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1 Year Self-Employment Update: Life as a Blogger, Influencer, Entrepreneur

Monday, July 02, 2018

Holy spicy guacamole.

I quit my job one year ago.


A lot happened. I chronicled all the details in my 8-month update with a word of encouragement - I talked about my travels, my brand campaigns & sponsorships, & all those juicy details. But it's been a few months since then.

I ended up spending my one year self-employment anniversary in El Paso, Texas as part of a press trip! 



It's crazy to think I gave my two weeks notice & quit my corporate job one year ago!! I recall that nerve-wracking day. How could I forget? I left the office for the last time feeling scared, excited, hopeful. 

I had no idea what it would be like to be on my own as a blogger, influencer, & budding entrepreneur. Ups & downs. Highs & lows. Successes & failures. A bit of everything, really.

One year later, I’m walking around downtown El Paso, Texas for a familiarization tour with Visit El Paso. We had breakfast on a mountain at Franklin Mountains State Park, then I fed a state park AJ the giraffe. We hopped over to La Union, New Mexico for wine at La Viña Winery. It's all a part of the job. It's part of the ever-changing landscape of being a writer, a lifestyle blogger, a content creator, a travel influencer, an inspirer. 

Expect to see an El Paso travel guide in the upcoming weeks!


My El Paso, Texas press trip inspired my career even further. It reinforced the reason why I quit corporate America in the first place. Dare to follow your dreams, but more importantly, don’t forget to put in the work. In the day-to-day, it’s practically impossible to see your progress but you must believe, have strength, & faith & continue putting in the effort. 

Dream on.
Work hard.
Live harder.

After weeks of struggling with self-doubt, I empowered myself to take action & LAUNCH.

I launched the July Blogger & Influencer Challenge as a way to cover some of the information in my private coaching but make it affordable & accessible to more people. Every weekday in July each registrant receives coaching content straight to their inbox geared for badass bloggers & influencers looking to increase their social media reach, following, opportunities, & income.


Need some help making progress on your blog or social media platform? Want guidance on how to get more views, followers, opportunities? Struggling to understand the online world or how to find readers/clients? Fill out my FREE Discovery Questionnaire if you're interested to find out about more coaching & how I can help you.

Stay up-to-date on my travels & blogging adventures on Instagram & Instagram Stories.

So tell me: are you new around here? What kind of blog posts do you want to see? How can I HELP you? :]

A Mini Guide to Tijuana's Breweries, Craft Beer, & Tasting Rooms

Monday, June 18, 2018

San Diego's craft beer scene began in the 1990s, expanding from a handful of breweries to 125+ (& growing). With the #SDBeer scene well established, grab your passport & let's head to Tijuana, Baja California for a delicious array of beer at an affordable price. 


Cheers from Tres Fuegos Cervecería!

Watch out for the growing craft beer scene in Tijuana, a border city in Mexico, just south of San Diego. Craft beers range in price, but cost around $4 on average, a bargain to the $7+ craft beers of San Diego. I checked out a few local breweries during my Tijuana travels. Here are my findings!

The flight board from Donkey Punch Brewing Co.

Donkey Punch Brewing Co.

Located on Paseo de los Héroes, Donkey Punch offers a good range of beers like blonde ale, imperial stout, or coffee porter. They have a flight board in the shape of a donkey ear - pretty cool!

Border Psycho Brewery

Try the Imperial Psycho Ale or La Perversa (double IPA). Better yet, order a flight. Take a peek at their tap handles while you're at it. Spoiler alert: they're dildos.  

Insurgente has an eye for design & packaging.  I tried Cervecería Insurgente while visiting Festival Plaza in Rosarito, Mexico. The La Lupulosa is an American-style IPA with 7.3% ABV (alcohol by volume). 

A recently revamped Pasaje Rodríguez

Mamut Brewery Co.

Don't miss Mamut Brewery Co. inside Pasaje Rodríguez, an arts & culture alleyway. Pasaje Rodríguez used to be an arcade for tourists in the 1950s but relaunched in 2010. Mamut offers India Pale Ales, stout, amber, & more.

A look at Teorema/Lúdica Co. Tasting Room

Teorema/Lúdica Co. Tasting Room

This sleek tasting room allows you to sip inside or people-watch Avenida Revolución from the patio. I loved the minimalist look & convenient location to downtown Tijuana.

Tres Fuegos Cervecería

Browse the murals & art throughout the brewery, then grab a table near the balcony. They usually have three house-brewed beers, with the rest being guest. We stopped by for a pint one night but they invited me back to taste some of their vegetarian cuisine options.  A yummy bonus!

Vibra Tap Room

Stop by Vibra if you enjoy unique flavors like the Hu La La... (peanut butter cinnamon milk porter) or Aloha (fruit beer with tangerine & peach), among others. Grab your beer & head to the second story balcony to enjoy the view/sunset/nightlife.



By the time you're done reading this, another brewery popped up in Tijuana, Mexico! Tijuana's craft beer scene continues to grow, so what are you waiting for? Pack your passport & get hopped up on North Baja California's breweries & taprooms. See you there. Cheers! ¡Salud!

When in Tijuana, make sure to stop by Playas de Tijuana, Mexico.

How to Survive a Family Vacation as an Adult

Monday, May 28, 2018

This post is sponsored by Perrier® Carbonated Mineral Water but the content & opinions expressed here are my own.


Family vacations are just peachy when you're a kid, but surviving a family vacation as an adult is something else entirely. When you're young you can fall asleep in the stroller & get shuttled around to the next destination by your parents. As an adult, sorry buddy, but Mom & Dad won't be rolling you around in an adult-sized stroller anytime soon. When you're a kid on a family vacation, you can spend time with your cool aunt. When you're the adult on a family vacation, you are the cool aunt! Here are my tips on how to survive your next family vacation as an adult.


1. Schedule time to yourself 

It's vital that you allow yourself time to be alone on the trip. That might be an hour each day of your three-day-weekend getaway to the woods or that could be an entire day to yourself on the month-long family voyage. You set the rules. While the family went out for Sunday brunch, I stayed in our ocean view rental, popped open a Peach Perrier, & blasted music on my laptop. It felt nice to breathe in the salty ocean air, feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, & be by myself. I drink Perrier because it surprises my tastebuds & inspires the unexpected & my family has been drinking carbonated mineral water since before I can remember.


2. Do a Snack Run Immediately

Grab snacks with the entire crew (harder task) or make a couple people buy some supplies at the nearest store (easier task). Having some water & food is always a good option. There's nothing worse than 12 people coming back to the rental after a long night out with absolutely no food or water. We had a supply of bread, peanut butter, jelly, bananas, & oranges to curb any hangry moments. 


3. Bring games

Card games. Board games. This is the 21st Century so you can even download game apps to your phone. After a couple days of bickering, nothing beats the hilarity that ensues after a game of family poker. Try it. We played games until 1 a.m. & laughed the entire time. Games can help cut the tension, allow people to get to know each other, or simply facilitate good old fashioned family bonding time.  


4. Keep your perspective

If your family is pestering you about your career or relationship or life choices, remember that this family vacation is a small blip in life, a small moment in time, & you never know when the next trip is. My last vacation with cousins was 11 years ago. We were kids then. Now we're grown-ups. Some of us are married, some have kids, some moved across the globe. Things change. This family vacation is a tiny part of your life, enjoy the details.

Enter to win a year’s worth of Perrier flavors! Perrier’s new Peach flavored carbonated mineral water is a sparkling fusion of air & water. Add zest to your morning or serve as afternoon refresher, or enjoy it while your family is out to brunch like I did. Here's hoping you'll survive your next family vacation. :]

* Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Perrier® Carbonated Mineral Water. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]

One of the Best Views in San Francisco: Pier 14

Friday, May 18, 2018

Itching to see different on your trip to San Francisco? Stop by one of my favorite spots in the city! Pier 14, baby! San Francisco has its hustle & bustle, just like any city, but it also has its moments of peace & beauty & splendor. 


