Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer


'At the Summer Solstice, all is green and growing, potential coming into being...'


~ Gary Zukav



Here's to new blessings and growth in this new season!
 πŸŒΏπŸ€πŸŒΌ☘πŸŒ»πŸŒ·πŸƒ

Monday, June 11, 2018

Dr. Brandon D. Rogers - One Year

A few months ago, I wrote about a wonderful young man who passed away at only 29 years of age. His impact on the world far surpassed his short time here on Earth. That man was Dr. Brandon D. Rogers. Today marks one year since his passing. He was a beloved son and brother, and he was also a doctor and a phenomenal singer. As I wrote previously, I never had the pleasure of meeting Brandon, but I think of him often and pray for his family every day. When I think of him, I think of how he used his life in such a way, where he affected the lives of those close around him and many, many around the world by simply being himself, helping others, and going for all of his dreams. Like so many others, I would love for him to still be here, but in a way he is, because the light of his influence is still shining through those who loved him and all of us that he inspired. We will never forget you Brandon.

If you would like to read my previous post from December 2017, you can read it below.



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.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Trooping the Colour Revisited

 


Today is Trooping the Colour and whenever I see it played on television each year, my thoughts go back to the time when hubby and I went to London to check it out in person. We went in 2009 and it was quite the experience. I'm not much of a royalist, but I like to check things off my list to experience while I'm living in England. I figure that I'll have a series of memories to look back on when I'm old and grey :)

If you'd like to check out my experience, you can find it here. It was quite a day! I took lots of pictures! :)

Have a great weekend wherever you are!

Friday, June 01, 2018

Happy June


June is here and we're gliding into another summer. I can't believe that it's already June, but as they say, time flies.

It's been quite rainy and stormy around here in Wiltshire over the past few days, but I'm hoping we get some sunny summer days soon.

Happy June! Wishing everyone a wonderful month!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Amazing Places You Never Thought to Visit (But You Should)

*collaborative post

There are 195 countries on this planet, and contained within those countries are a staggering 4,416 cities, not to mention the numerous towns, villages and settlements that make up so much more of this planet, and that means there are a whole lot of places for us to explore. It’s kind of sad then that certain destinations tend to become known as vacation spots, while others do not. Most of us will have considered heading to Paris, London, New York or Rome on vacation, but fewer of us will have considered seeing Azerbaijan or heading off to Moscow for the weekend, bit maybe we should?

If you’re ready to get a bit more adventurous and head off for weekends in places you may not have even thought about visiting before, here are some amazing destinations to consider. Visit any one of them and you are unlikely to be disappointed…

Russia

image source
Russia probably isn't one of the first places you think of heading to for a fun vacation, but places like Moscow are fabulous. Russia’s capital city is packed with history and culture, full of fun attractions and although it might be really cold there much of the time, you’ll never be bored, especially with a shot or two of the local vodka inside you! You’ll get to see the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral and the famous Red Square. You will be blown away by the beautiful treasures on display at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, before retiring to the luxury of the Courtyard Moscow Paveletskaya or similarly sophisticated hotels in the city. What’s not to love about all that?

South Korea

image source
Visit any part of South Korea and you’re in for a treat. The area is home to numerous breathtaking national parks, luxurious ski resorts and fantastic food. The Korean BBQ in Seoul in particular, is to die for. Not only that, there are plenty of coastal beaches, like the one at Busan, which are perfect for chilling out on. While you’re there, be sure to immerse yourself in the sometimes unusual culture of the country, like the hot dogs covered in fries and batter, the wildly popular boybands and the Jangsan Puppy Cafe ( so cute). One thing’s for sure, if you visit South Korea, you will have more than a few stories to tell upon your return, and they won’t put any of your friends to sleep.

Kazakhstan

image source

Kazakhstan is the ninth biggest country in the world, so it is surprising that more people aren't really aware of it, and that more people do not choose to vacation there. If you love impressive, ancient architecture and beautiful landscapes - the Tian Shan Mountains are so beautiful. You'll love the quaint cities where you can chill out and watch the world go by. It is certainly a place you will enjoy. I suggest you visit Almaty, the country’s largest city, which is home to fabulous clothing markets, high-end restaurants and quaint cafes.

Try something different and you might just be pleasantly surprised!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Backyard Beauty


I just thought that I'd share this photo that I took this morning. It's the view out to our backyard. I love it when flowers peek around the edges of leaves. Nature is beautiful.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Well, the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is here. As I type this, it's sunny and beautiful outside and from what I hear, tomorrow, their wedding day, should be sunny too. Fingers crossed. I'm very pleased about that! (smile) As someone who has lived in England for twelve years and counting, I know that these sunny days are not the norm, so we must relish them while we can. I'm happy for Harry and Meghan, because I believe in love and they seem so in love. I wish them all the very best!

My hubby and I went to London to watch the procession at William and Kate's wedding in 2011, mostly because we were already in London for our own anniversary which we share with them. But we also wanted to experience history up close. It was wonderful. Sadly, we won't be able to get to Windsor for Harry and Meghan's big day, but we'll definitely be watching it on television.

When we were out the other day doing grocery shopping, I saw some souvenirs so I picked up a few. They were all inexpensive and I thought that once again it's all a part of history. These things along with other things I've picked up for bargain prices over the years, royal and otherwise, will always remind me of my England years. Check them out below.

commemorative spoon

side of Harry and Meghan cup

front of Harry and Meghan cup

commemorative plate

bridal fancy tea cakes
The special little cakes are my favorite. Lol. I've eaten two. They're white cake inside and are very wedding cake-like. I'll save the rest for tomorrow to share with hubby.

All of this wedding talk takes me back to my own wedding here in England twelve years ago. There are slight similarities between Meghan and I. We both married/will marry a British man (hers is a prince) and we are both American. We are also both women of color....I'm African-American and she is a biracial American. That's kind of where the similarities end mostly. She is marrying into a life of great privilege, but also one of great scrutiny, as we've already seen. I live a "normal" life that I enjoy very much, but it has come with its challenges as I've worked to immerse myself into life in another country. Things have worked out pretty well for me and I'm sure that Meghan will do fantastic! Meghan already seems to be taking to her new life beautifully.

I simply just wish her well...from one American bride to another...as she goes on this journey. All the very best!


Congratulations to Harry and Meghan!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Unconventional Birthday Party Ideas For Adults, Because We Want To Have Fun Too!

*collaborative post

Birthdays are good for you. As the old saying goes, the more you have, the longer you live. Becoming an adult can be a little dull sometimes and some of the magic of birthdays can be forgotten about. They can become just like any other day, just with cake. So if you’re looking to bring back some fun to your birthday celebrations, here are some ideas to inspire you.

image 

Scavenger Hunt

Planning a hunt for a few things in your city or local area can be a fun way to celebrate with family and friends. It could be a quest to get a selfie at certain road signs, street signs, or landmarks, or to bring back something physical to show. It could even be something more ‘adult’ and involve trying certain drinks in certain pubs or bars along the way. Just plan it to you and your friends' tastes.

Escape Room
There are plenty of escape rooms located in different areas of the country. And an escape room is a good way to have fun and celebrate on your birthday when you just want to celebrate with a small group of people. It is something pretty unique and different, and can be a bit of an adrenaline rush for your birthday.

Road Trip

Planning a road trip can be a fun way to celebrate. Just getting in the car and off you go. You could book something last minute and have a night away. If you prefer just being with one other, then it can be a fun yet romantic getaway to celebrate your special day.

Pizza Party

Take a step back in time and celebrate with a pizza party. It can be a nod back to the retro era; why not even get some red plastic cups to really take you back to the high school years? A pizza party can be casual and low-cost, but it still means that you get to celebrate in style and have fun with a big group of friends.

Pub Crawl

If a few drinks is more of your scene for having fun, then why not make a day of it and plan to hop around to a few bars? The bars could all have a theme, think along the lines of dive bars, beer gardens, or even things like pubs that start with your first initial, for example. Make a plan, though, so that the pubs or bars aren't too far from each other, you’ll definitely need to walk to each one after all. No drinking and driving.

Potluck Dinner
If you don’t want to splash out too much on your birthday celebrations, then one good way to party could be to host a potluck dinner party. Ask each guest to bring a dish, as well as a bottle perhaps, and then you can go from there. Food, fun, and friendship is a great way to celebrate your new age.

Have you got a favourite way to celebrate your birthday? It would be great to hear what you think.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

May


Wishing everyone a great new month!
πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Shared Anniversaries and a Royal Baby

Today is the wedding anniversary of my husband and I...twelve years! My how time flies! I thought that I'd share a previous post that I wrote seven years ago. It's my post about our trip to London to watch all of the activity during the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, which just happened to fall on our fifth wedding anniversary. April 29th seems to be a good day for a wedding! Hubby aka Brit Boy and I made a joke that it was nice of London to put on such a fancy party for our wedding anniversary (smile). 

As you'll see from my post that I'm resharing below, I took quite a few pictures. They were a bit fuzzy, but everything was moving so quickly and we were within a crowd of thousands, so please excuse my shaky photos. Lol. 

And speaking of the Cambridges, as mostly everyone knows, they welcomed a new son this past week. Prince George and Princess Charlotte have a new baby brother. Louis Arthur Charles has joined the family. My hubby and I received a happy anniversary card today and I noticed something sweet. There was a little message to the Cambridges printed next to the postmark on our letter. I've never seen that done before. Maybe we missed it the other times. I'm not sure, but I thought that it was a nice gesture.


I hope that you enjoy reading the post below as we go down memory lane here at The Yellow House. Have a wonderful day! :-) 

***
From 2011:

We had a wonderful wedding anniversary and our trip to London was historic and lots of fun. The royal wedding had London all abuzz when we got there. Let me back up a bit though. And I have a variety of photos, so I'll just scatter them within this post independently with captions :)

We headed to London on Thursday morning, the 28th, by bus and train. When we arrived in London we made our way to our hotel to drop off our bags. Then we headed out to see the last minute preparations and see what kind of action was going on. We headed to Westminster Abbey and there were loads of people walking around. There were loads of media around and we saw recognizable reporters amongst the crowds getting interviews with people in the crowds. There were quite a few people camped out too and there was a definite buzz in the air.


Leading up to the side of Westminster Abbey


Front of Westminster Abbey the day before royal wedding


Some of the media across from Westminster Abbey


Then we headed to Buckingham Palace to check things out. Lots of people were camped out along The Mall and there were loads of media and people walking about here too, but the crowds weren’t as big. Since this was a bit of a strategic trip out, we decided that standing along The Mall would be the best place for us to catch a glimpse of things the next day. We really enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere as there was lots of happy anticipation in the air.




Top: Some media across from Buckingham Palace;Middle: Views along The Mall; Bottom: On the way to The Mall (all taken the day before the wedding)


I noticed something when we were watching the various media outlets in their makeshift studios. Whenever they wanted to have cheering in the background, they would have someone on their staff out to the side waving their arms in order to get people to whoop and holler :) And nearly every one of the news studios from different countries did it. A great unifying practice ;-) They also motioned people over who had signs so that they could get them in the background of their live shots whilst their anchors interviewed people. It was surreal and very orchestrated. Who knew? ;-) It was fun to watch. Brit Boy and I hung out for a while longer and played “spot the news anchor”, and then we headed off for a bite to eat. Then we went back to the hotel to chill in preparation for our early start the next day.

On the day of the royal wedding, also our wedding anniversary, we got up and out a bit before 6am. Some people were already out besides those who camped overnight, but not that many. We took a place along The Mall and stood behind some ladies who had camped out and a couple who got there a few minutes before us. Later loads of people filled in behind us. We got a very good spot considering the fact that we didn’t camp out for a spot. The couple in front of us were very nice and we chatted a lot. It was a great way to pass the time together as we all waited. The couple were from the United States like myself and have been living in London for a short time due to the husband’s short-term job assignment here. The ladies who camped out were from South Africa and England, whilst behind us there was a lady from Argentina. It was a very eclectic group in our little section. My own main personal intention for going to see the royal wedding was to experience this global event and that’s exactly what it was. I heard many accents from all around the UK, the USA, continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and everywhere around the world. It was truly a sea of humanity! And I loved that Brit Boy and I got the chance to be a part of this crowd and a part of history.

We were very lucky to get such a good place to watch. Crowds quickly swarmed in right after we got there. It was quite a crunch to be standing there and not be able to move our feet, but it was worth it in the end. Speaking of feet, our hands and feet were freezing. It was a chilly day and there was a cold wind blowing.




Top: The guards & tv cameras; Middle: The Fabulous Band; Bottom: Excited happy people :)


We tried to get some photos, but it was a tough assignment :) Some are rather blurred so I won’t bore you with them. When the royals were heading to the church, the cars sped by very quickly and the crowd went into a frenzy...so I got some pretty random shots. We could hear the ceremony on loudspeakers and they had these programs for sale for £2.




When they all headed back to Buckingham Palace, they came back at a slower pace but it was still tough to get a good shot. But I’ll tell you, seeing it all was something that I’ll never forget :)








Top four: Prince William & Kate; Middle: Prince Charles, Duchess of Cornwall, & Kate's parents; Bottom two: Queen Elizabeth & the Duke of Edinburgh


After they all passed by we made our way down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace. We had been standing for about seven hours so we were a bit stiff. The crowd bottlenecked at one point, so we took a shortcut through St. James Park and somehow got closer to the palace than we expected considering how enormous the crowd was. It was quite a crush so my photos turned out kinda random, but I got a few. We saw the balcony appearance and both of the kisses.






All of the above: the balcony appearance :)


And then it was over. We didn’t see Prince William and Kate drive out in the car, because like many others we had dispersed. However, the memories of those days will stay with us forever!

Here are a few inexpensive things we picked up as souvenirs. The free things were being passed out at or around train stations.




Top: flag £1; Middle: tea - free; Bottom: card - free:)

Brit Boy and I made our way out of the crowd slowly...it was quite a crunch, and then we headed to Covent Garden to have our anniversary lunch/dinner. It was so delicious and we were so hungry by that point. It was truly a wonderful day...and it was one that we’ll never forget. We were so happy to be there to witness it all!


The Mall heading to Buckingham Palace the day after the royal wedding:)


The day after, we had a bit of time to kill before we caught our train, so we went back to see how things were the day after. A lot of the scaffolding was being dismantled along The Mall and at the temporary television studios. And the sky was a beautiful blue...a perfect way to end a great trip!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Stormy Sky


Yesterday evening this is what it looked like right before the thunderstorm came. I knew what was coming when I saw this dramatic looking sky. I knew a storm was coming. The sky reminded me so much of back home. ⛈

Friday, April 20, 2018

Happy Friday!


I'm going to spend my weekend getting back on track with some things. Sometimes we all lose our way a little bit or lose sight of what we really want. That's happened to me. Life gets hectic :) 

So this weekend I'm going to check in with myself again and get to work again on my "things". I'll report back on that front in time. Until then...

I hope that you have a great weekend wherever you are! :)

Monday, April 09, 2018

The Trees


As I've mentioned here, many times (smile)...I love trees!

I took both of these photos over the past couple of weeks. The one above was about a week ago. Finally the trees are starting to bud out even though it's still very chilly. However, buds always make me think of hope, so I know that warmer days are ahead.

The photo below I took as I waited at the bus stop one morning. The sun was ever so slightly peeking over the edge of a limb and it just illuminated the two trees.

Nature's beauty is amazing!



Getting Everyone Together at Your House? Tips for a Great Night

*collaborative post





Some people love playing host. Others find it stressful. No matter what camp you fall into, it is likely that you are going to need to play host at some point. However, this is not something you should worry about. No matter your personality, you can host a great night that everyone will enjoy. It is simply about a bit of preparation and being attentive to your guests. With that in mind, read on to discover some useful tips for hosting the perfect get-together.

Make sure there are enough seats so that everyone is comfortable – Nothing can make an occasion seem more awkward than there not being enough seats. No one wants to be perched on the arm of a chair for the entire night.

Make sure you have a variety of entertainment options – Keeping your guests entertained is the most important part, and probably the aspect that you are most worried about. If you have a number of different entertainment options, you can make sure your guests never end up bored. If one entertainment option falls flat, you are bound to have something else that everyone enjoys. Of course, music is a must, but you should think about sourcing a number of games and quizzes. This Factory Direct Flooring quiz is a good option. It is a quiz about furniture that was featured in popular television shows and films. Quizzes like this aren’t only fun, but they provide a good talking point, which is especially important if your guests do not know each other very well.

Think of ways to get guests to mingle – Leading on from the former point; the key to the success of any get together is ensuring that your guests are mingling with one another. Quizzes and games are a good way to do this, but you also need to be attentive and make sure that no one is left out or feels awkward.

Serve foods that are suitable for entertaining – When deciding on what food to serve, opt for finger dishes that are easy for people to snack on. Spaghetti Bolognese may be your specialty, but no one wants to be fiddling around with strings of spaghetti and getting pasta sauce all over their face!

Plan, plan and plan some more – Planning will make your life much easier. Not only will it ensure that you do not forget anything important, but it will make you feel more prepared and confident on the night, which will enable you to enjoy yourself more.

So there you have it: some useful tips on hosting the perfect get-together for your friends. If you take note of the advice that has been provided, you should find it a lot easier to host an event that you and your friends enjoy. Plus, you never know, you may find that being a host is actually something you flourish at!