Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I'm Sorry

Well I have definitely established that my blogging schedule will more than likely NOT include weekends. I just never found the time to sit down and write. I think it will be good for my writing to enjoying living and learning over those two days rather than writing about what I should be living and learning.

And Monday was my birthday so I took that day off too. I promise we are back to our regularly scheduled programming today.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I'm Getting Old

I will be turning 35 next week. Although most days I still feel like I'm a wide-eyed, surly teenager, every once in awhile something comes along and bops me up-side the head to remind me....not so much.

Today, my baby sister posted on Facebook about an album she has been looking forward to for quite awhile. First, seeing as she's turning 30 this year, I'm pretty sure she would not be happy I called her that. But anywho. Second, I have no idea who the band is. Not even an inkling. And no, I'm not going to give you the name because most of you probably know them and I would end up feeling even worse. Call me selfish but I have to draw the line somewhere.

Once upon a time, she was the one listening to Ace of Base and N'Sync and I was the one desperately trying to mold her young mind into some semblance of someone with decent taste in music. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a music snob. As a matter of fact, I have several friends who are and it drives me absolutely bonkers. I've always felt like music is meant to be something to everybody. Doesn't matter what it sounds like or if it even makes sense. Doesn't matter if you don't like it or if it gives you a migraine. All that matters is that it serves its' make you feel. That to me is the definition of music. It rips emotions out of their hiding places in your soul and makes you face them. My favorite quote and one I hope to get inked on my body someday was said by Victor Hugo: "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent".

But these days? I find our roles have reversed. Much like the comment I made on Wednesday's post about losing my hold on technology, I find I've lost my touch when it comes to discovering new music to love. Sad but very very true. I still get excited about going to see my favorite bands but they are bands I've been seeing since my college days. Only a select few have gotten past what seems to be an aging filter. Thanks to Coachella basically. I've gone several years in a row and that seems to be the only thing saving me from sitting in a rocking chair and yelling about the good old days.

So, I've made a decision. I'm not willing to give up the fight. I've spent my life immersed in music and I used to dream of being a talent scout. I USED to have a knack for picking the band that would be the next big thing. And I'm done with using the words "used to". I've seen Summer To-Do Lists around the blogs lately and although I don't know that I'll take the time to sit down and write one, that is now on the top of my imaginary list. I will jump into the pool again. And I will start finding those artists that speak to me the way this one album has been speaking to my sister. And this time around? It will be fun to share the experience with her instead of feeling like I have to bash her over the head if I hear "I Saw the Sign" one more time.

For now though, I'll leave you with my favorite band of all time singing my favorite song. It's simple but catchy. It explains my philosophy so well and I think it makes it pretty clear why I live in California these days. Life is too short not to just sway to the music and have fun.

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Drugstore Days Are Here Again

Before I begin the actual post, let me begin by saying that all of my very few readers know that I have never been committed to this blog and the posts have been all over the map. Moving forward, I am fully committed (*fingers crossed) but the blog will probably remain all over the place for awhile. I'm not sure of my place in this big bad blogosphere yet and until I am, I will continue to write what inspires me each day or what has me tied up in knots thinking way too much. I hope you will stick it out with me.

I fully honor my beauty product addiction. I'm not ashamed. It helps that ever since I was allowed my first lip gloss at 16 (yes my parents had some major rules), I have often shopped at drugstores for my products. I found myself inspired to write this post after reading another blog yesterday that was basically an homage to her shock and awe when she discovered a drugstore product she adored. I have several friends who are make-up snobs and there is nothing wrong with that. We all make our own rules and no one can dictate that. BUT, I am here to tell you that if you know what you are doing and know what to look for, you can shop solely at the drugstore if you want to. Whether it's all you can afford or just what you like, it is very very possible.

I have worked as a manager for Prescriptives and the Skincare and Fragrance Manager at the flagship Sephora store in Hollywood. During those times, I swooned at all of the gorgeous products that otherwise I could not have found a dime in my pocket for. I had a lovely discount and was also lucky in that reps who were introducing new products would often give the employees a full size product in order to test at home. Of course that was basically so we knew what we were selling. It was a necessity but a very appreciated necessity for me. Other than that time in my life, I can often be found slowing crawling aisle after aisle in my local drugstore. J has had to send out an APB for me a couple of times. Ha! I kid but not really. So I'm going to show you a few of my recent discoveries and give you a full review. Here is the rather lovely iPhone picture (that's sarcasm in case you didn't realize):

All items were purchased at my local CVS. It is the most convenient drugstore to my house but barring the BB Cream on the left, all other items should be available where you like to shop. I'll discuss in the order which I use them.

