Loving the Skin You’re In

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So, if you know me or have been following my blog for awhile, then you know that last year I had cancer (I hate to keep saying that over and over but though there is currently no evidence of cancer, it and the treatment effects are still impacting my life. The gift that keeps on giving, ha ha, ugh). When my hair started coming out two weeks into chemo (i repeat, UGH) I decided to just get my head shaved cuz the clumping and constant hair loss was really a pain in the butt. So I went to a lovely salon called Posh in the town where I was about to move and had what remained of a lifetime of long hair buzzed off (read about that here). A group of girlfriends joined me for moral support, pictures and ice cream afterward.

ANYWHO, I was oblivious to what else was going on that day in the salon, and unbeknownst to me, there was an esthetician there that day who noticed the group of ladies at my side and the laughter and support they offered me.

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Skip ahead to just a couple months ago, I got a private message on Facebook from a woman named Afrodite (what a great name!) explaining who she was and what she’d seen that day, and offering me a complimentary facial because she was interested in oncology skincare therapy (read: specializing in skin care for cancer patients). Ooh! How lovely! I’d never had a facial so this certainly seemed intriguing, and several weeks later I found myself in her new soothing studio.

I asked Afrodite about oncology skin care (something I’d never even realized existed!) and she explained that the emphasis is on DETOX. Between surgery, medications and treatments, the last thing a cancer patient needs is more chemicals. She looks for holistic ways of treating skin issues that arise from cancer treatments. Those issues vary based on the specific chemo/radiation treatments used but it is usually extreme dryness and dehydration of the skin, acne and sometimes burns from radiation. I personally struggled with facial acne during the second half of my chemo, until only just recently. At a time when you’ve already lost your hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, to add a faceful of acne just added insult to injury!

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Afrodite became interested in this specialty while attending beauty school and accompanying a friend during chemotherapy treatments. The friend talked about the changes she was going through physically, and while losing her hair and experiencing skin changes were small sacrifices when fighting for her life, she felt like she really needed to feel and look good to feel “normal” at a time when so much of her life was not normal. She started getting facials monthly as a way of relaxing, which she felt was important in her recovery. After this experience, Afrodite found an online school in Atlanta, Georgia (The Skincare Therapy Institute, Corp) and earned a certificate in Oncology Skincare Therapy.

Afrodite plans to build her practice in this specialty of esthetics. She also does eyelash extensions for clients that lost theirs during treatment. She researched skin care lines made specifically for these special care clients and found a company called Hale & Hush, whose products she loves using.

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Fast forward to me lying under a sheet on a warming bed in her darkened studio, gentle yoga-ish music playing, soft scents filling the air…and rich lotions and potions being applied to my face with a feather touch. Products were brushed on, rubbed in and gently wiped off. Puffs of steam kept the air and my face hydrated. It all felt sort of mysterious as I mostly kept my eyes closed and never *really* knew what was going on, but it was extremely relaxing.

Afterwards, she sent me home with some Hale & Hush face wash to use on my newly hydrated skin. I’m not much of a “product” person, mostly I just wash my face in the shower with the same bar soap I use on my body, scrubbing hard with a Buf Puf to exfoliate, followed by Trader Joe’s antioxidant facial moisturizer. But I *am* using the face wash she gave me and it does feel nice.

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Afrodite said, “If I can make one woman feel better during this challenging time of her life than it was all worth it.” Well, she certainly made *me* feel better. I’ve had no acne breakouts since that day in her studio and the whole experience prompted me to make “pamper myself” my main resolution for 2018.

If you’re local and interested in a facial or eyelash extensions, or want to treat a loved one going through cancer treatments to a really special experience, reach out to Afrodite Boukas at (631) 645-0115 or by visiting her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Lash-Goddess-by-Aphrodite-1872189119763998/

I’m so grateful to Afrodite for noticing me that day in Posh and for extending this generous invitation.

Thanks to my daughter for taking pictures that day.


Resolutions + Plus Size Try-on Haul Video

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I’m still working on my resolutions for the new year. I’m not usually a hard-and-fast resolution sorta gal; I usually pick a fun thing I want to challenge myself to do more of – like drink more or wear more jewelry, ha ha. But after 2017 I do sort of feel like I need to get some things in order. I need to get PREPARED. That’s one of the resolutions, but I’m still fine-tuning (that seems to be a recurrent theme of the new year also) it and most of them…but the one I’m certain of is…to pamper myself.

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To have flowers in the house, go for mani-pedis and foot massages and get my hair done when I have hair again. Have a facial. Not just pampering, but being kind and gentle with myself. Last year was a hard year. It was painful and exhausting and took a lot out of me. I need to feed myself and care for myself and build my mind and heart back up. Get a comfortable sofa so I can relax and read and enjoy looking out the window. Ask friends for help when things are too hard. Eat good food. Be Good to my body. Nourish it, stretch it, exercise it. Rest it. If I need to sleep all day once in a while, do that without feeling guilty. Make my home more pleasing. Empty the corners of boxes and piles of stuff. Create lovely vignettes to enjoy when I come home. Live in silence when I want, live in music when I want. Just be good to myself.
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I’m still working out the technicalities on this one, but one year (I think 2011) I did “Do Something New Every Week,” and that was really a good one but it was more Big Picture things, like “do a 5k,” “get reiki.” etc. I think this year I might do a “Try Something New Every Day” resolution. I know that sounds imposing but they can be Very Small Things: go to a new bagel shop, turn down a different street when driving home, make a new recipe, try on a pair of shoes you wouldn’t normally try. It’s just the point of keeping your mind open to new and untried things rather than being comfortable and settled in routine.
That’s it for resolutions for now…and onto something NEW and exciting that got its start in 2017 but just went live in 2018 – and that is that my new blog-friend Nancy of Nancy’s Fashion Style shared Fashion Schlub as one of her “Styled By…” posts! I’ve been reading such nice comments from her regular readers, I’m so grateful to her! Be sure to take a look at her blog – she has such an adventurous and fun fashion sense – I think you’ll really enjoy her blog – AND she’s a sweetheart, to boot!


And this week’s weekly vlog is a plus size winter try-on haul showing clothes from Old Navy, Woman Within and Charlotte Russe. Take a look and let me know what you think – I think my videoing and editing skills are getting a little better!

All photography by me.