How to Deal When the Holidays Aren't Exactly Happy

I don’t know about you, but the holidays can be a very bittersweet time for me. It’s not the most wonderful time of the year, I am not jolly and I normally am counting down the days until it’s January 2nd. I skip a lot of holiday events and parties because I’m never in the mood to socialize. Why? Am I the grinch? Nah. This time of year we remember people we’ve lost, especially the older we get. Both my parents are deceased, so this time period always brings up a lot of memories and mixed emotions. I’m grateful for the family I have made for myself, given the fact that my own estrangement from the rest of my family is not a choice I have made, but more so one that they have made, but since my parents have been gone, it just hasn’t been the same. There’s nothing like the season’s festive messages of peace, love, and togetherness to really make us contemplate our existence, our relationships, and what really matters to us. Hence, the Holiday blues do tend to creep in on me. But instead of passing through and keeping quiet, I decided to write to those that are in the same boat as me. Because you’re not alone. So here are my 5 tips on how to deal when the holidays aren’t exactly happy.


With all the added pressures the holidays bring, one activity I’m not much a fan of is holiday gatherings. So I tend to skip out on a lot of them. Not because I’m a no-show kind of person, but more importantly, I have to take care of me. So if that means I don’t feel like going to someone’s shindig - I just won’t. Life’s too short to spend all your free time at parties anyway. Plus I always feel guilty. Celebrating anything relating to family is difficult for me. And with a hubby and a dog I cherish so dearly, I quite frankly really enjoy just spending time with them around this time of the year. For those that actually care for me will understand and for the ones who don’t, who cares, honestly.


Whenever I’m feeling down I always make an extra effort to think of others before myself. Because as much as my problems are as big in my head, to the next person, who know what they’re facing as well. So a tiny act of kindness, whether it’s helping an elderly person walk across the street or giving away clothes to Goodwill, there’s always something to be done to help others. I always like to believe that whatever energy you project and also be whatever is paying it forward to the next person. So perhaps if my act of kindness inspires the next person to do the same, my work is done. Well… so to speak. :)


Hey, they don’t call it retail therapy for nothing! If all else fails, you can always splurge on yourself too. Eyeing that new piece of jewelry that just can’t seem to get off your mind? Don’t regret the things you didn’t buy! Big or small, getting a gift for yourself is an act of self-care/self-love. Kind of goes along with the first, in that taking care of yourself and that it doesn’t hurt to buy something for yourself every once in a while. Money doesn’t buy happiness, though!


It’s quite easy to fall into the trap of missing what you don’t have in your life. We are all going through something, and no one’s life is 100% perfectly complete all the time. So when you start to get into a funk, I always try to think of what’s going right in my life rather than what’s going wrong. I think of the people and things I’m grateful for and I have learned to appreciate the smaller things in life. It’s all in the mindset and the way our perspective is in that given time. If you change the way you look at things, things you look at change.


Laughter is the best medicine. Whenever I travel for work and am alone in my hotel room working, I always have Friends of Big Bang Theory on in the background. The white noise makes the room feel less empty and I can always count on a few chuckles to be had afterward. Watch movies, listen to music that make you feel good and will inspire you. Whatever makes you smile, hold on to that just a while longer, because before you know it, the holidays will be over just as quickly as they began!

If you’re in the same boat as me and are not a huge fan of the holidays for perhaps similar reasons like myself - YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I’d say try and make the most of it but it’s okay to not be feeling it as well. If you have any other great suggestion on how to get out of the holiday funky blues, feel free to relay your tips down in the comment section below. I love hearing from you guys, especially on more personal posts as such. Hope you enjoyed, until next time… take care of yourself and others. Love always.





You've Got to Feel to Heal



You've got to feel to heal. 

Life is tough, but so are you. Most of you come to my blog for style inspiration, whether it's in the realm of fashion, beauty, lifestyle... I aim to make each element beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. Maybe some of you come to see my boy, MaQ, as he is just as much a part of my blog as I am and he is truly the mascot of my business. But what I rarely discuss on here is my personal life and all the experiences that led me to here. Since I've had a lot of new readers on here as well as on other social media platforms, I thought today would be a great time to sort of -reintroduce myself. Hey, I'm Suz. I've lost both of my parents in my 20s. I'm completely estranged from the rest of the family, including my brother. Today marks exactly 6 years since my father unexpectedly passed away. Grab some tissues, this isn't going to be an easy read. Listen quietly or talk to me... I'm open either way. 

