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Better Living

Our Purpose in Life

Our Purpose in Life

By Particia Prychodny, Master Reiki & Angels

Click aqui para español- > El propósito de nuestra vida

We all have a purpose in our life, but many times the hectic nature of the day to day causes us to deviate from it. Even with the distractions in our journey, this purpose is set, and sooner or later, we get steered in the direction to do what really satisfies us, and what we long to do in our hearts.

If we stop for a moment, let our mind relax, and listen to our heart in the silence, we realize that many times we set aside our purpose in life to please others. But it is when you manage to find yourself that the tools that will help you achieve this purpose come to you, as do many people whom you did not expect and who are connected in the same line of your life’s mission.

Do you know why this happens? It happens because you begin to be your true self, and the wisdom within you awakens what you have in your heart.

Do not allow pleasing others or trying to earn more money doing what you do not like, deviate you from your purpose. Remember that you are here with a mission and that the happiest person is the one who manages to do what he or she really wants to do. You are happy when you do what you love, when you place your joy in what you give to others, and above all when you give to yourself. The best payment is to see the mission given to you accomplished on this earthly plane.

When people ask me why I do what I do, I tell them it is because it is my mission, so my job is to do it the best possible way, with joy and lots of love.

Only the weak are cruel.

Only the  weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong

By Cristy Cali

Click aqui para español- >Solo los débiles son crueles.

There‘s a saying that goes,“Your power ends where your fear begins.“

But, what is fear exactly?

Billions of people experienced the last 24 hours differently. Fear takes on many different forms, depending on your own beliefs. Just as one man‘s trash is another man‘s treasure, one man’s nightmare is another’s dream.

So, where do fears come from? Why do we, at times, react so uncontrollably?

Instinctually, to survive. The initial reaction to defend oneself applies whether the threat is to life or to emotions. Frustration leads to anger and possibly violence when someone is trying to control the free will of another, regardless of their intentions.

However, not every fear we obtain is a threat to the safety of our physical lives. Why then, do we still feel a loss of control?

If you remember anything from this article, let it be this: Our beliefs shape our reality.

The reason division occurs is because people are living in different realities. We all believe we are separate from one another because life on Earth certainly can make us feel this way. But if you take a moment to reflect on this idea, hopefully you will catch a glimpse of the world from my vista. We are all a part of the greater whole. Spiritually, every person on this planet is a product of the same Creator. On the “other side,” we are all truly brothers and sisters.

One of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs came after he was diagnosed with cancer: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don‘t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It‘s life‘s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

We need to live our lives how we wish to be remembered. Respond with love whenever possible in the face of anger or despair. Call your loved ones to express your appreciation for them. Lend a hand when granted a convenient opportunity. We are the channels through which the Divine takes action, which requires exemplary qualities like strength and courage. We already have access to greatness every day, we just have to enact on our free will and choose to take part. 

Legend Says

Legend Says

By Andrea Mejia 

Click aqui para español- >Cuenta la leyenda

According to the legend (I’m making this up), people with sarcastic humor aren’t well liked at first, or actually they are never liked, to be honest. Well, I get it... Sarcasm is not for everyone! It seems that those who have a simpler sense of humor, usually relate better to most people, or are not disliked as easily as the sarcastic ones. Yes, I’m referring to those who chuckle at everything, but do not really understand anything.

To keep this story short, it just seems to me that, those of us who are more honest, direct and unfiltered when saying things, have the common trait of sarcastic humor which identifies us.

And what can we do? Life has rewarded us not only with being smart and witty, but we also received the grace of having an excellent sense of humor. Analyze the situation and you will see that people who are not very good at honesty and sincerity, have a lesser sense of humor, and take everything personal. Could it be an inferiority issue?

You shouldn’t feel about not being liked or being blunt. This is just part of the many personalities that exist. For those with sarcastic humor, it’s important learning to be tactful, which is something that many with this trait are not very good at. It is also important to keep in mind that some people tend to be much more sensitive and do not understand this type of humor. It is necessary sometimes to be discreet so that we don’t go around hurting people around us. Don’t you agree?

 

Kissing Therapy

Kissing Therapy

By Andrea Mejia

Click aqui para español- > Besos como terapia

What better than a kiss therapy. Kissing is the main way in which humans express affection with each other. We kiss babies, our friends and family on the cheeks, and our lover on the lips to show our feelings.

But, did you know that kissing has many benefits? Beyond its purpose of showing affection, kissing also helps your health and reduces stress, and this claim has been backed by science.

