Do it with passion or not at all.

blog-ana-b-black-dress4

First let me say, there is still hope that Pablo may turn into an Instagram husband. I literally dream of this. Lol! He took these pictures and I don’t think they’re half bad, si or no? Second, I am so happy to use some of my downtime during this holiday weekend and look back at my blog. It’s been 6 months since my last post! I stopped a little after my nanny quit and I just could not do it anymore. In fact, I was feeling resentful about all the things that were pulling my attention. So I’ve done some major rearranging in the past six months. The lesson here is that when you aren’t happy with with how things are going, you aren’t forced to accept things the way they are. Change things! Don’t get me wrong…I have been stuck plenty of times in my life where I’ve blamed everything and everyone. And there were times where patience was in order and I’ve had to buckle down and wait for the right timing. However, I am often asking myself the hard questions, and I am continuously rearranging aspects of my life to make sure that I still feel passion, joy, connection and peace. Sometimes, it’s as simple as trying a new exercise regimen and other times it’s more difficult, like letting go of things or people that hold you down or waste too much of your time.

It takes support to live this way, especially as a wife and mother, and I am thankful that my family is so supportive. But it also takes courage. To feel the fear of people’s opinions or even failure, and do it anyways!

blog-ana-b-black-dress3 blog-ana-b-black-dress5 blog-ana-b-black-dress7 img_6678

In 2017, I hope you find new ways to feel passion, joy, connection and peace. Cheers to rediscoveries and reinventions!

Love,

Ana B

Outfit Details

Dress: Undeniable Boutique in Mosaic

Boots: Vince Camuto Melaya Boot (now 40% off!)

Clutch: South Moon Under (old)

Ring: Gift (Michael Kors)

 

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

AnaB-Jan-18

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.

AnaB-Jan-7AnaB-Jan-16

AnaB-Jan-6 AnaB-Jan-21

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!

AnaB-Jan-34

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

Five Ways to Reignite Your Workout Routine

Pablo_beach.jpg

Hi friends! It’s been awhile since I did a fitness/health post. Like all people, I go through highs and lows in regards to my fitness and weight, and in the last many months I’ve been struggling to be consistent with my workout regimen. As I’ve seen my weight and energy fluctuate, I knew I had to make a change. So in the last few weeks, I’ve kicked things up again and thought I’d share a few tips that re-inspired me to get more physical!

1. Set the mood. It’s really hard to get excited about working out if it’s not part of your current routine. To help you get motivated, set the mood by changing into nice athletic clothes (I love this one by Athleta, but Target brand is also nice and affordable.) Cute tennis shoes are a must as well! I’ve had my Nike Frees for awhile and I love to see those bright colors on my feet :). Make sure to get a killer playlist going. I have a great list on Spotify called Dance Music that gets me pumped!

2. Break your habits. One of my reasons for not working out was because I was so used to going to a gym, but I no longer have a gym membership so I had to adjust to working out at home. I used to also have a lot more time to work out because I wasn’t as busy with work and the kids, so now I limit my workouts to 20-30 minutes, sometimes with kids climbing all over me, but I get it done! If you follow me on Pinterest, I have many workout routines saved that are easy to do at home without equipment.

3. Get in front of a mirror. Maybe it’s just me, but working out in front of a mirror can be motivational. It might be the sight of your muscles working, or the extra jiggle you want to get rid of, or the feeling that you’re not alone (by seeing your reflection), but it works.

IMG_1121

(My “gym” set up at home, it’s pretty simple! Pablo uses this space as well)

4. Set a goal. Sometimes you need something fun to look forward to or a way to treat yourself to help you get motivated. Plan a mini tropical vacation (we just went to Puerto Rico), or maybe there’s a social event like a wedding you want to look great for! Even better, book a boudoir shoot with Susannah. At first, you may be working out just because you want to look good for the occasion, but the health benefits are so worth it. After a few weeks, you’ll actually want to work out because it’s become part of your routine.

