My Favorite Magazines to Give and Receive

Casual reading has become a luxury that most people can’t afford–literally and figuratively. The cost of magazines, demanding schedules, shorter days and the never ending to do list can make it impossible to take a break.

Sometimes, like children, we need a little nudge in the eight direction. Looking forward to thumbing through your favorite magazine can be a good way to encourage you or someone you know to take short breaks. Now before you trash my idea, let me say, after cancer I know for sure taking regular breaks are imperative to good health and wellness.

I’ll leave you with that thought and without further ado, here are some of my favorite magazines to give and receive.

Consumer Reports Magazine This magazine makes the top of my list of good buys. You can never go wrong with this magazine. Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. It was founded in 1936 when advertising flooded the market, and confused the consumer.

For 80 years, this magazine has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. This is good fit for everyone!

HGTV Magazine. This magazine is one of my favorite magazines. We happen to be in the middle of renovating our space, but even if you’re not, you’ll find useful tips and inspiration. This is the gift that keeps on giving (in the best possible way).

Magnolia Journal If you’ve been following me then you know I am a huge Fixer-Upper fan. I love all things Joanna Gaines. This magazine is pretty and inspiring. The downside is that it’s a little pricey in-store IMO. But, right now, you can get a one year subscription for $20.00 by going directly to Magnolia Market.

Rolling Stone Magazine. Still one of the best music magazines on the market. The journalists’ over there no how to tell a captivating story.

Fishing Magazines. Here’s a list of fishing magazines in case you know a fisherman who would like that.

AARP. This is a great magazine for someone above of the age of 55. It covers a variety of issues from traveling to life insurance. You will not be disappointed by this.

Have a magazine you think should be listed here, give me a shout out! And please follow and share if you like what you read here.

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Chemical Free Lip Liners

Great news! 100 Percent Pure has released a line of lip liners! Yay!

Finding a chemical free lip liner has not been an easy task. You can imagine my surprise when I found these in my inbox.

Just look at the pretty colors.

In addition to the big release the Pure beauty team gave us tips to lining. Here’s a few don’ts.

#1 Overdraw Your Lips

While bigger can be better, full on exaggerating your lips (like Miranda Sings) won’t fool anyone. A little out of the natural lip lines will give you the illusion of plumper, fuller lips, but let’s just enhance our lips to a level of believability, not science fiction.

#2 Harsh, Unblended Lines

We can appreciate your dedication to clean, perfect lines… but practicing around your lips is not the place. Blend, blend, blend. Save those perfectionist skills for your cat eye wings. Soft lines and edges will keep your lip liner looking natural and subtle.

#3 Over Sharpen Your Pencil Tip

You’ll want a soft, rounded tip to achieve the perfect smooth lip pencil application. Sharp points will just create tight, intense lines.

For the full article click HERE.

Myths About Breast Cancer

MYTH 1: You have to have a family history of breast cancer to be at risk

The truth is, most women with breast cancer don’t have a family history of the disease.  Only about 13 percent of women diagnosed have a first-degree female relative (mother, sister or daughter) with breast cancer. Having said this…

A woman who has a first-degree female relative with breast cancer has almost twice the risk of a woman without this family history. If she has more than 1 first-degree female relative with a history of breast cancer, her risk is about 3-4 times higher.

Regardless of your beliefs or fears, please do your breast exams and get your mammograms.

If you’d like to learn more about breast cancer and your risks you can go to the Susan G. Komen.

Please share.

I Think We Need Adult Drivers Education

I have my pet peeves. There’s no doubt about. Last week, after doing a little grocery shopping, I was headed to my car when I noticed this parking situation.

 

TheLifestyleBrief.com

Granted, neither of these cars belong to me. Still, why in the world do people park this close? Look at the lines on the ground. Could that truck be parked any worse (insert eye roll).

TheLifestyleBrief.com

As if I wasn’t already annoyed, I came across this wandering shopping cart.

TheLifestyleBrief.com

While this isn’t my car either, a few weeks ago–and although I parked so far away from the store it may as well have been in Egypt–I returned to find a ding in my door.

I guarantee you it’s because someone with a lack of respect for other peoples things parked too close to my car, or they just let their cart wander off without any regard for others.

The moral of the story; treat others the way you want to be treated…please?

 

Gossip Girl Gets Even

On Monday, Gossip girl, Blake Lively, posted this picture on Instagram with the caption “Happy Birthday, baby.”

 

Happy Birthday, baby.

A post shared by Blake Lively (@blakelively) on

When I saw the picture I paused…and then Googled ‘Blake Lively husband.’ I could swear Lively was married to Ryan Reynolds (and she is), but the two Ryan’s together confused me, momentarily.

As the day went on, I learned this was Lively’s way of getting even with her husband for a picture he posted of her on her 30th birthday. The picture showed only half of her face with the caption “Happy Birthday to my amazing wife.”

Happy Birthday to my amazing wife.

A post shared by Ryan Reynolds (@vancityreynolds) on

Maybe the post was meant to imply she’s his better ‘half.’ Whatever the case, the picture made me laugh and for a minute, stumped me. The couples public teasing gives us a behind the scenes look at their relationship. This one gets a ‘super cute’ and ‘funny’ rating from me!

Alwayz, April

The Teal Pumpkin Project

I can’t believe it’s already Mid-October. The month is getting away from me. Before it comes to a screeching halt, let’s talk about the Teal Pumpkin Project.

“The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).”

 

Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.9 million children under age 18. That’s 1 in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom.

If you celebrate Halloween, putting a teal pumpkin on your doorstep means you have non-food treats available for kids with food allergies.

Examples of items you could offer are glow sticks and small toys. This simple act promotes inclusion for trick-or-treaters with food allergies or other conditions.

Last year, almost 18,000 households from all 50 states participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

You can also go directly to the Teal Pumpkin Project Website for a free downloadable sign to put in your window. You’ll find a list of non-food treats there, as well, in case you need some suggestions. 

