Inspiration & Expert Advice on What Matters Most

Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

Finding Hope & Solace at the Gym

In Blogging, Health, Lifestyle, Relationships, Spirituality, wellness on December 9, 2019 at 10:13

Yesterday I went to the gym after almost two years and a half since the last time I worked out. Yes, I did one 7-minute workout one day this summer, but I am afraid that doesn’t count for personal statistics purposes.

I joined with an online offer two weeks ago without ever visiting the place. I got there early, with the intention to get my barcode keychain, tour the club and join a yoga class.

As much as I tried, I couldn’t get myself excited. The smell of rubber, cleaning products and bleach from the pool and jacuzzi, the sound of the weights falling on the floor or racks, the inspiring, colorful wall-sized posters, and I can’t even remember the music. Nothing seemed to impress me.

I got in the room for the yoga class. It was cold and the mats were worn down. Students started to arrive. One lady smiled to me and asked me if it was my first time. I said yes. She said the teacher was amazing while she saved a spot for a friend.

Her friend arrived and they started talking. She introduced me to her friend while the class started filling up, still enough space to avoid feeling crowded. The teacher arrived, a beautiful French yogi with the respective accent and body.

The class was gentle as the music she played, exactly what I was able to handle after not working out in so long. I was relieved, happy and grateful.

My instant friends invited me to join them on Saturdays for Zumba and Yoga after. “I’ll do my best to join you”, I said. I asked her names before I left. “I am Esperanza and she is Consuelo”. “What a beautiful pair of names!” I said.

Esperanza (Hope) and Consuelo (Solace) made my day and I have been thinking of them ever since. I am sure they are what I was looking for on and off the mat.

I found hope and solace at the gym yesterday. May you find what you need today.

Namaste,

Laura

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In Our Thirties: Updates & Table of Contents

In Career, Finances, Health, Lifestyle, News, Quotes, Relationships, Spirituality on December 3, 2019 at 06:00

Hi friends,

How have you been?

Hope you are well. In my case, life keeps throwing curveballs, therefore here I am, doing what always makes me feel better: Reflecting and moving forward.

It’s been a while since the last book update. At the moment, we are in the final design/formatting phase. Before we are ready to launch, we will have at least three rounds of revisions, as recommended by our editor and project manager Amy Schleunes. With the holidays approaching, that means that most likely we will be launching Spring 2020.

The good news: You don’t need to wait to know what is in the book, as I am excited to share with you the full Table of Contents today:

CONTENTS

Preface

I. All the Way to Thirty

II. What Matters Most 

People 

“I wasn’t seeing how I looked—I was seeing how I felt.” 

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano on Beauty 

“Safety is not only possible, but it should be every thirty-something woman’s bottom line.” 

Jill Di Donato on Relationships 

Health 

“Everyone should experiment and learn, especially people in committed relationships.”

Dr. Sonjia on Sexual Health

“Fitness is a lifestyle, not just a look.”

Angelique Mills on Exercise and Longevity 

Spirit 

“Develop your ability to observe what’s happening in the moment.”

Warren Ogden on Spiritual Practice 

Career 

“You might have to re-evaluate your dreams.”

Cindy K. Goodman on Work-Life Balance 

Money 

“You need to know what you want and say no to everything else.”

Sandra Acosta on Personal Finance 

Living 

“We attract what we are or what we need to grow.”

Dashama on Positivity and Sustainability

III. Back to Basics 

IV. In Our Thirties: A Collection of Stories From Around the World 

Reading Group Guide

As you can see, In Our Thirties is a hybrid book, including:

An uplifting memoir about experiences so far, how priorities have changed, and how I am devoting this decade devoting it to what matters most now.   

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Guest Pieces written by Expert Contributors

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Compilation of more than 50 essays by friends from all around the world about being 30+.  

I would love to share a Sample Chapter soon.

What section would you like to read?

Tell me in the comments and I will post it. It’s your call!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Always grateful for your support,

Laura

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Our son lives in a trilingual household—and we wouldn’t have it any other way

In Family, Lifestyle, motherhood, Relationships, travel on November 24, 2019 at 06:00
This article first appeared on Mother.ly. Grateful for the opportunity!

By Laura Sgroi

I always knew I would marry someone from another culture. Growing up in the Dominican Republic and then moving to Miami in my early 20s, I was curious and attracted by looks, accents and customs different than mine. I started studying English when I was six and added Italian classes at age 16, so marriage was still far from my mind, but little did I know that becoming trilingual would definitely mark my life and my family’s when the right time arrived.

My husband is Italian, born and raised in Palermo, Sicily. When we started dating, I was excited to learn that he had two of my non-negotiable musts in a guy: He could speak Spanish with my parents and he could dance merengue! Bingo!

Shortly after we got married ten years ago, we started daydreaming about our future mixed kids. We could almost see and hear our child running free and jumping for joy around us. Beyond any gender or looks, all I wanted was a healthy, happy and wholly baby.

Photo by the talented Eva Hart

Our son is now 2 years old. I gave birth with my Italian husband-become-doula reminding me to breathe and push in Spanish, my Puerto Rican ob-gyn coaching me with his Boricua accent, and three nurses—Indian, British, and Cuban—all cheering me on in their own version of English.

The moment my son was born, I just remember telling him: “I love you! I love you! I love you!” A hundred times. English was the language that I heard myself speaking to him.

Even before he was born, we were spontaneously and intentionally looking for ways to include our cultures in his life. We debated between names that had the same spelling and pronunciation in Spanish, English and Italian. We asked his grandmothers to bring children’s books from home so they could read to him in the only language they speak. We included multilingual toys in our baby shower registry and started talking and singing lullabies in my native Spanish and Daddy’s Italian when he was in the womb.

Even though we often sound like an episode of Dora the Explorer, I do my best to only speak Spanish at home, and his dad speaks Italian to him 100% of the time. He loves pasta, maduros, and pancakes.

When it was time to look for a preschool, diversity was our number one priority. We chose a Montessori school where he is now learning English as a third language and where we thoughtfully share traditional desserts from our homelands when we are invited to potlucks.

When he is out of school and we have run out of ideas, I admit that he watches and dances to merengue videos on YouTube, and loves them. As a result, our boy is now growing up trilingual in the United States, in a multicultural environment filled with all Latinx experiences.

His favorite! I don’t know why!

At the same time, I like to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that he was born in the United States. I make a point of having a traditional menu for Thanksgiving dinner even though none of us enjoys turkey that much.

We alternate our holiday travel between the Dominican Republic and Italy every year, and no matter where we are, he gets gifts from El Niño Jesús and Santa Claus on Christmas and then from La Befana (the old woman bearing gifts from Italian folklore) and Los Reyes Magos (the Three Magic Kings) on January 6th.

He made me feel proud when he came back from camp this summer holding a red, white and blue boat while jumping and screaming, “Our flag!” on the days leading up to the Fourth of July. And on the Fourth, he surprised us by lying on the grass to enjoy the fireworks, making us feel grateful for him and for this land that we call home.

Being a Latinx parent in the US today is a blessing and challenge at once. As an immigrant, I am aware of how fortunate I am to be able to raise my child with all the benefits this country offers, while still embracing my roots. Every day I challenge myself to keep growing, to become a better citizen and to be more visible so that we continue to break stereotypes and defy statistics.

Most of all, I want my little one to be free to express himself, to see the world and appreciate all the colors, rhythms and flavors beyond our own.

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World Breastfeeding Week

In Family, Health, Lifestyle, motherhood, News, wellness on August 5, 2019 at 09:00

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1st to 7th to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

If you can do it, please do it. Try as hard as you can and for as long as you can. Or pump and feed your breastmilk to your baby. The benefits are infinite for both, you and your baby. 


I have been breastfeeding for 23 months and counting. A part of me wants to stop in the next few weeks, a part of me would do it for as long as my baby wants to. 

Along with the time and patience that it takes, some daily food staples that have helped me:

-Mother’s Milk ® -Traditional Medicinals Tea

-Oatmeal

-Almonds

-Avocados

-Milk

-Drinking water


If you can do it, please do it. If not, choose the best organic formula. Do your best for your baby and for yourself. Every little drop counts.


#WBW #NBM #LiveLoveLatch #normalizebreastfeeding

Unforgettable photos by the talented @isisantana.photography

P.S.: Have you read our post about fertility and my message of hope? And the one about what it takes to be a working mother? Check them out and please let us know your thoughts!

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Lectores en Santo Domingo: Esta Invitación es para Ustedes

In Beauty, En Español, Entrepreneurs, Health, Lifestyle, motherhood, News, wellness on July 19, 2019 at 09:00

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, ‘In Our 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

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 9.47.59 AM.png

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

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