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)

Let Us Connect:

The Advantages Of Living In A Small Home

Before I dive into the specifics of this post, I wanted to say hi to all newcomers. There are a lot of new readers coming to this blog every day so I wanted to say thank you for stopping by and deciding to stay.

This blog has a lot of Design and DIY projects, but it also has posts about life and thoughts on women’s issues. My about page explains why I write about all these things, but, in a nutshell, I am interested in two many topics to keep this blog contained to only one of them. The good news is that this corner of the cyber world was born to express creativity and crafty projects, so Design and DIY are part of the weekly scheduled posts. OK, now I am starting to go down to Boring lane, so let’s skip the formalities and talk about my wonderful and cozy 900 sq ft home.

I have two children (3 and 5 years old) and a sexy husband (not a lot of brains, though… and, yes, in case you are new here and wondering about my sense of humor, that was a joke).

We live in a small house in LA. Good news is that our yard is BIG! And when I shout BIG, I mean big for LA standards… our lot is 7,500 sq ft. Kids are outside a lot, which makes the house feel bigger, but we still live in a tiny, comfy, charming, 2 bedroom, 900 sq ft little house.

It has 2 bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen and a living room – no open plan. When we bought the house 5 years ago, it was in disarray. We have been building it up slowly to our family standards.

Lately,  many of our friends have been asking about our plans to expand the house. Our kids are getting bigger and we are outgrowing our space. Us, on the other hand, are not that worried. On the contrary, I really, really, really LOVE the size of our home because of the amazing intimacy it creates, something I never anticipated before having children.

There is a lot of family charm happening in a 900 sq ft house. I always know what my kids are up to, which helps me in keeping a safe environment (and nope, I am not an helicopter mom… am I?), but it also encourages constant social interaction. Just sharing the bathroom in the morning requires plenty of communication and compromise. (BTW, do any of your young children asks for privacy when going to the bathroom? “I nid pivacy, momma,” Max says, making me LOL because, seriously Max, you are only 3 years old and still need me to wipe your butt.)

There are other obvious practical advantages to a small home like faster cleaning, less energy usage, or less furniture expenses, but none of them matter to me as much as the unexpected closeness that this small space has brought to our little family. At night, I hear my kids having bad dreams and I can rescue them; in the daytime, I know if they are painting our new sofa or drowning my iPhone in the toilet (yes, that has happened- silence is the best predictor of these behaviors.) Also, because the space is  limited, we live a decluttered life. Limited amount of clothes and toys, for example.  And our piano has taken a predominant role in our lives. Kids are always playing music because the piano is very present, readily available, and constantly in our path. You are always “encountering” the piano… am I making any sense in here?

I guess what I want to say is that when you live in a small space, all pieces of furniture and décor have an important role in your daily life. They can’t be ignored.

As you can see, expanding our home is not a top priority, although it would be nice to do it in a couple of years, when kids are a little bit older and demand their geographical independence, but, for now, we are staying as is. What do you think? Do you have a big or small house? and, if you do live in a small house, what do you like or don’t like about it?

Here is the Winter tour of our home, in case you care to see, and thanks for stopping by!

Let Us Connect:

Happy Thanksgiving And Life Lately In LA

Happy long, amazing, social, lazy, and gluttonous Thanksgiving, everybody! I am thankful for having readers like you coming to this site every day. I super appreciate the support.

This weekend we are hosting Thanksgiving and a Friendsgiving. We have parties to attend, friends to see, food to eat, and many spirits to drink. My favorite Holiday of the year…

Because this is family time, I would like to share a post about what we have been up to lately. I haven’t shared a personal entry in a long time, so this is the perfect time to do it, hopefully. If you are not up for it, be back on Monday! I will be sharing some Christmas DIY projects next week.

If you have kids in LA, this is a good post to read too, because it has lots of ideas of what to do with children in this city.

We have been BUSY lately. This Summer and Fall have been crazy, as it always is when you have small children. We had trips, visitors, work, many, many family outings, and that One Room Challenge.

I am thankful for this little family of ours. I am thankful for my handyman and healthy children. Not so thankful for the misbehavior, crying fests, and constant hitting, but let us forget about reality today and pretend life is perfect.

Here are some photos of our lives (and activities) in LA these last couple of months:

jestcafe-life-lately-29Victor graduated from preschool last June. Sniff. Can I say anything else?jestcafe-life-lately-12jestcafe-life-lately-11jestcafe-life-lately-27

