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[I’m still away shooting and getting caught in lightning storms, but I have been planning this post for a few months. I’m so happy to finally put it up!]

This is a day to celebrate. And even if it doesn’t directly affect you, why not do something… celebratory just for shits and giggles?

It all started with this little thing, A Taste of Yellow, in support of LiveSTRONG day. Barbara of Winos and Foodies has hosted this event for the past two years. I became vaguely aware of it last year from other food blogs I followed. There is a fog that sits in your mind for the duration of chemotherapy which folks refer to as “chemo brain” and so one evening while battling said chemo brain, I sat down and tried to puzzle out who this Barbara woman was and why was she hosting this food event. What was her connection to cancer? I was able to gather that Barbara had cancer.

sometimes it is the little things

I submitted a post between my treatment rounds which Barbara accepted ever so sweetly. She is such a lady. I mean that in the best sense of the word. She is classy. For me, seeking out other cancer patients for support groups just wasn’t my thing. Cancer is not my thing. But there are a few people I connected with, not because they had cancer, but because they had pretty kick-ass attitudes toward life. One day I asked Barbara if she wouldn’t mind telling me about her cancer. And she shared that with me. And we exchanged several frank, honest, and sincere emails across the globe. That’s when I discovered what an incredible woman Barbara is. That’s when I discovered what a tremendous friend she is.

all good things

My chemo finished. Then my radiation finished. Peach fuzz began to return to my head. Meanwhile, Barbara’s oncologist wanted her to undergo another stint of chemo – several months’ worth. Would it help? Hopefully, yes. She emailed me when she was well enough, always the gracious and dignified woman with a little snark on the side. It’s what we all love about her.

hand-dipped in *tempered* chocolate

Barbara gets it. She gets the bigger picture. I’ve cried more than once while reading her correspondences, her realistic yet touching thoughts typed through numb fingers. Brave. I told Jeremy last year if my cancer returned, I would not agree to chemo again. But I watch as Barbara emerges from a six-month string of chemo infusions – her third stint – and I think to myself, how could I not? She reminds me by example that the fight is worth it.

join us

Today, we are celebrating the end of Barbara’s chemotherapy. We toast her health, her beautiful person, her wit, the return of her tastebuds, her heart, her friendship, her inspiration, her loving family. A handful of other food bloggers around the world will be clinking champagne flutes for Barbara too. Keep your eyes peeled! Barbara, we love you. Jeremy and I wish you many good and healthy years with Bryan and the boys and all of those whose lives you have touched. To life, my friend. Break out the bubbles!

Be sure to visit the heartfelt and beautiful toasts of these wonderful bloggers:

Becks & Posh
Bron Marshall
The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz

cheers, dearest barbara

41 nibbles at “cheers”

  1. Cathy says:

    What a beautiful and touching post. Cheers!

  2. Jen P. says:

    As a fellow cancer survivor, I will wholeheartedly toast to the end of Barbara’s chemotherapy. My 6-month stint was hell on earth, so I cannot even begin to imagine going through 3 separate rounds. Barbara is a champion, pure and simple. Best wishes!

  3. Fiona says:

    OH, Jen. How nice. I’m going to go fetch a nice dram (I don’t do champagne) and toast Barbara and you and my dad and everyone who kicked cancer in the ass.

  4. Tawnia says:

    Cheers to all of you! What a wonderful post–I do not have cancer, but so many around me do. I have thought this many times, but never said it. I hope that should I someday get ill, whether it be cancer or not, I can carry on with as much grace, fight and spirit that you have, Jen (and Barbara, too) Support is something I have always stumbled on–never really intending to find it, but, alas, there it was.
    I will have to toast with my homemade Kombucha–in a quart jar, but I do have some berries in it!

  5. Whitney says:

    Let us hope that that the third time is the charm! Beautiful post and pictures, as always.

  6. charlane says:

    what a beautiful tribute to a strong and valiant woman. cheers barbara! keep fighting the good fight.

  7. Rosa says:

    A wonderful way to celebrate! Cheers Barbara! What great news.

    Kind regards,


  8. Leah says:

    Beautiful post, Jen! Thanks for sharing it and the “A Taste of Yellow” post with us again.

    Congratulations, Barbara on kicking cancer’s ass!

  9. Anh says:

    Barbara and you are both gorgerous my friend. :) I admire your courage and honesty. Cheers to life!

  10. Karen B says:

    What a beautiful post and tribute! Cheers to you both! It is a beautiful day.

  11. Raising My Glass in a Toast says:

    […] toast to Barbara and celebrating the end of her chemotherapy together with several others tonight, initiated by Jen. I’m keeping it real with a Kiwi Pinot Noir which we enjoyed with our simple Sunday supper of […]

  12. bron says:

    “clinky clinky” – beautiful post Jen , cheers to you! Cheers… to Barbara!

