23 Oct


I read an article last week which ended with a few challenge questions and one of those questions really stood out to me: ‘Do you keep watch for brilliance and beauty or do you always heed to immediate tasks and urgency?’

After I had cancer the first time I had many complications; the surgery went long, the cancer was worse than they expected, my nerve was cut leaving my right vocal fold paralyzed, and my prognosis wasn’t that great. I remember leaving the hospital and looking at the world a whole lot differently. By the time I was done with cancer the third time I noticed every single thing around me. I walked slower, I breathed air like I had never breathed it in before, I noticed people’s eyes, the sky and clouds looked new, I noticed just about everything around me and didn’t have to search far to find beauty, my eyes were wide open. Now I feel like I see only my calendar; deadlines, sales goals, the next activity, when I need to cheauffer kids, etc….Reading that challenge question reminded me to slow down, take life in, and notice.

There’s been alot of cancer around me lately. I don’t recall a time that cancer affected those in my immediate circle so much but in the past few months I’ve heard over and over the news that cancer has another in it’s grips-again that reminder to slow down, take life in, and notice. Life is busy no way around it but beauty is all around if you look for it; not just in things but also in people.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

We leave you a tradition with a future.
The tender loving care of human beings will never become obsolete.
People even more than things have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed.
Never throw out anybody.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

Your “good old days” are still ahead of you, may you have many of them.” ~Sam Levenson 

Swipe on some red lipstick.I recommend Nars Audacious Lipstick in Audrey which is a deep red (and also my daughter’s name)! Cheers!

sunset leaffall



13 Oct


It’s Homecoming season for high schools across the country. For high school boys and girls this means pep rallies, games, school spirit week, playing football against a local rival team, all culminating in a Homecoming Dance at the very end. Growing up the ‘dance’ part was always hard for me. I was a little awkward and alot shy. I always wished for the Sixteen Candles story of awkward girl gets noticed by popular guy but honestly I was never asked to any of the dances at school. I had many crushes throughout Jr High and High school (mostly with the same handful of boys) but alas, I admired them from afar knowing I didn’t really have a chance. My senior year of high school I was surprisingly chosen to be on Homecoming Court and I believe it was for one reason, I was kind to everyone. I didn’t belong to any particular social circle (unless you count choir and theater people as a group). I was just nice and respectful to those around me.

I have a super strong mom who is a retired social worker from Detroit. Her father passed away after an accident when she was a teen and because her mother then had to go back to work full time,she was a primary caregiver for her brother with muscular dystrophy; all while finishing high school then college where she graduated 2nd in her class.Then of course the whole move to Detroit from the Philippines with an infant not knowing anyone and having to find a job…yeah, strong.Both my parents would tell me I was beautiful but more than that they would emphasize kindness and respect. When I was disappointed that I wasn’t asked to dances or on dates my mom would tell me that my time would come and that it was because boys were just scared to ask.They taught me strength of character, trust in God, and pushed me to be a woman who could always take care of herself no matter what. They instilled this belief in me that I mattered and I was worthy of love.They taught me to persevere through trials, to have that internal drive, and to really believe that I could do anything I set my mind on. I lost some of that belief along the way because life is hard and words of others can be powerful in a bad way sometimes.

These are the lessons I want to teach my daughter. It’s really hard in the current culture vballwe live in today. Media, pictures, tv, snapchat, etc…the pressure to be liked, to be pretty, to be thin, to be popular; it’s the same stuff I struggled with in high school and beyond but the advent of social media outlets has made it crazy for these girls. I want my daughter to focus on bravery over beauty, kindness, compassion, and strength over number of ‘likes’ on posts. It’s a forever process and a constant reminder to focus because life is not a fairytale. In Proverbs it says that beauty is fleeting and it’s so true. How quickly someone becomes unattractive when their personality or character is ‘ugly’. Funny, I talk about and love lipstick but no amount of lipstick or make up can mask an ugly heart.

‘The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.’ ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Today I wear Dior Addict Lip Glow which is always in my purse. It’s a lip balm which brings out the perfect color of your lips based on your pH. There are many imitations by other companies and believe me I’ve tried them but this one is the best. I chose this color because it brings out your own beautiful color. Let’s help our daughters focus on their strength and courage and what’s on the inside vs. what’s outside. Cheers!














