“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” —Anne Bradstreet

Winter ends in a few months (yay!) and I’m very excited! While I’m thrilled spring is coming, winter is a time to slow down and just be.

While I love warmer weather, I don’t want to rush any season of my life, even winter.

Recently, I read that winter is a time to plan and reset so you can evolve and grow in the spring. And it’s so true.

Plants go dormant and some animals hibernate only to emerge living their best lives after a few months of rest.

Although we’re nearly one month into the new year, I want to be in planning and resetting mode. And you can’t do that without taking time to reflect.

That said, even though my blog is intended to be a resource to help others, there’s always an underlying and personal intention I have with it: the capture my thoughts/memories and improve my writing.

And before I welcome spring in a few months, I wanted to share some 2023 winter reflections.

THIS WINTER, I…

WATCHED

Over the winter, I slowed down to be present with my loved ones so I didn’t watch much. However, I did get into Reacher. My best friend’s dad knows I come from a military family and that I love the action genre.

After binging on both seasons (I have the last one in the last season left), I was invigorated! It was exactly what I needed to see from Hollywood. No “agenda” — just good storytelling, great acting, and a lot of near-heart-attack moments that left me on the edge of my seat after the end of each episode.

Naturally, I always resort to reruns like The Mummy (1 and 2 – Brendan Fraser is my fave!), The Simpsons (early seasons only), Frasier, and the animated series of Avatar the Last Airbender. Did you know that rewatching the same things is a way to comfort yourself? Bet you didn’t know that!


READ

I’m working my way through The 16 Undeniable Laws of Communication by John C Maxwell and The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. I’m also finishing up Retirement Planning Handbook by Katherine Elk and am about to start The Smartest 401(K) Book You’ll Ever Read by Daniel R. Solin, Be the One by Justin Prince, and Wealth Habits by Candy Valentino

My friends Kimmy and Rachel and I just finished All Things New by John Eldredge. It gave us so much hope!

Life Lately - 2023 Winter Reflections | She Sweats Diamonds - Be the One by Justin Prince

Life Lately - 2023 Winter Reflections | She Sweats Diamonds - Wealth Habits by Candy Valentino


PLAYING

Does catching up on sleep count as playing? If so, I’ve been playing a ton, ha! In all seriousness, the only game I’ve been playing is Found It! when I need to wind down.


EATING/DRINKING

Food-wise, I’m not eating a ton. Not sure why, but I feel like it’s a phase I’m experiencing.

I’ve also been drinking a lot of sparkling water, and taking my liquid magnesium so I can sleep better.

If I’m eating out (which is rare these days), I’ve been enjoying tons of Vietnamese food. As you can see, the theme is comfort and warm foods, ha!

I’ve also been taking vitamin D (magnesium doesn’t work without this vitamin), liquid collagen, and Ova (which support my hormones without the use of hormones). If you’re interested, these links save you $10!

Life Lately - 2023 Winter Reflections | She Sweats Diamonds - bo kho - Pho Palace Arlington Vietnamese restaurant

Life Lately - 2023 Winter Reflections | She Sweats Diamonds - Eataly Dallas - pasta dish

Life Lately - 2023 Winter Reflections | She Sweats Diamonds - wonton soup - First Chinese BBQ Arlington Chinese restaurant

Life Lately - 2023 Winter Reflections | She Sweats Diamonds - beef pho - Pho Palace Arlington Vietnamese restaurant


WEARING

Since I work from home, I’ve been living in my The Bar sweatshirts and pajama pants. On weekends, I live in my favorite AG jeans and of course, APLs.

If I’m going out, I’ve been wearing my AG skinny jeans, plain t-shirts, and my black and white APL sneakers on constant repeat. My winter uniform has hardly changed, ha! I dug through storage to pull out this pair below for my 5K Turkey Trot last year!

Life Lately - 2023 Winter Reflections | She Sweats Diamonds - APL TechLoom Zipline pink


BUYING

After buying so much from Black Friday for Christmas, I dialed it way back these past few months. However, this past month, I just got a handful of things. For fashion, I purchased satin maxi skirts (so versatile!) to add to my closet. And for beauty, I wanted to test Pat McGrath’s Sublime Perfection foundation and treat myself to some holiday and Lunar New Year goodies from Dior beauty.

I’m on a financial freeze until summer at the earliest and I’m pretty sure I’ll be very successful as I’m laser-focused on my finances this year.

Life Lately - 2023 Winter Reflections | She Sweats Diamonds - Dior Le Baume hand lotion

Life Lately - 2023 Winter Reflections | She Sweats Diamonds - Pat McGrath - Skin Fetish foundation


LISTENING

I just found Stephanie Soo of Rotten Mango on Facebook recently. Since I don’t use Facebook often, I subscribed to her YouTube channel instead. While I’m not a fan of true crime, she is SUCH a talented storyteller that I had to subscribe to her channel!

I’m still listening to Christian influencers such as Amanda Ensing and Kevin (sorry, I don’t have his last name). They talk about current world news and how everything that’s happening is a spiritual battle we’re experiencing.

Both of them have opened my eyes in various ways regarding national and international events. While it’s certainly intense at times, their encouragement to their followers through the use of scripture has led people like me to not only read God’s word but to study His word so I can be at peace.

I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying House in Habit, Conservative Ant, and The Girl Named Blake for political news/events. Between these three, it’s a riot! And I know they’re the only way I’ll get through this election year, lol!

To keep things light, I watch/listen to Tubby Nugget, the cutest cartoon comic on Instagram!

Per usual, I listen to Charisma on Command and Minority Mindset on YouTube and podcasts such as The Spillover, The ItFactor Show, Huberman Lab, Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, and School of Greatness in between the cracks of my time.

Also, I had planned on starting on Blurry Creatures this past fall, but have not had the chance yet!


PLANNING

I’m still trying not to plan much these days and live my life trusting God will open doors He wants to open for me and close doors He wants to close.

However, I am being more intentional with my time. Saying no to hanging out with certain friends, saying yes to spending more time with my mom, focusing on my health, and getting better with my writing.

I’m also staying super focused on my 2024 goal which is healing many areas of my life.


LOOKING FOR

These days? Continued peace, more financial and business guidance in my personal life, seeing miracles, and my loved ones being successful at what they love to do are all I could ever ask for and need.


LOOKING FORWARD TO

I’m really looking forward to warmer weather as I’m over cold weather, ha! I know, I know. One snow day and I’m done. Yes, after the ice storm in 2021, I’m done with liking winter, haha!

Another thing I’m looking forward to is to deeply purge things from my storage unit this spring!

Entertainment-wise, I’m looking forward to watching the live-action Avatar the Last Airbender series Netflix has made coming out this month and going to see Ungentlemanly Warfare in the spring. The fact that it’s based on a true story already has me hooked. I will say it’ll be weird seeing it in theatres as I haven’t watched a new movie in person in many years.

I’m also looking forward to seeking out and watching more Indie films.

Between the woke agendas and constant re-booting of everything under the sun, I want to be intentional about who I support in the Hollywood sector.

I’m more than happy to support smaller actors whom I know care more about the craft/message than the money. While I know nothing about the film/movie industry, what I do know is that it takes time and money to make movies.

That said, the first Indie film on my list to support is, Two Ways to Go West. It came out a few years ago, but the storyline is so intriguing to me! I found it through an actor/writer, James Liddell, whom I just discovered on Instagram from a romantic short he was in.

He was so good in the romantic short! His acting captivated me so quickly (which is hard to do) that I had to look him up. I was surprised to see that James was not in many films at all. I know, insert sad face emoji.

With so many great actors/writers out there like James, I think it’s time to take a step back from big studios/A-list celebs and support those who take a lot of joy in what they do, especially ones whom you know “wear all the hats” to do what they love: tell stories. Talking about this, makes me miss my friend, Phil. Sigh.


LOVING

I still love Jimmy Darts as his videos always give me hope. If you ever feel down, go to his page. You will always, and I mean, ALWAYS have hope in humanity again! He just got engaged recently too!

I’ve been loving seeing my friends succeed in their crafts! From real estate to content creation to entrepreneurship to acting, I’m so happy to see a lot of my friends killing it!

I’ve also been loving having my nails done. In the past, I struggled with this type of pampering. However, I’ve learned to embrace it. Now that I’ve found my dream manicurist, I’m constantly looking for fun (and neutral) mani ideas!


THINKING ABOUT

I’m still thinking about my future self…who she is, how deep her relationships are (especially with God), her honed-in personal style, stronger mindset, and success portfolio. And as cheesy as this sounds, I’ve been praying for and thinking about my future husband, what our life together would be like, and how I can support him with his dreams.


HATING

I’m still hardcore-hating comments from people looking to intentionally hate. I D-E-T-E-S-T, detest when someone puts someone else down.

People are already having a hard time putting themselves/their talent out to the world and with hardly any support from their inner circle to boot. On top of that, some people are hard on themselves, so any additional negativity is not needed.

You know what else I hate? When someone leaves a comment saying, “Who cares?!” Obviously, you do, buddy. You cared enough to leave a comment.


SLACKING ON

Sleep. And I’m about to slack on it some more because Fashion Month will be back in a week! 


STRUGGLING WITH

Hands down, I’m struggling with aging and feeling like I’m not as successful as I should be by now. It’s not by society’s standards but by my own. See? I’m being hard on myself without trying.

I still struggle with taking breaks from staring at my computer screen. While I am getting better, I still have a hard time getting up and taking intentional breaks to give my mind and eyes some rest.


IMPROVING

My water intake is still improving, yay! Spending time with God and reflecting on my blessings has drastically improved as well and it makes me SO happy.

I also want to improve on trying new things this year. I mean, over the last several years, I’ve taken acting classes, written a song, learned to write Vietnamese (I can only speak conversational Vietnamese), and learned to paddleboard for the first time.

Maybe it’s time to go way outside my comfort zone such as pushing myself at the gym to get into the best shape of my life (which is hard to imagine if I’m being honest), going back to a gun range to learn how to shoot, make videos/reels (this is so uncomfortable for me), and publish more articles to speed up on improving my writing skills. Let’s see what I’ll end up doing in 2024 when I look back on this article a year from now!


THINKING ABOUT…WINTER 2023 LESSONS

This past winter, I learned that no matter how crazy this world gets, living in constant worry, stress, and fear is no way to live. All I can do is focus on what I can control and leave the rest up to God.

I’ve also learned that to get back to doing the things we were never afraid of doing when we were younger, but are now, is just exercising those muscles. Every rep we do is one step to being more comfortable with what we want to do.

Another lesson I’ve learned is that when I intentionally step outside of my comfort zone, it doesn’t matter if the action is big or small. Progress is progress!

As I age, I want to slow down and just enjoy life more. Maybe it’s because our parents are aging and we want to soak up every moment with them because we know we only have a limited amount of time left.

Maybe it’s the fear of running out of time to do what you love while making an impact. I think about this one often.

No matter what it is, the more I think about it, winter isn’t so bad…if you stay in a constant mindset/state of growth.

That and having a heater helps too.

Let’s catch up with each other!  Update me and let me know what’s going on with you as of late in the comments below! 

What are some of your favorite 2023 winter reflections?

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