How To Make Traveling With A Toddler Easier

Good morning to all you beautiful people! For those of you who don’t know, I just started my very own YouTube channel!! Yay!! In my very first video, we discuss how to make traveling with a toddler easier. I personally have had a very smooth flight when traveling with my one year old last year to Kauai and in just one more week we’ll be boarding the plane again and making our way to Boston (my home town). So I wanted to share with you all what worked for me then, and what I’m planning on doing different now that my little girl is 2. I hope you guys enjoy the video and if you do, I would appreciate it so very much if you could drop a like or even subscribe. To search for me on YouTube you would type in my personal name: Paula Moral. (And just so you all know, I won’t be discussing just mom related things on my channel. I’ll also be covering: fitness, health, beauty, makeup, home decor and organization, motivation videos for reaching goals, and so much more. I do hope you’ll check it out and like what you see. Till then, bye! 🙂

Self Love Series-Part 1: Why It Is So Important To Wear Clothes That Fit You Right Now (And Get Rid Of Those That Don’t)

To many that may seem like a basic concept: just wear clothes that are your correct size. But for years, I and along with so many others, have been wearing the wrong size. It’s normally because we want to use it as a motivator to lose weight or because we’re too embarrassed to have to shop for larger sizes. I personally just realized right now as a 22 year old that I have been wearing clothes that were about one to two sizes too small. And I would always wonder how come my clothes always felt so tight and uncomfortable no matter how much weight I lost. I figured that as long as a certain size fit me, that meant that it was my size. So even though XS clothing would be super tight on me, I would buy it thinking that was my size. Even when I would feel terribly uncomfortable in that clothing, I wouldn’t dare size up. I feared that would just cause me to gain more and more weight and that I would just continuously size up from there. I felt that this was the size I was supposed to be so if my clothes felt tight, I would just have to lose more weight (even though the clothes never really fit me to begin with). I want to talk to you though about why I think that’s such a toxic thing to do for your self esteem especially if you’re someone like me who’s on a self love journey.

Wearing clothes that are too tight for you because you think it’ll motivate you to lose weight may be doing more harm than good. When you wear clothes that are so restrictive that it makes it hard to breath, it feels like you’re torturing yourself. And why do we do it? So that it could hopefully move us to lose weight. But doesn’t that seem like an act of hate towards our bodies, like we’re punishing ourselves? I sure feel that way. Plus, when you wear clothes that are too small, it just doesn’t look good. So not only do you not feel comfortable, you also probably don’t feel your most attractive. Why do we do that to ourselves? We then say, well when I lose the weight these clothes will finally fit better. So are we supposed to just endure our achingly tight jeans and shirt that is so small it shows off each and every roll we have? That may take months. By doing that, we send ourselves the message that we don’t deserve to feel good in what we wear or how we look until we make ourselves smaller and that’s not right.

I’ve just recently sized up in my clothing (like literally this past month) and finally got the right size for me. I was still trying to fit into the same size that I wore as a 15 year old girl even though I am now 22. My body has changed so much in that time, just as it rightfully should. In that time my hips have widen, I have grown and birthed my beautiful baby girl, and I have completed puberty. How can I expect my now grown and womanly body to still fit the same size as a young teenager? I finally bought clothes in a size medium and let me tell you, I feel 1000 times better about myself. I am so much more confident about the way I look. My clothes flatter me now. And I just generally feel so much better about myself. To be honest with you, I was scared of going up to a medium size. I wanted to stay with the label of small or extra small. It’s silly, I know, because just because your clothes have a certain label on them doesn’t mean they’re going to look good on your body type or size. Isn’t that what we all want, to look good in whatever it is we’re wearing? And the crazy thing is, depending on the brand you may have to go up or down a size. So that just goes to show that a size label is just that, a label.

By writing this article, I’m not saying that you can’t have weight loss goals or want to be a smaller size. I believe in self improvement and bettering your body with exercise and healthy eating. I just feel when self loves comes into play, it’ll help you to still strive towards those goals but in a way that is allowing you to still be kind and loving to yourself. So you won’t have to starve yourself or wear clothes that make you feel bad all in the name of weight loss. You can still lose weight but in a way that shows your body and yourself that you love you. You can do it with clean eating and exercise because those things make you feel good, and not because you hate yourself or your appearance.

So please go into your closet today and get rid of all those clothes that don’t make you feel good about yourself. It may be a process that takes some time. It all depends on how quickly you’re able to replace those clothes with new ones that are your true size. But it is definitely something that is worth doing. Stop forcing yourself to feel uncomfortable day in and day out in hopes that one day you’ll lose the weight and your small clothes will start to fit you better. You deserve to feel good now and if you did happen to lose weight later on then you could always buy yourself some new clothes then. You don’t have to wait till you’re a certain size to feel confident. You can do that right now.

I hope you enjoyed today’s article and that it was something you could take to heart. If you did like it, then please leave a comment or a like down below so I know to write more pieces like this for you guys. I hope you all have a good day and I’ll see you next time.

