Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mosaic Monday, A Book Review and a Giveaway!

In January I was approached by Sarah Reck, a Web Publicist with Faith Words at Hachette Book Group. She came across my post of a list of books read in 2009 in which I had read two books by one of their authors, Michael Phillips. She asked if I would be interested in receiving a free copy of his latest book, Angel Harp to review on my blog. Would I mind? Not only would I not mind, I was honored! So I immediately sent her an email saying, "Heck yeah!" Actually I was a little more professional but eventually I received this in the mail.

I've finished the book and want to share my thoughts with you.

I loved this book. The main character in the book is Angel Dawn Marie Buchan, a 34 year old widow who could be you or me. Like many of us she had dreams of meeting a wonderful man and being loved and loving him in return, of growing old with this man and watching their children and grandchildren grow. Unfortunately her husband dies before they had time to have children.

Now Marie is on her own just getting through life, working half-days as a teacher's aide, taking harp lessons once a week,  and teaching the harp. She realizes that she's alone and lonely and she brings another dream to life. A dream she and her husband had of someday visiting Scotland. Her husband would write the great American novel (even though they were both Canadian) and she would play the harp and write songs. She realizes this is one dream she can still fulfill and finds herself settling in a Port Scarnose, Scotland.

This mosaic portrays what I saw in my mind of the different people and places written about in the book.

Marie finds more in Port Scarnose than she could ever have imagined. She finds that perfect place she's always imagined to play her harp. She finds a lovely little child that grows to love her. She finds two love interests, the dashing curate of the local church, Iain Barclay and quiet, reserved and troubled Duke Alasdair Reidhaven. She makes many friends in the small community and also ends up finding her faith again.

The book is a wonderful story about not giving up on life. There are so many other adventures, friends and loves if we just have the courage to seek them. I so enjoyed this book that I feel it should become a part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book and I would love to give it away to one of you. Please leave me a comment letting me know that you would like to be entered to win this book and another letting me know if you are a follower. If you would like to follow me, please do so and leave another comment letting me know you're a new follower...and welcome! I'll  choose a winner on Friday evening, so stay tuned! Oh and leave me your email if it's not readily available on your blog. Thanks!

Sarah, thanks so much for choosing my humble blog to review your book. It was an honor and a pleasure!

Also please be sure to visit Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday and have a wonderful week!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Clinton and Stacie - What Not to Wear, GoodWill Style!

I don't know about you but I love to watch TLC's What Not to Wear hosted by Clinton Kelly and Stacy London.

The show airs on Tuesday nights at 9pm. I've watched it probably since the very beginning. The show has not changed much in the many years they have been on air.

A loved one or close friends nominates someone they think needs a little fashion makeover. Clinton and Stacy's TV crew take secret footage for a while before they accost the poor victim, usually in some very public place surrounded by strangers and friends alike and then proceed to tell the poor victim that not only do they not have any fashion sense, but that everyone but they know it and that they have secret video footage proving it.

Now you would think the poor victim would cry, or run away, or punch Clinton or Stacy in the nose...but they don't. You know why? Because the poor victim is offered a credit card with $5,000 and a trip to New York City to get a makeover and whole new wardrobe, courtesy of TLC!!! Now would you punch Clinton or Stacy if they offered you that? Heck no! You would take them up on their offer in a heartbeat.

Oh....but there is a catch. You have to bring your whole wardrobe to New York with you and what Clinton and Stacy says goes...GOES! Into a big trash can. (It's actually donated to charity.) And...the victim also has to choose 3 of their favorite outfits and enter the 360 mirror. The mirror that shows everything...GOOD or BAD in 360!You those 3-way mirrors in women's fitting rooms but better! Some of those poor woman are shocked when they see what they look like from behind. And while you're in the dreaded 360 you also have to put up with Clinton and Stacy critique of your outfit. Ouch! Sometimes even I cringe.

Allow me to get off subject here for a moment for an observation/pet peeve. Do you know that you have hair on the back of your head? You do? Ok...I do too. So when I do my hair in the morning I make sure to curl, comb, straighten, hairspray the back (depending on the look I'm going for that day). But...tell me this. Have you ever come across someone that looks pretty decent from the front and then they pass you or they turn around and the back of their head looks like it hasn't seen a brush EVER? And it's not one of those messy looks popular now, it's just that they didn't even bother with the back. Geesh...c'mon people!

