Stefani's Blog

LUX Marks The Spot

LUX Marks The Spot

You know, I’m always up for a trip to somewhere sunny. My latest adventure took me to Riviera Maya in Mexico. My sweetheart and I traveled to attend one of his buddies’ wedding. It is wedding season after all. The trip introduced me to a new haven, that offered luxury set against the beautiful backdrop of the region. UNICO 20°87° Hotel Riviera is an all-inclusive property that celebrates the culture of the beautiful region that houses it. Here is some of how I enjoyed my time there.

I spent a lot of time in and around the pool. Our room had a swim up pool, and I enjoyed taking laps right up to our patio area with hammocks. It quickly became one of my favorite spots. We slept in and ate an amazing breakfast. The food at the resort was delicious, and rightly so. The property features multiple restaurants on-site, including one with a rotating chef program currently occupied by Chef Christian Bravo – a contestant from Top Chef Mexico. There was also In- room dining, lounges and bars. My favorite spot was Cafe Inez. The menu has European inspired offerings with Mexican flair. With coffee, sweets and sandwiches . . . I could not stay away.

Of course, any trip I can share with John is special. We really enjoyed our trip. There was some excessive seaweed on the beach – apparently that is a seasonal issue – but having sooo much at our fingertips on the resort meant we didn’t feel we’d missed out on too much. The spa treatments were delightful as well. I opted for the Essentia Signature package.

Al in all, it really was a relaxing and enjoyable stay at a luxury resort in a gorgeous place. Who can ask for more?

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Share Your Glimmer

Stef Proj Glim Panel

This time last week was very special for me. I had the pleasure of speaking at an awesome event held by an organization called Project Glimmer. Their work helps to show young women, who need a little help to see it, that they are valued. See their mission statement and method here below . . .

Our mission is to inspire at-risk teenage girls and women to believe in themselves by letting
them know their community cares. We gift (new) beauty products and gently used/new jewelry,
accessories and wellness items during meaningful times of the year including Mother’s Day,
Graduation, Birthdays and the Holidays.

I participated in a panel discussion as part of Share Your Glimmer, A Day of Empowerment, a two day event series in San Francisco. Project glimmer explains that “The event brings confidence, inner beauty, and real life career skills via professional beauty & hair touch-ups, professional photo, resume/LinkedIn Professional Station and culminates with an inspiring panel discussion.” This particular event targets foster girls in high school or college and inspires them towards graduation. Without some intervention of encouragement or support, the numbers show this group off young people have disheartening odds. Project Glimmer quotes that only 50% of foster youth graduate from high school, 3% graduate from college and 1 in 5 will become homeless within a year of aging out of the foster care program. Through my platform, Follow My Feet, I speak often to young people, women, and people of color encouraging them to (1) visualize themselves in a passionate and purpose filled life and career and (2) continue on a path toward executing that vision in an actionable way. read more…

When Vacay Takes Your Breath Away

This time last month, I was in heaven. Well, not exactly heaven, but pretty close. Like most great guys, my sweetheart, John likes to spend time with his family whenever possible. For some springtime family fun away from home, we all met up for a family vacation. John and me, his parents, and his sister all jetted off to the sun & sand of the Dominican Republic. We stayed in a fabulous resort that will, no doubt, be my choice every time I find myself in Punta Cana from here on out. Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa is a lovely luxury resort that is adult only, modern and on trend. Photos from their website and online review sites, like the ones below, won me over . . . and I’m so glad they did.

We had a fabulous time! Of course, one of the best parts about traveling is getting out and experiencing some of the culture, food and entertainment that a new place has to offer. After beach-combing and sight-seeing, being able to come “home” to a place like Breathless Punta Cana was the best. The resort boasts a top of the line fitness center, 24-hour room service, several bars, parties by the pool, gourmet dining and an array of spa treatments. Since I travel a lot, I was glad to learn that Breathless has locations in Mexico and Jamaica as well. Here are a few of my favorite snaps from this picture perfect vacation!

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Pitching In For the Kids

At the beginning of the year, I took an inspiring trip to Nicaragua. I love traveling, and I do it often. This particular trip was especially rewarding since 1) I got to travel with my love and 2) we were there for a good cause. You know I love to help in the community anyway I can. This trip was a way to expand that outreach to the global community. My honey, John, played baseball and still loves the sport. So, when a friend of his invited him to come and give back through Project Béisbol, I invited myself to tag along. I’m so glad I did.

Project Béisbol is a non-profit organization that uses baseball as an avenue to connect with youth in communities of economic need. Their pillars of community, education and opportunity also lead to team work, physical activity and cultural exchange PLUS fun. They operate via programs in multiple cities throughout Columbia, Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador and Guatemala while also hosting fundraising events and equipment drives in the United States.

