Saturday, April 25, 2020

My Health and COVID-19 Wouldn't Be a Good Combination

I would most likely die if I got COVID-19. I'm not being dramatic or pessimistic in any way. I'm being truthful, and yes maybe a little too blunt for some people's liking, but that's pretty much the sum of it.

As most of you know I have Cystic Fibrosis, had both of my lungs replaced by two living donor lobes in 2001, had a living kidney transplant in 2008, and had a second living kidney transplant in 2018. The great thing is that I've seen where a few people who've gotten COVID-19 after transplants have recovered. That's such incredible news! It brings me so much joy to see some of my lung and kidney brothers and sisters overcoming something such as awful as this virus.

I, however, was diagnosed with an inflammatory pneumonia in March, 2020 after recovering from an infectious pneumonia in January, 2020. The type of pneumonia I currently have is still being treated with high-dose prednisone (it's not a type of pneumonia that can be treated with antibiotics like most). My doctors are hopeful that I can overcome this, but it is a poor diagnosis for a lung transplant patient. I'm also more immunosuppressed than I normally am because of the prednisone, so there's that too. Pneumonia + immunosuppression + COVID-19 would not be a good combination.

I'm scared! I said it! I'm actually terrified! I'm living with my mom and dad after recently going through a separation, and we are all being as careful as we can regarding social distancing, disinfecting, wearing masks, hand-washing, etc. BUT, unfortunately, we are not cut off from the world completely, and as the number of cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in my state, there is a greater chance of me coming into contact with it somehow. And of course I worry about where this is going. Will there be second, third, fourth waves of this virus? Will it mutate and become like the flu... something that comes back every year but as a different strain? Will a vaccine just be a guess and provide SOME protection like the flu vaccine, or will it be a cure like the Polio vaccine? There are so many unknowns!

Now some may say that my life is expendable because I've had so many more years than the doctors thought. I've been given three life-saving transplants, I've been able to watch my daughter grow up to become a woman and be self-sufficient, but do you think your life would be expendable if you wanted to live to see more of your child's dreams come true, to see your grandchildren, to travel more, to do more things you'd hoped you get to do in life? Do you think that your life would be expendable if you knew how much pain your passing would cause your daughter, your parents, your sister, your extended family, your friends? I highly doubt it.

I want to live! I want my family and friends to live! And I'm asking all of you who took the time to read this to please do your part in helping to stop the spread of this pandemic. I know that those who haven't been able to work will need to go back. I know there are those who have no money to pay for bills and food. I understand that and totally sympathize with you. The thing I'm asking is to please continue as much social distancing as you can, please wear a mask at work if you have to be near others, please keep your hands washed, and for goodness sakes, please stay home if you feel the slightest bit sick. I'm also asking for those of you who can work remotely or don't work outside the home to continue self-isolating until the curve has flattened in your state or country.

Do this for others if not for yourself. As much as we'd like to think this pandemic is almost over, I do fear we haven't even seen the worst of it. Peace and love to all! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Why I Can Never Let Myself Forget 9/11

I made the mistake a couple of years ago of saying that we, as a country, should just move forward and focus on how we can change for the better on the anniversary of 9/11 instead of just stopping and remembering the tragedies every year. To those of you who lost family and friends on that fateful day, I am sorry.

I just got back from a funfilled, whirlwind trip to NYC with my sister and our daughters. I hadn't actually visited the city since my first time 26 years ago. I had driven through it in 2007 and saw ground zero as we passed by, but that was it. We decided to get tickets to go up into One World Trade Center and view the city from 101 stories up.

We arrived there on Sunday morning, and visibility from the observatory was zero. We decided to come back at 4 pm that same day. We got there about 45 minutes early, so we went to the 9/11 memorial sites and saw the tower pools... the pools they built in the footprints of the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center.

The names of those who died that day are written around the pool of the building they were in when they died. The event of 9/11 that happened at the World Trade Center suddenly became less of an event and more of an individual story to me. I realized that to the family member or friend of every person represented there, that name wasn't synonymous with an event as much as it was an entire story of a beautiful life wrapped up in an engraving on a memorial.

As I took a moment of silence, I also took in the enormity of what I was seeing. I told my sister that every person represented there was important... no less important than the person who's name was written beside it. I fully realized the importance of the reading of every single name at each anniversary of 9/11. I realized that this country can never forget what happened on that day. Composing myself was hard.

As I walked around the North Tower memorial, I saw an American flag sticking out of one of the engravings. The name was Philip Haentzler. To the loved ones of Philip, I know that he was more than just a name. I know that he was more than just a part of an event or tragedy. I know he was important.

I will never look at 9/11 the same way again.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How I Got To Meet Shaun White, Bad Things, and Sarah Barthel

Like most people I know, I have a bucket list... things I want to do before I die. When you have a chronic illness, it makes it even more important to have a list and try and complete those things as early as possible. I'm pretty sure that 90% of my Cystic Fibrosis/transplant friends have some sort of bucket list!

I was able to cross one of the things on my bucket list off on June 14 when my daughter graduated high school. Statistically speaking, I shouldn't have been there to see that. Not only the statistics that come along with Cystic Fibrosis but also the ones that come along with having had a double lung transplant.. you know... only 50% of those live five years after transplant and only 30% live ten years. I'll be 13 years out this coming November. I'm truly blessed and in awe of life and the things that I'm still able to do and accomplish!

