Puerto Rico, you are not alone.

PuertoRico32Yesterday I sat at my computer and looked through the hundreds of pictures saved from our trips to Puerto Rico over the years. I broke down and cried. I just can’t believe this island has been so badly hurt by the recent hurricanes. I dare not say this island is destroyed because I know the people are resilient and together we will rebuild this beautiful country. The situation in Puerto Rico is far worse than you think. My father has yet to speak to his sisters and though we got word they are okay, this only means they are alive. Food, drinking water, and the resources that we take for granted are gone, and aid is only slowly arriving because the island is flooded, and without electricity. Communication is almost impossible.

I want to share with you the beauty of my last trip. If you have never been, please know that is place is nothing short of magical. I hope you can visit there one day when all of this is just a bad memory so you understand my beating heart for this place and what it means to me and my family.

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        {The streets old Old San Juan are the perfect backdrop to any picture!}PuertoRico18{Famous blue cobblestone in Viejo San Juan}PuertoRico16 {Resting in one of the art filled squares in Viejo San Juan last year}PuertoRico38 PuertoRico37 PuertoRico31

{El Morro way off in the distance. We laugh that Mateo’s shirt is Puerto Rico’s usual motto….”later!”}

PuertoRico40{The palm trees that line our favorite family beach, Luquillo}PuertoRico41{The tide is low and perfect for littles running in and out at their leisure}

PuertoRico_3{A little froyo on a late evening in Viejo San Juan}PuertoRico_4

(Strike a pose, literally anywhere in beautiful old San Juan!}PuertoRico_5{Paseo de la Princesa, a beautiful pathway in Old San Juan surrounded by historical landmarks}PuertoRico30

{Usually the streets are filled with good music and good times}

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{A delicious Cubano sandwich at our favorite bakery, El Timon, located in Ceiba near our family condo, pictured below}
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PuertoRico14{Pool time with Levi at our family condo}PuertoRico23

{A hike at the National Rainforest, El Yunque}PuertoRico21 PuertoRico20 PuertoRico19

{After a long day of hiking and a dip in the refreshing cold waterfalls}
PuertoRico3{Pina coladas with friends}
PuertoRico4 {Small plane ride to our favorite little island in Puerto Rico, Culebra}PuertoRico7 PuertoRico6 {Happy times at one of the top beaches in the world, Flamenco circa 2014}

PuertoRico8 PuertoRico9{Discovered the most delicious Acai bowl while on the island of Culebra}PuertoRico10

{I hope to enjoy this view and this place once again!}

Donate now to help the island restore the beauty it once was, and provide the people of Puerto Rico support in this truly horrifying natural disaster.  I have donated directly to United for Puerto Rico  http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/, but there are many more organizations helping to bring relief to Puerto Rico. You can find a more comprehensive list here.

P.S. More pictures of our past trip to Puerto Rico here.  <3

Love,

Ana B

Sometimes motherhood kicks my butt, and other times I win too!

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Hi friends! It’s been so long since the last time I posted on my blog that I even forgot the password! Fifteen minutes later, and I’m finally in this familiar and loved space where I’ve shared so much of myself (the good, the bad, and the fashionable).

The business that now takes up all my time was built on blogging, so I will always go back to it. Even still, I struggle with the feeling of wanting to share everything on this platform and also nothing at all.

If you follow me on any social media, I’ve mentioned a few times how my nanny left from one day to the next, without a warning. It was a sad moment. I was flung into a situation where I was managing MAB full time and the home full time. For 2 years I had an awesome nanny from Tuesday through Saturday. She washed the boys clothes, kept our home neat, and would do school drop offs/pick ups. And I could focus on work, blogging and building my business during the day! IT. WAS. FREAKING. FANTASTIC. I couldn’t have done it without her (or my mom, or my husband.) It really takes a village.

Since she left, I have placed Mateo in part-time Pre-K, which means I have at least one boy, if not all 3 boys with me at all times. The only times I am kid-free now is when I’m on-site for gigs (and nana or hubby take over).

I thought I was cool the other day and took Levi and Mateo to the post office with me. You know…a quick trip. Well, there was a smallish line, but I really needed to pick up a check. The boys thought it was the perfect time to make a scene. They started chasing each other around me. Laughing. Yelling. Fighting. Running into other adults. MAKING A SCENE. I must have turned beet red. I asked them to stop. Pleaded. Separated. Nothing. Finally, I got down on one knee, looked them straight in the face and used my mad “I’m not playing” voice: “STOP IT! Right NOW!” The kind of voice that makes other adults a little uncomfortable.

I learned two things: Never take your 3 and 4 year old boys to the post office when there’s even a hint of a line. If you have to, make sure to have something you can bribe them with. Lollipops. A phone. Mickey Mouse…..WHATEVER YOU HAVE!!! GIVE IT TO THEMMMM! Aye.

