30 September 2011

A Pink Ribbon Journey...

Today I'm having a guest who isn't a blogger but was kind enough to write a post for me in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Her name is Cheryl and 1 year ago today, she found out she had breast cancer. I met her this past spring in an Animal Cruelty Investigator class and she is the sweetest person you will ever meet. Here is her story...

My Pink Ribbon Journey

On September 28, 2009 I stepped foot in Africa. For an animal lover like me this was a journey of a lifetime. For three weeks I was to volunteer with lion cubs and elephants on a game reserve in Zimbabwe. On the weekends we would go to the local orphanage and play with the children most of which suffered from aids or had lost their parents to the disease. This work was more rewarding than anything I had ever done in my life so far. Then it was on to Cape Town, South Africa for another three weeks of volunteer work in a no kill shelter with cats and dogs. Many of them had been severely abused and/or neglected. During this trip I was the happiest I had ever been. Africa had captured my heart yet her wildlife and children had captured my soul.

Exactly one year to that date, September 28, 2010 I lay on a surgeon’s table waiting to have a mass in my right breast biopsied. Tears came to my eyes as I thought these could be the last moments of life as I know it. How could I have been so happy one year ago today and now I am lying on this table with possible breast cancer? While the doctor was performing the biopsy I closed my eyes so I could get lost in those beautiful memories from the year before. I thought of the lion cubs we walked every day in the bush and how the giraffes would run by in the distance.  I remembered how the puppies would attack us with wet kisses at the shelter in the morning. I longed to be there again, to be anywhere but here.  No matter how I tried I could not escape the fear and panic I was feeling. If only I had gone to a doctor right away would I be here right now?

In July 2010 I had noticed a pulling feeling in my right breast but ignored it thinking it would go away on its own. It did not. I examined my breast while lying down and did not feel anything. One day I did a self exam while sitting up and there it was, a large lump. My heart sank; it was at that moment I knew this could be serious. I went in for a mammogram and could tell by the look on my nurse’s face that this was not going to be good news. They called it a suspicious mass and told me I needed a biopsy. 

On September 30 my doctor phoned with the results of my biopsy and I heard the words no woman ever expects to hear. “You have breast cancer”. Every emotion you can think of comes flooding in. Am I going to die? I’m not ready! Will I lose my hair? What about my career? The next day was Oct 1, ironically the beginning of breast cancer awareness month. Everywhere I went I was reminded that I had breast cancer! I can remember seeing commercials with women who were surviving this illness and were thriving. I made a conscious decision that I wanted to be like them, a survivor not a victim.

I began weeks of testing, scans, and doctor visits to plan my treatment options. Due to the size of the tumor my surgeon suggested a mastectomy. I was only 41 years old and this option did not sit right with me. We decided to go through chemotherapy first to try and shrink the tumor so I could have a lumpectomy and save my breast. I also began a clinical trial where I was given even more medication to try and shrink the tumor. After six months of chemotherapy we were successful. The tumor had shrunk in half! I was given some time to recover from the effects of the chemo before undergoing surgery. A few weeks later I had a lumpectomy and everything went well. So I thought. A week later my surgeon called and said that they needed to go back in and remove some more tissue to get clearer margins.  Now, after the second lumpectomy my margins are clean and the tumor is gone!

Recently I began a six week course of radiation to decrease my chances of recurrence.

As my one year anniversary approaches I am reflecting on all that I have experienced this year and how far I have come. The most prominent feeling I have is gratitude. The support and love I’ve received from family, friends and strangers was and continues to be overwhelming!

Cancer forced me to look at and reevaluate every aspect of my life.  It brought me back to basics. What I’ve learned is that I am not guaranteed to be alive tomorrow and so I must life my life to the fullest. For me, that meant pursuing my true passion in life, animals and animal welfare. I took an animal cruelty investigator class to help me be a better advocate for the animals. I began doing public outreach at circuses informing people of the cruelty that animals suffer as well as doing undercover investigative work exposing that suffering. I’ve felt more fulfilled and satisfied this year than ever before and I owe it all to cancer.

