How should we serve tea? Keep house, give birth, turn —
On those not good enough? Not with us ranking.
For learning’s life’s opportunities earned.
Should our daughters be haughty and learn —
Their goal (as ours), to marry well praying,
Teach us teacher, we’re ready to learn.
Are we moralcenters? Ignoring sperns,
Spouse with many beds, mistresses stringing.
For learning’s life’s opportunities earned.
Our value, our husband, children, in turn —
Their children, their marriages bliss bringing?
Teach us teacher, we’re ready to learn,
For learning’s life’s opportunities earned.
“A Villanelle is a nineteen-line poem consisting of a very specific rhyming scheme: aba aba aba aba aba abaa.
The first and the third lines in the first stanza are repeated in alternating order throughout the poem, and appear together in the last couplet (last two lines).”
Welcome back to my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing Lee Ann from the blog: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too. As LeeAnn’s blog focus is more on helping animals through her blog, the focus of this interview will be slightly different than past interviews.
1. LeeAnne, Please Tell Us About Yourself and Your Blog?
I have always been a quiet, deep-thinking, and observational person.Through deep-thinking and my tendency to observe, I noticed a lot of aspects about animals. Watching them, and paying attention to them, I fell in love with them.
As I am a quiet person, I feel I tend to get lost in the crowd much of the time. I noticed a similar thing often occurred with animals;they were getting lost in the crowd too when people didn’t pay attention and take care of them. Intrinsically, I felt their worth, their needs, and I noticed the way some of them were not treated nicely. My passion for helping animals was born.
2. When Did You Begin Blogging ? What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You?
I had taken classes for Web Design in 2013 and one of the assignments was to create a blog. My blog was my current blog: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too and I wrote on it occasionally over the next few years. However, in August 2016 I started blogging regularly. I have had different experiences with writing throughout my life.
Back in elementary school I first fell in love with poetry and writing (and my poetry teacher J). Since then, I have written several poems over the years, but only for my family and friends for special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and other special events. Currently, some of my responsibilities at work include writing newsletters and social media posts.
Blogging means everything to me because of what I write about. I adore animals and feel passionate about helping them. I have been trying to figure out my entire life how to utilize my love for animals. When the assignment came up in my course to create a blog, my teacher told me she thought I should continue with my ‘helping animal’ themed blog.
I guess you could say a light bulb went off in my head. It took me a few years to apply myself, consistently blogging. But I think I had troubles because I was burnt out from being on a computer all day between work and school. I write because I want to help animals by spreading the word about animals who are abused, the worth of animals, and our responsibility to care for them.
” I write because I want to help animals by spreading the word about animals who are abused, the worth of animals, and our responsibility to care for them.” – LeeAnn
3. Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer To Write?
Unfortunately, there are way too many people out there harming animals and not enough laws to protect the animals. This is where my inspiration and motivation comes from. I want to make a difference and ensure fewer animals are harmed. I also feel a lot of people are unaware of how much animal abuse exists and how few laws there are to protect animals (pets).I am hoping to bring light to these issues on my blog.
I am more alert and ‘fresh’ in the late morning after I have some coffee; however, because I have a full-time job, a lot of my writing and blog posts are done in the evening after work.
4. Do You Have Any Current Pet-Related Writing Projects or Hopeful Ones? Are You Planning on Publishing Anything Related to Animals?
My blog is my current and ongoing project. I am only six months into regular blogging, so I am still new at blogging. I am working hard at ‘getting my writing out there’ on animal issues. My hope is to grow my traffic, not for my sake, but for the sake of animals and to make a difference.
So far, I’ve not published anything other than blog posts. I have considered writing a children’s book on empathy towards animals someday. I believe since children are our future, teaching them to be considerate towards animals could make a huge difference on the way animals in the in years to come will be treated by their owners (etc.) I may also turn some of my blog posts into a book someday.
” I believe since children are our future, teaching them to be considerate towards animals could make a huge difference on the way animals in the in years to come will be treated by their owners (etc).” – LeeAnn
5. What Is Your Writing Process Like When Focusing on Animals?
As I mentioned, there is so much animal abuse going on, so there is not a lack of topics to write about. If I see a story on the web about an animal that was abused, I start thinking and the writing process for a post begins.
For example, after going to the Renaissance Festival I noticed an elephant chained to a contraption which only allowed him to move around in a circle giving people rides. I started thinking and when I was home, I wrote about this event and how awful it was for the poor elephant to be so confined and probably abused.
6. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Bloggers or on Advice on How People Can Help Animals in Need?
I am not a ‘professional’ writer, but as another blogger said: “If you’re writing on a blog, you are a writer.” Writing and blogging are skills I and other writers improve on with time. I am still learning and growing as I learn more about blogging, particularly for my significant cause. As well on my blog’s About Page I wrote this about how people can aid animals:
“Supporting animal organizations is . . . one way I help animals . . . I write about a wide variety of topics and types of animals, and I usually share links so you can check out the organization/topic being discussed.
There are many ways we can all help animals. Donating items to shelters, writing letters, signing petitions, volunteering time at an animal organization, sharing my posts to spread the word, and much more.” – LeeAnn
7. Do You Have Anything Else You’d Like To Share With Readers on Helping Animals, Yourself, or Blogging?
I am attempting to give my blog real purpose (a means to an end) that my writing and blogging actually result in animals at risk or already being harmed, not being hurt anymore. I also want people to know I do have a large variety of posts on my blog.
Some of the posts I write include Pet Tales, Vegetarian Recipes, Pet Care Tips, and Serious Topics such as Animal Abuse Issues. I also use pictures from other bloggers and Facebook Page followers. I post them in my posts called ‘Tuesday Tales.’
8. Do You Have Any Favorite Bloggers You Follow?
I enjoy different kinds of blogs, but I think my favorite blogs are when someone writes about their pet(s). I think it’s fun to see all those adorable pet photos and learn about various animals and their personalities. Oddly enough, I do not necessarily like to follow blogs that are about ‘animal activism.’ I applaud them but I find these blogs usually too graphic for me to handle.
9. Please Share With Us Some of Your Animal Related Blog Posts:
The post below was written when a young follower of mine contacted me to let me know she was inspired by my blog. She wrote a poem called “Animals Are Feeling beings Too” which she published on her blog.
I have been blogging (well…serious blogging) for a few months now. I have played around with my blog, changing & adding things like the “Tuesday Tales” where I share animal stories and “Sunday Pause (Paws)” where I encourage everyone to kick back & relax. On my “Vegetarian Challenge” page I try to add recipes every now & then. There hasn’t been an actual challenge yet, but maybe in the future. Also, I have been adding my favorite cruelty-free products to the “Links” page, adding some pictures of my cat, Cino and “Pet Care Tips.”
I will continue to add to these pages and keep a variety on my blog. But one thing that will not change is where my heart is, and that is helping the fight against animal cruelty.
This means some of my posts will not be so uplifting or fun. If I were to only do “happy” posts I wouldn’t be spreading the word about animal cruelty and therefore I wouldn’t be helping animals.
Something I saw on Facebook (or somewhere) not so long ago was this sentence, “The reason I dedicate myself to helping animals so much is because there are already so many people who dedicate their lives to hurting them.” Sadly, a true statement!
There are a lot of people who tell me they can’t stand to read or see anything about animal abuse because it bothers them too much. It bothers me A LOT too, but I can not turn my back on them. I want to encourage others not to either.
I recently have received a few great compliments from fellow bloggers about my blog. This makes me feel so warm & fuzzy. I also received a message from a young follower, named Leona, that said me and my blog inspire her, and that she wrote a poem and named it “Animals Are Feeling Beings Too.” I was overjoyed by this! It makes me think maybe I AM making an impact out there for the good of animals!
Thanks to LeeAnn for the lovely interview and sharing her passion for taking care of and helping animals at home and ones who are in need. Best of luck to her in her blog and spreading the word about animal empathy and the proper way to treat your pets and animals in general. Here is a Link To LeeAnn’s blog one last time: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too.
If you would like to share your blogging or writing in my biweekly interview series, please reach out to me through mycontact page on my blog. I will see you in two weeks!
Love is all you need? Whoever said that perhaps was in the first stages of love.They hadn’t seen the nittygritty yet, what separates those we love and those who truly love us from those who are but memories or experiences in our lives. To be honest with you, I’ve realized what I’ve felt of being ‘in’ love was so short it was hardly there. But I know what it was because I know what love’s not. It hurts thinking back to that time even though it was barely real.
I was also with a guy much longer and the love I tried to convince myself I felt, didn’t exist. In a sense I’m glad it wasn’t authentic because love is painful. It doesn’t mean because you’re in love with someone everything’s suddenly perfect. Love in relationships is a ton of work combined with trust which takes time to build. It’s a given your other half will do stupid and thoughtless things at times and so will you. Whatever the relationship, we’re all human and make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are huge and hurtful.
But in the spaces in-between are these perfect moments of sometimes physical but always heartfelt gestures of love, fleeting but memorable; these are the moments lovers live for. Love is being unselfish and it’s difficult for any human to consider someoneelse before themselves all the time. It would seem to me we need so much more than only love. But I know lasting love is possible because I know my Lord who says: “We love, because her first loved us.” With those words in my life, I feel this whole ‘true love’ thing might be a possibility someday.
Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview withMicheleVecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.
1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?
I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.
One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore calledThe Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.
2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?
I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.
My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.
I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life.My husband and I have been married just over five years. Markis an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.
Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.
On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.
Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.
“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto
3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?
I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.
My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.
When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.
I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.
Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).
“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.
Inspiration for me can come from anywhere:a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.
As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.
6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?
I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.
“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.
My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!
8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?
I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.
Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.
I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.
“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto
9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?
My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.
The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.
If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.
If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.
I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?
I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.
My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.
I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy inspirational pieces as well.Both of these kinds of writing have their place.
“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto
12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?
I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.
I’ve also started aFacebookpage and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitterhas been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.
13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?
I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running calledBelle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.
14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:
Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”
More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:
Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times. I try to live my life as described in “The Choice”and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.
Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blogone more time: Steps Times Two.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page.See you in two-weeks!
Good Morning! I’ve been meaning to do this post for awhile as part one was done before Christmas. I have an interesting selection of beauty products since the Fall Beauty Haul and I hope you find this post useful in your own Beauty Product selection.
1. Make Up Forever Excessive Lash Arresting Volume Mascara – (www.sephora.ca) – $31.00 CAN
I received this mascara as a sample from Sephora. I adore Make Up Forever products in general so I was excited to try another of their mascaras. As usual, since my mascara never stays on my lashes unless the mascara is waterproof, I put on a coat of a waterproof L’Oreal mascara after applying the sample mascara. I like this Make Up Forever mascara, it’s quite black and the brush does a good job of creating volume for your lashes, but I’m not thrilled by this mascara. It’s a middle-of-the-line mascara and I think if you bought it you would like it, but not be overly impressed. There isn’t a wow factor to it. Honestly, there is not much difference between The Make UpForever Excessive Lash Mascara and the L’Oreal one I put over top. The brush is the same, the opacity of the mascara the same, and the only difference is the L’Oreal mascara is waterproof. I’d say this rates about a three out of five stars for a mascara.
2. Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil – (www.sephora.ca)- $29.00 – Two Pencils: One in Stingray (Jet Black) and Lion Fish (Deep Bronze Sheen)
For the longest time, I always used pencil liners because they were easier to apply than the liquid ones I tried; however, then companies such as Lancome led the way coming out with liquid eyeliners which were easy to apply, they had great foam tipped applicators. I have especially used waterproof eyeliner since makeup brands such as Stila and well everyone else, has come out with wonderful liquid eyeliners which are like fine-tip markers for the eyes (pens). Once you learn to apply these awesome liquid eyeliners, they are usually much more vibrant and remain on your eye better than pencil eyeliners.
Nonetheless, during the Christmas season, I was searching for my trusty Stila liquid eyeliner pen in black and Sephora didn’t have any left except in a Christmas Gift Set that was $44.00 CAN and included Jet Black and Lion Fish eyeliner pencils as well. These eyeliner pencils aren’t’ exactly pencils such as the ones you sharpen. Instead, they’re roll-up, which means the tip remains small and pointed. I love them so much as everyday makeup products, enough to permanently add Jet Black pencil liner to my regular makeup purchases when it runs out.
The reason I love these roll-up pencils so much is that they are similar to smudge pot eyeshadows. They glide onto your eye line smoothly and they leave behind pigmented and rich color which is also waterproof, so it doesn’t rub off as many pencil eyeliners do. They are excellent eyeliners especially if you have trouble lining in your upper water line. The roll-up pencils do a fantastic job coloring in waterlines when you need, and remaining on your waterline, which is an extremely difficult feat for a makeup brand to accomplish.
I love Stila’s Jet Black for use on my waterline and sometimes for regular eyeliner. Lion Fish is a bronzy color which is a great change up for a daytime look from using a black liner. Lion Fish also has a bit of shimmer in it instead of being merely being a matte brown liner.
This gift set was completely worth the purchase for $44.oo because I received both these pencil liners and my black liquid eyeliner pen, a cost of about $96.00 regular price before tax. A definite five out of five stars for the Stila Smudge Sticks.
3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Metallic Luster Liner in Liquid Gold – (www.sephora.ca) – $23.00 CAN
I cannot say Stila is the only pencil eyeliner I was recently impressed with. I had seen that gold eyeliner was a trend for the holiday season. Watching a Pixie Woo’s makeup tutorial on YouTube, I loved how the one Pixie Woo used this Anastasia eyeliner to line her lower waterline and corner of her eyes, it looked fantastic.
But the Anastasia Luster Liner in Liquid Gold was extremely versatile and is a product and I think I will buy again. It works great on waterlines and the liner stays on with a couple of coats, and it appears beautifully on top of black eyeliner as a bit of a fancy touch. But my most favorite use for this eyeliner pencil was using it on Christmas and New years to fill in my entire eyelid area, then blend it out with other eyeshadow.
I had to be careful doing this as once this waterproof liner sets it remains put. It`s not moving except with eye makeup remover. So if you use the Anastasia liquid gold eyeliner this way, put on most of your eyeshadow before applying the gold liner on your lid. It does take a while to blend other eyeshadow colors into the gold eye pencil if you choose to use it this way. I loved this festive product and think it could be used for special occasions or if you want to add a bit of glimmer to your daytime look in the corner or your eye or your bottom waterline for instance.
I used most of the pencil up over two-months and only have a bit left, but it`s not a product too high priced to purchase again. I`m impressed with how well it works for multiple looks for a waterproof gold eyeliner with such bold and vivid gold color, and not a yellowy gold shade (if you know what I mean). The Anastasia eyeliner also comes in the color Liquid Silver. It was easy to sharpen and it never broke even though the pencil was soft and the color bright.I would give this eyeliner pencil five stars.
So it’s Winter which means for many of us in colder climates, we are experiencing dryer skin. I usually have skin oily enough that it doesn’t seem to require much extra moisture, expect maybe applying my Clinique moisturizing gel twice every few days. This year I had a bit a different experience and found at night, I required a solid moisturizer but one that would not cause me to break out. So I used some of my Sephora points and received a large sized sample of the Origins Night cream and it lasted about a month, so I think the product itself even though it’s $55.00 for the smaller size, would last a person the entire winter.
I had tried eye creams and other one or two day samples from Origins and I have always liked their products and how my skin reacts to them. They are great to moisturize dry skin and even though it was a night cream, I did use it in the day sometimes. It felt wonderful and smelled great. As well, I like that the cream is made out of plant minerals. I have always found these type ingredients to be fantastic indicators of a quality cream/lotion/or gel. I completely recommend this product for dry skin, especially at night. I would give the Origins Night Cream four our of five stars. I can use this in the winter, but not in the summer or spring when the weather seems to indicate I need less moisturizer.
5. NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil (Eye Shadow)- 611 Yogurt – (www.ulta.com) – $4.49 US ($6 or $7 CAN at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada)
I’ve heard good things about NYX as a cheaper makeup brand. I adore their matte setting spray for makeup so I thought I would try something else from their line. I wanted a base color that I can put on before my other eyeshadow, which is the reason I bought this pencil.
Unfortunately, I bought the wrong shade, it’s a bit too yellow for me and I should have bought a similar shade with more pink in it. But it’s not bad for a shimmery base color and I’ve worn it a few times. The only problem is, I’ve worn the eye pencil down and would think you could sharpen it, but I do not own a sharpener which can fit the jumbo pencil in.
