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.


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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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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Happy Holidays And A Vacation

Hi all,

I am taking a break from this blog for the next two weeks.  We are going to celebrate Christmas and the New Year in Chile and I am so excited to be with my family after this sad year.

My brother is getting married, we are having a funeral for my dad, I am seeing friends and family… I can’t wait. I am looking forward to have a restful time and enjoy my children and nieces/nephews without distractions.

I hope your Holidays are wonderful. I have a feeling 2017 is going to be the best year yet.

Thanks for reading!

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Our 4th Of July Celebration


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Life Lately, March 2016

jestcafe.com-lifelately23 We went skiing to Big Bear back in January. It was the first time for Víctor and Max, and they both loved it. How could they not? There was plenty of snow and 60 degrees weather… only in California.

Max just turned 2 in October, so I didn’t think he would be able to go skiing. It was my brother, a ski instructor, the one that recommended taking him, and he was right. George and I are good skiers, so it was easy to carry Max between our legs. He was not able to ski on his own, but he still enjoyed the whole things as much as Víctor did. The best part was that we didn’t need a babysitter! We were able to ski all day together as a family.

From all the ski centers we went to, we liked skiing at Snow Valley the best. It is a smaller mountain, easy to access and with no lift lines. It is perfect when you are skiing with small children that need to go to the bathroom (or take a break) at any moment in time. jestcafe.com-lifelately22 jestcafe.com-lifelately21 jestcafe.com-lifelately20 jestcafe.com-lifelately18jestcafe.com-lifelately11Look at this little one on his mini-skies! People were so surprised to see him going down the mountain with us. He is a tiny creature! He was, without a doubt, the youngest kid on the mountain that weekend. jestcafe.com-lifelately9And here he is in the middle of Snow Summit mountain… totally exhausted. jestcafe.com-lifelately2jestcafe.com-lifelately12A well deserved meal. I have never seen my kids eat so much.jestcafe.com-lifelately19jestcafe.com-lifelately8jestcafe.com-lifelately14 Big Bear Village is a cute little town with nice restaurants and coffee shops. After spending the day skiing, it was fun to go there to have dinner and relax a little bit.
jestcafe.com-lifelately7jestcafe.com-lifelately5jestcafe.com-lifelately3jestcafe.com-lifelately16Max couldn’t make it through dinner. ha!
jestcafe.com-lifelately17jestcafe.com-lifelately13jestcafe.com-lifelately15 jestcafe.com-lifelately1Back in LA,  Max’s favorite hobby is eating ice cream. jestcafe.com--lifelately50 This is a picture of Salt & Straw, one the best creameries on the west side.
jestcafe.com--lifelately49 Hi there, Víctor!jestcafe.com--lifelately44 Did I mention Max can read? Not really, but he looks super smart here.
jestcafe.com--lifelately47I found this picture of George when he was 25 years old, so very cute, and he still has that jacket!!jestcafe.com--lifelately45George and my friend’s son, baby Andrew!
jestcafe.com--lifelately55 As some of you know, I have been obsessed with the Flower Market in DTLA. I have been there almost every weekend for the last 2 months. I know the vendors, the flowers, the smell. I love it so much, I am always finding new excuses to go.
jestcafe.com--lifelately54 jestcafe.com--lifelately53 jestcafe.com--lifelately52 jestcafe.com--lifelately56jestcafe.com--lifelately51jestcafe.com-lifelately36Hey, Max!
jestcafe.com-lifelately35 Victor being very helpful – decorating for Easter.jestcafe.com-lifelately34 jestcafe.com-lifelately33 More ice cream!!!  and filthy children. jestcafe.com-lifelately32There are a lot of hugs and kisses going around in our house.
jestcafe.com-lifelately31 Here is me trying to take a picture for my profile. George thinks is too cold. I kind of agree so I am just posting it here. Also, as you can see, I am not a fan of makeup. jestcafe.com-lifelately30 jestcafe.com-lifelately27 Eating at Maple Block Meat, the best meat restaurant in Culver City. It is just excellent.jestcafe.com-lifelately26 Max and I spending our Tuesdays together.jestcafe.com-lifelately25Having brunch at S + W Country Diner in Culver City. This place is so good it gets crowded 10 minutes after opening. You need to be there early! BONUS: Lots of  toys for kids to play with. Perfect!jestcafe.com-lifelately24 jestcafe.com--lifelately41 My friend Sarah celebrated her birthday at the Commissary in the Line Hotel. We had brunch with friends in this gorgeous place. It was fun! and the only hip thing I have done in the last 3 months, so I am sharing it here. jestcafe.com--lifelately40 Another proof that I am not into makeup. jestcafe.com--lifelately42My favorite part of the Commissary was the mismatch-vintage dinnerware they have. Look at this beautiful coffee cup I got!jestcafe.com--lifelately39Hope you enjoyed the photos! Have a wonderful day!

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