empowerment

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Sleepless nights, dirty diapers, going somewhere with a gazillion things to pack for one tiny human, the responsibility of raising a capable adult, and everything in between are what make being a parent tiresome yet fun all at the same time. The idea of motherhood frightened me when I was younger and some days still manages to scare me. It’s a huge responsibility that is also a gift and blessing.  


Children mimic everything you do. I wish someone had told me this 14 years ago when I was pregnant with my first daughter so that I could be more prepared for what’s to come. When it came to Olivia, our second I sure thought she would want to do everything her sister did, but come to find out she wants to be just like her mama from my love for fitness, what I like to eat, and even how I dress. It’s probably one of my biggest motivating factors for constantly working on bettering myself to make sure I’m not only a role model for the women in our society, but to my daughters too. From the time I was younger I was always a go-getter. I constantly go against the grain just to discover my superpowers, being a bad ass woman. This is something that I see so strongly with my daughters, especially within Olivia.

The idea of motherhood frightened me when I was younger and some days still manages to scare me. It’s a huge responsibility that is also a gift and blessing.  

Athleta’s mission is to ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential. A mission that touches me to the core. Last summer Athleta released Athleta Girl, a high performing active apparel line encouraging young girls to live a more active life! We recently picked up a few pieces for Olivia before she went to yoga camp this summer and she’s been in love with them since.

She has a tendency to wear them where ever we go when it comes to something active, like hiking, bike rides, and even during her yogi playtime.

The moment I became a mother, I wanted everything to be perfect for my children including myself and even more so I imagined that I CAN make it perfect for them. And when things aren’t perfect, my own insecurity can get the best of me. It’s easy to be fooled by the beautiful posts you see on media where the archetype of a good mom is a woman who’s house is impeccably tidy, her kids have never seen a speck of dirt on their clothes, and dinner is always a 4 course meal. But then something clicked: my daughters have never had another mother in their life and everything that I am doing and everything that I am is PERFECT AND ENOUGH FOR THEM!

If there’s one lesson I hope that they will learn it’s that life is isn’t about perfection. It’s about chasing your dreams, believing yourself, and empowering others along the way.

This post was sponsored by Athleta and I was compensated to write this post, but all the opinions are 100% my own

photos by my talented 13 year old daughter, Airis Alexandra Encarnacion


 

The Refined Collective: Self Care

Self-care, self-love, self-discovery. These three things have been the theme of my life for the past 4 years and every single time I've learned a thing or two about each area, life seems to throw me another curve ball to teach me another lesson about what these areas mean in my life. 

When I became a mom, I did exactly what most women do when they become a new mom. They pour out all their love and energy into raising a family (as you should). But the one thing that I didn't recognize or value in the first few years, or 9 years of motherhood, was to find ways to fill my own cup so that I can continue serve others especially my family.

You cannot serve from an empty vessel.
— Eleanor Brownn

The life of a working mom began and soon enough I was hustling left and right, backwards, sideways, you name the direction I was there. I was overworked and overwhelmed with the idea of juggling motherhood, work, my passions, my relationships with girlfriends, and my relationship with my husband. I remember feeling spread thin thinking that it was a normal feeling until I started to find myself dealing with anxiety and depression. Things got rough and then I started to focus on my health and it improved. 

In my books, exercise will always be the number one form of self-care, but I also know that for some exercise might be a challenge so here are some self-care practices that I try to do at least once a week in order to refill my cup. 

  1. Journaling. This has been an instrumental piece of of maintaining and improving my mental health and the easiest form of self-care that I can practice whenever I'm feeling lost in the moment. I started to journal regularly this year as another onset of depression hit me just a few weeks ago. If you're unsure what to write about you can start with my favorite thing which is to list down 5 things you are grateful for. 
  2. 10 minutes of mindful breathing and meditation. I used to think that meditation was for yogis and just for yogis. Some days my mind feels like its a super highway, thoughts and ideas just whiz by. The perception I had about meditation was that you had to control those thoughts, until I discovered Headspace. 
  3. A bath and candles...ALONE! This one is very rare in my house to do because typically the bathroom door opens and I have someone saying "Mommy..." before I can roll my eyes to the idea that private moments is no longer a thing in my house. So when I can spend 15-20 minutes alone in a bath to simply relax from my day, unplug from my emails, phone, and studying it becomes pure bliss and the absolute best form of self-care.

A few other things I like do for self-care are: monthly massages, recovery time in the hot tub or sauna, a face mask, and even just laying in bed quietly while listening to music and diffusing essential oils in the air. A self-care practice is vital for your health. It's one that we take for granted these days especially while we're so busy juggling all of life's demands. Make sure to make time for it and remember its called a practice for a reason. You have to make time for it just like you make time for others in life. 

Just like exercise and eating healthy or living balanced, a self-care practice is just as unique as the individual practicing it. Your self-care routine will look different from your girlfriends and what you choose to practice, how you practice, and when you practice is entirely up to you. I hope I was able to provide you some inspiration to build your own. 

This article is written in Collaboration with some of my favorite women! Every 2nd Tuesday of each month we'll be sharing our thoughts on topics that tug on our heart strings, so make sure to check back in March to see what we've got lined up for you.

Check out their thoughts on Self-Care today too:

The Refined Woman // The Refined Collective Self-Care

Lauren Scruggs Kennedy // Self Care

Chelsey Korus // Self Care

Tutti del Monte Photography // Self Care Practices

Nine Retreat 2016 Recap

Nine Retreat 2016 Recap

My absolute favorite gem of all is the realization that we’ve started to dismiss one of our greatest power as women, which is our intuition and learning to listen to our own truths. Often times we’ve dismissed what we deeply know about ourselves or others because of what society is telling us to be. We’ve come to a time in our society where we’ve started to seek outside validation rather than listening to the voice within that’s already saying, “You are beautiful. You are strong. You are enough.” How many times do we sell ourselves short to live just below our potential? How many times do we dismiss our truths in order to please other people and make them happy? I mean seriously, talk about mind blown!

Finding motivation as a parent

They say that you will never know the love of a parent until you become one yourself. 11 years into my motherhood career, I've come to embrace every bit of that truth!

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Did you know that when I was a young naive lady, I said to myself "I'm not getting married till 30. I'm not having kids until I'm 35! I'm traveling the world, moving back to NYC, and becoming a national educator for Bumble and Bumble." None of that happened. And it wasn't because I couldn't make it happen, my life was redirected by becoming a parent. Funny enough when I found out I was pregnant a friend commented "you're the last person I thought would have a family." I responded with "So did I!" But there I was, about to become a mother at 21!

Becoming a parent has taught me so much about life: learning patience under circumstances that are out of your control,  understanding the value of time, and accepting that some moments won't always be perfect. These are just some of the few.

Lately, I've had a number of emails from women asking me how do I manage to stay motivated with fitness. Motivation just like ambition and drive is as personal as your choice of shoes, you gotta find something that suits you best. What pushes me is becoming like my parents and not becoming like them at the same time.

My parents didn't always put their health and fitness first, they put their kids first by working hard and showing me what it meant to pour hard work in. However I saw the stresses their life brought them and all the accomplishments. They didn't have much to give us, but they were both incredible examples to me of two people pushing hard to create a life they could share with their kids.

My two daughters and husband are the biggest motivations in my life especially in my fitness journey. I wanted to be able to grow old healthy and having the energy to run after my grandkids. (many many years from now) When Olivia was 2, right before I committed myself to healthier habits, I was out of breath, I felt heavy, and I had no energy to take her to the park.

It wasn't a life I wanted, never one I had imagined.  I want to travel and have outdoor adventures when my husband and I get old! But if my stamina wasn't there to run after a 2 year old at the park, what would it be like backpacking in Europe at 50.

Making goals like losing 15lbs, getting into a dress for a reunion, or looking hot in a bikini are amazing goals, to each their own! But most of these listed goals are time bound for an event. If you want to make lifestyle changes you have to dig a little past the surface level and ask yourself: What are you trying to change? How far are you willing to give?

Lifestyle changes to go from not working out to working out 5 days a week is a tremendous change and takes commitment, hard work, and determination! It's not impossible and it can and will happen if you pursue it. But your motivation has to be one that is strong enough to carry you through the process and its important to remind yourself that this is a journey and not a race. You're not doing it for anyone else, but your self. And if you're a mother, you're doing it for your family so that you can be a leading example of a woman who can.

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LIFE // We all need inspiration

When I'm feeling the itch for a little inspiration and motivation I start scouring the internet for motivational quotes, because everyone needs a little reminder that everything is awesome. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes from tonight's search:

The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her; but the strength of a woman is measured by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes.
— C. JoyBell C.
No matter where you are in life, you’ll save a lot of time by not worrying too much about what other people think about you. The earlier in your life that you can learn that, the easier the rest of it will be.
— Girlboss
I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.
— Oprah
Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.
— Ruth Gordon
Our deepest wishes are whispers of our authentic selves. We must learn to respect them. We must learn to listen.
— Sarah Ban Breathnach