Crate & Barrel 

Finding the perfect cutoffs...

Nows the time since this wardrobe staple never goes out of style.... But it's on SALE right now. 

What to look for: 

High waist (part trendy, part "if you're gonna wear short shorts cover something else up")
Flattering whiskering, like contour, but for your butt and thighs 
Fit Fit Fit (don't be afraid to buy and return)
If you want vintage: 
Try but go by the flat measurement, not the size! size fluctuates so much throughout the years! For example, these are a men's 34 on the label but laid flat they measure 15 inches (double that and you get my waist size which is 30) probably the result of some shrinkage and also who knows or understands how sizing works?!? Not me

How "Cuterwear" became "Leo with Cancer"

I will admit that I have been struggling through some pretty brutal hormonal mood swings after my doctor adjusted my treatment. Part of that brought to the top some feelings I'd been having about blogging. That it's futile. That I'm not good enough/special enough/interesting enough to attract the audience I did before when I was "cool cancer girl" and living on the knife edge of life and death.

The thing is, despite my appearance (and many indicators to the contrary) I am still Cool Cancer Girl. I still have a whole host of nasty treatment side-effects, days I can barely get out of bed, more needle pokes than a voodoo doll, and a "so what let's go kick ass and be beautiful" attitude that I had before. Just because I don't really "look" like  a cancer girl anymore, doesn't mean I don't still struggle to do the things that normal, healthy people do with much more ease.

Posting these "outfit" pictures has been my way of being like "Look at me! Look how normal I am! THIS is what having cancer looks like." For awhile it was shocking. It was delightful, to me and to others. Then, people started to make me feel like they had forgotten I have cancer. I thought it was a good thing. I thought it was what I wanted. I didn't have to feel the hammer-to-the-gut of thinking about cancer every freaking second of every single day.

Looking at my blogging, I am starting to feel like  I've done such a good job of "normalizing" all the outside stuff, that I've effectively buried the meaty, weird, interesting stuff below. My fear, my pain , the ways in which I feel less than, the ways I work to feel more, how much work it takes to stay positive, and all the ways that my love of "superficial" things keeps me from following that shame spiral down into the dark, easy, whiny place. The stuff that makes me different/special isn't gone, but maybe it is not as obvious anymore - to me or to everyone else.

Blogging is not writing in a diary. It's personal, but it's not something I do for me. I don't reread my old blog posts. I put this stuff out into the universe because I want the attention, I want to talk about it, I want to meet new people and connect with strangers and share love and ideas. It's like the whole selfie thing I wrote about before but  I needed a reminder of just why I blog - all the work and time and money I put into making this happen.

I was lying on the couch, curled up in a ball, having just thrown up for basically no reason, and talking to my friends about how I felt like I needed to stop blogging. Because I wasn't special enough, I wasn't different enough from what was already out there, I wasn't as good as the other bloggers. That my blogging didn't feel unique and meaningful the way it did when I was, well, bald.  And that I was seeing that limitation in my traffic, followers, engagement. Interest in my little blog had plateaued - and while I deeply truly love every single one of you, I thought maybe it was time to get out of the rat race. And of course, I got bullied, which is a whole other story all together. I felt like some giant neon sign was telling me it was time to get off the internet.

And then I tried to explain myself. Not well, because it's hard to do that when you feel like poop-on-a stick. But the more we talked the more I realized that my message wasn't just a message for a girl facing cancer. It was for any girl facing "otherness". Something that made them different. Something that took them outside the normative ideals of attractiveness and beauty (both inside and out) but which they wanted to be a part of, not to change.

I realized that I still feel dedicated to this weird mission I picked for myself. It was never to say "bald is beautiful/nobody should wear a wig/people who wear wigs are terrible/ don't be ashamed and cave to norms of attractiveness."

My message was actually very different. I want to show the beautiful, challenging, funny world of being a female who is different, loves myself as I am, is working to change the things I do not love about myself, and most of all likes to feel pretty (and is OK with that also.)

Or, simply put, don't be an asshole.

Don't be an asshole if somebody is losing their hair and cares about that. Losing your hair sucks.
Don't be an asshole if somebody is not "skinny" but don't be an asshole if somebody wants to be "skinny" and is working on dieting and exercise either.
Don't be an asshole about "loving yourself as you are" and don't be an asshole trying to fit a narrow-minded and outdated idea of what attractive is.

Just be nice. To yourself and to others.

What is in a name?

When I was Dameazon (that's dame + amazon) I wanted to make a blog about being a tall, foxy, bigger than life babe.

from Dameazon

When I was Dena Julia I wanted to be ME, even though I was battling this stupid cancer and couldn't recognize myself when I looked in the mirror.

From Denajulia
When I became "Cuterwear" (That's outerwear with a 'c') I wanted to just be a normal fashion blogger who happened to have cancer (YES, with a 'c' for Cancer) but nobody got that that was what I was going for.

From Cuterwear 

I needed a new name.

Being defined by the worst thing that has ever happened to you is hard. I wanted to not be that cool, positive, "inspiring" cancer-infected, disabled person for awhile. But, that person is still me. I have cancer. It's not going anywhere in the forseeable future. I get reminded of it every single day.

So I decided to change the name of my blog  (again) to something that I felt like captured more of me - the beauty I seek, the fierceness I apply to my struggle, the fricking cancer, my deep seated love of puns (is that a pun? I think it's a pun), the way I whole-heartedly embrace things that might seem superficial, and labels, and otherness, and health, and of course, the fact that I am in fact, a Leo. Meow.

So here is my message for you, today and on all the days. What I want from everyone who reads this is to feel inspired to do whatever it is you need to do to feel good about yourself. No matter what. Don't let people make you feel bad for trying or caring, especially for trying to look beautiful or for caring how you look.

Sometimes, putting on clothes to take pictures of myself is the only time I get out of bed all day. Blogging is literally the reason I get out of bed when I feel crappy (and by crappy, I mean cancer-y) and that is what works for me.

Welcome to the new Dameazon/Dena Julia/Cuterwear - Leo with Cancer.

Test driving some serious contouring and lip plumping and beachy waves...

I thought I'd take some of my favorite Pinterest beauty looks for a test drive so I splurged on some drugstore finds (see below) and went to town on my face. It definitely felt like I was wearing a costume mask when I first put it on, but when I saw the pictures I decided to drink a glass of wine and get over it... Nobody on the street pointed at me and said "Why is that girl wearing so much make-up?" and as the night wore on and some of it rubbed off it actually ended up looking pretty "natural" (in that way that we think not having pores is somehow natural, another story, for another day...)



The tutorial: (via Once Wed)

The products I used:

DARK HIGHLIGHTER: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Stick in Cappucino  $7
LIGHT HIGHLIGHTER: Loreal Visible Lift  Blur Foundation in Nude Beige  $12
BLUSH: Loreal Visible Lift Blur Blush in Soft Pink $14
BRUSH: Real Techniques Expert Face Brush in Your Base/Flawless $7
BROWS:  Chosunga 22 Browmaker $22 (THIS STUFF IS AMAZING)
MASCARA: Benefit Roller Lash $24


Tutorial: Byrdie

Products I used:

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