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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

NYE with Firmin le Barbier

NYE with Firmin le Barbier

As many of you know, Alex and I traveled over the holidays to London and Paris. Both places were lovely but one of my favorite parts of the trip included our New Year's Eve six-course dinner from Firmin le Barbier in Paris!

We arrived in Paris and were immediately taken away by the beauty of city. Every aspect was beautiful, from the food to simply walking the streets. While taken away with such beauty, we blanked on making NYE's reservations. Thankfully our concierge at our hotel was extremely helpful in finding us a place to celebrate the new year. He called six places and all but one was booked, Firmin le Barbier We gladly took it since we didn't want to be hungry leading into 2017.

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

Firmin le Barbier is a small, family-run bistro a minute away from the Eiffel Tower. I don't think we would have found it on our own, but we definitely would have missed out had it not been for our concierge.

We walked in and were welcomed graciously by the hostess. We sat down and immediately she filled our glasses with complimentary champagne, which she kept full the entire evening! She even apologized if she was a minute late filling our glasses. Alex and I didn't know too much about French food other than the well-known items and luckily the menu was preset by the chef. Our hostess politely and happily explained each dish to us in English, and always asked how each dish was.

Course 1
Amuse bouche, sautéed snails with cottage cheese and herbs, on top with mousse of grilled toasted bread
NYE with Firmin le Barbier

Course 2
Warm oysters dressed in chardonnay and shallots
NYE with Firmin le Barbier

Course 3
Poached duck foie gras (duck liver) in mild ginger consomme
NYE with Firmin le Barbier

Course 4
Whole blue lobster with chestnuts & vanilla scented celeriac gratin
NYE with Firmin le Barbier

Course 5
Selection of farmed cheeses with an arugula salad
NYE with Firmin le Barbier

Course 6
Oven-baked beetroot in a sugar crust, presented with red currant and strawberry sorbet, and lemon curd. On the side espresso and biscuit.
NYE with Firmin le Barbier

NYE with Firmin le Barbier

Alex and I both agree this was easily the best meal of the trip and we were full but not stuffed. It was the perfect portions and the endless, complimentary champagne was great. I loved the menu and am grateful the hostess could email me the menu so I could write about it. Overall it was a lovely and romantic environment, quaint inside but absolutely lovely with the service and menu.

We applauded the chef then left within five minutes of the countdown to the Eiffel Tower in the chilly evening. We counted down together amongst the crowd then shared a kiss as the Eiffel Tower glittered with lights at its hourly time. We smiled at each other and acknowledged what a special moment it was to be sharing this experience together. I could easily travel alone, but in Paris you need to share it with someone you love. While there weren't any fireworks, it was still incredible to spend the New Year in Paris with my fiancé and enjoy quite possibly the best meal of my life.

NYE with Firmin le Barbier


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Friday, January 27, 2017

2017 Goals: Make It Happen

2017 Goals: Make It Happen
"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." - Michael Jordan
 
As I reflect on 2016, it was a pretty good year. I took the courage to fully pursue my dreams instead of waiting for the "right moment" and I learned a lot from the experiences.

For 2017, I have new goals in mind and have already achieved some of them! While some of the goals are new, the others are continuing to build my current accomplishments.
  • Consistently read devotional
  • List gratitude of the day in agenda
  • Become involved in community once there's a second car
  • Begin Warrior Woman Wednesday 
  • Start running group
  • Grow Happily Pink
  • Obtain specific sponsors/ambassador programs
  • Compete in five races
  • Go to the Grand Canyon
  • Learn French
  • Post 3x/wk minimum
  • Get swimming lessons
  • Start singing again
  • Begin vlog
  • Organize closet and declutter
  • Buy a Garmin fenix 
  • Make a difference 
I am a firm believer that you can truly achieve anything if you focus your time and energy into it. Don't allow short-term circumstances to affect your long-term results. Just go in and do whatever it takes to turn your goals into a reality. Don't let your fears stop you; jump out and take a leap towards your dreams.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Roxy Olivas

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Roxy Olivas

A woman in the world of engineering is rare, and being a "girly-girl" can be initially intimidating when you could be judged for it. Meet Warrior Woman Wednesday, Roxy Olivas!

