This Year Halloween Falls On A Weekend……

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Halloween is known for many things. As a child it’s the time of year when you get dressed up in fun costumes, hang with your friends and binge eat candy. As an adult it turns a little more naughty, the outfits take on a more risqué sometime inappropriate tone and the candy turns into one too many cocktails.

Now that I’m cresting the 40 year mark I still count Halloween as one of my favorite holidays even if I don’t get dressed up and hit the town anymore. I do however consider a good bottle of something bubbly, a bowl of m&m candy corns and a “Friday the 13th”  or “Halloween” marathon a good way to spend Halloween. The other way I like to celebrate is with a good old festive Halloween mani. I’m not suggesting cartoonish nails for the office but if you can get away with a little fun at work, here are a few ghoulish yet glamorous looks you might want to pull off for the weekend.

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Halloween Nail Art

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My New Neighborhood Hangout Sylvana

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So I’ve lived in my neighborhood in Harlem for 17 years. I can’t believe it’s been that long and in that time it has changed dramatically. The old auto repair shop is now the home of Harlem Tavern and the abandoned building on the corner occupied by pigeons is now the home of Marcus Samuelsson’s Streetbird restaurant but there’s another place called Sylvana that popped up by my house over a year ago. On any given day or night there’s and eclectic flow of Harlemites and international transplants from all around the world heading to the basement to listen and dance to live music or enjoying food, coffee and tea at the cafe upstairs. I went in a few days ago for the first time and it was so darn funky and cool, I had to blog about it. I took some pics below. If you’re ever in Harlem swing by Sylvana if not for the food or the music, for the instant feeling of coolness you’ll feel sitting in a space surrounded by beautiful things that you can admire and purchase. 

Sylvana is located at 300 W. 116th Street

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Gym Bags That Wont Make You Look Like A Bag Lady….

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Any woman who frequents the gym by foot knows that the ‘gym bag struggle’ is real. Especially if you live in a city and have to lug it around with your purse and when you’re trying to be healthy, your lunch bag too. It pains me to have to carry three bags to work everyday but these six gym bags might be the answer to every gym girls prayers. Who knows, you might even be able to leave one bag at home. 

Steve Madden Broverr Quilted Active Tote

Steve Madden Gym Bag $88.00 (Macy.com)

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Lesportsac Large Weekender $142.00 (Lesportsac.com)

Herschel Supply Co. Novel Floral Print Duffel

Herschel Supply Co. Novel Floral Print Duffel $48.00 (Bloomingdales.com)

Lulu lemon

Lululemon, Gym To Win Duffel (lululemon.com)

Anthropologie bag

Anthropologie $88.00 (Anthropologie.com)

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Stella McCartney Adidas  $185.00 (Shopbop.com)

 

 

A Junky House Is Like A Junky Mind

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Have you ever heard the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” well most of us have but I’m not exactly sure how true it is. I think kindness, generosity and love might trump a clean house but in my experience being tidy has helped me reach a level of clarity that I don’t think I would have without it. 

Most people like to do Spring cleaning but I like to use every changing season as a reason to reassess and purge items from my home that no longer serve a purpose. In my haste to get rid of things I’ve been known to throw out the odd social security card or even envelopes with checks (by mistake of course)  but for the most part it’s always made me feel really good to keep things in order and uncluttered.  I find that no matter how tough things may get if I can look around my surroundings and see things in proper order I can feel a certain level of gratitude for clarity in the environment where I rest my head.

If you’re not ready to purge from every room in your home, I totally understand.  But if you’re ready to make some small changes here are a few things I do on a regular basis to keep my family’s nest looking just right. 

  1. Tidy up just a little before you go to bed. You don’t have to wash the walls just pick up anything on the floor and clean the dishes out of the sink. Wipe down the sink in the bathroom and take care of anything suspect. You’re either walking into your bathroom or kitchen first thing in the AM so make it a pleasant experience.
  2. Make your bed. I make my bed everyday, I wish this transferred into being on time but who am I kidding we’re all a work in progress. Just make your bed. If you can accomplish one thing in your life that day it can at least start at home. 
  3. Organize one drawer at a time even if it’s one drawer a week. After a month my drawers start to look like the shirt-bin  at the salvation army. If you can just take on one drawer at a time you’ll be more inclined to keep things in place and you’ll be moved to donate or throw some stuff out.

Do you have any tips on how you keep things in order around your house? Please share.

Size 10 Shoe Gals This Is For You And Everyone Else Too!

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I’ve been wearing a size ten shoe since I was 10 years old and I’ve never really had an issue with the size of my feet per-say just the way they look in certain shoes. My double digit shoe size looks cute in a ballet flat with a little toe cleavage but put them in a pointy toe flat and they begin to look like Noah’s Arch. With that in mind I try to wear shoes that not only compliment my wardrobe but my height. During my hiatus from work I’ve been doing some spring cleaning and ended up cleaning out about 30 pairs of shoes that I have not worn in years, so naturally I needed to replace a few of them. Here are a few of the shoes I added to my Fall collection and a few you might like as well. Some are expensive and some are more affordable. I walk every day so I tend to invest a little more money in my shoes because they have to last more than one season. In New York City it’s all about the shoes, the coat and the bag when it gets cold outside.

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Fall and Winter Shoes

  1. I splurged on these Stuart Weitzman shoes. They look super sexy on and the heal is very comfortable for trekking on city sidewalks. Not an everyday shoe but definitely a date night or girls night out staple. I’ll also wear it to the office. (Stuart Weitzman)
  2. These heals by Zara are super cute for a fall winter transition heal. (Zara)
  3. I’m obsessed with Frye Boots. The leather is superb, the styles are classic and they last forever. They cost a little more than your Sam Edelman or Jessica Simpson but that’s because you’ll get many years of use out of them. Worth every penny so save up for these. I’ve had a pair of Frye boots for five years (Frye)
  4. These flats are super cute for girls with big feet and small feet alike. I first purchased these shoes when I was in London many years ago. But they sell them here in the US. I really like them because they give a nice amount of toe cleavage. If you want your foot to look a little smaller these will do the trick (London Sole)
  5. I’m loving some fringe right now and these Sam Edelman heals are the perfect way to incorporate it into your wardrobe with a purpose.  (Sam Edelman)
  6. I’ve been wanting a pair of loafers for a while but every time I tried them on my feet looked massive. I purchased these at Macy’s on sale about a week ago but I had to get them one size smaller. They are very comfortable and give my outfits a nice pop. (Cole Haan)
  7. Timberland boots were my go to campus shoe circa 1995 and these in this fresh grey tone are making me fall in love all over again. With a pair of winter white jeans…So Fly!(Timberland)
  8. I purchased these Sorel boots last winter after finding the last pair lying on the floor in Bloomingdales utterly destroyed shoe department after a snow storm. They were sold out every where. The perfect city, suburb and country boot when you want to look cute but still walk through dirt and grime. (Sorel)
  9. These flats at Zara remind me of the Stuart Weitzman flats but at a fraction of the price. Cute for fall. (Zara)
  10. Ash wedges are the best, they give good height, a cool look and the toe is nice and round. They will last at least two years and they cost way less than the Isable Marant wedges. (Ash)
  11. Burberry’s wedge sneaker would be my real splurge for the fall (if I can swing them and still be financially responsible). I’m not going to pretend these shoes aren’t ridiculous in price but that still doesn’t stop me from wanting them. Only to be worn on totally clean days in the city that means no rain showers past (puddles), present, or possible future and absolutely no snow storms. (Burberry)

A Purposeful Autumn When You’re In Between Jobs

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For the first time in nearly two decades this past summer I found myself in between jobs with a few weeks to kill. I decided to do a few things while I internally panicked about finding a new job. I started this blog, (YAAAAAAS!) and put on 15 pounds in the interim as I ate my way through food posts that never even made it onto the site, just onto my thighs (sad face) that brings me to this post. Don’t worry this is not a weight loss post it’s about a conversation I had with my Dad while I was home visiting with him in Delaware.

My mother passed away six years ago after battling brain cancer for a year. It was the most difficult thing my family has ever gone through and if you’ve ever lost a parent you know exactly what I’m talking about. The sorrow was not solely placed on the loss of the woman I call the greatest Mother in the world but my heart ached for the life I know my mother wanted to continue living.  Besides the broken hearts that have gotten stronger every day since her passing, my mother left behind more importantly memories of compassion, love, joy, laughter and togetherness that will last forever in my mind. She also left behind a basement full of arts and crafts items. Many of the items we still used at Christmas and other holidays because they were beautiful reminders of my mother’s creativity and passion. The beautiful pine needle garland placed across the fire place mantle and around the stair railing, the porcelain nativity scene and the light up snowman that we put out ever year to make Christmas, Christmas were all happy reminders of great holidays past but there were also boxes upon boxes of stuff that my mother never had a chance to use.  

Every couple months we would have a discussion about what to do with all of the crafts she left behind. The answer finally came this past summer. My sister became a principal at an elementary school in DC and her art department was in dire need of supplies. So we decided to give all of the crafts we were not using to the school. My mother would be so happy to know that something that brought her so much joy is now being put to good use.

While I was home helping my Dad separate and pack up all of the crafts we began talking about life and moving forward and it made me think about the many transitions that we all go through in life whether it be a death of a parent, a spouse, the birth of a child, the end of a job or just growing older. Change is inevitable and you are the only person responsible for how you deal with those transitions. 

I decided that since I was going through a lot of changes at the current moment I should sit down with my Dad and pic his brain on some of his life transitions. In hopes they would inspire me. Here’s the short and sweet of it. 

Donna: What did being married for 36 years teach you?

My Dad: That’s a hard question. In the relationship it taught me how to become caring and more loving.  It taught me that it can be over in a blink of an eye so you need to make time and enjoy your mate. 36 years of marriage teaches you what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes there are toxic people around you and you have to get away from those people for the sake of your relationship and your family. You know to me life is like musical chairs and one day the music is going to stop for all of us. I’ve enjoyed playing the game and I thank God for the people that have taught me lessons. The people that have blessed me. I really do. 

Donna: What has living alone in your seventies taught you?

My Dad: Living alone in your seventies is good because if you’ve done what you were supposed to do, when you were supposed to do it, you can now do what you want to do free of guilt and that’s how I live.  

Greatest accomplishment? My children and my marriage

Donna: Who do you admire the most?

My Dad: I would say my father and my mother. My father  gave me two pieces of advice. He made us eat our vegetables first and to this day I still do that. I don’t eat that much meat so when I do it’s more of a treat.  When I grew up there wasn’t that much meat going around. We were eating organic and didn’t even realize it. Secondly, my father told me how to save money. He told me that the first thing I needed to do after getting paid is to take 10 cents out of every dollar and it has paid off 10 fold. In my life time I’ve been able to save over 25% of my earnings by the time I retired. You have to be like the ant that works all summer so it can be comfortable in the winter. I’m very comfortable.

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Ruben Riding

Donna: What has owing a pet (Ruben above) encouraged you to do?

My Dad: Not have another one (laughs) just kidding. I love that little dog. If it were not for that dog after your mother passed, there were days I don’t think I would have gotten out of bed. He’s been a real blessing.

When do you feel most happy?

My Dad: I feel happiest when I’m meditating and when I’m out in my yard.

Donna: Where would you like to be in five years?

My Dad: Healthier than I am now.

Spending time with my Dad always makes me feel better even when I’m not at my best. Now as Autumn approaches and new projects are on the way I’m excited and nervous about what’s next in my career but certain what ever it is I’ll be up for the challenge. Now the 15 pounds that I’ve managed to add to my butt is a whole other post but I’ll keep that to my MyFitness Pal account friends.

Happy Autumn!!! 

What transition are you going through this Fall?  

Trending Chatter Wednesday – Fashion Week Needs More Models of Color

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I’M LOVING THIS INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT CALLED MOREMODELSOFCOLOR 

If you’ve ever looked in a fashion magazine or watched a notable fashion show then you know the catwalk is not a reflection of our diverse society. It never has been but this new instagram account is doing it’s part to shine light on an industry that has historically white washed runways for decades. Every fashion week the same conversation happens, where are the models of color? Why are all the girls white? Why can’t there be an equal representation across cultures. Why is it so hard to have models of african, latino, asian, and indian decent? I want to be positive and say it’s getting better but if every six months we’re having the same conversation clearly something has to change.

Here are few of the lovely women featured on @moremodelsofcolor

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Ajak Deng

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Estelle Chen

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Abla Ahmed Osman

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Ping Hue

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TRENDING CHATTER WEDNESDAY – KHLOE’S WAIST ADVERTISEMENT, WHAT’S GOOD MILEY? AND KERMIT’S NEW GIRLFRIEND

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KHLOE KARDASHIAN’S WAIST IS DISAPPEARING IN HER RECENT INSTAGRAM PIC. IT’S ALSO A CLEAR ADVERTISEMENT FOR WHATSAWAIST.COM. I WONDER HOW MUCH THIS COST? ALL I’M SAYING IS KA-CHING 


WHY NICKI MINAJ CALLING OUT MILEY CYRUS WAS TOTALLY JUSTIFIED

CHAEDRIA LABOUVIER WROTE A SPOT ON ARTICLE THAT YOU CAN READ AT (ELLE.COM)


KERMIT HAS A NEW GIRLFRIEND (GASP!)

I’m a child of the 80s so I will always have a fondness for The Muppets. No matter how unreal I know it is, I still love them.  So when I saw this new pic of Kermit with his alleged new girlfriend Denise on People.com I had to post it. What do you think of her? Not to judge a female felt pig by her looks but I’m still routing for Miss Piggy. Denise is cute and all but I’m loyal to the first lady of The Muppets.

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