It was such a great time, to see the kids just be themselves while enjoying Project Béisbol. Sportsmanship teaches so many lessons that are beneficial to every kid. Making sure that kids are not being counted out of that tradition just because of the cost of equipment or uniforms is such important work. It means that children in areas that could most benefit from positive activities will be able to enjoy them.

Of course, the scenery and food in Nicaragua was amazing! It was also a huge plus “getting away” with John, and seeing him give back through something he loves like baseball. To me though, the highlight of the trip was the smiles on those kids’ faces.
Please check out Project Béisbol to see more about the good work they do, and to see how you may be able to help if you’d like.

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Strong Women Playlist

Strong Women Playlist

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day! I’m so glad for the strong women in my life. From my late grandmother, to my mom, my sisters and the awesome women I get to work with. In honor of all of them, and you, I put together a little playlist featuring songs about and by women who live and love strongly. You can check out that playlist here, on Spotify.

Let me know what tunes you like to jam when you’re ready to turn up your strong woman vibes. And, if it’s your first time hearing my latest song Get Up, tell me what you think. As a little bonus, here is a link to a recent article featuring me on WomenFitness.net

Thanks to them, and everyone who supports and highlights strong women all over the world!

 

Will Trip For Dip

Will Trip For Dip

One of the things I’m most passionate about is inspiring young people, women, and people of color to create their own paths to success. That path will look different from person to person, but whenever possible I encourage entrepreneurship. It’s a lifestyle for me. Since I’m such an entrepreneur at heart, you can pretty much bet I’m up to somet hing business wise . . . even if you don’t always see it. Right now that something is salsa.

Not long ago, my fun family starred in our own web series that featured our family antics AND recipes. I Executive Produced the show, along with my friend Maureen Aladin of Twelve18 Media. We called the show Comida Caliente. After building some buzz, and seeing that we got good feedback from the web series, I wondered how we could move on from there. Then I remembered . . .  the salsa. Our special family recipe salsa was a much loved staple at our family’s restaurant in Baytown, TX in the late eighties. I convinced my Dad to help with some of the upfront costs, as an investment. Then we rallied together; my siblings, Mom and everyone. We named the salsa after the show. And that was that! Comida Caliente Salsa was born.

Fast forward to now. We are boosting our food product’s brand in lots of ways. ONE OPPORTUNITY that I was really excited about was getting to share the salsa I love with one of my favorite cities. My mom & I traveled to New York, to participate in a Pop Up Shop featuring Latino owned companies. I lived in NYC for some time after I finished college. It was a great, new and challenging experience that taught me a lot about myself. Anytime I get to return to the city, especially if I get to visit friends who still live there, is great time for me. So, I was super excited to be a part of this awesome event hosted by People en Español.

We met so  many cool business owners, as well as a few artists, and a got a great response to our salsa! Apparently, people in New York were pleasantly pleased to find an authentic Texas-style, family recipe salsa in the big apple. Makes sense.

We had a great time, and of course took in a few of the city’s sights before we packed up to head back home. It’s always fun traveling with my Mom. And, I’m finding that building this salsa business together gives us an additional reason to bond. We spend time learning, laughing and sharing our salsa with hungry, happy faces all over the place.

Being in business for yourself, and your family, is a journey like no other. I’ve learned more than I could’ve imagined I would. It gives me a sense of pride and purpose to hear that other young women, or anyone, is inspired by my journey to start their own thing . . . or to stick with something they started a while ago. That’s why, for me, these little jars of goodness are so much more than just salsa. Good news for you is, they are also pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself.

You can read more about Comida Caliente Salsa, here

OR BETTER YET, get yourself a few jars, here

Meet Pablo!

Ladies and Gents, allow me to introduce to you a very special individual (insert trumpets and fanfare here) . . . Pablo!

Isn’t he adorable? My love and I had been talking about getting a dog for a while. We found a breeder in Kingwood, Texas which is just Northeast of Houston. In addition to being a Texan, Pablo is also a Virgo. He was born on September 9th.

He’s everything we wanted and hoped for! That is good to remember since he is a brand new puppy and obviously that means a lot of work. I am new here. I’ve never had a dog of my own before. So, I sought out some expert tips just to make sure I am on the right track. I found an article called “10 Tips to Help You Train Your Puppy” on TheSpruce.com. Besides the ten tips, the article has links to several other helpful resources like tips for first time dog owners. The Spruce offers home & living advice and inspiration for everything from entertaining and decor, to home repair and pets. I will certainly be leaning on the type of know-how they offer . . . especially since I just recently moved into a new house. I’m in a season of lots of “first” experiences. It’s exciting! Between the new place, my new little furry guy, and some tasty developments in my business (that’s a hint, details coming soon), there will be a lot of firsts for me to share with you here. For example, we recently took Pablo to his first Vet appointment – AND – got him to sit still enough for our first family photo, below. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to leave some comments about any fun firsts you are celebrating.