Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What it looks like to be a strong, independent woman; circa 2016

What does it mean to be a strong woman these days? Independent woman? Does that mean ditch the boyfriend/fiance/husband and do your own thing? Or just not depend on the significant other as much for things such as your happiness, your sense of worth, and your lifestyle/life goals?

For me, I try every day to work towards my life goals and dreams. And I don't let anyone or anything slow me down or diverge me from these things that are the most important to me. I never stop, and I never take anything as "good enough." I can always be better, so I am always working on improving myself and everything I want in life. Everything I do is for a reason and takes me closer to achieving my goals and dreams. I'm constantly learning, reading, listening, watching, working, practicing, thinking, and absorbing everything I possibly can so that I can only be better than the day before.

There are days when I feel like I don't improve, or even fail and go backwards. I don't let those days bother me. We all have days like that. No one's perfect; the key is to just keep trying. Some days I sing the song "Just keep swimming" from Finding Nemo and that helps me just to keep going. While I have big goals and dreams that may seem unattainable at times, I don't let failure discourage me. If a particular goal doesn't pan out for me, I just adjust it accordingly for what will work with me and what is attainable.

Also, it is helpful to work on goals in baby steps. For example, when I started running regularly, I didn't sign up for a full marathon. Instead, I started out with 5K's. Then I moved up to 10K's, 15K's and finally a half marathon. I may never run a full marathon, but I know if I really wanted to I could by slowly increasing my distance over time.

Another important aspect of my life is that I don't let anyone tell me what I can or can't do. If I feel like there's a toxic relationship in my life that's holding me back from my full potential, I drop it. Or I ignore that person completely. No one can control me, I am my own person. I have God on my team. My husband is also there to support me 100%, but even if he wasn't, I would still find strength by looking to myself and my faith. It also helps that I have had great role models including my grandmothers, my mother, my aunts, my cousins, my friends, and Gwen Stefani. Love all of you wonderful women!

What do you do to insure your strength and independence? What are your rituals and daily mantras?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Climbing up while others are dragged down

I'm sure you've heard the news. How many black lives have been lost to police? How many lives in general have been lost to police? But this post isn't about other races, it is about the very real and terrible racism that some people have. And when those some people are also police officers, murder happens. My heart has been breaking this past week. I can no longer sit here and think to myself "this is OK, everything will work out." I no longer believe this is okay, and I highly doubt things will work out without major change.

We need to change things. Once I started feeling better over everything else going on in my life, the past week happened:

More than 60 people shot in Chicago over 4th of July weekend
Alton Sterling
Philando Castile
Police killed in Dallas

Needless to say, I found myself depressed all over again. And I wasn't reading, listening, or watching the news. All of this was over social media: Facebook and Instagram.

I plan on writing congress and the House of Representatives. I want to do more than just sit by idly, more than just write letters. I'm using my blog as a starting point. What else can I do? What else can we all do? I'm looking to take action, not just write a blog post and have it fall on deaf ears.

Who can help me get heard? Who wants to take action with me? 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy July

Happy July! This month is one of my favorite. It's the month of not only my birthday, but also one of my very good friend's birthday (shout out to Joyce). This year I turn 30, and a few months ago my dad offered to throw me a big birthday party at his house. At the time, I was relieved since that meant I didn't have to throw myself the party, aka plan it and pull off a feat in our cute modest Niles home. :-)

As the months have gone by, I have gone from excited to dreading this party. More recently, I've come to terms with everything and after talking to my mom's family, I am once again excited about my party. The main reason I had trouble was due to my dad and his new life. But thankfully, through talking with multiple friends, family members, and my therapist, I am finally feeling better about everything.

With everything coming together, July is going to be a great month. I'm also preparing myself for my upcoming Kung Fu test in August. This will be for the 5th sash (out of 8 total, the 8th being the black belt). I'm about a year overdue for this test, but the past year has been a roller coaster for me. So for me, I'm right on time.

I look forward to pushing myself to the max in preparation for this test. I get to do a few forms, a few weapons forms, some applications, a two man set, Chinese push ups, a horse stance, the front splits, and break some boards. It'll be a hard test, and I will try my best at it. If I fail, then I'll just try, try again. It helps me to not focus on the sadness and anger that I find when I'm alone sometimes. I much prefer to focus on the positive and the light in my life.

In addition to kung fu, I'm also starting a internship at a local gym so that I can finish and receive my personal training certificate. I also look forward to this opportunity and seeing where it takes me in life.

What goals and dreams do you have? What are you working towards? Where do you wish to be?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Beauty from within and without

In the past, I've never been a big make up user. I've always used make up now and then but never more than some drug store brands and a little Mary Kay after attending a party and buying too much make up (actually my mom bought it for me). Make up was always fun but something I could never really afford without coupons and going to Walmart. Since I dislike Walmart, I just stopped buying make up.

This all changed when Gwen Stefani and Urban Decay collaborated last fall and came out with an eyeshadow palette. I had to have it. I used an appropriately timed Sephora gift card that I received for free through my health insurance company at the time to buy the palette. About a month later her lipsticks, lip liners, blush palette, and eyebrow make up came out. I own most of the collection minus 3 of the lipsticks. The rest is history. I've turned into what someone would call a beauty junkie. I'm a total newbie to the make up world, so I've been watching many you tube videos and follow many Instagrams and Pinterest accounts for advice, inspiration, and ideas.

My poor husband thinks I'm crazy, but the way I see it is that make up is art that I'm not that bad at. Although it is not the cheapest art, especially when you try to stick with the all natural, vegan brands that don't test on animals and use ingredients you can pronounce.
It's also helped me through the grieving process by giving me something to fill my mind and the times I find myself feeling sad/lonely without my mom. It's one of those things my mom would love to do as well, play with make up I mean.

What are your beauty habits/routines? Are you low or high maintenance? Do you like playing with make up or would rather do without?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Light at the end of the tunnel

I want to extend my deepest and most sincere thank you's to those of you who have reached out to me over the past week. I'm doing better, every day is a little better than the last. I know I will always miss my mom, but I also find comfort that she is no longer in pain and is in a much better place. I'm also gradually feeling better about the other situations going on around me. Between keeping myself busy with day to day stuff (full time job, tutoring, kung fu, running, etc) and other fun events, I have been able to push the majority of the stress and worry to the back of my mind. Through family members who have reached out to me and shown their support and that they understand and agree with how I'm feeling along with therapy, I'm able to work through what I'm feeling and why. It's helping me to draw a line between what I can change and what I can't change.

I can't change what other people do, say, or think. I can only change what I do, say, or think. I am trying to do positive, say positive, and think positive. Anything else is being thrown away. I find myself praying and thinking of God much more often. It comforts me and helps me re-focus on what's truly important. For those of you who know what's going on and are helping me get my message across, thank you. For those of you who don't know what's going on, please keep me and my family in your prayers. We are all going through a hard time with the loss of my mom and with other situations occurring recently. I see a light at the end of this tunnel that we're in currently. And I have high hopes that everything will work out the way they're supposed to. I know God will look over me and my family and He will be there no matter what happens.

I'm going to take this summer and use it to focus on what's important to me and my family. Vince is my family, he is most important to me along with my brother and father. We will get through this. God has a plan. Next posts from me will legitimately be better and better.

In other news, I am working on expanding my beauty knowledge. I've joined this program called Influenster which is completely free and you get free products and samples as long as you do reviews. Sounds awesome. You guys might be seeing some beauty insight from me coming over the next few weeks. This blog is currently themed around me becoming a better, healthier person. I feel like beauty products contribute to my goal of becoming better, healthier, and happier all around. I enjoy playing with beauty products and trying them out. To me it's an art form that I am not too terrible at. Although I am only a beginner testing the waters in this new passion of mine. :-)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mother's day without a mom

I know this is late, but this is something that I have to write and get out there into the universe. This is something I've been struggling with over the past few weeks and I tried to close myself off from everyone around me and push all my feelings deep down inside me and try to smile despite it all. Needless to say this backfired and bit me in the butt.

May 8th was the first mother's day without my mom. It was one of the worse days of my life and the week leading up to it I was a complete wreck. Most people don't know since I tried my best to cry only when I was alone. There is no good way to explain how it feels to lose a parent. It's something most people go through, but usually it isn't when you're still in your twenties. My mom wasn't just a mom. She was my best friend. I told her everything, no filter. I talked to her daily, usually multiple times. When she was near we would hang out often. Every mother's day I'd do my best to get her a sweet card and some beautiful flowers along with doing whatever it was she wanted to that day. This mother's day was very different.

This mother's day I was reminded constantly on how I no longer had a mom. I saw my friends sharing their special days on social media and gorgeous pictures of them and their beautiful mothers smiling and being happy. All I could do was cry and try my best to remember the good times with my mom. All I wanted to do was call my mom, talk to my mom, hear her voice, see her smile. Instead I'm imagining what it would be like if she were here.

I ask you all to be there and be understanding for your friends who have lost a parent and are going through grieving, especially through these holidays like mother's and father's day. No matter how long it's been, it doesn't ever get easier. You may become more numb to it but every holiday, every birthday, and every life event will be harder without my mom there. I keep thinking my future kids will never know their grandma and that just makes me more sad. The last few weeks of her life still haunt me to this day and I doubt I'll ever be able to erase those horrible memories. I've started therapy recently due to this and other stresses in my life from other sources. I hope it helps me start healing from the loss of my mom and helps me feel better, even slightly. Thank you for hearing me out. And I do plan on posting more positive posts soon. Despite all of this, I've still been working out, doing kung fu and running as much as I can. I'm trying my best to cope and move on with my life. Some days are better than others. Thank you for being there for me and for understanding.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Workout Journal 2016

Thanks to a great recommendation from our Kung Fu Sifu, I have started a workout journal for the year of 2016. It is a great idea since it keeps you accountable. The idea is that you write what you want to do during your workout, then you go back and write what you did/didn't do. This way you can keep track of your improvements/fall backs. And hopefully, over time, you will see yourself improving in your exercises. i.e. maybe you start at 5 push ups. But by the end of 2016 you get up to 20. And you don't struggle as much.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that we all have set backs, so if you have an off week or two, it isn't the end of the world. I am excited to see where 2016 brings me, exercise-wise. Hoping to see some awesome work-outs this year with improvement across the board. But even if I get worse at something, that's ok too.