So here’s my sweet angel, my sister. She’s 11 (going on 12 in October). Now, notice she’s wearing makeup (eye liner and a bit of lip color). I’m not big on little girls wearing makeup to go out BUT we were at BeautyCon that day so I let her have a bit of makeup fun (yeah, I’m kind of strict). I was actually surprised she asked for a makeover at all. She’s very particular about what she likes, which I learned during our shopping trip to Forever 21 the day before the conference.
When she first arrived to LA, I bought her a few dresses from Target. I wasn't really sure what she liked. She didn't want to impose so she seemed happy with what I picked out. But I can tell there was something else she would've preferred but was too shy to ask. After spending several days with her, I learned that she listened to a lot of indie rock (some pop, but mostly on the rock side). When I said I was going to take her to Forever 21, she said her friend gets clothes delivered to Ecuador from that store. I thought "OK, now we're on to something." We looked around the store several times. I pointed at tops, shorts, dresses to no avail. I randomly pointed at the Rolling Stones tank and her eyes immediately lit up. She said she loves the Stones, and that she listens to a lot of their music. I started picking up on her style and what she liked and it's pretty much the 90s all over again. I think I lived in tees, Levis and a black hat all through college (mc boots and dr. marten's). So I totally got it at that point - All we needed was the hat and a bit of silver to complete the look. As you can see, she was happy and loved the way she looked when we headed to BeautyCon.
Although my sister wears a uniform to school, I think this is a good lesson in back to school shopping. Allow the kids to express themselves, collaborate in the shopping experience and let them feel that their choices matter too. Our tweens and teens notice all types of things about themselves that we just don’t get because we see them as perfect and beautiful. And as much as we tell them they’re amazing, it’s still a very awkward time. I’m not an expert in shopping with girls, I’ll admit. But my son is the exact same way. He likes what he likes, and can’t fathom much of the trends he sees today. He likes a classic suit or sweats, and that pretty much sums it up. I simply cannot get him into outfits I think would look great on him, but it’s not for me to dictate my personal style on him. Same for my sis. She looks a-dor-a-ble in a dress but a bit of edge is more her thing. I will admit, I did draw the line with makeup after that day. There’s plenty of time for that!
Hello! I took a few days off from the blog because it has been insanely busy around here. I’ve been logging off as soon as I’m done with work. I really try hard to be consistent with writing but back to school time makes it almost impossible to do anything extra. As you know, my little sister was in town and we spoiled her as much as possible. To say our farewells, we took her to her favorite place – the beach. Of all the places we visited, she enjoyed this the most. Although we did everything from art shows to amusement parks, there was nothing that could compete with the beauty of nature. She left on Monday, and I miss her already.
Another reason I was a bit MIA had to do with two things: Reflection and TMJD. It was one of those weeks where a few things dawned on me. I realized that for years I had been enabling someone and presenting them to my son as someone they’re just not. I was basically feeding them information so that my son would feel they cared (as if they were in the know on their own). The things we do for our kids even if they hurt us to do it, huh? Well, it backfired. And rightfully so. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it. And I was dragging the horse for years. Until I really, truly realized – I am enough. I don’t need to keep playing Santa for my son to create the illusion that others are just as involved as I am (which is ridiculous because I’m the one who is always there). I wonder if it’s a woman thing. Why do we feel guilty about praising ourselves? Why are we so quick to accept the back seat even though we are steering the wheel? Sure, we’d like a perfect environment for our kids where everyone gets along. But when it’s with people who are toxic to your mind and spirit, you’re doing the opposite. Since deciding to shut that door, I feel a sense of calm and peace. Saying to myself that my love and commitment is enough was absolutely freeing. However, during this thought process, my jaw started to hurt and I got splitting migraine. Coincidence? I think not. But I’m happy to say that those symptoms went away.
I’m happy that my health was pretty good when my sister was here. There was no way I could have survived BeautyCon if I had not been well. Wow! That was one crowded conference. I mean, I knew that beauty vloggers were huge but this put it into perspective. They are adored and admired by many young girls, like my sister. The day was a bit hectic but we managed to squeeze in a makeover courtesy of Shea Moisture. I am in love with the lip color I’m wearing. It’s called Kenia and it goes on like buttah, baby. So good. You have to try it. Oh, and sorry about the pixelated image. It was taken with my phone, which I also used to document our trip to Knott’s Berry Farm and share a picture of my son, who was in San Jose last week enjoying time with his Godmother. He started High School today … but that’s a whole other post. Stay tuned for that one. But in the meantime, you have to read my friend Denise’s post about raising teen boys. I read it like “Thank you! Someone had to say it!” Check it out!
