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Bad Habits I Broke in 2017

wellness, Real Talk, Popular, Lifestyle, HealthMaría Elena RodríguezComment

We all have bad habits. Whether we know about them or not, we do. Maybe you've had a problem with sugar, picking on your face for years (🙋🏻) or simply procrastinating too much. The important thing here is knowing exactly what are the things that are holding back with your goals and making a conscious effort to change them. And now that the new year is almost here, it's time to do a recap. 

I think I have talked enough about how much I've changed this year, but in case you're interested, you can click here, here or here. So here are the bad habits I had to break in order to make this huge life transformation. Enjoy! 

complaining about things I could change

  • Recognizing the Bad Habit: By the end of 2016 I was feeling a bit miserable with my life and felt really low energy. But instead of looking for a solution, I was just feeling sorry for myself. 
  • Changing the Bad Habit: You need to change your mindset completely. Every time I didn't like something, I looked for ways I could make it work for me. If I couldn't change it, depending on the case, I would look for ways to get out of it or just make peace with it. 
  • Difficulty Level: 9/10
  • Results: I feel unstoppable and like I can solve almost anything! 

eating meat (All kinds) and processed food

  • Recognizing the Bad Habit: I used to be very health conscious back in my high school and college days, mostly for body image issues. But after I started working full time, I started implementing a YOLO mindset that definetely started projecting in my health. I would eat extremely well for two days and eat fried wings with french fries and dessert during the weekend, because "cheat meals" were ok. 
  • Changing the Bad Habit: After one failed attempt at going vegan about two years ago and watching almost every single documentary on Netflix, I decided to make the plant based lifestyle really happen for me. But this time, I decided to make a less strict approach, in which I would eat 80% vegan just so I had a 20% cushion for cravings. 
  • Difficulty Level: 5/10 (It hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be!)
  • Results: I don't eat any type of animal and even though I eat dairy and eggs 2-3 times a week, I'm craving it less and less. I feel amazing! 

Being overly critical of myself

  • Recognizing the Bad Habit: Like most women, for years I kept criticizing myself for not being skinny enough and comparing myself to others. 
  • Changing the Bad Habit: The best thing you can do to stop criticizing yourself is to start accepting compliments. If someone says you look beautiful in that dress, there's no need to say "Oh! This old thing" or "You think?", just say "Thank you!" and walk away with a little more pride. There is nothing wrong in accepting your awesomeness. 
  • Difficulty Level: 6/10
  • Results: I feel beautiful from the inside out. 

going back to toxic people  

  • Recognizing the Bad Habit: First, I needed to recognize the toxic people in my life. If you have friends who always leave you drained, questioning if some comments were an insult or you just feel a bad vibe around them, maybe you have some toxic people in your life. If when you read this a person popped in your mind, you need to scape soon! 
  • Changing the Bad Habit: Stop making plans with these people and get out of those group messages. Good vibes only, baby. ✌🏽
  • Difficulty Level: 8/10
  • Results: I have the most wonderful tribe of people who I support and they support me! 

working out just because I had to 

  • Recognizing the Bad Habit: I couldn't stick to a fitness routine for more than three months! 
  • Changing the Bad Habit: After absolutely hating running, but being extremely curious about the runner's rush, I set the goal of finishing my first 5K race. Turns out all I needed to kick my bad habit was finding a workout I loved! 
  • Difficulty Level: 9/10 (but so worth it!)
  • Results: I discovered yoga, because it helps me stretch and be more mindful during my runs and I can't stop signing up for races! 

drinking to release stress

  • Recognizing the Bad Habit: I had to open a bottle of wine every single afternoon after work, just to release stress and feel "happier". 
  • Changing the Bad Habit: After I started running every morning, I noticed that my runs weren't as enjoyable if I drank the night before. Also, yoga helped me release all the stress I was feeling from the inside. 
  • Difficulty Level: 7/10
  • Results: Although I still have the ocasional glass of wine, I realized I don't need it to have fun or release stress. 

 


Now that the new year is coming up, what are some bad habits you're breaking in 2018? Let me know!

Don't forget to check out your agenda for the new year here. 

Until next time,

María Elena

The Cruelty-Free Beauty Gift Guide

Beauty, wellness, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
erbaviva sunscreen and natural deodorant

Disclaimer: We are very pleased to announce that this blog post is sponsored by GoodCubed.com. Nevertheless, all the opinions in this post are our own.

