The Q&A

April 13, 2018

¡Hola! Today's post was chosen by you! I asked on my Instagram stories what you would like to see this Friday and it was a tie between styling a basic white tee and a get to know me Q&A, so here we are! I'll be answering questions sent in to me on Instagram and sharing a couple of photos of me styling a basic white tee. Enjoy!

1. What countries have you visited? Which has been your favorite?
I've visited mainland USA, Canada, Mexico, Aruba, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Spain, France,  and United Kingdom. My favorite would have to be Mexico just because of the memories. My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Playa Mujeres and they were some of the best days of my life.

2. What's your best way to kill anxiety when you know its there? And what advice can you give about your marriage? Not just for good things, but for the situations that life brings.
I don't think there's a way to study medicine without ever suffering from anxiety at some point or another. I've tried countless of practices to combat anxiety: breathing exercises, taking a shower, aromatherapy, etc. While they all do work for me in a way, my favorite way to beat anxiety is to RUN. I stop what I'm doing, head to the gym, jump on the treadmill, and RUN. Exercise releases endorphins, hormones that make you happy and reduce stress. After a good run I feel ready to begin tackling any obstacle again.

My husband and I have been together for 5 years, married for the last 2. During this time we've been through quite a lot: the stress of medical school, being apart for months at a time while I studied for board exams, becoming a stepparent, the beginnings of his surgery residency, and so much more. There are many things I think go into having a good marriage but I think the two most important things are patience and forgiveness. Be patient as you continue to learn about one another. My mother has always told me: "You never stop getting to know someone". That's because you'll never know  exactly what's on their minds and everyone is constantly changing and growing. Learn to forgive because no marriage can last a hundred years if it holds on to grudges. Grudges not only destroy your marriage, they destroy your own happiness.

3. Marriage! How did you meet your hubby, proposal, wedding photos!?
Funny enough I met my husband for the first time when he crashed my 21st birthday party tagging along with some friends we had in common! He was quite smitten with me, I was not. Years passed and we never spoke until I saw him on the first day of medical school orientation! He had changed so much and I was quite intrigued! He basically decided for both of us that we were going to end up together. One thing led to another and here we are!

When he was going to propose, I admit, I kind of knew it was coming! I just know him so well, I knew something was up! He invited me to dinner on a Monday after a test (I was a third year medical student). I got all dressed up, did my nails (very important for ring photos!), and he picked me up. On the way to the restaurant he said he had forgotten his wallet so we had to go by his apartment. I kept insisting that it was no big deal, that I could pay, but he was adamant that we go pick it up. I waited in the car before getting a text from him to meet him upstairs. When I reach the apartment door, he's waiting for me outside. He opens the door and the entryway is filled with roses and candles. He had prepared a special meal for us. After, he got on one knee, gave a speech about our love, and asked me to marry him. I was so excited I didn't even look at the ring until I stopped crying! The first person we called was our daughter, who was ecstatic! It was perfect.

Here's a wedding photo!
Photo by Saul Padua Photography

4. What to do you do besides blogging? 
I finished my doctorate degree in medicine and am waiting to start a surgery residency program while studying for my last board exam. My current professional goal is to become a general surgeon.

5. What motivated you to start a blog? What have been your favorite collabs and why?
I'd been wanting to start a blog since college but instead dedicated myself to studying, getting into medical school, then surviving medical school. I finally felt comfortable enough at the end of my third year that, with the insistence of friends and family, I went for it! I needed a hobby and what better than a corner of the internet where I can share all my other passions: fashion, beauty, travels, and now health too!

My favorite collaborations I've done so far have been the interview for The Golden Cactus' series: Bosses & Bloggers and the video for International Women's Day prepared by Ruthie Fonseca along with other gorgeous Puerto Rican bloggers. I felt honored since the second I was approached to do the interview and the video for women was really empowering. Read the interview here and check out the video here!

