New Month, New Intentions

new month quotesToday is the last day of September. With October starting tomorrow, I always look at the beginning of a new month as a new start. Think of some things you would like to do better, more of, or change this October. Here are a few things I want to try and be better at this month. Happy October to you and yours.

1. Appreciate Life: Be thankful that you woke up alive each morning. Develop a childlike sense of wonder towards life. Focus on the beauty of every living thing. Make the most of each day. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. Choose Friends: Wisely Surround yourself with happy, positive people who share your values and goals. Friends that have the same ethics as you will encourage you to achieve your dreams. They help you to feel good about yourself. They are there to lend a helping hand when needed.

3. Be Considerate: Accept others for who they are as well as where they are in life. Respect them for who they are. Touch them with a kind and generous spirit. Help when you are able, without trying to change the other person. Try to brighten the day of everyone you come into contact with.

4. Learn Continuously: Keep up to date with the latest news regarding your career and hobbies. Try new and daring things that has sparked your interest – such as dancing, skiing, surfing or even sky-diving.

5. Creative Problem Solving: Don’t wallow in self-pity. As soon as you face a challenge get busy finding a solution. Don’t let the set backs affect your mood, instead see each new obstacle you face as an opportunity to make a positive change. Learn to trust your gut instincts – it’s almost always right.

6. Do What They Love: Some statistics show that 80% of people dislike their jobs! No wonder there’s so many unhappy people running around. We spend a great deal of our life working. Choose a career that you enjoy – the extra money of a job you detest isn’t worth it. Make time to enjoy your hobbies and pursue special interests.

7. Enjoy Life: Take the time to see the beauty around you. There’s more to life than october quoteswork. Take time to smell the roses, watch a sunset or sunrise with a loved one, take a walk along the seashore, hike in the woods etc. Learn to live in the present moment and cherish it. Don’t live in the past or the future.

8. Laugh: Don’t take yourself – or life to seriously. You can find humor in just about any situation. Laugh at yourself – no one’s perfect. When appropriate laugh and make light of the circumstances. (Naturally there are times that you should be serious as it would be improper to laugh.)

9. Forgive: Holding a grudge will hurt no one but you. Forgive others for your own peace of mind. When you make a mistake – own up to it – learn from it – and FORGIVE yourself.

10. Gratitude: Develop an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings; All of them – even the things that seem trivial. Be grateful for your home, your work and most importantly your family and friends. Take the time to tell them that you are happy they are in your life.

11. Invest in Relationships: Always make sure your loved ones know you love them even in times of conflict. Nurture and grow your relationships with your family and friends by making the time to spend with them. Don’t break your promises to them. Be supportive.

12. Keep Their Word: Honesty is the best policy. Every action and decision you make should be based on honesty. Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones.

13. Meditate: Meditation gives your very active brain a rest. When it’s rested you will have more energy and function at a higher level. Types of meditation include yoga, hypnosis, relaxation tapes, affirmations, visualization or just sitting in complete silence. Find something you enjoy and make the time to practice daily.

14. Mind Their Own Business: Concentrate on creating your life the way you want it. Take care of you and your family. Don’t get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t get caught up with gossip or name calling. Don’t judge. Everyone has a right to live their own life the way they want to – including you.

hello october15. Optimism: See the glass as half full. Find the positive side of any given situation. It’s there – even though it may be hard to find. Know that everything happens for a reason, even though you may never know what the reason is. Steer clear of negative thoughts. If a negative thought creeps in – replace it with a positive thought.

16. Love Unconditionally: Accept others for who they are. You don’t put limitations on your love. Even though you may not always like the actions of your loved ones – you continue to love them.

17. Persistence: Never give up. Face each new challenge with the attitude that it will bring you one step closer to your goal. You will never fail, as long as you never give up. Focus on what you want, learn the required skills, make a plan to succeed and take action. We are always happiest while pursuing something of value to us.

18. Be Proactive: Accept what can not be changed. Happy people don’t waste energy on circumstances beyond their control. Accept your limitations as a human being. Determine how you can take control by creating the outcome you desire – rather than waiting to respond.

19. Self Care: Take care of your mind, body and health. Get regular medical check ups. Eat healthy and work out. Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water. Exercise your mind by continually energizing it with interesting and exciting challenges.

20. Self Confidence: Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. After all no one likes a phony. Determine who you are in the inside – your own personal likes and dislikes. Be confident in who you are. Do the best you can and don’t second guess yourself.

21. Take Responsibility: Happy people know and understand that they are 100% responsible for their life. They take responsibility for their moods, attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions and words. They are the first to admit when they’ve made a mistake. Begin today by taking responsibility for your happiness. Work on developing these habits as you own. The more you incorporate the above habits into your daily lifestyle – the happier you will be.


be true to yourself

Haters; Sometimes They’re Your Own Family Members

We all have those family members that think you’re stuck up just because you’re successful, have a happy life, & want better for yourself & your loved ones. Yeah…you know you have one too, maybe even a handful of them…While you’re busting your ass to work hard for a better life, usually the ones talking the most shit are sitting on their asses angry at the world, gossiping about everyone, twisting every bit of information that comes their way, plotting their next vindictive move, or acting like something they’re not to win the trust of others to use for their own benefit. That is definitely NOT a healthy or the right way to live and successful will never be a word they would be able to use. hatersWhile these people are busy doing that, they fail to realize what they are missing around them. Holidays, birthdays, family gatherings, school functions, children growing up, and anything family should be a part of.  So many families are torn apart because of 1 or 2 people in the family that are like this & what’s even worse, is other family members sometimes like following along with the drama. familyFamily should be about enjoying life together, being happy & proud of accomplishments, & making memories for the generations to come. As much as you try to change things or include these family members in your life or giving them the benefit of the doubt, they end up hurting you…more than the time before. It’s really sad, but unfortunately these people will never change, they actually like living this way. Usually they are unhappy, bitter, can’t let go of ugliness of the past, or holding on to old grudges. If they fail to deal with their own inner demons in some way, that is no ones fault but their own. Why should you or your family have to suffer for it? I’ve learned from my parents to stay far away from family members like this.  And now that I am older and see how the lives of my immediate family have turned out by staying away, I am glad we did. There is so much love in my family, if any one of us needs something; we never hesitate to help each other out without any expectations. That’s how it should be with family always. The world is full of enough evil shit, sad to say it’s sometimes in your own family. Live happily with joy and peace & appreciate those in your family that want the same for you and yours. Don’t waste time being affected by the bitterness & ugliness that comes people like this; its not healthy and certainly not worth it. Negativity is nothing but a dead weight.


Thanksgiving Family Drama

Thanksgiving is the time of year that we’re all gather together with our families. We all sit at the table as one big happy family, say a prayer before someone carves the turkey, and spend the day feasting and enjoying each other’s company. All week long at work, clients have all asked me the same thing. Do you go to your grandparent’s house? Do you spend Thanksgiving with ALL your family? Are you closer t your mom’s family or your dad’s family? I guess with the holidays around, they feel more comfortable to ask me such personal questions; maybe they are just trying to get to know me a little more. So here are my answers; no, we don’t go to any grandparent’s homes. No, we don’t spend it with all of our family & no, we aren’t close to either side of the family. Sad to say, yes, but has it worked for my immediate family, yes. Being the oldest grandchild from both sides of the family and never being naive  I was very observant of all the favoritism my grandparents had (on both sides of the family). Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, may be your family yes, unfortunately the world is full of liars, vindictive, and shady people…and yeah, you may even be related to them.

People try so hard to get the acceptance of their families, I mean, that’s who you are suppose to love and be supported by, right? Sometimes, jealousy, envy, and greed get the best of people and they ruin the bond they are supposed to have with their families. Many of us have these kinds of people in our families, some may try their hardest to fix things and are never met halfway, and others may keep on holding the same grudge or having the same meaningless argument and never resolve anything. And then they are people like my parents. Both so strong in their own individual ways, but yet complement each other well. My parents got tired of the gossip, the lies, the grudges, the bullshit, and the wishy washy-ness that was all for nothing. Being that they eloped at a very young age I am sure the family each had their own opinions about them lasting together. But come on, it’s been over 35 years, they are obviously happily married and have a great life to show for all  their hard work…so if the family can’t get over that…then I guess that’s just too damn bad, right?

