Friday, June 25, 2010

{friendly feature: Stina}

{meet stina...she is amazing...enough said....:)}

{Who are you and what are you about?}
i am a girl tired of transitions from travels to temporary homes, getting good habits back that always made me who i was but didn't realize how important they were until i quit them all (either because of exhaustion or laziness or various forms of heartbreak), i am NOT a victim although i once was but i was always strong. i am a mom to a little foreign boy whom i haven't seen for almost two years and don't know if or when i'll ever see him in real life again let alone adopt him. that's what i'm about. becoming anchored, no longer wandering as my heart desires, so that i may try to make a home and a living and adopt my boy. i also love singing. especially on a stage with friends playing instruments, and it's always best when it's worship and there is a holy presence felt by everyone in the room. especially when we're singing words straight out of the Bible. i am an artist but sometimes i don't take or make time for being artsy, then i begin to feel "off" or a little undone. i'm also about being healthy. mentally, emotionally, physically, as much as possible. i am someone who is hard on herself and others and needs to go easy because we are not perfect, we are people. i am on a mission to let love in, to exude joy, and to get enough sleep every night. i'm all about seeing and experiencing dreams becoming reality. and i love the people in my life so deeply that i ache with love and sometimes wish nothing mattered so that we wouldn't have to feel pain, but that is unrealistic and life is, of course, better WITH people. i'm about beauty and kindness and i hope to get better and better at treating people beautifully and kindly. i either avoid or over-do things. i used to be alllllll about getting married young and having all my babies before i was 27. well now i'm 27 and that didn't happen haha-but it dawned on me two days ago, actually, that i'm glad i'll be able to become a mom a little closer to my thirties. i think i'll be a lot more centered and at rest in my own spirit.

{What are you most passionate about?}

 my relationship with God is seriously my first passion. i don't think there are words to describe the experience of being moved in one's inner being by someone greater than ourselves and greater than our minds can really fathom. a lot about God and the Bible blow me away and boggle my mind, but i still choose faith. i'm also passionate about parent-less kids and travelling, music (all kinds of music from ryan adams to hillsong to feist to alison krauss to the album leaf to to to to to you get the idea & i'm not trying to look like i want to gain credibility by listing cool bands haha) i'm passionate about food!!!!! especially super healthy food, authentic ethnic food, raw food, whole food, organic food, homemade food, veggie food, meaty food, and of course a healthy dose of junk food for fun (caramel corn anyone!?). i am also passionate about the products i use in my profession. i'm an esthetician but not just because i wanted to do facials or do skin care, but because AVEDA offers training for people to become licensed estheticians and i get excited about how AVEDA does things, what they stand for, and their products. check out or look up their sourcing stories on youtube. .....i'm also passionate in people feeling that they have the freedom to be who they are. people out there are mean-kids and grown ups-and if i think or talk about it too much i feel like a protective mama bear. know what i mean? i just really don't like mean-spirited-ness. and i'm passionate about family-keeping close with the one we're born into (well that can get extra difficult if it's not a healthy situation..) and passionate about someday being a kind strong and loving wife and patient strong supportive mom. i want good things for people. i want to see other people do well but i need to accept that i can't just make everyone perfect and happy and that precious people have to experience pain. i'm passionate about hope. so after everything i just said, it's clear to me that i truly am most passionate about faith, hope and love. (and food comes in fourth place. oh, tied with music. and "art")...

