Friday, May 30, 2014

Current Obsessions


It's the last Friday of the month! You know what time it is!!

Time for us to share some of the things we are currently obsessing over!

Elissa:

  • International Delights Iced Coffee: For about $4.00 you can have the creamy coffee goodness in your refrigerator at home. For the price of one frappuccino, you can get a whole carton full of iced coffee. In flavors like mocha, caramel and vanilla, just add ice and a blender and I can enjoy a sweet caffeine filled treat without having to brave the hipsters and their laptops at Starbucks! And for a fraction of the cost! 
  • Luke Bryan: the recently crowned "People's Sexist Country Man Alive", this 37 year old father of 2 has become a very big obsession of mine. From his hip shaking dance moves, his songs filled with sexy lyrics and catchy choruses, to his dazzling white perfect smile. There is nothing I don't like about this guy. The obsession is taking over the house. Even my kids are singing about catfish dinners and rolling on 35's! 
  • Tecate Light: Can you tell its getting hot over in my neck of the woods? I have 2 cold drinks on my list! The summer weather has hit in full force and that means barbecues and friends and family hanging out. I am not a really big beer drinker, but this beer is so light and the perfect ice cold drink on a hot summer day. And of course, always drink responsibly!  

Irene

  • Walmart Supermarkets: love, love, love these new supermarkets popping up all over the Southbay. It's Walmart prices combined with everything you get at a regular supermarket plus they have a great pharmacy and some home goods! They also have the best ready-to-bake garlic knots I've ever tried! Those alone keep me coming back.
  • Wedge Heels: I'm majorly obsessing. I have it all right now... multiple shoe styles in different colors, opened-toed, closed-toed. The list goes on. I find wedge heels comfy and cute. It's the kind of shoes you dress up or dress down. 
  • Lana Del Rey: I'm late to the Lana party. I know. She's been cranking out hits for quite a while, but I'm just now obsessing. I love her voice, the content of her music and the way her mellow sound actually makes me want to party. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Isla Vista

We were a little hesitant to talk about the Isla Vista incident, but this happened in a place that Irene and I both called home. UC Santa Barbara is where Irene and I met, where we spent our formative college years. It's where we started Hermanas Unidas and developed lifelong friendships. As UCSB alumni watching the news unfold was heartwrenching. I thought about this from 2 different perspectives: as a student who spent some of my best years in Isla Vista and as a parent who will one day drop my child off in a town probably a lot like Isla Vista to start her college experience. 

The last thing we wanted to do was to bring more attention to such a horrid person. We also could not ignore it. Out of this tragedy there has come so much discussion on mental illness, gun control and the role of politicians and law enforcement in helping keep the public safe. Ensuring that something like this does not become common place. 

Whose fault is this?

Some might blame the politicians. I know the father of one victim (Christopher Martinez) has called out ineffective political leadership. He's spoken to the media distraught with emotion demanding that careless politicians actually enact change - for once and for all. He's angry and he wants his only child's life to have meant something. I feel his agony, and as a parent, I understand at least for a millisecond his pain. But his pain will last a lifetime. Politicians must change his child's legacy. They should honor his life and protect others as a by-product of Christopher's 20 short years on earth. Speak to your local politicians and remind them of Christopher's life cut so tragically short. Demand change!

Some may blame the shooter's parents. Why was this young man so full of hate, so able to exist in this way and so incredibly entitled? It's speculated he was spoiled. All the spoiling in the world doesn't equate love. What was his upbringing and could it have avoided this? No use in over analyzing his life now, but let's take a closer look at our own lives. How are we raising our children? Are they compassionate, open and loved. Do they stand by a strong moral compass naturally respecting the value of all human lives? Are we fully immersed in molding their personalities? Personalities that will illustrate love not hate and give peace not fear to this world?

Some blame society. This crime was anti-women and anti-humanity. These young adults lost their lives in what famed author and filmmaker Michael Moore calls "something so American!" How can this massive shooting became our country's norm. My husband is in an emergency preparedness course this month that is meant to train professionals for earthquakes and such and yet there's an entire section devoted to massive shooting instances. This is becoming a part of American history. What a downright shame. These acts must not be expected. I refuse to let this define what it is to be America and I'll share this sentiment with politicians, my children and anyone who will listen.

Send a postcard to your elected politician by CLICKING HERE


Not one more!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Disney Price Hike

If you were planning to take a trip to the Magic Kingdom this summer you may want to take another look at your budget. As of May 18th, Disneyland has raised its ticket prices and annual pass prices. That's right, it is now even more expensive to spend a day with Mickey Mouse and friends.

If you are over 10 years old you will pay $96.00 for admission. Part of me feels like a $2.00 price hike is not that bad. But then I looked into the history of Disneyland admission. In 1982 Disneyland got rid of the ride ticket system and went to a general admission for $12.00 a ticket. So in 32 years the price has increased by 183%.

Let's think about what this increase means to Disneyland and it's profits. About 16 million people visit the park in a year. So with a $2.00 increase in tickets, Disneyland is making an additional $32 million a year. Woah!

A lot of people have been complaining and are genuinely upset about this rate increase. The increase is not a really big shock, Disneyland had been increasing its rates annually for a while now. People complained that they were spending even more money to wait in super long lines. (Rumor has it there is a 4 hour wait to see the Frozen Princesses!). Those long lines mean that the high price for a day at Disneyland is not stopping tens of thousands of people from visiting everyday.


Are you upset about the price increases? 
Will this stop you from visiting Disneyland? 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cartoon Discovery: El Tigre - The Adventures of Manny Rivera


For a parent attempting to raise bilingual children I love coming across culturally-infused cartoons. Turns out in 2007 there was a cartoon called El Tigre - The Adventures of Manny Rivera. It aired on Nickelodeon and lasted only one season but those 26 episodes have been a great treat for my almost 8 year old.

The whole first season can be purchased on iTunes or is free for amazon prime members. We stumbled upon this 'toon by accident during one of my kid's "I'm sooooo bored" rants. Before I knew it he was snuggled up next to me and we were both chuckling away at this hilarious superhero story-line. 

It's full of Spanglish one-liners and enduring terms like "mija and mijo!" The main character Manny Rivera even has a sweet sidekick named Frida! I love that this cartoon is sprinkled with very Latino names (i.e. Rodolfo, Paco) and is combined with Spanish words throughout every episode... bandido, calavera, muchacho, etc. Immediately after watching my kid was adding these words to his make-believe playtime. In the first three episodes the two leads were casually chatting about "arroz con pollo" and defeating "guacamole" monsters.

I spend most of the cartoon laughing with my kid and translating words that enhance his Spanish vocabulary, and more importantly, his ability to relate and take pride in being bilingual and of Latino decent! Sure, this cartoon only lasted one season, but it exists and that matters. If you too have a grade-schooler in need of a little bilingual cartoon action check out this adorable cartoon! 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Easy Chili Relleno Casserole


My husband's family is from New Mexico. They love sopapillas and more importantly they love green chili. My favorite green chili dish is chili relleno, but I have never been able to really master the frying, and the stuffing and dipping. Plus frying is so much work. So I was really excited when my husband found this great, EASY and yummy chili relleno casserole recipe.

Ingredients:
  • large can of whole green chili
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Yes that's really it! 

Instructions: 
  • spray a casserole dish with oil to avoid sticking
  • Drain the chilies and split them open and add a layer to your dish
  • Top with cheese
  • Continue adding chili and cheese layers
  • In a bowl mix the eggs with heavy cream and whisk.
  • Pour egg mixture over chili and cheese.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until egg mixture firms up

Friday, May 23, 2014

Someone tell me it's okay for me to like Iggy Azelea's music.

Recently I discovered Iggy Azelea's music like the rest of the world. I was stunned when I saw her body and proceeded to google her. As I read more about this Australian gal turned rapper, and watched music video after music video, I didn't quite know what to make of her.

I'm one of those fans that MUST know an artist's backstory. Iggy Azelea came to the U.S. from Australia (of all places) at 16 years old to become a rapper. Even more amazing is that she came to the U.S. without her parents. I find that so admirable AND crazy. I'll be lucky if my kids finally color in between the lines at 16. I kid, I kid. Of course I want my children to follow their dreams, but I can't imagine my daughter following them to a foreign country at 16. What a story! Knowing all of this made me want to give this gal's album a shot and what an album it is. 

I even feel somewhat self-conscious for actually enjoying it. I know, I know, what a SQUARE! This mother of three usually "rocking-out" to Coldplay, loosely "rocking-out", also likes Iggy Azelea. Here I am listening to her vulgar as all hell lyrics and loving it. Her music covers topics far from my lifestyle. Truthfully, I'd likely never listen to her music with my kids around. Hypocritical, I know. Okay, okay they can listen to one track... "Impossible is Nothing!" One day they'll get to have their own vulgar musical tastes, but this album belongs to their momma (for now).

Someone tell me it's okay for me to like Iggy Azelea's music.

In her  now popular song Fancy she talks about bringing back '88! Azelea wasn't even alive in 1988. Well I was and here I am completely into this young newcomer's rap music. Then again, who am I kidding? I grew up on rap music. I may not be able to relate to Iggy's bad b**** persona guzzling alcohol and chasing men but I can still enjoy rap music and this newfound artist, right? 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Birthday Cards

Recently Irene wrote a great post about getting back to handwritten notes.  She even suggested stocking up on greeting cards. I really should have listened to her. This is birthday week in my house. I had my Mother-in-law's birthday yesterday and today my husband and daughter share a birthday. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY LOVES!) And of course I didn't have cards, or the time to head to Hallmark and grab some.

Out of desperation I googled "free printable birthday cards" and was expecting to find cheesy cards with cheesy clip art. Instead I was very surprised to see that Snapfish has a whole section on their site for print at home options. Best yet? Free print at home options.



In just a few clicks I was able to upload my own photo and type in my own messages on some really cute and stylish cards. A quick print on some cardstock paper and I was done! Check out the cards I was able to make.....


I have used Snapfish to make really great photo books, but I had no idea they had so many more cool options. Not only can you print greeting cards, but they also have coloring pages, decorations, and even educational worksheets! Click HERE to check it out. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Give a little LOVE in the Form of Community Service

Life can be a huge undertaking of ego and self-centeredness. Whenever I feel a little overwhelmed with myself I take a look outside of me. Usually I find that upping one on one family time or being in service to a friend or family member does the trick. But what if you're still longing for something?

My husband gives the best advice and he says when someone is feeling particularly conflicted they should do one of two things: 

A. Challenge themselves! Plan to do something better in the form of a personal goal or commitment.
or
B. Look outside yourself! Give to the world without expecting anything. Think of someone or something outside of you to serve.

Plan B is particularly refreshing and here are a few ways to accomplish more fulfillment in the form of community service:
  • Letters to Soldiers: This is a fun, easy and heartfelt project! Whether in the mood to send appreciation to men and women in the armed services during a special holiday or just-because, pick up a pen and paper, and start handwriting positive letters full of gratitude. Locate your local Veteran Affairs Agency and ask for addresses that receive such encouraging letters, place your letters in an envelope, stamp, mail and voilĂ ! You're all set and feeling better for it. 
  • Neighborhood/park clean up: My hubby recently stocked up on trash bags and rubber gloves to spend an afternoon cleaning up our local park. Seems so simple but to spend time giving back without being asked or to do so for others' enjoyment feels truly rewarding.

  • Create Care Packages: Like letters to soldiers, this is another project for the entire family. Create care packages for local senior citizen homes to spread joy, or even for first-year college students living in dorms who might be feeling homesick. Even better, how about packing non-perishable meal packages for children in third world countries? Contact Feed the Children for more information on mailing food care packages to needy children & families abroad.
     There you have it! Three simple ways to give back and give more of yourself to the world! And how about paying it forward today and sharing this message on your social media networks. Who knows how many you may positively inspire through this simple message of giving back! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

But Why? Kids can ask about 300 Questions a Day

 Like most kids my girls have forced us to watch the movie Frozen many, many times. One of my favorite parts is when Anna meets Olaf and questions him and every response is "yeah, why?" This is so my 3 year old daughter. It feels like my entire day is spent answering all her questions. Her questions range from common curiosity to plain nonsense.

"Why are you wearing those shoes?"
"Why does green mean go?"
"Why do I have to wear pants?"
"Do horses talk to each other?"

Of course this is completely normal. A recent study showed that on average Moms answer 288 questions a day from their little ones. The number goes up to 390 if you are the Mom of a 4 year old girl. That's 1 question every 1:56 minutes! Plus children are 88% more likely to go to Mom with questions. Great! This means I can expect the number of questions to increase soon.  Studies have even shown that kids ask more questions during meal time, during shopping trips and during storytime. Although with my daughter her peak question asking time is in the car.

Of course this is normal and I am very thankful for Google to help me answer those questions I don't have the answers to. Like how much does a baby giraffe weigh (the answer is 150 pounds)? I can admit that there are times when the amount of questions is overwhelming and I have been known to say, "go ask Poppa" or even the popular "because I said so!".

I need to remind myself that my daughter's curiosity is good and that she is asking for knowledge. I need to remind myself that she sees me as all-knowing. My daughter is just learning about this great big world and I am her tour guide.

Do your children hit that 300 questions a day mark too? 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Say It By Mail

I'm so guilty of losing touch of personal gestures. In an era of social media I use to think that a Facebook wall post is enough. Well it really isn't. Picking up the phone and calling OR picking out a personal greeting card with a unique note added still goes a long way!


Other than the sporadic thank you card (thanks to cool kid Phi for sending a homemade postcard) we usually don't get much personal mail. Of course there's the typical birthday invitations, but even that's gone virtual. Then this last month I was showered with love.

With the combination of my father's passing and Mother's Day, I was suddenly overwhelmed by love via greeting card sentiments. To see all the kind words picked out and shared meant a lot. Every card came sprinkled with very personal words which meant even more. It was truly touching and reminded me of the value of personal gestures. 

So even though I'm such a "texter" and I live on social media, I'm making a true effort the rest of this year to "Say It By Mail!" Today I plan to scour hallmark to stockpile greeting cards. The idea of sharing a little love in a more personal way excites me, plus, it's yet another great example for my kiddos. After all, they must learn social skills go well beyond "snapchats" and group texts! 

Are you good about making the call or sending a card?
Or do you need to take the "Say It By Mail" challenge?

Friday, May 16, 2014

What Your Motivational Quotes Really Make Me Think

I love Instagram. I think it is my favorite of all the social media outlets I use and follow. I love seeing pictures of people's days, where they went, what they ate and even what they are wearing. Lately I have noticed that many people have been using their Instagram to post motivational type of quotes. I even like these but I have to admit something. Maybe people are just posting these because they liked the quote and have nothing to do with their personal lives. Yet I always read way too much into them. 

Here are some examples: 



If I see something like this I automatically think that your current significant other is totally cheating on you and I will start going through your pictures to see when the last time a picture of you guys together was taken. Maybe even go to their page to see if there is any clues there. I will ask around to mutual friends to see what is really going on. Quotes like this may start rumors that you and your significant other are heading to splitsville.



You must be clinically depressed. I had no idea, you always seemed so happy and upbeat. Since you are always happy then really you must always be sad, pretending to be happy. Should I call them, maybe refer them to a great therapist.


This one makes me feel bad about myself. You are obviously talking about me. I am the bad company. I am a horrible friend and I don't blame you for wanting to be alone rather that hang out with me. I am a horrible friend and I am sorry. I assume you will stop following me on Instagram now.


You full out called me lazy! To my face, on the internet, for the whole world to see. You know sometimes I'm tired and maybe I really, really "want it" but sometimes I just want to sit on my butt and watch some reality TV and then after that watch a little more.


First thought that comes to mind is "stalker". You have gone off the deep end and are stalking someone. You are following them around and randomly showing up where they are. You must have hidden in their closet to get this picture. 




Thursday, May 15, 2014

Exercising Just Got EASIER!

I've done it all in the department of exercise. There's the old fashion gym membership everyone likely uses in their lifetime.  I've enjoyed organized classes such as spin cycling and step aerobics (I was so about that one-two step, one-two step). I've used a personal trainer. In fact, I've used multiple trainers at once which got pricy. I've gotten into running phases where I track my runs and actually try to improve my stats. My latest effort was to actually stock up on Wii fitness games to get my sweat on. 

Truly, the list of exercise options is endless. What isn't listed above are the millions of excuses why it's impossible to workout. In today's society there's always such a need for shorter, easier, more convenient workout options. To me, working out is always possible and I've been on a mission to find out just how possible and easy it is to get in a good workout. Bringing me to my latest workout discovery... 

Last year, I accidentally purchased an Amazon Prime membership. Yes, it was an accident. The prime membership which lasts a year comes with plenty of goodies in the form of free online instant videos. My kids have enjoyed their fair share of free Disney and Nickelodeon cartoons. Lucky for me the other day I was looking up Yo Gabba Gabba and stumbled upon Yoga! 

I stopped dead in my tracks and began scrolling the endless options for instant yoga workout videos (mostly all of which are free with an Amazon Prime membership). There I was staring at the countless videos at my disposal! An annual membership costs around $70 a year and suddenly became so much more worth it. Using these videos is a great way to save on gym membership fees. You workout at home when convenient to YOU! Plus, they say mixing up your workouts leads to greater results. This assortment is sure to keep things varied! 


Yup, working out just got easier. 

I've guzzled up all the videos I could try in the last couple of days. There's my favorite Pilates routines with Denise Austin available and some fun dance workouts I'd never tried before. There's also a lot of material inspired by the biggest loser's trainer Jullian Micheals. The variety was pretty extensive: martial arts, walking routines, yoga, dance, aerobics and more.

These are just some of the free titles available: 

Clearly, there's something for all ages, fitness levels and workout preferences. If you have an Amazon Prime membership try it out! Otherwise, the annual membership might just be worth it! 

What's your favorite easy/go-to workout?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why I Love Frida

I am a Chicana with a degree in Chicano Studies with an obsession with Frida Kahlo. I know! I know! I am a total cliche. But it is what it is. My love for Frida is real and deep!

My obsession started in kind of an unusual way. When I was about 20 years old I left to Cuernavaca, Mexico to study abroad for the summer. When I landed at the airport in Mexico City my luggage was MIA. The next day, myself, a teacher and another student whose luggage had gone missing went back to Mexico City to pick up our bags. We got there very early and had a few hours to kill. The teacher who had taken us suggested we visit the "Casa Azul".

From the moment I walked into the house I felt her presence. I had never heard of Frida Kahlo before. At the time I was more interested in Diego Rivera because I knew who he was. But despite not knowing who she was, I felt her. I remember walking into the kitchen and seeing this...


...and I was hooked. From that moment on I vowed to learn anything and everything I could about this Frida Kahlo. I bought a book while in Mexico called "A Biography of Frida Kahlo" by Hayden Herrera. It wasn't until I got back home that I was able to devour the book. (This was the same book used to make the Salma Hayek movie!) When I got to the end (SPOILER ALERT!) when Frida dies and is cremated I was crying so hard that my Mom burst into my room to see what was wrong.

Frida lived a hard life filled with physical and emotional pain. She also lived a life with great overwhelming passion. I think this is why women really get her. I know for me I understood her love for a man that was not good to her or for her.  I know what it's like to be slightly obsessed with a man, to want to paint picture after picture of him. For a long time I even knew what it was like to want a baby so badly and not be able to make it happen.

So tell us do you have a Frida obsession?
Or do you not understand people's fascination with this Mexican artist? 



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Baby Products You DON'T Need


I recently had dinner with a group of old friends that consisted of mostly moms. Naturally, the conversation seemed to often come back to babies. Topics ranged from breast pumps to schooling. We even got into a debate on whether or not new moms really need to purchase a diaper genie. My vote: NO! Just get a trash can with a lid and you're set. Saves you the money and aggravation of having to buy liner refills. All bets are off whenever anything entails refills.


This got me thinking about other least useful baby products the baby industry claims are must-haves:

1. Burp Cloths: Ha! Such comedy... your bare shoulder will be your burp cloth. Okay, not really, but you don't actually need a set of cloths dedicated to when a baby burps. For me, I never actually remembered to use a burp cloth (a.k.a tiny receiving blanket). If moms are luckily enough to time burps and spit-ups just right they can always reach for a more practical and handy baby item like a baby bib, receiving blanket or wash cloth. Those you'll need and usually have more than enough of them lying around.

2. Diaper Sack/Stacker: I never actually used this functionally. It's just another decorative piece for the baby's room that doesn't get much use. Like most room decor it can be costly. I say spend the money on a decorative piece with long term value (i.e. personalized photo frames). That's a decor piece and a memento you'll actually keep for many years to come. Besides, diapers usually end up arranged in or around a changing table shelf or living in one or more diaper bags.

3. Baby Detergent and/or Water: Any water or detergent will do, really it will. Sure, clever marketing makes it seem as though these are better for your baby when they're not. For me, it just didn't make sense to buy two sets of water and detergent. Save money and time and go with what you're already using in your household, no need to switch to the supposed "baby-brand" which is usually more expensive.

4. Swaddling Blankets: These aren't worth the money either. You'll never use swaddling blankets after the first few months and you'll likely be gifted a ton of the usual receiving blankets. Babies are swaddled by the 1000's in hospitals using plain receiving blankets. If nurses swaddle to perfection without swaddling blankets, I'm sure you can too.

5. Pacifier Wipes: Run that bad boy under water and use your overstock of receiving blankets to wipe. That overstock could also be turned in burp cloths if you must have them! There's no need for specialty pacifier wipes. That's just another unessential item so feel free to skip listing it on your registry. 

These are my top five LEAST useful baby products. What are yours? 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Let's Talk Wine!


Do you enjoy a glass of wine? It wasn't until my first wine tasting trip did I discover just how good a glass of wine could taste! Walking down the wine aisle can be confusing and overwhelming! So many different names and most are hard to pronounce. Here is a little cheat sheet for you...

Lets start with white wines. These tend to be crisp, light, buttery and refreshing. You can find them dry or sweet depending on your taste. So let's get into it:

Chardonnay: this is a very light colored wine and is on the dry side. Made from the Chardonnay grape, which is the same grape that is used to make champagne. Every time I have a chardonnay I always say the same thing "it's so buttery".

Pinto Grigio: another dry white wine. Made from the Pinot Gris grape this wine tends to be a bit lighter than the Chardonnay and without that buttery taste. Very crisp and has a more fruity smell.

Sauvignon Blanc: another dry white wine made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape. This grape flavor is so intense that it is usually mixed with Semillon grapes to mellow out the taste. These wines are generally produced in France, Oregon, Washington, New York, New Zealand, Australia and of course California.

Riesling: If I am in the mood for something light, a little sweet and dry I will go for a glass of reisling. The first riesling I drank was really sweet and I expected them all to be the same. They are not. Rieslings can run from sweet to dry.

Moscato: If you are looking for a really sweet wine. Then this is for you. This is a good wine for someone who says they don't like wine. The muscat grape is sweet and flavorful. You can also find a sparking version that is a great alternative to champagne.

In our house I enjoy white wines, while my husband likes a deep bold dry red wine. So let's move on to the reds:

Cabernet Sauvignon: this nice deep red wine has a fruity and almost chocolaty taste to it. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is used as the bases for many different red wines.

Merlot:  this is my husbands favorite! He loves a good merlot. I usually can only have a small glass of this. It's so very dry. If you are looking for something to quench your thirst this is not it. The flavors are bold.

Syrah or Shiraz: you will see both names, don't let it confuse you. They come from the exact same grape. This red wine can range from mild to bold. This red wine is really great with red meats.

Pinot Noir: What is so special about this grape? Well it can only be grown in cool climates and in small crops. This of course makes this wine more rare which can make it more expensive. This smooth red is one that I can really enjoy.

Zinfandel: Yes you can find both a white and red Zinfandel, but when you see just Zinfandel that means it is a red! This grape originated in Croatia and has become a staple in California wineries. In fact California is the only place producing this wine. This is a kind of oaky wine that usually has a higher alcohol content than other wines.

So tell us! What is your favorite wine?? 

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Mother's Day Confession...

This Mother's Day I expect gifts and lots of them! I expect such thoughtful gifts I'm usually disappointed once holidays have come and gone. Let me be clear, I don't need too many gifts, but I expect a thoughtful gift accompanied by a thoughtful surprise. I know, I know... most moms say they don't need much. Most say they've already got their reward in motherhood! In my book, more rewards work for me. Motherhood alone doesn't cut it.  Plus motherhood takes so much out of you that any excuse to take a selfish day to be pampered and recognized is what this momma wants and needs. 

Truth be told, I understand one thing about myself pretty well, I know my love language. We all have different love languages. Love looks and feels differently to all of us. When we understand what love language we crave then we come to share in a more fulfilling and conscious love. HerMamas.com once did a post about Dr. Gary Chapman's book "The Five Love Languages." Pop Quiz regular HerMamas.com readers: can you name the five languages without reading further?

1. Words of Affirmation 2. Quality Time 3. Gifts 4. Physical Touch and 5. Acts of Service. 

I've always known my love language is Quality Time. If my husband spends quality time with me then that's when I feel most loved. It's my personal love language and my source of fulfillment. His love language is Acts of Service. A nice home-cooked meal goes a long way for that man. 

