Tag Archives: sephora

Heart of an Artist

3 Sep

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 Kübler-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!



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!

The Sky

27 Jul

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 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!!

I Lived

8 Jul

I,I did it all
I, I did it allkoy
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived-I Lived~One Republic

I spent the weekend with my family in New York visiting with my brother and just enjoying the city. We were able to pack in lots of food, shopping, and watching my brother’s show in just 3 short days. I even went out with him and a few friends for ‘adult time’ after the show. I spoke with one of his friends ‘C’ for a long time and was inspired by her. She’s a beautiful, strong, funny, outspoken singer/dancer/actor/black belt in karate chic who’s also divorced. I found her inspiring because she had so much life in her eyes, she was excited about where she was, what she was doing, and just plain living. She said she surrounds herself with people that give her life. I love that! I have been accused at times for being too positive and not really being able to express my disappointments or fears, well, work in progress, but do we really need more negative? Here’s the truth, life can be hard and ugly and disappointing; it’s not always how you want it to be but I have faith and trust in God that it’s how it should be sometimes. I have had enough ugly to fill several lifetimes which I may or may not write about, but I am choosing to live and I haven’t felt this alive in a while.

It has been 6 years since my first bout with cancer and although at times the battle was rough, it strengthened me. I recently did an interview and was asked how I think cancer has changed me. We are all affected differently because we all handle obstacles differently, but I’m sure there are commonalities amongst all survivors. Cancer has made me stronger, less fearful, more open, more excited about life, more passionate, less stressed about the things that don’t matter and more dedicated to the things that do. Surviving gives me a feeling of a life unfinished…so many things to do and so many places to see and I also continue to surround myself with people that give me life and not drama! I was asked if I ever sunsetfelt depressed, or maybe fearful of the cancer coming back. Of course, ask any survivor the same question and you’ll get the same answer…cancer’s always on the mind. There were also the times when cancer came back that I was just plain tired of the fight but that’s when I pulled my bootstraps up and said ‘let’s do this’. Plus, having kids made me want to fight even harder. I don’t blame cancer on anyone. For me, it was a dumb abnormal cell in my neck that multiplied and wouldn’t go away for awhile, and why not me? I have an awesome team of doctors that I’ve seen on a regular basis and they have all commented on my strength and even keel. I was and am fortunate to have many people who support me and I don’t like to dwell. Depression or PTSD is not something I’ve struggled with but with any serious illness, it’s normal if you do. I do still hold my breath with every test, but I have to say that if you’ve been reading my blog for some time, that strength does not come from me but from my faith in God and the knowledge that He has a magnificent plan whether we see it or not…(and it may not be exactly what we planned either). Cancer changes your life but it can’t conquer your spirit. There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.~Albert Einstein

I quoted that One Republic song at the beginning because it’s awesome. At the end of it all I want to say that I owned every second this world could give, I lived. Today I wear Marc Jacobs Lip Gel in Strange Magic which is a warm nude pink. These lipsticks feel a little different on the lips, I’m still trying to figure them out. They’re really light on the lips but have lots of color. It says they’re long lasting but after eating I find you have to reapply. I’m not going to lie, I only picked this one for the name because life is like strange magic but I do own the color Voila which is like a magenta/red. Live life, cheers!

It’s Time

22 Jun

It’s time…those words are said for a lot of different things; to give birth, to say good-bye, for an interview or audition, surgery, prom. A few times a year I get a couple postcards with ‘It’s Time’ printed on it, one from my dentist and one from my doctor. Well, it’s that time of year again. All the blood work and check ups are happening now. Actually, I had my blood test done a couple of weeks ago but because I need the special blood work for rare cases like me, they send it out and I wait (hopefully just one more week). Tomorrow I get a neck ultrasound and pray there’s nothing but scar tissue. Officially it has been over three years (with a few bumps along the way) and honestly I am starting to feel unstoppable. It’s been a difficult year in general for many reasons but I continue looking ahead with excitement and hope for whatever life may bring, good or bad, and I’m unbelievably grateful for each moment I’ve had so far.