The eye pencil color stays on your eyelids well and doesn’t come off easily. You can blend other eyeshadows of various types into it as well, and the color is easy to cover up if you don’t like the shade but are using it as a base.
I’m not sure where to find a sharpener which fits the NYX jumbo pencil, or if it even can be sharpened? If you know let me know. I think as with most products in the makeup industry, you get what you pay for and the NYX jumbo eyeshadow pencil is an example of this with only a two-star rating.
6. The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Balm With Calming Camomile Extract – Sensitive Skin – MakeUp Remover – (www.thebodyshop.ca) – $16.00 CAN
My last product to share was part of a gift from a friend with many lovely Body Shop Products. They definantly have some nice products and not only lotion and body wash. I was really thrilled with this cleansing balm I received. I wasn’t sure what it was at first.
But, it’s an awesome makeup remover and is also extremely moisturizing at the same time. I have doubts about using it in spring and summer, but right now it’s exactly what my skin needed. I usually use cleansing clothes to remove my makeup and right now I use both. I put the balm all over my face with my hands, including my eyes — it’s awesome at removing any and all eye makeup especially waterproof makeup. The balm feels as if it might be a bit greasy, but it’s not at all. It cleanses your face completely of makeup and works well with the cleansing clothes you can throw away.
The cleansing balm leaves your fast moisturized and feeling great, not to mention, it smells fantastic. If you can get your hands on some I recommend it. Four stars our of five.
If you haven’t read Part 1 of my Beauty Haul it was in December and can be found HERE.
“I know that’s what people say– you’ll get over it. I’d say it, too. But I know it’s not true. Oh, you’ll be happy again, never fear. But you won’t forget. Every time you fall in love it will be because something in the man reminds you of him.”
Welcome back to another December issue of my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing the gracious and beautiful Jackelyn Santana who was recentlymarried. She has a faith based blog here: Faith Walking Hebrews 11:1. She describes her blog using the Hebrews 1:11Bible Verse: “Now Faith Is The Assurance of Things Hoped For, The Conviction of things Not Seen.”
1. Jackelyn, Please Tell Us About Yourself?
My name is Jackelyn Santana, I am from Miami, FL, and my family is of Cuban descent.I am a child of God and passionate about my faith. I LOVE reading, blogging, and spending time with my family. I was married on November 11, 2016 and I am a mother to an amazing six-year-old and a stepmother to two beautiful young ladies.
This year has been full of blessings. To emotionally prepare myself for our marriage, I spent the year analyzing myself and I’m finally at a place where I can embrace my authenticity. I spent a good portion of my life internalizing my pain, wearing masks to cope, and believing something was wrong because I didn’t have everything as it seemed everyone around me had.
Having this frame of mind enslaved me. There wasn’t anything wrong with what I was facing, but because there’s a stigma associated with imperfection and emotional struggle, I thought it was a ‘ME’ problem. I didn’t realize the truth, my problems were natural and universal.
As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other,helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.
The most beautiful thing I’ve witnessed is a group of hopeless lost souls coming together and loving each other back to life. We found a reason to smile again. This world is in such need of healing. I would love nothing more than to help spread love and healing wherever I go in my life.
” As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other, helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.” – Jackelyn Santana
2. When Did You Begin Blogging? What Does Blogging and Writing Mean To You?
I started blogging about four months ago July 20, 2016 to be exact. Blogging means everything to me! It’s liberated me. I’m free!! The more I write about things, the less ashamed I am of what I’ve faced. With each post I’ve removed the chains of emotions and experiences I kept a secret. These emotions and experiences have lost power over me.
This has allowed me to acknowledge and celebrate my spiritual growth. I enjoy interacting with other bloggers. Blogging also gives me an inside view of my soul. Sometimes I’m shocked when I read older posts because when I wrote, I let the words flow from my soul and they expressed things I wouldn’t voice out loud.
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation To Write?
I am inspired by my faith and other bloggers. I began blogging about one-year ago, but I didn’t think I could write posts people would want to read. I’m better at public speaking than I am at writing. A co-worker of mine kept pushing me to write.I would share advice with her and she would nudge me to put it on paper. I finally decided to test the waters by submitting a guest post on Proverbs 31 Women.
They approved my guest post one-month later and I was shocked and honored. I started writing away on my blog often. My faith in God changed my life,it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs. It’s become a way of life for me and I want to help others learn about Jesus in practical terms.
Many times when we think of the Bible we think of a standard which is too high for most of us to reach. The Bible comes across as something only ‘Holy’ people read. Or, we become intimidated by it because we find it unrelatable since The Bible was written many moons ago and times have changed.
These ideas of Christianity couldn’t be further from the truth.We need to find the right tools to break down barriers from reading God’s Word, The Bible, and help others understand faith in simpler terms.Believing in Jesus can guide us towards love and happiness. Once we understand the basics, our soul will keep searching for more – our hearts will be “homing our Heavenly home,” if you will, and we will grow spiritually.
By identifying with examples from the stories in The Bible, we can understand our obstacles are not too much, our lives can be molded in a way which allows us to serve both God, our families, and friends because they’re all related.
God acknowledges our need for connection and sent his son Jesus not only so that we could be saved, but so we could identify with Jesus and strive to imitate His way of life. As a woman, fiancee, and mother, I have been able to love more purely and unconditionally through The Bible’s teachings, making them a way of life.
Reflecting on the dark moments I’ve faced, I see how fine the line between good and evil can be — being saved or being lost; I want tohelp others be saved as I am saved through Jesus’s death and resurrection.
“My faith in God changed my life, it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs.’ – Jackelyn Santana
4. When Do You Like to Write and Do You Have Any Current Special Writing Projects?
There isn’t a time of day that inspires me the most. I write whenever my heart moves me to write. As of today I’m only blogging. My passion and dream is to help others. Perhaps join /create a traveling retreat group, or participate in spiritual workshops. This is a concept similar to a ‘Women of Faith’ tour, but on a smaller more personal level.
There would be one to one interaction, healing exercises, and honest group talk. I would love to help others come out of their shells and be saved through faith in Jesus and God as I was. My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.
5. Are You Planning on Publishing Any Written Work in The Future?
I have not published anything. Perhaps later in life I will be presented the opportunity to do so, or I will submit writing drafts. With only four-months of blogging under my belt I’m focusing on identifying my writing voice, interacting with others through my writing, and improving my writing skills which are at a novice level. I would also like to study theology and I think it would further advance my writing.
“My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.”
6. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
I sit in front of my laptop or a notepad and I pray, relax, and set my soul free to express itself. When an idea pops into my mind I write it down either on my phone’s notepad, or sticky notes. I may begin draft posts that I revisit at a later time when I can give my writing undivided attention. I have about fourteen draft posts which I’ve begun and I’m saving for the future blog posts.
When I first started blogging I would write and post instantly. I’ve learned to slow down and process topics, allowing my mind to continue digging for information. I will officially post my writing after I have looked at every angle.
7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers Starting Out?
Write about topics you are passionate about. It feels great to do what you love. I love what I write about and it’s how I live my life. If you’re on the fence about writing I would suggest you take a leap of faith and see what comes from this desire.
WordPress has a wonderful community of bloggers and this community helps you grow as a writer. Don’t write posts for the sake of increasing traffic and followers, write on topics you enjoy writing about.
8. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing?
I am God’s creation, I am human, I am imperfect, and I am meant to depend on God. Read this post to learn more about me.
9. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Favorite Blog Posts:
“Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won’t tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they become the worse type of person. Unfortunately, they end up hurting themselves in the long run. They don’t want to hurt other people. It is against their very nature. They want to make amends and undo the wrong they did. Their life is a wave of highs and lows. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings. They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing, and the ones that often become activists for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved.” –Shannon L. Alder
I am on an emotional roller coaster ride.
I will not try to deny it, this is who I am, sensitivity and all. I wear my sensitivity as a badge of honor, although throughout life I have been ridiculed or further wounded because of it. I cannot control the sensitive nature of my heart. I may pretend something has not stabbed or wounded me, but more likely than not this is not the case.
For many years I have tried to harden myself, hoping that I would become immune to the blows of life, and the harsh words received from those I hold with high esteem. Despite my efforts, my sensitive nature is unchanged.
My sensitive nature is misunderstood.
