Obsessed With Romance Novels

I have a confession to make: I am obsessed with Romance novels.

I read an average of 3 books a month but, lately, I had gotten bored of all the “smart” books I had been reading and found myself reaching out to Netflix more and more for light entertainment.

I told my significant other about this problem, and he, as smart as he is, gave me the worst advice: you should try reading Romance novels. I shrugged. Looked at him like he had insulted me. I am WAY above Romance novels, I told him. I need something intellectual in my life, to what he responded: “I think your problem is exactly the opposite.”

I am not going to tell you the name of the first romance novel I read, mainly because there is a side of me that is pretty embarrassed about it, but let’s just say I googled something like Viking and romance and a million of different options came up. It was just the beginning.

I found a 400 pages novel that had decent reviews. I decided to give it a try on Saturday morning. Bad, horrible, crazy idea.

How can I faithfully describe what happened that Saturday?

Well, I could start by giving you a general hint: I read for 8 hours straight without stopping, not able to attend to any of my responsibilities. I could not put the darn book down. I kept on reading until I finished, no matter the consequences.

The first sign of something going awry was when I put off preparing breakfast for my hungry children. I thought I would cook after finishing one more chapter, but one more chapter turned into 10 and food prep had not been started. George had to take over.

At that point I wasn’t worried yet because George usually feeds the kids in the morning, but when 10 am came around and I still couldn’t stand up from my bed or separate from my book, I knew there was a problem.

I hit rock bottom at noon when I was in charge of looking after the kids while they took a bath and, without me noticing, they splashed 1 in. of water all over the floor. This was bad for a lot of reasons, but mainly because George is obsessed with the kids not splashing water on the bathroom floor and I just let it happened 3 feet away from me, not being able to pay attention.

I tried to cover the trails as much as I could. I took the kids out of the bath, dried them, placed them in front of the Legos while giving words of encouragement, before I zoned out into my book again, within half an hour I realized the Legos were all over the house and my children were building a castle with all the pillows and blankets available at my place. I recognized then that I wasn’t capacitated to take care of children until I finished the darn book.

As soon as I came to this realization, George came into the house, stared at the tornado that it had become, gazed at me and said: “you can’t read Romance novels if you can’t be responsible about it.”

Well, THANK YOU MR. DETECTIVE!!! But, could you have said something like that before handing me to the devil?????? IT IS YOUR FAULT! (In my relationship everything wrong is George’s fault, FYI).

My husband realized the seriousness of the problem when immediately after yelling at him I grabbed the Kindle and started reading again. YOU GUYS! I WAS OBSESSED! But I really mean OBSESSED! I could not stop. I could not care. I could not win. There was only one possible outcome for that Saturday and that was me finishing the novel no matter what.

This is how addiction must feel like! The pain and obsession is so real, so uncontrollable.

George took pity on me, repeated his statement about the need for responsibility, grabbed the kids and took them to the park while I read that book page by page until I was completely done with it. There was no other way.

Since then I have read 12 romance novels in 20 days. Seriously. A new world has opened to me and I am scared, very scared.

Please, tell me you have been there, done that. Anyone?

Also, while you are at it, if you have any romance novel recommendations, I would much appreciate them.

Your truly,

Romance novel addict

(Image via unpizzicodipassione.tumblr.com)

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Things To Consider Before Taking Your Kids To A Feminist March With 750,000 People

I took my kids to the Women’s March in LA. My kids are 3 and 5 years old. At the march we chanted, laughed, talked to many, many people, had a hot-dog, ate ice-cream, walked some more, chanted again, and went back home. It was a sunny and beautiful morning. People were nice and supportive.

Before going I had a little trepidation. It is not easy to take two young kids to a protest where hundred of thousands of people are expected. Not sure if you have been in crowds, but they can be scary. In Chile, I have been in a lot of events with a large number of people in uncontrolled environments. Soccer games without seating numbers, music concerts standing up in the middle of the field, protests of some kind or another. This is why I know that taking children to the middle of a huge crowd can be a bad idea if you don’t take precautions. What to do then? Here are some considerations:

  • If you want to go to the event with friends, meet them before and travel together. Many of my friends went to the march. We decided to meet at a train station at a certain time so we could all go together, but trains were filled with people! There was no space. We decided to go separately in an Uber or car and meet there. Bad Idea. It was virtually impossible to find each other once we arrived to the march. First of all, walking around the crowd was difficult, so moving from point A to point B was tough. Secondly, cell phones reception stopped working! Many people lost signal and could not communicate! At some point, I gave up on meeting anybody else and just went with the flow. There were plenty of people to meet and talk to anyway.

