Reflection & Affirmation

It turns out, destiny has a way of redirecting our steps to be on the right path, before we are able to move forward. Doesn’t it feel good, when we hear or read someone else’s story of a trial they were able to make it pass. It gives us a feeling of relief and hope that things will get better.
I ended a past post saying “We all have something we can do, in order to better protect our hearts and guard our love.” I took the time to do just that.

Needs. Deserves. Protects.

Reflection:

I believe there is always a lesson to be learned in disappointment and heartache. We can only learn from those lessons when we actually take the time to reflect on it. To heal from it. These past few weeks, I decided to take time to focus on my heart. To allow myself to feel the emotions and heal from it. Thinking about what it needs, what it deserves, and what I need to protect it from.

 

 

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Give it a Try: 

First: Write three affirmations about yourself.

Then: Write three things you need to guard your heart from. (Whether this is self inflicting pain, a recent disappointment, or negative energy you’ve been feeling.)

Last: Take the time to learn something about your heart, from what you wrote, and go take care of it!

***

I went back and forth about sharing my story of heartache and guilt not too long ago. I wrote it and edited, edited, edited. It was in the editing process where I came to the realization: I write, first for me. Then, for someone else who may need it too.

“My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in your weakness.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

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Writing is my therapy and my way of processing. (Besides, I went to school for this minor in writing and I better put my money to use somehow.)

I write this, first for me. Then, for someone else who may be in need of a little encouragement as they are learning how to heal just as I. This process is not easy, but it is necessary. It does not matter if someone feels I am sharing “too much” of myself. I chose to share this vulnerable piece of my life with you all because sometimes we think we’re alone. Sometimes we hold a level a un-forgiveness to ourselves. We don’t speak up about how we feel and we keep it bottled up inside. I firmly believe the trials we go through in life, not only teach us, but is a story to aide someone else. It serves a purpose beyond who we are. It shares HOPE.

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Writing is my way of release. A close friend of mine likes to listen to music. What is your way of release?

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Photos by me, during a recent solo trip across the USA, taken at Slide Rock National Park in Arizona.

 

You Should be Here: The Next Time You’re in Atlanta!

It seems like Atlanta is growing day by day. Don’t believe me. Just try driving down 75/85 on ANY given day of the week. That just means there’s more to see and do, and the traffic never stopped me anyway. I share my my favorite spots to eat and a few things t do in three neighborhoods: Virginia Highlands, Ponce de Leon, and Midtown.

Poncey-Highland

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A mix between the neighboring Ponce de Leon and Virginia Highlands, you can find Ponce-Highlands. This area caters to families and young professionals who have decided to live and work in the Atlanta area. From luscious green parks to small business and restaurants to lovely street art, you’re bound to find something that appeals you.

Eats
Sweet Auburn
I never let a trip to Georgia pass me by without making a stop here. I’m a sucker for bbq. I usually get their pulled chicken, but I recently tried there wings. Magnifico! I also love the rustic vibe of this place and how they have a community dining table which is perfect for a solo traveler like me.

-Folk Art
This is the place where my foodie adventures began. On my birthday, May 2014, I created a foodie tour for myself of different restaurants all around the city. This is one you cannot miss. Have you had their brunch?!

My fave: French Toast and a side of their fried chicken along side a mimosa will have your morning feeling just right! I guarantee it.

Other places to eat in the surrounding area:
-The best WholeFoods I’ve ever been to (and I’ve visited a lot)
-The Vortex

-King’s Pops (an ATL favorite)

-Front Page News

-LaFonda Latina

-Honey Bubble

-Mary Mac’s Tea Room

-Majestic Diner

-Fellini’s Pizza

-Gusto!

-Noodle

-Ponce City Market (several places to eat)

Things to Do:

-Go visit small boutique and custom goods shops such as Paris on Ponce and Citizen Supply with goods from local artisans.

-Take a bike ride through Freedom Park.

-Little Five Points is not too far. Check out the artsy scene here with vintage shops, bars, and street art on the corners of buildings.

