Fit Tips: Making Time for YOU

The juggle is real. I get it because I live it. Managing being a mom, a wife, a full time job, friends, family and working out – there is a lot to do, with very little time.

Time is such an important currency and unfortunately it’s limited. So lately I’ve prioritized ME, making time for working out and using that time to level set, think and thank myself for everything I do.

As a working mom, I’m mostly giving, giving, giving. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to give. But I’ve also learned that when I take care of myself, I’m a happier, healthier and more sane version of me, which means I can give more and it’s a better quality always.

For me, dedicating time to health and fitness has been a real game changer, so here are my tips for carving out time for working out. And trust me, it’s not all about the outside result…the best stuff is what happens on the inside!

Make it a Priority. Say “yes” to getting healthy and fit and keep saying it. Taking the first step is the hardest part, but once you start, it gets easier and easier. For me, working out has become such a mental strength. I feel strong both physically and mentally. I find when I work out, I am less stressed about things. It just sets a good foundation. I’ve actually started working out a few days a week in the morning before work and it always makes for a great way to start the day. By 8am I’ve gotten a full workout, burned 700+ calories and the actual day hasn’t really begun. I’m in a much better mood and if things pop up during the day, I can handle them much more calmly because I started the day with a sweat!

Stay Committed. Schedules change, things come up and not every week is going to be perfect. However, staying the course is so important. I have committed (and pay for) three training sessions a week. So I move mountains to make that work. There are weeks where my workouts are better than others. There are times when I feel strong and energetic and others where it takes me forever to get through one circuit with breaks in between. But I show up and I put in the work. Remember, doing something is always better than doing nothing.

Find a Work Out Buddy. This is a big one! My friend Wendy was the one who had the awesome idea more than a year ago to begin working with a personal trainer and invited me along. It was the best decision ever. With a workout buddy, you have someone who holds you accountable and vice versa. It’s also more fun to challenge each other and you get to spend quality time with a friend. So it’s a win win.

Have a Travel Fitness Plan. I travel a good bit for work and for fun. But just because you’re traveling does not mean working out goes out the window. I always pack workout clothes and either visit the hotel gym or do body weight exercises in my hotel room. Traveling already messes with your routine, so the more closely you can stick to your regular fitness regimen, the better you will feel!

Find Pockets of Time for Mini Workouts. There are so many exercises you can do just about anywhere. Working in a set of squats, push ups or lunges throughout the day keeps you moving and you can do these any time! It’s a good way to keep the blood pumping and avoid sitting at a desk all day.

Invest in Cute Athleisure. Once upon a time (in college) I would wear whatever to work out. Old t-shirt and soffe shorts (remember those…) would usually do. But I find that dressing for the occasion makes working out even more fun. These days there are so many cute athleisure looks and it truly makes a difference. When you look good and feel good, your work outs are bound to reap the rewards. Another bonus, you can go from gym to work or out and about with cute apres gym gear!

Track Your Progress. Nothing beats seeing the progress in pics or on paper. You see yourself everyday, so sometimes the strides you make are not as obvious to you. That’s why taking measurements and photos is so important. You can see the difference in a tangible way. My other favorite tool is the MyZone app. I wear a heart rate monitor/belt when I work out, so I know how I’m pe performing every step of the way. After every work out I receive an email with tons of data from length of workout to calories burned, times in each heart rate zone, etc. At the end of each month, I get a report of my performance and that’s where I really see the time and effort materialized. It’s exciting and motivating to see all the hard work as a trackable report. I burned almost 10,000 calories last month and worked out for over 2,100 minutes. That keeps me going month after month!

Bottom line, being healthy and getting fit should be a lifestyle. There needs to be a mind shift (and it will happen with consistency) where working out is essential and part of your routine. Just like you need to eat, sleep, shower and work…it makes that list. That’s when the magic happens. When it becomes less of a chore and simply a part of who you are.

