Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thank You + Not quite the way I had in mind to lose more weight!

As many of you know I'm going through the fight of my life right now and I have been sharing my journey along the way, you can refer to these posts to get caught up (in order of most recent post about my experience to oldest):

3. Prayers and Good Vibes Needed

4. Today's HA! HA! Moment!

5.  Happy New Year Butterfly!

While in the hospital amazing online groups I belong to have rallied around me to help make this difficult time much more bearable. In many ways my online friends have rallied for me harder and faster than some of my real life ones! A beautiful flower arrangement (done inside a tea cup) and a balloon appeared at the hospital from:


I was so surprised and they defintely lifted my spirits, including the messages of support from the group too! And a visit from one of the members of the groups where we got to meet IRL (in real life) for the first time was such a wonderful surprise!

And another amazing surprise was that the Latina Bloggers Connect crew created a chip in account to help with my Medical Expenses, donations have started to come in, and honestly it all brought tears to my eyes. I'm usually the person who gives, and at first was a bit uncomfortable with the idea. But I realized that this isn't a time to worry about pride, but to worry about my health. This gift allows me to focus on my health and not worry so much about bills. It's not just the donations that have come in, but many being from perfect strangers with messages of support and encouragement that have really touched me.

My articles about my harrowing experience at the hands of a hospital have had an amazing trickle effect even I didn't think about, be it from reading my article, or donating to my chipin, people have shared THEIR stories with ME. Horrible medical experiences, their own medical challenges, or those of someone they love, and all the stories have been so moving!

So I also want to thank the amazing folks behind:

For setting up the following Chip In Fund (you can press on the button below if you'd like to also contribute and you will also notice the button on my sidebar as well):

And a special thanks to each and every one of you who have contributed so far!

Now me being the cheeky person I am and having the wicked sense of humor that I do, I have to share I have lost more weight since all this craziness began. The almost two weeks under heavy meds made food pretty un-appetizing and now clothes and even underwear are very loose on me, not the way I had in mind to loose more weight this year! But I guess I have found one positive in all this negative. Last year I slowly lost almost 26 pounds. And this year with this medical struggle I'm losing even more weight. So unlike most, I've kept the holiday pounds at bay! But not in a way I'd recommend of course.

I'm temporarily back home, and enjoying escaping that crazy hospital and my crazy hospital roomie. I can sleep in total darkness and silence again! Well, at least until I have to go back to the new hospital I am changing my care to. I can eat 'real' meals again, and get some air/sun and of course take real showers in a bathroom with a working shower. Even a long bathe. Something we think of as commonplace and even take for granted until we can't have them.....

Have a friend in the hospital? Here are some do's and don'ts:

DO - Visit them. Hours are insanely slow when your life screeches to a halt.

DON'T - Give them the 'poor baby' look. I'm not saying lie and tell them that they look fab, they don't need or want that either, but the 'poor baby' look makes people want to scream.

DON'T - Over tax the patient, don't bring them stress, theirs or yours.

DO - Leave after a reasonable amount of time. The person may feel like they have to keep up energy they really don't have to make YOU feel comfortable.

DON'T - Arrive empty handed. BUT:

DO -  A little recon, find out if they can have flowers (not all units allow the patients to have them in their rooms. My unit did NOT allow flowers in the patient's room which I was super bummed about.) Things most patients will always need: PJ's, toiletries (invariably you will forget something that they don't have), lotions (your skin ends up feeling like sandpaper in there), treats (waiting on the food tray to arrive is nerve wracking, many times you don't get what you want, it tastes awful and you end up hungry way before the next tray is set to arrive). So once you find out what they can have and can't have, be sure to bring treats or food, it will be greatly appreciated.

DO - Ask about the patient's care with the patient and the team, patients who are being looked after get better care. period. Make sure enough people are visiting that patient so the hospital staff knows you will notice anything out of place or any negative treatment or problems.

DO -  Keep in mind the patient's schedule is no longer their own, they often have to take tests so may not be in their room, and when they just get back to the room be it after surgery or after testing, they are exhausted. If they fall asleep, LET them sleep and come back to visit at another time.