My father, Caz, died from a massive coronary in 2012. The irony? The day he died was the day he finally was hired for a job after struggling for years trying to find work. The morning his sister drove him to the interview he had said he felt like he was finally at peace and one with God. He literally collapsed in the hallway after shaking hands with the woman who just hired him. When my brother called to tell me the news that our father had passed, I thought it was a sick joke. Truly in a state of shock, I was numb until getting on the plane the next day with my fiancé at the time (now husband). I sobbed the entire flight home, knowing I would have no time to shed any tears while handling my family affairs once we landed. My family was unsupportive and cruel. Since my father died, not one member of my family has even called to check in on me. I'm dead to them, therefore, they are dead to me. One of his sisters refused to come to the funeral because she "already said goodbye to him" from a falling out they had. What about everyone else that needed love and support? Forget them too, right? It was as if everyone couldn't wait to just put him in the ground and be done with it. My father's side of the family has never been the best at communication (I plead the fifth) but everyone's true colors were shown after my father's death. It was like being hit with a Double-Whammy. 

I lost my mother in 2005. It's still hard to believe it's been over 13 years since being without her. What was different about my mother's passing was being there until the very end. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer and battled it for nine months. I took care of her while holding down a job at the airport, finishing up school to graduate on time, and then some (nearly died twice while she was sick.) I am forever grateful that I was able to say goodbye to her. When people wonder what's worse: Losing a loved one suddenly or watching them slowly deteriorate... after experiencing both, the worst is the unexpected. There's so much I wanted to say to my father before he died and because we were estranged for three years before he passed, I'm eternally haunted from all the things left unsaid and what could have been. Is it normal to think that there's something else I could have done to prevent such a heartbreaking loss? Yes, but that's part of grieving. 

How long does the grieving process take? I'm going to have to say, sadly, for the rest of your life. Is it easy for me every day? Fuck no. Some days are so awful, I have trouble getting out of bed. But then I hear my parents, and they'd be damned if I lived an unhappy, unfulfilled life. They wouldn't want that for me. And even though I try my hardest to live a full, rich life, I can't help but feel such sadness at times, knowing I can't share any of my accomplishments or mistakes with them. And in turn, I feel this incredible pressure to honor them - to prove to my parents that I wasn't born in vain and that it was all worth something. That I'm made of both of them, and that's a gift within itself. Do I feel lost half the time? Yep. Do I have moments of profound anger? Rage? You betcha. I feel like I've been robbed. Not one, but both parents? And no family to back me up? Why? I may never know, but I know this. I love them with everything I have and the content I create isn't just for the world to see, but it is more so especially for them. I hope they are proud of what I have done (so far) but I always have the sinking feeling that it'll never be enough, that I just will never be good enough. That's a horrible burden to carry. But I carry it. With pride.

So how do I bounce back on God-awful days as such? I FIGHT. It'll take every single ounce of energy within me. I try to believe that my experiences happened for a reason, and perhaps since I was strong enough to survive it, I do feel responsible to share it with you guys. To tell my story is a privilege. I hope this short but emotional post brings you something. Whether I may inspire you, and/or make you feel less alone, or even just getting to know me a little more and have a better understanding of me: Using my blog and art has helped me tremendously through the healing process. Those of us who have lost our parents are forever changed and we will never forget. I do believe that if you’re dedicated to wanting to live a brighter, lighter life, doing the work, finding the tools, and feeling the feelings will help you move forward. It has helped me. But it's a long, unwinding road. You’ve got to feel to heal. 





