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February 2018

What I would tell my younger self 10 years ago

If someone told me, at 21, that at 31, I would be married to someone completely different, with no kids, and living in Puerto Rico with two dogs, I would have said… BITCH, YEAH RIGHT!

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Ah, so young and full of hope and, yet, so stupid

#FlashBackFriday
2008 was the year I regretted piercing my tongue, wore my studded belt with every outfit, and was in the middle of frying my hair with my straightener and dye jobs. My college dorm was my “residency” and I somehow managed to balance my grades, partying, and a long term relationship. Often, I was asked what I planned on doing with my life and I never had a solid answer. I didn’t exactly have a path to follow so I latched on to someone else’s idea of what sort of life plan I had for myself.

Growing up the younger of two, the only daughter, and in a traditional Latin home, I wasn’t exactly given too many choices or options of what I wanted to do with myself. School, however, was never up for debate – I had to go, like it or not. College was absolutely amazing but, at the time, I wasn’t living for myself. It wasn’t until 2009 that life kicked me in my lady balls and showed me I had to do something with my life but in 2008? I was lost. I was lost in this pressure of finding out what I wanted to do; will I marry him? Will I start a family? Will I be a working mom? Why am I in college? I had no guide to help me through these decisions.

So, if I could go back in time 10 years ago, here are a few things I would let Allison (no one called me Ally yet) know.

  1. No, I didn’t bring anything back from the future, so, you’re just going to have to believe me.
  2. You will find your calling in school, just not at this very moment. You will need to be alone to figure out what drives you and what makes you happy. Don’t give up on school. This will be your security.
  3. Yes, your brother marries her. Their love will open a part of your heart you didn’t know existed and your nephew, Damian, will draw out emotions you thought you’d never feel for a human being. You will understand what “fighting for your life” really means and how delicate life can be but Damian will also teach you how strong someone can be, no matter their size.
     

  4. That nervous tick you have with shaking your leg is going to be a sign of anxiety. You won’t get diagnosed until about 7 years later. It’s going to suck and you’ll cry because you won’t fully understand why it happens or what is triggering it. I’m still trying to figure it out so just be patient. Not everyone will understand and while some will try to “out do” your pain, there will be others who will empathize and help you.
  5. That piercing you have, you’re going to take it out and pierce it about two more times. The last time will be the least painful one and eventually, you’ll get bored of it and take it out every now and then. You’ll still have it at 31.

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    It’s all fun and games until you rip the hole or swallow the jewelry
  6. Don’t try so hard to hold on to people. Those who will make the effort to stay in your life, will. Jen will be one of those. She will go through life turmoils but will finally find her happy place. You’ll be lucky enough to meet her son, Orion, and be proud of the woman she has become all while reminiscing with her about the time you both shared a toilet to throw up in during a drunken night at Webster Hall.

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    Jen, thank you for all your spontaneous joy rides to 6 Flags and down the shore
  7. You’re going to go through your first heartbreak really soon and it’s going to hurt, bad, but it will be worth it. It will take a few years to get over the pain but you’ll reach a day when you can look back at Louie’s old pictures and say, “I’m okay.” I promise you, it will be for the best. Besides, your husband is much funnier, nicer, and he absolutely adores you.
  8. Stop being so hard on yourself. No one has their shit together. Have fun and screw what anyone thinks of you. You’re going to make mistakes but this is how you will learn.Follow up: there will be two apps where everyone will take pictures and videos to showcase their daily lives where they pretend to be happy; create and patent the apps Instgram and Snapchat. You’re welcome.
  9. Jessica will be your best college roommate. Trust me.
     

  10. Your best concert buddy is actually your brother and you will have a blast cockblocking him at concerts so go to as many as possible.

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    Enjoying In This Moment with my brother
  11. The love of your life will finally meet you in the perfect circumstance and take you to places you’ve never dreamed of seeing. He will also bring you two dogs that will love you unconditionally. In this relationship, you will learn you never really wanted kids to begin with.

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    D’aw!
  12. There will always be people that don’t like you and that’s OK. You don’t need to be their friend. You are going to keep meeting people you don’t like for whatever reason as well. That’s just life; you can’t win everyone over.
  13. Not only will you get a job, you will graduate, get a better job, and you’ll buy your own car with money you’ve saved without needing a co-signer. It’ll be terrifying but worth it.

You’re never going to like wearing office clothes, you’ll still wear cartoons on your shirt, you’ll have blue hair, and you’ll still get excited about Sailor Moon. It looks like you’ll always be young at heart… or an idiot. Just enjoy the ride!

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My lonely Valentines

Military spouses are no strangers to being alone on important holidays and I can understand why they would dread spending today alone. After all, you are surrounded by pink and red colors, the word “love” splashed everywhere, and happy couples while you only have Netflix to depend on.

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Yes.

Where did this sappy holiday come from?
Lemme school you on where this joyous holiday came from. St. Valentine was a Christian priest who literally died for love. He found it unfair for Emperor Claudius II to ban engagements and weddings for the sake of having more soldiers. Claudius was pretty much a dick because he got into so many wars that he was running out of soldiers and lovers did not want to leave their families to fight Claudius’ battles. On top of being a fan of war, he didn’t really treat his people fairly so it is understandable why no one wanted to fight for him anymore. St. Valentine was not having any of Claudius’ shit and believed love should never be banned or prohibited (are you listening, you Judgey Judies?), so, he secretly began marrying couples. When he was outed, he was sent to prison and was put to death but not before confessing his love to a blind girl. How did he do this? No, not with a pen, but with ink squeezed from violets. That’s right, he wrote her a sonnet composed of ink squeezed from violets. Sadly, he was still put to death the next day. Valentine’s day is celebrated on February 14 because it is believed lovebirds, doves, and owls began to mate that day after the Catholic Church granted him Sainthood.

Now that you know the history of why we celebrate this day, I can admit that I’ve never been one to celebrate this holiday. After learning about the saint, I can absolutely respect the day and the man but I just don’t expect my husband to give me gifts because it’s just another day. Plus it has become sooo commercialized, I mean, c’mon, before you read this, did you know who Saint Valentine was and why he is honored? No, because HE isn’t honored, per se, the action of love, what he died for, is celebrated. With that being said, does it change your perspective on today?

Still a V-day Grinch? Celebrate the other “holidays” that are on February 14!
This love and sex filled date is also shared with Library Lovers’ Day (Australia), International Book Giving day, National Cream Filled Chocolate day, and Quirkyalone Day. No one said you couldn’t acknowledge any other event going on in the world so here are a few things you can try and do today besides wallow in your emotions.

  1. Be a fun parent if your spouse is deployed. Have the kids make some sort of arts and craft gift for their parent so when they do come back, they’ll have piles of cards and gifts. Plus, it’ll keep the kids busy and your mind occupied.
  2. Love isn’t just for marriages and relationships. Go visit a children’s hospital, bring them Valentine Cards or even little snacks. They can always use new visitors and it’ll be a nice feeling for them to be acknowledged by someone besides their parents.
  3. Pamper yourself. This doesn’t just go for women, I’m sure there are “Me” things husbands can do to make themselves feel good. Ladies, get dolled up for yourselves, make yourselves a HAPPY dinner, not a sad, woo is me, dinner-for-one meals.
  4. While you’re all sexified, take a few pictures or even videos for your boo thing and send them to their phone or have a photo shoot printed out so when they return home, they have an extra goodie.
  5. Buy cream filled chocolates! You don’t have to share with ANYONE!
  6. Don’t be bitter. Just because your spouse is away absolutely does not give you a free bitter card. Don’t be jealous or say the famous “Must be nice…” phrase to other couples. You don’t know how many other meaningful days they had to spend away from each other nor do you know their struggles. Don’t rain on their parade.

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    Don’t be shitty.
  7. If you’re a military spouse, invite some other spouses whose S/O are away. Bring out the board games, snacks, PJ’s, or dress up! Something lively so you don’t end the night on a sad, tearful note.
  8. Do what YOU want to do. Reread an amazing book or watch trashy TV. Dive into something you love to indulge in that you normally wouldn’t be able to do with your spouse around (*ahem* KUWTK).

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PERIOD panties! Thinx or Padkix?

Every month I get this pesky little thing called a period. It’s basically my body’s way of relaying a nasty message to me signed from my uterus.

The gift that keeps on giving
My uterus fights me every month because I refuse to give it a baby. This fight consists of bloating, making me feel like I have about 20 extra pounds from my waist down, bleeding, losing the uterus lining in chunks, and terrible hormonal swings. If that wasn’t enough, I must sacrifice good panties for ugly period panties that will not escape the inevitable. I hold a viking funeral in their honor.

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So one day, in my inebriated stage, I was just hanging around at home just cruising YouTube as I always do, hammered or not, I just enjoy YouTube holes. I came across this Buzzfeed video where the girls try Padkix period panties and this YouTuber I follow, Safiya Nygaard who also tried Thinx, another period panty. I had just finished my period and thought I should try these!

Life changing moment
I had gotten my first period at the age of 11 and since then, it has been a bloodbath – no pun intended. Because I come from an immigrant family and my mother is religious, I was NOT encouraged to wear tampons so I strictly wore pads, the bulky kind all through my preteen and teenage years. It wasn’t until I went shopping with my cousin and saw her buy the Ultra Thin pads with wings! Mind blown. I immediately switched out to those until I hit about 21 years old. I had went to a pool party and planned on just hanging out because my beloved menzies showed up unceremoniously. Then… a wizard appeared before me and offered me a tampon. This 16 year old wizard showed me a whole new world.

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A whole new world!

She handed me a Playtex Sport tampon. What a game changer. It took me about three tries to actually figure out how to use it but once I did, holy shit, I never went back. Now, because I didn’t treat my anxiety at that time, I had unrealistic fears such as…

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This was and always will be a fear in my head. I know it doesn’t make sense nor will it happen but this is what I envision in a pool.

Along with pool swimming sharks, I am constantly worrying about Toxic Shock Syndrome so I refuse to sleep with a tampon inside. Instead, I usually wear overnight pads which aren’t the most comfortable. Between the diaper feeling and the crinkle noises, it’s just a inconvenience. After watching both YouTube videos, I decided to give it a go and try out both.

Pulling the trigger
I first went to the Thinx website and ordered a Large Bikini in black. Looking back, I should have gotten a medium but the only reason I opted for a large was because Safiya mentioned in her video that the panty felt a little snug around the leg opening and if I am going to wear these, I wanted to be comfortable. This panty cost $37.00 with shipping included. I ordered it January 11 and I received it on the 16th. Next I went to Padkix and ordered a Medium in polkadot. The cost was $36.00 altogether with shipping as well and I received this one on the 17th.

When I first opened the packages my initial reaction was, “Holy hell, they are HUGE!” but not bad. Thinx was a plain black panty. It looked almost identical to regular black panties I would normally wear except with a liner, pad, or a tampon. The Padkix was cute with its polkadot pattern and, considering I don’t wear cute panties during my flow, it was a comforting fact knowing this company was so confident on no spills that they made this black and white pattern.

The experiment
I decided to wear the Padkix on my first night of my period. As adorable as these polka dots looked, it felt like I had a lot going on down there. The bottom inside has a fleece like material so it’s warm. The outer side of the panty feels kind of like a swimsuit. Imagine wearing one of those swimsuit that holds everything in but has an outer layer that is slightly loose, that’s what it feels like. It’s not uncomfortable but I was aware these were not regular panties. I did feel secure that nothing was going to leak out on the sides. You can see the slightly placed lining of the “extra padding material” on the back and if anyone touches your butt, they WILL feel the padding. It’s not very discreet so I’m not entirely comfortable wearing these with leggings or tight pants at all. My lady bits did feel like they were being snuggled by a pillow so that was a plus.

When I went to bed, I was hesitant but thank goodness the bedsheets were red colored already! I slept the whole night and when I woke up, there was no spillage and no leaking but it also appeared that I didn’t bleed that much to begin with. I decided to wear them during my morning routine: waking up at 5:30am to make breakfast for my husband and myself, let the dogs out in the yard to potty, eat said breakfast, take the dogs out for a 2 mile walk, and did some light household work. All of that seemed to do the trick to get things flowing down there. Although it was soft and comfortable, it felt a little bulky and I was very aware of what I was wearing. When I went to shower, I saw the massacre that was my period. The care instructions advise to wring out your worn period panty before washing them. I’m not stranger to blood but that part seemed the most unpleasant was having to wring out. I get why you should do this, I do, but, man, that was A LOT of blood. I would recommend doing this in your laundry sink or in the shower. After I did this, I tossed it in my laundry, washed it, and hung it to dry. No stains, no odor, nothing. It was good to go!

I wore the Thinx pair the following night. These look like actual panties and this is from their new line of cotton underwear. This black undie is way more discreet than Padkix but what it lacks in cuteness, makes up with comfort. Because I bought one that is all black, you can’t really see the lining but you can’t feel it either. I was a little apprehensive that it wasn’t going to secure my second night flow because it is a size larger than my normal size so imagine my surprise when I woke up and, once again, no leakage, no spillage, no stains. The clean up process was the same as the Padkix – it was a massacre in my sink. Once they were wrung out, I tossed them in the wash and hung them to dry.

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Am I a changed woman?
Padkix has their cute design and with their black and white pattern, it is easy to tell if you’ve had any leakage but I’m not sure how I feel about the fleece lining. It’s definitely secured but the padding would make me feel paranoid if I wore it in public under dress pants or leggings. With that said, despite the “full” feeling down there, you KNOW it is working. The Thinx were light weight and the lining was barely visable. It’s breathable so you don’t feel like you’re wearing a diaper but I feel as though I may have to retry them again on my first day on a light run to really test how much it can hold. If next month they both feel comfortable, I may just buy them both again, Padkix in another design and the Thinx in a beige color and smaller size and style.

Personally, I would wear them again because not having to put a tampon in or wearing a pad is SO freeing. I would recommend you try at least one of them. Pull them up, throw on some sweat pants, get comfy on the couch while you stuff your face with chocolate and use your hormonal tears to wash it down!

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Embracing my natural hair

When I was about 11 years old I participated in my older cousin’s Sweet 15. On the day of the party, all the girls had to get their hair done. The style was a simple, blow out – not wavy but pin straight. I saw what I looked like in the mirror and I couldn’t believe how great I looked. This was the first time I had ever saw myself with straight hair and began hating my natural hair.

Bleach. Dye. Gel. Repeat.
All through middle school, I rocked a pony tail with my frizzy hair because I didn’t know how to style it. Once I hit high school I would wake up, dunk my head in water, then in a tub of gel (which held a BUNCH of alcohol as ingredients) that I would buy from the dollar store, make it nice and crunchy and then break the gel once I got to school. If I couldn’t be bothered to do that or flat iron it, I would just wear pigtails and call it a day.

 

The darkest time my hair faced was college. During those years, I had blue, purple, green, orange, yellow, red hair and that meant a lot of dying and frying. I was completely oblivious of the harsh chemicals bleach gave off and on top of that, I would take a flat iron to my damp hair. I wouldn’t even let it completely dry before going over it with my Chi flat iron.

Blue da ba dee
At the age of, oh, let’s say 28 or 29, bleaching everything and dying my whole head blue sounded like a good idea. Not highlights, not ombre – all blue. Although, I wanted to fuck with my hair as much as my dark roots allowed me to, I made sure to talk to the colorists and stress the fact I wanted to protect my hair as much as possible and they understood. From then on, I began to deep condition my hair, use cool/cold water, and only wash it once or twice a week.

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Blue and pigtails, once again, because my hair wouldn’t cooperate.

As much as loved my blue hair, I found myself actually missing my curls and decided mid November 2017 that I will no longer straighten my hair. Of course, to achieve my goal, I would have to give up dying it as well. I was conflicted! On one hand, I have always loved having extreme hair since college, my husband adores and encourages it, and we joke that our dogs can always spot me out because of my blue color (yes, dogs can see blue). While on the other hand, my hair will never reach its full potential of healthy curls, I’ll be spending over $100 every couple of months for the upkeep, and constant frizz!

So, I decided to switch up my hair care
I started to research articles, magazines, and YouTubing beauty gurus. CurlyPenny has an excellent YouTube channel where she shows her curly hair routine, what products she enjoys, and even searches for products at reasonable prices. I use only CF (Cruelty Free) make up so it is only natural I look for CF hair products such as the Shea Moisture line. January 27, 2018 was the first time I did a cowash, meaning, when I went to wash my hair, I washed with only conditioner and omitting shampoo altogether. These were my results after my first co washing, using Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk and using a blow dryer diffuser. Keep in mind, I had not applied heat to my hair for over a two months, I massaged Jojoba oil on my scalp to promote hair growth, and limited my use of products with sulfate and parabens.

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My natural hair trying to repair itself.

I am stilling in the trial and error phase on finding CF products that work for me. Lots of money down the drain but it’s not as annoying as the next paragraph!

No, you may not touch it
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Please… don’t touch my hair. No, I am not being rude, I’m not being uptight, I don’t think I’m full of myself. This is what I have to do to my hair:

  • Use a satin pillow case, which by the way, IS NOT AS COMFORTABLE AS YOU’D THINK!
  • Use scrunchies because, suddenly, it’s the 90’s!
  • Sleep with my hair in a loose pony tail INSIDE a silk bonnet if my satin pillow case is dirty
  • Immediately use product while my hair is still wet to control my curls. This means my shower routine is still not finished by the time I leave my shower
  • Delicately and lightly dry my hair with a T-shirt BUT ONLY FOR A MOMENT or else frizz happens
  • Carefully scrunch more product in my hair with my fingers BUT ONLY FOR A MOMENT or else more frizz happens
  • Blow dry my hair for about 30 minutes just enough to leave it slightly damp because my arms are exhausted from massaging my scalp, washing my hair, de-tangling my hair, and holding the blow dryer.

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Basically, it takes a lot of work, patience, and time for me to “just” wash my hair to get my hair as healthy as I possibly can during this time. Second, third, fourth day hair is even harder to manage because any touch can make my hair frizz. Once my hair is finally grown out I can do the big chop (unless I just start getting trims) and maybe I won’t need to work so hard and I won’t be as anal about people touching my hair.

Love what ya got!
Straight or curly, just love what you have. All straight haired girls would love to have our volume and bounciness while we, us curly haired, would enjoy waking up, brushing our hair and going out the door. Both have their pros and cons but at the end of the day, you just have to accept what you have and find the beauty in it.

 

“Why did you stop?”

In mid November, I had met up with a high school friend, Diandra, and when she asked me, “So, what are you doing in Puerto Rico?!”

I replied,

“Nothing. Just a housewife.”

Catching up just to sit down
I had went back to New Jersey for a few weeks due to hurricane Maria ripping through Puerto Rico. I stayed with my parents and I was able to catch up with some friends, mainly my high school girls, Mimi and Joy. Thankfully, we all live close to each other and decided to meet up and catch up on what has been going on in our lives.

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Old friends

Mimi struggled with anxiety but works hard to not let it run her life. She dished about her amazing job, the comfortable pay, exciting trip she took to Europe last year, and even about a new man in her life. Despite it all, she looked and sounded genuinely happy. Despite her demons, she was able to overcome all of her hardship and find herself on top.

Joy will be getting married in March, she is a registered nurse, and she is still climbing up, focused on actually helping people, and secure her future. After seeing her with someone for over 10 years who, not only mentally abused her, but constantly cheated and actually held her back from her full potential, it was heart warming to know she was able to rise up and realize her self worth.

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Friends

When it was my turn to speak, I was already mentally preparing myself for the same conversation with Diandra and I was ready to recite, once again, “Nothing. Just a housewife.” Instead, these powerful, ambitious, independent women asked:

“Are you still running?”
“What happened to your blog?”
“Why did you stop writing?”
“What about drawing?”

Once I heard these questions, it was as if they were describing this unique, happy, free individual with talent and ambition. Those talents and pastimes just floated in the air to form a person who was full of life, just to be let down and shut out. That wasn’t me or, I guess, it used to be but not anymore. To be honest, they caught me off guard, I was surprised they knew that much about me!

So, why did I stop?
I guess I stopped doing these things because I am afraid of failing. I am afraid my writing has suffered because I haven’t been on top of it. I am afraid of running because I haven’t in so long. I’m afraid of drawing because I don’t feel good enough to do so. I am afraid of updating my blog because I will feel insignificant and whiny. I would be lying if I didn’t think Annie (my anxiety) had something to do with how I am feeling. My anxiety does pull me down but hearing my friends actually care about little things I enjoyed doing gave me the little push I needed.

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My wedding day

I had been away from my friends for so long and have settled for others due to my living situation that I forgot who I was. Of course, I don’t mean I NEED them to get me back on track but to be reminded of the person you once were from the people who actually took notice, does help  me put things into perspective. It’s so easy to meet people but most just want to talk about themselves rather than get to know you and through that, I lost who I was. Yes, this does sound needy but sometimes, you just need real encouragement from friends who know the real you.

Trying is better than not
I am not one of those people who go around shouting “New Year, New Me!” Whenever I say I am going to change something about myself, I never do. In fact, I get overwhelmed by the pressure and end up doing the opposite and stop. What they said stuck with me and slowly I was getting my itch to doodle and write again. I worked on a little doodle D had been asking for, I wrote down some ideas for the blog, and had to buy a new charger to use my laptop. It would be too easy to say I will be updating more often but I would also be lying. I am hoping to keep up and actually do it and that’s all I can say.

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Everything will fall into place

 

 

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