I’ve heard it said that friendships lasting beyond 7 years are friendships for life. I’m a believer. Through cancer and divorce, my lifelong friends have really pulled through despite sometimes the obstacle of geography. Here’s the thing about really great friends, they really know you; they know your heart and character and believe and support you no matter what. Adversity and how you handle it usually shows your true nature, Ginathey’ve seen my core and know it hasn’t changed. Over the past couple weeks I’ve had a chance to reunite with several friends from my past including one that I’ve known over 30 years, and it’s been awesome. Reuniting with friends from the past reminds you who you once were and the things you loved to do and it also reminds you a little of how DLAyou’ve changed…lots of laughing for sure. I’ve also met a few new people who I already know will be around awhile! Saw this on the internet about friend reunions and it’s all true:20 Great Joys of Reuniting With Old Friends. Life is fun, exciting, sad, exhausting, and exhilarating with all it’s twists and turns but it’s even better with great friends to ride the roller coaster with! “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”― Mark Twain

Today I wear Nars Lipgloss in Wonder. These lipglosses are moisturizing and don’t feel too heavy or sticky on your lips. This particular color is a sheer wash of mandarin orange with gold specks which looks great on tanned skin (which of course I have year round). It’s a great color for summer and it’s got a great name…look at the world with wonder and you’ll continue being amazed! Cheers!


16 Jun

I’ve never been fond of gardening, I just don’t think I’m that good at it. There have been those momentary joys and proud moments when the things I have planted grow, multiply and turn out beautifully, but for the most part planting is not at the top of my list of fun things to do. This weekend as I walked past my two, very small flowerbeds in the front of my house all I saw were weeds. Where were the beautiful red flowers I had planted? The weeds simply took over. It took over an hour to pull out most of the weeds (that’s right, I said most…it was too hot). As I pulled each clump of dense weeds I thought about how they were choking out and hiding the actual beauty of the flowers. Removing clump by clump freed up space in the dirt and revealed the beauty of the flowers I had planted early in the spring.The flowers were there all along, they were just hidden by the weeds that had taken over.

Isn’t that true of life sometimes? Over time, situations, stresses, decisions, people, surround us and take over the space in our lives. Sometimes they are disguised as good things or pretty things (like some of the weeds that even had small flowers), but the roots start underneath and by the time the weeds show on the surface, the roots have already gone deep and spread around the roots of the flower. At times those ‘weeds’ in our lives start taking over, smothering, choking, and sometimes, like the flowers, we end up integrating into the weeds so much that we think they are actually a part of what makes us. So what happens? A friend, a pastor, a life altering event, or simply the overwhelming feeling of being ‘lost in the weeds’ is enough for change. We forget that we were beautiful all on our own but given the right environment we can flourish. All these weeds like everything in life have something to teach us so take the lessons but never forget your own beauty and the strength of your roots. ‘Don’t let the tall weeds cast a shadow on the beautiful flowers in your garden.’~Steve MaraboliAWJune

Today I wear YSL Volupte Sheer Candy Glossy Balm in Luscious Cherry which is a sheer cherry red with gold specks to warm it up. These lipsticks are more like gloss in stick form; moisturizing with a sheer wash of color. Of course since it’s YSL, the packaging is beautiful and it does feel luxurious on your lips. I chose the color because it’s beautiful and it’s similar to the color of the flowers in my garden. Cheers!


6 Jun

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!

