Inspiration & Expert Advice on What Matters Most

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

TBT: Try This At Home

In Blogging, Health, Lifestyle, News on September 15, 2016 at 07:00

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The things we do for love.

You know me. You know I wouldn’t be genuinely excited about cooking. Unless it’s something that I can easily make at home and offer to my Sicilian husband who runs on pasta. Cheese has always been the exception though. I remember grating Parmigiano Reggiano® during my childhood in the Dominican Republic. It was one of the very few tasks that I enjoyed in the kitchen. And today, almost thirty years later, I enjoy it even more after learning Parmigiano Reggiano®‘s origins, facts and mouth-watering recipes.

The perfect recipe for a fun summer evening consisted of twenty-four fellow bloggers celebrating Italy’s King of Cheese: Parmigiano Reggiano® at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, FL. A serata of good food, fine flavors, camaraderie and team work led by the Biltmore’s award-winning Executive Chef David Hackett and organized by The Blogger Union.

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Our hosts Danielle Caponi Bolla, Executive Chef David Hackett, Chef Beppe, & Federico Bolla

Everything tastes better with cheese! Little did I know that beyond its delicious flavor, Parmigiano Reggiano® cheese was also so good to me. Now that I am in my thirties, I am very cautious of what I eat, and Parmigiano Reggiano® passes the most important tests:

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  • Always handmade with high quality lactose-free milk with no additives and natural fermenting agents
  • Easy digestibility
  • Great source of energy, protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins.
  • It has one of the lowest cholesterol levels of any cheese.
  • Parmigiano Reggiano® is made today with the same ingredients as nine centuries ago, in the same places, with the same wise ritual gestures, in a traditional way and with the same passion and loyalty. How many products in the market can say that?

Too many cooks in the kitchen? Not a problem! We had the luxury of having Executive Chef David Hackett and Italian-born Chef Beppe Galazzi, teaching and guiding us on every step, from peeling and cutting techniques to making fresh gnocchi!

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Alejandro, Rick, Executive Chef David Hackett, Claud, and guess who is the one on the right?

With their help, we prepared and enjoyed six innovative dishes, from antipasti to dessert:

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Iberico Ham, Phyllo, Parmigiano Reggiano® Asparagus Fingers

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Parmigiano Reggiano® & Cilantro Gnocchi with Key Lime Butter Sauce

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Parmigiano Reggiano® Potato Flan served with Chorizo, Wild Mushroom and Tomato Ragu

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Parmigiano Reggiano® Crusted Sea Scallops with Cumin Corn Salsa

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Parmigiano Reggiano® Taco Shells with Cuban Picadillo

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Spicy Chocolate-Dipped assorted fruit with dusted Parmigiano Reggiano® and coconut dust

Thanks to The Blogger Union and South Florida Bloggers for inviting us to this event and to Danielle and Federico from Parmigiano Reggiano® and The Biltmore Culinary Academy for their hospitality!

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The very best thing about Parmigiano Reggiano®?

It gets better with aging, just like you!

Cheers!

Laura

P.S: Check out other great posts about that night on The Huffington Post, The Blogger UnionCoral Gables LoveThe Fashionable Esq.BlogHerGarlic&ZestMunch MiamiBlame It on Mei, and Knock on Food. For more information about Parmigiano Reggiano®, please visit:http://www.parmigianoreggiano.com/

Photos by: Ray Santana Photography

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WOD: Pilates ProWorks Miami

In Blogging, Career, Entrepreneurs, Health, Lifestyle, News, wellness on June 28, 2016 at 09:00

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Have you ever tried Pilates?

I am not the athletic type, nor the most disciplined fitness fan, but I have tried everything from The Boss Chick Dance Workout, Burlesque workshops, Jane Fonda-type aerobic classes and excruciating boot camps. I know what I enjoy and what works for me and my body. That’s why I got very excited when I received an invitation from The Blogger Union for a workout at PilatesProWorks Miami.

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The Blogger Union members at Pilates ProWorks Miami

Pilates ProWorks is a fitness concept centered on the fundamentals of classical Pilates with a modern, innovative twist. Pilates ProWorks currently has 15 locations around the United States and South America. Miami’s the twelfth location in the US and the first one on the East Coast, located in charming Coral Gables, FL. To pair with the excitement of attending my first workout as a blogger, I found metered parking right in front of the studio!

