It’s Not The Same Old, Same Old!

I happened upon an article about America’s perception of aging in the current issue of the AARP magazine, that I found really eye opening. Before I share some of their fascinating findings, just let me say, I had to be led kicking and screaming to anything even close to AARP.

They started sending me membership announcements when I was still a spring chicken (I always wondered which of my friends thought this would be funny) – so there is a part of me that has been actively avoiding even acknowledging their existence, much less listening to what they have to say.

As I am aging, and I might add happily so, I’ve been astounded by the misconceptions and preconceived notions I had about the process. And as anyone who has been called ma’am by the checkout clerk, the police officer, or the good looking guy at the bar can attest, we start to be perceived as old when we are still relatively young.

What I found intriguing about the article was how our perception of age differs not only depending on our age, but our gender and ethnicity. The 1,800 people who were polled struck down some previously held stereotypical concepts, in addition to painting a much rosier picture of their attitudes about growing older. The respondents ranged in age from 40 to 90 with a whopping 85% saying they were not old yet. In fact, one 90-year old woman said she wouldn’t be old until she hit 95. You go girl!!

When asked at what age is a person old, people in their 40s said it was the age 63. People in their 50s think you are old if you are 68. The individuals who are in their 60s definitely don’t think you’ve jumped the shark until you reach 73, while folks in their 70s think 75 sort of marks the final frontier.

Both men and women agree that a man is old when he hits 70. Those same people were split when it comes to their opinion of when a woman is old. Men think a woman is past her prime when she blows out 68 candles on her birthday cake. Women (oh, we are so wise) think we are still young until we reach age 75.

It’s also surprising that as we age our perception of the problems associated with aging diminishes rather than flourishes. The answers to the following questions have some surprising results:

Problems with my physical health do not hold me back from doing what I want
58% of 40-year-olds agreed with this statement. 63% of 50-somethings agreed. And, are you ready?
69% of 60- and 70-year-olds hold this belief.

Growing older has been easier than I thought
39% of those 40-year-old youngsters agree, while 48% of the 50-year-olds concurred. By the time they’ve reached 60, 59% felt this to be true, and 55% of 70-year-olds think it’s less burdensome.

I have more energy now than I expected for my age
Only 24% of 40-year-olds are buying into this, but by the time they reach their 50s, 47% agree. And it just gets better from there. 54% of people in their 60s feel more energized than they’d anticipated, and 64% of 70-year-olds are jumping for joy.

The younger we are, the more respect we think the elderly deserve, which may be attributable to the fact that as we age we realize respect is earned, not just a right of passage.

African Americans not only are more likely to feel there are many pleasant things about growing older, but they are also more inclined to feel their life has made a difference. They are also less likely to feel that old age is a time of loneliness than their Hispanic, Caucasian or Asian American counterparts.

And finally, our optimism about sex stays fairly consistent regardless of age, although men of all ages seem to think they will continue to enjoy it to a higher degree than women. Of those polled, 71% of men and 51% of women said they believe age has nothing to do with enthusiasm.

I will leave you with a quote from Whoopi Goldberg (who happens to be 58) that appeared in the article:

“There’s only one alternative to getting older, so suck it up.”

Posted in Breast Cancer Survivors, Healthy Living, Humor, In the News, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet Amoena Ambassador Ginger Johnson

We love these ladies! Here’s the third Amoena Ambassador (alphabetically speaking): Ginger Johnson, 38, from Layton, Utah.

amoena ambassador Ginger JohnsonAmoena: What was your first reaction when you knew you were a finalist?
Ginger: I was really excited and happy!

Amoena: Who supports you the most?
Ginger: God, my husband, my children – in that order. God has always been there for me to give me strength and wisdom when I felt alone and my husband, Travis, has always had my back, even when I lost my front (wink). We’ve been married for 15 years in May and I can honestly say that getting married to him was the best decision of my life. At the risk of sounding corny – he completes me. LOL. We’ve been through so much together and even with our disagreements and days when I’m frustrated beyond belief, I still know that together we can achieve so much more than if we were apart.

Amoena: Just for fun, what’s your favorite meal?
Ginger: That’s a hard one. I like a variety of foods from all over the world – but I guess my favorite meal would be my husband’s homemade chicken enchiladas. YUM. They make my mouth water.

Amoena: How about your favorite TV show?
Ginger: I don’t watch much TV because of my schedule but I do like to watch Jimmy Fallon at night when I get the chance. I think the way he’s combined the late night talk show format with short skits that remind me of the old Saturday Night Live is absolutely genius – and fun to watch.

