Tag Archives: november

The Breast Choice

bellaweb1Any cancer sucks. Breast cancer doesn’t cause any more heart ache, pain, or agony than lung, bone, skin or any other cancer. Breast cancer just happens to cause a change in the two things that as women we value a lot. A whole lot. Our boobs and our hair.

As I’ve traveled this breast cancer journey there are two questions that have been asked more than any other. “Are you getting reconstruction?” and “What are you going to do with your hair?” For the past year the only reply I had that made sense was, “I have no idea”. At the time it worked for both questions; now I have a little more experience and can, hopefully, provide a little advice for anyone just starting out on this road. Just remember – these are YOUR decisions and the only opinion that matters is yours and your doctor’s.

I’ll start with the hair. Not everyone going through breast cancer needs chemotherapy so not everyone loses their hair. Everyone diagnosed with cancer, however, thinks about their hair from the beginning. For those of us who did have chemotherapy we view our hair differently. “It’s only hair” or “it’ll grow back” are comments that makes me want to wash a mouth out with soap and possibly stab someone with an ice pick. I also now have less patience for anyone having a bad hair day. It’s a hair day so it’s all good. In the grand scheme of life versus death, yes it’s only hair but as women most of us aren’t excited about going bald. When you’re already sick, having a good hair day means a lot.

If I had a dollar for every person who asked me what I was going “to do about my hair” I’d be rich or at least be able to pay for a really great haircut and a really good bottle of wine. I’ve always been tempted to answer back with, “I don’t know, what are you going to do about your hair?” Until hair actually grows back no one knows what they will do with it so please don’t ask. Just pile on the compliments and leave it at that. No matter what a bald head looks like tell her it’s beautiful.

The question of reconstruction is a little touchier. I didn’t want to lose my breasts and I still miss them. They weren’t perfect but they were mine and I liked them. I knew that I wanted some type of reconstruction so I researched my options, talked to friends who had already went through it, met with more than one plastic surgeon and finally made a decision that worked for me. I’m very lucky that the people around me gave me the space to explore options and make my own decision. I’m also thankful that my perfect plastic surgeon, Dr. Kurtis Moyer (aka Dr. Gorgeous) has been upfront with me every step of the way and gave me tough love when I was whining and kept me focused on the big picture. Albeit not big boobs, but boobs I can live with.

Having reconstruction is not like having augmentation so take the time to make the right decision for you. Not for your husband, partner, family or doctor. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it or at least put it off until you are sure. I know that putting it off isn’t easy. If you’re like me you want to get through and get to the other side. This is a decision you’ll live with forever (you don’t want to go through this more than once). We’re lucky that right here in Roanoke we have a wide range of options such as implants, TRAM/DIEP (gut fat), latissimus dorsi (back fat), gluteal free (butt fat) or TUG (thigh fat) flaps. Just remember that regardless of the type of reconstruction, your breasts will never be the same. Ever.

I wanted so badly to get everything done as soon as possible so I know that waiting is no fun. But sometimes it’s better to wait. You may need to wait until you’ve finished with chemo or radiation, until pathology reports are back or until a time when your mind and body starts to recover from the trauma of diagnosis and surgery. Your boobs – your decision – make your best breast decision for you.

Tara Nepper is a one-year cancer survivor, wife, mother of four, nana to three and happy to be an advocate for self-examinations, enjoys raising funds for research and is getting used to life after cancer.

Enhance Classic Thanksgiving Fare

Family and friends make Thanksgiving special, but it’s the food that’s always the center of attention. From juicy turkey and creamy potatoes to zesty cranberries and buttery rolls, nobody leaves the table hungry. This year, delight guests by making the classic foods they love but with a few simple twists that will leave taste buds dancing.

Appetizers
When guests arrive, give them something to nibble on as they visit and watch the parade or game. A cheese platter that features three to five new varieties will get everyone talking. Select a range of flavors to tempt every palate, such as pairing soft brie with a crumbly blue and premium extra-aged cheddar cheese.

Accompaniments
The cheese shouldn’t stand alone, so be sure to complement it with fresh fruits. Instead of simply placing bite-size pieces on a plate, create fruit cornucopias using sugar ice cream cones. Simply spoon fruit into the cones and arrange the mini cornucopias on a platter for a beautiful seasonal presentation that’s easy to grab and enjoy for party guests young and old.

Drinks
Apple cider is a holiday must-have to quench Thanksgiving thirst. This year, add some interest to your beverage offerings with a themed drink that expands on the sweet cider flavors. For example, an autumn sangria is the perfect seasonal offering that’s as cheerful as it is refreshing. Start with sparkling wine and add in a splash of cider with freshly sliced pears and apples. Finish with a few cranberries and sprinkle some nutmeg on top. For young guests or those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks, simply swap out wine for alcohol-free sparkling juice.

Cranberries
Cranberries are a Thanksgiving staple, but most people take a small spoonful and move on. If you want to add new flavor to cranberries so guests will be asking for seconds, different spices and additions could mean lip-smacking results. Sweet citrus fruits like oranges taste heavenly when cooked down with cranberries. A splash of port can bring new depths to the classic dish, too. Allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and even chili powder can add surprising flavor. If you want to add texture, crushed walnuts add crunch and complexity to the sauce.

Potatoes
Thanksgiving menus often include several potato dishes. The secret to enhancing potato dishes is adding cheese for an indulgent result. For example, the complex flavors of crumbled gorgonzola folded into sweet potatoes make a rich dish that guests will love. Upgrade standard mashed all-purpose white potatoes (russet, Idaho, etc.) by sprinkling in freshly grated parmesan or cheddar for extra kick.

Dessert
No matter how full you are after your Thanksgiving dinner, there’s always room for dessert. Instead of or in addition to pumpkin pie, try pumpkin cupcakes or pumpkin cheesecake. Add new flavor to apple pie or apple crisp by mixing shredded cheddar cheese into the apple mixture prior to baking. Guests will ooh-and-ahh over how the sharp cheddar flavor enhances the sweet apple filling.

Need inspiration? Try these two delicious recipes perfect for enhancing any Thanksgiving table.

recipe1Cheddar Apple Crisp
Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients:
4 cups apples (crisp and tart such as Braeburn), peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 plus 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed, divided
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 cup Black Creek cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine apples, lemon juice and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Arrange in buttered 8 or 9-inch square pan. Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter until mixture is crumbly; gently mix in cheese. Sprinkle evenly over apple mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, garnish with shredded cheese.

recipeBaked Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry Gorgonzola Gremolata
Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients:
6 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 lemon, zested
1 clove garlic, minced finely
3 tablespoons minced pecans
3 tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
1 scallion, minced
2 ounces Stella gorgonzola, crumbled (If you prefer a milder flavor, use 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese instead of gorgonzola)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place sweet potatoes on cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Flip over and return to oven to bake until tender – about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

When cool enough to do so safely, peel sweet potatoes. Place in a medium skillet over low heat with butter, salt and maple syrup for 5 minutes, basting the potatoes with the butter mixture occasionally. Lightly smash the potatoes until there is an even consistency. Hold over low heat.

To make the gremolata: In a small bowl, toss together parsley, lemon zest, garlic, pecans, cranberries and scallion. Gently fold in the cheese.

Move sweet potatoes to a serving dish and sprinkle with the gremolata. Serve hot.

 

For a great gluten-free Pumpkin Cheescake recipe, pick up the November issue of Bella Magazine!

Holiday Gift Idea: MapIsArt.com

tray1Looking for a special gift that will let someone know how much they mean to you this year? Personalize an item from Map Is Art!

Use the location of your first date, a happy childhood moment, or even your current address to create a unique design that your loved one will treasure for years to come!

We chose 1 Market St, SE/Roanoke, VA 24011 for this gorgeous tray. Stay tuned to our Facebook page in the next few days for your chance to win it!

Host a Chocolate Tasting Party!

485x485_wine_pairing_kit_closedThis holiday, host a chocolate tasting party!

What is a chocolate tasting party? We’re glad you asked. It is a unique celebration in which you and several friends gather together to pair high quality chocolate with wine, discuss the pairings and jot down notes. You and your guests will learn more about the items you are tasting in an inexpensive and fun way!

If you don’t know where to begin, try a helpful wine pairing chocolate kit from TCHO. It includes chocolates and tasting grids for four tasters. All you have to do is add a pairing wine (or two), mild crackers (for cleansing palates between samples), and pens.

box_sf_heart_485_1They also offer great gifts for those of us not attending a chocolate tasting party. Let’s be honest, no party is complete without chocolate! TCHO sells several gift boxes, but our favorite is “I Left My Hearts in San Francisco.” It comes in two sizes and contains pure notes paired with chocolate, nutty, berry, and bright notes.

For more information on the products TCHO offers, visit www.tcho.com.

An Art Lover’s Pillow

graffity-F_low_largeBKing Designs was born from photos taken by Australian artist, Bridgit King, and her daughter, Katie. Although they live miles apart, the mother and daughter have been able to share their experiences through unique photos that show their individual interpretations of the world around them.

One of our favorites, Graffiti, was captured in New York City. The photographer describes, “An exquisite piece I came upon in the backstreets of West Village – she struck me with her beauty. Her tranquility, a virtual impossibility in the Big Apple. Her creator unknown to me, making her even more enthralling – a simple and humble icon.”

BKing Designs offers a wide variety of pillows– each one with a unique photo. Browse through their entire collection and choose a gift that the recipient will remember for years to come.

Visit our Facebook page for a chance to win one of your own!

Pick up the November issue of Bella while you still can! There are many more great gift ideas in our Holiday Gift Guide!

Bella Girl’s Night Out: Lucy in the Sky

bellagnoNew boutique, Lucy in the Sky is now open and is located inside the upper level of Towers Mall. Lucy in the Sky offers handmade jewelry by Lucy herself and local artists. The one of a kind boutique also sells art by local artists, books, candles and accessories ranging from purses to scarves and more! In the future you could expect to see classes offered on how to create your own jewelry and art. 

Be sure to stop by check out the new boutique and join us for our Bella Girls Night Out, Thursday (November 13) at Lucy in the Sky!

 

Written by Kristi Hall

Bella’s Fall Fashion Essentials

SCARVES! Chunky, oversized scarves are something every girl should have in their closet to keep warm and complete a simple outfit. Floral or printed infinity scarfs are also a way to go, especially on a warmer day. La De Da is a great place to find trendy, one of a kind scarves.

bellafallBOOTS! Ankle boots, combat boots, cowboy boots, knee high boots, biker boots, booties – ladies we love em all! Boots are something that never go out of style and can be fashionable but functional. If you’re looking for the perfect place to find a stylish boot, Bush-Flora Shoes has a great selection! 

WATCHES! Mix up your arm candy with a watch. Watches are becoming more popular and the different styles of watches are never ending. Choose your favorite watch and add a bangle to enhance the statement. Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade, Fossil and Guess are just a few popular watch brands but adding a simple boutique watch is still very simple yet a statement piece. Yarid’s boutique offers several different brands of watches that are sure to give you that final statement piece. 

bellafall1CHUNKY CARDIGANS! MUST MUST HAVE! (By the way, you can never have too many or too many colors) La De Da has several different fashionable cardigans that would add a perfect layering item to your fall wardrobe.

TIGHTS! You can still wear your favorite dresses and/or skirts with a cute pair of tights! Make sure you stick to fall colors and don’t head for the bright, summer floral dress. Patterned and solid color tights are very popular to spice up a plain dress or skirt. But if you are looking for a safe and settle way to go, you can never go wrong with simple black tights. H&M has tons of printed leggings and tights that will be sure to add some flare to your outfit!

 

Written by Kristi Hall

Tis the Season for Pomegranates

Switch up your Thanksgiving dinner up this fall by adding a new ingredient to your delicious meal. October-January is pomegranate season, making November National Pomegranate Month!

POM Wonderful offers several unique recipes using pomegranates as a main ingredient. Adding pomegranates to your yogurt, cereal and oatmeal is another quick way to add more flavor and nutrients to your food. Pomegranates add color to a salad and can also be enjoyed alone.
There are several benefits in adding pomegranates to your diet. They offer several vitamins and minerals and are also a great source of potassium. When it comes to picking out a pomegranate, you should always select by the weight (the heavier, the more juice it contains) and not the color.

Below is a simple recipe showing you how easy it is to add pomegranates to your meal! For more recipes, check out Simply Wonderful.  

bellaweb1Pomegranate-Citrus Pound Cake

1 3⁄ 4 cups arils from POM Wonderful Pomegranates
(or 1 3⁄4 cups POM POMS Fresh Arils)
3/4 lb. unsalted butter, softened
2 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
8 whole eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare fresh pomegranate arils, if necessary.
Combine all of the dry ingredients except sugar in a bowl and set aside. 
Cream the softened butter and sugar together, then incorporate the vanilla extract. 
Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter mixture. Slowly add the flour mixture 1⁄2 cup at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often.
Once all of the flour is added, add the orange zest and juice, and continue to beat on medium speed for 5 minutes. While the batter is mixing, grease and flour a standard bundt or tube pan.
After 5 minutes, gently fold the pomegranate arils into the batter using a rubber spatula. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before unmolding.
Serve with whipped cream and additional pomegranate arils. 

 

Written by Kristi Hall