Elevated Living: A is for Amber Budd Atelier

I met Amber Budd in the craziest of ways here in Boston, that in truth- would need to be a post of on it’s own! We were both new to Boston, and starting new jobs, not having the slightest of clues where life would take us. That being said, my namesake has not only moved on from Boston, but moved on with her career by opening: Amber Budd Atelier in Burnsville, Minnesota.

I’ll never forget the first time she taught me how to do “Smokey Eyes.” The best part is, it was with neutral toned colors, to highlight and accentuate for ‘Elevating The Everyday.’ I wasn’t one for much makeup, or the time I thought it took to look all fashionable and put together; but Amber Budd made it simple. She spoke my language and translated make up into ways that even I could understand.

She showed me what brushes to use and why, and the importance of blending. Even more, the importance of the best tools you have- your hands and yourself! To only do what feels natural, and use as little or as much as you wanted. Depending, of course, on how dramatic your inner Diva was feeling that day.

I think of her now that I’ve “mastered” liquid eyeliner. (I use “mastered” lightly, as I’ve finally figured out how to match the straight even line on BOTH eyelids- Hallelujah!) And I enjoy sharing the fact that I’ve found “my red lipstick,” which as she proclaims is the “Holy Grail.” And she’s right.

Amber Budd is truly an artist. Her joy is contagious as she shares what is not only a passion, but a gift as well. It’s a privilege and an honor to see her grow and learn as she hones her craft. Her light shining brighter as she shares it with the world; but never overpowering her signature make up brush strokes, a solid defined eye, and lips that pop. Just one of the many ways, to Elevate Your Everyday!

Keep up with Amber and All Things Made Up by Amber here: http://www.amberbudd.com/   @AmbersAllMadeUp on #Twitter @AmberBudd on #Instagram  https://www.facebook.com/amberbuddatelier on #Facebook

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

 

Elevated Living: Wedding Expo at Whole Foods CRP

Whole Foods put on a wonderful #wedding expo yesterday, Saturday April 26th 2014, at their Charles River Plaza location 181 Cambridge Street in Boston, MA [CRP].  It’s the beginning of that time of year, wedding season…but it’s also the season to get together outside and enjoy whatever reason you have to Elevate Your Everyday.

What’s great about attending these expos is picking up creative ideas appropriate for most any party or event. It was also a great way to showcase the talent at Whole Foods. Who knew they were a one stop shop for your party planning needs?!

Fondant Wedding Cake: In case you couldn’t tell- that’s a real vase on top!Image

Buttercream Wedding CakeImage

 

CupcakesImage

 

Flower Arrangements & CorsageImageImage

 

Candy Bars & Candy TreesImageImageImage

 

Beverages: Mocktails & Wine

I’ve been considering doing this at my apartment for quite sometime now. I mean, how great would that be to just come home, grab a glass, add ice, and pour. Ahh, relaxation in a mocktail mason (or cocktail glass if you prefer!) Pictured below is the simple mix of Powell & Mahoney #Margarita mix & 365 Whole Foods SeltzerImage

Emily & Daniel from BRIX Wine Shop led a fabulous tasting. All wines are under $20 (?!) keeping in mind that you may be serving large parties and pairing with a variety of summer foods. They also are excellent stand alone wines as well.Image

 

 

SWAG: Stuff We All Get (and love!) Thanks Whole Foods CRP for all you do!

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Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

Elevated Living: Joos Day 6 (11.23.13)

Day 6: Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Today was uneventful. I’ve never been so thankful for that. I’ve entered into a wonderfully developed routine, of ease and simplicity, grounded and sustained in my very own “Om” and relaxation. I will live in this place forever!

Woke up to blog, drink my warm lemon water and get ready for the day. I started off with “Vitality” chia for breakfast. My stomach had been upset the last day or two, so I upped my intake of water to maintain my hydration, and continue it’s, ‘self-clean,’ if you will. I think I’m fighting whatever is going around, and Joos is The General in this war. Thankfully, we’re winning. Or, it could be my body getting rid of more than just the day to day, but hardcore muck I’ve accumulated over the days, months, and years prior to this cleanse.

I’ve never felt this light?! Fresh, and clean, on the inside! Yes, I have lost a few pounds, and it’s exciting. It wasn’t a goal, but an unexpected side effect. Not just for vanity’s sake, but on a health tip that my body is letting go of what it doesn’t need. A lesson that I am sure my body is telling me to carry on into other ways of my life 🙂

Furthermore, I’ve developed long term habits and knowledge to maintain this style. Do I plan to be vegan for life? Probably not. But who knows. I know foods and such that I craved just days ago, I have no desire for. Things I thought I needed, are now questions of, ‘where does this come from?’ and ‘how will this actually benefit me?’

My snacking has stopped. Yes, you read that right! A grazer for life, I give my body a break between meals now. Aware and alert, and in becoming so, I’m more conscious of things that I say and do. Less reactive, and more intentional. I’ve shifted priorities, and perspectives, taking time and giving time to myself in quiet ways.

Lunch was another delicious meal of spinach, pinto beans, mushrooms, carrots, avocado and all kinds of goodness. Smaller now, which isn’t too surprising. I was always the one that would have an appetizer for a meal, or only finish half of my entree and take the rest home. They sure are healthier meals now though!

I brought my “Antioxidant” Joos for dinner to the Faneuil Hall tree lighting. Part of me wishes I had taken a cup of my new “Le Digestif” tea from at David’s Tea to keep me warm, as it was colder than I anticipated. However, having dinner on the go, while taking in the twinkling lights was quite festive and wonderful. I loved being outdoors, drinking in the excitement of the holidays around me, while drinking in the goodness of Joos on the inside.

Leaving before the actual tree lighting, as it was just too cold and crowded for my taste, I went back home feeling festive, and alive, and thankful; and it was more than any holiday gift could aspire to be.

Joos Day 6: Tree Lighting

 

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

Elevated Living: Joos Day 5 (Friday 11.22.13)

Day 5: Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Today was the perfect day with my Joos cleanse. I woke up feeling rested, even though I had interrupted sleep as I was on-call. I didn’t feel hungry, and my morning “pre-breakfast warm-lemon-water” was the perfect temperature. Then I read the email for Joos Day 5 focusing on the “What” and “How” of the cleanse.

“2. The HOW to eat: That requires waiting approximately 4 hours in between meals so that, simply put, your metabolism works more efficiently. We do not emphasize this on the shorter Reboot programs, but if you feel like you’re getting the hang of this, you may want to give it a try. Typically, though, the HOW is more challenging than the WHAT.”
Whoops! I have been grazing all throughout the past 4 days, so thought I’d give it a try today, Friday, Day 5, to curb my snacking. I started off with “Antioxidant” with chia for breakfast. I drank it in a reasonable time around 9:30am-10am. I think my focus and determination was on my side today, as I didn’t even feel hungry until around 11:45am. At this point I had more than 1/3 of my daily water requirement and was sipping on “Joos Elixir Pinapple.”
With no snacking at all, I made myself a vegetable and protein rich lunch, around 1:30pm/2pm. I tried my new black bean soup by Dr. McDougall’s. Unreal!!! Another ‘where-has-this-been-all-my-life’ moment?! Oh- I know, probably hidden somewhere under the vegan and/or gluten free stereotype.
 Dr. M Soup Front Dr. M Soup Back

Thank God for the freedom to go beyond ideas and images of what being vegan is and means; to just simply enjoy good healthy food. I’m not trying to downplay any doctrine here. I’m just stating that I know there’s much, that even a daring and open person like myself, has avoided in context of labeling. Alas, here I was, slightly unaware this world of goodness, richness and bounty! I say slightly, because I’ve explored areas of vegetarianism, but never Vegan until this cleanse in June and now.

Keeping up with my water intake, I had a side of spinach, onions and mushrooms sauteed in seasoned oil, and kiwi for dessert. Without even feigning snacks this afternoon, by my “Citrus” Joos dinner I had consumed more than my suggested daily amount of H2O. Being the weekend, and in relaxation mode, I consumed even more in my spa like evening, having the apartment to myself.

Candles lit, “Cafe Del Mar” playing on my Pandora “Yoga Station” I am just so there. That wonderful place we all strive to reach that seems outside of ourselves and our grasp. The positive vibrations we are all too distracted to hear. So please, do yourselves a favor over this weekend. Make the time, to take the time, to find this place. Invest in yourself. Be aware of not only what you put inside of your body, but what –and whom– you surround yourself with. Ask yourself; in what ways can you enhance, and ‘Elevate,’ your environment? It could be as simple as buying a scented candle, drinking more water, or taking 10 mins out of your day for quiet, private, YOU time. That, my friends, is Elevated Living.

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

Elevated Living: Joos Day 2 (11.19.13)

Day 2: Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

I started off with “Vitality” with chia for breakfast. I wish I had mixed it up so I didn’t do back to back of the same drinks. However, that being said, chia made “Vitality” taste so smooth. I liked it a lot more than I did last night, despite the beets! It’s interesting to consider how chia effects taste; aside from just texture. I was feeling a bit sluggish, although I was extremely well rested. Thankful to be getting an earlier start than Monday, I tried to get in a lot of my water intake before I moved onto the “Joos Elixir Pineapple.”

For lunch I started with brown rice, that was leftover from day one. I covered it with green beans, spinach, sweet potato, and almonds that had all been sauteed in seasoned olive oil. I continued with my “Joos Elixir Pineapple” and “Original” throughout the day. Following it up with hummus and carrots, and a “Joos Bite” for a snack around 5pm. Those snacks will be incorporated into my new healthy habits for life!!! I chose “Lemonade” for dinner and had a “Joos bite” for dessert around 8pm.

Don’t let the green color of “Lemonade” throw you off!
It’s sweet, citrusy, and delicious! Definitely perfect for a summer day,
but filling enough for a winter dinner too! 

I felt good today, just trying to keep up with the water intake is a still bit challenging. I take my 20 oz water bottle wherever I go, (to make math easy!), but the challenge is remembering to drink it even though I’m not thirsty. In fact, I didn’t even finish my dinner! That’s what’s so crazy about this.

I feel SO full!

Because my body is getting all the nutrients that it needs, without sifting through junk- of many kinds- I don’t feel hungry like I used to.

I kept trying but I easily missed an ounce or so. I cut down on the snacking today, and I’m going to cut down on the brown rice a bit tomorrow too. [*Please note: I am NOT complaining. I am fully aware that I am extremely blessed, to be abundantly full inside & out; it just happens to make me forgetful!]

Either way, I was able to get some amazing rest for the second night in a row. Thanks to Joos keeping me mindful of abundance abound and helping me Elevate My Everyday!

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

Elevated Living: A Roseway By Any Other Name

I hope everyone is ending their week on a high note!
Enjoy a fun story that has
Elevated Living coming full circle
and learn what our “icon” is all about 🙂

A year ago I kicked off Elevated Living with a small but fun “$1 Oyster Crawl.” I wanted to remind people, there are ways to enjoy yourself in any economy.  That just because you need to dine out on a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t dine out. That although you can’t afford a vacation, you can still enjoy the unexplored all around you.

People need to come together and enjoy the gathering of friends;
to simply connect and support each other at the same time.

One fine “Elevated Day” August 2012 I snapped this shot of a boat on my way to Boston Harbor Islands.

Elevated Living

The Roseway

On the walk home last night, while ‘Elevating My Day’ at Free Thursday Nights at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), we came upon the photographed boat docking and closing for the evening. While speaking with a representative, I learned that this National Historic Landmark schooner is the called, “‘The Roseway,’ a nonprofit organization providing educational programs and public sails to adults and students worldwide with the World Ocean School.”

Here I’ve chosen this photograph, as an icon, to represent what I felt that day; relaxed, stress free, sailing through life in a cool summer breeze, pure elation. Whether it’s professional organizational tips, health advice, or frugal foodie finds; Elevated Living was created to give sources of information and creative ways to “Elevate Your Everyday.” To help others feel that sense of elation I felt.  Now it means even more that this is what they do at World Ocean School, primarily focusing on educating and informing underserved youth, empowering them with education and elation, those who wouldn’t often have this opportunity to set sail.

To make the circle complete (as would only be appropriate) The Roseway holds, “Sunset Sails and Beer Tastings.” I mean come on- was this meant to be or WHAT!?! “Do Good and Have Fun Doing It,” tickets for the Sunset Sails are $50 for about 2 hours with beer tastings, passed appetizers and sunset on the water. Better yet, half of your ticket is tax-deductible, helping to support the inspirational programs of World Ocean School.  I’ll be heading out on Thursday August 1st, 2013 for the Harpoon Brewery tasting, with friends, food and fun on the horizon.

IMG_1457

Tuesday, August 13th is the Elevated Living Annual Tour.
I’ll be showing you my version of Happy Hour in Boston, aka Frugal Foodie Finds
with good food, great prices, amazing company and awesome times.
Let me know you’re coming by buying tickets here: http://elevatedliving.eventbrite.com/

If you can’t attend any of these events, please continue to find ways to Elevate Your Day, whatever and however that may be. Let those you care about know they are loved. Hold the door open for someone. Drink a nice cold beer, or share wine with friends (non-alcoholic beverages count too :). Donate clothes, or other items, and realize how fortunate you are.

Just remember, only accept the madness only as a welter of opportunities to Elevate Your Everyday. Continue to treat yourself well and make life easy on yourself. It’s ripple effect on others will be both gratifying and magnifying.

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

Elevated Living: Wagamama

Too often there’s so much focus on lack, or disappointment, or negativity, instead of sharing The Good News. The expression is if you don’t like something you’re more likely to tell 10 people; and when you do like something, only 2. So, I wanted to take a moment to highlight a pleasant experience at Wagamama (Prudential Center) that made me enjoy my meal, and the restaurant, that much more.

While working the Boston Marathon Expo at Hynes Convention Center I had a 40 minute lunch break. Honestly, it was just enough time to grab a bite to eat and briefly relax, after navigating the maze of crowded runners about the aisles.

I was craving more than fast food, particularly a hearty soup, and hoping for something on the healthier side. I opted for Wagamama.  The restaurant had just opened for the day and the server was not only attending to guests at tables, but greeting guests at the door as well. Regardless, I waited only a moment before being approached and welcomed.

“I’m wondering if I can be in and out in about 20 minutes,” I inquired. I was told that because they had just opened, ‘It was a high possibility, although it wasn’t a guarantee, they’d do everything to make it happen.’

This is a great way to let the guest know you understand their needs and you’ll do your best.
Simultaneously, you empower the guest to make their own decision to stay, and make no commitment or promises. *It’s always when you make a guarantee that something happens! (Murphy’s Law!)*

My server pointed out menu items that would be speediest, which was easy enough since I wanted Spicy Chicken Ramen with Spinach and a cup of Green Tea.

The server assistant brought my soup and tea, and only two bites (slurps?) into it the server came back to check that everything was to my satisfaction. She then dropped my check saying take as long as I like, but wanted me to be prepared to leave when I needed to. Honestly, this was all under 8 minutes. I ended up staying about 18 minutes, with the freedom to leave on my time.

Working in the service and hospitality industry, from busser to management,
being a guest has taught me a lot about proactivity and expectations.

Dining out helps hone ones skills to realize what the guests needs and wants are. From a customer perspective, you then learn the difference between meeting and exceeding. An overall example would be; meeting, bringing everything the guest asks for; while exceeding would be, the guest not even needing to ask.

Servers, and experiences like this, are the ones that need to be mentioned and thanked. Yes, it was early in the day, my order was ‘simple,’ and this may not always be the case. But when it is the case it deserves to be acknowledged. Personally, I would rather spread positive experiences rather than negative ones. For it’s always best to make sure the guest leaves with a good taste in their mouth. That way they’ll only be hungry for more.

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

Elevated Living: Lunch Time

It’s #LUNCH time! Everyone has their theories on what the biggest meal of the day should be and mine is lunch. I like to start my body off easy in the morning, as it wakes up, but not overwhelm it at night with a heavy dinner.  Lunch is also a great time to #Spend wisely; where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.

Last #Wednesday I went to a local #Boston #Indian #Buffet at Tantric India Bistro.* It was packed- but that’s a GOOD thing when it comes to buffets. A busy buffet means a high turnover, so nothing is getting stale, overcooked, or forming bacteria. It means it’s being catered and cared to, and that the food is being cooked FREQUENTLY!

What I love about #Indian #Bistros and #Buffets is you usually have really tasty vegetable and vegetarian options.  Another great thing with Indian cuisine, #Japanese, and #Greek lunch specials is those healthy options, vegetarian or not, will have excellent flavor.

So seek out a buffet close to you, serve yourself, sit back and relax. It’s a great way to take a break from fast paced and processed food and make some time for yourself outside the office, solo or catch up with friends. Buffets save you time AND money and that is a great way to Elevate Your Everyday!