6. What quality do you think makes a great doctor?
This is a tough and great question. I think many qualities make up a great doctor but if I had to choose one it would be humility. A doctor should be humble enough to know that he/she never stops learning, to recognize when he/she is wrong, to recognize when to send a patient to another colleague, to know that their purpose is to serve others.

7. What are your best styling tips, especially for layering?
My #1 styling tip is to dress however which way makes YOU happy. Don't get to hung up on following trends. You shouldn't adjust your style to any trend, you can however adjust any trend to fit YOUR style! 

Layering is a complicated thing when you live on a tropical island like I do because layers mean heat. That being said, I do love layering pieces anyway! I do this by choosing lightweight layers such as thin cardigans, denim jackets, breathable blazers, etc.

8. When you go shopping, do you have a budget or do you just take advantage of sales/discounts and buy what you like?
I'm more of a "follow the sales" kind of girl. I rarely buy things at normal prices, unless its a great price! Because of this, I tend to do more online shopping where I can find more coupon codes. I also use sites like Shoptagr where you can follow item prices and they notify you when its on sale!

9. What's the best and worse fashion trend of all time in your opinion?
Best: The little black dress, timeless!
Worse: Harem pants!

10. Do you plan your weekly outfits beforehand or do you roll with your mood in the morning?
I usually take out the clothes I want to wear the next day the night before but if I wake up in a different kind of mood, I roll with it!

11. How do you keep yourself motivated?
I focus on my goal and have my father's words on repeat: "Never give up". I'm passionate about all my goals in life: being a good wife and partner, being a good stepparent, keeping up this blog, and becoming a surgeon so that in itself keeps me motivated.

Top/Camisa: Old Navy (similar) Skirt/Falda: Forever 21 (love this mustard one!) Shoes/Zapatos: Steve Madden Bag/Cartera: Zara

Con amor,
María Eugenia

The Bullet Journal

April 9, 2018

¡Hola! Last month I shared a glimpse into my bullet journal on the blog's Instagram and you guys really enjoyed it and wanted to know more. Well, here it is! I started using a bullet journal for the first time this year. Before I would use regular agendas which I loved but never seemed to keep up after I started medical school. Then I came across bullet journal videos on youtube and, after watching a couple hundred of them and researching on the bullet journal website, I decided that it could be something I could actually keep up and fitted my lifestyle more.

Here are some reasons why I'm loving keeping this journal:
  • I can express more creativity and doodle freely.
  • I can have a section for anything I want or need. For example I have pages dedicated to listing blog posts ideas, another page dedicated to our house cleaning schedule, etc.
  • I can set up only months and weeks I will actually use. For example, my journal actually arrived in February so I didn't even bother putting in a page for January and therefore have no wasted pages.
  • I set up the pages to any which way which suits me the most. I'm very minimalist with my set up and follow a simple key for my tasks.
  • It is a practice in accepting imperfections. I have very OCD-like tendencies so I use this journal as therapy. I force myself to accept mistakes or find other ways to cover them up instead of just yanking out the page like I would initially have done.

There are hundreds of channels featuring bullet journaling on Youtube! You can search and find your own favorite, mine is definitely AmandaRachLee. Her videos are pretty simple compared to others I have seen which make all out masterpieces! I do love to doodle and use AmandaRachLee as inspiration for my monthly theme (check out her instagram!). I definitely make mine even more simple than her's. That's the magic of this, it can be however you want it to be!

I start out by tracing out my doodles in pencil and then going over it with the fine artist pen. This doodle didn't require a lot of color but, after going in with the pen, I color in areas using the brush pens. Its like painting with watercolor! Above you can see how I do so for the monthly cover page.

This is my month-at-a-glance view. Here I usually include a doodle in theme with the cover page at the top and make squares for each day of the month. Each square is 3x3 dots. I add a drop shadow to the days of the week by making the bottom part and right side thicker. I finish by adding a section at the bottom where I can place events and/or important dates.

I kept doodling these clouds on my Monthly Favorites page. I have this page to keep a record of the things I've been loving during the month so by the end I have it all down in one place to prepare the monthly post (check out my March favorites here!).

