Flawsome!

So on my last post I used the word “flawsome”, have you heard about it before? I am sure you have! We are all flawsome! Like totes, a bunch! To be honest with you, this word didn’t come into my life until about a month or so ago as part of my fitness community. But when I heard it for the first time and learned about its meaning it was

mind blowing

So what does flawsomeness means? Flawsomeness is the noun that captures that overwhelming feeling of acceptance, self love, confidence and inner peace with one’s attributes and flaws that makes us unique and awesome. Yup! I told you is a thing. It sure is. Now I am sure you’ve seen around social media promoting self-acceptance, and that is great! But the only way to get there is to understand why the good and the not so good in us is so important to embrace. Flawsomeness is that one thing that we all have and we need to discover. Once we do, our lives will be a gazillion times better. How so? Keep reading.

So is no secret to you that I am a mother of three. Things that are common “side effects” of a pregnancy are stretch marks, saggy skin,  baby weight, more stretch marks, you get it. While I know this might make some people go: “ew, gross!” because they can only find beauty in a women’s mid-section that is tight, with a six-pack, no stretch marks, there is also beauty in a mid-section like mine. Absolutely, and hell yes!! While my saggy pouch with stretch marks that is protecting my abs with an additional layer of fat, might not get featured on a magazine cover, let me tell ya it is beau-ti-ful! BEAUTIFUL! Now before I go into the reasons why, I would like to add a bit of a disclaimer here. There are plenty of women in this world who have a baby and can bounce back to a flawless body in months, nay make that weeks! Their skin’s elasticity is so great that it truly stretches out and back to normal without a problem. That have no stretch marks because their DNA is awesome like that. That gain little weight with a pregnancy because that is just how it worked out for them. To those women I say: “bendito! how awesome it is that your bodies can do that.”

While my body is not that kind of awesome, it is still beautiful, and my flaws are part of my beauty because that is how I chose to live my life. I am gonna show you a very personal picture. One that I have never shown before because it would make me feel embarrassed. One that I would have deleted from my phone. One that I would have probably not even taken before. One that shows one of the most sensitive parts of my body. One that shows something that has made me feel insecure in the past. My belly

my belly

I see my belly and I think: “bendito!” How amazing it is that I was able to assist God in the miracle of life THREE TIMES?! It is pretty awesome, I’ll tell ya! I have friends who are struggling to get pregnant and a few others that know they will never be able to because their bodies can’t do it. Mine did! I am not bragging or trying to make my friends feel bad but I am trying to say that what I’ve gone through is an amazing thing. See that imperfect belly? It housed three healthy babies! What else can I ask for? I am so blessed to pay the price with stretch marks and my pouch because my kids are so worth it! I will continue to workout as much as possible and eat as healthy as I can so that pouch shrinks one day but I will not beat myself down for having it. Not now. Not EVER! My belly is my biggest asset. It made me a mom. That has been my greatest gift from God.

For the longest time I felt that something was wrong with me for not bouncing back to my pre-pregnancy body. I felt horrible with my body. I hated my body. But now I have a healthy relationship with my body and that is the absolute best thing ever! Now I can see my imperfections and still be happy with the lady staring back at me in that mirror. She is not perfect, but she is great. She is working hard to be the best she can possibly be each day. In fact, my relationship with my body is better now that I care for it much more. The least I can do for my body is to nurture it, to care for it, as a thank you. Every day I am alive, is best day ever. Living my life this way wasn’t always the case, but now it is. I have accepted me. All of me. Flaws welcomed. I am freaking flawsome!

Now, if you are reading this and having a conflict with your body and maybe you are not a mom, wait for it… I got some for you too! Sharing is caring, right? Whatever might be the “issue” with your body when you look at yourself in the mirror can be fixed. It’s a quick fix really. It’s called acceptance! Now is not easy to do it, but it is possible. If you for instance complain that your arms are too flabby or not strong enough, workout to change that. While you do this pay special attention to the fact that you have arms that are good enough to do things for you. That you can hug your loved ones. That you can pick up your nieces, nephews, kids, your dog. That you can throw a ball even if it’s not baseball pro level. That you have arms! There are people in this world who have lost theirs. They wish they were you. They wish they could do the things that you can do. So don’t be hating on your arms. Love them. Accept them. Work to change the things that you want to change about them, but always love them and accept them.

I strongly believe that once we all start realizing how freaking flawsome we are, this world will be a better place. Once we accept our bodies and embrace them, we will be happier. We will all be working to better ourselves. Life isn’t a competition. So freaking love your flawsomeness and help others do the same.

Cheerios!

 

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My idea of romantic

sunset

Isn’t this picture pretty? This was one of the many pictures that popped on my browser when I googled (yup, that’s a verb these days) “romantic”. It is such a beautiful picture! The sunset, the beach, the company, the tree… or is it? Well, I got the idea to write about my definition of what romantic is because when my husband and I were talking about it just recently, I realized romantic means different things to different people.