Pablos progress.jpg

5. Get accountable. If all else fails, you may need a workout buddy. Hit up your friends list and see who is available to meet up for workouts or scheduled runs. If that doesn’t pan out, it may be time to look into a fitness coach. When you pay for coaching, you value it more and you’ll be more likely to follow through! I would recommend FitNez who helped my hubby get into amazing shape (see progress pic). Inez (owner of FitNez) also coincidentally coached many of my brides in prep for their wedding day with great success!

Let me know your thoughts on this list, and feel free to share what motivates you!

Love,

Ana B

P.S. Pic shown at top is my hubby because he clearly hasn’t been missing his workouts like I have! Plus, he’s cute and sexyyyy <3

Bridal Beauty Inspiration & Lover.ly

Every week I get to spend time creating makeup and hair looks for a lady’s most important event, her wedding day! So when Lover.ly asked me to create beauty looks to complement these beautiful wedding dresses, I jumped on board. Lover.ly is the perfect online destination for all things bridal, from finding your bridal style to planning the tiniest details of your big day, it’s all there! Now, if only I could plan a second wedding :).

Look 1: Classic Beauty  

Stlye me 3

A Classic Beauty look can complement any hairstyle or dress, but would look especially beautiful with a strapless, form fitting gown. The goal is to look like a polished version of yourself.  For the eyes, I used a light beige shadow on the lid and a medium brown in the crease. I lined the eyes with a black gel liner and used individual lashes to bring out the eyes. I used a muted pink on the cheeks and a mauve lipstick to complete the look.

Beautylook1

Makeup Details: Foundation: MAC Face and Body, Cheeks: MAC Blush in Dame, Eyes: Lorac Pro To Go Eye/Cheek Palette, Lips: Mirabella Color Vinyl Lipstick in Rosy Rouge

 Look 2: Bold Beauty

Style me 1 3

A bold lip and winged eyeliner are a great option if you’re looking for a bit more flair to match a stand out dress, like the ombre feathered frock above. I let the makeup and dress do all the talking, and tied my hair back in a soft updo. I also added some white eyeliner to the inner waterline to make my eyes look bigger.

beautylook2

Makeup Details: White Eyeliner: MAC Fascinating Eye Kohl, Cheeks: Lorac Pink from Pro to Go Eye/Cheek Palette Lips: Mirabella Blush Velvet Lip Pencil 

Look 3. Glamorous Beauty 

Style me 2 (1)

For the last look, I was smitten by the high neck and lace detail of this gorgeous dress. To complement the glamour of the dress, I did a smokey eye in browns and golds with long lashes. I also added highlight and contour for more dimension since my hair is pulled back, and I finished the look with a fleshy lip color.

beautylook3

Makeup Details: Highlight: MAC Prep & Prime in Radiant Rose, Eyes and Contour: Lorac Pro to Go Eye/Cheek Palette Lips: Rimmel Airy Fairy

Which look do you prefer? Classic, bold or glamorous? I can’t decide between Classic or Glam myself! Now head on over to Lover.ly for more bridal beauty goodness!

Love,

Ana B

Little Big Moments Caught on Camera

20141008_161436(0)

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

20141012_100636

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!

20141012_171341

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

 

 

 

Romance and Whimsy: Styled Shoot with Sweet Root Village

Image00001

I recently got a chance to collaborate on a beautiful shoot with the creative and talented ladies of Sweet Root Village. These images were featured yesterday on Style Me Pretty, but I just wanted to highlight some of my favorites, which were super hard to choose because they’re all so pretty! <3

Image00002 Image00004 Image00006 Image00007 Image00009 Image00010 Image00012 Image00014 Image00016 Image00018 Image00019
Image00022

 

Image00020

If you want to check out the whole set including all the beautiful details, go to Style Me Pretty.  

