Saturday, April 23, 2011

Operation Relaunch Career Unveiling Party / Fundraising Event

We all had a fabulous night at the Carmichael Salon, not only presenting an unveiling of our 3 ORC winners, but also celebrating their successes with the ORC Team Members, clients, family, neighbors and friends. And so many people and organizations to thank. Stay tuned for photos and video from this special evening.

And not only did we get to share the successes with everyone, we also were able to raise funds to help Support for Families of Children with Disabilities.

And along with our ORC Team Members donating their time and talents, we'd also like to thank the following people for donating time and services:

Josh Alexander CMT

Abigail Baker

Blick Art Supplies

Chaos Tamer/Rhea Abahazy

Charles Communications/Kimberly Charles

Cheeko B/Kattya Breitenbach

Honey Honey Cafe and Crepery

Huntington Hotel

Liam Mayclem

Meyerovich Gallery

Mission Beach Cafe/Bill Clarke

Nancy Mueller Photography

San Francisco Building and Home Cleaning/Luis Ramirez

ThriveSF/Andrew Duffy

Total Staffing Solutions, Inc./Cindy Fassler

Without their support we could not have done it all. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Renewed Sense of Hope

Hello blog friends. Sorry that I've been away, but now that I am a working woman again, life has been very busy. I have to say that I am thrilled to be working and am happy to be busy learning new things, rebuilding my skills, meeting new people and collecting a paycheck again.

I can't express enough how wonderful and helpful the journey has been with the Operation Relaunch Career "Dream Team" members.

My most recent experience has been working with Dr. Jeannie Tsai, meeting with her and her pleasant staff for a consultation. I do have to admit I was very nervous and a bit anxious about working with Dr. Tsai, but she made me feel very comfortable with her pleasant and professional manner. I was given literature to read and browsed through a binder of "before and after" photos of her clients. She let me know that I did not have to do anything I didn't want to do, and that it was totally up to me as to which procedures would be done.

Right away we discussed the many options available to me and she recommended a procedure using Juvaderm. She explained that with most women my age, gravity starts taking over, and that I had lost a lot of muscle around my mouth, which was creating what most people refer to as jowls around the mouth, as well as deep creases around my nose area. This gives the appearance of frowning and she felt that Juvaderm would be helpful.

After getting all this information I knew I had some big decisions to make. And then after talking to some family and friends and discussing the recommended procedures and the possible side effects, I decided to work with Dr. Tsai.

I made an appointment for the following week and have to say that looking back, it was pretty painless. Dr. Tsai once again reassured me that the results would be well worth it and that everything would be fine, and it was! She walked me through the whole procedure explaining step-by-step what she was doing and didn't proceed with anything without my permission.

I have to say that I like what I now see in the mirror and the changes are so subtle that people haven't really taken any notice. They know something is different, but don't know what that is until I tell them.

Thank you Dr. Tsai. You earned my trust and so generously gave your gift of youth to us and made us all feel beautiful in our own skin again. I am so very thankful tht I have been given this opportunity and to be on the receiving end of such wonderful and generous gifts. It may not show on the outside, but inside, my heart is beaming with gratitude and most of all . . . a renewed sense of hope and desire to move forward and start living the new life I have been handed.

Eva Shinn

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Reveal Week - Fitness

Hi everyone, it's personal trainer Andrew signing in.

It's less than a week until the reveal party (April 21st at 6pm at the Carmichael Salon in San Francisco - yes!), and I'm meeting with Pam, Eva and Marilyn for a pre-reveal check-in.  So far, I've met with Pam and Eva, and Marilyn is scheduled for Tuesday.  (I'm looking forward to it, Marilyn!)

Pam and I met this past week.  She has good flexibility and knows that her cardio isn't her strong point, so we focused on giving her a challenge: we went for a hill walk on a beautiful San Francisco day.  It helped that we went with her dog Brody.

During a particular uphill climb, Pam and I were talking about how learning more about fitness and how personal it can be isn't only about cardio, strength training and flexibility, or the core, or weight, or bodyfat.  It's about empowerment.  Particular to Pam's situation, she's had to handle a lot of personal stressors that most people don't have to handle.  And although she hasn't been perfect with her diet or exercise routine because she's spending a lot of time and energy on dealing with those stressors, she's happy that she now has more tools to do what she needs to do when she has the time.  And she's happy with being able to handle her current stressors with grace.  I'm looking forward to the near future when Pam can really apply everything we've worked on together - she's bright and capable, and I think she'll enjoy the results like she did when we first started and she had the time.

