Yesterday my daughter and I spent a solid hour doing those quizzes on Facebook. You know the ones I’m talking about? What superhero are you? What’s your true calling? Where should you really live? Which character are you in a movie? etc…Yeah, it was fun, but a small part of me actually thought ,’wow’, really? Like I was starting to believe it; and on some of them my daughter would try to change her answers to the questions just so she would get a ‘destiny’ or personality that was better suited for her. Here’s my point, there are a lot of things that shape us and our opinion of ourselves, how much do we allow external forces to tell us what kind of person we are. Answer? ALL THE TIME. Whether it’s some quiz, or a person, we take that information and we wonder if it’s true. I spent some time this past weekend meeting new people and reuniting with a few from my past and it brought back memories of who I was before. If you’ve been reading my blog awhile you know I was kind of a super-shy-introvert-artist-type who didn’t really think was that special in any way. Did I conform to the image that people thought? Probably, don’t we all? Here’s what I know now, we’re all special, we’re all quirky, and we all have garbage…woohoo! Now that’s freedom. We are our own worst critic and if we keep listening to what people think or to what quizzes tell us who we are then we’re missing out. The people who want to be around you will stick around because they love your imperfect soul and see beauty anyway. The rest simply don’t matter. Trying to be someone or something else that God made us to be is exhausting and usually never enough. Here’s a couple great quotes:
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.~Marilyn Monroe
Absolutely ridiculous…I love it! I dare you to be yourself…funnest.time.ever. By the way…I’m Wonderwoman, a Rockstar, a genius who should be living in NYC, and Cinderella…but I already knew those things…haha.
Today I wear Urban Decay lipstick in Venom which is a bright plum. I have this lipstick in a few colors and I love them. There is a ton of color in these lipsticks and they are surprisingly moisturizing. I chose this color because it’s bright and shocking which is sometimes how it feels when you start revealing your true self. Cheers!
Have you ever stopped and all of a sudden looked at something and seen it in a completely different way? I have always been in awe of large birds, the way they float in the sky and soar. A few months ago while watching a hawk over my house my eyes went beyond the bird and saw the sky. Now, this is going to sound cheesy maybe, but I fell in love… with the sky. I was talking about this with a friend of mine and my eyes actually filled with tears (thanks Jill for not looking at me like I was crazy). When I look at the sky I see endless beauty. Every day it’s different, the clouds add depth and character. On the cloudy and rainy days, the sky turns color and you always know that just beyond the clouds and rain, the sun and stars are still there. It’s truly beautiful and inspiring, and for me right now, a symbol of hope for a future looking at the unknown but with unlimited possibilities. I read this quote which is true ‘We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.’~Mao Zedong. It sounds crazy but I have an entirely different view and it’s amazing. Every day most of us do the same thing, life can turn into a routine but what are we missing? Look around, open your eyes, play some music because life is better with a soundtrack. By the way, the song Fly On by Coldplay is a great one to listen to while looking at the sky.
Today I keep it simple and use Naked Ultra Nourishing Lip Gloss in Streak which is a coral peach. I LOVE this gloss. It’s a gloss/balm so it doesn’t just sit on your lips. It feels light and moisturizing and this just gives a hint of color. The coral peach of Streak brightens your face a little and is just pretty. Life is cool, don’t miss it, cheers!
I have been in sales a very long time. I have had a slew of different customers but sometimes in my job I end up seeing the same ones based on territory or product. I recently visited an office that I haven’t been to in at least 12 years. My customers here were some of the friendliest I’ve had. I remember them taking the time to get to know me and talk to me, and really help me with my job in general. I knew that one of the partners had passed away awhile back but I was excited to see the other one again. Walking in, there were all new people, new partners, new atmosphere and with the changes in the Detroit economy I figured maybe the other partner had moved. I introduced myself and did business as usual and before I got back into my car I noticed the tree in front of my parking space had a ribbon and a plaque. I was overcome with grief as I read the plaque and it stated that the younger partner had passed away just a couple years ago with cancer. He was just a few years older than me when he died. I got into my car and cried not because I was super close to him, but because I remember his kindness, helpfulness, and joyful spirit; I remember his huge smile as he gave me a tour of his office and introduced me to everyone. I was mostly sad because he was so young; it was another reminder that life is incredibly short and that we never know what the future holds or how long that future exactly is for each of us.
This weekend I brought my kids to my old neighborhood in Detroit and volunteered with a great organization that is helping revive this corner of the city. We helped clean up a yard for a home which will welcome a family and also worked in the community garden. I lived a block away from the worksites and was overwhelmed with (good) memories and also a bit of sadness over how things had changed so drastically in a short amount of time. We passed my elementary school which is now an abandoned, graffiti ridden building and it was difficult to see. Again, a stark reminder of how quickly time passes and how we never know what the future holds. The beautiful thing about the future is that it happens one day at a time and no, we are not guaranteed an amount but every single day we get a chance to make a difference, and make things better. At the very least we have the chance to make the lives of those we encounter great for that day. I will never forget the way my customer treated me those times that we interacted, although he is gone, my memories of him are great. I will not forget the happy times in my old neighborhood and hope that a new family will have great memories there too. We have one life to live and share with others, what memories will you leave?
Today I wear Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter lipstick in Wild Watermelon. These are by far my most favorite drug store lipstick. They are shiny, buttery, and have great color. This color is a bright orange-red and I love the name for summer…wild watermelon, yum!!
I finally did it. It’s been at least a year and I’m embarrassed to even say it out loud. I finally finished reading a novel cover to cover. I love to read or at least I used to. In fact, for a very long time I would read 3-4 books a week, I even led a book club for several years, but for whatever reason (Candy Crush), it came to a screeching halt. Now, I will say I’ve read articles, magazines, short books, but none longer than about a 100 pages. I can’t place all the blame on Candy Crush, there’s Two Dots too (just kidding), but honestly because of all the personal craziness of my life over the past year, I have been drawn to brainless activity at the end of the day, not even wanting to involve myself in the drama of fictional lives. I had forgotten how enriched you can feel after reading a good book, how the characters can jump out at you and open thoughts and emotions, the feeling of getting to know them and wanting to know what’s next. I just finished reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and I actually cried (hardly ever happens to me). There were a few quotes (among many) that stood out to me, ‘The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life…is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are.’ ‘Knowing you still have possibilities is a luxury.’ ‘Just live well. Just live.’ Yes to all.
Over the past few months/years I have been catapulted into a whole new life. Life after cancer, life after divorce, life after whatever…we all have many ‘life afters’ but after each event it does force us to rethink who we are. Some events are bigger than others but surviving through each and knowing that a world of possibilities still exists is an amazing luxury isn’t it? Isn’t that what it means to survive and move forward? Look upward, look inward, push forward…live well. Sometimes it means trying new things, meeting new people, or going back and doing things you used to love but lost along the way. I watched Roller Derby (which I loved), I’ve gone dancing, I’ve watched concerts and musicals, and I have met some amazing new people as well as reconnected with friends I haven’t seen in awhile, and yes, I’m reading again and the list of unread books in my Kindle is crazy long. Who knows, maybe I’ll try to sing again somewhere too….In the meantime, back to books, back to people, and ultimately back to Anna.
Today I wear Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Lavender which is a bright purply orchid color. I bought this because orchid was THE color at the start of the season and this orchid packs a punch! These lipsticks are highly pigmented but not too drying and supposedly have anti-aging benefits. All I know is that this color brings out my inner ninja…k’pow!!
It’s been a good week, no, a spectacular week. Time passes so quickly it’s hard to remember what I’ve already written about. Did I mention I saw Bruno Mars live about a week ago? If you’ve been reading awhile you know I love him (refer to my Bruno Mars blog). Anyhow, Monday I had the ultrasound on my neck and lymph nodes and it was clean! Since I’ve had cancer a few times I didn’t believe him initially but accepted it, then of course the other thought in my mind was that maybe the cancer wasn’t in my neck, maybe it was somewhere else he couldn’t see (I hate that cancer did that to my otherwise positive brain). Later in the week I got my blood work back (this is the special test that takes three weeks for the results). My doctor called and basically said, ‘we got the best results, the results are perfect.’ Double whammy, clean scan, clean blood. That combo has not happened to me EVER. There’s always an ‘I’m not sure’, ‘maybe another PET scan’,’blood work is questionable’, not this time!! Can you tell I’m excited? Can’t wipe the smile off my face. Did you notice how my doctor said ‘we’? Here’s another beautiful part about this journey, seeing my doctors consistently over almost 6 years now has made them family. I love them and now we have become truly a ‘we’, hard to explain. Ended the week with an interview for a magazine and The Hour Detroit Magazine’s Best of Detroit Party which was fantastic and an awesome way to end the week in celebration.
There’s something in the air that seems different to me, palpable. What does change feel like? Summer. When that warm breeze hits your face and the sun is shining so bright you can barely open your eyes, but even with eyes closed you can see the glow of the sun and feel it’s heat on you. There’s that smell of trees, grass, flowers and fruit (and sweat) in the air. The knowledge that even in the worst summer storms, the sun is still just above the clouds waiting to burst out. That is how I have been feeling for a while, slightly behind the clouds waitiing to burst out and shine. Well, here I am. I know the future is never guaranteed but I am loving life and feeling a bit unstoppable, pushing forward one day at a time with hope and excitement, knowing God is in control. Eyes, heart, and arms wide open, thank you for being with me on this journey!
Today’s lipstick is the combo I used above for the Hour Detroit party, Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Palais Royal and Nars Lip Gloss in Stella. The lip pencil is creamy and stayed on all night like a stain. The gloss can be worn alone and on the lipstick. Nars recently reformulated their glosses and they’re awesome. Not too sticky or heavy with just the right amount of color! Be excited about life, Cheers!!
It’s time…those words are said for a lot of different things; to give birth, to say good-bye, for an interview or audition, surgery, prom. A few times a year I get a couple postcards with ‘It’s Time’ printed on it, one from my dentist and one from my doctor. Well, it’s that time of year again. All the blood work and check ups are happening now. Actually, I had my blood test done a couple of weeks ago but because I need the special blood work for rare cases like me, they send it out and I wait (hopefully just one more week). Tomorrow I get a neck ultrasound and pray there’s nothing but scar tissue. Officially it has been over three years (with a few bumps along the way) and honestly I am starting to feel unstoppable. It’s been a difficult year in general for many reasons but I continue looking ahead with excitement and hope for whatever life may bring, good or bad, and I’m unbelievably grateful for each moment I’ve had so far.
I’ve heard it said that friendships lasting beyond 7 years are friendships for life. I’m a believer. Through cancer and divorce, my lifelong friends have really pulled through despite sometimes the obstacle of geography. Here’s the thing about really great friends, they really know you; they know your heart and character and believe and support you no matter what. Adversity and how you handle it usually shows your true nature, they’ve seen my core and know it hasn’t changed. Over the past couple weeks I’ve had a chance to reunite with several friends from my past including one that I’ve known over 30 years, and it’s been awesome. Reuniting with friends from the past reminds you who you once were and the things you loved to do and it also reminds you a little of how you’ve changed…lots of laughing for sure. I’ve also met a few new people who I already know will be around awhile! Saw this on the internet about friend reunions and it’s all true:20 Great Joys of Reuniting With Old Friends. Life is fun, exciting, sad, exhausting, and exhilarating with all it’s twists and turns but it’s even better with great friends to ride the roller coaster with! “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”― Mark Twain
Today I wear Nars Lipgloss in Wonder. These lipglosses are moisturizing and don’t feel too heavy or sticky on your lips. This particular color is a sheer wash of mandarin orange with gold specks which looks great on tanned skin (which of course I have year round). It’s a great color for summer and it’s got a great name…look at the world with wonder and you’ll continue being amazed! Cheers!
I’ve never been fond of gardening, I just don’t think I’m that good at it. There have been those momentary joys and proud moments when the things I have planted grow, multiply and turn out beautifully, but for the most part planting is not at the top of my list of fun things to do. This weekend as I walked past my two, very small flowerbeds in the front of my house all I saw were weeds. Where were the beautiful red flowers I had planted? The weeds simply took over. It took over an hour to pull out most of the weeds (that’s right, I said most…it was too hot). As I pulled each clump of dense weeds I thought about how they were choking out and hiding the actual beauty of the flowers. Removing clump by clump freed up space in the dirt and revealed the beauty of the flowers I had planted early in the spring.The flowers were there all along, they were just hidden by the weeds that had taken over.
Isn’t that true of life sometimes? Over time, situations, stresses, decisions, people, surround us and take over the space in our lives. Sometimes they are disguised as good things or pretty things (like some of the weeds that even had small flowers), but the roots start underneath and by the time the weeds show on the surface, the roots have already gone deep and spread around the roots of the flower. At times those ‘weeds’ in our lives start taking over, smothering, choking, and sometimes, like the flowers, we end up integrating into the weeds so much that we think they are actually a part of what makes us. So what happens? A friend, a pastor, a life altering event, or simply the overwhelming feeling of being ‘lost in the weeds’ is enough for change. We forget that we were beautiful all on our own but given the right environment we can flourish. All these weeds like everything in life have something to teach us so take the lessons but never forget your own beauty and the strength of your roots. ‘Don’t let the tall weeds cast a shadow on the beautiful flowers in your garden.’~Steve Maraboli
Today I wear YSL Volupte Sheer Candy Glossy Balm in Luscious Cherry which is a sheer cherry red with gold specks to warm it up. These lipsticks are more like gloss in stick form; moisturizing with a sheer wash of color. Of course since it’s YSL, the packaging is beautiful and it does feel luxurious on your lips. I chose the color because it’s beautiful and it’s similar to the color of the flowers in my garden. Cheers!