IMG_5456Hello and welcome!  Allow me to introduce myself, I am Shawna Marie Thomas, aspiring interior designer, certified in personal nutrition, natural hair cutie and a fitness enthusiast living abroad.

I’ve talked about starting a blog for nearly two years now.  It wasn’t until I quit my job last year and moved abroad for love, that I was finally afforded the time to do such and to really focus on it.  Allow me to give you a bit of a background story on how I got to this point…

I was born in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands in the early 80’s.  I don’t remember much about island life, but I have a few warm memories.  Going to the beach with our entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) every Sunday after church, climbing trees for exotic fruits, playing in the fields/streets with friends, carnival…  When I was seven my family moved to Florida, after hurricane Hugo had caused some serious damage to the island, and my Father found a promising new job.  From then on, I grew up on the east coast of Florida, near the world famous locations of Cocoa Beach and Kennedy Space Center.  My childhood was filled with trips to Disney World/Universal Studios, waterparks, Girl Scout events and beach trips.  I was very fortunate for such an up-bringing.

From a young age I aspired for so many things.  In the 3rd grade our teachers had us creating our own books; we would have to come up with a story idea, write it out, we would illustrate them and have an about author page.  My books were always about love or money and my about the author page listed about 5 careers or dreams; to be a doctor, to be a lawyer, my love for sports…  I was in the gifted program, as well as the Odyssey of the Mind program (OM).  I joined chorus, which I became a big fan of.  We had the privilege to perform every year at either Disney or Universal, what kid wouldn’t love that?  I thought maybe one day I would become a famous singer, or a pop star (I still have this dream).  I was also a member of the Spanish club, because being born in St. Thomas, which is so near Puerto Rico, we were taught Spanish form the beginning of our schooling. I loved Spanish so much from a young age, that I thought one day I would be a Spanish/English phone operator!

I was always very studious and I had loads of ‘book smarts’, in junior high school I was a member of Future Business Leaders of America, I was on the yearbook staff, but as I became a teenager my love for sports became more apparent.  I joined the track team and I ran sprints as well as relay events.  I had always had a love for basketball because I grew up watching games on TV with my dad and uncles, so in my freshman year I decided to give it a try.  I wasn’t very good at first, but with loads of practice and experience I gradually got better as the years went on.  In my Junior year of high school towards the end of basketball season, as I was finally able to hone my skills, I tore the ACL in my right knee and had to have reconstructive and orthoscopic surgery.  This was devastating for me, because I had finally felt like I had found my calling or something other than book smarts to get me by in life.

The summer before my senior year was spent recuperating/rehabilitating my knee and preparing for my last year of high school, as well as trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life after high school.  That year I explored other avenues and classes that I hadn’t considered before.  I became the editor of my school’s literary magazine as well as the school newspaper; my childhood passion for writing had returned full swing and I thought I would write great novels someday (and I still kinda think it’s possible).  I had also started taking art classes like ceramics, photography, drawing 101 and I joined the morning announcements staff; this was the first time I fell in love with the camera.  It was then that I decided what I want to do ‘when I grew up’, which was to be on TV.

When I graduated high school I had the dream of becoming an MTV veejay, so in order to pursue such dream I studied the art of broadcasting at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.  This was a very exciting period of life for me.  I was discovering myself and making some of the best friends that I have had the chance to make & keep, and I learned so many things about the world.  Somehow I managed to get through college, with a plethora of life experiences and a better understanding for how the broadcasting industry works, and I fell out of interest for it.

After college I started working in the restaurant/hospitality industry and continued to do so up until the summer of 2014.  It was easy money, I met all kinds of people, and it allowed me to live a carefree lifestyle.  In the first couple of years after college I just partied and worked, worked and partied.  I visited San Francisco for a friend’s graduation in the winter of 2005, I met a boy and fell in love with the city of San Francisco.  2 months later I packed up all my things and headed out west with the hopes of a brighter future.   My relationship with said boy was short lived but my relationship with San Francisco lasted for 8 years.

I had started bartending before I left Fort Lauderdale and continued to do so when I relocated to San Francisco.  There was so much opportunity in that city and creative energy that eventually I enrolled in community college courses for film editing.  I figured it was a more feasible career rather than being an MTV veejay or on air talent.  After a couple of classes I lost interest yet again.  I went back to working and partying, partying and working.  I have always had an interest in interiors, decorating, and design.  My next thought process was that I would study interior design and hopefully work my way into the field of set design.  Once I started taking classes I realised residential design was more up my alley.  I took 1-2 classes a semester for a couple years and was unable to afford the time and money to take classes, but I still had the desire to become an interior designer.

The last apartment I lived in, in San Francisco was a beautiful but shabby Edwardian.  None of my roommates cared enough to do anything about the space, so I put what knowledge I had about decorating to use.  I transformed it into a beautiful place to call home.  While I lived in that apartment I decided it was time to get in shape; all the years of partying were starting to catch up to me.  I had a friend who was training for a couple of 5k races and so I decided to join her on hikes, as part of her training.  I also started to watch what I was eating and cooking at home more often.  It was a bit difficult to see any results as I was still living a pretty unhealthy lifestyle because of my job and partying but I did what I could.

In the summer of 2013 a man, who caught my eye, walked into my bar and we started talking.  I learned he was in town, from England, for work for the next 3 months and I befriended him as I did to most people that came into the bar, it was a bit like Cheers in that respect.  As the summer wore on we chatted about various things, and even shared a few drinks together here and there.  One day he FINALLY asked me out to dinner and I’m happy to say we have been together ever since.  We dated long distance for the first 6 months; him travelling to see me and I travelled abroad, for the first time.  We decided to spend a substantial period of time together to see if we could make a relationship work and so I took a month & a half off of work and I flew to England.  Over that month and a half we moved into a bigger house, which I got full reign to decorate how I saw fit, I took my first trip to Spain and we decided that in the best interest of our relationship that I was going to move abroad.

I flew back to SF with a heart full of excitement for what was to come, and also sadness for having to leave the city that I have come to love and has shaped me into the woman I’ve now become.  I stayed another two months and said my goodbyes.  My boyfriend flew back to SF one last time and we set out on a cross-country trek with Florida as our last stop.  I got to see parts of my own country I had never dreamed I would see.  I spent two months in Florida saying my goodbyes to my family and childhood friends.  I moved to England in August 2014 and a month later in September, we drove to Spain and lived there for 7 months.

My boyfriend was hired for a 7 month job and I tagged along.  This was the first time in my life that I hadn’t worked in over a month and I found myself becoming depressed, although I was living the “dream”.  I had a man I truly loved and loved me just as much, I was living in a beautiful country that I never fathomed I would even visit but I was still very unhappy.  It turns out I was having a hard time adjusting from party girl to becoming a housewife, I needed to figure out how to occupy my time and my mind.  I started working out regularly, eating healthier, and cooking meals I had never tried before.  While we were living in Spain, we were staying in my boyfriend’s holiday home that had never been decorated in the many years he has owned it.  Suddenly I found myself very busy and focused.  I set out to update and decorate our house.

When our time came to an end in Spain I had a new outlook on life, a healthier outlook.  I was going to spin classes, working out 3-5 days a week, coming up with healthy recipes of my own and I had decorated an entire house!  It was during this time that I realised I needed to take advantage of not working and pursue my dream of developing a blog.  We moved back to England and I started taking online courses.  First, I took a WordPress course to learn how to design my blog as well as my boyfriend’s website.  Next I took a nutrition course because I wanted to have more insight into the meals I was preparing and sharing.  Now I am in full swing of getting my blog up and running and I am also toying with the idea of developing a cookbook.  I still aspire to finish school and become an interior designer/decorator but for now because I can’t work, this is my full time passion.

I just wanted to create a space where I can share my recipes, as well as my design ideas and creations, experiences to help motivate and inspire anyone I can.  If I can go from being a party girl with no outlook for the future and living day to day on tips to a healthy, athletic, housewife…then it is entirely possible that anyone can achieve something they never fathomed.  All it takes is a little passion, lots of love and a whole lot of commitment. 💕