"Catching Up" Randomness

Hey everyone!
Isn't it amazing that we are already midway through January 2016?  What's even more amazing is that I woke yesterday, to the first Monday since August that I have not either had chemo or some other doctor-related appointment!  YAY!  YAY!  and YAY!  I took this pic this morning....one week after surgery.  I'm getting pretty good at drawing on the eyebrows, but there is no disguise for zero lashes.  Okay, I know about false lashes, but I'm not going there....that's a story for another time!  I am feeling very good -- no more sore mouth, tastebuds are quickly returning and I'm feeling stronger every day! I did receive a great phone call last Friday from my surgeon....further study of the lymph node biopsies showed NO CANCER, and examination of the lump she removed showed that it had clean margins, which means it had not spread anywhere else!  The Man and I were shopping in Costco when this call came through.....imagine "knuckle-bumping" and the "happy dance!"

My mind has been racing with so many things I want to share with you; hence, the title of this post.  The first is something I've been doing for a number of years now -- choosing one word to think about and make part of my life for the entire year.  I've thought long and hard about my word, blessed and grateful were the top contenders; but those are already a part of my daily existence.  I always start in December thinking about what my "word" is going to be, but there were so many buzzing around in my head and not a single one was the right one.  Then, as my nurse checked me out after my final chemo infusion, she handed me this little package.....

Inside was a little bell on a beaded cord, but that wasn't the real gift.  The true gift was what was written on the little card:  
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."(no author)
Truer words have never been spoken, so STRONG is my word for the year.

Not long into chemotherapy, my skin (face and body) became very sensitive, so I had to do some playing around with different lotions and potions to find out what was going to be the best for me.

A sweet friend of mine sells Jafra Cosmetics and sent me this Royal Jelly Body Complex and the Shower Gel.  The gel is great, but this body cream is amazing.  It has a nice light scent (I was very sensitive to odors, too), and gentle enough to use on my bald pate!

There were many, many days when I was "house-bound" by choice.  Those were the days that I chose a scarf or knitted cap, and just wanted my face to be clean and moisturized.

These two products have become my BFFs!  I had already been using the Neutrogena cleanser for a couple of years, but it also served as my shampoo once my hair was gone....it is that gentle!  The OLAY Regenerist Nighttime Moisturizer has become my "anytime" moisturizer.  It has the most amazingly silky feel and is not heavy or greasy.

I don't know if it's vanity (probably), but I never wanted to go to chemotherapy without makeup.  I've always worn makeup (since my teen years), even when I know I'm staying home....unless I'm sick.  It just makes me feel better, and that was even more important over these last six months.  My facial skin changed during chemo and became reddish, so I had to find a shade of foundation that would tone-down that red, but still felt good on my face.

The Loreal Visible Lift has nice coverage and doesn't feel heavy, but it does stay a bit sticky unless I set it with the Neutrogena Mineral Sheers -- I just use a great big fluffy brush, because it doesn't take much.  Something you might find interesting -- we (meaning women) all have fine hairs on our faces, but chemo takes those away just as it does the hair on your head and other body parts.  For me, this has left my face feeling as soft as a baby's bottom.....see, I'm always looking for the upside!

As my strength has returned, so has my desire need to get our house in order....meaning decorated!  It took me so long to get the Christmas decor collected and packed up, so I sat in the midst of "bareness" everywhere for quite some time.  All that time, I was thinking and making copious notes about what I eventually wanted to do.  I always seem to decorate my foyer, sitting-dining room areas first.  I guess it's because those areas are the first ones seen when you walk in the front door, and I see them many times a day as I walk back and forth through that area.  I have a few other things I want to do, but I thought I would share my redo of the china cupboard.  Do you say china cupboard or china cabinet?  Anyway, here are just a couple of pics.

I kept a lot of things on the top almost the same as it was for Christmas and just switched out some berry branches for some sticks....I literally cut those sticks from our backyard!  I even kept a string of twinkly lights on top, because I like how it looks at night.

I moved this mug rack from our coffee station, and I'm loving these sweet little teacups 
displayed on it!

Sweet, right?

Anyone want to join me for a "spot of tea?"

As I've mentioned before, I am a self-taught crocheter, and have made myself quite a few caps to keep my noggin' warm.  I also made some and donated to the "Boutique of Hope" shop at MD Anderson.  Crocheting was very therapeutic when chemo caused neuropathy in my hands.  I became a bit bored with making caps, so I experimented with some patterns.......

and made baskets!  I've made quite a few (more than I'm showing here), and find them so useful.  These are in my craft room, but I also have them in my bathrooms and closet.  
These are great "stash busters!"

I've also been doing quite a lot of reading.  Here are a few books that I have going right now.
Joan Lunden and I share the same kind of breast cancer and even in the same breast.  There was a lot of good information in this book.   

If you read very many blogs, then you have heard about this book.  January is when everyone gets the  "urge to purge," and Marie Kondo offers a unique approach to cleaning out and organizing.  

I've had this book for awhile but haven't opened it yet.  What?  I've been saving it for when I'm closer to 100% of feeling good.  Why?  I know it's going to fill my brain with a gazillion things I want to do around our home, so I need to wait just a bit longer.

I have just a few more random things to share.....see, I told you I had lots of stuff racing 
around in my brain!

I forgot to share this during December.  This cacti had already bloomed for Thanksgiving and bloomed again for Christmas!  No magic....the last time I repotted this plant, it broke in half, so I just planted both into the same pot and they bloom at different times!  
Sometimes they also bloom for Easter.

We get some really beautiful skies here in the AZ desert.  My grandmother always said, "red sky in the morning, sailors' warning, red sky at night, sailors' delight!"  This was a nighttime sky.

I know I've shared before how I love using some kind of daytimer/organizer and have had some kind of system since my children were very young.  I'm less into the rigidness of some planners at this stage in my life, but have discovered the perfect planner for me.

This is the MAMBI (Me and My Big Ideas) Happy Planner!  I really like this company, too, because they contribute a portion of sales to "The Cure for Cancer."  This is a combo planner, journal, & scrapbook, which equals loads of fun while still being organized!


There are tons of extras, like sticky notes, fun stickers, & inspirational quotes to add so you can personalize the Happy Planner any way you want.  I even added the Home Planner Extension Pack to personalize my planner even more.

You can decorate the pages as much or as little as you like, and the spaces are big enough to write down tons of things.  My Happy Planner makes me HAPPY!

And just for fun and cuteness......

How often do you see a barefoot princess beckoning other princesses to join her in the kitchen?

Whew.....this was a longer post than I had planned, but you should be used to that by now!  
It feels good to feel good.

I hope you all have a great week!


  1. Oh Carol! What a wonderful update and post of many joyful subjects! I love them all, but most of all, the fact that you are feeling strong! Thank you for sharing all the wonderful things that helped you get through. This will be a post to remember, for sure. Btw, I love the mug holder with your china cups displayed on it, and the lights left on the cabinet. Happy 2016!

  2. So happy you are feeling good. You are definitely on the upside of this now and that is the best news of all.

  3. This was a great post Carol! I'm so glad that you have finished treatment and feeling so much stronger...and speaking of strong, that is the perfect word for you! You are such a great encouragement to women whether they are dealing with cancer or not! I enjoyed seeing what you have been up to and it looks like the rest of 2016 is going to be a great year for you :) Blessings!

  4. Aww that is great news Carol. I'm so glad that you are feeling better and you look good too. Take care and be well!
    Hugs, Julie xo

  5. Hi Carol...I'm so glad you're feeling so much better. You really do look good. I'll bet that phone call in Costco was a delight!!

    Jan ♥

  6. Congratulations, Carol. Great reading list too. xoxo Su

  7. Such fantastic news!! I bet you'll never think of Costco the same again1!! My grandma did so much crocheting when she was going through her cancer treatment & she donated a lot of it to the Cancer Center it town. She also talked about how she never had to shave her legs again & how awesome that was! I'm glad you're feeling better & the side effects are going away.

  8. You look simply beautiful! Some of the products you are using sound wonderful. I need to try a few of those myself. Your china cabinet looks great. Those teacups are so pretty! I have been wanting to read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up but keep talking myself out of ordering it. The Inspired Room looks like one I need! Your cactus is beautiful. I am looking for one for my kitchen window. Your Happy Planner looks great. I love the way you decorated the pages you shared. I am so happy to hear you feel good! I enjoyed all that you shared....especially the wonderful news from your surgeon!
    Hugs & Prayers, Vicky

  9. I was so excited Carol to hear your wonderful news!!! You have been in my prayers since you shared your story on your blog and I have been following each new post as you wrote about your progress on this journey. You have looked beautiful throughout the whole time!! Looking forward to your next post; I Love your blog!!! And "strong" is a perfect word for you for 2016...
    Debbi Saunders

  10. Oh Carol, you look great and I am so happy to hear your good news that nothing has spread, Praise the Lord, for he has done great things..........
    Now I am hoping that means you do not have to do radiation.....
    I am sure it must be so awesome to be feeling good again, just take it easy and
    don't launch in to too much too soon hon.

    Enjoyed the whole post, I have that organizing book too, but have one read
    half of it, gotta get back to it soon. I have been reading Anne Romneys new
    book "In it together", and I am really enjoying it.

    Your china hutch looks lovely, and I love white lights too, they are so elegant
    and pretty........... now is that your lil granddaughter cooking there? How
    adorable..........mine likes to get on the chair and help if she can. So sweet.
    Well, Congrats sweetie, so very happy for you.........2016 is starting off to
    be a great year for you already.
    Blessings Hon,
    and you really do look fabulous..........

  11. Carol, it is so wonderful to read this post! You look great and sound so happy and rejuvenated. Fabulous news, too! Strong is a perfect word...you certainly are! xxoo

  12. Music to my ears to read this post, see you, feel your energy and the melodic rhythm to each sentence. I am thrilled!
    Strong... Yes this is you!

  13. I just loved this post, Carol. So good to know you are feeling so well and your good news just made me smile from ear to ear. :) You look wonderful! I think Strong is your word for sure. xoxo Maria
    PS. The little barefoot princess is sooo cute. :)

  14. I'm so glad you're feeling better! I can just imagine how many ideas you've had swirling around for months now. It'll be nice to bring them to fruition, I'm sure. :) Love your China cabinet! I never thought about what I call it until now. I guess I mostly refer to it as a "cabinet." That teapot is gorgeous! It's nice that you've been finding products that work well for you. It's wonderful that there are so many things to choose from now days. Oh, and the pic of the little princess is adorable!!!

  15. I can tell you are feeling good just by the tone of your writing! Yay! Strong is the perfect word for you this year! I haven't decided on one yet - I guess I will just wait till February since January is just about over! I have a few ideas but nothing has stuck yet. So happy you are doing well! Stay strong!

  16. So many things to be thankful for indeed Carol! God is great and STRONG is the PERFECT WORD for YOU and the way face the Big "C" and life in general!!!! China cabinet is what I'd call it, and you cleaned it up nicely! That planner is cute, like a scrapbook even! I always have a written one too but not as nicely organized as yours, your Princess Elsa is ADORABLE!!!!!!!!


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