This Thanksgiving season, I have realized so much. Even though I didn’t understand at the time why my parents kept to themselves and kept us away from all the family drama, I totally get it now. For those of you that are trying to fix unhealthy relationships with your families and in-laws. Really take a look at the bigger picture. Are they meeting you halfway? Is it really worth it? Are you just wasting your time? Are you hurting your family or putting your marriage in jeopardy? I like to think my parents got together and asked themselves and each other these same questions, because our childhood was so drama free and good by keeping away from the rest of the family. Sure, we are close to a few cousins, aunts, and uncles, but only because there wasn’t ever any drama with them. If you have children and do not have a great relationship with your family or in-laws, focus on making things even better for your children. I know it’s hard when your children do not have that relationship with their grandparents, aunts, or uncles, but why try with people that just don’t care to?

This thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for. My life isn’t perfect, but incredible, I can’t even explain how wonderful things have gone for me, despite all I’ve been through. All of my family will be at the table this year; my husband, my baby brother & sister in law, my nephews, & my little brother , & even my mother in law. I’m especially thankful for my parents; they are both here, healthy, and together after 40 years. No matter what their families have put them through, how many times they have caused drama or try to ruin their happiness, the both of them stood strong and together. They made sure we had fun holidays always. For this, I am not only blessed, but lucky. I don’t know any other way then to be happy and to stay away from people that want to ruin that. It’s because of them, we all have always sat together at the table for every holiday making wonderful family memories…and can now pass all those traditions to my nephews. Thank you mom and dad, for making me the women I am today, and making our family bond so strong.  Every joyous holiday memory we all have is because of you. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Keep Busy During Deployments

Being a Military spouse is a tough job; no one knows how hard it is to keep your mind off thinking the worst. During a deployment there will be days, weeks, and sometimes months before you get to hear from your spouse. In the meantime, you are always on edge, waiting by your home phone, have your cellphone near you at all times, checking the mail and your email always…it’s crazy how your life changes at this time. Other military wives ask me how I survived during my husband’s (6) deployments… here are some of the things I did to keep busy.


List of Things to Do During a Deployment:



Hang out with old friends

Make new friends

Strengthen family bonds

Get better at your job

Take classes

Tend to the hobbies & passions you normally don’t have time for

Road trips

Visit museums, art galleries, or historical sites

Plan a girls picnic

Take fitness classes

Go Wine tasting

Go for walks at a near by track or park

Pamper yourself at home with a bubble bath

Catch up on the latest books

Try new foods

Start writing to let your emotions out

Keep a journal of your daily thoughts

Book a spa day

Go on vacation

Never turn down an invitation to do something fun

Go to local events

Volunteer in your community

Start a business

Buy a house, renovate and/or rearrange your home

Save money

Get to know yourself

The trick is to KEEP BUSY!!! Get out of bed, throw the box of tissues away, pick yourself up, get dolled up, and do things. Before you know it, time flies by and you’re love is home and back from deployment. These are just the things I can remember off the top of my head. Don’t spend to much time on driving yourself crazy…it’s stressful, wears you out, and not healthy.

About the Author:

Beauty Writer & Lifestyle Blogger April M. Monterrosa is a Proud Latina from San Antonio, Texas, a Military wife, the mama of a dachshund, a licensed Cosmetologist of 18 years, Owner of The Lil Spa Room, & a Nuskin Skin Care Distributor. With beauty & blogging being such passions, Shine Beautifully was born. Shine Beautifully will feature beauty tips, home remedies, quotes, poetry, recipes, personal stories, travel adventures, & an array of other topics. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Veteran’s Day: A Military Wife’s Memory

This Veterans Day brought back a memory of something I had never gone through before. I decided to share it…I’m sure other military spouses will know exactly what I went through and how it felt. Here it goes…

MarineI was the most non-military person you’d ever meet before I married my husband. Being raised in a blue-collar, musician filled family, the last thing I’d ever thought of doing was marrying a (USMC) military man. I had to learn so much about being a military wife; luckily my husband was very patient with me. His 6th and last deployment was coming to an end finally. We went through a year of being apart; though this wasn’t the first time, it was the first time being husband and wife. I thought I would be able to handle it just fine. I have to admit, I had a few bad days, but I kept as busy as I could. The good that came out of that year of being away from him was I started my own business, renovated our home, lost over 100 lbs, strengthened relationships with my close friends, and spent lots of time with family. The bad was the constant knots in your stomach, the stress, the fear, the not knowing where he’s at, always waiting by the phone, checking your email, going days without hearing from him, barely getting any sleep because you want to stay up to take his 5 minute phone call, not being able to call him after a bad day, him missing out on family outings and holidays, and most of all not knowing if he’s going to come home in one piece or alive.

But the day was finally here! He was coming home and for good! The 12 years my husband was in the Marine Corps he was never300685_2373408335086_4078829_n greeted by anyone but personnel from his unit when he returned home. By this time I have a full-time corporate job, my business is getting started, and two blogs…a full plate. But…with my husband never having family there to greet him home after a deployment in his 12 years of active duty service, there was no way I was not going to be there when he got off that bus. You can only imagine all the planning I had to do to make this happen.

The Plane Ride

300192_2373404654994_109124_nDuring the time I was back and forth between San Antonio, Texas and Jacksonville, North Carolina where he was stationed, I was very fortunate that my family and friends were always available to take me to the airport, whether it was from home or work…both being a bit far. I made to the airport on time (San Antonio) to make my way to North Carolina to finally see my husband after a year. When I landed in Atlanta to hop on my connecting flight, not only did my plane arrive late, the connecting flight departed a few minutes early. There aren’t very many flights that go to Jacksonville, NC…after my flight, there was only one more. I was beyond devastated…so upset…I went into the nearest restroom and puked my guts out. What was I going to do now?  First person I called was my mom, I started balling! Crying and trying to tell her what had happened, I could barely breathe. After our conversation I went to the nearest customer service desk, I explained to them what had happened, that I needed to get to Jacksonville and that same night! All the representative could say was that she was sorry and they would try their best to get me on the next flight. When I turned around to look behind me, there were so many people, angry, crying, going through the same thing I was and going to the same place. I called the Delta airline customer service line, what did I have to lose, I was stuck in Atlanta anyway! They told me the same thing the front desk people said…that they would try to get me on that last flight there or the flight first thing in the morning. If I would have agreed to take the flight first thing in the morning I would  miss my husband walking off that bus…I would not be the first face he saw coming home from deployment. I even looked into renting a car and driving there, but with the distance, there was no way I would make it there on time.

Now What?

297561_2373412095180_5446855_nI paced that airport back and forth…I had not slept due to excitement and hadn’t eaten since I lost my appetite. What the hell was I going to do now? I needed to get there! Not sure how this popped into my head but …I remember meeting a client when I was working at the Marriott that was an airline attendant…I don’t quite remember the story but I remember her saying airlines usually held emergency seats. I walked over to the nearest help desk, cut in front of everyone like a crazy women, and demanded they get me on that next flight. I was extremely loud, yelling, crying, telling them to have a heart and that I could not miss seeing my husband get off that bus, and I know they hold emergency seats! At this point I had nothing to lose! The representative was so sweet; she was a military wife herself. She told me to calm down, had someone get me a bottle of water, and gave me some tissues. She asked what my name was and said so calmly, “Mrs. Monterrosa, we WILL get you on that next flight, don’t you worry”.  My flight from Atlanta to Jacksonville left within that hour and I was to land at midnight. My husband’s bus was arriving at 4am…I still had time to freshen up and get dressed. I had been in jeans and a t-shirt for hours by this time and I looked like a raccoon from all the crying. 297845_2373399654869_8042675_n

I Made It!

Arriving in Jacksonville, North Carolina, my husband had set up for a good friend of his who was also a Marine to pick me up from the airport. He was already there when I landed. There was just one problem…my luggage was lost! I had nothing to change into, no toiletries to bathe and freshen up with. Thankfully I had my makeup bag in my purse which I normally do not. My husband’s friend was a total gentleman; he picked me up at midnight, drove me to Wal-Mart so I could buy a few things to freshen up with; I even looked for something to change into but had no luck, plus I didn’t want to be late. We get to the house I shower, freshen up my hair and make-up, and then we make our way to the base (Camp Legeune). We get there and we are one of two cars in the parking lot; after sitting for an hour, we find out the bus is running late. I felt so bad for my husband’s friend, it’s now 1:45am and he has to be at work by 6am. He never complained once. We both even napped in his car. I remember barely opening my eyes and I see the bus pull up. My husband’s friend says,” well there’s his bus, he’s here!” I immediately jump out of the car, at this point I could care less how sleep deprived I look. I made it! After missing flights, vomiting, crying, screaming like a mad women at the airport, losing my luggage, not eating, not sleeping, none of that even mattered…I was there when he was going to walk off that bus!