Being cruelty-free is kind of tricky. Ever since I made the conscious life choice of not supporting brands that still test on animals, I've had to spend some time researching products that fit these requirements before purchasing. But when the holiday season comes around it gets specially challenging. I want to buy people ethically correct products, but they are not always as accessible as I would wish. And lets be honest, when that VIB Sale comes around, all you want to do is find what fits best to your friends and family and be done with it! And to be really honest (as always), even though I've been completely cruelty-free these last years, my gifts haven't and that doesn't feel right. 

Enter GoodCubed.com. The team contacted me right after Hurricane María and while I was dying to check them out, I didn't have enough cell phone reception or electricity to properly review them. So when I finally had the chance to check them out and know their values, it was one of the few non-disaster-related good news that I received after the hurricanes.  According to their website, their "mission is to give animals a greater voice while connecting you with lovely, effective, clean beauty products that are 100% Cruelty-Free". Not only do they support and give cruelty-free brands a special retail space, they have an entire section dedicated to vegan products and women owned brands. Plus, 1% of all sales are donated to the Beagle Freedom Foundation. Talk about guilt free shopping! 

Needless to say, after all we've been through as Puertorricans, the only way it felt right to create a gift guide this Holiday Season was if it had a purpose behind it. And what better way to give back this season than buying your gifts from a store that already supports an amazing cause? Plus, this is a great way to introduce your friends to the cruelty-free movement! (More on this in the end of this post) 

So after browsing around in their website and testing out two of their products, I put together a gift guide that is perfect for stocking stuffers! 

PS: Read all the way to the end of this post so you learn all the ways you can save and accumulate rewards with GoodCubed.com. ;) 

CRUELTY-FREE BEAUTY WISH LIST

Cruelty-Free Beauty Gift Guide: 

Psst! Use this link to get a 10% discount code

 

For your sporty friend: Erbaviva Vegan Sunscreen (SPF 30)

If you follow me on Twitter you know I have been really into running these past few months. Since I run in the morning, I need a good sunscreen so I can take care of my skin while I take care of my health.

But as many of you know, many sunscreens have a lot of toxins and pore clogging ingredients which are without a doubt not good while you are sweating your a** off. This is why I decided to give this one a try. According to goodcubed.com this sunscreen is "naturally crafted with zinc oxide (a naturally occurring mineral), aloe, sunflower, olive, and jojoba oils and infused with organic essential oils of chamomile and lavender". Sounds beautiful doesn't it? It smells great also! So far, I've had no complains! 

erbaviva sunscreen

Grab Erbaviva Vegan Sunscreen (SPF 30)

 

For your holistic friend: Kaia Naturals Cold Pressed Deodorant

I don't know if it's just me, but I've had really bad experiences with natural deodorants. They almost never work on me and if they do, they have a really strong smell which I don't enjoy for my armpits. This is why I decided to give this one a chance as a last attempt with natural deodorants. 

But to my surprise, I haven't had any bad experiences with this one. For the past week my armpits have been dry and odorless. According to goodcubed.com, this deodorant is made with an ingredient called Ta-keh-su-mee, which is bamboo charcoal, "a time-honored Japanese secret for odor control and detoxification". Also, I read that this deodorant is great for getting out toxins and making you smell less with its constant use. Cool!

But I must say that you should store this deodorant in a cool place. With the heat and humidity in Puerto Rico I've had the experience of having this product smear all over my armpits and it's a bit messy. 

natural deodorant
natural deodorant
natural deodorant

Grab Kaia Naturals Cold Pressed Deodorant here

 

for your always on the go friend: Cocovit Vegan Coconut Water Hydro Mist

Cocovit is a brand that I have been meaning to try for a while now! You all know my obsession with facial sprays, so when I saw this vegan product I knew I had to include it in this gift guide. 

According to their website, what's great about this hydro mist is that it consists of coconut water, great for toning, Aloe Vera which helps heal and hydrate your skin and coconut oil which we all know is rich in antioxidants and healthy acids. Perfect for that friend who needs a pick-me-up every day. 

Grab the Cocovit Vegan Coconut Water Hydro Mist here

 

for your skincare obsessed friend: Cocovit Besan and Turmeric Vegan Polishing Grains

Not many of you know this but these past few months, specially after surviving two devastating hurricanes, I have been approaching a more holistic lifestyle. And while researching my holistic ways, I've found all the great health benefits about turmeric; from easing headaches to helping with inflammation and insomnia.

