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Giving Back

Artisan Spotlight: Costa Rica (Pt. 1)

February 9, 2019 — by Kristy Ryan

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costa rica is where it all began.

We’re proud to say that 9 years later, we still have an amazing team of dedicated artisans in Costa Rica handcrafting your favorite bracelet styles. We wanted to introduce you to a few team members, and let them tell you how working with Pura Vida has impacted their life!

 

Meet Diego!

Name: Diego Rodríguez Alvarado.

How long have you been making Pura Vida product: 1 year.

Favorite bracelet style: Born to be Wild and Midnight Waves.

 Favorite food: Olla de Carne (Costa Rican Beef Stew).

Favorite memory: The day I married Sonia (who works with Pura Vida too!)

How working with Pura Vida Bracelets has impacted your life: It has been a beautiful experience. The bosses have always been very kind and the schedule has given me time to spend with my family, best job ever!!!

 

Meet Dayana!

Name: Dayana Álvarez Marín.

How long have you been making Pura Vida product: 1 year.

Favorite bracelet style: Original Citrus Surfline.

 Favorite activity: Reading!

Favorite memory: When my daughter, Cristal, was born. She is now 7 years old.

How working with Pura Vida Bracelets has impacted your life: It has been a very beautiful experience that has allowed me to be able to pay my bills, it has helped me to develop better as a person.

 

Meet Luis!

Name: Luis Arroyo Obando.

How long have you been making Pura Vida product: 1 year.

Favorite bracelet style: Original Born to be wild.

 Favorite activity: I like to play soccer and watch movies.

Favorite food: Cantonese rice.

How working with Pura Vida Bracelets has impacted your life: I have met many people and have learn a lot from each one of them, I have come to understand that we all have different abilities and to have more patience and to be more responsible.

 

Check back next week to meet more of our team!

Giving BackTravel

Meet our (Original!) Artisans: Jorge & Joaquín

February 1, 2019 — by Kristy Ryan

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In the summer of 2010, a college graduation trip to Costa Rica turned into a life-changing business venture for two Southern California friends, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman.

While traveling through Costa Rica, Griffin and Paul crossed paths with two bracelet artisans named Jorge and Joaquín. The colorful handmade bracelets they were selling seemed to capture the essence of their journey. No one would have expected for this casual encounter to grow into the successful partnership that it is today, and we’re so proud to say that Jorge and Joaquín are still an integral part of our growth!

Pura Vida’s original artisans, Jorge and Joaquín, on the beach in Costa Rica where they first met Paul and Griffin, selling bracelets on their original table, 8 years later!

We could talk all day about how amazing our partnership has been with these two, but we thought it would be more fun to hear the story directly from Jorge and Joaquín, while also getting to know our friends that truly started it all!

Meet Jorge!

Where were you born and raised?
Born in San Jose Costa Rica. And raised in San José and Heredia.

How long have you and Joaquín known each other?
About 15 years.

Before Pura Vida Bracelets, what did you do for a living?
Travel through Central America selling crafts…

Where did you meet Paul and Griffin?
In Playa Dominical, in Costa Rica…we were selling on the beach when they embarked with a classic bracelet in his hand and asked to us 300 of them but in many colors.

How exactly are the bracelets made?
100% with your hands. A knot for here, a knot for there. You use the chain to make, but the limit is the imagination. You can make an infinite number of designs….

How long have you been making the bracelets?
Actually 15 years….

Where did you learn to make them?
Joaquin teach me, hahahaha. Joaquín and other friends teach me. But above all Joaquín.

Favorite bracelet?
Undoubtedly, the black anchor with gray thread….

How has working with Pura Vida impacted your life?
Certainly, changed all my life and all the life that surrounds me, family and friends, everything is completely different. Pura Vida helps many people and it is good to know. And it feels so good to be totally involved in that support.

What is your favorite part about working with Pura Vida?
Freedom. Working with Pura Vida is different, it’s like the phrase, It’s Pure Life. Sometimes work is hard, but you can feeling good.

What does “Pura Vida” mean to you?
Basically everything. It’s not just a job, It’s something that involves everything, not just your family and friends, also all your time, your spaces and even thoughts in day to day.

Favorite vacation spot? Or the best place to visit off the beaten track?
I like Montezuma beach…but the best place will always be Cahuita in Limón.

 

Meet Joaquín!

Where were you born and raised? What was that like?
I was born in Heredia, Costa Rica which is a lay back place with fresh climate. I was always surrounded by family, friends, music and skateboards.

How long have you two known each other?
We’ve known each other for 15 years, we used to get together and talk about books, music and crafting.

Before Pura Vida Bracelets, what did you do for a living? 
I used to travel all over Central America with Jorge and other friends selling handicrafts.

Where did you meet Paul and Griffin?
I met them in Playa Dominical (Dominical beach), we used to visit this place and sell handicrafts, they came up to us with an idea and a proposal and we accepted the challenge.

How exactly are the bracelets made? 
The bracelets are made with raw material on hand, string, scissors, fire and with creativity.

How long have you been making them? 
Hmmm… lots of time.

Where did you learn to make them? 
I used to hang out with friends that are artisans outside the National University and they transmitted the knowledge of crafting. With what I learned I created my own style.

Favorite bracelet?
My favorite style will always be the classic bracelet, since it was the beginning of all.

How has working for Pura Vida impacted your life? 
The jump has been huge, a lot of responsibilities but most of all the pride of knowing that many people are benefit by this family, friends and artisans.

What’s your favorite part about working with Pura Vida?
Pura Vida is a company run by two incredible people. It is a pleasure to be able to work with them.

What does “Pura Vida” mean to you? 
Pura Vida is a source of opportunities, it is the smile and pleasure of seeing the artisan take home the results of their effort and the pleasure of knowing that the bracelet makes the bearer smile.

Favorite vacation spot?
My favorite place is Monteverde, I like places with biodiversity with fresh weather, rain and wild animals.

 

 

COmment your favorite bracelet style below, and Check back next week to get to know some of our artisans in Costa Rica!

Giving Back

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

January 21, 2019 — by Kayla Holmes

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“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Pura Vida Team came together to participate in a Day of Service hosted by the Human Rights Campaign San Diego. Inspired by MLK’s words and a shared commitment to our community and equality, we helped assemble 700 (!!!) backpacks of toiletries, snacks, and other essentials for San Diego’s homeless youth, of which more than 20% are LGBTQ.

Our team, along with over 100 other volunteers, created an assembly line to put together the backpacks! Items included shampoo, conditioner, combs, granola bars, and so many more essentials we use every day.



It was such an amazing opportunity to join the San Diego community and do something good in remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. None of this would have been possible without our amazing Charity Coordinator, Kristy!

We highly encourage you to grab your friends, family, or coworkers, and get out to do something good in your community to celebrate as well!

 

If you want to learn more about the Human Rights Campaign, you can read about them here and be sure to check out any upcoming events they’re hosting in your community.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Giving BackLifestyle

12 Resolutions for a Green 2019

January 15, 2019 — by Kristy Ryan

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First thing’s first: Happy 2019, everyone!

While we’ve been super busy thinking about ways to better ourselves in the New Year (surf more! eat better!), we couldn’t forget about our resolutions to make our planet better, too. And just in case that’s on your mind, too, we came up with 12 simple strategies—one for each month—to make 2019 your greenest year yet. You can take our approach and choose one strategy to adopt each month, or go big and bold by starting all 12 ASAP!

 

January: Make your own non-toxic cleaning products

Have a big mess to manage after all the holiday chaos? Kick off the year by making your own non-toxic cleaning products instead of using the standard chemical-filled products. Click here to check out 10 all-natural and effective homemade cleaning solutions.

 

February: Watch your thermostat

In most places across the country, February can be downright chilly. But instead of cranking up the thermostat, try to keep your energy usage (and utility bills) low by only turning on the heat while you’re home. And while you’re at it, forego heat altogether by using your fireplace instead, or toss on an extra layer or two to fight off the cold. After all, what’s more romantic than cozying up by the fire?!

 

March: More veggies, less meat!

A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that the production, processing and distribution of meat requires huge amounts of pesticides, fertilizer, fuel, feed and water, while also releasing greenhouse gases, manure and a range of toxic chemicals into our air and water. Yuck! That’s why cutting back on your meat consumption goes a long way toward helping the environment. Can’t go vegetarian? Opt for organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed meat and dairy products when possible, or try Meatless Mondays in March as an easy way to make an impact!

 

April: Clear the clutter

’Tis the season for spring cleaning! So this April, go the Marie Kondo route and get rid of excess items in your home and closet that you simply don’t love or use. Adopting a more minimalist lifestyle won’t just help your stress levels; it also reduces the amount of products you use that eventually end up in landfills!

 

May: Walk & bike more, drive less

As the weather starts warming up in May, try walking or biking to work at least once a week to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from your car. It’s not only better for you, but also for the environment!

 

June: Eat local

It’s officially farmer’s market season, and there’s no better place to find delicious and fresh local foods than at your local farmer’s market! You’ll not only help lower transportation emissions (since your food isn’t traveling quite so far), but you’ll also boost your local economy. Total win-win!

 

July: Use reef-friendly sunscreen

Hot July weather = sunshine, beach time and sunburns (bummer!). Although wearing sunscreen is vital for protecting your skin from the dangerous effects of the sun, many sunscreens contain ingredients that are damaging our ocean’s coral reefs. Luckily, there are great, reef-friendly alternatives, like this Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion from Sun Bum.

 

August: Save some water

While we love sunny August days, this time of year can often lead to hot, dry weather in many areas of the country, meaning the chances for a water shortage are much higher. Try your hand at conserving water by taking shorter showers, turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, and always waiting until you have a full load before using your washing machine or dishwasher.

 

September: Freeze food while it’s in season

As the weather starts to cool down in September, head to your local farmer’s market and stock up on all the fresh, local product while it’s still in season, then freeze it for the winter! New to freezing? No worries! Click here to learn how to properly store and freeze your food!

 

October: Opt for reusable mugs and straws

It’s October (aka pumpkin-everything season)! This year, try bringing your own reusable mug or straw when ordering your favorite drink. We promise your pumpkin spice latte will taste sooo much better knowing you saved another cup from ending up in a landfill!

 

November: Be mindful of food waste

Even though we have a habit of overindulging at Thanksgiving, there’s still a ton of excess food that gets thrown away each year. How much exactly? According to one study, about 204 million pounds of turkey can be thrown away over Thanksgiving. This is not only a huge waste of money, but also a waste of all the natural resources needed to get that turkey to the table. Another study estimates that the amount of discarded turkey requires more than 100 billion gallons of water—enough to supply New York City for 100 days! This year, try to plan your portions and leftovers accordingly to reduce the amount of waste.

 

December: Recycle your cards & wrapping paper

Sure, the holiday season can be hectic, but taking the time to recycle your cards, wrapping paper and Christmas trees can seriously reduce the amount of waste ending up in our landfills. Try purchasing plain wrapping paper instead of anything metallic or glittery so it can be recycled. Better yet, use old newspaper! Same goes for cards: Plain paper cards can easily be recycled, buy the shiny ones on photo paper or versions with metallic embossing have to be thrown away.

 

We love our planet, and are proud to do our part!

Do you have any other green resolutions for this year? If so, comment below! We’d love to hear them!

Giving Back

3 Simple Ways to Protect Our Oceans and Marine Life

December 18, 2018 — by Kristy Ryan

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Not-so-fun fact: Every minute, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans. As if that’s not scary enough, it turns out this might have an even bigger impact on our precious marine life than we knew.

 

 

One recent study found microplastics—tiny pieces of plastic debris that come from any number of sources—in the gut of every single sea turtle examined (including more than 100 turtles from seven different species). To be exact, more than 800 plastic particles were found in these sea turtles, including everything from rubber bands, balloons and tires to cigarettes and pieces of clothing. The sea turtles often mistake these bits of pollution for food, and in some cases simply aren’t able to avoid all the debris surrounding them.

Young sea turtles are especially likely to mistake to the plastics for food, but sea turtles of all age and species are at risk, including the Pura Vida turtle, Vida, below. So sad!

