Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween 2013: Minnie Mouse


I have never really liked Halloween. Even when  I was a kid, I never cared about dressing up. I only dressed up when school "made" us wear costumes for parades or whatnot. I'm quite the chicken and don't like scary things so I was never interested in the spookiness of Halloween. Year after year I was either Thumbelina or some type of princess wearing a dainty dress with a load of tool. There was one year, however, when  I was a pirate, but that was a hand me down from my older sister.

For some reason, after a breakup with a longtime boyfriend in 2011, I started to grow a liking towards Halloween. Part of it was a reinvention thing but more so my just ever increasing fascination for anything beauty related. In 2011, I was Miss Philippines and in 2012, I was a poor imitation of Peter Pan. That year, I wore black leggings, wide-brimmed booties, and an off the shoulder green shirt. See, poor imitation.

This year, I decided to up my game a bit. Halloween is still one of my least favorite holidays and I am still not big on costumes, but it is an opportunity to play with makeup. I strive to look as normal as possible while playing with and enhancing makeup.

This year, I decided to be Minnie Mouse! The idea came to me when my cousin bought me Minnie Mouse clip-on ears from Disneyland. She and her boyfriend were visiting the US from Canada and Disneyland was one of their must-sees. The moment she gave the clip-on Minnie ears to me, I immediately became inspired for Halloween. And this was in July! My old self would look at my new Halloween-liking self and ask, "Who are you?!"

For my Minnie Mouse ensemble, NOTHING was bought! You can most definitely do Halloween for cheap or for absolutely nothing. I wore a causal red dress that I bought at JC Penny about 5 years ago, tights that I had from who knows when, a belt from a gray dress purchased in 2010, and wide-brimmed booties that I bought at Papaya in 2010. And of course, the ears were a gift from my cousin. 
 My "costume." Excuse the funky face I was making

Now for the fun part - the MAKEUP!
 I love dramatic eyes. Any opportunity to wear lashes and a smokey eye, I will take it!
(Excuse the cray cray brows. I was growing them out to have them reshaped...which I did today!)

 My eye make up. I am so proud of it! Not to toot my own horn, but I'm getting better at this eyeshadow thing. It takes a LOT of practicing (and blending), but it DOES get easier.

I received these sample eyeshadows from Sigma when I purchased $30+ worth of products. I really like them! They were a bit powdery but I'm not sure if that's because of the sample packaging. 
Foundation: Makeup Forever HD Foundation in N127
Undereye Concealer: L'oreal True Match Super Blendable Crayon W 1-2-3
Power: Revlon Colorstay in Light Medium
Brows: ELF brow kit in medium
Blush: Milani Pink Craze
Inner corner:  Sigma - Elope
Lid: Sigma - Gimp
Crease/Lower lashline: Sigma- Elysees
Outer corner/V: MAC Typographic
Eyeliner: Sephora Liquid Eyeliner in Black
Mascara: Maybelline Volume Express Falsies in Blackest Black
Lashes: from Daiso, a Japanese $1.50 store
Nose: Wet n Wild brow pencil in Black Black, MAC Typographic, Sephora Liquid Eyeliner in Black
Lips: Wet n Wild Wine Room
My other favorite: NAILS!
 My Minnie inspired nails. Just dots and bows

Base coat: Revlon
Red: NYC Big Apple Read
White: Sinful Colors Snow Me White
Tools: Toothpick for the bow and bobby pin head for the dots


So I may not have the same Halloween spirit as other more festive Halloweeners, but I am sure warming up to it. Whether or not you're a fan of Halloween, I wish you a wonderful and safe night. If you're walking the streets, always have a buddy and watch out for cars. If you're driving on Halloween night, please be wary of trick or treaters. 


Monday, October 28, 2013

OOTN: Coffee Date

Good evening!

I just wanted to share a quick angled view of the outfit I wore last week when I met a friend for coffee.

Shoes: Naughty Monkey - Somebody Shake Me in. This is definitely one of my most favorite shoes! They are absolutely gorgeous and comfortable. 
Pants: Forever 21 Skinny denim in petite. Love these! They're only $10.80

Shirt: Papaya Clothing

It's definitely not anything fancy, but heels totally dress up a casual outfit.

I hope everything is well with you! Please share your dressed up casual outfit with me! I always love new ideas :D


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Old New Post: One Year Purple Anniversary

Here's a past entry on what I call Purple Anniversaries.This is from 2011. Enjoy :D


Today marks the last day of what I like to call my purple anniversary.

Two years ago, I was hospitalized on July 12 – July 17, 2010. Maybe two years is still too soon for me to completely forget, but I remember that experience as if it were yesterday. It still brings me to tears, but it also makes me so much more grateful knowing that I am surrounded by supportive family and friends. I am also so thankful and blessed that I am as healthy as I can be, despite having a chronic illness. I definitely thank the Lord for never turning away in providing me faith, strength, and good health.

Since my diagnosis in July 2010, I have made it a point to celebrate the week of my hospitalization of July 12 – 17 every year. I designate this week as my Lupus purple anniversary. It is important for me to celebrate life because life could have been so easily taken away, but it wasn’t and so for that, I will celebrate. It's my way of saying, "F*ck you, Lupus! I'm still here!" It’s like my new birthday, an excuse to throw a little party.

So let's reminisce on my one year anniversary in 2011:

My one year anniversary was so special to me because it was my first. We always remember our firsts, don't we? ;] I have always wanted to try the famous Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Despite not liking chicken, I just wanted to try to it. To my expectation, the chicken tasted like chicken (but I guess that’s not a bad thing) and it was okay. After my chicken dinner, my friends and I went to a gelato store in Santa Monica. As I enjoyed my pink grapefruit gelato ice cream, my friends and I enjoyed the music of a street performer. In the evening, we walked the boardwalk of the beach. I looked far across into the distant waters and briefly reflected on how my life has changed. Despite the change, life was still good. It was nice to be at the beach, as day time hours limits my beach trips because of the sun. Going in the evening was like telling Lupus, “I can still be here.” It was definitely a great adventure with them. We looked pretty spiffy, all dressed in purple (which I made them do) holding their purple party favors. 

Because it was my first anniversary, I went celebration crazy and held another one with school friends. We went to a sushi restaurant in Panorama City. It was supposed to be a celebration of life, but it felt like my birthday! My amazing friends showered me with gifts. It was very much unexpected, but very much appreciated. Celebrating with my friends was supposed to be a “thank you for your support” throughout the year. They always made sure we sat at a shaded area during lunch. Whenever I was absent from school or not feeling well, I was hit with texts and calls checking in to make sure I was okay. It was very sweet of them and I very much felt cared for. The night ended with countless pictures of all of us in our purple garb. This is definitely one of my fondest memories, because it had some of the most essential ingredients to happiness: food, laughter, love, and good friends. 

I am celebrating my second year anniversary a little late this year due to scheduling conflicts, but it is happening! Like I had mentioned above, my anniversary is now like a birthday, it must be celebrated! 

So take time to celebrate life. It's too precious to take for granted. As the saying goes these days, "YOLO." You Only Live Once so celebrate. Happy anniversary to all you living with lupus <3

With that, my celebration of life continue this year. My second year purple anniversary plans include a wine and cheese party. 

Look forward to a new post with pictures of my second year anniversary sometime soon so please STAY TUNED


Old New Post: Graduation 2012

Excuse my bulk of Lupus posts, but I did want to share with you previous entries on Lupus. They mean a lot to me. And again, I do hope to bring more awareness to this stupid darn thing called Lupus.

I never thought this day would come, but it’s soon to be here and I can’t wait! The countdown til graduation: 7 days! [Lucky] Seven days that will seem like forever, yet fly by in the blink of an eye.

It is definitely a bittersweet feeling as I don’t want my journey as a student to end. I don’t want to say goodbye to the many wonderful friends and colleagues I’ve made, to say goodbye to the school I have learned to love and take pride in. On the other hand, I am excited to say goodbye to papers, stress, the 26 mile commute to school and say a big fat [scared, yet excited] HELLO to the real world, an income, and of course, [well-deserved and long overdue] shopping! ;]

I am finally graduating from my master’s program. It has been two crazy amazing years that came with ups and downs, gains and losses, just like any other year. But these past two years were different.

These past two years were the first two years in which I had to live with Lupus. I was diagnosed with Lupus in mid-July 2010. I started my master’s program in late August 2010. Few people were skeptical about me jumping right back into reality, advising me to take time off and recover. My doctors, my family, and I thought it was okay to go back to school as long as I felt ready and was willing to take it as easy I as I could. I also knew that the moment I felt it was too much for my body, I would have to take a break. As selfish and possibly irrational as it was, I went back to school right away. I worked too hard to get to where I was at and I could not just put this on hold. Flash forward two years later, my decision to go back to school immediately wasn’t so irrational after all. I did it and I have no regrets. I made it, not without struggle, but the important thing is I made it. I made it, graduating as Summa Cum Laude, with honors, a 3.9 GPA. I’m graduating with a generous stipend from a county department and “priority” in the job hunt. I’m graduating with friendships and memories that I would not have had if I took that break. The only thing I can really say is, IN YOUR FACE, LUPUS! I did it.

Lupus: You tried to stop me with illness, joint pain, weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, stress, financial burden, fear, insecurities, the list of gloom can go on and on, but I learned how to cope with it. It wasn't easy, but you couldn’t stop me.

As graduation quickly approaches, I am still in awe of everything I have accomplished and everything I have gained as a student, as a professional, and as an individual. One of my peers had told me one day, “I don’t know how you do it. You have so much more on your plate than most of us, but you somehow you come to school and have it together.” I don’t really remember what I told her, but I believe it was something generic like “I had no choice, I had to do my work” and something lame like “I do homework on the weekends, never during the week.” I don’t know why this little conversation between us stuck with me or bothered me for a little bit afterward, probably because my answer to her wasn’t really my answer? I just came up with something on the spot without much thought.  On my way home, I did think about it and realized that the reason why I had to “have it together” was to prove to myself that I could be a “normal” person, that I could be like anyone else in my class, that despite having Lupus, I was still capable of functioning like anyone else. And this is probably not even the right frame of mind to have. It is still a work in a progress for me to embrace and accept the "new" me - the "new" me with "limitations," lifestyle changes, and goals that still remain but realizing it may take a little longer to attain them.

Negative me wonders if I should’ve taken that break because I feel like I didn’t maximize my time in graduate school. I wasn’t totally myself. I was too occupied with what was going on in my head and my life that I wasn’t the student I knew I could be. I kept to myself, distanced myself, and didn’t take advantage of everything “healthy” non-Lupus me would have done. Though this crosses my mind on occasion, I realize that although I didn’t do everything I had thought I would have done, I GAINED SO MUCH MORE. The support from my colleagues, peers, professors, and friends mean the world to me. The little things such as making sure we get a shaded table at lunch, lending me an umbrella for our walk to Acapulco, telling me my hair looks thicker when it’s really just frizzy (LOL), driving me to my doctor when I couldn’t, wearing purple on World Lupus Day, organizing Lupus Walk, going with me to Lupus Wellness Day, just being there to listen to me vent when I felt like the universe hated me... If you’re reading this (you know who you are), thank you so much :) Your love, your kindness, and your support mean the world to me. And I am so glad to have each and every one of you in my life. I am so blessed that our lives have crossed paths and I hope that as the craziness of life goes on, we someday, if not often, cross paths again.

I know the next few years aren’t going to be easy because Lupus is so damn unpredictable and I have no idea what’s in store for me or how Lupus is going to affect me. The bright side (if you consider there to be a bright side) is that the beauty of having a chronic illness is that it changes perspectives. It teaches you how to live life to the fullest because you don’t know how long life will be or how challenging life will be. And that idea goes for anyone, “healthy” or “unhealthy,” but for people like me, “living life to the fullest” has a new meaning. The beauty in the most simplest things like a hug from a loved one, kindness from a stranger, and a beautiful day become magnified tenfold. Lupus has given me that awareness to see the beauty so commonly overlooked. This awareness allows me to see the blessings and fortune within the last two years: I am happy, my support system has grown tremendously, and I am as healthy as I can be. For that, I am grateful.
And as graduation approaches, I am going to cherish every last beautiful moment I have with my classmates because our time now is limited as this chapter comes to an end. I look forward to our last moments together because every minute with them is a sincere pleasure and freakin’ workout for my abs because all we do is laugh and laugh. The next few days are going to go by so fast. I can’t believe after two years, graduation is almost here.

As the saying goes, “I have Lupus, but Lupus doesn’t have me.”


Old New Post: My Lupus Story

Happy Sunday!

I had mentioned in my first ever blog post that I wanted to use this blog as a space for free ideas and daily struggles. Well, the following entry is just one glimpse of my daily struggle.
I wanted to repost this entry that I had written for another blog I used to manage. I wrote it in either December 2011 or January 2012.  It somewhat explains my new found love for beauty and makeup.
It's a real personal blog post. I hope you do enjoy it, but most importantly, I do hope it brings some awareness to what Lupus is. 

- -

I’m a 26 year old Filipina American living in Los Angeles. I was diagnosed with systemic Lupus a year and a half ago in July 2010. A few months prior to that, I would wake up with a sore back or sore arms or legs. At first, I thought it was the way I was sleeping. Then came the fevers, rash, paralyzing joint pain, and fatigue. I never imagined I would end up in the hospital. I never imagined I would be told I had lupus. 

The news kept me in shock. For weeks I was quiet. I didn’t cry. I didn’t complain. I didn’t feel. At the same time, I knew I was going to be okay. I think it helped that one of my high school friends was diagnosed with lupus about 13 years ago and she’s doing well with ups and downs, of course. One of my doctors in the hospital had a sister with lupus who was in med school. These real life stories served as motivation that I would be okay. 

The hardest part of my diagnosis was that it came one month before I would start my master’s program in social work. I was so scared that my health would get in the way of everything I had worked so hard for.  

Thanks to my amazing doctors, incredible familial and peer support, and my faith, my road to recovery was a lot easier than expected. I was able to go to school (with accommodations of course) and I am happy to say I am graduating this coming May with honors! :) 

There are, of course, challenging days that I experience and continue to experience. The physical changes (“moon face,” hair loss, constant fatigue) makes feeling normal difficult, but I try my best to get by and enjoy just being as healthy as can be. Having lupus definitely taught me that quality of life is essential to well-being. This means taking care of myself, but also enjoying myself.  

I believe that participating in this blog will serve as outlet to vent about the lows of lupus but to also recognize the highs and blessings of life, regardless of having lupus.  

It took me a year to talk about my story without tearing. A year and a half later, I feel that it is important to discuss it. It can be hard to talk about, but lupus is now a part of my life that I can’t really ignore. Hopefully my stories will allow readers to understand that there are others like you who have good days and bad days, that there are people who understand what it’s like living with lupus.