This is why I'm totally down to try this blend of besan and turmeric which promises to "gently lift impurities, remove dead cells and stimulate cellular turnover for soft and glowing skin". I know your skincare obsessed friend will be down to trying this interesting mix of natural ingredients! 

Grab the Cocovit Besan and Turmeric Vegan Polishing Grains here

 

for your makeup obsessed friend: EcoBella FlowerColor Natural Mascara

When it comes to mascara and being cruelty-free I haven't found a whole lot of options. I try to stay with the Better than Sex Mascara by Too Faced and the Buxon mascara. So when I saw Ecco Bella’s FlowerColor Natural Mascara I immediately added it to my wish list.

"We leave out the lacquer, shellac, and alcohol and put in natural clay and flower wax coated iron oxides. This mascara wraps around and lengthens lashes to their longest. It's water-resistant, but not waterproof. The brown and black mascara is gentle and can be easily removed. Excellent for sensitive eyes." 

Umm.. Sold! Plus, since it includes a mini mirror, it is a perfect stocking stuffer for your makeup obsessed friend! 

Grab the Ecobella Flower Color Natural Mascara here

 

for that picky and fancy person in your life: Erbaviva Relax and Awaken Body Lotions

I have so many sample body lotions that I hardly ever buy or enjoy one. This is why every once in a while I will invest in a little more luxurious one for my pampering routine, which is usually once a month (shame on me!).  What's special about these two is their aroma. One is made to be used in the morning or if you need a pick me up and the other one is meant for relaxation. I would use this last one in my feet right before putting on my fuzzy socks for bed.

And since is such a self-care item, I think it would be a great gift for someone fancy and picky... like my grandmother!

Grab the Erbaviva Relax Body Lotion here.

Grab the Erbaviva Awaken Body Lotion here

 

for that friend who needs pampering ASAP: The Soil and the Sea's Bamboo Charcoal Vegan Body Wash

No time or money for a spa day? No problem! This body wash has you covered. 

"Loaded with nourishing organic ingredients, including organic aloe vera, organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, organic sunflower oil, organic hemp seed oil, and dead sea salt, this body wash will leave your skin cleansed, revitalized, and moisturized." - goodcubed.com

I think we can all agree this is the gift you need to give that friend who is always looking out for others instead of herself.

Grab The Soil and theSea's Bamboo Charcoal Vegan Body Wash here.

 

Why shop at GoodCubed.com?

Rewards Program

  • When you join the Rewards Program you'll get 250 rewards points, called "Cubes" that you can use for a future purchase. 
  • Once you sign up, you will earn Cubes for every purchase.
  • You can also earn Cubes from sharing GoodCubed.com in your social media channels, reviewing products and your birthday. 
  • You can redeem your cubes for free shipping, or $5, $10 or even $25 off your purchase! 
  • Join here

 

Referrals:

Once you create an account at goodcubed.com, you will be given a unique link that will grant your friends 10% off their first purchase while giving you a $5 off discount for every friend that makes a purchase. Win/ win! So prepare for this shameless plug: If you are interested in a 10% discount in your first purchase and you want to support ambinityblog.com and more reviews like this, you can use this link. Thank you very much! :) 

Remember what I told you about getting your friends into the cruelty-free beauty world? This is your chance! 

 

Free Returns:

GoodCubed.com offers free returns for any unopened and unused products within forty-five (45) days of the date the order is placed.

 

They donate 1% of all your purchases to the Beagle Freedom Project

This project negotiates with laboratories across the world to secure the release of dogs and other animals and give them a chance at a normal home life after everything they have endured for vanity and scientific curiosity. Read about them here.

 

Their Cruelty-Free Pledge

You can read it here


We thank GoodCubed.com for sponsoring this post and supporting this cruelty-free beauty space. 

Until next time, 

María Elena

 

 

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

From Intern to Full Time at Aaron Stewart Home

CareerMaría Elena RodríguezComment
aurimar ortiz aaron stewart home headquarters

Ever since I started this Intern Diaries series, I've been on a mission to find hard working interns who have an inspiring story to tell about their experiences. So far, you've all loved Paola from Letras con Tacones' experience working at Elle Magazine in New York City and Kiara Hernández experience going from intern to full time at L'Oreal Puerto Rico's PR firm. They're all amazing experiences of how hard work and determination early on, can be a great getaway to accomplish your career goals. 

