Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

Saving for College is Possible: 5 Tips to Get Started!

I’ve partnered with Fidelity & MEFA for this post in support of the U.Fund Dreams Tour. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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My baby will be in the 3rd grade in the Fall. The THIRD grade people. It’s scary to see how fast she’s growing up and into her own young woman. Just last week she got her very own email address! In my first email to her I asked her to stop growing, to which she responded “I will grow one day. You can’t stop me.” Yep, my heart completely melted. There is so much to plan for now that I often forget to look ahead. My life is very much in the present and doesn’t leave room to consider planning for future events and happenings like college. And while I’d rather my 8 year old stay young and innocent forever – life cannot stop just because I want it too and I have to be smart about planning for her future now. Part of that planning includes saving for college.

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You may have seen a colorful tent at some local events throughout Boston and beyond. Within the walls of these U.Fund Dreams tent are opportunities for kids and their family to experience their dreams like never before. This past weekend my daughter and I visited the U.Funds Dreams Tent at the WGBH FunFest in Boston where we walked away with some information on how we can get started with saving for college and our college savings options.

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Doesn’t she look excited?! These Dream Tents encourage families to see their children’s dreams come to life through interactive activities, educational information, and a green screen. Yep, like the ones on movie sets! Whether your youngsters dream is to become an architect, astronaut or teacher the dream tent wants kids to dream and dream BIG while realizing the sky is the limit! I want to support my daughter in whatever career she decides to pursue, but one thing is clear. I won’t be able to support her higher education without some savings to get her through.

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The great folks over at Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) know how scary and overwhelming saving for college can be – but want you to know that it’s POSSIBLE…with some planning of course! Below are five tips to get you and your family saving for college:

  1. Develop a budget that includes a college savings plan.
  2. Use a notebook, spreadsheet, or smart phone app to track personal and household spending for a week to identify areas for savings. Next try tracking your expenses for a month.
  3. Save money on lunch. Make a double-batch of dinner & wrap up leftovers to take to work that week.
  4. Save for a short-term goal, like a family movie night. Show yourself that savings works, then aim higher.
  5. Put some of your tax refund towards college savings.

I know I’ve got some SERIOUS work to do to build up my daughter’s college savings. But I’m happy to say I’ve already started. It’s not A LOT, but it’s started and that’s something! I’m sure a few of the tips many of you have already implemented, but like many of us, just need to be more consistent.

How do you and your family save for college? What tips would you share with other families? For 5 more college saving tips from MEFA be sure to CLICK HERE!

Happy Saving!



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Celebrating New Beginnings with #TargetWedding & $25 Target GiftCard Giveaway!

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.

Love is in the air these days. The cold and dark of winter is finally fading, flowers are blooming and there is happiness in the air. It’s been exciting to share in the joy of friends who are recently engaged, planning a wedding or welcoming in a new addition to their family. I guess you could say love is in the air for me as well, as I’m beginning a journey with someone I hold near and dear to my heart.

The #TargetWedding Registry is pretty phenomenal and is all about celebrating ‘being yourself together’ and with a variety of items you’re sure to find the perfect gift for your loved ones upcoming nuptials…or you’ll find lots of great finds to add to your own registry!

While a wedding for myself is not on the horizon, I’ve thought a bit about my dream wedding, from what I’d wear, the guest list, and all the fun of celebrating such a special time with the person I’d want to spend the rest of my life laughing with and the Target Wedding registry is full of great items I could see being useful in a marriage.

One of the things I look forward to most when I get married is date night. One on one time with my love to relax and unwind – though with an eight year old date night I’m sure wouldn’t always be possible. But I can improvise and I’ve chosen a couple of products from the Target Wedding Registry that would be perfect for date night indoors.

What’s date night without a little something sweet? With the KitchenAid Ultra Power 4.5 Qt Stand Mixer we’d make my famous and super delicious semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies in a breeze, kicking off our date night in.

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While we wouldn’t have a waiter to deliver us chilled wine, we’d select a couple bottles of our favorite wines and enjoy them in the beautiful Threshold White Wine Glasses as we began to unwind and enjoy each other’s company.

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When the cookies were done we’d cozy for a fun game of Scrabble (by the fire preferably) where’d I’d second guess every word my partner thinks is legit :-)

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Rainy Day Date Night. Yes, I’m looking forward to that!

And because I love Target so much – and love is in the air I’m giving away another Target e-giftcard – this one is for $25 and its super simple to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Learning to Love Yourself While Battling Depression #DayofLight

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The #DayofLight: Bringing Depression Out of the Dark is a movement aimed at bringing awareness to depression. Today those who have struggled with depression share their experiences and resources and stand together.

This is my story:

I can’t remember how old I was, maybe 7, when I witnessed my mother’s depression suffocate her.

I was only able to glance into her room, her brown body still in the bed, before the ambulance came. Though she survived, we never talked about what happened that day, but I knew. As the youngest of four I was often shielded from the dark realities of my single mother’s struggle to survive and her battles with depression. At that young of an age I didn’t understand why she acted the way she did – why she was cold, mean, unable to show me deep affection, why she prioritized her boyfriend over her children. And I realize now that my own battle with depression began through witnessing my mother’s struggle.

I didn’t need a medical provider to tell me that what I was feeling was more than an overwhelming feeling of sadness. I knew that the feelings that were taking over me were much deeper and scarier than just being sad.

