Tag Archives: red lipstick

My Birthday

25 Oct


Today is my birthday. It is bittersweet for me because I am still thinking about my friend ‘B’ from my last blog. Yesterday, for my job, I had to go to the place I met ‘B’ and it brought tears to my eyes thinking about all that transpired there. I walked in with a heavy heart thinking I was walking in healthy this time, while he walked out just days before with his news. It’s really a lot of emotions. One thing I know about ‘B’ is he really knew how to live. Cancer was not the only obstacle he faced in life. He was in the Vietnam War, he was a POW, he had a stroke prior to his cancer diagnosis…so much, and he constantly told me to ‘not sweat the small stuff’ and to hold my kids close. It’s so simple yet we ask for so much, don’t we?

hospitalGrowing up my family was always big on celebrating birthdays. Not necessarily with huge parties, but always recognizing the day and making you feel special. Part of that I think, is when we came from the Philippines when I was two, we didn’t have any other family here. Anytime we could celebrate each other, we did. Birthdays for me post cancer have taken even more meaning; every time I do a Relay for Life Walk, I see T-shirts and signs saying Happy Birthday and they always make me cry. The American Cancer Society’s saying is ‘Creating More Birthdays.’ Yes, it is just a day, but to me, it’s now a day to remember the past and to look forward with hope for the future. It’s also a day I get to re-evaluate my bucket list. When I was younger I had some outrageous dreams and goals many of which I have been able to achieve. Today, I still of course have some crazy dreams that I pray will happen, but my focus is more on the simple. Taking my cue from ‘B’:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuffphoto courtesy of Leanna Vite Photography
  • Open your heart and love people. Yes it hurts more when you hurt, but it’s worth it
  • Don’t take things too seriously, laugh more (even if it’s at yourself)
  • Take more risks
  • Do what you can do, and let go of the rest
  • Listen to people’s stories before judging
  • Be kind, smile often
  • Be a hero
  • Party like it’s 1999 (just kidding…not really)

I also finally have some good news to share…my blood work that I have been waiting for for the first time is CLEAN!! My doctor who’s usually even keeled and calm shouted, ‘I have good news!’ the minute I said ‘hello’. He said my levels are undetectable and then said, see you in a year. A YEAR!! I have been checked every three to six months for the past 5 years and now he says, ‘it’s over, see you next year.’  I’m ecstatic and finally kind of able to take a step back and breathe. So today, I wear one of my favorite red/burgundy lipsticks of all time, Lancôme L’Absolu’ Rouge lipstick in Merlot. I love it because the formula is creamy and not drying, second, the color is a deeper red so my lips are not shouting ‘I’M HERE!’, and third, it’s my birthday and I love a good Merlot. Let’s celebrate life, CHEERS!


15 Sep

2012-06-26 04.18.22

Well, the first of my cancer checks is in and it’s clean! This past week I had an ultrasound/biopsy looked at for a ‘funny looking’ lymph node under my arm and it was clean! One step closer to a clean bill of health for another 6 months! Next up, blood work and possible ultrasound for my neck…the original sight of my cancer…sigh, one day at a time. This was also a big week for my kids. My oldest got his first job!! I am so proud and happy for him. He worked hard to become a Red Cross certified lifeguard over the summer and just got a lifeguarding job locally. Considering it was his first actual job interview, he was nervous and was asking what kind of questions they may ask, but he did it! I have a working child! After practicing all summer long for a sport she never played, Audrey made the volleyball team. Again, another proud moment. She is my strong-willed and determined child and once she sets her mind on something she goes for it. She knew she wanted to be on the team so she literally carried a volleyball around the house all summer and practiced non-stop. Well, last week, out of the 40+ that tried out, she made it on the team! Let’s see, what was Alex’s big moment? He started as the quarterback for his flag football team, but was cut short because a player grabbed his thumb instead of the ball and…well, he tore his ligament. Fortunately, it was his left hand and not his throwing hand, so after a week of ‘healing’, he was playing again yesterday, splint on one hand but throwing a touchdown pass with the other. They’re all so different and special.

