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!

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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!

 

 

 

Comfortably working out while pregnant

work it out

So you need to get your tushy moving while your belly is growing and your entire body is going through a hormonal roller coaster craving ice cream with pickles? Yiaiks! The benefits of working out while preggos are many, and thanks to Google I got the following ones for ya:

  • You’re likely to gain less weight
  • You have more energy
  • It might make labor and delivery easier (sorry, no guarantee!)
  • It might ease many of the pregnancy “side effects” such as leg cramping, swelling, constipation, gestational diabetes, sleep problems, prenatal depression
  • You will feel more like the hot mama you actually are and not the whale you can sometimes see on the mirror
  • Baby is likely to be born with less excess body fat (no, your huha doesn’t want to push a 10 lb baby out!)
  • Baby may grow smarter (yup, recent studies say that)

So clearly there’s at least one or two things that sound tempting right? Well, go for it and get your booty moving while your body is very nicely taking care of making a perfect baby! Now, don’t get me wrong, just because is good for you it doesn’t mean your body is willing to cooperate since it might be distracted say… making a baby! Not to worry about it darling! You can make a difference and keep yourself and baby healthy during pregnancy. Remember, your body won’t go where your mind doesn’t go. Talk pretty to yourself. Remind yourself why is good. When  your body says, “yeah no thank you” (and it will, I promise), convince your body that is the only choice. Again you don’t need to workout for hours, but at least 30 mins of physical activity are good for you and you should strive for that every day because your body deserves to feel its best!

It can be something simple like walking. You can go for a walk with hubby, a friend, kids if you have any, your dog if you have one or two or how many. Or you can try something else like swimming, taking a yoga class, use some light free weights and get those muscles going. Whatever you feel like doing is what you should do. And this is the part where this post comes about. Feeling comfortable while you are working out!

I started using my pre-pregnancy workout clothes during the first months. They still fit so why not? I did for as long as I could. Then you know the belly was kinda getting on the way. I was rolling my pants under my belly so the belly wasn’t feeling “pinched” by the waistline. However, this isn’t very comfortable after a little while. It could be two things, at least for me: my hips weren’t holding the pants so they kept coming down or the actual pants waistline was smaller and not as stretchy so it would hold at my hip area but it would also be too tight. So I decided that while is nice to think you still fit in your pre-preggos clothes, it just wasn’t comfortable and it was time to get maternity workout clothes. Brilliant, I know!

I don’t consider myself cheap but also I am not willing to spend more than needed in things, especially clothes. Sure Seraphine’s luxury maternity jeans ($109) are probably nicer and cooler and all you want better than Target’s maternity jeans ($34.99), but I am simply not willing to pay for the extra “nicer” in this case… or any for that matter. So I did my research and found out, or was reminded rather, that maternity clothes are expensive! The difference between now and the last time I was pregnant, is that I know many new websites that sell stuff at a discounted price such as Zulily.com. Their inventory is limited, sales are final, and you wait a bit longer than normally for items to be shipped but once shipped you get them fast! So I found some deals that seamed reasonable to me and placed my order. Below are my choices and feedback in case it is helpful to any of you. I worked out (elliptical and weight training) in all three of them.

Choice 1: Honey B  ($12.99)

This are my least favorite ones of the three pants I ordered. They fit fine. The fabric is not that stretchy see-through kind (good for me). Very comfortable on my legs and I like the length a lot. This came in third because of the waistline. While is stretchy and will give in more as my bellow grows, it hits me at the belly button. I personally don’t like that because this tend to put too much pressure in that area and that is not comfortable. Additionally with a lot of movement it rolled down to below my belly and I don’t like that very much.

Option 2: Dynabelly ($11.99)

This are my second favorite ones. I tend to use capri length for workouts but is actually nice to have the full length. Stretchy and comfortable. The waistline hits me right at the top at the belly which is great! Is very comfortable not to have any type of pressure on or below the belly because that’s where the lil one hangs out all the time, so this fit is perfect! Overall very much satisfied with it including the price.

Option 3: Topsport ($19.99)

This are my favorite of the three! If you pay attention on the pants picture it has that overbelly coverage which is simply extremely comfortable during pregnancy! Like I said, I love capri length so that’s a plus, but nothing can bit that comfortable belly feeling. This was the most expensive of the tree choices but is at least $10 cheaper that common choices like Old Navy and Target.

So I hope you find this info helpful. Whether you’re preggos and need motivation to workout and also looking for cheaper clothing choices. Or if you’re planning to become preggos and just want to know what’s out there.

Til next time!

xoxoxo

 

A healthy pregnancy… or trying to!

There are so many feelings, emotions, responsibilities, and challenges that come with pregnancy. I’m currently expecting baby no. 3, and while we had no plans to go beyond two kids, I can’t help but to feel extremely excited and blessed to be expecting again. The first thing that came to mind after excitement, and then feeling concerned about losing my new job because of a maternity leave, was that this time I wouldn’t let myself get to the same unhealthy conditions I did during my first two pregnancies. After all, I am in a journey to become the best version of myself each day, and unhealthy choices take me away from my goal.

The first months were easy and hard. It was easy not to gain to much weight this time around because I was feeling sick all the time. I admit I have some type of vomit phobia, but almost everything was making me nauseous and had no energy. The little energy I had, I used it to make it through my workday because I wasn’t ready to share the news yet. After that, i would go home kiss and hug my kids for a little bit and sleep at least 10 hours straight every day. I wasn’t exercising as often as I was used to, but because I was also not overeating, it wasn’t hard to hide that blooming seed in ma’belly!

Right after the first trimester, the nauseous were pretty much gone, but my energy levels were still super low. Since they recommend to wait until the second trimester to have a more demanding exercise routine, I was hoping to be able to head back to the gym and keep myself in the best possible shape, but that didn’t happened. I was feeling tired all the time! I had read several articles of how exercising during pregnancy is both good for mom and baby, and is safe to even continue to do weight training of course understanding that you are likely not to lift as heavy but at least to keep those muscles engaged. I took a prenatal yoga class that made me feel like in heaven. I enjoyed it because it was “soft” on my body, but it made me feel refreshed and connected with my baby. But this 60 minutes class once a week, couldn’t compared to my pre-pregnancy routine of 60 minutes 4 to even 6 times a week.

I mentioned to my OB my concern of gaining too much weight again and we had a plan. The first four months I was on track with it, but around week 20 it all changed. For starters, my appetite was back and that wasn’t always good. Not that I gave into every single craving but I was definitely eating more than before. I started going to the gym about 3 times a week and walk every day during my lunch which was more activity than I had in the past months but it just wasn’t enough. Until that moment most people had not even noticed that I was expecting but just like that, almost overnight, my baby bump was out! I am not sure if I mentally convinced myself that this meant it was all going down the drain, but my body started listening to my mind and then the weight really started to pile up.

Of course, what the doctors tell you about how much or little weight you should gain don’t automatically apply to your body and people like myself, who gain weight like CRAZY, can find ourselves struggling to keep within the range. People commenting how big my belly is and asking if I’m not by chance unknowingly expecting twins, really don’t help to feel better about myself. One thing is different this time to the ones before. While my body is trying to gain weight like crazy even though my mind is politely explaining that for our own sake we need to take it easy, I feel better about myself and my body because not only do I  know my body better now, but I have also learned to love and accept my body at every stage. I know that it might be harder to lose the weight again but I know is not impossible.

I am currently at week 24 of my pregnancy. I started using again my food tracking app, myfitnesspal, to log my meals. I am honest with it because it doesn’t really help me to lie to my app about not eating the ice cream when my body and hips know I did! I am feeling better energy-wise and started going to the gym again with my husband. He is tired too and we are going at least 3 times the last weeks, but I am definitely trying to stay active and walk as much as possible at work, during lunch, and on the weekends. I try to make healthy decisions. Some days is easier to say I don’t need this cookie, I’ll have a banana or peach instead, and some other days I let myself enjoy the cookie. I have also been trying to satisfy my tooth by having a smaller portion of the unhealthy food. Sometimes you need a bite or two for your brain to calm down and you can skip the rest.

pregnancy week 24

16 more weeks to go! I trust that while this might not a perfectly healthy pregnancy it will sure my healthiest, and last (yup, no more babies for us), of all.

So what if you got a flat tire? Fix it!

flat tire

So you were driving down Fit Life Lane when suddenly you hit a bump on the road and boom, you got a flat tire! So what do you do?

Many see this as the end of the road. They decide is too hard to try to continue driving to make your way to “Healthy Land”, and they instead quit. Some people see challenge, whether big or small, as a sign to quit and give up. The idea that life is perfect and a challenge shouldn’t have obstacles is crazy! I mean, hello!!! This is life, and when life happens there are ups and downs and curves and twists and all kinds of crazy stuff along the way but is just part of it.

Say you have purchased tickets to an amazing show which has the absolute best reviews in the whole world. You are excited to go see what everyone is talking about. You buy yourself a nice new outfit and glam up to be at your best to enjoy the show. You look forward to having the best time of your life. You are leaving the house, walking to the theater when suddenly it starts to rain. Is not the sky is falling to pieces kinda of heavy rain, just a light rain. You decide that is a sign not to go because you don’t have an umbrella with you. So you go home, get in your bed and miss the show and experience. Do you really think you would throw everything down the drain just like that? NO, of course not! You would probably jump on a cab, or Huber these days, and get yourself to the theater to enjoy the show. Maybe your outfit got a bit wet, but while you are sweet you are not made out of sugar, so you didn’t melted and made in one, slightly wet, piece.

Kudos to you my friend for not giving up and making the choice to continue to your destination and enjoy yourself! There are many obstacles when you are trying to be healthy. People at work bring donuts and cupcakes to potlucks, your friends invite you for happy hour and you have more drinks than you should, you can’t go to the fair and not get the funnel cake, you have to eat you child’s ice cream because your little sunshine couldn’t finish it. I am sure you get the idea. We are humans, is okay if you don’t make healthy choices 100% of the time. Is okay to have an occasional slice of cake, miss one day at the gym, take the escalator instead of the stairs. The key is to understand that one “bad day” in your fitness journey is acceptable and probably necessary to remain sane as long as you get back on track the next meal or the next day.

I am sure you’ve heard of Jillian Michaels, one of the world’s most recognized personal trainers. She is very respected in the fitness community for her success story. There is one phrase of hers that I think better describes my point: “You messed up your diet and you didn’t exercise today. So what? You didn’t ruin anything. Get back on track tomorrow. If you have a flat tire, do you slash the other three? Of course not! You fix the flat and you keep going.

Before and After Jillian Michaels
Before and After
Jillian Michaels

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!

update