La Vida Sunshine: is LOVE colorblind?

While I’m happily married to what I’ll say is a Caucasian man, you would never know that I wasn’t interested in dating him seriously. Why? Because he is white? Yes.

It’s embarrassing to admit. It makes me cringe internally every time I think about it. To think I almost rejected the greatest love of my life all because of something so insignificant. Let me explain why. I’m a proud Mexican-American woman. As a woman of color growing up in the United States, it has always been real to me that racism exists. It’s not something we have made up to help ourselves feel better. I really could have lived without the blatant and quiet racism I have experienced from children growing up and now as an adult from other adults.

Since all of my racism had been experienced from white people, I believe a part of me thought a white person could never understand my struggle as a Latina living in today’s society.

I would be the 1st person to say, “I could never marry a white guy!” Seriously. Bring on the internal cringe, again. Why would I say that? In my imagination, my dream marriage would have been with a fellow Mexican-American, Catholic, and someone who basically had the same life story as that of my own. We could connect and understand one another on every level; physically, spiritually, emotionally, politically, and mentally. I was convinced that my soulmate could be no one else other than a Mexican-American man. How could I be so wrong? I was. How could I be so close minded? I was.

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After 3 months of dating, he took me to Europe for our 1st of many adventures together.

As my husband and I started to date, I couldn’t stop myself from falling in love with him. If I could’ve I would’ve. He wasn’t my “ideal” person. He is everything no one else ever was and everything I never knew I was looking for. I tried to fight the idea of falling in love with him, but once I submitted to love, my entire life has changed and my heart opened like never before. I stopped to think: What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if he was discriminating against me because I am Latina? How would I feel about that? I would feel like garbage! Obviously, I got over it and let it go. Thank you, Jesus! Life has never been sweeter than it has been with him in my life. 13445739_10106450861887998_1926507803917262464_n

The funny thing is I no longer look at my husband and think, this is my white husband, nor does he look at me and think this is my Mexican wife. We are simply husband and wife. I forget or it’s not on the forefront of my mind ever when I think of him or us together. It’s not usually until someone else brings it up, not ever in an offensive way, either. I think more people are interested in how we’ve been able to seamlessly tie our two families and cultures together.

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Labor Day in Minneapolis, MN. With both our families, celebrating my sweet father in law’s birthday.

While my husband may be considered white/Caucasian he has his own culture, as well. Which people of color tend to downplay the cultures of many white Americans. While many may not even know or understand where they come from, I married into a culturally proud German, French, and Hungarian family. I’ve learned new family traditions. I’ve learned new family recipes. I’ve learned a lot about world history. I’ve learned that love is universal and people of all colors are accepting and kind. I have never ever experienced a bit of racism or prejudice from anyone in my husband’s entire family. They have been completely loving and 100% accepting of me and my entire family from day 1.

At the end of the day, we’re two Midwest kids. We come from two loving parents, who wanted more for their children than what they had. Two families that understand and embrace the immigrant experience. Two middle class and working class families. Two families that fiercely and unapologetically love one another. Two families that believe in love, family, and God before everything else. Instead of focusing on our differences, that really don’t matter, we have consciously or subconsciously chosen to focus on what has brought us together. That is love, unconditional, soulful, colorblind love.

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Our wedding day in Playa Del Carmen, MX. Where else would I have gotten married? Photo Credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

Are you in an interracial relationship or ever have been in one? How has your experience been?

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La Vida Sunshine: is LOVE colorblind?

While I’m happily married to what I’ll say is a Caucasian man, you would never know that I wasn’t interested in dating him seriously. Why? Because he is white? Yes.

It’s embarrassing to admit. It makes me cringe internally every time I think about it. To think I almost rejected the greatest love of my life all because of something so insignificant. Let me explain why. I’m a proud Mexican-American woman. As a woman of color growing up in the United States, it has always been real to me that racism exists. It’s not something we have made up to help ourselves feel better. I really could have lived without the blatant and quiet racism I have experienced from children growing up and now as an adult from other adults.

