Beauty Tips From Paris

Sep 28, 2016

Simplified beauty


Off With It - Bob Talk

Sep 26, 2016

Ive reached such a special point in my life. Bravely and strongly, I can confidently say that at 24, I do what I want, regardless of your opinion (smiles). To say it's always been this way would be a flat-out lie, but it has been this way for some time now. I think it happened shortly after becoming a mother. I've spoken openly about how much I've changed internally and mindfully. 24 years is so young, but it is a long time. Never in that time, did I once desire short hair; not even if my long hair was dead or damaged. It happened two days before my 24th birthday this year. It was extremely spontaneous! I had an appointment to dye my hair black again because I've hated how quickly and exaggeratedly it has been fading since going back. Roughly 4 minutes away from the salon, I searched "short blunt bob" on Pinterest and it took 4 images to convince my heart. My mother-in-law was the one taking care of me and when I showed her what I was thinking she really doubted anticipation, as she's very aware of my love for long length. She asked me so many times if I was sure about it. I'm pretty sure she was almost hesitant, haha! Facing my reflection I knew I wanted it. I just knew it. But it was there... the uninvited stillness and paralyzing feeling of fear. When I looked into my own eyes, I looked the fear as well and I told it it could go away because I wasn't taken back by the thoughts it was trying to manipulate me with. I could laugh at the concept of acceptance now and society's perception of glamour and beauty. This does not live in how short or long a woman decides to have her hair. I told my mother-in-law to go in and I was very precise about wanting a sharp blunt cut and having it rest right on my collarbone. In all honesty, I actually wanted the cut a little higher- but for the sake of this first-time experience, I just went with what I was positive I wanted. And so she began to cut. I let her concentrate and quietly watched her measure and remove my length. 

About 5.5-6 in. later, here I am. I have not felt so sexy and so sure of myself in so long. I can now confirm I would and will go shorter! I started finding my mid- (or long) hair pretty boring. Beautiful, but boring. The short length definitely brings out an edge. Its chic, sophisticated, fun, fearless, so feminine in its own way, and needless to say, incredibly easy to manage. I honestly cannot even bare the thought of blow-drying or styling long hair right now. It's also just so different when it's worn with genuine comfort and confidence! I remember having to cut my hair once due to damage and being so unhappy about it. Looking back at who I was then to who I am now, my unhappiness came from the stripping of security the length provided for me. Whenever someone I knew cut their hair short I loved seeing them love it, but more often than not this isn't the case. The majority of women complain about the change and regret it (or cry) within hours. Sometimes I'm left to wonder if this is really because they "hate" it or because it brings us out of our comfort zone due to common society standards... In the Dominican Republic (where I was born) long hair is everything. It always has been and it seems like it will always be. For years I just haven't seen this change, and if someone cuts their hair its typically looked down upon. My only question is WHY?! Short hair is like... so much more stylish! 

Anyway! I truly love this new look and how I'm refining my taste more and more. I'm excited to wear an effortless, almost-undone style. If you follow me on Pinterest, I have some pins saved of short bobs I'm obsessed way! 

Simplify Your Wardrobe, Amplify Your Style

Sep 20, 2016

3 tips


Honest Convo: Fix Your Thinking

Sep 16, 2016

Its utter irony to me how having a picture like this could be perceived as "thirsty" (for lack of a better term) by some very low-minded individuals. If it attracts perverted attention, then I feel sorry for that perverted mind and I have nothing to do with it. Although I see absolutely nothing wrong in keeping up with your own sensual energy and looking/being desirable, this isn't about that. Its about the fact that whatever you're thinking of me is none of my business. How you think about anything is your weight and your problem. Its about me confidently radiating genuine beauty in a natural and sophisticated state while going unworried. 

