5 Tips for Taking the Stress out of Summer Vacations

Summerkids are off school, adults have vacation time, the weather is beautiful, and it’s the perfect time to take a much-deserved vacation. Yet, unfortunately, many people’s fantasy of a relaxing vacation (sitting on a white sand beach with a drink in hand) doesn’t always work out as planned.

That’s right.

Screaming kids, forgetting to pack your swimsuit, or not being able to find an affordable plane ticket are all things that can easily ruin a vacation. Yikes!

At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we know how important it is for you (and your family) to rest, relax, and recharge. Which is why we’ve put together 5 tips that we hope will help you take the stress out of your vacation this year.

Check them out now…

Create a Packing List

Every travel destination comes with different packing needs. This is why it’s so important to take time to create a packing list to ensure you pack the appropriate attire.

Trust us, you wouldn’t want to make it all the way to Alaska and realize that you forgot your winter coat—Yes! Even in the summer months!

And just as every travel destination has different packing needs, so does every member of your family if you’re traveling with your significant other and/or children.

Heaven forbid you forget to bring your 3-year-old’s teddy bear for nighttime, and he doesn’t sleep the entire vacation. That’s stressful and no fun for anyone!

Ensure you don’t forget the essentials, and create a packing list. Review the list with whomever you are traveling with, and then check off each item on the list as you put it into your suitcase.

Invite an Extra Set of Hands to Help You on Your Trip

Inviting a friend or family member to go on your vacation to help if you have small children is a wonderful idea for many reasons.

Reason 1: If you have multiple small children, you already know how challenging traveling can be. When you have a second set of hands, you’ll have someone to sit in the backseat with child #1 when he needs help starting a movie on his iPad so you can drive in peace.

Reason 2: Safety. Parking lots, large crowds, pools/beaches, etc., are all dangerous for children. And if you have more than one child, it can be hard to keep an eye on everything to ensure everyone is safe and sound. Having a second set of eyes is a good way to keep everyone safe and happy so you can enjoy your vacation.

Reason 3: It’s nice to have the company of another adult. If you’re a single parent or are just traveling alone with your children, you know how mind-numbing constant conversations about your child’s favorite cartoon show can be. Bringing someone along with you makes it easier to have enjoyable adult conversations, whether you’re driving in the car, on a plane, or sitting at the beach.

Plan Ahead

Some people say spontaneity is the spice of life. Yet, those who went to NYC to see Hamilton without purchasing tickets in advance and missed the show would probably disagree.

If you know for sure that you want to do a specific activity, see a certain show, or go out to a special dinner, be sure to book everything in advance.

This not only takes the stress out of having to book everything last minute while you’re trying to enjoy your vacation, but it also helps ensure that you get to do the things you want to do while on vacation.

Booking ahead is also a great idea for hotels and airlines. When you plan in advance, you can watch rates and will most likely get a better deal on the cost of lodging or transportation instead of waiting to the last minute.

Provide Adequate Sleep/Rest Time

On vacation, people tend to get thrown off their normal schedules. And while adults can get moody if they don’t get enough sleep, lack of rest can be extremely detrimental for kids. We all know how stressful crying, screaming kids can be!

The good news is that there’s a simple solution to this problem. All you’ve got to do is schedule rest breaks into your day to avoid crankiness or meltdowns.

A simple hour nap or quiet break in the middle of the day can do wonders for children. You may also find, that as an adult, you also this break to relax amidst the hustle and bustle of your vacation as well.

Go into Your Vacation with the Right Mindset

It’s so easy to fantasize about the perfect vacation. After all, you’ve work so hard all year, and you clearly deserve the best vacation ever.

While it’s ok to expect the best out of your next vacation, it’s also important to have the right mindset. Not every vacation will be perfect. It may rain on your beach day. Tickets might be sold out to the dinner show you want to see. You may get a tummy ache from eating too much ice cream and have to cancel your fancy dinner reservations.

Stuff happens…and some people let the minor hiccups in a vacation ruin their entire trip. Don’t let this happen to you.