Kissing makes your brain release a cocktail of chemicals such as oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin, which make you feel euphoric and stimulate feelings of affection and union. Kissing also lowers your cortisol, which is what causes us stress. Kissing releases adrenaline and norepinephrine, which not only make us feel aroused by increasing our heart rate, but also make us more alert, as our body prepares for action...any kind of action!

For the ladies that may experience pains during their period, the cure may be to kiss away! Kissing causes a reaction that makes blood vessels dilate increasing the blood flow that can help relieve the pain.

No more Botox! The more you kiss, the tenser and more toned your facial muscles become.

The act of kissing can involve from two to 34 facial muscles. Kissing often and using these muscles is the best exercise for your face and neck. It reaffirms the facial muscles and increases the production of collagen, which contributes to a firmer and younger skin.

And, could a kiss a day keep the dentist away? True! Kissing stimulates the salivary glands to produce saliva, and saliva helps eliminate the cavity-causing particles that stick to the teeth after eating.

So... kiss away to maintain a designer’s smile, a youthful face, and to feel better!

Peace of Mind

Peace of Mind

By Andrea Mejia

Click aqui para español- >Paz Mental

What I was left with from last year was the gift of understanding that my mental health and the freedom I give my thoughts are the main basis of my existence. If I cannot control them, everything that comes and goes in my life is not my decision, but the result of the bad information that my actions generate based on impulses.

I understood that, regardless of the event, the only thing that can change the outcome of what happens is the way we approach things. It is said that all events in life generate emotions and feelings, and how we react to them is what really matters and what completely changes our perspectives of said event.

I feel we care too much about external things without noticing that the outside is controlled by our interior. Such simple things as eating better, reading more and spending more time with oneself can have a positive impact on what we reflect.

It has become a routine to silence our mind when we need to make decisions, but we give free rein when responding to emotions. Being kind to ourselves is a very good step to change the way we act. We do not have to be so hard and punish ourselves for the emotions we do not control.

We should not stop enjoying life for mistakes we made by not controlling our thoughts. When we get lost in harmful thoughts, the best thing we can do is refocus our attention on purely positive things and applaud ourselves for the goals we have already achieved.

We must remind ourselves that we have people who love us as we are and who support us. Constant criticism and perfectionism not only increase stress, but they also hinder our productivity and may result in mental illnesses such as depression and eating disorders. Recognizing and knowing that we all make mistakes of any kind is healthy for our mind.

Accepting that we can improve every day is part of our learning process.

Life-Changing Resolutions That Last

Life-Changing Resolutions That Last

By Andrea Mejia

Click aqui para español- >Resoluciones de estilo de vida que perduran

The beginning of the year is always a great time for a fresh start, but sometimes we try to achieve too much. Here are some simple lifestyle changes that will help you ease into healthier, everyday routines.

Move around. Find the time to go outside. If you can’t fit a full workout into your busy schedule, make it a point to walk outside five minutes every day. This easy commitment could easily turn into a workout habit.

Better Sleep Not everyone is able to go to bed earlier, but the idea of leisure at bedtime by reading, playing, or watching videos on your device could be keeping you up longer instead of winding you down. Put the phone and tablets away before bedtime.

Focus on finding solutions Only focus on problems when you are determined to find a solution. If find yourself only complaining, shift your energy immediately and focus on finding a solution to the problem.

Say “no” No one wants to be perceived as the naysayer, but a firm “no” sometimes is necessary. Over committing to please others can make you miserable, so say “no” when you know agreeing to something will add pressure to yourself. See the good in life

Look for the brightest side of things Look for the brightest side of things and don’t take simple things for granted. Usually those simple things are really the essential ones for your happiness. Be grateful.

Lighten up Find time for fun times. Whether it is getting together with friends to talk and joke around, watching a comedy, or finding things that you enjoy and make you laugh is essential for your brain.

Down time is essential Avoid burning out by filling up your agenda. Having days of “nothing to do” may be hard in our fast-paced world but giving yourself one of those lazy days does the body and mind well.

Effective (or at least fun) New Year Eve's Rituals

Effective (or at least fun) New Year Eve's Rituals

By Andrea Mejía

Click aqui para español- >Rituales de Año Nuevo Efectivos (o al menos divertidos)

We cannot assure that they are effective, but it sure is fun to take part in some of the holiday season rituals. In many Latin American countries, it’s customary to follow these together as a family during the end of the year celebrations.

In some cases, people truly believe that following the rituals attracts good fortune and, in some cases, people just follow a tradition that no one questions anymore. New Year's Eve is a perfect opportunity to carry out the rituals since the date symbolizes a passage from the old year to the new one as a cycle ends and we plan for the future. So, it makes sense to think that this moment of transition is appropriate for ceremonies to attract good fortune and positive vibrations to our lives.

