Bad News on Good Friday: My breast cancer diagnosis

This pic was taken on Nov. 16, 2017 about 4 months before I was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer.

I had been to see my doctor for a swollen lymph node under my arm, and he sent me for a mammogram. Nothing was found that day. I was told to monitor the swollen lymph node for any changes and come back in 6 to 8 weeks for a recheck.

Part of me was relieved, of course. I tried to think positive and was hopeful it was “nothing” to worry about.

I had a new position at work and the opportunity to work remotely. My husband and I were planning on spending the first few months of the new year (2018) living in Southern California…getting bad news would have been a real drag. I had big plans for us.

The next few months went by quickly until time came to a halt on March 26 when I had two biopsies and waited all week for the results.

I was diagnosed on March 30, 2018 – bad news on Good Friday. And a reminder to have faith in miracles.

BUILDING YOUR OWN SUMMER CAMP. Your own personal retreat week.

One of the reasons your mom signed you up for summer camp was to keep you on a routine while school was out. Moms have known the importance of routines forever. So have geniuses. Maybe if more of us paid attention to our routine, more of us would be geniuses.

Incorporating a routine in your life keeps you balanced in mind, body and spirit. Sounds genius to me.

Three of Seven Common Traits Found in Geniuses:

A Daily Walk or Exercise
So important – get up and get moving. I dread the drive to work because traffic is a mind waster and sitting is a killer.

A clear dividing line between important work and busywork.
Busywork  = mind wasters, yuck!

Limited social lives.
Be mindful of when to say yes or no.

One more, my favorite…

A supportive partner.


“And Andy Warhol called friend and collaborator Pat Hackett every morning, recounting the previous day’s activities in detail. “Doing the diary,” as they called it, could last two full hours — with Hackett dutifully jotting down notes and typing them up, every weekday morning from 1976 until Warhol’s death in 1987.”

What cool documentation of one’s life.

That’s only three (okay, four) of the seven common traits found in geniuses.

Read the rest of The Daily Routines of Geniuses (Sarah Green, Harvard Business Review).

Make your “routine” super fun. Build your own summer camp for yourself without even taking a day off of work. Your own personal retreat week.

Start slow, incorporate a few things so you can 1) accomplish them all 2) still allow for life to happen.

  1.    Take up SOMETHING new! Commit to making it a priority in your daily routine.

Personally, I wanted to study and learn more about the chakra system. It interests me greatly and it will give me a better foundation before I start my yoga teacher training in a few weeks (yay!).

I purchased an audio book and “studied” the chapters during my commute from home to work and back. Loved the book so much, I purchased the paperback version so I can have printed copy and make notes in it.

Not a bad way to make use of my time while I’m in traffic. I actually started to look forward to it anticipating what I’d learn next.

  1.    Your Daily Walk – this is going to look different for all of us, but that’s the best part about your Personal Retreat Week! It’s catered and customized to you and your needs.

Exercise – move. An object at rest will stay at rest. What do you expect to happen if you don’t move and take action?

Summer camp always has an exercise component! So make a commitment to moving your body at least once a day every day.

I LOVE BEING OUTSIDE! And have been wanting to jog more, so that’s my exercise piece I’m focused on this week. Got some new kicks to inspire me! And I might rope in a friend to run with me right after work.

  1.     Set a goal for yourself personally or professionally this week. Carve out some time in your daily routine to make this happen.

I signed-up for a live webinar I was super excited about and participated in. I have been interested in Rha Goddess’ work for a few years now. I felt compelled by something inside me to be a part of this conversation, especially since Take the Lead Women was hosting!

This happened and pretty much is EVERYTHING.

There is something amazing that lies at the core of each of these disciplines I encourage you to find out @1922House #reapandsow

— Rha Goddess (@RhaGoddess) July 9, 2015

Thank you, Rha! I am going to.

So – subscribe to a newsletter related to your field or your interest to generate some ideas. Make something. Spend time with someone.

Take Action.

That’s it. Only 3 things! How fun is that? You can make them exactly what you want. Your own personal retreat week and you didn’t even have to take time off of work.

Have a kick-ass personal retreat week!


Sissy’s! The long over due review

Dinner reservations were at 6:30. I was meeting two of my girlfriends. We hadn’t all gotten together in a while and none of us had tried Sissy’s yet. (Long overdue.)

 I checked us in and of course quickly went to check the bar, but my phone started buzzing just as I noticed there weren’t any seats available, so I turned around and benched it near the hostess area to check my message. After taking care of that, I looked up and what did I see – FERN PRINTS – amazing fern prints. A whole set of probably like 6 or 8 that went around the foyer like room. The perfect sized fern prints that look like they were sliced from an over-sized botany book. Exactly what I have been wanting for my formal living room (that doesn’t exist – yet) F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Instantly, Lisa Garza does not disappoint. 

Message taken care of – my friends are five minutes away. I look to the bar and what do I see? An empty seat and a familiar bartender…I’m on my way. 

I quickly regret my order of Grey Goose and soda when I see the drink menu – I wanted to one of everything, but that will have to wait until next round – there’s many a speciality drink to try. 

We’re sat on the porch, yay, my preference, in a table next to a comfy booth that I’d love to have in my kitchen after the walls come down. 

We chat about how we can’t believe none of us have been here yet, how the lovely the heavy cocktail glasses are, and how pretty our drinks are  – gotta love a mint leaf dusted with sugar. 

Now that we’ve settled in with some drinks, it is time to pick an appetizer. Again, we want to try everything, but decide on the curried deviled eggs (they come with caviar on top, oh yeah) and crab cakes. The deviled eggs were not only gorgeous in presentation, but were the smmmmmmoothest ever. Like, smmmmmmmooothest ever. So good. 

Crab cakes didn’t disappoint either. The breading part was super light (which this cavewoman appreciates) and the meat was lumped goodness is savory flavors.

In between appetizer oohing and ahhing we ordered dinner. We thought about creating a matrix of southern bites and each ordering something different, so we could all try a little of a lot, but we decided to take the “When in Rome” route and went with what else? A BUCKET OF CHICKEN, and chose mashed potatoes & gravy and collard greens to go with our bird.

Our bucket of chicken arrived in a what else than a  silver champagne bucket? Again, Garza, you devil. That is my kind of bucket. The mashed potatoes, gravy and collard greens were served family style. Two of us were in love with the greens, and the other with the potatoes. Only if we were picking favorites, though. 

So, how was the chicken? When I first took a look I was afraid it would be overdone. The outside looked too amazingly brown and crispy to be nice and juicy on the inside. I kinda felt like Ralphie in a Christmas Story when he opened the bunny pajamas outfit thing from his aunt. My sad face was getting ready to turn on, but then I pushed a wing aside for a big breast and gently pinched a piece of crispy skin off with a little bit of meat. Holy moly. This was the closest thing to my Mimi’s cookin’ I had ever eat in a restaurant, or any where other than my Mimi’s. 

The outside was amazingly crispy and golden brown, and by some magic preparation and cooking ,  the inside was tender and juicy. I MEAN CRISPY ON THE OUTSIDE, PEOPLE AND JUICY ON THE INSIDE like I’ve had before. That good. 

Next time, chicken picture for sure. =) 

November is a time for GRATITUDE!

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. – Denis Waitley 

Happy November! 

A campaign very close to my heart, BodyImage3D’s challenge this month is to start a gratitude journal, and since one of my goal’s  this month is to publish at least two blog posts I thought this would a great opportunity to…well…double dip and send two birds out of the park. The questions came from BI3D’s November Challenge. So, what are you thankful for this month? Here are the my answers: 

What are you thankful for? Why? My family. I was blessed with kind, loving and supportive parents. A strong brother that grew into an honorable man who chose a wonderful woman to marry, and together they blessed me with a niece and two nephews that light up my heart. I am so grateful and thankful for my husband. I’m thankful that he knows me so well and still loves me. I’m thankful he’s such a hard worker. I’m thankful for all the fun we have together. I’m also thankful for my friends, my great job, my old house, and each blessed moment I have with them all. 

What can you do this month to give back to your community? This month I donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. They are pretty amazing. No St. Jude patient pays a dime for any of their treatment. I wish I had more dimes to spare. 

Where do you see yourself in five years? Five years huh, I hope it goes by like molasses on a winter day.  I’ll be 38. Wow. That number seems un-exciting, but I know my life better than that. It is always full of excitement, sometimes known as change, sometimes not as welcomed but looked back on in reverence. I hope that G and I will be living in either an updated version of our house, or are renting out our updated old house and are living in something a little more modern. I expect us to be in the same area, since we both seem to like it so much and since it’s been home for over six years…establishing roots.
By then, I hope 1922House blog has many more posts.
What opportunities have you been given today that will help you get there?
MANY! I have so many to thank the Good Lord for! My husband (not my husband at the time, but I knew he was pretty special =) believed in me and us enough to invest in our property and took on many years of construction and challenges.
My parents paid for my education. They not only financed and facilitated some of the best years of my life, but left me with zero debt to pay when I graduated. I know it was a gift many parents only wish they could provide for their children and for this, I am ever grateful.
I’ve been given the opportunity to work for a wonderful employer that pays me to do things I love to do which in turn allows me to play house, play in the dirt and live my wonderful life. 
What do your friends and family do to help you be better?
I’m blessed to have such a support group around me. My friends and family encourage me when things are rough, and they laugh and cheer me on in times of joy! 
What are your best qualities?
I think my some of my best qualities are my sense of humor (which can also get me into trouble sometimes), my ability and eagerness to teach. Once a teacher, always a teacher I guess. I still enjoy it though. My resourcefulness and ability to FIGURE IT OUT (or at least try). I don’t traditionally consider myself a risk taker, but looking back on the last 10 years, I have been. You’ll never know if you can fly if you don’t jump, or flap your wings when pushed out of your comfortable nest.

