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My most Fierce & Spirited friend has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Joanna is only 33 years old. She is beautiful, wickedly witty, and full of life. She lives and loves to her fullest potential. When on the phone with Jo discussing her condition she remained positive and in good spirits. I mirrored this back with her, trying to stay positive that she’ll kick cancer’s ass. Because well, knowing Joanna she doesn’t ever do anything half hearted, she is a full throttle, give it your everything type of woman. Once we hung up the phone, I sat there in shock. I was inescapably reminded of going through this with my ex-boyfriends father a few years ago, who had passed from pancreatic cancer. I kept thinking, why her? She’s only 33! This can’t be possible. She still has so much to experience in life and so many more lives to fill with laughter and happiness. I couldn’t help but feel choked up about this because I guess first you have to feel something in order to then get up and start doing something about it. 

To increase awareness of situations like this, and in hopes to support my fabulous friend, HERE is her story as written by another friend Lindsey. We’re all remaining positive & praying that she’ll fight this. Check out her story & please help donate to her family! She needs all the love & support we can give her.

Included below are a couple of my all time favorite images of Joanna when I photographed her just last year. She expressed how nervous she was to be in front of the camera, so we drank champagne, laughed, and played around. In no time her fierce and fabulous side was on display for me and my camera! This was the most fun I’ve ever had on a shoot!!! This experience is one of my favorite memories in my life and of Joanna. The wardrobe styling by Sarah Toshiko



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Originally posted here.

When the Alpha Female meets her Alpha Male, the sparks fly. In fiction, she is the kick-ass female, the one who gets things done.

Alpha Females exist in real life, but historically society has forced women to hide their Alpha tendencies. All women have some alpha female characteristics, but not all and not to the extreme.

The Alpha Female is physically different. For most women, the ring and index fingers will be the same length. On about 10% of women – those exposed to higher levels of testosterone during pre-natal development – have longer ring fingers. Although heterosexual, the brains of these women are neurologically wired to think like men – but they do so with feminine flare.

How is she different from the other women?

  • Task focused. Single minded.
  • Athletic, more physical than other women.
  • She is determined, bold, and a competitive high achiever.
  • Career is part of their identity.
  • Does not want to be tied down to family. She is not primarily interested in children and may not want children.
  • Higher sexual libido. Can enjoy one-night-stands with no regrets.
  • Emotionally self sufficient.
  • More aggressive. Actively pursues power and status. A risk taker.
  • Enjoys recognition but doesn’t need approval from peers.
  • Gets straight to the point without social chat (a trait expected in Alpha Males, but makes the Alpha female seem rude, abrupt, aggressive, arrogant, a bitch).
  • Closer relationship to father than mother.
  • Tend to be left handed.
  • Fiercely independent – not looking for a man to take care of her, she takes care of herself.
  • She may outright reject social conventions like marriage, religion, and government.

Traits She Shares with Alpha Males

  • Self-confidence – comfortable in her skin, loves her body, takes care of herself, works out and eats right.
  • Always dresses to impress. She is properly groomed, clean and smells sexy.
  • Doesn’t spend time in front of a mirror. Not vain. Knows she looks good.
  • Her eyes speak for her. If she wants you to know what she is thinking or feeling, she will show with her eyes – but also won’t hesitate to tell you in words.
  • She leads and expects everyone to follow.
  • She doesn’t care what people think of her.
  • Gives her opinions – doesn’t wait to be asked.
  • Intelligent, well informed, resourceful.
  • Not afraid of the unexpected or unknown – she knows she can handle any situation. Fights for what is hers.
  • Honor, integrity, and loyalty – demands the same qualities in those she considers her friends/allies.
  • She’s busy, has a full life, enjoys a variety of activities (many considered male), finds pleasure in everything she does.
  • Recognizes others – she remembers the people she’s met, laughs at their jokes, acknowledges their ideas, makes them feel important.
  • Self-focused but not selfish.
  • Well-developed sense of humor – laughs at herself and the rest of the world, makes others laugh.
  • Sucks people into her world; she’s interesting, charismatic, makes people feel comfortable and welcome.

The Protector of Pack and Home

  • Tend to “run in packs” with other Alpha females.
  • Fiercely protective of herself, her family and everyone she loves.
  • Nature created her to lead her family and community.
  • She is selective about who she invites into her private life.
  • She is well prepared for her own survival and for those she loves.
  • Cares about others and all her relationships. Enjoys the comfort of close friends
  • Looks for the best for others.
  • She won’t allow others take advantage of her or those she loves
  • The leader in the workplace and in her community.
  • Prevents others from trying to take advantage of her, her family and her friends. If anyone should try, the alpha female will shun them, leave them, find ways to eliminated or hurt them. She will hurt those who mess with her and her pack.

Other Alpha Female Characteristics

  • Good at persuasion. She asserts herself. Can use intimidation elegantly until others agree or close their mouths.
  • Charisma; charms others into getting her way and accomplishing her goals. Pleasing personality; warm, friendly, and emotionally strong. She knows how and when to move from charisma to intimidation.
  • Tough and ready for whatever threats may come. Uses her personal power.
  • Intelligent, blessed with wisdom. Doesn’t neglect her common-sense.
  • Knows she is unique; she is sure of herself.
  • Feels she deserves the best in everything.
  • Strong and brave in all she does. She is fearless. Oozes self-confidence.
  • Knows when to be a lady.
  • She has her own style, uniquely herself and guided by her own values.
  • Her ideas are most important; she’s at the top of the food chain.
  • She can hold her own in the boardroom, bedroom, or on the street. She commands respect.
  • She is dynamic, has presence and doesn’t blend in with the crowd. She’s charismatic and can work a room.
  • She knows what she wants/feels/needs and expresses her desires.
  • She’s easy-going and doesn’t throw tantrums, whine, bitch or nag. Doesn’t act like a child. She isn’t needy.
  • She is comfortable with herself. She has a sense of humor and smiles and laughs, even at herself when appropriate. She enjoys life. Knows when to admit her weaknesses.
  • She is a good conversationalist, not about gossip or daytime TV. She has opinions, interests and passions.
  • Actively pursues dreams or goals; building her own empire to rule.
  • Solitude nourishes her.
  • She gets what she wants, when she wants it.
  • She follows her feelings and reasons for those feelings.
  • She was the childhood buddy that went on adventures with boys who morphed into the vixen who gives a man adventures in the bedroom.
  • Has a hint of masculinity, i.e. likes sports, sex, politics, intellectual interests.
  • Revels in her femininity.

The Alpha Female and Male Relationships

  • Alpha females step over non-Alpha men if they let her.
  • May select men who are at her beck and call.
  • She doesn’t doubt she has the ability to get any man she wants.
  • She draws the attention of the available men in the room.
  • She isn’t always the most beautiful or the one with the best personality. She is mysterious, interesting, a challenge.
  • Pays close attention to the signals of males around her. Yet she knows how to put them off if she isn’t interested in them.
  • She will not beg for expensive gifts.
  • This woman likes to have fun, especially with men.
  • She wears the things that make her look pretty.
  • She moves her body in ways that make men think of sex.
  • She openly flirts with men.
  • She may anticipate a future in which she dies alone, without a partner or children.
  • She may not realize that the characteristics that bring her success in the outside world may undermine her romantic relationships.

How Men See Alpha Females

  • Men find Alpha females intriguing – women tend to hate them.
  • Men find them a challenge and love the thrill from the competition to gain her attention.
  • Men want to capture, tame and dominate her. She knows and won’t let them.
  • Chasing an alpha female is intriguing but also exhausting for most men.
  • She can be seen as an Ice Queen.

The Dating Game for Alpha Females

  • She dates more than one man at a time.
  • She sets up the dates and will often be busy when HE asks.
  • She pays for the movie tickets, to get into clubs, and for food.
  • She won’t put herself in a position where she owes a man.
  • Men have to use more than charm, smile, or her flowers to appeal to an alpha female; they need to be creative.

