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2 years of marriage | Rooftop Terrace Dinner in our own backyard

Hey darlings! 
So le hubby and I just celebrated our anniversary a couple of weeks ago and it was perfect. Time and time again, I am reminded that less is more.
We wanted to have a low-key celebration, because we are planning a bigger trip at the end of the year. So, le hubby and I put our brains together and crafted the perfect weekend. It started with a surprise celebration from the church we pastor that included tons of cake, gifts, and love. Later that evening, we had planned a backyard dinner that would include café lights, tropical breeze, the best playlist, awesome take out (not sure if the joy came solely from the food or from the fact that we did not have to cook it) and each other's company. Our friend came right during the twilight hour to snap some pics and than left us to enjoy our evening. We danced, we sang, we talked, we had a heart to heart conversation about our dreams and about what we love about each other. It was perfect. I am still smiling about it. 

Thankful that every morning he wakes me up with a kiss and every night we cuddle but just for a bit because we each get hot and sleep a lot better on our own side haha! Love that he is my main foodie partner, which can sometimes work against us, but for what it's worth, we have enjoyed great food together and we have no regrets. Love that he lets me dream and gives me room to pursue them. He takes me seriously, even on my most hormonal day and has a killer smile. 

After being married for two years, from this side of the fence, I want to tell you: If you are waiting to fall in love, do it for the right reasons. God is never late. He knows what He is doing in each one of us. Our story and process looks different form one person to the next but one thing is universal. God will not mislead you. He has a purpose and a method to the madness. Be encouraged. Love is worth the wait. Read more about how this whole story began. 

I made my first Steller story and with these pictures and got featured on their main page so I decided to share here as well.



Guest Post | Wedding Planning Tips From a Real Bride (Part 2)

Hello Darlings!

We are back today for more wedding planning tips from a real, beautiful bride that also happens to be the wonderful food blogger behind Will Frolic For Food. Renee and I actually met through a twitter conversation about wedding planning a few months ago, and I have been following her plans. Learn more about her here. Today she shares with us two of her favorite planning tips combined with problem solving solutions and sound advice. For more on this topic, be sure to check yesterday's post brought to us by lovely Sara, the author of this beautiful illustration and blogger over at Cake over Steak

Renee needs no further introduction since she has been a guest in this blog before. So without further ado, here's what she had to say when asked to share: 

 Don't let Pinterest get you down:

Pinterest is an incredible source of inspiration. In fact, I use it daily as a creative resource for recipe concepts and photography styling. Not to mention all of the personal fulfillment I get from having collections of dreamy photographs of badass chicks adventuring all over the world and wearing soft bohemian clothing

When it comes to weddings, Pinterest is both a saving grace and a black hole. It helped me to develop my wedding color scheme (creamy white, sage and evergreen, with hints of fig and pomegranate pink). I've found all of my DIY ideas through Pinterest. And I use secret boards to share dress and accessory ideas with my bridesmaids and my mom.

But there's a dark side. Pinterest creates unrealistic expectations, to say the least. Within 2 months of planning my wedding I realized that every wedding I had fallen in love with on Pinterest cost at least $30,000. No question. All of those pretty details, the perfect dress, the fancy rustic-barn eco-chic event space: those alone couldn't have cost less than 15K. Not even kidding. Once you start to budget your wedding, you'll realize that those perfect-looking weddings are almost always the work of a professional design team (cost = between $1000 and $13,000). 

I don't know about you, but I don't exactly have that kind of dough laying around! 

The other side of the dark side: Pinterest can suck you in like coins between sofa cushions. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent pinning images of pretty dresses. Too many. Take it from me, there are better uses of your time.

Solution: when you find yourself panicked by the idea that you won't be able to meet the absurdly high expectations of Pinterest weddings, just turn it off. Take a break. Recalibrate. Your wedding will be awesome, even if it's not Pinterest Perfect. And don't let yourself get sucked in by pinning for hours on end! Use that time to work on DIY crafts for your big day or journal your ideas (way more productive!). 

 Reach out to your community for help:

It's been said before, but I'll just go ahead and re-iterate it for you here: LET PEOPLE HELP YOU. It seems like a really responsible thing, to plan your wedding all on your own. But, really, it's not. Is it responsible to drive yourself mad over all of those details? Not to mention the bigger things: finding an event space, booking a band or DJ, hiring a florist, cake-maker, coordinator, and caterer. And those are just the basics. No one will like you better for being Bride B*itch because you're so stressed out. And you won't like you better, too. 

Reach out to friends and family for help. They WANT to help. I can't tell you how surprised I've been at how many people want to be involved -- even new friends.

I'd like to take it one step further: reach out to strangers, to your community. Are you part of a community art project, a volunteer group, a book club? Do you know someone who knows everyone? Send an email out to those folks asking for suggestions and help. Not everyone will respond, but you'll be shocked at how many DO. 

Being in a town saturated with cream of the crop wedding venues and vendors (read: the most expensive and unattainable of everything), reaching out became invaluable. I even had some people offer to let me use their farms and homes for free! I'm just saying, you never know what could happen. And why not increase your chances of stumbling on something magical (and did I mention possibly free?) by putting yourself out there?

Check out Renee's blog, Will Frolic for Food, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook



Lighthouse Adventures | Funny Anecdotes of My New Life

Hello Darlings,

One year ago, this day my husband was carrying me through the thresh hole of our new apartment. Blissfully optimistic and perhaps even a bit naive ready to start a new life on this Carribean Island. I went from feeling like I was in constant vacation (I mean who wouldn't having the beach so close), to  having settled and loving this season of my life. 

Last week we went away on a mini vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary so today I want to share my favorite pictures, along with some anecdotes and journal excerpts that I shared during this year to remember the small but funny things that have happened during the year. We visited a beautiful Lighthouse on the end tip of the Island called Cabo Rojo. 

This for me is one of the dreamiest locations on this Island. I can't get enough of the beautiful views. This is
Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo. We have visited 3 lighthouses nous we have 12 to go! This one is situated at the South West tip of the Island. I stood right there at the end. It was breathtaking. 

First time that I finally had the guts to call out the plantain truck driver that passes every day in front of our house, he did not hear me despite the fact that not only I yelled (or I felt I did) but that I also ran after his truck on a rainy afternoon. Now we are friends, when I take a little longer to come down he slows down because he knows that I am probably running around gathering my change and looking for my shoes. He even looks and now carries pineapples regularly because he knows it's my favorite fruit. 

Neighbors are so important in this chapter of my life, not only because we can hear what goes on in each others houses but also because we literally share on a daily basis. For example: Our next door neighbor is a professional accordion player. He is part of prestigious band here in Puerto Rico and every evening (he has not missed a day yet) he practices for about an hour or two. It usually coincides with our dinner time, so my husband and I have made it a habit to sit down and eat as we get serenaded by him. Sometimes we even light a candle and we imagine that we are somewhere in Italy.

My other neighbor had a cute but anxious dog called Valentino. That is the dog that destroyed most of our mail during the past year, including clothing and wedding thank you cards.  Here's what I wrote that day "So about a month ago we ordered our first batch of thank you notes and when we came home our neighbor's dog had gotten hold of it and had eaten half and destroyed the rest (true story)! Don't worry about the dog, he is fine even after all that paper lol!" 

I love that on this Island there is GREAT food (Mofongo my friends, is divine). Needless to say that I have put on some extra pounds but I am now also a strong coffee and a food truck junkie. When you visit Puerto rico be sure to visit "El Churry". 

We stayed at this quaint hotel in Old San Juan (La Terraza), that has my name written all over it because of the decor.
We loved their breakfast and their roof top pool with a view of the city.
Experienced my first hurricane season and a couple of earthquakes. Here's another excerpt I wrote during a storm that truly explains it all "Tropical Islands have something called 'hurricane season' (no big deal) and last night a short but powerful storm hit when I remembered that my mini basil plant (my first plant ever) was left outside in the rain. I panicked of fear that it would get too wet or fly away. Thankfully my husband risked his life and brought it indoors. He's my hero."

I have so many other things that I could talk about like: the cream truck with the most annoying theme song that passes by our house 4 to 6 times a day or how all the cats of our street think our Terrace is their home and how I had no idea that humidity could ruin my leather shoes but learned it the hard way. However funny these things may seem, throughout it I mastered the art of sweating patiently and choosing joy. I have laughed more than ever, cried and grown so much during this year that I can only be thankful that God chose Puerto Rico as our first home as a married couple. 

What is the scariest thing you have ever done? or maybe just something funny. Do share! 

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand. (Psalm 37:23,24)



1 year of marriage | Some of what I learned

Hello Darlings!

I am the first one to admit that it is actually funny that my husband and I celebrated 1 year of marriage this Sunday, because to be honest, I was never the "have all your wedding planned out from childhood" kind of person. As a matter of fact, I ran from the idea and also from any conversation in which any of my mom's friends would try to marry off with their sons or other family member.
Being the free-spirit, independent and quirky person that I am, I honestly feel blessed and privileged to have met such an amazing (custom-made like I like to say) man to do life with. Later this week I will share our trip pictures, because I have probably just found one of my favorite spots on this Island, until than check out my Instagram for some snaps.
Here are some of the things I learned about love in this first year of marriage:

CHANGE. Yes, everyone said life was going to change but no one could predict that it would change this much for me. The change of last name is really the smallest change, considering that I moved to a tropical Island, I'm still in a transitional career path, I had to make new friends, learn new streets, find a new favorite coffee shop, etc As a result I see how I have grown, changed and adapted. Love does indeed change all of us and it is not always a bad thing. 

PROVISION. Many of our friends, that have been married for a little longer, often share stories of how broke they were when they started their own family but how happy they were. I am not sure if we had more or less than what they had when they started but in this year more than ever I have seen how we were miraculously able to pull from where we knew there was nothing to begin with. I can probably write a book sharing bizarre stories of how oil, detergent, garbage bags and other things have multiplied over the year and lasted us for an abnormal period of time.

BATHROOM SCHEDULES. Yes, love requires a bathroom schedule when sharing a tiny one. 

SHARE. When my husband shares his food, I've had to train myself to return the favor so we can both benefit from trying new food. You may not believe it but I just recently started doing it. I would get to the end of my plate and just forget to ask and he would just be waiting for me to offer (I am telling you, I married so well). Rest assured that I've gotten better. 

HABITS DON'T DIE. Yeah, no matter how optimistic we both were and still are about breaking certain habits, I am learning to accept that certain things just won't change. That my husband will always try to drink coke behind my back, will always change radio stations right in the middle of a great jam or eat my delicious left overs that I am secretly keeping to eat when he leaves so I can enjoy it over a chick flick all by myself.

VIDEO GAMES, SPORTS AND FAVORITE BLANKET are my husbands second wife and will always be my worst competition. 

BE THE FIRST. I have learned that it doesn't matter who apologizes first as long as we both strive to be the first one to do it. Humility and dying to our ego are defenitly not popular virtues in our society but I have seen how we are both winners when we both lose our pride. 

DATES AND DATE ATTIRE MATTERS. Working from home has slowly turned me into a "hobo" and I recently looked at my pajamas (uniform) that I never took off that day and wondered how I had spiraled down this low. So now, on dates, I have decided to not allow myself to look like a hot mess. I take a nice shower, put lipstick, try a new braided Pinterest hairstyle and dress cute for me (and my dignity) and obviously for "le hubby" as well. We have this habit in which he gets dressed in the next room, that way when we are ready, smelling good we come out and surprise one another. Like "oh hey gorgeous!"

We go out, turn off our cell phones (yeah right! we just stop using them), talk, laugh and explore new spots around this beautiful island that usually involve coffee, music, and great food among many other things. You can see some of our adventures here. I always took dates for granted until life started getting in the way and realized that it had to become non negotiable and it is. 
FUN. I knew it would be great to finally be together in the same location with my husband, but I never anticipated that I would laugh and constantly smile this much. My husband has a great sense of humor and even when we are tired and really busy he finds a way to make me laugh.

These pictures are part 1 of our little celebratory one year anniversary photo shoot, done by our amazing friend Valeria.

"Every good thing I have comes from you" (Psalm 16:2)




Love Chronicles | Maintain Long Distance Relationships

Hello Darlings,

Yes! Today we are doing it, we are talking LDR's (long distance relationships)! That is a topic that I am more familiar than I maybe would've liked because my husband and I were in a LDR for 2 1/2 years before we got married and moved to this beautiful island. Even now, I still try to nurture long distance relationships with my family and friends that are still left all over the places I have lived in the last few years. Be sure to join me on Monday for a LDR guide to girlfriends and family!

Being in a LDR is definitely not for everyone. Constantly being away from the people we love and relying almost solely on technology as a lifeline for constant communication is sometimes sad and slightly frustrating.

We had a little discussion over on Instagram about this topic and here is some of the fun stuff we came up with.

Room to breathe
Being far from each other sometimes gives time to focus on certain tasks (really stressful projects or school for example) and then really enjoy the special time spent together. I never really paid attention to this, but it was during those years that I was able to give myself completely to a very demanding job without any guilt. I would be in the office Facetiming while working really late on a project. It is also during that time that I did most of my traveling. We would call each other from Argentina, Venezuela, Peru or Chicago but never feeling like there was a difference in our separation because we kept the same rhythm of communication. Now, looking back, I can say that making the best of the situation by using your time wisely during this season can truly be beneficial in the long run.

Also, it goes without saying but... have a life. Make friends, engage in activities, hobbies and things that you enjoy so that you don't go crazy just being at home waiting for some type of sign or communication from your BF. 

We texted, skyped (or FaceTimed) daily. We wrote emails, messages, occasional cards and hand-written letters during our courtship. On special occasions and on a "just because" occasions, I got little surprises delivered to my house, my office and hand delivered through my friends that acted as messengers. I think this is where people in LDR's really must get creative. Love makes you do crazy things and it is so important to constantly, throughout the day and week make your presence known. Not to be creepy or annoying but just to be "present". My love was not physically there but I never felt like he was too far emotionally. From the "good morning princess" text to the prayer and blessing he would give me at night before going to bed, even far apart, we created our own little traditions and fun ways to cope with the sadness of not being able to see each other for a few months at a time. 

I feel that since all we had was communication for most of our 2 year 1/2 relationship, our communication skills were and continue to be strong. However, we intentionally worked hard at it. This is, according to my opinion, what can potentially make or break a relationship; when you are able to keep your commitment to constant communication regardless of the distance, time change, poor reception or internet access. The truth is, the effort has to be made and as a couple you must find what works for you and do it constantly. 

My husband and I joke about our perpetual "separation" anxiety attacks because of the trauma of all the times we had to leave each other. All the airports drop off, bus terminal hugs, hotel lobby embraces, passports, visas, airplanes, delays and long drives are all silent witnesses of our love story. The short times you get to spend together are so amazing that you just can't wait to do this forever, which is what we decided to do last May. But sometimes, the agony of not really knowing when it will be possible is rough, especially when you live in 2 different continents like some of my friends. 

We found that leaving letters, gifts, messages and even hidden gifts and surprises for the other person to find in the next hours after the separation helped. Now, with social media, it's really easy to document the special memories made in those short periods as opposed to other people that get to see each other all the time. 

Worthy of trust
Being away for special occasions, not being present on nights when you feel like going on a date or when your love is not there to simply chill, puts us in a vulnerable position whether we realize it or not. Here we are living our life, meeting interesting people that we can physically see and laugh with face to face on a regular basis. And yes, you will be tempted sometimes. I am not saying that you will set out to be downright unfaithful or that you will fall for it but you may allow yourself to spend more time with that "friend" that satisfies all the emotional needs your distant significant other can not fulfill at the moment. This is tricky to talk about but remember that this relationship is your choice, so be honest and be worthy of trust. Be transparent (which is why communication is super important). Sometimes this means sacrifice what is happening "now" for something greater later.

Obviously "le hubby" and I were in this relationship because we knew that we wanted to be serious about it. make sure that if you decide to put in all the effort that a long distance relationship takes, that you are both on the same page and desire to see it succeed. Are you in a long distance relationship? What advice would you give to people that are in a similar situation? 

One of my favorite movies concerning this topic is "Like Crazy", not because of the ending (sorry if I am spoiling it for anyone) but really just because I totally relate to their despair.  



Date Day | Secret Garden Getaway

Hello Darlings!

Today for another "date day", I am sharing a botanical garden date we managed to squeeze in between two hectic weeks a while back. Imagine this old sugar cane mill transformed into a beautiful botanical garden with endless plants and flowers that can only fuel the imagination of a "green thumb"-less person like me. Nice ruins, sculptures, historical replicas of country houses (and great food to match the scenery), bridges to stroll on, I mean just an all around gem and picture taking eye candy.

So yes, life is pretty crazy for us and though we don't have babies yet, it sometimes feels like we have 2 toddlers because of the projects we are involved in. Also, in the middle of the "getting things done", busyness and running around we may sometimes miss the beauty hidden in the simple and mundane details of building a life together.

We may or may not have crashed a wedding that day...

So we have established 3 simple rules, that besides making God the center of our home are meant to protect our love and nurture it.

♥ One of them is that we have as many dates in the week as we can but at least one is non negotiable. Our dates usually consist of visiting a new coffee shop or going on a picnic somewhere and taking pictures, exploring new foods or simply cooking together or even taking a road trip in order to enjoy each others company, dialogue, good music and laughter.

♥ Kiss as often as possible and as long as possible everyday. I have no scientific or medical proof but I am convinced that a good make out session with my husband can truly relax us and just make us happy :)

♥ Prioritizing is probably my worst enemy but I have learned the hard way that it must be done. A wise person once told me about the days when my house was going to be a mess and have piles of dirty dishes in the sink and I'll feel pressured to take care of it but the best thing that I will sometimes have to do will be to leave everything as is in order to spend quality time with the people I love. She was oh so right!

What are the time management "rules" that you follow in order to spend more quality time with the people you love?