#MusicMonday, Lifestyle

#MusicMonday – Lift up your hearts with a smile

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We had such a great weekend, and with perfect timing after being stuck at home for more than a week with a sick kiddo!

My in-laws came to town Saturday. Before you get a little uncomfortable with that sentence, know I am extremely blessed with great in-laws! We have been praying they’d visit for a long time – especially because we haven’t mustered up the guts to drive 6+ hours with a toddler to see them!

It is moments like these – sitting Familiaaround the living room or dining table, seeing them love on BabyCoolJ, seeing joy sparkle in everyone’s eyes, and hearing the roaring laughter from the other room, that I truly feel complete. We moved away from family for opportunities, but honestly we also love our independence, space and privacy. But in that process our son misses out on important family time. And, so do we.

He has no cousins or grandparents nearby so we make the best of it in our little family of three. But when we have these special visits, life just feels full.

Also during their visit we also took full advantage of our special gift from Latina Home Party! These guys sent us a full setup of Palm Breeze Sparkling Alcohol Spritz, swag and decor for a fun summer Luau. All that was missing was a pool.

LHM

Latina Home Party provides chicas exclusive access to new products and services to try at home with friends and family. Latina Home Party is a community of collaborative marketing by Hispanic women. If you sign up, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in marketing activities from your favorite products and be able to collaborate with your favorite brands. You learn about new products just to be launched to market at the convenience of your own home (try them for free) and influence with your opinion some of the best known companies in the world.

The Palm Breeze drinks were a hit at Casa Alfaro! Perfect on a hot summer Texas evening. Luckily we stocked up so we had enough for a couple of nights.

So, to families out there… Lift up your hearts with a smile, lift up your feet with a dance and lift up your spirits with a song. Family time can be an awesome time.

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#MusicMonday

#MusicMonday: You can’t judge right by looking at the wrong

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I feel compelled to share a little story with you, especially being knee-deep in mama season which can include a whole lotta judgement. So I invite you to sit back, relax and use your imagination.

A woman picked a perfect spot on a park bench to enjoy a beautiful and peaceful fall day. Birds were chirping, kids were laughing at the nearby playground and there weren’t many people around. She worked long hours so having a free day to find peace and quite was rare, so she intended to take full advantage. She opened the book she brought along, settled in and began to read.

During a very interesting plot twist, she felt something hit the back of her head. A child had thrown some dirt at her and ran off. Considering the day she was having, she felt a tinge of annoyance but let it go. She brushed the dirt out of her hair and looked around to see the kiddo was with their father and two younger siblings.

At first, she felt sympathy for him. But after witnessing that he was distracted and disciplining them wasn’t his priority, sympathy turned into annoyance, frustration and eventually she disregarded his ability to father.

She wanted to continue reading, but in-between the pages she could see that the father had lost all control. One child was pulling a girl’s hair on the playground, the toddler was eating mulch off the ground and the oldest was terrorizing everyone around. She sat there in disbelief – but brushed it off again, and started reading.

A couple was enjoying a picnic near her bench – close enough to hear them, but not close enough to hear their conversation. Out of no where, she hears the girl scream and stand up. The child had thrown a bunch of dirt on the couple and their food.

She had had enough. Being a mother of four, she understood that kids can be kids but she also knew the importance of discipline. She debated saying anything to the father or just walking away. Then, she saw him grab his kiddo and run over to the couple.

Authentically apologetic, he explained that he had just lost his wife, their mother, days before and this was the first time they had gotten out of the house since her funeral.

Feel that kick in the gut? I did too. So this goes out to all of us – whether quick to judge or not.

 

I love this little saying from my mom – “Thank God it isn’t my place to judge, that is for Him only.” Doesn’t that take a lot of stress off you?!

Full disclosure: I heard a similar story the other day and made it my own. Not because their version wasn’t good, but because I couldn’t remember the details…and I enjoy writing! So if you have heard something similar, know that I was inspired by…and not trying to steal the idea!

