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Ayer 30, Hoy 40

In Career, Contributors, En Español, Entrepreneurs, Family, Lifestyle, Relationships on October 4, 2017 at 08:18

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Por Isis Santana

De nuevo es 3 de octubre, esta vez, de 2017, día especial para mí por diferentes y muy importantes motivos: Hoy celebro el día de mi profesión, la odontología, a la que he dedicado formalmente 17 años de mi vida, de manera ininterrumpida, con muchos altibajos y sacrificios, pero ejercida con mucha pasión y mucha alegría de recibir la recompensa de un esfuerzo continuo.

Un 3 de octubre me convertí en mamá por primera vez…cuando ya tenía mi plan de vida perfecta y mentalmente organizado, proyectado a los siguientes 7 u 8 años de vida, Dios me informó que tenía una mejor idea para mí y me demostró su amor infinito regalándome uno de sus mejores ángeles como hijo. Hoy, mi primer hijo, quien estrena sentimientos que aún desconozco, cumple 16 años y recordar sus primeros años me llena el alma de una sensibilidad que no sé describir.

Hoy, 3 de octubre de 2017, es mi último día dentro de la agitada y edificante década de los “30”, una década que inició con enormes expectativas y afanes aún más grandes.

Varias cosas se conjugaron para que esta etapa que hoy termina fuera tan especial: La responsabilidad de criar nuestros dos niños de manera digna, la energía natural que emana cuando las mujeres sentimos la necesidad de ser entes productivos e independientes (pecando muchas veces de robar el tiempo de los hijos para trabajar, tanto, hasta enfermar inclusive), una energía que la da los años y que te permiten ser atrevida ante tomas de decisiones que te plantean en la cara: “o lo haces o te estancas”, o te ponen a calcular: “¿Qué es lo que puedo perder?, ¿Si no sale bien, qué hago?…al final, calculaba mis riegos y lo único que podía perder era algo de dinero o que por falta de tiempo no pudiera cumplir con tal o cual cosa…y esas dos variables siempre tienen solución…entonces, simplemente me lanzaba. Para ser honesta extraño ese motor que me empujaba a hacer más, pero nos toca avanzar.

Han sido 10 años de aprendizaje y autoconocimiento. Pensaba que al llegar a mis “40” me iba a mantener como la misma persona. Me resultaba muy gracioso que muchas mujeres a esta edad se llenaban la boca de decir que eran “otra persona”, que ya no les preocupaba tanto lo que creyeran o dijeran de ella, que habían aprendido a decir “NO”, que aceptaban su cuerpo, que ahora quieren “hacer lo que les gusta”, que son “más claras y directas”, etc. Me parecía un discurso de crisis de mediana edad…y aquí estoy repitiéndolo orgullosa.

Estos años me hicieron entender que las expectativas son realmente dañinas, que sólo traen decepción y lejanía. En un matrimonio, cuando esperas que el otro haga, diga o reaccione de una forma en particular (según lo que tú consideras que “debe ser”) y no sucede de esa forma, entonces viene una ola de reclamos necios que sencillamente van interponiendo un brazo de distancia entre los dos. Entendí que somos diferentes y hago un gran esfuerzo por dejarlo ser. Entendí que tampoco quiero sobre mi espalda el peso de altas expectativas sobre mí. Quiero sentir la libertad de ser quien realmente soy, no la que piensas que soy, ni la que quieres que yo sea…yo, soy yo…no más, no menos.

Aprendí que estamos en constante crecimiento y transformación, no solo por los años, sino también porque creces con tus hijos y sus cambios.

Aprendí que los cambios son constantes y muchas veces ocurren de manera inesperada, y que nos toca estar dispuestas a adaptarnos a lo que la vida nos presente. Hoy quisiera dedicar mi tiempo a otro arte, la fotografía y ya no tanto a la odontología. Llevo AÑOS tratando de identificar qué es eso nuevo a lo que me quiero dedicar y por considerar las opiniones de otros antes que las mías, no había hecho el cambio definitivamente. He probado a educarme en varias de mis pasiones, este es el momento de  la fotografía y el que más ha llenado el espacio que buscaba ser satisfecho. Cuando miro atrás, al último año y medio, siento en el corazón que el universo ha conspirado para que me dedique a ella y lo disfrute ahora que puedo ir soltando el acelerador.

Sin dudas mis grandes aciertos van enfocados a la maternidad, aunque con el tiempo he llegado a identificar errores que he cometido en la crianza de mis hijos, definitivamente no pesan nada cuando comparas eso con el tipo de persona, estudiantes, hijos, amigos, que han resultado ser.

