career · writing

My Company Has Been Featured in Trusty Wellness!

I’m so excited to share this special milestone with you all! I recently was interviewed by Trusty Wellness, a local blog that highlights small businesses in my city. My journal company was one of the featured highlights last week!

Gratuitous photo of moi

I shared in a previous post when my first book was endorsed by one of my favorite authors (and a personal inspiration to me) Ginie Sayles. I love these moments because each endorsement offers another opportunity for my work to reach someone that needs it most. And that’s what really matters: connecting to people that can use the tools that I design.

Writing is my passion, and I love sharing that passion with others, ESPECIALLY when it comes to journaling. So to be featured in this publication is truly an honor. I hope that this connects me to additional members of my “soul tribe”.

That’s my post for today: just a little something that I was proud to share. I hope you all will check out the article and give Trusty Wellness some love! Until tomorrow, take care.

life curation · Uncategorized · writing

My Latest Projects

While taking a hiatus from this blog, I decided to delve into some other projects of interest. I decided that the best thing for me would be to figure out what lights me up, and to focus on doing that for a while, even if the joyful feeling faded quickly.

The point of the exercise wasn’t to find a long-term passion project, but to put my energy into whatever made me happy, so that I could be in a better mental space for future creation. As it turns out, this short-term projects were just what I needed to relight the spark in me. And, because I had the spark re-lit, some of these short-term projects will be around a lot longer than I initially thought.

For starters, I worked on revising a book that I originally released late last year. The book was (in my opinion) a fantastic workbook for creating lifestyle changes, but because I titled the book “2020 Vision”, I knew that it wouldn’t be a popular selection for 2021. So I changed the title to more accurately reflect the content, and thus “Create Your Vision” was born.

When I tell you all how proud I am of this book . . . It really was a labor of love. I poured my best intentions into this text. And my author’s proof was so pretty, I knew that it would give someone a lot of joy! If you’re interested in getting a copy for yourself, you can click here or on the photo above. I created 25 different covers for this book, so if you’d like to see another design, you can visit my shop at Bronze Butterfly Books, or my shop available through this blog (just click here).

Along with re-releasing my book, I got inspired to work on a series of books that address a need that I (and many other women) have. I’m keeping the details under wraps for now, as I flesh out the concept more and figure out if I will need collaborators on this project. I will be announcing more details soon, so look out for that.

During the past few weeks, I also started a YouTube channel. I’d been wanting to do this for a while, but I finally had the time and energy to start on it, and I’ve been loving it so far! It’s an extension of the ideals of this blog, and I’m very excited to share it with you. Here’s one of my favorite videos, where I share some easy ways to be more like the Duchess of Sussex herself, Meghan Markle.

So those were my major projects for the past couple of months, and it looks like these projects are becoming a permanent part of my life. I’m excited to see where these take me, though if I feel overwhelmed, I will have no problem reducing or eliminating these projects to help maintain a sense of balance in my life.

So that’s what I was up to while I was gone. I have a few other things in the works, but I’ll share those in the weeks to come. Until tomorrow, take care!

*This 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.

beauty · life curation · luxury

Embracing Natural Beauty When You Can’t Leave Your Home

Last week, I shared a post about how I’m enjoying the natural beauty around my home. I’m fortunate to live in a suburb where I have a yard, beautiful plants, and a climate that is conducive to growing the kind of plants I enjoy.

For those that aren’t able to walk outdoors and take in natural beauty (either because of strict quarantine measures or due to living in a “concrete jungle”), I wanted to share some links to websites and YouTube channels that highlight natural beauty around the world.

My current favorite is the Keukenhof Garden in Holland. With millions of stunning tulips bulbs planted, the garden is a feast for the eyes. I’m thrilled that I can take in all of this natural beauty from the comfort of my home.

 

There is also the US Botanic Garden (located in Washington, DC). This incredible garden used to have many fascinating public events and was a wonderful resource for anyone interested in learning more about botany. At this time, however, you can do a virtual tour as well as many online programs. You can even do “yoga in the garden” online every Saturday during the pandemic.

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(A double flowering lenten rose, from the US Botanic Garden website)

Another lovely garden that I used to visit regularly during my workday was the Enid A. Haupt Garden. This stunning pocket of serenity was my perfect place to “get away” when I needed some time to relax away from the office. I always walked around the “parterre”, though this was only a small portion of the garden.

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(A photo of one of the urns in the Haupt Garden Parterre)

In my hometown, there is an incredible botanical garden. At Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, it is also possible to do a virtual tour. These gardens are particularly special, because of their stunning annual butterfly exhibit.

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(Elegant butterfly featured on the Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden website)

If your city has a public garden or other outdoor space, you can probably do a virtual tour (a quick Google search should let you know if virtual tours are available). Do you have a favorite garden to tour? Let me know all about it in the comments below!

 

art · life curation · reading list · relaxation

What I’ve Been Working On. . .

Let’s just take a moment to smile at the fact that we’ve made it to April. How blessed are we to see a new month and to know that things will only get better from here!

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I know that I’ve taken a couple of mini-hiatuses from the blog. As you all know, I’ve been nurturing my body after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia last year, but I haven’t allowed my diagnosis to stop me from pursuing my passions. At the beginning, this diagnosis felt like a hard stop: I had to relearn so many things and find a new normal.

I’ve had to adjust the pace at which I work toward my goals, but I am happy to report that, as I get better, I have more energy to work on the things that delight me. I still struggle with chronic pain, fatigue, and the mental fog that comes along with fibro, but those symptoms are not as pronounced as they used to be, which is such a blessing!

One of the biggest projects that has given me joy in the past year has been my publishing company, Bronze Butterfly Books. This precious project has allowed me to channel my creativity into designing beautiful notebooks and journals. I would love if you check out my website and let me know what you think.

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The bookstore is open!

I’ll have more special things coming from the book shop in the weeks to come. Thank you all for your continued love, support, and good vibes. Have a great day!

 

life curation

It Feels Good To Be Back!

Hi everyone! It’s been three months since my last post. I had to take another break to get my health back on track. This past year has been challenging (when it comes to my health) but I’m determined to improve my health, get back to the things I love (like this blog), and move my life FORWARD!

I’m be resuming my Monday through Friday posts, with the occasional weekend post thrown in here and there. I have made a lot of decisions for how I want to live my life in the months to come, so I’m excited to share those ideas with you all. I’m thrilled for what this year has in store for me!

I hope you all are doing great! Talk to you tomorrow.

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – Do You Have Fibromyalgia? Getting Properly Diagnosed

Welcome to the very first Fibro Friday! I’m hopeful that this series will provide valuable information and tips for other fibromyalgia sufferers, and it’s my sincere desire that my experiences with fibro will help someone else get back on the track to wellness.

*** Disclaimer – none of this is intended as medical advice. Please consult a licensed physician for a professional opinion. ***

The singular toughest part of my fibromyalgia journey was getting a proper diagnosis. There are still a lot of care providers that don’t know how to properly interpret fibromyalgia symptoms, and as a result, patients spend a lot of time suffering before there is a conclusive diagnosis. Even once patients receive a diagnosis, there are some care providers that treat fibro as some “strange” illness that only requires antidepressants and stress reduction to “clear up”. There is even a subset of care providers that deny the existence of fibro altogether.

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On your health journey, you may end up doing a LOT of research.

Let’s be clear: fibromyalgia is a REAL condition, with devastating symptoms. There is still a lot of mystery around why it occurs and how to best treat it, nonetheless, it is real. The challenging part is, again, diagnosing it.

So, how can you determine if you may have fibromyalgia? If you have any of the following symptoms for at least 3 months, then you may suffer from the condition (an asterisk beside the symptom means that I personally experienced it as a fibro sufferer):

  • body aches , soreness or general pain, especially in the back, neck and shoulders *
  • morning stiffness *
  • exhaustion that doesn’t seem to let up *
  • sharp pains or pins and needles sensations *
  • feeling “sick” but not suffering from a cold *
  • may experience virus-like symptoms (feels like the flu) but can’t seem to get better *
  • suffer from extra tiredness and muscle pain after only slight exertion *
  • sensitivity to heat or cold *
  • anxiety, depression, nervousness, moodiness *
  • headaches *
  • sleep problems (can’t get to sleep, can’t stay asleep) *
  • forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating *
  • stomach issues (bloating, nausea, constipation, excessive gas) *
  • painful cramps
  • restless legs syndrome

You may have just one or all of these symptoms. I know that I often felt like I had the flu: I’d often complain of feeling like I got “hit by a truck” and, while the feeling lessened as the day went on, the overall “sick” feeling never went away completely. I was so tired that I couldn’t get out of bed on some days, and the headaches would occasionally be so intense that they could stop me mid-sentence and have me holding my head and I’d seize up from the pain. Nausea, sensitivity to heat and cold (I can’t go into the frozen section of some stores without a jacket because the air makes my body ache), and sleep issues (waking up every two or so hours) are just the tip of the iceberg.

If you have any of the symptoms and suspect you may have fibromyalgia, your best bet is to start with your primary care physician (PCP) and ask for a referral to a neurologist or rheumatologist. Your PCP can do preliminary testing to rule out other conditions (anemia – which often exists concurrently with fibromyalgia – or thyroid disease come to mind), but an examination by a specialist (like a neurologist or rheumatologist) will give you more conclusive results. If your PCP’s testing reveals that you have some other condition, try the treatments for that first, and see if you get some relief/improvement of symptoms. If not, it may be time to see a specialist.

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed through the process of elimination. After autoimmune conditions and other diseases are determined to be nonexistent, then a patient can be diagnosed as having fibro. If it takes you months or years to get to this point, take heart: I started having the worst of my symptoms at the end of October 2018, and I was diagnosed by February 2019. However, these symptoms first showed up (in a milder form) back in 2014/2015, at which time I went to a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist tested me for lupus, and when the tests came back negative, she sent me on my way and didn’t bother to examine me for any other conditions. Imagine how much further along I could have been if this had been addressed properly back then! Ah well: here’s hoping my experience helps you to shorten the time on getting a proper diagnosis.

In short, take a look at your symptoms, and see how long you’ve had them. If it’s been more than 3 months, ask your PCP for a blood test and, if that comes back okay, then ask for a referral to a rheumatologist or neurologist for additional testing. Let the specialist know that you suspect that you have fibromyalgia: they’ll know which tests to do, in order to rule out other conditions.

I know this is a pretty long post, but the next ones will probably be a bit shorter. I just had to let it be known that you’re not crazy, your symptoms aren’t just “in your head”, and a proper diagnosis is the first step on your path to wellness.