Teeth

15 Apr

annabeach

A little known fact about me is that I was born with teeth and lots of hair, so much so that my mom thought she had given birth to an animal…well, not really; and I didn’t really have full on teeth, just the whites of a couple teeth already pushing at my gum line. Biologically, if my ‘teeth’ were already through the gums they would be called natal teeth and there are different proposed causes but generally it’s a rare condition. In some cultures there is bad folklore on kids born with teeth while in others, it’s extremely positive. As a side note during my cancer journey anytime my doctor said, ‘That won’t be you or that won’t happen to you because it’s rare,’ well, it happened to me. So I guess I’ve been a rare breed since birth. Anyhow, growing up unique is not always a great thing especially during middle school. If you have kids, especially girls, you know what I’m talking about; the goal of most kids ages 10 to about 15 is to blend, not stand out, belong. So, growing up knowing I was born ‘unique’ looking, maybe subliminally made me want to blend even more.

This past week I spent a week relaxing with my kids on vacation but on the way there a title of a book reviewed in a magazine caught my eye, Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew. In the short article Kate (who to me is most famous for her role in Ryan’s Hope) was interviewed about her book and what she said about being born with teeth made me a little proud. She said she was born with teeth and that ‘it’s Shakespearian…it indicates there will be an unexpected life ahead of an epic nature. Teeth are a harbinger of what’s to come but also the strength to withstand it..’.Wow, for a moment I felt super special.Reading that quote a few times I have to agree. I have had an unexpected life and it has been epic. Beginning with the journey at 2 years old from the Philippines to America, then living happily without much money in Detroit,then the suburbs, television, stage, cancer, divorce, re-marriage, so much life and so much yet to come. How crazy exciting!!

If you look back on your life and I mean REALLY look, you too have led an epic life. Everyone has a story and I choose to never forget the good AND the bad stuff because both make me who I am, and believe me there’s been plenty of bad.Life is not always having lots of exclamation point moments, there’s lots of gray along with the bright and even some highlights in the dark, but epic nonetheless. Never forget each moment and each person becuase they all have a purpose in your life adventure! ‘Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.’~Louise Erdrich

Today I wear Cherry Chapstick…it’s original and it works! Cheers and Happy Spring!

5

29 Mar

beach

5 years. It was 5 years ago this month when I had my very last surgery for the cancer that kept coming back; lymph nodes, trachea, laryngeal nerve…scrape, cut, gone. I’ve been so busy with other things that I almost forgot this landmark. I’ve heard that 5 years is usually the landmark for cancer surviviors; 5 years and it’s a full remission, pretty much home free or so they say. I’m not sure about that,I’m sure I’ll always wonder.Looking back at the past five years it’s been quite a life.I’ve faced not only cancer,but I’ve also been on the receiving end of rage and anger,have experienced fear,as well as joy, strength, new beginnings, life…so much life.

Today is Palm Sunday and if you’re a Christian like me it is the beginning of Holy Week. The one thing that I know for sure is that with my faith I never lost hope, still have it.I knew and believed that whether it was good or bad news, cancer or no cancer, God had a plan for me and that simple belief always gave me hope for a future however that looked. Over the past months I have heard many things; God doesn’t want us happy, people are cursed for life because of their decisions,God judges different people differently,really? Who is that God? It is Holy Week and the God I know, the God I have experienced is one of hope, peace, love, and joy. Maybe happiness is not what God’s goal is for us, but what about joy? What about the peace that passes understanding? With that joy and peace I believe there is happiness.People cursing oher people? My God is the God of love and grace. I have no doubt that God loves me no matter what becuase He created me exactly me. Grace is the big one, it is unmerited favor, getting what we don’t deserve, being loved, forgiven, blessed without deserving any of it. It’s a crazy concept, hard to understand, showing kindness to a stranger, loving an enemy, grace is not just a blessing, grace is an action.