{Tell us a little bit about who Matthew is and why he is so special...}

i spent a lot of time and money as a volunteer in a small children's home on a little island in the caribbean (for some reason i recently began to describe it instead of just saying "jamaica"). the longest i stayed there was for 5 months. half way through that stay, a new preemie baby was sick and the director of the home told me he needed to be held 24 hours a day and asked if i'd be his house mom since one of the jamaican staff couldn't do that, obviously, because of all the other children and daily chores as well as their own families to go home to each day. so even though i thought he looked like a little alien baby (a CUTE one, haha) i said yes! OH BOY. it was very clear to me how that situation was from God down to every last detail, because there's no way any person could have planned every little detail that led up to that day or throughout the whole experience. Matthew and i bonded like he will never bond to anyone else in his whole life. apart from the fact that i didn't carry him in me for nine months and didn't give birth from him, i am his first mom. since he was a "failure to thrive" baby and projectile vomited every time he was fed a bottle and other details i'll spare the readers, i was told that he desperately needed skin on skin treatment to see if that would help him get healthy so that he wouldn't have to be admitted to the hospital. well, after i think about a week he was still not able to keep down any bottles which meant he had a bowel obstruction and needed a simple surgery. this led to a 12-hour day in the ER while he had blood taken and we waited to get him admitted. i very reluctantly left the hospital after midnight. bless my dear driver "poppa jones" (my island dad) for what he'd have to endure for the next month. i'd visit Matthew at the hospital from 30minutes(rarely that short)-12 hours per day, standing by his crib and i.v. with him wrapped in my sweatshirt the whole time (unless i was massaging his whole body with oil because of his...i just realized i could just say he was dying, i saw him waste away to a skeleton with skin, his social worker visited one weekend and demanded surgery, i was told to expect to see him dead the next day(pre-surgery), i thought he was a white baby and ran to his crib and called my mom and one of my friends to vent about it-i didn't even recognize him and i haunched over his crib, nose to nose with him, as i often did when i wasn't holding him wrapped in my yellow sweatshirt, i took a couple days off from visiting and when i went back, he had the surgery and i found him with an i.v. in his head, hair shaved, more excema, and tubes in his nose draining out thick dark yellow chunks and brown foam, and then he eventually got better. i hogged him and had a hard time sharing him when other volunteers would come through the children's home but sometimes i'd let someone else hold him. sometimes. sometimes i'd leave to bring other kids to doctor appts or the beach. uhh i cannot make this a long story short! so i visited him when he was 8 months old and that's when i decided i should and could try to adopt him. so i finally decided to go to aveda institute so i could get licensed to work in a spa like i had wanted to for YEARS and now i'm waiting for paperwork but he's supposedly not available for adoption but i think that's going to change. he is special and i'm still not sure how to handle being apart from him without my heart turning to stone. if adoptive post partum depression exists i am pretty sure i had it. he's a really cute kid. sometimes i still think he looks like a little alien. mostly i think he's so cute that my heart might explode. i've written a lot about him before, so if anyone wants to dig through my blog posts on tumblr and blogspot and even on myspace, they'll find many bits and pieces of the story.

{What made you want to start a blog and what do you enjoy writing about?}

 i think the very first time i started a blog, it was because a boy i liked had a blog. haha WOW. i like typing, i think it's a fun way to keep in touch with friends and since i've been bouncing around living in various places (cities/states/countries) since high school, blogging makes me feel connected to people i love that i don't get to spend time with, as well as somewhat channel creativity or artsy-ness since i'm still terrible at settling in anywhere and really applying myself to working on all the artsy and crafty things i think about. i like pretty things so i like blog backgrounds and photos and so forth. it's fun to be able to day dream and think and keep track of ideas and pretty things in a blog. i used to use them to vent, because i am a thinker and typing felt like a release and instead of saving it in a private file, i guess i just started posting what i wrote. it was more about getting it out that having it be read.

{Can you share some about your gluten free diet and how you manage it in a cost effective way?}
 for the most part i really like eating gluten free. it will be SO nice when my life is truly more settled and i can stock up my own kitchen and have more time to cook. my mom has SERIOUSLY been saviour of food to me since i was little. i like to be creative with food already (passed down from ama to mom to me and my sisters and brother!) and eating gluten free was frustrating as a teenager but now it's much easier to embrace. when done well, it's really healthy. ordering things online is a great way to save money (like flours, in bulk). also, making the effort to cook gluten free and figure out how to change recipes to be gf is helpful. some gf foods are expensive or unnecessary. sure, occasional gf desserts are delicious and mandatory for the soul (ha!) but i used to get carried away buying tons of gf groceries just because they were gluten free. like oreos and junky cereals or whatever, just because they were gluten free and not because it was the sort of thing i would usually spend money on. it's so worth it to eat gluten free if you're someone who needs to. the pain and symptoms of celiac disease (for me, moodiness, inability to sleep, fatigue, foggy mindedness..) are so annoying. i eat a lot of non-bread healthy foods like potatoes with onions and garlic, or brown rice, or whole grain corn tortillas...

{Any general health tips you employ in your own life that you can share?}

 (#1. sleep more than i do!!!!! i LOVE the days i actually fall asleep before 10 and wake up energized around 6am! but honestly, that hasn't happened since shortly after i left matthew in 2008.) when it comes to food, getting lots of greens is so important! also, order some virgin coconut oil online and use it instead of oil and/or butter. eat garlic every day. care about your body enough not to eat too many empty calories (i don't meant that in a mean way! it blows me away how much we eat that doesn't do anything for the health of our bodies &/or is bad for us, and i say us because i do it too!) stretch and do some simple pushups, lunges, and situps before bed and upon waking. get yourself a vhs or dvd of billy blanks' 8-minute tae-bo and do it first thing every morning! (13 mins beginning to end. changed my body drastically after 2-3 months). walk or run 5 days a week. do a simple weight routine 2-3 days a week. you don't have to kill yourself when you work out, and it seriously can feel so so good and be fun. i also love doing yoga and pilates dvds before bed and in the morning when i have (or *ahem* MAKE time for it). i sustained some leg injuries in 2007 and have barely been back on a strict work out regimen since then, but i honestly think that all the years i worked out before that have paid off for now. i'm slowly but surely trying to start sleeping better and working out every day again. for now, i love taking the dogs running (frolicing, playing) at the park. and when you eat dessert, think about experiencing and enjoying up to 3 bites to savor the flavor rather than eating a lot of it. takes a little discipline but isn't that bad. besides, leftover cake is fantastic when it's been covered up and kept in the fridge for a couple days *wink.