Amoena: The most recent book you read?
Ginger: The last book I read was Insurgent – the 2nd book in the Divergent series. I read it in about 5 hours one Saturday (525 pages) when I needed a break. Sometimes it’s good to just let your mind escape from a busy schedule and I tend to get lost in books that relate to human behavior and personalities. The book before that was Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Again, a book on human behavior. I love learning about what makes people tick, why we think the way we do and how to best honor people in their uniqueness – because I truly believe that everyone has a divine birthright of being awesome.

Amoena: What do you do to relax?
Ginger: Read, go on a walk, sleep and get outside in nature. I love to backpack with my family and we’ve been on several backpacking trips over the years. Last year we hiked 17 miles in The Narrows in Zion National Park and 15 miles in Coyote Gulch in central Utah.  Backpacking may not sound very relaxing – but when you get away from the noise of the world and have time to just be in nature without cell phones, computers, etc – it can be very relaxing.

Amoena: What do you most look forward to about working with us?
Ginger: I’ve wanted to work with the Amoena team for a long time because I feel that the corporation and brand is truly focused on improving women’s lives and that is a focus of mine as well.

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Meet Amoena Ambassador Eden Lackey

It’s so fun to get to know the new Amoena Ambassadors! This is Eden Lackey, 36, from Austin, Texas.

amoena ambassador eden lackeyAmoena: What was your first reaction when you knew you were a finalist?
Eden: I was incredibly excited I was chosen for this opportunity. At the same time it was humbling. As I know I am representing a community of women that are fighting to survive.

Amoena: Who supports you the most?
Eden: My biggest supporters, let me count the ways! I am so very blessed with an amazing support system. But my mom and my little brother if I had to choose.

Amoena: Just for fun, what’s your favorite meal?
Eden: My favorite meal at this very moment is rice and curry. But that can change at any moment!

Amoena: How about your favorite TV show?
Eden: My favorite TV show is Ellen. She is my idol! When I was sick that was one hour out of my day I could put a smile on my face and take the focus off my pain and sickness.

Amoena: What’s the most recent book you read?
Eden: The most recent book I read is a fantasy fiction called Graceling. It is about a strong woman navigating a very challenging and male dominated environment, finding love along the way.

Amoena: What do you do to relax?
Eden: My favorite way to relax, when my body allows, is playing the guitar and yoga. I am terrible at both, but they are so very therapeutic for me. Oh and music! Music feeds the soul!

Amoena: What do you most look forward to about working with us?
Eden: Ever since I was diagnosed with cancer I have wanted nothing more than to help others by showing them what strength and perseverance looks like. I have felt a huge drive and passion for making it my life’s mission to uplift and inspire women. This opportunity will help me do that.

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Meet Amoena Ambassador Carletta Cunningham

Let’s get to know our — yourAmoena Ambassadors. Going in alphabetical order, we’ll start with Carletta, age 42, from Austell, Georgia.

amoena ambassador carletta cunninghamAmoena: What was your first reaction when you knew you were a finalist?
Carletta: I was extremely excited to have an opportunity to speak with Malissa. When I got the news that I’d been named one of the winners, I was driving in my car.  I was at a stoplight and very exuberantly displayed my joy in the car. I was tickled PINK (no pun intended) to learn that I’d been named one of the winners.

Amoena: Who supports you the most?
Carletta: My mother is my biggest fan and supporter. In addition to my mom, I’ve been extremely blessed and fortunate to have a strong support system that extends to and beyond family and friends to virtual friends with whom I’ve bonded through social media. I have an incredible support system that has always encouraged me to find an inner strength. Metaphorically, they’ve held me up on many a day when I felt less inclined than ever to stand. I’m so incredibly grateful for my family. It’s undeniable that my support system has been and continues to be a lifeline.

Amoena: Just for fun, what’s your favorite meal?
Carletta: Prior to my diagnosis, I would have answered ‘Mexican.’ Since completion of chemotherapy, I have been seeking to improve my diet in many ways. I still love Mexican food and would find it challenging to turn down a quesadilla (lol). However, I realize a better choice would include good protein and veggies like salmon and spinach or a roasted veggie sandwich.

Amoena: How about your favorite TV show?
Carletta: Admittedly, I’m a bit of a TV junkie. I probably have a favorite or two in every genre. If I had to choose one overall favorite from current shows, it would be a tie between Scandal and Modern Family. I could very easily name at least ten shows that I watch regularly enough to record them in an effort to not miss an episode.

