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Crossing The Bridge: Meet Vanesa Paredes

In Career, Family, Lifestyle, News, Relationships on December 12, 2016 at 14:00

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Vanesa Paredes, 34, is an Argentine film director and producer, born in Buenos Aires, a city she describes as full of art and movement. Her mother, a housewife with a taste for theater, drawing and music, was the one who influenced her and her siblings (dancers, actors and musicians) in the art world.
Vanesa always wanted to tell stories, since a young age, she drew on every blank paper she could find, invented and wrote stories, drew cartoons. With the help of her art teacher, in high school, she found the perfect profession: Filmmaking. She started her studies at the prestigious University of Buenos Aires. Before graduating, she started working as a cameraman and video editor, first at a record company in the visual area, later, as an editor at an important company located in Buenos Aires.
Living in Buenos Aires, she was friends with children of Asian families and from other countries of Latin America. She always had a special interest in the experiences of travelers and an empathy towards immigrants.  She wondered how it felt to live between two worlds. What was it about living away from your culture and your language? How did it feel to share and learn new customs and ways of life? She felt in them the pain of uprooting and the feeling of being between two cultures, without feeling 100% part of any of them. She graduated as an audiovisual designer with a thesis on this subject and in 2012, she did a lively short on this topic.
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Vanesa’s life was good. At 29, she got engaged to her boyfriend of three years, a good man who loved her enormously. However, deep inside, she knew she was not ready to take that important step.
“I was always a curious person with an adventurous spirit. I felt that something had been relegated in my life. I felt the need to travel, to see the world, to explore, to hear stories, to be by myself. My family is very traditional, I was about 30 years old, and everyone thought that it was the ideal time to get married and have children. I had found a wonderful man, why shouldn’t I want to marry him? I tried to keep myself strong on my decision to get married, because it was supposed to be the right one. I was lying to myself and he felt my doubts, he knew me enough to see that I wasn’t sure about it, so he asked me what I really wanted, and in that moment, I realized that I wanted to follow my dreams of traveling and exploring the world. We cried and hugged, we said goodbye and I made the conscious decision of changing my life. It wasn’t easy, I loved him, but it wasn’t my time to be a wife and mother; and for him that was a priority.
 
After a few months, I got a working holiday visa in New Zealand and my adventure started. I was so excited and happy! I wanted to learn English; I wanted to see the world. I couldn’t believe that my life had changed so much in such a short time. I have been in 12 countries in the last three years. I have seen wonderful things, I have met many people and I had the opportunity to work on what I love. At the moment, I am 34, and all these experiences have made me stronger and more independent. My life is a continuous adventure. I do not regret my decision. When you listen to your heart, there is no way things can go wrong. My ex-fiancé got married and became the father of a beautiful daughter. He is happy with his new family, I am happy for him and he is happy for me. We both fulfilled our dreams and we are still friends.”
After 2.5 years doing all kinds of work, but always, looking for the opportunity to do what she loved, she found the opportunity to keep working as a filmmaker in New Zealand. She has participated in different audiovisual projects and was presented with the possibility of participating in “Crossing The Bridge”a creative collective founded by Mauritian Anthropologist Sophie-Claire Violette supported by Creative Editor Lucy Holland from New Zealand and now, also supported by Vanesa as a filmmaker. They create visual and experiential projects with a strong anthropological focus. Their first eponymous project “Crossing The Bridge; Exploring Identity and Belonging in Ashburton’s Migrant Community” told the stories of twenty one migrants and their experiences integrating into the rural town of Ashburton | New Zealand. This project is extremely close to Vanesa’s heart as she can feel in her own flesh what her immigrant friends felt living in Argentina.
“With perseverance and following our hearts and true dreams, we can fulfill everything. Our work in “Crossing The Bridge” is the best example.” For more about Vanesa Paredes and Crossing The Bridge please visit: www.crossingthebridge.co
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¿Qué Hacer para NO Quedar Embarazada?

In Career, En Español, Family, Health, Lifestyle, News, Relationships, wellness on September 17, 2016 at 08:36

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¡Gracias a la revista Glamour México y Latinoamérica por la oportunidad de compartir información útil con sus lectoras en todo el continente!

Este artículo aparece originalmente en la edición de Septiembre 2016 de Glamour México y Latinoamérica, ¡a la venta ya!

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Si tienes alguna pregunta o duda sobre este tema, por favor no dudes contactarnos.

Recuerda: El mejor método es…¡el que te funciona a ti!

Y tú, ¿cuál prefieres? ¡Por favor déjanos saber en los comentarios!

Tu amiga,

Laura

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TBT: Try This At Home

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

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The things we do for love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Iberico Ham, Phyllo, Parmigiano Reggiano® Asparagus Fingers

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Parmigiano Reggiano® & Cilantro Gnocchi with Key Lime Butter Sauce

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

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Parmigiano Reggiano® Crusted Sea Scallops with Cumin Corn Salsa

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Parmigiano Reggiano® Taco Shells with Cuban Picadillo

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

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

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The very best thing about Parmigiano Reggiano®?

It gets better with aging, just like you!

Cheers!

Laura

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

Photos by: Ray Santana Photography

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WOD: Pilates ProWorks Miami

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

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Have you ever tried Pilates?

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

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The Blogger Union members at Pilates ProWorks Miami

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

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Summer Christensen, PPW Miami Studio Owner

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

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

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

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

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

One last tip for thirty-somethings?

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

Thank you, Summer!

Your Hard Core fan,

Laura

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

About Summer:

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

 

Photo credits:

Summer Christensen’s: Tommy Hernandez 

Bloggers’: Paola Méndez

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Beauty Expert Guest: Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

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

As told to Laura Sgroi 

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Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Autumn Whitefield-Madrano: 

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

Author’s Photo Credit: Siouxsie Suarez

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Let’s Work Together!

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

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Thank You for Considering the Possibility of Working Together!

I Can Help You with:

COACHING

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

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

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

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

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BRAND COLLABORATIONS, ADVERTISING & SPONSORSHIPS

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

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

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WRITING & SPEAKING

Do You Like My Voice?

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

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

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

Please contact me for samples and availability.

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COMMUNICATIONS 

Public Relations | TV & Events Production Management | Marketing

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

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

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

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BLOGGING 

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

What Should I Name My Blog

The Benefits of Joining a Mastermind

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Thanks in advance!

In Gratitude and Service,

Laura

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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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Is Stress Stalking Your Life?

In Career, Great Articles Found Doing Research, Health, Lifestyle, News, Relationships on February 2, 2016 at 09:00

VARIOUS

Are You Aware Of The Dangers Of Stress?

Source: Is Stress Stalking Your Life?

One in four of us admits to feeling stressed every single day, but too often we do nothing about it. Writer Lizzie Pook, 30, found her way back from burnout… 

It was in a stark A&E cubicle, while a consultant slowly inched a camera up my nose and down my throat until my eyes streamed with tears, that I realised things had to change. Up until that point, my health had been slowly spiralling downwards. I had been blighted for two years by an endless cycle of infections and flu. I’d recently been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, and was suffering other bizarre physical symptoms, too: strange and erratic spasms in my nose, a numb tongue, angry rashes all over my body and a constant ringing in my ears. Eventually, things came to a head, and my GP packed me off to see if emergency-room doctors could explain the terrifying choking feeling that was rising in my throat.

The diagnosis that day was not hugely surprising. My body was being ravaged by stress, and it was reacting the only way it knew how. If I didn’t make some significant changes in my life, the doctor said, I was heading straight towards burnout and was at risk of making myself seriously ill. We may brush off stress as weakness or even inconvenience but, the truth is, it is having a debilitating effect on increasing numbers of women in the UK. Recent studies have shown that over half of all women would describe themselves as ‘moderately or extremely’ stressed.

