Holiday Traditions

Thanks to Collective Bias, Inc. and Glade® for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

I am about to be 23 years old, and I want to say that it wasn’t until this year that I began to embrace my Colombian culture. Growing up, moving a lot, and never being close to non-immidiate family, I didn’t learn to appreciate the culture that I belong to. That, and being raised in the South, I also picked up some of that culture, which was more familiar and closer in reach.
But something about this year, and all of the experiences I’ve had, especially traveling experiences, has allowed me to embrace a new in-depth love and appreciation for my roots.

That type of nostalgia hits home around this time, and being that I just came back from Colombia, I began to think about our Christmas traditions.
One that I became particularly nostalgic over, and missed a lot, was “Novenas.” For 9 days leading up to Christmas, we have a house party where we gather with friends and family to celebrate the coming of Christmas. We eat natilla (similar to caramel flan)  and bunelos (fried balls of cheese and dough), sing “villancicos” which are our Christmas carols, and we tell the story of Jesus’ birth. Finally on Christmas Eve, the day of the last Novena, we collect toys to give to kids in need who are invited that night to receive a meal and a toy. The spirit of these nine days is so joyful, cheerful, blissful, generous and fun that I am surprised that it didn’t hit me how much I miss that until now.
It got me thinking that although I wish to spend every Christmas with my family in Colombia, I’d also like to have some of my own traditions.

Glade® candle purchased in Publix

This year, I’m already planning on doing “12 Days of Christmas,” which I’m not entirely sure what it consists of, except for the song, so I will abide by that. Not only do I want to exchange little gifts, but I plan on doing something to exchange those gifts. The idea being to take some time every one of those days to celebrate the spirit of joy and generosity that Christmas brings. On one of the days, baking will be involved, and I got my inspiration from this Frosted Cookie Party™ candle.

For one of the 12 days of my Christmas celebration, I’m going to bake sugar cookies with sprinkles, have my Glade® candle burning, a glass of wine, and watch every Christmas episode of my favorite shows. I am particularly fond of Gossip Girl’s Christmas episodes.  Do you guys have any new traditions you are implementing this year?

I’ll be using this simple sugar cookie recipe:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups margarine
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup white sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets and flatten slightly.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned at the edges. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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A Clean Office

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Today I partnered with the maker of my cleaning products, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day® to show you the room that I spend most of my time in at home. My office/closet. I decided to combine the two because they bring me inspiration, and make the space feel personable, and all mine, causing productivity, creativeness and focus. There's nothing in the whole room that I didn't choose, or something I wouldn't wear. It's both authentic and fun, and I can change it as I please. That is the beauty of your home. It's  what you make it. It’s your muse, your refuge and a source of joy and inspiration. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day® is made for all the beautiful things you grow in your home, with scents that are inspired by a Midwent backyard garden, and products that are chock-full of plant-derived ingredients and essential oils. I strive for a place that feels lived in, but clean and uncluttered. In my package from Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day®  I received a hand soap, which not only smells delicious, but I love to keep around in every room, with a different scent. I used to buy regular soaps, until my hands were getting so dry from the harsh chemicals that I chose to go with natural, plant ingredients that don't damage or dry out my skin. I love this one because it smells clean, not too strong, and it cleans well while also moisturizing. The other product I got was a bottle of dish soap, and I was so amazed at how well it cuts through dirt and grease, while not leaving a trace, drying out my skin with harsh chemicals, and removing stains completely. Having the right cleaning products is as important as having the right decor, as it makes your home have the ambiance that you desire, protects your family from harmful chemicals, and it gives you the clean home you strive for without hours of scrubbing away. 

Thanks to Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day® for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 

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Giving Fashion | TOMS for Target

As a person who is mesmerized by the world of advertising, I'm always looking for creative ads and campaigns that I find touching, effective, long-lasting and clever. I'm not a football person, but I live for the Super Bowl commercials because I'm amazed that so many millions of dollars, and time are spent on few-seconds advertisements. That to say, when I saw the TOMS for Target campaign, I was sincerely touched by the branding,  authenticity, the clothes, and the whole concept behind it. I've had a group of friends who were TOMS obsessed, and I thought it was a neat idea to purchase a pair of shoes that was also going to give a child in need a pair of shoes, but with this collaboration with Target, TOMS has taken that to a new level. 

See the full Men, Women, Kids and Home collection here

I am so impressed by this line, and I am really excited to share it with you guys. Isn't it incredible that while purchasing budget-friendly, stylish pieces, we can contribute to life-changing events happening around the world? Nothing moves me more than conscious people, and I'm thrilled to see that Target (a store I am ALWAYS supporting for the amazing line of charity work they do, as I used to work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and saw first-hand all that Target gives) is coming together with TOMS in this, and I have to say, the clothes are really, really cute, neutral, relaxed and classic. While holiday or personal shopping this season, I highly encourage you guys to consider purchasing from this collaboration, as you can see what it gives. One week of meals to those in need with the purchase of one tee or bracelet? That is so wonderful and dear to my heart. 

TOMS For Target: One-for-One. For All. Starting November 16th, for every Target+TOMS limited edition gift you buy, we're (Target) giving shoes, a blanket or meals to those in need. #TOMSForTarget

Thanks to Target for sponsoring this post via Mode Media. This campaign is dear to my heart and ALL opinions expressed are my own. 

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Street Art

Something I love about visiting new cities is stopping by famous murals and taking photos. Such as the “I love you so much” mural in Austin, the Nashville mural, the Bowery Mural in NYC, I Love Memphis mural in my hometown, and namely all of the incredible murals in my city of Miami in a part of town known for its street art and hipster feel, named Wynwood.

This year, Perrier® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water is re-branding its label in a big way—the new limited edition bottles and cans will boast street art from world-famous artists around the world, and I am excited to be teaming up with this cool re-branding to show off my favorite mural in Miami.

What I love about street art is that it reminds me a lot of street style. We are not all designers, fashion icons, famous artists, or have galleries to our name, but we can all show off our take on art on the daily street grind, and I so appreciate that about art that we find in everyday walks.

This post is sponsored by Perrier® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in celebration of its new limited Street Art® edition. This limited edition packaging is a collaboration between Perrier and three of the world’s influential street artists: JonOne, Sasu and Kobra. To see the full line of collectible designs and learn more about this exciting debut, visit www.SocietePerrier.com/StreetArtbyPerrier  and join the conversation with #StreetArtByPerrier

Thanks to Perrier for sponsoring this post via Mode Media. All opinions are my own. 

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