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12.31.2019

REFLECTING ON 2019


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I don't know about you, but I find it so surreal that we’re ending a whole decade! The idea of being ten years older alone makes me cringe. This really solidifies the sobering truthfulness of how time waits for no one. Reflecting on 2019 makes me realize how it's been a strange year: hopeful in the first few months, sneakily dreadful midway with an eventfully quiet ending which I'm grateful for. It will always be the year that completely mangled my overly genuine heart in a way I never thought possible with my perception of people, how I love, and trust and giving selflessly forever altered. It was not short of trying situations, disappointing revelations, plenty of emotional anguish, and defeat. While those times were extremely difficult to navigate through, what I can say is that despite those dark periods where I experienced the lowest of lows, it's during such times I experienced the most growth. One thing is for certain, 2019 was truly a 'coming into my own' kind of year on a whole other level. 

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I fully expect in the voyage on the sea of life, stormy weather is inevitable and during the worst storms of your life, that's when you get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you. One of the most eye-opening things I came to grievously accept is how some people can manipulate, lie, treat you badly and somehow manage to make it all seem like you're the bad egg. True, the lessons may be hard, the sufferings great but, I survived it all and remained firm with my feet planted on the ground with the help of my God. And thankfully, even though I weathered (the operative word here is weathered...) some bad times in this season of my life, there was an equal amount of experiencing the most beautiful rainbows and rays of sunshine through those dark clouds - leaving me with some really amazing memories to keep me smiling. I got to dance in the rainstorm so-to-speak. For one thing, I got to see more of the world together with the hubby than ever before and ended the summer such high notes. The takeaway is there are blessings despite the storms. 

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It is my prayer that the old negative energy is clearing out and that all difficulties die along with 2019. Meanwhile, in 2020, my main goal is to work on shedding some weight. I don't mean in pounds, (although very necessary as well), but shedding emotional baggage to create mental space for more important things. Important things like reading my Bible in the morning before doing anything else, living my life more mindfully in slow motion and cultivate more patience. The kind that can endure without any thought of retaliation, putting up with difficult circumstances without losing hope, while maintaining a positive attitude. The art of life lies in a constant readjustment from what we learn. So, for now, I'm determined to stay firmly planted and remaining steadfast no matter what may come my way which isn't easy but I hope to greatly improve by the end of 2020. Here's to a season of three-hundred-sixty-five days of newness to building back up putting all of those pieces together. 

What are your goals? I'd love to hear!

12.30.2019

2019 Best Beauty Buys


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I’m still in denial that there's only one more day left to 2019 and how behind I still am at producing this 2019 best beauty buys post that I started working on so long ago. I'm sooo not a last minute individual but the velocity of time these days coupled with a very tight schedule has kept punctual posting such an elusive task for me this past couple of years. Anyhow, this is the time I normally take a moment to reflect back and gather all the beauty product purchases I made in the year to pick out my most beloved ones that I notice improved my skin and hair dramatically. I really couldn't tell until lately, when every other person has been complimenting me more than ever before on how radiant and great my skin and hair look. If achieving shinier nourished hair and smoother, younger, hydrated, and radiant glowy skin is one of the things on your 2020 resolution list... look no further, here are my top 2019 best beauty buys that I highly suggest trying out to help you realize that goal. You're welcome!

12.19.2019

Accept Life As It Is


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Right here, right now - not as we think it should be or resenting someone else's perceived "best life." Don't waste precious time and energy on what doesn't seem to be right or fair in life. Realistically, we have to recognize that in this imperfect world, those who have great ability do not always receive recognition and those with less ability sometimes are more connected thus, receive more honor. To be real, I'm writing about this particular topic of accepting life as it is because it's something that I more often than not struggle with. For someone who has been hustling extremely hard for close to over three decades from working in Corporate America on wall street, to working in retail, started a freelance business in interior design, fashion and now, lifestyle coaching selflessly helping others to improve their lives, I can wholeheartedly attest that it's rare that great talent, abilities, good deeds and hard work in themselves guarantee recognition or "success." In fact, today, those less qualified are put in positions or given the opportunities, while individuals who are hard workers or more capable go unrecognized. It's amazing though how accepting that reality rather than to be obsessed with such negative circumstances helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Such mindfulness serves as a goad to stop us from worrying about the small, meaningless stresses in life and reminds us that happiness is not based on power, prestige or possessions, but directly connected to our faith and the important relationships that will last after everything else fails.

12.02.2019

No Such Thing As Being Overdressed


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We’re definitely one of those couples who are into dressing up for date nights, which sometimes includes a great night out on the town for a lovely dinner and a show. We often say how we were born in the wrong era, as our souls feel much more connected and at ease with bygone days when chivalry was a thing, people dressed up for occasions and had manners. Hence, our obsession with the era of dark, cozy speakeasies and movies such as The Great Gatsby, Midnight in Paris and Downton Abbey, for they take us back in time when people were effortlessly alluring.  One of the treasured lessons my mom instilled in me at a tender age in her short time in my life was the importance of being well-dressed and looking presentable at all times for every occasion. Her philosophy was whether you're going to the Doctor’s office, the farmer’s market or even flying on a plane, it doesn’t matter… you simply dress up. It shows respect not only for yourself but for others you meet. Then again, come to think of it, she was a child from that bygone era. Which would explain why I'm unashamed if I seem to be overdressed wherever I go. To me, there's no such thing as being overdressed. It has nothing to do with pretention, "narcissism", and/or vanity. It has to do with respecting oneself enough to present yourself well to the world because it does matter. I believe your attire not only shows who you are, but it also has a bearing on how you behave and definitely in how you get treated too. And it doesn't hurt that it makes a HUGE difference in how good it makes you feel about yourself.

11.22.2019

The art of hosting stress-free dinner parties with style


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While I enjoy special nights going out to eat at a few of our favorite restaurants, I equally love to recreate that intimate experience at my own home. What better way to share a meal and really enjoy each other’s company than to host cozy dinners at home? 

11.08.2019

Our Dining Room Reveal

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Even though we gave this once used as a "family/TV room" (by the previous homeowner) its makeover into a dining room back in November 2017, I never got to share what it looked like before because I always felt it's not completely done exactly how I want it. For one, I'd love to blow out the back sliding doors and the window next to it and combine them into large french doors with black iron frames that open up to the backyard. It's also my dream to change all the windows and the flooring throughout along with the rug that's currently under the dining table. I'd like a couple of these for head chairs. However, since I've shared some bits and pieces of this room on Instagram, I thought it was about time I finally did a dining room reveal of some of the changes we made thus far.

10.18.2019

the details that make a house a home

10.14.2019

new fall season skincare secrets

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With a new season comes a necessary tweak to our skincare routine to keep it well hydrated, plump and bright. In general, I grew up with good skin but I think it was mostly because I had a mother who taught me the importance of taking care of your skin by keeping it well moisturized instead of concentrating on the application of makeup. So I grew up keeping things simple and have always embraced the less is more approach in the way I take care of mine. I feel in the quest of achieving 'perfect' skin, many times we can become overly aggressive in our skincare routine when all we need is to protect the outer layer that does all the hard work. For this reason, I rarely stick to one complete line of products when it comes to my skincare as I periodically re-evaluate my needs and switch out and/or add new products, especially with each new season, to help maintain great healthy and glowy youthful skin. Recently, I was sent a few products from Lexli to try out and after several weeks of incorporating them into my skincare routine, I was happy to find some newfound favorites that addressed some of my problem areas right on time before the harsh winter months.

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For starters, within a couple of weeks, their Moisture Intensifier Serum has already improved the dry area around my lips. I use it as a base just on the problem area of my face as a first step before applying my moisturizer with SPF. The Toner and Balance isn't only a great face refresher but I also use it after washing my face. It's the only toner I've ever used that manages to remove any trace of makeup residue even after a thorough face wash. It's by far one of my newfound favorites. And it smells amazing! I mean, their whole line of products smell fresh, are gentle, soft, and soothing to the skin. I also notice that my face has this extra shine and feels much smoother since I've integrated their AloeGlyC Exfoliant into my routine. This product helps to exfoliate the outer layer of skin and unclog pores while enhancing the elasticity and firmness to help reveal a brighter, smoother complexion. However, it's important to ease your way into using this type of acid on your face. For instance, I only use a drop of it combined with my Night Moisturizer once a week. If your skin seems to be okay with it, then gradually increase the amount used, which is what I've done and have noticed a great difference in my skin's appearance.

In honor of celebrating the relaunch of my website's new facelift, I've partnered with @lexliskincare, the premier line of aloe vera skin products, to share with you some of what I feel are my new fall season skincare secrets that will help your skin stay hydrated and bright with a youthful glow just in time for the new season. This great giveaway is a celebration of YOU, to thank you for your constant support and love.

Without further ado, here's what Lexli Skincare company has agreed to generously send one of you for participating in this giveaway.

Your giveaway prize will include the following products:
* Cleansing Lotion
* Tone and Balance
* AloeGlyC
* Daily Moisturizer w/SPF 30 (featuring AloeGlyC Complex)
* Night Moisturizer
* Hand and Body Lotion

See how to enter on my Instagram post here. Best wishes!


9.20.2019

A GREAT END TO ONE EVENTFUL SUMMER OF 2019


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The hubby and I love getting out of town and seize any and every opportunity we can to slip into a unique, one-of-a-kind exclusive boutique hotel for a change of pace and to unplug for a good mental reset. One thing about being self-employed is that it gets monotonous and lonely really quickly and if you’re not surrounded by family or good friends to break up that routine, it makes it even the more difficult. So, getting away as much as we can have become vital for us. One of our favorite ways to battle that rut is to stay at exclusive hotels that make us feel like we’re in faraway places where we’re treated with such love and care that it instantly gives us that jolt of rejuvenation. That's exactly what we did recently. To finish on a high note, we took one of the most memorable getaways for a great end to one eventful summer season before we buckle down at home for the rest of the year. It was the perfect respite we needed to boost our mood.

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And what better way is there to immediately slip into a relaxed vacation mindset than to start with a scrumptious afternoon tea right after check-in, especially after being upgraded to the quietest side of the property overlooking a Japanese Garden. Yes, please.

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Nothing ends the first day of a getaway more perfectly than slipping into a hotel's intimate bar lounge with a speakeasy vibe that transports you to another era for the ultimate escapism before turning in for the night.

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For us, travel replenishes our spirit and brings power and love back into our lives even if that means spending a couple of nights in a hotel just to break the day-to-day monotony. Hope everyone had a great summer!


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