My Sweet Valentine

DSCF0662[1]Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the one you love. Although, it should not be on the only time in the year  that you do. Make this holiday special by doing something different and very romantic. I suggest skipping the crowded restaurant or the movies, in lieu for real quality time one on one with the one you love.

Start by writing a love letter. In the letter appreciate the other person for the everyday things that demonstrate how much they love you.  Often times, the everyday things are taken for granted. Your recognizing their love in even the simple things, will make them feel special. Also, write about the qualities they possess that deepens your love for them. It will make them feel loved and very special. Choose beautiful stationary or a lovely card to deliver the message.

Next to address the quality time, plan a romantic date, e.g. a picnic, a walk, or hike. Plan for at least an hour, where the both of you can spark a great conversation and enjoy each others company. Gifts are nice. However a gift, alone, without sincere love, can be lacking. Sometimes, the effort in planning of the date and the genuine show of affection that makes the moment romantic can be much more meaningful than a gift.

I hope this Valentine’s is absolutely “Marvalous!”

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Consider The Source

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I am sure that you have heard the phrase, “consider the source.” Often times, we take that to mean that the source of whatever information is unreliable. It reminded me of the scripture below.

18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Matthew 15:18-19, NIV

I ask that we explore this concept further. Why is the source of false information unreliable, for example when it is one person saying something negative about another? What experiences in that person’s life lead them to be an unreliable source? Were they hurt, lied to, or have they misunderstood how or not have had role models to demonstrate authentic healthy relationship with others.

No one except the Lord, our God, is perfect. We all fall short of His glory. I ask of you and myself to pray for those who suffer hurt, forgiveness, jealousy, abandonment, etc., who can only lash out at others or judge others harshly. It is from their pain that they inflict pain on others. Also, pray for ourselves and others who have been harmed from less than legitimate sources of information. May we recognize the truth and know that we are loved and valuable. May we always remember that darkness cannot hide the light. Rather light always shines down on the truth. God bless you all.

My Hair Ritual

Taking care of natural hair can be quite the task. Over the years, I have developed an understanding with my hair. The better I take care of it, the better it will look on me. In essence, I have adjusted to what it takes to maintain it. Washing my hair is a ritual. There are certain things that must be done, such as  using gentle and moisturizing shampoo,  good conditioning, and heat protection from styling tools. Here are the products that help me get the job done.

My favorite hair products.

My favorite hair products.

I adore everything by Carol’s Daughter. Pictured above is the TUI Shampoo and Conditioner, the MONOI Repairing Spray, and The HEALTHY HAIR BUTTER.  After washing and conditioning my hair, I apply the MONOI spray and Organix  Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Penetrating Oil. To minimize heat exposure, I allow my hair to air dry. I run the blow dryer through for less than 5 minutes. The result is the semi-straight hair below.

A work in progress.

A work in progress.

After the blow dry, I commence with my flat iron, a Chi. Working with small sections of hair starting from the back, I straighten and curl. I finish by applying the Aveda Brilliant Emollient Finishing Gloss. Aveda’s Brilliant hair product line is the absolute best smelling. I love it! The result is seen in the pictures below.

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Last, I apply  a small amount of the Carol’s Daughter Hair Butter and wrap my hair in a silk scarf. I prefer the wrap over sleeping on a satin pillow or wearing a satin cap. The wrap helps to maintain the slight curl of my hair.  Now, I am ready for a Marvalous Monday!

The products listed can be found at:

Carol’s Daughter, http://www.carolsdaughter.com

Organix, Walmart, Ulta, and drug stores

Aveda,  Aveda retail store, authorized salon, or  http://www.aveda.com

Closet Files #1

Last week, we focused on returning order and function to our closets. This week, let’s tackle making sure that we have the needed and wanted garments in that lovely space. In order to do this, ask yourself these two questions below.

  1. What are the various types of places that I go, e.g. work, the gym, church, dining, shopping, etc.?
  2. What are the types of garments I need as basics?

List these items on a sheet of paper as demonstrated below.

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Closet Files Basics Chart

The items on this list, will get you off to a good start with the basics. Some of the items can be worn in other categories, such as business attire that can be worn to church. There might even be some garments that you do not need depending on your line of work, adjust the list as needed. Items where a particular color is not indicated, consider pastels in spring, warm colors in summer, and deeper colors in fall and winter. Further, include variations in texture even with the solids, such as lace, cotton weaves, damask, and silk. After you have collected the basics, continue to build by adding more solids, patterns, and various colors. The golden rule in building your wardrobe is that fit comes first. No matter how expensive, trendy, or beautiful the garment, if it does not flatter your figure, it is a wasted investment.

The list of basics above does not address accessories, such as scarves, handbags, or jewelry, and outerwear. In the weeks to come, I will cover these other items. A beautiful wardrobe is developed over time with perpetual manicuring to ensure that items are timely classics that enhance your beauty and not detract from it. Enjoy your shopping and keep it Marvalous!

God’s Grace

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Last Sunday morning when I awoke from my slumber, I lingered a few minutes longer to just thank God for His grace and mercy. I thought about how I am growing in my walk with the Lord. I love that I am increasing able to see His work in my life. I am getting better at recognizing situations where I have no control and need His help. I combat worrying with praying, remaining faithful, and studying His word. Sometimes the prayer is simple as “Lord, take this worry from me.” I repeat it until my mind is clear and I am relaxed. God is so good that he always provides the answer or the result that I need. Notice, that I stated “need” and not want.

I sometimes laugh at myself (and imagine that He does, too) when in my limited wisdom, I attempt to do His work for Him. Many times in trying to solve problems, I mishandle situations, and make incorrect assumptions or inferences. I later discover that my actions were not in accordance with His plan. Yet, even at those times, when I recognize my fault and futility, I can still turn to Him. He, yet again, will work it out.

God will make a left turn in my life, when I think He should have made a right. Yet, He is always right, i.e. correct in His actions. I admit that sometimes I do not understand. However, that is normal for I am human and He is supreme. Never the less, I trust Him completely.

He is our loving Father, our Protector, our Guide, our Everything. I just want thank Him for His abundant and merciful grace, and not just on Sunday morning, but every day. He has blessed me with more peace in my life, more joy and love to share. His goodness is contagious. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24, NIV).

I pray that you, too, regardless of your situation can experience His peace and joy, as you follow the path that He has set for you. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Weekend Project: Revive your closet.

A clean and organized closet is an essential part of dressing for success. There is nothing like on a Monday morning trying to figure what your wearing and you cannot find anything, simply because your closet is not organized. This weekend, let’s get it in order.

First, make sure you have the needs supplies, i.e. hangers, storage solutions for scarves, gloves, jewelry, etc. When purchasing hangers, you will need variety, such as padded hangers for blouses, felt hangers for slacks and dresses, and wooden hangers for suits. Remember when purchasing your supplies, the aesthetics of the items. You may want to adhere to a color scheme, etc. Do consider purchasing scented sachets, as well. You want your closet to be an enjoyable space. You can get a lot of great ideas from boutiques and department stores, too.

This is my poodle door stop. One of my favorite closet accessories.

This is my poodle door stop. One of my favorite closet accessories.

Next, if you have a smaller sized closet, like mine, I suggest that you take everything out of the closet. It will be much easier to move things around working with an empty closet.

Then, decide where everything will go. Make a section for skirts, pants, blouses, blouses, shoes, handbags, etc., and a space to place a weeks-worth of outfits. Every Sunday, I pull my outfits for the week, it makes getting dressed and prepared for work each day less hectic.

Survey each piece. If you answer NO to any of the following questions, do not return the garment to your closet. It will be taking up space for future new and even more fabulous garments. Put the garment to the side for donation to a charitable organization.

  • Do you like it?
  • Is it a quality garment, by look and feel? (I advise against making this judgment based on brand name, alone.)
  • Does it look good on you?

Items that you will keep, place in the designated section in the closet. Also in each section sort the items by color scheme. I start with white and move across the rainbow to black in each section. This will take a while, however it is the first and most important stage in getting your closet organized.

I am nearly finished. Still some tweaking is needed.

I am nearly finished. Still some tweaking is needed.

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Next week, I will discuss taking a deeper dive into your closet. You want to make sure that you have the proper garments for your life style. A lovely closet is another way to inject some “Marvalous” into every day.

Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and host of others, who have sacrificed their blood, sweat, and tears for the freedoms that I enjoy today. In the fight for equality, you modeled yourselves after Jesus Christ using love, hope, peace, and forgiveness as your weapons for battle.

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

A simple thank you is not enough. May my life be evidence of the fruit of your labor and an example for others that through Jesus Christ victory is secure.

Weekend Project: Serenity Space

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Every woman needs a place in their home where they can take some time to re-center and recharge. It does not take a lot of space nor does it take a lot of money. I have created Serenity Spaces in a number of areas in my home. One of my favorites is in a corner of my bedroom, my personal nail salon. I love painting my own nails. However, I do leave the pedicures to the professionals. It is a very calming process of preparing my nails, moisturizing my hands, and then applying the color.

I make the experience enjoyable by listening to contemporary jazz while taking in the scenery of my space and the view through the nearby window. Maintaining a variable selection of polishes and attractively storing the needed supplies is essential. A crystal container is used for the cotton balls. In the mason jar are the nail files, clippers, and cuticle trimmers. On the tray are items there mostly for visual purposes and my favorite lotion. The desk that I use was an inexpensive thrift store purchase for $30 which I painted. I love my nail salon!

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When you are creating your space, consider the following:

  1. What you love and the spaces that you have available? Example spaces could be the bath, your closet, a craft room, a desk in the kitchen, office, etc.
  2. Once you have settled on a space, determine what activity will take place in that area? For example, a comfortable chair in a corner of your home that you will use for quiet time and reading.
  3. Do you have the needed supplies? Make a list of what you need to ensure that you do not forget anything that you will use in your space.
  4. How will you store the supplies? Mason jars, crystal vases, ceramic bowls, and tea cups can be used to store small items. However, you may want book shelves or other larger storage items depending on your needs.
  5. What accessories will you use to enhance the beauty of the space? The attractiveness of the space is what will entice you to use it frequently.

Have fun creating your serenity space or spaces, it will make your home even more enjoyable for you. Taking the few minutes to relax, will also make you a more enjoyable person, too. Your home is your castle, make a space for the queen that you are.

Weekend in the City

Need a quick get-away? Try a staycation with your family. Every year near the end of the summer, I plan a short get-away weekend with the family. My favorite staycation, thus far, has been in downtown Dallas, Texas. I reserved a room at one the tallest hotels in Dallas, the Sheraton. When we arrived for check-in, I requested the room closest to the top as possible. The kind and accommodating staff at the Sheraton did not disappoint. Look at the view from our room. It was spectacular!

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We valeted the car at the Sheraton and visited sites within walking distance, such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Klyde Warren Park. Needless to say, the boys had a wonderful time. We ended the evening with a swim in the rooftop pool and ordered room service with whatever their hearts desired. The next morning, we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast at Café Brazil and then went shopping in the Knox-Henderson area. If you have young kids, they will enjoy a shopping trip at Froggies 5 &10. There are other shops, e.g. Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Z Gallerie, fine boutiques and restaurants, that the parents will enjoy, too.

The children mimicking the pose of the La Nuit by Aristide Maillol ay the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas.

The children mimicking the pose of the La Nuit by Aristide Maillol at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas.

I am a working mother, who values quality over quantity of time with my family. On our weekend, there was no lack of quality. We will always treasure our Dallas staycation. Try this out with your family. It is a great way for your children to get to know their home town even better. If you live in Dallas or want to visit, I have listed below websites to the places that we visited. There is nothing ordinary about these establishments. Adult and child, alike, will discover something “marvalous” at each place.

Happy staycation planning!

The Sheraton Dallas Hotel:           http://www.sheratondallashotel.com/

The Dallas Museum of Art:           http://www.dma.org/

The Nasher Sculpture Center:      http://www.nashersculpturecenter.org/

Klyde Warren Park:                        http://www.klydewarrenpark.org/

Café’ Brazil:                                    http://cafebrazil.com/

Knox-Henderson:                           http://www.knoxhenderson.com/

Froggies 5 & 10:                             Listed on Facebook as Froggies 5 &10

Weekend Project

“You can take the girl out of New Orleans. But, you cannot take New Orleans out of the girl.

These statements are definitely true of me. I am sure that many of you can replace New Orleans with your home town. In honor of the city that I love, I created a street name poster. I admit the idea was inspired by art pieces that I have seen listing well-known streets in famous cities. However, in the one I created each street listed is of personal significance to me. For example, Magazine Street is famous for its antique shops. Personally, I know Magazine Street best as the street of my High School, Xavier University Preparatory, part of the Crescent City Classic Annual Run, and the street that leads to the Audubon Zoo. This is a quick, simple, and fun project that you can complete in less than an hour.DSCF0592[1]

You will need the following supplies:

  1. One (1) sheet of off white lightly textured paper.
  2. Picture frame and size for your specifications.
  3. Matting for the off white paper.
  4. Use of various fonts in your computer.
  5. Printer

Play with the fonts until you like the organization of the information on the page. Then place the poster in a frame, display, and enjoy!

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Dream Living

Have you ever considered living in another city, state, or country? Whether you want to make it a reality or just curious, looking at real estate listings on-line is a great way to view various types of properties here in the States and abroad. One of my dreams include owning a beautiful apartment in Paris, France. Perhaps when I retire, I can make that dream a reality. Until then I will enjoy peeking through the doors of properties for sale represented by The Paris Property Group. It even inspires my interior decorating at home. Here is an example of one of the many beautiful properties, copied from Paris Property Group (2014). Rue Emile Gilbert 75012 Paris. http://www.parispropertygroup.com/properties/residential/rue-emile-gilbert/.

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Below are some websites that I recommend. I hope they inspire you, too. Happy Monday!

Paris Property Group (Paris, France): http://www.parispropertygroup.com/properties/residential/

Lucas Fox International Properties (Madrid, Spain): http://www.lucasfox.com/Property/Spain/madrid.html

Foxtons (London, England): http://www.foxtons.co.uk/

Ready, Set, Goals!

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Happy New Year!

It feels great to start a fresh new year. It is also a good time to set goals for 2015. The key to success in setting goals is to make them achievable, measurable, and establishing deadlines for each goal. It is equally important not to set too many goals, as you risk losing focus. Further, you want your goals to be meaningful to you (your incentive) and those that will be impacted by the results (your support). Do consider goals that will bring personal satisfaction and fulfillment when the goal is achieved. This will drive you to success. Then write the goals down in a notebook or type them, print, and post them in a visible area. Last, under each goal mark the steps that you need to accomplish each goal and set timelines to get the individual steps accomplished.

This year, one of my goals is to run 3 miles by June 2015. I love running. The milestones to help me reach this goal are to:

  1. Achieve running continuously for 1 mile by February 15, 2015.
  2. Achieve running continuously for 2 miles by April 15, 2015.
  3. Achieve running continuously for 3 miles by May 31, 2015.

I wish you success in setting and achieving your goals for 2015!