un aguacate a la vez

PAUSA

Real TalkMaría Elena RodríguezComment
pausa ambitnity

Llevo meses con un apretón en el pecho que no me permite publicar más posts en ambinity, el lugar que una vez llamé "mi santuario" y "mi bebé". Me he preguntado tantas veces por qué se me está haciendo tan difícil publicar algún escrito que tanto antes me disfrutaba, o publicar algo en las redes sociales que les dejara saber que estaba viva. A parte de muchos cambios que ocurren en mi vida, sentía que había algo que ya no encajaba. 

Mi intención con este escrito no es quejarme, ni hacer un “rant” (aunque los que me conocen saben que me encantan), pero entiendo que ya es hora de volver a hablar desde el corazón.

Mi vida ha cambiado mucho en el último año. No es un secreto que el Huracán María me cambió y los que escuchan el podcast Un aguacate a la vez lo saben mejor que nadie.

Ambinity comenzó como un lugar para escribir sobre lo que creía en mi vida: Todos podemos ser ambiciosos mientras somos vanidosos. Y no me tomen a mal, aún lo creo. Creo fielmente que si no le haces daño a nadie, cada cual debe ser feliz a su manera.

Pero poco a poco he visto cómo la ambición y la vanidad han llegado a un segundo plano en vida, porque mis nuevas prioridades son mi sanidad física, mental y espiritual. Quizás ya veían esto venir con mi decisión de usar solo maquillajes cruelty-free y escribir sobre temas más orientados al bienestar. 

Claramente la comunidad de influencers globalmente ha cambiado mucho. Me dedico a la publicidad digital y una de las razones por las que decidí irme por esta rama era precisamente porque estaba fascinada con el mundo cibernético y la capacidad que tenían los bloggers de influenciar la decisión de potenciales compradores sobre una marca. Quería ser parte de esta comunidad porque además de que me encanta el punto de vista de mercadear un producto en las redes sociales y la creación de websites, disfrutaba todo lo que tenía que ver con belleza, decoración y estilos de vida y ya de por sí muchas personas se acercaban para preguntarme sus opiniones sobre estos temas. 

Así comencé publicando cada vez que tenía el tiempo y la isnpiración, a pesar de que solo tenía alrededor de 3 lectores, contando a mi mamá. Pero con el tiempo y con la saturación gradual que hubo del mundo de bloggers e influencers de estilos de vida, me vi alejándome del sentimiento de empoderamiento que me daba publicar cada post a sentirme insegura porque no estaba creciendo al nivel que quizás otras personas que empezaron después de mi estaban creciendo. Gracias a mi naturaleza terca, siempre me mantuve firme en que quería ser lo más genuina posible, no importa qué marcas quisieran trabajar conmigo. Sin embargo, sentía que para publicar del corazón tenía que pagar el precio de acoplarme al algoritmo de las redes sociales y las tendencias que el resto de la competencia estaba siguendo para recibir los likes y los clicks que me llevarían a que me leyeran para poder continuar haciendo lo que amaba. 

Incluso, mis inseguridades llegaron a tal punto, que sentí que tenía que comenzar a hacer más contenido de video como stories y Youtube para crecer. No estoy diciendo que no me disfruté esta etapa, al contrario, fue una etapa hermosa donde crecí muchísimo personalmente y perdí muchos miedos. Pero a pesar de esto, siempre supe que no era yo, que estaba dando tanto de mi para hablar de productos o de cosas tan sencillas como prepararme el desayuno, que terminaba drenada y vacía el resto del día. Sentía que me perdía en las apariencias y en el qué dirán, por lo tanto estaba perdiendo lo que más amo y la razón por la que comencé ambinity: escribir por amor al arte. La razón por la que me tatué un bolígrafo con puntos de suspención en el brazo dominante. Porque nunca quiero olvidar que lo que me cura es escribir del corazón, no por complacer a más nadie que no sea a mi misma. 

PEN TATTOO

Luego de mucho reflexionar entendí lo que una vez fue una comunidad genuina de personas compartiendo sus opiniones, se convirtió (para algunos) en un lugar para promover su agenda personal, obtener cosas gratis y alardear de sus vidas, como si la vida fuera solo un juego de cuántas cosas puedes tener y pretender que eres feliz sin perder la cabeza.

Así que decidí que no sería parte de eso. 

Mi intención es vivir mi vida sin filtro y demostrar que no todo se trata de lucir lo que somos por fuera, sino de vivir una vida plena donde cada acción debe llevar a mejorar la del prójimo de una manera u otra. Esto tanto a nivel personal como social. No todos somos una fábrica de likes. Somos responsables por lo que le damos al mundo y eso no lo podemos perder de perspectiva.

AL RESTO DE LA COMUNIDAD DE INFLUENCERS Y CREADORES DE CONTENIDO:

Creen contenido que les apasione y trabajen con marcas que no tan solo les gusten, si no que apoyen sus valores. No tengan miedo en decir cuando algo no les gusta, déjenlo claro. Recuerden que esto no es una competencia, las redes sociales son una excelente herramienta para conectar y recibir feedback genuino de otras personas. El tener muchos seguidores o fama no debe afectar tu integridad nunca. 

Por último, no entren a esto por dinero porque se notará. Siempre recuerden que lo que compartan afectará a la persona que lo recibe de una manera u otra. Evalua tu post tantas veces quieras y solo haz clic en ese “publish” cuando entiendas que vas a mejorar la calidad de vida de los demás. 

¿ENTONCES QUÉ VA A PASAR CON AMBINITY? 

Una de las cosas que me ha enseñado la práctica de yoga y que me ha cambiado la vida de una manera sumamente positivia es a vivir el presente. Hoy me siento cómoda trabajando con el podcast y desarrollándome profesionalmente en una nueva faceta. 

Pero de algo estoy segura: Volveré a escribir, pero será de una manera mucho más orgánica y siempre, se los prometo del corazón. 

