“Respect your uniqueness and drop comparison. Relax into your being.” – Osho
 
 
Today, there’s a divide on social media’s long-term consequences. On one hand, there’s a belief that we have cultivated this culture of needing things to be “picture perfect” and that we have created a pressure based the amount of “followers” which then  pressures some users to create a  false narrative. And although I don’t  see social media entirely as an evil, I have seen how its negative impact.
There are two main components of social media: its content and its networking capabilities. I am guilty of browsing through the several platform’s content for endless hours and appreciate the ability to network and meet amazing individuals I would have never had the opportunity of meeting. But, navigating through today’s social media landscape without comparison or envy can be difficult. So whenever I am tempted to compare myself to others on social media I remind myself of Osho’s quote above.
 
“Respect your uniqueness and drop comparison. Relax into your being.”
 
We all have our individual qualities that separate us for every one else. Embrace them and proudly display them. 
Photographer: Reemy-Reemz Alexander
**My entire outfit was purchased at K-Mart in St. Croix (insert shocked face)**
 
Besitos,
 
Melizza 
 
 
 

This may come as a shock, but I’ve been a nanny for almost 10 years! It’s actually how I began styling and I continued to do so while living in NYC. And was even recognized nationally as “Rockstar Nanny” with a reputable Upper East Side agency. Along the way I’ve learned many valuable life lessons and here are a few golden nuggets I cherish. 

1. Reserve a block of time for personal quiet time every day.

 Any typical day, especially with a toddler, can be extremely demanding so this is a great way to re-energize. If the child is too old for a nap time, make sure you schedule a quiet actiity for you both. You and the child can choose to read, meditate, journal, color, or whatever it is you need to take a break separately. I believe kids should learn to be comfortable doing things they enjoy alone because let’s face is as adults we’re not always going to be around people and I believes it gives us a better sense of ourselves. 

2. Learn to be flexible.

You will have plans and life WILL interrupt them. Ha, honestly have you ever gotten out of the house with multiple children under 5 in under five minutes? If so, please tell me your secret! 

3. Do not feel guilty for needing a break!

When I first started I worked part-time and  everyday novelties were easy. But, after a while it starts to take its toll just like any other job. There have been many times I have overworked myself and felt guilty for wanting to rest so I’d continue to work. What usually ended up happening was that I’d get really ill where I had no choice but to rest. Listen to your body. No one know you better than yourself.

4. Most of your stress comes from the way your respond so you must have patience.

Kids are constantly growing and learning, which can sometimes takes countless tries. You need to have patience when they are completing a task you know you can do faster or when things don’t go as planned, because with kids this happens often. Change what can be change and let everything else go. No need for the extra stress… will whatever it is matter 5 day or 5 months from now? If the answer is no, then let it go and breathe!

5.It’s better to over-pack than under-pack.

You’re shoulders may hate you since your diaper bag will be heavy, but your sanity will adore you! Because in that moment that child wants or needs something you don’t have, you will feel like you have less than 30 seconds to diffuse a tiny human explosive!  And trust me, NO ONE wants to witness that explosion! 

 
6. Good parents have THE HARDEST job in THE WORLD.
As a nanny, I’ve gotten a first hand glimpse. But, I get to check out at the end of the day and don’t have to worry about the kids (not saying I don’t think of them). Parents don’t have that luxury. Which has earned my respect in many ways.
 
While my time as a nanny had a bittersweet ending, the memories will last forever. If you are thinking of becoming a nanny, please realize it is an enormous commitment involving a lot of energy and the ability to be selfless. There will be highs and lows but in the end it is absolutely rewarding.
 
Besitos,
 
Melizza

Photographer: Reemy-Reemz Alexander
I know there is a constant pressure to look a certain way and it can be a strain on your finances. But take it from me, you do NOT have to break the bank to look amazing. I shop at discount stores, the clearance rack, and on apps like Poshmark and Ebay for certain labels. Some months I feel like I go overboard with shopping for my wardrobe and then I have some months where I have a “dry spell”. But, if you are financial saavy and responsible (or trying to be like me) there is a simple equation to help you become more responsible. Are you ready for it?
 
THP(.05) = Wardrobe Allowance
 
You should only spend 5% of your take home pay on your wardrobe. According to award-winning financial planner, Pete Dunn, you should only spend this small percentage on clothing. I’ve definitely gone over for this month. *shocked face*  But, I’ve gone on a shopping diet so it should even out. This is such a simple equation you can easily memorize it. To get the exact dollar amount multiply your take-home pay by (.05). Go ahead and pull out your cell to use  your calculator if you have…I’m not judging *winks*.  When you know better, you do better.
 
In the photo above I am proudly wearing a dress purchased from Marianne’s in St. Croix  (which is Rainbow in the America) for $5 and my SM pumps from K-Mart for $29.99. I have easily spent more than this on a meal in the city. I used to be obsessed with labels but now I can care less! If I like it, I’m purchasing it no matter where it’s from. Take it from me, it’s freeing when you don’t let superficial things like that control what you wear and how you dress.
 
Besitos,
 
Melizza

Time always seems to fly when you having fun! That’s why when I go on my 48-hours weekend wanders I try to maximize each to the fullest. Now I’m not an intense planner, but I typically create a “must-see” list of attractions and restaurants. Then after visiting those places first, I usually just “go with the flow.”
 
I must say, I do not have an enormous budget, so most of my activities are free and a majority of my budget goes to my accommodations, dining, and museums. You don’t have to be rich to wander a new city. If you’d like to know how I budget for my weekend wanders, just ask.  I’m not a ashamed to share. Below is list of my recommendations while visiting Boston, Massachusetts for 48 hours. 
 
Places to See
Places to Eat
Things to Do:
  • Shop on Newbury Street
  • Go on a Duck Tour ($39.50)
  • Walk the Freedom Trail
  • Grab a late night cocktail and dance at Alibi

Places to Stay:

  • Airbnb ($70/night)

**I’ve provided links so you can view information on tickets or menus options. None of these links are a part of an affiliate program.

Besitos,

Melizza

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.” ~ Caroline Myss
 
When I saw this AQ/AQ men’s top I was excited and nervous about it at the same time! This top covers everything yet reveals everything. I had never owned anything like it before. It was daring and slightly risqué, but I just knew I had to have it! This outfit is somewhat reflective of how I’ve been feeling currently.  To me, it symbolizes my desire to break free from my comfort zone.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself to be fearless. And that my comfort zone is a trap. Nothing amazing ever happens in your comfort zone! Point blank, end of discussion. Everything you’ve ever dreamt of is right outside the borders you have limited yourself withing. I’ve wanted to give up since things have gotten extremely hard but know I deserved more and my dreams are worth each struggle. And so are yours!

Earrings: H&M, Sunglasses: A.J. Morgan, Top: AQ/AQ, Sport Bra: Victoria's Secret, Jeans: Levi's, Heels: Mossimo
Photographer: Henrietta M. (@therealhbmedia)
 
Don’t let the lust for comfort murder the passions of your soul. 
 
Besitos,
 
Melizza

Back in November, I had an amazing opportunity to be photographed once again for the lovely photographer Bruna Lacerda’s #ichoosemeproject. The difference this time was that I wasn’t the only one in front of her lens. I was among other full figured bloggers, models, and artists who each believed in the power of self-esteem without any fear. 
I take you back to November because it was in that moment, among those beautiful women, that the weight of allowing many things to negatively affect my self-esteem became too heavy to bare. I knew I had to fight for myself even if it meant standing by myself. I had to let go of unhealthy relationships, create boundaries for myself (again), and put my overall health back on the priority list. Now I’m not saying I completed all of these things magically over night. I did some self-reflection, acknowledged what was affecting me, and began to rid myself of those things…and I am still doing so.

At first I felt selfish, but if there is one thing that New York City continues to teach me is that my personal health is far more important than anything else. When I say “health” I’m referring to my emotional, mental, and physical health. Like Bruna said, “There is nothing wrong in choosing ourselves and loving ourselves first so we can be confident enough to help others to love themselves too.”

portrait, plus size model,
Bodysuit: Ashley Stewart
I invite you on my journey of choosing and loving myself first and I challenge you to do the same. It is not selfish…you’ll be able to love others more by loving yourself first. Here  I will be nothing but honest, and sometimes vulnerable, but always authentically me. 
Besitos,
 Melizza
 

**All the portraits above were taken by the lovely Bruna Lacerda. To learn more about Bruna’s mission click here: #ichoosemeproject

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