Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring photo checklist

What a great idea! Check out Rebecca's sweet Spring Photo Checklist, you can download it for free and make sure you capture Spring in all its glory!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hello sunshine!

Must. Finish. Cross-stitch. For. Friend. Before. Jumping. Into. SewingFest. 2011.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A lovely morning

Yesterday I had a nice walk and cup of coffee with a good friend. We've known each other since our kiddos (her only, my oldest) were weeks old. We met at a mom's club meeting and realized we lived around the corner from each other.

Here they are in one of their early dates ;D

You'd think we see each other often. How bad is it, in reality? It's been so long since I've seen her that she didn't even know my dad had died last July.

To be fair, she is studying to be a nurse and keeps a schedule that would drive me batty, but the light at the end of the tunnel is very visible and I look forward to congratulating her when she graduates soon. She has no classes this week so we walked to Starbucks - which we used to do all the time with our babies in strollers - and chatted for a while.

It was lovely. She is a calm, kind, gentle soul (VERY unlike me) and it was good talking about what what our kids are up to now and what we're up to now. It's good to make the effort, to find those precious minutes when we can reconnect with a friend. It's what makes my life well-rounded.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Organizing: Meal Planning

I've been slowly getting into the Once a Month cooking idea. Not completely, because with my boys being picky eaters and my husband needing lunch as well as dinner (he works from home) I couldn't possibly cook an entire month's worth of meals in one day. But, three times now I have cooked and made more than one "batch" of the same meal, twice to freeze for future meals and once to share with a dear friend.

The two meals I made to freeze were from Fix, Freeze, Feast and they were both delicious, but you can find freezer recipes throughout the web, and of course, at The Martha's website. Some recipes I will try next week are Chicken and Rice soup, Mini Meatballs, and her Basil Pesto, with one modification: I prefer to make mine half basil and half spinach. The original recipe with all basil can be a bit overpowering to me, and I like the idea of squeezing in some extra veggies wherever I can.

Got any freezer-friendly recipes you'd like to share?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Come on LOFT, wtf?

Okay, this is where "fashion editors" completely lose me. One of my favorite stores, Ann Taylor LOFT invited 3 magazine editors to style some looks. Here is one by the Glamour editor:
All I'm saying is that if I'm wearing a fricking anorak with a scarf, then it's not the right weather for those flimsy little sandals.

One of my little fashion quirks is - the longer the sleeve, the more closed up the shoe should be. That's just my personal rule because inevitably, that's how it's worked out for me. If I am out and about in a sundress and sandals and it gets chilly enough for a cardigan, then my toes are also cold. So to see a coat and scarf paired with barely-there sandals is ridiculous in my shoes.

Thank you for the kind comments on my comparison between White House Black Market and more budget-friendly looks.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A boy and his dragon

My youngest with one of his dragon toys, while waiting for his older brother to get out of school.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In comparison

White House Black Market recently came out with their "Work Kit" - a collection of items that make up a complete wardrobe for the working woman.

However, the nearly $1,000 price tag - that's $892 without taxes for one of each item - is a little much for me even if I were still making my high flying salary of a few years ago.

Here is my more budget-friendly version, coming in at just under $400:

Ahhh, much better!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's been planted

Most of the veggie garden has been planted. We managed to get most of the plants in the ground in between bouts of rain. And when I say "we" I mean my husband.
Out lovely swiss chard, I saute it like spinach, with butter and garlic, and I have a recipe I want to try - a white bean soup with chard. We'll see how it turns out.

This is what I call Onion Hill, there are yellow onions growing (I hope) in between the two patches of green onions.
These green onions are legendary in our house. You can grab a bunch and put them in a bowl in one corner of the kitchen and you can smell them from the other corner. Fragrant and flavorful, these have grown all through the winter for us.

Our peas and beans, my husband made a little structure for them to climb:
My picky 6-year-old who won't touch anything green will happily pick them off the vine and pop them in his mouth.

Squash Row - we have grown baseball bat zucchinis in our garden, although I will be more diligent about harvesting when they're smaller, because they're much yummier then.
I have a feeling lots of zucchini bread and zucchini chocolate chip cookies (kids love them!) are in our future.