Since all of my racism had been experienced from white people, I believe a part of me thought a white person could never understand my struggle as a Latina living in today’s society.

I would be the 1st person to say, “I could never marry a white guy!” Seriously. Bring on the internal cringe, again. Why would I say that? In my imagination, my dream marriage would have been with a fellow Mexican-American, Catholic, and someone who basically had the same life story as that of my own. We could connect and understand one another on every level; physically, spiritually, emotionally, politically, and mentally. I was convinced that my soulmate could be no one else other than a Mexican-American man. How could I be so wrong? I was. How could I be so close minded? I was.

wp-1449868767139.jpeg

After 3 months of dating, he took me to Europe for our 1st of many adventures together.

As my husband and I started to date, I couldn’t stop myself from falling in love with him. If I could’ve I would’ve. He wasn’t my “ideal” person. He is everything no one else ever was and everything I never knew I was looking for. I tried to fight the idea of falling in love with him, but once I submitted to love, my entire life has changed and my heart opened like never before. I stopped to think: What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if he was discriminating against me because I am Latina? How would I feel about that? I would feel like garbage! Obviously, I got over it and let it go. Thank you, Jesus! Life has never been sweeter than it has been with him in my life. 13445739_10106450861887998_1926507803917262464_n

The funny thing is I no longer look at my husband and think, this is my white husband, nor does he look at me and think this is my Mexican wife. We are simply husband and wife. I forget or it’s not on the forefront of my mind ever when I think of him or us together. It’s not usually until someone else brings it up, not ever in an offensive way, either. I think more people are interested in how we’ve been able to seamlessly tie our two families and cultures together.

wpid-img_114641010926664.jpeg

Labor Day in Minneapolis, MN. With both our families, celebrating my sweet father in law’s birthday.

While my husband may be considered white/Caucasian he has his own culture, as well. Which people of color tend to downplay the cultures of many white Americans. While many may not even know or understand where they come from, I married into a culturally proud German, French, and Hungarian family. I’ve learned new family traditions. I’ve learned new family recipes. I’ve learned a lot about world history. I’ve learned that love is universal and people of all colors are accepting and kind. I have never ever experienced a bit of racism or prejudice from anyone in my husband’s entire family. They have been completely loving and 100% accepting of me and my entire family from day 1.

At the end of the day, we’re two Midwest kids. We come from two loving parents, who wanted more for their children than what they had. Two families that understand and embrace the immigrant experience. Two middle class and working class families. Two families that fiercely and unapologetically love one another. Two families that believe in love, family, and God before everything else. Instead of focusing on our differences, that really don’t matter, we have consciously or subconsciously chosen to focus on what has brought us together. That is love, unconditional, soulful, colorblind love.

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Our wedding day in Playa Del Carmen, MX. Where else would I have gotten married? Photo Credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

Are you in an interracial relationship or ever have been in one? How has your experience been?

PCOS & a Tumor: The Struggle is Real

I was recently diagnosed with PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. What is PCOS? I found out I have PCOS because I kept gaining weight, became prediabetic, and finally with an ultrasound it became clear that my ovaries are surrounded by cysts. Along with that joyous news, it was determined I have a 3 mm tumor in my head. Seriously. Not to fear, it’s not cancerous, thankfully. It’s a pituitary gland tumor aka pituitary adenoma. The pituitary gland is a master gland below the brain that controls many things in the body, but mostly hormone related. This was diagnosed after discovering I had elevated Prolactin levels in my blood. I’m currently on medication of Metformin and Cabergoline. I was originally on Bromocriptine, but I had such adverse side effects from it I stopped taking it. My endocrinologist has since prescribed me Cabergoline. So far so good.

How do I feel? Physically, fine. Emotionally, depends on the day you ask. Right now, I’m okay. Plus, I think I’ve had enough time to process the news.

What does this mean for children in our future? A number of things, mostly, we don’t know if we’ll be able to conceive a child naturally. I hope and pray that we do. If not, adoption is definitely and has always been an option for us. Which reminds me, I stress the importance of talking about infertility before marriage. I’m grateful that it’s something we had discussed pre-marriage in great detail. Especially since we are in a place now in our lives where it hasn’t been easy trying to conceive due to my health issues.

