Archive | The Mom Demographic RSS feed for this section

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

14 Nov

As I think back on the past few weeks, I am inspired by mankind.  I have seen people from all walks of life coming together to support those who have literally lost everything as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  It brought people together who would not normally mix.  Barriers of race, creed, sexual orientation and socio-economic differences have been broken.  Here in Jersey City, we have witnessed great loss.  Many of my neighbors are still without power after two long, cold, dark weeks.  Life as we know it has been changed forever.  Insurance pay-outs and FEMA funds cannot restore one’s wellbeing.  Luckily, I was one of the first to have power restored here in Jersey City. I opened my doors to everyone & anyone that needed some warmth, a hot shower, a phone charge, or a hot meal.  But it was only a temporary “fix.” 

Sea Bright, NJ. Photo by Mark Vetrini

Most of my family is “down the shore” where entire towns have been literally wiped out.  My sister, Eileen Rafferty, hopped in her car and ventured into some of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Jersey such as Belford and Keyport.  She knocked on doors to pitch in with clean-up efforts and to find out what they really need.  After a day on the “front line,” Eileen called me and said “We need undies!”  I jumped on the horn and within a matter of hours, I was able to collect cases of Clean/Unworn Underwear from manufacturers and designers around the Country.  Out of this need, the #SpareAPair Campaign has been born.  Organizations such as Bra Recyclers and Support1000 have been accepting donations of gently worn bras for years.  These organizations get the bras directly into the hands of the women in need (around the world.)  But what about skivvies?  My mom always told me, “Never leave the house without clean underwear!”  But after a disaster, that’s not so easy, is it?  Can You #SpareAPair of Underwear?  Contact me directly to find out how you can support the #SpareAPair Campaign.

Christian Siriano and Jene Luciani

The Intimate Apparel Square Club’s 57th Annual H.U.G. Awards Gala was held on Wednesday, November 7, 2012.  This year’s Intimate Affair (called “An Enchanted Evening”) honored LuAnn Via, former President and CEO of Payless ShoeSource, Inc. as well as Steven Chernoff, chairman of Rago Foundations, LLC.  Intimate apparel industry veteran Janet Peters was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to the Club.  The annual event raises funds to support NYU Langone Medical Center’s RUSK Institute and Tisch Hospital.  Despite the wintry weather, members and supporters of the Club gathered together at 230 Fifth Penthouse to celebrate the humanitarian achievements of our honorees and to support the “RUSK Kids.”  The event’s emcee was celebrity stylist and author of The Bra Book, Jené Luciani.  Luciani wore a gown designed by Project Runway star, designer Christian Siriano.  Siriano attended the event and presented his friend LuAnn Via with her H.U.G. Award.  Via was also dressed in Christian Siriano from head to toe.  Siriano arrived at the event with his guest, movie star Isabelle Fuhrman who also donned his designs!  The event raised thousands of dollars which will be donated directly to NYU Langone Medical Center’s RUSK Institute and Tisch Hospital.  The IASC is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization and none of its members are paid.

Dear Kate, the young fashion-meets-function lingerie line, is set to launch online this month followed by availability in specialty boutiques across the U.S.  The debut collection—an assortment ranging from elegant high-rises and cream bodysuits to pastel bikinis and basic hipsters—pays homage to what every woman loves about her favorite intimates.  While the designs alone catch the eye, it’s what’s underneath that has Dear Kate poised to make its mark with not only fashionistas, but also new and expecting mothers.  Julie Sygiel, founder and CEO of Dear Kate says, “The risk of an oops moment shouldn’t mean we have to give up what we feel good in.”  Below the beauty of every Dear Kate panty is a light-as-a-feather lining that protects women against stains and spills with the utmost discretion.  Delicate to the touch and known for their easy wear-and-wash quality, the panties have already garnered a cult following through an earlier line in 2011.  Originally named Sexy Period, the patent-pending high-tech underwear was geared towards women who wanted extra backup during their period without having to compromise on style.  But when Sexy Period saw preteens, new moms experiencing incontinence, and even athletes embrace their panties, they knew a rebranding was in order.  Known briefly as Underbrella before a trademark issue delayed a re-launch this summer, the team behind Dear Kate is pleased with the early praise they’ve already received.  “Kate is that best friend in a crisis, the one who rushes to your side with chocolate,” says Sygiel, on the line’s new name.  “The women who wear our panties appreciate not only the innovation behind it, but also the community we’ve become, and Dear Kate embraces that fully.”