  1. Sebamed Liquid Face & Body Wash - The size you see in the picture is the sample size they have at CVS for $0.99 right now. I have bought several. When looking for new face products, I typically use them at least two weeks in a row. And I never change more than one item at a time. For instance, if I need a new moisturizer, I keep my face was the same while testing. Anyways, on to this product. I love it. There is nothing fancy about it. The smell is light but pleasing, almost nonexistent. It suds up just enough so my skin feels clean but not too much to dry me out. And it removes my make-up easily. The main marketing point of this brand is that it restores the pH balance to your skin. Basically the natural acidic level of your skin. And as weird as it sounds, it feels like it actual does that. My skin feels "normal" for lack of a better word. No feelings of tightness, no feelings of gunk left on my skin. Just the feeling  of being right in my own skin. I do have some breakout issues with my skin and so far this is helping rather than harming. I will keep you posted on that though. Definitely recommend trying it.
  2. Sebamed Moisturizing Body Lotion - As you can tell by the names of the products, Sebamed is meant to be used on ALL of your skin. I have only been using it on my face because I have the small sample size but once I buy the full size version, I will review how they do on the rest of my body. I would describe this moisturizer as having all of the same positives as above. It feels so good on my skin and I again definitely recommend trying this product. The only negative is that it is very light. That is fine for me during the summer but traditionally I need something thicker during the winter. But who knows? Once my pH is balanced, I might find this is all I need. Remind me to do an update in the winter. I have the memory of a 70-year old.
  3. CVS Renewing BB Cream (Light/Medium) - This is a brand new product so this is a tentative review that will probably need to be revised or confirmed in a few weeks. I love that it has a built in SPF 15 sunscreen and it definitely moisturizes my skin. I never look dried out with it. The coverage is fantastic for the summer and I think it will probably work in the winter too. I love how my skin looks with this on. That being said, there are a few drawbacks. The consistency is a little thick. Almost like a moisturizer. But it soaks in quickly and does not feel heavy during the day. And the color is slightly off for my skin tone. But again, it seems to soak in quickly and shift to work with my coloring. Right now, it is a product I am very excited about and think others should try. Especially since it's around $10 for that large 3 oz. size. Typical BB Creams are a few dollars more for at least 1/2 the size. Just be aware of the issues above.
  4. Wet n' Wild Eyeshadow Palette (Comfort Zone 738) - I can not say enough about these eye shadows. I actually read a blog a few months back that recommended them so I had to give it a try. The feel is fantastic and the pigment is strong. They look great when I apply them and continue to look great until I wash my face. I only wish it had more brushes in it but that's what my make-up brushes are for right? I will definitely be trying more especially since this is only $4.99 for eight shadows. And they even come out with limited edition palettes.
  5. Wet n' Wild Idol Eyes Creme Shadow Pencil (Envy 132) - I haven't used this for anything other than lining my eyes yet but it seems to be a keeper. Again, the pigment is amazing and it stays put. It also goes on smooth, no pulling of my eye area. Which is good. At almost 35, I can't cause anymore wrinkles! I look forward to buying more fun and bright colors.
  6. Wet n' Wild Mega Impact Mascara (Very Black) - This is the only one some might disagree with me on. I love the coverage and feel it really adds volume and length to my eyelashes. And the color is definitely very black. But I'm not an eyelash freak like a lot of my make-up artist friends. I wear falsies once a year if that. The only thing I have noticed is that it leaves a little "gunk" behind after I wash my face. But please note, I have chronic dry eye and a lot of things do this to me.
And there you have it, my recent favorites from the drugstore. Please let me know if you have any questions or can recommend any other products. I love to get lost in my CVS.

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bruises, Cuts and Scrapes

I can bring the memory to the forefront of my mind so easily. New Years 2013. I felt elated, almost giddy with possibility and excitement. I had felt the stirrings of inevitability at the beginning of other years too. But this was different. I just knew to the very denseness of my bones that J and I were embarking on the greatest time of our lives, both separate and in our relationship. Little did I know that this year would be different. And it would bring change. Just not in any way I could have expected and truth be told? Not in any way I would have accepted back then.

