Interview With Latisha Taylor Rivera: Attorney, Assertive, and All Around Badass

Q: Where were you born?

A: Mt. Holly, New Jersey

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: Everywhere! I’m an Army Brat but Texas is my home though. I spent the most time there. Puerto Rico is also home. Germany is a close third.

Q: What was your childhood and/or adolescence like?

A: I was raised with my older brother by our single mother. Growing up I can truly say that I never felt my father’s absence. I was raised with the unit of my brother and my Mami and it always just felt normal. I’m positive it was a struggle for my Ma and for my brother as well but the three of us are pretty tight, regardless. I also spent 8th grade through high school graduation in Heidelberg, Germany so you can say my teenage years were definitely not like the norm. All of these experiences molded me into who I am today so I’m overflowing grateful.


Q: Who were your biggest influences growing up?

A: My mami without a doubt! She taught me to be determined, relentless and not to take any sh*t from anyone.


Q: Did you always know you wanted to attend law school and become an attorney? 

A: I realized I wanted to become an attorney around twelve years old. Everyone always asks me what made it “click” for me and honestly I don’t know. I just decided one day. Maybe that’s what it feels like to know your calling. I’ve always just known that this is what I would end up doing and I love it. As I’ve grown older, I knew that I wanted to be an immigration attorney because I wanted to be able to advocate for those that could not do so for themselves. I knew that Immigrants were the community of people I most desired to help because they are MY community. My mother was born and raised in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and my father born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. Having such a diverse background and spending so much of my life outside of the United States exposed me to so many different shades and cultures which furthered my commitment to Immigration Law.

Q: Did you attend law school right after undergrad?

A: I was a December graduate so I waited until August to start at Howard Law. Howard doesn’t offer spring registration so I worked 2-3 jobs until that August when I moved from Texas to D.C.

Q: Did you receive any help in applying to law school? 

My mami and my sister in law paid for a few of my application fees but, aside from that, I did it all on my own. I had no one to look over my personal statements, advise me about the LSAT, or mentor me about law school or the application process. Neither of my parents are lawyers nor my brother or sister. I just struggled through it on my own and thankfully it worked out!

Q: What was law school like for you?

A: A blast! I hear so many people say so many disparaging things about their experience in law school but I truly had the best time of my life. Attending an HBCU was such an amazing experience for me. Attending Howard was the best decision I could have ever made. Law school is essentially designed to pit you against one another in that constant desperation to literally be ahead of the curve. But, at my law school, we were and are still truly a community dedicated to uplifting each other every step of the way. I also met my husband there, who is also an attorney, so I may be a little biased. Haha.


Q: What advice would you give to someone who is about to embark on their first year of law school?

A: Stay dedicated. I say this because that first semester of law school is such a humbling experience. Some of us have gone through life always feelings like we work the hardest or we are the smartest but let me tell you, that first semester of law school will break you—even if you come out on top. You have to learn to think different, study different, take tests differently, take constructive criticism and become open to an entirely different way of life. So, stay dedicated because it does get better.

Q: Which year of law school do you consider your most difficult and why?

A: Hands down my third year of law school. I was one of the Captains of my Trial Advocacy team, Executive Solicitations Editors for our Law Review and took (and passed) the Texas Bar Exam prior to graduation. I also took like max amount of credit hours one semester. It was insanity. I lost almost 20 pounds from stress my LAST semester of law school. Totally the opposite of what everyone else goes through. I wouldn’t have done it any other way though.

Q: What kind of organizations or activities were you involved in in law school?

A: Trial Advocacy Team, Law Review and I was one of the organizers of Alternative Spring Break (ASB). During ASB, a group of law students volunteers at a specific destination for an underserved population during their Spring Break. The year that I was an organizer, we went to New Orleans and I worked at the Innocence Project reviewing cases of those that were wrongly convicted, awaiting appeal on Death Row and sought exoneration.

Q: Did you ever feel like you weren’t going to make it to graduation?

A: Nope. My tribe would never ever let me even go there.

Q: What or who helped you push through?

A: Myself. My mami. My boyfriend at the time (now my husband!), my best friends and my Trial Ad Coach.

Q: What year did you graduate from law school?

A: 2015

Q: What kind of law do you practice?

A: Crimmigration. For those that don’t know, it’s the intersection of Criminal Defense and Immigration. I do both separately though. On the criminal side I do mainly low level assaults, DUI, and traffic. Immigration I do removal defense (detained and non detained), and USCIS based cases like SIJS, adjustment of status, U visas, affirmative asylum, VAWA, Naturalization, etc. I also practice a little personal injury (motor tort collisions) as well.

Q: How did you decide on that area of law?

A: I love Immigration and Criminal Defense. They appeal to me so much! But, the joy I get when I get a client out of jail (specifically when they’re wrongly accused or unjustly held) is like no other.

Q: What is your current position and how did you obtain it? 