Ok...whew! I got that out of my system. Anyway, I was talking about What Not to Wear and what the show is about and how much I love it. For those of you who have never seen an episode here's a brief clip of one of their most recent shows. This woman drove me crazy! (What's up with her mouth?)

So now that you know a bit about the show, let me get to the point of this post! My point it that it's easy to come up with an awesome wardrobe when you have $5,000 and a map of all the trendiest stores in New York City and two fashion stylists like Stacy and Clinton. But how about Stacy and Clinton doing a show where they show us regular folk how to dress using clothing from the places we shop, like Wal-mart? Target? TJ Maxx? Ross? Sears? JC Penneys? Or Goodwill *gasp*! I know. Can you imagine how far $5,000 would go in a Goodwill Store? You could almost buy the store!

I would volunteer for that show. I bet Stacy and Clinton couldn't outfit me in two days at a Goodwill! But it would be fun to try. the way. I once gave myself an imaginary $5,000 credit card and proceeded to spend it online pretending I was on What Not to Wear and it's HARD. It's hard to spend $5,000...try it and see.

Monday, February 21, 2011


This 3-day weekend was a very special one for my mom and for me as well. My cousins Mary Lou and her daughter Eliza came to visit us all the way from Parker, Arizona which is about a 6 hour drive, 360 miles! They arrived on Friday evening and left around 11am on Sunday morning. So we had all Saturday together!

Mary Lou is the daughter of one of my mom's sisters named Eliza. Eliza was born on November 6, 1919 and passed away on November 11, 1951 leaving behind three children; her daughter Maria Luisa (Mary Lou), and sons Florentino and Agustin aka Woody. This is Eliza. I took this photo last year in February when I was visiting Mary Lou's home in Parker. She had this portrait on the wall and this is a photo of a photo hence the glare of the flash.

 I also took the following picture which is the wedding photograph of Mary Lou and her husband Fernando. I believe she mentioned they will celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary in two years. Isn't Mary Lou gorgeous? She looks like a movie star! I love old wedding photographs!

Mary Lou named her daughter after her mother Eliza. My sister is also named Eliza. Here's a photo of Mary Lou and her daughter Eliza. Mary Lou is on the left, Eliza on the right and the woman in the middle is my own dear mom, Tomasa.

Mary Lou has 3 other children, Fernando Jr aka Sonny, Miguel aka Michael, Armando and of course Eliza aka Tweety. (She's gonna kill me for posting that nick-name!) She also had an adopted son Esteban aka Stevie who was killed in a motorcycle accident 13 or 14 years ago.

Anyway...they came to visit my mom and on Saturday we all gathered at my house and we had a wonderful day catching up and sharing news, gossip and insights. Here's some photos:

First off a picture of cousin Mary Lou and my brother Federico aka Fred (we have a lot of aka's in our family, everyone gets a nickname, don't ask what mine is!)

Next, one with yours truly in it. Starting left to right Alyssa, she's the daughter of my cousin Maria Elena aka Mary Helen (she's the one in the beige jacket right next to Alyssa) then me in the background in the gray sweater and Eliza in the red sweater.

Next we have the same grouping except my own dear sister, the other Eliza has now taken my spot in the background. So we have Alyssa, Mary Helen, Eliza and Eliza :-)

This shot was just too pretty to pass up! We giggled and laughed for well over two hours outside. (Don't tell anyone, but we're possibly planning a all-girl, cousins-only trip to Vegas in September or October of this year. Shhhhh, it's a secret.)

Then we have a picture of my mom and her niece, my cousin...Mary Lou. This photo was taken the following morning at breakfast.

Then a photo of my mom with her grand-niece Eliza, her sister's namesake.

Then one final shot outside the restaurant before a tearful farewell. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Pictured here are my sister Eliza, my mom, cousin Mary Lou and yours truly on the end. There is nothing as wonderful as family and especially cousins.
Cousins are the 1st friends of your life. Cousins are there as childhood friends. 
No one will every understand your crazy family like your cousins. 
Thank you Cousin Mary Lou and Cousin Eliza for coming this weekend; for taking that long, long, long car trip just to come and make my mom happy. We Love you ladies!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lara Logan

I just wanted to share quickly a link to a post that I read today about Lara Logan.

Lara Logan is the Chief CBS Foreign New Correspondent that was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted on February 11th during the celebration over the resignation of Hosni Mubarak.

I heard the story on the news and was horrified. Now I find out from this post that Lara is a mother of two, a wife, a journalist and only 39 years old.

The post over at When Pigs Fly is beautifully written and brings tears to my eyes when I think of what Lara went through and suffered and will continue to suffer through for a long time, if not for the rest of her life. Please take a moment and visit When Pigs Fly, you can click HERE to get to the story.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Iwanna Wednesday - The Eyes Have It!

Last week my sister and I went to a store that we first heard about from our mom when she used to go to Arizona to visit her sisters. It's called Factory2U. Factory2U is an off-price retail apparel and house ware store. We'd never been in the one in Bakersfield before. We were looking for inexpensive rugs for my hallway and bathroom. We didn't find any. But what we did find was makeup.

First let me tell you that I love makeup. From an early age there was just something in me that admired women who wore makeup. My Uncle Woody was married to a woman named Carmen and Carmen was the most elegant, gorgeous woman I had ever seen. She dressed beautifully, teased her hair until it was about an inch away from the ceiling, wore stiletto heels and had the most gorgeous eyes with black eyeliner and beautifully shaped eyebrows. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. 

When I was in about the 3rd or 4th grade I remember a girl that somehow got a hold of her mother's red Maybelline eyebrow black! The ones that looked like these. Remember these?

This little girl had watched her mother applying makeup and her mom would light a match and run the match across the black pencil part to melt it just a tiny bit so it would spread more smoothly. This little girl brought this pencil to school and promised that she was going to make us all gorgeous! So we all followed her into the girls bathroom where she lit a match and melted the black part and blew on it a bit to cool it off and proceeded to apply it to her bottom waterline. Instantly in my eyes she went from being a little girl to being an Egyptian Princess! I had to have some!

I can only imagine now what we must have looked like with this thick black goo on our eyes. But I remember feeling glamorous and grown up and I'm sure I must have just batted my eyes at all the little boys and made them swoon! Or so I thought. It's a miracle that we didn't poke our eyes out or burn them or burn down the school!

My mom wouldn't let us wear makeup until we were 15. And from the day I turned 15 to now I would say that 99.9% of the time I have worn makeup and love it still. I picture myself someday....being 90ish and getting up each morning, wandering around my house using a walker with the little yellow tennis balls on the bottom with perfectly applied makeup and mascara! 

But ok...the makeup my sister and I found, that's right...that's where I was headed. Ok. I found this. . .

This is a little round carousel of eye shadows! Have you even seen anything so perfect? Ok...I didn't get the one with the colors that are pictured in this one. I got the one that has lots of purples, plums, pinks, golds and browns. The beauty behind this little round carousel of eyes shadows...I just love saying that! The beauty is that the little thing poking out of the top is the eye shadow applicator. So each eye shadow has it's own and you don't end up mixing colors using the same applicator for all of them! How cool is that?

And doesn't it look like there would be tons and tons of powdered eye makeup in each little compartment? Well...HA! No truth in advertising here! When I tried it this morning I realized that the little applicator is fitted into a little cone in each compartment that has just about enough eye shadow to shadow about 1 1/2 eyes. That's a problem when you have two eyes to do! I know...right? And I thought I was going to be able to show off daring eyes like these at work today. . .

Alright...well maybe I exaggerate, but I at least thought I would be able to do something like this. . .

*sigh*...but was not to be. I had to go to work with only 1 1/2 of my eyes done! So what is it Iwanna today for Iwanna Wednesday? Iwanna some full sets of eye shadows like these!

Heck long as it's Iwanna Wednesday and I haven't done one in a while what Iwanna is for MAC to just set up their Mac Counter in my bathroom!

