Real Talk: Choosing Joy Over Happiness

When you ask people what they want, many will answer “I want to be happy.” But you see, happiness is fleeting. Happiness can vary depending on your circumstances. For instance, you’re happy if you have a great job, but what happens if you lose that job? You’re happy when you have a boyfriend, but what happens if you break up? We begin to struggle. Our happiness depends on our circumstances. You see, the thing with joy is, is that it is everlasting, it’s an attitude of the heart. It is having joy even when things don’t go our way.

For me, my joy comes from the Lord. It’s knowing that he is in control of every detail of my life. It’s one of the most precious gifts that He gives all of us. That’s not to say you still won’t experience times of grief. I’ve experienced my fair share of grief from the loss of my late husband. As anyone that has ever gone through grief will tell you, it never goes away entirely. It’s always going to be there. But everyday I make a conscious decision to chose joy. Joy allows us to face hard times head on.

I remember the other day going through my iPhone and seeing pictures of me and Andy. There was one picture that really stood out. It was a picture of us at a Polar Express event. What shocked me the most, was that it was taken a few days after Fernando’s passing. As I look back now, those days seem like a blur to me. But I couldn’t believe that there I was——smiling. I was joyful. I couldn’t help but be in awe of how good God is. He was filling my heart with a joy and peace that I couldn’t even understand.

Shift Your Perspective.

It’s all about shifting your perspective. What gives me joy? Being able to look around and still find things to be grateful for. And if you think about it, no matter how dark the storm, you will always have something to be grateful for. Just being able to wake up and breathe is something that I will never take for granted. When my husband spent his last days in the hospital, it was one of the hardest times of my life. Seeing the person that you love so much slowing dying from cancer is painful.
But even in those times, when he would wake up, I was was grateful that I was given another day with him on this earth. You see, it’s all about shifting your perspective.

We will ALL face hard times sooner or later, whether it’s a divorce, death, an illness…. but my wish for you is that even in those times you are filled with joy. Know that it is possible to find joy again. So hang in there….and in the words of Dory “just keep swimming.”


Where Did She Get It? Jennifer Lopez' s Mint Trench Coat

Jennifer Lopez was recently spotted with her new bae Alex Rodriguez in NYC wearing this mint Jinx Trench Coat from AQ/AQ. We love how she also paired it with this Roland Mouret dress in the same color.  Best of all, the trench coat is currently on sale and is a steal for just $169. We doubt it will be available for much longer, so be sure to check it out before it sells out.

Where to Buy:
Jinx Trench Coat, AQ/AQ, $169


Steal her Look: Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba was recently spotted at the Victoria Beckham X Target collection launch party wearing an adorable bee top ($30) from the line paired with a suede brown bag ($24),  also from Target (from the Who What Wear Collection). She finished off her look with a pair of striped sandals Loeffler Randall ($395). Here's where you can steal her same exact look for her top, shoes and purse.

Top: Victoria Beckham vb X Target Bee, Target, $30 (same one she's wearing)
Jeans: H&M, $34
Bag: Who What Wear Ring Mini, Target, $24 (same she's wearing) 
Belt: Brown Belt, H&M, $17
Shoes: Striped Sandals, Loeffler Randall, $395 (same she's wearing)


Viva Travels: My Weekend Guide to LA as a Seekender {Part 1}

I love California, I always say that if I were to ever move from Miami (which I doubt that will ever happen) I would move to California. I recently had the chance to take a little weekend getaway to explore LA as a Hampton by Hilton Seekender. You might recall that I teamed up with them two years ago to be part of their Ultimate Seekender Team. So far, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to explore Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and San Diego, California. So what is a Seekender you might ask? Well a Seekender is someone who sees a weekend as a new opportunity for adventure and spontaneity. Simply put, a weekend is all it takes to reset, explore, follow passions, and create lifelong memories with loved ones, which I’m ALL about!

I’ve only been to LA on work trips, which included a quick trip to do a TV segment and another for a social media conference. But it’s been on my list of places I’ve wanted to visit for a while. Oh and after watching the movie La La Land the urge became that much greater haha. So finally, two weeks ago we packed up our bags and headed to sunny LA. A few days in advance I started planning out our itinerary, which included several family-friendly activities since I was traveling with my four-year old.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and after renting a car, we headed straight to our Hampton by Hilton hotel in LA. We were greeted by the friendly-staff who is always so helpful and even offered us tips on where to grab dinner nearby. We also took advantage of the free coffee and tea that was in the lobby. In case you’re not familiar with Hampton by Hilton, one of their many perks is that they always have coffee and tea waiting for you in their lobby (and after a 5-hour flight it was much needed).

Since the next day our schedule was pretty packed with a trip to Disneyland, we decided to stay in the hotel and relax. We even took a little dip in the pool to unwind. The next day, we woke up around 7 AM to start getting ready to head to the ‘Happiest Place on Earth!’ We grabbed breakfast downstairs, which is also complimentary at Hampton by Hilton. Andy and I had a hearty oatmeal packed with fresh fruit, while Julio had some yummy waffles with scrambled eggs.

Our visit to Disneyland was definitely one of the most memorable parts of our trip to LA.When Andy turned four, I really wanted to take him to DisneyWorld in Orlando (especially since it’s only a few hours away from Miami). But to be honest, it was very hard for me since it was one of the last trips we took with my late husband before he passed. Visiting Disneyland in Los Angeles was very meaningful, because in a way it symbolized creating new memories with my "new beginning" (at a new park we had never visited before) while still honoring my past. Andy’s eyes lit up seeing Mickey Mouse and I can already tell he’s going to be a little thrill seeker. One of his favorite rides was the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster. 

The next day, following our already exciting trip to Disneyland it was time for more exploring with a visit to Venice Beach, Santa Monica, The Griffith Observatory (and a hike). We really don’t play around when it comes to exploring and being a Seekender haha. I still can’t believe we managed to squeeze all that into one day, but it actually worked out perfectly. Although the day was pretty foggy (not really a beach day) we still had a lot of fun walking around Venice Beach. Andy loved seeing all the skate boarders.

Quick Tip: You probably need about 1-2 hours max to explore Venice Beach. Be sure to get there early so you can get good parking.

After that we headed to the Santa Monica Pier. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend you check it out when visiting LA (especially if you’re traveling with little ones). It’s filled with fun carnival style games, food, street performers and just an overall lively atmosphere. 

And of course, you can’t leave LA without checking out the Griffith Observatory. We got there around 5 PM (they close at 10PM). The parking at the top was closed, so we ended up parking about 1/2 a mile down the hill and hiked our way to the observatory (which was so much fun). They also had shuttles, which take you back to the parking lot.

The views are absolutely stunning and it’s also a great place to see the Hollywood sign. We got there just in time to see the sunset, which was breathtaking. Andy LOVED the Planetarium show, which lasted about 40 minutes. The telescope is also available to guests in the evening. We got to see Saturn and Jupiter, which was pretty cool.

Quick Tip: The minimum age for the Planetarium show is five years old. Since Andy is four I had to say he was five hehe. But of course, Andy overheard me and yelled “Mommy, I’m five now?” Oops, luckily they still let him in.

After this long day, we were so happy to get back to our hotel and into our comfy beds. Next week,
I’ll be sharing Part II of my weekend in Los Angeles as a Seekender with Hampton by Hilton, so be sure to stay tuned!

In the meantime, you can book your own Seekender trip here.


Affordable Beach Bags: Under $50

By Liz de La Nuez, Chasing Liv

With summer right around the corner (and on my mind!), I am getting my gear ready for long beach days and summer getaways. First on my list, a cute and functional beach bag. The type that is roomy enough for all of my beach must-haves (SPF, book, oversized sunglasses and a hat!) and comfy enough to tote around during impromptu afternoon walks on the beach.

These are the cutest that I found and I am really liking the fun colors and clever sayings. Really, there are no rules when it comes to beach bags, so go crazy and have fun with it! I thought that #3 and #7 were adorable. Which is your favorite?

P.S. You can check out more of Liz's writing on her blog, Chasing Liv, where she blogs about everything from motherhood, style, beauty and travel. 


Motherhood Mondays: 'PLAE' Stylish and Comfortable Shoes for Kids

I had been looking for a pair of stylish, yet comfortable shoes for Andy and was so excited when I came across PLAE shoes. Behind the brand is Ryan Ringholz, former designer for PUMA and Diesel, turned dad, who was looking to create a cool and durable shoe line for kids. So it's no surprise that they are so stylish. One of the things I look for, especially as a mom to an active four-year old, is a pair of shoes that are durable and comfortable.

I love that these shoes were actually designed using the same process as designing shoes for elite athletes and olympians. They're flexible and adjust with every kind of movement, breathable, lightweight and have active traction. They are also so easy to put on and off that Andy does it himself. Oh and did I mention they are also washable!

You can even buy interchangeable "tabs" you can switch out that includes everything from different colors, materials and prints. Andy's favorite color is red, so he immediately wanted to get a pair of red PLAE shoes. He's worn them everywhere from the playground, to preschool to our recent trip to Disneyland (where we did tons of walking) as well as in the airport when we went to Dominican Republic. I can attest they they've held up great and have been comfortable since day one (no need to break them in at all).

My favorite is the "Ty" line (seen here on Andy) but they also carry other adorable styles like the ones below.  You can find them on their website as well as Nordstrom stores.


What I Wore: Univision's Despierta America

This morning, I was back on Univision's Despierta America sharing beauty tips. Here's a look at the outfit I wore. It's from a cute little boutique I recently discovered in Miami called ALX Couture. They have budget-friendly clothing and best of all they also offer free shipping on orders $100 or more.

I absolutely love the quality of this skirt, which actually looks much more expensive then it really is. It was a steal for just $60 bucks. I've always been a huge fan of mixing high and low pieces, so I finished off my look with a pair of Christian Louboutin heels. Here's where you can get my look:

Top and Skirt, ALX Couture
Necklace: H&M 
Bracelet: Cartier 

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