A: I’m a junior associate at a small law firm—St. Laurent & Associates. I supervise one attorney and my two legal assistants. I truly lucked up at this job. When I graduated law school, even though I was already technically an attorney (licensed in Texas), I still worked as a paralegal while I studied for the Maryland Bar. After taking the Bar, I went to work at a midsize Immigration firm on a temp basis as a law clerk and then, six months after I graduated law school, my (now) husband forwarded me the job posting for the job I’m at now. It was seeking an entry level associate to help grow the Immigration part of the firm. Almost 4 years later, I’ve quadrupled the amount of Immigration cases that the firm handles as well as expanded our practice areas. It’s been A LOT of work and many many sleepless nights but I have great people surrounding me that have always believed in me, supported me, and helped me grow.

Q: What does a typical work day look like for you?

A: Insanity. Just kidding…slightly. It truly varies but it generally includes: consultations, a jail visit, a court hearing, supervisory craziness and catching up on emails and call backs to clients.

Q: In three words, can you describe what it is like to be a young, female attorney starting her career in the legal field?

A: Challenging yet rewarding.

Q: Have you experienced any situations where you were given a difficult time or underestimated in some capacity because of your age or gender? 

A: So many times! I became an attorney at 24. That’s hard enough but as a woman of color my frustrations have been amplified by 100 over the past 4 years.  I’ve been confused for the defendant, the client, the interpreter, my boss’s daughter—you name it! I’ve had clients tell me that they would rather my boss represent them cause he’s a man.

But, one time, there was such a subtle occurrence that I didn’t even notice but a client caught it and schooled me.

Let me set the scene.

It was during a pre-trial conference. My client was with me and I was taking the lead during this conference while my boss was there supervising me. At the end of the conference, opposing counsel shook everyone’s hand but mine. She was a white woman and honestly I didn’t even notice. But, my client noticed. He pulled me to the side and said “ Attorney Rivera, that woman shook everyone’s hand in there but yours. Never let that happen again. You are competent and you are capable. If need be, you walk up to her and you shake her hand or his hand first. Period. Just like this. When you let things like that happen, you are showing them that you doubt yourself and your worth.” Then he demonstrated how it should go next time, hand shake and all. I will NEVER forget that.

That was a “minor” situation, there’s been way more though.

Q: Many people have a desire to apply to and attend law school or other post-graduate programs, but are concerned with the debt they will likely accrue in doing so. What would you say to those people?

A: Do it! I mean definitely try to take advantage of every scholarship out there but if you have to take out some student loans-do it. Pay attention to APRs and private versus government (my vote is government) but if you stay dedicated—the amount of loans you accrue will pale in comparison to reaching your goals and living your dream.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your career? 

A: Helping those who need it most! Life is so very fragile. Doing this job has given my life purpose and every second that I’m breathing I know that I’m making a difference. Should I breathe my last breath soon, I know that I will leave this Earth having made a difference in the lives of others and that’s what I feel God sent me here to do.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?

A: Tell your Mami more how much you appreciate her. I truly never realized how amazing my Ma was and is until I got where I am now. Her uniforms hang in a women’s museum! I mean, that’s pretty impressive. But, more than that, handling me and my brother as a single mother while climbing to such a position of power as a Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Military is pretty amazing. All the discrimination that she went through, all the doubts because her English wasn’t always perfect nor fluent, all the late nights, all the mom guilt, all of it—she powered through it. She’s one of a kind. There cannot and will not ever be another like her.

LR 1



As the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and Jamaican father, Attorney Rivera has always had a natural passion for Immigration Law. She channels this passion into fighting for each of the Firm’s immigration clients-ensuring that she helps find a voice for the voiceless. Attorney Rivera is a graduate of the University of Texas-San Antonio as well a law graduate of Howard University School of Law. While at Howard, she excelled as one of the captains of the Huver I Brown Trial Advocacy Team, the Executive Solicitations Editor for the Howard Human and Civil Rights Law Review (formerly known as the Human Rights & Globalization Law Review) and founded the Immigration Law Society. During her tenure at Howard Law, Attorney Rivera also sat for and passed the Texas Bar Exam prior to graduation. She is also admitted to the Maryland Bar.

She is currently a junior associate, supervising attorney and Crimmigration practitioner at St. Laurent & Associates located in Baltimore, MD. She also, somehow, finds the time to manage her household and keep it together for her husband, teenage stepson, and two adorable pups.

I Booked an Impulsive Solo Trip to Seattle and This Is How It Went

I love to travel as much as the next person, but it gets pretty complicated trying to coordinate schedules with friends or family to book trips together. That’s precisely the reason why I decided to finally book a trip and travel alone. Well, that and because it’s been on my bucket list for some time. I just never thought I’d actually have the courage to go through with it. If you’ve ever thought about traveling and exploring on your own, I highly recommend it! I’m no expert and I’m still afraid to travel out of the country alone, but we all have to start somewhere. I started in Seattle because it’s a city I’ve always wanted to visit and here is how my little solo trip went.

walking 1

Booking the Flight

This spontaneous trip started because of a flash sale. I can’t turn down sales. It’s a problem. In this case, it turned out to be an adventure. A friend of mine sent me a screenshot of a flash sale on flights to Seattle. Because Seattle is one of my bucket list cities, I took about 5 minutes to decide and then booked my flight for under $200.

I recommend following this account and similar ones on Instagram: @flightsfromaustin and “Life of the Pilots Wife.” This site is only for flights out of Texas. I highly advise booking ASAP since the deals change quickly and/or could disappear.

Where I Stayed

I am a big fan or Airbnb. In 2017, I traveled to five countries in Europe and stayed in Airbnbs the whole trip. My Airbnb was located south of Capitol Hill in the Atlantic/Central District neighborhood. It was also west of Downtown and Pioneer Square. The location was perfect for me! I was able to take a Lyft everywhere, and almost all of my rides were about $10-$12.

One of the advantages of travelling alone is that you do not need a whole lot of room. Be conscious of this as you’re booking a place to stay. My Airbnb was a one bedroom apartment and it was great!

One thing I learned when searching for a place to stay in Seattle was to avoid staying in the Bellevue area. There were a lot of available Airbnbs in this location, but it just seemed too far from downtown Seattle. Airbnb is pretty precise about location descriptions when booking a place to stay, so compare the area with a map of Seattle to ensure that you’re close to the places you want to visit.


How I Got Around

As I mentioned, I took a Lyft almost everywhere unless I could walk to my next destination. I would typically just use my Maps app to gauge that. However, I would be wary of this method. Learn from my mistakes. I decided to walk from the Seattle Space Needle to Kerry Park. I’m happy to report that I did indeed make it, but it was a struggle! The walk is uphill and I was a sweaty mess by the time I finally arrived.

I also used the Seattle Link Light Rail to get between Capitol Hill and Downtown. If you’ve never used a public transportation system before, fear not! It’s easy! The map they have down at the station is simple and you can buy tickets in the machines in the same station. The best part is that it’s super cheap. You can check for fares here.

What I Did In Seattle

Okay, now for the fun stuff! Luckily for me, my colleague and close friend is from Seattle and she was so helpful in the “Fun Things To Do” department. I know, I lucked out with my own personal tour guide. I also used Pinterest to research places to go and found several helpful blog posts.

Here is an outline of what I did each day:


I was on a red eye flight that was delayed several hours so I was TIRED when I finally arrived at my Airbnb in Seattle. The first thing I did was grab a cup of coffee at a nearby shop called Broadcast Coffee. After this, I explored Capitol Hill for a few hours. Capitol Hill is an area filled with restaurants and bars. There were a lot of bars I wanted to check out, and I did so during the day. As a female travelling solo, I just didn’t want to be bar hopping alone at night or be so busy guarding my drinks that I couldn’t actually enjoy being there. You know, just fun extra precautions you have to take as a woman. These are the places I checked out and recommend:

  1. Bimbo’s Cantina – for burritos and drinks.
  2. Unicorn – the coolest! It felt like an adult carnival. I think that’s definitely the point.
  3. Canon – drinks on drinks in cool glasses/bottles/all sorts of containers. 
  4. The Elliott Bay Book Company – I’m a sucker for bookstores, and this one is a must.
  5. Lots of cute little shops in the area!

After this, I took a Lyft down to Pike Place Market. By this time, most of the shops were closed, but the views were still fun to check out.



I started my day at the same coffee shop (Broadcast), then headed to Pike Place Market. Pike Place was so busy and bustling and fun! You can easily spend a whole day here exploring. There are restaurants, book stores, shops, and farmer’s market pop-ups. After I explored for a while, I went down for more coffee to Seattle Coffee Works

Yes, I do love coffee with all my heart and soul, but I also went here to meet a photographer. Yes, that’s right. I had a photoshoot down at Pike Place Market and no, it was not as awkward as it sounds. Here’s how it went down:

Airbnb now specializes in “Experiences” as well. These are just fun things they recommend in the city you’re visiting hosted by locals. One of these experiences was a photoshoot at Pike Place Market with a group. It took me a couple of weeks to actually convince myself to do this. This may be a surprise to some, but I don’t feel particularly comfortable in front of a camera. I feel much less comfortable in a busy area and with a group of people. However, the pricing was great and since I was travelling alone, I thought who else is going to take cool pictures of me? Plus, I figured if it was a group and I was flying solo, I could meet a few people.

I booked my experience with Cameron Thomsen Photography. You can check out his Instagram page here. Cameron had the group meet at Seattle Coffee Works. Our group had about eight people, all friendly and one other was travelling solo (Yay! We bonded!) Cameron gave us a one-hour tour of Pike Place Market, throwing in some fun facts and history. His guidance for taking photos was easy and quick. Nothing awkward about it! He even sent edited pictures the very same day! This was such a fun and different experience, and I am so happy I got over my shyness to actually go through with it.

These are some of the places I visited and recommend:

  1. Golden Age Collectables – for the nerd in you. 
  2. BLMF Literary Saloon – still a nerd. 
  3. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – best mac and cheese I’ve ever had!
  4. The first Starbucks ever. Enough said. 
  5. Gum Wall – Gross but also really cool. 


After Pike Place Market, I walked down to Starbucks Reserve Roastery. It was about a 15-20 minute walk, and well worth it to check out downtown Seattle. I do love Starbucks, so this experience was also worth checking out. Across the street from Starbucks Reserve was a tattoo shop so obviously I had to get one. I know tattoos aren’t for everyone, but if you’re open to it make sure to check out Black Sparrow Tattoo

Gum 1

From here, I took a Lyft down to the Seattle Space Needle and checked out the MoPOP. I walked down the street to a dive bar/diner complete with a jukebox called The 5 Point Cafe. After this is where I made my first mistake. I decided to walk to Kerry Park to check out the views. The walk is uphill for a little more than twenty minutes in muggy Seattle weather. TAKE A LYFT, unless you’re really fit or about that life. I am neither.


