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Rebranding & Finding My WHY

Hello to all my readers! I’ve been missing from the blog for a while, but I’m so glad I get to take the time to chat with you today about something that’s been on my mind and in my heart for a while: it’s my “why” as a blogger. How could I understand my brand (or begin rebranding) without even knowing why I blog?

Why You Need a “Why”

Your “why” is the reason you even started blogging in the first place. Your “why” is your primary purpose and main goal that you want to achieve with your blog and influence.

Well, when I started this blog 3 years ago, I had NO CLUE what blogging was really about! I started after seeing other bloggers online and on Instagram, not because I wanted to make money, but because I felt it would be a good creative outlet for me. Dance, drama, painting, sewing, writing, I loved it all, but this felt like an untapped facility. I jumped into my blog without even knowing what I was doing, to be honest. I stumbled through figuring out how to do “the blogging thing” with no direction, no goals, and no WHY. I was just blogging for fun – for myself, and no one else.

Fast forward to this past summer, and so much in my life has changed. Namely, I have learned a whole LOT by becoming not only a member of Style Collective, but from working there! I really wish that I had all of the knowledge that I possess now about blogging, because I definitely would have started off differently. But, it’s never too late to go back and discover your purpose, right?

I found myself asking “Why do I blog?” Not to mention, there were times when my husband was asking the same thing. Originally, I blogged to give myself a hobby and creative outlet (and I thought it would be cool!) but I had no goals and no vision for the future, much less how I was going to accomplish it.

So WHY do I blog.

The Journey to Finding my Why

Well, I thought and thought. And thought. That is why I have been so absent – I needed to rediscover my purpose in this space. I remembered back to 9th grade, when I took the PSAT and it gave me my “ideal career” results. Nurse, social worker, teacher. In short, I was meant to help people. I didn’t particularly like the results at the time (I had a mind to be a successful stage actress, or a NYFW designer), but now looking back on my life and career path, it was an obvious fit. I was meant to help people. And to top that, not only am I good at it, I enjoy helping people and find fulfillment in it. Coaching, teaching, and now continuing my calling by helping bloggers grow through Style Collective. So, that same spirit needs to be reflected in my space here on my blog.

When you remain true to your “why,” you have a clear direction for the content you’re creating, because you have a guiding purpose.

My “why” is to help others.

So why would people even want to read my blog if I wasn’t delivering anything more than a diary? The truth is, it’s important not to be an echo, but a voice. I had become an echo of what I thought a blogger should be, and not my authentic self.

What could I offer my readers that is unique to me, and my life? I love fashion, but I’m not being true to myself when I only do fashion posts (who gets dolled up everyday when you work from home? Not me!). I love DIY, but I really don’t have the time or passion to do it on a consistent basis – it’s more of an “as needed” occurrence. I love to cook, travel, and decorate my home – these are all things that make me who I am. I have had many struggles, and unique life experiences that I can share. I am an authority on my own life, right?

The point is, there are tons of fashion/lifestyle/mommy bloggers out there – but only one ME.

Rose Gold Hair

Providing Value

When I started, blogging was a hobby, but it was more than that. It was a reason for me to get all done up, to put myself together, and to focus on creating my own goals. My life has changed since then, just as it does for everyone, and since my blog is a reflection of my life and experiences, my blog should change with me, too. I want to align with my “why.” Everything I post should accomplish that main goal or primary purpose in some way: to help.

I possess authority in many things through my life experiences and educational background. I can’t give you advice about flying a plane, but I can help you through the milestones of pregnancy, motherhood, fertility struggles, home decorating, life organization, early childhood education & special education, products, cooking, hosting, and being a work-from-home mom. The Miami Rose will embark on a new mission in alignment with my purpose of helping my readers and providing you all with something that can help you, whether it is a product review of an item I wholly endorse, or the ultimate travel guide for hitting the road with a baby!

Rebranding an Image

Along with a new purpose and direction, comes a new look. Who doesn’t love a makeover? So, I will be gradually undergoing some site changes over the next couple of months, and unveiling new topics, features, and images. I’ll even be revamping some old (and dearly loved) posts along with presenting new, helpful content.

Why would a blogger rebrand? Why would a blogger even brand in the first place, you also ask? Well, in my next post I’m going to talk about what branding is and why it is important to develop a personal brand as a blogger.

Thank you to all of you who have stuck by me from the beginning, and accepted that this is a journey, not a pre-set experience. I’ve always aimed for my blog to reflect my life, and this is another step in the direction to remaining authentic.

P.S. I want to thank Annie Spano, the founder & CEO of Style Collective – and my amazing BOSS – for constantly giving me the new knowledge I need to refine my blogging journey; and to my husband, for giving me the confidence and support I need every day to be brave and do what I know is right in my heart (and not care what the haters think).

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Foodie Friday | Rose Ice Cream

With summer in full swing, I have been wanting to try out a few new ice cream flavors, and this one was at the top of my list (for obvious reasons)! I scoured the internet and Pinterest especially for the perfect recipe, and I think I finally concocted my own version to create a creamy, gelato-like, rose-scented ice cream.

What does rose ice cream even taste like, you may ask? Simply: it tastes the way a rose smells. And it is incredible. For my recipe, I added cinnamon to help bring out the sweetness of the rose flavor, and create a delicate blend of fresh flavor. If you give this a try, you won’t believe your tastebuds.

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Rose Ice Cream

(makes about 2 quarts)

2 cups heavy whipping cream/double cream
1/4 cup Rooh Afza, bottled Rose flavored syrup (find here)
3/4 cup sugar, or adjust to taste
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
fresh organic rose petals
2 teaspoon rose water
1 tsp cinnamon

1. In a standing mixer, combine the cream, Rooh Afza, sugar, rose water, and cinnamon. Mix at medium speed until sugar is dissolved and well blended.

2. Set standing mixer to high and let the mixture whip for 5-10 minutes. You don’t want the consistency of whipped cream, you just want to add some air and lightness to the cream before turning it into ice cream. This will make the texture dreamy when it’s frozen.

3. When ready to make the ice cream, place the chilled cream mixture in the ice cream maker and follow instructions of the ice cream maker. You might want to adjust the sweet/sugar at this time. Chilling the ice cream will make it taste a little less sweet than in unfrozen form. So do adjust accordingly.

4. Add the lemon juice and churn for 5 more minutes. Freeze for at least 6-8 hours.

5. Garnish with rose petals before serving.

Fashion | Summer Transition

How is it August already!? I can’t believe that summer’s end is quickly approaching and I’m already planning for NYFW in September (and Rose’s 1st Birthday in October – HOW???).

In Miami, it’s an endless summer when we are talking about the weather, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to follow along with the trends of the season like everyone else! So, I have rounded up some of my favorite day dresses that can transition from Summer to pre-Fall by adding a cardigan, button down underneath, or chic boots. Plus, they all still work for anyone in an area that has more than one climate during the month of September. This specific maxi is Forever21, but you should scroll down to shop all my transitional faves – Enjoy!

Foodie Friday | Lemon and Blueberry Cake

Zesty, fruity, fresh, and fun – this sweet lemon cake full of fresh blueberries will remind you of summer lemonade and blueberry pie. Using fresh produce is essential for the perfect bite of tart and sweet. Bright fragrant lemons and deep, rich blueberries are so visually stimulating that they will have your mouth watering before you begin your prep for this cake! I was even lucky enough to use some of my mother’s fresh blueberry jam to make this juicy cake – so, if you can get your hands on some homemade jam, preserves, or compote, I highly recommend using it in this recipe. If this isn’t the perfect springtime dessert to have at your next brunch, lunch, or evening affair al fresco, then I don’t know what is.

This recipe was adapted from the queen herself, Martha Stewart. She has had her ups and downs, but no one can deny her personal branding success, as well as the plethora of amazing ideas, recipes, and crafts her team has come up with over the years.

