This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Prudential and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

If there is anything that I learned at the The Great Girlfriends DiMe Takeover! (#WomenInspired to Live an Extraordinary Life!) event last week, it’s that all women have the power to take charge of their lives especially when it comes to their finances. Whatever financial situation you may currently find yourself in, know this: Yes, You Can Live an Extraordinary Life! 

Listening to the women on the panel speak was so inspiring. They shared personal stories of how they struggled or managed to become successful and how all women have the power to thrive. They spoke about the power of friendship, surrounding yourself with good people, and having a positive mindset.

Each speaker had a unique story to tell. Every person in attendance could surely relate to something. One woman spoke of being raised by a single mom, another coming from an immigrant family, another of being homeless and staying strong in faith, and another of becoming an entrepreneur. But in the end, after listening to these women speak, they all had the same goal- to be the best they could be. Wether it was for their families or to inspire others- these women all are living proof that you can live an extraordinary life.

The Great Girlfriends with Piera Jolly & Cristy Clavijo-Kish of Dime Media


Favorite things I heard: 

“Peace is power.” Sheri Riley

“Be like the duck.” Christina Schelling

“It’s about we and not me.” the Great Girlfriends

“Those who have, give. Those who need, ask.” Lili Gil Valletta


My Financial Challenge Story…

I think it was Puff Daddy and Notorious B.I.G. (90s flashback!) who taught us that money equals power. Well, it does. As a woman, knowing your money and how to manage it will empower you. Growing up, my dad always provided for us. My mom stayed at home for some time but then she went back to work. I remember he used to say the money she made was for us. So, mom took us out, always bought us nice things and had us in different activities. She also had bank accounts for us and told us we couldn’t touch them until were were 18. Big mistake.

Money lesson #1…

When I turned 18, my mom handed over that bank book and gave me a debit card. It was exciting to have my own plastic. What mom left out was teaching me the importance of that money and using that debit card wisely. I worked part time and went to school. I paid my own little bills but I saved very little. I didn’t know about saving, investing, or real estate. I was pretty much clueless when it came to financial stuff.

Fast forward, I met a guy who noticed my bank slip one day and said, “wow, you have a nice savings there!” Boy, was I young and stupid. He asked to borrow money to repay a debt, he even shed some crocodile tears and I blindly lent it to him. I waited months before he payed me back and he didn’t even pay me all of the money I lent him. It was horrible. I saw my account balance get smaller every time. The next dumb thing I did was apply for a credit card. In my early college years, I ended up working only to pay credit cards.

Money lesson #2…

I finally paid everything off by the time I was 21. I was doing well, saving, paying things on time. I got married in my later 20s and my new husband had some debt of his own. Instead of investing our wedding money or saving it, I agreed to him paying off his debt with it. Another big mistake. Within a couple of years, he filled those cards back up. Because of this setback, it took us a few more years to save for a home. Ladies, don’t trust a man with money. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my grandmother, it’s save your own money and tell no one (lol). Learn to be financially independent.

Finally learning.. 

Fast forward, I had my baby girl. The first thing I did when she was born was open her a savings bank account. I also opened a CD account for her and purchased some savings bonds. It was important for me to set her up at a young age. Every year, her birthday and special occasion funds (and then some) get deposited into her account. I don’t plan to even tell her about it until after she completes college. But I have explained to her that people who don’t save money have a smaller chance of a better future and the importance of a woman having her own money.

me with my daughter

Becoming an entrepreneur… 

I went to school for Communications and minored in Media and Film but somehow, I ended up an entrepreneur. Becoming a mom made me want to be there more for my child but the thought of being a stay home mom was not for me. Photography was a big part of my life growing up even though I was often in front of the camera, I loved capturing people and cool places, too. It sort of fell into my lap- my business was built on word of mouth and within a few years, I decided to make it official. At the same time, I had started my blog- a space I could call my own and cover the things I am most passionate about. This also became a part of my business and gave me extra income here and there.

me in action

I’ve been able to be there for my daughter being my own boss, I’ve provided for her, we’ve traveled and had many neat experiences. In fact, my daughter thinks what I do is cool and plans on having own company one day (proud mommy moment). I’ve met many great people, worked with brands and had great opportunities I never imagined from all of this. And everyday, I am still learning and growing!

Most entrepreneurs can probably relate when I say, money can be tricky. There’s no weekly check or set of hours. So, you have to manage money wisely. I started my business on my own. I had a Minolta film camera with only one lens and worked my way up. Every time I got paid, I invested in new equipment or marketing materials.My greatest cheerleader has been my mom. As the ladies on the panel mentioned- good support is important. She’s cheered me every step of the way and that makes a huge difference in what my journey may have been like without that. My husband thought I was insane when I switched to a digital camera and forked over more than a thousand dollars for it. I told him it would pay itself and more. And I proved him wrong. This year, I was able to open my own studio space.

I hope my money story helps inspire you somehow. It’s not perfect, it’s full of flaws and I am still learning as I grow. As a woman, making educated decisions when it comes to finances is so important. I have many goals to fulfill and if I hadn’t made those past mistakes, I may have never learned from them. I believe everything happens for a reason and timing is everything. And after everything, I can say I am definitely living an extraordinary life. Are you? If not, what are you waiting for chica? You got this!