Faith, Family

Farewell, 2017. You’ve been real.

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This year has been a whirlwind….a roller coaster of sorts, with many many highs and some occasional lows (and shockers). If I could have seen the future, even just a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed what 2017 had in store for me…or who I would become!

Late in 2016 I started a new job. It was an exciting move for me, as my career had always come first. I love my husband and kiddo, but work was something I put everything into, where my passions and purpose thrived. So when I was given an opportunity to lead a new marketing department, I jumped on it. I never would have left the American Heart Association under any other circumstances….So, God had to yank me out of there and that started my unimaginable journey. Left job

In March, I lost that same job. The organization decided they no longer wanted a marketing department, which means no brand manager (that was me!). There I was, driving to pick up my kiddo at daycare, with tears streaming down my cheeks. Asking, WHY?? How could this happen???

I was devastated. I was shocked. We had prayed so hard before I made this decision, how could it be? As many of us know, God’s plan doesn’t always unfold right before our eyes. I’m fortunate that it unfolded for me months later.

I started applying for jobs right away, and even had a few interviews lined up immediately. I had to pull BabyCoolJ out of daycare, which made scheduling interviews a challenge. I applied for jobs at nap time and bedtime, took interview screenings at nap time, and planned around crazy schedules to make it all work out.

Within a week of my job loss, my husband was also promoted. It was a great step for his career, but he no longer was going to have his awesome schedule of working 3am – 2pm. He was fortunate to spend 18 months picking up our kiddo from daycare and having that time with him before I would get home in the evening. We quickly realized that is was all such a blessing, now I was home with J and he didn’t have to stress about his new schedule and J being at daycare super late.

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Months passed and the job interviews dried up. During that time I joined a morning mom-and-preschooler bible study, a Sunday evening lifegroup and had my current Wednesday ladies bible study. I met tons of moms, started scheduling play dates, and had a very full calendar of activities every single day. My life was more full than I could ever have imagined.

Somewhere along the way I realized I wanted to be home with BabyCoolJ, but my husband and I couldn’t figure out how that was possible. You see, we purchased our home with two substantial incomes. Two incomes that were paramount in making our monthly payments. We just didn’t see how it was possible.

That’s when I started PR consulting and my new gig as a Stylist.. They are both lucrative and fun, but they aren’t bringing in the income stream that my career provided. We continued to pray and just put our faith in Him. And I continued to enjoy every friendship I was making and the time I was enjoying with J.

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My “fortune coffee sleeve” back in January, 2017

My husband was offered an amazing new job in September, which he started in October. What we didn’t know when he accepted was that he was going to be in San Antonio 85% of the time. He knew travel was involved, but not at that level….that’s when we started thinking….

I want to stay home with J. He wants a good quality of life (4 hour commute round trip daily is NO JOKE!). We both want what is best for our family.

So here we are, December 19, 2017. Three weeks ago I told him we need to figure something out because we can’t stay in our home. Two and a half weeks ago I came across Dave Ramsey’s ELP blog posts. Two weeks ago we met with realtors. A week and a half ago we hired our agent to help us sell, and a few days ago we hired our new buying agent. It truly is a whirlwind.

Y’all, our home is a mess. We are working on staging it and clearing it out. We list in January and begin our new life in a new city….those details are coming soon!

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But the most amazing thing is our new life. Spending every day with my little one. Meal planning and activity prepping. Play dates. Church activities. It is all a blessing, and just proves how we must be patient and wait on God’s time. His plans are so much better than ours!

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Fashion

My 30-year shoe obsession and my scores this month

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I have an obsession with shoes. It all started when I was a young girl and my Welita would take me on weekly trips to the local K-Mart and buy me a new pair of shoes.

Not toys. Not candy. Shoes. Shoes are my jam.

So it is no surprise I own more than 150 pairs of shoes. Well, a surprise (and suffering) to my husband, but that’s not interesting to write about.

I try to take such good care of them, along with my collection of clothes, jewelry and accessories. My closet really is a slice of heaven, with my beautiful pink ottoman in the center of it all (and hopefully a pink chandelier soon!). My shoes are stored in individual clear plastic boxes, while some flats are stored in an over-door hanger and flip flops in a pretty storage bin. Boots, on the other hand, are in a large, over-sized rectangle storage bin. They all mean so much to me!

I am much more picky when purchasing shoes now, and I have a whole new purpose in what type of shoes I buy. I LOVE heels and wedges, but I’m mostly at home with my kiddo and running from working out to playdates, so flats make a lot more sense. As I was rummaging through my shoes a few weeks ago I realized something that stunned me: I couldn’t find my black flats.

So there I was, sitting on the floor of my closet surrounded by plastic shoe bins and I was shocked. I have brown polka-dot wedges, red lace t-strap heels and purple booties, but no black flats?!!

So I went on a mission to find the perfect black ballet flats. I wanted cute and comfort, something that could be paired with jeans, leggings and even a casual dress.

I used to have flats from Jessica Simpson that I absolutely adored. I wore them more than any other shoe and wore them to the ground. It was so hard to throw them out, but that’s when you know it is a good shoe. (the special ones mentioned above look practically new – I rarely ever use them). So I started searching on Amazon for Jessica Simpson black flats.

Then, I found these. My heart skipped a beat and I knew it was meant to be.

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And, because I had a Birthday gift card from my parents, I threw in another pair I’d been dying to get: gray booties. I searched high and low looking for cute, comfort and super affordability with excellent ratings. So I scored these – and after wearing them a few times I can tell you they are totally as comfortable as the reviews say.

Y’all, both shoes are fantastic. Comfortable, cute and I am super happy. Just like my 4-year-old self at K-Mart.

 

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, and at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links. I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and love.

Fashion

From party girl to party girl!

 

10 awesome gifts for your Bestie on Amazon (3)

I had fun in my 20’s. Then I met my husband, settled into life, became a wife and mom and now live in the suburbs. It’s a story we all know really well.

What I never thought I’d do is become a party girl in my 30’s. Like, you know, in-home parties where I try to sling products. You know what I’m talking about!

In fact, I avoided those things like the plague. I had never been to a direct sales party, didn’t give people the time of day when I knew they sold a product and never purchased a DS product either…..I mean, except maybe a little Avon back-in-the-day.

When my mom introduced me to Ruby Ribbon and gave me my first Cami I was blown away. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard or tried this product…..I was missing out because of my disinterest! Have you ever tried shoving your body into Spanx?? How about pregnant, wearing heels & a formal dress, and working a gala for several hours? I was super ready to try something new….and this didn’t disappoint.

But I kept the secret to myself. I wasn’t going to be “that person.” Plus, it was no one’s business that I wasn’t wearing a bra anymore and that an inch had magically disappeared….I wanted women to think I didn’t have back-fat for real!

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Look ma, no bra! Rockin’ a Ruby Ribbon top and pants!

My mom finally convinced me to host a party. I had SO MUCH FUN and made tons of sales, so I thought, why not give this a go? Our household had taken a huge pay cut when I stopped working in March and after spending the spring with BabyCoolJ I was determined to do whatever I could to stay home with him.

Y’all, it has been a whirlwind of excitement, determination and changing lives. I have always loved fashion, and being a plus size girl made me work extra hard to always be stylish and put together. Now I get to help women of all shapes find their inner confidence. What a win! And the cherry on top is spending every day with my kiddo and watching him grow up. It is an absolute blessing to stay home with him, and tap into my skills during nap and bedtime!

So I write this today, in honor of my 36th Birthday, to tell you GO FOR IT! Whatever you are thinking of doing, whether starting a business, or trying that super cute dress that is just a little too tight, just do it.

And also in honor of my birthday, I have launched my Facebook page helping women find their confidence, style and freedom. This is going to be so much fun!

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Faith

Nine thoughtful gifts to get your bestie on Amazon Prime

Nine awesome gifts for your Bestie on Amazon

Post updated December, 2017. {This post contains affiliate links}

Anyone else have a best friend miles away? My “person” is more than 1,100 miles away in Florida, and she has a birthday coming up!

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Rachel and I in 2014, reunited for my wedding after 4 years!

Even though I adore her and we make every effort to stay connected, it is really hard to come up with gifts to give when you see them maybe once a year. What does she have, what does she love, what does she really want but won’t buy herself??

