Wednesday’s Word

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It’s been more than a week since I posted.  I’ve got to do better because I can NO longer use the “I’ve been so busy” excuse.  We’re all busy.  I realize this, so today’s post is just as much for me as it is for you. 

I’ve been listening to a lot of inspirational and motivational speakers as of late.  In fact, I went to hear entrepreneur, speaker, and author of “A Purse of Your Own,” Deborah Owens speak last Friday.  I’ve also been listening to Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, and my favorite (as you can tell from the picture), Les Brown.  If you have an iTunes account, click here to download his free podcasts.  I listen to him every morning!

Until next time: Have a great day, follow your bliss, and take heed to these words from Les:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words.  Watch your words, they become actions.  Watch your actions, they become habits.” ~Les Brown

Happy Mardi Gras!

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Laissez les bon temps rouler (Let the good times roll), everyone!  If you’ve read my bio, you know that I’m a proud Creole who was raised in Louisiana.  Living outside of the Bayou State, it’s amazing to see how so many cities across the U.S. have adopted Mardi Gras.  But let me tell you… ain’t no party like a Mardi Gras party in Louisiana!  Particularly, celebrating it in New Orleans.  There’s nothing like the energy and the hospitality of native Louisianians, and of course, the notorious Bourbon Street.  Every year thousands of people from around the world flee to the historical French Quarters to experience Fat Tuesday cajun style.  Droves of people congregate in the middle of the cobblestoned street two-fisting tequila shots in long, flourescent-colored test tubes, going in and out of popular bars such as Pat O’ Brien’s, making new friends.  It is an experience like no other, an event everyone should experience at least once.  But if you can’t make it to the Big Easy, you can throw your own Mardi Gras party.  To get in the festive mood, try the following tips: 

Decorate your place with traditional colorful beads–purple, green, and gold– and be sure to have a surplus amount to hand out to your guests. 

Besides beads, you can decorate your place with hand-designed masks, or you can opt to wear them.  It’s fun!  And the masks are quite intricate and beautiful.

To really wow your guests, serve up some spicey, traditional Louisiana cuisine like boiled crawfish with all the fixins (that’s right, I said fixins, no “G”). 

Not well-versed in eating mudbugs–pinching tails and sucking heads (I swear that’s a proper term referring to eating crawfish)– maybe you can try your hand at cooking and serving these items:

Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo

Shrimp Etouffe

Po Boy Sandwich

Really get in the spirit of Mardi Gras by serving your guests the infamous Louisiana cocktail made famous by Pat O’Brien’s.

Hurricanes are notorious for a reason.  They’re exceptionally strong, and it only takes one drink to get buzzed.  I’m all about following my bliss, but I do not encourage drinking and driving.  As I mentioned above, Louisianians are loving and hospitable, so this would be the perfect event to invite your friends over for a sleep over.  If they don’t wish to stay the night, arrange for designated drivers to get them to their final destination safely.  And don’t forget to serve the King Cake

Music Monday: Marsha Ambrosius

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Photo courtesy of: egyptsaidso.com

Once known as the Songstress of the sultry British R&B duo, Floetry, Marsha Ambrosius recently celebrated the release of her highly anticipated solo album, “Late Nights & Early Mornings,” which dropped March 2nd.  At first listen, the first single Far Away, reeks of another love song about a broken relationship.  As it turns out, the song has a much deeper meaning.  Message or not, Marsha still earns the title: Songstress, and she looks fabulous!

If you’re in the Texas or Louisiana areas, you can catch Marsha live at the following venues:

March 16 – Dallas, TX – South Side Music Hall

March 17 – Austin, TX – SXSW

March 18 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues

March 19 – Baton Rouge, LA – Varsity Theatre

March 20 – Houston, TX – Arena Theatre

Music Monday: Smile

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If your weekends are anything like mine (busy), then it probably flies by.  Before you know it, it’s Monday morning and it’s time to roll out of bed to start a new work or school week.  If that cup of coffee just isn’t doing anything for your mood, here’s a message from Kirk– Smile!  I hope your day gets much better.

Enjoy!

To Give Up TV or Not?

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I’ve been tinkering with the idea to give it up, temporarily, for Lent.  The idea entered my mind while listening to a Money Smart Guy podcast.  In this particular podcast, Matt Sapaula interviewed one of his clients who was influenced by the book Missed Fortune 101, and he commented that his client “…turned the TV off to study the book.”  Then one of Matt’s co-hosts said her television is in her garage.