Life continues to move forward no matter how much I want it to stand still at times. Recently a friend asked when exactly a cancer patient feels somewhat free of cancer, that moment when you start forgetting. I thought about it, and I think it’s never. It’s been almost three years for me (not without some scares in between of course), and it’s still on my mind. It may not be as prevalent as it used to be, but every time I get a sore throat, a cough, a weird ache or pain, I wonder. Every check up, ultrasound, PET scan, bloodwork, I still hold my breath; and then there’s the scar I see everytime I look in the mirror. It’s not bad, I just see all those things as reminders of not only what I’ve been through, but also helps me focus on how I want my life to be. Life is fleeting…Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say…, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.~Pope Paul VI We are not invincible, we are all dying. Because of that situation happening personally, I am struggling to find joy and peace. I know they’re there but sometimes relationships or circumstances continue to grate at you and steal it away. Looking at my picture of the Eiffel Tower above, I know that looking up from the bottom is overwhelming, but getting to the top is always achievable. Again, life is short, so I will continue to grab at the small bits of joy, peace, and hope for a better tomorrow, however brief those moments may be until I can breathe again. I continue looking up. Thank you all for your support and for continuing to follow my lipstick journey!lips

Today I wear Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Lipstick in #111, Kiss Of Life. These lipsticks are matte but not too drying so I don’t mind them with a little bit of lip balm (on this I would use Philosophy, Kiss Me), or gloss. This color is RED and I mean classic, bright, blue red (at least on me). Remember what I said last week about my lips not entering the room before me? Well, when I wear this, I think my lips would be in the room the day before I got there. Sometimes a gal just needs a good red and you gotta love the name, Kiss of Life! Cheers!


20 May

photo (4)

Last Saturday I walked once again at the local Relay For Life event. This year my daughter, younger son, and mom were with me. All survivors were given a special shirt which identified them as a survivor and it was emotional (at least for me), making eye contact with other survivors knowing and feeling some of the things they have been through. This year’s survivor lap had at least 50-100 survivors of all ages and colors, male and female. It was overwhelming walking around the track with them and hearing the cheers of the supporters as well as seeing their and each others’ tears. I have to say, for awhile now, I have been struggling with a wide range of emotions. Although I have had several ‘scares’ of cancer being back, my last physical treatment was almost three years ago. Am I done? I don’t know because none of my subsequent tests have been doubt free, but is it ever done? I joked with my mom at the survivor luncheon after the walk that they put annual flowers in pots for us to take home instead of perrenials because who knows where we are year to year; It was a half joke/half truth. My good friend from radiation just found out recently that his cancer is possibly back. I’m sad, but that is truly how it goes. We are both still fighting the side effects and consequences of our multiple treatments but we both live one day at a time.relay

With all of that said, I have to speak about the loneliness of cancer.It may just be me, but there is truly a lonely side. It’s strange to say it because I don’t think any of us lack support from friends and family, but being in it, having it be you, can be lonely. We each feel something indescribable even to those closest to us. For me it’s the anger toward my body, my heart breaking over my voice and breathing, and my intense fight to be there to watch my kids grow; it’s almost like a pin that is constantly pressing on my heart. No one really knows what you’re going through because it’s so hard to describe; and these feelings are both during and after the fight. I am so glad to be able to share some of my feelings with ‘B’ because not only do we have the same cancer, we actually went through treatment at the same time and at the same place, but even then, his walk has been different than mine. For now, I push forward seeking joy and leaning on the positive, but I can’t deny the lonely place in me that cancer created. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”  ―    Bil Keane     Thankful for my ‘present.’

Today I wear Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Majella which is a garnet red color. These crayon like pencils have ALOT of color which stays on most of the day. These are lots more moisturizing than the matte pencils also by Nars and most of the time, I can swipe the color on in the morning and either use lip balm or a gloss for the rest of the workday because the color is like a stain on your lips. I chose this color because it’s red. Nothing like a red lip to brighten up the day! Cheers!!

Taking A Break

25 Feb

2013-02-19 05.17.29

Last week we spent a week in paradise. We got out of the cold and snowy Michigan weather and took a trip to beautiful Punta Cana. The weather was perfect; hot and sunny everyday, the sand was white and the ocean was beautiful and blue. Everyday was spent by the pool and beach and it was precious time spent with my family. Looking at the kids I realize that we only have a few years left with my oldest before he’s an adult; time slips by so fast. It was a great break from the cold but also the monotony of every day, busy life. I took some time to really think about everything that has happened over the past few weeks with the blood test and ultrasound and I couldn’t help feeling a little sad. If you read my Dear Cancer letter you knew that just a few weeks ago it was anger that I was feeling, but today, not so much. I guess I’m sad because this whole cancer/cancer survivor/possible cancer story will always be a part of my life, but not just me, those around me too. There were times on this vacation that I had trouble breathing. Whether it was the humidity, allergies, whatever it was, it was that constant reminder that cancer had taken something from me and I was sad. Another thing I noticed, which made me even more sad, was that I feel like I’m losing my smile (metaphorically speaking). Previous to all of this cancer stuff, I had no problems keeping a smile on my face but now, at times, it feels a little like a struggle and I hate it. Maybe it’s just now but I can’t really tell. I am desperately seeking out the magic and the blessing in every day and I still find it, but my smile seems to be fading a little. Anyhow, I guess it’s that whole cancer roller coaster that I can’t seem to get off of completely.2013-02-17 22.15.05

