I love how January feels so refreshed and full of hope. Or, at least it feels like the proverbial “clean slate.” I always make an extra effort to put things on my desk in order before I leave for the winter holidays, so I’ll be welcomed back in the right state of mind.
Amoena has refreshed in another way, too, which you may already have seen: Our new website! We hope you’ll really love it. We redesigned it with you in mind, so it showcases our products with larger photos, and the text is easier to read. It’s also more robust, I think — more inspiring, informative articles (with more to come!) to keep you coming back. For a sampling, check out:
One note about Amoena Life magazine: We usually publish in January, but this year, we have moved that date out. Look for your new issue in mid-March. We’ll still spotlight our Club Amoena Essay Contest Winner, and you’ll finally see the articles we’ve been working on since mid-2012! We’re sorry for this delay, but we’re hopeful the new schedule, March and September, will serve readers better by alerting you to bras and breast forms that are available in stores at the time of publication.
Now, if I can just figure out what’s going on with the extra-bold font on this blog (what happened, WordPress?), we will be all set for a clean and beautiful 2013!
Wishing the same for you. Please let us know what you think of the new look and the new year so far!
I knew from the moment I met her Belle was going to be a delight. I’d been dealing with the holidays in my usual funk. I’m happy that other people are buying and decorating trees, thrilled that nighttime brings such a splendid array of sparkling lights – and even grateful that at least for a few weeks perhaps people will be more focused on peace on earth and goodwill towards their fellow humans. I just always feel somehow like I’m on the outside looking in.
Much of this is my own fault and I know it. Although I consider myself to be a deeply spiritual person, I am not what I would call religious. I do firmly and emphatically believe that everyone is entitled to his or her beliefs, and I often envy friends who know exactly what these are. As is true with most things in my life, this is just one more area where I am always questioning and contemplating (and, yes, doubting).
On Christmas Eve, a very dear friend left me a voicemail asking if we would like to join her for a festive holiday dinner. Since I had been trying to figure out how I was going to watch It’s a Wonderful Life without throwing something at the flat screen, I quickly and appreciatively said YES!
We arrived early (because we’re always worried we’ll be late) and made small talk while noshing on tasty tidbits and sipping wine. I love it when I get to pretend I’m a grown up!
Shortly thereafter, Marc and Denise arrived with his 95-year-old mother in tow. From the moment she walked into the room she owned it. At first glance, what I saw was a diminutive, white haired woman. I quickly realized she might be tiny – but she was mighty. Mighty cute, mighty funny, mighty forgetful, and to my amazement – mighty young at heart.
Belle (I learned her name when she stuck out her hand to offer an introduction) let me know from the start that she was born in 1917. She must have gleaned my math skills quickly, because she went on to announce this made her 95 years young. The phrasing was hers not mine, by the way.
I had one of those moments I imagine many breast cancer survivors have (and perhaps people in general, but that’s territory I don’t own) when I not only marveled at her age – but hoped, really hoped I could live to be 95 and be as spry and amazing as she is. (And this was all before she wooed me with song!)
I learned that Belle used to deliver singing telegrams (which helps to explain why she asks everyone she meets if it’s their birthday). I found myself marveling at how many changes she has seen in her lifetime. I also tried to wrap my head around the fact that if I lived another 30 years, I still wouldn’t be 95 – which I can tell you made me feel just a bit like a spring chicken!
The dinner table was aglow with candles of all shapes and sizes, which gave the evening a fairytale quality I’ve often viewed in movies, but seldom seen in real life. Part way through the evening Belle once again asked if it was anyone’s birthday. I piped up that it wasn’t my birthday until April, but I wished she’d sing a song to me now.
Quicker than you can say Busby Berkeley (if you don’t know who this is, Google him), Belle stood up and began a full-on rendition of Happy Birthday, complete with staging that would make any Broadway singer or hoofer proud. Not only did I feel as though I was being transported through time and space – I know that Belle shared this sensation as well. There was no doubt I was in the presence of Belle Farer Telson, force of nature, singer extraordinaire, and quite obviously a little spitfire to boot!
Belle sat down and then, smiling at me through the shimmering candlelight, began belting out You Made Me Love You. Without a second thought I began singing with her even though the song is something I recall was old when my parents were still in their 20s. In that moment I realized this was the best holiday gift I’d had in a long, long time.
