How To Look Good From Head To Toe

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always looked a mess. I was overweight with cystic acne all along my jaw and down my neck, my hair was always a frizzy mess, and I sometimes suffered with b.o. I would always look up to the beautiful women who always seemed to have it together. They were poised, confident, so fashionable and cool. Everyone wanted to be their friend. I always knew though that I had it in me to be just as great. So from the age of 12 years old, I started my transformation. It has been 10 years in the making but I now can share with you all how I’ve learned to look good from head to toe. Here’s how I learned to be the most confident version of myself:

  1. We’ll start from the top and work our way down. So first thing is your hair. You’re going to want to learn how to style it. Whether you want to use hot tools or keep it au natural is up to you. Just learn how to work with your hair and style it in a way so it doesn’t look frizzy. I personally like to use hot tools for my hair. I only do it twice a week and wash my hair every 3 days. I’ll usually use a curling iron for voluminous waves but when I’m in the mood for it, I’ll use a straightener. You’ll also want to make sure to take good care of your hair too. Do deep conditioning treatments once a week, use a protectant when using hot tools, be kind to your hair, not rough. Damaged hair does not look good and there’s not much you can do when it’s severely damaged except grow it out. There’s also no way of hiding damaged hair so make sure to prevent it and take good care of it now. Also, only dye it a color that is compatible with your skin tone and that is only 3 shades lighter or darker than your natural hair color. That’ll help prevent extreme damage and will help your hair to look more natural. But of course, you don’t need to dye your hair at all. The key is healthy, smooth hair.
  2. Next we’ll move on to our face. You’re gonna want to go to YouTube for this one and start watching some makeup tutorials. I only had to watch a few to get some game changing tips that have helped my makeup to look more professional. What I’ve learned too is that your products make a BIG difference when it comes to the way you’re makeup will turn out. I never thought so. I always thought that they were basically all the same. For example, you might think you have no eyelashes, but it may just be that you’re using the wrong mascara. At least that was the case for me. I always thought I had bad lashes but after switching my mascara, now my lashes are the main thing people always compliment me on. My favorite brand is NYX for makeup. They give you professional results at drugstore prices and I’ve recently learned that if you buy them on amazon, they’re always cheaper…like 50% so! So there’s a little tip for ya 😉 I’ll make a separate post where I get into all my staple products so you don’t have to waste time and money trying so many different ones and you can skip right to the good stuff. But trust me, upgrading your makeup routine is a game changer! It’ll make you look so much more put together and will make you feel so confident- it’s a must on my list!
  3. Next we’ll talk about your ears or more specifically, earrings. You don’t have to wear earrings, but I always do. I never leave the house without them. I personally am a big hoops girl (it’s just the Latina in me lol) But I feel like even if you have small little studs in, they can help you look so much more fashionable. I’ve also been getting into hair accessories. I like cheetah print head scarves or scrunchies with bows on them. It’s so simple but those little touches really help level up your outfit and tie everything together. I think dainty necklaces are another really nice touch. They’re so feminine and delicate and really spice up any outfit. Don’t be afraid to experiment with scarves or different handbags too. You can find such a great variety and for really cheap too.
  4. Since, we’re working our way down to the underarm area, let’s talk about b.o (other wise known as body odor). So it’s simple: take a shower everyday, wash your clothes weekly and don’t wear anything that has a foul smell. You’re clothes don’t have to be expensive to look good. What’s most important is that they’re clean, smell fresh, don’t have stains, and preferably wrinkle free. Please use deodorant and don’t forget it. Carry a travel one with you as a mid-day refresher. we all need it sometimes, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. And as a bonus, a body spray or perfume helps for you to have a nice feminine scent that people will smell when you walk passed. It’s a nice touch. Also, please moisturize any dry, visible parts of your body (legs, knees, elbows) and please, oh please, if you’re feet are going to be exposed, moisturize those as well. I can’t stand dry, cracked heels. I’m sorry, it’s just a pet peeve of mine. It’s so easy to fix too and does not look good at all when you walk around like that. So please, for my sake, don’t do it. And I know all this sounds pretty simple, but you’d be surprised by how many adults have b.o. Oh and don’t forget to brush your teeth, carry mints or gum with you as a mid-day pick me up to freshen up. And if you always have bad breath, talk to your doctor. It may be something you’re eating or an underlying issue that your doctor may be able to help you with.
  5. Next, we’ll move on to your bra. You’d be surprised at what a difference wearing the right bra can make. If you wear one that’s too small, you may have spillage in the cup area or back bulge squeezing out around the straps. If it’s too big, then it can cause a lot of weird gaping, especially around the cup area. So get sized. You can do it yourself at home. I finally, after about 10 years or so of wearing bras, have finally figured out my correct size! So now my bra outline can’t be seen through my shirt and it’s so much more comfortable to wear.
  6. Now, we’ll talk about clothes. I always feel it’s best to have a certain color scheme with your wardrobe. I tend to have more of an autumn skin tone so in my closet you’ll see a lot of peach, burnt orange, burgundy, olive green, brown, ivory, mustard yellow, blush pink, tones. Having a color scheme with your wardrobe means that you’ll easily be able to mix and match certain pieces since they all work well together. So you’ll be able to have a few pieces but make many outfits from them. Try to find clothes that flatter your figure too. Of course you don’t have to, but there will be some pieces that will look better on you than others (just like with anyone else).
  7. Next we’ll move onto your legs, or more specifically, body hair. So you’l want to make sure you’re shaving often. Everyone’s hair grows at different rates but for me, I pretty much start shaving whenever I see that stubble is starting to form. I want to be as smooth, feminine, and dainty as possible. That means no body hair (including facial, underarm, leg, thigh…you name it.)
  8. Next, we’ll talk about our feet. I think it’s important to have your feet freshly pedicured year round. That doesn’t mean you have to get it done professionally or even that your nails have to always be painted (if that’s not you’re thing). But it does mean that your nails should always be cleaned, trimmed, dead skin and callouses removed, file down anything that needs it, and overall just have smooth, clean feet. I think uncared for feet are very unattractive to just about anyone. And it can be something fun to do. I like to do mine in the night when my daughter’s already asleep. I put my show on, relax, and paint my nails my favorite color of the moment.
  9. Now we’ll touch on weight and fitness. I know that this can be a touchy subject. So this part will just be for those who already do want to lose weight. I personally have always been on the overweight side as I’ve mentioned. I’ve lost 40 pounds as a teenager. I always held on to 10-15 more even after that though. And after I had my daughter I had like 15 more that I had gained. So of the 25 that I’ve held onto after having giving birth, I’ve already lost 15 of it during these past few months and am working on losing the 10 that remains. I have simply been counting calories with the my fitness pal app and doing HIIT workouts 3x a week. But let me just tell you, losing weight is what really makes me feel the most confident of everything on this list. If you’re overweight, you can’t really hide it. No matter what you wear, people will be able to tell if you have a fit and trim body or if you don’t. You can’t hide it. So above all I think if you are overweight, then losing it will make you feel the best about yourself. And I’m not saying to do it in an unhealthy, obsessive way. There are healthy ways of doing it (in my opinion). I’ve been losing just one pound a week and although it’s painfully slow, I know that it’s working so I just need to be patient and stick with it. It’s when people start to become impatient and want to rush the process that they start going about it in an unhealthy way, with crash diets, laxative teas, and the like. And also I’ll just say, I’ve been working out for 10+ years doing everything from heavy weights, Pilates, cardio machines, etc…, and I just have to say that HIIT has been the best by far. You get quick results, you’re able to lose fat, keep your curves, and put on muscle, all while only working out 30 minutes max. So if you’re looking for a new workout routine, I would start off with trying that.

I hope that these tips were helpful for you guys and not at all offensive. I try to be honest while at the same time being sensitive to the feelings of others. This is the truth, this is how i got to be to where I am today. It’s not to hurt anyone’s feelings but to give you the answers that many have asked me. Which of these tips did you guys find the most useful? Which ones would you add? I’d love to hear from you.

Till next time,

Paula Moral

How To Save Up To Buy A House

Buying a house may be closer to your reach than you think. It’s all just a matter of controlling your money and making it work for you. In today’s article, I want to share with you the top 5 tips that have helped us save. I hope these will help you guys too so you can start this new, exciting chapter in your life.

1. My first tip would be to find the cheapest grocery store to buy your food. We previously did our grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s (a health food store) but that would easily bring our total price to $200 and sometimes more per week. And we’re just a family of two adults and a toddler! I searched around to see what stores had the best prices for food. It turns out that Walmart has some of the best prices. So I now do the majority of my grocery shopping there. But…surprise, surprise…the 99 cent store actually has a whole lot of produce all for $1! When I shop there, we save $70 a week which adds up to $280 a month! That’s a whole lot of money to save on just one bill! And trust me, I was skeptical about dollar store food too. But we have already tried it for 2 weeks and everything tastes just fine. Nothing spoiled right away or anything. So just give it a try. Maybe you’ll like it too.

2. Another area where we’re saving money is on our electric bill. Im so sorry to say but we used to live with our AC going non-stop! Its so embarrassing to admit. But now, we’re rarely using it and only put it on when the heat is getting to be just too much to handle. Turning on the AC is now a last resort for us. We’ll open the windows, turn off the lights, close the blinds, take a cool shower, turn the fans on, we’ll do all that before we finally decided to turn on the AC. We haven’t gotten the bill back yet but i imagine that we’ll be saving anywhere from $100 – $150 a month minimum. I’ll try to update you guys once we get the actual numbers back.

3. We also limit eating out now to only once a week. That’s something I had already been doing for a while now just for weight loss reasons but now my husband is jumping on board too. So he no longer will order out for lunch while he’s at work. But I take responsibility for making sure he has meals so he won’t have to eat out. If I miss a day for packing his lunch, I wont blame him if he does have to eat out. But its rare that that’ll happen. Lately I’ve been making a lot of crockpot meals so we’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day. I’ve also been focusing on making delicious recipes so he wont miss eating out over the weekends. Often times before, we would go to Jamba Juice and buy a smoothie but now if we’re craving a smoothie, we’ll just make one at home. Its a whole lot cheaper that way. And you’d be surprised how much it adds up when you’re eating out.

4. My next tip is to look through the coupons you get sent to your door. Before we wouldn’t even bother and would just throw them out right away. ( I know, we were super wasteful :/ ) but now I take the time to look through them. I’m not a super couponer or anything so you won’t see me at the store taking out a binder of coupons (not that that’s a bad thing, I’m just not at that level). But if I do see a coupon for something that we use on a regular basis or for eating out, I’ll make sure to save it. For example, just last week I found a coupon for a free pizza. There were no strings attached either, we didn’t have to buy anything else. So last Friday for our day of eating out, we literally spent $0 on dinner. That was amazing to me and quite exhilarating to be honest lol😄

5. I’ve also been loving no spend weeks. I often will just do one week at a time and then the following week I will let myself buy something that I’ve been wanting (home decor, makeup, etc…) But lately I’m doing no spend months (since we’ll be moving into our new home in a little over a month) and I want us to save up as much as possible so we can have enough to make the renovations on the house that we’re wanting. I have been loving the challenge of not spending any money though. It really forces me to get creative and to find local events that are going on for free. It makes me do more hands on and nature things with my daughter. It’s been so nice and its getting easier over time. This is now my third week in a row of not spending any money on personal things and I’ve been so proud of myself for it.

As we’ve gone over the numbers to see if we can afford a house, I’ve realized that we’ve had the money all along but because of our mindless spending, the money would just slip through our fingers and in the end we wouldn’t have enough for anything else because we had spent it all on meaningless stuff. But spending like we were was just keeping us in the same situation of living in a small outdated apartment that we really didn’t want to be in. I’m so happy that we’re finally taking control of our money so we can really do the things we want with it and not just waste it. It makes me feel so good too as a stay at home mom because I know that I’m helping my family save TONS just by spending smarter. Sometimes us stay at home moms can feel like we’re not contributing enough to the family but I can see now that I am. By being more mindful with our money, I’m enabling us to be able to buy our own home. If it wasn’t for that, we’d always be stuck in the same boat. Because even if I went out and got a job, with our reckless spending, we still wouldn’t have any money left over.

This experience has helped me to see that we need to be in control of our money so we can take it in the direction we want to go. It all comes down to priorities and about what you want most. If you really want a house, then making these changes won’t be such a big deal. But if you rather have stuff, then that’s OK but just know that you may not be able to save for other things. I hope these tips will help you guys with getting a rein on your money so that you can soon move into a home of your own. It’s such an exciting, new chapter in our lives and I cant wait to share all the details, home decor, remodels, and DIYs that we do on the place. Which tip did you find the most helpful? And if you have any tips of your own, please let me know in the comments below. I’ll take all the help I can get!😄

Till Next Time,

Paula Moral

I’m A Homemaker And I Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way

*Disclaimer: I just want to say that this article is not meant to offend or judge anyone else’s decision of whether they decide to stay home or not. This is not about me telling you that you’re doing anything wrong. This is simply me expressing why I love being a stay at home mom/wife and just what it means to me. I hope no one will feel hurt or like I’m attacking them because that is not my intention at all. With all that being said, I hope you enjoy the article.*

Now, more than ever, homemakers are getting a bad rap. They are often looked down upon and viewed as lazy and someone who doesn’t have a “real” job. They are thought of as being oppressed, sad, bored, and lonely. But let me tell you why that is the furthest thing from the truth.