On the right side, you can see what a weekly spread looks like. I keep it very minimal separating the days each 5th dot and drawing a line across (I use a ruler for straight lines). At the bottom I include an area to put in a quote that I feel goes most with how I felt during that week and a section for tasks that I have to include in next week's spread.

My key is simple: 
  • Tasks are marked with a square
  • Once its in process I can fill up half the square 
  • When its done I fill it in completely
  • Tasks that have to be moved to another day get a right facing arrow in the square
  • Tasks that are canceled get a straight line going across the square
  • Important events are marked with a star

And that's it! Simple! Preparing this takes me roughly 20-30mins and preparing each week's spread takes me less than 10mins. There are a couple of mistakes in the above photo but I left them because, as I mentioned above, I also keep this journal as a practice in accepting imperfections.

Do you keep a bullet journal or do you prefer a normal agenda? If you do keep a bullet journal, where do you get your inspiration from? Let me know below!

Con amor,
María Eugenia

The Gingham Dress

April 6, 2018

Dress/Traje: TJ Maxx Bag/Cartera: TJ Maxx (feel in love with it because it reminded me of this Gucci bag!) Shoes/Zapatos: Forever 21 (similar here) Hat/Sombrero: Forever 21 (similar here, love this one!) Sunglasses/Gafas: RayBan Bracelet/Pulsera: Alex and Ani Lipstick/Lápiz labial: c/o CoverGirl Melting Pout Matte Liquid Lipstick in Coral Chronicles

¡Hola! So we actually went to Old San Juan (OSJ) to take photos at Calle Fortaleza where the sky is filled with gorgeous pink kites in honor of Women's International Day but, just our luck, the street was closed for the day (insert face slap emoji here). OSJ still has so much more to offer! We wandered the streets and came across these gorgeously colored homes, perfect for our photo session! We spent some time checking out books in Librería Laberinto, ate dinner at our favorite pizza place, Pirilo Pizza Rustica, and finished with delicious ice cream at Himalaya.  

For days at Old San Juan I love wearing outfits that are nice and fresh because it can get very hot! On that note, it can also be very windy, so dresses/skirts that are too flowy can get swept up and before you know it the world knows what brand of panties you buy. This dress was juuust right. Since I knew we weren't going to be walking around too much, I was more than okay in these low heels. If I knew I was going to be all out touristing in OSJ, I would prefer to wear tenis shoes, even with this same dress. Gingham is a perfect spring/summer pattern and I've left more affordable gingham print options below.

I topped off the look with  this Gucci-inspired bag (a steal for $25 at my local TJ Maxx!) my classic boater hat, my round RayBans, and this perfect coral lipstick from CoverGirl. Come spring/summer, all my coral makeup comes out and this was the perfect addition to my collection. Its ultra lightweight yet pigmented and long lasting. I didn't touch up once, not even after pizza!

What is your favorite lipstick of the moment? Let me know below!

Con amor,
María Eugenia


The Monthly Favorites: March 2018

April 2, 2018

Outfit c/o M&C Boutique

¡Hola! March is over but with it came the beginning of spring, one of my favorite seasons! Here's a quick post filled with all the things I loved this month.

  • This month its been all about the lipsticks for me! Here are the ones I've been loving:
    • CoverGirl Melting Pout Matte Liquid Lipstick in Coral Chronicles: This is a lightweight matte liquid lipstick in the perfect color for spring! Will be featured in Friday's post, so stay tuned!
    • L'Oréal Colour Riche Shine Lipstick in Burnished Blush and Luminous Coral: I'm loving more of a shiny lip lately and these are perfect for that type of look! They are creamy, shinny, and the colors are perfect!
  • I've been loving doing swimsuit shopping for my upcoming trip! Here are the ones I've bought:
  • I'm also in love with my new loafers! I had been looking for a dupe for the gorgeous Gucci loafers, which i obviously can't afford, and stumbled upon these!

