Wednesday, March 25, 2020

IT IS OK TO BE SCARED!

My heart is so full right now: full of emotions, fear - and I usually do not get scared, full of panic, uncertainty, desperation, also love and hope too. Covid-19 is spreading fast and in a scary way and it's affecting our entire planet. If you asked me about it 4 weeks ago I would tell you: there was too much hoopla made about it and I admit that I said that in my Instagram stories too, but boy was I wrong. This thing escalated and faaaaast. First in China, then in South Korea and Japan. Then in Italy and now all over America and Europe. Michigan is one of those states that has it bad too, over 2100 cases as of Wednesday March 25th. It is so bad and as much as I am trying to social distance, I have still gone to the grocery store or CVS. Have I washed my hands enough?! Have I sanitized enough?! Have I done enough to keep this horrible disease out of me and out of my daughter and my family?! I pray that the answer is YES! I pray to God that he keeps us safe and healthy and out of harm's way. I started going to church regularly this year and even-though I have not been in the last two weeks due to the state of our nation, I always prayed for my daughter, myself, my parents and all the loved ones in my life to be happy and healthy and to live a long life, ahead. I light a candle for all of my family members and the closest people in my life, every Sunday when Vivian and I go to our church. And we have continued praying, a lot of times Vivian and I pray before we go to bed. God is up there listening to our prayers and everyone's prayers right now. I have to put my faith and my trust in him, because I cannot put that faith+trust in our government right now or in the unprepared state of all of our hospitals, during this very critical time in our history. 

I love my daughter more than anything in the world - you all know that so well. As a mom, as a parent, during this very critical and sad time in our lives, I am trying my hardest and doing my best to make sure she is 'protected' though there is only so much I can personally do, and I know that. The slightest coughing or sneezing from her puts me in a panic mode, brings out the strong and over-protective mama bear in me. Am I the only one that feels this way?! Other moms can relate?! Am I being paranoid?! Is this normal?!

Originally I thought to keep today's post light-hearted, bright, happy and not CoronaVirus-related at all, but I couldn't, because I woke up worried and anxious. I have so many feelings inside and so many thoughts in my head. Watching or reading a lot of news - not just American news either - is definitely not helping at all, but is making me more scared, anxious and sad. And I think in a time like this it's OK to feel worried, sad, heartbroken, scared, confused, paranoid, overprotective, at times insane and all of that. This extremely-bad virus is messing with our heads, making us go insane, wearing our patience so thin. I do not suffer from anxiety or any type of depression but my anxiety has kicked in these last couple of weeks (even more so the last 4-5 days) because we are living during such scary times when a faceless, hidden enemy named Corona Virus is trying to steal our joy and is doing so more and more each+every day. Every time those numbers add up and those deaths face us, I worry just a tiny bit more. When will this stop?! Detroit community leader and business strategist Marlowe Stoudamire died from COVID-19 Tuesday at the age of 43 and he was very healthy. It is so heartbreaking because this hit home, this is in my city (I live in Metropolitan Detroit). He was a very important member and businessman of our community in Michigan and he was in great health too. This horrible disease progressed so fast inside him that it took his life so soon and abruptly, just after a few days. Times are scary and rough not just from a health perspective and for our mental state, but also in terms of the future, our economy and our jobs - those things will certainly not be the same after this brutal and long war against Corona will end. They will be hit and affected so much and they will leave bad repercussions on a lot of us. 

It's Okay To Be Afraid – Crystal Joy Hall

So today, despite my best efforts to keep things light and happy and fashion-related this week on my blog and proceed with my Thursday Moda linkup as usual (after all I have so many outfits, at least 20 that have never been blogged or posted before, from the last few months) I had to write what my feelings were and be honest to my feelings, fears and concerns. It has been business-as-usual on my Instagram and I have posted past photos, a few throwback looks/outfits and some quotes I have written in regards to my feelings about Corona Virus and the future. I have been vocal about the virus on my Instagram stories too and I have posted a few daily snippets of what we are doing at home, what are we cooking/eating and how are we spending these days quarantined home and following social-distancing. Please follow me on Instagram because I update you there daily - thank you - while on this blog I only blog once or twice per week. Overall, I have tried to be hopeful and believe that this too shall pass, but I am also very much a realist, though I am a positive and optimistic person by nature. I will continue keeping my faith in God and in the hands of our very hard-working medical staff in every hospital of USA. They are all working very long and exhausting hours right now, being in front of the danger and exposed to the Corona Virus every single day. My thoughts and prayers are for them as well. 

