Lifestyle

Nine thoughtful gifts to get your bestie on Amazon Prime

Nine awesome gifts for your Bestie on Amazon

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…

Duffel
ban.do Getaway Duffle Bag

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…

CoverUp
AUTUWT Beach Cover Up Wrapped Dress

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

KateSpade
Kate Spade Women’s ID Clip

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

Mermaid

 

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)…

Necklace
Smiling Wisdom Silver Leaf Friendship Necklace Gift Set

 

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

KateSpade2

 

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

CocktailGarden
Plant Theatre Cocktail Garden Kit

 

For the nostalgic, this is a sweet gift…

CheeseBoard
Fred: Cheesy Love Songs Cheese Board

Nothing on my list is sponsored or affiliate links. These are truly things I found in my own research! And all photos not my own were taken from Amazon and linked back to their individual pages.

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!

Do you have a favorite gift to give that can be shipped to your bestie?

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Lifestyle

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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#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, 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.

lisa's loves, Reviews

Lisa’s Loves: what I heart in May

20170522_150505-01.jpegY’all, what a great month! Amazing things happened in my faith, I’ve enjoyed every moment with BabyCoolJ, and we celebrated Mi Amor’s 40th birthday with a mini-getaway to San Antonio! Whew, who knew I’d be enjoying life so much just a few months ago!

I wanted to share my favorite things I tried or picked up in May. I’ve been dabbling with new makeup (moving from Sephora-only to exploring Target and ULTA options, too!). I picked up a few outfits that made my heart go pitter-patter, and I scored an awesome pair of shoes.

So, let’s get to it! Nothing below is sponsored, however, my last item is a bonus from my new business line.

Here’s what topped my list of loves this month:

20170426_172857-01L’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream: This is one of my favorite purchases in 2017! And it has converted me back into drugstore makeup. I picked this up not really knowing anything about it but because I like L’Oreal in general, I thought I’d give it a shot. I can’t believe how great this actually works, I’ve already gotten so many people into it including my mom! It makes my skin look flawless while still looking very natural. Being a stay-at-home mom now, I don’t want to wear a full-face most days. This does the trick to make sure that my skin looks even, while still looking very natural. I don’t want my face to look too made up when I’m in yoga pants! It lasts all day, and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a natural look that can hide redness, uneven skin and blemishes.

Forever21+ Romper: Forever21 totally redeemed themselves in the junior plus department after I visited their store at the North Star Mall in San Antonio. The plus section is really large, which isn’t usually the case at most locations. And I picked up my very first romper (post elementary years) and it fit so well! Even though I just bought it last weekend, they don’t have them on their site so I included a link to all rompers. If you’re a plus size gal, don’t discount them just yet!

Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash and Coconut Water Micellar Cleansing Tonic: These are amazing, especially together! I’ve been using Murad for years (and DoTerra Verage for a year) but wanted to try something a little more in my budget. While I still have a heart for Murad, these products are amazing. And, the SMELL! I’m transported back to Tulum, Mexico every morning and evening. I’ve been using since early May and have noticed my skin is softer and less oily. I don’t have the best routine, but I wash my face in the evening and use the tonic in the morning. Love, love, love!

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Luv Betsey by Betsey Johnson Crossbody Bag: I found this gem on a quick run to Ross, and it was exactly what I was looking for! I had seen a Kate Spade bag I was swooning over that could fit my phone and functions as a wallet, but with a nearly $200 price tag I quickly closed my browser window, deleted my history and pretended I never laid eyes on it. Then that same evening I found this! This is a great bag for my mommy-busy-life, and I can quickly stick it in BabyCoolJ’s backpack or keep it as a wallet in one of my nice (forgotten) handbags. This will definitely be used all summer, and maybe beyond!

Soda Haway shoes at Charlotte Russe: I don’t see these on their site, but I am totally in love. I scored these for $25 last week and they are my new summer go-to’s! As are most Soda shoes, they aren’t high quality or super comfortable, but for the price and how trendy they are these shoes were definitely a great score.

Also, we stopped at H&M on our way back from San Antonio, and I’ve gotta tell you I totally dig their toddler clothes! BabyCoolJ always scores when we shop.

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Last but SO not least is the Ruby Ribbon Lace Full Support Cami. I’ve been using Ruby Ribbon since April 2016, but just discovered this gem in May! My mom gifted it to me in hopes that I’d host a trunk show, and it ended up being such a great event! For full disclosure, you should know I have signed on to be a stylist. But this recommendation is sincere – out of all the camis I have tried, this is by far my favorite. And I can’t help but also promote something I’ll be selling! (Check out my Facebook Group to join the fun!) I love this particular cami because it hugs a little tighter, keeps my back a little straighter and helps keep my breasts perky all day long (no bra!)!

So, there you have it! While I tried multiple products, bought a few items and really liked a lot of them, these are by far my favs!

#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.”