Growing up we didn’t discuss feelings. My mother’s goal was to raise strong independent black children. We would grow up and soar and fly without needing help – without showing fear. When we didn’t act accordingly, there were severe consequences. So when these dark feelings grew within me, I acted as I was taught. I hid them, concealed them, kept moving forward with a smile on my face. Because showing any kind of weakness, especially as a black woman was unacceptable.

So I moved forward, on the outside a shining image of a strong single mother, helpful, attentive, outgoing, and happy. I gave all that I had to making other people happy that I had nothing left for myself. When I’d get home and peel off that mask, and looked at myself in the mirror I hated who I saw staring back at me. She was weak. She was fragile. She was suffering. She was fat. She was ugly. She couldn’t do anything right. I mean who would get pregnant at 19 with someone who didn’t even love her? Who would seek out men’s affection because she had never felt real love from her parents? Who would consider self-harm as an answer? Someone weak.

I hid my depression and later my anxiety attacks from everyone. No one knew that I was leading a double life. I couldn’t let the truth escape because I didn’t want to show how vulnerable and scared I was. I didn’t want people to think I was a basket case. I wanted people to believe that I was fine, that everything was just great. That that smile I wore during the day carried on at home. I had to conceal the truth. No one could know that I would sometimes spend weekends in bed crying thinking about death. No one could know that I’d drink myself into a stupor just so I could stop feeling so damn much. No one could know that I didn’t find pleasure in anything anymore. No one could know that I thought I’d be better off not being here.

Read the rest of “Learning to Love Yourself While Battling Depression #DayofLight” over on The Young Mommy Life.



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Kleenex, There When you Need Them!

As many parents, my heart grow ten times in size when I gave birth to my precious little baby girl seven years ago. She is literally part of my heart detached from my body, she is the most amazing little person. Ever. As her primary caretaker I am there to help her, teach her, encourage her, and console her.

Since she was 6 months old she has been in a form of daycare or schooling as I’ve had to work and up until last year work and attend school. While her being around kids for so long has built up her immunity, it has also led to many runny noses, many fevers, and coughs and colds. I try my best to be proactive during these colder months, but it’s inevitable that she’ll get sick.

When she does I’m right by her side nursing her back to good health. What makes my princess feel better? In our house it isn’t a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup or tea. Like most kids, she wants to snuggle up with Mom, and loves the extra time we spend together. I share stories with her from her childhood, funny things she used to say and do, and we look at picutres of her as a child. And oddly enough this is part of the healing process for her. It’s the cutest thing. Ever. We also swear by Kleenex products, as they are reliable and soft on her little nose. Their care pack is a great gift to someone not feeling the best, and is like a dose of get well in a box!

I’ve shared what works to help nurse my little girl back to good health, and I’d love to hear what works for you and your family! In addition, you can win a Kleenex Share Pack – a large box of their tissue brand! Entering this giveaway is easy enough – the mandatory entry is to leave a comment describing what works to help nurse your loved ones back to good health. You can earn an extra entry by liking the blog’s Facebook page, please leave that in a separate comment. This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on Monday December 10th at 4pm!

 

This post is sponsored in collaboration with Kleenex and Latina Bloggers Connect. All the opinions expressed here are my own.



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Celebrating Latinas at the #SMlatinas event at Pio Pio!

Last week I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Blog Her conference in the heart of The Big Apple – more on that in another post. The highlight of my time in NYC wasn’t the conference surprisingly, but rather a party before the event, the Stiletto Media Kick Off Your Heels Event at Pio Pio Restaurant.

I’ve been part of the Stiletto Media (#SMlatinas) group for awhile now, and was so so excited to meet some of the ladies I communicate with regularly through social media in person!! The event was an opportunity for us to network, make new friends, and celebrate being latinalicious bloggers!

In addition to endless Sangria, delectable hors d’oeuvres, and glitter tattoos there was friendship. I met Migdalia the powerhouse of Stiletto and fellow single mom, Lourdes a friendly latina who made me get my first glass of Sangria, instantly clicked with Gloria another former teen mom, Sili my silly Sili with an electric smile, super friendly Maria who welcomed me in with a warm hug, Rachelwho was just too cool for school, beautiful Heiddi & super sweet Eileen!! Along with many more, we posed, we drank, we laughed, and most importantly we supported each other.

Listen, getting a group of opinionated ladies together doesn’t always end well. But in this instance, in this atmosphere, we were one big latina family. There was no pressure, no cattiness, there was acceptance. I’ve struggled for a long time figuring out where I fit in, there was no doubt I was supposed to attend this #SMlatinas party and meet the wonderful ladies that I did.

In my busy day to day life I don’t give myself the opportunity to kick back and enjoy with friends, and I’m so glad I did. I brought out the hot pink dress (representing Stiletto!) and the heels for this event! The pictures just begin to tell a story of the fun we had, it was truly a night to remember.

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HUGE thanks to our generous sponsors Sweet Pickles Books, HP, COVERGIRLAvocados from Mexico, and Glitter Tattoo NY for supplying us with awesome goodies to take home!! Many thanks to the photographers, videographers and Migdalia’s oldest son Karl for taking snapping great pictures of us throughout the night!

Stiletto Media is an amazing sisterhood connecting influential latina bloggers with creative voices and experiences. If you are interested in joining this sisterhood please visit Stiletto Media, and be sure to connect with us through Twitter by using the hashtag #SMlatinas

SMlatinas, stietto mediaDisclosure: As a member of the Stiletto Media Blogger Network, my trip to the VIP Latina Blogger Event was sponsored, but as always, my thoughts and words are my own.



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