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Lemon and Blueberry Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded
1 cup fresh blueberries
blueberry jam or preserves
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.

  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Add blueberries, leaving a few aside for the topping.

  3. Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack.

  4. While cakes are baking, bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lemon slices and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to a waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir remaining 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.

  5. Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. Let cool completely. Prepare frosting (recipe below). Between the two cake layers, apply the blueberry jam or preserves, about 1/2″ in thickness. Frost cooled cakes and top with blueberries.

Whipped Frosting

3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.

DIY | Travel Itinerary & FREE Printable

If there’s one thing I love getting excited about, it’s travel! In case you couldn’t tell by my Fashion Itinerary printable, I get really organized when it comes to preparing for vacation. It may seem excessive to some, but I enjoy it immensely. Not only do I get to explore the area before we even get there, I have specifics to look forward to – with no stress! Pre-planning (for me) is definitely the way to go. That way, I don’t wake up on our first day of the trip and say, “What do we do?”. Everything is done and all we need to do is follow our schedule and enjoy.

However, I am also a big fan of spontaneity, which is why most of the things I like to schedule can be cancelled free of charge. And don’t forget to build in some free time to relax, too!

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This is how my process goes: once we pick our destination, duration of the trip, flight, and hotel, I do a bit of research and make a list of great things to do, see, and eat in the area. Most places have a great tourism website to help out visitors, or you can also try several different travel sites to help you plan the best trip ever! Once we have our list of things to must do/see/eat, I start filling in the calendar.

For us, food is such an important part of our travelling experience. Whether it’s trying a friend’s recommendation or the top-rated eatery in the city, we definitely make it a big “to-do”. If one or two restaurants are on our must list, I sometimes plan the rest of the meal calendar around it (i.e. the best establishment in town may not have reservations on a Saturday, but they may have availability on a Tuesday, so we don’t discriminate). After filling in the important dining choices, I will begin to fill in the rest once our activities are determined for each day. This allows us to research dining options that are close to our location, and we can choose an appropriate time. I am a big fan of making reservations through Open Table. It is free, and you can cancel them at any time. I think my ultimate worst nightmare would be finding myself in an unfamiliar place either, a) hungry and not knowing where to eat, b) hungry and having to wait a very long time for a table, c) hungry and not liking anything on the menu, and d) hungry and feeling cranky on my AMAZING vacation. For these reasons/fears, and so that we can experience our trip to the fullest (pun intended), we peruse the menus in advance to help select where we will be eating each meal.

Once we have narrowed down our selection, I create a binder with all of our trip details: itinerary, confirmations, receipts, menus, and guides. Yes, I know this may sound crazy, but guess what? It works! We even still have our binder from our honeymoon (which was SO helpful) as a memento, and to help us in the future when we want to visit again, make a recommendation, or just remember the great time we had. To me, the preparation and planning make the trip really worthwhile, and it allows you to truly relax once your trip begins.

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I have created this easy chart for you to keep your trip schedule organized. You can print out the pdf and hand-write your items in with pencil or pen, or you can download the Word document to type it up and print. Here is an example of how I fill mine out!

Tip: I include the time, name, address, confirmation number, and sometimes telephone number of each item directly onto the itinerary. This way you don’t need to rifle through your papers/email to find what you are looking for. Once the itinerary is filled out, save it on your phone (as a document or snapshot) so you can access it easily and effortlessly! It’s all in one place.

Need help packing? Use my Fashion Itinerary to plan your outfits of the trip!

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Teavel Itinerary Example

download the PDF file

download the Microsoft Word file

 

Fashion | Casual & Cool

Sometimes, you just have to keep it easy. With the year round heat in Miami, you better believe it gets even worse in the summer. Not only does it mess with you sweat glands and hair, it messes with your brain! You just feel yucky and cranky and you can’t think at all because of the suffocating humidity. Sometimes I can’t imagine wearing anything else but a comfortable pair of jeans and a crisp, breezy white shirt. Luckily, my closet is full of those! Most people would probably discover that they own a lot of black clothing items due to the simple fact that black is versatile, pairs well with almost anything, and can be slimming. Well, not me. Black also soaks up the sun and gets way too hot, way too fast (never get in a car with black leather in Miami while wearing shorts, friends) so most of my closet items are whites and creams, made from lightweight fabric. So for anyone coming to Miami Swim Week in a couple of weeks, here’s a tip: the sun doesn’t set until around 8, so pack for all-day sun!

 

 

Foodie Friday | Sliders Three Ways

With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, I wanted to post a recipe that would be a great option for entertaining a few friends and family. What could be a better crowd-pleaser than sliders? And three different ways? Well, that will cover almost everyone’s tastes. This recipe makes it all easy by using the same, flavorful patty recipe for all three sliders, each with different toppings and sauces. Perfect! Even better? They cook quickly, and you can make as many or as few as you need.

 

Patty Recipe (makes 12-15 patties)

3 pounds Ground Beef
2 teaspoons Seasoned Salt
2 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper Or Other Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
12-15 whole Dinner Rolls (or Slider Rolls)

1. Combine meat with all seasoning ingredients. Knead with hands to combine.

2. Form into small-to-medium sized balls.

3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

4. Before the patties are done cooking, wrap the buns/rolls in foil. Place on the grill for a few minutes to warm, or in the oven at 250 degrees.

 

Smoky Mesquite BBQ Slider (4-5)

sliced sharp cheddar, cut into 2″ squares

1 whole Large Onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup Whiskey

1 cup Barbecue Sauce

1. Heat a skillet on the stove at medium-high heat. Throw the onions in the skillet and stir to cook, about 3 minutes.

2. Pour in whiskey (be careful if you’re cooking over an open flame; turn it off momentarily to be extra careful) and stir. Allow the whiskey to reduce by half, about 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the barbecue sauce. Set aside when done.

3. Preheat grill for medium heat. Grill patties 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through (160°F).

4. Meanwhile, remove attached rolls from package; do NOT separate. Cut in half horizontally. Spray cut sides with grilling spray; toast on grill.

5. Separate toasted rolls and assemble sliders; Spread BBQ onion mixture on rolls, then patties on bottom halves of rolls; top with cheese. Close with tops of rolls.

 

Aloha Swiss Slider (4-5)

sliced swiss cheese, cut into 2″ squares
1 can (8 oz each) pineapple slices, drained
romaine lettuce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon chipotle seasoning

1. Preheat grill for medium heat.

2. Grill pineapple slices on both sides so they get a nice char, about 1-2 minutes each side. Set aside.

3. Grill patties 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through (160°F).

4. Meanwhile, remove attached rolls from package; do NOT separate. Cut in half horizontally. Spray cut sides with grilling spray; toast on grill.

5. Separate toasted rolls and assemble sliders; Spread chipotle sauce mixture on rolls, place a small piece of lettuce then patties on bottom halves of rolls; top with cheese and pineapple. Close with tops of rolls.

 

BLT Cheddar Slider (4-5)

8 strips of Bacon
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
romaine lettuce
mayonnaise

1. Cut slices of bacon in half lengthwise. Wrap one half around ball of hamburger, pulling slightly to keep taut. Smooth to secure seam.

2. Repeat with other half of bacon, ending seam in the same place.

3. Bake the remaining bacon in the oven at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until crispy.

4. Place patties, bacon seam side down, on a baking pan with a drip tray sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Press gently on each patty to flatten as much as you can without squeezing meat out of the edges. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes to firm.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, or grill to medium/high. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (grill 5-6 minutes for medium rare), or until bacon is cooked to your specifications.

