Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom! :: ONE DAY Susan Designer Hospital Gown {birthday} SALE

Tonight our family will be going out to dinner to celebrate our mom and best friend Susan's birthday. She taught us the importance of family and we are SO blessed to have her as our mom! She has always supported us in everything we've done...from following her footsteps to careers in nursing to starting Annie & Isabel, which has been more wonderful than we ever could have imagined! She is always there to listen and knows just what to say...or not! As most of you know...we named our "Susan" zebra print hospital gown after her. With each gown that we ship out, a card is laid upon it with these words that say it perfectly...

To celebrate her birthday...We're offering a one-day-only 20% discount on The Susan Gown. Use the code "CelebrateSusan" today {October 27th} in our shop

Happy Birthday Mom! We love you SO much!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

::Wednesday Warrior:: Brandie's Story

We are happy to introduce you to this weeks Annie & Isabel "Wednesday Warrior", Brandie. We have been following Brandie's blog and battle with breast cancer for the past 6 months and find her to be such an inspiration! She is currently rockin' her "Annie" Annie & Isabel hospital gown for radiation treatments. We'd love if you read Brandie's story below then leave a comment or visit her blog to cheer her on! She has been feeling exhausted this week from radiation and we hope our Annie & Isabel love will bring her a smile today! 

"Just about 6 months ago, my world was turned upside down when I learned I had breast cancer... Hearing the news was just so shocking. I imagine it's always shocking to get that sort of news, but the thing is... I had no idea I might even have cancer. You see, my mom had breast cancer when she was 30. So my doctor sent me to get my baseline mammogram solely based on my mom's history. The doctor even told me she didn't see anything going on, so don't worry. It was just going to be a baseline. When the mammogram showed that something was going on and I found myself having to get a biopsy, none of it seemed to make sense. 

I am 31 years old. I have 3 kids to raise. Breast cancer had no place in my life. And yet, there I was, trying to process some of the hardest news I've had in my life. The doctor appointments felt never ending. Decisions has to be made. Treatment plans mapped out. Babysitters to be found and a huge fight that needed to be fought. 

3 weeks after diagnosis, I was at the hospital having a double mastectomy. My hospital stay?... It was the longest I'd been away from my two youngest kids, and only one other time was I away from my oldest for that long. It was so hard. 

A month later... chemotherapy started. 16 weeks of chemotherapy - 4 different medicines being pumped into my body. 

Now it's time for me to start radiation. It has gotten off to a rocky start... there were some issues with being able to get the radiation to where I needed it to be. Thankfully, those issues are resolved so now I can get back to kicking cancer's butt. 

Brandie {far left} with her parents and sisters
I won't lie. It is hard. This road is full of many bumps, some bigger than others. The love and support from my family and friends have helped me get through it all. The other thing that has helped me get through this is blogging. I love having that outlet. I've been honest- maybe too honest some days - on my blog about everything going on. It's been such an important part of the acceptance process and the healing process. For me being able to share, has taken away the power of cancer and put it back into my hands. So much right now is out of my control. The feeling like I'm getting some of it back...? Well, that's amazing!!"

Brandie in her Annie hospital gown ready to take on style!

Friday, October 14, 2011

ABC Primetime Drama Private Practice Features Annie & Isabel Hospital Gowns!

A few months back we received an order for twelve Isabel gowns in various sizes from ABC Studios! We couldn't help feeling SO excited at the thought of Annie & Isabel making it's primetime debut! Last night was the night! Our Isabel gown was spotted in the Oceanside Wellness Group of Addison's "Private Practice".  Here are a few screen shots and a link below so you can see it for yourself. We must say that the actress looked gorgeous and the gown looked so beautiful on her, don't you think?! Thank you to everyone for you support and excitement along with us! 

Watch the episode HERE on
{2 minutes 10 seconds into the episode...not too long to wait!}

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday Warrior ~ Breast Cancer Survivor Makes Her Passion Her Mission

Today's Wednesday warrior is Elyn Jacobs. Elyn, her mom, and sister all battled breast cancer. Elyn was her mom's main advocate and it was this experience as well as her own that made her realize how important it is to have someone be an advocate for you when going through a diagnosis such as cancer.  As nurses we KNOW this to be true. We feel blessed to be in the medical field and have used our knowledge to advocate for many family members and friends during their own medical ordeals. 

Elyn was so passionate about the need for people to have advocates when dealing with a cancer diagnosis that she left her job on Wall Street, where she had worked for 23 years, to start her own business of being what she calls a "cancer coach." She helps anyone dealing with a cancer diagnosis navigate through the medical system.  Her story is wonderful and we feel so strongly about what she is doing that we thought she was the perfect person to be our Wednesday warrior!!  When you read her story below, you will know why she is such a brave warrior in a world that can be hard to navigate with a cancer diagnosis. 

