reading list

My Current Reading List

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend and are feeling ready for the week ahead.

I’m ready for reading!

A few months ago, I mentioned that I would be doing exercises outlined in “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. However, I decided to put those exercises on hold for a while, since I have other major projects that need my attention. “The Artist’s Way” is a great complement to any routine that you may have, but I personally didn’t feel that it suited me well right now. I am looking forward to picking up these exercises in the near future, but for now, no “Artist’s Way” exercises for me right now.

Despite the fact that I’ve delayed my “Artist’s Way” exercises, I still want to do some reading! I really want to catch up on some of the many books I’ve been meaning to read, and since I’m not committed to any writing/reading exercises, now seemed like a perfect time to dive into the rest of my reading list.

One of my books for this month: Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie

My goal is to read three more books before the end of the month, and then move onto 3 or more books next month. My three books for this month are “Death Comes As The End” by Agatha Christie, “Infants of the Spring” by Wallace Thurman, and “More of This World or Maybe Another” by Barb Johnson. These books were the three that I picked up first, so there was no rhyme or reason to my selection, other than the fact that these had been on my reading list.

I’ve been eager to read this one: Infants of the Spring by Wallace Thurman

As I read these books, I’ll be adding them to my bookshelf in my entertainment room. I committed myself to only displaying books that I’ve actually read, so my bookshelf isn’t empty but I’m really looking forward to filling the shelves over the months to come. Let’s see if I can fill the shelves completely before the end of the year (I have my work cut out for me!)

Do you have any books that you’re enjoying currently, or that you recommend that I read? Let me know in the comments below!

*Post contains affiliate links

life curation

New Goals for 2020

Even before COVID-19 upended our collective plans and intentions for 2020, I knew that I was taking a completely different direction than I had for the past few years.

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Every year, I focus on very tangible goals. My goals could be easily quantified, because I believe in goals being SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound – and I tied my personal value to the achievement of a SMART goal.

But now, my goals are shifting . . . And I like it. Yes, to a degree, my goals are still SMART, but they all aren’t as dynamic as before. I will always have a couple of dynamic goals (that’s my nature) but some of my other goals are more fluid, and allow me room to be gentle with myself. I’m starting to fall in love with my “new normal”, which include practices that support my emotional and mental health, and goals that focus more on who I’m being as opposed to what I’m doing.

With that in mind, here are some of my new goals for 2020:

  • Practice yoga weekly
  • Finish writing and editing two of my books
  • Complete my herbalist certification (did that earlier this week!)

Have you had a chance to revisit and rethink your goals? What direction do you think you’ll be going this year? I’d love to hear all about it!

beauty · luxury

Review: Kandi Koated Finesse Concealer

Here’s another beauty review! I have a few items that I’ve purchased over the past few months that I’m eager to review, and I’m sharing one of those products with you today.

A few months back, I was introduced to Kandi Koated Cosmetics by local entrepreneur Mesha Cousins. She was professional and it was such a treat to work with her. These cosmetics are developed and branded by Kandi Burruss, singer and reality TV star. I ordered two items from the Kandi Koated collection: a lip product (that I’ll review in a future post) and the Finesse Concealer, the subject of today’s review.

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The stunningly beautiful Kandi Burruss

I was excited to get my products quickly, and in a gorgeous package to boot! I wish I had taken a picture of the packaging: it was girly, pink, and fabulous! In any case, I quickly tried the products and was excited that they performed well and looked great. The product itself arrived in a stunning rose gold tube, and it looked very beautiful and sleek.

In the case of the concealer, however, some disclaimers are needed. Yes, this product absolutely conceals well and the shade – Mocha Deep – was flattering on my complexion. But, it’s worth noting that Mocha Deep isn’t a deep shade at all: it’s more of a dark beige/light brown hue. When it comes to brown skin, this wouldn’t be considered a very “deep” shade at all. Also, Mocha Deep isn’t available on the Kandi Koated website, though it may still be available through individual cosmetic reps (like Ms. Cousins, mentioned above).

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Swatching the product

This product isn’t super-creamy like LA Girl HD Pro Concealer. Because the formulation is a little “drier”, it is a much easier product to control, though it probably isn’t ideal for delicate undereye skin (that generally needs a creamier formulation). I used this product to sculpt my brows, and I loved the subtle highlighting effect that it creates. I apply, gently tap around the edges to blend, then set with powder. It lasts all day and looks fresh without needed touch-ups. Though I haven’t tried it yet, it would also work really well for reverse highlighting the hollows of the cheeks, as well as providing a smooth, even colored surface for the eyes.

Do I recommend this concealer? Absolutely! I love it though I didn’t think it would work that well under my eyes. I also wish that the company had more colors available, so I could see if I can get an even better color match.

Have you used any of the Kandi Koated Cosmetics products? Let me know in the comments below!

Uncategorized

This Memorial Day

As the proud daughter and niece of veterans, I believe in observing the solemnity of Memorial Day. So many have dutifully served to protect us at home. In honor of those that served but are no longer with us, let us have a beautiful, benevolent Memorial Day. Let’s continue to keep them in our minds, thoughts and (if you’re inclined) prayers.

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I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care.

life curation

This Week’s Happenings . . .

Despite these difficult times, I’ve been making the most of things. This week, I’m focusing on BALANCE, both internally and externally. I’ve taken some mini-breaks from social media to help keep my spirits high, and I’ve also been doing some other things that I’ve found beneficial.

I have made it a point to avoid in-person shopping as much as possible. I’m extremely thankful for grocery pickup services offered at local grocers such as Kroger. I fill my virtual cart, select a pickup date and time, pay for my order, then get it when it’s ready. It’s fantastic! I also love that I’m able to give cash tips to the person that brings the groceries to my car. I’d like to think that if most of the customers gave these hardworking people some sort of gratuity, it could help make up for the fact that they are generally overworked and underpaid. Besides, we can all use a little kindness during this time.

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I’m not doing any leisurely grocery shopping trips right now

I haven’t done much online shopping, except for items that I actually needed to restock. I bought some inexpensive acne cream and cotton pads from Amazon, since I was running low on both.


A new acne cream that I’m trying for the first time: Acne Free Terminator 10 Acne Spot Treatment (updates will be posted soon!)


Always necessary: cotton pads (Bellacotton Premium Cotton Rounds)

I also bought a couple of things from The Ordinary. I recently watched a YouTube video demonstrating how to do a facial at home (more about that tomorrow!) and I bought a chemical peel for when I decide to give my face a treatment. All the details will be in tomorrow’s post.

I’ve been using yoga and gentle stretching to help calm my mind and ease any physical pain. I have tried several different yoga videos on YT, but I haven’t gotten a “favorite” video yet. Once I have my “favorite”, I’ll be sure to share it here.

That’s what’s happening with me this week. How are things where you are? I’d love to hear all about it!

Disclaimer: this post has affiliate links.

life curation

What Happens to Our Goals During the Quarantine?

Happy Monday, friends! It seems weird to actually keep up with the days despite the fact that many of us are staying home 90%+ of each day. As a result of the quarantine that most of us are experiencing, the days tend to run together. It’s so easy to lose track of time while we’re at home!

In the midst of this, many of us still have our goals and desires on our minds. While we’re home, we may not feel like working on our goals. After all, we are being urged/forced to stay home and this tense period of time can make us feel exhausted and uninspired (I wrote all about it here). But for those of us that are feeling motivated to work on goals during this time, the question remains: what happens to our goals while we’re quarantined, especially those goals that require that we leave our homes (perhaps for internships/jobs, in-person networking or training, purchasing supplies, etc.,)?

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While we may not be able to leave our homes freely at this time, you can still work steadily toward your goals (if you’re so inclined). Finding alternative methods to accomplish tasks should be a priority. Look online for virtual job and internship opportunities if you need certain experiences to achieve your goals. Network through social media and online groups: regularly engage with others on these virtual platforms and remember to OFFER VALUE (it makes it much easier to connect with others). Look for virtual training sessions to help you keep your skills sharp or, in the case of those trying to meet fitness goals, to stay in shape. Many of the supplies you may need can be found on large online retailers, but also try to support local smaller businesses (which are particularly impacted by these times).

Take a close look at your goals and break them down into small steps, then see which steps can be done now, while you’re at home. Even if the steps are time-consuming, you’ll be much further along if you start now than if you allow yourself to be discouraged to the point of inactivity.

That’s it for today, everyone! I hope you have an enjoyable Monday. Talk to you all soon!

health · life curation · relaxation

NOW is the Time to Make Self Care a Priority

In light of current events, I have more free time and energy to devote to this blog. And now, more than ever, I’ve been called to resume my posting and offer encouragement and advice.

Our world has changed drastically in the past five months. I recall tutoring ESL students from China and they mentioned the effects of COVID-19 in its infancy. In a way, I was aware of the virus earlier than many of my family and friends, due to my students that provided me an inside view of what life in quarantine is like.

In the US, many of us are experiencing quarantines and mandatory shelter-in-place while we brace ourselves for the impact of the virus. This is a drastic change from life as we knew it, and the store shortages, sudden school closures, economic instability and unexpected loss of employment are devastating for many.

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I cannot emphasize enough that NOW is the time to invest more in your self care. If you are able to read this post, you’re likely more fortunate and privileged than you realized. Investing in taking care of yourself in small (or significant) ways can do wonders for reducing your stress levels (stress negatively impacts the immune system, which you need to be at peak performance during this time). It also helps you to relax so that you can come up with solutions to your problems or, at least, to simply appreciate the good things that are already present in your life.

I don’t write this to sound dismissive and flippant: certainly plugging “self care” when people are suffering around the world may not come across as the most politically correct position to take at this time. However, I’m an advocate for self care in its minutest forms: that can mean doing some deep breathing to help calm your nerves, or stretches in the morning to loosen the tension that your body is holding, or even reminding yourself to drink more water (hydration is important).

Please continue to take care of yourselves, and I look forward to sharing more with you all tomorrow. Goodbye for now!