September 30, 2013

Last Day for Libras

Dear September,

I want to tell you thank you for all the memories and discoveries you brought me. The amount of busy-bee work, sweet moments with friends via text, celebrating birthdays and my impromptu solo trips to the mall, Marshalls and Starbucks for my Venti Berry Hibiscus refresher, with lemonade, keep the water, half the sweetener, lots of ice. SLURP! Aaahhhh.... so good! Oh, and thank you for Barista Brianna (proper name),who works at the Starbucks just a hop, skip and jump from my work. Who by the way knows how to make my drink juuuuuuusssst right! Yes, September, thank you for her as well.

My days are long and my nights are short, but my mind is constantly full of check lists, memories and work-related projects that constantly have me envisioning my next move before my body can follow. When ever I feel this overwhelming amount of production, I can either do one, two, okay, three things (tops!) to resolve the tension.

My first option? Cry like a banshee (in Irish legend-a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death in a house.) Second option? Clean my closet. Not kidding. There's something incredibly therapeutic for me when I clean my closet.

Yes, it's a big journey ahead, but I feel ready to take on the world when I start sorting through piles of new clothes, clothes I'll never wear again, clothes to give away to the Goodwill and clothes that offer the "what was I thinking?" question that even Goodwill would send back.

Every time I slough off another piece of clothing from my wardrobe into a giveaway pile, I feel a sense of unnecessary thoughts, negative self-talk and gibberish from the critics in my life slough away with it. If either of these two options fail me, I enlist option three-- hit the gym! Yes, the gym. I have actually enjoyed the mental and physical release of losing myself in a world of sweat and iron.

My personal journey with the gym truly started in January of this year (2013), just after my sweet boyfriend ("E") purchased me a gym membership for Christmas just one month prior.

Now before you start thinking the worst of "E," just know he didn't seek to make a point when purchasing a gym membership as a gift. It wasn't until much influencing and assurance on my part that this was the one and only gift I wanted for Christmas, did I receive this gift. It was expensive after all, a two-year membership. (Watch out!)

Once I signed up and took the first step into the gym, I got nervous. In my eyes I was about 40 pounds overweight and hating every ounce of it. I lost myself in my concerns and worry of life, that I had over eaten and was under active in anything other than the tasking bicep curl of food-on-a-plate-to-mouth-movement my fork trainer supported me with.

It wasn't before long when a mirror became that ever cliche enemy, and my once favorite person became a stranger. I was irritated all the time, disgusted with myself, and cried crocodile tears for everything and nothing at all.

I was embarrassed to try on clothes or even stand next to my supporting and loving boyfriend."How did I get this big," I would often yell out. I would slap my stomach and not in the friendly slap a cute guy's butt sort of way-- No, I was slapping it as a mental reminder and self-inflicted pain type of way. Talk about harsh! But I didn't like it, and was mad that it was there. And then, it hit me hard. I didn't know how I was going to do this, but I was going to make the stranger in the mirror disappear.

As of right now, I'm currently down 13 pounds (inner cheer!) and have completed two mini goals I set up for myself. During this time, I have stumbled upon some great fitness routines, exercises and help from two savvy individuals right out of Southern California. Their names are Karena and Katrina and they have their own fitness and personal success empire that has grown into a large support system for girls all over the world, and I'm thankful to say I'm a part of their wonderful community. Check them out here: Tone It Up!

These two girls have both had their fair share of life-taunting and traumatic experiences. K&K have overcome many obstacles to reach their fitness, emotional and health goals, all the while belting out a few banshee crying moments I'm sure. But through it all however, they use the gym as their ultimate release and it's made a big impact on how they view the world, and let me tell you, it's changed my view of the world as well.

My gym days are my own. I allow it to be my "Lisa time." It's my one, or, two-hour freedom from life's worries and complaints. And you know what? It works! The tension around my neck literally melts away during each mile, pound of weight, jumping jack and minute spent working out. I receive the ultimate form of mental clarity and gain one step closer to my ultimate weight loss goal. (see what I did there?)

If you're stuck in a rut or not sure how to kick-start your fitness goals, I would say keep you journey light and airy. Pressing your mind with questions during a workout will only cause defeat, and when you battle the burn, the only thing that gets burned, is you.

I've learned this lesson the hard way, but have found that working in tandem with my burdens has allowed me to jump over each one and leave a fun trail of past memories and worry behind me. Good luck to all you goal-setters out there! You can do this. Be patient with yourself. Enjoy the trail you leave behind. You got this! ;)

oh! and just in time for a mini protein boost, these bad boys showed up in the mail!

Here's another shout out and a BIG Thank you to Perfect Fit Protein, K&K and the Tone it Up Team! for all your support! XOXO

September 27, 2013

All Girl, Day or Night

My Beauty Routine and Style


Here's my deal, when you work as a freelance beauty and fashion editor for a well-known publication, you're prone to test hundreds, if not thousands of products.


And trust me, I've had my fair share of skin irritations and reactions, sticky hair, swollen lips and well, the list goes on, but aside from my guinea pig experiences, I have to say, I've stumbled on some favorite beauty items that have worked their way into my morning beauty ritual.


Hope you get the chance to try one, two or all 12! It may seem like a lot, but when well placed and blended, it's a divine look that can be worn to work and texturized with the richer eye-palete shades to transform into an evening look.

1. My first step is to wash my face using the Clarisonic brush. This oscillating brush is ideal for cleansing your skin of dirt, grime and sebum, and sloughs off dead skin cells, allowing for a fresh, rosey appearance when finished.
2. Next, I use two small pumps of Philosophy Miracle Worker anti-aging serum and blend in a circular motion over face and neck. Now that I'm pushing into my early 30s, life is setting in and I need to take care of my money maker.
3. Right after the Miracle worker, I apply in circular motion, the M.A.C Mineralize Charged Water Face+Body Lotion.
4. M.A.C. Studio Finish SPF 35 concealer goes under my eyes, sides of nose and chin. You can apply anywhere you have dark shadows or red spots.
5. Apply, just like the face lotion and serum, the Smashbox BB cream. This five in one cream gives a perfect slate for your next steps.
6. Apply M.A.C Studio Fix powder plus foundation all over your face using the sponge applicator included.
7. I personally like to swirl M.A.C Tropical Taboo Mineralize skinfinish ont he apples of my cheeks and curve it ever so slightly up into my temples for a sweet glow.
8. With a light hand, Do the same thing with the Cargo Bronzer, or any bronzer to add sun-kissed glow. The shimmer from the Mineralize skinfinish will shine through. 
9. In soft, circular motions, add Smashbox Blush in Rush to just the apples of your cheeks.
10. Add the softest light pink of Smashbox 'Photo Op Softbox' Eyeshadow Palette to your entire lid up to the brow and then add the top left brown shimmer shade and lower far left shade in a plum/brown to the creases of your eyes blending outward for a subtle cat-eye. (sorry, I can't recall the names).
11. Finish off your look by adding Baby lips soft chapstick/moisturizer by Maybelline to lips; and
12. NYX Round stick lipstick (in Christie) layerd on top.

September 25, 2013

Leaning on Autumn

As the seasons start to shift, so do earthly possessions. A time of reflection is no lazy task.

In reality, you idly wait while your mind places a sudden hold on your limbs, and unlocks your box of memories. You start to think of places you've been, things you did and people you once knew or still currently know, while your mind actively participates through the threshold of each new scene behind your eyes.

As time continues to pass, the wall holding two hands starts to rotate clockwise. You are now fully submerged in a deeper dream of reality that host such things that only you and your best friend at the time would know. Such as those special tokens, letters or figurines  that you buried in the backyard for safe keeping, only to come back the next day and brush of the muddy residue and crawly creatures that were disturbed by your unexpected retrieval 24 hours later.

Life is funny that way.. it continues its movement while you stay steady in one place. Often times it can feel lonesome, unsettling and downright unfair. Just like that moment you lose your car keys just as you are about to leave the house.

Your heart starts to race, you kick into fight or flight mode and you immediately search your memory files for places you once were before leading up to this moment.

You curse every book and door knob during your search. Tossing magazines and flustering over clothes that have now spread out like a blanket on the floor.
"Awe." You sigh. "There are my keys," you mutter.

Life has been restored from your temporary loss, your blood pressure diffuses and your breath returns to a steady pace. You're now on your way...

I think losing someone you love so dearly is just like this. Although, the steady pace and temporary loss is without end, the initial fluster can set in and set you back a few minutes, hours or days.

If you're late for work, it makes others late, as they are now waiting on you. Does the same rule apply when we lose someone we love?  If they are no longer here, does our heart then become late for other love? The truth is, our heart was built to have several tiers of love. Each new person we meet, is placed within one of those tiers.

There is no mediocre love, but there is love that goes far beyond reach, holds an unconditional burning candle and provides an ache that can feel like torture. It is this love tier that holds only the finest of the finest in our minds devotion. The memories. The places we were. The moments we will never forget.

