Amy Robach

Amy Robach 1I just walked into the house. I spent the evening at Summit Medical Group listening to Amy Robach speak about her experience with conquering breast cancer. Even though I have been an SMG patient almost my entire life, they only “targeted” me through Facebook ads recently. The very first ad I saw was the one for tonight’s event. I RSVPed immediately because I knew I wanted to hear Amy speak. I have been following her story ever since she stepped into the Mammo Van on Good Morning America for her very first mammogram one year ago. Now, one year later, she speaks so that she may share the journey of her diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship with others. Amy is extremely committed to giving other women a “nudge” to get their mammograms.

My interest in Breast Cancer Awareness Month started many years ago. For whatever reason, breast cancer awareness became real to me in 1992 when Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with the disease. I see how many lives it touches. I see how common it is. I see how treatable it can be if detected early and, I’ll admit it, I see how the “breast cancer color” is pink. I love pink. Amy gently mocked me tonight for not wearing pink which was something I actually noticed as soon as I walked into the conference room. How could I not have worn pink? I’m usually the only one wearing pink; I’m never one of the few who ISN’T wearing pink!

Amy could not have been more lovely. Many women asked her questions. I was one of those women. My question was a little different from the other questions.Amy Robach 2 Amy actually took the time to ask me follow-up questions and to brainstorm and offer suggestions. Breast cancer survivors who were attending the lecture also joined in on the discussion. I can’t relate to them in many ways because, thankfully, I have never had breast cancer but, in that moment, I felt like everybody was one body. I don’t know any other way to describe it because I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it before. Since I’ve never had cancer, I said a few times that my perspective was different. Nobody reacted to me like it was, though. I actually happened to cross paths with Summit Medical Group’s Chief Medical Officer in the parking lot on my way out and he stopped to thank me for my comments. Or…did he thank me for stopping my comments? ;) I kid.

I’m not sure why I felt so compelled to blog about tonight or why it had an impact for me.

I AM sure about one thing, though. Even though I’m not “old enough” to get a mammogram, Amy Robach gave me my nudge and I will have my appointment scheduled the day after my 40th birthday (many, many years from now).

Please learn more about Amy’s experiences.

Thank you, Amy.



Meeting the Rangers in St. Louis

Meeting the Rangers in St. Louis 1This past weekend, I traveled to St. Louis for my second girls’ hockey weekend. The New York Rangers had their 2014-2015 season opener in St. Louis in what was the Blues’ home/season opener. Since my friend, Kelly, flew out to NYC last season for our first girls’ hockey weekend, it was my turn to hit the road (or sky) for a hockey game. I met my New York Rangers in St. Louis. What a great way to start a newMeeting the Rangers in St. Louis 2 hockey season!

Kelly and I might have become friends over our love for our hockey teams but don’t let that fool you and don’t even dare think of us as puck bunnies (“a girl that goes to hockey games hoping to score with one of the players”). Then again, we’re not blind, either. Let’s face it; many hockey players are extremely handsome. That’s not a biased statement; I’m pretty sure that’s fact. ;) That isn’t what drives us to be hockey fans, though. We both love Meeting the Rangers in St. Louis 3learning about hockey and genuinely enjoy the sport. Win or lose, we both support our teams.

The weather was overcast or rainy the entire time I was in Missouri but I still got a nice tour of St. Louis. Kelly showed me the Arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion, a variety of different St. Louis neighborhoods, a few of her favorite restaurants and, of course, her hockey home. I also did a bit ofMeeting the Rangers in St. Louis 4 shopping to bring back a gift for Raegan (my Labradoodle)

While taking in views of the city from the top of the Arch was really cool, I still have to say that going to the Scottrade Center for the first time was the most significant highlight of the trip. I think the most disappointing parts of the trip were seeing misleading signs at the Museum of Westward Expansion. The signs were made by the National Parks Service and they said that Rangers were there to assist people. I didn’t see a single Blueshirt there to Meeting the Rangers in St. Louis 5assist. The false advertising was a definite letdown.

When Kelly came to NYC in January, the St. Louis Blues won in a shootout. That gave her team 2 points and my team 1 point. The New York Rangers won in regulation last week so that gave my team 2 points and her team 0 points. It’s 3-2 right now. I’m ahead by 1 point. The Rangers and the Blues play against each other at Madison Square Garden on November 3 and Kelly has decided to make another visit to NYC. Can I keep my lead? We’ll see on November 3 when the Rangers and the Blues face off again!