So in all my digging, I decided to put a list together of some items you can get on Amazon Prime that can cater to a few different tastes. I hope this helps someone out there looking for a great gift for a loved one!

For the jet setter, cause let’s face it, we all know one and live vicariously through them…

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For the beach lover (ahem, me!). I love this so much I’ll probably buy one too! This particular link is plus size, but they have these in all sizes…

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AUTUWT Beach Cover Up Wrapped Dress

For the friend that has to carry her ID at work, help her do it in style…

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Kate Spade Women’s ID Clip

Okay, who doesn’t secretly want to be a mermaid?! I certainly do…

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U-Miss Mermaid Blanket

 

For the Jesus girls out there. I love Priscilla Shirer, and I have no doubt this devotional will be amazing…

Awaken

 

For a sweet friend that deserves a pretty piece of jewelry (and a nice note)…

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Smiling Wisdom Silver Leaf Friendship Necklace Gift Set

 

For your goal digger friends that like to jazz up their office space…

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Kate Space Paper Clips

 

For the cocktail enthusiast. I actually bought this for my bestie as a house warming gift! I think it’s so fun…

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Plant Theatre Cocktail Garden Kit

 

For the nostalgic, this is a sweet gift…

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Fred: Cheesy Love Songs Cheese Board

And there you have it – hours of my research to find the perfect, affordable gift at your finger tips.

Here’s a bonus item not found on Amazon: have a dozen cupcakes delivered to their home or office. I did this for one of her birthdays and I heard it was a hit!

Did you buy something off this list? I’d love to hear about it!

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Faith

A churro-free life

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Can you believe I just had my first churro this summer?

It’s important you understand that I grew up very in-tune with my roots. I am first-generation American (on my dad’s side). I grew up on the Texas-Mexico border. I spoke Spanish before English. My grandparents never even learned English. I went grocery shopping in Mexico. In fact, we did a lot of shopping in Mexico, ate at the restaurants, visited the doctors and picked up our prescriptions across the border.

Yup – I know my cultura well and I happily embrace it, albeit it wasn’t always that way.

This weekend Mi Amor and  I had a craving for Pan Dulce. I’ve never been a huge fan (I mean, I like it, but I’d rather have ice cream or cake!) but after experiencing my first churro I had to have it. We left BabyCoolJ with my in-laws and picked up some goodies.

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When we got back I mentioned, in complete embarrassment, that I had just tried my first churro last month. To my complete surprise, my in-laws hadn’t either! And they also grew up in the Valley.

So it got me wondering – are churros like burritos; American made? I started to do a little digging – I love the internet!

Fascinatingly enough, according to a few articles I found, churros originated in China! What the what?! I love this excerpt, according to The Prisma:

The history of the churro is ancient and revered, lending the snack an almost mythical status. It begins not in Spain but in China, where Portuguese merchants first tasted youtiao, strips of golden fried salty pastry traditionally eaten for breakfast.

Ancient and revered…where have you been my whole life! Funny thing is I just assumed it was like a bunuelo, which I am not a big fan of. I learned that, while in every country churros vary, in Mexico they are usually filled with dulce de leche, Yup, delicious, gooey dulce de leche. I am sold.

Culture…heritage, background, society, familial upbringing…it is such an interesting thing. Mi Amor and I are both Mexican-American. We grew up in the same area, only miles away from one another, yet thousands of miles apart. We celebrate differently, treat family differently and fundamentally our ideals had to make dramatic shifts for us to finally be on the same wave-length.

When we get to know people in Austin, this always fascinates them. Not only do a lot of people think Latinos are the same, but compact that with us both being Mexican and that we’re both from the Valley just adds to the assumption that we were raised the same. I love “educating” my friends on what it was like growing up in a world where I was neither American, or Mexican, yet always both. And I especially love discussing this with my husband – who happens to see it differently than I do (or at least he used to!).

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I wouldn’t change my mish-mash of cultures for anything. Latina, Texan, Mexican, American…I identify with them all. And I’m proud. Puro Raza. Now hand me a churro.

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Faith

#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.

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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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Faith

#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.