Ninette

Every once in awhile I think God puts people in my path to make me re align with my purpose. Every few years I randomly meet someone who feels comfortable enough to talk to me to connect with me and to ask me for my help. And I don’t mean asking me for money or asking me for a ride or food. Let me explain.

Today I was at target on a break in between my lash clients and I was browsing the clothing section. I happened to walk back to swimsuits when I walked past this lady. I smiled and said excuse me while she said excuse me back. I kept walking and I heard her say excuse me but more like a question this time. So I turn around, she introduces herself as Ninette and asks me if I shop here a lot and proceeds to tell me that she has a job interview coming up and that she needs help finding an outfit. And then she asked me if I would help her. She knew I wasn’t an employee but knew that maybe because I was plus sized that I could help her find clothes that would fit her. I only knew this by her gesturing at her body. So I made the assumption.

I happily agreed and took her to the right section in the woman’s clothes. Walked around with her picked out shirts talked about sizing and found her some really good options. I didn’t have much time so I had to rush out but she thanked me for helping her and was very happy with the options she had to try on and I left her with a few more ideas on where to look! I wished her luck and told her that she was going to get that job!

To many people this may seem small. It may seem weird or strange that I would care or even feel like talking about this. But those 15 mins of me helping her literally feel like heaven to me. Not because I feel good she liked my clothes or she thought I had good taste. It was because she made me feel at home. I love that I can be relatable to someone else. I love that I can help someone else feel confident and capable.

Believe it or not this is not the first time it’s happened to me. I once helped a lady for almost an hour in the makeup section at target with a really similar story! ( You can ask Gabriel about this one because he kept coming back like you are still over here helping this lady?!) It happened a lot with people I came across and have actually posted about more stories from my time working for BareMinerals.

These little moments in my life really help me see clarity. I want to help other women, other people. In whatever capacity it serves them. And for me what I know and love is beauty, and a little fashion Lol. I love making people feel beautiful in their own skin. I love making people feel like being who they want to be and who they see in the mirror so achievable.

Is there a position at target where I can just walk around as a shopper and randomly help strangers all day?! No well maybe there should be. Lol

At the end of the day we are all here on this earth for the human experience and I love these moments. Where I relate and connect with someone I didn’t know existed a day ago.

Can I get real honest in this post? The part about doing lash extensions I love the most? Is connecting with others. Having deep conversations with people I just met and continue then to build relationships with.

I think people feel comfortable with me because you can come in lay down with your eyes closed and be free to speak your truth and how you feel, what you are going through and your experiences. Without having to make eye contact or feel self conscious about your body or looks.

Through every person I meet and interact with it heals MY soul. Makes me love myself a little more that day. Makes me feel like my voice matters. Makes me feel no fear. Makes me feel like I can be the person I’m always trying to be and that it is achievable.

Xoxo,

M

Traditions

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I’ve been struggling lately with this overwhelming feeling of anxiety, worry and fear.(What else is new for me? Lol)  I fear change the most, I fear the unknown. Then I realized what the root of the issue was. With the holidays coming up these wonderful memories of tradition come flooding in. For me that’s all holidays were about. In my mind everything had to be the same exact way or else the holiday wasn’t the holiday. For Christmas my grandma would put up 20 something stockings all over her wall above her fireplace. One stocking labeledwith everyone in our immediate families names on it. My mom makes sugar cookies, we look at Christmas lights, go to church, hang out at our family’s Christmas Eve party and we ALWAYS have Christmas at my grandparents house in Marina, Ca.

The thought of ever changing that tradition was not an option for me. Growing up every Christmas was truly magical. Being an only child and waking up on Christmas morning with all my family was the best thing in the world. Getting to have those memories with the people I loved the most was so meaningful and of course all the presents were a huge plus Lol. And just like anything once I got older, things started to change. Everyone couldn’t always be together, and our traditions seemed to be fading away. I remember the year I started working retail I worked Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas but because of my need to keep the tradition alive, we drove to Marina on Christmas morning and back home that evening. I was so scared of loosing that connection I had with my family and the holiday that I was willing to go the extra mile. I’m not good with change in general but something that once seemed so magical and perfect in my eyes was changing slowly but surely and it was a hard pill to swallow.

In the past two years my life has changed drastically. I had my daughter, and I’m now co- parenting. Her first Christmas was beautiful we tried to follow all my traditions and did everything on the list I mentioned earlier. And it was great. But this year things have to change. Her dad and I have to share time and that includes holidays. The hard fact is I won’t have her every thanksgiving or every Christmas anymore. These traditions I cherished so much, my daughter won’t have or might not even know. But my daughter will have her own magical experiences from both sides of her family on holidays that she will remember forever!

My life changed again when my Papa passed away this August. And as far as traditions go well he was at the head of basically all family activites. We went to his house for Christmas, and New Years every single year of my life. He was there cooking, making jokes, sitting back happy because all his family was together.And now that he is gone the holidays will never be the same. But I’m so thankful for the 27 years of memories I have with him in those moments and for him giving me those traditions to cherish. And the year of memeories he got to share with Sarai!