If you’re interested in getting more involved with the teal pumpkin project you can learn more about becoming a Teal Project insider HERE.

Almost perfect, April

Images sourced at Teal PumpkinProject

Discrimination

By P.P.

On the foggy summer streets of San Francisco, we good Catholic children of St. Thomas Parish gathered daily to choose teams for our favorite games. “Eeny meeny miney mo, catch a nigger by the toe, if he hollers let him go, 1-2-3-4-5.” Our good Catholic parents watched and smiled.

Fifty years later, the memory takes my breath away. We were not mean or hateful, just unbelievably stupid and ignorant. Today our raised consciousness recognizes discrimination against blacks, women, gays, even the height and weight challenged.

We don’t always solve the problems, but at least we see them. Still, discrimination exists. I came home from a class one night and sat down to watch a TV show with my daughter Lara who had recently moved back home.

The sitcom plot took a turn when a crazy woman just out of the crazy house came over and acted crazy. The laugh track was cranked to the highest volume and my stomach knotted.

“Oh, my gawd,” said Lara lunging the recliner back to upright. “This is the third show this week that is getting laughs off the crazies.”

Eeny meeny miney mo, catch a crazy by the toe

Once again we are woefully ignorant and insensitive. Look at our very common expressions. Better yet, listen to them. “What a nut job!” “I’ll be ready for the loony bin!” “He’s such a schizo!” “You’re driving me crazy!”

We don’t mean to be cruel or thoughtless, but ignorance is no excuse either. Millions of people in this country suffer from mental illness. TV commercials promote pills, but they don’t deal with the reality of people drowning in darkness, randomly selected for a pain beyond that most of us will ever know. A pain that goes beyond will, a pain to which they are neurologically chained.

Christmas 1990. I sat with my friend in her motel room, the floor like her mind was strewn with a clutter she could not clear. She had divorced her husband and her children were exhausted from begging her to get up. I was her only visitor.

How dare this pain be used for humor or cheapened by squeezing a pill commercial in between foot and yeast infections. We would not dream of passing a man on the street who was having a heart attack, yet we pass—albeit squeamishly—a man having a conversation with the voices in his head.

In a society that ruthlessly pursues wealth as the marker of success, we dismiss those who are not achieving without ever trying to distinguish between those who won’t and those who can’t.

When I was growing up, the ultimate threat was “We’ll have to send you to Imola”, the state hospital in Napa.

Governor Reagan stopped that when he emptied our mental institutions and filled our streets. The lucky ones stayed at Imola, safe and supervised. The others we step around on the streets—or laugh at on TV.

“That’s it! “ Lara said. “I’m going to write a letter! I should have taken some stationery when I left the hospital. I’ll tell them a thing or two.” She could.

Cancer Survival Kit

Happy Friday, friends!
The number one question I get regarding the cancer patient is what should I buy someone with a diagnosis to show my support?

If you’re not sure what to buy the cancer fighter in your life, the first thing to do is to keep in mind how you feel when you are fighting a bug. What are some of the things that bring you comfort?

For example, hot soup and cozy pajamas always feel so good when you’re feeling ‘blah?’ It’s the same way for the cancer fighter. Here are some of my faves.

Consider gifting your loved one with a nice carryall bag equipped with Ginger Candy to help fight nausea and a soft small blanket to take to chemotherapy (sometimes it gets cold in that suite). You can check out Target for some faux fur blankets or Kaufman Mercantile for a beautiful classic cotton version.

A scarf is also a nice option. It’s a good idea to keep the neck covered when the body is weak. I’ll be posting more ideas soon but trust me, this is a great start!

Oh, I can’t forget my favorite cookbook! You will see this one a LOT around here; One Bite At a Time is authored by chef Rebecca Katz. She’s the best when it comes to cancer nourishment (in my opinion).

What nourishes your soul when you’re feeling under the weather?

Alwayz, April

What is DACA?

You’ve heard the acronyms and the heated debates. The he said, she said. But do you know what DACA is? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Most people including the news reporters, had no idea what any of that jargon meant until DACA became an issue. So In case, like me, you’re wondering what DACA is, here it is in a nutshell:

 

source CNN

Fashion Friday

There’s no doubt about it; Summer is slowly drifting away making room for fall. And while fall means back to the daily grind for most of us, it doesn’t have to mean a dull existence.


Color is a good way to brighten the day. This fall I find myself drawn to splashes of red. When it comes to fashion, much like my music, I don’t like to put limitations on myself based on some rules or the expectations  of others.

I think fashion should reflect the personality of the individual. As you can see here in my casual Friday post, I like to marry business with casual. This works for dinner, dates, parties, casual Friday or just the weekend.

I have to run now, but I hope this finds you somewhere planning for a great weekend!

Alwayz, April

Alicia Silverstone: School Lunch & Snack Ideas

Alicia Silverstone came into my peripheral as Cher Horowitz in the funny-rich-kid film Clueless. But in real life Alicia Silverstone is a vegan mom and wife. In this clip she shares her tips for making snacks and school lunches. Do you have some ideas? Please share!


 

You Can Now Bring Joanna Gaines Into Your Home

“There’s no place like home.” Dorothy, Wizard of Oz

featured image | @bedbathandbeyond

After fighting breast cancer I know for sure that home should be a soft place to fall. The space where you recharge your batteries. Where you heal, smile, laugh, cry, fall in love and gather with friends and family.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your home is or how much money you have, your living space should be a reflection of the good in your life.

What you put into your home will either enhance your life or take away from it. Whatever you choose, it will have a big impact on how you feel emotionally.

So many get caught up in decorating their lives based on the opinions of others. Based on magazines, advertisements and programming.

My desire is to encourage you to cultivate a life and a living space that brings you peace and happiness, based on your ideals, regardless of status or income.

In Real Fine Things you will find all of the lifestyle things I think are pretty great, at a variety of price points. If you have something you think should be featured here be sure to hit me up.

Remember, if you like what you see, share it! And please join me in social media at the top right corner of the screen.

