Two Years

I hate looking back but I am fearful of looking forward. So where does that leave me if I’m stuck in the middle? I look back at the 2 years of where I was in my life and I would call it a miracle. A miracle I survived the pain and heartache. There is nothing that can describe in words how broken life feels from the loss of a child. I’m almost fearful of the dark moments that almost took my life, took my marriage, and took my mind with it.

We went to Disneyland on what would have been his 2nd birthday but it was just weird- we never knew if we should call it a celebration and there’s the struggle of feeling guilty for having a good time. I’m okay not suffering, and living a happy life in his name but I’m also okay having a good cry now and then. 

Two years have passed and I don’t recognize myself when I read past posts about Max. I’m still confused and heartbroken but the degree isn’t so extreme. I also look back at these and feel grateful for the emotional freedom I feel. I remember I used to hold friends and family responsible for not taking care of my emotional needs. It was crazy, but so was I. A friend recently told me how she felt when she found out about Max. For the first time in two years, I let go of my emotions, and understood for a few seconds what other people felt. It was devastating all over again, but a feeling so helpless when you watch your friends suffer. I’ve let go of those expectations and fear, and if it’s a moment that triggers emotions, I let it happen, but I don’t let it ruin me like it used to. I’ve gone to thousands of hours of therapy, connected with new friends that I discovered after the loss, and built stronger ones. Life has sad moments but overall it’s good, it’s calm, it’s fun, and it’s stable. It may be boring to some, but considering the waves of disaster I felt, it really couldn’t be better. Thank you for all the support these past two years. 

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

This post is dedicated to my mom. She loves gardening, she loves plant life, and she would have been like a kid in a candy store at The Conservatory of Flowers when we visited San Francisco. It would have been helpful if I knew what some of the plants were. I loved them all. They were beautiful, exotic, and some were just frightening to look at (I especially loved those). 

The Conservatory of Flowers is located at 100 John F Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park in SF. 

Get Table Ready TargetStyle

While most kids had Halloween to look forward to, I didn't celebrate Halloween growing up and I don't have Halloween family traditions. It sounds kind of sad, but I had a few other fall inspired activities to look forward to. I didn't have candy and costumes but I do remember my mom always setting up a seasonal table. It was something she took so much pride in and something I've picked up as a tradition. This year, I teamed up with Target to show off what my family Fall traditions are and setting a table was the first thing that came to mind. I don't think I can do it as pretty as my mom can but with help from Target, I hope to get a little practice in.  These Target items  add a piropo to the table. 

If you're going to a dinner and not hosting, don't forget the hostess gift. This would be great for display, too. 

Name place cards are from ABM's Messy Box subscription. Everything besides the pumpkins and fresh flowers are all available at Target right now. 

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.

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Harvey's + ourcitylights Holiday Bucket Commuter Bag Giveaway

Harvey's Bags is a regular around this blog. I love working with them, I've loved their bags for years and with their new holiday collection release, we've teamed up for a giveaway! They have beautiful colors this season- neutral like army green to bright colors like violet with clever names like Wanderer, Camper and Commuter. I have the Bucket bag in the Park Hopper Nightmare Before Christmas. It holds a lot, but it's still light enough to carry, and I love how I can make it a messenger style or sling over my shoulder like a traditional purse. Thankfully, it looks nothing like a traditional purse. It's fun, polished and still keeps it's shape and shine after heavy use. Just a reminder Harvey's will also restore and wash your bag for a fee starting at $20. They also have kept all their bags vegan friendly. 

Photos provided by Harvey's. 

Giveaway: You have a chance to win the Bucket Bag in the Commuter,  (worth $110) in a soft gray with a pop of pink color. 

Rules: It's open to everyone. Winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway will end Sunday 11/15/15. Winner has 48 hours to reply, if not, I'll choose another winner at random (you snooze you lose). 

To enter: Follow @shopharvey's on Instagram

Bonus entries: Follow @ourcitylights on Instagram. Not required! Good luck! 

Giveaway is over. Thank you for entering! Congrats to Natalie Castillo! 

San Francisco- The Food!

I haven't been to San Francisco in years and since my trip was last minute, I was overwhelmed with Yelp, Foursquare and Swarm reviews. I turned to Instagram and it didn't fail me! Thank you so much for the recommendations. 

Maryam and I went to Super Duper, located in The Marina neighborhood. We found this place on a whim and those places are usually the best locations. We were short on time and this looked like the closest place before we hit traffic on the way back to our hotel. You can't have a name like Super Duper and not have it be hyped but thankfully, it lived up to the name. I loved the burger and they offered veggie burgers. I had a Mexican Coke (something I haven't had in months) and it was the perfect combo to a long day of walking. We finished off our meal with organic homemade soft serve. Super Duper is located at 2203 Chestnut. 

Eli and Brinton recommended Craftsman + Wolves. I didn't try their famous Rebel Within (a soft boiled egg in a muffin) but I did have their croissant sandwich with fresh cut pork. It was one of the best sandwiches I had and the staff was very helpful. Craftsman + Wolves is located at 746 Valencia (down the street from 826 Valencia, which was closed when we visited but be sure to stop by there as well!) 

Christina and Natalie recommended Tartine Bakery. We opted for the pumpkin pie, it was a perfect day for fall. It was chilly and the pie was a good combo with the buttery crust and smooth pumpkin puree texture. Tartine Bakery is located at 600 Guerrero Street. 

We went across town to Saint Frank's next. I really have to thank Charissa for the recommendation. I wish this coffee shop could have it's own dedicated post but sadly I didn't take enough photos, but that just means I was enjoying myself too much to think of my camera. The location was beautiful and it was designed really well- every seat was taken but it didn't look crowded. It looks like a futuristic coffee shop, it was modern and stark but still had a warm welcoming vibe to it. The presentation was beautiful, the staff was really sweet, and the coffee was just as good. Saint Frank is located at 2340 Polk Street. 

We ended our day with clam chowder on Pier 39. I can't remember the name of the location, but you will find tons of clam chowder cafe's in the area. 

It was a delicious day and thank you everyone for the recommendations. For reference, they were recommended on my Instagram and you can check out what other people recommended here. I can't wait to go back to try more food! 

The Walt Disney Family Museum

Scott and I originally had plans to stay in Santa Barbara for Sufjan Stevens last weekend but we had a sudden death in the family and plans quickly changed. We sold our concert tickets, gave up our hotel but our sudden sad trip ended on a positive note. We stopped in San Francisco on the way back home and spent our day with Maryam and Margeaux at the Walt Disney Museum in The Presidio neighborhood.

The Disney family lives in the area and they wanted the museum close to home and while it's all things Walt and how he got started, it surprisingly rarely mentions much of Disneyland. If you're a Disney nerd like me, it's worth the trip. I learned how he grew up, his time in the army, and was blown away by the animation techniques used back then. Everything is digitalized/CGI'd these days and it's amazing to see what paints they used to animate. 

The Walt Disney Family Museum is located 104 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129

Who Do You Pink You Are?

If you're a long time reader of this blog, you know I love the color pink but I hate wearing it. Maybe because I wore all black in cosmetology school and my dress code was all black outfits at the salon for years. Or maybe because I already live in a pink home, and pink in my closet is too much. One of the reasons I love Gwynnie Bee is I can try out items I would never normally purchase and even if I love them, I don't have to commit to having it in my closet once I get tired of it. I would never buy this pink dress but would I rent it? Heck yes. This is also the first time I've worn height since breaking my leg so hooray for that. 

I've also been trying out a new hair styler, The Wet to Dry Instyler and it has saved me so much time.  It looks so silly but after watching so many positive Youtube reviews, I finally got it and I love it. It cuts my styling time in half the time, and I can skip the blow dryer, the flat iron and the curling iron and rollers (hey, it takes a lot to get this just rolled out of bed" look). I've put away my other tools and it's saved me so much space and have I mentioned it saves me time?? This outfit has 3 day old hair, hence the minor frizz, but my shine has stayed and my curls have softened. Buy it here


Details- Pink City Chic Dress, Gwynnie Bee. Shoes, Emerging Thoughts. Lipgloss, Life of The Party by BareMinerals

DC Comics Bustier

I normally post "Marvel Mondays" but this bustier with DC characters was too cute to not post! When I think of a bustier, I think of 80's Madonna, or a victorian corset, or cinch waisting. This thankfully, is nothing like those. It's from Torrid, and it has your favorite characters from the Silver Age era Justice League -  Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Batman, and Robin (although I can't find Martian Manhunter). There's a working zipper, soft cotton, and there is extra long laces and fabric in the back to extend the size. The fit is comfortable and has a little "give" but it's still tight enough. I wore it with a strapless bra and I felt like I could still breathe. 

Details- DC bustier, Torrid. Lipstick, Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Adora mixed with Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Underage Red

Star Wars Reads Day + A Giveaway (Closed!)

Oct 10th is Star Wars Reads Day, a global event where retailers, libraries, bookstores and all readers alike combine forces (heh!) in honor of Star Wars literature. I'm looking forward to the movie and it comes out December 18, and that gives me enough time to re-watch and catch up on all the movies. I'm also excited for the merchandise coming out. Yes, I'm that sucker that will buy anything with the licensed logon on it. I've seen a few collaborations and one of my favorites so far is the Cover Girl set. I think I've visited every CVS/Walgreens/Target in the Orange County area trying to get my hands on it a couple weeks ago. Now that I have, it's the perfect opportunity to give it away to a lucky reader and Star Wars fan. I know there are good handful of you out there! 

What You Win: $52 worth of Cover Girl/Star Wars make up and one copy of the YA Star Wars book, Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Lost Stars 

Who Can Win: US only, sorry! 

When: Giveaway starts right now and ends in 7 days, Oct 15th 

How You Can Win: Since this giveaway is meant for readers of this blog, I'll go by the honor system and trust when you enter you're becoming a new reader, already are a blog follower, or follow elsewhere (Instagram, Tumblr, etc.) I'm trying to grow my readership and hoping to find a community of women who love Star Wars, books and makeup (what a perfect combo of a giveaway, right?)

Fill out the form below to enter. Your email will never be shared and as soon as the giveaway is over and winner has been confirmed, I'll delete your information. Good luck! 

Update! Giveaway is closed! Thanks everyone for entering! 

Marvel Monday: Black Widow's Forever Red Book Review

You don't need to know the history of Natasha Romanov (AKA Black Widow) to read this book. If you've never picked up a comic in your life, ever had any interest in superheroes don't let that stop you from having any interests at all. You don't need to know the whole history, know the artists, writes, issue numbers, or volume collections. Even the differences between the movies and the comics and pick them apart. What's important is you have an interest in something; I think it's wonderful and you should grow that interest. If you're interested in getting into it, this book is a perfect start. 

Black Widow: Forever Red

I got Forever Red book during BEA/BookCon, and it's been sitting on my shelf for months. At first, the title sounded like a Taylor Swift song to me (later on I found out it's actually a perfume from her, ha) but I finally got around to reading it and I finished it in 3 days. It was so good.  It's a YA book from a YA writer, Margaret Stohl, from famed Beautiful Creatures series. She's an unexpected author for Natasha but captures her so well in her writing, it gave me a better glimpse of her character beyond the comics. Natasha is fighting off her emotions but even after years of suppressing what happened to her in the Red Room (a Russian operation to train young orphan girls to become assassins and spies) she deals with her deadly father figure. There's a new character, Ava Orlova, and without giving much away, and they help each other throughout the book in unexpected plots with an adventurous twist. 

Marvel doesn't have much marketing on Black Widow so I was surprised this book was published. At this point, as a Black Widow fan, I will take anything I can get, and this is a book I will happily support. If Marvel notices a jump in book sales, maybe they'll finally bite for a movie. Preorder the book here