beauty · life curation

Getting Gorgeous, Inside and Out

One of my not-so-guilty pleasures has been looking at YouTube videos for beauty, style and life advice. As you all recall, I love watching mature YouTubers give their tips and tricks for living well. Along with the mature ladies, I also check out the younger women that are making great content on YouTube.

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A few of my recent favorite videos have been around the topic of “glowing up” during the quarantine. This concept – improving our looks while we stay home – is very popular because many of us FINALLY have time to do all of the beauty treatments, fitness routines, and dietary changes that we’ve always wanted to try. So, since we have the time, why not?

Here are a couple of my favorite videos featuring how to “glow up”, both on the inside and the outside (because having a beautiful exterior and broken interior is not the goal: wholistic/holistic health and beauty is what we’re creating!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

art · reading list

What I’m Reading Right Now

I’ve been reading a LOT recently. This has been a great time for me to get through my tremendous book list (which I’ve been mindful to NOT add to during this time). I’ve read several Agatha Christie novels that I’ve had for a long time, but now I want to get back to my first love: self-improvement/life-enhancement books.

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I started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron as a way to tap into my creativity and to consistently feel inspired. I began reading it in 2018, but I never got past the first few pages (I don’t think it was the right time to embark upon this journey: this was when I was trying to figure out the status of my health and my creativity wasn’t a priority). But now that I have a better handle on my physical health, now seemed like a good time to pick this book up again. I am seeking to access my creativity on new levels, and after reading the introduction and reviews of The Artist’s Way, I was convinced that this would be the perfect book to kick-start my creative endeavors.

The Artist’s Way takes would-be creatives through 12 weeks of exercises and guidance to set up a “framework” that encourages the pursuit of artistic endeavors. I’m in week 1 right now, and I’m excited to see where I’ll be at the end of the process.

Have any of you read The Artist’s Way? I’d love to hear about your experience with the book!

(this post has affiliate links)

art · life curation

My (Not So) New Hobby – Painting!

During my time away, I had a chance to resume one of my interests: painting! There is something so therapeutic about applying paint to a canvas . . . The brushstrokes, the blending of color, the magic of taking a concept and turning it into a tangible work of art. I love to paint and I can’t wait until I have more time to devote to my craft. Until then, here are a couple of pieces that I’ve created:

Me with a piece I completed earlier this year: I premiered it in Los Angeles in June 2019

Recent piece in progress

I’m so eager to see where this curiosity leads me. I would love to continue developing my skill, take a few classes, and work with some new techniques and materials. This hobby relaxes me and gives me a much needed creative outlet, so I’m sure I’ll have more paintings to share in the future!

 

 

art · Uncategorized

The New Resources Page is Live!

Untitled design - Edited (2)I’ve been promising you all some changes over here. I haven’t had nearly as much free time as I’d expected during the past several weeks, but I finally can check off one of the things I’ve had on my list for a while.

I have a brand new art resources page available, and you can find the links to over 40 free online art courses! I always mention the courses that I find all over the internet, so I was excited to compile this list for you all. I’ll continue adding courses to the list as I come across additional sources.

There are a LOT more changes ahead, so stick around and I promise to come up with some good stuff for you all. Thanks again for the support! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Enjoy your Friday!

art · life curation

Trying My Hand At Painting . . .

Happy, happy, happy Friday! I am so happy to see this week finally come to an end. It hasn’t been a stressful week but I haven’t had as much downtime as I usually enjoy. As a result, I’m far more exhausted than normal. But with the weekend upon us, I’m looking forward to getting some glorious rest!

A few weeks ago, I stopped by Barnes & Noble and walked around for nostalgia’s sake. I can’t tell you how many days and evenings I spent in this bookstore, just inhaling the scent of paper and possibilities . . .  On my way out, I saw an art kit and picked it up. I found myself wanting to buy it, which is funny, because I’ve gone to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby who knows how many times, and I’ve never been moved to buy painting supplies. Following inspiration, I decided to buy the kit.

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My new art kit – such a bargain!

I’ve always been creative, but painting is a whole new world for me. And before anyone thinks that I’m trying to be Monet or Picasso, trust me, those aren’t my aspirations. At all LOL! However, I do think that practicing my hand at painting will give me a deeper appreciation for the art and skill involved with creating some of the masterpieces that I love so well. So, I figured I’d start painting a bit when I have downtime again. I also think this will be a good thing to do while listening to some soothing music or even a podcast (because I’m always trying to multitask. . . )

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Inside of the kit

After taking so many online classes and participating in umpteen webinar trainings to maintain one of my certifications, I figured it was time to enjoy an activity that doesn’t feel like “school”. It’s time to do something strictly for the pleasure of it, and that allows me to “learn” in a different way. So, painting seems like a good idea. I’ll post my “masterpieces” as I complete them. Here’s hoping that I can start painting and sharing my finished works in October and November.

That’s all for today. I hope you all have a great Friday, and I’ll check in tomorrow. Take care!

 

music

Learn More About Opera

I’ve got another FutureLearn course for you all to check out! Several years back, I took a Introduction to Classical Music course on Coursera, and I’ve desired more opportunities to learn about classical music ever since. However, there haven’t been too many courses that fit the bill, until I saw the “Inside Opera” course available on FutureLearn.

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The course will dive into defining opera, discussing the onstage and backstage activities, and how it factors into the world around us.

This opera course starts June 4. I hope that you take some time to check it out!

life curation

This Month’s Plans

Can you all believe that June is here already?! My mind is blown by how quickly this year is moving along! I’m really pleased at how I’ve been progressing with my goals and I’m excited about what I’m envisioning for the rest of this year.

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This month will have a lot of activity, both on this blog as well as on my social media accounts (Twitter and Instagram – feel free to follow me if you haven’t already!) Over here, I’ll be bringing more information about visual arts, self-improvement, and creating/curating a quality lifestyle. On Twitter, you can see all of the latest art and culture happenings for Washington, DC and Richmond, VA (two of my stomping grounds). Check out Instagram for daily photos recapping some of my daily shenanigans, as well as a special series highlighting incredible artists that are showcasing their work on Insta.

I’ll also be posting a goal update at the end of this month. Yes, I’ve been working on those goals! And I finally updated this website to show my goals on the righthand column of the page. Yes, overdue, but better late than never, right?

 

culture · life curation

New Course: Cultures and Identities in Europe

As part of listening to my intuition and stepping into my best life, I have stayed “light and loose” when it comes to my plans. I had been taking the ALISON Color Theory course for a bit, but I found it difficult to stay engaged in the content. Sure enough, a better online course came along that completely lit me up! When my gut told me “This is the course for you!” I didn’t hesitate to sign up and put the ALISON course on hold, so I can focus on the new class.

“Cultures and Identities in Europe” is a course available through FutureLearn, an educational website based in Europe. The course aims to give some background information and perspective into how European cultures and identities have been shaped over time. This is especially useful information for me, as I plan to travel to Europe several times over the next years.

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I’m looking forward to learning more about European history, culture, creativity, and the future of Europe’s cultural heritage. The course should be fascinating!

If you’re interested in the course, you should check it out. It’s free and available in an online format, so it’s easy to complete lectures and assignments on your schedule. Don’t delay: the course starts on June 4, 2018! You’ll want to make sure that you’re already enrolled once the materials are made available to class attendees.

I hope you join me in this class! Take care, and talk to you all tomorrow.

life curation

Living Your Best Life: Cultivating Calm, Part 2

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Happy Wednesday, beloveds! In part one of my Cultivating Calm posts, I mentioned how to become more aware of when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or frustrated. Once you identify the patterns and triggers, you can begin to control or manage them. Here are a few tips for controlling and managing triggers that threaten your feeling of calm.

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-Avoid people who stimulate an anxious or agitated feeling. You know who I’m talking about: there are some people who have a nervous energy that’s contagious: they walk into a room and everyone starts feeling “on edge”. I noticed that a lot of inexperienced or insecure supervisors and managers tend to generate this energy. You also notice it from people that treat everything like a crisis or a tragedy, consistently overexaggerating the seriously of thing occurring in their lives.

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-Avoid consuming overstimulating food, beverages or media. I adore chocolate, but I can’t have it late at night because of the caffeine. I feel jittery and agitated when I can’t get to sleep, so I avoid chocolate late at night as well as caffeinated beverages. Likewise, examine your diet and see what stimulants you consume regularly. Then, aim to wean yourself off of those stimulating foods and beverages: overstimulation frequently causes agitation and anxious feelings. It goes without saying that media can also make you feel anxious: sometimes the news makes us feel stressed and frustrated. So employing some selective ignorance can go a long ways in helping you preserve your calm.

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-Clean up your physical surroundings. Disorderly environments can disturb your sense of peace and tranquility. So clean up and enjoy your new, calmer environment.

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-Practice deep breathing and relaxing stretches to help you unwind. Intentionally increasing your oxygen intake can really help with “resetting” your energy and improving your mood (there are studies confirming this, so do your research!). Relaxing stretches help to reduce the tension in tightly contracted muscles.

life curation

Living Your Best Life: Cultivating Calm, Part 1

calm

On this blog, I always strive to be authentic and positive. One of my keys to remaining positive is to continue doing the emotional work that will allow me to live my best life. Without doing this work, I would be stuck in the often-frustrating daily experience, and different situations could negatively impact my mood and perspective.

A crucial part of my self-care is the conscious cultivation of calm (if you can’t tell, I love alliteration). Calm is more than a feeling for me: it’s the state where I am most secure and clearheaded. I function best in calm, and for that reason, it behooves me to continue to cultivate it on a daily basis.

You, too, can cultivate calm regularly. All it takes is some inner and outer work. The first part of cultivating calm involves becoming aware of triggers and spotting the patterns. Once those triggers and patterns are identified, you can successfully develop tools to manage the stress and promote your peace. Here are some of the steps I’ve used for the first part of cultivating my calm (you can read about the second part of cultivating calm in a future post).

-Take note of when you feel anxious or agitated. You may have a physical reaction to aggravation (tense shoulders, jaw clenching, headaches, etc.,) or perhaps the aggravation shows up in your behavior (silence/lack of communication, aggressive interactions with others, violent outbursts, etc.). You don’t need to try to change the behavior immediately, just note it and stop yourself if you feel that you’re about to do something dangerous to yourself or others.

-Keep a journal to log your anxious or agitated moments for about one or two weeks. This will help you vent safely and can take a lot of the “fire” out of an aggravating incident. Jot down as many details as you can: time of day, what you were doing prior to feeling aggravated, the event that triggered the aggravation, how you responded, and what you feel as you write about it. Lots of details are key for the next step, so really take the time to write it all down. It helps to write in the red hot moment, as this usually means you’ll capture the detail in all it’s emotionally-triggering glory.

-Look for patterns: does your irritation come after interacting with certain people? Does it come from the tasks expected from you on the job? Were you hungry? Were you sleepy? Look for any commonalities between those frustrating moments. Once you start seeing a consistent trigger appear, then you know you’ve found a pattern and you can set out to manage that trigger more effectively.

If you need more help with this, there are countless online guides for helping you identify triggers and patterns. Also, I’m a big fan of using professional help to assist with managing things that feel overwhelming or beyond your control.

Look out for the next “Cultivating Calm” post coming soon!