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Francis & Crissy! Our 1st Joint Video Together…

Hi!!

Francis and I connected in the beginning of November to talk about PR strategies so we can help get his book, The Will To Live, out in the hands of Readers who love to read autobiographical stories. We decided to do a video to help get the word out. Fortunately for Francis, he looks great and had a lovely night of sleep the night prior. Unfortunately for me, I was nursing a bit of a hangover and had to spackle my face with spraypaint foundation in order to look semi awake (sorry for the shiny face and unbrushed hair in advance).

Hope you guys like the video that Francis will be sending out to Journalists, TV Hosts, Hospitals, Newspapers and Magazines– people we admire in the world who already make a difference by sharing news and stories that can help and inform others.

Until we talk again,

 

xoxo

Happy Halloween or is it?

It’s Friday and I am so excited to start the weekend off with dressing up for Halloween. Check out my lovely Double Eyes Alien Photo (1st two pictures below left). I am practicing my look for tomorrow when I head to New Jersey for the weekend. My brother and his family live in a neighborhood where it seems as though every cool New Yorker who wanted land and a family, moved and created a beautiful, artsy, and fun family town 30 minutes outside of NYC. Tomorrow’s festivities will include decorating the house scary, going to the town Halloween Festival, trick or treating with the nephews, and then all gathering back at the house for a neighborhood adult drinking party at around 8pm. Sounds fun, right? I can’t wait to see my nephews dressed up. I always got dressed up for Halloween. My mom was very creative with me even after my accident. One time, she knew that I wanted to dress up, but it was hard for me because my scars were so thick on my chin, so she said, “How about I turn you into an old man and put a beard on you.” Can you believe it? I would rather be an old man at 13 years old for Halloween then to be myself. But truthfully, I felt more like myself when my scars weren’t showing to the world. I felt like people could talk to me without mentioning my looks or stumbling on their words because they were too focused on what I looked like.

Anyway, as I grew older, my creative costumes because more “slutty” costumes and Halloween became less about fun and more about fitting in and drinking. Luckily that stage came and went and for the past several years, I tried to be more creative with face painting and scaring people. Here are some pictures from 2013 and 2014. I am missing the one where I dressed like a crazy lady who escaped an insane asylum, but just come by my bed any early morning. You will catch a glimpse of what that costume looked like. Ha! I love Youtube because all I have to do is search, “Halloween creepy face makeup” and tons of Users post amazing videos teaching me how to do these things. All it takes is some white face paint, black marker face paint, fake red blood and voila! You can be a number of different creative things.

So you know how I never wear my hair up in public unless I am wearing a scarf or I am around people who I am very closed to? Well, this is the first year where I am wearing my hair up. (Thanks Dr. Dubrow and Dr. Nassif). I am heading to a popular and trendy restaurant in DC shortly for dinner and drinks with one of my best friends. I am going to try keeping my hair up the whole time. Yes I know that my white face paint will help hide the scarring, but as my sister told me last year, “it’s interesting how you are even more confident with your face paint on when the face paint isn’t covering anything.” She continued to say that she loved my confidence with or without face paint. And she is right. I love Halloween because I use it as an excuse where I can transform for a day or two without feeling the public eyes burning a whole through my chin. At least that’s what I continue to tell myself. Now only if I could have this confidence every day of the year. Hold on tight, I am working on it.

Have a very fun and safe Halloween! My next few blog posts are going to be super interesting. Can’t wait to share. xo

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An Unlikely Friendship

Everyone, meet Francis Wallace (pictured below). Francis read my article in The Washington Post back in April 2014 and found me through Google. It turns out he didn’t have to do much stalking as my name and pictures are very searchable. Haha. Yey, what every person wants– personal stories and hideous photos blasted all over the internet for years to come! ; )

