Sunday, May 19, 2013

What to Wear to a Friend's Wedding

Wedding season is here, and you've been invited to a wedding, or two, or three. You are not in the wedding party so your outfit hasn't been chosen for you,  so you look in your closet and that you have nothing to wear. So you wonder, what do I wear to my friend or family member's wedding this wedding season Here are few fab suggestions for you.

1. Pleated Maxi Dress
A pleated Maxi dress is a classy and always appropriate option for a wedding. A dress of many colors like the one pictured below or a dress in a bright color will be perfect for this wedding season.

You can also opt for a pleated skirt and a nice blouse in lieu of a dress. 

2. Cropped Pants
Cropped pants are a hit for Spring/Summer 2013. You cannot go wrong with them. Simply pair the pants with a nice blouse, heels and beautiful accessories.

3. Feminine Shift Dress
Is always a classic option. Pair with a great pair of heels and nice simple accessories and you're ready to go.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Come Away With Me: My Trip to the Bahamas

I'm so very thankful that God has blessed me with another year. It's amazing that as I look back I see progress in every single area of my life and I am humbled by His favor.I know it has been a while since I have posted my apologies, my goal for this year is to post more frequently and I'm sure next year this time I will have made progress:)

On a lighter note my husband took me on a cruise to the Bahamas for my birthday and it was amazing!!!This was our first  cruise and we are sold. We sailed with Royal Caribbean and the service was top notch. We ate...and ate..and ate lol, got sunburned at the beautiful beaches and explored Atlantis. Ofcourse I packed way too much...but a woman always need to have options(at least thats what I told myself two luggages later) Everything I packed was lightweight because I knew it was going to be really hot. Some pieces that were a must have for me on this trip: owl & flower accessories, maxi & peplum dresses, aztec prints, and a floppy hat .

What are your upcoming vacations plans and what will you have in your luggage?

He makes Beautiful Things,

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Birthday Nicole!!!!

"When Nicole was born I nicknamed her "Landa" after my doll. My mother introduced me to my little sister and I thought she was as pretty as my doll Landa. Today my family still lovingly calls her Landa or  Landa Pumpkin.

Today my pretty "little" sister has blossomed into a beautiful and amazing woman. She's loyal and loving, wise and sweet. She's the most supportive and encouraging sister anyone can ask for. Though she's the "little" one, she's protective, I know my sister has my back. Most of all she's a true woman of God. I can't count the number of times my sister has held my hands through prayer. 

God has blessed Nicole with tremendous wisdom, and I trust and appreciate her insight.  Nicole I love you, and I am so proud of you, and can't wait to see more of God's awesome glory in your life.  Keep on being a beacon of light for Christ. You are an inspiration to so many. You are more than a sister, you are also my friend, and I love you. Happy Birthday Landa!!!!!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Storm MUST Pass: Staying Strong During Tough Times

I have been living in South Florida for eleven years now so tropical storms are regular occurrences. Every time there is a storm I like to sit inside by a window (when it’s safe of course) and reflect. When tropical storm Isaac recently passed through South Florida  thankfully there were minimal damage where I live. I remember sitting by my window in deep thought reflecting on the storms that I have been through and that  my family and friends have been through. I realized that while problems in life are inevitable we don't have to succumb to the winds even though we may quake at the thunder. Yes it’s scary, intimidating, and more often than not the clouds are so dark that it seems like there is no end in sight. No matter how advanced we become as people we can never control the size and direction of a storm. Sometimes it lands as a category one or unfortunately as a category five, but guess what? The storm MUST pass. At the end of every storm the results are: stronger faith, greater appreciation of life and people, humbleness, and a greater ability to relate and encourage others who are going through their own storms. So take courage and remember He makes everything beautiful in its time.
                                                James 1:2-4

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Endless Possibilities

Taking the Limits Off of Your Life

 As a preteen I boarded a plane for the very first time from the Jamaica to the United States. As a young child, the U.S. represented endless possibilities to me. I remember being captivated by the music videos, television shows and movies I watched imagining that life in the U.S. was exciting and filled with opportunities. The early dreamer in me dreamt of one day living there. By the time I was 11 years old,  I yearned to venture out beyond the beautiful mountains of my island home to the world of my dreams and imaginations. I distinctly remember walking alongside a friend during lunch and looking at those mountains wishing to myself that I would one day see beyond them. As you can imagine, I was super excited when I got the opportunity a few months later after making my wish.

Unfortunately my earliest years in the U.S. were not what I imagined. I missed my mother terribly and was forced to deal with adjustments much too burdensome for a young child. For most of that period, I dealt with messages of “can’ts.” I was told often about life limits that would shape my future. Others would tell me that I needed to adjust and redefine my goals to fit “reality.”

In the summer before my sophomore year in high school, an uncle visited from Jamaica and asked me where I wanted to go college.  I gave him a list that included some of the best universities in the U.S. He told me to go after my dreams.  I sat beaming with pride,  reassurred by his belief in my dreams.

You see, the list and my desire to attend college were far-fetched. Though we left Jamaica to achieve a better life, circumstances I mentioned earlier made that dream appear nothing more than an empty wish. I faced a number of obstacles: there was no money to send us to college; no steps taken to help us secure and prepare for a better future; and silent resignation that our possibilities were limited.

Yet I had drive, determination and divine intervention on my side. Despite my reality, I kept on dreaming and preparing for my dream by excelling in both school and extracurricular activities. In all honesty, looking back I chuckle at my audacity. Where did I get it from?  How did such a young girl decided she would not accept the limits others placed upon her?   Despite admonitions to stop chasing an unattainable dream, despite discouragement to set my sights elsewhere (like considering getting a job after high school), pure determination kept me striving. There were times I was afraid and worried. Times I felt unsure, because I did not have a plan B at all. I was not sure about the “how?” but that very important question did not stop me.  Today I am happy to say that it all worked out. By the end of my senior year, I had applied to six colleges and gotten into all six.  Today I can proudly say that I am a graduate of Columbia University, the number one college on the list I recited to my uncle.

Until now, I haven't really taken the time to reflect and appreciate the gravity of that important lesson from my youth. I admit that writing the above made me tear up a little. I had refused to allow other people and my circumstances to limit me or destroy my dreams. In the face of tremendous obstacles, I kept my eyes on the prize and achieved more than my wildest dreams. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I’ve always adhered to that lesson. There were many times in my life that I had to relearn the lesson and remind myself not to accept other people's limits.

What are you allowing to limit you today? If there’s a goal you would like to achieve or a dream you want to fulfill, do not allow people or circumstances to tell you that you can’t.  People have opinions, but opinions are not facts. Circumstances change, but you are far more than your circumstances.  Operate from a place of “can” and refuse to accept “can’t.” You have to know and believe that your possibilities are endless. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Moving to a New City

Six months ago, I boarded a flight from New York to Los Angeles. Before then I had never been to the state of California much less the city of Los Angeles. Three weeks earlier, I had accepted a job offer in a state and city I had never even visited.   Talk about a life changing decision. 

To say I was excited is an understatement, but like I spoke about in this post, I was also afraid. I spent nights tossing and turning wondering if I made the right decision. I had never even visited  Los Angeles, and I didn't know anyone here at the time, so at times I asked myself "What were you thinking?"  Although I had lived in other cities before,  lived on my own for years  and am very independent, this was different. This was the farthest I would be from everything and everyone I knew.

Yet six months later, I smile, because in retrospect I had nothing to fear.  I am settling in and enjoying Los Angeles. How did I do it?  Here are my tips:

Five Ways to Discover and Meet People in  a New City

1. Be O.K. With Venturing Out Alone
In my first few weeks here, I  didn't know anyone (except my new coworkers) so I often went exploring alone. To be frank, this wasn't difficult for me since I've done it plenty of times in the past. There were times I worried about getting lost (thank God for google maps!), but I've discovered some gems in L.A. through exploring.  I know venturing out alone isn't easy for everyone, but challenge yourself and do it. There's only so much you can discover indoors. 

2. Join and Go to the Events is the website to join if you're in a new city and you want to meet people with similar interests. Through Meetup I've found  groups related to things I enjoy like independent films and art.  I've gotten the opportunity to attend some pretty awesome events and met really great people at the same time.

3. Join a professional Association
This is another great way to meet people. It's also great for networking and staying abreast  of professional development workshops and events in your field.

4. Be Open to Trying New Things
I can't remember the last time I went hiking before moving to L.A. Yet within my first month here, I went hiking in Griffith Park. You know what? I enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to going on more hikes. It's true, I probably wouldn't have gone hiking if I were in New York,  but as the saying goes "When in Rome..." Try new things, you never know what you can discover about yourself.

5. Accept Invitations
"A man who wants friends must make himself friendly," right? Don't decline invitations because "you're too shy," or "you don't know these people," or "you don't feel like being bothered." Ignore the anti-social voice in your head and go out and have a ball. It's so much easier discovering the city by hanging out with a local anyway!

Pictures of some of the things I've done since moving to L.A.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

3 Ways to Stop Your Stinking Thinking

1. Receive More Good
Are you constantly listening to depressing or melancholy music? Are you starting or ending your day watching horrific news? What are you letting in? While you can choose to listen to the music you enjoy and it's good to stay abreast of current events,  moderation is key.  If you constantly expose yourself to music that makes you feel sad or to news stories that cause you to walk around in fear, it’s time to reevaluate your consumption. Constantly exposing yourself to negativity can drain your energy and poison your attitude, what are you receiving?

2. Surround Yourself With Positive People
Negativity only beget one thing….more negativity. Who you choose to spend your time with has a huge influence on the person you are or will become. I don’t think anyone wants to be a Negative Nancy.  Surround yourself with people who inspire you to become the person you want to be.  People who are radiant, driven, smart and goal-oriented will not only brighten your day, they will help to bring out and cultivate your best qualities.

3. Embrace the Lessons
Life is filled with lessons that help us to graduate from one level to the next. Sometimes those lessons are tough, but how you respond, i.e., your attitude can make a world of difference. Complaining or wallowing in self-pity hurts you more than it helps. Choose instead to learn life lessons and focus on solutions if they’re any.  We only grow from tough experienes when we choose to learn from them. 


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My trip to Napa Valley

Part of living the "Cultivated Chic" life is making time to do what you love. If you can't do the things you love all of the time, do it some of the time. As I said in the "About Me" section, I am not a homebody. I enjoy going out, visiting new places and connecting with people. It's funny, because all the personality tests that I've taken say that I am an introvert. I call myself a social introvert.  I truly enjoy socializing and social activities so long as I have sufficient "me time."

Last weekend I visited my friend in San Francisco and she along with her friends took me to Napa Valley. Since I moved to L.A., I've been having a blast exploring the city and have been looking forward to exploring other areas in California.

In two words Napa Valley is breathtakingly beautiful.  It is the second place I'e visited in the United States where I've exclaimed "I want to get married here," (the first place was Martha's Vineyard). It's so picturesque. The place is literally God's masterpiece.

I had a blast in Napa. Here are some photos from my trip:

We visited two wineries at Napa, we first visited The Black Stallion where we enjoyed red and white wines

Next we visited Domaine Chandon, this winery is a champagne lover's dream

Napa Art

I had a fantastic time!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Picture Perfect: What I Wore to My Friend's Wedding

Ever had one of those days where everything felt absolutely perfect?? Yesterday I attended a friend's wedding and that is what it felt like, the bride was stunning, the venue gorgeous, and the weather beautiful. I love taking pictures because it allows you to freeze those special moments in time, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

I wore a beautiful blush pink dress to and decided to pair it with nude shoes and gold accessories...unfortunately I completely forgot to take pics of the shoes( forgive me) lol Remember to capture those moments in your life that are beautiful, breathtaking, and perfect...sometimes it makes all the difference on a rainy day:)

He Makes Beautiful Things,

Monday, March 11, 2013

Keep the Faith

This is one of my go to songs from the 116 Clique when I'm feeling down and discouraged this is on repeat...the title says it all Keep the Faith!

He Makes Beautiful Things

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of: Going After Your Dreams Tenaciously

“Whoever you are, whatever your dream, you have to be strong in your head and strong in your heart. Be strong. There's no quitting in the person who wants it bad enough.“ –Carly Patterson (gymnast, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist)

Some of the key recipes to fulfilling your dreams are drive, determination and courage. Without these three, your dreams can easily fall by the wayside. It’s common to come up against obstacles on the road toward fulfilling your dreams. You will be faced with tests, trials, and tribulations. Most likely you will shed tears. There will be days where you’ll feel that you cannot go on or that throwing in the towel is your best option. But even if you to take a moment to rest, gather your strength or build your courage, the key is to keep striving.

It is in those moments where you feel that you cannot move forward that you will need to pull on your drive, determination and courage. Often this requires you to make a decision to face roadblocks boldly, seek clarity about the steps you need to take or tweak your goal achievement strategies.  I do believe that dream achievers are those people who decide to do whatever it takes within reason to create their dreams.

It’s motivational to hear or read stories about people who’ve successfully achieved their dreams and goals. Almost always, weaved within those stories are life lessons about the strength to face and overcome tremendous obstacles. I’ve noticed that one of the key themes in many a success story, is the will and determination to keep on going in spite of the curve balls and roadblocks that come your way. Even when they fell, these people nurse their wounds, got up and moved forward. It’s not that they did not fail (some failed many times) during the journey, it’s that they persevered in response to failures.
So how are you going about fulfilling your dreams? Are you backing down in response to roadblock and failures or are you using your drive, determination and courage to get you through?

I Encourage You to Keep Striving!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

All Bow Everything: Fashion + Bows

This Spring is all about bows, and I love it. While bows do remind me of the ribbons I wore in my  childhood, you can easily wear the trend in a way that is all grownup and sophisticated.   It's also a great way to add a touch of playful femininity to celebrate the new beginnings of Spring.  I believe that accessories are the items of choice in wearing the bow trend. There are tons of great necklaces, bracelets, shoes and bags to choose from. 

 Right now I am completely in love with these bow detail shoes from Kate  Spade, aren't they gorgeous? 

Add a touch of bow to your outfits.

While I do prefer bow accessories, this dress incorporates the bow beautifully. 

What do you think about the bow trend?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Personal Style: Blazers

While I do enjoy wearing some trends, there are certain aspects about my personal style that remain the same despite current trends. It's quiet accurate to say that I live in blazers. I will wear a blazer with anything - skirts, jeans and t-shirt, shorts, skirts, dress- you name it, I've worn a blazer with it. In fact, sometimes I feel that an outfit isn't compete without it. Blazers are such a great way to dress up any look, because they instantly add a touch of sophistication even if you're just wearing jeans and sneakers. 

Is there any part of your personal style that doesn't change regardless of the trends?


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ssshhh...It's A Secret

Happy Valentine's Day Chicstars!!! Thought this would be the perfect post to re-visit today.  
Today marks one year, six months and one day since I married the love of my life Vince. It has been a year filled with love, laughter, and many adjustments. There are so many books, articles, and seminars on having a happy marriage. So what’s the secret? Is it money? Marrying your best friend? Sex? No... I’m afraid not. While all these factors are helpful, at the end of the day the secret is.... drum roll please…hard work. Period. Here are some lessons I have learned that I hope will encourage both the single and married folks.
*He is my number one Fan: I realize this more and more from breakfast in bed when he knows I just want to laze around in bed, to putting gas in my car because he knows I hate the smell of gasoline. To be able to just lean on him and know that I can trust him because he loves me deeply is priceless. He tells me the truth...the hard stuff that I don't want to hear that makes me reflect and grow as an individual.
*Prayer Changes Him: I’m not sure why I ever thought I could change my husband’s bad habits but I could talk until I’m blue and He’ll try for a couple of days then forget lol I’m so glad that I learned the power of praying for my husband, I’m truly amazed at how God is transforming him into the man He created him to be, not neccesarily who I want him to be because God ALWAYS knows best!

* Laughter is Medicine: it’s really hard to remain mad at each other if your constantly laughinh. For example when Vince and I are arguing all it takes is a poke in his side and he’s defenseless (sorry babe for putting your business out there lol) or he’ll pick me up and flip me over his shoulder caveman style and all and it’s a wrap. In our marriage you see a lot of teeth because usually we are always laughing at something.