  •  I've been loving my March bullet journal layout! I'm currently preparing a post on my April layout so I can share more about how I prepare and keep my bullet journal. Stay tuned!
  • I've had an on and off relationship with Pinterest for a long time but I'm back to loving it. I'm feeling really inspired by my Style board!
  • My husband and I are addicted to playing Psych! So much so, we've got our friends and family hooked too! Highly recommend it!

  • Movies
    • Black Panther: If you haven't seen this movie yet, what are you waiting for!?

    • I, Tonya: One of the most entertaining movies I've seen in a long time. Allison Janney's Oscar for Best Supporting Actress was well deserved!

  • Netflix
    • Queer Eye: I could not get enough of this show! So many emotions! I love every single one of the Fab 5. Grown men crying just gets to me! Can't wait for more episodes!

What was your favorite movie this month? Let me know below!

Con amor,
María Eugenia

The Spring Blouse

March 30, 2018

Photos by Nelson Alejandro
Top/Blusa: Zara (also love this short sleeve version!) Shorts/Mahon Corto: American Eagle (similar) Jewelry/Joyería: Alex and Ani Scarf/Pañuelo: Zara (old, love this one) Bag/Cartera: TJ Maxx Lipstick/Lápiz labial: Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lipstick in Craving Coral (685)

¡Hola! Today's post is all about this gorgeous blouse! I love wearing white during spring/summer, especially when I'm a little tanner. Although I have yet to acquire such a tan (yes, this is just my natural, non-tan color), white is still a staple color for these seasons because it can be so fresh and airy. I love every detail of this blouse: the lace, the polka dot pattern, the ruffled shoulders, everything! As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm loving wearing a scarf like this one in my hair. This time I tied it around a ponytail for an effortless look.

I also want to let you guys know about a little giveaway I'm hosting on the blog's Instagram! To celebrate reaching 1k followers on Instagram, I'm giving away a $50 Zara gift card! Straight out of my own pocket! Followers voted for their gift card of choice over on the blog's IG stories and the giveaway will be live over there in a few hours. If you're interested in participating (open to US and PR only), check out @thegirlonanisland, follow, and look for the post (I'll include it here once its up)!

UPDATE: The giveaway is LIVE! Follow @thegirlonanisland on Instagram and like this photo to participate! More information in photo's description.

Con amor,
María Eugenia


The 5 Things I've Learned Since Starting a Blog

March 26, 2018

¡Hola! Today I thought I'd list out for you 5 things I've learned since starting this blog. The inspiration for this post comes from all of you! I get a lot of questions and requests for advice (even though I truly think I'm still just a rookie at this!) about blogging. We can definitely do a Q&A in the future if that is something you would like to see!

A little background on The Girl on an Island before we start: 
I started The Girl on an Island in 2016. I had just taken my USMLE Step 1 (the first of three medical licensing exams you need to pass to become a doctor in the US; more on the logistics of this and other exams at another time). Just so you get this gist of it, I had studied 18 hours daily for months to take an 8 hour exam that would test all my knowledge in basic sciences and set me up for future residency opportunities. After you take the test, you have to wait 3-4 weeks to know if you even passed it. THREE TO FOUR WEEKS! Three to four weeks of not knowing if you even passed, remembering all the questions you might have gotten wrong, killing yourself with the suspense! Am I being overdramatic? Maybe, but I was definitely going through a lot of anxiety. What did I do to get my mind off of it? I started this blog! 

It was the best decision I made. It kept my mind busy and I throughly enjoyed it. I had always wanted to start a blog, since my college days when I followed countless little blogs that are now huge influencers, and this was the perfect time to do so. The weeks went by and I got my score: PASS! I kept the blog going without real rhyme or reason, just because I loved it, until I had to take a 6 month hiatus to focus on surgery rotations. Medicine and surgery will always be my first priority. Now that I've graduated and have a little time to kill before residency, I've dedicated myself to growing my blog. It has definitely been a crash course and everything I've learned as been 100% self-taught. I'm slowly getting the hang of things even though I learn something new every single day.

Now, let me stop babbling and let you in on what I think are the top 5 things I've learned since day one.

Having a blog takes up A LOT more time than you would think. First of all there's the time it takes to set it up. You need to settle on a name, figure out your niche (very important! more in #5), set up your page/theme, set up all your social media, etc. Once you're all set up, there's the time it takes to prepare your posts. Some posts come easy to you, some posts take a little more time. Some days you're inspired and can even prepare posts in advance. Some days you have no idea what to write about. A post like this one could take me a couple of hours but a fashion post where I'm sharing my street style takes much more planning. I need to take photos during the weekend when (and if) my husband/photographer is available, then I need to edit images, choose the best ones (the hardest part because I always love too many!), find links to the clothes I'm wearing, and finally, write a short post too! I recommend you try to prepare all your posts in advance and schedule them to publish automatically (key word: try!). Start off with one post per week then more if time allows. Don't sacrifice quality for quantity.

Then there's the time spent sharing it! Posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. takes time. There are sites that you can use to schedule these in advance also but they charge you and since I don't use them I can't recommend any for you (sorry!). Keeping up your social media presence takes time but this is where you can engage with your readers the most (more in #4). We all know the struggle of aiming for a perfect Instagram feed! Try to not hold yourself to some image of perfection. If you're like me and doing this in your free time, don't compare yourself with people who's sole job is having the perfect Instagram feed.

Finally there's the time needed to be patient. You don't start a blog and suddenly have thousands of views and followers. When I started I would get roughly 35 views daily and I'm pretty sure they were all my mother. How did I grow my blog? Be keeping at it and sharing! Don't be afraid to share with your friends and family. Have them share it forward. Comment on your favorite bloggers posts and leave your own blog's link. Sooner or later, people will start to notice. The key is consistency.

Ok, so I know I just said that the key is consistency but... Let's talk about your life, not just blogging. If you're like me and this is more of a hobby because you have a serious, time-demanding job that actually pays the bills, this blog is should not be #1 on your priority list. Is it important? Of course it is! It makes you happy therefore, by all means give it all the time and love that you can. Just remember that there are other things in your life that come first. 

I'll use myself as an example. Soon after I started this blog I began 6 grueling months of surgery rotations. This was the most important thing in my life at the moment because I wanted to enter a surgery residency. I put the blog to one side and focused solely on kicking surgery butt! It was hard because of many reasons but it payed off! Now that I have time I'm working on the blog. As soon as I enter residency though, my posting schedule will have to accommodate that. Now, if you want to start this so that it becomes your full time job, I am not the best person to give you advice on that.

How do you accomplish a balance? Prepare list of possible blog posts, write them in advance, schedule them to publish automatically. Basically what I explained in #1. Be organized. If you work during the week, prepare your posts on the weekend. If you're still a student, your studies come first! I would prepare posts on weekends when I don't have to study intensely or on holidays. Find what works for you!

There is so much to learn! When I first started out I wasn't close to anyone who had a blog. I knew a couple of people but I didn't feel comfortable asking for advice. I'm a very "learn on my own" kind of person. Google and Pinterest are my best friends. I google everything from "how to grow your blog" to "how to host a giveaway". There are so many blogs out there with amazing creators that have written down everything for you step by step! Pinterest is also great for searching help on blog related issues. Just put whatever you need help on in the search bar (e.g. "how to start a blog") and boom! Thousands of images with direct links to step by step advice from fellow bloggers. There are also tons of free workshops, webinars, and newsletters from expert bloggers that you can take advantage of!

I started out by looking for posts on the blogs I already loved, trusted, and had inspired me. Look for blogs that are similar to your niche because all types of blogs (e.g. fashion, food, lifestyle, tech, etc.) may have different advice on the same matter. Keep a folder with the most valuable information that you may need to check back on in the future. If you share style on your blog, keep a board with your favorite type of street style photography so you can show your Instagram husband/boyfriend/friend/photographer what you're looking for. The important thing is that you keep learning and continue to research so that your blog grows. There is a huge learning curve to all of this so don't beat yourself up. You'll learn from your mistakes and your blog can only get better.

As mentioned in #1, having a social media presence is key for your blog to grow. I recommend having your personal account separate from your blog in platforms, such as Instagram for example. Use your social media to share new posts, behind the scenes snaps, amazing deals you just found, etc. If you've never been a fan of social media, tough luck! I would really recommend you need at least a Facebook and Instagram page so you can connect with your readers and get your posts out there.

ENGAGE with your readers. The whole point of this is to create a community. I love when I receive a DM on Instagram asking for advice on medicine, with a comment on my outfit, anything at all! Always respond! Like every comment! Not because you feel like you "have to" but because you want your reader to know you read their comment and create a bond with them. Whenever someone leaves a comment on my blog, I reply and make a point out of checking their blog out and leaving them a comment in their latest post. This is my way of saying "Thank you for stopping by my blog and being so kind enough to leave a comment! Let me be kind enough to return the favor!". This is also how I've found more amazing blogs to follow!

The most important thing I've learned is to stay true to myself. At the end of the day, this blog is for you. Its your escape, its your hobby, so it should be about what makes YOU happy. Obviously you would love to have readers that follow along with you but if you stick to being true to yourself that will happen naturally. Don't try to put out an image that is not you. That'll just take more time and effort to achieve and at the end of the day you won't be happy and your reader's will notice. 

If you take anything at all from this long-winded post, let it be this: Be genuine

There you have it! Are these fool-proof ways to become instantly famous? No. These are the top 5 tips that I can share with you that I know will at least make your blogging experience pleasurable both for you and your reader.

Do you have a blog? Leave your link below and I'll be sure to stop by and say hi!

Con amor,
María Eugenia

The Spring in My Step

March 23, 2018

Tee/Camisa: Zara Jacket/Abrigo: Forever 21 (old, similar hereJeans/Mahones: American Eagle (similarBandana: Zara (old, loving this one!) Shoes/Zapatos: Forever 21 (old, similarBag/Cartera: Kate Spade (old, for cheaper versions love this one and this one!) Jewelry/Joyería: Alex and Ani Sunglasses/Gafas: Forever 21

¡Hola! About the title: pun intended! I absolutely adore this look I wore last Sunday for some reminiscing around my college town. There are a lot of spring trends going on here! 

1. Bandanas/Scarves in hair: Milkmaid braids is my favorite go-to hairstyle when I have no hot tools around but want a polished look. It takes me literally 10-15 mins to achieve (depends on my OCD level). I decided to add this Zara scarf I usually tie around my bag to it by knotting it over my head for a fresh, spring version. I've been seeing them used in buns, braids, and all kinds of different hairstyles lately! 

2. Yellow: This color is very on trend now. You're seeing it in every store! If you interested in rocking this trend I recommend buying a piece like this t-shirt because it won't break the bank and its very versatile!

3. Espadrilles: Espadrilles are always in style in spring/summer! I love this old pair from Forever 21 because they are very Chloé-esque! 

4. Straw bag: This Kate Spade bag has been in my wardrobe for around 2 years and I love bringing it out once spring starts and really almost every time I do a little touring around the island. Living on a tropical island means this bag is pretty much on trend ALL YEAR ROUND. I've linked a couple of cute and cheaper alternatives above!

5. Cat-eye sunglasses/Micro sunglasses: Ok, micro sunglasses do NOT look good on me. I think my eyes are just to big to pull them off! I was so happy, though, when I found these at Forever 21! I know they are not "micro" but I think the shape of them is enough to count! 

You're definitely going to be seeing these on repeat here and on the blog's Instagram

Fun fact: The first play I saw in this theater was when I was in college. I had been handed out a flyer for a play and decided to check it out on a whim. First scene comes to life and there's a bathtub on stage. Suddenly a naked man comes out of it and more naked people start to show! Needless to say I was in awe, watching families with kids running out of the theater, because there was no way to have known! It was quite a funny (yet it was a very serious play so, no laughing!) sight! 

What is your favorite trend for this spring?

Con amor,
María Eugenia

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