Why you should visit

Pier 14 offers some of the best views of the city & the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. Stroll across the entire pier & then take a seat to peer at the landscape. Water on one side, the city on the other. It's absolutely magnificent. Great for nature shots, cityscapes, selfies, meditation, & more!


Fun Fact: Did you know that the Bay Bridge is 4.5 miles long & averages a daily traffic of 270,000 vehicles? 



How to find Pier 14

Pier 14 is located a short walk from the Ferry Building. If you're standing outside the Ferry Building, walk in the direction of the large bow & arrow sculpture — the sculpture is called Cupid's Span by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen. I was initially walking toward Cupid's Span, but lost steam & walked down Pier 14 instead. Pretty happy with my find. :]


Want to get this look? Heck yes, my friend! Items linked are similar, not exact (except for the jeans). These are affiliate links. Read more about my disclaimer.

Tell me YOUR secret: where is your favorite spot in San Francisco?

Learning to Love My Body: Stretch Marks, Cellulite, & All

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

I was 122 lbs at my lowest weight & 193 lbs at my highest. At 193 lbs I felt self-conscious & unhappy. But here's the thing, I felt self-conscious & unhappy at 122 lbs too. I look back at photos of me at my lowest weight & I remember how I felt at the time: insecure, unhappy with my body & my looks - even though I was at my leanest, I felt fat! 



It takes a lot of strength to ignore someone's negative opinion of you. It's one thing when someone comments on your life, your relationship, your job, but it's so discouraging when someone makes a negative comment about your body. 

Your body is yours. 

After losing & gaining weight all my life, I decided to focus on being happy, healthy, & present. I’m curvy & loving life & actively working toward feeling comfortable in my own skin. Sometimes I have to tell myself, "shut up with your negative self-talk!" The world is cruel enough, I don’t need to do it to myself. 

Studies show that youth are consistently dissatisfied with their bodies. Adolescent girls want to weigh less while the boys want to be bigger & stronger, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Their self-perception is swayed by the media & cultural standards in their search for the perfect body.

How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

3 Reasons Why I'm Grateful to Be My Own Boss

Thursday, April 26, 2018

This post is sponsored by My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream but the content & opinions expressed here are my own.


I’ve been blogging for 7 years but went professional in June of 2017. I'm grateful to be my own boss as a blogger, influencer, & social media consultant. I'm thankful for the successes, growth, & strength it has given me, but also for the challenges, loss, & struggle I've been able to overcome. Here are 3 things that come mind after 11 months of being my own boss.


Working with Cool Brands

As a blogger, I get the opportunity to work with amazing brands. Today I styled a photo shoot, took photos, edited them, & created content to share on social media all while I munched on My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream. Just a part of the job! Gotta love it.


My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream is the cutest snack with flavors for any tastebud: Double Chocolate,  Sweet Mango, Green Tea, Ripe Strawberry, Cookies & Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, Salted Caramel, & Vanilla. My tip: cut one in half to share with a friend — that way you can sample multiple flavors hehehe. Fred said his favorites are Sweet Mango & Ripe Strawberry. I adored My/Mo Green Tea the most!


Make My Own Hours

I'm thankful I create my own hours. I can work from wherever, a convenient benefit to the laptop lifestyle. Sometimes I need Wi-Fi, but sometimes I can go without it. I can take the time to go on an afternoon walk by the duck pond. I can take a moment to hear the birds chirp happily amongst one another or see a matinee movie on a Tuesday. It's something I don't take for granted.


Connect to People 

I connect to people daily when I share bits of my life, my work, & things I've learned along the way. I connect one-on-one with my clients. I'm grateful to make an impact in their day, to get them to think deeper, get them to try something different, get them to understand their comfort zone & how to navigate outside of it, after all that’s when life happens — just beyond the borders of our zones of familiarity, of comfort. 


So which My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream flavor sounds the best to you? Are you a blogger? Do you want to go pro? Feel free to ask a question in the comment section!

* Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]

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