When you let the Universe know!

Recently I’ve been so obsessed with buying cook books. Now I know what you’re thinking. (“I thought you were trying to spend less to pay off your debt!?”) Well yes, but there is a small exception when it comes to learning or buying something that will better me as a baker or individual. If you read my last post “How I get Motivated” , you’d know that I am so inspired with women who have the same dreams as I do. For example Passion for Baking, Manuela’s story is so incredible to me, she followed her heart and dove right into her passion! Despite everything she was going through she never gave up on herself and her dream. Not only is her book so beautiful but the recipes are delicious!

(This was a vanilla cake roll I baked from the recipe I found in Passion for Baking.)

(This cake i made about two weeks ago, it was also inspired by a recipe found in my Passion for Baking cook book.)

The next pastry chef/ creator of beautiful treats I want to talk about is Caroline Khoo she is the brilliant woman behind Nectar & Stone. Not only is this woman so inspiring, but her work is unbelievably beautiful. Her journey has been so incredible to learn about. Getting through the obstacles of self doubt can be tough; but over coming all of it to follow your dreams is so amazing. I had the pleasure of chatting with Caroline last week over instant message through Instagram. I was able to ask her some questions about fear, following your dream, and books. She was so humble and nice. She gave me advice, and a few tips on how to make my journey a little easier. Caroline told me to make sure my debt was paid off and to give myself time to really think of what I wanted to do once the opportunity arrived. I honestly couldn’t believe that someone who I look up to so much was giving me a few tips and telling me to never give up on my dreams.

(These three pictures above were taken just this week, I was so inspired by the conversation I had with Caroline that I thought I would attempt my own twist on some eeni mini cupcakes.)

At the beginning of my baking journey I was lost. Trying to find something or someone who fit my interests, so that I can have a better understanding of how I want to be seen. But now that I’ve seen so many different bakers/ pastry chefs I can’t just pick one template and go with it. There is no right or wrong way for me to go about this. Execution is key, as long as I am being true to myself I will go where ever I want to be. There is nothing wrong with wanting something that seems difficult to acquire. There will be a moment in your life where you need to let the universe know what you want, believe in yourself, and let the pieces fall into place. It is easy to waste time on thinking you’ll never get there or it’s so hard. But I know I can’t let those thoughts win. I will leave you with these words, a quote that I always love to refer back to before I quit or let fear hold me back.

“We miss 100% of the shots we don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

What is your passion? I’d love to hear back! Please comment below with what you love and what you are doing to get what you want in life!

XO, Estephanie


(This picture used above is from @passionforbaking the latest and my favorite baking book. Where Manuela followed her passion and made her dreams a reality.)

Recently I’ve had this itch to do what I love in life and try to make a career out of it. Sound crazy? Yes I know! But this is what I love about it! It gives me a rush to know that this craziness just might work. Now I know what you are thinking, “how would you do that?”. Especially with $85K in debt! Now before you start to think I’m really insane there is something I’d love to talk about, and that is motivation.

It’s really easy for me to say I want to work on my passion and make it my career. But step one for me was always to figure out what that was. And I can’t settle on one thing. Lucky for me I don’t have to! I love to bake, cook, write, share my creativity and learn. There are so many things I’d love to do, why was I limiting myself? It has boiled down to fear. Fear is the #1 dream killer! It’s a plague, but I will no longer let it stop me. I was afraid of judgment and failure. It isn’t easy to let go of what we are thinking and just jump into what we love.

Recently I had started my “Debt Free Journey” in my “Real Talk” Series. I was afraid people wouldn’t understand why I was doing this. Along my journey I have found so many like minded people;who are on many different stages or have successfully become debt free. I think they have been my motivation. I’ve also began listening to a few podcasts but one in particular has stood out for me. It’s called “The Rich Bitch” Podcast. The Creator is Angie Lee, and she is so incredibly inspiring. This girl will really give you a kick in the ass! She will make you feel like you can take on the world! I listen to her on a daily basis. She is a Entrepreneur, Health & Wellness coach, a Business, Speaker, & Author; just to name a few! When I listen to what she has to say, I feel like she is talking directly to me. Like “HELLO!! WAKE UP!! Get your ass up and start doing what you love! It’s now or never!!”. If you are like me and are feeling a little stuck please do yourself a favor and go listen to RICH BITCH PODCAST! You can also find Angie Lee on instagram @angielee.tvgive her a follow! She’ll change your life!

Staying motivated can be so tough, but if you really want to be happy it’s all up to yourself. The lengths we are willing to go to make our dreams come true. The bigger and crazier the dream, the better! Nothing is impossible. But it all starts with the right mindset. Manifestation is key! Believe that what you want is true.

