Tag Archives: beautiful

Looking Ahead

11 Jun

This weeks topic for my blog group GBE2 is, ‘if I had my life to live over…’. Well,this one’s tough for me because I generally don’t like to look back, I like to move forward with no regrets. Every day we are faced with decisions to make from the simple things like what to have for breakfast to the major things like, should I take that job. Sometimes we make quick decisions without thinking through all the consequences. From my examples, if I eat brownies for breakfast (which I have done before), it could be a downward spiral to terrible eating for weeks or at least a high sugar day leading to a serious crash at night. In terms of career,well, sometimes something sounds great but we don’t weigh how a certain job may affect our quality of life, insurance, etc. There are so many decisions to make on a constant basis.

In terms of the original question, I can’t really answer. I feel I am accountable for my decisions whether I feel I’ve made a mistake or not, and I have to follow through without looking back. I don’t believe in entertaining ‘what ifs’ because that would make me crazy. I choose to look forward, cancer was a wake up call to live today and not look back. Looking forward I want to love more (even though it makes me more vulnerable), I want to stress less, I want to laugh…ALOT, and I want to wake up each morning with a grateful heart and the breathless anticipation that something awesome can happen that day, even if I have to initiate it.

Today I wear Buxom Big and HealthyLip Cream in Berry Blast. First of all, I LOVE all the Buxom lipglosses. The colors are beautiful and they add a slight tingle to your lips when you put them on. These Lip Creams have a sheer wash of color and are not sticky at all, also, the creams have no sparkles or shimmer, they just hve that ‘glossy’ look. Berry Blast looks like a hot ping fuschia in the tube but it is a perfect color for summer; It adds a sheer pop of pink to your lips. I chose Berry Blast because that’s how I want everyday to be…a blast!

Insomnia

8 May

I have been having trouble sleeping lately. Do you ever feel like there’s not enough time in the day?  I read a quote last week which said, “Sky Above, Earth Below, Fire Within.” That statement really impacted me because that’s how I feel after cancer. I have a fire within to make some type of difference. With my voice still intact despite all the surgeries, radiation treatments, and the loss of one vocal cord, I feel like I might have something to say. With my new found passion for writing, my book, my blog, etc, I feel I may have lots more I need to write. With the people my job allows me to meet and those currently in my life, I feel the need to hear people’s stories because there are so many, and do what, write them down? All the stories, all the backgrounds help me appreciate my own and make me a richer more loving person. With my new found health and passion for life I feel I might be preparing for something to do…I just don’t know what.  All I know is that I’m awake and at times, overcommitted, and add to that all the lipstick…it’s just crazy.

What do you do when you have a burning passion to do something and don’t know which direction to take because you’re not exactly sure what that passion is? ‘To make a difference’ sounds too broad right? I’m curious, really, what do you do? Yes I know I spoke about purpose in my last blog and I still believe that people are the purpose for where we are. For me though, after all this cancer junk, at the end of the day it’s hard for me to sleep because it’s another day, another 24 hours, gone and I’m just wishing I could have done more with that time…. another risk, another phone call, another letter, whatever, just more. I guess for now, I will pray and go about my days with eyes and arms wide open. Eyes open for whatever may lie ahead. Arms wide open to people.  Notice anything with the picture above? There are two rainbows…don’t miss the moments.

Today I wear Dior Addict Ultra lipgloss in Flash which I’m sad to say was a limited color a few months ago ( a close relative would be Outrageous Fuscia or Sari Pink). What I love about the Dior lipglosses is they are so moist and not sticky. They add a hint of color and are beautiful.  Right now, they are my favorite lipglosses. I chose the color Flash because the name reminds me that life goes by so quickly!

