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!

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!

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.

art · culture · international · life curation · luxury · travel

My Time in Portugal, Part 5 – Spotlight on Sarah Ferreira

This is my last Portugal post (I’m sorry to see this series end, but I’ll be sharing multiple posts about Spain next!) First, I wrote about my overall impression of Portugal. Then, I shared the fun I had at Rock in Rio Lisboa. Next, I talked about the beauty that is Sintra National Palace. And last week, I shared my experience at Hotel do Chiado and their rooftop bar restaurant, Entretanto.

At Hotel do Chiado, I visited the rooftop bar, and I was blown away by the beautiful artwork lining the corridors leading to the restaurant. It took me back to my fabulous time at Ibis Styles hotel in Nairobi, and the fabulous pieces created by Kenyan artist Tom Mboya. As I looked around, I found an artist bio posted in Portuguese (cue my rudimentary translation skills). The corridor was lined with art by Paris-born, Portugal-based artist Sarah Ferreira.

Upon further research, I determined that Ferreira doesn’t have a website (there is another Sarah Ferreira that creates art, but she is US-born and based). It appears that she has intentionally maintained a low-profile online. I love that she isn’t hyper-visible, yet her work is still being found by people all over the world (like me).

Here are some of the paintings/drawings done by Ferreira, which are on display in the hall leading to Entretanto. Enjoy!

Some of the depictions were fascinating re-imaginings of famous works (like the Mona Lisa), while others were renderings of famous faces (such as Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and Audrey Hepburn). I love how Ferreira don’t try to create depth with subtle shading, but indicates a break in depth and saturation through the use of solid but fluid black lines. This striking visual effect makes her work have a bit of a mosaic effect, but you never forget that you’re looking at blocks of color that have been shaped to simulate human faces. Brilliant!

That’s all for my post about Sarah Ferreira. I certainly hope that she exhibits somewhere near me in the future. Or, maybe a future exhibit in Portugal will be just the motivation I need to book my next trip!

goals · life curation · luxury · style

Curation Without Culling Is Chaos

Hello friends! I’ve been spending a lot of time at home, and as I prepare for the cooler months (when staying inside more is inevitable for me), I’ve been thinking of ways to improve my environment. While doing some of my normal cleaning, I noticed that I had far more things that needed to be maintained, and not enough “blank space” around me.

I realized I’d become fully immersed in my identity as a curator (never a hoarder: I hate having stuff “engulf” me, nor do I purchase or collect items for any reason other than appreciation of art in various forms). However, I’d been slacking on my culling. To cull is to go a step beyond curating: it involves eliminating things that may be suitable but aren’t the best. It’s part of the selective behavior that creates s well-cultivated sense of personal taste that has a healthy dose of discrimination and exclusivity. I prefer to look at this as culling (focusing on what I choose to keep) as opposed to purging (focusing on the things that I’m removing).

For instance, I have books – lots of books. While I may enjoy all of my books, I need to go through these books and figure out which ones I love and which ones I like, and promptly rid myself of any books that don’t meet the “love” category. The same thing goes for clothes, accessories, and even cookware: I’m culling all of it, and only leaving behind the items that make my heart sing.

Culling allows the things you love the space they need to shine.

Curating without culling creates chaos, both within the mind as well as within the physical environment. So I’ve started taking the steps to eliminate this chaos externally so that I can cultivate more internal peace and order. With the most difficult seasons for me (late fall stretching into early winter) ahead, I want to ensure that I have as little disorder and as few energetic “leaks” as possible.

What kind of culling activities have you found beneficial? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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

My Time In Portugal, Part 4 – Hotel do Chiado and Entretanto

This is the penultimate post on Portugal, and I feel just as sad writing it as I did when I left Lisbon for the next stop on my trip!

The night before we left, we stopped by an elegant hotel and decided to dine there. The hotel we chose was Hotel do Chiado, and we dined at Entretanto, the hotel’s exquisite rooftop bar and restaurant. The meal options were just enough: there was a little something for everyone. I enjoyed my cocktail – the Pink Affair – and my entree, tortellini with cheese and spinach. We also tried some exquisite port and Madeira. We ended our meal with apple pie and a twirl around the rooftop. Here are some pics from my time at Entretanto:

I’m so glad we got to enjoy a meal at Entretanto. I would love to return and try the 5 o’clock tea meal next time.

The next – and final – Portugal post will have some incredible photos from within Hotel do Chiado, because, as it turns out, the corridor leading to the restaurant had an art collection from a Portuguese-based artist. I’m so excited to share those pictures soon! Until then, take care.

art · culture · international · life curation · luxury · travel

My Time In Portugal, Part 3 – Sintra National Palace

Happy Monday, friends! It’s another Portugal post (one more Portugal post is scheduled, then we’ll dive into the Spain and Greece portions of my trip). This post is about Sintra National Palace, a fabulous historical and cultural site located just outside of Lisbon. I loved touring the building and learning more about this incredible region.

I really enjoyed coming to this site, and learning so much about the history of Portugal’s ruling elite. The luxury on display at this palace was nothing short of inspirational: I felt right at home!

Here are some of the pics from my tour:

The National Palace was certainly a highlight of my trip, and one of my favorite features of Portugal in particular. Have you all visited here before? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – How I’m Getting Better Sleep

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! I hope you all are having a great week and, if not, I hope your weekend is full of whatever you need to feel better.

This is a brief post, because I’ve already discussed the three biggest things I’ve been using to improve my sleep over on my Youtube channel. Anyone that has fibromyalgia, or any other chronic illness or chronic pain condition, knows that sleep is necessary to restore ourselves and to feel as good as possible. We also know that being in pain often means that sleep rarely makes us feel refreshed. So, anything that can improve the quality of our sleep can make the difference between feeling amazing and feeling awful.

The three things I’ve used that have helped me get deeper, more restorative sleep are weighted eye masks, magnesium supplements, and turmeric supplements. I’ve talked about magnesium and turmeric supplements (I’ve reviewed turmeric here and here) on this blog before, but I’ve never discussed eye masks. I’ll post my videos about each tool below, but if you’re short on time, here is the TLDW version:

  • Weighted eye masks help block out light (obviously), and the weight of it acts similar to weighted blankets: it provides a cozy feeling that helps with sleep. (I use the one by IMAK)
  • Magnesium is a muscle relaxer and a sedative, so it helps reduce pain while also giving you deeper sleep. (I use Nature’s Bounty magnesium supplement).
  • Turmeric supplements reduce inflammation and I take it at night, so it can do its work while I’m resting. For me, less pain means better sleep. (I use turmeric from Doctor’s Recipes and VitaBreeze: I alternate between the two).

More about weighted eye masks –

Why I use magnesium at night –

My daily turmeric and collagen supplements, and how the two I use measure up against each other –

These three things are the building blocks for improving my sleep, and I’m recommending these in hopes that they will help you, too! If you’ve tried any of these, or if you’re curious about any of them, please let me know in the comments below. Take care, and have a great weekend!

books · life curation · reading list

Writing Wednesday – Five Books That Changed My Life

Several weeks ago, I shared a video on my YouTube channel, highlight five books that changed my life.

I realize that was a very bold claim, and it could be interpreted as the most important books I’ve read in my life. However, that interpretation would be incorrect. Books that change my life =/= favorite or most important books. Some of the books that rank as most important to me are books that haven’t actually “changed” me, but have entertained me thoroughly, or reminded me of something rare or precious, or that are just stellar examples of writing mastery. So, books like And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith haven’t necessarily changed my life, but they rank among some of the most important books I’ve read.

That being said, we’re talking about life changing books that I think could be useful to some of you. These books helped me with money, love, conscious creation, friendship and more, Without further ado, here are the five books that changed my life:

  • Ginie Sayles, HOW TO MEET THE RICH for Business, Friendship, or Romance – A couple of years ago, one of my favorite role models, Ginie Sayles, gave me an endorsement on her author’s page, after I shared that her book, Writer’s Block is a Crock, helped me write and publish my first book. I was so excited that I made a post about her generosity and support. Well, as much as I love “Writer’s Block is a Crock”, there’s a book by Ginie that I love even more . . . and that’s “How to Meet the Rich”. Having your own vast resources is a wonderful thing, but your ability to do good and really change the world is enhanced when you have a network with high net worth! I love how she not only shows ways to meet the rich, but also all of the ways to nurture reciprocal relationships with these individuals. This is a great book for networking with various goals in mind (either business, friendship/social, or romantic ends).
  • David Bach, Start Late, Finish Rich – Similar to Ginie, David Bach has been discussed over here previously. I sing David’s praises because his work was fundamental in providing me with an excellent foundational education in personal finance. No matter what your age is, Start Late Finish Rich is a great book to introduce yourself to his strategies for creating financial freedom. I highly recommend any of David’s books, but this is a great one for starting on the path to wealth.
  • Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl – This book was fundamental in understanding the joy and pleasure of being a single woman. I learned so much from Helen regarding all of the perks that you can enjoy before saying “I do”. I got to reconnect with some of those delights when I divorced! Despite this book being published 60(!) years ago, so many of the tips are still relevant today. It’s still a fun read!
  • Shelley Branch and Sue Calloway, What Would Jackie Do? – I love all things Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and this book was a fabulous addition to my Jackie book collection. What Would Jackie Do is a combination of self help, biography, and etiquette lessons all in one. I often refer to this book when I need to recall how to make the perfect alfredo sauce from scratch, or how to approach my interior decorating budget, and even what I should do to enhance my career. Yes, it covers all of these topics and more. Fabulous read – highly recommended (naturally)!
  • Dr Henriette Anne Klauser, Write It Down Make It Happen – I won’t rewrite my review of this book, because I’ve already talked about it here, here, and here. I come back to this book again and again because every time I read it and try some of the writing exercises mentioned, my life shifts in significant ways.

Here is my video reviewing the books mentioned above:

What books have changed your life? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.