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Summer Christensen, PPW Miami Studio Owner

Our host and instructor was Summer Christensen, owner of Pilates ProWorksMiami. Summer, 37, first became part of the Pilates ProWorks family in 2010 when she helped open the first studio in San Francisco. “After teaching at the first Pilates ProWorks in San Francisco, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. Oscar, the Pilates ProWorks Founder and my business partner, built a company that truly values, and creates growth opportunities, for its people. I have the benefit of his years of experience, a solid business model and the wonderful Opening Training Team that he put together. Now I have my own studio and Oscar as a mentor and friend. Being a business owner has been a dream of mine for years. This endeavor has been six years in the making and is a true labor of love, hard work and perseverance.” said Summer, during a candid interview for our blog.

After taking us around the modern and welcoming facilities, it was time for these Princesses of the Blogosphere to hop on our carriages! Yes, forget those Pilates Reformer machines that looked like torture devices, PilatesProWorks uses a very comfortable custom machinery called FitFormer™ for a challenging 55-minute workout “ride” that develops strength and flexibility to the sound of an energizing playlist! It definitely got my heart racing and took my breath away! 

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Summer aims to inspire clients to discover their inner strength by pushing themselves physically. And she practices what she preaches: Pilates ProWorks Miami and her baby boy are only five months apart.

How does she handle being a mom, and entrepreneur, teaching two consecutive classes some days, and everything else in her life? 

Summer: “Everyone said we were crazy to open Pilates ProWorks Miami, have a baby and move cross country when I was 9 months pregnant. My two “babies” are five months apart but I wouldn’t change a thing. I am lucky enough to have a loving ‘village’ of family and friends who believe in me. I couldn’t do it without their help and support. Colin, my husband, works at night so he gets to spend most days with our son, Von. My mom recently retired and she is thrilled to be able to spend so much time with her grandson. Most of my girlfriends’ had children before me so they are a fountain of information, advice and empathy. I am excited to be on this adventure and look forward to seeing my babies grow and thrive.” 

One last tip for thirty-somethings?

Summer: “One of the most important things I can do to keep myself sane, is to exercise. Carving that time out of my day, to take care of me, is vital. It gives me a chance to reset my brain, reconnect with my body and consciously breathe. It makes me a better owner, instructor, wife and mom. I come back stronger, more flexible and patient and better able to handle whatever life throws at me.”

Thank you, Summer!

Your Hard Core fan,

Laura

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25 Merrick Way
Coral Gables, FL 33134
P:(305) 631-2534
E: miami@pilatesproworks.com
Pilates ProWorks Miami wants to help you stay committed to working out through the summer season with their Save Up & Slim Down Membership Event through June 30th! The first month is $65 plus you get to choose a bonus gift from pairs of ToeSox, hand wraps, water bottles, t-shirt, tank tops or 2 months of Nutrition Pro. It can only be purchased in studio or over the phone. Hurry up!
 

About Summer:

A third generation Miami native, Summer is thrilled to bring Pilates ProWorks to her hometown. As a former dancer, Summer has been in the fitness industry for six years. She has been teaching Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga since 2009 and Pilates since 2010. Pilates ProWorks combines her passion for a healthy and active lifestyle with a fulfilling career.

 

Photo credits:

Summer Christensen’s: Tommy Hernandez 

Bloggers’: Paola Méndez

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Beauty Expert Guest: Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

In Beauty, Blogging, Contributors, Lifestyle, News, wellness on June 24, 2016 at 08:20

As told to Laura Sgroi 

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Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

My name is Autumn Whitefield-Madrano and I am a beauty blogger. I try to make it clear from the start that I am not a beauty blogger who writes about makeup tips—I am a beauty blogger who looks at why we are invested in beauty as women and the role that it plays in our lives. I started The-Beheld.com when I was 34, therefore I had some sense of what I wanted out of life in terms of who I was, and that enabled me to start this blog in the first place.

When I was a kid, my mother didn’t wear makeup at all—maybe mascara but nothing else. But whenever I would visit my grandmother I would sit at her makeup table and I would play for hours. I just loved trying on the different lipsticks and the different eye shadows, it was just this world of fantasy that I loved engaging in but I didn’t know how to do it because I didn’t learn firsthand from my mom. So when I started working in women’s magazines in my early twenties, even though I wasn’t in the beauty department, my heart was there—I always loved the beauty pages, and loved talking to beauty editors. Beauty is literally the face that we present to the world. I am more surprised when people are not interested in beauty. You are interested in beauty in some way even if you don’t ever wear makeup. It’s what you are showing the world, and that says so much about who we are. That is how I got attracted to the subject of beauty, and I’ve engaged with it as long as I can remember.