To all the loves that were lost. You are not lost at all and you will never be forgotten. You will continue to be my search beyond the field. I will dig you up, I will brush the dirt off your face and I will keep you in my safe box every day for the rest of my life; You will never be without my love, as you are my treasured token and top tier.

Dedicated to Andrew, Grandma Lorraine, Nana Fina, Papa Lloyd, Abuelita Rodriguez, and my dear friends and family who have all lost someone so close to them. May your tokens continue to shine.

September 19, 2013

Purple Fever

Color of Fall
Ok, ladies.. so here's the thing, I was feeling a bit frumpy lately and wanted to dress up. However, with the relaxed dress code at work, I didn't want to seem over done, so I paired my favorite wine colored blouse, with dark skinny jeans and bow-topped heels.

Gold accents are my favorite so I couldn't help but swoon over the gold zipper embellishment on the ankle of my skinny jeans and the black and gold drop earrings and heart necklace. Whalah! Instant style with a capital "A" for Attitude.

Purple Fever

September 17, 2013

The Heart of a Dog

Happy Tuesday! I'd like to introduce you to the love of my life, my precious four-legged daughter Bella Spimone (pronounced: Spuh-moan-ee). Like the Italian ice cream. Yes, she's Italian, too. Well, half, anyways.

To me, Bella has the heart of gold and the face of an angel. Okay, not quite like an angel, but her beauty pours out of her dark eyes and I am always drawn in to hug her, hold her, squeeze her and make her pound my fist with her paw, afterall, we are homies for life.

 I like to think that Dogs are a true source of God's love for us. Here's four points to prove my theory:

1. Dog is God spelled backwards
2. They NEVER judge you
3. They love you unconditionally
4. No matter how long you leave them throughout the day, the moment you come back to them they're waiting to embrace you.

To all my dog lovers out there, kiss that wet nose for me and remember to love your little guy or girl just as they are.

September 16, 2013


Black & Turquoise
An all black  outfit is my go-to look of choice when ever I feel the need to reconnect with my thoughts and zone out throughout the day. Not sure why it helps me do this, but perhaps something about the clean slate provides me a do-over of sorts. The hints of blues and greens from turquoise are perfect to add to this understated look, and while you're reconnecting in private,  adding a bit of color to your blank slate, will help keep the outer world from feeling disconnected from you, which is a good thing.
Black & Turquoise

Girl Time with Studs


Super Sweet
Swiftly introducing you into my world of fashion sense, I have been on hold for quite some time in regards to purchasing any new items of clothing, shoes or (gasp!) handbags. The reason? Saving up for a new car. I've had the same purple 2-door (yes, purple, a.k.a. my favorite color), since my first year in college. My sweet car is on its last leg, er, wheel, and far past a tune-up or oil change. Hence the spending hiatus.

In the meantime while working my anything but ordinary, wonderful job as a marketing coordinator in the field of outdoor and lifestyle products, I also have the luxury of working as a freelance beauty and fashion editor for a nationwide health and fitness magazine. I'll just call it, "Max" for now. I have worked for Max for about 7 years now.

Started off as an intern, the magazine has since grown into a family household read that is great for all ages and generations providing healthy snack recipes, easy workout routines, and the occasional buzz from me regarding fashion and beauty must-have items. This all leads me into my first fashion post, and is sure to inspire more to come... enjoy. :)

Today's inspiration comes from my own outfit. Choosing a loud blouse may seem daunting at first, but it doesn't have to be. It's all about softening a strong fabric choice with structured pieces and elegant accessories. Whether you choose a talkative pair of shorts, jeans or blouse, offset the look with basics such as white or black to allow your style to look clean and still work-appropriate. Adorn ears and neck with gold jewelry that is understated with simple diamonds, rhinestones, opals or pearls. This will set an elegant tone without looking bulky or overwhelming. You want your look to sparkle, not scream out fire sirens. Stabilize the look by adding a reddish-pink hue to your pout and nails for a look that is classic and chic. Girly and Feminine

