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Let Them Eat Chocolate!

live a lotI’ve been pretty vocal about the struggles I’ve endured these past couple of months. And no, I’m not seeking attention or pity, instead, I hope my words reach the right ears. Ultimately, it was the strength of those that shared their story with me that gave me hope about my own situation.

Self-love/ self-care became THE common them. And so did nourishment. I started to research ways to nurse my entire self back to life. Acupuncture was huge in the physical and emotional aspect of things. But given that my sessions would only be twice a month, I needed to further research ways to upkeep my health. During this process I found out that I was vitamin D deficient, so naturally I began to take the supplements AND looked into all other things that would help boos this deficiency. In the midst of my research, I found so much information. And believe it or not, CHOCOLATE kept popping up throughout the digging process.

The stars aligned because I came across https://livealot.org/. Live a lot chocolate is a powerful sister duo- Giovanna and Regina! These gals were tired of our unhealthy lifestyles of “living a little” through unhealthy food and habits, so they decided  to make the shift to Live A Lot. We infuse more life into our days through chocolate, movement, healthy food, and gratitude.

Live A Lot superfood chocolate bars are a comforting snack without the sugar crash. Crafted with intention to nourish your body and celebrate your taste buds. Their creamy and delicious chocolate bars combine the healing power of unroasted cacao with other superfoods like matcha, goji, schizandra, mucuna, ginger, and medicinal mushrooms. All of their products are crafted with organic, fair trade cacao from Ecuador. They don’t include dairy, soy, gluten, or refined sugar in our chocolate –  they only sweeten with coconut sugar.
Their 3 bars are:

IGNITE – Enhance Joy: Infused with goji berry, schizandra berry, and cardamom to enhance the senses, mood, and feeling of pleasure.

REVIVE – Energy Boost: Infused with matcha green tea, ginger, and mucuna to feed the brain and provide a zen-like energy boost without the crash.

UNWIND – Reduce Stress: Infused with a blend of 30 medicinal mushrooms that support immunity and help balance out stress levels.

Fast forward a couple weeks later, and I found myself in Peru surrounded by all things cacao! If that’s not the universe speaking directly to me, then I don’t know what it is. But the moral of the story is this: small businesses with  real stories that want to pay it forward are my jam. Social media has become congested with all things trendy, which is totally cool and all, but I choose to support those that speak to me. Being sick changed so many things for me. Getting caught up in the trends that society constantly measures us up to, is not a web I want to continue to be tangled up in. There’s a reason I went through what I did, and its my obligation to talk about it and share my findings.

Having said that, LET THEM EAT CHOCOLATE!

 

Cheers,

gicelmybell

*thanks G & R for sharing your story and creating this amazing superfood for the world to enjoy!

 

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anxiety, Blog, Culture, Family, Journey, Life, Uncategorized, Women

No one said it would be easy…

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How much did we complain about 2016? And how much were we looking forward to 2017? Or maybe it was just me. Regardless, I was certain 2017 was going to be a kick ass year and I was waiting for it with open arms.

Two weeks into the year and my life was turned upside down. Do I sound dramatic? Yes? Well, that’s because I don’t do well in times of crisis. It was a sunny afternoon, and I must have just had lunch when I felt a tingling feeling take over me, from head to toe. My hands and feet began to feel sweaty and then, numbness. This happened within seconds, and it took me  couple of minutes to gather myself and mustard the courage to get up and head to the nearest mirror. I was certain that the right side of my face was droopy. I immediately thought: bell’s palsy. I looked in the mirror and all was good. The numbness was still lingering with the feeling of cold limbs. What was going on? My mind immediately began to feel foggy and slowly but surely I drifted into an out of body experience. For days after, my routine was to run to the restroom and look at my face. I really felt like my face was droopy. This feeling brought confusion which turned into fear. I made an appointment to see my doctor and she ruled out any type of stroke and/or bell’s palsy; thank GOD. She said I had a nervous breakdown due to stress/ anxiety. I was happy to hear that, but still questioned why my body felt like it was on an awful trip. She assured me that it was just part of the process.

Days turned into weeks. Confusion turned into fear and sadness. This was not only taking a toll on me but on everyone around me. I’d make plans only to cancel. Eventually I just stopped answering. I spiraled downwards fast, so fast , I had no idea when it happened. I would sleep, cry, and sleep again. Some symptoms seemed to get better, only for others to pop-up. My muscles were sore. My tongue was swollen. My mind was foggy and the list goes on.I was in both physical and emotional pain. I had completely lost control of my being. I began to pray and allow myself to open up about what/ how I was feeling. Folks shared their experiences and that my pivotal point. There is something so intimate and fragile about people coming together and share their experiences with you. Coming from a Mexican background, as most people I know, this isn’t easy. We do not talk about these things. I am fortunate to work with a colleague turned friend who reminded me on a daily that it was okay to talk about it and that it would only be temporary. I leaned on her more than I would have liked, but I’m thankful that she was always willing to listen. I truly believe God makes no mistakes. He kept making me cross paths with folks that were uplifting and supportive. I’m beyond thankful.

It’s been a month and a day, but feels like a year. Everyday things get better. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my body, patience, understanding, and others. This life is demanding and it is up to us to make it as tough and/or as easy as we possibly can. In a sense we’re just like little kids–often times the signs are there and we just refuse to listen. I no longer view this as a breakdown but instead, a breakthrough.

So was 2016 a bad year? Is 2017 better? The answer is NO and YES. I’ve got a different perspective now. Every single day we wake up is a good day. My husband and children are healthy and happy. We’ve got a place we call home and food on our table. We are surrounded by the most amazing beautiful people that show us love time and time again. No one said it would be easy, but we’re more resilient than we think me are. I continue to put one foot in front of the other. I will continue to help normalize dialogues about mental health in our communities.  We must share the knowledge and continue to pay it forward. There is a reason behind this experience that I might no quite understand now, but in due time I will.  I’m not where I used to be but I’m slowly getting there.

Cheers,

gicelmybell 

p.s. If anyone has any questions about my experience or findings along the way, I’m more than happy to chat.

 

 

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Blog, Friends, Getaways, Journey, Life, trips, Uncategorized, Women

Hit the Road Jack…

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by Ray Charles was playing this beautiful Saturday evening as my gals and I enjoyed a drink and sat poolside at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. As I sipped my drink and hummed along to the song, I gazed out into the dark but yet clear skies, and realized I was actually on a weekend getaway. And I was absolutely okay with it.

Let me explain. Prior to this particular occasion, the only other time I’ve been away from my husband and children, was when I traveled to Spain while completing my undergrad studies. Lots of uncertainty and tears were shed pre-trip, during the trip, and post-trip. I questioned whether I was making and had made the right decision. You see, I’m the mother that worries about what my children will say about me in 5, 10, 15 years! Will they say “well, you weren’t there because you were too busy traveling to Spain…” or “well, you were always in school..or at work.” Does that make sense? Perception, i think that’s the word i’m looking for.

But yet here I was enjoying my very first and official getaway. I’m lucky to have friends that 1) include me in plans despite the fact that I have kids and 2) don’t take “no” for an answer. More often than not I need that peer pressure to peek its head out.

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Needless to say, I hadn’t had this much fun in a long time. It felt good to not have to worry about anything but myself. Selfish? Sure it is, but I’ve earned every bit of it.

Cheers!

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p.s. if you saw my snaps, promise some better ones will come in the very near future. Here’s a hint: Portland in November and possibly Tel Aviv + Jerusalem in May 2017 (fingers crossed!)

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Culture, DTLA, Family, Journey, Life, Music, Uncategorized

The Grammy Museum

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Yo, I’m back! Not that anyone missed me or anything, but…

Those of you who know us, know that Miles plays music. When he was younger he would pick up the instruments that Rob would leave laying around, but it wasn’t until middle school that he began to develop and flourish into a little talented musician. The music program at his middle school is one of the main reason we decided to send him there. It was worth it. He was a part of the band, drum line, and jazz band. This academic school year the Theloniuos Institute of Jazz collaborated with 10 LAUSD school to provide private lessons for the jazz band at those schools. Imagine these young adults getting lessons from some of the most talented musicians around! It’s heartbreaking to see that music and the arts are at the top of the list when funds are cut short.

After an entire year of hard work and practice, they were given the opportunity to play the one and only Grammy Museum on June 4. We (Robert and I) were stoked! Miles on the other hand seemed very indifferent. It was just “another” performance. But the show must go on, and it did. I’m getting chills just replaying all the phenomenal performances by young adults ranging from 13-17 years of age. Simply mind blowing. You know they say that most musicians that are virtuosos were more than likely prodigies. I know for a fact I witnessed some that afternoon. And it was a the very end of the show when Miles finally realized what an amazing opportunity he was given. That show changed a lot of things for him. Embarking on his high school journey in less than a week, he vowed to quit playing music at school and was convinced he would pick up sports. Well, that wasn’t the case after the Grammy Museum performance.

There’s  a part of me that thinks that the reason he didn’t want to continue with music in high school, is due to the lack of popularity. Miles is a well-known, well liked kid that cares about perception. But then again, maybe that’s all kids at his age (?). Regardless, we’re hoping to instill the value and appreciation of being unique. Up until now Miles has marched to the beat of his own drum, and we want nothing more for him than to continue to do that. Naturally, hearing that he’ll continue to pursue music was music to my ears.

Like everything else, this was a complete family affair. We got access to the entire museum and the kids loved it. Highly recommend it if you’re into music or if you’re into letting your kids run around, mess with instruments, all while burning off some energy. Ha ha!

Much appreciation to ESMS and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz for believing in the talented youth of our future. This is and will be an unforgettable experience.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

The Broad

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As a young girl I used to frequent the Museum of Contemporary Art aka MOCA. It started off as a school field trip, but soon I would be asking my dad to take me quite often. I used to sit there and sketch the sky scrappers towering over DTLA. And ever since, visiting museums has been something I absolutely love to do. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m some sort of art connoisseur, that just means I love the feeling of traveling into someone else’s world. I try to break down the artists’ thought process while admiring their work.IMG_2751

This love I have for museums is something I want to instill in my children. And I think I might already have. Last year while in Mexico City, I made sure to hit as many museums and historical grounds with the kids. I can confidently say that they are some little explorers just like their momma. Dad on the other hand wishes the museums can come to him. Ha ha !

Luckily, there was not much convincing to do when I told him about the new museum in town: The Broad. As I was reading off the list of artists that are featured, he was sold at the mention of Basquiat. Needless to say, I was happy! We didn’t have reserved tickets, which meant we would have to head out a bit early and hope that we would get in. And we did! I quickly signed up for a time slot for Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, as I’ve heard time slots go fast! I smiled as the museum associate gave me my 10:50 am tim12208272_10207615823572033_7536879106288317390_ne slot. Yay!

The kids were oh so well behaved, with the exception that they refused to take pictures. Does that count as  misbehaving in your book? It does in mine! Ha. They were particularly fond of Warhol’s pop art, Koons because what kid doesn’t love a jumbo sized blue balloon dog steel sculpture, Yayoi Kusama’s endless LED light display surrounded by water, and Wool. They also loved the twists in the staircases and the Willy Wonka like elevator. It was spacious enough to where the kids didn’t fel like they had to walk on eggshells, it was perfect!

I highly recommend you make this a date with your significant other, a girl’s day, and/or a family fun day! The Broad will not disappoint.

Cheers!

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Uncategorized

32, you’ll be missed…

BdayPaulo Coelho said it best, “life has a way of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once”.

