Monday, September 1, 2014

Back in the States yet not quite Home

Since my first Role Model Monday post I've been wanting to get on an actual blogging schedule, but since returning from Afghanistan I haven't been quite able to pin down an exact life schedule!

I was able to successfully and expediently check out of the command I deployed with and come back to my Marines back a my home station! However, my job field went through a pretty big re-organization while I was gone and about half the Marines in my shop were sent on a wild goose chase that landed most of them back where they started and never really had to leave from in the first place... I was supposed to be one of those Marines, but since I am getting out soon they decided to leave me be, which means no one knows where/who I belong to- think it sounds confusing? Try living it.

On top of that I had to rent a car for two and half weeks because the Sgt. had put a new cool air intake into the Jeep. This intake was so awesome it wasn't California "CARB Certified" and failed the visual SMOG inspection - if you're thinking LAME, just know I was thinking that except more like Fire Truck, minus the "ire Tr".  So, I had to search around and find when and where I could get a new one that had a CARB sicker. Found it, shelled out the $300 for it, installed it with the help of an amazing friend (who I will continually show my appreciation for until the end of my days, but it still wouldn't be enough to show her how much she means to me) once we were done... no smog centers were open and neither were the vehicle registration offices on base. Good news, the smog centers would open at 8am the next day, bad news Vic. Reg. Office closed for the three-day weekend *whomp whomp!* Now I have a four-day weekend and can't really go anywhere without taking a chance of getting pulled over and having to explain to the officer "Yes, I know my registration is expired, but I've been gone for about a year and I have every intention of getting it done first thing on Tuesday sir."

So Tuesday it was back to the grind! Literally, because last Tuesday I had a wisdom tooth pulled and I've been sticking the softest food I can find, and since they gave me new meds my stomach couldn't handle it. I actually thought it would be a good idea to go lay out by the pool which was, but then I got super sunburnt because I didn't reapply sun screen - apply generously and often!

Though I am back and working I am not yet Home.

I have decided to put in my package for the Voluntary Enlisted Early Release Program - or VEERP. My current contract ends 15 May, 2015, but with the VEERP I am allowed to apply for a new end of contract date as early as a year prior. Since I was in Afghanistan at my one year left mark I am hoping to get approved to leave the Marines in November. Since I am putting in for that new time and it is so close I am holding off on taking any leave until I can start terminal leave on the Monster's birthday and be with him all day and not have to worry about going back to work. 

I'm missing the Monster tremendously and some days I just want to buy a plane ticket and go get him already, but then I would have to come back to work and leave him with a babysitter which- he's had enough of not having mom.  

Trying to get everything situated in order to start the rest of my life has been one thing after another but I'm getting through it. Hopefully by next week I will have some good news- wish me luck!!


Role Model Moday: Celena

We're back on track this week! Today's post would not be happening without my cousin Celena, she grew up with my sister and although I would love to give her more of an introduction I think most of you will be more than happy to jumping right in and learning more about this small business owner, mom and artist. So without further delay, I gladly present Celena of Baby Dee Designs.

What do you do? 
Currently I am a stay at home mom but also co-owner and artist for Baby Dee Designs. I hand make earrings, fascinators, hair pieces for that one of kind woman. 

Who or what inspires you? 
I am inspired by creative people, anything that inspires me as awesome. It could be a book, a show- sometimes we have shows at burlesque events that have specific themes. I usually make some items specifically for them which allows me to get creative within certain parameters. I have done sideshow freak shows, Star Trek, whatever. Also bands, like The Chop Tops, who I made a bow inspired by their logo. I now have a deal with them and make their official hair accessory merchandise. They're an awesome band by the way, check em out!

What gives you the drive to do what you do? 
My drive is my kids, bills, lol, but as corny as it sounds making people feel beautiful; I really do consider my pieces a part of me and if I make someone happy by wearing it, it really makes me ecstatic. If someone wasn't satisfied with a piece then I am embarrassed and want to make it right. 
Sometimes women have ordered veils for their wedding day and that makes me so happy to be a part of their special day. It really does

Do you have a set of core values you live by?
The core values of my life are: be yourself, be happy no matter the circumstances, and persevere through it all.
Life throws you curveballs, instead of stressing about what to do and letting it bring you down I think it's important to remember the most important things in your life and that's family and faith. When my dad was sick and made it through he told me after it was all done when life gives you problems with money, a job, or whatever. There are more important things going on, you have to enjoy life, sometimes you may thinks things are major but you "can't sweat the little things" life is too short. 

How have/do you overcome obstacles that pop-up?
Ummm, just deal with it and move on. Try to stay focused on the end game and prioritize on how to get through it. And pray, I don't go to church as often as I used to, but I pray. I thank God for all the wonderful things he has done in my life because I am grateful and then ask for guidance and the strength to get through it. I know prayer works whatever god or inner spirituality you may have. Prayer works.

What have been life-changing moments for you?
My life changing moment for me was when I was laid off from an awful job where I was constantly reduced and marginalized. I worked in a male dominated industry and worked my tail off for nothing. Constantly trying to prove myself and in the end was laid off. That made me decide to not be the uneducated (don't get me wrong I know I am intelligent) young Latin woman who just knew how to answer phones. Nope that wasn't me. So I went back to school and majored in computer science and got my degree as a systems analyst. I still and working on the long game of achieving my bachelors degree but that's still in the works. Unfortunately I'm holding off on the bachelors degree because in today's weird employment market I'm not sure where exactly I want to go with my education. So I'm using my creativity and doing accessories in the meantime. Weird right?

Who is one (or more) of your role models and why?
Role models...I think my parents are my role models with my current relationship. I look at them and realize no matter what goes on in your life you have to work at it and you will be happy. But it takes work and lots of lows. But with the lows are highs :-) life isn't easy, nothing about it is.

Also, there is a hair accessory lady named Nina Olivia "vintagebox 1947" she is a mom/ business woman and is amazing. I don't know her personally, but nowadays people FB everything.

I'm not going to go the Matthew McConaughey route and say I'm my own role model even though that speech was spectacular! Lol

If you could spread a message to the world, what would it be?
I would want people to know that I know miracles can happen. I don't know if it's actually God or what it is, but there are things that if you strongly I mean cry-your-eyes-out-on-your-hands-and-knees need to happen and really ask that it happen. You think about what you are asking and know and understand what you want and really, really, really want it. It will happen.

I don't know where this would fit but this is somewhat personal but I want people to know I can testify to really having something I wanted.
My dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Oral cancer just before the holidays of 2008. He was so sick going through chemo, it was really hard to see him go through it. I remember one day he told me that when they were making him a mask to hold his head in place while he got radiation he was getting really claustrophobic, panicking actually. But he said "I just thought of my grandson and how happy he made me and it got me through it" now before my dad was sick I had been trying to get pregnant it just wasn't happening. So oh well that's it my kid is going to be an only child. But when my dad was diagnosed, I know this sounds selfish, but I thought "God if you allow me one more child I know it will help my dad get through this, let me give my dad one last grandbaby to make him happy and have something to give him hope to get through this."
It was probably the hardest most serious conversation I ever had with God I was driving home from school talking to myself, well, talking to God, and one week later, after about 5.5 years, I'm pregnant.
So I know and I want people to know prayer and faith works. It works. My dad told me after it all he thought of his grand babies and how he looked forward to meeting his grand daughter he got through it.


If you'd like to see more of or are interested in buying her hand crafted work, check out her online store. And if you have questions about Celena's art  you can always leave them here in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by on this Labor Day Monday, I know you could be out grilling or swimming or enjoying the last gasp of summer in any way you choose and you chose to stop by my humble little page and read this. Now go out, be positive and remember your role model or at least try to be one for someone else because Monday's suck, but they suck a lot less when you're awesome.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wednesday Words:

I hope you will all forgive me seeing as it is now my Friday morning and your Thursday night, and I am now just getting to post my Wednesday writing prompt. I am a few days away from ending this deployment and things have been busy trying to get everything set in order to leave the country.

I'm pretty excited about this one because I found a pin that took me over to Apple Blue who had a huge list of post ideas and I was immediately drawn to one prompt because I have actually been thinking about these for a while now. Since I'm leaving Afghanistan and getting ready to transition out of the Marine Corps I figure it's time to not just dream about the life I will be living here soon, but legitimately set goals to build the life of my dreams. Plus, if I set my goals on here there will probably be some accountability. So without further explanation, I present 5 Goals (to actively work toward this year).

1- Compete in a fitness competition: bikini category
 When the Monster was 6 months old I got a gym membership and a deal to work with a personal trainer. My trainer was so knowledgeable and encouraging she really opened my eyes to the fitness world and made me want to compete. Unfortunately when the Monster was just over a year old I ended up really sick and really out of shape and no longer had a trainer. I kept thinking about doing a competition, but I had no idea where to start and no idea where I would get the confidence to get on stage in just a bikini >.<

After I saw three friends on Facebook get up on stage I said to myself "I wish I could do that." Wellp, the wishin' stops and the workin' starts here! It has been 50/50 with the eating, having the chow hall cook everything is great but the selection of healthy eating is not. Working out is going well, but I get bored easily so if you have any ideas or have competed in a fitness competition leave a comment or email me I'm still a little clueless, but learning more every day... wish me luck!

2. Learn Spanish - like for real this time.
I am 100% Mexican third/second generation and I don't speak Spanish. I can pick out words here and there and I took a Spanish class in high school but nothing ever stuck. So when I get back I'm going to actually take a class and use it every day. I want the Monster to know Spanish, as well as really understand what culture he comes from, so if I learn Spanish I know he will have fun speaking another language and learning about our history.

3. Become Self-employed.
Transitioning out of a job I've had for 7 years is scary, but I'm also really excited about it because I would like to continue with Photography and a little writing (hence the blog) so why not be my own boss? Has anyone else decided self-employment was the way to go? If you have, especially in the photography realm I'd greatly appreciate any input! Even if you haven't but are thinking about it let me know, we can help each other during down times and share resources we've found with each other, besides who doesn't want a buddy or two to help along the way?

4. Improve the blog.
I know this sort of coincides with the previous goal, however I want to set this apart because I would like to own my own site. Blogger, you've been great but I really want to take this blog further. The first thing would be to stick to a schedule... oops. Once my photography work starts to resemble that of a portfolio, I would like to add a page dedicated to it. I'd like to improve my writing skills and increase the reach of the audience. I'm constantly on other blogs trying to see what ideas they have, and of course the SITS Girls site is a great place to look for blogging resources. 

5. Be a better Mom.
I saved this one for last because it is the most important goal I feel I have, the one that is closest to my heart and also the one that will be ongoing. I know through preschool I can probably homeschool the Monster so I want to make sure I'm there for every minute of it. Being away from him for this long has been the toughest thing I've had to do so far. He's grown so much since I've been gone and I can't wait to get back to him.  I have actually submitted paperwork to leave the Marine Corps early. It was a hard decision to think about, but I know that the Corps did absolutely amazing without me for 230 years before I came in and it will do just fine for the many years of its existence after I'm gone, but my son will only be little for a while, he'll only grow up once. After dealing with a couple Marines who need their hand held to do things I know for a fact I would rather be raising my own son than someone else's kid (who is actually a grown man). I do love the Marine Corps and mostly all the Marines I've crossed and walked paths with, but I Love my son more, and he deserves to have me there for the rest of his life. Plus, I'm always on Pinterest and I see all these awesome things to do that I know the Monster would lose his mind over having so much fun doing and learning different things.

I know I have other things I want to improve and goals I want to set, but those are the top five things I want to work on this year. If you have any advice, or want to join me in smashing one of these goals, let's connect and be each other's accountability partners.  Change is always an opportunity for improvement it doesn't always have to be scary.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Role Model Monday: Maisha of Ahsiam Works

Before the weekend kicked off, I re-posted some old writings having to do with being a role model for others. I would like to present to you 

In this series I want to give you examples of people I look up to for many different reasons, but  if you have any suggestions, please leave your role model's name in the comments and tell me why you look up to them.

I would like to start this series off with my sister, Maisha.

We are 13 years apart and only since I joined the Marine Corps have we actually begun a relationship or really being sisters. Though we have the same family, we grew up very, very differently. The way she carries herself with confidence and has a presence that doesn't rudely demand, but more commands respect is one of the reasons I look up to her. She has started her own business, creative as all hell and definitely one of the smartest people I know.

She has kindly agreed to answering a few questions. If there is something more you'd like to know leave it in the comments or check out her latest venture on Facebook.

What is your Home town?
Monrovia CA

Something you find unique about yourself:
I'm left handed BUT, I hold my pen & paper like right handed people. Meaning: My paper, pen and hand aren't tweaked at weird angles when I write. Lol I think I'm the only left handed person I've ever seen write the way I do. 