Eva and I met this morning, and she has lost over fifteen pounds in the last three months, sometimes with no time to dedicate to exercise because she now has a job.  She walks and moves when she can, because she feels better.  Her success is largely due to her diligence with her portions and her balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables.
Today she came in saying, "I've lost weight, and now I want to start to focus on ab exercises to flatten my midsection."  That's a common thought: more stomach exercises will flatten the stomach.  And yes, they can, but there are a few important thoughts that I've shared with Eva about flattening the core:

Proper calorie intake 80% of flattening your core
Reduce the amount of bloating foods in your diet (alcohol, excess salt, processed foods) to reduce the size of your stomach
You flatten your core by using it moderately, not by doing a lot of core exercises
Your core functions best when you move your upper and lower body movement - so move your whole body for a fitter, more functional core

That means:
When eating at home or dining out, have sauces and dressings on the side.  There's a good chance you're consuming too much salt when eating out and that you're bloated.  
Drink water instead of alcohol. Even though you might be having the right amount of calories to lose weight, you will still have superficial bloat if you're drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a night.
Move your whole body in addition to performing a few exercises that focus on your core.
Eat clean, eat fresh.  It feels good!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pamela - Operation Relaunch Life

Hi everyone. It's Pam with an update on my progress with ORC. I am deep into makeover territory now. My latest appointments have been in the city with Dr. Jeannie Tsai at the SF Aesthetics and Laser Center.

Before my initial consultation regarding filler injections with Dr. Tsai, I did alot of consulting with my friends and relatives as to whether I should even consider the procedure. On the one hand, as a natural healer type, I tend to shy away from anything artificial or potentially toxic, so I really had to weigh if this was for me. On the other hand, this is a HUGE, once-in-a-lifetime gift, and though I wouldn't have given it to myself (my financial priorities primarily being my children and their education), I rationalized that this opportunity could potentially enhance my ability to provide better for my children in the future, so I wanted to give it my full consideration.

Hearing people's opinions on this procedure was interesting. As I had expected, the more holistic, healthy types tended to give the thumbs down. Younger people tended to almost scoff, though they're the first to tattoo or pierce themselves to enhance their appearance. The men I know generally said, "you look fine the way you are, why would you want to do this."? When asking the opinion of the women my age, they were almost unanimously thumbs up, and dare I say some were even a tinge envious.

My initial meeting with Dr. Tsai was very positive and exciting. She has a lovely and easy going manner. She thoroughly explained the procedure, in which a gel is injected into areas of the face to plump up the skin where there is sagging and where tissue has been lost. The gel is composed of hyaluronic acid, a natural substance found in the body which has been chemically changed by cross-linking the molecules to make them more stable. This way the gel doesn't breakdown as quickly in the body, so the results can last months, and in some areas years. How long the filler stays put depends on how active the muscles are in that part of the face. For instance, the areas around the eyes and nose last longer than around the mouth. Dr. Tsai had reconfirmed that the risks are minimal, and she has never seen an allergic reaction to the gel.

From what I've read about filler, it's all about how skillfull and aesthetically oriented the injector is, and I trusted Dr. Tsai completely. Allowing someone to inject filler into your face requires alot of trust, and I was confident that she had not only the medical expertise, but also had the artistic sensibility to successfully remodel my face. She also showed me several  before and after photos of patients, including herself. Not only did she impress me with her competence, but her thoughtful communication and sensitivity to giving me exactly what I wanted from the procedure. Together we made a plan regarding which areas of my face to inject, and also talked about the importance of follow-up visits.

On the day of my first appointment I was quite nervous, worrying about any possible bruising and hoping I wasn't going to regret this decision in any way. Dr. Tsai had already heard all my concerns and she immediately put me at ease as she began the numbing of my lips with a topical anesthesia as they are the most sensitive area. She then began the injections on the right side of my face. After multiple injections, and many breaks in between to check out the progress in the mirror, my face did instantly look plumped up. The entire procedure took just over an hour, going by very fast, with any pain or discomfort overshadowed by my curiosity and fascination with the entire process. There was a point where we stopped and Dr. Tsai asked if this was enough or did we want to do more. We decided to do a little bit more in the lower lip and around the eyes (I can see how some people might over do this, thinking more is better). Six or seven vials of Juvaderm later, I had a new face, a face that for the most part that looked brighter and happier. We took copious amounts of before and after photos and it was very easy to see the improvements made in my lips, nasolabial folds, cheeks, forehead and around my eyes. The immediate results were pretty amazing if you study the before and after photos. But if you were to just look at the whole face, from a more gestalt perspective, the impression of improvement is more subtle.

