September 30, 2011

start living today!!

Photo c/o: Tumblr

   Can you believe that we're at the end of September already? Wow! It feels like just yesterday I was talking about expanding your lane and pursuing your passions. That was Sept 2nd. Now, we're at the culminating day of one of the best months of my life. It was life-changing and soul-stirring; filled with triumphs & setbacks and I needed each one. One of my New Year's resolutions was to leave US soil and visit other countries. This was the month that I was able to experience three; three unique countries that opened my eyes, heart, and mind to how different the world is for every individual based on what decisions they choose to make. 

   This was also the month that I was able to experience God in a way I've never experienced before. My church led a two week campaign promoting Christ entitled Lifted. 113 souls dedicated their lives to Christ through baptism. God allowed me a front row seat. He showed me how much people REALLY need the Lord and how badly the world is waiting on people like me, who know God, to share my knowledge and experience of Him. 

   This month was also the first month that I really committed to blogging in a long time. I've been blogging since 2008 and it's something I really enjoy. I am a girl who loves to create editorial content (I was a Journalism major for crying out loud) and have always been excited about so many projects that I've never made the time to do. That stopped this month.

   I'm not sure if you noticed but I've mentioned the phrase "this month" quite a few times. When I say "this month", I'm talking about the present. Are you actively seizing the day and becoming the person who you've always wanted to be NOW? If not, why not? What are you waiting for? As the picture clearly (and beautifully) states, "tomorrow isn't guaranteed".   In my opinion, one of the thought patterns that messes so many of us up is the "I've got to get it done on my own". We think that so much to the point that we totally miss the point. Not clear? Okay, I'm reminded of one of my friends. I love him dearly but we rarely talk. Mind you, the lack of communication isn't because of a falling out. The reason is because his phone is always dead. Everytime I call, there's no ringtone. It just goes straight to voicemail. He'll joke around about it but the fact that it's taken a toll on our friendship is no laughing matter. Why work hard for a paycheck, pay the phone bill only to never use the phone because it's never charged up? It's not like it's something out of his control. HE can do it. He just doesn't take the time to make that extra step that would make a world of difference for his now dwindling circle of friends. I sometimes get frustrated at the thought of him and his cell phone woes and then it hit me. How many times do we do that with God?

    He's given us diverse gifts, talents, interests, and quirks. That desire to travel the world or open your own business; who do you think could've planted that seed within you? We try to work so hard in our strength and then we don't truly plug into the source of it all: Jesus Christ.  So by the time we're done working and paying our "dues", we don't have the mental capacity to even remember to plug ourselves up to the source. So our works end up being TOTALLY in vain and we miss out on going from  emotional/spiritual death to emotional/spiritual abundant life, stamina, power, and fulfillment. Why try to do everything in your own strength when there is someone who want to help you? John 10:10 (New Living Translation) says that "[His] purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." Now, how do you plug into the source? Let's start with three steps: 

1. Talk to God- When you wake up in the morning, say hi! Thank Him for another day of life. Talk to Him about what's on your heart. You can do this through writing a letter to Him. A lot of people do this and call them prayer journals. You don't have to mail these letters though. He actually has seen the words before you wrote them down. Cool, uh? Or you can whisper to Him or just have a mental dialogue with Him. 

2. Learn about God- When you have a friendship, it's important to get to know the other person right? Well, He already knows about you so it's your turn to get to know Him. How do you get to know Him? Read the Bible. Now before you say "it's boring and I don't want to", hear me out. Even if it's just a verse or a couple chapters, read a little about Him every day. Or listen to a devotional thought talking about Him to get to know Him. Our Daily Bread and My Utmost for His Highest are some of my favorites. 

3. Trust God- This is one a lot of people struggle with but it's the key to living freely. When you really trust someone, that eliminates fear, doubt, worry and stress. God is the ultimate One to trust. For many, it's a work in progress but it's definitely worthwhile for all. 
(Steps 1 & 2 should be done in the morning but can be repeated at bedtime. 
It's always nice to sleep with Him on your mind)

   There's a saying that we teach what we need to learn. That saying is applicable in this situation. I love God. I love learning about God. I love talking to God. I love being able to trust God. I just need to do all three a whole lot more. We'll grow together but actively pursue God now! Don't spend your life waiting for your life to start. After all, tomorrow isn't guaranteed. 

