February 29, 2012

Guest Post: Alejandra

February's Guest Post comes from my cousin, Alejandra, in Guatemala! She's growing up and teaching me a lesson along the way...

Life Is An Adventure
A couple of months ago, I went to a “Feria del Libro” (Book Fair) that was installed in my university. I live in Guatemala City, and this activity is a way to motivate students from San Carlos University to buy and read books. They don’t only sell new books but also used ones. I went there only to sniff around because my personal budget that day was Q15 (quetzal), which is about $2.00, not really a fortune. While I was looking at the titles I found one, by the cover I knew it wasn’t new, it was very worn out. The title was “Spark of Life” and I honestly don’t know what called my attention. Maybe, its English title – a great source to practice a language I’ve been try to dominate, English – or its irresistible price of Q10 which matched perfectly with my budget, I don’t know exactly why, but I bought it. I started to read it, it’s about people’s life in a concentration camp and their suffering during the II World War. However, the book captivated me for other reasons first of all, it was written in 1952, but I have on my hands the printing of November 1964! The book is about one century old, so when I first opened it I could smell this particular fragrance that is a mix of humidity, old age and experiences. Second, when I flicked through it I could read in the last page a stamp with an address in Puerto Rico, it belonged to someone there. It lead me to imagine the great stories and anecdotes it could tell us if it could talk, imagine all the people it has met and how many of them thought it was interesting enough to read it, imagine how many places it has visited. It was printed in USA, it belonged to someone in PR and now it’s here in Guatemala, with me. 

But why am I telling you this story about the book?? Last month I turned 22 and this is my senior year at University, so it’s a year of reflection and decisions.  I have to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life because I don’t want to waste my time or later regret not doing things, or making mistakes, but then I thought, what if do all of these things?? What if I make mistakes and lose my way??  I realized I’m afraid of growing older… But, then I just got it, growing up might be hard but also exciting because it’s sort of an adventure. I see my grandmother and my mom – Grandma’s younger version, and my older version (hopefully) - They’re women who built their characters through hard experiences, but in the battle with life they won. Growing up is like the book, it’s a compendium of experiences and moments that build you character and make you be who are. I understood that old things are beautiful too in their own particular way because each wrinkle, mark and stain are memories, good or bad they teach you something, and they are the proof that adventure exists, even in a book cover…
{Grandma and Mom}
 So I’ll try to live my life according with what I think is correct, I’ll fight my own battles if I have to, and with God’s help I hope to be able to get something good out of it. If I make mistakes, they’ll just mean a learned lesson for the future and if I get hurt, it’ll just mean I have scars to be proud of. I’m ready, are you??


February 28, 2012

Dry Shampoo Reviews

I have greasy hair.Yes, it's true, as much as I hate it and don't want to admit it, I have greasy hair. Not just greasy, but also super fine, thin and life-less hair. Plus, the ends are fried. I don't get it. 

The more I wash it the oilier the top gets and the dryer the ends become. It's a vicious cycle. It gets greasy in extreme weather too. If it's too hot or too cold...greasy. Then one day I discovered dry shampoo.

The first brand I tried was Blow Faux Dry Shampoo

$20/ 2.4 oz / No scent  
Initial thoughts after first use:
This seems to work pretty well but might be better suited for blonds, no smell so better than baby powder. Not really too impressed for something this pricey but maybe it's worth it?
Final verdict after extended use:
This thing BLOWS! As in it sucks. The nozzle stopped working half way through the bottle. I always had white residue, and it gave me dandruff. Might at well stick to the baby powder trick. I say Pass.

Then while cruising a target I found: Tresemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo, Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo, and Dove Invigorating Dry Shampoo. 

I lumped these three together because I have pretty much the same feeling about them.
Tresemme $5.29 / 5.7oz / citrus scent
Suave $2.74 / 5oz / also rather citrus-y
Dove $4.49 / 5oz / smells like dove stuff. 
Initial thoughts after first use:
Ssmells pretty. Seems to work OK...but...hmmm. Great price though. 
Final verdict after extended use:
SO NOT OK. The effect only last for a little while then you have gunky greasy hair again. Neither gave me any body and the smell ended up going away rather quickly. I felt dirty, not clean.

Tresemme: the worst offender, it left a residue and made my hair really gross, it just seemed to spread the oil. Then gave it a sticky feeling.
Suave: left white flecks and then gradually turned into the gunky look with the sticky feeling.
Dove: was probably the most decent out of the three but not by much.Took a while for the good stuff to come out of the can.

