RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS

The last person I texted was:

My husband, Troy. We text each other a couples of times during the day when we’re both at work.

And I said back:

I love you too.

I know way too much about:

The chart positions of 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and most of today’s music on certain artists. I’m a music geek.

My favourite city in the world:

There’s only one place, Lisbon (Portugal).

What did you want to be when you were a kid:

Two things: a model and a pop star. I can’t sing to save my life but I sound amazing in the car though!

What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep?

Put paw paw balm on my lips and also put on my sleep mask.

Snack food you can't live without?

Being portuguese and raised around these foods, it has stayed as my all-time favourite endulgence: olives and prosciutto (!!).

style-and-life-by-susana
style-and-life-by-susana

As soon as you get home what's the first thing you do?

Take off my bra through the sleeves of my top and put on my jogger pants.

My worst habit is?

I start fidgeting with my fingers (like I’m massaging each one) when I get super nervous or stressed.

What is your favourite sex position:

Doggy style.

To me sexy means:

Confidence, a sense of humor and being a gentleman.

The last TV show that made me cry like a baby:

Nashville. The last three episodes before their mid-season. I had my ugly cry face on.

Favourite work out?

Yoga.

Favourite swear word?

Fuck.

What annoys your husband about you the most?

That I say “I’m always right and know better”. LOL!

What's your favourite alcoholic drink?

I love moscato wine. But also love with strawberry sparkling spumante. I’m a cheap drunk!! Haha!

Outfit I’m wearing: Lace sleeveless top by H&M, boyfriend ripped jeans & lace-up heels by Zara, sunglasses by Mango and jewellery by Bijou Brigette (all pieces bought in Portugal).

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As you all might remember recently I was personally invited to enter Australia’s Top 50 Influencer Awards for 2017, which is presented by MyDeal.com.au, celebrating the success and impact of Australian online influencers across YouTube, Instagram, Blogs and other popular social media channels.

They recognise a variety of individuals and segments including health & fitness, fashion, beauty, travel, parenting and culture. With the support of Australian brands and industry leaders, the awards are on their way to becoming an iconic yearly ceremony embodying Australian culture in the digital sphere.

I have AMAZING news to share with you!!! Late yesterday afternoon I received an email letting me know I am a finalist in Australia’s Top 50 Influencer Awards for 2017!!! OMFG!!!!

The event will be held on the 15th March 2017 in Melbourne and is hosted by Australia’s favourite housewife Gina Liano, the night will feature entertainment, cocktails and canapes!

Whatever happens, whether I win or not, it has been such an honour to have been nominated in the Top 50 and be notified as a finalist. This has all been a confirmation or you could say an affirmation that this is what I am supposed to be doing and I am on the right path. My blog is my love, my passion, my life and I’m still only warming up.

I just want to thank you all for coming to visit this little blog of mine and be apart of my journey. Lots of love and hugs to you all!! xoxo

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So What Now...?

PREVIOUSLY on the last episode of Style & Life by Susana“Day 20: that phone call”:

Embryologist: “I’m sorry Susana, your embryo stopped growing. (Long and awkward pause) I’m so sorry for being the bearer of sad news.”

I hung up the call, took in a deep breath and just broke down into a flood of tears. 

I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. And unfortunately they were very loud piercing sobs that my work colleagues were able to hear me through the wall regardless that the door to the boardroom was shut closed.

FAST FORWARD TO PRESENT DAY

Writing this is vulnerable and gut wrenching. Reliving all of the past memories, heartache and mental anguish I went through. Although I feel weak at times but I also feel stronger than ever. My fear is I don’t know how my truth will land for many of you and I hope towards the end, you will understand.

Since the last IVF cycle ended, it hasn’t been an easy road for me… mentally, physically and more so, emotionally. For so long I have steered far away as possible (if I was able to) from friends who have either fallen pregnant, just given birth or have children under the age of five. Please don’t get me wrong, I am truly happy for my friends but it’s so hard feeling like the odd one out – but I know that they are issues I need to sort out, and in time they.

Now why those ages specifically? I don’t know why exactly to be honest but perhaps because it doesn’t hurt as much if the kids are a little older. I know it doesn’t make much sense but God knows I’m trying hard to explain it here behind my screen on my laptop as I type this. It seems the younger the children are, the harder it hits closer to home for me. The baby I miscarried five years ago would have been five years old this September and I miss that little snowflake (I even wrote a song called, ‘Snowflake’ to express my grief) that lived inside my uterus for only two months. I was in love with those early stages of morning sickness and extreme weird cravings I had and I still to this day I feel a sense of loss about it.

Since 2012 up until early last year, going through so many freaking IVF cycles, my spirit and soul has been broken.  I’m pathetically more emotional than ever before. Now I’ve always been a very sensitive emotional person but not to the point where even a stupid happy story on a television show or even giving my congratulations on a certain achievement to a work colleague (yes this happened to me recently), I completely choke up and tears start to fall down my face. I can’t even express myself anymore without having my throat tighten up and tears start to well up in my eyes. I feel so pathetic! It’s like I’ve lost all sense of control.

I use to be able to speak confidently in public as well too, to be completely honest – I secretly love having all eyes on me 😀 . Here’s an example: a while ago I asked by a friend to read a passage from the bible at her own wedding. It all started off so well but then something happened, and my own voice cracked, the nerves and emotions came out through every syllable of every word, I then burst into tears. I was stunned and shocked by this as it never ever happened to me before. Even my own husband asked me as I sat back down, ‘what happened up there?’ I hung my head down, shook my head and said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know’. Actually I do… it’s called IVF.

While IVF is an amazing thing that has it helped millions of couples around the world to achieve their dreams of having a baby of their own, but what is not spoken about but is yet swept underneath the rug is the emotional and mental turmoil pain that also causes to those other millions of couples that it doesn’t work for.

When my last cycle ended, my husband and I decided to take some time off to decide what we were going to do, as we had been doing an IVF cycle every two months for almost four years.

Can you imagine the amount of money that is spent on something that there is only a fifty fifty chance. I mean, you do it no matter what because you want that family. I won’t go now into the nitty gritty of what was actually spent on our IVF cycles in total but let me put it this way – you could buy at least three mustang cars with that. No joke.

IVF is the Chanel designer brand of making babies – expensive as shit, but you just gotta have it.

For the first couple of months, Troy and I didn’t talk about what the next step was going to be as we just wanted a complete break from IVF, where it wasn’t consuming and controlling every part of our lives. We just wanted to breathe and lives our lives again and be normal, without worrying about where the next dollar was coming from to go towards another cycle and not have to worry about the exact timing of when injections, hormone patches and progesterone vaginal inserts had to be. We wanted to live stress free.

We had previously chatted to our IVF specialist about using a donor egg and even a close friend of mine rang me one day out of the blue to tell me that a couple she knew had two fertilised embryos in storage who no longer wanted their embryos but wanted to give it to us when they heard about our story. That completely blew us away… two embryos that would be given to us! I have to say this came out of left field for me and seriously whacked me on the side of the head, giving me whip lash but also mixed in with euphoria then turning into the biggest and most enduring migraine ever. It was at that moment, I fell back down into my tunnel of darkness.

I cracked under the emotional anguish at this possibility as I had just slowly started to (sort of) ‘heal’ a few months after ending the last cycle, coming to the realisation of not being able to have my own children.

I fell deeper and darker into my cycle of anxiety thoughts, blaming myself for our failures, feelings of depression and complete utter confusion and mind fuck games swirled around inside of my head 24/7. In the end I decided I couldn’t go through with it all over again just in case, you know – ground hogs day (!!) …that neither one of those embryos didn’t take to my uterus.

Yes I know, I know, I know there’s also a chance that it could work out for us and that we would finally become pregnant. But honestly, the fear was that extreme, that palpable that all I kept thinking about was how my NKC (natural killer cells) would affect all of those chances again and to go through feeling like a failure, that my body is rejecting this God given miracle that I can’t do what a woman is supposed to do (creating a child inside of me), just killed me.

Our lives for the past four years has been devoted to do everything possible and imaginable underneath the sun so we could have that baby we desperately longed for. But we came to the most hardest and painful decision that any couple has to decide, that since my eggs were so much older from when I first started, and there was only a 0.001% of maybe falling pregnant that we were now going to live our lives together as a childless but yet devoted and loving couple along with our two gorgeous fur babies, Tiago and Miguel.

After four long difficult years, our baby journey has come to an end.

I don’t want anyone thinking I really don’t want a child just because I turned down the opportunity of a donor egg or fertilised embryos. It’s not that simple. To the outside world it seems like the most easiest decision to make and it would appear I shouldn’t even have to think about it if I truly wanted a baby.

I don’t mean to sound harsh when I say this but unless you have walked in my shoes (or any infertility challenged couples shoes) struggling with infertility and experiencing constant repetitive failures – its a fucked up journey for anyone to go through. The desperation, the extreme heartache pain and the tsunami of tears I have cried (and still cry to this day), it’s just not that simple.

I will forever have a part of me that will always feel like a failure to my husband and still believe he should leave me for a younger woman who could give him the baby he deserves (he would make an unbelievable father), to carry on his bloodline. Those thoughts, those feelings – a part of them will always live inside of me but I’m trying, slowly moving away from those thoughts… baby steps (pun unintended).

