food · luxury · wine

More Low Cost Libations – Affordable Wine Review

As we embrace the upcoming holiday season, we may find ourselves in need of delicious wines to accompany our family dinners. One thing that I like to do is make sure that I have a mix of high/low cost wines to offer with meals. For those that choose to indulge, wine is a wonderful complement to a variety of meals, and can really enhance the flavor profile of all the foods that have been prepared.

The advantage to having wines in your home during the holidays is that you can use the wine in certain recipes, adding a rich and intensified flavor to certain dishes. I love cooking meat dishes with red wine, or crafting exquisite sauces or gravies with white wine. When cooking with wine, the alcohol cooks (or burns) off, leaving flavor with no traces of alcohol content left behind.

I realized that I’ve done several wine reviews over on my YouTube channel, but I hadn’t shared those reviews over here. So, here you go:

Also, if you want to keep track of the wines that you try, you can use what I use: the Wine Tasting Notes journal is perfect for capturing the details and your impressions of every wine that you taste. And for $5, it’s so affordable!

I’ll be adding more wine reviews in the months to come. Do you have a wine recommendation for me? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

**** This post contains affiliate links.

style

A New Style System to Explore: The Four Essence System

You all already know that I have studied and applied the style principles as explained by David Kibbe (my latest Kibbe-related posts include some more recent realizations as regards my style ID). I don’t limit myself to Kibbe’s philosophy, but I use it as the basis for understanding the technical aspects of dressing my body. However, I’m excited to share that I found another style system that works harmoniously with the Kibbe system but takes into account your personal energy, or essence, and how this impacts your presentation.

The system was developed by Rita, whose website, Style Thoughts by Rita, shares a different approach to style typing. Instead of strictly looking at the bone structure and how weight is distributed, Rita’s system considers essence and the overall impression of an individual. For our convenience, Rita has also created a YouTube channel chronicling her style revelations and experiments. I find her system to be wonderfully complementary to the Kibbe approach.

I determined that my essence is Right-Up, and I found quite a few confirmed and unofficial Soft Classics in this quadrant. I used their presence in the quadrant to confirm what I suspected. Rita created a video that explains the hallmarks of each essence, and each essence has its own “deep-dive” video. Here’s the explanation of the Four Essence System for women (the system also addresses men’s style essence in a separate video).

Seh goes further, and discusses the logic behind dressing using the Four Essence System. I found this video tremendously helpful, too.

Are any of you familiar with the system? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Rita’s ideas below!

reading list

Books Read in October 2021

Hi everyone! I’m so excited that I made great strides toward my monthly reading goal, and I’m still on my way to hitting my annual reading goal well before the end of the year. Here are the books that I read in October:

One of the books I read, The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm

Thomas C. Hinkle, How to Eat: A Cure for “Nerves”

Melanie O’Hara Salyers and Susi Galloway, The Traveling Tea Ladies Death in Dixie

Admiral William H. McRaven, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe The World

Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear

Jamie Fleming-Dixon, The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm

Cassie Parks, Retired at 32 (not available for sale)

I initially intended to read more than 10 books this month, and I was well on my way at the beginning of the month. However, I actually put in major efforts toward my October writing plan, so I simply didn’t have enough time to read, write, edit, publish, and maintain my offline life. I still count it as a WIN that I got to read 6 books this month, and, while I’ll be throwing most of my energy into NaNoWriMo, I aim to read more than 10 books during the month of November. I’m also considering doing a review on one or two of the books that I read in October, but we’ll see: I don’t want to overextend myself!

Do you have any reading or writing goals for the remainder of the year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

*** This post contains affiliate links.

health

Fibro Friday – The Lyon Protocol

Happy Friday, friends! We’re back to protocols, after taking a break for the past few Fibro Fridays. As with the other protocol reviews, I’ll be pointing out the philosophy of the healthcare professional/coach/holistic health practitioner, highlights of the protocol, and my thoughts about the protocol.

This week I’m diving into the work of Irene Lyon. Lyon is a nervous system expert that uses somatic neuroplasticity principles to help her clients “rewire” their brains to eliminate the effects of various types of trauma. She has a website with free resources to help people attempting to get to the root of their pain disorders. Also, she has a YouTube channel where she goes into depth with discussing healing principles and techniques. Lyon has degrees in exercise science and biomedical science, as well as 20+ years of practice related to healing the body through somatic experiencing, or how to correct nervous system dysregulation in order to resolve physical and psychological illnesses.

Because Lyon’s work is designed to treat a multitude of illnesses, she doesn’t have a specific protocol for fibromyalgia. However, she has a video where she shares how one of her viewers was able to utilize resources available through Lyon’s website, as well as her video library, to start and progress on her healing journey.