Again, I think this picture is lovely. Would I like to be the one in that picture with my husband? Absolutely, that would be nice. Would it be romantic? Sure. Would it be comfortable? I think not! I am sure that palm tree is strong but would it be able to hold my husband and I safely? I don’t know. Sure I am working on my fitness but even if I was several pounds lighter, I am not sure I would be comfortable sitting there for a long period of time. Should we then put a limit to the time we will be sitting there to make sure is romantic? No, romanticism shouldn’t be timed. That is why when I think of romantic the picture in my head is a lot different than what Google found for me.

Red roses, candlelight, champagne or wine if you are into that, strawberries, fireplace, poems, romantic music.. I am sure you get the idea. You name these things and most people would say: “ah, romantic!” And while that is true, that is not the kind of romanticism that I am talking about. While all of these gestures can sure make any moment special, I want to focus on the romanticism that should live in a marriage day after day. These romantic gestures will create a deeper connection between a couple because I believe the quote below describes marriage fairly well:

marriage

So what’s the point Kim? Roses, champagne and all of the before mentioned things can definitely make any moment extra especial but that is not all there is to romanticism, at least not the kind I think needs to be present all the time. When I think of being romantic, I have this picture of the two of us sharing a moment that makes me fall in love with him all over again. This place doesn’t have to be a secret spot in the Hawaiian islands, or at the top of the mountain, or at the most expensive restaurant in the city. It doesn’t require roses or a glass with bubbly. It doesn’t require to wear fancy gowns or a limo to pick us up. So what to do you want Kim? I have been married for almost nine years now and while not every day is perfect I know we have a strong marriage. So when I talk about romanticism in the marriage, roses and cute details are ALWAYS welcomed 😉 but these are some of the things that I prefer over tulips (my fave flowers):

  • A long, deep hug. What do I mean by that? A tight hug that wakes up the butterflies in ma belly and that is not rushed or interrupted. Especially for us with three kids, we are always making sure the kids are taken care of. I swear the moment I stop to hug my husband I suddenly feel little arms around my legs because almost every hug ends in a group hug, ha! Don’t get me wrong that is an amazing thing too, but I love when we can find just even one minute to hug each other and have the time to enjoy each other’s smell, share sweet words, and feel goosebumps because hello love!.
  • Cuddling. Now this might sound super obvious and possible but I am telling you, the moment my husband and I decide to cuddle while watching a moving, then is group cuddle! Is like the kids know is happening and they suddenly show up in our room if they were not there and if they were there from the get-go, they jump in to cuddle. Those are really sweet family moments, but as a couple is important to make time for the two of us.
  • Holding hands. Three kids, two parents. You do the math! Because the little one is still a baby one is holding the baby or pushing the stroller and the other one is holding onto the other two kiddos. Whenever we go out and it is just the two of us, I enjoy oh so very much when he holds my hand. It makes me feel safe, and I think that is romantic.
  • Compliments. When is our anniversary, or a birthday, or we are celebrating a holiday like mother’s or father’s day, is so easy to write down a list of things the other one does amazingly. But I love when compliments happen organically. We are doing a great job most of the time (we aren’t perfect parents so I won’t lie and say it is ALL the time). Taking the time to pull your significant other aside and remind him or her how amazing he or she is at being your partner, best friend and your everything it’s a great way to keep the relationship strong.
  • Now the next ones I think they speak for themselves:
    • Tucking my hair behind my ear and whispering some sweet words.
    • Love message, which these days is pretty much by text, can light up my day and warm up my heart.
    • Doing chores without me asking for it. Thanks babe!
    • Bringing home my favorite sweet treat because it’s my favorite.
    • Weekday lunch date. With our work schedules is not always possible to coordinate but I love when we can meet somewhere and enjoy lunch just the two of us.
    • Watch her movie/ his show. We have very different tastes when it comes to TV. I like romantic comedies, and he is into zombies and whatever GOT is. It is a nice touch when he compromises watching a movie I like or I compromise watching a show he likes. It shows you care and yes, it is romantic in my book because I have limited TV time (busy mom here).
    • And don’t forget about a sweet kiss! Sure French was nice when I was fourteen, but this mama wants a soft, tender kiss that makes my body tingle because of so much love! You know it 😉

If you pay attention, almost all the things in my list do not require money or fancy gifts. It is about the gestures. The sweet gestures. Love can’t be all about sex. It needs the connection. The chemistry. I fall in love with him again every single day. These romantic gestures are simple but especial. They make our relationship stronger. I will always love when he shows up with a bouquet of tulips after work, but I will do fine without them as long as we can continue to fall in love with each other every day because of who we are and the things we do for each other. The simple things do count.

 

Baby blues

Just recently I celebrated my oldest’s son 9th birthday. I mean nine years?! I am sure that as long as you are busy time will pass by fairly quickly but when you stop to think about the actual changes within a specific time frame, then is like: “woa, wait what?!” So I was sharing with him the story of the day he was born, I started feeling some kinda of blue. But why? It was a joyous day. Why do I feel this way? Well, let me tell you why.

My experience post labor was not ideal. Many factors came into play which I will share with you. And as much as I love motherhood (add two kiddos to the equation) whenever I think of the days following my first son’s birth, I always feel a bit blue. I don’t know if postpartum depression was part of it. I honestly don’t think so. But maybe as I share this with other mommies out there, it might help someone feel a bit better that is going through this. So nine years ago, that’s when this happened:

It was around 2am when my water bag broke. I followed the instructions given to my at the hospital. Called, spoke to a nurse, and once it was confirmed with them we grabbed our diaper bag and went to the hospital. The first thing when you arrive is a check in the triage room where a nurse confirmed my water had broken so I could be admitted to the hospital. After some paperwork and a few minutes waiting for our room to be prepared, we went into a delivery room where we stayed for about a day. My water bag was broken but I had no contractions. They waited a bit hoping my body would catch up to the water bag news and start the process but I guess my body was too scared to admit it so it played dumb! A few hours later they started injecting small doses of pitocin to get the labor started, but again my body was like “nope, no thank you!” Finally about 8 hours after my water bag broke, the contractions started. They were pretty mild at that point that it wasn’t crazy painful.

I’ll never forget this Filipino nurse that was part of my care team. She comes to me and says: “Mommy, you can get the epidural now. Do you want it?” I wasn’t sure what to do. The idea of a natural birth sounded better to me. I told her that it wasn’t too painful at that point so maybe later. She said to me: “Why wait? This isn’t the 1800’s and there’s no need to feel more pain than you really have to. Women say they want a natural delivery and suffer the pain but is not about being brave but being smart! No need to feel pain if it’s possible”. EXCELLENT point, don’t you think?! I agreed with her. I mean, I had been at the hospital for a while now without pain and the labor wasn’t moving at all. It was so slow, why not? So with my first baby, I had an epidural. Does that make me less of a woman? I don’t think so. Does it make smarter as suggested by the nurse? I don’t think so. It just made that first day at the hospital pain free as I waited for my son’s arrival. To each its own, right? So if you can and want to get an epidural, go for it!

We were getting close to 24 hours since my water broke. I was desperate and mostly hungry! I wasn’t allowed to eat since I got the epidural and to be honest, I thought we would be done way sooner.  So finally the time came for the baby to be born! We had difficulties during delivery because my lil man had his hand positioned in a way that wasn’t allowing him to evacuate naturally if you know what I mean. I was so frustrated, tired and hungry, I actually begged the doctor for a C-section. He said that was the last resort and he needed to try a few other things before opting for it. Not to super worry any preggos out there or go into the TMI category, I can say that another doctor joined him and with a couple of things they had to do, I was able to welcome to this world my first born. My goodness that feeling! I knew the first thing I needed to hear was the baby’s cry once he was out, but that didn’t happened. Like I said there were a bit of complications there but with a pediatrician also there in top of the other doctors and nurses a few seconds later I was able to hear him cry. My goodness that feeling! What a relief! That pregnancy/ delivery complicated part was over. Little did I know the hardest part was just about to start.

Until this point it was just my husband and I. A couple of friends had came to check on me earlier in the day while we were waiting. My friend Elsa was there, waiting outside. Once the baby was born she was able to join us in the room and bless her heart she was feeding me while I was figuring out how to feed the baby, ha! Women multitask, I’ll tell ya. It was round 3am when he was born. Later that morning around 7am, I was taken to my recovery room. This is when things got rough real quick. I guess it was a full moon because the hospital was full. We weren’t able to get a private room. In fact, I was sharing the room with two other moms! I could hear people coming in and out to see the other two mommies. My husband left after I was set up in the room. I wanted to rest as I was not able to sleep all those hours before the delivery but I was too scared to close my eyes and for someone to take my baby without me noticing. I was concerned about my baby’s safety because it was just the two of us in that large hospital and I was too tired.

The first 60 hours or so after his birth we were at the hospital. Those two additional nights, I couldn’t sleep. I was in pain from the delivery and too afraid of someone taking the baby. He was in a little hospital crib next to my bed and the only thing that separated us from the rest of the room was a curtain. Not much protection if you ask me. I know they have this safety thing at the hospital with bands that go on the baby’s arm and leg and matching ones for the parents that have an alarm that goes off if you pass certain point. But that wasn’t enough for me.  Now this might not seem like a huge reason to many but for me it was a big deal. First time mom alone in a hospital with a newborn. I wasn’t at ease.

Now you are probably wondering why it was just me and the husband during this important time? Well, my mom was still in Guatemala and his parents had just moved to Nicaragua. I don’t have sisters. I have brothers, but if my husband wasn’t allowed to stay, I am sure they wouldn’t be allowed either. My best friends were miles apart one in Guatemala and the other in the opposite side of the country. I don’t have any immediate family in the area. The few friends I had were busy with their own lives and I can’t be mad at them for that. I felt lonely. Very lonely. Like ridiculously lonely. When I think back of that day, I feel sad that I was so lonely. I wish we could have had a private room so my husband could stay. Even if he was sleeping in the couch, I would have felt a gazillion times better. I wish that my mom had come to the US sooner. I wish at least one of my best friends was closer. I wish I would have dare to ask any of the friends I made here Cali to please stay with me even if that was too much to ask. But you know life isn’t perfect, and things had to happen the way they did.