Four out of five of us believe we push ourselves too hard, and a recent survey by Sanctuary Spa found that an estimated 12 million women feel that they are on the verge of burnout. It’s no surprise we’re feeling more stressed, either. Studies suggest our ‘have it all’ generation is struggling to juggle high-pressured jobs, financial worries and the never-ending quest for a decent work/life balance. For me, the causes of my stress were not unusual: a little self-doubt, a lot of anxiety, and the constant fear of disappointing others (particularly at work, in my high-pressure job as a journalist, where I would constantly put in overtime to prove how committed I was). That’s not to mention the tendency to over-worry about my family. In fact, since the death of my father 10 years ago, I’d felt sort of responsible for the happiness of everyone in my family; surely that’s enough pressure to shake the foundations of even the strongest woman.

But this constant anxiety began to gnaw away at my brain like a burrowing parasite. It soon affected my behaviour. Every morning on the journey to work, I could actually feel my blood pressure rising. I was so on edge that if a harried fellow commuter bumped into me, I’d huff and sigh theatrically. If someone started reading my newspaper over my shoulder, I’d eyeball them with embarrassing pantomime incredulity. There was no relief at night, either. After a frantic day at the office, I’d lie awake into the clammy early hours, convincing myself that my mother was having a heart attack, or that my brother simply wouldn’t wake up the next morning. The anxiety was so all-consuming, it felt as if I was losing my grip on reality.

‘Stress changes the way your body functions,’ says Neil Shah, director of the Stress Management Society. Our bodies are only designed to be in a state of stress, known as the fight-or-flight response, for a short period of time – just long enough for our ancestors to fight off the sabre-tooth tiger, for example. But according to Shah, if we stay in this state for extended periods, high levels of the stress hormone cortisol are released, damaging our immune, gastrointestinal, neurological and musculoskeletal systems. ‘Things like digestion, the reproductive system and our pain responses are also diminished,’ he says. ‘Because the body is focusing on keeping only our vital organs working and pumping blood and oxygen to our limbs.’

This means those under extreme stress can suffer a bizarre range of symptoms, including palpitations, hair loss, changes to their menstrual cycle and even miscarriage. That’s not to mention adrenal fatigue (where the adrenal glands function below necessary levels, causing profound tiredness and burnout). One woman I know was under so much pressure in the run-up to her wedding that she broke out in angry hives all over her body five days before the ceremony.

Back in that A&E room, I knew I had to make some changes – to turn my life on its head. The decision involved risk: leaving a job I absolutely loved to travel the world as an unemployed woman approaching her thirties (gulp). But I felt compelled to see what effect taking a hiatus from my normal routine would have on my wellbeing. So I handed in my notice, packed my bags and spent three months travelling the world (sleeping in tents, reading countless books and eating what the hell I wanted; not worrying about my expanding waistline or the state of my hair). Amazingly, my physical symptoms quickly diminished, and I felt happier and more relaxed than I had done for years, despite having left my dream job behind.

Now I’m home, forging a career as a freelance writer, and I have a new approach to life’s worries. For some of us, stress and anxiety will be an ever-present part of our daily lives. It is always going to manifest itself in some way because it is as much a part of us as our fingerprints. We cannot simply banish stress forever. But if we can learn to recognise when it’s getting too much, when the scales are tipping just a bit too far in the wrong direction, and take action, then perhaps we can assimilate it into our lives in the least harmful way possible. That’s what I’m hoping…

Don’t throw that monitor! Listen to stress management expert Eileen Burns…

1. Make a list and focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is the main cause of stress, lack of focus, poor concentration, fatigue and anxiety.

2. Take a breath when you’re overwhelmed. Simply drop your shoulders and become aware of your chest rising and falling.

3. Have regular tea breaks and leave your desk for your full lunch break to encourage the body into a more relaxed state.

4. Move. Even stretching at your desk helps reduce muscular pain, tension and circulation problems.

5. Stay hydrated. Dehydration adds pressure and stress to the body’s systems.

Photo: Monkey Business Images/REX/Shutterstock (5103856a)

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