friends

Life Love Friendship and Death

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Happy Birthday sweet friend. Keri would of been 41 today. I am sure she is dancing with David Bowie teaching him how to hula hoop.

This is one of my favorite photos of Keri and I taken by my friend Scott Witter on her birthday in 2012 as part of his portrait series on fans of the band The Cure. Although Keri and I had grown up going to the same Catholic grade school she was a year older then me and we never had the chance to connect until I was put in an 11th grade history class in my 10th grade year. So, I took my history backwards. No one seemed to care. I think it was all part of a bigger plan. One day we had to draw papers to write, out of a hat, and I happen to get the coolest one. The Punk Rock Phenomenon. A few of my other classmates were very envious, including Keri, and it was that day that we discovered that we both loved The Cure and we have been besties ever since.

I moved to CA in 1999 and Keri moved out here a few years after me. At age 30 she developed breast cancer and had a double mastectomy as well as chemo. That was really hard on her as well as getting implants but she beat it and came out a stronger person. 5 years later she got lymph cancer, had some removed, and later found out she had bone cancer. She refused to do radiation or chemo again and instead treated it with juicing, eating organic and doing all sorts of natural cleansing of her system which I believe kept her alive a lot longer. Through all of this I saw the beauty and strength of my friend and I supported all of her decisions.

Over the last couple of years Keri’s health began to slowly decline and she was in pain a lot. She got Hospice care and my husband and I stepped in to help her more and more. Her friend Ron started coming down from Seattle for weeks at a time to help out and keep her company as well. All along I assured her that if anything were to happen that I would find good homes for her cats and things but I had never thought of what that would actually be like.

Keri was such a strong person and such a fighter that even as she began to lose more and more weight and sleep a lot more I wasn’t expecting her to pass when she did. We were planning Xmas Eve dinner for her, Ron and my in-laws and she was really looking forward to it. The Sunday before Xmas she took a turn for the worse and by Monday night she was on oxygen and pretty much unconscious. Ron came down and we were all by her side all week. She hung on until Xmas Eve morning and passed around 8:45am. When she took her last breath I heard a bunch of birds begin to chirp outside of her apartment which I had never heard before. It was beautiful and comforting. Keri had chosen to donate her body to Science Care and they promptly came and wrapped her in a black sheet with gold moons all over it (which she would of loved) and respectfully took her away. The 3 of us were left standing in front of her apartment looking at each other in disbelief. It was all so surreal.

The next few weeks were spent in a fog cleaning out her apartment, notifying friends, taking care of her cats while trying to find homes for them (her friend Amy stepped up and is temporarily housing all 4…we still need homes for the sisters Black and Sabbath) and closing out accounts. I have never been in this situation before. It was totally overwhelming especially while trying to grieve. I am so thankful for the strength and love of my husband and my family and friends.

Going through all of this has greatly changed my perspective on life, whats important to me, and how little “stuff” means after your dead. I have been completely drained and have only had the energy to put into work, yoga and spending quality time with friends. Work feels good and familiar, meaningful and purposeful. Yoga has given me peace and mental clarity and seeing friends gives me a charge of positive energy and love.

Science Care cremated what they didn’t use and sent me her ashes. They tried to deliver them Friday but I wasn’t home and I had to go pick them up at the Post Office first thing Monday morning. I hadn’t thought about how this might feel. My only concern was actually getting her out of the DT Long Beach Post Office as they have lost packages of mine before. When they finally located the box and handed it to me there was a big sticker on it that said CREMATED. My stomach sank. I carried the box over to the mailing station as I had some other things to do and placed it on top thinking how surreal it was that my best friend was in there. Then I took it to my car and placed it on the passenger seat where she used to sit. Nothing could of prepared me for this. When I got home I opened the box to find a big, black plastic box inside and a little crystal pyramid with a nice saying on it. The ashes are a lot heavier then I expected. She probably only weighed about 80lbs when she passed. I couldn’t bear to look at them any longer and packed them back up in the box and put it in the closet next to my bed until Ron can come back down and we can form a plan to scatter them in one of her favorite places like Joshua Tree of Big Sur.