Right now it takes so much extra time to do things I normally never had to think about, but I'm actively working at keeping my spirits up and remaining inspired.

If I can keep my spirits up despite my current challenges, so can YOU!

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored Post. I am choosing to thank the online groups that sent cheer my way during a very difficult hospital stay. I was under no obligation to do so and all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Laughter - It REALLY is the Best Medicine, and Then Some!

Did you know that babies begin to laugh when they're just 12 weeks old, and that the typical 4 year old laughs several hundred times a day? While we may take humor for granted, we shouldn't. Because by the time we're adults, we're only laughing a handful of times a day. That means we're missing out on the incredible benefits of laughter.

It's no joke. The experts, including those at the Department of Health and Human Services, tell us that having a sense of humor is good for a child’s mental and physical well-being. Just look at this laundry list of benefits we can glean from laughter:

· Relieves stress
· Loosens muscles
· Lowers blood pressure and may lower hormones that create stress and weaken immunity
· Helps move blood to our heart and lungs, boosting energy
· Triggers a point in the brain that helps us feel pleasure and want to have that same feeling
· Eases depression
· Strengthens immune system

For children, laughter offers not just these immediate benefits. Having a sense of humor also allows children to maintain a youthful, positive outlook on life. It's something they can turn to as a coping mechanism during challenging times. Humor also can help children develop social skills and maintain emotional and physical health. Last, but not least, laughing just plain feels good.

So, how can you encourage your child to develop and appreciate a sense of humor and the laughter that follows? Try the following strategies to get the giggling going in your home.

Make them laugh: Tickle your baby's tummy. Play hide-and-go seek with your toddler. Tell your 5 and 6 year olds funny jokes. Finding opportunities in everyday life to laugh with your children will make your home a happier place now, and will plant the seed of laughter in your children forever.

Be a good role model: Sure, our lives get weightier as adults, and we may not find as much to laugh about. But you won't raise laughing children if you're wearing a frown much of the time. If you can find the humor in everyday life and let your children see it, you'll help create a home environment that feels safe, comfortable and fun.

Add time for fun: Kids get so over-scheduled with activities during the day that we often forget they need time to just veg out and have fun too!

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FTC Disclosure: This article was provided and sponsored by Kiddie Academy®. The company has been a leader in education-based childcare for 30 years serving families and their children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, offering full time care, before- and after-school care and summer camp programs. You can visit the KA Family Essentials blog and LIKE them on FB as well as Twitter @KiddieAcademy for additional information.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

An Open Letter to New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, (and to New Yorkers) and . . .

Written January 5, 2012 based on the care journal of my personal experiences regarding my stay.

RE: An Open Letter to NY Columbia Presbyterian Hospital by Tracy Iglesias

A warning to fellow New Yorkers and the Battle of my life:

I try not to use to my blog ever for snark, or for arm pulling. But I do use my words carefully and very much honestly at all times.

While I don't expect a response to this open letter because these details make for a good lawsuit, I feel it's important for a teaching institution who has signs everywhere taking pride in being a top 10 care institution for the past 10 years to really know how they are doing from the perspective of someone who just went through the fight of her life in their care (and I use the word 'care' to apply to this institution very loosely.)

I was transferred to the NY Columbia Presbyterian Millstein Building Oncology Ward on 12/31/11 after having spent an entire night in the ER of the Allen Pavilion which is located further uptown. It was during imaging taken at the ER where a mass was discovered on my lung, Allen didn't have a bed for me, and so at the urging of a doctor I met while in the ER at Allen (who actually was phenomenal) and the urging of a nurse who was taking care of me (who was also phenomenal), a bed was found for me where I have spent the past week at 6 Hudson North of Columbia Presbyterian. If only a bed had been found at Allen instead. A mass that had been there since imaging taken in October that I was NEVER told about. Had I been told in October I would have started this battle WAY sooner.

I want to start with a bit of background on the type of person I am. I will avoid aspirin for a Migraine if I can and try and start with meditation first and see if that dulls it. While women are not usually that way, much like a man, I'm private, stoic and tend to not share my pain. The pain that led me to the ER on 12/30 had me curled up in a ball in my bed, literally writhing in agony. I've never in my life experienced a pain so intense and pray to never experience something like that again.

