Books, Life

Good Reads Monday: Winter Reading List

January 23, 2017

Happy Monday darlings! I hope you were able to stay warm and dry this weekend! It’s been raining cats and dogs here for several days, making it hard for us to go outside. So what better time to curl up and catch up on some reading! I read to Alex daily, and his book selection is pretty awesome. But I miss having my own time with a book and the exciting anticipation to find out what’s going to happen next. Given that I never have time to do anything without planning in advance, I’ve now put reading on my list! Here are a few books I put on my winter reading list. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any of them or if you have any other recommendations!

♡ Zuma A.

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi ~ A  36-year old neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with terminal cancer confronts his own mortality and attempts to answer difficult questions about mortality. What makes life worth living in the face of death? Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015 while working on this unforgettable and profoundly moving memoir.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris ~ I haven’t read Sedaris’ books yet, but heard from so many about his funny and unique ability to tell his story. His move to Paris inspired this collection of stories, where he writes about his attempts to learn French. I very much look forward to read Me Talk Pretty One Day.  

The Career Code by Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power ~ running a start-up business is not an easy task, and this book promises to be an inspiration, insightful, and pragmatic guide for creating a professional success!

Career, Life

Tips to Succeed When Working From Home

January 20, 2017

Slowing down my law practice and working from home as much as possible was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This brought more balance to my work and family life and ended up being crucial for Alex’s growth and development. Having said that, having a career and being responsible for all the cases I was taking on was very important to me. I knew that working from home would not slow my ambitions down. There are increasingly more women who do that and succeed without sacrificing morning sleep and home made lunch breaks. But while working from home is a different experience from working in the office, it is not necessarily easier. Whether you work from home like me or are a stay at home mom and thinking of starting a business from home, planning plenty of things to do each day is essential. The drawback of working from home is that sometimes I fall into trap of getting little too comfortable. So here are three most important things that help me get back on track and do the millions things I do.

1. Set up an alarm every morning:  

When I have morning court hearings, I get up at 5AM. I take about an hour to get dressed, grab breakfast, walk Lucy, and leave the house so I can be in court by 7:30. Yes, it takes me an hour and a half to get to work!! But when I work from home, I allow myself to sleep in and set up the alarm to 6:30 AM. I feel more positive, much less distracted, and productive! Tons of work gets done before the clock hits noon.

2. Plan plan plan:

I am one of those people who multitasks a lot and often have tons of little things to attend to. If I don’t plan, I will forget half of them and get seriously overwhelmed. A planner helps me pioritize and organize what needs to be done and when. It keeps me on track and I seriously can’t go without it.  

3. Dress for success:

Even if I am home, with a rare exception, I dress up to feel better and boost my productivity. Sometimes it’s jeans, a sweater, and sneakers, and other days it’s trousers with a blouse and flats. I also try to always put on simple makeup, like foundation and blush to brighten up my complexion. This feels just so much better, and if I have to run errands at some point during the day, there is no need to dress up any more hehe.

So here are my three must have habits on the days I work from home. Are you a stay-home mom or do you work from home? What are your must have tips to succeed? Leave your comments bellow, would so love to hear from you!!

♡ Zuma A.

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working from home
Fashion

Shopping with Feelings: Elevating Basic Style

January 18, 2017

To me, the journey of creating the ideal wardrobe can be an emotional experience. Most of my clothes have a feeling or a story attached to it, a lot of times it’s an ‘I got it when…’ sort of thing. That’s why when it’s time to part ways with these pieces, I don’t want to let go! So when shopping, I try to strategize and look for clothes that I can keep as long as I’d like, that will also stay relevant for a while. To make sure I pick the right items for my soon-to-be ideal wardrobe, unless I absolutely fall crazy in love with a garment, I ask myself these these questions before I pull out my credit card:

1. Is it right? Comfortable pieces are important to me, so the right fabric, silhouette, and stitching make all the difference! I never believed in sacrificing comfort for the sake of fashion, or that fashion in some way means discomfort. To me ease and comfort = chic!

2. Can I envision at least three distinct looks with this item? Versatility is very important. If I want a piece, I have to be able to envision it going with the other things in my closet.

