Monday, February 8, 2016

One very blessed girl

When I was thinking about how to tell you my good news I really could only think about exclamations and CAPS and every happy dance insert I could image. September 4 was my surgery date and I was told that same month that I was in remission!

 YOU GUYS I'M 5 MONTHS INTO REMISSION!!!!!! (happy dance :) 

Thank you thank you for your positive thoughts, prayers, messages lovelies!

I remember when we were told I would need another surgery, it was overwhelming. And the thought that it would be major surgery was even worse, especially since it was scheduled so close to my first surgery that I was still recovering from.  To top it all off it was going to take place my birthday month. And i don't know about you but I LOVE birthday months. I literally celebrate all month. Just little ways and doing little things but I LOVE birthdays no matter how old ;) And this time I wasn't so excited, just tired. My surgery took place the 4th of September and my birthday was the 15th. Well it turned out to be quite a birthday healing from 32 staples ( yuck!) but that still didn't stop us from celebrating :) It was rainy and cold I remember but it didn't bother me one bit. I forced myself into one of my favorite dresses and we went out to celebrate.  I've a new appreciation for life and I'm very happy that my family celebrated with me. I know we don't live forever but I'm certain that we leave our mark on those around us. It's truly given me a new perspective and I'm humbled and blessed to live everyday with this miracle.

Even before my stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis I made a promise to myself that I would donate my hair for cancer patients. I kept my promise! Even though there was no need for chemo since the cancer was stage 1 and had not spread. I donated my hair for the second time in my life. I hope to continue to do so for as long as I live :)

Also, there was no need for hormone replacement since the hot flashes are manageable ( knock on wood! lol!).

What a crazy testimony. This health journey has changed me in ways I hope are only for good. It's sad that it takes something like this to wake me up to all the amazing blessings everyday. Simple small blessings are where it's at. I appreciate the mom struggle more and I hug and kiss my little R & Mr. Handsome more.  I appreciate my worn out body and am doing my best to take better care of it. I am grateful that despite this hardship my Mr has proven time and time again he loves me and has taken such good care of me and little R during this long healing process. Thank God our world didn't fall apart because of cancer. I'm thankful my family and friends helped in ways I would've never been able to ask for. That's love

My goals this year are
- to be more present.
- open our home
- show more love ( i'm shy! lol!)
- be positive
- work outside comfort zone, volunteer
- celebrate the little things
- Pray in praise. Not just during the tough times.
- de-clutter mentally, physically (our home) spiritually

So this year has been off to a good start. I'll catch you up on life around here with some post christmas stuff + baby shower fun + valentine pretties and gardening love :)

thanks for letting me share this with you. I hope to stay healthy this year as much as possible and I wish the same for you. Hopefully 2016 is off to an amazing start for you too, even in february ;)


Sunday, September 13, 2015


I wish I could tell you that my absence has meant that I've been on vacation with my family on a hot and sandy island enjoying lots of coconut water and fresh salty ocean breezes. But no my friends, I've delayed updating the blog for over a month because there's good news and bad news to share. I think in the back of my mind I was just hoping to update with only good news. "Yay friends! All is well! Doing great. Everything is back to normal!" And so my good news is that I am very thankful to say that I did recover nicely from my first surgery a few months ago. But the bad news was when pathology reports came back 2 weeks later it was not good news. 

I was told that the cyst that was removed contained uterine cancer.  I had sadly gone alone to that appointment and was completely blindsided. The doctor continued with talk about chemo treatments and follow up cancer specialist appointments etc. I thanked the doctor for helping me in my journey up until then and left the office. All I heard for a few weeks from friends and family was how lucky I was that it was uterine and not ovarian cancer.  All i could think of was that cancer was cancer. And it was all bad. 

The treatment was looking like a few rounds of chemo and no more surgery. Then a few weeks later Mr. Handsome and I met with 2 cancer specialists and they both said the cancer was not uterine it was ovarian.  I think we were both devastated to say the least.  Although one surgeon was more optimistic than the other. one surgeon was very straight forward and kept it short and simple, only option: hysterectomy. After lots of prayer we decided to go with a hysterectomy.  I can't tell you how disappointed I was that I was done. Early this year I told Mr. Handsome that I thought I was ready to try to get pregnant again. I remember he was so happy. And now to think that it would never be possible and that opportunity was gone.  It's been a rough roller coaster of emotions.

