Author Archives: Jenny

About Jenny

Photographer. Wife. Sister. Daughter. Friend. Lover of Jesus, travel, food, wine, coffee, fashion and beautiful things.

Review: Astute Clinic

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Hello everyone!

As promised, I said I would be back with another skincare post this week and here we are! :D

Alot of you have probably noticed me mentioning this clinic’s name a number of times on our instagram stories already, and some have asked me to detail more about it so this is it! I love coming here and this is why!

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1) Astute is an Aesthetic Clinic:

The number one reason, is that this place is first and foremost an aesthetic clinic. Why this is so important to me, is because I am actually being looked after by a professional skin doctor!

I know there are A LOT of beauty clinics out there. Beauticians. and so on. And this post, is not here to put them down in anyway. They have their own services and things that are good about them, but for myself personally, I feel very very assured that my face and my skin is being looked at by a doctor who is an expert in the area , who has spent years and years studying the field, working in the industry and spent countless numbers of hours looking at skin conditions and faces of all walks of life, age, race and color.

This means, when I am going in, asking for advice, I am getting information directly from a doctor, who tailors the products/skincare, and treatments to my exact skin condition. I have used A LOT of skincare and gone to a lot of places over the years and I can safely say, my skin has been in its best shape as a result of this personalized treatment. I can’t recommend you all enough to see a professional who knows the medical and science behind skin and its various conditions enough, because only then will you be getting the treatment your exact skin type and issues deserves.

Then, you combine that with this clinic’s primary and main aim on improving your skin condition/health, and how you look through mostly non-invasive techniques, cutting edge technology, and a focus on anti-ageing and rejuvenation, and you have one place that a lady like myself (who is also a mom well in her 30s, and tired from work, looking after an active child, and a job that involves long hours/late nights/ alot of sun exposure/dry air) can feel quite safe and taken care of.

2) The Doctor himself:

On that note, the doctor here, Dr Jason Yip, is very friendly, professional and takes the time to really listen and then suggest the best course of action to get your face looking amazing. I loved the fact that he didn’t rush me into a million and one products, or medication to start with, and made sure my skin sat well with the initial starting skin care set to start with before suggesting anything else. In a world where we are oversold SO many products and services, I find that authenticity like this is very treasured.

Secondly, while speaking to the doctor, observing the way he works, and also how he runs the clinic, I noticed that Dr Yip also takes the time to invest in continual learning of his field. I know this may sound strange to all of you, but I find that any professional who despite their years of experience, who continues to seek ways to keep up with the latest technology, trends, and skills, is an asset as it means you’re being serviced by someone who is passionate, and strives to be the best in their industry.

3) Medical grade quality skincare:

Now onto the actual clinic’s products and services itself!

I have to first mention that my face was an absolute mess after a series of travels and work (think, hardly any sleep, having to wear makeup every day, braving cold and dry winds and air constantly, and eating unhealthy food for an extended period of time), and it stopped responding to previous products I was using. It was terribly congested, inflamed, and just horrible looking. It was then that I decided it was time to make a drastic change. Overhaul my entire skincare regime. Because, I mean, if something isn’t working, you don’t keep doing it or using it right? So it was then that I was put on a routine with the 4 bottles you see below from Astute:

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Here is what my face looked like after just a month on their skincare, and their facial (note, I have done zero editing, and I am wearing absolutely no makeup to make sure you can see the skin in its true form):

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(click photo above to enlarge and see the skin up close if you like!)

I can actually walk out these days not wearing any foundation and powder now, and just minimal makeup.

I will detail the skincare products I used in the next post as I know a lot of you have asked about my day and night time skin care routine, but for now, just know that using products from this aesthetic clinic has been doing wonders for my face as the ingredients inside are effective and of high grade quality. Even my once a month flare ups due to that time of the month, has much more controlled.

4) Their Facials:

Ok, I have to say, I love medical facials!! I know that sounds rather clinical, but I promise you its not. For any of you who have done a facial, its much the same… BUT, the thing with medical facials at aesthetic clinics, is that they use medical grade products, and top of the line equipment.