Con amor y respeto, 

María Elena Rodríguez

PD: No estoy publicando mucho en mi cuenta personal, pero me pueden conseguir ahí en @elenarodrz o escucharme en @aguacatepodcast

 

 

 

 

GUEST POST | How to Spend 24 Hours in Miami

Guest Posts, TravelPaula LandrónComment
Pic via  @PaulaLandron

You can find a new yoga studio, café or club in Miami every weekend. There always seems to be something to do in this city. As long as you don’t mind the 70-80% humidity and 90+ degree weather, you’ll be bound to have some fun. 

Tip #1: Bring water with you at all times.

I lived in Miami for three years, therefore, I’m going to tell you what I would do in Miami on a Saturday on the regular:

9AM Panther Coffee

Amazing espresso and they have macadamia milk (if you haven’t tried it, it’s worth the try). They have various locations, but I recommend the one in Wynwood because post-coffee you will have some yoga to do! 

10:30AM Wynwood Yoga

A cool yoga studio with amazing vibes and awesome classes. The 10:30 AM Hot Power Vinyasa is my favorite! #BeThere

12PM Plant Miami

Post yoga you’re going to want to eat something since you only had an espresso and dropped all your worries (and calories) on your mat. If I were you I would go to Plant Miami for some vegan delights. They have a beautiful garden, with zen vibes.

2PM Perez Art Museum

After your lunch you’re going to want to chill and be indoors because it’s too hot to be outside during lunchtime in Miami.

Hit up the Pérez Art Museum. Their gift shop has items you won’t find anywhere else.  Chill out in their restaurant, Verde, while soaking up the view.

4PM Bike Ride

By the time you leave the museum, the sun has gone down (hopefully). Rent a CITI bike, cross the Venetian Causeway and you’re in South Beach. Admire the mansions and feel the ocean breeze while getting your second workout of the day in.

6PM LIDO Restaurant & Celestial Treasures

Post-workout you’re going to want to have a drink. On your way back to Downtown Miami on Venetian Causeway you can find LIDO, the restaurant at The Standard. Amazing oceanside views. The hotel is art deco inspired. Sangria, please. #Cheers.

If you want to get spiritual, go to Celestial Treasures in Coconut Grove. They sell stones, books, incense, candles, and tarot cards. Every souvenir you can imagine for your crystal collection or for your bruja girlfriends back home.

8PM Lagniappe

If you want a chill night out with friends in a place that’s not as pretentious as the rest of Miami, you can’t leave without drinking wine in Lagniappe. Buy a bottle (or two), sit down wherever you want, order a cheese platter and talk your night away. It closes at 2AM.

10PM Go Clubbing!

Luckily, you’re in Miami and you can go clubbing at LIV, MYNT, or STORY, dance house until sunrise at Trade or Space or grab late night munchies at La Moon in Brickell.

Enjoy, 

Paula

Paula Landrón

Meet our Guest Blogger

Paula Landron is a meditation, fitness instructor and blogger behind thedeeplifestyle.com. She enjoys exploring different ways to express her
true self through poetry, workouts on the beach, or dancing deep house late night in Miami. Born in Puerto Rico, she loves the simplicity of island life. She began her fitness journey at 17 by giving free Zumba classes in her high school. She continued her journey at the University of Miami where she created her signature workout class, DEEP®. Since then she has taught classes at Equinox and private events in Puerto Rico. She also hosts women empowerment circles and workouts at the beach. This website is an outlet for conscious creative
expression

5 Misconceptions About Wellness

Brujita Diaries, wellnessMaría Elena RodríguezComment
Pic via Urban Outfitters. Shop it   here . 

Pic via Urban Outfitters. Shop it here

I am by no means an expert in the topic of wellness. In fact, while I have always been interested in health and fitness, I'm a newbie. I can honestly say I started this "Wellness Journey" almost a year ago and it has been an amazing learning process. It started by running, which led to yoga it went on to a plant based lifestyle and now I even run a podcast about wellness (and sometimes withchy stuff) with one of my best friends, Silvia. I go a little more into depth here, here and here.

Getting into wellness wasn't a struggle, it just happened because of this simple mindset: I found a lifestyle that helps me maximize every aspect of my life. If I eat well, I have amazing runs, if I have amazing runs, I have an amazing day and if I have an amazing day, I sleep really, really well! It's a cycle and all you have to do is find the routines that adapt to your lifestyle. 

Nevertheless, over the course of this past year I have received many questions about this "living a healthy and well balanced lifestyle" which are hard to answer in one particular way. This is why I decided to break down the main misconceptions about wellness in this post: 

 

1.  "Wellness is how the cool kids are now calling Health and Fitness" 

While I find it hard to debate you on that since it seems like everyone and their mother's are calling everything health related "wellness", here's the definition according to dictionary.com:

"The quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort."

"An approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases."

I define it as a way of finding what feels right to your mind, body and soul. 

 

Gabrielle Bernstein via  Harper's Bazaar

Gabrielle Bernstein via Harper's Bazaar

2. There is a right and wrong way of practicing spirituality. 

"How do I set an intention"

"How do you find the patience to meditate? I just can't."

"I can't practice yoga because I hate chanting"

"I hate religions"

"I'm afraid of witchy stuff" 

I have heard all of these before and if I didn't give you a clear answer or enough details and you felt lost, it's because I can't tell you what to do or think. Spirituality is NOT a trend, it is truly a personal journey. Each individual will find a way to connect and find a meaningful way to look at this world in their own time and place. For me, it was through yoga. Yoga created in me a craving to want to connect more with nature (hence my obsession with crystals and plants!) and specially, with myself. 

For some, spirituality may happen through Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism or believe it or not, being an agnostic or atheist. It's all about connecting with everything that surrounds you and it's a beautiful thing. So here's the one tip I can give you if you're craving spiritual growth: Learn to breath and stay still for at least 5 minutes a day. Follow your curiosity. Stay away from judgement and do good to others without expecting something in return. Take care of yourself and learn to crave experiences, not things. 

