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Miami

In Events, My Journal on
September 14, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma Tree Damage

The largest hurricane I’ve ever seen just hit my home, Hurricane Irma. To say we got lucky this time would be an understatement. Seeing the damage to our apartment complex and our neighboring area, realizing that it all could have been so much worse if the hurricane had stayed on its original path… As a mother and provider for my family, it was horrifying to know everything we held dear could have been stripped away from us like the victims of last month’s Hurricane Harvey.

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In Events on
May 25, 2016

How You Can Come #2gether4theChildren

It’s pretty obvious to anyone that knows me why I’ve suddenly had an influx of interest in children’s related topics. Becoming pregnant has helped me gain new perspective on all of the different causes that impact to our little generations, so when I started hearing more about #2gether4theChildren I knew I had to share their efforts.

#2gether4theChildren is a campaign for the Miami Children’s Health Foundation (MCHF), a fundraising branch of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (formerly known as Miami Children’s Hospital). While this pediatric hospital is based in Miami, it strives to provide the best care for sick children around the world. You can read some of their highlighted accreditations and awards on their website, filled with stats about how they are ranked among other leading pediatric hospitals, but the most important thing you need to know about Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is how they are changing the lives of children everywhere.

We need hospitals like this, we need doctors that are willing to take that second, or even fifth look, to make sure that absolutely everything that can be done for their patients is being considered. Without MCHF and the funds that they provide to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital through donations, Gracie and many other children like her wouldn’t be here today.

You can help support children like Gracie and the dedicated teams that made her survival possible. Use the video prompts above to donate to MCHF (or donate here) and come #2gether4theChildren, even the cost of one take-out meal can change the life of a child.

And if an extra $25 is too tough to spare at the moment (it happens, I’ve been there), you can be an instrument of awareness by changing your profile photo on Facebook to include the MCHF heart in a beautiful pink heart filter using the easy to follow steps on 2gether4theChildren.com.

Spread the word, our kids need help.

In Events on
April 2, 2016

MBAF’s Influential Women of Today Event – Empowering Local Women

Influential Women of Today event

In February I attended a wonderful event hosted by the accounting firm MBAF called the Influential Women of Today, an event aimed at celebrating, learning from, and networking with some of South Florida’s empowering women.

Note: Original photos provided by MBAF’s Facebook page, re-edited

There were several key speakers at the event. It started with Marta Alfonso, a member of the MBAF team that held a really helpful presentation on being financially independent. Then there was a panel moderated by Ann Keil, an award-winning journalist for WSVN Channel 7. This was an informal Q&A style panel, where some questions were pre-selected and then the other attendees had a chance to ask questions towards the end.

Panelists at the event included:

MBAF's local women's empowerment event

Event organized by the MBAF marketing team: Wolfgang Pinther, Jennifer Valdez, and Valeria Sanchez

The financial independence presentation from Marta Alfonso was very helpful to me in particular, especially the tips about how all women should learn about current financial news (for example, reading three financial articles a day or even per week) and understand some of the basic financial information that impacts our life (like how social security works). Many of the tips were reminiscent of the information I read in one of my favorite self-help books, Rich Bitch by Nicole Lapin.

The Q&A panel was also enjoyable, just learning how some of these really influential women got their start was a motivating piece in and of itself.

Dessert table at a local Miami empowerment event

After the panel, we all got to network with other event attendees and panelists while enjoying delicious hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and drinks. The weather was really chilly on this particular day so the atmosphere was particularly nice, especially since it’s rarely cold in Miami.

Overall, this event was a really great way to meet new people, learn about finances, and ways I can empower myself both professionally and personally. I hope to be able to attend more events like this in the future, thanks MBAF for the invite!

How do you like to empower yourself? 

My favorite way to empower myself is to seek out free resource guides on topics that interest me (like blogging, budgeting, and social media marketing), while also taking time for self-care like nightly stretching and reading.

In Events on
February 18, 2016

How CVS Is Changing the Drugstore Landscape

Last November, I was invited to a Social Media Influencer Series event called #CVSMeetUps in Miami, FL where CVS/pharmacy showed local influencers the great new work they are doing, rebranding the stores to be more than just a convenient place to buy snacks, but rather a health and beauty destination. It was a really enjoyable event that showed me how much CVS cares about their customers, so when I realized (to my horror) that I had actually not blogged about the event – I started putting together this post to share with you all the details.

