un aguacate a la vez

Money

Spring Break Essentials

Lifestyle, Money, Fashion, TravelMaría Elena RodríguezComment
spring break essentials

Swimsuit (it's reversable!) | Clutch | Aviators | Hat | Book | Tinted Moisturizer

Ahh Spring Break! The first taste of summer and freedom if you're in school or a clear reminder you need a two week vacation ASAP if you're a full time employee. Here in Puerto Rico we celebrate holy Thursday and Good Friday, which means we have a 4 day weekend. So I decided this could be a great time to enjoy some much needed self care and enjoy yourself under the sun with these Spring Break Essentials:

A One Piece Swimsuit

I've been going crazy looking for the perfect one piece swimsuit until I finally found the right one (similar to this one) at Old San Juan's Marshalls. I just love how one piece swimsuits make you feel sexy but sophisticated. Plus they keep your boobs right in place!  

Here are some fun suggestions:

The Right Skincare and Makeup 

I know what you're thinking. Why would you wear makeup when your out in the water or sweating? Because SPF Tinted Moisturizers exists my dear! Plus, you better take care of those lips while enjoying the sun or you won't be kissing anybody soon. 

Make sure you bring some strong sunscreen like this one by Coola, a good tinted moisturizer like this one by Nars I've been enjoying so far and some moisturizer (I enjoy facial oils like this one).

Click away, thank me later! 

An Embroidery Floppy Hat

If you are not familiar with this huge fad on Instagram, you are probably not following enough fashion bloggers. All I know is once I saw that super expensive "Do Not Disturb" hat I knew I wanted it ASAP. How cool will you look poolside with a mojito in your hand?!

Here are some budget options:

Beach Bags

If you're like me, you hate carrying purses to the beach or pool side! But where else will you carry all your sunscreen and lip balm?! With tropical clutches like this one of course! 

Here are some more budget friendly options:

Black Sunglasses

I've been obsessed with these very Kardashian-esk black on black Aviator Ray-Bans lately because they make any outfit look instantly bad ass. I love Ray-Ban as a brand because they are such great quality compared to other luxury sunglasses, but if you're looking for a more budget friendly, these Quay x Desi Perkins could be a great option. I must say I am kind of tempted.

Here are some options for you:

Reading Material

Don't forget to bring your favorite magazine and a good beach book. I would suggest going for fiction instead of business or self help books just to keep our mission of being relaxed. But if that's your jam, OK! 

Here are some of my suggestions:


What are your spring break essentials? Let me know in the comments bellow. 

Until next time, 

María Elena

5 Ways to Elevate Any Outfit With Jewelry

Fashion, Money, ShoppingMaría Elena RodríguezComment

When I was in high school, I didn't have enough money to go out and buy a new outfit every time I had a party or important event. So I developed a trick to help me upgrade or downgrade my outfits depending on the occasion: use the jewelry I had collected over the years to mix up my looks. 

Not only is this the best way to style a simple outfit on a hurry, you can literally spend no money while doing so. That's why I decided to create a list of simple tricks to upgrade any outfit with jewelry:

1. Different length necklaces are great for layering.

Similar necklace here and here.

There's no better way to show people you know what your doing than layering your jewelry like a true Instagram queen. 

2. When in doubt, wear a statement necklace. 

Photo Cred:  Pinterest  | Similar necklace  here .

Photo Cred: Pinterest | Similar necklace here.

Use a statement necklace to upgrade a jeans and t-shirt outfit. You can dress up this staple with a statement necklace, a couple of bangles, some nice pumps and a classy handbag. It's that easy!

3. Wear your hair up with statement earrings

Get these earrings here | Photo Via: Kendra Scott

If you have a busier blouse on, it's better to go for some fancy earrings. You can find these beautiful ones at Rocksbox. 

4. Add some arm candy to your watch 

Photo Cred:  Wendy's Lookbook  |  Watch  | Similar bracelets  here ,  here  and  here . 

Photo Cred: Wendy's Lookbook | Watch | Similar bracelets here, here and here

This one ALWAYS makes you look put together and like you care about your appearance even on days when you're pms'ing and your dog wouldn't stop barking during a long night of tossing and turning. #Experienced

5. Don't buy your jewelry, rent them! 

Yes, this DOES exist! When Rocksbox contacted me to be one of their influencers I immediately said yes! Rocksbox is a jewelry membership service that exists to make your life easier and more stylish. For only $19/month, you can treat yourself by renting 3 pieces of jewelry at a time with free shipping both ways!

How perfect is that for the holidays?! Wear that statement necklace for the holiday party and send it back in exchange for the dainty one you want to wear daily. It's that simple. And if you love a jewelry piece you can buy it for a discount price AND you will receive a $10 credit in your Rocksbox account. 

Guys, I receive about 10 monthly emails from brands who want to collaborate and I normally say no, so when I recommend a brand I mean it! 

Here's a promo code for a free month with Rocksbox: AMBINITYXOXO


That's it guys! Hope you enjoyed my newest post. Leave me a comment bellow letting me know your favorite jewelry pieces right now. 

Until next time, 

María Elena

Shop this post:

Luxury Basics | Creating my Dream Closet One Milestone at a Time

Fashion, Lifestyle, MoneyMaría Elena Rodríguez2 Comments
Pic Credit:  Goop.com

Pic Credit: Goop.com

My family has never been rich. I come from a middle/ sometimes middle-high class family who works really hard for all they have. Nevertheless, since my grandma from my mother's side has always loved spoiling me, I had a little experience with luxury as a teenager. I am completely sure I inherited my love for everything beauty and fashion from her

As a good 2000's teenager, I was obsessed with Coach, Tous and when I had a really special occasion, like my Quinceañero, I would get some silver jewelry from Tiffany & Co. I was pretty happy with my fancy jewelry, because it made me feel part of the "cool kids". But I don't think I ever looked at them as investment pieces. It never crossed my mind that I could take really good care of some key pieces and maybe one day hand them down to my kids. Today, I only have the classic Please Return to Tiffany bracelet with the matching necklace and a thing or two from Tous that I hardly ever wear. 

But everything changed once I started working full time and noticing that sometimes, it's better to have some key items in your wardrobe, rather than having a bunch of $15 jewelry pieces that go dark in a matter of months and a bunch of Forever 21 purses that are practically disposable.  In the long run, you are wasting money. 

Now I am more focused on finding really good pieces of clothing that can stand the test of time with versatility and sophistication. I started creating my capsule wardrobe last year, when I made my first Louis Vuitton purchase with a pre-loved Speedy 30 in Damier. More on it here and here. This year, as you will see in the picture bellow I have several things in my wish list that I will by NO means will be purchasing all at once. #IWish. I still need to save some money! But I have started to invest in this pieces with each milestone I reach in my professional life. So here you go, hopefully this will help you make your own decisions as well:

michele deco watch, louis vuitton speedy, gucci disco bag, david yurman cuff

I first spotted this watch in one of my favorite bloggers, Kathleen from Carrie Bradshaw Lied. I have never been a huge fan of watches and I was pretty comfortable wearing my Michael Kors and Marc Jacob watches every now and then. But since some pretty great things have been finally happening in my life, due to my good time keeping skills, I can honestly say I am ready for a good swiss watch. See what I did there? #girlboss. 

Plus, I love that even though this is definitely not a cheap watch, it is not crazy expensive like Rolex and Cartier. And you still get the swiss mechanism! 

2. Louis Vuitton Neverfull (I still don't know which size!)

Guys, I am so tired of buying drop-it-all-in tote bags and them failing on me before the one year mark. Because, yes, I am a handbag destroyer (just ask my boyfriend) and I know that this would be the perfect bag for me. It also helps that my dear friend Omar has a serious campaign behind me buying it. 

3. Gucci Disco Bag

Again, I have had so many cross body bags, but none of them have stayed with me! The Forever 21 one that I used for my recent trip to Chicago is in her last days and I need to look for a new one soon. 

I spotted this dainty cross body bag on several blog posts by Emily Schuman from Cupcakes and Cashmere and I knew I needed it. It is so versatile and just the perfect size for when you are on the go. 

4. David Yurman Cuffs

I have to admit that I am a spoiled little brat and already announced to my family that all I wanted for christmas was a David Yurman Cuff. Why? Because I want to start a collection of bracelets that just as my Please Return to Tiffany, can be dressed up or down. Plus, Kathleen from CBL had a lot to do with this, yet again. lol  #armcandyheaven #iwillinstagramthehelloutofmyarm


Final Thoughts:

I definitely need to cut down on my Sephora hauls and start bringing my lunch to work, don't you think? But you know what? I really think we all deserve little treats once in a while, and as I stated before, these are investment pieces that you will be wearing for a long time if you take good care of them. 

Now I want to know about you! what has been your biggest investment piece so far? What are your must have luxury basics?

Until next time, 
María Elena

Shop this Post:

Save Your Money | Overrated Beauty Products

Beauty, MoneyMaría Elena RodríguezComment

I know that I'm always telling you guys buy this and buy that, but ever since I started this blog I've made it my mission to always be honest with you guys and tell you where not to spend your precious beauty routine budget. Specially now that the Sephora VIB Sale has us going all going cray cray! You can read my tips and tricks on how to find beauty products on a budget here

So you guessed it, this post will be mostly about the products I've tried over the years and I'm not quite impressed by, even though they have some pretty great reviews online. Hope it helps you make some wise purchases:

  • Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer: Everyone who's into the beauty blogging scene knows that people rave about this concealer everywhere. And I don't know if it's because I have super stubborn eye circles that no eye cream until this date has been able to completely fade, but I find this to be a very average concealer. It is good and I still have a little bit left that I will continue to use, but I think that for its price, there are much better options out there. If you still want to try it, I know that there are a lot of really good affordable dupes for this out there that I have yet to try.  

 

  • Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base: Smudge proof? Umm... don't think so! I bought this because Ingrid Nielsen swears by it and says it works wonders on oily eyelids. But once I put it on my eyelids I found it to be exactly what I didn't want it to be: suuuper liquid. It just feels weird and I feel like I have to wait about 3-5 seconds until it completely drys. Plus, why will I want a lipgloss applicator for this? Germs alert... Gross! 

 

  • Tarte Amazonian Clay: This may be a shocker for some of you who know how much I love Tarte Cosmetics. And even though I hauled this a while back and was super excited about it, over these past months I've come to notice this cakes really badly on my skin by the end of the day. So no,  this is definitely not a fail proof foundation for oily skin. 
    • What to buy instead? I have yet to find a holy grail everyday full coverage foundation for my bad skin days. So I would probably say to go for the super trusty Cover FX Cover Drops mixed in with your favorite SPF moisturizer. 
  • Aesop Skin Resurrection Hand Balm: After reading Into The Gloss' review on this products I was sure I needed it in my life. Specially because the packaging, I mean look at it, it's just gorgeous! So after giving it the ultimate test: 4 airplane rides and two different climate changes during my most recent trip to California, I can honestly say you can skip on this product. It smells amazing, but I felt my hands were super dry after 20 mins of application. Definitely not worth the $20+ price tag. 
    • What to buy instead? Ok I know, Aveeno is not a cruelty free brand, but is the only hand cream that I can honestly say it actually lasts and works how it says it's supposed to. So if you have a cruelty free dupe for this, please let me know! But until then, a really great trick to not have dry hands is to drink, lots and lots of water. ;)

 

  • Anastasia Brow Whiz: Now, don't get me wrong. This is an amazing product, but I found out it ran out a little bit too quickly for the price tag. So if you read my February Favorites you know that I just found an amazing dupe for half the price!

 

  • Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask: First of all, it is not clear if Origins actually testes on animals, so I am not longer buying this brand. Secondly, is it a good mask for oily skin? Yes. Is it worth the price? No. Plus, it is really not a good option for people with sensitive skin. Both my boyfriend and bff tried it and claimed their skin sting too bad. 
    • What to buy instead? I've been trying out a sample of Boscia Luminizing Black Mask and it is SO good. It is the first mas that I can actually see my black heads coming off and it actually makes my skin look and feel radiant. Definitely will be buying the full size version soon. 

 

  • Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Colors: If you're thinking this is going to be a great option to stop getting your "Shellac" nails at the salon, you're wrong. These chip just like any other nail polish.
    • What to buy instead? Now, their nail colors may be bad, but their top coat is another story. Use the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, use it over your favorite base coat and nail color and watch your manicure last more than three days! (that's my record at least). 

Now I'm dying to know: What have been your biggest beauty products regrets? Have you tried any of these products? 

Let me know on the comments bellow. Until next time!

María Elena

 

PS: Part II of my California road trip will be up next week! Stay tuned. 

5 Things I've Learned From Buying Cult Beauty Products

Beauty, MoneyMaría Elena2 Comments

Even before starting this blog, I've been a little over my head trying out cult beauty products that are overly hyped. I think it comes with the beauty addict/ turned beauty blogger territory. And after lots of good and not so good experiences, I thought I would share with you guys what I've learned about cult products:

  1. Never forget your skin type - This is a no-brainer, but if you are in a shopaholic state, you may flake... I know I'm guilty! So the next time you buy a product, please take your time to research about who's it made for. Just because everyone is raving about that new face cleanser doesn't mean it will work on your dry skin. 
  2. Remember your zip code - Are you reading a product review from someone in the UK? Well you can bet this product probably won't work the same way in a hot and humid location. Trust me, I learned it the hard way after watching one too many British beauty vlogs. 
  3. Research drugstore dupes before buying high-end -  Before you go all out buying half your salary worth of high-end products just because bloggers love them, research some drugstore dupes. I give all this credit to Chantelle, one of the interns at the agency I work for, who's just as obsessed with the beauty community as I am. Every time I mention a new product that I've been meaning to try, she already has a dupe that is just as good, but for half the price! So research, research, research. 
  4. Mascara... Drugstore vs High-End - This is a tough one for me to admit and I think all of you straight lashes gals out there will understand, especially if you've always been told that drugstore mascaras are just as good as high-end. But after a fair share of trial and error, I can honestly tell you: NOPE! they aren't. Maybe they work if you have naturally curled and long lashes, but on me, they don't. And after trying out Benefit's They're Real, Bobbi Brown's Smokey Eye Mascara and most of Lancome's mascaras, I give you my word that there is no dupe for these at the drugstore, at least for us with stubborn lashes. The only way I've gotten sort of a curl effect is with the waterproof version of the Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara (the super hyped pink and green tube) and Maybelline's Butterfly Mascara. 
  5. Just because nobody talks about it, doesn't mean it isn't a great product - Sometimes in the beauty community we get so caught up on what everyone's raving about (guilty again!), that we forget that there are actually more - really great - brands and products out there worth trying. Don't be afraid to experiment with not-so-hyped-about products. You may find your new holy grail beauty regimen! 

Do you agree? What are your favorite not so hyped beauty products? I would love to know!

Don't forget to share this with your friends. :)

XO, Elena

11 Ways to Buy High End Beauty Products on a Budget

Beauty, Money, PopularMaría Elena5 Comments
high end makeup on a budget

Us VIB girls, understand that the struggle is real when it comes to Sephora and its point system. We tend to become obsessed with getting beautifully packed high end makeup, as many points as we can just for its "perks" and in some cases, try convincing ourselves that these skin care products are an investment that will pay off when we are older (or is it just me?!). Which is not completely BS, but the fact is that spending money on high end beauty products, destroys our good spending habits. So here are my top 10 tips on how to save money without sacrificing half of your salary:

1. Buy Online As Much As Possible

This is my #1 tip because almost all websites, at least from Puerto Rico, won't charge you state taxes. Plus, they will probably grant you free shipping if you spend $40-50 or more. This is sadly not the case for Sephora and Ulta. ☹️

2. Subscribe To Your Favorite Brand's Websites

Brands like Tarte, have the BEST sales every once in a while. I've received email coupon codes from 15% to even a 30%. Plus, they always give you the chance of adding some free samples to your purchase. 

3. Treat Yourself! (On Your Birthday)

Most beauty product websites have coupon codes for your birthday. Again, make sure you subscribe to them so you don't miss one. 

4. Try As Many Samples As You Can

Go ahead and try some samples with your 100 points perks, or better yet, get some free ones from your online purchases. This is the perfect way to finding out if you actually like a product without spending your cash on the whole thing. 

5. Start With Travel Size

If you can't find samples and you've been meaning to try that new BB Cream or Face Mask, find out if they have a travel size. That way you will spend about half the price and if you don't like it, you won't feel as guilty. 

6. Sign Up for a Beauty Box Subscription!

If you are a true beauty addict trying to save some cash, a monthly beauty box is your answer. You can sign up for Birchbox or Ipsy and you will receive a cute box of travel size products for just $10 a month. I actually have a 50% discount code for you if you use this link. 😊

7. Wait For Special Occasions and End Of Seasons 

Apart from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, most brands have sales on holidays like Labor Day, Valentine's Day, etc. Make sure you're subscribed to your favorite brands' websites and check your email around these days for some awesome discounts.

8. If You LOVE It, Buy It Jumbo Size

The case on my much loved Tarte Maracuja Oil and Ole Henriksen Truth Serum. If you have the money, go ahead and buy the jumbo version of your favorite products. Sometimes you could save as much as 50% on your product, without discounts. 

9. Spend your 500-1,000 Sephora Points wisely

Try to look at this as an investment. If you are going to spend that much money to enjoy your perks, you better make it good. Don't just get whatever is featured, wait for something you ABSOLUTELY were dying to try or love. 

10. Don't Buy Drugstore Makeup Just Because It's On Sale

Repeat with me: Do I really need another lipstick? If you're trying to save money, those little runs to Walgreens or CVS to "just buy tooth paste" do add up. And don't get me wrong! Drugstores have a great variety of awesome beauty products, but if you're on a budget, I would definitely recommend saving your money for one high quality lipstick in an awesome shade that suits you perfectly, rather than 10 that will probably be dancing in your purse or junk drawer for months... or years (trust me). 

11. Use Up All Your Products Before Buying New Ones

This is a tough one for all of you hoarders out there. And I mean, don't buy another face powder if you still haven't finished the one you are currently using. That way your products won't go bad and you get full value for your money. Easy math huh? 

Learnings

  1. Buy online as much as possible

  2. Wait for sales

  3. Try samples
  4. Don't be a hoarder
  5. Say no to shopahollism! (Yes, I just invented a term!)

How do you save money on beauty products. If you find this helpful, please share it with your friends!

Until next time, 

María Elena 

BONUS! I have a new section in my blog where you can find all the discounts that I can provide you with. I will make a small commision out of it or receive the same discount you will be receiving. In other words, you will be supporting this blog or giving me awesome discounts! So thank you in advance. 💛