What do you do?
I'm a small business owner of Ahsiam Works LLC. 
I'm a freelance multimedia artist

  • Graphic design
  • T-shirt design
  • Tattoo design 
  • Acrylic painting
  • 3-D multimedia pieces
  • anything art I will create it

Who or what inspires you?
Everyday life
personal experiences
other artist's work
My imagination
My fiancé motivated me out of a very long 10 year funk.

What gives you the drive to do what you do?
Plain & simply put: Not wanting to be BROKE! Hahaha #TRUTH 

Do you have a set of core values? What are they? 
honesty, loyalty, integrity, dedication

Do you have a life motto or mantra you live by?
4 main mantras: 
1. Speak the truth even if your voice shakes 
2. Tough times don't last but tough people do, screw your past, don't let it screw you.
3. I'm at this stage in my life where if it doesn't 
            a. Make me happy
            b. Make me better
            c. Make me money...      I don't have time for it! 

4. I refuse to be anything but successful! 

How have/do you overcome obstacles that pop-up?
First I go absolutely insane inside my head! Then I take a few breaths try to relax. Then I make a plan of action or two or three. Then I execute the plans until one of them works out. 

What has been a life-changing moment for you?
A life changing moment would've been moving two thousand miles away from home at 24.

Who is one (or more) of your role models and why?
Honestly anyone I've known or know who is a "go getter" are my role models. I always admired people who were successful in life through their own hard work! 

If you could spread a message to the world, what would it be?
"Get over yourself, be cool, be kind, don't be an asshole!" .... But then again what's the point!? We are doomed... This ship is almost SUNK! 

From left to write: Maisha, SheBear
(aka our mom)
and Beans before cornfed - circa 2009


Every person in this series has shown me in one form or another that we each need to take it upon ourselves to be the person we want to be. No one else will become you for you.

Do you have a role model you'd like to share? Leave the person and the reason in the comments.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Whether you think you can or you can't

This is an old post, but this is something I have truly tried working on ever since I wrote it.


I came to the realization that I’m lazy.

I was watching some random YouTube video of this acoustic group, wishing I could play guitar, and then it dawned on me; I can. I have just chose not to.

I have had numerous people encourage me and push me to do great things and I feel I haven’t lived up to my potential.  I’ve done a lot of shoulda coulda woulda and it ends now.
I started to think about all my hopes for The Monster and the kind of man I want him to be and how I hope he chases his dreams with the tenacity, fervor and fearlessness of a honey badger (yeah I said it- look those guys up, fearless!) And if I want my son to be that kind of man then it is up to me to be that kind of role model for him. I will not just tell my son he can do anything and everything he wants and set his mind to, I will show my son he was born for greatness.  I will show my son the satisfaction of hard work and accomplishment.  I will show my son how amazing he is.  Because it’s not just up to Dad’s to make their little boys into men.


The reason I chose to put this post backup is because it is something I felt I have worked on and think I've done fairly well. I've begun setting new goals for myself and working toward them with everything I've got. It also helps that the Sgt. is right here to back me up and keep me accountable to my new goals, hopes and dreams.

I also chose this because come Monday I'm going to start a new weekly post that I hope catches on. As most people would say Mondays suck, but I've realized while being deployed and working seven days a week - it is just another day and any day can be great if you let it. I want to bring positivity and encouragement to Mondays so if you're here I hope you'll come back after the weekend to see what I've got going for us.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday Words: Summer Wardrobe

I'm getting back in the saddle with a little thing I will be doing every Hump Day.

Wednesday Words! (I'm sure this is already a thing, but it's new here!!)
Basically I will go prompt hunting in the areas of different blogs and link them back here.  I'm really excited to be writing again, even if I am a little rusty. This first prompt is brought to you from Hello Neverland when she asked What are your Summer Wardrobe Staples?


Before we deployed I donated mostly everything in my closet and never looked back! It was a great feeling, to not have so much stuff. I will admit I'm not much of a fashionista or even a girly girl, but after 6 months of cammies and boots I'm ready for something different. I can't wait to get back to the states and hop into a pair of jeans or shorts- maybe even a sun dress?! Ahh, the possibilities seem endless! What makes me crave the freedom of civilian clothing even more? Seeing all the magazines and their websites talking about Choosing the perfect Summer Party Dress, 20 Beat the Heat party pieces under $20 and Summer MUST-HAVES for your closet -- I turned and looked at my wardrobe and of course all my summer staples are vastly different being in Afghanistan - it made me homesick for cute flip flops and tank tops.

