Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Journal Prompt--What did you want your life to be like?

Hi all,

I've been going through some of my Bloglovin' emails. Ever since my surgery last summer I've been trying to live my life less online and more in the "real world." However, every once in a while I still enjoy reading blogs and catching up with some of my favorite bloggers. Sometimes Sweet has been doing journal prompts, and I think it's a really cool idea. I'd like to do this one, so feel free to join along and send me a link to your post!

Here's the prompt she gave:

 "Think about the plans you had for your adult self when you were younger- would you say they match up to your reality today? What did you wish for your future when you were a child? Did you have a plan? And would you say you've followed that plan in any way? This week, look at the life you hoped to have (even if you consider your childhood "dreams" silly now) and see how your current life compares."

When I was in my teens I really wanted to grow up and own/run a flower shop with my best friends Kira and Laura. I hoped we could all be close, like the ladies on Sex and the City. This wasn't a very realistic goal, because Kira and Laura didn't even like each other! However, boys hadn't really come into the scene yet so we all made nice and had tons of fun together. This was my freshman year of high school, and I was terrible at school.

Kira, Me and Laura

As the years went by Laura and I had different friend circles but Kira and I stayed close. We did a lot of partying, so I really just wanted to party and didn't have many life goals. I guess I just wanted to be pretty and have fun. In fact, I can remember having conversations with Kira that we might as well die when we turn thirty because we would be so old and ugly (all the LOLs).

As a child, I just wanted to grow up and be like Cindy Crawford or Madonna in her Blonde Ambition phase. However, all the kids told me how hideous and fat I was (I had all the bullies) so I pretty much knew that wasn't going to happen.

I never was the kind of girl who dreamed of her wedding. I didn't care about getting married. I didn't really think about having a family, or a house. I guess I wasn't a long term thinker at all, really. I figured you had fun until you died.

So my current life:

I am married. I got married when I was 19 and I'm now 32. I have a 13 year old son. I work at a college. I'm not hideous but I'm certainly not a hot 17 year old anymore. I worry about the future. I still would like to be as beautiful as Cindy Crawford or Madonna. I would still like to own a flower shop with Kira and Laura. Kira and Laura still don't like each other. I don't get to spend much time with my friends, and when I think of the future I envisioned for all of us, it seems like a Lifetime movie. It still sounds like fun, but I know too much about the real world to think it would ever really happen.

I like my life, and I actually really enjoy being married. Sometimes I think the reason I enjoy it is because I didn't sit around when I was a kid thinking of how great and perfect it would be. My husband and I really love each other, but no marriage is perfect. I also never sat around as a kid yearning to be a mom, but I've really loved being a mom. I only had one child, and now that he's a teen I do get quite lonely. I sat around my twenties being a good mom, so now that I'm in my thirties I have a bit more freedom, and it's been pretty fun.

My family

I think the life I hoped for was pretty cute. I wanted a flower shop, and to always be with my friends. I wanted to be pretty and have fun. I didn't worry about stuff. I guess the real world has a way with changing any plans we have for ourselves.

I'm very proud to be a college graduate with a  Bachelor's in Journalism. I love my job working at a college and I'm actually hoping to get a different position soon.

I guess the one thing I miss about the person I was supposed to be is not worrying as much. I need to take a lesson from my old self and stop stressing out. Because according to her, I should already be dead by now. (hahahah).


Having a fun summer!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When visiting the hospital...oh the memories.

One of my close friends from high school had a baby last night. I am so happy for her, and all day at work I've been thinking about how I can't wait to visit. I'm going to the gift shop at the hospital, and I hope I can find just the right thing to bring. As I've gotten older I really love to shop for gifts for people.

Anyways, all this thinking about visiting people who've had babies made me think of my own hospital stay. I think when we see things happen to other people we can't help but remember our own experiences, and I wanted to jot my memories down before they leave my mind again for who knows how long.

The one person I remember/cherish most visiting me at the hospital after I had Gabe was my dad. I couldn't always count on my dad being there for me, and by the time I had Gabe at 18 I had gotten used to it. I love my dad very much, and I don't judge him, but he didn't come to my high school graduation the few months before Gabe's birth, so I didn't really think he would visit me in the hospital, but he did.

Dad even wore a sport coat, like a blazer. He was dressed up and looked so handsome. It's so funny to think about, when I had Gabe my dad was 41...younger than my husband is today! I remember he told me, "Thanks a lot, I'm too young to be a grandpa!" He brought me a card, one of those new baby cards, and of course I still have it in a folder somewhere.