First, I’d like to thank Delia Mooney and the other event coordinators for inviting me to this meetup – it was a really enjoyable experience and I particularly enjoyed their attention to detail when inviting me. They made sure to pinpoint on the tour things that appealed to my particular writing style and audience, the attention to detail they paid to each invitee was wonderful.

When I first heard that CVS was ditching cigarettes, before being invited to this event, I was ecstatic. I’m a firm supporter in lowering the rate of smokers and seeing that CVS was working to make this dangerous habit less convenient made me feel like they really cared. This event showed me all of the other health initiatives they were putting together and the whole picture became much clearer.

CVS and their new healthy options

The first stop on the CVS tour was their new health-food options, featuring a healthy corner designed to make grabbing a guilt-free snack easier. Sure, it still had some of the “fun” snack items like Dorritos, but the emphasis was on making baked, whole grain, and minimal ingredient items easier to find and more appealing – which I think they definitely achieved.

Health and pharmacy options at CVS

Then in the vitamin and health sections, we were shown some of their new CVS branded items to help customers heal and stay healthy at a great price, including cool new products like manuka honey infused items.

Natural and cruelty-free beauty options at CVS

The most exciting section for me, however, was the new beauty aisle. Not only have they expanded the product offerings, but CVS has added many natural skincare alternatives. I was drooling over some of these and almost stopped paying attention becuase I was making a mental to-buy list.

At this point, Delia was sweet enough to point out some of the cruelty-free options CVS was sharing, making note that most of my followers don’t use products tested on animals. I really appreciated her attention to detail.

CVSMeetUps

The networking event afterward, at Bio Tuscan Grille, was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed speaking with other local bloggers. Delia even pointed out what food I was allergic too! Seriously, she was amazing.

CVSMeetUps event

And hello, to-die-for food. Any event with food is an event I want to go too. Seriously. Are you throwing an event with catering in Miami, FL? Reach me at my contact page.

I’m kidding.

Kind of.

CVSMeetUps Goodie Bag

To top off #CVSMeetUps, everyone that attended got a goodie bag of some of their new product offerings.

Overall, I was really happy to see everything CVS has been up too and I’m happy to be a loyal customer. Health and conveinance don’t have to be mutually exclusive, I’m happy to see CVS blurring that line.

What is your favorite go-to healthy snack? Can you get the ingredients at CVS?

I’ve been pretty obsessed with anything avocado lately. What about you?

 

In Review on
July 13, 2015

Late Night Cookie Delivery in Miami, FL – Night Owl Cookie Co. Review

Night Owl Cookie Co Review

One night about a year ago (possibly more, I can’t remember exactly) Chris and I were in the mood for cookies. The problem was, it was already 10 PM and we were pretty tired. A few Google searches later, we found the late night cookie delivery service Night Owl Cookie Co. I am not sure why it took me so long to create a  review for this wonderful company because I am such a frequent customer that the owner knows me by name. I feel both proud and horrified by my cookie loving reputation.

Night Owl Cookie Co. was founded by a local Florida International University student, Andrew Gonzalez, who couldn’t find anything to satisfy his sweet tooth one night when he was cramming for a test. Talk about a light bulb moment! A few months later he was delivering cookies around campus.  Andrew is a really sweet person, who has helped me celebrate some of my life’s big moments this past year. He is a really caring person and I’m happy to support his small business.

Miami, FL cookie delivery service

[Look at that fresh cookie steam, yum. Forgive the poor lighting, these photos were taken at 9:30 PM.]

But now onto the mouthwatering cookies. To make an order, you need to choose at least eight cookies at $1.75 a piece. Each cookie is fairly large (a little larger than my palm) and there are 25 flavors to choose from. My must-haves include Rainbow Over Bedrock, Cheesecake, and Birthday Cake. The majority of the cookies have a chocolate chip cookie base, with the additional flavors added to the top of the cookie before baking. They open for phone orders at 7 PM  and close at 2 AM, Tuesday – Sunday.

These cookies are definitely not suited for those that are on strict diets because these are really decadent treats. I can only eat two cookies at a time because they are incredibly filling. Without a doubt they are worth $1.75 a cookie. Honestly, I’d even pay $3 a cookie.

Night Owl Cookie Co

The cookies are packaged in one box with the cookies stacked in layers. If you get your cookie hot out of the oven, you may find some of the cookies are a little stuck together. I can’t really think of a way to fix that problem other than by individually wrapping each cookie in wax paper and that just seems wasteful so I don’t mind an occasionally sticky cookie.