On yet another target trip I bought Umberto Dry Clean Dry Shampoo.
$8.99 / 4oz / no scent.   
Initial thoughts after first use:
OhMyGod!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This might actually work.
Final verdict after extended use:
OhMyGod!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This actually works. No residue, no white stuff (although at first yes, but then you shake it off), no funky scent, in fact, no scent at all. Gives me body and fullness and the oil is gone!! Works for at least a good 24 hours, maybe more. See photo below.

The first shot was right before I left for work, hair was clean fresh. Second shot was the next day late in the afternoon. The third shot was about 2 minutes after the second shot.

You have no idea how this has changed my life. I love Umberto, whomever he is. I am still curious about other brands so I might buy them just to try it out and compare but Umberto's has my heart and greasy hair till then. 


February 23, 2012

Bedroom Inspiration: Desk Space

Yes, the Bedroom is still "in the works." I last shared my overall inspiration but now let's get a little more specific. More specifically, my desk area. As usual Pinterest has served as the source for said inspiration more specifically my Desk Space Board.

Things to note:
1) I am obsessed with white desks apparently. 
2) Must have fresh flowers on my desk!
3) Must have art and photos on my desk!
4) I want that ghost chair!!!(the clear chair in the second to last image)

I'm almost done with my desk, but am faced with the decision of what type of chair to get. 

What do you think: A or B??


February 22, 2012

Dino Myte!

Have you ever been to the Cabazon Dinosours? You have no idea what I'm talking about do you? Well, that's OK. You see when I was a kid I saw a movie called The Wizard, towards the end there is a scene with some dinosaur statues. I became obsessed with those dinosaurs and wanted to visit them. For a long time I thought they were probably a set, sometime later I found out they are a roadside attraction. But alas, I never went.  

This past weekend, the boyfriend and I had to go to Palm Springs for my bosses b-day. Here's the thing. The dinos are on the way. I made sure The Boyfriend was all in to visit the dinosaurs. I may or may not have have been extra giddy about this visit.
We only stuck around for like 20 minutes because it was freezing and super windy! But we had a lot of fun for two grown people visiting old dinosaurs that don't do anything.

 I'm not sure what The Boyfriend was trying to get me to do here but there are like five shots of me inside of thie guys mouth.

There was a gift shop were we picked up a  "talking" dinosaur head for The Nephew but I think secretly he bought it for himself...I called him Dino Myte!

See what I mean? And one more...


February 20, 2012

Making Cake Pops

Friday night I decided to make Cake Pops. They are exactly what they sound like they would be. Pops make out of cake. It all started with this lady: Bakerella. Then everyone and their Starbucks started making/selling them. I looked over the recipe and then looked at this blog to get a better picture of the process. I went to the store and bought everything, went home and winged it. As in I just made them based of what I remembered from reading earlier in the day. They are easy to make but pretty tedious.
Lesson I learned while making Cake Pops:
  • Don't over bake your cake, you need it to be moist not dry.  I didn't over bake on purpose i just wasn't careful.
  • Use about 3/4 can of frosting not just half. 
  • Before melting the candy melts, lower the microwave temperature to low. VERY IMPORTANT!
  • Refrigerate the cake balls for at least 2 hours or 30 minutes in freezer before dipping. Not 30 minutes in fridge.
  • Dipping must be an art form, one that I am not talented in. 
  • if you start at 10pm you will go to bed really late. but you will smell like cake. 
  • 5. Next time don't just "wing it" look up directions.  Although, now I'm pretty sure I got it.
  • There is a reason they are expensive to order or buy. 
  • You will get dirty...or frosty.
  • Even with all that, they are still really, really, freaking good!
  • They are like Pringles, you cant just eat one. Or five.

Have you tried them yet? If you are interested I know a pretty cool chick that makes them, and no i'm not self promoting I really do know someone that sells them: Betty Lou!


February 16, 2012

Taco Sauce Lessons

I really should have called this post "Death By Taco Sauce!" To be clear, no one died from taco sauce. At least none that I know of. You may want to Google it. Let me explain why...

A little while ago after watching a movie with Claudia, we decided to have something to eat and what I actually mean by that is: I was craving these spicy cucumbers from Taco Dollar (a dodgy looking taco truck in my equally dodgy part of my neighborhood) and made her go with me. Taco Dollar as you might have guesed sell tacos for $1. I dont have photos from that night but here is one I found online:
Although I called it dodgy, truth is, by taco truck standards this place is pretty legit. Not sure what their official hours of business are but they are open very, very late. They also have a parking lot, a security guard, and a DVD/CD "store."

So we pulled in, parked and walked on over to order 3 chicken tacos plus an horchata for me and 1 al pastor taco for her. We perused the "store" while we waited for our order. Once they were up I immediately stacked my plate with the cucumbers and then I was faced with a choice...what sauce to use? I had 3 tacos, there we 3 sauces. I had eaten there before but always had the tacos brought to me never had to choose anything. Common sense, or maybe even a little bit of a lapse in common sense due to hunger, led me to try all three. Three sauces for three tacos, done!
I was about 15 cucumbers and 1 green sauce taco down when I felt a little bit of a burn. Nothing I couldn't handle, it was actually a nice burn. I ate the second taco (I ate them in taco sauce order from left to right) and ate more cucumbers...still enjoying my burn. Then about two bites into the third taco with the red sauce when suddenly I really felt a burn. First, on my lips and slowly on my tounge then finally in the back of my mouth... I started to feel really hot and like I couldn't breath. Never having had this type of burn before, panic settled in and I thought I was about to die. 

"Oh My God, Claudia! I can't Breathe! I can't Breath!" I may have repeated that about 10 times while I removed my jacket, scarf and rolled down the window...I felt a little like Yosemite Sam at this point. You know when you face scrunches when you eat something really sour? Well, apparently it happens to me when I eat something really spicy. So now I'm fanning myself, not breathing, my whole right side of my face is scrunched up, I'm pretty sure steam is coming out of my ears, my lips are swollen and my eye have started to water, not tear up...just full on water. I drank the horchata but it was no help. Claudia suggested I drink milk because it cures the burn. She doesn't know this, but I was thinking, "Where the *bleep* am I gonna get some milk sitting in my car in a taco stand parking lot!" Sorry, Claudia...she did however have chocolate covered popcorn in her purse. Milk chocolate covered popcorn. And yes it cured the burn! 
A few days later I told The Boyfriend this story, I expected a chuckle but instead I got a lesson, "Don't you know the rule of thumb? The redder the sauce the hotter!" Obviously, no. 

So there you have it. Two lessons in one post. 1) Redder = Hotter & 2) Milk chocolate covered popcorn = cure for spicy burn. 


February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Freebies

Last year's V-Day post I shared my view on the day and some retro cards. This year it's all about free stuff. Let's say you are 13 and can't afford a legit Valentine's day for that special someone, have I got a date for you! Or even if you are single I say go for it, it's totally doable with a friend...or stranger.

You need to start with dinner. Now here is a win win situation. Head to your local Qdoba. The deal is you kiss your valentine (or in their words "an understanding stranger" so even if single ...win win my freinds) and you get a free entree with the purchase of one. 

After Dinner you need some dessert. What better dessert than a cookie? I don't know how good their cookies are but for free I'm willing to give them a review.

You may also want to have a warm drink, it's pretty chilly out. So head on over to Coffee Bean. If I can get two Chai Latte's I'm all in. You already know I love me some CB!

Finish of the night with a romantic movie in. Or a blooody action packed adventure, what ever floats your boat! You may want to reserve your movie though, Redbox's get empty quickly!

You need a gift right? Well Bath & Body Works has got you covered! Cherry Blossom is pretty awesome. They also have a Facebook freebie.

So there you have it! There are more freebies out there for today so enjoy! Just Google them. I'm liking the Krispy Kreme one too! Speaking of Goggling stuff, how completely, awesome-ly cute is Google's Doodle for today? Pretty darn-tootin awesome! It reminded me of me an The Boyfriend. I may or may not have shed a tear.

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Stuff

Single or not it's valentines day tomorrow. Now, most couples will do something or another tomorrow but recently I've been hearing most are doing something around the date instead. Good for you, people. The Boyfriend and I have been doing that for years.

This year we spent all day Saturday together doing all kinds of different stuff: We went hiking in the morning (I dressed in one too many layers, lesson learned!), ate lunch at one of our favorite places,  took a nap (20 minutes goes a long way), played with his nephew, got into a fight, made up, went to go see The Artist where we sneaked in dinner...in my purse.

only shot of the whole day...
But come tomorrow we will probably just hang out together and exchange a gift. Which leads to the gift guide I handed to The Boyfriend.
  • A loose leaf tea infuser...
{found here}
  •  An electric kettle (wich was on the x-mas list but did not make it under the tree and for some reason I have yet to purchase it myself)
{found here}
  • Or any of the following 3 fragrances...
(D&G 3 L'Imperatrice // Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh // Clean}

Let's see what surprise awaits me tomorrow. Are you Valentine-ing on a non 14th day? If not tomorrow i got ya covered on a budget, last minute type of date or an easy way to score some free stuff courtesy of St. V. 


February 9, 2012

Brace Face

I've slightly mentioned here and there about my braces but have yet to really share the whole story.
Well, at least a short-ish version of the whole story. Ready, here we go...

