New Year’s Resolutions: 17 for 2017

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Hiya!  I can’t believe December is nearly over. Where has this year gone? I am sure you’re asking yourself the same question. I think this year has been the fastest of my life thus far and it frightens me. They say the older you get the faster the years go and I’m starting to believe whoever “they” are. For as long as I can remember I’ve stuck to one resolution and one resolution only when it comes to New Year’s, however I’m feeling a little sparky this year and thought I’d mix up the bag. Some of these are unique to me and others are some I’ve seen floating around in the abyss. Either way, I hope you can enjoy and perhaps foster them into some of your rezzy’s for this 2017!

  1.  Set up a recurring donation:  If there is something that is close to your heart, perhaps you could have a few bucks deducted from each paycheck to go towards your favorite charity.  You won’t even know the money is missing and you’ll be doing something wonderful!
  2. Boost Positive Daily Thoughts:  This is a fun one!  Sign up for a daily, motivational text through Shine text and you can share the beaming energy with your friends and co-workers.
  3. Provide in Tangible Ways:  We don’t always have an extra $5 to give to every homeless person on the street, but perhaps we can keep a few extra water bottles in our car, a banana, or even a PB&J.  Get creative, help can come in many forms and can be a lot more than money!
  4. Downsize Social Media Time:  This is a big one for moi and for many others, I believe. Social media is just so damn entertaining and it’s fun being nosey and seeing what everyone is up to, but it can also be very time consuming.  Limiting yourself to X amount of time per day will make you feel less tied to your phone, but in case you need a little help…there’s an app (go figure) that lets you know if you’re spending too much time on your phone and kicks you OFF! Check it out for your smartphone.
  5. Get my To-Do-List ON:  I am notorious for procrastination and being scatterbrained.  I want to keep a better check on my schedule and my to-do’s in a proficient way, with the upmost potential to all of my devices and this online to-do-list seems to be the lifesaver that will help me stay afloat…and it’s free, yippee!
  6. Reality TV vs. Educational TV:  Another thing I am notorious for is reality television.  Anything on Bravo, I’m there and hooked, doesn’t matter the show or the plot, all that matters is that Andy Cohen is behind it. However, I’m not learning much other than maybe a few new hot words. So, instead of constantly filling my head with reality TV, I figure I’ll swap that out with something that is more educational, such as a documentary or something along those lines in which I can learn from.
  7. Say No More:  Here’s the deal, I want to say yes to everyone and please everyone, but saying yes isn’t good for anyone involved if you’re being stretched too thin and putting their needs above your own.  Honesty is the best policy and people will respect you so much more if you speak up.
  8. Take Time to Meditate: The practice of meditation can be physically, emotionally and mentally empowering.  Setting time aside for yourself as a body and soul is so important and has the power to improve your whole life if you practice daily.
  9. Drink Hot Water w/ Lemon:  When I was originally diagnosed a friend of mine told me to drink this every morning and I did for a while.  It is tremendously good for your digestive track, amongst other things.  It’s about that time to get back on that wagon.
  10. Learn Another Language:  In High School I took Spanish but I did not retain a thing.  I have quite a bit of time on my hands these days and a spartphone at my disposal with a free app like Duolingo.  Why not brush up on my español?
  11. Get Outside More:  Typically I am such a homebody, this upcoming year I want to start taking advantage of my awesome neighborhood and beautiful city.  Getting outside can clear your head and a bit of fresh air can do you a world of good.
  12. Build More Experiences:  Not to focus on the material aspects of life, but instead the experiences.  The short road trips to California, the weekends up at the cabin, concerts and festivals with friends, the possibilities are endless.  Experiences and memories over things and items will last a lifetime.
  13. Turn Negatives Into Positives:  We live in a world where the negatives seem to outweigh the positives these days.  Instead of looking at the glass half empty, look at the glass half full and your whole perspective on life will change.
  14. Say I Love You More Often:  Since I was diagnosed I have no shame in telling the people that I love that I love them all the time, even at times completely out of the blue.  I’m sure it gets annoying but if it pops into my head, I want them to know it.  Friends or family, it doesn’t matter — don’t carry shame for love, yell it from the rooftops if that’s how you feel.
  15. Show Others Your Appreciation:  I am fortunate enough to constantly have people doing such lovely things for me and I feel inadequate when it comes to showing my appreciation.  This year I want to be sure that I am showing my appreciation in full force.
  16. Don’t Take Anything Too Seriously: Have a laugh, loosen up, be the butt of your own joke.  You can’t take anything in life too seriously, there’s always someone out there that has it worse off than you and you must remind yourself of that.  We’re all pretty fortunate.
  17. Forgive:  Last but not least, forgive those who have hurt your or forgive yourself.  Life is too short and as we know the years are way too short to hold onto anything negative.  Come into the new year with a fresh start and a clean heart.