From One to Ten…and Beyond!

It feels like just yesterday that I hosted Raegan Sydney’s 1st birthday party but I was actually hosting her 10th birthday party. Planning this party seemed unreal. How can my puppy girl be turning 10 already?

Raegan Sydney’s 1st birthday party!

Raegan’s actual birthday isn’t until October 26 so I look forward to celebrating my little girl for the next 28 days…and beyond!

Raegan Sydney’s 10th birthday party!

Thank you to our friends and family who are honoring the sweet life of my precious little girl with us! Here’s to many more birthday parties!

To see more photos from Raegan’s 10th birthday party, click here.



Dear Niece JLB – Storytime Pride

Dear Niece JLB - Storytime Pride1Several months ago, I wrote a letter to my future children in a blog post. I’ve decided that I’m going to do the same for other members of my family, too (and 90% promise not to write any embarrassing letters)!
I always take pride in my niece but last weekend, she totally blew me away! She’s not even 2.5 years old and we had a very sweet and special story time right before I put her to bed. I was lucky enough to get a sleepover with her so I was the last one to give her “huggie, huggies, more huggies, Aunt Launie” before she fell asleep. I wrote this immediately after I put her to sleep but am deciding to post it now.
Dear JLB:
Aunt Launie is SO proud of you and impressed by you! Tonight, I was reading you a bedtime story (or 4) and we were in the middle of a Sesame Street book. I read each page and then we had to identify the objects on the page.
On one page, I pointed to a cluster of clouds. On top of the illustration, the word “clouds” was typed. I asked, “What’s this?” You said, “A big storm coming.” Smarty pants! Way to go, sweetie!Dear Niece JLB - Storytime Pride2
On another page, there was an illustration of a flag with the word “flag” typed on it. I pointed to the flag and asked, “What’s this?” You said, “The American flag.” I was expecting you to say “flag” so I kind of flinched and said, “What? What’s that?” You repeated yourself, “The American flag.” Hearing you identify the American flag, OUR flag, was wonderful!
I don’t know why this moment had such a profound impact on me but I think it has to do with how amazing I think your learning and development are. You grow and flourish each and every day. You are a smart, creative, funny little girl and I can’t wait to hear more new words and phrases from you!
XO- Aunt Launie


Raegan Sydney’s Photo Challenge

Raegan Sydney's Photo Challenge1

Instagram has changed my enthusiasm for photography. I still love photography but it’s different from what it was a few years ago. A few years ago, I enrolled in photography classes and met the greatest photographer, photography instructor, and friend that I could have imagined! —> Check out all things Michael Downey!

I upgraded to a new DSLR and I was ready to learn about my camera. Then Instagram filters entered my life. Oh, how wonderful filters can be! Some filters brighten the area underneath my eyes. How lovely! Black and white filters fix photos in which my makeup is too heavy or too light. How helpful! It’s easy. It’s fast. It’s Insta.

Raegan Sydney's Photo Challenge2

I got lost in Instagram. I didn’t mean to hang up my Canon 7D but it happened. You might ask why I didn’t use my DSLR to take photos to put on Instagram. Well, I believed (and still do, to an extent) that the purpose of Instagram is to enhance MOBILE photography. I’ve softened on that a bit, though. As long as a user specifies in his profile or in photo captions that he isn’t using a smartphone camera, I’m OK with it.

I don’t know why I started thinking about my DSLR the other day but I decided to go outside and take some photos of my miniature Labradoodle, Raegan Sydney, with it. The pics were cute. I think I shared 1 or 2 on Instagram. After that, I looked at Raegan and felt inspired. I wanted to form a new habit of using my DSLR more often. Raegan directly motivated me to have some fun with a 30 day photo challenge.

For 30 days, I’ll be posting a photo of Raegan (or more than 1 photo) on Instagram that I’ll take with my DSLR. The first day of my challenge was August 7. The second day is today, August 8. Raegan was falling asleep at about 1AM so I decided to take photos of her adorable sleepy eyes as they were slowly closing. All images taken during the challenge will be shared on Raegan’s Instagram for all of her followers to see.

Raegan Sydney's Photo Challenge3

I’d like to invite you all to join my challenge. If you’ve been wanting to work on your photography, please join me as I capture images of my dog, without the use of a cell phone, over the next 30 days. I will also be posting iPhone photos to Instagram, as usual, but each day will definitely include at least 1 DSLR photo!

Who’s up for the challenge?



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