Tuesday, December 31, 2013

THE ALPHABET SISTERS BY MONICA MCINERNEY

Hello Awesome People! Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite books. The Alphabet Sisters by Monica McInerney is an excellent novel that unfolds a witty, wise family saga, filled with warmth and humour. Anna, Bett and Carrie Quinlan were childhood singing stars – the Alphabet Sisters. As adults they haven’t spoken in years. Not since Bett’s fiancé left her for another sister. Now Lola, their larger-than-life grandmother, summons them home for a birthday extravaganza and a surprise announcement. But just as the rifts begin to close, the Alphabet Sisters face a test none of them ever imagined. This is an unforgettable story of three women who learn that being true to themselves means being true to each other.

I love this book for two reasons. Number One: This story shows the real complexities of siblings. As I have experienced with my brothers Senwan and Shaun, we have turned into three totally different individuals with three totally different sets of morals and mind states even though we grew up the same way. However, we had to learn to appreciate the differences in each other. The novel exemplifies this life lesson. Number Two: The author, Monica McInerney, is such a sweet lady. About 2 years ago, I emailed her saying how I loved her book and that I was going to finish reading it as soon as I could get my hand on a copy. I picked up her book in the library but couldn't finish it because there was waitlist.  I expressed to her how her writing had inspired my own. From the kindness of her heart, she sent me a signed copy from her home. Anyone that kind with such creativity as hers deserves nothing less than to be recognized for her work. It is truly an honor to feature her work on my blog.

Please don't get waitlisted by your local library!!! Order your own copy today. I have placed the link below for your shopping convenience :) If you get the book, let me know what you think. I love you, READ A BOOK! SMOOCHES XOXO

Monday, December 30, 2013

#FOODFORTHOUGHT: I GOT YOU


I was having a very confusing day today so I decided to go to Heather Lindsey's blog like I used to do and just try to get some encouragement. I was kind of working but discouragement kept creeping back in. But then I saw this comment I left. I realized I just have to keep going.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: BE GRATEFUL

Since I was younger, gratefulness has always been something I struggled with. Looking back I was almost a brat. When we had nice things and all of our loves ones were close by, I had no complaints. I was the happiest child. Things weren't perfect but I literally had no worries. But then we moved and all of our loved ones were far away. They didn't call as much and didn't visit much. I felt so broken and forgotten. And then when we fell on hard times, they were too hard for a middle school tween me to grasp. Especially when my peers had new clothes, lunch money, and new cell phones. I had hand me down and thrift store clothes, shoes I had for a year, no phone until I got the one no one had anymore, and I was too hungry a few of those days to even care. The lack of things I felt I should have that everyone else did made me feel inferior, ugly, stupid, poor, insignificant, and invisible. I was so angry with everyone close to me. I felt alone. When people would give me compliments on how smart I was or how pretty I was, I would act like they were crazy and I wouldn't say thank you. I just couldn't believe them and I almost felt like they were patronizing me. If some one did something nice for me, gave me gifts or money, I said thank you but I always acted as if what they gave wasn't great enough. I was always comparing what I had to what others had. I would just look at my gift and think "it doesn't even matter that I got this. This 'thing' can't change my life. It's not worth enough money to solve my problems. This 'thing' isn't going to make me happy. No matter how many 'things' I get, it will never measure up. I will still be broke; nothing good is ever going to happen to me."

Looking back at the brat I was at times, I had to go through those tough times early to be able to be who I am now. Now I value money and I value even more any blessing from every God led person. I had to learn the hard way not to compare my portion to that of other people (Thanks Heather). No matter how great you think a person's life is, don't envy or be jealous. You don't know what they had to go through to get where they are. If the weight of their life was on your shoulders, you would probably crumble under the pressure. The weight of your life was specifically proportioned for your level of strength. God knows what you need. He knows how much you can handle. I've finally learned to be grateful for everything I have. I look at my shoes, my clothes, my jewelry, and I just praise God that I got options now. I'm grateful my grandma is allowing me to live in her home and she wants me there. I'm grateful I'm able to help others with what God has blessed me with. I'm grateful I dropped my old negative, hopeless attitude for a brighter perspective on what life can be. I'm grateful that I love myself and that even with every flaw, I know I am beautiful. I'm grateful that I have love in my heart, that people love me, I love them back, and that they can never forget me. I'm grateful that no matter what God is always with me, and that I'm never alone. I'm grateful that he heals me when I am broken. I'm grateful that I made it through those hard times to tell you that you can make it out too.