I go through periods of being really angry with my dad or missing him. I'm sad to think that if I have more kids, or when Lauren and Morgan have kids, he won't be here to visit. He's missing out on so much. So I really cherish that he visited me, because it's something that can never happen again. I really appreciated the effort he put forth. I'm so glad he came to see me.

It just goes to show we can remember things from before digital cameras. I have no photos of my dad holding Gabe or visiting me, but I can see it in my mind and it's a really good memory.

One of the other people who came to see me was Courtney, the one who had a baby last night! She thought that Gabe was the perfect baby, and she held him for hours! She had these big pink fake nails on, it's so funny looking at the pictures. Courtney always had my back when I was pregnant and when Gabe was a baby, and I really appreciated it. I hope I can return the favor, even though it seems like all us friends are so busy we never get to spend time together. I will just have to show up at her house randomly, lol!

Also, of course, Rolanda came to see me with her new baby in tow. I even have a picture of them getting held up side by side. She was with her husband and they stayed and chatted a while.

My mom's best friend Mary came to see me too, she was always very supportive. Her kids would never do something like have a baby at 18, but she didn't act judgy or anything. I'm telling you, in the year 2000 having a baby at 17/18 was kind of a taboo. There was no "Teen Mom" yet!

My future sister-in-law Stephanie also came to see me and give me support. She held the baby for a long time too. You can always count on Stephanie to be there for you when you need it. She will literally give someone the shirt off her back and go around topless. That whore. (We call each other whores, sorry.)

Last but not least Kira was there the entire time practically. She was my birthing assistant while my mom slept in a chair. She watched me get an episiotomy. She literally turned green. Med students came in and watched the birth and she made fun of me about it. She told the nurse not to switch my baby. Kira was everything.

This is the only photo I could find on Facebook, but there are others.

My poor grandmom and granddad didn't get to come see me, and it was very sad. Granddad went into the hospital the day I gave birth. He was having serious health problems and died a month later.

My granddad was always trying to keep death at bay. His health wasn't great, but he would try so hard not to die before my milestones. He was so honest and blunt, he would tell me, "Tiffany, I'm not going to die until I see you graduate from high school." Well I graduated pregnant and he was still proud. There was nothing I could do that would make granddad look down on me, he really loved me that much. So then he said, "Tiffany, I'm not going to die until you have that baby." Well he managed that too. Granddad was so thoughtful and so wonderful. And he is so very very missed.

I have been very lucky to have good people in my life. I hope I didn't leave anyone out that came to see me. You used to have to stay THREE days in the hospital. The last day was pure hell I just cried all day I wanted to go home so bad. I had a lot of help and support from my mom and Steve. They were totally my rocks, my ground to stand on. They provided me with a  home for myself and Gabriel until we moved in with Chris. My mom is a really good person (duh) and Steve was too. I really miss Steve, it seems like he's been dead for 20 years, not 6. The kids (Stevie, Summer and Eric) have always been Gabe's unofficial siblings, less like aunts and uncles and more like a brother and sisters. They have helped watch him over the years, and they've been a big part of his life. They were very excited when baby Gabe came home!

I can't believe Gabe is only 13, because all of this seemed like it happened a lifetime ago. It feels like it happened to someone else, like I watched it in a movie. Am I even the same person anymore?

Whenever babies are born it is a very happy occasion, and I feel sad too but not in a bad way, just a sentimental way. In a very "these are the days of our lives" way.

Life goes by so fast!



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On wearing your correct size...

Hey all,

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time, but something has always stopped me. I guess it's because I am a big believer in people just doing what makes them happy. If wearing too small or big of clothes makes someone feel beautiful, confident and happy, who am I to tell them not to?

However, I feel like some of us wear the wrong size clothes for the wrong reasons. Mainly, because we haven't come to terms with what size we are, be it big or small.

For example this skirt was way too small, lol.
It looks okay, and a dude might not notice,
but seriously girl? Don't try and sit down!

I remember, when I was still working at a local montessori school, one of my coworkers said something behind my back. We all gossiped, so I don't think I was innocent, but I remember how much it hurt my feelings.

The girl said, "Ugh, why does Tiffany always wear clothes that are too small? She's fat."

Well, I'm afraid she was probably halfway right. I gained a lot of weight when I worked there, due to poor eating choices and not getting enough exercise...and let's not forget massive amounts of stress. Most of my clothes were a little (or a lot) snug, but I didn't want to admit I needed a bigger size.

Not realizing I needed a bigger size became kind of a theme for my 20's...Now that I'm in my 30's I have fought hard to keep my weight down, but still I have to come to terms with the fact I am not really "thin."

