The Four Agreements

The reality is that all things are possible but your mind can work to tell you differently. Self limiting thoughts is one of the main difficulties that keeps us from advancing personally and professionally in life. The reality is that we are conditioned to think thoughts of good or thoughts that serve to limit us. “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz delves into our prior conditioning and gives us 4 “Agreements” that can be applied to our everyday lives in order to break this societal conditioning that leads to self-limiting thoughts.

”The Four Agreements” are outlined in the text as:

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Always do your best.
    I know, at face value, these agreements that you make with yourself all seem very simple and you may be very familiar with each of these agreements in isolation already BUT how much are they really practiced in your everyday life? The truth is, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are all made with a purpose. It is important to pay attention to what you are saying to yourself. Speak about yourself with favor and eat the fruits of your words.

Surround yourself with the images that brings joy and abundance into your life. The reality is that you cannot do what you cannot see. Go out of your comfort zone, if you must, in order to SEE the things that you desire and work until it is no longer a desire but a reality.

images: Kourtney Kardashian’s IG

Sunday Stroll

There is nothing better than a Sunday afternoon stroll and if you get to stroll through nature, then the Sunday stroll gets even better. The warm weather invites cool clothing as well as the desire to get outdoors. This dress made me feel amazingly free and not restricted. I normally live in blue jeans but sometimes the buttons squeeze too tightly or the thighs feel too tight but none of this happens in this dress.

Getting in touch with nature before the start of the week is a great way to reset. Weekdays for many of us can be a combination of work, chaos, schedules, meetings and juggling multiple responsibilities and tasks but getting a jump on mentally centering yourself on a Sunday can help to remedy some of the potential chaos.

On Sunday, take time to think. Take time to breath and reflect on all of the growth and stillness of nature. Find tranquility that you can take with you into the week ahead.

How do you ready yourself mentally for the work week?

Dress: Uniqlo

Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Perseverance Through a Pandemic

COVID-19 came and changed everything that we know is normal. We all sheltered in place, worked and schooled from home, our favorite restaurants and shops were closed, no entertainment and for many of us no visits with our friends, families and loved ones. The way we lived changed dramatically.

As you thought you had a hold on life in quarantine, all things shifted again. We all watched the tragic video of a Black man being murdered at the hands of police in Minneapolis. We have seen this tragedy time and time again but this was different. The combination of having the time to process just what is happening in the world along with the final straw for injustice brought on a Black Lives Matter movement bigger than any expected. We saw a worldwide movement. A shift. We now hope to see systematic change.

Proudly showing off my quarantine banana bread in an IG post.

As you read this now, you can look back and think about just how much you’ve persevered. You did it. You lived through a time that will go down in history. You’ve added to change and you could not have done it without caring for your mind and body.

Kourtney Kardashian’s IG was loaded with the most fabulous salads and coffee tablescapes.

Food became an essential part of quarantine. Many of us baked and showed off the prettiest banana breads on Instagram. We had to cook or learn how because many restaurants were closed and ordering for pick up or delivery as no longer with ease. Let’s face it, food probably also gave us the most comfort, the feeling of a norm that we craved.

What is your guilty pleasure?

The Power of “I Am”

 

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We are surrounded by people schooling us about the “universe” and “manifesting” all the things that we want, and you know that for most of us it’s money. Well, the question is, how do you manifest the things you really want? Truth be told, we can only ask and expect to receive. Please believe that you will have to roll up your sleeves and put some work in but the first step to manifesting is to know exactly what you want, ask for it and believe that you already have it in your possession. The Bible taught us that faith without works is dead so the disclaimer here is to not forget to put in your work. Work is something you cannot escape.

After the realization that you must put in work, please remember when asking for what it is that you desire from God or the Universe, please affirm your ask with the simple phrase “I Am.” The “I Am” places you in the present tense and it is how you should begin writing your goal/s. Remain in the present and think of your “I Am” as a command of sorts. You are commanding the things that you want but with humility and gratitude. You can ask for success with “I will be successful.” You command it with “I am successful.”

If nothing else, start your day with your “I Am” affirmations. Create affirmations that describe the you that you would like to become. Start with “I am health. I am abundance. I am wealth. I am happiness.” This is a mantra that can trigger the subconscious and lead to your reality if you are not ready there.

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How do you start your day? Do you have affirmations that you’ve created to set the tone for your day?

Historic Devon House: Kingston, Jamaica

When most people think of Jamaica, they often think of pristine blue beaches and easy going vibes. They are right. You get all of this and then some when you visit but my most recent trip to Jamaica was not one where I managed many beach trips, rather I was mostly in Jamaica’s big city, Kingston. This was a real first time for me and did not know where to go or what to expect. Well, Kingston did not fail. What do you do in Jamaica when you are not at the beach? Well, learn about it’s history and eat ice cream at Devon House of course.

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The most delicious artisan beef patties can be had at the Devon House Bakery.

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The quaint brick structure that now houses the Devon House Bakery was the original kitchen for the historic home.

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The Family’s Dining Room at Devon House.

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Jamaica’s first black millionaire, Mr. George Steibel.

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The home is spacious and airy but still feels quaint, like home.

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This was the stairway for a secret room. After entering the room, the stairs can be pulled towards the ceiling and concealed. It was positioned like a type of panic or safe room.

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The windows are large and everyone has pretty storm shutters lined by light white curtains. The home needs no lights because the sizable windows lets in all of the sun.

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The horrific earthquake that sank one of Jamaica’s most notorious ports. Legends say that Port Royal was such an evil and wicked place that God consumed it with the earthquake.

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I live here now.

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We had the docent to ourselves and what felt like a private tour of the home. We felt extremely lucky.

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The size of the key effects the size of the home. This is the docent opening the front door for us to have the most epic view of the home’s front lawn.

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Ahhhhhhh…Majestic.

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A portion of the from of Devon House.

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I adore the classic checkerboard flooring and the the Italian style borders.

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A portion of the rear of the home. I would be in heaven if I can spend the rest of my life on this back porch.

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The ice-cream is the real tourist attraction at Devon House. Every Jamaican I know lives for Devon House ice-cream on a Sunday. It’s a religious experience of sorts. This is the holy grail of ice-creams, the grape nut.

Check out the historic Devon House online if you are not in Jamaica : https://www.devonhouseja.com

If you are in Jamaica and you love visiting Devon House, drop me a picture or a line in the comments and tell me about your experience. If you plan on visiting the land of wood and water then hop over to Kingston and get a patty and ice-cream for me please 🙂

Five Simple Ways to Create Lasting Change

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Everyday is a new day that is provided to us to start over, to start new. Just as how you hit your phone’s “reset” button, you can hit your very own life reset button on any given new day. If you are thrown off today, don’t beat yourself up, start over again tomorrow. The sun rises and sets on a daily basis, allow yourself to do the same.

How do we do that? Start with establishing your rituals to win and practice doing them daily. Change the things that you are saying to yourself. Switch off the negative and self deprecating words that you tell yourself aloud or in your head. Change the way you speak to yourself and the ones you love. Use words that uplift and creates feeling of self worth. Know that you are created to be great and treat yourself in loving ways. While you are at it, change your environment as often as you can. Take opportunities to see new things and speak to new people.

Change your environment and then work on changing your emotions. Remind yourself of all of the adversity that you’ve overcome and give thanks for the resilience that takes you through  tough times. Meditate and pray your way to settling those feelings of fear and self depreciation. Through self introspection, figure out what you need to cut and keep from your life in order to help propel you forward and then act. Action is the catalyst that creates the change.

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How To Create Lasting Change

1) Use Words

Speak favor and life into yourself with your words. Practice speaking affirmations daily as well as meditation and prayer. Say what you want and make it plain. The universe and God are looking to deliver.

2) Use Images

What type of images are you feeding yourself daily? Are you surrounding yourself with images of beauty and ones that uplift or doom and gloom. What do you see when you scroll your IG or Facebook feed? Does it inspire you or spark envy and jealousy. Do the images make you feel good? Do they make you feel like you have a promising future? If no, change them and change those images quickly. What we see everyday matters. It becomes our reality.

3) Assess Emotions

Your emotions are running your life. It could also ruining your life. This is why it’s important  to pause, pray and meditate. Reaction causes too much impact to others and frankly, you relinquish your power when you simply react to a negative stimulus. Pause. Then decide if you will react or simply not give the energy to the negative source that you are faced with. Also realize that your emotions may be false . Everything you think and feel is not always right. As Myleik says, feelings are not always facts. Assess your feelings and check yourself. Are your feelings facts or something created by you to answer an unknown feeling or question.   Most importantly, you must change the way you think in order to change the way you make decisions. Have your decisions taken you to where you want to be in life? Yes, you are on the right track. No, change the way you think. Winning thoughts help you make winning decisions.

4) Switch Environment

Change your environment. The world is big, beautiful and bright. Go out and embrace a new place. See new sights. Speak to new people. Please, don’t wait for your vacation to do this either. You don’t have to wait until you are given a week or two to hop on an airplane or a cruise ship to immerse yourself in a new place. Many of us are comfortable staying in our own neighborhood or town and rarely venture off to the next neighborhood or adjacent town. Hop in your car or take the train an hour over to a new place. Spend the night, walk the Main Street and have dinner in a restaurant trying a cuisine style you’ve never had before. Stumble into a museum or an antique shop and browse.

5) Gain Experiences

Experience new things. Do something for the first time.  When was the last time you did something for the first time? It does not have to be big. Do something simple but do it for the very first time. Walk a new street, try a new food, cook with a new spice.

Change your narrative and watch your life change for the better.

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Dig Into Life!

Post Inspired by IG Live: Stormy Wellington

Scenery: Conrad Hotel 

A Renaissance in Washington DC.

Living in NYC is great but everyone knows that no other city in the world beats our hectic pace. Every New Yorker knows the best thing about New York is finding accessible places outside of NYC to escape the fast pace of the city.

One of our favorite places to find this respite is Washington DC. It’s a quick $25 MegaBus ride away. Don’t act like you don’t hop on the MegaBus every now and then. I sure do. The great thing about any bus to DC is that it drops you off right in the hub of Downtown. If you drive and feel like doing the 4 or 5 hour drive from NYC to Downtown DC then have at it. Road trip! I like to stop at the rest stops on the highway just because I don’t need a break, I just want to cruise the snack isle and treat myself to Starbucks coffee.

Our recent weekend getaway from NYC brought us to the gorgeous Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Washington, DC. The hotel looks and smells even better than it looks. Weird right, who talks about smells? I do, because this lobby smells like heaven. The rooms and views are breathtaking, friendly service from all hotel staff and a book nook that made me not want to go back to my room. Check out our stay below:

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This amazing library is in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel. You can sink yourself into a comfy chair and dig into a good book for hours here. It’s modern, chic yet cozy. I want one of these at home.

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Took advantage of a quiet Sunday morning and rode the scooters. They are popular and on just about every sidewalk.

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We popped into the National Portrait Gallery right upon their 11:30am open time on Sunday. We had lots of grounds to cover because we came to see Michelle Obama’s portrait. Here is our Forever President.

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What a great surprise it was to see this AMAZING oil on canvas painting of Toni Morrison.

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Here she is, Ms. America!! We came, we saw and we conquered.

Here is our room at The Renaissance: The bathroom was spacious, clean and there were touches of  the history of Washington DC in every section of the room. No stones were left unturned.

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The Aveda toiletries.

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Your room is equipped with a great guide to DC.

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This is a photo essay wallpaper in the bathroom. I was so impressed by it. I love the photos.

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I mean, they utilize every space. Can you spot your Founding Father’s signature on the wallpaper in the closet?

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The most important part of any room is a comfy bed.

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A stately chair placed near a picturesque window for reading. Sign me up for it. There were travel/lifestyle magazines placed on the side table just for your perusal.

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Enough space to do yoga.

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And for you girls and guys who can’t leave the room without a full outfit pic, they’ve got you covered.

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A view of the first public library in DC that has been converted into an Apple Store but also houses the Carnegie Photo Gallery and the DC Visitor Center. It’s a must see.

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Side table mag swag.

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Public Library: Carnegie Photo Library. This space is airy and beautiful despite it being on the lower level of the building.

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Public Library at Dusk.

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Entrance to Carnegie Library

Renaissance Hotel: Downtown DC

How to Teach Your Child to Talk

As a Speech Therapist, I always get questions from friends and family who are parents asking for tips on how to help improve their child’s language. Who remembers worrying when your child wasn’t using their words or not using as many words as their same age peers? We’ve all been there.

To help alleviate that worry, I’ve compiled the most useful information that I’ve acquired over the years in an easy- to-read guide for parents and caregivers to help improve the language of toddlers and small children. I’m super excited to share the information in my e-book titled, “Let’s Play: How to Elicit Language from Small Children” because language is really best taught to small children through play and routines. The true essence of learning comes from children feeling safety and love in their daily routine, including play.

Let's Play by [Simpson, Tamara]

Order Your Copy Today: https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Play-Tamara-Simpson-ebook/dp/B07GTQMSLW

 

The Big Easy: A Day In New Orleans

The French Quarter in the city of New Orleans is like no other place in America. You feel like you have been transported back into time when you walk the streets of the French Quarter. The beautiful French inspired buildings with their wooden shutters and iron antique workings allows for a feel that you can get nowhere else. The Quarters is best travelled by foot so you get the chance to see every building and every corner to establish your favorite street all on your very own.

Let’s Take a Day Trip to New Orleans! 

Stay: The Jung Hotel 

Now, this is a hotel located on Canal Street, a very big and busy street in New Orleans. The hotel is situated right outside of the French Quarter but you can easily walk to the action or jump on the Canal Street Streetcar that stops right outside of the hotel’s doors. The hotel is historic but you don’t feel like it is because everything about this property is modern and luxe. The guest room is very spacious. The staff, friendly and helpful. Plus, there is spa water waiting for you at the hotel’s entrance and by their rooftop pool. It’s necessary for the New Orleans Summer heat.

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Check in, now let’s go eat!

New Orleans Eats: There are many historic restaurants and places where you must eat when visiting New Orleans and the French Quarter so you will need more than a day to do that. This is an eating town y’all! We decided to pay a visit to Antoine’s Restaurant for their famous lunch spacial. The lunch costs the same as the year we are in, 2019 or $20.19, and the cocktail special is a quarter. Oh yes!

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I always get the fried chicken and greens when I visit a Southern Restaurant. It’s a staple for a reason, it’s good.

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Picked up some crawfish near the French Market an hour or so after lunch. I had to, it’s mandatory when in New Orleans to have it. I was only doing what was right.

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Dinner was gumbo. Say No More.

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Dessert, beignets from Cafe Du Monde. After that, we walked along the dark Mississippi River and listened to her smooth sounds brought on by her waves.

Sights: The most comprehensive list of “Things to Do” that I found was on the official website for travel to New Orleans, www.neworleans.com. The Visit New Orleans IG is also great. We had limited time so we took a ride on the famous St. Charles Streetcar to visit the “Garden District.” It is called The Garden District for a reason. There are trees and greenery everywhere and one house is more magnificent than the other. We then traveled back to the French Quarter just to stroll her famous streets and marvel at the architecture. We paid a visit to Jackson Square to visit the St. Louis Cathedral, my favorite building in the French Quarter.

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St. Louis Cathedral, a sanctuary that looks like a castle at Disney world. Magnificent.

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Marie Laveau, said to be a voodoo priestess, is one of the French Quarter’s most famous residents.

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So much to see on Bourbon Street. Stop and listen to some of the live music being played inside some of the bars. Fun.

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We also paid a visit to the Hermann Grima House at Angelique’s request because it was featured on “American Horror Story.” 

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We had the docent all to ourselves and I love history so I was in heaven.

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This courtyard was magical.

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We were walking through the Quarter and stumbled on a talk being given by the descendants of “Plessy” and “Ferguson” from the famous Supreme Court case which made the concept of “Separate but Equal” constitutional. 

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They are now working together to bridge the gap of educational and economic divide in New Orleans.

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An antique shop on Royal Street with the most beautiful structure and furnishings.

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…What a day, goodnight New Orleans.

Comfortably Cool: Rachel Roy’s “Design Your Life.”

I happened to stumble on Rachel Roy’s style book titled, “Design Your Life” at a local store and contemplated if I wanted to buy the book (the sale price was really a steal). It has been some time since I’ve purchased a “style” book. I used to love the “How To” and “Style” books and magazines when I was in High School but not really interested in the genre now as an adult. Well, I may have to revisit my High School interests because this book was really good! I especially enjoyed the beginning of the book where Roy talks about visualizing and manifesting the life you want by first starting where you are with what you have. This is a lesson that everyone needs to be reminded of at every stage in life.

After reading the chapter, “Comfortably Cool”, I decided I would construct a post using Roy’s own words about everyday dress and styling because I think this is an area that many women struggle to master. These these are Roy’s own words of advice for everyday dress:

“When you go out into the world, I’m a firm believer that it’s important to present the sharpest, brightest, best version of yourself- whether you’re shopping for groceries or giving a career changing presentation.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re taking your kids to the playground or working on deadline behind a desk…The truth of the matter is, that’s a difficult job to undertake in worn out stretch pant’s and your lover’s sweatshirts. If you truly aspire to be successful in all areas   of your life, be it business, relationships, motherhood, or friendships, it’s important to look and feel the part of a strong, loving, powerful, organized woman.”

“Hitting that stride can be easier than you think.”

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The Guide to Casual Chic

“Toss the tracksuit and put on a midi dress and leggings. The dress I choose is always made from a relaxed fabric with some stretch…Choose a dress that has buttons that run the length of the dress, undo them from the upper leg to create a high slit. This gives the illusion of showing leg, allowing for a youthful feel.”

“Bye bye hoodie and hello leather or faux leather motorcycle jacket. A leather motorcycle jacket is easily thrown over dresses or trousers alike.”

Ditch the flip flops for a laceless slip on sneaker. “They work seamlessly for a polished look even though you’re wearing sneakers.”

Keep it hands for with a cross-body bag or a giant tote. However, backpacks are a timeless solution to the hands free problem.