When times got tough I would turn to my memories of Africa and the animals to help get me through. This time next year I hope to return to Africa and the animals I love to celebrate life, to celebrate being a survivor.

My journey through the pink ribbon of breast cancer has been challenging at times but I would not change one moment of it. It has made me who I am today…a stronger, better and more beautiful me!


Cheryl, I can't thank you enough for sharing your story with my readers and myself. You truly are an amazing person!

29 September 2011

It's Ok Thursday...

Since my basement is flooding and we keep losing power, it's going to be a quick post today...

I'm linking up with Neely and Amber for

It's ok...

... to stay in bed until noon on a rainy day.

... to eat Ellio's Pizza every day for over a week.

... to be excited to decorate for fall.

... to DVR 25-30 shows a week because you HAVE to watch them.

... to want a vacation even if it's just a weekend getaway.

... to try on 5 outfits before picking something to wear even though you're not going anywhere.

It's NOT ok...

... that NJ keeps getting these horrible storms causing all this flooding.

And before I go, a HUGE congratulations to Carolyn at life, love, & puppy prints because she is getting married tomorrow!!!

28 September 2011

Best. Holiday. Ever...

Happy 'Ask a Stupid Question' Day!!! Now if you know me, you will no that this holiday doesn't have too much of a meaning for me since I always ask stupid questions. I think I'm going to kick it up a notch today though... Beau will want to kill me by the end of the day!

(I read the above statement to him and he agreed with the whole thing and is already mad that I plan on stepping it up. Butthead.)


I'm excited that it's Wednesday so I can share with you a new(ish) love: combining yellow and grey!

Not yellow and grey but I wanted to add these since they are in the crockpot as we speak:

In other words, my house is smelling DEE-LICIOUS!!!

So Beau's work schedule changed for the millionth time. It sucks but looking at the full picture I guess it works out better. Right now, he has Wendesdays and Saturdays off (unless he takes OT) but now he will have Wednesdays and Thursdays off meaning 2 days in a row for the first time in well over a year (small getaway in the future???). The main problem with this: my birthday is on a Sunday so we are planning on going out Saturday night. Well, he will be working Friday until midnight then Saturday 6a-6p then Sunday 6a-6p meaning he isn't going to want to go out with everyone. Boooo!

Now for last night's shows...

Teen Mom  - Really? They couldn't just make the reunion 1 night? I mean, of course I wanted to see what was up with Amber and Farrah and all they drama that follows them but I really wanted a Catelynn update. Now I apparently have to wait until next week... ridiculous.

Ringer - I'm confused as to why Siobhan went to France to look for her true love who doesn't know her... or something like that. The ending was interesting to say the least. I don't want to say more in case someone hasn't watched it yet!

Awkward. - Does anyone besides from myself watch this? I felt so bad for Matty even though he kind of did it to himself (over time). I hope they bring it back for a second season.

Body of Proof was also on last night but I didn't get a chance to watch it. It's on my to-do list today. Is it bad that watching a tv show is on my to-do list? I really need more of a life!

So what stupid question do you plan on asking today and who will it be directed to?

PS: I can now be found on twitter! @90percentblonde

27 September 2011

If everyone else jumped off a bridge...

Since everyone else is doing it, why the heck not!

A. Age: 22 however I will be celebrating my birthday in less than a month!
B. Bed size: Queen... and I get less than 1 foot of it (thanks Beau and pups)
C. Chore that you hate: Doing the dishes
D. Dogs: Our Bow and Sammy <3 <3 <3
E. Essential start to your day: Snuggling in bed with my furbabies. As soon as my eyes open, they are next to my face with their 'Good morning Mommy!' faces
F. Favorite color: Blue!
G. Gold or Silver: Silver or white gold
H. Height: 5’2″
I. Instruments you play: Well I use to play the piano and flute but not so much anymore
J. Job title: Professional Television Watcher
K. Kids: One day...
L. Live: Joisey (no, we don't actually say it like that)
M. Mother’s name: Mommy
N. Nicknames: Sarah Beth, Squeekers, Rosebud
O. Overnight hospital stays: Never -- thank God!
P. Pet peeves: Socks with sandals, not using a coaster, when people leave the newspaper all unfolded... I could go on forever
Q. Quote from a movie: “You can't ride two horses with one ass, sugarbean." -Earl Smooter, Sweet Home Alabama (did you think it wouldn't be from SHA?)
R. Right or left handed: North pole
S. Siblings: 2 older sisters
T. Time you wake up: Anywhere from 7am to 10am depending on how tired I was
U. Underwear: Yup, I got some on
V. Vegetable you hate: Mushrooms. I absolutely hate mushrooms!
W. What makes you run late: Beau.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: What haven't I've had x-rayed?
Y. Yummy food that you make: Ziti and according to Beau, grilled cheese (are you kidding me?!)
Z. Zoo animal: Giraffes

But to answer my title: No, I would not jump off a bridge if everyone else did. Unless it was to save my life from zombies. Or if it wasn't a big jump and there was something pretty down there. Or if Beau told me to. After all, I'm suppose to trust this guy with my life, right? Ok, so maybe I would jump if y'all did...

26 September 2011

Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away...

I would love to start off by talking about my non-eventful weekend but first I must discuss last night's series premier... Pan Am.


I'll still need a few episodes to tell for sure but I think Army Wives has competition for my favorite show. Not only is it a TV show combining the 60s and flight attendants but I'm loving the storyline so far.

Then again, maybe I'm just biased... I have loved everything flight attendant related since View from the Top came out in 2003. I've even applied twice for airline positions but since I'm not willing to relocate, no job in the sky for me ::enter sad face here::  So it's about time that they come out with a show highlighting attendants that way I can live vicariously through it!

As for the rest of my weekend, it was pretty beat. Beau ended up working Saturday and Sunday so I just spent the weekend doing stuff around the house and watched TV (I know, I know. shocker). I was, however, able to convince him to rent Something Borrowed since I've been wanting to see it. It was pretty good - I enjoyed it. Now I just have to figure out a way to make him get Bridesmaids.

Yesterday I woke up to a nice surprise though... I received The Versatile Blogger Award thanks to Holly at eight six eleven!

There are a few rules that I must follow before I can pass this award onto one pretty awesome bloggers out there.

Rule #1: Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.

Rule #2: Share seven things about yourself:
1.  I am addicted to infomercial products.
2.  I have astrophobia (fear of space/planets).
3.  My favorite movie is Sweet Home Alabama and I've watched it at least 500 times but probably more considering I've seen it 4 or 5 times this month alone.
4.  I had my wedding party picked out in less than 10 minutes of being engaged - it was a no brainer.
5.  Until my back injury, I worked in the medical field.
6.  I love men with tattoos but ironically Beau doesn't have any.
7.  Even though my wedding isn't for another 2 years, I've already purchased my wedding gown.

Rule #3: Pass the award on to 15 bloggers that you have recently discovered:
Haha. Wait. What?  (side note: isn't that an awesome name!)

Congratulations bloggers!

23 September 2011

A birthday wish to my oldest...

Four years ago today and a short ride to Danville, VA, this precious baby was mine...

4 weeks and cute as a button!

Her baby hippo aka security blanket

Her first Halloween (she was a cop)
Mommy's bed = Bow's bed

Enjoying the sun!

So pretty!

These are just a few of the many, many pictures of the little girl who stole my heart. 


You are one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I thank God every day for you and your sister. I didn't realize how empty my life was until I was holding you. I knew from the first moment I saw you that I would love you forever. You have done so much for the whole family and we couldn't thank you enough. I hope you have the best birthday!

