Uncategorized

Fibro Friday – Make A Fuss For Your Health

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all are doing well! I apologize for the premature postings this week: I’ve been concentrating on Vlog-A-Day-In-May and hadn’t gotten a chance to do much writing over here. Rest assured, the prematurely posted blog will be fleshed out and reposted soon.

Today, I’m sharing a vlog that I posted several weeks ago. In this video, I discussed why it’s important to “speak up” when it comes to your health, especially those that are dealing with fibromyalgia. So many times, our voices are silenced because many medical professionals misunderstand or minimize our experiences. Also, when you suffer from chronic pain, it can be difficult to accurately relay your experiences to medical professionals, which makes it challenging to get diagnoses and treatments.

However, we should always continue to “make a fuss”, sharing how we feel with our care providers and the specialists that we work with. We must persist until our concerns are heard, and we get the treatment that we need.

life curation

Vlog A Day In May – Am I Doing It?

In a word, yes. I’m a little crazy, considering how busy my schedule is ordinarily. But that won’t stop me: I’ll be filming a bunch of videos (think anywhere from 15 to 20) over the next 4 days, so I can have a healthy cushion of videos before the month starts.

Yes, that means that most of these videos won’t technically be “vlogs” – I’m under the impression that the idea of a “vlog” is about having daily quick check-ins. But I don’t want to spend all month getting video-ready every day (so much time involved!) nor do I want to fall short of my vlogging goal by skipping a day when things are hectic. It’s better for me to have some material ready to fill in the gaps, and even if I’m able to do quick vlogs daily in May, I’ll still need those pre-filmed videos for the upcoming months, when I travel or have other obligations.

So yes, there will be vlogs every day during the month of May. I’ll try to keep you all updated with the video topics as these are posted, but I can’t make any promises. Pray for me, y’all!

writing

Writers Wednesdays – Time for a New Laptop!

Hi friends! I hope you all are doing well and enjoying the week that you desire. I’ve been tying up some loose ends before I resume regular posting, hence my absence. I know that a post went up yesterday, but that post was premature and will be rewritten and reposted in the near future. Also, I have a little announcement tomorrow that will explain more of the “loose ends” that I have going on in the background.

Anyhoo, you aren’t reading this because you’re interested in my loose ends. This is Writers Wednesday, and I’m bringing up a writing-related discussion.

Y’all. It’s time for a new laptop. And I (low key) dread having to choose one, for multiple reasons.

For those that know me offline, you know why this isn’t my highest joy. For those that don’t, I’ll share a little tidbit about me with you. I’m actually quite tech averse, and I don’t enjoy having to get the “latest and greatest”. I prefer to use what I have until it no longer serves me, and then I upgrade when I don’t have another option for making my existing technology work for me. I don’t “spoil myself” with tech purchases (I prefer experiences and luxury enhancements for my personal environment instead). I’m still very much an analog girl, and, had it not been for my fibromyalgia, I’d prefer to write most of my books longhand. So purchasing new laptops, tablets, phones and the like aren’t things that I enjoy from a consumer or creator standpoint.

All of that being said, I am the possessor of an older laptop/chromebook (2018!) and I’m getting messages about certain apps that will no longer be updated on my device. Also, the device is moving much slower than I prefer (age and amount of files that I have on it are slowing it down), so I plan to put my crucial files on a cloud drive, then retire this device. I’ll probably give it to my daughter for her web surfing needs, since I’ll be able to speed it up a bit once I do a factory reset on it. I know, I could just do a factory reset and use it myself, but it can’t serve me well if I cannot use certain apps. So I’ll get the new device and the one I’m currently using will be the family/web surf computer.

So now, I have to choose a new device. I’m fairly certain that, while I am an iPhone enthusiast, I don’t want a Macbook at this point, nor do I want a standard laptop or desktop. Chromebooks are still my preference for their speed and how the limited space forces me to be selective with the files that I download. I’m considering getting this Acer Chromebook: the screen is just a little smaller than what I’m used to, but it ‘s still a great size and should be fine for my writing endeavors. It also has 64GB eMMC storage (the internal data storage I need).

Now this Acer has the same size screen as my current chromebook but has double the eMMC of my current device (it would be a jump from 16 GB eMMC to 32eMMC). This device has less internal storage than the first one I’m considering but it is one pound lighter than the other device (which matters to me if I’m traveling with it). It’s a little more economical than the first chromebook but the savings is not significant enough to make that a deciding factor in my selection.

If you’re wondering why I’m only looking at Acer Chromebooks, I can assure you, the reason is simple: I’ve had good experiences with the two Acers I’ve had, and I find their design simple enough to not be overwhelming but fast enough and powerful enough (when they’re still new-ish) to get the job done. I’ve used other laptops and chromebooks, but Acer is perfect for someone like me, that isn’t really interested in having all of the bells and whistles.

I’ll be choosing my device by the end of this week,and I’m excited! I’m looking forward to working on a new chromebook.

That’s it for today! Have a good one, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

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This post contains affiliate links.

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.

business · writing

Writers Wednesdays – March Writing Accomplishments

It’s time for another writing accomplishment update! I have some good news and some not so good news (nothing life-changing or devastating, just a little disappointing) about my writing practice. Let’s dive in!

Photo by OVAN on Pexels.com

The good news is, I worked on my book in the month of March, and, as of the time of this post, I’ve edited more than 70% of it! If I’m diligent, I can be done with this first round of edits by mid-May. Then I can put the book down fora bit, then come back to it for Round 2 of my edits. I am so happy to see some progress on this work!

The not so good news comes down to two things: firstly, the amount of time I spent editing in March, and secondly, the gaps that need to be addressed in the story. I did my last edit on March 14, because my life suddenly got much busier (if you saw my Monday post, you’ll hear part of what was happening in my world). So, while I understand why I spent less time editing, I was still a little disappointed that I lost some of that precious editing time. The disappointment has passed (thankfully) but I learned a valuable lesson: even a few minutes of work on my book every day will feel better than thinking I’ve lost a block of time.

The second point refers to something that isn’t great for my editing timeline but a fantastic “find” when it comes to the story. I uncovered multiple “gaps” in the story that need to be addressed either directly or indirectly. I’m thankful for the editing process, which helps me to see where my story can be improved, but I know that this adds quite a bit of time to my timeline (hence the mid-May completed editing goal). I’m okay with that, since the discovery of these gaps will help make my story much smoother and cohesive.

That’s my writing updates for the month, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this all comes together in the next few weeks (mid-May will be here before you know it!) Take care friends, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

Uncategorized

500+ Followers! Wow and Thanks!

Hey everyone! I am not really a “stats watcher”: I don’t spend much time focusing on the numbers because I love this blog regardless of how it performs. I will occasionally throw out a follower goal, but it isn’t my motivator. My main joy is sharing my world and connecting with others.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

So imagine my delight and surprise when I saw that my baby blog has exceeded 500 followers! Thank you for following and reading. It means so much to me that you all are here, and spending a little bit of your day with me.

That’s it for today, because gratitude is always enough. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

beauty · life curation · luxury · style

Get Ready With Me – Trying Makeup From The Beem Box

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all have been doing well. I took a little blog break because my offline life was crazy for a few weeks. That being said, I decided to do a video putting on my makeup and discussing what’s been happening in my world. As a bonus, I used products from previous Beem Boxes. I’ve mentioned Beem Box in other posts (like this one and this one) and I was really excited to show how certain products looked on my skin.

Enjoy, and I’ll be back with more content tomorrow. Take care!

beauty · luxury · style

Trying New Makeup – LYS Beauty Haul

Happy Monday, lovelies! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. We had some great weather (a spring precursor, if you will) and today is even warmer (though we do have a bit of rain). I’m still smiling from this fantastic weekend!

Last week, I shared a new video reviewing some products that I got a few weeks ago. I bought some products from LYS (Love Your Self) Beauty after I tried one of of their products that was featured in the Beem Box (I’ll post a link to that video shortly).

This is a clean, vegan, Black woman owned brand, and I love the stuff that I got! I got introduced to the product through the LYS Beauty Matte Bronzer in Strength (Dark). After perusing their website, I realize there were a LOT more products that I wanted to try. So I splurged on some foundation samples (LYS Beauty Mini Triple Fix Serum Foundation in the shades DN5, DN6 and DP5). I was really impressed by the company’s color range: the foundation is available in 35 different shades! So I got the three shades that seemed closest to my complexion. In my video, I swatched the colors (no worries: the video will be posted below).

I also decided to try the LYS Beauty Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush in Empower (a deep berry plum shade). The formulation is soft and buildable: I’ve used it twice and I love it! I’m excited to try Inspire (a vibrant terracotta hue) and Passion (a vivid fuchsia pink shade). For those that don’t know, blush is probably my favorite color cosmetic to apply: it adds life to your face and instantly gives you brightness and dimension. I pretty much always throw on blush, even when I don’t do a full face of makeup. So finding a cream blush that I love is a real treat!

I decided, on a whim, to try some of the skin care offered by LYS Beauty, too. The LYS Beauty Think Bright Glow + Hydrate Serum with Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid is a reasonably priced product that promises to “a succulent glow and long-lasting hydration”. I’m doing an in-depth video and write-up about this product separately, but I wanted to mention it, since it’s part of my purchase. I have . . . Thoughts! But again, that’ll be coming your way soon.

Finally, the company graciously threw in a freebie for purchasing over a certain dollar amount, namely, the LYS Beauty Mini Speak Love Glossy Lip Treatment Oil. This is such a great lip product that is perfect for adding moisture and shine without weighing your lips down or feeling sticky/tacky. I love it!

Below, you can see the video where I first learn about LYS Beauty, as well as the video showing you each of the products of this haul. Additionally, one of my favorite YTers, Cheryl over at Free Range Diva, reviewed the LYS blush. You can check out Cheryl’s review here.

That’s it for today! I hope you all have a fantastic rest of your day, and I’ll talk to you all soon. Take care!

life curation

The Art and Science of Being Focused and Flexible

Once upon a time, I had another blog that I wrote on frequently. Now, I’m looking over those essays and cringing (nothing humbles you like looking over your old writing!) But, I think it’s worthwhile to rewrite those posts, because the points – while not fabulously expressed in the original posts – are still salient. Here’s a HEAVILY edited essay that I wrote nearly 12 (!) years ago. Enjoy!

This particular post will speak directly to two personality characteristics that are crucial to finding your own version of success: flexibility and focus. I decided to group these two together since they are a good example of polarity and interdependence: these are relative opposites but you can’t talk about one without at least touching upon the other. Flexibility implies a willingness to look at all of the options available, while focus generally refers to devoting one’s attention to a singular goal. It seems like the two cannot peacefully co-exist, but they CAN-and they SHOULD! In fact, one without the other can very well leave you unfulfilled and always falling short of your goals.

Why do some of us need to improve in the areas of flexibility and focus? Well, when it comes to flexibility, some of us have been given an overly simplified life formula-behave yourself, go to college, get a degree, get a career, get married to a man, buy a house, make a few kids, give freely to the church/mosque/synagogue/temple, and live happily ever after. The problems with the formula are its rigidity, and the lack of emphasis on QUALITY experiences and EMPOWERED choices. It also doesn’t allow for circumstances beyond a woman’s control or her personal choice. Not everyone is interested in attending college or working in a traditional career. Some women have zero interest in getting married at all, and those that desire marriage aren’t encouraged to accurately gauge the quality of their partners. Not all of us are interested in white picket fences and having babies, and, believe it or not, religion =/= spirituality, and some women have no interested in being part of a religious organization in order to connect to the Divine. Those that ascribe to the life formula commonly taught to women are often hyper-focused on accomplishing each thing on the “to do” list, to the detriment of a life that allows for magic and joy to unfold unexpectedly and organically.

In opposition to being hyper-focused, many women who reject the prescribed life formula mentioned above end up living life as a tangent of randomness, going here and there without a goal in mind and getting a whole lot of nothing accomplished in the meantime. This is often the case because life on the “fringes” is discouraged by society, meaning that those who reject any part of the aforementioned formula don’t get support for creating meaningful lives outside of the template they’ve been given. There are many women who are living purely in flexibility and not putting an adequate amount of time and energy into focusing their energy into a handful of things that will give them lasting satisfaction. Many will pour their energy directly into career or material possessions (nothing inherently wrong with this), without any forethought regarding what meaningful things they should be cultivating simultaneously.

It can seem like living in either extreme is the only option, but being focused and flexible at the same time should be a goal for all of us. Focus gives us direction and stability, while flexibility gives us depth, color and moments of ease in our journeys.

Here’s the best way to merge the concepts of flexibility and focus: find out what you want for yourself (get your focus together) then think of the many ways you can get there (exercise flexibility.) I’ll present an exercise that may be of use (I’ve done this for myself more times than I can count, and it’s not from a singular book I’ve read but, rather, a hodgepodge of ideas that I’ve picked up here and there.) First, name the things that you want for yourself. For this example, I’m going to use some really common desires: getting a degree, getting into your dream career, traveling, and getting married. Name whatever it is you want, no matter how crazy it sounds. It’s good to be very specific when naming what you want: getting a degree from Harvard, becoming a world renowned artist, traveling to Thailand, etc.,. This list can be as long or short as you like, but it helps to keep it brief (less than 5 things) – it helps you have more time to dedicate on the things that matter most.

After you name what you want, brainstorm various ways to get what you want. This seems a little daunting, especially if you’ve been taught to see things only in one way. People are always amazed when I tell them how I got into my prior career before I was awarded my college degree and without the advantage of an internship or nepotism. Unfortunately, many of us limit ourselves by having such a narrow view on how to get what we want. That’s the downside of associating regularly with damaged minds, pessimists, and perpetual escapists, who spend too much time keeping up with trivial things and not enough time doing things to increase their personal value and the quality of their lives.

Here are a couple examples of flexible thinking – both of these I personally have used:

  • If getting a degree is your goal, then take advantage of all sorts of learning opportunities. Going to college for 4 years, as soon as you exit high school, is not the formula for everyone. If it suits you, take credit courses here and there, looking into credit-for-experience programs (my book, Degree Hacking, gives you an actionable, inexpensive and easy-to-execute plan to accomplish this). Some schools even offer tests to demonstrate proficiency in certain areas; if you’re a student, you can take those tests at a fraction of the cost of a college course (my book discusses this, too). Also, remember all of the resources you have that can give you an educational edge up: local libraries usually offer free courses in a variety of subject areas; you can take free classes online in any area you can imagine; on the internet, you can preview course syllabi for any class you’re taking, and preread material that will be cover in the course (again, check out my book for more information about this).
  • If you want to travel, the first step is really easy: get a passport! It’s good for 10 years and you don’t have to be outside of the country to use it. Start setting aside a small amount per month to fund your dream trip (even $10 a month will get you there eventually.) This gives your focus (travel) some energetic momentum without having to commit a large amount of money up front. Consider buying a token that symbolizes your travel goals (like a travel journal). Join interest groups that will feed your desire to travel (meetup.com and local colleges can help with this, as well as the myriad Reddit, Facebook and Discord groups out there) or feel free to create a group of your own that indulges your travel desire. Check out travel websites regularly to find deals on flights, hotels, and rental cars – keeping up with the costs can help you to figure out how much you need to save. This research also crystallizes what things you actually want and need for your trip. Also, remember that, depending on how much travel you desire, there are many organizations that will pay for your airfare and lodging in different locales if you are willing to either teach English or help with humanitarian efforts.

Having a particular focus doesn’t mean that you can only achieve your desire in a singular way. I dreamed of attending an Ivy-league university, but I had no interest in pursuing a full degree. I ended up taking a grant funded program in a topic that really benefited me. I could have never anticipated that would be how I’d get my Ivy-league experience, but because I’m flexible, my desire was met with ease. It’s important to remember that it’s not the lack of options that causes problems, it’s when you lose sight of all the ways to get to your goals that discouragement sets in. People get discouraged when they see no way out: if you creative, though, you won’t feel discouraged for long.

I recommend, no matter what you do, that you get in contact with someone that can help you. You won’t always have every resources you need to get what you want. You have to make connections with people who will assist you on your path. You should not automatically feel entitled to their assistance. It is usually easier to ask for assistance from those who required to assist (school counselors or customer service representatives, for example.) However, the most powerful individuals are normally people who don’t owe you anything – convincing them to assist may be more challenging. If you can get one of these heavy hitters on your side, it will make your path infinitely easier. It should go without saying that showing your appreciation to everyone who helps you is a must. Being appreciative will 1) give you great karma and 2) make it easier for someone else who, later on, may ask for assistance from these same individuals. Showing appreciation can be a thank you note or a gift (be careful with gift-giving: you don’t want anything that can be misconstrued as bribery.)

That’s it for today, friends! I hope you’re having a fantastic day. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

*This post contains affiliate links.

writing

Writers Wednesdays – January Writing Accomplishments

Hi friends! I hope you had a fantastic January, and a wonderful start to your February!

I was very (VERY) absent during the latter half of January and my absence is actually tied to the subject of this post. I have private English tutoring clients that are also law students. During the time when they have exams and essays due, I tend to work with them closely and assist them with those writing assignments.

So, I spent most of my free time helping to put the finishing touches on an essay and a dissertation. The assignments have been submitted, so I’m now free to put more time onto my own writing projects (yay!) I’ll be sharing monthly writing updates in the future, and, aside from maybe one or two more months, these updates will feature my personal writing projects exclusively.

To sum up my January writing accomplishments, I helped with dissertation writing and essays. Between these, more than 20,000 words were written (by me) and incorporated into my student’s works. The finished product was fantastic! Now I’m looking forward to logging that kind of time into my own writing LOL!

Did you have any writing accomplishments for January? I’d love to hear about them!