Always, April


Joanna Gaines Partners With Bed Bath & Beyond


Chip and Joanna Gaines are hot ticket items for HGTV. The ‘Fixer Upper’ duo got T.V. famous (almost) overnight. With Joanna’s keen eye for renovation and home decor, it’s easy to see why.

16789905_389771304732894_6159143820140216320_n

When asked what inspires me within my own home I always go back to the same thing. There was a place and time when less was more. People didn’t over crowd their spaces and their homes were functional and practical. They worked hard on the land and their home served as a place of rest to prepare them for another hard day of working the fields. Call me old fashioned but I am truly inspired by this way of living. –Joanna, blog post Magnolia Market Dot Com

Fixer Upper wouldn’t be the same without Joanna’s husband, Chip. He’s the physical muscle and artist that helps bring Joanna’s visions to fruition.

From demolition to renovation and real estate, Chip does it all. In the fall, this hands-on dad of four, will be releasing a book titled Capital Gaines Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff .

“I’ve done so many dumb things in my day that I had enough material to write a book… so I did!” Chips says on Instagram.

The two are really making good use of their success. Joanna has recently partnered with Bed, Bath and Beyond to bring us rugs, pillows and throws, designed by her.

I was so excited to hear this news! I love Joanna’s sense of style.

Despite the rumors about Joanna leaving Fixer Upper and releasing a new cosmetic line Joanna had this to say in a blog post,  “Just in case you were wondering, YES! We are currently filming season 5 of the show. No! I am not getting into the business of facial creams. And No! We are not expecting baby #5. And no worries, believing some of these stories happens to the best of us. In summary, don’t buy the facial cream, friends.”

You can check out her new line here. Or, if you live in Chelsea, New York, it’s rumored that a Bed Bath & Beyond there is selling the items in-store. You can also buy home decor items directly online at Magnolia Market.


Some of my Favorite Magnolia Market Finds


Hanging Metal Planters
Vintage inspired Hanging Metal Planters are perfect indoors or outdoors. Hang them individually or pair them together to add an industrial farmhouse feel to your space.  |Image provided by Magnolia Market |
White Ellis Tower
This White Ellis Tower is a two tiered stand that is great for entertaining. Place hors d’oeuvres or desserts on it at your next gathering. | Image provided by Magnolia Market |
Matilda Jane Kids Apron
I LOVE Aprons! This Matilda Jane Apron comes in two sizes, one for kids and the other for adults. The apron’s two pockets make it great for play or functional use. 
The Matilda Jane Apron was designed by Joanna Gaines and was inspired by her daughters. |Image provided by Magnolia Market |

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Ripped From the Pages: Oprah’s Sorbet

With the release of her cookbook, Food, Health and Happiness, Oprah Winfrey really can say she’s done it all.

There’s no denying Oprah knows a thing or two about good living. Not just because she’s one of the richest people on the planet, although that certainly helps!

But because her fame and fortune has afforded her the opportunity to be in the company of some of the most talented chefs, designers and health aficionados.

People we aren’t typically exposed to. The same people who helped Oprah create her own home, life and dinner party menus.

Oprah’s appreciation of good food and good living combined with the knowledge she’s acquired from her talented friends and employees will influence everything she does pertaining to lifestyle.

When Oprah shares I listen, borrow and apply when and where I can.

For example, those sorbet recipes you see above. I assure you those sorbets taste just as delicious as they look in that pretty little picture. Likely due to the tips Oprah’s received from her famed chefs.

I prefer a sorbet over ice cream. I never liked the way my mouth or my body feels after eating whole milk ice cream. It turns out I am lactose intolerant, though, I didn’t know this until I was an adult.

After attending a health presentation a few years ago I was inspired to try my hand at making sorbets and shakes. They were delicious.

Even my husband, a die-hard chocolate and sugar lover, agreed the homemade desserts are competitive to the store bought products he was used to eating.

Knowing it was healthier was an added bonus. He said there was no sugar crash either. I think sorbets are a delicious healthy alternative to store bought anything.

Even better is that I know what goes into my food. I’ll share some of my own recipes with you down the road. But for now, I think Oprah’s sorbet is ‘peachy-keen,’ as they said in the fifties.

If you have kids this would be something fun to try with them, too. Let me know if you try the sorbets. I want to hear what you think. And don’t forget to share this if you like what you read here!

What’s your favorite summer treat?

Enjoy! April


Oprah’s Ginger Peach Sorbet


Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped ripe peaches (about 6 medium)
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. pickled ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • Directions

  • Cook time: 2 hoursCombine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a container and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. Pour into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Smart Points: 1 per serving
    Calories: 77 per serving
    Read more: http://www.oprah.com/food/oprahs-ginger-peach-sorbet-recipe#ixzz4mdkJYtLh

Speaking of Food


I do believe Martha Stewart finally has some real competition. The Kraft Heinz Company and Oprah Winfrey recently announced the debut of O, That’s Good!, a line of four flavorful soups and four savory sides that bring a nutritious twist on comfort food classics to everyone’s table.

The twist includes healthy substitutions like replacing some of the potato in their Original Mashed Potatoes dish with mashed cauliflower. In their Broccoli Cheddar Soup they’ve replaced some of the cheese with velvety butternut squash – increasing the number of veggies while keeping all of the rich flavor in every bite.

“I love healthy foods and eating from my garden,” said Winfrey. “When Kraft Heinz approached me for a food line, what got my attention is making nutritious comfort foods more accessible to everyone. This product line is real, delicious food with a twist. You’ll feel good about serving it for your family.”

The O, That’s Good! Soups will retail for $4.99 and the sides will go for $4.49. You can expect to find the new line in the refrigerated section in select grocery stores and will be available nationwide in October 2017.

For more information on O, That’s Good! Soups and Sides, please visit http://www.Othatsgood.com.

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I’m Still Here…

Never underestimate the value of an ordinary day-April

August 1, 2017–Hello, friends. It’s hard to believe it’s August already. I can hear Target tearing down the summer display ads and replacing the swim suits and beach totes with sweaters, backpacks and back-to-school bargains.

Meanwhile, we’re still dealing with the heat and humidity. You may have noticed I’ve been M.I.A. That’s not by design.

At the end of June I caught what I thought was a flu bug; fever, aches, pains, low appetite–you know the drill. I stayed in bed, made soup and expected it to flee in about a week or so.

That’s not what happen. It turns out I probably had something a little more serious than the typical flu. Something like the influenza virus.

My doctors are unable to confirm this considering I waited too long to be seen. In fact, the reason I went it at all was because my asthma was out of control and I couldn’t digest anything. (You’ll hear more about that in future posts).

As you may recall, I’m also a cancer and chemo survivor. This means my body is somewhat weak to begin with. It’s been rough around here, lately.

I think I’m on the mend now, but, I’m afraid to get too excited about anything until I know for sure.

For now, I continue to nurture my body and hope to be back soon (hopefully end of week). Until then, may this find you having a good summer wherever you are.

Always, April

Breast Healthcare Apps, Movies, Olivia Newton-John and Flashback Friday

It’s Friday June 16, 2017–Olivia Newton-John recently announced that after living cancer-free for 25 years, cancer has returned and it has metastasized. In case you don’t know, metastasized means that cancer has spread from one place of the body to another.

As a breast cancer survivor, her ‘news’ made me cringe. It’s a reminder that cancer can happen to anyone at anytime. Even worse; it can happen more than once. My thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family as she faces another battle with the criminal-like disease.

The three K’s. Know your body. Know your risks. Know the facts. Get regular checkups. Do regular self-exams. If you have daughters, teach them how to do breast self exams. Encourage them to become familiar with their bodies so they can quickly identify if something changes. As Fran Drescher says “Early arrival, 90 percent survival.” The youngest breast cancer survivor I met was 19. Cancer does not discriminate.

We’ve come along way. We now have apps to help make it easier to remember to do a self-breast exam, and to help you teach your daughters or younger sisters how to do one. I’ve tried a few of them but it comes down to preference. Some of these apps are aimed at the younger selfie generation making it more eye catching for them.

Breast Check Now  Check Yourself    Your Man Reminder


Movie Reviews


It is Friday, after all! For me, the best way to kick off the weekend is with dinner, a movie and my man. I don’t wanna fight crowds (or the angry and violent) just to see a movie. The bonus is that I can eat all of the popcorn I want without paying the high price of theater popcorn, and I can go the bathroom without missing a beat.

Some of my recommendations may be a littler older. But still, if you haven’t seem them they’re worth watching.

Jackie
Netflix is my go-to for movies and TV shows @netflix IG

Jackie: Don’t underestimate this one. You might be inclined to think that this is just another Kennedy movie. But it’s not! Natalie Portman does an AMAZING job at portraying Jackie Kennedy. The film is one of a kind in that it takes us backstage and into the life of the wife, the woman, the widow and the Lady of the White House. No sex. No contrived drama. I do not recommend this movie for children. We see a lot of blood and grief, although, the movie is not gruesome.

 

 

 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: I totally underestimated this one! Great movie for the whole family. One scene implied supernatural abilities featuring Darth Vader, in case that’s something you’re concerned about.

It was very reminiscent of the original Star Wars. Loved, loved, loved seeing older characters in this film. This goes on the repeat watch list for sure.

 

 


Flashback Friday


In support of Olivia Newton-John (and just because it’s a fun one)!

 

 

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Flashback Friday: Girl Power

It’s Friday! Let’s dance our way into the weekend with Melanie Chisholm, Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Brown, and Emma Bunton AKA The Spice Girls!

 

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To Joey With Love

Warning: You’re going to need some tissue. This is not your average Cinderella story. But, it is a story about love. Life. Success. Beauty. And, the unthinkable.

I remember the first time I saw the husband-and-wife singing duo Joey+Rory. It was on a show called Can You Duet. They were an interesting and talented pair.

Their career catapulted after their appearance on that show. I remember feeling happy for them. They seemed so down to earth. Those are the kind of people I enjoy seeing succeed.

But then, the duo took a step back indicating they “wanted more to life.” They were expecting a baby so they chose less. In preparation for the birth of their child, the couple simplified their lives by putting their music career on hold and staying at home, planting roots deep in the soil of their small farm, and the community they loved.

They believed God would give them a great story. Despite pain and loss they say..He did. As a breast cancer survivor I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch this in full. But, I have followed the story and I have seen bits and pieces. I am sharing it with you because I think it’s beautifully done. Let me know what you think if you watch it.

Always, April


CMT will host the broadcast premiere of To Joey, With Love on Wednesday, June 21 at 8/7c. The documentary is the incredible true love story of Joey and Rory Feek (Joey+Rory) and was filmed by the couple over two and a half years.

To Joey, With Love also takes viewers from the birth of their daughter Indiana, born with Down Syndrome, through Joey’s struggle with and ultimate surrender to cancer — all amidst their never-ending hope in something far greater.

 

 

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What’s Inside Your Breast Implant?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), of the 1.7 million cosmetic surgical procedures performed in 2015, breast augmentation was among the top 5. I would think it’s closer to the number one spot, but that’s just my opinion.

 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning for breast reconstruction or you’re considering augmentation, I think you’ll find this video helpful.

“Traditionally, most breast implants had a silicone shell filled with liquid silicone. Newer, shaped implants have a silicone shell with cohesive gel silicone inside. The benefit of the shaped silicone is that these implants do not leak like traditional implants. Here we are cutting an implant in half to show you what is inside. Nothing leaks out!” Dr. Leif Rogers, MD, FACS

 

Traditionally, most breast implants had a silicone shell filled with liquid silicone. Newer, shaped implants have a silicone shell with cohesive gel silicone inside. The benefit of the shaped silicone is that these implants do not leak like traditional implants. Here we are cutting an implant in half to show you what is inside. Nothing leaks out! ⠀ 👤Facebook: Leif Rogers, MD 👻Snapchat: @LeifRogersMD 🐦Twitter: @LeifRogersMD 📺YouTube: Leif Rogers, MD ⠀ 🏢310-860-8915⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Check out our non-surgical aesthetic account @privetaesthetics for even more videos! ⠀ #LeifRogersMD #LRMD #breast #implant #breastimplant #cup #size #shape #body #chest #perfection #silicone #atheltic #aesthetics #cosmetics #plasticsurgeon #plasticsurgery #BeverlyHills #Pasadena #LA #LosAngeles #California

A post shared by Leif Rogers, MD, FACS (@leifrogersmd) on

 

While I was planning for breast reconstruction I couldn’t get any doctor to show me the inside of an implant. In fact, in most cases, doctors didn’t even have the right sample for me to see or touch before making a selection.

*I’ve never met with Dr. Rogers. This is not an endorsement. Please do your own research prior to selecting a surgeon.*

 

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Weekend Mom Moments

Quick note: My apologies dear friends for any issues you experienced viewing this post. It’s fixed! Enjoy, and thanks for your patience.

Always, April

Over the weekend families everywhere gathered together to celebrate their moms. Here are just a few of my favorite publicly shared moments.

Hoda Kotb posted this heartwarming, new mama moment.

Happy Mother's Day! May u spend yours in your jammies like My mom and my little girl. ❤️❤️

A post shared by Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) on

Natalie Morales from the Today Show.

To my mom.. and world's best grandma… oh what a wonderful world thanks to you!

A post shared by Natalie Morales (@nmoralesnbc) on

In true mama fashion SJP posted a video of this with the caption “The sound of practice, music to my ears.”

The sounds of practice, music to my ears. X, sj PS piano to be tuned soon!

A post shared by SJP (@sarahjessicaparker) on

Joanna Gaines of the hit T.V. show “Fixer Upper” posted this cool flashback.

Kate Hudson is notorious for writing the most touching Instagram posts. She’s usually all heart. This year she kept it simple.

One of my favorite country singers also a stepmom.

Happy Mother's Day Weekend #TsCoffeeTalk #MothersDay2017 #MothersDay #Moms #mom

A post shared by Trisha Yearwood (@trishayearwood) on

Be sure to follow these beautiful moms for more.

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‘Nasty Woman’ Teen Shines at Women’s March Washington 

 

Nina Donovan is a courageous 19-year-old college student who used her talent as a spoken-word artist (think Hamilton) to rise up against the modern-day Goliath: politicians threatening to trample on equality in America.

Continue reading “‘Nasty Woman’ Teen Shines at Women’s March Washington “

Ashley Judd Breaks Down ‘Nasty Woman’ at Women’s March in D.C.

Ashley Judd takes the stage by storm at the Women’s March in D.C. delivering a powerful poem written by 19-year-old, Nina Donovan.  Some (men) have already classified it as a “psycho rant” proving Nina’s point.

The One Self-Care Practice You Can Do Anytime, Anywhere

stressed-woman

Hello, friends. As I write this, president-elect Trump is taking his seat as the official leader of our country. While some are celebrating his victory, others are struggling with fear, anxiety and uncertainty.

I worry about what will come next. I struggle with anxiety and insomnia. I avoid the news or any conversation surrounding politics, because it makes me feel stressed. My fear is war. Everyone talks a good game, but our generation has no idea what war would look like for us. -Emily

Whether or not you share the same sentiment as Emily, there’s no denying this presidential switch, the political discord among Americans and the fear of violence and terrorism can add to the day-to-day anxieties we already face.

Did you know? Anxiety disorders affect 40 million Americans over the age of 18, and cost the U.S. 42 billion dollars a year.

While you probably agree that managing and minimizing stress is important to good health; demanding schedules, tight budgets and the daily grind can make it difficult to find downtime–especially for women. The mere mention of the word ‘downtime’ may strike a negative chord in some of you.

I hear you! But like so many other women, I too, used to juggle it all. I was working, pursuing, cleaning, and catering to everyone else. I never had enough time for me. Then…I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s a brick wall no one wants to hit.

It is with confidence I say continual exposure to stress and anxiety has a profound impact on the body. It can lead to a laundry list of health problems including disease. So while the whole brick wall had to fall down on me, the lesson I learned is that there is more to good health than eating the right foods and/or exercising.

Being in good health includes maintaining a good state of mind. It’s learning to process negative emotions. I believe taking what I term ‘mental health breaks’ throughout the day can contribute to overall good health and maybe even stave off illness. While disease can happen for a variety of reasons, I am of the opinion you can stack the odds in your favor by taking care of the whole body including mind and thoughts.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have all of the answers. I am, like you, a work in progress. I’m still learning some things as I go. That’s how I came up with the following mental health exercise.

Health challenges and setbacks have, at times, limited my ability to even leave the house. I had to get creative. The following self-care practice is something I designed to be used anytime, anywhere. Try it out. I think after the first couple of times you’ll identify the benefits (and your friends and family might too).

Change the things you can, accept the things you can’t

  1. Take 5 minute breaks. Keep it short and sweet. This minimizes guilt and makes it easier to create consistency. You may think five minutes isn’t enough, but it’s just enough to make a difference in your personality and attitude. You can  always add more time to the clock later, but trust me on this, start out slow.
  2. Do what makes you feel good. Everyone pushes meditation to quiet the mind. If that’s what works for you then by all means, have at it! But there are no rules to downtime. There is no one size fits all when it comes to stress management. If reading a bible verse calms your brain, then do that. Consider taking a short walk down the street and back. Sit on the porch. Watch something that makes you laugh. Dance. Sing out loud. Read. Close your eyes. This is your five minutes to just breathe and release tension. 
  3. Schedule your timeout. Set a reminder on your phone or write it on a post it note and stick it on the refrigerator. But in the words of Nike, just do it!

 

 

 

End of article

Image sourced at Pexels

Letter From April: Making a Change

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Hello friends, readers and fellow bloggers. This is a quick note to let you I’m making some changes starting with the name of my blog. After careful consideration and testing I decided to change my title from Imperfect Living to The Lifestyle Brief.

The new address will be; THE LIFESTYLE BRIEF DOT COM.

I’m fairly new to the blogosphere but I’m not new to journalism. So when people talk, I listen. What I’ve heard over the last few months is that they like the ring of this name more than the other. To be honest, I’m okay with that. I like this name too!

I continue to own the Imperfect Living name and might even use it in another venture. But for now, I’m very happy and excited about this change. I think you’ll find the Site improved.

I hope you’ll continue to be a friend and follower as I grow up right before your eyes. Thank you so much for supporting me. FYI I don’t know how long it will take before this Site is up to par considering I’m setting it all up myself. So please continue to be patient with me as I navigate HTML. Hope you have a great weekend!

may you be well,

April

A Lipstick Love Story 

THAT lipstick in the photo is my favorite lipstick-ever!
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a drawer full of lipsticks that I can’t wear because while they look pretty in the store, they don’t look so pretty on me.

After my breast cancer battle I promised myself I would clean up my life in multiple ways including; getting rid of the stuff that I didn’t need and the stuff that didn’t work.

So why is this lipstick my favorite?-Because I have dry, sensitive and flaky skin and lips. Chemotherapy medications have wreaked havoc on my skin and body. Additionally, It catapulted me into early onset menopause which can cause dryness and irritation on it’s own.

So my lips were a mess. It was embarrassing. They were always peeling and bleeding. It felt like I had one of those dry white lines around my mouth all of the time. I felt so self-conscious.

Desperately seeking a solution I spent a lot of money buying one brand after another. Good brands claiming to eliminate my symptoms but none of them worked for me.

But then a girlfriend told me about Root Pretty. I had seen them on Instagram but since they don’t allow returns I was skeptical. I already had a drawer full of lipsticks and moisturizers that I could’t use, I didn’t want to add to that so I moved on.

But then my friend told me I could order samples and that the Root Pretty balm was so affordable and worked so well that she would buy it from me if I didn’t like it. Coming from her, that was a surprise. We’re talking about a girl who doesn’t even like to use mousse or hot irons.

So I caved. I started out with their Pretty Balms and it was love at first use. I’m so glad my friend insisted I try this product. My lips are in the best shape they have been in years.

After trying a couple of samples, I recently purchased the lipstick you see above in the color Kate. It is the perfect day-to-day or day-to-evening fall color. The biggest bonus for me is that enhances the skin of my lips.

I even wear it when I go to bed. Crazy, maybe. But I’m good with it!

The best compliment I recently got was when my husband kissed me on the lips and then pointed out that  my lips were so soft. As someone who is finding her way back to sexy, that was such an empowering and flattering moment. I highly recommend this product. And in case you’re wondering, I haven’t received compensation on any level for sharing this product with you.

End of article

Healthier Beauty Gift Guide

Hey, everybody! Welcome to my list of favorite beauty products. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or checking off your gift buying list, I know you’ll find something here that you’ll love as much as I do

These gifts are perfect for everyone. But, I especially like them for women in the midst of a change. This includes; the cancer survivor, the menopausal woman, the pregnant woman and the young teen. Young girls are just women in training so why not start them off right.

What we put on our bodies shouldn’t just change the outside but should have an impact on the inside as well. All of these products make me feel like I’m doing something luxurious for myself. May you have the same experience. What’s your favorite healthy buys? hugs.

Note; hover and click on the red words to go directly to the website.

  1. best lip balm and lipstick you’ll ever find rootpretty.com $8-$16.
  2. even Alicia Silverstone loves this shampoo and conditioner dessertessence.com $7-10. You can also buy this direct at Whole Foods and Sprouts.
  3. not ready to make the swap cold turkey, ease into it with this luxurious shampoo and conditioner fresh.com $27 nordstrom $27.
  4. my favorite chemical free deodorant schmidtsdeodorant.com $8.99.
  5. purelygreat cream deodorant has a great rating with both the Environmental Working Group and the consumers  mynaturaldeodorant.com $12.99.
  6. my favorite CC cream juicebeauty.com $39.
  7. this stem cellular cleansing oil is great for dehydrated skin. juicebeauty.com $39.
  8. this cleansing milk is great for dryer skin.  juicebeauty.com and Ulta stores $22.
  9. root pretty perfecting serum is a skin saver. Great for hands, toes and cuticles, this stuff will help you to love your skin again rootpretty.com comes in 2 sizes; $18-$63.
  10. best face primer. two kinds; one for the teen and one for the mature. 100percentpure.com 2 types; $35 and $45.

 

Image sourced; Pexel

Are You at Risk for Zika Virus?

It’s November 17, 2016. Happy Thursday friends, thank you for joining me today. I know the Zika virus is not a fun subject, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it. The truth is; when  I heard about Zika, I felt bad for those who were affected by it, yet, relieved that it wasn’t in the U.S.

That sounds selfish, I know. But after all I’d been through with a breast cancer diagnosis, I just needed a clean break from the medical profession. However, ignorant bliss can only last so long. I decided it was time to learn more about this unusual virus. The following is what I gathered.

May this find you well,
april


What is the Zika virus? Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus. I couldn’t find anything more specific than that.

How do I get it? Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito species, called Aedes. Once a person is infected by Zika they can transfer the virus to another person.

For example,

  • A pregnant woman can pass Zika to the fetus during pregnancy.
  • A person with Zika can pass it to his or her sexual partners through sex (crazy, right?)
  • It can be passed through blood transfusions.

Are older people at a greater risk? Yes. According to the professionals most healthy people can fight off Zika. In fact, they may not even have any symptoms. But as we age our immune system weakens making it harder to fight off illness and infection.

But aging isn’t the only factor. Anyone with a suppressed immune system is at risk including those with chronic illness and cancer. Everyone should be taking precautions.

What kind of precautions?

