Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope you all are having a fantastic week. This will be a (relatively) a short post because I’m reading books, writing books, and trying to manage my energy levels with the many other things I have going on in my life. It’s all good stuff, but whew, EXHAUSTING! I take comfort in knowing that this is just a season, and things will go back to quiet sooner rather than later.
As someone that believes in universal laws, such as law of attraction and law of assumption, I believe that we tend to get more of what we’re creating in our lives. Thus, if we’re working hard, we find more opportunities to work hard. If we’re regularly feeling joyful, we tend to have more instances to relish joy. So you can imagine that I was not surprised that, in the midst of me working diligently on one of my books, one of my dearest friends announced that she is writing a book of her own!
I’m so proud of her efforts and her vision for creating the personal brand and legacy that she desires for herself and her lineage. I know her book will be stellar, as she does this (and everything) with excellence. And the theme of her book is fascinating: I can’t wait to read the finished product!
Energy is contagious, particularly when you’re in a group that is “tapped in” to one another. The more frequently you engage with aligned individuals, the more that your collective energy will be shared and grown. So if you want to accomplish your writing goals, tap into a group of writers that are engaging JOYFULLY with their work. Unhappy writing energy is just as contagious as the good stuff, so choose carefully. Pick your group wisely, then get ready to see the shift in your own life.
That’s all for today. Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all soon!
It’s Women’s History Month, and I wanted to share some art created by a female artist of yesteryear: one that is especially meaningful when considered through the lens of current issues.
Artemisia Gentileschi is (I believe) the only female Renaissance artist with surviving pieces credited to her. She painted in a style similar to Caravaggio (my favorite Renaissance artist) and was brilliant and skilled in her own right: she was particularly gifted when it came to portraying the female body and in her use of light and colors. Unfortunately, most of what we were originally told about her was related to the fact that she was raped by fellow artist Agostino Tassi (who was convicted of rape after the case went to trial). It’s a shame that this gifted artist was, for many years, known as a victim that transferred her own trauma into art.
Gentileschi is so much more than what she experienced, and I’m glad that art historians are finally giving her story the balanced interpretation that it deserves. As someone that just learned about her in the past few years, I never thought I’d get to see her work in person (there really aren’t that many Renaissance art pieces by high profile artists outside of the major museums in large cities) without traveling outside of my city.
However, there was a surprise for me, waiting right at my local museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Art. As I browsed the Renaissance section, I stopped at a lovely painting that I hadn’t noticed before. I looked at the identification card and, lo and behold, there was a Gentileschi painting!
I’m so glad that I got to experience the creative genius of Gentileschi right in my own backyard. I really liked her use of light in the painting: it looks like someone had just opened a window and let it stream across Venus’s body. I also love that Cupid remains only partially in the light, emphasizing him as minor (secondary) to his mother Venus, the goddess of love. In this portrait, Venus (the embodiment of all sorts of love, prosperity and fertility) is the star, and Cupid (a symbol of erotic and passionate love/lust) is in a supporting role. I interpret this as the passion of lust is unable to outshine the vastness of real love, and I suspect that even the source of light depicted wouldn’t shine quite so brightly if Cupid was the only subject of this painting.
Another thing: I really enjoyed the depiction of Cupid fanning his mother, showing him in service to her. It makes me think of how lust and passion are at their best when they are in service to higher forms of love. (Just a personal takeaway).
I just wanted to share that moment with you, because I still love art and find inspiration in it. I hope this post inspires you, too! Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!
Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all have had a great week. I’m recovering from a mild flare and I’m finally coming out of it, which makes me happy. This is one of those unavoidable things that comes with fibro: even when you’ve done your best to manage your symptoms, you may still have occasional flares. My flare was triggered by inconsistent weather patterns, because when the air goes from hot to cool to warm to cold, my body goes haywire.
Part of what really helps with my flare is getting enough rest, but, as you all know, rest can be challenging when you have fibro. One of the things I use to help get deeper, more restorative sleep is soursop leaf tea. There are a lot of benefits that you can reap from drinking soursop leaf tea, because it’s a highly nutritious plant. The fruit of the soursop plant is delicious and there is a strong case for it being antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anticarcinogenic. But we’re not talking about the fruit: the leaves are what interest me most (when it comes to fibro).
I first learned about soursop leaf tea from Debbie over at The Jamaican Cooking Journey. I’m inserting her video about soursop tea for your convenience:
When she mentioned that soursop tea is good for your nerves, I knew I had to try it! So I did, and I’m so glad that I took a chance on it. It helps me to sleep like a baby! Remeber, fibromyalgia is a neurological issue, not a musculoskeletal one, so by address nerve dysfunction, you can reduce or eliminate most of your symptoms.
I am posting my video that I did on this topic, and in that video, I share my results from consuming soursop leaf tea:
Please note, I am not a doctor and I’m not offering medical advice or solutions. That being said, I’ve enjoyed using soursop leaf tea as part of my regimen to encourage deeper and more restorative sleep. Try it and let me know your results!
I purchased Bitcoin for the first time ever in the past 18 months (I was late to the trend, though I knew how it worked and was interested in experimenting with this as a way to diversify my investments). You may recall that I wrote about Bitcoin in a post from 2018.I’d been contemplating investing since before I wrote the post, but I finally pulled the trigger and invested. Then, after a few months, I pulled out *some* of my investment. I needed to redirect that money toward one of my home renovation projects, and that felt like a better investment for me at this time.
I used CashApp to purchase my Bitcoin, though you can purchase cryptocurrency on a number of different platforms. If you want to invest in crypto of any sort, your best bet is to do a lot of research on the investment vehicle that you’ve chosen, and get clear on your hold/fold thresholds (what amount of loss you’re willing to tolerate, what amount of gains are comfortable before you start feeling antsy about possible future loss, and what amount you can reach before you cash out). Crypto investing is just like any other investment, so you can walk away whenever you want.
Since I sold a portion of my Bitcoin, I have to do additional research on how to properly report the sale on my tax return. I submitted my return before I got a (delinquent) income statement, so I have to amend it anyways, so this is a good time to get more familiar with how I should report my crypto sale. I took a crypto loss last year, so whatever crypto amounts end up being reported shouldn’t create an additional liability. It’ll be interested to see the further legislation that comes out regarding cryptocurrency, since this is a medium of exchange that will continue to grow, expand, and become more widely accepted.
That’s my little tale of how I forayed into the world of crypto. Over on my finance website, I plan to discuss these sorts of things more often (I’ll actually be adding more details and resharing this post over on there by the end of this week). If you have any crypto questions, I’m happy to direct you to the same resources that I use. In these days and times, there is nothing more important than knowing your options and using these options deftly. And the only way to do that is to read, learn, and try it for yourself.
That’s it for today! I hope you all are doing well. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!
Happy Writer’s Wednesday! I’m so happy to share these updates because I’ve been deep in the throes of embracing the lifestyle of a writer. Part of my journey is continuously stepping into my future self, and being a successful writer is part of the experience that I’m creating for myself.
I’m working on editing two of my older works. I want to give you all a deadline of when these will be read, but that’s so unrealistic for me at this point. I’ll just announce when it’s done, and we’ll all celebrate together when it happens! I’m really happy that one of them is (at the time that I write this) 70% edited. I have had this story in my files for nearly 10 years! I’m eager to polish it up and then offer it to the world.
I also have two works in progress (WIPs) that are still in their infancy. But, I’ve been very cautious about leaping into new projects related to writing, because I have a history of strong starts and nonexistent endings. So I think about the stories but I don’t invest a lot of time into writing them out, because if I did, I’d take too much energy that should be devoted to finishing one of my WIPs that is further along in the process.
Anyhoo . . . I did a video about my latest writing projects. You can see it below:
Also, if becoming a writing is something that you’ve always wanted to do, but you have some other stuff you’re trying to resolve first (sometimes we don’t have the bandwidth for our dreams because our lives are overwhelmingly busy or stressful), here’s a tool for you. Check out my Create Your Vision journal collection: these can walk you through the process of creating more space for your dreams and stepping into your dream life.
That’s it for today! How has your writing journey been going? I’d love to hear all about it!
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.
Happy Monday, lovelies! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. We had some great weather (a spring precursor, if you will) and today is even warmer (though we do have a bit of rain). I’m still smiling from this fantastic weekend!
Last week, I shared a new video reviewing some products that I got a few weeks ago. I bought some products from LYS (Love Your Self) Beauty after I tried one of of their products that was featured in the Beem Box (I’ll post a link to that video shortly).
This is a clean, vegan, Black woman owned brand, and I love the stuff that I got! I got introduced to the product through the LYS Beauty Matte Bronzer in Strength (Dark). After perusing their website, I realize there were a LOT more products that I wanted to try. So I splurged on some foundation samples (LYS Beauty Mini Triple Fix Serum Foundation in the shades DN5, DN6 and DP5). I was really impressed by the company’s color range: the foundation is available in 35 different shades! So I got the three shades that seemed closest to my complexion. In my video, I swatched the colors (no worries: the video will be posted below).
I also decided to try the LYS Beauty Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush in Empower (a deep berry plum shade). The formulation is soft and buildable: I’ve used it twice and I love it! I’m excited to try Inspire (a vibrant terracotta hue) and Passion (a vivid fuchsia pink shade). For those that don’t know, blush is probably my favorite color cosmetic to apply: it adds life to your face and instantly gives you brightness and dimension. I pretty much always throw on blush, even when I don’t do a full face of makeup. So finding a cream blush that I love is a real treat!
