Balancing Health, Career and Love. Plus, How to Be Thankful for What You Have | Words of Advice from a Breast Cancer Survivor

Meet Lauren.

I could have only imagined that fifteen years after my first encounter with Lauren that I would be writing a story on her, a story that has more meaning and power than any other I have told thus far.

We were fifteen. It was the first day of high school, freshmen year. She was sitting across from me in the waiting room of the counseling office. The counselor was providing a routine one-on-one session with new students. I still remember what she was wearing--a fitted white tee, cut-off denim shorts, hair down. I don't remember our first words to one another but I do remember that day as the starting point for one of my most significant relationships. Lauren became my best friend. She was someone who I opened my heart and soul to. She was someone who was there to hear about my first kiss (sophomore year and yes, I was behind the rest). She was someone I looked up to while she inspired me to grow yet made me feel comfortable in my own skin. What stood Lauren apart from everyone else? Her sincere love and deep affinity for life. Her contagious smile and laugh. Her ability to make the most ordinary of nights into the most memorable and exciting. Lauren and I have drifted apart over the years as many relationships fade over time with distance however my appreciation and love for her will never leave me...

When I heard of her breast cancer diagnosis, I was heart broken and felt a deep pain for her. I myself, went through a life-threatening illness and knew that past her smile, she must had went through the similar lows as I did. However, I also knew that Lauren would not only survive, that she would come out a better person. What do I mean by that? Not to be cliche or generic, but I truly mean to come out a better person. When you face a moment in your life where you either have a choice to give up and to surrender or to fight and to be determined to not only survive but to come out the other side with your head held high enough to use your experiences in order to help others--well, that's what I mean by a "better person." Lauren has not only impressively managed a corporate career, hubby, friendships and home (which is tough enough on its own), she has survived breast cancer and is using her story to help others. Truly, she has balanced it all.

This feature means the world to me. It means that Lauren is here; healthy, beautiful, inspiring and thriving. It means that we are fortunate enough to learn from her...so please, take note. If you as my reader can take anything from this, it would be to second Lauren on her words of advice and to be thankful for what you have.
Psst...buy the Love, Twelve calendar here.

RSP: Occupation?
Lauren: My full-time role is a Senior Managing Director for the world’s largest creative staffing agency. My “other job” is Founder and Blogger of The Daily Debut. I started The Daily Debut, on my three year anniversary of being cancer free. I wanted to create a space all women could come to for inspirations and options for a healthier lifestyle. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 26 years old, there wasn't a lot of resources or places I could go to. The words “no” and “can’t” were always being said. I wanted to create a place of options, so I could build my own path to the food I want to eat, the things I put in my body, the products I put on my skin, and feel inspired by other women while just dealing with, well, life!

RSP: Which experience has helped you grow the most?
Lauren: Being diagnosed with breast cancer. I lost my breasts, went through a great battle, and came out so much strong, but also much more appreciative of life and actually wanting to live a fulfilling life.

RSP: How can you use this experience to help others?
Lauren: I am using my experience by talking about it, sharing it, and educating others daily. I do so on The Daily Debut and through personal conversations. It took me about three years to really feel comfortable sharing my story, but now I would love to talk to anyone who wants to learn more, just so I can share the education. I want all women to feel empowered in the options they have out there and feel educated so they hopefully can never experience what myself or any other survivor has gone through.

RSP: Three Items You Can’t Live Without at the Office?
Lauren:  My coffee (always decaf). My black leather Tiffany & Co. journal (given to me on my 30th birthday by my mother-in-law). And my French Bulldog Folie. He keeps me grounded, truly a girl’s best friend.

RSP: Fashion Fix?
Lauren:I am a sucker for handbags. Not just any handbags, the ones I will save up my milk money for. I take good care of my collection so that they will last a long time. Prada, Phillip Lim, Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang, to name a few.

RSP: Beauty Fix?
Lauren: Mascara! Oh, I can’t leave home without it. I have tried and tried to find natural, paraben free mascara that gives me the volume I love and it’s been a challenge. I always wear Chanel, but I recently tried Per-fekt Beauty’s mascara and it’s been pretty amazing and it’s all paraben free.

RSP: Overall Wellness Top Three Tips?
Lauren: Your body and health are all you have. Protecting your skin and teeth, is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Treat your body with respect – love it, show it off, enjoy it, and embrace it!

RSP: Words of Advice for Career?
Lauren: You think of all those quotes like, “never give up” or “the journey is half the battle”. I would say – make your own rules and goals. Don’t give up at every little sign of weakness and don’t judge yourself or the situation. You have to take each sign as a gift, a gift of education and experience. The journey isn't half the battle, the journey is the adventure and without mistakes, errors, downfalls, there wouldn't be anything to measure success off of. Don’t ever give up and stop complaining! Start succeeding and dreaming, oh and of course believing!!! You only have one life, just one. You never know what will happen in the next minute, it could be something that will change your life forever – so start treating yourself with some respect.

RSP: Tip for balancing it all?
Lauren: Stop, breathe, and learn to enjoy. It’s hard to keep all the things moving in the right direction. You really have to stop and tell yourself – “It’s OK. Just do the best you can and be happy with that.” I listen to music when I need a little pump of energy and also to relax. Stay really organized and set guidelines around communication – don’t try to do everything at once. If someone reaches out asking for something, respond with a time you will get back to them that works for you and leave it at that – clear communication is honestly one of the most respectful things you can do for yourself and someone else.

RSP: Favorite place in the city?
Lauren: I live in the Bay Area. I get to work in San Francisco, but travel all around the bay. I love coffee, so I am always looking for great coffee spots. One is La Boulange, which started in San Francisco, but now owned by Starbucks. It’s French infused and has organic coffee! I love fresh juice and always trying out juice places. One of my favorites is Juice Press, headquartered in San Francisco. They make everything really fresh and have some of the best tasting juice I have ever had. Everything they make is organic and local, plus it comes in a cute glass jar that you can return for $2 back! I venture out on the weekends to Napa (I’m in love with the wine country and want to move there some day). One of my favorite places to eat is in St.Helena in Napa County – it’s called: Archetype. It’s amazing for brunch or dinner. It feels like you’re walking in a French version of the Hamptons. I could sit on their outdoor patio for hours.

RSP: Words of Advice/Inspiration for others?
Lauren: If there is one thing I could say and nothing else at all, it would be: Be thankful for what you have.

RSP: We're thankful for you, Lauren.


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