An article from the Mini Doc X
Written By: Rachelle C Davis with Video & Copy
How one of Austin’s most promising bloggers balances the realities of life with her relentless drive
“Everybody thinks sometimes that you live this perfect life and it’s not like that at all…everybody has their own struggles that they have to deal with.” Haide Gonzalez, 26 years old, has been passionate about fashion, health, and traveling since her teen years. In the last two years, she’s built an impressive blog and Instagram following that combines her passions and inspires others to live their best lives.
An Austin-based travel, fashion, and lifestyle blogger (Ciao Bonita), Haide has been working out since she was 14. She describes herself as very competitive, mostly with herself. Always striving to do and be better than before, her high drive eventually met its match. Haide started to experience shooting pain through her sciatic nerve (a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg).
She ignored it at first. “I thought, ‘Oh, it’s just some soreness, it’ll go away sometime.’ And then it didn’t. And it took me a few months to actually address it because I didn’t really want to accept it. I probably waited too long because I thought it would just go away and I wanted to continue to work out.”
Haide doesn’t share much about the heavy stuff on Ciao Bonita or Instagram, where she regularly posts beautiful, glamorous photos around town and in her travels. Haide has grown her thousands of followers very quickly and, true to her nature, doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. Despite the appearance that nothing can stop her, Haide has to stay increasingly aware of her body. It’s a very important message she has for others.
Haide preaches that we should be listening to our bodies. This is an ongoing practice for her, as she continues to deal with sciatic and lumbar pain. Her competitive nature is always in the back of her mind, pushing her to do more and more. She thrives in environments that push her past her physical limits…but her drive for more can be counterproductive if her body is telling her to slow down.
Where did Haide’s competitive drive come from? It’s not every day you meet people with a mindset that reminds you of Michael Jordan. Haide says it was her family life that pushed her to always achieve more. Growing up in Round Rock as the oldest of four children, Haide felt inclined to lead the way for the rest of her siblings. Haide is the first person in her immediate family to go to college.
She had a culturally rich childhood – her parents immigrated from Mexico and took some time to get used to American culture. They instilled a unique sense of discipline in Haide. Her dad spent most days managing the family business, a restaurant.
“My high school life was…school, and then go help with the restaurant.”
Haide remembers her dad’s full commitment and work ethic devoted to the business. “Sometimes when you’re a kid, running a business seems very glamorous. You don’t realize all the hard work that’s behind the scenes…so I learned a lot from it – management skills and being able to be versatile.” Haide has a spirit of gratitude for her father’s sacrifices and the real-world business education she received in high school. She didn’t realize how much she was learning back then, but she is thankful for it now.
Haide spent more time helping the family business after high school. First, she left for college. Her choice was a private university in Texas called Mary-Hardin Baylor. Singing is one of her first passions, and she began a major in Vocal performance with a focus in Opera. Haide had always been connected to her roots through mariachi music, and planned to have a career as a singer.
Haide still loves to sing, but ultimately found an outlet that expresses all of her passions…her blog, Ciao Bonita. “The blog really covers that creative side of me and really feeds that [singing, dancing]. I can still share those experiences and how I advance through those hobbies and passions through the blog.”
Fashion as a superpower
The way Haide discusses fashion, you would think she’s talking about a secret superpower. She says that people can read you just based on your attire. “People say that first impressions are everything, and they really are…I always have this mentality of you never know who you might run into and who you might want to make a lasting impression on.” For those of us who think very casually about how we dress, Haide presents an urgent call- to-action. It feels like the universe has sent someone to tell us to shape up with our outfits.
There is not a condescending bone in Haide’s body. She genuinely wants to help others look and feel good. She calls fashion “powerful” because of just how much of an impact it can have on people’s perceptions of others.
“I think it’s so important for people to understand that you don’t necessarily need a lot of money to be able to dress the part.” She has friends who blog on thrift shop clothes that she says are just as good as the designer brands. If you’re eyeing a higher paying job or wanting to move up to a new level in life, Haide has a convincing argument in favor of working on your wardrobe. She says that friends laugh at her for overdressing at events. But she firmly believes in looking the part for the job you want, and the person you want to be.
Falling in love with culture
Haide began to really fall in love with fashion while traveling through different cultures. She noticed how unique cultural dress can be and how it shows off the personalities of those who wear it. “I realized how different fashion was around the world and I already kind of used fashion as a way to express my personality. But I realized it also was a way of showing your culture.” Capturing culture is one of Haide’s chief aims with her blog, documenting her journeys through different lands. Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Italy are just a few of the places she’s visited.
The fashionista and voyager started Ciao Bonita as a way to share this part of her life with people back home. Not everyone has the money or ability to travel abroad, and Haide wants everyone she knows to have a glimpse of her experiences. The next best thing to being there is seeing all the photos and videos of someone you love enjoying an adventure.
Helping others is at the heart of why Haide has a blog. She’s always loved to read and write and wanted a committed outlet for writing. She’s had some popular posts. After writing a blog post on where to stay in Puerto Rico, she got a lot of messages about it. “It felt really good to help people who were going there and actually have valuable information for them.”
Ciao Bonita is Haide’s ultimate way of combining all of her interests – fashion, travel, and lifestyle. Eventually, she wants to focus on the blog and other business ideas full-time. Right now she balances the duties of a full- time job as a country club sales rep, staying healthy, being with family, doing a lot of photo shoots and other projects.
The small daily things that make a big difference
It’s been a learning process to scale back and slow down sometimes. “I’m learning right now to prioritize everything in my life and kind of select what is really important in this moment…I have a tendency of putting work first.” Ciao Bonita also includes lifestyle tips – representative of her own journey to balance work, travel, family, and projects. Haide wants other people to be encouraged to take small steps to improve their health and lifestyle.
Haide knows that some people feel daunted and intimidated at the thought of eating healthy and working out. But Haide thinks it’s fun and easy to just get started. “It doesn’t have to be a drastic change…even switching your snacks to almonds and maybe some jerky…things that are gonna give you energy and drinking more water. I know some people kinda say water is the answer to everything, but it really is.” A full workout isn’t always necessary – just a few stretches can make a big difference in how you feel. Haide says that consistency is key.
Haide believes that no matter where you’re at in your journey in life…including your health and fitness levels, current wardrobe, and your relationships…implementing small changes every day can make a big difference. Haide takes life day by day and encourages the rest of us to do the same. She has no plans to stop anytime soon with Ciao Bonita. She’s even working on other business ideas (she’s got a modeling agency in the works with one of her good friends).
As for her travel wishlist?
“I really want to go to Morocco or Africa…it’s really a humbling experience to visit these places and see that there’s other ways to live life and they’re happy. They’re just as happy as we are or maybe even happier.”
Haide is also itching to take a third trip to Rome, Italy…a city and culture she is in love with.
Always on the go: Haide Gonzalez wouldn’t have it any other way.