One of the things I really wanted to do on my trip to Seattle was to drive out to one of the parks and go on a solo hike. Because I am a procrastinator, I waited until Friday night to attempt to rent a car to drive myself out to a park in the morning. This was a mistake. Most of the car rental places were closed on Saturdays or only open for a few hours.

sno 1

Airbnb Experiences offered really cool group hikes with a guide, including transportation. However, these were a little too pricey for me. In a desperate attempt, I checked Airbnb Experiences one more time to see if I could find a reasonably priced group hike. Lo and behold, the Universe wanted me to experience Snoqualmie Falls  because I found the perfect trip out there!

sno 2

I booked my hike the night before on Airbnb with hosts Daniel and Matt called Seattle Wine and Waterfall and they were so quick to respond! This is how it went:

Daniel picked me up at my Airbnb, along with the other guests who had booked. Everyone was picked up at their respective hotels. How freaking cool and convenient is that? Daniel drove us out to Snoqualmie Falls and stopped for a little exploring of the town before we began our hike. The waterfall and the hike were beautiful! I had never seen anything like that. I walked the hike alone while Daniel waited at the end. He let all the guests explore at their leisure. It was so relaxing. Everything was taken care of and I didn’t have a worry in the world.

We also went to a nearby restaurant for a delicious brunch and then hit up three or four wineries (I can’t remember now because the wine was flowing and it was great). Then at the end of the day, Daniel dropped me off at Capitol Hill (at my request) so I could grab some dinner before heading back to my Airbnb and calling it a night. To say that this experience was a beautiful success is an understatement.

sno 3.jpg

Mindset: What It Really Feels Like to Travel Alone

As I’ve stated, I am no expert and this was an impulsive decision to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Before my trip, I was worried about a few things. Part of me was worried that I would be bored. I do quite a bit of things alone, and yes it’s cool, but sometimes it’s boring. I can only entertain myself for so long. Being an introvert for the most part, I love kicking it with myself but even introverts need a tiny bit of socialization. Anyway, I had nothing to fear because there was so much to do and see in Seattle that there was no time for boredom. I wanted to take in as much as possible because everything was so exciting, and when I wanted to slow down and take it in I was free to do that as well. There was nobody to check in with or collaborate plans with. Just me, myself, and I and we had a lot of fun discovering Seattle and Snoqualmie Falls.

public market

I had also been afraid of feeling awkward while travelling alone. Sitting at an airport is one thing because everyone is in their own little world or travelling alone anyway, but sitting at restaurants and bars alone? Weird, right? Like, that girl is a total loner and it’s creepy that she’s eating alone. And then there were the group activities. How weird was it going to be when everyone was paired or grouped off and I’m standing there friend-less?! Again, my mind was just giving me things to panic about because I didn’t end up feeling awkward nor lonely. When I sat at bars – whether to eat or have a drink – nobody gave me weird looks or asked if I was waiting for someone. Most of the time, there was someone next to me who was also eating or drinking alone. When I went on the group activities, I met others who were travelling solo or who were extremely friendly to me. Just remember: the world is big and wide and you are so not the first person to travel alone. Nobody cares what you’re up to, so make the most of it.

It felt so good to sit with myself at coffee shops and slow the day down or open up my journal and write in the moment. It felt good to come back each night exhausted and happy. I can honestly say it helped me to know myself a little better and to overcome my social anxiety. I was just doing my thing and nobody minded! If you’re thinking about doing the same, Seattle could be the place to start.

Interview with Kimberly Avila: Qweenie of Everything

Q: You are the proud owner of Qweenie in the Rio Grande Valley. Can you describe your business?

A: Qweenie is a pop up food trailer that serves mouth watering hot dogs in an unconventional way.

Q: What gave you the idea to start a pop up food trailer?

A: Aside from my love of cooking and eating, the idea pretty much came up because I had seen some ladies one night with hot dog carts outside of some of LA’s hottest clubs. We waited in line for about an hour for a hot dog and it was the best! I noticed all the people waiting in line and [the owner of the hot dog cart] only had one hot dog on the menu. I was super impressed by her hustle. So one night, my fiancé, Bryan Nunn, and I had some friends over and as we talked outside on our Los Angeles balcony, we looked out onto the Hollywood sign and talked about our future plans, goals, and wishes. I said, “I think I’m gonna open up a hot dog cart, wear a crystallized crown, some heels, a cute outfit, and park on Hollywood Boulevard.” That silly idea never left my brain and now, here I am! Not at all how glamorous I thought it would be, but pretty close.

Q: What year did you decide to open your business?

A: Qweenie opened in the summer of 2018.

Q: Why did you decide to do so?

A: After graduating with my Bachelors in Science in 2018, I knew I was going to have to eventually pay back all my student loans and coincidentally I had also just found the cutest little taco stand that was up for sale on Craigslist. So I figured why not use my rent & bill money, along with whatever I had saved in the bank, to buy it and paint it pink.


Q: What sort of steps did you take in preparation of opening your own business? Was there a process you followed or created?

A: I kind of just dove right in. We had little tastings at our apartment with friends so they could sample some of the recipes we had created. After a while, we decided it was time to just put ourselves out there. I created an Instagram and Facebook page and started to post photos of our yummy looking hot dogs. We chose a product to stick with, went to Sam’s, bought merchandise, set a price, and opened up. The process eventually became difficult because we were then being recognized as a legitimate business. That means we had to start following the rules and requirements that come with opening a mobile good facility, but that I learned through time.

Q: What was the hardest part about opening Qweenie when you were first starting out?

A: The hardest part was trying to sell the idea of hot dogs being served in a such a “weird” unheard of way.

Q: What is the most difficult part now?

A: The hardest part NOW is keeping up with the demand.

Q: What are other challenges you faced?

A: Money. You need money to make money and having to invest every last penny I had in hopes it would pay off was extremely scary. Also, being respected as a business owner in the food industry, and meeting requirements for permits in different cities was very costly. There’s always a new challenge every week that arises, but I use it as an opportunity for growth!

Q: How did you decide on the name Qweenie? I love it!

A: Thank you! Actually my fiancé Bryan came up with the name. I originally wanted to name it the Queen of Weenies, but it seemed too long for me. I wanted it to just roll off the tongue and Bryan said, “Why don’t we combine it and call it QWEENIE?” And I instantly fell in love! It just has a ring to it.


Q: How did you get the background and skills necessary to run your own business? (For example, education and work experience that you think was relevant in the opening of your business).

A: I pretty much used all my previous experience from working retail and my direct sales experience to my psychology degree to guide me. I mean, I make mistakes. Some big, some small ones. I’m always learning, especially in an industry that I pretty much have no clue about, but I am always looking for new ways to improve my productivity. To be completely honest, I feel like aside from the hard work and persistence that is required to run a business, if you want to open a business you can. You just have to do what you can with what you have and if you believe you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, then you’re right. I didn’t have background in the food industry. I just used google, social media, and learned through trial and error.

Q: Did you have any help in opening up your own food trailer?

A: Oh, of course! My fiancé is my partner in everything Qweenie. My parents also helped so much.


Q: What does a typical work day look like for you?

A: I wake up at 9 a.m. to go to the gym. I grab a quick lunch at 11 a.m. and then we start with inventory, restocking, prepping the recipes, responding to emails and messages regarding collaborations, new customers, and catering. Then we head to our location at 4 p.m. to open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Afterwards, we clean up the floor, the walls, the fridge, the appliances, dishes, lock up, and head home around 12 a.m. Lastly, I do the daily numbers and it’s already about 1 to 2 a.m. and it’s time for bed.

Q: How do you market your business?

A: I use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Q: Whom do you seek advice from for your business? Is there anyone you look up to?

A: I don’t really have a mentor for business, but being in the business world I have met so many other business owners and I love the conversations we all have because they’re always so inspiring. We share stories, advice, and knowledge that I always internalize. I’m also obsessed with [the show] Shark Tank and self-improvement books that I turn to when I need advice.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start and run their own business?

A: My advice to anyone wanting to start a business is put yourself in a situation where failure is not an option to ensure you don’t half-ass anything.

Q: What is  your favorite part of your career?

A: My favorite part is seeing the look on people’s faces when they try our food for the first time, or how excited they get when they see the trailer, or seeing a crowd of people waiting in line to order is surreal. Being my own boss is pretty cool, too!


Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?

A: I’d tell my younger self to keep the focus on progress not perfection.

Q: Where do you see Qweenie in the next five years?

A: A Qweenie in every major city.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: If you aren’t following your passion it’s because you’re researching the wrong things. And as cliche as it sounds, life really can be as simple as creating the things you wish existed. I just want all the babes to know that falling down is an accident, but staying down is a choice.



My name is Kimberly Avila, I am 27 years old and when life hands me lemons I make chocolate cake and leave the haters wondering how I did it.


The Dry Shampoo I Cannot Live Without

I have a stupid amount of hair. I know people always think that they have a ton of hair, but really – I have an abnormal head of hair. Growing up, my mom was the typical Mexican mother that did not let me cut or color my hair and so help her God, so long as I was living under her roof, I could not dream of touching it.

My hair has almost always been long. Way down past my waist long. I cut it all off two years ago while I was studying for my bar exam. I like to joke that I was having a mental breakdown and decided to chop it off on impulse. The truth is I had been planning on cutting it for about a year. I desperately needed a change.

However, even though my hair is drastically shorter and different, the fact that I have a stupid amount of hair has not changed. I like to think of myself as somewhat of an expert when it comes to the dry shampoo area since I have tried about fifteen different brands over the past several years and I wash my hair once a week.

That’s right. I wash my hair once a week. Despite the fact that I work out and it gets sweaty. Despite the fact that it starts looking greasy as hell.

That’s where my dry shampoo comes in.

The dry shampoo brands that I swear by are Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo and Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo.