One Friday afternoon, I took some time to do Astute Clinic’s Premier facial which includes:

1) Double Cleansing

Your face first undergoes two rounds of cleansing to make sure your skin is a canvas that is as clean as possible before any products or processes are applied. The Japanese are famous for their love for double cleansing (and just look at the condition of the womens’ faces there) and I have loved following this at home as it means the pores are extensively washed, and the crevices in your face are as free from dirt, dust and grime as possible.

2) Hydrodermabrasion

This step is basically exfoliating your face. Using a solution that cleanses and brightens your face, while ridding the skin of dead skin cells, impurities and anything else that ends up clogging and dirtying those darn pores. I loved the machine used (so gentle!!) as it felt like everything was being sucked out from my face haha!

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 3) Ultrasonic scrub 

Okay, this scrub, I have to admit was totally new to me. It FEELS like a little razor going over your face… BUT, it is completely pain free. I stress that, because I don’t know about you, but I am a total chicken when it comes to pain. I have ZERO pain tolerance (come on, I am the woman who requested for an epidural at the initial stage of labour pains because I just couldn’t handle it haha). And it was very gentle. This step helps to dislodge and loosen any stubborn blackheads and pimples before the extraction process starts (the extraction process by the way, was so gentle and thorough that I actually fell asleep at this point).

4) Iontophoretic delivery of Anti-oxidant serum

This step basically applies a serum to the skin to continue fighting impurities and toxins so that it looks bright, healthy, and free from things that can make it dull and unhealthy.

5) LED Therapy

It is at this point where a mask (that looks like a storm trooper – although I didn’t know it until I got shown photos of what I looked like under it haha) is placed on your face which emits LED lights. There will be a red light and blue light, and it alternates back and forth for varying periods to calm redness, rejuvenate the skin, and works to reduce wrinkles/fine lines. I have seen a lot of celebrities using these masks lately and have been told it also helps in calming down sun damage too (yay for me, since I’m a photographer who works outdoors a lot!). Again, there is zero pain, and you will feel absolutely nothing when its on your face.

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6) Deep Hydrating Mask

Then to finish, your face gets one beautiful cold mask to fully hydrate and plump the skin, and lock in all that moisture and goodness that your face has enjoyed. I always love hydrating masks. I find that the one thing that makes skin look really old is dryness. External dryness, and internal dehydration. So when the skin has tonnes of moisture (Im not just talking oil here. Im talking water hydration too) pumped back in, you REALLY do look much more awake, younger, and healthy.

So how does it compare to other facials I’ve done? Well, apart from the 1.5-2 hours of complete pampering and relaxation right there, as mentioned before after one round of this treatment, my congestion rapidly cleared up (and made way for the products to continue working even better than before), and I loved knowing I was enjoying some of the best ingredients and equipment available today. The facial is perfect for dull, dry, mature, photo-aged skin with fine lines and wrinkles. Suitable for most skin types. But the doctor will look at your face beforehand before recommending which facial to go for including those of you who are pregnant or expecting.

For those that asked over our instagram, the facial costs RM488 which I know is more than the average price of facials in general, but for ALL the very good reasons I stated above. I have been to alot of places over the last 10 years since working as a photographer, and think very carefully where I would hand over my money (especially at this price point, I get even more careful) on a regular basis to take care of my face (as I also have sensitive combination skin that is more susceptible to poor quality products and procedures), and I think this is one of the first places I have felt comfortable enough to do this because of the quality, the service, and the level of professionalism you are being given.

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And lastly, to end, for those wondering what the clinic itself looks like, here are some photos. The palette is neutral but warm, chic, and you really feel like you’re walking into a modern state of the art place to take care of your skin needs. How pretty is this place?? :D

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More information on this clinic at: http://www.astuteclinic.com

Alright, til the next post everyone! :D

Jenny Signoff

Why I Believe in Skincare Over Makeup

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If any of you have been watching and reading my squares on Two Threaded Poppies Instagram account, you will have noticed the large number of posts I’ve shared about skincare and the stuff I like to use to take care of my face.

Now looking at the title of this blog post, you may misunderstand me and think I don’t care about makeup. That’s not true :) Just take one glance at my vanity table at home (much to my husband’s dismay haha), and you will also know I love my makeup products. But as a woman who works under the sun constantly, sweats as a result of photographing for hours, does long late nights of editing marathons, travels on airplanes which we all know circulates the driest air around, drinks way too much coffee, and doesn’t sleep very much (or very well) as I’m also a mother to an under 2 year old, I have come to realize that a huge part of looking your best is to look after your skin for the following reasons:

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  • Good skin, in turn makes putting on makeup MUCH easier and as a result, you use less makeup (saving you money, yay!).
  • It saves you a lot of time getting ready in the mornings, or whenever you need to go out as you are spending a lot less time covering up, and only enhancing. I no longer have the luxury of taking my time to get out of the house since becoming a mother as there is now a little human being demanding a large part of my time and attention – and limbs!! Mothers, you will understand the struggle of trying to put on makeup and drying your hair while your child is hanging off your leg or crying and tugging at your clothes because your attention is not on them :P
  • Putting on more make up, actually makes your skin even worse than it was before. I remember the time, I bought a product (we won’t mention any names here), that claimed to magically make my pores vanish and hence give my face a seemingly flawless finish. And at first it did. Then after using the product day in day out (even with thorough washing and cleansing), over time my skin got bumpy, inflamed, clogged and extremely unhealthy. I eventually needed to visit a dermatologist (ie. Skin dr, people) to correct my face, and it was there that I learned that the product (and a lot of makeup actually) was clogging my pores, causing dirt and oil to be trapped in my pores, and as a result became a breeding ground for bacteria to grow.

It took me 6 months, of wearing no makeup, constant facials to decongest my face, and also lots of learning from the professionals on how to look after my face so that I wouldn’t rely so much on makeup to look flawless, and they all said it starts with looking after the skin itself. And their biggest tip to me was:

  • invest more in quality skincare (and less in makeup) that fits within your budget and lifestyle,
  • and work on practicing a dedicated skin care routine every single day as a priority so that by the time you hit your 30s and 40s, people will be complimenting you on how great your skin looks, rather than how fabulous your makeup looks.

As mentioned in our post before this one, June is our dedicated skincare month, meaning I will be releasing a bunch of posts related to this part of our bodies. And just so you get a peek into what is coming, the posts will include:

  • my skincare routine
  • my top 2 places to look after my face
  • the facials I do and other things I do to maintain my skin
  • the products I love using and why
  • what I do health wise to also help my body take care of the skin from inside out (don’t worry ladies, this isn’t elaborate, as I am a time poor person myself, and promises to be as realistic as possible, because lets be honest here – none of us have as much time as we’d like, we are often too tired to exercise every day, and we are never going to be holistically healthy and doing things like cutting out coffee from our day haha)

So I’m super excited to be sharing these things with you! Hopefully you find the posts informative and helpful, and as always, comments/emails/messages are always welcome so don’t feel shy to drop us a hello! :)

Jenny Signoff

The Two Threaded Poppies Promise

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I am finally getting time to write this little blog post about the Two Threaded Poppies philosophy and belief behind sponsorships, collaborations, and product shoutouts/reviews that we put out there.

We know the Internet is a very loud and noisy crazy place these days. I (jenny), myself have days where I am not sure who to trust anymore when I see the endless amounts of influencer product placements, reviews, and other things. Jillian and I don’t like to treat our readers as stupid or naïve. I’ll say it here quite clearly, that we know a lot of influencers get paid for reviews or gifted certain products/services in exchange for media shoutouts.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this (I understand that everyone has bills to pay, and that it is not possible to make ends meet without the paid sponsorships), I just wanted to take some time out today to let all our readers here know that we here at Two Threaded Poppies have always maintained the belief that whatever we are putting out to all of you and recommending you, they are products or services we 100% believe in ourselves and will backup with money from our own pocket.