Home

14 Apr

This summer I will be celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary. I actually got married young by today’s standards, one year after graduating college (he graduated ahead of me). For the first few years of marriage, we were commuters. I had an apartment in Indiana where I was placed for my first job, and he was in Chicago for medical school. People have asked why we didn’t just wait until he was done instead of only seeing each other on weekends for the first few years. Well, we were young and in love and that’s well, what else is there to say? Anyhow, it was a honeymoon every weekend and we did wait 6 years to have our first child. Since the beginning of our marriage we have had 10 different addresses in three states (I am also counting the two addresses he had while in school since I would visit and it would be our home for the weekend). 3 of the homes we had built from the bottom up, 1 of the homes was a ‘spec’ home which means it was half done, we chose the rest, 1 was a builders model home, and today’s house was an older home that we have put blood, sweat, and tears into in re-doing each room, one by one. Our first child had gone to three different schools by the time he was in second grade and my other two experienced the stress of remodeling our current house while also dealing with my cancer. It has been quite the ride and today, we have had the same address for 7 years, the longest we have stayed anywhere. Sometimes I am jealous of some of my friends who got married and put roots down somewhere and never moved but I don’t think I would change things, it’s what I know.

This week my cousins and aunt are visiting from California and the Philippines. I haven’t seen my cousin from the Philippines in almost 30 years (I think we look the same, like no time has passed). It reminded me of the journey my parents took 40 years ago leaving friends and family with a 3 year old (me) to start a better life for the generations to come. It was a huge move away from all they knew, from their home. What is a home? You’ve heard the cliche’ “Home is where the heart is”. For me that’s true. If I were Dorothy in Oz and clicked those red shoes three times, they would bring me to my home; not defined by a city, state, or address, but solely defined by where my family happens to be. The upside from all the moves is that I don’t get attached to things (even though I don’t think I really ever have). I don’t get attached to homes, or stuff for that matter. The slight downside is that it has become harder for me to get attached to people because in the back of my mind I’m thinking about our next move. The invention of Facebook of course has changed that dramatically because I can now reconnect and stay in touch with all the people in my life past and present and I’m thankful. Through the moves I have met some incredible people and lifelong friends. When cancer came I cannot think of one person past or present that did not reach out to me. I reiterate this, sometimes we just have a moment to impact someone in either a positive or negative way…make it count.

Today I wear Dior Addict lipstick In New York. I love Dior lipsticks and this is a pinky brown which is quite easy to wear with anything. New York is the place I thought I would be living (because of my Broadway dreams) but have only gone to visit. Life takes us along many different paths and I never look back. Home IS where the heart is.

Popularity

2 Nov

 

I was never very popular in school.  I wasn’t the prettiest or the most witty, no, I was the super shy, quiet, smart girl that sat in the middle of class; not in the front, not in the back.  I was not really invited to any parties and never really had a date until my senior year.  The only time my shyness was banished was when I sang.  Music stirred my heart, and my emotions were always transported through my voice.  I was not really depressed about not being part of the popular crowd because I was kind to everyone and had many friends because of that.  The flip side to that is that I was (and still am somewhat) a people pleaser.  Now, I have three kids, one of which is a teenager who just recently asked me about popularity.  He is the starting quarterback for the football team but he asked why it feels like all the trouble makers seem to be the popular kids.  I tried to do the ‘don’t worry about it be kind to others and be confident in yourself’ talk, but I remember feeling the same way.  It is so hard.

Recently, I’ve had to deal with a situation at work where I had to stand up to something that disturbed the status quo.  It has been very difficult for me.  I haven’t slept that well, and I’ve lost weight from the stress.  I realized that in my quest to ‘go along with things’ or to be popular, I have lost my own opinion and ‘gumption’.  For me, wanting to be popular equates to wanting to be liked by everyone and with my work situation, there are definitely people that will not be pleased in the end.  It is virtually impossible to please everyone and to be liked by everyone.  I told my son that more important than being popular is knowing who you are and what you believe in.  Popularity changes with each second of the clock so it’s critical to be true to yourself and stand on the foundation that God made everyone unique. I stepped forward at work and said something ,and even though I’m stressed about the decision, I know it was the right thing to do.  It’s a risk to be yourself, not caring whether your opinion is well liked or not, but it’s important.  Don’t lose your voice just to be liked or popular.  We were all created for a unique purpose and if we try to be like someone else, we lose a little. 

