Pretty Blue Rose

life musings and inspiration

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My (unreasonable and unlikely) Christmas List

Holiday season is in full gear. Within the last few days, I’ve been to Home Goods, Target, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and on and on. Now you know the stats are pretty high that most people buy more for themselves than they do for others when they are holiday shopping (the sales are good though).

But I’ve really tried to resist the shopping for me temptation this year, and even things I did originally buy for myself, I’m going to give away.

But I need to get it out! I need to put my (unreasonable) wishlist somewhere, so I guess here’s as good a place as any:

The Clarisonic (QVC has done a great job of selling it…). Everyone seems to love it, so heck why not try it?

Kitchen Aid mixer. Although I’m short on space (for now) I think they are very pretty. I can see myself cooking in my beautiful kitchen with my beautiful appliances.

A tea set. I’ve been eying tea sets at Teavanna forever, but never made a purchase.

Blue Oval Blossom Yixing Tea Set

Note: this is not a subtle (or not so subtle way) of telling the hubby or my family what I want. I really don’t want these things, it’s nice to dream.

What is on your wish list?

Happy Shopping!

A. Genise

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Wednesday Wisdom: Why I cannot and will not quit.

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”  

(Shout out to my sister for sending me this quote, I loooove it)

With all that’s piled on my plate with work, the holidays, home life, traveling, etc., I’ve really questioned continuing on with my blog.

I’ve second (third and fourth) guessed my challenge to post every week day for a year.

I knew it would stretch me in ways I couldn’t imagine. I wanted to challenge myself to step totally out of my comfort zone. (I think I jumped rather than stepped, but hey that’s me!!)

But growth and stretching is sometimes painful. (and I am feeling it now)

I’m proud that I now know a little about HTML.

I can think up a topic and write about it with very little prep work. (increased creativity)

I’ve become more confident, I have greater perseverance.

I’ve gotten better at marketing myself and my talents. I’m thinking like an entrepreneur!

I’m learning not to expect success overnight, all good things take time. (realistic, yet hopeful expectations. Y’all know I want everything done yesterday!)

My lens of life has changed.

Photography has become something that I love again.

I’ve revived my love of style, home décor, DIY, and cooking.

I’ve enlarged my networks, I’m more open to meeting new people.

But I have far more to go…and I don’t want to stop learning and growing now. (It’s like quitting a diet when you lose 3 lbs—keep going!!!)

But most of all, the reason I cannot quit is because I need to keep this door of creativity open, it keeps me alive.

If I quit, I will figuratively wither away and become engrossed in/consumed with my day job.

I will revert back to my old ways of being too concerned with that everyone is thinking. And stressed about things I cannot control.

I’ll come home after work replaying conversations I had throughout the day rather than spending time with my family being present.

I’ve become a better wife, mother, and employee because I have something all my own to look forward to. With everyone telling me what to do all day, no one can tell me what to blog about.

I don’t want to go back to pre-blog me.

I’ve learned too much (Wednesday Wisdom—hello!?), I’ve come too far.

I believe I will look at this post in the future and be glad I didn’t quit….

Olympians don’t quit (and they push so much harder than I do) and neither will I.
I think of Gabby Douglas begging her mom to come home, she technically did quit—her mom just wouldn’t come get her!

I hope you continue on with whatever seems tough in your life.

You have a lot of greatness to achieve and so do I 🙂
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going” -Jim Rohn

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Pretty Blue Style: Mix it up!

When I first started working professionally, I was a big Ann Taylor Loft (ATL) junkie. I was also a rushed (or lazy?) shopper, so I liked outfits picked out for me so I had to do as little thinking as possible. I would just grab what I saw on the store mannequin and be on my way. Since I did that over and over I ended up looking like a walking promo for the Ann Taylor Loft store (something they loved probably, but I didn’t).

What’s even worse is that I would frequent the Loft so much that I immediately knew if someone else (at work, on the metro, in Target!) was wearing something from ATL. I burned myself out on Ann, so I’ve given them a 3 year break. (I will add their quality of clothes has changed dramatically in my opinion. The fabrics are thinner and the cuts are not as tailored).

But buyer beware, I replaced my ATL fixation with a J. Crew one–I have three of those brightly colored pencil skirts and when I see someone on the metro with one, I’m like–darn those skirts are everywhere and I shouldn’t have purchased 3!

J Crew Mall Finds


J.Crew tall skirt / J.Crew pencil skirt / J.Crew pencil skirt


I think the trick of being stylish is to mix it up. I now pick pieces from different stores like H&M (I used to love them, but all of a sudden stopped going for no good reason) the Limited, Target, Ann Taylor (clearance mostly, their stuff can be pricey), Express (I stopped shopping there for a while their stuff was really trendy, but again it’s about the mix) and Marshalls. Long digression on Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and other stores like it. I am still a semi-lazy shopper, so going through racks and racks of clothes is still not my thing. (remember my issues with DSW?) I end up getting warm, thirsty, and just overwhelmed in those stores. I mainly get shoes and accessories from those stores. Also the housewares sections is my favorite.

So all that to say, mix it up. I know we are all short on time and that’s one reason why I’ve always wanted a personal shopper. I’d love to have someone run to the stores so that I’d have a balanced wardrobe. But in the meantime, I’ll take my time, look for good deals and mix it up. 🙂

Fall Work Wardrobe

stay inspired,

A. Genise


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Pretty Good Times: The Hayride and Lights

Most of yesterday was blah. I’ve been fighting this sore throat–not quite head cold thing for a few days. (Yuk!) And I had a lot on my agenda: early church service, Marshall’s for some gifts, Costco for bags and bows (Target’s prices are a too high), wrapping gifts, finish hanging ornaments, laundry, and then some good old blogging while everyone was napping. I always start my days with a long to do list and yesterday it went no where. (Wow, typing that list I see I always try to do too much–who doesn’t?!–but no excuse!)

So after missing church, and not being able to get it together enough to get myself dressed to head to the store, I started wrapping some gifts with the kid (that endeavor mostly sounded like: please stop!, don’t touch that, wait you’ll rip it! don’t cut there!, please put the tape ON the line…)

I also started some laundry (really just carried it to the basement), but I needed a do over. The more the day went on, the more that I didn’t do, the worse my mood became (my poor hubby!). My to-do list kept growing…

My kind husband nicely suggested that I go to bed and also that I should throw away the stupid to-do list. (so I did!)

Now the reason I was (more) conscious of time was because at 6pm my friend and I made plans to take our families’ on a hayride through our local lights display. So the prepping (getting everyone dressed in warm clothes–finding the warm clothes…) and dinner eating needed to start around 5. (which meant all of the things I wanted to get done needed to be done by like 4, so I could take a small nap too).

Fast forward to about 5 minutes before we were to leave, it started pouring. The storm was supposed to pass, so we loaded up and headed over to the park–worst case we would see the lights from our car.

Well we got there, the rain slowed down (and eventually stopped) and can I tell you, we all had a blast!

They kept the hay covered so it didn’t get wet!

The evening’s fresh air was enough to make any bad mood go away, but the lights were so fun and festive –it was just a great experience. The kids had a blast and we even stopped at the nature house for some pictures by the fire place and some warm apple cider (my hubby found out he loooves warm apple cider).

I kept thinking how my to-do list really ruined my day, but how happy I was to get out and just enjoy life. I’m already looking forward to next year!


A. Genise

PS: See for pictures!!!

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Pretty Good Times:Favorite Christmas Tradition?

I’ve seen gorgeous Christmas trees, beautifully decorated mantels and wreath-bedecked front doors, (mostly in my Pottery Barn Books!) and I love them. However, I’d like to know what your unique Christmas traditions are. What is the one thing you pull out of the attic, the basement, the closet, or buy, that makes you know it’s Christmas? Do you watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and laugh at the Griswolds (my dad practically howls when that movie is on)? For me, unless I’m watching the Christmas Story on Christmas day I don’t know what I would do. And snow wouldn’t hurt either…

This year, we are using our Advent calendar this year…it has chocolate for each day so my daughter loves it! Also, I go over the top with with lights in our home– I just love them. And now that my daughter is more helpful than harmful in the kitchen, I love that we can bake cookies and just laugh at all the things she says.

I hope you all are enjoying the season, we are (if everyone would stay healthy!!!)

Enjoy the weekend,

A. Genise

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Pretty Good Time: My encounter with Ina Garten.

I think Ina Garten, a Food Network celebrity chef, has my life. She worked in government (the White House and then a powerful agency that manages money for all executive agencies–OMB) in DC for a few years. Then she moved to the Hamptons and started her entrepreneurial endeavors by buying a gourmet food store and the rest is history. (well not history, she worked hard!)

I don’t know her, so I cannot speak for her personal character, but I do love her story. I love that she’s a self taught cook who needed a creative outlet and followed her creative dreams all the way to where she is now. I admire that in her. She didn’t let age stop her, she essentially became a household name after she was 50! Impressive!

I had the day off yesterday and I dropped in on her book signing at my local mall. I did not buy the $30 cookbook and wait in line for hours to have her sign it, but I did “stop in” and got close enough to snap shots of her between the handlers rushing the next person to her table.

stay inspired and follow your creative dreams,

A. Genise

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Wednesday Wisdom: Don’t look down!

Members of my family are going through some rough times health and job wise. Some days are better than others, but it’s frustrating to watch.

What is interesting is how when I am down about my family’s situation, my sister will cheer me up and visa versa.

What is even more interesting is that our focus is what drives our perspective, which in turn drives our mood and ability to function.

If I am standing on the edge, looking down in the proverbial trench/valley, the darkness and the fact that I cannot see the bottom, is overwhelming. It only takes one peek over the edge before I am totally dejected.

But when I change my focus and look to the other side of the valley, I see the beautiful horizon, my spirit is lifted, and I can encourage others.

Look out, not down. It makes all the difference.

And when you get to the other side, be sure to glance back at the enourmous leap you took.

Keep that glance stored away as a reminder when the next valley presents itself. Remember the last hurdle you jumped.

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Pretty Face: Minimalism

As a working mom, blogger, wife (etc. etc.) my make-up preference is minimalist at best. As a teen I was really into make-up (who wasn’t?). I recall the blue eyeliner (mine wasn’t this polished)

Blue Eyeshadow Black Woman

and brown or black outlined lips filled in with light colors…


I’ve since revised my make-up strategy substantially, I’m a mascara and chapstick girl most days. (Blush if I have an important meeting). Here’s my daily go-to collection:

Pretty Face: Minimal Make-up

Mascara, mascara, mascara. I actually feel naked without it. I started out loving L’Oreal’s voluminous (I love the natural lush look), but most recently, I’ve been using Cover Girl’s lash blast. (I think the packaging is what hooked me).

Tinted moisturizer. Beauty bloggers I follow tend to really love Laura Mercier. I wasn’t sure how it would fare for a woman of color, but I am happy to report I am very pleased with the tinted moisturizer. I’ve also made my own (foundation and moisturizer mix) but that’s only in a pinch.

MAC’s bronzer. I use this in the summer/early fall to add to my glow. In the winter it just looks silly on me.

Estee Lauder Pink Kiss Blush. In my early make up days I never wore blush (it seemed old ladyish and I always saw it done wrong). Now I know the importance of blush–it gives me just enough color.

Any other must-have products I’ve missed?


A. Genise

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Pretty Good Time: Family Movie Night

This past Saturday, we had our first official family movie night.

After a late morning at the mall (with an unsuccessful sighting of Santa–good news my daughter doesn’t really know he should be there, so she wasn’t disappointed when we didn’t see him) some Costco shopping, some grocery shopping and a nap, we needed some way to fill the evening.

(Digression: I’m really starting not to like late fall/winter. As a child I loved the snow, as a single and even married but childless couple, I could deal with the 4 pm darkness–I could just nap, but with a child the short days in the winter are a challenge for things to do and quite frankly I don’t want be trolling around outside in the cold weather, putting her in and taking her out of the car seat. Ok now that’s out.)

At the grocery store we were forced to grab a movie (Santa Paws 2—yay us!). After dinner I decided I would knock out her bath and everyone would be in pjs by 6:30. Movie time was 7 pm. The kitchen was clean (yay again!), the popcorn was made, my tea water was boiled, and we were off to the basement.

We have a large grey sectional that actually was my aunt’s–it’s over 30 years old and I love it. It’s been in all of my apartments since grad school. We all cuddled up and had a great evening. I didn’t even bring my cell phone!

My daughter is really excited about next week’s movie night. She’s asking for the Princess and the Pop Star  movie. So long as redbox doesn’t let us down, we have movie night penciled in for next weekend.

Since I’m a lover of interiors, here’s a few of my dream media rooms:

I enjoy the sectional style seating in this room, a media room doesn’t always have to have stadium seating.

However, if I did want stadium seats, I wouldn’t be mad if this showed up in my house (the grey curtains are super dramatic):

I love libraries, I love books (I had a very hard time succumbing to digital books) and my dream home will have a library. The library won’t have a TV, but I saw this media room and had to give it a shout out.

stay inspired,
A. Genise