Saturday, August 10, 2013

Strength through Beauty

The Faces of Chemo: Day 94 - Thank you for making me feel like a girly girl, Christine! 

I have never been a fan of getting my picture taken.  I can pretty much ALWAYS find fault in any picture of myself.  I knew that when I decided to start my "Faces of Chemo" photo-journal, it wasn't going to be easy.  Posting a picture of myself everyday would be anything BUT comfortable, but I figured that these pictures weren't meant to be pretty.  What you see is what you get.  I would have good days and bad days (thank you, Jesus that the good have far outweighed the bad!).  This is my journey.

So, when my SUPER SWEET photog, writer-blogger, artist, fashion stylist, well-being passionista friend (whew!), Christine Rose Elle asked if she could do a photo shoot with me, I was excited and well, pretty darn nervous!  I mean, these pictures are supposed to be pretty!  Posing for pictures is awkward and uncomfortable enough, but wigs, bald head, sparse eyebrows and lashes, alien port and scar... How was I going to pull that off?!!  Then it hit me....

This was going to be another opportunity to share my journey.
This was another chance to shine.
Another chance to show cancer who is boss!

Christine was wonderful.  She made sure I was comfortable long before the actual day of the shoot.  I had seen some of the portraits she had taken before, so I knew that she did beautiful work and I could totally trust her. Plus, I just LOVE HER, so I knew that everything was going to be fine.

Morning of the shoot, I woke up, ate breakfast, showered, got dressed, moisturized, gathered my wigs and a few other things and headed out the door.  I took my friend Cherie along for extra moral support too (a little extra couldn't hurt).  I'll admit that I was a little nervous on the drive out, but once we were met by Christine's smiling face, those nerves started to melt away.
We went upstairs and after a little chit-chat, the fun began!  Christine helped me pick out some pieces from her beautiful wardrobe collection and applied my make-up AND EYELASHES (woo-hoo!!).  I put on the first outfit and my wig and tried to think pretty thoughts.  Christine gave instruction how to sit, where to put my hands and arms, how to hold my head, chin out and down... it was a bit awkward at first.  A few more outfits and poses and it was time to expose the dome and take some bald shots.  Christine dressed me up in a beautiful dress and bling to match.  I wasn't sure how pretty I felt, but I did somehow feel strong, free, empowered. After that, the rest of the shoot was easier, I was more confident - that and we saved my favorite outfits for last.
The shoot was over and I had no idea how any of the pictures would turn out.
What I did know was that I was SO THANKFUL for the experience.
I got to play dress up and be a girly girl!
Whether I actually looked it or not, Christine had made me FEEL BEAUTIFUL
and that was something that I hadn't really felt since my hair fell out.
Later that afternoon, some of the photos arrived in my inbox.  Blown away.  I couldn't believe that was me in those pictures.  Still can't.  Honestly, Christine has a magic camera.  She's pretty magical herself.  How she did it I'm not sure, but cancer schmancer, I LOOK GOOD!!  And when I start feeling low or I’m having a bad day or chemo is kicking my butt, all I have to do is look at those pictures and I am reminded that I AM strong and I CAN shine through this.

Thank you Christine, for empowering me through beauty and allowing
me to share your talents as I share my journey! Love ya, Sweets!! xoxo



  1. Wow!! Talk about Powerful!! And Beautiful!!
    Thank you for your bravery, Julie--
    you so inspire me and you are helping
    so many other women walk through one of life's
    most difficult journeys.
    The pics are simply stunning!
    What a Warrior!!
    Look forward to future blogposts.

  2. Such a sweet comment!
    Thank you, Jenelle! ♥

  3. Brought tears to my eyes Julie! Thank you for sharing your journey and being a brave warrior!
    You are BEAUTIFUL!!!! XO

    1. Oh Lisa, you're so sweet!! ♥ Thank you!

  4. You LOOK stunning Julie!!! Christine is a glam rockstar and she rocked it with your photos. You are so beautiful inside and out!! xoxo, Jenn

    1. Thank YOU, Beautiful!! ♥ Christine is SOOOOOO talented and such a blessing!!

  5. Julie! I just adore you!! This article is literally the sweetest. I had such a wonderful time hanging out with you and can't wait to do more! Thank you so much for having such courage and everlasting beauty!


    1. Christine,
      You can be sure that the feeling is mutual! I had an amazing day with you and am so thankful and blessed to know you! Thank you again, Sweets!!


  6. I have followed and following your journey through friends on FB. You are AMAZING!
    Thank you for sharing. Rita

  7. Julie, you are beautiful, I really enjoyed reading your post, thank you for sharing your journey. I just had a photo session with Christine and you captured the whole experience so perfectly, she does have a magic camera! She also knows how to capture beauty from the inside out. Praying for you, may you heal quickly and continue to shine! xo Debi

    1. Thank you, Debi!! Christine is a gem and I am so glad you got to experience that! You are a beautiful, vintage, glam girl!!! LOVE your photos! SO excited about YouTube Make Space!!! Way to go, Girl!!! ♥