September 29, 2011

dreams demure [#3]

"A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman but loose enough to prove you're a lady." -Edith Head

You just don't see a lot of modest fashion nowadays. It's out there though. Perhaps a weekly reminder might help. Keep in mind that body proportions play a HUGE role in what's okay/not okay for each individual. Here's my interpretation of how individual style is executed well while still being modest. I may not wear each and every style shown but I can def. respect the brainchild behind each look:

Photos c/o: Tumblr, Karla's Closet, Flare Fashion, Topshop, Atlantic-Pacific,,

September 28, 2011

It's the Simple Things (Gratitude PhotoJournal):

1. Okay, so I totally borrowed this idea from my local Anthropologie but who hasn't? :) Actually, I've seen a lot of Anthropologie stores with this same "candle in the sand" concept. I loved this Soap and Paper Factory candle so much! It's called Bella and it's a mix of bergamot, grapefruit and black pepper. It's very exotic!  But, there's just something about seeing a candle burning and smelling the sweet scents that puts me in relaxation mode.

2. Ever since I can remember, I've been a magazine fanatic. I even considered getting a Master's in Magazine Journalism at NYU at one point. I love editorial content. I love reading the different articles and seeing how diverse and layered a monthly issue can be. For the majority of this year, work has been all I've had energy for. So I literally had stacks of magazines still in their plastic packages. I finally carved out some time to work through them. Now I have two more (that I know of) at the top of the stack to go through. Yay!!! It's so important to make time for those simple pleasures like perusing through favorite magazines!

3. These gladiator sandals are the most beautiful cobalt blue AND *drumroll please*.....they are SCENTED!!!! I've never heard of scented sandals until I purchased these earlier in the spring. **Warning! I'm about to get sentimental. The scent is reminiscent of the many baby dolls I played with as a little kid. It's so weird but my sensory memory transported me straight to the early 90s when I played with dolls. It made me appreciate the blessings I had as a child. I didn't have to worry about where my next meal was coming from. I had sisters and dolls to have fun with. I had an innocent childhood. I hope to give the same to kids of my own someday.

4. "If you use what little you may have to serve the Lord with all your heart, you will find that He can do great things when you begin to do your part." -Sper.  That's what my handwriting says just in case you can't read it :) I got some news two days ago that was a little upsetting but I decided to actively let God handle it. I felt Him saying that He would take care of it but there were some things I could do to. The next morning, I read  this devotion which further confirmed what I believed the Lord was saying to me. I'm so grateful for God and His lovely way of giving me confirmation.

September 27, 2011

Chef Boyar-DANI:Homemade Tortilla Chips and Guacamole

 I was able to get my hands on some yummy guacamole in Costa Maya, Mexico three weeks ago. It left such an impression on me that I've decided to keep trying different guacamole recipes until I get it right. I'll have to try this recipe again with white onions. I only had red onions in the fridge so I want to see the difference the white onions will make. Both the tortilla chips and guacamole recipes were simple and extremely tasty. My appetite has been very funny lately so I gave the majority of it to my dad because I just wasn't hungry. Needless to say, he devoured it! By the time, I came to give him more leftover chips, the guac was gone! :)

September 26, 2011

mon{diy}day: pencil holder

A couple weeks ago, I saw this pencil holder on Fly, one of my favorite blogs. Cute, right? Now, I'm not knocking anyone's hustle but $9.50 is $8.50 more than I'd like to spend on a pencil holder *shrug*. So, I decided to make my own. Yes, it's super DIY and I love it! It makes me happy when I see it on my desk. 

September 23, 2011

dreams demure [#2]

"A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman but loose enough to prove you're a lady." -Edith Head

You just don't see a lot of modest fashion nowadays. It's out there though. Perhaps a weekly reminder might help. Keep in mind that body proportions play a HUGE role in what's okay/not okay for each individual. Here's my interpretation of how individual style is executed well while still being modest. I may not wear each and every style shown but I can def. respect the brainchild behind each look:


Photos c/o: Street Style Aesthetic, Tumblr, Karla's, Calivintage, Re-invented Process

September 22, 2011

Product Review:::Lush Sexy Peel Soap:::

It's a brilliant blend of lime, orange, and lemon peels mixed with essential oils and juices. I love a lot of homemade/handmade products so a store with a handmade concept like Lush, makes me swoon. While I love handmade soaps, I also love all things citrus. This soap is those two loves combined. I sometimes use this soap in the morning when I need a wake-me-up moment. The citrus scent is incredibly invigorating. It lathers pretty well too. I just wish that the soap bar didn't shrivel up so quickly. Within two or three washes, half the bar is gone! I'm not a fan of that, but once you get the wonderful smell in the shower, you tend to savor the sweet aromas instead of loathe the fact that they'll be gone in a few washes. Below is the link showing EXACTLY how they make it. I might have to try this one day :)

