I’ve been on this planet long enough to realize the importance of life. I remember hearing people say age is ONLY a number and I can honestly say it’s the truth. I’m not saying this because I’m turning 46 in a few months, I’m saying it because I’ve experienced it myself. I also have friends that are all different ages. One of my youngest girlfriends in her 20’s, is wise beyond her years, she’s truly an old soul. We connected the first time we met. Age had nothing to do with it. As far as dating, I’ve dated older men and quite a bit younger. It really depends on the person. Our life experiences and how we take care of ourselves, determine our ACTUAL age. People are living longer. I have been pretty good at taking care of myself through the years. I exercise, eat right, *for the most part:) and I try and surround myself with like minded and emotionally healthy people. I have also always taken care of my skin, thanks to the great advice from my Mom and Grandmother growing up. *BTW, our skin is the largest living organ, so we NEED to take care of it! What I believe keeps me younger than my actual years is my ability to connect with people and my desire to help others. The past 6 years were life changing for me. I truly lost my way and hope. It has taken me years of work and fighting to get to a place where I feel like ME again. I will never be the same person I was before these things happened, but I’ve learned to LOVE the new, resilient, stronger version of myself. During these difficult times, I was able to get my California Real Estate license and this past week I obtained my New York Real Estate license as well. I know I won’t always be 45 years young, but I’m going to continue to live my life MY way and I’m pretty proud of that.
It’s been a long, long road…
So this post is coming one month after the start of the new year. As many of you have probably noticed this past year and specifically the past 5 months, my posts on social media and my blog have been pretty non existent. There was a reason for it and I’m happy to say, I’m finally able to fully take my life back and get back to doing one of my true passions in life…talking and sharing with you about my love for makeup, fitness and passion of helping others struggling from mental health issues and disorders. After wrapping up a two year battle in which I won’t go into details about, I really needed to take a few months off from everything and regroup. Luckily I was in a position to take a step back and find ME again. I was able to focus on my next move and also lay the foundation for how I’m going to push forward and turn a horrible tragedy in my life into something that will ultimately help others. There is so much I will share with you in the coming months and after such a long and empowering journey, I must say, I’m much stronger than I ever knew I was. They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…in my case, it also pushed me in a direction to be heard and be a game changer. There is a silver lining to every situation in life and I just found mine. Thanks for the love and support you have shown me through the years…now let’s get back to business!
Be unapologetically you
Life has a way of throwing us curveballs and circumstances that you never saw coming. If someone had asked me as a kid where I thought I would be at this point in my life, never in a million years would I have predicted my path. I just celebrated my 45th birthday and I must admit, I’m pretty darn blessed.
I’ve always been good at marching to the beat of my own drum. I was never a follower or cared much about what other people thought of me. There were times while I was in school, people said things to me *or behind my back, that really hurt my feelings. I always remember thinking that when people were mean and cruel, it was definitely a reflection of the bully rather than myself. I grew up in a loving home with amazing parents that taught me to be the best human I could possibly be and treat others the way I want to be treated. Like everyone else, I’ve had my moments and in no way, shape or form am I claiming to be the perfect human. But what I learned from a very young age was to embrace who I am and what I want out of life and don’t think too much about what other people think of your choices or path. You only live once and this life is YOURS to live, not for other people to question or judge.
Life is short. Very, very short in the big scheme of things. Through my devastation and obstacles, I have never lost sight of who I am at my core. I don’t respond to negative social media comments, as I don’t care about them. I also learned from a young age if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. We need to start creating positive platforms for people and stop judging and question how others live their lives. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. At the end of the day, what legacy will YOU leave behind and how will you be remembered? Write your own story now so it can impact others positively in the future.
“You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.” -Mae West
World Suicide Prevention Day 2018
I did my first blog post on suicide prevention back in 2015, exactly three years ago to this day. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, because I have personally lived this life. It is extremely hard for me to talk about because of the stigma that revolves around mental health in general, but it is also important for me to talk about it because it may save someone’s life and becoming an advocate and talking about it myself, has ultimately saved my own life. It has given me strength, a voice, purpose and also helps me find the silver lining to a situation/incident that nearly killed me. Many people will not understand this topic completely, but most people have either suffered themselves or know someone that has suffered from depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, bipolar, schizophrenia, or some other form of mental impairment. There is NO shame in struggling, it’s what we do with it that ultimately determines how we move forward. We should never be made to feel less than adequate, less human or less than anyone else for having a mental condition WE can’t help. The number of suicides are alarmingly increasing. We need to start talking and we need to start fighting harder than ever to save one another.
With today being WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION day, I wanted to first and foremost highlight that you can NOT judge someone’s mental health by their looks. Let’s just get that fact straight! I am sick and tired of being told I don’t look like I could possibly be depressed. Well what the hell does depression look like? It’s also highly offensive for someone to tell me because I’m in shape or wear a bikini on social media, that I don’t suffer behind closed doors. Working out for me helps with my mental health, plain and simple. When you work out it releases endorphins that helps ease anxiety for me. There are so many things that I plan on revealing down the road, but I am unable to talk about at this moment. But I would like to reiterate, at times, life is a struggle. We have all gone through rough patches or endured devastating heartache. Whether it be a death, an illness, a breakup or a financial struggle. In the moment, these feelings can be a lot to handle. There is help available. Please don’t suffer in silence. Surround yourself with an amazing support system and work your hardest every day to pull through. I have seen firsthand what suicide does to the friends and family left behind. If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, don’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s amazing how when you start talking about things, you realize there are a lot of other people that have experienced or are experiencing your same feelings. Life can be hard. Life has obstacles and life can be a challenge. Remind yourself every day how amazing you are and how much you are loved. What we can control is waking up each day and trying our hardest to make each day count and seeing a happier tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if it doesn’t seem like it today, believe me, you will get through this dark time. The world is a better place with you in it!
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Spread The Love: Fostering Saves Lives
I have always been an animal lover. From the time I was an infant, I can’t remember my life without being surrounded by animals. Growing up, we had every pet imaginable. Fish, hamsters, rabbits, a turtle, a frog, more cats than I can count, dogs, parakeets and I think that about covers it?! We were also notorious for bringing home stray animals. My sister Kristi brought home a rabbit once that she rescued from the side of the road. The poor baby was being chased by a dog. It wasn’t until years later we found out it was actually a wild hare. I’m not even kidding!
Well, this past Summer, my sister had a stray cat that had kittens in her backyard. We quickly became obsessed with these little guys. We even took them to the vet numerous times when we suspected they were not doing as great as we would have liked. We had fully nursed them back to health and were waiting for the 8 week mark to adopt them out to their new homes. At about 7 weeks, the kittens all vanished one night. We were devastated. We looked at shelters, asked the neighbors if they had seen them, but they were nowhere to be found.
In the meantime, we had planned that we were going to try and trap the strays that were living in my sisters backyard. Yes, it’s easier said than done. In the meantime, there were two new litters of kittens born one day apart. Concerned about their safety, as we still had no idea what happened to the first batch of kittens, we became increasingly paranoid. To the point that we tried to trap the mom and her kittens and bring them inside. It was impossible. The mother was so scared and untamed, that we couldn’t keep her in the cage.
People will say I saved their lives, but the truth is, they saved mine.-Jen
Fast forward a few weeks. After losing track of the two litters of kittens multiple times because the Mom’s kept moving them, we thought we finally had a handle on the situation. We had called numerous shelters. etc and had been told the kittens needed to stay with their mothers as long as possible or they would not make it. So that was the plan.
Early one morning, everything changed. My sister went out in the backyard to feed the adult cats and found two coyotes in her backyard. One litter of kittens were gone and the adult cats were all hiding in the trees. We now knew the fate of the kittens. My sister was horrified. We knew immediately, that in order to save the remaining four kittens lives, I would have to take them in. We had tried trapping the Mom along with them, but she was too wild to bring along. We felt terrible at the thought of separating these babies form their mother, but It was the only chance these little guys had to live.
I took the kittens home, all of which happened to be boys. I started bottle feeding them every few hours, They were only around 3 weeks at the time. It was extremely hard, but also one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. I honestly can’t even begin to describe the feeling. I also knew that I couldn’t keep them, but I had no idea how hard it would be to adopt them out when they were finally old enough to go to their forever homes. They were my four boys! Max, Oliver, Charlie and Scout. Well, time flew by quickly and it was time for them to be adopted. I was able to get my Mom and my Dad to each take one. The third home didn’t work out as planned so I ended up keeping both Max and Oliver.
My little guys are now 5 months old and have already changed my life. Soon enough, I will tell you my story of the past few years. When people tell me I saved these kitten’s lives, I always reply. “No, they saved mine.” It’s the truth. At what has been one of my darkest times, they came into my life and gave me hope. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a foster mom and ultimately Max and Oliver’s forever Mom! I can’t imagine my life without them-