On those days, I feel like MOTHERHOOD is kicking my butt. I feel like I’m no good at this mothering thing. Like I can’t even DEAL. (Read exasperation here.) And I ask, “Lord, whhyyyyy did you see it fit for me to be a mom of these 3 little humans?” Not sure I can get this right.

But other days, like today. Where I made them a home cooked meal of chicken and rice, and Levi still said “I don’t LOVE that food, mom!” and Mateo spills half of it on the floor while he runs around like a madman. On days like today, where I sat there anyways patiently and made sure they ate every last bite (this can take an hour!). And then cleaned up the kitchen, and baked cookies for them (Pillsbury, just FYI), and bathed them, and prayed with them before bed.

On days like today, I am reminded that yes, sometimes motherhood kicks my butt, but other days I am winning too!

Love,

Ana B

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A little throwback to Easter with the “primos”

Things to Do In October

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October came in with a FURYYYY, didn’t it?! I mean the raining, the dark skies and the uh, hurricane warnings?! It’s definitely fall in Virginia, we can’t fight it anymore! There are ways to help make the transition to this cooler weather a little more enjoyable. Here are some ideas!
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ALL PHOTOS BY: ALUMBRA PHOTOGRAPHY

  1. Closet Rotation/Organization: There’s no point in sifting through all the summer clothes you can’t wear anymore. Find a few hours this month to do some closet reorganization. Put away your summer shorts and dresses, and make some room for all your light sweaters and fall inspired outfits. I enjoyed getting out my fall wardrobe and rediscovering some nice purchases I made this time last year.
  2. Donate and Recycle: It’s also a great time to make a bag for donations. If it’s too big, too small, no longer your style, or you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s probably time to donate. The kids clothes will also need a donation pile, as they grow out of everything so fast!
  3. Make a Purchase List: Once you’re Fall/Winter closet is newly organized, you can see what you need to invest in (rainboots anyone? new sneaks for the kids?)
  4. Visit a Pumpkin Patch: I still remember the first time I went with Diego.  It was just so fun! We’ve visited a few times since then and I’m definitely planning to visit with my tribe again.
  5. Join a Dance, Fitness or Martial Arts Class:  If you follow me on Instagram (@Love_AnaB) or Snapchat (AnaMetLeno), you’ll know how much I just love Zumba. I mean, latin music and a great workout?! I LOVE IT! Pablo and I also joined a Krav Maga self defense class together. It’s a great way to learn a new skill as a couple, all the while doing something physically active.
  6. Decorate for Fall: You can do it yourself, or buy it at Target, but a few Fall inspired pieces to decorate your home will make the transition more enjoyable. A few easy favorites of mine are pumpkin spice candles, a fall wreath for the door, and white or decorative pumpkins for the kitchen table.
  7. Get Your Baking On! I’m planning on trying these Pumpkin Protein Muffins for a healthier alternative.

Wishing you a fantastic October <3.

Love,

Ana B

Outfit Details:

Sweater, booties and MK Bag: Ross 

Jeans: J Brand/Nordstrom Rack

Nail Color: OPI Muir Muir on the Wall 

Bracelets: Alex and Ani

Five Fun Things to Get you Through An “East Coast” Winter

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It’s probably no secret that I love social media. Instagram is my drug of choice and I make no apologies. One of the few negative things about it though is seeing the sunny pictures of an “LA” Winter. People in LA are carrying on with their perfectly warm weather in their bathing suits and outside brunches. It’s just NOT FAIR! Since moving is out of the question, I’ve come up with a list of FIVE things you and I can do to get through an “East Coast” Winter.

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ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ALUMBRA PHOTOGRAPHY

1. PLAN A GIRLS WEEKEND GETAWAY. This is basically my answer to everything in life. Haha. There are few things that compare to having a weekend away with your besties. It doesn’t have to be expensive or grand. This year we are taking a trip to Pennsylvania for some much needed R&R. Hopefully, there’s a spa and a massage involved.

2. FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIES. I love the idea of planned movie nights with your honey or your family. Popcorn, hot chocolate and a great flick are a must!

3. ICE SKATING AND HOT COCOA. There are a lot of great skating rinks open this time of year (Reston and Tysons). Double up on those pants and socks, and you could have an awesome time outdoors. A little exercise is a bonus! And don’t forget the hot cocoa. After ice skating for a few hours, a warm drink is the BEST!

4. PLAN A PARTY. Sometimes we go through long periods without seeing our favorite people. This happens a lot when you have kids because, well, kids are all consuming, and we forget about our adult friends. But it’s also important to make the effort to reach out to people we like to be around. I’m having a little shindig for Mateo’s 2nd birthday this weekend. My house still doesn’t look like the Pinterest boards I’ve been pinning away at, but I just can’t let my self-consciousness get in the way of a perfectly good party. Aside from the ooohs and aahhhhs, no one really cares what your walls look like. People just want to hang out and eat good food!