A popular ritual is to receive the New Year wearing yellow or red underwear, which is done to attract passion, love, and money in the upcoming year. Some people attract good luck by adding a gold ring inside the champagne glass for the toast.

If you see dozens of people running around the block at midnight pulling their travel bags, fear not. They are not running for their lives or leaving their spouse. They are partaking in an old tradition that augurs lots of traveling if you do it right after midnight on New Year’s Eve. This crazy ritual is a favorite of mine.

There will be grapes on New Years' Eve, 12 for each person who will eat them at every stroke of the clock while making a wish for each of the 12 months of the upcoming year. In many countries the burning of the "Año Viejo," a dummy made with old clothes and stuffed with straw, wood chips, sawdust and fireworks, takes place right at midnight. This is a ritual of purification to disperse the bad luck and negative energies, and to symbolize leaving behind anything bad that took place during the year ending.

My aunt used to make me write on a piece of paper all the negative things that happened to me during the year and we added the piece of paper to the "Año Viejo."

There are many other rituals, some funny and crazy and some more solemn, like lighting white candles, taking herbal baths, or simply making a list of resolutions for the new year.

There is no guarantee that wishes will come true, or that things will happen, but the wishful thinking and the crazy rituals cannot take away the fun of celebrating during the holidays. This way of celebrating makes the holiday season a more magical time.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2019 for everyone!

P.O.W.E.R.

P.O.W.E.R.

By Andrea Mejia

Click aqui para español- >El Poder de P.O.W.E.R.

A few years ago, Tammy O'Shea, Marketing Manager of Fidelity Bank, had the vision of creating a program for businesswomen and clients of the financial institution.

Although it took time to convince the Board of Directors, thanks to the presence of Katie Crosby as Chairman of the Board and the perseverance of O'Shea, who believed in her dream, P.O.W.E.R. (Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Realized) became a reality in October of last year, and already counts with almost 400 members.

Its director, Liz Broekman, has given her soul, life, heart, and even her wardrobe, to this powerful initiative, which has as its main objective to generate growth opportunities for business owners so that they can prosper and engage in powerful businesses. Broekman believes that the program has been very successful because "women take care of each other. It is part of our nature."

P.O.W.E.R. holds informational and educational seminars for its members. The "P.O.W.E.R. Hour" is very unique. At the end of every quarter, a group of around 10 members participate in a powerful hour at a particular branch, where they have breakfast together, and discuss a particular topic. This setting serves as an opportunity to get answers, share experiences and learnings, and generate new ideas for developing their businesses.

At Fidelity Bank they welcome you in a friendly way, and you do not feel that you enter a regular bank, but you feel part of a community. To be a member of P.O.W.E.R. you just need to have a bank account with Fidelity Bank. Membership applies to female business owners and partners, executives, directors, or leaders of nonprofit organizations.

As a member of P.O.W.E.R. you are added to a directory where other members can find and recommend you, which is the most valuable part of this program for entrepreneurs, since a recommendation is essential for businesses to thrive. P.O.W.E.R. sponsors events of organizations, such as New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), American Business Women Association (ABWA), NABO, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, among others, and their directives make sure to support the initiatives of its members.

Through P.O.W.E.R., women entrepreneurs are featured in marketing campaigns, which serves as additional exposure for their businesses. Activities like "happy hours," seminars and executive lunches are part of the benefits for women in P.O.W.E.R.

Beyond these benefits, it is fun that checks, cards and other materials are purple, a feminine color that identifies us as powerful women, and that makes us feel unique and important. What are you waiting for, as a woman entrepreneur, to be a part of this powerful program?

Media

The Need to Unplug

The Need to Unplug

By Andrea Mejia

Click aqui para español->Desconectarse

"Life is what happens while we're busy worrying about everything we need to change or accomplish. Slow down, get mindful, and try to enjoy the moment. This moment is your life." ~ Lori Deschen 

Choosing to disconnect and leave our phones and our concerns behind is a deliberate decision for many, but for me it is a necessity. The decision to disconnect and go on a trip to reconnect with myself is part of my life. Our jobs are often the biggest obstacle to unplugging. We spend most of the day at work, and most of that time we are online sending emails, updating social networks and searching the Internet. Once the work day is over, we arrive home at dinner time and many times we eat while simultaneously browsing personal Facebook, Instagram, and email accounts.

I make the effort to get out of the routine and I make sure to take a vacation to get disconnected. On a recent trip to Mexico, I was lying on the beach and realized that I did not know how to relax and disconnect anymore. That’s when I decided it was time to put the phone away and enjoy my trip in the archaeological ruins of Tulum, free of social networks. Since I did not want my business to suffer from this, I resorted to hiring a person to do the social media managing for my business and for my personal networks since I like to share my experiences. Disconnecting was a truly rewarding experience!

The first day I almost died, but little by little the constant need to see updates on networks disappeared and I had the best time not knowing what was happening back home and enjoying my plans without having to instantly publish what I was doing. At nighttime I had fun choosing my favorite pictures and sending them to the social media manager for uploading.

After this experience, I decided to start a new chapter in my life. I call it "less is best." I felt satisfied with the way I enjoyed the trip and felt that I was not missing out on my experiences because I was hooked to the phone uploading photos. It is unrealistic to think that we can banish everyone completely from our lives and give up the digital world altogether.

I’m back on social media but in a more conscious way. I like the convenience of social media to communicate with people whom I love and are far from me. I believe the key to mental balance is to find the middle ground of being too connected and totally disconnected.

Tips for designing a functional Kitchen

Tips for designing a functional Kitchen

By Andrea Mejía

Click aqui para español->Tips para diseñar una cocina funcional

A kitchen design is based on the person who will be using the kitchen and on how he or she will use it. Prior to drawing one line, the designer should clearly know about the taste, priorities, and the lifestyle of the kitchen’s owner. This is when the obvious questions of ‘how would you use that?’ and ‘what is needed in that space'? come about.

The objective of kitchen design is to achieve a useful space for the activities that will take place in it. We strive to minimize the travel distance from workspaces. There are three main areas to a kitchen: the cooking zone, the washing zone, and the prepping zone. Ideally, a designer should locate the prep zone in a prime location easily accessible to the washing zone as well as to the cooking zone.

As you begin to remodel your kitchen, remember to take these tips from an expert:

- You are making a long-term investment. Even a small oversight can create a chain of unfortunate events, so make sure you hire a professional.

- Plan your budget. Don’t forget to account for new appliances.

- Take a close look at your space. Consider where doors, windows, and access to water, gas and electricity are located.

- Functionality is key to create a great flow mobility.

- Identify the style you want. Traditional with cozy accents, contemporary with clean lines, or classic inundated with the charm of organic materials.

- To keep the right amount of storage space, make sure you inventory all appliances and utensils. A practical kitchen requires organization and easy reach for tools.

- Use add-ons for spaces between cabinets.

ABWA

ABWA. Empowering Women.

By Andrea Mejía

Click aqui para español->ABWA

When I arrived in New Orleans a few years ago, I decided to start my own business. This endeavor provided to be a more daunting task than I had expected. However, I found organizations along the way that were, and continue to be, fundamental in the growth and continued development of my company.

I dedicate this month’s rendition of Vivir Mejor to the American Business Women Association (ABWA), a professional national organization that specializes in honing women’s leadership skills, providing women with continuing education, and highlighting and raising awareness and recognition of the empowerment of women in business.

The ABWA was founded in 1949 after World War II. During this war, many women were forced to enter the workforce for the first time to fill employment and production gaps left behind by the millions of men who were serving their country domestically and abroad during combat operations. The ABWA was established to provide support and training for women who seek and undoubtedly deserve equal business opportunities.

Since its inception, ABWA has continually served women in the workforce and in business at the local and national level. The mission of ABWA is to gather businesswomen of diverse occupations and provide opportunities for them, so that they may better help themselves and help others grow personally and professionally by providing leadership, education, networking support, and national exposure and recognition.

As a businesswoman, I can attest that belonging to this type of organization is essential for both, personal and professional growth, and relying on the support of other women in business is instrumental to this end. ABWA offers formal opportunities for continuing education, accrediting its members in business management, public speaking, and marketing, among many others. Women who are considering establishing their own company, or those who’ve already started, should explore what this organization can do for their respective businesses.

The opportunity to reach out to other women who have already paved their way and achieved success in their fields and to listen to their stories is uniquely supportive, since we can all relate to each other. Being able to interact and network with other women in business for a few hours can help recharge energies and may even result in referrals and in generating innovative ground-breaking ideas!

 Our future is in our own hands; it’s in the hands of women nationwide fighting and struggling to succeed all while competing and striving to provide valuable substance in the business forum. We can, and must, help each other succeed and there is no better manner of achieving this than by providing a booming, boisterous referral and unyielding support for every one of your brilliantly empowered female colleagues.

