dear autumn

2015, October

dear autumn,

i love the way you dress the trees (and the streets for that matter). in that fiercely fire-blazing kind of way.

and those crispy leaves. that “crunch” makes me giddy.

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the way you end the days with darker, cooler nights, that allow me to go home, wrap up and drink something warm.

i get to wear boots. brown ones, high ones, black ones and wedged ones. and my feet are oh so thankful.

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in some ways you make me forget that the harshness of winter is what’s next. deceitful? maybe. but your warmth lasts longer than i think it should. so i forgive summer for the lack of. well. sunshine.

pumpkins. cinnamon. hot chocolate. scarves and coats. bonfire night and fireworks. chocolates, golds and sunset yellows.

oh and i can also just about handle the cooler nights because christmas.

love,

me

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loss and gain

2014, Inspiration, October

i started writing this post with a whole bunch of philosophical thinking. or at least what i thought was philosophical. let’s face it, it probably wasn’t.

but let me just put it simply.

i’m in a very transitional stage of life right now. a lot of things are moving and changing and some of it is making me uncomfortable.

and i don’t know what to do with it.

let me explain a little.

i’m in the process of moving out of my parents house. figuring out a future with the ex now current bf (all good things here). interviewing for jobs. in a temporary job that is ever-changing. and other things.

i think back to the last few years. of what i have lost.

and what i have gained.

i have “lost” money when i started an online shoe business (which didn’t do so well). but i gained experience, business relationships, knowledge about building customer relationships that i wouldn’t have otherwise learned.

i “lost” money again when i decided to move to the states and study business entrepreneurship (which was a result of “losing” the business^^). i gained….i don’t even know where to begin. i gained friends. friends who are family, friends who will stay friends for many more years to come. experiences that will stay with me for the rest of my life. i learned how to love and how to forgive in ways that i wasn’t prepared for.

loss and gain go hand in hand. and upon recognising what i have gained over what i have lost it makes this thing, this transitional thing seem all the more worth it.

i also watched this video from my all time favourite youtubers soul pancake and cried a little. oh dear.

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life lately | and other ramblings

Blogging, Culture, Fashion, Food, Healthy Living, Inspiration, Love, October

23 days.

23 DAYS SINCE MY LAST POST.

who am i?

i keep thinking that i’ll just wait till life slows down then i’ll get into a proper routine.

what i really need to do is to make time for a proper routine.

i’ll get there. but THANK YOU for bearing with me.

remember last month when i told you i was going to quit fizzy drinks? well i’m still going strong. and it’s brilliant. i now crave water. and i never thought i would actually say that. or that i could. let’s keep going shall we?

talking of which….

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  1. walk a lot more
  2. no fizzy drinks!
  3. drink lots of water
  4. use coconut oil … currently for cooking, for conditioning my hair and for my skin! (and i’ve now converted the bf who uses it all the time). i know you’re thinking it’s a little weird right?! using the same product for your body both internally and externally. but it’s fabulous. i promise.
  5. smoothies for days! and soups. and homemade ice cream…

my mum and i recently invested in a vitamix blender. well actually it’s called the vitamix total nutrition center.

life changing.

honestly.

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THE BEST BLENDER IN THE MARKET. well i can’t really make that claim because i haven’t tried them all. however, for someone who loves to blend but loves to have smooth smoothies, this was the best thing we could have invested in.

and yes you can make soup and homemade ice cream too. and your own peanut butter, and houmous. and lots more. if you follow me on instagram check out the two  videos i posted of the vitamix at work @thisismymdot

if you’re interested in watching some videos i highly recommend this one. and this one too.

so hey. tis the season for sequins! don’t you think?

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i found this ^^ sequin skirt at h&m in leeds a few weekends ago.

sequins and glitter. that’s all a girly girl like myself needs.

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i saw this ^^ on pinterest a couple of weeks ago and i laughed real hard. then i thought, but really though?

IMG_4525and this ^^ quote. so so true.

exhibit a. my bf and i. we broke up 5 years ago. 5 years ago. and it wasn’t terrible either. we just weren’t ready to settle down. and now. now things have just, well, worked.

timing. is. everything. 

if you’ve made it to the end of this post and endured my ramblings i salute you.

happy weekend you wonderful people.

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life lately.

2014, Blogging, Culture, Family and Friends, Food, October, Travel

gahhhhhhh

that’s how i feel since it’s been 13 days since my last post.

oops.

anyway, these lovelies make me want to have braids again #hairenvy

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these ladies remind me why i started my natural hair journey…

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which i haven’t really talked about much on this blog of mine. but these are my inspirations. and i’m over a year free of hair chemicals. yay me.

and thank you pinterest.

this past weekend one of my very good friends visited from the states. well he’s actually brazilian but he lives in utah, where we met. it was his first time in the uk so of course, london was a must. on his first morning here i decided what better way to be introduced to british life than a big full english breakfast. after a bit of browsing i stumbled on a cute cafe (thanks tripadvisor). mimo’s cafe is a fabulous italian cafe bar just outside of paddington station. you can’t beat £4.50 for a good breakfast. especially in london. mimo’s gets a huge thumbs up from me!

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oh did i tell you that this happened?

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never in a million years did i think i would see my name on a coke bottle. i celebrated by not drinking it and posting a picture of it on instagram instead. besides, i’m not drinking anything fizzy anymore remember?

while i spent the majority of the weekend in london this past weekend my mum and niece had a fashion show without me. i loved the photos!

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with my fedora and floppy hat they definitely wore it better.

talking of my niece….we caught her watching cartoons on her dad’s phone rather than napping….which is what she was supposed to be doing.

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and this is my favourite quote on pinterest from this week…

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i hope you’ve had a lovely start to october. here’s to autumn days, halloween, nights in, lots of hot chocolate, duvet covers on rainy/windy nights and 5th november. i do love autumn in the uk.

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why blog? – part 1

2013, October

in the last few weeks i’ve had a several emails from friends and readers about how/why i started blogging etc. it’s a great question and definitely one i was asking before i started.

it was back in end of 2010/beginning of 2011 when i first entered the blogosphere. i had just launched my online shoe business neneh stiletto and i was looking for another way to reach customers than just relying solely on  them coming to the website. if you know much about online businesses you know that it takes customer loyalty, brand recognition amongst a lot of other things for people to not only visit your website but to purchase too. i started doing research into blogging for business and took it step by step. that blog just focused on shoe fashion.

the more i got into it the more i wanted to expand and talk about fashion in general. then i started the definition of vogue in 2012. i based this blog on everything fashion. at the same time because sales were low and neneh stiletto wasn’t doing very well i had to shut it down *multiple sad faces* — it was a good transition {although that is not the end of me and online businesses, but that is for another day}.

at the beginning of 2012 i moved from the uk to salt lake city, utah. my family and friends wanted to keep up-to-date with my adventures so i started a separate blog. i soon recognized that trying to run two separate blogs was not only time consuming but slightly annoying too! i started researching other bloggers and realized i could blog about fashion and my adventures in one place {i was also inspired by my blogger idol love taza}.

my blogging experiences have certainly evolved over the past couple of years and i have definitely grown as a blogger, recognizing what i want to share on my little corner of the internet. i feel a lot more comfortable sharing my personal experiences believing that it will touch at least one of my readers. it allows me to be creative, boast, moan and weep without it being too “public” {facebook} if you know what i mean.

but i’m not the only blogger out there so i thought it would be beneficial {and fun of course!} to have some fellow bloggers share their reasons as to why they started blogging, perhaps you will be inspired!

first up is ema, originally from albania now living in the US. she is fairly new to the blogging world but shared her reasons behind starting the lifestyle and fashion blog our love in bloom

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I discovered blogging early this year and I thought to myself, wow this is a great way to share your talents, passions and to keep track of certain important events in your life. As I was searching more and reading more and more interesting blogs (like cupcake mascara for instance), I started admiring those women who had started a blog just for fun and ended up making a career out of it.

I have always loved fashion, design and anything and everything beautiful. So I thought blogging would be a great way to develop and share my talents and passions with others, hoping that I could inspire someone.

I consider myself a shy person and I don’t like to be the center of attention but I think blogging will help me to open up and be more confident about myself and my ideas and thoughts. So I am pretty new in this space, but I am loving it already. Any ideas and suggestions from seasoned bloggers would be great 🙂

jessica, based in the uk, felt blogging was a great way to share her life, avoiding what she saw as the more “public” facebook. enter in young free and married

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So, in a practical sense, I have learnt that blogging is much easier to set up than initially anticipated. It’s a case of following a few quick and simple steps to get your blog up and running and off you go.

Whereas in a more personal sense, I have learnt a new way to stimulate creativity and productivity in an enjoyable way during a time in my life when opportunities to do those things are not as readily handed to me on a plate as in previous times. Being in a job that stimulates learning and progression and being in full time education provides regular opportunities to be creative and productive by (ideally) developing and learning new skills. For various reasons this is not the case for me at the moment, so I guess I figured I needed to take things into my own hands. Taking a bit of time each week to bring my thoughts together and write a blog post has taught me to provide myself with an opportunity (along with other things) to develop an interest I have. In this case, writing. 

I find blogging a more personal way of making my thoughts public, I’ve never been very comfortable with sharing too much on facebook but for some reason I feel like my blog is more of a personal space to share a bit of myself with others, which doesn’t make much sense because technically even more people than I have on my facebook can view my blog because it’s a public site!! I think it’s because it’s my own personal online space and it’s all on my terms whereas facebook feels so much bigger than that.

I’ve also learnt that not only is it a good thing to do for myself, but you also never know who might benefit from your ramblings.

and lastly but certainly not least rachel, also from the uk, shares why she started blogging on make a long story short

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I started blogging four years ago: I spent a month in India, and was so flabbergasted by what I saw that I started making notes. Once I got home I couldn’t think of anything to do with them, so I started a WordPress blog and posted them there. But I’ve only been writing regularly for a couple of years, once we started thinking about having children. I couldn’t believe all the things people had never told me about having a baby. Like, how a tiny person can poo so much they fill an entire baby bath, and you then have to work out what to do with a wet boy screaming under one arm and a poo swamp on the other. Or how you don’t sleep for so long when you first have a baby that you’re capable of eating an entire chocolate gateau in one sitting. Or how you might take your toddler to a farm and suddenly you’re having to say things like ‘Henry, the goat doesn’t want to give you a piggy-back. Get off. No, GET OFF’. I just felt like the world needed to know about these things, and that I would want to remember them later, so I started writing them down.

These days I write about all sorts of things: parenting, family activities, baking projects, books I’ve read and films I’ve seen – anything that interests me. Writing is therapy: it’s the best way I know of working through things in my head and fixing them on the page for later. I love hearing from other people who’ve had the same experiences, and connecting with people all over the world. Parenting small children is frantic, terrifying, thrilling and wonderful. Writing it down helps it all make a little more sense.

i love each and every one of these reasons. it is different for everyone. and one of the great things about blogging is that it is your space. you can do whatever you want with it. sure there is blogging etiquette but no where near as much as facebook {or as irritating either}.

i’ve titled this part 1 because i feel there is so much to discuss with blogging, so watch this space for more…

in the meantime i want to give a big thank you to the beautiful women ema, jessica and rachel for coming on this little adventure with me – i am inspired by each of you!

oh and happy all hallows’ eve!
m.

youtube videos of the week

2013, October

virgin america. i salute you. who would have thought a flight safety video would be so awesome i’d want to watch it 4 times in one evening? seriously though.

top 60 ghetto name. hi.larious.

and this baby. so dang cute.
i couldn’t embed this one for some reason. watch it here. you will not be disappointed!

ah youtube. thanks for the entertainment.
m.

on being african

2013, October

 i’ve been in utah for almost 2 years {hastagwhaaaaat?!}. i have no idea where the time has gone.

anyway, why did i start with that? when i have met new people here, the first thing that stands out is my british accent. i consider it to still be pretty strong even after 2 years on this side of the pond. i’ve spent endless hours and conversations talking about the weather, the royal family, the language differences, the food, the chocolate {very important}, travelling around europe etc. etc. not a week has gone by without one of these topics coming up. and i don’t mind in the slightest. talking about home is refreshing, even if it makes me a little homesick every time.

but there is another part of me that has taken a back seat if you must. and i’ve felt guilty about it. it’s very much a big part of not just my heritage but of the way i was raised and who i am today.

if you’ve been following my blog for a little while you’ll know i was born in sierra leone, a beautiful, tropical country on the west side of africa bordering liberia and guinea. sierra leone has suffered from civil war and unrest for many years, but now continues to grow in peace. my family moved to england when i was 4 years old. the plan was to live there for 2 years maximum {my dad was doing his masters degree} and we would move back to sierra leone. so my parents took minimal belongings with us two littlies in tow and off to england we went! that was back in 1989. fast forward a couple of years and the civil war official broke out. it was then my parents decided to stay in the uk.

i remember not being able to understand or really speak english! crazy talk…if you know me, you know i sound very british! my parents put me in a private nursery school to allow me to learn english in a more relaxed environment. i still have some recollection of the main room where we would eat {of course}.

my parents are very much the typical african parents but they also understood the importance of embracing the english culture. in my teen years my mum would often say that i was more british than sierra leonean. that was probably pretty true in regards to my mannerisms. but i am grateful that sierra leone, the language, the food, clothing and culture were still ingrained in us, still very much a large part of our home life.

i’m not going to lie, as i teenager {i am ashamed to admit this} i was somewhat annoyed by some of the traditions. i would think “well my friends don’t have to do this!”. but growing up, and especially not being surrounded by it as much now, has made me appreciate that beautiful culture so much more!

i wanted to share some of my ‘salone’ roots by showing you a collection of pictures from my cousin’s wedding back in 2011. she kindly agreed to me sharing these pictures on my blog.

as a background my cousin grew up in a Muslim/sierra leonean home and her husband grew up in a Christian/nigerian home. with the mix of the two cultures is was definitely the party of the year {biased much?}.

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^^here is my gorgeous cousin in her wedding dress. this was the hotel room for the bride, bridesmaids, flower girls, mother of the bride and aunties who wanted to join in. jam packed but absolutely brilliant.^^

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^^when you’re african you ride in style. one black and one white hummer stretch limo for the bridal and groom parties^^

*side note* one week before the wedding, one week, the church called to let the bride know they had double booked them and so had to change the venue. I absolutely applause my cousin for her complete and utter calm. can you imagine??? invites out and all…

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^^some family and friends arriving for the chapel ceremony. here the girls are wearing what we call ashobi. it’s where each side of the family purchase the same fabric and everyone have it sewn to their liking. you’ll see the grooms ashobi in a second here.^^

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^^here is the little bride with her mother and aunt. there’s a little groom too!^^

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^^the groom’s side of the family with their ashobi^^

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^^my aunt {my mama’s sister} and her two littlies^^

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^^the groom’s parents^^

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^^my mama!!^

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^^i just love this picture. these handsome three were ushers. they are my ‘little’ cousins. junior {on the left} is the youngest brother of the bride^^

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^^bride with her father {my uncle} and chief bridesmaids making their way into the church^^

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^^annnnddd they’re married!^^

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^^a quick shot of the bride and groom with the little bride and groom {yes that is traditional in an african wedding – so many family members – they all need a role!}^^

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^^because we had to change venues we also had to do photographs at the reception venue instead!^^

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^^but i think it worked out just fine^^

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^^the party kinda starts from here. my cousin was the mc {master of ceremonies} for the night and announced each group of the bridal/groom party as we danced into the reception {explanation below}.

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^^oh my goodness. here are the ushers and usherettes. this just describes the awesomeness of the reception^^

at a sierra leonean wedding reception each member of the bride and groom’s party will pick a song prior and dance into the reception.

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^^the bride’s parents^^

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^^the groom’s parents^^

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^^finally the bride enters. as bridesmaids and groomsmen we line up ready to welcome her in. it is tradition that she dances in first then goes back to collect her husband to signify that she is now a married woman^^

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^^and here they are – husband and wife!^^

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^^ a few family members come up to share congratulations and embarrassing stories. my cousin found ways to help people stick to their time limits. resting his head on a shoulder was just one!^^

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^^typically at an african wedding there will be traditional dancers/performers. these three are called the ceo dancers and they are amazing! they have performed at africa fashion week in london and competed in Britain’s got talent 2013. check them out here – totally worth the watch!!^^

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^^our family friend there loving the vibes, my brother in the middle there enjoying the music. seriously the best party of 2011 and perhaps since!!^^

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^^here are the bride and groom in their traditional african wear^^

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^^bridesmaids with the bride and groom. that’s me on the far right^^

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^^and their final outfit change for the night. they looked absolutely gorgeous!^^

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^^just a collection of the beautiful colors and the mood of the night. gosh this brings back so many good memories! of course i had to point my beautiful mummy!^^

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^^one of my favorite photos, all of us bridesmaids in our traditional african dresses^^

i have spent a moment or 5 just being reminded of that rich, vibrant and beautiful culture that is sierra leone. i have made a goal to make it a bigger part of my life no matter where i am.

here’s to remembering who you are. your roots and embracing all aspects and of your life.

happy tuesday to you!
m.

hashtagitstheendoftheweekalready

2013, October

the last time i posted it was monday, and now its friday hashtagwhat?! this week has definitely flown by. with 40 hours clocked in at work, a completed diy project *gasp*, trying an american take on the turkish/british kebab and some great news in the projects-out-side-of-work department, it’s actually been a productive one!

the completed diy project
we have been in dire need of a dining room table for some time and with a piano, desk and bookcase already in the allocated space we needed something small and cute. i probably spent a lazy 2 months looking for something. and by lazy i mean i wasn’t actively looking, just had it the back of my mind whenever i went to a thrift store.

a couple of weeks ago my friend korinne and i went on a little thrift store adventure, without having anything in particular in mind to buy {whenever i go shopping with the mindset i almost always find what i’m looking for…even if i didn’t quite know what i was looking for in the first place…i’m sure you know what i mean}. we found the perfect table, and i mean perfect. in size, look, style. plus they had 2 chairs that fit the look. i got all for a mighty $15. i just love thrift shopping!!

here are a couple of before shots.

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i first cleaned and sanded down both table and chairs then hit them with primer. unfortunately without my diy guru korinne i bought grey primer {we used white last time} but it actually worked out just fine! i wanted to keep the chairs white and decided to go with yellow for the table. i just thought yellow would be a bright and cute addition to our little space.

i laid out cardboard boxes on the porch as i was using spray paint {which sits beautifully compared to using a brush!} and my oh my. i inhaled a decent amount of paint, so warning/tip…make sure the space you use is well ventilated!

here are the after pictures…i am kinda proud of myself…

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All by myself
^^ i recently downloaded this fantastic photo editing app called a beautiful mess. check it out. seriously. and ignore that little scratch you see on the corner there…that happened when i was trying to move the table back in the apartment…i left it thought thinking it gives in a more vintage look^^

i’ll be looking for two more chairs and a center piece to beautify the table but i’m a proud beginner! more photos of the finishing touches coming soon.

an american take on the turkish/british kebab
a friend recently told me about a kebab café coming to salt lake city. i kinda peed my pants a little bit. if you don’t know, kebabs are a middle eastern dish and are a HUGE hit in the uk. and i mean huge. they are also known as lamb doners {sounds like donnas}. technically the meat isn’t exactly all lamb. at least at home it isn’t. but it tastes so good.  and i never thought of all the things i would miss about the uk kebabs would be one of them.

so i took my roommates and a couple of friends on thursday night to the downtown location of spitz. my verdict? delicious. absolutely delicious. it wasn’t quite the british/turkish kebab i was hoping for, actually it was more of a german/spanish take on this delectable dish. but oh. my tastebuds had a right old party.

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if you’re in salt lake/utah i recommend trying it out!

great news in the projects-out-side-of-work department
remember that post where i talked about finding the perfect venue for a charity fashion show?

The Perfect Venue

well they are called impact hub salt lake city and they are designed as a social entrepreneurship center. i emailed them last week about being a venue for the charity fashion show and guess what? not only were they interested they were excited about the idea too!! can i just tell you how pumped i am?!!!!! just ohmmmgeeeeeeeee. kinda excitement. i’ll be heading down there next week for a tour of the building and to get some discussion going. sooooo excited.

i’m considering going shooting this weekend. it’ll be my first time. and yes i’m terrified. i’ve just about held a gun and the thought of shooting one just for fun is so alien to me it makes me more intrigued. we’ll see if i actually manage it!

today i am just loving life. it’s only one day but for the way i have been feeling recently i am devouring this moment.

happy friday dear reader and have a wonderful weekend!

m.

happy monday

2013, October

it’s monday morning {at least it is here in utah}…here’s something to get your motivated for another week.

always continue the climb. it is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if  you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is  greater than ourselves to do it.
ella wheeler wilcox

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m.

that ‘a-ha’ moment

2013, October

i relish in ‘a-ha’ moments.

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i spent quite some time last night talking with a good friend about life. how unexpected experiences throw “a spanner in the works” and you’re left wondering how the hell you’re going to deal with it because it wasn’t in your life plan. it wasn’t part of your vision.

it drains some of the light in your life and you can quickly lose sight of the things that matter, the things you can control and things that make you happy.

for some reason, after that little chat, ‘a-ha’ happened.

that exhausted flickering light bulb was replaced with a bright and shiny new one.

and i found that quite immediately everything was illuminated. everything.

and i saw the things that had been sat in the darker corners of my vision.

it’s refreshing, energizing, rejuvenating and every other word that describes a sense of renewal.

it’s glorious.

and i believe we are not limited to a number of ‘a-ha’ moments. i believe we get to experience a-ha moments again and again. and again.

because it always gets better.

no matter how hard it gets. it always gets better.

from my favorite motivational speaker eric thomas:
pain is temporary. it might last for a minute, an hour a day or even a year. but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. if you quit however, it will last forever.

it is good to grieve, necessary even. whatever it is you’re experiencing. but then when the ‘a-ha’ happens devour it.

“i got this”

m.