We'll also be doing tomatoes, of course, I hope to do some canning this year as well as drying some with my awesome new food dehydrator. The grapes and blueberries are also planted, and the corn has a reserved spot as well. Thanks to my husband for all his work on "my" veggie garden :D

Are you planting any fruits or veggies this year?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Three outfits - one jacket

I just got a cute jacket from Old Navy and was playing around with some outfit ideas. I think I'm going to be wearing this baby throughout the whole year because it can definitely be dolled up for fall as well!

Do you have a new (or old) piece you need outfit ideas for?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh shit!

I was getting this post ready when I realized I broke my Lent promise not to purchase craft materials. I lasted a big whooping THREE DAYS before I broke my word. At least it wasn't on purpose.

On Saturday, my mother-in-law took my boys (and my husband) to the San Francisco Zoo to see the baby hippo. I took advantage of it by changing up a few things and doing some deep cleaning around the house.

A while back I ordered some antique maps of Lima, where I grew up.
They now grace my entryway.

This pretty butterfly paper was one of the things I purchased that broke my Lent promise.
But it looks so pretty! :D

I posted a few weeks ago about a dino-pendant I liked . . .
. . . and I found a dino charm at Michaels soon after, so I made this little bracelet. It has an Eiffel Tower and a Fleur de Lis, AND a dino in honor of my boy!

These are the other papers I bought that broke my Lent promise:
This is my Easter-themed bookcase top.

And here is my mantel, de-winterized and green-ed up for Spring! I'll add some Easter goodies as I get them, too.
I found the cute little green bud vase way in the back of a bookcase shelf. I'm glad I looked!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Interview: Beneath My Heart

I "discovered" the lovely Traci from Beneath my Heart about a year and a half ago, and was immediately drawn to her kindness and grace - and her craftiness! Traci was kind enough to answer some questions, too!

What does style mean to you?
Style to me is whatever makes your heart smile! There are so many different decorating styles out there. I love them all. But there are certain styles that make me say, "aahhh...", and I feel like I am "home". When you find colors, or fabrics, or pieces of furniture that make you happy, surround yourself in them. Fill your home up with them, then you will find your style, and your home will represent "you".

What do you think are your signature touches around the house?

Over the past two years of blogging, it seems my "signature touches" seem to be the colors I use when decorating. I tend to work with tans, whites, browns, and blacks throughout my house, with pops of red. Sort of like the colors in my blog design. :) I also think I add touches of a "cottage" feel to my home through older pieces of furniture and vintage finds.

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t quite know what their style is?
Funny you ask! About five years ago, a friend of mine asked me what my decorating style was. (This was way before my blogging days.) I had no idea how to answer that! I don't think I even had a style. However, my mom had always told me to tear out my favorite home decor pictures from magazines and put them in a binder. If I saw a picture of a kitchen that I loved, I would put it in my binder. If I saw a piece of furniture that I wish I could own someday, I would put it in the binder. Over time, I realized that my "decorating eye" was always drawn toward the same types of pictures. They tended to have elements of cottage, french country, and traditional in them. I have decided that my style is what I like to call "modern cottage".

What do you see in 2011 for home decor?
Well, the color for 2011 is "honeysuckle", which is a beautiful shade of pink, but I don't think that is going to happen in my house full of boys this year! :)
I'm not really good at making predictions, but it seems like light, bright, airy spaces are all the rage. Combining the old with the new is always beautiful, like modern chairs around a old rustic table. And lots of textures in your decor is wonderful too.

What do you think can make the biggest change in a room – paint, moving furniture, pillows, etc.?
Definitely, paint. It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room. It instantly makes everything in your room look fresher and newer.

How do you want your home to be seen by others?
I want my house to be seen by others as a place of love, a place of beauty, and a place of fun. l want others to feel at home when they come to my home. I love using old furniture in my home, because if it gets a little beat up by others, it still looks great. And I do not want to have a lot money in my decor, so if something gets ruined or broken by a guest, no big deal! It can easily be replaced. I always hope my guests know that they are way more important than the "things" in my home!

Name one color you can’t live without – decorating wise.
Can I say, "neutrals"? :)

What matters to you the most when you ponder a major change – bathroom remodel, bedroom redo, tearing down a wall, etc.
Easy! Every decision I make in completing a makeover in our home depends on money. Our finances are extremely tight, so if we can't do it inexpensively, then we just can't do it! But that is the fun part to me! I love creating a beautiful space for a fraction of the cost others would do it in. It is amazing what you can do with very little money. That is what I try to share on my blog every day.

I should add as a footnote that I found out just how kind Traci is after my dear dad passed away last July. I had read in her blog how Traci had handled her dear mom's passing and in my desperate grief I reached out to her, someone I had never met, to ask her advice on dealing with my pain.

If you know Traci, have read her blog, or have even just heard of her, you know how she responded. She was all kindness and support, grace and encouragement, she even emailed me later to check up on how I was doing. To those who say "online friends" don't mean as much as "real friends" I say, to quote my youngest, "you so wrong!".

It was fun reading Traci's answers to my questions, I hope you have enjoyed getting to know her a little bit more!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Mammaliogram

If you ever watched AbFab, then you remember this conversation:

Patsy: You ever had the tit test?
Edina: The tit test?
Patsy: You know, the hand-tit test?
Edina: No I go to the clinic once a month, they do a mammaliogram.

The moment I realized it was my turn to have a mammogram, I immediately thought of AbFab. The real reason, however, is far from funny. I am going to be forty later this year, but my sister was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and has undergone a mastectomy.

This came as a shock to us as there was no history of cancer, that we know of, in our family. But as of now, there is a history so when I had my annual last week, I asked for a form for a mammogram. I'm making an appointment and buying myself a chocolate shake afterward as a reward. Not looking forward to having my boobs made into dorsal fins but it's for a very good reason.

Monday, March 14, 2011

And here I thought awards season was over!

Lookit what was waiting for me after a busy morning around the house!

The fact that it came from dear Luciane, my friend over at Home Bunch, made it so much better! I only discovered her blog a few months ago but now I eagerly await each new post and the delicious images she chooses. Muito obrigado, querida Luciane!!

I am so happy to have won this again, I certainly have very kind bloggy friends!

There are some rules to this award:

Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.
Share 7 things about yourself.
Award 10 great bloggers you recently discovered.
Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

Let's see, 7 things about myself:

1 - I love puzzles. Unfortunately, right now puzzles I want to do are off-limits because my kids are very good at losing their puzzle pieces, so I'm giving them a couple more years and then I'm unleashing my puzzle-making geekness!

2 - I miss my homeland. I haven't been back to Peru in 10 years and while part of me really wants to go, I know that it would be a very painful trip now that my dear dad is gone. There would be so many memories and I think everyone would want to talk about his passing, I don't know if I am ready for that.

3 - I have a fetish for odd-looking, kinda scrawny, European men. I am just drawn to them far more than pretty boys like Tom Cruise (yuck), George Clooney (I don't get it), or Brad Pitt (eh). Give me Robert Pattinson (since WAY before Twilight, thank you!), Andrew Scott, James McAvoy any day. Then again, I have a major jones for Sawyer from LOST, Bradley James, and Henry Cavill, so I guess some pretty boys are ok. Yes, my husband knows.

4 - I've tried to go vegetarian/vegan a few times. Mainly because of how I feel about agribusiness practices. I think if I set myself a goal of maybe 70% no animal products I might be more successful, and then I may move to 100%.

5 - I've never been to Machu Picchu. That's usually one of the first things someone asks me when they find out I'm from Peru. I'd like to go now, for sure!

6 - I hate it when people from Peru claim to be not just from Lima, the capital, but from the posh areas. Honestly, just about every. single. person. I meet that is from Peru claims to be from San Isidro, Miraflores, etc. Come on. I was actually born in Lima but I say that my family is from Chiclayo, a city in the north. I'm proud of my roots, it's too bad so many people aren't. Where did I live in Lima? In Magdalena del Mar, 4 blocks from the ocean.

7 - My all-time favorite sport to watch? It has to be soccer.

Ten Stylish Bloggers:

Look Linger Love
Serenity Now
Positively Splendid
Little Emma English Home
Michaela Noelle
Little Miss Momma
Everyday Makeup with Becky
La Dolce Vita
Kelly Rae
Carina's Polish Stash

Check out these awesome sites, full of style and fancy goodness!

Friday, March 11, 2011


I'm so in like with that scarf from - i love the bright blue green on the neutral background.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Unanswered questions

When my husband and I got married we did a slideshow of pics of both of us through the years.

