things that made my week

alamo

happy friday, friends! I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful for a friday like I am today. this week was tough – I was so, so sick – and while I’m not 100% better, today is the first day I’ve felt anywhere close to normal. so the things that made my week would be my cat who slept by my side the whole time I was sick; my fiancé for being a rockstar nurse; my boss & coworkers who gave me all the time I needed to recuperate; antibiotics & modern medicine, for existing; and soup, for being so darn good & the only thing I could keep down.

you may be wondering why today’s image is the alamo…well, we’re flying out to san antonio tomorrow for an overdue vacation to visit my best friend from high school & her husband. they just bought a house down there, and we’ve been meaning to head down for over a year now, so we’re excited.

I’m willing myself to get that much better by tomorrow’s flight. the timing could be better, what with still being kind of under the weather, but I’m hoping a little time off with friends and 80-degree weather (!!!) will do the trick.

have a lovely weekend!

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let’s talk | coloring as therapy

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I previously mentioned how I was diagnosed with depression last year, and I wanted to talk about something that has really helped me in times when I find myself getting anxious or very stressed: coloring.

different people experience anxiety & depression in different ways. I find that my anxiety contributes to my depression, and I’ve learned in the past several months how to calm myself down to a more relaxed state. when I’m anxious, I withdraw and lose myself in my own thoughts. my mind will run at a million miles a minute as I work through whatever I’m anxious about and run through all the different scenarios in my head of possible outcomes. it’s overwhelming and exhausting. what’s ironic is that because my mind is on overdrive, I find it impossible to articulate what it is I’m anxious about. james often asks me what’s wrong or how he can help when he sees me stressed & withdrawn, but I find myself unable to give voice to the infinite number of loops going on in my head, which of course contributes to the anxiety, which then accelerates the loop in my head…and so on and so forth.   coloring3I’ve found that coloring helps me to come out of that loop. I think the focus it takes to concentrate on choosing a color and staying within the lines forces me to just think about this one thing, instead of the thousands of other things. everything else gets pushed to the background and after a little while, I find that I’ve calmed down enough. I’m sure that there’s some scientific explanation for it all, but I just know it relaxes me.

it’s funny how something we did as children can be so helpful, but now that I think about it, wasn’t coloring something that helped us as kids, too? it was more than just a fun past time –  it gave us a task to focus on, and focusing on something so minute & detailed gave us a sense of calm purpose.

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p.s. this coloring book is all sorts of awesome. great for adults & kids.

p.p.s. mental illness is different for everyone. please know that I am not a physician or an expert on mental illness and that I am not prescribing any form of therapy for anyone. I am sharing what I find helpful for me, in hopes that talking about my personal experience is comforting and helpful to some of you, but please always talk to your physician about your own experience.

sentimental jewelry

jewelry6there are pieces of jewelry in my collection that are priceless to me for their sentimental value. they hold pride of place in a special drawer in my jewelry box. whenever I see them, I can’t help but smile as I’m reminded of the people & memories that they represent.jewelry4this necklace belonged to my mom’s great aunt, whose birth month was also november. when she passed, my mother gave it to me and let me know that it had been earmarked for me since I was born.

jewelry3this ring is special, not just because it has my name, but because of its provenance. I left the philippines when I was 6 and didn’t return until I was 12. on that occasion, my aunts all took their gold rings and had them melted down to create this band as a belated birthday present. they said it was for 6 years’ worth of birthdays that they had missed. the goldsmith in my hometown in the philippines then engraved my name and the design by hand. jewelry9these two pieces were both presents from james in the early days of our relationship. the ring has 3 little sapphires and marked our 3-month anniversary which fell on Christmas Eve and marked our first Christmas together. the necklace was the first valentine’s day present he ever gave me. he told me how he had gone to the tiffany store and nervously picked out the charm and chain with the help of a nice sales assistant. I can’t believe we’ll have been together for 7 years come this september.

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reviews & swatches | burberry kisses

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I’ve tried my fair share of lipsticks in my life, and I have my tried & true favorites that haven’t really changed in awhile. so, when something brand new becomes a favorite at first wear, it’s good. the new burberry kisses lipstick range is all kinds of awesome. the formula is lovely – it delivers great pigmentation that can be as sheer or as intense as you’d like while making it feel like you have nothing on. it’s a lipstick that feels like a balm without skimping on color – the best of both worlds. how it manages to do that while still having a semi-matte finish, I don’t know, but I’m a fan.

I went to nordstrom and played with all the shades in person, and while there were a few that caught my eye, there really was no competing with military red, which is a gorgeous red that looks just as flattering on me as it does on suki waterhouse.

have you tried these?

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p.s. apologies for the late posting. my computer died…and so did all my files. insert sad face here.

words for the week

happy monday, everyone! I hope you had a lovely weekend. I’m feeling all of the feels today after a very close family friend passed away on Good Friday. He was like a grandfather to me, and I’m thankful that I was able to visit him twice just before he passed. I’m focusing on how lucky I was to have known him and on celebrating the wonderful life he lived.

rest in peace, Lolo Harvey.

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let’s talk | contemplation

raintoday is maundy thursday, and it does really seem like heaven is weeping because today is grey & wet in chicago. I just wanted to drop in and wish those of you who observe lent a blessed & reflective holy week. I will be taking the rest of the week off into the weekend to spend some time in contemplation & to celebrate with my family.

have a lovely weekend, and see you on monday!

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good reads | bossypants

when I bought a series of hilarious books several weeks back, bossypants was one of them. fast forward to last week, and I’ve finally read it.  it’s very much the case of saving the best for last, which is impressive since I loved amy poehler & mindy kaling’s books. but, tina fey is tina fey, which is to say that her dark, biting humor is so on point & splendidly on display in this book.

two sections standout in my mind. the first is the chapter on her father, don fey. a favorite paragraph:

“his half-scottish, half-german face in repose is handsome but terrifying. I searched the audience for him during the sixth-grade chorus concert and, seeing his stern expression, was convinced that he had seen me messing up the words to the happy days theme and that I was in big trouble. I spend the rest of the concert suppressing terror burps, only to be given a big hug and a kiss afterward. It took me years to realize, Oh, that’s just his face.”

and the second is entitled the mother’s prayer for its daughter. with a title like that, you know it has to be good. picking a favorite stanza is hard, so here’s three:

“may she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.”

&

“lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes and not have to wear high heels.”

&

“and when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, for I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.”

and aside from these two chapters, there’s pages & pages of honest-to-God laugh out loud writing. I read this while waiting for my car to be fixed, and I am telling you, I will never have as much fun at an auto shop ever again.

trust me. read this.

cheap thrills | target striped d’orsay flats

 you may have heard me say this before, but I’ll say it again: I love shoes. sneakers, flats, heels, sandals…you name it, I love it. I often stick with the tried & true neutrals for my clothing, but with shoes, I’m more open to colors & styles. of course, all that shoe love can get expensive, so it’s always a thrill when you find some cute & comfortable shoes at a reasonable price, like these flats from target.

these d’orsay flats from target are lovely. in the short amount of time I’ve had them, they’ve become one of my favorite pieces in my spring capsule wardrobe.the stripe pattern is perfect for spring, as is the d’orsay cut. I find them to be really flattering on my flat, wide feet, and the cut of the toe portion is generous – even in the afternoon when my feet swell up, they don’t cut into sides of my foot. as for comfort, they do have some padding, and I find that they’re way more comfortable than another pair that cost over twice as much. I don’t know if I’d wear this for a day of consistent, non-stop walking, but for a day of running errands & grocery shopping, they held up for me. as other reviewers mentioned online, they did rub on my ankle a little when they were new, but that’s true for me with any flat.

it also comes in a brown/black color option, and is currently 20% off. if you’re on the hunt for a cute, affordable d’orsay flat, I’d recommend this one.

p.s. if regular ballet flats are more your thing, check these out. I tried the striped pair on in store, and they fit well, with plenty of room in the toe box & a snug but comfortable elastic ankle grip.