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28 Facts You Don't Know About Me

Real Talk, LifestyleMaría ElenaComment

Today it is all about me!!! Oh the irony... If you guys only knew how uncomfortable this makes me feel. Let's just say I'm following the cliché of "do one thing everyday that scares you". Ha! Check.

  1. My dad is Puertorrican and my mom is Cuban 
  2. I have been to Cuba twice to visit my mom's family (before it was open to the US).
  3. I was born on November 27 and I share my birthday with my mother, uncle, cousin, more people than I can actually recall and sometimes even with Thanksgiving! You can only imagine my frustration. 
  4. I have a weird obsession with the number 9 and everything that is multiplied by 3.
  5. I have a really bad resting bitch face and this Buzzfeed post pretty much sums up my life. 
  6. When I was in elementary school I wanted to be a dentist because I loved going to the dentist. 
  7. I am a self-proclaimed coffee snob - at restaurants I will literally ask for barista-made coffee or else, I won't drink it. #NoShame
  8. I've always had a passion for writing. Ever since I was a kid I loved the art of beautiful handwriting and keeping personal journals. 
  9. I am one of those annoying people who rejects technology that is not made by Apple. 
  10. I HATE chewing gum - to say that watching people chew this nasty saliva paste makes me sick is an understatement. 
  11. Both my parents are architects and my sister is studying to be one as well.
  12. My sister also has a blog and it's awesome - Go check her blog here
  13. I love talking with passionate and creative people. 
  14. My love for makeup started when I was a little girl and my grandma had a lot to do with this
  15. I didn't actually like reading books until 2011 - I had an internship in Frankfort, KY in which I had a lot of time for myself, so I started reading books more often. I've kept the habit ever since. 
  16. I take my credit score very seriously - To the point that is one of the most important things in my life. 
  17. Ambinity was published way before I decided to make it public in social media - in fact, I had several other blogs that I never announced. 
  18. I love Canada - Even though I've only been to Ontario to see the Niagara Falls for less than 48 hours, I love their tv shows, their Youtubers, their personality and pretty much all their style. And yes, I am currently a Believer, but who isn't these days?!
  19. I have a very strong premonition - sometimes even psychic abilities and it is really hard to explain! 
  20. Fiona is my rescue dog and my sister and I keep a tag on social media that brightens everyones day: #FionaLaSata.
  21. We rescued Fiona from the Guaynabo Animal Shelter in 2006 and she has been family ever since. 
  22. I am pretty much obsessed with Snapchat (elenarodrz) these days and I truly believe it's my own little reality show.
  23. Aquariums and zoos make me uncomfortable ever since I watched Blackfish.
  24. I am addicted to documentary films. 
  25. Cabo Rojo is my favorite place in Puerto Rico
  26. Having natural flowers in my bedroom makes me happy. 
  27. I love studying and the only reason that I don't have a master degree is because I don't want student debt. 
  28. But I've never stopped considering studying Interior Design one day. 

This was easier than I thought! Hope you guys enjoyed getting to know me a little better!

Until next time, 

Elena

15 Things I Learned Practicing the KonMari Method

Lifestyle, Books, PopularMaría ElenaComment

"Life becomes far easier once you know that things will still work out even if you are lacking something." - Marie Kondo

As you may have noticed by now, I love putting overly hyped products to the test. So this time I decided to give it a little twist and put a book that has been flooding my Instagram and Bloglovin feeds for a while: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

The entire book focuses on the KonMari Method (KonMari = a mix of the author's name), which is a basically a technique on how to keep your personal space in order for good by having less stuff and surrounding yourself only by the things that spark joy to your life. Beautiful, isn't it?

Until now I was what Marie describes as a "rebound" organizer. I would tidy my things up in my bedroom and two weeks later, it was all the way it was before: A huge pile of clothes, bags and shoes. So reading this book was the best way for me to actually realize what was wrong with my organizing methods and I invested a whole weekend in the biggest bedroom purge I have ever done in my life that resulted in a very happy donation store. This is why I decided I wanted to write down 15 things I learned from this book  and maybe several reasons to go ahead and try the KonMari Method: 

1. There is a sequence to tidying your home the best way possible

Clothes, Books, Papers, Miscellaneous and lastly, Mementos. You're welcome, I saved you the Google search. 

2. Tidying my space is much more spiritual than I ever thought.

I feel like I created my own little sanctuary where I can feel as relaxed as possible after a long hard day of work. 

3. When your room is free from clutter you have no other choice than to confront your feelings. 

4. Before you start storing stuff, you need to decide what you want to keep and what to discard.

Otherwise, it will destroy the KonMari Method. Discard everything you don't want all at once and then, just then, you can start organizing all the things that spark joy in your life.

5. The best way to not rebound = Tidy by category, not by place.

6. Tidying is a way of showing gratitude, so think about things as people

Yes, you read that right. Even though not everyone we meet is meant to stay in our lives, they did have a purpose to be in it. With things, it's basically the same, which is why we need to show our appreciation for everything we are discarding.

7. Don't keep old clothes as your official Netflix & Chill clothes.

Your "me time" should be your time to appreciate yourself, so show a little respect and put on some fancy clothes ok? Throw away ALL the clothes that don't spark joy. 

8. Folding clothes can actually be fun and kind of therapeutical

Just try folding everything into a rectangle, then into thirds and then trying to stand them up. It's fun!

9. There are more ways to organize your closet than just color coordinating your clothes

The KonMari method teaches that the best way to keep all the clothes that "Spark joy" in your life is to hang them rising to the right. Your eyes will be happier, try it. 

10. Keep only the books that make you happy when you see or touch them.

11. Letting go of mementos is the hardest part of the KonMari Method

I had about 5 boxes full of memories since high school, which I honestly didn't want to let go. I kept only the ones that made me smile and threw away the ones that didn't make me feel anything. Trust your intuition in this one. 

12. Storing systems are for hoarders

The only storage solution you need is to find a spot for every single category of the things you own. Your storage should always let you know how much you have of something by just a glance.

13. Clutter is the cause of laziness

Well, duh! But seriously though, this method will teach you how to make the only storage you have as effortless as possible. 

14. Empty your handbag every day

You have no idea of how skeptical I was about this. But after a week practicing this method, I can honestly say it doesn't bother me. I have a designated place for all the things that go inside my bag so every night I can put my things away and every morning I know exactly what needs to be taken for the day ahead. I'll let you know if it actually keeps working. 

15. We should treat all the material things that we use in our daily life with respectin order to get the best use out of it

Specially because these things spark joy in our lives. In Marie's own words: "Caring for your possessions is the best way to motivate them to support you, their owner". 


Please be aware that this is not a summary of the book. It is a review of all the lessons I learned while reading it and practicing the KonMari Method. I strongly encourage you to read it so you can discover what is the best way to un-clutter your life. I have a feeling you will like it just as much. :)

Let me know if you would like an update of my lifestyle after the method. 

Until next time,

María Elena

A Travel Packing List for Horrible Packers

TravelMaría ElenaComment

I know. It's the end of July and I am blogging about packing now that most of you are getting back from your vacays. But you know what? Your next trip won't necessarily be a vacation. Shout out to all my business girls! (yes, I just wrote that with Destiny's Child Independent Women song in my head. #DontJudge).

As the title may have hinted, I'm a horrible packer. To the point that every time I travel with my boyfriend, he's ready with an extra toothbrush, PJ's and socks. He knows me too damn well! I don't know if it's the lack of time or that I always feel overwhelmed before a trip, but every time I'm packing, I leave behind most of the things that I need, except my makeup bag! I always bring my makeup with me. #BeautyAddictProblems. 

Since you guys know I recently got my new Kate Spade agenda and booked my next MUCH NEEDED vacations, I wanted to feel all tidy and organized by creating a packing checklist (PDF download here) with a little help from my family and friends, as you may have imagined. Plus, I'm planning on cutting this into rectangles so it can fit in my agenda pockets. Then I'm laminating the pieces so I can write on them with dry erase markers and reuse them every time I need. Eco-friendly and genius, I know (thanks Youtube!).

You will notice that I wanted this checklist to be perfect for any traveling done during warmer months, but if you guys want me to create one for colder seasons, let me know. I'll gladly create one for you guys... after doing lots of research since I live in the tropics, duh! :P

Thanks for reading! Please share this if you have any horrible packers in your life. lol. 

xo,

Elena

New 2016 Kate Spade Agenda!

LifestyleMaría Elena2 Comments

Ever since middle school and all the way through college, I was the girl with beautiful handwriting who would always keep a planner for all her to-do's and upcoming appointments. Little Miss Perfect, huh? I remember that my favorite part of going back to school was starting a new agenda. To give you an idea, my summer vacations consisted of theme parks, beaches and searching stationary sections in stores for my next fabulous weekly agenda. But somehow, as I ended college and started working full time, my planning habits and beautiful handwriting went away! Please let me know if this happened to any of you too.

Well this changed recently. You know that feeling you get when you are extra overwhelmed with too many things happening at the same time? That's exactly how I've felt these past weeks. I felt like I was juggling information in my mind and I needed a system to keep it in order. Not iCal, not a to-do list, not a notepad. An agenda.

Plus, you guys know I love watching Youtube Vloggers and lately I've been noticing a huge Planning community coming out of nowhere. And I gotta say I love it! It's been getting me back into my planning days and it sure has helped me get more organized. YES!

So long story short, after researching Erin Condren Life Planners, Day Designers, Design Love Co and Filofax planners, I decided the

large Kate Spade Agenda

would be the best way to get back on track with my planning habits.

I ended up calling my local Kate Spade to reserve my

17 month 2016 agendas in black and white stripes

. Now I'm in love and can't wait for August to start! But I can show you how this little masterpiece looks like here: 

Isn't their packaging amazing?

I made this dashboard from a promotional notepad I got a while back. You can check a tutorial

on how to do this from one of my favorite planning bloggers, MaeBad on Youtube.

I just really love how simple, clean and chic this agenda is. 

If you're still not convinced this planning community is for you, check out the #PlannerAddict tag on Instagram. 

I'm trying to use this blog to keep you guys updated with my agenda to see if I get a little bit excited about being organized again! Are you in for more posts like these? 

How to Relax and Get a Good Night Sleep

Lifestyle, BeautyMaría Elena6 Comments

There are few things that I love more than having some me time on a work night, let me tell you. And I'll go ahead and say it: I'm weird and I absolutely love having alone time.

The thing is I'm a morning person because evenings are my time to disconnect from reality, put on some good music and actually enjoy myself until I fall asleep. Which is not easy when you work in PR/ Advertising, people!

Something that I learned from my mom, is to make my bedroom feel as if I was staying at a luxury hotel. This doesn't mean you have to go all out buying expensive stuff. The trick is to embrace that is your place, your me time

and you should try to do whatever makes you feel most at ease. So this are the steps that I like to take:

  • Browse through Spotify for a chill station - It's usually some Melody Gardot or Calma Carmona who help me wine down.
  • Having a luxurious nighttime routine is key - I treat myself with some good skin care products and relaxing body lotions.
  • Fuzzy socks! I really can't get a good night sleep without them. 
  • Writing - I try to do this every night, but I usually do it when I'm really stressed. It helps me "dump" all of my bad thoughts. 

