hashtag, Blessed.

We spend so much time comparing our lives to those of celebrities and people who are considered so wealthy in material things, that we often forget to embrace the beautiful blessings in our lives.

I’m guilty of constantly comparing myself to those who surround me just to “better” myself. Of course, you probably make a list of things you do not have faster than a list of things you do – but seriously, we gotta’ do better than that.

As I’ve grown up I continue to find that one glitch in my reach that I can improve and make as perfect as can be. But I’ve also realized that I’m no fixer-upper, and everything I don’t like can’t always be changed.

I’m a believer of the universe, and that whatever is happening in my heart connects to my mind and wanders up above me. I believe that when I let the universe hear my sorrows and successes it knows what I need and always shines a light that helps me get to my next destination.

I’m in that state of my 20s where everything is getting better with time, opportunities continue to rise, my soul is constantly searching for the greener grass and yet, still, I feel unfulfilled. I’m in an emotional state where there is no better company than me, yet I don’t always feel accompanied. I’m in a weird place where I always find a negative even though there’s 10 positives in front of me.

This year I set a goal of being happier than I already am and I will say I’ve been doing a good job in attaining this. But now I need to work on counting my blessings to really achieve a full state of happiness. I always remind myself that I’m a work in progress, and that I’m truly one in a million – fears and all.

So let’s scream and shout to the world everything that we are, so that we never forget we’re irreplaceable in this life. This sweet, sweet life. 

Thanks for always tuning into my feels, even when I’m feeling tuned out

-xo, Paola

2018: the most magical one yet.

37c1391d867b8dee12984739500f5c95.jpg

I can’t believe how quickly 2017 arrived and left… Poof! Vamoose!

A lot of amazing things happened for me during 2017: I moved from across the country to
start a new job, I finally understood the importance and meaning of loving myself, I re-met my soul sister, I turned 25, I became the healthiest woman I’ve ever been… I could go on and on!

But the best part of 2017 was accepting myself as I am. I learned to be happy, I learned how to not be happy and understand that is okay, too. I learned how to deal with my feelings and how to turn anything negative into a positive [most of the time]. I learned that when I’m hurting, it’s temporary (thanks Stef). I learned so much about myself, that if I knew this earlier in my years – 2017 wouldn’t have been as exciting without this journey of self love and discovery.

But here’s what I’m really here for: 2018. I have such good feelings about this year, the growth within it, the celebrations that are yet to come, the accomplishments I’ve yet to make. Call me cliche, but I live for the newness of a New Year.

Although the year has changed, and the date as well – it’ll still be the same ol’ Paola typing her feels away. Along the way I’m wishful for some additions in my life. I want to be happier than I already am. I want to be healthier. I want to put myself out for the world to see. I wanna’ be seen, not for any particular reason, but simply for who I truly am. Now that I see myself for what I’m worth, I’m ready for others to do the same.

I’m in a full spiral of creativity and boomin’ for love… I’m excited for both of those aspects in my life to ascend. I’m ecstatic to continue my journey as an educator, a writer, and as a woman. I’m excited to discover more things that’ll improve my taste of life and how to be wholesomely and genuinely happy.

Do I know the steps to all of the above? Not yet, but that’s my favorite part: the journey. I’m coming at this year in full throttle, inspired and determined to achieve nothing but the best year of my life.

The universe always keeps me in mind, even when I forget, but I’m ready to team up with it to create the most magical vibes ever.

PS: 2018 Paola is gonna’ be the sh-t.

-xo, Paola

Pressured Making Diamonds

I always say my education experience was different to the ones of my past and current students. Growing up between the Dominican Republic and New York, I often had teachers who looked like me – they spoke Spanish or they were of color. I often identified with my teachers because, they too, came from parents whom sacrificed a lot to provide them with the best life possible in the “Great USA.”

Today, I have the honor and pleasure of being that teacher for my students. I get to be a proud Latina who educates the next generation. I’m a 1st grade teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana, where every single student in my classroom is a person of color. I get to spend between 40-50 hours a week with them where I get to meet them personally, emotionally and intellectually… And let me tell you, it’s the most fascinating career ever.