That is, most of the even if the product is sponsored, we take the time to curate brands and products that fit in line with the Two Threaded Poppies vision, and also provide the quality we know you all deserve! And on top of this, it means we will only share with you brands, products, services and things that we would actually pay with our own money even if these brands did not sponsor us.

Your trust in us matters so much, so thank you for sticking with us everyone, and we hope that  this helps to put your hearts at ease, and we hope this continues to foster trust between us and yourselves. We’re committed to continue bringing content out to you all that engages, inspires, and adds value to all of your lives in ways that are hopefully wholesome, beautiful and healthy :)

Til next post! I’m writing a series of blogs about skincare this month so look out for it! Considering I’m now well in my 30s and a mother, working and working under the sun on top of it, I hope you find the next few posts insightful and helpful! :D

Jenny Signoff

A Letter to the Discontent – Is it Ever Enough?

 

I’m sorry this is an almost photoless post, my friends. But I have made it a point to write more frequently here so that I can put out more regular content for you all. And also to return back to my first love of writing.

So on that note. Here we go :)

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There is so much hate on social media lately.

I know this is a rather strange topic to ‘return’ to this blog to be writing about, but it’s been a matter that has been circulating in and out of my mind for months. And the more and more people I talk to, or rather, the more people that talk to me about it, the more I realise there is a growing culture of discontent breeding and permeating the current generation of us who spend a large portion of our time online – which lets face it… is most of us.

So many of ‘us’ are unhappy or never truly satisfied. Just when we think, YES, I think I am ok, we are hit with another wave of restlessness. We want more. Or become jealous over those who have what we seemingly think makes up the life we wish we had.

…. Why?

It is because we are the person who looks at that someone’s never ending load of ‘free stuff’ and wonder why we don’t get the same things. We are the person who sees another’s perfect relationship online and then questions ‘why doesn’t my partner love me like that’. We are the mother who sees another’s child and feels crummy when they are celebrating their baby sleeping through the night when you are still waking up 3 times a night and questioning if your baby will ever do the same. We are that person who looks at the other person’s followers and goes – why aren’t I more famous? We are that person working 9-5 every day slugging it to make ends meet and looking at a friend who gets to travel the world and buy designer goods and you wonder, why is it so hard? We are the person who looks at another woman’s body and wonders why our own legs are not as long, or our abs only have 2 packs instead of 6, or why their eyes and nose are perfect when yours are small and crooked. You are the woman who cannot get pregnant after 8 years of trying and see what seems like the 50th pregnancy announcement on instagram this year and question, what is wrong with me? The list goes on and on people. I could keep typing for many more hours. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

And why is it like this?

It is because SO MUCH OF OUR LIVES is online these days. SO MUCH.

I know I am sounding like somewhat of a hypocrite writing out these words, considering I run two brands that heavily uses social media as part of its business.

But hear me out.

Just 6 years ago, facebook and instagram were still baby platforms. I hopped on the bandwagon when using the in program filters was considered cool, I had to sign up an account for my husband because he didn’t see what the big deal was, and back then it was not about curating the perfect looking feed. It was simply a means to see what your friends were up to. Just 6 years ago, my friends! Before that, I was using the traditional methods of a website and a blog to put out my work and my writing. People didn’t know what was going on in another person’s life unless you actually met up with them and talked to them face to face over coffee or on the phone and really just ‘caught up’ (that, or gossip. But for the purpose of this post, we won’t go into this latter. Maybe at another time, ok? ). People also didn’t check their phones as the first and last things they did in the day.

Today? Nowadays, our eyes and our minds are completely SATURATED with content. Daily. Hourly. Maybe even by the minute.

What others are doing, buying, eating, where they are, how they are feeling, are literally thrown at us even if we aren’t searching for it (anyone seen the explore feed on Instagram? See my point?).

It is no wonder so many of us are not content with our lives.

In all honesty, I also question myself daily – am I using social media right? Do I use it too much? Am I being an ambassador that inspires and encourages? Or do I also breed and add to this culture of discontent and secret jealousy? I will also admit that I have caved into the whole envy wave and have been caught grumbling and wondering a number of ‘whys’  – my husband will attest to that. Its a cycle I have fought over and over.