  13. Y says:

    Cheers to Barbara! What a beautiful post :)

  14. Lori says:

    Cheers Barbara and of course to you Jen as well. You all are so inspiring!

  15. Amy says:

    Wow! What a beautiful tribute to a courageous woman. I’m holding up my mint chocolate tea to you both.

  16. Simone (junglefrog) says:

    Beautiful and very touching post! Up untill today I had never heard of Barbara, untill I read the blog post from Tartelette and now yours… I will toast to Barbara too!

  17. Toasting Barbara (Winos and Foodies) : The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz says:

    […] of Bron Marshall, Jen of Use Real Butter  and Helen  of Tartelette have planned a virtual "toast" to Barbara for her […]

  18. dawn says:

    that was so nice of you. cheers to you as well.

  19. Paz says:

    Definitely something to toast about. Cheers, Barbara!


  20. Paz says:

    Cheers to you, too, Jen!


  21. Susan says:

    Cancer survivor here also!. What a lovely post – touching. I am in the camp of you do what you have to and never give up. I did only three months of chemo and told myself I would do it again if I must.

    Cheers to you and to Barbara!

  22. Michelle says:

    What a lovely post and ode to your dear friend.

  23. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) says:

    Beautiful words, and beautiful pictures to go along with them :)

  24. barbara says:

    Oh Jen such a beautiful post it bought tears to my eyes. We had a wonderful day yesterday – drinking champagne and lunching with some old friends visiting from NZ. (one who kicked cancer in the butt 10 years ago). The Veuve Cliquot tasted wonderful and really made up for not drinking these past 8 months. I’m saving the Cristal for a special dinner party I’m planning when the weather is warmer. Thank you for your kind words. I treasure our unique friendship. Cancer causes us so many hardships, but it also brings very special people into our lives. I’m glad you are in my life. Hugs to you and Jeremy and a pat for Kaweah.

  25. MsGourmet says:

    Cin Cin Barbara, here’s to health, life & happiness!

    Jen – a beautiful post & tribute to an inspirational lady!

  26. Asianmommy says:

    Cheers to Barbara!

  27. Jenny says:

    Congratulations to you and barbara. You are both totally awesome. An inspiration to us all.

    On a similar note, I have a friend whose mom is going through chemo and my way to cheer people up is to bake, but she’s clearly not interested in food. Is there anything you think I could make that she could stomach? If you fancy sending me a 1 line email that would be great.

  28. Mrs Ergül says:

    This is such a meaningful post! Cheers to Barbara and good health to all! Remember. Tomorrow is always a better day!

    I love the photo of the champagne flutes clinking! It is an awesome shot!

  29. Valérie says:

    Cheers to you both! You are admirable!

  30. Dee says:

    Best wishes to you both, good friends and brave souls!

  31. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Jen, that is such a loving and heartfelt tribute. Barbara must be one helluva broad, and I will be toasting to you both. When a girl asks me to drink liquor, I’m soooooo there.

    And, of course, wishing that you both toast every year, from now on, cancer-free.

  32. Patricia Scarpin says:

    I have just been to Helen’s and sent Barb an email – I’m so glad with the news, Jen!

  33. Caitlin says:

    Just a perfect tribute to a wonderful lady! Everyone should have a little snark on the side :)

  34. Madeline says:

    What a lovely post Jen. Congratulations Barbara and to you as well, of course! How wonderful that something so difficult brought you two together. Cheers!

  35. Tartelette says:

    Beautiful post and toast my dear! Love strawberries and Champagne…and to add chocolate, well, that’s like the cherry on the cake!! Wonderful!

  36. jenyu says:

    Thank you everyone for the sweet words and sincere wishes for Barbara (and for me). You are all such supportive and wonderful readers. Extra hugs for everyone else who has kicked cancer to the curb. xxoo

    Barbara – you deserve to have every day be wonderful. Just keep taking care of yourself. We are always here for you. *hugs*

    Jenny – well, ginger helped me tremendously when I was undergoing chemo. If you can find ginger chews, those would be terrific. Ginger snaps or thin ginger cookies are also good. I ate saltines, jello, drank iced tea or hot tea or hot cocoa. Nothing tasted right at all :( Best of luck to your friend’s mother.

  37. keiko says:

    Dear Jen – thank you for sharing your story, it’s such a beautiful tribute to Barbara.

  38. Laura Flowers says:

    Cheers to you, to Barbara, and to the rest of this amazing life.


  39. palaisdeslys says:

    Magnifique, fantastique, c’est beau et ça a l’air tellement bon!!! Des photos toujours superbes!

  40. Veron says:

    What a lovely, lovely post. Here’s to you and Barbara and to all who have stared down this disease in the face – a meaningful and fruitful life is ahead.

  41. Eesh says:

    What a lovely post. How fortunate your friends are to have you in their lives. Here’s to you and to Barbara.

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