10.21.2014

THE ALCHEMIST {Realizing my Personal Legend}

I recently went on what was supposed to had been a 31 day social media break.  I was taking time away from Instagram and Facebook because I felt as if my mind had become cloudy and well, it needed to be cleared.  That changed after picking up the Alchemist on day 1 and finishing on day 2.
 
 
 
Over the summer, one of my very best friends came home and wanted me to join her in reading The Alchemist.  I agreed, but I knew I really wasn't interested and so while she was here, I never got around to it.  Time went on, we had a great summer together and then it was time for her to head back home (she lives in Abu Dhabi).  By then, the thought of the book had slipped my mind until the day I decided to start my social media break.  It was on my steps and I said what the heck, it will give me something to do for the next 31 days.
 
 
"Each man kills the thing he loves." -Oscar Wilde
 
I was hooked after reading the introduction.  In the introduction, Paulo Coelbo (the author) says in reference to the above quote "The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt.  We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either.  We forgot about all of the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far."  He went on to say that he has known many people that when their personal calling was in their grasp, they committed a series of mistakes and never reached their goal.
 
That was probably my first "aha" moment! At that very moment, I realized that it was not meant for me read this book over the summer, but at the time I did because I was about to commit a series of mistakes.  Why?  Because as mentioned above, I had forgotten about everything I had gone through in this past year.  Unknowingly,  I was headed in a direction that would have pulled me away from my calling.
 
"If you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you understand the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here."  Paulo Coelho
 
 
From the time I was around 8 or so, I could remember feeling different about who I was as it related to who I was being raised to be.  I never felt like I "fit in" with my family.  They were weird and I was different (I'll keep it like that for now!).  I didn't know what it meant then, but as I got older the feeling just grew inside me.  When I look back over my life, I can see how there were many times that I've screwed things up for the sake of being afraid to rise up to who I felt deep down I was. 
 
I've amassed quite the following this past year.  It was never planned.  I think back to when I was blogging originally and how badly I wanted more followers.  I wanted to be like all of my blog friends that had grown tremendously over the same period of time and I started to resent them and blogging.  Little did I know, this blog and the way in which I was writing it wasn't going to get me that.  It wasn't until I pulled away and shifted my mind towards something more meaningful to me (myself), that I was able to attract others.  And let me say for the record, I never set out this time to have thousands of people interested in what I was doing.  I was simply just doing what I was doing for me.
 
 
 
"And, when you want something, all of the universe conspires in helping you achieve it." -The Alchemist
 
When I started my weight loss journey a year ago, it was simply just that, a weight loss journey.  I wanted to lose weight and that's what I focused on day in and day out.  It wasn't until after I had lost about 60 or so pounds when I started to feel a shift in how I viewed my journey.  I felt that this was just the beginning for me.  I felt like the pounds were just me shedding a shell to reveal the true purpose of this journey I had set out on.  For years, I hadn't realized that what was holding me back was indeed MYSELF!  By embarking on this "weight loss" journey, I was now realizing that I was actually walking into my calling and realizing my own "Personal Legend".  
 
 
"Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him," his heart said. "We, people's hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them.  We speak of them only to children.  Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, towards its own fate.  But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them-- the path to their Personal Legends, and to happiness." - The Alchemist
 
For so long I had allowed fear and my habit of holding on to things that were of no good to me limit me and my desire to go after everything I wanted.  I'm proud to say that on my journey, my path became clear again.  This time, I will not stray from it.  In the book, the term omen is used.  From what I gather, omens are basically signs that tells us the future.  They give  glimpses of what's to come.  I would say that I have noticed this more and more lately.  Originally, I was just thinking that my mind was playing with me or that I was thinking too much into things.  Now, since reading the book, I've realized that the universe (and what I believe to be God) has been in deed speaking to me.  I'm finally listening and taking it all in.
 
 
 
"Every search begins with beginners luck.  And every search ends with the victor's being severely tested." - The Alchemist
 
I would say my original "search" or journey would be the start of my blog five years ago.  It was me trying to find my way.  I was trying to find who I was and what it was that I was to become.  It lead me on a journey that had many ups and downs.  And though I do not believe in "luck", I do believe that the time that I started blogging was my version of beginners luck.  I think the past year has been my test.  I was tested to see how bad I wanted what I had set out for.  Interestingly enough, it was more than just my weight.  I set out to become the person I always knew I was. 
 
 
 
In the Alchemist, the main character set out on a journey to find a "treasure".  Although he did at the end find a real treasure, his journey itself (to me) was the "real" treasure.  Just like in the book, I did set out to find myself through blogging and even in the past year of losing weight, but what I have come to realize is that this entire journey of mine was my real treasure.
 
 
After reading this book, my 31 day break from social media lasted 10 days:)
 
"You must not let up, even after having come so far." -The Alchemist
 
Hat: Target (old)
Leggings: The Limited
Boots: GUESS
Bracelets: Wrist Soiree

10.14.2014

PLAID 3 WAYS

One thing that I was on the hunt for this fall/winter was a plaid shirt.  I recently found the perfect one and decided to share 3 simple ways I’ll be wearing it this season.
 
RUNNING ERRANDS OR HANGING WITH MY BOYS
 
 
 
 
 
The temps here in Georgia still reach mid 70’s and 80’s, so the good thing about this look is that I can simply take off the button down and tie it around my waist.
 
 
DRINKS WITH THE GIRLS
 
 
 
 
 
 
DINNER AND MOVIE WITH THE HUBSTER
 
 
 
 
(because they love to see you walk away!)
 
 
First look:
Old Navy shirt
tank 
 
Second look
Shirt and jeans (same as first look)
vest (Marshall’s)
Boots (Michael Kors/ old) similar style here
 
Third look

10.13.2014

CHANGE IS GOOD

For the past year, I have been on a weight loss journey.  If you follow me on instagram, you have seen every part of that because I have not held back anything.  I must admit, that journey has been one of the most liberating experience of my life! Not only have I lost a little more than 100lbs, but I’ve learned a little more about myself.  Although I’m definitely proud of my accomplishment, I’ve realized that that journey was just the beginning of my true journey in life.  I have been carrying around a ton of emotional baggage from my childhood, relationships with friends and family, and past relationships. 
 
After having discussions with a few different people and listening to others who have been on journeys of their own, what I’ve realized about myself is that my biggest problem is trying to make others happy.  I have been doing things that I think others would appreciate for so long, that I’ve forgotten what it is that Lakeitha like and want for herself.  It took a minute for me to figure that out and I would like to give social media credit for helping me arrive at that “aha” moment.  From blogging, to what I post on Facebook and Instagram, I question if it will be “liked” or received well by others.  But what about me?  What about what I really like?  You know, I love a good trend and I’m sure you do, too, but I am not a “trend”.  Let me go back and say that I am not by any means blaming any of you for anything that may be going on with me.  What I am saying is that CHANGE is coming. 
 
 ADDRESSING THE CHANGE.
 

For starters, my blog is now what I will consider a lifestyle blog.  It’s focus is no longer home décor/DIY.  I won’t stop decorating or DIY’ing things, its just not my sole focus anymore.  I like to cook, travel, decorate my home, figure out what works for my natural hair, and shop! I’m going to share that with you.
 
My personal instagram is no longer just my dumping ground for my before and after pictures.  I’m sorry ya’ll, but I AM NOT A BEFORE AND AFTER *lol*!  What it will show is how I’m maintaining my new healthy lifestyle after my massive weight loss, what I eat, a few exercises that I do, and said topics mentioned above (cooking, décor, traveling, etc).
 
I can’t control what you decide to do with this news, but I would like to think that it will be worth your while if you stick around.



L.

2.19.2014

NEEDING BALANCE...

My life is all over the place. Great way to start a post, right? For the past few years, I haven't been able to find much balance between raising my children, going after things I enjoy, running my business, having a social life. I'm literally starting to feel like life is running me (does that make sense?).

A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out the garage, yet again, and I jokingly said to my husband that I wanted to give being a housewife a try. His reply was "that would be awesome!". I know you're probably wondering what I meant by that since many of you that read my blog know that I am a stay at home mom. I guess what I was getting at was letting go of trying so hard to be EVERYTHING and do EVERYTHING except for the what my husband and I agreed on years ago. When we had our first son 9 years ago, it was decided that I would stay home and take care of him and our home while my husband worked. Great, right? Except the fact that felt like I wasn't bringing much to the table by doing "just" that. I have been going against the grain ever since.

So, what am I getting at with this post? Well for starters, I am tired. I'm tired both mentally and physically. I'm slacking as a mom and wife. My business is not as exciting as it once was. My home is a mess ALL OF THE TIME. My brain does not have a calm moment. This "try hard life" I've been living for the past few years is really about to send me over the edge! I turned 31 two weeks ago and I seriously feel like I've had a long hard life of straight hustling and bustling. I'm sure there is someone out here that can relate, right?

Needing balance... I titled this post that because that's what I'm feeling right now, but how do I have/create that balance? I've considered a few things like editing my shop down to only a few of my favorite and most popular pieces, giving myself time frames in which I can be on social media outlets, devote certain days to hobbies (like decorating my house... Geesh!), and a few other things. My family/home needs are at the top of my list and I figured by cutting back on all of the other things, it would help me the most.

 

It felt so good to be able to share this. I walk around day in and day out just thinking about how out of whack my life is and figured maybe I should just say it (or write it). First start to fixing it? Hopefully!

Tired of your own try hard life? Figured out a few ways to fix a few areas or add balance? Please share!

Happy Wednesday:-)

L.D

 

2.15.2014

MY WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY: pt.2

Thank you for your positive feedback on my last post. It's hard to be so open about such private things especially when you're sharing it with "the world".

 

I get asked a lot about how I stay motivated and if its expensive to lose weight. Well, I honestly think its more expensive to eat crap and gain weight. I also think "mind of matter" is huge when you're starting out. If you keep telling yourself that you can't do something, chances are, you won't do it.

 

My motivation comes from looking back at my progress. You know, the horrid before photos and then comparing them to my afters.

 

Above is me holding a pair of size 24 jeans that were starting to be too tight.

Above on the left is after I had lost 22lbs back in November and the right is a few days ago.

This picture shows where I started back in September. My stomach measured 49" around. I had purchased those jean Bermuda shorts too small a few years ago and said I'll lose weight to fit them. They're an 18 and they're starting to be a little too big:-)

 

 

Like I mentioned above, my stomach measured 49" back in September. It's almost a 36" now. I'm always anxious to see what the next week will bring. 2lbs here and there may seem like nothing, but boy do they add up quick! How can you not stay motivated after watching yourself literally "shrink"?

 

I don't know who all I'm inspiring or motivating with these posts, but I just felt the need to put them out here in blog land. I would love to share more if you'd like. I think what people are wanting more of are my daily meals. If so, let me know!

If you would prefer to remain anonymous, feel free to email me at lakeitha_duncan(at)yahoo(dot)com

I'm also on Instagram @lakeitha_duncan

L.D

 

1.28.2014

Opening Up: My Weight Loss Journey pt.1

I finally have a moment to sit down and catch you guys up on what's been happening in my life. I haven't blogged in months because I've been so busy and focused on my shop and my recently started weight loss journey.
 
Over the summer of 2013, my husband I were prepping for our anniversary trip to Miami. I, of course, was trying to figure out how I could lose a few pounds. I had recently weighed myself and realized I was nearly 300lbs. Actually, I was 278 to be exact. Can you imagine reading a number that large on the scale? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, the trip came and went and needless to say, I didn't lose any weight. I did manage to gain 2 more pounds, though.
 
Fast forward to September... I was sitting at my desk and looking at pictures on Instagram. I follow a few fitness pages and I was like "man, I can do this. I can lose weight, too." So on Sep.7, 2013 I started writing down what I needed to do to lose weight.
1. Eat better (clean)
2. Drink lots of water
3. Exercise
I also wrote down a list of foods I liked that were healthy and made a grocery list of sorts to get me started.
Chicken breast
Ground turkey
Shrimp
Fish (Talapia)
Whole wheat sandwich thins (bread)
Spinach
Reduced fat shredded cheese
Eggs
Broccoli
Brown rice
Canned tuna (in water)
Lettuce
Low sodium seasonings
 
Because I didn't have a gym membership, walking was my exercise of choice. Walking was something I knew I could do and I told myself to start off walking an hour. I knew I could do that and I figured if I start off like that, I wouldn't have to struggle too much to work myself up to the next level.
During many of my times walking, I would record myself. Just a few of my feelings at the moment and also shared some encouraging words to others that may have wanted to join in. 9 weeks later and I was down 22lbs!
(At the top of Stone Mountain)

 

That was back in October. I have been sticking to it and I'm at a total of 43lbs lost so far! Want to hear more about my journey? Stay tuned for part 2!

If you're anxious to see more, I am on Instagram (my personal account!) search either lakeitha Duncan or @lakeitha_duncan

 

11.14.2013

Home Depot Style Challenge: A Country Christmas

What is your style of decorating for the holidays?  You know mine is pretty colorful and eclectic, but this time around I went a little country with an outdoor space I decorated for the Home Depot Style Challenge I was a part of. 
 
 
Want to see the full space all decked out for the holidays?  Pop over and take a look.  Don't forget to let me know what you think about the space.  Did I pull it off?!?!
 
Thanks again to Home Depot for allowing me to be apart of such a fun project! This was actually my very first time decorating outdoors for Christmas.  I'm also grateful to my parents for allowing me to use their porch before it was even Halloween!!  Love them so much:)
 
Happy Thursday!
L.D