Go into your vacation with the mindset that you’re going to make the best of whatever happens on your trip. If it rains on your beach day, maybe it’s a good day to learn something new at a museum. And if you get a stomach ache from eating too much ice cream, that stinks—but at least you got to eat dessert for lunch that day! Score!

The key is flexibility. If one plan doesn’t work, have a plan B and try something different. Who knows, you might end up trying a new activity or seeing a new sight that becomes the highlight of your trip!

Go into your vacation with a mindset that you’re going to enjoy yourself no matter what happens. Travel delays, bad weather, cranky kids, etc., can wreak havoc on your trip, unless you are willing to roll with the punches and resort to a plan B if necessary. Flexibility is key.

Do you have any tips for taking the stress out of summer vacations? Share them with us in the comments below!


Gratitude: Why You Don’t Need to Find a Pot of Gold to Feel Lucky This Month

 During the month of March, people often think of lucky four-leaf clovers, chasing leprechauns, and finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It’s the month of luck after all!

Sure, finding a pot of treasure or stumbling upon a stash of golden horseshoes would be lucky, but the chances of that happening—unless you’re a treasure hunter–are slim to none.

That’s ok.

At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we believe it’s best to create your own luck, so that every day can be a great day!

Keep reading to discover some of our favorite ways you can remind yourself just how lucky you really are and show gratitude for everything you have.

Reflect on the Good Things in Life

It’s really easy to get caught reflecting on the bad things in life…like being diagnosed with cancer, losing a loved one, or being stressed out at work.

Yet, when we take a minute and begin to reflect on the good things in life, we realize there is often more good than bad happening in our lives.

Think about how lucky you are to have loving friends and family in your life that are there to support you whenever you need them. If you don’t have a lot of close friends or family, perhaps you have a pet that is always available for a snuggle.

Do you have a home, a warm bed to sleep in, and food to eat? Sadly, there are many people in the world that don’t. We consider ourselves lucky to have those things.

Chances are you’re reading this blog post from a computer or a smartphone. Just the fact that you have access to technology is very lucky! Not to mention other luxuries like electricity, a TV to watch, the ability to call friends and family via your cell phone, etc.

You see, when you start thinking about how many good things you have in your life, you don’t need “leprechaun magic” to realize just how good you have it!

Volunteer or Help Those in Need

Sometimes the best way to realize how lucky we are is put ourselves in the same room as those who aren’t as lucky.

The best way to do this is volunteering.

Working a soup kitchen is a great way to remind ourselves how lucky we are to have food in our stomach.

Volunteering at a homeless shelter is a wonderful way to remind ourselves how fortunate we are to have our own beds to sleep in.

And spending time with sick children or adults in a hospital is the best way to show us how lucky we are for our good health—regardless of the health issues you’ve faced in the past.

Volunteer for a cause that is close to your heart, and I promise you won’t need to find a pot of gold to feel rich in your blessings.

Create Your Own Luck

Good fortune is often the result of a lot of hard work.

Think about it…many millionaires who own thriving businesses started with nothing, working out of their garages. But, with hard work, they now live a very fortunate lifestyle.

If you feel as if you’ve been stuck in a rut without any good luck, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, follow your dreams, and create your own good luck for the future.

Have the tools and resources you need to start your dream business? Do it!

Need to finish your college degree to help make a comfortable life for you and your family? Hit the books!

Do you dream of traveling the world? Start saving a little money each month to make that dream a reality.

With a little hard work and planning, you’ll have the potential to do whatever you set your mind to—how lucky is that!

How do you make your own luck? Let us know in the comments below!

Our resident Canadian Geese are back and are expecting!


It’s  “Baby Watch” 2016 at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction!!!


 Meet Edith and Archie. These beautiful geese reside outside of our Mt. Pleasant office.  Edith began resting on her nest just a few weeks ago with her mate Archie right by her side protecting her and their eggs from harm.  Believe me, Archie will let you know when you get too close for comfort.  This picture was taken while he was warning me!    

We’ll keep an eye out on them over the next few months and share their progress aloing with lots of photos once the babies arrive.    