Family Festival at the Getty. I like the Getty and find any excuse to visit it. It was my dad’s favorite place in LA. He would go every day to see the art and have lunch at the fancy restaurant. Going there transports me into a different world.  Such a beautiful setting. The Getty hosts two Family Festivals a year with many activities for children. We always try to go to at least one of them.jestcafe-life-lately-30L.A. Urban Nature Fest at the Natural History Museum. LA Urban Nature Fest is a great festival for families. There are many booths with crafts and activities for children and they are not crowded. For the Fest, you can easily stay at the museum all day and keep your children entertained with the fun events: butterfly stamps, bracelet made with flowers, studying spiders or snakes, drawing insects, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on.jestcafe-life-lately-26Intrude – Public Light Art Installation – DTLA. This installation closed months ago but it was fun to visit. I mean, what is more fun for kids than giant bunnies!!!!!?? Also, it gave us a good excuse to go Downtown, which is my favorite neighborhood in LA.
jestcafe-life-latelyvictor-and-max3jestcafe-life-lately-10The Broad Museum – The same day we visited Intrude, we walked outside the Broad Museum. There is a small green park where the kids played for a long time because you can hide behind that white wall and scare your mommy. Well, at least we can say we have been there, even though we have never been inside!!!! Getting tickets is not easy. The waiting list is huge and tickets get released months in advanced, but I promise we will visit soon enough.

jestcafe-life-lately-15First day of Kindergarten with that whale.
jestcafe-life-lately-21First day of preschool with the doggie.

Newport Beach. Nice to have lunch and walk around the Marina. jestcafe-life-lately-32Santa Monica – A beach day is always a good choice in LA.
jestcafe-life-lately-41Max turned three with a Blaze and the Monster Machine cake and a giant three balloon number.
jestcafe-life-lately-39 Ojaijestcafe-life-lately-37Dirt angels by filthy children.
jestcafe-life-lately-38jestcafe-life-lately-40jestcafe-life-lately-20Camping near Ojai – Ojai is a beautiful little town to visit. My favorite activity was walking around the city looking for vintage shops, because yes, I am obsessive compulsive. What do you think of that purple cactus above? It is REAL! If you follow my Instagram account, you have seen it before, if you don’t, you better follow it here, please!jestcafe-life-lately-31Yes, Jenis!!! When I saw this Jenis truck in DTLA, I cried with happiness. The love is real.
jestcafe-life-lately-35Mcconnell’s Creamery in Santa Barbara. If I am in Santa Barbara, I make sure to stop at this creamery because it is amazing, nothing else. I know there are some in LA too, but not close to my place, so I guess I have to go all the way to Santa Barbara to enjoy the place… I make a lot of geographical sense.

My friend soul mate, Paloma, and her son, Diego, visited in September. Do you have a friend soul mate? Another human that you became best friends with instantly and that also looks like you? I have that soul mate. We have been friends for 20 years.
jestcafe-life-lately-36 jestcafe-life-lately-19 jestcafe-life-lately-18El Capitan Canyon. We went glamping near Santa Barbara. It is nice to go “camping” without having to deal with the tent and dirty bathrooms, isn’t? Waking up surrounded by nature is a nice treat when you live in LA. Also, that beach is pretty cute, too.jestcafe-life-lately-45 jestcafe-life-lately-44 jestcafe-life-lately-43 jestcafe-life-lately-42jestcafe-life-lately-22Día de Los Muertos Altars at Grand Park. It was raining when we went but it was still a fun morning. Grand Park is a nice place to go to with or without altars. The kids like the water games here, plus, the park is well taking care of. The altars were colorful and cute. I love Dia de los Muertos decorations and my kids do, too, because, as a parent, you have a big influence on the taste of  your small and naive children.jestcafe-life-lately-24A selfie with my one and only.jestcafe-life-lately-46

Exercising 4 times a week. One of my goals this year was to exercise 4-5 times a week. Well, last September, finally, I started to do it and it feels good. Going up these stairs in Jefferson is one of my regular workouts. It gets me tired and it doesn’t bore me, plus, this amazing view awaits me at the top of the hill.

Now we head into this long weekend. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving if you live in the US, if not, I hope you have a great Holiday month coming up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Let Us Connect:

Living In A Bubble – A Short Essay On Politics And Living In LA

A week ago, in the morning of the election, I scanned my FB and IG feed, I read the news (WSJ included) and posted the following on FB:

“Judging by my social media, there is absolutely nobody voting for Trump today. I am so sheltered. Seriously.”

It was meant to be a joke, not a prelude of the events that unfolded in the next 12 hrs. I watched the NYT political map go from navy blue to dark red, giving Trump a victory by midnight. I was flabbergasted. Didn’t text any friends. Called nobody. I needed time to think and process.

To come clean, I was not a big Hillary supporter. I was more on the Bernie side. I raised my concerns with friends only to be dismissed. Hillary won the primaries and we should stand behind her, they said, and I did. I wore white to vote because, whatever your political views, voting for a woman was transcendent. I watched the elections, believing without a doubt that the future was blue and white, but shock ensued. I was wrong, and also everybody (and I mean EVERYBODY) else I know.

I woke up on Wednesday and went to work. The day was somber. You could feel and see it. Even the freeway seemed slower and gray. There was a sadness and despair. Most of my friends shed tears, a feeling of alienation. The pain was real! But the trauma was worst- the realization of the naiveness we had in understanding this election, thanks to the inaccessibility to faithful information about what is really going on in this country.

This is when I started to feel angry, not at the results, but at the media. I foolishly bought the whole care package that was fed to me by liberal and moderate media. I had been deceived. We all had. Polls lied, journalists lied, editorials lied. Just thinking about it makes me sick.

How is this possible? How did we get it so wrong? How did the Trump voter disappeared from the mainstream media but still managed to make the difference to win? I was told that not even the Republican Party liked Trump!!! Is that true? What is going on?!? I needed to understand.

I have friends that called the NYT to cancel their subscription. I stopped listening to NPR, and I have not opened the Huff Post since then, because what is the point? They are lying to me. They are as blindsided as I am, as most of us are.

Today, this same media is telling me that racism and misogyny are to be blamed for the results. They tell me this loss has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with “them.” “Them,” the other people; the people that don’t understand the world; the uneducated voter that is voting against their own interest. Those people. The other people… but, who are they?

I woke up early morning today, peruse the Internet to buy a pair of $90 shoes I have wanted to get, had my bullet coffee readily and warm to bust my morning while my insured children prepared for a day at their wonderful schools where teachers value their opinion and want them to succeed. I got into my big fancy car, filled up the tank without looking at the gas price, and thought about which design posts I should write in the next few weeks. That is how difficult my life is. I live in a comfortable bubble surrounded by people with the same values and political views I have. I don’t get it, but I want to. I want to understand.

They say, if you believe the media, that those who made the difference in this election are from the Rust Belt. Disfranchised voters that were once Obama supporters, but, this time, decided to go the other way. Blue collar workers that have lost their manufacturing jobs and have no prospects of finding a new one in this lifetime. How does this feel? I wonder.

I don’t know really. I can’t empathize. I have a life full of possibilities ahead of me. Dreams and plans. A good income, a loving husband, healthy children with access to a future and healthcare. I am a mixed race Latina that has not suffered the discrimination that other Latinos have, mainly because I live in West LA and don’t look the part. I live in a bubble, surrounded by people that think like me and news that tell me that thinking like me is the only right way to live.

Elections turn big issues into black and white topics. They simplify complex subjects with a misleading reduction of who others are and think. It is easy to believe that a vote for Trump is an agreement with all his statements but it is not. Voting for Trump doesn’t mean you agree with everything he says. I surely don’t agree with everything Hillary says, but I voted for her.

I am not saying there is not racism and misogynists in the US. I am  saying that these are not the main reasons why Trump was elected president. The truth is much simpler, people with wary prospects and uncertain futures want (need) change, a change that Obama promised but wasn’t able to deliver.

To understand and help, we need to step out of our wonderful bubbles. Demand the government help those in need. Create new jobs, embrace new programs, but more than anything, we need to stop the misunderstanding of who we are and what moves us. At the end of the day, we all want our children to have food on their table, don’t we?

A couple of minutes after my post on FB about how sheltered I felt, a Chilean friend living in London replied the following:

“Judging by my social media, nobody voted for Brexit. Hope yours is a better predictor…”

I flipped. This is what scares me, not racism, which can be clearly identified and denounced. What scares me is that my world is not real, that I am completely out of touch, and also most of my friends.

How can we change anything if we are oblivious to reality? A logical fallacy of those that profess higher education. We are our own worst enemy.

Thanks for reading till the end. Would love to hear your respectful comments.




Let Us Connect:

Park Politics: How To Handle Children (And Parents) At The Park

jestcafe.com-parkpolitics4Taking your children to the park requires high social skills. Meaning that, as parents, we need to make wise decisions about our kids’ interactions with other kid, and, most importantly, with other parents.

My favorite method is to sit back, read a book, and let children do their thing. Interceding only when necessary, aka when a kid is crying or close to death.

95% of the time conflicts get resolved just fine when adults don’t get involved, but figuring out when the other 5% of the situations are happening, that is the art of parenting at the park.

My kids are not the worst behaved in public places, but they are not the best either. I wonder if this is a boy thing, but they are always at the verge of making trouble. Pushing others too hard, throwing random elements to the sky, or not taking turns at the swing. These troubles don’t fly well with some parents, so I get involved.

jestcafe.com-parkpolitics2I have come to realize that most of the time I reprimand my kids is not because they are doing something very bad, but because of how other parents are judging the situation.

For example, your child goes to another child and takes away a toy (this has happened to me around 197 times, but, who is counting). The other kid doesn’t seem to care. He/she moves on to the next thing, but you look at his/her parent and the story is different. That parent didn’t like your kid stealing something away from his/her kid, so you intervene and scold your child and return the toy. That, right there, is the perfect example of park politics, my friends. An unnecessary action to protect yourself from the hate of another adult. It has nothing to do with your kids or parenting, as you see, but everything to do with the desire to be liked by others in public spaces (or in life).

The difficulty for me is that I want my children to explore freely, but I also want them to be polite, and we all know that polite boundaries for children are widely different than those ones for adults, don’t you think?

How do you handle awkward situations that involve young kids, other kids, or adults in public spaces? Any special advice you can give? Do you care about other parents judging you? Or, do you think kids should do their thing? Just wondering.

Thanks for stopping by and, here is a post about criticizing how others do parenting, and how many kids are enough.


Let Us Connect: