Andy Faerman, better known as @miamifashioninsider,  understands the value of community like not many people do. Her curly blond hair, big blue eyes, and red lips are unmissable as she walks the streets of Miami wearing beautiful combinations.

Her followers love her beyond compare because of how real she is. Through hashtags such as #MADREPROMEDIO (average mother), and #SEVALEREPETIR she portrays her life, with a lot of humor, humbleness,  and understanding for the daily struggles we all face everyday in the different aspects of our lives.

I know that for a fact.

I met this very special woman at the opening of Tomas Maier, at Bal Harbour Shops when we were both new to the city, and we became instant friends in the girliest of ways, (complementing each other and sharing a laugh) and the more I know her, the more I admire her.

She is a stylist, personal shopper, influencer, but also a professional juggler: three children, husband, styling, community management, career and lots of driving are among her daily tasks.

More on this beautiful woman as part of MADE IN MIAMI, a project I worked on earlier this year in which Go Daddy showcased very special entrepreneurs in this city.

Full conversation below,

One of my earliest childhood memories is my five year old self coming back from school, and entering into my mothers dark room, at the end of a very long corridor.

I would always open the door as quietly as I could. The heavy backed-out curtains were closed, and yet, some rays of light, painted the floor. I always thought they were trying to let her know that there was light outside.

But she wouldn’t listen.

dont be afraid of the dark journey of a braid at the bass danie gomez ortigoza ugo rondinone

Her face stuck deep in her pillow, wet with tears. I often just stared at her. Sometimes she would pretend she was sleeping. Others, she would kiss me and tell me I should go out and play. My nanny said she was just tired. For me it was just the way it was.

I would just climb up the drawers of my closet, and hide at the top. I created a little universe up there filled with my stuffed animals and a night lamp.

A couple of years later, I was no longer living with her. It took her a long time to recover, and she knew she couldn’t take care of herself and take care of us at the same time, because as much as she tried, she just couldn’t let the light in.

We’ve all been touched by depression in some way. We are all recovering from something. Life was kind enough to send me my first child, and with it a very heavy postpartum depression that helped me understand (at least a little), how she felt. Having been on the other side, as the little girl that just happened to exist in a complicated moment, and often believed that if she had never happened, things would have been better, I was able to go through it and fight for my mental stability, and be there for my son the best I could. I also had great support from my family, including my mother, which was also key to overcoming that stage.

dont be afraid of the dark on being danie gomez ortigoza darkness child how to survive at the bass

 

But I know I was lucky.

Someone I loved, gave up his life to depression not long ago. It’s not the first time this happens to me. Way too many people in my life have lost that battle.

One of the persons I love the most, called me a couple of weeks ago, to let me know that she was going to intern into a clinic for a bit. She has been fighting every possible psychological challenge for the past 15 years. I just said, “It will all be all right, and I love you,” even though what I actually wanted to say was, “what could I have done differently to help you feel better?”

It’s easy to speak of light when you are on the other side, but so hard to see it when you are in the midst of darkness.  I still have dreams in which I see myself entering my mothers room and pulling the curtain down, light goes in and we live happily ever after. But the reality is that it was until I was an adult that we were able to reconnect, and I missed her every day while growing up.

Regardless of how your life looks like right now,  just remember that chance and choice make us who we are, and we are all fighting a battle. Every day you have the choice to act differently, and you have to keep the motion, and don’t be afraid of the dark.

It’s a matter of alchemy: turn it into a resource to bring light to others, and eventually, you’ll find a ray of light in your own journey as well.

dont be afraid of the dark danie gomez ortigoza at the bass

 

 

Pictures by Celia D. Luna // Wearable art by Lisu Vega // turban: Luizas.co // bag: Mini Super Brands

 

danie gomez ortigoza journey of a braid miami fashion miami influencer miami blogger artisanal brands

On one of my first outings when I first moved to Miami, I discovered ‘Plant the Future‘, a unique sanctuary with very special energy. A year after, I met Paloma Teppa, the woman behind it. Her intimate relationship with plants has taught me a lot about life, and has shifted the way I understand nature.

In this interview, which is part of my ‘Made in Miami’ series for a journalistic project with Go Daddy,  she shares her mission in life, and the reason why we should all move a little bit closer to plants and create a universe of our own. You are going to love it.

