A little bit of pirate joy

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See my Year of Joy page for today's update, let's just say that tiny pirates make me very happy :)

365 Days of JOY


As I enter the last year of my 30’s (how the hell did THAT happen?), I’m feeling pretty darned happy. I have been through hell and back. I have two beautiful children, who have yet to succeed in their on-going attempts to kill me. I have an incredibly loving and supportive husband (he understands and has come to accept my particular brand of crazy). I have been blessed with family and friends who have my back, and I am finally learning to own my story and claim my place in the world.

So, I have a new challenge for my 39-year. I have decided to make this my Year of Joy. Each and every day for the next 365 days, I commit to follow my joy. No, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit my day job or stop doing laundry (though the latter is EXTREMELY tempting). I am going to keep doing the things that need to be done each day, but for the last year of my 30’s I commit to do them in a way that brings me joy. I commit to stop doing things because I “should” and only do things that I truly enjoy. There are no exclusions from this challenge – all areas of my life apply including career, family, food, exercise, relationships. You name it, I commit to claim the joy in it!

Now, this may sound like a relatively easy assignment, but if you know anything about me (or if you are a mother yourself), you realize how painfully easy it is to live a life of obligation devoid of joy. How easy it is to fill your days with must-do’s rather than want-to-do’s.

And what better time to start this challenge than on my birthday! I started the day off right. Rather than going to Bikram yoga (which I truly adore), I took advantage of my husband’s incredibly sweet gesture of taking the boys to the basement to play and stayed in my bed until 10am. And it was DELICIOUS. I haven’t slept in until 10 in nearly 10 years! It was decadent, delightful and absolutely necessary.  A luxury I haven’t allowed myself (though sorely needed) in longer than I can remember. As the boys played in the backyard, I dusted off the MacBook and took advantage of some newfound inspiration to write. Not because I had to, but because I LOVE to write. And now we’re going for a walk around the block on this perfectly gorgeous summer Saturday.

I encourage you to join me on my Journey to a Year of Joy. I’ll track my journey on the Year of JOY tab right here on the blog, and I encourage you to journal your journey as well! Or just track them on your own. But, by all means KEEP TRACK OF YOUR JOY! It’s so easy to overlook, neglect or otherwise ignore the things that make us happy.

Let’s make this our collective best year ever. 

Beauty Mondays with D'Angelo Thompson

Protect Your Partner...
By D'angelo Thompson

Lately, I've been observing and talking to  friends partners and or husbands and I'm noticing a scary trend- no sunscreen. 

Honestly I can see the pre-mature aging and sunspots with my naked eyes, scared what I'd see under a microscope. What  worries me the most is skin cancer and it's very high in men. So when suggesting moisturizer make sure its strong in SPF 30 or higher, you can make it a family practice, " watch  mommy and daddy put on their sunscreen and now we'll do yours..."

D'angelo Thompson, make up, groomer, beauty educator, blogger  and author

A Year in the Life of a BadAssMama

What a difference a year makes.

The past three years have been life-changing for The BadAssMama. My 36th was a year of shock - dealing with the impact (both physical and emotional) of an unexpected series of surgeries designed to save my life from the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. My 37th was all about survival - battling through the pain of surgical recovery and the surprisingly more painful battle with depression and post-traumatic stress resulting from 5 surgeries in 13 months. My 38th has been a year of enlightenment - the year in which I finally began to break the hold of debilitating depression and PTSD and slowly began to see my life again.

I can't wait to see what my 39th year will bring.

As I begin the last year of my 30's (how the hell did THAT happen?), I can confidently say that I am stronger than I have ever been in my entire life. I have been through hell. I have been broken. But by the grace of God, with help of family, friends, incredible doctors and an amazing therapist I am happy to say that I am truly stronger in the places that have been broken. I am in the best shape of my life, both physically and mentally. I can see my life - really for the first time - and am beginning to fully appreciate how incredibly blessed I am. My life is joyful and multi-faceted, overflowing with friends, family and opportunity.

And I have been changed. I'm not perfect - not by a long shot. But I'm learning to live my life on my own terms. I am learning to own my story and appreciate my breakdown as a breakthrough. I cannot say that I wouldn't change a thing (if I could have jumped over the trauma to the breakthrough I would have taken that shortcut in a heartbeat....). But I can say that I truly appreciate that journey and can find joy in the outcome.

I'm spending a low-key birthday at home. I'm sure that there will be cake and an impromptu date night later in the evening. But, honestly, I don't need any of that. After the past three years, I'm just happy to be here - still standing, still smiling.

And still badass...

Take a Hint From Dad...

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I hate to admit it, but I'm starting to think that my husband is actually smarter than I am.

Let me explain.

Apparently, I am allergic to my couch. I must be, because whenever I'm in my house regardless of how much I've done on that particular day or what degree of exhausted I am at that very moment, I cannot make myself sit down. I am perpetual motion - feed the cat, feed the kids, make the beds, do the laundry, wash the dishes, balance the checkbook, open the mail, take out the garbage, books, bath, bed. Lather, rinse repeat. 24/7, 365.

Yesterday was one of those days. Every hour, on the hour I was double and triple booked with work and home commitments. I stumbled into the door at the end of the day (after rushing from a conference call to pick the boys up from camp and speed to karate) and was so exhausted that I could barely see straight. After giving the boys a snack, I dove right into my standard routine - open the mail, empty the dishwasher, start dinner. My husband got home a bit early and was in the backyard with Victor. He'd searched for months to find a replacement battery for a little red convertible ride-on car, and finally found it at a random Radio Shack. So, naturally, he and Victor had to wash the car before they took it out for a spin.

I looked out the window with an attitude.  How can he just come home and PLAY when there are so many things to GET DONE? Why would he waste months looking for a silly car battery when the lights in the upstairs hallway are still not working? I mean, come on! There are clothes to be folded and bills to pay!

And then Angel came inside. He had taken pictures of Victor detailing his little red convertible. He was smiling, dipping the rag into the bucket and making sure to get the rims cleaned just right. I flashed back to the exact same photo he had taken of Little Angel with that very same convertible when he was barely two years old. I closed the dishwasher and walked outside. Victor took great pride in showing me how his car worked - honking the horn, turning on the little radio, driving it up and down the driveway. His smile was like sunshine.

And I almost missed it over some damned dishes.

So, I took a hint from The Hubs. I went back inside and rather than toiling through the dishes/dinner/laundry routine I turned on some Sade, poured a glass of wine and danced through my chores. So what, we ate dinner a little later than usual last night? I finally gave myself permission to wind down from my crazy day and do something that I enjoy - something that would relax me - rather than running myself into the ground.

Thanks, babe. You're a pretty smart dude....

Makeup Mondays with D'Angelo Thompson


The Summer of Skin
By D'angelo Thompson 

I have had many old and new make up artist friends on my radar the past few months. Here are few things I learned: pure Shea butter is a natural sunscreen from my friend Matin Mauliwazada and my skin has never felt or looked better. Another is the power of the prickly pear seed oil/argon oil combo on rejuvenating the skin from sun damage and fine lines from Munemi  Imai owner of MUN (munskin.com). You will thank me in the future I promise.

D'angelo Thompson, make up, groomer, beauty educator, blogger  and author

When I grow up...

I used to think that being a grown-up was reaching a certain age. The older I get, the more I realize that age really has little to do with it.

True, with age comes the benefit of experience and for some, wisdom. But when you get right down to it the true hallmark of being a grown-up is learning how to not only accept but to OWN who you really are - and to work the hell out of if.

For a precious few, this comes early. You've met those old souls who seem to konw their purpose in life, are comfortable in their skin and know how to live each day with purpose. For others this takes years of life, love and loss to attain. Sadly, the vast majority of us may never truly know our purpose and own the space that we take on this planet.

I used to think that I would finally achieve grown-up status once I had kids. To the contrary, in many ways motherhood has caused me to revert to being a little kid. I get cranky when sleep-deprived (which is almost ALWAYS with two-under-the-age-of-six). I yell when I don't get my way, and pout when I don't feel like I am Angel or Victor's "favorite girl". But, in many ways they have made me more grown-up than I could ever imagine. I've learned that I am capable of more strength and joy and fear and pain and exhaustion and exhilaration than I'd ever imagined. I've learned to put someone else's needs above my own, to love a tiny being more than life itself. I am in awe of my body because of what it can do, not just how it looks (because Lord knows that can be a hot mess....especially after two kids).

Growing up can be painful. In addition to feeling comfortable in your own skin and accepting your worth comes the realization that life is not always fair. Bad things can and do happen to good people. Your life can change in an instant, and yet the world keeps spinning and expects you to keep up. Life does not get easier, but as we grow up we become stronger and better equipped to deal with the madness.

I am taking baby steps into grown-up land. I'm learning to live life by my own rules, because I will never be able to please everyone. I'm learning to follow my own path to joy, rather than holding others responsible for my happiness. I'm accepting that I am beautiful - inside and out - and worthy of the many good things that have come my way simply by virtue of being born. I do not have to earn happiness, to earn worthiness. I am worthy, because I am alive.

What do YOU want to be when you grow up?


