life curation

Vlog A Day In May – Am I Doing It?

In a word, yes. I’m a little crazy, considering how busy my schedule is ordinarily. But that won’t stop me: I’ll be filming a bunch of videos (think anywhere from 15 to 20) over the next 4 days, so I can have a healthy cushion of videos before the month starts.

Yes, that means that most of these videos won’t technically be “vlogs” – I’m under the impression that the idea of a “vlog” is about having daily quick check-ins. But I don’t want to spend all month getting video-ready every day (so much time involved!) nor do I want to fall short of my vlogging goal by skipping a day when things are hectic. It’s better for me to have some material ready to fill in the gaps, and even if I’m able to do quick vlogs daily in May, I’ll still need those pre-filmed videos for the upcoming months, when I travel or have other obligations.

So yes, there will be vlogs every day during the month of May. I’ll try to keep you all updated with the video topics as these are posted, but I can’t make any promises. Pray for me, y’all!

goals · life curation · luxury · relaxation

Dream Life – How I’m Connecting With It Daily

Last week, I shared with you all how I am adding glimmers of my desired (future) life to my present life. I wanted to write a little more about that, since this is a topic that I’ve pondered for several years.

I believe that the best way to create a life of your dreams is to connect with your dream daily. A lot of people think that the only way to connect to their desired life is through daydreaming, which can be a good first step. But you can do so much more than that, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first glance.

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

I believe is connecting to my dream life through the five senses: sight, sound (hearing), smell, taste and touch. So I try to connect with that desired existence through each of those senses every day. I make sure to look at the things in my world that would also be in my future life: for me, that includes my family, my finest clothing and shoes, and some of my “treasures” (jewelry, fine china, keepsake items I’ve collected over the course of my life, etc.).I listen out for sounds of nature that I know I’ll enjoy in years to come (birds chirping, rain on stormy days, etc.). I wear perfumes that smell incredible, and I also make my own fragrances that capture the emotions and aromas that I delight me and now best reflect the scents I want to surround me in my future life. I drink beverages and eat foods that I will enjoy frequently in my future life (lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lovely wines, fine chocolates, etc.,). I am always touching textures that reflect the life of my dreams (primarily silk, satin and – during the cooler months – cashmere).

It seems really simple, but just connecting to my ideal life through my senses does wonders for helping me stay focused on what I prefer, which is a life full of the things that I enjoy most. I am creating a life full of joy, ease, and delightful experiences, and I use my senses to help me with this. I think I’ll be sharing more posts in the future, discussing how I do this in more concrete terms (specific things that I do to connect my senses to my desired life). Look out for more of these posts soon!

beauty · life curation · luxury · relaxation · wine

Glimmers of My Future Life

I completed a workshop a few days ago, and the goal of the entire program was to see my future life and lining up with that reality. Here’s the thing: if you have a vision, you can absolutely create it. But there’s a catch: you can unravel your dream by being unprepared and overwhelmed. The best way to create a dream life that you can sustain is to get ready for it now.

One of the exercises I completed was to bring an object from my future reality into my current world. I sat quietly and the idea came to me: champagne flutes. My future self always has something to celebrate, so she’d have gorgeous champagne flutes at the ready. I went ahead and ordered glasses from a collection named after one of my totem animals, the Black Swan.

I realized that my recent order history has several items that reflect my future self and what’s normal for her. I had essential oils that smell incredible and have cultural significance (both scents are Southern-inspired). I combined these to make a lusciously scented body oil. My future self is always glowing, hydrated and smelling fabulous.

Speaking to my hydrated, silky-skinned future self, I also know that maintaining the softness of my skin is a priority, both now and in the future. So I invest regularly in exfoliating products and debriding creams. I re-purchased my debriding cream recently (I just finished up my supply), and I will be repurchasing my facial exfoliating pads if I don’t get the result I desire from some of the other exfoliating products I want to try.

Finally, my future self is prepared for emergencies and makes sure that herself and her family. My future self isn’t undertaking this responsibility by herself (my future husband is at my side, being even more prepared than I am!) But, having emergency supplies always ready is something she prioritizes. I ordered some additional “bug out” bags a few days ago, for my grandmother and her sister (I already have some at my house).

Those are some of the glimmers of my future self, as well as little ways that I’m acclimating to my dream life. How have you all been injecting little bits of your “dream life” into your current reality? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links.

beauty · life curation · luxury · style

Get Ready With Me – Trying Makeup From The Beem Box

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all have been doing well. I took a little blog break because my offline life was crazy for a few weeks. That being said, I decided to do a video putting on my makeup and discussing what’s been happening in my world. As a bonus, I used products from previous Beem Boxes. I’ve mentioned Beem Box in other posts (like this one and this one) and I was really excited to show how certain products looked on my skin.