Make a Friend

3 May

I just watched a video on YouTube called ‘Take a seat, make a friend‘. Essentially the makers of the video set up one of those enclosed spaces filled with balls that kids jump into at places like Chuck E Cheese or at play areas, you know what I’m talking about? Anyhow, buried in the ‘tank’ are questions, two strangers climb in, pull out questions and ask them to each other. A couple things were interesting, first, people actually stopped in the middle of the street to get in the tank, and second, by the end of the questions they mostly had found something in common and were hugging good-bye. I’ve been traveling a bit lately for vacation and work. I’m the person on the plane that sits down and looks down, not really wanting to talk to anyone, just get me to my destination. Rude I know, I’ve even pretended to read or fall asleep. To be honest I feel a little claustrophobic and I also get a little queasy on a plane so I’m already at a disadvantage. A little over a month ago I flew to New Orleans to do a cancer talk and for the first time in a long time engaged in conversation with the people I sat in the middle of (not because of me really, I was still looking down). The conversation was great, the stories were awesome, and I left there feeling like I met new friends (I still keep in contact with one of them on occasion). This past week I was on an airplane again for work and when I sat in my seat I decided at the very least to introduce myself to the person next to me. I said hello and asked why she was headed in the same direction. She tells me her name, says she studies people and human behavior (which piqued my interest), then says, ‘I have a lot of work to do,’ turns pulls out a notebook and buries her face in her book. WHAT??? Made me laugh. She says she researches people but doesn’t want to talk. Oh well, I tried, I thought the interaction was funny. Here’s what I learned from the video, people still like face to face interaction, and if given the time, most of us can find something in common. It’s still great to look someone in the eyes, shake their hands, hug them. We do a lot of communicating on line, email, text, and I LOVE it, but we’re starting to miss out a little on the souls we get to see in each other’s eyes…that human touch and interaction. Don’t forget, we need each other, live and in person too.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”~Leo Buscaglia

Today I wear Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Poppy. These are like the name, buttery. Feels a little heavier than lip balm and super moisturizing. Tarte lipsticks are all natural and these are made with Amazonian butter (which somehow sounds better than Detroit butter?). They are also in a cute floral lipstick tube. The colors don’t last quite as long but that’s what happens sometimes when you choose something more buttery. It says that Poppy is a warm red but on me shows up a little brighter but perfect for spring/summer…which I know will eventually happen here in Michigan. I chose it specifically for the color because I’m so ready for warmer weather! Cheers!


24 Apr

I know it’s been awhile since my last post but you know when your life feels like it’s in overdrive? After our short vacation I’ve felt super busy; partly from the need to do spring cleaning of my house, partly work, and partly the kids’ activities, just not enough time in the day to accomplish all I want to do. Oh yeah, we have to include sleep in there too! This past week I got to sing again at what has become one my most favorite events, my local World Voice Day Celebration. This event put together by my physician showcases different styles of singing from performers who have had some type of vocal injury as well as physicians and healthcare providers that help us regain and recover our voices. This event is particularly special to me primarily because I used to be a singer and I thought I had lost my ability to sing when cancer and the first surgery took my nerve and therefore took my right vocal cord along with it. Being at Voice Day and singing (albeit different and weaker) represents to me the big picture miracle of still having my voice after cancer three times leaving me with one functioning vocal fold. It also serves as a reminder of my cancer journey and how far I’ve come. I’m always so grateful and emotional and this year was no different. You can see my performance with an intro by my doc here: http://youtu.be/UcmQjzNC3SM

My last blog post (Just Rambling) on relationships was one of my most read posts of all time telling me people love authenticity and truth. I wrote it off the cuff (hence the title) and direct from my heart. Sometimes truth is met with criticism because sometimes people only want to hear the ‘warm and fuzzy.’ Sometimes truth is a mirror to something they don’t want to hear about themselves or just plain blinding light in the darkness. Whatever it may be, life is not warm and fuzzy all the time. I write as an extension of myself and I will not trade authenticity for safety.It’s sidenot always pretty but to censor what I write to make people feel better or more at ease would be to censor my feelings and say it’s not alright to feel that way. Life is not always a fairytale and cancer is definitely not a party, but I will always look for the positive and stay authentic because that’s who I am and that’s really what this blog is all about. This is my heart, thanks for sticking around. ‘When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.’~George R.R. Martin

Today I wear Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick in Legendary which is a true red. This particular lip color in the Be Legendary line is moisturizing, some of the other colors are more matte. I chose this color because I’m in a ‘red’ mood, loving life and loving the fact that spring is here and new life is springing all around; and who doesn’t want to be legendary? Cheers!

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