Dentro de mí los cambios son muy marcados. Ya no me siento en la capacidad de hacer o decir cosas porque otro así lo espera. No me siento cómoda cuando me sobrevaloran porque eso significa que debo mantener un nivel ante tus ojos y expectativas. Prefiero que quien me vaya a querer me quiera tal cual soy. Me siento mucho más cómoda siendo más directa y andando con menos rodeo con la gente, aunque sigo manteniendo la idea de que para ser directo no hay que irrespetar, levantar la voz o atropellar al otro.

Deseo, al inicio de esta nueva década, que simplemente pueda enamorarme de la nueva YO. Que siga educando mis sentidos para apreciar los pequeños detalles y regalos de la vida. Que pueda nivelar de manera justa para mi bebé de 2 años, las exigencias impuestas a sus hermanos y disfrutar las diferentes etapas de cada uno en su máxima expresión. Deseo verdaderamente emprender en el mundo de mi pasión, la fotografía y hacerlo con el entusiasmo que le tengo en este momento por muchos, muchos años.

Agradezco a los “30” el haber experimentado dentro de esa sola década la transformación de una mente agitada, complaciente, exigente a una más calmada, más detallista, más libre de prejuicios y limitaciones, más prudente, más agradecida, que busca hacer las paces consigo misma y sobre todo que se muestra tal cual es.

Feliz por lo aprendido, lo vivido, lo llorado, lo reído, por los logros, por lo que no se logró, por mi hijos, por mi esposo, mi matrimonio que ha superado incalculables pruebas, por los cambios ocurridos y por los que vendrán.

Mañana, Día 4, abro mi corazón a que renazca de nuevo y y se disponga a vivir en alegría todo lo que le traiga el tren de la vida!

Con cariño,

Isis!!!

 

Crédito Foto Isis: Otto Winter

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How Have You Been?

In Blogging, Career, coaching, Contributors, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, Lifestyle, News, Videos on September 28, 2017 at 08:50

Aloha!

How Have You Been?

How has 2017 treated you?

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What are your plans for the remainder of it?

How are you preparing to finish it with a bang / in a high note?

I hope you are well, that this post finds you in good health and spirit and that you are safe wherever you are considering everything that has happened around the world lately. Please consider volunteering and/or donating to the causes closest to your heart.

It’s been a while since my last post. I barely shared a few articles on our Facebook page. I have missed you, writing for you, connecting with you. 

Last year was life-changing: After four years living in Nicaragua, I moved back to the United States, to my beloved Miami (It’s been over a year already, and I still owe Lia Seirotti a post about that-coming soon, promised!).

The move happened fast. We became homeowners. I thank my husband for doing most of the research and paperwork. I limited myself to following the great tips in this article by my talented friend Zania and contacting another great friend Oscar Terán as a realtor. The rest was signing a mountain of documents and we are still choosing furniture!

Once again, I was ready to conquer Miami. To recover my space, my work, my friends, my life. Not that I had lost them, but I definitely needed to reconnect.

They were all priorities. Work took over though. I started getting hired for Public Relations and Entertainment Production projects, it felt like I had never left and it was a great reassuring feeling. Fun projects took me to some of my favorite destinations while pulling me away from blogging, writing and social media, as I always strive to respect the time of my clients and the privacy that they deserve.

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I also went back to school for my Professional Coaching Certification. I am still offering complimentary coaching calls, please don’t hesitate to contact me and take advantage of that.

While all this was happening, I was simultaneously “working” on my health. I had been dealing with a hormonal imbalance that not only affected me physically but also emotionally as it directly conflicted with the deepest desire of my heart. I turned 34 in the middle of unpromising fertility diagnosis and felt like there was nothing to celebrate. I was wrong. More on that soon. In the mean time, if you plan to have children, please ask your doctor if you can start taking folic acid daily. You and your future babies can thank me later.

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Family and work kept me busy and entertained with exciting and all-consuming endeavors, including touring with a rock band in South America and other trips to new places and revisiting old ones. I kept it all to myself, absorbed it, digested it and now I am ready to share it. Stay tuned for upcoming travel blog posts.

The election results also affected my blogging persona. I realized once again the power of media, considering that a product of it had become president, and I felt even more responsible for what I was creating and sharing. It paralyzed me for months. Still not over it, but I have decided to transform fear and empower myself through it instead. That’s another reason why I am back.

Four days after publishing our latest post, I received the miracle that I had been praying for. Long story perfect for a future post. Just know that “When Jesus says yes, nobody can say no”.