-Watch an indie film at Plaza Theatre.

Midtown

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Ohh Midtown, you have grown on me. This neighborhood used to be a little too polished for my liking, but I love how the Midtown Alliance initiative has worked on making this area more of a community. In Midtown, you’ll find the Woodruff Arts center, historic neighborhoods, history, and places t stop and play. Midtown offers an experience and a beautiful city backdrop you’ll definitely want a picture of. In the mix between lifestyle, culture, art and business, you’ll understand why Midtown Atlanta was voted a 2016 “Great Neighborhood” by APA.


Things to Do:
-Checkout the “Autoeater” sculpture
-Take a picture at the midtown sign
-Play ping pong, Badmiton, etc. at one of the community play areas at different parts of the city.

-See a show at the Woodruff Arts Center or take the kids to the Center for Puppetry.

-Go see the new exhibits indoor and outdoor the High Art Museum.

-There’s most likely some festival happening in Piedmont Park, always.

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Eats.

-Woody’s Cheesesteaks (my all-time fave/go to)

-LaHacienda (soooo good!)

-5Church Atlanta

-Midtown Tavern

-The Nook at Piedmont

-Cypress Street Pint & Plate

-The Flying Biscuit

-Lure

-Tin Lizzy’s Cantina

-Zocalo Mexican Kichen & Cantina

-10th & Piedmont

-Mary Mac’s Tea Room

-Proof & Provision

Check back for updates and the Atlanta Coffee Shop Guide!

 

The Coffee Corner- Las Vegas Edition

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Welcome to The Coffee Corner, Las Vegas Edition!

All of these coffee shops have a unique vibe of there own. From the menu to the quality in service, you’re bound to have a wonderful experience in an equally appeasing atmosphere. Below I share a little bit about each of their uniqueness, but it is only a glimpse into the many many times I have visited each of these places. So grab your cozy sweater, a good book, or a friend before heading to any of these coffee shops, as you are probably going to spend more hours than you think.

Sunrise Cafe

This is my favorite spot to go to on Sunday mornings. The sun shines through the windows and there’s always a fresh bouquet of flowers. The coffee is so good, I can’t pick a favorite. Along with the many coffee choices, they also have a menu with vegan and vegetarian options.

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Mothership Coffee

Mothership Coffee is known for having some truly delicious coffee. No need for dirty pot coffee, the beans are ground fresh. Something I really like is the aesthetic of this coffee shop. The lights are bright and the smell is welcoming.

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Simple Latte

Sambalatte Torrefavion- Boca Park

There are several Sambalatte’s around the valley, but I really like going to the location in Boca Park. I typically come here to do work, as this place can get pretty busy. Because of the upstairs downstairs design in this location, all the people make me feel cozy and motivated in a sense because we are all working or chatting up our friends.

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The Rainbow Latte

Loftti

Loftti is one of a kind. It’s the place where I my creative juices come to life. There’s nothing like having a huge cloud of cotton candy, it just makes everything abut this place a little bit sweeter!

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Iced Chai Latte with a Pink Cloud

Bad Owl Coffee

There aren’t many themed coffee shops that I have been to. But, I’m sure every Harry Potter fan would not be disappointed coming here. The coffee is great and they also offer food on their menu now. Sweet! I don’t want to spoil this place for you guys so I decided to only post one pic and remeber: “I must not tell lies…”

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Iced Biscoff Cookie Latte

Makers & Finders Coffee

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A few other faves:

Serenade

Jozo Coffee & Tea

Illumilatte Brew Society

Grouchy John’s

Public US

Pour Coffeehouse

Vesta Coffee Roasters

Avery’s Coffee

Madhouse Coffee

TIABI Coffee & Waffles

The Cuppa Coffee Bar

 

 

You Should Be Here: Las Vegas Travel Guide (Locals Love)

Whenever I mention to anyone that I live in Vegas, they always say, ” Oh, I couldn’t live there. I’d lose all my money!” Well, as a local, we find there is so much more to Vegas than S. Las Vegas Blvd, otherwise known as, THE STRIP. In this guide, I share all of my favorite foodie spots on and off the strip to give you the full Vegas experience. From coffee shops to brunch, you’re bound to create a trip that is unforgettable.

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Design-Public School 702
-Hash House a Go-Go
-Babystacks Cafe
-Echo & Rig
-E.A.T.
-The Original Sunrise Cafe
-Sacks & Yolks
-CRAFTkitchen LV
-Crepe Expectations
-The Egg & I
-BRIO Tuscan Grille
-Squeeze on Fort Apache
-Griddlecakes
-Metro Diner
-DW Bistro
-Egg Works

Design-Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken
-The Pizza Kitchen
-Big Ern’s BBQ
-Jumpin’ Rice
-Kitchen Table
-Rollin Smoke BBQ
-Chow
-The Perch
-Big Ern’s BBQ
-Bruxie
-MTO Cafe
-Therapy
-SkinnyFats
-Streetside Pho

Design-Goong Korean BBQ Restaurant
-La Comida
-Lola’s
-Jinya
-Le Thai
-Ellaem’s Soul Food
-M&M Soul Food Cafe
-Pizza Rock
-Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles
-Peppermill
-Mundo at Mingo
-Kabuki Japanese Restaurant
-Secret Pizza at the Cosmpolitan
-Juam’s Flaming Fajitas & Cantina
-Rhythm Kitchen
-HoneySalt
-Letecia’s Mexican Cocina

 

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-Rose. Rabbit. Lie
-Goldspike
-Commonwealth
-Pkwy Tavern
-Chicago Brewing Co.
-Park on Fremont
-The Bling Pig
-Banger Brewing
-Bunkhouse Saloon
-Cabo Wabo Cantina

 

Got Sweet Tooth?
-Cream
-tsp. Baking Company
-Rolled Ice Cream
-Recess ItalianIce & Desserts
-Donut Bar Las Vegas
-milk.
-Sprinkles

Vegetarian/ Vegan
-Vegenation
-Bronze Cafe
-Veggie House

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-Red Rock Canyon National Park
-Mt. Charleston
-Goldstrike
-Lake Mead
-Hoover Dam
-Colorado River
-7 Magic Mountains

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Need a Quick Getaway!
-Southern California & Utah are he neighboring states with much to offer.
Coffee shops are pretty much my thing. I enjoy going to different coffee shops depending on my mood. Want to know my coffee shop faves in Las Vegas, plus more? Click the link here.

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Have any spots that are your faves that you’d like to add? Share them below.
And if you’re looking for something specific, drop your question in the comment box.
Viva Las Vegas!!

The Voice Within: Wisdom from my Grandmother

Be.

“But what is your spirit telling you?”

There I was, sharing my story of heartbreak with my grandmother, hoping she would shed some wisdom on my life. And she hits me with this question, “But what is your spirit telling you?”
I’ve never been asked that question before. I sat there in silence. I started to talk about my heart. “Yes Rae, but your heart can be swayed. Our hearts may feel one thing, but our spirit is what truly speaks to us.” As she did shed her wisdom during that conversation, I couldn’t help but replay that question in my head that whole day.

Still.

“But what is your spirit telling you?”

In search of the answer to that question, I decided to rid myself of all distractions, which came down to television, my phone, the radio, and my apartment. A friend of mine called up and we decided to hit the road. I had no expectations of what to do or see. I just wanted to be. We took a 4 hour round trip sharing life, laughs, and quietness. We hopped in and out at small towns with mountainous views, snapping pics, and feeling the waves (heat waves that is). I laughed as loud as I wanted to. Sat in silence when I needed to. Took as many pictures as my phone allowed. It was like we were journeying west, moving onward.

And listen.

On the way back home, I realized the feeling I had been missing. The feeling of being unapologetically myself. Free.

I prayed hard that night and poured my hear out. I wanted, NEEDED to hear God’s voice. And then the question whispered to me once more.

This time I knew my response, but I was afraid to answer.

I whispered to my heart, “You can do this. This time is for you. You must let go.”

Sometimes we don’t realize the answer to our question is there all along. Sometimes we must go deep within. Reconnect with spirit. It won’t come easy, but when you finally feel it. You know.

Be still, & listen.

Guard Your Heart

There I sat, on my bed, once again…in tears. The rush of emotions and feelings on top of the deadlines approaching, seemed to pile on all at once. And now there’s one more thing to add! The end of a relationship. I sat in confusion over how the whole day spiraled down and the last thing I said in the midst of my frustration, “You don’t appreciate me or what I do. I’m tired of feeling this way. I don’t feel valued. I don’t feel appreciated.” The rush of emotions flooded my mind. Did I really mean to?

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Death Valley National Park & Goldwell Open Air Museum Nevada, USA

I believe this has been the hardest lesson for me to learn, guarding my heart. Letting go of people and things that are no good for my soul. I forgive over and over and over. My heart tells me, people deserve many chances, as you have been given many chances in life too. Even this time, I offered to try again and knew deep down, I shouldn’t have. Some of you are probably saying, “You should’ve known.” But is that truly the response we give to someone who is learning, living, and loving?

I’m flawed.
I’m still lovable.
I’m still deserving.
I’m still worthy.
All of those put together make me beautiful.

IMG_0241This time was different. I didn’t choose to see all of his faults. Parts of us fit together so perfectly. This was our second time giving “us” a try. But when situations happened and I was deeply hurt, it’s like the pain was never truly healed and trust was lost. But I was told to “carry on” and “it’ll pass when you choose” without ever truly having the time to. I allowed pieces of me to be damaged by his emotional struggles. I ignored my own needs, wants, and boundaries. In order to make him feel better about himself, I started to let go of pieces of me. My passions, my creativity, my character, my heart. I realize he didn’t protect my heart with gentleness and care, yet I still stayed. It was those damaged pieces of the puzzle, which made it hard for us to reconnect. I felt like I couldn’t express my hurt freely and over the past few months of being all bottled up and not heard, I released.

IMG_0247I wasn’t crying about the relationship ending. I cried because of those final words. I cried because I finally released every feeling I had held inside. As the rush of emotions continued on, a feeling crept up inside me. A feeling I never felt before: GUILT. I could go on and on into detail about this story, but the story is not what I care for you to know…It’s the lesson.

“Above all things, guard your heart. For everything you do, flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23

IMG_0245We must not change the parts of ourselves that we hold so dearly. We must love ourselves so passionately, that if someone comes along to try and diminish that love we have of ourselves, we immediately block that negativity from our hearts. I allowed my heart to be hurt and did nothing about it. That’s where the guilt came from. Knowing how much I once took care of myself and protected myself, but not doing anything this time. I don’t want that for you. I’m no longer allowing that for me. You know? The guilt. We can recognize how we are responsible for the hurt, but we must forgive ourselves in order to move forward.

Whether it be the audition we didn’t go on because we heard someone else “better” was going to be there, so we talked ourselves down and out of it. The negative comment someone made about something you worked really hard on. The fear of moving somewhere or traveling to a different place because we’re told we will be lonely. The diet we don’t do such a great job of sticking to. Perhaps, like me, allowing people who do not deserve to feel our light, throw their shade. This time I’m laying the hurt and pain out on the table, praying for strength and patience as I am going through the healing process because now is the time. Now is the time to love me. Now is the time to heal my wounds. Now is the time to honor my space.

We all have something we can do, in order to better protect our hearts and guard our love, as this is a must.

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loving little things.

A wall: Paris on Ponce- Atlanta, GA

I’d like to celebrate all of the beautiful wall art displayed all throughout Atlanta.

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A coffee shop: Bad Owl Coffee- Henderson, NV

I left my wand at home, but when you carry magic with you everywhere, you figure, this coffee stirrer will have to do. Besides, this coffee shop is now on my list of faves, as they carry food. Pictured here: A Biscoff Latte that tastes just like the cookies.

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A message (to give my future husband): Recess- Las Vegas, NV

Because everyday deserves a “happy ending.” Oh! And please let my future husband know the “Ways to My Heart.”

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A window: “We Welcome All” a West Elm

I think this window says it all.

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loving little things.

As I am gaining a better perspective of  “the art of slow living,” I’ve learned so much about enjoying the simple moments in life. In the “loving little things.” series, I continue to share my weekly finds. These are shared as images, quotes, and pretty much anything little thing that sparked something for me.

A moment:

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Mommy & Me Quality Time – I currenly live over 2,000 miles away from my mom. In about 4 more weeks, that distance will be greater. This past week, I spent time running around the city with her and it completely filled my soul. It’s nice having summers off and being able to take a flight just to see her smile.

A sign:

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Chalkboard signs are the cutest. Especially when they have an uplifting message. I inured anyone reading this post should also read this sign and are the same message from me- “Shut up, I think you are GORGEOUS!

A meal: Jumping Rice & Rolls -Las Vegas, NV USA

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I have been eating so unhealthily this summer. So much, to the point that my stomach rejects the mere thought of putting anymore fast food into my body. I decided to stop by a local restaurant to have something a little more pleasing. I was completely satisfied with my Terikaki Salmon and Jasmine Rice Jumping Bowl and my body was too!

The Golden 3: Letting Go

I’m a firm believer in self-reflection on who I am as a person. Inside and out. There are many areas in our life that we can work on. I say “we” because I am included and far from perfect. But imagine if we continue to better ourselves and progress in our daily lives. Oh how our world could change! This summer I’m letting go of 3 things.

1. Shopping apps and email subscriptions.

I tend to check my email a lot. So much, in fact, my boyfriend asked me to check them later one day. There’s nothing important in those emails. Nothing but stores promoting their weekend and holiday sales. Which make me spend my money. I know, I know. I could just not go to those stores, but I’m still working on that. And this is the first step. Give me time…lol.

2. Numbers in my phone that are never used.

You know what numbers I’m talking about. The contacts of people from high school, who you run into. You say you’re going to meet up “soon” and three years later neither one of you have called. Don’t forget about that person whose number you keep ‘just in case.’ Letting them all go! “New phone. Who dis?”

3. Two -words “What if?”

I’ve asked myself this question quite a few times over the past few months. Truth is, I should not focus on the “what-if.” It either did or it didn’t. The present is what’s important today. Being focused on the ‘now’ allows us to minimize distractions in our lives. We are able to decrease worry and sadness over false ideas.

I hope these three things I’m letting go of, allow me to save money and time.

Are you letting go of anything this summer? Share by dropping a comment below.

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loving little things.

“There’s beauty everywhere!”

As part of this minimalist journey, I’ve learned so much about enjoying the simple moments in life. In this series, Loving Little Things, I will be sharing weekly finds. These will be shared as images, quotes, and pretty much anything little thing that sparked something for me.

A small thing: Barr-Co.

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I really enjoy this line of skin care. I first stumbled across the line in San Diego, California while perusing in and out of small shops. Not only are the scents fresh, they’re made with oatmeal and other ingredients that help with my eczema and irritated skin.

A quote:

“The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.” – markus aurelius

I’ll be keeping this quote in mind as I am organizing my capsule wardrobe for the next month. It’ll be my first time having a capsule, since I have began the minimalist journey. The capsule wardrobe is for the month of July, as it is my last month in the states. It will be full of roadtrip adventures with the beau and tearful goodbyes to family and friends. Therefore the last thing I want to spend time on is searching for something to wear. So be on the look out for more travel guides.

 

A photograph: How will you change the world?

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A photograph at the closing of the year where my (now former) students wrote their name and future career. It’s a question even we as adults should reflect on time to time. After all we’re their role models and their our future.