Monday, December 30, 2013

Now that 2013 is over, can I take a nap?

When I was a kid, I spent every New Year's Eve reading through old diary entries. Now that I'm a grown up, I have a blog to scroll through when I'm feeling nostalgic. Without even having to look through a year of entries, I can tell you that 2013 has been one of the busiest, most exciting years of my life. Stressful at times, but for the most part, quite rewarding. Here's a brief look back at the past year.

In Spring 2013, I testified for the Oregon State House of Representatives and Senate in support of a bill to ban minors under age 18 from using indoor tanning beds.

Testifying for the Oregon State House Health Care Committee.

Ultimately, the bill passed, and I was invited to the signing ceremony with Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. The new law goes into effect in January 2014, so I'll be following closely to see how tanning salons handle compliance with the new restrictions.

Oregon teen tanning ban bill signing ceremony.

Meanwhile, I was also pretty busy planning the 2nd Annual Portland Melanoma Walk, which took place in May 2013. The event raised nearly $40,000, which was more than double our original goal!

Portland Melanoma Walk 2013.

More Portland Melanoma Walk.

Throughout the year, I got to travel to some pretty exciting places, including New Orleans, the Dominican Republic, Washington DC, Boston, and Sonoma Valley.

New Orleans in Spring 2013.

My best friend's bachelorette party in Sonoma.

Jessica's wedding week in Punta Cana.

Chelsea's bachelorette at the Oregon Coast.

Wine tasting with Tim and his family in Napa.

Several very important people in my life got married in 2013, including my friends Jessica, Chelsea, and Liz, my cousin Jameson, and my brother Andrew.

The bride and her MOH.
My brother's wedding in August 2013.

Me and Tim at Chelsea's wedding.

And let's not forget: I survived a three-mile run while being pelted with paint.

Me and Debbie at the Color Run in Fall 2013.
Earlier this month, as 2013 began to wind down, I started wondering whether it would be possible to "outdo" myself in 2014. How could I possibly schedule more than 10 trips or beat my fundraising goal again? While there are never any guarantees, I have a feeling that 2014 has some pretty exciting things in store for me. My philosophy on life these days can be summed up by a short quote from Louis Pasteur: "Chance favors the prepared mind." After years of preparation, I'm definitely ready to make my mark on the world.

With that, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe New Year. 


Monday, December 23, 2013

Big news: I've been approved for PCORI funding!

As some of you know, I've served as a lay reviewer for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute since last spring. It's been an incredible learning experience that has empowered me to reach out to experts in melanoma research to see what I can do as a patient to improve melanoma survival rates.

Today, I found out that the project I've been working on with researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and the founders of SolSurvivors Utah has been approved for a "Pipeline to Proposal" award from PCORI. The project is one of 30 proposals approved for these seed funds intended to build communities interested in advancing patient- and stakeholder-driven health research.

Our project, "Developing Infrastructure for Patient-Centered Melanoma Research," unites patients from Oregon and Utah—two Western states with abnormally high melanoma rates—with researchers from Oregon Health & Science University and the University of Utah. Ultimately, our goal is to find a way to engage significant numbers of patients and caregivers in research design, project governance, and dissemination of findings. Be sure to check back this spring to learn more about how you can become involved!

This award is among the first to be made through PCORI’s new Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards program. These Tier I Pipeline to Proposal awards provide seed funds to encourage the development of partnerships and research project ideas among individuals and groups who want to take an active role in health research but may not have opportunities to do so.

Our project was selected by review panels made up of patients, stakeholders, and researchers. All projects are approved pending a programmatic and budget review by PCORI staff and negotiation of a formal contract.

PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions. PCORI's expanding portfolio now includes 279 patient-centered studies and initiatives. PCORI has awarded a total of $464.4 million since it began funding patient-centered comparative effectiveness research in 2012. For more information about PCORI, visit

Thursday, December 19, 2013

White legs in the wintertime

Unless you've visited a tropical island (jealous) or a tanning salon (tsk tsk) recently, chances are your legs are looking a little "pasty" by mid-December. I just got back from a trip to Michigan for Tim's brother's wedding, where I decided to wear a new LBD and peep-toe pumps despite the fact that it was 18 degrees and snowing. Usually I wear tights with dresses and skirts when it's freezing out, but when it comes to a semi-formal wedding or holiday party, there are times when I'm faced with the inevitable: baring my white legs in public.

Of all my body parts, I have always been most self conscious of my legs--especially without a tan. I toyed with the idea of buying some Jergens self tanner, but ultimately decided against it. If nothing else, it was a good reminder that even I sometimes fall prey to vanity and the peer pressure to maintain a tan year round. When I see even my friends continue to tan (even the UV-free kind) I can't help but wonder what they think of me and my white legs. After all, unlike some of my other silly worries (e.g., Is everyone staring at the zit on my chin?), people have made comments about my legs. They did it when I was in 8th grade and they've continued to do it since I was diagnosed with skin cancer. I admit that my legs look smoother and slimmer with a tan than without, but I also realize that my health is more important than how thin my thighs look. I just hate that I sometimes still feel like I should be hiding beneath closed-toed shoes, tights, and leggings.

What about you? Do you bare your legs in the winter?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Winter is coming: cold weather essentials

Please pardon the double entendre. I just finished book four in the Game of Thrones series, and it's true! Winter really is coming. Here are a few of my cold-weather favorites.

Winter is coming

Burberry earmuffs
Not a hat person? Me neither. Earmuffs are great for keeping warm sans hat hair. I have a pair I found on clearance at JCrew that I love, but I wouldn't mind a pair of these from Burberry. A girl can dream, right?

OPI glitter nail polish
Throughout the month of December, I keep my manicure festive with a coat of silver or gold glitter over my regular nail color. It's a foolproof way to add a little sparkle to your look.

Dr. Jart BB Cream with SPF 25
Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can ditch the sunscreen. Every morning, I use a moisturizer with sunscreen to protect against sun damage and premature aging. Feeling lazy? A BB cream with SPF built in keeps skin hydrated, protected, and helps even skin tone. This one is super moisturizing and the coverage is light enough that it works with my fair skin tone.

L'Occitane hand cream
My skin gets extremely dry in the winter, and my cuticles are a lost cause. I love this super-rich hand cream so much that I keep a tube of it on my desk at work.

JCrew cashmere infinity scarf
Earlier this fall, my friend hosted a scarf exchange. A solid 90 percent of scarves exchanged were "infinity scarves"--and with good reason. They're warm, stylish, and comfy.

Peppermint hot chocolate
The ultimate winter-time beverage. Reminds me of being a kid, in a good way.