Folr: Watch Over Your Loved Ones

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with FOLR and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all opinions and statements are my own.
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Every single morning, I check in with Hubby to make sure he arrived safely to his desk in New York City. Because he lived through the events of September 11th, he knows how important it is to have a plan in case of an emergency. As a young couple, we did face a difficult situation only two years after that horrible day. During the Northeast blackout of 2003, the whole city was evacuating minutes after a major power loss occurred. Because of uncertainty, everyone hit the streets and started to make their way home. I was in the Upper West Side of Manhattan and Hubby was working in Midtown and like everyone else, I couldn’t get a hold of him; there was no service to our mobiles. I prayed that he would be waiting for me outside his office building because he didn’t know where I was (in a bookstore, of course!). As I fought against a crowd walking towards my direction, with fear of the unknown and a knot in my throat, I made my way downtown.

I found Hubby, who was my fiancée then, waiting patiently outside his office. He flashed his famous smile and said to me, “I knew you would come looking for me.” I will never forget those words or that day as we ended hitchhiking twice because there was no way to get to Queens. We walked over the Queensboro Bridge with a crowd of people and could feel the tension in the air. The majority of New Yorkers had 9/11 on their mind and sadly, some were in a panic.  Only a week after becoming engaged, I held Hubby’s hand tight and prayed to never have to feel lost from him again.

Luckily, today’s technology has come SO far from what it was 11 years ago. I will always worry about Hubby in New York City but thanks to an awesome app I just discovered, he doesn’t even have to answer his office phone for me to know he arrived safely. Folr helps everyone watch over loved ones. Folr is a location-tracking application that gives real time information of the whereabouts of your family and close friends.

Everyone with a smartphone or a tablet can download the app and use it with children, parents or grandparents who have these devices as well. Technology can truly help you stay close to loved ones, as well as counting on it in case of an emergency. It’s even a great idea to talk to babysitters about  installing  it. It only works if both parties agree to accept each other and since all are in agreement, no one should ever feel like they are invading anyone’s privacy.

Let me know if you try Folr  As soon as my parents buy smart phones (I know, I know!) this will be the first app I download for them!

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Weekend: Summer Came Back

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Hi everyone! It’s been two weeks since I prepared a weekend link post! Talk about craziness! I love to read everything and anything but I didn’t have much time earlier this month and I didn’t want to just look up stuff to share with you. This week, I bookmarked things people passed around social media and I’m so glad I spent a little time reading. It’s always a learning opportunity or a chance to become inspired by multiple writers and their unique ideas.

I also wanted to write a personal note to thank everyone who commented on my friendship post a little bit ago. I had so many messages, comments and friends asking me if I was okay. I’m so happy to have this little blog to desahogar (I couldn’t think of the English word!!) when I need to. I always feel better after I write things down and put it out into the universe. I know that I have work to do and although I hate to think that any of you are unhappy at times too, it helps me understand that yes, motherhood can get lonely at times. I see that many miss home and miss dear old friends. And that yes, many are so happy with the changes they have made in life.

So, what were you up to this weekend? Can you believe it was about 85 degrees here in Jersey? All. Weekend. Long! We made plans to go apple and pumpkin picking and it felt SO wrong to be out there in the heat! jajaja! It was still fun, of course but we promised the boys that we we will go again. Yesterday, I even got to pull this out of my closet! But, I want it to be cold this season because or Halloween costumes are super warm….oh man!

I hope you get a chance to read today’s links! Lots of inspiration (I promise!) and a variety of helpful tips! Enjoy!

If you only read one thing on this list, please READ this by Anthony Bourdain. Gracias, Jacqui.

And THEN this: I told Harvard I was an undocumented immigrant. They gave me a full scholarship.

Are you doing a family photo shoot soon? Read THIS to help you decide what to wear.

Speaking of clothes…LOVE this top!

Latest Budweiser Puppy commercial…is so sweet (and smart!). Thanks Lily and Coco!

Five Surprising Reasons to Finally Give up Soda

Hilarious Photos of Kids Losing It Over Nothing

Pan dulce French Toast!!

Diego might be up to something. Thank you, Sara!

An Open Letter to My Now Ex-Wife. Tears!

Reading THIS now. Yes, this!

More tears with this Sear’s video.

Have a great week!

Comfort Dress Up

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You guys, I’m living in these pants!! They are so comfortable!! Remember this ultimate comfy outfit? I promised you a dressier version and here it is. AND then I wore them a third time with this jacket with a tshirt. Talk about versatile.

For a day like today (it’s going to be 80 degrees!), this top is perfect to keep you sweet and cool. The joggers are also light and breezy, but because we have the drastic temperature changes, I always keep a jacket handy. I threw off the sunnies and ditched the clutch for you to see that these trousers are very office friendly.

Have a great weekend!

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Turner Pant
Kenneth Cole pumps (sold out but THESE are a great option!)
Clutch (old but THIS one is to die for!)
Sunnies (similar HERE)
Blazer (old from WHBM)
Bracelet

Images: CR Photography

Special Delivery Gift for New Baby!

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Lately, I have had so many friends announcing the births of their new babies! I love it!! About a month ago, my childhood friend, Maria Lupita (Pita…to many!) welcomed her precious little girl. Because I have three boys, I never get to buy the girliest of things! So I Bought Baby Itzel a little outfit (in blue of all colors!) and looked around to fill this gorgeous pink box with more goodies!

Baby items have changed so much in the past 2 years since I had Jordi! I found the perfect, creative and close to my heart Evenflo Distroller baby bottles! I was honestly amazed by this. Distroller is a Mexican, content generating brand, founded by artist Amparo Serrano in 2004 in México City that is famous for “Virgencita Plis Cuidame Mucho”, “Neonatos” and “Chamoy y Amiguis”. It is also known for its rebellious and innovative style of communication and recognizable style of graphic art. When Pita received the box, the bottles caught her eye right away as well. She asked me if these were exclusive to Mexico. The good news? No! Evenflo has them on their website. Sippy cups for big kids too! Check them out HERE. If you have a HEB and Kroger store nearby, they are available there nationwide too.

The Evenflo Distroller products are BPA free, come with silicone nipples for ultimate softness and flexibility…and Mexican inspired! When I knew I wanted to give these to Pita and Baby Itzel, I added cute pink bibs and the sippy cups for when she is older.

What do you think of this special delivery gift for Baby Itzel? Pretty cool, si? Congrats to P and B!!! Love you guys! xoxo

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images: CR Photograpy

Purple Purse: Domestic Violence Awareness

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Allstate Foundation® and Latina Bloggers Connect. However all opinions expressed are my own.
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A year ago, I wrote about this exact same campaign, and here we are today starting domestic violence awareness month during the height of a national discussion. Unfortunately, the issue of domestic abuse is at center stage because of a high-profile athlete and a video that shows him hitting his wife, gone viral. But the truth is that this one case we are following right now, has to remind us and bring awareness to the fact that domestic violence abuse happens to 1 in 4 women in her lifetime.

The discussion has even escalated further because many people wonder why women stay in abusive relationships. This specific topic has been all over the news and on social media too. The Allstate Foundation and its Purple Purse campaign has been raising awareness for many years on this very important topic. The program ignites fundraising for over 140 national, state and local domestic violence organizations. Funds raised will support life-changing financial empowerment to many women in order to build a safer life for themselves and their families

Why the #PurplePurse?

-Financial abuse happens in 98% of all domestic violence cases, a powerful way to control a victim.
-The number one reason domestic violence victims stay in an abusive relationship is because they don’t have the financial resources to break free.
-A purse represents a woman’s main financial domain and purple is the national color of domestic violence awareness.

If you would like to help the Allstate Foundation, please visit the Purple Purse site to learn more about the cause. If you would like to donate and support all the organizations that help domestic violence survivors, please click HERE.

You can also follow Latina Bloggers Connect who will unite for a Twitter party tonight, Tuesday, September 23rd for the Domestic Violence Awareness #PurplePurse Twitter Party at 5pm PST/8pm EST. One grand prize winner will receive a Coach Bleecker Mini Duffle Bag retailed at $198. Four winners will receive a $25 gift card with a #PurplePurse charm. If you RSVP HERE with your Twitter handle, you will be entered in an additional giveaway where we will be giving away another two $25 gift cards.

Just like the Allstate Foundation, let’s keep the conversation going and help women get the help they need.

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Happening Now: Altuzarra for Target

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When I was pleasantly notified about Altuzarra for Target arriving this fall, I knew I had to check out the line as soon as it hit the stores. I received that beautiful package four months ago! But the wait was really worth it. The only thing that was disappointing last Sunday when I went to pick out outfits from my local Target, was that not everything I had my eye on from the online look book, was available. The shipment just didn’t get in. Without fail though, I walked in to the dressing room with a cartful of items and walked out super happy with this gorgeous “peasant” dress.

I love everything about it. The above-the-knee hemline that is so chic right now was a selling point for me. I love the transition from short minis this past summer to knee length skirts and dresses for the fall. And how can you not resist the sequin embellishment on the sleeves? The perfect little black dress is sitting at Target right now along with other stunning designs from New York designer, Joseph Altazurra. Have you checked out the line? Let me know if you do!

Dress

Christian Louboutin pumps (new HERE and similar HERE)

Lips : L’OREAL 304 Ruby Opera

images: CR Photography

Natural: Cozy Sweaters and Flawless Skin this Fall

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with NEUTROGENA® and Latina Bloggers Connect. However, all opinions and statements expressed are my own.

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As much as I love playing dress-up and wearing three and a half inch heels (sometimes four!), there is nothing more comfortable and chic than leggings, a long oversized sweater and tall flat boots! Fall is in full swing here in the East Coast. I pointed out to my boys yesterday that the leaves on the trees are starting to turn to beautiful gold and red shades. They absolutely love the fall because it is soccer season for them, apple picking season and pumpkins too! So I think I’ll live in this #OOTD (outfit of the day!) for the fall season out on the field. I’ll start right outside of my own house of course, where my boys practice their footie moves. We have this super cool backyard with two levels that helps me keep an eye on everything! I often sit on the steps with my cafécito and cozy up while I watch them run around.

My new NEUTROGENA® VISIBLY EVEN® Line will compliment my everyday #OOTD right now. This season it’s all about an even and uniformed complexion. Formulated with ESSENTIAL SOY®, this collection of cleanser, moisturizer and multi-tasking BB Cream protects, moisturizes, conceals and treats uneven skin tone for a flawless look this fall. The Foaming Cleanser was a winner for me the minute I felt the gentle exfoliating beads. They always help me achieve a fresh feel and leaves my skin clean and radiant.  But the BB Cream is definitely my favorite from the VISIBLY EVEN® line.

Not only does the BB Cream moisturize and has the SPF 30 I’m always looking for, it also has that light tint that conceals what I believe is important for a mom of three boys. It provides the right coverage for the dark circles under my eyes and slight redness around my nose. It improves overall radiance and evens out skin tone in just four weeks. I’ll take it. If you prefer to go without any tint in your moisturizer, the NEUTROGENA® VISIBLY EVEN® Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 is perfect too. Formulated with HELIOPLEX® Technology for superior broad spectrum UVA/ UVB protection, it helps protect against sun damage and signs of aging while brightening skin, improving radiance, and reducing the appearance of dullness just after two week of use!

Whatever your #OOTD choice is this fall, know that your skin will always be ready to help you achieve your favorite natural, everyday look.  NEUTROGENA® VISIBLY EVEN® compliments your work, play or weekend look. Let me know if you give it a try!

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On Friendship and The Girls from Corona del Mar

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This one my friends, was not a very upbeat, happy, summer read. That is not to say that The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe is not an eye opener, will pull at your heartstrings and will help you understand why some people who have the same upbringing as you, can take a very different life journey. It will also show you that the power of friendship can seriously make you or break you.

Today, I won’t fully review it because the brilliant people HERE are so much better at it. I haven’t written from the heart lately about what is really going on in my life and this beautifully written book about friendship has come at the right time. So as you know, it has been ten years since I left my city of Chicago, to be with the person who is clearly my best friend, Hubby. No matter how long I have been gone, I need my mother, my sister, my comadres, my aunts, my cousins and my childhood friends very much. And although Hubby tries really hard to fill in for all those women, sometimes it’s not enough (no offense, honey!). There is so much to be said about strong female relationships and the true support offered back and forth.  I am sorry that I haven’t had a chance to follow up with you with a personal call, email, text or visit. Life is super hectic with my three boys, with no extra pair of hands,  and with work…please forgive me. I think of you all the time…my heart aches from the void I sometimes feel.

My new friends here have been incredible to take on a family of 5 and consider us part of their own. My eyes fill with tears and a knot in my throat when I think of how welcoming and loving people can be when they have only known us for three years! Once again, when the schedule of three boys, work, and the piles of laundry and endless trips to the grocery store consume me, I feel bad that I haven’t replied to an invitation from neighboring moms to have coffee,  missed another meeting from my local entrepreneur network, or try to reschedule drinks with acquaintances. I keep thinking, “Betty, if you don’t want to feel so lonely…make it to all of that.” But what happens when everyone in the house has strep throat, I have a deadline to meet, my baby is STILL not on a normal 3 hour schedule at school (Monday can not get here fast enough!) and dinner to prepare? Does anyone feel like the kitchen ALWAYS has to be cleaned?? What happens is that I end up feeling really lonely, consumed by too much.

While reading this novel, and visualizing a friendship between two women who care so much about each other but are literally and figuratively a world apart, it made me remember that we all go through things like this and have these endless battles with the guilt (!!).  Even my friends who have never left the town they grew up in or are not too far from home, have found themselves so busy, overwhelmed and tired. Just tired.

The greatest thing about good female friends: they don’t judge, they ask about YOU first, they feel your pain, they offer to help, they genuinely show how much they have missed you.  If you happen to be a friend of a blogger (how lucky!), they make that declaration to you very publicly. I love you dear amigas, dear readers who come here to check in on me, and bloggy friends who know how lonely it can get to work from home, behind words and images every single day.

Ahora voy a llorar, and then I’m going to be okay. Mom from the Old Fashioned Candies store (my first job at 15!) would say, “It builds character.” Whenever I feel like I can’t anymore, I think about that. I’m proud of the role I have played for my family, and the years of stories and memories I have created with a fantastic group of women I call my BFFs. One more thing, at my very mature age of 36, I also know that this here, this love note isn’t enough. I have to try harder and I will. My friendship with these strong women are worth too much no to.

Now, got get yourself this great novel! xoxo

Image: CR Photography

One is Fun! Mi Primer Cumple! Birthday Party Theme

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Fisher-Price® and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Isn’t this a fantastic idea!? How I wish I had a special first birthday coming up so I can roll with the Fisher-Price® Mis Primeras Mañanitas birthday party theme! I love the recent Hostess with the Mostess and Fisher-Price® collaboration. It shows countless of ideas for a first birthday party theme.  All of these pics come from the partnership and I especially love the Fisher-Price® toys incorporated into every party idea!

The toys are super cute as party decorations and I love even more that Fisher-Price® is proudly announcing Mis Primeras Mañanitas, the first-ever fully integrated Hispanic dedicated program of its kind to connect directly with millennial moms. In its first year, the campaign will tap into the culturally relevant and emotional connection to “Las Mañanitas,” a song that highlights the love and optimism that a mom feels on her baby’s special day. Mis Primeras Mañanitas was developed to be a resource hub for moms to access unique and creative ideas for her baby’s first birthday party.

I have been all over social media using the #FPMiPrimerCumple hashtag telling everyone about Fisher-Price® and the Mis Primeras Mañanitas program! I wonder if you have had a chance to enter their sweepstakes?

Mis Primeras Mañanitas Sweepstakes  has monthly prizes for lucky winners! There are 12 Fisher-Price® toys included in the bundle. My favorites: Baby’s First Blocks, Rock-A-Stack®,  and Little People ® Fun Sounds Farm. Five winners will also receive a selection of birthday party items to help put together an awesome first birthday party! Some of the party items included are: party invites, party favors and decorations, a piñata, and a customized birthday cake!

Head over to the Hostess with the Mostess post on the Fisher-Price® website for more fun ideas for your first birthday party theme. And don’t forget to enter the Mis Primeras Mañanitas sweepstakes HERE. Gracias Fisher-Price® for your program dedicated to moms like me!

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Fall Staple: The Denim Jacket

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Happy Friday! Are you ready for the weekend? Hubby and I are taking turns sleeping in! jajaja! The little things parents get to look forward to!

I probably will sneak away for a little shopping though! If you are, check out Target  on Sunday as they are partnering with Altuzarra to introduce a limited-edition collection of women’s ready-to-wear & accessories for fall 2014.  Or, start picking up some outerwear at your other favorite shops!

The denim jacket has been my favorite thing to wear these past few cool seasons. I bought the one you see now about a year ago and absolutely love how soft it has become.  It’s perfect for long road trips and planes too. I even bought my mom one and she insists to wear it on all her journeys (lucky gal!).

What is your go-to item for chilly weather?  Have a great weekend!

JCrew denim (last season, updated HERE) Another option HERE and HERE
Sam Edelman Pumps
Tiffany Daisy Ring
Nordstrom sunnies (under $30!)
JCrew shorts (on sale!)
Ella Moss top (sold out, but HERE same print with short sleeves!)