For those of you who know me well (or even those who are only acquaintances of mine), you know that I adore Shaun White. I'm an extreme sports fanatic, and it doesn't get any better than Shaun White. Plus, I've always known he's a good guy with a big heart. What he can do on a snowboard (going 24 ft off the backside of the halfpipe and mastering all that he has in height and difficulty) is so amazing to watch. He lets his fans experience it with him (yay GoPro), so we can all have that same feeling of accomplishment and see his dedication and hard work!

So, of COURSE, one of the top things on my bucket list was to MEET SHAUN WHITE! I honestly never thought it would happen. You don't think things like that will happen to YOU! It's just inconceivable to think that someone with so much fame and so many fans will make the time for you. It's a dream, not a reality.

Having said that, I set out to make that a reality when I bought tickets to see Bad Things open for Phantogram at The Fillmore in Charlotte on June 25, 2014. I did a little begging on social media for some backstage passes, and although I didn't get any responses, I still had hopes that somehow, someway, I would get to not only meet Shaun but all of the wonderful members of Bad Things (which has become my favorite band since buying their album in January!) Here's a video of one of my favorite songs of theirs Caught Inside by Bad Things!

My daughter kind of reluctantly went with me to the concert. She had listened to Bad Things with me and had heard one song from Phantogram that she liked, but she was still not feeling it. She's such a sweetheart, and she knew just how much this meant to me, so she went, and she sat in the heat with me without complaint 1 1/2 hours before doors opened, so that we could be right up front against the stage.

Had we gotten there five minutes later, we wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet Sarah Barthel of Phantogram. She saw about ten of us sitting outside in 90 degree weather under big umbrellas, so she came outside to thank us and get selfies with us. We were all flabbergasted at how down to earth and nice she is!!! She is truly a beautiful person inside and out!!! She's a doll as you can see here!!!

Me, my daughter, and Sarah

Since Casey and I had VIP tickets, and we were the first ones in the VIP line, we got to go in first. I knew exactly where Shaun stands onstage, so we were at the front, right in front of where he plays! We had to wait another dreadfully, anticipatory long hour before Bad Things finally came out. I literally got dizzy when they did. I'll blame it on the lights and sound, but I'm pretty sure it was because THE Shaun White was standing right in front of me... almost close enough to touch! They were awesome! Their frontman Davis LeDuke is so funny, and he really gets into the music. He's an entertainer for sure. Here are some pics from the concert (the best I could do with a cell phone). 

Lena (pronounced Lee-nah) Zawaideh, drummer and vocalist

Davis LeDuke, lead vocalist and frontman with Anthony Sanudo, guitarist

*cough, cough* Shaun White, lead guitarist

Phantogram came on after Bad Things, and WOW, they blew it away! They gave an awesome performance, and Sarah has SO much energy onstage. I'm not sure how she does it. She's adorable though and can sing.. man, that girl can sing. Josh Carter is the other vocalist, and he has an amazing voice also. They moved around a lot, so it was hard to get any good pictures of them, but here is what I got! 

Sarah Barthel, vocalist and keyboardist

Josh Carter, vocalist and guitarist with Sarah in the background

SO.. how did I get to meet the members of Bad Things? Casey was exhausted. She had stayed up most of the night before, and someone had spilled beer all over her shoes at the concert.. yeah, no fun!!! We kind of just hung around the stage watching them take everything down, and then I asked her if it was ok to go buy some merchandise. She said yes, so we went to the table, and the entire band of Bad Things was there selling CDs and shirts. Well, everyone except for Shaun. He really likes to hang back and not take the spotlight away from the other band members, and I think that's so cool of him!!! 

Casey and I both bought shirts, and we talked to Lena, Davis (who had a cold and was nice enough to wear a mask because of it), Anthony, and Jared (bassist of the band). They were all so nice and Davis actually cropped Casey's top for her that she bought. It's quite crooked, but looks really cute!!! We were all laughing and having a good time. Here are some pics from meeting them. 

Lena and me

Me and Jared Palomar, bassist 

There weren't many people left in the venue at this point, so as I was talking to Jared, I did something that I've never done before in my life.. I pulled the "sick card". Now all of us with CF, or other chronic illnesses HATE to pull the sick card. We have to use that card enough when having to turn down engagements with friends or other fun things because we feel so bad (had the concert been two nights before, I wouldn't have gone because of issues I was having), and we don't want our lives revolving around it. But I also know that any infection or chronic rejection could take my life in a flash, and I had to seize this moment!!! I simply told Jared that I had a chronic illness and that meeting Shaun was on my bucket list. I asked if he was around. He SO eagerly went to find him. I still didn't have high hopes that he would come out from backstage, but at least it seemed "likely" that I might get to meet my idol! 

We waited about five minutes, and then across the room, I see Shaun coming out with Jared. I looked at Casey, eyes wide open, and I think I smiled one of the biggest smiles of my life. She asked if I was ok. I said "yeah, I think so". Of course the few girls that were still in the venue and spotted him stopped him along the way, and I just waited ever-so-unpatiently until Jared came over and told Casey and me to come with him. 