I've come to love every part of me so deeply; especially after becoming a mother. The appreciation I have for my body has less to do with wanting to being wanted or accepted by anyone else. My breasts, for example, are a raw symbol of sustaining and feeding new life. As a mother, I provided the best source of nutrition possible for my son during his infancy, which surpasses anything else they could possibly stand for. To be woman alone is something I'm incredibly proud of and for the first time in my life I'm finding strength in my physical character, allowing me to feel beautiful without the ever-so fleeting illusion of perfection. I'm no longer a slave to the cult of the perfect body or the perfect shape. If I'm doing anything to look better, it's because I want to FEEL better internally and prolong my health. I no longer complain and sigh about the fact that I'm not perfectly fit, but rather do the best that I can while gratefully living in this body (which I'll probably be wishing back for 10 years from today). 

To anyone out there loving themselves and getting some degree of shit for it, ignore it and do you. You have one life to live and one body to take care of and love. Its not fair for you to live on your tippy toes just because mindless people project their own worries and insecurities onto you. Don't let anyone plague your mind, standards, values, and beliefs. Be the you that you create and continue to refine yourself. Know that regardless of irrelevant opinions, there's still a particle of God that lives within you


Lessons & Ideas with Children & Minimalism

Sep 15, 2016

After diving into my minimalism journey head-on, it didn't take long before I realized this was one of the best ways to parent as well. After reading on it from so many different resources, hearing testimonies, learning the statistics, and finally experiencing the lessons I put to the test in my own home, I knew this was something I wanted to involve my child. It's a lifestyle. Having been raised in a fairly well-off hardworking middle class family, I'm very familiar with having everything I pretty much ever needed in terms of material. I couldn't tell you how often, regardless of having it all, I suffered from chronic depression. I had things, but I didn't have much experiences growing up. The appraoch my husband and I are taking in raising our son is extremely opposite from anything I've lived or known: 1. Living with intention. 2. Trying our best to live with no clutter.

Before I became a parent, I was confident I would never spoil my child for the sake of. I've honestly never seen any positive outcome in spoiled children. From what I've seen, they become extremely demanding and self-centered, often times selfish, overwhelmed, and also grow distracted, lacking a sense of appreciation. I'm not saying this is always and 100% of the time, but personally, I've seen one or the other; if not multiple of these effects in children who's parents just give them anything and everything whenever it is demanded. In my opinion, this is an excellent example of not-so-good parenting. Its one thing to perhaps give your children quality-gifts, its another thing to have them control you and not know what "not now" or simply "no" means.

A huge aspect of this is not only living with less, but living with true intention, control, and appreciation. I'm so glad I caught on to this while my son is still so small, because I think its easier to start this now, then it would be to start it later. I practice minimalism with Noah in two main areas 1. toys 2. wardrobe. This isn't to say I don't buy him much of anything, in fact, I find we are a lot more mindfully invested in the things we allow him to have and eventually choose.

3 Lessons 

  • Things don't equal happiness. The first person to literally say this to me was my mother. It couldn't be more true. Society places such an emphasis on the 'necessary' and truly misguide people on their discernment of needs vs wants. Be grateful. We literally don't NEED anything but food and water to live. Everything else is a luxury. Your toilet is a luxury. Your light and electricity, your air-conditioner, your heater, your microwave. These are things at our disposal to make our lives more convenient. If you're reading this post and you're anywhere in a first world country and you think running water is a standard thing I highly recommend you do some research. You are truly blessed- and with all due respect- a little ignorant. People seem to get so offended with the word ignorant, but really it just means lack of knowing and that's okay; as long as you get in the knowing and enlighten yourself! If you have a running toilet, clothes on your back, food in your fridge, you're already richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in the bank, your wallet, or even spare change, you're in the top 8% of wealthiest in the world. Shocking, huh?
  • Intentional Purchases. I don't buy anything "just because" for ourselves nor Noah. It is truly the most pointless thing and you might be thinking "duh", but so many people shop mindlessly on a regular basis. Take a random sale, for example, you didn't really need it, its was just 10% off this week so you grabbed it. I'm all for a bargain, just be more mindful. When buying toys for Noah, especially now at such a developmental stage, I research thoroughly and opt for things that will enhance and refine motor skills, imagination, balance, mindfulness, critical thinking, and independent learning. 
  • We control our things; our things do not control us. By default, when we become too reliant on material things we somehow start to convince oursleves we "can't live without them", when in fact, we very well can. It happens all the time and I'm guilty of this- especially with my phone. I don't want my child ever feeling enslaved to any material thing or even entitled to it. I want him to know and understand things are just things; they come and go just like everything else in this world- even life itself. 
If you're feeling overwhelmed with your belongings or you notice your child is incredibly distracted and/overwhelmed, jumping from one toy to another while also forgetting about the other for weeks on end, I suggest you give some thought in the concept of simplifying. I think its extremely sad that the idea of "rich" to some people is a 5,000 sq ft. penthouse, having a yacht for the weekend, affording a rolex or any car at all. Lol. It is truly mindless. That's abundance and luxury on a whole other level. We are so very rich right this moment with the ability to read this content online and brush our teeth as soon as we're up in the morning. Its all a matter of sense and perspective and there's nothing more beautiful than seeing a human- at any age- being able to acknowledge that no one needs x, y, and z to be happy or secure. 

