Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Macy's Heart of Haiti Holiday

Holiday time is about spending time with family, loved ones and making memories. Yes there is gift giving, gatherings and more. One way that Macy's is helping spread opportunities for local artists of Haiti is by providing a sustainable income for those in need. Let me tell you what this all means and how you are able to 'give back' this holiday season.

Recently Haiti experienced a hurricane this year and a devastating earthquake in 2010. Macy's made the bold decision to carry a product line made by local artisans of Haiti. Again that was in 2010, it wasn't easygoing back then. Today, seven years later, the products are still being sold. That is just wonderful. I was gifted a Heart of Haiti product. A lovely snowflake ornament. It is a handcrafted product which makes it that much more unique.

If you didn't know, Haiti is a country rich in the arts. The product line offers home décor with many decorative options. I put the ornament right atop my Christmas tree. It resembles a star to me. It makes the Macy's Heart of Haiti idea stay fresh in my mind every time I see it. The trade-not-aid concept is an opportunity to make a difference. So when purchasing gifts this holiday season consider giving something from the product line. With Macy's Heart of Haiti, people are employed and can make a livelihood.

Here is where to purchase from the Gifts That Give Hope Collection, simply click the link Also this video tells the story of the Macy's Heart of Haiti link so give it a view as well. I now have a new piece to add to my ornament collection. A yearly tradition is born as the snowflake ornament will be my tree topper. Happy Holidays to all.

*I was gifted a product from the Macy's Heart of Haiti line however all the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Know Me First

What anyone may think of me is none of my business. How I am perceived is none of my business. Any personal feelings about me is none of my business.

Anyone picking up a theme here? Well the theme is what is unknown to me is truly none of my business. If someone chooses to let me know their feelings, sentiment, personal belief of judgement of me or anything to do with me on my social media platforms - then it becomes my business.

The act of posting the comment has made that person known. Even if anonymous. It is easier said than done to ignore the comments. Sure let it roll off my back. Keep my head held high. Don't acknowledge it. Let it alone. Keep decorum and ignore adversity. Let good thoughts be my sword and shield.

Well that isn't what happens all the time. I've experienced verbal abuse at a very young age. At 3 years I remember an uncle saying something mean to me and locked me in a room. I was horrified not at being locked in the room but at the sound of hearing 'no one will love you if you're like that!' and all I thought was 'like what?'

Words have played a huge part in my relationship even with my own father. He has said some very detrimental consistent statements to me during my tween, teen and young adulthood. Even when I wasn't living at home I still had suffered his abuse. That realization to me was a strong knock me off my feet moment. It truly did happen when I allowed my mind to open up to the thoughts I had closed off.

Abuse even verbally has had a lasting effect on me which I have broken. Yes the words that are used on my social media platforms are very hurtful, rude and vulgar. Not every moment bothers me. There are times when it does. C'est la vie, right!?

How am I proceeding now? Well my journey is still moving ahead. You will see that my posts are still going. The blogs are coming for sure and my YouTube channel is ready. The new era of Joël is here.

What I've learned is I'm much more valuable than I ever gave myself credit for. People want to see me and hear my story. I've inspired people, that was a very 'Wow' moment. Recently learned too. My children benefit from my fearlessness. The support that is around is unmatched.

Lastly, all of what you've read thus far is a daily process of what I work against and through to be productive. My work begins in my mind first. Then my heart and then in the actual 'action' of it all. Constantly tending, mending and adjusting to make it all happen.

Surrendering to myself allows the best me to come forth. Accepting of it all helps me identify, target and focus. It's taken time but the best part is I'm so happy with myself.
That's the most important thing. I LOVE me. Self love has paved the way for me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Reindeer Romp at The L.A. Zoo

Another adventure occurred right before the holidays. I was invited to cover the Reindeer Romp at the L.A. Zoo on Nov. 20th. Such a treat to go and see a reindeer family with two babies in their Reindeer Village. Anyone is able to see these new babies and more until January 8th, 2017. That means plan your trip now before the Reindeer Romp is gone. 

Soft velvety hide and smooth antlers
Well first off my son and I entered the Reindeer Village home to get up close and personal with the two baby reindeer. They were quite big for babies but docile and shy when moving. I remember the zoo attendant that was on sight mentioned the reindeer being several months old. My son and I were able to touch an antler too. A new fact we learned about the reindeer is female reindeer retain their antlers until they give birth to their young. Male reindeer shed their antlers each winter. 

Now that's a groovy pink flamingo....yes!
Now what else can you expect on a weekend visit to the L.A. Zoo. A lot. Their is the reindeer keeper talks twice daily. My son and I experienced one of those. Hence the new antler fact we learned. There was also holiday crafts which our antler headbands did get wet from the light rain so I don't have any proof that we did them. The memory of it will suffice. Some more activities to experience are the Swazzle Holiday Extravaganza puppet shows, seasonal music entertainment by the Beverly Belles and a rotating schedule of animals unwrapping gifts of their own. 

One of the baby reindeer eating
Lions like to cuddle...
It did rain a lot more toward the end of our visit to the zoo. However that didn't stop my son and I from really taking in all the zoo had to offer. We saw a trio of hippopotamus in their area. Plus it was feeding time. Boy that was a sight. The male hippo was treated to 3 heaping amounts of veggies and watermelon. That mouth of his was very large. That was a very special treat as it was a first time, in real life, to witness the feeding of a hippo. 

Again we meandered around the zoo. Elephants, lions, giraffes, a slew of various monkeys, gorillas and birds too. My son took a great amount of photos with his phone so some of those photos made it into this blog post. His perspective was a bonus. I enjoyed all the various facial expressions he had throughout the day. Before we left we did go back to the Reindeer Village home to see the two reindeer babies again. Such curious creatures that walk unsteady here and there but so big to be so young. 

Both baby reindeer laying cute! 
I highly recommend visiting the L.A. Zoo before January 8th, 2017 which then the Reindeer Romp rides back to the north pole. It isn't often you get to see them, experience them and learn new facts about them. My son and I learned a few things. For more information visit their website and go experience the romping and more. 

*This is a sponsored post. Any opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.