Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy Last Day of 2017


Well, here we are...at the last day of the year. I know I say it here all the time, but time flies 😁 Hey, I may as well round out the year true to self 😜 2017 has had its share of ups and downs just like every year, but this year I actually learned a few things which affected me enough that I think some of the lessons will actually stick this time. Fingers crossed. Time will tell.

The photo above is from my best nine collage from my Instagram account. According to the stats, these are my nine most liked photos of 2017. For me, it's interesting to see these snapshots of my year and to relive those moments. I'm instantly taken back in time.

There's definitely an overriding theme to my photos....a great love and appreciation of nature. I love capturing a bit of the beauty whenever I'm surrounded by nature. I say a bit because it's impossible for me to capture everything that I see or feel. The beauty of nature is so vast, so I'm content to be able to share what I can 😊

The other two photos are special to me too. As you can see, there's a picture of the Obamas. I didn't take that one, but I shared it because I'm grateful that we had them in the White House and it was a true pleasure to have them there. This was from January when they were leaving and i just wanted to say thank you!

And the final photo was from the 9th anniversary of my blog. Marking the occasion was important, because I'm a big believer in celebrating milestones. On March 4th, 2018 I'll be celebrating ten years of blogging. Who'd a thunk it? I don't know how "successful" this blog has been in terms of reach or influence really, but I'm proud to have stayed with it for this long. It's helped keep me on track in many ways so that's successful to me 😊 Thanks for visiting me.

Hey, let me not get ahead of myself. It's not March yet. It's December 31st and I want to take one day at a time and relish it. As I said earlier 😜, time flies. So I'm gonna do my best to enjoy each day in the year ahead because before we know it it'll be December 31st again. May we all return to this day again in 2018 together...alive, well, safe and thriving!

Happy last day of 2017! 🎉😁

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Winter Is Definitely Here

Photo taken from the passenger side of a moving car so that's why it's blurry 😉


We woke up to a bit of snow this morning. 
   Winter has definitely arrived❄😊

Friday, December 22, 2017

Dr. Brandon D. Rogers



This year, I was blessed to learn about an amazing young man. That man was Dr. Brandon D. Rogers. In January, I came across his incredible singing on Instagram and I was absolutely blown away. His voice was out of this world! I immediately wanted to hear more, so I looked back through his account and was instantly pulled in. He was a fantastic singer and indeed a doctor, but he was also a beloved son and brother, and an amazing friend to many. It made me smile to see his humor. I admired his commitment to medicine, his love for singing and his love for those around him. It was a joy to see his absolute love of life!

The Singing Doctor 

As I went backwards through his Instagram account, I had the chance to see the determination, dedication, hard work and strong faith that he drew strength from as he pursued his dream of becoming a doctor. I was absolutely inspired by his example and I know that many others were also. In a world that is so often focused on only showing the negative, seeing Brandon’s journey as an intelligent and caring human being was a breath of fresh air. Those of us who were following along on social media were able to get a glimpse into his wonderful and blessed life.

Sadly, on June 11, 2017, Brandon passed away in a car accident. He was 29. I never had the pleasure of meeting Brandon. Hearing about his passing was heartbreaking, because I knew that the world had lost a truly incredible person. In the months since his passing, I’ve crossed paths with so many people who never had the pleasure of meeting him either, but enjoyed his singing and drew inspiration from his example as a person who worked hard to make his dreams a reality. In my own life, I’m so inspired by Brandon. Because of him, I’m inspired to love even more, to go for what I want in life more, and to relish life even more, because he surely did that every single day.

His loss is definitely felt by many...those who knew and loved him and those of us who never met him, but realized immediately just how special he was. I think that when people are real, their goodness just shines through and people pick up on it, even through social media. Brandon touched the hearts of countless people around the world. Through his profession as a doctor, he was a healer and by also sharing that golden God-given voice that he possessed, I believe that he offered dual amounts of healing to the world.

It’s hard to accept that someone so young and in the prime of his life is no longer here. He had so much going for him and we can’t help but wonder what his continued impact upon the world would have been. Brandon didn’t get the chance to live a long life, but he truly lived his life to the fullest and achieved so much while he was here. He gave so much to the world and his good works are still paying dividends. He had the opportunity to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor and helping people. He directly affected and saved lives. That is amazing.

This year, Brandon had the chance to perform in Las Vegas with the legendary group Boyz II Men and he was also invited to audition for America’s Got Talent (AGT). These two opportunities came about because of a video that Brandon posted at the end of last year which went viral. You can see that video here. You can also see his Boyz II Men performance here and his AGT performance here.

One aspect of his life that was a joy to see, was the love that he and his family shared. When I think of the wonderful human being that Brandon was, I also think of the fertile soil of love within his family that he grew from. What a wonderful family and what an incredible, yet humble man he was.

Brandon's Legacy 

Dr. Brandon D. Rogers left a great legacy behind. His family has established the Dr. Brandon D. Rogers Memorial Fund to honor his commitment to education, medicine, the arts, and community engagement. To find out more about the memorial fund, you can find their Facebook page here. The memorial fund will help to create opportunities for the next generation of students and artists. For their first project through the memorial fund, the Rogers family has partnered with Riverside Health System (where Brandon worked) to raise funds to open a simulation lab that will bear Brandon’s name. This is an incredible way to honor Brandon’s legacy as this lab will be a vital tool in the training of future doctors. In order to help make the lab a reality, donations can be made here  .

You can also order an array of products which are emblazoned with Brandon’s name and the wonderfully creative logo which perfectly illustrates his love of both medicine and music. You can find them here.  All proceeds go directly to the Dr. Brandon D. Rogers Memorial Fund, which will help to do the important work of helping others, just as Brandon did during his life.

I’ll never forget Brandon. May his legacy and the good works done in his name continue to positively affect the lives of others for generations to come.



*Note: This post was written from my heart in order to celebrate Brandon's beautiful life and to spread the word about his memorial fund.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Happy Monday

Above: A winter view of the sky from about five years ago, just because I love taking photos of the sky

Happy Monday! I know that Mondays have a bad reputation, but even though they're not my favorite day, it's gotta be Monday sometime so why not today ;-) And every day that we wake up alive and well is a blessing and we get to start the week fresh. So Happy Monday! :)

It's hard to believe that a week from today it will be Christmas Day. I know I say it WAY too much, but I'm gonna say it again anyway...time flies. Only a couple of more weeks and 2017 is a wrap. But hey, lemme not get ahead of myself here. We have 13 more days left in this year so let's make them great! :)

Have a wonderful week wherever you are!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Taking Stock and Moving Forward

*collaborative post 

 


Time is flying. I really can't believe that Christmas is so close and soon we'll be saying goodbye to this year. This is always a hectic time for many of us as we navigate through these last few weeks of the year. Many of us take stock of what we've accomplished and we're grateful for the good things that have come into our lives. If we haven't accomplished many of the things we wanted for the year, we may also take stock of things and perhaps decide to try again at certain goals or to redirect our focus. I always find that whether I've either accomplished a lot on my list or if I didn't quite make it with some things, I still relish the lessons and the opportunity to regroup and to prepare for the new year.

Everyone has a story. Some of us may have wanted to travel more, start a business or make more time for the things that we enjoy. Or perhaps reading more books or enjoying more time with our families may have been on our list. Some may have thought about getting a loan as a quick solution to help finance a dream that they've wanted to pursue. No matter what we may have or have not done this year, in the new year, or indeed on this new day, we can decide to do something different. Deciding is the thing and this can be the first step on the path to a new avenue in our lives. There is no time like the present.

Like many, I have several things that I'd like to do in my life. I know that it's impossible to do every single thing that crosses my mind, but I'm a firm believer that we may as well have a go at things. If things don't work out, well at least we've tried. Failing at something is not a failure in my book. When we put our necks out to do something big, even if things don't go the way that we've planned, it's still a win. We grow from our failures. As I mature, I'm less tentative about taking a chance to try something new. I've learned that it is the doing of something...or the taking of the journey that holds many of the rewards in life. Yes, I want to do many things and I want to succeed at many things, but more and more I see a "failure" as simply a chance to redirect myself. Life is for living and each day is a new chance to give things a go.

I'm grateful for the wins, the lessons and the growth that I've experienced this year. I look forward to stepping into new adventures in the new year. And I wish everyone well as we all go forward. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Snow Day


We had some snow over the weekend. We woke up to snow on Sunday without knowing that it was coming. It was quite a snowy weekend in many places apparently, because my family also got snow back home in the Atlanta area. I guess that winter has arrived ;-) 

The snow has melted on our street for the most part now with only a few patches in the shade. I imagine that those remnants will refreeze for a while since it's so cold.

Stay warm out there!

Have a great day wherever you are!

Product Spotlight: Eat Real Nut Shots


Currently,  I'm working on eating healthier. I've been taking baby steps throughout 2017 and I plan to continue this into 2018 and onward as a way of life. I still have my treats believe me, but I'm simply trying to do better. Like many people, I love a snack, so I try to keep my eyes open for any snack options that will prove to be a bit healthier. 

In a previous post I wrote about this great snack brand called Eat Real. They make delicious snacks that offer another snack alternative to consumers. Eat Real has recently unveiled their new range of raw Nut Shots, designed to deliver a wholesome and nutritious energy boost at any time of the day.

I've had the opportunity to try them and I really like that they're so convenient and tasty. The proof is in the taste. You can tell that they're quality food and you can feel good about giving your body something healthier. They're available in handy 25g single portion packs which makes them easy to carry with you wherever you're going.

Eat Real Nut Shots contain natural ingredients with no added sugar, artificial colours, or preservatives. The range includes Raw Cashews, Raw Almonds, a Raw Nut Mix and Peanuts & Raisins, as well as a Mixed Fruits option containing moisture-rich black cherries, blueberries and strawberries.  All of them are suitable for vegans. 

“Consumer demand for healthier snacks and better-for-you products continues to grow as more and more people focus on healthier lifestyles and seek alternative snack choices. The new Nut Shots tap into this fast growing market by offering people a satisfying, tasty and healthier option that can be enjoyed either at home or on the move.” 

 - Debbie King, Director of Commercial Sales & Marketing for Eat Real


Eat Real Nut Shots are available in 25g single portion packs at a RRP of 79p per pack.

To find out more about Eat Real products, please visit their website at eatreal.co.uk

*Disclosure: I was sent these products for review for free. All opinions are mine.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Book Spotlight: Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry

I love fashion overall, especially because of the creativity that goes into it and the opportunity for self-expression that fashion can give us. However, my absolute favorite element of fashion is definitely jewelry. Whenever I am shopping, no matter what, I always gravitate towards the jewelry first.

Cover: From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS


The fabulous new book, Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, by Carole Tanenbaum and Eve Townsend copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS, is a luxurious treat for jewelry lovers like myself or anyone who is interested in the wondrous art of jewelry-making. This is a book that presents the intriguing history of one of North America's foremost designers of high-end costume jewelry, which is one of the most collectible brands to this day.

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS


Schreiner costume jewelry began in New York City in 1932, created by Henry Schreiner and the business thrived for years, well into the 1970s. During the 1950s, the family business prospered under the leadership of Henry’s daughter. Schreiner's gorgeous creations, with their handmade settings, unusual color combinations, and use of custom-made stones set them apart from their contemporaries. The story of Schreiner is one that stretches from the years of the Great Depression through to the rise of the American ready-to-wear industry. The expansive array of pieces is absolutely breathtaking and every piece has a timeless quality.

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS
This wonderful book is chocked full of glorious images that celebrate the whimsically beautiful Schreiner jewelry. I love the vibrant colors and the truly artistic shapes created for women to enjoy. The amount of detail on every piece is stunning to behold.

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS


My love for jewelry goes back to when I was a little girl. I loved to look through my mother's jewelry box. I would try my best to put every brooch, earring, and necklace available on all at once and then I would do a "dramatic reading" as I gazed into the mirror, as if I were an actress. When I wasn't "acting", I loved to draw and the things that I loved to draw were pieces of jewelry. Before I read this book, I wasn't aware of Schreiner jewelry, but I am definitely a fan now. The thing that struck me instantly when I opened the book was the variety of colors and the unusual color combinations which Schreiner is famous for. Seeing these beautiful pieces of elegant costume jewelry was like seeing what I wanted my drawings to look like, finally come to life. Schreiner jewelry is truly extraordinary!

As I mentioned earlier, I love the creativity of fashion and this lovely book about Schreiner costume jewelry has invigorated me. Carole Tanenbaum and Eve Townsend have written a book that gives readers a wonderful history lesson about an amazing family and the beautiful jewelry that they created. I adore this book! Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry will be a constant companion for me as I learn more about this exquisite jewelry. This great book is an excellent guide for those like myself who are new to Schreiner and for those who are already collectors worldwide. There is great insight into the Schreiner collections provided by the family also, along with amazing photographs. This is a gorgeous book to give as a gift or as an absolute treat for yourself!

Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry by Carole Tanenbaum and Eve Townsend, © 2017, published by G ARTS is available here.

About the authors:

Carole Tanenbaum is an enthusiastic collector who—over the course of thirty years—turned her passion for vintage costume jewelry into a worldwide business. Her first book Fabulous Fakes enlightened collectors and fashionistas alike. Carole lives in Toronto with her husband and family.

Eve Townsend holds an MA in Fashion from Ryerson University, where her research focused on the history of costume jewelry and its relation to the democratization of fashion. She continues to research, write, and lecture about jewelry and fashions from the Victorian era to today. She resides in Toronto.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Hello December


Happy new month! This year has flown by and it's wild that 2017 is coming to a close soon. In the meantime, I'm definitely ready to enjoy this final month of 2017, take stock of how my year has been, and then think about what I want to bring into my life in the new year.

I don't want to get ahead of myself though. This is day one of a whole new month, full of new opportunities each day. So I'm going to do my best to relish all 31 days! 😊

I hope that your December is wonderful!