Anyway, back to my story. Let’s flashback to not even 2 weeks ago when I received an email on my Linkedin page from Francis. His message wash short. “Hi Cristina. I read your story in The Washington Post. I am also a burn survivor. Can you give me a call, please?” You know me, whenever anyone writes me after knowing about my fire accident, I immediately write back. This time, I gave Francis a call. Upon completing the phone call, I learned a few things about Francis. Francis sounded like a gentle man who happens to live right outside of Washington, DC– very close to me. He read my article in the Post a few months back, lost the article and went on a frantic search to find me. He just felt like he needed to meet me. For anyone to want to meet me makes me feel special. Why me you ask, right? Well Francis has written a book called, A Will to Live and was in the final editing stages before production. He wanted to meet me because my story in the Post resonated with him and he felt that I had a story to tell and he wanted to hear it. Being the trusting person I am, I made an appointment to meet with Francis at a coffee shop in Washington, DC. Of course once I told my sister I was going to meet with a man alone whom I had never met before in D.C. during the the early morning hours, she freaked out. I however didn’t. Remember when I told you that Francis sounded like a gentle man over the phone? He also made sure to tell me that he was married and has daughters. He then added me on Facebook so I knew he was a real human being with a life of his own and I gathered that he was a religious family man. He wasn’t a cookoo for coco puffs who wanted to use my hair as tooth floss and my skin as a door mat. Well at least that’s the vibe I got. So last week I met up with Francis.  We both happened to arrive at the same time, park, and walk while talking to each other on the phone. As soon as I turned a corner to head to the entrance of the coffee shop, there he was– Francis Wallace. As soon as we saw each other, we gave one another a big hug.

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Francis Wallace is a 75 year old black man who was burned on over 85% of his body at the age of 25 in a fire that stemmed from an outdoor BBQ Grill. Then there is me–a 30 year old, white female who was burned at the age of 10 on less than 5% of my body in an accident that stemmed from a garage fire. Francis and I connected over a sweet tea and cappuccino. We spoke for almost 2 hours. He told me that his book has been years in the making, but it wasn’t until 2 years ago when he really got serious about finishing his book. The stories that Francis told me about his life not just about the fire, are INCREDIBLE. Real, raw and they made me yearn to want to know more about his life. I shared some of my stories to Francis and he said to me, “Cristina, you have a story to tell. There is a reason why we both survived. Let’s share our stories together.” Francis is right. I do have stories to tell and have written around 20 pages of a book that I began a few years back. I just keep putting it off. I was hoping that this blog would suffice, but Francis pushed me and said that I needed to finish my book.

Francis doesn’t know me well but he knew that we were meant to cross paths and work together. After meeting Francis though, it seemed as though we had known each other for years. How can two completely different people feel a connection? How could one person who is very religious and the other person who considers herself more spiritual than religious have a deeper connection? Francis and I share a significant experience in our lives that dictated the rest of our lives. Francis and I may seem like we are from two worlds apart, but we aren’t. We are both living, breathing humans that believe in a greater power that somehow allowed us to keep on going and live the best life we could live despite falling down several times throughout our lives.

Francis is my new friend and will be my friend for life. I cannot wait until Francis’ book comes out and I get to go hear him speak and do book signings. I wish a ton of success for him and I know he wants the same for me. Francis and I decided last week that we are going to both begin speaking at events while he promotes his book and I finish my book. Francis and I have an unlikely friendship, but underneath it all, we are the same. I cannot wait to share more stories. I’ll get Francis to do a video blog with me on my Youtube Channel and we will continue working together and pushing together to be the best people we can be, because after all, we made it out of those fire accidents alive. We are so damn lucky to be alive.

 

 

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I Can Smile Like a Regular Person Again!!! Today is a Great DAY!

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Good Morning!

I finally have my video ready to load onto Youtube. But first, here are a few shots I took before and after the video. None of these photos are re-touched in any way, shape or form (as you can tell). Can you believe how much better my chin looks?? I can actually smile facing to the front now. I haven’t smiled like a regular person in years. Really–YEARS. I still have a little bit more work to have done on the scarring and shape of the chin, but for the most part, I am VERY pleased that Dr. Dubrow and Dr. Nassif have been able to change my life by actually doing what they said they were going to do to my chin. In my 10 operations prior to the one in late 2014, I had Doctors (some quite arrogantly) tell me that my chin was going to look amazing and as if I never got into a fire accident. Sadly, they were all wrong and kept botching my surgeries. I felt defeated, and ended up believing that this was the way I was supposed to live my life….with a scar. So I did what any person would do– I made the best out of my situation. And I continue to live my life with pure happiness. You have to come to that conclusion before you can seek any sort of happiness. You have to tell yourself that you only have one life to live and you have to make the best with what you have, and if you want something more, then you have to work for it. A lot of people want easy solutions. It can all be easy if you remove the negative thinking and only seek positive energy in your life. I do understand though that some people are born depressed or angry. Anyway, more on this later. For now– here are some shots taken this morning. I lightened my hair. Do you like it? Well, don’t answer that. I always get 50% of people telling me they love it, and then the other 50% like me so much better with the darker hair color. You can never please anyone. Oh well!

Have a great day! Anyone going to watch the new season of E!s’ Botched? How about watch Dr. Dubrow and Heather Dubrow’s new talk show after Botched??? I will be tuning in as I hope you do too : ) Check out my video on youtube later if you want to have a little laugh!

P.s- Thank you to the Merideth Veira Show for mentioning my name when Dr. Dubrow and Dr. Nassif were on there talking about Botched! Great show. I got a few emails after that episode aired.

 

I’m Just Not One to Talk About Myself…

I know it sounds ridiculous because I have been featured in National Publications and was on a TV show. BUT it’s true. While I wanted to tell my story to meet people who share similar stories of hardship, the idea of keeping up a blog, twitter, Instagram, etc just doesn’t appeal to me. To me, it sounds a bit arrogant because I am not offering anything but advice. I’m not teaching any skill. My advice giving is not a skill and not the end all be all of what it takes to make you a happier person. I simply  reveal my experiences with how I came out of darker times throughout my life. I hope it helps people, but I do NOT think I am special in any way and I am only doing this blog because I have been told that my stories are entertaining and help some. The moment people stop coming up to me and writing me will be the day that I stop writing, because I don’t want to be revealing my thoughts if they don’t help anyone. Ha.
So anyway, I said that I was going to go through my Memorial Day weekend in my last post. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. It was an absolute blast. We stayed at my mom’s boyfriend’s house in Bethany Beach, Delaware, then went out to Fagers Island in Ocean City, Jam Session at Bottle and Cork in Dewey Beach and the Starboard in Dewey where Jason (my boyfriend) met legendary former University of Maryland Basketball Coach, Gary Williams,  Indiana Hoosier’s Basketball Coach (can’t remember name)  and CEO of Under Armour, Kevin Plank. He had drinks with them and that pretty much made his life. He was like a giddy little school boy. I don’t blame him though. I would be freaking out if I met Oprah. I love that woman. I feel like she would be such a blast one minute, and then could get really deep the next minute while still being ridiculously entertaining. Anyway, I digress…
So since we last spoke, I not only went to the beach, I also went camping on the beaches of Assateague Island with my family. It was so much fun to be one with nature. Poor Jason doesn’t think so though as he forgot to put bug spray on after he got out of the ocean water, that he got bitten over 100 times!! Haha. He was so sore and I cannot help but laugh a little because anyone who  has gone camping, has gotten bitten a ton of times at one point or another. Jason had only been camping a 1/2 of a time before in his life. So he is still new to the whole outdoorsy thing.
One big thing happened on Saturday May 30th—I got engaged!! Jason completely surprised me with a beautiful 2 carat round solitaire with a white gold pave band. I am only writing out exact details because I always wonder when I see the beautiful rings on my friends and family. I have never been more happily surprised in my life. I thought Jason and I were entertaining friends from New Jersey that weekend. We were excited to show them around DC and took them to the Monuments. Never in a million years did I know that Jason had been planning a surprise this grand with 40 of my family and friends behind my back! I hung out with all of those people at some point or another since the time they found out that he wanted to propose to me in April and still I have no idea how they were all dead silent about my engagement. You would think someone would slip up and no one did. I am eternally grateful. The last time I was surprised was when Jim died. Before that, I have never been surprised and I had always wanted a great surprise. Jason did it and I don’t know how I got so lucky to meet this incredible man who genuinely loves me and my flaws.
Above is the video my cousin edited to make even more special of the day when she posted Bruno Mars’s music to a few videos edited together. Forever, my ugly cry face will be on the internet, but you guys have already seen it if you remember me on Botched. ; )Until we talk again! Have an incredible remainder of the week. I’ll post my first video message on my youtube channel in my next post. Ahhhhh! I can already hear the insults. Ha.

HAPPY WEDNESDAY & MORE UPDATES!!

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Hey Sugars!

Thank you for the continued support. I couldn’t be more grateful of what came out of sharing my story to millions of viewers. I hope to continue helping more people who feel like they are the only people going through certain things and I will be sure to update you shortly.