I just want you to know that your hardships are preparing you for greater. Don't be like me and wallow through the pain. I can never get those years of anger and depression back. Precious years of my childhood that I should've spent happy. We may not be able to choose everything in our lives but we can choose how we deal with the many obstacles that will occur. Instead, I ask you to take a massive leap of faith, trust God for greater over your little, and be grateful for everything you have now. Stop comparing your life, stop hoping things will be different, and stop wasting time dwelling on it. What you have power to change, do all you can to change it. But all the things you want to change but can't, be grateful for it because it was placed there in your life, in your way as a test for you to pass. Once you pass that tests, no one will be able to shake the blessings that will come forth due to your obedience and discipline. So I plead, no matter how hard or impossible things seem, be grateful for it now. You will understand why it had to happen to you later. Love you, SMOOCHES XOXO

Sunday, November 3, 2013

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: #BLACKGIRLSROCK

Watching #BlackGirlsRock and feeling very inspired. Mainly because I want every Black girl to realize how much power she has. So I am going to start in Philly and girl, you start by mentoring and uplifting young women in your community. We can only infect the next generation with positivity if we reach back and touch them. Girl, make unity among women contagious.



Love, Peace, and SMOOCHES XOXO

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

THRIFTING WITH A PURPOSE

When Macklemore released the hit single “Thrift Shop” (The Heist, 2012), I said to myself, “finally, a theme song fitting of Miss Elisa K!” I fell in love with thrifting in college. Thrifting is the art of hunting for awesome clothing and key wardrobe pieces at thrift stores and on clearance racks resulting in non-damaging effects to your wallet. Being broke but also being a fashion connoisseur forced me to be resourceful and to think outside of the mall. My purpose for thrifting was weekly, guilt-free shopping sprees.

While my purpose is an admirable one, I soon began to realize that my favorite thrift stores stood for even greater purposes. I was looking to cut my spending on clothing, but the organizations behind these thrift stores were looking to make a difference in someone else’s life. Here are some of my favorite thrift stores and the causes they support:

Cause For Paws Thrift Store – Raleigh, NC (http://cfpaws.com/)

CFP Thrift Stores were created to raise proceeds for the animal rescue organization to buy a much needed animal shelter and headquarters. Cause For Paws has successfully fostered and found homes for hundreds of animals. Let’s have two barks and a meow for animal wellness!

Salvation Army Family Stores – Everywhere (http://satruck.org/)

The Salvation Army is world renown for continuous service and aid. The Salvation Army Family Stores furthers this legacy by funding the organization’s Adult Rehabilitation Program. The Adult Rehabilitation Program helps men and women to be self-sustaining through “Work Therapy” and self-esteem building. The Salvation’s Army hope is in an honest day’s work.

Philly AIDS Thrift Store – Philadelphia, PA (http://phillyaidsthrift.com/)

Philly AIDS Thrift Store is a non-profit organization that has joined the war against HIV/AIDS. Philly AIDS Thrift distributes its proceeds amongst HIV/AIDS organizations, foundations, and programs, such as the AIDS Fund and the HIV Testing Facility of the Mazzoni Center. Their cash contributions total to date is $646,000.00. They have their money where their heart is!

Goodwill Industries – Everywhere (http://www.goodwill.org/)

We all know Goodwill and that the non-profit organization is known for job training and creating opportunities in the workforce. In 2012 alone, 6.7 million people were employed or received job training, 216,000 earned a job due to Goodwill’s assistance, $4.89 million in revenue was gained (82 percent of which was spent directly on programs), and 2,700 retail stores are open nationwide. They even have Beyoncé on board who will collect donations as her world tour travels state side. Talk about having an impact!

If you never considered thrifting and you just can’t imagine wearing someone else’s clothes, why not view it from another perspective? When you purchase and wear clothing from these stores, you are now wearing shelter for a motherless puppy. In your thrifted, vintage purse, you are now carrying the keys of someone’s future in the form of job training. By walking in those classic peep-toe pumps, you are now making the path for missionaries a little easier. For me, thrifting is all about the thrill of finding hidden treasures in the least likely of places. I am honored to know that my treasure hunts are uncovering precious miracles for others.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

IN THE CASE OF TRAYVON MARTIN, ARE WE GUILTY?

Praying for justice today. We have to stand up for ourselves and for those who can't. We have to stand up for what's right, against what's wrong. We have to stand for change. We have to stand up to serve and build. We have to stand up, not just talk about it but be about it. And we have to do it in a manner that is honorable and respectable. Only thing on my mind today: What more can I do to save my people? In the media, on the streets, in entertainment, we are being slayed daily and we allow it. We don't even know that we are killing ourselves by being constant consumers. No high horse because I am SO guilty. But again I ask: What can WE do to save our people?

SMOOOCHES XOXO

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: GUARDING YOUR HEART

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverb 4:23

The Bible tells us to guard our hearts and I've often wondered what exactly that meant. Our heart is where the Holy Spirit resides if we are religious and the heart is a very essential organ physically. There are two entities of the heart the spiritual heart of a man and the physical heart of a man. I think it is important to protect both but in this blog I will be talking about the physical heart. 



There are 3 reasons why you should guard your heart:

1. Your heart is extremely valuable.

We don’t guard things that are worthless. Here’s an example: I take my garbage to the curb every Tuesday night and It is picked up on Wednesday morning. It sits on the sidewalk all night, completely unguarded. Why? Because it is worthless. This is not the case when It comes to your heart. It is the essence of who you are. It is your authentic self and the core of your being. It is where all your dreams, your desires, and your passions live. It is that part of you that connects with God and other people. Your heart is the most valuable part of your body; without it, you would not be alive. People can be brain dead and still live but without your heart you die.

2. Your heart is the source of everything you do

Your heart is the course of everything in your life. It over flows into your thoughts, words, and actions. Likewise if your heart is unhealthy it has an impact on everything. It threatens your family, your friends, your ministry, your career, and, indeed your legacy. It is, therefore, imperative that you guard it.

3. Your heart is constantly under attack

Whether it is a guy trying to sweet talk his way into the bedroom with you or a fight with a family member, your heart is being poked at. This is a lot of pressure for one organ isn't it? I will use the example of Medieval Times. Picture a knight. He has on protective armor and carries a huge shield. Why? Because he is prepared for the day when he might be under attack. He wears all that armor to protect himself from getting hurt. The same applies with your heart. It must be guarded and prepared for that attack. 

There are other things we can do to guard our hearts. One thing we can do is not to act in ways that will cause excessive emotions. This could be sexual acts or mental acts. Also you should not get involved with people that can not openly be involved with you. This would include dealing with someone already in a relationship or with someone who has not clearly stated what it is they want from you or their intentions. Dealing with people who are not emotionally stable or are confused about what they want are ways to expose your heart. It is best to discuss intentions and future plans prior to making the decision on whether or not to move forward with the friendship or relationship. In terms of relationships, until the person has committed to you by marrying you, you should expect anything from anyone. When you start to expect and assume that a person is going to do certain things or be a certain way, you're exposing your heart to the opportunity to get hurt. If you want to survive as an individual, you must guard your heart. This is more important than you can possibly imagine. If you lose your heart, you have lost everything...

This post was written by Taja of As Told By Taja. Follow Taja on Twitter @Ms_Everythingg and on Instagram @MsEverythingg. 

SMOOCHES XOXO

Saturday, April 13, 2013

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: AWESOMENESS

Hello Lovelies! I know I owe you an explanation for my long hiatus. Of course, with my deep self, I have thought of a metaphor to sum it all up. Awesomeness is like rain drops. Sometimes its just a few drops. Other times it pours and if you're brave and out in it, you'll be soaked. Eventually, you dry and it stops raining. But you know the rain is coming again. They may forecast it but you are never really sure when it will rain. You may not feel awesome or do awesome things all day, every day. But you have to remember that if you felt it before, you will have the opportunity to feel awesome again.

I lost my grandfather last month and I took it pretty hard. For the last year, I was really
involved in taking care of him and being in his life. I miss him all the time. On top of that, things keep changing and I don't know if it is the change I envisioned for myself. I just don't feel like Elisa. I don't feel motivated to do extra, just enough so people won't begin to worry. If you have depression as I do, you know that these are the symptoms and the triggers for our lack of awesomeness. We constantly have to manage our emotions, keep some awesomeness in reserve, and work extra hard through the hard times not to hit the lowest of lows. I thank God for keeping me during this time because I usually don't bounce back as I have this time around. I proved to myself that just because I don't feel awesome or that I have depression, I am not weak. I am strong enough to make it through a period where I am not producing awesomeness, a very uncommon thing for me.

So I am back people! And until I am back to 100% I will be enlisting help from some of my close inspirational, fashion, and music blogger friends. Collaboration always gives you strength. Remember, you can get back to awesomeness and stay tuned to Miss Elisa K. SMOOCHES XOXO