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#MusicMonday, Lifestyle

#MusicMonday: When you’re in a jam, here I am

After an interesting and busy week, Mi Amor and I were chatting about how full our lives are from our friendships. We are currently working on BabyCoolJ’s guestlist for his birthday party and it became very apparent that we have some valuable people we want to celebrate with!

It wasn’t but 2 years ago that we were utterly lonely from not having friends. Sure, we knew a lot of people, but genuine friends are hard to come by. I watch kids and it is always so amazing to see how they can make friends so easily. What a blessing that is! As adults it is so much more challenging. But, when you snag a good one, it is worth cherishing.

I say it often but I can’t say it enough – since staying home with BabyCoolJ, I have been immensely blessed by new friendships. And not those catty, judgy kind everyone jokes about in mom groups. Nope, this is my mom tribe. Well, I have several! You see, I’ve always had different groups of friends-it’s probably the only child in me. I need enough activity to entertain my busy lifestyle and friends play a vital role in that. When I worked, my work friends were enough, especially after the birth of my child. Life just gets too busy, too messy and too hard to nurture friendships, especially new ones. But now that I am home, my life has made some amazing transitions.

I really fell in love with the song “Friendship” by Ray Charles – the lyrics are so funny, but I appreciate his way of sharing what a true friendship looks like. And it’s who I want to be: if you are in a jam, here I am. No matter what.

#MusicMonday, Faith

#MusicMonday: I’m not the kind of girl that gives up

Last week a girl from my church’s Bible study organized a care calendar for a family in need. Their sweet 5-year-old daughter was in and out of the hospital, and we rallied together to support the family. So, I signed up to leave dinner on Friday.

What you don’t know about me is I don’t cook. In fact, when I first met my husband I told him, “Just so you know, I went to college so I never have to cook.” Little did I know that I would eventually be home with our kiddo, slaving over a stove 3 times a day! Seriously though, it brings me joy to prepare meals for BabyCoolJ…key word: prepare. As in, toss together and heat up. I am still no cook.

My heart broke for this family, especially the mom – I can’t imagine what she’s going through or how difficult life must be. She should not have to spend any time worrying about food. So, even though I knew it would be tough, I signed up for the meal proudly. Then, Friday came.

Whoa, what had I gotten myself into! It’s funny because, while I never felt disappointed for signing up, I sure did feel anxious about getting it right. I made two batches of Million Dollar Spaghetti – easy enough, right? Well – I ran 45 minutes behind, layered the stuff incorrectly, and at one point when I was boiling, stirring and pouring 3 different items simultaneously, my toddler decided to sneeze on me…with a mouth full of crackers. That’s right – my legs and dress were full of snot and snack, while my hands were full of sauce and spaghetti. (And yes, I was in a dress because I went to a scam interview and still hadn’t changed – remember I was behind!!)

 

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I didn’t get to capture my mess, so you get this cute kitchen shot instead!

 

But I didn’t give up. I wiped my legs, washed up and kept going. I made it the family’s house an hour after I said I would, but I am so glad I didn’t give up. The look on their faces…the appreciation…and their daughter’s excitement! What a blessing. They don’t even know that THEY blessed ME in this whole scenario!

And, because we all know Satan loves to attack when we’re working for Christ, I had a rough drive back, including a big truck cutting me off and making me swerve and slam on my breaks. In that moment, I prayed. I prayed instead of cursing, I thanked God that I was driving home to a happy and healthy toddler instead of hating on the truck driver. And that, my friends, is why we should never give up. Not just on a project or recipe, but on our faith.

#MusicMonday

#MusicMonday: B-b-beating hard times

This is my theme of the year! Little did I know that 2017 was going to be a year full of HUGE surprises. I’ve always been so focused on my career, even if it meant 60-70 hour weeks with a baby (and even working till 12am when I was in labor!). So when I found myself out of work I quickly had my horse blinders on trying to find another job in my field.

But, I wasn’t thinking outside of the box! I didn’t contemplate every option until God opened my eyes through an awesome little testimony you can read up on here. What is so great about this is God did bless us (just 2 days after we tithed, actually!) – and I am able to stay home with BabyCoolJ through at least the rest of 2017. Never knew I’d want to be a SAHM, but I am feeling very fortunate to do so – my toddler is so fun right now!

With my personality though, and career focused attitude, I can’t sit still long. Having a full calendar of playdates, mommy & me classes and Bible studies isn’t quite enough – so now that I have room to breath I am able to think outside of the box! And you bet I’m gonna b-b-beat these hard times!

Amerytina - Ruby Ribbon & Forever21+
Excuse the wrinkles – this was after lunch on a HOT day at the Alamo!

This weekend I hosted by first Ruby Ribbon trunk show. I’ve never been one to like this sorta thing, I always avoided parties and the such, and I remember being really jaded after going to a Mary Kay party in high school someone dragged me to. But I had an epiphany recently after chatting with a lot of network marketing friends – these products are better than what you find on the shelf. So while it may seem shady to some, you can’t deny how awesome something may be, especially after you try it for yourself.

My best-kept fashion (and confidence) secret has been Ruby Ribbon for more than a year. My mom introduced me to it, and while she never pushed me to get involved, I saw the potential and decided to join this weekend after hosting my first trunk show! I am actually really pumped about my new adventure and hoping to make it lucrative enough to stay home with BabyCoolJ into 2018 and beyond. (Join my private #DitchYourBra Facebook group here!)

Frolic Creative

And, because this girl is all about the (work) hustle, I also launched my own PR, marketing and social media consulting gig: Frolic Creative. I just can’t sit back and not to what I do best! I’ve added a few clients already and am having a blast donating my social media skills to Created Woman.

So, here’s to 2017 and to Run DMC…”Like the cream of the crop, like the crop of the cream B-b-beating hard times, that is my theme.”

 

#MusicMonday

#MusicMonday: Yo, I’ll solve it

I love this lyric for a few reasons. While I know both men and women are problem solvers, I see this as a quote ending with “mom.”

Seriously, ladies, we can solve anything! As a girl growing up, I always felt invincible. I could do anything I wanted, solve any problem that came my way. I was strong and determined. Then, I became a mom.

Problem-solving has never looked so unglamorous, yet impressive. Like, last Monday, I stopped at Sprouts with BabyCoolJ and kept him in his stroller with a reusable bag strapped to the handlebar. There I go, filling it up while bribing my kiddo with snacks to keep his cool. Well, they had a few sales so I ended up filling up the bag, placing items under his seat, carrying 3 large pizzas and a box of something. After checking out, I carried four full bags (including the heavy reusable one) while pushing his stroller. Loaded him up, loaded the food, put the stroller away, then caught my breath.

Funny thing is it wasn’t THAT challenging, but just the same week I had a memory on Facebook that went like this: “Nothing like running through the rain in heels with bags filled with 15 bunches of bananas….and a Starbucks coffee.” And I remember how accomplished I felt! Nothing compares to my challenges in life now…just ask a mom of a 1-month-old! But no matter the season of life, girls can do anything.

Regardless if you’re a mom, married or single, I encourage you to remember that you can solve anything. YES, you can. So just do it. Get it, girl.

#MusicMonday

#MusicMonday: dance it out

I slacked off a little today with finding the lyrics that spoke to my soul. Nothing like being exhausted from a super active toddler to keep me from getting stuff done! But then, in the midst of a tantrum, I remembered…turn on some music and dance!

I love reggae. The music just speaks to my soul. I spent a year in New Zealand right after college and learned about Katchafire there. I hadn’t really been exposed to much reggae at that point, but I loved Bob Marley and was a fan of popular reggae. In NZ, I didn’t have an opportunity to see Katchafire live, but I did get in a Black Seeds show.

I love these lyrics because they resonate so well with me. Ever feel like the world is crumbling around you, only to hear an awesome song that totally gets your heart pumping? Next time that happens, DANCE! Dancing brings joy to my heart, and even if you don’t care for it I bet it would totally brighten your mood. Why more offices don’t do this I will never understand – talk about a productivity and mood booster!

Curious what song we danced to? My kiddo is addicted to Itsy Bitsy Spider, and because mama loves reggae, we groove to the sounds ofBasho & Friend’s version. This is my favorite kid’s CD…win-win cause we’re both happy!