What do you do to get a good night sleep? Let me know so I can add it to my nighttime routine! :)

XO, Elena

May Favorites 2015

BeautyMaría Elena8 Comments

I don't know about you, but I'm super happy May is over. It was kind of a really long month work wise but I'm really happy how it all ended: Having the opportunity of interviewing Fernando Rodríguez from Aaron Stewart Home as Ambinity's first Career Profile was definitely the highlight! Since May was kind of an interesting month, I decided to show off some of my favorites, ignoring the fact it's June 7th and I'm a little late now. :)

  • Macbook Pro Retina Display + Marble Case - You see that beautiful marble in the picture? That's my new Macbook! After 5 years using the old white Macbook I was ready for an update, especially before they announce our sales tax is being increased from a 7% to an 11% later this year! I think I did a great purchase. So the same day I brought my new baby home, I went into Amazon and bought myself the most beautiful marble case to complete my recent marble obsession. Totally worth it, don't you think?
  • Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye - I got this as a free gift with purchase after buying the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I don't get impressed very often with eye creams thanks to my super dark genetic dark circles, but with this, I feel like it's actually making a difference. Definitely will be buying full size when it runs out. 
  • Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua - This has been my go to foundation since I bought it! It feels light to the skin and gives you a subtle glow that doesn't look shiny throughout the day. And that's a lot to say when you think about the draught Puerto Rico is going through this summer! 
  • Rimmel's Show Off Lip Lacquer in Apocaliptic - My go-to summer lip look. I recently reviewed this for you guys as one of my favorite drugstore purchases since it is one of the only kind of hot pink color that actually looks good on my lips. I also feel like the longer you wear it, the better it looks. 
  • Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia/ Fragonard Sweetpea Eau de Toilette - This month I've been more into fresh and really feminine smells which is why I've been loving wearing any of these two. Jo Malone makes me feel fancy as hell and Fragonard reminds me of my teenage years when I used to wear Tommy Girl (but better).
  • How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits - This is the perfect summer read! Light, funny and informative. I've been bringing this with me for any relaxing moment and I've been learning a lot. Like wearing a black bra underneath a white t-shirt. What? Love it!

What were your May favorites?

The importance of Lazy Weekends and Quality Time

Lifestyle, TravelMaría ElenaComment

Guys, I want to be 100% honest here. This post "should've" been posted on Monday, but it didn't and here's why:

As a mother's day/ sister's birthday present (two dates that luckily or unfortunately for me are really close together), I went on a mini getaway. It goes without saying that I wanted to have quality time with my mom and sister while actually embracing a lazy weekend, but I didn't want to not upload my weekly Sunday post that I promise you guys on Ambinity's home page.

So my inner Carrie Bradshaw had this question: In this crazy Internet world we're living in, should you feel guilty for not disconnecting yourself? Ha! Candice Bushnell would be so proud! 

What am I trying to say here? That as oddly as it sounds, blogging helps me be present and I don't think it's fair to try so hard to control my urge to be connected with you guys when it actually makes me happy. Believe it or not, having to write and take beautiful pictures for a new blog post every week, helps me be aware of my surroundings and obligates me to find inspiration and beauty in the simplest details. I may be the devil's advocate here, but I'm hoping this makes sense to any of you bloggers out there... So let me know!

BUT you know me! I quickly found a cure to keep both my blogging conscience and family happy: I closed my laptop for the weekend and took my camera outside to shoot everything that inspired me while enjoying my time with my mom, sister and Fiona (my little rescue dog). This way I could wait until Sunday night to upload a beautiful post and not disappoint you guys. So here you go! In honor of embracing lazy weekends and quality time with your loved ones, here's a diary type post from another lovely weekend getaway. Hope you enjoy!

No we did not ride on a banana boat but I had to take a picture of this beautiful wall.

 Ostiones = one of my favorite parts of visiting Cabo Rojo. Must try!

 Have you seen a most beautiful "no parking" sign? Of course you haven't!

So many colors to find in Cabo Rojo!

Who runs into a sunflower field during a roadtrip? We did! What a wonderful and magical experience.

