Peggy Nolan Kicked Cancer and Corporate Stress. We Gave Her a New Look

new lookLife is just too short to spend in a stressful job that drains you, Peggy Nolan decided as she was battling breast cancer. She'd been working in corporate IT for 15 years, and was finding the daily grind almost unbearable. Could the stress have contributed to her cancer? It certainly wasn't helping her recovery.

What did help her recovery was yoga. While she was going through the pain and challenges of a mastectomy and chemotherapy, yoga kept her balanced. "As far as I'm concerned, yoga saved my inner life while my doctors saved my physical life," she says. "My oncologist declared me 'cured' in May 2010."

Moving toward a new life

Her experience made her realize, however, that high-stress corporate life was dragging her down, rather than lifting her up. "While most of my life is true, authentic, and filled with happiness, I still had one foot stuck in corporate America, doing the daily grind because of the paycheck" (and the health insurance), she says. She began moving toward building a life and business that better reflected her true values.

On the side, she launched a new business, Infinite Yoga and Reiki, which provides workshops, online education, self-care coaching, yoga instruction and reiki, a form of alternative medicine. As you can imagine, her new line of work is very hands-on and personal, and couldn't be more different than corporate information technology supervision.

Peggy admits that because of the recession, it's taking longer to make the full-time switch than she'd hoped. She still hasn't quit her day job in IT in Merrimack, N.H., but she comes home each evening to a newly built a yoga studio in her basement, where she gives classes and seminars at night, on weekends and online.

Watch Peggy Get a New Look

Balancing her two worlds

AOL Jobs met her at the Diva Toolbox Conference in Boston to give her a transitional look. A yoga professional who appears to have just stepped out of a stressful corporate office doesn't give off the necessary relaxed vibe. At the same time, a corporate business manager who looks like she's ready to teach a yoga class probably wouldn't come across as sufficiently authoritative.

We did this by trading in the somber blacks, creams and navies for more cheerful and energetic pinks, because she said that was her favorite color to wear. We shied away from the babyish pastel pinks, instead selecting a strong, vibrant shade so she would still look authoritative, yet approachable. The jacket, from Talbot's Outlet, has a looser fit; a closer, more tailored fit would be more severe, and inhibit her movement. Of course she's not going to teach a yoga class in a linen jacket, but it's great for coaching, lecturing, and business building. It radiates confidence. The flowered blouse underneath is a subtle nod to nature, without being too fussy, and adds the same interest to her outfit that a man's print tie would add to a suit.

new lookHair and makeup were provided the Green Tangerine Spa and Salon in Burlington, Mass. Peggy's hair texture and color had changed considerably since her chemotherapy, and she hadn't done much with it since. Stylist Heather Simeone gave her subtle highlights around her face for a glowing, healthy look, and created layers in the back to give her more fullness where hair had not grown back to its original shape. Peggy now has a distinctive, signature hairstyle that adds to her put-together look.

With her makeup, the object was to enhance her features and give her a healthy glow, while evening out her skin tones. Makeup artist Marie Martin used GloMinerals in natural, neutral earth tones in shades of beige, taupe, fawn and sand pebble on her eyes, as well as a brown/black liner. When wearing bright colors such as the pink jacket, you need to stay away from vivid colors on the cheeks and lips, because these draw too much for the corporate world as well as the yoga environment. Blush was a subtle pink called "Sweet," and her lips were lines with a "Cedar" colored pencil, and filled in with a nude "Glogloss."

new look
Sharing her lessons

While Peggy loves her new look, she won't be able to show it off to her husband for a while. Staff Sergeant Richard Nolan, a member of the New Hampshire National Guard, was deployed for a yearlong stint in Kuwait the day before Peggy got her makeover. But at least he can see it online and in the photos she sends. Her son-in-law, Sergeant John Demers, was called at the same time. Peggy and her daughter will be handling things on their own for awhile, but they're OK with that.

"Cancer taught me about my own mortality," she says. "The drama, the chaos, the fear our egos crave are no longer part of my life. I learned how to cultivate my own inner wellspring of happiness. My desire is to teach others, especially women, how to do the exact same thing. This is MY time. To finally break free from the confines of the cubicle and to share the lessons I have learned. I'd transformed my inner self, now I've been helped to transform my 'professional' self. I needed to make sure that what I feel on the inside radiates on the outside."

How to get Peggy's new look

Jacket:Textured No-Close Jacket at Talbots Outlet ($59.99)
Top:Floral Radiance Shell at Monterey Bay ($50)
Necklace:Pearlette Necklace from Lia Sophia* ($48)
Earrings:Frosted Earrings from Lia Sophia* ($30)
Pants:Right Fit Flat Front Trousers from Fashion Bug on AOL Shopping ($30)
Shoes:Nine West Barbe Pumps from Endless on AOL Shopping ($69)
Bracelet 1:Fire Agate & Smokey Brown Quartz Bead Bracelet at on AOL Shopping ($50)
Bracelet 2:Bodhi Seed Wrist Mala at on AOL Shopping ($17)

Peggy's makeover outfit was provided by the Diva Toolbox from these sources: Talbots,, and Peggy's jewelry was provided by: You can purchase Lia Sophia jewelry by contacting a Lia Sophia Hostess.

Darlene's Makeup List:
Face Primer ($23)
GloSheer Tint Base Beige (from $31.20)
GloMinerals Concealer in Beige ($26)
GloLoose Base in Natural Light ($24.64)
GloEye Shadow in Fawn ($13.99)
GloEye Shadow in Harvest ($15.88)
GloEye Shadow in Sand Pebble ($18)
Blush in Sweet ($21)
GloPrecision Lip Pencil in Cedar ($17)
GloPrecision Eye Pencil in Black/Brown (from $16)
GloPrecision Brow Pencil in Taupe ($14.88)
GloGloss in Nude ($15.50)
Volumizing Mascara in Black ($19)

-- See All Work It! Makeovers on AOL Jobs

Do you need a makeover to help you pursue your professional passion? Do you feel your style is holding you back, or perhaps keeping you from landing your dream job? Has it been quite some time since you've looked for work, and now, as you begin your search, you find that everything has changed and you need to change with it? AOL would love to hear your story. Tell us where you live and why you need a makeover, and you just may be one of the fortunate ones selected. We're looking for both men and women of all ages, colors, shapes, sizes and interests. Let us help you move ahead.

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