Today I wear Lancome’ Color Design lipstick in Curtain Call.  It is a sheer deep raspberry which looks amazing on my medium skintone, it’s great for the season.  Not only is it a great color, it’s got a great name.  This is your curtain call.  Wouldn’t it be great to come out as you?

Safe Haven

19 Oct

Today I had an appointment with my brilliant speech pathologist.  She has a PhD in speech pathology and also a love for music.  She has worked with opera singers and world renown choirs  so I trust her immensely with my fragile vocal cords.  If you’ve been following my story, you know that I am a singer and it is a deep passion for me.  You also know that the first surgery for my cancer permanently paralyzed my right vocal cord.  Eventually, cancer continued to spread handicapping my left vocal cord.  I have worked with Dr. Menaldi (and voice specialist Dr Rubin, MD) each and every time to restore my voice constantly giving me hope that I will speak well and I will sing again.  Through hard work and their constant encouragement I have been able to sing again (miraculously). Last June when the doctors saw cancer cells once again on PET scan, I gave up trying to rehab because I didn’t see the point.  Of course,  in September when ultrasound showed no tumors, I decided to resume and now I am back to ground zero.  Back in June I gave up on the singing, I grieved and I finally let it go. Today Dr. Menaldi said ‘no’.  My neck has taken a beating, but she will work with me until I am singing fully once again.  I never thought a doctor’s office would be a safe haven for me.  Since I have been diligently coming to this office for almost four years now, I have become friends with not just the doctors, but the staff.  They know my story, they have cried with me and encouraged me.  They have seen me at my worst and have followed my cancer journey every step of the way (not by choice of course).

It hasn’t always been easy for me to open up and be vulnerable, but illness left me with no choice.  I feel very fortunate to have quite a few ‘safe havens’; places where I can be myself, free from the worry of what others may think.  I count my friends and family, my home, and now my doctor’s office as safe havens for me (in my case, I also have to include the lipstick counters).  We all need at least one place because if you’re anything like me, it would be so easy to withdraw and have the only safe haven in the confines of your own brain…totally not safe!  So wherever it may be, a doctor’s office, a lipstick counter, or the comfort of your own room, find a place where you can be you to take the pressure off having to answer “everything’s fine”  all the time!

Today I wear Tarte Lipsurgence Liptint in Moody.  It is sheer deep berry colored stain which I love. I also love the name because sometimes I am moody (especially if my thyroid meds are off), and the people associated with my safe havens let me be that way!

Special

11 Oct

Last week a great man passed away.  Yes, we all know that Steve Jobs of Apple passed away but that is not who I’m talking about today.  Yes, Steve Jobs was an incredible mind, innovator and inventor, he changed how we communicate today; but I’m talking about a man named Al.  Al was also a man in his 50’s, married with children.  For the past few years, my family and I (sometimes just my husband and I) frequented a local family restaurant.  The food was good and inexpensive and the atmosphere was extremely relaxed and family-friendly.  Al was the owner.  The first time we came, Al introduced himself, asked our names, and said welcome.  Subsequently, anytime we would come in, he would greet us by name and stop to chat every now and then.  Throughout the years (6 years to be exact), Al would have us taste the new soup he was trying to sell, bring us small desserts ‘on the house’, and after learning that I liked his warm rice pudding with whipped cream on top, he almost always brought some to the table for me.  That’s the man he was.  He remembered our names and what we liked.  If he wasn’t talking to us, he was wandering the restaurant talking to the other customers.

His funeral was last Saturday and hundreds of people showed up.  What made him so special?  He knew people’s names, he looked you in the eyes and focused on you when you spoke, he remembered small things about you and would ask how you were, he treated everyone special, regardless if they were there for a cup of coffee or for a full meal.  Al had customers of all ages and walks of life, he always had a smile on his face and you could tell that he cared.  About a month ago, my husband and I were there without the kids and he sat with us awhile and told us he sold the place.  We were sad that we wouldn’t see him so much, but happy he could finally relax and spend more time with his family.  On October 5th the world lost a visionary in Steve Jobs, but in our small community, we lost a man who cared for each of us.

How easy it is to make people feel special.  Remember their name, look them in the eye, care about their answers when you ask a question.  It makes a such a difference. I recently heard a quote, “There’s no rewind in life but it’s always being recorded.”  Think about it,  people everyday are recording or remembering your actions and you can’t take things back.

Today I wear Dior Addict Lip Polish  in Glow Expert in honor of Al because I know he made that conscious effort to make every person he interacted with feel a little more special and leave his restaurant with a glow.

Memories

4 Oct

This past week I went to dinner with a group of girls, well women, that I was in a sorority with in college.  It was a mini-reunion of sorts.  Most of them I hadn’t seen in twenty years.  Prior to attending I debated going of course.  I wondered what we would still have in common after all these years.  I wondered if we would be able to keep a conversation (of course we would, we’re women after all).   I even wondered if I  still looked good, young, etc to go (dumb, I know), I mean we’re ALL twenty years older.  Anyhow, I stopped wondering and stopped looking for excuses and went.  It was great, it actually felt the same as it did 20 years ago.  I wasn’t close to all of these women back in college (some were younger, some older), but we had things in common.  We all went to the same college, lived in the same house, knew the same stories, and had memories from that time we could all laugh about.  I was also able to see one of my roommates and closest friends, Anne.  I believe the last time I physically saw her was as a bridesmaid at my wedding almost 20 years ago.  She still lives far away, but the timing was right and she happened to be in town.  Most of us are married, most of us are moms, and more than likely, most of us struggle with similar things on a daily basis.  We shared lots of laughs and memories of old boyfriends and different events (some of which I don’t think I wanted to remember).  It was not time wasted.

Me and Anne

I read a quote which said, ‘ Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.’ The Wonder Years  The simple line that struck me was, ‘the things you are.’  Our memories, our past make us who we are today; we can’t erase or forget them.  Having cancer and going on that roller-coaster ride of emotions and memories I would rather forget has made me the person I am right this minute.  I am more self-aware and more selfish with my time, but I am also, stronger and braver.  As much as I want to move forward and forget the past few years, I realize that it’s the past that has given me this current strength.  We cannot live in the past and we also cannot base our lives on the memory of how we used to be.  We grow and mold ourselves daily based on our experiences and new memories.  Use your memories, both good and bad, to help you become wiser and stronger.

Today I wear Mally High Shine Liquid Lipstick in Blossom-a beautiful mauvey/plum because everyday, we blossom into someone new.

Worth It

27 Sep

Recently a close friend of mine went through a terrible break-up.  If you knew her you would know that she is a beautiful, strong and intelligent  woman.  As I listened to her weep on the phone from a broken heart, I wondered if it was worth it.  Three years of ups and downs, being completely vulnerable only to be left with a broken, scarred, insecure self.  Was it worth it?  Is it worth it to lay your soul bare?  I venture to say ‘yes’. I asked her this same question just a few days after the break up and she agreed without hesitation that yes, it was completely worth it.  She was able to open her heart and feel several degrees of emotion and is now a richer person because of it.  She opened herself up to love and to feel love, but when she did that, she also opened herself up to feel the hurt.

With all that’s transpired in my life over the past few years with cancer constantly coming back and reminding me that life is short, I wear my emotions on my sleeve.  I used to be much more guarded and protective of my feelings, but I can’t do that anymore.  When I’m angry I express it, when I’m hurt or sad, I cry, and when I love, I can’t hold back and my heart overflows.  I feel extreme emotions, am I an emotional wreck?  Hardly.  Cancer has made me stronger mentally, but it has also made me a person who craves realness; real, raw emotions, real feelings, real people, no more games…not enough time.