* Men and women are different: DING! DING! DING! you might be like duh..but seriously you really don’t realize how much until your married. Women and men see and feel things differently so embrace your differences, I wouldn’t want to be married to myself so don’t try to create your twin. The very things that annoy me sometimes about Vince are the same things that attracted me to him in the first place...funny how that works. I wouldn’t trade what we are building for anything

* Speak Life: Words are truly powerful it can build up or destroy. So speak life into your relationship, I tend to say things like “babe you always…babe you never”whenever there is a disagreement. So slow down, I literally have to practice taking a deep breath in the heat of the moment and in the end its finding words of love, encouragement, and sincerity that creates a safe place where you can be completely free to be you

* Joy comes in the morning: Whenever Vince and I argue usually he will want to wait until the next day to discuss it while I want to get it solved and resolved now, well I’ve tried it his way and guess what I’m much calmer when I wake up and it never seem as bad as it was the day before…so word of advice sometimes just sleep on it!

* Marriage Does Not Equal Your Transformation: This is one of the most profound lessons. It really is easy to get caught up in everything and think well when I am married I’ll do this, that, and the next. However, if you are not a happy individual you’re not all of a sudden going to become a ray of sunshine when you say I do. The only one who can transform you is God so don’t put such a tremendous responsibility on your husband, it is a guarantee that he will fail. Let God do what only He alone is capable of.

*Aim to please: There is a negative connotation associated with pleasing a man. I completely agree with that if you’re going out of your way in a dating relationship, however when he becomes husband don’t fall apart because you have a ring still cook his favorite food, wear his favorite perfume, do things that you know he loves. I don’t get caught up on the numbers on a scale or dress sizes but be healthy. I love pleasing my husband. There is no shame in my game:)

* Maintain your standards: Just as how you have certain standards and expectations in your dating relationship, create ones for your marriage. I live for surprises… I loveeee it! When Vince and I were dating he had to work hard at coming up with different adventurers for me because according to him he is not romantic by nature, so he thought that once we were married the surprise scould stop. So I kindly reminded him of my expectations (he is doing an amazing job by the way) 

*DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: Need I say more…life is too short so enjoy each other. finished!

I know there are so many more things to learn and overcome but with God’s grace this is a love for a lifetime. Marriage is definitely hard work but guess what? Making up is always oh so sweet ;)

He Makes Beautiful Things

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Confession List: Speaking Positively

The Confession List

I love to start my day listening to words of inspiration so usually in the mornings on my way to work , I listen to an inspirational and uplifting podcast. Yesterday, as I listened to a message by Joyce Meyer, she mentioned the value in having a confession list. This is not your typical confession where you are asking for forgiveness or seeking reprieve for wrongs you committed.

This list is different.  It is a list where you write down positive assertions for your life then declare them out loud (or confess) daily. For example, your list could include some of the following confessions:

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made”
“I am victorious”
“The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

What a wonderful idea! I believe wholeheartedly in the creative power of words.  The things we say about and to ourselves can (and often do) become our reality. Why not speak words of encouragement, boldness and victory. Why not make those declarations a part of our daily lives?
I have already decided to create a confession list, will you join me?  


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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Just Drink: Healthy Eating

Ok Chicstars, go back a few moments in time with me... I was in the sixth grade in the cafeteria. I remember my friends and I getting our lunch and for the first time I really took notice of the three types of milk being offered: whole, 2%, and fat free. Immediately I turned to my friend and said excitedly "we should drink the fat free milk because I'm sure it's better for us!" Lol ever since then I always find myself giving advice and tips. Wellness is a passion of mine, I can spend hours researching, reading, and discussing health related topics. I have never been motivated by weight because thankfully it has never been something I've had to worry about, other than the few years in middle & high school where I just felt skinny, tall, & lanky... Thank God that passed however, just as I feel that inner beauty is so much more precious than physical appearance I always strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle and educate myself because you can be the “right” size and be extremely unhealthy. I'll have many more posts on health but here are a few tips on what I think you should consider when it comes to your drinking habits.

  • Read your ingredients...if you do not recognize the contents DON’T drink it until you research it

  • Incorporate green smoothies and fresh juices in your diet

  • Avoid all drinks containing high fructose corn syrup

  • Cut back, if you drink six cans of soda per week cut it in half and start drinking only three

  • Always chsose 100 % juice

  • The most important tip I can give you is drink more water, I know this is redundant but it is absolutely a move that will have you seeing a tremendous difference in the way you feel and your overall health the fastest. By all means get addicted to water and make it your best friend;) just drink!

Here are some great resources that will help you as you make healthier choices cheers!

He Makes Beautiful Things,