 

Happy New Year, my loves!

Love,

Britt

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SIX THINGS: Holiday MAGIC + DIY

Holiday decor for the timely challenged, like myself, has recently left me feeling blah about getting in the spirit of all things merry and bright.  With surgery being two weeks ago, I had every intention of decorating prior to my operation.  But lets be real, that did not happen.   We realized that our tree, sparkly things and fancy disco DIY garlands made from previous years, were in our storage unit, along with our hoards of vintage furniture. And so it goes and here we are. No big deal, you might say. But, in typical Steve and Britt fashion, we lost the key to the unit.

So, from personal experience — it is possible to spread a little holiday magic dust around your house, by using non-traditional item.

We did just that.

SIX THINGS:  Holiday MAGIC + DIY


ONE:

Candles

I’m a sucker for collecting interesting candle holders — particularly the ones from local shops where the glass is recycled, reused and repurposed.  Once the original candle is dead over alive, I simply put ice in it, set it in the freezer for the day, remove in from the freezer, flip it upside down, leaving the remnants fall right out.  From there the glass holders can be a versatile piece of decor around your home.  For the holidays, I placed two sparkly, red candles in some of my favorite recycled holders.  With the S. Pellegrino as a green backdrop and the red candles gives in their new homes, our house has a little holiday representation on our bar cabinet.


TWO:

Holiday Wreath

What can I say?  I’m also a sucker for some succulents and decided to turn  an “every day occasion” wall decoration into a beautiful, silver and gold door “wreath”.  Once the holidays have come and gone, I will be able to continue to use the succulent hanging by simply removing the poinsettias and ornaments.  Dingdong!   HOLIDAYDIY + SUCCULENTS + COST EFFICIENCY.  Sounds like a year round embellishment knocking on the door.


THREE:

Zoila Christmas Dress

Dress up your pup.  I would have never imagined in a squillion years I’d be that lady.  You know, the ones who dress up their dogs. And in Christmas costumes at that.  BUT, I surrender.  I’m officially that girl and I have accepted it.  How could I not?  Red sequins, a white fur collar — all on an adorable, seventeen week, mini-sausage dog.  She would make even the Grinch feel a sense of holly jolly.

Although, Zoi hates me and this dress.  FACT.


FOUR:

Plamtree Lights

In our home, we are all about having bits of greenery year round.  We live behind a beautiful Japanese garden and get an amazing amount of sunshine through the glass doors and terrace of our condo.  Since living here, we have had many indoor plants to give our space an indoor/outdoor vibe.  Throwing a string of lights on one of your larger,sturdier plants that you already own will give that instant glow  and charm of Christmas.  Thus giving you all the holiday feels. A bonus is that you can save a tree, time, money and energy all in the name of a winter celebratory decor.


FIVE:

Holiday Cookies

I’d vote that I’m the least domestic person in the world.  I don’t cook, bake and I am sure that if I did, people would be running for the hills.  Not that I can blame them, but there is something about Christmas cookies. Perhaps it’s the everlasting memories of  my Mum making her famous sugar cookies’; the cookies that I look forward to all year.  Although the cookies above are not my Mum’s, or mine for that matter, I purchased a cheap dozen of grocery store cookies and placed them on a cake stand and on display on the counter.  The visual of something that is season relevant can bring an inexpensive, cheery and dare I say delicious touch.


SIX:

Take little ornaments and place them on some of your every day home accessories.  Above I found the Christmas ornaments we received as our first year as Mr. and Mrs. Ochoa.  Sentimental value holds no bounds and warms you to the core when thinking back on fond memories of Christmases past.


Cheers,

Britt x

#HospitalLife – In Pictures:

I am beyond thrilled to share that I have arrived HOME!  Late last night they determined that I was fit enough to return home and all of my efforts of putting up the fight of my life, certainly seems to have now paid off.  There is quite a descriptive post in the works, to walk through my latest health journey in words and how I feel that I have once again been afforded a chance at life. This has been an entirely transformative experience and one that I never imagined in my wildest dreams.  Somehow, my strength and resilience is at an all time high and because of that I have been peacefully healing —- mind, body and soul.

Here are a few pictures of the

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My hemoglobin levels were considerably low, in which case I needed a blood transfusion.  It never really dawned on me how wonderful it is that people donate blood, something I have always been too ill to do even prior to my diagnosis as I have always been anemic.  I ended up using two units of blood which ran for about six hours.  Shortly after I felt like a completely different person; less fatigued, less cold and returned color to my face.  Thank you to those who donate!

Red Cross Blood Bank Centers

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The day of my surgery I snapped an #instax polaroid of my baby, Zoi.  It seemed obvious to me that if I had her adorable little mug looking at me with those eyes of hers, it would push me to do everything in order to make it back home to her.  Aside from all of the tremendous amounts of love I received from people near and far, my amazing friends, family and of course my husband — Zoila was the one little (but actually very HUGE) incentive to show up, kick ass and get back on the road of life and viola! here I am!

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Anyone who follows along on my Instagram knows that my baby Godson holds the actual key to my heart.  He stole it from day one.  When his beautiful mom — my lovely friend, Michele visited at the hospital the day after my surgery, she brought along a one of a kind flamingo and it instantly brought ridiculous amount of smiles — and not just from me, but all of the staff, fellow patients and anyone who saw my trusty IV monitor as I wheeled it by my side throughout my stay.

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I’ll admit, my biggest complaint about surgery is that you are forbidden the basic human need of drinking water (or anything for that matter), prior to the procedure.  In my case, I was told that I couldn’t have anything from midnight until later in the night after recovery.  Quickly, my mouth became a desert and my need for water seemed like life or death.  Of course that is an exaggeration, but it is certainly how I felt.  As soon as I got the green light, which was about twelve hours later, I ordered “sips and chips” and I felt like I stumbled upon an oasis.  Dreamy does not even begin to describe the feeling of when the ice water cooled my lips for the first time.  Sometimes it really only takes the small things to make you feel a sense of nirvana.

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Before I had even been transported to my room, my two best girls had flowers ready and waiting.  Prior to my surgery, I couldn’t find the strength to speak to them.  Distancing myself for selfish emotional reasons seemed to be the only way I could cope.  I felt that if I spoke with them, I might expose that I thought I was going to die and that we’d never have an ABC reunion again.  Without fail, they stood by my side no matter what and made sure that I knew they were there with me, showering me with their love and non-stop support.   I love you both.

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I felt so much power behind this operation.  Power from prayer and positivity and all of the amazing thoughts that were put out in the universe in honor of getting through this operation with a successful outcome.  I feel cheesy every time I say it, but there is no way I would have been able to do it without all of you.  Every single person that took it upon themselves to take the time out of their day to wish me well and include me in their conversations with whomever they have faith in.  It would be fair to say that I feel endlessly blessed.  Seeing this gleaming photo at St. Joe’s Hospital and Medical Center seemed like a fitting vision for the morning after the operation.  What a beautiful sight to see (I can even see my neighborhood if I look really close).  

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On the same glorious walk as pictured above, I was marching along the halls with the most important women in my universe.  They guide me through every struggle and challenge and proudly walk by my side, even in the darkest of hallways.  There are not many words that can do this picture justice, other than, thank you and LOVE.

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Further exploring the hospital, my home away from home, I walked past my favorite piece of art adorned on the walls in the lobby of the Oncology ward.  This particular wall decor always seems to catch my eye.  I appreciate creativity and try to search for it wherever I may be.  I can especially appreciate when it’s in unexpected spaces and places.  Well done, St. Joe’s.

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Just two short years ago, Steve and I spent the night at the hospital on Christmas.  It was by far one of the more depressing of holidays.  I feel very fortunate that I will be able to spend this Christmas with my family instead of inside the hospital walls.  However, they do their best to make you feel in the holiday spirit.  To those who will be spending your holiday in the hospital, my Christmas wish is that you are surrounded by love and joy.  It will get better.

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One of my favorite little cheerleaders, Kambrell joined me at the hospital a few days after the procedure.  Seeing things through her eyes and the way she expresses her love for life, makes me feel equally alive.  She is one of the most special little girls I know and I’m so grateful to be a part of her world.

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Just a few of the many gorgeous flowers I received. THANK YOU! I was able to enjoy them everyday and smile thinking of each person and the memories we have shared.  I chose to donate the flowers to the Oncology ward of the hospital once I was released.  They were all so beautiful and I wanted other cancer patients to be able to enjoy them as much as I did.  Please know that your kindness has such an impact and made many others smile, as well as me.

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Last but most certainly not least, my Steve sent this to me the second night, once he returned home to our dogs, Keg and Zoila.  He always knows how to make me laugh, as he was wearing my #ASU hoodie and my satchel to carry Zoila, all in an effort to take Keg on a walk. He takes care of all of us so very well and I am the luckiest person to have such a brave, selfless and loving man.  Thank you seems so insufficient.  What else can I say? You’re top notch, my love.

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More to come soon.

Love,

Britt x

A BROAD, ABROAD WITH A BLOG, ✈

Hello, my shining moonbeams. It’s been a minute. Within that minute I have entered what I feel to be a new phase in my life, a freeing phase that is catapulted by happiness. For nearly a month, I spent time across the pond and rediscovered my life and the things I want out of it.

To start off, wow. Can I just say – I LOVE ENGLAND! I’ve always known that and I had been there times before, but this time felt different. As most of you know, if you follow my story, I have been on travel lock down since my cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2013. By nature I am a jetsetter. I enjoy being in unknown places, without being attached to my “real” life and the troubles within. When I travel, there is a certain romance to it, a freedom that allows you to be whomever you want and for me, that is living without a terminal illness. I’m able to go back to being me; an adventurer with thirst in my blood for worldly experiences. When I was diagnosed, I felt that one of the biggest losses to having cancer was the fact that I could no longer be as free as I wished to be. My citizen of the world passport would no longer apply and I’d be stuck doing treatment after treatment without an escape. My escape had become writing. If I were no longer going to be able to leave and experience life, then I’d write about it, which I have.

This year, 2015, I vowed to myself that it would be different than the last two, that I would yet again spread my wings and live a little. In the beginning of the year I approached my Doctor and pleaded for some independence from my chemotherapy week after week, to which she obliged and advised that 2015 could be my year of travel with chemo squeezed in between. It was the best news I had heard in quite some time and immediately booked a trip to Hawaii with Steve-O and planned the trip for Nan and I go travel to the UK together to attend my beautiful cousin’s wedding and share laughs and love with the family over there that we don’t get to see often enough.

The trip was so important to me and I wanted to ensure that I soaked everything in. My Nan in her very own way was my wish-granting factory, as she made the trip happen. Being that we were returning to her home town, I was fortunate enough to visit her previous homes, where she grew up, the house she was born in, the hospital she had my Mum and Auntie Bev in, where my Granddad went to college, where the two of them were married and so much more. Being able to experience England through her eyes was more than my hearts desire and something I will never be able to thank her enough for.

There were endless amounts of stories, laughs, fish and chips, tea and best of all time with family on both my Nan’s side and my Granddad’s side.   My roots are in full force over there and it was lovely to get to know that side of myself so much more. The posh wedding of my cousin, which we attended, has built memories that will last a life time, as well as traveling to Chester, Liverpool and all over the Wirral with my cousin’s and their other halves, of course also visiting London with the best company and seeing each and every friend and family member. Howls were had, love was expressed and England will forever hold the key to my heart. Quite literally, as Nan and I locked our love on Albert Dock in Liverpool and threw the key into the River Mersey. Our loved ones can continue to visit us in Liverpool, even though we may not physically be there, our spirit will always remain.

Since I’ve been back I have been reliving each moment in my head and finding it difficult to write about. My time spent there was so special, that it is difficult to express. I feel rejuvenated and feel I have a new sense of direction for my life.   Suddenly gears have started moving upon my return and from that, fresh goals have emerged. I’m super excited about the future and what it holds and as things get closer, I’ll share more deets.

In the meantime, check out some photos from my trip and watch out for some upcoming projects and collabos. Big Kiss x.

Follow me on Instagram for daily updates: bestillmyheartblog

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Love, Britt x

Goodnight 2014, Hello 2015… 🎉🎉🎉

Holiday Card 2014

As evidence, this blog post declares that I have survived yet another Christmas. It’s now New Years Eve, one of my favorite holidays for many reasons; the promise of a clean slate, a perfectly wrapped excuse to wear head to toe sequins and an anticipation that 2015 will be our tomorrow, a new start, new pattern of thoughts, new wave of emotions and a new connection to our world. Typically, a new year offers up many things that we look forward to and we are quick to put the year that we were once too, so excited about, now neatly on the shelf along with the years before it. Lately I have been having fragments of memories and thinking about what 2014 meant to me; perhaps things I can take away like small victories and lessons learned.

Reflecting upon my year seems like one big fog. It’s pretty apt to say that I’ve spent most of the year in a king size bed and on chemo. That paired with taking advantage of my medical marijuana, watching indie flicks and appearing as if I am in a time warp of the nineteen-eighties; as my ensemble of sweat pants, side ponytail and questionable socks would give me away. Looking back on 2014, things went as fast as we could think about them and is fair to say that this has been the fastest of my life and certainly the cloudiest and clearly something that I have never experienced prior to. Moments of 2014 in my cloudy memory appear to be on old film, with just flickers of proof that certain things happened at all. In years past I have thought certain years to be long, but 2014 was something else. A lot happened, yet nothing at all.

For starters, I discovered that sporting hats with short hair is weird. But then I said fuck it, who cares if it looks weird, I like hats and that’s that. So forth, I continued to wear hats of all kinds throughout the year and the real lesson learned was if you are fond of something, even if it might not be “the thing to do”, DO IT ANYWAY and to hell with what others may think.

On a more serious note, I also realized that happiness was not going to hit me like a train, as Florence Welch once declared in her clever lyrics. Happiness is a state of mind that I’ve had to work extremely hard to achieve this year and by doing so I have been in therapy and I am learning how to be happy again after I suffered severe depression because of my disease for the majority of the year. Yet, therapy has allowed me not to feel trapped by my depression and disease and appreciate moments with everything I have on this earth. Create a world of your own happiness, live in that bubble, pay no mind to the people that wish not to be a part of your world and allow yourself to feel free of anything that doesn’t belong in your own shadow of happiness.

Say no. Say yes. Over the course of the year I noticed that when I was more honest about things and feelings and all of that human b.s. that makes us feel alive, I felt healthier inside. I’ve learned to say ‘no’ to the things I am not interested in or don’t have energy for and I’ve recognized that it’s nothing personal to those I have said no to in the last year, but more about satisfying my own needs. It sounds so selfish and despicable, but it’s the truth. Nature your own wants and needs and you’ll become a much happier and organic person, so that when you do say ‘YES!”, you know you’ll make it worth their while.

Moving on…when they aren’t forced on you, rituals are awesome. I’ve attended many events in 2k14; weddings, funerals, significant birthdays, births, marathons and so on. All of the said listed are merely celebrations of life and celebrations that matter. We are living; breathing miracles and we have been given this great adventure called life, so my experience over the last year has taught me that rituals are simply celebrations and to treat everything, every moment as it were the celebration of your existence.

Lastly, I have become aware that prudent patience is worth the wait. Yes, even that eye twitching, lip biting, heart racing kind of patience. I’m thrilled to share that with my persistence with treatment and patience with my journey, it has allowed my disease to be considered as stable (not to be confused with remission), but I now have the ablility to say that I am at a place where I can call the shots on my chemo, take small breaks, do maintenance chemotherapy and call myself happy and almost healthy. It took a ton of poison to allow me to get to this place and with that came many adversities. However, I will now have a chance to catch a break, revisit the life I had prior to cancer, or as closely to it as possible. I’ve been cleared to travel and explore the world as I wish to do. But, most importantly it means that I have gained back some control over my journey and can free myself from having to be battle hard as I did so tirelessly in 2014. That said, goodnight 2014 and hello, 2015….

PS-
‘HAPPY New Dreams
HAPPY New Days
HAPPY New Desires
HAPPY New Ways
HAPPY New Year
HAPPY New You.’

Love, Britt x