Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

November 24, 2022

Destination: Life is Beautiful

Bridal Reflections

My wedding day was the absolute perfect day, and I wouldn’t change a thing even though everything wasn’t quite perfect. My groom is the man of my dreams. Everything from my dress to my hair turned out perfect.

When I had wished that I had decorations for my ceremony, my wish was granted: the entire city plaza was lit in beautiful blue, green, and white balls of lights hanging delicately from the trees above us. When we got to the restaurant for our simple reception, the whole celebration plaza streets had decorated for the upcoming holidays too, in beautiful white sparkly and hanging lights from all the trees and light poles. I turned to my groom and said “look, they decorated just for us”. It was like the whole city had decorated in anticipation of our special wedding day.

I also struggled with the fact that some of my family wouldn’t be there with that I would’ve liked to of been there that day. Although they weren’t there, I didn’t feel any less loved or supported. The people who were there made me feel very special and even helped me to think of things that I didn’t think would be important, like taking a bunch of photos in every pose, every angle, and every family combination possible - that I know I’ll appreciate now. It was hard to hear that certain family didn’t want to come celebrate my milestone, but I knew I was marrying the right person, so nothing else mattered at that point except for him and me.

Back to the decorations- I guess I just happened to pick the right restaurant for us to have our reception at too. Everything was just right. they sent us at a really nice round corner table at the end of the room so we had our own private space. The decorations from the ceiling were beautiful glass amber blocks with light filtering down and it was the perfect atmosphere to celebrate our new union. our food was delicious and we ate like kings and queens.

The wedding cake was wonderful. My sweet friend offered to give me a cake when she found out that I was getting married and she arranged the most delicious and beautiful cake from a local deli with little white and royal blue rose sets of whipped topping over a vanilla with strawberry filling. It almost tasted like a fancy strawberry shortcake dessert. I was so thankful that my friend could attend, and that she gifted me with that lovely cake.

I am so thankful and very excited to be joining my new family. They are really stellar people and have a lot of love to share. I get the gift of lots of new family members, including a sister-in-law and two lovely mothers in-law.

I never knew I would make out so blessed in life but here I am and I am so thankful. Family means so much to me and now I have the gift of being able to build my own, with my groom…

There was a time when I didn’t know or see how my life could work out in a beautiful way, so I want to encourage others to keep moving forward with your life goals and have big faith that the universe has your back. I know life can be so dark when you feel alone and without purpose. Keep going friend and you’ll find your happiness too.

Now that I’ve saved the best part of the story for last… I am thankful to have found a partner that not only gives me butterflies but also I can call my best friend. My groom is no more than a regular (amazing) guy - but he’s mine! We’ve had our ups and downs over the past couple years but ultimately he gives me a firm foundation of unconditional love to be a better person and I simply wouldn’t want a day of my life without his presence. I am SO thankful for him!

I finally found my happily ever after <3

#wedding #happyeverafter #amberclee

June 30, 2022

Skin and Body Image #skintoo

Hello internet friends!

I was reading this article from Stylist UK: 

A third of women won’t exercise because of how their skin looks, a new study finds

...And I have to share my own experiences. This article hits close to home because I am definitely one of the 1/3 of women they talk about that has struggled with body image issues, partially fueled by my own skin problems. I hope that by sharing my experience that I can help others who may be feeling the same way.

My skin problems and by poor body image started when I was a teenager. I imagine lots of people start having anxieties at this time. We're hyper aware of our own bodies and how they are changing, and our peers are quick to point out anything that seems even remotely different than normal body development.

I have a skin disease called hidradentis suppertiva that started when I was about 13. We live in Florida, so the hot, sticky summer weather made this skin condition even worse. I constantly wore jeans to hide my skin, even if I was hot, I would lie and say that I was fine just so I could justify hiding my body. In school, I carefully raised my arms when answering a question, being careful that my arm pits would not show where I also had lesions from my skin disease.

Hidradentis suppertiva is a auto-immune related skin disease where my body is overactive in attacking the regular bacterias that live in your skin and hair follicles. It produces painful sores that often leak blood or pus. I am fortunate that I know how to handle my wounds after so many years and my careful diet and lifestyle has made sure that the lesions have not progressed to stage 3.

It is a very embarrassing condition to have to deal with on a daily basis. You see other people's skin and all I wanted as a teen was to have beautiful skin and legs like I saw my classmates had.

