The Day I became a Painter

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The Day I became a Painter

Ha - got your attention with that title - didn't I ? 

A few weekends ago, I met up with a group of amazing ladies to celebrate a friend's bachelorette party. We began the festivities with a painting class at painting with a twist. The idea behind painting with a twist is that even a creatively challenged person (like myself) can create something worth hanging up (with a some paint, brushes and guidelines from a pro).  I have heard so many great things about this place, so I was glad to be able to attend. Painting with a twist is located across the country , with the option for a private class or general class at $35 per person. We were booked for a private party and the guest of honor had pre-selected the inspiration painting.  Easel, paint and brushes were laid out for everyone and with directions from our instructors we got to work creating our masterpiece (maybe not a masterpeice as you would imagine , but for a creative noob as myself - a masterpiece). 

If you are in search of a fun way to spend an evening or something out of the box - You should check this out. I know I will be making plans to create my next masterpiece in the near future. 

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Whatever he tells you to do...Just do it !

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Whatever he tells you to do...Just do it !

It was about 4:30 a.m. on Thursday , March 19th - I had left packing till the last minute (again) and I was frantically moving from my bathroom to bedroom to living room throwing things in my suitcase for a trip to Houston. As I carried the contents of an overflowing toileteries bag from my bathroom to my suitcase in the living room I kept walking past an unopened bottle of excedrin migraine on my dresser and a still small voice nudged me to pack the excedrin , but I talked myself out of it because "well, I have not had a migraine episode in months - so I'll be fine". I finished packing and headed off to Houston leaving the bottle on my dresser.

When I picked up my rental car at the Houston airport later that day - the employee at the rental car company suggested I get the insurance coverage and I dismissed her. As we completed the walkthrough of the car - again that nudging, that still small voice said get the insurance, I contemplated it and even asked the employee about the cost but decided against getting insurance.

Friday morning - I woke up with a migraine, fever, nausea combo - I have not felt that terrible since I was about 13 - after hours writhing in pain I asked the hotel conceige to get me a ride to the nearest pharmacy where the pharmacist recommended (you guessed it), excedrin migraine. She said my symptoms suggested the signs of a migraine - Are you kidding me ? the same excedrine migraine I passed up at home. I picked it up, popped two pills and within a few hours I was starting to feel better and another hour later - nausea, fever was gone.

Same day about 6 p.m. , I felt good enough to meet up with my aunt to catch up. After a few hours at her place, I decided to head out to catch with some Houston based friends - as I backed out of my parking spot - I turned the steering a moment too soon and the front drivers' side got quite dented by the wall. Immediately, I remembered the still small voice that nudged me to get the insurance coverage. I was livid (at myself), but just as quickly got a learning moment - twice in one day God spoke to me and twice I ignore the voice and less than 24 hours later - I was faced with two situations in which if I had listened I would have spared myself some stress and a  substantial amount of money paid to the rental car company to repair the damage.

I was thinking about these events last week as I entered my CC number to pay the cost to repair the damages to the rental car. I always ask the lord to lead, but how often do I follow what he says for me to do. A lot of us are asking God to lead us and guide us and direct us , but how many of us are actually following his lead. When he gives us direction - do we follow or ignore? If you are like me - its probably the latter. Why is that?

I think it is part pride and part not fully knowing the voice of God (or trusting that we have heard from him) - I want to believe most of us fall into the latter. When he speaks to us , we are unsure if he is the one speaking so we ignore what he says and do our own thing. Then we complain that we got no direction from him and when things go sideways we blame him, but the truth is - he is speaking, leading, directing, but we are not following. What good is having a GPS navigation if you don't follow the directions and can you really blame the maker if you choose not follow the directions and get lost - I think not.

I / we need to start learning how to hear from God. Stop blaming God when things go sideways in our lives. Instead, let's be introspective, search ourselves - did God really not guide us or give us direction or Is it that we are not following directions he gives us.

I am reminded of the wedding feast - Mary said - "whatever he tells you to do, do it" - Are we doing what he tells us to do in our day to day ? Are we doing what he tells us to do in our area of calling? When he leads, do we listen and follow? 

We should start learning to know his voice and when he says, pack that bottle of excedrin migraine - go ahead and just do it !

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An afternoon at the Palace of Versailles (and a mini guide) - Versailles, France

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An afternoon at the Palace of Versailles (and a mini guide) - Versailles, France

Listen carefully - If you find yourself in Paris - make it a priority to get to the palace of Versailles. Contrary to misconceptions, the palace is not in Paris, it is in the city of Versailes - which is about a 40 minute drive from Paris ("the city"). You can also take the train from Paris to Versailles.

My afternoon at the palace was one of the memorable parts of my trip and I almost cancelled.

I scheduled a ride to the palace with a tour Company, but I had not planned on how I would get to the meet up spot. I arrived at my hotel an hour and half before the meet up and frantically rushed to make it, I got off at the right train stop but forgot my map of the city so I was completely lost . I am thankful for the cabbie - Mr. A who gave me a free ride to the meetup spot.

When I finally made it to the Palace - my tour guide did not show up. I was exhausted , hungry and not in the best of mood, but I was stuck there for another 3 hours until my ride back to the city returned, so I bought a ticket and explored the palace on my own. Forever grateful that exhaustion and hunger did not get the better of me and I went ahead with the tour.

You have the option of purchasing a ticket with a guided tour, but I like to go at my own pace - explore what really interests me and skip what doesn't - so I opted for touring the palace on my own.

From the interior of the palace - the pillars, the murels on the ceiling, the paintings and chandeliers - absolutely spectacular. Make sure you look up while in the palace, the chandeliers, the murels on the ceiling is worth the ticket price.

 As breathtaking as it interior is - the grounds and garden were  favorite part - the over the top sculptures and fountains (there are about 50 fountains on the grounds).

Once there, plan to spend several hours to get the full experience. I had just about 3 hours to explore so I rushed through everything. Take your time walking through the castle; then head out to the grounds (if you can, plan to include the musical gardens as part of your tour). Walk the gardens and enjoy the spectacular view and fountains. 

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Time Well Spent at M & M World - London

Time Well Spent at M & M World - London

I had just seen Phantom of the Opera at the Her Majesty's theatre and was walking through Leister square towards the train station was my eye caught the four story building housing M & M World. I decided to stop in to see why there were people flocking in here - I got lost in the M & M world and completely lost track of time.

So what is M & M world - It is four level of all things M & M related that kids will love and even Adult will get lost in all the elaborate M & M displays - Including M & M recreating the Beetles Abbey road crossing, M & M london bus, the M & M photo classic art gallery and a M & M periodical (and ton more).

Think of it like a real life mini version of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory (but with M & M). You can pick up M & M of different colors and sizes here or grab M&M inspired souvenir like a M & M snow globe or stuffed animal.

The visit here was the highlight of my last trip to London and I am thankful I left my credit card in my hotel room (that could have been a major dent in my travel budget). If you are in this part of world and  in search of something different from the known landmarks and/or something that is both kid and adult friendly, this is one to checkout.

Getting here - You want to take the tube. Get on the Piccadilly line or the Northern line and hop off at Leicester square. When you come out of the station , cut a sharp right (you will see the Hippo Dome Casino on the corner) and keep waking past the Hippo Dome Casino and the Trocadero. M & M workd is tucked between the Trocadero and Ripley's in Leicester square. It is open till midnight everyday (except for Sunday when it closes at 6 p.m.).

 Entry is free.

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Finding Your Perfect Match...Foundation wise

Have you ever found yourself staring at the foundation displays at your local ulta or sephora - wondering which of the hundreds of shade selection is your perfect match - noting like getting shades lighter - leading to the dreaded ghostly face or shades darker - which is terrible on so many levels. All kinds of not good, so when I heard about the Sephora + Pantone color IQ - I was very interested. 

This is not a new thing - Its been around for 2 (maybe even 3 years), I finally got around to trying it out a several months ago and found it to be great. So, if you are struggling to find your perfect shade match - this is worth a trip to your local sephora, you dont have to purchase anything to get this service.

How it works. You go in, the amazing staff at sephora press the metal pad to you forehead, cheek and neck. A minute or two later, the machine populates a selection of foundations that match your shade. If you want o take it a step further - you can filter the results by finish, skin type etc until you get to your perfect match. You can also get your match results sent to your email so its handy for when you need it.

Does it really work ? Absolutely ! I have picked up teo foundations based on the recommedations of the color IQ and both are perfect matches.

Ok, so you only use drugstore foundation, so how does this really help you ? Knowing the variety of foundation that match your skin tone - you can use charts like this one here or here to figure out which drugstore foundation will work for you.

Tips for when you decide to try this out. I have had the shade IQ done twice and I have to say I got a the perfect shade match when I went in barefaced. If you have foundation on, don't fret - they can clean off the spot before placing the color IQ  pad on your skin.

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Cody's Restaurant - La Jolla , CA

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Cody's Restaurant - La Jolla , CA

Can we just talk about the spectacular view that comes with dining on the patio here?

You get this spectacular view of the Ocean and that would be reason enough to dine here if you are in this part of the World. Then, you get a bite of the food and you forget the amazing view for a minute and just stuff your face with bites of deliciousness.

I ordered the Crab Cake Benedict and although I was tempted to order the blueberry basil lime spritzer that the folks at the next table ordered,  I stuck with a classic hot tea which was perfectly brewed (I am very particular about my tea). The crab cake benedict is honestly one of the best meals I have ever had - you have  lump crab cake , topped with avocado and a perfectly poached egg and covered in mounds of one of the best hollandiase sauce I have ever tried.

This place checks all the right boxes - even with the forty minute wait for a table (which was made bearable by the view), I will be back at Cody's if I am ever in that part of the World.  We dined here on a holiday weekend, so that might have contributed to the long wait time - but if you are not in a hurry you can relax outside and take in the view and enjoy the beautiful California weather.

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Style Edit - Girl's Night Out

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Style Edit - Girl's Night Out

I got together with some girlfriends for dinner last weekend. After dinner, we stopped by a piano bar and sang along to every song from the 80's and early 90's till we lost our voices. It was a great night.  I wanted something comfortable and stylish (and I did not want to wear boots). I chose a pair of black skinny jeans paired with a silk top with a blazer over it and black (with gold trimmed) sandals. It was simple, yet stylish, effortless to pull together, comfortable and versatile - great pairing for dinner, date night or a girl's night out. If I wore this in the summer months, I will probably do without the blazer.

What is your go-to night out style ?

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London Bucket List

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London Bucket List

Big Ben

This post is one of the reasons London is my favorite city - In the years I have been visiting London and all the sites I have enjoyed visiting - there is still a ton of places I am yet to visit and although my actual London bucket list is about two note pad pages long - here are a few things I am hoping to get to on my next trip.

Changing the guard
  • The Food. Forget what you have heard - London has some fantastic eats. One of my favorites has to be Duck and Waffle - the food is amazing, but along with the food, you get this spectacular view of the city that is priceless. A return trip to duck and waffle is planned. Thanks to Lily Pebbles and Vivianna Does Makeup - I have also added Patty & Bun ; Nordic Bakery; Ottelenghi and the Breakfast club to my list.
  • The Tower. I realized earlier this year that as often as I have been to London, I have never taken a tour of the tower of london - I know, what the what ? I plan to remedy that on my next trip.
  • The museums. There are some fantastic museums in the City - I always plan a trip to the Tate Modern on every visit. A few museum I want to get to - the british transport museum and the science museum.
  • Day trips to Oxford and Brighton.
  • A classic phone booth shot
  • A visit to Borough Market and Portobello
  • A trip to Windsor castle
  • Covent Garden
  • A trip to Liberty Beauty Hall
  • Warner Bro Studio Tour 
Tower Bridge

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About Me and This Blog

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About Me and This Blog

I am simi (pronounced c-mee) - I call Texas home these days, but I am originally from the western part of Africa. I LOVE to travel and discover new things; I am a foodie and that has led to another blog where I talk about my love of food and share my recipes (you can find that here). By day, I am an accountant with a dream of traveling the world.  If I did not crunch numbers, I would be an event planner.

I am a tea lover who is also a little bit obsessed with shoes, makeup , chai tea latte, green juice. I share some of my beauty and makeup finds here. I love a good airplane window shot, so even though I prefer my aisle seat on a plane very few things beat a good airplane window shot.

I love sports and I have been an Arsenal FC fan since I was 10; I love the Texas Rangers (baseball) and have recently become a Seahawks fan (still trying to figure out how that happened).

One of my goals this year is to connect with other bloggers, so I was excited to join in on the blog everyday in May challenge by Belinda of Found Love Now What.

Now about this blog -

I started this blog as an escape - my escape from the countless tries to pass a certification exam (which thank God I am done with now); It was to be a site with all my favorite things which mostly was (is) beauty, food, fashion, culture, travel (and the list goes on). However, sharing about all my favorite things meant the blog content was everywhere but nowhere (if that makes sense) - so over the last few months, this space has gotten a face lift - things got a lot cleaner (hooray), but I also made some changes about the content. So what is changing

A lot less recipe talk --- Most of my food ramblings and recipes are now over at table with a view blog. You can check it out here.

A lot of travel talk --- My favorite thing to do (beside cooking) is traveling - I will be sharing my travel adventures along with travel tips (and pictures of course, lots of pictures).

Beauty Chat --- In the early days of this blog, I shared my journey into beauty and I will continue to share great product finds and beauty tips that make the process effortless.

Sprinkles of Fashion --- I am going through a major declutter and rebuilding of my closet and you get to come along on the Journey.

Inspiration and Faith --- My faith is an important part of my life and I have drawn a lot of life wisdom and inspiration from my faith. I share some of those here.

So in summary - less food ; more travel ; more beauty with sprinkles of fashion and a lot of inspiration.

Check out some other bloggers participiating in the blog everyday in may challenge here.

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Five Beauty Products I am Trying Out

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Five Beauty Products I am Trying Out

I have been a skin care high the last six months so I picked up several skincare (and beauty) bits to try out from Hautelook. These are not new products on the market, just a few items I have had on my wishlist for awhile. Here are five beauty additions I am excited to put to the test

skyn Iceland Hydo Cool Firming Eye Gel. Picked this up in hope that it will take care of the effects of long late work nights on my eyes. There has been a lot a rave about this in the last year so what better time to try it than when its on sale. Fingers crossed.

skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel with Alpha Beta Complex. This is a cleansing , exfoliating pad that is supposed to be the solution to stressed skin. I have been using this for a week now and I love how bright my skin looks afterwards. I am still putting it to the test and will report back here shortly.

Tarte Maracuja Oil. This is one of the top tier oils on the market. With all the success I have had with the Palmer's oil - I thought I would give this a go. It promises to improve skin visibility and texture ; reduce fine lines and wrinkles and several other wondeful things. Fingers crossed this lives up to all the hype.

Tarte tight & bright eye perfector double-ended priming serum & brightener. You get a twofer with this product - a serum and a brightener. As a brightener it claims to reduce the appearance of fine lines and reduce dark circles. As a serum , it is supposed to be a base to make concealer last longer - I was sold when I read that - here is hoping it lives up to all the claims.

Mally Liquid Face Defender in Clear. My biggest beauty pet peeve is having to reapply makeup; I want to put it on in the morning and not worry about touch ups till the end of my day, so I tend to spend more of my beauty budgets on products that make makeup last longer. This face defender can be used under or over makeup to keep it in place all day. I can sense holy-grail status if this works as it should.

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