This Sweet Sinnamon skirt is one of my go-to pieces when I’m in a more boho mood. The fabric is super light and the embroidered flowers add the perfect romantic touch for any occasion. The flowers are so pretty and delicate, I like to wear it with a simple white tee and neutral accessories (In fact, I’ve worn this on the blog before). I wore this to the Getty over the weekend for their Friday Flights program. It was just heavenly walking around the museum gardens at night while the sound of music echoed throughout. It may very well have been the perfect evening.
Friday also marked the day that Ford dropped off their new Fusion Energi car to test out for the week. The drive to the Getty was an awesome one where we even got to use their top of the hill parking area, which is surrounded by breathtaking views of Los Angeles. It was a new discovery for us as we’ve typically parked in their guest garage and ‘trammed’ our way to the top to see the exhibitions. Kevin and my sister have never been, so the whole experience was quite a treat for us all. I documented some of the evening on Instagram but I definitely plan on sharing more about the car. It has been very good to us so far. The weekend was packed with family activities and fun with friends so expect a few more updates this week. I hope you had a good one!
Keeping my weekly wrap-up promise. Except in this case I need to wrap up three weeks because it got so crazy around here. So. Hmmm, where to begin? How about with this plate of sausage and clams?
Not only did I go to BlogHer a few weeks ago to catch up with friends and colleagues, I also celebrated my birthday with my best friend of 31 years at Black Bird Tavern in San Jose. Actually, a few friends joined us for dinner, drinks and a bit of party time. The bestie lives up in San Jose working as a Forensic Scientist, and I wish I could see her more often. She is pretty much my other half. I mean, having a friend since the 5th grade doesn’t happen that often. My son and I miss her tremendously. In fact, he’s taking a trip up to see his Godmother in a couple weeks. While I was up in NoCal, he stayed here in LA with Kevin and embarked on a bit of guy time filled with super hero movies and a fun Ford Mustang Clay Model Event, where the guys got to see a live clay modeling demonstration.
Sports, cars and movies are on my son’s lists of interests. So much so, that he was hired to write about movies for my friend’s blog. He’s already written several posts and is working on two this weekend. I’m proud of him for taking his favorite topic and turning it into something productive. He still has much to learn about social media and how all this works, but I do feel he’s gained an understanding of what goes into telling a story about an experience, writing and meeting deadlines! (which is a bad word in teen speak). Ya, he’s only 14. But he’s very vocal and he’s a teen with lots of opinions … so this is a perfect age to teach him the power of his words and the responsibility of maintaining an editorial calendar, which helps him with organization and accountability – A skill that is so needed in high school. I just love watching him think about how to word a particular thought or concept, and then ask “hey mom, what do you think of this paragraph?” I’m all ears.
And this adorable little one is one of the reasons why it’s been extra busy. My sister. She’s visiting from South America and we’ve been dabbling in a bit of site-seeing, art projects, trips to the salon and lots of quality time. She was born in New York but raised in Ecuador in a city called Ibarra. Over the years, I’ve talked with her on the phone, Skype, Facebook and sent her her favorite clothes from the states. The distance hasn’t been easy for me after being there for her birth. She’s always on my mind. But now I have her here and I get to spoil her in person. This is also a great experience for my son, who uses a translation app to talk to her and likes to prepare milkshakes and grilled cheese sandwiches for their lunch. Even though she’s his aunt, he loves being more like a big brother. Somehow they make the communication work. In fact, they’re in the midst of a pillow fight right now so I don’t even know if this post is making any sense anymore. How my friends with multiple kids write several posts a day is beyond me! But I love it, and can’t get enough of their laughter.
Last week, I managed to get out for a few hours to check out Latino Fashion Week. This was the best picture I was able to get as I mostly shot short videos, like this a-maz-ing gown. I love, love, love Lazaro. I’ve admired his work for years. The fabrics, the drama, all of it … and to see his work live down the runway was breathtaking. We were invited by Tu Vida app to capture the event. Tu Vida is a new app created by Latinos for Latinos and Latin culture aficionados and is designed in an “ask-and-answer” format so everyone can share what they’re up to with one another. My friends and I had a lot of fun navigating through the app while checking out the gowns we want to wear.
Welp, it looks like I’m going to need to wrap this up. The kids have been teaching each other tongue twisters in English and Spanish – Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal and Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers have been on repeat as I try this typing thing. Hope you guys have a great weekend. To stay in touch, follow us on Instagram. Until next week, muses!
This harem jumpsuit has officially become my outfit for the summer. Not kidding when I say they have served me well in a pinch. Sure, they’re not easy to wear and they require a belt so I won’t look like a hefty bag. And they absolutely need heels … Otherwise, I look like a cross between Aladdin and MC Hammer with flats. But for BlogHer 14 parties, Latino Fashion Week and last night’s Beyonce and Jay Z’s concert – They’ve been beyond perfect. They’re comfortable, chic and too legit to quit (OK. I’ll stop now).
After declaring that I was going to do Friday recaps, I skipped last week and opted for Instagram. My little sister lives in Ecuador and flew in to stay with us for the rest of summer so it’s been very busy. She’s 11, and I can’t wait for you to meet her all. She will make her appearance on the blog soon enough. In the meantime, I’m working on a two week recap, which is turning out to be the mother of all blog posts but I love capturing moments and sharing them all.
I hope your week is a fantastic one! Mine is starting off with a lot of coffee. I’m so not used to getting all Bey and HOVA on a Sunday night.
This is a paid collaboration with Kikkoman and Latina Bloggers Connect. The story, opinions and pictures are all me.
In my realization that I did not raise my son with the beauty that is my (our) Latino culture (It’s been very watered down) in an attempt to assimilate myself to his prominent influence (I talk about it here), I’m bringing all the things I’ve learned to the table. Literally. Until we can make that trip to Ecuador, I’m going to replace a few meals with the ones that represent our heritage. I think food (and music) is one of the best ways to celebrate culture, don’t you? For example, my son loves fried rice, especially with Peruvian flavors. But Ecuador has their own version of this much loved Chinese cuisine called Chaulafan. It has all the flavors found in typical fried rice but with more peppers and a Latino twist.
When I agreed to be part of the #KikkomanSabor blog campaign, I knew I wanted to make this particular dish. I also agreed to work specifically with Kikkoman because I’m all for brands that have an amazing story. Kikkoman was started by a woman during a time when women didn’t start companies (17th century), and operates on the family philosophy – Isogaba maware, which means “Make Haste Slowly”. Advance and grow, but do it with tremendous thought and care. The message cannot be more perfect for me right now.
Kikkoman is a naturally brewed soy sauce that is so versatile, it goes pretty much with any type of meat or rice dish. You can use it as a marinade or condiment. It’s also great if you want to stir fry your veggies. I love switching up my greens with a boost of flavor. Yum. But if you want to go the full fried rice route, I totally recommend trying out one of the Latin American rice dishes for a different experience.
Chaulafan is very easy to make. However, it does take a bit of time to prepare (like up to two hours) so I totally recommend making this a family activity. My son helped make the chicken while Kevin diced up the onions and peppers. The recipe below is a variation of this one, which is actually really good. I really want to try this with shrimp! But then again, there are so many other Kikkoman recipes I can try.
2.5 lbs of organic white meat chicken (preferably already in cutlets)
8 cups water
1 white onion, diced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
5 cilantro sprigs
Adobo, salt and pepper to taste
Thyme to taste
Rosemary to taste
1 tbs of olive oil
2 tbs white or red onion
3 ¼ cups chicken broth (this makes all the difference)
3 cups white long grain uncooked rice
Adobo, salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 cup diced white onions
8 garlic cloves, crushed
3-4 slices of honey baked bacon (diced)
2 tbs finely chopped cilantro (to taste)
1 tbs siracha
1 tsp ground cumin
1 large bell pepper (or 2 small ones red and yellow)
1 cup cooked peas
1 cup of cooked carrots, diced
6 eggs already scrambled
10 tbs of Kikkoman soy sauce
4 tbs Worcester sauce
3 tbs finely chopped cilantro
2 handfuls of green onions, finely chopped (or more if you’re like me!)
Chicken: Bring the water, onions and celery to a boil. Add your chicken and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes to an hour or until meat is cooked and tender. Remove the chicken from the broth, set aside and save the broth. Rice: Boil your chicken broth, add your herbs, olive oil and chicken and let it simmer for about 20 minutes with low heat. While your rice is cooking, break up your chicken into small pieces. Chaulafan: In a wok, add your chopped onions, diced bacon, garlic, Worcester sauce, Kikkoman soy sauce, cumin, cilantro, siracha and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked rice, chicken and pepper. Stir well and slowly while cooking it over a medium high heat. Add your scrambled eggs, peas and carrots, green onions and mix well.
This is a compensated post in collaboration with One2One Network, Eppa Sangria and Soybu apparel. Story and opinions are all my own.
Before I tell you all about the amazing time I had at the Eppa Sangria event in San Jose, I need to say that this post is so much more than a recap. This whole event was actually a really big deal for me.
Last week, I headed up to BlogHer14 with Ana and Yolanda on a fun all girl road trip to northern California. It was the first conference I’ve been able to attend since last Fall – a few months before I was home-bound from TMJD. I missed quite a few events/conferences/trips that were already scheduled because of vertigo and the 100 symptoms I describe in this post. I cannot express how excited I was that my first trip back into the conference world was for BlogHer. Not only was it their 10th anniversary but it was also the first conference I ever attended. To kick off the weekend, One2One Network invited me to attend their #NamastEPPA party with Eppa Sangria and Soybu, who gave me the awesome yoga top and capris you see in the pic. Soybu offers versatile women’s apparel that can transition from studio to street (or party!) and offers lots of options in active and lifestyle clothing including yoga pants, athletic tops, dresses, sweaters, wraps lots more. Their clothes have a lots of fun details and are super comfy …
This leads me to the second reason why this event was a big deal. I was not able to stand straight for months without the room spinning and equilibrium issues. The fact that I can even do this pose is a miracle for me. Even more miraculous is that I was able to do to this pose after drinking, oh, about 5 sangrias by the time this picture was taken. Which leads me to the third reason why this event was special for me …
Alcohol and TMJD do not mix well, especially if you already feel tipsy 24 hours a day. But that part of the flare-up seems to be over. Thank goodness. I’m finally able to enjoy a glass of sangria. And enjoy a sangria, I did. Eppa Sangria is made with certified organic wine, certified organic superfruit juices and carries 2x the antioxidants of red wine and 3x the antioxidants of white wine, which I love.
I’m so grateful for the invitation. What a perfect way to step back into the world I cherish and love. I got see old friends, make new ones and meet bloggers who I greatly admire. With a sangria in one hand and head to toe comfort, it was a laid back, fun evening. If you want to try Eppa Sangria too, you can get yourself a bottle at Whole Foods. I promise you will love it. If you want to grab yourself a chic yoga outfit, pick your favorite and take off 25% off with this promo code: #NamastEPPA. Limit of one coupon per household. Valid through Sept. 24, 2014.
(Pics are mine and c/o of Lucrecer Braxton)
Before you scroll, I really hope you do not have an empty stomach. This post is full of delicious food that I had the honor of trying all in one sitting thanks to an invitation by the Culina Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Now, being on the east side of things when comes to LA demographics, I don’t typically drive west (unless I really have to). Yes, I’ve picked up quite a few bad LA habits since I moved here about 10 years ago. Have you ever been on the 10 at 5pm on a Friday? How about drive through downtown on the 110 around 3pm on a weekday? But I digress.
What’s worth a freeway venture any day of the week? Food and friendships. I will drive many miles for an evening of new flavors and great company. While Kevin and Mikey did the Planet of the Apes guy thing (I’m so glad Kevin is a movie buff too), I toasted to new friends and the awesomeness that is Los Angeles. As I said during Restaurant Week, LA cuisine is such a great mixture of cultures and just never gets old when it comes to culinary arts.
Culina Restuarant serves up far from ordinary modern Italian dishes. For example, their squid ink spaghetti with lobster, chorizo and calabrian chili is no regular pasta dish. The combination of ingredients and flavors made it hard to stop at just one bite. Until the Porchetta Di Maiale came along (house cured pork belly with grilled flatbread and seasonal fruit mostarda), and I couldn’t remember what else I ate prior. Because pork.
The ambiance of the restaurant was really cozy and perfect for a date, evening with friends or a large dinner party. It has a very laid back feeling, and I like that. I also want to head back and check out their Crudo Bar for an evening of raw live action slicing and dicing by one of their chefs.
And now that my son just saw this Porterhouse picture, it looks we’ll also be going back for a family dinner. He loves a good steak. I may have to order the Pollo Rustico you see at the beginning of this post. To see more from menu, check out Culina Restaurant.