6. Serve on a warm roll with extra bacon, romaine, tomato, and mayonnaise.

 

Fashion | Hot Hot Pink & White

It’s Summer here in Miami and it’s hot, hot, hot! So I thought I would share a HOT HOT pink look that is perfectly casual and fun. There’s something about a hot pink top paired with all whites and neutrals that I just love. And even though I’m wearing a sweater, the open knit allows for lots of air to cool me down, and these white eyelet shorts are just as bright! Aren’t they cute? I like the longer length so you don’t have to constantly adjust them as you walk or sit, and the high waist is perfect for tucking in or out.

Scroll to the bottom for my favorite hot pink tops and sweaters for Summer and pre Fall!

So, NEON is in, and I’m embracing it this Summer. This shade of pink reminds me of my father’s Ducati. Yes, you heard me right, his racing Ducati. When I was little, every other weekend we would travel around the state to different race tracks for my dad’s motorcycle races. In the 80’s and 90’s, most of the bikes were the same three colors: yellow, black, or red. My mother would always be so nervous whenever there was a crash, because she couldn’t tell who was who or see if it was my dad that was hurt. So, my dad asked me to pick a color for him to paint his bike so he could stand out from the crowd.

That day, I happened to have a new set of NEON Crayola markers that I was coloring with. The first color I picked up was hot pink, and I handed the marker to my dad. My mother and he looked at each other with questioning glances, unsure of whether to ask me to pick another color, or what to do. But my dad was a trooper, and simply said “Ok”. For the last 20 years, he has been famous for his hot pink bike, and no one else dares to copy his style (although there are several NEON Orange and green bikes). I’m proud that he is a well known champion and veteran in the racing world, and even has his name mounted in Italy’s Ducati Hall of Fame. Thank’s for being the inspiration today!

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Sweater: Forever 21 (similar) | Shorts: Michael Kors | Shoes: Tory Burch (similar) | Tote: Versace (similar) | Sunglasses: Valentino | Necklace: Baublebar | Earrings: Old Navy (similar) | Belt: similar

Home | Office Redesign Challenge

Now that I am working from home for Style Collective, redesigning my home office has become an immediate goal of mine. Having a creative space that allows me to be inspired and pushes my productivity is so important when imagining my ideal work environment, and I need YOUR help to do it!

Below, I have 3 office designs created by Modsy that you can VOTE on! Comment here on the blog, on Facebook, or on Instagram to cast your vote, and I will announce the winner Wednesday, July 5th here on the blog.

Modsy created an exact replica of my office as a blank space. Then, once I took a style quiz and created a mood board, they delivered three amazing options just a few days later. I can always edit the items in the space, swap pieces, and request a redesign. I am so in love with this service that I am considering doing it for every room in my house! They offer complete redesign, or just help with putting the finishing touches on a space.

Design 1

Featuring an open shelving concept and gallery wall, this design feels luxurious and professional while maintaining a simple femininity.

 

Design 2

This design brings the drama with charcoal walls, unexpected textures, and pops of color. It features elements of light and dark, which brings the eye to key pieces.

 

Design 3

This final design includes a major statement with a wallpapered accent wall. With clean lines, unique items, and stark contrasts of key colors, this room exudes confidence and style.

 

Now, it’s time for you to VOTE! They are all so outstanding in their own ways, and I was so impressed with the results from Modsy that I can’t choose. Help a girl out and post your favorite on my Instagram, Facebook page, or here on the blog.

Fashion | Lacey Baby Blue

Whenever the sun is out around here, the wind is crazy! See my hair? Impossible. Or, it’s been raining all the time. So, I’m happy to be heading to Orlando for the BlogHer Conference! Follow me on Instagram Stories for all the fun! I’m heading to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando with my mother and little Rose – I couldn’t be without her while she is so young! The great thing is that my mom gets a little vacation while she hangs out with Rose all day, and I get to “work” without being too far. I’m sure I will slip away for some relaxing moments with my little one to explore the property (it looks beautiful) and enjoy my trip.

Love this look for traveling and roadtripping, by the way. It is lightweight, cool, and comfortable. And look at those pretty details! Scroll down to shop.