This Wednesday, November 14th, luxury brand Fleur du Mal is celebrating its launch by hosting an Intimate Affair featuring Parisian DJ Inez Melia and renowned Mixologist Xavier Herit.  Fleur du Mal is a signature collection of ready-to-wear and lingerie by Jennifer Zuccarini.  The designs will be sold exclusively through a uniquely interactive e-commerce site- www.fleurdumal.com.

The Lingerie Alliance is proud to be participating in another fundraiser on November 18th at Teak Restaurant, in Red Bank, New Jersey.  The Intimate Affair, GO NAKED AND CHECK YOURSELF, is an evening dedicated to bringing awareness / prevention to detectible cancers where you can go naked and check yourself – skin, breast and testicular cancers.  The event is presented by Sugarush (a specialty bakery in Red Bank, NJ) and the award-winning lingerie boutique, Sweetest Sin.  The mission of Go Naked and Check Yourself is to take the stigma of embarrassment out of checking yourself, because early detection can prevent long term issues.  All proceeds from the event benefit charities such as The American Cancer Society.  And since the areas surrounding Red Bank, NJ were so badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, 25% of all proceeds will now benefit MOVE FOR HUNGER.  Contact me for tickets or to make a donation.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming Intimate Affairs:

December 4, 2012 – The Underfashion Club’s Holiday Party at The National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South.

December 13, 2012- The Intimate Apparel Square Club’s Holiday Party at the RUSK Institute followed by a Dinner at Trattoria Alba.

December 18, 2012- The Lingerie Alliance presents a Festive Affair Holiday Networking Social at Legends Loft Lounge, 6 West 33rd Street between 5th Ave & 6th Ave, 6:30-8:30pm.  Two hours open bar, giveaways & gift bags, an Ugly Sweater Contest and more.  $35/ per person.

Got Insight?  Having an Intimate Affair?  Let us know!  Everyone can be an Intimate Insider!

As seen on LingerieBriefs.com

Intimate Insight: Fashion-meets-Function Lingerie Line “Dear Kate” Launches

13 Nov

Dear Kate, the young fashion-meets-function lingerie line, is set to launch online this month followed by availability in specialty boutiques across the U.S.  The debut collection—an assortment ranging from elegant high-rises and cream bodysuits to pastel bikinis and basic hipsters—pays homage to what every woman loves about her favorite intimates. 

While the designs alone catch the eye, it’s what’s underneath that has Dear Kate poised to make its mark with not only fashionistas, but also new and expecting mothers.  Julie Sygiel, founder and CEO of Dear Kate says, “The risk of an oops moment shouldn’t mean we have to give up what we feel good in.”  Below the beauty of every Dear Kate panty is a light-as-a-feather lining that protects women against stains and spills with the utmost discretion. 

Delicate to the touch and known for their easy wear-and-wash quality, the panties have already garnered a cult following through an earlier line in 2011.  Originally named Sexy Period, the patent-pending high-tech underwear was geared towards women who wanted extra backup during their period without having to compromise on style.  But when Sexy Period saw preteens, new moms experiencing incontinence, and even athletes embrace their panties, they knew a rebranding was in order.  Known briefly as Underbrella before a trademark issue delayed a re-launch this summer, the team behind Dear Kate is pleased with the early praise they’ve already received. 

