Virtue Follow us on Twitter Join us in Facebook Leave a Note Style Marriage Faith Life

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!