Becoming La Niña

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Mabi & Jerry

 

Forty has been a year of great change for me. From getting engaged, to getting married, to moving to a new place with my new husband, to starting my own business… 40 has been busy.

So, as I approach my 41st birthday, and look back at all the changes this year has brought, I realize that we are always striving to become “that” person we want to be. ‘Becoming’ never ends. This is a really wonderful thing: To keep growing and evolving as you journey through life’s ups and downs. Your becoming takes shape. It could stay on the same path, or grow in a completely different direction. That is so exciting to me!

In this new stage of my life, I have realized that I am still becoming. For this reason, I have made the decision to change the name of my blog to Becoming La Niña. You will also be redirected to my new domain becominglanina.com. These changes will occur in the next couple of weeks, and I will keep you posted as the changes are made.

Thanks so much for all your support. I am so excited about this new step, and I hope you will continue to follow me on my journey of Becoming!

~ Mabi

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The Benefits of Epsom Salt

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The benefits of Epsom Salt have been know for hundreds of years. But, did you know that Epsom Salt is not really salt at all. It is a naturally occurring magnesium and sulfate compound, and it is named after a bitter saline spring at Epsom, in Surrey, England.

Epsom Salt has numerous health benefits, as well as beauty benefits. The magnesium it contains help reduce inflammation by helping to regulate the activity of the body’s enzymes. This increases muscle and nerve function. The sulfate in Epsom Salt improve the absorption of nutrients, flushes toxins, and even helps ease migraine headaches.

Bathing in Epsom Salt helps sooth the body. It is believed that bathing in Epsom Salt at least 3 times a week helps you look better, feel better, and gain more energy.  The magnesium will help relax the muscles, improving sleep and concentration. The sulfates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. For a detoxifying bath, at least once weekly add two cups of Epsom Salt to water in a bathtub and soak for 10 minutes. Your skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bath water triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it.

To exfoliate dead skin cells, in the shower or bath, mix a handful of Epsom salt with a tablespoon of bath or olive oil and rub all over your wet skin to exfoliate and soften. Rinse thoroughly.

To clean your face and exfoliate skin at the same time, mix a half-teaspoon of Epsom salt with your regular cleansing cream. Gently massage into skin and rinse with cold water.

Try these out and let me know what other ways you use Epsom Salt.

Wedding Do’s and Don’ts

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Mr&Mrs

Before you become Mr. & Mrs., there is a lot of planning that needs to be done. No matter how experienced at planning you may be, planning your own wedding can be an emotional roller coaster. Vendors, venues, and all those little details…. it can be overwhelming at times. For this reason, I thought I’d give you some “do’s” and “don’ts” of wedding planning. Maybe I can save you from a few wedding planning woes.

I Do’s

Send save-the-date card. This is an important step that a lot of brides overlook. Sending save-the-dates help in the planning process of your guests, especially if you’re having a destination wedding, or if most of your guests need to travel to get to your wedding. This will increase the number of guests that will respond “yes” to your invitation. 

Make sure you sign a contract with all your vendors. A well written contract will protect your interests as well as those of the vendors. Make sure every detail is clearly stated in the contract. Don’t assume anything. Get it in writing. If a vendor just wants to have a verbal agreement, RUN AWAY!!

Go watch a performance of your band. If you liked the 12 piece band you saw at another event, but can only afford the 6 piece version of that band, make sure you make the time to go listen to what the 6 piece version sounds like. You don’t want to be disappointed on the day of your wedding.

Guarantee the lowest guest count possible. You will never be contractually obligated to pay for more people than you can guarantee. You can always add more later.

Do your homework. Research vendors and anyone you are considering to hire. Work only with the vendors who will take care you. Good vendor will be more than happy to provide you with references of happy clients. Don’t be afraid to ask.

I Don’ts

Don’t send save-the-dates via email or evites. These do not count as save-the-dates. Always send them through the postal service.

Don’t over-invite. On average, you can expect 80% of your guests to attend your wedding. More people means more money. Don’t invite couples you’re not close to anymore just because you went to their wedding. I’m sure they will understand.

Don’t take a huge entourage with you to shop for a gown. Bringing all your friends may sound like a lot of fun, but the pressure of pleasing everyone may leave you frustrated, exhausted, and maybe even without a dress. Take just a few people with you. And make sure to remember that it is YOU who needs to feel beautiful in the dress, not them.

Don’t get a facial on your wedding day. You never know how your skin is going to react to products and procedures you don’t do everyday. And with all the extra emotions, hormones, adrenaline, and nerves, going through your body that day, you could have an adverse reaction that will be very difficult to hide. Plan your facial a day or two before the wedding.

Don’t have just one style of music during the reception. As much as you and your groom love the Rolling Stones, not everyone is into them. Keeping the music varied will appeal to more of your guests, and encourage them to get up and dance.

Always remember that there are people who care about you that are wanting to help. Don’t take on all the planning yourself. Accept the help that’s offered and delegate tasks to your bridal party. This will help keep you sane during the planning process.

Enjoy!

Marriage Isn’t For You

Even with all the busyness of planning a wedding, I love that my fiance and I take the time to discuss what we want our marriage to be. So I was a bit perplexed when I read the title of this blog post he sent me. “Marriage Isn’t For You”. What was he trying to tell me? With a bit of hesitation, I read it. After reading it, I completely agree with the author and enjoyed it so much I though I would share it with you.

What are your thoughts?

Enjoy!

Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each…

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Got Milk?

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As the weather starts to cool, my skin starts to lose moisture and tighten up. The cool, dry air can be very harsh to our skin. Cleansing, exfoliation, toning, and  moisturizing become extremely important. The amount of product you use during warmer months might not be enough now. You may even have to switch your products entirely, for the season.

As the seasons change, I adjust my routine and products according to my skin’s needs. Remember those scenes of women taking luxurious milk baths? Milk has been used for centuries as a gentle cleanser and an alternative to soap, because milk is rich in lactic acid, which helps cleanse pores and kills bacteria. It also help replenish moisture. This recipe will help cleanse, moisturize, and soothe your dry skin.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tbsp. baking soda
 

You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for scent. Mix all the ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Saturate a cotton ball with the mixture and gently swipe it all over your face. Let it set for a minute or two, then rinse thoroughly. Pat dry.

This cleanser leaves my skin glowing. How do you adjust your routine for cooler weather?

Enjoy!

Lavender Curl Leave-In

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tea-lavenderWhether I wear my hair curly or straight, I always have some kind of leave-in treatment in it. Lavender is great for the hair. Not only does it strengthen the hair and promotes growth, it also promotes a healthy scalp and helps alleviate dandruff. I use this simple leave-in recipe when I leave my hair curly and I’m on the go. I also use it as a detangler.

Brew a cup of lavender tea. After it cools, pour it in a spray bottle and add a tablespoon of your favorite moisturizing conditioner. Shake it until thoroughly mixed. Spray it in your hair, as needed, to detangle and soften your curls. Keep the mixture in the fridge to keep it fresh.

I hope this simple recipe works as well for you as it does for me. Enjoy!

Me

My Rizos

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Mis Risos

As with most latina women, growing up with curly hair was especially frustrating. Getting your hair done meant enduring hours of heat procedures until your hair was bone straight. I’ve always worn my hair long, so getting it done was pure torture. When I was a child, my mother would wash my hair, scrubbing my scalp raw. Then came the untangling…. It was not pleasant. Then she’d set my hair in big curlers, which helped stretch out the curls, and I’d sit under a hair dryer for at least an hour (which seamed a lot longer to me being that young) until my hair was completely dry. At night, my hair would be wrapped in a “tubi” to further stretch out the curl and to keep it from tangling.

In college I had to learn to do my own hair. I still used the big curlers and sat under the dryer for an hour. But then, I would also blow out my stretched curls after the curlers came out. I needed to get my hair perfectly straight. This whole process took hours, but I made time for it.

Today, I still straighten my hair. And I still like to get it pretty straight. But it doesn’t take me as long and I only use a flat iron. Now, however, I wear my hair curly more often than straight… And the bigger, the better! I’ve really grown to love my curls… and a little frizz doesn’t bother me either. I love being able to change it up whenever I want… from curly to straight to anything in between.

That being said, curly hair requires a lot of TLC. The curlier your hair is, the dryer it is. And putting it through all that heat stress doesn’t help one bit. That’s why I make sure to moisturize AND hydrate my hair often. Remember, frizz comes from thirsty hair. So your dry, curly hair, when out and about on a humid day, soaks up all the moisture in the atmosphere to quench its thirst; making your hair strands swell into something we call frizz. Use a hydrating conditioner after shampooing, and a moisturizing deep conditioner at least once a month. Doing these two things will help keep your hair fed, so when you go out, it won’t gorge itself on humidity.

Stay tuned… Next time I’ll show you a super simple way to keep your rizos fed, while on the go.

He…

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For my fortieth birthday my boyfriend surprised me with a visit. It was truly a surprise, as I wasn’t expecting him until the following Sunday.

We have been in a long distance relationship for almost two years now. It has been an amazing journey. It has been a tough journey… But I wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve learned so much from each other and we’ve come so far. And in spite of the miles between us, and having to wait months for a kiss, our love has been constant… HE has been constant.

He loves me. He makes me want to be a better person. He makes me feel alive. He makes me want to try and, in turn, succeed. He encourages me. He lifts me up. He is strong. He has heart. He has pride. He is funny and witty. He is kind, understanding, and loyal. He is a true friend. He is loving. He is generous. He is no-nonsense. He is tough and no pushover. He is passionate and tender. He is affectionate. He brings me joy and laughter. He is not afraid to share his hopes and fears with me. He trusts me with his whole being…. He trusts me with his heart. HE is the love of my life.

And so, on my fortieth birthday, in front of family and friends, he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him…

I said yes.

My heart is full.

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Forty

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It seems very surreal to me. Have I really turned 40? Already??? I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I don’t feel any older. I don’t look any older. Yet, here I am… forty.

In my twenties, and maybe even in my early thirties, forty looked like the beginning of the end. Today, forty is the exciting beginning of a new chapter, one that I can’t wait to dive in to. Sure, I had some great times during my younger years, but I also made some pretty stupid mistakes, took some hard knocks, and learned things the hard way. But I learned. At forty, I know exactly what I want in life, and won’t settle for less. I know how to cherish friendships, and which “friends” aren’t really friends and am able to cut ties. I’ve discovered that “No” isn’t a bad word. And, that my feelings are my feelings, and I am allowed to feel that way.

Love. At forty, I have the love of my life. It is amazing. HE is amazing. He is everything I have ever wanted. We will build a family. We will walk this journey together. I feel so blessed to know that he will be with me through my forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond. He flew in to be with me today. My birthday surprise.

… So today, on my 40th birthday, I’m taking the day off.

Cinnamon, Sugar…. and Ants

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When you live in warmer climates, or even during summer up north, it is inevitable to receive unwanted guests… of the pesky kind. From lizards, to spiders, to teeny, weeny, little frogs, I’ve seen it all. The most annoying of these pests, however, are the ants! Big ones, little ones, red ones, brown ones. They are everywhere! How does one get rid of these buggers without spraying poison all over the counters?

Cinnamon is a great option. Ants hate the scent of cinnamon, so they avoid it like the plague. Sprinkling some cinnamon powder along the edges of the counter where it meets the wall, or along ant trails, will stop the ants in their tracks.

Ever get ants in your sugar bowl? That is the worst! Little ants sprinkled in your sugar as you spoon it out. All you want to do is to sweeten your coffee. If you don’t notice it immediately, you soon will. Their tiny carcases will float to the top. It’s not a pretty sight. Your morning is ruined…! Sprinkling cinnamon powder in your sugar bowl wouldn’t be a good idea, unless you like cinnamon coffee. Instead, lay a cinnamon stick or two on top of the sugar in your sugar bowl. This will keep the ants away, but won’t flavor your sugar. It really works! Give it a try.

If you have any tricks to keep pests away, let me know. I’d love to try it.