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

*I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Tantric on quite a few occasions. Service and food were impeccable each time!

Elevated Living: Start Your Week At Restaurants

Do you ever abstain from dining out because it’s too expensive? Of course! So it’s important now more than ever to learn HOW to do it!

If you’re up for going out on a Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, you’re apt to enjoy yourself just as much, if not more than going out on the weekend. Many restaurants offer Prix Fixe meals, some only certain days of the week, usually the beginning: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. These are the days restaurants provide enticing offers like Prix Fixe menus, specials and other options that won’t break your budget but will still fill their seats. Consider this when coordinating date night, or girls night out. Thursday, Friday and Saturday do NOT have to be your ‘go-to’ nights!

Another advantage of dining out at the beginning of the week is it’s less crowded. While everyone is getting into the groove of the week ahead, recovering from their weekends, you have a better chance to enjoy a seat at the bar; without someone reaching over you.  I have had some of my best meals at a fine dining restaurant bar on a Monday or Tuesday. In addition to a satisfying meal, I usually receive excellent service, sometimes even a complimentary glass of wine or beer pending locale. This is also the time when you can usually grab the most requested table in the house. You know the one. By the window- with the view. Or the private corner booth, booked up for months in advance.

My last two reasonings to Start Your Week At Restaurants are your budget and your mood. Starting off your week, for those that do budget, you’ll have a better outlook on the reality of your finances. You won’t be squeezing something you can’t really afford at this moment in time, but instead enjoying yourself. You’ll be paying for a 3 course meal what many will pay for just their entree later on in the week. Now feeling good about that, is a great way to start your week. It’ll help carry you through until the weekend too; and then again til next Monday’s date night.

 

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

Elevated Living: Frugal? Yes. Cheap? Never

As a frequent traveler between Brooklyn, NYC where I was born and raised, and Boston, MA my current home, (#YankeesForever) I have tried many a routes, services and options to connect the two as a passenger. As a college student, and even in my post collegiate days, I was always scouring for the fastest and cheapest availability; which was usually never a match. The most popular, affordable, and being in Brooklyn convenient of these options, was “The Chinatown Bus.” Cheap may be an option, but after a bus full of infested cockroaches falling from the air conditioning units I soon realized it was not the only option.

The fundamental aspect to understand whether one is being Frugal and when one is being Cheap, no matter how broke you are, is knowing your worth. Are there other extenuating circumstances? Always. Does Whole Foods accept EBT? I believe not. My opinion clearly stems from the availability of being fortunate enough to: Have Options.

On my latest trip home, being now, wherein which I write from an Amtrak whizzing 20 minutes south of Providence, RI, I am enjoying a Brooklyn Beer Summer Ale, homemade popcorn and two seats to myself. I was proactive enough to provide my own Adult Bevy (it is Happy Hour y’all) and snacks thus saving some funds. Always traveling with my trusty water bottle (I hate paying for water when I can bottle at home!) I opted to splurge on a sandwich for the road.

Many think of “Amtrak” and believe they can’t afford it. Instead, because I booked two weeks in advance, I was able to score a $49 OW (one way) fair. Greyhound/ Peter Pan is known to charge as much as $40 OW for an even longer bus ride. Also, signing up for Amtrak’s Frequent Traveler Miles program (Free) I earn miles towards trips.*

This is something I think that comes up a lot, with my peers, friends, and even family. We believe so many things to be unattainable, instead of spending time figuring out how they can be attainable. We think we lack worth in the form of being able to afford something, instead of taking the time to be proactive, persistent, and patience in planning our course of action. I’m sitting in a seat for $130+ easy, yet I have two for $49. People on this train are paying $6 for Coors Light (Bless your heart) and I’m chilling with Real Beer; if that helps to further my point.

Which, in summary is this:

You make your own decisions.

Make sure they are in your best interest, serving your best worth.

These are the only ways to Elevate Your Everyday.

Oh and that bus I no longer ride has this on their website: “Suspending all buses service to compliances a requested by US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for inspections and repair services.” Yeah. About that. So cheers for now, I have a beer to drink and a view to enjoy.

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate The Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

*Create an email account for any and all “Frequent” travel, dining, whatever cards- AS LONG AS THEY ARE FREE! So many gifts out there waiting to be claimed by just being “A Member”