Thursday, February 28, 2013

Food Hates

I am always so curious about what foods people hate. Literally, it's one of my favorite conversations. Isn't it interesting? As for me, I have three things on my HELL NO NEVER list:

MEAT OF ANY KIND 

MUSHROOMS OF ANY KIND

MAYONNAISE

These three things make me shudder in horror. Especially the last one. I don't know whether something traumatizing happened to me early in life involving mayonnaise or what, but I am telling you, it is the stuff of nightmares for me. I hate looking at it, thinking about it, or God forbid smelling or touching it. 

Satisfy my curiosity: are there any foods you hate/refuse to eat? Tell me in the comments! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sad Mac

You know the "Sad Mac" episode of Sex and the City where Carrie's computer dies? Well, last week, I lived that episode. Except my boyfriend doesn't have enough money to buy me a brand new laptop.


Last Thursday afternoon, I was babysitting Milo and Jude. I had my computer open on the dining room table and there was a glass of water in its nearby vicinity. Milo, reaching for something, knocked the glass of water onto my computer and the water poured straight into my keyboard. He said "Sorry!" and ran off to play with his toys . . . how nice it must be to be 4 years old and have no concept of the vast consequences of innocent mistakes. 

I did everything everyone suggested: turned it off immediately, put it in a sealed container with rice, etc. But when I took it to the Apple store the next day, they delivered devastating news: the damage is extensive and while I'm lucky that it will turn on so I can retrieve my hard drive, the computer itself is shot.

I gave myself a mental break this weekend (as much as I could) and tried not to think about it too much, but now that the work week has started, I have to figure something out. I'm using my roommate's computer to write this post and to do some makeshift work, but I have to figure out a permanent solution soon. I have another appointment at the Apple store today, and I plan to spend some time this evening taking pictures of my designer shoes so I can sell them on Ebay in hopes of funding a new computer. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

March (travel) Madness

Before I get into today's post, I want to thank all of you for your incredible responses to this one. Your generosity made me want to cry, and I got the cutest text messages from my mama about how she was experiencing so much joy and gratitude for each one of you who donated (or is sending her positive vibes!). And Lauren W--please email me! I saw your comment and donation and I want to thank you, but I can't find a link and/or an email address for you. Everyone else, emails from me are coming . . . you guys are the best. 

And thanks to each of you, my mama is up to $1770! So much closer to her $2500 goal, and she has until May to do so. I can't thank you enough. Yesterday, a friend who donated shared with me that her 12 year old cousin has been diagnosed with cancer, and it just reaffirmed for me why this is all so important. The more money they raise, the more research and preventative care they can do.

So about March: yesterday, we booked two weekend getaways for March and I am so excited! We wouldn't be able to afford these things on our own, so it's thanks to AWESOME gifts from family and friends that we get to indulge in these little mini vacations.

First up, TAHOE! I've been aching for snow for the longest time. For Christmas, my mama gave Matt and me a gift certificate for two nights at a cabin up near the Heavenly ski area, and I cannot wait! We're staying in a lakeview cabin with a fireplace and oh my gosh, my heart races when I think about playing in all that snow. :)

Source: pixdaus.com via Laura on Pinterest

Then, thanks to a gift from the Freitags (my other family), we're heading a little north for our second annual Easter-weekend-Mendocino-coast trip. Last year was so much fun and I'm happy to be making this a tradition. Mendocino is one county north of Sonoma, and it's so peaceful and quiet and full of vineyards and gorgeous scenery. It will be so nice to rest. 



This is why California is so wonderful: in a few hours, you can escape to snow, serenity, mountains, lakes, wine country, and so much more.

What are you looking forward to this Spring?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Ultimate.

This is my mama:


For a while now, she's been searching for something to do that will help the people in the world. She's been looking into various volunteer organizations and charities, and until recently, hadn't found the right fit--the thing that called to her & said this was what you were meant to do! 

She lives by herself and works very hard. She's the most organized and responsible person I know, but there's one thing she isn't good at: asking for help. Which is what made signing up for the Ultimate Hike is one of the bravest things she's ever done! Training to hike 30 miles in one day won't be hard for her, but raising $2500 for CureSearch for Children's Cancer will be.