Introvert Mom

25 Sep

2013-07-05 16.21.59

I’ve been feeling a little crunchy lately, not just lately, weeks I think; irritable, stressed, maybe sometimes a little depressed. I thought it may be work related or because since school has started, the schedule has been in hyper drive with work, super early mornings, and school sports. All I know is everyday I’ve been going through the motions of getting things done and at the end of the day I’m completely worn out, not to mention if just one little thing throws off the equilibrium of my ‘flow’ I’m wrecked. I’ve been trying to process this and honestly pray about this for awhile now. Since I’m awake pretty early I sit and pray in the quiet hoping for peace and some sort of ‘light-ness’ to my day. Well yesterday I think I finally figured it out. I am a total introvert, feeler, and people pleaser living in chaos almost 24/7.

My brother is almost 11 years younger than me. What that means is for almost 11 years I was an only child which totally works for an introvert. My mom however is a total extrovert and therefore had people at our house all the time. My usual MO (modus operandi-method of operation) was to greet people as they came, eat the food, then hide out in my room until everyone was gone. An article I read recently about my specific personality type according to Myers-Briggs testing (I’m an INFP) said that ‘When under stress the INFP gets lost in internal turmoil”…caught between pleasing others and maintaining their own integrity and taking care of their well-being.’ Some of the causes of stress are cited as ‘not enough time alone, small talk, too many demands on their time, and of course, too much extraverting.’

Here’s the deal: I’m the mom of teens which are super involved in school and sports and I have a career as a sales rep. That about covers all the stress factors for INFP type personalities. How do you ‘mom’ and constantly give to your kids, your spouse, your friends, etc.. and how do you do sales for a living without small talk all while being a people-pleaser without getting stressed because you’re an introvert? I’m open for suggestions because I don’t think it’s possible. What are the solutions? The article says ‘give them space, forgive them for being overly critical, let them get away by themselves, let them do projects they’re interested in’…all good stuff, not surprising. What if you’re a mom with lots of responsibility, a demanding job, a mom that doesn’t want to miss a thing with her kids? Is it ok or easy to just simply get away? No. As much as I’d love to there are seasons when it’s not possible. What’s the solution then? I don’t know but I will continue trying to find those pockets of silence, I will force myself to rest in peace and quiet and to have some dead space even if it’s for 5 minutes every few hours while trying not to start the dishwasher or do laundry or run another errand or get on the phone. In this season of life I can’t hide in my room until everyone leaves so I have to recharge in those pockets (while planning a short vacation getaway). I’ve missed writing this blog so here I am in my solitude pocket being vulnerable. Susan Cain writes ‘Solitude matters, and for some it’s the air they breathe.’ Here I am, breathing.

Today I wear BareMinerals Gen Nude Radiant Lipstick in Mantra which they describe as a dirty mauve. I really love these lipsticks because of the texture and the colors because as titled they are Gen(erally) Nude. All the colors are easy to wear for every day. I love this color, it’s my MLBB (my lips but but better) shade. My mantra for now will be ‘stop and breathe.’ Cheers!




Time to Fly

19 Aug


Dear Son, you are about to leave for college and I can barely speak without tearing up and choking on my words. I am so happy for you but sad at the same time. I am proud of you and the young man you have become. How do I tell you all that I’m feeling? The emotions a parent, a mother, feels? I remember sitting at your kindergarten orientation, that first goodbye was gut wrenching but I’m not sure it can compare to this one. With this goodbye comes the knowledge that I am saying goodbye to an adult, to my firstborn, to my boy who AJbday1I won’t see for longer and longer gaps of time. I will no longer be able to peek in your room to make sure you’re sleeping well, I won’t be able to give you that mamma bear hug when you’ve had a bad day. This year has been filled with so many ‘lasts’ but also many firsts like not being with you on your birthday for the first time😦 Now, washing sheets, college shopping, packing, all these things bring floods of memories; watching you play t-ball, learning how to ride a bike, your daring 7 year old self riding a motorcycle, you helping with your brother and sister when I had babyAJcancer, all these years that I’ve had the privilege of being your mom and watching you grow have been amazing. I’ve always heard people say that our kids are a gift from God and that they are not really ours, well here it is, every year older has been practice of letting you fly away. I saw this quote,’There is more to a boy than what his mother sees. There is more to a boy then what his father dreams. Inside every boy lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his father’s dreams aren’t big enough, and sometimes his mother’s vision isn’t long enough. And sometimes the boy has to dream his own dreams and break through the clouds with his own sunbeams.’ ~B Behunin 

So here I am. Packing you up and letting you go to dream your own dreams and break through the clouds on your own. I dread the ride home after dropping you off but I’ll be ok. I will miss you because you are a piece of my heart that I will be forced to leave behind. I will worry about you but I know you have a good head on your shoulders. I will call and text you, please respond, I’ll try not to do it too much. I am truly excited for you, these are really tears of joy! I am always here for you no matter what and I’ll be praying for you every day. AJgoofThank you for being a great son. From the book I read to you every night when you were young…’I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.’~R. Munsch

I love you baby boy,


How We Live?

7 Aug


I have a super talented brother, he’s a singer/dancer/actor who was on Broadway for years and has been in the cast of shows like Rent, Mamma Mia, and Miss Saigon among other things. Currently he travels the world as a choreographer, teaching master classes in dance and theater, and judging and emceeing national dance competitions across the country.  A couple weeks ago my brother was hired to teach a master class in theater arts at a theater on the east coast. During one of the breaks he had to return phone calls so he left the theater for a short bit and was walking around in the nearby park/neighborhood. He was in a t-shirt and khaki shorts and was not carrying anything except his cell phone which he was on. I say all of this because within that half an hour he was approached by the local police. Apparently someone had seen him and called them about ‘a mysterious brown skinned man walking around the neighborhood.’ For. Real. He said that the minute the policeman came up to him the officer put his hands in his face and said,’oh damn, I’m so embarrassed.’ Yes, even the cop couldn’t believe it. To follow up on the complaint the police had to go to the theater to verify his story about being there to teach and of course it was the truth.


Does he look scary?

This is now the world in which we live. It’s sad and it’s unfortunate and at a time when America is probably the most diverse, we feel the most segregated. We are scared of each other, scared of who the next president will be, scared of our neighbor, scared to cross the city line. We talk big but talk from our comfortable little squares about how things should change. How will they change? Martin Luther King said, ‘Love is the only force capable of turning an enemy into a friend.’ Easier said than done. Are we losing our capacity to love others? The bible talks about faith, hope, and love with the greatest being love. I recently read in another blog that many think that there can be no faith or hope without love but the author believed that there can be no faith and love without hope. I think that is where we stand today. With all the tragedies, terrorism, senseless shootings, etc, we are starting to lose hope in our futures which then creates cynicism and less faith then eventually less ‘love thy neighbor.’ This attitude then moves down to our kids who really haven’t yet experienced the world but now have the same attitudes and opinions we do regarding politics and maybe even race. It’s a vicious cycle. How do we stop it? I don’t know but how about starting with kindness and respect of others and their opinions. We all have our little circles of influence-start there, we don’t all have to win an argument, sometimes it has to end with agree to disagree. ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control’ Gal 5:22-23.

Today I wear Laura Mercier Lip Glace’ in Blush which is a rose brown. I love how these glosses feel and the color is decent for a gloss. I have been using this for years and my absolute favorite color is Brownberry which has been a little hard to find but this comes pretty close. It’s always a great time to just throw on some gloss! Cheers!



30 Jul

pier Are there only 2 sides? Is there really only fear and love? One or the other? Does perfect love cast out all fear?