Along with the fascination comes the pressure of preparing my black and brown children for a world that isn’t equipped to make them successful; a society that doesn’t want to see them grow. I have to be one of the people who helps them create a toolbox of resources that will get them through so many more years of their lives. It’s all a lot of pressure…

I’m far from the most perfect educator, but I’m here for the long run. I wake up everyday reminding these 24 brilliant children, that they can do anything they set their mind to. When they struggle, it’s my struggle too. When they succeed, I do my happy dance. I’m their number one fan! I’m there to remind them everyday that our space is a safe space, but I’m preparing them for a non-stop war that society is. I feed them words and empowerment to speak their mind with these words – because society won’t do it for them. I allow them the time they need to collect and organize their ideas, because reality is, our society doesn’t spare a minute of its time for them. I stand behind them, not to hold them up, but to ensure that they don’t turn around when the going gets tough because they have enough push and drive within them.

It’s not an easy job to educate and mold the mind of a child. But it’s even harder when the world doesn’t want to see you or them rule the world, simply because we have some bomb melanin.. These children are our future, and without them we can’t keep striving.

I teach, because I want our children to have an unlimited amount of opportunities, that weren’t given to me. I teach because I believe that every child has the right to an excellent education, where they aren’t limited to the resources available simply because of race. I teach because I live in a country where inequality has a larger voice than equality and that scares the life out of me… I, too, won’t allow our students to be anything less than amazing.

To my current 24 students, and my former students: you are irreplaceable in this world, you matter, and you make a difference. I need you to shine as bright as you can, because can’t anyone tell you that you can’t. Anything I did, you can do 100x better. Ya’ll are the definition of #FirstGradeMagic. 

-xo, Paola 

Unfiltered.

Anytime I’m in a new environment, the first question that pops in my head is “What do they think of me?” I question if people think I’m kind, approachable, friendly, pretty and any other positive attribute that I can think of.

When you first see me, you can’t tell how self conscious I am of my physical appearance and personality. I don’t aim to be a crowd pleaser, but I don’t know how to manage when I don’t feel accepted. It’s something I’ve been working on my whole life… I’m a literal work in progress.

I’m working on being unapologetic and not in need of anyone’s approval. I’m working on being my own kind of beautiful, with my own colors, shapes and sizes.

I surround myself with the most beautiful and genuine people who uplift me to be my best self. So why can’t I be just that – my BEST self? It’s easier said than done, but time heals all and makes it worth the while.

I’m constantly reminding myself that I’m here to live my life, and follow my rules. Society comes up with these fake standards as to how I’m supposed to be as a woman; and reality is, I don’t meet these standards – and that’s more than okay. I meet my own standards, because why would I want to be like any other person in this world?

I’ll take the few pounds, and the dark circles under my eyes. I’ll live with the mood swings, ’cause what’s better than living full of emotions? I’ll take the straight hair, that I wish had more volume. I’ll take the 30 extra minutes I need to put on make-up on the weekend. I’ll take this and anything else that I choose to for myself.

Again, this is all easier written down than achieved. But time is my witness, I’m more of myself today than I was yesterday and I can’t wait for the full, unfiltered version of me.

So cheers to being and loving us: yourself and myself, without any exceptions and full of honesty. Forget them, and live for you because that’s who matters the most… Truly.

-xo, Paola

25: not the Adele experience.

Comfortable (adj.); being a state of physical or mental comfort; contented and undisturbed; at ease. 

When I look at the word comfortable or think of comfort I think of my body, my home, my skin, my family, my mind, my writing… Those are the thoughts that come to my head. It’s silly sometimes to compare comfort to these things, but it just makes sense – in my head.

I’m 25, and it’s been a weird trip since July 15. I’m accepting of new flaws, brushing off the old ones, learning new things about my mind and the way it works, and beginning this thing called independence. Independence from social norms, which make me a little uncomfortable… Uncomfortable because who am I to go against what society says, but at the same time – who are they to tell me what to do or say.

I’m in this stage of “fuck that, who’s gonna’ tell me otherwise” then other times I’m all “but, do I look dumb if I do this and not that like a normal human being?” But then again, who’s normal anymore?