The only reason I’m sharing this news is because I know we’re not alone. However, many friends and family members are ashamed or scared to share their stories. It is what it is. I can’t sugar coat it. It sucks. It sucks because I finally got to a place in my life and heart where I’m ready and want to become a mother. Then to hit this roadblock this huge is hurtful and frustrating more than anything.  I’m thankful we found out what is going on with my body. It feels unnatural to not be in control of my own body. To know that my issue is greater than what I can control on my own is at times overwhelming. It’s manageable, but not curable. It’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. I don’t know how I would’ve handled this news without the unwavering love and emotional support of my husband and our families. It’s not easy and there are lots of times I questioned myself as a woman and wife. Why is this happening to me? Why isn’t my body normal? Why can’t I get pregnant right away? When will I get pregnant? When will I have control over my body again? When do we start looking into a fertility specialist?  There are so many questions and yet still uncertain answers. The only thing I can do is continue to take my medications.

The biggest lesson I’m taking away from this is to be kinder to myself. I need to accept this is what’s happening right now. I will be okay. Life will be okay. My marriage will always be okay. If anything, it has brought my husband and me closer. He has seen and heard me cry. He shares in my prayers.  He has experienced first hand my frustrations and side effects from medicine. It has forced me to share with him and others how I’m feeling. Sometimes, I don’t feel emotionally strong. As someone who has always been an optimistic and happy person, these feelings of sadness or frustration are new to me. I’m learning that it’s normal.

I wasn’t able to predict what’s going on with my body, but family genetics has a lot to do with it. I have family members with PCOS and Pituitary Gland Tumors, that I’ve only recently found out about. This is why it’s important to know our family history. I know I’m not alone in this. While my husband insists we are going through this together, which we are, I still feel this is very much my own journey. That’s because it is happening in my body. Even that feeling of alone is normal. It’s most important to remember none of us are alone. The difference between me and most is I’m willing to share what’s going on. That’s because I believe we can all learn from one another and help each other when we are in a place of the unknown in our lives.

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If I can be of help and support to someone else and have another woman become more familiar with her body, then it’s all worth it. I want to let other couples know that fertility issues are extremely common. It wasn’t something we expected or could have predicted. Even though we’re currently experiencing this new challenge in our lives, we’re not going to let it stop us from enjoying our lives or marriage. We’re going to continue to travel. We’re going to continue to pray. We’re going to continue to enjoy the full lives we have created with our friends and family. We’re going to continue to show other couples that our love is enough to get us through anything together. If you think you have PCOS contact your doctor asap, especially if you are trying to conceive. The struggle is real, but it doesn’t have to be the end all and be all of our happiness and life together.

Riviera Maya Dream Wedding pt 2: The Details

The follow-up to; Riviera Maya Dream Wedding. 

Love is in the details. I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. When we got engaged I didn’t have a vision of what I wanted. Some girls know every detail and have it planned out in their mind for years. I didn’t. People quickly started to ask, “what’s your theme?” “What are your colors?” Themes? Colors? For a wedding? As my husband said it best, “isn’t a wedding the theme itself? When did we have to turn this into a themed experience?” I think it has to do with all the bridal shows on TLC, which I was obsessed with before we got engaged. Somewhere around month nine of our engagement, I think I stopped watching them. Now, I totally pass them up. I’ve tried to watch, but I can barely manage a good 2 minutes. Funny how things have changed since actually becoming married as opposed to when I was dreaming about being married.

I thought I figured out a theme. I was going to go with a Breakfast at Tiffany’s theme wedding. While, I’ve loved the movie and idolized Audrey Hepburn, since childhood, have a cat named Kat, and married a guy named Paul, who gifted me an engagement and wedding rings from Tiffany & Co., I felt it was still not authentic to me. After having a conversation with my wedding planner in Mexico, I realized I wanted something traditional and true to me and Mexico’s beauty and spirit. This felt authentic to me, a bit more traditional in my modern girl ways, but highlighting the essence and beauty of Mexico. The reception took place at Hacienda Corazon in Puerto Aventuras, QR in the Riviera Maya. Which truly was a dream location.

