Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November Grateful Challenge Part 4

This post is 3 days late! Got lost in the grind of life. Oops -_-

Last week has been a tough week for me. The silver lining to tough weeks are the blessings that come buried within the chaos.

1. Ben. Three little letters that, when put together, mean so much to me! Last week was a challenging one. I was vulnerable, sad and had many a meltdowns. He picked me up each time. He listened and validated. He let me cry, rant, and whine, but he also stopped me from getting carried away in my emotions. He pushed me to pick myself up after the tears dried instead of letting me drown in them. In my moments of helplessness and vulnerability, he made me feel safe. It is no wonder I have loved this guy for nearly 3 years <3

2. Baby O. Big surprise, right?! I always talk about him. It's hard not to. this little guy has stolen my heart. I am very so grateful to have him in my life and to witness him grow. Last Saturday, we attended a children's event at Glendale Community College where they had ice snow (which was pretty hilarious as it was 80 something degrees), crafts, pictures with Elsa and Olaf, face painting and more! He spent nearly an hour just jumping in the icy puddles. The sparkle in his eyes when he got to sit in and on the firetruck just melted my heart <3

3. Seasonal treats. I am the biggest sucker for anything seasonal/limited edition. This time of year is my most favorite time at Starbucks. This year they came out with Chestnut Praline. YUMMMM. ANNNND they came out with a turkey, stuffing,gravy, cranberry panini. I am not a turkey person, but when you combine stuffing (my most favorite!!) into a Thanksgiving blend of cranberry and cravy, I cannot resist. If you have this at your Starbucks, you must try it. It would be a crime not to.

4. UCLA Runs LA. UCLA beat U$C in Los Angeles' biggest football game of the year. The two crosstown rivals have been going at it since their very existence. This year's victory marks UCLA's third consecutive year of victory. If you are unfamiliar with how monumental this is, UCLA has experienced an extensive dry spell/losing streak in previous years. This is so exciting for us Bruins (past, current and future) to stomp all over U$C again! GO BRUINS!!!

5. Health. I had so much negative energy within and around me last week. I decided to release that toxic energy into positive energy. I started working out (I haven't gotten to the gym since February, I know, I know.) in order to release all that bad aura. Sometimes I do get lazy to go, but so far I have gone everyday. I'm going to be real with myself and I know that I can't go every day forever. I'm aiming for 3x/week. I'll keep you posted! :) I did see the Instagram post below and it was a great pick-me-up. We only have one body for the rest of our lives so let's be kind to our bodies and treat them with the utmost care.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I know I have a lot to be grateful for. We all do. I hope that amidst our long table spread of a yummy Thanksgiving feast, we all find the time to reflect on our many blessings and fortunes. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

November Grateful Challenge Part 3

Reflecting on the past week, there is always plenty to be grateful for. Let's get started :)

1. My little two year old nephew, Baby O. I totally adore this kid.  I spent all of last Monday with him. He's now taller, heavier, and just as cute! We were real Handy Mannys "fixing" things around the yard with his toy hammer. These baby toddler years go by fast. I am thankful I am able to share many moments with this little guy. 


2. Heavenly treats. I am a sucker for seasonal treats or any food/drinks that are limited edition. Those promos and gimmicks? They get me every time! DOH! 
(a) I found these Milano Pumpkin Spice cookies at Ralphs and bought one bag for my friend for us to munch on during our girls' night sleepover. DELICIOUS DOT COM. We went back the next day and bought 6. Granted, two were for me and of the 2, one was for my work party which they gobbled up! One coworker even "stole" the bag and brought it back to his office. LOL.  

(b) The Franken Frappuccino from Starbucks. This was a Halloween promo that I finally had last week. Oh my word, oh my word. This was definitely heaven in a cup, or rather diabetes in a cup. It definitely has a lot of sugar (Green tea frap, 3 pumps white mocha, 3 pumps  peppermint, java chips, whip cream, and mocha drizzle). I got the lighter version (green tea frap, 1 pump of each white mocha and peppermint, java chips, whip cream and light mocha drizzle). It was absolutely amazing!!!!! I will definitely order this again but with just 1 pump peppermint and java chips as a once in a while treat (and gulp a bottle of water after, lol). It tasted like mint chocolate chip heaven. YUM.

3. Friends that just get me... Self-explanatory. This has been a rough week. To top it off, I'm PMSing (TMI, sorry) so I'm more emotional. Stepping back, I feel so blessed to have people stand by my side through the storm. They get me, they feel me, and they love me anyway. 

4. Meeting Mindy Gledhill. I talk about it in detail in my post here but I feel so grateful to have been able to attend Mindy's concert. I adore her! I love her music, especially her albums Anchor and Winter Moon. She is definitely a true artist and one of my favorites.

5. My parents are off to the Philippines. They left today! They will be gone for a little less than 14 days. I'm not so much celebrating their departure. I'm celebrating their return to their motherland. My dad hasn't been to the Philippines since he came to the US in the late 1970s. My mom hasn't visited since 2007. The occasion for their return is not happy as they are visiting my Lola Mommy's grave. My Lola Mommy (my grandmother) passed away in August. I feel eternally grateful that I was able to see her in April before she got really sick. Although their return will be sad, I am sure my parents will be so happy to be back home to see family (well, my dad's family are all here in the US). 

May you all have a beautiful week <3


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Meeting Mindy Gledhill

Last night, Mindy Gledhill performed in an intimate concert at Lily Kate Showroom in Downtown Los Angeles.

There were about 60 -70 people present at the concert. It was a small space. Almost everyone sat on the floor including myself. Mindy performed songs from three different albums, but mostly her most recent release "Pocketful of Poetry." She also sang a few fan favorites from her album "Anchor" (My favorite album.. Every song is beautiful!) and one song from her Christmas album "Winter Moon." I also love every single song on that album.

I love her music. I love her voice, I love her sound. Every thing about her is feel good and positive.

I sat in the very back, but the venue was still small enough to allow me to see her without my glasses. Haha :) I was very excited when she called up guest singer Jess Penner to come up and join her for a song. Lo and behold, Jess was sitting right next to me. I got really excited and nervous when returned. Haha. Super dork status. 

It was a very short concert. She sang around 8:30 and the show ended close to 10pm. It was a $15 show so I was not expecting special effects or extended showtime. What I did appreciate is that Mindy autographed purchased merchandise and took pictures with everyone and wouldn't leave until everyone had a chance to meet her. GAHHH. I love her even more!! This is definitely the best thing about smaller concerts :)

Zoomed in photo

Mindy signing my CD :)
Yes, I still buy CDs. I'm so old-fashioned

Autographed CD Cover

Me and Mindy :)

The very first song I ever heard from Mindy. If you have children, this will touch your heart and make you cry. It's about love for a child. So beautiful. And if you don't have children, it's still a gorgeously beautiful song with a great message <3


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Nails of Week: Floral Lace

This week's nails are inspired by @nailsbyerinn on Instagram. I found her picture below on Instagram's "Popular Page." I've seen similar designs before and this time I thought I'd just give it a shot! 

My inspiration (IG: @nailsbyerinn):

My interpretation:

To my surprise, the flowers were not a complicated as I had thought. I used to just skip the floral designs because I thought they were too difficult. It really was not that bad! :) This goes to show that practice makes perfect and that you just got to do it!

I really don't know how these nail artist take fabulous photos! I'm still trying to figure that out. Please leave tips if you have any :)


Monday, November 10, 2014

My Edgy Alter Ego

{WARNING: RANDOM BABBLE..this may or may not make sense}

My parents are shy and so thus I spent most of my life being shy. It was not until around the end of graduate school (2012) that I started to really be more confident in my own skin in all respects: fashion, beauty, speaking up for myself, etc. Perhaps, a big part of being confident was getting older. At 28, I feel more and more comfortable in my skin each day.

There is just one aspect of myself that I have kept under the radar: my internal edgy alter ego.

As funky as this sounds, I'm an internally edgy person trapped in a mainstream goody two shoe body.

My parents were never ones to support taking risks in being bold and being different. The mainstream was the only stream.They were also quite conservative so it was probably a mix of both. 

I've always wanted to unleash the edgier me. It's slowly happening, but at the same time, I feel like I'm getting too "old" for the edgy look. And in my line of work, it will not fly. 

See below for pictures that I feel are the me I would've loved to express a few years ago (and I'm not gonna lie, I wish I could still pull these looks off today).

Disclaimer: I do NOT own any of the photos below unless specified. Photos grabbed from Instagram.

This is so gorgeous. I love it!!

This would have been fun too

I contemplated this color at one point

One of my favorites! I've been loving the pin-up look lately. I love her makeup too!

 This is YouTube's saaammage. I took this off her Instagram.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE her hair (this is an old picture by the way). 
This is the most doable hairdo I can pull off at work...I think.
I wanted to cut my hair this way when I cut it recently but my bangs were too short. Maybe one day...

All photos below are mine: 

Me in 2009. Okay, okay so I did pull an edgy 'do. Color is called Vampire Red. This was definitely the first step! 
Ever since then, my hair has [mostly] never been one color.

I express myself with my hair because somehow it is easier for me to do that than clothes.

How I would describe my attempted style: boho, feminine dark/grunge, very black-white-red. 

My recent attempts of unleashing the edgy girl inside me:

Awkward photo of me. LOL
I sneaked into my brother's room to take this. Excuse the stars to cover his mess. x_X

 Another awkward photo of me. -_-

My college roommate and sorority sister said I was the queen of not matching. 

My current style of the moment (in congruence with Fall trends): Funky leggings, booties, and a long shirt to cover my bum and then makeup wise - a dark lip

As you can see, I do love my funky leggings!! :D

If you made it this far, props to you for reading another installment of my random babble. 


Sunday, November 9, 2014

November Grateful Challenge Part 2

Here is part 2 of my November Grateful Challenge! Check out part 1 and why I'm doing this challenge here.

So far, this experience has been a great one! We don't really realize (until we really think about it) how blessed we are. 

Let's get started!

1. EMPLOYMENT. I love what I do and I love my employer. I have been so blessed to have been able to make and keep the friends I have made in all my jobs. My current employer is a wonderful place to be. It definitely feels like a second home. This week we celebrated my office "roomie's" birthday. She received a heart bouquet of flowers from a secret sender ;) We have an inkling of who it may be. The smile on her face was priceless. 

2. MY HEALTH & STEPPING OUT OF MY LUPUS SHELL. My health is not in the greatest shape due to my  diagnosis, but I am thankful that it is at a manageable level. I am living and functioning like any other "normal" person. There are struggles, but there are also triumphs and still a feeling of normalcy. In the 4 years of having Lupus, I finally attended my first (well second if you count a Lupus walk as my first) Lupus fundraiser. It was an event held at the Sofitel Hotel's Riviera 31 Bar & Lounge in Beverly Hills where, oddly enough, my high school prom was held. Ohhh the nostalgia!

The Purple Carpet

Channeling my bae, Queen Bey

3. FRIENDSHIP. I've known this girl since I was 9. Nearly 20 years of friendship! She was my date to the Lupus fundraiser event. We had so much fun looking at all the celebrity lookalikes. Without my glasses, I saw people that looked like Kobe Bryant, Chris Brown (with tats and all!), Common and Nicki Minaj. I was in faux celebrity heaven. My friend's vision is 20/20 so she was quick to burst my celebrity fantasy bubble. Haha. I love this girl!

Lupus Awareness Fundraiser
An unflattering photo of us laughing at something! Makes me smile anyway :)

4. CHILAQUILES. My most favorite Mexican breakfast ever!! I've tried many a places that serve chilaquiles. This is from Casa Chocolate in Arlington Heights in Los Angeles. BEST I'VE EVER HAD (cue Drake's Best I Ever Had)

May you all have a beautiful beautiful weekend <3


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hair Chop!


So it finally happened! 


Drum roll please......





Oh the anticipation!





Cut: Right below the shoulder with layers. 
Sunlight is my filter

This lupus hair fall out wasn't playing! 

I heard that hair short was best for thinning hair. Short hair worked for me four years ago when I was first diagnosed and when my hair fall out was a bajillion times more traumatic.

My experience this time around isn't AS bad but still rough because as I said in my post about my hair falling out again, hair for us females means something to us. It's traumatic to see it fall in abnormal amounts. 

My current hair fall out opens up a whole can of warms. It brings me back to the pain I felt four years ago. It makes me worried about my health (hair fallout tells me my lupus is very much active). So many thoughts, so many emotions, so many worries.

Part of me was really sad to cut my hair. Growing out my hair and keeping it long was my "F*@k you" to lupus. I went from AT LEAST 75% of my hair falling out to about 85% regrowth. Yeah, yeah. Who knows what the actual percentage was... Point is I lost A LOT A LOT of hair BUT I also grew most of it back. Since my hair is naturally a big poof ball, I was able to create illusion of my once redonkulously full hair. 

Once my hair stopped falling out in 2010, I did use BioSil which is a hair, skin and nails regrowth and strengthening supplement. I honestly felt like it worked back then. As for right now? Since my hair is still falling out, I think it is just slowing down the process for now.

The evolution of my hair since it fell out in 2010 (I don't have many pictures from 2010- 2012 when my hair was at it's thinnest. I hated taking pictures!). 

Summer 2013
My hair was stronger and I was finally able to let it grow out without constantly cutting it

May 2014
Poor quality picture, but I wanted to show you how long my hair was

June 2014
My hair was loooooong

July 2014
Hair cut to right below my chest

September 2014
I cut my hair as it was starting to fall out in late August. One day I woke up with hair all over my pillow and I thought Enough! I cut it right above my chest. It continued to fall out more and more and so I chopped it off!

October 2014
Pictures the day I cut my hair

I was really digging the peekaboo brown underneath. Chopping off my hair means chopping off most of my peekaboo. You can still see the peekaboo brown but it's not as in yo face as it would be with my hair long. With sunlight (as in my after picture above), the contrast is more apparent.

No strong sunlight

- I am using less hair products which makes them last forever! And it saves me money!
- My hair dries so much faster!
- I have less knots (my hair was crazy knotted underneath ALL the time. Rats nest!)
- Style time is cut down by more than 50%
- My hair does not get caught underneath my arm pits or even my car door...WIN

I haven't had my hair this short by choice since 2007 but I suppose change is nice :-) still re-learning how to style it but it's all coming back to me now. And it is quite fun to play around with. 

Just because I cut my hair short, my struggle does not end: Insecurities about hair continued and future fallout, concerns with my health, and feeling like I have "lost" (I know, silly talk!) a mini battle. Despite my crazy talk, I will continue to fight fight fight!

I am a lupus warrior! I am not giving up.