I remember being a child and saying, at 25 I’m gonna live by myself, hopefully be on the path to having a family and just have my shit together… Life chose otherwise. Jokes on me!

I’m uncomfortable most of the time, but so comfortable to express my discomfort. People always preach about, step out of your comfort zone – well honey, I’m living in the uncomfortable side of life.

Whether it’s talk about love, talk about body image, talk about success – it’s all a little uncomfortable because my love, my body image and my success is far off society’s expectations. But like I said, I’m living to go against what they want me to do and say.

Comfort. It’s like it really doesn’t exist anymore. I hope you too, are accepting of discomfort – ’cause it can’t get anymore comfortable than that.

Thanks for tuning in…

PS: Weezy also taught me to never get too comfortable. I’m just following some advice.

-xo, Paola

Thankful…

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 9.50.50 PM


Time keeps sprinting past me, and everyday I wake up so thankful to just exist…

So much has happened in the past few days, weeks and months. Things that have just made my gratitude for existing much larger than life itself. It’s really hard to watch our world crumble down, and not know where to even start to pick up the pieces to glue back together. So here are all my feels, the ones that have been all over the place….

Whether it’s a natural disaster, politics, privileged people, death or simply a bad day, it’s a privilege to have a roof over my head, a work place where I can be myself and feel valued, a family that is alive and well, and friends that have become my home away from New York. Besides thank you’s, I don’t know how to express my gratitude enough.

People always say, “you’re so positive” or “you see the bright side in everything…But is there any other way to be? In a world so cold and cruel, where we watch people fight for their daily existence, how can I not be a ray of sunshine in a dark, gray sky?

You might ask, “but how?”  There’s no recipe, there’s no magic… Just be you, be great, be thankful, be contagious. That’s the secret ingredient: yourself. 

The world doesn’t want to see a lot of us here, it doesn’t want us to exist – but that’s exactly why I’m yelling thank you. Because although they don’t want me here, I’m here: alive and well. Marking my presence in our community, giving back what was given to me: the power of knowing and kindness.

But my happiness comes from different corners of my days… From the bright sun shining in Louisiana (most of the time), to my family and friends that are thousands miles away, to my 24 students, the small family we’ve created in our humble abode, and the time I’ve invested in myself… 

Love and light and positive minds. My recipe to days full of gratitude for existence.

And even though the world might crumble a little more, I’ll do everything to make sure my existence doesn’t crumble down with it. With a l l my faith in the energy of our universe: it’s gonna’ get better. For that I’m thankful..

Welcome to my feels. Thanks for tuning in…

-xo, Paola 

New Whaaat?

It’s so good to be back!

I took a little (or a lot) time off of PrincesitaSays during the year. I needed some time to work on myself, my goals, my career, my family, my health… I needed time to be selfish.

This time, I’m in a new location: welcome to my life in New Orleans! Yes – the colorful, lively NOLA. During these 7 months of the year, I made some decisions to help me attain those goals I’ve set for myself far back when I began my teaching career. I always wanted to be able to give back to multiple communities, not just the one where I was raised.

The one thing I love about education is that no matter where in the world you place yourself, you will ALWAYS meet and/or need a passionate educator. And I’m not an expert educator, but I sure am doing all the work necessary to consider myself an outstanding one someday. But in order for me to become that, there’s always changes to make. In this case, the change was my location.

I’ve been interrogated whenever I shared the news… “What!? Why so far?” “Won’t you miss your family?” “What’s over there?” “But New York is so amazing.” Yeah, I agree with many of those statements – but staying in my comfort zone will never allow me to achieve my dreams and career goals. I took an opportunity and ran thousands of miles with it. I don’t regret a single thing.

As I sit in my balcony, I’m so grateful for the chance to live this experience. I’m only 24 and have a whole life ahead of me… But at this exact moment there’s nowhere I rather be. I’m ecstatic to live, grow and educate in such a beautiful place. How long for? I’m not sure yet. The wind blows in many different directions, and I’m just an atom in it… I hope to share this journey with so many of you.

Change is good. Always. 

– xo, Paola