Most women become more comfortable with who they are as they get older and that shows in the way that they present themselves. The way they do their makeup or the way they don’t do makeup, the way that they style their hair or the clothes that they choose. When I was younger I was a lot more experimental. I wouldn’t even leave the house wearing wild eye shadow or other things, I was playing around. But there wasn’t the sense of joy about it, it was almost a searching of identity: Who am I? Am I someone who wears bright red lipstick? Am I someone who has short hair? Do I have long hair? Do I have highlights? I was trying to put my identity on who I was physically and we all do that. What happens as we get older is that we understand the variety of identities that any of us have, so instead of searching for “Oh! That’s our one identity!” you understand that sometimes you want to wear your natural curls flowing and other times you are going to want to have your hair sleek, and I am the same way. I go through phases when I want to wear my hair long, and luxurious and puffed out—and other times, like during the summer, I just twist it up with a pencil and that’s it. I understand that there are different faces that I am showing to the world. I’m not looking for my identity, I am presenting various sides of myself.

My approach became a little narrower in a certain sense now that I know what works for me, and that is something I didn’t know fifteen years ago. I didn’t understand what my features were, I didn’t understand what my strong points were, what you should be emphasizing and that is something that you just learn with time. Some ladies have a knack for it when they’re younger but I was certainly not one of those. I also have become more comfortable with what I do have to offer and learned to trust those things that are worth showing off and that was something I had to learn with time. I never thought like that when I was a teenager, I knew that I had nice big hazel eyes but I was afraid to show them off because I thought it might be seen like, “Oh, she thinks she’s all that” if I tried to emphasize them with eyeliner. As I get older I tell myself: Everyone has these things about themselves that they know are beautiful and they should show them. That is something I became more comfortable with as I got older.

I also spent so much time when I was a teenager thinking I had bad skin because of some pimples, I thought bad skin, bad skin…Yes, I had some pimples but I had elastic, smooth skin, except for those occasional pimples, and I wished I had been able to recognize that for myself as good skin instead of always saying “bad skin,” because it was just teenage girl skin—it was in general pretty nice.

Something that helped me in my early thirties was looking at some old pictures of myself and I saw how nice I looked. I was never one of those stunningly beautiful women, but I looked at pictures of myself in college and I saw that I just had this glow, I saw that my hair was shining and bouncy and healthy and I saw this vibrancy that I had. I also saw that I didn’t know how to dress myself and other things that were “wrong”, but I saw all these gifts that I had that I didn’t let myself believe when I was younger and it dawned on me: That means there are still things within myself that I don’t know, there’s still something lovely, there’s always going to be something lovely there even if I don’t recognize it; I have to trust that is there. I try to remember that when I have a day I don’t feel so great. I try to think that whatever I saw yesterday that I liked is still there, and in ten years I’m going to look back at a picture of myself now and wonder why I didn’t see some quality.

One of the biggest things that helped me make peace and make friends with my image was understanding that when I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t seeing what I looked like—I was seeing what I felt like. Once I understood that, I didn’t take the mirror as the final truth about how I looked. I still sometimes wake up and my skin is puffy or my hair just isn’t working, but as long as we are taking care of ourselves and getting enough rest, we look the same most of the time. The biggest problem I see with women in our age, who are a little more comfortable with ourselves than we might have been in our twenties, isn’t so much that they don’t like what they see or that they think they are hideous—it’s that their self-esteem fluctuates a lot. One day they might feel “Hello, I’m Miss Thing” and the next day they feel terrible. I would like to see more women be able to do instead is have trust in those days when you look at the mirror and you feel like you got it going on or you don’t even need to look at the mirror at all, you just have that feeling, have a certain faith that that is what you are showing the world. On those days that we see something we don’t like, more often than not, it’s about mood or something internal—it’s not about “Oh, my eyes looks smaller today than usual” because your eyes do not get smaller, I promise.

Some people think that if they are unhappy they need to mask it somehow and maybe put in a little more effort those days. I don’t think that is the best way that beauty can relate to happiness in our lives. First of all, there is no evidence that beautiful people are happier. There are also statistics about how the conventionally attractive ones earn more money—more so for men than for women, but that is another story. They might be seen as more competent or more likable but there is no evidence that they are happier. Science has shown that as we get older we do get happier, which is contrary to what some people think but when they look at their lives that is what they see. I’d like to see us applying the same thinking to beauty, recognizing that most people look how they feel on a day-to-day basis, and they do feel better at this age and possibly even more as they continue to age so they will also look better. I would like to see women trust their instincts more and draw on their real life experience instead of looking at what the media and advertising are telling you with all these messages about youth being something that we need to cling to. Our real lived experience shows the genuine connection between our own form of beauty and our own happiness as well.