So on the 5th anniversary of finally being cancer free I am loving life. I have not only been given a second chance but after cancer a few times I feel like I’ve been given a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chance as I move forward with hope and excitement.‘What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.’~Rick Warren

Today I wear Nars Audacious Lipstick in Anna. Thank you to my friend Flor from lipstickandstockings.com for pointing out this lipstick! I chose is for it’s color; it says smokey rose but it’s a bit more ‘perky’? A brighter color rose? Anyhow, it’s name is Anna…how could I resist? Cheers!

Perplexed

5 Mar

AJ 3.5I know I know, it’s been quite a while since I have written. I’m exhausted. It’s been a whirlwind of personal and professional ‘busy-ness’ since the beginning of 2015; between work, taxi driving the kids around, and personal life, my life has been in motion at a full and fast pace. It’s not all bad, regardless of the fact that almost every weekend I have been at 2 day volleyball tournaments or basketball games, my kids are only young once and this is the season of life we are in. So here’s a few things that I have been perplexed with lately…

1. A 17 year old boy. My son is 17, a junior in high school, transition time. Yes I know they have all kinds of pressure, what college, ACT/SAT, sports, dating, looks, career. I get it, I was 17 once (a long time ago). I guess it’s funny to me to see that struggle to be independent and thinking you’re adult, then turning around and asking me for lunch money; also the struggle of keeping the balance between social life/part time job/schoolwork, it’s hard. Looking back I know I had the same struggles and it’s easy to say I was better at handling it all but in all honesty I probably wasn’t. Watching him navigate through as a parent though, feels a lot more stressful. I have to balance between wanting to cuddle still and letting him go, the line between fixing and taking care of things for him and pushing him off that branch so he can fly on his own. I really don’t like it and it’s really hard. Here’s what I know, there are times I just need to listen and not fix, guide and not direct, that he needs to make his own decisions and learn the consequences of those decisions, and that he still loves to get a hug and hear that I love and support him no matter what. Being a parent is hard. You will never love more, hurt more, stress more, and sleep a whole lot less. Parents of older teens…what in the world? I’ll take any advice.

2. Comparison (this is my list of currently perplexing topics remember?). As women we compare ourselves to each other CONSTANTLY. I’m not sure if it’s something we’re born to do, or if we learn it from tv, magazines, and marketing, it’s just irritating. I know I probably do it. What I’m perplexed with right now however is how some can make assumptions by comparing and immediately place judgement and offer, no, tell you what the best thing to do is. I love people and this blog is called lipstick JOURNEY. We are all created differently and are uniquely us on an individual journey that God has placed us on; although some may seem similar, no two paths are the same. EVER. Until you have lived in someones shoes and know every single detail, you cannot place judgement on their decisions. Advice to someone based on your path? That’s fine, but if you don’t understand the entire story then leave it because there’s always more to a story…’People take different roads…Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.~H. Jackson Brown Jr.

3. Words vs Actions. I’m big on this, in fact, I think I’ve written about this several times already. What I’m perplexed with are those that are eloquent in their speech, those who talk a good talk, etc but their actions leave you dumbfounded. ‘Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.’ 1 John 3:18
Oh how actions scream out. Enough said.

So there it is, what’s currently on my brain. Today I wear Dior Addict Lipstick in Spring Ball which is a sheer sparkly pink. I’ve always been a fan of these lipsticks because they are super moisturizing and pretty sheer, almost like a lipstick/lipbalm combo with a bit more color. They’re not ultra long lasting but I love them. I chose this color because I’m ready for spring please!!Cheers!

The Easy Cancer

18 Feb

winter

Last week I was invited to share my story with a local thyroid cancer support group. Funny enough, after having thyroid cancer and recurrence I had never been to any support meetings. I think part of it was because my life was in a constant swirl mode. I had 3 younger kids, work, and friends surrounding me 24/7. After being around these women I understand the value of support from those who walk a similar path. So…thyroid cancer, the ‘easy’ cancer as it’s better known, nope. Before sharing my story, we went around the table and each woman shared a little of theirs. What I heard was multiple surgeries, high dose radiation, mis-diagnosis, lack of empathy from physicians, varying opinions, varying treatments, and metastasis, essentially a changed life; Different ages, different stages of life, different stories, different struggles, but same cancer. What I found most encouraging was that every single person had a positive outlook on life and living. Two of the women have cancer which has metastasized in their lungs and they were the most positive of us all. They both had peace and joy on their face as they expressed their gratitude for every single moment of every single day.

