Monday, July 9, 2012


This week I am very honored again to share another real woman of inspiration.  Her name is Becky Santolamazza and she is an incredibly dynamic, beautiful, down to earth woman!  She has lived a couple of lives in her one life and has gracefully managed to move from one life to another.  What I love the most about Becky is she's salt of the earth good.  She's incredibly friendly, out going and charismatic in a very "real" way that is not often seen. (At least in these parts.)  She's the kind of person that you could call in the middle of the night and she would be there without question.  She's a business owner and a mom to 4 kids and she handles it all with ease.  I am proud to share some of her story with you.

1. Becky, one reason I asked you to participate in my series on "Real Women of Inspiration" is because I saw you jogging down the street one day with your beautiful hair flowing, no makeup and I thought, "She is so gorgeous! Who looks that good exercising?!" So my first question is, how do you stay looking so young (not that your old)? What beauty products do you use? and please don't tell us it's genetics!!

I think that more than “looking” young, I “feel” young. Living an active lifestyle and eating healthy is very important to me. However, I must confess that I love unhealthy snacks and eat dessert after lunch and dinner. Let’s just say I’m working on eating healthy…very hard… because I believe when I feel good on the inside, it radiates to the outside.  

When it comes to my beauty routine, I have a “less is more” approach and like to keep it simple. I wash my face morning and night with a gentle cleanser (I use Purpose soap, a great product my dermatologist recommended years ago and I’ve been using ever since), follow with astringent, and finish with a SPF15-30 moisturizer. On days I wear makeup, I keep it classic & simple with blush, eye shadow & liner, mascara, and chapstick – I’m addicted! Bobbi Brown makes great cosmetic products and I love her natural approach to beauty. Most of my skin care products I purchase from Avon – they have quality products at an unbeatable price, what’s not to love about that! I am very comfortable in my own skin and feel I look and feel my best by staying true to who I am – which is keeping my makeup minimal and taking care of myself.

2. I know you say you run daily and you have set a personal goal for yourself for that. Would you speak about where that comes from and why?

For me, if I set a goal, I try very hard to make it happen…it motivates me. I make my exercise routine a priority because I feel so much better when I do it. I have more energy, am more focused, and overall feel I am a better wife and mother.

The  past few years my goal has been to run 1500 miles a year…2012 I upped it to1600 miles. I plan to add 100 miles to my yearly goal until I reach age 50…only 5 years left…and then I’ll see how I’m doing. I am recognized in my the grocery store, gas station, post office…as “the lady who runs”..I guess it could be worse right? Oh yeah, and then there are those “ab” exercises…I think I’d rather run 10 extra miles a day than do 100 crunches but I am trying desperately to be faithful…they work! 

I also find my running time is a great time to pray. After about 4 miles it gets a little harder to focus but I try to give each of my 4 children a “mile of prayer”…when one of them needs a little more prayer then they get it! 

I spend about 5-7 hours a week in my exercise routine…well worth the time for the benefits you get!

3. Not to get too personal but I know your marriage to your amazing husband Luis is a second marriage, can you speak to your journey blending children from two marriages and the lessons you have learned with that? Also, I can tell you have a very successful marriage with Luis, can you speak about how you make that happen?

I was a single mom until my two older children were teenagers. I so wanted them to have the wonderful, traditional childhood that I had grown up with (dad, mom, family). Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. However, a few years into my “single parent” life, when a  friend  told me her daughter loved coming over to my house because it felt like “home”…I knew I could create that environment  even if it wasn’t the ideal “picture” I had in mind. While I didn’t have a lot of “quantity” time with them, I made sure our time together was “quality” and that kept us very close. With my second “set” of kids, I am creating a “home” with the support of my wonderful husband who is truly an amazing hand’s on dad. My boys say that “dad teaches us stuff” and “mom takes care of us”…which is just fine with me. 

I’ve had several women tell me I’ve inspired them with a second marriage and another “set” of children…my children are ages 24, 23, 7, & 6…yes, I decided to do it all over again when my kids were teenagers! They may find it inspiring…I say I am blessed! 

Marriage is never easy and it takes a lot of work but as long as two people are committed, you can enjoy a long, happy life together. It’s been nine years, not easy, tons of work, but we are committed and I must say genuinely happy!

4. You and Luis have two amazingly adorable kids, (one of which my daughter has a crush on,btw), how do you juggle your family and your very successful handmade card and memory book business, Hugs and Kisses xo?

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say juggling a family, home, and business is difficult…I am always pulled in a hundred different directions. I keep myself organized by planning ahead. I always make a weekly meal plan and then grocery shop according to that. I love to cook for my family so if I know what I’m making for dinner and have the ingredients on hand, it’s easy to put it out of my mind during the day knowing that when dinner time rolls around, I am ready to go! I’m also a big list person. Sometimes I write things on my list that I already did just so I can cross them off to feel like I’ve accomplished more! 
Prioritizing and keeping things in perspective is a must. If I have to choose between work & family, I try to ask myself what I will remember years from now….going on that bike ride with my boys or making a few more phone calls… it makes my decisions a lot easier!  Don’t get me wrong, you have to work, but time is precious and something you can never get back.

Which is one reason why I started my home based business Hugs and Kisses XO… because I wanted to be home with my growing family. I am a firm believer in loving what you do. I feel very fortunate that my business has allowed me to use my creative talents to generate money to help provide for my family…and all the while I get to be at home with a flexible schedule. I couldn’t do any of it without the help of my husband….he does all the “business” stuff. After 10 years in business, we are proud to sell our baby memory books, gift enclosure cards, and greeting cards wholesale to over 200 specialty boutiques across the US and have recently launched our own online boutique  We are looking forward to the next 10 years of growing Hugs and Kisses XO! 

5. What is your daily routine and can you share your philosophy to keep yourself looking so beautiful on the outside but more importantly your grounded and confident self on the inside? Do you meditate, follow any spiritual practice?

I love mornings so my day usually starts around 5:30 with a cup of coffee, reading my Bible and my run. After that, I am ready for whatever is thrown my way! I know…after 45 years of living…that you can’t do it all…so I make sure I get the important things done every day …and whatever isn’t done must not be THAT important – like cleaning my house! 

I think more than being happy I have joy…God has blessed me and I try to remember that every day. I had wonderful parents and grandparents who passed on their unshakeable faith in God to me and I know that with Him, all things are possible. I truly believe that and it keeps me grounded in this crazy, busy world we live in!

6. Finally through your life and the hurdles you have faced is there any one thing or couple of things you can draw on that has been the most positive influence for you?

My family and the core values that have been passed down to me through the generations inspire me every day to be a better person and to leave this world a better place. I am a religious person. I was raised and am a Christian. I read my Bible daily and am in my 3rd year of reading it from cover to cover. It never gets old. Each year something new stands out for me. This year I was reading Proverbs 16 and this verse stood out, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” …so, so true! 

I have so much energy and passion for life I like to say I will live to be 100 because there is so much I want and need to do! 

Truer words were never spoken!! Honoring our families values and traditions. Trusting in God and living each day to it's fullest.  No wonder she's so beautiful.  Both inside and out!!  

Find Becky's adorable products(shown here) on her website and follow her business on twitter!/_HugsKissesXO