Keep watching & Happy Spring!!  



Our residents Edith and Archie                         archie goose

October 15: BRA Day USA

BRA day usa ribbon

Closing the Loop on Breast Cancer

It’s a fact: many women eligible for breast reconstruction following cancer surgery are not being properly informed of their options.

The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Campaign–a collaborative effort between the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Plastic Surgery Foundation, plastic surgeons specializing in breast reconstruction, nurse navigators, corporate partners, and breast cancer support groups–hopes to change this.

Statistics show:

  • Eighty-nine percent of women want to see successful breast reconstruction surgery results before undergoing cancer treatment.
  • Less than a quarter (23 percent) of women know the wide range of breast reconstruction options available.
  • Only 22 percent of women are familiar with the quality of outcomes that can be expected.
  • Only 19 percent of women understand that the timing of their treatment for breast cancer and the timing of their decision to undergo reconstruction greatly impacts their options and results.


Breast cancer does not discriminate, and while every journey is unique, all breast cancer patients have the right to know their reconstruction options. Click here to meet our team and learn more about our practice, success stories, and natural reconstruction surgery.

10 Breast Cancer Fundraising Ideas

<alt="fundraising"/>If you’re looking for a different approach to raising awareness for breast cancer, we’ve got you covered. The list of ideas below will help you get interested people to participate in a worthy and very important cause. Use these tips for yourself, or forward this list to your favorite business, colleagues, loved ones, and friends, and get them involved in the fight against breast cancer.


  1. Get active. You will see plenty of 5k runs and walkathons for breast cancer, but those are not the only physical activities you can participate in or host to support this cause. You can also swim, play tennis, or even golf for breast cancer. The more people who support breast cancer, the more money your community can raise for research.
  2.  Dress up. Get your office to wear pink for an entire week. Surely this will get the attention of clients, guests, and coworkers. It also gives a great chance for you to explain why’re everyone has pink clothes on, allowing you the perfect opportunity to ask for a donation. Make sure to post photos of your group on social media, in company emails, etc. to spread the word. Maybe your office isn’t onboard with this idea? Do this with a group of friends.
  3.  Check Meetup. Meetup is a website for people to form groups and participate in face-to-face activities. Check Meetup for breast cancer fundraising activities in your city, and get involved with your community.
  4.  Have a yard sale. Have a lot of stuff piling in your garage? With a yard sale, you can get rid of things you don’t need, make money, and forward all profits to a breast cancer organization of your choice. Plus, people are more likely to buy your stuff when you support a fantastic cause!
  5.  Create fliers. Fliers are great way to raise awareness. You can make thousands of them for just pennies, and you’ll reap the rewards in a big way. You can use fliers to show that your business or organization supports the fight against breast cancer, and you can promote upcoming awareness events, 5Ks, walks, and fundraisers.
  6.  Organize with your local Chamber of Commerce. Create partnerships with other local businesses and groups who support breast cancer. Doing so will broaden your message to a larger group of people. Referrals a great way to get people to donate.
  7.  Have a car wash. Get your neighborhood together and get the word out about a donation based car wash. Offer to wash cars for free and mention that you’re raising funds for breast cancer research. People will love the idea of having a clean car, and they’ll thank you for your commitment to raising awareness for breast cancer and donate to your cause.
  8.  Volunteer. You don’t have to start your own fundraising movement—there are many fundraising organizations out there who need help and lots of volunteers! This is something to keep in mind if you’re struggling to come up with an original breast cancer fundraising strategy, or you don’t have the time to create your own event.
  9.  Have a BBQ. Ask a local BBQ place to offer food at a significant discount in support of breast cancer. Tell them you will organize the event, and they just need to bring the grub! They’ll be able to support a good cause, you’ll raise money, and they now have new customers who have tasted their food. They get free marketing and PR for partnering with you at your event.
  10.  Create a trend. Surely you’ve seen the popular ice bucket challenge happening right now. The sensation has currently raised $44 million dollars for ALS! You can create a similar trend for breast cancer. If it catches on, you could be responsible for millions of dollars for breast cancer research!

The most important thing to keep in mind when starting a fundraiser is to take action. Someone has to get out there and get the ball rolling—it could be you.


Photo Credit: HowardLake

September: Charleston Events Roundup

<alt="arial act"/>The year is almost over! Time goes by quickly when you’re having fun, right? Thanks to these exciting Charleston events for September, it will be October before you know it. Don’t miss these opportunities to have some fun!


September 1: Beating the Surf

Join Capt. Ben Floyd at 6:30 p.m. at the Mt. Pleasant shop, as he covers everything from rod & reel selection, to bait and tackle, to which tides work in your favor. Surf Fishing is a great way to get anglers of all ages catching fish. Whether it’s bull redfish or bull sharks, the surf has it all.

Come enjoy a few drinks, learn some new skills and enjoy 10% off everything during the night of the seminar.

To register, please e-mail jj@thecharlestonangler.com. For more information, please visit this website.  


September 2, 7, 9, 14, 17, 21, 26, 30: Sherlock Holmes and the Charleston History Mystery

Join Sherlock Holmes for an Historical City Tour truly for everyone — where without ever leaving your theatre seat you will explore Charleston’s past, present, and … other worlds. Should you choose to volunteer, you may actually participate and play a victim, villain, or vile vision in The Case of Sherlock Holmes and the Charleston History Mystery!

$24 Adults, $22 College/Military, $15 Children 12 and Under.

Please see the website for showtimes and to purchase tickets.


September – Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday: Evenings in the Market

The weekly event, designed to showcase local artists, food vendors and designers, is from 6:30-10:30 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from March through December.

For additional information, please visit this website.  


September 6: Downward Facing RiverDog

Come and enjoy some yoga at the Joe! International Yoga Instructor, Kathryn Budig, will be at the Joe teaching some yoga moves on the field. Gates open at 9 a.m. Yoga on the field is from 10-11 a.m. There will be free parking, live music by Estee Gabay and a cash bar featuring mimosas and bloody marys. All levels are welcome. The class will be playful and enjoyable for all. $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

For more information, please visit the website.  


September – Every Wednesday: Fall Wine Strolls

Sip and stroll in a different garden location each week while sampling old and new world wines. The season ends with a Masquerade Wine Stroll Finale on October 29!

Time: 6 – 8 p.m.

Cost: $20/online, $25/gate ($5 off for Foundation members).

For more information, please visit the website.


September 14: Dance with Dragons

The 2nd Annual Dance with Dragons offers a beautiful evening of outdoor circus arts performances including hooping, acroyoga, serial silks, slacklining, and juggling playshops. Spectate, play, perform, gawk, share, and make new friends. You might be tempted to run away to the circus afterwards!

This year’s even benefits Dragon Boat Charleston, a non-profit that promotes physical and mental wellness among local cancer survivors and their community.

4:00 p.m .- 8:00 p.m.

$5 for adults, kids attend free.

For more information, please visit the website.


September 20: 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Held annually in more than 650 communities nationwide, this inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to reclaim the future for millions. The Charleston walk will take place at the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina.

Registration at 8:00 a.m. | Ceremony at 8:45 a. m. | Walk at 9:00 a.m.

Route Length: 3 miles.

To register, please visit the website.


September 19-21: 7th Annual Autumn on the Ashley

The Tri-County Master Gardeners will host the 7th Annual Autumn on the Ashley open-air craft fair Sept. 19-21 at Magnolia. More than 50 vendors are expected to exhibit wood cravings, paintings, textiles, pottery, jewelry, culinary oils, and photographs. The Philip Simmons Artists Blacksmith Guild will demonstrate their craft while dancers entertain the crowd.

Autumn on the Ashley, which is free to the public, opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. A $100 vendor fee will be charged for a vendor booth space to display handcrafted items. No retail items will be allowed. Vendors are responsible for their own pop-up tent, tables and chairs. Vendors who require electricity are encouraged to register early. Eight spaces with electricity are available.