Women learn to trust more what they have to offer just on a pure physical level—the more that they learn to highlight that, the better they feel. Maybe sometimes you do mask, because some days putting on lipstick transforms the way that you look at yourself and that can be an important tool towards shifting your mindset. I remember talking to an Iraqi war veteran not long ago, and she said that in the Army you learn how to apply camouflage makeup, and that after doing hers, making her face blend into the background, when she looked in the mirror she saw herself as a soldier. It changed the way that she view herself and she now applies that to the way she wears makeup in her daily life. When we put on our face, our “war paint”, it transforms the way that we see ourselves, and that could be something joyous there for women to draw on.

The concept of mature beauty in women around the world and from many different paths of life is interesting. For example, I haven’t interviewed women from France yet but from what I understand from just talking with French women and women from some other European countries is that the age range in which women in the media are considered beautiful is much larger. There is a scene in “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, where she goes to Italy in her late thirties and she is surprised that men aren’t chasing her down the street like they did when she was 20. And another character says something like, “It’s not like France, where they dig the old babes.” You look at French movies and mature women play the leads and they are seen as beautiful and sensuous. That is happening more in America but we have a ways to go still. Other cultures have a stronger holistic view of beauty. Many Asian cultures revere the elderly—for them it is a given that you would take in your parents and/or your grandparents as they age, there is an understanding of the respect that accumulated years of life give you. We don’t understand that yet in our culture; we understand it intellectually but we don’t value aging that way; at least our generation doesn’t.

In the past twenty years there has been a change of our roles in our society, which is wonderful for women for the most part. Our grandmothers could only be housewives and mothers, maybe career women but they couldn’t have children, or they had to choose. Women from our generation have so many more options, which is wonderful, but that can also be overwhelming. In America, we are looking to beauty as “here’s a role that we can fill”—certainly it’s the role that women are told to fill. What I would like to see happen is, as America and the West in general become more comfortable with the variety of roles that women can play now, that we can opt-in and opt-out of, that beauty will become one of many roles we will begin to see in a more holistic sense. I’m not trying to say that Asian cultures are doing that already but there is more understanding that a 65-year-old woman has a lot to offer to the world and to the younger and maybe more active members of society, and I don’t think we get that fact yet. Once we get closer to that, it will help us understand a holistic concept of beauty.

We are the first generation that has had the opportunity to see women we considered starlets in our twenties, grow in to be who they are now. Julia Roberts, is still on magazine covers after her mid forties, Helen Hunt is in her fifties. Julianne Moore, who is a mature woman who is still seen beautiful, is 52, the same age that Rue McClanahan was when she was cast in the Golden Girls. When you think of that—McClanahan was a beautiful woman but she was seen as a senior citizen, she was an “old woman”, while Julianne Moore is a sex symbol! But there is a counterargument to be made: At what age can women stop trying to be seen as beautiful? That’s another discussion; as far as understanding that women over 25 are sexual creatures, that’s a positive move for us to be seeing, we’re lucky that we get to see that now in our lives.

There is no secret or magic bullet. If you eat healthfully, exercise, get enough sleep, drink a lot water, don’t smoke and don’t drink much alcohol, that will show up in the way that you look. You can dye your hair if it starts to go gray but there is no way to fake that natural glow that comes from taking care of yourself, and I certainly did not understand that in my twenties, not at all. I thought advice telling us to take care of ourselves was a trick to get us to do the healthy things—I felt fine no matter what I did in my twenties. Now, the difference is amazing—if I’m in a heavy work schedule and I can’t get to the gym for a few weeks, I can tell in my energy, I can tell in my face. It’s not that I look ugly is that I don’t have that natural glow that you get when you do everything you should be doing. Women in our age understand that a lot more.

There are certain things that you can do like using retinoid creams, which are the only thing that has been proved to work on fine lines and wrinkles. They’re a little expensive but they last for months and with that I’ve seen a difference in my skin. I can’t recommend them enough, they work wonderful. I wasn’t great at eating a lot of vegetables before—eating a salad takes a long time and I just don’t have the time to sit there and eat twelve ounces of greens, so almost every day I have a green smoothie and I get all my vegetables for the day. I get other vegetables throughout the day as well, but if I don’t have a chance, it falls under one smoothie. That’s my biggest trick: the green smoothie. As far as muscle loss, I’ve been going to the gym regularly for ten years, but I only started seriously strength training a few years ago and I feel amazing, I can tell the difference in my body. I don’t want to say I look younger because I don’t, but I look better than I did five years ago, even though I look five years older, so I can’t recommend strength training enough. I see a lot of women in the gym just spending all this time in the treadmill, running is good for you but only until certain point; if you want to keep your metabolism up you have to strength train and you will feel and see the difference in your body. It’s been a wonderful journey for me. I wish more women weren’t afraid to pick up heavy weights—you are not going to get big and bulky. I lift the heaviest weights I can and I got some muscle there but I’m not the Hulk or anything, so you are not going to get too big.

Understand what your features are. If you are insecure about that or you are not genuinely sure, there are makeup artists that can help you identify your best attributes, like “you have these amazing lips let’s play them up by doing this”. Most women in this age know what their gifts are, we all have times that we look in the mirror and we feel amazing. I see this more and more as we age, and I just want more women to be able to embrace what is striking, unusual, or just sexy about them. This sounds cliché but is true: Confidence is attractive, confidence is sexy, and there are no shortcuts to that. Those times that you just don’t feel it, meditation helps bringing up a sense of calm that accompanies confidence. I can’t say that it directly translates, that when I’m doing a good job at meditating every day, or as often as I can, I’m more beautiful—it doesn’t work like that. But we live incredibly stressful lives and stress does show up in our faces and our bodies, therefore doing whatever you can to find some center is very helpful. In my personal case, exercise, meditation, and recognizing my need for alone time are key. I am friendly but essentially I am very introverted and I know I need a lot of time to myself. I wish I recognized that when I was younger; I spent a lot of energy putting that outward. A lot of these things come naturally to women, as they get older.

No one is going to think that you are more beautiful than you at your best believe that you are, there is a truth to that. Of course everyone looks at us and sees something different and we have no way of controlling that, but as long as there is some part of you somewhere in there that believes that you have something special to offer, people will see and respond to that. You don’t always have to feel it, but learning how to access that can be a great gift.

I was at a baby shower a few years ago where I was one of the mother-to-be’s oldest friends, and she was the oldest of her friends. It was interesting to be there with a group of twenty-three year olds. We were talking about age and I mentioned my age—I was thirty-seven then— and these women turned around and said: “You’re thirty-seven? But you look so good!” And I was like: “Thank you!” But I don’t look any better or any younger than any of my friends who are in the same age group; we know that you have to take care of yourself. When you are young you have this notion of what being thirty-something or forty-something looks like and that’s an outdated idea. Those twenty-three-year-old will see in fifteen years, that being thirty-seven doesn’t mean that you are writing yourself off, it’s the beginning in a lot of ways.

I want those twenty-three -year-old women to be reading this. I want them to see what we have done with our lives and that there is so much to be looking forward to. That sentiment is out there and growing but you still hear women who think thirty is old…Oh Gosh, not thirty! When I was twenty-three, I couldn’t wait to be in my thirties, I was so excited to turn thirty, and whenever I hear women say the same, I smile and think: Right on!

About Autumn Whitefield-Madrano: 

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Author of Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women’s Lives (Simon & Schuster, 2016). Her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, Glamour, Salon, Jezebel, The Guardian, and more. She created The Beheld, a blog examining questions behind personal appearance. Her work on the ways beauty shapes women’s lives has been covered by The New York Times and the Today show. She lives in Astoria, Queens, and will tell you her beauty secrets if you tell her yours. 

Author’s Photo Credit: Siouxsie Suarez

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Let’s Work Together!

In Blogging, Career, Entrepreneurs, Finances, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Lifestyle, News, Relationships, Spirituality, wellness on June 8, 2016 at 13:40

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Thank You for Considering the Possibility of Working Together!

I Can Help You with:

COACHING

Would you like to become partners in a thought-provoking and creative process that will inspire you to maximize your personal and professional potential and produce fulfilling results?

I promise to listen deeply, to observe completely, and to customize my heart-centered approach to your individual needs, that way we can grow and harvest the seeds that God already put inside you.

I am currently training to be a Certified Professional Coach with the University of Miami, an Accredited Program by the International Coach Federation.

Please contact me to schedule a complimentary 30-minute call to meet and decide if we would be great partners!

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BRAND COLLABORATIONS, ADVERTISING & SPONSORSHIPS

I’d Love to Talk with You About Brand Collaborations, Advertising & Sponsorships if I Deeply Know and Love your Brand.

Please contact me and we will decide together the most organic way to support each other!

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WRITING & SPEAKING

Do You Like My Voice?

I Can Lend it to You, Your Brand and/or Your Organization!

I am a freelance Bilingual Writer & Speaker about diverse topics such as:

Positive Lifestyle | Wellness & Beauty | Inspiration, Motivation & Empowerment  Relationships | Self-Love | Education | Women’s Interests | Spirituality | Blogging | Travel | Work-Life Balance 

Please contact me for samples and availability.