  • Avoid travel to areas where cases of Zika are more prevalent.
  • If you do, use insect repellent spray or lotion, bug netting, and wear long sleeves and pants.
  • Practice safe sex. By now, this should go without saying; use a condom no matter what, people. But especially so if you or your partner have recently traveled to an area with Zika

What can I do if I think I have Zika? 

  • Go to your doctor. A blood or urine test can confirm or rule out Zika virus. 
  • There is currently no treatment for Zika. You could use something like acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain. Again, I’m not a doctor, I’m a reporter. So do your research and go to the doctor.

End of article.

Sources; Pexels image. Center for Disease Control National Institute on Aging and Oncolink 

Kate Spade Releases Hybrid Smartwatches

 

What Do I Say To Someone With Cancer?

Last week, I posted an article on the 5 Things You Should Never Say To Someone With #Cancer. Martina McBride’s song “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” speaks volumes. The following are a combination of phrases that will help you say the right thing.

  1. I am sorry. Three words in the English language that says it all.
  2. What can I do? My three favorite words in any crisis.
  3. I don’t know what to say. There’s nothing wrong with being honest as long as it’s not hurtful or injecting fear. Once the shock wears off you can always go back and say what you wish you could have at the time.
  4. I’m scared. The cancer fighter knows all about fear. It’s okay to share your fears together.
  5. You’re going to survive this. Everyone needs to believe this, and it helps if you do too. We all need hope.
  6. I’m gonna love you through it. When you say this, and you mean it, you’ll be there for your friend, mother, sister whatever. It’s the one thing that you could say that sums all of this up.

5 Things You Should Never Say To Someone With #Cancer

pexels-photo-118033-2“Sometimes, the best way to help someone is just to be near them.” ~ Veronica Roth, Divergent

It was the last week of November 2012. Fall had officially settled in. The air was crisp and the sky was blue. We stopped for tea and coffee and then went to an appointment at a breast clinic. An appointment that would confirm or rule out breast cancer. I was nervous the whole drive there. My gut told me my body was in trouble.

My gut was right.

I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. The words felt like a drop-kick to the center of my chest. I couldn’t catch my breath. I could hear myself sobbing inside but nothing was coming out. My throat was in pain from fighting back the tears. I needed to hear every word the doctor said. I needed to know what this meant for me. For us. For my future.

After getting the diagnosis I needed time to let it sink in. As a couple we needed time to grieve too. So we took a few weeks to privately cope with the diagnosis, and then we shared the ‘news’ with a few friends and family. I assumed they would help me carry the load. That they would eagerly offer comfort and support.

Boy, was I wrong.

Instead, they saw cancer as a carte blanche opportunity to say mean-spirited and hurtful things to me. Things I never forgot. Things that permanently damaged our relationship. As time went on, I heard similar stories from other cancer survivors.

So in effort to help you to be a good friend (or well mannered person) the following is a lineup of things said to me, things I hope you’ll never say to anyone fighting cancer.

If you like what you read here, share it!

  1. “People die from chemo, not cancer. I would rather die that put that poison in my body.” The person who says this has never had cancer. They are simply regurgitating something they heard or read somewhere. Usually somewhere they can’t even remember. While it’s true that chemotherapy can lead to other problems, not all treatments are alike. What we know for sure is that if left untreated, cancer kills. People take medication to lower cholesterol, get an erection, deal with depression, fight an infection or ward off heart attacks. If you would rather die than get treatment, you are welcome to do that when your ticket is pulled. Until then, keep this opinion to yourself.
  2. “Do you think your husband (or boyfriend) will leave you?” I heard this so many times after cancer. Men do leave (or cheat on) their partners during a cancer crisis. But men do it everyday without reason. Cheaters don’t need an excuse to act out. Nothing good can come of this question, so don’t ask it.
  3. “If you had faith in God you would trust him rather than medicine.” Another ignorant thing to say for many reasons.
  4. “God has a plan for you. He chose YOU because he knows YOU can handle it.” What this really means; God gave me cancer but decided you didn’t need it. That’s not only inaccurate, it’s a cruel and arrogant thing to say. Tell yourself whatever necessary to make cancer right in your head, but keep it to yourself.
  5. “You probably got cancer because you (fill in the blank).” There were many who suggested I got breast cancer because I didn’t eat sugar, eat a lot of red meat, drink alcohol or because I colored my hair. While lifestyle can contribute to illness, the odds are; everyone has an unhealthy habit that could lead to disease some day. We don’t blame pregnant women for miscarriages, so don’t blame cancer fighters for getting cancer.

End of article

Teen Mom Farrah Abraham Proves Not Everyone Should Manage People 

On Monday’s episode of Teen Mom, Farrah Abraham, terminated  an employee from her frozen yogurt shop while wearing these ridiculous glasses.

I don’t know what Farrah was thinking, but those glasses didn’t hide her arrogance, bad attitude or lack of professionalism.

Farrah argued with her employee, used sarcasm and made condescending unnecessary statements even after she let the girl go. Shortly thereafter, the cameras cut to Farrah driving daughter, Sophia, home. During the drive is Farrah saw it fit to offer her daughter tips to termination.

When arrived home she called her enabling mother and gloated about termination. While I realize the employee might have been a bad apple, Farrah poor approach to dealing with the situation is a reminder that bringing jobs back to America is only half the problem we have in the workplace. The other half is bad employers and bad managers who bully employees and abuse their power.

What do you think? Would you have worn these glasses?

End of article

 

 

 

 

Drop, Cover, and HoldOn for the Great Shakeout

On October 20th at 10:20 a.m. millions of people worldwide will practice how to Drop, Cover and Hold On in the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill.

In case you’re wondering, the drills began in Southern California in 2008 with the goal of teaching the public how to protect themselves during a large earthquake, and how to get prepared for one.

Like me, many of you probably just ignore these drills. But the reality is; earthquakes are happening everywhere. You could even be on vacation when one strikes, so a little preparedness wouldn’t hurt.

The Great ShakeOut practice drills are now held in more than 20 Official ShakeOut Regions, along with an option for people in any other state or country to also register and be counted in the global total.