Motherhood. So much to be said about it, yet I find there’s a lack words to express all the mixed feelings it produces. It’s the ultimate love, and the biggest, most reflective mirror.

It enlarges every emotional scar you carry and makes you experience the most beautiful forms of love that you could have ever imagined. In other words, it’s duality at its best 🙄

Through everyday crisis, and blissful moments, this mirror undresses you, and forces you to reinvent yourself all the time. And it’s a good thing.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been part of two really interesting conversations where motherhood has proven to be one of the most revealing topics.

One was for The Retreat Miami, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, where I shared a panel with Gabrielle Anwar and Taryn Toomey, moderated by Madeline Marr from the Miami Herald.

Gabrielle Anwar, the beautiful woman who gave us the iconic ‘Scent of a Woman’ scene, where innocence and experience are contrasted in a blissful manner as she danced Gardel’s ‘Por una Cabeza’ with Al Pacino, in the early 90’s, expressed her difficulties in raising her children, and how her never ending quest to give them the absolute best were often extreme and exhausting, making her feel crazy.

Taryn Toomey, known for transforming New Yorkers and Los Angelenos with her magical and cathartical workout, spoke of her children as her greatest teachers, and defined Gabrielle’s, and every mothers’ feeling of craziness as an internal conflict between the intuition and the intellect.

They both spoke about holding their babies in their arms as the most beautiful moment of their lives, while I mentioned how for me it took a lot longer because of events from my past that prevented me to allow myself to feel, because I do find there is a conflicting expectation of motherhood to kick-in immediately which turned into one of the biggest internal conflicts of my life, and yet the most interesting one of them all.

The second panel took place at La Centrale, on Brickell City Centre, where I moderated a conversation between Jenny López, an iconic Latin influencer, Irma Martinez, a celebrity stylist and founder of Trendy Inc (who is behind some of the iconic looks of Shakira and Marc Anthony among many others), and Nancy Karp, CEO of Kobi Karp (the design firm behind The 1 Hotel Miami among many others).

The three of them spoke about their passion for their careers, that even though, proved to keep them away from their children at times, were a very important element for them to be fulfilled. It was interesting to see the contrast of how motherhood absorbs an air of nostalgia when your children no longer need you all the time, and have a world of their own, (like it feels for Irma and Kobi who have older children) versus the stage Jenny and I are going through, which still requires an absolute focus and dedication.

What I want you to know, after sharing with you all these stories, is that no one has it figured out: there are no likes in motherhood. No reliable comments, or easy ways to measure if what you are doing is right.

I think that for me, one of the greatest lessons has been that in order to create, you need to let go. Yes, it is the greatest of loves, but even the greatest of loves is human. Remember that perfection is chaos, and every day is an opportunity to be better, but at the same time make sure you don’t forget yourself and the things that make you happy in the process.

Your children are yours for a reason: only you, because of who you are, can lead the way of those beautiful developing humans. Know you always know best, follow your intuition, and keep fighting to build the best version of them, and of yourself along the way. Happy Mother’s Day ❤️

Pictures: Celia D Luna and Chris Carter

We all lie to our children. Some are simple sweet lies like Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, and then, there are other lies that are a bit deeper. You could even define them as existential.

We are not intentionally lying to them; we are just lying to ourselves because the truth doesn’t really help… it doesn’t make anything easier.

1. ‘Be yourself!’

It’s true, of course I want them to be themselves.. just an educated, tantrum-free and tamed version of themselves. Total oxymoron. 🙄

2. ‘You don’t cease to exist when you die, nor does your hermit crab or your fish. They are still with us. We are energy, and energy can’t be destroyed: it can only be transformed…’

It’s not like I made this up. According to physics, it’s basically true, but no one has come back from the other side to assure me that I will be around for them in some way… I hope I will.

3. ‘I will always be there for you…’

We all say this to them, and to the people we love. It’s kind of true; I will always be there for them, until the day I won’t. Plus life happens, and it gets tricky to identify when they really need you as they grow older and face the world silently having conversations you are not aware of, and living their own lives.

4. ‘There is no such thing as monsters!’

