December 30, 2016

as the year ends…

Pictures by : Abby Cox

Hey guys!

Well, here we are: another year has passed and we’re all ready to welcome the next one. At least I am.

I must say it has been quite a rollercoaster of a year for my family and I, many ups and downs, expectations that weren’t fulfilled but looking back at the things that didn’t come into fruition I am thankful for them not having made it into my life because of three reasons: a) I wasn’t ready for them, b) God had something better for me or c) i was being kept from something that would’ve potentially harmed me or my family.

A couple of years ago, during one of my birthdays, my husband and I went for dinner in Old San Juan and a man on the streets approached me and asked if he could read my tarot cards for me. I was kind of skeptical but nonetheless I obliged and said yes. A lot of things he told me I already knew but many I just thought “yeah right, none of that’s gonna happen”. But, one thing I distinctly remember him saying to me was this: “a lot of things in your life are going to happen that you will feel like you don’t deserve or that opportunities have passed you by or that you won’t get a second chance but in the long run you will see that what didn’t play out the way you wanted will come back as a second chance even better than your expectations were initially. In your heart, you will see and understand why it played out the way it did.” Flash forward 5 years later and everything he said has come to be just like he said. Lots of disappointments but within them many hidden blessings.

I share this story with you because I am not much of a planner. Whenever I try to force something or give it too much structure, it feels constricted and immediately it falls apart. A lot of things I have accomplished because I have taught myself to believe that when you want something badly enough, your faith and courage will lead you to where you need to be. I’ve learned to be guided by my dreams which are enough for me to fuel a fire strong enough to work for a certain goal. I have worked hard for the things I have accomplished with no grandiose expectations, just my heart and intuition leading me along the way. I have failed A LOT OF TIMES, cried and asked “why not me?, why not now? it’s not fair”. But then I say to myself “get yourself together and get back up. There’s something better. Go get it.” And 10/10 times there always is. 10/10 times what I gained in my loss was far better than what I could’ve ever imagined. I suppose this is what that man was trying to tell me. Every dream you have will come to be because of the faith you have in yourself to achieve them. No amount of planning will take you as far as the confidence you have in yourself to believe you are worthy of that dream.

This new year will be no different. I have no concrete plans. My only plan is to continue working my ass off for the things I love and for those I love. I will continue to grow and make mistakes, learn from them,  while paying attention and focus to the things that I know will take me where I need to go. My plan is to believe in my damn self now more than ever and have faith in God’s plan for me. It will be an amazing year. I declare it.

I wish you all many blessings and a prosperous new 2017,

Raquel

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December 25, 2016

ON CHRISTMAS MORNING



Hey Guys!

I suppose it’s been a while since I’ve been here so my apologies but the holidays and work have been so crazy that I have barely had time to comb my hair. No joke.

I hope you guys have had an amazing holiday and christmas day with the ones you love. We are just being super lazy, lounging and assembling christmas toys for lil Lucas (no, we didn’t do it ahead of time, don’t even go there) and will be going to Mass later in the evening. Vacation time is much needed right now, even if it is for a week!

Merry christmas and best wishes to you all,

Raquel

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December 8, 2016

outings with my boys

outings with my boysoutings with my boysoutings with my boysoutings with my boysoutings with my boysoutings with my boys

The men in my life. How I love them so! I honestly feel like the luckiest girl to have them and wonder how I ever got so lucky. I live for downtime when I get to just get away with them and have our little outings even if we don’t go anywhere too far it doesn’t even matter. Lucas is a total homebody anyway and I would not be exaggerating if I told you at times he literally loathes going out. As long as we are around, he is so happy and doesn’t even need to leave our apartment. But when he does, boy does the kid have fun! He is ever the little social butterfly and will go hug every pretty girl he sees – the kid’s got good taste, I’ll tell you that much, ha!! These pics were taken a little over two weeks ago while we did a little xmas shopping and it was a little colder so that’s why you see me – finally! – rockin’ my tall boots and sweater (Zara-sold out). Right now it’s hot af AGAIN but regardless, keeping my hopes up for chillier weather in the weeks to come.

Hope you guys have an amazing rest of your weeks,

Raquel

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November 22, 2016

BATH TIME WITH NUBY

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Hey guys! Hope your weeks are off to a great start. We’ve sure been keeping busy (work and play) and this weekend we got the chance to go on a little getaway to decompress a bit.

Regardless of where we go, bath time is a must ritual that we can never skip with our little one. Even if I forget or if he’s too tired, he’ll always ask for a bath. It very much relaxes and puts him at ease but he also gets a chance to blow off some steam (you know, toddlers can be very moody during the day, ha!) and the best way to do that is playing for a while in the tub with some of his favorite toys.

Recently, we got some really cool products via Nuby that Lucas is just loving so much during bath time. One of them is the Octopus Hoopla  that is seriously so cute and fun to play with. It gives us a chance to brush up on counting and he loves tossing the little rings in the octopus’s legs. Another fun product he’s obsessed with is the Hippo Spout Guard which can be used in two fun ways for the water to come out : underneath the hippo’s chin there’s a little door that when closed, the water comes out of the hippo’s nose! Lucas just loves it and goes crazy for it! The Nuby Stacking boats are awesome because he is obsessed with naming colors and as is he takes them out and puts them back in order (this toy is great for perceptual motor skills!), he names the colors one by one.

Finally, we always finish with brushing his teeth and the Nuby 4 Stage Oral Care Set System is a fun way to instill the importance of oral hygiene. Even though this oral care system is used in stages, Lucas enjoys using all four brushes, especially the little silicone massager he puts on his finger and brushes his “teefers”. I love seeing him enjoy these products because he has so much fun and has no idea he is learning through play. Nuby products are great for that and I am happy they are safe products for him to use.

We seriously love these products and hope you guys give them a try for your little ones.

Have a great week!

Raquel

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October 6, 2016

5 things I want my son to remember…

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Hey guys! I know I have been MIA  for a bit but I have been very, very busy tending to so many changes our family is undergoing right now and have been going a bit cuckoo trying to juggle everything.

I’ve been thinking a lot about certain aspects of parenthood that have really stuck in my mind, how I am raising my son, watching him grow and taking into consideration that everything my husband and I do affects his development because he is, in fact, very much aware of all that goes around him. Parenthood is such an evolutionary concept and so many aspects come into play that we could easily spend days talking about it. Every family is different, however, in how they approach raising their children. The key is how we are being proactive at instilling the values we hope they display one day when they’re older.

Coming from a dysfunctional environment myself, I know firsthand how important it is for me to be mindful of steering clear of negative mindsets and toxic behaviors. It is not about denying where you have been and come from but using those experiences as stepping stones to become better, stronger and resilient. So with all this said, here are 5 things I wish to instill in my son, tools that I learned along the way growing up and others I still have a hard time putting into practice myself but will not give up on furthering because I believe they’ve allowed me to open my eyes to many truths about myself.

  1. Cultivate patience: My Achilles heel. This is by far the hardest habit I’ve ever had to face and cultivate. I am the most impatient person you will ever meet and many a times it has hindered me from growing both spiritually and professionally. I absolutely believe Lucas came into my life to teach me and guide me to strengthen this part of my life, given that his temper is very much like mine. I have learned you will never get anywhere by adopting a negative, closed-off mentality and when things are heated emotionally, you’re best bet is to be patient with the other person and employ emotional intelligence to leverage the situation.
  2. Be tolerant: Not everyone will think like you, not everyone has experienced the things you have experienced, not everyone will agree with your ideas and not everyone comes from where you come from. Be respectful of other people’s experiences because you can learn so much from them and even discover things about yourself you never even knew.
  3. Be empathetic: It doesn’t matter if you’ve never experienced a certain situation in your life, your capacity to place yourself in someone else’s shoes will take you as far as you allow yourself to distance yourself from an individualistic mindset and think of other’s needs. Remember, animals need empathy, too. That’s why Max loves you so much! Never forget that.
  4. Never doubt how far you can go: You are you’re own best friend and you can be you’re own worst enemy. The worthiness you place on yourself goes beyond simply showing people what they want to see, they need to feel that you value yourself and the best way to do that is by walking the talk, not merely talking the talk. It’s not about ego, it’s about believing you are smart enough and strong enough to face anything that comes your way. Do you feel it in your heart? I know you will be passionate about so many things someday and I also know you will not succeed in everything you attempt to do and that is okay. It’s okay to fall sometimes. The key is to believe you have what it takes to get back up, dust yourself off and try again. We got your back!
  5. Have faith: This one is a bit tricky, for me at least. It’s something I’ve lost many times but somehow, it comes back into my life at the most unexpected times and times of most need. Faith makes us believe in the unfathomable, it is ever-evolving and abundant-should we choose to employ it and cultivate it. You will learn that it is the ONLY tool you will ever need to succeed at anything you set your heart to do but it will take time to understand it’s importance. Your relationship with God is the only one that should never be broken and the one which will be put to the test almost every day, at every hour. I have found that feeding the soul is the only way to make sense of what my mind tries to convey each day. Logic at times can kill faith and will not allow us to see beyond what we could never imagine to be true. Believe in the unbelievable and you will truly see what needs to be seen.

‘Til next time,

Raquel

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August 30, 2016

french girl style ft. MAKE ME CHIC



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I am certain that I’m not the only girl who loves a good striped dress (or striped anything, for that matter). Stripes can really go in so many directions, trend-wise, but for me, they are so reminiscent of that whole french girl vibe I absolutely dig. You know french girls can throw it down and the best thing about their style is how laid back and effortless they always look. This dress from Make Me Chic just had that french girl vibe and, although it looks super cute all on its own, I wanted to give it a twist with tattered jeans and high bun just ’cause I saw Clemence Poesy rock a similar look once and when I got this dress I thought to myself “I need to try this look out!”. Adding a little leopard print gives it a nice vibe, contrasting patterns and I absolutely loooove stripes and leopard together so this pairing was a no brainer. As always, accessories are a must but keep them to a minimum and let the clothes do the talking.

Hope you all have an amazing week!

Xoxo,

Raquel

 

 

 

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August 22, 2016

A DAY AT THE PARK FT. NUBY

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Park days are our therapy. It is a sanctuary for us where we get the chance to bond, get away from work, connect with each other as a family and decompress. I really love to see how Lucas bonds with Max, our Boston Terrier, and feel how lucky he is to have him and be exposed to animals because it has given him a learning opportunity to be mindful of other creatures and empathic towards animals. They have the weirdest but cutest bond, sort of a love-hate relationship, mainly because Max is a total diva, ha!! Regardless, we love seeing them together, bonding daily.

Anywho, as any mom would tell you, packing snacks and beverages is super important when going on outings with kiddos and lately I’ve been kinda sick of toting around with juice boxes in my toddler bag. I got this sippy cooler cup from Nuby a while back and Lucas has absolutely loved it. It’s not so big in size or heavy in weight that makes it hard for him to carry around while sipping from it and I love that the straw isn’t one of those kinds where he has to struggle to slurp from the straw. The best is that it keeps his juice cold for a pretty long time, practically all day, and I don’t have to worry about spills (as opposed to juice boxes). Another thing I love about it is that it’s easy for him to open the lid on his own and he doesn’t have to depend on me to open it for him whenever he wants to have a drink. The product is super kid friendly and that is a huge plus in my book.  To be honest, I’ve been thinking of getting one for myself because it’s a really convenient cup for on the go. When you find products like this that make your life that much easier it’s such a relief to have them around so I’m glad to count on good quality products my son and I love!

 

‘Til next time,

Raquel

 

*Thanks to Nuby for sponsoring this post. All opinions provided are my own.

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August 2, 2016

CHIC STYLE WITH JORD WOODWATCHES

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Happy week guys! This summer heat is really doing a number on me and I seriously need for the weather to cool down ASAP!

Anyhoo, I guess you all know by now how much I loooove accessories. They are key pieces that can seriously make or break any outfit and for me simple, timeless pieces are the ones that really hold a place in my heart, mainly because they let the rest of the outfit shine.

One key piece that every woman should own is a good quality watch and this one by Jord Woodwatches  is seriously so nice and light that I’ve been wearing it everywhere I go and get compliments on it like it’s nobody’s business. From the dark wood color, to how light it is – I can barely feel it on my wrist – to how cool it looks with my gold accessories, I am loving everything about it. It’s such a great conversation piece and one I can use throughout the day without feeling weighed down by wearing it. Their entire women’s collection is absolutely to die for and for me, as a mom, I want to own and use pieces that feel un-fussy, uncomplicated but are stylish and modern as well. These watches definitely fit all these categories.

‘Til next time guys,

Raquel

 

Wood Watches by JORD

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July 12, 2016

weekend getaway

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Hey guys! Hope your weekends went well and you all had loads of fun and relaxation with your loved ones. If you follow me on Insta, you may very well know we got away for a bit this weekend with our momma (my mother in law in tow) and wanted to take the opportunity to get away with her to somewhere fun.

We decided to stay at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort for the weekend and boy was it an awesome stay! This is one of the few hotels over at Universal Studios here in Orlando and the concept of the hotel is so cute – 50’s theme – that I absolutely fell in love with it. There are two pools- which Lucas was crazy about- a splash pad, bowling alley, a restaurant, the cutest bar I’ve seen in my life, dining hall, sand for the kids to play, fire pits..I mean these people thought of everything. Initially, we had decided to head out to the City Walk to eat (which is where all of Universal’s restaurants are located) but then we saw all the amenities in the hotel and decided to just chill and hang around because there was always something to do. At night, the hubs and I went for drinks (Lord yes!!!) and just chilled and relaxed at the pool terrace which was so perfect for a rainy summer night. During the day, we relaxed and played at the pools and splash pad and I was super stocked to wear my new bathing suit, since I haven’t worn a one piece since I was like 7, ha! But this one was tots cute and perfect for my mom-bod -yes that’s a term.  This is definitely a vacationer’s dream resort stay, especially with kids, where options are always welcome and necessary to keep them entertained. Our only complaint would be the limited parking space available for hotel guests, as we had to step out to go check on our dog at night and when we returned spent about 30 minutes looking for parking space. No bueno.

All in all, we seriously can’t wait to go back (ahem, let’s do it soon, babe)

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June 16, 2016

Namaste collective

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After the henna has dried and peeled from skin, you get the most gorgeous stain leftover!

 

I have been a fan of henna tattooing for the longest time – i remember having it done by a high school friend when Madonna’s “Ray of light” (ironic much?) video came out and henna was all the rage. Throughout my college years, I got it done a couple of times and I loved the way it looked on my skin. Henna is temporary body tattooing, consisting of dyes which are primarily plant based. Many cultures – mainly pakistani, muslim and hindi – incorporate this tradition for ceremonial purposes like weddings and engagements, for instance. It is a natural and beautiful way to temporarily decorate your skin.

How excited was I when I was recently contacted by the company Namaste Collective to review their at-home henna kits. It’s so funny because I had told my husband weeks before that I wanted to do a post featuring henna and this came at the perfect time. I love what the whole vibe of the company is about, and the fact that these kits are so accessible and are completely safe for new moms to use on their skin is an added bonus (pregnant/expecting, and breastfeeding mothers should consult with their doctors before using the product).

The process of creating the henna is very simple, where you mix water first to create a paste that is left untouched for 24 hours so the dye can come through well. Afterwards, a bit more water is mixed in along with the essential oil of your choice (this is not included in the kit, you must purchase it separately). I chose a sweet orange essential oil and was loving the scent I had on my skin after I applied the henna, so yummy. The kit comes with a bag to transfer the henna mixture from the zip bag provided to mix everything in but for me this was a bit of a struggle. I ended up using a medicine syringe to transfer the mixture to the application bottle because I was just making a mess. After this, I kept the mixture nearby in a bowl in case I needed to refill the bottle while I applied it mixture. Once you’re done, any leftover product you may have can be frozen to use later, which is awesome that none of the product goes to waste.

The best part was drawing on my skin. I had so many ideas on my head but I am by no means an artist- I couldn’t draw even if my life depended on it ha! The kit comes with a little booklet with a couple of design ideas and a pencil to trace the design on your skin, so I kind of took little bits and pieces of ideas to create my design. The process is super fun because you can let your creativity flow. But, be aware, the mixture stains very quickly so I suggest having a damp cloth nearby so that if you have any “oopsies” or wanna change the design, you can just wipe it off quickly before it starts staining your skin. It such a cool outlet for creativity and meditation  and I will definitely be using it every now and then when my boho side wants to come out and play ha!

So if you’re curious and want a cool accessory for your skin without the long term commitment, give it a try! I’m certain you’ll love it and have as much fun as I have.

‘Til next time,

Raquel

 

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