I hate feeling down in the dumps so I decided these are some pretty unique summer must-haves(BONUS: they're unisex so I'm totally hooked up with that whole boyfriend-fit trend- that's still going on right?). I present to you:

Summer Wardrobe Staples (in a combat zone)

Daytime look:
Boot socks- drop a little powder in these babies to keep wetness away...for a little while anyway

FROG top and bottom- FROG actually stands for Flame Resistant Organizational Gear. These are also thinner than regular cammies keeping you cooler- if only they'd make a FROG sports bra =/

RAT Boots and boot bands- Rugged All-Terrain boots are a little heavy, but they are definitely more comfortable than some of the boots I've been issued. Boot bands keep the bottom of your trousers closed over the top of your boots making sure no bugs get in- unfortunately these are also annoying.

Watch- when time is of the essence, you're gonna have to keep track of it. I wouldn't recommend spending too much money on this as a deployment will really put it through the wringer

Flak: IFAK, mag pouches, mags, ammo, TQ, drop pouch, carabiner(s)-

Kevlar- Yes, Kevlar is a type of material- this handy helmet is made out of it hence the clever name

M4 (rifle)- This and Water are tied for 1st place of essential accessories. Clean it, respect it and never ever lose it.

Sunglasses- ballistic eyewear is a must, you can either have the actual tinted lens or switch out for a clear lens. Being a photographer my work depends on my eyes being taken care of, so I usually chose the clear lens if I'm out and need protective eyewear, but I usually never walk outside without my sunglasses.

Cover: 8 point or Boonie- A cover is the Marine term for Hat. 8 points are usually what you think of when thinking of a Marine, the boonie cover is more of a wilderness look and actually offers better protection from the sun.

Water- Water is the most important accessory to have this summer, and it's great for your skin!

Nighttime/Leisure Look:

Green Skivvy Shirt- a nice green cotton tee keeps you somewhat cool on hot Afghan nights

Silkies- or any type of super lightweight shorts to stay cool

Shower Shoes- Also known as flip flops. I started this deployment with a two-dollar pair from Old Navy, but they broke just about a month ago so now I have plain black ones that are bound to break any day now. These are essential in showering, a pair of these keep your feet off of the shower floor as well as the entire shower area. This is also the only time crocs are acceptable- and kind of even the pair of shower shoes that are sought after.

If you feel you're not really getting a sense of my totally cool outfit provided by Uncle Sam, I will be posting photos later, it's just hard to get photos up with the internet connection out here


Remember to stop by Hello Neverland's blog, she has great tips and prompts - I feel like I've stumbled upon buried treasure!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Her Majesty

He dared not refuse the Queen, for her scorn seem to hold more fury and destruction than any battle he had been in, but more so the sight of her melted him from the inside out, her warm embrace welcomed him home and her soft voice held him captive. So his only answer was "As you wish," when she said "Daddy, let's have a tea party!"

I've been gone from this writing for so long I needed to get back into it. I wrote this super short story after looking for writing prompts and stumbling upon The Sarcastic Muse and finding some really great writing tips and then a TON of writing prompts on their tumblr. This immediately made me think of how The Sgt. would act if we have a little girl one day, I love watching the Princess Bride, so of course I had to put the obvious homage to it in there.

Writing this little piece had me really thinking about growing our family and who I hope my kids will be someday. At first I was obviously thinking about if I have a daughter how much I want her to just be happy and comfortable with herself, since I never was and how much I don't want her to take 20 plus years to find out who she is and fully embrace it. Then I thought "Well, I want that for ALL my kids, no matter their gender," which makes sense and I'm sure that's really all any parent wants for their kid(s). Naturally, the best way to shape them is to be the person you want them to be, so I've made a promise to myself, from now on I will:
  • pray more and study His word a lot more
  • take time to read, write, take pictures or anything that brings me joy and relaxation.
  • STOP being negative with myself and comparing myself to others
  • give more praise than ridicule
  • accept compliments as they are
  • drink more tea
  • enjoy seeing myself in the mirror
  • never feel guilty about eating something and stop over indulging on junk
  • continue to be active
  • listen to my body when it needs rest
  • accept when I need help instead of pushing through in fear of looking weak

There's probably more I could do to improve on myself, but this is a good place to start.  I just hope that I will set a good example for my little Monster and any more that come along.

The sarcastic muse prompts can be found here and I definitely plan on using more to help me get back in the game :)