I admit, I have many fears ranging from the typical spiders and snakes to the large catastrophic events like earthquakes, fire, and of course cancer coming back yet again. Many of my fears are inconsequential and not really debilitating. In fact, since having cancer, I still feel afraid of things but most of the time I overcome by thinking either ‘who cares’ or really ‘what control do I actually have over the situation/thing.’ If I can be totally transparent I have been struggling for a few years with a specific fear which for me has at times been a little debilitating. It is the fear of a person. I won’t be specific but because of events from my past and how they have shaped me, along with actual events that have happened, this fear to me was warranted. Fear has had me looking over my shoulder, looking out my windows at night, locking my doors (which I do anyway), not going to certain places ‘just in case’, adjusting my schedule…you get the gist. Fear changed how I lived. It is a work in progress but now alongside of that shrinking feeling of fear is anger. Anger that I am still making certain adjustments and anger because I still have that fear (vicious cycle) because just when I think I’m about to overcome the whole thing, something else happens. I am finding that anger is starting to take over that fear and maybe that’s a good thing.

When exactly does perfect love cast all that out? I’m honestly not sure. Yes, I believe God is in control. Yes, I trust God has my back but in between fear and love there’s a whole lot of anger, frustration, forgiveness and exhaustion. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. What I do know is that fear steals joy, peace, fun, and takes parts of your life that you may not even be aware of. It’s the thorn in your side day to day. Fear turns life into the what if; what if I get cancer back, what if I really am not good enough, what if my child gets in an accident, what if those threats are real, what if, what if, what if? Here is where I have to land…“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.  A daily active faith and trust in God. Our lives can be made dark by many things but fear takes away the freedom to really live. There is a song we sing at church with the words ‘I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.’ Every time we sing it, I cry because I need that truth every single day. Fear> worry> anger> faith> trust> breathe> peace> free>repeat.bird

I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.’~ Yann Martel 

Today I wear Bare Minerals Gen Nude Radiant lipstick in Panko. Did you know yesterday was National Lipstick Day? Uh yeah, my friend Adrienne had to tell me (thank you)! Anyhow, I picked this one up and I have to say I like it! All of the colors in this line are supposed to be ‘nude’ with just a hint of color. They are creamy but more on the glossy side, not the one to choose if you’re looking for hard core color. I chose this color because it has a coral undertone but it’s not too orange. Thank you for doing life with me! Cheers!

Letting Go

17 Jul

bus stop

My 16 year old daughter just came back from Africa a few weeks ago. She had a fantastic opportunity with our church to go to an area where a school is being built for 600 children. Daily they were there to play, teach, sing, and just love these kids. When she came home she had a certain glow about her; she has been more open, appreciative, loving, and as an aside is more willing to use public restrooms because of the ‘not so nice’ bathroom situation where she stayed in Kenya. She’s always been pretty stubborn and staunch about her future plans in regards to college and career (especially lately), but this trip has changed her a little and I see (and hear) some uncertainty now. It’s been great listening to her and what’s on her heart and I’m excited. I’m praying that she will remember this trip, the people she met, and that her heart remains soft to those in need. I think it’s amazing how just leaving your comfort zone for a bit can change your perspective, your opinions, and maybe even some of your goals and worldview. IMG_2574

This summer has been a little difficult for me. Not only has it been jam packed with just stuff to do but most of that ‘stuff’ has had to do with letting my kids go and that reminder that they’re growing and ‘going’. My oldest child graduated high school and will be leaving in a month for college, my daughter went to Kenya then came home and got her driver’s license, and my youngest finished his first year of Jr High, went to a weeklong camp, and grew 6 inches somewhere along the way making him almost 6 foot tall. Parenting is hard and as I watch them become more and more independent I realize that it’s just a process of teaching them some of the lessons you’ve learned, loving them, then letting them go and be who God created them to be. As much as I want to hold them captive and continue telling them what to do (I mean offer them guidance), my time is nearly up and now I watch, pray, and support. It. Is. Not. Easy. But change and growth is inevitable.grad

‘Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.’~K. Gibran

Today I wear Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Quench Lip Rescue in Rose. I chose this because my lips seem to be perpetually dry right now so I’m wearing lots of colored balms and lipgloss. It’s super sheer and not bad in terms of moisturizing but I was hoping for a little more color. I know the job of mom or parent never stops, just changes; it’s a privilege and a blessing. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged so thank you for bearing with me! Cheers!



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