monthly moment // april 2015

IMG_7281Hey you!  I am excited to share a linkup idea I’ve been toying with for awhile.  I’m calling it Monthly Moment, a community where you are encouraged to share a single photo – few words – capturing a moment from the month.  A simple, special moment that you want to pause and savor.

This month I chose an image of students taking a much-needed minute to relax at a leadership retreat. My students are generally very high-achieving  and put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed so it was great seeing them take time to reflect and soak up the sun.

I’d love for you to join me and link up to your own Monthly Moment.  It’ll be a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to practice mindfulness and reflect on positive experiences.

Here’s how it works:

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  1. Post your Monthly Moment on your own blog. Posts from FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are welcome, too!
  2. Link back to this site so others can see your photo, too! You can use the button and the linkup (below) to connect with other bloggers. (Please note entries completely unrelated to the theme or linked to your homepage will be deleted.)
  3. Link up your posts on any day of the month.
  4. The most important rule!! Visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them an encouraging/motivating comment.  This is such an important part of the linkup!  The purpose is to encourage each other and build a community.

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Can’t wait to see your Monthly Moments – keep an eye out for future linkups as well!

xo vm

Monthly Moment | Milagros Moments
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// huge thanks to Naina for designing this beautiful Monthly Moment button!

try this // the reverse bucket list

I’ve always been cautious when it comes to bucket lists.  They are frequently recommended during big transitions: graduating, moving to a new home, getting a new job, etc.  I generally stay away from creating or following bucket lists because they don’t help me end relationships/transition well. Instead of slowing down to reflect on all I’ve accomplished, bucket lists highlight the items I have yet to achieve and they end up stressing me out!

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i’ve been nominated for the liebster award!

liebster award

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by Jamie over at Rise with Jamie, a lovely blog about self-love and self-empowerment. I recently discovered Jamie’s blog and am inspired by her authenticity so I am very touched she thought to nominate me. What an honor!

The rules of the award:
1. Link back to the person that nominated you
2. Answer the questions asked by the nominator
3. Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers
4. Create 11 questions/prompts for your nominees
5. Notify all nominees on their blogs and/or social media

Answers to my questions:

Why did you start your blog? In 2013 I started Milagros Moments in response to an increased perception that student affairs (SA) professionals do not live well. I kept hearing that SA pros were advising students to take care of themselves without modeling the way.  Milagros Moments is a way for me to keep myself accountable throughout my journey to wellness as well as engage with others doing the same, regardless of their profession.  What started out as a creative outlet has turned into an incredible opportunity to build a community.

What do you feel is your life purpose? Wowza!  That’s a doozie… Providing a sense of belonging for others is at the core of all my passions and gives me a great sense of purpose.  I want everyone to know their personal strengths are valued and that they contribute to the greater community.  I would argue this is what attracted me to a career in student affairs.

purpose |

What lights you up?  I am energized by people that live authentically and are comfortable in their own skin.  I enjoy surrounding myself with goofy, quirky people that aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves.

What is your favorite quote? “Let us stand by what is good and make it better if we can.” -Atticus Haygood.  Shoutout to the Emory U. alumni that know the history behind that quote.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Tons of places.  Recently Adam and I have been dreaming about Thailand.  I reaaaally want to spend a day at this elephant sanctuary!

If you could share a message that would reach everyone in the world, what would it be? See “what do you feel is your life purpose” : )

What is the best word that describes you? Passionate.

What fear do you want to overcome? Fear of not being enough.  I am constantly putting pressure on myself to improve “me” and my work.  It’s exhausting!  Melissa, my wedding photographer, introduced me to the phrase I am enough and I’ve been using it as a personal mantra ever since.

you are enough |

What creates a fulfilling life? I used to think living a balanced life creates a fulfilling life.  I recently blogged about how living a fulfilling life goes beyond balance.  It is about fully developing your character and abilities.  Bonus answer: another big fear of mine is not living a fulfilling life.

Describe your happy place. Somewhere with laughter, good conversation, and dancing.  Lots of dancing. And chocolate chip cookies.  Did I just describe my job?

My nominees, who I follow regularly, are listed below.  Each have a unique outlook on wellbeing and self-care.  You should check them out!!

  • Sustainable in the South // Jane
    Reflections on her eco-journey & passion for sustainability initiatives
  • Professionally Queer // Alex
    Discussions (& ramblings!) on social justice, multiculturalism, & various identities
  • RPD Blog // Renee
    Wellness advocate with special interests in curriculum design
  • #SAPro Cooks // Michael
    Cooking made easy for student affairs professionals (& everyone, really!)
  • Chandler T // Chandler
    Personal and professional experiences as a student affairs professional
  • The Inspire(d) Cafe // Dija
    Anything and everything that inspires this sassy mama
  • Rambling Man // Derek
    SA pro with a passion for student organizations & leadership initiatives
  • Project Unfluff // Mariana
    Body appreciation advocate documenting her fitness journey
  • Jack’s Journey to Joy // Jack
    Discoveries of a higher ed professional hoping to make change
  • Hopefully Helpful // Hope
    Makeup artist, beauty blogger, & advocate for young professionals

Your questions/prompts:
Why did you start your blog?
What do you feel is your life purpose?
What is your favorite quote?
What are you grateful for?
What is the best word to describe you?
Thank someone.
What fear do you want to overcome?
What is your greatest accomplishment?
What creates a fulfilling life?
What inspires you?
Describe your ideal self-care day.

Thanks again for this award – I’m excited to learn more about my nominees through their answers!

xo vm

// read more about me

10 tips for work/life balance


The balancing act can be rather daunting, especially during busier times of the semester.  As a student affairs professional, you may often encourage students to live balanced lives and yet you may find you sometimes fail to follow your own advice.  How can you support others in addition you support yourself?

Finding a work/life balance allows you as an SA professional to function at your fullest potential and lead by example. Here are 10 tips that have personally helped Jack Korpob and me maintain our own work/life balance:

  1. Say “No” // In student affairs, you are often presented with great opportunities or you are asked to do more than you can handle. Oftentimes, you can find yourself saying “yes” to everything because you are afraid another opportunity will never come around again or you feel obligated to do something to prove yourself. This all makes sense, but you have to think about how you are feeling and if it will be effective if you say “yes” to what is being asked of you. If you truly want to do something and your “yes” is genuine, by all means say “yes” to the opportunity. If your heart is not in something or you are feeling exhausted, it is better to be honest. This may sound hard to do because it is.
  2. Treat Yo’self // For some, it’s getting a monthly massage, for others it’s buying a nice meal. Whatever it is, find something you consider a “luxury” item and give it to yourself. It’s something to look forward to and is something for you. In student affairs, we oftentimes give ourselves to students and colleagues, but we may forget to give back to ourselves. Remember that you have your own life and that you should enjoy it!
  3. Live Authentically // You can’t be one person in one place and then go home and be completely different. Try to take your best self into each environment, as opposed to balancing which environment should get your best self that day. Living authentically will help you naturally maintain a sense of balance within all of your environments.
  4. Expand Your Professional and Personal Circles // When you think about balance, it also means the people and relationships you have with others. Try meeting people for lunch or outside of work hours who you do not directly work with. If you can speak about other things besides work (or keep conversation about work to a minimum), great! Even better, really capitalize on friendships outside of work or your institution. Having friends in different social circles can really make a big difference.
  5. One life, One Calendar // Combining your personal & professional calendars helps you see the bigger picture and make conscious choices about how to spend your time. Once an item is put into the calendar, make sure you are fully present while you are addressing that particular item.
  6. Make Time // You have the power to put things in your calendar that give you energy and help you get through the day. Setting a time-limit for each item in your calendar or on your to-do list is difficult, but it allows you to be more efficient and move forward to address other tasks as well.
  7. Give Yourself Time to Recharge // You all know student affairs is not a typical 9-5 position. Some people live-on/live-in and work nights and weekends. However, it doesn’t mean you should not set boundaries between your work life and personal life. This does not mean that when it’s 5pm, you should stop all work activities, but it might be wise to set a range of times that you should begin to slow down. Deadlines must be met, but if you are not pushing a deadline, work will be there when you get there in the morning. Take time to relax and recharge and do absolutely nothing.
  8. Get Some Sleep // You can schedule your day with work and other commitments and do the things that give you energy, but you must take the time to sleep enough hours every night to do everything you want to accomplish. Make sure to balance your waking hours with your sleep. Sleep is a prerequisite for wakefulness. Manage your sleep and you can do much more when you’re awake and feeling refreshed!
  9. You Do You // Although it is helpful to ask others for tips on how to achieve a balanced life, what works for one individual may not work for you.  Don’t be afraid to try new strategies to determine which strategies work best for your own lifestyle.
  10.  Don’t Give Up // “Balance” will have a different meaning to you at different points in your life.  Remind yourself that finding a sense of balance is a process, not an end-goal.  It takes patience and lots of practice.

So here you have it – 10 tips that can help you with work/life balance!  What would you add to the list?

xo vm

// original post here

// more on balance here

// thoughts on living a fulfilling life here

What would happen to “busy” if…

“We need a workplace shift, a recognition and reward shift to productivity, accountability, impact, and efficacy.”


Earlier this morning, I posted this on Twitter “In higher education, presence is more important than contribution, effectiveness, efficiency.” The glorification of busy is rampant. The American “busy” rhetoric stems from fear. If we are busy, then we are productive and therefore, valuable. Neither of these things are true. But we keep doing it, don’t we? We post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn on and on and on. “Look at me!” “Look at me at this conference!”  “Look at me presenting this workshop!” Look at me writing this blogpost!” (irony anyone?)

Busy doesn’t equal productivity. Busy is just spinning wheels. Busy is for others, about others. And our value comes from who we are and the unique gifts and talents we bring, not a fancy Excel spreadsheet or working til 8pm every night. We need a workplace shift, a recognition and reward shift to productivity, accountability, impact, and efficacy. I…

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