We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Voice Behind B&I

Who am I?
I'm a transplanted island girl now living in Midwest America with my Hubby of four years and our Baby Boy. We've recently moved to a new state and are adjusting to everything that comes with a new job and new place.

If you read my posts you'll catch a glimpse of my island culture. I love it! But I won't even get into all of that because there are no words to describe how wonderful and beautiful (and complicated) I think it is. I simply am a girl from American Samoa. I love the US and I love having been born and raised in an American territory. I hope to instill a sense of culture in my son, but I also want more than ever to have him love the Lord and this country that leaves us free to love Him.

Why is beauty such a big deal and what does it mean to me?
The different cultural structure I grew up in is a factor in my perception of beauty. Natural beauty and inner beauty is much more prized in Samoa than in other places. Or at least it was when I was a child. From what I've seen through recent visits home, that perception is becoming more westernized and leaning towards favoring outward appearance rather than a beautiful spirit and that saddens me. Also, being constantly presented with what the media considers perfection in the US is continuous mind fodder for me. I feel as if I'm always on guard from society's bombardment of popular opinion. No, I don't need that product to be happy. I tell myself. Yes, everyone is beautiful in their own imperfect way, no matter height, weight, age or race. No, I do not have the right to be cruel because someone's opinion does not match mine. A day in my mind, as my loving Hubby says, is exhausting. He is my rock and my center. And most days, we're able to keep each other grounded. I'm so extremely thankful for him!

Why did I start this blog?
Circumstances are tough for our family right now, but Hubby and I firmly believe in putting the best face on things and are determined to be happy no matter what! We love the Lord and love our family. Our Baby Boy is the best blessing in the world and our greatest treasure. Our situation has made us more conscious of how we spend our money and I am loving learning about how we can live beautifully on a budget and appreciating the little things in life. This blog is my way of cataloging my thoughts, lessons learned and homemade spa treatments. Also, I suppose it's become a form of self therapy for me. 

Where did Spa Night come from?
Years ago, I worked for a time in a high end boutique that made it's own bath products on site. The only problem was, the chemicals were expensive and full of unpronounceable ingredients. I also used to be an independent consultant for a high end cosmetic company and was an avid user of their product. I was horrified to find out they put the same chemicals used in embalming into their skin & make up products and promptly discontinued the selling and use of their products. And no, I will never reveal the name of the cosmetic company. Just because I don't agree with their methods, does not give me license to bad mouth them. I'd rather save my energy advocating the benefits of homemade beauty products. These experiences piqued my interest in making my own beauty products and I have been slowly experimenting with homemade beauty products for several years now. Knowing the ingredients in homemade treatments are good for my skin has huge appeal for me. 

Why is Thursday Spa Night?
I began doing my homemade spa treatments on Thursday nights back when Hubby was in night school. He would work all day and then drive an hour away to his classes. I would be alone every Thursday from 6AM-11PM and by 7PM I was so lonely! To pass the time, I started mixing up my masks or giving myself a pedicure. Anything to keep my mind off missing my man. Yes, I'm hopelessly in love. Still am. Over the years Thursday night pampering became a tradition and I love it. My week feels 'off' if I miss doing some kind of relaxation on Thursdays.

What has writing this blog taught me?
I've been a Work From Home Spouse, a Stay At Home Spouse, a Working Mother and am now a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM). No matter my occupation, I've found that taking time for myself every week has made such a difference in my attitude and mind set. In the past, I made the mistake of believing progress charts and corporate commendation determined my worth. I didn't think a SAHM's job didn't have value, I just didn't believe it was for me. I know many women who seem born to do this and do it effortlessly. I am stumbling along but have slowly come to realize that I am somewhat good at being a SAHM, just in a different way than others. That was my other problem, I was constantly comparing myself to the way a SAHM (in my head) was supposed to do things. And I never measured up. I'm different but I'm good at my job. And you know what? I recently realized I actually love it!

Loving my husband for all I'm worth, raising and teaching our son, and creating a peaceful frugal home for my family is amazingly becoming more and more liberating. I had to give myself permission to be happy in my new & different (for me, anyway) career as a wife and mom. I'm not settling. I'm not a slave. I'm living my life and loving it! I've also made it a personal mission to try to appreciate every one I meet and to notice the beauty in them. Given my naturally quick tempered, sarcastic personality, this has really been an eye opener to me and I consciously try to be a kinder, more considerate and uplifting person every day. Life is filled with beauty and every time I take the time to really see or listen, I find inspiration. So that's what this is about. If you have read this far, bless you! Welcome to my journey.

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