Thanks,

Paula Moral

My Goals For The New Year (2019)

I’m sure most people would agree that the start of a new year is the perfect time to set new goals. It’s like a fresh start to a whole new and improved you! It’s a time I look forward to because it motivates me to work hard on bettering myself. I think it’s so important that we’re constantly growing and becoming better in life and goals help you to do just that. So I thought I’d share with you my goals for this year in hopes that maybe it’ll help motivate you with your own.

1. First and foremost I really want to work on building my blog up to the point where it becomes my business. This is a goal that I’ve had for a while now but never really stuck with it. Mostly because I thought it wouldn’t work out. I was basically setting myself up for failure. But after hearing lectures from others who built a business out of their blog, I realized that all I really need to do was put in the work and be consistent with it. I believe in myself now and I know I can do anything I set my mind to. So I’m ready to put in the work.

2. Another top goal that I have is losing 20 pounds! For those that have read my previous posts on weight loss, this may seem confusing to you. I know at one point, I renounced weight loss and said I was going to just accept my body for what it was. But you know what, that didn’t work for me. I was still uncomfortable with my weight and was just acting like I was fine with it when I really wasn’t. I was tired of feeling self conscious and always feeling nervous once the warmer weather came around because I no longer could cover up. I’ve already been working on losing the weight for about 2 weeks now and I’ve seen great progress. So I just want to make sure that I stick with it until I’m happy and confident with my body (which I’m guessing will be around 20 pounds lost).

3. I want to continue working out consistently at least 3x a week. I used to work out really consistently before I had my daughter, who is now 2 years old. It’s not her fault at all, I just think I’m more tired now and busy so it just takes more of an effort to get it done. Since she’s been born, I’ll have spurts of working out for a whole month but then I’ll stop and won’t exercise again till months later. So I just want to be more consistent with it during this new year because I know I’d make great progress. I’ve been working out now for about a month and a half so I want to make sure that I stay with it and that this isn’t just another one of those months where I workout hard and then don’t do anything for a while. 

4. Along with goal #1, I want to take classes, read books, and watch videos on growing my blog and becoming a better writer. I want this to be my profession so I really want to take it serious and educate myself so I can become the best that I can be.  

5. I’d like to also expand on the recipes I make for dinner too. I think I cook really good and my husband agrees too but I just want to shake it up a bit. We tend to eat chicken (or any other kind of meat), rice or couscous, and roasted veggies or salad. It’s really yummy and I love eating those kind of meals but I also know that it can get boring eating the same thing everyday. I’ve tried changing it up in any way I can, by using different grains, meat, and veggies. But we’ve pretty much tried every variation you can think of so we just need some new recipes in general to help us out. 

6. I also want to switch all (or at least most of) my makeup and beauty products to natural ones. My main reason being that conventional beauty products have been known to have carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and so much more junk and it’s all making us sick. This is something I’ve been knowing for a while now. I started switching my products back when I was pregnant with my daughter. It was more important to me then since I wanted to make sure that she was able to develop as healthy as possible. But once she was born and things got busy with a new baby, that all kind of took a back seat in my priorities. Lately, I haven’t been feeling well, like my hormones are not right. So I’m doing all that I can to get them balanced and cleaning up my beauty products is a huge part in that.  And if we can prevent ourselves from getting sick or developing certain diseases, then why not do it?

7. I also want to choose to watch more documentaries and educational things on TV too. I just want to constantly be learning new things and expanding my mind. It’s good for you too, just to constantly be learning new things and challenging your brain. I don’t want to waste my time watching reality TV shows and sitcoms. Those are fun and entertaining and I definitely will continue to watch those, but I also want to make sure that I’m taking the time to actually learn new things too.

8. Another big goal of mine is to save up enough money so that we can visit Massachusetts this year. That is my home and it always will be. I miss everything about Massachusetts. The city I lived in was filled with mainly Dominican people which is also my family’s nationality so it just feels like family no matter who I talk to over there. I miss that and I miss the culture, the sense of humor of the people, the greenery, and of course I miss my friends and family. I just feel like a part of me is missing and was left behind in Massachusetts and until I go back, that part of me will just remain empty. I can’t wait to simply get reconnected and back in touch with my roots. It’ll also be the first time that my daughter will be visiting my hometown so that’ll be really exciting. I think it’ll feel so nostalgic taking her to see all my favorite childhood spots. I can’t wait!

So what do you think? These are pretty much my main goals for this upcoming new year. Are any of yours similar to mine? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you 🙂 I hope you enjoyed this post and that you were able to get a little something out of it.

Till next time,

Paula

What I Do All Day As A Stay At Home Mom

This is the biggest question that I feel most stay at home moms get: “what do you do all day?” It’s a real and legitimate question and one that I don’t take offense to at all. I personally love staying home with my baby and I am just so grateful that I get to spend each and every moment with her. I know many people are sincerely interested in what we do so I thought I’d share with you my personal schedule. 🙂

6:00am-8:00am- I wake up and start getting myself ready for the day. I brush my teeth, wash my face, and then I put my makeup on. Once I’m done with that I do some positive reading in the morning to get my day off on a right start. I then eat my breakfast and watch a little TV with it. As soon as I’m done eating, it’s time to go get my little girl.

