culture · fitness · goals · health · life curation

March Goal Updates – Finally!

Happy first day of April, friends!

I know that you all saw some post notifications yesterday, but those posts aren’t ready just yet. Bear with me: the past few weeks have been busy. Between my job, my side job, my family, and my school coursework, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. I will be getting a much needed break this weekend, but that’s a couple of days away. In any case, I am ready to chat about my March goal update.

So, my goal list for 2021 is as follows:

  • Publish 5 books
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

I always discuss my book reading goal in a separate post, so I won’t talk about that until next week. However, I’m really excited to confirm that I’ve made progress on several of my goals for the year!

  • Publish 5 books

In the midst of the tragic shootings in Atlanta several days ago, I was moved to do my part in supporting the Stop Asian Hate movement. I stayed up late several nights, and I ended up writing and publishing two books to inspire children to learn more about Asian countries. I believe that hate is rooted in ignorance, and the cure for ignorance is knowledge. I plan to eventually write books on each of the countries of the world, but I decided to start with China and Vietnam, in hopes that what I publish will help educate children on the many ways that we are wonderfully different and surprisingly alike. My books are Let’s Go to China and Let’s Go to Vietnam, and they are filled with beautiful pictures and fun facts about these two Asian countries.

Now, these books were not planned at all, but I believe in working with inspiration as it strikes. Inspiration led me to write them, and I’ve done this sort of thing enough to know that I should never ignore a hunch. These two books bring my closer to my publishing goals for the year and, as a plus, I’m on target to meet this goal before summer begins!

  • Lose 15 lbs

A recent trip to the doctor confirmed that I have gained weight (more about this in tomorrow’s post). So I’m amping up my physical activity and revising my diet. I feel pretty good about the changes I’m making, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to shed the weight easily – so long as I stick to my plan. I’ll spill more of those details tomorrow.

  • Manifest 3 international trips

Part of manifesting my three international trips including allowing inspiration to point me in the direction of the right trips for me. Well, with some inspired conversations with my friends, as well as some fantastic evidence from the Universe, I’ve decided on one of the countries that I will visit this year! I’ll share more about this as I plan my trip, but I’m really excited that one of those international trips is in the works.

  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses

I’ve gotten several opportunities to earn additional money doing the things that I already do (like vlogging). I also have been selling some of my books (so exciting!) and having several people interested in a few of my little businesses. I’m not sure how much money I’ve made so far in my businesses, but I think I’ll calculate it next month and share it in my April goal update post.

  • Read 100+ books

This will be in a separate post, but I’m excited to let you all know that I read more books in March than I did in January or February. I’m so happy that I’m making progress toward my goal!

  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo

I’m still floating off of the happiness of my Sophia Webster purchase. I haven’t recently checked the Hermes, Louboutin, or Ralph & Russo websites to decide on what items I want, but I’m sure I’ll have made some more progress toward this before I do my April update.

  • Cure my fibromyalgia

I’ve been feeling great recently! My medication seems to be at an optimal dosage, which makes me really happy. I’ve been dealing with fatigue, but other than that, everything has been good. I’ll discuss this more in tomorrow’s post, too.

So that’s it for my updates. I’ll be back tomorrow with my Fibro Friday post. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

*This post contains affiliate links.

culture · international · life curation

What Stepping Away From Royal Duties REALLY Means

Happy Monday, friends! I don’t know about you all, but the past few days have been wonderful. The weather is becoming milder here on the East Coast, and COVID-19 seems to be FINALLY decreasing. Let’s hope that these good things continue!

Recently, I read Buckingham Palace’s statement on Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan and their decision to step away from royal duties. As a result of this decision, they will be stripped of their royal patronages. This could not have been easy for the Sussexes, as they have made service a crucial theme in their personal and professional lives. In particular, I think of Prince Harry, who, as a result of this decision to step away, will have his honorary military titles removed. This must have been a very painful outcome for this proud veteran, who dutifully served the Crown for ten years.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (Photo as shown on People Magazine [Karwai Tang/WireImage])

As painful as it must be, I am so happy for and proud of this couple. There is far more at stake with this decision that simply losing titles and patronages. The decision to step away from royal duties is the decision to forge a brand new path. No one so close to the Crown has opted to become a private citizen since Edward VIII, and we all know how much of a crisis that caused. This is truly untrodden ground, as the world that we know today is quite different from the one occupied by Edward VIII and his beloved, Wallis Simpson.

The decision to step away, closing the door leading to life as a royal, has opened a myriad other doors for the couple. Walking away made it possible for them to create Archewell, a revolutionary media company that will distribute the content that the Sussexes want to bring into the world. The Archewell umbrella will also allow them to support causes that are near and dear, and will allow them to influence people in ways that they feel are most impactful, without the limitations imposed upon royals. Stepping away from royal duties will allow the Sussexes to step into serving on their terms.

Ultimately, this is what the couple truly wants to be known for: service that matters to them, and done in the way that they feel will do the most good. The Sussexes demonstrated this almost immediately after the Buckingham Palace statement was released, by supporting a Dallas woman’s shelter that was badly damaged by the devastating winter storms that slammed Texas last week. The unexpected act of kindness is the first public contribution made by the Archewell Foundation, and is likely a small preview of the many charitable acts that we can expect from Harry and Meghan in the future.

This entire discussion brings to mind the famous poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken. The poem references how the speaker, considering two paths, “kept the first for another day”, but he also knew well, “how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back”. I doubt that the Sussexes will ever decide to rejoin the royal family in the capacity that was expected of them, but their decision to step away is undoubtedly a choice full of promise and potential. They can make a bigger impact in the way that they see fit, and they can author a spectacular story that starkly contrasts anything that royal life could offer, yet remains true to them. That, I believe, is why they chose to step away, and that, to paraphrase Frost, will make all the difference.

beauty · culture · life curation · luxury

Five Easy Ways to Be More Like Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Happy Monday, friends! I hope the beginning of your week is pleasant and everything that you need it to be.

Recently, I reviewed Archewell Audio, the podcast project started by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. I’ve been fascinated with Meghan for quite some time: I love that she is graceful, elegant and intelligent, and she uses her influence to create positive changes in society.

As part of learning more about this brilliant woman, I read a bit about her and found that there are many things that she’s done to position herself as a woman of status and influence. I made a video highlighting five of those qualities.

The qualities I discussed are as follows:

  • Learn a foreign language
  • Take up a luxurious hobby
  • Eliminate or reduce meat from your diet
  • Wear blush
  • Start a blog

By engaging in one or more of these activities, you can live a little more like Meghan.

Do you have any Duchess-worthy tips? Let me hear about it in the comments below!

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.

art · culture · international · travel

Throwback Thursday Travel: China, Part 1

I shared some photos of my trip to China almost two years ago (to the date!) on this blog. I remember this trip fondly and I can’t wait to return when international travel is an option again. Until then, here are some photos that I haven’t shared before. These are all from Beijing: I’ll add pictures from Hangzhou and Shanghai in a separate post. Enjoy!

Meal I enjoyed at a local mall: one of the best veggie curries I’ve ever had!

img_0616

A quick snap at The Forbidden City

img_0622

The Great Wall

Local shopping district: I visited Plastered8 t-shirt shop and found some cool stuff

Yum!

img_0623

Spots of beauty everywhere

img_0631

Cute bib from Haidilao restaurant (their hotpot was superb!)

img_0630

A philosophy for life

img_0637

art · culture

Welcome Back, Smithsonian Institute!

I’m finally writing a post that I’ve wanted to write for weeks now: welcome back to the Smithsonian Institute! During what is officially the longest shutdown in US history, visitors had to go without this cultural treasure.The Smithsonian Institute (SI), along with the National Gallery of Art (NGA), are finally running again after shuttering their doors at the end of December. Even when several other federal agencies were furloughed, SI and NGA both made sure to continue operating until the end of the calendar year.

sib

It’s this commitment to the American public that really distinguishes these fine organizations. No one is happier to welcome them back that I am.

You’ve been missed.

art · culture

Howardena Pindell’s “What Remains to Be Seen” at VMFA

A few months ago, I went to a special event at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, announcing an upcoming exhibition. That exhibition was a retrospective of the creative career of Howardena Pindell, multimedia artist, activist and professor. “What Remains to be Seen” is an impressive ouevre that showcases Pindell’s evolution as an artist, and is broken down into the different phases of her life and creative journey.

Today (November 25) is the last day to see the works, so I’m heading to the museum shortly so I can enjoy them one last time before they leave. However, I’ve got a few pictures for you all in this post, some additional commentary (of course LOL!) as well as a YouTube video of Pindell’s most famous short, “Free, White and 21”. Enjoy!

img_5688

Howardena Pindell

img_5689

Pindell’s use of grids and numbers created some of her most riveting work. I love seeing how she turns numbers and otherwise sterile, math-related tools and objects, into art.

img_5692

The 3-d grid below is a good example of the blend of art and math. It’s probably one of my favorite works by her.

img_5695

 

img_5696

The tiny individual circles affixed to many of Pindell’s pieces reveal her love of mathematic perfection reinterpreted. These pieces, attached to the grids she loved to work with, were occasionally numbered individually.

Like many artists, Pindell sought to promote cultural shifts through activism. Her works also featured socio-political themes that were near and dear to her.

img_5701

 

One of my favorite themes explored by Pindell was that of science. Closely related to her mathematics fascination, her interpretation of natural phenomenon and wonders created some of her most aesthetically charming works (though, to be honest, I love all of her work and find it all aesthetically pleasing). I especially loved “Nautilus” and “Night Flight” (pictures are below).

img_5706

 

Finally, here is “Free, White and 21”, Pindell’s video experiment where she aims to repair her memory loss (caused by a serious car accident) by recalling memories from earlier in her life.

art · international

Review: The Horse in Ancient Greek Art Exhibit at Virginia Museum of Fine Art

This summer, I spent several days at different museums taking in the exhibits. While I wrote about most of the exhibits that I enjoyed, I had a couple of exhibits that I haven’t yet discussed here. I opted to wait on this one because I thought I’d have a chance to check it out again before I left. Alas, time got away from me and I didn’t return before the last day of the exhibit. However, I have a sufficient amount of photos, and I’m familiar enough with the subject matter to do a decent post. So, let’s discuss horses in Ancient Greece, shall we?

img_4489

 

img_4490

Way back when I first started studying art, I took an art history course and I fell in love with Greek art. Something about the draped garments of the kore and caryatids seemed ethereal to me. I was officially in love when I first saw the Nike of Samothrace – Winged Victory – statue. Headless and armless, she still seemed so dynamic and magical and that was the kind of thing I regularly saw when I looked at Greek art. Power, motion, and magic, all bundled into singular pieces of art.

nike

Winged Victory (Nike) of Samothrace, The Louvre Paris

This exhibit, The Horse in Ancient Greek Art, was shown at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA. The exhibit highlighted the horse’s significance in the social hierarchy and cultural landscape of Ancient Greece. Horses were valued possessions, and were a luxury not afforded to the average man. The cost of horse maintenance meant that only the wealthiest and most powerful people in Ancient Greece could afford to own and care for these beauties.

img_4495

 

The exhibit featured a lot of vases and urns, which were decorated with paintings of horses. Horses were featured prominently on coins and monumental plaques, as well. It was interesting to see how the depictions of horses changed over different historical and artistic periods.

Being a wine lover, I can appreciate any of the vessels used to hold the nectar of the gods. Naturally, I was entranced by the choes and oinochoes. The Greeks loved combining beautiful presentation with practicality just as much as we do today.

So I learned more about Greek art, the significance of horses, and the many kinds of vases in Ancient Greece. It was a great experience, and my only regret is that I didn’t visit it at least twice before it left. I seem to do this with almost every visiting exhibit – will I ever learn? Anyways, that’s all for today. I hope you all enjoy your Saturday. Talk to you tomorrow!

 

art · international

Art at the Embassy of Haiti

Hey friends! I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but I had some distractions on my end that prevented me from focusing for a bit. However, I’m back, I have a bit more time, and I can finally share some of the artwork that I loved at the Haitian Embassy.

img_4939

Murat Saint Vil, Islande of La Tortue

As you recall, I went to the Haitian Embassy last month, and I enjoyed a fun evening of music, food and fun personalities. While I don’t consider myself particularly social, I loved having the opportunity to get out for a bit and do something different from my ordinary routine.

Manes Descollines, Odette; Raymond Olivier, Green Light

I’ve mentioned several times before that the Haitian Embassy has an impressive art collection featuring works created by Haitian artists exclusively. The embassy is a mashup of a museum, an office, a library, and an elegant mansion. This is the kind of over-the-top grandeur that I LIVE for!

img_4942-1

Wilson Bigaud, The Healers (1973)

So the embassy is 3 stories high, and on the walls lining the stairwell, as well as all of the corridors, there are endless photos and paintings capturing the vibrant and beautiful energy of Haiti. I’ve visited Haiti and fell in love with the beautiful landscape and people. Visiting the embassy is the closest I can get to the island for now, and I’m thankful for it.

img_4945

Yves Michaud, And God created Women

There were so many great paintings to see, and I wish I could have had the whole day to look at them all and ask questions. Sadly, I was only there for a little while: the event was in the evening and there was so much other fun things to check out at the embassy that learning more about the artwork simply wasn’t possible.

img_4952-1

Saint Louis Blaise, Interpellation (1980)

The crown jewel of the embassy was the only known painting of the royal issue of the first king and queen of Haiti. Three of the children of King Henri I and Queen Marie-Louise are depicted in the painting. This precious and significant artwork has been in private in hands for many years and has finally made it back to the people of Haiti. It was my privilege and joy to see it in person. If you would like to know more about the painting, click here. Please disregard the mislabeling presented in the article: this is the crown prince and his sisters, not the king, queen, and one of the princesses.

img_4948

Unknown, Prince Victor-Henri, Princess Amethyste and Princess Athenaire

This is just a soupcon of the breathtaking art I saw while at the embassy. I can’t wait to return and see what new art they will have on display! I hope you all enjoy – talk to you all tomorrow!