culture · international

Just In Time for International Women’s Day . . .

I recently saw this great post about the first person to ever win the Whisky Magazine’s American Icons of Whisky Awards Master Blender of the Year Award in consecutive years. In an unprecedented win, Victoria Eady Butler, a fifth generation distiller and descendant of Nearest Green, the man credited as the skill and talent behind the Jack Daniel formula, was awarded this prestigious title two years in a row.

Victoria Eady Butler (photo credit: V. E. Butler)

As someone that has a growing appreciation for whiskey, I’m excited to see women entering this space and being recognized for their skills. This is especially fitting today, as it is also International Women’s Day. I love that we live in a time where women are entering spaces that were previously “closed”, and we are leaving our marks on history. What a time to be alive!

I plan to try Uncle Nearest whiskey soon, and I’ll be sure to post my review! Until then, you can check out the brand here, and learn more about the fascinating family that now has an award-winning brand.

Anyways . . . That’s the post. I know, pretty brief, but that’s because the regularly schedule post has been pushed to Thursday so that I could share the good news of Victoria Eady Butler’s win on International Women’s Day.

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!

writing

Writers Wednesdays – Three Books Published!

Happy Writers Wednesday! I’m really excited to share this post, as a follow up to Monday’s goal update post.

As the title says, I published three books this year so far. I mentioned briefly in this post that I had churned out two children’s books, and now I have added a new book to the collection. The newest book, Let’s Go to Japan, is my way of introducing children to the incredible world of Japanese culture, history and nature. I’m as proud of this book as I am of Let’s Go to China and Let’s Go to Vietnam.

Initially, I was on the fence about including these children’s books in my publishing goal. I think it’s because I don’t feel that these books are “serious enough” or have enough words to count as a publishing accomplishment. But, as usual, this is criticism that I have launched against myself (better known as self sabotage) and it has served me well to reconsider whether this perspective serves me.

I decided that these books, which take time for research, selecting appropriate pictures, and keeping the language simple enough for children, are just as valid as my novels or self-help works-in-progress. So I decided to count these books as part of my 5 published books goal. As a result, I am now more than halfway to reaching my book publishing goal for the year.

That being said, I still want to publish some of the other works in progress that I’ve had on my desk for a while (in the case of one of my books, more than 7 years!) and that are yearning to be in the hands of readers that will appreciate them. In that respect, my writing work truly doesn’t stop, even after I publish 5 books. I won’t feel truly “caught up” until all of my current works in progress are published. I actually haven’t done a count of how many WIPs I currently have, but I know that there are more than 5. In short, I have my work cut out for me.

I hope you all are having a terrific Wednesday! If you have any works in progress that you’re concentrating your energies onto right now, I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

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

Harry, Meghan and Oprah – My Thoughts

Happy Tuesday, friends! Most of the online spaces I frequent are buzzing after the bombshell interview that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, had with the queen of American media, Oprah Winfrey.

You all know I had to write my thoughts on the interview. There were too many lessons for me to keep silent. I’m breaking down some of my favorite takeaways from the discussion.

  • Stay ready so that you don’t have to get ready.

Meghan was not given the opportunity to receive royal protocol training. However, Meghan quickly schooled herself enough (with the help of Harry) to pass the protocol tests with flying colors.

I’m certain that she had no idea that she would be under so much scrutiny, but as an actress, she knows that being flexible and adjusting quickly to change and unexpected circumstances is key. So, she learned what she needed to know and performed beautifully. If she had waited for the training to be offered to her, she would have failed miserably at impressing the Queen as well as the public. One of the things Meghan mentions as a regret was not being more informed about the role of “working royal”. So, if there’s anything to be learned from that, it’s this: stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. Prepare yourself as much as you can for each new circumstance, so when life throws you a curve ball, you can knock it out of the park.

  • Always have your own bag.

The Sussexes are not receiving any security or other financial support from the British royal family (BRF). For this reason, having your own “bag” (money) is key. The move from working royal to private citizen is challenging enough, but doing it with no money is impossible. Likewise, no matter what situation life finds you in, remember to save for a rainy day and always have your own “bag”, so you will have the freedom to walk away from anything that doesn’t serve you.

  • Legacy planning can save your life, as well as the life of your children, grandchildren, etc.,.

Part of the money being used to support the Sussexes is Harry’s inheritance from his mother, Princess Diana. Legacy planning isn’t always easy, but some measure of it is always feasible. Even if you can’t leave your children millions of dollars, strive to leave them something of value. That money may be just what they need to escape a dangerous situation in the future. Legacy planning is a literal lifesaver, and should be prioritized by everyone (but especially those among us that have children).

  • Prioritize your mental health.

The most heartbreaking thing about this interview was Meghan’s description of her suicidal thoughts. Whatever you do, always make sure to prioritize your mental health. Find the resources to help you to cope NOW. Many resources are available online for free, so you don’t have to be wealthy to get some measure of help. Take care of your mental health: your life depends on it.

  • Sometimes, the best way to win the game is to walk away from the table.

In light of this interview, it’s clear that Harry and Meghan made the best choice for their family. Their faces are obviously pained, but there is a peace still emanating from both of them. They won this game simply by opting out. They have endeared themselves even further to those of us that believe them and want them to be happy and safe. I, for one, am thrilled that they are forging this new path for themselves. They are sharing their story so that the world will know the truth. All of the world is watching, sending them positive energy, and hoping that they remain safe.

I wrote previously about what it means to step away from royal duties, and I’m glad that I watched this interview and got an even better sense of what this entails. I am so proud of Harry and Meghan, and I feel very optimistic about their future. I foresee nothing but success and happiness for them!

career · culture · international

Back in School

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all are doing well, and I also hope that you all had a restful and restorative weekend.

I’ve been busy behind the scenes (as I noted in this previous post), but I wanted to make sure that I shared additional details about what I’ve been working on. I recently was accepted into a certificate program, so I’ll be attending Cornell University for the next several months (that was the entrepreneur training I mentioned previously). I don’t anticipate that this will interfere with my posting schedule, but that remains to be seen.

At this point, I’m adjusting my schedule so that I can (fingers crossed) have enough time to do everything that I need to do. I’m getting back to using one of my old favorites: a planner than maps out your day, hour by hour. That way, I can stay on top of all of the things I need to do daily, and if I need to shift things around, at least I’m less likely to skip a task that desperately needs to be done.

Along with these Cornell courses, I’m taking two free courses on FutureLearn. The first course is Unleash Your Potential: Global Citizenship, focusing on the different opportunities that arise from being a global citizen. The second course is What is International Development (the title is self explanatory). These courses aren’t as intense as my Cornell schedule, so I’m fitting them into 30 minute chunks every day.

Between my classes, my job, and my writing, I am BUSY! But honestly, I love it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t bother to do all of these things. I have some big goals which means I have to take some drastic action this year. There’s no time like the present to work on everything I want to do, so that’s what I’m doing.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more musings, because this recent Harry and Meghan interview has my mind churning! Talk to you all soon.

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!

travel

My Kenya Trip: Looking Back

Hi friends! I’m so happy to FINALLY share my videos from my trip to Kenya in 2018. I can’t believe it’s been almost THREE years since my trip!

I wrote multiple posts about my Nairobi adventures on this blog. I was enthralled by the art, I loved the food, I was captivated by the national museum, and my safari experience was incredible. So you all are well aware that I loved my time there. But, I had video that I had not yet shared, until now.

I posted this on my YouTube channel and now I’m sharing it over here. I speak specifically about how I manifested this trip because yes, it was a manifestation. I used the power of intention and focus to bring my dream trip into fruition. I loved this manifestation, and I’m excited that I get to share those details with you all!

That’s it for today. I hope you all enjoy this post, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

business · career · health · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

The First Three Steps: 2021 Goals

A few days ago, I mentioned on a blog post that I would list out my first three steps for each of my big goals for 2021. This will help me to stay focused on completing the little things, which eventually will result in me accomplishing the big things that I have planned for myself.

So, here’s my follow-up, because we all know how important accountability is. My first three steps for each of the goals that I have for 2021:

  • Publish 5 books
    • Step 1 – Set a daily timer to remind myself to work on my writing
    • Step 2 – Make a weekly word goal
    • Step 3 – Select the titles for the books I’m working on this year
  • Lose 15 lbs
    • Step 1 – Figure out my starting weight
    • Step 2 – Confirm what kind of weight loss services are available through my doctor’s office
    • Step 3 – Make an updated yoga playlist on my YouTube
  • Manifest 3 international trips
    • Step 1 – Make a list of ideal trip locations
    • Step 2 – Create a “dream trip” piggy jar
    • Step 3 – Start learning a few key phrases in the languages spoken in the countries I’d like to visit
  • Earn 6 figures from my businesses
    • Step 1 – Review the coaching session that I participated in, that had ideas for increasing my revenue
    • Step 2 – Make a playlist of podcast episodes featuring people in the same industry as me
    • Step 3 – Create a list of potential promotional opportunities
  • Read 100+ books
    • Step 1 – Make a list of the first 33 books I want to read
    • Step 2 – Schedule book review posts for the first 6 months of the year
    • Step 3 – Place my first ten books by my bedside, so I can reach them easily
  • Luxury purchases – an item from Hermes, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a pair of Sophia Webster shoes, and a pair of Ralph & Russo shoes
    • Step 1 – Select the actual items from each company that I want
    • Step 2 – Confirm whether the items can be purchased from local retailers
    • Step 3 – Designate a “Luxe Items” piggy bank/savings account
  • Cure my fibromyalgia (as I mentioned in my last Fibro Friday post)
    • Step 1 – Research the stories of people that were able to reverse their fibromyalgia diagnosis
    • Step 2 – Relisten to herbalism/naturopath podcasts that have recommendations for treating fibro
    • Step 3 – Make a list of local naturopaths that may be able to help me on my journey

I’m keeping my target simple: I’ll only take one or two steps a day. That sets me up to finish my three steps for each goal within 21 days at most. So, in 21 days, I’ll share whether I did all of the steps above (I’m pretty sure I can do it all LOL), as well as my next three steps for each goal. Of course, at some point, outlining the next three steps of a goal may not be applicable, but I’ll do it as long as it is logical and helpful to accomplishing my goals.

Have you tried writing out the next three steps for any of your goals? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!