It’s crazy how in two years my life completely changed in so many ways. But I’m so thankful for it. We get stuck in this idea that life has to be perfect. Life has to go a certain way or these traditions we had would be ruined. The traditions aren’t what make the whole experience special. It’s about where you are in life and who you are with. We have people in our lives for a specific reason. I believe that every moment is planned out and every twist and turn you take in life molds you into who you are and who you were meant to be. You can’t have the same exact experience every year because then where is the growth in your life?

My papa won’t be here in person but he lives in each one of us and he will forever be there when all of our family is together. He is a part of each and every one of us in such a different and special way that he is who we are. My daughter won’t have the same experiences that I had but hers will be filled with double the love and she will create new memories and traditions. Every day she helps me see the world in a whole new way, so I can’t wait to see what new things we will experience together. She blazes a trail for me to follow and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Traditions come and go, embrace who you are, and embrace your journey. Life is what you make out of it and it’s such a beautiful place to be. Change is hard and often heart breaking but we can’t experience the joy without feeling the hurt. Making new traditions

Xoxo

M

 

(Holiday Photos by Diana Elena Photography @dianaelenaphotos on IG )

 

 

Embracing the Journey

What I’ve learned so far in life is that we all have a journey that is destined for us to take. It doesn’t matter where you come from, or what your background is we all fight demons they just come in many different forms. We each have obstacles we have to over come it just depends on what path we take to do so that defines who we are.

I used to think being plus sized was my curse in life. I remember being in middle school thinking I have a good family, we aren’t rich but we aren’t poor. I get good grades, I’m smart, and I’m funny. If only I were also beautiful my life would be too easy. Trust me I know I’m blessed I know that there are so many people in this world who have it way worse than I ever could have imagined. But it was a huge amount of stress and literal and emotional weight on my life.

I looked different from mostly every kid I knew, I could never wear what I wanted, I didn’t have boys chasing after me, I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted, and all of that caused me so much anxiety. For instance little things to most people like getting in the back of a two-seater car or even worrying if I was going to fit in a desk comfortably. I can remember since literally forever feeling self-aware and self-conscious and that caused major anxiety in my life. I was always so worried about what others thought. I was used to being made fun of by some classmates, never ever was the pretty one in my family, and was always worried about meeting new people because I thought all they would see me as just this fat little girl. As an adult I found working out and eating healthy as much as possible has helped me lose weight, but I struggle with consistency among other things. But working on my weight issues is also a constant battle.

I have struggled and still do struggle with anxiety and depression. I’ve been through a break up with someone I thought I was going to marry. I have a baby and no real life plan. I’m scared of the what if’s . What if I don’t do this will I regret it? I’m scared of change and success. I’m so used to things coming easy that when I fail my whole life seems to crumble. I have heard people talk about this millennials complex. Where my generation has so many issues because we are used to instant gratification. Which I think happened to me to some extent. Because I was self-conscious I used material things and food to make me feel better. To feel like I had to have more than others, to finally have something to feel good about.

Like I said before don’t get me wrong I had an amazing childhood, I got and still get more than an average person but I just wanted to share those things that I may have never even said out loud before. I’ve learned that I am so much more than my appearance. I understand things in a different perspective, and I use my great personality to get me places in life. Not trying to toot my own horn but I don’t want anyone to feel like I’m over here self loathing! Lol

Now a days more clothing lines, and even on social media people are more accepting of being plus sized. And I think it is really helping more people like me learn to have more self-love, people like me who have been told by society all their lives that they aren’t enough. I think with all the recent celebrity over doses, and deaths people are starting to pay attention to mental health. It is so important to share and talk about because mental health is REAL! It is a pattern that some people don’t even realize they have. I urge you to share who you are, and then to realize it is normal because it is your truth, and is part of your story.  I think it is important to realize those things and work on them. I feel like anxiety is an everyday battle. I can either let it cripple me or I can get up and move forward. It is a conscious choice you have to make everyday. And eventually you keep chipping away at that and end up not having to fight as hard anymore.

I know becoming a parent has helped so much with all of my issues. Sarai helps me experience the world all over again. She helps me get out of a bad mood and also pushes me to be more present. I now more than ever understand parents, and grandparents. Before they were parents, they were people going through their own issues. So yes sometimes as parents we don’t make the best decisions and we don’t act the right way but that is because we are going through shit! It doesn’t just fall away because you have a baby. But as a parent I do feel 100 percent that it is your decision to constantly try your best and adjust to be a better person to not put your negative issues onto your child. I also want to embrace who I am the ups and downs for Sarai so she sees how to embrace challenge and not fear it. I want her to be proud and know that her mom despite her personal issues followed her passions, started her own business, slayed co-parenting, all while making her feel loved and important. That is my goal!

Life is creating a balance. With friendships, family, work, and self-love. Just never stop fighting for you, and remember that you are beautiful no matter your size, shape or color. You matter, you do have a place in this world, and you will thrive. Just don’t be scared to open up to the world and more importantly yourself.

xoxo

M

Memories

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Pictures are my absolute favorite thing. They hold so much emotion and feeling. Ever since I had my own room I always covered the walls with pictures. I mean I would COVER a whole wall with pictures in frames, posters etc. I love looking at them and just thinking about that moment in time with the people I love the most. My family and I will still break out old pictures and go through them for hours just reminiscing on the past.

It is probably embarrassing to admit but I have about 12,000 pictures in my phone. It is so hard for me to delete them even though I know I have them saved in drive and on my computer. Personally that is why I love sharing on Instgram so much. If I scroll down to the very beginning and work my way back up to the top it is literally like looking at my life over the past 9 years in chapters.

Especially after having Sarai I don’t want to miss out on capturing every moment. So Sarai has so many videos and pictures to look at when she gets older. I love capturing her milestones and just cute moments she has which is basically 24/7! Also she is probably about 10k of those 12k in my phone. Lol (Side note if you are having kid make sure to get the iphone with the most amount of storage trust me its worth it lol) Recently I had a mini shoot with an amazing Local photographer here in Sac, her name is Diana! I wanted to share more of these pictures then I did on my social media because I am absolutely in love with them and the memory they capture for Sarai and I. And if you are looking for a photographer here in town you have to book with her! And below are some of the photos from out session 🙂

Diana’s Website       Diana’s Instagram

 

xoxo

M

 

Insecure

Do you ever go through those few weeks at a time where you just feel uninspired? Your mind is overwhelmed and you can’t seem to shake the negativity? I do and it seems to be happening a lot lately. I’ve taken a few weeks off from writing for a few reasons. My daughter was sick, I was out of town and then my grandpa passed away. And to have more than usual going on emotionally, my creative self crawled into a hole and hid.

I try to be a pretty positive person. I can use exercises, prayer, etc to help shake any negative thoughts and feelings from my mind. But when I’m overly tired and stressed it’s a lot harder to clear out. My anxiety kicks in and I begin to doubt everything about myself. The way I look, what I’ve accomplished, what I want to do and my goals all seem so silly and stupid. What once seemed so exciting and achievable now feels so distant and unrealistic.

Eventually after my little slump I pull myself up and figure my shit out. Something becomes inspiring, and motivates me to get to work. I let go of the stress and realize that life is short and I need to enjoy every moment. The good and especially the ugly.

Insecurities suck, they can mentally tear you a apart. But guess what it is okay not to be okay for a little while. It is okay to wear sweats every day and eat what you want sometimes. It is okay to feel your emotions, and hurt. As long as you don’t dwell in that and use the experiences as lessons to move forward.

You are your biggest success, and work of art. It takes a lot to keeping growing and changing into a more secure person. Know that you are powerful, you are strong, your words and emotions matter. And it matters the most to give yourself that kind of self love. I’m not the best at this, but I’m working on it. You should too.

Xoxo

M

Navigating the Hood….Motherhood (Birth Story)

Motherhood; the scariest hood you’ll ever go through! I think it’s scary in the beginning for a whole other reason. You are more worried and anxious about everything! I know I was worried about if Sarai was eating enough? Was I producing enough milk? Is she allowed to have this? Is she supposed to already be crawling? And the list goes on and on. It’s scary because of the unknown. You just entered into whole new territory where every single little aspect of your life is now different. And to fill you in on a little secret that worry, and anxiousness never really goes away. You will basically be tired ALL the time but it’s the new normal! And good news if your baby is a good sleeper you really won’t have to much of a transition period of no sleep to worry about! And if your baby isn’t well then I suggest you hook up an IV full of coffee!

I remember being 40 weeks pregnant. Waddling, peeing every 5 seconds, needing to take naps, and feeling so anxious about delivery time! On my due date which was Valentine’s Day I was determined to give birth. I walked everywhere, went to target for fun because I had nothing else to do. I tried all the crazy tricks and are weird stuff including the pregnancy pizza! But still no baby. I spent a lot of time watching birth vlogs on YouTube! The whole idea is being in a hospital, getting an IV and all of these what if’s really freaked me out mainly because I have never had to experience any of those things. Never had stitches, surgery or broken anything. So the only thing I learned was you can ever really be prepared. Everyone’s experience is always a little bit different. Luckily we had already done a hospital tour so be being a planner it was great to know when to come in , where to park, and exactly where to check in. So a week had past, and back at the doctors I was. (Random side note I feel like I became an expert at peeing in a cup! Like I get why we need to do it but dang why make giant preggo woman pee in a tiny cup once a week?! Lol)

The doctor didn’t want me going past two weeks late so the set my induction day for Feb. 22nd! I liked having this date ready because if she didn’t come out before then, that was the day! The day of my induction oddly enough I started feeling contractions but at the time they were very faint and spread out so I didn’t really know what they were. We drove to the hospital, parked in the designated area and checked in at 8pm. It happened to be a crazy busy night for pregnant women to be giving birth! The waiting room was full and there were a few women who looked and sounded like they were about to give birth right there! Lol Anyways a few hours later before sending me home because they were all full, they checked babies heart rate and I sat in a triage room until about 1:30 am. Mainly because my whole pregnancy every doctors and nurse had a hard time finding Sarai’s heart beat because she moved all the time. So they kept me monitored for a while which was a pain because we kept having to re adjust the monitor because Sarai would go MIA and freak all the nurses out. So At that point they had a room and decided to keep us there because I was already having contractions. Got settled into the room around 2 am. I was starting to feel the contractions now. Yikes. But because I was super early around 6am they gave me half of a pill that was supposed to get things moving. And guess what it sure did! Still having trouble monitoring our heart beats, I had an amazing nurse that new of a better way to do it and I don’t know what it’s called but I had those little round circle things on my belly and pelvic area but oh it was so much better than having that giant strap that always lost her heartbeat.

