I have always been a person who tries living each day fully. It’s important to me to put in a solid day’s work, love like there is no tomorrow, have some fun (of course) and say what’s needed to be said to those in my life. As you know, it’s tough to stay on task. We’re all so busy, but focusing on what’s truly important is critical for true happiness — through good times and bad. I am generally always pumped to start a new year with so much anticipation for what it can bring. Though this early 2011 has brought about some sadness. My beloved uncle at 58 and cousin at 27 passed recently from illness and I’ll have to say it’s taken a toll on my world. It’s mostly because I just wasn’t anticipating it. It didn’t seem real and therefore I didn’t acknowledge the possibility, but there it is … you just don’t know — do you? I do believe that all things happen for a reason, but in these cases, I admit that I can’t (from my perspective) see why. I know at these times, there really are no words to help my family get through. Togetherness is all we’ve got, next to the realization that these individuals have made an impact on this world and us. I want to take a minute to encourage you to take care of yourself. It’s time to do a few small things that can make a difference. You know what I’m talking about. Get your check ups. (If you’re like me, you don’t go to the doc when you’re supposed to, but catching an illness early is critical). Eat better. Swap fried for baked … your heart will thank you. Although not all illnesses can be warded off by making healthy choices, most can. Do it for yourself, after all … you’re worth it. One of the beautiful and sometimes scary things about life is that we just don’t know what will happen. Therefore living life to the fullest with those who you care about is of the utmost importance. Although it isn’t always possible, I try to lay down at night with the knowledge that people in my life know how much I care about them. No matter what I may have (or not) accomplished in other areas … I need to take the time to let people I love know it. I hope you’re living life like there is no tomorrow. Our beautiful, young cover girl Laura Bone is a shining example of someone who has been given more illness than anyone deserves, but lives fully each day. She doesn’t let some of the challenges she’s had sway her desire to love, laugh and impact those around her. I am inspired by her drive to help others and I hope that you are moved by her courage and strength of spirit. There are so many ways to think about February’s theme: “Matters of the Heart.” There’s Valentine’s Day to think about the significant other in your life (love you honey…). You can join the V-Day movement and the causes it supports (page 24), help Laura Bone with her endowment fundraiser, learn more about the American Heart Association (page 7) or just get involved with a project that is near and dear to your heart. It can be anything that makes you feel good. Take Pete Ruffing, M3’s Vision Engagement Officer, for example. His column “For Pete’s Take” debuts this month with tips on how he keeps love (and marriage) in his heart on an ongoing basis. Don’t miss it on page 23. A project that is near and dear to my heart, or you could say I’ve become obsessed with, is the CAWLM 80s Flashback Party. I know you can picture my big hair and bright colors right now. Or some of you might think that I’ve never quite let it go. Either way, we’re gearing up for an awesome— some might say totally rad — good time. The event supports the Westside mural arts program. Maybe they’ll do an “Ode to the 80s” mural somewhere close for all to admire. Well, maybe not. Don’t miss your favorite Atari video games, take part in the 80s Idol contest (email your registration and song choice to email@example.com), dance like no one’s watching with Starfarm, eat, drink and find out who will be the first Caring About Women Locally (CAWL) award winner. Nominations are still open. You know someone who should be recognized … nominate her online at www.cawlm.com. Here’s hoping that this year finds you in good health. Take care of yourself and tell others how you feel about them. There isn’t a day to waste.