Makeup Mondays with D'Angelo Thompson

My Make Up Kit /Part 2
By D'angelo Thompson

A new but AMAZING item in my make up kit that I use on clients  is the Aqua Shadow Pencil in Noir by Make Up For Ever. It's pure black, easy to apply for eye liner and or a quick smoky eye...they come in an assortment of colors.

D'angelo Thompson, make up, groomer, beauty educator, blogger  and author

Faith over fear?

It's hard to have faith when you're angry with God.

Let me explain.

I've never been one to believe that everything happens for a reason. There are simply too many unreasonable events in life for me to believe that this is true. At the same time, The BadAssMama hates nothing more than a whiner. No one ever said that life was going to be fair and, for good or for bad, I was raised in the "suck it up, Buttercup" school of thought. I learned for the most part to swallow my emotions and move on.

Then my sister died.

Stacy had sickle cell anemia and was killed by an overdose of pain medication at the very hospital she went to seeking relief from a pain crisis. To make matters worse, when she called me and said that she was just going to take some Tylenol with codeine and take a nap, I was the one who told her to go to the hospital. I may not have administered the lethal overdose of morphine, but I can't help but feel responsible in some way for her death.

Nearly 20 years later, I have a son with a form of sickle cell. It's not the exact same disease that Stacy suffered from, but the impact can be just as painful at times. Last week he was hospitalized with a pain crisis. The only medication that can ease his pain during a crisis is...morphine. Each time, I explain to the hospital staff my sensitivity to the drug. They are understanding, empathetic even. They allow me to watch them calculate the proper dosage based upon his weight and observe as they dispense the exact amount.

And then I watch in silence as they administer the same drug that killed my sister to my little boy.

I want to understand why God would allow my family to suffer the loss of my sister in such a preventable way. I want to understand why God would allow my son to suffer the same disease as Stacy did. I want to understand how I am supposed to trust and have faith that everything will be okay when I watch, helplessly, as my child is in pain.

I want to cast my cares upon Him because I know he cares for me. I want to trust that He knows the plans that He has for me and my family - plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give us hope and a future.

I believe in God and I believe that He cares for me and my family. But I'm still angry.

The BadAssMama's Take on "Having it All"

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Personally, I'm getting pretty sick of the whole "Can women have it all" debate. So, I've decided to add my two cents (translation - give the REAL answer so that we can move on to something much more important like why Rocky Road ice cream should be considered a controlled substance, or a fool-proof method to get your kids to behave like perfect little angels in three easy steps)

Here's the truth - having it all is a myth. Like Big Foot, an empty inbox or keeping off the "last" five pounds, the pursuit of having it all is a pipe dream. First off, who defines what "having it all" means? As your life and priorities change, can you still claim to have it all if you've decided that you want something else or something more? If everyone's definition of having it all varies, who's to say if we've actually attained the holy grail of having-it-all-edness?

Like fat free cheese and pants with front pleats, I believe that the myth of having it all was created by evil male scientists hell-bent on pissing off all the hard working women of the universe.

On a serious note, I do believe that the United States has a painfully long way to go in terms of providing safety nets for parents of both genders to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while paying our mortgages or pursuing an ambitious career if that is our choice. Mandatory paid parental leave should be a given. The fact that we are the only "developed" nation without it is more than a joke. It's a damned shame. An embarrassment. Absolutely ridiculous.

The debate over whether women should keep their foot on the gas throughout their careers or take a detour every now and again to raise a family is the definition of a first-world problem. To be in the position to hold a C-suite executive role or top level government post is rarified air for anyone - man or woman. Anyone having this discussion clearly does not have to worry about where the next rent check is coming from or how they are going to feed their children. And I feel comfortable saying this because I am in the fortunate position at this time to have such problems. I am a relatively high-powered executive in a well-paying role who has the luxury of worrying about whether I should be pushing for a bigger job or pushing for a bigger life. At the end of the day, my situation allows me the CHOICE. Far too many women - and men - in this country, struggling to feed their families do NOT have that choice.

Let's talk about that. Let's talk about something that really matters.

The mommy wars are bullshit.

It's time to move on...

Fashion's Night Out Event with D'Angelo Thompson and The BadAssMama!

A Very Special Makeup Monday post by celebrity makeup artist D'Angelo Thompson

I'm very excited to be producing a D'Angelo Thompson presents event for "Fashion's Night Out" with blogger and business woman Sherice Torres of The BadAssMama Chronicles (hey, that's me!). The event will take place at Lazzoni (www.Lazzoni.us) on September 6, 2012 from 6-11pm.

Save the date and stay tuned for more details.

D'Angelo Thompson - makeup, groomer, beauty educator, blogger and author