My Favorite Things- Fall Edition

Happy Fall to everyone! This is my favorite time of year and I love that in my area the weather is getting a little cooler. Definitely helps to get into the mood of the season. I don’t know about everyone else, but fall also commences a busy time in our family. Always, seems our weekends are jammed packed with activities. With that said, I know I have neglected my blog a little bit so I decided to make a post that included a lot of things I have been wanting to write about.

12 ways to wear a scarf

In recent years I have embraced using scarves as an accessory. It really adds a pop to any outfit and also adds a finishing touch to a basic jeans and t-shirt ensemble. So if you don’t use scarves as an accessory I urge you to try it out. You can get fun scarves for under $10, just look at Old Navy or Target.

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Yes, I know this ‘anthology’ is on its third season, but the first episode of The Coven saga has left me blind sided. First of all I don’t know how Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk come up with creepy amazing twisted tales time and time again. American Horror Story is scary story telling at its best. One thing that stands true from the past two seasons is that the show always has strong amazing characters. They have a habit of leaving a mark on our minds and striking a chord with our deepest darkest fears.  I also love that the actors come back to play different roles each season. For example, Jessica Lange has been a creepy intrusive next door neighbor, an unrelenting Mother Superior and asylum warden and currently Supreme Witch. The Coven also boasts an all star-cast, Kathy Bates, Angela Basset and Jessica Lange to just name a few. This season will take us through the lore of witchcraft and voodoo of New Orleans.  If you haven’t I suggest you tune in, just remember to keep the lights on while you watch.

BACK ROW: HAYLEY ORRANTIA, GEORGE SEGAL, TROY GENTILE; FRONT ROW: SEAN GIAMBRONE, JEFF GARLIN, WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY I don’t know if it is, because I grew up in the 1980’s, but I find this show hilarious. I have a been a long time fan of Jeff Garlin ever since his Curb Your Enthusiasm days. It also reminds me a lot of my husband’s family. Not that I know how their family life was in the 80s, but it is how I imagined it. My husband has also commented that, its like watching his childhood at times. I wonder if the whole 1980’s setting will get old, but we will wait and see. I have really enjoyed the first few episodes and hope to see more.

Movie_4127_706If you haven’t seen Rush yet, run to the movie theater as soon a possible. It is the best movie I have seen all year.  Rush (directed by Ron Howard) is based on the true life 1970s rivalry of Formula One drivers James Hunt and Nicky Lauda. The movie depicts this rivalry very well. Nicky Lauda is played by Daniel Bruhl. I feel that he gives an award-winning performance. James Hunt is portrayed by Chris Hemsworth not only is he so nice to look a  but, he brings the sexy effortless swagger that James embodied perfectly. The driving sequences are pretty intense and well done, but also the human aspect of the film is just as good. Even if you don’t like car racing you will like this film. There is suspense, romance, action and some laughs. It has it all, go see it.

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Lastly, but certainly not least I want to give a shout out to my in-laws John and Joella on their 50th wedding anniversary! We had the pleasure of celebrating this momentous milestone with them and all our family this past weekend. It was really nice to see everyone and especially to have our kiddos hang out with their cousins for a weekend. Congratulations Mom and Dad!

I hope you all have a good rest of the week and remember even if life gets a little hectic, take the time to enjoy the present!

My Fav Things July 8-14

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I received a sample of Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls gel in my Birchbox last month. Over the past few years I have grown to embrace my curls, letting them loose more often (especially during the summer). Everyone’s curls are different and I normally don’t go the gel route; my curls are light and gel usually made them heavy and crunchy. Miss Jessie has changed that for me. This gel will leave your curls so light and shapely. I love it! To learn more about this product click here.

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The other day my husband brought these home from the grocery. I was at first skeptical. I love their other products (hot dogs and cold cuts), but every time I have bought a healthier version of chicken nuggets they don’t taste good, prompting a regrettable return  to the Yummy brand dino-shaped nuggets. I thought the Yummy brand was a healthier choice over Tysons and Perdue, but after reading this report, I am so glad I found the Applegate nuggets. The kids loved them! They are very tasty and have a lot of chicken meat. They really taste homemade. I have made homemade nuggets, but those have always been met with negative review from my boys.  During the summer, I feel like I am always in the kitchen making food. Weekday lunches have to be fast and easy, but somewhat nutritional. I urge you to change your home nuggets if you are buying the other crap (lets face it, its crap). If you aren’t making your own nuggets, give these a try. They are fantastic!

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Thank you to Vanessa for suggesting this show to us. During the summer, my hubby and I like to watch shows we didn’t discover in the regular season. I heard through the grape-vine that this show was great, so I am glad we have finally started to watch it. House of Cards is a political drama based off a BBC miniseries of the same name. Both are based off a novel by Michael Dobbs. House of Cards is set in modern-day Washington D.C. and follows the revenge path of scorned Congressman Frank Underwood, sublimely played by Kevin Spacey.  Along the way we meet his wife, Claire, played by Robin Penn Wright  who runs a non-profit; a young ambitious journalist Zoe, played by Kate Mara; and a down-on- his-luck Congressman Peter Russo, played by Corey Stoll. The acting is phenomenal. I encourage all of you who like political dramas to give this one a shot. You will not be surprised if you over stay your welcome in the House of Cards; you will leave wanting more! It is a Netflix original series, but I believe now you can get it on DVD. If you have Netflix streaming, you can access it with ease.

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I just love when you step out of your car when getting to the beach and getting that first whiff of sea salt air. I wish I could bottle that scent. This past Sunday my family spent a glorious day at Kure Beach in North Carolina. I would like to thank my friends (well, really they are like family) Vanessa and Matt and their families for opening up their beach house to us. There is nothing better than spending a day on the beach with loved ones, good food, drinks, and laughs.

This past week was a little hectic, so I am sorry I wasn’t able to post it on Friday. I hope you all have a great week! What some of your favorite things you have discovered recently?

I Love And Accept Myself And My Life Now…

I finally got to a yoga class this new year at the Hot Asana Yoga studio yesterday.  I was deep in a pose and saw this quote on a banner they had hanging up, “I love and accept myself and my life now.”  It rang true to how I feel now. Tomorrow, I start the journey of a new year ( I will be 36. Yes, I know it’s Groundhog’s day and please don’t ask me if I have seen my shadow). For the first time ever I am at total peace with my current station in life. I really couldn’t ask for more.  God has graciously blessed me with so many wonderful things.  I am in a loving and happy marriage with my best friend, my boys are growing up to be fine young men, I am happy with all the relationships (family and friends) I have in my life and most importantly I am happy with me.

We have the tendency to always be worrying about what is going on next. We always question how we can move on to bigger and better things. We are always looking forward. Don’t get me wrong; looking forward is a good thing. Wanting to be a better person or be in a better place is a good thing.  We should always try to improve ourselves and our life if we deem it necessary.  With that said, I feel that in looking forward and in trying to improve aspects of our lives we many times forget to live in the present. We don’t  enjoy our current station in life to the fullest.  So as I embark on my 37th year in this world, I am going to take time and enjoy the present and savor all the hard work that has gotten me to this moment!

Finding My Inner Peace in 2013

I’ve had a week to think long and hard about how I’m going to work on improving my mind and spirit better this year.  Like all moms out there, I feel that I sometimes live in constant chaos. When I do take time to sit down on the couch I feel pangs of guilt. Harried thoughts about myself rush through my mind, such as:

  • “I should be doing more.”
  • “I am not being productive enough.”
  • “I should be perfecting a new recipe.”
  • “I should be enrolling my children in some other activity.
  • “I should be planning my return to the workforce.”
  • “I should be reorganizing the linen closet or the playroom.” “I should be getting the paper work organized for something that is months away.”

There is more to this self-chastising list, as many thoughts flood my mind as I’m just trying to rest.  I have come to the realization that this constant line of thinking is not healthy. It only leads to internalized negative energy, which sometimes gets unwittingly unleashed onto my family. With that said, these are the goals that I am going to work on this year which will hopefully help in developing a better mind and spirit.

I need to snack better. What we put in our body for fuel can really effect how you feel about yourself. I feel like I started on the right path with eating better in the second half of last year. I starting using MyFitnessPal to track my eating and it really has helped with weight loss, but also seeing what I put in my mouth.  There are some days I am good about it and make good choices, but most days I don’t snack or I make a bad choice. My goal is to have 2 healthy snacks a day. One after I come back from the gym and the second one after the boys come home from school. I am also going to work on making sure the boys are eating better afternoon snacks as well.

I am going to continue to work out 6 days a week. Physical fitness contributes a lot to my inner peace. I feel like last year I reached a milestone in realizing how much working out and being physical fit contributes to my happiness and over all wellness. It has really become part of my routine. This past holiday season, I worked out all but three days of our 14 day vacation. That was a first for me to actually workout when I was away from my gym. This year, I am going to resume Crossfit  training (I tapered off after the Tough Mudder). I am going to run more. I am going to try to run 6-8 miles a week. Slowly, moving up how many miles I run at once. I can run 3 miles at once right now, by March I want to be running 5 miles.  To keep myself in check with my fitness goals. I am going to run a race in March, one in late spring/summer and then the Tough Mudder in fall.

I am going to start-up yoga again once a week.  I am going to go to with the intent to better my mind and spirit not my body. I am also going to give the meditation class a try. I really need to learn the practice of shutting off my mind.  With that said. I am going to take time out of each day with my boys and just sit and be. We will work on breathing or just sitting still with our eyes closed.  We will begin at a few minutes, but by the end of the year I want to have worked up to 10 minutes.

I am going wake up on time (not after 3 snoozes) on school days. This way I can eat a good breakfast (not skip it or just shove a banana in my mouth) and start the day calmly, not in a crazy rush. Our weekday afternoons, except for Friday’s are really hectic. My oldest has activities twice a week and my youngest has them four days a week. With helping with homework and cooking dinner, I sometimes feel like I don’t get quality time with them during the week.  This is also the time when all the craziness creates a stressful environment for us. Angry mommy also comes out during this time as well. Sometimes angry mommy isn’t warranted for the situation. This leads me to my next goal: I am not going to sweat the small things with the boys. I am only going to raise my voice when the situation warrants it.  They need to see their mom smile more during the week :).

To help with the spirit aspect of my goals, I am going to make a better effort in going to church regularly as a family.  Both boys are in Sunday school and my husband and I started attending an adult religion class as well.  We really enjoy it.  Going to church as a family is something we haven’t been doing regularly. When we have done it, it really gives me a great feeling that stays with me through out the week.

Finally, I need to mentally be nicer to myself.  Hopefully the above goals will help me with this. I need to just not think negatively about myself in any aspect.  If I need a break, it’s because I need it. It’s not because I am being lazy. If those ugly inner comments start to rear their ugly heads I need to get a pen and write down all the things I have accomplished that day. I am sure it’s more than I realize.

Overall I think I have made attainable goals that will help me become an overall better, happier person. This will not only help me, but my family as well.  What’s that old saying, “If mama isn’t happy than no one is.”  Well, this mama needs to be happier during the week so everyone else in my family can be too!  Just for the record I want to point out I am not an unhappy person, not by a long shot.  This is certainly not my intended self-portrayal. Like everyone I want to try to be the best “me” I can be and I think by doing what I stated above. I can become a better me!

What are the goals you have set for yourself this year?

Holiday Reflections

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Our winter break has really left me with a warmth in my heart that will hopefully carry on through 2013. I am blessed to have wonderful family and friends. My parents are honestly the best abuelos. They are really hands on. My mom devotes the entire time we are there to the boys. I can only hope to be that awesome when I become an abuelita (or “Tati” as my kids call her). My Dad(Toto) always has a standing movie date with my oldest. My oldest calls him his movie buddy. I know those are memories that are going to be very precious to him when he is older. During this holiday season, my husband lost his grandmother and my grandmother has been very sick. My husband and I reflected a lot on the memories we had of them. It made me realize that the visit like this one are the memories that our boys will remember of their abuelos. We were also able to make some special memories with my Sister-in-law’s family. Our Boxing Day feast and “Apple to Apples” game is one for the books! We got to see many of our close friends that we normally don’t see during this time. There are too many fun times to recount, but we are thankful for the time we got to spend with each and every one of them!

Thank you to everyone that send us a Holiday cards. As you can see from the picture above, it practically covered the door to our garage. It was so nice to see everyone’s beautiful faces as I walked out of the house. I leave the house with a smile because, we have so many wonderful people in our lives. Since we were gone for a big chunk of the holidays, I didn’t get many of your cards until yesterday (due to our stopped mail), I am going to leave them up a little bit longer to get more enjoyment out of them.

What holiday 2012 memories are you most fond of? I wish you all a great first weekend on 2013. Remember to renew and relax! xoxo

Day 3: Baby, Please Come Home

For those waiting for love ones to arrive!

An extra clip and songs for all U2 fans out there. If you scroll to minute 5, you can see the fabulous Do They Know It’s Christmas video. It has such a great showcase of the 80s fashion and all the magnificent coif’s of that time.

 

Holiday Traditions

My 4th grader recently had a homework assignment prompting him to write about his family holiday traditions. This inspired me to write about our family’s Christmas traditions on this blog. None of them are super unique or even that spectacular, but they are what makes this time special for us.

The weekend after Thanksgiving we decorate the house, buy and put our tree up. My hubby and I always set-up the tree, launching our annual “putting the tree in the stand” argument. Even though every year I make a promise with myself that I will be patient and not fight, it always ends up happening. In the end it’s worth it. Nothing beats the smell that a fresh live Christmas tree brings to the house.

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I also load up all the fabulous Christmas CD mixes my BFF makes in the car.  She makes a new one every other year. The kids and I have fun all season long singing along. The first Christmas song I traditionally listen to every year is:

I can seriously write a whole blog post on the awesomeness of this video!

My husband and I take time sometime during that weekend to watch “Love Actually” after the kids have gone to bed. We enjoy watching it with a hot cup of gluwhein (A mulled wine that is traditionally drank in Germany during Christmastime. We drank it while we shopped at the Christmas Markets).

On December 6th we celebrate St. Nicholas feast day. The boys leave their shoes out the night before and in the morning they are filled with goodies. That night I make a German meal.

The week before Christmas, we drive around and out and look at Christmas lights around our neighborhood. We also try to attend local holiday events in our town. Nothing is better than a hometown Christmas parade.

We have our big celebration on Christmas Eve. That is what I did growing up and thankfully my hubby was ok with making it our family tradition. My parents normally visit us during this time. We sometimes have friends and their families over as well. We normally go to the Children’s Mass, which is in the late afternoon. Afterwards we have our Christmas dinner. The dinner itself has consisted of many things over the years. I have cooked Italian, Salvadoran, Spanish, and American. I like it to be different every year. This year, we are leaning towards surf and turf. After dinner, we open family gifts.

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We then watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” while enjoying dessert.

Before we put the boys to bed, we sprinkle reindeer food on our front yard and put out Santa’s treat. We have started to leave him whatever we had for dessert. We figure having cookies a billion times in one night can get old. Last year, he had Guinness chocolate cake and the year before flan.  My hubby then reads them T’was the Night Before Christmas. Once they  are dreaming of vision of sugar plums, Santa’s elves go to work (powered by festive libations, of course). Our Santa does not wrap; all the toys are ready for play. SO whatever their presents are, they must be in working order and have batteries in the morning. A few years it has been a breeze, but the Playmobil Christmas year was really a pain, especially once the said libations kicked in!  The year Santa brought the life-like cardboard bricks was also hard. I was surprised all 60 of them fit in such a small box. Silly me! They had to be put together!!!

Christmas morning is very low-key in our household. We have a nice light breakfast and we really just watch the kids play with their presents. We also don’t travel on this day, no matter what. That is the only rule my hubby has during the holidays. During his childhood they did a lot of traveling on Christmas Day. He hated that he didn’t get a chance to really enjoy his presents that morning. He doesn’t want our boys to have to go through that frustration. We spend the rest of the day eating leftovers and hanging out. If my parents are visiting, my hubby and I sometimes sneak out to the movies. Some years we have gone to friends houses for lunch and dinner.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this year we will be surrounded by a lot of friends and family that we normally don’t see during this time of year. I am so excited for all the new memories and possibly new traditions that we will make this year.

What are your favorite Holiday family traditions?