Friday, February 5, 2016

One couple's biggest regrets after a decade of marriage!

His (1-5):

1. Not vacationing sooner with my wife. I met a woman who loved travel. This defined her. My sweetheart stopped traveling when we got married and began having children. I hadn't realized she was sacrificing part of her for us. Now, we travel at least once annually (sometimes up to three times a year). What's important to her, is important to me.

2. Not admitting we needed help sooner. Once the newlywed haze faded, my marriage had issues I thought we alone could fix. I didn't think we needed outside help. Eventually I understood our church, friends, family, and even own self-improvement (books, retreats, etc.) was meant to make us better at this whole marriage thing and the struggles that came with it.

3. Not understanding sooner that my wife wasn't here to cater to my needs and my needs alone. Everyone has their own messy life to get through, it isn't her job to fix me. It's my job to fix me. 

4. Fighting about the fight! How many times does a fight start and the reason it started gets lost mid-fight? Before you know it, you're fighting about crazy things said during a fight, someone's tone, or even their silence. This is an exercise in futility. You end up going in circles likely escalating an issue and losing sight of why it began.

5. Not embracing sooner the work it takes to really make a marriage work. Dating folks and newlyweds have it easy (or at least it's suppose to come easy in the beginning), but hard work is required to make marriage last over the long haul. It took me too long to understand this, and once I did, I was better at being the best I could be for me, my wife, and our children.

Hers (6-10):

6. Trying to change my husband! At first, I didn't realize I was always trying to make my husband "more like me". I had to stop demanding he be anything other than himself. For instance, he HATES washing dishes. Nothing I do or say will change that. If that's so then why the hell did I spend years fighting about dishes? This is the same man who would gladly do 8 hours of any labor intensive work. Screw having him do dishes like I always do. We are different and that's good in so many ways.

7. Making my husband the bad guy after every fight. I often wanted to place blame on my husband when things went wrong or we disagreed. It was a sad reaction. A reaction I wish I was aware of sooner. Now, I stop when arguments get heated and do my darnedest to admit when I am wrong.

8. Not consistently showing my husband how much I desire him. It feels like he wants sex all the time. Truth is that's not the case. He wants to feel desired and I can damn well show him often how much I love and desire him with not only sex, but my words and actions. Authentically expressing my desires for him keeps him happier, more connected, and connection is one of my biggest needs. It's a win-win! 

9. Pretending we were something we weren't when things were hard. Early on I wanted to hide every detail of what went wrong with us. There was no need to hide it and become alienated from loved ones because of it. I am now proud of our battle wounds. After I began sharing the real struggles of our marriage with confidants, I felt more sincere in my life, and how we lived it. Plus, our lessons can help others going through similar challenges. Oddly enough some challenges began to go away the more transparent we became. There's a lot of growth in honesty.

10. YELLING! I've done plenty through the years. It never ever works or ends well. I still yell from time to time, but I sure as hell understand I am hurting communication instead of helping it.

What have you regretted through the years?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

You ruined that crying baby by picking them up...

or did you? New research debunks the theory that picking up crying babies will spoil them. A researcher from Notre Dame studied 600 hundred adults and concluded: "cuddles matter." Babies who were cuddled grow up to be healthier, happier, more well adjusted adults.

Interestingly enough my roomie-mother-in-law and I were talking about how great we believe it is for children to witness affection among their parents to learn connection firsthand. During this chat, I began to ponder my family structure. My parents were NOT close or cuddly people. In fact, they were troubled and violence was prevalent in their marriage. In turn, my siblings aren't very outwardly affectionate from what I see in their longstanding relationships. I'd say some are even troubled in adulthood due to the lack of loving connections in our youth. 

To that point, I wondered what made me different? I am the cuddle queen usually all over my hubby. To me, it doesn't matter who's around, I love PDA. Yet, I was raised in the same family as my less affectionate siblings.

realize now this difference could come down to birthorder. I am the youngest of six. I can remember feeling totally embraced and cuddled by five older siblings and two parents. Little did I know this was creating the future well-adjusted me. I cried a lot like any other baby, however, in my home there was no shortage of helpful hands willing to cuddle me. This in turn made me a cuddlier. My children are huggers, kissers, and all together mushy with those they feel close to likely because this was a part of my upbringing. Luckily, research shows this is a good problem to have.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

15 lessons learned after 10 years of marriage...

1. Marriage is fucking hard until it's not. Don't give up on it. You'll never know if you were "two feet from gold." Early in my marriage, I literally hated my husband (and myself) after plenty of kicked out, dragged out fights. We both acted like our previously unmarried, immature selves, and until we got the immaturity out of our systems, marriage was taxing. 

2. Sex is important. Don't stop having it or being good at it. Life will try to sneak up on you and steal your intimacy. Fight back tooth and nail. That bitch doesn't deserve a moment of YOUR orgasmic bliss.

3. Stay sexy! This isn't about being something you're not. Be you. Doesn't matter the skin you're in so long as you love the shit out of you. This love of you gives you the confidence to love hard outside of you too.

4. Haters gonna hate, especially on love. If you've worked hard on your marriage to make it look easy, then you're doing it right. Through it all, you'll be complimented and criticized (of course, the latter usually happening behind your back). Be attached to none of it. The haters will hate and the cheerleaders will cheer. Do you, do each other, and leave it at that.

5. Eventually I had to accept it, I am not always right. I come from a strong family of hardheaded mo-fos! Marriage taught me to drop my cool and stop trying to win every debate. Things got easier when I stopped closing out the world from my righteous bubble.

6. Marriage isn't a fairytale, but I won't settle for anything less than GREAT. It is never selfish to get consistently better at marriage. Sure, you could have a good marriage, but good is the enemy of great. Go for great, always.

7. Kids consuming your life kills sex drive and intimacy, so keep those boogers at bay. Do whatever it takes for them... feed, cloth, love, protect, and all that jazz, but never EVER make them the center of your marriage. You and your spouse come first.

8. Throughout marriage you'll lose friends, not to worry. Marriage will take your time and focus. It will disconnect you from some and connect you to others. Go with what feels right. Now, I don't mean to say become friendless, but friendships WILL change. Find authentic friends who will influence your marriage positively even if that means having a smaller circle of great friends. 

9. When "push comes to shove" be the real you... the most "ugly" and vulnerable you. In that rawness, marriage gets bigger and better. It's okay to emotionally fall apart with each other, if not with one another, then with who? Plus, it's this breakthrough in connection that takes weakening unions to the next level.

10. Protect boundaries: sexual, emotional, and physical boundaries alike. Pushing boundaries can be dangerous for the sanctity of good love. Proceed with caution. 

11. Everyone pushes their OWN little red wagon. This isn't 1952, men AND women do housework in 2016. Together they made those babies, so they sure as hell get to raise them TOGETHER. Besides, to me, there's nothing hotter than a guy doing handy work. Today, I witnessed my hubby bathe our son while simultaneously hosting a tea party and reading session with our daughter. SWOON!

12. Safeguard against contention. You know that couple that passive aggressively snaps at each other and sucks the air out of the room? Yeah, don't be them. They're headed towards Splitsville. Studies  have shown that contentious marriages are deteriorating marriages with a high probability of divorce. Project yours from such a slow and malicious death.

13. Don't compare yourself to other couples. Avoid looking outward for validation or direction. Look inside yourselves where your unique struggles and strengths lead to the perfect rhythm for a lasting relationship.

14. Your children will marry their parents. Be the best example for them. Those little sponges are watching where your union is weak and where it is strong, so be very careful not to model disaster. They deserve better after all. If you don't settle for a crummy marriage they won't settle for one either.

15. We're never done learning or changing. My marriage is only ten years young. As it evolves and changes, so will we. With that, I embrace change with every passing day. Still change is often uncomfortable and hard. That doesn't make it bad, so I'll accept it as it comes and evolve alongside it.

What are the lessons you've learned in love?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Cheap Dates: Valentine's Day on a Budget

I remember the days my hubby and I didn't have much discretionary income. We lived paycheck to paycheck, but a girl like me still expected a nice gift and/or date night especially around holidays. In these situations cheap dates were better than no dates at all. For a Valentine's Day on a budget, keep things simple, but romantic options open:

• Sunset or Sunrise Hike: surprise your loved one with a romantic trek along a local/scenic trail. Bring along $2 buck chuck (wine) from Trader Joes and other delicious Trader Joes snackems. There's so many good deals on seasonal fruit and veggies. Bring a nice journal along that you've kept moving up to this date... add all of your feelings and all that mushy stuff that makes for a great sentimental gift. You can also address the journal and gift it with the caveat that once it's filled it is returned you - the gifter!

•'Volunteer together: there's nothing better than giving back. Use Valentine's Day to give to great causes. This is not only cheap, but worthy of your time. Fun volunteer activities include beautifying a local community garden, creating care packages for troops via local nonprofit orgs., or picking fruit together at local apple orchards. These fruits are often donated to local inner city groups. What a great way to share love and give back.

•Lavish dessert: a great way to enjoy a fancy venue is to visit without any intention of paying for a pricy meal. For instance, cook a great brunch at home then make plans to share dessert at a five star joint. This works well at a casual 5 star hotel bar known for impressive cityscapes or beach front views. Enjoy the romantic ambiance while saving on a pricy full course meal. This is an especially cost effective plan if you celebrate one day early or late (avoiding Valentine's Day crowds is an added plus).

What are your cheap date ideas???

Monday, February 1, 2016

Vacation Review: Bali, Indonesia

I just returned from an unbelievable vacation abroad. When thinking about a vacation destination, I knew I wanted something scenic, romantic, and affordable. In the end, Bali Island in Indonesia was just the ticket!

Sure, the plane ride is a long one from the US but that's nothing a little red eye, and a short lay over to stretch and recoup, can't fix. We left at 11pm, slept all night, and after 13 hours landed in Taiwan, five hours from Bali. This strategy worked well to break up a long flight time.

Next, we didn't stay in the tourist saturated parts of Bali. This is what I highly recommend unless you're looking for a "Cancun Spring Break" party feel. That ambiance is fun, but for us, that meant spending only one night in Kuta, Bali to relive our party days.

The next part of our trek took us to Jimbaran Bay. This is seafood central as well as the luxury hotel zone. We only spent two days in this area and it was gloriously scenic. For a moment of lavishness, order a huge lobster ($80-$125) to enjoy at the world famous beachfront fish markets or have lunch/dinner at Sundara at The Four Seasons Resort. This is a view that will take your breath away.

Our journey ended in Ubud, Bali. This is the most magical interior part of the island where you will immerse yourself in culture, art, romance, and scenic landscapes. We stayed in an unbelievable private villa with a private pool, outdoor shower, and floor to ceiling glass walls to feel as those you're sleeping in the actual jungle. Samkhya Villas are a true gem (google them)! Everyone there literally learns your name and is at your service 24/7. In fact, everyone in Bali is respectful, attentive, and kind-natured. This is an absolute pro!

Bringing me to the 'Pros and Cons' in a nutshell...

1. Cheap (hotel, food, and spa prices are unbelievable)! I enjoyed multiple 1-hour spa treatments spending only between $9-$14 dollars, yes $9, for a 1 hr. treatment. Our villa was less than $90 a night. This included a hefty and delicious daily breakfast. Mostly all hotels offer breakfast with their hotel stay. Read reviews to ensure other guests liked the food options.
2. Food choices and quality: plentiful and delicious options are at every turn (also inexpensive in most cases, this is clearly a theme in Bali).

3. Unbeatable Service: it's unreal how much this makes a difference. I am thoroughly impressed with this aspect of our trip. The Balinese people are truly some of the kindest I've ever come across. Plus, those working in hospitality outdo themselves. 
4. Safe and clean: no doubt this is an added bonus when traveling anywhere. The entire visit was relaxed and trouble free.
5. Everyone knows English: who doesn't want to communicate easily to ensure ease of travel?
6. Culture at every turn: the Balinese are deeply traditional people. There was history and culture oozing from every part of the island which is deeply devout to Hinduism. The sense of family and community is essential to the way of life in Bali. I came away with profound introspection after learning about the rich cultural traditions of the Balinese.   

Cons (I had to think long and hard to even come up with some):
1. Long flight, of course.
2. Wifi not always strong (but for a vacation meant to unwind and refresh, this just may be a pro).
3. Public transportation is minimal. However, private drivers for hire are a great alternative and they're very cost-effective. Make sure to push back if at first they quote you high fares. They'll work with your budget.
4. Mosquitoes: but hey, they were on the island first. We've invaded their space, so I say, embrace it (with plenty of repellent handy). Honestly, it was manageable.

Bali was truly a magical journey. The cultural influences were the highlight for me. There's so much to experience. For our 10 yr. anniversary and my 35th birthday celebration, we couldn't have picked a better destination for romance, scenery, and fun! 

What are some of your favorite vacation destinations and why?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Movement Mondays

Gina Rodriguez is a fantastic award winning actress. She is beautiful and more importantly insightful and socially conscious. So when all this talk about the Oscars lacking diversity started, she did not sit back quietly. She took to the powerful tool of social media and made a statement and a movement.

More specifically she started what she calls "Movement Mondays". The concept is to support Latinos culture in all medias. Every Monday, Rodriguez has vowed to highlight a Latino in the industry. Her hope is that by highlighting these people the Latino community will help support them. Without the support Latinos cannot move from the background. We need to show the industry that we want to see Latinos as pop stars, writers, and leading actors.

For her first #MovementMonday she choose to highlight Oscar Isaac.

Gina encourages us all the post on #MovementMonday. I love this idea of showcasing Latinos in the media. It is a great way to show support and find me Latinos to love! 

Thursday, January 28, 2016


I admit as a grown-up I have had an issue with Barbie. When I was growing up I loved Barbie, she was the standard of beauty and I can remember being sad because I knew that I would never ever look like her. I was not tall, blue eyed or blond. Of course as an adult my standard of beauty has changed. Now the most beautiful woman I know is my Mom.

When I had my girls I did my best to keep Barbie dolls away from them. I never wanted them to feel that in order to be beautiful you had to look like Barbie. And now all these years later it seems that Barbie is finally understanding the diversity of our world and this spring are releasing a campaign called #TheDollEvolves and new set of dolls.

There is a "curvy" doll, a "tall" doll, a "petite" doll and an original doll. The idea is that girls will be able to find a doll that looks like them or the people around them. The Barbie company states..

"This is just the beginning. From offering products that feature more empowering and imaginative roles to partnering with best in class role models, we believe in girls and their limitless potential. #YouCanBeAnything"

We think this is a step in the right direction!