I decided, on a whim, to try some of the skin care offered by LYS Beauty, too. The LYS Beauty Think Bright Glow + Hydrate Serum with Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid is a reasonably priced product that promises to “a succulent glow and long-lasting hydration”. I’m doing an in-depth video and write-up about this product separately, but I wanted to mention it, since it’s part of my purchase. I have . . . Thoughts! But again, that’ll be coming your way soon.
Finally, the company graciously threw in a freebie for purchasing over a certain dollar amount, namely, the LYS Beauty Mini Speak Love Glossy Lip Treatment Oil. This is such a great lip product that is perfect for adding moisture and shine without weighing your lips down or feeling sticky/tacky. I love it!
Happy Fibro Friday! I hope your week was great, and I hope your upcoming weekend is even better!
Over the past few months, I’ve been keeping close tabs on my fibromyalgia: I’m looking out for new (or recurring) symptoms, any difficulties in recovering after flares, or other changes that may be worth noting. I keep up with these because I stopped using prescription medication a few months back, and this is my first time – since my diagnosis – observing how fibro shows up in my daily life when managed through other methods.
As part of my symptom (and overall health) management, I’ve been incorporating supplements that promise to reduce pain and inflammation in the body. While fibro is not an autoimmune condition, nor is it a condition that is typically associated with inflammation, my research confirmed that inflammatory conditions exist in most people’s bodies, and most of us benefit from the reduction of inflammation. For this reason, I decided to add turmeric into my daily supplements.
Here is my YouTube video discussing fibro and inflammation:
And here’s a YouTube video that I posted earlier today, discussing the outcome of my experiment:
I have to conclude that, while I didn’t notice an immediate or drastic difference in how I felt, I compared the way I felt to how I usually feel in the winter season and I took note of what symptoms were present, missing or mitigated. In previous winters, I am extraordinarily achy, tired and suffer from mild flu-like symptoms, even while taking prescription medication. However, this year, I only felt a little tired and very few aches. I only noticed flu-like symptoms when I actually had the flu (you can read about that ordeal here). So, comparing this year to prior years is the best metric I have, and I can confidently that adding turmeric was a good move for me. I didn’t feel the normal winter “slump” that I usually experience, and I found myself needing less down time when I felt a little tired. I also started adding another supplement into my rotation (more about that next week) and that has been making a difference, too, though I only added that in toward the end of the turmeric experiment, well after I determined how effective the turmeric was for me.
Once upon a time, I had another blog that I wrote on frequently. Now, I’m looking over those essays and cringing (nothing humbles you like looking over your old writing!) But, I think it’s worthwhile to rewrite those posts, because the points – while not fabulously expressed in the original posts – are still salient. Here’s a HEAVILY edited essay that I wrote nearly 12 (!) years ago. Enjoy!
This particular post will speak directly to two personality characteristics that are crucial to finding your own version of success: flexibility and focus. I decided to group these two together since they are a good example of polarity and interdependence: these are relative opposites but you can’t talk about one without at least touching upon the other. Flexibility implies a willingness to look at all of the options available, while focus generally refers to devoting one’s attention to a singular goal. It seems like the two cannot peacefully co-exist, but they CAN-and they SHOULD! In fact, one without the other can very well leave you unfulfilled and always falling short of your goals.
Why do some of us need to improve in the areas of flexibility and focus? Well, when it comes to flexibility, some of us have been given an overly simplified life formula-behave yourself, go to college, get a degree, get a career, get married to a man, buy a house, make a few kids, give freely to the church/mosque/synagogue/temple, and live happily ever after. The problems with the formula are its rigidity, and the lack of emphasis on QUALITY experiences and EMPOWERED choices. It also doesn’t allow for circumstances beyond a woman’s control or her personal choice. Not everyone is interested in attending college or working in a traditional career. Some women have zero interest in getting married at all, and those that desire marriage aren’t encouraged to accurately gauge the quality of their partners. Not all of us are interested in white picket fences and having babies, and, believe it or not, religion =/= spirituality, and some women have no interested in being part of a religious organization in order to connect to the Divine. Those that ascribe to the life formula commonly taught to women are often hyper-focused on accomplishing each thing on the “to do” list, to the detriment of a life that allows for magic and joy to unfold unexpectedly and organically.
In opposition to being hyper-focused, many women who reject the prescribed life formula mentioned above end up living life as a tangent of randomness, going here and there without a goal in mind and getting a whole lot of nothing accomplished in the meantime. This is often the case because life on the “fringes” is discouraged by society, meaning that those who reject any part of the aforementioned formula don’t get support for creating meaningful lives outside of the template they’ve been given. There are many women who are living purely in flexibility and not putting an adequate amount of time and energy into focusing their energy into a handful of things that will give them lasting satisfaction. Many will pour their energy directly into career or material possessions (nothing inherently wrong with this), without any forethought regarding what meaningful things they should be cultivating simultaneously.
It can seem like living in either extreme is the only option, but being focused and flexible at the same time should be a goal for all of us. Focus gives us direction and stability, while flexibility gives us depth, color and moments of ease in our journeys.
Here’s the best way to merge the concepts of flexibility and focus: find out what you want for yourself (get your focus together) then think of the many ways you can get there (exercise flexibility.) I’ll present an exercise that may be of use (I’ve done this for myself more times than I can count, and it’s not from a singular book I’ve read but, rather, a hodgepodge of ideas that I’ve picked up here and there.) First, name the things that you want for yourself. For this example, I’m going to use some really common desires: getting a degree, getting into your dream career, traveling, and getting married. Name whatever it is you want, no matter how crazy it sounds. It’s good to be very specific when naming what you want: getting a degree from Harvard, becoming a world renowned artist, traveling to Thailand, etc.,. This list can be as long or short as you like, but it helps to keep it brief (less than 5 things) – it helps you have more time to dedicate on the things that matter most.
After you name what you want, brainstorm various ways to get what you want. This seems a little daunting, especially if you’ve been taught to see things only in one way. People are always amazed when I tell them how I got into my prior career before I was awarded my college degree and without the advantage of an internship or nepotism. Unfortunately, many of us limit ourselves by having such a narrow view on how to get what we want. That’s the downside of associating regularly with damaged minds, pessimists, and perpetual escapists, who spend too much time keeping up with trivial things and not enough time doing things to increase their personal value and the quality of their lives.
Here are a couple examples of flexible thinking – both of these I personally have used:
If getting a degree is your goal, then take advantage of all sorts of learning opportunities. Going to college for 4 years, as soon as you exit high school, is not the formula for everyone. If it suits you, take credit courses here and there, looking into credit-for-experience programs (my book, Degree Hacking, gives you an actionable, inexpensive and easy-to-execute plan to accomplish this). Some schools even offer tests to demonstrate proficiency in certain areas; if you’re a student, you can take those tests at a fraction of the cost of a college course (my book discusses this, too). Also, remember all of the resources you have that can give you an educational edge up: local libraries usually offer free courses in a variety of subject areas; you can take free classes online in any area you can imagine; on the internet, you can preview course syllabi for any class you’re taking, and preread material that will be cover in the course (again, check out my book for more information about this).
If you want to travel, the first step is really easy: get a passport! It’s good for 10 years and you don’t have to be outside of the country to use it. Start setting aside a small amount per month to fund your dream trip (even $10 a month will get you there eventually.) This gives your focus (travel) some energetic momentum without having to commit a large amount of money up front. Consider buying a token that symbolizes your travel goals (like a travel journal). Join interest groups that will feed your desire to travel (meetup.com and local colleges can help with this, as well as the myriad Reddit, Facebook and Discord groups out there) or feel free to create a group of your own that indulges your travel desire. Check out travel websites regularly to find deals on flights, hotels, and rental cars – keeping up with the costs can help you to figure out how much you need to save. This research also crystallizes what things you actually want and need for your trip. Also, remember that, depending on how much travel you desire, there are many organizations that will pay for your airfare and lodging in different locales if you are willing to either teach English or help with humanitarian efforts.
Having a particular focus doesn’t mean that you can only achieve your desire in a singular way. I dreamed of attending an Ivy-league university, but I had no interest in pursuing a full degree. I ended up taking a grant funded program in a topic that really benefited me. I could have never anticipated that would be how I’d get my Ivy-league experience, but because I’m flexible, my desire was met with ease. It’s important to remember that it’s not the lack of options that causes problems, it’s when you lose sight of all the ways to get to your goals that discouragement sets in. People get discouraged when they see no way out: if you creative, though, you won’t feel discouraged for long.
I recommend, no matter what you do, that you get in contact with someone that can help you. You won’t always have every resources you need to get what you want. You have to make connections with people who will assist you on your path. You should not automatically feel entitled to their assistance. It is usually easier to ask for assistance from those who required to assist (school counselors or customer service representatives, for example.) However, the most powerful individuals are normally people who don’t owe you anything – convincing them to assist may be more challenging. If you can get one of these heavy hitters on your side, it will make your path infinitely easier. It should go without saying that showing your appreciation to everyone who helps you is a must. Being appreciative will 1) give you great karma and 2) make it easier for someone else who, later on, may ask for assistance from these same individuals. Showing appreciation can be a thank you note or a gift (be careful with gift-giving: you don’t want anything that can be misconstrued as bribery.)
That’s it for today, friends! I hope you’re having a fantastic day. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!