In college, my best friends and I drove up to Scottsdale one weekend to celebrate my birthday and we stayed with Mo's sister, Roxy. I was completely impressed by her success and how much she had accomplished all while maintaining a fashion agenda. Her drive and positive attitude is what made her succeed.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Roxy Olivas

Roxy grew up in beautiful Hawai'i where she felt she was a little sheltered not being on "the mainland," A.K.A. stateside.

"Everything is really slow-paced and people who aren't related to you treat you like family," Roxy paused. "It's the aloha spirit."

As breathtaking as Hawai'i is, Roxy felt she had a bigger opportunity off of the island. There isn't much for tech careers and she realized she needed to leave in order to pursue her dreams.

She loved technology since middle school, but Super Mario Bros and her old hand-me-down Super Nintendo were the trigger to her wanting to be an engineer. With a leap of faith she graduated from high school and went to LA for a year then transferred to the University of Arizona.

Roxy felt it was a challenge as a female in engineering school. While she was never disrespected in class, she was aware of being the only female in most of her classes.

"It may have been a self-confidence thing on my part, but I did always feel like I had something to prove - even in my first few years in the workforce," Roxy said. "It was also really common when people asked me what I majored in to get a surprised reaction."

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Roxy Olivas

Eventually she graduated with a B.S. in Computer Engineer and a minor in Mathematics and Japanese. After college, she lived in Phoenix for three years before moving to Dallas. Her roles have evolved from an IT student worker to business analyst to software tester and to finally project manager.

"I completely fit the bill of an engineer being generally introverted, always thinking of things more logically, and just having the capability of being a complete nerd," Roxy said. "But, I'm also really girly in that I love makeup, fashion, and getting dolled up."

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Roxy Olivas

Merging the two together of tech and fashion flair was a little difficult to navigate. Roxy said when she showed up for interviews in a pencil skirt and hair done, people are "kind of hesitant believe that you have an engineering degree."

Roxy fortunately didn't face any discrimination in her current or previous roles. One of her mentors includes an alumna from her sorority, Delta Chi Lambda, who provided to be a great source of inspiration and encouragement. She felt blessed to have the support of others both personally and professionally.

"All of my bosses have been male, but I've considered myself so lucky that they all, in one way or another, encouraged my career growth and told me that I am good enough when so many times, I thought I wasn't."

Roxy now has built her self-confidence over the duration of her career. She wishes when growing up and in college she had more great examples of women in STEM careers, especially in tech. She just read Sheryl Sandberg's 'Lean In' and relates entirely to how she felt in college and early in her career.

"I think it's so important for women to support and encourage each other because we don't tell each other enough 'you're beautiful and capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for,'" Roxy smiled.


Q&A with Roxy Olivas  

1. What motivates you to succeed?
I think a lot of my motivation is the younger generation of women. I know it sounds weird, but I never had a lot of examples of women in tech growing up so if I could inspire even one girl to know that you CAN be smart, beautiful, and a women of great faith all at the same time, I think I would fulfill my life's purpose.

2. Who inspires you?

Women like Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer - brilliant, beautiful, and powerful women. Also, I'm inspired by Christian celebrities/athletes, like Tim Tebow and Chris Pratt, who are unashamed and very vocal about their faith.

3. Your biggest achievement?
Getting my degree. There was a semester when I almost flunked out and I really thought I couldn't do it anymore. It took me 6 years to get my BS and I never changed my major once! My mom told me once that it doesn't matter how much money or stuff you have, people can take away everything from you, but you will always have your mind. 

4. Goals for the future?

In the near future, I'd like to grow in my career in Project Management and I'd like to grow my blog and etsy shop. My pipe dream is to maybe get to an executive level. 

5. What advice would you give to others? 

Do your job. Whatever it is you're doing right now, whether it's temporary or your dream job, do it and do it well. Also, attitude is everything - work hard and stay humble. 

6. What do you do for fun? 

I work out, cook, bake, and I LOVE to travel. I have a lifestyle/travel blog that I TRY to keep up with. Also, calligraphy/brush lettering is also a hobby that turned into an etsy/instagram: Pineapple Shack XO .

7. Favorite quote or Bible verse?

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." -Ecclesiastes 3:11
This is my life verse and I love it because it's a constant reminder that God is in complete control of everything. There were so many times when I thought my life sucked and it was never going to get better, but every time I step back, I realize how blessed I really am and that God has always made everything beautiful in the end.


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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Be the Light in the Darkness

Be the Light in the Darkness

The photo above was taken after Friday night's 8mi run at UA. This shot of Old Main reminded me we need to stand together regardless of our opinions. Despite the darkness and hate that is happening, be the light in the darkness and help others so that light can grow into something greater.

Volunteer, donate, and become involved with issues that are important to you. My example is education, Arizona has a history of leading the nation with the most legislative cuts so I involve myself in volunteering and giving back in any way possible. But whatever you do, do your best to end the hate from the side you're on. Our country needs to stand as one.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." MLK Jr.



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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Sarah Mitchell

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Sarah Mitchell
Sarah brings her hula hoop to an afropunk music festival, in New York.
Photo Courtesy: http://theeverybodyproject.com/
Landing a role in fashion is much sought after in the metropolitan city of New York. This week’s Warrior Woman Wednesday takes a turn into the fashion world to meet Sarah Mitchell! Sarah assists with the special projects at Anna Sui, specifically to work on the Anna Sui book and an exhibition scheduled to launch in London. How did she get to be where she is at now?

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Sarah Mitchell
Sarah poses with Andrea, an assistant designer at Anna Sui, in front of the Spring/Summer 2017 backdrop for Anna Sui.
Sarah grew up in Tucson and I met her in college at the University of Arizona. I was always in awe of her outfits. While eccentric and unlike the norm, she pulled-off every look fantastically. Her outfits were art, but her push for fashion arrived much earlier than college.

“My love for wild fashion was spurned by Barbie and my two best friends in high school [they always dressed colorfully/boldly],” Sarah said. “I got into making art when I became obsessed with anime. As a kid I spent hours tracing my favorite characters and eventually drawing my own.”

Inspired by her art, she included it as part of her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, along with Theater and Fashion Design.

“I've always struggled with having too many hobbies to pick a direction,” Sarah joked.

A key point in her college career occurred when she spent a summer in New York City interning at Anna Sui. Four years from that point she would make a circle back to Anna Sui.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Sarah Mitchell
Sarah enjoys the views of New York as a young, ambitious intern for Anna Sui, in Summer 2014.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Sarah Mitchell
Sarah handmade this dress which infamously dubbed her the nickname "cupcake head" in the office in Summer 2014. Four years later the Anna Sui team still knows Sarah by the same name.
After college graduation Sarah didn’t have much planned aside from backpacking in Europe with her friends. Two months of couchsurfing later, Sarah found herself back in Arizona feeling lost. She quickly concluded she needed to leave to another city. The change would happen much sooner than what she anticipated.

On Christmas Eve 2014, she was driving her Toyota Yaris at 70 mph on the freeway to her mom’s house when a semi-truck crashed into her, causing her to spin across three lanes. Sarah was fortunate to come out with only a few scratches, but her car was totaled with completely shattered windows.

“It helped me decide where to move: NYC, the city where I would never want to own a vehicle anyway,” Sarah said. “I started out in a crappy basement apartment in the Bronx where I faced daily harassment, a creepy landlord, a flea infestation and unrequited love.”

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Sarah Mitchell

Sarah commuted two hours each way from the Bronx to Coney Island to a gift shop job. It wasn't her top choice but it did enable her to receive an income while she patiently waited for something better.

“I stuck it out because even though I wasn't happy,” Sarah paused. “I felt like I had the chance of moving toward something bigger and better.

She upgraded to a nicer apartment and roomed with a cool friend while working as a hostess at a high-end restaurant. It included perks like the occasional, fancy dinner and showing celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Mr. Big to their tables. Sarah continued to hostess until her career received an unexpected boost.

“Out of the blue I was contacted by one of the Anna Sui designers I had helped as an intern,” Sarah said. “She let me know Anna Sui was looking to hire a new assistant to help with special projects. You can guess what happened next!”

Working at Anna Sui has provided her with invaluable experiences, best friends and mentors. Assisting with the Anna Sui book gave Sarah the chance to be involved in all steps of the process: research, photo/artwork selection, contacting photographers/artists/agents, managing a budget, creating a media archive, designing layouts, and making deadlines.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Sarah Mitchell

"I've also had the opportunity to do some illustrations for Anna Sui fragrance, which I still seems surreal!" Sarah exclaimed.  "Now I'm assisting with preparing the Anna Sui Exhibition that will be at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London this May."

The entire experience of working with Anna Sui made Sarah realize while she loves fashion, she no longer wishes to become a fashion designer. She loves wearing clothes and drawing them more than the idea of creating them. It is her main reason why she wants to be an illustrator and why she started her blog, Peacock Street, to showcase her work.