Amoena: What’s the most recent book you read?
Carletta: Waking the Warrior Goddess by Dr. Christine Horner

Amoena: What do you do to relax?
Carletta: I pray to relax. The quiet time with God helps me to rejuvenate and restore my faith. I also enjoy playing tennis. There is nothing quite like a fun, healthy dose of competition to help me relax. Swimming is new for me. But, it’s really therapeutic and relaxing as well.

Amoena: What do you most look forward to about working with us?
Carletta: Being named an Amoena ambassador provides another platform from which to build and raise awareness. I take pride in the title SURVIVOR and will never take it lightly or for granted. Over the past six months, I’ve been deliberate about capturing my journey in pictures, especially during chemo. It was a time to show my vulnerability but also my strength. I know the photo shoot will be especially fun for me. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone. Of course, I’m going to relate, relax and release during the spa day activities. I guess it boils down to this – I am looking forward to it all – the entire experience! I’m very grateful for this opportunity.

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Mission: Strength — Announcing our winners!

It gives us great pleasure to introduce our winners for the Amoena Mission Strength essay contest!

Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

Carletta-Cunningham_large

Carletta Cunningham

Eden-Lackey_large

Eden Lackey

Congratulations to Ginger, Carletta and Eden!

We received more than 70 entries for this competition, and every single one moved us. Thank you for your participation and support of our contest! We know you must have shared the news and encouraged your friends to sign up, and we are very grateful. We have been introduced to a lot of new faces who are out there, making a difference in their local communities and the wider breast cancer survivorship circle.

Our interviews with the finalists revealed  women who are:

  • lobbying for laws to change
  • writing books about their experiences
  • returning to school to become nurses, teachers, advocates
  • running non-profits and new businesses
  • treasuring the small but important moments with family and friends
  • blogging about it
  • running, climbing, walking, cycling, tri-athleting, kayaking, and staying healthy
  • proudly telling their tales in support groups

All of them have made the courageous decision to use their breast cancer journeys to help other women.

This is strength. This is beautiful.

Congratulations and best wishes to every participant. You will be hearing from us! We are honored to know your stories and we can’t wait to share more about our new Amoena Ambassadors — and to honor the Young Survival Coalition, as well! Stay tuned!

Posted in Contests, Giving Back, In the News, Lifestyle, My Story, Uncategorized, Young Survivors | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Club Amoena 2013 Embrace Every Curve Essay Contest Winner

Amoena Life magazine conducted its fourth Club Amoena essay contest last summer and contacted the winner in October, 2013. Meet Marilyn Wattman-Feldman, 61, a longtime reader and a courageous survivor of metastatic breast cancer who has learned a lot over the years about life’s winding road. Here, she shares how she travels it with grace.

Club Amoena essay winner Marilyn Wattman-FeldmanEvery road traveled in life has a curve. In one instance, it can be a treacherous road that needs to be navigated in order to reach a new destination. Or, it can be the image of a woman staring at herself in a mirror seeing the reflection of a body that has changed, perhaps beyond recognition. Life hands us “curve balls.”

The journey from normal to a “new” normal has many such curves. What starts as a simply day can end with a horrific nightmare. Initially, hearing that I had breast cancer did not necessarily scare me since I was a daughter of a long-time survivor. But when the cancer changed direction, metastasizing to both the lungs and eventually the bones — that curve turned into a dark, terrifying path. The ability for me to see beyond that point was, at best, difficult. I would find myself on a roller coaster/merry-go-round (two rides I despise) for way too many years. Those long hours of living in chronic pain, both physical and emotional, have left their marks. Attempting to find a way out — learning to embrace a new curve, took on new meaning.

There are many words that can be shared — words meant to heal and make one feel better. I heard them all.  Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Friends and family told me “You will get better.” “You will survive.” I needed to find my own words, something I could embrace, and thus I began to say, “Everyday in every way I am getting better and stronger.”

I posted these words on my computer screen with a sticky note. I posted the words on books I read, on the tables nearby my hospital chair where I went for chemo. Everywhere I went I saw those words and they became my personal mantra. At first, they were just words I said. I felt awful. I lived in pain 24/7. While I never completely lost my hair during chemotherapy, I did get a horrific burn from radiation. I still recall the day I ripped off my bra and threw it away. The pain of wearing anything on my breast was too much. The “curve” I was on was a dead-end.

The transformation from being in that deep, dark scary place took time. To be honest, it took years. For years I lived a totally different life — I looked different. I weighed in at 186 pounds, definitely “weird” from someone who spent 99 percent of her life underweight. I used lots and lots of “drugs” — most for pain management. I discovered that there is pain beyond the standard scale of 1 – 10. When I broke my right femur (2005) and left femur (2008) the pain scale was at 100, both times. Finding a way out of this scenario — that was logical, safe, and normal — would certainly require major intervention. This came in the way of writing. I had to return to something I enjoyed. Something that brought out a passion in me. While in the deepest of depression, I stopped writing. I could not even put two words together to form a sentence. But, when I re-discovered my interest in writing, life changed. I found a new “avenue” that worked for me.

First, it was a play titled “Chemonologues” that took me two years to write and was presented as a play reading. This reinforced my self-image, allowing me to “change the curve” in my life. I also discovered a new passion. I began exercising. Water fitness, Silver Sneakers, tai chi… eventually, I moved on to Zumba and basic spinning. That 186-pound woman I did not recognize — she lost 50 pounds in one year. And now, I have discovered a new me.

The body I saw in the mirror was still misshaped; I had curves where they didn’t even belong. The mosaic of my total self was and still is a major work in progress. However, I am finally able to “embrace every cure” that comes my way. And seriously, it feels great!

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Why I’m Keen on Quinoa

Since the advent of the word “foodies” back in the 1980s (yes, I looked up its origin, and that’s as reliable as any I could find), it sometimes feels that as a nation, when we aren’t obsessed with who wore it best, we’re definitely fixated on not just what we put in our mouths, but knowing precisely how every bite breaks down scientifically.

The only problem is, most of the information we gobble up nearly as quickly as a gluten-free gumdrop, is anything but scientific. And even what is touted as scientific is often disproved once it leaves the petri dish and finds its way to our watering mouths.

What this means is we have vegans, vegetarians, fruitarians, Paleos, blood type, low carb, high-protein – the list goes on and on. Food and nutrition and all that goes with them — a hot topic every day of the year. And, yes, there is way too much processed food and too many things added to our foods – even too many foods, if you ask me. But there is one thing we can never get enough of (and it’s good for digestion), and that’s laughter.

So, when I find a food that makes me laugh, I’m all for it. And this is where my little buddy Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) comes in. I was introduced to what has been purported to be one of the world’s healthiest foods a few years ago. In fact, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations declared 2013 as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” But that’s so last year …

Quinoa is touted to be filled with not only high nutritional value, but antioxidants, flavonoids, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, omega-3s – well – I could go on and on, but I’m pretty sure you’d soon surmise I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about.

Why do I like Quinoa? Well, for one, it’s a snap to prepare. If you can boil water, you will be a Quinoa aficionado in no time flat. Which brings up something else I like about Quinoa. You can prepare it with chicken stock, or beef stock, or vegetable stock if you decide you want to eat ts more like you would rice and less like you would cereal.

Tired of your normal run-of-the-mill white Quinoa? Well, have no fear, because you can not only substitute red or black – but it even comes in a flake or flour variation.

creamed quinoa with berries

Quinoa: It’s what’s for breakfast.

I’ve tried it hot with almond milk, cinnamon, and walnuts, with a bit of coconut sugar and called it a heavenly breakfast. I’ve also had it piled on a salad at lunch with chicken breast, avocado, red bell peppers, and shredded carrots and not only felt full – but healthy. And as I mentioned, prepare it with your favorite broth or stock, and you can use it as a side dish in the evening. I’ve even had it in casseroles and gone back for more!

Okay, so you’d think my main reason for loving it would be its versatility (and healthy attributes) – right? Well, those are all just fine. But the reason I’ve grown to really love it is because Quinoa seems to have a sense of humor. I have yet to eat it without having some literally jump off my fork. I feel sort of like Horton in Horton Hears a Who, because I could almost swear I hear this tiny voice saying, “Wheeeee!” as it lands on the table, my lap, or the floor (depending on how careful I’m being not to spill any)!

If you doubt me, then you’ll have to prepare a batch for yourself and test my theory. Just remember this: while looking for information to share about this funny little grain, I discovered it is a species of goosefoot. Do you suppose that explains its ability to skedaddle?

Posted in Blog Stuff, Eating Well, Healthy Living, Humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Amoena USA’s Mission Strength Contest and Ambassador Search

This year, it’s time for us to honor you with something special, something different. It’s time for Amoena USA to give back in a really big way.

amoena mission strength contest flyerWin the chance to be an Amoena ambassador, enjoy a spa day getaway and support other women.

When you’re battling breast cancer, your Mission… you have no choice but to accept it… is to draw upon the strength that has, actually, always been part of you.
 