When She Finds “The One”

  • Sparks fly when they meet and learn about each other. “The immovable object (him) meets the irresistible force (her).”
  • They constantly fight (with great make-up sex) in their struggle to find a compromise.
  • Her Alpha Male has the courage to take the lead in the relationship.
  • He will NOT be someone she needs to mother.
  • Her femininity makes a man feel like a man.
  • He appreciates her for who she is, doesn’t attempt to change her.
  • She may choose to submit to his dominance (for the most part) because he allows her to be herself.

Body Language

  • Smiles with her eyes and her lips.
  • Radiates the goddess within.
  • Enjoys her body and the way it moves.
  • Stands tall, head up, shoulders back.
  • Deliberate movement with grace and elegance.
  • Walks with confidence, accentuates hip sway.
  • Doesn’t scan the room. Knows she is the center of attention.
  • Maintains a comfortable stance, doesn’t shift positions.
  • Stance accentuates curve of the waist and/or lower back
  • Hand gestures are slow, deliberate, and animated.

In fiction, Ultimate Alpha Females are often used as antagonist, blocking character or fem fatal due to their aggressive (not seen as feminine) behavior and thought patterns.

But the Alpha Female has become the heroine of choice in paranormal/fantasy stories. She is the kick-ass vampire hunter and the ardent adventurer.

Written with the correct mix of female charm, charisma, and athletic ability, the Alpha Female makes for a complex heroine, one who is as intelligent, strong, and determined enough to safe herself from the villain and earn the everlasting love of the Ultimate Alpha Male.



I don’t know about you, but around mid day I’m craving something sweet. And in my eyes, I’d rather save all those calories for a few bites of chocolate when I have an unexpected lady craving. I like to sprinkle the apple slices with just a little bit of cinnamon to cure my mid day sweet tooth. I’m talking about a half teaspoon per 30-40 slices, which is 7 calories, no biggie! That tiny sprinkling of cinnamon really makes a difference. Cinnamon not only works as an appetite suppressant, but also stabilizes your blood sugar levels. Just make sure that it’s real cinnamon, not extracts!



One Gala apple



Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.

Slice apple thinly with a mandolin slicer. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper, and place the apple slices side by side on the parchment, in a single layer. Make sure to spray the pan before you place down your apple slices. Spread out the apple slices next to each other, and not overlapping each other, otherwise they won’t crisp up. Sprinkle the apple slices with the cinnamon. (If you sprinkle from high above, the cinnamon will disperse more evenly.) Bake the apple slices for 1 hour, then remove them from the oven and flip them over. Return the apple slices to the oven for another hour, then turn the oven off. Let the apple chips cool completely in the oven, this is when they will crisp up.

Once they’ve cooled, enjoy!




For night time skin care I’ve been using coconut oil as a moisturizer. It’s really the best, and it puts all of the fancy & expensive night creams to shame! It’s all natural of course, and packed full of vitamin E and antioxidants, which give you the best glow! If you want to give your skin some extra TLC then mix a teaspoon of raw organic coconut oil, a teaspoon of raw honey and a drop of apple cider vinegar together (or a drop of lemon) and apply it to your face as a mask. Leave it on for about 15-20 minutes. To exfoliate my skin I add equal parts coconut sugar and warm coconut oil together, and gently massage it into damp skin. It leaves your skin feeling so soft and smooth! I try to do this once a week to keep my skin happy & smooth!


I have been using apple cider vinegar as a toner! First, I cleanse my face with warm water, dry it and cover a cotton pad in apple cider vinegar which I then wipe all over my face. It’s the best thing you can do for your skin! It removes excess bacteria, reduces red marks and helps to keep your skin at the right pH. For a wonderful detoxifying, deep-pore treatment, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay, add 1 tablespoon raw honey. Apply to skin. Leave this on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.