After the girls stopped fawning over Shaun (heehee), Jared grabbed him, pointed my way, and said "this is Christy". Shaun gave me the biggest hug!!! I just put my hands in my face and shook my head. All intelligent thought was lost!!! I had so many things I wanted to say to him, but what came out of my mouth was "I've watched all of your stuff"! Seriously? I've watched all of your stuff? What does that mean? I felt like a giddy school girl! He laughed and then we got a few pics. Before we took a pic, he took his beanie off and ran his fingers through his hair. I knew he was sweaty from being onstage, so I told him that I liked the beanie, and I thought it would be cool for the photos. He said, "really? ok!" 

We talked about a few more things that I can't remember and then I thanked Jared, Anthony, and Shaun, and we left. My moment to tell him how awesome his sportsmanship was at Sochi, how I KNOW he's perfected the triple on the halfpipe (but yet to let his fans know), how I watch every interview he's in, how I never miss the opportunity to watch any competition he's in, etc, etc, etc was lost. That was it. It was still one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and marking that moment off of my bucket list was beyond anything I ever imagined! 

My daughter Casey, Shaun, and me

Shaun and me right after the biggest hug!

Today, the feeling about the experience is bittersweet! I've seen him, hugged him, talked to him, so I don't have to strive for that anymore. I can move on to the next item on my list..... like watching Shaun snowboard. :) 

PS.... Phantogram shared this pic on all of their social media of Sarah and us waiting outside in the heat. So awesome! Casey and I are on the left. I'm in a similar outfit as Sarah! :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

College, Health, and Bands

Being a mom is a beautiful thing! It is synonymous with the most joyous of joys. It is precious, and should always be treated as such. It can bring happiness, heartache, and worries. Correction: it WILL bring those things.

Watching my daughter grow up has been such a gift. I am beyond blessed to have gotten the chance to have my own child, unlike so many with Cystic Fibrosis, and to still be here with her, watching her transition into young adulthood 18 years later.

Her time as a high school student is coming to an end soon. She will be moving on in life to the next big step: college. I will be an empty-nester. I will be heartbroken, but I will be joyful that she is transforming into the person she is meant to be, the person God wants her to be.

I can already feel her independence... see it everyday, in almost every way (no, I'm not trying to write a poem). She is pulling away like children are supposed to at the age of 18. She doesn't need me in ways that she used to need me. She will always need her mom though, and I will be here for her in every way that I can be. Sometimes I just want to hug her and never let her go, but even during those times, I'm eager to see where she goes in life and where her purpose lies.

Casey will be attending Duke University starting this fall. I'm beyond proud of all that she has accomplished to be able to attend such a prestigious university, and I know she will continue to do great things during these next four years and beyond. We recently went to visit Duke during Blue Devil Days, a two-day event that shows prospective students what Duke University is all about. It was very informative, and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the university instead of the medical center or hospital. What a nice change!

Here are some photos from the trip:

My sister had a dinner party for Casey and her boyfriend Alex. Alex is going to ECU, so we obviously had a theme that included both Duke and ECU.

Now, an update on my health:

I had a visit with my lung transplant team this past Monday. My lung function has increased since my last visit because of some antibiotics I was given for my sinuses. These pesky sinuses drain into my beautiful lobes and they aren't happy about that. I'm extremely grateful that it's not progressive chronic rejection. My pulmonologist will just keep putting me on antibiotics when my sinuses flare up, which is about 4 or 5 times a year. 

My kidney function is what's concerning right now. I'm in acute renal failure with a creatinine of 2.9. I'm drinking water like crazy to try and bring that number down. I have an appointment with my transplant nephrologist next week to see what the next step will be in all of this. Hopefully, my number will be better, and we won't have to do anything at this point. I'm currently on Cipro for a UTI, and that causes nausea and vomiting, which further dehydrates me, so I'm trying to drink over 2 liters of water a day. That's a hard thing to do when you aren't thirsty. I read an article years ago that said most people with CF walk around dehydrated all of the time, because we don't feel thirst like healthy people do. I do sometimes feel like I'm drowning having to drink this much! I'll do it though! My kidney is a precious gift from my mom, and I don't want it failing on me. 

I feel like I never have anything exciting to say about Jason, but he enjoys his job, loves me and Casey, and is doing well. Sometimes no news, is good news! :) 

Lastly, I'm super excited about this coming June. I get to mark two things off of my bucket list. One, of course, is to watch my daughter graduate high school. I'll be sending a picture of my daughter and me to my old CF pulmonologist in Charlotte who was the one who referred me to Duke for transplant. I remember asking him if he thought I would live to see my daughter graduate high school, and he said yes. Casey was five years old at the time.

The second thing that I (kinda) get to mark off of my bucket list is meeting Shaun White. Ok, I don't really get to MEET him, but I will get to see him and his band Bad Things play at The Fillmore in Charlotte. They will be in concert with Phantogram, a band that Shaun's girlfriend Sarah Barthel fronts. Jason and Casey are both hesitant about going with me, but I'll get one of them to go. It's my chance to at least hear Shaun play the guitar, even though I'd rather see him snowboard (not ruling that out as something I'll do in the future). Now, if someone could just hook me up with some backstage passes, I'll be good! 

(yes, that's Shaun White's signature on the Bad Things CD, so I already have his autograph)

Thanks for reading. I'll update again in about three or so years.... kidding! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why I will never buy anything from Caché again

Prom dress shopping was supposed to be a fun experience. My daughter and I went to Caché in Charlotte, NC to buy her a prom dress. She found the one she wanted, but the dress at the store was damaged, so they ordered one for us that would be sent straight to our home. About a week later, I get a phone call stating that the dress was not available in that size anymore. My daughter liked another dress she had seen there, but we decided to look around at more stores before settling on that one.

Several days later, my husband noticed that we had been charged for the dress that we ordered, but that wasn't available. I called the store, only to be told that I would have to come to the store for them to give me a return; a return on a dress that I never received. I asked to speak with a manager, and they told me to call back later. I called back the next morning, and the manager said she was the only person working, so she asked me to call her back in the afternoon. I called back that afternoon and asked to speak with her. She said that they were busy and she needed 10 minutes and asked if I would call back in 10 minutes. I finally got her to refund that dress that was never my dress to begin with over the phone.

After looking at other stores and not finding anything that my daughter liked, she decided to order the other dress from Caché that she had tried on that first day. I ordered it online with no problems, and I received it in the mail about 5 days later. It had a security tag on it that looked like it needed a device to take off. I called the store in Charlotte to ask about it, and they told me just to bring it down to them and they would remove it for me. I made a complaint to Caché's online customer service department. I wasn't asking for a discount. I just mentioned that they should check the items for security tags before shipping them out.

A day later, I got a return email that said I should be the one to remove the security tag (by that point my husband had figured out how to remove it), and that if it was removed, the dress couldn't be returned. I'm not talking about price tags or other paper tags attached to the dress. I'm talking about the security tag that the store removes for you before you leave the store.

I then decided to place an order for a bracelet and earrings that my daughter had tried on with the dress. I went online to do this, but it said that the order had not gone through and that the problem could be with Caché's website. I tried 4 more times on three different brousers in the next four days to no avail. I had received no confirmation that the order had been placed, only emails stating I still had items in my shopping cart. No charges had been placed on my credit card, so I assumed none of those had gone through.

After searching a bit on the website, I found the customer service number, and I called them and placed the order (let's mention here that their phone service cuts the representative off at certain points, so you are left guessing half the time at what they actually have said). This was after calling the store in Charlotte to see if they had the items, which they didn't. The order went through with the customer service representative, and I received a confirmation in my email about it.

The next day, I look on my credit card bill, and I had four different charges for the jewelry order. As you can imagine, by this point, I was furious with this company. Retail customer service should NOT be this difficult. I called a customer service representative (again with their phone service cutting them off at almost every syllable), and I told them about the charges and said that I would be giving them a bad review because of everything I had been through in dealing with their company. I was angry, and the customer service representative hung up on me. I then called back and spoke with a different customer service representative who was about as helpful as a used paper towel. Nothing was done to fix this problem.

I am still in the midst of trying to get these charges taken off of my credit card. Caché is supposed to be an upscale retail store, but I know that I would have gotten better service from someone at Walmart. I will never shop there again, and I urge any of you who are thinking about it to think again.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

If, and when life ends.....

Things I realize everyday... I will die. Everyone does. No one is invincible. I will probably die before I want to or think I will. My family and close friends will grieve.

Where am I getting this from? From my OH TOO numerous friends who have passed away from CF or transplant complications. They were sisters, brothers, friends, spouses, mothers, fathers, and all were children of a mother and father.

I don't pity myself. I sometimes do pity my friends.. those who haven't been able to graduate from college, raise a family, achieve their goals, etc. But I don't pity myself. My daughter alone has given me enough LIFE to be happy with what I've accomplished. Do I want to see my daughter succeed in college like I know she will, and see my grandchildren? YES, absolutely! But, if I don't, I still think I'm the most blessed and highly favored of them all. My girl is my world, and she is 18, almost entering college, and she is independent and sure of herself. That's what I wanted. That's what I strived for! She loves God, and she wants to serve Him after her degrees. It couldn't make me any happier. Do I love my parents, sister, and extended family? YOU BET! My mom has given me life three times. There is no repayment for that, except thankfulness. I'm thankful!

I love my friends.. you know... Nicole, Rhonda, Anne-Lewis, Angela, Kristin and everyone else who has stood by me through thick and thin. Then there is Lori, who succumbed to this disease way before I did. She was there for me too.. always. I have been so blessed and highly favored. If life ended tonight, I couldn't compain. I could only be thankful. I love you all!!!!! Family and friends.. thank you! XO

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscar Fashion 2014

Oh, how I love reviewing style choices on the red carpet. However, I may have skipped this year had it not been for my amazing best friend Nicole. Thanks Nicole for making me work my brain tonight to come up with some reviews.

Like I did two years ago, I am going to only tell you my top five best dressed and top five worst dressed. As always, I look at the entire look, not just the dress, and I never, ever look at any other reviews before doing mine.

I'll start with my best dressed choices. I'll count down from my fifth choice down to my first. Then, I will go to my worst dressed in the same way, with number one being the worst. It wasn't very hard this year to come up with either list.

As always, I welcome and want your responses, your comments, your choices. Please comment on here or on my Facebook page. You can even comment anonymously here if you want.

This year, we had a lot of the same, monotonous dresses, but that happens every year. So I will focus on those that were different; those that didn't go with the flow, those that didn't stay with the trend, and those that took some creativity and thought.. even if they were horrible.

Remember, that I look at these actresses both onscreen and in pictures. I give them all a chance to shine, but unfortunately so many don't!

Let's begin with my best dressed list starting with number 5:

Let's take a look at Naomi Watts. For one thing, I absolutely love Calvin Klein's sophisticated, simple designs. Kudos to Naomi's sons for helping her pick out this dress The white gown with detailed beading and capped sleeves was stunning on her. She is one of those actresses who doesn't need a train or sheer cutouts to stand out on the red carpet. I absolutely loved her statement spider-webbed necklace and her swept up 80's hair... yeah folks, it's coming back. Her simple black and white geometrical clutch paired with her black shoes added just the right amount of contrast to her entire look. Her make up, as always, was impeccable.

Ok, I'll be honest with you. When I first saw Kristen Bell on the red carpet, I could only see the top of this gown. I was like "meh". Then I saw the dress from head to toe in a better lighting, and I can certainly see why she chose this sophisticated number. The strapless, corset gown has a lot of detail, even though it is a muted grey in color. I really liked the beadwork and the layered, ruffled mermaid bottom. The train added just the right amount of awe to this dress. Her diamond necklace (I adore necklaces on the red carpet), her perfect updo, and her great make up job completed this stunning look! 

Wow, did Sandra Bullock surprise me tonight. To be honest, I'm not usually fond of her style choices. Tonight, she looked like a movie star. Her navy/royal blue gown, with a sweatheart neckline was so elegant and stunning on her. I loved the way that the fabric of her dress gathered and crisscrossed at the side of her waist in contrast to her side-swept hair on the opposite side. It just all worked! The way it fell in front of her with the train behind her made it a flowing piece of art. Her simple diamond jewelry and simple, but classy make up gave her an exquisite overall look. Go Sandy! 

Charlize.... you were one of my best dressed last year. You obviously can't do wrong. I absolutely love her hair short! If anyone can do it besides Halle Berry, it is Charlize. The black, form-fitting Dior gown that she wore tonight blew me away. The sheer straps, low neckline, formed bodice, and layered mermaid bottom all just synced perfectly to eloquently showcase a gem of a celebrity. The diamond drop necklace was so absolutely perfect for this gown, and I would have cringed had it been anything but. Thank you Charlize for always showing us what Hollywood and poise should be! 


Lupita, OH Lupita. Can you ever do wrong? I cannot describe the state of awe I was in when I saw Lupita on the red carpet tonight. She said that she chose the color because it reminded her of Kenya. It just reminded me of a dream. This powder blue number that had a v neck that matched the v in the back, a belted look, and a full, pleated train that had lines of blue beading on it was the most stunning dress of the night. Her simple, short hairstyle with her rhinestone headband, and her simple gold earrings and bracelets were in perfect contrast to her dress. Obviously when Prada and Lupita Nyong'o get together to make a dress, they do it well.. no, they do it perfectly. 

Honorable mentions tonight include: Portia De RossiKerry Washington, Kate Hudson, and Jennifer Lawrence.

Now, we have the worst dressed of the night. I really hate this part, but they have to be mentioned. Hopefully, they will not repeat this again next year. Yes, hopefully, they will read my blog. :)

Sally, hun, what were you thinking? This nightmare of a dress made my eyes hurt. This beaded, pearled, embellished nude number was atrocious. I don't mind long sleeves on the red carpet, but this just looked like something a 2nd grader would design with the contents of their craft drawer. I'm not really fond of gold and ivory thrown together like someone vomited on it either. The hair? Well, let's just say she needs to see a hairstylist pronto. 

People always get on Angelina for doing her own thing. This year, she decided to jump on the nude, metallic bandwagon and unfortunately, she failed miserably. The bateau neckline with the long sleeves and belted center all could have worked. BUT, it didn't. I think of an old chandelier that had it's day back in the 1700s when I see this gown. Obviously, Jolie's hair and make up are perfect as always, but the dress makes me want to barf on some metallic, shear panels. No Angelina, just no! Stop trying to be so matronly when you are not even 40 yet.

Anne Hathaway was one of my worst dressed last year, and amazingly she had a similar dress in the way of the cut as she did at last year's Oscars. She just doesn't have it going on, and I really think she needs a new stylist, if she even has one to begin with. I don't mind her in black, but the triangular rhinestones on the bodice of this dress are hideous. Had it just been a straight halter dress with no embellisments, she would have just landed in the boring zone and not the worst dressed zone. Like last year, I think she picked out her gown hours before the event. I'm adoring her short hair, and obviously she has a great body, so why does she pick the gowns that she does? One will never know! 

Cate, Cate, Cate! She looks like she is going ice dancing instead of attending the most watched awards show on tv. The shear Giorgio Armani gown with metallic embellishments (that she even admitted were too heavy), looks, well, too heavy. There is nothing flattering about this gown, and it clashes horribly with her skin tone. I do like her old Hollywood hairstyle and her GORGEOUS earrings, but her gown leaves many to think that her sons grabbed any metal object from their garage toolboxes to slap on this horrible, nude gown. Get it right next time Cate! Let's go to the Oscars instead of to Disney on Ice!