I see that my bestie Cristian/Bambi is getting lots of positive feedback on the pictures of part of my apartment he helped decorate. He loves hearing from the Readers who have contacted him about setting up an appointment to check out their space they want his help with. He is whoring himself out for $25 per hour to my awesome Readers. He usually charges $125 per hour. Trust me–even if you spend 2 hours with him in your home, he will work with you on what you already have and arrange things in a way that will make your home look SO MUCH BETTER. So anyway, thanks guys!

P.S-I just got engaged!!! Follow me on INSTAGRAM TO SEE ME GO THROUGH THE WHOLE WEDDING PROCESS & UPDATE IT MORE WITH PICTURES! I DECIDED THAT MY FIRST YOUTUBE VIDEO WILL BE OF MY SURPRISE ENGAGEMENT. CRAZY HOW IT HAPPENED!! I WILL UPDATE MORE SHORTLY!!

Have a beautiful WEDNESDAY! Talk soon!!!!!

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Before & After

Hey!!

I hope you have been enjoying your week thus far. I cannot write long because I have a ton of work to do, but hopefully you can come back to the site soon as I am going to post a conversation full of questions that I am going to ask my boyfriend about what it’s like dating a girl with a scar. Surely, when he imagined how his future love of his life would look, I didn’t come into mind first or probably at all. It’s interesting how we picture our lives a certain way because that’s the only way we think we would be completely happy. If you let go of those mentalities, you will realize that your true happiness will unfold before your eyes. Trust me. I have a story for you…

Until then, here are a few pictures of me from when I was around 7 years old before my accident, then at 11 years old after my accident, then at 17 years old after–at that point, I had 4 reconstructive surgeries on my chin and left cheek. I will try to enlarge the picture so you can see it in greater detail. My mom put makeup on my chin for the school picture in the middle so it wouldn’t look as red and thick. I love that woman.

 

xoxo

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Botched is Here…TONIGHT!!!

Hey All,

First and foremost, I would like to thank EVERYONE who took the time to share The Washington Post article on Facebook. That was so crazy and mind blowing to see so many people support me–even the people whom I haven’t spoken to in a long time. Their love hasn’t come unnoticed. I feel SO lucky. Secondly, I’d like to thank Sarah, Ty and Mel from DC’s 107.3 for interviewing me and being so supportive of this blog and the show. I love when strong women are in lead positions and I love when a strong man is man enough to be supportive of those women and share the spotlight. If you haven’t checked out their morning show, you should. They are very relatable people. Thirdly, I’d like to thank NBC’s Kristin Wright and her awesome crew member, Darren, for coming to Jason’s and my apartment to shoot a segment that will air at 4:50pm, 5:45pm and 6:30pm tonight on the most popular news station in the Washington, DC metro area, NBC4. Kristin is so gorgeous, well spoken and smart. I guarantee she will continue to excel from here on out. Lastly, I’d like to give shout outs to WTOP, Dateline and The Today Show who originally wanted to make something work with promoting the show and the blog, but couldn’t before the show airs tonight. It’s okay. I completely understand and will continue to be a fan of the shows.

I can’t believe the time is almost here. It still feels surreal. I’ve been receiving lots of positive feedback but have already encountered a slightly negative comment from someone. The Reader said something like, “only if we all could have money to pay for surgeries.” Well Reader, you are right. I wish Insurance covered these things more. I am so grateful that my parents worked their bum’s off in order to pay the medical bills. Don’t think I don’t feel guilt about it. I could not afford the surgeries on my own had my parents not been in the picture. I would still have the thick red scars on my face. I am so appreciative for what my parents have sacrificed in order to give me as ‘normal’ as a life as possible. But that’s why I started this blog. I truly want to give people a person they can relate and actually talk to, and I want to be able to raise money so I can begin traveling all over to hospitals, schools and start my own charity so I can pay for the surgeries of people who I know can’t pay for these major operations. There is a reason why I didn’t burn to death in that garage fire. I want to give back because I have been given the gift of life and incredible family and friends.

I’ll be honest with you. Since starting my own company back in 2012, I have put thousands of dollars into a passion of mine that hasn’t even launched yet. That means that I haven’t even made a dime but I continue to put money into it because I know it is needed and it’s an outlet that makes me happy. I have had to sacrifice getting another V Beam laser treatment and micro-needling that costs around $1500 per session among many other things because I know that I have to pay my Developer his final bill. Up until recently, I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck. We have to take risks and make sacrifices in order to follow our passions and dreams. Things don’t just come to you. You have to work for it all. Do you think I got any publicity before the show because Media randomly found out about me? Nope, I sat down last Thursday and wrote emails out to my favorite blogs, local news and radio stations. I had to put myself out there and risk being ignored and rejected. But thankfully, people took the time out to read my story and believe in me. Just goes to show that you can never give up and never lose faith that we are all here for a reason.