3. Do I own a similar item? In this day and age of fast fashion, we sometimes forget about garments tucked away in our drawers or swept to the side in our closets. Having said that, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few LBDs, or white shirts hanging in my closet. They are just all different in style or feel!

4. Is there at least one embellished feature? I am the first person to advocate for classic pieces, but I also like to look for something with a special touch. Oversized details work perfectly! Oversized boho flares, bell sleeves, velvet fabric, unique stitches… I picked this outfit as an example because I have owned every item here forever, and all of the separate items have some unique feature that distinguishes them. And of course, I can look at each item and remember what I wanted to capture and the feeling that came with the purchase. 

What are your tips on building your ideal wardrobe? What type of items do you feel elevates your look? Post your comments below! Would love to hear from you!! 

♡ Zuma A.

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Hinge blazerHinge blazerflare jeans airpods basic styleHinge blazerairpodsApple Watch
Life

On the Daily Grind: Finding Time to Socialize

January 13, 2017

One of the greatest gifts I we get with age is the array of different people we meet and the life-long friendships we develop during different times in our lives. Childhood, schools, jobs, hobbies, relationships… I love all my girlfriends, but as I go through each period of my life, I get wrapped up in the daily grind and finding time to socialize is tough. I am also an introvert, and so it’s easy for me to just stay in my own space! Of course I do go out, but I tend to prioritize big gatherings an not one-on-one girlfriend times! So we end up seeing each other every few months if we’re lucky, but usually every few years (years fly by so fast!!). I truly miss their presence in my life, though. I miss their personalities and all their different refreshing points of view! So good for my soul.

Every year, as December 31st comes and goes, I always promise myself to get back in touch with my girlfriends and keep the relationship constant, but fail. This year, I finally decided to actually make it happen!! So in my planner, overpacked with work projects and kids activities, I looked for available times for lunch breaks and coffee dates. And no matter how much I thought my planner was packed, I found times we could absolutely meet! So I made calls and sent out texts, wrote in our dates, and made them recurring ones!

Stop one, breakfast at Blackmarket Bakery with my super talented friend Adrianna Kinal (you should check her beautiful art here, and follow her on Instagram here!). It is amazing how after not seeing each other for months, we were able to just pick up where we left off!

How often do you see your girlfriends? Is finding time to socialize challenging for you? What do you do to make sure you see them often? Would so love to hear from you, leave your comments below!

♡ Zuma A.

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finding time to socialize
home, Life

Sweet Vanilla Candle, Easy Happy Living Hacks

January 11, 2017

A few years back, when Laura Mercier came out with her Vanille soufflé body cream collection, I fell in love with the vanilla scent. There is something so calming and therapeutic about it! Vanilla invokes a feel-good feeling, and given that I am an absolute stress ball and need all the help I can get, vanilla everything has become a fixture in my home.

A few weeks back, while holiday shopping, I found this absolutely delicious Boulangerie Sweet Vanilla candle from Anthropologie. I looved it! I even got worried because I often develop a fragrance sensitivity to some candle scents and didn’t want to be forced to give it away. Luckily I didn’t have to! The candle’s warm and fuzzy vanilla cupcake scent gives me a feeling of comfort and truly promotes happy vibes. No matter, whether I work or read a book, I often light this candle, especially on the cold and gloomy winter days.

Do you often light candles at home? Which scent is your favorite, and how does it make you feel? Let me know in the comments below!

♡ Zuma A.

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vanilla candle

Fashion, Life

Monday Blues, Getting Back To Work After Holidays

January 9, 2017

Happy back-to-work Monday, loves! I always think that getting back to work after a vacation is tough, but not as tough as getting back to work after holidays. I think that the difference is that before heading out of the office for a vacation, I always try to finish as much work as I possibly can and maybe even organize what I need to do after I get back. When holidays come, however, I somehow slow down and procrastinate leaving work to another day, and then, when that Monday after the holidays come, I get slapped with piles of files before I get a chance to regain my usual workday pace. I experienced some of it last Thursday morning; I was working from home anticipating a slow day when I got pounded with phone calls and emails, all asking me to do something different, leaving me hyperventilating for a moment. To avoid any more experiences like this, I made a few preparations, especially considering I had to fly to San Francisco first thing this morning.

1. Come into the office with a plan of what you want to accomplish that day. Make sure to work in a reasonable transition time to adjust.

2. Start your regular work-week evening routine a few days before you head back to work. I have always done it for my kids to get them ready to go back to school after a vacation. Normalizing their morning and evening routine eases the transition tremendously. So why not do it for myself?

3. Don’t let holidays ending get you down. I always get so excited before holidays, anticipating fun times and and spending time with loved ones that I don’t normally get. It can feel lonelier and more mundane when all that is over. But hey, nothing stops me from having good times with family and friends next weekend!

4. Last, but not least, making an extra effort to dress up in light and bright colors and wearing the makeup I love makes me feel not only more put together, but also a bit more festive and excited about the day. So waking up that 15 minutes earlier is worth it to get that!

Do you ever feel Monday blues? Share your thoughts and tips on how you overcome them!!

♡ Zuma A.

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Topshop dress Topshop dress back to work after holidays Topshop dress Topshop dressMichael Kors watch Topshop boots Topshop boots Topshop dress

Life

A French Take on Smartphone Addiction

January 6, 2017

Have you heard about this new French law that allows employees to turn off their work email after hours? So that means dinners at home can go uninterrupted and work-emailing can become a non-issue! But, seriously, no one would argue that making an effort to take a break from your phone or tablet on off hours is a bad idea. My day usually starts at 5 AM, and the first thing I do before I can barely open my eyes is I reach for my phone. I quickly wake up as soon as I start reading and responding to emails and messages (work and personal), checking Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. So by the time the sun is up, my head is filled with loads of information I can probably live without. And then I continue holding my phone in my hand for about  85% of my day, every day. I even opted for a smaller iPhone because an iPhone+ would be too bulky for me to hold for that many hours each day.

Now, as I write this post, I can only hope you have the same phone habits as I do, because if not, this sounds like an addiction. Honestly, even if we all have it, I really do think it’s addiction, just a widespread and socially acceptable one. So I want to try and take some time and declutter my mind. Maybe an email free weekend to help and slow down the time? How do you all deal with this smartphone obsession? Do you have tips or ways that you take some time off from social media or emails? Leave your comments, would so love to hear from you!

♡ Zuma A.

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smartphone addiction

 

Fashion, Life

An Unexpected Clarity of Mind, Focusing on 2017

January 4, 2017

Happy Wednesday and happy New Year loves! Are you ready for 2017?!

The past month was so super busy, overpacked with work, travels, gift hunting, and holiday parties, that it passed in a flash. I was left longing for a repeat, just minus work. But the new year has rolled in, and it’s time to move forward and reevaluate what I want my life be like in 2017. I actually enjoy the concept of self-improvement. I love reading self-improvement books and go through these re-evaluations every so often. You would think I’d be a perfect human by now, but somehow, I am really not hehe. I often find myself dealing with the same issues over and over again. As much as I’ve been preaching the importance of living a balanced life, for example, I have fallen off the ‘balance’ wagon too many times and found myself wasting precious time on things that are not important.  

Things came into focus for me unexpectedly. I was in San Diego for work, tired from a long day in court. I still had to make a stop at Nordstrom on the way home to exchange a pair of earrings. There I found these Gorjana ‘power stone’ bracelets. The bracelets are so lovely, simple, and delicate, each made with semi-pressious stones that promote their own special meaning: love, strength, balance, clarity, focus… Focus on balance, focus on simplicity, focus on what’s important, one thing at a time. What perfect reminders!

Focus, Balance, and Clarity were my three picks. What would be yours? Did you set lifestyle changing goals or resolutions for 2017? What are they? Have you tried them before? How do you plan on staying on track to the end? Can wait to hear from you, make sure to comment below. 

Happy New Year!! 

♡ Zuma A.

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clarity of mind

Autism Mom, Holidays, Life

Personalized Gifts for Kids Get Personal, Made With Love

December 9, 2016

This is it, loves, we are two weeks away from Christmas! My tree is up and almost all gifts are wrapped! If you are still looking for gift ideas, I hope that this gift guide will make your hunt a little easier. I’ve been wanting to share these two children’s personalized books which I think wonderful personalized gifts! Some of you may know that John and I wrote and published these books a few years back. I am so proud of our work and so excited at the thought that thousands of kids have read these books that we worked so hard on. It’s such a special feeling! You can read the reviews on amazon.com here.

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Best for ages 0-3, the books’ construction allows you to easily insert photos of your family, friends, and child, so everyone becomes part of the story. The first book, Look Who Is Coming, was designed to introduce our entire family to Alex in the context of a story getting together to celebrate. Along the way, he identifies different colors and discovers and counts cute creatures 1-5. I Can Fly Super Duper High is for ages 2-5, a story about a boy or a girl who flies an airplane to save the day from gloomy clouds. Each page is constructed to allow one photo and the child is the main hero of the story.

dsc02478 dsc02484 dsc02489If you already have the books, please leave your thoughts in comments below! Would so love to hear from you!! And if are looking for gifts for a bit older kids, check out this books and games gift guide.

♡ Zuma A.

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Thank you Lenley Makela Slepicka for letting me borrow these adorable models!!

Illustrated and photographed by Lenley Makela Slepicka.

Fashion

From Work Chic to Casual Fun: Ann Taylor Camel Coat

December 7, 2016

Usually, when I hear ‘winter’, I think of cozy sweaters and warm throws, but this year I absolutely fell in love with coats. There are so many options to look super cute or super chic (depending on how you feel!). And this year, I couldn’t resist Ann Taylor’s Black Friday sale and got myself not one but two coats, in camel and red (stay tuned for the pics of the red coat!). As for camel coats, I’ve always admired their effortless and chic style, but never owned one! But since camel coats are this season’s must have this year, there are many beautiful styles available in stores.

I used to think that’s a camel coat is perfect for just a timeless workday look. You can never go wrong when you pair it with an LBD, nude pumps, and a string of pearls. So chic! Recently, though, being a jeans and sweater girl at heart, I love wearing this coat with my casual looks. It is perfect to run errands in, whether it is a quick run to the post office or the market. I’ve always loved the pairing of different styles in a look. A polished and classy coat uplifts the casual no-hem jeans and creates a cool and classy vibe. 

Do you own a camel coat? What is your favorite coat color and style? Comment down below, would love to hear from you!

♡ Zuma A.

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camel coatAnn Taylor coat

Ann Taylor outerwearAnn Taylor coatsAnn Taylor coatsAnn Taylor outerwear 

Fashion, Holidays

Office Look for Holiday Season, Winter Whites and Gold Metallics

December 5, 2016

Happy Monday darlings! We are only three weeks away from Christmas! Are you ready? It took me a little while to get into Holiday spirit this year, and playing Christmas tunes and setting up a social calendar was so uplifting to my spirits. I am all in now! I am looking forward to martinis and the Victoria’s Secret fashion show tonight, a Nordstrom event with a girlfriend on Thursday, and then a game night with family on Friday to kick off the weekend. My outfits too started getting into holiday spirit, winter whites and gold metallics are my Monday picks. Nothing brings out any woman’s complexion more than winter whites. So refreshing, so festive and chic!

I’ve owned this Ann Taylor jacket, skirt, and Stuart Weitzmen suede boots for many years already. Classic pieces are always such a great investment! And this new Anthropologie metallic top and Rebecca Minkoff bag (obsessed!) are my new classic-with-a-twist pieces. Brown suede always feels and looks sophisticated and cozy during fall and winter months. The bag’s golden studs and buckle give the 70s vibe and add an edge to the look. And I love how this Anthro gold top feels on my skin, soft and silky. It adds such femininity to the look if paired with soft colors, but can also look edgy if paired with black faux leather leggings and casual if paired with jeans.

What are you all wearing to the office these days? Comment down below, would love to hear from you!

♡ Zuma A.

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Ann Taylor outerwearRebecca Minkoff handbagAnthropologie topAnthropologie topAnthropologie topAnn Taylor Outerwear