52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge – My Husband

I am REALLY excited to talk about him and express how thankful I am that he is the person I am sharing the rest of my life with… unless becoming a vampire turns into a thing and then we shall be IMMORTAL AND LIVE FOR ALL ETERNITY IN THE DARK SINCE WE’RE NIGHT OWLS ANYWAY. BTW this is supposed to be week 2.

My husband Ali is a Scottish guy from Glasgow. We met online almost 8 years ago and were friends for a few years. If there’s anything I’ve learned about him, it’s that he has the patience of a saint and is the best listener I’ve ever come across. He genuinely cares about others and will do anything he can to help those who need it.

I don’t speak about this much, but I grew up Catholic and HATED going to church. I always felt like I was forced to go because I was a stubborn little brat (now I’m just stubborn) and didn’t like the idea of having to wake up early, get dressed up, and leave the house… aaaand I’m still that way.  It wasn’t until I was about 17 years old where something clicked and I realized that it wasn’t just about me. I don’t know how to explain it but there was a point where I just felt like I had to join choir to understand everything. I joined, met my church family, sang every Sunday, attended a youth group meeting or two, and went to one of the big retreats as a leader. Then I turned 21, liked to ~party~ and basically just became a young adult without a care in the world and in some ways forgetting what I stand for.

During my cool kid party years, I got to know some protestant people who made Christianity look bad and started to resent Christianity because the people I met and saw on TV believed that God hated gays, hated minorities, and hated whatever is different from people like those in these certain groups. How could I ever associate myself with people who promote so much negativity and hate? This was so confusing for me as someone who was always taught to love and to forgive even though for me, forgiveness has always been hard for me.

I am not a perfect Christian. I couldn’t quote any verses from the bible by heart or memorize the names of the books and recite them in order, but what Ali did was teach me that it is about my relationship with God that matters. He has shown me that true Christianity is about showing love towards others, compassion, and not bringing people down because someone is different. I have already known this and have followed this both inside and outside of religious beliefs, but have struggled with my faith for this exact reason. I thought that most (if all) Christians believed that my loved ones were all the scum of the earth just because of who we are and that was the only impression I ever saw from people I’ve met (outside of my Catholic church) and certain groups in the media.

When I met Ali, I saw respect and unconditional care for others regardless of how he might have been treated. When I eventually visited him in 2012, I met the communii-5gnB6SS-XLty he grew up with in Glasgow who were all incredibly welcoming and not once were any beliefs or agendas shoved in my face.  It felt right and I understood why Ali is the way he is. He had a big support system who were always there for him spiritually. When he moved over to California with me in 2013, we went to premarital counselling at a non-denominational church that we found together and even took my mom to some of the Sunday services (which she enjoyed) and still went to my church that I grew up in from time to time. Now, here in Manchester, we have been looking for a church that feels right and it’s been a couple of years of going to different churches and I think we found one… that’s beside the point though.

I thank Ali for a lot of things. I thank him for being kind to me, for always supporting me, for loving me, for being by my side, for treating me with respect, for having a sense of humor, for putting up with my stubbornness but hardly ever thank him for bringing me back to my faith. So THANK YOU my love. Thank you for being patient with my growth in faith and for understanding that it’s hard for me to speak about these things. I love you so much and I am so grateful to have you in my life.

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge – Why Start This Challenge?

I started this challenge because I feel like it would be a good way to keep up with my blog. For the last 3 years or so, I’ve kept saying “I’M GONNA START MY BLOG AGAIN” or “I’m gonna post more often” and never did. I think my record is posting once every month for two months haha!

If you look at all of the topics that are included in this series, it’s a great way to show gratitude towards people I love and also things that I don’t normally question or think about when it comes to me. For example the “5 things you like about you” blog will be interesting. Not because I don’t like anything about myself but because I *never* know what to say when questions like that are asked so it’ll be fun to see what I come up with. I’m excited to express gratitude to people who have inspired me, who have been there for me, and people I don’t think I’ve ever expressed gratitude to out loud.

Since I’m 10 weeks or so behind, I’d like to start with talking about…

The City I Live In – Manchester! (Week 6)

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t know too much about Manchester, but I can talk about how I ended up here and what I’ve enjoyed so far.

To those of you who are reading for the first time, I am from California, my husband is from Glasgow, we met online, were friends for a couple of years, fell in love, he moved over to California for uni, we got married, and he got into a PhD program out here in Manchester. There’s a ton of videos about us on my YouTube channel, glowpinkstah and a bunch of little vlogs about our lives together on my gloriashurinava channel so please check them out if you’d like to know more about us.

We are constantly working and don’t get to explore much but one of my favorite places we’ve visited so far in the area (and not exactly in the middle of Manchester) is:

Lyme House! Lyme House is Mr. Darcy’s house in the movie based off of Jane Austin’s book, Pride & Prejudice. I’ve never seen the movie or read the book but when I posted pictures of my husband and I visiting everyone got REALLY excited. I have heard about Mr. Darcy coming out of the lake and it’s all scandalous because his shirt is all KIIINDS of wet though.

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Ooooh Fancy!!!  – The back of Lyme House (my favorite view)

 

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Waiting on Colin Firth to come out that lake!

It’s a beautiful house that was built in the Tudor period but expanded over the last few centuries. It’s full of pretty gardens to walk through, a lake to sit and have a picnic (as seen above) with your best squirrel friends and loved ones, but my favorite part of it all was what was actually inside the house. Even though my knees died from going up and down multiple flights of stairs, I really enjoyed taking the time to explore into every room. I loved the high ceilings, the stained glass windows, the library, and most of all, the dining area! Can you imagine having dinner parties here?!

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I know that this isn’t what people think of when they think of Manchester, but it’s so beautiful that I had to share! You can also watch me attempt to play croquet, here!

I’m tired as frick and don’t feel like I’m 100% here at the moment but here’s a list of restaurants we love just in case you’re ever in the area.

1. Shaad – Indian Curry – the best curry I’ve ever had.
2. Luigi’s – The best pizza I’ve had in Manchester
3. The Stoker’s Arms – A pub. I love their burgers!!

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More from Lyme House cuz it’s cute ^

What is MY Fashion? -Feat. Yours Clothing

YAY! I’ve been shortlisted for the Yours Clothing “Be The Blogger” competition! I want to thank Yours Clothing for this awesome opportunity and thanks to everyone helped me get to the top 10! To those of you who didn’t know, I have for most of my adult life been working for myself and so much has changed over the last 7 years. I did not expect fashion to become a big part of my work even though it’s something I wanted to pursue since I was a teen but never knew how to get into. I’ve always told myself that I would absolutely not rely on everything I want to just fall into my lap: I needed to make things happen for myself if ANYTHING was going to happen at all. I started reaching out to brands on my own, doing all the research and to my surprise, I was getting a response from people in the fashion world out here. I did a couple of jobs, made some friends, and met some really sweet girls in the plus size community.

When it comes to my particular style, I have to feel comfortable first. That doesn’t mean that I  have to wear baggy clothes to hide my goodies in order to achieve the ultimate level of comfy. For example, I could wear Spanx to make my body feel smoother under a dress or jeans, tights because I feel like some dresses are too short on me, and FLATS ALL DAY ERRY DAY because as much as I love the way heels look, nah ah chica, I can’t walk around in them all day… ok not even for 10 minutes but that’s a whole other story hahaha.photo-17-01-2017-4-35-41-pm

I love a simple look that you can jazz up to be a night look, or jazz… down (?) to have a more casual look. This is one of the things I really appreciate about Yours Clothing. A lot of their items are comfortable, but can be either dressed up or dressed down depending on where you’re going, what you’re doing and what your personal taste is.

One of my favorite outfits this year that screamed COMFORT and versatility was this black and white striped top and textured striped skirt from Yours. I loved wearing it because not only is it comfortable, it’s super cute and you can mix and match the top and skirt with just about a bajillion different things and the whole look didn’t take me 10 years to put together.

The second thing to know about my take on fashion is that I am passionate about what I’m wearing whether it’s something simple or flashy. I’ve always picked things out that I would feel great in and even though shopping as a woman can be stressful, I eventually find what I’m looking for and BAM! THE OUTFIT TO REPEAT AT MULTIPLE OCCASSIONS IS HERE! (As seen below ;D)

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Making my way downtown…

2016-07-03-02-36-30At the pub… for dinner… don’t pay attention to the Screwdriver I had in my hand that I am definitely NOT drinking. (I drank the whole thing and I loved it.)

Last but not least, I wanted to mention how much fun it is to take something simple and have the item pull the entire look together. We went to MCM Comic Con out here in Manchester last year and I needed a top to go with my Lilo costume and found this one from Yours.

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^ Me & my BFF who is totally NOT a human being dressed as a friendly neighborhood feline.

When Ali and I moved over to the UK, it was like starting over.In the US I had my favorite plus size stores that I had been shopping from for years. Coming over here I had no idea what was available to me and in all honesty it made me feel pretty worried because I didn’t think I would be able to find brands that I would love as much as the ones I was used to. I can’t remember how I came across Yours Clothing but it just happened to be one of the first places I tried and ordered a couple of items  which I’m pretty sure was underwear and jeans. Jeans and I have not had a great relationship because I have short lil’ legs and have rarely found a pair I love but as soon as they arrived and I tried them on it was like “A WHOLE NEEEEWW WORRRRLLD MEEEEE”. Since then they have been my go-to place for almost everything and what’s great is it doesn’t break mine or Ali’s bank ;).

Honorable mention: These Marie PJs are comfy AF and got them at a sale Yours were having and I bring them along whenever we’re staying somewhere overnight because they’re also cute and I want the world to see them always.

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Struggling & Need to Recharge!

I’ve been struggling a lot recently. It’s not as bad as before, but it’s still taking its toll on my everyday life. I’m not crying all the time (because of being homesick anyway, DAMN YOU WALKING DEAD!), but I haven’t found motivation to focus. I can’t really focus on anything and feel overwhelmed. Even though I know how to solve these problems I don’t want to do anything about it and it freakin sucks.

There have been periods however, that I have felt super happy! I think that’s because I was away from Manchester and closer to friends and family, or exploring a new city. Where I live isn’t a bad place to be at all. Our little village is very quiet with everything I need basically just around the corner. I think the biggest issue is that we don’t have friends or family near. I work for myself and Ali is getting his PhD so we’re both constantly working and our schedules are always WORK WORK WORK. We do get to spend a lot of time together though which is something I’m very thankful for because I know not many people get that luxury. I never want to be long distance from him again and we all know that so I guess I’ll save that for another time.

We recently went to York for a little PR challenge to watch The Conjuring 2 and sleep over in a 600 year old Haunted House. It was so freakin cool because neither of us have ever done that before and I’ve never been to York. It was such a beautiful city with so much interesting history (keyword: interesting) that I was genuinely excited about it and happy to explore.

Last weekend we went to Glasgow for my sister-in-law’s wedding and even though it was a busy weekend I was so happy to be around familiar faces and just be around people we love and a city where my husband grew up. I don’t really think I noticed how happy I was to be around family and friends until we got back here to where we basically don’t know anyone or have close enough friendships with to just call em up and be like “Hey come over and be boring and watch Netflix with us.”

After coming back from Glasgow I noticed I felt like I was in a slump again. I have little to no motivation and I really do need a change. I think once we go back to California,  have a proper vacation and we don’t have to worry about work as much, I’ll be able to recharge and actually feel better when we get back to Manchester. That’s what I’m hoping for anyway.

There is so much to do when we visit California. I really wish it was a longer visit, but I’ll take 2 weeks over 0 any day! I’m most excited about Thanksgiving with my family and our little traditions that we have. After we have dinner (which is basically an all-day food thaaang) we either go to another family member’s house or watch a movie. This year we’re going with my mom to watch Moana and hopefully Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them. We’re taking my little bro #hunniezatdamawl to Disneyland and Ali is going to be a tourist in LA for the first time. We’re going to spend some time at Leo & Ken’s and have Friendsgiving, hang out at a bar with friends, have a traditional board game night with my sister and family friends, and hopefully I can convince my mom to decorate the house for Christmas before we leave LOL.

Talking about what we have planned so far is actually making me excited… so that helped LOL. I really should write in this thing more often. I’m pretty sure I say that in ever blog but OH WELL!

Thanks for reading and I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated through my social media! 11 days to go!

❤ Gloria

Rambling Intro – Homesick Diary

I can’t get my thoughts out when I’m physically writing so hopefully typing will make things easier. For the last couple of days I have been feeling very homesick. It’s nothing new, I’ve been struggling a lot with that this year but this time it hit me suddenly and I couldn’t stop crying all night. Any little thing that reminded me of how much I missed home bothered me and made me teary or I had to stop doing whatever it was that I was doing at the time.