8:00am-8:20am- My daughter wakes up at about 7:30am so by the time I get her, she’s already awake and playing in her crib. I wipe her clean from last night’s diaper and then we head to the sofa so she can nurse. She’s been nursing for less and less time lately so I’d say she maybe does it for 15-20 minutes now.

8:20am-10:20am- Once she’s done nursing, I put on some cartoons for the morning. My daughter will sit and watch cartoons with me for about 20 minutes and then she’ll get up and play with her toys. While she plays and watches TV, that’s when I get most of my cleaning done. I first start with dishes and while I’m in the kitchen I’ll get her something to eat. It all depends on her appetite. Sometimes she’s hungry enough for a full meal and other times she’ll just want to snack on things here and there. After dishes, I’ll just clean whatever needs to get done: laundry, the bathroom, tidying up toys, and anything else.

10:30am-12:30pm- At around 10:30, we’ll go out somewhere on most days. We’ll either do errands like grocery shopping or we’ll go somewhere fun like an indoor playground, a kid’s book reading, the library, the park, or a friend’s house. I try to get my daughter out pretty frequently just for fun but also for socializing with other kids, especially since she’s an only child.

12:30pm-2:00pm- By the time we get home, my daughter is exhausted and ready for her nap. I’ll nurse her to sleep in my bed and she usually falls asleep pretty quickly. As soon as she’s asleep, I do a quick 15 minute workout. They are short but effective! Once I’m done with that, I start making dinner for our family. It may seem early, but my husband comes home around 3:00pm so we do eat a very early dinner.

2:00pm-2:30pm- Around this time, my daughter wakes up from her nap and I’ll nurse her again. She’ll usually nurse longer around this time just because she’s still so sleepy.

3:00pm-6:00pm- My hubby’s home! We love this part of the day 🙂 I try to make the home as warm and inviting for him as I possibly can. I want our home to be a sanctuary for him, where he can just relax and not worry about anything. So I let him relax, I serve him his dinner, and we talk about our day with each other. We all eat together as a family and just relax during this time. I usually play with my daughter some more once we’re done eating and I’ll read with her. We have the TV on in the background during this time too.

6:00pm-7:00pm- It’s bath time for my baby girl. Usually I give her a bubble bath but lately I’ve just been taking her a shower when I take mine too. I’ve just been so tired lately and it saves so much time if we get our showers done together. After her shower, I brush her teeth, do her night time diaper, and then nurse her before she falls asleep. We talk for a bit and sing songs before I finally leave her to fall asleep.

7:00pm-8:00pm- My hubby and I will spend some time together before he falls asleep. He does sleep early (at 8pm) since he wakes up for work at 2:30am. We’ll just watch TV, talk, and enjoy our time together.

8:00pm-11:00pm- This is my alone time. I use it to paint my nails, do my hair, or write out my thoughts in my journal. And now that my blog is up and running, I use the time to work on new posts or improve my blog in other ways.

11:00pm- It’s finally bedtime. I go to sleep with my sweet sweet husband and get the rest I need to start our great day.

I really love being a stay at home mom. I especially love the flexibility it gives me. If I’m exhausted one day or just feel burnt out, I can choose to do less that day. Or I can even choose to take a relaxing bubble bath with my baby girl or take a nap with her if I’m needing one that day. What other job will allow you to do that! I do feel that being a stay at home mom definitely is work but one of the major perks is that you can pretty much build your own schedule and choose to have a day where you rest if you need it. But I want you to know that this is my own personal schedule. Every mama’s is gonna be different. It all depends on how many kids they have, where they live, their financial situation, and so much more. This is just what I do and what works for our little family.

I hope this was able to give you at least a little more insight into what some of us mamas do at home. If you have any questions for me about things I may have not covered, please feel free to leave them in the comments below and I will definitly get back to you. I hope you enjoyed getting a little personal with me and seeing how my days usually unfold. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to having you here again.

Till next time,

Paula

How To Look Like You Have You’re Life Together (Even When You’re A Hot Mess)

My number one pet peeve is when I look a hot mess. I mean, it’s one thing to feel like a mess but its a whole other thing to look it. Just because I’m having a bad day and am feeling frazzled, doesn’t mean I want everyone to know about it simply by looking at me. So throughout this past year, I have especially focused on getting my appearance more put together, even if my life isn’t quite there. I have just always admired women who look so fashionable, polished, and put together. I feel like I’m getting pretty close to the look I want so I thought I’d share with you guys some of the things I’ve learned. Here are the top 6 things I have learned:

