Help your heart: Today is National Wear Red Day @Macys

February is here and it’s time to make a little public service announcement on behalf of our corazoncito.

The American Heart Association and Macy’s have designated February as “Heart Month” and the moment for their “Go Red for Women/ Go Red Por Tu Corazón” campaigns. So it’s time to do a little check up and be aware of the symptoms of heart disease and heart attacks. It’s something nobody wants to think of, but the statistics say that heart disease and cardiovascular disease kills more women in the USA than any other illness. That’s pretty shocking. But we can all do our part to prevent this and save the lives of everyone we love.

For the past ten years, Macy’s has partnered with the AHA to support their programs, donating 40 million dollars to the cause. This month we all have a chance to support this campaign as well, just by shopping at Macy’s and wearing red to create awareness.

If you visit a Macy’s store today, Feb. 1st and wear anything red: your clothes, an accessory, scarf, red lipstick or even red nail polish, they will give you a discount of 10% or 20% on a wide assortment of selected merchandise. You can also purchase a Go Red pin for $2 at any Macy’s checkout and 100%of this goes directly to the AHA. Be sure to check out the website for more details at http://www.macys.com/gored. If you can’t make it today then go this weekend: the Go Red sale goes on till Feb. 3rd.

Visit the website at www.macys.com/gored for more information on the Go Red Sale.

Visit the website at http://www.macys.com/gored for more information on the Go Red Sale.

And if you’re in need of a red dress for Valentine’s Day or just because el rojo es tu color: Macy’s has 3 exclusive designs to promote the Go Red campaign that are really cute. With the purchase of any of these dresses, a donation of 10% goes back to the AHA. So you’re shopping and promoting a good cause. (That’s the excuse. I’m getting the Ellen Tracy wrap dress, which is very versatile.)

Here are the 3 dresses you can buy at Macy's and 10% of the sale goes back to the AHA. Dresses by Kensie, Ellen Tracy and the new Marylin line exclusive at Macy's.

Here are the 3 red dresses you can buy at Macy’s and 10% of the sale goes back to the AHA. Dresses by Ellen Tracy (left), Kensie, and the new Marylin line exclusive at Macy’s. Photo courtesy from my friend Martha Gil de Montes on her Twitter @MarthaMacys

You can also check out the site for the American Heart Association at www.heart.org and see all the health tips and information they have on your heart’s health. They also have a site en español so you should definitely see it: Go Red por Tu Corazon.

Wordless Wednesday: Hey…You look familiar!

Jesus, is that you? (Sunday October 14, at the AIDS Walk LA. A familiar face was among the thousands of walkers.)

“Jesus” walks the Walk right in front of the Beverly Center.

A Teacher, Oprah and the power of Twitter

Here’s a story that proves things can happen in an instant when you put your intention out there and have a little faith. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…” (Matthew 7:7)

Cen’Cere Cooks is a high school teacher in South Central Los Angeles who, like every year, was on a mission of helping her students get ready for their prom. She is also one smart lady who knows the power of Twitter. (You can follow her on Twitter @cencerecooks.)

Every year she helps girls in her class get their prom dress, but this year had been a little tough. So a few weeks ago in May she sent out tweets to very important people who could help her get 25 dresses for her girls. It was a very sincere and direct request trying to make something happen.

Little did she know that THE person who would respond to her almost immediately was the one and only Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) offering to help out…Can you imagine the excitement?!

Here are the tweets that tell the story:

Cen’Cere can be found on Twitter @CencereCooks. “High School educator in South Central Los Angeles, committed to changing this generation one student at a time!”

Here is one of the responses from Oprah! Good to go!

By then, things are in motion. Oprah made a call to her friends at Macy’s (you gotta love @Macy’s) and they got on board. Pretty soon they were confirming that they were donating 25 prom dresses for the girls in Ms. Cooks’ class! Isn’t this amazing? Sometimes all it takes is a call, or a tweet, and the goodwill of someone who makes things happen.

Fast forward to this week, when 25 lovely ladies, along with Ms. Cooks and chaperones Loretta, Misha, Sivonney and Gabrielle, went to Macy’s South Coast Plaza to choose a prom dress. There was an expert styling team to help them, and the girls enjoyed breakfast and lunch at the store as well.

Here are some pictures of the exciting day. Thank you Macy’s for the opportunity to photograph this event. There was so much joy all around, it was contagious!

These beautiful ladies are ready for their prom thanks to their teacher, Oprah and Macy’s.

Bravo Ms. Cooks! You made it happen.

The girls choose their prom dress from a selection at Macy’s.

So many to choose from, the girls had fun trying on all the dresses.

Susan Koziak and her fabulous styling team did a great job helping the girls choose their dress.

Team Effort: Loretta Cotton, Raegan Gall from Macy’s, Misha, Amanda Dobernic from Macy’s, and Cen’Cere Cooks.

Sivoney Gomez and Gabrielle Ramirez, chaperones on the field trip to Macy’s South Coast Plaza.

The girls and their prom dresses.

All the girls received a Macy’s goody bag.

And, if I may, on a personal note: tonight I saw on Twitter that Ms. Winfrey herself had seen the photos and tweeted one of the photos I took. Needless to say…This made my day and my year. Thank you Oprah!! Your generosity provides so much happiness. 

At the 2012 Revlon Run/Walk

The 19th annual EIF Revlon Run/Walk benefitting the fight against women’s cancers was held last weekend at USC and it was an event to remember. I attended and walked as part of Team Macy’s (one of the sponsors) and it was a powerful experience to see so many people come together and participate.

People of all ages and entire families all showed up to support the cause for a 5k walk around the LA Coliseum. Everybody had someone special they were walking for. Most people wore big signs and bibs mentioning their loved ones battling cancer who they were walking for and supporting, or honoring their memory, which was extremely moving to read and see. I saw a few que casi me hacen llorar, so it definitely makes me appreciate health and that we must do everything in our power to fight this disease.

I took some pictures of the event which I wanted to share below. If you are interested in participating and/or making a donation to find a cure for cancer, please visit http://do.eifoundation.org and see how you can get involved. The statistics mentioned were pretty scary if you are a woman, but you CAN fight it and beat it if you detect it early on. So if you’re around the age of 35 or older, you should request,and demand to your doctor if needed, to get started with mammogram testing once a year.

Women, we need to take care of ourselves. ¡Cuidémonos todas! Here’s to good health, positive vibes and Godspeed in finding a cure for cancer.

Around the USC campus before the walk, the fair starts really early around 6:30 am.

At the starting line on Figueroa Ave, everybody looking good and ready for a 5K.

Team Macy’s 2012 supports the cause. Macy’s is one of the major sponsors of the RunWalk.

The beautiful and amazing Halle Berry is the Revlon Spokesperson and year after year speaks at the event. I loved her new curly hairdo, rizado chinito chinito!

Look at those dimples! Mr. Mario Lopez also was there to support.

Matthew Morrison of Glee gives a big hug to Lilly Tartikoff, one of the cofounders of the Run/Walk.

So inspirational! Lilly Tartikoff, co-founder of the Run/Walk, knows we will find a cure.

Julia Goldin, Global Chief Marketing Officer from Revlon, cheers everyone on at the starting line and talks about why it’s so important to join the cause.

Stacy Kiebler also walked and spoke on why she supoprts the cause, since it has affected her family. She’s very nice in person, pero no llevo al George Clooney!

Halle speaks and tells us women: Starting at 35, ask to get a mammogram! “Early detection is our best defense!”

And then I look at her and think, Hmm como que she looks like la Whitney Houston, verdad? Un poquito.

Confetti and cheers at the start.

All cancer survivors received a pink hat honoring them.

After the walk, a few refreshments inside the LA Coliseum.

Yeah, Macy’s. ¡Asi se compra!

Cupcakes for all!

Big party at the Coliseum lawn for thousands of people.

Support the Corazón de Vida Foundation

Our good friends from the Corazón de Vida Foundation are hosting an event this Wednesday Nov. 17th to benefit their cause and mission. If you’re in LA and would like to support, please stop by and show them some love.

Place and Time: Guelaguetza Restaurant, 3014 Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006. From 6:30 pm to 12 am. Donation: $45

Corazón de Vida is a group of people who travel to Baja California, Mexico and support local orphanages with supplies, donations and their time. Check out their website for more info and a post I submitted from an earlier fundraising event held this year.

People You Should Know/Conoce a Mayte Prida

Mayte Prida. Incansable luchadora contra el cáncer.

Hace unos días tuve la suerte de conocer a Mayte Prida, sobreviviente de cáncer y fundadora de The Mayte Prida Foundation. Nos tomamos un cafécito y platicamos de sus esfuerzos por la fundación y todo lo que quiere hacer por ayudar a las mujeres y a la comunidad.

Aprovechando que Octubre es “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”, aunque se debería observar todos los meses, dice Mayte, aquí les dejo algo de la plática que tuvimos. Es mi primera entrevista para el blog y me encanta que haya sido con una mujer tan luchona y llena de vida como Mayte. She’s a SURVIVOR!!

Para empezar, este domingo 30 de Octubre, The Mayte Prida Foundation tendrá su primera caminata “Walk-athon” en Bell, a partir de las 7 AM. El donativo es de $25 dolares y el punto de partida y registro es el Bell Community Center (6250 Pine Avenue, Bell CA 90201).  Se van a caminar 5 millas y es el primer año que lo realizan, asi que hay que apoyar la causa.

Mayte ha escrito libros y dado conferencias por todo Estados Unidos. Me regalo uno de sus libros, “Una Lucha Dificil” y creo que cualquier persona que esté pasando por esto debería de leerlo. Ella escribe “Mi lucha contra el cáncer me ha hecho una mujer más fuerte, más segura, más serena y en paz conmigo misma y con la vida. Mis prioridades cambiaron, porque cuando a la muerte se le ve de cerca, cambia la perspectiva de la vida.”

A Mayte la diagnosticaron la primera vez a los 38 años, cuando vivía en Miami con sus dos niños, recientemente separada de su esposo. El diagnóstico fue algo inesperado pues nadie en su familia, ni si mamá, ni su abuela, habían sido diagnosticadas anteriormente.

En ese entonces, ¿en quién te apoyaste? “Mi familia venía de Mexico, se turnaban para cada operación y los tratamientos. Y bueno me apoyaba mi grupo de amigos, se convirtieron en mi familia espiritual, amigos que estaban ocupadísimos, pero que dejaban sus cosas, sus juntas y se daban tiempo, me llevaban al hospital y me atendían. Es cuando te das cuenta que el ser humano te regala lo mas valioso que tiene que es su tiempo. Te das cuenta que el amor y la compasión son los sentimientos que mueven al mundo y es lo que tenemos.”

¿Cómo surgió la idea de tu fundación? “Al principio yo decía por qué me está pasando esto a mi? Yo qué hice? Si yo soy buena, yo trabajo, etc.,  ¿POR QUE A MI? Y creo que en el momento en que entendí el PARA QUE A MI, cuál es el propósito, en ese momento se me empezaron a presentar las cosas. Empecé a narrar todo por escrito y a documentarlo. Pensé ‘Si no me salvo quiero que mis hijos vean y tengan el legado de que yo hice todo lo posible por salvarme’ y que realmente lo hacía pensando en ellos. Entonces grabamos todo el proceso, para dejar un legado de lo que vives, y de que sigues siendo mujer a pesar de todo lo que tu cuerpo está sufriendo en esos momentos. Tenía una casa productora, entonces grabamos todo en video y escribí un libro. El libro y el documental fueron el primer paso porque cuando terminé de hacerlos me reincorpore al trabajo, como un año y medio más tarde, y se me presentó la oportunidad de que la compañía Ford estaba lanzando un programa hispano por primera vez. Se llamaba ‘Salud del Seno’ y fue una campaña para la concientización del cáncer del seno, que ellos la lanzan cada año para el mercado en general, pero era la primera vez que se hacía para el mercado hispano. Entonces me contactaron y me trajeron de gira promoviendo el libro y dando charlas y mi primer lugar fue aquí en Los Angeles. Y fue cuando yo vi la necesidad tan grande que había de apoyar y ayudar, porque había filas de mujeres, pero filas de mujeres que me decían “es que yo no me atrevo a decirle a mi marido,  es que mi marido me dejo y aquí estoy con mis niños, es que mi mama se murió y no le dijo a nadie…” y muchas cosas asi. Y pensé ‘es que esto es la falta de educación de la gente,’ por los prejuicios, los maridos dejan a las mujeres porque no saben, porque no saben que las mujeres siguen siendo mujeres con o sin senos, y llegaban las mujeres con estos resentimientos y con miedo. Con todo esto me di cuenta que ante todo había una necesidad enorme de educación. Y en nuestra fundación queremos ayudar y educar. Eso es lo primero, ya todo lo que se puede hacer después, una protesis o una peluca o lo que sea es complemento.”

Has vencido al cáncer. Como te cuidas hoy? Trato de estar en calma, he aprendido a cambiar las prioridades, todos los días medito, prendo velas, me siento en paz. No me siento que tengo que tener compañía para tener una atmosfera linda en mi casa, me encanta cocinar, es como una distracción para mi. Tengo música, muchas mantras, meditaciones y música sagrada, me encanta disfrutar todo eso. Y voy a lugares en donde hacemos meditaciones de grupo.  Trato de no dejar que el estrés gane mi vida. Especialmente en los días 28 cuando tienes que pagar todas las cuentas!!

¿Cómo te describes a ti misma? Me considero una persona muy positiva, optimista, luchadora, trabajadora, no me doy por vencida. Vivo basada en que la perseverancia y la determinación te llevan al éxito. Como quiera que cada uno de nosotros definamos el éxito. Y creo que a raíz de mi lucha contra el cáncer, me he vuelto una mujer mucho más sensible, más humana, mejor madre, mejor hija, mejor hermana y amiga y compañera porque he conocido verdaderamente lo que es la vulnerabilidad de la vida.

¿Cual es tu pasión? Tantas cosas, todo lo que tiene que ver con la lucha contra el cáncer. De verdad lo hago con el corazón y lo hago porque me encanta. Me he pasado años sin recibir un centavo por hacerlo, y lo hago porque me apasiona, porque cuando creo en algo lo hago de corazón. Me apasiona la vida en si, viajar, me encanta conocer nuevas culturas, ciudades, personas, y me apasiona vivir de verdad. Me gusta leer mucho acerca de superación, motivación y biografías. En este momento estoy leyendo un libro que se llama “El Budha de Cristo” y lo compré por el titulo.

¿Cuándo te sientes mas feliz? Cuando una persona me para en la calle y me dice que gracias a lo que hacemos ayudamos a una mujer, o recibo un email de agradecimiento, eso me hace muy feliz. Tambien cuando estoy ante el mar o en la playa, hay tantos momentos en los que me siento feliz. Si celebras los pequeños triunfos, entonces está bien porque cuando llega el grande, pues ya has venido celebrado todo el tiempo.

Algo pendiente que te quede hacer? Si quiero conocer al Presidente Obama!

Para más información, visita la pagina de Mayte en www.themaytepridafoundation.org y apoya su causa. La lucha contra el cáncer es una lucha que nos concierne a todos.

Gracias Mayte!

Donated my hair to Locks of Love

http://www.locksoflove.org/donate.html

For Marisol Rosas, Alida Almaraz, Rocio Padilla, y Araiz, who have been through so much this year, and for everybody who is fighting this with hope and faith.

“Never, Never, Never Give Up!”  – Winston Churchill

Today I made one of the best decisions of my life. I cut 10 inches of my hair and donated it to the Locks of Love organization. This is their mission and vision:

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics.

Our mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.

I had been thinking about it for some time and wanted to do something to contribute. And let me tell you, I have been blessed with plenty of hair to go around. Como dice mi Mamá “Tienes una mata de cabello!” And I had been wearing it long for many years now. It was time for a change. Don’t get me wrong, I was attached to it and I did love it, but the more I read about it, the more I felt I wanted to help. Then I remembered and thought about all the people I know of who are in treatment, and the decision was much easier.

The process is quite simple. Just show up to any participating salon with clean long hair, have them put it in a ponytail or braid and chop, chop, chop! It’s quite liberating. Then you put in a ziploc bag and the salon sends it out to them or you send it via regular mail. (Visit the website for more info: http://www.locksoflove.org)

As for the new length, it’s a little bit shorter than expected, but it’s quite nice. My stylist Victoria was so excited for me. She kept telling me “You’re going to make someone really, really happy.” But call me a hedonist. The happiness goes both ways. This is a very small thing I did that made ME really happy.

Thanks to the wonderful Victoria at Chignon Salon in Pasadena (es francés de chongo ok, no la palabra en español!) and to my friend Abril Macías for the great pix and for waiting for the end result.

Anatomy of a haircut scene: start with really long hair; braid it; chop it; send it; enjoy new look.