The hysterectomy was the safest bet that the cancer was not going to come back.  We could've left the left ovary and fallopian tube and waited to see if the cancer would come back and tried to get pregnant. The second doctor was hopeful that the cancer wouldn't come back but unsure if I would be able to get pregnant due to the endometriosis. 
But I shared my concerns with Mr. Handsome: 
- The last 3 months we discovered that I had 3 cysts that were considered normal to have. 
- And that one of them contained ovarian cancer ( which was not detected by a blood test to screen for ovarian cancer - my levels were too low and didn't show anything abnormal ). 
- And that this specific cancer stemmed from the endometriosis I also didn't know I had ( a huge fist sized ball) 3 months ago and didn't show up on any of the ultra sounds or CT scans.

I was just not convinced that they would be able to successfully "monitor" and detect if and when the cancer would come back. And as a wife and mama I didn't want to take my chances.  I believe in miracles. With my whole heart. And during this time I questioned my faith in praying for a miracle. Until I realized I had received one. A HUGE miracle in fact. Looking over my discharge papers from the ER ( after my cyst burst ) I saw that the ER doctor had written down "incidental finding" of tumor like growth. Incidental. huh. there it was. Thank you God for allowing that painful experience to happen because it alerted to the cancer in my body. I don't believe it was incidental at all. And if you ever look through the internet and search #ovariancancer you will find lots of stories of women who didn't have that advance notice and it breaks my heart. I read somewhere that ovarian cancer is a whispering cancer. You can't visually see it or feel it like you might be able to with breast cancer. You can't detect it with any screening measure ( pap smear, ultra sound, blood test etc.) only a conclusive surgery will detect it. And two months ago, the surgeon "saw nothing wrong with my right ovary" so he decided to leave it. Until we realized two weeks after the surgery, that the cyst removed next to it contained cancer probably coming from the right ovary thought to be "normal". I think about that and I am SO happy for good health care but I'm also very relieved that I don't put my faith in it. I'm thankful for my miracle of advanced notice. Despite this being the longest, difficult, most painful trial I've ever experienced I'm living proof that God is watchful, protective and caring.  I've not felt alone in this trial. I've felt a constant hope that He was in control and I would be more than OK.  He had not let fear consume me of worry. I felt he strengthened me through my family and friends who showed up for me when I needed them the most.

I had prayed about a way to share my testimony through social media but I didn't want to be disrespectful to anyone. I feared I would not be understood and people would get offended. Pastor Miles from the Rock had asked a call to action to spread more hope + truth + love through social media by simply sharing your testimony. And all I could think was my testimony up until that point was SO boring and not worth sharing. I don't believe God gave me cancer. But I am thankful He is using it to grow my faith and my family through it. Now one week fresh from the hysterectomy surgery I'm again at a place of healing. Of slowing down. Learning patience with myself and my body as I take time to recover. Oh how I wish for the normalcy again. But I know that will come in time and right now is for saying Yes to being taken care of. Accepting help and saying thank you with a grateful heart. Its been tough because the healing has been overwhelmingly more emotional for me this time around. As i was being prepped for the operation I had to sign a consent for the hysterectomy and as the nurse explained that upon signing the waiver I understood it meant I would never be able to have children I just broke down. It broke me. I suddenly realized this was my last chance. I was going to be final. I felt an overwhelming guilt for choosing my life rather than trying for another baby.  The nurse called in Mr. Handsome to help calm me and talk things over but before she left she held my hand and told me with tears in her eyes that she completely understood. It was okay, she knew the pain very well. She had three angels in heaven and she understood not being able to have children.  

Then I cried for her loss. I realized Mr Handsome and I have been blessed to experience being parents already to our little Rafael.  Thankfully Mr.Handsome is such a sweet heart and assured me that we would be okay. Our family life can still grow through adoption. And nothing is more important than being together.  Boy we've come so far. I'm blessed. I'm overwhelmingly blessed. 

Thank you lovelies. I'm not always sure just how much personal stuff to share but thank you for letting me share my heart and this journey with you. We're holding onto hope for another full recovery XOXO Cancer free this time XOXO


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Shop Update & SALE

Hi Lovelies! So after almost 2 weeks off recovering from surgery (healing nicely! yay!) I'm happy to get back to work and announce that the shop is now OPEN! As a THANK YOU for your patience everything is 25% off. Use COUPON CODE: SUMMERXO to save 25% off your entire order now through Friday midnight. I've really missed it, the packaging, the creative side and the happy mail love.  

Fun Summer Stickers ( Starts & Stripes + Watermelons + Lemons + Strawberries ) 
Perfect for planners + scrapbooks + packaging.

So fun :) I'm pretty happy about the progress I made during the shop break. I reorganized the studio  did another inventory run and had a chance to rework some ideas for new stamp designs & notepads.  So I hope to share more new products soon. Thanks for hanging in there with me, hope you enjoy the sale and I look forward to adding extras to the happy mail being sent out during the sale :)


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Spring Floral LOVE Forever

Hi Lovelies!
I've been cleaning computer files and came across this beautiful project I was asked to create by my lovely friends over at Mollie Makes Magazine. It was featured in a recent spring issue and I had all but forgotten to share it with you. So lets scroll back for some spring vibes yes? These pretty handmade blooms scream SPRING and will last long passed the season.  I LOVE paper projects and even more so I LOVED walking into our home and seeing this pretty wall hanging in bloom. SWOON*

I used different color papers & thicknesses 
+ textured velvet ribbons 
+ crepe papers 
+ thrifted vintage floral stamens
to create the paper blooms.

 A close up of the Paper flower details. All hand cut & hand made XOXO

Top left is my interpretation of a peony + bottom left a textured rose 
+ top right a daisy + bottom left a simple rose

My favorite thing about this is that you can create flowers and use them as gift toppers, wedding cake decor and even wear them :)  Can you image creating these on a larger scale and using them as a wedding backdrop?! I must get married again lol! I have been wanting to create a whole wall of blooms just for the studio and really hope to someday make it happen. 

Here is a visual breakdown of the flowers before I wrapped them using a circular motion and glued them at the bottom.

- Deconstructed Peony -

- Deconstructed Simple Rose -

- Deconstructed Textured Rose -

- Deconstructed Daisy -

+ I used a long piece of wood I found at a park by our home & added gold foil to it 
+ Glued a large upcycled piece of delicate crochet to the back of the wood 
(from a shirt that had accidentally torn)
+ added gold string to hang the piece
+ added the florals to the wall using repositionable glue dots

For the leaves I simply used a few shades of pretty pastel green and free hand cut them. I think next time I will try an emboss technique on them just for fun, but I also love them just the way they are.  

I hope you enjoyed this little piece of art and give paper floral making a try. Its a fun activity to try over a long chic flick ;) 

Happy making lovelies!


Monday, July 13, 2015



Thank you lovelies! I'm really happy to share my news, the surgery was a success!  I went in Friday afternoon and was home the same day resting. Thankful for Mr.Handsome and my little guy for taking good care of me XOXO. My surgeon and his team were pretty amazing ( despite a nurse not being able to get a needle in my veins twice- ouch! ) They were able to remove the cyst and save the ovary :) They also found another large mass about the size of a fist that he said was endometriosis.  Not the best to find out you have yet another problem but very happy that he removed it and hopefully won't be a problem in the future. I feel like this month has been a painful whirlwind but extremely thankful that I can now start healing and feeling better. I've been home resting & thankful for your prayers. Everyday I force myself out of bed, into a new change of clothes, wash my face and put on a bit of makeup. It helps get me moving and feeling better. But I did close the shop for this week.

Last week at my pre-op visit my doctor gave me a work excuse for a whole month. I was startled and asked him is it really going to take a whole month?!? I thought I would be back to work Monday ??? Crazy right? It turns out I'm going to listen. And take this week off to finish resting up. I have 3 scars that need to heal and I'm going to do it right. Rest. and more rest. I'm so eager to get back to making new things & cutting down my to do list but i am learning patience. with myself. and with time. Last week I picked up a few essentials at Target and ended up buying a mini calendar! I used to use a planner for work back when I had a 9-5 job but now a days I just like to use notepads. But I'm giving this planner thing a go and already have a few fun ideas to fill it up. First up, a photo strip from our recent trip to the Del Mar fair. I LOVE photo booths and this one even included the little fish Rafael won in the 3rd picture :) I picked up some metallic washi tapes from Michaels on sale to use to write on. And a few new Inspire Lovely flamingo stickers to emphasize important dates. I'll continue to share updates on my planner and how its working for me. So far I'm going to block this week out for REST XO.

Before I sign off I wanted to ask you, that if you have been living with pain or discomfort please go get it checked out. Whatever, wherever it is. If I'm being honest with myself, I've been in pain for over 6 months. I've felt it on and off. I always excused it as girl pain. And it would briefly go away. I always thought I had such a low tolerance for pain but it turns out when its a little bit over time and it gets slowly more painful, you might not notice it.  My doctor found it very troubling that I wasn't complaining of pain and would constantly ask me, is it painful now? I always said it was tolerable. If the cysts that I didn't knew I had hadn't burst a month ago I would've never known there was a third that needed to be removed or that I had a mass of endometriosis. I'm thankful that despite this painful experience, its being resolved. I know what it is. I'm able to face it. Sure I cry, sure I have a moment where I feel sorry for myself. But I'm no longer pretending the pain isn't there or that I'm okay.  I know I'm going to be okay now. I know that its been addressed and what to pray for and I'm ready to move forward from it.  I pray and hope the same for you lovely. Please take good care of yourself.
love & hugs,