The Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast

It’s pouring here in Houston and it does not seem like summer is as close as it is. But in the meantime I’m going to wear these beautiful pieces from the Chloe+Isabel summer collection and pretend I’m on vacation. 


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Synergy 

Synergy 

Help your friends in direct sales!

If your friend sells Younqie try it!

If your friend sells Scentsy, try it! 
If your friend sells LulaRoe, try it!
If your friend sells Chloe + Isabel, try it!
If your friend sells Pampered Chef, try it!
If your friend sells Jamberry, try it!
If my friend owned a restaurant… Guess what, I would eat there! If a friend of mine owned a bakery, I would go there! If one of my friends owned a dance studio, I would have my child take lessons there.
So the next time you are walking into a Yankee candle, think about your friend who sells Scentsy and how she struggles to keep up with bills.
Next time you walk into Sephora, think about that Mary Kay / Younique presenter who has a house full of kids and needs to save up for their college education.
Next time you go to a nail salon think about your friend who sells Jamberry and how she wants to help her daughter be the bell of her senior ball.
Next time you walk into Wiliams Sonoma, think about your friend who sells Pampered Chef and how she needs to put food on her table to feed her babies.
And the next time you walk up to KAY Jewelers or Forever 21, think of your friend who sells Chloe + Isabel and how she’s trying to save up money to buy her first house.
At the end of the day these big corporations are going to give absolutely NOTHING back to you, but when you help a small business owner you’re not only helping them but you’re also helping put money back into our economy. 
PS- we give WAY better incentives and hook ups- like FREE stuff too. And sometimes a big hug!!!

Giving Up Not An Option

Giving Up Not An Option

Last Thursday I was unexpectedly laid due to “budget cuts” they said. Yet I’m aware that the current political climate within the Union I was employed by is unstable so I am certain that the “budget cuts” excuse is not accurate but I have no way of proving it. So there I was feeling like a pitiful sad-sack of emotions. The thirty minutes it took me to reach the bus stop I alternated between worrying about projects I left behind and sobbing uncontrollably. My friends M, K & R all called to let me vent and reassure me. As did my Sister, my Father, Aunt, and cousins. My Facebook friends all rallied to cheer me up. Even my son’s father called to let me know I can count on him if I need anything. I am loved. My cup runneth over…

  

So now what?

While I would love to be able to work from home and/or create my own business truthfully I am terrified!  How am I going to make ends meet? What bills am I going to have to defer and for how long? I forgot how disorienting, stressful and difficult it can be to be unemployed and without any prospects.  

Although I did start updating my resume I mostly gave myself a break over the weekend and allowed myself to mourn the loss. Then early Monday morning I finished updating my resume and scouring the want ands for my next admin gig. 

  

The immediate plan is to use my severance pay (when it finally arrives) to pay rent this month while I search for a new gig. The fear is still there. However, I realize that  the layoff is simply the end of one chapter in my life. I have to take this opportunity to build myself back up and find that new beginning for myself and my Son.  

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The lack of a 9-to-5 also opens up my schedule to market my online Chloe+Isabel jewelry boutique full-time which I really didn’t have time for while I was stuck in the office.  

Generally I market my business through social media, holding online events to drive traffic to my boutique.  Now that my schedule is completely open I am excited about using this time to have some personal or group styling sessions.   

 

If you haven’t already, please visit my boutique. The jewelry is so versatile, especially the convertible jewelry.  Each piece can be worn in a variety of ways for maximum use and value.  Plus, all C+I jewelry is hypoallergenic, lead safe, nickel free and comes with a LIFETIME REPLACEMENT GUARANTEE. Yes, I said lifetime!!! 

 

You can find a something that suits your personal style on my boutique:

http://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/bymaruca

 
I’ll be re-launching my boutique and am working on a special offer. In the meantime please feel free to message me at candibymaruca@gmail.com, if you have any questions. 

Special Invitation

You’re invited to explore the world of c+i’s Botanica, where rich natural hues take root in vintage-inspired designs. The adventure starts Tuesday, August 19th at 10pm EST.

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Click image to preview this collection (pw=botanica)

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About the jewelry

Chloe + Isabel designs high-end chic, wearable jewelry with every woman in mind. “Chloe” represents the daring trend-seeker in us, while “Isabel” embodies timeless, refined style. Collections feature hand-sculpted metals, semi-precious stones, vintage-inspired castings and Swarovski crystal accents. 

  • Lead-safe
  • Nickel-free
  • Hypoallergenic

What more could you ask for? Oh- yeah everything comes with a LIFETIME WARRANTY.   Swing by my online boutique to check out Chloe + Isabel for yourself: https://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/bymaruca#31521

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I can’t stop wearing my Papillon Nocturne Necklace!!!

New Venture

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Ladies and Gentz,

I am thrilled to introduce you to Chloe + Isabel, a fashion and lifestyle brand based out of New York City. The company’s mission is to connect stylish, creative and confident women through a modern-day social shopping experience, and I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the team as a Merchandiser!

My online boutique (now live!) features my personalized selection of beautifully crafted, reasonably priced, and high quality fantasy jewels from c+i.  You’ll find everything from on-trend statement necklaces, to chic wrap bracelets, to easy everyday essentials.

Check it out here: https://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/bymaruca.

I can’t wait to hear what you think! If you like what you see, please share my boutique link with your friends and family – after all, who doesn’t love to accessorize with a little sparkle and shine?

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Mother’s day is just around the corner….

 

The Perils of Working With One’s Ex

The Perils of Working With One’s Ex

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Good Grief!!!!!

When I first got my current job I wrote about my Son’s father being my boss.  He and I agreed to keep our personal relationship separate from our business relationship.  It’s been working out wonderfully.  In fact I can honestly say that professionally at least I have a lot of respect for him (except for the times when I overhear him speaking to prospective employees and union members and mentions how he’s struggled to make provide for our son when he does not nor has ever paid child support —- but that’s a whole other story.)

The first week I on the job his latest GF called the office looking for him and was surprised to hear my name when I answered the phone.  The uncertainty and even panick was almost audible in her tone of voice.  She kept asking questions about me (What did you say your name wash?, Where’s the other lady?, How long have you been working there?, etc.) and I kept deflecting them by simply stating that I was new and assuring her that although Mr. So-and-so was out of the office I would happily take a message.  Since then she has been calling him at the office trying to figure out if her BF’s ex is the same person now working with him.  Obviously there must be some issues between them or she wouldn’t be so insecure about me – the EX for nearly 14 years, a woman she has never met personally.  It’s laughable really!

Yesterday she called in the morning to say that she would be stopping by the office to pick up something from her BF aka BossMan.  Saying to the other Admin like, “Oh gosh you sound just like Maruca.  I can hardly tell you girls apart.  I thought she had answered the phone.  Doesn’t she start at this time? But that’s ok because I’m so happy I get to see you today, Sweetie.”  BossMan was informed that she’d be stopping by but she never did.  He must have asked her not to.  Today she called again “looking for him” and caught me completely off guard asking questions about my Son and how much she loves him because he is so wonderful, yada-yada-yada, in an syrup-drenched tone heavily peppered with terms like “sweetie” and “honey”….  I was not prepared….she caught me completely off guard….I must have been quiet for an entire minute that seemed more like an eternity but finally responded with “Oh, he’s fine. He’s at home being the kind of teenager that  enjoys being stuck in his room playing video games.”

It’s been said that honesty is the best policy….  I’m not doing anything wrong and have nothing to hide even if I did agree to maintain our personal and professional relationships apart.  It’s his responsibility to keep his GF informed about anything that might affect their relationship – NOT MINE.  Obviously she’s cunning and persistant I just hope she’s not out to “get me out of the picture” by causing trouble for me personally and especially professionally….

Lord, make her deaf to the advice the enemy whispers in her ear. Be this woman’s peace of mind, touch her spirit, give her a vision of what Your plan is for her.

