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!

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!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,068 other followers

%d bloggers like this: