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The Wedding Dress: 15 Year Wedding Anniversary Celebration!

Posted by on Sep 14, 2014 in Fashion, From the Heart, Inspirations | 1 comment

Hi Elegant Readers,

My  hubby and I celebrated 15 years of marriage on September 11th! We are celebrating the whole month.

Wow, 15 years makes me reflect to my wedding day filled with joy and happiness.

JT and Hubby Wedding The rings

JT and Hubby Wedding
The rings

This is my daddy and I on my wedding day, he was putting a penny in my shoe for good blessings.

JT  and Daddy

JT and Daddy

My hubby and I celebrated this past week with an awesome road trip. We just got back and I’m getting back to blogging again. We will be writing about the trip to the Southwest, so check back soon for those posts.

I wanted to see what my wedding dress looked like and how it fit after all these years. I pulled it out of the closet and I tried it on. My dress did not cost thousands of dollars; but to me it looked like it did.

My dress was designed by Alfred Angelo, exclusively for JC Penney’s. I was dealing with some physical and medical challenges at the time, causing me to gain weight that I was not able to control.

 I know gaining about fifty pounds is not what I wanted when I got married; however I dealt with it and conquered it.

On the day of the wedding, the dress fit me exact. It did not need to be taken in or hemmed.

However, 15 years later, the sleeves are baggy and the wedding dress is loose on me now and hangs.

Side view Wedding Dress

Side view Wedding Dress

This is a back view of the dress and it’s beautiful, but it looks so different on me now. I decided to wear a cream-colored dress.

When you looked at it up close, you can tell that it is cream. But in all of the photographs, it looks white.

My daddy stepped on my dress after the ceremony was finished. I thought at the time that he had ripped the fabric where I couldn’t reattach the bustle to the back of the dress.

When I tried it on, I found out that the dress wasn’t ripped at all. But, my maid of honor did not attach the train correctly after I walked down the church steps.

  I attached the train correctly in the photo.

I thought this wedding dress was haute couture with all the bead work and detailing from the sleeves to the hem.

Back view JT wedding dress

Back view
JT wedding dress

Here’s an up close look of the detail in the bead work; exquisite I must say.

Closeup of detail

Closeup of detail

 My hubby and I planned our wedding and we were on a budget. However, I still wanted it to be a wonderful day of celebration. I still look at the dress and marvel at how beautiful it is with all the beadwork and lace.

Beadwork and Lace Detail

Beadwork and Lace Detail

JTwisdom

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My Thoughts About Ferguson

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in From the Heart, Inspirations | 0 comments

Hello Elegant Readers,

PEACE FOR FERGUSON!

PEACE FOR FERGUSON!

The death of a  young man. The protests and the riots!
The fire, the tear gas, the theft, the looting!

Stop! Stop! Stop!

The world is watching St. Louis, Missouri.  Bubbling with Elegance and Grace is saddened even more by these events because they are happening in my hometown.

Yes, I am a Missourian and the world has all of its eyes on my state, specifically the small community of Ferguson, a suburban municipality in north St. Louis County.

My prayers go out to the family of Michael Brown. I intercede for peace and comfort flowing to them, In Jesus Name.

Should prayers go out to the Police Officer and his family?  Some would say no; but he has a family and prayer goes out to the Ferguson police officers and all who are involved in the investigation.

All Police Officers are not bad cops and they need prayer.

I am saddened by the looting, the violence and the rioting. This is no way to honor Michael Brown and his family.

QuikTrip

QuikTrip in Ferguson

Peace! Father God, I speak peace over Ferguson and St. Louis, Right Now! In the Name of Jesus.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency for the second night in Ferguson. The looting and rioting had not stopped. When the name of the police officer was named and the video of the convenience store was released on Friday, the looting flared up again.

Ferguson is a family-oriented and friendly community. I have friends who live in Ferguson. I shop in Ferguson. My husband and I shop often at the Sam’s, the Ross’ and the Walmart that had been looted. We would buy gas at the QuikTrip that was destroyed.

The shooting of Michael Brown that occurred last Sunday is on the eastern edge of Ferguson. With a population of 21,000 people, Ferguson is quite large and spread out. The community is known for its railroad history and its large Victorian style homes and tree-lined streets.

I have heard comments like, I didn’t know Ferguson was so black.  Answer: Ferguson is 33 percent white, so Ferguson is not all black.

Who cares? Everyone does.

Listen! a mother and father have lost their son.

People who are not even a part of the Ferguson community our destroying businesses in the community. Destroying a property will not bring Michael Brown back.

What now?

Christian rapper, Lacrae made a statement on his Facebook page and I totally agree.

Lacrae's Facebook page

Lacrae’s Facebook page

We have to be mentors for our youth. Yes, looting and theft is bad, but now what?

St. Louis, Missouri has great organizations that mentor youth to want to do more and be more.

Such as:

Herbert Hoover Boys’ and Girls’ Club

“The mission of the Boys of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) is to inspire and enable youth ages 6 to 18 to realize their full potential as productive , responsible and caring citizens.”

Mathew Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club

“Today, the Club serves more than 40,000 young men and women, ages 5-18, throughout the St. Louis-metropolitan area. The Club also serves as a meeting center for various community, social and business organizations and as an outreach resource center for troubled youth.”

Big Brothers and Big Sisters

“…But, there are also an estimated 100,000 children in Eastern Missouri who are in serious need of a Big Brother or Big Sister. Who are these children? They are children who face multiple challenges. Many live in poverty, come from single parent households, have a parent behind bars and struggle with their academic performance. These children need extra support and encouragement. They need you, me… us!”

If you are not able to volunteer for any of these organizations, being a mentor can start with your family, your nieces and nephews, Godchildren, at your church, your children’s school, your neighborhood, there are endless ways to make a lasting positive impact on a child.

PEACE

Galatians 5:22 ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

 

Philemon 1:3 ESV 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Psalm 34:14 ESV 

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

 

2nd Corinthians 10:1-5, Ephesians 6:10-13

“Believers remember indeed we war not after the flesh, but after the SPIRIT, so we must stay in the SPIRIT, to FIGHT this war.”  Corey  Williams

We have to look in the mirror; change starts with us.

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Busted! 5 Weight Loss Myths That Will Make You Cry

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Fitness, Inspirations | 0 comments

Are you tangled in the web of weight loss fads and endless contradicting information on the web? Hopefully you haven’t fallen victim to one of these fads, wasting money and time with the hopes to lose a few pounds, only to gain more back in return. I know, it’s frustrating and millions of people share your pain. Below I explain several myths that you might be doing right now to try and lose weight. If you are, then stop wasting your time and money.

JT drinking Naturade all in one nutritional shake

JT drinking Naturade all in one nutritional shake

MYTH # 1) LOSING WEIGHT REQUIRES HUNGER PAINS
The fact is, what you eat is more important than how much you eat. If you don’t eat enough, your metabolism will slow down, making your body want to store fat. As a result, your initial weight loss will come from water and muscle, instead of fat.

You should try to consume healthy food choices and save those foods (and beverages) that are high in fat, sugar and calories for special occasions. Yes, you can have those unhealthy food choices from time to time, in fact, it’s encouraged. Without a cheat meal or snack every now and then, you will get frustrated and lose sight of your goal. Please note, I said a cheat meal, not a cheat day. I see too many people doing cheat days, which is way too much for your body to overcome on a weight loss plan.

MYTH # 2) EAT NO FAT WHATSOEVER
This is a very old and popular myth. Your fat intake should be limited to around 15% of your overall daily calorie intake. Fat is needed in any diet to lubricate your joints, keeps your skin smooth and elastic, provide a source of energy, help your nervous system function properly and more. Olive, flaxseed and fish oils are good sources of fats. Fats to avoid include saturated fats and hydrogenated fats (also known as trans fats).

MYTH # 3) AVOID CARBS
You’ve certainly heard this before, “Carbohydrates are bad for you and should be avoided”. This myth has been trending lately as fad diets like Atkins and its copycats become more and more popular. The truth is carbohydrates have a moderate amount of calories (about half as many as fat). Simple carbohydrates (sugar) should be limited, but complex carbohydrates: whole grain and starches are high in nutrients. The problem with carbohydrates is portion control. Too many people eat at restaurants with huge portion sizes loaded with 5 times the amount of carbs needed for a given meal. The best way to control your carb portions is to cook for yourself.

MYTH # 4) MEAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET ENOUGH PROTEIN
Meat is a great source of protein, but it certainly is not the only source. Meat can also be high in fat and sodium so many people look for alternative sources of protein. Egg whites are a prime source of protein and so are various vegetables and legumes like peas, spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

MYTH #5: EXERCISE AT LEAST 30 CONSECUTIVE MINUTES TO GET AN EFFECTIVE CALORIE BURNING WORKOUT
Adults should engage in a workout regimen for at least 30 minutes a day at least 4 days a week. Research has shown that the activity does not need to be done all at once. The 30 minute routine can be split into two 15 minute intervals and provide the same health benefits.

full body workout

MYTH #6: VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS ARE HEALTHIER EATERS THAN CARNIVORES
Vegetarians on average eat fewer calories and less fat than carnivores (non-vegetarians). However, vegetarians can make eating choices that contribute to weight gain by eating large amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods as well as food with little nutritional value. The term vegetarian is not synonymous with health.

 The best way to be sure you are getting a well balanced, nutrient rich diet is to eat more whole foods and less processed, pre-packaged foods and to avoid eating out as much as possible. Make eating out an occasional treat, but try to prepare most of your meals yourself and you will be on your way to living a healthier, leaner lifestyle.

With your new found knowledge of weight loss, grab yourself a deck of my new invention, Weight Loss Stack 52, weight loss cards.

 This guest post was written by Michael Volkin.

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How to Know if Your Diet is Plotting to Kill You

Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in Fitness, Inspirations | 0 comments

Is your diet actually bad for your body? It’s possible! Diets that restrict calories, and even some fad diets, can be harmful to your health in many ways. Don’t let the appeal of quick weight loss take trick you into harming your health.

JT styling fitness

A starvation diet is where you don’t consume the required calories and nutrients your body needs on a day to day basis.The fad starvation diets that are popular now include the Master Cleanse, the Ultra Extreme Calorie Restriction Diet, and the Clear Liquid Diet. Among other health concerns, each of these diet plans can lead to malnutrition. Malnutrition can cause emotional swings in the near term and liver and heart issues in the long term.

As an alternative to a starvation diet, you could try a healthier detox diet. Some of these include the Dr. Oz’s 48 Hour Cleanse, Clean Program Diet and the MediFast Diet.

But let’s be honest, diets suck. Here is a general rule of thumb to help you know if the food you have on the plate in front of you will contribute to your weight gain, or help you lose weight: The more humans have monkeyed around with your food, the worse it is for your body. By that statement I mean, is your food processed? Does it contain ingredients on the label you can’t read easily? Is the expiration date on the package past the next scheduled Olympics?

To lose weight, and keep it off, don’t overthink it. A balanced diet of fresh foods containing healthy fats, protein and carbs, mixed with a little exercise will do the trick every time.

Stir Fry

This guest post was written by Michael Volkin, inventor of Weight Loss Stack 52, the most unique and fun way to lose weight. 

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Book Review: The Measure of Success

Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in Inspirations | 0 comments

Hi Bubbling Readers,

I have been out of town enjoying a much needed vacation and spending time with my family.   Great fun and eye opening!
Be on the lookout for posts about my trip, coming soon!

The Measure of Success

Through Faith Village, I have the opportunity to review books.  I am reading right now, The Measure of Success by Carolyn McCulley and Nora Shank.

I often have had questions about feminism and Christianity.

Can you be a Godly woman and be a successful woman?  The answer is yes you can.

The authors provide detailed backgrounds of their lives and what they had to go through in their personal and professional lives.

On the back of the book questions are asked.

“Can a woman be feminine, godly, and ambitious?
Should a woman work?
Is work only for women who need the income?
Is there any sanctified ground between the stay-at-home mom and the aspiring executive?”

Some of other questions that come to mind have been:

Is a woman considered less successful if she has a career; but is child free?
Can a woman still be successful and be submissive to her husband?

McCulley and Shank address some of these questions and give detailed history and examples of  women lives and how they achieved success from a biblical perspective which is so refreshing to me.

One of my favorite statements in the book is that a woman’s worth is not based on what you do, our purpose is to be a light and shine that light. Value and my worth is in Christ alone and daily putting him first in my life.

So many times we get caught up in our value for having this title, making this sum of money, riding this car, having a home in this trendy area and the list goes on.  It is nothing wrong with having these things; however your sense of worth is not because of attaining them.

“Jesus says the day we should live for is when we hear, Well done thy good and faithful servant.”

I found that when I read the book I had to reread chapters sometimes because I wanted to make sure I understood what point was being addressed. Be prepared to underline in your book if you get a hard copy or highlight if you have a tablet.

One example that I reread in the book that stood out to me was the Chapter 7 on Identity.

“When your work is your identity, change can shake that sense of identity.”

Identity and sense of self worth?

The best identity to have is to be a follower of Jesus Christ.   I totally agree with the authors that developing and cultivating a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior gives me the ability to manage all the different roles I have from day to day.

The scripture in the book resonates this message:

First Corinthians 4:7
“For who makes you superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as if you hadn’t received it?”

The book makes you think about what really matters  and really takes you through self-examination.

The book is planned out in three sections and flows very well.

The Story of Work

The Theology of Work

The Life Cycle of Work

I would recommend this book because if gives an overview of women and feminism from a biblical perspective and speaks to all women no matter what stage of life they are in at any given time.

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Do You Really Know How Much You Are Drinking?

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Fitness, From the Heart, Inspirations | 0 comments

People have heard it time and time again, but how many actually listen when they are told that they need to keep a closer watch on their alcohol consumption? It’s likely that many people reading this will be aware of the dangers of excessive drinking and yet it is also highly probable that they will not know exactly what constitutes ‘excessive’.

image1

Would people, for example, be able to tell precisely how many units are in a glass of wine? Chances are that they wouldn’t if they think that they could as there are so many variants involved in such a calculation. Things such as the size of glass and the alcoholic volume of the wine must all be taken into consideration in order to accurately measure the amount of units being consumed.

Whether it is a diagram from a medical stock illustrations specialist or a photograph of the damage done to the liver, it is easy to see just how badly alcohol abuse can disrupt the performance of this vital organ. And yet so many people continue to drink excessively without even knowing that we are doing so. According to UK guidelines men should not exceed 3-4 units per day, while women should only consume a maximum of 2-3 units. This only amounts to 1.5 pints of 4% beer for men and a single pint for women per day, far less than you think.

So what can be done in order to start making a change in our drinking habits? Well, the fact that if people are reading this article, that is a great start as any knowledge that they can obtain will help to make a change in their lifestyle. However, what they can do next is far more important:

1) Calculate the intake – Finding out just how much that they are actually drinking may come as a bit of shock but that should be seen as a good thing. If it shocks, then people need to know that they need to start making a change in your drinking habits. There are numerous online alcohol calculators available that will give people their seven day intake amounts. Use this figure to find out how alcohol is affecting the body and also as a barometer for change. Once people have their current weekly figure, they will have a target to work towards lowering.

2) Monitor the intake – Now that people have their seven day intake amount, keeping track of all of the alcohol that they consume will give them an insight into whether or not they are on course to lowering consumption. It will also give them a new target to work towards breaking.

3) Lower the intake – Once people have a few weeks of statistics to work with, they can begin to consciously set themselves achievable goals if they have not already started to do so. Lower the amount of alcohol that they consume at home by switching a fridge full of beer and wine to some soft drinks instead. Make sure that they have some completely alcohol free days too, as this will give the body an opportunity to recover as it progresses to a healthier lifestyle.

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Following these steps will help people become more aware of their daily, weekly and monthly alcohol consumption. If people feel as though they need further help with your drinking there are plenty of options available to you. Speak with a doctor or medical professional; they can advise and suggest how to lower the intake healthily. Stick with it and do not regret it, the time to make a change is now.

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