The best way to wear clothes your size is to take your measurements. And when you take your measurements, the tape should not be suffocating you in any way. It should be snug, but not too tight. If it looks like your waist is being strangled, the tape is too tight. Also, measure your hips at where your butt is the biggest, trust me. There are probably tons of tutorials on how to take your measurements, but I learned you take them where your bust is the biggest, your natural waist (smallest part of waist, sometimes by belly button depending on your body type) and the biggest part of your hips/butt. You have to be honest with yourself when doing this, and it can be brutal.

This dress is a 2X. It was a little big but not much, lol.
All that matters is it fits, no one has to know
your size unless you want them to.

I won't lie to ya...the last time I took my measurements I cried, because I can remember when I was a perfect hourglass (I was like 17, so it's time to get over it, lol). I took my measurements because I was ordering some clothes from the Victoria's Secret catalog and I needed to know what size I wore in their stuff.

Sure, I had a great figure when I was 17, but I need to live
in the here and now, lol. (This is me and Kira, my BFF)

Like many people do when they realize they are a bit bigger, I felt sad because I'm not the size I used to be. But when my clothes came everyone said how cute I looked, and I felt really cute. The fact that they fit well made me look pretty thin, or at least well porportioned (which I am, big or not). I began to realize it doesn't matter what size I wear, what matters is my clothes fit. My legs don't look like sausage casings in my jeans. I don't have a massive muffin top. I don't have four boobs hanging out all the sides of my bra. My arms can bend and lift without worry of a split jacket or lining. I can bend over and pick something up without being squeezed to death. I am comfortable all the time, which makes me feel confident and encourages me to keep exercising. I don't need to run home and throw sweat pants on (even though sometimes I still do) because my everyday clothes are comfy not torture. When I go out to the bar or an event I can really enjoy myself because I am not in pain (except for the high heels, heehee).

Here I am getting caught shamelessly taking a
 "selfie," lol. I was so comfortable in my clothes
while at the Plaza Art Fair I was able to just sit on
 the curb and take a rest after 6 hours of walking, lol.
I was NOT wearing heels here!
I have come to terms with being a big girl. I really just am. I always was, but as a teen I was super thin so I just looked really curvy. Now my curves have curves. I will always need to watch what I eat and work out. I won't be wearing a medium anything probably ever again AND THAT'S OKAY!

This isn't something just big girls deal with either. Lots of thin girls, or girls who have lost weight, wear clothes that are miles too big. You can't even see they have wonderful figures because they are so hidden.

For whatever reason they can't come to terms with the fact they are small. Again, I would encourage anyone to take their measurements and look at a size chart for a brand of clothing they enjoy wearing. You might be surprised how confident and comfortable you feel wearing clothes in your correct size.

These jeans are a size 16, Silver brand.
My first size 16...
I was so embarassed to buy them, but lord
knows why. They fit and look great!

Since we are on this subject already, I want to address the issue of buying too small because you are losing weight. Just don't do it, in my opinion. I have an adorable pair of jeans I got at Viva Fashion that are size 11/12. They fit but my legs are sausages and I have a huge muffin top, so basically they DON'T fit. I bought them because I was losing weight, but I still can't fit them. All they do is make me feel bad. When I feel bad I want a donut. When I eat a donut I feel worse and it doesn't get the jeans any closer to fitting. It's just a bad pattern. If you are losing some lbs. just wait until the jeans and clothing you have are too big and THEN buy smaller ones. That is my two cents! :)

When I shop at regular stores I always need to shop the Misses section. I no longer fit into "junior" clothes. Hey, I don't want to look like an old lady, so I am super choosy. Just because you are thick doesn't mean you need to dress like a grandma. Too many places only offer bigger bras and clothes that are sloppy looking and unflattering. Trust me, if you are thick you don't need to wear baggy anything, you need to show that you have a waist.

I love to shop from catalogs like Simply Be and Victoria's Secret.


Simply Be even has cute vintagy stuff!


I am XL if I'm lucky in Victoria's Secret.
I'm not sure if they have any plus size.

We also got a Torrid shop at my local mall, and I have been loving it!

Don't get me started on why all we have is an outdoor mall...
I miss Metro North and Antioch!

So far at Torrid I have gotten two pairs of jeans, a jacket, two sweaters and a form fitting tunic shirt (not all at the same time). I have tried on their bras, and I can't wait to buy some when I get more extra money. Right now I only have Victoria's Secret bras, and they are pricey, so I don't mind having an alternative!

Torrid isn't cheap, but the clothing is well made. Best of all, it's made for young, trendy women. I am big boned, so I have big wrists, ankles and fingers. It's not from weight, I had big everything when I was stick thin, lol. And there are bigger women who have tiny wrists and fingers! Anyways, when I go places like Forever 21 and Charlotte Ruse, none of their cool knuckle rings or bangle braclets fit me. Well at Torrid they do!

I like the one at Zona very much, the layout is nice with lots of natural light. I shopped at the one in Independence Center a few years ago and just did not like it at all. But that's just me, you might like it fine.

Also, you can shop online if you don't have time to make it to the store.


Just to give you a perspective of how big I am, I wear a size 14 in jeans at Torrid, and a size 0 or 1 in shirts. My bra size is 38DD. In regular stores I wear a Large or XL in shirts usually. My jean size is 14 or 16 anywhere I go.

I also really have good luck finding jeans at Ditto (a resale boutique on Barry Road). It's very hit or miss, but when it hits it hits good, lol. Shirts on the other hand, you can't find any in that place, they need some organizing!

**side-note**I have noticed that shopping with makeup on makes it so much easier to come home with stuff that looks good on me. The reason for this is, when I try on something wearing no makeup I have a tendency to think, "Hey, this will look great when I have makeup on!" Yeah, that's not always the case. I'm not walking around with a cake face or anything, but having on some tinted moisturizer, blush, nude lipstick, and mascara really makes me look better. It gives me a better idea of what I want to look like in clothes. I am still adjusting to the extra time it takes in the morning to put makeup on, and at night to take it off, but it's so worth it. I am definitely glad I started wearing a little makeup every single day :) **

I am really on a mission to have all my clothing make me feel happy. Every day I go to my closet I want to pull something out that makes me feel good. I know it's not going to happen overnight. The first thing I am trying to do is not feel guilty that things I spent money on need to go. Also, shirts I really loved a year ago and still look brand new, I'm sick of.

My new fall jacket from Torrid.
I lurve it!

Sorry the pic is a little boobalicious...
I will be wearing this with a cami, lol.
But I love wearing charcoal, and this sweater is
so pretty in person.

I am going to pack some stuff of my old clothes away, sell some stuff, and donate what's left.

Anyways, I hope this post was helpful. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, which is why I have avoided talking about size in most my previous blog posts. The fact is, if you are not wearing your correct size everyone around you knows. You can't ask your best friend (unless your best friend is Kira, because she will be honest) and you can't ask your husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, because they won't want to hurt your feelings. They will lie to you. They should lie to you because if they don't you will punish them. You just have to really look at yourself, and your measurements, and figure out if your clothes are the correct size.

Whatever makes you happy, go for it! Some of my favorite books, The Stephanie Plum series (still haven't seen the movie) have a character named Lula. She is sassy and wears spandex pants two sizes too small. She eats a lot. Her character is very confident in who she is and her too tight clothes are a part of that. If you are a Lula, by all means be who you are! This post is for those of us who are, or were, wearing the wrong size due to denial, lol.



Gabe and I at the pumpkin patch where I was
once again...super comfortable, heehee.
These jeans are size 14 from Torrid.
The shirt is size XL from Viva Fashion.

P.S. I watched all the seasons of The Walking Dead and am now fully caught up! So here is Gabriel as a zombie a few years ago :)

We love Halloween!

Friday, October 18, 2013

On wearing makeup everyday...


I've been trying to wear makeup every single day this week. It's kind of an experiment for me, because I hardly ever wear makeup unless I'm going out. However, I run into people EVERYWHERE I go, especially, of course, the grocery store.

The fact is I do care about looking my best all the time, but out of laziness I usually don't wear anything on my face during the week, weekend, or even to church.

Cindy Crawford is pretty much my permanent muse.
I love her makeup here. I don't look like this when I wear
makeup but I look better than I usually do, lol.

So I started this trend of wearing makeup everyday on Monday and now it's Friday. I have to say my lips feel super dry from wearing lipstick for days in a row. I have worn MAC, Mary Kay and Benefit lipsticks and glosses. I am trying to use all my current makeup so I can buy new stuff. I'm probably even going to have a "free for all" of makeup with my family and friends. I have a lot of makeup I have only used once or twice and just didn't really like on me.

Of everything I am enjoying the most from wearing makeup, it's having a healthy glow and not looking pale and washed out. During the summer I don't really need any powder or foundation because I get a healthy glow to my face even with sunscreen; but in the fall and winter I get super pale, and because I am aging I have some darkness under the eyes which give the impression I am tired all the time.

I gave my bronzing primer and sunscreen from Colorscience a second chance and I'm really loving it. The consistency is a hot mess, so I mix it with some of the Mary Kay oil-free Time Wise Moisturizer and it goes on so well. While I wait for it to dry I use my favorite Mabelline under eye concealer, Age Rewind. Then I dust my whole face and eye area lightly with Mary Kay mineral powder in Ivory 1. These are ALL products I'm going to have to replace with new stuff when I run out. It's kind of terrifying because I will need all new skin care and makeup. But we'll cross that bridge in another blog post.

I then dust blush (right now I'm using up Strawberry Cream by Mary Kay and it is so gorge) on my apples of my cheeks and blend up my cheekbones, I highlight the top of my cheekbones with a powder highlight, again I'm using Mary Kay the shimmery pink one I nicknamed Fairy Dust. I have a lot of blush and highlighter to use up before I will need to buy new ones.

I'm usually in a hurry so I just do "garage door" eyes, one color all over the entire eye area. Today I used a shimmery honey color called "Honey Spice" by Mary Kay. Then I curl my lashes and use mascara on top and bottom. Right now I'm using up my Colorscience and Covergirl Lash Blast. I use them both for a wide eye effect. I have to put clear mascara on my eyebrows to keep them in place, and I don't usually color them in because they are pretty bold by themselves.

Since I'm always in a hurry I haven't been using lip liner, just a nude lipstick and gloss on top. I have pretty much come to terms with the fact I only love nude lips. Red lips are so high maintenance and can be so darn aging as well. I still have to rock them with some of my pinup looks, but I usually same them for only special events.

My hair is just a hot mess. I worked so hard to grow it long and now it just hangs there. If I curl or straighten it too much it gets all damaged even with heat protectant. I figured out I like to keep blond highlights in it, I think they brighten up my face and complexion and make me seem warmer overall. I need it, with my pale skin and dark eyes and eyebrows.

So I would love to get some more layers and highlights for fun this winter. Oh, how I hate winter. Another reason I am paying so much attention to fashion, makeup, and clothes is to distract myself from the fact that WINTER IS COMING!

My husband thinks I must have a boyfriend, he is so shocked I have been dressing up a lot. That's pretty sad, I'm going to have to stick with it this time, lol. He knows I can look super good if we are going somewhere, but he's not used to me making this much effort on just ordinary days. But hey, every single day could be a last day for any of us so I guess I better make them all special. I have been wearing my colorful sweaters from Pink (VS) and my new jeans. I need some more colorful clothes because sometimes I feel like everything I own is black or white!

I went through my closet not too long ago but I would like to go through it again and get rid of everything I don't absolutely love. I will do a post on it, because I found a new store I ladore that has stuff I look good, and am comfortable, in.

I have been working out with makeup on which is really weird and feels disgusting honestly. I don't have time to wash it off first so when I'm done working out I RUN to the shower and use my Clarisonic so get all the makeup off. I guess I should invest in some makeup remover wipes to use before I work out because I don't have time to do a full face wash. If anyone knows any that are NOT made by a company that tests on animals please let me know :)

I am also using a natural toothpaste I like quite a bit from a company that doesn't test on baby bunnies. It's awesome. For whitening I use baking soda straight from the box and it's working so well. I'm not smoking any longer but I still drink coffee so I need all the whitening I can get.

So I am trying really hard to get my mojo back. When I was in high school I wore makeup everyday, not a cake face just pretty makeup. I was always dressed as cute as can be and that's probably why I always felt pretty confident about my looks.

I love watching NeNe from "I Dream of NeNe" and "Real Housewives of Atlanta" because she is so confident in herself. In a recent episode of "I Dream" she was looking at her old wedding dress with her man Gregg.

"Oh honey I ain't never gonna fit that dress again," she told him and just tossed it on the floor, laughed and walked off. How hilarious!! She's not crying in the corner, she understood she's different now and she is just as fabulous. That's how I am trying to feel, cause Lord know my wedding dress wouldn't fit I'm sure!



Sorry I haven't taken any selfies this week so here is one Gabe took of me and the kittens.
As you can see my makeup isn't super fancy at all, but I do at least have some color to my face :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Catching up...having a tumor and all the other junk!

Hey everyone,

At Red-X car show this summer

I can't believe it has been over a year since I last posted. So much has changed in my life, I thought I would catch you all up, and hopefully I can keep my blogging up to at least two posts a week. I really do enjoy writing and sharing beauty, makeup, fashion, and lifestyle tips and stories!


Last summer I know I posted about the death of my mom's cat Jerri, but I didn't really say all the other stuff. Basically, my grandma had to go to a nursing home and I became her advocate. It's a really wonderful thing and I'm glad I can help her, but it was an adjustment to my life.

Also, my uncle and I had a huge falling out, and we never really got along anyways since I had become an adult. He had stage four cancer and in April he died. We never got to patch things up, even though honestly I don't know that we could have. I pray for him everyday, and I hope he can forgive me for my part in all our arguments. Honestly, we leave all the petty shit behind when we die I hope!