September 12, 2013

Angels exist

"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." -Thessalonians 4:17-18

Today is a special day for me. Not because it's free-taco day at work, a holiday, or even a day off. No, none of those things bring the amount of emotion as today does for me, as today marks what would have been my Nephew Andrew's 6th birthday. What many do not know is that Andrew passed away 10 days after he was born. He was born two months early and with severe under developments in his heart and lungs. Although born pre-maturely, many children have the chance for survival, but when ailments develop within the mother's womb, the chances of living a long and fruitful life are not without problems, or are slim. Andrew was my first, and has since been, my only Nephew. I have no nieces at this time, so being an Auntie of Andrew is a high honor for me. My greatest achievement as well.
I can still remember the many miles I walked through the hospital halls at Loma Linda Hospital in Loma Linda, California. The NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit) became my permanent place of residence during the 10 days that Andrew was present with me. For those 10 days we lived together under one roof. I can remember the waiting room that housed the many relatives of mine that brought extra garments of clothing and pillows to sleep on the floors, curled up in chairs, or even slept in their cars, all waiting patiently for their next opportunity to visit with Andrew who slept day-in, and day-out in an incubator with medicine-tubes, feeding tubes, heart rate monitors, bandages and heat lamps all to help him produce healthy cells, feed his tummy and pump blood to his swollen body. Waiting was all we could do while our hearts beat anxiously for Andrew's survival each day.
"In the Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."-Romans 12:12
As I sat there staring at the ground; noticing each relative step in-and-out of the NICU where Andrew was being hosted, I sat stunned within my own fear. I was calm and chatter-free. I wanted to see Andrew but didn't want to go in with anxiety running through my blood. I knew Andrew needed me, because I needed him. It was my turn now. Everyone who had gone to visit him before was now going to grab lunch in the hospital cafeteria a few floors below where we were staying, and I just needed to see my nephew. I would eat later. Afterall, a grumbling stomach was no match for the love my heart was calling out for.
I suited up, scrubbed my hands and arms with antibacterial soap and entered into Andrew's room where he was patiently waiting for me. A light was beaming near him and a song of hymns was playing softly on a near-by CD player. His inked footprints were hung up at the foot of his bed, on the plexi glass that also surrounded him. Charms and prayer beads adorned where his feet were resting.
My sweet baby, his hospital tab tucked around his small ankle and wrist. he wore a diaper that was ever so tiny. His tummy was swollen and round, skin was dark and taunt from the stretching and over producing of blood his body was trying to make. His dark hair was shifted in different directions and he wore a thick pair of padded foam glasses over his eyes to help his comfort level. I gasped internally and let tears stream out. How could something so small fill up my entire world with love?
I reached over and stuck my finger into his palm, and that's when it happened. I was his forever. He squeezed my finger with all his might, and I knew his courage would teach me a lesson about faith.
"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14
Andrew was more than just my nephew, more than just my Angel, he was the presence of God in a small frame that hosted him. He was calm, very present and poured out this translucent love that saw no color, body type or sin. It didn't judge me, reticule me or banter. It didn't need to say anything for me to react with such emotion that swept through my entire body.
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, and the mountains quake with their surging." Psalm 46:1-3

Andrew was my source of love, he showed me God even through his tiny body full of pain. Andrew was beautiful and perfect to me. He is my love, my strength and my weakness. He reminds me of what love is and where the source of love comes from. My sweetheart baby nephew. You are my favorite source of love and I am grateful to you for all that you have taught me about love, life and death, because without death, that means there was no life, and without life, there was no love, and without love, there is only darkness, and a world with only darkness produces no growth, no love, and no life.

I love you Andrew. Happy Birthday baby boy. Auntie Loves you, forever and always.

September 11, 2013

If you were a novelist...

It's a girl thing, it's a me thing, but it's a thing... I am SUPER emotional. I get sensitive (sensi) as I coined the term, in which it relates to showing any bit of over-reacting or drawn-out emotion that flusters a rather calm demeanor. The thing is with me, I'm never calm. What do you expect? I'm Italian and Mexican (to be stereotypically correct) and I have a constant fire in my belly that is always on the verge of sourcing flames through my blood that boils on-site whenever my passionate heart gets tested.

Anywhoooooooser... I was getting ready to drive into work this morning and I overheard a conversation on the radio about a coworker they never knew was a novelist and it sprung one of my many million thoughts into action... HEY! I thought to myself, why don't you write a book, Lisa!? A question that followed with a demeaning answer "because no one would read it?" The truth is however, someone would read it, but more importantly what would I write a book about? And why am I talking to myself?   Eh, I heard once that it makes you smarter because you actually think through your thoughts and answer your own questions which can help resolve a matter privately before submerging yourself into the public, or maybe I am semi-crazy and just need to own it.

Either way, the thing is, whether crazy or not, I am constantly in motion and thinking about ways to challenge myself. Although I'm not quite there yet, the idea of writing a book has always interested me. I thought of the many ideas for a story line...a topic...would it be fiction or more memoir style?

When I was younger I used to climb trees, (Did I tell you?) and wouldn't stop there. I would climb football posts at the local high school, "No Parking" poles near my home, and even rooftops. Who did I think I was anyways, Spider man? I climbed trees for no reason and for every occasion. I knew I could and the feeling I enjoyed  the most was sitting on the branch or post  many feet above the ground. I was able to see the world at a better view.

Allowing myself a panoramic view of the location I was in just seemed to make sense than limiting a young girl to one-on-one eye-level focus. I have always wanted bigger and greater, and still do. Pushing limits is what I know how to do and writing allows me to expand past the boundaries of limitation. It gives a freedom to exhale every thing I intake daily, who I've become and who I want to be, but more than that, it allows me to say what I want without interruption of anyone, even, myself.

So, if given the chance to write a book, what would I write about? Me.  There's no one in the world other than God that knows me from the inside out. I am with myself 24/7. I am there when I laugh and when I cry. When I feel defeated and when I triumph. I challenge myself, allow myself to evolve and challenge my own skills like no other person on earth, so why wouldn't I use myself as a muse for future stories?

Being you is a gift from God. There's no one else like you. Your trials and tribulations are you own and with great exaltation, you have the helping hand of your faith to help you test boundaries, a mirror to look yourself straight in the face, and a heart to love who you are and the allowance of tears to pour down your face when you finally allow that moment to come to you, because being yourself is your gift to the world and to be yourself, is your gift to you. Let your journey unfold and let your story be told through the novelist, you. I've already made it through a quarter of my life and I still haven't fully found out who I am, but I'm excited for the journey and will continue to write my life's story piece by piece. Hope you like it.

September 6, 2013

Testimony of Strength

My life may not be perfect, but it's my life, and to me it's as perfect as God intended it to be. My heart gets troubled, I worry and I stress. I suffer illness and I react to things that bother me. I stand up for what I believe in with pure vigor and I love with all of my heart. I'm loyal and friendly and honest and blunt. I am who I am and will not apologize for it. My heart is strong but my Faith is stronger. I appreciate my family more than anything in the world and adore my true friends and acquintances. Picking myself up after troubled times is the only thing I know how to do. I will never give up on myself or my life because it's mine and God's greatest gift to me. The only time you will see me with my head down, is when I am bowing to my Lord, giving thanks.

September 4, 2013

Standing in Line, waiting for Love...

A few days ago I was scrolling through my IG account and found a picture of my dear guy BFF (Best Friends Forever), yes, we still call each other that even in our adult years. He seemed troubled and disconnected from the world although well connected as it was a social media app, after all. I sent him a text the following morning to see if he was okay. He mentioned his concerns for life. He was in deep, self-reflection mode.

You see, my friend is awesome. And, I'm not just saying that because he's my friend. His life is about as wonderful as it gets and this guy is by far one of the most amazing people I have the privilege of knowing. He's kind, friendly, holds a great job, is financially stable and smart with his possessions, generous with his time and makes friends every where he goes. Speaking of going, he also loves to travel and try new things. Oh, and did I mention he loves dogs? One in particular. A mid-sized Wheaten Terrier, named Bella who is ready to go on any car ride her human papa takes her.

So, back to the text. I responded with deeper concern and asked what prompted his self-talk? Like me, he too, had realized his life was going exceptionally well, and although never discounting what he does have, he was still wondering about what he was missing. Love.

Ahh, the never ending complexity of our lives and what we all naturally seek out, even the cynics. Love. It can seemingly feel like the heaviest weight on your shoulders or lift you up when the rest of the world seems to disappear.

"But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love." -Corinthians 13:13

Love is like the sunlight in my book. It is the source of all things and refreshes all things and brings life to all things but when it fades away, your life can feel lost without it.

To be rich in life is pressure pushed on us from society. We must make money to show precedence. We have to dress sharply to make people see us as successful and we must speak eloquently to show our intelligence, but when we go home and throw our wallet on the floor, strip off our clothes and meddle in the silence of our empty nest, where is society?

Being alone in the silence is the loudest form of noise that is out there. Needing approval is not needed when we are stripped down to our most comfortable pair of sweatpants and allow our disheveled hair to prance around our head. The urgency to hold someone is an ache that runs deep into the core and the lack of just saying "How was your day?" to someone who loves you, can make a error-free task a simple solution to what your day was missing. It can be that source of connection needed to filter out all the advertisements on the billboards, the soap opera dramas of daily interactions, and the perpetual annoyance of hard-working hours day in and day out. To catch your breath and let someone just hold you is the single-least moment of fear that is desired and that everyone should have.

When I concentrate on my friend, I admire his strength to communicate to the universe on his needs and wants. He needs a partner and wants to share his life with someone. There's no other need or want that is greater than that here on earth and when we align our faith, do not give up hope, and Love ourselves, I believe that the Love that we seek will inevitably come.