The Master Gardeners will answer gardening questions and provide soil samples. The cost for a soil analysis is $6 each. Call 843-722-5940 to get tips on how to collect a sample. Plants and gardening books will be on sale.

For information and to reserve a booth, call Magnolia’s operations manager Mary Ann Johnson at 843-571-1266, extension 229. You can also visit this website.

Ask the Doctor: What Are My Options For Post-Op Reconstruction Using Implants?

<alt="pink dahlia"/>This week, Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question: I’m 42 years old, and I have a surgery this month for breast reconstruction. Due to my genetic history, a plastic surgeon will be performing a double mastectomy. I want to know what my options are for post-op reconstruction? Thanks.

Answer: Hi — Thanks for the information about your planned surgery. If you have requested using your own tissue and were told that was not a good option for you, then you certainly can get a second opinion. You stated that your mastectomies were for preventive reasons, which gives you the time to consider all possibilities. Before having surgery you should feel good about your decision and be confident you know all your options. You have excellent surgeons and I know you will do well.

One advantage of using an implant is that you don’t require an incision anywhere else on your body in order to donate the tissue to make the new breasts. Using your own tissue requires a longer recovery and more healing. The donor area ends up healing with a scar. If you don’t need a tummy tuck or have “excess” tissue in your thighs or buttocks then you may not want a scar in these areas. You should also know that it is not necessary to sacrifice any of your muscles in order to use your own tissue. Finally, it is important to know that if you have implant reconstruction and it does not work out you can still use your own tissue later–even years later! Most likely it will work out and you will have an excellent result and speedy recovery. I hope this has helped. Let us know if you have more unanswered questions. If you would like a second opinion, you could set up an appointment in our office, or we could also consult over the phone if you cannot make the trip to Charleston.

Dr. James Craigie
Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical care you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask us!

Is It Time to Give Up Soda?

Yes, it is, for several reasons we’ll outline below, and we’ll also give you some tips for giving it up. Coke, Pepsi, soda, pop, tonic…whatever you want to call it, you need to kick it to the curb. Get ready to enjoy life without soda pop!

It’s empty calories.

If you drink regular soda, you’re getting around 150 calories that do nothing for your body. In contrast, drinking water, herbal tea, or even sparkling water diluted with juice will save you at least 100 calories, if not more. Do the math if you drink three or four sodas a day.

Diet soda is no better. Artificial sweeteners confuse your body into thinking it’s getting sugar, which triggers an insulin release, which can lead to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

Regular pop contains high fructose corn syrup.

This stuff is poison. No one should be taking it in for any reason. Contrary to what the corn industry tells you, HFCS is not metabolized like other sugars. It’s unnatural, and the fructose goes right to the liver, causing fatty liver. It also causes blood sugar spikes, and contains contaminants such as mercury. Any independent nutrition expert will recommend against HFCS, and so do we.

Diet pop gives you an excuse to eat more.

When you’re taking in no beverage calories, you may rationalize eating more, which leads to weight gain.

How to stop pop…

Try some of these steps to reduce your soda intake and start drinking more healthy beverages.

  • Take it slowly. Don’t expect to quit soda cold turkey. Reduce gradually over several months if you drink more than two or three a day. Try reducing by one pop a day for two weeks, then cut out one more pop a day for three weeks, etc. Make a schedule that works for you.
  • Keep substitutes handy, such as flavored water, sparkling water, rice or almond milk, and fruit juice. While these drinks aren’t ideal because they contain sugar, they’re a good bridge from pop.
  • Just don’t buy it. If it’s not in your house, you can’t drink it. Make it hard to get soda. If you have to go out and buy it, you may be less likely to drink it.
  • Don’t allow your family to bring it into the house, either. They don’t need it either. It doesn’t matter if the kids are young—now is the time to break the soda habit.
  • While you may have an initial withdrawal that may not be fun, after a month of no soda pop, you’ll look and feel better. Keep reminding yourself of that when the pop urge strikes.

What’s your best tip to give up soda?

Have You Had Your Mammogram?

diep and mammogramThe mammogram, or x-ray of the breast and surrounding tissue, is the most effective diagnostic tool for breast cancer that we have today. All women should receive annual mammograms beginning at age 40, or earlier with a family history of breast cancer.

According to www.breastcancer.org, mammograms have been shown to lower the risk of death from breast cancer by 35% in women over age 50. It also means that more women who are found to have breast cancer early can keep their breasts.

In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force questioned the need for mammograms in women under 50, and they recommended that screening mammograms begin at 50 instead of 40. Several prominent groups, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have emphatically stated that screening needs to begin at 40 instead of 50.

One risk of mammography is the rate of false negatives and false positives among younger women or women with dense breast tissue. Dense breasts can hide cancers, and mammograms can identify a perfectly normal variation in breast tissue and raise the alarm that it’s cancerous. Because of these mammogram drawbacks, we recommend that you not only perform monthly self-exams, but you should also have a secondary form of breast screening done, such as an ultrasound or an MRI.

Many women worry about the pain, but for most women it is merely uncomfortable for a few minutes. A mammogram compresses your breast (to reduce the thickness of the tissue) between two x-ray plates that are attached to a camera that takes photos of your breast. More than a couple pictures may be necessary for younger women or those with dense breasts.

From beginning to end, a mammogram takes about 20 minutes and involves much less radiation exposure today than in years past. According to the American Cancer Society, the radiation received during mammogram is about the same amount a person naturally gets in a 3-month period.

Typically, at least one radiologist reads your mammogram, and if two read it, the chances of missing a problem go down. If you are concerned, you can also have your mammogram analyzed by a computer through computer-aided detection (CAD). Software reviews mammogram images and marks areas of suspicion, and then the radiologist examines each area to see if it needs further evaluation.

Have you had a mammogram, and if so, do you have any words of advice?

3 Cozy, Romantic Spots for Fall

Charleston is a city full of romance and history. Here are a few of our favorite cozy, romantic spots. Warm up on a chilly night here.

Sunset Cruises 
Snuggle with your honey, feel the cool, fragrant ocean breeze, and enjoy a relaxing and romantic sunset cruise along Charleston’s gorgeous waterways. You’ll love the breathtaking views of the skyline as you take in the sights as the sun sets.

Some comments about this cruise:

“…The views on this cruise were beautiful. The staff was also excellent. They were very knowledgeable and easy to talk to.”

“…The captain even stopped the boat when we spotted dolphins so we could watch them in the water. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone.”

“…It was a peaceful boat ride through the harbor hitting some landmarks and watching the sunset over Charleston. There was some background on the landmarks and the guides would answer questions but for the most part, they let you sit and enjoy the ride and scenery. I highly recommend it!”


The Inn at Woodlands Mansion
Restored over a hundred years ago, The Inn at Woodlands Mansion is a stately turn-of-the-century plantation. Surrounded by lush oak trees and magnolias, you’ll feel like you’re back in the 1850s when you enter this grand property. The Inn is the perfect combination of Old South grandeur and modern luxuries.

From the website:

“At Woodlands Mansion, we want all of our guests to feel at home from the moment they arrive. Our Inn combines the intricate luxuries of a resort with the tranquility of a bed and breakfast, allowing guests to relax in the casually refined elegance of the property.”


Olde Towne Carriage Company
When the chill is in the air, bring your favorite cozy blanket and your special someone to Olde Towne Carriage Company for a carriage ride.

Read about where you’ll ride in this excerpt from the website:

“You will see the historic old market area where commerce has taken place for over 250 years, historical houses maintained in timeless fashion, beautiful gardens, artistic wrought iron gates, and decorative entrances to the many mansions as the tour winds through the 25–30 block area.

In addition, you will see parts of the old walled city and several of the many churches that give Charleston its nickname of the “Holy City”. Your tour guide will acquaint you with the history and architecture that make Charleston one of the truly grand jewels of the South. Most importantly you will gain a better understanding of the people that lived and traversed over the past three hundred years, on the very streets you are traveling.”

What is your favorite romantic spot in Charleston?