life curation

Let Inspiration Lead You

Happy Saturday, friends! I recently experienced a major positive shift in my energy, and I wanted to share what happened that turned things around a bit. Now, the positive shift doesn’t mean that things are completely perfect; in fact, nothing is truly perfect in my life right now. However, this shift was powerful enough to give me a significant “push” when I wasn’t feeling inspired to do anything at all.

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Letting inspiration guide you is as simple as letting go

Earlier this week, the word “lagniappe” crossed my mind. Lagniappe is a Creole term meaning “a little something extra”. It’s a little gift or token that may be given for anything or nothing. Usually, little shops in New Orleans (though this might also happen in other parts of Louisiana, I’m specifically referring to New Orleans because I’ve been there) will throw in a little extra gift when you purchase something, or even give you a little token just for stopping by and chatting with the staff for a bit.

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A common sight in many shops in New Orleans – masks with all sorts of fancy designs

I hadn’t thought of the word in years but here it was, on my mind. I just figured that meant it was time to plan another trip to New Orleans (which would be fabulous!) and let the thought pass. I went on with my day as normal and didn’t think any more of it.

Two days later, I went online and read some posts in one of my coaching groups. I saw a post from a member that was unclear on what she needed to do to resolve the issue that she was facing. I thought a writing technique that I first read in Write It Down, Make It Happen by Dr. Henriette Anne Klauser. I flipped through the book, located the technique I wanted to describe to her, and posted my response.

After writing the response, I flipped to the back of the book, right before the bibliography. Right there, in the middle of the page, was the word “lagniappe”. For clarity, Dr. Klauser is not Creole nor does she write about life in Louisiana or anything else related to that part of the world. Literally, the word was on the page, like a beacon, telling me that what I needed was sitting on my bookshelf all along.

I’ve been languishing a bit because my dreams need fine tuning. It’s funny: I actually have almost everything that I want. I’ve spent years getting clear on my desires and successfully co-creating everything that I’ve wanted. I’ve traveled to places that I couldn’t imagine that I’d ever see in person. I’m in my dream field: the one that took me NINE years to get into. My family is healthy and happy, and I earn enough to do everything that I want to do (with proper planning, of course). By all accounts, I’m happy with my life and everything is great.

But my daily passion is lacking. I knew that I needed to get clearer about my art career goals as well as a few other “bucket list” items. I didn’t realize how much being “comfortable” and uninspired could negatively affect me, but now I know. So the next few weeks will be all about getting clear and finding my passion again. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love my life and find a lot of joy in it daily. But my drive was gone because I’ve already gotten so many of the things that I wanted.

I mean, what do you do when you got everything you wanted?

It’s simple: you find new dreams. You get some new goals. You find a new passion because that passion is what keeps us going.

So I’m taking some time to get quiet and let inspiration lead me. I think I know where it’s going to take me: there’s a dream that I’ve been tossing around for a bit, but I needed a little extra clarity on how I’d like for it to look in my real life. So I’m going to reread Write It Down, Make It Happen, spend some time just doing what sounds like fun (because having fun is great for setting things in motion), and allowing my new dreams to reveal themselves to me.

Have you all had to “recalibrate” your dreams? I’d love to hear how you did it: feel free to comment below and let me know how you tapped back into your passion after a period of feeling uninspired.

Take care, and enjoy your Saturday!

life curation · Uncategorized

I Got a New Planner!

Happy Friday! Let’s just take a moment to smile and rejoice as we made it to the end of another week.

A few days ago, I knew I had to embark upon my annual exercise of selecting a new planner. I hate to wait until after January 1st to buy one, because the selection isn’t as good AND I have a slightly compulsive behavior where I must fill in the first day of my calendar/planner: filling a calendar retroactively just won’t suffice.

So I buy these sorts of things in December. Last year, I was gifted a 2017/2018 planner and it was absolutely perfect: seriously, it’s exactly what I would have purchased for myself. This year, I’m buying my own and I needed to find one that met my practical needs and aesthetic preferences.

My planner had to:

  • Be pretty
  • Have lined spaces for daily entries
  • Include a space for weekly/monthly goals
  • Have convenient at-a-glance calendars for this year and next year
  • Lots of space for notes at the back of the planner
  • Less than $30

I was delighted to find this beauty at Target for a little under $13. It’s perfect: pale pink with gold lettering, and generously sized.

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I am already enjoying it so much. The first few pages of the planner have spaces for fleshing out your vision for the year, as well as milestone goals that you want to accomplish in different areas of your life. Talk about comprehensive!

This planner is by Day Designer and I highly recommend it. It’s beautiful and meets all of my requirements. I love it!

beauty · style

8 Easy Ways to Look Luxurious

Happy Tuesday, folks! Despite some unseasonably warm weather yesterday, I’m still fully aware that winter is upon us and we’d do well to not let our beauty routines lapse. Sometimes, a little warm weather will make us less diligent when it comes to our cold-weather routines – don’t fall for the trap! After all, we only get one body: we have to take care of ourselves.

Along with caring for our bodies internally (diet, exercise, caring for our mental, spiritual and emotional health), we must care for them externally, too. And after we care for our external selves, we may find that basic care just isn’t enough to put a little pep in our steps. Let’s face it: usually, the basics aren’t enough to make us feel luxurious. It doesn’t matter if your face cream costs hundreds of dollars or if you’re using SPF2000: basic care isn’t always enough to make you “sparkle”.

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However, enhancing your sparkle is easy! Here are 8 simple ways you can look more luxurious on a daily basis. Keep up with these, and you’ll be glistening effortlessly in no time!

  1. Groomed brows – I selected this as the top item because it’s so easy to neglect our brows in favor of other body parts. However, well-groomed brows create a gorgeous frame for your eyes, and can instantly make your whole face look more polished and refined. Groom your brows to instantly see a more luxurious you.
  2. Moisturized skin – Dry skin will never be luxurious. Using a good moisturizer that leaves your skin soft, supple and non-greasy instantly enhances your look. Walking the fine line between glowing and greasy is tough, so you may have to sample a few different formulations to find a good one. It’s worth the effort, so start looking now so that you can be well on your way to a more luxurious appearance.
  3. Freshly manicured/painted nails (on hands and feet) – Polished, cared-for nails and feet make a world of difference when it comes to cultivating a luxurious look. Nails that are even, polish that has no chips, lumps or gashes, and cuticles that are trimmed and moisturized quickly give hands and feet the appearance of luxury. This takes a bit more time than some of the other luxurious enhancements mentioned, but it’s worth the investment.
  4. Clothing made from all natural fibers – This can be challenging, since we live in a world full of polyester, spandex and other unnatural fibers. Natural fibers require more maintenance but look infinitely more luxurious. All within reason, though – everyone must consider their personal budget and level of investment when deciding what kind of fibers to purchase. However, cotton is inexpensive and feels great next to the skin, and more expensive fabrics (like leathers, silks and cashmere) can be purchased at a discount if you are a wise shopper. For a truly luxurious look, keep in mind your personal ethics (leather isn’t for everyone!) while shopping for all natural fibers for your wardrobe.
  5. Red lipstick – Perfectly applied red lipstick can immediately make a face look more luxurious and polished. Red lipstick in the perfect shade for your undertones and complexion is a powerful tool to make any ensemble look more glamorous. Red lipsticks are available at all price points, so this luxe accessory is truly available to anyone!
  6. Whitened teeth – A bright, white smile can do wonders for enhancing your overall appeal. And, whitened teeth are very luxurious looking. Whitening formulas can be as simple as baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide, or as elaborate as a few rounds at the dentist’s office. Whatever it takes, make sure to remove as many surface stains as you can from your teeth, so that you can have your brightest smile.
  7. Large sunglasses – Give a nod to Jackie O, one of the most elegant women ever, by throwing on a large pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are practical – who ?doesn’t want to protect their precious eyesight from the suns’s harmful rays – and mysterious. They shield your eyes in the most stylish way. The right sunglasses add a level of polish to any look. Try on a few pair and see for yourself!
  8. Gloves – An oft-forgotten accessory, gloves are another one that is truly practical and still adds a stylish, luxurious touch. Most people won’t reach for their gloves until the cold months, but lightweight cotton gloves are great for protecting hands from the sun when you’re out and about during the warmer seasons.

Can you think of anything else that makes you look or feel luxurious? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

life curation

Welcome December: Looking Forward, Looking Back

Can you all believe that we are here at the end of another year? This time of year always leaves me in awe: the dates are long but the years are short, as I’ve heard it described. I have written a post for every day this year, so you already know what my year was like. I haven’t been feeling my best over the past few weeks but overall, I’m feeling good about my year.

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The beauty of today, the first of December, is that there are still time to accomplish one (or more!) big goal(s) before the year’s end. Even if you haven’t taken action since before my Finish 2018 on a Strong Note post, there is still time to do something that you’ll be especially proud of. I will be reviewing my last Goal Update post and seeing what I can take care of before the end of the year. Feeling under the weather has slowed me down a bit but it hasn’t stopped me, and I’m determined to make this December count.

Going forward, there are a few things I’m mulling over for 2019. For one thing, I want to bring back my book reviews. I’m reviewing a book this month, and I’ll continue doing one per month until inspiration leads me to something else. I’m also going to be more diligent about creating content for my YouTube channel, since I like the thought of being able to communicate across different platforms.

This is going to be a fantastic month. I’m claiming it right now!

life curation · reading list

2019 Planning – For The Sake of Writing

Today, I’m babysitting a few of my favorite munchkins, so today’s post will have to be a brief one. They’re keeping me busy today LOL!

I’m making my 2019 plans and I realized that I really want to do a writer’s workshop/retreat. I haven’t ever done anything like that before, so I’m eager to give it a whirl. I think my writing would benefit from a vacation/trip dedicated to it. I know that my writing is better when I am in a different environment, so a retreat seems like a natural choice.

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I did a quick search on Google and found this list of 37 (yes, 37!) writers retreats that occurred in 2018. I figure that these will be the same in 2019 as well; at very minimum, most of these retreats are probably recurring. I also found this list with 8 more retreats (I only saw one retreat that was a duplicate from the list of 37). The 40+ retreats on these lists have a lot of options at different price points, and all of them are centered around creating better writers.

If any of you’ve done one of the retreats listed, please tell me all about it in the comments below! Also, if you know of a different retreat that isn’t on either of the lists, PLEASE tell me all about it! I’m still deciding which one would be best for me, and I could use some input for anyone that knows more about them.

Enjoy your Sunday (I know that I am!) and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation

Making Space Challenge Updates

It’s been a few weeks since my last update on my Making Space challenge. So, here ya go!

I’m continuing to pare down my belongings and make room. I have a mini-project ahead of me that I’ll be working on for the next week or so. I have to store my porcelain doll collection to clear out my living room and make space for new decor. I’ll be boxing up my dolls (after I clean them and wrap them in acid free paper) and that will take a bit of time to do properly. I’ve already gotten my wrapping paper and I’ll be ordering my compressed air (for blowing out the dust that may have settled on the dolls) later today. I’m aiming to pack two dolls a day starting on Monday. That should translate to me being done in a little under 3 weeks.

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Not my doll, but isn’t she cute?

I also switched my wardrobe over from summer clothes to winter clothes a couple of weeks ago. Now that all of those clothes are hanging or folded in my dresser drawers, I can look at the items, one by one, and see which items fit my current style preferences. When I first switched the clothes over, I only saw one or two pieces that I felt needed to be retired (those went promptly into a charity giveaway bag). However, I can apply a more critical eye over the next few weeks, especially during my long holiday weekends (since I have a few coming up).

As far as “making space” internally, I’ve been happily saying “no” to anything that doesn’t bring me delight. This has been surprising for people in my life that are used to me saying “yes” without question, but by opting out of different obligations, I’ve had more time to care for myself and reserve my energy for the things that really matter. That has done a world of good for improving my low mood over the past few weeks.

Intentionally making space has been a good idea for another reason: I have to upgrade some things in my life and by getting rid of the things that don’t serve me, I have more time and other resources to devote to getting the things that will serve me best right now. This has been a great decision: I’m glad I did it! I love the changes that have come from choosing to #makespace!

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!