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

The last minute weekend getaway: Puerto Rico

March 21, 2018

¡Hola! As you all know, my husband and I are both doctors. I just finished my medical degree and am waiting to start my residency and my husband is an surgery intern. This means that planning a weekend getaway just the two of us is extremely rare and almost always left until the very last minute because we never know too much in advance when we are going to be able to get away. Even so, we always manage to plan fun and cheap weekend trips in less than a day or two. How? Keep reading!

1. Where to go: First things first: where do you want to go? Even though Puerto Rico is such a tiny island, it is jam-packed with places to go! There's something different worth exploring in every single town! How do you decide where you want to go? Check your mood. Do you need a relaxing weekend just chilling on the beach? Head to the west! Do you feel stuck in a rut all week and want to have a little fun? Head to the north! Do you want to jump on a catamaran and explore the sea? Head to the east! I can go on and on! If you're up for anything, go somewhere you haven't been before. Check something off that Puerto Rico bucket list! I like to check out a list such as this one: 100 Things to do in Puerto Rico Before You Die. I also always check for any deals on Gustazos and Spotin (they have an app too!).

2. Where to stay: We are lucky enough that both our parents have apartments in Cabo Rojo (west PR) so every time we want to explore that side of PR, they kindly lend us their places (WIN!). Maybe you have a family member or friend living around the area/with a place in the area you want to explore! ¡No pierdes nada con preguntar! There's nothing to lose by just asking if you can crash at their place! If you feel too guilty, invite them on your adventure!  When we decide to spend the weekend in the metropolitan/capital area (San Juan), we usually opt for an Airbnb. These are some we have stayed at and highly recommend: Old San Juan's Hidden Gem, Tripper's Inn Ocean Park, Cozy Studio Apartment Condado.

3. Where to eat: I am always asking friends (and you guys!) for restaurant recommendations. I keep them listed on my phone's Notes app by city. This way we're not going through the usual "where do you want to go?", ""I don't know, where do you want to go?" debate when it comes time to choose a place to eat. I also follow recommendations from Puerto Rican food blogs such as Una Jeva con Hambre and use apps such as Sal! (check out their website here).

4. What to pack: This really depends on the type of weekend you have planned. Obviously if you plan to spend it on the beach, pack swimsuits, coverups, sunscreen, etc.! If you're planning a more city/touristy weekend pack lightweight tops, shorts/jeans, etc. However, there are some things that could come in handy no matter what you have planned such as: your camera, a straw hat, sunglasses, an evening outfit, mosquito repellant, and I always carry an abanico de mano (fan). The trick is to pack light and with pieces that you can mix and match as needed!

Con amor,
María Eugenia

The Day to Night: Jean Mini Skirt Edition

March 16, 2018

¡Hola! Today we begin a new series where we tackle how to make one item of our wardrobe work for both day and night looks. First up in this series: the jean/denim mini skirt. I know most of us owned one way back in the late 90's-early 2000's and they are back! I personally love the one I own, and its the one I will use as a base for both looks, because it really wraps around your bum due to its stretchy material making it very flattering! I hope you enjoy both looks and feel inspired! 

No. 2 Mejuri Raw Hoops ($69) (or get a whole hoops set for $3.90 here!)
No. 4 Espadrille Platform Wedge Sandal ($79.95) (similar & cheaper here!)

A denim mini skirt can appear very edgy so pairing it with a romantic top like this one helps to keep it light and fresh for daytime. Pair it with simple jewelry (hoops are all the rage again!) and spring inspired pieces such as these espadrille platform wedge sandals and this adorable straw bag!

No. 1 Zara Camisole Top ($35.90) (cheaper here!)

Take your skirt into night with a simple change of top and accessories. A sexy lace camisole top is perfect for date night. I've been loving playing with layered necklaces lately and I'm absolutely in love with both of these from Alex and Ani! Complete the look with a pair of comfortable strappy heels and a clutch that can also work crossbody so you can dance the night away!

Which was your favorite: day or night? What item would you like to see next in this series? Let me know below!

