health · life curation · Uncategorized · words of wisdom

A Graceful Ending

I wonder if the world’s population has ever been as ready for a year’s ending as we are right now. 2020 has been a momentous year: devastating at times, solemn at other times, and tremendously unpredictable throughout. There seems to be a collective desire to close this chapter and move cheerfully into the next.

While I am as eager as everyone else to end the year and turn the page, I am cautious to give this year end the graceful closure it deserves. If there is nothing else that can be said about 2020, it should be noted that this year has been highly instructive. I want to share some of the lessons that I learned in 2020.

Patience – I had to learn to be patient when it comes to my travel desires, as well as being patient as everyone around me adjusts to a “new normal”. Funny enough, I have always found it easier to be patient with other people than with myself. So when I occasionally get frustrated with myself (I’ve set multiple deadlines that I ended up having to adjust later), I try to remember to show myself a little bit of the patience that I usually reserve for others.

Love – I had high hopes for meeting a life partner this year. And while I did meet some interesting suitors, I didn’t find the romantic love that I desired. I did, however, experience an abundance of love in my life, in the form of family and friends that have been incredibly supportive and caring this year. I learned to look for authentic love in all its forms, and I wasn’t disappointed with what I found. I did not lack for love in 2020, and that was such a blessing.

Gratitude – As I expressed earlier this week, I am thankful for the fact that most of my family and friends were all healthy and happy this year. I am thankful for platforms like Zoom that made it possible for us to stay in contact while staying safe. I am thankful for having a beautiful home to quarantine in, within a safe and welcoming neighborhood. I honestly have so much to be grateful for, and I try my best to stay in the energy of gratitude.

Slow down – One of my key traits in years prior was to stay in constant motion. I loved to always have a project, or trip, or activity, to keep me occupied. This year has forced me to slow down in unexpected ways. I couldn’t just run to my favorite hangout spots: I actually had to stay home and learn to entertain myself in different ways. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m an introvert, so staying home wasn’t hard. But I was forced to really examine my life, resulting in the decision to slow down and really enjoy the small things.

Rest – I previously had the motto, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. I’m fortunate to have matured from this point of view, and now I value my sleep. What my body has needed this year has been intense self care, with sleep being a centerpiece of my care routine. So much of my health improvements has depended heavily upon my commitment to rest and restoration.

In conclusion, this is my way of blessing 2020 as I move forward to 2021. Thank you, 2020, for the lessons. I’ll never forget them.

life curation · Uncategorized

A Joyful Return

I’m so happy to be back on the Bronze Butterfly blog! I took some much needed time to care for myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, and I especially felt the weight of this year when I considered the fact that I’m unable to travel internationally. As you all know, international travel is one of my favorite pasttimes, and the lack of travel has left me a bit depressed.

That being said, there are many things that I am appreciating at this year’s end. My family and close friends have been healthy (no COVID infections) and safe this entire year. My grandmother and her sister have been able to live comfortably in my home since March, and they are thriving here. And speaking of my home, I’m so grateful for a house that is in great shape and hasn’t needed any major repairs. My car, however, did need some small repairs, but these repairs were done affordably and with ease.

This time at home has allowed me to focus on what really matters, and I’ve relished the domestic duties that I’ve completed. This year has, indeed, been a good one (all things considered). We’ve been blessed beyond measure, and it’s been a year full of love, many changes, and lots of gratitude.

I am overjoyed to be back. I hope you all are doing well, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

I’m so delighted to be back over here! I am looking forward to chatting with you all soon. Have a great day, and I’ll be back tomorrow.

What wonderful things have happened for you this year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

life curation · travel

Throwback Travel Thursdays: San Diego, Part 1

Nearly five years ago, I took my first trip to California. I went to San Diego for a tax workshop. I was just reminiscing about how much I loved Cali and how beautiful San Diego was, when I decided, why not share a few #throwbackthursdaytravel pics from my first California trip?

I stayed for a week at the Town & Country which was lovely and picturesque. It was a delightful hotel and I’d certainly be willing to stay there again.

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Touching down in San Diego

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Posting outside of my room

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A statue on the hotel grounds

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The most perfect roses I’ve ever seen

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The bed in my cozy little room

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I got a gorgeous tan in under an hour. I was thrilled!

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A view from the room

I returned to San Diego in 2019, though I didn’t say in SD proper. Instead, I went to a neighboring city to have a girl’s getaway with one of my friends. It was a fantastic break from my regular routine. I’ll post it about that trip in a future #throwbackthursdaytravel post.

Have you been to San Diego? How did you enjoy it? Let me know all about it in the comments below. Take care!

food

Restaurant Review: Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar

Last weekend, I got together with a few friends for lunch. It’s been a few months since our last get-together, so I was ready for some time with the ‘gang’.

We decided on Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, since they appeared to have a little something for everyone. The restaurant is conveniently located right off of Interstate 64 West in Henrico County, Virginia. I’m glad that this one is so close to my home because, while the chain has a few other locations, most of them are over one hour from my home.

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The restaurant describes itself as contemporary Italian food, and I’d have to agree. There wasn’t an abundance of traditional Italian dishes on the menu, but what I did notice was a focus on giving a fresh take on an otherwise simple dish. I ended up trying the zucchini frite (fried zucchini slices) and the shrimp messina with a side of Brussels sprouts.

Travinia’s Shrimp Messina

Both dishes were tasty albeit not strikingly unique. The flavors were good and, while the restaurant puts a new spin on traditional Italian cuisine, they don’t stray so far away from the standard seasonings and flavors that the food doesn’t fit the Italian flavor profile. I appreciate the adherence to tradition while still injecting creativity into the dishes. Good job, Travinia, for walking a thin line and doing it well!

I would return to the restaurant, though I’d probably choose to go in the evening as opposed to lunchtime. I’m curious about the wine list and I generally prefer pairing wine with dinner over pairing it with lunches. It’ll be nice to see how the after-five crowd differs from the lunch crew.

That’s all for my quick review of Travinia. I have to get back to my writing (NaNoWriMo calls!) so that’s it for today. Talk to you all tomorrow.

life curation

Winter Socializing: My Game Plan

Happy Hump Day! I’m already looking forward to the weekend, but I’m two days away and trying to make the best of it. As the days get shorter and the air gets cooler, I’m considering what my social calendar will look like. I hate having to go outside during the winter so any social events I attend must be pretty special in order for me to participate.

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My ideal calendar for December 2018 to March 2019 would involve the following:

  • A monthly art event
  • One wine event during the season
  • Two or three workshops (less than 3 hours long each)
  • One long workshop (more than 3 hours)
  • Biweekly dinners with friends
  • One date per week

I’m an introvert, so this schedule is ambitious for me. In fact, there’s a good chance I could line up my calendar to include everything I’ve written above and I still may end up flaking simply because I don’t have the energy. But what I’m learning is that it’s really important for me to set social goals, much like I set career, education, health and financial goals. Social goals can really help me with managing the emotional lows that I tend to experience during this time of the year.

As much as I love to isolate myself, I really benefit from interacting with others in small doses. If I don’t overdo it, being around others tends to lift my spirits and give me some energy. So I’m going to spend some time today figuring out which events to add to my calendar. And, once I have those all lined up, you can look forward to some reviews and discussions regarding the stuff that I’m doing as I ride out this fall and winter. Wish me luck!

life curation

Belated Birthday Post: What I Got for My Birthday

You know that you *might* have had an awesome birthday if you take nearly three months to share what gifts you got! Well, for the record, my birthday was pretty awesome, and my super-thoughtful bestie bought me a few gifts that I’m loving.

Along with my birthday card, I got a bunch of things to remind me to “play” each day. I find that many of my days lack “play” because I have such a hectic schedule. But when I do have downtime, PLAY is a priority. Injecting JOY into every day – in the form of play or pleasure – is crucial to keeping me sane.

So I’ve been enjoying my coloring books and my bubbles. They’re great for helping me unwind during the stressful times. This little bit of whimsy really does wonders for my mood. I love her for coming up with such a creative gift!

I also bought myself a few things, but I’ve already shared that in my latest book purchase post. Remember to always get yourself treats: you deserve it!

music

An Evening with Tamia

A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to Charleston to visit with one of my girlfriends and to attend a concert. The artist performing was Tamia, one of my favorites from way, way back.

Tamia’s recent tour was inspirational to me because I know she had been battling health issues over the past several years. Hearing that she was touring and performing again gave me hope that she may be feeling better nowadays. And, from what I saw, it appears that she is doing well and positively THRIVING!

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Tamia’s most recent LP, Passion Like Fire

She sounds fantastic and put on a great show. She performed at The Music Farm, a performing arts venue that was conveniently located in downtown Charleston. The acoustics, the crowd, and the location all worked together to create a perfect evening. I had a great time!

Her newest album, Passion Like Fire, is currently available for purchase. I love her first single, “Leave It Smokin'”. Tamia is looking great and sounding even better. Enjoy this latest single, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation

Dealing with Emotional Lows

Happy Friday! I hope you all are gearing up for a fantastic weekend full of friends, family or whatever brings you tremendous joy!

I’ve been feeling very content but also reflective. Recently, I spent some time sorting through some of my emotions. I’ve had a lot of “highs” this year: travel, new friends, good times at work, etc.,. But I think that most people underestimate how bad a “low” can feel when you’ve been flying high for a period of time. It’s easy to assume that lots of “highs” = more immune to the “lows”.

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But it isn’t true sometimes. Sometimes, a “low” can hit you out of nowhere and really bring your vibe down. I’ve had a few of them over the past month or two. The source of these “lows” were one person in particular. This isn’t blaming the person, just acknowledging that the “lows” were connected to interactions that I had with this individual. The “lows” didn’t feel good but I knew that these things were happening for a reason and I had to figure out – quickly – how I would handle these emotions.

The best thing that I could do was ride it out. I decided to explore whatever the “low” is was trying to teach me, because there was definitely a lesson in there somewhere. In this case, I got a new level of understanding about my triggers, boundaries and expectations. I got a chance to express my dissatisfaction and unhappiness in a healthy, productive way. I had the chance to allow someone to self-express then ask for another chance to do better. And this “low” gave me a chance to practice forgiveness and starting over in a manner that felt comfortable for me.

It’s still too early to see if this individual will do better. But I’m open to whatever this next few weeks brings: whether it’s improved interactions or a clear sign that distancing will need to be employed. I wish I had a “all’s well that ends well” way to wrap this up, but, just like everything in life, the story continues to unfold in front of me.

And so it is.

I hope that you all know that emotional lows don’t have to sidetrack your joy completely. Continue to take care of yourselves, and, before you make any rash decisions, get into a quiet space and listen – really listen – to your inner guidance. It always knows the right way.

Enjoy your Friday, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

food · travel

Review: Another Broken Egg Cafe, Morrisville, NC

Back in August, I spent a few days in Raleigh/Durham, NC. While I was there, my friend and I stopped for brunch at a little restaurant that I’d never heard of before: Another Broken Egg Cafe. This restaurant – located in the small town of Morrisville, NC – features a variety of breakfast delights. My friend and I decided to try a few dishes and here’s my review of the experience.

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It took a while before the server greeted our table, but the restaurant was very busy so we understood why there was a delay. We got coffee and ordered the Crab Cake Benedict, Lobster & Brie Omelette, pancakes, fresh fruit and biscuit beignets.

Pancakes and berry medley

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(Clockwise from top) Crab Cake Benedict, Lobster & Brie Omelette, toasted English muffins

Everything was cooked to perfection, piping hot and delicious. I was particularly fond of the omelette: it was flavorful, fluffy and sumptuous. The portions were generous and everything tasted wonderful. The only thing I’d change about my visit would be coming at a different time, so I could have more interaction with the server. But other than that, it was a great experience.

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Biscuit beignets

If you’re ever in the Durham/Raleigh/Cary area, you should definitely check out this restaurant! Or, you can always go to the one nearest you, since it’s a nationwide chain.

That’s it for today, folks: I hope I haven’t made you all too hungry! Talk to you all tomorrow.

life curation

Operation Birthday Blowout Was A Success!

I can say, with no doubt in my mind, that my birthday blowout was a success! I got to see Janet Jackson perform, I went to two museums I’ve never visited before, I spent time with friends, I made some new friends, AND I got to try some new restaurants while I was away.

Then, the day after I got home, I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and I went to a family reunion. It’s been a very busy past few days! I’ll admit, though, that I’m loving every minute of it. It’s been a while since I’ve had a whirlwind (long) weekend.

I’m still working on a few of my side projects related to this blog and life in general, so I’m going to keep this post short and save my energy. I’ll share a few photos that will be part of future posts in the next few days. Also, I’m still thinking of a special way to commemorate this blog’s 1 year anniversary . . . I have something in mind but I’m open to suggestions! Feel free to let me know how we should celebrate this first year of Bronze Butterfly!

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En route to the wedding

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Brunching in Raleigh

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Seeing my spiritual mother, Janet Jackson

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A visit to Nasher Museum