We think you deserve a medal…. or at least a very fine spa day!  The Young Survival Coalition (YSC) deserves a whole lot of support, too, for helping women find their strength along the way. Amoena and YSC have partnered to bring you an inspirational contest and nationwide Amoena ambassador search. Three (3) winners will be rewarded with the year’s most meaningful prize package:

  • A $10,000 donation to YSC on the winner’s behalf – this funding will help hundreds of young women diagnosed with breast cancer feel supported, informed and empowered.
  • A spa-day getaway –relax and unwind! Everyone knows the strongest women take care of themselves, on principle!
  • A year’s supply of beautiful Amoena lingerie – bra and panty sets, camisoles and flirty pieces to ensure you feel pretty. (See Contest Rules for complete details.)
  • A makeover and photo shoot in Amoena’s newest clothing lines — like Active, Night and Leisure wear — and the opportunity to be featured in our magazine and other publications.

How to Enter: Simply tell us how YOU have redefined strength and beauty after your breast cancer journey.

We’re looking for the difference-makers, the charge-leaders, the activists, and the trend-setters. Include a recent photo and you’re all set! Winners will be announced at the end of March.

Submit your entry at www.amoena.us/missionstrength, or email us at info@amoena.com with “MISSION: STRENGTH” in your Subject line. Contest runs through March 14, 2014. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Please see the official Contest Rules.

We can’t wait to meet you!

mission strength logo

Posted in Breast Cancer Survivors, Contests, Giving Back, Inspiration, Lifestyle, My Story, Young Survivors | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Atlanta Event: Pink Pearls and Girls Together

UPDATE:  Due to impending inclement weather in the Atlanta area, we are going to cancel tomorrow’s event and reschedule it sometime this spring. We apologize for any inconvenience and we sincerely hope you’ll join us when the weather is warm and pleasant! Stay tuned for any further updates.
posted 2/10/14 at 10:25 am

Amoena USA is teaming up with Spa Sydell and Livi Rae Lingerie (you know, the Double Divas girls) at an exclusive breast cancer survivor event tomorrow, Feb. 11, in Midtown.

pink pearls invitationLet Molly & Cynthia provide you with a specialized bra fitting, focusing on your unique symmetry and balance to help you look and feel your best in comfortable and seductive lingerie from Amoena.

You will also get the opportunity to meet fellow breast cancer survivors from the Young Survival Coalition, and learn more about their resources and events.

This event is open to everyone, so bring your friends and family and help support breast cancer awareness. It’s a lovely girls’ night out, with a supportive purpose!

We are offering different packages, each of which include a personalized fitting, a bra, and a Swarovski bracelet. A portion of all sales will benefit the Young Survival Coalition.

pink pearl bracelet

If you book a package with a massage, please call Spa Sydell at (404) 255-7727 to confirm your appointment time. Book your massage during the day of the event and recieve a special gift from Spa Sydell. 

Let us celebrate YOU! Get all the details and Register here!

Posted in Amoena Press Releases, Bra Fittings, Breast Cancer Awareness, Breast Cancer Survivors, Giving Back, In the News, Support Groups | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seamless, Strapless, Shaping Solutions for your Fashion Moments

Amoena’s new shapewear collection delivers the lingerie items on every woman’s wish list

Finding the perfect strapless bra is a challenge for most women, but when you’ve had a mastectomy going strapless seems almost impossible. Leading breast care designer Amoena has risen to the challenge, however, with its new strapless bra that incorporates fine mesh pockets to hold a breast form or bust enhancer comfortably, safely and discreetly in place.

Malissa Magyar, Amoena’s marketing manager, explains: “Whatever the season, a strapless bra is a must for every woman’s lingerie collection. But until now, women who wear a breast form have struggled to find a bra that fits the bill and, whether you’ve had breast surgery or not, strapless bras can often feel restricting. Amoena has a reputation for designing lingerie that fits like a dream, and this bra is no exception. And because it also has a convertible option, with detachable straps that can be crossed over at the back, plus a set of clear straps, we think it will be a great favorite this spring.”

Amoena Barbara strapless mastectomy bra

Amoena’s first strapless bra, Barbara

The new strapless bra (Barbara, Style #2457) is part of Amoena’s shapewear collection that also includes a new ‘3D’ wire-free bra that uses ingenious stitching to offer the support and shape of an underwire style; a back-shaping bra (Magdalena, Style #2463) that helps streamline the upper back and looks great under fitted tops; seam-free panties; and a range of tummy-control shapewear for the perfect silhouette.

The shapewear range is part of Amoena’s spring/summer 2014 collection, available at selected Amoena retailers, starting in January.

To find out more about Amoena and locate stores nationwide, visit www.amoena.us.

Media inquiries, please visit our Press Room.

Posted in Amoena Fashion, Amoena Press Releases, Amoena Textiles, In the News, Inside Amoena, Intimate Apparel, Mastectomy Products, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment