The Heart of a Dancer..A Queen Remembered

Good morning ladies and gentleman, as October comes to a close for the month, we remember those who have fought for their lives and are still fighting to this day to find a cure for a disease that comes in many forms. This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and our job is to be educated and aware of the early signs and stay united in the fight for the cure. Breast Cancer is not just a women’s disease but also a men’s disease.

I want to tell you a story about a daughter, mother, wife and accomplished dancer. Her name Sonia Vargas.

This is her story told by my dear friend Valerie Padilla, her daughter.

Sonia Vargas, 23 years ago never knew that simply taking a bathe would change her life forever. She worked as a secretary, was a dedicated mom, wife and she loved to dance. She taught her daughter Valerie, everything she knows about dancing, which I have witnessed first hand, from the Salsa, Tango, Fandango, Bolero and many more. Sonia was around 39 years old when she discovered a lump under her arm during a routine breast exam. Monthly exams of your breast are very important for early detection.

After discovering this lump, she immediately went to the doctor and had a mammogram done and they discovered a mass in the early stages. They were able to start her on chemo and began her fight. Sonia, a beautiful woman, lost all her hair and like most woman, the depression started and she felt she was no longer attractive. The family did everything they could to help her regain her confidence by buying her wigs and telling her she was beautiful everyday to keep her spirits up. Positive prayers and proper treatments made the cancer go away….so they thought.

One year later, the breast cancer that once was a distant memory, came back more aggresive. Sonia was given not alot of options accept for a masectomy. Women who are faced with the prospect of losing their breast, it is not an easy decision. We pride ourselves on how we look and in making this decision she decided to do nothing. Of course, the cancer decided to spread and it invaded so aggressively that it grew out of her body as a 3rd breast on her chest and became a part of her everyday life. She, like many women loved to look and smell good at all times and to have to live day by day with a growth on her chest, losing her hair and feeling sick all the time, it felt like she lost a big part of herself.

Her daughter Valerie, said that as her mom became sicker, she had to take care of her bathing and feeding her regularly. Valerie accounts that the growth smelled like rotten meat to everyone and people stared at her all the time. As the months went by, she became thin and frail and was admitted near Fathers Day of June 1998. The hospital she was admitted to was where she worked and she had the best care around her family and friends. When she was in the hospital, her doctor told her that it was so aggressive that chemo was not working and there was no cure.

She had to make another decision and she decided to keep it from her kids. Valerie was a teenager and being the oldest of 3 children, she felt helpless, pain and she wanted to do everything she could to take care of her mom. Her mom was her inspiration and hero growing up doing the dance group together and she just wanted to help her mom. After awhile, Sonia couldn’t speak but she could hear everyone. All her family, friends and co-workers did a prayer chain and sent flowers to lift her spirits.

October 24, 1998, Sonia Vargas got her wings at the age of 42 and left behind a spirit in her family that will last forever. It has been 21 years and Valerie celebrates life everyday for her.

Valerie and the women of her Empowerment Group just recently took a trip to Puerto Rico October 11, 2019 and we celebrated Valerie’s 43rd birthday!! Chapter 43 for Valerie was important to her and sharing her moms story touched all of us.

Her moms angelic looks, spirit, heart for dance, her love and caring for others and beautiful personality inside and out shines through her everyday.

Below is a chart of what to look for when you do your monthly breast exam. Early detention is the key.

I want to give a big thank you to Valerie Padilla for allowing me to share her mom’s story and to educate other women about the importance of early detection and treatments.

“Living my birthdays not just for me but for my mom’s life” Valerie Padilla

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My trip to Puerto Rico

I just got back from Puerto Rico on Tuesday October 15 after spending 4 days there and I have to say that it was so beautiful. This island was one of my many trips to take from my bucket list and I enjoyed myself immensely. I went with 7 other wonderful empowered women who I met through a facebook group called Valeries Empowerment Group. (click here) This group I have been a member of since 2018 and I am so grateful to have met all the many different women who are from New York and all over United States. We were celebrating Valeries 43rd birthday here in Puerto Rico. October 11, 2019 I left for Puerto Rico, flight was calm but I almost missed it because of the TSA lines. I hope one day the process gets a little better organized so that people dont get anxiety almost missing their flight. After arriving in Puerto Rico, I met the Queens from Ny at the airport and we all went to our beautiful villa located in San Juan. It was a 5 bedroom 2 bathroom Villa with a pool and great patio area. These are the Queens with Valeries empowerment shirts on. We stopped by a little restaurant in the city near Carolina, Puerto Rico called Carmin. A cute little outdoor establishment. I have to say that I had learn alot about spanish cuisines and speak the languages, which thanks to the ladies who spoke the language, I was able to feel like part of the culture. I ate what they say in Spanish as “Alitas de Pollo” and “Papas Fritas”
which means chicken wings and fries.Muy Bien” (Very Good) I ended up eating a little off everyones plate, the ladies wanted me to try other spanish cuisines including 4 more chicken wings…I was so hungry, we were all starving from our flights…lol. Our next venture took us downtown to go dancing at Mijani Club in La Placita De Santurce for the pre-birthday celebration. We all got dressed up in our white outfits and dancing shoes for a night of drinking and dancing. Such a fun first night…these ladies know how to Party!! The next day, we were planning to visit Old San Juan for the day. The weather was so beautiful for sightseeing. Today was our Queen Valeries 43rd birthday!! First we stopped off at a neighborhood reataurant within walking distance of our Villa called Levis like jeans..lol We went there for breakfast and dinner the same day…thats how great it was! The restaurant felt so warm and comfortable for our party. Old San Juan was amazing…although the heat was brutal, we took comfort in the many treat carts around like smoothies and coco icees…so good. We also did a little shopping.We visited the city of Umbrellas on Fortaleza street. While visiting Old San Juan, I was told the story about the community of La Perla which was very interesting and sounds like something out of mobster movie. We visited a very beautiful church which looked like one of largest churches I had ever seen called the San Juan Bautista Cathedral.

The next day we went back to our favorite place Levis of course. We went home and had an afternoon family barbeque….so emotional for me and alot of us. Meeting so many of the ladies friends and relatives was wonderful. Hotdogs, hamburgers, drinks and unlimited cuisines to eat. Such a beautiful group ladies…indeed..inside and out❤ Monday morning we all had a nice picnic in Ocean Park beach…so peaceful. Going home was very emotional for me and the girls…we didnt want to go back at all. Our weekend was filled with love, support, crying, laughter, and just relaxation. We are planning our trip for next year already..cant wait to meet more Queens!! As I go back to Florida and they return to New York, I can honestly say that these women are truly my family. Now that I can check Puerto Rico off my list maybe next year I can see Hawaii…What you think?Thank you for reading all about my trip to Puerto Rico! Dont forget to like, comment, subcribe to my blog!!Also follow me on social media via:TwitterPinterestInstagram

“The cover comes off…No more filters!”

The Cover Comes Off….No More Filters!”
The other day, my daughter was getting ready for her date and she asked me “Do these pants make me look fat..and does my hair look right?” I said, “You look beautiful princess.”

“The question I am asking myself is, “Why am I telling her she is beautiful, when I can’t even be convinced myself I am beautiful on the outside as well as inside…so I decided…No More hair extensions, perms, just natural back to my roots. Lip gloss and baby oil.”

-I have short grey hair….why?….Life and illness
-Stretchmarks on stomach, butt and thighs….why?….3 beautiful angels born who are my whole world
-Boobs sag almost to my stomach…why?….Its Gravity..lol
-I forget things sometimes….why?….Im 41
-I gained 10 lbs this last year….what am I doing about it?……Eating healthier and walking

*So in Essence…I want men and women to know that until you are comfortable with your own skin inside as well as outside, the world will always expect you to look like you came out of a magazine. Inspired by my beautiful princess, Briana. Love you mom❤

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Spotlight for March 2019

    This month I am so honored to feature not only a great business lady and mother but a women who has been like a sister to me and a great friend for over 7 years.  We met in 2012 when I was looking for a natural hair braid specialist and she was remarkable with how she did her work that ever since she has been my go to person for everything from braids, sew-ins, curly hair and the recent bold short styles are just many of the styles she has “Slayed” for me and others.  Introducing my girl with the magic touch……
Danielle Renee Julian

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 “Great hair doesn’t happen by chance, it happens by APPOINTMENTS”  Renslayedhair

click above to visit her instagram website for Renslayedhair
Me:  “What is your name?”
Danielle:  “Danielle Julian but everyone calls me Renee”.
Me:  Where are you from?”
Danielle:  “I am from the beautiful island of Antigua. Located in the Caribbean”.
Me:   “Tell us about yourself and your beautiful family?”
Danielle:  Omg 🥰🥰😊😊! I am a family of 5. I have 4 beautiful children. 3 princes and 1 princess! Love them more than life itself.”
Me:  “Tell our readers how you started with your business and what your plans are for 2019? ”
Danielle: When I was younger my career goals were to be an Immigration Attorney, I started school and while going to school I hated it. I said this is not for me. I was bored and didn’t want to fail so I went and got my braiding license since I already knew how to braid hair. And I fell in love from doing hair! I would watch other stylists in the salon that I worked and I would get so inspired! So i stop going to school and invested in my new career! I gained clientele and grew more as a stylist! I decided to go back to school and obtain my cosmetology license and I now currently rent a suite inside of a Barbershop where I am doing great as a cosmetologist. For 2019 I plan on preparing to open my own upscale salon offering hair and aesthetic services and also provide professional products.”
Me:  “What is your greatest accomplishment to date and why?” 
Danielle:  My greatest accomplishment are my children! They are my motivation to do what I do and to grow as a stylist and good person.”

 

Me: “Do you consider yourself pessimistic or optimistic when it comes to your business?”
Danielle:  “I consider myself optimistic, I am a person who sees so much potential in myself! I picture a vision of what I want for myself and for my business and I can see great things in the future for me as a professional stylist and a successful business woman.”
Me:  “Is there anything in your business you would like the opportunity to change?”
Danielle:  “Not really but I plan to do more in this business than stand behind the chair. I wanna have my own products as well an educational system for future stylists.”
Me:  “What do you love about your business and why?”
Danielle:  “I love putting a smile on my clients face and what gives me more drive is that fact that they are all super supportive of me.”
Me:   “What was the most difficult thing you ever had to deal with when it comes to your business?” 
Danielle: Unsatisfied and Problematic clients and working for people who were envious.” 
Me:“If there was any advice you would give a young entrepreneur starting out, what would it be?”
Danielle:  “Yes of course! Stay focused, take classes to always perfect your craft and your client is your main priority in this business it always helps to keep them happy! And always be reliable I had to learn that tremendously!”

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Me: “What social links and websites can our readers connect with you and your business?”
Danielle:  “As of right now I am working on connecting more to other people on a broader scale but as of right now Instagram (@renslayedhair) is my main connection”.

 

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“One of many satisfied customers including me…thank you for having a Passion for hair and your customers!”  LaFrieda Smith

I want to thank Danielle Renee Julian for being my spotlight for this month and if you have not checked out her website do so on instagram by clicking here Renslayedhair.

Interview by: LaFrieda Smith
Guest: Danielle Renee Julian