Anyway… this post isn’t to jab. Not at all. I just wanted to raise the issue. Because I felt sad for a number of people I’ve spoken to who feel like they dont have enough. Sometimes they aren’t even aware they are doing it. But when I read the things they say online in jest, or when I sat down and looked at their lives in totality, they are INCREDIBLY BLESSED. I kept thinking – don’t you realise SO MANY PEOPLE out there don’t even have half of what you have. You have it good, girl.

So I guess, the purpose of this post apart from raising the issue, was also to hopefully encourage more of you out there to do two things.

1) Be aware of what you put out. Be sensitive. Think about those who may not get to enjoy whatever it is you are possibly going to gush about, and be wise about your captions appropriately.

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2) For those who are feeling like they are on the losing end, or that their life isn’t enough….Remember that the things you have now, were once things you didn’t have before. Or perhaps they were things you wished for previously. And for my brothers and sisters in christ, I want to share with you something a friend of mine shared recently that encouraged me in this area immensely:

She shared:

“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3

Did you read that? Did you look really carefully? BETTER THAN LIFE. Thats right people, God’s steadfast faithful and unfailing love is BETTER THAN LIFE itself.

We are cheated into thinking all the time that there is a better job, or a new life we should be living, or a more suitable spouse, a bigger house, nicer clothes and shoes, more friends, more followers an fans, that will satisfy this never ending thirst we have… but ever realise that once you have it, your mind wants more? I’ll let you in on a secret… it is because we weren’t designed for a life chasing purely after pleasures. They are good things to have and enjoy, but they should never be the basis of our happiness or contentment. I was reminded (again) of this recently.

I know we can keep looking towards ourselves (which is good! I’m not asking you to not do this. We should always keep working on a better version of ourselves) – but we humans are inherently flawed. And sinful at the core. So, because our flesh fails us, it reminds me we constantly need to look to the cross and our Saviour who promised complete fulfilment of our souls in Him. Only Christ can truly satisfy. He says so time and time again in His faithful word.

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)

We can have all the fame, riches, perfect marriage and kids in the world, and keep feeding our hearts with pleasures, and I can bet your bottoms that it will never be ‘enough’. There is ALWAYS something else next. It is a tireless pursuit to look for completeness in things and people… because people inevitably also fail us, and possessions cannot love us back. And lets be honest, sometimes even love disappoints.

Now, before this post gets depressing, hear me out for a little longer. It will end on a good note (I hope! :D).

I just want to say first and foremost (before you roll your eyes at me in judgement thinking I’m some martyr), I don’t claim to be good at this. I have failed many times. So I’m also writing this post for me. To remind myself to be grateful. To pursue the right things. To remember that pleasures like money, clothes, holidays and so on are good things that God gives us to enjoy, but they should never become the benchmark for our definition of success or happiness. I am reminding myself to drink the water that completely satisfies from the well of life Himself. I am hoping this post reminds you of the same things.

To my non christian friends reading this, I know what I just said sounds weird. But if you take anything from this, I hope you take encouragement to spend less time comparing. And appreciate what you do have in the present. Spend less time online scrolling, and spend more of those minutes and hours of yours cultivating real relationships with those around you. And to remember to always be grateful for the small and the big things you have been given for there are always people out there who have less or nothing :) . The grass is not greener on the other side. It is green where you water it.

Alright… Tuesday night reflections are over. And it’s time to put the baby to sleep. Til my next post. Yes, my friends, I am trying harder to write more often.. Shorter posts, but more frequently. Hopefully ;)

ps: Enjoy the little graphic I designed below. It’s there for anyone who wants to save it and print it to keep as a reminder on your phone, your desk or wall or journals :)

Jenny Signoff
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Happy One Year Sienna


I hear my baby crying.

I look to the clock and realize it’s late. The weight of fatigue is aching in my bones and my body sighs with the familiar tiredness that comes with the ushering of another evening. Another 24 hours past. Yes, it is late. But it is her usual hour of the night where she seems to sleep a little lighter than the other hours of the evening, and she becomes more unsettled.