So when Fernando Rodríguez told me about Aurimar's journey at Aaron Stewart Home, I knew I had to feature her in this series. She interned at ASH for about a month, then went on to work part time and ended up being a full time employee. 

But to give you a little preview of the interview, she didn't only did a complete 360 career change from working as a restaurant manager to working as a licensed Interior Designer at Aaron Stewart Home, but she has done her entire career journey while taking care of her little girl Sofia, as a single mom! And did I mention she passed her license test in the first try?! 

I'm so happy I get to share Aurimar's inspiring story today, March 8, International Women's Day. I hope you enjoy and learn about this interview as much as I did!

BONUS: If you're interested in applying for an internship at ASH, stick through the end of this post for instructions. 

ME: What was your career goal as a kid?

AO: Honestly, I always wanted to be an astronaut, which has absolutely nothing to do with design!

ME: So how did you end up studying Interior Design?

AO: My interest for design started while doing my undergrad in humanities at the University of Puerto Rico. I had some friends that were studying Interior Design at the UPR, Carolina Campus, so I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I really didn’t even look for information, it was more of an impulse decision. I changed concentrations and once I was there, I knew this was really what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

ME: What made you switch majors from Humanities to Interior Design?

AO: I liked the history part of Humanities, but I was way more inspired by everything that had to do with culture and fine arts.

ME: Did you always have your bedroom decorated like a magazine?

AO: Yes! Definitely. I loved organizing my drawers and color coordinating in rainbow patterns. I always tried to find the design aspect behind organization. I also loved doing collages, and I drew a lot as a kid.

In Puerto Rico you are taught interior design drawing by hand first. So that was perfect for me. I love drawing!

Aurimar and her little girl, Sofia.

Aurimar and her little girl, Sofia.

ME: You had your little girl during college, as a 21 years old. What was your biggest challenge?

AO: The biggest challenge was finding the energy and the time to finish my degree. Also, there’s a lot of cruel people that are quick to judge you and assign you the “failure” label once you become a single mom at a young age. But I learned no one can define me. I am the only person who can decide what I’m capable of accomplishing at my own terms. No one can decide that for me.

ME: How did you balance school and taking care of your kid at the same time?

AO: I had to make a mind set shift before anything else. School became my second priority and my baby my first priority. I was able to make it because I was very organized with my time and I had a very clear goal in mind.

When I thought I couldn’t keep going, I would get back in focus by meditating on my goal and visualizing myself accomplishing it. What really helped me balance it all was my mental state and attitude towards it.

ME: What did you end up getting a degree in?

AO: I ended up completing an Associate’s Degree in Interior Design at the San Juan School of Interior Design at E.D.P. University. Since I already had my associate's degree and already had a lot of Humanities credits, I was able to apply for the Interior Design License exam right way. I’m really proud to say I passed it in the first try because I worked really hard for it! 

I’m currently finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design at the San Juan School of Interior Design. I will finish in May 2018, because even though I only have 6 classes left, I want to take it easy. I already have a full time job and the license! Nevertheless, I really want to have a Master’s degree in Project Management or Sustainable Design some day!  

ME: What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

AO: I worked in customer service for seven years and oh boy! I learned life is tough. But seriously, I learned a lot about patience during those years. One of the most important things I learned was how to cope with different personalities at the same time.

When you are serving a customer, you could simultaneously be dealing with someone who is super nice, but you could also be dealing with someone who is not having a great day. You have to learn to cope with both of them at the same time. I use those lessons everyday, not only in my career, but in my personal life.

ME: What was your first real job in design?

AO: I literally went from being a manager at a restaurant to being an intern at Aaron Stewart Home. It was such a complete change from what I was used to!

Once I graduated, Margaret Diaz, the president of the Colegio de Decoradores y Diseñadores de Puerto Rico (CODDI) called me because she had recommended me for an internship position at ASH.

ME: How was your first day as an intern at Aaron Stewart Home?

AO: It was very fast paced and it was a lot of information to take in. I would write everything down no matter how insignificant it seemed, so I could go back and revisit my notes if I needed them.

I went from receiving 2 emails a day to receiving a hundred in one day. It was definitely a lot of pressure! But the ASH Team was really supportive of me. Their policy is always: if you have a question, ask! They are always willing to teach you. They don’t expect you to know everything, they just want to know you're interested. I’d rather ask 10 questions about what my boss wants done than do it wrong and waste everyone’s time.

I’d rather ask 10 questions about what my boss wants done than do it wrong and waste everyone’s time.
— Aurimar Ortiz

ME: What did you imagine that your first day as an intern at ASH was going to be and how was it different?

AO: I thought it was going to be really easy, pretty and colorful! But what goes on behind the scenes is a lot of hard work, sweat, stress and pressure. It’s all about the details. Like for example, you look at something like wallpaper and you think it’s simple. But no! It takes hours to complete that. First, you match and pick out a wallpaper. After that, you have to find out if it’s available, order it, and if it’s not, sometimes you may have to wait three months for it. Then, you have to pick it up, find someone to install it, but if they install it wrong, you need to go ahead and order it again! There’s a whole behind the scenes that happens inside designing a space.

ME: What was your biggest challenge during your internship at ASH?

AO: I would say staying on top of everything. There were a lot of things going on at the same time, while I was learning how to organize my calendar, schedule and thoughts, literally!

ME: Did you ever imagine yourself working at ASH?

For an entire year I visualized myself working for a big designer in Puerto Rico.
— Aurimar Ortiz

AO: For an entire year I visualized myself working for a big designer in Puerto Rico, so when it happened I was like BAM! Law of attraction! This is what I was looking for and it actually happened.

Aurimar's Inspiration Board at the Aaron Stewart Home's Headquarters. 

Aurimar's Inspiration Board at the Aaron Stewart Home's Headquarters. 

ME: How was your internship experience while having your little girl?

AO: Wow!  While my little girl was in preschool, I was working at the restaurant as a manager some days and then working at ASH the other days. I would go out to look for her in school at 2PM to drop her at my mom’s and come back to my internship until 6PM. It was not an easy schedule! But thankfully all of that has changed.

You need to have determination to do this. A lot of people would give up! Without the help of my friends and family, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I owe them that and so much more!

ME: How did you learn to organize yourself?

AO: I have binders with sections subdivided by to-do lists, with files that I need on hand for each day and divided by project. I also have my daily planner that I take with me everywhere like it’s my cellphone. I also use my phone’s calendar to let the team know about my schedule.

It’s important to know that you’re not perfect and that at some point you’re going to get disorganized. But you have to set out a day of the week to take care of it, go back and put whatever you messed up, back to the way it was!

aaron stewart home headquarters
aaron stewart home headquarters
aaron stewart home headquarters

ME: What would you recommend other students that would like an internship in the interior design field and how can they excel at it?

AO: I think that you have to face your fears, specially if it’s your first internship or real job. Even though you might not even know what’s going on, there’s going to be a lot of insecurity, but you have to look past that and do it! Be fearless of what you want.

Also, you have to be willing to do what you have to do! Stop putting excuses.

ME: What are your tips towards finding a dream internship?

AO: I used to think that this internship came to me by luck, but the truth is I was a really hard working student and I was referred by a professor because of that.

aaron stewart home

In any moment you could make a connection with someone who could help you. That’s why it’s so important to keep good relationships with as many people as you can. You never know when you’re going to see them again!

ME: Describe a normal day as an intern at ASH?

AO: Everyday was different. But one example could be arriving at the office, having a status meeting at 9AM and then it was time to go out and find sources for faucets, furniture, and delivering store merchandise to our clients. It was all behind the scenes the design process. I was helping everyone in the team!

ME: What is the difference now that you’re a full time employee?

AO: Now I have responsibilities that are set and I have projects that I’m in charge of. The only thing that hasn’t changed is that I keep assisting anyone that needs my help around the day.

ME: What was your biggest lesson once you finished your internship?

AO: Once they made me full time I had to leave the job I was working at. It was super scary since I was very comfortable where I was, and I had a lot of experience there. But it was 20 thousand times worth it. So my biggest lesson was learning to step out of my comfort zone.

fernando rodriguez aaron stewart

ME: What was your favorite part of your internship experience?

AO: The team work dynamic and the open door policy. If you felt uncomfortable about something, there was no problem in saying it. We are a support system!

ME: What advice would you give a student who is going to start an internship at ASH?

AO: Don’t take anything personal, work hard and watch your attitude. Attitude is everything!

ME: Have you ever been a victim of mommy shaming for being a working mom? If that’s so, how did you manage it?

AO: Of course! Not everyone is capable of respecting you when they have different ambitions than yours. A lot of people don’t get it and that’s why I don’t take it personally. Everybody has their own path and goals to accomplish.