Con amor,
María Eugenia


The Family: How to have a good relationship with your stepchildren

March 12, 2018

Photo by: Saul Padua Photography
¡Hola! Today's post is more on the personal side. As you may know from my description in every About Me section, I am happily married to an amazing man and am therefore also stepmother to this beautiful girl pictured above. My husband and I dated all throughout medical school, got married in the middle of my third year, and have now been happily married for two years. That means this little one has been in my life for roughly six years! 

When my husband and I first started dating, we would tell her we were just friends and all three of us would hang out together to get a feel for one another. We hit it off immediately! When things became more serious and we told her we were officially together, at first she was taken aback. She was scared that I was going to take her father's love away from her. But, we did our best to make sure that she never felt that way. When we got engaged, she was the first person we called. She was elated! Our wedding came and went (she looked so beautiful!) and the marriage and real challenges began. Every day we get to spend with her are the best moments of the year (she lives with her mother in the U.S. during the year).  I'm going to explain in further detail below how we make sure all of our relationships (father and daughter, stepmother and stepdaughter, husband and wife, family of three) are well-balanced and joyous. 

Although I listen carefully to my parents advice and apply their methods of raising me and how they have such a successful marriage into my life, I don't know anyone my age that is going through the same things I am as a stepparent (which is completely different to being a regular parent but equally as challenging because of the circumstances I explain below), so I've had to figure most things out on my own. Maybe one of you is going through the same situation and doesn't have anyone to ask for advice either. I'm here for you.

I can proudly say my stepdaughter and I have a beautiful relationship that I cherish deeply. I feel privileged to have her love and respect. I have so much to learn still (teenage years are sure to be interesting!) but, I thought I'd share what I've learned so far and my advice on how to have a loving relationship with your stepchild because, thankfully, these tips have worked for our family and can maybe help you. 

I cannot stress this enough. If there's anything you take away from this post, I hope it is this point. You are coming into their already formed lives. You are an outsider and you have to earn their love and respect. You do this by showing them you care about getting to know them, know their likes and dislikes, learn and respect their personality. Let them know you are not trying to replace anybody. Start off by becoming their friend. Kids recognize effort!

When you are in a relationship with someone who has a child, understand that you may come in second. The child's needs and feelings take priority at this moment because they are in such a vulnerable stage of life. Whatever actions are taken during these years are forming the foundation for the child's future being. Be patient. Help your partner guide his/her child by listening and being there. This is something that I plan to write more on in a different post because this should change as your relationship grows, more so if you marry. In a marriage, your husband/wife come first. This is a shift that must be handled gently and gradually. But, for the time being, your partner's child will come first.

When it comes to the child's mother/father (not your partner), be respectful. They played a big part in making this beautiful soul and will forever be in their lives, therefore they will forever be a part of yours. The world is such a tiny place (and Puerto Rico even tinier), I've actually known my stepchild's mother since elementary school! Although we were never BFF, we got along fine. Through this new journey, I've got to learn more about her and deeply respect her for being, not only an exceptional mother to my stepdaughter, but also to 2 more angels! The worst thing you can do is make the other parent an enemy. You are all part of the same team and you all have the same purpose: to raise a young child to the best of your abilities. Put aside your differences and work together towards the same goal. Besides, the child can sense if there is discord between you and that only worsens his/her feelings of guilt or anger.

Now that you've earned your stepchild's love and understand your place in the family, you can start acting like a parent. Don't wait until you're married to start doing so! You have to begin to set your role in your stepchild's life beforehand. You can't just wake up one day and start acting like a parent and except them to follow along! I'm not saying to go power crazy with timeouts and punishments  (that will surely backfire) but, do start setting limits and rules as a team with your partner. 

Many times, children from divorced/separated parents get the "ay, bendito" as we say here in Puerto Rico. This means authority figures in their lives, feeling sorry for them, fail to set structure. You're lucky enough to see things from a different perspective. This kid has a whole army of people that love him/her! Its important that they see that instead of feelings of lament towards them. Along with your partner, set rules and boundaries so they understand that there are limits. Good behavior should be rewarded and bad behavior should have consequences. Being a part of the child's discipline when he/her is with you and your partner is paramount to gaining their respect as a parent. Trust me, kids love structure when you do it in a kind, fun and patient manner!