 

 

Unfortunately, sea turtles aren’t the only ones being harmed by the ever-increasing amount of plastic that’s entering our oceans on a daily basis. Earlier this year, a short-fin male pilot whale died in Thailand after eating more than 17 pounds of plastic bags and packaging. And every year, millions of seabirds suffer the same fate from consuming plastic waste.

This is why it’s crucial for all of us to act right now to help protect our oceans and the marine life living within them. If we don’t, the amount of plastic in the ocean will likely increase tenfold by 2020. And by 2050, that means there would be more plastic than fish in our oceans.

 

 

But enough with the bad news; here’s the good news: We can all make a difference! Big changes start with tiny steps, including three moves you can make right now to reduce your impact and protect our marine life:

 

1. Reduce your plastic usage and waste.

  • Use a reusable cup, mug, or bottle whenever possible.
  • Avoid products with plastic microbeads.
  • BYOS – Bring your own straw!
  • Use Beeswax wraps instead of cling wrap.

Click here to read more strategies to reduce plastic waste!

 

 

2. Attend a beach cleanup

 

Grab some friends or coworkers and organize your own cleanup, or work with a local organization to find a scheduled cleanup at a beach near you! Click here to read more about our recent beach cleanup in San Diego.

 

 

3. Support our partners!

We’ll donate 10% of net sales back to our awesome partners that are helping to keep our beaches and marine life plastic free.

Save the Sea Turtles Bracelet

It is the mission of Sea Turtle Conservancy to ensure the survival of sea turtles within the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific through research, education, training, advocacy and protection of the natural habitats upon which they depend. 10% of net profits of this bracelet will be donated to Sea Turtle Conservancy.

 

B.E.A.C.H. Marine Debris Solutions Anklet

Our B.E.A.C.H. – Marine Debris Solutions Anklet benefits B.E.A.C.H. Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawai`i (B.E.A.C.H.) is an all volunteer, non-profit organization that brings awareness and solutions to the problem of marine debris through environmental education, plastic reduction/litter prevention campaigns, and marine debris removal and research.

 

Save the Dolphins Pack

This style pack supports the Oceanic Preservation Society and their mission to expose complex, global environmental issues and promote advocacy through the use of film, photography, social media, and collaboration.

 

 

Thank you for helping Pura Vida and our partners protect our oceans and marine life!

Photos: Griffin ThallLauren Parks

Giving Back

Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii

December 12, 2018 — by Jasmin Manzano

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On the most recent Pura Vida Goes Global trip to Hawaii, Vanessa and I spent the afternoon volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii in the spirit of giving back this holiday season.

We kicked off the day talking to the kids about Pura Vida Bracelets and our artisans!! They were stoked to learn what “Pura Vida!” means and receive their matching PV original bracelets and sticker packs!

We were partnered up with two of the sweetest girls!

After a round of Aloha Bingo, three-legged races “Around the World” and some crafts, we hit the playground for some outdoor exercise! The kids were super eager to teach all their mentors how to play Avengers!

Read more about Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii and their initiatives to change the lives of Hawaii’s youth here.

Giving Back

Gifts that Give Back!

December 5, 2018 — by Samantha Paul

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’Tis the season for giving—and that includes giving back! So if you want a gift with major impact that lasts wayyy after the Christmas decorations are put away, look no further than our awesome collection of charity bracelets! Not only do the styles look super cute, but they also do a lot of good: For every bracelet purchased, we donate 10% of net sales directly back to the matching charity partner. Keep reading to pick out the best bracelet and charitable cause for all the loved ones on your list.

 

To help protect Hawaii’s marine life, sea birds and the ocean/coastal environments from plastic, shop the B.E.A.C.H. Marine Debris Anklet

Our B.E.A.C.H. – Marine Debris Solutions Anklet benefits B.E.A.C.H. Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawai`i (B.E.A.C.H.) is an all volunteer, non-profit organization that brings awareness and solutions to the problem of marine debris through environmental education, plastic reduction/litter prevention campaigns, and marine debris removal and research.

 

To support the prevention, treatment and cure of anxiety, depression, OCD or PTSD, shop the Anxiety Disorder Awareness Bracelet

Wear this bracelet to show your support for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and their mission to promote the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression, and related disorders through education, practice, and research.