Since I was about twenty-two years old, I have been using dry shampoo to style my hair. I wish I could remember which dry shampoo brand I was using before I started using Drybar and Amika. What I do remember is that those brands were good for about one day, and then I couldn’t hide my greasy hair any longer. These days, if my scalp gets sweaty (it usually does since I do hot yoga twice a week and cardio two other days), I run water through the roots when I’m in the shower. Then I blow dry it when I’m out and spray dry shampoo away. 
However, there is a process to getting your hair to act like its clean. It takes training. That’s right. For the (normal) people who wash their hair on a daily basis, they cannot go six days solely using dry shampoo (as I like to do). This is because their scalp is used to developing oils more frequently. Look it up. There are methods to go on longer periods of time without washing your hair and it cannot happen from one day to the next. 
There is also the matter of me having naturally thick hair. Because I am full blown Mexican, it means that my hair is dark and thick. Thick hair naturally hides “grease” or “oily strands” a lot more than thin hair does.
Keeping in mind these two exceptions that allow me to go for such a long time without washing my hair, Drybar and Amika dry shampoos are still the brands I swear by. I spray it onto my roots, shake out my hair, run my fingers through it, and voila! That’s one more day I can continue on without the extra two hours it takes to wash, dry, and style my hair.



Hello everyone!

My name is Brissa and I am the owner of Dulce Soap Company.

Dulce Soap 3

Upon creating this company, I never knew I would be learning so much regarding toxic materials, ingredients, and marketing scams. Even today, I continue to learn different facets of the beauty industry and what their accommodations are to us, if any. What is toxic, you ask?

Let’s review together!

Let’s imagine that every morning you wake up and you head to the bathroom to start your morning routine consisting of: brushing your teeth, washing your face, priming your face for makeup, then finishing off with makeup. Let’s break down all of the things you may have put on yourself!

1) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

This ingredient hides in your toothpaste. It was originally used to clean floors (what?!) and is what typically causes the “foam.” This detergent can also cause canker sores.

2) Parabens
Parabens are found in a lot! These include shampoo, face wash, soap, face cream, and others. Why “parabens” is a word to freak out about: they mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt hormonal balance! In other words, some days when you are irritable, or foggy-brained even, it could be because of the face wash you are using!

3) Phthalates
This is another scary group of a toxic family; these can cause birth defects and disrupt the endocrine system. They’re commonly found in cosmetics which helps them stick to our skin or face all day. Look for these in hair spray, deodorant, and cosmetics.
I understand that as women, we can’t control our future or our growing fertility issues. However, we can start learning about things we don’t have to buy. I encourage everyone to make the switch A.S.A.P. and start using more naturally-derived products. Dulce Soap Company only sells products that are paraben, SLS, and phthalate-free. This makes it an easy transition for you to start using products and not have to “think” about what you’re putting on your skin. Remember, the skin is the largest organ, and it absorbs a crazy amount of products everyday! So be in control of your body, if you can, and make good, beautiful, and healthy choices!

Dulce Soap 2

Check out my three favorite clean beauty companies! Juice BeautyBeautycounter, and Crunchi.

Also, ask your local skincare vendors.  Most of them are full of knowledge and can’t wait to educate you on toxic ingredients!

I hope everyone has a toxic-free day!
In love and wellness,
Brissa Ytuarte Headshot
Brissa is a 29-year old creative from El Paso now living in San Antonio, Texas. She thrives off of surrounding herself with like-minded women who support each other and can share in each others’ beliefs. Brissa started making soap and candles in 2012 as a way to pass time between studies. After six years of being a speech therapist provider in the homes, Brissa sought out graduate school to be an Industrial Organizational Psychologist in the therapy and health care fields. Her ultimate goal is to use this degree to increase performance, wellness, and retention in organizations that have aspirations to continue to grow at a large scale. Brissa has been married for five years to the love of her life and doesn’t plan on having children too soon. She has three large dogs and is thinking of building a soap studio in her backyard. Having lived downtown the past three years, Brissa loves the hustle and bustle of the city and has met many artists who pop-up downtown. She doesn’t plan on ever settling in the suburbs and plans to continue to explore her creative adventures in the heart of the city.



For one quick second I thought about not posting this picture because of my lonjitas, de cariño (little rolls, out of love) but I’ll be damned if everyone doesn’t have a roll or two, especially when they sit down. I love my thunder thighs in white pants and it took me a long, LONG time to learn to love them so I’m proud of this picture. Anyway, it’s how I look all the time so que le hago?

Top: Anthroplogie

Jeans: Lucky Brand

Belt: Gucci

Bracelets: David Yurman

Watch: Omega

Rings: Crystal Works Austin

Carbon Copy Love by Briana Walters

I LOVE, love. Underneath the cynical, realist vibe I give off, I’m a sucker for a good love story and a secret (and now not so secret) hopeless romantic. With couples like Prince Harry and Meghan, John and Chrissy, Faith and Tim, KimYe… It’s easy for me to dream up what I hope my love life could possibly look like. Amirite? I want to love and be loved. Don’t we all?

But what happens when love is the opposite of everything you thought it was going to be? When it brings you hurt and pain instead of pure bliss? When your happily ever after isn’t quite the way you thought it would turn out to be?

Our view and perspective of love shapes the relationships we choose to be in. So what is authentic love?

Here is what the Bible says about love:

“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut. Doesn’t have a swelled head. Doesn’t force itself on others. Isn’t always “me first,”. Doesn’t fly off the handle. Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. Doesn’t revel when others grovel. Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth. Puts up with anything. Trusts God always. Always looks for the best. Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 msg

I’m sure most of you are familiar with this passage. At weddings, I often anticipate this scripture and repeat it with the officiant as they recite it.  However, despite the familiarity, this truly is what genuine love looks like. It’s sacrificial. It’s not all talk, but action. It’s taking the good, bad, and ugly and still wanting to be with a person. It’s dying to self for the benefit of the other person and the relationship. If our view on love isn’t rooted in the One who IS love, we can often mistake what we think is genuine love for a carbon copy.

A carbon copy is when a person or thing is a close resemblance of someone or something , but isn’t the original. It’s masked. It’s counterfeit. It might look the same, talk the same, and walk the same, but at the root it’s just a look-alike or copy, if you will.

Have you ever experienced carbon copy love? Been in what you thought was “love” then came out of it and was like, “What was I thinking?!” You thought it was the real deal, but it turned out to be a big lesson for you? When you’re in a carbon copy relationship, it’s often hard to see the truth because you’re so caught up in the person and the idea of what you think the relationship could be.

Here is what I’ve found to be signs of carbon copy love:

1. You lower your standards.

I could probably write a WHOLE post of this sign alone. I have found myself doing this numerous times. I know what I want in a significant other. I’ve made “the list” and checked it twice, but yet I find myself compromising those values to fit the person in my life. I try to justify the red flags I already see and say things like, “I think I could put up with this. It’s not too much for me to handle. They might change.” When really, I’m tolerating behavior and characteristics that go against what I want and deserve.

2. You begin to doubt your worth.

Sometimes people jump into a relationship with baggage or unhealed wounds. Healing and wholeness are important when beginning a relationship. Without them, space is left for insecurity that when unaddressed can cause friction with the person they are dating now. Then there are times when these emotions are a result of the person they are currently dating. Their actions are not matching up to their words or there’s inconsistency. You begin to think something is wrong with you or you’re not enough when really, it has nothing to do with you at all.

3. You hurt more than you are happy.

All relationships have their ups and downs, but when you can count more bad days than good, it’s not healthy. You try to hang on to the few good days you do have, but sometimes that is not enough. You try to tell yourself that love is painful when really it’s not suppose to be.

We’re often looking for quick fixes to satisfy the void of love that we’re desiring. I know this feeling. I’ve been there. But not seeking and leaning into wisdom when we’re dating or knowing when to walk away from a love that isn’t authentic can cause us to settle in something that’s temporary. We’re craving a contentment that can really only be found in Jesus. Our love story with Jesus is the greatest of all time and His love for us is eternal. It never fades or runs dry. His love for us was sacrificial and came at a cost.

I recently sat down with my pastor who spoke truth into my life. He told me something that I think people in this “waiting season” or “carbon copy love” situation need to hear:

“I am the prize. I am worth the wait. The right person will come at the right time.”

It ignited a spark in me to not settle. It’s not conceited to feel that you deserve the best. It’s not wrong for you to be picky when it comes to a significant other. Why? Because God wants the absolute best for you! His love for us is not a carbon copy so why would He want you to settle for something that is less than real?

Don’t let fear cripple you from walking away from that comfortable/familiar relationship. Don’t let society pressure you into thinking that time is running out for you to find love. Don’t let loneliness make you forget what you are worth.

You are of the utmost value. You are worth the pursuit. You deserve authentic love. Don’t settle. Don’t compromise. Keep fighting and believing that God has your best interest at heart.

I have to remind myself of this every day. I don’t know why certain relationships didn’t work out. I don’t know why I haven’t met “the one”. Perhaps God is not finished with me in this season, and maybe He hasn’t completed His work yet in you too. But what I do know is I don’t want a carbon copy love. I want the real thing. The way God intended and designed a relationship to be. You should too because “YOU ARE WORTH THE WAIT. YOU ARE THE PRIZE. THE RIGHT PERSON WILL COME AT THE RIGHT TIME.”



Original article appeared on


BW Headshot

My name is Briana, but those who know me best call me Bri. Through maturity and some experience, I’ve learned to value the life I’ve been given. I want to enjoy and share it with the people I love. I plan on living my best life and you should too! My hope is to inspire others to step out and live the life they were created to live!

Three Things You Can Do Today To Love Yourself A Little More

Isn’t it funny that as human beings we are born wanting love, and for the most part, trained to give love, and yet we have the hardest time loving the person we spend the most time with – ourselves?

For some, this isn’t a hard thing to accomplish at all. Some people are born full of self-love and self-confidence. For the rest of us, the task may be a little more difficult. I’ve struggled (still do) with feeling comfortable in my own skin. I have gone through phases in my life when I am too emotionally dependent on another person to know how to love myself alone. I have gone through dark times when I was convinced I was a bad person and a terrible human being who didn’t deserve love, let alone any good thing that came my way. I felt that I had made so many mistakes and hurt so many other people that I was not destined to find happiness. And I think the one thing that makes me the saddest, even now, is this plain and simple statement: I did not like myself.