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COMMUNICATIONS 

Public Relations | TV & Events Production Management | Marketing

I am a Multi-Passionate & Creative Communications Professional and Consultant with diverse work experience and an excellent track record that spans several cities in the United States and Latin America.

I have had the privilege of working with large and heterogeneous groups in multicultural environments for more than a decade, that has helped me develop strong communications and project management skills, and most importantly, I have managed to gain the trust of countless clients and colleagues.

Please check my LinkedIn profile for more on my career and please don’t hesitate to contact me for your future projects.

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BLOGGING 

I learn and share blogging tips on The Blogger Union, please find below my latest posts:

What Should I Name My Blog

The Benefits of Joining a Mastermind

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Thanks in advance!

In Gratitude and Service,

Laura

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How My Mother Taught Me to Love

In Blogging, Contributors, Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, News, Relationships on May 30, 2016 at 09:35

The following piece was written by Lia Seirotti, Writer and Blogger at A Girl in Her Thirties

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Lia Seirotti

Some people come into our lives and we feel instant chemistry. With little effort we form a friendship that is not easily broken. Others, require time and effort, and with great difficulty we work to build those relationships. Still, in the face of rejection, if we counter with love, we can create strong bonds. That is what my mother taught me.

My mother says I rejected her almost immediately when I was born. It could be because I was dealing with the pain and symptoms caused by a slight birth defect; but I suspect my real defect was being born with a tendency to be less affectionate than most humans. From then onward, I’ve continued being somewhat cold. To this day, I prefer not to have unsolicited skin contact, I rarely ask for hugs, and I am extremely uncomfortable when strangers touch me. I am perfectly content this way. Deep down, however, I know this personality trait has always bothered my mother. In fact, my mother might well be the exact opposite of me, she is more open about her emotions and is not afraid to let her feelings show. Perhaps these are the reasons we didn’t have that instant chemistry the day we met. Rather, our bond is the product of a resilient effort made by my mother to win my affections over time.

It was with courage, through the worst of times that she single-handedly built our relationship. When I was hospitalized at the age of two, my mother dropped everything in her life to advocate for me. With much hardship, she traveled great distances in a developing country, in order for me to receive the best medical care. She stood up to doctors and demanded that I be treated the way she instinctively knew was best. Later, at the age of eight and immigrants in this new country, I was hospitalized a second time. My mother spent every night at my bedside. She comforted me through the physical pain and the fear I felt. Despite the fact that I was not very communicative or affectionate, she stayed with me. Then, when I was diagnosed with different disease at the age of twenty-one, she took care of me once again. My mother knew it was important for me as a newlywed to conserve some dignity. So, for almost a year she came to my house weekly to inject my medications, so that my husband wouldn’t have to see me that way. When I soiled myself in my own bed, she cleaned me. When I lost more weight than I expected, she took my dresses in so that I didn’t look as sick. And when the suicidal thoughts left me debilitated, she cleaned my house and cooked for my husband.

Ten years have passed since my mother last took care of me; but when my older sister called me recently to tell me my mother was in the emergency room, I dropped everything. It was the middle of a workday. Hardly thinking and without packing any clothes, I shut my computer down, got in my car, and drove six hours to be by her side. To be honest, all those moments in my life in which my mother had taken care of me didn’t even cross my mind. I was driven by pure instinct. It was almost a sixth sense that I felt. I knew exactly what my mother needed, and knew that I was the only one who understood the proper way to care for her.

I knew she would need someone who could advocate for her, because that was what she did for me when I was two. I knew she would need someone who would stay by her side every sleepless night, because that was what she did for me when I was eight. And, I knew she would want dignity and privacy because that was what she gave me when I was twenty-one. Immediately upon arriving, I organized and cleaned her room, because that was what she meticulously did for me every week when I was sick. I asked her if she had eaten and taken her medication, even when I knew she hadn’t. I knew I had to make small talk and pretend we weren’t all scared. I knew it was my job to downplay the entire situation as if it were normal, because I have learned to never let the fear of chronic illness show in your demeanor as caregiver.

Now that my mother is recovering, we hardly speak of illness, she knows I’d rather not get emotional. But now we both know now that I am capable of caring for her and that I will when she needs it again. In fact, I don’t remember if I hugged her or kissed her, but I know I cared for her and loved her.

Doctors say there is a vital moment immediately after birth in which a mother and child should have uninterrupted skin to skin contact. They attribute this to being key in any mother-child relationship. While that may be true, I have learned that if you missed that chance you can make up for it with resiliency, compassion, and consideration. Without realizing or intending to, my mother taught me so many invaluable lessons about love. She has shown me that even if you feel you already deserve it and shouldn’t have to, you can work to earn someone’s affections. She taught me how to nurse someone you love. She modeled what unconditional love looks like and taught me that it can triumph over unrequited love.

About Lia:

Lia is a writer, blogger, and art-lover. Ultimately, just a girl in her thirties blogging about Miami’s lifestyle, her travels, and growing up in general on her coming of age blog: www.agirlinherthirties.com.

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Trend Alert: ¡Tú misma!

In Blogging, Contributors, En Español, Fashion=Moda, Lifestyle, News, Relationships on March 2, 2016 at 09:00

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 Por Anya Piña

Hace unos 50 años, los logos que aparecían en las prendas de vestir eran exclusivamente para mostrar la calidad y origen de la misma. Hoy en día quien no lleva una prenda con logo de diseñador “no está a la moda”. Pero nos hemos detenido a pensar por qué y cómo hemos llegado a este punto? La respuesta es simple: Nos hemos embriagado de publicidad.

La publicidad nos dicta qué vestir, qué comer, en  qué trabajar, cómo llevar nuestro pelo, qué ropa interior utilizar y hasta cómo debería lucir nuestro cuerpo. ¿Increíble, no? Las marcas cada día ganan más adeptos lo que las puede convertir en probables vencedoras de una batalla que ha desencadenado la moda, esto, por supuesto, si no actuamos al respecto.

Si buscamos la definición de moda en el diccionario podríamos encontrar una respuesta como esta: Se trata de un conjunto de tendencias en el vestir (ropa, accesorios), en los estilos de vida y en las maneras de comportarse, que marcan o modifican (temporalmente) la conducta de una o varias personas.  (Nótese que no indica que hay que usar prendas de marca.) Si me preguntas te diría que la Moda es la ropa, accesorio o complemento (con o sin marca) que usas siempre y cuando le sienta bien a tu cuerpo y por supuesto te haga sentir bien a ti mismo, o ¿acaso hay algo que pueda ser más tendencia que sentirse bien con uno mismo? Definitivamente es una tendencia que debería propagarse, en vez de querer encajar en un cuerpo, prenda o estilo de vida que no nos pertenece y que a la larga no nos hará feliz.

Estudié periodismo y mercadeo de modas y por lo mismo hablo con base y pasión sobre el tema, sé cómo llegar a venderte un producto que no necesitas, y por supuesto sé cómo no caer en la trampa de comprarlo cuando es lo contrario (me costó un poco lograrlo, pero es posible). Debemos detener el consumismo de marcas que idealizan un estilo de vida y personalidades inalcanzables, muchas veces inexistentes. ¡Esa persona NO eres tú y nunca lo serás! Debes aprender a vestirte, actuar y ser como realmente eres, no como dicta la propaganda.

En estos tiempos llevamos  los logos de marcas para identificar de dónde venimos, quiénes somos, y lo más importante, quiénes queremos ser, pero estamos haciéndolo de forma equivocada. ¿Para qué comprar una cartera Balenciaga si no te hará feliz? Por supuesto que puede adornar tu atuendo y lucir preciosa pero, ¿es realmente necesaria? Te garantizo que después que la uses unas tres veces pasará al olvido, sin embargo, tener un momento memorable en el cual lucir un bolso (independientemente de que sea de marca o no) debería ser el objetivo.

Hagamos que el lucir lo mejor posible, con lo poco o mucho que tengamos, hacer y construir relaciones positivas  y duraderas en las cuales estemos en contacto y no siempre a través de un “iPhone”, sea la moda, la tendencia.

Usa  lo que tengas, reinventa tus prendas, no salgas corriendo a adquirir lo que te dice la prensa, en vez de ello, creemos momentos que duren para siempre, sin importar si en ellos llevábamos o no atuendos de marcas, al final del camino, cómo la pasamos y cómo nos sentimos será lo que recordaremos, no de que diseñador íbamos vestidos.

 Empecemos y contagiemos a los demás de esta nueva tendencia: ¡Ser tú misma! 🙂

 

Sobre Anya:

Fashion Marketing & Writer

Email: pineapplerulesrd@gmail.com

IG/Snap/TW: @Anyapfdc

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Enjoying the Ride

In Blogging, Career, Contributors, En Español, Family, Finances, Lifestyle, News, Relationships on February 20, 2016 at 00:01

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By Geisel Checo

This part of my life, here and now, is what I call enjoyment. You may have that description attached to your 20s but for me, the 30s are a true joy.

Let’s get you started, I am about to hit 37, father of three boys and married to my best friend since I was 28 years old. So my thirties got me married and with a first-born little person.

