Soooo…. I think its safe to say life as we know it has changed. Had you told me that at the top of 2020 we would be where we are now, I can’t say that I would have believed you. However, this time in quarantine has brought about some weird but much needed emotions that I would like to share.
TBH that’s to be honest for my non-short hand folks- which defeats the purpose of short handing it to began with. See, see there, see what life has become, a never ending explanation of nonsense.
Ok where was I? Ah yes, my emotions. So I like everyone else across the world had a swirl of BIG ideas and 2020 was set to be the year. I mean Carlos and I brought it in with a bang. I’m talking big fireworks and an amazing NYE celebration and I even wore “Josephine“.
He even brought me a Passion Planner for Christmas and its supposed to be the planner of all planners- so that I could get my ish together. It helps you set goals and after every month allows you to journal about self reflection and evaluation. I mean its pretty freaking cool once you start using it.
With this journal in one hand and my plans in was prepared to launch this and create that, and make this and put together that and then CORONA happened and the world immediately said PAUSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE and then let out the most sinisterly (is that a word, I’m making it a word) evil laugh I have ever heard
PLANS? PLANS! PLANS! WHAT PLANS is what I heard it yell at me.
As everything began to unfold- we were all met with uncertainty and filled with confusion on what was to be true and false. What was normal and what would soon become the new normal?
When the pandemic first hit, it was over Christmas time and many were not aware of it like we are now, but one person that was- is my husband, Carlos being his field of study. He watched it all unfold and by the time it had grown to effect the remainder of the world, I was visiting in the US.
I was told by British Airways to immediately return to the UAE by March 15th or risk being stuck in the US for the foreseeable future. The earliest time of return that they could “guarantee” was going to be April 12th.
Fast forward and that guarantee definitely became null and void as there are still people stranded all over the world but specifically those UAE residents in the States, who now have been told June 12th is the next date they may return.
Now don’t get me wrong I love spending time with my family- but my husband is just as much my family and I couldn’t risk leaving him abroad for more time than we had planned and allotted being apart.
So I returned on March 15th- 2 days prior to my original departure date of March 17th, and as soon as I landed for my layover in London, they were closing travel to the US, so I witnessed many Americans stuck in the London Heathrow Airport with no date of when they could return. I then departed for the UAE and 8 hours after landing in Abu Dhabi, learned that they closed the UAE borders to anyone including locals entering the country. I had barely made it back in time to the UAE otherwise, I too would have been stranded in the UK.
Upon arrival, ish became even more real as Carlos and I were both forced into a 14 day in home quarantine because A) I had recently traveled internationally to the US and B) I landed with some symptoms of illness and concern that he may have been exposed by me. I made an appointment to be checked and when we arrived, we were quarantined in a small room by the hospital and I was required to undergo COVID 19 testing.
When I tell you all that swab test is invasive, I am pretty sure they touched the back of my brain. After testing, we were sent home to await my results, which I received 4 days later via text and thankfully I tested negative for COVID 19 and my symptoms were that of a common cold. We were blessed to be alive, and safe and well but saddened by the news of immediate family members who were affected and friends who were beginning to lose loved ones to the disease.
When the year first started out- my motto was “Protect my Peace” at all costs and that pertained to both my personal and professional space and being inundated by the news began to become a bit much. Add social media to the mix and it was a recipe for mental disaster. I began to see us turn on each other, mock people for decisions to take proper precautions and openly defy government directives.
But one narrative that I was truly taken aback with was the idea of “productivity/discipline”. I saw people continually posting a time and to some degree, I have to disagree.
I think this time has shone a huge light on how often times people are overworked, overstressed and it stems from overthinking. It leads to cycles of feeling productive but really just being busy and busy work never “worked” in anyone’s favor. There are some people that work so much that once they are off the clock- they don’t possess the mental space for much else and decompression is the only way to maintain their health and sanity.
And while I had no control over anyone else’s choices, I knew I could control mines and I decided to do just that.
So instead or reprimanding people for what they choose to do with their time, especially if they aren’t hurting anyone, I have opted to encourage people to do the best they can within their circumstances. While recognizing if I have no control over anyone else’s choices, I know I control mine own and I decided to do just that.
With that being said- if you require rest, then rest because during this time your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Which reminds me- did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? So keep that mind when dealing with others- either on the job or in public.
I also want to encourage people to think situationally. Everyone may not have the access that you have to the tools or opportunities you have because we don’t always reside in world of equality or equity. So let’s consider that before we force all of human kind in a bubble of basic knowledge and access. Let’s pray or meditate or check on those who know may be in some kind of need especially those who may live alone or have lost loved ones during this time.
And in encouraging you- I wanted to share a bit about my journey, how I have personally decided to manage my time, which required a real reevaluation of my professional life but also my personal life and how I opted to turn “obstacles into opportunity“. Shout out to Gina Dillon of WEADS (Women Entrepreneurs of Abu Dhabi) a business group that I am proud of be apart of for that tidbit
First- I had to recognize the correlation with how my emotions had definitely effected my mental and physical health and that meant taking the time to in a sense mourn the things that I planned and what could of been. For instance, I had two major opportunities, one was the launch of a potential concept store opening here in Abu Dhabi in a major luxury retail space and the other was a showcase at the Nordstrom/Archer Hotel located in the luxury shopping center called in The Domain in my hometown of Austin, Texas.
Not only was it an opportunity to show my city what I could do but it was being held during SXSW (South By Southwest) one of the BUSIEST times in the city annually. This event unfortunately was cancelled. I had to mourn how I wouldn’t be able to move forward with the Summer trunk show I had set in the States to showcase my latest collection, BETA and to finally create a crossover appeal and connection between my international and local existence and that was cut short. I had to mourn how I would miss the birth of my FIRST nephew, Jackson, who by the way was born over the weekend and is the most beautiful little boy I have ever seen. Auntie Nikki can’t wait to see you in person little man.
However, the moment that I decided to come to terms with each of these things and see the positive value in each of them was the moment I became better. Like being thankful that I was even considered for such an opportunity in both Abu Dhabi and Austin, or grateful that my business is still thriving and that the response has been amazing, the fact that I am still fulfilling orders which reminds me don’t forget to book your virtual consultation today (shameless plug) or that I pulled off an incredible photo shoot of both collections while home with a team of dynamic business women who have all supported my dreams along the way. Or that God blessed my sister and brother in law with a HEALTHY baby boy that is bound to turn this family upside down all in the midst of a pandemic.
It was when I began to see things through my rose GOLD colored glasses (see what I did there- sorry I love rose gold) that I began to become stronger.
Because I’ll admit in the beginning of all this I really wasn’t. So this is what day 70 of quarantine looks like and if you’re a busy body like me here are few things you can also try during this down time that allows you to channel your energy into positivity.
1. Learn a new language
It’s not a secret my obsession with all things French from fries to toast- (that’s a joke) but seriously- if you’re an avid follower of me from my Devereaux Dossier days until now then you know. I love all things French. From the food to the culture to the travel and especially fashion, and over the last 2 years I have been taking French lessons on and off.
Well during this time, I finally decided to buckle down and really focus on it and I am now on day 21 of my lesson. The go to app for me is Duolingo– its downloadable, very doable and did I mention FREE.
I started with just 5 minutes a day and every 30 days I plan to increase by 10 mins. It’s been cool using it and even watching a television show and being able to catch a phrase or word that I am familiar with.
Prayerfully when this all ends and I can return to France within the next year and put these lessons to use. But in the meantime, I’ll settle for back and forth French and Patois banter with Carlos in order to get my practice on.
2. Get healthy
Now the word healthy is subjective. What’s healthy for you may not be healthy for me and vice versa. For instance, right before the pandemic hit as aforementioned, I was home in Texas and I took the opportunity to eat everything in site. I mean from Shipley’s to Whataburger, Short Stop, old faithful Kerbey Lane (they have Frose’ on the menu now btw), Torchy’s, Andy’s Frozen Custard, tons of random snacks from HEB and of course tacos, tacos and more tacos. No matter where I went- if tacos were on the menu, that’s what I was ordering and a whole lot of home cooked fried meals from my father. My only regrets were not making my customary Whole Foods, Pappadeaux and Rudy’s runs (there is always next time)
Nonetheless, you can tell I ate them out of house and home (ever heard that saying) and packed on the pounds to prove it. So much so that when I landed in Abu Dhabi, I was determined to shed some weight. Have you ever just felt heavy? That’s how I felt- just sluggish and wrong, so very wrong and so I decided during this quarantine not only am I going to test my discipline in the kitchen but also in exercise.
As the saying goes- abs are made in the kitchen and so here goes. I cut out all meats with the exception of fish and shrimp. That meant no chicken, beef, pork, turkey, lamb, duck. And listen that was hard because I likes alllll da meats. Yes DA meats and there isn’t anything I won’t eat.
Then there was also no dairy especially eggs, ice cream, milk and butter, bread or refined sugars which meant cookies, cakes, pies, tarts, croissants etc which I also loved.
And lastly no ALCOHOL. Now to know me is to know I love a good cocktail and my bar is fully stocked, but I knew if I was going to make a complete change- I had to bomb the booze.
So I became what I like to call was a vescatarian. Yeah I made it up- deal with it. Its a vegan/vegetarian who eats fish. I drank nothing but water, no juices and ate mainly greens/ veggies, fruits and nuts and honestly it wasn’t as difficult as I thought because I was doing it my way. I started every morning with a glass of room temp lemon water to flush my system and boost my metabolism and even did a 10 day green smoothie challenge to aide in my regularity.
My favorite Tropical Green Smoothie recipe is as follows:
- 1 handful of spinach
- 1 handful of kale
- half a cup of frozen mango, pineapple and kiwi
- 1 half of a banana
- 1 and half cups of coconut water
- half cup of filtered water
- And blend together
Next was the exercise regimen. Now I wasn’t setting out to become Jillian Michaels, I was just over being a JigglyPuff and wanted to get in shape for myself as well as tone up.
So I began working out just 30 minutes every single day and each day had a theme/ area of focus from upper body to abs/core to lower body and then full body workouts, occasionally throwing in a good stretch routine when I felt like my body needed a rest or active recovery day. Along the way I began to share my progress on social media and a few friends and I began to come together for Zoom Call workouts using- PopSugar/FitSugar Fitness workouts on Youtube and it was awesome and free.
They offer workouts not only targeting specific areas but that require no equipment only body weight which is perfect for doing at home.
I managed to go 60 days on this self implemented food and exercise program and lost a total of 14 lbs and 5 inches overall going at my own pace. I feel great, I have more energy and even Carlos has noticed a change in my skin complexion and body shape. My clothes are baggier- which means alterations and new wardrobe are in the works and my body feels healthier.
Even my digestion is much better, as I have suffered from IBS and other ailments in the past and I just feel so much better about myself and my body internally. Along the way, I threw in some supplements like an all natural liver cleanse, multivitamins, Biotin, Calcium and Vitamin D ( to counteract the loss of dairy) and probiotics to balance out the good bacteria with the bad.
So I encourage everyone to get active during this time in any way that may work for you. Go at your own pace and only document your progress if it serves as a help to you not a hindrance. Don’t allow yourself to get locked to the numbers on the scale and don’t compare yourself to others.
Every BODY is different because everybody is different (see what I did there)
3. Get Uncomfortable
What do I mean by that? Do or try something that you typically wouldn’t do. For example- I decided to challenge myself to slowly come out of my comfort zone professionally and create more online video content. Now for those who really know me- they would think that I have this bold and crazy personality and that this would be easy for me but it’s not.
While it’s not lost on me that retail and the entire world of business is changing and the new buzz word is “pivot”, I still wanted to do something that was organic to me. And because of the state of things, I totally understand that how I promote my business must also change and in order to embrace that change I had to do something different.
So I have created a Style Series called “House of Devereaux Presents” on IGTV- that’s Instagram TV for those who don’t know and it highlights each individual piece from both of my collections, the muses they are made for and dives into fabric choices, how to style it and why I created it while giving you a dose of Devereaux that you didn’t know you needed. As time rolls on- I also plan to add a styling element showcasing the versatility of items in your closet and other style tips.
Now while I definitely wouldn’t consider myself shy, when it comes to doing anything new and especially in front of a camera, I, like most people am nervous. I spend time wondering how do I sound? look? Am I making sense? Am I speaking clear? How will people respond? Will they respond?
So it wasn’t until I took a deep breath, turned on the AC from nervously sweating and told myself its like talking to your friends- that it all came together. So I got on camera, pressed play and began to have fun being myself. A special thanks to my niece and my friend Melarie for encouraging me to be seen and showcase my work from my perspective.
This is not to say that it was easy stepping outside of my comfort zone and I will admit that my very first video probably took me 12 takes. But now I am down to 3 and incredibly proud of myself. I have morphed my apartment into my “style studio” and enjoy taking a bit of time to get dressed up out of my usual workout clothes and return to my alter ego- “Devereaux”
To check out my episodes click here and I look forward to sharing with you all my latest collection BETA set for release next month in honor of my birthday (its my gift to you all- outside of myself) ha!
The world is ever changing and this pandemic is proof of that- so I say pray for those who are in need and make the most of the time that God has given you and if in that time you decide to take a slumber than so be it. In a world built on “being busy” you’ve earned it.
Thank you all for continually sharing in my journey