I started having contractions back to back. I literally had no breaks. I was exhausted and in pain. Gabriel and I chose to only have us and my mom come to the hospital. We made the choice to just keep the whole experience more private. To be honest the rest of the day was kind of a blur. All I can remember is after I was dilated to about a 5-6 and had no breaks in my contractions the pain was too much for me to handle. So I got an epidural. BEST DECISION EVER! My birth plan was always to keep an open mind about all options. I wanted to have a natural birth but also wasn’t closed off to the idea of other things. Doctor came in, poked my back and I literally felt so good. I remember my mom saying I like instantly changed into myself again. And I was able to sleep thank goodness! My contractions were so strong that after only an hour or so I could feel them again and was in pain. Then little button you are supposed to press to get more medicine to help never worked for me! The anesthesiologist has to come back TWICE because it kept wearing off on me. So after a few hours I was almost at a 10! Which Gabriel described as like a huge open bagel! Lol the human body is just amazing. By this time the doctor said already at 10:45 pm we are going to start pushing. So my epidural was wearing off, it was just Gabriel, the nurse and I in the room with the highlights of the Warriors game playing on TV. I did a few pushes. Was told to stop pushing because we were waiting for the doctor to come in and Sarai was ready to pop out ! I was screaming something like I can’t hold it in! Lol and literally around 11:30 pm on Feb 23rd ( My birthday too actually) when the doctor came in within 5 mins Sarai was born!

All I remember after that was my lower abdomen being pushed on , I ripped so being sewn up. Which was the most painful part of everything! Getting stitched up down there while being pushed on firmly to get your uterus to contract. I remember saying to the doctor that result hurts but thank you I still like you though you did a great job! I was so out of it! But oh goodness , when your pregnant you know your baby is coming but to finally hold her in my arms was so surreal. And I feel like no one talks about that part of labor and delivery. So not only are you sore, tired, have a new baby. But you are also being pushed on quiet frequently, you are also bleeding (in my case a lot) and I had stitches so it was not very comfortable. I recommend depends (which they don’t provide at the hospital) They have this small stretchy panties with a pad. But I was in a lot of pain and bleeding a lot so having those were a life saver! The hospital did provide cooling spray, a water bottle and I think they are called Tucks wipes? Anyways the combo was what kept me feeling okay until I was all healed!

The next two days we were in the hospital. Sarai latched well, slept well, and didn’t even cry when she got her foot poked for tests. My first meal I don’t even remember I think I asked for a Cesar salad from Labou and a blue Powerade. And I don’t recall it tasting like the best thing I had ever eaten lol I wish I had a cool story about that. I wanted to mention that before I went into labor since it was mostly planned, I had a few things beauty wise I prepped for. I washed and braided my hair, for a few purposes. One being I was totally comfortable yet out of my face when I was in going to be in labor. Second reason was after birth I could take out the braids and have pretty soft wavy hair! Another thing was during my pregnancy I got eyelash extensions. I got them for my baby showers (yes we had two!) And then kept getting them filled. It made me feel pretty while feeling super pregnant! And let me tell you having them on while in the hospital was great as well! Especially when the photographers come in the room and ask if you want pictures! Which of course we did, and bought everything Lol But it was nice to have my hair and at least lashes ready to go!

A few things that I found really interesting about my birth story. First thing is when I first went into the doctors to confirm I was pregnant my estimated due date was my birthday. And for everyone who knows me, knows how much the number 23 pops into my life so for Sarai to actually be born on my birthday Feb 23rd was mind-blowing to me. Exactly 26 years later I had a baby girl on the same exact day. My epidural wore off twice!! Well technically 3 times but the last time I needed to push so it was alright. And lastly I was so impressed that Gabriel helped coach me the whole time and watched every part of the birth.

There’s a lot of things going through your mind being a new parent. Worry, fear, doubt and anxiety for sure. Your whole world changes in a short time. It’s tiring, exhausting, lots of blood ( I swore by depends, I got that trick from another mama) , learning to breastfeed, and so much more. But I would do it all over again just to have Sarai here with me. It’s oh so worth it! I hope I didn’t scare anyone with my story I tried to leave out any really gory detail! But in all honestly becoming a mom is the greatest thing I’ve ever done. It’s as if you just leveled up instantly and earned another badge in life by having a baby! Plus you automatically become a VIP member to this amazing community of parents.

xoxo

M

(P.s. Please enjoy a little video I threw together! We made a few videos while I was pregnant and in the hospital! Which most of me in the hospital is really unflattering! I gained a good amount of weight while pregnant, and anyways you’ll see! But we intended the videos to be for Sarai when she gets older but I wanted to share! Also this is the first a few blog posts on Motherhood! I want to talk about my journey as a mom so far but I needed to start with pregnancy and birth first!  )

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Letter To My Dad…

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Hey Dad, what’s up? How have you been in Heaven? I am sure you are up there smoking a cigar at a black jack table, talking about some amazing food you just ate, or a new business idea you have. Making everyone at the table around you feel important, while they spend the night laughing because of your funny jokes. 