But then the holidays roll around and I realize my love language is a COMBO of sorts. I expect my usual dose of quality time mixed with a whole lot of thoughtful gift giving. It may sound selfish to confess that, but here's the back, back story... 

In Dr. Harville Hendrix' relationship book "Getting the Love that You Want" he discusses in great detail how the love we experience as adults is tied to our childhood and the love (or lack of love) shared between parent(s) and child(ren). So many of the book's main whole concepts resonated with me. I was able to look back on my childhood and understand that there were two defining constants. Firstly, a lack of quality time, and secondly, a huge emphasis on sharing love and big gifts over the holidays. In fact, holidays were a day to pause the usual lack of quality time and give both time and gifts to who ever was being celebrated. As the youngest of 6, I understood that pausing for holidays and giving gifts was key to being noticed and feeling love. 

As an adult I am aware, without meaning to be selfish, I crave quality time and I expect gifts. I expect what was woven into my being as a child: a desire for quality time which I lacked and to feel loved through gifts which was standard. Luckily, this need is only usually during the holidays, otherwise, my hubby would be truly BROKE.

Would you like to share a Mother's Day confession, too? Comment below!

On another note: to all the momma's, moms-to-be, and non-moms we wish you a very Happy Mother's Day shared with the ones you love, full of expressions of your love language!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Idea: Mani-Pedi in a Jar

Still looking for a cute, easy and inexpensive Mother's Day gift idea?

We found this great idea from FreebieFindingMom.com on Pinterest, a Manicure / Pedicure in a jar!

Mason jars are all the rage these days. People are using them as decorations, vases, planters and even as drinking cups. Thanks to their popularity they are easy to find.

Next you need to fill it with all the things Mom will need for an at-home manicure or pedicure. Find an inexpensive pedicure kit that comes with nail clippers, a pumice file and toe separators and some cotton balls. Then add in a couple of different summer colors your Mom will love.

Add a ribbon around the jar and attach a sweet card!

What are some of your favorite Mother's Day gift ideas?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dear Friends with No Kids, I AM SORRY!

I recently spoke at a conference to a room full of non-moms. In an audience of 40 there were two moms and here I was preparing to give a conversation on balance. My co-presenter and I couldn't wait to share our tips on balancing motherhood and life, but found there was really no need to go there. Suddenly, we were apologizing for speaking on a subject that was foreign to our audience. Even further, we ended up hearing about how us moms alienate non-moms! Uh-Oh!

This whole experience reminded me of my late-twenties! I was married by 25 and this day in age that's like saying I was a pre-teen. None of my friends could relate to my life at that point since most were single and kid-less. Naturally, they wanted to be out bar-hopping and dating - living a carefree life. While everyone raged on in the club, my husband and I were potty-training and condo shopping. We apologized one time too many for becoming boring flakes who rather nap than spend a minute out on the town! 

Today, couples are marrying (and starting families) later in life and that's great, but what if you jumped the gun like me? When those of us who journey into motherhood far before our non-mom friends there's suddenly something to apologize for all the time...


Check out this mom's hilarious apology to her non-mom friends:

HA! I crazy relate to this mom. 

Most specifically, I often go half-sies on conversations if I decide to multitask friend-time and mom-time. I've also secretly thought "Suuure, you'll be really strict with your kids." We all think that before kids, emphasis on the before. Oh and rest assured, I WILL NEVER JUDGE YOU when you get to the other side of the coin (if you even want to). Because it is truly okay to NOT want to become a mom! Though that likely means I'll FOREVER be jealous of your free-time spent napping or in Vegas at Brittany Spears concerts.

How do you relate and keep in touch with non-moms once you've been consumed by motherhood?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Full Service Movie Theaters: Yay or Nay?


Ever been to a Full-Service Movie Theater? In So. Cal there's two I'd heard about specifically: The AMC Experience and iPic Theaters. Honestly, I was looking forward to trying one out and finally got to over the weekend.

I came into this whole experience at an advantage. We had a $50 gift card to an iPic theater plus our friends had been before and suggested we give it a try during a double date. The ticket prices alone actually shocked me: $58 dollars for two premium seats. My husband quickly inquired if a foot rub and oil change was included in the cost! 

The price per ticket comes with unlimited popcorn, reclining leather seats, a pillow, blanket and full-service drink and food menu (additional cost) brought to your seats at any part of the movie. Staff were extremely friendly and attentive. There you get what you pay for. Also, the bar ambiance was inviting and hip. 

Then things took a turn...

I really, really wanted to like this place and was excited thirty minutes into it. By then I had a flavorful margarita and my feet up on the reclined leather seat. Then... the food came. First off, all food and drink options are pretty pricey. I wouldn't mind that, except the food wasn't very good. We got small, tasteless dinner options that felt more like cheap appetizers.

My husband tried the Mahi tacos suggested by our waiter and he was thoroughly disappointed.  I ordered the pizza after our waiter seemed to negate my other choices. Turns out a very "fancy-sounding" pizza was actually nothing more than overpriced cheesy bread. Their signature Bloody Mary was also a huge fail. If my memory serves me correctly that drink costs around $15 dollars.

My vote is for folks to skip the full-service experience and instead splurge on a great meal, bottle of wine and follow that up with a classic matinee. That's likely to run you around $80-$100 on a great meal and not the $150 (less $50 gift card) we spent on crummy popcorn, bad food, overpriced liquor and a movie.

Have you tried a full-service theater you liked?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Elotes! Mexican Grilled Corn Recipe


Happy Cinco de Mayo! To help you celebrate we have an easy and delicious recipe for mexican grilled corn. A great recipe that you can use all summer long!

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons of low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
  • 1 lime cut in fourths
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat.
  2. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, yogurt and chili powder
  3. Place your corn on the grill and turn occasionally for about 10 minutes total. Remove from grill.
  4. Spread your mayonnaise, yogurt chili mixture on each ear. 
  5. Serve with a wedge of lime. 

Are you making anything special to celebrate today? Leave a comment and share with us!
Have a happy and safe Cinco de Mayo! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Cinco De Mayo: A History Lesson

With Cinco de Mayo falling on a Monday this year, you may be planning to celebrate this weekend. But do you know what you are really celebrating?

HerMamas Presents: A Quick History Lesson on Cinco De Mayo

First and foremost Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day. That is celebrated in September. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the 1862 Battle of Puebla. The French Army led by Charles de Lorencez had been battling the Mexican Army, led by Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin. The French army was bigger and better equipped and by all standards should have prevailed. Instead the Mexican Army was able to overwhelm the French and won the battle near the town of Puebla. 


As you can imagine this was a big ego boost for the Mexican Army. Even though Mexico won the battle of Puebla, they eventually lost the war. Even though President Benito Juarez declared May 5th as "Battle of Puebla Day", today it is not a federal holiday in Mexico. Today there is still a re-enactment of the battle at the Penon de los Banos, a open field near the Mexico City Airport. 

And there you have it! A short history lesson on the real reason Cinco de Mayo is celebrated. Now go out and enjoy your carne asada and Corona and toast to Mexico's victory over the French! 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Teachable Moments: LA Clipper's Fiasco

If you haven't heard or seen the news about the Los Angeles Clipper's basketball team fiasco then you're likely living peacefully under a rock. There isn't much to share about this unfortunate situation other than the sad fact that Clipper's Owner Donald Sterling was outed by his own words in an audio recording where he was irate and hateful towards minorities, saying specifically, he didn't want Blacks at his games. 

The recording was truly awful. What's worst is that in 2014 we still have to encounter such blatant racism. Racism was wrong 100 years ago and it's wrong today. Racism has always been wrong. Donald Sterling was recently reprimanded for his nasty remarks by the commissioner of the NBA. The reprimand included being banned for life from the NBA and the Clipper's organization, a fine of 2.5 million dollars and will likely be forced to sell the team. Whether you agree with this consequence or not, it's sends a very strong message: hate will never win!

My son at 7.5 years old is thrilled about basketball. He is the biggest little fan there is and this unfortunate situation became a teachable moment from a sport he loves. The lessons: love over hate always prevails, acceptance is mandatory and we are all ONE race and none is better than another.

When the actual players of the LA Clippers and other teams silently protested Donald Sterlings' horrible remarks it sent another powerful message to my family, particularly my son. Whatever the issue, there is power in revolt no matter how small the protest might seem. Protesting the misconduct of one leads towards betterment for ALL! Here's yet another moment in where I get to show my son something positive from a negative situation. Watching players, leaders and celebrities across media forums stand up against such hate teaches my child something good about society. Our society is more open-minded than ever and hateful racism will not be tolerated.

Did you use this incident or other's like it to create a teachable moment for your child(ren)?