It was a super long night in the waiting area of the ER before I was even triaged which is surprising for me, because as an asthmatic I don't normally experience super long waits. When I did finally get in the ER, a battery of tests and imaging was taken. I knew by the look of surprise on the person's face who took the images that things were not good. An amazing doc broke the news about the mass, about what the possibilities of the mass could be, and that I was definitely staying, they just didn't know where at that point. A bed could not be found at Allen, which I honestly regret to this day. I wonder how much easier things might have been there.

After a bumpy ambulance ride to the Millstein Building at Columbia Presbyterian, I arrived exhausted, in intense pain and in desperate need of rest. Who knew it would be the first and only time I'd see my bed made.

In the morning an agonizing trip to the bathroom made me wonder if I was in a hospital room or a movie theater. The all too familiar to most New Yorkers feet sticking to the ground and squeaking sound greeted my feet. The bathroom was entirely like something from a cheesy motel from a horror movie. Filthy floor, a large piece of missing tile (that can't be sanitary), a gross mirror you can barely see yourself in, a broken paper towel holder with paper towels above the holder just floating loose, and the remnants of my 'roomie's' bedpan still stuck to the upper lid because the folks emptying it don't take the time to lift the lid (a daily occurence by the way). What a lovely day one.

My bed was never made, I was never offered a shower. My mother thought she'd give me a shower, but cut her fingers on the broken shower head.

After 5 days I put my foot down about new bedding, and someone finally arrived with this bedding and threw it on a chair and began to walk away. I asked her should I move to the chair so she could make the bed. She barely glanced back and said 'It's not my job to make your bed', 'contact your nurse'. After about another hour a harried and apparently put upon NA made my bed, huffing the whole time. I'd pay you to find me the infamous 'hospital corner' I've heard so much of. When asked about when beds get made I was told every other day. That did NOT happen. My bedding was only changed once (quite a nightmare since you wake up every single with night sweats from the pain meds), and that's because I literally put my foot down about it or it would have NEVER happned the entire visit. Even most dogs have neater beds.

While my room was not hospitable in any way for a human, it would have made a great spare freezer. I thought my body temperature may have been off because of my meds until every single visitor I have had would put their coat right back on including scarf. I asked a nurse about raising the room temperature and she said she couldn't adjust it (she did try) and would contact maintenance (it seems like there is a person for every single thing, but you never find out who that 'person' is.). Maintenance has still not adjusted the temperature and I've endured a room as cold or probably colder than the current temperature outside here in New York City.

I was supposed to have a 'Bronchoscopy' on Tuesday, so I was placed on an NPO order (nothing by mouth Monday after midnight). After a tense morning, I was never taken in, and of course had to miss meals just to find out they wouldn't have an OR for me until Wednesday. So again Tuesday night another NPO order after midnight, and because of the time the procedure was scheduled I missed pretty much a whole day of meals. But that would actually turn out to be the easy part.

The transport person to take me to the OR, didn't come in my room, didn't offer to transfer me to the stretcher or even help me walk to it. My family got me to the stretcher, and asked her for a sheet because I was freezing. She literally sucked her teeth and muttered about what a pain in the ass 'these' patients are and practically threw the sheet on me. Honestly despite my weakened state, the New Yorker in me and Bronxite that I am was rising to the surface. And oh does it get better. We get to a walkway with a steep downward incline, and she locks the wheels of the stretcher while at the begining of the downward part of that incline and walks away leaving me in a position that would block anyone trying to get by on both doors and it was freezing there, not to mention if a wheel had unlocked my stretcher would have went careening over like a top. I ask her where she is going, and this was her reply 'YOU are too heavy for me this thing is too heavy and I need a man to wheel this thing over the incline so just stay there and deal with it.' So after a long chit chat with this 'man' about their respective holiday weekends, he began pumping up the stretcher much like you jack a car tire. I firmly asked him to STOP, that he was causing tremendous pain in the area where the mass is located and I had it made to clear to avoid my left side, and asked that they avoid bumping the stretcher against walls. He looked right at me and replied 'I have to worry about MY health'. And I made him repeat it just to make sure I had heard right.