Those closest to me believe they understand me and my motives. They believe they can read between the lines. Many dare to correct me when I express my intentions and motives, determined their interpretation of my position is correct. My hard and serious exterior denies me the right to ever be recognized as a victim, although, my heart tells me otherwise. Many times I find myself confused, doubting my heart, thinking that there is something severely wrong because I’m always wrong and never right about my own feelings. Maybe I am bad at the core?
One Of My Favorite Bible Verses:
“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15
In my case, I do not understand why I continue to love and care the way I do. I know better, yet I cannot help it. I continue to express my vulnerabilities to those I care about in hopes that I will be understood. The more I explain myself, the further away I get from MY truth, and the closer I get to shedding unfavorable light on myself. I allow the fighter in me to get the best of me when I feel taken advantage of. This without a doubt, is used against me as I fail to be consistent, giving in to my human frailty. I can only be silent for so long without jumping into protective mode. I can only shed so many tears without lashing out. The cruelty I spew is the cruelty I have learned through life, it is not the natural nature of my heart. I would never purposely provoke tears from anyone, not even those who have hurt me profoundly. Yet sometimes acting in this manner is the only way I can get someone to listen to my voice and believe my truth. I am neither too proud to extend an apology when deserved and make amends with those I’ve offended. My truest desire is to maintain peace.
I am not taken seriously in my tender moments; my tenderness is taken for granted. The world demands yet resents my tenderness. Should a loved one offend me, my tenderness is an inconvenience because my tears take away from focusing on the “root” of the problem, and I am forced to slog against the tears. Should I act sternly with others, not allowing my emotions to flinch, I’m accused of being cold and harsh. The combination of my emotions is never seen as right.
It seems my sensitivity is to be used at the convenience of others. I can never be me. I’m never entitled to the beauty of my emotions. My view of my emotions is brushed off because I am overly sensitive. Yet, I cannot label the world as overly cruel, overly angry, or overly unforgiving.
I read once that instead of numbing our pain we need to identify the source of our pain and work on the problem instead of the symptom. For example, we may have a headache because we are dehydrated, hungry, or stressed. We should work on fixing those issues rather than silencing the headache calling out for attention.
The same goes for my tears. My tears, the ‘water works’ as they’ve been called, are not crocodile tears. It’s not an act or an attempt to manipulate; these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. My tears are indicators that my soul is experiencing pain, something is hurting me. To stop my pain at it’s root I need to either freeze my heart (which I have failed to accomplish) or excuse myself from the undesirable situation until I’m emotionally ready. This I can rarely accomplish without ridicule that I cannot work through a topic, without being accused of being overly dramatic.
I am always apologizing, but rarely entitled to an apology when hurt because my over-sensitivity is what causes the pain, not the actions or words of others.
When is my sensitive nature ever right for me!?
People say my tears and sensitive nature take away from the moment. I have slogged away for a good portion of my life to hide these parts of myself. I keep my tears a secret and am ashamed of my weakness.
As an adult, I find that my sensitive nature and heart are not the problem. The problem is the lack of sensitivity in the world. It’s not the compassionate who are the problem; a lack of empathy is the problem! I will continue to embrace my sensitivity, tears and all. I do not lose hope there are more sensitive people out there. I won’t (and truthfully can’t) harden myself and lose hope because I find the world to be cruel and unloving. I am who I am. I am transparent.My anger is pain masked with anger. It’s sadness for being the recipient of a pain I would never wish to inflict on others. It’s a betrayal I never foresaw. It’s the second opportunity no one else would’ve extended, yet I’ve already extended a third to my offender while knowing how the situation will likely end. It’s fighting the urge to assume the worst in others. It’s the unconditional love I am willing to give which is rarely cashed in.
It’s the product of a broken heart living in a broken world that is trying to break the best in me.
“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a “hot mess” or having “too many issues” are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.” – Anthon St. Maarten
Thank you so much Jackelyn for agreeing to be interviewed. I am thrilled to find out so much about you and hope your struggles in life have become easier to handle through your faith. I hope you have more peaceful moments, than times which stress you out. Here is one more link to Jackelyn’s Blog: Faith Walking Hebrews 11:1
Thanks for reading! If you would like to answer some interview questions about writing/blogging/poetry and your unique perspective and process on writing, I would encourage you to reach-out to me on my Contact Page. I would love to have you featured as a biweekly interviewee. See you in two-weeks!