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Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday my wonderful readers!

I'm so close to the end of this school semester I can taste it! What does that mean for the Virtue site?

That I'll have time to write again of course.

Whoo hoo!

I'll continue to provide tidbits of advice over the next several weeks and then Virtue will be shifting gears.

Yes, get excited!!

Coming in January the new Virtue will be revealed. I mean what's better than starting a new year with a new site?

(Can you believe the year is almost over? GASP!)

We're going to have a new look, addition of forums, and most importantly a new direction.

Don't you just love change?

I do!

Have a wonderful weekend!
See you bright and early on Monday!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The 8 REAL reasons he won't marry you.

There's one question that replays in the mind of every hopeless romantic . . .

Will you marry me?

If you're like me, you've rehearsed it, imagined it, hinted at it, and longed for it all your life. Grant it, there may not have always been a man you wanted to marry, but you've still dreamt of that moment.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Everything returns to normal.

Have you ever looked around at your life and wondered, "What the heck happened?" Things are in utter disarray, you have no time for yourself, and nothing's going your way.

With the major shake up I've experienced over the last six months, I began to think that I would never have a life again. No more nights of sleep or childless shopping, no time to write let alone create, no more REAL meals, (Oh Ramen noodles how I despise you!) and the worse of all . . . no more time to clean or decorate my home.


The funny part is, little by little I became accustomed to it; IT was my new normal.

As the months continued to pass, I slowly noticed I was getting my groove back. It's not that things returned back to the way they were pre-baby, yes that's my little Jake Jake in the photo. in fact, things will never ever be the same.

Yes I know that's a contradiction to the title but hear me out.

I accepted that things would never be the same, but then I determined to pick up my life and make a plan to put it back together.

I adjusted my schedule, realigned my goals, set realistic expectations, and determined to get things done. No more excuses!

You see, so many times we find ourselves in tough situations where everything seems to be falling apart. Whether it's a loss of a job, an impending divorce, broken relationships, or some other situation, we can always determine to get back to some sense of normalcy. Of course there are the extreme cases that need professional help, but for those situations that take personal drive, we can always take back our lives.

The first thing we must do is realize our situation and admit we've gotten a little off track. You know the whole "admitting you have a problem is the first step," saying?
Well it's true.

Next, we can give our troubles to God and know that He will wipe them clean; giving us a fresh start and new perspective.

And finally, we have to determine to take our lives back. If we keep allowing things to spiral out of control, they'll only get worse until we can't tell up from down.

The best part is, once we give the situation over to God, we can trust that He will heal us and make us new again, giving us the strength to accomplish all we need in our day, week, and for the rest of our lives.

Have a glorious Monday my loves!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Marriage Series: How to make your marriage work

With the eruptions of new weddings occuring the past few seasons, I thought it would be important to dig into the Virtue archives and re-feature the marriage series.

So . . . Here it is!

There's truly nothing more exciting than experiencing your wedding day and celebrating with those you love. 

You walk down the aisle, recite your vows, party the night away and then what?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Set the World on Fire

This past weekend I had the privilege of seeing the artist Britt Nicole in concert.

If you've never seen or heard of her, I suggest you look her up. Not only is her music AH-mazing, the message she sends goes straight to the heart and challenges its listener to DO and BE better.

As I sang track after track, the words began to take on new life for me. Yeah I'd heard the songs regulary, sang the lyrics daily, and blasted her music until my eardrums hurt but there was more that God wanted me to get out of that concert. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Take the Leap!

Happy Fall my fellow Virtue readers!

Since my last article, I've conquered motherhood (sort of), went back to working full-time, started re-editing my novel, enrolled in graduate work, and have been trying to catch up on sleep. Nevertheless, I'm more than excited to be back. After a plethora of "Where the heck are you?" tweets, emails, and facebook messages . . . Here I am. : )

As I contemplated my next article, the idea of taking a leap kept coming to mind. 

I know usually these types of inspirational articles are reserved for New Years resolutions, but I decided to share a little inspiration anyway.

So many times in life, we're so afraid to take the next step. To start that new adventure, business, club, or maybe even career. No matter how qualified we may actually be, (or even unqualified) we psyche ourselves out before we really ever give anything a try. 

Becoming a mom has really pushed me to my limits; daring me to do things I would have never thought I could do. But with all those sleepless nights, spit-up stained blouses, and piles of dirty bottles, it's pushed me to want to do more. To step out of my comfort zone and take the leap into something new.

If not for myself, than for my son and my husband.

You see when fear stops us in our tracks, we just need to find that one thing that will be our motivating factor.

Take some time and make a list of the things you would like to accomplish. After you've accomplished that, write down what's stopping you from taking the leap to get there. Most of the time the answer will be ourselves.

Now's the time to stop holding yourself back.
Come join me in this new season!

Take a leap!! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Want Success? Do the prep work.

It's no secret that the current two generations are lazy and lack motivation to do much of anything. (Yes, I'm included in this statement). We're the generations of instant gratification. We want it now!

Patience . . . What's that?

Hard work . . . Um no thank you. I'll pay someone else to write my research papers and cut the lawn. I have better things to do. (Facebook!)

We want the nice car, large home, the American Express Centurion Card (the black card) and the job paying in the six figures, but most of us aren't willing to do the prep work that it takes to get there. Unlike the generations before us, we've grown up with the influx, manipulation, and unrealistic fame of reality television. Instead of doing well in school, going to college, launching a business, or starting as someone's assistant, we want to jump right into where we "deserve" to be.

I've read so many articles about success and googled the likes of "the most influential" people of the world only to see a reoccurring theme when asked how they got to where they are today. To no surprise, their answer is always "hard work."

To be honest, every time I see that now cliché response, I have to roll my eyes. I don't want a glossed over answer. I want a step by step story on how you went from poverty to a billionaire Oprah! The funny part is, as I did my hair the other morning, an odd revelation came to me.

In order to be successful in life, we have to be willing to do the prep work.

Let's rewind for a second. You're probably thinking what on Earth does my hair have to do with success. I know, me and my wacky scenarios, but anywhoo. To fully grasp my rambling, you must know that my hair is naturally curly. After years of chemically straightening it, the curls tend to droop and overall just give me a hard time when I want to wear my hair natural for a few months. Now, instead of just washing my hair (Bah) I have to do an entire regiment that takes about five steps to get my hair to its natural curliness. (Stupid straightening).

So anyhow, as I brushed my wet hair, applied the leave-in-conditioner, scrunched, added mouse, and then scrunched again, I realized that the beauty of my hair is determined by how willing I am to do the prep work to get it there. On the days where I skip steps, my curls look limp and crunchy instead of luscious and vibrant and it's the same with life.

In order for us to have any sort of success, we have to be willing to take each step. We can't go through life skipping three steps at a time like we're on a sprint up a staircase to the top. It's in each of those steps that we learn something new, meet important/influential people, develop our character, and ultimately gain the success that will last us a lifetime. (Unlike all those reality TV. stars whose fame, fortune, and success will only last for a little while. Although I do admire the Housewives of Beverly Hills; now those are some women who took the steps to being successful and are now reaping the benefits).

So I ask you . . .

Are you willing to do the prep work in order to get where you want to go? It might include being someone's assistant, making copies, and going on coffee runs, but hey we have to start somewhere right?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Essentials: Target Edition

Summer is officially in full swing here in South Florida. 

With temperatures reaching the mid 90's, I thought it would be the perfect time to take Styling Saturdays to the beach with some great summer essentials.

This week we're starting with a fan favorite that's always packed with delightful finds and treasures, Target!

Come shop with me!

Boho Queen

Summer Essentials: Target Edition

Playful in Webster 
Day & Night

Playful in Webster

Monday, May 21, 2012

I am not Superwoman

                                            I am not Superwoman

Take a look at my monthly calendar and you're bound to find it jam packed with meetings, engagements, and celebratory functions. To say that I'm a busy person would be an understatement. Up until now, I loved the feeling of running from place to place, being too busy to talk, meet for dinner, or entertain the thought of writing a birthday card. Heck, even respond to a text message.

I was just too busy. Important even!

I was the living, breathing example of what America describes as a "successful woman" and I loved it. This superwoman drive wasn't a new thing. I've been moving at warp speed since I was in high school; starting this club, helping with that one, cheerleading, working, and relationship after relationship. Seemingly everything a girl could want, but something changed the other day.
Yes, if you're counting, it took me nearly a decade to have this "Ah Ha," moment.

The other day as I laid in bed staring at my exhausted husband who I needed to get up in the next few minutes (The worst part is that He'd just laid down) in order to go to a two hour meeting for a mission trip we were going on, I realized I was killing him. Not only was I dragging him to another engagement, he had to go to work that evening. Did I forget to mention that he was lying down because we had just gotten home from volunteering? I know what you're thinking . . . her poor husband, that girl is crazy.

Believe me, I totally agree and so would most of the people closest to me.

There is something really and truly wrong with me and the rest of America. Where do we get this idea that the busier we are or the more that we do measures our level of success? I've come to the realization that doing everything and being uber busy doesn't make me successful. In fact the only thing it makes me is exhausted, snappy, un-relational, and a complete maniac. It took my husband's and my tired bodies to realize that I can't do everything.

Wait, let me rephrase that.

I've clearly proven to myself that I can do everything but that sure doesn't mean that I should.
What I've found about myself and most Americans who are just TOO busy is that the more we have to do, the more we find ourselves alone in our personal lives. We're everywhere but never really anywhere at the same time. Our days are spent whisking from here to there that all we can afford to offer is the occasional surface conversation before bouncing to our next activity. Being so busy all the time, I've realized I have no time to build relationships, maintain old ones, visit my family, or be the wife I know that I can be. (Even though I can't promise I'll start cooking if I had more time. Sorry honey). It's time for us to stop with all the madness and take back our lives. We need to learn to relax, stop planning, doing everything, and just be content doing nothing.
I hope you'll join me and put down your superwoman cape.

Here are a few ways we can start:

1) Set your priorities. (Sit down and make a list of the things you do, but put them in order of importance to you. One being the most important and go from there).

2) If it's not at the top of your list, get rid of it!

3) Stop taking on new tasks. (This is one of the hardest things for me. I'm asked to do so many things in one month and I hate to disappoint people, but there comes a time when you just can't take on anything else).

4) Learn to say NO!

5) Evaluate why you feel the need to do so much. (Does it make you feel important? Valued? Do you like receiving the recognition?)

6) Think of who you're leaving out when you take on another project. (I think Shaun Blakeney put it best, "If I say yes to you, I'm saying no to my children or wife." You may not have any kids but I'm sure you can fill in the blank).

I hope you really take some time and think about today's topic. If you're willing, you can find a life of peace filled with fulfilling relationships and memories that include more than downing another cup of coffee to make it through your list of commitments.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Respect . . . Oh woe is me."

Before I got married, I think it's safe to say I had absolutely no respect for men. It's not that I hated or disregarded them, I simply had unhealthy, disappointing, unfulfilling relationships with most of the men I came in contact with.

Going into my marriage I knew I wanted to be the wife God called me to be, to take my vows seriously, and to love/respect my husband.

A piece of cake right?

More like yeah right! What I thought would be simple has become a daily battle. Oh who am I kidding? It's more like an hourly battle.

You see, I set my mind out to do something, but I never actually factored in my husband's actions, responses, personality, or priorities.

Men have a mind of their own and no matter what we say or how hard we try, we'll never put a dent on their perception of things.

Instead of being the respectful wife I planned to be, I shape shifted into the wife who didn't have an answer; a wife for lack of better words didn't really give a hoot. I became the woman who kept it all inside only to explode behind the scenes, breathing fire on anything and everything I came into contact with.

I wanted to be a great wife but all I found myself with was just the thought and a dwindling motivation to get there.

One misconception we have as women is that we can change our husband or partner.

Unfortunately this hasn't worked in the past, and I promise that it won't change with you.

The reality is, they don't change but how we react and interact with them can.

I had the privilege of marrying a man with strong cultural upbringing and an equally strong personality which didn't make things any easier when we got married. Since then, I have seen my level of respect raise from empty to quite full with much, much testing.

You see, I didn't gain respect from my husband changing miraculously. On the contrary, my respect level raised because I was determined in my mind that no matter how much I disliked his actions, responses, and overall behavior that I was going to do everything in my power not to react. (God would have to do everything else).

My husband will tell you that I'm not an easy pushover. If he really gets on my nerves, I have a pair of pink boxing gloves in my office that I'm more than willing to use.

In fact, about an hour ago he looked at me and said, "You know, you never have nothing to say." (You'll see quickly that my husband hasn't learned the art of keeping his thoughts inside his head).

For the record, I do always have something to say, but when words exit my mouth, you better believe I've swished them around, thought about it and didn't let them come spewing out like word vomit. (That's the quickest way to cause a problem and be disrespectful).

It's so easy to get caught up in the moment and before you know it, you've made your husband, fiancé, or boyfriend feel so small. As wives and women we've been called to be virtuous; to live above the cultural standard and to be loving, patient, and kind.