I got braces at 25. To fix my crooked teeth? Nope. To fix....well this story really really starts when I was 7. One of my upper baby canine (so formal huh?) decided to not fall off, leaving my adult permanent canine floating about in my gums. Fast forward to 20 when I had my wisdom teeth pulled out (all 4 at the same time by the way...ouch) and my top teeth started to kind of open up. Weird stuff. So being without dental insurance and feeling rather vain I decided to join a friend in Tijuana where she got her braces. I would ride down with her and her sister lived right by the border in TJ, plus it would be way less expensive than getting it done here. She sold me on it, I went and next thing I knew, there I was, with braces on, with the promise of just two years and a perfect smile. Here's what the braces look like on me:
This is a very rare photo. I never smile for photos where you can see the braces. Not to mention blue eyeshadow is rare too but that has nothing to do with this story so moving on...the point point is I even forgot how to smile for photos.

All this to say that 5 years later, after moving my teeth around to accommodate for a surgical removal of my baby tooth, the pulling down of my adult version, the moving of my teeth back in place (while never looking quite the same again) the pain, the agony, the metal taste, the food stuck, the food forbidden to eat, the rides to TJ, the rubber bands and the longer than normal flossing time, THEY ARE FINALLY OFF!

Since I forgot how to smile...I present to you my teeth....sans braces...in another awkward photo series of course:. At first I wasn't sure I could do it...
( note the sweater, it's my new fave ;)

But I warmed up to it...
I want to take better shots than with an iPhone camera, weird lighting and fuzzy shots are not the best way to debut the new grill, but that will come with time. Hopefully, I remember I can smile again and if I do, I hope it's not that weird smile. Look out spinach, crest white strips and candy apples oh and regular apples too, I'm coming your way!


February 6, 2012

In the Bedroom: Inspiration

I've only been in the new apartment for 3 weeks and that already feels like a long time and like I should have something to show already! Too bad I'm not even close...

But before all that I had a tiny bedroom. Tiny is the perfect word for it. And while I tried to make the most of it, it sucked. I even tried doing a whole makeover in an effort to make me feel better in that space but it was a fail. I started and then gave up. Most embarrassingly I tried to blog about it and failed. Now I have a whole apartment to makeover. As in from scratch! From paint to furniture to well...everything!

So this time around I'm not going to create such a blogging hazard for myself and just share the progress as I go. Plus the inspiration as I go. To begin, I needed to GROUND myself. Once I got over the shock that YES, furniture is expensive and accepted the fact that NO, you are not going to find some great find at the thrift store to convert into a marvelous unique piece because it will just sit in the backyard for a year and the photos you find online of these amazing lonny bedrooms were done by someone other than you with a bigger pocket book so don't set yourself up into thinking you too can do it just the same. I will just have to go with the flow, some things may not turn out so great and some just might and others will just evolve. Here are some of my inspiration images. Note however that this is not what the final result will look like but I love these photos and they keep me going...

Oh...if only...HEY, I said Ground yourself, missy! Why, yes, I did just speak to myself on my own blog. 


February 1, 2012

How Junk Mail Leads to Shopping

I have a mail hoarding problem. I receive mail decide to open or not open and regardless of such choice I then start creating a pile. This little pile then grows and grows and one day when I finally cant' take it anymore I go through it. Between moving and accumulating and sorting stuff around, my pile was more like a giant heap of junk that was seriously becoming some kind of hazard.

The fun part is that in between all that junk I find treasures. You know, things like, money in the forms of checks (two checks, totaling $75), coupons (lots of coupons!), notices for free xm satellite radio for the next 3 months (not the first time this happens), a medical bill 90 days late (not really a treasure and will be paid with said checks mentioned above so I break even), new insurance card (my current card is only 2 months expired),  store gift cards, movie ticket vouchers, $5 in music downloads, new credit cards (just new updates for the ones I already have), membership cards, expired coupons (sad face), and gap cash cards that expired the next day.

So to the mall the next day with $30 to the Gap. Determined not to spend more than those $30 my options were seriously limited. Please excuse the awkward dressing room shots...what can I say, I think I like awkward photos.

Seriously, forgive the messy hair...this is what you end up looking when you wake up late. and then try on a bunch of clothes.

 Not much luck at the Gap but I did take that grey shirt...sweater?... and only paid a $1 for it. And right after the cashier said the words "final sale" I immediately thought "Why didn't I go to Old Navy first?" I still had $10 left so of I went to Old Navy. I should have gone to Old Navy first.

Now I have a dilemma...the dressing room understood.

So in order to stick to my budget I went home with the orange stripe shirt for $8 (score!) and some jewelry. The brown bracelets and one pink puffy ring that is so not me but it was so dam cute that it won.

So that my friends, is how junk mail leads to shopping. Check your mail, hopefully you find some money and not some bills.

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