life curation

January’s Organization Challenge: Mid-Month Updates

You all may remember a few weeks ago when I stated that I was going to start a January organizational challenge. I use the outline provided on a website that I visited, All Things Mikita. This post is just a brief update of how that organization challenge is going.

Well, I stopped the challenge. What I found was that I had to substitute too many of the items outlined in the challenge. For instance, Day 9 of the challenge called to get rid of nine skirts or dresses. However, since I have made it a habit to regularly streamline my wardrobe, I didn’t have any items that I wanted to get rid of. I wear skirts regularly so removing them from my wardrobe would have left huge gaps. Day 15 of the challenge calls for getting rid of old jewelry, but most of my jewelry is high-quality so getting rid of 15 pieces did not appeal to me at all. Day 20 calls for getting rid of 20 pajama pants, but I don’t even own 5 pajama pants!

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I’m envisioning organized spaces, like this

This challenge is excellent for a few reasons,  especially for someone who is attempting to upgrade their wardrobe and get rid of many excess clothing items. But in my case, I realized I did not have an abundance of the items mentioned for the challenge. This is a good cautionary  example for me, because it’s important to look carefully over a challenge before committing. Next time I do an organization challenge, I will be sure to note whether I can complete the tasks as listed. And, if I can’t complete the tasks listed, I need to prepare myself in advance of the challenge start date to substitute appropriately.

I’m sure I’ll do more challenges in the upcoming months, but this one fell flat. I wish I had some good results for you, but I stopped after I got a few days in. It just didn’t fit in my life at this point. The next challenge I select will be a better fit for me and my lifestyle.

Enjoy your Thursday, friends! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

life curation

Will My 2019 Goals Fail?

Happy hump day friends! As I look at my beloved planner, I think to myself how, every week, I set out little goals that will feed into some of that bigger goals for 2019. I’m only a couple of weeks into the new year, but I noticed something that I wanted to share with you all. I’m concerned that maybe my goals don’t have enough “umph” to them.

The problem with tepid goals is that they’ll usually fall flat. That isn’t intentional, of course:  no one sets a goal with the plan to fail. But in my experience, goals that don’t fire you up rarely have enough steam to be fully realized.

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So I had to ask myself, will my 2019 goals fail?

I’d like to think that they won’t:  I’m beyond the phase of life where I’m at I’m okay barely making the mark. At this point, only success or major progress will do.  That brought me to the realization that, for my 2019 goals, I have to find some fire for them.  Specifically, I have to make them bolder and bigger. Everything will have to be taken up a notch if I want to ensure that the goals will be accomplished.

Last year’s goals had a measure of success to them.  Nothing was a complete failure, but they did not have enough fire to keep me working hard on them all year long. I figured that might be somewhat normal:  working non-stop for an indefinite period of time on anything is nearly impossible. One of the reasons that I was really thankful for getting the 21 Day Challenge book was that I figured I could work on anything fervently for 21 days.

But after I took some time to examine my current goals, I don’t even think that 21 day challenges can keep me lit up all year long. So this year, I’m going to take a little more time and figure out exactly how to make my goals bolder than they were last year. I want goals that light me up and that excite me as I discuss them.  I start my first 21 day challenge in February, and I want to make sure that I’m ready and raring to go at the beginning of the month so that the 21 days I pour into a project will be some of the most inspiring days of my 2019.

So I’m going back to the drawing board for my goals, and I’m going to make them bigger and bolder than ever. I can’t wait to share them with you all soon!

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

luxury · style

My Top Three Tips for Finding Luxury Fashion Bargains

Hi friends! The roads are being cleared in the Mid-Atlantic region, only for more snow to fall in the next few days! I’m still staying warm and dry, and I hope the same for you all.

A few weeks ago, I went to one of my favorite thrift stores and just decided to check out what new finds they had. I walked out with two large bags of clothing and spent only $40. The bags contained several designer suits and some beautiful vintage blouses. I had gone to the same thrift store several weeks prior and gotten two lovely winter coats.

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Now, as you all may recall, I like to shop selectively. I don’t enjoy spending my money on items that won’t last very long. I like high quality pieces for great prices. This is part of the reason why I’ve distanced myself from some of the bargain retailers that I used to enjoy . . . I need clothes that will give me the best bang for my buck.

I also don’t like to clutter my wardrobe with a bunch of items that won’t last beyond the season. When I shop, I prefer to purchase investment pieces. This applies even when I’m at thrift stores. Just because the item has been pre-owned does it mean that I don’t hold it to a high standard! My family and friends are always amazed at some of the incredible buys that I can find, especially since these items are usually designer pieces. Their questions led me to creating this post just for you all to describe how I can find amazing luxury item for great prices. Enjoy!

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  • Do your research

What good is saving your money, picking an item, and purchasing it if you find out later that you invested poorly? It’s important to do research before investing in any luxury item. Remember that cost does not equal high quality: there are many items that label themselves “luxurious” but are in actuality overpriced, low quality goods. So do your research before purchasing any luxury item. Learn about the items best features and why it’s superior to its competitors. Compare it with similar items. If you find an item that’s being presented as a bargain, it helps to know the average selling price so that you can determine for yourself whether the price that it’s being offered for is a true bargain or if it’s too good to be true. There are a lot of high-quality knock-offs on the market, that are being sold for a pittance. If you are interested in buying true luxury goods, knowing the regular retail prices can help you avoid purchasing a good-looking fake.

  • Never be in a rush

When buying a luxury item, it’s crucial to take your time. Some of the best items can be purchased for  a steal if you time it right. Timing is not only about waiting for Black Friday sales; Actually, when it comes to most luxury goods, Black Friday is not the day that you can expect to find your best prices. Some retailers have seasons, or certain times of the year, when they clear out their overstocked  items. Patiently waiting for discounts can save a savvy consumer quite a bit of money when purchasing luxury goods.

  • There’s no shame in buying used luxury items

The beauty of pre-owned luxury items is that many of the previous owners have taken excellent care of their possessions.  if you don’t disclose when and how you bought an item, no one will know that you purchased it used. Also, depending on the luxury item, having previous owners may be unavoidable. Think of fashions from the 1920s and 1930s: surely you wouldn’t be the first person to own those items! So when purchasing used luxury items, just make sure that the items are in excellent condition or, at very minimum, in a condition that is suitable to you. Some items, such as furniture or home other home goods, may not need to be in pristine condition for what you’re intending. In fact, depending on the item, a slightly used, worn-in look maybe preferred.

Since this conversation is about luxury fashion, you would want to make sure that the clothing is in great condition before purchasing. Even vintage items should be scrutinized for signs of wear that can detract from the attractiveness of the garment.

Those are my top three tips for finding luxury fashion bargains! Do you all have any other tips? If so, please let me know in the comments below!

international · travel

Cruise 2018: Ports of Call

Happy Monday friends! If you reside anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region, you may be digging yourself out of the snow that fell over the weekend. Here in central Virginia, we didn’t get that much snow: we did however get a good amount of slushy rain. We are expecting some more snow and ice in the upcoming days, so stay warm and dry if you can!

With all of this cold, wintry weather, it’s only natural that I might look back on some warmer days. Specifically, I’m thinking about my last vacation to the Caribbean. If you all recall, I went on a Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. I posted about the ship itself, and I also wrote about the exquisite cuisine that I enjoyed on board. The ports of call for this cruise were Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Costa Maya, Mexico. I’ve been to most of these ports before ( Honduras being the only exception), so I was already familiar with the locations. That being said, I still enjoyed being somewhere warm and sunny for a change.

I don’t have much to say about the locations: because I only spent a few hours at each port of call, it’s hard to distinguish between them. As a result, this post will be mostly pictures. I always get so excited to see the beauty of the Caribbean. The crystal clear water, the striking buildings, the unrelenting sunshine … There’s nothing quite like an

island vacation. Enjoy!

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Ship in Nassau

Views from Cozumel

Sights in Roatan

Costa Maya views

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music · words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Nina Simone

It’s a new dawn/ It’s a new day/ It’s a new life/ For me/ And I’m feeling good – Nina Simone

Happy Friday friends!  I hope that you all have had a stress-free and enjoyable week. I’m looking forward to this weekend, despite  a forecast indicating snow showers to strike in the Mid-Atlantic region. I’m no fan of the cold, but it’ll be nice to stay in and watch the snowfall.

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The Words of Wisdom today will be coming from none other than Eunice Kathleen Waymon, better known as the incomparable Nina Simone. Her music, that she described as black classical music, is full of passion, wisdom, pain, and love.

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I first became acquainted with Simone’s music in 2010. I was encouraged to listen to her after an acquaintance noted that I dressed (at that time) similarly to Simone. With my naturally curly-kinky hair, brown skin, and penchant for African inspired fashions, I probably looked a lot  more like Simone than I do currently. I purchased the digital version of The Lady has the Blues to acquaint myself with her work. I found myself drawn into Simone’s incredible piano playing ability, but I stayed for her soulful lyrics.

The album that started my love of Ms. Simone

I researched Simone’s history to learn more about the woman behind these poignant songs. What I learned about her was heartbreaking. Simone was denied admission to the musical program that she dreamed of attending. She had unhappy romantic relationships, which were likely complicated by her own mental health issues (she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder). While critically-acclaimed and publicly loved, she suffered indescribable pain behind closed doors. This pain is what we bear witness to when listening to her music.

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But, despite the painful lyrics, there is a lot of beauty in Simone’s work. More importantly, she left a legacy of activism through her art. She actively sought to achieve her own personal peace while on Earth (which is more than most people can say). Relocating abroad, away from a country that had scarred her with its racism and bigotry, was critical for her self care. She passed while living in France at the age of 70. May she continue to rest in peace. And may we all enjoy her impressive ouevre and learn from her life. The world didn’t deserve Nina Simone, but I’m glad that she lived her life unapologetically and left such an amazing example for us today.

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That’s all for this week loves. I hope that you all have a cozy and comfortable weekend and I will talk to you all on Monday. Take care!

(Photos courtesy of AZ Quotes, For Harriet, Women’s Tea Time, and Pinterest)

art

Art and its Appreciators Suffer During Government Shutdowns

Happy Thursday, friends! I hope that this Thursday sees you in good health and fantastic spirits. I wanted to post a quick update because, as you all may recall, a few weeks ago I posted about Smithsonian exhibitions that were scheduled to leave the museums in January 2019. I wanted to make sure you all knew the exhibitions that would be leaving soon so that you could take advantage of these before they left DC.

However, my post about the exhibitions came right before the government shutdown. I was not aware that the shutdown would be affecting  the Smithsonian Institution as well as the National Gallery of Art. As a federal employee, I’m aware of what a shutdown can do. I’m also aware that the Smithsonian is part of the federal government.  Despite knowing these things, I did not know that the shutdown would happen for such a long period of time. I also didn’t know to the extent that the Smithsonian would be affected.

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The Smithsonian Castle

Regrettably, while the shutdown continues, the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art are not available to serve the public who have funded them throughout the year. I regret that so many people will not be able to enjoy these fine museums until the government is up and running again. Fortunately for us, the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art have made many exhibitions viewable on their respective websites.  Yes, I know that websites don’t compared to viewing these treasures in person, but until the museums reopen, we’ll have to make do with what we have.

Let’s all send good vibrations to the hard-working staff of the Smithsonian and National Gallery of Art, who will not receive compensation while the shutdown is occurring. Let us also send good vibrations to the legislators who are trying their best to resolve the shutdown issue with as little negative impact to the workers as possible.

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Americana Week – Best of Doyle Auctions

Happy Wednesday, friends! For Americana Week, many US auction houses will be presenting incredible items that highlight the craftsmanship and decorating aesthetic of Americans. One of my favorite auction houses, Freeman’s, doesn’t have any auctions scheduled during Americana week this year. So, the last auction house that I will be considering is Doyle Auctions.

Doyle auctions will have only one live, in-person auction event during Americana Week. Doyle at Home won’t have any items that are distinctly Americana-themed, but the luxurious items that are being offered may be of interest to a variety of collectors, including those that specialize in collecting Americana. The sale occurs on January 16, 2019 at 10 a.m. EST.

With nearly 500 lots for sale, selecting just one item out of the group was challenging. But I found myself irresistibly drawn to this painting by Porfirio DiDonna. The untitled painting comes from later in DiDonna’s career. It has more curvature, less symmetry, and less precision than his earlier works. I love how the neutral colors appear to dance against the cool grey background. I may bid on this painting, considering how affordably priced it is. This one has an estimated value between $150 – $250.

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Untitled, 1984, Porfirio Di Donna (1942-1986)

Instead of planning all of the Americana events to occur during the week of January 13th through the 19, Doyle has wisely opened an Americana-themed, online-only auction to start on January 18th. This allows them to keep the Americana theme going even after the week has concluded.

Americana from the Library of Arnold ‘Jake’ Johnson should be an interesting sale but, unfortunately, I can only view one lot from this collection. For that reason, I can’t recommend my favorite item. However, this sale will still be worth checking out:  after all, it’s the last Americana-themed sale for the month.

That concludes my review of Americana week at some of the most popular auction houses in the US. Did you see any items from the previous auctions that you found interesting? Let me know in the comments below I’d love to hear about it!

 

Talk to you all tomorrow!