Category Archives: Life

Throwback Thursday (#TBT) with a Twist!

ThrowbackThursday

Throwback Thursday or what we commonly see as #TBT has become a very popular social media trend. Every Thursday, people post and share pictures of their favorite memories from the past or what I like to call “back in the day!” Out of all the social media trends, this is my favorite because for a moment it makes us stop, remember, and appreciate the special moments in our lives.

It’s so easy to be consumed with life’s challenges and setbacks. The Throwback Thursday trend in an indirect way forces us to stop and appreciate our blessings; which far too often seem to quickly vanish from our memories while our troubles make a permanent home in our minds!

While scrolling through Facebook, I came across a picture that a soror of mine posted. It was a jar of blessings that she had created and filled throughout the year of 2014. The label on the jar read:

  • Surprise Gifts
  • Accomplished Goals
  • The Beauty of Nature
  • LOL Moments
  • Memories Worth Sharing
  • Daily Blessings

“Then on Dec. 31st, open the jar and read all of the amazing things that happened to you in 2014!”

 When I saw this, I thought to myself, “Wow! What a great idea!” This is an easy way to ensure that you don’t lose sight of how blessed you truly are, despite the troubles and setbacks you may face.

So with that, I propose we do a “Year of Blessings” #YOB. Write down those special moments and blessings that happen on a daily basis and place it in your jar. On New Year’s Eve, open the jar and reminisce on all the many blessings you’ve experienced throughout the year. You’ll be positioned to walk into a new year with a spirit of thanksgiving and expectancy for the future blessing to come!

Create your own blessing jar and start counting your blessings! You can use the wording expressed by my soror or create your own label! Create your jar, take a picture, and share what blessings you plan on counting this year! Use the hashtag #YOB. Here’s a picture of my Blessing Jar for 2015!

Blessing jar2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s Sleepy?! 6 Tips to Getting Better Rest

Tips for Better Rest

“I am so sleepy!!” I think I say this about every day! I know that I am a night owl, but something has to give. I try my best to go to bed at a decent hour, but something always comes up. Now I must admit; there are times when I’m glued to the TV watching the Wendy Williams show, which by the way, comes on at 12 AM! What can I say, I love me some Wendy Williams…don’t judge me! LOL! However, with more things being added to my plate and with more things that I want to do, it’s time to discover ways to become more productive. I know that NOT feeling sleepy half of the day will definitely add to my productivity! I recently ran across an article that gave great tips on how to achieve better sleep. Check out some of the tips below that I thought were pretty interesting!   Continue reading Who’s Sleepy?! 6 Tips to Getting Better Rest

You Celebrated Independence Day, but are you Really INDEPENDENT?! 15 Ways to Live Life on Your Own Terms

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I celebrated Independence Day at the Essence Festival in New Orleans over the 4th of July weekend. And let me tell you, I take forever to pack! Let’s just say, I was packing and preparing for this trip for a good month! LOL!

Essence Fest
My girls and I enjoying the Essence Festival!

As I prepared for my Independence Day celebration, I thought to myself, are we really independent? Not independent in the traditional way that we view Independence Day, but independent on a personal/individual level. Are we really living our lives independent of the stereotypes, assumptions, and opinions of how society thinks we should look, act, think, love, etc. Sometimes we have a tendency to live our life based on the fantasies of how other people think we should live instead of walking and living in the truth of our own reality. God has given us the power of choice, to create and live the life we want; but with the understanding that every choice has a consequence. Independence Day 2014 reminded me to always be authentically me and live independent of other peoples’ definition of who I am; to independently and confidently create and define my life, my reality, my truth. We only have one life to live and you can be sure that I’m going to live it on my own terms…and you should too!

Check out a few of my fave tips from 31 Ways To Live Life On Your Own Terms: A Fourth Of July Manifesto written by Tiphani N. Montgomery and learn how you can celebrate your personal independence everyday!

  1. First rule of business: Stay out of everyone else’s and be about yours!
  2. Closed doors are really a blessing. If you can’t pray a door open, don’t try to pry a door open.
  3. Wear your invisible crown. Daily.
  4. If you want to know where you’ll be five years from now, listen to your words. You’re prophesying your future.
  5. If you’re feeling guilty, embarrassed or ashamed about the blessings of God, let that go. You were created to show off His goodness.
  6. You are more important than you realize.
  7. “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift!” — Steve Prefontaine
  8. “Excessive fear and self-doubt are the greatest detractors of personal genius.” — Robert Kiyosaki
  9. “When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt!” — Henry J. Kaiser
  10. “Don’t change so someone will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you!” — DailyLove.com
  11. Examine what you tolerate!
  12. “Raise your words, not your voice. It’s rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” — Rumi
  13. Stop waiting on God to drop a blessing in your lap. Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work!
  14. Repeat after me: “I can do this!!!
  15. Never, never, never, never, never, never give up. Never!

“This is your life. Commit to living it passionately. Don’t let the world dictate what that means for you. Show up. Show out. And rise to the occasion every single time.”- Tiphani N. Montgomery

Be Blessed!

3 SureFIRE Ways to Keep your COOL!

how to keep your cool Responsible, Cool, Level-headed, Even- tempered…these are all words that people have used to describe me.  I consider myself to be the calm in the storm; the person that everyone gravitates to for sound advice when things get a little hectic.  And let me tell you, that doesn’t always go over well!  For instance, it gets on my mom’s nerves sometimes! LOL!  She likes a reaction!  If she’s upset with something, she wants me to show the same level of emotion as her!  Don’t get me wrong, I believe that emotion is good!  It’s great actually!  We are all human.  There are things that will make us happy, sad, mad, excited, confused, etc.  We are extremely complex, so it’s natural for us to experience and display a range of emotions.  But one thing I’ve always worked on is making sure that people, things, and situations don’t get the best of me.  I never want to be so affected by someone else’s actions, situations, or the lack/abundance of things that my emotions go haywire every time the wind blows!

Life is a beautiful complexity, isn’t it??  We have control over nothing and at the same time have control over everything!   On one hand, we don’t know what’s going to happen from day to day, hour to hour, or minute to minute.  On the other hand, we have control over ourselves!  In this crazy, unpredictable world, you have the power to control you. .. control your thoughts, actions, and words.  The way you view situations, the way you handle adversity, the way you handle blessings, the things you say… everything you do shapes your reality.  We all represent different threads that make up the fabric of the world in which we live.  Although there are things we can’t control, so much of what we do as individuals impact the world around us.  Don’t let the world change you, you change it!  Remember, a thermometer changes based on the environment in which it is emerged, a thermostat sets the temperature and controls the environment in which it is used! Have a thermostat mentality… set the atmosphere, don’t let the atmosphere set you!!

3 SureFIRE Ways to Keep Your COOL!

  1. Focus on what you can control- Why stress over something that you have no control over?  It will only make you more upset!  Focus on what you can do and do it.  It will give you a sense of control, accomplishment, and progression.
  2. Understand that in every situation, you win-   Regardless of the situation you encounter, good or bad, you learn something.  And you know what they say, when you know better, you do better… and with that YOU will definitely become BETTER!  We can all agree that becoming a better person is always a WIN, right?!
  3. Be Grateful- You may not have been expecting this tip, but it’s probably the most important one of them all.  There is always somebody dealing with issues and situations that are worse than yours.  When you keep this in mind, it will put everything back into perspective.  It will take you from the mindset of “why me?” to “why not me?”  When you get to that train of thought, you begin to go back to Step 1- Focusing on what you can control…and doing it!

Now go out there and be COOL!

Elle Zsanee

Why Being USED can be a Good Thing

AuuBannerImage2011FBProfileWhen I was younger, I always made sure my homework got completed on time and studied for every test.  Well since everyone knew that, a few would want to copy my homework or cheat off of my test…and I wasn’t having that! LOL!  My philosophy was, “Oh no! You’re not going to use me!  I didn’t work my behind off while you were out having fun so that you could just copy my work!”  Years later, I noticed that I developed a problem with sharing, always afraid of being taken advantage of.

So fast-forward to today, one day before the one month anniversary of the loss of my stepfather.  Sometimes that word “stepfather” can have a negative connotation, like it’s a step below or beneath your biological parents.  So I’ll call him my “bonus” Dad!  He was in my life since the age of 1 years old.  With Father’s Day around the corner, it hit me while I was shopping for Father’s Day cards that I don’t have to get two cards this year.  I usually get one for my Dad and one for my “Bonus” Dad.  I can’t lie; I shed a couple tears walking out of the store that day because the fact of the matter is… he’s gone.  I’m pretty sure that when his birthday comes around and when we hit the major holidays it’s going to be tough.  But one thing that gives me joy is that he’s basking in the glory of HEAVEN!  And we will definitely meet again!

With the death of my “Bonus” Dad and the recent death of Dr. Maya Angelou, it really hit me, more than ever, that life isn’t promised.  We won’t be here forever.  God has blessed us with so many gifts and talents and has provided an abundance of wondrous things in this world for us to view and explore.  Don’t be afraid to share what God has deposited in you because you’re afraid of people taking advantage of or belittling what you have to offer!  Get used up!!  When your time has come, you shouldn’t want there to be anything left to give!  Live life in a way so that everything that God has deposited in you will be planted as a seed which will grow and bless many generations after you!!  Be USED, Be BLESSED, and Be a BLESSING!

Elle Zsanee

It’s OK to NOT be OK…

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I’m the person people call when they need encouragement.  Whether they are upset, need advice, have relationship issues, career issues, or overall life issues.  This is the main reason why I started this blog.  I believe that I have a God-given gift of being uplifting, positive, and encouraging and I wanted to embrace that fully.  If I can uplift or inspire one person, that is a reward in itself.

Even though I try to maintain a positive attitude, I’m human.  I go through life issues too!  And I must admit, I’m a little tired ya’ll!!  I’m a single woman, and  trying to navigate this single life, while keeping your mind and heart in check can be draining!   On top of that, my Stepdad has been battling cancer for about 2 years now.  It’s not only extremely  tough on him, but the family as well.  An 8-5 job, working on new business ventures, exercising 3 to 4 times a week, participating in community programs,  Sorority commitments, family commitments, etc can  just become a lot to manage at times.

I’ve just been feeling spiritually drained lately.  Have you ever felt tired even though you’ve gotten physical rest?  To me that’s a sign that you are spiritually tired…an inward type of tiredness.  I know I’m not the only one going through life issues, as a matter of fact, I know people are going through much worse.  So all I’m saying is that there are days when I’m not OK, but it’s OK.  We all go through valleys in our lives, we just need to not be consumed by them.  Here are a few steps to help you with “not being OK”…

  1. Admit that you are feeling some type of way.  You don’t even need to know what that “way” is.  But by acknowledging it, you give yourself an opening to explore and understand your feelings freely without any additional feelings of failure, guilt, or shame.
  2. Say a “May I”.  This is something new that I came across while watching a YouTube video of Tracee Ellis Ross.  A “May I” acknowledges where you are at,  yet invites you in a gentle way to where you want to go.  A “May I” can be anything you want it to be.  One of Tracee’s most popular “May I” is: “May the space between where I am and where I want to be inspire me.”  Tracee’s You Tube channel has really been giving me life!  Subscribe to her channel if you want to get great little nuggets of knowledge in a quirky way!
  3. Last but not least, keep God FIRST.  Every time I get out of sorts, it is a direct sign that I’ve taken my eyes off the prize.  Mathew 6:33 says, ” But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  When God is first, he will put all your broken pieces back together in a way that makes an even better picture!  I actually just signed up to do the 3030 Challenge with Joyce Meyer.  It’s time for me to get my focus back in order… God first, and then everything else.  If you would like to take the challenge with me, feel free to sign up here!  Life can be draining at times, and the Word is the only thing that can truly refresh your soul.

Hopefully, after following these steps, you will become much better than OK!  Don’t get consumed in the valley…the mountain top is just ahead!! :-)

Be blessed!

Elle Zsanee

 

 

Valentine’s Day: Are you ready??