The Bus

297596_2373415055254_3365688_nI was so excited, my heart was racing…I was thinking do I wait for him to walk up to me, do I run up to him at the doorway of the bus…what do I do now! He walked off that bus with the biggest smile, it was the same smile he had on our wedding day. We both just walked really fast to each other. The first thing he did was hug me tight, he couldn’t even let go and seeing him tear up, I knew all I went through to get there didn’t matter; I was literally at a loss for words. That is a feeling that I will never forget. Not only was he home safely, seeing his wife after a year, someone who he loved was actually there the minute he walked off that bus like he always wanted. I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t even cry. I wasn’t even tired, hungry, and could have cared less if my luggage was found or not. My Marine was home, safe, and I was the first person he got to see. (A big thank you to Teekie for picking me up from the airport, getting me on base, & taking pictures of this moment for me.)

Military Wife Duty

Yes, our military goes through training, they’re suppose to be tough, go through war, protect us, and serve our country. But they are still human. Support your loved ones that are in the military, we can only imagine what they go through, what they see, what they feel. They need patience, understanding, and most of all love. After all, it’s because of them that we are free. Happy Veteran’s Day to all of our precious military.

Chase Your Dreams, Ignore the Bullshit

tumblr_m0gm28q9jk1qm94r5o1_500As women, we are always put to the test to see how much we can take, how far we can go, how tough we are till we break.  Many women have dreams and goals that are influenced by others. They want and need attention while looking good to their peers. That’s the wrong kind of dream to chase. Go after what’s really in your heart; if its finishing school, building something, getting that high paying job, traveling around the world, being on the cover of vogue…whatever it is, chase your dreams and do all you can for them to come true.

If family puts you down and makes fun of you, thinking your goals and dreams are stupid or a waste of time, ignore them. People like that have no balls to go out there with blood, sweat, & tears to do what they really want to do. They’re usually lazy, have no ambition, and the only thing that moves fast is their mouth talking shit about others when they should be looking at how they can improve themselves. Show them that no matter how many bad things they say to you or about you, you will succeed, to give in 7156943497_d50d4b0c36_zto their negative shit.

If you’re in a relationship and your spouse pays no attention to your ambitions, it’s because they simply do not care. As sad as this is, people like that usually have no goals themselves. If they tell you you’re not going to be successful, you’re not capable of making it to the top, it’s only because they are jealous of the drive that you have, they know that you will be, and they don’t want you to do things better than them…pure selfishness! You deserve better.

Pay no attention to negative people that do not believe you. As much as you think you need them, you don’t. Negativity slows you down, makes you doubt yourself, and gets you nowhere. Believe in yourself, if you have family and a spouse that doesn’t support you, then YOU support you. Wake up every morning and go to bed every night with good thoughts, ideas how to make your dreams a reality, and put forth the effort to do so every chance you get. We only have one life, count on yourself to fulfill it as much as you can, what are you waiting for? Dream it….do it…live it! ❤

chase-your-dreamsAbout the Author:

Beauty Writer & Lifestyle Blogger April M. Monterrosa is a Proud Latina from San Antonio, Texas, a Military wife, the mama of a dachshund, a licensed Cosmetologist of 18 years, Owner of The Lil Spa Room, & a Nuskin Skin Care Distributor. With beauty & blogging being such passions, Shine Beautifully was born. Shine Beautifully will feature beauty tips, home remedies, quotes, poetry, recipes, personal stories, travel adventures, & an array of other topics. Don’t forget to subscribe!


Easy Crock-Pot Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Instead of the original recipe that takes quite a bit of time to bake in the oven, I experimented with some of the ingredients, took some out, added my own, and used a crock pot instead. This recipe is always a hit at parties, potlucks, and family gatherings. It’s quick, easy, and yummy! Enjoy!

Easy Crock-Pot Broccoli & Cheese Casserole

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 package (16 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli
1/3 cup milk
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’ s Condensed Cream of Chicken & Herb Soup
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’ s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’ s Condensed Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 jar (8 ounces) pasteurized process cheese sauce (like Cheez Whiz)
2 cups minute white rice
1 cup of warm water
Large Crock-Pot

Heat the butter in your crock-pot high on heat.
Stir the broccoli, milk, soups, and rice.
Bake at high heat  for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes until the mixture is hot and bubbling.
Then add cheese.
After its ready, set your crock pot on low or warm. Then serve. :)