Independence Day and the High Museum of Art

Happy Independence Day! I just want to take a moment to thank all the men and women who continue to protect and serve both in the US and around the world. It takes a lot to be away from your family, comfort zone and risk your life in order to fight for the freedom of others. One of these courageous young women is one of my closest friends. I am beyond proud of her for following in her father’s footsteps!

High Museum of Art Anna Hays Mershon Gallery, mirrored disk

I decided to check out the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. If you are a Bank of America cardholder, on the first weekend of every month you get free admission to the High Museum of Art! The museum does accept donations if you want to donate. I will warn you that parking can be steep (fifteen dollars) if you can not find street parking. This is the third time I’ve visited and I love how often they rotate out new exhibits in front of the museum and inside. There is usually an exhibit outside that children can play on. I love that these exhibits give children the opportunity to play and interact with the art while allowing kids to play outside instead of in front of a computer/tv screen.The High is currently displaying the Andy Warhol exhibit until September 3rd! Overall most of Mr. Warhol’s pieces are the typical pop art colorful pieces you would expect, there was one room that shocked my friend and had some more explicit photographs. I personally did not know he screen printed photos of cats and shoes.

Andy Warhol One Blue Pussy

Andy Warhol Shoe bright, shoe light, first shoe I've seen tonight. Pink shoe sketch

Andy Warhol to shoe or not to shoe

When I think Andy Warhol, Campbell’s soup cans, the Campbell’s dress and Marilyn Monroe screen print pop art comes to mind. So this was fun and educational for me as well.

Aluminum walls at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta

Mohommad Ali Andy Warhol

This is one of the interesting views on the Skywalk inside!

The High museum of Art Atlanta views brunette girl in white dress

I had to get a close up of this statement necklace to show you all. It’s from Forever 21 about six months back and I love the mixture of turquoise and silver. I thought it would go well with a white dress. I know I don’t have any red, but my nails should count!

Turquoise and Silver statement necklace with a white dress

After we left I had to take some fabulous pictures in front of this beautiful ivy.

Green ivy walls and a beautiful black woman in a white dress with cobalt blue shoes

Beautiful black girl with a white dress on and cobalt blue shoes, on stairs with ivy at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta

I hope today is spent with the people you love, sharing laughter and enjoying good food!

How to Pack for a Short Work Trip

This past Monday I left for a three day work conference. I have been working for this company officially since February, but finally received training at the Annual meeting this week. (The guys I work with have been great about explaining things when they have the time, but mostly I have just figured things out through trial and error). I was incredibly nervous about going on this trip, since it is a very conservative company and this is our corporate headquarters. I come from an incredibly liberal background, love the arts, I’m not big on most sports, I am not married and do not have kids. In my experience these are deal breakers in the South. So I prayed for guidance. I prayed that I would find some common ground with everyone and that I would learn a lot. So now that you have the backstory let’s look at what to pack!

Aladdin make up clutch, GHD, H&M and necklace

Be Wild & Wander palm leaf make up bag

For the plane to the reception:
1 pair of coral colored dress pants.
1 white top
1 statement necklace
1 blanket sweater
1 pair of sparkly flats
1 neutral/nude bra

Tip: I always bring one pair of socks to wear when you have to take your shoes off for TSA then I take them off and put them in a ziplock so I do not transfer athletes foot and God knows what else to my feet/shoes. Then, grab my extra pair of socks to put on and head to the plane! I knew I would have to go from the airplane to a work reception/dinner the first day. The next day is a full day of events, meetings, networking,then dinner at a country club. The last day is a half day ending with us heading to the airport after lunch. Now what should I wear for one full day of events and two half days? While you want to be comfortable you also want to look professional. I am a huge fan of color, unlike most people who opt for black and grey. So I thought I would put together a few looks that would work for the short period of time, but fit in a carry on.

Do not be afraid of color! Even in a conservative office people still love to wear color, whether it is a bright colored tie on guys or a bright shirt or lip color on ladies. Think of J.Crew and Lily Pulitzer, these two brands love to use color.

To sleep in:
1 long sleeve top
1 pair of shorts

I always think about the unexpected. You never know when an unexpected fire alarm may go off and you don’t want to risk running past your boss in a nightie.

Necessities:
1 toiletries bag for liquids
-face wash
-make up remover
-perfume roll-on
-deodorant

1 make up bag
-powder foundation
-liquid black liner
-black mascara
-a neutral shimmer eyeshadow
-blush
-pink lipgloss/stick
-mauve/nude lipstick
(Toothbrush and toothpaste of course).

To work out in:
1 sports bra
1 pair of work out pants
1 work out top
1 pair of sneakers

Bring work out clothes! Even if you don’t think you will have time to workout you’ll be thankful you brought the clothes to change into. Every time I bring a sports bra and sneakers I think okay, I can take at least thirty minutes to workout between events and dinner. It’s rare that hotels do not have a gym and even if yours does not you can walk around the area site seeing.

The Capital hotel we stayed in is owned by the same company that has the building across the street. There is a full rooftop gym with rowing machines, kettle balls, free weights, stair master, elliptical, oblique machine, balance balls, weighted ropes and nine arm machines. I made it a point to work out in between the check in time and dinner reception the first night. The view from the top was beautiful and if I wasn’t so tired from networking the next night I would have went back Wednesday morning!

1 bright high-neck dress
1 light colored cardigan
1 strapless bra
(The same pair of sparkly flats)

The second day I planned to wear a nice dress since we planned on heading to the Country Club after the day of training. I knew we would probably have thirty minutes until we needed to head to our dinner location so it’s better to be dressed up for the day. I always make sure to try on the clothes I am packing at home to make sure I have the proper bra for each piece of clothing. That way you do not have to worry about your straps showing and having someone adjust your clothing. I always pack a nice cardigan that I can wear over sleeveless dresses and stay warm in air-conditioned buildings.

1 red top
1 pair of black pants
1 blanket sweater
(The same pair of sparkly flats)

The third day I chose to wear the standard black pants and a red V-neck. This would be corporate enough and comfortable for the plane.

IMAG1520 (1)

IMAG1521

IMAG1536

IMAG1538

IMAG1514

IMAG1518

IMAG1515

IMAG1516

Above you will see some photos of the Capital hotel. The elevator of the Capital hotel is huge. The rumor is Ulysses S. Grant rode his horse into the hotel and needed the elevator to be big enough for his horse to ride up. I guess he parked his horse in the hallway when he went into his room.

Overall my trip went really well. I enjoyed learning more about my bosses and the Company we work for. The CEO is incredibly charismatic and enjoys taking the time to make everyone feel important. The other admins are fabulous older ladies who want to share their knowledge and uplift one another. (We’ve even started a share drive to help each other with new programs and tasks). I had a really great discussion with multiple people about enjoying this time in my life. As people asked me if I was married, had kids or how old I was I felt a little hesitant to share. (Most people in my company have been married for a minimum of 7 years and are in their late 30’s or 40’s). While I actually am very happy at this point in my life, I find people often try to shame you for being a single woman. Personally I think this is a short window of time where I am allowed to be selfish. I can take the time to travel anywhere I want without asking my man for permission. I can spend $300.00 on a purse I liked, because it is my money and I do not have to explain that to anyone. I’m also taking my time to seriously think about my deal breakers and needs in a husband. It is not a long list, but there are certain qualities I know he needs to have. Just like I expect him to have a list of qualities he is looking for. While I have literally been told by “loved ones” you need to lower your expectations no one is perfect. My response is, “I’m not looking for the perfect person, I am looking for the perfect person for me”. As far as I am concerned we meet when we are meant to, in the meantime I am enjoying this time spoiling myself.

Five Things I’m Excited About

Five things to get excited about with flowers
Hey everyone!

1. This week I full-filled one of my childhood dreams and bought a Polaroid camera. I have always wanted one as a kid since one of my best friends had one. In high school, a ton of the Visual-Photography kids would do interesting collages with them. I remember one girl took pictures of a playground at sunset and dusk. She then layered the polaroids in a collage. On the left side, it showed the sunset and progressed into dusk on the right side. I always wanted to make a unique collage like that, but with a favorite place of mine. Well, Michaels had a sale on the cameras so I picked one up!

Pink Polaroid camera from Michael

2. This adorable pineapple patch I found at Michaels! Am I the only one that goes in there for one thing and comes out 80 dollars poorer with five new craft projects to do? Anyway, I figured I could sew it onto a v-neck like you would a logo. Just a little cute whimsical touch.

Pineapple patch

3. This lavender/periwinkle shade. I love it and I am now looking for a nail polish that is a similar color.

Purple flowers

4. I am going on a work trip today-Wednesday to our Corporate office. It is a super conservative area, but I am excited about meeting new people. It will be nice to finally see all the people I have been emailing and talking with on the phone this past year.

5. The cute white layered Parker top I bought on sale from Nordstrom Rack this weekend. (You’ll see it in my what to pack for a work trip post later this week).

Hope you all have an amazing week!

Fitbit and Getting Back into Fitness

Happy Tuesday everyone! Since I got back from Miami, I’ll admit I’ve been a bit of a slacker on the gym time. I usually am pretty good about working out in the gym for at least 30 minutes every day in my neighborhood. If I don’t feel like leaving my apartment, then I’ll do Youtube videos like Blogilates or some of the Popsugar Fitness. I like that Casey makes her Blogilates videos fairly short. So I will often do them at least twice before moving onto another video. Other times I’ll bring out Brazilian Butt Lift and do his killer ab videos. The creator of Brazilian Butt Lift is Leandro Carvalho. In case you have not heard his name, he is the one who trained Victoria Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio and we all have seen how amazing she looks! I’ve done his DVDs on and off for years and gotten great results, but I think like most things you have to change it up. Even though Atlanta is nice and warm I just have not been very motivated lately.

Buckhead Atlanta, Skyline views and Nikes

So I got a Fitbit. Partially, because my company will reimburse my health insurance for meeting a certain number of steps. If we meet the required amount every month and get two check-ups during the year, then, they will pay our insurance for the last month of the year and cover the cost of the Fitbit. (Someone paying me to get back into tip-top shape, pretty motivating)! My other reason was my friend has been telling me to get one for over a year now (what can I say I’m pretty stubborn). I know it can be a pretty big motivator when you have been sitting too long. I also like the fact that it tracks your sleep. I think we often feel like we are getting a good amount of rest. When you look at the app and see that you slept for five hours and were restless for about 30 minutes you know its time to make some changes. I started reading about an hour before I’m ready to go to bed instead of scrolling through Instagram. While I love Instagram! The creative photos, family pictures and seeing my friends travel the world, it also was not helping my sleep. I know there have been multiple articles mentioning the correlation between the blue light of your phone and it messing up melatonin your body releases naturally. You can check out an article from the Washington Post on that here.

Part of me thinks it’s just laziness hahaha the other part thinks it has to do with my job. One person recently left so the rest of us have absorbed his job. I love learning new skills and working in other applications, but it can make for some mentally exhausting few weeks. Especially since you want to make the best impression with minimal mistakes. However, we all know when you are doing something out of your comfort zone there are bound to be mistakes. This past Friday, I skipped my usual posting (apologies) and decided to study an old monologue for an audition. I really wanted to put up a post for you all, but wanted to make sure I could give it 100 percent. So instead I practiced my monologue for my audition. Went on Saturday had a blast auditioning, made a few new friends. Then vowed to take myself for a long walk. So that’s exactly what I did. Went for a walk/jog for an hour and a half. I think the change of scenery was just what I needed to get back into work out mode. I must admit there is something satisfying about feeling Fitbit buzz and show celebration emojis when you meet your daily step goal.

Buckhead Atlanta, jogging trail and Nikes

What are your favorite ways to get out of a fitness rut?

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) is one of my favorite places in Atlanta to visit. The view of the Atlanta skyline from SCAD is breathtaking. Since it is an arts college they always have interesting exhibits coming through every three months. There are also interesting creative spaces to look at or play on. When I saw they had a shoe exhibit I knew I must go! As a self-proclaimed shoe lover, this is a dream come true! The exhibition is called Shoes: Pleasure and Pain.SCAD hangout spots I love you more than tomorrowEye mural in the bathroom of Savannah College of Art and Design.Shoes Pleasure & Pain at SCAD FASH express dress and Jack Rodgers wedgesSadly you were only allowed to take pictures of this awesome neon sign. However, I can say the exhibit is broken up into five sections. The first one called Transformation. It refers to various stories about footwear. The next is called Status. This one literally has you peeking in on over 100 pairs of shoes from different time periods and countries. The exhibit has many whimsical touches, but I won’t spoil the surprise for you! It was fun to pick out your favorites or try to guess which designer made them. Then there was the Seduction section. Followed by Obsession, which had the word obsession scattered all over like graffiti. The last category was Creation. I enjoyed seeing the steps it takes to make a simple pair of shoes. My favorite part was learning how shoes have been used not just for function, but for status. It’s always interesting to learn what is considered beautiful to each culture.

The Little Things

Today I went to Trader Joe’s after work to pick up some last minute groceries. When I went to check out, I chatted with the cashier about his favorite items in the store. Just as I went to pay for my groceries he said, “You forgot one thing!” I looked around and asked, “I did, what?” Then he handed me a bag, and said, “You forgot to grab some beautiful flowers to go with that lovely smile.”

Sunflowers, birds of paradise Trader Joe's flowers on granite countertops

Sunflowers, orange birds of paradise Trader Joe's flowers on granite countertops

Sunflowers, birds of paradise Trader Joe's flowers on granite countertops

It reminded me that the little things like asking someone how their day is going and having a positive attitude can benefit you and them. In a world where we deal with senseless killing, denial about global warming, and disappointment it can be hard to see the bright side. However, that is exactly what we should do. We should take the time to stop and smell the roses. I make it a point to call a friend every day during my lunch break just to catch up and see what is going on in their corner of the world. Hearing someones voice or making eye contact with the cashier is so much more personal in our tech-savvy world.

So, my challenge to you is to ask someone how their day is and genuinely listen. Don’t interrupt with your own stories or woes, just be present. I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

Sleight and Downward Dog

This past weekend I saw the movie Sleight.

Sleight Seychelle Gabriel and Dule Hill
Photo credits to http://www.impawards.com/2017/sleight.html and Movie poster created by http://www.impawards.com/designers/blood_and_chocolate.html
The genre is a combination of drama, mystery, fantasy, and sci-fi. The film stars Jacob Latimore (from Maze Runner) and Dulé Hill (from tv show Psyche). Jacob Latimore is absolutely magnetic. I do not know if it is Latimore’s magic tricks or charisma, but you can’t help but be pulled into the film. The title of the film refers to the sleight of hand magicians use when they perform a card trick. The lead character is a magician who lost his mother at a young age and began selling drugs to take care of his little sister. When really his passion is for being a master illusionist like Houdini. While performing a trick to earn money on the streets of L.A. he meets a beautiful waitress (Seychelle Gabriel from Revenge) with her own secrets. Dulé Hill does a fantastic job of preforming the role of a brutal drug dealer instead of his usual lovable sidekick role on Psyche. This film pulls you in and makes you root for Bo who is trying to get back control of his life while protecting his sister. It makes you realize that sometimes brilliant people do bad things because they don’t see another option for success. I highly recommend it!Downward Dog on ABCDownward Dog. Did you think of the yoga pose? That’s the first thing my mind went to. However, Downward Dog is an incredibly funny well written T.V. show on ABC. It’s written from the point of view of a dog named Martin and his life with his owner Nan a single woman working in marketing. Martin deals with separation anxiety from Nan leaving for working and spending time with her friend with benefits. Unlike other shows that have had talking pets (like the show Wilfred which I found so creepy) Martin has the saddest puppy eyes I have ever seen and is incredibly endearing. That combined with his soothing and slightly valley girl twang cracks me up. One of the lines from the show that had tears rolling down my face is when Nan ignored Martin and he says to the camera, “You think a shoe is bad? I will destroy everything you love. Like I will tear your world to pieces”. Any pet owner can relate to leaving your pet alone and coming home to find your favorite shoes, chair or rug destroyed from your beloved pet. I swear I could see my cat saying that after I left him for my four day trip to Miami. It never matters how great your pet sitter is or how much they try to love on your animal, they want their pet mom. Are there any shows or movies you recently saw that you recommend?

Free People Dress

Free People has been one of my favorite stores since high school. I love the eclectic bohemian vibe of each store. It’s fascinating to see the different ways they can use yarn, paper clips, and firefly string lights to decorate the store. I even remember seeing a mirrored mosaic tile heart-shaped collage on the wall of one store. Then there is the beautifully embellished, lace and embroidered clothing. Can it be expensive? Yes, however, their sales rack is awesome! You can also find some of the decor they use in the store in a bin on sale (like 20 feet of firefly string lights for five dollars). This wine colored lace dress came in about seven other colors (lavender, black, mint and red for starters). Once it comes back in stock I will be sure to add a link!

Wynwood walls in a Wine colored Free People eyelash lace dress and Jack Rogers wedges
NYC? Nope, Wynwood walls in Miami

Date night looks in Free People with a pastel blue Henri Bendel bag

Date night outfit ideas, wine colored lace eyelash Free People dress. Buttons down the back, beautiful black blogger

Beautiful woman, in a Free People lace dress

9 Tips for Visiting Wynwood Art District in Miami

Graffiti art heart shaped Wild Fox sunglasses and 9 Tips for Visiting Wynwood Art District in Miami. Fun things to do in Miami instead of South BeachBlack and White walls of Wynwood and a beautiful black blogger with Wildfox heart shaped sunglasses with Nikes onBeautiful girl in Abercrombie and Fitch against Wynwood walls street art wearing Wildfox heart sunglasses festival styleIMG-20170514-WA0017Nike Street Style on Keri Elaine, donut and colorful female graffitiStreet style Wynwood Walls on Keri Elaine with a donutGraffiti in Wynwood Nike Street Style on Keri Elaine

Wynwood walls black girl street style summertime

When it comes to Miami most people only think about South Beach. Collins Ave is a beautiful art deco dream, full of beach views and a lavish nightlife. Wynwood is her cool eclectic urban little sister. What began as a desolate warehouse district riddled with crime became:

 

  1. First Fridays! The first Friday night of every month the art galleries are open (for free to the public) to come explore the different exhibitions. Many of the galleries also hand out free champagne! There are food trucks Ms. Cheezious, Monster Burgers just to name a few. People of all ages come out to look at the different wall murals, eat, buy artisan candles, clothing and listen to the live DJs.
  2. Second Saturdays are the same as First Fridays! Usually starts at 6:00pm and starts to end around 10:00pm. If you want to stay and check out the local bars and restaurants you can! I recommend going on First Fridays and Second Saturdays first since there are a ton of people, culture, and art to see. Then the next time you go you will be more familiar with the area.
  3. Keep your eyes open for all the fun colorful wall murals. Every corner you turn has a different mural. Some are colorful graffiti, some have modern lines, some are psychedelic, others anime, and pop art. There is something for everyone. You can spend hours just talking about the different murals you like.
  4. Go during the day if you can so you can see the different murals and even grab brunch at a coffee shop. (Love Miam Cafe! They have a great tuna salad sandwiched and iced Matcha Latte. It is in the black and white striped building).
  5. Bars. There are many urban bars in Wynwood. Wood Tavern is one bar that always has a line unless you come early. They play a good mixture of hip-hop, 80’s and reggaeton music. Unlike South beach where you have to pay to sit down, this bar has high-rise style benched seating as well as a few separate sections of benches. The flooring is made of wood so I would not suggest heels. Sneakers, sandals or wedges are your best bet.  There are tons of bumper stickers covering multiple walls and the drinks are pretty cheap.
  6. Food. Wynwood Diner isn’t your typical dinner. When you step inside it has a cozy industrial bohemian vibe. There is a long farmhouse style table that multiple groups of two or more sit at (or you can wait for your own table). I like the farmhouse style option because it forces strangers to talk to one another. You never know they could recommend you a great restaurant or entree. The outdoor area feels like your inside a courtyard garden. Make sure to look up at the ceiling inside since there is tons of lush plant life! The Chicken & Waffles is delicious as was the avocado salad with a side of brussel sprouts. Coyo Tacos has a variety of tacos including vegetarian and vegan options! Their side of guac is pretty big so I would recommend sharing it. They also have their own margarita and it is delicious!
  7. Try to carpool. The parking for Wynwood is usually on side streets or in a lot with prices ranging from ten to twenty bucks. My friends and I would each just bring five bucks and make sure there were at least three of us in a car.
  8. Do be aware of your surroundings. Just like any city, there are good and bad people. Wynwood is a lot of fun and there is usually a good amount of police presence, however, there are sometimes some people who do not seem completely there mentally. While I have never had an incident we have all seen a beggar by the highway speaking to the air.
  9. Have fun! Miami is a melting pot and Wynwood is the perfect representation of that. The wealthy, middle class, young, old, young professional, and college kids all laughing and exploring this area.

All Photo Credits to my beautiful and talented friend Leticia Ras-Anderica!