  1. Hair- I can’t believe that for the longest time I was walking around with my frizzy, undone hair. It’s embarrassing really. It actually wasn’t until about 6 months ago that I started using hot tools for my hair (like a straightener or curling iron). I was just always worried about heat damage so I avoided those tools by any means possible. But I’ve realized that it’s not worth it if you’re just looking a mess in the mean time. Please don’t be like my former self and go around looking crazy. You’ll be surprised at how much more polished you’ll look simply by straightening your hair or curling it. The key is to keep your hair healthy by using heat protecting creams and giving your hair some deep conditioning treatments. (I can get more into specific products I use in another article.) You want to make sure too that you’re hair is combed through and that you’re not walking around with a bird’s nest on your head. This is something I’ve unfortunately have experienced far too many times so I carry a mini brush in my purse now.
  2. Skin- It took me years before I finally realized that you just cannot hide bad skin. It doesn’t matter how much makeup you layer on your face, if you have bad skin, people will know it. Makeup may be able to hide discoloration but it cannot hide bumpy skin or acne. I could not believe the difference in my skin’s appearance once I took steps to improve its texture. My face looked so smooth and my makeup stayed on better. The major game changers for me were: witch hazel, rose hip oil, and a face brush. The witch hazel helped shrink my pores. The rose hip oil helped lighten my scars. And the face brush helped to smooth out my skin’s texture and get rid of any scars that remained.
  3. Wardrobe- It is so important that you have a wardrobe made up of pieces that coordinate well with each other. If you have a specific color scheme for your clothes, then they will all be able to mix and match. So you can have little clothing but if they work together, then you’ll have so many variations of outfits. You want to make sure you’re wearing colors that compliment your skin tone too. For so long I wore colors that just did not look well on me. Wearing the wrong color for your tone can either wash you out, making you look pale or it can really bring out the red undertones in your skin making your face look cherry red. You should also aim to wear clothes that flatter your body shape too. All body shapes can look stylish, it all depends on what you wear.
  4. Nails- Now, you don’t have to be a girly girl and have your nails painted at all times. Just make sure your nails are well groomed and manicured. They don’t need to have paint on them but they do need to be clean and not jagged or crooked. But if you do paint your nails, just make sure you keep up with them so that the paint is not all chipped. It ends up looking trashy when they’re half painted. It can take less than 15 minutes to touch them up too if you use the quick dry top coat.
  5. Hygiene- It’s simple and I’m sure you all know these but we’ll just do a quick recap. Just make sure you shower frequently, perhaps everyday. Wear a good coverage deodorant and maybe even carry a little travel size one if yours tends to wear off later in the day. Perfume is always a nice touch too. Just try not to wear anything that’s too over bearing. You don’t have to wear perfume if that’s not your thing either. The bottom line is: just please don’t be stinky.
  6. Makeup- During my teenage years, I looked a mess with all my crazy makeup. I would fill my eyebrows in too thick or too dark, I’d use an orange shade of foundation, or wear a super bright pink lipstick. It looked so bad that I cringe when I look back at old pictures! Take some time to try and learn some tips and it’ll go a long way. Simple techniques really improved my makeup look so much. Things like using a sponge to apply my makeup, dabbing my makeup on instead of smearing it on, and using primer and finishing spray so it can last all day. You don’t have to spend hours watching makeup tutorials. Just watching a few videos here and there have helped me to learn so many tips that really changed my whole look. I’ve also learned that less is more when it comes to makeup. So that’s something you may want to keep in mind too.

I hope these tips have been able to help so that even if you’re a mess inside, you can at least look like you have your life together on the outside. These are things that I’ve taken years to sort of master (if I can even say that..lol) so I hope I’ve been able to give you a bit of a shortcut so you can save your time and look fabulous even now. Please leave a comment down below so I can know how you liked it and I hope to see you around here for my next post.

Till then,

Paula

Our Rental Nightmare: (Part 2)

In part one of this series, we left off talking about all the glorious plumbing problems of our rental home. And if you thought that long list of issues was enough, just wait! There are more and it only gets worse from here!

The next thing I noticed (after all the house’s problems mentioned in part 1) was when I was washing dishes and I saw that the floor was all wet. So I look down and notice that it was the dishwasher that had been leaking water. I open it up and it is filled with rotting water that had the worst smell possible. So now we have to call the plumber again for this new problem. (Keep in mind, we still have problems with that second bathroom that 2 weeks into living here, are still not resolved. It just feels like a new issue keeps popping up everyday.) The plumber does a quick fix on the dishwasher and the water goes down. It seems as if it’s all fixed…but it’s not.

First let’s get back to the bathroom plumbing. The plumber tries to fix it without having to dig through the backyard but it’s not working. He soon sees that he’s going to have to dig deep in the yard and he’ll possibly have to break through the concrete. What gets me mad about all this is that while this is going on and the plumber is asking the landlord basic stuff about the house that he should already know like: where is the crawl space? Is there an attic? Where is your clean out? our landlord has no idea. He doesn’t know ANYTHING about the house. These are all simple things you should know about your house as a landlord.

So now the plumber has to dig through our backyard. My daughter and I can’t go back there while all this is taking place and the plumber has no idea how long it’s gonna take. Before any of this happened, my daughter and I would go outside everyday so it breaks my heart when she asks to go outside now because we can’t. Our backyard is a health hazard.

Before the plumber does any digging, he calls a bigger plumbing company to get a second opinion. Turns out that that bigger company actually knows about this house! It has a bad rep for all it’s plumbing issues and they actually say that they would never come back to work on this house! That right there is enough to turn my stomach. I just start to think that this house must have a lot more problems than we even know. That bigger plumbing company wasn’t even able to fix these issues. So how on earth is this plumber who’s not even licensed and just does this work on the side, supposed to fix it? And that’s another thing too, our landlord kept sending out people who had no idea what they were doing and who didn’t even have licenses for this work. That’s why it would take forever just to get one job done.

On the day that they’re supposed to start digging up the backyard, a new guy comes out. And one of the very first things he asked me was where was he supposed to start digging. That just shows how unprofessional these guys are! How am I supposed to know? I would’ve thought that the first plumber would have told him. He eventually figures it out and starts digging. About half an hour into it, he then realizes that he’s been digging in the wrong spot all this time! What?! Keep in mind, I am having to mold my schedule around these plumbers. I have to change my plans on an almost daily basis just to make sure I’m home for them just for them to make mistakes like this, stay for less than an hour, and not get anything resolved. It’s so frustrating. He then digs the hole in the right place and then leaves. That’s it! He literally just came to dig a hole and leave.

Eventually the backyard is dug up, they finally find the spot, and tell my landlord the problem. To fix it, the plumbers recommended that our landlord get the whole line replaced. They say it’s old and if he doesn’t’ do this now, then he’ll soon have these problems come up again. But our landlord being the cheap guy that he is chose to only do a temporary fix that they likened to only putting a band-aid on it. So that issue is (temporarily fixed) but now the whole backyard smells like sewage because they dug up all those pipes that are connected right to the bathroom. Now I don’t feel safe going in the backyard because it just all smells like poop and I just know it can’t be healthy breathing all that in. If you thought that was bad enough, there’s even more.

In the kitchen, above the stove, there is always a vent so that all the smoke and hot air from cooking can air out through there. Well not in this place folks. It turns out that they made the cutout for the vent but they never actually finished making it. So from day 1 of living here, our fire alarms constantly go off when I’m cooking dinner and it happens multiple times. The only way to try and prevent it is by turning on the exhaust that’s above the oven but even then that doesn’t always work.

Just yesterday the fire alarm went off at least 10 times while I was cooking, that’s no exaggeration. And all the while my daughter was taking her nap. She is currently going through a sleep regression. For those of you who have never had kids, it basically means she is fighting her naps like crazy lately and some days wont take a nap at all. So that means a super fussy and cranky baby for the rest of the day. Well on this day I had finally gotten her to take a nap and that is when the fire alarm decides to go off a dozen times in a row! I was so stressed out trying to cook our dinner and at the same time frantically  fanning the fire alarm just trying to get it to stop. And because there is no ventilation when I’m cooking, the house gets so hot! At times it’ll be 80 degrees or higher and it won’t cool down till hours after I’m done.

Oh and about the dishwasher, it’s still currently clogged and it makes the kitchen smell like rotting food. So that’s fun.

And on top of everything else, here’s the icing on the cake: this place comes with roaches! Trust me, they did not come from us. In our last rental that we lived in for a little over 3 years, we never not once saw a roach. But upon moving into this mess, we found a whole bunch of baby roaches from the very first week.

Oh and you’ll never guess what the neighbors told us: while this house was vacant for over a year there were squatters living here! That’s right. People who just decided to break in and live here and who probably don’t care enough about the place to keep it clean. And the rugs were never replaced from the time those squatters were living here either. So there’s probably a whole bunch of germs (and roaches) in these carpets.

And just as a bonus, our neighbors let their dogs poop on our lawn so it always smells like poop.

During all this time, I am having plumbers over nearly everyday as I’ve mentioned. There was actually one week when they were coming over everyday so my little girl and I were housebound. As a stay at home mom, I like to always get out out of the house everyday. It helps me to not get down. But during this time I got very depressed. Not just because I couldn’t leave the house but because of everything else that was involved too. There were just so many problems with the house and new ones coming up everyday. It felt like we would always have people coming over to fix our things because at this point it had already been three weeks in a row with still the same problems even though the plumbers were at our house everyday! I had so much stress during this time too. More than I’ve gone through in a really long time. There was one night that I cried so hard that I literally thought I was going to puke. I was feeling so homesick too at the time (for Massachusetts) and with the cost of this place, it didn’t look like we’d be able to visit back home for a long time and that just stressed me out even more. And the thought of having to go through this for a whole year until our lease was up? That just made me so much more depressed. Just this one month alone had caused so much stress on my marriage, made me so depressed that I didn’t even want to get out of the house (which is so not like me), the place was such a mess too but I just couldn’t even bring myself to clean it. I had absolutely no energy. I could sleep for 10 hours at night and still need to take a nap the next day. It was a scary time for me. I didn’t feel like myself at all and I didn’t know when I would feel happy again. But fortunately, things soon turned around.

We were desperate to get out of our lease and after all of this, I’m sure you could understand why. We begged our landlord to let us out of it. We explained to him in detail everything that was going on and pleaded with him to let us out. We were paying way too much for this place to be dealing with all of this stress. He offered to lower the rent for us but it just wasn’t worth it. This place had so many problems, many of which were still not resolved, it was unhygienic, and probably was going to need to be bug bombed because of the roach infestation. We just wanted to be done with this place. So our landlord finally allowed us to be free from our lease. In about a week we’ll be moving into an apartment. It is not nearly as cute but honestly I could care less at this point. It really is a nice apartment, it’s just not fancy or anything. But it is cheap, utilities paid, and it has an awesome management team so hopefully it’ll be little to no stress living there. Its the financial part of it that I love the most though. We’re saving up for something big and exciting and I can’t wait to share with you all what that is! I’ll reveal what that is in my next post.

This was honestly one of the toughest things I’ve had to go through. I’m just so so glad that we are able to get out of it early. I couldn’t imagine living a whole year like this! This has really been a learning experience for me. Next time I will listen to my husband’s gut. I will force myself to listen to those warning signs and not ignore them. I will try to think with my head and not with my heart. There are so many lessons to be learned here. But that’s life. Sometimes you make bad choices but you learn from them and hopefully don’t repeat the same mistakes. That’s what we’re all about here on the ever blooming, growing. We don’t beat ourselves up over our past mistakes. We learn from them and move on. Hopefully this article has helped you in one way or another and hopefully it helps you to avoid all the problems we faced.

Our Rental Nightmare: Why We Lived In A House For Just 1 Month (Part 1)

Hey guys! I just want to start off by saying, I’m so sorry that I’ve been absent from my blog for a month. Hopefully this post will kind of help explain why. But I’m just sorry because I know there were some of you who were checking this site almost daily to see if anything new had been posted. I think this story will be worth the wait though.

It all started as many of you know when we first got a notice from our apartment complex telling us that we needed to be moved out in 2 months time since the building was going to be renovated. So right away we started looking online daily for any new rentals that were being posted. We stressed so much during that time because we were getting closer to our deadline and still were not finding a place. All the ones we wanted were quickly taken and all the other available rentals were either too expensive or in bad neighborhoods. So finally, about 2 weeks before we had to move out, we found this rental. It was a nice neighborhood, a price within our budget, and it was newly renovated. It seemed perfect. We called the landlord, filled out our application, and made sure to make it for the open house. But here’s where things get weird.

I will admit that there were some warning signs that I should’ve seen right from the start. But hindsight is always 50/50. Am I right? One of the major warning signs is that we had to actually convince the landlord to let us rent out the place. It was almost to the point that we were arguing with him. I don’t know about you but normally when I rent a place, I never have to haggle with the owner about letting me rent it out. Usually if the prospective tenants pass the background check and meet the income requirements to afford the place, its there’s. The main concern of our landlord was whether or not we’d be able to afford it. He just looked at how much we were paying for our one bedroom apartment and because it was significantly lower than the price for renting his four bedroom home, he was concerned. Naturally a small apartment is going to be a lot cheaper than renting a big home. I cannot tell you how much this irritated me. He didn’t care that our income was more than enough to afford his place. He just focused so hard on what we were paying for the apartment. I couldn’t believe that we actually had to go back and forth on this issue and over more than one phone call. I tried telling him that we were already planning on moving out. I don’t think you should have to convince someone to let you rent their place. They either want you as a tenant or they don’t. That was red flag number one.

The second thing was that he had literally just bought the house and immediately put it up for rent. Honestly, this wasn’t something I had a problem with before but that’s because I didn’t have experience with this type of situation. Often times, houses need to have work done to them, at least some maintenance and basic wear and tear repairs. Especially if it had been up on the market for quite some time. This one had been up for over a year. He didn’t even take the time to look into the house and see if anything needed repairs, and that’s where all our problems with this house come into play.

On the day that we met up to sign the lease, we did the walk through and my husband immediately noticed that there were many issues.(He told me right from the start that he had a bad feeling about this place and unfortunately I pushed for it anyways. Next time I am totally listening to his gut instincts. But we make mistakes and we learn.) For starters the rugs in the bedrooms were gross, they weren’t even shampooed for us. On top of that the AC wasn’t working and this was during a week of 100 degree temps here in California. The blinds were broken. One of the bedrooms had blue wax stains in the carpet. And the place was pretty dirty with dead bugs in the window, really dirty floors (like your feet turned black just walking on it). What got me so mad though was that the landlord was so oblivious to all of it! Something as simple as the AC not working, he didn’t know about it. That’s something that is so simple that you would think would have been checked before you even bother moving anyone in. But boy does it get worse from here.

So I know what you’re thinking: with all these things happening, why on earth would you sign the lease?! Well even before we signed it, he agreed to get an AC repairman out here and someone to shampoo the carpets. That made us feel better and like he would be on top of things as a landlord. Plus I think we were just desperate to find a place since it was so close to our deadline to move out. And on top of that, I thought the place was gorgeous so I think I was really trying to overlook any problems we had because I really wanted to live there. But back to our story.

It wasn’t long into living in our new home that more problems started arising, one after another. I believe the first thing to go was our washer and dryer. There wasn’t anything wrong with the machines, it was the plumbing. We have a sink right beside them and one day while I was doing laundry, I noticed that it was all wet on the floor. I looked around trying to see what was the cause and when I looked up at the sink, I saw that there was water filled all the way up to the brim. We found out that the sink would over flow like that whenever we would use the washer and dryer so we were told not to use it for now.  So for two weeks I had to do our laundry at my in-laws place. I know that in itself is not a big deal, but wait…there’s more.