Usually, I’d quickly run over and attend to her. Pat her back gently over and over again until she calms down and slowly drifts back into whatever dreamland she was in before what I like to call her ‘witching hour’ began. It almost always works. And within a few short minutes, she is sleeping soundly again and I will go about the rest of my night whether it is prepping her food for the next day, replying client emails, editing photos, or just spending time with my husband catching up on our day and relaxing in front of the TV.

However this evening, she was a little more restless than usual. So I decided to pick her up and cradle her in my arms.

For some reason, tonight, I felt an intense need to just hold her.

It is the eve of her first birthday. Yup, we made it to a year.

364 whole days.

My, how far we have come since those early newborn days when the rawness of motherhood weighed on my shoulders so heavily it bore tears on my back from the burden of trying to ‘get it all right’ and the uncertainty of how things would pan out with raising a high-needs baby. Would this ever end? Why didn’t anyone tell me it would be this hard? When will this get better? Will I ever love my child? Why can’t I breastfeed? Am I abnormal? Why doesn’t my baby eat like other babies? Why can’t my child sleep better? Am I ever going to feel like myself again? Those were just some of the haunting questions from the beginning that plagued those fragile few months. Questions that now, thankfully, are just mere shadows. Remnants of another time.

Motherhood seemed so scary in those days. So terrifyingly alone despite being surrounded by so many people. However, a year of motherhood has somehow slowly forged a strength and a wisdom that continues to grow as I navigate through this season of life with Sienna. Don’t get me wrong, I am still learning. Every day in fact. But I am no longer that frightened woman who had all the baby preparation checklists crossed off, yet felt so naked under the buckling pressure that comes with the birth of your first child.

And then, while I was hugging her little frame in the bend of my arms, I realized that I had been holding on to the thought that my little girl would not look like how she does in this very moment much longer. Her baby features such as those incredibly round full cheeks we have become so familiar with, her little double chin, the folds of skin in between her arms and legs that I’ve come to love and adore so much, will soon be changing as she rapidly grows into toddlerhood… and then childhood… and then the teen years… and…. You get the picture. They grow up :(

How does time pass by SO quickly? Especially when at the beginning, it crawled so painfully by and the minutes would seem like hours, stretched between more hours.

I wasn’t ready for her to grow up.

And I guess that’s why I was holding on to her more these days. Because I don’t know for how much longer she will let me do this. You know, to just carry her. Sleep in my embrace. Or have my arms still be the most comfortable and easiest place to slumber away those tired eyes.

The irony of all this is, I used to resent that she would need me so much. Everyone around me commented that my child was crazy clingy. Overly so. They still do. It used to make me annoyed. Resentful. Bitter at times. Crave independence. And be jealous of those mothers who could push their baby in prams, or sleep in their own cot, or be able to go out on date nights with their husbands when I was stuck with a child who seemed forever chained to my side and constantly cried. Who never slept anywhere but my arms, and whom I could hardly bring outside because she would always wail, and would never sit in the stroller that her daddy so carefully handpicked just for her before she even inhaled her first breath.

Then something funny happened. One day, I started to like her more. She started to smile. Then I began to love her. She learned to respond to my voice. And then, we got to 1 year and now I cant bear the thought of putting her down because I know one day, I wont be able to hold her like I do now. She will get too heavy. And physically my bones will not be able to bear her flourishing weight. And of course, she will eventually prefer her friends over her mama.

So when she crawls towards me in her usual fierce stealth and proceeds to lift her hands upwards motioning to be picked up, I will pick her up. And I will scoop her into the cove of my elbow when she cries at night. Because I know it’s her mama she is crying for. It is me she wants. And I am telling myself every time it’s okay because with everything in regards to kids, it is only temporary. It passes with the pages of time. So I will embrace it. Celebrate it. Love it. For it doesn’t last forever, and one day I know we will miss these days with a piercing ache, when our babes needed us this much. Craved us so intensely.