The only opinion that really matters to me is my daughter’s. That’s why we constantly talk about this topic, and I explain to her the importance of fighting for your dreams. But most importantly, I make sure that our time together is quality time, without interruptions.

I make sure to let her know that her opinions and her emotions matter to me and that’s how we come across agreements together. That’s all that matters to me. If others don’t understand it, that’s completely out of my control, so I don’t even take it into consideration.

ME: Puerto Rico is going through a tough economic recession, so there’s a lot of people advising others not to waste time in artistic careers. What advice would you give someone who is pursuing a creative career but is overwhelmed by all the negativity?

AO: If you focus on what’s going on around you instead of what you want, you’re going to be going back and forth trying to please everyone your whole life. If you have a passion that you know you want to do, go for it even if the odds are against you! If you feel in your heart that’s what’s going to make you happy and you’re willing to work for it, life will give you all the tools you need to make it work.

If you listen to everyone’s opinion you will never do anything!

ME: Many women think that after having kids, their dreams are put aside, but clearly this hasn’t been your case. What advice will you give other single moms?

audimar ortiz aaron stewart home

AO: What better example could you give your kids than following your dreams, working hard, never giving up, not been mediocre, not settling and to keep fighting to make a personal change? Those are life’s biggest lessons. Here is my advice:

  • Make a support system of family members, friends and even support groups where you can find help and good advice.
  • Read. Educate yourself by looking for information about educating your child and about not only being a parent, but a happy human being.
  • Look for your passion and practice it. Do what makes you happy and let your kid see you being happy.
  • Look for people who motivate you and are good examples for you and your kids.
  • Last but not least, stop feeling guilty because you’re taking time for your own personal development. Kids learn to be happy and independent by watching you. The best lesson you can give your kids is to show them how to be a perseverant person and to live life with enthusiasm and purpose.

Interested in being an intern at Aaron Stewart Home? Keep reading.

  • Are you a visionary? 
  • Do you have the skill of looking beyond your assigned tasks?
  • Are you willing to give your all?
  • Can you multitask projects?
  • Want to be a part of a fast paced environment?
  • Can you see yourself being part of the future of Aaron Stewart Home?

      If you replied yes to all of the questions above, send your resume to info@aaronstewarthome.com. Good luck! 


    Hope this interview inspired you to keep following your current dreams! There are definetely no excuses. 

    If you enjoyed this post, I would suggest you check out my Career section. Also, you may enjoy Fernando Rodíguez's ASH office tour I did a few weeks ago. 

    Until next time, 
    María Elena

    Office Decor Ideas by Fernando Rodríguez

    Decor, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
    fernando rodriguez aaron stewart home

    Remember back when I interviewed Fernando Rodríguez, the co-founder of the lifestyle store Aaron Stewart Home? I still can't believe that was almost two years ago. Just in case you're new to my blog, he was the first person I interviewed for my career profile series. I talked a little about the nerve wracking experience of pitching my idea to Fernando in this Instagram post, if you're interested. 

    After that experience I am proud to say we have stayed in touch to the point that we did another blog post on how to style your nightstand.

    Right now we are working on an awesome interview with one of his teammates so make sure you're subscribed to ambinity's newsletter so you don't miss it! And that's how I ended up at Fernando's office at the ASH headquarters in Miramar for the first time.  It's literally the most beautiful office decor I've ever seen outside of magazines and I just knew I had to film a video for you guys. 

    So without further ado, here's my very first video filmed and edited by myself in the hopes you will find some office decor ideas. I am very proud of this video, not only because I got out of my comfort zone once again, but because this was by FAR the hardest thing I've done for this blog since I launched it. I can honestly say I have a new profound admiration for all video producers out there. You guys make magic happen! 

    Ready to re-decorate your office, huh? Here's a recap of Fernando's Favorite things at his office, just in case you're daydreaming about recreating his style in your own space:

    • Nespresso Coffee Machine - It's actually on sale right now!

    • Scented Candles - Fernando is currently working on a new candle scent with the ASH team. But for now, you can find really good ones here and here

    • Vintage Mid Century Modern Chest - Since this is one of a kind, you can find a similar one here
    • Acrylic frame with a hand-written letter from the Editor of GQ Magazine - Similar frame here.
    • Silver frame with Fernando and his husband, Aaron Stewart - Another similar frame here
    • Inspiration Board - Similar board here.
    • Picture with Bill Conningham
    • A copy of an article in New York Magazine in which Fernando Appeared.