My friend will recover and she’ll be stronger from the experience.  The danger happens when the scars build up and we don’t allow ourselves to heal.  Each time I have surgery on my neck there are new and additional scars, each surgeon has had to cut through the old layer of scars to get to the cancer.  It’s true of relationships too, the hurtful ones add to the old scars and it’s difficult cutting through those to open up.  But, I look at my scar on my neck and it’s a reminder that I am strong and I persevered, and I know myself better.  We are all creatures that crave love but , pardon the cliche’, we need to give love to get love.  Open yourself up and be real, take those risks.  You may get to know yourself a little better along the way too… it is worth it.

For today I chose Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Passion, a sheer crimson red lip balm that feels GREAT on your lips.  I chose it because it’s sheer enough to let your true colors shine through, but it’s red and called ‘passion’ so it’s a reminder to live and love passionately!

Follow Your Heart

30 Aug

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked….follow your heart…Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”-Steve Jobs

What a brilliant man. Think about it, why don’t more of us follow what’s truly in our hearts on a daily basis. Now I’m not saying quit your jobs and run away to do something crazy, because we all have responsibilities, but if we know our heart’s desires and dreams, why not take steps to go in that direction or somehow reinforce that desire daily or weekly? I still love singing, dancing, and music in general, they bring me joy, so now I play the piano longer, I sing in my car louder, I dance when I hear a fun tune and those things put a smile on my face; even hearing good music can stir my heart. We are all destined to die. For me, cancer gave me a warning and reminder that it may be sooner than later.

My son had a birthday party recently, 25 teenage boys and girls and talk about trying to live up to external expectations, yikes. The pressure teens face to look good, be smart, be popular, get into the right crowd, is tough, but it doesn’t change much as adults (especially as a woman). We all fear embarrassment or failure but what do we have to lose? What would happen if we did fail? So what? I would hope to teach my children to pick themselves up and push forward, not looking back. Life is too short and knowing that we all die no matter what should be freeing. For me, it lifts the burden of ‘what would they think…’ because when we die, does their opinion really matter? Be your own person; follow what’s in your heart because God put it there, and love people knowing that they are all unique and they all have hopes and dreams too.

RED LIPSTICK CHALLENGE: This past week I had an appointment with my radiation oncologist and wore bright red lipstick. (Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster lipstain in Fever—fun red, be brave). When the PA whom I’ve never met before walked in the room he looked at me and said, ‘Wow, where are you going after this appointment because you look great,’…all that before he introduced himself! Me and my red lips felt pretty satisfied. If you know some of my story you know that I used to want to hide my lips, now, red lipstick…hello, I’m here to live! Keep sharing your stories and challenges, I love hearing them! Talk with you soon….

Transparent

22 Jul

End of week two in training.  It’s interesting what happens after two weeks in a high stress environment.  Week one, everyone is on their game putting up a front, majorly competitive, and of course, trying to mark their territory.  Now, after week two, everyone’ s tired, stressed, and just plain overly exhausted.  It’s great because everyone’s walls are slowly being chipped away, people are FINALLY letting down their guard and the atmosphere has totally changed in the room.  It has become much more comfortable and supportive. 

It’s amazing once again what happens when people let their guard down and let other people ‘in’.  Now, we are in this game together and now we are learning each others stories which is great.  I love hearing about people’s backgrounds and experiences because it helps to explain why the way they are today (and that goes for the irritating people too).  Ahh yes, another lesson.   If people had no walls and were just themselves, I believe the world would be a better place.  I’m not saying not to have a filter, but if we came into relationships with no expectations, not trying to mark our territory and look better than the other person, what would it be like?  Maybe we should try it, I know I have been because it is such a waste of time and energy to keep up.  For me at this point, again living with cancer, what you see is what you get.  Transparency is a beautiful thing.

Today I wear CO Bigelow Sheer Liptint in Just Blushed.  It has a sheer pink tint and tastes like peppermint.  I chose it mainly for the name although I do love the consistency and color.  Just blushed…because when you’re yourself, it’s easy to see your inner beautiful glow.

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