Enjoy, and I’ll be back with more content tomorrow. Take care!

art · culture · life curation · luxury

Artful Moments

It’s Women’s History Month, and I wanted to share some art created by a female artist of yesteryear: one that is especially meaningful when considered through the lens of current issues.

Artemisia Gentileschi is (I believe) the only female Renaissance artist with surviving pieces credited to her. She painted in a style similar to Caravaggio (my favorite Renaissance artist) and was brilliant and skilled in her own right: she was particularly gifted when it came to portraying the female body and in her use of light and colors. Unfortunately, most of what we were originally told about her was related to the fact that she was raped by fellow artist Agostino Tassi (who was convicted of rape after the case went to trial). It’s a shame that this gifted artist was, for many years, known as a victim that transferred her own trauma into art.

Gentileschi is so much more than what she experienced, and I’m glad that art historians are finally giving her story the balanced interpretation that it deserves. As someone that just learned about her in the past few years, I never thought I’d get to see her work in person (there really aren’t that many Renaissance art pieces by high profile artists outside of the major museums in large cities) without traveling outside of my city.

However, there was a surprise for me, waiting right at my local museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Art. As I browsed the Renaissance section, I stopped at a lovely painting that I hadn’t noticed before. I looked at the identification card and, lo and behold, there was a Gentileschi painting!

I’m so glad that I got to experience the creative genius of Gentileschi right in my own backyard. I really liked her use of light in the painting: it looks like someone had just opened a window and let it stream across Venus’s body. I also love that Cupid remains only partially in the light, emphasizing him as minor (secondary) to his mother Venus, the goddess of love. In this portrait, Venus (the embodiment of all sorts of love, prosperity and fertility) is the star, and Cupid (a symbol of erotic and passionate love/lust) is in a supporting role. I interpret this as the passion of lust is unable to outshine the vastness of real love, and I suspect that even the source of light depicted wouldn’t shine quite so brightly if Cupid was the only subject of this painting.

Another thing: I really enjoyed the depiction of Cupid fanning his mother, showing him in service to her. It makes me think of how lust and passion are at their best when they are in service to higher forms of love. (Just a personal takeaway).

I just wanted to share that moment with you, because I still love art and find inspiration in it. I hope this post inspires you, too! Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – Let’s Talk About Soursop

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all have had a great week. I’m recovering from a mild flare and I’m finally coming out of it, which makes me happy. This is one of those unavoidable things that comes with fibro: even when you’ve done your best to manage your symptoms, you may still have occasional flares. My flare was triggered by inconsistent weather patterns, because when the air goes from hot to cool to warm to cold, my body goes haywire.

Part of what really helps with my flare is getting enough rest, but, as you all know, rest can be challenging when you have fibro. One of the things I use to help get deeper, more restorative sleep is soursop leaf tea. There are a lot of benefits that you can reap from drinking soursop leaf tea, because it’s a highly nutritious plant. The fruit of the soursop plant is delicious and there is a strong case for it being antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anticarcinogenic. But we’re not talking about the fruit: the leaves are what interest me most (when it comes to fibro).

I first learned about soursop leaf tea from Debbie over at The Jamaican Cooking Journey. I’m inserting her video about soursop tea for your convenience:

When she mentioned that soursop tea is good for your nerves, I knew I had to try it! So I did, and I’m so glad that I took a chance on it. It helps me to sleep like a baby! Remeber, fibromyalgia is a neurological issue, not a musculoskeletal one, so by address nerve dysfunction, you can reduce or eliminate most of your symptoms.

Because I love science, here are some articles about soursop (graviola) that are worth checking out: WebMD article; Anti-microbial Efficacy of Soursop Leaf Extract (Annona muricata) on Oral Pathogens: An In-vitro Study; Anticancer Properties of Graviola (Annona muricata): A Comprehensive Mechanistic Review. I believe in doing due diligence and seeing what the science says, and I encourage you all to do the same.

I am posting my video that I did on this topic, and in that video, I share my results from consuming soursop leaf tea:

Please note, I am not a doctor and I’m not offering medical advice or solutions. That being said, I’ve enjoyed using soursop leaf tea as part of my regimen to encourage deeper and more restorative sleep. Try it and let me know your results!

life curation

The Art and Science of Being Focused and Flexible

Once upon a time, I had another blog that I wrote on frequently. Now, I’m looking over those essays and cringing (nothing humbles you like looking over your old writing!) But, I think it’s worthwhile to rewrite those posts, because the points – while not fabulously expressed in the original posts – are still salient. Here’s a HEAVILY edited essay that I wrote nearly 12 (!) years ago. Enjoy!

This particular post will speak directly to two personality characteristics that are crucial to finding your own version of success: flexibility and focus. I decided to group these two together since they are a good example of polarity and interdependence: these are relative opposites but you can’t talk about one without at least touching upon the other. Flexibility implies a willingness to look at all of the options available, while focus generally refers to devoting one’s attention to a singular goal. It seems like the two cannot peacefully co-exist, but they CAN-and they SHOULD! In fact, one without the other can very well leave you unfulfilled and always falling short of your goals.

Why do some of us need to improve in the areas of flexibility and focus? Well, when it comes to flexibility, some of us have been given an overly simplified life formula-behave yourself, go to college, get a degree, get a career, get married to a man, buy a house, make a few kids, give freely to the church/mosque/synagogue/temple, and live happily ever after. The problems with the formula are its rigidity, and the lack of emphasis on QUALITY experiences and EMPOWERED choices. It also doesn’t allow for circumstances beyond a woman’s control or her personal choice. Not everyone is interested in attending college or working in a traditional career. Some women have zero interest in getting married at all, and those that desire marriage aren’t encouraged to accurately gauge the quality of their partners. Not all of us are interested in white picket fences and having babies, and, believe it or not, religion =/= spirituality, and some women have no interested in being part of a religious organization in order to connect to the Divine. Those that ascribe to the life formula commonly taught to women are often hyper-focused on accomplishing each thing on the “to do” list, to the detriment of a life that allows for magic and joy to unfold unexpectedly and organically.

In opposition to being hyper-focused, many women who reject the prescribed life formula mentioned above end up living life as a tangent of randomness, going here and there without a goal in mind and getting a whole lot of nothing accomplished in the meantime. This is often the case because life on the “fringes” is discouraged by society, meaning that those who reject any part of the aforementioned formula don’t get support for creating meaningful lives outside of the template they’ve been given. There are many women who are living purely in flexibility and not putting an adequate amount of time and energy into focusing their energy into a handful of things that will give them lasting satisfaction. Many will pour their energy directly into career or material possessions (nothing inherently wrong with this), without any forethought regarding what meaningful things they should be cultivating simultaneously.

It can seem like living in either extreme is the only option, but being focused and flexible at the same time should be a goal for all of us. Focus gives us direction and stability, while flexibility gives us depth, color and moments of ease in our journeys.

Here’s the best way to merge the concepts of flexibility and focus: find out what you want for yourself (get your focus together) then think of the many ways you can get there (exercise flexibility.) I’ll present an exercise that may be of use (I’ve done this for myself more times than I can count, and it’s not from a singular book I’ve read but, rather, a hodgepodge of ideas that I’ve picked up here and there.) First, name the things that you want for yourself. For this example, I’m going to use some really common desires: getting a degree, getting into your dream career, traveling, and getting married. Name whatever it is you want, no matter how crazy it sounds. It’s good to be very specific when naming what you want: getting a degree from Harvard, becoming a world renowned artist, traveling to Thailand, etc.,. This list can be as long or short as you like, but it helps to keep it brief (less than 5 things) – it helps you have more time to dedicate on the things that matter most.

After you name what you want, brainstorm various ways to get what you want. This seems a little daunting, especially if you’ve been taught to see things only in one way. People are always amazed when I tell them how I got into my prior career before I was awarded my college degree and without the advantage of an internship or nepotism. Unfortunately, many of us limit ourselves by having such a narrow view on how to get what we want. That’s the downside of associating regularly with damaged minds, pessimists, and perpetual escapists, who spend too much time keeping up with trivial things and not enough time doing things to increase their personal value and the quality of their lives.

Here are a couple examples of flexible thinking – both of these I personally have used:

  • If getting a degree is your goal, then take advantage of all sorts of learning opportunities. Going to college for 4 years, as soon as you exit high school, is not the formula for everyone. If it suits you, take credit courses here and there, looking into credit-for-experience programs (my book, Degree Hacking, gives you an actionable, inexpensive and easy-to-execute plan to accomplish this). Some schools even offer tests to demonstrate proficiency in certain areas; if you’re a student, you can take those tests at a fraction of the cost of a college course (my book discusses this, too). Also, remember all of the resources you have that can give you an educational edge up: local libraries usually offer free courses in a variety of subject areas; you can take free classes online in any area you can imagine; on the internet, you can preview course syllabi for any class you’re taking, and preread material that will be cover in the course (again, check out my book for more information about this).
  • If you want to travel, the first step is really easy: get a passport! It’s good for 10 years and you don’t have to be outside of the country to use it. Start setting aside a small amount per month to fund your dream trip (even $10 a month will get you there eventually.) This gives your focus (travel) some energetic momentum without having to commit a large amount of money up front. Consider buying a token that symbolizes your travel goals (like a travel journal). Join interest groups that will feed your desire to travel (meetup.com and local colleges can help with this, as well as the myriad Reddit, Facebook and Discord groups out there) or feel free to create a group of your own that indulges your travel desire. Check out travel websites regularly to find deals on flights, hotels, and rental cars – keeping up with the costs can help you to figure out how much you need to save. This research also crystallizes what things you actually want and need for your trip. Also, remember that, depending on how much travel you desire, there are many organizations that will pay for your airfare and lodging in different locales if you are willing to either teach English or help with humanitarian efforts.

Having a particular focus doesn’t mean that you can only achieve your desire in a singular way. I dreamed of attending an Ivy-league university, but I had no interest in pursuing a full degree. I ended up taking a grant funded program in a topic that really benefited me. I could have never anticipated that would be how I’d get my Ivy-league experience, but because I’m flexible, my desire was met with ease. It’s important to remember that it’s not the lack of options that causes problems, it’s when you lose sight of all the ways to get to your goals that discouragement sets in. People get discouraged when they see no way out: if you creative, though, you won’t feel discouraged for long.

I recommend, no matter what you do, that you get in contact with someone that can help you. You won’t always have every resources you need to get what you want. You have to make connections with people who will assist you on your path. You should not automatically feel entitled to their assistance. It is usually easier to ask for assistance from those who required to assist (school counselors or customer service representatives, for example.) However, the most powerful individuals are normally people who don’t owe you anything – convincing them to assist may be more challenging. If you can get one of these heavy hitters on your side, it will make your path infinitely easier. It should go without saying that showing your appreciation to everyone who helps you is a must. Being appreciative will 1) give you great karma and 2) make it easier for someone else who, later on, may ask for assistance from these same individuals. Showing appreciation can be a thank you note or a gift (be careful with gift-giving: you don’t want anything that can be misconstrued as bribery.)

That’s it for today, friends! I hope you’re having a fantastic day. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

*This post contains affiliate links.

culture · goals · life curation

Inviting In Prosperity

One very popular New Year tradition involves deep cleaning a home, from top to bottom, in order to “bring in” the year properly. I do not deep clean a home simply because the calendar changes from December 31 to January 1, but I did spend a little time thinking of the significance of this, and how, energetically, this applies to a lot of things (not just New Year’s Day).

I wonder how many times abundance or prosperity knocked at my metaphorical door and felt uninvited, because I had too much going on and didn’t have the energy to answer the door. This year, I’m determined to keep inviting in prosperity by clearing out anything that doesn’t serve me currently or reflect the life that I’m creating. This starts with eliminating unnecessary physical items but extends to intangible things, too, like obligating myself to tasks or activities that don’t bring me delight, or that take up more time than I can afford to waste.

I found a few resources that I think will help me with this. I found two ebooks which are FREE as of today, along with a podcast, that are great for helping to set yourself up for prosperity. First, this book by James Goi, Jr. promises to explain the, “Ten Metaphysical Secrets of Manifesting Money: Spiritual Insights into Attaining Prosperity, Riches, Abundance, Wealth, and Affluence”.

Next, part of being inviting is being gracious and grateful. “A Pocketful of Thank You: 9 key areas to bring joy, harmony, health, wealth & happiness into your life” by Maria McMahon should give me more tips for how to invite in prosperity in all areas of my life by learning to be more mindfully thankful.

Finally, one of my favorite vloggers and podcasters, Francesca Amber, posted a podcast about how to use feng shui principles for abundance (available on Amazon Music and Apple Podcasts). I love how easy it is to implement little practices and actions to invite more abundance into our worlds!

Do you all have any tips for inviting in more abundance? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links.

art · hollywood glamour · life curation · luxury · relaxation · style

An Inspired Environment – Vintage Home Decor Inspiration

I mentioned last year that I wanted to start decorating my house in a style that reflected my personal tastes. For reference, I love old-fashioned decor, especially anything pre-1940s. The occasional mid-century modern touches are charming (my home was built during the mid-century period, so some of these features show up in its architecture) but I have a soft spot for Victorian, Art Deco and Art Nouveau interiors. There’s something so indisputably glamorous about the fabrics, textures, colors, and furniture used during these periods.

On a recent trip to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (one of my favorite places to go for creative inspiration) I saw a recreation of the bedroom of Arabella Worsham Rockefeller (yes, those Rockefellers). No expense was spared in creating a decadent room for Mrs. Worsham Rockefeller to retire. The room was originally set up in the Rockefellers’ New York brownstone, but was gifted to VMFA in 2009. The experts at VMFA painstakingly replicated the room, using as many of the original artifacts as available. The end result is a stunningly luxurious, elegant, and warm bedroom: just what I want to recreate.

Here are some pictures from the Worsham Rockefeller bedroom:

I was captivated by all of the fine details of this room: the ornate ceiling, the embellished door, the tasteful sitting area (I’d venture to call this a proper boudoir area, but it retains a certain formality that I wouldn’t expect in a French-inspired boudoir), the harmonious color palette of burgundy, brown, and gold . . . Everything about this room is so carefully selected and perfectly appointed.