Our next problem was with our master bathroom. It was connected to the same plumbing line of the overflowing sink so our toilet started to not work. It wouldn’t flush really at all. It had the weakest flush and would only go down once in a while. Fortunately this place came with two bathrooms so we just started to use the second one. But it wasn’t long before we were told that we couldn’t use that one either.

The plumber came out (for about the third time) to check out that second bathroom. He ended up going under the house to see what the problem was and what he found down there was truly horrifying. He said that it was all covered in poop, the whole foundation of the house. The plumbing had backed up and just emptied itself in the base of the house. So now because that second bathroom was directly above all the poop and was the most exposed to it, we weren’t allowed in there because it was now a health hazard. Keep in mind, that was the bathroom where I had been giving my one year old baths. It infuriated me that she was being exposed to all of that. So now we wash her in the kitchen sink. I’m just glad she’s still small enough to fit there because there is no way I’d be able to bathe her in the shower. But our story does not end there. Oh no. Unfortunately there is a lot more to it.

If you want to hear the rest of this story which is filled with squatters, bug infestation, and a sewage backyard, then stay tuned for part two of this series. But for now I’ll stop the story right here because this would be the longest blog post ever if I didn’t. And hopefully when you finish reading part two, you’ll have learned a few things so you can avoid going through the same things that I did.

About Me

Hey everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Paula and I am the creator of “The Ever Blooming”. I thought you might like to get to know me a little bit so I thought I’d start this “About Me” page.

I currently live in CA but I grew up in MA. I ended up here in Cali because I got married and my husband already lived here. I got married young and then had my first and only daughter soon after. I don’t regret that decision though, it’s just one that worked for me and my personality.

I am a very artistic person who also loves math, which I hear is usually an odd combination. I love to read and write so much that I always dreamed of being an author when I was little. I also love animals and was pretty certain for years that I was going to be a vet (until I learned I would have to perform surgery!)

I tend to be very mellow and laid back. Kids in high school would even jokingly say “do you ever get mad?” The answer is yes, yes I do😁 I’m more of a quiet person, but not shy. I love to be around people and listen to them speak, but I just don’t like it when I’m expected to carry most of the conversation.

That’s a little bit about me. I could share a lot more but I just don’t know if you’d be interested in hearing all that…lol. But if you guys have anything else you’d like to know, just let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to answer them. 😊 Hope you enjoyed!

House Hunting Is So Stressful!

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For those of you who have been following the blog, you know that we were given two months to move out of our apartment. Those two months have now turned into three weeks and we still haven’t found anything yet! It is so stressful and we are definitely feeling the pressure with the little bit of time that we have left. I’m stressed out even now just thinking about it. The whole house hunting process has been so exhausting too.

There were so many times where we’ve seen houses and became so hopeful, thinking that this one was it. But there would soon be something that came up that just crushed that dream. It’s usually either not what we were expecting or the landlord decides to go with someone else. But it’s just so exhausting going through the whole process of calling, scheduling, touring, getting hopeful, filling out applications (that are about $30 each time), then being let down, and having to do the whole process all over again.

Just today we toured another home. The pictures online were so beautiful! It was a newly remodeled home, with lots of natural lighting (a huge plus for me), and a big backyard. But when we saw it in person today, it wasn’t nearly as impressive. It was so much smaller than the pictures showed. The lawn was completely dead and there were  random blue stains in the carpet. Based of the pictures online, we were really hoping this place was the one. It looked so beautiful and for a reasonable price too. I talked to the landlord about the stains and some other concerns we had and it seems like he’s willing to fix those things so we’ll see whether or not we end up taking it. I still think it looks nice, it’s just the size that would be the main drawback for me. But I feel like I can still make it work. Of course it’s not the ideal size but it’s still doable.

What I hate the most is the amount of money we are being asked to pay for these homes because they are just so not worth it! It makes me so mad because I know that if we lived anywhere else, our money would be able to stretch so much farther and get us a really nice place. But here in California, everything is just so expensive. I really would move out of state but we have family here. They’re pretty much the only reason why we stay.

My husband and I are just so frustrated with the whole process. After coming home from that disappointing tour, we looked online to find some other potential homes. It was so discouraging! The homes that were available didn’t look at all as I would’ve liked them too. Even the more expensive ones were not very impressive. But trust me when I say, it’s not me, it’s just the area we live. It’s not at all that I’m being picky or am looking for anything fancy…because I’m not.

The main things I’m asking for is: hardwood floors, lots of natural lighting, backyard with grass, good neighborhood, no orange wood (please! I hate it) and just overall nothing too hideous if possible. And when I say hideous I mean anything like: pink tiling in the bathroom, crooked kitchen cabinets, appliances of all different colors all in the same room, wood paneled walls (from the 70s), yellow and green flower wallpapered kitchen, or a house with random light fixtures in each and every room. All these things I have seen in our house search! Do you see what I’m dealing with?! I’m not asking for anything fancy.

Both my husband and I come from humble beginnings. I grew up in affordable housing my whole life and didn’t even realize how little we had till I moved out and then visited home again. When my husband and I first got married, we lived in a little studio apartment. Soon after we moved into the one bedroom apartment that we’re currently staying in. All these places I never had a problem with. I didn’t even mind living in a one bedroom apartment even when we had our baby. She just stayed in our room when it came time to sleep. It was never a problem living in this apartment till now, now that my baby is not so little anymore and is now a toddler. Now it’s getting really cramped here with all of us. And I want my little girl to have space where she can roam around free, a backyard for her to run and play. I don’t think I ask for too much at all when it comes to our new home. That’s why it’s so frustrating that we’re not finding anything we like. I almost feel like I’m just going to have to settle for one of the ugly places. (And for those of you wondering, I wouldn’t mind moving into an ugly home too much if it was ours to keep and do all the renovations to. But since we’re looking to rent this next place, I won’t be able to renovate. It’ll pretty much be as is.)

So that is how our house hunting is going so far. I know eventually if we don’t find something we really like, we’re just going to have to settle because we only have three weeks left and I’m not trying to be homeless. I’m sorry this post isn’t a positive one. I try to write uplifting and inspiring articles for you guys. So I’m sorry this one’s such a downer. But that’ just how life is. You have your good days and your bad days. At least those bad days help us to appreciate the good times so much more. Hey, at least that was a positive spin to things 🙂 And hopefully the next time I write you, it’ll be about us finding/moving into our new place.

Till next time,

Paula 🙂

 

Why I Am Ending My Weight Loss Journey Early

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For those of you who have been following the blog for a while, you know that I’ve been trying to lose weight now for a few months. I’ve been successful with it too…until now. This is tough to admit but I think I’m gonna call it quits on my weight loss journey. It has nothing to do with not being strong willed enough or not having enough self control to stick with it. The honest truth is that I really feel my body is telling me to stop.

I started my weight loss endeavors this pass May (so it’s been about 2 1/2 months now). In total I’ve lost 10 pounds. Let me just start off by saying that that was the slowest I’ve ever lost weight. I’ve written before how I’ve lost 40 pounds in the past when I was at my heaviest. And I was able to lose that so quickly, like it was nobody’s business. But when it came to these 10 pounds, it took forever. Let me tell you why I think that is.

In doing some research, I came across a theory that I agree with. It is called the “set point theory”. It basically states that all of us have a certain set point for our weight, a certain weight that our bodies feel is healthy for us and will fight to maintain. Just like we are all predisposed to having a certain height (thanks to our genetics) the same can be said for our weight. So if your family (like mine) tends to be on the curvier side, chances are you will too and vice versa if your family is on the thinner side. Now it is possible to still lose the weight but you may have to go to drastic measures to do so and to then maintain that weight loss.

I have been the same weight now for years. I eat healthy, workout each and every week, and my body has always been happy at this same weight.  It has always been easy to maintain. When I started my weight loss journey in May, I was 10 pounds heavier. So when I started eating less and counting calories, it didn’t feel hard at all. My body didn’t struggle with it. But now that I’ve reached my set point weight again, my body is suddenly acting as if it’s starving. I constantly feel hungry everyday. Even though I’m eating the same amount, suddenly my body is demanding that I feed it more.

I am a strong believer in listening to your body. I feel that our body’s know what’s best and will try to alert you when something’s not right. So when my body started sending me these constant hunger signals, I was conflicted. I really wanted to listen to my body but I also wanted to continue losing weight. Ultimately, I decided though that I needed to listen to my body. Our bodies don’t care whether or not we look like an Instagram model or like a certain celebrity’s bikini body. Our bodies are concerned about our health and well being. I just thought to myself too that sure, I could fight my body to lose this weight but at what cost? Developing an eating disorder? And I’m not saying that for anyone trying to lose weight, it’ll just end up in an eating disorder. No, not at all. I’m just saying for myself personally, it was so clear that my body was fighting me on losing this weight. It was going to do what was necessary to keep me at what it felt was already a healthy weight.

I have lost some more weight in the past too. But immediately my body gained it all back even though I was eating healthy and doing everything as I should have. And maybe I could’ve kept it off if I had been tracking my calories, but I’m sorry I don’t want to focus on calories for the rest of my life. I don’t want everything I do to be dictated by calories. I don’t want to constantly worry about whether or not I’m “allowed” to eat something every time I sit down for a meal. And I don’t want to have to worry about trying to maintain this “perfect” weight. Life is just worth so much more than being a certain size or weight. I want to enjoy life and time with friends and family and not stress about food. And ultimately that’s what my decision came down to. I didn’t want to allow food, dieting, and weight loss to control my life. I was meant for bigger things than that.

I hope my experience has helped you in some way. This was not easy to admit to millions of people since I know some will judge harshly. But it’s honestly what I felt was best for my body. I am going to love my body as it is, nourish it, and care for it with love. It’s done nothing but amazing things for me, including giving birth to my beautiful baby girl. Hopefully this has helped you to see that your life is worth so much more than attaining a certain body. I am all for losing weight for health reasons but when it comes to just vanity weight loss, it’s just not worth it in my opinion. I hope you give your body the love it deserves.