  • Related to the above, if you have small children, avoid public transportation. Trains and buses were packed! There was a very long wait and we all know that young children have a very difficult time waiting. It is also difficult for them to be in crowded places with little space to move. I am SO happy we decided to take our car in the end. It took us 25 minutes to get to the march and we found parking only 4 BLOCKS AWAY! It was so easy! If I was by myself, I would have rather take the train and participate in the exhilarating energy that big crowds produce, but with little ones on toe that was not an option

  • Stay on the outskirts of the crowd. When you see yourself surrounded by too many people, retreat. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a crowd without being able to move forward or backwards. Being “incarcerated” by people would freak my children and I out. Make sure you are able to move around at any moment and stay out of the middle!

  • Take a stroller. As long as you don’t get stuck in the middle of a crowd, a stroller is the way to go. We were walking around for more than 4 hours on Saturday. There is no way my lazy children would have walked for that amount of time without asking to be carried, plus, it helps keeping them contained so they don’t run away with the excitement.

  • Write your phone number and name somewhere on their forearms. If they get lost, which it didn’t happen to us (thank goodness), whoever finds them will need to be able to call you. Write your cellphone on their forearms with a sharpie and the problem is solved. Although some people didn’t have cell reception all the time, some were still able to make calls.
  • Bring snacks because obviously!!! That is THE way of keeping children quiet and happy for a minute. Every mom knows that. Actually, I shouldn’t even write this tip on this post, but having more things to say makes me look smarter and knowledgeable so why not share the obvious sometimes? (wink emoji)
  • Women are amazing! Remember 70% of the attendants in this March were mothers or mothers-to-be. Women are cool people! I always feel they have my back! So many of them came to talk to the kids and helped taking care of them. It was sweet to see. I didn’t feel judged but supported. There were SO many kids from all ages. It was beautiful.

As a mother, it is important for me to have my kids participate in peaceful civic engagement, so I am very happy we went to the march. The kids liked it too. They understood some of the issues, albeit not a lot, but they understood the gravity of the moment and the beauty of being part of something bigger than yourself.

Thanks for reading.

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10 Highlights Of Our Trip To Chile

Our trip to Chile was nothing short of AWESOME! The best trip I have had to Chile in a while. We saw a lot of family and friends. Everybody was happy, healthy, and very excited to be together. WE LOVE EACH OTHER, YOU GUYS!

The kids are at the age were they can interact with people without (many) meltdowns or conflicts, so they had a blast! Every morning they would wake up and immediately go out to play. No need for snuggles, which was a little sad for me.

The weather was beautiful. It was summer over there so Christmas day was a 100 degrees – bbq- swimming pool affair. Most of the time we stayed in Santiago, at my mom’s house, but we also traveled north, to my brother’s beach house, for a couple of days.

Here are my 10 favorite highlights of our trip.

1) Reconnect with family and friends

This is an obvious one! Of course it was nice to reconnect! Thanks to SM and Whatsapp, I am well informed about what my family and friends are doing at all times. We have the type of chats that get hundreds of messages a day with every detail of our lives, but is not the same as living together. The good news is that I am all caught up with news and gossip by the time I get to Chile, so I can dive into the daily subjects with no formal introductions.

My close family and friends are pretty amazing. All of them strong, smart, and funny people doing a lot of cool stuff. Each one of them is such a force. The two weeks in Chile were filled with conversations, laughter, and lots of love.

My younger brother (quite the hunk, ah?) with his daughter.
My mom, my nephew, and my niece.All the younger cousins. Look at how happy they are.

2) My dad’s burial

It was hard to say goodbye to my dad again, but it was also beautiful. You see, not everything about death is ugly and sad. There is something magical about the community that grows around you when loss happens. My siblings and I have never been closer.

We buried my dad next to his parents and sister. They all died many, many years ago. I didn’t meet any of them. The ceremony was short. Some of my siblings gave speeches, somebody played the guitar, it was a nice morning.

George with my older sister, Luchi.

My Irish twin, CocoThis guy not being able to act with the solemnity required by the event.

After the burial, we went for lunch to a nice restaurant. Many people joined us: aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc… it was a nice afternoon that ended with a cable car trip to the top of the hill. The kids loved riding the cars and the view was gorgeous. Although, waiting 20 minutes in a long line under the sun to go into a cable car wasn’t great, it was definitely worth it.

Me and my sisters. Yes, I am two feet taller than all of them and no, I am not adopted.Look at that cutie.Real paletasCable car

3) My older brother got married

The wedding was a private and small affair. My brother and his wife told us about their marriage two weeks before our trip to Chile. They rented the second floor of a restaurant, gathered their closest family members and got hitched. No band, no fancy dress , no months of preparation, just an intimate and stress-free event for everybody involved. I liked the concept. As I mentioned in this post, my chilean family is all about frugality right now, which makes me proud.

This wedding was a perfect way of ending 2016. Now we can’t say that this year was all that bad, can we?

4) Exposing my kids to a different culture

I live in LA so my kids are constantly witnessing different cultures, but going to Chile is different. Over there they actually live it.

In LA, my kids don’t get socially challenged that much because their surroundings are pretty controlled – school, small family with only two kids, adult supervised activities, etc. In Chile, things are not so structured. People are on your face constantly and you better get used to it or you won’t be having any fun. Activities are disorganized and involve a lot of yelling and craziness. I like my kids to be out of their comfort zone and fend for themselves.  It makes them savvy at dealing with frustration!

Fray Jorge National Park

5) Heated debates

My family likes long and heated discussions about what we “think” are important topics. In these discussions, it is hard to listen to each other, much less reason any logical outcome. We fight and we make up. We treat each other harshly but don’t take it personally. We say what we think. Our opinions about the other don’t stay silent, and if we are mad we talk about it pretty openly. I like that dynamic, but it is not easy to swallow for newcomers. We scream a lot.

Here is a funny example: one day I was sent out to buy fish. I went to the grocery store and bought the fish. 3 hours later one of my sisters gave me grief about the quantity and amount of money I had spent on that fish. Then my brothers jumped in and gave me more grief because they didn’t know how to cook the fish (how am I guilty of that?). I defended myself and yelled back. I didn’t make the decision about how much fish to buy, that was my sister Maureen’s decision, but she was having a nap so nobody could give her s**t. The topic of the fish went on for 2 hours until Maureen woke up from her nap and came into the kitchen, at which point we all yelled at her for being responsible for this big quantity of fish that cost so much money. She looked at us and gave us the middle finger. Conversation over. And this is how debates go in my family. Conflict / Conflict resolves / Conflict / Conflict resolves… over and over again.

6) Tongoy

My older brother (same one that got married) has a house right in front of the beach in Tongoy, a beach city in the north of Chile. We stayed in his house a couple of days with the whole family. Being there reminded me to my own vacations when I was little. My dad loved going to the north of Chile. It was his birthplace.

In Tongoy, we spent all day at the beach, playing in the sand, eating seafood, or visiting the farmer’s market. They were quiet days. There is not many people at the beach during the Holidays, so it is the best time to visit. The water was warm and clean. Some days were cold but still enjoyable. Kids got to see a lot of sea animals, we watched beautiful sunsets, and stayed up a couple of nights. I organized a children-dance party that was pretty successful. I wish I had videos of all the kids dancing in the living room for hours on end.

Palmeras. A beach delicatessen.

Exploring the sea.

7)Food

Chilean food is SO good. Fruits during the summer are the best ones you could ever eat. Seafood at the beach is fresh and tasty… everything seems to be taken right from the ground and into your plate. I like that my family is eating healthy now (no sugar, no processed foods). Every time I go to Chile I gain an average of 5 pounds because of so much eating and drinking, but this time, I didn’t gain any weight. It was a first one for me. I felt more energetic and happy throughout the trip and didn’t have to get back to LA in full diet mode.

8) Christmas

Christmas traditions in Chile are different depending on the family. In our family, kids open gifts on Christmas Eve. They wait for “midnight,” and go out looking for Santa Claus while some adults stay behind to place the gifts under the tree. I like this tradition: all the kids go around the block screaming at every light in the sky, believing that it is Santa

This Christmas was particularly exciting because when we went out into the street, we ACTUALLY SAW SANTA!!! It was incredible. A cart with Santa happened to drive through our street giving away candy at the exact moment we left the house. Let’s stop for a second here. Can you imagine how exhilarated the kids were at seeing Santa outside our home!!!! ?? It was amazing. After eating some candy and waving goodbye to Santa, we went back inside to find the presents under the tree. I wish I had photos of this moment but the kids jumped fast to open their gifts and torn the paper apart in a matter of seconds. There were only 3 gifts per kid. The reason why is here.

You must be asking yourself, how could you wait until midnight to open the presents??!!! Which normal parent could let their kids stay that late? Well, in Chile, tricking kids is not out of the question so we pretended it was midnight when in reality it was 9:30pm. Because it is summer time over there, it gets dark late, and the kids go to bed late too, so this schedule was not that crazy.

As for Christmas day, we spent it in the swimming pool, eating bbq, and having drinks. Heaven.

Searching for santa

9) Dancing until 4 0‘clock in the morning 

Every party in Chile requires dancing. In New Year’s Eve we danced until 4 am. It was only us, our significant others, plus a friend. We had the best dancing party I have been to in the last 10 years. We sang and danced like there was no tomorrow while kids slept. Here is the proof:

Welcome 2017!

10) I heard “I love you” a lot

My family is not afraid nor scared to say I love you. Every time I go to Chile I hear “te quiero” over and over again. Incredibly enough, my brothers are the ones that say it the most. Every hug goes together with a casual or heartfelt “I love you,” because we feel it, so why not say it? I am making this a new trend and will be saying “I love you” to all my friends from now on, because it warmth people’s heart, don’t you think?

I came back from this trip with a rejuvenated soul.

Ok. That was a long post. I hope you liked it!

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My One And Only New Year Resolution


I am a addicted to resolutions. Somehow I think that every January 1st I get a clean slate without any of the mistakes and troubles of the previous year, and, although this is not 100% true, it feels that way every December 31st at midnight!

My brain works something like this:

“Oh, don’t worry about eating a 30th cookie right now, starting 2017 you won’t eat sugar anymore.”

“Yoga today? No way! I will start exercising 6 times a week on January.”

“Cooking dinner Wednesday night? Why would I if next year I will be cooking 5 times a weeks no matter what”

“No need for a shower today. I will get started next year.”

You get the picture, don’t you?

That is my state of thought during every month of December and that is why is important for me to get my life together starting January 1st, mainly to fix the wreck my life was during December, but this year I had a huge problem: I couldn’t come up with any NY resolutions.

I made a point of sitting down with George to talk about 2017. He told me everything about his goals of fitness, family, and work. I had nothing to say in return. It was so strange, so unlike me. I like to have a plan, a destination, but nothing came to mind.

Instead of resolutions, I felt anxiety. 2016 was a sad year for me. I lost people I love, people I love lost people they love, there were many unexpected transitions that were difficult, and I ended up the year with a nut in my stomach that left me disoriented.

I felt in my body that 2017 was not a year about exercising 3 times a week, posting 2 times more, or eating kale for lunch. It took me a while to resolve what I was feeling but a nice conversation with my best friends from Chile solved the problem: I needed to be more present.

It sounds corny, I know, kind of obvious, but important at the same time. This last year my brain and soul got disconnected. Every time I was doing something, I would have been thinking about something else.

If I was playing with my kids, I would have been checking my Instagram account at the same time. If I was going to the grocery store, I would have been thinking about the post I needed to write when getting home. If I was doing a project, I would have been making a mental checklist about the dinner I was hosting later that night. They were non-stop thoughts that left me EXHAUSTED! Have you ever felt that way?

It was constant stress clouding my thoughts, but also a physical feeling, a small pressure against my chest. I don’t want to live like that so this year I had to make a resolution more important than loosing 10 pounds or completing a marathon: be present.

But, how to do this?

Well, what has worked for me so far is stopping when I start feeling the need of doing 5 things at a time and that pressure against my chest, I take a deep, DEEP breath, let it all go, and refocus on the task at hand. It is very simple, but it has work wonders.

On Sunday, for example, Víctor asked me to play Legos with him. I am not the kind of mother that is constantly playing with her kids. I like better to take them out for lunch and a museum – activities that I like-, but I sat down with him and helped him built a spaceship. 5 minutes into building, I felt the need to check my phone, which would have gotten me distracted and less patient with his questions. That is when my resolution kicked in. I put the phone down, took a deep breath, and started focusing on the moment. I would love to tell you that we had the best bonding moment ever and that we played Legos for 2 hours with no distractions, but building Legos with a 5 year is only so high in my favorite things to-do list, so I ended up taking him out for breakfast to have one of those conversations that moms like to have –no phone-.

What are your New Year resolutions? I would love to hear. And I also hope 2017 brings everything you need and want and more.

 

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2016 In Posts

Hi all! We are back from the South! Chile was amazing. It truly was. Going back home rejuvenates my soul and reminds me of what is important.  I will be sharing some photos of our trip next week, but before I get into that, let’s officially welcome 2017 and leave behind 2016.

A lot has happened in this little corner of the cyber world these last 366 days. In this post, I would like to share my favorite (or most important) posts of the year and then talk about a blogging dilemma I am having, maybe you can help.

1 – One Room Challenge – My kids’ bedroom

This room was my first interior design project. I had never renovated a room before so it took a lot of concentration to be able to pull it off. It was not easy to decide which elements would look good together: colors, furniture, art, etc.

It was a full reno that required a lot of hard work during the 6 weeks it lasted. I learned how to apply wallpaper, how to take better interior pictures, and how to make the best out of my free time. Productivity full on.

2. Saying good bye to my dad 

My dad -creative inspiration and angel- died last May. I am still not able to talk about him with a straight face. I miss him every day. Him leaving was, no doubt, the event that marked 2016 the most. It was my first time dealing with the death of a close one and the meaning of grief.

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while know that my father-in-law also passed away this year. It has been a time of lost and recovery, but also of love.

3 – Trip to Costa Rica

I went traveling with my girlfriends and family to Costa Rica. It was an energizing trip filled with great conversations in the middle of children craziness. I love my girlfriends. I love having women around me that I admire and respect. I love my community.

4 – A Flower Arrangement Workshop

Crafty workshops are my favorite. Add friends, food, and drinks to the mix and you have a winner combo. I have found a true passion in flowers this year. I expect to learn a lot more about arranging them in 2017.

4 – An interview about the beauty and difficulties of fostering a child

This year, a lot of my friends participated in my blog one way or another. My good friends Miguel and Chris have been fostering for two years and I wanted to do an interview with them about their experiences. One of my favorite posts yet.

I also loved the interview with Nikki about the Empty Nest Syndrome. It made me cry.

5 – One Room Challenge – A mural in the living room

I participated in the One Room Challenge again this Fall. I made some changes to my living room. I had no money so I had to be creative. The mural that we painted is my new favorite place in my home right now.

6 – Thoughts on makeup and the #nomakeup movement

My heart tickles when talking about women’s issues. I loved writing this post!  Sometimes, I start the writing process and get into this place where I think I am being so funny and creative (and full of sh*t). I love feeling like this and is one of the reasons why I keep this blog.

7 – How real people do bookshelf styling

My friends Yassi and Daniela have been one of my biggest blog supporters this year. This post about their beautiful bookshelves was fun to do. Thanks, friends!

8 – Working Women – Elise Xavier, the life of a young and successful blogger

There is a big blog community out there. This year I have had the privilege of meeting friends through the Internet that have similar interests and do a lot of fun stuff, like Elise. Her interview is such an eye opener into the life of a millennial. I have a lot of good expectations about this generation.

The Dilemma

Now that 2016 is closing up, I have a big dilemma regarding this blog: I don’t know what I am about. I am struggling on giving a direction to my content. This place is a hot mess!! Am I a design/DIY blog ? Well, obviously not just that. I love design. It is one of my favorite hobbies, but I can’t be/do just that. I need to  have a voice, share opinions, talk about women’s issues… etc etc. Am I a lifestyle blog? Well, maybe, but I have no fashion posts, even though I love fashion.

What am I? I don’t know – DARN! That is a deep question.

The key issue here is consistency. I like design/DIY and women’s issues, so I have decided to focus on those two topics more than anything else. Have weekly posts about design and design inspiration, plus a post about women & family. Women’s post are popular my friends! I always get a lot of comments and views on those, so I am not ready to give up on that.

In reality, I think I should post more often to be able to talk about everything I want to talk about. There is no end to the ideas I have for this blog, but time is a concern and I don’t have a lot of it. My kids and real job (that I love), suck a lot out of it. Hopefully I can start balancing out my time and needs better this year, but that is a topic for my new year resolution post coming up tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate the support of everybody that comes once in a while to take a look at this blog.

 

 

 

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