I'm so proud of her because she is doing this all by herself. She's a warrior when it comes to exercise and fitness, so I know that physically, she'll be fine, and she'll love the training. But raising the money is going to be one of the hardest things she's ever done, because she is timid about asking anyone to donate. Which is where her loudmouth daughter comes in. :)

Trust me: I know most of us don't have tons of money to give away. I sure don't! But I can't help but think that if everyone who reads this gave $5 or even $1, she would achieve her goal. The hike is in May, and she's already met more than half of her fundraising requirement thanks to generous friends and family, but she needs to raise another $1000 to be able to participate. So basically what I'm asking is: will you donate your coffee money to my mama today (or really, to finding a cure for children's cancer)? 

If you don't have any spare change, I totally understand! In that case, just say a prayer or cross your fingers. But if you have even $1 to give, which would be so appreciated, her page can be found here.


I know asking for money is a big deal, but CureSearch is totally legit, and they really do put their donations toward finding a cure for the tragic, unspeakable diseases that are children's cancers. I can't even think about it too long without being overwhelmed with sadness. Suffice to say, I can't even imagine.

Thanks so much for considering. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekend Highlights

Long weekends are so dreamy, huh? I'm convinced that we'd be a happier nation if it were standard practice for weekends to extend through Monday. Thanks, presidents!

This weekend I was battling Round Two of whatever vile sickness has been clouding up the air around here, but I still managed to do some fun stuff with some of my favorite people.

On Saturday night, our friends Diana and Adam had a joint birthday party at Subpar, a Bay Area-themed indoor mini golf course in Alameda. How cute is this?

clockwise from top  left: Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, San Francisco Victorian townhouses, Alcatraz

Each hole had a different Bay Area theme (there was even a Napa wine barrel!), and there was a "party room" where we had cake and sang to the birthday folks. Who says kids get to have all the fun? ;) 

We had so much fun, in fact, that Matt took his son back to Subpar on Sunday, though I sat out in order to recover from whatever this virus is. Ugh. While they were mini golfing and hanging out at Alameda Beach, I finished this book which was so disturbing I can't even talk about it yet. 

I've long lamented that there isn't an Ulta near me (though one's opening soon!), so I planned an excursion to one up in Sonoma County, where we stopped on the way to return Jasper to his mom's. I only had half an hour but I swear I could have stayed in there all day. Here's what I came out with:


The Ulta shadows were buy 2, get 2 free; the Loreal infallible shadows were buy 1, get one 50% off, and the NYX stuff was just pretty cheap in general. :) As I've mentioned, I've been obsessed with makeup lately, so I'm super excited to try these new colors out. I've heard such great things about the NYX Slide On pencil--anyone tried it?

Today I'm drinking my coffee slow and enjoying a final day off. It's against my nature to rest & be still so much but I'm determined to kick this virus to the curb by tomorrow. Mostly I'm just excited for tonight: The Bachelor and the Catfish finale! Who do you think Sean's gonna send home this week?

Joining Leeann for her new weekly linkup!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day & Beauty Product Love

Hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day! Ours started out in the most unromantic of fashions:

  • Matt left home at 3:30 am to go to work for a crazy early shift;
  • I got up early to take Neil Young to the SPCA for his 8 am neutering appointment;
  • I went to babysit Milo & Jude (and gave Milo a V-Day makeover)
Seriously: I was getting ready for a little date Matt had planned for that evening, and when Milo saw me putting on my makeup, he was very interested. He wanted to try some himself, and he chose all his own colors, from bronzer to eye shadow:

He went to karate sporting this look.

After I was done babysitting, I jetted home to meet Matt, who arranged an incredibly sweet, low-key Valentine's Day for us. He grabbed a backpack and drove us to the place where we met (& later shared our first kiss! Well, second kiss, but that's a long story), where we sat on a bench outside. From his backpack he produced: wine, cheese, crackers, a gift card for me to buy clothes (!!), a beautiful Reinaldo Arenas poem that made me tear up, and a stuffed caveman that says "ME LOVE YOU! ME WANT YOU! ME TAKE YOU NOW!" heehee.

Wasn't that so thoughtful & understated? I am so not the dozen roses, balloons, 5-star restaurant on V-Day kinda girl. He knows me well. :)

On another note, one of my favorite things is when bloggers share the products they've been loving. I looooove beauty recommendations especially, so I thought I'd share what's got me smitten these days:


OMG. This foundation is so amazing. While it isn't the consistency I thought it would be (it is designed and labeled to look like my favorite foundation ever that I can't afford)--it comes out like a mousse--the coverage is even better than I imagined. It's SO GOOD & totally worth your dime(s). Go get you some! 


I've blogged about these before but it's worth reiterating: These Maybelline Color Tattoo cream shadows are out of this world. They stay on forever! I have four colors now and frankly, I want the rest of them. I'm way into eye shadow these days. I've been using all kinds of colors: the Naked 2 palette my sister gave me, an old Dior holiday palette I'd forgotten about, and three e.l.f. mineral shadows that are so impressive: deeply pigmented & with pretty incredible lasting power. 

And while I can't say that I personally love this product (cause I haven't tried it yet), I'm very much coveting this Sigma angled flat kabuki brush:


Do any of you have that one? I also have my eyes on the Sigma Performance Eyes kit, thanks to my favorite YouTube beauty guru. Seriously, I cannot stop watching her videos: check them out here if you're into makeup tutorials. 

Happy weekend! And if there are any beauty products you're loving these days, tell me in the comments! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What's Your Dream Vacation?

It's an age-old question: where would you travel if you could go anywhere, with time and cost as no concern?

But it's an impossible one for me, cause there are so many categories. I want to go to places like Tahiti or Bali for the beautiful beaches, Rome for the rich history and culture, Morocco cause it's fascinating, Greece because it's where exquisite beaches meet ancient history, and I'd love to go to Baghdad or Kabul because, well, I'm curious.

Here are the countries I've visited so far: The Cayman Islands, Mexico, Canada, England, France, China, Guatemala. I've seen airports in Korea and El Salvador. ;)



Those pictures are from the most incredible resort in Cabo San Lucas--Capella Pedragal--where I was fortunate enough to go with the Freitags in the summer of 2011. It was pretty dang close to a dream vacation. There was a swim-up bar and three different pools and a butler making us fresh guacamole each day. Would that I could will myself back there!

This summer, we're going on another dream vacation: one of JJ and Cari's friends is getting married in the French Riviera. We're flying into Nice, staying for a little over a week, driving to Italy, and flying out of Florence. Pretty amazing, right?


I can't stop thinking about the water, the clothes, the pictures I already want to take. When we were in Cabo, JJ used his nice camera, and I took pictures with my iPhone. This year, I'm pretty excited to have the HTC One X because the camera is so good. I'm probably never going to be the kind of person to spend the money on a super expensive camera and/or tote it around, so I need to have a phone with a quality camera. I also love how easy it is to upload the photos from the HTC One X to twitter, facebook, etc. 

So tell me: where would you go on your dream vacation? 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Mardi Gras Blues

At my college graduation from Tulane, they played Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? It's the only time I teared up during the ceremony, cause I knew it would be so true.

my bff Tiffany & me at our first Mardi Gras, 2000
(I post this picture every year, ha!)

I've gotta figure out a way to get excited about Mardi Gras without being depressed that I'm not in New Orleans. Anyone have any ideas on how I can bankroll so that visiting multiple times a year is possible? 

To everyone in New Orleans: I hope you catch a coconut! Happy Mardi Gras, folks. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Weekend Update

I have a burning question: do you feel guilty if you spend a whole day being lazy (watching tv, reading, no exercise, etc.)? I wish I could say that I don't feel guilty, but Saturday proved that I do. I was so super tired after a long week & a Friday night out that Saturday I hardly lifted a finger till it was evening. I guess I think it's okay to spend a day like that (as long as it remains infrequent), but I couldn't stop thinking about all the things I could/should be doing . . . I don't know.

Friday night, despite Matt being sick, we went to see In and Out of Shadows (by Gary Soto) at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco. The Voice of Witness Education Director (aka my supervisor) directed the show, so all of us from work came on Friday to check it out. It was so good!


It's a story (created from oral histories, no less!) about undocumented teenagers in the U.S. They were really incredible, and many of them were immigrants, so the stories were all too real.  If you're in San Francisco, go check it out. And then stop to get tacos in the Mission afterwards, like we did. ;) 

Saturday, after doing a whole lotta nothing all day (other than, you know, catching up on Grey's Anatomy and Nashville), I headed up to Marin to babysit Milo and Jude, where Jude sported a chicken hat, I put the boys to bed, and then watched zillions of makeup tutorials via this girl's Youtube channel. I'm obsessed! Both with Shae's Youtube channel and Jude in a chicken hat:


On Sunday I made myself go for a (sluggish) run since I hadn't done anything physical all weekend, and then after a quick run to Trader Joe's, we settled in to watch the Grammys. Neil Young curled up happily in Matt's cardigan, which is pretty much the cutest thing ever:


Here's a closer look in case that wasn't enough cuteness:

I mean whoa, he is cute.

What did y'all think of the Grammys? I had way more observations than I can note here, but I'll leave it at this:
  • The Adam Levine/Alicia Keys duet was freakin HOT
  • Speaking of hot, there was a lot of hotness, starting with the evening's host
  • Elton John is a legend
  • Rihanna looked so pretty with wavy, feminine hair
  • Why was Adele wearing patterned shoes with her ultra-patterned dress?
Now tell me what you thought!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Wish

Over the past couple of weeks, my director and I have been editing a multimedia resource (photos + video + text) about the conflict in Colombia, and I've spent quite a bit of time thinking to myself: damn, you've got nothing to complain about. 

Nevertheless, I find myself wishing for stuff. Well, not necessarily physical stuff. But like:

*that wine and cheese provided more nutritional value (and less calories) than they do
*that my house was always super clean & organized
*that it snowed in the Bay Area
*for a TempurPedic bed
*that new episodes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo would come on every night to feed my obsession


*that no innocent person was in prison
*that people in general were better at understanding & accepting each other
*that I could afford to jet off to Pittsburgh to visit my bff a couple times a year
*that Jax Teller weren't a fictional character
*that I was at the beach wearing this swimsuit coverup:


*that I could will away insomnia & sleep all night, every night
*that I had a beagle puppy
*that my favorite veggie Chinese place delivered
*that I had a cuter nose
*for hardwood floors, a big yard, and a front porch

What are you wishing for these days?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Books I Read in January

I'd love to tell you all about my weekend, but I spent it recuperating from my gashed & stitched finger, only to be struck by what I think was food poisoning! I hardly even paid attention to the Superbowl. :( Thankfully, I seem to be on the mend . . . even though at this point, I never want to eat again.

Although I haven't set a specific goal for myself in terms of number of books I want to read in 2013 (although Tara is reading 100!!! Can you believe it? She's a machine!), I am committed to reading a lot more as a whole, and my new kindle has been a great help! I love hearing about what everyone else has been reading, so here's my list for 2013 so far:


I loved this book so much. Tina Fey is hilarious and awesome. She talks about her adolescence, her young adulthood, her career, 30 Rock, her husband and daughter (the second one hadn't been born yet!), and she does it all with such frankness and humor. I'd recommend this to anyone!

Source: goodreads.com via Betty on Pinterest

I read this on Matt's recommendation. It was well written and exquisitely sad. It's about a farmer family in Wisconsin with two daughters hit by two unusual (and consecutive) tragedies. The mother is taken to prison for dubious reasons, and the farmer father is left to raise his two girls, all while being shunned by the community for his wife's alleged crime. A fascinating read, for sure, but you gotta have stamina for sustained sadness.


This was free on kindle, and I downloaded it because I needed something super light after A Map of the World. It was a quick and easy read, but ultimately, it was ridiculous. Silly, cliche plot, predictable characters, poor writing choices, cheesy ending. Ugh. Don't bother.


OMFG this book was more deranged than Gone Girl. It was really good, though: well written, bravely written, complex, dynamic characters, attacked multiple issues. The plot centers around a Chicago reporter sent back to her hometown in Missouri to investigate and report on two child murders. The details are harrowing and what she discovers is even more disturbing. Pretty sure every single character in this book is seriously f'ed up. If you liked Gone Girl, try this one next . . . but be forewarned, it is CREEPY TO THE MAX.

I work in publishing, so I read a lot for work, too. I think that's why I was getting off track with personal reading, but I'm recommitted now! Did you read anything noteworthy this past month?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Why hello there February

Can you believe it's February? Like, Valentine's month. If you follow me on twitter, you know that Matt and I have extra special Valentine's Day plans this year: to get our kitten neutered. Poor Neil Young!

He has no idea what's coming.

I ordered a pretty awesome Valentine's Day card for Matt. I'm not going to post it here because obviously I don't want him to see it, but here are some other ones that get my seal of approval:

Source: etsy.com via Claire on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Claire on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Claire on Pinterest


Source: etsy.com via Claire on Pinterest


Source: etsy.com via Claire on Pinterest


Source: etsy.com via Claire on Pinterest


Source: etsy.com via Claire on Pinterest


Source: etsy.com via Claire on Pinterest


Aren't those great? I wish I'd thought ahead of time cause there are so many I'd like to send but that wouldn't get there on time.

Happy Friday to all of you, but a super happy Friday to the winner of my HTC OneX giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Christina, I hope you love the phone as much as I do. And thanks to everyone who entered!