Friday Favorites - May 26th 2017

TGIF!  I am jetting out of town this weekend and could not be more excited to explore a new city, have cooler weather, and enjoy spending time with someone.  Life is good.  Am I right?  This time next week we'll be in JUNE.  *blinks twice in disbelief* Good heavens!  I hope everyone is counting their blessings at lightening speed like I have been every month.  Actually, speaking of counting our blessings makes me think of one of my favorites.  So let's begin!  

I'm linking up with Andrea to share my favorites from this past week.  In no particular order:

Favorite #1

This guy.  

I have no idea who he is.  I have no idea what he was thinking about.  I pulled up next to him while at a light on Shepherd in route to dinner.  I sat staring at this guy for the minute or two I was stopped wondering what he was thinking about.  Is he ok?  Is he sad?  Is he praying to God?  Did something good or bad happen to him or someone he knows?  At first I would have thought he was only thinking about his next move with the shovel and digging the trench (I assume that's what he was doing with that shovel), but he just kept staring off into space entrenched in thought.  I said a prayer for him.  I don't know him.  But, it served as a good reminder that everyone is hurting in some way whether we know it or not, and whether we show it or not.  Some of us carry these hurts longer than others and some of these hurts creep up on us in a flash of a (bad) memory that left a scar in our hearts.  Who knows what this gentleman was going through and perhaps it wasn't even negative.  But, we have the power to speak life into people's lives every day with a kind word or compliment.  We also have the power to change someone's day by praying for them.  Correction - we do not have the power to change their day, God does.  But, we have the ability to pray for strangers as well as people we know and love.  Isn't that pretty neat?  I like the idea that someone I haven't even met has potentially seen me in the midst of a struggle and prayed.  =)

Favorite #2

I've mentioned these a couple of times before but I cannot help myself but to suggest them again.  Good Cravings is undoubtedly my favorite Whole 30 / Paleo energy bar.  The ingredients are healthy and raw.  They're filling and nutritious.  They're locally made here in Houston and they pretty much taste like a dessert treat.  #heaven  I splurged at the Farmer's Market recently to try the "truffles" and GET OUT were they good!  They offer flat rate shipping if you can't visit one of the many farmer's markets she sells at. 

Favorite #3

Ahhhh.  Dinner, wine, and my favorite magazine.  I recently purchased Italian turkey sausage for a pesto pasta recipe I had hoped to (and did) prepare for the blog (that flopped in a major way), and thus had sausage on hand to use for various random throw-together-whatever-is-left kind of dinners.  One evening over the last couple of weeks, I roasted odds and ends of veggies I had remaining and even roasted the sausage in the oven for an easy clean up, one pan dinner.  Believe it when I say these are usually my favorite meals and they hit the spot.  Simple, healthy, and hearty.  Plus wine, because wine not?

Another evening in the last couple of weeks, I threw together the tidbits I had left in the refrigerator (holding off on groceries given my travel schedules).  I sauteed 1/2 half of an onion, 1 turkey sausage link cut up, added in 1 egg to scramble at the end, along with a handful of frozen, organic spinach from the freezer.  All in my Copper Chef pan.  All mixed together.  All sooooo delicious.

I'm sharing these not because I thought they tasted good (which they did), but to inspire you to not waste the leftover vegetables lingering around after you prepare a recipe.  You can usually throw them together and make something great.

Favorite #4

This dress.  I haven't even had the opportunity to wear it yet and I love it.  I had zero intentions of using this picture when I took it to send to some girlfriends for their opinion on the "sleeves", so please excuse the super serious look and hair.  Although, we all know my intentional mirror selfies are not the best so perhaps this is better.  

Anyway, this dress is $30 and from Target.  I am not wearing shoes and am 5'4.5".  Yes, I claim the extra 1/2 inch!  Anyway, I will be able to wear it with sandals or wedges.  In sandals it will skim the ground a little bit so I'll have to be careful to not get it dirty.  But, it's love I tell you.  It feels like a cotton nightgown and is roomy to hide any bloating days (cheers to that ladies!) and it has room for growth for any pregnant mama's out there. =)  All around I consider this dress a win that you will see more formally soon when I actually get to wear it in public.  

It comes in a navy & pink floral print as well.  I ordered it online and they shipped it so fast I got it 2 days later.  I can't guarantee that prompt of shipment arrival but I was happy & lucky!

Favorite #5

This quote - all of it.  May we all strive to be this type of woman.

Favorite #6

Ooh-la-la an extra favorite this week!  I'm excited about this product that I heard about from Houston Tidbits.  It's basically a Yeti type of container that is vacuum sealed for your wine & champagne bottles (or sparkling water...) that will keep the wine bottles chilled.  HELLO!  I have found the perfect gift.  Vinglacé was created by a Houston couple too!  #doublethewin.  If anyone is looking to give me a gift any time soon, I would gladly take one of these.  Yes, I am buying one anyway.  But, I suspect having more than one will be ideal for future gatherings around a pool or outdoor dinners.  Oh - and it comes in stainless steel, white, and black.

Well this sums up my favorites for the week!  I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial weekend with the extra day off from work.  Are you doing anything fun or traveling anywhere as well?  Comment below!

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PS - for your amusement. =)  A flashback photo to Memorial Day 2013 while perusing an antique store in Brenham, TX.  I pulled my long hair up into this wig and waited for the other person to turn around.  ;)  Why do I do these things?  I'll never know.  Seemed like a good idea and it still makes me smile.


Friday Favorites - May 12th 2017

TGIF.  I was beginning to think this week would never end!  That's not normal for me, usually the week flies by fast.  This week was different though as I've had to slow down to a snail's pace to take care of my health, but what that has allowed me to do is to focus on putting myself first, take care of myself, and reflect on how I am spending my time.  I think that's important for all of us to periodically do to ensure that we're prioritizing the right things instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day life's demands for our time.  Life moves so fast!  I have so many wonderful things coming up including some changes and I am SUPER excited.  But, I don't want to wish the time away.  Stop and smell the roses, right?  It'll be gone before we know it.  It will be gone before we have a chance to realize we didn't prioritize the important things.  "It" meaning life, of course.  We are so blessed!  

Moving on to my favorites from the past couple of weeks.  I'm linking up with Andrea to share my faves.  I'm finding I have to spread some out or that perhaps retrospectively I find even more value in something that I want to share it.  So, in no particular order...

Favorite #1

I truly have amazing friends (and family).  I cannot voice that enough.  I never say it to discredit or devalue anyone else's friends and family, ever.  I simply like to express how proud I am of mine for being such good people and influences in my life.  Last week I boasted about Rachel leading the anti-human trafficking efforts at her church.  And this week I get to boast about Karen!

One of my besties, Karen, went to Haiti last year with a group from CRU Houston, along with Coreluv on a mission trip to help out at an orphanage.  To say the trip made a huge impact on Karen's heart is an understatement.  These children were excited for the visits, the help they received, and the hope they have in God's love for their futures.  It's powerful.

Coreluv has a very generous donor who has offered to match all donations received throughout the month of May so as one might expect, Karen and her CRU Houston team are campaigning to raise as much money as they can during this month to help out the orphanage in Haiti.  Donations ARE tax deductible because Paypal Giving Fund has partnered with GoFundMe and the proceeds go to a tax deductible account.  (Yes, this is different than what you normally experience on GoFundMe where you're donating to a person.)

Your receipt will look like this, thus proving it is tax deductible:

You have until the end of May to donate for the matching, but try not to delay so that you don't forget about it.  These precious, smiling faces need our help.  You can click on the various links in this section, click here, OR copy and paste this link into your web browser to donate:

Favorite #2

Tomorrow is the Mother's Day celebration event at Carrie Ann's and I am excited to be a part of the fun.  From 12-3pm CT on Saturday, May 13th (tomorrow), there will be a sip & shop at Carrie Ann's in Uptown Park where you can pick up great outfits for yourself (think brunch, Mother's Day, Memorial weekend, summer vacations) or an outfit or accessories as a gift for your mom!  Stop by Carrie Ann's during those hours to receive 20% off.  I've shared some cute outfits in my previous posts, but here are a couple more!

This Mink Pink dress is soooo comfortable!  It's supposed to be a midi length, but yours truly am not the tallest person so it fits me perfectly like a maxi dress. ;)  It's perfect for work, church, brunches, dinners, or heck - throw on a pair of sandals and you'll love it all day running errands!  

This Blaque Label dress and vest...enough said.  They're perfect.  The dress surprised me, I'm not going to lie.  I was nervous about the nude shade but the material is thick and quality, thus I couldn't see my undergarments through it.  Imagine all of the ways and places you could wear these...

Favorite #3

Wake. Pray. Slay.

I should have shared this weeks ago when I took the picture but had other things to post and saved it.

April 26th was Administrative Professional's Day (hence the flowers below) and I know the ins and outs of the position vary per executive and per company, but one thing remains true: we are invaluable to our executives. 

I love my job.  I have felt blessed every single day for the last (over) seven years since I accepted this position.  I never knew I would become an administrative assistant.  It had never crossed my mind.  When a recruiting firm reached out to me for the position because of my MBA, I sort of stumbled on what to say or think because I didn't think the opportunity was something for my future.  Boy, was I wrong.  God opened this door for me, I have no doubt, and it lead me to working with and for wonderful people and wonderful companies.  I have created relationships/friendships that will last the rest of my life.  This job role suits my personality as well as the many benefits of my job itself.  I am grateful.

My dear friend, Konni, gave me the awesome insulated mug below because she said it made her think of me because it's kind of my "thing".  Thoughtful gifts always make me smile.  I just so happened to have a "slay" antibacterial hand gel at my desk as well so that morning I thought to myself, "YES".  This is my morning mantra.  I noshed on my Good Cravings energy bar and am pretty sure that the combination of things sitting there that day had the makings of a perfect morning.

By the way - Good Cravings is made locally in Houston and has all natural products of which many are Whole 30 and Paleo friendly!  You can order them online, or find them at the City Hall Farmers Market in downtown every Wednesday through June 28th. 

Favorite #4

A sense of relief.

I have temporarily halted sharing my poems online and deactivated the Instagram page.  I am not 100% sure that I will ever reactivate it, but if I do I will likely create a new page and share them anonymously.  Read: it will not be mentioned on my blog.

I have at least 200 poems in these stacks and discs pictured below.  I shared a little over sixty poems during the brief time I had the Instagram page active and the response from strangers was utmost positive and encouraging to continue sharing them.  The strangers that reached out to me privately on there regarding my writing needing encouragement and advice reaffirms precisely why I wanted to share them in the first place. 

I consider myself to be a casual writer and a majority of my poetry was written in the midst of heartache throughout my long relationships since I was 13 years old.  That was a lot of infatuation, love, devotion, and heartbreak when the relationships ended for whatever reasons.  My emotions are sincere, they are real, they are loyal, and they are intense.  I used to write on napkins, spare sheets of paper, in the margins of my notes, anywhere I could fit the words (pre smartphone days).  My thoughts and words would come bursting out of my heart and I'd stop where I was on campus, in class, at work, at home and write until I couldn't write anymore with a sense of urgency like I couldn't write it down quick enough before the next "poem" would start in my mind.  I've never claimed to be a good writer.  I've never claimed to be a great poet.  My words are my own and they get splattered against paper like a water balloon exploding on the side of a wall.  Of course nowadays with smartphones I would type it into the notepad or email it to myself.  But, I digress...

What started to happen that frustrated/frustrates me are two things:

1) Those closest to me attempted to analyze who I wrote the poems about and assume who they are written about.

 2) Those closest to me also assumed that my poems are written present day and thus incorrectly assumed my emotional status.  

While I understand the concern, I find it frustrating.  I chose not to disclose dates specifically so that no one could accurately pinpoint the time frame and who it is about.  My poetry is personal and private to me in that regard and some the assumptions have been inaccurate.  21 years of writing provides a wide time range of experiences.  That being said, I also am not writing about my present day life, nor am I sharing anything about how I currently feel.  Everything thus far was written about 2016 and the decades before. 

It has always felt good to get the words out of my head and writing is cathartic and healing for me.  My life, however, is wonderful and I couldn't conjure up those emotions right now if I tried!  Because of this, I began to re-evaluate how I am sharing my poems so that I am not setting off red flags to anyone to be concerned about me.  I never shared them for family/friends to evaluate what I went through and my emotional status.  I shared them so that the reader can relate and feel understood if they've experienced something similar.  Perhaps anonymity is key to avoid being analyzed.

Clearly I have a lot to share as seen above and yes, those hard discs are full of poems.  Even this picture doesn't capture the quantity I have.  Quantity is not quality though, so I was being cautious in sharing older and newer poems, positive and negative experiences.  Perhaps I will go back to entering all of these into a word document for a self-published book one day.  Perhaps I will create an anonymous Instagram page to start over on sharing them.  Perhaps I will just treasure them for myself.  Who knows!  But, for now I felt a huge sense of relief in temporarily deactivating the page so that there's no more questioning, confusion, discussions behind my back (not in a malicious manner), nor assumptions.  I love that I started the journey of sharing them and braved the humbling experience head on in exposing raw aspects of myself and my past.  Next time I will start off sprinting instead of taking baby steps with hesitation.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
— Isaiah 40:31

Favorite #5

New chapters and new beginnings.  And this sunset. 

I've made some decisions recently that will begin transitioning my life into a new direction.  I am excited for this next chapter, leaving behind the old and starting fresh into the new.  I am excited for the potential future before me, God willing.  Sunday evening I enjoyed this sunset in perfect company while I contemplated how sunsets are like closing doors on each day as each day becomes the past.  Quite powerful, if you have the time to stop and reflect on it.  

I am a sunrise kind of girl, but perhaps I will begin a fonder appreciation for sunsets soon.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Friday and weekend!  Please subscribe below if you haven't already so that you don't miss out on future posts.