Anna! You definitely get my worst dressed of the night. You are such a gem, but you certainly showed that you need a stylist when you debuted this "gown" tonight. The sheer cutouts at the top, sheer waist with star-like gems, and hideous pleated bottom of this gown made me wonder what you were smoking when you picked it out. I just have no idea. There was nothing pretty, sexy, flattering, beautiful, classy, or elegant about this number. You got it wrong sweetie, and for that, I'm giving you the worst dressed gong of the night! Let's try to do better next time!!!

Please let me know your opinions, and don't hesitate to disagree with my choices. I love all of your input. Thanks for reading!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pinterest Tips

I love Pinterest! I think it is an amazing way to hoard recipes, interests, fitness routines, etc in an organized, accessible way! I have learned a few tips since I started pinning, and I would like to share them with you. If you have tips of your own, please feel free to leave them in the comment section!

 1.) You can't think too small. When I started pinning, I set up my boards according to what Pinterest suggested, and I realized later on that I was filling up some of my boards, so that finding a pin wasn't as easy as it could be. Now they have a feature where you can search your own pins, but you still may not remember what you pinned 760 pins ago under FOOD or STYLE. Some of my boards are still very broad, but breaking food down to meals, drinks, sweets, gluten free, etc., makes it easier to find what you are looking for. I have even seen people who pin things to a bread or pasta board. Don't be afraid to separate your interests into their own individual board.

2.) Secret boards are great for further organizing your larger boards. I was shopping recently, and I was looking for colored jeans and suggested shirts/accessories to go with them. I started a secret board called Combos where I pulled out all of my pins of colored jeans and what to wear with them from my fashion board. It made it easy to just look at a board with the specific pins on it, and by having it secret, I didn't repin them for my followers to see again.

3.) Another great way to use a secret board is when you are having an obsessive moment (and most Pinterest users have them), and you want to pin a large number of pins at one time. You surely don't want to overwhelm your followers by having 50 pictures of doors show up on their page, so make it secret, and when you have pinned all you want to pin at that time, make it visible to all. They won't get flooded with each individual pin, but they will then be able to see your board and your subsequent pins later on.

4.) One more great use I have found for having a secret board is for recipes that I have tried and liked. Making it secret, again keeps your followers from seeing all of the pins a second time, and it organizes your recipes (or could be any ideas or anything else you've tried) into the ones you like and want to try/use again.

5.) Come up with clever names for your boards. This sets you apart from the crowd, and it draws people to your boards more so than if you just use the names that Pinterest suggests. So instead of "For the Home", you could use something like "My Humble Abode". It gets rid of the boring!

6.) Don't just be a repinner! Pin things that you find on the internet yourself or that you upload yourself. This puts more pins and choices out there for everyone else. You are actually contributing to the world of Pinterest instead of just taking something from it. I have one board where about 80% of the pins on there are ones I have added myself. It's fun to see who repins them.

7.) Go through your follow list occasionally and stop following those who have completely different interests. It will keep your page from being filled with things that bore you.

8.) If you don't want to follow all boards that someone has, just follow the specific ones you are interested in. I have no interest in certain things, and that can actually be someone's largest board. One of my celebrity boards has over 200 pins (my followers probably know which one I'm talking about) and is of no interest to some. However, it is the most interesting to others, so adjusting what boards you choose to follow helps narrow your page down tremendously.

9.) If you want to pin something with no message underneath the pin, just hit the spacebar. This is a great way to get around that annoying message that says a description is required! Some things are self-explainatory.

10.) If you are just starting out, don't get overwhelmed! Start out slow, think of things you like and start searching for pins related to it. I have a friend who has 26,000 pins! I think it was like 11,000 when I started pinning, and I was completely overwhelmed thinking I had to know everything there was to know about Pinterest that very day! No matter how big or small your board is, or how new you are to Pinterest, it's a lot of fun waiting to be had. The world of Pinterest is huge!

 I will add more tips as I think of them, but I'd love to hear yours. Happy pinning!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Healthy Means to Me

This is a repost from a few years ago. I thought it needed to be said again! XO My blog title is "Color Me Healthy". When you read that and see that I have Cystic Fibrosis, have had two organ transplants, and the various problems that go with those two, I'm sure you automatically think "Color Me Healthy" is referring to my physical health. That's only part of it. To me, health refers to the physical, the spiritual, and the mental. It not only means taking my medicine and complying with my doctor's orders, but it means feeling good about myself when I look in the mirror, feeling good about choices I make, and being happy and feeling at peace in life. I have never wanted to look sick. I can only remember a few times that I didn't at least fix my hair before going into the hospital. I remember my lung transplant pulmonologist coming into the room a week or so after my lung transplant and saying... "Well, I'm glad you FINALLY look sick." LOL. I always thought if I kept the outside looking "healthy", then that would help the inside. It has in a way, because it helps my attitude and outlook on life, and we all know that attitude goes a long way. There is another blog that I visit where a chat is taking place soon to tell others why you named your blog what you did. We are always working toward bettering ourselves, whether it be through knowledge, health, appearance, or spiritual growth. "Color Me Healthy" is me striving for all of these. Attitude and a love for life get you pretty far no matter what your challenges are! As you have noticed, my blog posts are about health, fashion, beauty, faith, prayer, family, friendship, and just about anything else that life is about. I hope I never focus 100% on one of these things, because that would mean I am neglecting other things that matter.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How to keep your skin young, prevent damage, and heal damage


How to keep your skin ageless! This is my full skincare regimen, and you will notice that I use many different brands. They all work very well with each other. Above everything else, keeping your skin moisturized by drinking a lot of water and little caffeine, wearing sunscreen, and wearing big hats in the summer to protect your face is most important. Being 42 and being told that I have 25 year old skin is priceless. Here are the steps I take:

Morning routine:

I was my face with purity cleanser by Philosophy. It is a nice simple cleanser that I find very light and refreshing.

I then put SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic on my face. This is an antioxidant, helps build collagen, and helps your sunscreen work better.

Next, I put on this wonderful moisturizer by Karin Herzog. I use the Vita-A-Kombi 2 face cream, but if you are in your 20s or early 30s, you can use the number 1, which is more for prevention, whereas two is for prevention and healing.

The last step that I take in morning is to put on my sunscreen. You can get a sunscreen with 70 spf, and you will not get the coverage you will with something like Blue Lizard, which has not only a chemical barrier, but a physical barrier because it has zinc oxide in it. I also have the Blue Lizard sunscreen for my body.

Nighttime routine:

Again, I use Philosophy's purity cleanser.

Three times a week, I use this exfoliator with my cleanser. It works great, and is not too harsh. It's the Olay PRO X advanced cleaning system.

Three times a week, I also use this Olay PRO X exfoliating cleanser with the exfoliator above. My face feels so clean after removing all of the dead skin cells. You can use this more or less often as necessary.

Every night, I put on SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel. It helps with tissue repair and it replenishes nutrients.

My final step for the night is this Renew Overnight Moisturizer by SkinCeuticals. I use the formula for dry skin, but it also comes in oily.

I have been using self tanning cream since 1994. Having tried most brands out there, I keep going back to Clinique's line of self sun. I use it on my face and body. I never get sun on my face. That is the number one key to youthful skin!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscar Fashion 2013

My review is a bit rushed this year, because I have to travel in the morning, but I wrote most of my reviews while watching the red carpet event. Most of my reviews are based more on what the celebrity looked like onscreen instead of in pictures. As we all know, the lighting and angle of photographs can offset the entire look. I do have pictures attached though for those of you who didn't get the chance to see them on TV.

As always, I take into account the entire look, including dress, hairstyle, make up, and accessories. And I steer clear of all reviews before writing mine.

I guess the trending topic in all reviews this year will be "train". It seemed like the fad this year on the red carpet, and for the most part, they were very pleasing to the eye and added the right touch to the dresses!

First of all, this year didn't offer much when it came to fashion. As far as colors go, there were a good variety of colors tonight, whereas usually I've seen one color be repeated over and over. The styles of the dresses, other than the trains of course, also varied greatly. I will say; however, that there were few dresses tonight that just screamed "WOW"! On the other hand, other than Kristen Stewart's nightmare of a number, there were very few unimpressive dresses. (Kristen is not in my review, but you can find her dress here).

I will save my best dressed and worst dressed for last, so here goes, starting with these very talented nominees.

I will say that I had so much anticipation in seeing Jennifer Lawrence tonight. She is a sparkly gem, and she usually gets everything right. If you remember my review in 2011, she was one of my best dressed, and she hadn't even made a name of herself as a style icon yet. Tonight, I was just really disappointed in her gown. I loved her highlighted hair pulled back into a simple bun, her perfect make up job, and I even loved the top of the gown down to the drop waistline. I shouldn't have looked any further. The rest of her gown looks like a lampshade. Even the brocade design gives the impression of something that sits on my nightstand, instead of on one of the most stylish actresses performing today.

A ruffled beauty! If you know me, I have never been a big fan of ruffles, especially when there are as many as there are on Amy's dress, but I absolutely loved this pale gray, strapless, Oscar de la Renta gown. The full skirt and train could have been excessive had it not been for the understated bodice. Her diamond jewelry really complimented the gown! Unfortunately, Amy's messy updo knocked this whole look down a notch or two. Overall, I'm still impressed!

How cute is Quvhenzhane Wallis? Although, I thought this dress looked too old for her age, it was still a beautiful dress and she had an overall adorable look. Starting with her curly updo and crystal headband, down to her shiny ballet slippers, she was impeccably dressed. The blue gown, with it's black tulle overlay and crystal embellishments was Oscar-worthy for sure. Her wrap added a nice touch, and anyone who has been following this talented little actress knows she would show up with her puppy purse. Now THAT'S age appropriate!

Procrastinators unite... three hours before showtime! Yes, Anne Hathaway picked out her dress three hours before stepping onto the red carpet, and it shows! Remember your child's first ballet recital outfit.. in the NINETIES? This blush Prada satin gown reminded me of that. Even though it had a unique back, the rest of the dress looked like it came off the rack at your local retailer. I can't believe that Anne could go so wrong.

Age appropriate? Yes! Emmanuelle Riva looked very elegant in this caped, turquoise gown. Her stylish hairstyle, choker necklace, and bracelets added just the right touch to bring this from simple to elegant.

Mermaid gone wrong? This top 3/4 of this crimson gown was completely beautiful and had a nice fit for Jackie Weaver. I really liked the sheer top with its red sequined design and the crisscrossed sash across her waist, but her half up, half down hairstyle and the mermaid skirt, that made her look shorter than she is, ruined the look.

If you cross an angel with a rockstar, you get Charlize Theron on the red carpet tonight. This was a super edgy look for her, and how many actresses, other than she and Halle Berry can pull off this hairstyle? I thought the white gown with the slit neckline, beaded peplum, and simple train was stunning! 

This deep, metallic blue gown was made for Jennifer Hudson! The bateau neckline, and fish scale-like appliques over sheer sleeves and upper chest gave this gown a very unique look. Jennifer's bangs and her matching clutch were a nice touch, but her straightened extensions were overkill.

Legally wrong! Have we not seen Reese in a similar, unflattering dress before? This tuxedo type dress, with its roll over black neckline, satiny finish, and messy train was extremely unflattering. Reese's vintage curls and make up were perfection, however.

Adele had to redeem herself after the floral nightmare she wore to the Grammys. She certainly did that tonight. This Jenny Packham number with its simple bodice and skirt, black on black embellishments, and sheer sleeves draped so nicely on Adele's frame. I like that she has a half updo, and as always, her smoky eyes are quite entrancing. 

Artistic knockout! Naomi Watts shines in this charcoal, metallic, asymmetrical Armani gown. She certainly has the shape to pull this gown off, and the caped sleeve vs. the cutaway shoulder added a very unique touch to this otherwise simple design. Naomi's wavy updo was my favorite of the night! 

You cannot fully appreciate the beauty of this gown unless you see it onscreen! My mouth dropped when I saw Amanda in this Alexander McQueen masterpiece! This taupe dress had such an amazing halter neckline. The chocker at the top flattered her face and shoulders, as did the perfectly placed keyhole. I adored the way this dress draped her body so gracefully. The leaf appliques on the sheered overlay were beautiful as they appeared to be falling from top to bottom. Amanda's voluminous updo and understated jewelry were exactly what this look called for. Can Amanda ever get it wrong? I don't think so! She was my very close second when it came to picking best dressed.

This is one of those love/hate kind of dresses. And guess what? I love it, and I hate it! This Miu Miu number had a pale pink bodice that was adorned with everything from my daughter's craft drawer. Even though the top was a little busy, I still found this to be an interesting dress. The coral color worked great with Kerry Washington's skin tone, and the simple bow belt and train added just the right of normal to this dress.

Sheered Sally! This red dress, with its jewel neckline, long sleeves, and ruffled skirt and train was age-appropriate for Sally Fields, and the sheered sleeves and panels added a touch of youth to this look. Sally's teased updo was so "Sally". This was an overall good choice for her.

It's Christmas in February! As beautiful and glamourous as Zoe Saldana is, I was not very impressed with this pale gray gown. The top of the dress resembled a Christmas ornament I bought this year, and I'm not sure a silver buckle belongs on a ball gown. I did like the side bow at the waist, and the layered skirt and train. Zoe's hairstyle and drop earrings were elegant, and as always her make up was immaculate.

First of all... HOLY COW this girl can sing! And obviously Samantha Barks knows how to dress too. This low cut black Valentino gown was so simple, but yet so comely! Her gold statement necklace was the essential focus of her entire look.

Catherine Zeta-Jones looked much better onscreen than she does here in this photo. She is always so becoming in whatever she wears. The camisole neckline was flattering, as was the fitted bodice and the gold, metallic appliques over the blush sheer fabric. Catherine's classy hairstyle and gold, chandelier earrings added to the glamour of this entire look.

Octavia Spencer! You go girl! What a flawless blush dress! This one-shouldered tulle dress with a beaded bodice flattered her frame and is a show stopper! Octavia completed her look with bright lipstick, stunning diamond earrings, and a neatly styled updo. 

This was SUCH a surprising look for Jennifer Aniston! NOT!!!! As always, Jennifer Aniston takes no risk and plays it safe with a simple gown and decade-old boring beach hair. The Valentino gown would have looked so much better on someone who wasn't so bo bo bo boring! 

AND here are my picks for best and worst dressed! 

The worst dressed gong goes to.... Helen Hunt!

I wasn't expecting Helen to stun me, as she has never stunned me in the past, but seriously? This wrinkled satin mess was something she must have pulled out from the back of her closet. Having such thin hair should make someone want to get a hairstylist to help with styling on such an important night, but methinks she did this herself in the limo ride over. Her regal necklace was the only thing that saved her from being shoved off of the red carpet for embarrassing the Academy!

I am so thrilled to review my best dressed choice of the night! Here is the amazing Jessica Chastain!

Is it just me, or did this golden goddess just step out of old Hollywood? Jessica Chastain took us back in time with this alluring Armani dress. Everything about Jessica's look was tied together so well, including her red, wavy hair, red lipstick, and gold sequined mesh dress. I don't believe I have ever seen a more exquisite redhead in all of my 42 years. I definitely haven't seen one like this on the red carpet. I have a feeling that Jessica will be on many best dressed lists this year!

Every time I do a review, I am eager to hear your comments. Agree, disagree, or add your own personal review! Pictures are from, and you can also go here for excellent coverage of red carpet arrivals!