"My mother succumbed to breast cancer in 2007, after a long, grueling battle.  I was diagnosed just prior to her death and my sister a year later.  My mother always said “I never meant to get cancer.”  Nobody intends to get it and nobody should ever feel at fault for getting cancer. I never meant to get it either, so after battling breast cancer I realized that I would do everything possible to avoid a recurrence.  I began with extensive research to better understand the causes which led to certain lifestyle changes I have made. Cancer is a multifactorial disease.  Simply put, several elements combine to either produce or eliminate a cancer cell. By changing the environment in which cancer was permitted to grow, you reduce its ability to take hold again. I exercise, but no longer so intensely that I compromise my immune system.  I gradually changed my diet to a mostly plant based one, and cut back on my wine intake. Some people eat to live and some live to eat.  I do both, I just make better choices now and concentrate on foods with cancer fighting nutrients. I take supportive supplements to strengthen my immune system. I have taken steps to reduce my stress, adding yoga and other relaxation modalities into my routine.  I avoid situations that I know will be stressful, such as opting to take a taxi rather than drive on a rainy day in traffic.

Elyn with her beautiful boys
From beginning to end of my journey, I had an incredible team of doctors who empowered me to take control of the situation.  My questions were answered, my voice heard. When faced with a life threatening disease, you can acquire amazing strength if you have a solid plan and strong team behind you. I reflected on my mother’s ordeal, and in remembering all the errors and near mishaps, I came to realize that likely my experience was far better than most. 
Elyn's mother 4 months before she succumbed to breast cancer
My mother’s journey was strife with episodes of doctor’s orders, not teamwork, and I had to intervene many times. I remember one particularly disturbing occurrence. She had just endured some substantial surgery for recurrence when her doctor called to say a follow up scan detected a spot on her lung.  The doctor recommended a biopsy procedure resembling open heart surgery.  I explained that my mother was very weak and that such invasive surgery would kill her.  The doctor gave us no options.  I began calling other facilities to see if there was some other way.  I soon learned that my mother could likely have a needle biopsy.  I called a doctor I knew at the New York City location of my mother’s cancer center and asked why this was not an option for her.  He calmly explained that of course it is, but that the adjunct facility simply is not aware of this option.  I was stunned.  This was a prominent cancer facility. The needle biopsy was performed in New York, no cancer; we could have lost her to an unnecessary surgical biopsy. Many women find it a challenge to find a doctor who can hear and respond to her opinions and questions, and all too often women are pushed into a path for treatment that does not suit her core needs or desires.

I found my new passion.  I wanted to be the voice.  I wanted to make sure that all women were heard by their doctors and received the best possible care. I wanted to help women to reduce their risk of recurrence. I wanted others to know the value of complementary therapies during and post treatment. I wanted to help others get past their cancer and into cancer-free lives. I became a cancer coach.

Elyn's favorite spot...the beach in front of her parent's beach house...beautiful!!

I have been successful in helping women better understand their diagnoses and treatment options and in helping them choose the right team and path for treatment. Cancer treatment requires an individualized plan, as every cancer is unique and there is not one plan for treatment that fits the needs of all.

Information is power. My goal is to get this information to women and to empower them to make the best choices for them, for their cancer. I accompany women on visits to the doctor where I take notes and ensure the tough questions get asked.  I know that under these circumstances, it is very difficult to concentrate on all that a doctor is saying. Together we choose a team, even if that means second or even third opinions and firing a few doctors. Once team and treatment plans are chosen, we work together through the process. I feel strongly that no woman should have to face cancer alone.

My role is not often easy, but I want to make a difference.  Helping others has helped me to heal, and the appreciation of my clients tells me I am making a difference."  

To learn more about Elyn's mission and clients, please visit:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shannon Welcomes Her Third Daughter In The Elizabeth & Annie Designer Hospital Gowns

We have been so excited to post this beautiful testimonial from Shannon which chronicles the arrival of her third daughter. You may recognize the gorgeous work from Bisharat Photography and we feel honored that our Annie & Isabel designer hospital gowns were the backdrop to such a special day! Brenda Bisharat is available to photograph your birth if you live in the Sacramento area, something that we both did with our youngest sons - unfortunately before Annie & Isabel came about! She took these photographs of Shannon before, during, and the day after her daughter arrived. Thank you to Brenda and to Shannon for sharing them with us!

Here is what Shannon wrote about her experience wearing her Annie & Isabel designer hospital gowns:

"During my pregnancy, I learned that one of my daughter's classmates mom was one of the designers of Annie & Isabel.  I knew then that I had to don one of these adorable gowns during my hospital stay for baby # 3.

So, it was such a treat when during my maternity photo session, our wonderful photographer, Brenda Bisharat, surprised me with two beautiful Annie & Isabel gowns.  We were expecting our third daughter - so the Annie and Elizabeth were perfect.  The gowns were washed, ironed and packed weeks before my due date - just in case!  There was no way I would wear any old gown."

"While at the hospital in labor, I wore the Elizabeth.  I walked and walked that short hallway in my adorable gown and heads turned every time! Nurses and other patients couldn't help but comment and ask where I got it - or if it was provided by the hospital.  I proudly replied, "No, it is Annie & Isabel - it was a gift."  Big belly and all, I received tons of compliments."

"Even as the team of doctors and nurses came in when the baby was born, they couldn't believe how adorable the gown was, and that I was actually wearing it during labor!  The yellow and fun polka dot pattern made me feel so happy and comfy."

"Once I was moved up to my private room, I changed into the Annie gown.  It was so nice to feel "pretty" just after delivery!  And to be so comfortable, I felt like a princess!"

"Thanks to Brenda Bisharat and Annie & Isabel for helping us moms feel extra special! I only wish I had them for my first two deliveries:-)."

~Shannon, Sacramento, CA

Do you know about our partnership with Brenda Bisharat Photography for local moms-2-be?  
With the purchase of an Annie & Isabel designer hospital gown, Brenda Bisharat will come to the hospital the day after your delivery for a complimentary photo session of you and your new baby! In addition to the session, Brenda includes a free 5x7 and will put up a nice slideshow that you can share with family and friends.  Click the link below for more information. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Blessings of Caregivers

October is breast cancer awareness month and we thought it would also be nice to bring awareness to caregivers....the very people that directly support their loved ones through a cancer diagnosis.  These are mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, husbands, wives, companions and friends.  We saw this video on the blog of Erika Sudz, who is also battling breast cancer.  This beautiful video by Martina McBride was so touching that we also wanted to share it as it is a a true testament to the caregivers in the lives of those who battle any chronic illness.

If you had a caregiver that helped you through a tough time or you were a caregiver, please share your story by commenting at the end of this post. 

She dropped the phone and burst into tears
The doctor just confirmed her fears
Her husband held it in and held her tight
Cancer don’t discriminate or care if you’re just 38
With three kids who need you in their lives
He said, "I know that you’re afraid and I am, too
But you’ll never be alone, I promise you"

When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.

She made it through the surgery fine
They said they caught it just in time
But they had to take more than they planned
Now it's forced smiles and baggy shirts
To hide what the cancer took from her
But she just wants to feel like a woman again
She said, "I don't think I can do this anymore"
He took her in his arms and said "That's what my love is for"

When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.

And when this road gets too long
I'll be the rock you lean on
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.
I’m gonna love you through it. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bras and Quilts to Support Breast Cancer

While I was at work on Monday I had to run to get a TB test which nurses working in the Emergency Room are required to do annually.  The test was administered in one of our buildings across the street, the Sutter Cancer Center.  As I ran over there I was struck by a sea of beauty!!  I forgot that, because it is breast cancer awareness month, there would be a huge display of quilts all around the building.  Each quilt is auctioned off and all the proceeds go to support breast cancer research and treatment programs through Sutter Medical Center. It is such an amazing program and a great way to touch the hearts of so many people.  The quilts are left up in the building for the month of October and each quilt is usually made in honor of someone who battled or is battling cancer. 

I thought I would share the news story our local television station, KCRA channel 3, recently aired showing off the beautiful quilts as almost all of us have been touched by cancer in some way.

One of the programs supported by this auction is the Navigator Program which we also support through the sales of our Annie & Isabel "Elizabeth" hospital gown.  Mary Pare, who runs the Navigator program, speaks in the video clip above.  You can read how we are giving back here: 

If you are interested in looking at more of the quilts or bidding on them online you can go to the Sutter Medical Center website link below:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

::Wednesday Warrior:: Anne Is "Livin' The Green" After Being Diagnosed With Breast Cancer While She Was 8 Months Pregnant

We thought we would kick off our October "Annie & Isabel Warrior" features with Anne Hamilton who has an inspiring story and is such a great example of living your best life! Anne was 8 months pregnant with her third son when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. We first learned about Anne's story when several people ordered our hospital gowns for her to wear during her upcoming birth and surgeries. We thought that was such a testament to what a special person she is {and now WE know that to be SO true!}.

Anne is cancer free {woohoo!!} and has started a beautiful blog that follows along in her journey to lead a healthy and clean lifestyle called Livin' The Green. We know that life is busy and there is never enough time, but we highly recommend subscribing to Anne's posts {top right corner of her blog} and you will be happy that you did. It took having breast cancer for Anne to basically change her life overnight... but, even if you make small changes... they all add up, right?!

Anne is now a beauty consultant for 100% Pure. All products are synthetic-, fragrance-, paraben-, and toxin free. We have tried a few of her products and love them! We LOVE the organic coffee bean caffeine eye cream. To learn more about 100% Pure - read HERE.

Here is Anne just moments after her sweet boy was born with so much on her mind for the upcoming weeks. We are so happy to share her inspirational story with all of you! To read her full testimonial about her experience wearing her Annie & Isabel gowns - read HERE.

Anne, you are a true warrior and we are so blessed to have gotten to know you over the last year.