culture · international · life curation

What Stepping Away From Royal Duties REALLY Means

Happy Monday, friends! I don’t know about you all, but the past few days have been wonderful. The weather is becoming milder here on the East Coast, and COVID-19 seems to be FINALLY decreasing. Let’s hope that these good things continue!

Recently, I read Buckingham Palace’s statement on Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan and their decision to step away from royal duties. As a result of this decision, they will be stripped of their royal patronages. This could not have been easy for the Sussexes, as they have made service a crucial theme in their personal and professional lives. In particular, I think of Prince Harry, who, as a result of this decision to step away, will have his honorary military titles removed. This must have been a very painful outcome for this proud veteran, who dutifully served the Crown for ten years.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (Photo as shown on People Magazine [Karwai Tang/WireImage])

As painful as it must be, I am so happy for and proud of this couple. There is far more at stake with this decision that simply losing titles and patronages. The decision to step away from royal duties is the decision to forge a brand new path. No one so close to the Crown has opted to become a private citizen since Edward VIII, and we all know how much of a crisis that caused. This is truly untrodden ground, as the world that we know today is quite different from the one occupied by Edward VIII and his beloved, Wallis Simpson.

The decision to step away, closing the door leading to life as a royal, has opened a myriad other doors for the couple. Walking away made it possible for them to create Archewell, a revolutionary media company that will distribute the content that the Sussexes want to bring into the world. The Archewell umbrella will also allow them to support causes that are near and dear, and will allow them to influence people in ways that they feel are most impactful, without the limitations imposed upon royals. Stepping away from royal duties will allow the Sussexes to step into serving on their terms.

Ultimately, this is what the couple truly wants to be known for: service that matters to them, and done in the way that they feel will do the most good. The Sussexes demonstrated this almost immediately after the Buckingham Palace statement was released, by supporting a Dallas woman’s shelter that was badly damaged by the devastating winter storms that slammed Texas last week. The unexpected act of kindness is the first public contribution made by the Archewell Foundation, and is likely a small preview of the many charitable acts that we can expect from Harry and Meghan in the future.

This entire discussion brings to mind the famous poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken. The poem references how the speaker, considering two paths, “kept the first for another day”, but he also knew well, “how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back”. I doubt that the Sussexes will ever decide to rejoin the royal family in the capacity that was expected of them, but their decision to step away is undoubtedly a choice full of promise and potential. They can make a bigger impact in the way that they see fit, and they can author a spectacular story that starkly contrasts anything that royal life could offer, yet remains true to them. That, I believe, is why they chose to step away, and that, to paraphrase Frost, will make all the difference.

life curation · relaxation

Garden Planning – The First Steps

As if I’m not already busy enough . . . I have started working on my garden plan for this year. You see, last year, spring caught me quite by surprise (probably because I was starting to tutor more and COVID became an issue when I should have been doing my garden planning). So while I did grow a few things, I didn’t have nearly as many flowers and herbs as I would have wanted. I believe that a failure to plan properly is why my garden was so unimpressive.

Last year, I also completed a course in herbalism and became a certified herbalist. As part of my continuing study, I knew that I wanted to grow herbs, veggies, fruits and flowers that I can use in my practice. Also, part of herbalism involves studying plants throughout the four seasons, so that you can become intimately familiar with them. The best way to do that is to grow them from seeds/seedlings and observe them for a full year or two. I can best do that by growing them myself as opposed to trying to find certain plants “in the wild” and trying to keep up with them that way.

This year, I’m going to do better. I’ve already read a book about lunar and biodynamic gardening (book review posted here) as well as a book about how to group your plants in your garden. I’ve purchased some seeds, some seedling trays, and I have some soil left over from last year. I have my supplies, but now I have to actually work out a schedule for what to do and when to do it.

My seed stash

For assistance with scheduling my garden activities, I’ve been relying heavily on the Farmer’s Almanac website. There is a great, easy-to-read guide on when and how to start seeds indoors, as well as a guide for vegetable gardening for absolute beginners. Now, I’m growing herbs as well as flowers, fruit and a few vegetables, so I will have to check some other websites to get a good schedule for my non-veggie plants. But the Farmer’s Almanac website has a handy calendar to help you plan your vegetables based on your zip code, so I’m glad that they have made it so easy!

In the weeks to come, I’ll share my list of veggies, herbs and flowers that I’m growing, as well as any tools or resources that I’m using to help me with the gardening process.

Do any of you have a garden? If so, when do you start planning your garden? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

life curation · Uncategorized

Stepping Into My Power

Happy Monday, friends! I composed this post a few weeks ago, as I reflected on 2020 and the events that occurred that have changed all of us. I hope you enjoy!

During the past year, I’ve come face-to-face with many challenges. As a result, I’ve been called to speak up more, be less afraid, and honor the space that I occupy. Some of these challenges have been interpersonal, while others have been systemic.

In any case, these challenges have required me to step into my power in a way that I have never done before. I’m embracing this new stance and I’m open to wherever this empowered path will take me. Oddly enough, I suspect other people are having similar experiences. Something about being at home has really pushed me toward deeper introspection, and has caused me to grow highly uncomfortable with anything that has minimized my joy. I figure that I can’t be the only person having these sorts of revelations.

Stepping into my power looks like:

  • Taking naps without feeling guilty
  • Voicing my opinion more
  • Refraining from “explaining” myself
  • Refusing to spend my energy in any way that doesn’t help me or my family
  • Stand firm with my decisions, instead of wavering and being doubtful

I realize that I was beginning to experience feelings of insecurity and anxiety because I hadn’t been stepping fully into my power. Not speaking up and owning my truth unapologetically was making my physically ill.

But I changed all of that. I’m taking small but definite steps to ensure that my needs and concerns are considered. I’m changing what I can, and opting out of anything that causes extreme discomfort. These changes have made a huge different in my life.

Have you felt compelled to assert yourself in new ways recently? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

beauty · culture · life curation · luxury

Five Easy Ways to Be More Like Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Happy Monday, friends! I hope the beginning of your week is pleasant and everything that you need it to be.

Recently, I reviewed Archewell Audio, the podcast project started by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. I’ve been fascinated with Meghan for quite some time: I love that she is graceful, elegant and intelligent, and she uses her influence to create positive changes in society.

As part of learning more about this brilliant woman, I read a bit about her and found that there are many things that she’s done to position herself as a woman of status and influence. I made a video highlighting five of those qualities.

The qualities I discussed are as follows:

  • Learn a foreign language
  • Take up a luxurious hobby
  • Eliminate or reduce meat from your diet
  • Wear blush
  • Start a blog

By engaging in one or more of these activities, you can live a little more like Meghan.

Do you have any Duchess-worthy tips? Let me hear about it in the comments below!

life curation

The Beginning: My Introduction to Conscious Creation (Law of Attraction)

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had an enjoyable and restful weekend. Let’s step into this week with confidence and joy!

A few weeks ago, after starting my YouTube channel, I took some time to think about my Law of Attraction (LOA) journey. I often look to one of my favorite books, Write It Down, Make It Happen (I did a review on this book on my old blog, so I’ll repost that in the near future), as the “beginning” of my journey.

However, after further consideration, I realized that this is inaccurate. I actually started on the conscious creation path long before I became familiar with the work of Dr. Henriette Anne Klauser (author of Write It Down, Make It Happen). My journey actually started in 2007, in a small IRS office in Richmond, VA. That’s where I had the great fortune of meeting Mr. Arthur Childs, who first told me about Dr. Wayne Dyer. When Mr. Childs retired, he gave me his composition notebooks, full of quotes and tidbits of wisdom.

I was excited to find one of the notebooks recently (I have the other one in storage). Finding that notebook made so many good memories flood back into my mind, and it’s the inspiration behind the video that I’m sharing below. I hope you enjoy the video!

Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

business · career · health · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

The First Three Steps: 2021 Goals

A few days ago, I mentioned on a blog post that I would list out my first three steps for each of my big goals for 2021. This will help me to stay focused on completing the little things, which eventually will result in me accomplishing the big things that I have planned for myself.

So, here’s my follow-up, because we all know how important accountability is. My first three steps for each of the goals that I have for 2021:

  • Publish 5 books
    • Step 1 – Set a daily timer to remind myself to work on my writing
    • Step 2 – Make a weekly word goal
    • Step 3 – Select the titles for the books I’m working on this year
  • Lose 15 lbs
    • Step 1 – Figure out my starting weight
    • Step 2 – Confirm what kind of weight loss services are available through my doctor’s office
    • Step 3 – Make an updated yoga playlist on my YouTube
  • Manifest 3 international trips
    • Step 1 – Make a list of ideal trip locations
    • Step 2 – Create a “dream trip” piggy jar
    • Step 3 – Start learning a few key phrases in the languages spoken in the countries I’d like to visit
  • Earn 6 figures from my businesses
    • Step 1 – Review the coaching session that I participated in, that had ideas for increasing my revenue
    • Step 2 – Make a playlist of podcast episodes featuring people in the same industry as me
    • Step 3 – Create a list of potential promotional opportunities
  • Read 100+ books
    • Step 1 – Make a list of the first 33 books I want to read
    • Step 2 – Schedule book review posts for the first 6 months of the year
    • Step 3 – Place my first ten books by my bedside, so I can reach them easily
  • Luxury purchases – an item from Hermes, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a pair of Sophia Webster shoes, and a pair of Ralph & Russo shoes
    • Step 1 – Select the actual items from each company that I want
    • Step 2 – Confirm whether the items can be purchased from local retailers
    • Step 3 – Designate a “Luxe Items” piggy bank/savings account
  • Cure my fibromyalgia (as I mentioned in my last Fibro Friday post)
    • Step 1 – Research the stories of people that were able to reverse their fibromyalgia diagnosis
    • Step 2 – Relisten to herbalism/naturopath podcasts that have recommendations for treating fibro
    • Step 3 – Make a list of local naturopaths that may be able to help me on my journey

I’m keeping my target simple: I’ll only take one or two steps a day. That sets me up to finish my three steps for each goal within 21 days at most. So, in 21 days, I’ll share whether I did all of the steps above (I’m pretty sure I can do it all LOL), as well as my next three steps for each goal. Of course, at some point, outlining the next three steps of a goal may not be applicable, but I’ll do it as long as it is logical and helpful to accomplishing my goals.

Have you tried writing out the next three steps for any of your goals? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

life curation

Simple Steps for Actualizing Your Goals

Happy Monday friends! Another week full of potential lays before us. I’m so excited to embrace every day of this new year. I hope you all feel the same energy that I’ve been feeling; it’s a feeling of excitement and possibility. I love this time of year!

Recently, I’ve been really enjoying podcasts and Clubhouse. I love listening to different topics as I cook, clean, write, and do other things around the house. One of my favorite podcasts is Law of Attraction Changed My Life, hosted by Francesca Amber. I used to faithfully watch Francesca’s videos when she was on YouTube, but she stopped making new content a while ago. By chance, I visited her YT channel and saw that she’d made a video, announcing her change from vlogging to podcasting.

I promptly found her podcast, and spent the next two days binge listening to her content. (Disclaimer: her podcast does contain profanity. It isn’t an issue for me, but I want to at least put that out there so that there aren’t any surprises) Her January 1st episode had some great tips for actualizing your goals for 2021. I recommend that you listen to that episode for details, but in the next few days, I’ll share how I applied her advice as respects my own goals for the year.

One of the greatest takeaways from her podcast was to outline the first three steps required for each of my goals. I love practical, easy-to-implement advice like this. So, as I stated before, later this week I will share my first three steps for each of the goals that I mentioned last week.

Do you have any tips for reaching your 2021 goals? Let me know in the comments below!

life curation · reading list

Book Review: The Crystal Fix by Juliette Thornbury

Happy Monday, friends! This is my first official book review of the year, and it’s a good one.

The book I’m reviewing today is The Crystal Fix by Juliette Thornbury. I purchased the book from Barnes and Noble last fall. I’ve been eager to read it, but other things took priority, so I didn’t get around to reading it until a few days ago.

This book is an excellent reference for crystal newbies (like myself). It gives a thorough, but not overwhelming, overview of crystal healing theory, as well as a list of crystals that are best for specific parts of the home. Then, the book dives deeper into a multitude of crystals and minerals, their properties, and how to combine them for best results.

I think what’s really special about the book is how it makes the worlds of crystals ACCESSIBLE and easy to incorporate. I wasn’t inundated by lots of technical jargon or too much information. It’s a reference guide but it’s so much more than that: it reads like a fun how-to book. There are instructions for incorporating crystals into your life, such as making crystal grids, meditation and rituals with crystals, and even beauty treatments that are infused with crystals.

To be fair, this guide is not all exhaustive: there are many crystals that are not listed (I can think of a few off of the top of my head, such as prehnite and quantum quattro). But the book isn’t made to be all-encompassing: it has just enough information to give you a great introduction to crystals and common ways to use them.

I think what’s really special about this book is that, as you read, you’ll find certain crystals resonate with you, and you’ll be inspired to buy those crystals. It’s funny: the crystals end up picking YOU, instead of you picking them. I awaiting my shipment of rhodochrosite and shungite now.

I encourage anyone that is interested in crystals to purchase this book and learn more. There is some great information in this book and it’s a wonderful introduction to the world of crystals.

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

*This post contains affiliate links.

life curation

Reblog: Rooting 101 – The Importance of Investing in Self

Hello everyone! If you all recall, I mentioned last year that I would start reposting blog entries from my now defunct blog. Here is a post I wrote about investing in self and becoming the “whole” package. I thought it would be relevant at this time, with so much emphasis on leveling up and lifestyle enhancement. Enjoy!

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I wanted to write about investing in yourself, because I’ve noticed that many women fail to do this. These are bright, beautiful women that may be a perfect package in one area of their lives, but the rest is in shambles. Here are a few famous examples:

-Halle Berry is a physically gorgeous woman that bears the emotional scars from paternal abandonment and abusive relationships.

-Paris Hilton has money and is attractive but has a history of poor social interactions with other women and a string of failed relationships.

-Rosie O’Donnell is funny and famous, but has publicly struggled with obesity for years. (Recently, she has been successful in her weight battles- kudos to her!)

-Countless singers (including three of my favorites, Billie Holiday, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse) had wonderful voices but suffered from drug and alcohol addictions that eventually cost them their lives.

-Countless actresses (including two of my favorites, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe) were immensely talented but suffered from drug and alcohol addictions, as well as mental health issues.

Each of the women I listed above have/had golden lives: money, fame, beauty, access to the best of everything. Even with all of those perks, they still had messy lives in one or more areas. This is not a bash session: I sympathize with anyone struggling with life-limiting circumstances. But I want it to be clear, NO amount of “stuff” can make up for deficient interior lives. NO amount of stuff can cover over the insufficient coping skills that result from neglecting to invest in self.

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I’ve seen that the only difference between the girl that gets everything she wants and the girl that seems to always come up short is the amount of personal investment. There are a lot of women that are completely average in many ways, but they still live their lives in a way that makes them happy. However, I’ve also seen women that are above average, even extraordinary, in different ways, yet they are always unfulfilled and disgruntled about their lots in life. Many “average” women are proof positive that self investment, along with a positive outlook, WORKS.

I can’t take credit for all of the tips I’ve listed below. I have one friend that has employed most of these tips in order to create her dream life. She is well on her way to accomplishing all of her goals because of the time she has invested in herself. Most of these tips are things that she has recommended to others, especially since some people want to know her “secret”! Then, those same people seem discouraged when she tells them the truth and they realize that it isn’t a “secret” but hard work and self investment LOL! They seem disappointed that they can’t take a “shortcut” to happiness and fulfillment. Oh well: anything worth having is worth working for, right?

Get Therapy

This is a biggie. Too many women refuse to properly address what’s going on with them. There is a stigma associated with getting therapy: some people still believe that only “crazy” people need therapy. I’m convinced that the people promulgating this stigma need therapy more than most LOL! Therapy is a way to get an objective view of your circumstances, habits, and belief system. This is critical, especially when making life changing decisions.

Getting therapy is now easier and more discreet than ever. There are therapists online that accept clients from anywhere. Some people may benefit from having a face-to-face therapist, and that is fine. It’s just a matter of knowing what works and doing whatever is comfortable. If a person just needs to “talk”, there are websites that offer FREE active listeners. Options are available regardless of monetary and time constraints.

Speaking of comfort, therapists are just like any other medical professionals: people should only work with those professionals that make them feel comfortable. While the subject of conversation may be uncomfortable, the therapist should never be callous or cold.

Spend Time on Uplifting/Inspiring Things

How many times do people spend time on activities that make them feel bad? From church sermons that don’t nourish the soul, to family gatherings that leave one’s blood pressure high and spirits low, many people regularly engage in an assortment of discouraging activities. Most of this depressing activities are actually habits that have gone unquestioned and unchecked. It’s time to embrace uplifting and inspiring things only!

Part of spending time on uplifting things includes being far more discriminating about exposure. Limit (or stop spending) time with dysfunctional family members. Stop supporting churches that don’t leave you feeling closer to God. End your newspaper subscription (I’m serious: if the news is too depressing, limited contact is advised. If you *really* need to know something, someone will tell you; if the person that shares dismal news does so too often, cut that person off, too). Read the books that you want to read. Listen to music that excites your ears and heart. Learn what you enjoy and spend time doing those things.

Designate no less than 30 minutes a day to engage in self care

Self care goes beyond manicures, pedicures, and massages (though these are great self care options!) The concept of self care involves engaging in anything that takes care of some aspect of self. It could involve pouring a glass of expensive wine and dancing without abandon. Or, self care could be the “spa day” from heaven. It could be as simple as taking a nap or as complex as attending a retreat halfway around the world. No matter how self care is defined, at least 30 minutes per day should be dedicated to it. That’s just enough time to do something notable and enjoyable.

Those 30 minutes do not include the basic maintenance one engages in regularly (shower, tooth brushing, getting dressed). However, an extra long bath, that relaxes the nerves and soothes the soul, a thorough dental cleaning that makes one’s smile extra bright and clean, or spending some time playing “dress up” and feeding one’s inner child can be considered a form of self care.

Embrace a clean diet

It is possible to invest in self while eating junk food around the clock. But, those investments will be limited, because in order to enjoy them fully, good health (the result of healthy foods and exercise) is needed. This also connects to the concept of  “self care”: the best way to take care of self is to give the body what it needs to function at its maximum potential. “Clean diets” are a fad at the moment, but good, healthy eating habits never go out of style. As far as I can see, any eating regimen that consistently features nutritious food options and consistently eliminates junk or unhealthy foods with low nutritional value is a “clean diet”.

I’ve read and personally know of some people (including myself) that felt a massive energy surge after eliminating certain foods. Generally, food now is different from how it used to be (unless 100% organic or home-raised food items are consumed). So foods that used to be okay or “safe” may no longer be good for the body. Research, experiment, and stay consistent when things work: these are the keys to designing a clean diet that stands the test of time.

Start journaling

An important starting point for self-investment is self analysis. Understanding where a deficit may lie is the first step in fixing it. One of my dearest friends began her transformative journey by writing regularly in a journal, then looking back over her entries and learning what needed to be changed. Keeping a journal-even for a short period of time- can expose lots of inconsistent and damaging behavior and thought patterns.

Try keeping a journal for 30 days. Write in it every single day, and vow to cover at least a full page or two. Writing out frustrations can be extremely cathartic, and preserving happy moments in words can create a wonderful record to read and recreate those feelings. If it works well, then the journal can become a regular habit. Or, journal during unhappy times or exciting times. This can help with giving one a healthy channel to release unpleasant emotions or serve as a medium for capturing happy emotions to be remembered in the future.

Do a social media fast

When I hear of people that are news- and information-weary, I immediately think of how much social media these individuals use. Information overload is exhausting, and social media is rife with both unsettling and useless “news”. Not only does social media wear on the soul, but it is an immense time suck. Consider the concept mentioned in the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell (I’m sure I first learned of this book from a BWE blog, just can’t remember which one). It mentions the 10,000 hours to mastery rule. How many of those potential mastery hours are squandered on social media? Unless the goal is to master social media, those hours are wasted and cannot be recaptured. The best solution is to take a break from social media.

The harder it is to disconnect from social media, the more likely that the temporary break is needed. Social media addiction is real! Even fasting in small doses that increase over time (a few hours, then a day, then a few days, then weeks) will work. The best way to make a social media fast more tolerable is to plan something else during the time that the fast will occur. Perhaps some therapy, self care, preparing a clean meal, or journaling should be done during the social media fast. Or, plan to work on that 10,000 hour goal during the social media fast.

In conclusion, I believe that the self-investment is truly the key to a balanced, happy, fulfilled life. Understanding one’s value, and preserving it, is critical to living well. Employing some of the tips above (or any other tips you may have found effective ) should result in a higher quality of life.

life curation · relaxation

How to Do a Tea Meditation

Happy Tuesday friends! I hope you all are enjoying a comfortable and happy day wherever you are.

In light of the recent events in the United States, I thought about how I could contribute to the collective energy of peace and kindness. It may sound a little simplistic, but I truly believe that good intentions, prayer, and self-mastery are foundational to creating a more peaceful world. Indeed, if I can create peace within my personal world, I can radiate this out to others, and eventually this energy can start to encourage a peaceful attitude around the world.

I looked around my home to see if I had anything that would create an immediate mood lift. I reached for what has always worked for me: a cup of hot tea. But, instead of simply drinking the tea, I decided to do something a little different. I created a tea meditation around my ritual of enjoying hot tea. After I finished my cup, I felt so much more relaxed and grounded. I figure, if this process can have that effect on me, perhaps it will be of use to you, too.

So here are the steps involved in my tea meditation. If you prefer to watch a video on it, you can see a video demonstration below. Also, if you’re interested in reading more about the rich history of tea and the culture behind the tea ceremony, you should check out The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura. I found the book unexpectedly enlightening and thoroughly inspiring.

  • Pay close attention to every step that you take in preparing your tea: select your tea carefully, listen to the sound of the water as it goes from simmering to boiling, feel the weight of the cup in your hand before and after adding water.
  • Select your sweetener carefully (if you choose to indulge). If you’re inclined. do a taste test of the different sweeteners available and see which one makes your taste buds dance.
  • Gently, slowly and intentionally pour the hot water over your tea. Look intently as the water changes from clear to colored. Look closely to see if the herbs or tea leaves make swirls in the water as it infuses. Get lost in the slow transformation from clear liquid to flavorful beverage.
  • Add your sweetener a little at a time. Taste the difference between levels of sweetness. Connect those levels of sweetness to emotions or actions (perhaps you can compare lightly sweetened to a mild happiness, and the perfect level of sweetness to bliss [maybe like a passionate kiss]).
  • Stir the tea gently with a spoon, to ensure that the flavors are evenly distributed. Immerse all of your senses into the process.
  • Allow the tea to cool a bit before drinking. Take deep, cleansing breaths while you wait, and concentrate on what you want to experience as a result of drinking your tea (happiness, peace, satisfaction, etc.,).
  • Bring the cup up to your lips but, before sipping, deeply inhale the aroma. Try to identify each of the components of the tea by smell.
  • Take a sip, noting the feel of the cup against your lip, the weight of the cup in your hand, and the smell of the tea.
  • Allow the tea to gently swish in your mouth, coming into contact with all of your taste buds. Try to pick up notes of sweetness, bitterness, sourness, or saltiness (an exquisite tea can have elements of each). As you swallow, concentrate once more on what you want to experience.
  • With every sip, engage all of your senses and focus on what you desire.
  • Upon finishing your tea, speak a few words of gratitude, and complete a few more deep, cleansing breaths.

That’s it for today. I hope that this meditation blesses you and helps you tap into a feeling of peace and relaxation, as it has done for me. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

*This post contains affiliate links.