Well… I know there are. Plenty. Open any newspaper, and you will agree with me. They are human, and the worst part is they don’t look half as terrifying as they do in the movies, making it SO hard to identify them.

5. ‘When you grow up, you’ll understand…’

No, they won’t. I haven’t. You don’t. You forgive, you forget, you let go, but being an adult doesn’t make it easier to understand anything; it just makes it even more confusing. You just learn to live with unanswered questions.

6. ‘Everything is going to be alright.’

I remember saying this to them while we were going through Irma, and specially when I was in Mexico in the midst of the earthquake speaking to them on the phone. I had no idea if I was going to get out of there alive. It felt as if the world was about to end. But I promised to them that everything was going to be alright, and that I would be hugging them again soon. At least, this time, it was true, but we never know, we can only hope.

7. ‘I know what I’m doing.’

This is the mother of all lies. I have no idea how to parent, and most of the time, I don’t even understand the choices I make, but hell do I try my best with what I’ve been given. And so do you, I’m sure.

So yes, we all lie to our children, but most certainly, they will repeat these lies to their children as well, and as they do, they will feel a twitch of nostalgia and gratefulness to those days when everything was all right in their minds, because their parents said so.

Pictures: Celia D. Luna

Outfit: Top Shop/ Aventura Mall

You know how there are days when nothing really makes sense, and the simple act of getting out of bed requires an extra effort?

Yeah.

I had one of those not long ago, and although I searched for the people that usually recharge me, it just didn’t help. Sometimes it’s so hard to turn emotions into words…

Now, that I have the perspective of distant emotions, I’ve created a list of some of the concepts that resonated with me, making me feel better. I believe they will resonate with you as well.

danie gomez ortigoza happy thoughts miami journey of a braid

  1. Forever is not an option. That’s the main premise of your existence. Things and emotions don’t last. Everything has an expiration date. Beauty, happiness, sadness, even love. It all transforms with the passage of time. Nothing is static. Enjoy your emotions while they last. Being able to feel intensely is a blessing, and not everyone can.  Yes. It often hurts, but you can choose to transform the pain and fear into creative output, instead of turning to your Nutella and crying yourself out. That’s what true alchemy is all about.
  2. Nothing is happening right now.  Look around you. There you are, staring at the screen. 😳 Nothing is really happening. If you are anxious it’s because you are letting either the past or the future bug you. Right now, you are ok. Just breathe.
  1. Some things just are. Don’t build a story around what happened. Don’t try to solve them, or change them. Let them be. Things happen without a specific reason, and not because you are a good/bad/average person. Pain happens. Now, let go.
  2. Believe in angels. More than once I’ve had this feeling of absolute love and complicity for certain people who, by chance, enter into my life without any warning. They suddenly become my center, but after a while they leave unexpectedly. I believe in angels. Yes. Some of the people in your life, are just messengers.  No matter how much you love them, or how hard you want them to stay, once they’ve delivered their message and male you realize unexpected things about who you are, you need to let them go. And it’s ok.
  3. We are all dying. This morning I observed all the mothers at my 3 year old’s preschool while we were having a Mother’s Day breakfast.  It was such a beautiful scene. Mothers hugging their babies with all the love in their heart. I kept thinking how bizarre it was that all of us knew that conceiving a baby, and creating life,  meant that these beautiful beings would be here for just some years, and that was reason enough to change everything in our lives. In other words, whatever experience you went through was worth it. You’ll understand one day why you had to live it. Be grateful for it.

With love,

 When I become a mother, oh the things I will teach my children. I’ll sing to them every song; even those songs that have never been sang. I’ll fill their minds with stories of magic and wisdom, and show them how life and emotions work. I will let them get dirty when they play. We will laugh so hard together.

When I become a mother, no birthday will pass unnoticed, and every holiday will be a celebration. Yes. The day I become a mother, I will not make any of the mistakes my mother did, because God knows I’m so much stronger and better prepared for this than she ever could be…

And then I became a mother.

After al the baby showers, hopes and wishes, there he was. His perfect little body was lying right there next to me. I remember staring at him and constantly putting my finger close to his nostrils just to make sure he was breathing. He seemed so fragile and perfect.

As I went out for my first walk after a day of having given birth to my Sebastian, I realized most of the newborns were wearing clothes.

