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Last Friday

Last Friday, I was having a great day. I had one more work shift to get through before a relaxing weekend. The day before, I decided to enter a giveaway on Instagram, and I had just found out that I’d won! My husband had an interview at his dream company, and he came to visit me at work afterward and to buy me a coffee. Basically, everything was going much better than normal, and I was practically giddy as a result. With a fresh cup of coffee and an empty store, my job was particularly easy that day. All I had to do was smile and greet the few customers that were coming in from the great weather outside.

I work in Brooklyn, and I’ve had the same retail job for four and a half years, so I can spot a shoplifter the second they walk in. This guy was definitely a shoplifter. He walked in without acknowledging me and was talking on a flip phone. He was carrying a big shopping bag, and his conversation seemed fake. Every box was ticked off on my mental shoplifter checklist, and I remember I went so far as to slip my phone into my purse so it couldn’t easily be snatched. It seemed strange that he wasn’t looking at me to see if I was watching him, which shoplifters usually do, and it was even stranger that he left after a minute or two without trying anything. I figured he had seen me perk up and start to watch him, and that he’d decided not to go for anything at my store.

I don’t think anyone else came in between the time he left and when I saw him coming back in the door; he had probably been watching me and the store. When he came back in, he rushed to the side of the counter, right next to me. Of course, I was really surprised, and as I was about to ask if he needed help, he turned around and was pointing a large kitchen knife at me. I can perfectly remember my sharp intake of breath, and the high pitched gasp that came out. The exact sequence of what happened next isn’t super clear to me anymore, but I remember being backed up against the wall behind the counter with the point of the blade pressing into my stomach. Then, I was shaking and stuffing everything I could think of into my purse as he threatened to kill me. I reached for the computer mouse to click the button that would open the cash drawer, and I remember him telling me I was too slow. I managed to put all the money into my purse, and then he told me to get out from behind the counter and to stand in front of the back door. He made me go through the door and then into the little bathroom and told me to empty my pockets, but I was wearing jeans with no front pockets, and I only had keys in my back pocket, he put his hands all over me anyway. He told me to stay in the bathroom or I would die. I heard him go back into the store and rummage around, then put whatever he had taken into the hallway. He yelled at me to sit on the toilet and wait for 10 minutes. Maybe it was ridiculous, but I thought, “What if he is going to shoot me through the door?”, so I sat on the toilet with my entire body tilted to one side. I heard him rummage around again, and then when he came back, he told me to wait for five more minutes. He went back into the store one more time, and I heard the lock from inside the store click. He had locked me out of the store. I sat waiting for a while, and all I could hear was Cat Stevens coming from the speakers.

When I heard a little girl’s voice from inside the store, I knew he was gone. I had to knock on the door and shout for her mom to unlock the door, I had just been robbed. I called 911 and the police were there within two minutes. By this point, I was shaking convulsively. I’m shaking again as I type this. Two officers asked if I wanted to get in a car and canvass the area for him, and I said yes. I’m not sure how, but I was able to think clearly enough to be able to lock up the store and even to type in my Apple ID on the cop’s phone to sign into the Find my iPhone app. My phone was at a McDonald’s about half a mile away. Two guys who matched my description were stopped, but I couldn’t be sure it was either of them. Whoever had my phone turned it on for a few seconds a couple of times within the next 36 hours, but nothing ever came of it. And that’s pretty much where we are with the crime. Since my store did not have cameras, there’s no footage of the incident, and it would have been next to impossible to find him even if there had been. I know that much from dealing with several shoplifters throughout the years.

So, I’m trying to figure things out now. I told my boss that I don’t feel comfortable going back to my job. I’ve been trying to take it easy, but at the same time, I don’t want to let this get to me too much. It was difficult to sleep the first couple nights. I didn’t leave my building alone until today. I’ve been wondering if my reaction to the incident is normal. I didn’t cry at all; I mostly just shook…a lot. Then I wonder if maybe I’m actually stronger than I thought I was, and that doesn’t seem right either, but maybe it’s true. I’m angry that it happened, but glad that it wasn’t worse. I’m pissed off that I’m now jobless, but it’s allowed me to focus on a lot of things I’ve put off for years.

I’m not sure why I decided to put this on my blog. It’s been cathartic to write it all out. Even though he will probably never be caught, I’ve made it through the experience without letting it break me. I’m going to be okay.

Beauty, Personal

2016 Resolution – going cruelty-free!

This is my first post in quite a while! Since October, I’ve decided to self-host my blog, install a pretty new theme, and get more serious about posting regularly. As far as beauty goes, I’ve fallen in love with Asian skincare, and I’m making a commitment to only spend money on brands that do not test on animals. As it happens, a few days ago, Korea announced that they are working to ban all animal testing on cosmetics by 2018! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. In only the past four months, many of my regular skincare products that I’ve used for years have been replaced by Korean ones.

As for why I’ve decided to go cruelty-free, well, as I get older and have more disposable income, I want to support companies with good business practices, and I can’t justify giving money to companies that continue to test on animals unnecessarily. I also realized that in the past few years, I would spend so much money on products just for the sake of having something new, and now, hopefully, I’ll be forced to be a bit more discerning in what I buy. Since I received some non-cruelty-free gifts over the holidays and still have a lot of products I haven’t found cruelty-free replacements for, I’m not making this blog a CF exclusive place, but it is my intention to get to that point eventually. In the meantime, I hope you stick with me in this in-between stage!

Alright, I’m off to work on some new posts and maybe an editorial calendar (eep!). Happy belated New Year!

Personal

Reflecting on 2014

IMG_3309Warning: lots of rambling ahead!

This past year was quite a doozy. Whenever people ask me what I’ve been up to or how I’ve been, I tend to say something like “Oh, you know, same as usual” or “Nothing much, my life’s pretty uneventful”, but 2014 was actually pretty interesting for me.

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I feel like the more I tell people I’m going to do something, the less likely I am to actually do it, so I tend to try to make changes whenever I see fit throughout the year. BUT, last year, I kind of decided that I was an adult – I needed to start the process of really “growing up” and bettering myself, and I knew I needed to be less negative to achieve that. I’m a worrier, a complainer, and a tantrum-thrower, and I really wanted to try to learn to keep a cool head on my shoulders. It was a real struggle, and I don’t know how much more calm I’ve become (probably not much), but I do feel like I did several things to better myself throughout 2014.

I got engaged on Christmas Day 2013, and spent the next five months planning the wedding. It was kind of a nightmare. I learned that I absolutely hate event planning of any kind. It was even more difficult because I was living halfway across the country from where the wedding was going to be. I joked with my mom that my dream wedding was to get hitched at City Hall with only our immediate families present, then to go out for pizza and bowling. I still feel like that would have been my ideal wedding, but pressures from lots of people pushed me to go the more traditional route of having a ceremony and a reception, although I did try to simplify everything as much as humanly possible without disappointing too many people. But, as I’m sure a lot of married people can attest to, it’s very difficult not to disappoint/offend people when your ideas of what you want your wedding to be like don’t align with those of everyone involved. Still, I did get married, and even though our outdoor ceremony got rained torrential downpoured and hailed out, I couldn’t be happier to be married to my husband.

Amidst the wedding planning, I started to exercise. I downloaded the Couch to 5k app on my phone and slowly worked my way through the program, finishing it in August. Being able to run three miles, and that too without really feeling too terrible after, boosted my confidence, and I look forward to starting up again soon. I just have to pick up some cold weather gear. 🙂

Possibly the biggest thing I did for myself in 2014 was to start taking control of my health, both physical and mental. I think I went to the doctor more this past year than I have in my entire life previously. My husband has really helped me realize that doctors aren’t there just for life-threatening illnesses, and going forward, I’m going to make a point to do all the necessary check-ups throughout the year. I also made the decision to get professional help for my anxiety. I have never dealt with stress well, which has lead to some unhealthy coping strategies, so I booked an appointment with a psychologist. It helped me realize that my situation was very common, and the things I was dealing with were manageable. The appointments, along with my decision to stop taking a medication that I felt was negatively affecting my mood and other aspects of my life (and also that was not necessary for my overall health) has dramatically improved my overall attitude.

The last thing I want to mention is this blog. I love that I finally took the plunge in August to start a beauty blog. Part of me didn’t want to start one because, let’s face it, there are millions upon millions of beauty blogs these days, with more being started every single day. I didn’t expect anyone to read it at all, but I’ve had a lot of support so far, and I’m determined to keep growing my humble little corner of the internet through the next year and beyond. I’ve had a few moments of doubt. Thoughts like, “There are so many blogs out there, and the chances of my blog becoming big are slim to none, so what’s the point?” and “It bothers me that some bloggers get so much attention and free stuff, and others get no recognition at all. Part of me wants to be recognized too, but mostly I just want to freaking talk about make up without all this weird pressure!” For the first couple of months after I started this blog, I went on a buying binge so that I constantly had products to talk about, but now I’ve settled down and realized I’m buying too much. My makeup is pretty simple. I wear neutral eye shadow and I don’t really wear a bold lip too often, so why should I buy all these shadows and lipsticks I’m barely ever going to use? I want to focus more on bettering my skincare routine, my wardrobe, and my home (a year after moving in and the walls are still mostly bare. Eep!). That said, I do still adore makeup, and I want to try more products from indie brands this year.

Thanks for sticking with me through this loooonnnngggg post.

Goodbye 2014! You were great, but 2015 is going to be even better! I’d love to hear what your 2014 was like and if you have any New Year’s resolutions!

Happy Near Year, everyone!

Lots of love,

Caila