 

To advocate for early breast cancer detection and a healthy, active lifestyle, shop the Boarding 4 Breast Cancer Bracelet

The perfect gift for any snowboarder or girly girl, our Boarding 4 Breast Cancer bracelet benefits Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC), a non-profit foundation that advocates early detection and a healthy, active lifestyle as the best means for breast cancer prevention. Founded in 1996, B4BC empowers young people to make positive choices that promote lifelong wellness through outreach, prevention and support programs.

 

To support the conservation and protection of sea turtle hatchlings, shop the Billion Baby Turtles Bracelet

Six out of seven species of sea turtles around the world are endangered or threatened due to poaching, getting caught in fishing gear, plastic pollution, and many other reasons. 10% of net profits of this bracelet will be donated to SEE Turtles and their Billion Baby Turtles project, which helps get hatchlings get to the sea and provides income for rural communities around Latin America.

 

To help protect endangered species and expose threats to our oceans, planet and marine life, shop the Save the Dolphins Pack

Perfect for the ocean lover, this style pack supports the Oceanic Preservation Society and their mission to expose complex, global environmental issues and promote advocacy through the use of film, photography, social media, and collaboration.

 

To support a variety of awesome environmental, social and health related causes, shop the Feel Good Pack

The Feel Good Pack is a custom style pack that is made up of our nine best-selling Charity originals. Wear them all together or mix and match your favorite combinations. A great gift for the humanitarian in your life!

 

Still not sure which charity piece to piece? We have a ton of best-selling styles coming back in stock in the next few weeks! But heads up: They won’t last long, so make sure to follow us on Instagram or visit our Charity page at www.puravidabracelets.com/collections/charity to be the first to know when they arrive!

Happy gifting!

Pura Vida Bracelets

Giving Back

Handcrafted Fall Jewelry

October 7, 2018 — by Jasmin Manzano

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Autumn is here, and so is our amazing fall jewelry!

Our new collection is finally here, featuring a ton of super-cute styles you’re *so* going to be obsessed with.

Even better: Each piece was handcrafted and polished by our amazing artisans in India, and your purchase helps provide them with a steady job and fair wages!

You can shop the whole Fall Jewelry collection here.

Photography: Keerthana Dinesh

Giving Back

10 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Usage

October 2, 2018 — by Katrina Hart

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In an effort to reduce the amount of plastic affecting the ocean’s ecosystem and its inhabitants, we would love to share some ways to reduce your plastic usage in your everyday life! Feel free to share with your friends and family to reduce the collective carbon footprint!

1. Use reusable shopping bags

2. Give up gum! (It’s made of a synthetic rubber)

3. Bring reusable utensils when you eat out

4. Buy in bulk at the grocery store – nuts, cereal, pasta, etc.

5. Use a reusable or paper straw instead of a plastic one

6. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable one

7. Use a reusable water bottle instead of disposable plastic ones

8. Avoid products with plastic microbeads in them

9. Bring your own cups to coffee shops

10. Swap out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one!

Giving Back

PV Beach Cleanup

September 19, 2018 — by Katrina Hart

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On September 18th 2018, Pura Vida Bracelets employees took to the sand to clean up one of their local breaks. They removed over 50 pounds of trash from the shoreline in Pacific Beach in honor of Coastal Cleanup Day.

PV Employees Anna, Katie, and Sammi found dozens of cigarette butts and removed them from the beach. Cigarette butts are one of the most popular items found in beach cleanups and ‘No-Smoking’ laws are helping with this issue.

PV Employee Vanessa holds a Pura Vida Bracelets flag to let the beach-goers know that PV is serious about their cleanup efforts!

PV Founder & CFO Paul makes sure to leave only his footsteps behind on the sand.

PV Employees Sammi and Katrina pose for a pic showing off their waterproof Pura Vida anklets.

PV Founder Paul and Employee Jared take a break to check the surf for their afternoon sesh.

PV Employees spread out to find micro-plastics amongst the sand.

PV Employees strategize on where to find their next piece of debris.

Teamwork makes the dream work at Pura Vida HQ.

PV employees traveled far down the shoreline to make sure that the whole beach was clean!

Even the first PV baby, Sawyer, participated in the cleanup!