At the end, I wanted to emphasize that IT IS OK TO BE SCARED. It is OK to be scared during a time like this. How could you not?! It shocks me when I hear of people that are not scared at all from the virus or from what's going on?! Let me tell you, if Prince Charles can get it, so can any of us. No one is invincible, the people who are proceeding with their lives as normal, going on and driving their cars every day as if nothing is happening, not practicing social a safe+healthy distance, honestly, in my opinion are complete fools!

Thank you all so much for stopping by and reading along today and letting me vent. It is OK to VENT and to be so open and express your feelings, during this super tough time not just in our country, but in the world. It is OK to be scared of the current situation and what's to come. It is OK to cry every day. It is OK to think deep about what will happen and how we will overcome this - because I know we will, one day. It is OK to pray and to put your hand in God and have faith through this entire chaos that is wiping our nation, that is stealing joy from our faces, our hearts, our homes, our schools, our workplaces - you name it. We are all in this together! There will not be any Thursday Moda this week, but I will be back soon, with a fashion post, probably on Sunday or Monday. Take care of yourselves and your families! Stay home, get some fresh air from your porch, enjoy the sunshine, read, cook, listen to your favorite music or podcasts, hug your children, comfort them, pray and have faith! Do as much as you can do during the circumstances. Life is oh-so-short and this virus is reminding us of this even more, each day! Stay Strong and Be Safe EVERYONE! A virtual hug to you all. 





Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Thursday Moda #206: COVID-19, Uncertainty, Saint Patrick's Day and Living Life.

Who would have ever guessed that on March 2020, a huge pandemic virus would make its rounds through the globe and hit the entire world so hard that every country, every state, one by one, is closing down schools, universities, restaurants, hotels, offices, factories, stores, airports, malls, close down lots of businesses and drastically reduce flights, and gatherings, cancel events, concerts, movie premieres, sporting events, important games. etc. Even the Olympic Games in Tokyo will most likely get canceled this upcoming July. We are really living through some tough times and it is a war with an enemy that seems so hard to fight, a war that - if I am being very honest - will leave us broken, broke, battered, desperate, depressed and downright sad, as we brutally yet hopefully live each day from the couches or our cozy beds we will definitely get to know a lot better, as most of us are home these days. This all feels like it's a very long bad dream that needs to stop RIGHT NOW or like an apocalypse, but unfortunately it is the era of Corona Virus which is killing our joy and at times making us not look forward to Spring, which is less than a week away. This entire thing that is happening in the world today and this state of mitigation and rigorous safety+cleanliness we have to follow - in order to protect ourselves, our health and our loved ones - will most definitely test our last nerve. Being quarantined to our homes almost 24/7 will be tough. Not choosing an outfit every day will definitely change our moods, as will letting go of how we look like, not putting makeup or accessories on, or finding different things each day to keep our kids busy and our minds sane. 

My home country of Albania is even going a few steps ahead: they are spraying all the streets, apartments, hospitals, schools, etc with disinfectants, not allowing any types of car on the street with the exception of the public transportation (busses) that can take to work only police force, firemen and the hospital personnel, leaving open only the necessary markets, pharmacies and bakeries with reduced hours, each day and making every person who walks or uses a bicycle outside to wear a mask and gloves at all times. They have closed off almost everything and was the first country in Europe to do so (even Italy has a lot of its workplaces and plants open still). So proud of my home country of Albania for going to such extreme measures during these very horrific, extreme times. It is really tough for the people there right now, but it is also necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.