I can’t explain why. Whenever I think of this time, I feel blue. My other two experiences were very different. The labor, the delivery, the company. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means saying that I hate the experience of my first son’s birth. What I am saying is that I love that experience even if whenever I think of it my heart turns a bit blue every time. Sometimes we create expectations and when those aren’t met we feel terribly bad. I actually didn’t have any specific expectations for my labor. I just wanted a healthy baby and that is what I had. All the details aren’t perfect but he is. His arrival into my life has changed my world. I am better person because of him. I try to. Maybe as time goes by I will be able to think of this memory and don’t feel sad at all. Only time will say for sure.

 

Career path… where to go?

Do you ever think about the next step on your career? How often do you change work/ positions? Do you have a 5-year or 10-year plan? I think about my career often but don’t always take action on it. Earlier this week I attended a work event and the guest speaker is this brilliant, super successful woman. She has years of experience backed up by many awards. I wasn’t sure what to expect from her talk. I was hoping for something inspiring but I’ve heard other successful people talk and sometimes it gets boring. Well, she was not a bit boring and extremely inspiring. Hence, new post on the blog!

So I will keep her info private because this is a personal blog and don’t want to get in trouble, ha! But let me tell you that she is in on her mid-40’s,  has at least 10 awards (really good ones too!), and has participated in groundbreaking technology trends. After sharing about school, career changes and a bit of her personal life, she shared her advice for a successful career. Some of the things were expected suggestions such as think of your career as a team sport or don’t be afraid to fail (although not everyone can do this one). But there were a few that I don’t think easily make the list and those are the ones I want to share with you and I’ll explain why.

  1. Stay outwardly employable.  Even though I am not currently looking for another job, I keep receiving messages in LinkedIn for other job opportunities. Some are good ones and others I am not very interested in. Some are for my current role and others are related to the previous industry that I worked for a long time. In any case, I am happy where I am and not looking to change that at this time. As she pointed out is important to keep receiving this messages because it shows you are current in the game. The moment you stop receiving these ones then be concerned and make the changes to be that candidate all companies want as part of their team.
  2. Never say “that’s not my job!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard other people say this. So many times. Not only do you come across as a lousy team player when you say that (in my opinion that is) but you are limiting yourself to learning/ doing new things. I know sometimes people think they are “better” than those tasks that are not part of their job. Even then, do it. Be a team player. And if that is not part of your job and you don’t know how to do it, learn it! I am sure your employer can’t force you to do it but be willing to learn new things. Your portfolio will be expanded 😉
  3. Be part of a team where you’re the best/worst/average player and make a contribution to all of them. Now this one I didn’t see coming at all! Why would I want to be part of a team where I am the worst? But see even then or especially then you have all the opportunities to learn. I think I am too “average” for most teams I am part of so I have to change that. I need to be the best in at least one team not for bragging rights but because I wan to be the master of at least one thing! You should too.

Again, she shared a bunch more but I think these ones are important to keep in mind. Stay current with your industry. Find out what’s coming next. Dig deep. And above it all, do not be afraid to soak your feet in new waters. Maybe you are currently good in sales, then go the extra mile and become at expert at it and don’t stop there and learn about marketing. Not into marketing? Then think outside the industry. Maybe you are the best cake decorator ever! Are those two related? Yes! You might not be a sales rep for bakery BUT you can use your decorating creativity to enhance presentations or layer the information so it is introduced to the client in a way that makes more sense. Learn new skills and try to use them as much as possible.

Where will I go next? Well, is time for me to decide that. I have a gazillion plans and sometimes you have to bet big to win big. I haven’t decided if I will put all my eggs in one basket or spread them among a few that interest me. I can tell you though that I will be spending more time thinking about this. I am good at my job but I wouldn’t call my current role my “ideal job”. So is time to sort things out so that I can make a living of something that I can enjoy more. We will see how this one goes. I shall keep you updated.

Cheers my peeps!

When life gives you lemons…

lemons

Have them with a tequila shot! Make it SHOTS-SSSS! Am I right? But since I am still not drinking alcohol because I am still breastfeeding, I shall make a lemonade with them. No, make it a raspberry lemonade! Who says you can’t add your own special twist to it? So, I was thinking about it because I had a conversation with a good friend just the other day about this, and by this I mean our attitude towards sschtuff life throws at ya, so here is my take on it. Keep reading, it might be something worth trying if you aren’t doing it yet.

For starters, let me tell you that I do not appreciate at all the victim attitude. Like I said sschtuff happens to all of us, and we can’t live pretending life is only mean to us (or you as you want to see it) or we never get a chance in life. Nothing makes me more… blah that people with such negative attitude. My family and I have been through quite some stuff. My mom raised my three brothers and I as a single mom after my dad passed away. There were some great days and some tough ones. You won’t hear me complaining about the bad ones, ever! Why? Because I know that it wasn’t my mom’s fault that things got challenging, and I know that she tried her best every single time, and I know that every single moment of our life is a learning opportunity. I won’t stress about how things happened or how they could have been different. I can’t change the past, but I can use it to learn and make better decisions now for a better future.