Happy Sweating,

Ivette

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Day Trip: Orlando Science Center

While my family was driving up from Miami to Orlando, Westley and I arrived in the city with a few hours to kill. I did some research before our trip and decided on taking him to the Orlando Science Center.

This was Westley’s first visit to a science museum, but it certainly won’t be his last! Parking and two tickets ended up being around $40. It’s $20.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids ages 3-11. If your child is 2 and under then it’s FREE! For the sheer entertainment, learning and experiences available at OSC, the price is definitely well worth it.

KidsTown

Westley led the charge, so naturally our first stop was KidsTown, which is an exhibit hall with a ton of hands-on zones designed for kids age 7 and under. From a grocery store and massive climbing station to a theater with props and costumes, this section will keep young kids entertained for a long time. W’s favorite station (no surprise) was the Drip Drop Splash, where he spent nearly 40 minutes “painting” water, creating waves and making colorful water creations.

DinoDigs

Our next stop was visiting Dinosaurs, which is W’s new obsession. The DinoDigs area is really cool with giant fossil replicas of dinosaurs including the infamous T-Rex. We probably spent a good 15 minutes in awe of Mr. T. Westley went from being a bit scared, to roaring at T-Rex to trying to get into the exhibit area and touch him. Needless to say, it was hilarious watching his reaction!

As part of the exhibit, W got to play archeologist and dig for Dino bones! They have three different areas dedicated to digging, which was very engaging and hands on. Westley was a huge fan!

NatureWorks

Our final stop was NatureWorks where we discovered different ecosystems native to Central Florida from the Cypress Swamp to Pine Flatwoods.

Westley really enjoyed this area because of all the animals from alligators and turtles to lizards and insects. They even had an animal encounter with some kind of lizard (forgive my ignorance, but identifying animals has never been a strong suit). W was super into all of it!

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a fun, engaging and educational day for your littles, the Orlando Science Center is a fabulous option! We spent a solid two hours exploring and playing in several different areas and there was still a lot left to discover.

We never made it to the CineDome, which plays different movies throughout the day and there was the Mindbender Mansion (traveling exhibit), Our Planet and so much more.

I know for many of us, visiting Orlando usually involves a beloved Mouse…but if you’re traveling there for a different experience, I highly recommend the Science Center as a solid activity!

Happy Exploring,

Ivette

Road Trippin’ Tips for Road Warriors with Kids

Westley and I hit the road solo to meet my family in Orlando this weekend. Since I prepped for a four-hour drive with my wild 3-year old, I thought I would share some tips for making a long drive as smooth as possible:

1. Fill Up, Check Your Vehicle and Load Bags The Night Before

Part of fulfilling tip #2 “leave early” is to prep the night before. I always get gas, check my tires and make sure everything is in working order and load luggage before going to sleep. That way, when you wake up, you simply get in the car and start driving. This also allows for handling any last minute details that may have been forgotten prior to the start of a road trip. Planning pays off!

2. Leave Early

If you start the drive early, it’s dark and your child is usually tired and will likely fall back asleep with the vibration and hum of the road. There is also less traffic if you’re driving very early, which makes driving more enjoyable and less stressful. I don’t mind long road trips, but once you have precious cargo, there is a new level of awareness and stress that comes with driving. I would much rather drive on a nearly empty highway than deal with tons of cars, speeding cars and drivers who are auditioning for the latest Fast & Furious movie.The final perk to leaving early is you likely won’t hit traffic, arrive early and not waste an entire day driving!

3. Have Entertainment

Let’s be honest, driving for long periods of time requires entertainment for all of us, but especially for small kids. I personally love listening to podcasts while driving, and for Westley I always load his favorite movies and shows on the iPad, so he has endless entertainment during the drive. Pro tip, if you have Netflix you can download movies and entire seasons of kids shows, so you’re not using data while driving. I’ve loaded ours up with Moana, PJ Masks, Voltron, Trolls and Puss n Boots.

4. Snacks FTW

While having a food stop figured out is great (see #5), you always should have drinks and snacks in the car. This can also serve as entertainment. I always pack water, milk, Pirate’s Booty, apple sauce and string cheese, giving W healthy options for the road.

5. Midway Stop 

As soon as Westley wakes up from his car nap, I usually stop to grab food and let him walk around and stretch his legs. If we’re driving to Orlando, we usually stop in Gainesville for breakfast. If we’re doing the long drive to Miami, then Orlando becomes our stopping point.

Do you have any go to road trip tips?

Happy driving!

XO,

Ivette

Airport Stories: Original Boss Lady

When you spend a lot of times in airports like I do, there is a good share of people watching (some of it pretty epic) and a lot of conversations you overhear. Mostly it’s loud businesspeople on conference calls acting like they’re more important than they are, but ever so often, you hit story gold.

Today as I waited for a flight in South Florida I overheard an older lady talking about her career and life — and it was fascinating, a real treat. It may be my admiration and love of my grandmother, but I have always loved older women and their incredible stories. Life was so different for them.

This woman, who is now in her 80s, always wanted to be an engineer, but when she was growing up that was not a possibility. She went to school and ended up working on some of the first computer chips. Later in her career, she decided to go back to grad school and became an engineer at age 52. She went on the job hunt and attended engineering conferences, bringing her resume along — determined to find a job. At her age, she said a lot of people thought she was overqualified, but she convinced a company to take a chance on her rather than a young graduate. She worked as an engineer for 13 years! Her career goals and dreams realized.

As a working mom who loves her career as well as her family, it was so inspiring listening in on a story of perseverance. This woman had a vision for herself and she worked at it even if it took her well into her 50s to make it a reality.

Know we have a long way to go, and there are still challenges women face, but I absolutely love eavesdropping on the stories of women trailblazers who paved the way for the lady bosses of today.

So let’s keep making power moves and raise our children to dream big, be kind and make this world a better place.

XO,

Ivette

The Soccer Chronicles

As a parent, you have all kinds of illusions of how things will work out. Then of course, there is always the reality J For us, having Westley play soccer was one such little scenario. We ordered him ADIDAS from head to toe, the cutest cleats with neon green laces, and on the very first Saturday of the season, we arrived on the field with the highest hopes and excitement. Our wild man looked so adorable and he loves the kicking the “soccer ball” with his dad. So introducing him to a full on team of other kids and a sport a week after turning three should’ve been a great idea…right? WRONG. Oh boy, was it not our best move. The universe has been laughing at us for this decision.

We made it five of the seven weeks of soccer. But, real talk, it was PAINFUL. Every week, we went out there and gave it our all, but for me and for my husband, it was an anxiety-ridden hour. You tell yourself every week: “Let’s have fun. Let him do whatever he wants. We won’t get stressed or frustrated.” But it’s just so hard when your kid is just not listening or interested. Granted, he loves kicking the ball and running, but it’s on his own terms.

It’s been a rollercoaster and truthfully we only have ourselves to blame. Clearly, we were too eager to get him going in a fun sport. But I had no clue when we signed up for the team that said “age 3” that his entire team and most of the kids playing in general were four, four and a half and some almost five. If you’re a parent of a young child I’m sure you can appreciate the wild difference six months make. I know I definitely do after this experience.

Our other big issue is Westley’s size. He looks a lot older than he is because he’s tall. So I think most people automatically assume he’s three and a half or even four. He was bigger than most of the kids on his team, but developmentally he literally just turned three, so he’s not on their same level. That’s always been something I deal with and I try and make it a point to let people know his age right away, so they’re not expecting him to behave like a much older kid.

I talked to a lot of parents on the field and most of them were incredibly understanding and kind – mainly because either their own kids were not listening or participating or because they’d been through two to three seasons before arriving at where they are today. It was re-assuring to hear this from other parents. Our kid wasn’t that different from theirs and basically the first few seasons of any sport with a small child is torture for the parents. Of course, there were a few judgmental glances and comments. One in particular from what I imagine are some kid’s grandparents. An older man laughing and pointing at W and saying: “he has no interest in this.” (hahahaha) As a Mama Bear, I wanted to yell at him, but that’s not how I roll, so I let it roll off my back.

It may just be me, but I think a lot of older people forget what it’s like to have very young children and definitely love to either openly judge you or give their opinions. C’est la vie. I just hope I remember these days two decades from now and show other parents some grace and kindness. There’s not enough of that in the world.

We did our best and I think for the most part Westley had fun. He sure looked adorable every Saturday. I will say i9 Sports and his coach as so sweet. Coach Marcel was so patient with him and encouraging and I was so proud of the time Westley did spend on the field whether practicing or his 2 minutes of playtime.

We will definitely be back. But the lesson here is we need to hang back and let him mature a bit. Our soccer dreams aren’t over, they are just on hold. We’re going to try again this summer during the Soccer Clinic, so he can be in a smaller group and learn the basics. By then, I hope he’s more mature. And if it doesn’t work out, then it’s on to the next thing. I never want to force anything on my child. Every kid is different, with different skills and passions. As a parent, we need to support and encourage whatever makes your kid shine.

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I definitely wasn’t blessed with sports skills and my mom never forced anything on me. I distinctly remember when ballet and choir became too demanding along with school responsibilities and she told me, just pick one. You don’t have to do everything, especially if it’s not fun. So I’m taking her advice and my own.

I’ll report back this summer and see how “Soccer Take 2” goes.

Until then, W can kick the ball around with his dad and play on his own terms.

XO,

Ivette

 

 

 

 

Cliquish: Influencer Networking Event

A few weeks ago, a friend and colleague sent me info on a networking event and panel – “So you want to be an Influencer” featuring a variety of veteran and up-and-coming influencers who were going to share their experiences and insights.

I decided it would be fun and interesting to attend and put myself out there in a scenario that was a bit unknown. Not going to lie, I was pretty sure I would be walking into an event where I was the oldest (by a decade plus) and would stick out like a sore thumb. But I decided, in my third decade, to step out of my comfort and just go for it.

Arriving at the event, I was greeted by a variety of faces, women of all ages, interests, race and ethnicity. It was refreshing to talk to so many different women who are passionate about sharing their interests and lives with others in a very public platform.

The panel was a slice of the social world from Ms. Danti, a make-up maven and PhD student, who has been in the game before there was a game to an 18-year old YouTuber, who started blogging in middle school and took off last summer when she made daily relationship challenge videos with her boyfriend. (Apparently this is a huge area of interest for younger girls.)

Loved hearing each of their journeys, tips and perspective. While they were very different, the one common denominator was their desire to connect with people through authentic content and giving others a glimpse into their lives and passion. There’s a lot of power in being vulnerable and opening yourself up to others. And I connected instantly with that part of each of their journeys.

I was reminded that networking is such a powerful tool and got to know a lot of new ladies, and even left with a new friend – a fellow Mama Bear of three, who is also Hispanic and loves sharing her journey of motherhood and passion for fashion.

If nothing else, there is always value in putting yourself out there, meeting new people, talking about common interests and making connections.

This event solidified why I do this. I enjoy having a creative outlet that is all mine, not dictated by others, and the ability to share with people the things I love. If I can make someone smile, try something new or even step out of their own comfort zone, then it’s the cherry on top!

Xo,

Ivette

A Wild West Birthday

Ok I’ll admit I probably enjoy planning Westley’s birthday parties a little too much. I usually lock in next year’s theme the day after his party. Type A extreme? I think so. But also I recognize I only get a finite number of years where I get to be the CBO (Chief Birthday Officer) and I am fully taking advantage.

I was especially thrilled for his third birthday party because he’s now at such a fun age. He’s immensely enjoying everything, fully participating and really into his birthday. From the song and blowing out the candles to the party and of course the presents.

Because W has a January birthday, immediately following the holidays, I want to make sure he feels like his big day is special and not lumped into the Christmas craze. This may be the June baby (celebrations and gifts every six months) in me speaking, but I’ve always felt bad for people who have birthdays around the holidays because so often you hear – “this is your Christmas and Birthday gift.” Or worse, there is no celebration because everyone is holiday-ed out. So this mama has made it her mission to ensure her wild man’s wildest birthday dreams are realized.

Ever since we landed on the name Westley, I’ve been dying to bring to life a “Wild West” themed party. And lucky for me, Westley is absolutely obsessed with horses. He watches Spirit on Netflix repeatedly, rides his rocking horse and loves cowboy boots. So naturally, I decided this was the year for Wild West.

Here are the details on throwing a party that will have guests saying, “howdy partner.”

The Venue

A venue should bring the theme to life and there’s no better place than a horse farm to create your own version of the Wild West. Lucky for us, North Florida provides the perfect backdrop. We landed on Happy Trails Horse Ranch because the birthday party package includes a variety of activities for the kids and the location is roomy and open for the adults attending. Ms. Nikki, the owner and party host, is incredibly sweet and patient with kids!

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The Décor 

Being outdoors, surrounded by pastures, horses and nature, the décor doesn’t have to be too extravagant to create the Wild West feeling. I landed on the traditional red bandana print to pull everything together, ordering table runners for the picnic tables and a table skirt for the cake table from Oriental Trading. I used large mason jars with fresh sunflowers as the centerpieces and voila, the West is born.

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The Goodies

This theme is perfect for maximizing party favors/goodies since they serve a dual purpose as part of the décor. I wanted each child to feel like they’re part of the Wild West, so I ordered cowboy hats, bandana, sheriff stars and mustaches! Oriental Trading has a great party pack that included most of the favors for a really affordable price. The best part, these favors were used as table settings, adding another visual element to my tablescape.

I also wanted to provide some fun propos for photos, so I purchased a giant “Wanted” sign along with a pack of western themed props on a stick. This is a fun and inexpensive way to highlight the party theme and inspire people to capture fun photos!

The Cake

The cake to me is the centerpiece of the party and should really embody the theme. We have an incredibly talented cake artist here in Tally who has been making Westley’s cakes since his first birthday. Her cakes are not only works of art, but they are so delicious. My favorite part of working with her is I trust her vision completely. I usually tell her my theme, send a few inspiration pics and she comes back with a description of the cake creation. Of course, the final product is always ten times better than I imagined.

This year was no exception. This is my favorite cake yet. It captured the Wild West theme perfectly incorporating denim, cow print, a cowboy hat, sheriff’s star and rope. It was absolutely gorgeous! The inside was equally satisfying with red velvet (my favorite) and chocolate cake with buttercream icing. Nom nom.

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The Food

When I think Wild West, I think hot dogs…no clue why, but in my head it made perfect sense. I researched a few options and landed on a hot dog cart called Frankly Delicious. It was a cool visual with the cart and big red umbrella, but it was also a great decision because I did not have to worry about picking up food, setting up, getting plates, etc. The hot dog cart was a one-stop-shop. Party guests could choose from hot dogs, Bradley’s sausage or chicken sausage along with fun toppings including coke onions, chili, cheese and traditional toppings like mustard, ketchup and relish. The meal came complete with chips and drink. This was the perfect meal for both kids and adults! I highly recommend a food option like this because it’s totally hands off for you as the host, kid approved and nostalgic for adults.

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The Fun

The party was kid and adult approved. The kiddos got to meet the horses, feed the horses, go on a hay ride and then ride a horse. It was a perfect mix of activities that kept the kids engaged and entertained. It was an absolute blast! After all the fun, we sang Happy Birthday and wrapped up a very magical and memorable birthday.

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