September 21, 2011

It's the Simple Things (Gratitude PhotoJournal):

Since this is my first gratitude journal since I've been back from vacation, be prepared to see many photos from my trip. My gratitude is through the roof with that blessing! :) One of my best friends and I hung out in Isla Roatan, Honduras for the day and at one point, we got hungry (makes sense, right?). A lot of the locals suggested we go to Lighthouse Cafe. It was on the water. The view was impeccable. My blackened red snapper burger was delectable. More importantly, I was really appreciative of the owner/chef's story. He came over and shared his story with us. Originally from Isla Roatan, he moved to Seattle, Washington over 20 years ago. He worked in business but always knew that his passion was cooking and he'd want to own a restaurant in Honduras. He came back and did (a man of his word). No matter how long it takes, keep pushing toward your dreams. A lot of those dreams that are worthwhile don't usually come to fruition instantaneously. Whatever that dream is, commit it to God and be faithful. 

We've gone from Honduras straight to Washington, DC. There's something about the food and drinks at Pret that tastes so fresh. I absolutely love anything I get from there. I also appreciate the extra effort to make things more fresh. The more I read books like Food Rules or watch interviews with vegans and raw foodies on YouTube, the more I realize a lot of what we're eating is not real food. It's not an easy road but we've got to make a change as a country before everyone dies of obesity!!

Today is the first day of fall so it's time to hang up my summer playlist and make a new one for fall. One of my favorite pastimes is getting in my car, plugging up my usually dying ipod, and singing the stress away. I don't have to sound good or hit the right notes. I can just be free. This song is one of my favorites from my summer playlist. I just might carry it over into fall. We'll see. I usually can't keep up with Kim but I'm a shoe-in for the background gig :)

I'm losing weight! :) That's something I'm grateful for. I've been steadily gaining for the past couple years. The reason was because of hormones but now that my hormone levels are steadily getting back to normal, the weight is coming off without exercising for 2 hours and eating nothing but oatmeal and protein all day. I'm VERY grateful for that. BUT, I think that the meds I'm on are changing my taste buds. Me eating lettuce by choice? That's a miracle to be documented. I normally only buy spinach and will eat lettuce if I'm at a potluck or something but not by choice. I'm grateful for an increased desire for lettuce. Maybe one day I'll like beets *shrugs*

 No matter WHAT you're dealing with, take comfort in a God who really does care: 

September 14, 2011

Now Playing:

Artist: Christopher Cross
Song: Sailing

One of my favorite songs to zone out the world and listen to is this 80s classic. Funny thing is that once I start playing this song, I have to play it at least 5-10 more times. It was extra special for me to play it last week when I was on the balcony of a cruise ship...sailing. I stayed out there for what felt like hours. It was just me, the ocean, the breeze, and this song. It was ultimate tranquility indeed.

September 13, 2011

So this was in my Gmail inbox...

Two major components of my favorite things list are colliding: Design Sponge and Anthropologie! One of the main reasons why I started this blog was to actively work on all the mini-projects that were inspired by Design Sponge and Anthropologie. A piece of me wants to drive to Richmond for the book signing but I'm not up for that roadtrip :) Either way, I'm very happy to see this collaboration and I'm very happy for Grace Bonney. She's definitely an inspiration to me :)

September 12, 2011

Chef Boyar-DANI: Virgin Pina Colada

 Fruity drinks and vacations go hand in hand. So of course, I ordered a couple pina coladas (my favorite fruity drink of them all).  One of the best pina coladas I've ever tasted was on a little island in Honduras called Isla Roatan at this cute little restaurant right on the water called Lighthouse Cafe. The food was also excellent and the owner/cook was the nicest! I didn't get the exact recipe for the drink but one of the waiters shared that he puts grenadine and coconut cream in his. So I found this recipe with those ingredients. Hopefully, when I make my own, it will teleport me back to sweet Isla Roatan! :)

48 oz. fresh pineapple juice

45 oz. coconut cream

15 oz. of pineapple

crushed ice

splash (or more) of grenadine

Week of Inspiration

I had an unforgettable week in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico last week.  I caught a cold on the tail end of the week so Theraflu, Emergen-C, and sleep have been my best friends lately. Even though, I'm under the weather, I don't want to neglect the blog so this week will be called my week of inspiration. Coming home, I realized that things can get hectic if I don't slow down. One of my favorite things to do is soak in all the inspiration I can get from countless places. I'll be sharing some of those sources this week. Stay tuned :)

My view in Cozumel, Mexico last Tuesday! Perfection!

September 2, 2011

Expanding Your Lane

I think it was during high school when I first saw actors and musicians stepping out and doing more than what they were famous for: perfumes, clothing lines, bedding, etc. Of course you had everyone endorsing Coca-Cola every now and then and  the famous "Got Milk?" campaign. When it happened all at once, I started to get a teensy bit annoyed. I just didn't understand why they couldn't leave the clothing lines to actual clothing designers or why they'd put their name on a cologne they had nothing to do with. Why not stay in their own lane? Eventually, it hit me. Yes, these ventures were money makers but that wasn't the end of it. The majority of these celebs are right-brained and many right-brained people are interested in a million different artsy subjects.

In a recent interview,  actor James Franco shares his interests and recent accomplishments. James is one of those professional students. He's been a student of subjects such as American literature, French, philosophy, art, and the Holocaust. His schools include Yale, Columbia, UCLA, Warren Wilson College, and Brooklyn College. Recently, James was accepted to University of Houston to complete his PhD.  He's also the star of this summer's blockbuster hit Planet of the Apes. He was the co-host for this year's Academy Awards show and he was also a nominee. Funny thing is that he missed the 2011 Academy Award nominations annoucement because he had class! When asked why and how he does this, his answer was so simple and it resonated within me. He explained that he has a lot of interests and has made time for the things he loves. Hmmm. Whatever happened to making time for the things you love? It's so simple but we make it so hard. 

Now, I'm not saying wander from career to career. James Franco is an Academy Award nominated actor. I'm sure he can afford to go to all these schools and be just fine. However, I will say that it's important to have a plan for the things you're really interested in. It can be as simple as going to the zoo once a month to learn more about the animals you've loved since you were a kid. It could be visiting all 50 states before 50. It could be getting that degree you've always wanted. If you don't have a million interests and can focus on the few you have, that's great. If you're like me and have a million different interests but just have no idea how to channel them, here are some suggestions:

1. Write it down. Find some free time and go somewhere alone. Think about all the ideas that you've put on the seemingly endless To-Do list of your mind. This could take some time so don't be surprised if an hour passes and you're still writing. What do you love? What inspires you? You have a million dollars to do whatever you want with it. Write down all the words that come to mind no matter how simple they may seem. 

2. Finding the Connection. Find similarities between the words that are written. Group the words into sections based on those similarities. What makes the most sense when put together? The purpose of finding a connection is to help make the list seem less daunting. If you're able to break life-long dreams down into shorter spurts of daydreams, it's easier to get your head out of the clouds and start living those dreams out loud! 

3. Brainstorming Time. If you have a full time schedule, it's difficult to find time for things that you love. Sometimes, you literally have to brainstorm how to make time for the things that interest you. This blog is a prime example of brainstorming time. I work full time and by the time I get home, I just want to be a zombie and stare at the TV screen. However, it got to the point where I felt a something gnawing at my soul. All the DIY projects I'd been meaning to do, the recipes I would eventually try, and new articles I would write all became a figment of my imagination. I was consumed with work and my health. In life, you really need to make time for things that will help the unbearable become bearable. Even if it means carving out 1 hour out of the day to enjoy one thing on that list, do it. 

4. Be Realistic. Q: How do you eat an elephant? A: 1 bite at a timeKnow your limits. I always read articles that talk about "setting realistic goals". Rome wasn't built in a day. You've just figured out all the interests you'd like to actively explore. You have a lifetime to explore. Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today but don't wear yourself out today to the point that you don't want to wake up tomorrow. 

I could continue with 5,6,7,8 on how to explore. Believe me, I'm really good at researching and learning new ways to do almost anything. However, I think I'll stop here. There's lot to think about and do from these exercises alone. I'm on vacation next week so I'll be back to the blogosphere in two weeks. Thanks for reading, by the way. It's been a fun first week back. 


P.S. Please don't eat any elephants in the meantime. 

wait patiently. pray tenderly. love responsibly. forgive generously. 

September 1, 2011

dreams demure [#1]

"A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman but loose enough to prove you're a lady." -Edith Head

You just don't see a lot of modest fashion nowadays. It's out there though. Perhaps a weekly reminder might help. Keep in mind that body proportions play a HUGE role in what's okay/not okay for each individual. Here's my interpretation of how individual style is executed well while still being modest. I may not wear each and every style shown but I can def. respect the brainchild behind each look:

and last but not least....

 me :)

Photos c/o: Tumblr, Elle Magazine, Lucky Magazine,,, Stella&Cooper, Me :)