life curation · reading list

Archetypes Is Here!

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

Pardon me while I squeal!

Photo released by Archetypes

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

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

Some key takeaways from this first episode of Archetypes are:

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

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

books · business · writing

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

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

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

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

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

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!

health · relaxation · travel

Fibro Friday – How I Created a Flare

Happy Fibro Friday! After an emotionally intense few days (I didn’t mention it in previous posts, because I like to focus on joy and ease in this space), I’m feeling so much lighter and happier! As today is Fibro Friday, I wanted to share a story about how I created a fibro flare right before my travels in June.

The excitement and stress of preparing to travel created the first real “flare” that I’d experienced in a while. I’d had achy or uncomfortable days, but I hadn’t felt like I was in a true “flare” in quite some time. So I was surprised when I noticed I had all of my typical flare symptoms: achiness all over; pain in my neck, back, shoulders, wrists, and forearms; brain fog; exhaustion; queasiness; pins and needles in my hands and feet; skin sensitivity, sore throat and dizziness. It has been a LONG time since I had this many symptoms at once, and it was not fun at all!

After noting that my normal activity caused leg soreness, and seeing that the transition to warmer weather was making me more uncomfortable than I’d normally expect, I did a checklist of what may have been wrong. My first thought was COVID, but I knew that my chances of being exposed were minuscule. I had the realization that I was the reason behind my most recent flare – well, me and the stress of traveling, that is – when I rested a bit and some of the brain fog and exhaustion eased up. I allowed myself to get more stressed than normal because of all of the little things that were within and beyond my control: I was so worried about what travel looks like in a post-COVID world, how much tidying I needed to do before I left, checking and double-checking my travel plans, etc.,.

Stress is such a huge trigger, and it can be triggering us behind the scenes: I wasn’t actively feeling stressed but it still affected me. However, awareness and immediately implementing self care helped shorten the flare and made such a difference. Here is the video I made discussing my flare:

That’s it for today. Please continue to take care of yourselves, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

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.

books · business · writing

Writers Wednesday – Four Months, Four Goals

Happy Wednesday! As the month of August is already past the halfway mark (really, where does the time go?), I figured now would be a good time to look forward to the last four months of the year, and consider what I want to accomplish related to my writing.

In September, I intend to finish my edits for the book that I’m publishing in November. I want to complete the edits no later than September 15, so I can give the book some “space” before publishing. I always enjoy coming back to a book and refining it more before I release it to the world. In order to give it space, I have to finish the book several weeks before I do the last publishing steps. I’ll also share the book with my beta readers and hope for some fantastic feedback to incorporate when I do my final refinement of the book.

For October, I will continue September’s work: somewhere in the middle of the month, I’ll be doing the final review of my book and put the finishing touches on it. But, before I get to the middle of October, I’ll work on the cover, and begin doing a big marketing/social media push for the book. I’m focused on bringing eyes to my book and connecting with my ideal readers.

Usually, November is my time to participate in NaNoWriMo. I’m not sure if I will participate this year, but *if* I do, it’ll be a secondary (or maybe even tertiary) goal. My primary goal is working on book sales. This also works along with getting testimonials and growing my network, as these are crucial to sustaining the success of my book launch and sales.

Finally, December is all about closing out open projects and clearing my slate for the upcoming year. I am trying to sync up my activity with the seasons, and heading into the winter is the perfect time to wind down and prepare for the incubation that comes with the winter months. I’m looking forward to resting, enjoying a few months of decreased activity, and savoring the fruits of my labor from the previous months.

Those are my four goals for the next four months. What goals do you all have?

beauty · style

Style Chat – How I’m Using The Four Essence System, Pt 1

It’s been a while since I discussed the Four Essence System developed by Rita (of Style Thoughts by Rita). To date, my post about the Four Essence System has been one of the most popular posts on this blog (which is really surprising, considering how this was never intended to be a blog about fashion!) A recent video posted by Rita discussed the four tools of the Four Essence System, and I thought it would be fun and beneficial to muse over what she mentioned in the video, and how it applies to me and my essence (Right Up). Here is the video discussing the tools:

The first tool Rita mentions is keywords. Keywords allow us to laser focus on the elements of the essence, without getting lost in minutia. These also function as a compass of sorts, constantly guiding users to the heart of the effect they are trying to create through style. The keywords for my essence are as follows:

For Right women: Dreamy, Radiant, Inspiring, Luminous, Refined, The Sun, The Ice Queen

For Up women: Intimidating, Effort, Extravagant, Persona, Glamorous, Mysterious

The words that resonate with me were Luminous, Refined, The Sun, Effort, Persona and (in my mind) Glamorous. I started comparing these words against some of the things that I own, and whatever doesn’t make the cut, was placed into a giveaway (charity) bag. It was a simple metric for seeing which items suited me, and which ones are not harmonious with my style vision.

There are a lot of great keywords mentioned in the video that can help calibrate your style approach, so you can make choices that resonate with your core style ID. I loved experimenting with the many ways that keywords show up in my style. It also exposed ways that I’m falling short of my style vision, too.

That’s all my friends! What keywords from the video suit your style?

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!