It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I can finally say that not only do I like myself, I love me and I think I’m pretty fucking great despite some not so great things I’ve done in my life. I think the process began about three years ago, and I am just barely dismantling some of the shitty voices I’ve let myself believe.

I don’t believe there is a quick list you can follow or simple steps you can mindlessly complete that will make you love yourself tomorrow. But I do believe it starts with a small decision of wanting to change how you think about yourself. And with that in mind, I will share the three things that have made the biggest difference on my journey to loving myself in hopes that they may give you a kick-start on your journey.

1. Look at yourself as you would a child. 

This is basic self-love psychology 101, I know. I heard it and read it several times throughout the years, but it didn’t actually hit me until a few months ago when I found a picture of myself in the first grade. I’m six years old and I have a big bow in my hair and I’m smiling at the camera and I think my face looks kind of silly. It makes me laugh, but it also warms my heart. When I see this picture, I see myself but in a different light. This silly little girl with her paint splattered outfit had no idea what it meant not to like herself. She liked Cabbage Patch dolls and watching movies with her brother all night long and writing stories and going to school because it was fun. She liked glitter and roller skates and Mary-Kate and Ashley were her absolute favorite people in the world. She could never decide between Oreo’s or Chips Ahoy, so she always ate both. And somehow, throughout the years, for several different reasons, she got a little lost and started to believe she was not worth being loved.


Loving Yourself 1.jpg
I found a big, colorful frame for that picture and put it on my dresser so I can see her big brown eyes and her big round cheeks every morning when I’m getting ready and remind myself that I’m still that little girl. I would advise you to do the same. Find a picture of yourself as a child that you love and frame it in a frame that makes you happy. Then, put it somewhere you can see it every day.

As we grow up, we begin to be so hard on ourselves. We become trained to believe we are not good enough and that we aren’t good persons. But that is not true. Once you really start seeing yourself as a child, you can re-train your brain to be easier on yourself. All children make mistakes. That does not mean they are bad children. All children do bad things. That does not mean they should be punished forever as a consequence. Children are learning, and so are we as adults. We are always children. We are always learning. We shouldn’t continue to yell and berate and put ourselves down because we made a few (Several? Tons? Doesn’t matter.) mistakes in our lives. You would not yell at your little brother or tiny niece or baby cousin and tell them they’re not worth a damn thing because they did something dumb, would you? (I REALLY hope not!).

If you have trouble with this analogy, a variation is to picture your best friend instead. You would NEVER tell your best friend that they sucked or that they were ugly or that they did not deserve love. So why would you say it to yourself? Just maybe don’t frame a picture of your best friend alone and put it on your dresser. That’s creepy.
2. Affirmations – Write them everywhere. 
I am a total yoga-loving, manifesting, intention-setting freak and I will not apologize for it. I don’t care if you think affirmations are dumb because they work. How else do you expect to train your brain to believe something if not by constant repetition?

I read a book called, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteemby Nathaniel Branden. One of the affirmations Branden writes in the book is, “I choose to value myself, to treat myself with respect, to stand up for my right to exist.” Isn’t that powerful? You have a right to just exist without doing anything at all or proving anything to anyone. Now imagine how much more powerful it would be if we actually believed it. And after we believed it, practiced it.

Write affirmations everywhere and repeat them to yourself when you see them. Put them on post-its or write them on your mirror or set them as the wallpaper on your phone. Currently, I have a dry-erase board in my bathroom with the affirmations that speak the most to me right now. Every morning as I’m doing my make-up and every night as I take it off, I read those affirmations and repeat them in my head. Even if you think they are not making a difference, keep doing it. You’ll be surprised on what your subconscious picks up.
Loving Yourself 3
3. Spend time with yourself.

Like, actually do it. Learn to love spending time with yourself. You can’t fall in love with someone if you don’t actually know them. But how the hell do I actually do this, you ask. I had the same problem. Even when I was spending a night in or just having some “me” time, I would distract myself with a book or a movie or scrolling endlessly through social media. This isn’t loving yourself just because you’re chillin’ alone.

It sounds a little odd, but don’t you think you need to ask yourself questions to get to know yourself? Ask yourself what you like, what you don’t, what you hope to accomplish in your life, how you feel this exact moment. Ask yourself things you would ask someone you care about or want to know or find interesting. Ask yourself what you believe and why.

I like to do this by journaling. When I don’t know what to write, I just go on Pinterest and search something like, “Knowing yourself.” Yes, I am still aware that this sounds dumb, but be assured that links like “50 Questions To Get To Know Yourself Better” will pop up and you’ll have a ton to talk about with yourself so there are no awkward silences. You’re welcome!
Loving Yourself 2


If that’s too weird for you, then go ahead and buy yourself this journal by Meera Lee Patel. It’s a beautiful little work of art and helps you figure out just who you are.

Finally, take yourself out on dates. Do something you’ve always wanted to do alone, like going  to the movies or taking a trip or reading a book at a cool coffee shop. It sounds scary, but it’s also pretty fun not to worry about anybody else and just do your own damn thing for once. Also, if anyone has a problem with you being there alone, they probably just don’t like themselves. At least you’re working on you.