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    Small Changes That Transformed My Life

    As we all know, a lot has changed in a very short space of time. Some days, it feels like there’s some semblance of normalcy and other days, it is the mind-set of creating a sense of normalcy to the new norm. Interestingly, I made minor changes along the way that brings me to where I am today. As I ponder, I cannot help but feel this overwhelming sense of gratitude.  

    One of the biggest change I made was one I didn’t realize till now; my optimistic outlook on life. There were some life decisions we made like homeschooling our kids while working full-time that was a major change from our usual daily lives. Instead of dwelling on the panic of homeschooling for the first time, I looked at that event as an opportunity to learn more about the programs and how this will provide me with the gift of time to make precious memories with my family. I took off social media altogether to prioritize what felt important at the time. In the process, I was able to focus on my family first. It helped me realize what truly brings me joy; and that is my family and my love for writing, and the creatives. So here we are, I am back writing and it feels ….well, it feels ABSOLUTELY wonderful! You see, it is during times of uncertainty in life that we need to remind ourselves that we are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.

    So, that brings me to the next change, and that is listening to myself. Reading more uplifting books and choosing to be very selective with what I watch and the types of music I listen to. I’ve always been a huge fan of classical music. I grew up in a household where my dad played classical music all the time because he would say it helped you think clearly and get creative. In the last few months, I have been listening to both classical and high-tempo music, and reading books that are inspiring, uplifting, and motivational. These books are like seeds and they plant beautiful flowers in your garden, which in turn overtake the weeds of doubt, making you an even better person. Most importantly, I have realized that for me to be present, I need a few minutes each day to drown out all the noise. This means alone time, healthy eating and exercise. I can’t stress enough the importance of a healthy diet and good exercise regimen!

    One last reminder, just because your life changes doesn’t mean that your deepest passion have to. My friends who know me well can vouch that I am one of those people who will run around doing multiple things because I can’t sit idle. I have come to the epiphany that I need to center more on the things I love, and I discovered that my blog is exactly where I need to be!!! So here I am :). All I can say is pay attention to the things you are naturally drawn to. They are often connected to your path, passion and purpose in life, and then have the courage to follow them.

    Sending you much love and well wishes. For those who stuck with me during my time off social media, I cannot express how grateful I am to you. If you’re new on here, then welcome and I hope I can aspire to inspire you through my blog. I believe we are all connected for a purpose; a word of encouragement, a kind act, or maybe just to realize you are not alone. Either way, I am so happy you are here and I cannot wait to share more.

    xoxo ~Louise

    Dress: @NeimanMarcus         Artist/Photography: @ohjeenam

    Mid-Week Musings and My Coach Crossbody Bag


    “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” – Lao Tzu

    Friends, I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. Maybe it’s because the older I get, the more I find myself looking within and trying to make a more conscious effort to be self-aware and to carry an attitude of gratitude despite the situations I may find myself in. Each day, I understand a little more that the external environment is always in a continuous cycle of change and there’s only so much I can control, and each day, I also accept that I am the constant in my environment. I am also learning that we all touch each other in some way or form, and nothing is ever by chance so to be genuine and compassionate needs to be a fundamental way of life. After all, kindness in words, action, and in giving, can touch people in profound ways which then cascades into a ripple effect of love.

    In the end, what you see depends not only on what you look at, but also, on where you look from and simplicity, patience, and compassion are one of life’s greatest treasures. Yes?

    The Pretty Coach Crossbody Bag

    So moving on from reflections to a much lighter topic…..

    Has anyone come across a Coach rose print crossbody bag that’s on sale, and simply pass it by? I think not, or in my case, I couldn’t pass up a good deal :). You see, I have a few coach purses that I paid full price for and these are still some of my favorite bags since they are still in pristine condition despite the fact that they are older than my daughter! You can then imagine my little yelp of glee when I saw this pretty coated canvas featuring an artful rose print sitting on the shelf and was discounted.

    I love having versatile pieces in my wardrobe.  This bag has come in handy a few times already, especially on the weekends when I am running a quick errand and want to carry only a few essentials with me. It also has an interchangeable strap so does that count as a win-win? I’ve linked similar coach bags below. xo Louise

    Don’t over-complicate or over-think things. Life is too short and precious! Make the most of your time and always watch your thoughts.

    Shop this look and some of my favorites

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    Life Lately and My Favorite Bakery

    They say life is like a cup of tea, it’s all in how you make it

    Hey guys! Hope y’all are having a good start to the month so far! Over the last few weeks, we’ve battled the flu and strep with one sick kid and managed to curb it from spreading to the rest of the family! It’s been busy at work and I cannot believe the month of January is almost over!!!!  I have to confess that apart from disinfecting my entire house, I have enjoyed some down time with the family. So, I thought I would share what I’ve been up to lately and the hidden bakery I found that will be a great spot to enjoy a Valentine’s day dessert!

    • Apart from nursing Zyanya back to health, I started a little early Spring cleaning in January and began to pack up gently used clothes and toys. I’ve got to confess that it always feel wonderful to make a donation and it is super crazy how kids quickly seem to grow out of their clothes and how rapidly stuff can accumulate! Did you know there are organizations like Metrocrest Services that will pickup your donations?
    • We revisited some home improvement tasks that we put off due to the holidays.  One of them is my formal dining room table that Alex is going to tackle in the next several weeks. I also put a wallpaper up in my study and we are halfway done with that mini project. I can’t wait to show y’all once its complete!
    • The kids pulled me into a fun project that I’m debating working with them on.  It’s something I have to stew over and will most definitely require finding time in my already busy schedule but I love the idea so much. No one put it any better regarding making time and juggling tasks than Albert Einstein’s; “life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.” More to come on this one 😉 ……
    • I am “reflecting” (see picture of teacup below…see how i did that 🙂 with use of imagery and words) of starting my YouTube channel back up! It’s been over a year since I my last video (no joke) and I’m thinking of sharing a few of my affordable fashion hauls, recipes, and cool diy (do-it-yourself) activities with the kids in 3-5 minute videos. A little more personal perspective. What do you think?

    Eat dessert first

    Oh! I started a keto-like diet …well, not exactly! In the past week, I have been gradually cutting off carbs but I am still allowing myself the good carbs like having a sweet potato which I cannot live without! Really, I am just making a more conscious effort on what I put into my body. I also made my very first keto chocolate chip cookie using almond flour. Alex loved it but I think there’s room to tweak the recipe further. I am also thinking of trying my hands at making macarons but not sure if I should do two versions; one keto and another using regular ingredients. Decisions decisions…

    Speaking of keto and desserts, I discovered this cute little bakery (*the London Baker) that has true European style, freshly baked croissants and desserts. They’ve been featured on Cake Central, Food Network, and a few more. I recently discovered that they make keto desserts too; cookies, brownies and muffins! My kids love their oooey gooey brownies, deep dish chocolate chip cookies, and cupcakes. I’ve already had a few tea dates with Zyanya there and the ambience is always so welcoming.  The owner and staff are amazing and we’re already planning on ordering custom cakes for upcoming birthdays. If you’re in Dallas, you should check out this bakery.  They also deliver outside the DFW metroplex.

    Well, that’s all for now and thanks for stopping by. ~ xoxo Louise

    *Review of the London Baker are my own. 

    Life truly is like a cup of tea; fluid and aromatic. It depends on how you look at it, your ability to change, and how you make it. In a nutshell, it is so much more fulfilling when every experience is truly savored. Yes?

    Photography by MalloryKeePhotography

    A Summer Farewell

    A Farewell to Summer

    It is almost beginning, the slight chill in the air, the fallen leaves, the gentle calling of Autumn as Summer fades away. She whispers as she ever so slightly brings cooler breezes and shorter days. Autumn lures us with her sweet promises of golden and bright red leaves, of tall trees set ablaze by a golden haze.

    Alas! Summer shall sleep to wake again and bring us her warmth and longer days but right now the season calls for Summer to sleep. A sure miss of memories remembered and memories past. This is where we say farewell.

    Soon, Autumn shall bring Winter cold but for now we shall bask in the ever slight chill of Autumn’s embrace and her beauty of warm colored leaves so rich in hue. We shall enjoy the crackling fireplaces and the ever hot cups of cocoa. The stories, the laughter, the cuddles, and the snuggles, until we meet Summer again. Until she awakens with her warm embrace.

    Farewell Summer until next year.

    xx Louise

    How to Live a More Positive Life

    One of the best gifts anyone can give themselves is to have a more positive mindset and outlook on life. I am usually a pretty optimistic person but no one is perfect and it takes a lot of self-will to weed through the negativity that can sometimes come your way. It’s called life and I’ve learned a few things along the way that I’m sharing on the blog today.

    Practice Positivity

    The art of practice is the performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it. This is very similar with the practice of positivity when it comes to your outlook on life. I know we all perceive things differently but the way we interpret it can influence the way we feel about a particular situation.

    Some of the key things I’ve learned is to have quiet time each morning.  There is something so serene about getting up in the silence of morning and finding time for you.  Whether it is through the practice of yoga or meditation or reading the bible, I find that quiet time special in helping level set my day. It grounds me and makes me look at the day through a different set of lens.

    I’ve also found that diet and a healthy lifestyle can help.  There will always be challenges, negativity, and difficult situations that may come your way but when you have a sense of inner calm and a healthy lifestyle, it is easier to let go of the negativity a lot faster and this will do wonders for your overall well-being and life.

    Smile More Often

    A smile can lift a bad mood.  There’s a saying that “nothing you wear is more important than your smile”.  It influences your behavior and in turn can be contagious to those around you.

    Scientists have found that smiling on purpose can shift you into a better mood and help you feel better. Just the simple act of putting a smile on your face can lead you to feel joy, amusement, or happiness.  Supposedly, smiling on purpose changes brain chemistry. Since I’m more apt to being optimistic and happy by nature, a smile comes a lot more easily to me. For many, the trick to making a smile work for you is to smile until you feel it. You’ll be surprised the many benefits you’ll gain from a simple act like smiling. It will help your body deal with stressful situations more effectively and improve your mood, as well as increase positive thoughts.

    So the next time you find yourself feeling blue, crack a smile.

    Control the Amount of Negativity

    While I want to stay up on the events occurring in the world, sometimes a headline is sufficient to grasp new developments so I usually limit the time I spend with TV or radio, selecting only a few stories to read in full. Yes, you can be selective.  Over the years, I’ve also learned to select how much time I spend with relatives and friends that dwell on the negative. As painful as it may be at times, my calendar may not always open to those who consistently drag me down. Instead I try to spend more time with people who’re uplifting and honest. By making this choice, I tend to live consciously with a feeling of gratitude for the moment that overcomes forces that can drag me down.

    I’ve also learned that gratitude and the practice of gratitude goes a long way on how to live a more positive life.  So the next time you feel stressed,  overwhelmed or you’re in a negative situation; remember to smile, practice positivity, and filter what you want coming through to you. I hope you’ll share how you stay positive in the comments below.

    Credits: Photography by Mallory Kee   Dress by louise millen    Crossbody bag by Kate Spade

    Africa: letters of the little African girl

    Africa: the lure of beautiful beaches and romantic sunsets. I was born there, in a breezy tropical country close to the Atlantic Ocean.

    I was born to amazing parents from two continents that chanced upon each other in a city in Africa.  This is a story of optimism and love at first sight. The man pursued this beautiful woman and wooed her off her feet.  Their courtship was one of true love.

    They settled in her home country of Ghana.  A country known for its diverse wildlife, old forts, secluded beaches, and people who are extremely hospitable.  And that’s where I was born.  The day my parents took me home a white dove found its way into the car, darted across me and then flew out the window.  My mother believed in signs you see, she believed this was a symbol of good luck.

    I think it was there, in that moment that my love for people and art, and my appreciation for food and the environment began.  And it’s never ended.  It’s taken me across continents and enabled me to find creative ways in every situation.

    And so it’s been that I’ve become the optimistic girl.  Always positive, always ready to spread my wings and soar just like the white dove from my parents’ tale.

    I type these words to you late at night reminiscing days of yesterday and promises of tomorrow.

    So you see, another day awaits and with it the promise of another gift at life.  See you; see you ….on this magical adventure called life.