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Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

Give The Gift of Education

In Contributors, Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Lifestyle, motherhood, News, travel on June 10, 2019 at 15:34

By Gea Schmid

Hi!

I’m Gea Schmid. I live in a rural community in Northern Nicaragua with my husband and 2-year-old daughter. We are a one-hour drive from the closest urban town with grocery stores and adequate schools. Our community is in great need of quality education for all ages. This Learning Center will benefit the local Nicaraguans who desire English classes, foreign visitors/residents who want to learn Spanish and families who want to provide an adequate education for their young children.

Due to the current political crisis in Nicaragua, one of the housing developments in our community, called Azul, has seen a dramatic decline in activity. What was a lively and promising development is now a neglected space with a quickly-decaying yoga platform. This vacant building has great potential to be transformed into a Learning Center offering superior education to empower and educate our community in need. 

I am organizing this campaign to raise money to fund a Learning Center for the community. The initial funds raised will be used to convert the building from a yoga platform into a proper classroom setting. The majority of the funds will be used to pay the qualified teachers we hire to work in the center. By employing a well-educated staff we can improve the quality of life in our community. I will withdrawal the funds as needed for the various expenses itemized below.

During the first year of operation, I will lead monthly advisory board meetings to monitor the interest and progress of the Learning Center. The goal for the future is to be a sustainable center in the community for years to come. We just need a little help getting things off the ground! Please consider donating here.

I am donating my time and efforts to spearhead and ready the space, hire staff and direct operations. We have already received the approval from Azul who has kindly donated the space rent-free to us for one year. Now we need external funding so that classes can start on August 5th, 2019.

 

Our first step is to fumigate the space for termites, ants and bats. Then, we will have a local carpenter add temporary walls, screens and a front door. After a deep cleaning, it can then be transformed into a classroom with tables, chairs bookshelves and curriculum materials. In the mean time, we will be interviewing applicants for the available positions and enrolling students.

Below you will find a list with the estimated initial start up costs and operating costs for one year.

Who else in your network could help? Please share this fundraiser with your family, friends and colleagues, thank you for your time, and check back here to see our progress! 

Structure Set-UP
Wood, Screen, Front Door, Labor, Cleaning & Fumigation $1250.00


Furniture for Classroom
Children Size Tables 4 X $25 $100
Children Chairs 16 X $10$160
Book Shelves 4 X $50 $200
File Folders/Hanging Folders 1 X $15$15
Folding Adult Chairs 25 x $17$425
Folding Adult Tables 4 x $60$240
Drawer Organizer 1 x $44$44
Storage containers 2 x $30$60
Filing cabinet 1 x $92$92
White board 1 x $40$40
Total$1376


Facility Supplies 
Mop, bucket, broom, cleaning supplies, cleaning towels, trash cans, stools etc$175.00


Ongoing Expenses 12 months 
Water, electricity, facility supplies$1680.00


Employee salaries for 12 months 
Facilities Cleaner, English & Spanish Teacher, Tutor and Teachers Aid$6336.00


Head Teacher salary for 12 months (preschool/kindergarten/curriculum operations)$6000.00


Total$16817.00

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National Infertility Awareness Week: A Message of Hope

In Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, Lifestyle, motherhood, News, Relationships, wellness on April 25, 2019 at 11:05

By Laura Sgroi

When I was 32, my already short cycle became even shorter out of nowhere. I had always experienced 21-day cycles with heavy bleeding at the beginning. I got my period at age nine, when a visit to the endocrinologist confirmed that my body was about three years ahead of my actual age. The solution back then? Medroxyprogesterone to help balance out the estrogen. But now I was bleeding just two weeks after my last period. I’d never experience a cycle this short. What was going on?

Dr. E, my gynecologist, did an ultrasound to determine if I had PCOS[1]. After finding nothing, she sent me home with a million-times-photocopied chart to track my cycle. That didn’t help. A few months later, I went to my trustworthy and dedicated endocrinologist, Dr. B, and after telling her the story, she couldn’t believe my gyn had not ordered lab tests to check my hormone levels. I couldn’t believe that either. Dr. B ordered new lab work, which showed that the abnormal bleeding was caused by low progesterone and high estrogen, a condition called estrogen dominance. She told me it was “easy to fix” with synthetic hormone pills, the same pills prescribed decades earlier by my doctor in Santo Domingo.

Thanks. But no, thanks.

It kept happening every other month–I thought maybe one ovary was having the problem. It had been a year of suffering with this hormonal balance.

I spent a year with those first two doctors and my own research, before finally deciding to take a more natural approach. A Naturopathic way to be clear, with an integrative gynecologist who prescribed bio-identical hormones and advertised in “Natural Awakenings,” the free magazine at the entrance to Whole Foods, which I’m not proud to say I pretty much blindly trust. I knew this approach would take longer, and I didn’t know if it would work, but somewhere inside me I felt that it was the right choice and that I had time. I was not necessarily trying to get pregnant anytime soon.

I went to pick up my medical records at Dr. E’s office, my old gyn. The girl behind the front desk window knew I was about to change doctors.

“Where are you going?” she whispered.

“I’m going to Dr. M.,” I told her, “because they use bio-identical hormones and I want to fix my hormones so I can start trying to have a baby.”

“She won’t be able to help you, even if they treat you with bio-identical hormones. Go to this place,” she said, handing me a business card from a center for fertility and genetics.

I thanked her, hugged her, and walked to my car in tears. As soon as I had the breath to speak, I called and booked the soonest appointment available. Their lead doctor didn’t have any openings for weeks, but they offered me their female doctor, Dr. K.

The Coral Gables office was upscale and modern–white, silver, accented with orchids. Dr.K was beautiful and extremely sweet. She asked me about my background, my marriage, my career, my blog, my health history, and did an ultrasound before ordering dozens of tests. “Everything looks good,” she said in her thick Turkish accent, rubbing the ultrasound wand over my pelvis with the help of cold gel. “Except that for your age, I don’t see enough eggs.”

That didn’t worry me much at the moment. I went for all the tests and came back to see her again. My Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) was 0.03 (a normal reading for a woman ten years older than me) and my Follicle-Stimulating hormone (FSH) was 31 (Panic high is 21). Dr. K’s suspicions were right: I had diminished ovarian reserve. Ultra low progesterone and high estrogen were another issue, just as the first labs results showed. My adrenals were not functioning well either. My husband Claudio had also been tested and his results showed low sperm morphology as a large percentage of men in their thirties. Luckily for them, men renew their sperm every ninety days, therefore with some lifestyle adjustments (multi-vitamin, smoking/drinking less, they can  improve their fertility.

I broke into tears. All the reasons why I had delayed pregnancy started rushing through my head: uncertainty and lack of stability in my marriage, the cost of health insurance, working like crazy to save up enough money, stepping on a tack the night before leaving Nicaragua, Zika (trying to conceive in the times of Zika sounds like the title of a Gabriel García Márquez novel). Sobbing, I wondered if I would ever be able to get pregnant.

Dr. K handed me a box of Kleenex. “I will hold your hand until you get pregnant,” she said. It was as if she’d heard the question in my mind. She wrote on her small yellow pad, explaining the different options available: First, two months of timed intercourse. If that didn’t work, we should try IUI, and our last option would be egg donors. IVF wouldn’t be a successful option for me.

She asked the nurse to lead me to a private room where I could cry alone until I felt better. She ordered some tests for my husband, Claudio, and then said, “You should be writing about this.”

I went home devastated. Once again, I had to take charge of my health, my healing and ultimately, my fertility. I knew every month was an opportunity and I only needed one egg. I started Googling everything I could do to fight those results. I found invaluable tips and resources specific to my situation: probiotics, acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, supplements, all kinds of foods and seeding for fertility. A dear friend recommended health coach Beth Hill. I contacted her and we agreed to trade coaching practice hours as we were both finishing our coaching programs. Beth took the time to go over my case, and gave me helpful advice ranging from nutrition tips to relaxation techniques. She inspired me to try new foods and helped me become more mindful about grocery shopping, meal planning, and time management. Her flexibility and understanding made our sessions possible, despite the challenges of my ever-changing schedule. Our work continued during a five-country tour with a rock band in South America when I was sleep deprived, out of my routine, and attempting to adapt my fertility diet to what I could find at Latin American markets and restaurants. I always carried a suitcase full of supplements.

The most amazing thing happened. Four months after we started our program, with the aid of timed-intercourse, faith and divine mercy, I was able to conceive naturally. As my prenatal yoga teacher would say: “My baby and I are happy, healthy and whole.” I even got the bonus of an extremely “fast and easy” childbirth. Thank God.

Photo by: Isis Santana Photography

With the thorough diagnosis of Dr. K, the help and guidance of my health and wellness coach Beth, and a positive mindset, I embarked on a mindful journey to health–and received the gift of a lifetime. As a message of hope, no matter where you are in your health or fertility journey, please know that anything is possible. My baby and I are living proof.


[1] Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Note: This post is an adapted excerpt from our upcoming book, ‘Now That I Am in My Thirties’. I would appreciate your constructive feedback. Stay tuned for the launch!

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International Women’s Day

In Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Lifestyle, News on March 8, 2019 at 12:37

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I have to admit I only started celebrating International Women’s Day a few years ago.

I had not defined my position about it. Why did we need a day to celebrate us?

Fortunately today, I understand the importance of dedicating one day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural & political achievements of women. And yes, there is an #InternationalMensDay to celebrate men and their contribution to society (Nov 19).

This year, I celebrate #IWD2019 even more because I deeply identify myself with the theme #BalanceforBetter. As the campaign says: “A balanced world is a better world.”

Today the question is:

How can I take more action for equality?

Ideas welcomed.

I am sharing the image and invitation from @internationalwomensday_global :

Let’s make IWD our day – everyday.

Cheers!

Laura

 

What Could You Buy Today that Will Make Your 2019 Better?

In Career, coaching, En Español, Entrepreneurs, Family, Finances, Health, Lifestyle, motherhood, News, Relationships, Spirituality, travel, wellness on November 23, 2018 at 15:49

MyODreamBoardExport

What could you buy today that will make your 2019 better for you and the ones around you?

A Vision Board Party/Workshop reservation!

Our first Black Friday Weekend Sale ever starts now!

20% OFF when you book your private Vision Board Party/Workshop by November 26th!

You choose the date and location in Miami, FL!

Tag your friends and DM for details!

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¿Qué podrías comprar hoy que hará tu 2019 un año mejor para ti y las personas a tu alrededor?

¡Una reservación para una Fiesta/Taller de Murales de Visión!

¡Nuestra primera venta de Viernes Negro comienza ahora!

¡20% de descuento cuando reservas tu Fiesta o Taller privado para elaborar tu Mural de Visión para el 2019 antes del lunes 26 de noviembre! Tú eliges la fecha y el lugar en Miami, FL;)

¡Etiqueta a los amigos que quieres que te acompañen y envíame un mensaje privado con tu reservación! ¡Te espero!

Tu coach,

Laura

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Portrait Day Mini-Sessions By Eva Hart

In Blogging, Career, coaching, Entrepreneurs, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Lifestyle, News on October 16, 2018 at 08:59

Professional Minishoots Flyer 2018 copy

On October 22nd my friend and client @evahartphotography will be hosting 8 women in a beautiful home in Miami to get their portraits done.
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In just 30 minutes they will be able to pose with 2 outfits and a variety of backgrounds and angles.
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This is ideal for people who need to update their personal profile picture and content for their website, blogs or social media. But also for any woman that wants to feel beautiful and have a great time.
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If you feel like you should be one of those women, go ahead and book your appointment. The space is limited.
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Book now: evahart.com/day

It Takes a Village

In Career, coaching, Entrepreneurs, Family, Lifestyle, motherhood, Relationships on September 10, 2018 at 15:43

By Laura Sgroi

I have always loved being around of people. I enjoy chosen solitude and the silence and focus resulting from isolation, but I thrive in company.

In my thirties, I have confirmed that once again. From the support received on this blog/book project since day one to my most recent endeavors, the people around me have been vital in each case.

One of the best examples is going back to work now that I am a mom.

DSC_3418

Any mom will tell you that your career takes on all kinds of new challenges once you’re balancing it with raising a child.

After having my first baby, I gave myself an average time for maternity leave (USA, we need to work on that asap) and pursued the opportunity to get back to work. I started pushing 4-month old Luca in a stroller to meetings, group coaching and events locally and away from home, even abroad. My sister Amy has held him while I have gotten my hair and nails done by the Nica ladies at the Spa in Miami Shores for my first Vision Board Workshop as a coach.

While I am building my public speaking and coaching career, my days in entertainment aren’t completely over (when work calls, I answer)–but they are different. I have been self-employed working as a TV & Events production management freelancer for sixteen years.

The first production gig was an eye-opening experience. I chose an “easy” show. Pre-production from home, pushed the stroller to an information talk during a volunteer recruiting event at a college close to home and then prepared to leave my baby (3 days shy of turning 4 months) with my sister, whose wonderful boss gave her a day off so she could take care of him.

I left breast milk, three different brands of milk formulas, multiple bottles and nipples, clothes, diapers, wipes, toys, and instructions including local police contact info. As I drove to the venue, I was surprised to feel so at peace leaving my child for the first time. I knew he was in great hands.

I arrived a few minutes late (working on that, can’t even blame the child) and started rolling. Only a couple hours had passed when I got a text from my sister. She asked me to come back home and pick them up because my son didn’t want to take the bottle. I told the closest members of the team that I had to step out, took one hour to drive back home, fed him, and then drove them back with me for another hour (luckily Miami’s lovely traffic had not officially started at that time, but the event was on the opposite side of the city).

That was only the beginning of three long days of work with my child onsite. My sister stayed in a dressing room with no windows or electronics for two, 10+ hours days, babysitting her nephew so I could make some money. My husband came on the third day and did the same.

prod baby

So many things are still going through my head about that experience: For brief moments, I felt like an actress with my family entourage on set, breastfeeding during taping breaks. I felt grateful to have the support and flexibility of my blood and work families to do that. I felt sad and frustrated for the millions of women who don’t have access to childcare (or elderly care), which takes away their financial freedom and keeps them out of the workforce and even society. We need to be intentional and active about this.

“It takes a village to raise a child”. Yes, it does. It takes a family, a community, and a village. And I am beyond blessed to have it all while I keep working to find and nurture you, my tribe.

Thank You All.

Grateful,

Laura

Note: This post is an adapted excerpt from our upcoming book, ‘In Our Thirties’. I would appreciate your constructive feedback. Stay tuned for the launch!

Photo credits:

1st photo by: Isis Santana Photography

2nd photo by a dear production colleague

Meet My Health Coach Beth Hill and her Project Healthy Body

In Career, coaching, Entrepreneurs, Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, Lifestyle, motherhood, News, wellness on August 11, 2018 at 08:40

As a life and business coach, it’s my duty to not disclose any information obtained during the course of the coaching relationship without the express permission of the client. But I reserve the right to brag about their success!

My first coaching client: Beth Hill, Certified Holistic Health Coach

My first coaching client: Beth Hill, Certified Holistic Health Coach

Beth Hill is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and she was my first steady client while she was launching her business. My first coachee ever. She will always have a special place in my heart because of that, and also because of how much she helped ME.

I was struggling with a hormonal imbalance for over a year, and after seeing three different doctors, I did not know what else I could try (more on that soon). I started working with Beth remotely; she took the time to go over my health history, and started giving me valuable advice from nutrition to relaxation techniques. She inspired me to try some new things and helped me become more mindful about my lifestyle & habits from grocery shopping to meal planning and time management. Her flexibility and understanding made our sessions possible within my ever-changing schedule. I am thrilled to share with you that my hormones are now under control and I was able to conceive naturally four months after we started our program. Beth then helped me with my pregnancy nutrition and I will be forever thankful for this gift of a lifetime.

This why I trust her and I am happy to share her with you. She is now a team member of the Project Healthy Body: A five-month journey toward discovering the healthiest YOU! On weekly calls, they will talk about whole, real foods, hydration and movement, but more importantly, they will explore self-care, self-love, body acceptance, gratitude and being present and showing up to live your best life.

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Project Healthy Body is about designing a foundation that will carry you through a healthy life filled with energy and vitality. It is rooted in self-love, healthy lifestyle choices, resilience, gratitude, education, and a growth mindset.

The ideal Project Healthy Body participant is someone who is ready to break-up with the scale, never diet again, and who simply wants to feel and look better! They are looking for women who have decided their current circumstances are no longer acceptable, and they are motivated and inspired to be the best version of themselves.

Is that you?

If yes, please contact Beth at beth@projecthealthybody.com. They have only one spot left!

Cheers to your health!

Laura

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Now That I Am a Mom

In Family, Lifestyle, motherhood, News, Relationships on May 13, 2018 at 10:19

You gave a full agenda, playlist and decor to our house with your name

Changed the kind and content of the bottles on our counter space

My best ideas come to me in front of your changing table instead of my writing desk

I nurse while listening to audiobooks knowing at heart that you will inspire me and teach me more than them

I am still the same

I just love you, son

Now that you have lost your hair and grown it again

Your eyebrows and eyelashes have become thicker while my love for you grows fonder

Your round eyes look at me saying: “I count on you”

Yes, you can my dear

I am still the same

I just love you, son

You are the greatest gift

That arrived just in time

You are such a great addition to our lives

We share a birth date and a birth time,

and with the help of God, we will share the ride of a lifetime.

They cut the plastic bracelets in our wrists, removed your LoJack, and it felt like opening a gift,

taking the plastic off the seats of a new car, no road map or manual though.

I can’t still differentiate between a burp cloth and a wash cloth.

I wear a Boppy pillow like a lifesaver because it is, just like that NoseFrida has become a source of bliss

You have filled our hearts, our home and our cellphones with your smile and that look in your eyes.

Oh, those eyes!

I am still the same

I just love you, son

As Grandpa said:

The desire to be your mother became a painting brush, and here you are, my masterpiece.

I love you, son.

Blessed to be a Mom by the mercy of God,

Laura

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Vision Board Workshops to Thank A Teacher

In Career, coaching, En Español, Entrepreneurs, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Lifestyle, News, Relationships on May 7, 2018 at 16:39

 

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Inspired by Teacher Appreciation Week and feeling proud and grateful to be the daughter, friend, and student of impactful teachers, I am thrilled to offer Vision Board Workshops for Teachers, Schools Teams, and students for the school year 2018-2019! If you know of any school teams that would benefit from this goal-setting activity please contact me.

Thanks in advance!

Laura

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SOS Nicaragua

In En Español, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Lifestyle, News on May 1, 2018 at 00:07

Bandera_de_Nicaragua

Raras veces hablo o escribo con obvia connotación política. Esta vez siento el deseo de expresar mi sentir. Y tal como dijo mi amiga María Isabel, aunque lo hago desde la cima de la montaña de mi privilegio, esta publicación es mi manera de tomar acción y contribuir.

Me duelen Nicaragua y los conflictos que hoy la dividen. Sobre todo porque somos todos seres humanos. Además porque viví ahí, por mis amigos, por la familia Mombacho Cigars.

Me uno a la voz de tantos nicaragüenses, expatriados residentes en Nicaragua y extranjeros alrededor del mundo que hoy piden justicia, libertad, paz, compromiso, seguridad, soluciones, respeto a sus derechos y el cumplimiento de la voluntad de todo su pueblo.

Se me encoge el corazón de admiración y dolor por aquellos que con valentía y firmeza se han arriesgado a expresarse, cada uno usando su manera de manifestarse.

La paz es el fin y la paz es el medio.

Nica, te quiero, confío en tu gente y en su memoria.

No te olvido,

Laura

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