The book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is a read great for any person craving some spirtuality but is kind-of freaked out by the word.  

Shop similar amethyst crystal clusters   here  . 

Shop similar amethyst crystal clusters here

3. There is a formula to using crystals and connecting with the moon. 

"How do you cleanse crystals?"

"How do you choose crystals" 

"I used this crystal and it didn't work" 

"What's the deal with thee moon, teach me!" 

Sorry to break it to you, but if you think buying an amethyst and getting a moon bath will change your life, you're in for huge dissapointment. While these two things seem super trendy and new-agey and everyone wants to be part of it, the only way to actually "tap into its power", is by (you guessed it!) connecting with yourself first. 

Just because using crystals and connecting with the moon has worked for some, it doesn't mean you have to follow their exact formula. For me, it was a natural way of continuing my yoga practice off the mat. I did use some guidance from Google, read the book Moonologie by Yasmin Boland and even wrote a beginners guide to crystals, but this doesn't mean that you need to go ahead and buy this book or follow my exact instructions so you KNOW that you're doing things right. It means that if you have some curiosity about topics surrounding wellness and spirituality, go ahead and read about them, experiment with them! 

You need to understand that when it comes to this wellness journey, each experience is unique and it is much more about intuition and doing what feels right than you think.

PD: If you read this and felt it was complete bullshit, this is not your journey. But if you read this and are confused but curiouos, keep soul searching, you're getting there! 

 

spirituality astrologer cat

4. Now that you're a spiritual person, you need to be vegan, do yoga, follow astrology and buy an oracle deck. 

lol

No. 

For some people, the simple acts of gardening, being out in nature, following an ethical vegan lifestyle, going to church, spending time with animals or helping others is what helps them connect with their highest self or be a spiritual person. Don't get sucked in by all the social media frenzy about new-age spiritualy. I mean, it's awesome, I love it, but it doesn't mean that is what you need to be doing or what will work for you. 

I repeat, stay curious, keep soul searching and most importantly stop judging. Life is hard enough as it is. 

 

Image via  Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

5. Women who get into wellness and spirituality become witches. 

LOOOOL

I can't exactly deny this, but I will clear up the most common misconception: Is being a witch really a bad thing? In my short life I have seen that what the media calls a witch is a strong woman who is in tune with her intuition and in total control of her life. Do I think that is a bad thing? HELL NAH'! I want to be a witch. 

But now, seriously, stop with the judging. While there exists some weird dark magic out there, associated with witchcraft, most of it made famous by men scared of strong women, but that's for another day, remember this is all about wellness and feeling good with yourself. And if you really like these topics, I would really suggest you listen to our podcast Un aguacate a la vez available on iTunes and Stitcher

 

Conclusion:

In the end, it's all about you. Let go of the mindset we've all learned in school because there is no formula that helps you practice what makes you feel good. Wellness is all about taking care of your mind, body and soul in your own way. But if you're a Type A like me and can't finally seam to understand but really want to find your "wellness nirvana", here's a simple cheat sheet that may help you find it:

  • Mind: Keep a log of what helps you release stress that doesn't envolve shopping. For me this is being in or by the water, specially in Cabo Rojo, PR. 
  • Body: What workout or fitness routine makes you feel most alive or happy. For me this is running outside. 
  • Soul: What practice frees your mind and helps you be a better person. For me this is yoga and meditation with crystals. 
Quote via  Pinterest

Quote via Pinterest

Let me know how it goes. 

Until next time, 

María Elena

Summer 2018 Reading List

Books, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
summer 2018 reading list

Yes, it's true. I have been a little disconnected lately. The truth is I've been on a roll juggling ambinity and freelancing since the beginning of the year, and after binge watching Scandal's last season on Netflix while starting marathon training, I knew I needed a detox. A digital detox. 

But one of the things I have been spending my free time on lately (apart from tweeting) is reading. I have written about this on other posts, but I used to have horrible migraines and one of the things that really triggers them is screen time. So after realizing I was spending too much time on my computer and phone, I decided to set myself the challenge of getting back on my reading game, which I have I lost in all the craziness of my life lately. You know, surviving two hurricanes, quitting my job and training for the NYC Marathon...  #INeedToChill

So without further ado, here's a much needed breath of fresh air with some books that will light up all your energy this summer:

Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

Grab Eva Luna by Isabel Ayende  here .

Grab Eva Luna by Isabel Ayende here.

Reading Status: Finished it! ✔️

As you can see from this picture, this book is practically destroyed. It took me a long time to read it, not because it was bad, but because a) I was running around with it in my purse most of the time and b) because I am a slow reader and novels take me a longer time to read, especially this type of novels that I find are a little out of my comfort zone in terms of intellect. I found myself getting distracted during some guerrilla scenes, but fun fact; I always fall asleep in violent scenes in movies. I find them so boring! 

That aside, I loved that Isabel Allende describes this book’s lead character as a strong and free woman in the most beautiful way I have ever read. I can't wait to read La Casa de los Espíritus and other novels by her, even if it takes me three months to finish them! 

Book Description (from Amazon): Eva Luna is the daughter of a professor’s assistant and a snake-bitten gardener—born poor, orphaned at an early age, and working as a servant. Eva is a naturally gifted and imaginative storyteller who meets people from all stations and walks of life. Though she has no wealth, she trades her stories like currency with people who are kind to her. In this novel, she shares the story of her own life and introduces readers to a diverse and eccentric cast of characters including the Lebanese émigré who befriends her and takes her in; her unfortunate godmother, whose brain is addled by rum and who believes in all the Catholic saints and a few of her own invention; a street urchin who grows into a petty criminal and, later, a leader in the guerrilla struggle; a celebrated transsexual entertainer who instructs her in the ways of the adult world; and a young refugee whose flight from postwar Europe will prove crucial to Eva's fate.
As Eva tells her story, Isabel Allende conjures up a whole complex South American nation—the rich, the poor, the simple, and the sophisticated—in a novel replete with character and incident, with drama and comedy and history, with battles and passions, rebellions and reunions, a novel that celebrates the power of imagination to create a better world.

Grab Eva Luna by Isabel Ayende here

El día que me venció el olvido by Edmaris Carazo

Grab  El día que me venció el olvido  by Edmaris Carazo in   Kindle Version    here  .

Grab El día que me venció el olvido by Edmaris Carazo in Kindle Version here.

Reading Status: Finished it! ✔️

This is Edmaris Carazo's debut novel and it narrates three generations of women, including a grandmother with Alzheimer desease. It is intense, raw and a book that you just can't put down because she writes in a way that just feels familiar, like she's speaking to you. If you have ever stumbled upon her blog, Siempre Jueves, you know what I'm talking about and if you haven't, hurry over there NOW! Then come back. 😊

Book Description (from Amazon): El Día que me venció el Olvido cuenta a dos voces la historia de 3 mujeres de 3 generaciones distintas. El lector se siente dentro de la cabeza, desde los ojos y entre las piernas de una narradora que vive de prisa intentando escapar de la genética y las decisiones de su familia. La novela obliga a mirarse desde los ojos del Alzheimer, del desdén, de la indiferencia y desde la erotización del dolor. Una narración concisa, íntima, cotidiana, irreverente, humana y poderosa que produce cosquillas de las buenas y de las malas en el lector que observa a una abuela que olvida, una madre que ignora y una hija que intenta recolectar y juntar los pedazos antes de que el olvido los desaparezca.

Grab El día que me venció el olvido by Edmaris Carazo in Kindle Version here

Find the print version at Librería Norberto, Librería Mágica, Libros AC and Casa Norberto. 

How to Lose a Marathon

Grab How to Lose a Marathon by Joel H. Cohen  here .

Grab How to Lose a Marathon by Joel H. Cohen here.

Reading Status: Finished it! ✔️

Ok I get it. There is a really low chance you are interested in this book, but I thought I would include it since it's part of my marathon training and this shit is hard! I need some validation and support ok? 

Now that we got that out of the way, I can say that this book was a little discouraging at first. The first few chapers were all about how the author is not qualified to write a book about running. Like I mean, really? The author is a writer at The Simpsoms so he's used to writing comedy, but sometimes I just wished he stopped joking and got to the facts. Nevertheless, after the first few chaperts were over, I found myself enjoying and even giggling over his jokes (especially the chafing section). 

Overall: It's a good marathon book for beginners or even if you're just looking for some comedy reading, but I will definetely be buying a more serius one soon, like this one

Book Description (from Amazon): A writer and producer for The Simpsons presents a humorous, illustrated guide for any and every wannabe marathoner. 

Grab How to Lose a Marathon by Joel H. Cohen here

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Grab Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari    here .

Grab Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari here.

Reading Status: Reading 📖

I saw this book randomly at Costco one day and it immedietly caught my eye, but after flipping through some pages, I knew I needed it. It describes humanity in the most provocative, thought intriguing way I have ever read and I can't put it down. I haven't finished the first chapter and he already talked about the pope's celibacy and why men are not as flamboyant as they used to be in other centuries. Right up my alley! 

Book Description (from Amazon): From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? 

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?

Grab Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari here

SweetBitter by Stephanie Danler

Grab SweetBitter by Stephanie Danler    here  .

Grab SweetBitter by Stephanie Danler here.

Reading Status: In line to read 📚

Confession: I've had this book since my trip to Chicago two years ago. Yeah, I know. I have tried several times to get hooked on it, but never do. I have seen several reviews online and it has some mixed reviews, but since it already has a TV Show I figured it can't be that bad. Let's see if I finally enjoy it this summer! 

Book Description (from Amazon): Twenty-two, and knowing no one, Tess leaves home to begin her adult life in New York City. Thus begins a year that is both enchanting and punishing, in a low-level job at “the best restaurant in New York City.” Grueling hours and a steep culinary learning curve awaken her to the beauty of oysters, the finest Champagnes, the appellations of Burgundy. At the same time, she opens herself to friendships—and love—set against the backdrop of dive bars and late nights.  As her appetites sharpen—for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging—Tess is drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle that will prove to be her most exhilarating and painful lesson of all. 
Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant—conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, and suggestions below the surface. Evoking the infinite possibility of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy, Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the wisdom that comes from experience, sweet and bitter.

Grab SweetBitter by Stephanie Danler here

Las imperfectas by Cristy Marrero

Grab  Las imperfectas  by Cristy Marrero    here  .

Grab Las imperfectas by Cristy Marrero here.

Reading Status: In line to read 📚

I really didn't want to buy this book, mostly because all I buy is chic-lit (Emily Giffin is my favorite author) and I have been trying to get out of my literary comfort zone (hence, Isabel Allende). But while flipping through this book at the book store, one of the sales clerk told me it was a really good one and that people literaly LOL while reading it. So being the weak human being that I tend to be around shopping experiences, I purchased it. I have flipped a few pages and I am super intrigued because the author sounds just like my friends. I suspect this could be a boricua version of Sex and the City, I'll let you know once I finish! 

Book Description (from Amazon): Somos María, Linda, Martita, Astrid, Gladys, Victoria, Yamila, Zulma, Elisa y Cecilia: diez mujeres, un camino... En este honesto (#nofilter) y humorístico relato nos damos cuenta lo distintas que somos y cómo, al mismo tiempo, queremos lo mismo: simplicidad, amor, paz, balance, celebrar nuestra feminidad, y saber que todo va a estar bien. Que sólo podemos controlar nuestras intenciones, mas nunca los resultados. Aunque a veces nos cueste reconocer y escuchar por temor a ser vulnerables por temor a lo desconocido—a lo que ya está escrito, rompemos estereotipos según los vamos creando. Así, nos declaramos perfectamente imperfectas.

Grab Las imperfectas by Cristy Marrero here

Grab  Las imperfectas  by Cristy Marrero    here  .

Grab Las imperfectas by Cristy Marrero here.

Reading Status: In line to read 📚

Silvia, my co-host at Un aguacate a la vez, has sent me several books during our friendship and this is one of them. I haven't had the time to read it yet, but I know this could easily be a nice beach read to enjoy. 

Book Description (from Amazon): Award-winning filmmaker and performing artist Miranda July brings her extraordinary talents to the page in a startling, sexy, and tender collection. In these stories, July gives the most seemingly insignificant moments a sly potency. A benign encounter, a misunderstanding, a shy revelation can reconfigure the world. Her characters engage awkwardly—they are sometimes too remote, sometimes too intimate. With great compassion and generosity, July reveals their idiosyncrasies and the odd logic and longing that govern their lives. No One Belongs Here More Than You is a stunning debut, the work of a writer with a spectacularly original and compelling voice.

Grab Las imperfectas by Cristy Marrero here


There you go! Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments below. 

Until next time, 

María Elena

Crystals 101 | A Beginners Guide to Crystals

wellness, Brujita DiariesMaría Elena RodríguezComment
what is crystal healing

Ok. If you listen to our new podcast, Un aguacate a la vez, you probably saw this coming. If you haven't listened to the podcast, firstly, what are you waiting for?! Secondly, yes, I am into crystals and no, this doesn't mean I'm having a Spencer Pratt-like nervous breakdown. In fact, I am a new (and very proud) self-discovered brujita. But before you start judging, please continue reading. 👇

Apart from Spencer Pratt, the first time I heard about using crystals for wellness was from my friend and co-host at Un aguacate a la vez, Silvia Vallejo. But to be honest, when she told me about this, I immediately judged her (shame on me!) and dismissed the idea thinking it was "too new-age" for me. By the way, we talked about this on Episode #2 if you want to listen to it later!

Fast forward to September 2017: Hurricane María. I kept feeling like I needed some reconnecting with nature (aka "grounding" if you're into yoga/ wellness) after all the craziness going on in Puerto Rico. My life was almost literally turned upside down and for some reason I was craving nature. Long story short: Now I have more than 15 crystals scattered all over my home and here's what I have learned if you are considering entering this magical world:

The Basics

Don't freak out!

Crystals have been with us for millions of years. Why would you reject something that comes from nature? I like to give crystals a similar approach as I do to plants: They are beautiful and make me happy! 

Why are people using crystals?

In my opinion, people are sick and tired of the current state the world is in. We are tired of being hooked on technology 24/7 and having something tangible that comes from nature makes us feel grounded and like we belong to something more meaningful than Trump's Twitter wars and the latest influencer on Instagram.  

And of course, they are trendy! All you need to do is a quick "crystals" search on Instagram to know what I'm talking about. I have seen several bloggers sneaking crystals into their flat-lays for a while now! Yes, we are guilty too.

Crystals are all about you

They are all about you because YOU decide what they mean to you. Yes, you can read online what all these crystals mean, but at the end of the day, you need to use what works for you. Don't worry, I'll explain later how to use them. 

How do you use them?

I like to wear them as jewelry, keep them around me at home and try to leave the house with a small crystal in my bag or pocket every once in a while, specially when I'm anxious about something. 

My Favorite Crystals:

crystals 101 - beginners guide to crystals

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Choosing a crystal

1. Go to a crystal store. 

My favorite crystal stores are: 

  • Turquesa in Old San Juan - Prepare to stay hours browsing around!

  • Gaia in Baldrich - This is just a magical place. Go and let me know. 

  • Natural Style in San Patricio - It's a kiosk right between La Favorita and Men's Wearhouse. 

  • Etsy - Hundreds of stores to choose from here! Just write "crystals" in their search bar. 

  • Energy Muse - This is also a great place to research information about crystals. 

2. Browse around and grab the crystal that you're most attracted to. 

Instead of researching for the perfect crystal for your current situation or setting your mind into buying the most "Instagram worthy" one, try using your intuition. You will notice that even though you like a certain crystal better, you may be more attracted to another one. This happened to me when I first started. All I wanted was an amethyst because, come on, it's gorgeous! But I wasn't vibing with any of the ones I came across with AT ALL. I kept coming back to a big piece of black tourmaline, which I don't particularly love aesthetically, but when I did a little research I understood it was all I really needed: Grounding. #shocking (not!) 

Using your crystals

1. Cleanse

Yes you read that right. Specially if you are planning on using crystals for spirituality and mindfulness, you must cleanse them. Why? If you believe in vibes, then you will be getting rid of all the bad vibes it may have been exposed to. But if you are skeptical, like I was, cleansing them is the best way to set your mind and believe this crystal is truly yours. 

How do you cleanse them? We talked about this more deeply on the podcast, but my favorite way is smudging it with sage or palo santo. You can also leave it overnight in water with salt, in a bath salt or just setting an intention. The best way to cleanse it is to use your intuition and a little Google!

Warning: Some crystals may dissolve in water and or salt so make sure you Google this first. 

2. Set an intention

This is the most important part of owning a crystal. After all, this is a mindfulness tool! Here are some intentions you can set:

  • Work with ease

  • Attract abundance

  • Love without judgement

  • Loose weight

Whatever you need in your life can become your intention! Just make sure you believe you can achieve it.

3. Use

Once you set an intention, it's time to put it to good use. My favorite way to use my crystals is in the morning. I keep a shunguite in my running pants for protection and like to put a crystal at the top of my yoga mat before each yoga session. Helps me stay focus and connected to my practice!

Final thoughts

Using crystals is very personal. This is not a religion or an obscure practice, it's just a little piece of Mother Earth that can help you enhance your life, however you choose to. Don't be afraid to try this magical world. But if you're just getting started, allow me to introduce you to some books I read during my crystal journey:

  • Crystal Bliss - This is the first one I ever read. She can get a little woo-woo at times, but it's a great beginners guide!

  • The Crystal Bible - Once you get really into crystals, you will start craving more in depth descriptions and this book delivers! Since there are so many crystals on Earth is divided by 3 volumes. You can grab them here, here and here.

  • The Book of Chakra Healing - The moment I finally understood the chakra system is the moment I truly understood crystals. Needless to say, this is also a great book for beginners since it details the best crystals for each chakra imbalance.

BONUS: 

Here are some books on my crystal healing wish list:

crystals 101 - beginners guide to crystals - books

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Mother's Day Gift Guide for Every Budget

Beauty, Lifestyle, ShoppingMaría Elena RodríguezComment
flowers.png

I don't know about you, but Mother's Day is one of the hardest holidays for shopping! I obviously love my mother and I want to give her what she loves, but since she's a Sagittarius like me (fun fact: we have the same birthday), the only thing I always want to give her are vacation trips! Unfortunately that won't be possible this year, but I decided to create a gift guide that will reach every budget, based on what I know all the mothers I know and mine would love. Everything under $50, under $200 and under $500. Enjoy!

MOTHERS DAY GIFT GUIDE ON A BUDGET

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When it comes to shopping on a budget this is my go to strategy: Find the most quality you can find between your  budget. That's why I recommend purchasing some QUAY sunglasses which are super cheap and great quality or an Urban Decay palette like this one. Also, a pretty and interesting coffee table book, a skincare set or high quality fantasy earrings are sure to make her happy! 

Focus on this: Quality self-care items! 

More gifts like these:

MOTHERS DAY GIFT GUIDE

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Ahh... The magic spot! This is where you can find good high quality items and even high end, but cheaper! In this budget bracket I would recommend you get her a super cool hair drier set like this one, a chakra balancing bath salt set like this one if she's into wellness and even a fancy fitness tracker like this one by Garmin. She's a more trendy mom? Go for some Ray Bans, statement earrings or a trendy handbag like this one which every fashion blogger is raving about!

Focus on this: Have fun with your gift!

More gifts like these:

MOTHERS DAY GIFT GUIDE SPLURGE

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You lucky mofo! You get to do what we all want: Spoil the most important person in our lives! So if you're going to go this route, go big or go home! Ok? Give her that Gucci belt she has been raving about or even a wallet! If she's into makeup, giver the entire set of Artis brushes. Some statement sunglasses or cocktail ring she can brag about with her friends and if she's a fitness junkie, she will love this new Garmin watch

Focus on this: Spoil yo' mama! 

More gifts like these:

How Josie Arroyo Built the Coolest Brand in Puerto Rico

CareerMaría Elena RodríguezComment

I bet you didn't even need to see the pictures or what brand I was talking about to guess today's Career Profile. Of course, we are talking about BIEN COOL. The brand that the OG digital marketer, Josie Arroyo built from the ground up on a whim, motivated by the idea of paying off her student loans. 

This entrepreneur knew from the get-go that the key to her success would be her Puertorrican authenticity, humor and of course, ambition! But I don't want to spoil any more details, here is Josie's interview:

What did you dream of becoming when you were growing up?

I wanted to do a lot of stuff! At a time I said a pediatrician, teacher or chemical engineer. I ended up going to college for physical therapy and ended up in advertising. I was never really clear of what I wanted to study. I actually chose advertising because it was the path that included the least amount of math. 

What was your first job before graduating college?

I worked in events promotions with brands like L'Oreal Kids and Pedigree, no alcohol promotions. I didn't want to wear mini skirts for my job. 

One of your first professional experiences was as a Sports intern at Telemundo. Can you tell us about that experience?

I got this internship through Florida International University's internship program. When I was studying my Masters in Investigative Journalism at FIU, I was very clear that I wanted to work in sports journalism. There's nothing that unites a country more than sports!

What did you learn as a sports news intern at telemundo?

I learned a lot about production and editing in digital platforms. 

After that You worked for almost three years in Yahoo. Can you tell us about that experience?

At Yahoo, I started out as a sports intern as well, then I was offered a full time job and I was transferred to Yahoo Mujer to run the LatinAmerican target. Then around 2008, Yahoo had a huge layoff and moved me to International News. That's how I ended up managing Yahoo en Español's homepage and became the youngest journalist managing this section. I loved international news! 

Back in the 2000's, Everything was changing in terms of journalism and how news were made. How was your experience being in the midst of all?

When I worked there, I didn't know anyone from Puerto Rico who worked at one of these big companies, like Yahoo, Facebook or Google. Everything was building up at that time. I remember people asking me where I worked and they were so impressed! 

I learned a lot about monetizing a website, even though I hate sales!

If you hate selling, how have you managed selling your brand, Bien Cool?

Because the nature of my brand is very relaxed. People are usually in a good mood for meetings. 

I have read that you started making greeting cards in order to pay off your student loans. Can you give us some more details?

Even though I had a good salary, I was always on the lookout for a second income. I really felt like paying $600 a month for student loans was crazy! Not many people know this, but when I came back to Puerto Rico I created a Groupon-like website called "Yupiti.com", but I left because I got a job at National University College and I hated selling. 

postales bien cool

One day I saw a meme on Pinterest that made me laugh, but I immediately translated it to Spanish in my head and it turned out even funnier! That's when I figured I could make it into a greeting card. I drove to Walgreens and tried to look for a greeting card similar to the one I had imagined in my head after that meme. I literally texted Mari Nieves, which was my co-worker at the time, to let her know that I had something planned and that I wanted her to design it. I told her "I want a really cool name, like my greeting cards!" So I literally searched if postalesbiencool.com was available and it was! That's how it all started. 

It has since evolved into "Bien Cool", because we are including more merchandise. 

Pic via  Indice

Pic via Indice

Did you ever imagine Bien Cool getting to this level?

Bien Cool is not even at a 1% of how I envision it. It is very different to see your brand from the inside out than from the outside. Sometimes you assume that everyone knows all the struggles that you have to go through and it's not like that.

Are you selling outside of Puerto Rico?

We are currently selling at the Museo del Barrio in New York and we are working on two new retailers in Atlanta. 

Bien Cool is really appealing to the Puertorrican market because of its local jokes. Do you plan on expanding to other parts of the world?

Our plan is to make this a multicultural brand. I believe that Boricuas and LatinAmericans in general are very poorly represented by brands. We tend to have an inferiority complex and think that anything that is well designed is from the States. We have a lot of talent and a lot of emerging artists in Puerto Rico and LatinAmerica who need to be discovered! We want to support artists all around LatinAmerica. 

Pic via  The Media Scoop

You kept working full time during your time at National university college. How did you know it was the time to quit and how did you prepare for the decision?

I realized it was time to leave when I was putting all my heart and soul to BienCool instead of my full time job. One of my good old friends is Arnaldo from Diary of Trips and he was one of my biggest supporters during this time. "You need to quit and see how it goes!", he used to tell me. There will always be an excuse and you will always need more money.

What is the difference between being a Full time employee and being the CEO of a brand you built?

Working for someone else, I experienced physical exhaustion at times. But working for myself, I have never had as much stress in my life than in these last two years! It's different because when it's your brand, it affects you in an emotional level. If you don't get moving, money doesn't come! It's a constant struggle. 

How was that first year after starting Bien Cool full time?

It was very different from now, because I was learning a lot about what I wanted to do as an entrepeneur. By that time I was still using my savings and I launched my store at Old San Juan, which we ended up closing. 

I learned that I don't enjoy running a physical store by myself. Everything that has to do with inventory, prices, visual merchandising, payrolls, etc. isn't for me. I definetely learned to identify the things that I don't enjoy about my business and I will eventually delegate them. 

How and when you jumped on the idea of selling brands that are not biencool, such as bando, in your website?

First of all, I love Bando! I'm selling this brand in my website as a strategy to test the market and see how people respond to lifestyle brands. 

You created a planner! How was that development process?

We worked it along side Muuaaa Design Studio, which is the same agency that helped me build my brand. We sat with them and started planning all our process and see what we could change from last year's to now. 

What's next for bien cool?

We are trying to expand the brand and looking for new investors opportunities.

What is one thing you've learned during this process of running your brand?

You need to be able to let go and let others help you! If I had two "me's" when I was starting out, all the dirty work would've been much easier! Right now I have an amazing employee that goes above and beyond always. I am so grateful for her.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start a creative venture on the side but is doubting themselves?

Go for it. There're a lot of things that you can't overthink. The mind is so powerful! Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and is definetely for people who want to do it. I don't blame anyone who prefers a salary over entrepreneurship. It is a cliché, but if it were easy, everyone would do it! You make it or break it. 

Last but not least, prepare financially for your venture. 

Pic via  Facebook

Pic via Facebook

If you could go back to your 25 year old self, what advice would you give yourself?

Read more. One of the things that I loved the most in Yahoo News was exposing myself to information that I would've never look for on my own. I really didn't enjoy reading when I was younger, I was more into pop-culture and mainstream media. But now that I am more of a news junkie, I realize how my mindset has shifted since I started reading more. 

Random Facts about Josie:

  • Vanilla or Chocolate: Chocolate
  • Coffee or Tea: Pff... Coffee!
  • Facebook or Instagram: Instagram
  • AM or PM: I used to be super PM, but now I love the AM and the peace it brings!
  • Book: Somaly Mam's The Road to Lost Innocence and Brian Weiss' Many Lives Many Masters
  • Favorite Destination: Culebra, Puerto Rico
  • Weird Habit: I have to write with blue pens
  • Bucket List: Having a sustainable business that helps me work from anywhere in the world. 
  • Pet Peeve: Loud chewers and farts!
  • Your best quality: I go with the flow. I can get along and have a good time with anyone.

6 Easy Ayurveda Self-Care Routines to Implement in Your Life

wellnessMaría Elena RodríguezComment
ayurvedic medicine remedies

According to Mr. Google Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing. To me, Ayurveda is a way of implementing self-care into my everyday routine and becoming more mindful and aware of how I treat my body and what I put in it. So after reading Sahara Rose's Idiot's Guide to Ayurveda literally cover to cover, here are the 6 Ayurveda self-care routines that I am currently implementing in my day to day and how I do them:

1. Tongue scraping right when I wake up

DSC03179.jpg
  • What is it? Tongue scraping is as disgusting as it sounds. It's a tool you use to scrape away all the white stuff in your tongue.
  • Why you need it?  That white coating in your tongue right when you wake up is bacteria, which is the one to blame for your morning breath.
  • How I do it? Right after brushing my teeth, I stick my tongue out and scrape all the white stuff comes off. Disgusting? Yes, but it gives me some sort of peace of mind to know that at least I know I'm not eating  a side of bacteria for breakfast. 
  • Where can you find a tongue cleaner?

2. Switch mouth wash for oil Pulling

  • What is it? Oil pulling is said to be a natural and toxic-free alternative to mouthwash in helping you take out all the bacteria and toxins in your mouth that build up while you sleep. Like for example, the ones you left behind while tongue scraping.
  • Why you need it? Because it's a toxic free and natural alternative to mouth wash. 
  • How I do it? After I'm finished tongue scraping, I take about a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around in my mouth for at least 10 minutes (the ideal time is 20 minutes). Once I'm done, I go ahead and toss it in the trash, because I've read it could clog your pipes. I rinse my mouth with some water afterwards. 
    • "Wow! María Elena estás loca. I don't have time" You say? If you're thinking that's too much time oil pulling these are all the things I do while oil pulling: make my bed, boil my water with lemon, make breakfast and brew coffee.
  • Which oil should I purchase? You can use sesame, sunflower or coconut oil. I prefer coconut oil because it's easier to find and I don't mind the taste. Just make sure they are virgin/ unrefined and organic! Here are some alternatives:

