The Journey of 39.3 miles began a long time ago…

handsI am a survivor.  Not only once, not twice, but three times.  I was only the 34 the first time I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  My children were young.  My son was 12, my daughter 6.  We had no health insurance. My husband was working freelance, as was I.  We simply couldn’t afford it.  We were young and didn’t ever think of cancer as something we’d have to deal with.  But there it was.  The disease is difficult as it is.  Add in young children, the fear of the financial aspect of it and feeling a burden on the family(they wouldn’t even admit me to the hospital for surgery until we put $2K down on the credit card) – that’s because I didn’t want to go to the county hospital.  And a few years prior we had adopted our son whose bio mom had died of cancer – imagine how he was feeling.  Emotional and scary stuff.

The second and third diagnoses –  breast cancer and colon cancer – was 19 years later.  My children had grown, and I had moved on to another job where insurance was provided.  My “pre-existing condition” was far enough in the past.  I was diagnosed after my first colonoscopy….and while recuperating from surgery went for my annual mammogram.  The very day I went back to work I got the call that I needed to come in for a biopsy.  The found cancer again.  The following week we scheduled the mastectomy and reconstruction.  It was still scary, and stressful, but only this time I had insurance.  And just having that made it so much easier to bear.  It was easier to breathe, easier to heal.

After my first 5 years of being cancer free, I celebrated by walking in the first Avon Walk.  This was back in ’98 when it was a 3 day.  We walked from Santa Barbara to Malibu a fundraiser for breast cancer.  The following year, I did it again….and again. I took a break from fundraising for a little while..and for a few years I worked on the crew.  But this year I’ll be walking again.  It’s my 12th year participating.  I can’t stop walking.

In September, I’ll be walking 39.3 miles…again in the Avon 39 Walk for Breast Cancer.  I do this because the money raised helps those who have been diagnosed and have no insurance (just like me back then), or have no access to mammography.  It puts food on the tables of underprivileged cancer patients and their family, and it funds the necessary research to advance ourselves toward a cure.

Each of us who walks has  committed to raising $1800.  I started my fundraising 2 days ago with my Avon 39 fundraising page.  Please check it out and read who I’ll be walking for.  I hope you’ll consider partnering with me.  Any amount is truly appreciated and if you have been touched by cancer, send me the name of your loved one and I will carry them with me every step of the way.

This year’s 39.3 mile journey began for me back in 1993 when I was first diagnosed.  I have been blessed with a full life, with children and now grandchildren.  I’m walking in memory of those who have lost that battle; in honor of those who are battling ALL CANCERS; and in celebration of those who have survived.  Walk with me!



White Bean Soup (Vegan)

It’s been raining here in So. Cal, more than usual.  I think maybe even the drought is over, but they’d never tell us that.  In any case, one of the things that I love to make are soups.  And Sunday morning I woke up thinking a white bean soup would be the perfect fit for a Sunday afternoon.

I use the method where you hold the beans in a boil for 10-15 minutes, and then turn off the heat and let them sit for a couple hours.   So while getting ready for church, I put the beans on to boil, turned off the heat right before I left, and let them sit til I returned.

Here’s what to do after your beans are pre-soaked:

1 pound white navy beans

2 quarts vegetable broth

1 large 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 large onion, diced

3 tbsp. olive oil

5 large cloved garlic, minced or pressed

5 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced (optional)

1 bunch organic lacinato kale, stems removed and chopped

In a pressure cooker, sauté the onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms, and carrots in olive oil until the onions are transparent.  Rinse your beans and add them to the mixture.  Add 2 quarts of vegetable broth (cartons) – or – you can add 2 quarts of water and use vegetable bouillon.  Add another 2 cups water and the can of tomatoes.  Mix together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Close the lid on your pressure cooker and watch for the valve to pop up.  Once pressure is established, cook for 40 minutes.  Turn off and let the steam subside on it’s own (this takes about another 30 minutes or so) or you can just release the steam.  When cooking beans, I’ve found that allowing the steam to subside itself makes for a creamier texture in the beans.  But if you’re hungry, release the steam!

Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning adding salt and pepper.

Serve with fresh lemon squeezed on top!

This recipe makes enough for a family and easily serves a large portion to 8 people.






“How did I get here?”  It’s a question we all ask ourselves, and for me, it’s a question that I ponder a lot when I’m sitting at my desk at my “day job”.  I grew up encouraged by my parents to be creative.  My father was a smart man: a pharmacist, a violinist, a free-thinker and my daddy.  My mom a self-taught artist who loves to write who brought love and beauty to our lives.  Our home was always filled with family and friends (old and just met) who were welcome to come by to share a meal, stay if they didn’t have a place to stay.  There were students who needed study help, musicians, poets.  There was food and music, laughter and friendship, ideas and art.

I have always been interested in art.  As I child I would fill up books and papers with drawings.  Cut-away houses and castles with detailed rooms.  Princesses and fairies and eyes.  I always drew eyes.   And I remember whenever we would read about something new that looked interesting, my father would say, “Let’s try it!” and off we’d go to learn something new.  Bead shops, stained glass stores, oriental rug weaving shops.  He opened new avenues for me.  New endeavors.  Some succeeded…some didn’t.  But it instilled in me the desire to continue to learn and to not be afraid of failure.

And through the years and onto adulthood, I have continued with my desire to create.  It’s Essential.  Necessary.  If I am not creating, I am not happy or fulfilled.  And so this year, this 2017, I have decided that I am spreading my wings.  Taking that leap of faith in myself.  In my art.  In my creative desire to be who God intended me to be.  An artist.  A dreamer.  Impulsive.  A creater of beauty.  And fun.  It’s a declaration to myself.  I am who I am.  And creativity is essential to my existence.

And so here it is.  I’m throwing myself out there to the world. My blog will encompass all my creative endeavors:

  • Art – my illustrations and drawings
  • Jewelry -my line of jewelry – Pomegranate & Eye – where I create unique pieces of jewelry with metal clays and eye beads
  • Health & Wellness- through healthy living and natural solutions using DoTerra essential oils – I teach classes in using these amazing oils to
  • Cancer Awareness – I am a 3 x cancer survivor and an advocate for cancer issues
  • Food – I am a vegan and love to create in the kitchen – so I’ll have recipes to share
  • Love, Faith & Compassion – I am a woman of faith and I try my best to put my beliefs into action.
  • Family -I am a mom, a wife, a gramma (lovingly known as Menee to our grandsons and Noonoo to our granddaughter), a daughter, a sister, a crazy auntie …
  • Myself – I put this here because I am constantly creating and re-creating myself.  I am on a path to health through BrightLine eating, yoga, prayer, and more activity.

And so lately when I ponder, “How DID I get here?”  I also ask myself, “How long am I staying?”  It’s that answer that I’m working on!  I KNOW it lies ahead,  and I’m excited to dream that dream, put it into action, and make it real!

Welcome to me – Essentially Anush!