She is not the easiest baby, and I am definitely so far from being the most perfect mother. But we love each other imperfectly, and in that irony that is what makes us perfect for each other.

So, as the last page of her first year of life makes a slow turn, I think about what kind of girl I want her to grow up to be… and these are the letters and words that form in my heart before this mamma of hers gets too old to remember. This letter is for her…

My dear baby girl,

The world is a big and scary place. But your mother knows that you will grow up to be all sorts of wonderful. However before you get there, you will come upon crossroads, and questions, and people who will tell you many things.

Of all those things, your mama just wants you to remember a few…..

First, remember that you are always beautiful. Whatever size, shape, or height you grow up to be, know that God made you that way purposefully and with intention. You don’t ever need to fix anything about your appearance. Remember that physical beauty is not everything. The world will tell you otherwise, and that you need to have perfectly symmetrical features. That your eyes should be a certain width and size. That your nose needs to be of a particular height and thinness. That the dresses you’re wearing are too large and that the gap in between your thighs is not wide enough. That you should be eating lettuce and starving your body to be beautiful. That you are less than amazing because you lack those very things.

Please know they are lying.

The truth is, beauty is seen in how you treat people. It is translated when you love those smaller and lesser than yourself with grace and abundance. And it is felt when you are friends with someone not because they have 150 thousand followers on their instagram account, but because you genuinely love their presence and care about what makes them happy or sad.

And you are incredible not because of the clothes you wear or how small the numbers on a scale say you are, but because your eyes can tell a thousand and one different shades of color and can see better than the best camera that exists today, because your voice has the capability to speak multiple languages and sing lilting or off key notes, because your hands have the nimbleness to hold a needle and thread the smallest of loops yet also carry the weight of a sack of rice from the car to the kitchen for your daddy one day, and also because your mind…your beautiful mind, is so intelligent because it has the potential to compute a million mathematical puzzles yet paint a rich tapestry of hues and shapes on a canvas. Just knowing those connective nerves in your brain are already teaching you how to form your first spoken words now as I type this letter to you amazes me.

Next, work hard and be responsible with all that you are given. But don’t ever get too busy chasing after money that you lose time making memories and doing life with those whom you love. Life and youth disappears faster than the next beat of your heart and no bank account you build is large enough to replace what time robs you of. Before you know it, you are old or loved ones have departed this life, or people have forgotten you.

Lastly, my baby, I want you to chase your dreams…. Yes, go after them… But don’t be fooled by the pursuit for fame or the ‘glamorous life’ to the point where you lose sight of the bigger picture or forget the more important things on this side of heaven and the other. It is an exhausting and often empty deceptive quest. They will tell you that it is all about how many people behind a screen follow you. But I will tell you my dear, that the only numbers that matter are the ones on your phone whom you have dialed and called up today to ask how their day has been. And how many people you have prayed for. And how many friends whom you can trust with your very life. Remember that popularity is not how many people whom you can gather on a computer to say they love you – that, my babe is a hollow representation of what a real leader should be. The secret is that people will be drawn to you instead by the hope you shine when you show them you are strong. And kind. And compassionate. And loving. And humble. And genuine. You don’t ever have to pretend you are perfect to earn the respect of those around you. Instead, shower your path with humility, and dignity, and be real about your flaws and imperfections because people are not looking for another plastic unattainable figurehead. Instead, they are looking for someone whom they can see as a sister, a friend, and find a fragment of themselves in, a trusted confidant. Hold yourself to a standard of grace and love always. And seek, relentlessly and steadfastly seek, to be that proverbs 31 woman that her children call blessed to have as their mother. And whose husband is proud to call his own. And whose friends are honored to call their sister. This is the kind of woman that God adores. And if the God of the universe says that is what pleases Him, we listen :)

Love,

Your mama.

…..

Happy One year old, my dear Sienna Rose :) Your daddy and I love you so very much.

Thank you to my sister in law, Bertha, who not only decorated the whole little family affair we had, but also made this beautiful and sweet birthday cake (in fabulous Red Velvet *shrieks*) for Sienna! Massive Love.