(Picture taken by me! In Santa Barbara CA.)

A few things that have helped me along the way are:

1) To Do lists.

-Keeping a list of the things I want to do as short term goals help me see how much I’ve accomplished thus far. They get me pumped to know I’m one step closer to getting where I want to be.

2) Surround yourself with like minded people.

– Their is no bigger buzz kill then having a negative energy clouding your space. It is impossible to keep haters or negativity away but when possible do so! When we grow in life, sometimes people we once let influence us just don’t fit who we are today and that is 100% ok!

3) Read!

– Growth is a key part of this adventure, so learn as much as you can on the way! Research can be so fun when on the journey to your dream life. A few books that are helping me on the way have been recommended by awesome go-getter friends! Here is a list of books I have/ want to get!!

-The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

-Crushing it! by Gary Vaynerchuk

-The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

-Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker.

This is a small list just to name a few.

4) Invest in yourself!

I think that constantly learning, and trying to better yourself is a must! Wether it be taking that new baking class, or going to a seminar, networking with others to educated yourself. This is so important in becoming the best entrepreneur you can be. I keep hearing “return on investment” and if you’ve never heard of that; it basically means… ” I’m paying $150 for this class. That is going to teach me how to decorate tiered cakes. Which in return I will be able to now offer this at my bakery for $$$ extra.” Now it isn’t about how much you pay for this knowledge but about how much you will get in return for it! And the more I think about this, the more it makes so much sense for me to invest in myself. It is such a no brainer, I get so excited to think of the endless possibilities. Learning should never stop. It’s a constant part of life, especially when running your own business.

5) Believe in Yourself!

As humans are the most judgmental creatures on the planet. But the majority of the judgement we harvest is for ourselves. Anytime we think of doing something a part of our brain picks it apart. Worried about what others will think, failure, and the what if’s that have a small percentage of even happening. It’s a constant battle of taking the plunge or staying on the safe end of the spectrum. This is really something I’ve struggled with this year, but staying aware of this has also allowed me grow. “We fail 100% of the shots we don’t take” this is something that has kept me on track. I am grateful for the advice and the encouragement I’ve received has really made me so excited. People I’ve always looked up to, people I don’t even know. It really warms my heart to have so much positivity sent my way.

These are a few tips that have helped me out through out these last few months. Yes, there are days where I feel so lost. And then there are days where I feel invincible! It isn’t always going to be cupcakes and unicorns but I’ll take what I can get! And when all else fails, I grab a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, curl up on the couch and turn on some RICH BITCH POD CAST! Seriously this Girl is amazing! She makes me way to excited! So what are you waiting for? Your dream job is waiting! That promotion is waiting! That trip you’ve been dying to take is waiting! Get it done! Consistently is the key to moving towards your dreams! Showing up is 100% your job!

I’d love to hear how you stay motivated! What is your dream job? What are your obstacles? Who is your number 1 supporter? Where do you want to be in 2 years?

Check me out on instagram @peoniesandparadise

Follow your dreams,



Real Talk: My money & where it “Was” going!

If you read my latest “Real Talk” blog post on “Budget” you’ll know I’m about $85,xxx.xx in student loan DEBT! Yes $85 THOUSAND. What the hell was I thinking!?

Well at the time I had the idea I’d go to school, open a bakery, and make a killing! BUT reality struck a little too late and I could not afford to stay in the baking biz at the time. (This is still a plan, I am working my way back into it. On my terms.) So at the time I was not making enough money to pay my car payment, let alone my student loans. So, into DEFERMENT they went. BIG mistake!

I then realized I needed to find a job that would allow me to afford my monthly expenses. At that moment I new I could not enjoy this path I was on if I was always so stressed out over my bills. So I put my big girl pants on and fortunately found myself a job that paid me enough to cover my expenses and some. So I thought.

For the past 6 years since graduating, and deferring my student loans I had this idea I’d live with my loans all of my life. Damn was I wrong! How could I be so ok with paying loans for the rest of my life!? It literally took me this long to wake up and smell the shit I’ve been sitting on for years! GIRLLL I was living it up! Spending here, buying this, getting that! With the “EXTRA” cash I thought I had…(HARD EYE ROLL)

So here I go, I’m paying this shit off. And this is my journey. BUT in the mean time where was my money going? Now, don’t get me wrong. Your girl here loves to pamper and spoil herself. So here are a few things I was literally buying on either a weekly, biweekly, or monthly schedule!


I was spending around $85-$140 every 4-6 weeks on these baby’s. And I am not going to lie, or deny that I miss this. But for now it has stopped. YES- it is totally okay to treat yourself once in a while, but unfortunately in my line of work these were literally getting stubbed, stuck, or chipped at least once a day. OUCH! So for now I’ll stick to her less expensive sister the “gel mani” with no acrylic.