 I have been alternating these books through the week but I must say the How To Be a Parisian one is a GEM.

Remember! Don't feel guilty for doing what makes you happy. Just don't forget to be present and give quality time to your loved ones. It's all about finding balance. :)

Want to see more from Puerto Rico's west coast and Cabo Rojo? You can see this and this previous posts. 

XO, Elena

Mother's Day Gift Guide | 2015

Fashion, Beauty, LifestyleMaría ElenaComment

I love spoiling my mom and I have a feeling you do too. As well as many of you, my mom is the most important person in my life and even if I like giving her really nice gifts, I find that the simplest and well thought gifts are the best. This is why I didn't just want to list a couple of things for you to buy for your mom, but instead I went to the most thoughtful person I know: my trusty friend/ co-worker, Valerie. I like calling her the "thoughtful queen" because she is the kind of person that remembers every occasion (big or small) and gives you a little something just to bring a smile to your face. She definitely takes the "it's the thought that counts" saying to a whole new level. I wish I was more like her. Don't you? 

Earlier this week she told me about this awesome idea of making care packages as gifts. She explained to me that she buys a cute little bag and gathers 3-5 things that she knows the person receiving the gift will actually use. How thoughtful and creative is that?! So, you guessed it! This Mother's Day gift guide is inspired by Valerie and her thoughtful gifts.

But before we get any further, here's a simple 3 step system you can use:

  1. One Bag
  2. One splurge item
  3. Two to three cute thoughtful items

Ok, now we're ready. Here are 5 examples that hopefully will inspire you to create the perfect gift set for the moms of your life:

As you can see, I left it pretty open so you can mix and match your mom's style. If you end up doing any of these gift bags please send me your pictures! I would love to see them. :)

XO, Elena

My Top 3 Healthy Lifestyle Hacks

Lifestyle, Health, wellnessMaría ElenaComment

I'm a yoyo dieter. There I said it. I was trying to give you all the reasons why it's so hard for me to keep a steady healthy lifestyle while having a crazy full time job and blah blah blah, but I stopped myself. Because it's true, I am was a yoyo dieter and here's how I stopped falling back to it:

1.be your healthiest first thing in the morning

Forget the excuses and stop leaving your workouts for the end of the day. Because if you are like me, at the end of the day you just want to eat and sleep. This is why I like waking up at 5:00AM, eating some healthy food, like a fruit bowl with chia seeds and then doing some type of exercise. I find that if I start my day right, it will be easier to make healthy choices afterwards. But if you really aren't a morning person, here's a tip I once read: if you were going to get paid to wake up so early to workout, you'll do it. So set up your alarm clock and think of it as a reward for your body!

2. Green Smoothies

The best healthy snack! I've found this is the simplest way to actually get back on track. You are literally giving your body a bunch of healthy nutrients that will help you feel good about yourself. My favorite recipe is a handful of spinach or kale, half a cup of papaya, half a banana, half a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a tablespoon of greek yogurt, a teaspoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of chia seeds. But if you're a beginner, I would recommend one of these recipes from Simple Green Smoothies.

3. Don't Pay for a Gym Membership

Some people love the gym, some people hate the gym and some find the gym a waste of time and money (me!). Why? Because you can do almost all of those exercises outside or at the comfort of your own home at a much cheaper price.

So try to stay active. Go buy yourself some tennis shoes, 5 lbs weights, a yoga mat and download a workout app. That's all most of you will ever need. Need more? Buy some Jillian Michaels DVD's or search workout videos on Youtube. That's it!

Last but not least, I wanted to be clear that I know it can get a little overwhelming sometimes to have time to do it all (high five to all moms out there who actually do!). But once you start feeling that what you do to your body will reflect on your everyday life, you'll find the time. 

How do you keep yourself motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Let me know. Don't forget to share this post with your friends if you found it helpful. :)

XO, Elena