Second, I would like to highlight again how everything is a learning opportunity. I don’t mean to offend anyone with this, but I think only losers give up. We are humans, we are not perfect and we don’t know it all. It is in our nature to try things, to modify things, and to deliver results. Quitters don’t go past trying things. If at first the result is not what they want or expect, they don’t try to modify things to get the result they want. I am not a great cook but I love cooking (too many cooking shows have me feeling like a chef, ha!) I have tried numerous recipes from Pinterest. Sometimes the first time the food came out great! Other times the food came out really bad the first time, but after trying so many recipes I can often tell where I went wrong. Did I put too much of one ingredient or not enough of another? Maybe it overcooked and the texture now makes me think is not right? Maybe it’s undercooked and now I know to bake it a bit longer than the recipe said. Why did I continue to try after failing the first time? Because I love food! I don’t want to eat the same food all the time, I want to try new yummy things. They don’t come out yummy all the time but I keep trying.

Now back to sharing some of the things that help me keeping the best possible attitude in life:

  1. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Would have my life been better if my dad was still alive? Maybe. I truly can’t tell for sure that it would have or not been better with him around. What I can tell you is that I have a strong woman for a mother who raised me with strong values, who believes me, and taught me to believe in myself. It would have been nice to have my dad growing up, but he is my angel and his absence has made my mom, brothers and I stronger. Daddy’s spoiled little girl was not meant for me and I am okay with that especially now that I am mom. I try to be fair with my kids; I love their uniqueness and don’t want to spoil them.
  2. “When you hit rock bottom the only way is up”. Heard that before? I wouldn’t say I’ve hit rock bottom but there’s been difficult times. I call them lean times. And guess what? Lean times motivate you to go on the opposite direction. Do whatever it takes to get better. While a rough patch is an excuse to many to get stuck,  to me is a motivation to try harder and get myself out of it.
  3. Every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. Experiences can only turn bad when you chose not to learn or grow from it. Change the way you think from a bad experience into a learning experience. It’s all about perspective here!
  4. Focus on the positive. Glass half-full you say? Heck yes! Use those lemons for something else. Sure the apple you wanted might have been nice but oh well, no biggy instead make a lemonade with the lemons you got! I am telling you, when you focus on the positive life will be a more beautiful and enjoyable.
  5. Laugh it up! (LOL so you can understand me).  I was just today showing my coworker the picture of my face when my wisdom teeth got pulled out. My face was so swollen for almost two weeks! Did I stopped seeing a dentist because now I hate dentist? Nope. Did I complain about it? Nope. Instead I posted this picture on Facebook because guess what? It- ISSS – HILARIOUS! I still use this picture often to make people laugh when they are having a bad day. You are welcome!

face pic

Never stop learning.

Many people tell me I am crazy for continuously keeping myself enrolled in school since I am a mom. I earned an AS degree in 2012 from a community college and it took me more than 4 years to complete the requirements. I have promised myself that I will earn a BA or BS degree, and I will continue to work on that. I have a decent job in a good company, so why do I want more? Why doing it knowing it will take me another 4-6 years to complete it?

For starters, let me tell you about my experience earning the AS. When I moved to the US I had no clue how the school system worked. I was used to a school year that started in January and ended in October. I had no idea how to apply for a college or university. I had no idea your income plays a factor in financial aid or how to fill out a FAFSA. An amazing friend at Macy’s kept telling me I was too young and smart to settle as the dresses specialist and needed to get myself an education. She was a very smart woman who worked for NASA and had a part time job at Macy’s not for need but for fun and distraction, go figure! So, with her advice, I got the nerve to find the closest community college and I did the online enrollment. I submitted the required paperwork and in no time, I was able to enroll in classes. Yay! I thought it would be very simple from that moment on. But when I tried to enroll in a class through their online system, I had no idea what classes to take to earn a degree, any degree really. So, I made an appointment with a counselor and got probably the worst advice of my life.

He asked me about my career goals. I explained I had planned to become an architect back home, but I was in a new country and at that point I just wanted an education. He said that since I didn’t had a specific major in mind I should focus on GEs.

  • I said:  “sure thing, which class first?”
  • He said: “it doesn’t matter, just take any classes you want from the list”.

He handed me a list that anyone who has attended college or a university might be familiar with, but to me it was a bunch of letters and numbers that made no sense. You know, those classes code and section numbers? I mistakenly thought I could take ANY classes from the list without knowing each group has a required amount of credits or to consider which ones were good towards a specific degree. What a shame! Would I have known better, I would have earned a degree much sooner and possibly transfer to a 4-year university. It would had been much easier then without kids to do all of that. But I had to take the long way, so I went with taking any classes advice.

I enrolled in two classes and came to an agreement with my manager at Macy’s that I needed to take Tuesdays and Thursdays off to go to college. And that first semester was great! My schedule worked out, we had gotten a car by then so I didn’t have to take the bus to college. I was learning and enjoying it, and finished the semester with good grades. The following semester I enrolled in more classes but I quickly had to change that as I changed jobs in January and with my new schedule I could only take some night classes. Again, finished the semester great, learned a bunch and was ready to continue my path. But this was the moment when my life changed. I moved to a different city, started living on my own, got a new job, and as you can imagine all these new components didn’t add up quite nicely to the challenge.

I enrolled in a few classes at the closest community college in my new city. My worked schedule was all over the place due to low seniority at the hotel so I couldn’t attend classes on campus because hours started conflicting with work. I imagined the following semester would be better once I was more settled and my schedule had gotten a bit more regular but that didn’t happen. I kept enrolling in classes I couldn’t finish because a manager would agree to give me certain days off so I could attend on campus classes but weeks into the semester that no longer could happen because someone was taking a vacation or bump my shifts so I just couldn’t stick with it. I eventually figured out that online classes were a better choice so I started doing that. I was so sick of having to work an early shift one day, a swing shift the following, a graveyard the next one, having one day off and it would repeat in a similar pattern. I considered taking accounting classes because it seemed that the ladies in the accounting department had a Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm job and I wanted that. I consider myself good with numbers but it wasn’t something I felt passionate about so that idea went away quickly. Then I considered and administrative job which would give me some similar hours so I started taking the classes to earn an Administrative Assistant AS degree. The best part was that every class required was available online! The bad part was that I still had some GEs to earn which didn’t have online options such as math so I worked graveyard for a few months so I could take a math class during the day.

Now all of these sounds tiring to me! Add to that two adorable kids that had come into my life to the equation.  I was busy and tired, but most importantly I was decided to change things for better and I knew I needed to compromise for a little while before I could reach some of the goals I had. A gazillion years later, I earned my AS, yay! At that point even though a BA/BS was still the goal, it had been pushed to the back burner as I had finally gotten a job at the hotel with a regular schedule and banker hours, yay! Since then I have taken several classes of things that interest me: film photography class, health related classes, and just recently I took a graphic design class where I learned about the use of typography for digital imagery. As I mentioned at the beginning, I am working with a very respected company and if I chose to, I can have a great future here as an administrative professional. That is good news, but while I am not trying to diminish my own role, I don’t think it will be enough to satisfy my urge of challenge and continuous learning.

My current plan includes taking additional classes to become a personal trainer. My husband swears there is no future there but this is a passion of mine. I would enjoy very much helping others reach their fitness goals and become healthier. Also this is something I can do on the side. I will take more graphic design classes. Graphic design freelancer anyone? I enjoy very much creating invitations for my kid’s parties and not only I want to get better at that but also learn more about digital arts. And when my little ones are a bit older, I will enroll in a university, kick ass in class, and earn my next degree. Boom!

I find the idea to limit ourselves to one profession sad. Sure, you might be happy with what you do and I am sure you are really good at it too, but why not learn new things? Our brains are so amazingly capable of it and many people chose not to use that power. Educating ourselves in different topics is good because you don’t want to blindly believe, trust, or do what the others are doing without having your own opinion. I think educated people can easily mingle with anyone from any society level or background and find a topic that interests both. Let me be clear that you don’t want to do this to be a smart ass and think you are better than others. Do it because knowledge is power. Power to make informed decisions, informed comments, and even help others with your gift. You might be an amazing cake decorator but you don’t know that yet because you haven’t bothered to give it a try. You might have an artistic side that you haven’t explored and it deserves the opportunity to be shared with the world. I think the more you know, the more you bring into the world, the luckier we are to have you!

 

 

 

Finding balance

So remember how this page was about my fitness journey? Well that has changed. A lot. I am still working to become the best version of myself but so many things are going on that it has been hard to keep up with anything and everything. Let’s recap so it makes more sense:

  1. I welcomed baby no. 3 in late August last year
  2. I work full-time job because this is the Bay Area and I doubt we could give our family the quality we want with just one income
  3. I went back to college to earn a certificate in Graphic Design… this will take a while btw!
  4. I have an amazing Pinterest board with recipes I am desperately trying to cook for my family because eating is still essential to live
  5. I need to workout so I can reach my fitness goal
  6. I need time to do fun activities with my kiddos

So as you can see, I have a lot going on at this time. And the only way to accomplish it all is to find the right balance. This post is about my plan to do just that.

Let’s start with the basics: sleeping! You need to be rested to be functional. I mean it! Unlike a car that can ride until the gas tank hits empty, our energy output is not the same with a full tank of energy than with half thank and even less with an empty tank. My little one is not a great sleeper yet. He went from waking up twice for feedings at three months to waking up every hour and a half at five! Usually they sleep more as they get older but he missed the memo. He is now waking up one time only for night feeding he is almost seven months old. My point here was, for the last two months my sleep has been horrible and I haven’t feel rested in a while! Now that he is sleeping better I am planning to go back to the gym in mornings. More on that to come.

Another basic: eating. I seriously do not know nor can imagine how certain people can “forget” to eat all day. Seriously? How? I mean it, how??? The problem that I have is that when I lack sleep and I am low in energy, I run to food for comfort and that is not okay. Nope. Not at all. Not even the tiniest bit. With the baby sleeping better and as he has gotten older that he can entertain himself with toys, I am having more time to cook on the nights that I am home. This is super important! The easiest way to make healthy choices is to be prepared with healthy choices. When I have the time to meal prep, my meals are on point most of the time. I rarely give into cravings and don’t have to run through the drive thru for choices.

Another basic: family time. I don’t know about you but it drives me insane that my kids prefer to spend tons of hours in front of a screen. Whether is the TV or the computer, or kids shows or computer games, I hate if they spend more than 1-2 hours in that. The only way to keep them away is to take them to the park, for a walk, or to play outside. But for my sanity, I can’t just let them play outside unless I can sit with them to keep a close eye on them. And of course, while I am there might as well play catch with them too! Finding time to do this when you barely have time can be challenging, but this is what we are trying to figure it out so let’s add this one to the list, shall we?

Now let’s move to necessities. First need: work/commute. Don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely LOVE if I could get paid for not working but that is just not how the world works. Bummer! If you are a financial guru who knows how to make your money work for you even when you sleep, please show me how! But if you are like myself, regular mortal kind, and need to be part of the workforce to earn a paycheck, let me tell you, it sucks but you are not alone! Sure I would love to be an stay at home mom. WOULD. LOVE. IT! But life is expensive, and we are not wealthy to do that right now so both  my husband and I work. It happens and it is totally acceptable. Some workplaces are more flexible than others. Maybe you need to be at the office at an specific time or maybe you can work from home. Whichever way works for you it will certainly require a specific amount of time that you have to dedicate to it. So you need time for that assuming you work a regular 40 hours workweek + 1 hour of commute time daily. Let’s add this one to the list.

Second need: growth time, aka study time. I just recently attended a seminar at work. The guest speaker was the new SVP of Finance. He has held several strong positions over the last 20 years with a different company. He shared his success story to motivate us to aim always for more. One of the things he mentioned and he said were extremely important for any person to achieve greatness was to never stop learning. Those guys who basically own large parts of the world (you know who I am talking about) have one thing in common regardless of the industry they conquered: they learn something new every day! He said they save at least one hour of their busy day to learn more. Whether is something new or to become the expert in your current field, never stop learning. Which is why I decided to go back to school and learn about graphic design. I am already interested so why not become an expert at it and who knows, it might mean another income so let’s put some eggs on that basket! I know school isn’t for everyone, but learn something new every day. A new recipe, a new skill, a new something! Let’s add this to the list for sure.

Third need we are adding and probably the last in our list of important stuff because the rest are wants not needs is health. Now health is many things. Is eating right, working out more, staying active constantly, sleeping well, mental state, spiritual state. You need time for this. All of this will give you great health. You have to make time for this important stuff. Trust you me. This is not me typing my opinion, is research speaking through me. Did I mentioned I am taking a wellness class online? Oh yes, I am doing that too! The book I am reading for the class talks about this and how when we can’t find the correct balance we stress out which leads to several bad things that include chronic diseases, increase/loss appetite and/or weight, lack of sleep, swing moods, and you know all that crazy stuff stress makes us do. So we need time to be healthy because it is not all DNA or environmental circumstances, is what we to do balance and clean our bodies. Let’s wrap the list and make a plan now.

Everything I mentioned are actual needs we have because that is our nature. To find the balance you have to first learn the difference between the things you want and the things you actually need. For instance, I would love to get a mani at least every other week but I am not going to die because I haven’t had one in 4 months. Natural is cool, right?! Once you realize which things are wants and can be postponed or pushed to the bottom of the list, you can focus on the important stuff. For me to fit on my busy schedule all the stuff I need I have to learn to compromise in certain things because the day only gots 24 hours ya! This is how I do it:

  • Make a schedule and stick to it. I have an alarm set up on my phone to go off at 6pm every night before my kids go to school. When the mimi alarm goes off, we know is time to start the night routine. Is that simple and by 9 o’clock we are all in bed (as long as baby cooperates of course).
  • Plan your meals. Whether is your work lunch or family dinner be prepared for it. When you don’t have a plan you settle for convenience which can easily translate into McDonald’s and heck no, I don’t think so! The same thing happens when you go grocery shopping. If you don’t have a list of the ingredients you need to prepare such yummy meals, you will end up grabbing a bunch of unnecessary stuff like chips, ice cream, cookies, more ice cream, more cookies!
  • Cook meals ahead of time. If you have a crockpot, then use it! My husband and I have a list of crockpot recipes for dinner. Throw everything in the morning and set to low and when you come home, dinner is ready! PLUS, leftovers are great for work lunch next day!. You are so very welcomed 🙂
  • Take turns with your partner. If my husband is cooking, I am spending time with the kids reading or working on homework, and the other way around. He is your partner! Get him involved if he is not yet.
  • I go to school two nights a week and when I come home kids should be in bed. Even it the plan fails and they are waiting for me (this has happened more often than I wished) kiss those kids and tuck them in! These are precious moments so enjoy them! These nights I might not to go to bed by 9 but for sure by 10, and that is still okay my dear. Again, learning is so important. Education is the one thing no one can take away from you. You are not a nerd, you are smart! And even if you are a nerd, you know shhhtuff, so awesome! Invest time in learning, is really, really, really, really good for you
  • On weeknights, I have my cellphone around because of work. My boss sometimes texts me changes for the next day and I do check work emails for about 10-15 mins every night and do a final check of his calendar. BUT on weekends, I don’t even carry my cellphone sometimes! Why? Because that little maniac is such a distractor! I stay away from social media as much as possible and gave up on any phone games. Waste of my time! I do share the occasional “heck, these kids are too darn cute!” picture but I don’t post 842 pictures per day! HECK. NO. TO. THAT! Trust me, a lot of your precious time is wasted on paying attention to your cellphone. Here is some of the time you can spend learning instead. Checkmate!
  • Separate work and personal life. When you are work be all work. When you are at home, be all personal stuff. Do not bring your work home, and do not take your personal problems (if any) to work. Is part of the balance and it is so very good for you. Always remember, your company does not care about your emotional health and balance. They are about profit. Don’t compromise your well being for your work. Ever.
  • Take turns. Like I said, I can’t make one hour available every day for the gym but how about if 3 days of the week I sleep 1 hour less and put that hour into a workout? I think is a fair compromise. You can also eat your lunch just a bit faster and go for a little walk. Do this every day and your body will thank you the fresh air and activity. I don’t know about you but sometimes I watch a show via Netflix on my cellphone during lunch. And I finish my meal, but I still got time so let me finish watching this episode. NO! Put the phone down or in your pocket, and instead take the walk I just mentioned. The bit of time is there, and is up to you what to use it for. Sure maybe once a week watch Netflix but stay active the other days if you can.

These are some of the things I got for you. This is a work in progress. Not every week is perfect or easy. Sometimes the balance happens better than other times. Just keep going. Just keep trying. Every day is a new opportunity to rock it so go for it!

Decision time: are you ready to become a better you?

I am not gonna lie. There has been many times where I wanted to look like someone else. How is that bad? Well, is not really. It is important however, to understand the difference between liking the way another person looks, or dresses, or wears her makeup and using her style to design your own, and wanting to become that person.

I spent a ridiculous, in my mind at least, amount of time commuting to work. During this time, about 40 mins one way with no delays, I tend to keep myself busy on my phone. I open my Pinterest app, get ideas to decorate my home, recipes, workout ideas, fashion ideas too. I also sometimes browse through funny pics just to make the commute a little better. I sometimes spend this time scrolling on my Instagram account. I look at what other people are up to. Sometimes I will find a “Pic Challenge” for a month and “participate” on it. I have a fitness IG account where I receive and give support to a great number of amazing woman who are also in their fitness journey. I leave comments, try to make them feel better, and reminding them that we are in this together. So how is it wanting to look like someone else relate to this and is bad again? Wait, I am building to it!

Of course there are gazillions of fitness accounts that feature women and men with great physiques. I am talking six-pack not just in abs but their back too (yup, there is such a thing apparently!).

back abs!!
back abs!!

It is easy to be like a child at a store when you see something irresistible and you want it and suddenly you NEED it. In this case, you see someone like Michelle Lewin, admire her gorgeous body and decided that you want a body like hers and need a body like hers. Is that bad fit mommy? No, that is great!! You need that kind of motivation. You actually probably want to have that kind of motivation. The problem becomes when people stop working on improving themselves and want to become the other person. Now THAT is the problem!

I really, really, really, really like Michelle Lewin’s body.

Fitness Model Michelle Lewin
Fitness Model Michelle Lewin

I mean she is a goddess! And while I am sure many find her WAY prettier than me, I don’t really want to become her. I love me, with the good and the bad. I love my body because it has given me two amazing kids who I am beyond grateful for and crazy in love with. I love my body because it hasn’t failed me. I have failed my body by not taking better care of it sooner. I love my life, my family, my friends… I love me! I am sure Michelle’s life might be more fascinating to some and I am happy for her success, but I don’t want to be her. She is an inspiration to me. She is a hot Latina who has worked hard to be where she is now, and I admire that. She reminds me that hard work pays off. She reminds me that I do want to improve myself. I want to get rid of some of this unnecessary and unhealthy fat and go back to a healthy weight. I am working on it. I am caring for my body by reading labels and making sure I am not eating things that will only make me sick.  I am working every day to a better version than the day before.

If you are not happy with your life, body, hairstyle, fashion style, then change it. Just like the many software versions that get, if You 1.0 is not working at one thing or another, change it. Improve it. Make You 2.0 who now drinks more water every day and hits the minimum recommended 10K steps a day. If that is not enough do more. Create You 3.0 who now takes a Zumba class twice a week and stopped drinking soda. Pay attention. Is always “You”, just new improved versions. Each version canhave as many new “features” as you wish. Sometimes there might be a “bug” like a bad haircut, but you will just have to change it and get one that works for you and makes you feel pretty!

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