Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I certainly have loads to be thankful for this year, I've been blessed in so many different areas of my life. I'm looking forward to a wonderfully slow and lazy Thanksgiving day with my family. Can you think of anything better, right now? I wish you all the same warmth and happiness.

As always, thank you for your continued support! Happy Holidays!

(Photo via The Effortless Chic)

Gift Guide: What to Get Your New Best Friend

This starter charm bracelet, $28, from Baublebar will help you remember the new memories you will build together.
Banquet of Consequences, $28.95, Elizabeth George's newest crime drama novel for your literary bestie.
This Plush Polka Dot Bear Jumpsuit, $29. 90, from Forever 21 for the hibernating months.
Her feet will be toasty all winter long with these new Cozy Slippers, $29.50, from Victoria's Secret. Hint: They'll make great stocking stuffers!
Your friend will love any one of these feminine, clean scents from Philosophy. Prices start at $48 at Ulta.


Perception in Print to Get a Makeover

Hello my darlings! I've been working odd shifts for the past few months and unfortunately blogging has taken a back seat to all the chaos. I'm back! and I have some good news to report. After four years, I've decided to give Perception in Print a much-needed makeover. It has become increasingly evident to me, and most likely to you, that the current design is outdated.

The new design will be simple, elegant and modern. In addition, it will no longer include a header picture.

What will not change?
The current url will remain the same, so you won't have any trouble finding the site when you perform a search.

What will change? 
When you click on the website in the next few weeks, you will see "Stapha Arabella"(my first and middle name) as the title. The tagline will be "Perception in Print."

I'm hoping this change will not be too confusing to you all since Google tends to pick up taglines when it indexes its websites. I truly do not want to lose any of you and I hope you continue to visit my little corner. Ttys :)


The Polo Bar

I know, I know, I've seriously been neglecting my blogging duties. The truth is I've been having a rather difficult time these past few months. The fact that I remained unemployed months after earning my master's degree was just one more thing that made me sink deeper into a depressive state. I lost interest in all of the things that brought me great pleasure, like writing to you, my darlings. But the fog has lifted, and I'm feeling much better now. Oh, I also joined the ranks of the employed. Whoop, Whoop!

Above are the pictures I took from the Polo Bar on Yves' birthday in May. Yves was actually impressed by their service, and he's a tough nut to crack. I'll talk to you soon. Enjoy!


Last-Minute Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's day is right around the corner! If you're scrambling to get something for the ultimate lady in your life, I've got you covered.

1. This darling Nambe Fruit Bowl & Tree for the humbled homemaker, from Neiman Marcus, $125.
2. The SunnyLife Bronte Cooler bag for the on-the-go mom, from Shopbop, $34.
3. The Beach Bombshell Box for the eco-friendly mom, from AbesMarket, $98.
4. This famous fine art print for the artistic mom, from allposters.com, $39.99.
5. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (hardcover) for the literary mom, from Barnes & Noble, $19.44.


How Do You Deal With Anxiety?

I've learned to reign in my anxiety over the years, through sheer will. It hasn't always been easy. After  a traumatic experience back in college, I was flooded by fear and anxious feelings. I reached a point where I could not sit with my family and watch TV. Any unsuspecting movement would have me teetering on the brink of a break down. For example, a commercial featuring an incoming car. Yes, it was really that bad.

Convinced that I was having multiple heart attacks at the age of 22, I spent copious nights in the emergency room. I was actually a little relieved when I was finally diagnosed with anxiety disorder, which symptoms I was told mimics a heart attack.

After my so called "near death experiences," I began taking Zoloft to abate my anxiety but the medication only seemed to make matters worse. I became significantly more anxious, sensitive and emotional. I had always been emotionally stable, it was one of my most cherished traits. So, It was difficult to watch myself crumble into a shell of my former, more vibrant self. It was even more difficult on my mother. I felt incredibly helpless, like I was gradually sinking into quick sand but was unable to rise to the surface, no matter how hard I tried.

One night, I stumbled on an infomercial about generalized anxiety disorder. They were advertising a self-hypnosis CD of some sort, so I decided to give it a try. At that point, all of my skepticism fell by the wayside because I had reached my lowest point. I was desperate and was willing to try anything.

That CD changed my life...

It was narrated by a man with the most soothing voice who instructed me to picture a serene place and sound. For me, It was a quiet beach with waves lapping on the shore. I would lie in bed and mentally transport myself to that beach, all the while visualizing all of my anxious feelings wafting off of my body, escaping through my pores. Lo and behold, it worked!

On occasion, I would still get intense panic attacks where I couldn't calm myself enough to visualize anything. Luckily, as the years went by, those attacks were few and far between. Now, I seldom get panic attacks. Whenever, I feel one coming on, I simply close my eyes and picture my little piece of paradise.

Do you have anxiety? social or otherwise? If so, how do you deal with them? I'd love to hear how you tame those nagging anxious feelings!

(Picture via here)


Are You Comfortable Talking To Your Friends About Sex?

Whenever my friend and I meet up, the conversation inevitably turns to sex. I'm no prude, although some will beg to differ, but I'm just not comfortable going into decorative anecdotes and innuendos. That's not to say that I don't enjoy a good adult conversation but when the conversation veers into salacious territory, I clam up and revert back to a giggling, blushing prepubescent. In a way, it feels like I would be violating my partner's privacy by sharing a deeply personal moment.

Growing up I was taught to be very ladylike and to close my legs when I sit, I even took a few etiquette lessons, courtesy of my late father who was a stickler for good manners. I carry those experiences with me so they definitely play a role in preventing me from oversharing intimate details about my personal life. Not that there's anything wrong with anyone who chooses to go that route. In fact, I admire my friend for being so frank about his sexual experiences.

How candid are you when talking about sex with your friends?
(Picture via here)


The Secret to Keeping Your Sheets Tidy

A clean bedroom equals a happy, peaceful mind. I find that making my bed every morning gives my bedroom an instant facelift. However, soon after I climb into bed, that inevitable slip-and-slide situation ensues.

Lately, I've been tucking my sheets beneath my mattress, a method known as the "Hospital Corner." It works like a charm. My mother even goes one step further and pins her sheets to her mattress. If you have little ones, I recommend that you avoid the latter, you don't want any ouchies.

Will you give the tuck method a try? or have you been implementing it all along?
(Pictures via here)


Female Friendships

One of my favorite bloggers, Joanna, from A Cup Of Jo wrote a post recently about maintaining female friendships and it made me realize that I'm not a great friend, especially to my girlfriends. I pride myself at excelling in everything that I do so this is a difficult realization to come to terms with. I naturally gravitate towards males, it has always been that way. I've never been good at forming lasting female relationships. That's not to say that I don't enjoy their company and value that indescribable bond that comes with being friends with a member of the same sex, but somewhere along the line there always seem to be a disconnect, on my part. I neglect my friendships. And no, I won't bore you with any excuses as to why that is.

What I will say is that meaningful friendships take time and commitment. That's true of any relationship. I've never challenged myself to do the leg work to reach that coveted stage, that "sisterhood of the traveling pants" stage where you've built an unyielding bond that no one or nothing can sever.

When it comes to friendships Socrates once said "Be a good one, and you'll get good ones." Like love, friendships are just two people looking in the same direction. I'm not a good friend because I don't take the time to nurture my friendships. I'm a constant progress of growth and change, this is just one more thing that I need to work on.

(Picture via here)



Running Into An Ex

Running into an ex-boyfriend, the inevitable encounter we ladies all dread. We picture the moment it will happen in our heads, and off course, we always look fabulous. However, in reality we usually end up looking like frumpy aunt Franny. Why do we always look our worst when we run into an ex-boyfriend?

I never wear sweat pants to go outdoors. I mean never, except for about three weeks ago when I bumped into an ex from college. Off course, I was wearing pig-tails because apparently the encounter needed an additional dose of awkward. Yep, looking like a six-year old sealed the deal. We shot the breeze and talked about our lives and all the while I just wanted to run away. Why couldn't I have been wearing one of those killer power suits that day?

Have you ever ran into an ex looking less than your best? do share!

(Picture via here)
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