The days following the injections there was some minor bruising and a few areas that had a lumpy feeling, and I did have to adapt to my lips feeling puffed up. On my follow up visit Dr. Tsai did notice some swelling that she said was not a problem and that would go down soon. What's amazing is that the gel can continue to be molded into place with firm pressure, and Dr. Tsai encouraged me to come in for additional follow up visits if I had any discomfort or concerns. Oddly, I have felt happier since doing the procedure, maybe relieved that it turned out so great. But also, I wonder if it's like the phenomenon people describe of putting a smile on your face and actually feeling happier, even if you didn't start out that way.

One really unexpected surprise came as a result of this procedure. People often told me that my mother and I shared a very strong resemblance. My dear mother passed away over a year ago after a long battle with brain cancer, which eroded her mind and spirit, and devastated her once bright appearance. Sadly, watching her slowly die in that way, and all the accompanying grief, left me with the experience of seeing my dying mother's face in my own reflection. But unexpectedly when I looked in the rear view mirror while driving home from my appointment with Dr. Tsai, I didn't see that sad dying face anymore. I was astonished to see the earlier me, the one before all the hardship. It felt like having a reset, a fresh start. What an unexpected gift. Thank you to Dr. Tsai and her staff and all the wonderful people involved in Operation Relaunch Career.

Sometimes I notice it is hard for me to accept all these wonderful gifts I am being given as a result of winning this life changing contest, but please know I am filled with appreciation and gratitude, and that you all have made a wonderful difference in my life. One of my friends had even said, "Your experience should be called Operation Relaunch Life."

Pamela Mulvey

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pam's Job Search Update

Pam is well on her way to finding herself back in the work force. Some of the things that we have done to help her achieve her goals are as follows:

<!** Revised her resume and cover letter to better reflect her skills and experience.
<!** Talked about interview questions and how to answer them.
<!** Reviewed various tips and tricks for the job search process for her very specific chiropractic field.
<!** Discussed how her interviewing attire should reflect both comfort and the holistic side of her field  with natural fibers. Also about how she should avoid synthetic perfumes and strong scents.
<!** Follow-up strategies once she’s applied and interviewed for various positions.

So far she’s had two interviews and one offer that was not a good fit for what she was looking for. She is currently submitting her resume for qualified positions that fit her experience. 

Operation Relaunch Career Unveiling Party

Mark your calendars to help us celebrate the unveiling of our lovely ORC winners.

Thursday, April 21st - 6 pm to 9 pm - Come and celebrate their success while
benefiting Support for Families with Children and Disabilities (SFCD).

It will be a special night with LOTS of special surprises, including a silent auction,
celebrity bartender . . . . . you won't want to miss this.

No need to RSVP, but we'd love to hear if you'll be joining us for this fun evening.
Email to:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Catching up on the Blog

Hi Everyone! It's Pam again with an update.

Since my last post I have gone through an extended interview process, which has been a great learning experience and a confidence-builder.  As Cindy Fassler has pointed out, I am interviewing the prospective employers as well, to determine if the job is a good fit for me. As it turned out, this wasn't the job for me, but I am feeling well prepared for the next interview, which I hope will be soon!

Micki Turner, our dream team fashion consultant, met with us at Cindy Fassler's office to discuss wardrobe ideas.

It was fun getting together, and Micki was very helpful. She gave some feedback a few outfits and helped me create a short list of items to purchase in order to present myself more professionally, which includes a tote (to replace my overly casual handbag and accommodate a resume folder). I also need appropriate shoes, such as flats or wedges in a neutral color (apparently"nude" is in!), plus a cardigan which is a nice, softer alternative to a blazer or jacket. She followed up with some t-shirt ideas, which  if they have a crisp neckline can look put together with accessories! Micki addressed adding more color to basic black with scarves. So basically: keep the style simple, but have some style!

Cindy has continued to be a great support in the job search, continuously giving me tips and encouragement, such as recommending that I send a hand written thank you note following an interview. It helps that she acknowledges the process, and emphasizes building one's sense of self-worth.

There's much more to catch up on next time. I need to get back on my training schedule, which has been hard to keep up with so many other demands on my time. I promised Andrew Duffy I'd get in at least 2 workouts per week.

Until then, best to all.