So what about you? Do you love makeup or are you a Natural Beauty. Just some Mascara and Gloss and Go for you? Any makeup tips? C'mon...share!

Happy Iwanna Wednesday and may all your Iwanna Wednesday's come true!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Law of the Garbage Truck

I haven't posted in a while because my mind right now isn't thinking creatively. Unfortunately it's in negative mode and that makes it hard to be creative. It's not often that I get like this. Usually when life knocks me down, I just jump right back up and smile and say, "Oh c' that the best you got?" I don't let things get me down.

But recently it seems like everything gets me down. It may all just be in my head, maybe I'm entering the change of life...I don't know. But I don't like it.

Today a co-worker sent me the following little story and it struck a chord with me because this is what I feel is happening to me right now. A bunch of little garbage-carrying trucks are running around and unloading on me and usually I can just get up, dust it all off and go on. But when it's too much garbage you just can't get clean and you carry it around and you feel dirty and grungy and nasty and just not yourself.

So I'm going to try to take a long cleansing breath, a long hot mental shower and scrub all that garbage off and get back to my normal, happy, silly, self because I really do miss blogging, I miss being creative and I miss sharing my life, (bland as it may be) with everyone.

Law of the Garbage Truck

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.

My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly.

So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!'

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally.

Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so ... Love the people who treat you right. PRAY FOR THE ONES WHO DON'T.

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Have a garbage-free day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Blogging Award

I love receiving blog awards! Imagine my surprise today when I got home and sat down to read a few blogs and the first blog I visited gave me an award!

Donnie from New Blessing Everyday had The Versatile Blogger Award waiting for me.

I really like this award because I think my little blog is very versatile; not by choice of course but by accident. Let me explain.

I started out with the thought in mind that this would be a journal type of blog. I wanted to write about my feelings and thoughts and perceptions of the world. I had enough feelings, thoughts and perceptions for about 3 months then I was all out!

So then I thought, I'll be a Foodie Blog and write these wonderfully witty and funny posts filled with gorgeous foodie porn pictures of souffles, quiches and various Mexican dishes. Then I realized you actually have to cook the food in order to photograph it. And once you cook the food, you gotta eat it. I'm not even mentioning the fact that I'm not a cook...but you can see where this idea wasn't going to work out so well. So that was out.

Then I decided I would be a blog about Yardsaling. I did that for a while once and that was great, except you have to get up at about 5am to get to the good stuff before everyone grabs it up. I didn't want to get up that early and I can't go anywhere without first showering, blow drying, curling and applying makeup. So there went my morning.

That's about the time the brilliant idea came to me to become a Thrifting blog. You know...go out to thrift stores and buy treasures to photograph and then display on the blog. That worked out great. I love, love, love thrifting, so does my partner in mom. I did that for quite a while again, but now I have no more room in my house for all my I think I'm about to become a Hoarders Until I have a yard sale I've put off buying any more home is filled with treasure, so much that there's barely room for me!

But one thing I can say about my blog is that it is definitely versatile! Thanks Donnie, I appreciate the award and gratefully accept it. Now I'm supposed to write 7 things about myself but I think I've covered that above so let me just summarize. . .

1. I'm versatile
2. I have trouble making up my mind
3. I like awards
4. I'm not a chef or even a foodie.
5. I love thrift stores.
6. I love shopping with my mom.
7. I love blogging and all my blogging buddies like dear Donnie from New Blessing Everyday!

I'm supposed to pass the award on to 15 other blogs I love...and trust me that would not be hard because I love so many. But because I haven't had dinner yet and a new episode of House comes on at 8pm and because I still want to ride my bike for a little while I'm just gonna award 5 blogs, then I'm getting off my hiney and getting some stuff done before i sit my hiney back down again to watch House.

I hereby bestow The Versatile Blogger Award to: (and whether you choose to accept it or not, know that I love your blog to bits!)
1. DUTA at Places with Character
2. SUMMUR at Braley Mama
3. DELLA at Della Grace's Life
4. KATHRYN at From the Inside...Out
5. The Wonderfully Funny Blogger at ClimbToNowhere