Q&A 4 Her – Erica Tullis, Executive Director

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When Erica Tullis‘ father was given a ‘30 days to live’ cancer diagnosis nearly 25 years ago, finding the connection between health, lifestyle and cancer became her primary focus. After seeing her father overcome the odds and continue to live a healthy, cancer-free lifestyle to this day, Erica was further motivated to help all people understand the importance of integrated wellness. Through her work as founder and executive director of the Breast Cancer Charities of America and the iGo Pink campaign, she educates others on how diet, exercise and lifestyle balance play vital roles in preventing and treating cancer…but with a special focus on women and breast cancer.

Erica’s efforts have brought nationwide attention and a fresh approach to breast cancer by focusing on lifestyle habits for prevention and treatment, as well as through fashion. After only eighteen months since founding BCCA, the iGoPink Campaign has caught the interest of fashion & lifestyle industry leaders such as IZZE’s Natural Soda, NYLA Shoes, Chaugory Couture, Trina Turk, Shameless Jewelry, Brighton Collections and Chick fil A, and Charles David to name a few.

Erica took a moment to talk to MyCity4Her about starting the organization, what she enjoys most about her job and more. Read on for the full interview!

Did you ever imagine yourself achieving what you have?
I have always been the type of person that KNOWS I’ll succeed when I put my mind to something. “No” or ‘it’s not possible’ are not part of my vocabulary. Nonetheless, I am still shocked at the demand level of our iGoPink brand and program services just three years after creation. That has blown all of our expectations/initial plans out the door!  (In a good way!)

What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about your industry or business and why?
I underestimated how many women are in need of help RIGHT NOW with something as small as paying their $25 water bill. We started our Help Now Fund program (where we pay for the rent and utilities of women going through breast cancer) after we saw the need for basic lifestyle needs to be met while going through treatment.

We quickly grew from a network of only 30 hospitals to now almost 400 nationwide.  I knew women needed immediate help, but I didn’t realize HOW extreme those needs were. Thousands and thousands of women contact us in tears–about to be evicted or have their water turned off, because they had to pay for so many doctors visits that month and didn’t have the means to pay for their basic needs. The feeling when we call a woman and tell her that her rent has been paid, and hearing her break down in tears on the phone in relief, is an indescribable feeling that still gets to me every time I speak with a patient we have helped.

What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?
Work shouldn’t be ‘work’ but something you enjoy and are passionate about.  Ever since I was young, my father instilled in me that if I was passionate and dreamed something big, I was capable of achieving it.  This pertained to getting the lead role in the high school musical, making varsity tennis, or achieving academic awards; but now in the ‘real world’ I think about this passion constantly in a work perspective…I never feel like I get up in the morning and “have to go to work.” I have made the choice to always view work as something I’m passionate about, not something I have to do.  Find what it is that excites you, put your every last effort and breath behind it, and it will become a reality.

What do you love most about what you do and why?
The people: The relationships I’ve built through the foundation.  From the nurses, doctors and patients we work with, to our corporate partners, volunteers and staff…I am humbled and blessed daily to look at the people I’ve been able to meet, help with our program services and get to know and work with daily.  Some of these folks have become some of my closest friends.  Any company, no matter the industry, isn’t possible without a strong team of believers.  We have an amazing team that believes in what we do–and it shows every day.

What if you knew then what you know now – would you do differently and why?
To delegate more—(and I’m still working on this!!)  Being a business executive comes with both pros and cons. The biggest challenge I find is not having enough time in the day.  Sleep definitely becomes an afterthought when you want to be sure that everything is being done, and done correctly!  I tease when I get asked “is it ok if I take a half day?”…”no problem” I’ll respond, “are you going to work the first 12 hours or the last 12 hours of the day?”

All joking aside though, the trick is to delegate. Get the right team members in place that share your passion/vision and trust that they will achieve it.  When I first started the foundation, my ‘team members’ were all volunteers and interns because I couldn’t afford to pay for help…but those people shared my vision and knew we were making a difference and saw the big picture.

When you’re not working how do you like to spend your time?
With my husband, our family, close friends and our dogs.  I also love to travel, cook, play tennis, go to the theater or live concerts…the list is endless and I’m constantly on the go.  I’m always trying to learn or do something new. I am currently learning more about photography, and want to take up playing the piano. Life is too short…carpe diem!

How do you define success?
This is a great question—I think SO many people get caught up in the financial definition of success and my view is quite different (you don’t decide to get into the non-profit world for the money…it’s for the passion of helping others!)  Prior to starting the foundation, I was in corporate America, quickly climbing the corporate ladder, traveling the world…but there was something missing in my heart. Working for the greater good fills that space.

So in my eyes, success is defined by how you’re helping humanity.  Are you being a good steward?  There’s a balance to reach and I know I’m definitely not there myself, but I’m striving for it.

If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business – what would it be?
Be strong and don’t give up!  You WILL get told “no,” have the door shut in your face, be told what you’re not doing right and quite honestly, it can really hurt sometimes.  But don’t let those words of negativity define you and your work.  Persevere through the difficult times and focus on what you ARE doing right…you’ll stand tall and strong in a room of women. It’s those that get back up after being torn down that succeed!

Article Source: http://mycity4her.com

3 Questions for Erica Tullis

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Erica Tullis is aiming to make her mark on the footwear industry.

Tullis, who founded The Breast Cancer Charities of America in 2009, now works with fashion brands as part of her company’s iGoPink: Fashion Fights Breast Cancer initiative.

“Every woman [going through treatment] wants to feel beautiful, and something as simple as a new pair of pink shoes just brightens her day,” said Tullis.

Tullis is working with Charles David on two shoes for fall and two additional looks for spring ’13. The heels all feature a pink sole. Additionally, the charity partnered with Texas-based Bonafide Boots for a pink-and-black cowboy boot, also slated for a fall launch. And once the styles hit the brands’ stores and online, 20 percent of proceeds will go to the foundation.

Here, Tullis discusses making a difference, one shoe at a time.

1. Why are your footwear partners an important part of your company?
We’ve tried to incorporate a fashion-forward method to talking about breast cancer. Our footwear partners help us reach that audience of women that maybe were not paying attention to breast cancer before, yet they read the fashion magazines and follow along. Every woman loves shoes and wants to be seen as fashionable. We say, “Take one step forward in the fight against breast cancer.”

2. How do you plan to expand the footwear portion of your business?
We constantly are looking for new shoe partners to work with that want to incorporate that hot pink tone into their shoes. Our goal is to produce with our partners a wide range of shoes, affordable to high end, that benefit the greater good. It’s the small [detail] of a pink sole, like on our Charles David stilettos, that [show] people there are great companies trying to make a difference in this world.

3. What footwear players would you like to team up with in the future?
We’d love to partner with Nike or Adidas as we focus our education on the importance of fitness, health, nutrition and taking care of your body. It would also be wonderful to partner with everyday brands like Nine West and high-end designers like Jimmy Choo.

Article Source: http://www.wwd.com

Did you know?

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Deep Breathing

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Deep breathing is a truly essential exercise that benefits overall health. Deep breathing is known to take away our stress and help us to relax. Deep breathing is also a natural painkiller. When you practice deep breathing your body releases endorphins throughout. If you take a few moments each day to try deep breathing exercises, your body will benefit greatly. When practicing upward and downward movements during your deep breathing, your diaphragm performs helping to remove toxins from your organs and promote a better blood flow. This results in an increasing energy level.

When preparing to practice deep breathing, find a quiet and comfortable spot. Keep your eyes open throughout the entire breathing time. You must focus your attention on your breathing and thoughts of being well. Breathe slowly at about six repetitions per minute. Each complete breath should last around ten seconds. It is important to breathe in through your nose for four seconds. Then breathe out through your mouth for six seconds.

This goes hand-in-hand with our last Wellness Wednesday post about yoga boosting recovery for cancer patients.

Crafts For The Cure

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All ladies enjoy crafts. Why not make something special to brighten up someone’s day in the hospital or to bring breast cancer awareness to others?

Brighten Someone’s Day
Make a card. You can go to any store and get cute butterfly stickers or items to make flowers like the gorgeous daffodils in this example. Be creative. Put your heart into it. Brighten someone’s day with encouragement and creativity.


Pink Ribbons Bringing Awareness

Pink Ribbon Charm Bracelet

• Make a charm bracelet with pink ribbon charms interlaced with pink beads and silver spacers. Use a memory wire or an elastic beading thread to string all elements of the bracelet. For a memory wire, twist the ends under with needle-nose jewelry pliers to secure; with elastic string, secure with a double knot touched with jewelry glue and obscure the knotted section inside one of the larger beads.

The Nude Face

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The makeup trend going strong this year is the nude face. Of course, this does not mean absolutely without any makeup. What would be the fun in that?

Throw on some peachy lips and peachy cream blush with a touch of brown mascara on the lashes. Any skin tone can rock the nude face.
Remember, drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated which is beneficial to your complexion.

For women going through chemo:
* Get your doctors approval for all topical applications, including creams, makeup , sunscreens, etc.
* Adjust your facial skin-care routine if your general skin type has changed.
* Avoid hot water, opting for warm water instead.
* Wash with a gentle, non-drying soap.
* Never scrub affected areas.
* Do not shave affected areas until completely healed, and only with your doctor’s approval.
* Resist the temptation to scratch the itch! Cornstarch helps control itching.
* Avoid direct sun exposure.
* Apply a color-correcting moisturizer or concealer under foundation, if necessary. Green tints neutralize red skin, and lavender tints neutralize yellow skin.


Roasted Red Peppers for Breakfast?

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Roasted Red Peppers at Any Meal
By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

The abundance of sweet red peppers this summer has lured me to discover how versatile they can be, especially when roasted. In Italy, I have learned to enjoy them as a first course, either as part of an antipasto spread, served simply with just a crisscrossing of anchovies, or even alone, sprinkled with chopped parsley and a touch of lemon juice.

Egg and Roasted Red Pepper Wrap

• 1 large red bell pepper, halved and seeded
• Salt to taste
• 1/4 tsp. each dried basil, oregano and thyme
• 1 large egg
• 1 large egg white
• Olive oil cooking spray
• 2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 2 Tbsp. reduced-fat ricotta cheese
• 1/8 tsp. harissa, or to taste
• 1 low-fat whole-wheat wrapper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place pepper, cut side down, on foil-covered baking sheet. Bake until skin is puffed and blistered, 20-30 minutes. Transfer pepper to bowl, cover with plate, and let steam for 20 minutes. Pull off skin from pepper, using your fingers or small knife.
Place pepper on plate. Sprinkle with salt and dried herbs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.
In bowl, whisk egg and egg white together until well blended. Coat 8-inch skillet with cooking spray, and set over medium-high heat. Add egg, tilting to coat bottom of pan, and cook until egg is set, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle on cheese and parsley, and cook until surface of omelet looks dull, 2-3 minutes. Slide flat omelet onto plate and set aside.
In small bowl, combine ricotta and harissa. Blot roasted pepper dry using paper towel, and cut pepper into very thin strips.
To assemble wrap, spread ricotta mixture over wrapper, leaving 1/2–inch uncovered around edges. Slide omelet onto wrapper, positioning it near one end. With narrow end of wrapper toward you, arrange 8-10 pepper strips horizontally on top of egg, and starting at end near you, tightly roll up wrapper. Cut rolled wrap diagonally into 3 pieces and serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving.
Per serving: 330 calories, 11 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 34 g carbohydrate,
20 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 420 mg sodium.

The Vitamin D Promise

Breast Cancer News, iGoPink Blog, Wellness & Fitness No Comments

One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. The single most common diagnosis among woman is breast cancer. There is some great news! You can prevent almost 80 percent of all breast cancers! Prevention is key. Vitamin D is the promise!
Vitamin D is something that we all need but, nearly all lack adequate amounts of it. Science shows that Vitamin D hinders inappropriate cell division and metastasis, decreases blood vessel formation around tumors, and regulates proteins that influence tumor growth. And, BONUS, Vitamin D enhances our immune system’s ability to fight cancer!
How about treating cancer? It has been documented that Vitamin D has great cancer fighting potential. Along with all of these benefits, evidence shows that a higher intake of Vitamin D may be helpful in prevention and treatment of high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases.
“Vitamin D Delivers.”

Yoga Boosting Recovery for Breast Cancer Patients

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Mind and Body Balance goes hand-in-hand for breast cancer patients. The MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas found that women who used mediation and practiced yoga had a better attitude and lower stress, therefore, leading to overall better health! The study continues to show that yoga and meditation can be a key element in patient recovery.  http://www.earthtimes.org

Healing Meditation tips:


  • Find a place where you will not be disturbed.  Create a sacred space, filled with positive energy.  You may place candles around the room and light some incense.  Also, place some crystals around the room which bring healing energy and positive vibes.  Meditating outdoors is great too!
  • You can meditate with or without music.  If you choose to play music, make sure it is soothing and calming and not distracting to you.
  • Find a comfortable position, either on a chair or on the floor.  Just be sure that you will not become uncomfortable, which can be very distracting.  Keep your spine straight, as energy flows from the base of your spine up to the top of your head.
  • Breathe deeply through your nose and hold the breath for as long as you can, comfortably.  Then slowly release the breath.  Breathing centers you and connects you to the present moment.  Even sitting and breathing, mindfully, for just a few moments is beneficial.
  • Visualize yourself surrounded by warm, healing white light.  Imagine the white light flooding your entire body and rejuvenating your cells.  Incorporate this into your breathing by imagining you are breathing in this healing light and it is illuminating every cell of your being.
  • You may chant a mantra or choose a word or a phrase to repeat in your mind.  Reciting a mantra helps tame the wandering mind.  For example, you may repeat the word “Faith” or “Hope” on every breath.  You may also choose to repeat a phrase like, “I am healthy” or “I am strong”.        Words, whether said out loud or in your head, have a big impact on the world we experience and using the phrase “I am” is very powerful as it calls upon the creative powers of the Universe.
  • Visualize tumors shrinking.  Visualize yourself happy, healthy, vibrant and laughing.  Visualize a positive check up at the doctor.  See yourself saying, “I’m cancer-free!”   If you can visualize it, then you can bring it into existence.
  • Always give thanks to the Universe at the end of your meditation.  Even though cancer doesn’t seem like something to be thankful for, it can behold treasures for your soul.  You can gain immense strength and courage from this experience, which is worthy of gratitude.  You could gain a whole new perspective on your life that you wouldn’t have had before cancer.  You may be grateful for your caregiver or your amazing doctor.  There is always something to smile about

In the turmoil of cancer, it can be difficult to quiet the mind. The mind is very powerful.  It has the capability of creating or destroying.  Even just a few minutes a day in silence and relaxation can have a profound impact on the body.  Meditation can help reduce the pain, stress, anxiety, and fear, associated with cancer.  Meditation can play an important role in your healing plan and improve your quality of life.

Article By: Jessica Taylor


Watermelon Beauty

Breast Cancer News, iGoPink Blog, Nutrition & Recipes 1 Comment

Every lady wants a flawless and glowing complexion. Watermelon is healthy snack choice as well as a beauty choice. Who knew?

  Application of Watermelon face Packs

The best way to utilize the watermelon is to use it as a face pack, especially after a hot summer days’ outing.

  Watermelon Face Pack 1:

Try this invigorating watermelon face pack to give your face the cool, clean and youthful look. Take one cup of watermelon pulp and apply on face and neck. Rinse face and neck after 15 minutes. Your skin becomes soft and supple.

  Watermelon Face Pack 2 – ‘For sunburns and suntans’

Prepare a watermelon and cucumber face pack by mixing equal proportions of watermelon and cucumber pulp and leave it on your face for twenty minutes.
This face pack heals the sunburns and lightens your complexion.
Dust and pollution closes the pores of your skin and makes it look dull and dark. Just rub watermelon and mint leaves frozen into ice cubes all over the face to open the pores. Your face will be fresh and clean in no time.

  Grated Watermelon Scrub

Squeeze out the juice from grated watermelon and mix with a pinch of gram flour. Apply the paste on the face and leave it for fifteen minutes. The pulp is an excellent scrub and leaves your skin glowing.

Yes, watermelon is the perfect solution to your beauty aspirations.

Submitted By : Hannah Punitha

Reviewed By : Dr Sunil Shroff