5. PLAN A COFFEE DATE ONCE A WEEK. Outside brunches and picnics are out of the question, but coffee is delicious and even more so when you get to have a coffee date with a pal. Knowing you’re gonna meet up with someone mid-week is a perfect way to break up the routine of going to work everyday and then going straight home. If you’re a momma, have the hubs put the kids to bed while you meet up with a friend. You deserve a coffee date!

I’d LOVE to hear how you plan to get through the next six weeks of winter with a little fun! Leave your suggestions in the comments section :).

Love,

Ana B

OUTFIT DETAILS:

1. Dress: Forever 21 at Springfield Town Center (Option/Option)

2. Cardigan: Forever 21 at Springfield Town Center (similar)

3. Shoes (Old)/ beautiful option//wedge option

4. Hat (Old)/Option/Cute Option

5. Necklace (Gifted)

If It Makes You Happy!

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My dear husband recently bought me the book “Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul” and reading it really brings me back to my childhood. I loved these books as a teenager. They inspired me to appreciate the little things in life, but also to dream bigger and farther than my little world at the time. I always wanted to move away somewhere and experience a different life. I did get that chance when I moved to California in 2002 as a newlywed. AnaB-Jan-31 AnaB-Jan-35 AnaB-Jan-36 AnaB-Jan-28 AnaB-Jan-44 AnaB-Jan-40 AnaB-Jan-33

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ALUMBRA PHOTOGRAPHY

It’s funny that the adventure I was looking for didn’t end up being in California. It’s happening right here in good old Virginia. And in my 30s. Not my 20s. Ha! But life is kinda funny that way. I’m always in awe of how things end up turning out. I do think that part of getting to where you need to go happens when you’re in tune with yourself. When you say no to the things that stifle you or make you unhappy. And say yes to the things to excite and inspire you! Even if people don’t agree or even if it doesn’t make you money at first. Believe in yourself, believe in your purpose, work really hard for what you want and find a way!

Love,

Ana B

Dress: TopShop at Springfield Town Center (Cute Options!)

Jacket: TopShop at Springfield Town Center

Little Big Moments Caught on Camera

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Hey guys! So it’s been awhile since I did a family update and shared some pics off my phone. As a blogger, sometimes I can get caught up in having the most perfect picture. But the truth is that the best moments are happening off camera, and if there is a picture about it, it’s usually blurry and off-centered. So here are some awesomely big little moments:  20141008_164342

Skinnytaste came out out with a recipe book and I am loving it so far. Geesh, just looking at the pictures makes me drool! If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll know that I used many of her recipes to help me lose the baby weight (read more here), so I am a fan! Her recipes are healthy without compromising taste. I am a big believer in balance and not deprivation when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

20140927_191749My little Mateo is now 20 months old and he is as CUTE as ever! He carries his little stuffed animals around with him, he loves to watch Paw Patrol with his brothers, and sucks his thumb when he’s sleepy. We have a very special bond aka he’s got me wrapped around his chubby fingers, hehe. <3

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Diego turned eight over the weekend! His little cousin Mia slept over and he had a laser tag party with all his primos! Remember those cousin sleepovers?! Those were some of my favorite childhood moments and it makes me happy that my little boy gets to experience the same thing now!

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Party time at Shadowland! 20141012_195554

We also had an impromptu get-together at my place afterwards. I’ve been waiting for the moment when I could have my family just hanging out around my table, eating, chatting and laughing for hours while the kids play. It just means a lot to me! 20141010_124635And what’s a good blog post without a shameless selfie?! The bold fall lippies are now in full effect, and here I’m wearing one of my favorites, Rebel Lipstick by MAC. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Love,

Ana B

 

 

 

Mateo Turns One!

Last weekend we celebrated little Mateo’s first birthday with a mustache bash (thanks for the idea Steph!) We had specialty cupcakes, mustache cookies and cake pops by Fresh Bakes…sooo delish! Pablo wore his natural ‘stache, but the rest of us used stick-on ones I found at the party store :).

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{Matty’s little playmates, Isabella and Reagan <3}

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 {Uhm, how cute are her little moccasins? She loves her tio!}

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 {My sis and I grew a ‘stache for the party}

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I can’t believe my last little nugget turned one! On my very first blog post on Love, AnaB, I shared that I was expecting my third boy and how I was initially disappointed because I wanted a little girl so badly. It’s crazy to reflect on it now, because I have such a strong connection to Mateo, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. God truly knows what we need and His plans for us are perfect! And of course it doesn’t hurt that I am Mateo’s favorite person in the world (sorry, Pablo!). Thank you to all our friends and family who came to celebrate. You made it special <3.

P.S. I ordered Mateo’s Mustache Bash here on Etsy :)

Love,

Ana B

Round and round we go!

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(A few family pictures from our fall session with Susannah of Alumbra Photography)

So glad to finally share some of our family photos with you! Have you taken family photos with a baby, a toddler, and a hyper seven-year old? What a headache fun adventure! These came out great, despite the craziness! Thank you Susannah! <3

As you may have noticed, I have been very sporadic with my posting in the last few months. It’s not because blogging is any less fun or important to me, in fact I really love it. But I sincerely felt like I needed to focus my down time on the people that need me the most, my husband and the kids, with less distractions. (And sleep, I needed more sleep.) I think this is the struggle of every working mother and even stay-at-home mom: how much of your time and attention is enough for your kids and your husband and how much of your time is okay to dedicate to your job, your passions, your friends and yourSELF! (Plus sleeping.) There is no easy answer to that question as it is a very personal thing. It’s an area where all mothers need a little more grace and less judgement. I read somewhere that motherhood is not so much a balancing act, but more a juggling act. We just try to the hold the balls up in the air as best as possible. Because as balanced as we try to be, we are not perfect and every so often some area of our lives seems to slip.

But I want to encourage all my moms of little babies that it does get easier! Mateo will be turning 1 in less than a month and throughout last year I did my fair share of…ahem…complaining (oops!) to my friends, myself and a little bit on this blog on the difficulties of pregnancy, motherhood, newborns, lack of sleep, body changes, and well, the list goes on. But I am starting to see a light on this mom of three journey and it feels a bit easier and more enjoyable. (And yay, you’ve caught me on a good day!)

All of that to say, that I will absolutely continue blogging in 2014 with the goal to be more consistent. Not that my kids will need me any less in 2014, haha! I just want to keep up this juggling act and not let go of the things that I love and inspire me. Not sure exactly how I’m gonna do it, but I have some ideas in mind! And I’ve got lots of fun things in the works :).

I also want to hear from you on what kind of posts you like reading on here and what you’d like to see more of! Here are just some ideas…outfit posts, looks for less, adventures in motherhood and marriage, healthy food ideas, beauty and makeup, and hair tutorials.

Cheers to more blogging and more sleep in 2014! Let’s make it our best year yet!

Love,

Ana B

 

 

That weekend in California.

Not sure how, but life with kids happens at a crazy fast rate. I feel like we were just starting a conversation about going to California and now these pictures are over a month old! Back in late October we took a long weekend to join family for our niece’s wedding in Santa Cruz. We were so excited to be there for her special day, and it really was just a gorgeous California weekend!

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{Arriving in California after a long trip plane with three rambunctious boys…still alive}

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{An authentic mexican meal of chilaquiles with all the fixings. Soooo picture worthy!}

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{Palm trees along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk}

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{I mean…}

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{Swoon! This kid has my heart <3}

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{Candied Apple and Boardwalk Fries}

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{Betcha can’t have just one!}

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{Bed full of cousins}

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{We try to get one good picture!}

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{Dance party at our beach house}

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 {The beautiful bride walking down the aisle with her father}

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{The sun was setting during the ceremony…amazing!}

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(The newly Mrs. Bishop and us}

IMG_9466{Time to unwind}

When I lived in California with Pablo for three and a half years, we loved visiting Santa Cruz. In fact, our favorite Szechuan restaurant (Omei) is in Santa Cruz, and we even got a chance to have dinner there that weekend! Makes me hungry just thinking about it. Traveling by plane with three kiddos is no joke. I really don’t want to do it any time soon! But it was all worth it to see our beautiful family and friends…and of course, to have dinner at Omei. :)

Love,

Ana B

 

A little bit of us in DC

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Over the weekend, Pablo and I got a chance to stay at the historic Willard Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Maybe it was the beautiful weather or just the fabulous location of the hotel, but I fell in love with DC again. The Willard sits in view of the White House, the Washington Monument and walking distance from some awesome retail shops. My favorite moments from the weekend included dinner and dancing at Cuba Libre, trying on some beautiful things at Zara, and laying out by the Lincoln Memorial reflective pool listening to Sara Baraeilles :).

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 {Photo 1 & 2: The Willard Hotel outdoor shot and grand entrance. The very place where Dr. Martin Luther King put the finishing touches on his “I Have a Dream” speech.}

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{A window inside our hotel suite}

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{Delicious Mexican food from District Taco. I recommend their queso with chorizo. Yum!}

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{Quick stop at Protein Bar for his and her protein shakes….how romantic!}

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{Rooftop sushi dinner at Momiji in Chinatown}

pabloandI.jpgUnfortunately our weekend was cut short due to Levi getting a viral infection (insert stress here!). But I’m still celebrating the fun moments we had just the two of us, and I can’t wait to explore some more of DC soon.

Love,

Ana B