Was I supposed to dress him? Ok. Someone should really be telling me these things.

But my mind was somewhere else. I was patiently waiting for the ‘I’m the happiest person in the universe, and this is all I needed in life’ moment that the world and the media had promised me since I was a little girl.

Yes. This was supposed to be the moment when everything made sense, yet all I did was stare at the EXIT signs in the hospital. I was terrified. All I wanted was to go back to the life I had been so happy with until then.

Well. Perhaps it takes a bit of time to get there.

But it didn’t.

And I’m not sure it ever does.

Not fully…

My situation was perhaps a bit different than the average. I lived with my mother only until the age of 6 and didn’t have much of a relationship with her, which made the concept of motherhood hard to relate to. I was also living in Canada, far away from my roots, and packing up my life to move to Sweden.

Baby blues?

No.

I couldn’t go down the stairs of my three-story house without wishing to unexpectedly roll down and disappear.


When I bathed my boy, I wondered what would happen if I stopped holding him. Once he slid, and I just stared at him under the water for a couple of seconds without reacting. I’ll never forget that image. It still wakes me up at night sometimes.

After a couple of months I realized it was post-partum depression, and being home on my own, given that my husband was always traveling and I was in a city where I didn’t know anyone, didn’t help.

But how can you even start this conversation with people, when all you see are happy faces, and ‘motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me’ posts everywhere from your closest friends?

This has to change. We need to be more sincere, and not only say what we think people want to hear.

It took me about a year to get through my depression, and it has been the hardest experience in my life so far. Also the loneliest. Perhaps if we talked about these things more often… lives are being lost to this reality.

In my particular case, what saved me was a very supportive husband, my yoga, and deep conversations with my mirror where I would basically hack my mind to go on the right direction by repeating the messages I wanted to believe. You’d be surprised to know how much power that simple object carries within.


I’m not here to offer solutions, though. I used to make lists of different ways for you to fix your life for a living not too long ago. There are no right answers for this one. This is simply my story. I get often told that I have everything anyone could wish for. My life is perfect, my family is perfect, and it worries me to see the mirage people go for, and the weight that thought bears in their arms. Those expectations… . and it’s not even real! Let’s be more sincere. Everything in life is constant hard work: family, love, career, self-love, relationships… every single thing.

Happiness is a choice that you make every day, and it’s not outside. Don’t think that someone will be the answer to get to the ‘happily ever after’ path. Get married. Have children.

You will still be you.

Your demons are not going anywhere.

There are no shortcuts.

Sebastian, my son is now 5 years old. He has become the most fantastic human being I’ve ever met. He’s the sweetest and most understanding of boys. I couldn’t be more proud of him. I had a second child, and the experience was so much easier. I didn’t get depressed the second time around. The dynamic was very different, even though he has been an absolute hurricane compared to Sebas

I’m not the mother I dreamt I would be when I was younger. I didn’t sing all those songs, to them either. I have repeated so many of the mistakes of my parents, and I often echo their words. But, I’m also the best mother I can be with the cards I’ve been given, and fight to become better at it every single day.

And the journey continues…

danie gomez ortigoza journey of a braid post partum depression

 

Cuando me convierta en mamá

Cuando me convierta en mamá, la de cosas que les voy a enseñar a mis hijos. Les voy a cantar cada canción, incluso aquellas canciones que nunca se han cantado. Les voy a llenar sus mentes con historias de magia y sabiduría, y les mostraré como funciona la vida y las emociones. ¡Nos vamos a reír tanto juntos!

Cuando me convierta en mamá no pasará ningún cumpleaños desapercibido y cada día festivo será motivo de celebración. Sí. Cuando me convierta en mamá no cometeré ninguno de los errores que mi madre cometió porque Dios sabe que soy más fuerte que ella y estoy mucho más preparada para esto de lo que ella pudiese haber estado.

…Y entonces me convertí en mamá.

Después de todos los baby showers, esperanzas y deseos allí estaba. Su pequeño cuerpecito perfecto yacía junto a mi. Recuerdo contemplarlo todo el tiempo y constantemente poner mi dedo bajo su nariz para asegurarme que estaba respirando. Se veía tan frágil y tan perfecto.

Cuando salí por vez primera a caminar después del nacimiento de Sebastián me di cuenta que la mayoría de los recién nacidos usaban ropa. ¿Debía de vestirlo? Ok, alguien me debía de haber dicho estas cosas.

Pero mi mente estaba en otro sitio.

Estaba pacientemente esperando el momento de ‘soy la persona más feliz del universo y esto es todo lo que necesito en la vida’ como me lo prometieron el mundo y los medios desde que yo era niña.

Éste debía de ser el momento en que todo hiciese sentido, sin embargo yo lo único que hacía era contemplar los letreros de EXIT del hospital. Estaba aterrada. Lo único que deseaba era volver a la vida en la que hasta entonces había sido tan feliz.

Bueno, quizá lleva un tiempo llegar a ese momento.

Pero ese momento no llegó.

Y no estoy segura que ese momento llegue.

No completamente…..

Mi situación era quizá un poco distinta a la promedio.Viví con mi mamá solo hasta los seis años y no tenía una relación importante con ella como para hacerme entender de manera clara el concepto de maternidad. Además, vivía en Canadá, lejos de mis raíces y estaba empacando mis cosas para mudarme a Suecia.

¿Baby blues? No. No podía bajar las escaleras de mi casa de tres pisos sin desear rodar y desaparecer. Cuando bañaba a mi pequeño me preguntaba lo que pasaría si lo dejara de sostener. Después de un par de meses caí en al cuenta que de estaba atravesando depresión post parto, y estando en casa sola dado el hecho que mi marido viajaba todo el tiempo y que estaba en una ciudad donde no conocía a nadie, no ayudaba mucho, pero, ?¿cómo puedes sostener una conversación con la gente cuando que todo lo que ves a tu alrededor son caras felices?, y posts de ‘la maternidad es lo mejor que jamás me había pasado’ enviados por tus mejores amigas. No es nada fácil.


Esto tiene que cambiar. Tenemos que ser más sinceras, y no solo decir aquello que los demás quieren escuchar.

Me llevó un año aproximadamente salir de la depresión, y ha sido la experiencia más difícil en mi vida hasta hoy. Y el momento en el que he estado más sola. Quizá si hablásemos más de estas cosas sería diferente. Hay vidas que se están perdiendo ante esta realidad.

En mi caso particular, lo que me sacó adelante fue el tener un marido muy comprometido, mi yoga, y conversaciones profundas con mi espejo donde básicamente hackeaba mi mente para seguir la dirección correcta a través de repetir mensajes en los que quería creer. Te sorprendería saber cuánto poder tiene esta sencilla acción.

No estoy aquí para ofrecer soluciones. Hasta hace poco me dedicaba profesionalmente a dar listas de soluciones para resolver todo en la vida. No hay respuestas correctas para ésta situación. Aquí tan solo te cuento mi historia. Me dicen tanto que tengo todo lo que alguien quisiera tener. En los ojos de los demás, mi vida es perfecta, mi familia es perfecta y me preocupa ver el espejismo que esto genera. Tantas expectativas….¡¡ Y ni siquiera es real!!

Seamos más sinceros.Todo en la vida requiere de esfuerzo continuo: el trabajo, la familia, el amor, la carrera profesional, las relaciones, cada pequeña cosa.

La felicidad en una opción que escoges cada día, y no es externa a ti. No esperes que alguien sea la respuesta para encontrar el camino “de vivieron siempre felices”. Cásate, ten hijos.Seguirás siendo tú.Tus demonios no se irán a ningún lado. No se puede cortar camino.

Mi hijo Sebastián hoy tiene ya 5 años. Se ha convertido en el ser humano más fantástico que alguna vez pensé conocer. Es el niño más dulce y comprensivo . No podría estar más orgullosa de él.Tuve un segundo hijo, y la experiencia fue más sencilla. No viví la depresión la segunda vez. La dinámica fue muy diferente, pese a que es un huracán comparado con Sebastián.

No soy la madre que soñé ser cuando era más joven. No les canté esas canciones. He cometido muchos de los errores de mis padres y en ocasiones soy eco de sus palabras. Pero soy la mejor mamá que puedo ser con las cartas que tengo en la mano. Y lucho por ser mejor cada día.

Y la jornada continúa…