Calico Print Matching Set



Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. Sadly, my mother is no longer with us so this time period always has mixed emotions for me. I don't want to get too far into it as I've dedicated entire posts to her in the past (here and here) but nobody wants a Debbie Downer all the time. Which is why I didn't do one this year. It's hard for me because sometimes I want to share my story, but then there are other times where I feel those times that I did have with my mother are sacred, and not meant to be shared with just anyone. I'm extremely private and guarded - which is something I still struggle with that coincides with what I do in my career. I am supposed to be a public figure, be open to sharing everything about me to the public eye, but I never have nor will be that person. I think one day I will definitely share more, but it's just how I'm built. And I don't want the pity - all the 'I feel sorry for you' looks and those that don't know what to say when you tell them that not one but both of your parents are gone. It sucks. But I'll tell you this. As a creative person, such heartache and pain have brought me closer to the artistic notions in a very complicated world. And I'm grateful. 

It's as if it opened my eyes to something bigger, more profound than anything before. You see - I don't create to get rich, or make friends, or for self-validating purposes. The only reason I have when it comes to creating my work is because I feel compelled to. Without it and if someone were to tell me right now that I no longer could write or take any more photographs for the rest of my days, I'll tell ya what... I'd be seeing you. It's that important to me. Not that I'm a Caravaggio by any means, but that same insanity, that same feeling of release I get other artists may feel when creating their work? That's everything to me. It's the only way I know how to gather every little detail out of life and to put it into one entity and feeling whole afterward. Do any of you feel like that?

But something my mother taught me about passion and art is that once you find what you're looking for, pursue it with all your might, but in turn, be more focused on the journey and not about reaching the destination. You need to ignore what everyone else is doing and achieving. There will always be someone prettier, richer, working with better brands than you. Your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live your best life. You are not in competition with anyone else. Plan to outdo your past, not people. Which can sometimes be difficult when you're competitive and extremely hard on yourself. Remember this, however - we are all going through shit. Big and/or small, what's important is to be kind, and to be aware. Even And to always try your best to bring forth something new and fresh. Make a little bit of difference, even if it's just for yourself. Or even better, for someone else. 

Which is why I'm gearing more towards creative direction, photography & styling rather than just being a blogger who shoots pretty pics of brunch, outfits and "stuff". (Even though this floral set is only $15 and you should totally check it out! ;)) There's so much more to life than that and I find limiting myself to one box doesn't inspire me or challenge me. I'm currently working on my second book, and though my first book was fiction (crime thriller), I'm pursuing a different genre. Not much to say at the moment, as I've learned, it's better to SHOW rather than to TELL. Wishing you all a kick ass week filled with goals, adventures and love. 





Modern 50's Housewife



New York City Street Style

Hey, everyone! I'm sorry I've been MIA on the blog this week. Sometimes life takes a toll and you just gotta deal with it. After a week from hell with both work and personal struggles, I have come to the notion that when it rains, it freaking pours. I decided to not over-do it and to take it a bit more easy this week, hence only posting twice on MaQ + Suz. Luckily it's been a rather slower week and I didn't have as many deadlines as I normally do, so I guess there's the silver lining in that. In today's post, I'm digging into more about the recent struggles I face as someone who is in the creative field, and why I'm a bit concerned about where it is all headed. It's like this outfit - everyone being modernized, 'updated', renovated, etc; and yet in terms of politics, sociological aspects and more, we're still living back in the damn 50's. Even in this digital world. Continue reading for more on what I'm talking about along with where to shop this 'Modern 50's Housewife' look. 

A couple of weeks ago I filmed a campaign with Innisfree, the #1 beauty brand in Korea and now available in the U.S., talking about beauty care, our environment, this upcoming earth day and just a couple things #IGiveASheet about - click here to watch more. Reasons I bring this up, (aside from shameless promoting) is because I am grateful for all the opportunities that I've been given. I have never imagined I'd even get this far in my career. I work hard, am professional, and just want what everyone else wants: To be happy and to be able to do what I love, which is to create. But the constant changes in the digital world is making my head spin on top of other things going on in my life. I'm tired of hearing about how everything is changing for the better and that the new economy is the only way for this better change. I have friends moving along in life having babies, job promotions, glorious vacations, and I'm still slaving away day-and-night just to catch one little break. I'm willing to sacrifice life choices over my love for what I do. I don't need the money or fame - it's about the acknowledgment of someone's time and effort in their work along with their character. The reason I create is to inspire you - to make you think, feel, and change your mind and heart about many things. 

Whenever I get into a creative rut, I always go back to the same question. "Why did you start in the first place?" The answer, which to my dismay from several other bloggers within the community answering as such: Money, power, and/or fame has never been mine. Would it be nice to live more comfortably and not stress out every day about finances and such? Absolutely. But it makes things more difficult when more and more brands/companies aren't willing to fairly compensate you for your time, energy and work. Even global brands (which yes, they have the budget) will come back and say they don't and the only compensation they can offer is in exchange for products. (The new exchange in commerce.) I even had one collab offer this week where the brand wanted me to travel and pay out of my own pocket (on top of the collab being non-paid.) We're talking over 3 hours of commuting, not a subway ride away. I graciously turned it down. Now don't get me wrong. I'm thankful for every opportunity I receive, but when it comes down to real-life... it certainly won't pay all the bills. I can only sell so much product and for a fraction of the original price. Or a brand will want a test-run to 'see how things go' before moving forward. This is understandable. You want to know what you're getting yourself into and if you're going to be a match. But it should be about working towards something and not instantly getting what you want and then bowing out. 

Should brands/companies be paying for numbers of followers, likes, etc; or for the quality of the work? I'd say both, but I'm more of a believer in quality over quantity. For example, which is often the case, every concept creatively is refurbished, recycled, yadda yadda yadda, so nothing is ever really fresh and new anymore. (In the grand scheme of things.) A company may feel that because of this, it's more important to gravitate towards the numbers because that's where the consumers are at. Wrong. A micro-blogger can reach specific demographics other big names cannot. But... if it's content they've seen before (and they have half a brain and actually read a book once or twice in their life) you won't get a bite and they'll just keep scrolling. NOW, I'm certainly not saying I've never been inspired by past photo shoots, art and such, but I have never tried to replicate anyone's work. To me, it's downright insulting and really shows your lack of creativity. Be original. Think outside the box. We should be trying to break through barriers, not stay confined in them. And then when you fall into a creative funk, knowing that you're not satisfied with the quality of your work (yes, I'm extremely hard on myself and therefore nothing is ever good enough), it makes the struggle all the more challenging. Some days I think all of this is rubbish and then the next I think I'm actually doing something meaningful in the content that I work so tirelessly for. 

I took some time to think about what I wanted to write today because I was self-conscious at first. I thought, what if a brand or company reads this and then thinks of me differently? I need to stop caring about what other people think because quite frankly they don't! And second, why would I want to work with someone who after reading this post, and because of it judging me in a bad light? Same goes for colleagues, friends, and then some. I don't want to be working with anyone like that, let alone be associated with them. We all deserve to be collaborating with those that not only appreciate your efforts but also wants to build something together because you both believe in something, whether it's a concept or personal growth or both, it should be with love and positivity and support. Not ways of jumping through hoops in hopes of climbing up that ladder a bit faster than others. Why can't we remember that it's not the destination in life, but the journey? Name a legend or icon that became instantly famous and remained that way. NONE. They worked for years before a big break. And the blogging world is incredibly tough. It's competitive, cut-throat and downright stressful with all the job 'descriptions' of what we do that comes with. I write, produce, edit, shoot, film, meet and greet, brand, travel, forget to eat, sleep, and take care of myself, all the while trying to maintain some sort of balance in my personal life as well. It's easy to say you want to grow authentically, but with the surmounting pressures in the industry, the difficulty to act is not the same. 

New York City Fashion Street Style 

I'd rather authentically grow at a slower pace instead of sneakily participating in what are now, 'hidden giveaways', where bloggers are doing these giveaways under the radar where no one can see them (in secret groups and such) where they used to blatantly put loop giveaways into their feeds to instantly gain more followers because of the contest of winning free items (you know, a MacBook, an iPhone, etc; my eyes are rolling and are in pain at the same time just typing this) -what a crock of SH*T. (Don't even get me started on buying followers, likes and comments {and more}) That's why you see 'influencers' going from 20k to 40-50k overnight. It has nothing to do with the content they produce. It's all about the free goodies they're presenting to the world. And what's sadder? They lose nearly all of them once the giveaway is over. Oh, did I mention that in order to participate in the giveaway you have to BUY your way in? And I'm talking two to five hundred dollars, all for a few thousand instant followers. See my point here? And this is only one of the many scary examples as to why I'm frustrated with the business I'm in. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for giving back and have conducted some giveaways here and there, but then I remember what my main goal is for MaQ + Suz and it's certainly not giving away free crap just to gain a bigger audience. Also... if you call yourself an 'influencer', you're probably not an influencer at all. #sorrynotsorry  

My message is simple. I only work with those that believe and appreciate my work. Otherwise, I walk. Life's too short and if it's a gig that you think will compromise with your brand, just don't do it. I consider my blog my first-born child (aside from the furbaby MaQ), so whatever I feed/nourish it, that'll be the outcome as well. So take care of your baby. Take care of it every with all your might. And hold value into what you present to the world, whether it's yourself or your work, what you project will also be what the universe throws back to you. I hope you found some insight from this post and can relate to my struggles. We all go through it and even though it is my job to make everything look aesthetically beautiful, life is not this way and I believe interjecting real thoughts & reflections keeps my work honest and true. Leave your thoughts on this post down in the comment section below! I always love hearing from you guys! Thanks for the extra love lately, too. You're all too kind! Have a wonderful weekend. Catch up again soon.






Bluesy Metallic Friday




Lately, I've been feeling like I am failing in so many 'sections' of my life, I can't keep track. It leads to discouragement and therefore I'm harder on myself than I usually am. But it's also the fuel to the fire to not give up and to keep working toward what I want. What makes these cross paths in life easier to navigate? And how do you know when something is right? And even more so, how do you know when it's wrong? Regarding work and personal relationships, I am currently having major conflicts with time and effort. Trying to find the balance is quite difficult, even straight down to missing my best friend's wedding. And to make days of feeling pretty lousy worse, it just seems like so many people I know are getting those promotions, getting married, having babies, etc; and as much as I am happy for them - it's sometimes hard not to reflect on my own self. Am I doing the right thing? Am I making good decisions? Are they worth it? Are you worth it?  Maybe I should focus more on settling down and starting a family. But life takes you in so many directions and as my father always used to say, "If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans."


You know, I've changed careers three times before really figuring myself out. From the criminal justice world to the figure skating world, to now the fashion blogging world, each transition scared the bejesus out of me. I've always firmly believed you should do one thing that scares you each and every day. And this can mean completely different things for everybody but challenge yourself. Not happy with something? Make that change. Get it done. Stop dreaming and start doing. Take a leap of faith. And even though each time I took a different route on that crazy path to self-discovery, as much as every time I would, of course, think over my choices, there was still something deep down in my gut that knew I was reaching closer to something. Like the truth.



Now, how do you know when something isn't right? If it's broke and unfixable, and/or you are asking yourself if you've reached the end of whatever it may be, maybe a career choice/job or any kind of relationship, those are pretty obvious signs to me. Though, I think that if you've applied a lot of diligent effort to something or someone and the results are still same and you're still unhappy, that's the bottom line for me. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results, as Einstein used to say. But the bottom line is far away from where you draw the middle line. Because not everything is in black and white, right? The most complicated areas are always foggy and grey. 


My instincts do say I'm on the right track. But I sometimes forget that it's not the destination that really matters, but the journey. Maybe that's why I feel like a failure lately. My impatience has a tendency to get the best of me. *Flaw alert* Whatever path you take in life will deeply be affected by your experiences and more especially, the choices you make from them. Because when it comes down to it, we ALL have a choice. In everything we do. So, I think that if you choose to stay in a certain mindset, either negative or positive, it really makes a difference in everyday living. Sure, I have those days too where the bully voice defeats me, I don't feel good enough for anyone or anybody, and I just want to be left alone. But I try very hard every day to wake up with a positive attitude, and I feel when I do, the rest of my day is rather positive too. How do you guys differentiate between what feels right and what feels wrong? Do you think that some people tend to gravitate towards one or the other for certain reasons? And how do you deal with those bluesy days like I've mentioned? Retail therapy? Writing? Gabbing on the phone with your girlfriend? Bad emotional eating habits? What helps you get you through it?