It probably didn’t help that I was listening to “love songs” which is something I normally do! I love feeling all lovey dove-y when I’m writing, brainstorming, or planning out my week but it’s almost as if I had a breakup with all my friends and family because I don’t see them or hear from them as much as I want to. IT’S NOT ANYONE IN PARTICULAR’S FAULT, I blame it on time. That’s also not true because I know that I’m not on the top of the friendship priority list and I’m also an asshole so I’ll explain that more later.

To those who don’t know me, I am from California, my husband is from Scotland, and we fell in love and moved to England soon after we got married. I had visa issues in 2015 and after lots of stress and tears, we now are able to live in the same country and don’t have to worry about that issue for now.

We are visiting California for Thanksgiving and it’s nearly 70 days away but by then I wouldn’t have seen my friends and family for 15 months. This is the first time I’ve ever been away for over a year. I’m just going to say that I realize people have it much worse, but this is the first time I’m having to live through this so SHH. I feel like if I had friends near (those in the US and UK) it would make things much easier. I feel like if I was able to go back home every 6 months I’d be able to manage fine but we simply can’t afford it and don’t have the time. What hurts me most is thinking about the holidays. I always stayed home on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year hanging out with my mom. My siblings were always invited round to their friends so sometimes they’d leave. I personally didn’t feel like it was appropriate (for me) to leave the house unless we were all going to another relative’s house to celebrate (I did have close friends come over as well so it’s not as “sad” as it sounds, haha). So when I think about not going home and not being able to spend time with my family, I think specifically about my parents hanging out and doing nothing LOL. As dumb as that sounds, it’s what I imagine and it makes me sad. My parents usually have plans when we’re all out but the thought of it really upsets me. Going home for Thanksgiving was such a big deal and when I told my mom she was so happy and was so shocked she needed to just sit in her car and not drive. I didn’t know she was out at the time and thankfully she was just sitting in the parking lot. She said she was so excited that her heart was pounding. We’re having a huge feast when visit so that makes me happy!

Aside from being homesick around the holidays, I really miss spending time with my siblings. We always had fun playing together when we were younger and even though we fight a lot (as WE ALL DO) we are pretty close. AT LEAST I THINK SO. IF YOU GUYS EVER READ THIS YOU BETTER FEEL THE SAME. Anyway, even in my early 20s, and them in their teens, we’d have so much fun playing board games or video games to the point where we’re all screaming. I’m super competitive but we know it’s all for fun because even though I end up rage punching the couch because they are purposefully sabotaging me, we laugh about it immediately after.  It’s not like it wasn’t the other way around, my sister and I would team up on my brother to make him lose because even though he was the youngest he was somehow still better than us?! UGH. Even though my cooking has evolved since 2 years ago I miss cooking for them too! I also miss making them watch scary movies so I can laugh at them when they jump.  I MISS EVERYTHING.

Here’s where friendships come in. We’re all adults now, we all have our own lives and I get that. What I don’t understand is why I feel like I’m pushed to the side or an afterthought? Sometimes I feel like I’m putting in everything I can (and yes I’ve brought this up before) and helping to the best of my knowledge but still not be asked how my days was. With some people it’s like “help me!” and when I need a shoulder they’re not there. When I want to have a quality friendship time skype call people are too busy? There’s also times where I say “You can always come to me!” but I never hear from them LOL. Here’s why I feel like I’m an asshole too: I know I haven’t been a good friend to some people lately. I posted on my fb that I have no excuse other than trying to stay productive and distract myself from dealing with a bunch of crap that is out of my control but that is an entirely different story. I feel bad and I don’t know how to explain how I feel about these situations other than I’m so damn lonely and would like to have one group of people remember that I exist but also a jerk who doesn’t want to talk to another group of people *because* I’m going through a tough time. Can I just blame this on distance and the time difference? I’m going to because I feel like it LOL. I know the real answer to these questions but sometimes I just want to rant and say everything.

These are just my rambling thoughts, I don’t know how to process or further explain how I feel. I think writing everything down and posting to my blog will help me figure out crap and hopefully I won’t be as homesick? EHHHH. Anyway, thanks for reading my post especially if you made it this far, jeez!!

❤ Gloria

I PROMISE

To myself that I’ll start using this again. Not only is it therapeutic but that also means I can find my recipes for shii I’ve made and that means that I remember exactly how I made things to my liking 🙂

OK SO LET’S SEE IF I ACTUALLY USE THIS. ❤