Anyway, I have to go get the closets organized before tonight’s guests come over– which will include, Jason, my mom, her boyfriend, my sister and brother in law. A few of my friends said that they are having Viewing parties because they know I don’t want one. Haha. I feel like tonight’s episode will be a tear jerker. So I’ll be with wine in one hand and tissues in the other. That’s why I don’t want to be around a big crowd right now. Ha. I cringe when I think about how I will appear on TV. And then the camera adds more weight…oh geez. : /

I’ll post another blog this evening and then another post tomorrow with a few current pictures of me since the reveal happened in January!!

Thank you for reading!! And to the people who have written me messages. I read the messages and jumped for joy. We have each other and I promise you I know what you feel like. It’s AWESOME to know that I can relate to someone too now. I will write you back soon. But know that I will. I just have to finish cleaning up before my family gets here.

xo

Happy Birthday Jim!

Jim Berdine was an incredible friend of mine. He always said that if he were not gay, he and I would happily be in a relationship. Haha. We were soul mates regardless. Jim tragically passed away August 15, 2013. That day is one that I will never forget. The details are morbid and my sister and I were the first to report his death. If you know what it’s like to lose someone so close to you, you know the pain that I went through and am still going through. I know many of you are wondering what happened to Jim. Humans are curious by nature. It’s absolutely okay to want to know. I will explain in greater detail of our platonic love affair one day. Just not today. Groundhog Day was Jim’s birthday. Today, about 7 friends of his including myself will be celebrating his life in what my sister and her husband call The Berdine Theater of their home. We will have lots of food that Jim loved, and we will play a game called Dirty Jenga that Jim loved to play. I love that man and think about him every single day. Did you lose someone close to you? Feel free to talk about the person in the comments below.

Until we talk again…sooner between posts, I promise! Have a beautiful day.

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Allow me to Introduce Myself…

Hey! Welcome to PrettywithaScar.com. My name is Crissy and I am a burned victim. I have been for 20 years. I created PrettywithaScar.com for various reasons. But one of the biggest reasons is that I wanted to offer people another perspective into what being pretty can mean in our beauty obsessed society. I have a facial scar that I got from a crazy freak garage fire accident that happened when I was 10 years old.

Since my accident, I searched tirelessly trying to find other burn victims I could relate to– and I was successful in the sense that I went to a week long burn camp for 6 years that my parents found through the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. But I wasn’t successful when I would for instance watch a TV show (i.e. Oprah or The Today Show) and a burn victim would appear, and immediately would rush to the internet to try and find the person I was watching on TV so I could make friends. I never successfully have been able to reach other burn victims. I’m also apparently not a very good stalker. Ha.

It wasn’t until the tragic death of my best friend, when everything about my energy changed. I’ve always loved life and even during the tough times, I would put that brave face on and remain positive. But when you see how quickly someone can be taken away from you, that’s when you realize that life is short, it’s beautiful and we really have to not worry about the small things. I stopped worrying about whether or not the guy I went on a date with would call me again, and I began focusing on bigger picture things. Things that would help make me a better person not only to myself, but to others around me. And that’s ultimately what brought me to creating PrettywithaScar.com.

The name, PrettywithaScar, in no way means that I think I am so pretty and unique because I have a scar, so here are a bunch of pictures of me and my scar. I am so cool. Nope! I chose the name because #1, it was available, and #2, I wanted the site to be a place where both men and women could come to in the privacy of their home and relate to someone. If you feel awkward or out of place, don’t blame it on your scar or any other physical ailment you have going on. Everyone goes through those moments– even Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen. Find the beauty within yourself because I promise you, that will ultimately lead to true happiness and that happiness will attract other happy people to you. You think I’m wrong? I’m not, because I’m living proof. Catch my crazy story on E! Entertainment Network’s hit show Botched in April 2015. In the meantime, follow my stories on here while I talk to you about a variety of topics, but mostly, give you a glimpse into what it’s like to live with a facial scar. If you relate, please tell me! Until next time…xoxo

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