I'm not ready to tell the full story yet. So forgive me for being brief about some of the story. It might sound like I don't care but let me assure you, I care too much. And my heart still has too many puzzle pieces floating around to be able to put the true story into words. So I'll say it quick. Beginning February 2013, the earth my life was grounded on shifted. My father passed away due to suicide, a few months later my beloved cat Diva passed away due to natural causes, albeit very quickly and unexpectedly and then I was fired from the job I had held for 6 years. And now it's June. The month I turn 35 and head back down the hill towards an age I can't even fathom yet.

It's strange. The first two major events have been more painful than anything I could have imagined. Really, more painful than anything I've ever read about or seen on TV. And the hits never stop. Some days they just graze off my cheek but most days, I'm down for the count. And can't imagine I'll get up again. I guess no matter how hard we try, there is no way to prepare our fellow human beings for loss. Not the kind you see coming nor the kind that picks you up and body slams you to the ground with no warning.

After I received the phone call that took my income stream out from under us, I have to admit the feelings bubbling to the surface in that moment were different. Still a little sorrow, I had been there longer than any other job I've ever held. It was a point of pride although it seems the owners didn't know that. And there was definitely hurt. That they hadn't respected me or thought I was great enough to deal with some of the consequences from my losses. I will admit I may not have been the best employee for a few months. But the overwhelming emotions ringing through my soul were relief and excitement. I had been talking about leaving for well over a year. The company environment was caustic. Nothing but gossip, pettiness and constant fighting to keep your clients and your money. And my position in sales really did nothing for me or my brain. I loved the customer service and project management aspect of it. I still do. I will give that job credit for one thing. I found at least some semblance of purpose. Some sense of what I am really really good at. But back to the point. The place was sucking me dry of everything I hold dear and I had been complaining for way too long without actually being the change I needed. So that day the world shifted for the third time this year? I felt elated at the possibility that things were going to be different this year. That it was time to makeover my life in the ways my heart had been crying for for a very long time. As J put it. Let this be the last domino the falls. And now it's time to pick them all back up again and set them up to fall differently, maybe a little bit better next time. Or not at all.

I speak the most about this for two reasons. I've already mentioned the first; I'm not ready yet to dive into the deep end of the pool and tell the other stories. But I also tell it because that feeling has shifted a bit and I need to get the new feelings out. They are somewhat eating me up right now and I don't want them to take over the joy in chances I found.

So, I'm frustrated and a bit scared. J and I are okay at the moment. He has a full-time position, we have a bit in savings and I am collecting unemployment but I do need to find something sooner rather than later. And there's the rub. It's been a month and I am having a very difficult and soul-crushing time of it. Some days there is nothing out there. Some days I send out 10 resumes and never hear anything back. Other days I get a call for an interview for a part-time position that would do more harm to our finances than good. And other days, I can't figure out where I fit and what I want to do with my life. I know I don't have to find a job I'll stay with forever. But I don't want to work just to work anymore. I've done that since I was 15. After everything this year has grabbed, I want to grab a new path forward. One that entails loving what I do and knowing that there is a world of possibility in it.

Another source of frustration is this new world of technology and social media we live in. Who knew that so long ago, sitting in front of AOL chat and taking HTML courses at college, feeling elated that I was going to be on top of this new frontier, that so many years later I would end up feeling like my grandparents did? That it's gotten out of my control and I have no clue what to do. I find myself overwhelmed most days. I'm on Facebook and I'm on LinkedIn. I've learned how to do a few things to network but so far, it isn't working to my advantage.

There have been a few moments. A few neighbors out walking their dog who stop to chat and ask me to send them my resume. Nothing from it yet but the offer each time makes me feel the world is in my corner. So I'll keep trekking. I can only move forward right? And when the worry, frustration and confusion comes to knock on my door, I'll write a blog. Or call a friend/family member. Or just walk away from the computer for a bit to do something creative and refocus my energy. It's all in God's hands after all. This is His journey for me. My hands are in the air and I have to ride this roller coaster until it's very end.

So I leave all of you with this. Some day I'll tell my Dad's story. When I feel he has given me the permission and the right words to open up our wounds and our hearts. But know that in all that God has taken from me this year, I know that there is a purpose. And He loves me and wants me to find that purpose. May just not be on my time table. And there may be more loss, pain and sorrow before it becomes clear. But I'll keep my hands up in the air and enjoy the ride as best as someone with my big ole' heart can. And take the hits when they come. They may leave a few bruises, cuts and scrapes but they won't kill me.

And keep getting on Craigslist, Simply Hired, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, blah blah blah.
God doesn't want me to give up. Dad doesn't want me to give up. And I don't want to give up.
I want to have my eyes wide open when my place in my journey becomes hard to ignore or escape.

Thanks for listening.