Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Power of Sorry

Think about how many times a day you say sorry. Until it was recently pointed out to me, I didn’t even realize how often I would say sorry, even just to fill space. I would say sorry to friends who were listening to my problems. I would say sorry to people who cut me off in the grocery store. I would say sorry to people just to make them feel better.

 But why?

Why am I taking responsibility for others’ actions? And why am I apologizing for something I didn’t cause? It was becoming something I said proactively so that I didn’t upset anyone or annoy them. 

When Natalie (@themoreyoumerlot) came into my life, a lot of scary and sad events had happened in the recent past. One of the first times we hung out, I opened up like a Pandora’s Box. She was there to listen, and she wanted to be there for me. But I kept saying sorry. She pointed out this habit within the first few times I said it. “You say sorry way too much. You don’t have to apologize for me listening to you. I want to!”

I immediately got self conscious - because she was so right. I was using the “s” word so often to make people feel better or to excuse myself for taking up space in their life. And once she said that, I immediately said - you guessed it - “sorry!”

I realized I was using “sorry” as some use other filler words like “umm,” “like,” etc. I was using it as a way to pause and think in conversation; and the power of my “sorry” had lost its meaning.

By not mindfully utilizing the power of “sorry,” I was making myself accountable for things out of my control. I didn’t even mean it most of the time. The word didn’t have umph. It became a reflex, instead of something I would say that actually had meaning behind it.

Normally, as women, we try to take responsibility for things out of our control. We apologize for extreme emotions. If we get too pumped about something or if someone makes us cry, for example. We say “sorry” because we are afraid we will come off as being “too much.” We don’t want others to find us a pest or too emotional. We’re worried about inconveniencing someone with how we’re feeling. But we must remember that how we feel isn’t always within our control. We surround ourselves with people in our lives who hopefully listen to us because they want to. They have our backs, and we are not an inconvenience to them.

I have personally found that even when people walk into me on the street, or if someone bumps into my cart at the grocery store, I say sorry! It is the craziest habit.

The more we say it, the more we use it as a reflex - the more we take away not only from the power of the word, but the power of ourselves. All we can do is control our own actions and take responsibility for them. We can feel bad for things that happen to others, but we can’t take responsibility for the things we cannot control.

Owning our actions is so important and there is still a place for “sorry” in our vocabulary, but only when we do something wrong. When we hurt someone - unintentionally or otherwise. We need to own our actions and the word “sorry,” and having a sincere emotion attached to the word is a huge part of that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Top 5 Favorites for Sweater Weather

Happy Wednesday friends! I am travelling all day to see some of my favorite people but I wanted to jump on and share some of my go-to's for the season. With the temperatures dropping in Chicago, sweater weather came fast and it came hard. But luckily with these tops I can be cozy and snuggly all winter long.

The picture above is a clickable, shoppable photo, feel free to click on any of the sweaters to check them out.

My purple crew neck sweater was found on Amazon! So random but it's under $30 and the quality for the price is amazing. I just ordered it in an oatmeal color because it's a steal! It is one size fits all, so it looks different on me than someone who is an extra small per say, but I'm excited to have this pop of color in the cold, dark winter months!

I shared the black sweater last week when it was on sale! I ordered it and I love it! It's on the thinner side so it will be great for layering. It comes in other color options as well. I am loving the green and pink options.

The pink cardigan and the striped pullover are from one of my go-to brands. They can be a little pricey but their neutral staples that will last you for seasons to come.

The grey striped cardigan is SO SOFT and a must-have this season. I feel like I'm wearing cashmere when I have it on! The stripes might infer that it's not versatile, but that is not the case! I have found so many good outfits with this staple, and y'all went crazy over it when I linked it last week on LikeToKnowIt! All my looks can always be found there or my Shop My Instagram page.

Before I catch this flight, I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how grateful I am for each and every one of you. With everything that's been going on lately in my personal life, I cannot thank all of you enough for the nice messages, texts, phone calls, everything! I am so lucky to have such a great community of people to learn from and lean on.

I hope that the rest of your week is filled with happiness and relaxation. Only you can decide how you will let the day affect you. I can't wait to show you around the place that gave me so many amazing people and experiences this next week. GEAUX TIGERS!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

On The Sidelines

When my dad told my brother and me that he had been diagnosed with skin cancer, I admittedly thought it wasn't going to be a big deal.

Tons of people we knew had experienced skin cancer. It was just little things you got cut off or out of your skin, right? We would soon discover that although cancer comes in many shapes and sizes, it all sucks.

My dad went in for a biopsy and the net thing we knew he was scheduling surgery to get the tumor removed. Malignant Melanoma. The bad kind. Nodular Melanoma, 5.5 mm deep.

I had already been experiencing a lot of emotionally draining news having been dumped within a ten-day time frame.

My dad was still positive and it still seemed minor. So many people had this procedure. He would have had that surgery that Wednesday and we would head up to northern Wisconsin for the Labor Day weekend. Easy, breezy right?

The surgery was put off until the next day so the doctor's could be 100% sure my dad's body could handle it. The surgery went well-they removed the tumor and biopsied three lymph nodes to check the spread. But the post-operation complications were so troubling we ended up calling our Labor Day trip off to stay in Milwaukee. It was nice to be with my grandmother, aunt and uncle, but it was still a very stressful time.