    Click away!

    Thank you so much for stopping by once again! If you enjoyed this type of content please don't forget to comment bellow and like, share and subscribe to my Youtube Channel. It will also be awesome if you filled out this survey if you haven't already. Helps me provide you with better content. 

    Until next time, 

    María Elena

     

     

    The Hater's Guide To Spending Valentine's Day

    Lifestyle, ShoppingMaría Elena RodríguezComment

    Ok so, if you've been reading me for a while now, you know that last year I posted a blog post about why I hate Valentine's Day so much. And before you accuse me of being a whiny single lady who hates V-Day, I am not. I was and currently am in a steady relationship and we both decided a while back not to celebrate this date, because of the reasons listed on that post. ✌🏽

    But this year, as part of my New Years Resolution, I am all about self-esteem, being lovable, sending thank you notes (like these or these 😍) and having more friends... Seriously, lol. So I wanted to make things differently and talk to you guys about ways to make Valentine's Day suck less. Because it is everywhere and there's almost nothing we can do about it. And ya'll know I won't be sending you to a restaurant! So here's a very cute (if I do say so myself) Valentine's Day Gift Guide:

     

    If you're spending valentine's day With friends:

    valentines day galentines gift guide

    SHOP (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT):

    Sugar Paper Be You Art Print // Shiraleah Pineapple Aluminum Container // Kate Spade New York Monedero Heart // Besties Book // Jonathan Adler Brass Elephant Ring Bowl // Sugar Paper Gift Tag

    First of all, if you're spending Valentine's Day with your friends, you're already very lucky! Secondly, the key here is looking at "Galentine's" just as any other day of the year, but a little bit more special. So if you are going to buy them something, buy them something that you KNOW will make them happy. Like this pineapple container. Have you seen someone not smile when they see a pineapple? Of course not! Or just give them a bottle of Prossecco with a cute gift tag like this one

    And what better way to celebrate friendship than with a coffee book about BFF's? Better yet if she's your roomie! If you have a bigger budget, you could get them this heart shaped Kate Spade coin purse or this beautiful Jonathan Adler ring bowl

     

    if you're spending VALENTINE'S DAY WITH YOUR significant other:

    boyfriend gift guide

    SHOP (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT):

    Flight 001 Guy Stuff Pouch // Joy Mangano Christie Leather Weekender Bag (it's on SALE!) // Williams Sonoma Two In The Kitchen Cookbook // Gucci Signature money clip // Billy Jealousy Beard Envy Kit

    My boyfriend and I always bond over traveling or having weekend getaways. So what better way to spend this lousy holiday than planning your next getaway? That's why I included this beautiful duffle bag (on sale!) that you can totally still from him/ her, as well as this pouch for toiletries. 

    I'm also a very lucky girl and my boyfriend knows how to cook very well, but if your S.O. doesn't even know how to boil water, this Williams Sonoma cookbook will surely make you two bond in the kitchen this Valentine's Day. 

    Lastly, if he/she's a keeper and you have a little extra cash laying around, go ahead and buy him/her a designer wallet like this one. But if you're just starting out as a couple, I would suggest going for a simple and non-expensive beauty kit like this one or this one

     

    if you're spending valentine's day With your family:

    what to get your family gift guide

    SHOP (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT):

    Gift Boutique Mine Stackable Mug // Nordstrom at Home 'Cuddle Up' Faux Fur Heart Accent Pillow // Mikasa Cheers, Party Collection // kate spade new york 'posy court' heart dish // Monopoly Classic Board Game

    I know what you're thinking... This is not exactly the scenario you think about when you think about Valentine's Day but hear me out, OK? If you have to spend V-Day with your family, PREACH it! No matter how annoying they are, you will always need them somehow. Plus, I included board games and glasses of wine in this Valentine's Day Gift Guide for obvious reasons. #IGotYou

    My advice to you is to enjoy their company by playing Monopoly over wine. It will not exactly be a relaxing experience, but it will sure keep you entertained! Also, make your mom happy by getting her these gorgeous glasses of wine you can start using right away or this beautiful coffee mug she may need in the morning after all that wine. 

    Also, is there anything more Valentine's Day-ish than heart shaped everything?! I think not. No matter how much you hate this date, you have to admit this pillow looks pretty cozy and this ring tray will definetely bring a smile to your mom's face.  