Guilty as charged, I’m a self-proclaimed TV junkie, and proud of it.  I’ve been glued to the TV since childhood, watching shows like The Facts of Life, Different Strokes, and the like, and the madness never stopped.  Now I enjoy shows like Blue Bloods, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, and I can’t wait until the new season of Army Wives, which starts this month.  I even have a weakness for certain reality shows.  So when his co-host mentioned her TV is in the garage, my eyes slightly bugged out of my head.  But to my adult mind, it’s not unfathomable.  In fact, it was kind of an aha moment. 

Immediately, I began to think of how productive I’d be if I simply said no to TV.  I do, after all, have things to do: Tons of school work, a thesis to complete, blog, a business to establish, resumes to send out, and job interviews to attend (I haven’t gotten any calls, YET, but I’m optimistically expecting my phone to start ringing soon.).  Then I remembered Lent is nearing.  Yes, I can give up television for lent!  For 40 straight days, I’d have spare time to work on things that will help me excel to the next level. 

Let’s face it, as entertaining as television may be, it’s distracting.  How many times have you had full intention on working on something only to get distracted by your favorite show?  And now that we live in the days of DVRs and full TV episodes online, it’s hard to actually “miss” your favorite show.  Hence, my dilemma.  Am I really going to give up television for 40 days, or am I going to make a conscious decision to not watch it during the day while I’m home, and instead, catch up on what I’ve missed via the internet?  I mean, even smokers don’t quit over night.  They have to wing themselves off of nicotine with aids such as the patch and nicotine gum. 

Can a TV junkie be reformed?  Of course.  The real question is: Can this TV junkie (me) be reformed?  Ash Wednesday isn’t until March 9, so I still have 11 days to figure out how I’m going to break up with my first love.  OK, we’ll just be taking a break. 

To be continued…

Travel Tuesday: 4 Cities to Visit in Turkey Besides Instanbul… Pt. 1

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Mention the country Turkey, usually the first thought that comes to mind is Istanbul, the country’s largest city.  It’s a beautiful city famous for its architecture and historical Ottoman mosques that decorate the city’s skyline.  But Turkey is rich in culture and history, and there’s plenty to see.  If you’ve dreamed of traveling to Turkey but have hesitated to book a flight because you’re not sure of what cities to visit, you should definitely add Sirince to your travel planner.

If you enjoy ruins, eating olives, drinking wine, and shopping, then Sirince (pronounced: Shee-Reen-jeh) is the place for you.  Originally settled by the Greeks and nestled in the Aegean, Sirince means “sweet and charming.”

A tourist town, it’s famous for its wine production.  But a word of caution, the locals use just about every fruit to make the wine.  You can wander into several shops for a taste of wine made from apples, apricots, bananas, melons, cherries, and other fruits…except for grapes.

Besides wine, Sirince is also known for its olives, some of the best you’ll ever eat.  Not only can you stock up on olive oil, you can purchase handmade olive oil soap.  I can’t promise you’ll have a flawless complexion like the local women, but I’m sure using it couldn’t hurt your chances.  And there’s just something so organic about using anything that’s homemade.

A trip to Sirince would not be complete without visiting the ruins in the ancient City of Ephesus, which is a short hike from Sirince or a quick cab ride.  Or you can just stroll the hilly cobbled streets of Sirince to the St. John the Baptist Church, which is under renovation.

After a day of shopping and hiking, most likely you’ll work up quite an appetite.  I can think of no better way to end the evening than indulging in delicious Turkish cuisine made of lamb, pilav rice, and fresh vegetables.

Things to consider while visiting Sirince.  It’s hilly terrain and has many cobbled streets, so leave your flip flops and sandals in the hotel room.  Instead, wear shoes with some sort of grip.  The days start off cool, but get really hot by midday.  Stock up on water and make sure you drink lots of it while you’re out and about.  And of course, don’t forget to bring your camera. 

Join me next Travel Tuesday for a virtual exploration of Antalya, Turkey.

Travel Tuesday: Coming Soon

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As you can see from the title of this page: Following My Bliss, I’m in the process of revamping this blog.  I have a lot of interests and there’s only so much one can talk about hair, though I still plan to blog about that.  One of my biggest passions is traveling, and it’s my dream to become a working travel writer and host my own travel show.  What better venue to discuss what I truly love than my blog.  So stay tuned.  I’m really looking forward to Travel Tuesdays.