Not only did this make trouble for my body image and confidence during my teenage years, but as an adult, I continue to deal daily with my extreme body cleanliness to make sure that the disease doesn't progress. Because it has an auto-immune component, I can sometimes be tired, like you have a constant cold hanging over your energy levels.

I propose a movement for skin acceptance, similar to the me too or body positivity movement. #skintoo

I hope this gives you a window into the struggles of having an auto-immune skin disease that will be with me forever and will hopefully not progress in severity. Please be kind to people around you regardless of how their outside might look... 

The above linked article gives the following advice to build your confidence:

  • Talk about it
  • Exercise in inclusive places
  • Wear whatever makes you comfortable
  • Don't worry about what others think
Please know that...

You are beautiful regardless of your skin type, skin problems, or skin "life character" like scars, sun marks, stretch marks, and wrinkles.

Photo by Eva Bronzini. 
#amberclee #skintoo
Photo by Eva Bronzini from Pexels: Photo by Eva Bronzini from Pexels:
Photo by Eva Bronzini from Pexels:

February 25, 2022

Twenty-Post Challenge: My Blogging Story

This is the third post in a twenty-post series blogging challenge.

The challenge for this post was to share why I started blogging and tell about the moment that I decided to write.

When I first started blogging, I was in my early 20s. My very first post was summer 2008 and was entitled "A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step..." I had earned a technical writing degree that gave me a little insight into writing and how to use online tools.

Life was promising but a little tough at the time: I had moved eight times in the span of just a couple years following a relationship around the country that later failed. We moved from Florida to Arizona to Pennsylvania to Maryland to Alabama and then to Texas, twice. I remember working at my computer looking out at the snow from a Texas apartment, boxes still stacked up from the last move, and trying to share with the world some of the thoughts that I have written down in my little notebook while working a part-time job as a gas station clerk.

As a creative, I needed an online platform to share my opinions and designs. I write and design a lot in my free time because that’s what I’m driven to do – it’s my gift that, like a tsunami wave, I can’t hold back and must write down the thoughts swirling into and around my head. I have notebooks saved on my bookshelves from over 20 years of writing: little scribbles, planning things out, drawing out systems or ideas. So, I take the best or most relevant ideas that I have and share them on the blog.

A blog provides me with a public platform for possible employers or other professional connections where I can create the story publicly of who I am. I want to showcase my writing and share the experiences I’ve gained with other people. I gain authority in my field by confirming my opinions and designs with others.

By maintaining a blog, it makes my own thoughts important to myself by becoming concrete and shared with the world. Sometimes thoughts come in our heads and slip away so easily. Blogging gives me a way to concretely engage with the rest of the world. It’s also not as intimidating as doing so face-to-face. I can connect with others who have similar ideas or interests through the power of the Internet.

Bloggers can add great value and richness of experience to what is presented on the web for consumption. I hope the ideas and designs I share on my blog bring you value too!

More to come about why I decided to start blogging in future posts.

The original challenge is from Writer’s Write.

#amberclee #20postchallenge

February 17, 2022

Twenty-Post Challenge: My Favorite Quote

This is the second post in a twenty-post series blogging challenge.

The challenge for this post was to share my favorite quotation. I’ve chosen to share a quote attributed to Dr. Maya Angelou.

Image by Amber Lee.

Dr. Maya Angelou was an influential modern American writer (to use her words, a phenomenal woman!) and fully understood both positive and negative human emotions. Her understanding of people is reflected in the quote I’ve chosen to share. In a world where everything material is treated as so important, Maya reminds us that how we treat others will be the only important remainder.

Think about your interactions with others: have you had an interaction with someone that left you feeling a little beat up? Sometimes the goal of a conversation is reached, but the participants really don’t treat each other with respect in the way they interact.

Feelings and emotional interactions are often dismissed as non-important in business and personal dealings. If feelings are prioritized, then you’re somehow weak and not focused on concrete goals. Feelings are not a reality of a situation, but simply an experience that can be controlled and thus should be easily dismissable.

But what happens when we look at our interactions with others from a long-term perspective - when we look back on our lives and remember what truly “matters?” When all we have are achievements and amassed wealth in material or financials, does this really make a life satisfying to live? Many people might say no…

Maya is teaching us in this quote that the only things that will really matter in life is how you make someone feel. Were you kind? Did you make someone feel accepted or take extra patience when someone struggled through something? Did you help someone that needed a friend or simply a kind word? Just like you, many people have shortcomings or their own obstacles that they’re trying to overcome and a little kindness may be greatly appreciated.

When we’re kind to others, the positivity radiates into our lives too.

Let this quote encourage you to treat others with kindness and respect. Realize that there’s more to winning at life than acquiring possessions and achievements. And as writers, we can utilize feelings to drive our literary goals with an audience.

Here’s an interesting point to end this blog post: although this quote was attributed to Maya for her 70th birthday wisdom in 1998, the original quote belongs to someone else, a preacher, who published it first in the 1970s. So Maya may have liked and used this quote, but she was not the originator! Regardless, Maya seemed to love this quote herself and used it in several of her speeches later in life. 
By Office of the White House - White [1], Public Domain,

The original challenge is from Writer’s Write.

#amberclee #20postchallenge

August 2, 2021

Role Models

There’s been a few times in my life where I’ve needed a new direction or guidance. One of the best sources of this life guidance comes from finding role models that mirror your own personal life goals and then emulating their success to then reach your own goal success. I’m always looking for great role models, most especially female role models - - as they share the same experiences that I have, like motherhood or being a wife, and they have still built immense (and unique) success in life.

As a great financial and business leader, Warren Buffett was really my start to this role models project. His advice advocates that you model your own leadership (and goals) after the very best: find successful people to admire, then simply repeat [or improve] on their methods to success. He also strongly advocates increasing your communication skills, learning something new every day, and to stop using procrastination and excuses to hold you back. Whenever I get stuck, I go back to his basic yet powerful advice to inspire me and get my progress on track again.

Choosing role models

I’ve found that it’s helpful to choose several role models from the different areas of life that you’d like to focus your goals in. Think about the different areas of your life and for what you’d like to set goals. For me, these major life-goal areas and basic guiding questions might be:

Work: Who do you wish to model professionally?
Relationships: Who enjoys and embodies the types of relationships you seek?
Health: Who is, for you, the model of health and wellness?
Spiritual Growth: Who can serve as a model for your spiritual development?
Personal Interests: Who represents “the best” in your hobbies and areas of interest?

Lastly, remember that it’s always important to be yourself. Set goals in line with who you are and your values. As Judy Garland once said: “Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” The unique contributions that you can bring to the world are too precious to waste by simply being a copycat. Strive to put your own spin on projects and never give less than your best effort: You’d be cheating yourself otherwise!

Some of my female role models

I highlight female role models in the list below because it was hard for me to find a good list online when I was searching for ladies I could look up to myself.

(In no specific order)

  • Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth
Duckworth is a professor, business woman, and researcher known for her work at the intersection of resilience and passion, coined as grit.
One of her quotes: “Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint."

  • Melinda French Gates

Gates is an influential businesswoman and philanthropist.

One of her quotes: “Philanthropy is not about the money. It's about using whatever resources you have at your fingertips and applying them to improving the world."

  • Michelle Obama

Obama is a lawyer, former first lady of America, and now a style icon.

One of her quotes: “One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals."

  • Simone Biles

Biles in an inspiring Olympic-level gymnast.

One of her quotes: “Do what’s never been done before”

And if you still don't think she's totally amazing, see this clip of her performance:

  • Mary Wallace Funk

Funk is an American aviator and currently the oldest astronaut (flying with Jeff Bezos in July 2021). 

One of her quotes: “You have to remember one thing. The only thing a woman needs to compete in a man’s world is ability.“

  • Kathy Ireland

Ireland is a businesswoman, model, and fashion icon.

One of her quotes: "I look at failure as education. In that respect I am so well-educated."

  • Amy Schumer

Schumer is a fun and outspoken comedian.

One of her quotes: “I know my worth. I embrace my power. I say if I'm beautiful. I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story. I will."

  • Maya Angelou

Angelou is an amazing writer and poet.

One of her quotes: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

  • BeyoncĂ© Knowles

Knowles is a singer, dancer, and business investor (she's currently working with Peleton).

One of her quotes: “Do what you were born to do. You have to trust yourself."

  • Serena Jameka Williams

Williams is a talented world-class tennis player. 

One of her quotes: “You have to believe in yourself when no one else does."

  • JK Rowling

Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter series. 

One of her quotes: “Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.”


  • Martha Stewart

Stewart is a business empire mogul, a queen at all matters of the home including decor and cooking; and a tv personality.

One of her quotes: “All the things I love is what my business is about."


  • Alyssa Carson

Carson is the youngest future astronaut (a Mars colony planned for 2030).

One of her quotes: “Believe in your dreams, appreciate oneness, and help others."

...and that’s just a start - what other role models do you find helpful for life guidance? Leave me a comment below.


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