The whole PV team loved getting out of the office for a few hours to help contribute reducing the amount of debris on our local beach. To learn more about how you can help reduce the amount of trash washing up on our shores, please visit the site of the Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii.

Giving Back

Tour de Turtles

August 10, 2018 — by Jasmin Manzano

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The Sea Turtle Conservancy invited the Pura Vida team along to Tortuguero, Costa Rica this summer as part of their Tour de Turtles campaign. An experience of a lifetime, we were able to participate in the release of a Green sea turtle we named Vida.

Isn’t she a beauty??

Around this time each year, tons of sea turtles come to Tortuguero (Spanish for the Land of Turtles) to nest. As you can imagine, this brings in thousands of visitors to the Costa Rican village to witness the phenomenon. Who can blame them?? And if they time it correctly, there is a turtle release they can see too!

Thanks to her GPS tracker device, you can follow Vida’s journey here.

A huge thanks to the Tortuguero STC team and Research Assistants for hosting us this weekend! These lovely humans work with the turtles year-round at the Sea Turtle Conservancy research station! It was so amazing seeing them do their part in saving the sea turtle population.

For more information on the Sea Turtle Conservancy and their initiatives, check out their website!

Pura Vida is proud to partner with the Sea Turtle Conservancy! It is the mission of Sea Turtle Conservancy to ensure the survival of sea turtles within the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific through research, education, training, advocacy and protection of the natural habitats upon which they depend.

Donate to the STC by purchasing our Save the Sea Turtles bracelets today!

Photos: Lauren Parks

Giving Back

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 4, 2017 — by Jasmin Manzano

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In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we have guest blogger, Michelle Zwirn, here to share her experience. Read her blogpost below.

Ten years ago if someone asked me what my life would look like on the brink of my 27th birthday, my response probably would have gone a little something like this- “well….I will have completed my Master’s and be a successful psychologist with my own practice and be married to Dave Grohl and just starting to raise our first child together by the beach.” I am absolutely positive I am not alone when I say that my life right now looks nothing like I thought it would. Cancer has changed my life in so many ways, I could write an entire saga about it that would go on longer than Grey’s Anatomy has even been on the air. I had this long post typed out about all my treatments, doctors, physical changes, but I feel like that is only a slice of this whole journey/experience/story/(insert pseudonym for “incredibly crappy situation” here). I have fought physical battles in my past and came out on top, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was in for both physically and mentally with a cancer diagnosis, especially one that is considered “incurable” by modern medicine and came out of left field at my age. I am by no means on my death bed, and am certainly not here to scare anyone, but I have learned so much this past year and I feel like the mental perspective in these types of situations isn’t often shared, and if me sharing this opens up just one person’s eyes, then being an open book, for me, is totally worth it.

Sometime in 2014 I noticed a lump in my right breast. I was told by my doctor at the time that it was just some sort of trauma to a ligament brought on by years of exercise and that basically I’m too young for breast cancer. I was either 23 or 24, I don’t even remember exactly. I was told to come back if the lump gets any bigger. In the summer of 2016, I had been traveling nonstop all year for work, when all of the sudden almost half of my right boob was swollen and started to feel like really hard rubber, and stabbing pain was radiating through it, so bad that it was keeping me up at night. I went back to the doctor, which led to an ultrasound, which led to a mammogram, which led to a biopsy, which led to an MRI and PET scan, which led to my diagnosis of estrogen-positive metastatic breast cancer. In those 1 1/2-2 years since I first noticed the lump, it had spread to my lymph nodes, all over my ribs, spine, pelvis, and my liver. I was put on a hormone therapy drug that had just been FDA approved along with 4 painful infusions/shots every month which got rid of 90% of the cancer in my body, even cleared up all my bones, but 9 months later it started growing again on my liver. I was put on another hormone therapy drug that slowed things down but not enough, so I am now onto chemotherapy options. I am lucky in the sense that breast cancer is so common that there are a myriad of treatment options, but there is still no “cure” once it goes to another part of the body and this is the thing too many people don’t realize when breast cancer is glorified with pink tutus and giant pink ribbons on NFL fields.

For some reason in our mid-20’s-30’s us strong, independent women (and some men too!) start putting this pressure on ourselves that we need to fulfill what is expected of us- get married and start having babies. I mean, all of our parents were married and had 2 kids by the time they were our age, so that’s where we should be at too, right? Before I was diagnosed with cancer I had been graduated from college for 4 years and had been working nonstop but also LIVING. IT. UP. in Santa Monica and the South Bay since. I was Tindering and Bumbling and meeting people in bars but couldn’t help but look at my friends who were settled down and having kids and wondering if that would ever be me. Now, freezing my eggs was not even something that was brought up to me before or throughout my treatment until I brought it up myself and looking back, if I had to guess, I would say it was because I wasn’t married or serious with anyone at the time. Instead I was thrown into medically induced menopause overnight and the prospect of me ever having children is looking pretty grim, and if I am able to, I will need a surrogate (any takers?!) .

What I am getting at here is that I wish my friends and other women my age knew how different everyone’s situation is. That married couple that is constantly flooding your social media with happy posts or that person your age with the awesome six-figure job—you have no idea what issues they may actually be facing or what it took for them to get to that point. Trust me it has taken me so much time and practice to come to terms with the fact that my life is SO different than most people my age now, and I still struggle with it. However, I HAVE accepted that these feelings, comparisons, guilt trips, will arise, but I have to dig down to the deepest depths of my soul to not let myself unpack and stay stuck in those moments and thoughts. I have learned to pick my battles and that the phrase “energy flows where attention goes” is my new motto. Do I want to focus on the “friends” who have dropped off the face of the earth, or build on those relationships of those who were there in the waiting room the day I was diagnosed? Am I going to be scared that my life could be cut short or am I going to be stoked that this weekend I get to spend my 27th birthday in the middle of a National Park I’ve never been to with 5 of my best friends when this time last year I didn’t even know if I would be here? Picking your battles has got to be the hardest life lesson for anyone to learn, and I am still working on it every day. I encourage you if you are reading this to start doing the same too. I am going to sound super cliche here, but it’s true, we NEVER know what life is going to throw us out of left field and if you look around there is everything to be grateful for. I personally am grateful to have a caring family, a core group of friends who love me as if I am family, my pups, having my good days, the snow season, the ocean, my home state of CA where we have both those things, music, Dave Chappelle for making me laugh on days I don’t think it is possible, and for making it this far and having hope that I will live a long, happy life.

It has been one year and I still haven’t wrapped my head around it, and I’m not sure if I ever will. I am now on my third gnarly treatment plan after the first two failed, been medically induced into menopause and then had to reverse it, am now on oral chemotherapy that makes me wake up every morning wanting to vomit, BUT I am happy to report that all the while I have traveled to six countries and too many states to count, completed all the large events I was planning before I was diagnosed, was still able to snowboard all winter and still plan on doing the same this winter, continue almost everyday with my yoga practice, and I feel pretty damn good considering all that my body has gone through. I leave you now with a quote that was randomly in my inbox the other day from a yoga studio in Maui, but is oh so fitting:

“My body has taught me I am stronger than I realize And more fragile than I like. I can endure pain with courage And be reduced to tears by a virus. I am marvelous, miraculous, mysterious. My body has it’s own deep intelligence. I carry my memories in my cells. I am constantly being born anew. I hold tight to fear and resistance. I breathe deeply, and let go. My legs will carry me farther than I think I can walk. My heart will keep beating even when it is broken. My mouth will kiss, laugh, drink tea and eat chocolate. My skin will shiver with pleasure. My bones will tell the weather. My feet will find the path. My hands will soothe a crying child. And write a story that will make you cry. And pour you a glass of wine. And brush your hair. And stroke your cheek. And hold your hand. My body will chop wood. And carry water. My body understands the wisdom of rest. The beauty of stillness. The power of touch. The importance of dance. And that there is only this. Here. Now. My body understands joy, delight and play. My body knows what I am hungry for. My body has taught me to pay attention to my desires. To listen to my gut. To trust my appetites. My body has taught me I am human. I am here. I am beautiful. I am powerful. I am brave. I am scared. I am alive. And I am grateful.”

-Marianne Elliott “What my body has taught me”