I am not sure how many days, if any, I have not randomly burst into tears since Keri passed on Xmas Eve. I know she is in a better place and is not suffering anymore and that makes me happy but the last month has been the hardest I have ever been through in my life. She was such a beautiful soul and touched so many peoples lives. I am grateful for our friendship and loved her like a sister. Maybe one day I will have the energy write about all the wonderful things she did and all of our crazy, fun times together. In the meantime I will leave you with a few words Ron, Wade and I put together to honor her.

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Kerilyn Marie Hendrickson
January 30,1975 – December 24, 2015
Keri passed away peacefully on Christmas Eve in her home with friends. She is deeply missed. She fought 3 types of cancer (breast, lymph and bone) over the last 10 years. She is survived by her four cats Pico, Black, Sabbath, and Wednesday (who are in need of a new home.) Keri touched our hearts with her kindness, humility and humor. She was a magical soul. She LOVED dancing, was an expert hula hooper, a taxidermy enthusiast, a punk rock hair/fashion model, musician, lover of music and quite possibly Lou Barlow’s biggest fan. She was strong, intelligent, independent and free spirited. Keri was a personal chef, developed raw vegan recipes for Mother’s Market, learned to cook exotic meats and developed recipes for Cafe La Rhonde in Florida, ran her own housekeeping business, obtained her motorcycle license at the age of 36 and graduated from IIN while she was battling cancer in order to help others as a health coach. Most of all Keri was a true friend.
In accordance with her wishes her body was donated to science. There will not be a service held because she disliked the idea of a memorial. You are invited to share photos, stories or messages here on her wall. Keri’s spirit lives on in all of us. We love you Keri!

 

Holiday Gift Guide

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Whats in your stocking? With the holidays right around the corner I have rounded up some of my favorite things to make your shopping a little easier!

Beauty
beauty
* Mixologie Custom Blendable Perfume Create your own signature scent everyday with these 8 awesome oils or follow one of the fun recipe cards like With A Twist-“For when you are going to chop off all your hair”. This is the perfect gift for any woman in your life.

* Derma E Purifying 2 in 1 Charcoal Mask This is one of my favorite masks because it leaves pores feeling clean and my face feeling soft. Its quick and effective!

* Louvelle Shower Turban In this time of Blow Dry Bars and dry shampoo no one is washing their hair everyday and everyone needs a shower cap. This turban takes it to the next level and is so much chicer then a clear, plastic throw away.

* Nivea In-Shower Hydrating Body Lotion This is brilliant. I thought it couldn’t get any quicker or better then a spray on moisturizer but this takes the cake. Its so quick and easy and leaves me feeling silky soft all day.

* Radical Skincare Starter Kit I am a huge fan of Radical Skincare and this starter kit is the perfect gift for everyone because we all like to try new things! You won’t be disappointed in how this line makes your face look and feel.

* Heliocare Vitamins These anti-oxident vitamins protect you from free radicals and sun damage from the inside out and I feel like they have strengthened my nails too! A great stocking stuffer!

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* PUR Contour Stick Contouring is all the rage right now and this stick is compact and super easy to use if you follow their picture. It comes with a blender and goes on super light and natural. Its the best one I have tried and comes in 5 shades.

* Itiba Lotion in Crucian Spice This lotion is special. It is super hydrating and is hand crafted in St.Croix. The Crucian Spice scent is a warm exotic spice blend that smells like the holidays!

Devices
devices
*Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X Why pay someone else to torture you when you can do it yourself? This laser hair removal system really works!

* Spiralizer Wow your friends by making fancy spiralized veggies! Works great with zucchini to use in place of pasta noodles for a healthy take on spagetti!

* reVive Light Therapy Anti-Aging System I am a sucker for any thing that is anti-aging and this little device helps stimulate collagen production to keep the skin plump and youthful. Perfect for the device lover on your list that has everything!

BOOKS
books
* Chapter and Verse: New Order, Joy Divison and Me I am a huge music lover and Joy Divison/New Order fan and found it quite intriguing to get inside the mind of Bernard Sumner and the songwriting process.

* The Modern Girls Guide to Life. Revised Edition This revised book is perfect for the modern woman. With information on entertaining, etiquette, housekeeping, basic home repair, decorating, sex, and beauty, this indispensable book has everything today’s young woman should know-but may not!

* The Fire Driven Life: How to Ignite the Fire Of Self-Worth, Health, and Happiness with a Plant-Based Diet I am not currently a vegetarian but found this book to be an extremely well written and informative guide to a heathly lifestyle. You can’t help but fall in love with Vanessa Chamberlin and want to follow in her footsteps to a healthier you. Its the perfect book to inspire you in the new year!

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* Bow Tie Bottle Opener How slick will your man look pulling out a bow tie bottle opener? So James Bond.

* The Carry On Cocktail Set Because every classy guy needs to create his own in-flight cocktail.

* Luxurious Italian Cashmere Socks You won’t know the magic of cashmere socks until you own a pair.

* Sriracha Key Chain Sriracha has long been called “the new ranch” and this key chain size is perfect for the hot sauce addict in your life!

* Kikkerland Classic Survival Tool Cheap and fascinating!

* Arcona Toner Tea Bar This smells earthy and amazing and is perfect for any man who cares about his skin.

ART
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* Weavings by Farron My talented friend Farron makes these gorgeous weavings in all shapes, sizes and colors. Check them out!

* Pins & Nail Stickers by Sara Lyons My friend Sara is so cool and creative and makes super cute pins, patches and nail stickers!

 

Villa del Palmar Loreto Mexico Day 3

Ahhh…day 3 in paradise at the Villa del Palmar. This day was so much fun and jam packed with activities! The beauty of this resort is that they have so many things you can do if you want to or you can just relax! Relaxing always sounds good to me but then I end up doing something. I love to explore and try new things!

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The perfect way to start this beautiful morning was with a guided hike. Carlos was so knowledgable about the geography, ecology and vegetation. He even taught us some survival skills!

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Photo by James Tiffany Photography
After the hike we met with Ivan, the Villa del Palmar Healer who is part of the Wellness Program. We did a sun salutation with him on the beach and he blessed each of us. It was a really beautiful and spiritual moment and one of my favorite parts of the trip. Ivan had great energy and the whole experience was really grounding.

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The afternoon was spent boating and snorkling around the gorgeous islands of Loreto. The landscape was unlike anything I had ever seen with cactus growing on mountains beside crystal blue water. Again, I felt like I was dreaming.

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Photo by James Tiffany Photography
Those 2 little snorkel heads are me and my friend Luci!

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After boating I took a very educational class on tequila, taught by the in house sommelier, and even got certified! I learned that Jose Cuervo is only good for cleaning toilets 😉 and I do like the taste of tequila, I just had to taste a bunch to find the right one!

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Our final evening included a “Fiesta Mexicana” dinner buffet at The Market Restaurant and a cultural show. I think my girl Kitty can totally rock a sombrero!

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The next morning I paddle boarded at 7am and absorbed all of the peace and beauty of the early morning on the Sea of Cortez before packing my bags to head home.

The town of Loreto and the Villa del Palmar dazzled me with its beauty and warm hospitality. This trip will forever fuel my spirit and warm my heart. I will definitely be back one day but in the meantime I will continue to be inspired by my experiences and the memories created there!

The Villa del Palmar Islands of Loreto is offering my readers a rate of $119 USD per night in a Deluxe Studio suite, plus taxes & gratuities. You can book your getaway now for travel through April 30, 2016. Terms & conditions apply. Blackout dates apply. Book your stay through reservaciones.vdpl@vgloreto.com. Please reference code FAMNOV15 to receive this special rate.

 

Villa del Palmar Loreto Mexico Day 1

Sunny beaches, snorkeling, hiking, yoga on the beach, paddle boarding, kayaking, amazing food and drinks, an award winning spa and much, much more all nestled into a beautiful cove on the Sea of Cortez? YES PLEASE!!!

Last month I had the pleasure of spending a few days at the fabulous Villa del Palmar resort in Loreto, Mexico. Just a quick 2 hour flight from LAX on Alaska Airlines, Loreto is on the Baja Peninsula and is a sister city to Hermosa Beach, California. Upon arrival I was greeted by a friendly staff member from Villa del Palmar who was ready to shuttle me 30 minutes away to paradise. My group grabbed margaritas to go and we hit the road. Between the gorgeous drive along the rustic coastline and the drink, I was in full relaxation mode when we arrived at the resort. Set on hundreds of acres, the Villa del Palmar is called the only “Million Star Resort” because at night the sky comes alive with millions of stars. It is spectacular!

From the moment I arrived I felt like I was dreaming. The beautifully groomed grounds, friendly smiles from all of the staff members, warm salty air, spacious room, gorgeous pools and fabulous food…could it get any better? Every moment of everyday spent at Villa del Palmar was magical!

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The Villa del Palmar Loreto

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The little bar in the airport makes legit margaritas (no need to worry about the ice!) and you can take them on the shuttle to the resort!

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Check-in was a breeze and my room was gorgeous. I had a giant jacuzzi tub and a  huge balcony that faced the ocean. I was seriously ready to move in! They pulled out all the stops to make me feel special and right at home.

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After checking in I headed straight to lunch which was absolutely fabulous. Everything was super fresh and delicious. I was in foodie heaven! I just want to note that someone in my group was vegan and the resort staff never missed a beat. They completely catered to her dietary restrictions and made her delicious alternatives to suit her needs.

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The room key was a resort wrist band which I thought was really cool and convenient. I never had to worry about losing it. Brilliant!

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The sunsets from my balcony were spectacular!

Evenings at Villa del Palmar can be as quiet or as lively as you want. If dinner and a show is your thing they’ve got you covered. If you want to sing karaoke till your hearts content, you can. Is dancing the night away your jam? There is a disco up on the hill with a shuttle to take there. Want to sit around a fire pit with a glass of wine, no problem. Take an evening soak in the giant jacuzzi, a romantic walk on the beach under the stars, or just have a quiet night in… whatever your heart desires, there is something for everyone at Villa del Palmar Loreto.

More adventures from this trip coming soon!

 

Black Friday Deals and Steals

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Good Morning! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Today I have rounded up some of my favorite BLACK FRIDAY sales that you can access online so you don’t have to leave the house. Stay inside in your cozy pjs, eat leftovers and shop till you drop on your living room floor!

Clothes
* 40% off the entire site thru Monday at Feather 4 Arrow with code BLACKFRIDAY. One of my besties is the woman behind this awesome line of clothing for women and children.

* Beautiful bras and panties are 40% off at ThirdLove with code blackfriday40.

* Prisim Boutique is offering 25% off sweaters and outerwear with code TOPITOFF and 40% off sale items with code WHYWAIT40. This is one of my favorite Long Beach boutiques!

* 30% off of everything at one of my faves…Trina Turk.

* If you have got some $$$ to spend Alexander McQueen is having an awesome sale!

Beauty
* 40% off everything for your hair thru Monday at Macadamia Professional with code HOLIDAY40.

* The eco-friendly facial mask line BioRepublic will be offering 30% off all purchases made with code DEALSWEEK30.

* 20% off, free shipping and a free gift on purchases over 30$ at Pixi Beauty

* Birchbox is offering 25% off any $35+ purchase with code BIGDEAL.

* Beauty Collection Stores are offering amazing in store deals today as well as online promotions.

* My new favorite super matte lipstick is from POP Beauty and now thru Nov. 30th take 30% off with code POPblack30!

Accessories
* Unique hair accessories from Elizabeth Heard are 15% off all orders with code LIKE 20% off all orders over 150 with code LOVE and 25% off all orders over $250 with code GOTTAHAVEGOTTAGIVE.

* 15% and 20% off cards and gifts at Minted.

* 30% at BaubleBar with code THX.

* 20% off everything at Miansai.

* 25% off all of the cutest pins, postcards and nail stickers from my friend Sara Lyons with code HOLIDAZE.

Art
* My talented friend Farron Feiner makes some gorgeous weavings and is offering 30% off for Black Friday with code TURKEYHANGOVER!

 

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