December 31, 2012

2012


Words are inadequate to describe this year. 
Photos will have to suffice.
Here's to a new year!

December 21, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

 
 Tiny street in downtown Philadelphia lined with light-wrapped trees.
 Receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers after beau had a long day at work. (You would think I had the long day. )
Adorning ourselves the tree with lights and ornaments in preparation for our first Christmas together as a married couple. (I was hoping that our tree would be too tall and cause a Dr. Seuss like effect, but it didn't quite do that wonky lean.)



December 19, 2012

Wishlist 2012

There's not much I really want or need this year. But, I enjoy making yearly wishlists so here are a few things that would be nice to have:

Wishlist 2012

  1. Lomography Camera
  2.  Chic, cozy sweater
  3.  Heart of Rock n Roll 1959 (my favorite along with 1961)
  4.  A gorgeous statement necklace

December 14, 2012

Project 365

 via

To date, I have posted less than 60 blog posts for the year. That is an all time low for this little bloggy of mine since I began blogging two years ago. With that said, I plan to do better in 2013...

I have decided to take part in Project 365 (also known as the 365 Photo Challenge) starting January 1, 2013. This idea was inspired by Elsie's personal blog. I think it would be great to document one full year of life through photographs. There are little moments in life that are easily forgotten after several days, so what better way than to have a personal diary of what has happened every single day of one year of your life? This will be especially rewarding for me as it will be my first full year as a married woman. I can't even imagine what beau and I will face, and what exactly will occur during these 365 days, but I am really looking forward to it.

I don't have a set theme for this project. My photos will just consist of life.

December 11, 2012

Onlookers





photo via
I've noticed something recently. The eyes of little people staring...  Staring at me. Staring at beau. Staring at us as a couple. As creepy as it sounds (and feels), I have come to understand why they stare. 

From my understanding, they have rarely seen a young couple married and in love before. My home church has some married folks in it, but Beau and I are by the far the youngest. We don’t take this lightly. We see it as an opportunity to set an example for the younger ones.

Maybe I will touch more on this in future blog posts.

December 5, 2012

Prelude to Marriage


This photo is one of very few I currently have from my wedding day. This photo, captured by my MOH and one of my best friends since high school, was taken as the limo whisked me away from the hotel towards the church where I would commit my life to my beau. 

Though it's a simple cell phone photo, it says a lot. As I sat in the limo and I smiled for this photo, I was such a nervous/anxious wreck. So many thoughts ran through my mind:  

This is dress is so puffy... I feel like a Gypsy bride (haha. no. seriously)... This unexpected limo upgrade wasn't half bad... Oh my goodness, we're almost at the church!... We are now pulling into the church parking lot... I can't wait to see my beau, and have him see me... Will he cry as I walk down the aisle?... This is really it, Jhan!... In a few minutes, you will be starting a new life with the love of your life... Here we go!!...

This photo says so much.

November 21, 2012

The 'Perfect' Song


As a person who enjoys listening to adult contemporary love songs from the 80s, 90s and early Y2K, I did not foresee having such a hard time deciding which song to march in to. As I combed through my playlist entitled Eros, I've listened to the lyrics of each song more carefully than ever before... and have finally decided on this one. A little more modern, but lovely nonetheless.

In the process of trying to find that perfect song that seemed as if it was not in my personal musical collection at all, I stumbled upon a song by Brandon Heath. I loved it so much and it brought so many tears to my eyes, that I had to have it played at some point during our wedding. 
Beau and I agreed to have it played for our first dance.

 Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath

November 20, 2012

Brides Wearing Glasses

Beau and I are in the finishing stages of preparing for our wedding this weekend. There are still a few tiny details and decisions that need to be ironed out. One of them is the deciding whether or not to wear my glasses for the entirety of our big day. 

I have been wearing my glasses for 14 years now (since I was 7 years old) and have seen it as an extension of myself. However, I considered removing them for the ceremony in order to achieve what I thought would be 'better looking photos'. I planned on using the little vision that I have to be able to make it down the aisle and throughout the day, but after reviewing our engagement photos (where I removed my glasses for all of the photos), I would feel much more comfortable wearing them because I look much better with them on and because of the insecurities I have surrounding my exotropia.

I am still a little worried about wearing glasses for fear of the awful glare with flash photography and having them look cumbersome with a veil, but I researched photos of brides wearing glasses, and found that they were all beautiful and glare free.

 
I now feel more comfortable going with my gut feeling and wearing my glasses. Besides, I wear my glasses every single day of my life, so why should I remove them for just that one day?

Photos via: first, second, third

November 14, 2012

Whirlwind


In just 10 short days, I will be a married lady!

Life is still an insane whirlwind, but we only have a few loose ends to tie up before our wedding day.

I am still amazed at how everything is working out for beau and I, when just this past Summer, we were sure we couldn't purchase a home and pay for a wedding at the same time. But, the Lord has really come through for us in unforeseen ways.

Planning a wedding in 2 months is seriously no joke. This lovely little article helped a bit, we have also had some help from those around us and we are so grateful. Once we found the reception hall, everything slowly fell into place even though I drove my MOH and bridesmaid mad trying to find the perfect dresses on such short notice.

In just 10 short days, my life will change forever and I am looking for to it.

November 2, 2012

Enough Awareness, It's Time for Action!


October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and ashamedly I admit to have neglected my duties for the Army of Women (AOW), and failed to write a breast cancer related post. This is my attempt at making up for it:

At this stage of the game, we are all aware of breast cancer. It is that imminent thing that lies over our heads during our doctor visits, especially as we get older. It is that disease that many women fear. The one that causes us to lose loved ones, and forces us to fight if diagnosed. We are all aware.

That is why the Dr. Susan Love Foundation has suggested to shift the month of October from being a month of awareness to a month of action thereby becoming Breast Cancer Action Month.

This new initiative plays in with the goals of the Love/Avon Army of Women very well. In conjunction with the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, the Love/Avon Army of Women strives to find the causes of breast cancer and ways to prevent it through scientific research.  By recruiting 1 million women (and men) from all walks of life into the Love/Avon Army of Women, they are building a network or community of people who may be eligible (and are encouraged to) participate in the many research studies being conducted by scientists across the United States.

So, how can you 'Act With Love' towards breast cancer? Here are a few simple things you could do:
  • Invest yourself by signing up for the Army of Women program, celebrating its four year anniversary and more than 360,000 women strong; and by signing up for the Health of Women Study, a revolutionary online study that women over the age of 18, with or without a history of breast cancer can participate in, so we can identify new risk factors for breast cancer and ways to prevent it.
  • Also, invest your friends by either forwarding this post everyone you know and asking them sign up for the Health of Women Study and the Army of Women or being part of their Facebook community.
  • And if you feel so inclined, invest your dollars by making a donation or by purchasing products from the AOW partners that chose them because research and ending the disease is a top priority for them. 
To read my previous Army of Women posts, follow the link in the page sidebar, or click here. You can also check the "Army of Women -- Current Breast Cancer Studies" tab at the top of the page for information on current studies that still need volunteers.

**I am an Army of Women (AOW) Supporting Blogger. ** 

October 25, 2012

Closing Time


Bright and early Tuesday morning, Beau and I went to take one last look at the house we would be calling ours and then proceeded to settlement.
We now own a home!

Beau will be moving in gradually and I will officially move in once we are married. I can't wait!

October 12, 2012

Lately

This is going to be a long one...

Lately, life seems to have been moving at lightning speed lately.

First, my mind still hasn't wrapped itself around it being October yet. It just seems unreal. Because I'm still at home and have gotten used to being at school around this time, it kind of feels like summer is experiencing a few chilly days causing the leaves to change prematurely.

Second, I've started planning my wedding, which is scheduled for next month. Absolutely insane, I know! But I can finally say that I am excited about it. I am now able to take joy in my engagement and planning for a future with my beau.

This past weekend, we booked the reception venue at a restaurant. The restaurant is a cute converted 1800's dairy barn a couple counties outside of Philly. I was in love with this place when I discovered it online in August, and fell completely head over heels when I saw it in person. Beau and I did tastings last night and were satisfied with everything, even the house salad. I surely hope our guests enjoy the food as well on our big day.

There are other major things that still need ironing out in this wedding planning process (i.e. the wedding party attire, flowers, photography, etc), especially in such a short time-frame, but I'm sure they will all come to fruition.

Lastly, I sometimes shy away from writing about my faith on my blog, but what's the purpose in claiming to be a Christian but being ashamed of sharing the Gospel or personal testimonies? So, here goes my most recent life testimonies:
-- This Summer that I have perceived as 'my worst summer yet', has actually proven to be wonderful. I did not land a job after graduating with a Master's degree, and I experienced sadness many of these days, but those experiences have helped to build me up.
  • I was able to spend more time in prayer and reading the Bible. My relationship with Christ has strengthened as a result. 
  • I have experienced some things that were nothing short of a miracle (i.e. leaving the stove on overnight for over 12 hours and not even smoke consumed the house/crashing into a road divider and no physical damages were incurred to either myself nor the car).
  • Most amazing of them all, I stopped with the 'what ifs' and 'we can't' and placed absolute and complete faith in God regarding getting married. And just like that,  plans are finally being made  and beau and I have acquired some funding for it.  

Another key thing I learned this past Summer is that just like weather and astronomy, our lives work in seasons. As a friend so clearly stated a short while ago:
"To people going through the greatest moments in your life; to people going trough the worst times in your life. Get ready. Things won't always be like this."

Summer sucked, but I am looking forward to the seasonal shift.  

October 2, 2012

One Year Ago Today


 
He acted a little strange. 
Looked at me nervously. 
Handed me a sweet card.
And, I said 'yes'!

September 29, 2012

Indeciduous


Autumn arrived one week ago, and I am still a little indecisive on how I feel about it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy this season and could not wait to have the stagnant Summer air move out with the crisp wind of Fall; but it is a little weird being at home during this time of the year.

My last Autumn spent in Philadelphia was the start of senior year of high school (2005). That seems like aeons ago! Being home actually brings back vivid memories of those days; something I am not too fond of. In any case, it's a beautiful season and I can't wait to experience Autumn in Philadelphia during my 'adult life'.

Last Sunday after church, beau and I went for a walk along Kelly Drive. It was beautiful. I could not believe the official start of Fall was the day before and the leaves had already begun to change color. The crisp weather seemed to have brought many people out: Families played by the Schuylkill, Bikers came out in clans, men fished, Geese swarmed around for the usual feedings, and dog-owners of all kinds were talking a stroll. It was a great atmosphere, as it always is...



.... and as per usual, the birds ran away when I came close to snap a pic. 

September 20, 2012

Life Goes On -- Making Plans


It's pretty safe to say that just about every girl dreams of the day she falls in love, becomes engaged, and is then able to plan her wedding. I have to admit that the last 11 months (can't believe it's been that long already) of my engagement haven't been so grande. Aside from not having the support that I would like to have, I was also hunkered down with school, finding a job post graduation, and the overall cares of life.

I really wish I could do this all over again and have the joyful parent, carefree life, a well-paying career to foot the expenses, and just the overall support to begin planning my dream wedding. But that would make life a little less interesting, wouldn't it?

Needless to say, life goes on and in the end, I have to do what's best for me. I love beau with all my heart. Not just because he's sweet, kind and easy on the eyes, but because he actively strives to be an easy-going, Christ-like person. His actions towards me and certain situations in life pushes me to try my hardest to live that way as well.

So, in light of the roadblock that was before us in planning our wedding, I have finally begun planning the details of my wedding.  I do hope to share some of these details with you when they're completed, dearest readers. In the mean time, here are a few of my favorite inspirations from my pinterest boards.

photo via

September 15, 2012

Sad Before

 via

I've been sad before, but not like this. No. This one is a little different. This one hurts a little more. ..

This one has me feeling physically sick to my stomach. Retching with no product. Lying face-down on the floor bawling never ending tears. Yea! This one is different.

I almost wish someone would rip my insides out, so I could feel a different kind of pain.

You see, no one really knows what I have been through unless they've been through it themselves. How someone could be so wicked and angry for naught. The venomous things they'd say. The spiteful things they'd do.

It hurts.

September 9, 2012

Going Back


I am thinking of going back. Back to the way I used to write. Back to the deep-seated things that I used to share. Granted, I'm no best selling author, and I often question my diction, but I had a lot of personal things that needed to be expressed, and it was a relief to bare them all here where no one I knew would read and revel sympathize in my hurt.

Since friends and family members (and more subscribers than I ever imagined having) check in regularly, I shied away from sharing these things.  But, I feel as though it's time to share again. There are a lot of things that burden my heart lately. A lot of pain and hurt that I smile through. And I honestly believe that someone, somewhere may be facing similar adversities and would like the comfort of knowing that they are not alone in their tribulations, and that there is hope in making it through.

So, I'm going back.

September 3, 2012

Currently



Loving: That Fall is almost here. As the frequency of heat waves decreases and the nights become cooler and more comfortable, I look forward to the overall shift in weather patterns, the changes in leaves, and what is to come during the Fall months.
 
Thinking about: putting my wedding day dreams to pen and paper. Pinterest is good and all, but I think it's time to start planning my own impending wedding. Every once in a while, I get a little urge to do it, and then never get around to it. I think it's time (especially since it may occur not too long from now).

Reading: 1) Genesis in the Bible. Since I have so much time on my hands, I am able to read at a slow and constant rate, and fully take in all of the written words. ; 2) The Hunger Games. I know. I know. I'm kind of late. I started reading earlier in the year, but put if off to focus on school and didn't get back to it until now.

Craving: Sweet sweet ice cream, A fluffy cupcake, or a gooey chocolate chip cookie. I'll take either or all, please! I've been eating pretty healthy and exercising intermittently for the last few months (and whatever I want on date nights with the Beau) and dropped back down to the weight I was before I started grad school. Huzzah!. Therefore, I haven't had sweets since around this time. Anyone willing to offer any of the sweet treats listed above, I would accept it with gladness.

Making me happy: the thought of being that much closer to closing on a house. That's right! Beau and I found a cute little house with just about everything we wanted.

Working on: patience.The Lord is working on my life and I've finally given up trying to do everything on my own and placed it all God's hands. Now, I wait... I wait for the job, the stress-free life, and the means of planning and executing a wedding. (Exodus 14:13)

August 30, 2012

The Weekend In Photos


This past weekend, Beau and I went on a late 3 year anniversary dinner cruise, I tried Thai food for the first time, and caught up with an old friend from middle school.

August 21, 2012

A Shift

 via

As a kid, I remember the anticipation of sharing every bit of life (as I knew it )with my very good friends. A new discovery. A new crush. My newest prized possession. I would burst at the seams waiting for lunch time to roll around to finally spill the beans in privacy, or rush home to dish the deets of the bus ride after they exited at their stop. It was as if every secret of mine was theirs and not a single detail was speared.

Today, I find myself to be the complete opposite. Every detail of my life is no longer conversational. I can wait to share info, and in many cases, I am very apprehensive to do so. 

In a sense, it's not because I no longer consider my friends trustworthy, but because I am making a shift in life. A shift in knowing what's cool to share and what's best to keep to myself. A shift in knowing that some things are just better left unspoken-- best left lodged in the back of my mind for me to look back on and smile (or shake my head) at. But mostly, I have just made in shift in who I share those secrets with:  my beau. 

As beau and I move towards having a life together where we are united and become one, there has to be a line of communication that's just between us. We have been together for a little over 3 years now and as time progressed, I felt myself making that shift. I felt more comfortable sharing things with him that I could never even imagine telling my good friends from way back when. Nothing is a secret with him, and that's the way it should be. 

I am glad that I have made this shift. Not just for my personal relationship, but for myself as well. I never quite knew what it was to be discrete, but I like what it has taught me. I am able to think critically, and formulate my own opinions. I have also learned to do things in my own time. These lessons may seem simple and miniscule, but it was really something that I have never done myself. 

The life-lessons and wisdom that comes with age is truly a gift. As the days go by, I discover something different about my older self that I really really like. 



August 14, 2012

Have You Ever Been In Love


I haven't posted a "Video of the Day" in quite a while, so here we go again.

 As I have stated in previous posts, I am a classic love song kind of girl. Celine Dion is by far one of my favorite artists. Her love songs are just so pure. Have You Ever Been in Love is an amazing song because it describes that light, airy feeling you have when you are in love, and love someone very deeply. The feeling is pretty inexplicable at times, but no fear... This song says it all!  Well, most of it, anyway.

"Have you ever been in love
You could touch the moonlight
When your hearts shooting stars
You're holding heaven in your arms
Have you ever been so in love " ~Celine Dion~

August 13, 2012

Speechless



I don't have much to say lately, but life is still good.

August 8, 2012

Mane Subject

Hair is such a popular subject of discussion among women because in many ways, it defines our personality and style. Styling is often determined by occasion, professional environment, or how we feel on any particular day: 
A sleek bun for an overall polished look, or a super hot summer day. 
Tossled waves for a more laid-back vibe. 
A short pixie cut with color or sharp angles for the edgy, individualistic look. 
  
A couple posts back, I mentioned a haircut and an overall change in the way I wear my hair. What did I do? I stopped chemically straightening my hair via relaxers, grew my hair out for two years, and cut off the chemically processed ends, revealing my true texture: tightly coily/curly hair.

My new look has sparked some negative comments from those around me. I cannot tell you how many times I've been asked if I am "dreading" my hair or if I am now a Rastafarian. I just snarkily respond "no" and think to myself 'Silly people! I spent 2 hours the night before combing all the knots and tangles out of my hair, and furthermore... I wouldn't be in church with you if I was now a Rasta'.

I have to admit, those comments were a little infuriating because people seem to feel obligated to have an opinion about everything you do, as if it is their life to govern. Additionally, it is as if our ethnicity1 has simply forgotten what our hair looks like sans processors or straighteners. Our natural hair is kinky. full of texture, and BIG!  

As a teen I begged my mom for a chemical relaxer until she caved on my 16th birthday. I loved my hair straight, but I also began to miss my coils and the overall fullness of my hair. 

Now that I have that hair back, I'm in love again. Going back to my natural curly hair texture was such a great decision for me; I get to try tons of different styles and learn my hair again.

1In this post, I am specifically speaking of Jamaican ethnicity because that is my nationality and it's people from this ethnicity who communicate their thoughts concerning my hair to me.

July 26, 2012

The Waterfront

The Waterfront that overlooks The Ben Franklin Bridge, Schuylkill River and Camden, NJ has to be my favorite part of Philly. The area is close enough to the downtown for dinners and lunches, but far enough to enjoy the cool river breeze and a brief relief from the city. 


My favorite part about the waterfront, especially during the Summer months, are the events... most of which are free. They have movie nights on Thursdays (I have to make it to at least one) and ethnic events on weekends (I look forward to the Hispanic Festival every year). 
 

Furthermore, it's great for people-watching, as there are so many beautiful people and families browsing around at all times. 



If you guys ever visit Philly, grab some ice cream from Franklin Fountain or an icy drink to keep you cool and hydrated and walk around.

July 11, 2012

Words of Wisdom




One of my favorite things about being a Christian is receiving Words of Wisdom: a revelation of God’s plans and purpose for my future life. Since I still consider my walk with Christ to be a little immature, I often get these Words of Wisdom from another individual who is in my life at the time. My ears are still struggling to hear the Word from God, himself, so he uses vessels (other people) who can relay the message to me. 

I’ve been in a rut lately. It’s almost two months since I graduated and I still have no job offer. I have grown intensely miserable being at home every. single. day. Beau and I would like to start planning our wedding for sometime this year (crazy, I know, but not impossible), but money, house-shopping, and a seemingly lack of support has got me down.
 
I can pretend everything is okay through blog posts, as blogosphere really does provide only a small window into our everyday lives, but sometimes, I like to keep it real. Like, really real! 

{Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t publish these kinds of posts for a pity party. I do because (1) I know that someone in the world might face similar situations at some time in life, and may seek the support of knowing that they are not alone in their feelings; and (2) I know for sure that things always work out in the end. So, in the future, I can look back at disheartening situations and remember how I made it through. Fun weekends and good times are great for reminiscing, but memories of disheartening times are also valuable, because there will always be that reminder that I was able to overcome it. ::Exit soapbox:: }

In any case, after a while, disappointments and letdowns can really take its toll on our spirits and we can easily become frustrated at the thought and sight of just about everything. But I was given a Word of Wisdom that the Lord sees my frustration, and if I would just allow Him to direct my paths, He will see me through. So, that is what I plan to do. No more worrying. No more frustration.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

July 9, 2012

Lately

Lately, I've taken that walk down Kelly Drive, and discovered a snow goose among a sea of Canadian geese.

Eaten a gluttonous amount of ice cream in the name of charity and pediatric cancer research.
Posed with an organic dairy product superhero?
Did a little house hunting.
Cut my hair and have officially proclaimed myself to be a "curly girl"!

July 2, 2012

Things Are Going to be All White

I used to watch romance films and believe that would be me one day. Then, reality kicked in and I realized guys can be cruel and everything doesn't always turn out like they do in fairytales and films. But after meeting my beau and experiencing how he loves SO passionately and SO hard... I believe again! 

Happy 3 years, beau!

I love you more than I could even express in a simple blog post. I love how you love the Lord. And I love how you love me. 

I look forward to the day when we say "I do". 

(Dearest readers, I guess this is my way of officially announcing our engagement. I said 'Yes!' on October 3, 2011!)

June 26, 2012

O Canada

Last week, I went on an impromptu road trip to Toronto to visit a long-time friend and attend her brother's wedding. It was such a last minute trip, we didn't get to plan activities ahead of time. However, I was able to see downtown Toronto in all it's glory and enjoyed spending time with one of my dearest friends.





Besides the scorching heat and traffic-lined streets, Canada seemed like a neat place to be. I hope to take another trip there to explore a little more (i.e. Niagara Falls, ride to the top of the CN tower, visit another province) in the near future.
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