The Experience: Dominican Republic (Part 1)

I now know what it’s like to have God kiss my feet through the ocean.

In the beginning of May, I spent a week in Puerto Plata, DR. I exhausted my personal time line for sun and sand, and let’s just say not a thing, nor a being was stopping me from enjoying the experience that was in store for me.

The weather was pure pleasure. I received five star service from the time my driver picked me up, until the time he drove me back for my wpid-20150504_141122.jpgdeparture. My purpose for this vacation was rest and relaxation. I conquered this quest masterfully. Although I awoke every morning at 6:30am fully rested, regardless of how late I stayed up the night before. By 10:30am on most days I had showered, meditated on the beach, ate a fulling breakfast (sometimes twice) accompanied by fresh pineapple juice and steaming hot coffee, read a few chapters from my chosen book poolside, and gave a pitiful performance of my one woman show titled “Beautiful Bronze Boy: I’m Not Playing Hard To Get…I Am”. Trust me, if you didn’t see the show, you didn’t miss anything. I sucked!

My days blended together. I spent the majority of my time being seduced by the waves in the ocean. My room was a two minute walk to the beach, and I had a great view of it from my balcony. I was in a constant state of “awe” by this beast of a tropical bath. Being from NYC, beaches and beautiful bodies of water aren’t on our list of attractions. So imagine my greed for the attention it gave me. I’d visited plenty of beaches from St. Marteen to Anguilla, but this one in Playa Dorada was especially kind to me. Every time my toes met the sand and ocean combined, I promise you it felt like tickled kisses from God. So pure. So gentle. So loving. So ALIVE. My solo vacation was well worth the peace and tranquility that met me there.

Whatever it is that you desire to EXPERIENCE today. I pray it’s worth missing.

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Do It Scared

So I’ve been thinking, and semi bullying myself to follow through with a project that I’ve wanted to produce for a few years now. It highlights an area that speaks to my gifts. I’m a visionary so I see it, literally. However, why do I find myself tripping over the same stumbling block that I built? I’m SCARED!! I said it!  Scared to “fail”, scared that it won’t be “perfect”. I’ve involuntarily been the recipient of some challenging moments that I’ve embraced as an experience. But this thing here is so personal. I WANT it so bad that I’m afraid of it. If this doesn’t make any since to you, it’s okay (I’m really speaking to myself).

I know the acronym for fear and am determined to push through it. I’m going to do this thing! And it’s going to be so damn fabulous! Join me and do whatever your “it” is, scared! Continue your education, take a solo vacation (highly recommended), apologize to whom you’ve wrong, quit the job, confront the parent, cut off the friendship, start the business, take the dance class. Just do it! Do it scared!

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The time will never be right. Perfection  is an illusion that we chase only to avoid the responsibility of doing it. Convincing ourselves that we must get “it” right in order to actually perform a task does nothing more than hold us hostage.

~Shantay Alicia

DO YOUR BEST!

In everything! When you desire change, doing your best should always be the bare minimum. I believe we all have our moments of discouragement, and that sometimes turns into a “panic”. It doesn’t have to. Not if you commit to your best daily. Release the restrictions of perfection, and measure you against yourself. The 100% you dedicate to that “greater” aspect of experiencing life will not always look the same. That’s the bonus, acknowledging that decreases the pressure we put on ourselves. I am wishing you all the LOVE & LIGHT that your mind, body and spirit can handle.

Happy Monday!

BEST

Share with someone whom you know needs to be reminded that they have more in themselves to give! ~XO

IG: @ShantayAlicia

Rules of Engagement #1

Don’t pay attention to “them”, no one even knows who “they” are.

Seriously. How many times have you heard yourself say, “oh they said I shouldn’t do this”, or “you know what they say”. Am I only the only with my hand up wanting someone to answer the question of “who are they?”, and how did they get everyone talking? I’ve experienced countless moments when I’ve been on the receiving end of their advice and I’ve given it as well. Unbeknownst to me, that I may have not had of clue of what I was talking about. They have wreaked havoc on my life too many times for me not to be able to identify them. I’m over it. I’m firing them, and those who advocate for them so hard.

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My life is too precious, and too good to allow the folk-law of the theysayers to rain on my parade.

*Note to self* Exercise your vocabulary and pay attention to your language. As you start this week out choose your words carefully and know exactly what it is of what you speak.

I desire to EXPERIENCE this thing called life how I desire, not how they said I’m supposed to.

Vintage Beauty. A Love Story…

Dorothy Dandridge. Diana Ross. Eartha Kitt.

As long as I can remember I have crushed on vintage beauties before ‘girl crush’ was trendy. I admired the smile, fearlessness, glamour and heart of these women. My DNA possesses a file marked “Vintage Beauty” right beside the file marked “Bathing Beauty”.

Dorothy Dandridge

Ms. Dandridge owned the art of smiling with her eyes long before I was aware you can do such a thing. Not to mention she made history as the first African American to receive a best actor or actress Academy Award nomination for her role in Carmen Jones. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must! She gets to sing, dance and be unapologetically sexy while Harry Belafonte swoons over her, not bad at all. Her ability to contribute to the confidence of  brown girls like me growing up, and open doors that were bolted in Hollywood due to racism makes her forever and always a “vintage beauty”. She just happens to be gorgeous too.

Diana Ross

If you know me, you know my love for Diana, the original diva. A smile that melts, power combined with strength in a soft voice, and a zest for life on her turns makes her my ultimate girl crush. Just thinking about her contribution to more than a few monumental and historic periods in music gives me energy. She was born with whatever ‘it’, is. Her iconic and legendary performance in Central Park in the rain may or may not be older than me (wink), but has me truly ecstatic to see her LIVE in concert in less than two weeks! My mom put me on to her acting skills in “Lady Sings the Blues”  years ago, so it’s only right I let her be my date. Okay…I’m actually her date, tickets to see Diana Ross in concert was her Mother’s Day present.

Eartha Kitt

Sex kitten was coined with Eartha Kitt in mind. But understand that does not box her in to anyone’s stereotype. This woman was and still is a substantial representation of confidence for ALL women. I adore Ms. Kitt for more reasons than you care to read. Multi lingual, choreographer, actress, frequent dinner guests of royalty! The list goes on. She will always be the Sugar Honey Ices Tea to me (with shot of top shelf cognac on the side). One of my favorite classic films to revisit at least a half-dozen times a year is “Anna Lucasta”. This movie is older than my mom, and I LOVE it! If you watch it for nothing more than the mambo scene, it’s so worth it. By the way, cutie pie and equally influential in his own right, Sammy Davis Jr is co-star in it.

The great thing about living a life of simple pleasures is the ability to pay attention to what inspires and motivates you. From beautiful roses, to sunflower seeds to classic movie posters. They all have the power to be a contributing factor for more joy. I bask in the simple pleasures of these vintage beauties through artwork that I own, movies that I watch and books that I read.

Get creative about how you embrace your own. I am taking mine to the next level with a photo shoot next month inspired by one of the these ladies. Can you guess which one?  🙂

 

I’m a Bathing Beauty and I Love It!

While I thoroughly enjoy a personal rainstorm (especially when I exfoliate), my favorite choice on the menu will forever and always be a bath. Sitting in a luscious tub of water that agrees with my mood and takes me wherever I need to go for the next 45 minutes is always pretty damn good to me. I spend a significant amount of my budget on making sure that my bathing experience is anything but ordinary. In the past couple of months I’ve taken my creativity to a new level. The results are, my version of the ultimate bath product! The details are to come…but the photo is the evidence that last nights bathing experience was pretty magical.

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I do understand that not everyone cares to spend money or time to even sit in the bathtub. However, if you are intrigued and believe you deserve a better bath than just running water, I have created a quick “cheat sheet” so to speak. Dedicated to the inner bather in you that wishes to indulge more often. Get into it:

  1. Epsom salt; classic and forever affordable. This is great way soak those muscles that may be a little tight. 1 cup under hot water and soaking for about 15 minutes will help release some of the tension in your joints.
  2. Milk; fresh or powered can make a phenomenal tub of water. Depending on the type you utilize, the benefits are pretty impressive. Your skin will be noticeably softer, and mildly exfoliated. 2 cups of fresh milk or 1 cup of dry milk will get you started (this is a bathing treat where you don’t want to be stingy)
  3. Flowers; if you keep these beauties around, before they dry out completely toss a few in your bathing water. A light aroma and visual enhancement will help you relax, and the foreign texture touching your skin every so often should at least make you giggle a time or two.
  4. Oil; olive oil and coconut oil are incredible for nourishment and can be easily found in most kitchens. A little goes a long way and will leave you moisturized once you’re ready to get out the tub. 1/3 of a cup is all you’ll need.
  5. Alcohol; red wine or sake work wonders in the bath tub. They aid in circulation and red wine packs a punch of antioxidants. Who doesn’t need more of those to protect the skin. 1 cup of either will do.

Voila! Your bath time has went from basic to better. Now of course their is so much more that can be done while bathing. I just wanted to give you a few easy go-to’s. What is most important is that you remember it is about the experience for you. Whatever reflects your personal style while bathing will help you enjoy it so much more.

We encounter daily rituals that can easily be enhanced if only we took the time to do so.

Cheers to living a good life on your terms

~Xo!

PS Bonus tip: Candles! Tealights are actually perfect, the fragrance doesn’t compete and 5 of them spread out in the bathroom gives perfect mood lighting.