My dad wasn't getting enough oxygen into his body on his own so he was hooked up to a bi-bap respirator machine that was pumping 100% oxygen into his lungs. He was in great hands in the Respiratory ICU. Even when I was my most upset and scared, I knew we were probably the luckiest people in there. My dad's room was right by the entrance and I could see all the people coming through the doors. Many of them were being briefed that they had to say goodbye to their granddaughter, their friend or the love of their life. I felt guilty for being scared and sad. How could I be so upset when I knew the people walking past our door were in a much tougher spot?

As we get older we see other sides of our parents. But sitting there and seeing how helpless he was...was something very hard to swallow. I felt exhausted from speaking with nurses and doctors and calling my family with what felt like just sitting and waiting for the other shoe to drop––how could this be happening? It was such a weird feeling like my mind was burning out of my body.
My dad was discharged a few days later when they knew he could breathe on his own. I felt we were out of the woods. But then we got some more news.

My dad’s biopsy revealed 50 melanoma cells in his sentinel lymph node. It could have been worse but it was still very scary. It was one lymph node. He had stage 3C Melanoma. Even now typing that out seems surreal.

As I was updating friends and family, I kept repeating the same medical terms (that I didn’t even know how to spell), the same story line and the same fears. I felt numb to it. One of my friends asked -- “How’re you doing with all of this?”, “I’m really okay, it’s going to be okay, I’m not the one fighting.” And she responded, “Hannah, it’s okay not to be okay.”

 Upon doing a little soul searching, I realized maybe I wasn’t okay. But with all of the emotionally tolling situations, I had kind of shut off. I was running on autopilot to avoid completely having a meltdown. Which is something I feel like I’m still doing.

I am not a doctor. I am not an expert. I am not the one fighting cancer right now. This is very much a new experience and feeling for my family. What I figured out though are two very important things. Number 1: We have to take it one day at a time. Number 2: We have to maintain an overall positive attitude.
I think it’s also important to remember it’s okay to not be my friend said. There are good days and bad days. Since my dad lives in Wisconsin it can be really hard. Hard to communicate..hard to feel like we’re being supportive...hard to feel like we’re helping. I feel like I push it down a lot. I don’t want to unleash all these terrible feelings of sadness because it’s not my cancer. I know being scared won’t change the outcome and it doesn’t help my dad when he’s the one dealing with these treatment plans head on.

Once we knew he had stage 3C Melanoma there were more tests to be done. We did find out his PET scan and brain MRI came back clear which was amazing, uplifting news.

For now, my dad is going through immunotherapy every two weeks for the next year. Unlike regular chemotherapy drugs, immunotherapy drugs make your immune system go into overdrive and attack cancer cells with your immune system. The biggest benefit of immunotherapy is you do not have all the normal side effects from chemotherapy. It was the best option for my dad and so far he has been following all the steps and doing everything he’s supposed to do.

I went back and forth a lot of times trying to decide if I should share this. If it was too personal–too personal for me to share that my readers wouldn’t be able to relate? But just like many things in life, cancer affects more than just the person fighting it. I know so many of you who have supported me through this hard time have had similar experiences. If I can help one person going through a similar experience then I’ve accomplished something. My dad always talks about how he could never get through this without the love and support of his family and friends. Watching someone you love go through something so unthinkable affects you––whether I wanted to admit it or not in the heat of the tests and the back and forth.

I want people who are supporting loved ones battling unimaginable hardships to know that it’s okay to feel emotional. It’s okay to feel beaten down. It’s okay to take it personally. You’re not alone and never feel like you can’t share.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

My Shiny Teeth and Me

They always say you can't redo a first impression. Lately, I had felt that my teeth weren't the brightest they could be and that I wasn't able to clean my gums thoroughly, and that was something that kept me from making my best first impression whether it was on dates or with clients.

That's why when Smile Brilliant wanted to team up again and review their new cariPRO Ultrasonic electric toothbrush, I knew it was a good chance to see if my smile could be brighter! I was also really interested that the brush has five settings for what feels like a more crisp clean.

Whether you're looking for a regular clean, whitening, gum care, massaging and even a sensitive setting, the cariPRO Ultrasonic electric toothbrush has all five settings. I have found in the past that my gums need different attention than my teeth, so I'm happy that there's a setting just for that, to ensure my overall mouth health for years to come.

It's super easy to switch between the five settings on this toothbrush, so you can achieve many different kinds of clean without a lot of pausing to change the cleaning setting.

I love the design, weight and color coordination of the brush as well. Grey is one of my favorite colors and it really meshes well with my bathroom decor! It's always more fun when things go together. All you have to do is attach the electric toothbrush head to the base of the toothbrush, put it on the easy to use charger, and once it's charged up you are ready to go. It's super easy to travel with and use everyday! The charging station isn't bulky either, which is a huge plus for me!

I'm also so excited that I get to share this experience with you! Smile Brilliant and I have teamed up to put together a giveaway for all of you beautiful readers! Click here to enter, and one lucky winner will with their own cariPRO Ultrasonic electric toothbrush kit!

You can also click here and use my discount code mimosasandlipstick20 for 20% off your own electric toothbrush!

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