Everyone is invited to participate. According to the Great ShakeOut website currently there are 9,173 individuals and families participating in the event.

If you would like more information  on the Great ShakeOut or for resources, click here. If you like what you read here, share it!

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Sara Evans 

 

IRL, divorce happens. But for country music sweetheart, Sara Evans, divorce happened very publicly. In 2006 after 13 years and 3 kids, Sara filed for divorce from Craig Schelske. Adding fuel to the rumors, she resigned from the ABC hit show “Dancing with the stars” on the same day.

The divorce papers cited irreconcilable differences, inappropriate marital conduct and adultery. Things quickly got ‘divorce ugly.’ The allegations were terrible. The pain and grief had to be hard on her family. But the sky is now clear and the ashes seems to have dissipated.

Continue reading “The Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Sara Evans “

Is Your Kitchen A Window To Your Soul?

 

Re-define perfection based on your ideals rather than those dictated by society~April 

I once read somewhere that the kitchen is a window to a woman’s soul. If that’s true, what these botched cookies say about me is a little offensive (laugh).

Despite my efforts to create distance between me and the ‘perfection trap,’ when I recently flubbed some chocolate chip cookies, I found myself acting like a mad Betty Crocker.

I blamed the oven. The ingredients. The humidity. I kept reminding everyone that I  really could cook. I even cited the last time I baked them and how beautifully they came out.

But that wasn’t enough. I tried to get my husband to confirm that I had baked them ‘perfectly’ many times before, by prompting him to tell everyone how good they were.

Why?

Because on a subconscious level I don’t want to be labeled a bad baker or cook. I don’t want anyone peering into “the kitchen window of my soul” and seeing anything but perfection. No one wants a mess, do you?

The odds are, you can relate.

Without a thought (and clearly forgetting my promise to myself to live life unfiltered) I walked over to the trash intending to toss the cookies, and start over. And that’s when it hit me that I had fallen off the wagon. I wanted my guests to believe that I don’t make mistakes.

While I am a good cook, I didn’t get to that place without botching recipes. And as you can see, I still have my bad days in the kitchen. So did our mother’s and grandmother’s. That’s why generational recipes are so good–someone has already worked out the kinks  for us.

Instead of starting over I plated the cookies, served vanilla ice cream and told everyone they could eat them or move on.

The truth is, most chose to pass on the cookies. But for the first time in my life, I was okay with it. I didn’t obsess over it or get my feelings hurt when the cookies were still there or when some teased me. It was freeing!

Maybe it’s just me, but I think those ruined cookies look just as beautiful on that white plate as the perfectly baked.

End of post.

Do you think the kitchen is a window to your soul?

 

Healthy, quick, citrus grilled chicken tenders

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Hello, friends. Today I’m sharing one of favorite ‘fast food’ meals with you; my citrus grilled chicken! By “fast food” I mean quick, easy and nutritious. Now, you may be thinking since summer is nearing its end it’s just about time to hibernate that grill.

But let’s not be so hasty. 

When I was growing up my dad grilled all year long–every other weekend or so. Like my dad, I grill whenever I want.

I’ve even been known to grill in the morning while getting ready for my day. I should say, however, I am using a gas grill. To me, that’s like cooking on an outdoor stove. Do whatever works for you but my point is; there should be no rules for grilling.

This chicken dish is versatile making it a good recipe when trying to please the whole family. You can eat it with baked potatoes, baked beans, veggies (or fries for the kiddos). You can dice it up and throw it on some rice, on a salad or wrap it in a tortilla. I always keep a bottle of ranch dressing around for the nieces and nephews.

I can’t imagine this quick meal won’t become a fast fave in your house too, especially for you busy moms.

FYI This is a great dish for a cancer fighter. Cancer patients in chemotherapy experience taste changes. It’s a lot like living with a burnt tongue. Chef Rebecca Katz taught me that acid, like lemon and lime, give the tongue a little life. I used this tip while coping with taste changes and it works! If you’re healthy, good for you! These little guys are packed with immune boosting vitamin C so they can help keep you on the right path.

 

Now, let’s get started!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes

Tips

  • Always tenderize the chicken and don’t be shy about it. The more you do, the more juicy the chicken. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did it
  • Warm up the grill before cooking the chicken
  • Cook the chicken on low or medium. Anything higher than this will dry the meat out
  • Consider cooking a lot of chicken at one time so you can use it the next day for lunch or for another family dinner 

Ingredients 

  1. Chicken breast tenders (I buy  mine at Trader Joe’s)
  2. 2-3 limes or 1-2 lemons (depending on what’s in you’re refrigerator)
  3. Olive oil
  4. Salt
  5. Pepper
  6. Cilantro (optional)

Tools

  1. Forks for poking
  2. Grill
  3. Smoke chips (if you have them)

Directions

  • Thaw chicken (in the refrigerator or using the proper setting on your microwave)
  • Tenderize the chicken by poking it with forks
  • Pour or squeeze fresh lime juice all over the tenders (if you don’t have lime, use lemons)
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Drizzle a little olive oil over the top  (if you don’t have olive oil or you don’t use oils, then don’t do it)
  • Let the chicken sit for about 5 minutes while you’re prepping something else

See how easy that is.

  • When you’re ready, put the chicken on the grill.
  • While it’s cooking get those sides ready and set that table
  • Let the chicken cook for about 5 minutes on each side. (I typically flip it about 3 times. But do whatever you’re comfortable with)

 

Always cut a piece of chicken down the middle to confirm the chicken is cooked before serving. Better safe, than sorry.

 

When the chicken is done, I like to squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and throw on some cilantro before serving. You can do the same with lemon if you’d like, just don’t use so much of it, because it’s stronger than lime and the flavor will overpower the chicken and leave everyone with that bitter beer face.

May this find you preparing for a great weekend!

What’s your favorite “fast food” meal? I’d like to hear from you. Also, if you like you what you see here, don’t forget to follow me for more.