{As a licensed esthetician what would you say are the best things to do for your skin to keep it healthy and are there any products you can suggest?}

 i suggest aveda products!!!!! generally the "tourmaline charged" like is good for so called "normal" skin types and everyone should use botanical kinetics liquid exfoliant every day or every other day for sensitive skin. don't pick at blemishes and if you're going to, at LEAST do it after a shower or steaming your face over a sink full of hot water with a towel draped over you-to prep your skin and avoid blemish blowouts. get facials once a month at an aveda location. they do everything hands-on and work with your skin and body to get it to heal itself rather than attack it to get rid of the problems. if that makes sense. drink lots of water and eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies-lots of color variety in your produce picks. and going to bed by 1030pm is good too. and if you can manage to lay in bed in the morning doing deep diaphragmatic breathing for 5-10 minutes (lay on your back, press belly button to celing as you inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds as you bring your belly in), it will engage your body's de-stressing system and honestly, you will see results in your skin if you do this regularly. investing in aveda products is absolutely worth it because they're effective, A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY, and because they have so many skin care options, you can have your daily skin care routine be completely customized to fit your particular needs. and if ppl have questions they should write to me or go to an aveda salon near them. can look up locations on :) if you really can't afford aveda, try cetafil.

{What part does music play in your life?}

 i hear music in my mind like a movie score. it changes depending on what's going on around me. i sing constantly when i'm home alone or with my poor family who has had to deal with hearing me practicing runs over and over again. i love singing. i sing at my church. there's something awesome about singing with a microphone.for some reason, i'm less shy the more people there are. i wish i could play piano and guitar and ukelele and banjo and all that great stuff. but i can only tinker around on piano and guitar...and saxophone. i wish i was the kid who believed my mom when she told me how important it would be to learn instruments when i was young. i don't know what i was thinking. i think i quit lessons just a few years before i really felt like i wanted to play music. i was moved by music from a very young age though. i love that there's music to suit any mood. i love that my parents played bob marley, miles davis, graham parker, and integrity praise & worship. i love that sad love songs are so irrelevant now, but i'm thankful for all the teary hours ryan adams' and rachael yamagata's and ray lamontagne's and rosie thomas' and missy higgins' music spent with me. i love when babies and little kids are into trying to play music. haha i have some rough recordings from worship sets and a demo of a song i co-wrote with my friends ex boyfriend & my brother actually came up with the main guitar stuff in it...wee music! it's kind of sad, i remember coming to a point about seven years ago when i decided that i wasn't going to pursue music in the way i wanted to because i just...didn't feel like it & felt overwhelmed i think with adding it to may plate of travels and transitions. some may say that means i'm not really a musician and i don't think that's true. it's something that could have been. maybe it still will someday. i'm actually glad that i didn't pour all my energy into music in the past several years though (yes sad and glad). because there was room for other really awesome stuff too. yeah i still think some people will say that's a load of bull poop. but whatever. 

{What is your #1 favorite quote?}

 i. have. no. idea. for now, it's "let love in." okay i guess i do know. it's my farmor (swedish grandma on dad's side) saying the same Bible verses to us every time she'd put us to bed or say goodbye or pray for us, "the Lords bless you and keep you, the Lord watch over you" etc. i can't even quote it fully off the top of my head but i can still picture her in front of me as she would say it, reaching out to sweep my hair out of my face or pet my arm and back. and my ama (grandma on mom's side) gives reminders to laugh. not exactly a quote but it's something someone says that is profound in its own little way.

{What is the name of your etsy store and where can I find it?}

 stinatree is the name. it's only got a few organic baby beanies posted right now. life is busy and i'm still in the middle of transitioning to my new home so i've made more that aren't posted yet. some are really cute and tiny with earflaps and embroidered flowers. i like to crochet beanies for someone i see in person, not that great at sizing and not sure how to figure the pricing. if anyone wants to help me out, feel free!! eventually i want to sell prints of photos and other things. i want to embroider onesies for babies. 

{What is your favorite etsy store to shop?}
 i don't actually shop there (only because i don't have extra money for shopping!! for now) but i love seeing what people make. like meArtDesign and themeadowlark and pigeontoeceramics. i've added a lot of sellers to my favorites. one day i'd like to be more involved with etsy.

love her.....ali<3


  1. wow, what a powerful story. I can sort of understand that powerful attachment and connection one can feel for a child that isn't their own. As a caregiver at a daycare I had a similar connection with a little boy. How is it that an infant/toddler can become one of your best friends?

  2. Hi, hun!
    I love your blog, and have passed an award along to you! You can find it here:

  3. Sonya- That's so great! Thank you! I'm flattered :)
    Eva- Thank you so much for taking the time to read Stina's story! Aren't children amazing! There was a little boy I spent a lot of time with when I was in Africa named Owen and I wanted to bring him home with me!