32 was a big year for me. I finally accomplished my lifelong dream of obtaining a baccalaureate degree, I was one of the commencement speakers at my graduation, and started my dream career in higher education. Alongside all the amazing things that were accomplished at 32 and brought joy to my life, there also came moments of loss, sadness, regret, and heartbreak. Life has a strange, twisted, fuc*ed up way of reminding us that nothing in this life is forever. We must keep rolling with the punches.

My hopes for 33 are that my family and loved ones are continued to stay blessed. I will work on becoming a better version of me. A better woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.  I look forward to continuing to change people’s life through my everyday work. I look forward to starting grad school. I look forward to finally passing the CBEST Math component. Ha ha! I hope to one day repair any hurt I’ve caused those folks I left behind at 32. The folks I once loved…still love. Not a day goes by where you’re not in my thoughts.

32, you’ll be missed but I’m ready to experience what 33 has in store for me. I’m ready for a fresh start.

Cheers!

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Uncategorized

Back to School for the Mamas

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The story goes a little something like this: 31 weeks ago my girl @jboogiemontano tagged me in a giveaway that @pasadenacharm was hosting. @pasadenacharm is the cutest IG account that pretty much exposes the world to the “Creme de la Creme of Pasadena, CA”. In other words, all the cool sh*t we might not know about Pasadena. Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, so @pasadenacharm was collaborating on some cool things with Lula Mae–a cute tiny shop in non other than *drumroll please* Pasadena! And although it was my gal that followed @pasadenacharm it was I who won the contest! I was most excited to meet the gal behind @pasadenacharm. We might have exchanged a few words but Taryn swept me off my feet. One of the sweetest most genuine person ever. Taryn said that she had read my blog and was inspired by my story! What?!? I haven’t seen her since, but I’m one loyal follower and try to support her mission even if it’s just by tapping twice. You know what i mean?

The story continues on like this: Taryn then tags me in a @heymamaco post, introducing me to a community of amazing talented mamas doing amazing things. And this is how @hanahsaurus aka @magicmamascents and I stumbled upon each other. I missed the opportunity to meet her a couple months ago when Taryn invited me to a local Madewell event they were having. But I made sure to keep my ears and eyes open for any upcoming events. I should say that I had no idea that @hanahsaurus and @magicmamascents were the same person. It wasn’t until I saw the post from both @pasadenacharm and @hanahsaurus inviting mamas to Lou & Grey in Pasadena for a “Back to School for the Mamas Local Artisan Market” that I realized Hanah was the gal behind @magicmamascents. I knew immediately that I wanted to stop by and meet Hanah but also say “hello” to Taryn.

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Long story short. I was on a date with my youngest Gael, who by the way behaved extraordinarily well. I wish I could say it was due to my parenting but I give credit where credit is deserved. Thank you Yogurt land! We walked in and I immediately spotted Hanah. I think i might have even rudely interrupted the conversation she was having with a client. Oops! So guys, let me tell you that this was my first time buying essential oils. I hear about them all the time and how wonderful they are but never really paid much attention. Hanah explained all the benefits of her oils and how she uses them. I fell in love with and walked away with the Sleepy Moon Spray and a beautiful gifted sage– homegirl discount. And oh my word! Not only does it smell amazing but it also helps calm my crazy ass nerves.

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@magicmamascents was not the only one reppin’ at this cute local pop-up. Some other local favorites present were @popupgreens with her super cute hand painted pots & potted plants. @goldpresspaper with her perfectly craved lettering and custom made cards. And lastly, there was @sweetclems, an “entrepreneur trying to bring a smile to your face one popsicle at a time”. All in all, it was a Saturday afternoon well spent! A special shout out to my girl @jboogiemontano for entering us in any and all giveaways possible. This would’ve never happened without you. xx

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Cheers!

*No compensation was received for this post. Just sharing a cool event I attended over the weekend.

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