Just to update you all on what’s going on, since the ultrasound didn’t show any sizable tumors and my number was only elevated by a small number, my doctor thought that it was not a medical necessity to do the PET scan yet, but he said as soon as my insurance will cover it (October), he will schedule it right away. So now, we wait…again. I thought I would be able to forget about it for awhile because I trust my doctor and his decision, but the thought of that elevated number keeps popping into my mind. If you’re a praying person, I’m asking for a little peace until October. I trust in God’s plan and I’m mainly praying for the peace and the freedom to live every day to the fullest…with an easy smile on my face. Thank you for walking with me on my lipstick journey.

Today I wear YSL Golden Gloss in Golden Shell which is a sheer pinky beige color. First of all, these glosses have real gold flecks in them and are a little pricey, but I LOVE them. The texture, color, and consistency of these are awesome! They have some vibrant colors that I also own and they are all beautiful and can be worn on their own or on top of lipstick. I chose Golden Shell because it reminded me of the sand on the beach. Cheers!

It’s That Time Again…

9 Jan


Oh no, not again. Yup, it’s that time of year. Time for the blood-work and all the check-ups to see if the cancer is back. Since this is the 2 year mark I only have to get the tests done every six months or until they see something different. Remember last August they did see a little something but nothing substantial enough for action. Well, today they took four vials of blood to see if there are any changes. Two of the vials are going to California for that ‘unique’ test to see if I have tumor markers signifying cancer. Unfortunately since its a test given to rare cases like me, I have to wait 3-4 weeks for the results…ahhh fun times. Otherwise, my doctor said all seemed ok. While at the doctors office I got in a conversation with a gentleman in the small waiting area amidst the patient rooms while I was waiting for the phlebotomist to collect my blood. He asked what I was getting blood-work for and then he asked,’ Well, thyroid cancer is the best cancer to get right?” As you know, most thyroid cancer survivors don’t appreciate that statement, no cancer is good cancer. Anyhow, I replied, ‘ For some,’ then I asked if he was being seen for something. He proceeded to tell me with teary eyes that 35 years ago his wife had lymphoma (cancer of lymph nodes) followed 10 years later with pancreatic cancer, then 5 years ago, colon cancer, and now they think thyroid cancer. So, I repeated the very phrase that I dislike to him, ‘Well, thyroid cancer is the best cancer to get, easily treated for sure.’ I couldn’t believe what this couple has been through and I was so grateful that I was hopefully on the tail end of my cancer journey.

So here I am today, if the results are good then I will be over two years cancer free. For me, a mile marker easing my mind that quite possibly it’s over and maybe I can finally adjust to my new normal. What’s bad about today and all the tests,  is that it brought back those feelings of anxiety and insecurity; it was a reminder that yes, I had cancer, it’s come back a few times and no, I have no control over it. It’s so crazy and sad and depressing, but of course I was blessed with a quote on a radio talk show about the future at exactly the time I got into my car and turned on the radio after the appointment. The host was talking about the future and quoted Abe Lincoln, “The best part about the future is that it happens one day at a time.” How awesome is that? I just finished my appt and bloodwork from one arm and was headed to another lab for bloodwork on the other arm and heard that on the radio! God is good, that’s the truth, one day at a time, no control. I don’t know what the results will be one month from now but there is nothing I can do until then. Life moves on so I must continue seeking that magic. The blessing now is that once again I am reminded of the brevity of life and I can’t wait to continue living it.

Today I wear Buxom Full Bodied Lip Gloss in Hot Mama. First of all, I love the Buxom glosses. They are moisturizing and have beautiful color…these are some of my favorites. Hot mama is red of course and I love it both for the color and the name; hot mama, I wish! Cheers!


27 Dec


Four more days until the new year…2013. It’s hard to believe how fast time goes by. I ran into a friend today and asked her how Christmas was for her and her family this year and she said, ‘uneventful, thank goodness’. She said it was the first time in a few years that there wasn’t crying. Last year her mom passed away, the year before, her sister. She told me that she and her family were able to do ‘normal’ Christmas things without tears…church, family dinner, presents…she said it was very peaceful and loved seeing everyone smiling again. I can relate in a small way. Remember from a past post that December has been a hard month in my cancer journey, either I was diagnosed with cancer, recovering, or preparing for a surgery. This year I declared a moratorium on anything health related; no doctors appointments, blood work, etc. and I guess you could say this December was also peaceful for me. I am also fortunate enough to have the holidays off of work so I don’t return until January 2. With all this downtime I’ve been reflecting on the events of the past year. Highlights include me still being able to sing at my fourth Voice Day concert after three surgeries, a paralyzed vocal cord and major radiation(twice), a trip to Europe with my family, the kids all playing basketball (the face of my daughter when she came home and said she made the team…priceless), good 20120629-204705.jpggrades, dance recital, good health, running in 3 races, and NO CANCER year 2! Yup, the highlights were awesome, but some of the best memories were just every day things. I am so thankful for so much it’s quite overwhelming. My daughter today asked what my New Year’s resolutions are, well, I don’t really have any. It’s kinda bad but I’ve always been the one to literally live day to day. Yes, I have really large, no, monumental goals and aspirations, but since I’m quite the dreamer some may be unattainable…I don’t care, you never know, I mean, who knew I would write and a publish a book? Anyhow, there are things I would like to improve or just keep doing in the new year:


* Respect every person and invest in their story *Speak the truth * Be intentional *Live boldly *Keep dreaming big * As Eleanor Roosevelt says, ‘Do one thing everyday that scares you’… ‘You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face.’

As I look toward 2013 I know big things are in store. I have that restless feeling that I get so often, so much so that I have strange energy brewing from my fingertips to my toes. I’m not sure what the future holds and I also know that life is short and time goes so fast. What are you thankful for? What are you looking forward to? Don’t hold back…SEIZE THE DAY!

Today I wear my go to red lipstick for the holidays Lancome L’Absolu Rouge in Merlot. It is a deep red/burgundy which I have loved for a few years. It’s surprisingly moisturizing (most reds are not) and for me, its the perfect evening red. Happy 2013…CHEERS!


12 Sep

Coming home from work today I saw one of those giant flocks of small birds flying in different formations over a field. You know the ones I’m talking about? I think they are sparrows, but literally there are hundreds flying and weaving, landing, turning, it’s quite the sight to see. Against the backdrop of the clear blue sky, it was beautiful. While watching (and driving), I noticed that as they flew in formation, it seemed that one bird would fly on impulse another way; then one, two, a hundred would follow. It occured several times within seconds.

School started last week for my kids and there has been quite a bit of discussion on popularity in my house..with a pre-teen and a teenager, well of course. “Why is so and so popular?”, “what makes people popular?”…oh yeah, I forgot about all of that pressure. I was never the popular one but I was always nice to everyone which made me ‘well known’ in many different groups of my large school. Today when I watched the birds I was able to talk about that to my kids in terms of popularity. I told them that the birds all flew in a cluster but there was always a leader, in a matter of seconds though, another bird would impulsively go a different direction then the cluster would follow. Do you want to be part of the pack following the popular kid (or lead bird) or the one that breaks off and does your own thing, maybe some come along beside you, maybe not, or maybe new people show up? It’s much more fun to do your own thing and not just be a follower, plus, (as evidenced by the birds) the leader lost his status within seconds. Popularity is fleeting and comes and goes like the wind. I told them to stand firm in who they are, follow their passions, and love people. Everyone has a story and a reason, take time to listen and invest in people. It’s hard to be a parent, I’m sure we’ll have this discussion again, maybe I’ll see something else that I can use as an analogy.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Apple Inc.

Speaking of impulsiveness, I have purchased three lipsticks in two days ,one’s going back and another is a refill on my fall favorite. My color for today and the fall favorite I’m talking about is Lancome L’Absolu Rouge lipstick in Merlot. This happens to be the perfect deep red shade for me. Also the consistency is VERY moisturizing which I love. This is a lipstick I buy every year for fall and winter and is perfect if you have tan skin. Incidentally a perfect bright red for more of a porcelain to medium skin tone is Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square. It’s an awesome color but unfortunately for me it makes me look like a crazy woman…too bright, sigh, I’ll still wear it.

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