Aug 12, 2017

5 Things to Consider for Your Next Dinner Party

I can't tell you how many dinner parties I've attended in the past that turned into a night of misery for both guests and host(s). What started out as a night of fun and entertainment seemingly ends up as a night of hassle and irritation. Don't get me wrong---I love a good outing, meal and amazing company. But I am extremely particular as to whom I enjoy my time with now as a thirty-something. So the next time you plan on hosting a dinner party (especially at a public restaurant)--please consider these five things first. They will help alleviate any confusion and headaches.

1. Choose Your Guests Wisely - Ever show up to a dinner party and say to yourself, who are these people? Before you send out invites, make sure to choose friends with similar interest and commonalities. Nobody wants to be stuck in an intimate setting for hours with strangers who have zero in common. 
2. Set the ExpectationsAvoid surprises. Let your guests know what to expect for the evening. This includes any activities (games, guest participation, announcements) set to take place during the dinner. It would also be wise to give the guests a heads up on dinner prices should the dinner take place at a restaurant and should each guest be responsible for footing their own bill. 
3. Be Prepared to Pay - There may very well be discrepancies in the final bill. Yep, this happens and you've got to be prepared to foot the bill or a portion of it if need be. 
4. Food Options - Not everyone can eat a 14oz ribeye Oscar style so you've better have options for the vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free.
5. Allocate Enough Time - Whether private or public, dinner parties take time. So plan well and allocate enough time for arrivals, dinner and wrap-up----and being respectful of your guests' time by not scheduling your dinner too late in the evening. 

Aug 4, 2017

Summer 17: Family Vacation with Carnival Cruise Line

This summer I had the pleasure of sailing the Caribbean seas with Carnival Cruise Line. The family and I boarded the Carnival Splendor vessel for 8 days to explore four Caribbean islands including St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Turks & Caicos. Although I'm no rookie to the cruising experience---by far this time around was the best. Initially I thought 8 days would be too much time on a boat ---but on the 8th day I was sadden to return to Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale (departure port). And just like that, it was over. Our mindless, easy-going Caribbean voyage had ended. No more PiƱa coladas, endless sunshine and Caribbean blue seas. If you've never cruised before--stay tuned for my upcoming post on: 5 Reasons to Cruise with Carnival. Cruising to me is what a true vacation should be. Fun and hassle-free.


Jul 17, 2017

Simplicity: The Secret to a Good Life

Fresh off my family vacation and looking back in reflection with a fresh perspective. Spending time outside of our comfort zone allows us to get a different perspective on life. It fosters growth and in some cases life changing redirection. I had the pleasure of visiting four island nations during my time abroad and the main take away from my trip is: simplicity, it is the secret to a good life. Each island that I visited reminded me just how important it is to simplify life. Sometimes we create complicated lives for the sake of having more, when in actuality the road to living a good and fulfilled life is having less. A simple lifestyle attracts simple problems, requiring simple solutions. The island folks understand this. That's why the life expectancy in most Caribbean islands is higher than that of Americans. Weird right? Especially with America being the richest nation in the world. How's that for perspective? Culturally-- our priorities are different and certainly so are our lifestyles. Removing the distractions, excess and the unimportant aspects of life is what simplicity is. It's the foundation of a great and rewarding life. One that I seek to have.

Jul 3, 2017

American Dreamers: Tampa Bay Parenting Feature

Hey Fabulous--
I recently did a photo shoot for a mompreneur feature in the July issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazines which also featured a couple other inspiring boss moms. A piece titled: American Dreamers. When I was in high school, I ran a hustle (notice how I didn't say business?) where I would visit the homes of professionals (executives, principals and the likes) to perform clothing ironing services. Yep--I would roll through on the weekends and iron baskets of professional attire for these professional elites all the wile holding down my part-time retail job at the mall, maintaining my grades and taking part in school extracurricular activities. In retrospect, not really sure how I did it.  But undoubtedly whether I knew it then---the entrepreneur in me was born. Fast forward to today---not much has changed. Well, let's retract that. Lots have changed. Like being someone's mom and wife. And if you too are a mom, you already know that the role itself is a full-time one. But when it comes to living in your purpose, you find a way to do what you love. Even if it includes adding entrepreneur to that long and growing list of titles. You can check out the column in the July issue of Tampa Bay Parenting here

Special Thanks: Runway Translator: Writer & Stylist | Lending Luxury: Designer Gowns | Theresa NeSmith Photography: Photography | Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine

Jun 25, 2017

5 Reasons to Hate Fashion Trends

One would certainly argue whether fashion is art. What is its purpose? It's not that complicated is it? It's a way of expression. Whether grown and sexy, mature and intellectual or insecure and youthful; fashion is what each individual wants it to be. It's a creative being that allows each artist to adapt, incorporate and invent. But trends?
Aaah....trends. You know the good ole marketing ploy to get us to the mall more times often than we need to. If you haven't figured out by now, I'm totally not the trendy type. I mean...I'm not in the malls biweekly checking for the latest and greatest products pushed by mass fashion retailers. I'm certainly not saying that I'm not checking for the semiannual S/S and F/W catwalk fashions gracing the runways. But---- I'm just much more interested in wearing what I like, which happens to not be dictated by designers, magazines and retail giants. Let's also keep in mind that many trends throughout the history of fashion has morphed into timeless classics. So one could certainly argue that every fashion staple was once a trend. But for the sake of this discussion, I'm talking modern day fashion trends which many have made countless debuts on fashion faux pas lists. There's a reason why I hate them. Or maybe five reasons. Here's the rundown.
  1. There's No Individuality | Everyone looks the same. I am a huge fan of individualism. I'm drawn to all things authentically creative and original. One of the reasons I started sewing was to create unique one-of-a-kind garments. It became so unbecoming and disappointing to visit the malls to only see the same ole fads hanging on the racks. Thank goodness for options like local boutiques, vintage thrift and consignment shops and the talents of local up and coming designers. Surely you can take the same Zara blazer and sandals and put your own creative spin on it right? How is that for unpretentious distinction. But where there is a lack of individuality in fashion; there is personality, our outlook on the world and our sense of humor to compensate. There is hope.
    unpretentious
  2. IIt's All About the Money | Yes. What better way to stimulate the economy semiannually than scouring the local malls and luxury department stores for new trends fresh off the runway from New York Fashion Week? Ooh,  brocade, metallics and radiant orchid is in this season----let me race on down to Neimans. No thanks. I've got better things to do with  my money than trying to keep up with what the industry says I should be wearing to appear "cool". Besides....it's much much cheaper to dress me than to feed me. This foodie has got to eat. LOL. No but seriously....thank goodness for the thrifting phenomenon, outlets and discount stores. As I become older and what I'd like to think wiser, I've become a more conscious and fiscally responsible consumer.