Invest in experiences - this is so worth it. Spending a family day away from electronics and "things" is always an eye-opening experience. Whether it costs us some money or nothing at all with a visit to the park- I believe the beauty lies in the simple things and the things given to us by default: nature. When we have experiences to look back at in life we could potentially and almost instantly feel so refreshed and revived. 
Encourage imaginary play - one of the best things a parent can do is be there to enhance the imagination of their child and simply pay attention. Think about all of the things we could never have today if it wasn't for the magic of imagination. If you think deeply and look around you, just about every single man-made thing came about because it occurred to someone through their imagination. There is truly no limit and nothing is impossible. For some time in history, millions of people thought it was impossible to communicate with someone on the other side of the world... then someone had an idea that would play around with frequency and sound waves and the telephone came about. Think of the evolving form on the telephone alone. Cell phones! Did you ever think you would dial someone without pressing a physical button for every number that must be dialed? These touch-screen devices are incredible. All because of someones imagination and idea. The list is endless. Humans land on the MOON for God's sake, but lets simplify this is to put the magic of imagination in perspective. The device you're on, the plant nicely potted near you, the horn beeping through traffic, the airplane flying us to different parts and soils in the world, the delicious smoothie you're craving, the special thanksgiving dish your grandmother is the best at making, Disney, bikes, swings, pens and paper! I mean, at some point someone in our past seriously thought it was time to stop writing on rocks and soil with sticks and said, "hey! let's create some writing material and utensils!" creating millions of stationery addicts like myself. I mean seriously. Don't underestimate or undermine the power of imagination. Everything starts with a tiny spark of thought and idea. Give children the time and space to think. The possibilities are infinite. 

Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil

Sep 14, 2016

This is a beauty review post, but fffffirst of all, I'd like to congratulate my love, Tamira, for winning the Best Beauty Blog bloglovin award! When she text me, "we did it!" I was soooooo incredibly happy for her and just tried to picture her little heart and eyes bursting with emotions upon the call of her name. If you haven't read my post to and about her, you can do that here. She's is truly deserving of this and so much more! Her creative eye and quality of work never disappoints! Congrats, my love!

Onto this Maracuja situation... growing up I had really oily skin and refrained from anything that contained excessive oil in fear of walking around like a light bulb. Any product I was to use for my face had to have serious oil control. I would say in the last 3 years or so I've educated myself on how the body produces its natural oils and found out that by trying so hard to constantly dry or mattify my face, I was actually causing myself to over-produce oil. Yeah... fail. Since becoming a mother, a lot has changed- even from within! My skin has actually become more normal/combo which I could appreciate because I find balancing it has become a lot easier. However, some days my skin is actually drier than normal and this I find a little frustrating. I realize how I would much rather deal with some degree of dewiness (or glow if you will) and pat it down with a pressed powder if it bothered, than to have flakes of dead skin on my skin.
I found there were endless benefits to lathering the skin with oil and for the sake of this posts length I'll save those details for a more skin-related post, but after freaking out about my flaky skin, I decided it was time to switch things up in my routine and try what I once prohibited myself to this time around. The Tarte Amazonian Pure Maracuja Oil has become a daily essential in my PM skin routine. I thoroughly enjoy the warm and natural hydration on my skin and waking up with baby-soft face in the morning. This product is rich in essential fatty acids that have proven to recharge and replenish the skin. It helps even out the tone complexion as it is high in Vitamin C. It also has anti-aging properties and it is particularly exceptional at reviving dry skin. Personally, I've also noticed some improvement on the texture of my skin within weeks time after consistent use.


After my PM skin cleansing and moisturizing routine is set, I apply 1-2 drops on my finger and rub the oil together to warm it up prior to patting it on the skin. The oil is ever so gentle and I press it firmly all throughout my face and neck.

Editor's Tip: The travel size version of this product is more than enough to give it a shot and see if it works for you. It is significantly less expensive than the standard size and a 1-2 drops really does go a long way.

Honest Convo: Embracing Yourself

Sep 2, 2016

Every now and then I become incredibly disappointed in social media, but then I realize its really people behind social media. If there were no people, there would be no social media. Don't get me wrong- I think it has its pros that outweigh cons, but sometimes one con makes me question if its all worth it: cyber-bullying.
Recently there was a huge hype online over Alicia Keys basically embracing her natural beauty. I really couldn't believe the negative responses out there and I didn't comment on this immediately because I really wasn't happy about it. I really have yet to hear about something more ridiculous than someone getting on someone else for their CHOICE of simply being make-up free- whether for one event or every event in their lives. Since when has it become our place to judge someone for their choices? To completely disregard their feelings and put them completely down for choosing a specific route? It seems like the majority of people feel entitled to this since the beginning of time. I found it incredibly wrong for people to give her crap for that. I feel like Alicia was under the radar for a while and now I'm seeing her name in every other entertainment outlet- but its sad that its for this reason. I mean, all the high fives in the world for those who compliment her on it and shed positive light. That's amazing, but what really gets to me is the not-so nice comments on the subjects. Usually, I would rather focus on the positive, but the thing with this is to me these negative opinions are sad and absolutely invalid.

I am SO for this No Make-Up Movement she's on. I'm literally growing SO tired of coming across people with such an excessive amount of make-up to the point that they're like completely altered. Don't get me wrong- I love the idea of playing with it. There was a time in my life where its was all I searched and all I wanted to buy. I was younger and my bills were my phone and my car insurance. I wanted the biggest vanity room, the greatest lipstick collection, endless shadow choices, the latest of the latest, and then this fact slapped me: I have one face. The obsession eventually burned out and especially these days where it seems like every other video on Instagram is some girl or guy doing their contouring routine. I mean, quite frankly, I could really care less about it. I don't mean to make anyone feel some type of way for being into this if its their hobby or "passion" as some would say, I'm just saying its gotten a little too much. Yes, I'm a Sephora member and I have an Ulta card, I blog about products and give my honest opinion on them and I LOVE trying new things and learning what works for me and my skin. But beauty to me is about a lot more than the layers of foundation on the face and most glowy highlighter.  The focus here lies in someone bashing someone else for choosing to be without it.

I find myself somewhere towards the minimal side (ever since Glossier, honestly). These days I roll with some sheer skin tint and light bronzer and feel so incredibly comfortable in the slight imperfections that peak through those products. Its ok to have your options and opinions, but its not ok to talk so negatively and put someone down for choosing to embrace something like the way they naturally are. I think if you find yourself uncomfortable with that idea, you should check yourself. I say that with a gentle heart and much respect, because theirs obviously an under-lying issue. I remember a time in my life where I refused to go to the grocery store without hiding under a full face of make-up. Forget about a natural selfie or video. This didn't even come from a choice, but worse, fear. Fear just about leaves you with no choice. It controls you. It tells you what to do, what to hide. For a long time I wasn't comfortable in my own skin. I didn't appreciate the scars that told stories of everything I had survived- like the ones in the area of my left eye for example. Those faint scars tell a hell of a story! It reminds me every time of how I was hit by an 18-wheeler as a small and fragile child and almost lost my life- or my eye if I survived. By God's grace, today I have both, my life and my eyes. In addition to a more authentic version of myself and a heart and mind that loves who I am and as well as the reflection in the mirror every morning, regardless of the matters permanently in my past.

Embrace yourself. You really are so brilliant and so beautiful. Do not be unkind. Don't let days pass you by without complimenting yourself and someone else. Don't shame someone who's appreciating who they are. Maybe this post is condraticint... maybe I don't want someone to bash a choice, but maybe it sounds like I'm bashing someone who indeed prefers to bathe themesveles in pounds o makeup, but that isn't the case. The whole topic isn't centralized on wearing make-up, but rather not wearing it, and loving yourself regardless.

Editor's Note Fall 2016

Sep 1, 2016

I wish I could step out, smell and feel crispy air, while hearing the crunch of leaves with every other footstep. Sadly, I reside in Florida and it'll be a while before we experience chilly weather, but I am so grateful I really do know what that's like thanks to having lived more than half of my life in New Jersey. 
September has always been my most anticipated time of the year, not only because my mother and I have birthdays, but because of the magical feel the beginning of Autmmn brings. As a child and teen, September was extremely exciting because it was Back To School season and I have never dreaded that time of the year. For one, it meant school supplies shopping and for another it meant a clean slate, a fresh start, new friendships. As an adult, the September issues have me annoying my husband because I'll ask him to pick up the latest Vogue issue (along with every other Sept. print release) on his run for like, I don't know breakfast essentials or something, and I make sure he brings the neatest copy- with no bent edges or damaged corners. The content in these issues are gems and I'm always swayed by the photography and edits. 

Back in July, I briefly mentioned on Instagram I would take a blogging break and didn't know if to return in Aug. or Sept. I took August off (for the most part) to focus on drafting posts and organizing ideas for what I wanted on the blog this upcoming season. I have some things to introduce to you! You may or may not note that my navigation bar looks a little more full. Across the board, I now  have a major focus on 6 drop-downs: Columns, Lifestyle, Style, Beauty, Parenting, Gracing. Each of these subjects contain a variety of matters.  

Here's an update on what you can expect to read about these coming months

the contents...

Columns will consist of reoccurring content on the blog, such as Editor's Choice- monthly favorites, Editor's Note- a seasonal letter from me to you, Reviews- products or items in style, beauty, or child-related. Lifestyle will have a focus on interiors, food, blogging tips here and there along with my documentation and tips for minimalism. Style will consist of showcasing my style and tips. My personal style has evolved and I have definitely adapted minimalism there, too. Beauty will remain as it is, reviewing products, but I will also be incorporating more topics on hair and skin along with tips and hacks. In Parenting, I will continue to document my son's toddler stage and I will write more about motherhood. The lessons here will consist of personal growth that correlates with Noah's upbringing. Gracing is something with a twist. I have a few ideas up my sleeve for this concept. I'm not ready to release all of that info yet, but I will start Honest Convo (#honestconvovg) which will be an unfiltered and unedited, free-writing style of post on hot topics with my raw perspective and opinions on them. I'll update you with the rest as we go! Everything around here is just a little more direct and organized. 

For September, there will be new content Monday-Friday! I'm pretty sure I'm not going to keep that posting schedule forever since it is pretty exhausting to manage with a 1 year old, but I really want to try it. I will certainly announce a new posting routine if it changes for next month.

It feels like 2016 will be over before we know it. I'm embracing every bit of every day I can and you hope you are, too! I look forward to releasing something on an almost-daily basis!

© Gentle Maven.