Earlier this year we also lost two of our beloved contributors: Alfonsina Ferreira and Godelena Segura. I deeply miss them, their smiles, their energy and their wisdom. I am grateful for their lives and souls and the valuable time that we spent together.  

Take this post as a relaunch of this blog. I am back and with so much to offer. I want to write posts that have a lot for you in them. I can’t promise frequency and regularity, just content that will make you content. In that order, I would love to hear your ideas. What would you like to read about? Please let me know as soon as you can.

Thanks in advance for sharing this post with your family, friends and colleagues!

Who misses you?

Laura

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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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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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Recibiendo Un Nuevo Ciclo

In Contributors, En Español, Health, Lifestyle, News, Spirituality, wellness on February 4, 2016 at 00:01

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Por Alfonsina Ferreira

A sólo unos días de celebrar la llegada de un nuevo año de vida, “My shining 39” como he escogido llamar a este nuevo ciclo, he vuelto a leer las páginas que con el corazón desnudo, el alma llena de fe y cada célula de mi cuerpo repleta del más grande amor divino, escribí durante lo que fueron tal vez los meses más intensos que he vivido, pero al mismo tiempo, los más enriquecedores, reveladores y trascendentales.

Y al leer estas páginas, brotan de mis ojos lágrimas llenas de emoción, y llegan a mí los recuerdos de que fue justo un año atrás, en estos días en los que el calendario marca el inicio del mes que me vio nacer, donde me preparaba física, mental, emocional y espiritualmente para el momento que marcaría un renacer en mi vida: La cirugía con la que pondría punto final a mi batalla “contra el cáncer”. Y utilizo comillas al mencionar esto porque más que contra el cáncer, la “batalla” que libré fue contra mí misma…contra mi ego, contra mis paradigmas, mis creencias erradas, contra las conversaciones que no me apoyaban y sobretodo contra todo aquello que me alejaba de encontrar mi mejor versión, mi esencia, mi verdadero SER.

Desde entonces, tantas cosas han pasado: Milagros esperados, bendiciones insospechadas, inmensurables manifestaciones del más genuino y puro amor, y el asomo en el horizonte de un nuevo futuro que va más allá de lo que jamás pude imaginar.

Hoy, a sólo unos días de comenzar el último ciclo de mis “treintas”, camino por el sendero de la vida con el corazón repleto del más profundo agradecimiento, dando inicio a un nuevo y excitante capítulo en el libro de mi vida, colmado de grandes ilusiones, planes, ideas, sueños, metas, pero sobre todo, de un nuevo propósito: ¡¡¡SER!!!

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Sí, sólo eso, SER…

Ser  lo que quiera Ser, sin hacer caso de esas vocecitas que ocasionalmente aparecen y me dicen que no puedo…

Ser lo que pueda Ser, dejando a un lado los agotadores e insuficientes esfuerzos de querer “encajar”, “agradar” y “complacer” a cualquier persona menos a mí misma…

Pero más que nada, Ser lo que vine a Ser: Luz, amor, paz, contribución…recordando siempre el inmenso privilegio que es poder abrir mis ojos cada mañana, respirar y darme cuenta de que la vida me ha concedido una nueva oportunidad: El regalo de vivir un nuevo día.

Alfonsina

Febrero 2, 2016

Sobre Alfonsina:

Nació en Santo Domingo en el seno de una familia amorosa, mostrando desde pequeña su interés por servir y contribuir. Con más de veinte años de experiencia en el área de banca y negocios y una maestría en Administración de Empresas, actualmente se desempeña como Directora de Negocios Corporativos de un Grupo Financiero Multinacional.

Al cumplir sus treinta años inició una jornada de búsqueda y crecimiento personal a través de talleres de transformación y liderazgo que la inspiraron a obtener una certificación en Coaching IAC Coaching Masteries avalada por la International Association of Coaches, así como también a certificarse como Entrenadora Transformacional en la academia LTDG (Leadership Training & Development Group).

A los 37 años enfrentó lo que sería el reto más grande de su vida: El diagnóstico de cáncer de mama, situación que abrazó y recibió como la oportunidad de reinventarse y de sacar el mayor aprendizaje posible. Un año más tarde y totalmente recuperada y renovada, inició una certificación como Health Coach con el Integrative Institute for Nutrition, de New York, con la finalidad de poder compartir su experiencia de sanación y apoyar a los demás a crear bienestar, amor y felicidad en sus vidas. Puedes ver más de Alfonsina a través de su página de Facebook 101 Happy Healthy Ways. ¡Hoy es su cumpleaños! ¡La pueden felicitar por aquí!

Crédito Fotos: Silvani Hernández

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The Eternal Transition

In Career, Contributors, Family, Lifestyle, News, Quotes, Relationships on January 27, 2016 at 09:00

By JT Gautreau

“We are prisoners in the present, locked in eternal transition between our past and our future” – Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Before I introduce myself, I wanted to show you this quote by Dr. Neil Tyson (Astrophysicist) because it’s incredibly relevant to my life which I’ll talk to you more about soon, but it’s also relevant to your life, yes, you reading me right now, no longer in your 20s but not yet in your 40s.

My name is JT, I’m a 34 year old singer-songwriter from the sunny and beautiful Dominican Republic. I currently live in Vienna, Austria; where the never-ending supply of schnitzels, wursts and beer is a constant threat to my weight especially now that I’m in my 30’s. But I didn’t start off as a singer-songwriter even though I’ve been playing instruments since I was a child. Like many children from third world countries you must study business, law, medicine or engineering, otherwise you are boycotting your future, but we’ll get to that soon.

I had a wonderful childhood filled with love, attention, the occasional smack in the ass by my mother and lots of toys. I was raised as an only child, you see, (own horn tooting alert!), a normal, non-spoiled one, I’d like to believe. My mother is a surgeon, my father a Psychology major/Marketing master and both of them are also Politicians. I know I ask myself the same question, how did I end up as a singer, in Vienna? As a teenager, I was always playing music, writing lyrics, humming songs, drawing marker tattoos all over my body and vicariously living through my favourite band’s music videos, yet I never really thought about dedicating my life to music, not in the real world at least, even though in my imagination I was a rock star.

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After school I went to university and majored in Marketing, that was it, adulthood had begun and my dreams got locked in a closet somewhere near my guitar. I graduated with honors and flew to Spain to complete a Master’s degree in Advertising, my mom was proud. But while in Spain I started playing guitar again and recording some music and as simple as it became very clear to me what I wanted to do with my life. I called my mother and told her I was going to finish the master program, but I was going to play music and write songs for a living. As you might expect a huge argument followed, even breaking off communication for some days, but I was determined! (She later understood and has ever since been my number one supporter). I completed a master program in Audio Production and a Post-graduate degree in Audio Engineering in Barcelona.

I recorded my first album in 2012 titled ‘Hay Veces’, it was a compilation of songs in Spanish and it was a fantastic experience, seeing my work and concept materialise in the form of a CD was something else. In 2013 I married a beautiful Polish girl and we moved to Vienna because of a job opportunity and in 2014 I recorded my first album with all songs in English titled ‘Crossing’ and have been gigging all over the place since.

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Now that I told you a bit about my story I’d like to talk to you about growth, the past, the present and the future. For a while I was hunted by regret, I regretted not devoting myself a hundred percent to music earlier on, I regretted the years I invested acquiring various degrees in business that I was not making any use of, I even regretted not putting my wishes and desires ahead of anything or anyone else. But as Dr. deGrasse said, in the transition between my past and my future, I’ve learned to let go of regret and realise that the only thing you can change is the present, and every day you should work towards the things that make you happy, even if you have to do some things that you don’t like, eventually as time moves on you’ll be left with the good memories and the joyous moments, plus I wouldn’t be where I am nor think the way I think if it wasn’t for everything that I did or did not do. I learned this a long time ago, but only in my 30s had I achieved enough maturity to understand it and embrace it.

Thank you for reading this piece and thank you to Laura for suggesting I write it and share it with all of you. If you’d like to listen to some of my music, visit my website www.jtgautreau.com and of course I’m on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as in iTunesSpotify, Apple Music.

Cheers!

JT.

About JT:

JT Gautreau was born in the Caribbean city of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Coming from a family of musicians and poets, took guitar at age 12 and singing at age 16 starting an obsession with music that lead him to interesting places all over the world including Barcelona, Spain where he got a degree in Music Production and Audio Engineering school in 2009. Back in Santo Domingo, he played in some of the most renowned stages and recorded his debut E.P., Hay Veces in 2012, an album with all songs in Spanish aimed to the Latin markets. In 2013, JT relocated back to Europe, this time to Vienna, Austria and recorded his debut E.P. in English titled Crossing, a compound of seven songs all written and recorded by JT. His songwriting ranges from acoustic soul to pop rock and RnB. With a unique performing style, he is a solo act who relies on an acoustic guitar and sometimes a loop pedal to entertain all types of audiences. There’s one word that describes JT’s live shows: ENTERTAINING. JT started a promotion tour from Crossing playing cities such as Warsaw, Krakow and Łódż in Poland, London in the U.K., and Vienna. More dates and cities are being constantly added to the growing promo tour for Crossing, so keep an eye out on the News section of his page www.jtgautreau.com.

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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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It Will All Work Out

In Career, Contributors, Family, Finances, Lifestyle, News, Relationships on January 12, 2016 at 09:00

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By Marilu Cristina Flores

In my twenties, I accomplished numerous things; I was married, moved away from my home permanently (or so I thought) and was pursuing the career I had always dreamed of. I gained recognition professionally, traveled to many places I had longed to visit and had a lovely home in Southern California.

Five years into my first marriage, we called it quits and just a short time later I found myself engaged to someone else, we married a year into dating.

As I approached my thirties, I found I was no longer in love with the career I thought I always wanted and it felt like the few choices I did make for me, were not heavily appreciated or accepted by my partner. I chose to go back to school and pursue Marine Science and took a position in Marine Conservation which paid me a third of what I had ever made, even as a young professional in High School!

While I was happy professionally, working outdoors in the sea and teaching children about the importance of conservation, I quickly found myself stuck in an unhappy marriage with a spouse who was less than there and in-laws that could fill the pages of horror novels.

When my ex-husband left me, just two weeks after my thirtieth birthday, I wasn’t devastated, but relieved to be free of his wandering ways and exhausting family. 

The day after he uttered the words “divorce,” I hopped on a plane and spent a month away visiting friends in Vermont and New York. When I returned to Miami, I packed up my things and relocated to Vermont. Just like that. It was the freest I had ever felt up until that point in my life, I had no plan, and minimal savings, but somehow, I truly knew it would all just work out. I’m sure to many it seemed odd, unexpected and completely out of left field! But somehow, I knew this is what I had to do.

Now if you know me, you know I am #TropicalLife for life so this was a huge change for me, before my life in Vermont I was convinced anything under 75 degrees was freezing and ungodly.

While I didn’t know it yet in Vermont I would experience the worst winter there since 1859, and I would find myself moving to an area completely new to me: Digital Marketing.

It was during my time at Keurig, that I really began to realize what a broad diversity of work experience I had and how I truly was capable of anything I wanted to accomplish.

I met someone, a man, through a friend and for the first time in my life I took my time; took my time to decide.

Not just on who I wanted to spend my time with, but to truly decide what I wanted to make of my time, my energy and of the things I was so extremely passionate about. 

In May of 2015, in the winter that felt like an eternity, I had a rather odd crazy dream about putting on an #EcoFashionShow and that next morning, I reached out to the people who were in my dream. Who crazily enough, had recently started a nonprofit and had been discussing a Fashion Show for months! But had no clue where to start and so began this new chapter in my life. 

I started organizing the show, making phone calls from Vermont and emailing people I had met throughout the years.

Everyone I reached out to said “YES! We’ll help you!”. They donated goods, time, the venue, everything! It was CRAZY!

Everything was happening just like in my dream; I decided to re-locate back to Miami in August of 2015, my new love in tow! And work continued on the fashion show, I also became involved in other projects, such as helping Surfrider a nonprofit I had been involved with in California and for a few years in Miami before I left to Vermont. Shortly after my return I was asked to become a Board Member – one of my lifelong dreams!

Finally, the day of the Fashion Show arrived and within an hour we were completely SOLD OUT! Raising well over our expectations and gaining interest for another show and other events.

From this began an overnight business, as people wanted to hire me for my newfound Digital Marketing and Social Media experience.

I turned thirty-one on August 23rd, and upon reflection on my birthday I realized how much more I knew now (cliché, I know) and despite what many would consider some epic failures (two divorces and a 15-year long career I left), I learned that without those marriages I would have never been able to appreciate the man I am now with, who was willing to leave all he knew behind and relocate to Miami with me because he believed in me and my dream, who wanted to see me grow professionally and personally and without my previous career I would have never learned what I now know which has helped me immensely as a Social Media Specialist. 

At thirty-one, I am living the life many strive for over a lifetime. I love what I do! I have accomplished work/life balance and every day is a new, welcomed challenge.

I have gained financial freedoms I never thought were possible for me and have learned to nurture a healthy, mature relationship with an age appropriate man who appreciates me as much as for my flaws as well as my accomplishments.

I can’t wait to see what this decade has in store, there will be ups and there will be downs I am sure, but the wisdom gained from my experiences in my early twenties will surely see me through them.

 

About Marilu:

Marine Conservationist, Media Producer, Surfrider, Social Media Specialist. Please visit www.marilucflores.com to know more about her.

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