Some of the healing principles promoted by Lyon are as follows:

  • Healthy emotional expression is central to healing physical pain.
  • Understanding the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and responses are crucial to managing pain.
  • Physical pain is almost invariably rooted in trauma.
  • It’s possible to rewire the brain in order to train it to have a more regulated response to stressors.

I think there are a lot of solid points to Lyon’s protocol, though I feel it would work best when combined with another treatment plan. For anyone that has tried the more traditional healing protocols (with minimal success), this may be a great option to explore.

Are any of you familiar with Irene Lyon’s work? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! Have a great weekend, and I’ll talk to you all soon.

beauty

Beauty Review – Kara Beauty With You Eyeshadow Palette

It’s been a while, but I was overdue for a beauty product review. So, I picked up one of the eyeshadow palettes I’ve gotten in a previous Beem Box (I reviewed that box here, and I’ll also insert the video below), and decided to give it a try.

The palette is by Kara Beauty, a woman-owned cosmetic company that products cruelty-free and vegan products. I received the “With You” palette in my Beem Box. The palette has 8 neutrals, which can be combined in numerous ways to make some “perfect for every occasion” looks. At first glance, I thought that the colors weren’t dynamic enough; however, as I thought more seriously about it, I realized that these shades are actually perfect. Each color is easily interchangeable with another, and are perfect as transition, highlight and intensifying shades when combined with a more colorful palette.

if you have warm undertones, these are all very flattering shades. The packaging is pretty standard: it’s made of lightweight cardboard material, has a magnetic closure, and also has a mirror. The shades are as follows: Baby, Always, Garden Date, and No Doubt on the top row, Your Smile, Magic Portion, Two of Us and Soft Hug on the bottom row.

Now, for the real test: I swatched the shades so you can see how they show up on brown skin. Here’s how that went:

Needless to say, I’m disappointed in most of the shades. I take no issue in the shades that went invisible on my skin due to them being so close to my skintone, but what was really frustrating was how many layers I had to apply of No Doubt, Your Smile, Two of Us, and Soft Hug, just so it would show up in the picture. The deeper tones are definitely patchy, and I wouldn’t use them unless I was pressed for time and didn’t want to find another palette/comparable shade. I noticed that the website has rave reviews for this palette, but I’m assuming that’s because the reviewers have lighter complexions. On my skin, it takes a lot to make these colors show up, which is why I’m not enamored with the product.

Another concern I had was with the shimmers (Garden Date and Magic Portion). These are gorgeous in the palette but they don’t work well if you plan on applying with a shadow brush. The shimmers are definitely best for finger applications: when I applied them with my fingers, I had much better intensity. I tried this with the deeper shades (specifically, Your Smile and Soft Hug), but again, it came across patchy.

My final thoughts on this product is that I’m not a fan of it. I wouldn’t be opposed to trying other products from this line, but I just don’t think that the eyeshadows were great. I’ll probably end up giving it to my daughter so she can play with them (I already have similar shimmer shadows, so I don’t have to hold onto the palette just for those two shades).

Have any of you tried Kara Beauty’s products before? I’d love to hear your reactions in the comments below! Also here is my video when I give my first impression. I thought the product would perform better when I took the time to do a proper swatch, but I was incorrect (as I’ve already explained). I hope you all enjoy! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

Uncategorized

I’ve Got New YouTube Videos

Happy Monday, friends! This is a quick post, because I just want to let you all know that I resumed posting videos on my YouTube channel. I have a few weeks worth of videos filmed and scheduled, and I’ll be sharing a few of them on this channel as different posts. Here’s my most recent video, for your enjoyment. This is a review of some Harlem Candle Company candles that I purchased this summer, as well as a little catch-up/chit chat.

I’ll talk to you all soon!

health · life curation · reading list

Book Review – Delicious Healing

Hey friends! Today’s book review comes courtesy of my research into the health benefits of grape leaves. You see, I have some wild muscadine grape vines choking out my lovely rosebushes. A little research revealed to me that grape leaves confirmed what I already knew, which is that they can be used in savory dishes (dolmades, anyone?). However, I was looking for a recipe that would allow me to easily incorporate the leaves into something else that I would consume regularly. After perusing some videos on YouTube, I found recipes for smoothies that included grape leaves (yay!)

Under one of the videos I viewed, I saw a recommendation for a video posted by the YouTube channel Performing Healing. I was drawn in by the picture used for the recommendation: a sepia-hued woman with sunkissed freeform locs and wide doe eyes looked back at my earnestly. Curious, I checked out her channel, and quickly found myself bingeing on her content. The woman behind this channel, Dr. Tumi Johnson, is a medical doctor that has transitioned out of a conventional medical career into a holistic healing practice that incorporates nutrition, lifestyle management, and creative arts to support overall wellness.

Enter Dr. Tumi’s book, Delicious Healing. I bought the Kindle version of this book so that I could do a deeper dive into Dr. Tumi’s philosophy and approach to wellness. I was not disappointed. The book is brief but packed with pertinent information to help readers craft their own paths to optimum health. As the title suggests, the basis of the program is using food (specifically, a raw vegan diet) to properly nourish the body, while integrating other holistic health practices (such as joyful movement, adequate and restorative rest, creative expression, and meditation, among other things) into a wellness plan that truly heals the reader on multiple levels.

Dr. Tumi’s relays her own experience of poor dieting, a unimaginably stressful career, and a brush with death itself, to assure readers that she has walked her own path to true healing. Her current lifestyle – living in her off-the-grid dream home with her adoring husband and precious little boy – is a testimony to the kind of goodness that can unfold when we do the work of healing ourselves and prioritizing our values. Her journey to happiness started with working through her own poor health and aligning her life with her values and knowledge as a medical professional.

I think what really impressed me most about this book is that the information is “common sense” that most of us fail to implement consistently, written in a way that invites readers onto a healing journey, rather than lecturing them on what they need to change about their lives. Dr. Tumi’s tone is exactly the kind of energy I look for when talking to my own healthcare team. She doesn’t scold: she gently invites and offers unwavering encouragement. I loved how she discusses how poetry supported her healing, and it inspired me to reconnect with the creative arts that feel nourishing to me.

In short, I highly recommend this book! It’s a great reference for anyone that wants to know exactly how to determine the most crucial pillars to improved health, as well as a guideline for how to integrate these pillars more fully into their lives. You can check out Delicious Healing here. Also, you can learn more about Dr. Tumi on her YouTube channel or on her website (DrTumiJohnson.com). Here is one of my favorite videos that she’s shared.

I hope you all have enjoyed this post! If you decide to check out Dr. Tumi’s channel or book, please let me know!

***This post has affiliate links.

life curation · reading list

Books Read in September 2021

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m so happy to finally update this post, which went out prematurely a week or so ago. I’m sure you all are used to that by now: I often schedule posts that end up published before I can finish them. I’m working on improving that: it’s a struggle LOL!

In September, I read fewer books than normal. However, I actually read one book that was in digital format (as opposed to relying solely on audiobooks). I’ll be posting a review on that digital book tomorrow, as it left quite an impression on me. The books that I read in September are as follows:

Joseph Benner, The Teacher

Joseph Benner, Wealth

Dr. Wayne Dyer, Your Life Begins Now

Emmet Fox, The Hidden Power and Other Lessons

Emmet Fox, The Mental Equivalent

Neville Goddard, Awakened Imagination

Dr. Tumi Johnson, Delicious Healing

I’m looking forward to exceeding my monthly reading goals for October and November. I’m more than halfway to hitting my annual reading goal of 100 books, so I’m not going to let up now.

I am transitioning away from reading so many mindset books and going into the realm of mysteries (my favorite genre) and other topics of interest, like finance, strategy and herbal instruction. This is shaping up to be a fun shift into some other topics that I’d been neglecting in favor of my mindset audiobooks.

Have you read anything interesting lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

  • This post contains affiliate links.
reading list

August Books Follow-Up: Observations and Reflections

Hi friends! I mentioned last week that I would be giving some additional thoughts about my August reads (you can see that post here). I had to split this into two posts because I was way too busy last week to share all of the thoughts I had about the books I read.

Firstly, I’m still a huge fan of doing lots of audiobooks, since I frequently find myself short on time. And all of my August reads were audiobooks that I found for free on YouTube (though, my September list will have some non-audiobooks on it).

Last month, I dove a bit deeper into Wayne Dyer’s work, which I found to be invaluable in modifying some of my thoughts about myself and how I show up in the world. I also loved the quick reads that provided tips on accumulating and maintaining wealth. Sometimes, it’s just really good to get a refresher, and to remind ourselves that we have more control over our resources than we may believe.

Additionally, I finally got a chance to read The Art of War in its entirety: I am really excited to think of practical ways to apply the strategies listed in that book. A lot of people think “war” refers strictly to engaging in battle against an army, using weapons and hoping to survive and win. However, all of our lives have elements of “war” to them: the more we understand about the various ways to guarantee success, the better we can equip ourselves to create the success we desire. And, military strategy is just as helpful for navigating our regular lives as any other strategic philosophy out there.

Have you all read any good books recently? I’d love to hear all about it!

reading list

Books Read in August 2021

This post went out a little earlier than I wanted, since I was too busy last week to do any writing. However, here is my list of books that I read during the month of August:

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

P T Barnum, The Art of Money Getting

Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth

Wayne Dyer, Pulling Your Own Strings

Wayne Dyer, You’ll See It When You Believe It

Wayne Dyer, Your Erroneous Zones

Wayne Dyer, Wisdom of the Ages: 60 Days of Enlightenment

Seneca, On The Shortness of Life

Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth

I loved these books and the things I’ve learned. I’ll follow up with additional insights soon!