“Kate is that best friend in a crisis, the one who rushes to your side with chocolate,” says Sygiel, on the line’s new name.  “The women who wear our panties appreciate not only the innovation behind it, but also the community we’ve become, and Dear Kate embraces that fully.”

www.dearkates.com

You’re Invited: Bra La Mode’s Mother’s Day Event

10 May

Just a reminder to join us at Bra Smyth on Saturday for “A Celebration of Women” in honour of Mother’s Day!  The Intimate Affair is sponsored by the legendary French lingerie label Simone Pérèle in collaboration with the leading lingerie publication The Lingerie Journal.  The in-store Bra Fit Event will feature fine lingerie stylist and personal shopper The Lingerie Goddess Margaret Shrum and guests will enjoy an Afternoon Tea Party with champagne, tea, scones and gourmet sugars courtesy of Chambre de Sucre.  Bra Smyth is offering 10% off all Sleepwear throughout the event, the first fifty guests will receive gift bags valued at $35, Simone Pérèle is offering a free gift with purchase, and all guests will be entered into a a raffle for a Grand Prize Basket full of goodies valued over $400!  RSVP to www.bralamodemothers.eventbrite.com

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

8 May

Last week was a busy one here in New York City.  Buyers were in town for Market appointments; and business dinners and other events ensued late into the evening.  And it’s not over yet!  It seems that the wholesale Market Week is going to last for two weeks this year…..  Still lots of appointments on the calendar!

On Wednesday, May 2nd, the Intimate Apparel Council hosted “Retail Mobile Engagement” at the Union League Club, a panel discussion on mobile marketing. The panelists covered topics such as the different types of action codes and how to develop companion apps for iPhone and android platforms.  Panelists included Leslie Burke, Director of Interactive Print at Conde Nast, John Puterbaugh, Ph.D, CEO & Founder at Nellymoser, Inc., and Liz Smith, Vice President of Marketing at Wacoal America, Inc.  The Intimate Apparel Council is a division of the American Apparel and Footwear Association.  Guests at the Intimate Affair included Gwen Widell and Victor Vega of Wacoal America, Steve Chernoff of Rago Shapewear, Joel Fertel of Womens Wear Daily, and the event’s host was Debby Long-Gedney of Biflex (current president of the Intimate Apparel Council,) among others.

Lorna Laurentino

The Fashion Institute of Technology held their annual end-of-year runway show, “The Future of Fashion,” last Wednesday evening.  The best work of FIT’s graduating fashion design students was presented in the professional runway show including sportswear, special occasion, knitwear, intimate apparel, and children’s wear.  Design student Lorna Laurentino presented in the Intimate Apparel category.  Cotton Incorporated presented awards for the “Best Use of Cotton.”  Lorna received the 2nd place award for her use of cotton in her designs.  The annual event was held at the college’s east side Manhattan “campus” and notable guests included Josie Natori, Calvin Klein and Joe Zee (Host of BRAVO’s “All on the Line with Joe Zee.”)  Follow tomorrow’s Intimate Apparel talent today at: www.lornalaurentino.com.

Also on Wednesday evening, International Intimates, Inc. (Rene Rofe) held an “invitation only” Launch Party to present their latest licensed brand, Isaac Mizrahi New York Intimates.  The Intimate Affair was held in a Penthouse Suite at the Dream Downtown Hotel.  Buyers and media were in attendance….  They enjoyed light snacks and an open bar while admiring Isaac’s Intimate line which places emphasis on body shaping.  Isaac himself attended the event along with his design team and executives from the brand’s owner, Xcel Brands.   Here’s the “Behind the Scenes” Video of the Isaac Mizrahi New York Intimates photo shoot:

On Thursday evening, I attended the monthly membership meeting of the Intimate Apparel Square Club.  Like usual, we enjoyed dinner and discussed Club business.  But this month, we were also joined by one of the administrators of NYU Langone Medical Center’s RUSK Institute of Rehabilitation medicine.  Pediatric Rehabilitation at the RUSK Institute is the primary beneficiary of the Club.  At Thursday’s meeting, we learned how our generous donations directly impact the lives of these children.  The institute is currently treating an infant with severe Cerebral Palsy.  This disability makes it virtually impossible for the child to function normally.  Per special request, a portion of the Club’s funds were used to purchase an iPad for this child.  Using a specially designed app, this 20-month old child is now able to communicate with his parents for the first time!  This story brought tears to my eyes and reaffirmed my personal commitment to the Club.  To find out more about the Club and the work we do, go to www.thehugaward.org

On Thursday, May 10th, the girls from ILOVEAGOOD are hosting a “Spring Fling” in collaboration with BedHead Pajamas at 252 Elizabeth Street, NYC.  The Intimate Affair is a press preview by “invitation only” and will feature fun drinks, great décor, and cute models in BedHead printed shorties.  This will be BedHead’s very first New York store! 

Bra La Mode is having an Intimate Affair on Saturday, May 12th at Bra Smyth in NYC!  It is a “Celebration of Women” in honour of Mother’s Day including An Afternoon Tea Party (and champagne, of course) hosted by Chambre de Sucre Imported Gourmet Sugars.  The Intimate Affair is sponsored by luxury French lingerie brand Simone Perele in collaboration with The Lingerie Journal.  Our featured guest is Fine Lingerie Stylist and Personal Shopper, “The Lingerie Goddess” Margaret Shrum.  Guests are encouraged to RSVP to bralamodemothers.eventbrite.com.  Bring Mom in for a free bra fitting, enjoy some scones and tea, receive free gifts with purchase and gift bags AND receive 10% off all Sleepwear throughout the Event.  Special thanks to Bra Smyth for hosting the Intimate Affair and to the Event Sponsors and Participants: Simone Perele, The Lingerie Journal, Chambre de Sucre, “The Lingerie Goddess” Margaret Shrum, Naked Princess, Affinitas Intimates, Jene Luciani and The Bra Book, Fashion Forms and SOAKWash.

If you’re “down the shore” for Mother’s Day, stop into Sweetest Sin Bras on White Street in Red Bank, NJ to celebrate “Support Your Girls.”  Each year, downtown Red Bank becomes “Pink Bank.”  Paint the Town Pink strives to educate local women about a very significant fact that “early detection is a woman’s best defense against breast cancer.”  Sweetest Sin Bras is hosting an Intimate Affair which is sponsored by Chantelle Paris on Saturday, May 12th to “Support Your Girls.”

Got Insight?  Having an Intimate Affair?  Let us know!  Everyone can be an Intimate Insider!

As seen on LingerieBriefs.com.

You’re Invited: “A Celebration of Women” in honour of Mother’s Day

30 Apr

I am pleased to present “A Celebration of Women” in honour of Mother’s Day, an in-store bra fit and shopping event from Noon to 4:00pm on Saturday, May 12, 2012, at the upscale, intimate apparel boutique, Bra Smyth, 2177 Broadway (at 77th Street,) NYC.  Bra Smyth’s dedicated, professional bra fitters offer over 100 years of combined experience and each boutique has seamstresses on staff to make custom alterations which provides legendary personal service to their loyal clients.  The event, “A Celebration of Women,” will provide women of all ages, shapes, and sizes the opportunity to receive a free bra fitting in an exclusive environment as well as education on the importance of a proper fit courtesy of Bra Smyth.  Additionally, Bra Smyth is offering a 10% discount off the purchase of all sleepwear throughout the event.

The Intimate Affair is sponsored by luxury French lingerie brand Simone Pérèle, in collaboration with the leading lingerie publication, The Lingerie Journal.  The event will feature special guest “The Lingerie Goddess,” Margaret Shrum – fine lingerie stylist and personal shopper.  Margaret’s mission is to empower women to love their unique beauty from the inside out!  In addition, Chambre de Sucre is hosting an Afternoon Tea Party at the in-store event featuring artisanal sugars and custom blended tea, as well as champagne and scones.  Chambre de Sucre is a 270-year old business based in Nagoya, Japan, specializing in handcrafted sugars for coffee and tea- no flavors and no additives, only pure sugar, served up most luxuriously! 

Gift bags in honour of Mother’s Day will be distributed to the first fifty guests, and all guests can expect a free gift with purchase courtesy of the event’s sponsor, French brand, Simone Pérèle. 

The highlight of the Intimate Affair will be the raffle for a Grand Prize basket that is estimated as having a value of over $400.  Contributors to the raffle prize include Bra La Mode, Bra Smyth, Simone Pérèle, Chambre de Sucre, Affinitas Intimates, the no-rinse, biodegradable & eco-friendly SOAK WASH, luxury lifestyle brand Naked Princess, Ann Deal of Fashion Forms, and “Bra-lebrity” Jené Luciani.  Additional sponsors of the event include The Full Figured Chest and I Fell into A Whale.  All guests will receive one entry into the raffle and guests that make a purchase of a bra at the event will receive a second entry into the raffle.

Moira Nelson, founder of Bra La Mode, is a proud member of the non-profit Intimate Apparel Square Club (IASC) and works hard to promote the organization’s work.  The IASC raises funds to support a variety of charitable organizations, with pediatric rehabilitation and treatment being the primary beneficiary of its fundraising activities. The IASC’s H.U.G. (Help Us Give) Award is presented to well-respected, high-profile companies, organizations and individuals at the IASC’s annual gala fundraiser in support of pediatric rehabilitation.  Ann Deal of Fashion Forms was the 2011 H.U.G. Award recipient.  Ann has made a very generous contribution to this bra fit event.  A portion of proceeds from this event will be donated to IASC to help support the “Kids.” 

Guests are encouraged to RSVP for the in-store event at: www.bralamodemothers.eventbrite.com

 Resources:

www.brasmyth.com

www.simoneperele.com

www.thelingeriejournal.com

www.thelingeriegoddess.com

www.chambredesucre.com

#IntimateAffair

Intimate Insight: The Sweetest Thing by Liz

9 Nov

I live in a great town, with a main drag and side streets full of stores and restaurants, shops and bars.  It’s toted as “the Hippest Town in NJ”, but that moniker makes it seem a little square. 

Downtown Red Bank, New Jersey

In any case, it’s a destination.  Are you ready for this???  People actually move out of NYC to live in my town!  Shocking, but true.  And those that don’t actually move here… apparently they drive in for the day or night to take advantage of all that the town has to offer (if the license plates and the line at Starbucks can be believed.)

I am in our downtown five days out of seven, as I drop off and pick my child up from school mere steps from the action.  Part of that time I spend running errands in my town.  I’m into shopping local.  I like parking and walking, and I enjoy local shopkeepers and good old-fashioned customer service.  I will pay more for a CD from the local record store; I will run through the rain for something I can download at home for less money.  I’m dedicated.  Still, I’d never been inside the local lingerie shop.  I walked past this store time and time again, preferring my mad dash through Target for my undergarment needs.  Why?

Simple.  It didn’t look like me.

To me, this local, attractively merchandised store screamed two things– “money!” and (forgive me, Angie) “mistress.”  Oh, you know what I mean.  The kind of store that sells high-priced lingerie to women who are skinny, rich, having an affair, or possibly splurging for a marriage rekindling 25th wedding anniversary trip.  I assumed they would not have anything that I could afford or that would fit me.  So I walked by.  Time and time again.

When Moira took her mom for a fitting, I asked if I got to go for one, too.  I’d already picked out the store I wanted to try, a well-known lingerie boutique in Soho.  Clearly everything in the city is better!  They would know how to fit me.  Moira replied that, yes, it was my turn, but we were going to a store in our hometown.  We were going to the very store I’d told her, in an impassioned conversation over coffee, wasn’t for me.

I knew my local store, Sweetest Sin, had won a Best of Intima award for Best Store, but that didn’t mean anything to me.  What do I know of industry awards?  Target, sometimes Kohl’s, maybe Victoria’s Secret if I’m feeling indulgent… To say I’m not aware of the industry is possibly overstating things.  So instead of relying on an award, I made my friend Moira promise me.  She swore she wouldn’t let me buy anything that wasn’t perfect for me.  She promised that if this store was indeed what I’d thought of it, I could leave.  If at any moment it turned snooty, awful, or embarrassing, I could skeedadle.

"The Ladies" at our Sweetest Sin "Bra Fitting Party"

We gathered some other ladies for a “bra fitting party” and set a date.  There was wine, there were snickerdoodles (don’t knock that combo until you’ve tried it) and there were bras.  And bras.  And more bras.

First off, the store was not what I’d expected.  Yes, it was nicely laid out and had pretty things and I’ll be darned if I could have found something on my own.  But it wasn’t the intimidating  monster I’d thought it would be.  Maybe it’s because I had a friend at my side, and more friends inside.  Maybe it was the owner, Angie, who, yes, was young and skinny and wearing impossibly high heels, but who was just so open and friendly and normal.  She didn’t make me feel like a schlubby mom who should head back to the discount rack.  Instead, she made me feel like I should have nice bras and it was just a matter of finding the very nicest one for me.

Moira told me ahead of time that most women are wearing the band size too big and the cup size too small.  I believed her, but only in the general way.  As in, yes, you have lots of experience, I am sure you are right…but not about me.  I didn’t think it applied to me.  I’m different, and special…hmm I wonder where my seven year old gets that from!  Well, right away Angie said my band size was too big.  The space I’d thought I needed wasn’t right at all.  More give in the band means less support for the girls, and why wear a bra if you’re not going to hold them up?  Also, I was wearing my straps way too loose, a common problem.  And, naturally, my cup size was too small.  Hmm, I guess I’m not so special!  Back to average woman for me!

Sweetest Sin Boutique's 2011 Best of Intima Award for "Best Shop"

Angie brought out a huge selection of bras for me to try on.  I never would have thought there could be this many – in my size, or in the store!  It made me realize how much we settle for the “fits most” approach we get with so many things, from bras to shoes to jeans.  What works for me might not work for you, and at every stage in our lives, something else might work.  I tried on many bras, but unlike most shopping trips, it didn’t feel depressing or exhausting.  It felt kind of fun.

I soon discovered that the idea we have in our heads of cup size is completely irrelevant.  Completely.  Actually, most of what we think we know about sizing and clothing and certainly intimate apparel is way off base, but for now, let me assure you that your idea of a D and an actual D are not the same thing.  You have to let all that stuff you think you know fly out of your head, and you have to be in the moment.  You have to be in your body, seeing what’s in the mirror and not your interior image of yourself and your breast size.

I also learned where your breasts were supposed to be.  I’ve always worn bras because that’s what you do.  It never occurred to me to think about where bras placed my breasts…in truth, I think very little about my breasts, or my lingerie, or my intimate apparel.  I think a lot about what to make for dinner, and if we can get a babysitter for Saturday night, and how much homework my child does or doesn’t have.  But not a lot about something which I guess I should know.

A good bra, it turns out, should place your breasts front and center –  not off to the sides, or too scrunched up in the middle.  They should look rounded and soft, not pointy and hard (unless you’re going for the 40’s pin-up look, in which case I think you’ve got that covered without my help.)  A good bra fits snugly, because as time goes on it will stretch out.  You should be able to hook it on the very last hook, and as you wear it you will stretch it until it needs on be on the first set of hooks.  A good bra has straps that lay flat on your body and those straps should be a bit tighter than I bet you are wearing them.  Mine for instance, were way down and then I’d be annoyed they slipped.  There should not be gaping or riding or any movement at all.  Think corset.  No, really, a good bra makes you feel like it’s holding you up.  You stand a little straighter, a little taller.

Also, there is this essential trick that I managed to go 37  years without learning; you have to place your breasts in the cup.  Yes, its true.  Lift them up and put them in the cup, and see the difference!  Wow.  Totally changed how I tried on bras.

In the end, after my glass of wine and a few snickerdoodles, I bought two bras.  One was Lace Tisha by Le Mystere in Natural and the other was Rhapsody in Lace by B.tempt’d by Wacoal.

So my advice is this: get yourself to a local lingerie store, stat.  Give yourself a few hours, and a realistic budget.  Don’t rush this.  Make an appointment, and bring a good friend.  Choose this friend wisely: not too critical, truth telling, but complimentary.  Go in with an open mind and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.  And let me know how you do!

Jodi and I in our new bras – fully supported and ready to go out!

DSCN0910

Resources:

Sweetest Sin Boutique – Red Bank, New Jersey

www.SweetestSinBras.com

Follow @SweetestSinBras

Intimate Insight: Shower the World in Pink? by Liz

2 Nov

October just came to an end, and that means breast cancer awareness month is now over.  We had pink ribbons, fundraising walks, and merchandise up to our eyeballs.  NFL players wore pink; my hometown of Red Bank, NJ held the “Paint the Town Pink” event and called itself “Pink Bank”.  My daughter’s school had a “dress in pink” fundraiser.  You couldn’t go to the grocery store or diner without a cheery request for a donation and your name on a small piece of pink paper, for all to see your charitableness.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?  It’s a cause that unites all of us – breast cancer is easily a woman’s greatest fear, and we all know someone who has had breast cancer.  It’s the one social fundraising cause you can’t object to.

Or can you?

My mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996.  She had a full mastectomy, lymph nodes removed, chemo and radiation.  In 2001 she was diagnosed a second time, in the other, intact breast.  She opted for a mastectomy over the lumpectomy, because she said she didn’t want to be told she had breast cancer a third time.  We joked.  She got reconstruction, and after some minor issues with that, went on with her life.  In 2004, when my daughter was a newborn, my mom was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.  For the last 7 years (my daughter’s entire life), my mom has been on and off chemo nonstop.  She has had breaks of maybe 3 months at a time.

In the beginning, we did the walks.  We fundraised like mad, we had a great team of walkers and a cute name – Brass Knockers.  We walked with a SURVIVOR.  We felt sad for those people who’d lost their loved ones, but we were grateful, happy.  We were lucky.  We bought a lot of pink, breast cancer themed stuff.  I had t-shirts, I had slogans.  I had the Melissa Etheridge song on my iPod.

By the third diagnosis, the worst one, we were over the pink haze.  My mom, my family and I, we no longer fit it.  We’re not in the “survivors” camp and we’re not in the “lost a loved one” camp.  My mom is literally a breast cancer patient’s worst nightmare.  She is a living horror story, a walking, talking worst case scenario.  This is no recovery.  There is no “all clear” or SURVIVOR emblazoned on the back of her pink t-shirt.  She will never be cancer-free and we will never, as a family, have that sweet feeling of relief again.  There is only sickness and drugs and trials for her to endure, and years of grief and coping for my dad and me.

Liz and her Mom

There is joy, yes, and gratefulness, and thanksgiving.  We thank God every day for every day.  But October is a hard month for us.  With all the pink waving about, the support for women like my mom and our family isn’t there.

I can tell you what I have learned about breast cancer; early detection saves SOME lives.  The “reduce your risks” suggestions don’t significantly reduce your risks.  Family history doesn’t significantly increase your risks.  Being “strong” or “a fighter” doesn’t mean anything where cancer is concerned.  Cancer, unlike everything else, doesn’t discriminate.  A woman who “survives” simply had cancer that responded to treatment.  There is no way to prevent breast cancer from coming back.  These are truths I wish weren’t, because they are hard and sad and make me uncomfortable.  But they are true nonetheless, at least for now.  Cancer “facts” change all the time, as we learn more from the men and women who lose their lives to it.

Now that October has come to a close, I’m asking you to do something a little more extraordinary than a walk or a dollar donation.  I’m asking you to remember the 155,000 women in the United States like my mom.  Remember them and their families.  Educate yourself on metastatic breast cancer, even if it’s only by clicking on this link – the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network.  Spread the word.  Use your Facebook status or Twitter to tell more people about the other side of breast cancer.  After this month of pink ribbons and survivors and courage, please be aware of those who will never be “clear”, who will not triumph in the way of t-shirts and slogans, but who will live day in and day out, hoping to keep this disease at bay, hoping to feel good for a weekend road trip or a child’s wedding.  These stories don’t have a Hollywood ending; they don’t put a happy face on it.  But they are real, and they matter.

My mom and I thank you for taking the time to read this post.  We wish you a long, happy, and cancer-free life.

Resources:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Network

www.mbcn.org

Intimate Intro: Everywoman by Liz

1 Nov

Liz is a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a friend.  I’ve known Liz for over twenty years.  We grew up together…. Both literally & figuratively.  We’ve experienced life together; we’ve supported each other throughout life’s joys and tribulations….  Education, part-time jobs, careers and changes in career, boyfriends and break-ups, hobbies/interests, ideas and crazy hair-brained schemes, buying homes, moving cross country (and back again), the illness of parents, the birth of her daughter, marital bliss and marital decline, my divorce and so on….  Throughout our lives, we’ve gone months without speaking (simply because life got in the way) and we’ve gone years where we’ve been inseparable.  We’ve watched one another evolve and grow as women- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. 

Having been in the intimate apparel industry for over ten years, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my perspective may be a bit biased (or perhaps even distorted).  So, I have asked Liz to join me in writing for Bra La Mode.  As a novice, Liz brings a fresh perspective to Bra La Mode.  Her opinions reflect her own experience and are not necessarily the opinions of me, Moira Nelson, or of Bra La Mode as a company.  We do not edit the content of Liz’s articles.  This is intentional.  We want our readers to hear her authentic perspective as a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a friend.

Join me in welcoming my friend Liz to Bra La Mode…….

Does the title alone have you humming Whitney Houston, possibly accompanied by an Oprah style montage in your head?  Are you slightly ashamed to admit that, even across this computer screen?  Yeah, me too.

My name is Liz.  But I could be Sue or Jodi or Laura or Debbie or whatever your name is.  Although my seven year old daughter likes to say we are all unique and different, the truth of the matter is we wives and mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and grandmas are all alike in some ways.  We are too busy to think about our breasts and what to put them in.
Me and My girl

I buy my bras at Target, where I  buy the rest of my clothes, in the five minutes I have between picking up things for the rest of my household and running another errand.  I wear leggings and dresses and flats to work because that’s what Target carries and it takes too long to try on pants.  When I take a day, or who am I kidding, a few hours to go shopping with a girlfriend, I spend that time slogging from store to store in search of clothes for my daughter, not myself.  I buy everything for myself on borrowed time, or at least that’s how it feels.

I don’t personally know one woman, married or single, with or without kids, who does it any differently.

So, that often quoted statistic comes as no surprise to me: 85% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra.  Frankly, I’m surprised that number isn’t higher

I’ve been bra fitted before, about 3 years ago after I lost a great deal of weight.  When I put weight back on, it never occurred  to me to go get re-fitted.  I’m going to tell you right now that I have remarkably healthy self-esteem and the least amount of body issues in my circle of friends and yet I didn’t think being properly fitted for a bra was something I should make a point of.  That’s kind of stunning to read now, but it’s true.  I have my child’s feet measured regularly, in local, quality stores by professionals.  I buy her clothes to suit her body.  I make time to shop, try on, return if necessary, and otherwise manage and cull her wardrobe and I buy myself whatever is cheap, easy, and convenient.

In other words, I am a mom.

If you’re still with me, I bet you have done the same.  You’re too busy.  I know you are.  I’m singing your song, sister.  And, yes, maybe it is to the tune of Whitney Houston.

So when my good friend Moira asked me to write for this site, I jumped at the chance.  I think my feelings about bras and lingerie and fit and time and expense are in line with every mom I’ve spoken to in the last 7 years.

I want it to be different, I do.  My time and money are precious and yet I want to look and feel good, all the time.

I don’t have the answers on getting an extra 24 hours out of your day.  But I am willing to explore how a perfectly average wife and mom like me can find comfortable and attractive intimate apparel.  That sounds so formal, doesn’t it?  Let’s say this: I’m taking the girls on a trip, and I hope you’ll come along for it.

%d bloggers like this: