Summer Tablescape + $5 Goodwill Challenge {Summer Edition}

I consider my dining room "The Brown Hole." Why?  Because no matter which direction you look, all you see is brown.  Although I have plans (you know I do) of revamping this space, the truth is that this is a labor intensive project that is not top priority right now.  So, what I've decided to do instead is work around the brown with pops of color.

As we officially begin our summer months, I decided to add a little orange to my decor.  Two of my thrifted items went through a mini makeover process so that I could get some use out of them.

Here are a few photos of my dining area.

Everything (including the table and chairs) were bought on a discount or thrifted.
The white candle stand was a DIY thrifted project.
I made the faux boxwood ball wreath from Dollar Tree Items 
A few extra boxwood balls were placed in this ceramic server piece
Another DIY thrifted pitcher.  It used to be burnt orange.
A lovely bouquet of fresh flowers from Aldi's
Who says soup tureens are only for fall?
My Summer Tablescape!
And of course, a video!

So, how have you decorated your space for summer?

June's Tea of the Month: St. Dalfour's Organic Golden Peach Tea

Hello lovelies,

Many of you know that in addition to writing on my blog, I also have a Youtube channel.  Each month (if I can manage), I participate in a Tea of the Month Collaboration with some wonderful ladies on Youtube.  We share a tea that we are enjoying at the moment.  I thought that I should also share my love of tea and whatever tea I have chosen for the month with my blog friends as well. That way, you won't have to flip flop between my social media accounts to keep up.

With that being said, the Tea of the Month for June is St. Dalfour's Premium Organic Golden Peach Tea.  This tea is a ceylon tea that I purchased from Big Lots, a closeout store here in the U.S.  I figured for $2 I could see if this was a tea that I would truly enjoy.  Let me tell you, I love this tea. Oh my goodness!  In fact, I have drank the entire box in such a short period of time.  This my friends is not something I can boast about with any of my teas to date.  Usually, I drink it for some time, switch to another, and return to it when I feel a taste for it.

To make, I placed the tea bag in one of my mugs along with 1 1/2 tsp of sugar.  Because it is a ceylon tea, I poured a cup of boiling water overtop and steeped the tea for 3 minutes.  I enjoyed the smooth taste of the tea with the peach undertone.  Delicious!

I realize that not all of you can enjoy this tea and also in celebration of the 700 subscribers that I have acquired on Youtube, I've decided to host a giveaway on Youtube.  For those of you who subscribe to me there, please feel free to enter.  This includes international subscribers as well.

To enter:
1.  Subscribe to my Youtube Channel.
2.  Leave a comment on my Youtube Channel saying, "I'm in!"  and also let me know what types of videos you would like to see during the summer months.

The deadline is June 16, 2016 t 11:59 p.m. EST.  I will post a video announcing the winner on June 17th.

{Remember, I'm only choosing entries from my Youtube page.  If you want to leave regular comments here on my blog, feel free.}

For those who do not participate in Youtube, don't fret.  I haven't forgotten my blog community.  I'm thinking of something very special for you as well. Stay tuned!

p.s.  How would you feel if I started a Tea of the Month feature on my blog, where other bloggers can link up with their favorite teas?  Interested? Yea or Nay?

Happy Tea Drinking,

Losing Loved Ones and Gaining Insight

When you have a large family, there are so many joys that manifest themselves quantitatively.  Lots of weddings, and babies, and more babies, and other life celebrations.  But then, you experience lots of losses as well.  Sometimes they come too close together to fully comprehend.  This weekend we laid to rest another one of our loved ones, one of my dad's oldest sisters.

It never ceases to amaze me of how much you can learn about a person after their life on this earth is over.  Sometimes it's during a eulogy or from remarks from family or friends that you can start putting the pieces together in your mind.

Have you ever met someone who has found their look, their style, their way and no matter how or when you see them, they are consistently the same?  That would have been my aunt.  She had a certain flare about her.  To call her classy would be an understatement.  Fine china at every meal.  Hot cereal for breakfast.  Tea, of course.  Impeccable taste.  A true lady.  Of all of my memories of my aunt, every detail that I recall points to her love for England, her proper ways (or "the British way"), and her immaculate presence.

This is a video I made in honor of my aunt once I found out about her passing:

Now that she's gone, I've discovered that she was a perfectionist.  Always had been.  She had always been very disciplined.  She spoke 3 languages, one of them being English (lol, but you know, the way it was meant to be spoken), the other two French and Spanish.  And there are so many other attributes that I could tell that I just recently learned.  Now that's she's gone, I wonder if her fascination with England was because her natural style, or way of being, fit better into that culture.  Some things we'll never know.  But, as I reflect, one lesson that stands out to me is how easy it is to misjudge one another.

As people, we are short-sighted.  We have a limited view of everything.  We make judgements based on our experiences and often the experiences of others, and from that we draw conclusions. Sometimes they're accurate and many times they are not.  I am so guilty!  However, I believe that there's only One whose omniscience allows for accurate judgements to be made without fail.  And that same One will help me to leave the judgements to Him.  Honestly, it's kind of exhausting!  :-)

"Strive not to compete with anyone; but set your goal for perfection.  That which we are, so it is said, we are in the eyes of others."  YH.

Until next time,

Hair Challenge Update - June 2016

Some time ago, I surely cannot remember the beginning point, a bloggy friend and I embarked upon yet another protective hair challenge.  For the life of me, I really can't remember how long the challenge was supposed to be.  6 months?  3 months?  Maybe that's because I also dedicated my life to trying to grow eyebrows with castor oil.  I know that one was a month.  Is the month up?  Ack.  Who knows!

So for those of you with memories better than mine at the moment, just know that I said I was going
to wear my hair in a protective style.  I said a bunch of other things too, but I'm pretty sure I didn't follow through on those.  I mean I can barely remember to take that Vitamin D that I obviously need. That's the thing with those I-need-to-be-refrigerated-after-opening liquid vitamins of sorts.  You just have to remember to look in the fridge.

Well, one thing I can say...I've been wearing my hair in a protective style for the bulk of 2016.  Right before Easter I got these extension twists.  I washed them.  I wore them.  I washed them.  I even finally made an appointment to have the edges redone so that the style could last longer.

My wash routine is the simplest I've had in my life!  Literally I squeeze some liquid black soap in a spray bottle, add some water to further dilute, spray and wash, then repeat.  I would follow up by spraying my hair and scalp with rosewater.  When that ran out, I started using the Jamaican Mango and Lime Anti-Itch Gro Spray.  Truth be told, I don't have itchy scalp issues when my hair is in individuals because I can wash it as I need to and it's pretty easy to get to the scalp.  On a good day, I might would even put some oil on my edges and in some places.  If I happened to be applying the JBCO to my eyebrows, then my hair edges would get some love too.

I hope my hair is growing.  I hope my hair is resilient.  What I do know is that my grays are back...and so are the two boxes of Shea Moisture Hair Color patiently awaiting their turn when I take these extensions out!  #life

p.s.  I stayed awake at the salon this time.  The stylist and I watched some good African movies.  One was from Ghana and the other from Nigeria.

Happy Hair,