"I love fashion and being a part of this world, but I see how hard Anna works -- she gives 110 percent toward her dream -- which is how dedicated you HAVE to be to make it happen," Sarah said. "Anna knows I'm an artist and she is very supportive."

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Sarah Mitchell

Q&A with Sarah Mitchell

1. What motivates you to succeed? 
I hate myself when I'm not being productive! This motivates me! I have big dreams and the concept of falling victim to a mundane/average existence keeps me moving forward. I feel it's a sin not to live up to your full potential.

2. Who inspires you? 
J.K. Rowling. Her persistence turned her life around. Harry Potter was turned down 12 times by publishers before someone gave it a chance! Dr. Suess is another example -- publishing companies told him to change his art style, which is his signature now!

3. Your biggest achievement? 
I can't single out one. I'm constantly celebrating all of my achievements, whether that's completing a morning workout class or finishing an illustration I feel proud of. Whenever I doubt myself I look back on cool things I've done to remind myself how awesome I am! A few of my top picks:
  • An animation video I drew by hand of a girl dancing in an ice cream shop night club. It's 186 frames/drawings and took too many hours to count to make! 
  • The rap song I wrote and recorded with angry lyrics fueled by heartache. 
  • My hand-painted swallowtail butterfly dress which won "Best in Show" at the Tucson Project Moda Fashion Show in 2013. 
  • The book I helped put together for Anna Sui! I was able to design a lot of the layouts and I learned so much from the process.

4. Goals for the future? 
I'm an artist, so my goal is to thrive by creating. I have a street style blog (Peacock Street) where I illustrate people I see instead of photographing them. Down the line I'd love to release of a compilation of these drawings in a book, like the Japanese magazine Fru!ts but drawn. I've got ideas for so many stories: children's books, comics, YA novels I want to write, illustrate and publish. I also love performing so I think about getting more into dance, rapping, even trying stand up comedy! I know it's all possible over time.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Sarah Mitchell

5. What has your journey to your success taught you? 
I wouldn't call myself successful yet, just on the road! I fear change, but force myself into it, which continuously proves to be good. Since moving to NYC two years ago I'm in my third apartment and 6th job and each one has led me to something better.

6. What do you do for fun? 
I love high energy exercise, like dance classes and hula hooping!

7. Favorite quote or Bible verse? 
No risk, no reward!



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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Happily Pink Journey



January marks new beginnings. As a new beginning, I've partnered with Skechers to bring to you my fitness journey in new footwear, courtesy of Skechers! My initial opinion of the Skechers GOmeb Razor™ is 100% positive. I enjoyed running in them for the first time this past, Saturday morning.

One of my goals for the new year included starting up a running group for beginners or those who need the encouragement to reach their mileage. I decided if I could impact at least one person then it would be worth it, and last Saturday two women showed up!

Cait is a previous runner but was wanting to ease back into the running routine, and Lauren hadn't ran more than one mile. Saturday morning we ran two miles nonstop which was a great accomplishment for Lauren since she hadn't ran in nearly three years. Cait was happy to be running again. While I have mileage in mind for the group I find it most important for everyone to have fun while running. If there isn't joy then why create goals for something you don't love?

A Happily Pink Journey

So how did I feel about breaking in my new Skechers GOmeb Razor™ during Saturday's run? Well they are extremely light-weight but also absorb a lot of the impact. I went up half a size from my regular shoe and they were perfect. The same day I ran extra to meet my running workout goal of seven miles and I had only amazing things to say. However, I'm not surprised since they are sponsors for the LA Marathon. Thank you Skechers for the amazing product, and I can't wait to wear the Flex Appeal 2.0!


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

As I reflect on the past 10 years Alex and I have shared together, I can't help but to smile. The laughs and memories remain vivid from any point of our relationship. We've made it through thick and thin. We've shared quite an adventure and it's only going to get better.

We met in middle school but didn't start dating until high school, which continued through college to now in the "real world."

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

We attended and watched sporting events together.

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

We traveled from East Coast to West Coast, and went on our first international trip together.

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

Most importantly, we are engaged and on the road to be happily married (don't worry I'll do an engagement post now that we're officially wedding planning)!

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

10 Year Anniversary with Alex

I never realized how lucky and blessed I was to meet my soulmate in the beginning chapters of my life. I love Alex and cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with him.



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