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Summer 2017 Favorites

LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
summer 2017 favorites

It's amazing to think that I spent half of this month cruising around Europe. So I find it particularly interesting that my Summer favorites mostly consist of experiences, cleaning pods, books and a very big splurge I did in Florence, which sounds even fancier than it was! Not my usual makeup and skincare favorites! I guess it's safe to say my skin has been having a break this summer as well. 

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

I've had this book in my wish list ever since it came out three years ago, so during my connection flight in JFK I immediately grabbed it, making my 8 hour flight to Paris and dozens of bus rides much more bearable. I loved how Roxanne is so raw and honest about some very personal and private matters in her life. In her essays she talks about growing up privilege in a mostly white school, dating, misogyny and racism in the media and even the power of being privilege as an immigrant, young black woman.

I couldn't put this book down during my flight to Paris and read it during all our bus rides around European cities, making this experience deeper than I thought. I am recommending this book to all my girlfriends. 

Here's an excerpt from my favorite chapter of the book:

bad feminist roxane gay how to be friends with women

Grab Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay here.

Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM

Remember when I talked about how some luxury brands are cheaper in Europe in one of my last blog posts? Well it happened, I finally purchased my Neverfull. I was planning on purchasing this bag when something big in my life happened but once I knew how much money I would be saving by buying it in Florence, I did it! 

I'm loving this bag, because just as the name suggests, it is never actually full, you can keep throwing in things and it still fits a tiny human. The down side is that you need a bag organizer to make it more functional and since it is so big, you have to be careful on not over filling it. Other than that, it is the best every day/ work bag. Highly recommended. 

Grab a pre-loved Louis Vuitton Neverfull here. (Sadly, still not as cheap as I got it! Even in Euros)


meaningful growth planner, kate spade agenda

I have always loved agendas, wall calendars, Google Docs and everything stationary. I am obsessed with finding the right organizational tools. So since I have been so busy this year posting once a week, hosting my very first blog event Offline Saturdays while keeping my fulltime job, I've had to come away with some clever ideas to keep organized:

  • I use my Meaningful Growth Planner as a daily to-do list. I also love that it has a schedule so I can keep track of all my meetings and appointments. 
  • My Kate Spade zipper planner works as a personal agenda and a wallet. I can't leave my house without this! 
  • Thanks to Mari Nieves from Pink Studios, I am currently also using Asana as a project management tool. If you and your team have any big project coming up, this will be your BFF.  It helps you assign to-do lists to each task and even sends you reminders when a due date is coming up. The best part? It's free! 
en los zapatos de valeria elisabet bernavent

I don't know about you, but I have this weird thing with novels. I have to learn about the author before I actually buy the book. If I know I would like the author based on his/her bio, I will immediately buy the book and this case was no exception. I was drawn to a stack of books by Elisabet Benavent and something about each of this books made me want to know about the author.  So once I learned she is in the communications industry just like I am, I knew we were a match made in heaven!

I have been loving En Los Zapatos de Valeria because it feels like a Spanish version of Sex and the City. The main characters are four girlfriends that even though they have very different lives, they get along great. They are witty, sexy and funny. Just a perfect beach side read. Highly recommended.

And shout out to The Bookmark in San Patricio Plaza for helping me find the rest of the saga in Puerto Rico! They seriously went above and beyond to help me. 

Clean Cult

clean cult detergent pods

I  received this Clean Cult Laundry Detergent Pods pack at the beginning of Summer and have been using it ever since. According to their website these pods are toxin free ingredients, high efficacy rating, zero fragrance, and water soluble film that works in any laundry machine at any temperature. 

If you have or know someone with highly sensitive skin, this will be your ideal laundry detergent. 

Grab your pack here. You can even sign up for their laundry plan, so you can receive a pack regularly. 

What are your Summer favorites?

Until next time, 

María Elena

23 Organization Tips from a Wedding Planner and Multiple Business Owner

Lifestyle, CareerMaría Elena Rodríguez25 Comments

Remember Zahira Domenech? The destination wedding planner I interviewed a while back for a career profile? Well she's back in Ambinity, this time with her new business venture (because this #girlboss clearly can't have enough!), The Meaningful Growth Planner. A planner she created in a moment in her life where she needed to make some changes in her personal and professional life. She knew that she needed the energy to create an action plan that would bring positive results to her life and others. 

"The Meaningful Growth Planner is not just any other agenda. It's a lifestyle, a new perspective and a new way of investing your time and energy in creating positive results", explained Zahira. "Now you can organize your ideas, goals and next steps in just one place", she concluded. 

Photo Credit: Jose Ruiz Photography

The planner is divided in three phases: The first one is called "New Beginnings", where you will work on your personal growth and prepare your strategies month by month. The second phase is the month's goals and action plans. And the third and last phase is a celebration of goals you achieved during the year. 

"These agendas were made for the woman who wants it all, including a life of plenitude. We designed every single page carefully and created a series of videos so that our customers can have a community where they will never feel alone during the process of achieving their dreams", Zahira explained. 

So I don't know about you, but I am extremely curious about how a woman does it all in these hard economic times. So without further ado, here are 23 tips Zahira taught me about being an organized and successful entrepreneur:

1. Start your day with something that makes you happy

Being a luxury destination wedding planner, Zahíra knows a thing or two about being fancy! "If I wake up early enough and everybody is still sleeping I like to do yoga. If not, the first thing I do is take a glass of wine and serve myself some Pepsi, even though I know this is not healthy! But I love everything around me to be pretty.", she said. So why not take out your champaign glasses and pour yourself some virgin mimosa (or not so virgin!) next Monday? 