New Orleans

New Orleans

By Andrea Mejia

Para español click aqui->New Orleans

I arrived in New Orleans a few years ago, not knowing I would eventually stay.

Today, I can say I wouldn’t change that for the world. New Orleans is a place of extremes, a place of love and of hate. When it comes to living well, New Orleans has it all. You can choose from a vast variety of restaurants, bars, cafes, parks and streets that fill you with history.

And one cannot leave behind the festivals that crowd the streets with tourists and liven the city up making it an exceptional city to visit or live in. There are so many activities to choose from, even those that do not involve drinking.

There are free yoga classes offered at the park, and some bars also offer yoga and other sports as well, allowing you to choose how to spend your afternoon.

In New Orleans you don’t really need to arrange a date for your leisure time. Whether you want to go out to exercise or enjoy a drink, there is no better plan than to show up at a bar or at the park and meet a stranger. As part of the fun you talk to people you do not know and get to learn and see a unique perspective of what this wonderful city is.

This is something that made me fall in love with this city, as I am the type of person who loves to talk to anyone. This morning I woke up to the sad news of the passing of Anthony Bourdain. The sadness that I feel over his death is overwhelming.

It would only be fitting and appropriate to mention him in this article. My first thought was that after visiting so many places, he decided to travel to one without a return ticket. We won’t hear his account on this trip, and we won’t have any more stories told in the unique way he used to tell them.

He was the mentor that I never met in person. I can say many of the places I visited were inspired by him. His legacy will remain forever within many of us, those who followed in his footsteps inspired to adventure.

As we enjoy the privilege of living in a place like no other, and in honor of Chef Bourdain, who seemingly enjoyed New Orleans, we should make it a point to savor this city with all the craziness and dysfunctionality that makes New Orleans so unique.

Learning and Sharing with Entrepreneurial Women

Learning and Sharing with Entrepreneurial Women

By Andrea Mejía

Click aqui para español->Compartiendo y aprendiendo de mujeres emprendedoras

In May, I had the opportunity to be part of a panel presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana during their Women's Business Symposium.

The group of panelists was composed of five women with origins in different Latin American countries. We were all business owners with one common element: we had to reinvent ourselves and start all over. I was honored to listen to their stories, to get to know more about them, and to receive their advice. Sitting next to them filled me with strength and provided me with hope.

We all have a story, a challenging past, and hardships in life that we had to overcome. These experiences marked us forever to make us stronger individuals.

Being able to tell and share our stories with the audience was motivating. It felt great receiving supportive hugs and sincere gratitude at the end of the panel. It is incredibly wonderful to know that by sharing your story, you can spark a fire within the women who are listening and gathering their strength to begin their own project. I take this opportunity to thank the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for their great work in providing a forum and for allowing women the opportunity to participate in events dedicated to entrepreneurial women who are fierce and who are working hard to succeed.

Events like the Annual Women's Business Symposium create opportunities, while also providing the participants with a sense of security when they discover that there are many other women who support them throughout their respective entrepreneurial processes.

I wish the best for all women who are setting a goal and starting their business journey. Rest assured that you too can accomplish whatever you set your mind to with discipline and perseverance!

 

 

Media

Challenge yourself to grow!

Challenge yourself to grow!

By Andrea Mejía

Click para español - Retos que nos ayudan a crecer 

I had the opportunity to participate in the Women in Business Challenge, presented by the Urban League of New Orleans during the month of March. It was such an enriching experience! Last year, I was sitting in the audience during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week watching the women present their companies during the challenge, and while listening to their stories I thought, “next year, I want to stand there and tell my own story.” And I did exactly that. 

I applied to the program, participated, and was among the four finalists this year. My public-speaking fear was challenged. I would have never thought that I could stand in front of three hundred people who were gathered to listen to our stories. 

The Women in Business Challenge is a great opportunity for women business owners to compete for a prize of ten thousand dollars. During the challenge entrepreneurs also receive a 9-week training session to learn how to make their business grow. 

I knew what I wanted to accomplish when I started my own company Sensa Design, but I was clueless as to what approach to follow to make it there. After going through this learning experience, I feel ready to take the next step and aim my company in the right direction. 

I learned about finance, social media, and human resources, among many other things.

I understood the importance of writing down a business plan and setting the mission and values of the company. Having these tools is essential to focus and keep the business in the right track. 

I was proud to represent my community and to be the first Latina participating in the challenge.

All women business owners who are reading this note should take a moment and contact Klassi Duncan from the Urban League of Greater New Orleans to get into this program. Remember the words of Amelia Earhart: “The most difficult thing is the decision

to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

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