April was a month that through me off from my usual routine. As I reported in my March Favorites, I had to go to Tennessee for a few weeks to help my mom recover from illness and surgery.
The good news, is that she is feeling much better now and is at home but it’s going to take her many months to feel “normal” again.
When I went down there, it was worse than I imagined. My sisters admitted to sort of “protecting” me because what could I have done? I had the flu and live in New Jersey. So, yeah, I was a bit shocked by it all when I learned more about the situation. But, the good news is that even after a week of being there, she was really improving. This made it easier to come back home. I left feeling good that I went down there and also felt like she was in good hands.
After this experience, I want to send virtual hugs to anyone that has been or is a caregiver for a loved one. It’s really intense. It’s exhausting. Sometimes you lose yourself; you forget to care for yourself. I only had a few weeks of this, so I’m very grateful. However, it really opened my eyes to how intense care-giving is and I’m really happy my sisters were there to share some of that burden.
Another thing that I learned by being down there, toddlers are exhausting. My nephews are two years old and three years old. At those ages, they have so many feels; everything is so painful to their little souls (things like naps and wearing pants). There’s no filter which is both a beautiful and terrifying thing. Also, they can break anything and often come up with creative and very effective ways to break things. Toddlers should be on every QA team at every company. Give them a computer or a website and it will be broken within 60 seconds.
Once back home, I can’t really remember what else happened in April. I just bathed in the quiet for a few days and tried to catch up with chores/work. And then I soaked in the NYCness of it all. I went to museums (American Folk Art Museum pictured above), ate food, wandered aimlessly. This place is starting to feel like home.
Here were my favorites from April:
Wearing (Fragrance) – When I was with my mom, I wore no perfumes. When I got home, I craved spring-like florals like Yves Rocher Cerisier en Fleurs, Chanel Misia and Penhaligon’s Peoneve. I’ve also really been into Yves Rocher French Lilac shower gel.
Summary – The spring blossoms rubbed off on my perfume tastes.
Wearing (Cosmetics, etc.) – The products I reached for the most in April were It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer and Neutrogena Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer. These were great for my stressed, allergy riddled complexion. With color cosmetics, my preferences were all over the place. I had fun playing in color. Looking back, I used these lipsticks the most: Wet n Wild MegaLast Lipstick in Think Pink (pale milky pink, very 60’s-ish), NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Manila (the sort of coral that reminds me of tulips – it’s an odd coral shade that rests between warm/cool) and MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam I (warm brick-y red). I had fun with bright eyeshadows and used: NYX Vivid Brights Liner in Vivid Delight (delightful orange shade, not so delightful formula), MAC Eyeshadow in Chrome Yellow (vivid matte yellow) and Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Mildew (warm green shimmer).
Summary – I had a renewed love affair with color cosmetics.
Wearing (Clothes) – I spent too much on clothes in April. I went to a Nike outlet and bought three (different) pairs of black sneakers. I then impulsed bought some tacky thigh-high gladiator sandals at some store for people that are much younger than me. In Tennessee, I actually went to a thrift store for the first time in ages. I ended up buying a few amazing pairs of men’s Levi 501s in perfectly weathered black shades. I couldn’t believe they had any! And to finish my spree, I bought a pair of Ray-Ban Sunglasses in the Blue/Green. And then I immediately scratched a lens. This is why I can’t have nice things. Oh, and these sandals because I bought them a few years ago and wore them out.
Summary – I’ve got to lay off.
Using (Skincare) – No surprise but my skin was unhappy in April. Between stress and temperature changes, there was also the change in my routine and products. My favorite skincare products of the month were Paula’s Choice Resist Youth-Extending Fluid (so lightweight and with a high SPF) and 10.0.6 Keep Your Cool Mask (feels good but I could live without the cucumber/coconut scent).
Summary – I’m learning that my skin really likes routine and doesn’t want me messing with it.
Eating/Drinking – When I was away from New York, I found myself having the weirdest cravings like Halal cart falafel, the Saturday special from the Cuban place up the block and really great margherita pizza. And arepas. I was craving it all. And after two weeks of not taking good care of myself, I came back and I ate it all. No regrets.
Summary – I will never take for granted what all is available to me ever again.
Listening – The news of Prince’s death was so shocking. This of course had me digging out old records to listen to.
Like the entire rest of the world, I’ve been listening to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”. If I can dare remember what life was like PL (Pre-Lemonade), I was catching up on Southern trap which I’m going to say, is having another moment and is making me happy. I mean, it’s always been in the South but it’s great to see stuff like Bryson Tiller “TRAPSOUL” doing so dang well.
Summary– I never really feel “Southern” until I start talking about food or music.
Watching – I’m still happy that RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 and Empire are still on. Funny enough, when my mom finally came to she demanded that I not give her any Empire spoilers. At that time, there had only been one episode and I wish someone would just go ahead and spoil it all for me. Also, I’m certain my mom had me confused with my youngest sister for a few days. This is not funny, OK, it’s funny. So, she kept making me watch Johnny Depp movies because she thought I was the daughter that was once obsessed with him. I rewatched Cry-baby. And then I finally got to catch up on all of Johnny’s new stuff like Black Mass, The Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows. I didn’t like the newer stuff. But, I pretended I did because my mom just made me have like an impromptu three day Johnny Depp film festival. I also binged watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt when I got home because laughing is good for your health.
Summary – I watched too much TV and then got depressed because I realized that’s what people do when they are sick or at least sick and tired of it all.
Reading – My goal has been to finish books or read the ones that I’ve purchased throughout the year. So far, I’m doing well with this goal. I realize that if you are my friend, you bought “Open City: A Novel” by Teju Cole but you never finished it. It seems that all my friends, no matter how I know them, this is what they have in common – they have not finished this book despite all its positive press and awards. Well, I finished the book. Cole is an amazing writer (especially considering this was his first novel ever) but I admit that the theme of oppressor/victim can become weary for some readers. This is the entire theme of the book – about how we can, even in the span of one day, glide between those two roles so effortlessly both consciously and subconsciously. I finished the book because I was in a 100+ year old home in Tennessee longing for Manhattan and for my “normal life”. The book will take you all over Manhattan Island guided by an immigrant doctor and his stream-of-consciousness narratives. But, when I was away, this was as close as I could get.
Summary – I’m really enjoying catching up on all the books I’ve heard so much about over the past few years. I feel engaged with the world again.
Wanting – You know, I’m pretty darn content right now. People are doing well. I have everything that I could possibly ever want. My health is good. People love me. It’s spring. I can’t really ask for more. If I had to, I’d like to catch up with some of the folks that I haven’t talked to in a few months (collision of busy lives). I feel like reaching out and being social.
Summary – Things are good.
What were your favorites from April? Did you do anything inspiring? Go anywhere inspiring? Eat anything inspiring?
*Johnny Depp collage from joblo.com. “Open City” from Amazon. Lil Dagover from fanpix.net. All other images are mine. Amazon, Nordstrom, Paula’s Choice, Yves Rocher and 6pm contain affiliate links. Thanks!