Last fall and winter I got really depressed. We were trying to have a baby and it just wasn't working. This is such a frustrating topic I won't even touch on it for long. I just want to say if you are pregnant or have a baby please be sensitive to other women, and don't flaunt your baby around too hurtfully. I never realized how much having good reproductive organs affects a woman's self-esteem, but it does. I'm just saying, I got my feelings pretty hurt a few times by people making comments like, "Why don't you give your husband a baby?" or my favorite, "Just have sex 14 days after the first day of your period." Really people??? Lol, only people who have struggled to get pregnant probably get it.

Then last winter I got super sick with bronchitis and developed some asthma. You can't believe how scary it is not being able to breath, unless you've gone through it. My anxiety was through the roof. I was snowed in to my house, couldn't go to work, and literally felt like I was going nuts. It was a very bad time for me, and I ended up going back to my old shrink I went to after dad died. He's so awesome, he has really helped me get back on track with my anxiety and depression. I feel so much better now! :) I am currently not smoking and so proud of myself. Quitting smoking is like eating healthy, every day, every hour is a struggle. You just have to do the best you can. And FYI electronic cigarettes can be very dangerous and are not a good replacement for regular cigs...You can look up the studies if don't believe me.

So in the spring I developed some weird flu and could not eat, just in time for all my bridesmaid duties! I did them anyways because there was no way I was flaking out on my friend Courtney, but there were times I was afraid I would just collapse. At Courtney's rehearsal dinner my lymph nodes seemed a little swollen and I noticed a lump on my jaw. I asked one of the guests who works in the medical field and she said I should get it looked at.

Court and I at Rehearsal Dinner
Courtney's wedding

So starting in May I began the journey of finding out what the hell was on my damn jaw. The first doc said you're crazy and touching your face too much just take allergy medication and stop touching it. A month later it was still there I went to see a doc I knew and trusted. He gave me an x-ray and said maybe it was a cyst and sent me to a specialist. The specialist sent me to get an ultrasound, and then to get a biopsy. It turned out I had a tumor in my paratoid gland.

A paratoid gland is a saliva gland on the side of your face, right over your jaw by your ear. You have one on each side, and they are pretty big. My tumor was benign, but they still need to remove them because any tumor can turn to cancer, they are not meant to be in your body basically.

Getting the tumor off is a huge deal because you have a bunch of nerves right there and can get paralyzed. They basically cut your face from in front of your ear down to your throat, pull the skin back, pull your nerves back trying not to damage them, remove the tumor, lay your nerves back down, sew you back up. My surgery was only supposed to be two hours, but ended up taking about three and a half. You have a drain and everything. It is pretty painful. But I was blessed and everything went well. I'm telling you, Jesus keeps an extra eye on me so I'm trying to step it up and be a better person!!! Seriously.

I recovered and really had a wonderful summer. Everyone always says they cherish life better after something like this, and it ain't no lie. I am 31 years old and I could die anytime, I've already had a damn tumor in my freaking face. I am trying to enjoy my life and never be bored, just to really appreciate every single thing in my life, even stress.

At the end of March we joined a Catholic parish and we've been going every Sunday. It's been really great, I'm even converting. Hopefully, I will get confirmed and my first communion on Easter Eve.

On September 21, 2013, we got our marriage blessed by the church! It was our 12 year wedding anniversary, and it was such a beautiful day. We went to the Plaza Art Fair afterwards and partied!

Also, I got my old job back and I applied for a new opportunity so we shall see! I still do pinup shoots, just on a more limited basis. It's actually great, I have so much time and energy to devote them when I get an opportunity. I guess doing the photo thing for me full-time just doesn't work out right now, and I'm okay with that.

Starting three days ago, I stepped up my game and am wearing my cute clothes and wearing makeup every day! I decided it's not worth it to just leave clothes sitting in a drawer or hanging in the closet. I don't want to die before I get to wear them! Sorry, I know that sounds morbid but it's true, lol! Same with makeup, I have enough for a small army, it needs to get used so I can buy more, bahaha!

I am also transitioning to cruelty-free makeup, skin care, and other vanity products. It is a huge endeavor, and I should probably do a blog post soon so I can help anyone else trying to take that journey.

I'm going to end this post with a sad but funny story.

The other day in our Sunday school class for converts, we discussed Purgatory. This is a place people go if they are going to Heaven, but aren't ready yet. If you think someone you love is in Purgatory, you should pray for them, because prayers of the faithful help them in lots of ways, basically. So I asked Gabe if he would pray with me for all our dead relatives whether they are in Heaven, or Purgatory, just in case anyone we know needed our help.

