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 · nature · relaxation

Spring Has Sprung! Early Spring Blooms

I spent part of my week bemoaning the haggard look of my yard. With the warmer weather and more sunshine, my grass has been flourishing… And so have my “weeds”.

I’m inclined to quickly schedule someone to tend to the yard but, as a baby herbalist, I know that the new growth cropping up in my yard has a purpose. I also know that it’s to my benefit to be very familiar with local “weeds”, especially the ones in my own yard. So, before I get the first lawn mowing of the season, I decided to learn more about these early spring weeds.

My mini violet bouquet

I have a ton of purple dead nettle in my yard. These pretty little plants are among the first to shoot up when the seasons change. I harvested some and dried them, and I plan to try making a tea with them. These are purported to help with seasonal allergies and are also supposedly anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, diuretic, purgative, etc.,. Luckily, these plants – and their lookalike, henbit – are edible. Unluckily, I dislike the flavor of fresh purple dead nettle. I’m hoping that the dried leaves can be combined with another herb to make a pleasant tea.

A patch of purple dead nettle

I found a narrow leaf plantain coming up near my driveway. I don’t plan on doing anything that requires me to use plantain, as this is commonly used to numb the sting from stinging nettle and from insect bites and stings. But, it’s good to have it nearby, just in case I get a bug bite that needs attention.

Narrow leaf plantain

My yard also gets quite a few mock strawberries (snake berries) later in the season. These little devils are harmless and edible but they have no flavor. For now, I’m seeing their pretty flowers and sighing about how those little tasteless berries will be popping up soon. Though the resulting fruit tastes like water, the blooms are sunny spots in my yard.

Mock strawberry (snake berry) bloom

Finally, my favorite weed has appeared! Violets are all over one particular patch of grass, and I love it! These delicate blooms add such pretty colors to my yard. I have “confederate violets) a cultivated subgroup of the larger blue violet family. These are edible but I’m not interested in consuming them: I just love to look at them.

Blue violet

I’m looking forward to seeing what will bloom at the end of this month, and in May. I planted a few seeds, so I’m hoping that those flowers will be blooming in a few weeks.

Did you do any planting or foraging yet? I’d love to hear all about it!

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.

books · culture · reading list · relaxation · words of wisdom · writing

Writers Wednesdays: What I’m Reading This Month

Happy Black History Month! I know I’m a bit late with this post, but I’ve been trying to get back on track with my writing and filming schedule (no easy feat, but I’m getting there!)

I posted a video on my YouTube channel last week, discussing the Black authors that I will be reading this month (I originally had five hardback and paperback books, but also added some digital books to the mix, just in case I finished before the end of the month). I’m focusing on reading up on a few different topics (not just self help!) and branching beyond American-centered stories, which is new for me.

Here is my book list for the month: I’m looking forward to diving into these.

I Am Your Sister by Audre Lorde is the book I’m reading first. You all already know about my love for Audre (I posted some of my favorite Audre quotes a few years back). This book is DENSE, so I already know it’s going to take me a bit more time, and a subsequent read (or two, or three . . . ) to get a good grasp of what she believed and taught. After I finish that, I’ll dive into Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. I’ve heard the title before but I’m completely unfamiliar with the plot of the book so I’m really looking forward to this one.

It wouldn’t be my book list is I didn’t include at least one self-help/advice book. Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu promises to show me how to achieve more while doing less. Less effort, more results? Sign me up!

The next two books are about the history of Black entertainment in the US. The Power of Pride by Carole Marks and Diana Edkins spotlights the superstars of the Harlem Renaissance, including some lesser-known luminaries of note. Then, I’ll be enjoying Brown Sugar by Donald Bogle which focuses on Black actresses, singers and other entertainers from the 1920s to 1970s. I’m really excited for both of these books, since I’m in love with all things vintage.

*If* I can get through the main book list, then I have a few others that I can read, that should cover me until the end of the month. The first is The Source of Self Regard by Toni Morrison, a book that I purchased last year in anticipation of a book club meeting that I planned – and failed – to attend. In any case, I’ve always loved Toni Morrison (I’ve posted about her here and I also wrote about her here, after her passing) and enjoyed her works immensely, so this should be a great one.

Finally, I have one more book that made it onto my back-up list: Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler (I previously read Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind, in this set: “Seed to Harvest: The Patternist Series“). As a huge Octavia Butler fan (I posted about her ages ago), I’ve been eager to get back into reading her books, and Clay’s Ark was next on my list. And, since March is Women’s History month, I can always continue my reading streak and carry this book and the Toni Morrison one into the next month, if I run out of time in February.

That’s my reading list for the month: I’m looking forward to each of these! Do you have any books you’re reading this month? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below. Also, here’s my YouTube video, discussing these books a bit more:

(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.

life curation · relaxation

Welcome to 2022!

We made it!

I hope your New Year Day was fantastic! If it wasn’t everthing that you’d hoped, just take heart in the fact that it’s only one day out of 365: you are able to create even better experiences in the year to come!

As for me, I had a chance to bring in my New Year Day in the BEST way: re-reading one of my favorite books (Rejuvenate! It’s Never Too Late by Eartha Kitt), journaling in one notebook, working on my vision journal, and sipping my favorite wine. I set some intentions and savored the moment when the clock turned 12.

I didn’t go out of my home because there’s no need to take a risk with my health unnecessarily, and it wasn’t like I had many friends in town, anyway. But I was happy to spend this day enjoying my personal space, and I feel that the experience of bringing in the new year in a space you enjoy is a great way to set the tone for the year.

I also started working on future blog posts (which, honestly, is what I do on most weekends, so long as I’m not too busy). I have a lot to share in the upcoming year and organizing my thoughts beforehand will help me tremendously with ensuring that those ideas are shared in the most effective way.

I had a wonderful and peaceful entrance into the new year, and I’m excited for all the incredible experiences that will find their way to me in the months to come. On a side note, I find it no coincidence that this is my 777th post: a good omen if ever there was one!

*This post contains affiliate links.

art · culture · relaxation

Flowers At The Museum

Hi friends! I know that I missed the Writers Wednesday post yesterday, but since it’s the first couple of days of NaNoWriMo, I don’t have much to say. I’m still figuring out exactly what I want to write, so an entire update post was sort of unnecessary. I figured this paragraph would be more than enough to explain what’s going on. Now, back to the topic at hand …

Recently, I went to Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA) with a group of brand new friends. After enjoying tea in the museum’s garden, we checked out the Fine Art and Flowers exhibition. This was a 5-day long exhibition that featured fresh flower arrangements inspired by some of the museum’s current art installations.

I only wish I had more time to see all of the arrangements (it would take at least two visits to make sure that I saw all of the flowers). But what I saw, I enjoyed immensely. Here are some pictures from the exhibition:

Display in the atrium
Close up of the atrium display
Arrangement influenced by Dragon-Shaped Pendant (artist unknown) by Laura Brooks and Lisa Vawter of the Garden Club of Middle Peninsula, King William County, VA
Arrangement inspired by Deer in Landscapes of Summer and Winter (Mori Kansai) by Helena Arouca and Julie Madden of Ikebana of Richmond, Sangetsu School, Waynesboro VA
Arrangement inspired by Queen Anne of Denmark, Wife of James I (Workshop of Marcus Gheeraerts) by Diane Burgess, River Road Garden Club, Crozier, Richmond Designers’ Guild
Arrangement inspired by Piazza San Marco (Francesco Guardi) by Gladys Lewis and June Hambrick, Leesburg Garden Club, Leesburg VA
Another angle of the arrangement inspired by Piazza San Marco

I saw a few more arrangements but didn’t have the chance to photograph them. The flowers were such a bright, welcome addition to the museum. I didn’t bother getting the map of the locations of all of the arrangements: I preferred to discover them on my own. I loved how it was almost like a scavenger hunt to locate the arrangements! If this year is any indication, then I can comfortably say that the creativity of the floral artists will wow us for years to come. I can’t wait to see the floral arrangements next year!

life curation · relaxation · style

Making a House a Home

Happy Monday, friends! I trust that your weekend was safe, happy, and relaxing. It was another hot weekend in Virginia (my favorite type of weather!) so the weekend started and ended on a great note, as far as I’m concerned.

Today’s post is the first domestic one that I’ve done in quite some time. There would have been far more of these sort of posts this summer, but I ended up not planting my garden, so there were no flower or herb pictures to share. Also, a lot of my time during the pandemic was spent care for my grandmother and great-aunt. For that reason, I didn’t have much time to focus on the “fun” domestic activities that I’ll be talking about today.

That being said, my life is returning to normal. My grandmother and my great-aunt returned to their home, my health started to improve, and I finally had more free time to explore my creativity leanings. This newfound time freedom gave me the space to play around with craft ideas that, at one time, I didn’t think I’d have the time or energy to do.

So, in the upcoming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing all sorts of domestic posts and videos. I have an upcoming video where I feature a do-it-yourself autumn wreath that is beautiful, easy and inexpensive. I’ve also been tinkering with some foraging and wildcrafting recipes that I’m eager to share with you all. Today, however, I’m going to share a super-simple autumn-inspired tea recipe that I filmed last year, that will be perfect once the air starts to cool and the leaves start turning to red and gold.

I hope you all enjoy the video! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

health · life curation · luxury · relaxation

Luxury Is Your Birthright

After spending some time listening to those amazing audiobooks last month (you can see my June book list here), I felt like I was buzzing. It’s been quite some time since I felt limitless and excited about the possibilities that lay before me. Perhaps it’s the thrill of the pandemic easing up and life getting back to some semblance of normal. Or, maybe it’s because my fibromyalgia hasn’t been giving me any major issues recently (yay for being flare-free!). On the other hand, it could be the fact that it’s starting to consistently feel like summertime here in Virginia, and the sunny days and warm temps do wonders for my mood.

Whatever the reason, I was already feeling pretty good. But these books absolutely upleveled my mood from good to great. In addition to general mood-lifting, the audiobooks I enjoyed reminded me of the power of my conscious and subconscious mind, as well as the fact that I am entitled to live a beautiful life, and that can include luxuries that enhance my experience here on earth.

However, listening to these books also made me think about an incident that occurred earlier this year, which I will regale you with in a moment. To preface, a few months ago, I was thinking about living luxuriously and how to create a more opulent home environment, but I was plagued with a lot of guilt. I love nice things, but in the middle of a global health crisis, it felt silly to desire my normal luxury purchases. And, when I did shop, my purchased amounted to nothing more than retail therapy, because I was under a lot of stress and needed pretty, shiny distractions.

The source of my stress was directly connected to my home environment. Two of my elderly relatives started living in my home during the pandemic, and, despite having adequate space, an abundance of food, and all of the electronics needed to keep us occupied, the environment still felt tense and unhappy. The spirit of discontent was heavy in my home, and it was weighing on me.

My relatives were ready to go back to their home. And they were being unpleasant in my home, in order to communicate their desire to leave. However, their home needed several repairs, as well as fumigation and deep cleaning, before they could moved. I was unsure how long it would take until all of those tasks could be accomplished, so I couldn’t provide them with a definite return date. That uncertainty stressed me out even more than the unpleasant behavior that I was witnessing daily.

Now, on to the incident that the books brought to mind: in the midst of this extremely stressful home situation, my good friend Kalifia mentioned to me that I should get away for a couple of days. But, on short notice, I figured that I couldn’t go very far. This part was true – going far wasn’t really an option – but it was only one side of what she proposed. She emphasized to me that, even if I couldn’t go very far away from home, I could still take a few days to get away.

I couldn’t argue with her logic. I needed a break, and it was within my budget. But I felt bad about taking a mini-break: I could have used the money for something else, I could have stayed at home in order to help take care of my elderly family members, I could have used the time to clean up a bit more and catch up on chores, etc.,. The reasons to say “no” were numerous. But there was only one reason to say “yes”, and, fortunately for me, it was louder than all of the “no”s combined. The “yes” simply said,

You need this.

Despite my guilt and hesitance, I decided to book a room at a lovely hotel about 20 minutes from my home. I checked in a few days later, and I laid around in the room and enjoyed the silence. The following day, I shopped at an upscale mall near the hotel, then I returned back to my room. I ordered food delivery each day, and I ate whatever I wanted. It felt ridiculous, self-indulgent, and positively unnecessary. Except, I needed every moment of it. Those days away from home restored me. It was a luxury, but it was crucial to helping me feel like myself again.

Do you ever feel that you don’t deserve the best that life has to offer? Does it ever feel like you need to EARN the luxurious parts of life? Do you feel foolish whenever you reach out for luxury? If you have, then let me assure you: luxury is your right. Actually, it’s your birthright: when you were born, you came entitled to the best that life has to offer. You are entitled to live a life that feels good to you, leaving you with beautiful, satisfying memories to comfort you as you age and eventually expire.

It took me reaching the end of my rope before I reconnected to my entitlement to happiness, peace, joy, and, yes, luxury. The beautiful thing about luxury is that we get to define it for ourselves. My definition doesn’t have to fit anyone else’s, and that’s fine. What isn’t fine is forgetting that I’m always entitled to feeling luxurious based on my definition.

I’m thankful for remembering who I am and what I deserve. I’m even more thankful that I can use my birthright to inform the decisions that I make, and I am determined to consistently make choices that honor this.

How do you define luxury? I’d love to hear it in the comments below!

beauty · hollywood glamour · life curation · luxury · relaxation

Review: The Harlem Candle Company

Happy Tuesday!

I love candles. I’ve never reviewed candles here on this blog, but I have quite a collection. It’s funny: something that is such a BIG part of my daily relaxation routine has never been featured here before. But, then again, I didn’t have any candles that completely resonated with my essence.

Until now. Recently, I came across some candles on the page of one of my Facebook friends. I’d intended to invest in more luxury candles, but other than Diptyque and The Clean Candle Company (I did a review of their candles here), I was stumped over which candle to purchase next. I’d planned to try Trudon’s Josephine candle, but the company has consistently sold out of the size I wanted to purchase. And so it goes: fate conspired to make me amenable to other suggestions.

Enter the Harlem Candle Company.

This company crafts candles themed after literary and cultural figures from the Harlem Renaissance period. And the candle that most intrigued me was Josephine, named after the bronzed goddess herself, Ms. Josephine Baker. I also purchased two other candles – Speakeasy and Ellington – in both the regular and travel sizes (respectively).

These candles are lush, complex and timelessly elegant. I love the fragrances that the company offers, as well as the charming backstories that explain the inspiration behind the scents. The company also ships their products quickly: it took me only a few days after purchasing to have my candles in hand. I enjoyed these candles so well that I made a YouTube video about it! Please check out the video, and give it a thumbs up if you enjoy it.

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