These days life is hard, emotionally and mentally draining, uncertain, confusing, depressing, scary and overwhelming to say the least. I have watched more news and more CNN and live speeches by our president in the last two weeks, than I have in the last 4 years. And unfortunately the news is worse than ever before. What is happening to Italy - a country I adore, whose music and food I love and whose language I love and know fluently, a country I have visited and fell in love with - is heartbreaking to say the least. I grew up watching their awesome TV shows and their movies, listening to their songs, learning their language first-hand, as a child from TV. I hope and pray each day that USA doesn't have the same fate. And I am hopeful. Among this chaos and this tough time that is truly teaching us the meanings of terms like 'social distancing', 'mitigation', 'pandemic', 'working from home' and 'homeschooling' and it's teaching us the values of things we took for granted  on a daily basis because we could easily find them in the stores, like pasta, eggs, rice, water, hand sanitizer and toilet paper, we have to continue to stay strong and be positive. Because  in the middle of this chaotic state of the world and state of mind (for all of us) is still important to do things that resemble our daily routines, our everyday lives that we used to live before the Corona Virus Quarantine. Despite this enemy that has drastically changed our lives, as we walk through busy super-markets with our carts filled to the rim, we have to dress up and show up - yes even at our own homes. It is important that we don't spend every day in leggings, pajamas, old raggy t-shirts, slippers and mismatched socks. It is important to wear your favorite lipstick and do your makeup just like you would on a normal day, before the era of the Corona Virus, It is important for our minds and our bodies to keep ourselves busy and to continue social distancing while we are also cautious when we are out in public. But it is also important to smile, to get dressed, to drink fancy coffee drinks, to create fun playdates for our kids as we are both their parent and their teacher. It is important to have an in-home date with our partners, to start a new hobby or pick up an old one - like I will with this blog. It is also important to go out, see the first steps of Spring, go for a walk or for a run, watch the little ducks in front of your home - I am lucky to live in the neighborhood I do - and to breathe in the fresh air as you read a book from your front porch. 

I did a few of those things yesterday on St. Patrick's Day when every single bar and restaurant in the state of Michigan is closed. I went outside and socialized with one person, I wished my best friend a happy birthday and raised a glass of my favorite alcoholic beverage - red wine - as I cheered for the future and for better days and good health for every citizen of the world! I breathed the fresh air, saw the ducks in the little pond, even fed them and all while I was wearing a real outfit - casual but put-together I must say. I made my black skinny jeans look chic with my black leather Superga sneakers, my marled black+white Loft sweater and some green jewelry including my Kendra Scott long pendant necklace, because despite COVID-19 it was still St. Patty's Day. All topped off with the warmest polar fleece pullover coat by J. Crew in a bright St. Paddy's shade of green. And I drank my wine while I enjoyed a home-made dinner inside, because I still have many reasons to enjoy life, and be happy and hopeful. After every huge storm, comes the biggest rainbow! We just have to be patient, and wait it out a few weeks or a few months but that rainbow will come - I have faith.


If Vivian were to go to school for Saint Patrick's Day, this was the outfit she would have worn. Well life goes on and this is the outfit she got to wore home instead, with slippers of course. I even picked Vivian this new adorable St. Paddy's bow at Wal Mart last week. As always she steals the show.





I am getting my shit together and - after 2 months I am finally - posting my Thursday Moda Favorites from the last two linkups (here and here). Thank you to all of you who still stop by, check on me, comment, link up and everything else. I have been such a bad blogger the last 6 months, but today I am linking my favorite 8 looks from the previous few weeks and I will making rounds on your blogs too and comment - see something good came from this Corona quarantine. Thank you so much and let's beat Corona Virus, we are all in this together! Now, let's get back to some gorgeous fashions.

