Sweet Little Surprises

I haven’t written anything in a while, as I have been plagued with the severe exhaustion and agonizing pain that is Fibromyalgia. Every single day has sounded like a good day to sleep. No amount of sleep has seemed to be enough for my body, and the pain has been excruciating to the point where I’ve been pretty distraught. Unfortunately, I have had an onslaught of appointments during all of this and had no real time to truly rest or focus.

In the midst of all this, I have had great support from a select group of friends. I am going through something seriously awful in my personal life and these friends are trying to help me navigate it, to the best of their ability. It’s one of those things where you cannot say thank you enough because you get to see people’s true colors.

It’s amazing how sometimes, through all the trauma and awfulness in your life, little surprises pop up and you’re in awe of the thoughtfulness of the gestures. I have been on the receiving end of some really sweet, thoughtful surprise packages and here I share “my stash”.

SAM_0154   SAM_0155

This sweet little package arrived via UPS and totally made my day. Mally Beauty had been holding a 100,000 Fan Giveaway on their Facebook page. I entered, left a comment as to why I use Mally’s products, and never thought anything of it afterward. Then, out of nowhere, I get this adorable set of eye liners and a nice little note as a gift. I was so touched (I also have to mention that Mally personally responded to me when I sent her a thank you. That is the epitome of class!). The colors are Caribbean Sea (kind of like Emerald Green meets Teal), Milk Chocolate, Royal Purple, Midnight Black, and Silver. If you’ve never used a Mally product before and you love make-up, as I do, I highly recommend starting with Shimmer, Shape, & Glow. You’ll feel like you belong on a Red Carpet in less than a minute. These liners are a fun treat. Also, for all you animal lovers out there, Mally does not test on animals whatsoever. In fact, she’s the owner of two rescue dogs that she adores. You can now find her products nationwide at ULTA.

 

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Prior to New York Fashion Week, Kate Somerville Skin Care had a contest to win this Save Our Skin package. Kate has some seriously amazing products and as a fan of ExfoliKate, I tried entering the contest, to no avail. I sent the company a message to let them know there was a problem with the contest page. They told me they were working on it. After the contest ended, I received a message letting me know that they had saved one of these packages for me and just needed to know where to ship it. They came to the right place, because that is just plain good Public Relations. The package was beautifully wrapped and contained all of this:

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24 Hour Pimple Punisher on the bottom (Yes, I still get the occasional breakout. This stuff is nice and has already cleared up a few breakouts I had before the package arrived!), above that is CytoCell Eye Cream (I’m a religious user of a different brand, but this one is very nice.), to the right in silver is a product called DermalQuench Liquid Lift (I’ve been using this on and off and I see a difference in how sculpted my face looks. Might be the product, might be the weight I just lost, who knows?). In the middle are two of Kate’s self-tanning towelettes, and on the left is my beloved ExfoliKate. For the record, the ExfoliKate usually costs about $350 a year, with the assumption that you’re using it 2-3 times a week, so anytime I can get a small one, I’m thrilled. I returned the last full size tube I bought because $200 (which included tax and shipping) was a hefty price to pay, and I decided to stick with a gentler product for the time being. However, I am thoroughly enjoying this lovely little box from Kate Somerville Skin Care. There’s a reason this stuff is so expensive, the ingredients are high quality.

 

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My other surprises included this awesome little package from Dove Dark Chocolate. I received this with no knowledge whatsoever that I had won anything. Inside is a coupon for a free bar of their chocolate (free chocolate is never a bad thing!) and two special Nicole by OPI Nail Polishes in two different shades called Better After Dark (lighter shade on the left) and Promises In The Dark (darker shade on the right). I am really into dark polish right now, so I am going to enjoy wearing these. 🙂

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The biggest shocker was one I received earlier in the year and absentmindedly forgot to share. It’s from Tria Beauty and is a Laser Hair Removal device. Not only did I win this in a fan giveaway, one of three they offered, but I also got to choose which of their lasers I wanted, they even sent me an additional message to ask if I wanted it in a special color. For me, this was a HUGE gift to receive.

This laser happens to be their top of the line device, and I can attest to the fact that it is much faster than the one I already owned. I’ve been a fan of their products for a few years now, and I do still use the previous laser even though it’s much slower. The results are amazing, so long as you are fair to medium complected and are removing light brown to black hair. This laser is not yet FDA approved for redheads or blondes, but I am sure they’ve got one on the way. This company has amazing advancements not only involving hair removal, but also involving skin care, so keep your eye on them, and don’t be afraid to follow them on whatever social media platform is your favorite.

Life has truly felt like absolute torturous HELL at times, but every once in a while, I get a really sweet surprise and it helps me see that my hard work and sacrifice is noticed by a much Higher Power than anything here on this plane of existence. These are the little things that make me smile, apart from my tiny little minx, my Goddaughter, my best friends, my friends on a whole, and the fact that I am forever reaching towards the light at the end of the dark, long tunnel.

I hope you have sweetness in your life too, in whatever form it may come in. Let us all count our treats and blessings. 🙂

*I am not a paid advertiser of any of these products, merely a customer.*

Every Time I See This, It Reminds Me Of Who I Am

My sister-in-crime and best friend in Israel sent me the most awesome message for my birthday. Yes, it was last month, but I just have to share it now because it’s one of the only things that makes me feel SO good inside at the moment, and I’m going through some pretty rough shit, so certain things right now are my guideposts.
Birthdays are extremely difficult for me, and she knows how I feel about them, and why. So, at the end of the day when I came home feeling like death, unable to walk, really hurting physically, I put aside the gifts I had received (four bottles of nail polish, four CD’s I wanted {Alter Bridge, Cassadee Pope, OneRepublic, & Gavin DeGraw}, some candles that I am LOVING, the Divergent Trilogy, and season 1 of Sons of Anarchy on DVD, and this was the message waiting in my e-mail box: “Happy Birthday to the one and only! G-d blessed you with one of many gifts, and that is the ability to use words, mold them into sentences, and make the world a beautiful place. My wish to you is that people will come to know you beyond the words. See you for who you really are, a powerful woman, a kind soul, a true friend with a huge heart. Don’t be afraid to dream big because you deserve it! Love ya!”
That message means more to me than anything else on the planet right now. For those who’ve been trying to steal my voice and the core of who I am this past year, and those who’ve hurt and abused me in unspeakable ways, please know that my true friends in this world KNOW who I am, and they certainly aren’t afraid to tell me that you’re all WRONG.

My First Genuine Smile Of The Day

My First Genuine Smile Of The Day

http://www.pawnation.com/2013/03/14/cat-turns-27-was-the-runt-of-his-litter/

This is such an inspiring story for those of us who are cat lovers and are genuine “cat property”. You’re not truly a “cat owner”, but you are owned by a cat. Every one of us that gets a lengthy amount of time with a cat, or with more than one cat, is blessed with the unconditional love they bring into our lives and the energy, joy, laughter, and personality they share with us.

The Fire In My Life

Two years & 8 months ago one of my closest friends in the world, Stefanie, called from Australia, where she & her husband Patrick were living at the time, to tell me she was pregnant. She hadn’t told her husband yet, nor had she told her mother, and she wouldn’t tell either of them until she officially was on day one of her third month. I was the first one to know after a doctor told her “You don’t have food poisoning.” We whispered the entire conversation like eleven year olds trying to keep a secret from their parents, and we continued whispering like that until I finally told her that she HAD to at least tell Patrick. We’re both crazy stubborn Scorpios and we were arguing over it for weeks, but she held firm. Yeah, she actually managed to out-stubborn me.

Once everyone was finally clued in, I received an extremely fancy heart pendant necklace along with an official request to be their child’s Godmother. I felt like she was proposing (That’s how fancy the pendant is. Sometimes I’m a little hesitant to wear it.), but I appreciated the beauty of the gesture in the way it was intended.

Asking someone to be a Godparent is a big deal, and I was asked because after much deliberation, she & her husband could not think of a stronger, smarter, more capable, more inspirational woman to be a part of their child’s life. I was so taken aback by that, because those were the very words they used when asking. I don’t see myself the way other people do, so I was very moved and of course, I accepted. To me, it’s no big deal, to be a part of a child’s life is a blessing in any capacity, but to them it’s an immense gift and a relief that their child has someone else to go to if ever said child needs a neutral party, so to speak. It also provides them with the peace of mind that I’ll be there no matter what. They wanted someone who would always be the epitome of a role model to their child, who we soon found out was a girl.

It is VERY important for girls to have strong role models in their lives, both male and female. She is blessed with an extremely beautiful, talented mother and a father who would go to hell and back for her. Stefanie doesn’t have any sisters, she is the youngest of six siblings and the only girl in the family. Maybe that explains why we’ve been friends for so long, because we share a very loyal, very private sisterhood. I give Patrick a lot of credit because he has always told her how special and important our friendship is, has always encouraged her to fly out to see me if too much time has gone by without “girl time”, and has never, not once in the 15 years they’ve been married, behaved negatively toward me or acted as though there was no longer a place for me in her life simply because they are married. I respect that so much about him. Believe me when I say this is a big thing to me, because pretty much every friend I’ve ever had dropped me like a pile of shit the second they found a boyfriend, leave alone a husband. Not Stefanie. It’s not beneath her to tell Patrick to leave the room so we can talk, and it’s not beneath her to tell him to go and play golf because she needs me and only me. He never takes it personally and he is never offended or annoyed by my presence. Again, that tells you she’s truly got a good guy in her life and I am thankful for that because she deserves it. He knows what Stefanie and I both know, that there isn’t one single person in this world that can be every single thing you need at all times. Sometimes you need your life partner, sometimes you need a parent or a sibling, and sometimes you need the person who has known you before your growth spurts (be it physical, emotional, professional, as well as all the others), who knows your family, who knows what breaks your heart, who’s always known your middle name, who knows things no one else knows because that person has been present for so long, and they get it. As much as I could ever love a man and work hard every single day to be the best partner in life that I can be, I could never walk away from the people in my life that have helped shape who I am and the person I have become. In fact, I worry about the people that develop instant amnesia and then wonder why they’re all alone when that person turns out to be something they didn’t see coming barreling toward them like an Acela train, but I digress.

I’m partially responsible for my Goddaughter’s name, which will always make me smile because it’s as gorgeous as she is. I’ve loved this particular name for probably ten years or so. I knew I wouldn’t be using the name for my own children (I name to honor the dead, never the living.), so I gave one of the lead characters in my urban fantasy series this name. She ended up being Stefanie’s favorite character that I casually mentioned in passing when I first talked about “maybe writing my own urban fantasy novel some day”.

One day she finally asked me if it would be ok to use for the baby’s name. Not because she had no ideas of her own, but because she & Patrick were madly in love with what it meant and how strong a name it is. Did I want it for my own daughter?, was her first question, because if I did, they’d keep looking. Yeah, we’re still girls and we both know that sort of thing can become an issue with friends at times. I’ve seen people get into war-like fights over this sort of thing (the naming of children), friends and family alike stop speaking if one person “steals a name” from the other, especially if one had confided to the other while pregnant that this was the name that had been chosen. I had my ex-fiancee’ do this when he got married. He systematically chose two of the most important names I had picked out that he knew about, not just for his first child, but for both of them. It doesn’t just take lack of creativity to do something like that, it’s also a calculated, borderline evil thing to do to someone you once claimed to love. Any way, I told her I didn’t have anyone to name for with that initial, and that if she wanted it, she could have it. Yes, it is still the name of the character in my book(s).

In Hebrew the name translates to “God Is My Candle” and “Burning Light Of God”. She then asked me about naming for her brother who had passed away suddenly a few years prior, who was one of the kindest, most “shirt off your back” guys in the world, someone whom I miss dearly, and if I miss him, I can only imagine how much she misses him. We looked for middle names that started with his first initial, and came up with something truly fitting, and quite frankly, beautiful.

On March 10th 2011, Neriah Blaze officially entered all of our lives. They say “all babies are born with blue eyes”, but Neriah’s eyes have been the same color as her mother’s, a true grey, from day one. Her blonde, blue eyed Dad’s genes don’t stand a chance, she’s a little replica of Mommy from head to toe (Black hair, fair skin, and those sparkly grey eyes.), and both of her parents are extremely tall, so by the time she’s ten I fully expect she’ll be towering over me.

The little Pisces princess is smart, intuitive, empathetic, sweet, and kind. She’s also demanding, as I previously mentioned in my “Girl On Fire’ post back in December. She’s a Water Sign with two names that make reference to fire and light, so it’s interesting how she relates to that song, not knowing what her names mean just yet, or why they were chosen. And thankfully, she’s at that age where you’re not using her full name EVER, because she’s still sweet and chatty and not the least bit troublesome, but the terrible 2’s and terrible 3’s that people (parents, Grandparents, and child care professionals) talk about are surely around the corner as her personality continues to develop. I hope it’s a relatively smooth transition because she’s such a joy, and I long for the days when I can provide her with a satchel of baby cousins to play with.

On your 2nd birthday and always Neri, Aunt Li-Li loves you to pieces. One day you will read this and know why it’s important to acknowledge every birthday and milestone.

Happy Birthday my little flame.

Daylight

Daylight

This is my first time seeing this, and it is so touching. I hope it brightens at least one person’s day.

Promise Yoursel…

Promise Yourself…

“…To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them. To look at the sunny side of everything, and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but great deeds.

To live in faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”  ―Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them