Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Little More Faith, A Little More Fight

Sometimes I get happy when I think of all the situations that I've been through in my life. Not just because I overcame the situation, but for the situation itself. I've learned how to navigate through some tough stuff, push pass messiness, and come out on the other side triumphant.

A little stronger. A little wiser. A little better.

And all because of tough situations.  

I'm not talking about becoming a mother at an age when I was still growing up, figuring out adulthood, coming of age, and trying to create a career path that makes my soul happy. 

I'm not talking about when I made it through the toxic and abusive relationship with my ex and decided embrace this single mom gig.  

I'm not just talking about when I made it through graduate school as a single mother and got those two master degrees. Don't get me wrong, taking your two-year-old to class with you because you couldn't find a babysitter and didn't want to miss any of the work isn't easy.

But it's not impossible either.


I'm talking about tough situations and circumstances that took place in my life before I peed on a stick and found a positive oh-my-freaking-goodness-you're-pregnant sign staring back at me. 

I'm talking about laying on the couch with my birth mother as the marshal came to knock on our apartment door and evict us for not paying the rent. I'm talking about living in homeless shelters because we literally didn't have a place to stay. I'm talking about entering the foster care system and moving from one foster home to another because I was being physically abused.

The odds to succeed were against me. But I beat those odds.


I learned how to endure and I learned how to perseverance. I learned to have a little more faith and a little more fight. I learned that if I could just make it pass certain hard times, things will be better on the other side.

I knew that something good was going to happen if I just worked hard and excelled in school. I figured out how to be self-sufficient and solve problems at a high level. I learned the importance of being proactive and re-grouping and re-strategizing when things didn't go well the first time. Or second time. Or fifth time. I learned that defeat was a time to get back up again and start back over again. 

Resilience. It's damn near half the battle, right? 

Hard times helped me to learn that I need to have a little more faith and a little more fight in me. It taught me that it's okay to feel a little frustrated and a little downtrodden. But then it's time to get back up again and push pass the struggle. 

A little more faith and a little more fight. Sometimes that's all it takes to get to your success. 

{This post was originally published here on August 14, 2013.} 

Monday, August 25, 2014

{Personal Style} Watermelon

Ever since I bought my tuxedo trousers, I've been figuring out ways to pair it so that it'll look stylish and sophisticated. So when I scored this fuchsia sleeveless blouse, I knew that pairing it with my green moto-inspired blazer would be kinda perfect.

Speaking of perfect, let's talk about these Prabal Gurung for Target pumps being the perfect match! Love it!

The fuchsia and green is color-blocked to perfection, reminds me of watermelon (one of my favorite summer fruits), and definitely makes me feel bright and summery during these last few weeks of the season.

What do you guys think of the color combo?!

Hope you all have a great week! Stay stylish! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Teaching Kindness with

One of the biggest things that I encourage the teachers in my school to do is to not only teach our students content and curriculum, but character and social skills as well. I love that I can give them tips and tricks that'll help our students to not only be intelligent little people, but also caring and loving and kind.

Because, you know, that's just as important as any academic learning.

And I definitely try to teach Aiden these traits as well. Through planting seeds and being an example and, quite simply, just letting him know when he's made a wrong move and needs to be checked for it.

It's working. So far. And that's a pretty good feeling.

But I can always use more help and hope and resources in that department.

Luckily for me (and you!), has a slew of child-friendly flicks that'll help parents instill the core value of kindness into the little ones. Aiden's old-time favorites like Arthur and Super WHY! are great options with tons of lessons that kids will pick up on quickly.

There are a couple new flicks on that I know Aiden will love to learn from.

Rudy, a feel-good movie about a boy who dreams of playing football at Notre Dame, is a great example of just how anyone -- big or small -- can make a difference. It's perfect for school-aged kids (especially those interested in sports!) and makes for a great conversation starter.

A Mile in His Shoes, a very inspirational movie where the talented pitcher suffers from Asperger's syndrome, teaches the powerful lesson of love and acceptance. And, let's not forget that it's also sports related. (Somehow sports movies are choke full of inspiration and feel-good moments.)

What movies do you stream on to start conversations about love and life, kindness and acceptance, and how to be a caring friend?

{Disclaimer: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team Ambassador Program, this post is being sponsored by Netflix. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day of School: Style Edition

skirt, blazer, blouse: H&M | bag: MARK by Avon | 
shoes: Banana Republic | stacked bracelets: Stella&Dot 

It feels like just yesterday that I was helping my teachers pack up their classrooms, hugging my students, and wishing them a fun-filled summer. Today, I'm welcoming them back to school for the 2014-2015 academic year. And I'm doing it with style and grace.

Behold the first day of school outfit:

I'm kicking the year off with a very simple and classic navy pencil skirt, matching blazer, and bright yellow blouse that'll add a pop of color. I'm also adding a trendy statement necklace to jazz up the outfit a bit. Oh, and I'm wearing my new fave shoes: stacked pumps that I scored on sale at Banana! Woot! They are absolutely perfect for walking around a school all day long.

And, of course it wouldn't be a great first day of school with a "good luck" hug from my main little guy. He starts school in about two weeks and I can't wait to show him the same amount of love and encouragement that he's shown to me. (Totally my definition of team work!)

Even though school's starting, I'm still in a Summer mindset and I fully intend to soak up every... single... ounce that's left of Summer. I'm already planning another beach or pool day this weekend and outdoor dining will take place well into September. #JustSaying

Anyone else starting school this week? Student parents? The kids? If so, wishing you lots of love and luck!

Stay stylish!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Determination to The Tenth Power

"Mommy, where are we going today?" 

It's Saturday. And usually I have something planned for us to do since I'm trying to make the most out of our summer staycation, but today I've got nothing. 

"Umm... I dunno. What do you think we should do?" 

"We could go skating at Pier 2." 

He's only been skating once before with his very expensive summer camp and he loved it. As he should because it's costing me a million bucks it's supposed to be a magical experience. But... He didn't actually learn how to skate that time. I could already see him falling 20 times, but what the heck... It's summer! I'm here for it. 

"Sure! Let's do it!"

A few hours later, we're at the skating rink and, as I'm getting our tickets and gear, Aiden declares, "I'm gonna learn to skate today." 

Umm, okay. 

"That's great! All you have to do is keep trying." 

He goes around the rink with the skate walker and, as I predicted, he falls down about 15-20 times within the first half hour. Each time, I flinch and wait for the tears. But they never come. He just gets back up again, grabs onto his walker, and keeps going. 

I give him some pointers to help him glide and balance better. (I've known how to skate since I was a kid.) Keep your feet hip width apart. Bend your knees. When you see yourself losing your balance, stop pushing your feet and just glide. Back up straight. Look forward. There you go. You got this! 

After a while, he chucks the skate walker to the side and attempts to skate on his own. To no avail. He falls. Hard. I flinch. I brace myself for the tears. They never come. He gets back up, shrugs his shoulders, and says, "I thought I could balance on my own." Then he laughs. Then he grabs the skate walker for a little more practice. 

He keeps going. He's sweaty and scarred, but he only leaves the rink once -- for a drink of water. When he gets back into the rink, he gives the skate walker to one of the staff members. He puts on his wrist band and starts going. Slowly and carefully. Then he picks up speed and goes around once. Without the walker. Without falling. 

Then he goes around again. And again. And again.  

He falls two or three times within the next hour, but he gets back up again and keeps going. He's got a look of focus on his face and he means business. 

Determination. To the tenth power. 

I'm so proud of him. Not just because he's learning to skate, but because he keeps going. He doesn't give up. He's got it in him to do the damn thing. Everything. Anything that he wants to do. All I can do is stare in awe and, of course, videotape it. This is a moment that I'll want to remember. 

And please believe I'm gonna use this as an example for everything else that he finds hard. 

When he's frustrated with tying his shoes? Remember that time you were so determined that you learned how to skate? 

When he's struggling to sound out big words? Remember that time you preserved so you could learn how to skate? 

When he wants to quit a sport because "it's too hard!" Remember that time you kept trying and trying... and you learned how to skate? Remember how proud you felt? Remember the big smile on your face? Remember that you kept talking about it for days, saying, "I can't believe I learned how to skate!" 

Yeah, that. 

"Fall down seven times, get back up eight." The eight time is what makes the difference between success and failure. That level of perseverance and resilience is exactly what I intend to teach Aiden. 


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