muse moments: 2016 new year resolutions

Maybe you’re not a big believer in the cliched New Year’s resolutions, but there is value to recognizing your aspirations and designing a plan to better yourself. At the end of 2015, I looked back on last year’s resolutions for myself and felt a strong sense of accomplishment. Chances are you already tell yourself you’re going to get better at this thing or another. Turn that thought into a mantra this year and find a way to challenge yourself in the best way possible. After all, baby steps can lead to big changes in a year’s time. Here are my 2016 resolutions… Maybe you’ll find an ounce of inspiration in them:


This is the part where I apologize to you, loyal readers, for my hiatus from LIVE THE LUXE LIFE. Since mid Fall, I’ve filled my free time with writing pages and pages on my novel. Inspiration hit me like a mad fever, as often happens when you’re a writer… But this delirium still has me in its grasp. I think I’ve finally figured out how to subdue my procrastination and stay dedicated to the craft from which I derive all my passion. And for that, I do not apologize. So, here’s looking at you, 2016. This may just be the year I near completion (or possibly even finish) my first book.



You know that friend who always pulls the camera phone out any time you go out? Uh huh, that’s me. Y’know, the one you rely on for your next profile pic or trip down memory lane. As my friends and family can tell you though, I’ve gotten real bad this year about posting those photos in a decent time span. (I haven’t uploaded photos from as far back as summer yet, oops.) I’m starting fresh this year and aiming to upload photos within a week of an event. Won’t my friends and family be relieved?




We’ve become the perpetual hosts for any holiday shindig as you can see here and here. It has been a true pleasure…and a heck of a lot of work. This past year, we’ve spent more time cleaning up after these events than actually enjoying them. So, we’re pulling back the reins a bit. We still love entertaining and plan to do so in the future. House parties though are happening at a much more manageable size; and big numbers will be moved to an outside venue. Not our zoo, not our monkeys…that’s what I’m always sayin’.




Most importantly, I must strive to find the good in the world. With terrorism and gun violence running rampant, it’s difficult to stay optimistic and keep faith in humanity. But there is good to be found in this world. Look at the people taking in refugees. Look at the homes that opened their doors to harbor strangers during the Paris attack, or the countries around the world that lit up their landmarks with the colors of the French flag. Yes, there is evil all around us. Let us shed light on that evil and stand in solidarity against it.

headliner image c/o Essence Photography by Martha

dream it: 5 inspiring travel quotes to encourage your wanderlust

You probably have dreams aplenty that keep your bucket list brimming with possibilities.  If you still need motivation to pack your bags and head out on that horizon, let these 5 inspirational travel quotes be your mantra.   Hit the road or hop a plane because the world beckons!

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-Ibn Battuta

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Author unknown.

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-J. R. R. Tolkien

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-The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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-Francois Rabelais

muse moments

Happy Halloween, ladies & gents!  It’s time to join in the festivities, so flip on your porch light & fill the candy bags or deck the walls with spooky decor.  I’ve recently learned about a St. Louis trick-or-treating tradition: if kids expect some delicious sweets in their bag, they’ve got to deliver a joke to the person opening the door.  It’s an adorable tradition & seems to be one only found in St. Louis.  Do you have any peculiar holiday traditions?  Regardless of how you celebrate this Halloween weekend, I hope you & yours have a wonderful time!  Here’s some weekly inspirations to get your weekend off on the right foot:

If you are hosting a small Halloween get-together, here’s a fantastic little idea to set the right mood.

Try out this pumpkin brownie recipe & I swear you won’t be disappointed.  I know this for a fact because I tried it out myself this past weekend at my good friend’s birthday.  They were certainly a crowd-pleaser!  Here are my results for you:

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

This artistic photograph has a sensuous noir vibe that gets story ideas rolling around in my head.

A bathroom remodel is on the horizon for me, & while it might not be quite this extravagant, a girl can dream right?

There is just something about a lady in red.  This gorgeous little drape dress in vivid red is far too good to pass up.

Stay safe this Halloween & have a wicked good time.  Hope you have a magical weekend & I’ll see you next week!

muse moments

Ladies & gents, let’s raise a toast to Friday!  After a painfully long week, Friday is finally here.  I’m in need for some serious R & R this weekend.  How about you?  Take a peek at the things inspiring me these days before you get your weekend started:

If you love to travel as much as I do, you know it’s all about the experience when you’re out there trekking the world.  But if you’re like me, you also want to be able to share those experiences with the people back home.  How on earth do you capture the grandeur of a new place, a new culture?  Take a tripod selfie.  It’s great for capturing those solo trips or everyone in your party.

My ideal nightstand is not only modern chic but has the necessary shelves to store a few of my favorite things: a book, a lotion bar, a pen & a pad of paper.  Plus, you know that one really handy item known as a phone charger.  This nightstand so suits my personality that I think I just might buy two!

I adore quirky little accessories, such as this perfect pineapple buckle on a skinny belt.  Add a little pizazz to your professional attire with a piece like this that pops.

Here’s a little pumpkin carving inspiration for you.  Just use glow sticks to create the different colored effect!  Do you & your family carve pumpkins?  If so, what designs did you come up with this year?

At times, you have to remind yourself to be your own best version of who you are & not worry about fitting into someone’s cookie-cutter mold of who you ought to be.  If you focus on being a good person & doing what makes you happy, the rest will fall into place.

muse moments

Welcome to the beautiful weekend!  With Fall right around the corner (it starts officially on Monday!), I’m appreciating the last few days of summer while embracing the autumn season.  After all, what’s not to love about the pumpkin flavor, pulling out the boot collection or leaves turning brilliant hues in their final defiance?  Make the most of your remaining summer days, ladies & gents, & I’ll see you when the new season begins!  Until then, enjoy my latest muse moments from around the web:

Next Wednesday marks our 4-year wedding anniversary!  (Can we still be considered newlyweds?!)  Greg & I won’t celebrate till next weekend, but it doesn’t mean we’re not feeling the romance now.  After stumbling upon this beautiful wedding photo, I think that should we ever do a vow renewal,  we’d have to get married in a library.  We’re both book-lovers (so much so that we’re building a library right inside our house!) & this wedding picture simply sealed the deal.

These ornate shades have a little steampunk essence to them with some glam & mad scientist rolled in.  I go through sunglasses like crazy since I wear them nearly every day (& maybe I’m a little klutzy…), so I think these will have to be the latest addition to my quickly depleting collection.

Ever struggle with the balance to look professional & stay fashionable?  I love being a woman.  & I love dressing the part.  I like feminine cuts & button details & bright colors & lots of lace.  I’m always on the search for inspiration for my work wardrobe so that I can bring in those girly touches & rock it like a boss.

With one final farewell to these glorious summer days, I’m reminiscing about our recent beach bound adventures & still dreaming of those days when I lounged around by the sea, absorbed in the latest Game of Thrones novel.

It’s that glorious time of the year again…  We all get to dress up as our favorite characters or classic monsters or what-have-you & toast to All Hallows Eve.  Greg & I host a big Halloween shindig every year & I am getting excited the closer we get to the celebration!  I’ve got my costume planned…how about you?