What does gratitude feel like? It’s feeling warm and loved on a day that’s below 0 degrees. It’s not just seeing the sun shine and appreciating it, but it’s also knowing that even on the cloudiest of days the sun is there behind the clouds. It’s opening your eyes in the morning in anticipation of a new day you’ve been blessed with to meet people, hear stories, and just plain live life. It’s feeling wind whipping through your hair, the chill of the cold, rain (or snow) in your face and saying ‘thank you God that I can feel and breathe and laugh’. It’s hearing your kids laugh or even fight and being overcome with emotion because either way, you love them and they know you’re there. Being grateful means you pick your battles, you let some of the small stuff go and you realize that much of life is not in your control so you just roll with it. Life is awesome and FYI, there’s no such thing as easy cancer.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.~Melody Beattie

Today I wear Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie lipgloss in High Roller which is a coral pink. These lip glosses are super moisturizing and are mostly all natural. They have lots of color infused in them so you can wear them alone or on top of lipstick to add shine. I chose this color because I’m ready for summer! Cheers!

The Dress

1 Feb

2012-07-02 11.07.09
I have this dress in my closet. It’s a deep emerald green so yes, a departure from my daily black and gray. I remember buying it off the clearance rack and wearing it a few times; every time I put it on I get lots of compliments so naturally I love it. Well, I haven’t worn it since 2001 and here it is still hanging in my closet waiting for the possibility of being worn again. I am one of the fortunate people who has been the same size since probably high school (minus the times I was pregnant). NO I am definitely NOT complaining but because of this I have a really hard time getting rid of clothes, especially dresses, work clothes, etc because they’re not worn as often and therefore stay ‘nice’ for a longer amount of time. I’d say 14 years of not wearing something should be enough time to decide I’m not going to wear it again?

Why do we hang on to things for so long? For some of us it’s a piece of clothing, for others a relationship, and for some a life long dream. I 2012-12-24 08.42.14believe there are certain things that we hold on to because maybe the memory of that ‘thing’ is actually greater than the thing or person itself, or maybe it’s a safe choice or a safe path, or maybe there’s just plain fear. There’s the other side of it too. Sometimes we hold on to pain, bitterness, resentment for the exact same reason; because we know it, understand it, it’s safe, there’s fear of what may be on the other side and maybe sometimes we don’t think we deserve anything different. Why the dress? It still fits and I think I may still wear it, but I honestly haven’t put it on in almost 14 years. So maybe some of that stuff is in my head. Today I put that dress along with many other ‘older’ items into a plastic bag to donate. Sometimes we have to let go of what’s past to create space for the future. What are some of the things you are holding on to? Tomorrow’s a new day, start cleaning your ‘closet’.

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today I wear Nars Audacious Lipstick in Audrey. I like just about every Nars lipstick formula but these ‘audacious’ lipsticks have both lots of color coupled with a light texture. I chose this color because it’s like red wine and it has my daughter’s name. Cheers!

The Why

28 Jan

Sculpture in Sedona, AZ called 'Changing Woman"

Sculpture in Sedona, AZ called ‘Changing Woman”