We were overseas in another Caribbean island working for a local Construction Company. I say another island because I was born in one, the Dominican Republic. Therefore, my first son was born in Trinidad & Tobago of two Dominican Parents. Three years after, now in my thirties, we decided to have a second child but in the middle of it I decided not to renew my contract with the company for two more years so we went back home.

Being an engineer, with two children, getting back to the labor market after five years being overseas it is only fair that the ride started to get bumpy. Got a job, which I lost in the matter of months due to rough economy times while my wife was unemployed due to the pregnancy. Thanks to my experience in the field, I got a job in a matter of days but it required being away from home every so often.

If two little boys were not enough, we got preggo again for a third time! And with it I was transferred to Haiti for a high profile project that required a Project Manager with my expertise, or so they said… But it was! Being a Dominican in Haiti is not an easy task due to some business that happened over 170 years ago but we cannot forget our past nor our history. Even though the project was very demanding and going out for drinks was not an option, I decided to write a book on my own. I have a blog in which I write about my real and imaginary life, but to write a book is something else.

So between chapters of my stay in Haiti I had the concept of what I wanted to write about but never set my foot down to finish it. Until one day that I read about a contest for Spanish speaking writers with an opportunity to have your digital book printed out in paperback with a well renowned publisher. By that time I was Operations Manager handling five projects simultaneously since I was promoted after the high profile project was handed over to the client.

I started writing the book on or around 3am due to heavy work load because there were two of the five projects with an end date approaching and extra hours were put into play to meet the dead line. I would reach home, take a bath and start singing “it’s 3am I must be lonely” (all rights lay with Matchbox 20) and then set to write my own piece.

It took me a month to finally have it presentable or so I like to think, or maybe it was because the end date to publish it was due and I only got an hour left to do so. I rushed into the laptop, in the middle of my working day, with my boss and the Minister of Education present on the job site and I minded my own business. It was like that or nothing.

At the end, I did not even make it into the top five of which a winner was going to be elected from, but I wrote a digital book, in a month, not sleeping and with lots of responsibilities on my shoulders delivering the two mentioned projects. I am aiming to print the book on my own and put it on sale in bookstores all over the Dominican Republic.

And that’s where I say that my thirties are about enjoyment, even being a bumpy ride, with ups and downs. If all these were to happen while in my twenties I would probably be divorced by now, pressure cracked in my professional life and would have never written a book from scratch and from inside my head with my own story.

So I’m not inspiring you to not turn 30 but to embrace it, wish it and dream it. It is the start of a ride to enjoy to the fullest!

I would like to thank Laura and her empowering blog for asking me to contribute to it and I’m looking forward to contribute again, probably on her upcoming blog ‘Now That I Am In My Forties’ (just trying to set the idea in your brain!).

P.S.: If you have the time and can read in Spanish, please visit my blog at www.entrelapizypapel.blogspot.com and/or purchase the digital version of my book ‘El Presidente de la Nación’ on Amazon.

Geisel in a glimpse:

morning person – sunset collector – lover of a good wine, golf and antiquities – habano’s savorer – full moon contemplator – husband of my best friend – father of three – brother of two – proud son – creator of stories, both real and imaginary.

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How I Feel About Being in My Thirties

In Beauty, Blogging, Contributors, Family, Finances, Health, Lifestyle, News, Quotes, Relationships on January 20, 2016 at 09:00

By Sonia Young Yim

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Here are some of the things that get better with age: wine, cheese, art piece, and designer handbags.

How about biological age? – I guess you can argue both ways.

Here are some benefits:

You have higher self-respect.

You are wiser in life.

You have a greater sense of well-being (*cough* money *cough*).

Or, perhaps, you are naturally better at things with more experience (sex anyone?).

 

But there are also some drawbacks:

You have more wrinkles.

You don’t lose weight as easily.

You keep on forgetting (what was I saying?…).

Or, perhaps, suddenly reading small print becomes a challenge.

 

So, what does it mean to be in your thirties?

Here’s what I really think — It doesn’t matter.

But this is what aging taught me:

In anything, there’s always a good side and a not-so-good side.

You can’t ever bring back your past no matter how much you delve on it.

You can’t reverse anything that already happened to you.

And, most importantly, if you can’t be happy today, you certainly won’t be happy in the future.

 

“The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.” – Hervey Allen

So, let’s celebrate our thirties to the maximum — Shall we?

 

About Sonia Young Yim:

A wanna-be writer who’s still finding her voice. A once disgruntled employee who’s all about non-conformity. And a minimalist gal who advocates a life of simplicity. Please visit her blog www.startsimplifying.com to know more about her. And it’s her birthday today! Show her some love!

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