Archive of ‘LIFESTYLE’ category

Reading Pretty: My Paris Dream by Kate Betts

9780679644422

I simply devoured Kate Betts memoir My Paris Dream. You may know Kate as the author of Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style, but to me I feel a kindred soul. In My Paris Dream, Kate reflects on her time spent in Paris and the learning experience of a young woman who followed a dream. The book resonated with me because it’s coming on my 14-year anniversary of studying in Paris and all I can think of is: “what if Jamie never encouraged me to go?”

Before I graduated from college I had two choices – walk a stage or board a Continental Airlines (now United Airlines) flight to Paris. Guess which one I chose? Paris. I didn’t need a cap and gown ceremony. I needed baguettes, cheese, wine, and coming into my own. The previous few years had been a nightmare.

I lost my dad in 1999 and I remember my brother Jamie stepping in when I needed him. When my French teacher suggested I study abroad in Paris immediately fear crept in. I confided in my best friend Cassaundra, but I also confided in Jamie who I thought would discourage me. He didn’t. He immediately said “Move in with me and my family, save all your money, and go study in a place you dreamed about.” Well, alrighty then.

I took Jamie and his family up on their offer. On May 11, 2001 I stepped on a plane to go study, solo and prayed that all the money I paid for an apartment (before Air B&B) would result in me having an apartment. Cell phones? Not so much. My entire family went to the airport with me. This was when you could sit with your families before you flew and they could literally see you off. I remember sitting in CDG (Charles de Gaulle) after landing crying and writing in my journal. I was here. The place of Josephine Baker, Richard Wright, Laduree, Eartha Kitt, James Baldwin, Dior, Louis Vuitton, and oh yes, Sisley Cosmetics.

The year was magical. Unlike anything, I had ever experienced growing up in the South. It was literally my personal Paris dream. The dream would have never happened without Jamie. I miss him every day and especially now as I reminisce on my time in Paris. I had a dream and I was thankful for a brother who stepped in and helped make it happen. How many people are not living their dream and just existing? I hope you my fellow readers are not one of them. Life is too short to find your own Paris dream.

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” ~ Rumi

Reading Pretty: The Beauty Detox Power: Nourish Your Mind and Body for Weight Loss and Discover True Joy by Kimberly Snyder

The Beauty Detox Power Cover

I’ve been a huge fan of Kimberly Snyder for years. I met her when she lived in NY and she made me raw food and her famous green goddess smoothie. This was before there was a juice bar on every corner and green drinks now replaced soda in many hands. I love it. I believe one of the keys to beauty is food.

Kimberly’s new book focuses on cleaning the body through nourishing and healthy food that actually tastes good and is good for you.The Beauty Detox Power is a great addition to the beauty wellness bookshelf. After traveling the past few weeks, I decided to take a few days to reset. The best way for me is to relax, eat clean, and sleep. It’s amazing, but I seriously have been craving salad of all kinds and Sweetgreen definitely is my weakness. I’m definitely turning into my mother. The woman has eaten a salad every day her entire life. Yep, that’s why she’s so healthy at 75.

Dior and I

Dior and I

Last week before I headed to South Florida, my friend and I decided to see the limited release fashion documentary Dior and I. It was such a treat. The documentary follows Raf Simmons the new designer at Dior for his first haute couture show. He had to create the show in less than 8 weeks. Yes, you read correctly. In less than two months, he had to create a couture show for the house with original ideas with past influences.

The movie shows how much work and time goes into couture and why the dress is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. It also explains how the atelier and the designer sometimes butt heads. This film is for the true fashion lovers who love history, whimsy, and exceptional talent. The movie is in limited release so hurry and go see it.

It also gives you a glimpse of Paris and that is always a good thing.

Reading Pretty: Spinster by Kate Bolick

spinster

There are things in life that are not for everyone. Marriage and kids as it relates to this review. I wish we lived in a world where people respected others decisions on what works and doesn’t work for them instead of being judgemental. Kate Bolick’s Spinster gives a detailed look on one person’s journey of discovery and choices.

Choices. That’s a word we rarely use when it comes to our own lives. Years ago during a church service I remember my pastor saying “Life is choice driven. We live and die by the choices we make.” To this day, I still use this statement. To everyone I consult, family, friends, and people wanting my opinion on certain things. Everyone makes different choices. Those choices work for them or may not. The judgment, jealousy, and bitterness to others choices shouldn’t faze you in the least. The book gives one woman’s choice, how she came to the choice, and how she continues to live with it.

The book resonated with me because of her decision to own her choice. I wish people who read the book, especially women, come away with understanding how important choices are in their lives. In every single aspect. Personal and professional. I have traveled the world and visited countries where women don’t have choices and to be a woman in this country, be able to make my own choices, and live my life on my terms is well – priceless.

Shopbop Friends & Family Event

Shopbop

One of my favorite online destinations is Shopbop. Since I am on a minimalist kick in my clothes and I don’t want a closet full of things I don’t love. I have been on a strict clothing excavation of my life. There are few items that I want for Spring from Shopbop and I can’t wait to get to shopping. I need to hurry up because their family and friends event sale ends tomorrow and with 25% off the majority of the site I know my favorites may run out.

Wellness Wednesday: My YogaWorks Online Yoga Classes

YogaWorks 1

I can’t get enough of online yoga classes. As much as I am on the go and love to take actual classes sometimes it isn’t possible. If I’m on the move, online classes are the next best thing. I have been testing out My YogaWorks for the past few weeks and I’m in deep love. All my favorite yoga teachers, especially my Los Angeles based teachers are on there and I am able to take class and practice with them from afar. Like now since I have been in Louisiana for a week and it has been pretty hectic since I arrived.

I have been a fan of Alexandria Crow for a long time and always wanted to take a workshop with her. Now, I can take her various level classes and work on my handstand in the process. Yes, it is a process. Last year at the Yoga Journal conference in NYC I took classes with Vinnie Marino and let me tell you what an absolute crush I have on him now. I get to practice online with Vinnie and again at this year’s conference. Vinnie has some of the best music for his playlists. Eka Ekong is new on my yoga teacher crush list and when I need to slow my mind (which is quite often actually), I take her classes and feel renewed.

My YogaWorks classes have great teachers I plan on taking classes with and various series. They have a series on splits that I want to start trying next month. If you are curious to try yoga, take their free 14-day trial. You will be hooked.

yogaworks 2 yogaworks 3 yogaworks 4

Wellness Wednesday: solidcore (the hardest workout in Washington, D.C.)

solidcore 1

A few weeks ago I participated in a class at solidcore. The class has been touted by many people, including my fitness trainer friends as the hardest workout in Washington, D.C.. At first I was skeptical and then I watched the video and became afraid, very afraid. I was still excited to try the workout and glad I put my fear on the back burner.

A few of my blogging friends were at the studio with me so we bonded over fear, sweat, and a kick butt instructor, Alex. I sweated so hard and at times I thought I had been dipped into a pool. I will say it was the hardest workout I have ever done in my life. I’ve taken hardcore exercise classes in New York and L.A. and this one kicked my butt and took everything out of me. There were times I thought I was going to throw up. I pushed through it. And guess what? I loved every single minute, second, and drop of sweat of it.

I was sore for three days after the class and all I can think about is figuring out a way to make solidcore a part of my lifestyle a few days a week.

solidcore 2

{This is after I dried off and was still trying to look cute}

solidcore 3

Reading Pretty: Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

yoga girl

If you practice yoga regularly and don’t know who Rachel Brathen (“Yoga Girl“) well you must be living under a rock, not on Instagram, and definitely not one of her 1.2 million followers. I have been following Rachel and her adventures on her home island of Aruba, traveling the world teaching classes, and dealing with major life heartaches for a long time. It’s one of my favorite Instagram yoga accounts.

What I love about her page is not only is it inspirational, but she says what we all think. Sometimes life sucks. In one year she lost her best friend and grandmother (lows). It was a year of getting married (high), writing her book (another high), and much more. As a follower you see all the good, bad, and ugly. It’s still hard for me to be so open how every morning I want to scream since Jamie died and yes my life is good, but it sucks not to hear his voice every single day.

Rachel’s book is a mixture of memoir, yoga, and cookbook. I missed Rachel and Dennis (her husband) when they came to D.C. last year and I was bummed. She’s on book tour and I’m bummed again that I can’t make any of the dates. I am pushing for them to come back to D.C. because they have a lot of fans. My husband tells me I should go to her Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga Teacher Training in Aruba. That sounds like it’s up my alley. Water, yoga, sand, and get bronzed.

Yoga Girl comes out today. I received a copy to preview, but I love it so much I ordered a copy for my Kindle. I spent my Saturday afternoon savoring the book and a matcha tea latte. It’s on my nightstand where I keep most of my yoga books and I still can’t get enough.

1 2 3 9