I’ve been writing my blog for almost 4 years and it’s been quite the journey; and with the growing number of followers and subscribers comes an occasional critic but also a sense of responsibility and sensitivity to you guys,the readers. Originally, this was a place that I spoke about the challenges of cancer multiple times, surgeries, coping, and of course lipstick in a positive light, but it has turned into a place about just living life and seeing the beauty of people and the moment (and still lipstick). Lately, I have been thinking about the ‘why’, why I write a blog and reassessing if I want to continue. First,I have always been a writer. I have kept a journal since I was 8 years old, in fact, my daughter read through some of my high school journals recently. Being an introvert, paper and pen was the place I could sort through my thoughts and feelings and boy, it’s fun going back and reading some of the stuff I stressed about and talked about. My journals are a place I talk to my imaginary best friend and tell her my innermost feelings, it’s a place where I talk to God and write down prayers for me and for others; journals for me have been my safe place to be who I really am without getting judged. I write it, release it, pray, then close the book…easy. So I write, makes sense I have a blog. Well there’s this other thing, I am a people-pleaser. I admit it and have been working on it for years. I have to say that getting cancer has actually pushed me a little because life is so short and trying to please people at the cost of your own soul is truly exhausting. So what does this have to do with my ‘why’… a lot actually. I want my blog to be honest and authentically me with no apologies and without fear of getting judged. I have always been a positive person and that will not change, but there always seems to be someone who says I shouldn’t write this or that and it gets a little frustrating because I’m back in the cycle of making sure everyone’s ok with everything which then gives me a bit of writer’s block. Well I’m done with censorship and although there are still topics I choose to be private about, my blog will not always be a warm and fuzzy Hallmark card. Life is hard and ugly sometimes and we’re all trying our best. I will always dig for the beauty in each person and each day but I will always speak the truth about how I am feeling and pray that some of my experiences resonate with you and can be of some encouragement. In turn, I will always love hearing from you and find great inspiration from you as well. Thanks for reading and following me along this path (as well as listening to me rant and process too).

We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.~May Sarton

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Today I wear NYX Cosmetics Extra Creamy lipstick in Snow White. These lipsticks are super inexpensive and can be found at Ulta, Target, and I’m sure a few other places. They are great! I use their extra creamy lipstick as well as the butter glosses and I love them both! Why this color? Snow White is famous for those ruby red lips and ebony hair; this lipstick is the reddest red. Live life real!! Cheers!

Unexpected Family

21 Jan

2013-07-05 04.25.31

My dad is the oldest of 7 and my mom is the youngest of 4, that being said, I have many cousins, aunts and uncles. Here’s the thing, when my parents immigrated to the United States in 1972, it was just us; me, mom, and dad…no other family. So what happens when you have no family around? You find people in similar situations, similar interests, or maybe just genuinely lonely and you make a family. I grew up with several other Filipino families who we met in our Detroit apartment complex, church, work, etc. who became my ‘cousins’, ‘aunts/uncles’, and ‘grandparents’. I don’t remember a time flipswhen families and extended family grew up and stayed in the same area. I know people who have this and it’s awesome, but with the changing times, changing family units, and the changing economy, families seem to spread all over the place for most folks. What’s the definition of family? Traditionally, family is defined as ‘a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household’ but I also found the definition of a family as ‘a group united by significant shared characteristics’.

The past few weeks have been filled with some super happy exciting things that I will talk about soon and at the same time the past week has been boutextremely stressful and at times frightening. Some of you know that I started getting involved with a local roller derby team over the summer. My time with them has been off and on because of a knee injury and now the current situation I’m in, but last Saturday as they welcomed me once again with open arms it was overwhelming. I couldn’t help but feel like I had another group of people that have become family. I have found unexpected family as a child through friends of family, and as an adult through a college sorority, work, church, and now derby. I am so grateful. There are many people who are lonely and have little to no blood relatives around, what’s your part? Would my life be different if my parents did not put themselves out there or if people had not reached out to us? Absolutely. Hands and eyes wide open, someone needs you as much as you need them.’There are the families that we are born into, and there are thederbysis families that we choose our circle of friends. While their faces may change over the course of our lives, the joy they bring us remains constant.’~unknown

Today I wear YSL Volupte’ Tint In Oil in Drive Me Copper. It’s winter in Michigan and my lips tend to get dry. I was introduced to these just a couple days ago and WOW. It’s oily but not greasy, it’s lighter but not exactly a balm or a gloss. I can’t really describe it but it’s awesome! It has a wash of color, enough to wear alone and since it’s YSL, it’s a bit pricey, but WOW. I chose this color because it’s like glistening gold on my lips (like sunshine)…cheers!

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