Now I don’t think I’m alone on this one, but I did the math and I was spending around $210 a month if not a little more on my daily stops at the local Starbucks. And again it’s fun to have a treat every once in a while, BUT not only are they pricy but they are loaded with sugar! So we’ve invested into a Keurig and now my coffee is roughly around 30¢ a cup! What a bargain!!


Although it hurts my heart, I will no longer go to the local or any target for that matter to “look around”. And I know for a fact I’m not the only one… But I was literally going to target multiple times a week! Spending any where from $40-130 each trip! Getting things I never knew I needed and “couldn’t” go on with out! I like many others LOVE TARGET. I’ve narrowed my trips down to 1 MAYBE, 2 times a month. Only buying what I really need. No more browsing around the store. “YES! I know the dish soap is not in this isle babe. I just wanted to look at something really quick!” That won’t fly these days! I’m not going to lie, I will grab one or two items I’ve been wanting. But I now make a calculated and well thought out decision when I do make a purchase even if it’s a $20 item.

(This is my last “big” haul from target. I remember this day. I waited so long for this collection by Chip and Joanna Gains to come out. Hearth & Hand. Chip and Jo if you are reading this… I LOVE y’all!)


With tears running down my face, I must stop the madness! Just kidding… But really. Going to Sephora every Thursday ( There was a promotion where they would have a few “Hot” items on sale starting every Thursday) to say the least, was getting expensive! “Wow I never knew I NEEDED like 18 different matte quick dry liquid lip paints by TARTE!” (Side note I’m obsessed with these. NOT SPONSORED! I wish I was though, maybe I wouldn’t have spent $230 on them that day!) That was one of my many shopping trips. Love love love makeup but I needed to look at the big picture. I don’t know if I will ever go back to these extravagant weekly “treat yourself” shopping trips but for now they are on hold.

(I can feel it in my bones, I’m missing a few…)


So this one is pretty easy. Being that Albert and I work a lot and have really long commutes, we would eat out at least 3 or more times a week. Sometimes twice a day. (lunch & dinner) When I finally began challenging myself to paying off my student loans it was easy to say we needed to cut back on eating out. We’ve decided that $150 every two weeks for groceries ($40 cushion) was fair. Lunch meal prep on Sunday nights. Grocery shopping and meal planning every other Wednesday. (better sales “double ad Wednesday” at sprouts WOOT! WOOT!) I’ve also found that by doing this we eat less shitty food, and it’s not as stressful trying to figure out what we are going to eat. Personally I can see me doing this even after my debt is paid off!


This is a though one. It is way to convenient to click, pay, ship. This one has to be one of the harder ones for me. I actually used to HATE shopping online. There is something about getting to actually look and touch what you’re buying, paying for it, and getting to take it home at that moment. But something in me changed and shopping online was a next level of excitement. Especially when you get that confirmation email that “you’re order has shipped” HOT DAMN! AND I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO GET MY ASS OFF THE COUCH! Now all I gotta do is sit on the balcony, sip my tea, and watch for the delivery man/woman to bring me my goods!!! I can honestly say that for now I think about how much this item will benefit me before I buy. No more emotional online shopping. At least not as many…

Emotion plays a large roll in what we do and what we buy. But I feel like at this time I am growing more and more each day. Now, I’m not perfect and I am still learning. My budget might be off some days and I make mistakes here and there but this is strangely fun. It’s so uncomfortable and crazy but fun. I am making sacrifices today to enjoy tomorrow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks post! I am working on creating more content based on my lifestyle and passions. You’ll be seeing more and more baking/ cooking posts, debt progress updates, the good the bad and the ugly! Let me know what you think and what you’d like to see on my blog! Thank you for reading! See you back here soon!

XO, Estephanie

Real Talk: BUDGET

At this point we are all motivated to begin something great and take on 2018 in full force. By now we each have a list of all of the great things we would like to accomplish this year. May it be in your career, financially or personal goals to travel more and have fun!

It’s been 6 years now since I graduated from Culinary school. Although I can say I had so much fun while I was in school for those 2 years, I can honestly say I wish I would have been smarter! I left with an Associates Degree in Occupational Science, a Diploma in Patisserie and Baking, and last but not least $85,xxx.xx in student loan debt! Goodness! What was I thinking!?

I like many students who attended this school had dreams and aspirations of becoming an amazing chef. But fresh from high school with no knowledge or experience out in the “real world” I fell into the glitter and glamour of having an education from a “fancy” school under my belt. Needless to say, that didn’t help very much when I was on my way out and looking for a job. Yes I was given the opportunity to work as an intern for a few months in restaurants and bakeries I had always wanted to work in, but making $11 an hour only part time with almost no wiggle room to make more money was tough! Not to mention my $85+thousand dollars in student loans where about to come into repayment. I had dig myself into a hole too deep to get out of. Could I keep up with my living expenses and student loans? No, not at all. I had a car payment I could barely afford and I was living at home with my parents and I couldn’t even pay them rent! Borrowing twenty bucks for gas here and there was getting old. So, I had to make a decision. Stay at the bakery I love making $11 an hour unable to afford a sustainable fugal life. Or quit and move on to a career that can fulfill my financial needs.

So that’s exactly what I needed to do. As much as it broke my heart and made me feel defeated I quit the job I loved to move on to try to find a career that could keep my head above water so to say. I worked 2 even 3 jobs at one point to make ends meet. (at this time I still deferred my giant student loan.) I kept pushing because I knew if I worked hard enough I’d get the job I needed to survive. That’s exactly what happened, four years ago this month I started with a company that paid me $20 an hour, trained me, and continues to invest in me. Now I make $80k+ a year and I am getting back on track to pay my outstanding $85k+ in student loans that haunt my life! Hard work pays off and this road I’m on has been tough to travel but I won’t give up!

So you’re probably thinking… “Why are you still in debt with student loans?” Well good question, it wasn’t until this last year that I realized student loan debt isn’t something we have to live with all of our lives. Millions of Americans live with student debt and think it’s normal. Loan companies make it all too easy to defer loans, out of sight out of mind. While the interest just keeps accumulating and we are just digging a deeper and deeper hole for ourselves it’s almost all to easy to just pay the minimum on it and move on.

I have been so fortunate to have meet my boyfriend who is so financially responsible. He has made me realize how much more I can get out of my life once my loans are paid off. I’ve never been more excited.

As of now I have 6 FedLoans totaling $14,920.40

And 2 Parent Plus loans Totaling $70,559.60

Also I have about $2400 in credit card debt I plan to tackle this month of February. I started off the new year with a bang to show how serious and determined I am. I paid off 3 Credit cards totaling $2,494,40! I am new to this “adulting thing” and I am taking the steps I need to get to where I need to be. I am so grateful for the job i have and the advice I’ve been given. There is something about being financially independent that gives me hope and brings me so much happiness. I am proud of myself and where I am going!

I will keep you posted on my progress this month!

Where are you on your journey? What are your goals for 2018? I am open for tips and questions if you’d like to leave a comment below!


In the midst of the crazy wedding weekend I still managed to make my way to Sephora and Ulta to grab some of this summers must haves and some last minute necessities.  Now it has been a while since I last stepped foot in either of these stores, for obvious reasons. One being that I have no self control (lol) and two I don’t usually have much time to go. But given the circumstances I decide it was time. I had been wanting to pick up the HUDA BEAUTY 3D HIGHLIGHTER PALETTE since it had come out and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I am not going to lie I am super picky and wasn’t sure if it was going to give me the glow I so desperately was trying to achieve but it exceeded my expectations. This is most definitely a top pick for me and at $45 it is totally worth it!
The next item I picked up was the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner Trooper Black. This liner is amazing to say the least. It is so easy to apply with the sharp brush applicator tip. I had received this as a gift a few months back and I am so impressed with this product I always have to keep one on hand. This is easily top 5 must haves for me. 
While I was out I also picked up the Urban Decay Perversion waterproof fine point eye pen. I had been wanting to try this pen out for some time and although it was a little harder for me to apply at first. I loved how pigmented and sharp it looked once I was able to apply it. This is one of my favs now right along with the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner. I am very happy I was finally able to pick this up.
I couldn’t leave without picking up the Stila One Step Correcting and Brightening Serum I have been wanting to try this for some time now being that some of my favorite influencers have made videos using this item and it looks so fun! But not only does it correct and brighten, it also primes your skin! I will keep everyone posted on the product once I’ve had time to use it a few more times, but needless to say i  am very excited!
Now this last item was a little unexpected for me to pick up but I saw it in the impulse section right next to the register and they got me good. So good that I actually ended up buying a full size version and I am so in love with these that I cannot wait to collect the rest of these. I also feel like these are a little under rated and don’t get the recognition they deserve. Im talking about the Tarte Tarteist lip paint. I am beyond satisfied with these. I picked up Rosé and Exposed. I am so picky when I am buying makeup especially lip sticks/gloss. These are incredible! They don’t clump or stick and they are so easy to apply to your lips. And the best part is they dry quick! 

All in all I’d say that the mini haul was a success, stay tuned for more make up hauls, DIYs and fun random thoughts!