I remember my dad loved it, he said it was so nice seeing me grow up before his eyes. So many sweet memories.

I also remember people asking me why I was plopped on top of furniture in so many pics.

I don't know what it was, maybe my parents thought the fear of falling would keep me still if they plopped me on top of a TV. Yes boys and girls, that's a seriously old school TV, isn't it?

All I know is I wouldn't try that with my boys. Because they have no fear of falling. My little one, in fact, will run towards a pool and jump in without a care. With clothes on.

I'm just glad they managed to take pics with me in them. Because here I almost left the frame before they took it.

And really, it doesn't get that cold in Lima, why am I all bundled up INSIDE the house?

And who put me in yellow? That's so not one of my best colors!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Giving it up

I'm giving up purchasing any new craft supplies for Lent.

Yeah, that's about how I feel about it (image from

The good news is, I have a crapload of craft items stored away so it's not like I'm going to be lacking materials, but it's always so good to go out and buy something for a new project, isn't it?

I found a piece of fabric in my old stash that I already have plans for.

I'd like to say that I'm going to clean out most of my stored stuff and use it all up, but who am I kidding? I won't use half of it and I'll still want new stuff to craft with.

Alas, I am going into this with the best intentions and that's all I can ask for.

Are you giving up anything for Lent?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My date with destiny

You know, timing is a very funny thing. I had this post brewing in my head about always being presentable, with this quote from Coco Chanel herself as the anchoring motif of the day:
"I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny."


Guess what. I met my destiny yesterday, and it wasn't pretty.

We all have photographs of ourselves we'd rather didn't exist. Whether it be an unflattering prom pic, or a snap from days when we weighed more than we'd like, we all have bad photos.

Mine, however, might be available on the whole fracking internet soon. Because the Google Maps street level cam-car drove into our court just when I was carrying plants for my garden. In nasty old sweatpants, a ratty old cardigan that makes me look 8 months preggo and uber-stylish white socks.

The good news is that it usually takes months for updated Google map photos to show up. The bad news is, well, just about everything else regarding this situation.

Sorry Coco, let's call this one a massive FAIL.

Monday, March 7, 2011

And the winner is . . .

the winner of the Urban Pantry giveaway is commenter #3 - Marieke!

Congratulations, you have an awesome cookbook headed your way!

What I got last week

Like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I won a copy of The French Room, courtesy of a giveaway at Casa Bella

As you might expect, the book is full of gorgeous pictures and tips to create your own inspired French decor.

This bedroom is a favorite of mine, how lovely and soothing in shades of blue and green!

I love fashion illustrations, I might attempt to create a set of prints for my guest bathroom.

Isn't this cart gorgeous? It would definitely claim a spotlight in my home!

If you have not yet discovered Casa Bella, go, now, run! Silvia is a fellow sudamericana and has impeccable taste in decor and adornment in general. Thank you, Silvia, for the gorgeous book!

Friday, March 4, 2011

March madness

I will never, ever, rival my college friend Carina's masses of nail polish, I'm sure, but I felt like a little green goodness was needed:
I love this shade, it's a cheapie $2 Sally Hansen color called Ivy League I got at Tarjay the other day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Godzilla Haiku

Aidan turned six, yeah!
Godzilla party was fun,
pinata went boom.


Lots of kids had fun
Godzilla's not so scary
in fifty pieces!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More pillow talk

I made some pillow covers a few days ago, here are some more with the same fabrics. I decided to add some texture and make some ruffles and rosettes.

These are bedroom accent pillows, the large one is a sham-sized cover but I don't like the ruffle all around so I mixed fabrics and added rosettes. The small one is a copy of similar covers I've seen all around the blogosphere, I love the ruffly goodness on the plain tan fabric.

Hope you like these!

Weekend Bloggy ReadingIron Violet Designs

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Giveaway! Urban Pantry

Today I'm giving away one copy of this awesome book - Urban Pantry by Amy Pennington.

Urban Pantry is full of tips and ideas for growing, preserving and cooking your own food, it is beautifully photographed and was named one of the top 10 cookbooks of 2010 by

In order to win you must:
1 - be a follower of this blog
2 - leave a comment

that's it!
The giveaway closes on Sunday night (March 6) and I will announce the winner on Monday, March 7. Good luck!