life curation · music

A Peek Into My Current Playlist

Happy Monday! I’m enjoying the rising temperatures in central VA and I’m feeling oh-so-thankful that SUMMER is here!

I wanted to discuss something more fun today: music! I’ve been listening to a few artists that I haven’t mentioned on this blog before, but I’m excited to share them with you now. If you aren’t familiar with these artists, you can check out their music by clicking on the YouTube videos I’m linking below. Enjoy!

Chloe X Halle have been making incredible music for years, but their newest album is such an auditory delight: I had to share it with you all!

Doja Cat has been in the center of a few online controversies, so I was torn about adding her. However, her song “Say So” is so good that I have to share it, not to mention, she has actively sought to uplift ALL women. I haven’t canceled her yet, and I doubt that I ever will.

Missy Elliott has been one of my favorites for AGES, so her music over the past few years has been such a treat. I adore her!

Teyana Taylor had not been on my radar previously, but this song is so wholesome, uplifting and beautiful that I had to include it.

Those are a few of the songs that I’ve been enjoying lately. Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear all about them!

beauty · life curation

The Novice Gardener’s Digital Toolkit

untitled designAs this is my first year cultivating a true flower garden, I’ve been eager to learn as much about the plants surrounding my home as I can. Sadly, I don’t know much about plants and I don’t have any nearby friends or relatives that can easily identify the bushes and trees in my yard. Desperate, I reached out to my Facebook family, and they didn’t disappoint! They made some excellent recommendations to help me get the information that I need. So, since I have some great tools at my disposal, it’s only right that I pass them along to you!

PlantSnap and PictureThis have been my constant companions over the past few weeks. I love that I can take a picture of a plant and process the picture through both apps to get a good idea of what kind of plant it is. I find that PictureThis has more reliable results than PlantSnap, but I love them both and find them very easy to use. I really enjoy the fact that the apps allow you to identify plants for free, and PlantSnap even lets you know that you can identify 25 pictures per day before a paid account is required (I’m not sure how many pictures are allowed using the free membership of PictureThis, but I imagine that the number is similar). The biggest advantage to PictureThis (other than the higher identification reliability) is that it automatically keeps a log of the pictures that you’ve submitted, so you can easy review previously identified plants within the app. For PlantSnap, you have to manually save the photos to a collection in order to retain that information.

YouTube has so many great videos for learning more about the wild plants growing near you: I simply cannot list them all! However, you can search for wild edibles by clicking here and you will find the most popular videos on the topic. Of course, you may not be interested in plants that you can eat; however, edible plants are fascinating to me, and the fact that many “weeds” are also edible and nutritious makes it a topic that I think may interest some of you, as well. As I continue exploring various YT channels, I’ll make a post in the future listing the best gardening channels that I’ve found.

Finally, the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map has been one of my favorite references during this growing season. Viewing the zone map and using other USDA resources has taught me a lot about what kind of zone I live in, as well as the different zones within my state.

Do you have any digital tools that you use for your garden? I’d love to hear all about them!

beauty · style

My Boohoo Wish List

It’s been quite some time since I discussed fashion on this blog. I take it that this means that I’m starting to feel more like my old self (which is a good thing!). I still love fashion, though it took a backseat to my physical and emotional health over the past 18 months.

However, a recent haul video done by the lovely Jessica over at Wigs and Wanderlust reminded me of my love of Boohoo clothing. The clothing is, as I’ve heard it described, “cheap and cheerful”, but the designs are cute and last a while when you take good care of them. So I decided to see what beauties Boohoo had for me. I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw!

Full disclosure: I adore midi length dresses, so pretty much everything will be a little longer than many of the designs offered on Boohoo. I will occasionally wear a shorter length, but something about midi-length dresses make me feel sleek and more elegant.

This square neck midi skater dress is dreamy: it looks cute and summery, and there’s a lot of potential to dress it up or down. I’d love to get this one in a couple of colors.

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The pleated bodice on this midi dress is so dynamic, yet the overall silhouette is controlled and sleek. The pleated top bandeau midi dress is a great option for a summertime cocktail party.

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The puff sleeves may sound a little silly, but paired with the structured bodice and sweetheart neckline, this organza mesh puff sleeve midi dress is a stunning study in harmonious contrasts.

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The blue version of this dress reminds me a bit of a design offered on Boohoo a few years ago that I adored. However, I like the white version of this bust detail porcelain print midi dress. I’m not sure if the print is visible in person, as it would be white-on-white. But if it has a slight contrast, it could be very pretty when viewed in real life.

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These are just a few of the designs that won my heart over at Boohoo. I don’t have anywhere fancy to wear them, but at this point, I love dressing up to walk around the house LOL!

Have you been making any wish lists recently? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

 

fitness · health

Fibro Fridays: Yoga for Fibro Relief

Happy Friday, friends! We’ve completed another week, and aren’t we happy for that? This first full week of May was pleasant, despite the fact that we’re all still adjusting to our collective new normal.

As a person managing fibromyalgia symptoms, I look for relief from multiple sources. I prefer to supplement my prescription and alternative medicine routine with physical activity that is gentle, effective and easy to do at home. For that reason, I turned to yoga tutorials on YouTube to help me to stay active and reduce physical pain.

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I’ve tried several different tutorials and I have a few that I can recommend. I hope that you can use these to get pain relief and feel better!

Firstly, Shima Flow Yoga’s Yoga for Fibromyalgia is the gentlest routine that I’ve used, and I always feel so good after I do it. It’s the perfect length (a little under 30 minutes) and doesn’t require any special equipment. I highly recommend this one!

Next, Sleepy Santosha’s Gentle Yoga for Fibromyalgia is a little longer than the previous video (a tad over 30 minutes) but is still a good one. This channel is really good because the yogi is a chronic pain sufferer, so she’s mindful of our physical limitations. I noticed that the routine is a bit more intense that the previously mentioned video, but I like that this channel does have multiple videos specifically for fibro.

Finally, when I’m pressed for time, I go to Shima Flow Yoga’s abbreviated Yoga for Fibromyalgia video. This video is less than 15 minutes and you can pace it as quickly or as slowly as you like.

Let me know if you try any of these videos, and how well they work for you. I’ll talk to you all next week. Take care, and enjoy your weekend!

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!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

beauty · fitness · life curation

My Latest Obsession: Mature YouTubers

There’s something truly magical about learning to love the skin you’re in and embracing the aging process. I’ve spent a lot of time combing through YouTube to find content creators that can offer their life insights along with beauty information that’s applicable to the 40/50+ crowd. I’m inspired by these lovely women that define “aging gracefully”.

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The Free Range Diva: One of my all-time favorites. She is one of the rare mature women of color in the green beauty realm. She’s taught me about many green/clean beauty and health brands that I’d never heard of before. Here’s a video where she shares some things we can do while quarantined.

MzBrazell: She cooks, she dons different hair looks, and she’s charming. MzBrazell’s channel has been one of my favorites for quite some time. Here’s a video where she shows her most recent Amazon haul:

 

Life Over Sixty with Sandra: She has a background in media so she is amazing on YT. I love to hear her musings and refletions on her career. This video about listening to your intuition is a treasure.

 

 

NeeCJae: She has beautiful makeup looks and reviews, and I love her energy! This is a video with ideas of what you can do while quarantined.

 

Sussex Sandra: One of our sisters across the pond has a YT channel that discusses makeup and beauty. She does a lot of unboxing videos, so if that’s your thing, her channel is worth checking out. Here, she does a Treasure Tress Hair Subscription unboxing:

 

These are a few of the ladies that I’m watching right now. Do you have any favorite mature YTers? Please let me know in the comments below!

culture · Uncategorized

5 Easy Ways to Support Your Favorite Content Creators

Happy Wednesday! I hope you all are enjoying your hump day and making it a great one.

I recently have been consuming a lot of motivational/inspirational content on social media. I really needed to tap into the encouraging words of some of my favorite content creators, as well as learn about products and programs that could support me in accomplishing my dreams in 2019.

As I watched videos, checked out Instagram stories, and listened to podcasts, I realized that it’s important to support these content creators, who pour out their hearts and souls for our consumption. There are a lot of ways to support them, but I wanted to share 5 easy ways that you can give them support that doesn’t require a lot of time or money. ‘Tis the season to be generous, right? Here are some ways that you can do that.

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  • Watch the advertisements at the beginning of YouTube videos.

It’s almost instinctual to click through the advertisements and get right to the content. However, I’ve been making it a point to allow the advertisement to play at the beginning of YouTube videos. It’s a little way that I can support content creators, and it doesn’t cost me a thing.

  • Purchase a program/training/book/product from them.

This is obvious, but if you’ve been consuming a lot of material from a particular content creator, it stands to reason that you may want to invest in one of their products or programs. If the investment is within your budget, it would be great to support in such a clear, tangible way.

  • Share the content with your social network.

Saw a video that you really enjoyed? Listened to a podcast that got you fired up (in a good way)? Read a post that really helped you get clear on something? Share it with others! You never know who is looking for that information. Even if you’re not on social media, share it with someone that you know offline: send a link to a friend, family member, coworker, whoever.

  • Like, comment, subscribe, follow, join: get involved with the content creator’s groups and social media outlets.

If you really want to support content creator’s, it’s as simple as pressing “like”, subscribing, joining their free groups, following their fan pages, etc.,. Having a strong social media following is important for content creators, and since it’s free, why not do it? Besides, it’s the best way to stay current with these creator’s latest offerings.

  • Give them positive reviews.

While you’re joining your favorite content creators’ groups, why not post reviews of their content? Reviews are pretty easy to do on podcasting platforms like iTunes and Stitcher, and can be done on other platforms, too. It’s a simple, easy way to let the world know who you support.

Can you all think of any other ways to support content creators? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

style

The Only Two YouTube Style Gurus That You Need to Know About

Happy Friday, friends! I’ve recently spent a lot of time on YouTube, getting additional style ideas for this fall/winter transition. I have a good sense of the major items that I want to incorporate into my wardrobe, but I love getting additional inspiration so that I can look my best during the cooler months.

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Through the many videos I’ve watched, I’ve learned that there are only two YouTube gurus that I’ve seen who have extremely comprehensive information that can apply to anyone. These YT creators are informative, thorough, and engaging. If you need a basic style education, I recommend these two ladies highly.

Aly Art

Aly is a favorite because her channel explains the Kibbe typing system in detail, and extends the concepts from clothing to hair, makeup and accessories. This Russian cutie makes content that really delves in how style can be used to flatter and enhance our natural attributes. She’s charming and stylish, and I love how her channel makes sure that a wide variety of women are well represented.

One of my favorite Aly Art’s favorite videos is the one about signature looks for the different body types:

 

Justine Leconte

I don’t know if it’s her French sensibility or her actual content that I love more, but I adore Justine. She is a fashion designer so she has a professional background in the style industry, and she, like Aly, has a flair for breaking down fashion concepts for regular folks like us. She covers fashion, color theory, beauty, and cultural concepts on her channel. There’s a lot of good information here, so visit when you have a good amount of time on your hands. Justine also has a website that you can check out here.

This video about planning your capsule wardrobe is great:

These two YouTubers are my go-tos for style information. Listen to these two ladies and you can’t go wrong!

That’s all for today. I look forward to chatting with you all tomorrow. Take care!

culture · Uncategorized

I’m Coming to YouTube!

One of my big “surprises” for the blog is that I will starting makng YouTube videos in the next couple of weeks! I’ve thought about it long and hard, and some messages are best communicated verbally as opposed to the written word. I won’t be posting videos every day, but for some topics, I think a video supplement is the best way to get the point across.

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I have some short videos up right now, and I’ll be re-filming a video that I posted to my Instagram account last week. Here’s a video from my time at the Embassy of Ireland several months ago:

 

There will be lots of travel, cooking, art and cultural videos on my channel. In other words, it will be an extension of this website. I’m so excited for this new chapter, and I hope you all will enjoy the content I create!

culture · international

Fun With Portuguese

I slacked with my Portuguese studies but I recently got back into my routine and I’m excited about learning more of the language. For the record, I’m learning European Portuguese, since I expect to go to Portugal before I travel to Brazil. But let’s be honest: I’d take either location: I’m not picky about which one I visit first!

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Portuguese has a lot of words and definitions shared with Spanish, but make no mistake: studying Spanish isn’t enough to get by in Portuguese. Familiarity with any Romance language will help with Portuguese comprehension. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I see or hear a word and it means what I *think* it means.

Pronunciation, on the other hand, is a completely different animal. I’ve taken French and Spanish, and certain tricks of pronunciation elude me: the same occurs while I’m practicing Portuguese, too. I really love is the tendency to add a subtle “sh” sound at the end of some words ending in the letter “s”. It almost sounds like what most Americans would consider a lisp, though it’s actually a completely acceptable sound. In fact, disregarding the subtle “sh” would likely make it clear to any native speaker that you aren’t one of them.

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All of that being said, I love the sound of Portuguese, and I’m excited that I’m learning little phrases here and there. If I didn’t mention it before, I’ll mention it now: I’ll be sharing my language learning tools on this blog. For this post, I’ll be sharing one podcast that I’ve used to help me with learning Portuguese.

Portuguese with Carla has incredibly thorough language instruction and the lessons are long enough where you can really start “training your ear” to the language. Carla and her husband Marlon not only teach Portuguese but they also give neuroscientific tips, offering research and techniques related to improved language learning. I’ve been having a lot of fun listening to them and practicing along. I generally listen to the podcast but I also have checked out their companion YT channel, since I occasionally need to see what is being said so that I can get a better “feel” of the conversation. If you’re interested in learning Portuguese, I highly recommend this website/podcast/YT channel!

Here’s one of Carla’s videos, for your enjoyment: