Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Favorite Things in my Town: Link Party

I'm joining this super fun linky party and I'm going to tell you a few things I love about my town, which happens to be San Jose, California. I am right in Silicon Valley and close enough to Gilroy (garlic capital of the world) to smell all that lovely garlic when I go outside in the mornings.

1 - Location, location, location!
We are close to many wonderful places - San Francisco is about an hour north of us, my beloved old hometown of Mountain View is 30 minutes away, everything we need is either a short walk or a short drive away. We enjoy world-famous entertainment at the HP Pavilion, scout for treasures at the San Jose Flea Market, and shop for designer stuff at Valley Fair. Well, not me, but there is an Old Navy there! :D

2 - The weather!
Although I grumble plenty about it being too hot in the summer, I know I have it easy compared to places with more humidity. The main reason I love our weather is because my fruits and veggies (well, most of them) grow so well here.
We have gorgeous hibiscus out front that bring so much color to our entrance:
I would love to grow more flowers next year, although I am not giving up my veggies at all!

3 - Fun for the kids!
We have a wonderful Children's Museum where my children have romped with Curious George and Bob the Builder, most recently my oldest and his Gran enjoyed a day at the Mammoth Exhibit and had a blast!

Nearby, Gilroy Gardens is our yearly holiday destination, they put on a Christmas display and the boys love to explore all the rides and stroll around with Gran and Grandpa:

We have many parks around here, including Vasona Park where we recently joined Grandpa and Gran and rode the train and played until this boys were exhausted, which, as any mom will tell ya, it's a good thing.

These are just a few of the reasons I love my current hometown of San Jose - we have been so lucky in having wonderful neighbors. For example, when we had an earthquake a couple of years ago, both next-door neighbors rushed over to see if we were all ok. We also live very close to my in-laws and get to have them over for dinner often, like tonight! Even with the high cost of living in this area and what that means for our budget, I have come to love living here. My children have had wonderful (public school) teachers every year, and we have made so many wonderful friends.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into what it's like in San Jose, I'm off to visit some of the other hometowns in the party!

Triple yum!

On Sunday, my husband and I went to Outback for lunch while my mother-in-law watched the boys. We had a nice leisurely lunch and since I wasn't driving, I enjoyed this Margarita trio:
You get 4 oz. of each flavor. My favorite was the pomegranate while my husband preferred the mango, but they were all good.

If you get the chance to sample these I highly recommend them!

Monday, August 29, 2011

5 Places to Go

When you dream of going somewhere, where does your mind take you? What places would you love to visit? What countries call to you?

I've been very lucky to have traveled throughout Western Europe a few times, I took my first Caribbean cruise last year and I am originally from South America -- here is a map of places I have visited so far:

But of course, the wanderlust is always there and as my boys grow, there are more and more places I would love for them to discover. Off the top of my head, here are five places I would love to visit:

Source: via Freezi on Pinterest

Paris, of course, always Paris, beloved Paris, my someday-home, my favorite city in the world, the place I'd most like to retire to. Both my husband and I have been to Paris but not together, so it is #1 in our travel list. Some side trips to the Loire castle area would be included, bien sur, and I would bring an empty suitcase just to fill it up with various food and cooking utensils to bring home!

Being a history lover, I would love to go to Russia someday. The museums, the palaces, I want to see it all. The Hermitage alone would keep me busy for a couple of days. I love to buy museum postcards and prints, frame them up at home, and remember all the gorgeous things I saw.

This one would be for the boys - they love elephants and all sorts of big animals. A safari (not for hunting!) would be the trip of a lifetime. To see these majestic beasts in a more natural setting would be an amazing experience.

Source: via Julie on Pinterest

Wales - Like the original pic caption says, I would LOVE to go to Cardiff because I am a Torchwood fan (waaaa, Ianto!) but also this would be part of our British Isles trip. I've been to England, Ireland and Scotland, but my husband hasn't, and neither of us has been to Wales, so it's definitely on the list. I love to explore the smaller towns and rural areas as well as the main cities, so I think Wales would be a wonderful all-around destination.

Last but most certainly not least, Japan. I would absolutely love to visit Japan and I know my oldest wants to go because "that's where Godzilla is from." The culture, the food, the customs, all so different from my upbringing and my daily life - again, I would want to visit the main cities and the small villages.

Someday, I hope.

What places outside the US would you love to visit?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fashion Friday: Red lipstick

With fall coming I've been hankering for some red lipstick - I have owned many a burgundy shade in my life, but true red has never been in my radar . . . until now.

I recently purchased Revlon's Certainly Red and I love it. It's a blue-based red but even with my yellow/olive undertones I can wear it.

I would wear it with an all-black, black-and-white or cool toned outfit, though, so that leaves me wanting a red I can wear with warm tones.

Maybe it will be Maybelline's Red Revival?

Or MAC's Ladybug?

Maybe MAC's Lady Danger will be it!

I'll let you all know how my hunt turns out - do you have a favorite lipstick shade?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Day

Monday was the first day of school for my sweethearts - my oldest is a first-grader now:
He chose a green-striped shirt, brown shorts, orange laced shoes, red-strapped backpack and bright blue jacket :D

We are lucky in that he has some of the same classmates from last year as well as a friend he's known since he was 4 months old.

My little one is going to kindergarten in another school:
He's all about dinosaurs. It's a very rushed morning for us, dropping off my oldest first then racing to my youngest's school, where there is virtually no parking. His teacher, thank goodness, understands it's out of my hands and has told me it's ok for us to be a few minutes late. Thank you, thank you, sweet understanding teacher!

I will be volunteering in my oldest's class - I'm so excited!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Boy games

Last week my oldest decided he was big and strong enough to carry his little brother:
Little brother thought it was awesome!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Have you met the Queen?

If you've spent any time around the blogosphere, then you are probably familiar with vinyl decals being used around the home. In my case, I was longing for some order mixed with ornate for my pantry, and I found it at Leen the Graphics Queen's site.

She has a really cute set of canister labels, which added to my new IKEA canisters, resulted in a seriously pretty addition to our pantry.

Or rather, my husband liked them so much that he asked if we could get them off the pantry shelf and put them above our microwave. They look great and bring order and prettiness to things we use often. The labels are custom-made so you can have them say whatever you wish - as you can tell, we don't really use sugar, so one label reads Splenda!

I was not paid or gifted anything for this post, I purchased this set and was so happy that I wanted to share with y'alls. I've also purchased Leen's chalkboard decals and liked them a lot. Her prices are very reasonable and she ships very quickly - go do some browsing! Now!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vogue Latin America Aug '11

Vogue Latin America's August 2011 issue features my homeland, Peru, in a gorgeous photoshoot starring model Tiiu Kuik:

I love the vibrant colors and the unspoiled landscapes; you can see the rest of the photos at Fashion Gone Rogue

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fashion Friday: the leopard print trench

As with every summer, the prediction for fall/winter fashions include animal prints. It is a classic print, really, so you can safely spend a little bit more than you would on something like the color-of-the-season.

Here, I present the Banana Republic Mad Men Collection leopard print trench. Whew!

It's gorgeous, isn't it? Fully lined, nice shape, I do happen to love Mad Men but you don't have to love it to covet this trench. I usually wouldn't go for a print trench but like I said, animal print, if done right (i.e. not in hot pink) can be timeless. And the print scale is discreet, not obnoxiously, in your face, huge animal print patterns.

I'm saving my pennies because between this and the Missoni for Target collection, I am seriously in trouble!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Our new mantel

The living room mantel is the focal point of our main living area. You see it as soon as you come in the front door - here it is decked out for spring back in March:
The problem is, the "wall" above the mantel was just a sheet of foam over the brick, which goes from floor to ceiling. We discovered this when we tried to hang a picture and made a huge hole instead.

We decided to tear down the foam and put up some sheetrock instead - at the same time, I really hated the current mantel, so my husband graciously built me a new one :D

Below is the 2x4 that is nailed to the brick wall - the mantel is attached to this and it serves as support.

Checking to make sure the fit is perfect.

Applying wood putty to the rough edges and nail holes:

Our oldest was a very big help!

Painting the sheetrock to match the rest of the walls - we chose to paint the new mantel and frame in a dark chocolate brown:
The rich brown is a very close match to our TV console, coordinates with the large IKEA picture above, and is a good addition to our warm-toned living room.

Here is our new mantel area dressed up with some vintage Paris pictures and pretty flowers:
I LOVE this area, it looks brighter, cleaner and so much nicer - hope you enjoyed our little project!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lazy days

We are enjoying these last few days of school vacation - we recently went up to a local park and rode on the train, it was wonderful. The day had cooled down and my three men were having a lot of fun together:
In a few days my sons are back in school. Is it just me or did this summer just fly by?