Tag Archives: breathing

Heart of an Artist

3 Sep

singing
I recently read an article which talked about a firefly and a butterfly. The point of it was that everyone loves the butterfly because it is outwardly beautiful; the colors, the patterns, the way it floats in the air, they get all the attention. The firefly on the other hand is more non-descript, not very recognizable until it lights up. The firefly’s beauty is on the inside and it chooses when to show it. I am not writing it as eloquently as the author of the article but reading it really impacted me. It was geared toward children and talked about artists, musicians, writers, book lovers, because these are the kids who are usually more introverted, not always understood, and who see things a little differently. They may not be as social or express things easily unless it’s through the written word, music, art…whatever their ‘language’, is. This was (is) me. Growing up I was the quiet one, shy, introverted, and not2013-04-23 21.06.16 exactly the popular girl (or butterfly) getting the attention…but turn on music and I was lost in it. The stage became my home because when the music started to play my heart would burst and it didn’t matter who was watching because I was in my own world. I felt every note, lyric, and rhythm deep in my soul. It still happens now, even on a smaller scale. In my car, in a restaurant, in a meeting; it’s very hard for me to focus if there’s music playing in the background and sometimes, something beautiful,a person, or event can turn a song on in my mind. Life is better with a soundtrack (or at least more interesting). Music and writing have always been my way of expressing myself and sometimes they have even brought out emotions I didn’t think I had.

Some months ago I met an artist on an airplane. I’ve never met anyone so passionate, so interesting, and whose brain never seemed to turn off. What was most beautiful is what I saw when I looked into his eyes and listened to him speak. There was an excitement for life and living, the desire to experience everything that life could possibly give; to taste it, to feel it, and to simply breathe it in. Life and people were his canvas; art, his language. I was inspired and walking away left me pearwanting more from life, feeling almost invincible, like I could do anything, or at the very least try. Recently I had the chance to catch up with him again and it wasn’t much different. I went to a couple galleries which housed some of his work, was introduced to another artist, and once again I was left wanting more from life. I saw the same drive, passion, and excitement, and saying goodbye left me a little sad; sad that maybe he’d take that light along with him.

There is a quote that says, ‘There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.’

He told me I inspired him, but in this case, I think I was just the mirror. What’s beautiful about a firefly is that when it lights up, it becomes transparent; like the firefly, when artists express themselves you get a glimpse into their soul and his soul was beautiful. You can always find a beautiful face but beautiful souls are more difficult to find.

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

Today I wear Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Naked which is a nude/pink. You all know I love this lipstick because they’re moisturizing yet have lots of color. I don’t usually wear nude lipstick because well, I’m tan and they don’t show. This one has a little bit of pink so it’s great as an easy everyday color for me. I also like the name….we may not talk as much, but we always find ways to bare our souls! To all the artists, dreamers, and fireflies, here’s my soundtrack for you ….Cheers!

Unrealized Dreams

14 Aug

changing woman
Recently I was able to reconnect with a friend who I haven’t seen in probably three years. It was great because we were able to talk like no time had passed yet our lives were so different than they were 3 years ago. We talked and laughed and really marveled at how life can change so quickly. We talked about the future and about our dreams and what we would like to see; some things we had in common, some we just laughed about. Something I shared is the realization after cancer that you just never know what will happen tomorrow, so I try every single day to do one thing that brings me closer to a dream or goal.It certainly keeps me busy. She asked how I manage to do all the stuff I HAVE to do PLUS all the stuff I WANT to do…I kept my answer simple…one day, one moment at a time. If I don’t fit all of it in, I don’t sweat it, I just move on to the next day. Here’s another awesome thing I discovered, if you live with your eyes wide open to opportunity, sometimes yellow flowernew dreams make their way into your life. Remember when I wrote about watching roller derby? I watched because the minute I saw their booth at a local fair and spoke to a couple of the girls, I knew I wanted to be a part…enter new dream! See how it works? I’ve been talking about this with a friend for awhile and she recently shared with me that she decided to pursue her dream of riding horses! She said that by me talking about doing something new it pushed her to also do something she had always been interested in. Why not? What stops us? How and why do we forget some of the things we loved? We all have responsibilities; jobs, kids, etc. but if we don’t do a little something that reminds us who WE are every single day, we slowly start to lose a little bit of ourselves. Thankfully we are all created uniquely us; different, special, and beautiful.
me and jen
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.~H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Today I wear Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Revolution lipstick. This is seriously a hot red; dark, edgy, awesome! You all know I love Urban Decay lipsticks and this is no different. Lots of moisture plus lots of color…limited edition so get it while you can! I chose this color because it’s bold. Live your adventure! Cheers!

Quiz

4 Aug

2013-07-09 01.53.39-1
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 zitgarbage…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!

#NationalLipstickDay!

30 Jul

Julylipslipbag

How did I miss it?? How could I miss it? Yesterday was National Lipstick Day! It’s funny these days because there’s a day for just about everything. Take for instance today is National Cheesecake Day…I’m not that excited about that. Anyhow…this will be quick, in honor of lipstick day, here’s what I have in my bag for July (I know it’s alot):

* Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 92 Emotion
* Dior Lip GLow
* Nars Lipgloss in Stella
* Naked Lipgloss in Streaklips
* Laura Mercier Lipgloss in Brownberry
* Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me
* Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose
* Chapstick

As you can tell, I stay lighter in the summer with tinted lipbalms and glosses. All of these can be found at Sephora or even the drugstore. It’s almost August-Eeeek!! Cheers!

The Sky

27 Jul

sky
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.sunsetsky

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!

The Tree

20 Jul

AWface
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?photo

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!!

The Book

16 Jul

Me Before You
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 Derbyluxury 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!!