2. Have a Priority List System

Since Zahira runs three businesses at the same time, she has a pretty busy schedule. But she has mastered it by keeping a to-do list of the top 3 or 5 things that need attention right away so she can prioritize her daily goals. 

Photo Credit: Jose Ruiz Photography

3. Keep a Personal Calendar

She also recommends keeping a schedule of your dates with your significan other, family and friends so you can prioritize the time with the ones you love. That way you can keep track of your work and play time.

4. Take your time to unwind and cherish it!

"My favorite routine before going to sleep is writing on my gratitude journal, something I've been on the habit for several years now", Zahira explained. She also enjoys also enjoys going through her affirmations list, praying and meditating before going to sleep. 

5. Don't wait for the perfect circumstances to take action

Zahira's tip for this is to go ahead and take care of what needs to be done, even if you don't feel like it. 

6. Try being a morning person

According to the wedding planner, silent mornings are her secret for being more productive during the day. So guys, it's time to rejoice "me time"!

7. Celebrate your progress

Even if it's big or small, it is progress and you should be proud. 

8. Learn when to delegate

If you're lucky enough to have a team, know when to delegate your tasks and tackle the ones that need your entire attention. 

9. Deadlines help you stop procrastinating

Whenever you feel like you are wasting too much time, make a list with deadlines of the things that need to get done asap. She even recommends putting a deadline on your daily tasks. "That way I can concentrate on getting what needs to be done in that time frame instead of having the whole day to complete it", Zahira explained. 

10. If that doesn't help you stop procrastinating, turn off all notifications!

That includes cell phone, social media, music, tv, radio, etc... 

11. Master the art of channeling stress through solutions

As a wedding planner, Zahira really knows how to handle pressure and stress from her brides. "I have to channel my client's stress into solutions, so I have learned to apply this to my everyday life", she explained. 

Photo Credit: Jose Ruiz Photography

12. Eight hours of sleep can go a long way

"I've noticed that whenever I feel tired I am more irritable and sensible to stress, so it is super important for me to rest and recuperate", Zahira mentioned. 

13. Always speak with the truth

Zahira has learned that the best way to not waste time and energy is to have a communication environment in her workplace. This keeps away all resentment and bad vibes. "No one can read your mind, and if you don't speak out, you may become defensive and anxious", explained Zahira.

Photo Credit: Jose Ruiz Photography

15. Learn to be inspired by anything

"Sometimes, when I am going through magazines I catch myself being inspired by words... it's so weird!", Zahira mentioned. She says that she has been able to project these words in new shootings, blog posts and even products.

The wedding planner also feels inspired by random walks, car rides, traveling and history.  "Learn to have your eyes wide open at all times while creating the life you love, and creativity will arrive in inexplicable ways", Zahira.  

16. Your business's visual representation is everything!

In this digital era, it is so important to have the right team of stylist, photographer and content creator for your websites and social media channels. That's why Zahira takes all of her photoshoots very seriously and coordinates every single detail. And no wonder! Just take a look at her website: http://www.zahiradomenech.com/

17. Have a Social Media Mission Statement

This may take a little bit more time, but it is crucial to be very well aware of your focus in social media. "For Eventus by Zahira, we have a SMMS of inspiring our brides to have a marriage more beautiful than their wedding, to inspire them to step out of the status quo and to use their personalities as a statement during their day. So everything that we post on our social media channels revolves around that mission", said the event planner. 

18. Invest your time wisely

Zahira claims that "when you invest your time with a clear purpose, you will never feel as if your life is going by without achieving your wildest dreams". 

19. Don't let anything stop you, not even a disease!

Zahira is a breast cancer survivor and has a condition called dysgraphia which makes her struggle with her writing. But none of that has stopped her for a second to publish her famous pouring-her-heart out social media posts.  "I know my mission in life is to bring a positive attitude to people even on days I don't feel at my best. It's not about projecting a perfect life", she added. 

20. You shouldn't fear money problems

When you are going to take a risk, you should be well aware that there is no turning back. And while that may sound scary AF, that is the only way to keep your eyes on the price and not let anything (not even money) stop you. "I know a lot of people will differ from this, but I do truly believe that money is not important, it is just a resource. If you want it, you can achieve it, and the economic circumstances shouldn't matter. All you need is passion and determination to thrive", Zahira explained. 

21. Break your tasks into small steps

Zahira has a great tip for when you are feeling overwhelmed: "Take really small steps so you can trick your mind into thinking you're achieving a lot in a short time". 

Photo Credit: Jose Ruiz Photography// Styling by Karisha Marie

22. Some business projects take longer than others, so keep going!

"I started creating Sparkle and Bliss in 2011 and it wasn't until 2014 that we launched. I also started to work on the Meaningful Growth Planner in 2013 and we are launching by the end of this year!", Zahira explained about never discarding an idea. Just keep working on it with conviction, because eventually, all resources will come by and the important doors will open. 

23. Look for a partner who understands your work pace

"My biggest blessing is my husband. He's always reminding me to manage my time and take time to enjoy our ourselves. He also makes me laugh a lot!", explained Zahira. 

So that's it guys! Hope you really liked this post. If you are interested in a Meaningful Growth Planner, you can pre-order yours here: https://zahiradomenechshop.com/ or enter the giveaway bellow!

Photo Credit: Jose Ruiz Photography


Want to win one of these fabulous agendas? Follow this single step: Write in the comments bellow 3 tips you use everyday to stay organized. Just remember you must be 18 years or older to participate! 

* We will be randomly selecting a winner on September 15, 2016. Good luck!!