Night Owl Cookie Co Review

These cookies are great for when you are having guests over as well, although they do take awhile to deliver so I try to call the moment they open. Most of the wait periods I’ve experienced have been 1 to 2 hours but the time can increase during finals season (they really have an in with the college crowd) and during high peak party seasons like holidays. Night Owl Cookie Co. is upfront about the wait times, giving an estimate after your order and calling to let you know if a driver is running late from other deliveries.

Overall, I’m a very happy cookie muncher. With their upcoming physical location and rewards program (still in the works, launch TBA) I can only imagine I’ll be an even more frequent buyer.

If you live in Miami, FL, check out Night Owl Cookie Co. for your late night sweet desires.

In Tips on
December 2, 2014

My Thanksgiving #TurkeyTrot 10K Adventure (Workout of the Day #5)

perkey turkey 2014

Hi Kind Friends!

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is to run my butt off. Well that’s a funny sentence! On 6 AM every Thanksgiving morning I wakeup and head over to Tropical Park in Miami, Florida for a #TurkeyTrot. Sponsored by Baptist Health thousands of men and women run 5k and 10k races (3 and 6 miles) in an effort to add some health to a day often associated with gluttony.

Since this will be my fourth year participating I wanted to challenge myself by signing up for the 10K instead of the 5K. Boy it certainly was a challenge! I haven’t run consistently since before the wedding (there simply wasn’t time) so I felt like I was going in blind. I do not recommend that! I felt very sore the following day and wish I had taken some time to train during the honeymoon.

I highly recommend you all start the holidays with fitness in mind, especially when so much food is involved. Overall it was an amazing experience and I hope to do the 10K again next year, just with more preparation.

Do you know of any Nochebuena or Christmas races? I think that would be fun as well and plan on looking that up for this year.

Outfit c/o Fabletics, with the exception of my awesome #PerkeyTurkey shirt that came with my registration.

 

In My Journal on
November 14, 2014

Wedding Week: Our Casual Rehearsal Dinner

Hi Kind Friends!

Last night Chris and I had our wedding rehearsal and then our rehearsal dinner. It was such a fun night, although it started more on the stressful side.

I’m not sure if this is a low-budget-wedding-thing or an any-budget-wedding-thing but other than getting our wedding space for free for an hour, there is no one else to coordinate with. Your officiant doesn’t go to the rehearsal and neither does the DJ. So based on what I’ve seen on TV, I did my best. First we decided that Chris wouldn’t be going down the aisle, he would just pop over from the side with his groomsmen. Then I decided what order the girls would go down the aisle and showed them where to stand along side me.

our gazebo wedding

We don’t have a flower girl or ring bearer (we decided against having kids attend) so we walked through who would hold the rings and who would hold our letters (we are doing a unique champagne/anniversary box ceremony, I’ll talk more on that another time) and when to hand us things, etc. Then I walked us through the order of the ceremony, and what order they should leave the aisle behind me. Last, I talked about what we would be doing at the wedding after our photographs were taken (what our first dance was, who was doing the toast, etc.) and then we all left to our dinner. It was pretty stressful explaining everything myself but once we got to the party part of the evening, things brightened up and I was able to relax.

Vlog:

 

Initially our casual rehearsal dinner was going to be held in the clubhouse of Chris’ parents complex but when we arrived at the location, it was locked! They forgot we were coming! It was a pretty crazy scenario but it all turned out well. We moved the party to Chris’ family’s house instead and honestly I’m glad we did. I think it was more fun being in a home setting and we were able to hang out for much longer than we would have in the rented space.

For food we got Leo’s Pizza. If you live in Miami, get Leo’s. It’s been Chris’ favorite pizzeria for over a decade. Adding in some champagne, mimosas, beer, sodas, and the cheesy but awesome wedding decorations made the party complete. We eat dinner, I gave out some gifts to the bridal party and groomsmen, and we talked the rest of the night away.

Overall, I really enjoyed the casual atmosphere and the good conversations. I’m glad we didn’t reserve a restaurant like we had initially planned too. This whole wedding experience has shown me how much I prefer the simpler things and don’t like a big fuss. Other than one “bride moment” when deciding on table number designs (what a weird thing to flip out over), I’ve kept everything else a simple “yes” or “no” answer.

Only two more days until I become Mrs. Cortes.
 

Wedding Week so far: