Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What makes YOU happy?

In honor of today's celebration: International Day of Happiness, I decided to make a list of 10 things that make me happy. Why? Lately, I've been watching the news and seeing so many people do bad things because they're not happy with their lives. 

Just this week my beautiful alma mater UCF went through a terrible scare that had me stop and think for a bit. 

Life is not perfect. Then again if it was, it be a little too boring. We all have our ups and downs and times when we love waking up and others when we want to sleep in and never leave our room.

Days like today though, when we're celebrating happiness, we should really stop to think what makes us happy. 

Why not write it down? Once I write this list, I can go back to it on days I feel a little blue and remind myself on why living is so important and why life, even at it's most imperfection, is still beautiful and filled with happiness.

Here we go:
1. Food makes me happy. There's nothing better than getting home from a long day and have a warm plate of mom's food ready for you. If mom isn't there to cook, a delicious gooey pizza pie with Blue Bell neapolitan ice cream will do the trick! 
2. Sleeping makes me happy. And if it's in your own bed...even better. I've noticed that you could be sleeping at the nicest places in the world, but there's nothing like wrapping yourself up in your own cozy bed.
3. Family makes me happy. Even if they drive you insane about 95% of the time, you know that at the end of the day your family will be there supporting you and loving you. And don't think it has to be a big family, sometimes smaller families have a stronger bond.
4. Loving someone makes me happy. This can be your friend, your boyfriend, your family or who ever. That moment when you unconditionally offer your heart to someone is simply an amazing feeling.
5. Being loved makes me happy. It kinda sounds like the one above, but this time you're that special someone to that person. Again, this doesn't have to be a romantic feeling. You can be loved by your dad, your aunt, your professors and friends.
6. Learning new things makes me happy. Finding out that I don't know something is the best adrenaline rush I can get (unless is how to solve a math problem or do my taxes, that I'll skip). I constantly try to learn new things because my philosophies are: 1) It's not like your brain has an "only fill up to here ^" and 2) You never know what you don't know until you don't know it. 
7. Helping others makes me happy. As cliche as it may sound, helping others really does make me happy. Do I help everyone out? No. I try to help those who seek help and need help and especially those who are appreciative of your help. And this doesn't have to be financially, you'd be surprised how much you can help a person by just talking to them or listening.
8. Dancing makes me happy. Anyone who knows me has realized that I can't stand/sit still when music touches my ears. It may be the Latina blood burning inside that makes me swing from side to side or at least bop my feet if I must remain subtle.
9. Traveling makes me happy. This kinda ties in to some of the things above, because when I travel I get to check things off this list. There's so much more to this world than the fenced backyard we see when we wake up or the same people we greet at work. The whole world is our backyard and we should try to greet everyone who lives in it.
10. Finding my purpose in life will make me happy. BAM! So this one a tough one because I'm still trying to figure that out, however, I know that if I attempt to include the above items on my everyday life, finding my purpose in life will be one happy journey!

Now it's your turn to make a list! If what you're doing right now isn't helping you check off items of that list everyday, think about what you can do to make your life a little happier. 

Don't forget to's contagious!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

That little voice inside...listen to it!

It's funny how I decided to write this post after watching a Full House episode last night. (Yes, I still watch Full House because it's awesome!) In the show young Stephanie wanted to ride with two immature high school boys and TJ, the older sister didn't let her go saying it was unsafe. After Steph's friend gets in a car crash with the boys, she realizes her older sister was right and asks her how'd she know getting in that car was a bad idea. TJ's response? "You know that little voice inside of you? As you're growing up, if you're lucky, you'll learn to listen to it!"

I can tell you that as I'm growing up, I'm really learning to listen to that little voice and I want to make sure that you are too. This "growing-up" stage of our lives is extremely fun and exciting but it's also a stage where you have to be very careful and aware. You know what? At any stage of your life I think you have to keep those eyes and ears wide open. 

You see, everyday you're meeting new people, finding new opportunities and discovering new things about this world we live in. You constantly find yourself in different situations and most of these will be good but a few can be bad. How can you tell them apart? You listen to that little voice inside! 

Usually you will hear that little voice loud and clear screaming: "Paula! Get out of there! Are you nuts?" The problem begins when that little voice is telling you: "Paula this isn't such a good idea," but you think that little voice is wrong. It happens to all of us at some point in life depending on what situation we're in. You think you might miss out on a bigger opportunity, make a mistake if you walk away or even scared that you might burn a bridge. So far my friends, my experience or lack of has taught me that the little voice is ALWAYS right!  

Don't let pressure from yourself or others get you into anything you feel isn't right. Don't associate yourself with people that you know don't have the best interest. And don't let anyone or anything dictate what you can or can't do. 

On the contrary, find great places where you can grow professionally and personally. Get yourself into situations that will challenge you and help you reach your goals. Surround yourself with mentors, friends and family who will guide you, support you and love you because they want to see you shine. 

But most importantly, listen to that little voice inside of you, it's always right! 


Monday, March 11, 2013

Say yes to the dress...or else!

Paula and Mom (2013)
I've been thinking about writing this post ever since I found the dress I was wearing to Saturday's gala event. 

If you don't follow me on Facebook, this past Saturday I had the honor to not only attend La Prensa's 6th Annual "Mujeres Destacadas" (Distinguished Women) Awards, but I also got to present the amazing women who had been past recipients. I got the privilege to do so because I was the recipient of the 2012 Young Leader Award, something I hold very near to my heart. I also wanted to continue recognizing Hispanic women who made a difference in our community. 

Back to the real purpose of my post "Say yes to the dress...or else!", I noticed that many, many, many people loved the dress I wore to the gala, including myself. 

It wouldn't be fair to not tell you the story behind this beautiful and elegant dress, plus the very special person who allowed me to wear it and actually help me get in it.

Mom and Abu (1976)
You see...this magical pink dress that had me feeling like a total princess was worn originally by my own "mujer destacada": My Mom! This was the very dress my mom wore during her prom at Colegio San Antonio in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico back in 1976 (I'm going to hear it now after giving out her age!) 

I actually wanted to wear this dress for my own prom in 2008 (oh wow I feel old now) but I didn't fit into it. You could imagine what my mom said: "Tu viste, en aquellos tiempos yo era alguien!" ('You see during those times, I was actually someone') 

Little did she or I know that I would have the opportunity to wear this dress a couple of years later. I have to admit, I needed her help to zip it up because man, my mom was a hot skinny momma!  

The most important thing to me though was being able to wear this beautiful dress with my mom right by my side. She wore her dress next to my grandfather and I wore it next to her!

Thank you mom for not only allowing me to wear your dress, but for being the mother that you are! I love you! 

But I think I wore the dress best! :P