Now that I had an idea for my wedding, traditional Mexican wedding, I needed to figure out decor and style. My wedding planner Andrea Salazar from Puerto Aventuras Weddings understood my vision and helped bring it to life. I also couldn’t have had it all without my dear cousin Julissa, who actually created everything for me as if she took it right out of my brain herself. Oh, and Etsy! I used quite a bit from Etsy. I love the idea of supporting small businesses.

What did Andrea help with? I mean everything, but I’m going to highlight the decor only for now.
1. Papel Picado: Puerto Aventuras Weddings

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

2. Maracas: The Perfect Gift Cancun

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

3. Flowers and Talavera vases: Puerto Aventuras Weddings

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

4. Gold table linen and lace overlay: Puerto Aventuras Weddings

5. Welcome gifts for guests that went into the welcome bags: The Perfect Gift

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding

 

What did Julissa create? Everything else, pretty much.

1. Welcome letter/ itinerary for all guest bags and stickers that went on the bags: Julissa A.

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

2. Wedding menus and place cards: Julissa A.

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

3. Wedding programs: Julissa A.

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

4. The bar and signature cocktails sign: Julissa A.

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

5. The cake sign: Julissa A.

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

What did I buy off of Etsy? A lot.

1. The flower girl sign: Our Hobby To Your Home 

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

2. The cake banner and banner behind our seats: Sweet Mae Designs

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

3. The handkerchiefs for my mom, mother in law, grandmother, and myself: Lacy Monogramming

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo Credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

4. Cufflinks for groomsmen: MJS Gift

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

Cufflinks for my father: It’s All About The Print

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

 

5. The table cards of places we’ve traveled to together. Jones Street Press

6 The wine labels as gifts for my bridesmaids and wedding planner: Tipsy Designs

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding

 

7. Our wedding invitations: Forget Me Knot Paperie

8. The sweet bags we gave out at the end of the night that was filled with Mexican wedding cookies: Marry Me Vintage Irish

 

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Riviera Maya Dream Wedding – Photo Credit: Melissa Mercado Photography

So much more goes into a wedding than I ever imagined. Was it all worth it? Of course. I had the wedding of my dreams, after all. I wrote this blog as a follow up to Riviera Maya Dream Wedding because I’ve had other brides contact me asking about this or that from my wedding. I hope someone finds it useful. For all the brides to be, hang in there!

 

 

 

Never could I…

We all tell ourselves something that we then tell to others about who we are. My husband loves to take naps. I would say his favorite thing to do is take a nap on the weekend’s. I always tell him and others, “I never take naps”, which for the most part is true, except for this past Saturday. I laid on the couch while he watched ??? I closed my eyes and an hour later I woke up. Stay with me for a second… He said, “Ah, I thought you never take naps! What happened? Because you sure were sleeping and snoring!” I guess I do take naps.

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February 2012, my 1st trip to San Francisco.

It started me thinking about what else have I said, I never do? It turns out more than I care to admit.

For starters, my husband. He is white aka Caucasian. He’s actually French, German, and Hungarian, but somewhere people with European ancestry get labeled as white. I used to say, “I could never date, let alone marry a white guy!” It crushes me to say or even admit that now. It’s ok, though, my husband knows that. We’re good. It’s extremely upsetting to think I would be as shallow and narrow-minded to forgo the most incredible and loving relationship of my life due to his skin color. How would I feel if he or someone else did that to me? It’s embarrassing to admit it. He can’t help that he’s white, just as I can’t help that I’m brown. We can still love one another. We can still laugh together. We can still travel the world together… You get it, in the end, it was my issue, not his. The funny thing is I’ve learned what they say is true, love is color-blind. I don’t look at my husband as my “white” husband, nor does he look at me as his “brown” wife. I think anyone in an interracial marriage can relate to that. You obviously know and can see your differences, but they become insignificant in the grander scheme of your love and life together.