So we sat down and held hands and I started praying, it kind of sounded like this because I'm not that good at praying yet,

"God, if you can, please help all our relatives who have died. Please help my dad Jim, Steve (my stepdad), Uncle David, granddad, Grandma Florene, my friend Marcie, Uncle Charles..."

Gabe started laughing and I was like, "What is so funny?"

He said, "Mom, everyone we know is dead!"

I was like, "No way, think of all the people who are still alive and be thankful for them."

I had to smile afterwards and think of how strong we all are, because we have lost so much but we keep going and find happiness everyday.

Whether you are religious or not, I hope you can find things to make you happy.

Now you are all caught up!



Friday, August 31, 2012

HBO's Hemingway and Gellhorn movie review, and The Old Man and the Sea book review

Hey everyone,

I know many of you read this blog solely for information on beauty, style and vintage culture and photography. However, I did a post at the beginning of the summer about making a list of life enriching experiences and trying to finish all the tasks before the summer was over. One of the things on my list was to read a Hemingway book and write a review, even if I never shared it. I figured why keep it to myself, so here it is. I hope you enjoy, and if it gets you to watch the HBO's Hemingway and Gellhorn, or read Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, you won't be disappointed :)

xoxo Tiffany

HBO's Hemingway and Gellhorn:

I was so excited to see this movie, as I adore both Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen. It was apparent by the previews they have great chemistry, and I was not disappointed as I watched the film. HBO tends to go all out with these kinds of films, and as usual they knocked this one out of the park. Lavish sets, incredible acting performances, history, music...this film has it all in spades.

This movie is long but moves at a fast pace, covering the meeting of Gellhorn and Hemingway and thrusting the characters right into the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War. I felt like I learned some history from watching this, and that is always a good feeling to me. At the very least it made me curious enough to want to learn more about this period in time.

One of my favorite parts of the movie.
I don't want to give any spoilers but Hemingway and Gellhorn also spend time in China and Cuba together, both magnificent sceneries, and Germany and WWII also have a place in the film. As someone with a journalism degree I found myself facinated and completely in awe with the character of Gellhorn portrayed by Nicole Kidman. As someone who is a writer and dreams of one day finally publishing a book, I was inspired by Hemingway and Clive Owens performance of him. To think the man stood as he typed up his books on a typewriter. When he wrote something he didn't like he would let the pages glide to the floor.

"Never crumble them up," he tells Gellhorn of written pages, "a writer who crumbles the pages will go crazy within a year."

The film dipicts Martha Gellhorn as everything a journalist should be. She's brave, compassionate, and not afraid to speak her mind even as she slings zingers at the Empress of China. I think Gellhorn really is the hero of the film, and I want to read more about her and her writing after watching this. Of course Nicole Kidman looks fantastic in every part of the film, with shoulder length golden blonde hair, an amazing glowing complection, and classic retro red lips. Her wardrobe is mainly pants and shirts, with a few dresses in some of the scenes. She has never looked better than she does in this film, in my opinion. If they make a film about my life some day, I hope a beautiful actress like Nicole Kidman plays me! Except she would need to be a brunette, haha.

The real Hemingway and Gellhorn for some perspective.
Hemingway is not so likable in the film. I do think Clive Owen portrayed him brilliantly, but let's face it, Hemingway had many not-so-endearing qualities and the film touched on them all. Alcoholism, chauvanism, leaving his family, being prideful and unfaithful...they went there with all that stuff.

 However, I never really had the desire to read any Hemingway until I saw this, and I was really missing out. No matter who he was in his personal life, he was an amazing writer. The first book I read by Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, is now one of my favorite stories. Loving Hemingway's writing is just another lesson to me in how you can't always judge someone's talent from their character and their personal life. Whoever Hemingway was in his personal life, he was an extroidinary writer who could make even the smallest character and person have a lasting impression on your life.

Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea:

This book is based on a tale told to Hemingway when he was in Cuba. It is a tale of an old fisherman who caught a big fish, was taken out to sea by it, and before he could make it to shore the fish was eaten by sharks.

The Old Man and the Sea is a brilliant piece of writing that hits really close to home. It makes you address the parts of yourself that make you spoiled and a quitter.

The old man in the story, Santiago, is very poor and has worked his entire life as a fisherman. His only joy is a neighborhood boy who fishes with him, although the boy is now fishing with someone else because the old man is "unlucky" in his efforts. The boy is fiercly loyal, but his parents don't share the sentiment.

And so Santiago goes out once again alone, hopefully to catch a fish so he can eat. From then he hooks the big fish and begins his journey being pulled out to sea by it.

Every aspect of his strength is challenged, mentally and physically. He forms a bond with the fish, and he is filled with so much respect for the beast.

It is amazing the way Hemingway captures the essence of a different culture and their way of thinking without alienating the reader.

The old man has a lot of time to think as he travels the ocean being dragged by the massive fish, and he reflects on many different times in his life, and who he was then and now.

 As you read this you can't help but reflect on your own life. Who are you as a person? Are you a quitter? What do you stand for? I asked myself these and many other questions. Many times my eyes would fill with tears and I would just nod in agreement with Santiago as he evaluated himself. I laughed when he laughed, and when he was sad and tired I thought of times I was sad and tired. What a connection you have with this character...and to think we couldn't be more different. I think most people who read this are a world apart from this old man, so why does his plight affect us so?

Reading this book was a forceful reminder of what the power of reading can do. It can change you. When you watch a film someone else has already interpreted the information for you. But when you read a book you interpret it yourself. It is a gift to be literate, and it's a gift we all tend to take for granted or not use...just some food for thought.

Do you all have any books that make you think deeply about who you are and what you stand for?

Do you question yourself on a regular basis?

In a movie about your life, who would play you?

xoxo Tiffany

Monday, July 16, 2012

The death of Jerri

Sometimes it's the little pets in your life that make the biggest difference. You don't realize how much they mean to you or someone else until they are gone.

Two little angels.

On Friday the 13th I was heading home from the mall with my sister-in-law when I saw a dead black cat in the road near my mom's house. I knew immediately before I got out of the car it was my mom's cat Jerri. I also knew she was dead. She had just been hit, her head run over, and thick blood was slowly starting to pour from her head down the street. We stopped the car and I jumped out, my stomach in my throat. A couple stopped too, and the man got out and ran over. He touched Jerri, and told me she was still warm and it had probably just happened. I called my mom and her and my son (she was babysitting) came running down the hill.

My mom immediately knew it was her cat. She picked Jerri up and started crying, sobbing really. She carried Jerri home and cleaned the blood off of her, wrapping her in a towel like a baby. I cried so hard. She kept saying, "It's Friday the 13th and someone hit my little black cat."

It was hands down one of the worst nights of my life. I've lost my father, my step-father, friends, but my mom losing her little cat was just as upsetting to me. In my family we love our pets. They are like our children. All night long my mom blamed herself for not knowing Jerri was outside, or for not looking for her.

Tom and Jerri.

The way I see it, animals are so innocent. Jerri was the sweetest, cutest little girl cat. She never got much bigger than a kitten. Jerri and her brother Tom came from the pound, my mom got them the same time I got my cat Dutchess. I'm super close with my mom, so I watched Jerri grow up. So many times I visited and she was sleeping on the couch, or playing with a string with my sister or mom. She was my mom's little Jerri Berry. She was part of our family. She was innocent, not some evil black cat for someone to hit on Friday the 13th just for fun.

Jerri Berry.

I know a lot of people out there hate cats. For whatever reason, I should be typing that I understand, but I just don't. How can you hate a little ball of cuteness? How can someone hit a tiny cat on purpose? Seriously, do they think they won't have bad karma?

I really hope whoever hit Jerri did it on accident. But why didn't they stop? What the hell is wrong with people?

To make matters worse my family is going through a tough time due to some really shitty circumstances. The death of Jerri really broke us down.

Please, if you are reading this, and you hate cats, think of what they mean to other people. They are like our little angels, our children. I don't care if it sounds dramatic, that's just the way it is.

I miss Jerri. I took her little body to Rolling Acres, a pet cemetery in Parkville, Mo. We have used them before and they are so loving and caring. I picked out a beautiful urn for her ashes to rest in.

Cat cuddling in the old cat building of the pound. Jerri is behind Gabe's leg.

I can't help but replay the scene in my mind and wish I gotten there earlier and seen Jerri had gotten out of the house and rescued her. I picture her little cute self and how happy she always made my mom. I picture Jerri laying there dead in the street like something that didn't even matter.

I'm not ashamed to say I went down to the street later on that evening and washed her blood away. I scrubbed the street three times. She deserved better. I didn't want her blood staining the street.

The death of Jerri has been another painful reminder of loss to me. Everything we have, no matter how small or how big can be gone in an instant. What doesn't seem important or significant to one person means the world to someone else.

People's dogs get out, that doesn't mean hitting someone's dog is okay. Just because something gets in our way, we have no right to kill it. The greatest gift you can give in life is to help other creatures, but if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them. I know accidents happen, I guess I'm just going through the anger stage of grief.

I will miss you Jerri. I'm sorry I couldn't have been there to save you :(

Jerri giving Tom a bath.