Smile. Sparkle. Shine.

Monday, September 29, 2014

My mom, the Game Changer

Saturday, September 27, 2014

When LUNA bar approached me to publish a post on a female game-changer, I immediately thought of my mother. The strength that she possesses is incomparable and her zest for life is contagious despite the many obstacles she's faced.  

Marlene Lerner entered this world on September 6, 1951, a balmy autumn day in a rural North Carolina hospital. A brief moment of joy quickly dissipated as my grandparents discovered that their new baby was born with one hand, a permanent disfigurement that could have radically affected the course of my mother's life. Instead, with a lot of encouragement she was able to enjoy a fruitful upbringing filled with lots of friends and extracurricular activities. She fled the nest at 18, climbed the insurance industry ranks, and eventually migrated west to further her ambitions and start a family with my father.  

Her physical defect desensitized me from others with disabilities because of her able-bodiedness, but also made me more sensitive to their plight. I learned the meaning of empathy from a very early age, due to her humanity towards those less fortunate. 

In 2004 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, she tackled it head on by undergoing a lumpectomy and continued radiation treatment. Because of her diligence, she was cancer-free and in in remission. 

Fast-forward to the summer of 2009. She went in for a routine mammogram, and the oncologist ended up spotting a lump in her right breast, the same breast that was originally diagnosed. Why was this happening again, to MY mother, who had already endured so much in her life? Again, instead of floundering in sorrow, she began researching the specific type of cancer, consulted with numerous doctors, and created a plan of action for erradicating this aggressive disease. 

In early 2010, she underwent a uni-lateral mastectomy, the removal of her right breast, and started on Tamoxifen, an antagonist of the estrogen receptor in breast tissue. On top of all the trauma her body had sustained, she ended up contracting MRSA, a staph infection, and was prescribed a strong regiment of antibiotics for roughly six months. 

It's now 2014 and my mother is not only alive, but thriving! She's been in remission for five years (YAY!) and is still extremely gregarious and extraordinarily energetic. What she lacks in body parts, she makes up for in spirit! She's taught me to never give up, that life is about weathering storms, and that you'll come out stronger on the other side. She's my hero!


LUNAFEST, brought to you by LUNA bar, the whole nutrition bar for women, connects women, their stories and their causes through film. This traveling film festival, brought to you by LUNA bar, spotlights the work of a diverse array of talented women filmmakers with intelligent, funny and thought-provoking themes. LUNAFEST, not only showcases these amazing women but also raises millions of dollars for non-profits around the country.

This year, LUNAFEST films celebrate women who are game-changers in their own lives. Everyone has a woman in their life who has inspired the people around them. This campaign is focusing on these women and how they have made a positive impact in your life while highlighting the festival and this year’s amazing films.

The film festival—by, for, and about women—has not only raised 2.5 million dollars to date for the Breast Cancer Fund and other nonprofits around the country but is also rare in that it is one of the few recognized and heralded avenues reserved for women filmmakers, and enables them to get their films out into the world and to impact and inspire other women filmmakers and their audiences.

Check out the trailer for LUNAFEST here

*Today's post is sponsored by LUNAFEST, but my love and appreciation for LUNAFEST is ALL my own. 


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

But First…Let Me Take a #shoefie

Monday, September 22, 2014

Photographs by: Khalil Mushin

I was tasked by the lovely ladies of MADESQUARE to share some tips on how to perfect the #shoefie.

So here it goes... 
  1. Aim the camera straight down (standing)— the edge of the frame should land somewhere on the thighs, fairly close to your hips. This angle makes your legs look appear longer than they actually are.
  2. Find your light— keep the sun or other light source in front of you.
  3. Set the scene — consider the backdrop of your picture.
  4. Face your phone's camera away from you — takes higher-resolution photos. We don't want blurry #shoefies, now do we?
  5. Experiment with filters — depending on the look and feel you are going for. 
  6. Grab a friend to be in the photo — it'll be visually interesting and fun for other people to look at and share.
There ya go! Now don't you feel profoundly wiser after reading this post?!

PS: Check out MADESQUARE's blog here for additional snaps!

Warby Parker: Spec-tacular Fall '14 Collection

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

J'aime Paris

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

With A Cherry On Top

Friday, July 18, 2014

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