Troy and I are still praying for that so called ‘miracle’ that everyone talks about once a couple stops IVF and goes about living their lives again, but I’m not expecting miracles to happen because honestly and truthfully – they do happen but not for everyone.

What is meant to be, will be. But what I do know is that living in the now is that I’m enjoying sex again (now that’s another story but to make it very brief, I avoided it because I felt so incredibly ashamed of my body for it not responding the way it should) with my husband. Who knows if a baby will happen for us but I’m not going to allow it to consume my entire life again.

Life is so short and I missed so much of it when IVF became my only reason for existence. I was like a horse with its side blinkers on – couldn’t see anything else around me but only what presented in front of me.

Would I do it all over again? Fuck yeah I would! But knowing all that I’ve learnt along the way, there’s so much I would now demand for it to be done upfront so things aren’t dragged on and false hopes are given, time and time again.

Whilst this is the end of my journey but it won’t be the end of me talking about IVF. I have a-lot more to talk about and share with women (or couples) who are just about to start or are on their way in their IVF journey. I will share things that you as the patient have the right to know and demand to be done and cut through all of the bullshit. And even though I wasn’t successful in my baby journey, there are tips I want to pass on to help those who are searching for every little bit of information on Google, to save you the time. It will all be here on my blog so that you can refer back to it time and time again, and/or maybe that you can pass onto your sister, cousin, aunty, best friend or even your work colleague who is going undergoing IVF.

Thank you for reading story and for being a part of my journey xoxo.

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I’m so excited to announce that I have been nominated for the Geelong Small Business Awards 2017, in the category of Rising Star and Social Media Influencer.
My nomination means that I have been recognised as a local business that’s making an outstanding impact on the Geelong community, with the Awards being based on things like contribution to the community, innovation and collaboration.
To be selected to enter, was a huge thrill and honour for me as I have been working so hard to make my blog get recognised even if just a little.  I literally start working on it  from the moment I get up in the morning, on/off throughout the day (in-between report writing at my full-time during the day job –shhhhhhhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone! wink, wink) ), during my lunch break and again, when I come home after making hubby and my fur babies their dinner, until I hit my pillow on the bed. And yet still, thoughts and ideas are constantly running through my head while I’ trying to fall asleep.
I practically live and breathe this blog. I want to make it a huge success and take it to the very next level of making it my only full time job that I can work from home doing exactly what I love and am passionate about.
Regardless whether if I win or not, just to be nominated and be recognised in my beautiful home town of Geelong (which I have always been so proud to live in and be from), is a dream come true and would be completely mind blowing. I am completely and utterly so grateful to have been considered and nominated.
Thank you to all who have supported and encouraged me on my journey so far. I am so proud to be a part of Geelong’s supportive small business community and an event that’s encouraging it to thrive!
Wish me luck! The awards ceremony is on the 23rd March 2017.
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 I thought that I would change up a bit a actually share a few quite random things about myself in today’s post and make it a little tad more personal, so that you guys could get to know me a little bit better. So here it goes! (cue in the bitting the nails bit – .i.e. nerves)

1. MY FAVOURITE FOOD IS: Anything seafood based! I love all fish and anything from the ocean. End of story.
2. MY MIDDLE NAME IS: oh my God!!…OK, now let me just warn you, in portuguese culture – actually, pretty much in any european culture, we are ‘blessed’ with long middle names. So if you have a short middle name, count you’re self  lucky. I used to be (…OK, you can see I am trying to prolong as much as I can before I actually tell you…) so embarrassed by how long my middle is… I would see people’s mouths literally drop and hit the curve of the street with a thump and see the saliva in slow motion spit out of their months, in shock. Alright, I may just be slightly exaggerating. ..(long deep sigh) but here it goes, Susana Paula Dos Santos Lopes- Snarey. OK, so it may not seem that long, but when you’re actually saying it and in the actual lingustic portuguese way, it does sound like I am reciting the ABC’s up to the letter J. Haha!
 3. I SPEAK 3 LANGUAGES FLUENTLY: Portuguese, English and Spanish. I can also speak French but not as fluently as I once was able to.
4. MY FAVOURITE ANIMAL IS: Dogs. I am such a huge animal lover but I have to say that dogs are just my world! I feel connected to them. Just look at their eyes and they way they that they just love you to bits and are so happy to you when you come home! All a dog wants is love and food.
5. I OWN PETS: Well since being a dog lover, I have only ever owned chihuahuas and I have gorgeous little fur babies at home: Tiago, Miguel and Carlitos. They are my world! Also have a chicken and a few canaries.
6. I’M SCARED OF A COUPLE OF THINGS: Snakes and spiders but I’m really petrified of snakes!!! Eeeeeeeek!!
7. STAR SIGN: Pisces. Water signs are extremely artistic, creative and very emotional people, oh and tend to live in their own world! Yep that is me! 😉 Haha! …my birthday is coming soon!
8. MY FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WHOLE WORLD IS: OK, so I may be a tad biased here, but Lisbon (Portugal) is my absolute favourite. I have pretty much been all over Lisbon (not completely yet!) but I can still go to the same exact spots over and over and over and over again, and never get tired of seeing them. Just the untouched, original beauty, atmosphere and the history behind it is just completely mind blowing. I live, feel, think and breathe better when I’m back in Lisbon.
9. MY CURRENT FAVOURITE SONG: I still cannot get enough of ’24K Magic’ by Bruno Mars. Tongue in cheek, addictive and brilliant.
10. MY CURRENT FAVOURITE TV SHOW: Oooooh, there’s a few I love… Empire, Power, The Walking Dead, Younger, This Is Us, Ladies of London, Keeping Up With The Kardashians (I’m not ashamed!) and Nashville. OK, I admit it, I love my TV. …hello, my name is Susana and I am a television addict.
11. FAVOURITE NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINK: I’m obsessed with coconut water and natural spring sparking water. They are both my absolute two favourites I need to have always with me, at home and at work.
12. FAVOURITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK: Moscato wine, is my ABSOLUTE favourite. I only like to drink sweet tasting wine. Anything else just makes me screw up face in disgust and look like I’ve shoved a sour lemon into my mouth. Give me sweet wine and I will show a very happy and extremely giggly Susana.
12. SOME OF MY PET PEEVES ARE…: Slow walkers that walk in the middle of the pavement. I mean come on, if you want to move that slow then at least leave some space for other people to pass by you by instead of just slowing everyone else down!
13. WHEN I WAS GROWING UP I WANTED TO BE: (brace yourselves …cue in the shock horror moment) …a pop star (!!) and song writer! So true! From the age of 11 until about 18 or 19 (oh OK, I still think I could be a pop start. BAH! Anyway, I would lock myself in the ‘music room’ (I called it the music room but in reality it was a small second lounge room) every day, and just practice dancing and singing to Madonna, Prince, Kylie Minogue etc over and over, every day. Unfortunately I can’t sing to save my life (in my head I think I do!) but I loved it so much, and I still do! I sing always in my car, like as if I’m performing live. Crack up!! Haha! I would also write songs when I was in the my so called, ‘music room’ . I have written just over 450 songs and I still have those journals.
14. I BELIEVE IN THE SPIRIT WORLD: I truly do. I believe that once you have passed on, your physical body may leave the earth but your spirit and soul lives on. Since I was a little kid, I have been able to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ spirits. I have seen certain members of my family that have passed on from time to time such as my father and my dog. Sometimes as well, I can go into someones house and feel if they have a spirit there too. I believe in life after death. I’m extremely intuitive and a little psychic. Now, I said psychic, not psycho. Haha!
15. ANY BROTHER AND SISTERS? Nope. I’m an only child. Did I miss not having a sibling to play around with when I was growing up? A little but not so much. Sure I was spoilt as a child but my parents made me work hard (like get good grades etc) if I wanted something. And being portuguese, my parents were extremely old school strict parents, that they would NEVER allow me to misbehave and act like a brat. And just that one look from my father I knew I should NOT even contemplate whatever was in my head in trying to test his patience. Haha!
16. CURRENT PHONE I OWN: Oppo R9 Plus. Its like a cross between an android and iPhone. Best of both worlds and I absolutely love it!! So far Oppo phones have been the best phones I have ever owned. Phones to me are like shoes… must always be updated! Haha! (.ie. tech freak)
17. LAST TIME I CRIED WAS? Today, I’ve been feeling anxious again. So much happening at my full time job and personal issues with my mum where I feel I can never measure up to being the ‘perfect daughter’ no matter what I do.
Also, feeling a sense of failure and whether if anyone knows that my blog exists in this world. I know its so silly as I am only just a year old and have so much of myself and the blog to prove.
I may still be so young, (blog wise) and I’m going to make mistakes along the way but it only shows how raw, passionate and determined I am to make this my ONLY career. This is what I was born to do. I was born for fashion, style. pop culture and expressing  myself on an artistic creative plat form in a fashion sense. And I am NOT giving up no matter what is thrown at me and just because I am a ‘certain age’ (bah!) and I WILL defy all thoughts and preconceived ideas that its a ‘youth culture world’. Dare me, and I shall prove the nay sayers wrong.

photography by Mateus Barroso / location: Amadora, Portugal.

Tell me something random about you in the comments below! I would love know about you, who you are and get to know you xox0
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