life curation · reading list

Archetypes Is Here!

One of my favorites, Meghan Markle, has finally launched her podcast, Archetypes. Her special brand of intelligence, charm and courage will now be available to us an hour-long podcast episode each week.

Pardon me while I squeal!

Photo released by Archetypes

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex unveiled Archewell Foundation, and its main vehicle for connection, Archewell Audio, I was thrilled. In fact, I wrote about my excitement over this development in a blog post. Now, little more than a year later, Archetypes with Meghan is here, and it promises to discuss the labels that women experience and how these terms – and the perception of these labels – can hold women back. Spotify describes this as a, “refreshing and dynamic” podcast, and I completely agree.

This is exactly the kind of content I was expecting from Archewell Audio. Mature discussions, exploration of concepts that are commonly disregarded, and a glance into the warmth and brilliance possessed by both Harry and Meghan. The first episode features none other than the great tennis player Serena Williams, who recently announced her transition into the next chapter of her professional career. The conversation was a refreshing telling of Serena’s story in her own words, and her own complex relationship with the term “ambition”. The discussion was lively, full of wisdom, and gave me an even deeper appreciation for what “ambition” looks like and why we should want to have it.

Some key takeaways from this first episode of Archetypes are:

  • Don’t put your fears on your children. Serena commented on how her fear of heights and open water aren’t fears of her daughter, Olympia. Serena stated that she didn’t want her personal limits to impact how her daughter interacted with the world, and I loved hearing her perspective on this. It was unexpected to hear Serena, a powerhouse on the tennis court, admit to feeling fear. This was a crucial turning point in further humanizing her, in a world that has happily denied her humanity throughout her career.
  • You get your biggest wins when you are your most authentic self. Serena went on to describe how certain points of her career made her feel the pressure to be like others and show up inauthentically. Then she circled back to what it feels like when she shows up as herself and how that is a truer indicator of success. Aside from how she shows up professionally, I find her most incredible when she’s just being herself: sweet, a little shy, but self assured and clear on where she’s going.
  • You don’t have to “retire” – you can choose to evolve instead. The word “retirement” is loaded: it generally implies a ceasing of any pursuits aside from domestic tasks, family time, and (if you’re lucky) travel. But using the word “evolve” indicates that the energy is shifted from one area to another area of equal intellectual intensity. It doesn’t indicate that Serena plans to stop, but to wander to her next destination, on her own terms. “Evolve” has a more empowered connotation than “retire”, and love that for her.

That’s my impression of the jewel that is Archetypes! I’m looking forward to more episodes, and sharing powerful takeaways as I listen to each episode.

art · culture · international · life curation · luxury · travel

My Time in Portugal, Part 5 – Spotlight on Sarah Ferreira

This is my last Portugal post (I’m sorry to see this series end, but I’ll be sharing multiple posts about Spain next!) First, I wrote about my overall impression of Portugal. Then, I shared the fun I had at Rock in Rio Lisboa. Next, I talked about the beauty that is Sintra National Palace. And last week, I shared my experience at Hotel do Chiado and their rooftop bar restaurant, Entretanto.

At Hotel do Chiado, I visited the rooftop bar, and I was blown away by the beautiful artwork lining the corridors leading to the restaurant. It took me back to my fabulous time at Ibis Styles hotel in Nairobi, and the fabulous pieces created by Kenyan artist Tom Mboya. As I looked around, I found an artist bio posted in Portuguese (cue my rudimentary translation skills). The corridor was lined with art by Paris-born, Portugal-based artist Sarah Ferreira.

Upon further research, I determined that Ferreira doesn’t have a website (there is another Sarah Ferreira that creates art, but she is US-born and based). It appears that she has intentionally maintained a low-profile online. I love that she isn’t hyper-visible, yet her work is still being found by people all over the world (like me).

Here are some of the paintings/drawings done by Ferreira, which are on display in the hall leading to Entretanto. Enjoy!

Some of the depictions were fascinating re-imaginings of famous works (like the Mona Lisa), while others were renderings of famous faces (such as Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and Audrey Hepburn). I love how Ferreira don’t try to create depth with subtle shading, but indicates a break in depth and saturation through the use of solid but fluid black lines. This striking visual effect makes her work have a bit of a mosaic effect, but you never forget that you’re looking at blocks of color that have been shaped to simulate human faces. Brilliant!

That’s all for my post about Sarah Ferreira. I certainly hope that she exhibits somewhere near me in the future. Or, maybe a future exhibit in Portugal will be just the motivation I need to book my next trip!

art · culture · international · life curation · luxury · travel

My Time In Portugal, Part 3 – Sintra National Palace

Happy Monday, friends! It’s another Portugal post (one more Portugal post is scheduled, then we’ll dive into the Spain and Greece portions of my trip). This post is about Sintra National Palace, a fabulous historical and cultural site located just outside of Lisbon. I loved touring the building and learning more about this incredible region.

I really enjoyed coming to this site, and learning so much about the history of Portugal’s ruling elite. The luxury on display at this palace was nothing short of inspirational: I felt right at home!

Here are some of the pics from my tour:

The National Palace was certainly a highlight of my trip, and one of my favorite features of Portugal in particular. Have you all visited here before? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – How I’m Getting Better Sleep

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! I hope you all are having a great week and, if not, I hope your weekend is full of whatever you need to feel better.

This is a brief post, because I’ve already discussed the three biggest things I’ve been using to improve my sleep over on my Youtube channel. Anyone that has fibromyalgia, or any other chronic illness or chronic pain condition, knows that sleep is necessary to restore ourselves and to feel as good as possible. We also know that being in pain often means that sleep rarely makes us feel refreshed. So, anything that can improve the quality of our sleep can make the difference between feeling amazing and feeling awful.

The three things I’ve used that have helped me get deeper, more restorative sleep are weighted eye masks, magnesium supplements, and turmeric supplements. I’ve talked about magnesium and turmeric supplements (I’ve reviewed turmeric here and here) on this blog before, but I’ve never discussed eye masks. I’ll post my videos about each tool below, but if you’re short on time, here is the TLDW version:

  • Weighted eye masks help block out light (obviously), and the weight of it acts similar to weighted blankets: it provides a cozy feeling that helps with sleep. (I use the one by IMAK)
  • Magnesium is a muscle relaxer and a sedative, so it helps reduce pain while also giving you deeper sleep. (I use Nature’s Bounty magnesium supplement).
  • Turmeric supplements reduce inflammation and I take it at night, so it can do its work while I’m resting. For me, less pain means better sleep. (I use turmeric from Doctor’s Recipes and VitaBreeze: I alternate between the two).

More about weighted eye masks –

Why I use magnesium at night –

My daily turmeric and collagen supplements, and how the two I use measure up against each other –

These three things are the building blocks for improving my sleep, and I’m recommending these in hopes that they will help you, too! If you’ve tried any of these, or if you’re curious about any of them, please let me know in the comments below. Take care, and have a great weekend!

beauty

Saying Goodbye to Beem Box

Yes, you read that right: the Beem Box is no more. The owner of Beem Box decided to cease operations back in June, and I’ll be the first to say that I’m so sad to see them go. I hope that the owner eventually brings back the brand and starts doing subscription boxes again. Until then, I’ll just smile at the wonderful memories of learning about brands that I’ve never used, and trying products that I never knew existed. So long Beem Box: I hope to enjoy you again soon! Here are some of my previous Beem Box reviews from the past year:

books · life curation · reading list

Writing Wednesday – Five Books That Changed My Life

Several weeks ago, I shared a video on my YouTube channel, highlight five books that changed my life.

I realize that was a very bold claim, and it could be interpreted as the most important books I’ve read in my life. However, that interpretation would be incorrect. Books that change my life =/= favorite or most important books. Some of the books that rank as most important to me are books that haven’t actually “changed” me, but have entertained me thoroughly, or reminded me of something rare or precious, or that are just stellar examples of writing mastery. So, books like And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith haven’t necessarily changed my life, but they rank among some of the most important books I’ve read.

That being said, we’re talking about life changing books that I think could be useful to some of you. These books helped me with money, love, conscious creation, friendship and more, Without further ado, here are the five books that changed my life:

  • Ginie Sayles, HOW TO MEET THE RICH for Business, Friendship, or Romance – A couple of years ago, one of my favorite role models, Ginie Sayles, gave me an endorsement on her author’s page, after I shared that her book, Writer’s Block is a Crock, helped me write and publish my first book. I was so excited that I made a post about her generosity and support. Well, as much as I love “Writer’s Block is a Crock”, there’s a book by Ginie that I love even more . . . and that’s “How to Meet the Rich”. Having your own vast resources is a wonderful thing, but your ability to do good and really change the world is enhanced when you have a network with high net worth! I love how she not only shows ways to meet the rich, but also all of the ways to nurture reciprocal relationships with these individuals. This is a great book for networking with various goals in mind (either business, friendship/social, or romantic ends).
  • David Bach, Start Late, Finish Rich – Similar to Ginie, David Bach has been discussed over here previously. I sing David’s praises because his work was fundamental in providing me with an excellent foundational education in personal finance. No matter what your age is, Start Late Finish Rich is a great book to introduce yourself to his strategies for creating financial freedom. I highly recommend any of David’s books, but this is a great one for starting on the path to wealth.
  • Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl – This book was fundamental in understanding the joy and pleasure of being a single woman. I learned so much from Helen regarding all of the perks that you can enjoy before saying “I do”. I got to reconnect with some of those delights when I divorced! Despite this book being published 60(!) years ago, so many of the tips are still relevant today. It’s still a fun read!
  • Shelley Branch and Sue Calloway, What Would Jackie Do? – I love all things Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and this book was a fabulous addition to my Jackie book collection. What Would Jackie Do is a combination of self help, biography, and etiquette lessons all in one. I often refer to this book when I need to recall how to make the perfect alfredo sauce from scratch, or how to approach my interior decorating budget, and even what I should do to enhance my career. Yes, it covers all of these topics and more. Fabulous read – highly recommended (naturally)!
  • Dr Henriette Anne Klauser, Write It Down Make It Happen – I won’t rewrite my review of this book, because I’ve already talked about it here, here, and here. I come back to this book again and again because every time I read it and try some of the writing exercises mentioned, my life shifts in significant ways.

Here is my video reviewing the books mentioned above:

What books have changed your life? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

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!

beauty · life curation · style

Perfume Review – CLEAN Warm Cotton vs CLEAN Fresh Laundry

It’s a perfume review, my friends! As a huge fan of CLEAN perfumes, I had several bottles lying around that I hadn’t reviewed yet. So, I decided two review two at once!

In this review, I compared CLEAN Warm Cotton with CLEAN Fresh Laundry. I decided to compare these two because the names of these scents sound like they’d share some common traits (cotton, laundry, you get it). I figured that it would be fun to see what they share, and on which notes they diverge. There are some similarities but also some stark differences that I noted.

First, let’s start off with the notes. Warm Cotton opens up with bright citrus and lemon verbena, blooms into a combination of sea notes, orange blossom and fruit essence, then dries down to the scents of musk, fern and amber. On the other hand, Fresh Laundry hits you with notes of grass, Brazilian orange and Mexican lime, before blossoming into the essence of jasmine and rose otto, then finishing with the fragrance of musk, heliotrope and woody notes.

The shared notes of citrus on top and musk at the base means that these two fragrances are channeling the same brightness as the opener, and a fresh but earthy base. The difference shows up most with the mid notes and the differing base notes: Warm Cotton relies on the essence of brisk ocean notes and zesty orange blossom and fruits in the middle, while Fresh Laundry leans heavily on classic “soapy” notes, with jasmine and rose, as its middle. Finally, the base notes of fern and amber give the warmth to Warm Cotton, while heliotrope and woody notes add a powdery touch with some heft to Fresh Laundry.

Here’s the video where I discuss these scents a bit more:

Again, the notes are as follows:

Warm Cotton – Top notes: Citrus and Lemon verbena Mid notes: Sea notes, Orange blossom, Fruits (floral cotton) Base notes: Musk, Fern, Amber

Fresh Laundry – Top notes: Grass, Brazilian orange, Mexican lime Mid notes: Jasmine, Rose otto Base notes: Musk, Heliotrope, Woody notes

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Have you tried either of these, or any of the other fragrances from CLEAN? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

beauty · style

I Finally Reviewed My Favorite Exfoliating Product on YouTube

I’ve praised Dr. Dennis Gross’s Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Peel Pads on this blog before. On my quest for glass skin (you all remember that, right?) I stumbled (head-first, naturally) upon this product. I’ve been using it since 2017(!) and I haven’t been disappointed at all.

After hearing me discuss the peel pads in multiple posts (like this one and this one), I figured it was high time that I did a video discussing the product, because, why not? I’ve posted pictures of my skin after the glass skin experiment, but this video is my most recent update/review, where you can see my skin as I discuss how well these peel pads have worked for me.

The great thing about this product is the gentleness of the peel pads: I tried other exfoliating brands but none have been as good on my skin as this one. I appreciate a good “bargain” as much as the next person, but this is one of those items I’m always sure to splurge on a few times during the year. The other products I’ve tried just don’t come close to the gentle effectiveness of this one. I’m a forever fan!

Do you have a favorite exfoliating product? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

*this post contains affiliate links.