Now things are starting to feel like you have your own little family! Take that show out on the road! Planning activities that will bring you closer as a family is a win-win situation: your relationship as a family grows deeper and you have fun! Start off with simple activities such as a trip to the movies or a restaurant and move on to trips to the park and weekend getaways in time. Here's a list of family-friendly activities:
  • Catch a movie! (remember to check movie ratings! PG-13 movies are practically what used to be R rated movies nowadays, in my opinion, so I stick to G or PG!)
  • I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! trip
  • Picnic at the Park
  • Play a sport!
  • Go to the beach
  • Have an arts & crafts day! (you can find so many ideas on Pinterest! Check out my Crafts board!)
  • Hit up a bowling alley
  • Host a family game night
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Visit a museum
  • Fly a kite (no better place to do so than at El Morro in Puerto Rico!)
  • Create a scavenger hunt
  • Take turns eating at your favorite restaurants
  • Play games at you nearest entertainment center (e.g. Chuck E. Cheese's)
  • Go on a road trip
  • Visit nearby historical landmarks
  • Adventure into nature
  • Spend a weekend at a hotel soaking up sun and fun by the pool and exploring nearby places

The list goes on and on... The important thing is to be present. Sure, take photos, these are memories you'll want to cherish forever. But, don't be constantly looking at your phone during this time. Focus on enjoying your family. At the end of the day, our little family plays a game at dinner where we each share the worst part (so we can be more aware of each other's feelings and/or cheer them up) and the best part of our day. It is one of the best habits we have.

This is were you have to give your most and it'll test your maturity and selflessness. Once you've really created a bond with your stepchild, they'll hopefully feel comfortable with sharing their feelings and fears with you. After all, you are now an integral part of their life. 

Hard times are going to come: sadness due to distance from a certain parent, missed birthdays,  holidays, and milestones, new brothers/sisters stealing the spotlight, etc. These are certain to happen. All you can do is provide a shoulder to cry on, arms to hug, and ears to listen without judgement. Try putting a positive spin on things, bring in stories from your life were you felt similar, let them know they are not alone and that what they are feeling is normal. Your stepchild may even be so comfortable with you to admit that they wish their mom and dad were still together. You better poker-face through it and understand. What kid wouldn't wish this? It has nothing to do with you or your relationship with them. Don't take it personal. In fact by opening this conversation, you are getting closer and you're helping him/her move on. 

This is can be either easy or hard, it really depends on you, but just open your heart. When you fall in love with someone who has a child, you have to fall in love with their child too. There's no way around it if you want to have a happy household. Let them into your heart and make your family a part of it too, after all you are all united now!

Teach them the values and morals you believe in just as you would for your own child. Include them in your decision making. Write down their special days on your calendar. Share a special meal together just the two of you or even a whole day! Make them a part of what makes you happy. Soon enough, they'll take hold of a place in your heart you didn't even know existed.

People have told me that I'm not a parent because I "didn't have her" or that its not equally important or valuable, but I disagree. I form part of an amazing team of four parents, each willing to give life and limb for our child. I am a parent because this little one gives me a sense of purpose that nothing else in my life can match. I am a parent because I choose to be one. I applaud you for choosing to be one too. 

This was a long one, I know! Its just something I'm incredibly passionate about. 
Thank you for reading!

Are you a stepparent? What other tips and/or advice have helped you?

Con amor,
María Eugenia

The Wish List: Swimsuits Under $50

March 9, 2018

Swimsuit Guachas PR
¡Hola! My husband and I are planning our upcoming trip and that means me lusting over a thousand swimsuits! Lucky for you, I've been scourging the internet for the best finds! Here are some of my favorites:

No. 1 Aerie Top ($25)Aerie Bottom ($25) (on sale!)*

No. 1 Aerie Red Swimsuit ($30) (on sale!)*
No. 4 Aerie Super Scoop ($30) (on sale!)*
No. 5 Aerie Tie Strap ($30) (on sale!)*

*Get 20% on your first American Eagle/Aerie order using this link!
*Forever 21: 10% off your order with code: BX10OFF2GU

Are you planning any trips this year? If so, where are you headed? I love hearing about other people's travels!

Con amor,
María Eugenia

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