books · career · writing

Writers Wednesdays – August Writing Accomplishments

Happy Writers Wednesday! I’m happy that I’m finally entering the period of my Four Months, Four Goals challenge (if you didn’t read that post, it’s linked here). To briefly recap, I’ll be spending the next four months hitting a single major writing goal for each month, then coming back to share my accomplishments as they are achieved. My focus is publishing the book that I’ve been working on for the past couple of years (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) But, in order to make that happen, I had to get clear on what my next steps are, so I can move definitively in the direction of my goals.

That being said, my August writing accomplishments were great, and I’m pleased with what I got done during the month. I found some information I needed to redo two portions of my book: I had written two examples to illustrate points that I made, but I wanted better suited examples. I easily found better examples to use, and these incorporated seamlessly into the outline. I’ve also been editing other portions of the book: rereading various sections and ironing out the kinks in the verbiage and clarifying anything that didn’t flow well.I love the progress I’m making, and I’m excited to see how much more progress I’ll make in September!

That’s it for today. I’ll talk to you all soon: take care!

Uncategorized

Making New Choices – An Update

Hi friends! I hope that you’re having a great holiday weekend! This will be a brief post, because I plan to go out and enjoy this beautiful day off.

I have decided to reduce the frequency of my posts on this blog. I would much rather focus on quality than quantity, and it’s difficult to maintain high integrity when I’m posting 5 times per week. I’m still undecided about how often I will post, but anywhere from 2-3 posts a week feels good right now. I’m guessing that I will occasionally have weeks where 5 posts will happen, but I can no longer commit to that level of production. I hope you all understand.

Thanks so much for your continued support! I appreciate you all. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

health

Fibro Friday – National Pain Awareness Month

Happy Fibro Friday! Yesterday kicked off the beginning of National Pain Awareness Month, an observation that I was completely unaware of until a couple of weeks ago. I am using this time to explore the stories shared by other people dealing with chronic pain conditions. I’m also reviewing the resources being shared in various chronic pain spaces.

I’d guessing that most of you are already quite aware of chronic pain: after all, you’re reading a Fibro Friday post! But, if you’re still unsure why a Pain Awareness Month would be needed, I have a few insights that may clarify why this observation is still relevant. For starters, more than 20% of Americans have experienced chronic pain, and it disproportionately affects women, people struggling with poverty and unemployment, and other traditionally disadvantaged groups. Chronic pain is also the #1 reason for doctor’s visits in America, and the pain can severely limit quality of life for those suffering with it. The current chronic pain situation is widespread but poorly understood.

One great resource that I saw is posted on National Today. This post has some great, bite-sized facts about chronic pain, and can be a solid introductory resource for those unfamiliar with chronic pain and its effects (making this an excellent post to share with oblivious friends, family, and even employers). If you’ve had a hard time explaining the effect of your condition to the people in your world – or, if you have struggled with understanding the symptoms that you’re experiencing – this article may be helpful.

I hope that you take some time this month to find out more about the effects of chronic pain, as well as lending support and connecting to those that suffer from chronic pain conditions. I plan on taking some time to learn more as well as lending my voice to the discussions surrounding chronic pain.

That’s it for this week. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

beauty · hollywood glamour · life curation · style

Style Chat – How I’m Using The Four Essence System, Pt 2

We’re discussing Style Thoughts by Rita’s Four Essence System again, because I’m fascinated by how this system explains the energy and soul behind personal style. There are four tools within the Four Essence System (I’ve already discussed tool # 1 here). Today, I’m on to Tool # 2 – Archetypes. The section of the video that broadly talks bout archetypes is found at minute 3:33.

It’s not lost on me that I just discussed the podcast Archetypes with Meghan last week. I suspect Archetypes – as a broader concept – is a theme we’ll be seeing discussed extensively on the Internet for months to come.

Anyway, I’m exploring archetypes that fit my Right-Up essence. This quadrant contains women that tend to have a regal energy, that can run the gamut from intimidating to adorable. The keywords for Right-Up women that resonated most with me were Luminous, Refined, The Sun, Effort, Persona and (in my mind) Glamorous. Building upon those keywords, I took a look at the archetypes to see where I fit in. Fortunately for me, Rita has already posted a video explaining the five archetypes within the Right-Up quadrant.

The archetypes for this quadrant are the Role Model, the Icon, the Priestess, the Power, and the Playful Dame/Princess. I knew, immediately, that the Playful Dame/Princess did not suit me: I don’t have the girlish energy needed to pull off this archetype. The next archetype I struck off of my list is the Power: while I do feel energetically powerful, I don’t think this is an energy that I project well out into the world. My friendly Southern nature makes it hard to have the intimidation needed to embody this archetype well.

The process of elimination left me between two archetypes: the Icon and the Priestess. I most resonate with Icon, because there is a level of mystery and ceremony with the Priestess that doesn’t suit my personality and energy. When describing the Icon, Rita says, “Her style is an extension of her mission in the world”, and, “the main thing […] is this willingness to be seen and have this comfort with your power”. As someone who has studied personal style and is constantly implementing strategies to refine and perfect the image I want to communicate to others, I can confirm that I use my style as a calling card for my mission, and I also use it as a support when communicating who I am to others.

In short, the Icon is ME! I love this archetype and I enjoyed how Rita emphasizes that the celebrity examples she uses in her videos aren’t there to show anyone “what to wear” for their archetype, but to determine the role that personal style plays in their lives. It’s this desire to understand how style supports us that drives the need to uncover our archetypes, and I’m thankful that Rita has created such great content that explains these things in depth.

That’s all for today. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

books · finance · reading list

Writers Wednesday – What I’m Reading

Happy Writers Wednesday! Today, I’m sharing the book that I’m reading for the next couple of weeks, and I’m already looking forward to giving you my review in the near future.

The book I’m currently reading is Start Late, Finish Rich by David Bach. I’ve already praised David Bach on this blog (Smart Women Finish Rich was a gamechanger!) And it’s been a while since I did a deep-dive into Bach’s material, so it overdue for a read (and some rereads).

I’m looking forward to gleaning some tips that I can share over here, and finding ideas that I can incorporate into my own plan for financial freedom. While I’ve made some great choices over the past few years, I’m always refining and adjusting my plan to better suit my current and future circumstances.

In my opinion, your plans for financial freedom should be a living document (for lack of better verbiage). These should evolve, grow and adjust as you mature and discover things about yourself. So, learning what a later-executed plan looks like is a great idea, as even those that prepared well for older age may find that they need to pivot and make drastic changes at any point.

That’s it for today’s post. If you’re familiar with David Bach’s work, I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Other than that, I look forward to chatting with you all tomorrow. Take care!

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*This post contains affiliate links*

life curation

I Did A Wheel Of Life – What I Learned

One of my favorite YouTubers-turned-podcasters, Francesca Amber (I told you all about her Law of Attraction Changed My Life podcast before, over on this post) mentioned in one of her podcast episodes that she did a wheel of life for assessing which areas of her life were strong, and which areas could use some improvement. For those that are unfamiliar, a wheel of life is basically a pie chart, with each slice of the pie representing different areas of your life (family, love, career, friendships, health, etc.,). It has been used in a variety of disciplines in order to determine overall life balance.

Anything related to self-development and lifestyle balance is right up my alley, and it has been a long time since I completed a wheel. So, naturally, I decided I should do a wheel of life, too. I got my wheel of life template from Positive Psychology, and I liked that the “pie” has concentric circles, so that each slice has ten bars in it, representing, on a scale of one to ten, how well a particular area of your life is going. I find that quantifying my satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) is beneficial in exercises such as these.

I completed my pie, and I’m really happy to tell you all my results! My strongest areas are personal growth and learning, career and work, and spirituality. My weakest areas are partner and love, health and fitness, and community. It was helpful to have pictorial that demonstrates where I need to focus and improve. I’ve been focused on meeting people and growing my network, which took a major hit when I stopped commuting to DC and socializing as I used to. Health is always an area for improvement, given my chronic illness. But I’m really happy that even the lowest areas are still higher than they were a few years ago. Yay for progress!

Have you done a Wheel of Life before? What did it teach you?

culture · food · international · life curation · luxury · relaxation · travel · wine

My Time in Spain Part 1 – My Time In Malaga

Hi friends! After spending a few days in Portugal (including taking in incredible sights around Lisboa, touring Sintra National Palace, time at Rock in Rio Lisboa, dinner at Hotel do Chiado’s rooftop bar, Entretanto, and an unexpected viewing of Sarah Ferreira’s art, I was off to my next stop. I flew TAP Air Portugal from Lisbon to Malaga, Spain, to embark on the next leg of my adventure.

I arrived in Malaga and was taken by private car to the town of Benalmadena, a beachy stretch a little less than two hours from Granada. I stayed at Hotel Best Siroco, a darling resort that offered all-inclusive packages as well as standard lodging. The hotel was beautiful, and the weather was divine!

My hotel was a short walk away from the beach and some fantastic local eateries. There was also some fantastic art and gorgeous flowers everywhere I went.

One beer, a good tan, some sangria, and many tapas later, I can confirm that Malaga is a must-see for people who love good food and lots of sun.

This one little town in Spain is such a jewel, and I can’t wait to return!

career · health

Fibro Friday – Real Talk About Telework

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m in the midst of updating my routine to reflect the inevitable season change that is right around the corner (and that I’m feeling already!) so I’ve been laying low. That being said, I created a video a while ago about telework. I’ve meant to write about telework over here before, but I never quite had the words . . . Then I realized that some stories are best told via video. So that’s what I did.

As someone who had fragile mental and physical conditions, I did feel a bit of discomfort sharing how vulnerable I felt during the worst of my fibro experience. But if my story can help someone else feel less ashamed of their journey, then I’m glad to share it.

That’s all for today. Continue taking care of yourselves, and enjoy your weekend!

life curation · reading list

Archetypes Is Here!

One of my favorites, Meghan Markle, has finally launched her podcast, Archetypes. Her special brand of intelligence, charm and courage will now be available to us an hour-long podcast episode each week.

Pardon me while I squeal!

Photo released by Archetypes

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex unveiled Archewell Foundation, and its main vehicle for connection, Archewell Audio, I was thrilled. In fact, I wrote about my excitement over this development in a blog post. Now, little more than a year later, Archetypes with Meghan is here, and it promises to discuss the labels that women experience and how these terms – and the perception of these labels – can hold women back. Spotify describes this as a, “refreshing and dynamic” podcast, and I completely agree.

This is exactly the kind of content I was expecting from Archewell Audio. Mature discussions, exploration of concepts that are commonly disregarded, and a glance into the warmth and brilliance possessed by both Harry and Meghan. The first episode features none other than the great tennis player Serena Williams, who recently announced her transition into the next chapter of her professional career. The conversation was a refreshing telling of Serena’s story in her own words, and her own complex relationship with the term “ambition”. The discussion was lively, full of wisdom, and gave me an even deeper appreciation for what “ambition” looks like and why we should want to have it.

Some key takeaways from this first episode of Archetypes are:

  • Don’t put your fears on your children. Serena commented on how her fear of heights and open water aren’t fears of her daughter, Olympia. Serena stated that she didn’t want her personal limits to impact how her daughter interacted with the world, and I loved hearing her perspective on this. It was unexpected to hear Serena, a powerhouse on the tennis court, admit to feeling fear. This was a crucial turning point in further humanizing her, in a world that has happily denied her humanity throughout her career.
  • You get your biggest wins when you are your most authentic self. Serena went on to describe how certain points of her career made her feel the pressure to be like others and show up inauthentically. Then she circled back to what it feels like when she shows up as herself and how that is a truer indicator of success. Aside from how she shows up professionally, I find her most incredible when she’s just being herself: sweet, a little shy, but self assured and clear on where she’s going.
  • You don’t have to “retire” – you can choose to evolve instead. The word “retirement” is loaded: it generally implies a ceasing of any pursuits aside from domestic tasks, family time, and (if you’re lucky) travel. But using the word “evolve” indicates that the energy is shifted from one area to another area of equal intellectual intensity. It doesn’t indicate that Serena plans to stop, but to wander to her next destination, on her own terms. “Evolve” has a more empowered connotation than “retire”, and love that for her.

That’s my impression of the jewel that is Archetypes! I’m looking forward to more episodes, and sharing powerful takeaways as I listen to each episode.

books · business · writing

Writers Wednesdays – Why It Takes Me Forever To Publish A Book

Happy Writers Wednesday! Today’s topic is was a question that I posed to myself recently, after feeling frustrated about the timelines for my works in progress (you can see my writing goals from now to December in this post). I find myself with a great idea, which I develop – sometimes to the point of completion – then there is this extraordinary “dead period” that happens once the work is done.

I had to ask myself, “Why does it take me forever to publish a book?” This isn’t referring to my children’s books, which are fairly simple and can be completed once I have enough photos that aren’t protected by copyrights. This is talking about my original works, which I’ve already finished writing and that seem to take FOREVER to get to the point of publishing. These should be ready to publish quickly, but they always appear to be stuck in the queue for longer than I think they should be.

As I asked myself about why it takes so long, it hit me: I’m stuck in analysis paralysis when it comes to publishing. I am constantly running various scenarios in my mind, and, as a result, very little tangible progress is made. I often find it much easier to blog, since these are short little glimpses into my daily life and passing thoughts. But book writing and publishing? I overanalyze to the point of ineffectiveness.

I would normally put forth a challenge to myself at this point, but, realistically, I’ll likely feel paralyzed every time I publish, regardless of how illogical it is to feel that. All I will vow to do is to try and remember to come back to this post the next time the analysis paralysis hits me. Maybe if I remember this post, I’ll be able to summon enough courage and reasonableness to move past my overthinking and to just leap into publishing. Only time will tell if I take my own advice, right?