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Bridging the Gap – My Lovely Life and More

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Bridging the gap campaign

Blurring the Lines and Bridging the Gap

It’s been said that when the soul is ready, the universe delivers to us manifestations in the form of insights, coincidence, or moments. If we listen and be still in the moment, we make a decision that often time leads us to opportunities, growth, and most importantly, new friendships.

Today, 200 influencers are taking part in an unprecedented campaign that unites the Millennial and Midlife demographics. This Bridging the Gap campaign exist to dispel societal boundaries that exist between women and form authentic relationships.  Influencers from each demographic are paired up to learn from each other through sharing life experiences, stories, and wisdom. This form of Reciprocal Mentorship, is at the heart of the campaign, all in the spirit of support and unity.

Meet My Bridging the Gap Partner, Terri Cordova-Hewitt

Terri and I met while preparing for a marketing event where  I was the event organizer and Terri’s company was the presenter. Our conversations quickly went from event logistics to the delicate balance between motherhood and business owners. She’s a seasoned entrepreneur and I was in the infant stages of my social media marketing business.  Similarly, Terri had just created, My Lovely Life and More while, I had been blogging for a couple of years. Together, we instantly gained knowledge and encouragement from each other’s journey.

 

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Entrepreneur and blogger are just two title’s Terri strongly wears. She’s also a Wife, to her husband Scott and a Mother to three children, ages 7, 11 and 23. This entrepreneur Mom and Wife is a first generation American. Her parents are immigrants from Peru and Cuba. Terri is an avid runner, loves finding serenity while boating with her family and has an extremely close relationship with her 5 siblings.

She describes her style as monochromatic and classic fringed with edgy vibes.  She loves fashion but it also has to work with her busy lifestyle. “Getting dressed should never feel like a chore”, she says. She’ll rock some heels and a trendy jump suit one day, then throw her hair up in a bun while wearing her Adidas Superstars the next.  Terri loves to find the latest fashion trends while shopping at boutique stores around Tampa. You’ll find this love for fashion and boutique finds on her blog, My lovely Life and More.

 

 

However, her blog wasn’t always about fashion and lifestyle. It started as a way for her to document her journey after having a baby in her early 40’s. For years she heard the gasps and surprised looks from others when they found out she had a baby in her early 40’s while her oldest was 23 years old.  She felt a need to encourage and let other women know – IT IS OK. Her youngest, Mila is now 7 and Terri, now 50 still smirks and silently chuckles when a comment is made about her and Scott’s choice to have a child in her 40’s.

What many of them don’t know is that before her youngest Mila was born, Terri and Scott lost a baby.  Ava Rose was delivered on December 2 2008. Terri’s third baby lost her life while still in Terri’s womb. The family dedicated a memorial plaque for little Ava and her siblings often talk about their guardian angel, Ava Rose, in heaven.

The Stories and Experiences That Bond

Terri and I quickly learned that aside from our hispanic heritage and entrepreneurial spirit, we are similar in more ways than we are different. Not only that but our paths crossed years ago prior to us meeting. While I was interning at Moffitt Cancer Center, Terri was working there as the Marketing Communications Specialist. Fate would have it that years later, we both found ourselves back at Moffitt for despairing reasons that were out of our control.

Four years ago, I received a life-changing diagnosis. A month after my 31st birthday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy, a double-mastectomy and radiation.  As I shared this with my Bridging the Gap partner, I learned that her Mother was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years before my diagnosis and received care at the same hospital under some of the same oncologists I did. 

You see, this is what this campaign is all about. Terri and I aren’t bound by our age, rather we are united by our experiences. In many ways I feel Terri is a kindred spirit. At the time that our paths crossed, we both were in the midst of a new beginning. I guess the universe was listening to the quiet call inside us both.  I can honestly say that Terri is a role model, mentor and friend. She exudes strength, perseverance, beauty and a gracious heart.  I promise you fall in love with your genuine personality and amazing fashion and style. One story that I love is how she describes, Starting Over in my 40’s.

 

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I feel incredibly blessed to be part of this unprecedented campaign and movement to blur boundaries and put an end to stereotypes. With influencers from 20 to 88, including women with Downs Syndrome to top Sports Illustrated Supermodels, this campaign is designed to be inclusive as we believe #WeareStrongerTogetherI would like to thank and commend all the women participating in The Bridging the Gap Campaign! I especially thank Catherine McCormick, the visionary behind it all.

I encourage you to go vist The Bridging the Gap Campaign and read the stories of other inspiring influecers!

October 17, 2017
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5 Ways Moms Can Fight Blah Days

fight-blah-days

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel zero energy. Days when mentally you feel like your emotions have flatlined? For me, going to work at the office usually helped that blah feeling.  However, now that I’m working at home with two little humans who I don’t have to fake it for,  its been much harder to get out of my mental funk. Thankfully, I have 5 ways  that Moms can fight blah days. This list could definitely be longer, but sometimes my attention span gets in the way of my writing.

5 Ways Moms (or anyone!) Can Fight Blah Days

Get showered and dressed.

If you know its going to be one of those days, don’t marinate in it! It’s much harder to pull yourself out of a funk when it’s 1pm and you’ve accomplished absolutely zero while lounging in your pjs. On these days, at the very least, take a shower and put some cute clothes on.

Play uplift music or listen to a podcast. 

I can’t say that this always does the trick, but it helps in conjunction with other things. My music choices that get me moving range from Hillsong to Britney to Little Wayne. Lately, I’ve been listening to podcasts that are specifically geared towards women, entrepreneurs and overall personal development.

Play with the kids or do some silly dances. 

There are times when playing with the kiddos seems like a tiring and daunting effort. Acting silly with them or playing their favorite game, often times lifts me out of my mental slump. My daughter who is 8, knows when I’m in one of my moods and bless her heart, she is the sweetest little thing when she tries to lift my spirits.

Watch YouTube – yes, you read that right. 

Getting someTHING accomplished is a start to a better mood.  Somedays I’ll settle for the dishes and cleaning the floors. Call me crazy but watching other people clean or organize their home really works. YouTube is filled with fun organizing and cleaning motivational videos. Based on the hundreds of thousand of views, there are obviously many of us who enjoy watching these videos.

Notice I said YouTube only. Jumping on Facebook or Instagram and seeing the perfect pictures and suspecting, my life is perfect posts… is the last thing you should do.

Shop, shop or shopping cart.

I’m not saying to self-medicate  by spending hundreds of dollars every time you’re feeling depressed. But there is something to be said about an impromptu shopping trip with a friend. Not only does it get you out of the house but it occupies your mind. On days when I don’t want to deal with strollers and tantrums, I’ll settle for online shopping trips. I’m known to add stuff to the shopping cart and walking away. It’s almost like shopping, just without the monetary commitment.

There it is – 5 ways you can fight blah days. As I’m finishing this post up I realized that I missed one very important thing – sunshine! If all out fails, take a walk outside for 10 minutes.

Busy Moms want to know – What am I missing that has worked for you?

 

 

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OTHER POSTS YOU MAY LIKE:

My First Month as a Stay-at-Home Mom 

 

June 26, 2017
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35 Lessons I’ve Learned in 35 Years

Posted in Inspiration, Life by
35 Life Lessons

Last week I turned 35. Thirty-five. That means I will now be checking the 35-40 box. With that new check mark comes many experiences and lessons. I decided to write about these lessons so I can look back a few years from now and either laugh or roll my eyes.

For now, these are my 35 lessons I’ve learned in 35 years.

  1. The misfits, troublemakers, square pegs, weirdos and creative kids can change the world. I’ve been called “weird” many times growing up and even into my adult years. My husband still calls me weird from time to time. It’s the best compliment he can give me.
  2. Family is always first. I spent too much time in my teens arguing with my parents. Then in my 20’s I was consumed in my relationship, college antics and partying. If your parents are still alive – spend time with them. Call them often and don’t hold grudges.
  3. Self-love and acceptance do get stronger as we get older.
  4. Don’t just take the pictures, get in front of the camera. Mom’s don’t have many pictures of themselves with their kids. I was trying to find a picture of myself with the kids and I had to go back almost a year! Pretty sad considering how many pictures I take.
  5. Get in the pool, swim in the ocean and play, play, play. While you are busy trying to cover up, your kids are having fun. They won’t remember your stretch marks or jiggly arms. Stop hiding and go make some memories!
  6. Not everyone who is in an executive position is a leader. The words vice-president, senior vice-president or even manager do not make someone a leader.
  7. Qualities of a good leader – visionary, listens, motivates, speaks with conviction and has contagious energy.
  8. If it doesn’t scare you or make you uncomfortable, then it’s too easy. Pick the harder class. Find another job if you’re not being challenged. Be the first to present.
  9. The world is a much cooler and happier place when you view it through the eyes of a child.
  10. Your parents are always right. This once annoying quote proves itself to be true more times than you care to ever admit.
  11. Confidence and kindness is always sexier.
  12. Your health isn’t always in your control. Control what you can – don’t smoke, limit drinking, exercise and limit stress. I can’t tell you how many health conscious women I’ve meet that got a devastating diagnosis. Do what you can and leave the rest to God.
  13. Guys are awful at mind-reading. If you want something, tell them. PS. I still haven’t mastered this at 35.
  14. When in doubt, always wear black.
  15. The biggest learning opportunities come from failures.
  16. Invest in a good mascara, foundation and face cream.
  17. Adopt a pet versus “buying” one or getting one from a breeder.  There thousands of animals that are homeless.
  18. Say yes today because tomorrow is never promised.
  19. You know that whole thing about starting to save early? I hate to say it, but it’s true. Thank goodness for early 401k options at work.
  20. Performing acts of kindness boost your mood and ultimately makes you happier.
  21. Viewing the world through the eyes of a child brings kindness and creativity into the soul.
  22. I have yet to see a perfect relationship or marriage. Every relationship has their secret battles and comparing     your relationship to others is a detriment
  23. 22. Gossip. It’s easy to fall into and it can be just as easy to kindly walk away.
  24. It’s ok to not belong to any one group. The more you try, the more disappointed you will be. Welcome to the land of the misfits!
  25. If someone you love is struggling with a hardship, addiction, or mental illness, approach them with love and compassion. Disappointment and anger are imminent so do your best to control the bad energy.
  26. God always provides.
  27. No one thinks about you more than yourself.
  28. Gratefulness brings peace and happiness to life.
  29. Every hard-working girl needs to buy an expensive pair of jeans and handbag.
  30. Moms really do love to talk about their kids.  I’m one of them.
  31. Say one thing you are grateful for, every day. The car, house, family, and clothes on your back are things we take for granted.
  32. You really can marry your best friend.
  33. Being diagnosed with a disease or illness will make some people around you uncomfortable. Many will pull back and disappear. That’s OK.
  34. You can never kiss, hug or cuddle with your kids enough.
  35. Being open to experiences, people and philosophies allow you to grow mentally and emotionally. It makes you someone who people actually want to be around.

 

35 Life_Lessons

            Viewing the world through the eyes of a child brings kindness and creativity into the soul (Lesson #21)

April 28, 2017
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My Path to Finding Joy and Gratitude

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finding joy and gratitude

Confession: I wrote this post back in February as, “My Biggest Lessons in 2016”. It has been sitting in my draft folder and as I’m sitting here with 50 or so topics swirling in my head and nothing appearing on my screen, I decided to revisit this draft one final time. No matter what, I’m hitting PUBLISH. 

We said goodbye to 2016 awhile ago but there are many lessons that I’m carrying with me into this year. With all that life has had in store for me during the past 4 years, last year was one of my most influential years for personal growth and awareness. During 2013-2015, I was in pure survival mode. It was the years of my diagnosis, treatment, a miraculous pregnancy and another very challenging circumstance (which I hope to share one day).

My life lessons from 2016 that are making 2017 the year of joy and gratitude.

Love and compassion wins.

When dealing with a loved one, friend, family member, or even a stranger on the street – being compassionate and loving them through a difficult time or situation is far more productive than hate or judgement. For me it’s not easy and I fail 50% of the time, but the awareness is there.  My husband was in his own realm of hard circumstance and lessons. Through this, I realized how much more I was capable of giving in terms of love, compassion and support.  This applies to the my children too. I see their dramatic antics and cries through a more understanding and patient lens. Overall, 2016 forced me to become more mindful of my thoughts and words. I can’t say this enough – dealing with a difficult situation with love and compassion is more productive than hate and anger.

What I wanted from life started to unveil itself.

My cancer diagnosis was May 2013 and it wasn’t until this past year that I started realizing the impact it had on me. Thoughts and feelings that I’ve never had or experienced started to surface. My view on motherhood started to shift. My two little humans were amazingly growing up before my eyes and there was much more mothering to do. I wasn’t as present as I would’ve been. It became harder and harder to miss field-trips and early pick-ups.  I was questioning my career and wondering if I was still finding joy in it. In December of last year I found this amazing necklace at a local retro/bohemian shop. With it’s repurposed adornments and amazing words, I fell in love with it!  And $72 later, it was mine.  It says, live the life you always dreamed. Why is this relevant? Well, a few months prior was when I started to plan and work towards a major change in a certain area in my life. You see, the universe has a way of giving you signs that the direction you’re going – is the right way.

Fear is a dangerous thing and leads to complacency and quite frankly, an un-fulfilling life.

I’ve let fear control many aspects of my life.  Coming out of a cancer diagnosis just made it worse. I was operating in “safe mode” and making sure I didn’t rock the boat in any situation.  For example, back in 2015 I scrolled right past a writing opportunity because of the “fear” that I wouldn’t get accepted. Then, in 2016 I applied for the same opportunity and got accepted. In September I was asked to be part of the Seek and Speak Your Story  series at Moffitt Cancer Center.  This led me to speak in front of a group of complete strangers about my cancer journey and life lessons twice! One of those times was at the Powerstories Theatre in Tampa. Talk about some scary AF shizz!

Joy has taken on an entirely new meaning for me because of everything that has become in the last three years. Maybe I didn’t even know what Joy was.  Until my heart-opening year of 2016,  personal growth wasn’t even a priority for me.  At most, I was caught in the crossfire between that and professional growth.  Hopefully, not everyone has to go through some hardships to truly realize what joy and gratitude look and feel like. I sometimes wondered why my diagnosis didn’t affect me more emotionally and physiological (aside from the occasional anxiety and panic attacks). I was kind of like, THANK YOU GOD I survived, now what?

Well it did. It just took some time to surface. These 3 things are it. For now.

March 27, 2017
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DIY Command Center

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command center

DIY stuff doesn’t normally top my list of things to do but a new home will do that to ya!  I’m being very mindful to keep the clutter to a minimum. Too much stuff and I get into “mean mom” mode and that’s just not fun for anyone.  My main motivation for the command center, was to de-clutter my dining room table and kitchen counter. This Mama needed her space back! I was also tired of picking up backpacks near the front door or even better – the middle of the floor.

Since we don’t have a foyer, our dining room table became the dumping spot for everything as we walk in the door.  Another downside to having no foyer or entry way is finding a home for  backpacks and baby bag.  Naturally, I went to Pinterest for some inspiration and easy solutions for the dumping madness. I came across many command center boards so I combined a few ideas and made it fit my family’s needs: mail, calendar, chore chart and a space to hang notes or receipts.
command center

Where to shop

Where did everything come from, you ask? A mix of all my favorite stores – Amazon, Michaels and Home Depot! Ok, so maybe Home Depot isn’t necessarily one of my favorite stores  but it is for my husband. The family sign and the backpack hooks are both from there. I have to give him credit for making the backpack hooks! As you can see,  the backpacks now have a home!

The dry erase board is from Amazon and doubles as the school lunch calendar. We allow Gianna to eat a school lunch once,  sometimes twice (for those real crazy busy weeks) a week. She only likes a handful of lunch meals which includes, pizza, nachos and spaghetti. So when school is serving one of these three meals, I add it to the calendar. The cute chalkboard frame can be used a menu. I like it as a place to post important reminders or inspirational and motivating phrases. The wire baskets are from Michaels or you can find a mail sorter on Amazon that fits your space better.

 


 

My favorite item on this wall is this piece which I found at a local arts and craft market.  It works perfect for our dog leashes and dry erase markers and pens. I thought about painting it but I really love the natural wood. This cost me $15 and is probably the most expensive thing on this wall. I love it!

 

 

So is this command center working? Yes. The piles are less and I can see my table now!  There are still days when I have to remind my little one to hang-up her backpack. But at least there is a place for it now. Another plus to this command center is that we have very little paper on our fridge. This just makes me LOOK and FEEL organized, so I’m happy with it!

March 16, 2017
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