3. Warm water with lemon and apple cider vinegar

apple cider vinegar tea
  • Why you need it? The premise behind this is hydrating your body right after waking up without disrupting your digestive system. According to Ayurvedic medicine, your stomach is associated with the element of fire, which means that putting cold liquids and foods is harming to your digestive system, specially right when you wake up.
  • How I do it? While I'm oil pulling and making my breakfast, I heat up a cup of water in the stove. Then I add the juice of half a lemon and a splash of apple cider vinegar to a cup and pour the water while it's simmering. I like to pre-cut some lemons to have them ready in the morning. In my experience, this "tea" is delicious on its own, but you can add some honey or ginger if you want to spice it up! 
  • Which Apple Cider Vinegar do you recommend? Anything raw including "the mother" works. Here are some alternatives:

4. Implementing Essential oils to my everyday life

essential oils
  • What are they? According to Dr. Axe, "essential oils are highly concentrated oils that have a strong aroma and because of their antidepressant, stimulating, detoxifying, antibacterial, antiviral and calming properties, they recently gaining popularity as a natural, safe and cost-effective therapy for a number of health concerns".  
  • Why do you need them? Because you can use them for aromatherapy, cleaning, natural remedies and even cooking! One small tube of essential oil can be used for a vast majority of things in your life. 
  • How I use them? I use them with a diffuser during yoga, meditation or to fall asleep and on their own on pressure points. I even to make some DIY projects like shampoo and toxic-free all purpose cleaner!
  • Where can I find the best essential oils? My top pick will always be, you guessed it... iHerb! I seriously love their free 2-day-shipping and prices, but here are some alternatives:
  • What are your favorite essential oils?

5. Dry Brushing

what is dry brushing
what is dry brushing
  • What is it? Brushing your dry body with a natural bristle brush to stimulate your lymphatic system. 
  • Why you need it? According to a mindbodygreen article, "dry brushing helps to unclog pores and excrete toxins that become trapped in the skin". It is also said to help reduce the appearance of cellulite. I have seen less cellulite bumps in my thighs since I started doing it!
  • How I do it? Before getting into the shower, I grab a natural bristle brush like this one and brush it all over my body, from the feet to my upper body, always towards the heart. Yes, you have to be naked and yes, it's called dry brush because need to be dry in order to do it. 
  • Where can I find a dry brush? Basically anywhere! Just make sure it's a natural bristle brush like any of these:

6. Oil Massaging

oil massaging abhyanga
  • What is it? Massaging your body right after dry brushing and showering. Basically the ultimate self-love manifestation! 
  • Why do you need it? Ayurvedic medicine recommends that you don't put anything in your body that you wouldn't eat. This is why the best thing about using oils instead of regular body moisturizers is that you will be absorbing all the wonderful properties of natural oils. 
  • How I do it? I give myself a nice and strong massage from the feet to my face giving stronger attention to dry areas, like my elbows. I use coconut oil or almond oil and sometimes mix it with some eucalyptus essential oil for my feet and tea tree oil for my face! 
  • What are the best oils to use? According to Sahara Rose's book, here are the best oils to use:
Pin this for later!

Pin this for later!

Let me know if you already implement any of these routines! Liked this post? You will LOVE 5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Have a Spa Retreat at Home

Don't forget to leave a comment and share this post with your friends!

Until next time, 

María Elena

Current Favorites | March 2018

Beauty, Health, wellnessMaría Elena RodríguezComment
iherb basics

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My New Nighttime Skincare Routine

For YEARS I had been hooked on the same skincare routine: Ole Henriksen Truth SerumTarte Maracuja Oil and the eye cream I was using at the moment, since I haven't found one that I am in love with. This all changed once the store Coconut People in Old San Juan gifted me the Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum.

Pic via Coconut People

Pic via Coconut People

After just one week I started to see my skin become more radiant and smooth! Now, almost one month after I started using it, I started using Almond Oil mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil as my moisturizer instead of my super trusty maracuja oil. And I'm not talking about a fancy Sephora facial oil, I'm talking about a $10 per 16oz pure almond oil you can find almost anywhere! The result? My skin is as smooth as a baby's butt! I am going to stick to this routine for a while to see how it turns out, but I highly recommend you try this combo! Just make sure you are buying almond oil with only almond oil as ingredient, like this one

You can find Mad Hippie at Coconut People in Calle San Francisco, Old San Juan or at iherb.com. You can find pure almond oil at any grocery store, but I recommend you get it on iherb.com. Free shipping over $20, no tax (bye Amazon!) and you can get 5% off with my coupon code: AFU8252

Ayurvedic Self-care Routines

ayurveda

If you read my 5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Have a Spa Retreat at Home post, you have an idea of where I'm going with this one.  I will not go over all the Ayurveda body types (doshas) and nutrition details because they are a LOT (check out this book if you're interested), so here are the Ayurveda Self-Care routines that have improved my life recently:

  • Tongue scraping right when I wake up
  • Switch mouth wash for coconut oil (Oil Pulling) 
  • Warm water with lemon before breakfast
  • Using essential oils for diffusing
  • Dry Brushing before showering at night
  • Oil Massaging before going to bed

Like everything, consistency is key! I have been doing all of these steps daily for about two weeks now and I have seen a significant improvement on my well being. From complexion to energy levels. And let's be honest, this self-care routine is making me feel like a queen! And who doesn't want that?! 

I am currently working on a separate blog post with details on this process so make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter! I will share it once it's ready.

iHerb.com

Yup, you guessed it! I am HOOKED with iherb.com and I promise this is not sponsored, ok?! As you may have heard on my Instagram Stories, 2018 is all about looking for even more natural alternatives to my beauty routine! Meaning vegan, toxic free brands that I can trust.  This means that I have been looking for a one stop shop where I can find everything that makes me happy these days: everything wellness related! 

That's it! Let me know your March favorites on the comments below.

Until next time, 

María Elena