Coming from a person who is naturally none of these things, I know first hand it can be hard. Heck sometimes even impossible but we will be better for it.

 It is extremely important for us to learn not to let our husbands or boyfriends control our actions and reactions.

It's our first real step in the direction of respect.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Just keep smiling!

I find it funny how we can wake up in the morning, fully fueled, excited, and ready to conquer the world.

We get dressed, have our cup of coffee and just overall feel wonderful about the day ahead of us. Jumping in our car, the train, or taxi, we hum to our favorite song and smile at everyone we meet.

And then it happens.

That one moment, person, or text that just wants to ruin our day. 

Whether it be the rude guy on the train that stole your seat, the taxi cab driver who's driving like a moron, an ex-boyfriend or ex anything that decides 9:00am is the best time to resolve a conflict, or whatever else, don't let people or circumstances rob your joy.

Back when I was a teacher, I would always enter the mail-room and greet my co-workers with a cheery good morning and a smile. They would usually return the greeting and light conversation would ensue. That is until one day I said hello to a fellow teacher while passing her in the hall during lunch and do you know what her response was?

"Why are you always smiling?"

Umm, what?

I mean, who asks a question like that? Would she rather me walk around with a permanent frown plastered on my face?

There will always be that one person, situation, thing, or mishap that happens to try and steal your joy but you be ready for it by simply remind yourself . . .

Just keep smiling!

Happy Monday! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dressing for your age.

Last night, I went on a coffee date with a great friend and talked life and most importantly style. 

As we sifted through several fashion magazines, we gawked, laughed, and frowned at some of this seasons trends. 

That simple activity lead to a conversation that I continued to ponder even after leaving . . .

What trends and pieces are appropriate at different stages of life? 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gossip . . .

Ever hear of the saying,

"If they gossip to you, they gossip about you?"

No matter how we try to twist, manipulate, or justify it, gossip is just plain awful.

Nothing good ever comes out of it. In fact, all gossip does is breed disloyalty, secretiveness, distrust, and loss of friendships.

Monday, May 7, 2012

How to dress for your body type.

 Hello lovelies!

It's the beginning of a new week, which means fresh ideas, inspiration, and the chance to catch up on all those things we put off over the weekend.

Recently I had the privilege of becoming a contributor over at Minted Magazine. 

It's a great site filled with inspiration, advice, fashion tips, and so much more. The best part is, it's actually a magazine as well so you can add it to your collection of afternoon glossies. 

For my first post, I was asked to write about dressing for your body type. I for one know this can be hard because things in the stores can be oh so tempting, but once they're on your body it can just be down right terrible. 

It's a good thing over here at Virtue we love solving problems.

Today we're putting a stop to wearing clothing that just doesn't flatter our figures. 

Come join me over at and learn how to dress for your body type. 
See you there!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

All things are possible

If you've been around the "Virtue" site a while, you've probably noticed my absence and lack of socializing. 

I must say, I'm truly sorry.

About three weeks ago I found out devastating news at one of my check-ups that totally screwed up my head space. 

As I set in the doctor's office, I was told that I had placenta previa. A condition where the baby's placenta is too low. Now that's not that terrible in and of itself, the horrible part was the next news they gave me.  I would have to have a C-section mid-May, three weeks before my due date. 

I was put directly on pelvic rest and told to take it really easy. Easy . . . Okay I can do that, but why?

The nurse continued to explain to me that because of where the placenta was located if I were to go into labor or have any sort of contractions, it was a good chance I would bleed to death. They were 90% sure of this. 

No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Wait, what?!!

There was a 90% chance that I could bleed to death if I went into labor and if I made it to 37 weeks they would cut me open?


So for a week and a half, I spent my time taking it very very easy, crying, worrying, sleeping and just overall being devastated.

It was a week into everything that God spoke to me and reminded me that He knew the plan for my life.

If I were going to have to have a C-section, maybe it was because He knew it would be better in the long run. If the placenta was going to move, maybe it was because He wanted to test my faith. (I mean there was only a 10% chance of the latter happening).

As I continued to wait for my next appointment, I decided to give it to God. He's the maker and controller of all things so He obviously knew better than me. I became comfortable in having a C-section and trusted God that all things would work out fine. 

On Friday when I went back to the doctor and had the ultrasound, they could no longer see the placenta! By the grace of God, it had moved up and out of the way, putting an end to my "danger" zone.

When they gave us the news, my husband and I were so elated. We were not expecting to hear them say that. In fact, we were ready to pick a date and decide on a course of action but God wanted to show himself faithful in such a tough situation.

In our time of trouble and distress, He wanted to let us know . . .

All things are possible for those who believe.

That promise is available for you too. God is willing and able to do all things according to His will if we will just ask and believe in Him.

He can change ANY situation.



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

DIY: Nursery Wall Art

Happy Random Tuesday!

Today I did a little DIY for my little one's nursery walls and love how they came out. 

I found some hanging teddy bear appliques while thrifting and thought they were the cutest things ever. Not wanting to hang them on my walls without proper structure I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Here's what I used.

Supplies: frames, pins, baby blue ribbon, and scissors. : )
Original Appliques
 The first thing that bothered me was the fact that the colors weren't exactly what I wanted. So I decided to add blue ribbons to each applique. 

I did this by securing each bow with a sewing pin. At first I pinned it to the original applique but realized it didn't fit well into the frame so I had to remove each one from the backing.

Here's the finished product.

They look so cute in his room. 
Can't wait to meet him!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The best times to shop.

Happy Styling Saturdays!!

Today we're discussing the best times to shop for new wardrobe additions and announcing the winner of the Francesca's Collections giveaway!

So let's get started . . .

Monday, April 23, 2012

The "Nothing" box.

Happy Monday lovelies! 

I must apologize for being a little absent last week. With a friend having her baby and a spare of the moment getaway, I found myself unable to write Friday and Saturday. Don't worry though, this week we'll continue the marriage series and Styling Saturdays.

Today, I want to introduce everyone to the "nothing" box.

What's that you ask?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fun with a pretty blue blazer.

I've been doing a lot of post-baby bump shopping lately since my due date is inching ever so closer. 

Sort of scary when I think about it actually . . .

The other day I took a trip to H&M just to see what I could find and find I did. As I scoured their new Conscious Collection and Spring inventory, I was thoroughly impressed. I found myself teetering through the store with my arms full of options. 

I think it's safe to say I was in H&M heaven.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Before you run to the phone . . .


When things in your life go terribly awry, what's the first thing you find yourself doing?

If you're like most women, your initial reaction is probably to pick up the phone and dial your best-friend, mom, sister, or boyfriend and vent your heart out. 

I'll admit, this is a natural reaction even for me. 

We want to share our frustrations, let off some steam, and if we're honest, garnish a bit of sympathy.

It's okay to want to share your day or frustrations, but how often are you reaching out to others to share your burden?

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Change of Perspective.

Growing up, I always said I wouldn't take or keep a job just for the benefits of income. I had this grand idea that life with a career would be perfect. In my version, it would include me sitting in an office with a breath taking view of New York city as a magazine editor, flipping through fashion designs, jet setting to runway shows, and stomping around my ultra chic space in red Christian Louboutin heels, but what's the reality? The reality is that those careers are far and few between. Every girl has the desire to be the editor-in-chief, fashion model, stylist, actress, and I'm sure you can fill in the blank with some aspirations of your own. My question to you is,

How do you react and function in a job you never wanted?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bag envy, savings, and a giveaway!!

Happy Styling Saturday!!

I seriously feel like today's a party on the site with a special appearance from Francesca's Collections. As promised, today will be about cute bags, a coupon, and most importantly our very first giveaway!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Shoes, Shoes, and more beautifully vintage shoes!

 I know that I usually do an outfit post on Thursdays, but with my baby bump getting bigger and harder to hide, I decided to do a little extra feature on what else? Shoes!! I'm so excited to share this company with all you lovely ladies I just can't contain myself.

I came across this wonderful shoe boutique the other day while visiting one of my favorite blogs and immediately fell in love with everything they have to offer. 

Their online showroom is stock full with gorgeous flats, sandals, boots, oxfords galore and so much more! If you love all things girly and vintage like me, you'll absolutely adore this New York based shoe boutique. With an ultra chic name, Le Bunny Bleu is sure to have you swooning as you scroll through their endless stock or vintage inspired pieces.

Here are a few of my must haves!!

Perfectly girly!

Shop the look

A Little taste of class.
Shop the look

A Little bit of fun!
Shop the look

Some Nautical Inspiration
Shop the look

There are seriously so many to choose from, I could go on all day.  
(I was not compensated in any way to right this review. The opinions are mine alone).
You can check out the fabulous online boutique here or follow them on Twitter
Happy shopping!