culture · festivals · international · life curation · music · travel

My Time in Portugal, Part 2 – Rock In Rio Lisboa

In the middle of my time in Lisboa, I got to attend the Rock in Rio Lisboa concert. The event was held at Parque da Bela Vista on June 25th. This major music festival featured Bush, A-ha, UB40, and Duran Duran, along with numerous other artists from around the world (including the one and only Ney Matogrosso).

It. Was. AWESOME!

I wish I could have taken you all there with me. But, then again, given the size of the festival, maybe you were there 🙂 Here are some of the pics from the event. Enjoy!

books · culture · international · life curation · travel

Becoming Bilingual – 5 Free Language Resources That Aren’t YT, Duolingo or Podcasts

As an aspiring polyglot, I’m always reviewing language tools and resources that can help me fast track my mastery. Naturally, I dove first into Duolingo, YouTube and various podcasts. But, there are limitations with those resources, and sometimes you just want to try something different.

If you’ve been trying to learn a language but you want to go beyond YouTube videos, podcasts and Duolingo, then this is the post for you! I’ve located five other language learning resources that can help fast track your language learning, give you some much needed variety, and are all completely FREE! I discuss these options in a YouTube video (the link to the video below).

  • Amazon Kindle ebooks – This gives you a great source of free ebooks in various languages, as well as some free instruction books, too. To find them, search for books in a particular language, then filter by price (lowest to highest). Filtering by price shows the lowest priced books first, so you can quickly identify free publications.
  • MIT OpenCourseware – If you’re interested in college-level language instruction, this site is excellent. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) archives resources from courses taught during prior semesters. The courses include syllabi, worksheets, exercises, and links to other great resources. To find these courses, look under the Global Studies and Languages department.
  • Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Free online course material – This page speaks for itself: it’s the material developed by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) to instruct diplomats before assigning them to foreign posts. These classes are developed to quickly acquire mastery at the highest levels of language. The link has lots of languages available, especially some that are somewhat rarer and harder to study online.
  • Alison & FutureLearn – Both Alison and FutureLearn offer language classes that are paced and offer certificates of completion at the end of the course (the documentation of completion has a cost). This also gives you the advantage of participating in group discussion and other ways of interacting with other learners.
  • Internet Archive – There is a host of free archived materials on this website, including movies, music, books and newspapers. Find the kind of material you want and filter it by the language that interests you.

Here’s my video, discussing the ways to use these resources:

Those are the five free resources I can recommend for language learning, outside of the most popular recs. Do you have any language resources that work for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

health · international · life curation · travel

Fibro Friday – Travel-Sized Flare Kits

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! We made it through another week, and I’m excited that I get to share with you some tips that served me well when I traveled several weeks ago.

Because I was traveling for a few weeks out of the country, I had to be mindful that my normal conveniences *may* not be available. The reality of traveling anywhere is that, if you have chronic illness, it’s imperative to have things you need, in case your symptoms flare up.

I was fortunate that I didn’t have any flares while traveling (yay!) though I did feel ill upon returning to the States. To my credit, I prepared well and that probably created enough energetic “relief” that I was avoid a flare due to stress. Part of my preparation included packing a travel-sized flare kit.

I mentioned my self-care kit a while ago, and I added things to the kit to make it suitable for treating my emotional as well as my physical health. I took an abbreviated version of this kit with me on the road. The contents of my travel kit were as follows:

  • ginger mints and ginger tea
  • journal and pen
  • resistance band and stress ball
  • pain relievers
  • dream water
  • room spray
  • aromatherapeutic oil

I discuss the kit a bit more in this video:

Have you ever prepared a mini flare kit when traveling? What items do you recommend that I add? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

culture · international · life curation · style · travel

My Time in Portugal, Part 1

Admittedly, this probably be more pictures than words, but I had so much fun on my travels that I had to capture as much as I could via my camera!

I started the first leg of my journey in Lisbon, Portugal. A beautiful city with all of the charm of old Europe but an abundance of modern amenities, I found myself spellbound by the city “built on 7 hills”. I’d long held a fantasy of tooling around in Lisbon . . . And I got to live my dream.

While it was uncharacteristically cool in Lisbon during my time there, I still loved what I saw and experienced there. I can see why so many American expats have chosen Portugal as their forever homes.

While in Portugal, I went to Rock in Rio Lisboa 2022 (an incredible music festival), as well as the towns of Sintra, Cascais, and Estoril. I will share more about those experiences in future blog posts. But for today, here are some of my pictures from my time in Lisbon proper. Enjoy!

beauty · international · style · travel

Where My Travel Wardrobe Went Wrong . . .

Happy Monday, friends! Tomorrow, I’ll start discussing the highlights of my trip, beginning with my first stop (Lisbon, Portugal, and the surrounding towns). But today, we talk travel fashion.

When I prepared for my trip, I began by adopting a capsule wardrobe approach. I knew I wanted to function with one piece of luggage, and one wardrobe that had everything I needed to mix and match my ensembles. By the time I packed for my trip, I had the following wardrobe list:

If you want to see the ensembles in motion, here’s the video I posted, showing some of the outfit combinations and accessories:

Now, I’m overall pleased with the items I selected. But, looking back a bit, I realized there were a few things that could have created a better capsule wardrobe:

  • Instead of my taupe flats, I really needed flat shoes with better grips on the soles. I had to walk very carefully when we toured, because my flats were slick on the bottom and I could have used the extra grip for touring on those well-worn stone surfaces.
  • Denim shorts would have been a fantastic addition to this wardrobe, especially if they were tapered and knee-length.
  • Another button-down top would have given me a little extra polish: it would have been even better if it was a sleeveless button-down so I could stay cool while I tooled around.
  • Because Lisbon was unseasonably cool, I needed more long-sleeved tops. Having few long-sleeved options was a problem for me.
  • Also, a jacket or cardigan would have been great and given me some additional wardrobe options.
  • I really wish I’d thrown one other color into the mix, aside from yellow, white and royal/navy blue.
  • As a Kibbe Soft Classic (SC), I would have benefited from a few pieces that had a bit more structure and symmetry. Less structured items = more comfort, easier maintenance, but opting for structured pieces would have ensured that I felt more like myself as I toured, and more put together.

I am glad that I had a capsule wardrobe that worked for my travels but, like anything else, there was room for improvement. I’ll do it even better next time!

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This post contains affiliate links.

books · writing

Writers Wednesdays – The Books I Planned To Read On Vacation (& What I *Actually* Read)

Initially, I planned to take a couple of hardcover and paperback books with me on vacation. However, my space was at a premium, and I wasn’t able to take any physical books with me. Fortunately, I have the Kindle app on my phone, so I had a way to access a library (my digital library, that is).

Now, I did a whole YouTube video with my hardcover and paperback books that were *supposed* to go on vacay with me. Here’s that video:

The books I discussed in the video were The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Caring Economics edited by Tania Singer and Matthieu Ricard, and By The Pricking Of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie.

In actuality, the books I read while I was gone were Longevity by Maria L. Ellis, MBA and Take Back Your Life by Tami Stackelhouse. These were both digital books (ebooks) downloaded into my Kindle app before I left home, that I read while I lounged poolside in Spain (bliss!).

I’m glad that I chose to read some of my ebooks while I was away, since I tend to prefer paperback and hardcover while I’m at home. Being able to read anywhere I have my phone or laptop was a blessing, and these two books were instrumental in me defining several things I could do right now to uplevel my health (which is why I’ll be reviewing both of them in the weeks to come).

That’s all for my travel reading list! What do you all like to read while traveling or even during your staycations? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links.

art · culture · international · life curation · relaxation · travel

Summer Vacation 2022

Hello friends! It’s been a while since I wrote on this blog, because I’ve spent the past several weeks traveling, as well as getting back into my groove post-travel. I mentioned how much I wanted to travel in 2021, but as luck would have it, I was unable to go all of the places I wanted to visit.

However, 2022 has been a year that is in my favor, and this year, I FINALLY got to resume international traveling. And it was fantastic!

I went to Portugal, Spain, Greece and Turkey over a 2.5 week period. I’m sharing a few of my favorite travel pictures in this post, but there will be more extensive write-ups on each location in the weeks to come. Look out for those posts, as well as more Fibro Friday details, some of the fun stuff I did to prepare for my travels, and more! Talk to you all tomorrow!

(photos from Lisbon, Portugal)

(Photos from Granada, Spain; Rhodes; and Kusadasi, Turkey)

business · goals · health · international · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

December Goal Updates

Hey friends! This is my last goal update for the year, and I wanted to take some time to look over the things that I mentioned as my “goals” in 2021. Of course, you can look up my old goal posts for more info (like this one here, here, here, and this one here, too). But in this post, I’m going to re-share my original list, and let you know how all of this turned out for 2021.

Here’s my 2021 goal list:

  • 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

So let’s take it point by point, shall we?

I published my 5 books, and actually published more than that. Yay me!

I gained weight, instead of losing it. I figured out that I am likely heavier because of my prescription medication, and that’s fine. I’ve transitioned off of those meds, and now I’m getting my body back into balance. It’s a process, and I’m giving myself time to figure all of this out without judging my body for being a bit heavier. In most cases, you gotta make peace before you can make progress, so that’s what I’m doing.

No international travel! But, I did manifest a local trip for free, which was nice. I also have several international trips lined up for 2022 (as in, flights purchased and deposits paid). I’m confident that I’ll have my wings again in no time.

My businesses didn’t earn 6 figures however, I did reach an all-time income high for my businesses, which was very exciting. It only goes up from here!

I read somewhere between 85-90 books. I had to slow down during these last couple of months of the year, which was the time I scheduled to catch up due to some slower periods during the first part of the year. However, I’m still SUPER proud of how many books I’ve read. I’m sure I’ll read more than 100 books next year with no issue!

I bought some luxury items, but I decided I’d rather support Black American luxury designers in the future. I’m saving some coins for my next big luxury purchase, which I’m pretty sure I’ll have before the end of the season (if all goes well).

My fibro isn’t cured, but I’m learning a LOT about how to heal my body, and I’m seeing that eliminating the symptoms is possible. I’m also seen some positive effects after removing my medications (not nearly as exhausted or achy as I thought I’d be). For all of this, I’m thankful, and I’m going to press on and share information as I get it in this upcoming year.

Well, that’s my super-fast summary of my 2021 goals. I don’t anticipate posting a 2022 goal list because it doesn’t quite resonate with the direction where I want to take this blog, but if I’m inspired to do something different, then you’ll see a goal list in 2022. But, if you want to know more about my upcoming 2022 plans, check out Tuesday’s post (two days ago), or click here.

That’s all, folks! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

goals · life curation · Uncategorized

August Goal Updates

It’s almost the end of the month, so it’s time to do a quick recap of how my annual goals are progressing. There is at least one goal that I’ve reached, a couple that I’ve revised, and others that are still in progress. As a quick reminder, here are my 2021 goals:

  • 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

And, here is an overview of the changes I’ve made to my goal list:

  • Publish 5 books – DONE!
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips – Manifest 3 incredible trips before the end of the year
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses – Earn 5+ figures in my business
  • Read 100 books
  • Luxury purchases – patronizing at least 3 Black-owned luxury brands
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

As you all can see, there are some changes to my list worth noting, as I discussed in my July Goal Update and my book publishing posts. Other than the completed items, everyhting else is progressing as expected.

I’m planning major promotional activity for my businesses starting in mid-September. I ordered some samples so that I can determine which Black-owned luxury brands are ones that I want to invest in. I’m still working on my fibromyalgia cure, as well as my weight loss. My book goals are still coming along well, and I’m feeling confident that I’m closer to my goals than I could have ever dreamed.

That’s it for August! Sometimes, there aren’t major changes: there may only be incremental steps that will eventually come together to create enormous shifts. But those small steps are worth praising, thus this post. I hope you all are doing well and making progress toward your goals for the year!

goals · health · life curation

June Goal Updates

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I accidentally posted this last week (before I finished collecting my thoughts), so I had to pull the post and reschedule it. It was one of those weeks, folks . . . Anyhoo, here’s my June goal update post.

As a quick recap, here are the goals I have for 2021:

  • 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

The Wednesday and Thursday posts will cover the first two points (weight loss discussion on Thursday, and publishing post on Writers’ Wednesdays, as normal). I’m really excited to discuss the (unorthodox) way I utilized to lose weight. I may even do a video on it (I’m still undecided about whether I’ll publish and attach a video related to the topic). Along with that, my Wednesday post will cover how I published 3 books in the past 6 months, and how I intend to publish 3 more before the end of the summer.

Onto the next point. . . While I very much desire to take 3 international trips (and I also intend to manifest the money to make those trips happen!), I haven’t been putting a lot of my energy toward that goal. To be honest, I have only decided on one international trip for sure, to happen at the end of December. I haven’t the faintest where else I want to go, or when I want to go there. I have a couple of ideas of how that can unfold for me, but for now, a lot of this is still undecided. I’m okay with the uncertainty: I don’t have to micromanage the details. So long as the perfect trips for ME come my way, I’m pleased.

So, I’m nowhere near my 6-figure business income goal. However, I’ve completely withdrawn my energy from my businesses in the past few months, so that doesn’t surprise me. Now, if I want to reach that goal, I’ll have to amp up the activity during this second half of the year. This actually works perfect for me, as I’ve built quite a bit of momentum over the past few months (by publishing my books at a comfortable pace, learning more about herbs and oils, nurturing my body so that I have more energy, etc.,). With the energy I’ve conserved, I have a lot more time available to pour into my businesses, so that I can see a drastic increase in my sales and so that I can knock out my goal of 6 figures in 2021!

I had to put my book-reading goals on hold during the month of May, since I was completing my Cornell University program. However, I resumed the reading challenge this month, and I’m excited to share which books I read during the month of June (also, I finally hit my monthly goal of 10+ books, which puts me on target for reaching 100+ before the end of the year!) The reading goal post will be available sometime next week.

I haven’t made any more luxury purchases in the past few months. I look forward to adding more goodies from luxury retailers sometime during August (my birthday month). I’m sure I’ll be eager to give myself a “treat” by then.

Finally, I’m still working on reversing my fibromyalgia. I think I’m getting close to a permanent solution, but I’m still testing a few things. Of course, you can simply peruse any of my Fibro Friday posts to see what I’m learning and trying on this journey.

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing an amazing tool that I think will help tremendously with accomplishing my remaining goals. I can’t wait to share it with you! Until then, take care, and I’ll talk to you all soon!