Love,

Ana B

Shoot Contributors:
* Makeup and Hair by Me (Makeup by Ana B)
* Carolyn Misterek, Matine
Leather Clutch, Tassels, Various Leather Accents
@carolynmisterek
* DC Rental
Reception Table, Chairs, Table Settings
@eventsanddecor
* Sweet Root Village
Flowers, Photography, Styling, DIY Garland
@sweetrootvillage
* Gossamer
Gowns
@shopgossamer
* Heart of Gold Designs
Metal Hair Crown
@heartofgolddesignse
* Heather Jones
Model
@heatherjones07
* Bishop Boutique
Shoes, Bracelets, Earrings
@bishopboutique

Wonder Woman and the Nanny

AnaB June28-26

One of the best things about blogging is the ability to go back and reflect on moments of my life, whether a few days, a month or a year ago. Last August, I wrote about “Five Things that Keep me Sane“. While some of those things are still true today, life looks a lot different now, aka more complicated! Since then my “side business” has become a more demanding full time business which lead us to hire a nanny for extra help with the kiddos. For a long time, I fought the idea of having a nanny because I really wanted to be “Wonder Woman”. I wanted to do it all and do it all so well! But the thing is when I try to do it all, in reality I am just a grumpy mess. And I can’t always blame my Puerto Rican roots for my short temper; the hubs is not buying it anymore ;). I have realized that I am the best me when I focus on my strengths and acknowledge and accept my humanity.
AnaB June28-18 AnaB June28-19 AnaB June28-20 AnaB June28-30

All Photography by: Susannah of Alumbra Photography

The decision to get a nanny has been kinda awesome so far. The house is cleaner and the kids smell a lot better overall. I was also able to manage a kitchen remodel and move to a new home without losing my entire mind. The future is looking bright friends!

Love,

Ana B

Outfit Details: 

Dress: TopShop (no longer available), Cute Option, Cute Option 2, Sexy one!

Shoes: Nine West via TJ Maxx

Necklace: PopBasic (see here too!)

Wallet: Gift

Keep dreamin’

AnaB June28-3

Hi friends! Maybe you’ve noticed a lack of posting. I am in the process of moving and well, the whole process is kicking my butt! For awhile now, my husband and I have really been working towards owning a new place. My friends have been hearing me talk about this forever…sorry girls! After some setbacks, we finally bought a place and had to do some remodeling since it wasn’t in the best condition. But now it’s almost done and we are moving in (woohoo!). Buying, remodeling, and moving is a very stressful time for sure. In fact, I heard somewhere that no one should do a remodel within the first several years of marriage in order to keep the peace, lol! But I am so very thankful especially in light of everything that’s going on in the world today. I have to say that we are more than blessed to live in a country where we can freely and safely pursue our dreams!

AnaB June28-6AnaB June28-9 AnaB June28-4 AnaB June28-11 AnaB June28-1

All Photography by: Susannah of Alumbra Photography

Just want to encourage you…wherever you are in life, no matter how big or small your goals, keep dreaming and believing (and working too!) because everything seems impossible until it’s done.

Love,

Ana B

Outfit Details:

Romper: Urban Outfitters

Sandals: Guess

Wallet Purse: Urban Outfitters

 

 

Crop Top and I Won’t Stop

AnaBEdit-23

I’m not sure why I insist on jumping in on the crop top trend. Maybe because I didn’t wear them in my teens. Ya know…secretly wearing them at 15, wearing them unabashedly at 18. Nope, instead I am choosing to wear them at age 32 (now 33). Ha! I think it’s a confidence thing, I am just downright more confident in my 30’s than I ever was. Also, I just really like my stomach. It is one of the areas of my body that responded well to a healthy diet and exercise and is pretty close to it’s pre-baby state. Other areas? Well, that’s a different story and not one for the masses, lol. And so even though it’s not as tight as it could be at this very moment, I like my belly! And I celebrate that with a crop top :).AnaBEdit-25 AnaBEdit-26 AnaBEdit-29 AnaBEdit-28 AnaBEdit-27 AnaBEdit-24

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Susannah of Alumbra Photography

Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE a pair of white skinny jeans for the summer. I found these at Target, by the way! They are a closet essential. So even though you might not be sporting a crop top, make sure to snag a pair of white jeans. Only thing is I try not to wear them around my babies. A pair of crisp white jeans are cute, but one with smears and stains is not! ;).

P.S. Man Repeller’s recent take on showing the belly button and crop tops.

Love,

Ana B

Outfit Details:

Skinny jeans: Target 

Crop Top: Garage

Bag: Coach/Cute Option

Wedges: Steve Madden Brand at Nordstrom Rack/Option/Option

Hat: Option

Lipstick: Ravishing by MAC Cosmetics