Sissy’s on Henderson

A few weeks ago I was driving down Henderson Avenue as I do every Monday through Friday (and most Saturdays and Sundays) and noticed that where the sign at Hector’s on Henderson used to be was just a blank white space. I wondered what was going on. A new sign for Hectors, or a new restaurant in its place?

Only a few days later, I received an email from the Advocate (One of my favorite magazines! Love seeing it on my door handle. I know it anxiously waits for me to take it inside and devour it cover to cover. ) giving me my weekly update.

The post on The Advocated site said, “And Chef Lisa Garza is planning to open her new restaurant, Sissy’s Fried Chicken, in the former Hector’s on Henderson space at 2929 N. Henderson.”

Now, I’m going to admit, I didn’t recognize the name Lisa Garza when I first saw it in print. And, after I clicked over to D’s Side Dish, I…well… still didn’t know. So, I just Googled it – Lisa Garza. Oh, yes! Now I totally recognize her as a former contestant on Food Network’s The Next Food Network Star. I remember watching this season and rooting for Lisa. Why?

First of all she LOOKS amazing. I know, I know, I mentioned how she looks first, but well, first impression is everything, and since I didn’t get my first impression via phone call, I’ll have to go on what I see, and I see someone who meticulously cares about her appearance. Am I meticulous about my appearance, no, but can I appreciate it? Oh yes. Secondly, she is a tough cookie and runs a tight ship – bottom line – I like that. Thirdly, she’s from Dallas and has a restaurant here – how can she not be my top pick?

I look forward to checking out the food and the atmosphere at Sissy’s and sinking my teeth into one of those delicious juicy breasts. Or, maybe a thigh.

I never made it in to Hector’s. Gasp! Yep, it’s true. Although Hector’s was often the first stop in many girls’ night adventures, I always preferred to meet up someplace after and not have to mess with the valet, after all I live close and valet can be such a pain.

Sissy’s is expected to open Monday, February 27th. The website was recently launched and is still in “coming soon” mode, there is a link to check out the menu, but as of now it isn’t working. The site did give me the option to make a reservation, so I’ll be looking at my schedule and doing that soon. I “liked” the Sissy’s Facebook page (the one I could find), but as of now there hasn’t been any activity.

From what I’ve seen so far, I love the look and feel of the branding.

Pin-up girl, haute.

Font with a nostalgic Pabst Blue Ribbon feel, excellent choice.

Bottle of liquor next the pin-up girl, nice touch.

I could go on about the watering can filling up the glass, but I’ll save a few things for you to notice on your own.

>Bedroom Octopus – It’s finished and I love it!

Yay! No more big blank wall and I love how it turned out. I “sat” on my graphic a few days before I printed it, which is pretty indicative of how I do projects. I really like to think about some things. I’ve always got a zillion going on in my head, but this Saturday was the perfect day to complete the Bedroom Octopus.

As as I said earlier, I had already created my image in Illustrator, so I just went up to Kinkos and had them printed. Measured the sizes for my panels and had them cut to size at Home Depot. I planned on using MDF, but my little cheap angle said, “No, get the underlayment, it will work fine and it’s even cheaper!” Next time, I’ll spend the FEW extra dollars (we are literally talking about like $6 dollars) and get the mdf. I had to trim one of the panels later during the process and it really splintered – part of the reason it is a more distressed version of my inspiration picture.

I wanted my octopus art to have the look as if it’s been painted and had texture, so I mixed food coloring and water to get my blue and orange colors and then just painted my printed graphic. Once the graphics were dry, I glued them to my panels and went over them with a clear coat sealant.

>Octopussy in the Bedroom

>I’ve been dying for some bedroom wall art that was different and chic, but also had to fit my criteria. This is a big blank wall, and I wanted something big, made a statement, but I didn’t know what I wanted it to “say.”I wanted it to be bold, androgynous, and sexy in a subtle way, but in a less formal “framed way.”

While watching Bill and Giuliana that they had this hung in their dining room: Lord Bodner’s Octopus Study – Natural Curiosities.

It could easily be mine for about $4000.00.

But there was another thing I needed my piece of art to be: cheap. So, I knew I could somehow recreate this using my mad crafty skills for much cheaper.

Off to the internet I went to find images of octopuses I could turn into vector art, edit, print big style at Kinko’s, and then hang…I got even luckier.

I know you may think that I was the second person, after Bill and Giuliana’s designer, Thom Filicia, to have this idea but – I wasn’t (shocker)! I found other lovers of this print. =)

The Lennoxx

Mine will be a little different though, I’m going to create my panels using mdf and Mod Podge ans closer to what Saved By Love Creations did.