Along with never dating white guys, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “I could never leave my family.” Obviously, I fell in love and moved across the country, now 2x’s, so that proves that was a lie. I was afraid to leave home. While in my 20’s, I had lived on my own, in my own apartment, and paid my own bills. I was still only a stone’s throw away from my family, my safety net. If I ever felt lonely, sad, happy, hungry or just needed to do laundry for free – I could go home and I did. I would secretly judge other people who moved away from their families as not being as much of a devoted son or daughter as me. This is completely false. Again, embarrassing to admit. How could I be so small minded and judgemental of others? Moving thousands of miles away from my family has taught me it’s okay and will be okay. My ego actually thought that my family would fall apart because I wasn’t there to take care of everyone and everything. How would everyone function without me? You know what happens after you move away? Life. It goes on. My mother says it best, “you have to live your life for you now. I did my job as your mother and now I have to let you go.” That’s really a parent’s job anyway, right? Prepare us to go into the world and follow our own adventures and bliss in life.

I followed my heart to San Francisco. I surprised everyone, including my boyfriend, and bought a one-way ticket to SF. Why? Because my happiness depended on it. We were in a long distance relationship. It was becoming increasingly difficult to be apart from this man. Which leads me to my final thing I used to claim, “I could never live with a man before marriage.” What did I do? I moved across the country before we were even engaged. Why this matters, coming from a traditional Latino household the very thought of living with a man pre-marriage was never encouraged, let alone pre-engagement. I knew in my heart and soul, this was the man I was going to marry, and I did. I wasn’t going to wait forever for an engagement and luckily I didn’t have to. My husband and I, both agree that it probably would have turned out differently if we lived in the same city. He claims, he probably would’ve proposed sooner if we lived in the same place because we would’ve had more time together, which you don’t get much of in a long distance relationship. I received my whole family’s blessings to move. However, I did have an end date in mind, if he didn’t propose by a certain date. I knew, for me, I wanted to be his wife. I wanted him to be my husband. I was not going to play house forever with this man and I was prepared to walk away from it all and him if my wants weren’t going to be met.

Love has a funny way of changing everything. All of these “I could never’s” ultimately are fear-based or ego driven. It takes maturity and reflection to be able to admit and distinguish that for what it is. I’ve learned when someone says, “I can’t or I could never”, it’s also a story they are telling themselves, as I’ve told myself and others many times. “Whether you think you can or you can’t you’re right.” – Henry Ford

What are the stories you tell yourself?

35

On my 35th birthday, I clearly remember the bittersweet feelings of turning 30 and bidding adios to my roaring 20’s. I’m 5 years closer to 40, y’all! This is an incredible blessing. I keep thinking how life has changed in the past decade. How each year has gotten remarkably better, sweeter, and more delicious!

If you would’ve told me on my 25th birthday that by my 35th birthday, I’d be married. I wouldn’t have believed you. I clearly thought I was destined to be a fabulous spinster for the rest of my life.

If you would’ve told me that by 35, I’d be living in Houston, TX, with my husband, I’d laugh in your face. I was supposed to own my own home as a single gal, living in the most beautiful city in the world, Chicago.

If you would’ve told me at 25, that by 35, I would have traveled the world and eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world. I would’ve said, “of course, I have, darling!” The icing on the cake it has all been with the love of my life, my husband.

If you would’ve told me that by 35, I would no longer be working and instead baking pies in the middle of the day, I wouldn’t even know how to imagine that kind of life. I had a plan to run the world.

My life didn’t turn out exactly the way I had imagined it would’ve. It turned out even better. It’s a wonderful reminder, I can plan all I want, but I’m not the one in charge. God has always had a greater plan for me than I could ever believe. I’m counting my blessings of unconditional love, family, and friends. I’m grateful for all those who have guided me and have encouraged me on this wonderful journey. I’m allowing God to lead. I’m optimistic about His future plans for my life.

On my day of birth, I’m reminded of this biblical passage: Proverbs 3:5-6

5. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6. in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Have a great day! Thank you, for all the love and kind birthday wishes.
I wish you all continued blessings.