A Circle for Success

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In the article, “Be The Star of Your Own Life,” we encouraged you to make yourself the leading lady in your life for 2014.  Now that we are halfway through the second month of the New Year, I would like to revisit one of the points made in our life star article:

  • Encouraging Relationships – It is important to have relationships that push you to better yourself.  Remember, “Birds of a feather flock together” (Be The Star of Your Own Life). 

The women in the last article expressed a strong belief in the value of social relationships that inspire and support you in your life’s aspirations.  The well-known quote “No Man is an Island,” is based on the concept that “human beings don’t thrive when isolated from others.” Nevertheless, you must keep in mind that the key element is picking the right people to create your “Circle for Success.”

Art Enthusiast and Mentor Deborah Charles, 61, who has done everything from Modeling to orchestrating successful art exhibits in honor of her late husband, photographer and author Roland Charles, accredits some of her biggest achievements to her circle of supportive friends. “I’ve been blessed with people, who no matter what I’m involved in they support it,” said Charles.   One of Charles’ life goals is to serve her needs and the needs of others, with such an honorable but challenging endeavor, one must be discerning in the choice of the company they keep.

“…Observe and listen…learn how they would be meaningful to your life,” explained Charles, on her methods for choosing beneficial relationships.  In addition, Charles said those in her social circle have a spirit of gratefulness, a willingness to share their friends, and have similar interest. For her,  the icing on the cake is “people who will speak up for you. ”

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If putting yourself out there to meet new people is a little intimidating, you might join an organized group such as clubs based on your interests or cultural group.  For instance, just last month sororities were celebrating the anniversaries of their organizations, and pictures of women united by their sorority affiliation were all over social media. Who you are is a great place to start when deciding which groups you might want to join.

Middle school english teacher, Aquyla Walker, 32, who is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., says being a member of the prestigious sorority offers a sisterhood with women of high stature. “I am surrounded by women (who) already have achievements,” said Walker. Sororities are known to be networks of educated women, who work towards the betterment of the community and its members.   Being affiliated with such organizations puts you in the environment of upward mobility. “It is the best…I have received jobs because my resume says Delt Sigma Theta Inc,” exclaimed Walker. In addition, Walker says her social circle outside of Delta, is composed of dreamers and visionaries, who are in constant pursuit of their goals. “I believe in having a network of mentors… my friends are people who say, ‘No you [got to] do it’.”

Equally important to the meet, greet, and be-friending process, the golden rule to maintaining positive relationships, is to stay connected.  In an age of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we have to remember a little face to face time can go a long way. Make the time to nurture your relationships, so in turn they too can nurture you.

Written By Ricki Jae. Morris: “Since of Style Need Not Make Sense,” is her motto.  This Southern Cali Girl is not opposed to standing out in the name of Fashion & Art. As a mother of a 4-year old daughter, she strives to set an example of “Success with Class,” by always being a lady and staying true to self.  In her spare time, Ricki Jae. Blogs about Fashion Designers and Events.

Dine-In For Valentine’s Day

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Are you worried about breaking the bank on Valentines Day? Are you dreading breaking your new year’s resolution diet, letting yourself down in order to indulge in the celebratory yet fattening restaurant meal you and your honey will most likely eat?

Don’t you worry girl friend because this Valentines Day will be different! Learn how to cook a fabulously healthy, inexpensive and restaurant-worthy meal for your honey all while still keeping yourself happy!

Much like the romantic love book and film “Like Water for Chocolate”, where Roasted quail with rose petal jam was the dish that turned everyone on fire in the story. Pair the roasted quail and rose petal jam with roasted potatoes and rose sparkling wine for a sparkling night of love!

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Roasted Quail Rose Petal Jam

Ingredients you need

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 tbs rosewater
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 8 small quail, butterflied
  • 6 tbs rose petal jam* or quince paste

Directions

  1. First, place half the garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, the cumin, rosewater and 2 tablespoons each of lemon juice and oil in a glass dish. Stir to combine. Add quail and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat a grill or barbecue plate to high. Remove quail from marinade and grill quail for 2-3 minutes each side, basting with marinade, until cooked through.
  3. Place jam, remaining garlic, cinnamon, lemon juice and oil in a pan over low heat and cook very gently, stirring until combined and heated through.
  4. Lastly, Serve quail with a little sauce and scatter with rose petals.

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Roasted Potatoes

  1. Preheat over to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with parsley. Toss the potatoes to coat.
  3. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden and crispy on the outside but tender and cooked through on the inside.

Rose Petal Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 pint boiling water
  • 1 lb rose petals
  • 1 lb caster sugar
  • 2 lime, juice of
  • 2 lemon, juice of
  • 2 drops rose water

Directions

  1. Fill a large pan with the boiling water. Add half the rose petals, cover and leave to stand for two hours.
  2. After two hours strain off the liquid and transfer to a clean pan. Discard the steeped rose petals.
  3. Add the sugar to the rosewater and stir over a low heat until dissolved. Add the lime juice and remaining rose petals, reserving a handful for later.
  4. Bring to boiling point, reduce the heat and simmer until setting point is reached. To test for this, pour a little onto a cold saucer. Push it gently with your finger. If it wrinkles, it is ready. If not continue to simmer for a little longer.
  5. Add remaining rose petals and simmer gently for another three minutes then pour into a sterilized jar and seal. The rose petals should rise to the top leaving clear jelly underneath.
  6. Pot and cover the jam.
  7. Note that you’ll need to sterilize the jars or your jam will go mouldy. Wash them thoroughly in warm, clean, soapy water, drain upside down on kitchen towel and place on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 140C/fan120C/gas 1 for 15 minutes.

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For an excellent Rose sparkling wine, try this website for great suggestions!

And if that doesn’t turn you on then there’s nothing that some good home-style Italian can’t do! – Make eggplant parmesan for your sweetie and pair it with a nice red wine for a guaranteed romantic meal while still staying on the healthy side!

Now you have no excuse not to make your honey a delicious meal on Valentine’s Day while still pleasing yourself! Each recipe is fairly easy to make, requiring little time in the kitchen so you can have more time in the bedroom! Bon appetite lovebirds!

Written By Chelsea Clishem: From San Diego, California to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this bicoastal girl loves all things travel, beauty, nutrition, fitness, fashion and entertainment. Chelsea graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara where she began her journey to be an entertainment journalist. Chelsea drops the word ‘fabulous’ on the regular and believes it’s ‘okay’ to freak out with good music and fashion!

What do Your Cravings Say About You?

When many people think about cravings, they automatically think of a negative thought. Unhealthy foods, giving in to that sweet tooth and horrible health outcomes often come to mind, when really the craving is just an SOS from the body.

Think of cravings as the body’s way of telling the brain exactly what the body is lacking and needing at that time. Turn a negative into a positive, and be able to show your body what it’s really craving instead of those foods that it’s daring us to indulge in.

With a few simple tips and knowing a little bit about what each craving means, the body can get what it needs while not completely indulging in something that could leave the body feeling bloated, heavy or slow moving. The brain and the body really do make the best pair.

Chips

The first craving that comes up a lot is salt. This craving probably means that you’ve been busting some butt at the gym, but have failed to hydrate enough afterwards. When you sweat, you lose salt from the body. This makes the craving for salt even more prevalent. Try grabbing a cold cup of water instead of a salty food and see if that helps rid the craving instead.

Bread

Carbohydrates are another big issue when it comes to cravings. Instead of instantly grabbing that bowl of pasta or a bagel, try taking a look at your recent sleep patterns. Carbs are the body’s main source of energy, so many times instead of carbs the body just needs a nap instead. If the craving still doesn’t go away after a nap, try healthy carbs like beans and whole grains to boost energy levels.

cupcakes

If sweets have been on the mind lately, it probably means that you’ve been under a lot of stress. The craving for sweets can mean the body has a blood sugar imbalance, so it’s important to make sure to drink a lot of water during times of stress to limit the cravings. This can be among the most dangerous craving because indulging in the craving can lead to even more cravings. Try grabbing a piece of fruit instead to get those healthy sugars into the body and stop the craving once and for all

potatoes

A craving that’s often overlooked is the creamy comfort foods. If you find yourself looking to foods like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, then it’s probable that you’ve been worried and in need of comfort. The foods craved are often high in fats and carbs, so instead of indulging try lighting a candle and getting under some comfy blankets for a while.

Often times the foods that our body craves just means something else about what our body is lacking. Try taking a step back before grabbing the foods and think about what’s been going on in your life and how you can handle the situation rather than indulging.

Written by: Kali Borovic As a student journalist, this fashionista, stargazing enthusiast and fitness aficionado loves to write about anything from health to fashion. With a passion for DIY projects and cooking, this Ohio born writer spends most of her time looking up new crafts or coming up with at-home beauty recipes for her blog, Naturally Beautiful. Kali loves to read about any topic under the sun and knows that life is best spent in lipstick, leggings and an oversized sweater.

Gym Going Resolutions

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The holiday season might be over, but that doesn’t mean we’re done making a list and checking it twice. As we enter the new year, the naughty or nice list is replaced by the New Year’s resolution list, creating the incentive that gets half the population off the couch and to one place; the gym.

Every year Americans make fitness goals, hoping to turn over a new leaf and finally commit to the healthier lifestyle we strive for. The most popular health and fitness resolutions are to lose weight, get back in shape, and go to the gym 2 to 3 times weekly.

While these resolutions are set with the best intentions in mind, by March, motivation begins to vanish as the number of gym goers drastically dwindle down. There are many reasons why consistency can become a challenge when pursuing a new fitness lifestyle. Unsure of Where to Start- Any permanent change requires planning and sometimes, that’s the hardest part.

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For those who are very new to the gym, the overall environment can appear intimidating without knowledge of what steps to take to achieve the results you’re looking for. Luckily, most gyms offer one free session with a personal trainer that can outline and demonstrate workout routines, equipment and classes to start with.

The best aerobic classes to help you trim down include cycling and kickboxing, known to burn over 700 calories per hour. If you’re looking for sculpting and toning, Pilates and bootcamp classes target your core along with strengthening the entire body.

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Lack of Time – It can become a hassle trying to fit gym time into a busy weekly schedule.

When setting any fitness goal, the time frame set to accomplish goals should be long enough that it works with your schedule, enabling consistency but not so much time that it might cause you to lose interest. Before signing up, research gym hours and class times, ensuring they coincide with your own hectic schedule. For most people, mornings are usually the best time to get in a workout before other daily responsibilities get in the way.

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Reduced Motivation- The desire to see quick results quickly leads to disappointment and discouragement.

People are easily influenced by trends like 6 minute abs and celebrity diets causing them to create unrealistic goals, eager to see drastic changes. However, lack of success can be attributed to the types of goals set. “Get back in shape” is too general; Goals should be specific enough to enable measurement of progress. When reasonable progress is seen, it aids motivation.

Examples of success-achieving goals are:

To lose “X” pounds of fat

To gain “X” pounds of muscle

To fit into that new dress

Make your New Year’s resolutions into a permanent lifestyle change through hard work and consistency. Commit to a dedicated fitness plan and by March, while others have abandoned their goals, you’ll be reaping the rewards in time for spring.

Written By:  Janurie Ulett: Hailing from quaint suburbia, Long Island meets the fabulousness of NYC. With a Bachelors degree in journalism from Brooklyn College, Janurie’s passion for writing comes naturally, fueling her career as a health and fitness freelance journalist. Her signature flair can be described as 19th-century English meets modern day Dear Abby as she faithfully satisfies her readers’ appetites, one word at a time.

 

 

 

Be The Star of Your Life

Your Best Self Pic

BE THE STAR OF YOUR LIFE: Living everyday as your best self.

Every year we look towards its finish, by aiming to have a better year.   We make “Resolutions,” for self-betterment, in hopes of having a successful 2000-whatever.  This year, U Blush would like to encourage you to “Be the star of your own life,” by striving to be what you envision as your best self.  In order to provide you with some pointers, we have interviewed three women from different walks of life, and asked them to describe the best version of themselves, providing examples of how they embody this everyday.

“I know my weaknesses, and I know my strengths,” answered Ayla Jackson, 25, when asked if she is currently her “Best Version of Self.”  Ms. Jackson with a shy giggle described the best version of her, as a woman who patterns the life after her faith in Christ.  “He set the best example.  I don’t believe I am as close to him, but I try to better myself…that’s all I can do,” said Jackson.

Similarly, Bree Jenkins, 29, who is both a Marriage & Family Therapist and Fashion Blogger of The Gathered Lady, said her best self is something she aspires to be, but she does realize that it will always be somewhat unattainable. Following Ms. Jenkins, Clinical Social Worker and Mother of two, Mrs. Valerie White, 31, said she is about an 8 out of 10 of her best self.

The Best You

So how can you become the best version of yourself? Here are some trending standards for living life as your “Best Self.”

  • Spiritual Connectedness- “Spiritual exercise … strengthens you, disciplining your mind so that love and love only guides your thinking and illumines your heart.” – Marianne Williamson (Internationally acclaimed author and lecturer)

“I make sure he’s included in my life,” said Jackson who indicated that she turns to her faith to overcome life’s obstacles.

  • Encouraging Relationships- It is important to have relationships that push you to better yourself.  Remember, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

“You have to monitor and make sure that the relationships that you are engaging yourself are …for self-enhancement,” said Jenkins.

“Surround yourself with people who do what you want to do…go getter’s,” said White.  “If everyone around you sits and just talks about what they want to do, then you are most likely going to be the same way…. Be with people, who are successful in a way you want to be.”

  • Be Good To YOU- The best thing you can do to be your “Best Self,” is to take care of you.  If you are not healthy there’s no way you will be able to help others, or even yourself succeed.

“Talk nice to yourself,” said White. She chooses to speak with nurturing and encouraging words, instead of those that would tear her down.  In addition, White encourages a healthy lifestyle along with your occasional and affordable spa day.

  • Plan to Succeed – Many are turned off by the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions,” so instead of making a list of resolutions, make a plan for living your life completely and as your “Best Self.”

“The first step is, I have to believe in myself,” said White.  Her credo is failure is not a reflection of your [lack] of greatness, it’s a reflection of your preparation.  So write it out, and make your plan of action to succeed.

Each woman we interviewed felt as if they were not yet their best selves, but in actuality because they live their lives today striving to be better, they are indeed their “Best Self.” The best you is the person who, lives through her passions, loves without fear, and knows she is worth it all. Be Your Star Today.

Written By Ricki Jae. Morris: “Since of Style Need Not Make Sense,” is her motto.  This Southern Cali Girl is not opposed to standing out in the name of Fashion & Art. As a mother of a 4-year old daughter, she strives to set an example of “Success with Class,” by always being a lady and staying true to self.  In her spare time, Ricki Jae. Blogs about Fashion Designers and Events.

 

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