'Crushing on this Wine Floral Dress'! You and me both Carrie. Love that darling nude woven clutch too and I own the same blush pearl headband.
The very elegant Di is asking 'Winter Please End' and I could not agree with her more. In this post she shows 4 looks featuring black, white and red. Love this particular one with the geo-print cascading coatigan and classic black loafers.
Karen always does neutrals so well. She is showing us a look of 'How to Wear a Long Rope Necklace' and such a striking necklace it is against her simple black tunic pullover.
Shauna linked 'All the Spring Things' by pairing a long lavender maxi dress with that fabulous Eiffel Tower clutch! Her bun is quite perfect I must add.
Laura is very ladylike and ready for the office in a new 'Plaid Midi Skirt'. Great idea to wear it with a black+white bow-tie blouse.
My friend Cheryl always looks put-together, edgy and fashion! In this look of a moto jacket on top of a graphic sweatshirt she shows 'How to Dress Like Kate Moss' and who wouldn't want to?!
Alison is proof that a 'A Classic Camel Coat' is a great piece to wear over anything and everything, including a dressed-down floral midi dress with suede booties.
Last but not least my friend Shelbee took a page out of a blogger whose style she admires. Shelbee styled 'All Black with Burgundy Boots' and a little matching burgundy wool beret.







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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Thursdsay Moda #205: Currently, March 2020.

We approached the month of March and the first week of it is already closing by. But we have seen the first touches of Spring this March, after a very very cold February that lingered, where we had a lot of snow besides low temperatures and cold winds, the kids even had a few snow days and I was sick for half of February - no joke! I am looking forward to the time changing this March, which means it will be daytime until about 7.00 or 7.15. NICE!! I think the change of weather, the days getting longer and the temperatures getting warmer, will most definitely get us in a better state of mind. My best friend's birthday is also on Saint Patrick's day, and I plan on spending the day before her birthday - March 16th - entirely with her, having fun at one of our local casinos - one of her favorite hobbies. Definitely looking forward to that.




fixing: Not sure this applies in this category, but fixing messes and clutter in my home, which means de-cluttering and cleaning, more and more each day. I have been doing a lot of that this year. Since January of 2020, believe it or not we have gotten rid of 60 boxes of things, about 40-45 boxes were clothes and shoes and the rest were toys, kitchen appliances, electronics, you name it. 

hearing: A lot of talk about the upcoming election and people's predictions of who will win. With that said, I wanted to say and recommend that you go out there and vote. Even if you didn't vote during the preliminary election, please please vote this November for that very important presidential election. I plan on rocking my vote next Tuesday for the preliminary election and of course in November. I work with and I also know a lot of people who do not vote and don't believe in voting. They think their vote doesn't count, because it is just a vote. But if every person thinks that and has that mentality, no one would vote. Plus, sometimes it comes down to just a few votes. Voting is a right we have in this country so please do it!

borrowing: Books from the library that I keep forgetting to return, therefore I have returned them late.  The library is very close to the house but not convenient since I never drive there. And sometimes you have to return books late - such is the life of a very busy mom!

feeling: Lots and lots of things. Good feelings overall. I am feeling positive about this month, positive and good that Spring is LITERALLY just around the corner. I am also feeling good about turning 40 this year, in two months to be exact, on May 4th! Feeling positive about my life in general and rocking life as a single mom - I talked about that a lot this Monday on my Instagram stories - I got down, deep, raw and very personal and I talked about my life. Please check out my Instagram and you can find the stories I am talking about under the highlights named "Self Love" because at the end of the day it is about self love. And if you do watch those stores, DM me and let me know what you think. Thank you so much.

recommending: To let go of negativity and try to look at the glass as half-full not half-empty, especially now in the eve of Spring. Life is to short to not smile, to not laugh, to feel or be miserable, to not let go of things that have troubled you on the past, to feel guilty about mistakes you may have made - think of them as lessons that shaped your life TODAY. Life is too short not to feel good about things and seize each day. And I hope I follow what I preach, because sometimes I am too much in my head or I am oversensitive, so I have to remember to 'let go' myself.


Now, join this week's linkup. =) Thank U!!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Thursday Moda #204: What Love Looks Like.

Hi guys. I am back with a beautiful, raw, emotional, romantic poem I just wrote. The original, first version of this poetry was written back on January 27th 2005, that is 15 years ago. Glad I found my poetry books and am able to look at my past written work. I wanted to revisit this particular poem especially because I loved a lot of the metaphors and words that I used. The original poem was titled "Yesterday and Today", but the title that suits this one a lot more is "What Love Looks Like" so I went with it. So, let's read below what love looks like you all. And speaking of love and how unique, raw, fun, difficult, emotional, deep and insane it can be please watch "Love is Blind" on Netflix - currently the number one show on Netflix. I binge-watched it all and tomorrow is the launch of the last and final episode. It is so good you guys. OK, poetry time!!





WHAT  LOVE  LOOKS  LIKE.
(February 27th 2020, 9.00 A.M.)

Wind and dust,
one colorless, the other dirty...
formed an intriguing pair
as we were both walking hand by hand,
our feet moving towards the same little room
we both knew very well what was about to happen...
as the sun reigned and shined so high and bright
...and only freedom stood in the way!


Water and mud,
one colorless, the other dirty...
both wet to their very last dripping drops,
both wet like the excitement
that was about to create bubbles and heat inside our blood,
both wet like the skin that covered what was inside!


Time and infinity,
one constant and alive, the other undefined and uncertain...
mesmerized, intrigued, ready or not,
you and I once two lost souls...
we threw caution to thy ever-beating,
pump-blowing, sane to the insanity HEARTS of ours!


Through the semi-shut blinds
we opened our mouths
filled with hot-blazing French kisses
that sprinkled magic dust through the air,
as palpitations sped up, so damn fast,
as lips trembled and feet shook,
only the town around us slew down a little bit,
because at 11.00 AM the fun for us had just begun!


Motion and stillness,
one fast, the other faster,
just began a new relationship with love
that only a mesmerized magician understood
and while this morning smiled in anger,
our footsteps had left behind
the 'bad luck' associated with Mondays
and filled the sky even with more warmth and sunshine!


Days and nights,
both constant and uncertain,
both colorless and sometimes dirty
left behind inhibitions and fell deep into dirty thoughts,
tucked inside lips that smiled and kissed both soft and hard,
danced through those fast minutes like hips dancing to a Shakira song,
for a solid perfect day that started with a hot cup of coffee
and forplayed into heat, intimacy and sweat!


Yesterday and today,
one gone, the other not just yet!
One, two, five, tens of kisses away
we will remember this day
through each laugh, each joke,
each serious look we gave,
each direction of the eyes,
each change of scenery and undressing of two souls,
...as we bared it all
...raw, organic, full-spirited, angelic and devilish at the same time!


If someone asked me what love looks like...
I would say colorless and dirty,
but oh so special, beautiful, forgiving and true,
muddled inside my deepest emotions and feelings,
love has many faces, but for me love is you!


I really hope you loved this one guys. Let me know your thoughts via comments. And now join the linkup too. Happy Thursday!!


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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Thursday Moda #203: Red and Pink on a Snow Winter White Day.

I wore this outfit today on a sunny but very cold day, filled with lots of snow. And don't let that sun fool you, it was a very brisky and not-so-balmy weather, it was only 16 degrees the moment these photos were shot, around 9.00 AM today. My work outfit underneath was nothing special, quite boring actually: black dressy pants, black sweater and black booties. Definitely nothing exciting for a blogger. And I couldn't pose with my entirely-black (and boring) outfit, outside either, because I would freeze to death and I have already had a cold for 11 days, that is the last thing I need LOL. But make no mistake I kept things beautiful, cozy, bright and colorful on top of the outfit, with my outerwear. As a matter of fact I wore...

RED  AND  PINK  ON  A  SNOW  WINTER  WHITE  DAY.
And I am wearing my favorite Pink Puffer Jacket - this baby pink puffer coat from Land's End (my second Winter with it) - with a Wine Red Burgundy Velvet Newsboy Cap (purchased from Albania, for over a decade ago) and I wore a coat of Almay's Silver Plum Lipstick whose name perfectly describes its color. And of course, it was sunny and my eyes cannot stand sun so I had to wear some sunglasses. I have had this dark oval pair by Nine West for years. You can't see them on me, but I have tiny Circle Pink Stud Earrings, too. Not bad for looking cute, cozy, bright and warm on a very cold day, don't you think?!









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