What It Means To Be A Homemaker

First and foremost, what do I mean when I say “homemaker”? Well there are a few different names that we may go by including housewife and stay at home mom. Generally it’s someone who takes care of the home (whether they have kids or not) while their husband has a secular job. So now that we’ve got that cleared away, let’s get into it.

Often times people believe that all homemakers do is clean the house and slap together a quick meal and with the rest of the day we just lounge around in our yoga pants eating bon bons. But there is really so much more to it and to be honest, I don’t even know what bon bons are. So there’s that.

The Power Of A Homemaker

As a homemaker, our main focus is to make the living space for our family as cozy, warm, and inviting as possible. That simply cannot be done with cleaning alone. Homemaking involves decorating to make the place feel warm. We organize so that our family doesn’t constantly feel frazzled, stressed, and overall just a mess. We make sure clothes are clean and ready for our family so that again, there will be less stress in the day to day life of our family. Being a homemaker is all about helping your family life to flow. You make things easier on them. It also helps everyone know what their role is in the marriage: the husband takes care of the finances and makes sure his family is cared for in that way while the wife takes care of things inside the home (including the cooking and cleaning). Neither of you have to worry about having to clean the house after already working an 8 hour work day. Since homemaking is your job, you can get it done during the day and in the evening when your husband comes home to a nice, peaceful atmosphere, you can both relax and enjoy your time together as a family.

I truly believe that a homemaker has the power to create peace in the home. You no longer are stuck in a constant hustle and bustle rut of constantly going. You no longer have to worry about working a 9-5 job and taking care of the kids and the home and cooking a meal and going to bed just to run the same hectic race the next day. But you and your husband are actually able to help take a load off of each other. My husband doesn’t have to worry about what meal he’s going to have to cook after a long stressful day. He doesn’t have to worry about whether or not his work clothes will be clean and ready for the day. And since we have a daughter, he doesn’t have to worry about who’s watching her and whether they’ll be a good caretaker or not. Since my husband takes care of the finances, I don’t have to even think about it. He’ll keep me in the loop of how everything is looking but for the most part, he takes care of all that.

Am I Really Oppressed?

Being a homemaker has been so stigmatized that now no one wants to do it. Back in about the 1950s era, the norm was to be a housewife and most women weren’t given an option of doing anything else. So now that we’ve come out of that and a majority of women now work outside the home, a lot of times people are just astonished that you would willingly choose to stay home. They view it as oppression, as if you’re not reaching your full potential, and like you’re actually dumb for wanting to make such a decision. But I can’t even begin to tell you how being a housewife actually is one of the least oppressive thing you can do!

For starters, I get to set my own hours. I can have a slow morning if I want. I can even choose to not work at all if I’m feeling sick. I can take mini trips and choose to drive to any local city and spend the day there. I can hangout with friends who also stay home. I could choose to stay in my pj’s if I wanted to. I could choose to start a creative career from home (ex: becoming a YouTuber, starting an Etsy shop of homemade goods, selling my clothes on an online thrift store, becoming a blogger, and so much more!) I can watch TV during the day and still get my work done. I can choose to explore some hobbies. I can stay home with my pets. I can take classes. I can choose to drive to the beach and spend the day there. And the list just goes on and on. How many jobs do you know of that would actually let you do even just a few of those things? My guess is probably none. So no, I am not oppressed, not even in the slightest. I’m not kept home in the dark all day and told that I can’t leave unless every little thing in the house is clean enough that you could eat off of it. And I’m also not bored out of mind and just depressed all day because of loneliness. I actually keep very busy, especially because I have my 2 year old daughter to care for. I honestly feel so fulfilled and happy. There’s absolutely nothing I’d rather be doing.

I hope by my little article that you were able to see a different side to being a homemaker than you did before. I’m not here to try and change your mind, but rather to give you some insight. It really is a job that a lot of us actually enjoy and are happy to do. Let me know what you thought of this article and if your opinion differs from mine, don’t shy away from expressing it. It’s nice when we can have an open dialogue and just hear what each other has to say. So on that note: I’d love to hear from you. Please give this article a like if you did enjoy it and until next time…bye! 🙂

Paula

Why The Terrible Two’s Really Aren’t So Terrible At All

Before I had my daughter, I was terrified of when she would turn 2. I would hear from everyone how kids are so crazy, throw so many tantrums and scream and fuss when they’re at that age. I was never worried about the newborn stage, the self sacrifice of being a parent, or anything like that. But I was anxious of my toddler throwing a full blown, uncontrollable fit at target that would turn everyone’s heads and that I wouldn’t be able to stop. But let me tell you why the “terrible two’s” is all one big fat lie. Toddlers don’t have to be crazy wild childs at all and I’ll tell you how you can prevent all of that from happening.

First let’s talk about when is the right time to tell your kids “no”. I would see on online forums that some moms would ask when’s the right time to say no to their kids. Now, that’s something I have never understood. So many parents would act like you can’t tell a baby no. But why? If my baby did something wrong or that wasn’t nice (say for example hitting someone) I would tell her “no, that’s not nice.” And very soon she understood that that was not acceptable behavior. I don’t know why someone would delay saying no to their child. A lot of people on that forum said that you could start saying no once your child was close to two years old. Then they would wonder why their child started acting out around that same time. But imagine getting everything you want, no one ever refusing any demands you made for 2 full years and after getting that special treatment for so long, you start getting told “no” and for so many things. I think that would make anyone frustrated, so just imagine how a toddler, who is still learning how to express their emotions, would react and feel. So my first tip is to not be afraid to tell your kids no, even when they are babies. I honestly don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to tell their kids that a certain behavior is wrong and not OK to do. I don’t feel that that’s a mean thing to do at all. And your kids will understand what no means very soon. They are so much smarter than we even know.

My next tip would be to stick to your word. If you tell your child that if they aren’t listening then you would take a certain thing away from them, then you need to stick with that (even if it does make things more difficult for you). They need to know that when you say something, you mean it. If you don’t stick with your word, your kids won’t take what you say seriously. They’ll know that they can just negotiate their way out of things and that there’s no real consequences for their actions. And that’s just not right. That’s not the way the world works.

I was actually at my daughters gymnastics class yesterday when she had thrown a toy where it didn’t belong and with a little attitude too. I told her that she needed to pick it up and put it back where it belonged. At first she just looked at me and tried walking away. So I told her one more time that she needs to put it back where it goes or we were going to leave right then and there. So she quickly picked it up and put it away. Mind you, she’s only 2.5 years old. But she knows by now that when mom says something, she means it. That’s when one of the other moms there said “wow my son would’ve never listened to me. He would’ve just ignored me.” But that’s not right and that little boy needs to learn that that is not OK.

A lot of time, sticking with what you say can be more work for you. For example if my daughter chose not to listen at gymnastics, we would’ve had to leave. Now, I enjoy my time over there and I personally would not have wanted to leave. My daughter probably would’ve cried very loudly as we left, directing everyone’s attention to us. And no, I would not have wanted any of that. But I know that a little work now will pay off so much in the near future. You will have such a well behaved and respectful child who listens to you if you just stick to what you say. Because I put in that work when my daughter was younger, she listens so well now as a toddler.

I know of 4 year olds who still throw tantrums but when you look at the discipline that child gets, you’ll see that it’s inconsistent and they often get away with everything. Most of the time there is no discipline for that child. I’m tired of people saying that 3 year olds are worse than 2 year olds and then other people saying, ‘you think 3 is bad, just wait till they turn 4’. It’s all so ridiculous to me. I honestly believe it all boils down to the parenting: is that child getting disciplined and corrected for his wrong behavior? Are the parents talking to him and letting him know why that’s not acceptable? If not, then please don’t blame the child’s age. It really ruins it for those who have never had kids of their own. I know some people who are seriously not having kids because their scared of the terrible 2’s. If only they knew it was all a myth! I try telling them it’s not true, but there’s just so much fear focused around that age that they don’t believe me.

I hope these tips were able to help you. This is not to judge anyone’s parenting. This article is more so for parents who haven’t entered into this stage yet and are fearful over it. I want you to know that there is nothing to be worried about. I’d say, yes as a 2 year old kid will want to be more independent and you can let them do things on their own when you’re able to. Sometimes it’s just not practical or there may not be enough time. It’s OK to say no when you need to. At first your kids may get upset and cry a bit because they wanted to do it. But you can simply explain that sometimes they can do it but sometimes mama needs to do it. It should never escalate to a full blown tantrum though. And soon enough they’ll be more calm when you tell them that you need to do it this time.

(And just to clarify, when I say discipline, I do not mean beating your child. I don’t know why but some people think they mean the same thing when they absolutely do not. The majority of the time, discipline for me means taking away something my daughter would want, like her cartoons or I’ll send her to her room for literally 2 minutes so she can calm down. But I’ll always give her a warning before I take anything away and then I always explain to her afterwards why.)

Let me know what you guys thought of this article. And how do you feel? Can the “terrible 2’s” be avoided or is it just inevitable for every child? I’d love to hear from you.

Till next time,

Paula

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! 🙂

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

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.

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 🙂