As they pulled me in to the endoscopy waiting area, I was wheeled into a twilight zone of people pale as a sheet, moaning, some louder than others, and had a feeling I was in for something....

I was told the lead doctor was a Dr. Bulman, he never arrived, which means my procedure was performed by an attending, I did NOT agree to that. But that's not the worst part, it is what happens next that gets interesting. This was going to be performed under what's called 'twilight' sleep. You are breathing on your own and not entirely put under. You are asked a series of questions to gauge your readiness for them to begin. I didn't miss a question. No answer was incoherent. I told the Doctor, I'm still too lucid, all of my answers are still making sense, I don't think you should begin.

I've seen those shows on TV, even movies where someone undergoing a surgery wakes up and sees, hears and worsely FEELS everything.  Count me among them.

I woke up with a start, my glasses had been removed so I couldn't see with focus, but saw the camera, felt what was happening, and coughed so hard I'm sure everyone's fear was I would cough up the camera.

Of course then they decide to overcompensate for the error and give me too much Twilight. When I wake up, not ONE person came and spoke to me and the nausea was so severe I literally felt like I was dying. Thankfully the exasperated rude woman who transported me there wasn't the one who transported me back, but that's still not saying anything. I was wheeled in front of my room and just left there moaning. I was in no condition to walk back to my bed and needed a transfer. My nurse and my mother (who has a bad back and now injured fingers thanks to the showerhead in the bathroom here) had to slide me from the stretcher to the bed. Hard on them and hard on me. And shouldn't have happened in a hospital that prides itself on the quality of the care they provide.

On Wednesday I missed an entire day of meals and when something finally did come, I couldn't tolerate it because of the meds. (I was given morphine to manage the pain post procedure). We asked for soft foods as the endoscopy still had my throat sore, and it wasn't until 1:30 in the morning that one cup of lemon ice and one cup of pudding arrived. You try being on enough meds to choke a horse for a week and skip an entire day of meals.......

My psycho, racist room-mate puts her TV on so loud you can hear it from the elevators and this is ALL day long, she does not put it off, and she never turns off her light. And pre surgery when a nurse was speaking with me, she literally told that nurse that because she has money, that whenever she needs something it will always get precedence over me and my needs. She also told someone she was speaking to on the phone that for a 'Hispanic Woman' I didn't seem to smell as bad as most of them normally do, WTF? Seriously? I know for a fact I wouldn't be allowed to get away with half of the non-sense this woman pulls.

But I will say that her theory about money and treatment is one that doesn't surprise me as I have experience working in a hospital myself, but seeing just how much the staff here agrees with it themselves and just how differently people are treated here is still a shocker in this day and age.

Apparently warm blankets are for the 9th floor, 'You know for the folks with MON....' and then a long pause which is what my mother was told when she asked for one for me since the heat was never fixed in my freezer, I mean room.

Sleeping in a bed I call a 'dogs nest' because it doesn't get made, no shower, not only because the shower in my room is broken and has not yet been repaired, but no one would do it for me even it was working. Thankfully I do have family and friends willing to if and WHEN the shower ever gets fixed (IF that happens before I get discharged remains to be seen). A procedure that wasn't even performed by the Doctor who I thought would do it, and then a team who was discussing the possibilities before they even had the dissection nevertheless the actual results from pathology has made for a surreal experience to say the least.

Even the seedy motel rooms you see in those 'b' horror movies have more potential than where I am staying. How are you supposed to take on the battle of your life in these conditions?

I am a woman of Faith and I am trying to walk in that Faith, speak in that Faith (despite such dire circumstances) and live in my Faith. It's been super difficult to keep my energy and spirits up here.

New Yorkers, if you ever find yourself in an ambulance (and I pray you do NOT) and you are coherent enough to hear you are being taken to Columbia Presbyterian, INSIST you be taken ANYWHERE else.

Aside from poor treatment and care, poor conditions of the rooms and staff that makes you feel you are putting upon them (despite the fact that in spite of my pain, not one person who dealt with me can say that they didn't get a please before I asked for anything and a Thank You after it arrived), this hospital has a caste system that is almost medieval. I am in the fight of my life right now and I haven't quite been given the tools to fight here.