 

My Series of Unfortunate Events

UnfortunateEvents

Save for a few “fluff” posts here and there I really haven’t been in much of a sharing mood. Partly because I’ve been having trouble articulating what is going on in my life without sounding like I’m feeling sorry for myself or fishing for sympathy and I’m rather embarrassed that I always seem to be the girl with all the problems…..and frankly I’m sick of being THAT girl….It’s tiresome that this seems to be a recurring theme with me.  These days when asked how I’m doing I don’t know how to respond and never quite mastered the “poker face”……blech!  However wretched my life may be the outlook for me is not as grim as the 2.5 million people in the Philippines requiring aid in the aftermath of typhoon be Haiyan.  May the Lord bestow much grace and peace in their hour of need.

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Anyhow…..I’m going to do my best to give it a go and apologize in advance if it seems whiny, incoherent and lengthy…..this post is mostly for me….to vent….to release it into cyberspace and let it go once and for all…

Experience has taught me that by always being nice, I fail to establish the necessary boundaries that are essential to my own happiness and success in life.  We live in a world where people try to bring you down to make themselves feel better; they try to cheat you, lie to you, steal from you, push you, and without hesitation or concern for you will take a mile when you’ve offered an inch.  If I always turn the other cheek, someone will always be willing to hit me again.   I’ve also come to realize that despite the good intentions behind my desire to be nice choosing to be so actually having an adverse effect on my relationships and sucking the energy out of me.  It’s like I get in my own way and actually end up being self-defeating by always putting others before my own goals, desires and needs.  Well, everything has a limit and it seems that I’ve finally reached mine.  

I’ve mentioned before that moving to Texas from California was an exercise of faith by allowing others to help me. Brother and SIL were adamant that I should come live in their home rent free, while working for the family business and saving enough money to become financially independent.  Within the first month of being here Brother confided that he was two months behind on his mortgage and asked if I could pitch in.  I felt obligated to contribute and offered what little retirement savings I had.  He promised to reimburse me upon completion of his next project but that didn’t happen.

My job within the family business was supposed to be that of an administrator/accountant; however, instead Brother had me driving around town being the “errand girl” from 7am – 6pm fully expecting me to come home to do administrative work.  When I refused to work and opted to spend time with my son after getting home, Brother was furious.  So after 8 months I decided it would be in everyone’s best interest for me to resign and hopefully avoid damaging our relationship.  Finding alternate employment proved to be harder than I expected and I found myself unemployed for three full months.

Sister-In-Law was a District Manager for a Property Management company at the time and was able to find me an interim position with her company.  My position as Roaming Property Manager lasted a year until all the open Property Manager positions where fulfilled.  During that year what little money I made was used to contribute to the household, purchased groceries, pay bills and helped pay Mom’s medical bills when we nearly lost her, in the summer of 2012 to cirrhosis of the liver.  Later it was decided that due to the delicate nature of her disease we all pitched to have a cousin fly with her to Texas when so we could care for her here, later I had to reimburse said cousin for the expenses he incurred while caring for Mom when she was ill.  And when she Mom decided that she wanted to go back home to California I paid for her airfare.  October 2012 wasn’t financially expensive but definitely emotionally taxing when we discovered that Brother was having an affair with a call girl he met online.  Still we all decided to spend Thanksgiving at our Sister’s in Chicago.  It wasn’t exactly cheap trip either.  The proverbial “drop that spilt the water” was in January of this year when a got pulled over while driving a car which was meant to be Brother’s way of repaying me for that loan I offered him a year earlier.  Apparently the license plate and registration were invalid and I was slammed with a $900 ticket (what a lovely way to repay me, no?).  I lost my job two days later.  It’s been one expensive, unfortunate event after another since I moved to Texas!