So much has happened since you have been gone but I am sure you have been there every step of the way. Well actually I’m postive of that. The way things happened in my life ever since your body left earth have played out in such a specific way that I know your hand was in it. 

Where do I start?! Well you always said you wanted to retire at the age of 30. And you said it with such conviction that everyone started to believe you. And guess what you pretty much did a few years after that. You left this world to retire to the best place you possibly could. I was always so shy and reserved and you tried to push me to try things like sports, or events that took me out of my comfort zone. Which majority of the time you failed because mom wouldn’t make me do it. Lol As soon as you passed, I instantly felt that you gave me all the best parts of you. I became confident, more open to trying new things. I was going into high school without anyone I knew and just followed my own path and figuered it out. I met some of my best friends, graduated being a part of so many clubs, student government and yearbook! Involved in things like you were and I probably would have never done before. And as I grew older more and more of you has started to come out. I never knew what my thing in life was. What I wanted to be or where I wanted to go. But I just followed my heart and passions and it has always lead me in the right places. You always said you wanted to be your own boss. Which you were successful at, and look at me now trying to figure out my niche so I can build my life the same way. Also some of your bad habbits have come out as well so I would appreciate if you could dial those back a little bit Lol I got agressive with a complete stranger because they showed disrespect to my family out in public, I hate wearing my seat belt, I’m impatient, I am so emotional yet so stubborn at the same time! Lol But on a postive note your charisma has carried on and helped me connect so much with people in my life. Your postivity, geneoristy, and taste in music has made my adult life. You also taught me to value my love for family traditons and culture, and I want Sarai to grow up the same way. I could go on and on but you already know all of these things!

I also have to say thank you for sending me Gabriel. Crazy that the moment I met him, and noticed his praying hand tattoo with the words “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” Literally blew my mind. The Lord’s prayer was your favorite, you wore it on a pendant with your cross necklace every day. He challenged me in every way you would have. He calls me out when I am wrong, challenges me to get out of my comfort zone, and he gave me a beautiful daughter. He screams at the TV and probably loves basketball just about as much as you do.I know you helped plan that out for him to be in my life. And even though things haven’t worked out for us relationship wise, friendship wise it was almost like having what I missed from you. 

Where do I start with Sarai?! Seriously she is you in a little baby girls body. She is crazy, full of life, loves people, and literally is obssessed with making other people happy, smile and laugh. She reminds us all of you in so many ways. I know you guys talk because I have asked her. In my old place she used to be half asleep and say hi and sound like she was talking to someone. So one morining Gabriel and I asked her who she talks to and she clapped her hands to match with the syllabols and said “Pa-Pa.” We looked at each other crazy because she was only like 11 months old! But I know how connected you two are, and am so thankful you know her. 

I think now in life we would have had an amazing relationship. Your mentorship when it came to life plans and business would have been priceless. The connections, and friendships you had could have helped you and me rule the town. When I was a teenager we would butt heads a lot, well we always did. I understand now it was because we were so much alike. What I also understand more now being a parent is that you struggled with your own demons, and may not have always made the best and safest descions when it came to certain situations. But when I was a kid living it I judged, and held grudges instead of seeing past it. I always regretted not being kinder to you before you left. But I know it was my age, my young thoughts. Being a parent has taught me so much about life. Even when I try to be perfect I struggle, and sometimes I feel like I am not cut out for the job. But your example has shown me that no matter what we are going through the amount of love we have and how we show up as a parent is what matters more than anything in the world. Right after I found out the news that you had passed, I was walking out of the hospital and I remember Uncle Les, your best friend was walking in. He hugged me so tight and in my ear just told me how much you loved me and how proud you were always of me no matter what I did. And I just want everyone in the world to know how much I adore and love Sarai, and am not afriad to brag about her.  I always used to say you would literally give every item you owned plus the clothes off your back to help out the ones you loved. You loved and cared for everyone so deeply that they felt at home with you. I hope I have and do bring that joy to others.

Everyone misses you here, but your presence has never felt gone. You live on through me, your family, and your smile. Thank you for being up there watching over me, guiding me through life every step of the way. I hope this reaches you while your smoking, listening to Rappers Delight, and laughing. 