Unstoppable

29 Jun

Hour Party
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.Best Of Detroit

yellowThere’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!!

TFIOS

6 Jun

AW6.14
Last night I took my daughter to see the movie ‘The Fault In Our Stars‘. We had both read the book almost two years ago and knew we wanted to see the movie. It’s about a teenage girl who has metastatic thyroid cancer. I will not spoil it because there are surprises if you have not read the book, but I think everyone familiar with the trailers know that at the very least you will need a Kleenex or 10 when you either read it or watch it. I cried from almost the beginning to the end. There were many moments that I identified with, first obviously, she had thyroid cancer. It was difficult watching her and listening to her struggles and thoughts but it was also hard to watch her parents and how they cared for her and even some of their thoughts. For me, the movie and book were both kinda gut-wrenching.

I’m involved with a couple cancer organizations. One where we connect on-line and support each other, the other, I am a ‘mentor’ to those struggling with similar cancer or treatments. We connect and just talk through the emotions and even some of the physical changes that happen from treatment. Last week I spoke with a new person as her ‘Angel mentor’. She, like me, has thyroid cancer; but she, like the the character in the movie, has thyroid cancer that has spread everywhere after 12 years. It was a difficult conversation and I have been praying for her daily as she struggles through. She asked me at the end of our initial conversation how I stay so positive because she can’t find that right now. I told her mostly faith, part personality, and part choice. What’s the alternative? I also told her it’s ok to feel down. There’s a quote from the movie (and book), ‘Grief does not change you, it reveals you.’ Sometimes we have to dig so deep. In speaking with her there are many things we share in common which I’m sure any cancer patient has felt:
* When we feel down, other people feel worst. When we act and talk like we feel great, people feel better. Therefore most times, we don’t really want to say we feel bad
* Having cancer more than once is difficult. Both of us agreed that telling people it was back was a little embarrassing and discouraging
* Although we all want to say ‘why me?’ when we look at our loved ones we think ‘why not me?’
* We both hate when people say that thyroid cancer is the easy cancer. Clearly it’s cancer that can spread and take over your body. Neither of us had it ‘easy’
* So this is a weird one, if you’re a woman with cancer and it’s not breast cancer, we’re a little jealous of the pink (sorry)
* Cancer makes us see what and who are truly important. We don’t want to waste a moment. Another quote from the movie ‘The marks humans leave are too often scars.’
* Sometimes the sadness of how cancer affects us is overwhelming but sometimes the joy we now find in simple moments is equally if not more overwhelming. ‘The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people noticing things, paying attention.

We don’t choose cancer, it just shows up.

Today I wear Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Tulip which is a pinky mauve. I love these because like the name they feel like butter. I chose this color because it’s perfect for every day. It also looks great on every skin tone by the way. Cheers!

The Gift

22 May

relaymom
Last weekend I walked in the local Relay For Life for the 4th year in a row. The first year I walked was the same year I fought cancer for the third time. It was a special time for me because I had just finished my treatment a few months before and I was asked to share my story and sing as the walk started. Every year has been special and emotional. Since I’ve been cancer free for some time now I felt pretty strong and confident starting the survivor lap. I was caught off guard at first by the change in t-shirt design. This year, each shirt listed ‘survivor’ or ‘in the survivorbackfight’ on the back. Looking around and seeing people of all ages (including kids) whose shirts said ‘in the fight’ really overwhelmed me, then hearing the applause from the people in various booths really threw me over the edge and I could no longer hold the emotion, I started to cry. During the survivor lap we are allowed to have a caregiver walk with us, this year, like the other years, my mom walked with me and it happened to also be her 70th birthday. I can’t imagine how she was feeling while her child was sick, I don’t know if I could be as strong as her. She was the primary caregiver for both me and my kids throughout my journey and I am so grateful.

It’s really strange, but for as much joy I was feeling about being there for another Relay event, I felt a little sadness. I was sad a little about how much my life has changed, and sad about some of the things cancer took away from me; no longer confident about my body, the difficulty breathing, the fear that cancer may come back, etc. I was also sad looking around at all the families affected by cancer, young and old; seeing the kids, then seeing the elderly woman who had ‘in the fight’ on the back of her shirt walking the slowest, being held up by her husband walking with her. I am incredibly thankful for my friends and family members that were always around to help; taking me to appointments, praying with me, the meals, the laughs, the care packages, even the lipstick…truly incredible people. Although cancer will always be part of my story, the Relay For Life is always a time I remember and reflect on all the events that continue to shape me today. Cancer seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. It brought back friends from the past plus even more friends, more opportunities, it brought the best out in most people. I saw kindness, generosity, hope. It gave me the gift of opening my eyes to a fragile life, the beauty of people and moments and stories; more passion for life and compassion for people. It made me more aware of my body and the various shifts and changes. It helped me focus on the positive things in my life as well as the things that needed to change. Cancer gave me the push to move forward with dreams and goals; less fear and less stress about the things that that truly don’t matter. Yes, cancer is that gift that keeps on giving. I would’ve chosen not to have cancer for sure, but we all deal with different things in life. ‘For a lot of people, Superman is and has always been America’s hero. He stands for what we believe is the best within us: limitless strength tempered by compassion, that can bear adversity and emerge stronger on the other side. He stands for what we all feel we would like to be able to stand for, when standing is hardest.’~J. Michael Straczynski Standing was hard but I’ve always wanted to be Wonderwoman!wonderwoman
Today it’s Marc Jacobs Beauty Lovemarc Lip Gel in Surrender Dorothy. These lipsticks are creamy and moisturizing despite being labeled long lasting. I do prefer the Marc Jacobs glosses a little better but these are great too. This color red (more orange red than blue red). Life is crazy and can throw some curveballs…surrender. Cheers!

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