I, for one, am thankful that Belle has managed to not only live this long – but live this well. Because something else transpired that evening: By giving me hope, she made me believe in miracles once again.
Amoena retailers, it’s that time again: The 2013 POWER Symposium — Providing Opportunities for Wellness, Education & Renewal — is officially open for registration.
Actually, registration opened October 1, but if you haven’t already taken advantage of the special early-bird pricing, don’t miss your chance. This year’s conference is packed with valuable insight and entertainment from a broad variety of experts and specialists, like our bra-fitting friend, Ali Cudby, and our longtime RN expert, Lillie Shockney, among others.
For the past four months, I’ve been following a health plan that combines the use of pre- and probiotics along with consuming foods that are considered “clean” in order to attempt to improve my overall health. It involves everything from L-Glutamine to chicory, so to say I’ve been getting quite an education is putting it mildly!
For instance, I never knew that in order to thrive, probiotics need to have good stuff in our guts to feed on (which is where prebiotics come into play). Since science has never been my strong suit (I had to excuse myself from the room when we were supposed to dissect a fetal pig), there was much about how the human body works that to me seemed like a lot of hocus pocus.
When I heard that Dr. Alejandro Junger feels that all disease begins in the gut (our second brain) I was intrigued, if for no other reason than my second brain was very large, so I wanted to see if that gave me bragging rights. For anyone else out there with a large second brain, let me tell you right now: nope – not so much!
I make light of this discovery, but I want to tell you that following Dr. Junger’s Clean Program has changed my life. So many of the aches and pains I thought were simply part of growing older have disappeared, and the only thing I can attribute this to is changing my eating habits so that I don’t eat foods that cause inflammation.
I became interested in inflammation and how it negatively affects our body when I began to see it associated with so many diseases (cancer included!). I’d never really given much thought to how the foods I eat could either enhance or diminish this inflammation, but I’m here to tell you, I’m living proof. If I eat bread (which, by the way, I happen to LOVE) I can be sure that my joints and connective tissue will ache.
It seems that gluten, sugar, and dairy are not my body’s friends. Why it couldn’t have been something like Brussels sprouts and anchovies is beyond me! I’m too stubborn to want to be one of those people who jumps on the gluten, sugar and dairy-free bandwagon. You know the type who sit in a restaurant and pick everything apart so the poor wait person is left trying to decipher the copious notes needed just to place an order. I want to enjoy my food, not literally pick it apart.
I’ve been thrilled to discover that there are numerous foods that are gluten-free, and the marketplace also seems to be introducing new products all the time that leave gluten out of the mix. As with any popular trend, however, it’s important to read the labels! Just because something is gluten free does not mean it doesn’t have other ingredients that aren’t that good for you.
Since I’m not a big fan of stevia, getting over my use of sugar was a bit more of a challenge. Luckily, a friend of mine who has been a vegan for several years told me about xylitol. Not only does it taste like sugar, which is a good thing – no – a great thing – it is also good for your teeth and doesn’t make your blood sugar spike. When I get a really strong craving for sweets I mix a bit of it with some raw powdered cacao, unsweetened shredded coconut, chopped walnuts and a bit of almond milk to make my own delicious treat.
Click the photo for an article about delicious fruits and veggies.
On the occasions when I stray from what I know to be “clean” eating, I pay careful attention to how I feel the next day. What I’m noticing is that when I eat the wonderful foods that are on the program, I’m never hungry, I don’t feel deprived, and I know my body is happy with my choices. When we aren’t loading ourselves up on processed foods, our bodies actually thrive on fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins. I’ve even noticed that my sense of taste and smell have improved.
I’ve only been doing this for four months, but here’s the thing I’ve discovered. This is not a diet. It’s a way of life. I finally understand exactly what that means. While I would LOVE to be able to follow a discipline for a few months and then throw caution to the wind, I realize healthy eating means making good choices every day.
What I love about the Clean program is that it makes me feel that in some small way I’m doing what I can to prevent another bout of breast cancer. I realize these are baby steps, and I also realize that the years of poor diet and lack of exercise cannot simply be erased. What I am fully appreciating right now is that what I’m eating and the exercise I’m doing are causing me to look forward to every day because I not only feel empowered, I’m starting to remember what it feels like to be healthy.
I invite anyone who is interested to drop me a note or comment and I’ll be happy to share some of my recipes and insights.
Okay, while I was all busy dealing with breast cancer, I guess I lost my fabulous fashionista flair! And that, as they say, ain’t pretty. To make matters even worse, I didn’t even realize I was no longer a maven of style until I mistakenly purchased some low rise jeans. How does that happen, you ask?
I recently went to a CAbi home shopping party. If you haven’t been to one, let me just say that although CAbi supposedly stands for Carol Anderson by invitation, if you are like me, it should stand for Cash (CA) bye bye (bi). It always sounds so innocent when someone smiles at you and says, “I’m having a few ladies over on Thursday night to look at clothes. You don’t have to buy anything; it will just be fun, food and wine.”
Here’s what you don’t know about me, unless you’ve made the mistake of inviting me over – mention free food and wine and I’m there. Of course I don’t have to buy anything. This is always my mantra until I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, and then suddenly I’m a Rockefeller. So what if the jacket won’t go with anything I already own – I must have it! Who cares if the dress will make me look like a character bumped off of Jersey Shore? Just call me The Dire Situation. I can’t be bothered with trying something on – that would mean I’d have to put down my wine and appetizers. No way! I can eyeball an outfit and tell if it will fit. What I can’t tell is if it will look fitting on me.
So when I spotted a pair of darling rolled-up cuff jeans, I just knew they were meant for me. They even had a cute name: Johnny Jeans. What’s not to love about that? Next came the wait, because when you purchase clothes at a home party, unless you happen to be the lucky woman who is size 6, they usually don’t have what you’ve ordered on hand.
Oh, the anticipation. I just knew these jeans were gonna change my life. I just knew these jeans were gonna make me look 10 years younger, 20 pounds thinner, and unfortunately, my wallet much lighter as well. In retrospect, the only way they would have made me look younger and/or thinner was if I’d buttoned the waistband, somehow wedged my face through the open zipper and used them as a headpiece.
When they finally arrived I could hardly wait to wear them. I tore the bag open and immediately put those puppies on. Wait, what’s this? They only come up part way to my waist. Tug and pull as I might, they still have this “funny” (and I don’t mean ha-ha) fit.
Flash forward to the next day at work and I’m bemoaning this fiasco to a co-worker (I might add, a young co-worker) who rolls her eyes at me and says, “Those are low rise jeans; you’re supposed to wear a thong with them so when you bend over everyone can see your pretty underwear. They are designed to show your butt cleavage.”
Hello – not only don’t I want to show that new-to-me term – but I’d be willing to bet there isn’t anyone out there who wants to see it, either. Shucks, I gave up wearing thongs right after I managed to put a pair on the wrong way (don’t ask and I won’t tell!) And the idea that I would want to display said thong even if I was wearing it, is beyond my ability to comprehend.
Someone tried to tell me this is the modern day hip hugger. NOPE! I was a hip hugger, bell bottom gal and I can tell you that those actually hugged my hips. Those were the days. Low rise jeans (at least the ones I recently managed to buy without trying on) hug my hips until I decide to bend over, and then, well, let’s just say, there’s a full moon even when the sun is shining!
While I may once have mourned the loss of my frontal cleavage after my breast surgeries, I can definitely say that having my derriere exposed to the airy air, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!
It’s a special reminder of the seashore’s calming essence, that you can keep close to your heart.
The story behind our beautiful Hope Eternal products
This year, Amoena is celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness month in a new way. We’re thrilled to introduce our limited-time-only Hope Eternal Contact Comfort+ lightweight breast form to women everywhere. You should be seeing it in your local retail stores now.
The special edition adhesive form features artwork integrated into the back layer and designed by Annette Girke, a sculptor, 2-time breast cancer survivor and Amoena lingerie model. In case you didn’t read her biography in the last issue of Amoena Link magazine, we wanted to share a bit about her here, and explain her inspiration for the art she did for us.
Artist and breast cancer survivor Annette Girke
Born into an artistic family, Annette originally thought she would pursue fashion design. But her education took her down the paths of textile engineering and marketing, instead.
After her marriage and a move to a new city, Annette attended a sculpture class for fun — and discovered a real talent. Before long, friends were asking to buy her work. She opened a studio and now, along with sales of her own work, she even teaches sculpture classes.
