fitness

Days 78 – 84 of My Fitness Challenge

How-oh-how did a WHOLE week get by me with NO gym visits occurring? Well, let me tell you all: the end of the fiscal year is going down RIGHT now. Everyone is working longer hours, trying to tie up loose ends, and praying that they don’t fall ill or otherwise have to take off any time until October. Despite having my gym clothes clean and ready to go, I’ve been unbelievably busy, helping various finance teams with making sure that their contracts are showing up properly and ensuring that vendors are being paid timely.

tired

I’m tired!

This time of year is tough on me, because it’s stressful and you have to be two steps ahead as everyone else is running around a bit crazed and overwhelmed. As a result, I have to make up for things by indulging in some extra rest and lots of fun “diversions” to reduce my stress levels. Along with more sleep and more fun, I’m going to be scheduling a massage, so that I can get a good rubdown and (I’m sure) release all the kinked muscles that I know I’ll be sporting after September 30th has passed.

To be truthful, I completely forgot that I may be too busy to workout this week and next week. Then again, I hoped that I would be able to at least squeeze in one or two workouts . . . However, that didn’t happen. I didn’t move my body as much as I hoped, but I did stick to my healthy eating routine. After all, fit bodies are made in the kitchen, and the gym just builds on that. So, I’m proud that I haven’t “eaten” my emotions in the form of salty and sweet junk food.

Don’t get me wrong: I always factor in a few treats, and everyone needs indulgences now and then. But I’m not scarfing down entire bags of Chex Mix or inhaling Heath bars throughout my eating window. I’d hate to undo all of my good progress by eating lots of junk food and hoping to “burn it off” at a later time. Since I’m focused on continuing to improve my health, I’m still eating lots of salad, drinking tons of water, and having goodies in moderation.

Speaking of water . . . Since Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Major Annoyance Florence didn’t wreak as much havoc in Virginia as initially anticipated, I have tons of water that I’ve been guzzling around the clock. Well, “around the clock” is an exaggeration, but I’ve increased my intake because, well, I hate looking at multiple cases of water near my kitchen door. I love having at least one case on hand at all times, but three is a bit much. Until I figure out a better storage idea, I’m a strictly one-case girl. So these other two cases have to be drank sooner rather than later.

That’s this week’s fitness challenge update. Here’s hoping that I’ll have more thrills, chills and spills for you next week. Take care, and enjoy your Sunday!

art · travel

North Carolina Museum of Art – The Sculpture Garden

In August, when I spent some time in Raleigh, I did all of my museum visits on Saturday, the day that I left the city. I spent most of my day at Nasher Museum of Art, and I was tremendously frustrated that I didn’t have enough time to tour the North Carolina Museum of Art. However, I did spend some time outside, in the sculpture garden (or, as it’s described by the museum, NCMA Park). I walked around a bit, took in the sights, and enjoyed the warmth and sunshine as I prepared for the drive back home.

Henry Spencer Moore, Large Spindle Piece (1974)

I’m always fascinated by sculpture gardens. The concept of outdoor art and massive structures that were created for aesthetics (as opposed to functionality) is so interesting to me. The thought that you can have a “garden” of sculptures is so whimsical yet, while walking around, it seems so natural and normal. There’s something wonderfully tranquil about walking around in a sculpture garden.

img_4797-1

Jaume Plensa, Awilida & Irma (2014)

There was a lot to see (164 acres!), so the pictures in this post are just a little taste of what the sculpture garden has to offer. I’d love to return in either the fall or the late spring, when the air is a tad cooler and either the plants are starting to change color or are coming into full bloom.

Ledelle Moe, Collapse I (2000)

Because I didn’t even get inside of the museum, I’m certain I’ll be returning. I have family and friends in the area, so I’m sure I will have company the next time I visit. It’ll be great to enjoy this museum with a loved one!

That’s all for this Saturday, friends! I hope you all get to do something fun to commemorate this FIRST day of autumn! Take care, and talk to you all tomorrow.

art · life curation

Trying My Hand At Painting . . .

Happy, happy, happy Friday! I am so happy to see this week finally come to an end. It hasn’t been a stressful week but I haven’t had as much downtime as I usually enjoy. As a result, I’m far more exhausted than normal. But with the weekend upon us, I’m looking forward to getting some glorious rest!

A few weeks ago, I stopped by Barnes & Noble and walked around for nostalgia’s sake. I can’t tell you how many days and evenings I spent in this bookstore, just inhaling the scent of paper and possibilities . . .  On my way out, I saw an art kit and picked it up. I found myself wanting to buy it, which is funny, because I’ve gone to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby who knows how many times, and I’ve never been moved to buy painting supplies. Following inspiration, I decided to buy the kit.

Screenshot 2018-09-20 at 9.20.05 PM - Edited.png

My new art kit – such a bargain!

I’ve always been creative, but painting is a whole new world for me. And before anyone thinks that I’m trying to be Monet or Picasso, trust me, those aren’t my aspirations. At all LOL! However, I do think that practicing my hand at painting will give me a deeper appreciation for the art and skill involved with creating some of the masterpieces that I love so well. So, I figured I’d start painting a bit when I have downtime again. I also think this will be a good thing to do while listening to some soothing music or even a podcast (because I’m always trying to multitask. . . )

img_5246

Inside of the kit

After taking so many online classes and participating in umpteen webinar trainings to maintain one of my certifications, I figured it was time to enjoy an activity that doesn’t feel like “school”. It’s time to do something strictly for the pleasure of it, and that allows me to “learn” in a different way. So, painting seems like a good idea. I’ll post my “masterpieces” as I complete them. Here’s hoping that I can start painting and sharing my finished works in October and November.

That’s all for today. I hope you all have a great Friday, and I’ll check in tomorrow. Take care!

 

international · art

Art at the Embassy of Haiti

Hey friends! I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but I had some distractions on my end that prevented me from focusing for a bit. However, I’m back, I have a bit more time, and I can finally share some of the artwork that I loved at the Haitian Embassy.

img_4939

Murat Saint Vil, Islande of La Tortue

As you recall, I went to the Haitian Embassy last month, and I enjoyed a fun evening of music, food and fun personalities. While I don’t consider myself particularly social, I loved having the opportunity to get out for a bit and do something different from my ordinary routine.

Manes Descollines, Odette; Raymond Olivier, Green Light

I’ve mentioned several times before that the Haitian Embassy has an impressive art collection featuring works created by Haitian artists exclusively. The embassy is a mashup of a museum, an office, a library, and an elegant mansion. This is the kind of over-the-top grandeur that I LIVE for!

img_4942-1

Wilson Bigaud, The Healers (1973)

So the embassy is 3 stories high, and on the walls lining the stairwell, as well as all of the corridors, there are endless photos and paintings capturing the vibrant and beautiful energy of Haiti. I’ve visited Haiti and fell in love with the beautiful landscape and people. Visiting the embassy is the closest I can get to the island for now, and I’m thankful for it.

img_4945

Yves Michaud, And God created Women

There were so many great paintings to see, and I wish I could have had the whole day to look at them all and ask questions. Sadly, I was only there for a little while: the event was in the evening and there was so much other fun things to check out at the embassy that learning more about the artwork simply wasn’t possible.

img_4952-1

Saint Louis Blaise, Interpellation (1980)

The crown jewel of the embassy was the only known painting of the royal issue of the first king and queen of Haiti. Three of the children of King Henri I and Queen Marie-Louise are depicted in the painting. This precious and significant artwork has been in private in hands for many years and has finally made it back to the people of Haiti. It was my privilege and joy to see it in person. If you would like to know more about the painting, click here. Please disregard the mislabeling presented in the article: this is the crown prince and his sisters, not the king, queen, and one of the princesses.

img_4948

Unknown, Prince Victor-Henri, Princess Amethyste and Princess Athenaire

This is just a soupcon of the breathtaking art I saw while at the embassy. I can’t wait to return and see what new art they will have on display! I hope you all enjoy – talk to you all tomorrow!

 

music · travel

All About Auntie Janet (Jackson)

Happy Wednesday, friends! I’m enjoying a delightful flashback, all the way back to last month. On my birthday, I saw Janet Jackson perform live in Raleigh, NC and I had the time of my life! This concert was part of her State of the World tour, and she did not disappoint!

The event was held at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek. The weather was perfect – no rain! – and the staff was professional, courteous and oh-so-helpful. Let me tell you all: Janet has STILL got “IT”! She looked great, she sounded great, and the entire concert experience was excellent.

Janet performed a lot of her hits and she has plenty of them to choose from (she’s been performing for over 30 years!) My favorite song is “Runaway” and yes, she performed it and even did some of the dance moves. I had such a ball singing and dancing along: I’d see her again in a heartbeat.

Oh, you know I made sure to film a bit of the concert for you, too. I added it to my YouTube channel but I’m also linking it here. Enjoy!

 

travel

Upcoming Travel Plans – September and October 2018

You all may recall a few weeks ago, when I mentioned that I was planning a trip to Charlotte to visit my family. However, that trip was supposed to happen this past weekend . . . the same weekend that Florence decided to pay the Carolinas a visit. As a result, I had to cancel my plans and reschedule. It looks like I am all set to travel to Charlotte at the end of the month, which works better for my overall schedule.

However, that is going to be a small trip, and it’s not the trip that I’m most excited about (though I’m always excited to spend time with family!) No, what I’m really excited about is that I’m going on a cruise in October! I generally go on a family cruise every other year, and this is the year that we’re due for another family vacay. So we’ll be cruising to the Caribbean and spending 7 days on the water together with a few thousand strangers LOL!

cruise

I’m usually not too excited about cruises, because I’ve done a lot of them and they tend to become indistinguishable from one another. But I’m more excited about it this time for a few reasons. Firstly, we’re going to Honduras, which I’ve never been to before. I’m always more excited about visiting a new country than I am about cruising in general. Secondly, this is the first cruise I’ve been on with my favorite cousin in about 4 years (she skipped the cruise we took in 2016). Finally, there’s something so soothing about being on the water: I can really think clearly when I’m sailing. So, I know that this cruise won’t be any different: I’m looking forward to using that time to relax and think through some things.

Those are the trips I have planned for the next 6 weeks. I’ll post travel updates as the dates get nearer: there’s always so much prep involved with these things (though that part is always fun to me!).

beauty · luxury

New Fenty Beauty Products – Worth a Sephora Trip

Happy Monday, friends! I’m planning a trip to Sephora but I decided to look on their website to get an idea of what goodies I need to check out in person. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the Fenty Beauty Diamond Bomb All Over Diamond Veil and the Diamond Milk Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer.

The products are GORGEOUS and I already know that I want them. However, I need to see them in person because super-shimmers aren’t always kind on my complexion. But I’m hopeful: keep your fingers crossed for me, because these are so pretty and I would hate to pass them up because they don’t flatter me.

Of course, I’ll be checking out some of the other Fenty Beauty products that I haven’t seen in person yet, like the Moroccan Spice Eyeshadow Palette. Let’s face it – Fenty Beauty can get all of my coins! Here’s a review of the Diamond Bomb and Diamond Milk products from one of favorite Youtubers, MsRoshPosh. I’m also including a review from Scarce Beauty, who I recently discovered on YouTube and I’m enjoying her reviews.