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!

Puzzles

15 Jan

puzzle
When I was a kid there was a time when I loved puzzles. What child doesn’t like puzzles? I think most kids get those basic 5-10 piece puzzles because many parents believe they help with coordination, visualization, and maybe patience. I know when it came to me, and as my kids got a little older those 10 piece puzzles became 500, then 1000, then 5000 piece jigsaw puzzles. It was a challenge to look at a thousand little pieces that were supposed to come together somehow and become a beautiful picture and it was completely up to you (with a little help from parents and siblings). The majority of the time the edges were placed first because they were the easiest to figure out, then, if you had the box and knew exactly how it was supposed to look, slowly but surely and with a lot of patience those puzzles would come together. There were always those pieces that looked like they belonged in a particular spot but actually didn’t and if forced or shoved in, well, the puzzle just couldn’t come together….ah the frustration.

So what’s my point? People’s lives are those puzzles; not just 1000 pieces, thousands and thousands of pieces of history, experiences, decisions, that most of us don’t know about until we have lived in their shoes. The outside world sees this picture, like the ones on the cover of a puzzle box. Maybe the edges are easy to figure out; married, divorced, kids, career, etc but beyond that, no one but that person has all the pieces. No one on the outside can get into someone’s mind or heart or history or in their home 24/7 for that matter. So…sympathy,empathy,love,kindness,compassion for someone is awesome, even maybe suggestions or advice. Judgement and condemnation however, not cool, especially when you don’t know all the pieces of the puzzle. It’s been quite a week…

Today I wear Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Violet which is a bright magenta violet. I got a couple of these lipsticks for Christmas from my daughter (yes, she’s awesome). They are packed with color and not too dry on the lips. They also last throughout the day similar to a lipstain. I chose this particular color because the bright fuchsia color reminds me of summer. Although winter seems to have just kicked in I’m already ready for summer. Oh well, CHEERS!

New Year, New You?

5 Jan

me1.5.15You hear that phrase a lot when the new year comes around. It’s a time when people make resolutions to lose weight, be more open, more giving, forgive, etc..essentially reinvent themselves. Is it really possible? Have you ever really thought about it? Do you really want it? A new you? Maybe. When I was young I was painfully shy, an introvert and with each passing grade I would pray to be more fun, more open, make more friends. When we moved to a new city and I went to a new school in 4th grade, I thought I’d make myself a little different, maybe less shy. Then Junior High came, then High School, then College; with each passing milestone I tried to be a ‘new’ me to hopefully have more friends, more dates, be more popular, but was I ever really ‘new’? Nope. At the core, I was still exactly how God made me to be and with each passing year or milestone grade, it was an opportunity to make myself a little better, a little wiser, really just a continuation of my path with lessons learned. I find myself the same way today. Every new job or group of people I interact with meets the current Anna. One who’s had different life experiences and a history that has made me into who I am today. Not much different than the introverted shy girl of before, just a person molded by the continuation of her story. I think when I was younger the realization that I was actually the same girl in a different environment disappointed me a little. I simply couldn’t force myself to be the most funny, louder, extroverted, life of the party, popular girl. Today, I’m thankful for who I am. With each life experience and interaction we learn a little bit more about ourselves and with all the turmoil of my past and trying to please everyone except me, I’m finally at peace with who I am and it’s so freeing. The other way is too exhausting and frankly, a waste of time. Those who know you and like you stick around, those who want someone different…nice to meet you, go find who you’re looking for. So a brand new you? Maybe not. How about ‘You…to be continued.’ The rest of your story is still unwritten.

Today I have to talk about the new Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss lipstick. I LOVE them. They created four of the same shades but for each skintone. I wear the red made for medium skintone. These are not only super hydrating but they add just the right amount of color. Not to mention you get them at the drugstore so they are fairly inexpensive. I chose red because, duh. Happy New Year again, cheers!

Moments

31 Dec

new year
I recently watched a short motivational video someone posted on Facebook. The 4 minute video had quite a few impactful statements but the one that stuck with me was at the end when the speaker said that his life is now measured in moments instead of time (or something like that). Essentially life is fleeting and instead of looking at minutes, hours, dates, he looks at his history as cherished moments and his future as the opportunity to create more memorable moments; well, that was my interpretation. 2014 was filled with so many incredible memories for me, good and bad, and as I reflect on the last year I am incredibly grateful for everything. Pain, heartache, fear, joy, happiness, excitement, love, all emotions I got to experience. Literally it was a year of extremes but everything, every event, every emotion has continued to shape me and mold me into the Anna of 2015 and I’m excited. I reconnected with some old friends and met some incredible new ones, and wow, all you guys are awesome! Every person you have in your life adds a little something to it, whether it’s a lesson or a confirmation, someone that helps you grow or someone who reminds you and brings out who you really are; and honestly,even the toxic people in our lives are there to make you stronger, and to help you learn something about yourself before you have to turn away.2014

So, after all the challenges and difficulty of the past few years I want more for 2015:

More joy
More love
More strength
More peace
More hope
More stories
More people
More moments
More magic

And less…

Less fear
Less toxic
Less turmoil
Less drama
Less things

In the end, logically, life cannot help but be measured by time. There are truly only 24 hours in a day. Today though, if you read Facebook posts and talk to people, they reminisce about moments over the past year so maybe we do measure our life in moments. Time is fleeting but it seems that moments and memories last, let’s make some good ones! Happy New Year!

What day is it?”It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet. ‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.’~A.A. Milne

Today I wear Lovemarc Lip Gel in Showstopper. This lipstick has a bit of a different feel. It’s fairly moisturizing and since it’s a gel, it doesn’t feel like lipstick or lipgloss, hard to describe. I chose it because it’s red and I love the name, Showstopper, duh. Cheers!

Dear Santa

24 Dec

yellowdog
Last night I stayed awake wrapping all the presents I had for my kids, parents, and others I had bought presents for this Christmas. I am one of those very last minute shoppers because I really don’t like shopping that much, especially this time of year, so in addition to wrapping presents last night, yesterday was also when I purchased most of the presents as well. A couple things always happen to me when I wrap Christmas presents. First, I second guess what I bought because I like to try to purchase things that not only people like but also may have some type of meaning. Second, I start getting a little irritated that I bought so much junk to make sure my kids are happy. Generally speaking I buy each kids one big present, Santa gets them a present, then their stockings are filled with things like socks and candy. It’s not too bad but as they get older, their one or two presents become more and more expensive.

When I was young we didn’t have tons of money to spare, both my parents worked and sometimes my dad worked two jobs just to make sure his family had everything they needed. I never remember a time when we were without. My letters to Santa always included a request to also bring my parents something whether it was a watch, a jacket, a shirt, extra money, just anything to help them or really just to thank them for all the sacrifices they made for me. I think I wrote about this before but there was a year when I had asked for a few things like usual hoping to get one thing off my list (I liked giving Santa choices). I believe I was 9 or 10 and had asked for a red jacket, a bike, probably some toys, then something for both of my parents. I dollsremember walking downstairs Christmas morning in anticipation and seeing a large stuffed animal, a big stuffed yellow dog sitting in front of the fireplace. This was not on my list. It was the only present I got that year and you know what happened? I loved it, and even as a child, I knew it was the best my parents could do that year and I was super grateful. I named him ‘Yellow Dog’ (I know, creative) and I kept that stuffed animal for years. As I wrapped the presents last night I wondered if I was spoiling my kids and if they would be grateful if they only got one present?’Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.’~Charles Dickens,

Dear Santa,

Well, here’s my list this year:

Joy through the holidays…and forever
Peace in my home (and around my home…you know what I’m talking about); World peace would be good too by the way since you’re making your way around the world
For my kids to all get along for longer periods of time and for them to do their chores without complaining at least once a month
For my office to magically become organized
A personal chef
And of course, the perfect shade of lipstick :)

Thank You in advance, Anna

Merry Christmas Everyone!

ABC

15 Dec

utahtrees
Today is December 15th, 10 days until Christmas, three presents under the tree. Nope, I have not yet purchased any Christmas presents yet and earlier today I started to panic a little. Where are the presents under the tree from you ask? My 12 year old who was able to buy gifts from his school’s Holiday Shop last week. Yup, the youngest member of my family is done shopping. One of the blogs I follow gave an ABC challenge today; what are the first three words you can think of starting with A,B,C, then incorporate those words into your blog. Here’s my three…Amazing, Beautiful, Contagious. So here goes. I have an amazing life; it is filled with imperfection, good and bad choices, good and bad memories, love, fear, heartache, illness. Look at that list! I am privileged to have felt all those emotions, awful things that have made me stronger and awesome things that have helped me remain grateful..it’s been quite the year. Beautiful. What can I say? There’s simply a lot of beauty out there if you look. From my kids, to the people in my life who love me and make me laugh, to even the grayest clouds in Michigan (you know the sun is just on the other side of the clouds). There’s magic and beauty out there if you just take the time to stop and find it. Contagious. This is my goal. To live an authentic life filled with love for people, patience, kindness, and so much joy that it’s contagious, you know, that whole pay it forward concept. Again, life is a challenge every single day and I get really sick of having to be strong sometimes, but I believe we go through stuff to help others. Plus, truly, how much is in our control? James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.momandaud (2)

So, it’s 10 days until Christmas, tomorrow begins Hanukkah and it’s a busy time of year. If I can focus on Amazing,Beautiful,and Contagious, I know it will all be ok. ‘Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!’― Dr. Seuss Take a minute to breathe in life and be grateful.ABC…what three words pop in your head first?

Today, since it’s the holiday season and just about all brands put out a palette of some sort I’m going to point out a couple lip sets that are my personal faves. First is Nars Digital World Lip Pencil Coffrett Laced With Edge Holiday Collection. There are 5 lip crayons both satin and matte. I love Nars lipsticks and lip crayons so this would be a fabulous set. Next is Urban Decay Full Frontal Lipstick Stash set which include 6 lipsticks and a lip pencil. This lipstick is great and this set would be a great way try several shades! Both sets come from Sephora and would be great to have! Cheers!

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