Spring Decor

I put away all of my Valentine’s Day Decor today and put all of my Spring Decorations out. I will likely leave my Spring Decor out until late May or early June. It’s still too cold to plant real flowers so from about October – May, I decorate with artificial flowers.

Here is what I did:

Everything I purchased came from either Michaels or Homegoods. The glass jars holding the eggs were purchased at either Amazon or Michaels! I try to plant my flowers the weekend after Mother’s Day & those flowers will stay outside/bloom through the Fall until we get our first deep freeze.

Couple’s Field Trip: Oriental Institute

“And as an mc you will study verbal magic
But watch what you say ’cause you’ll attract it
Control your subconscious magnet from pullin in havoc” – KRS-One

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Che & I decided to visit the Oriental Institute to check out the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead Exhibit. One of the pillars of our marriage is learning together. For the last year or so, I have been studying Metaphysics, Reiki and Energy pretty heavy. As I get older I am concerned with alignment of my mental, physical, spiritual and emotional energies as well as growing my capacity to be a better human being in all ways. I’ve had glimpses of experiences where I’ve been in total alignment and I’d like to make that my norm. I also have high blood pressure. In addition to changing my diet, increasing my physical activity and transforming my relationship with stress, I have been interested in holistic approaches to addressing.

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The Ancient Egyptians basically used the Book of the Dead to guide the deceased person into the afterlife. They believed that if a person could navigate the afterlife, pass the judgement of Osiris and the other Gods, then they could attain immortality.

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Here are some of the notes from the exhibit

“Osiris, his sister wife Isis, and their son Horus, formed one of the primary divine triads of ancient Egypt. The trio evokes the epic myth of Osiris involving his murder by his brother Seth, his mummification by Isis, and his redemption by Horus. Through the spells in the Book of the Dead, ancient Egyptians sought to emulate Osiris by triumphing over death. They assumed his identity in spell 69 by reciting: “I Am Osiris, brother of Isis, while my son Horus with his mother Isis, saved me from my enemies who do everything evil against me.” The dead gained their Osirian form as a result of the appropriate funerary rituals, which ancient texts described as “giving an Osiris to” someone.

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“They believed that language and writing were imbued with magical power and that reciting and recording such declarations would make the statements come true.”

“Like all of us, the people of Ancient Egypt wondered what would happen to them after they died. to alleviate the anxiety about our human mortality, a life-affirming religion developed in ancient Egypt that emphasized the possibility of immortality – an everlasting life in the hereafter among the gods. Each Egyptian needed to undergo the proper rituals of embalming and burial to ensure their continued existence in the next world. Magical spells of ritual power accompanied these rites. So powerful were these words that Egyptians wanted to take the spells with them to the grave. To do so, they gathered the spells into a compilation we now call the Book of the Dead.”

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In addition to using papyrus, “spells” were also inscribed on other items including linen bandages, amulets, coffins, sarcophagi, statues, stelae and the walls of the tomb.

“To the ancient Egyptians, these spells were called the ‘spells of going forth by day,’ a reference to the ability of the soul to leave the tomb at dawn.”

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“The Book of the Dead, then, is a grimoire of magical incantations intent on resurrecting the deceased, and turning them into a powerful immortal spirit, called an akh in ancient Egyptian. As an akh-spirit, the dead joined with the sun god Re as he sailed in his solar barge across the sky during the day and with Osiris as he ruled the netherworld at night. Living relatives often petitioned the akh-spirits of their ancestors to intercede on their behalf in earthly and spiritual matters, for akh-spirits were divine entities like other gods.”

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“The ancient Egyptians sought to change reality by speaking words out loud while performing accompanying ritual actions. Through the power of magic, they believed that saying it made it real.”

IMG_7896“The heart was the seat of thought for ancient Egyptians and carried with it the memories of the individual. In the afterlife, the dead recited spells against their own heart, using magic to maintain control over it to prevent the revelation of any misdeeds in the tribunal before Osiris.”

“Ancient Egyptians employed Book of the Dead spells for over 1,500 years from the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1700 BC) down to the Roma Empire (ca. AD 200). Afterward there was a rise in a new set of texts called the Books of Breathing. These Books of Breathing represent the las stage of Egyptian funeral literature before the Christianization of the country in the third and fourth centuries AD.”

The thing that I will take away from me from this exhibit is the power of the written and spoken word, and the importance of documenting culture in a sustainable way. My fear is that as we rely so heavily on technology that future generations may not be able to easily access our cultural artifacts. I also think that one can and does achieve immortality through legacy. Lastly, there is nothing more humbling than standing in a room of artifacts that predate not only your existence but that have endured for thousands of years. I can only hope that something that I, or that we create lasts that long!

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We were also excited to see the Ancient Nubia Exhibit with CRYSTALS!!!! Nubia was originally called Kush.  There was lots of jewelry that included Carnelian, Quartz, Shells & Rose Quartz.

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Celebrating Love!!!

Usually I wait until February 1st to put out my Valentine’s Day decorations but this year I decided to put them out once I took down my Holiday Decorations.

Here they are:

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Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I will keep these decorations up through March 1st!

Everything in It’s Place… Organizing The Closet for a New Season

A couple of years ago we converted one of our bedrooms to our closet. This past weekend I started putting away the pastels, bright colors and sandals of Summer, in order to put out the earth tones, warm colors and boots of autumn.

I have a small dog whose favorite thing to do is to eat my shoes! So I needed to find a solution that would protect my shoes from her teeth, while also displaying my shoes in a way that makes getting dressed effortless. In all of my years of organizing, the most important thing to consider is that the system be easy to maintain, otherwise you are likely to revert to whatever is easier. For example, if you find yourself leaving clothes on the floor in your living room, why not put a beautiful lidded hamper that disguises the mess. Your brain will be happy because it will have a place to unload the clothes based on your natural behavior and your eyes will be happy because you won’t have to witness the mess. Similar, I like to keep blankets and pillows in my living room but instead of leaving them laying around, they live in a basket hamper where we can grab them when needed and put them away with ease.

Here is our shoe situation before I implemented our new storage solution:

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Whenever I need a storage solution, the first place that I go is to The Container Store.

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Here are the storage solutions I used:

Men’s Drop-Front Shoe Box. Available here.

Women’s Drop-Front Shoe Box. Available here.

Both the men’s and the women’s drop-font shoe boxes come in a bulk package for a discounted rate.

Finally, my husband loves a good hat, but he wasn’t storing his hats in a way that protected them and in a way that he could easily find whichever hat he was looking for.

Here is the before picture:

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Here is the photo with the storage solution implemented:

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I used the

Grey Drop-Front Sweater Boxes, available here.

About a year ago, I purchased this shelving unit from Amazon, and we use it to display our boots and oversized shoes that won’t fit in the boxes:

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Before the shelves were kind of all over the place, as my only motivation was keeping my “good shoes” high up enough so that my dog couldn’t get to them. She never goes after my boots. So now the tall boots are on the bottom, the booties are in the middle and and the top, and a few of my favorite handbags are in the top shelves.

The top of the shelf is still used for the same purpose. Displaying our jewelry and other accessories.

I store out of season clothing in bins in our storage room, as I like to swap my clothes out (once in the Spring, and then in the Fall).

 

 

Chicken Ramen 

Tonight I made Chicken Ramen from scratch. I picked up the Ramen Noodles from Costco and the rest of the ingredients from my local grocery store.

Here is the recipe: https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/easy-chicken-ramen-31487


I added more Sesame Oil (because I love it) and seasonings (Slap Yo Mama, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder) at the very end. I also boiled the eggs completely as I don’t like the lightly boiled (runny yolk) eggs. 


The dish was a winner in our book! It took about an hour to prepare and will be added to our rotation. 

Get Organized! 

So many people say they thrive under chaos! My experience is that when I am organized I feel a sense of calm, openness & peace. 


Caption: My organized closet which included a big boot organizing project this past fall. We converted a bedroom to our closet so that we could have enough space to store our clothes & get dressed. 

When I am not organized I:

  • Misplace or totally lose things 
  • Purchase duplicates (wasting money)
  • Feel stifled or frustrated 
  • Waste time looking for misplaced or lost things 
  • Feel stress because if someone asks me for something & I don’t know where to find it, it makes me feel bad. 

Organization to me, means making a home for things, making space & structuring things. There are tons of tools & resources online to help you! I personally love The Container Store. I also love searching for life & organization hacks like this: 


So you don’t overwhelm yourself, start with one drawer or one room & then go from there. 

Organization also requires regular maintenance. Make a little time everyday to sort, filter, clean & place things where they belong. 

Take Inventory


Caption: I keep fresh flowers on my dining room table. I usually pick them up from the grocery store for $12.00.

Every so often, at least quarterly, I take inventory of things in my life. I ruthlessly edit my closet.

I look at all of my personal and professional relationships. When it comes to clothes, if I’m not excited to put it on, if it no longer fits or if the color isn’t quite what it used to be, I get rid of it. 


Caption: I love Coach Bags! I recently purchased this bag for 50% off! 

When it comes to relationships, I consider who I need to spend more time with. I send cards, make phone calls & schedule time. 

You are entitled to all of the joy you can have! Edit & curate the things & the people in your life. Invest in the experiences you need and want. If it doesn’t bring you joy, let 👏🏾 it 👏🏾 go👏🏾!

Last Minute Gift Ideas

For The Travel Enthusiasts

Passport Holder and Luggage Tag via Nordstrom.

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For The Beauty Lover:

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I actually purchased a few of these Santa Tins filled with my favorite lush product: Bath Bombs! You drop the bath bomb into the bath and they create aromatic, skin-soothing/moisturizing magic. They are also made from all natural products! I’ve written about my obsession here. You can purchase the tins from Lush Cosmetics here.

For the Reader:

I came across this awesome app, that is the Netflix of Magazines! You pay a flat rate per month and get access to over 200 magazines! They are running a special right now, $10 for 3 months here.

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Nothing says I love you like some good, soft (expensive lol!) fabric.

For bedding, I’m a fan of Satin (whispers romance), Jersey Blends (screams relax) and Flannel (mouths warmth). You can pick these up at Target OR Bed, Bath & Beyond.

For public areas, I’m a fan of a good faux fur, a chunky knit, or cashmere. Consider purchasing a set of throw pillows or a throw blanket in either of those fabrics. You can pick these up at Target, Marshall’s, TJ Max and/or Home Goods. I recently picked up a nice throw that wraps around the body for like $40.00 from Marshalls. These are great because they serve as beautiful decor, but they are also functional. I change out fabrics. In the Spring/Summer, I have lightweight fabrics, in the Fall and Winter, I pull out the heavy stuff that keeps the cold away.

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This chocolate brown faux fur throw is available at Neiman Marcus.

The best gifts are those that are personalized. Think about what your friends and loved ones have been talking about lately.

Getting In Shape? – Consider purchasing a gym membership or a set of unique fitness classes.

Getting Organized? – Purchase a personal shopper for your friend who will come and audit his/her closet, or get a gift card to the Container Store.

Doing More Art? – Purchase art supplies or art classes for your friend at a local art store. JoAnns also offers a host of affordable art classes.

Starting a Business? – Purchase a legal consultation, or a Startup Book to let your friend or loved one know that you are with them 100%. You can also make a small investment in their business to show you care!

Think about recent conversations that you’ve had, and use that to whip up a personal gift in line with the wishes and goals of your beloved.

 

 

 

 

 

Gift Idea: Photo Mug

There are so many things that you can do with your photos besides leaving them on Social Media. Many companies today allow you to make personalized bags, magnets, mugs, blankets and more with your photos.

I ordered our Holiday Cards through TinyPrints.com.

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While on the site, I also decided to order a few of their customized mugs. Here is the result:

 

The entire mug is wrapped with the images covering everything except for the handle area. The prints were pre-designed and you could customize the words or the monograms however you wanted. i also decided to go with black, but they had many color options and the mugs took less than a week to be delivered.

Coffee and tea time just got a little more interested in the Smith House!

Here is the link if you’re interested in purchasing your own!

 

 

 

Save Time with Fresh Freezer Meals

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Caption: Me whipping up my Chicken Freezer Meals. This recipe called for Catalina Dressing and Apricot Jam. 

Like most people, when the weather starts to turn from Fall to Winter, I go into hibernation mode. I’m obsessed with keeping my refrigerator and pantry full of food, my gas tank filled with gas and for whatever reason I get obsessed with the way fabric feels. Give me a good flannel, some cashmere, or a soft jersey t-shirt blend.

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Caption: The link below provides a step by step process for putting together the meals. The entire process took about 30 minutes. 

While looking up good savory recipes I came across this link with 5 Freezer Chicken Meals. Essentially, all of the meals have boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs and you change out the seasonings. You make all of the meals at once, throw them in a ziplock bag and freeze them. When you’re ready to prepare them, you thaw them out and can bake them in the oven or use a crock pot (slow cooker). I’m a huge fan of the slow cooker, because I like a good flavorful meal when its cold outside. I’m also a big fan of using the slow-cooker, because it’s low maintenance and easy! I’ve posted about my love for the crockpot here.

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Caption: All of my ingredients laid out. During the Winter I make beans at least once per week. 

I didn’t just stop at making the freezer meals, I also picked up some frozen stir-fry veggie blends, smoked turkey tails (which I add to my beans and my fresh veggies), Jasmine Rice and White Rice. I break down the larger stir fry packs into smaller single-meal packages using Freezer Bags.

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Caption: On each of the bags you label the meal and write instructions on how to prepare it. My plan is to thaw out the meal the night before I plan to prepare it, and then toss it in my crockpot. 

I’m planning to use the frozen chicken meals once per week and will give a full review. I’ll cook up some veggies and/or rice to go with the meals as well. What are your favorite crock-pot recipes (feel free to post in the comments section)? How do you save time in the kitchen?