     

    If you're spending valentines day alone:

    If by any chance you end up spending Valentines Day alone, good for you! In the words of my sister: "You are a strong independent woman!" If you would like to treat yourself to something, I would suggest just adding to your cart any of the items listed below. Because you damn well deserve it girl! 

    Now I want to know about you! How are you spending this Valentine's Day? Any plans? Let me know in the comments bellow. Also, don't forget to sign up for my newsletter here! I'm sending out cool stuff to your inbox every other week. 

    Until next time, 

    María Elena

    PS: Want to make ambinity better? If you have the time, it will rock my world if you fill out this survey. Thank you so much! 

    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:

    What's In My Bag | February 2016

    Fashion, Lifestyle, BeautyMaría Elena RodríguezComment
    louis vuitton speedy 30 whats in my bag

    This what's inside my bag will undoubtedly be a little update on how the KonMari Method is definitely life changing (hence, the title of the book). Honestly, when I was reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and read that part in which the author says that she actually takes all of the stuff in her handbag out and puts them in a box all lined up in vertical position, my initial thought was: Ain't nobody got time for that! So the fact that I've been doing this (and loving it) for the past month and a half is very surprising to me.

    First of all, I threw all the stuff that I didn't need off my bag. And trust me, there was a LOT of junk in there. My mother swears that is the main reason I have scoliosis.  So after that, I categorized everything I actually needed in my life in different little bags that fit perfectly inside my Speedy 30. So here's an overview of how it's organized:

    • The "Wallet" - I decided to go for a simple pouch. One thing the KonMari Method taught me is to simplify/ minimize my belongings. I have found that having a traditional wallet may not be the best for me because I tend to overstuff them. Not with money, sadly. So I was thinking about purchasing a cute credit card holder like this one maybe, since I most definitely never carry cash with me (which I know it's a huge mistake). So when my mother in law gave me this Coach pouch for Christmas I thought this was perfect for me. I can take it alone if I'm going to the grocery store and just wear it on my wrist which is very convenient and stylish, don't you think?
    • The Eyeglasses & The Sunglasses - I like to switch these around during the day depending if there is sunlight or not... duh! I recently purchased these from EyeBuyDirect.com and I'm loving them! Not exactly the fastest shipping compared to other online eyewear stores I've heard about, but the quality is amazing. I am specially loving the sunglasses, which I believe are a perfect dupe for a pair of Prada sunglasses that I've been eyeing for a while. Compared to what I would've paid for those Prada ones, I invested less than $150 on a pair of sunglasses and eyeglasses with my prescription.

     

    • The Emergencies Bag - This is the bag with a mini size deodorant, hand cream, makeup removing wipes, hand sanitizer and Advil (the only over-the-counter pain reliever that actually works on my menstrual cramps). Need I say more?

     

    • The Tech Cables Bag - I got this little gray bag with some earbuds I bought from a recent JetBlue flight. Since I paid $5 and the bag it's actually kind of cute and has an interesting shape, I decided to use it as a charging cables pouch. I carry this with me everywhere since it contains a life saver portable charger, an iPhone cable, the actual earbuds I purchased from JetBlue and my Fitbit charger. 

     

    • The Makeup Essentials Bag - Meaning face powder, a basic eye shadow, a mid-day life saver concealer, Glossier's the Balm Dotcom and a versatile lip color. 

     

    • The Bag for Those Days of the Month - This is the bag with the "Oh what fun!" quote on it. You see what I did there? ;) I only take this bag with me when mother nature calls, so I don't carry all that weight with me all the time. It contains pads, tampons, panty liners, Summer's Eve wipes... you know the drill. 

     

    • The Bag Holder - Because lets face it, who would put a precious Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 in Damier Ebene in the floor?! Certainly not me, who saved up for her dream bag for quite a few years. I finally got this bag pre-loved (for a really good price) and I couldn't be more in love with her. This is my trophy bag and every time I wear it I know I earned it with really hard work, which is exactly why I always wanted to buy it. So this baby is not going to be touching the floor (or anybody else) any time soon.

     

    • The Keys - I know everybody takes their keys with them, but here's a little fun fact: If I don't have a cute keychain (like the little gold one I got from Boveda in Old San Juan a few years ago), I like to use a hand sanitizer keychain with my car keys. That way all my germaphobes needs are satisfied al day, errday

     

    That's it! That's what I carry with me almost every day. I think it pretty much covers my everyday essentials. Now I want to hear about you. What do you carry in your purse? :)

    XO, 

    Elena

    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