They say that God helps to turn all bad around for our good, that there is a lesson in our trials, moments of sadness, moments of pain, I'm still trying to figure this one out, but I do thank all of my readers for their outpouring of prayer and concern for both my health and my wellbeing/spirits. It is because of you that I have had the courage to live out loud since 2009, to share my life and my feelings, my victories and my failures, each and every day and every day to day moment I have shared with you, and this is probably my most raw and open post to date. But please dear readers, avoid this hospital at all costs!

My aunt encouraged me to journal about my experiences and this post is shared from those journals. I am sure I won't get a response because they will be more concerned about a law suit than they ever were with my quality of care, but if they do respond (some pat answer sent by their PR folks after legal approves it) I will be sure to share it here. I'm sure we could both use the laugh.

If any Lawyer reads this and would like to contact me, please feel free, you can use the contact us page of this site to be in touch.


I've taken some photos which will be added to this post as soon as I'm back home, but I thought I'd share my day today, Friday, 01/06/12. Today I was scheduled for a Pet Scan, I was not told the scan was in another building and I'd be transferred to the procedure from the outside. Let's remember, what's compromised is my Lungs, and I was transferred externally in the cold with a robe, never told I'd need my coat, Does that make any sense? Now I have a dry cough that is exacerbating the pain I am already experiencing. Transport was given incorrect information so after my test I was left in a HALLWAY to wait almost one hour for transport to come return me to my room, again with an external building transfer in the winter for someone with a compromised lung....... I ran into my doctor in the hall on my way back and he asks me are you going to your scan or coming from it? He asked this as he turned away and kept walking, it even got the transport person angry, and she replied before I could, she said, 'how about if you ask a patient a question that you turn and at least acknowledge her response?' He tersely replied he would come see me when he had the results, it's 9:09 pm and that was 1:30 pm and he has still not arrived. And yet yesterday and today I was told if the bone scan went well, I would be going home.....Looks like that isn't going to happen. My prayers are for Saturday, but it's getting harder to hold out hope. And then the fun really begins once I have all the test results back and finally know what I'm up against!


Ascending Butterfly

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: More Prayers!

Butterflies as many of you already know I am in the hospital and my procedure date has been changed from Tuesday to today/Wednesday (putting a whole new meaning on the whole  'Wordless Wednesday' thing that's for sure),  I would greatly appreciate your continued prayers, virtual hugs, and positive vibes!

I may not have the energy to post again on Wednesday night, but God willing I will make a post on Thursday!

I hope the new year is treating you way better than it's treating me! Many of you have opted to contact me privately or via email, and while I don't have the energy to personally respond to every email and ecard, I just wanted to thank you all for the abundance of love and positive energy you have sent my way, be it via facebook, twitter, email or comments here, I am seeing each and everyone of them. I am convinced that I have the best readers ever and I thank you all for your support!

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Prayers and Good Vibes Needed

Butterflies as many of you already know I am in the hospital and Tuesday morning will be a big day for me,  I would greatly appreciate your prayers, virtual hugs, and positive vibes!

I may not have the energy to post on Tuesday night, but God willing I will make a post on Wednesday!

Hope the new year is treating you all well so far!

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Today's HA! HA! Moment!

Much like Oprah is fond of sharing her 'A-Ha!' Moments, I thought I'd share a 'Ha! Ha!' moment I had today! I decided (with the help of family of course for support) to venture outside my room and take a walk around the floor, figuring it would help build up my strength, change the scenery and keep my mind busy. Harmless enough right?

Well what song comes piping out of someone's room?

While I do think it's a pretty song and all, If I Die Young by The Band Perry is the last thing you really want to hear as the youngest patient on your Oncology Ward! LOL

There's my Today's HA! HA! Moment.

Alanis Morrissette's song "Ironic", which contains the line, "It's a black fly in your Chardonnay." is coming to mind, I'm thinking my HA! HA! Moment is a tiny bit more ironic than a black fly in your Chardonnay.......

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FTC Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year Butterfly!

My Dearest Butterflies,

While Ascending Butterfly is spending her holiday weekend in the Hospital, I certainly hope you all have way more exciting plans than mine.

I loved this picture the moment I layed eyes on it, while the Mayan Calendar ends in 2012, many astrologers take this to mean the end of an era of thinking, not the end of man.

While being in a hospital bed sending out my last butterfly update for 2011 was not exactly what I had planned, I am very much excited to see 2011 come to an end and ring in 2012 with an open heart and mind.

Despite my current circumstances, my spirit is very much filled with hope for what 2012 will bring and I hope yours is too!

Be safe. Don't drive under the influence or ride with anyone under the influence. Wishing each and every single one of you a very happy, healthy and safe New Year. May 2012 be your most fulfilling and empowering year yet!


Ascending Butterfly

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

{Not So} Wordless Wednesday - Getting Fit with Cheryl Burke + Ideology + a Kardashian too! {Photos}

Earlier this month fashion editors, Manhattan’s social elite, and taste-makers alike celebrated the announcement of Ideology’s new face of the brand, Cheryl Burke, who was on hand for the festivities at the chic Dream Downtown Hotel.

Cheryl Burke, a renowned professional dancer and two-time winner of Dancing With The Stars, will appear in the campaign for the line launching in February 2012.

Guests sipped on cocktails and previewed the collection to the tunes of Reality TV’s newest DJ, Rob Kardashian, who spent time in the DJ booth and mingling with guests. Fashion celebutants Phillip Bloch, Richie Rich, and Supermodel Irina Shayk, were also in attendance. Professional dancers surprised guests with hot and original dance routines wearing the new line.

The new line reflects a modern design comprised of functional easy to mix-and-match pieces that add a beat of unexpected fashion to any errand, tango, or work-out. And as we transition from our Holidays promos to our annual 'New Year, New You!' features, I couldn't think of a better Wordless Wednesday, since I'm sure most people will have Fitness somewhere on their New Years Resolutions list.

I'm mixing my photos (which are watermarked, please do not 'borrow' them, with the photos supplied by the PR firm (non-watermarked, but I suggest contacting Factory PR for permission, they are being used on my site with permission).

I had a fun time, and needless to say 'The Official #TwitterPartyDJ' was tempted to take over the turntables. Although with DJ Rob Kardashian spinning the tunes, I was able to just mingle and relax! :)

Tip: Press on any photo to see them bigger!

I love how the tops work WITH a woman's curves!

The pants come in different lengths so there is something for everyone!

The Sport Bra comes in a wide variety of colors

A Belief in the Power of Movement - I just love that! I'm 26 pounds down and counting!

Who Says Workout Bras have to be utlitarian? A little something for my girly girls!

(Left) Rob Kardashian, (Right) Cheryl Burke

Second from Right: Rob Kardashian

Cheryl Burke, Face of Ideology, (exclusive to Macys) Workout Apparel

(Left) DJ, (Center) Rob Kardashian (Celeb DJ), (Right) Cheryl Burke

(Left) Cheryl Burke of DWTS, (Right) Rob Kardashian

(Left) Ascending Butterfly, (Right) Mama Butterfly

Dancers all wearing Ideology Fitness Wear! Love that they made this one B&W!

(Left) DJ, (Center) Cheryl Burke, (Right) Rob Kardashian (Celeb DJ)

Cheryl Burke (Center) surrounded by Dancers

(Left) Mama Butterfly, (Right) Ascending Butterfly in the background holiday decor at Dream Hotel NYC - How about that scary Polar Bear?

(Left) Mama Butterfly, (Right) Ascending Butterfly and hiding behind the small tree, a Reindeer!

Ideology, which will feature neutral and brightly hued jackets, sweatshirts, tops, bras, pants, shorts and accessories ranging from $7.98 to $58 will launch at Macy's Spring 2012 (hopefully we can get them to come back, and host a reader giveaway once the line actually launches in the new year!)

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. No monetary compensation has been received, no gift bags were received. I attended this event as a member of the digital press and was under no additional obligation to post. All Opinions Expressed are 100% my own. Non-watermarked photos used with permission by Factory PR.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Winners Announcement + Extended Deadline!

We have winners! It's been a busy holiday season and it took a bit longer than expected to process entries and notify winners for the last three giveaways, but I spent some time getting caught up, and have 3 winners to announce today. Yay!

J Winners  J

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - {CLOSED} 3 Month The California Wine Club Review AND Giveaway! Ends 12/15 - The Winner is *'Gina Nuzio'*. 

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - {CLOSED} Earthies Jasko Boots Review and Giveaway! ARV $209 Ends 12/22 - The Winner is *'Swtlilchick'*.

Extended Deadline:
This extension is mostly for me, but definitely benefits you as well, if you were away for the holiday weekend and thought you missed the chance to get in our Marc Joseph Giveaway, we extended the deadline! It will now close on 12/30 giving you a little more time to get your entries in if you haven't, and a chance to rack up more extra credit entries if you have already entered!

Active HOT Giveaway:

Remember you can select a MENS style shoe or a WOMENS style shoe:

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Calendar Shock!

This new week is moving too fast! Happy Motivation Monday! Don't forget to enter our latest giveaway it Ends SOON! If Santa didn't bring you the shoes you wanted, enter to win yours here: Pair of Marc Joseph New York Shoes of YOUR Choice Giveaway - Mens or Womens - 2 Winners! Ends 12/27

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Please Note: Christmas is Cancelled and Apparently it's all YOUR fault!

OK, so I couldn't resist being a bit cheeky! But seriously, have you been naughty or nice this year? Ascending Butterfly is taking a pause for the holiday cause, I'm wishing all my butterflies a very happy, healthy, SAFE and prosperous Holiday Weekend!

Merry Christmas Butterflies!

Don't forget about our active giveaway: Pair of Marc Joseph New York Shoes of YOUR Choice Giveaway - Mens or Womens - 2 Winners! Ends 12/27

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Growing an Empowerment Community and Re-Defining What You Already Know

I'm sure many of you have noticed the Latina Smart badge proudly displayed on my sidebar, and many of you remember me sharing the announcement that I had been selected as a Kmart Latina Smart Brand Ambassador which entailed juding the allocation of $25,000 in scholarship funding (you can read that post HERE if you missed it the first time), but another part of what my ambassadorship entailed was helping to grow the Latina Smart community on Facebook.

I've spent years building my own empowerment community and I thought the hardest part of the process would be judging the scholarship entries, and while the scholarships contest was the foundation of how the community began to grow, it is the Ambassadors and Facebook Page Moderators that helped foster, sustain and continue to grow it, with incisive questions to the community to provoke thought and seasonal sharing such as share your favorite summer vacation photo, as well as members sharing information with another that helped the community to flourish.

Do I consider myself Latina? Definitely! Do I consider myself Smart? I'd like to think so! But being part of a community that helps Latina's re-define for themselves what that means has been both challenging and empowering. It's helped me to re-define not just what those specific things mean to me, but to allow me to look at my life and my goals a lot more strategically.

I'm going to be taking what I learned into this upcoming new year, re-defining what I think I know about myself as a writer, as a blogger, and as an empowerment coach and community builder and making myself better and more efficient, which only benefits Ascending Butterfly (and other communities I am involved in) to grow stronger.

I've learned to re-define what I already know including:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Sharing resources and information blesses everyone (including YOURSELF).

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - You are not the only one going through something, sharing it, helps you work through it.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - There really is power in numbers, when you ask for advice, within the many perspectives you receive, it does help you to see things in a brand new way and tackle an idea, creative project or an even a problem you couldn't before resolve, in a much different way.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - A community can only grow when everyone contributes their fair share.

While it seems obvious, take these lessons about community and apply them to your own, be it your place of work, your place of worship, your neighborhood, or your family, you can approve any area of your life with focused effort, purpose, and a spirit of sharing and giving. Which is also an incredible thing to take with you when visiting family for the holidays. It really doesn't have to be the drama and fight fest that most people dread. A community is a call to action to be of service, do so graciously, and you will derive way more from it, than you give to it.

I look forward to seeing how this community grows, evolves and develops in 2012, I am proud to be a member of the Latina Smart Community, and I am proud to be an Ascending Butterfly. My butterflies have taught me so much about inspiration and encouragement that I was able to take those lessons with me to another empowerment community and share in it's growth. In being part of both my own community of inspiration seekers and the Latina Smart Social Media community on Facebook and Twitter I have learned to continue to give the best of myself and receive such amazing blessings and opportunities in the process.

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Active Giveaway:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - We still have more surprises coming up in our annual Holidays Buying Guide, and right after the annual Holidays Buying Guide, is our 'New Year, New You!' series of promotions, so don't blink! We will be going from one set of promotions to another in the blink of an eye! ;)

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FTC Disclosure: I am participating in a Brand Ambassadorship with Kmart Latina Smart which makes me eligible for additional incentives.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Delights! LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

I'm a total LUSHIE! For those in the know when it comes to the finest handmade cosmetics and skincare, my revelation doesn't mean I need AA, it just means I'm addicted to all things LUSH. Their fresh handmade cosmetics have fun names, smell divine, and make you both look and feel fantastic. It's aromatherapy for the mind, body and soul because their products are so uplifting!

I have been asked quite a bit this week about 'last minute' gifts and 'hard to shop fors' and my recommendation remains the same, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics! Do you have a teacher to shop for? (trust me when I tell you they'd prefer apple scented body treats to an actual apple!) Letter Carrier? Did a co-worker you least expected to give you a holiday gift end up surprising you? I would advise you to stock up year round so you already have these things on hand, but with both an online presence as well as convenient brick and mortar locations you can't go wrong with Lush. There is something for everyone! And better still, they have pre-made gift sets that are delightfully packaged which is a total blessing for last minute shoppers.

Last month I had a chance to check out the launch of the 'Lush Fresh 15' and I posted a review of those products HERE. I gave you guys a sneak peak of a cute holiday gift idea, and now that I've tried it all out I thought I'd give you some feedback!

About Christmas Delights

Christmas Delights is a super cute gift tin created by the elves at Lush, the gift tin includes: 

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Angel's Delight Soap 3.5 oz - This one uses Tangerine Oil, which gives a nice pick me up on a cold winter morning!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Candy Cane soap 3.5 oz - This soap is a perfect blend of English Peppermint Oil and sweet almond oil, if you want your body to smell like Christmas or for your spouse to want to lick you, this soap is it! ;-)

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Heavanilli Massage Bar 1.9 oz - I'm a total addict of Lush Massage Bars, they go on like silk, your skin will drink this without ending up all greasy feeling and you will want one for your purse, desk at work as well as home, I can tell you that whoever you gift this set to, will love it for this alone! With natural shea and cocoa butter, it emits a warm scent of jasmine, vanilla and tonka. And as they only use Fair Trade Shea Butter, it's a double delight! The only complaint most people have regarding this product is that they don't make it BIGGER, it's that awesome!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Snow Fairy Shower Gel 3.3 fl. oz - A sweet bubblegum and cotton candy scent mixed in with iridiscent glitter, lather up in mounds of sparkly pink bubbles, you can wash your body or hair with this, and if you like to layer, do both!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Sugar Babe Sugar Scrub 3.5 oz - Scented with perfume from Ylang Flowers and mimosa blossom and made with Coconut Oil (reduces symptoms of psoriasis and eczema, this oil also provides natural balance to the skin) and Beeswax absolute (known for it's soothing, protective and antiseptic properties)  your skin will probably send you a Thank You Letter. Seriously.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Vanilla Delite Body Lotion 3.5 oz - So everytime I use this I get the over-whelming urge to sing 'Groove is in the Heart' by Deee Lite (since I'm always thinking music my nickname as 'The Official #TwitterPartyDJ totally fits), This smooth blended Vanilla Moisturizer contains Illipe Butter (moisturizes and restores skin flexibility), Hawaiin Tamanu and Monoi Oils, and Organic Coconut Water, this body lotion is a perfect follow up to the Candy Cane Soap!

The aromatherapy will lift your mood and who can resist the tin? While I was not able to nab a reader giveaway this time around, the LUSH Christmas Delights Gift Tin is definitely a holiday gift guide pick!

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a Sponsored Post. A gift tin was provided to Ascending Butterfly Free of Charge for editorial consideration. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.