While I searched for a job I started helping Brother with the family business again.  This time around he renamed the remodeling and construction company and changed registered it in Dad’s name (in name only), allowing him what he viewed as more creative freedom from his wife.    A month later it was decided that I’d also help babysit newborn Niece and 4 year-old Nephew so that Sister-In-Law (SIL) would get a chance to get out of the house.  The idea was that she and I would take turns supervising the job sites but that never actually happened as SIL discovered that she preferred to work outside the home and I was perfectly happy to stay home with the kids.  As a single mother being a stay-at-home mom was a luxury I had never experienced so I cherished the opportunity as it allowed me to enjoy time with my own son as well.  Although enjoyed being a SAHM/Auntie and while most of our basic needs were being met I didn’t have the means to do anything for myself or my son.  I couldn’t even buy him lunch, much less clothes, school supplies or even take him to the doctor should he get sick.  Earlier in the year our family business appeared to be gaining momentum and my family could barely keep up with the demand. In fact they were working so much that there were days that they would have to work through the night to complete some of these projects while I cared for the children not knowing when they’d be coming home.  When they did come home they were too tired to play with the kids.  SIL always made an effort to maximize her limited time with them but Brother always had more work to do on the computer and didn’t want to be bothered or he would fall asleep – ignoring the children.  Two months ago it became evident that working so much and so hard began to take its toll.  There were too many projects and not enough workers.  The stress of it all also began to fracture the already fragile relationship between Brother and SIL.  One occasion I was awaken in the middle of the night by SIL during one of their arguments.  No one got hurt but the argument was physical enough (Brother punched a wall) that it frightened crap out of me.  As a child of divorce myself I worried about how this would affect the children and took it upon myself to become the stability Niece and Nephew needed without consideration for my own needs.

The business has been gradually deteriorating due to Brother’s questionable business and personal choices alike, poor organizational skills and mismanagement of funds.  He owes money to clients, vendors, subcontractors and hasn’t paid Dad for all the carpentry work he has done.  The company is now on the verge of bankruptcy.  One client has even filed a lawsuit against the company, which is seriously alarming since the company is in Dad’s name. Brother and SIL have been unable to pay the mortgage, make the car payment and the utility bills are in arrears.  All these distressing concerns began getting louder and louder in my head.  So I prayed.  I placed my trust in the Lord and asked Him to open the right doors.    My prayers were answered shortly after when quite unexpectedly I got a job offer from the unlikeliest of persons.  Accepting the job offer was a difficult decision, one I struggled with not only due to personal reasons but also because I knew that doing so would leave Niece and Nephew without their Auntie/Nanny and become yet another financial burden for Brother and SIL as they would now have to pay someone to care for their children.  I felt torn.  As I weighed every possibility I realized that it was time to put my needs and that of my child first and accepted the job offer.  It’s a part-time job with the possibility of becoming a full-time position with full benefits in 90 days.  It’s not much but definitely a step in the right direction for my son and me.  Brother and SIL both resented my decision.  SIL became cold and distant.  Brother told me that if I took the job then I should look for another place to live and not use their car anymore.  I was livid!  The hardships and drama of the last two years aside I recognize the value in what he DID give my son and I AM beyond grateful.  It has been an even give and take: he allowed me to live in his home rent free while I was an on-call, live-in Nanny, housecleaner and cook for everyone. I’m almost certain he thinks that I took advantage of his “generosity”.   His reaction upset me so much that I could not “stuff” my emotions, nor over-rationalize them like I normally; instead, I confronted him head-on.  First, I tried reasoning with him and showing him the many ways I’ve contributed to the household but when he started belittling Dad, myself and my son I sternly but calmly told him that in spite of his opinion of me I loved him, was still here for his wife and children in any way I could help and that I would not be moving out until such time that I had the means to do so.  I thanked him and walked away.  We all seemed to have adjusted to the new routine and resentments seemed to have disappeared.  I even felt like I could breathe again.  Then a little over a week ago, SIL informed me that she and the children would be moving in with her parents with or without her husband.  She further stated that Dad, my son and I would have a little less than two months to move out as she was considering selling the house in a short sale to avoid foreclosure.  SAY WHAAAAAAAAAT!!!!!!

It’s been a week and a half since they left.  The house seems so lonely without the babies…I miss Niece the most….Since we are still living in their house I thought it would be fair to pay for the utilities.  Imagine my surprise when I opened the bills and discovered that the electricity was two days away from being cut off and all the utilities are at least two months behind!!!  We paid the electricity but the internet was disconnected today, which means that my VoIP phone will be out of service as well.  Sigh….

True story…this is how it happened, this is the abridged version, of course or I’d still be writing this thing…..honestly, though, all negativity notwithstanding,  I’m really anxious to just move forward without pointing fingers…just forgiveness….

It’s a sad state of affairs, no doubt.  I’m terrified, yet hopeful… I have this odd sense of peace and the certainty that we’ll be ok….