Local Amoena retailers help us raise funds for breast cancer organizations by purchasing and selling our 2012 awareness pin, also designed by Annette.
Discovering breast cancer was, of course, never part of Annette’s plan, but she lets her work serve as therapy sometimes. She also loves letting the beach relieve her stress. “I love the beach and find it a calm, peaceful and positive place,” she explains in our article. “I often come to the coast to reflect and restore my sense of balance during times of stress — like when I was going through my breast cancer treatment and just before the annual MRI scans.” She’s always loved seashells, and talks about them as a symbol of eternity. They’ve been here for decades, she tells us, “they are with us now and they will be here for years to come. And that was what inspired me to use them in my design for this new breast form.”
We hope that this image will strengthen survivors everywhere with hope and peace. One interesting note: This year, we’re offering the pin and the breast form globally, not only here in the U.S. So women around the world will be connected with this special October Amoena collection.
Thank you once again for helping us spread the word about, and for participating in, our 2012 Essay Contest! We loved reading your “New Me” essays, and every one of you is a star. You’re doing great things for others, changing yourselves and changing your communities. Two writers were clear stand-outs, and so we’re happy to announce:
First place: Teresa Werth Second place: Holly Tabor
These two authors will soon be published here at Amoena Lifelines, and Teresa’s essay will also appear in the January issue of Amoena Life magazine.
Congratulations to everyone, and please keep on sharing your stories, whether you read them to your support group, start your own blog, or submit them to magazines and websites. Other women do benefit from your experience and wisdom!
Earlier this summer, my husband and I took an international trip out of our hometown airport in Atlanta on our hometown airline, Delta. While we were sitting at the gate waiting to board, my husband asked me to look out the window to see our plane. Much to my surprise, I saw that we were going to be flying on the “pink plane”! There’s only one and I was going to be on it!
You may know about Delta’s partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation that began in 2005 and according the Delta website, has raised $3.5 million for the foundation which equates to 13 fully-funded research projects as of October 2011. That is pretty exciting stuff!
And speaking of October, it’s only a month away but it’s not too late to think about honoring breast cancer awareness. Whether you’re new on the breast cancer journey, are thriving after breast cancer or love someone who fought (or is fighting) the fight, October is our way to educate, raise awareness and support our local and national organizations who are searching for a cure, new treatments or simply helping women live easier after a breast cancer diagnosis.
Fundraising walks are quite popular during October and certainly do a lot of good in raising money for local groups and for you (getting a little exercise!) but you can also do a lot of good with some less common ways to show your support.
Here are 3 different ideas for honoring National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
Sponsor an uninsured or underserved woman on the road to recovery:
You can help to pay for a woman’s after surgery products such as breast prostheses and post-surgical garments, even mastectomy bras with pockets to hold the prosthesis. One organization helping to make this happen is the All4One Alliance whose mission is to help underserved women recover from breast cancer with dignity. Donating to this cause is a way you can help break down the barriers to much needed products for these women.
Share your knowledge with others by volunteering: If you’re a survivor then you’ve “been there, done that” and there are lots of worried women just beginning on this journey that could benefit from your knowledge. Look for local ways to volunteer at support groups, hospitals or radiology/chemotherapy centers. You might also consider a non-profit like Living Beyond Breast Cancer who strives to empower women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life. Volunteers are always needed, for how ever long you can give, to support staff and programs, plan and prepare for events and offer support and education to the thousands of women they serve throughout the United States and Canada.
Plan an event of support closer to home: Whether it’s at the office, church or another place you spend most of your time, you could plan an October event right there! Does your town offer a mobile mammogram unit? Schedule them to come by or take a field trip to its closest stop and take part in an onsite mammogram along with the women you work or worship with! (Misery loves company, right?) Or ask an affiliate of a non-profit organization like Young Survival Coalition, BeBrightPink, Sister’s Network, Susan G. Komen or another local group to come by for a lunch and learn to educate women (and men!) in your office about the importance of early detection, getting support after diagnosis and more. And don’t forget the treats! Check out Positive Promotions (kind of like the Oriental Trading of breast cancer awareness) and purchase little goodies to hand out to your co-workers to remind them to honor those affected by breast cancer this October.
As you can see, there are several other ways you can get involved this October that doesn’t require a pair of walking shoes. We can ALL make a difference for one month – or even beyond!
What are your plans to spread awareness this October? Share!
P.S. In a couple of weeks, you’ll find out what Amoena is doing to give back this October, so stay tuned!
Throughout the last year, Amoena has had the wonderful opportunity to partner with supermodel, fashion icon and women’s advocate, Emme. As the spokesperson for our Amoena Mia Collection, Emme has helped us reach women nationwide with a positive message of loving who you are — in and out. She’s Tweeted with us, talked with media, visited our retailers and bonded with women at bra-fitting parties. She is a class act, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have worked with her, learned from her and continued to be inspired by her. After reading her guest post reflecting on the past year, you may feel the same:
Very rarely have I embraced a relationship with a company as a spokesperson, like I did with Amoena.
At first, I learned about Amoena from my girlfriend, Alexandra Boos. She was so proud of her association with this fabulous company (that I couldn’t pronounce).
One afternoon in the summer of 2011, I sent my intern, Ariel, to an environmental product suite party in NYC on my behalf where she excitedly told me I had to meet a bra company that was totally aligned with EmmeNation. She liked the salespersons’ energy and how Amoena was a perfect fit for me and the mission at EmmeNation! Little did I know I would personally be introduced to the same company that Alex loved and adored. Small world connection—and how right my intern was!
But no matter how good or how fantastic the products are—the real reason I felt a deep brand alliance and emotional connection was the people. From the top to the bottom, at all levels. Those associated with the bras and company’s mission, leading the teams from creating the best fitting, technologically compassionate and sexy bras, panties, and Valletta tanks in the market—those people were different than many other groups I had worked together with previously.
Once I met and shared time with Amoena, I clearly saw that it all flowed from the top, starting with Phillip Spordis. It’s not hard to like Phillip. It is absolutely clear how steadfast his vision is for his team and their mission to make women feel and look good. But what I really appreciated was Phillip’s style and grace, no matter what is before him, and during my year working with the company, I saw how a real leader took charge and stood behind his troops, his employees, his colleagues. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Phillip and his team in Boston, NYC, Atlanta, Vegas, and most especially in Costa Rica at the National Sales Meeting where I was able to spend time with the entire sales force.
I grew through my year with Mia and feel like I have added important tools into my toolbox as a spokesperson and woman in business, absolutely on how to be a better leader. I saw firsthand the painstaking detail in the Amoena Mia bra production, how the attention to detail—no matter how small—made the Mia Alexandra style the best fitting bra I have ever worn on my body to date.
The bar has been raised, and for this I am deeply grateful. I would be remiss in not mentioning the Amoena Valletta camisole! Holly Cline knows this has become a part of my daily uniform, if not another appendage to my body! Not enough can be said about the support I feel and the layering coverage that all of us moms need. I got it going on with my “Vally tank,” as I have lovingly named it!
So, with so much more to say, I feel it’s better just to say, thank you. Thank you for an amazing time sharing with those in my inner circle, the press and many, many more women about your wonderful company and the products you lovingly produce on behalf of millions of full-cupped women. The comfort, fit and busy lifestyle of millions of women will forever be positively impacted… and far fewer women will need to rush home and rip off their bras, once they put on one of yours!
It’s that time of year again… We’re happy to announce our exclusive essay contest to celebrate your stories of survivorship and strength. We’ll publish the winning essay in Amoena Life magazine, with the potential to reach more than 25,000 readers nationwide.
We want to know what you’ve changed in your life since your diagnosis and treatment, so we’re calling the contest “This is the New Me.”
Have you adopted any new habits, like regular exercise or “clean” eating, that are changing your life?
Have you decided that making your dreams happen — travel, hobbies, new career — can’t wait?
Have you “revised” your circle of friends to include only those who bring out the best in you?
Whatever changes you’ve made, as long as your story is written well and judged to be of interest to others, could win you the top prize. There will be two winners:
The first place winner will receive two Valletta camisoles, and her essay and photo will be published in the January 2013 issue of Amoena Life magazine, as well as on our blog. Second place earns one Valletta cami, and we’ll also publish the essay here on our blog.
Please play it cool and concise – we can’t accept essays longer than 800 words. We’ll judge them on style and content, and we reserve the right to edit for length and grammar, if you win.
>> Email your entry, with subject line “2012 Essay Contest” to firstname.lastname@example.org between now and September 7, 2012. (One entry per person, please.)