As we all know, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but are you ready?! Find out how to create and enjoy a romantic retreat without stepping one foot outside your door with the help of Signatures Spaces, LLC.!! I caught up with the owners of Signature Spaces, LLC., Chantel R. Chalwell and Brian R. Porter, to get some tips on how to create a romantic retreat inside the comforts of your own home!! And of course, I’m giving you the scoop on how they’ve been able to find and utilize their gift!! Enjoy!

First, let’s find out more about Signature Spaces, LLC

SS_Owners

Owners of Signature Spaces, LLC: Chantel R. Chalwell and Brian R. Porter

What is Signature Spaces, LLC?
Signature Spaces, LLC. is a home staging and interior redesign business based in the Metro Atlanta and all surrounding areas. The business promotes two aspects, Staging to Sell and Staging to Live. Staging to sell focuses on helping homeowners market their greatest investment by decorating their home that appeals to the broadest number of buyers. Staging to live focuses on refreshing or designing the home that gives that “wow” factor while adhering to the client’s lifestyle and budget. Our mission is to provide design solutions with custom creations.

In your blog posting, Passion is Everything, you said, “When it is all said and done, we all want to find our passion and live our dreams out loud!” I am in total agreement with that statement!! How did you go about utilizing your gift or “living your dream out loud”?
Chantel: “When I figured out what I was passionate about, I was well into adulthood, and at the time it was just a hobby. I didn’t think interior design was within my reach yet alone doing it on a professional level. So I began to research and was thrilled to find out that my passion was not just a hobby anymore but I could actually make a living doing it.” In essence when you make the decision to do what you truly love, you finally begin to live your dreams out loud.

What’s the #1 piece of advice you can give to those trying to find their passion or gift?
Pay attention to the things you do exceptionally well. Things that come easy to you but others may struggle with. God gives us all gifts and special talents. Take the time to observe and recognize what is extraordinary within you. We are obligated in our lives to not only discover our passions but create a path that allows you to find your purpose. If you are willing to do it for (free), without fame or notoriety, stop you may have found it!

What advice can you give to those who are trying to turn their gift into a viable business or better yet, utilize their gift for a larger purpose?
We are put on this earth to serve in some sort of capacity. Whether it is to inspire, challenge, influence, deliver, offer solutions, or perhaps to change an undesirable outcome. Our gifts should be used for the greater good. Even though you may have the natural ability to do something, it is wasted talent if you don’t engage and get in the game (life). In order to be taken seriously, first take the necessary steps. Do your homework and research, chances are there is already a roadmap in place you can follow. Utilize all available resources at your fingertips. Second, hone in on your craft and abilities. Read and study as many articles and publications on your area of expertise you can get your hands. Become the expert, be the go to person, this will not only make your business viable but it also will help set you apart from the benchwarmers. Lastly, invest in yourself and your gift. Adopt the mindset that success is within reach and your return on that investment will be immeasurable.

Here are a few tips from Signatures Spaces, LLC. on how to create that romantic retreat for your special someone….

1. De-clutter and tidy up the room…it should be spotless. No one likes to step on dirty clothes or other unmentionables!

1Clean

2. Place a soft rug on the floor. It not only adds texture to the space, but also gives your feet a warm place to step on.

2Rug

3. Invest in a new pillow. There’s nothing worse than trying to pillow talk with your boo and you’re laying on pancake shaped pillows. Think 4 or 5 star hotels. Luxurious linens, fluffy pillows and soft cashmere throw for cuddling.

3Pillows

4. Consider hanging a canopy, draped with sheer panels. This will add softness and make the bed appear airy and light, while giving the room a focal point.

4Canopy

5. Incorporate a mirrored tray and place it on the night stand. Add to the tray fresh flowers in a vase, along with a bottle of wine and wine glasses. The tray also keeps your side table items neat and organized.

5Wine Tray

6. Create a signature scent in the bedroom. This can be accomplished by shopping at local home décor stores that carry an array of pillow mists, linen sprays and the occasional perfumed sachets or the infamous fragrance plug-ins. My favorite thing to do is to burn a scented candle which makes for a win-win. The room smells divine and the candle light gives off an ambient glow in the space.

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To get the ultimate design experience, visit Signature Spaces, LLC. !!