Love you always

I have talked about my dad passing away but never gone into details. This subject was always something I never talked about because my young self pushed all of those feelings deep inside to prove I was strong, to not be weak like everyone expected me to be. But now at this point of my life its not hard for me to talk about, it actually brings me a joyful feeling. I talk to my dad all the time. I wanted to share this letter to bring insight to something pretty deep for me. It has been around 13 years since he has been gone. And I just want to let anyone out there who is hurting from the loss of a loved one know, it gets better. And I pray that my letter gives you hope in that the person you lost will always have a hand in your life in the most unepected ways. They will always watch over you and still show up for you. Death is a tough subject for me. It gives me strong anxiety to where I have to shake the feeling away, I will be in the middle of a movie or a class and get instant tingles from head to toe. But I have learned that things aren’t always final, and I hope my story does the same for you.

xoxo

M

(P.S. I got home from the gym Tuesday evening , took a shower and this idea just came to me. I wrote it so quick because the memory and idea was so fresh in my mind. Fast forward two days later my cousin Jada mentioned to me that the 10th was the anniversary of my dad’s passing. The 10th of July was last Tuesday. After hearing that it instantly gave me goosebumps. Thought I had to share, it’s crazy how he still communicates with me and through me.)

 

Force of Beauty

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When I worked for Bareminerals we had to do an exercise that had us write down how red lipstick made you feel. Some people may find that superficial or weird but really think about that question for yourself? How does it make you feel when you wear red lipstick? My answer was nervous, and insecure lol Probably not the answer you were expecting me to say! I love a classic red lip but I’ve been told all my life my lips are small. When wear bright colors like red or coral I constantly am checking if there is lipstick on my teeth and the rest of the day I feel like I can’t eat or drink anything in fear of messing up my lips lol

The exercise usually is answered with many different versions of feeling empowered. For so many woman red lipstick makes them feel sexy, powerful, and unstoppable! For me that’s when I have on lashes, full glam, a great nude lip with my liner slightly over drawn, full bushy brows and my hair curled to perfection!

One of the many core beliefs of Bareminerals is being a force of beauty to others. Which includes being a skin care, and cosmetics expert, but the most important part of that is being genuine in finding out who the customer really is. Listening to what they are really asking you for. What is their lifestyle? Are they a mom who has 5 minutes to put on a face or a 21 year old who can’t wait to spend 2 hours getting ready? What’s their skin type, and coverage preference? Whatever it was, no matter their situation being just like one of their girlfriends , listening, recommending, to help them find their perfect new routine! It’s all about having their inner beauty match their outer beauty! This concept and connection with other people was what made me LOVE my job!Side note I also was our stores Moxie, meaning I was the in-store trainer. Responsible for training all of our girls on new products, formulas, etc! I also eventually took over doing store visual set ups which were some of my favorite bonding nights with my girls! Not only was my job to turn strangers into friends and make them loyal customers, but it was also keeping my internal customers, my team positive and happy! And that was something I took so much pride in! How many people can say their job is to make woman feel amazing about themselves?!

For me cosmetics isn’t a superficial thing. Yes trust me certain brands and stores you can easily walk into and get intimated. I run errands with a bare face and go into those stores looking crazy and can hardly get help. But the power is in knowing your worth, what your capable of and what you can do for others.

I use cosmetics to help get to know someone, to get to know their story , and to help them find what works best for them and makes them feel just as beautiful as they are on the outside as they are on the inside.

I have two stories I wanted to share of specific stories that always stay in my mind when I think of my times at Bare! One day while on the floor I met a girl probably in her early teens, she was fair with a golden undertone, had lots of acne, wouldn’t make eye contact and if I was judging on her appearance ( which as a manager sometimes you are forced to use stereotypes to keep your environment safe) would have guessed she wasn’t buying anything so I shouldn’t spend the time on her. We got to talking and I could tell she needed something good for her skin and that would make her feel confident in applying it and wearing it! So I sat her in the chair did the whole “girlfriend experience” which was really what it was called lol. I talked to her about products ingredients and showed her how to do it and then had her actually try it herself in the store. At the end she told me she didn’t have money to buy but wanted to in the future. I wrote down her information and sent her home with samples. Months I mean it had to have been 4-5 months later she came back in and had saved up enough money to buy her first started kit. The way her makeup made her feel, made her look, gave her confidence and for her to save her money to come back just for this really touched my heart! Having an impact on someone not even realizing how much those little things mean, is humbling!

The second story I’ll share is a woman, a mom who had 4 children. When her youngest was around 2-3 they found out she was autistic. On top of having 3 other children, it was a for sure adjustment trying to figure out how to live a slightly different lifestyle. She was telling me all these stories of late night stress and also some sweet learning victories they had! But as the road got tougher her husband decided to leave. Not even thinking or complaining, she made a plan, did research and moved across the county to find the best help she could for her kids. I remember the whole time her just repeating herself in saying “you can’t take pity on yourself, you just have to do what it takes!” They had relocated to Sacramento and found some of the best help for her youngest at UC Davis! Within a few years she got a job, built a strong support system, had her kids settled and now she finally felt like she could get back to feeling good about herself too. And she was also celebrating buying her first house on her own! Sheesh, this woman was the definition of perseverance! After we finished our consultation she was basically in tears on how her simple makeup routine and berry lip made her feel beautiful! I used to genuinely feel lucky to be able to help such an amazing variety of people everyday.

I carried on this philosophy in my life to every client, and person I have met! I once helped a complete stranger in target for literally 30 mins recommending products to her in the beauty section! I remember Gabriel being so annoyed that I took sooo long. Lol Also last month my grandma who hasn’t worn a lot of makeup since my dad passed away in 2014 was asking me for advice on eyeliner and lipstick! You don’t know much those small moments mean so much to me. And in these moments of sharing, I realized how much cosmetics play a part in my life. Yes I’m passionate about cosmetics because of the impact of leaves on my life and others. You may still think I’m crazy but think about the last time you felt beautiful, what were you wearing, how did you look? How did that make you feel? If you can’t remember then girl let’s go makeup shopping right away and get our retail therapy on! And if your answer is that red lipstick then honey tomorrow when you roll out of bed throw on that red lipstick and let it be known that you can do anything you set your mind too!

I just need to point out, everyone is beautiful with or without makeup. Everyone is amazingly different and our scars are what make us. I’m not ever saying cover up behind concealer and foundation who you really are. All I’m saying is do what makes you feel confident. That doesn’t have to be lipstick or a smokey eye, it can be chapstick and mascara! It can be anything!! Just don’t forget whatever it is that makes you feel good to do it, wear it and to slay the day! When your sick get dressed , when you are going through a break up ( raises hand) call your friends and put on something that makes you feel good and go dancing, when you are working too much don’t forget to take the time to take care of yourself!

Be a force of beauty within your community of people. It doesn’t have to be around cosmetics, it can just mean being that awesome friend who REALLY listens! Just try your best to be genuine, don’t judge and help find out how you can help someone feel amazing about who they are.

Xoxo

M

(P.S. I’m not a saint, I’m working on being better on doing community service and giving back to those less fortunate then me! So yes I’m speaking on how to be a positive force to others around you but no one is perfect just try your best 😉 Also I added below pics of my trainers, my girls, and some fun looks I did, visual set ups from when I worked in the store! )

Baby’s First Flight = Major Mom-xiety

My great grandma is 93 years old and lives in Washington State. Last time I visited her was in my early teens. So it was time to make the trip! And that meant it would be Sarai’s first plane ride!! Yikes! As soon as plane tickets were secured the anxiety and nervousness set in!

Y’all my 16 month old toddler doesn’t sit still. Moana and Secret Life of Pets keep her attention for maybe 20 mins but with lots of ups and downs off the couch/ bed and snacks have to be involved. So that being said unless she’s asleep, she’s moving! Instantly I started researching baby’s first flight ideas, how to keep your baby calm during the flight, etc. I found some great ideas including making little activity bags, getting a few new toys, and using a tablet for favorite movies and shows. Of course I prepared ALL of those things just in case I needed to use every trick in the book to get her to sit down. Luckily the flight would only be a little under 2 hrs, which was perfect for her first one!

Packing for any trip I always over pack! Clothes , diapers, snacks, toys, and basically all of Sarai’s belongings just in case we need them. Mind you we were only going for the weekend. Including all of those things now we had to also bring a stroller (small umbrella style) and a car seat! We had two checked bags, a backpack for myself, her dad (Gabriel) and a little Moana backpack of her own filled with new goodies to distract her!

We had to wake Sarai up early (which is always a gamble) to get to the airport in time for our flight with some cushion. Waking her up early we could either have a super emotional and dramatic baby or she will be fine and maybe a little extra tired and take a nap early! Getting to the airport was great, check in was easy, we got to our gate with about 20 mins to relax. I made sure to buy some milk so that way during take off I could give her a bottle to help some with the ear pressure (which I was so worried about, having her be effected and have a fussy baby the whole flight). The plane was so small we had to walk out to it and we piled all of our stuff into these two small seats along with the toddler. Luckily my mom was also on the trip with us and was in the seat across from us for reinforcement.

Sarai is a people person and being on this cool plane with all these new faces she loved shouting and waving hi over and over at anyone who would listen to her! She looked out the window and waved bye-bye to the trees ( she loves nature and animals). She drank some milk while sitting on my lap, watched a little Moana and FELL ASLEEP in the first 20 mins or the flight!!! I literally could not believe it and stayed as still as possible and thanked God for this miracle!! I was stunned. She slept the whole flight in my arms until we got our bags in Washington! All of my traveling fears went out the window and I was so thankful that she handled it all soo well.

And you won’t believe this, on the way back she fell asleep before take off and woke up just before landing. She was excited and enjoyed her time!

Anyways to recap, my anxiousness and nerves caused me to be worried, stressed and I literally had nothing to be worried about at all! But it did help to be overly prepared, and to travel with multiple people to help carry bags!

Now we are ready to take more trips and possibly even try longer flights soon!

xoxo

M

Wanted to share some of my favorite Pins from Pintrest on Flying with your baby tips!

Toddler Travel Back Pack

Gifts for other Passengers

Busy Bags

Helpful Tips

And Tricks!

 

We’re Just Ordinary People…

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“We don’t know which way to go..” Who doesn’t love a little John Legend to start off a love story. There is so much truth in his words, and if you don’t know Ordinary People by John Legend please stop reading this and go listen to it now! It has always been a favorite of mine because who writes a love song that is so real?! A lot of relationships are tough because you are two ordinary people coming from different worlds, trying to create compromise, romance, covering new ground all while hoping for the best possible outcome! There are many, many ups and downs but that’s just the journey. Sometimes life takes you to places you didn’t expect and you have to keeping rolling with the punches.

As many of you know, if you have been following me for awhile Gabriel and I were together for about 6 years. Funny story we actually met on Instagram. He slid in my Twitter DMs and we instantly became friends. He lived in LA (he was born and raised in Inglewood), and I live in Sacramento. Being about 6 hours apart made communication a huge part of everything because that’s all we had. So how we first met… lol it was a spur of the moment decision. I had a friend at the time who wanted to go visit his brother in college down there and I was like well why don’t we go. I called into work and we woke up early got to LA before 12! I dropped him off and headed to meet Gabriel for the first time. I didn’t tell my mom, and the only person who knew was my best friend/ roommate Makaela (@maka_monroe). I don’t recommend doing this so please If y’all are meeting up with someone be safe about it!! Gabriel and I had FaceTimed before this many times so I knew he wasn’t a cat-fish. But I had only been talking to him for like a month so I should have been more careful! Lol Anyways we met and had an AMAZING first date in Santa Monica. Then turned around and drove home that same night! Which was torture by the way never drive to LA and back in one day! After a few months of talking we made it official. Long distance sucked but we traveled every few months or less to see each other. We made it work! I can really only say good things about our relationship, there were SO many signs in so many different ways that I knew we were meant to be in each other’s lives. We were long distance for about 2 years. And then Gabriel made the decision after me begging for months for him to move up with me to Sac! He sacrificed his whole life to start building a future with me. And we have been in sac ever since!

So moving to present day… yes maybe everything looked perfect on IG but we weren’t. Just like everyone else we had our ups and downs that caused us to have stress on our relationship. Oddly enough it was communication. It was like after all this time we still didn’t speak the same language. Amongst a few other personal issues we each have, that is what ultimately broke us. Right before we found out we were having a baby we were in a really rocky place. So the stress of an unplanned pregnancy really effected us. We stuck it out to take on this new adventure together, and ultimately decided that we had to get our shit together to be parents. Our worlds changed so much once our baby girl arrived that after about 6 months we decided the best thing for both of us was to separate.

You really learn a lot by becoming a parent. You’re still selfish and still have the same old issues you did before. But now this little person is way more important than anything else, and even though you don’t know which way to go or what to do all the time all you can do is try. So for us to be the best parents we could be we had to step apart in hopes to individually grow and be what we need to be for Sarai.

So on to co-parenting. Y’all it sucks, especially while going through a break up at the same time lol well it’s not fun especially in the beginning. You have to learn a whole new routine and go from constantly having the other parent there and working as a team to now functioning like a single parent majority of the time. We are still trying to figure out all this stuff but we are managing. Gabriel still sees her everyday, the most important thing to both of us was that Sarai still see us both present as much as possible. Gabriel is welcome to my house 24/7 , Sarai is his daughter just as much as she is mine and we never want to keep her from one another. We still plan family activities and keep each other in the loop as much as possible. There are at least a few days a week that she spends with him at his house as well. (He lives in our old condo so it’s very comfortable place for Sarai). We are still working out everything beyond that but it’s working for us for now! Yeah there are days where Sarai cries so hard for her dad when he leaves and it just about breaks my heart. Thank God she is still young enough to where this will be her normal and she will hopefully ( I pray) won’t remember these moments! But most days I am thankful for the fact that Gabriel and I still care for each other, and respect our relationship now and how much we have been through together. And that combined with the love we have for Sarai is the fuel that keeps our co-parenting going strong.

At the end of the day we need to be the best versions of ourselves to be the best care givers, influencers, and parents to Sarai. Who knows what the future holds but right now this is my real life. Some days are easy, others are tough. Family support (on both sides) has been so helpful in this whole process. Gods timing is everything! I still know there is a plan in full effect for our lives but when you are going through the storm it’s hard to see the light , but trust me there is one. So much good can come out these situations. Just understand that if you are going through rough times, you aren’t alone!! We all struggle but it’s how we turn those situations into lessons that move us forward! Its how you choose to handle things that make us who we are. Yeah I’ve made rash decisions, communicated poorly, acted selfishly but all I can do is grow from here! And I empower you to do the same for whatever challenges you’re facing in life right now. Sit down and figure out how to make the best out of life . If my dramatic self can go through a break up after 6 years, and learn to co-parent you can do anything. Trust me! Lol If anyone has any tips or advice on co-parenting please let me know! And lastly if anyone ever wants to talk about whatever, I’m here for that too!

Xoxo
M

(Fun fact, we were already broken up for about 6 months when we took Sarai’s 1st Birthday photos you see below! Also just wanted to share a few of these pics because I never got around to posting them!)