Mommy and Daddy (and Grandma and Grandpa) love you, Baby Girl!!!

Love always,

And to everyone wondering - Yes, she was only 4 weeks old when we got her. The lady said she was 8 weeks but we knew otherwise. If we didn't save her from that hellhole bring her home with us, they just would have given her to someone else. At least I knew I could nurture her and give her the home she deserves.

On to other news:
Yesterday, the fabulous Kerri and I went to see the Lion King! It was the first movie I EVER saw in theaters so it was pretty special for me. 17 years later and just as good!

'Sex eyes' as Kerri put it - I was LOLing until I had tears!

Best news, we had the theater (almost) all to ourselves. I say almost because it was just us but then a family came in. It didn't stop us from chatting away though!

Then we saw this trailer and had already made plans to see it until about 50 seconds in...

Yesterday was exactly what I needed. It was so nice to get out with a good friend and have girl time! I'm paying for it now but it was well worth it!

Happy Friday everyone! What does everyone have planned for the weekend?

22 September 2011

2 posts in a day... What?!

Normally, I do not do more than one blog post a day but I made an exception (mainly because I knew I would forget to post about it tomorrow) tell you all about an awesome giveaway from a fellow blogger...

Katie from Keep Calm and Carry On is giving away an AH-MAZING monogrammed lucite tray!

These trays are seriously the cutest.things.ever. Actually, a lot of Sweet Tea Paperie's products are adorable!

Enter for your chance to win here!

Well isn't that wonderful...

Remember when I told you about the tree branch falling on the car (here)? Well, we picked it up from the body shop yesterday and...

They said it was the closest they could match it and 'depending on the angle, it's the same color' but every angle I look at it, it's darker. Seriously?!? I almost prefer the dent.

Later in the day, Beau went in the basement to wash his work clothes. The same basement that was flooded 2 week ago -- getting our new-ish washer and dryer wet. When he turned the washer on, all he gets is a humming sound. You have got to be kidding me! Can't I catch a break? Don't worry, we will be going after the water company especially since they lied to us!

So after picking up the car, going into the basement and such, my back was NOT feeling well. Beau ended up going to his parents house to do his laundry and I was home... in a ton of pain. So what is a girl to do when home alone, frustrated and in pain? She calls her mommy!

Next thing I knew, Mommy and Daddy (yes, that is what I call my parents and I always will) were at my door with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Thank God for the best parents ever! The only two people a girl can always count on!

And to get you through the day:

21 September 2011

Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday: Wedding Edition

It's Wednesday which means I'm linking up with The Vintage Apple for

Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday: Wedding Edition

Isn't this the *perfect* sweetheart table?

I will have one of these glasses. Too funny!

These will be made for both my Mommy and Daddy <3

If only our girls would sit nicely enough for this!

A 'must take day of' picture. My MOH and I will have a blast with this.

My dream wedding location: Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC

If you get a chance, stop by and visit Rachel at Just Peachy. She is hosting an awesome giveaway!

And by the way, who else is completely HATING the new Facebook? I know I am!

20 September 2011

Finally, a trip out of the house...

Yesterday was one of my busiest days since I had my procedure last week.

It started when I was attempting to go downstairs to have breakfast and there was a knock on my door. I looked out the front window to see a guy from the water company along with 4 trucks and a backhoe. Let me give you a little background first... (be prepared, it's kind of long)

The night of Tuesday the 6th, we had a few big storms start to come through New Jersey. I was doing laundry in the basement and when I went to switch the clothes around, there was around two inches of water on the floor. I was just down there 40 minutes earlier to put stuff in the washer -- how is there already two inches?! I had a feeling we would have flooding because of the hurricane that had just come through (ground was already saturated and we had flooding during the hurricane as well) but this quickly?

By the time Beau got home from work, we had over a foot of water in our basement. It was definitely a 'fml' moment. We had between three and four sump pumps running for three days straight and our local fire department pumped out the basement three times. The water would not stop flowing in! My smart Fiance had an idea: 'With how much water is flowing in, did a water line break?' So Wednesday/Thursday at midnight, we called the water company and at 4:30am, a technician was out to our house. According to him, it was all ground water from the storm but a crew would be out in the morning to double check. When that crew came out, they confirmed that there was no leak.

Fast forward to this morning... The guy knocks on the door and says that there is a leak in the water line in front of my house and he needs to turn the water off. But wait, I thought there wasn't a leak? So I got on the phone with the water company who claims they told us about the leak when they came out the morning we called. Needless to say, Beau and I are beyond ticked off and there is nothing we can do about it since they are the only water company here.

In front of my house.
Sorry for the poor iPhone zoom quality

So besides from that, I left the house yesterday to pick my mom up from dropping her car off at the body shop.

Poor Lisa!
A tree branch fell on her during one of the storms.

Me driving to pick up my mom = horrible idea! I was in so much pain -- I wasn't sure I was going to make it. But I did and I got back home, safe and sound! It was so nice to get out of the house though.

It was a big night for prime time television last night...

Two and a Half Men was a huge flop in my opinion. When the show first started, it was so funny. Not anymore though. Not since Jake grew up. I also wasn't that impressed with 2 Broke Girls. The commercials made it out to be funnier than it was. I'll continue to watch; maybe it gets better as the season goes on. The Playboy Club was not what I was expecting but I will definitely be watching again next week.

Now, I can't comment too much on Dancing with the Stars since I wasn't planning on watching this season. I did, however, flipped it on once and a while to check it out. Just when I thought Maksim Chmerkovskiy was the hottest guy, along comes his brother Valentin. Those Russians know how to breed them!

Left: Maks , Right: Val

(I think I watch too much TV... then again, what else do I have to do with a bad back!)

And before you go on with your Tuesday, Neely at A Complete Waste of Makeup is hosting a Princess House giveaway. There are 6 ways to enter for your chance to win a $25 gift certificate so go check it out!

19 September 2011

Monday, Monday...

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was spent mainly in bed because of my back (boooo!)

I did, however, shuffle out to the couch to watch a beautiful win against Auburn...

This win allowed Clemson to move into the AP Top 25 taking Auburn's spot at #21 and ending Auburn's 17 game win streak. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!

Our living room TV was occupied the rest of the weekend since NHL 12 was released for PS3. If Beau wasn't working or sleeping, he was playing hockey. At least it's a change in music -- I was getting so tired of the NHL 11 soundtrack!

Anyone else excited for the season premier of How I Met Your Mother tonight? Between HIMYM, Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls, and The Playboy Club, it will be a busy TV night. I haven't watched Two and a Half Men in over two years but I've heard rumors of how they kill Charlie off and I want to see how it goes down. As for 2 Broke Girls and The Playboy Club - they are both series premiers which look interesting so I'll give them a chance. I just hope my back handles being on the couch that long! If not, the DVR will be my best friend.

16 September 2011

Worse pain then before? Lovely...

Well folks, I'm alive.

The doctor had said that I would be in more pain after the procedure because it would make my 'nerves angry' but I didn't realize it would be this bad. I was crying in pain before we even left the hospital!

I did feel a little better when I got home and saw this precious arrangement waiting on my porch...

Isn't this the cutest thing you ever saw?! Here is a close up of the flower puppy:

A big 'Thank You' to Kerri, Mike, and Sam for sending it to me! It means more than you'll ever know!

P.S. Check out Kerri's blog today... Mike wrote a surprise post for their engagement's one-year anniversary.

So here I am, stuck in bed. I can get up and walk around the house but it takes me forever to get place to place. And because of everything, I'm not allowed to drive... Then again, I can't even sit upright in a car. I just hope this procedure works and I'll be pain-free for the first time in 9 months!

I may venture out to the porch later on though. It's a BEAUTIFUL fall day here in NJ!

TGIF everyone! Enjoy your weekend!