Monday, December 31, 2012

Foodie Files

By the way, did I tell you about my Sunday Brunch??

Guess I just did! And oh man it was delicious! And we got to share all the dishes. And someone's pants may have been unbuttoned when they walked out of the restaurant.

Don't forget to visit today's Giveaway 
hosted by Glam Hungry Mom!

What are you waiting for? A disco ball to hit your head? 
DO IT!!!! 

What's in a Name? - New Year's Giveaway!

It's almost the NEW YEAR!!!
Goodbye 2012 and HELLO 2013!


Let's start our greetings with a fantastic Group Giveaway...shall we?!

What do you call others that have the same name as you? Well, in my home country of Peru, we call them "Tocayas" or "Tocayos" depending if its a gal or a guy. I am so happy to have found my "Tocaya" in the bloggy world!

Our name "Andrea" is the female of "Andrew". It has Greek and English origin.
For a girl, it translates to 'Courageous, Valiant, Womanly, Beautiful Lady'. Which, duh, we totally are!

Today, I am super excited that my beautiful friend and Tocaya Andrea Bai at Glam Hungry Mom is hosting this amazing group giveaway that I am part of!! This is actually my very first giveaway so stop by and put in your entries to win the prizes she has on hand!

How can you say no to Nutrition Coaching, Ad Space, and a total of $20 in Starbucks and Amazon Gift Cards?! I think that's a pretty awesome prize!! I, of course, would love to just get the Starbucks Gift card because, I just love their coffee!
Did you know their app tracks down all of your Starbucks purchases? UNREAL!!!

Make sure to stop by Glam Hungry Mom for more info on the prizes!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 To-Do List

As I was browsing through some new blogs I came across Lauren's goals for 2013 at .stylelixir. I realized I had not had much time to create my own goals for this coming year!


Although I am extremely thankful for all of the "learning" that came with 2012, I am so ready to soar even higher in 2013. So for that, I've decided on the following goals for myself:

1. Run my first half-marathon. This has been my goal for the last 3 years. It will finally come true in January! I will be running the Miami ING Half-Marathon! I am not in good shape and have just started training, but I figured it's forcing me to work out more often!

2. Grow along with my blog. I started my blog in 2008 to share my pics, get my feelings and likes across, and have now made some fun bloggy friends! My blog helped me through a really bad rut that went south around Spring of 2012. However, I have been climbing my way to the light ever since! Thank you for keeping me grounded and busy!

3. Be a tourist in my own town. Oh dear, Miami, how I love thee. My hubby and I love traveling and finding out new things! Miami is such a big city and if you pay attention, you will find good places to eat that are not too expensive (I'm a total foodie!) and have fun (I am a total drunky!). So if you are open to trying out new things like I am, ask me! I know of some great places that Miami locals love!

4. Take out my DSLR for more dates. I have fallen in love with my DSLR all over again! I want to take a photography class to learn more about lenses, apertures, and yes, even adobe photoshop!

5. Travel outside the USA. I need to visit my family in Peru, however, I also really want to visit Europe again...decisions!!!!

6. Road Trips. This has been on our list for awhile now. Hopefully, hubby and I can finally decide to do some cross-country driving. If only it didn't take 8+ hours to get out of Florida!!!

So for now...or maybe until tomorrow (when a giveaway will be announced!) I hope you all welcome 2013 with a big BANG! Be good and stay safe lovelies!

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ferrero Rocher - Betcha I can't eat just 10!

I finally received my awesome Ferrero Rocher® Golden Gift VoxBox from Influenster today! I was soooooo excited you see....Rocher and I have a serious romantic fixation...ok fine...addiction. Although they sent this little VoxBox to me complimentary so that I can review them, my love/opinions for these fine chocolates are definitely not BIASED! I Swear I L.O.V.E. them!

It's not just the hazelnut pieces rolled on the chocolate covered crispy wafer shell. 
No ma'am. 
It's the delicious surprisingly hazelnut and chocolatey gooey goodness center that makes it fantabulously amazing!

Yes...I am a super lucky girl.

I was one of the few selected to receive this complimentary VoxBox from Influenster and I was so happy I did!!
It took a little longer than usual since I had a little tiny insignificant problem with the address. But alas it arrived and I had to pick it up promptly from the post office! Oh Thank Goodness for belated Christmas Gifts! I kinda sorta LOVE belated presents of any kind!

The official standings:
Ferrero Rocher® is a unique and delicious chocolate experience made by Italian chocolatier Ferrero, since 1982. The chocolates are a tempting combination of smooth chocolaty cream surrounding a whole hazelnut; within a delicate, crisp wafer. . . all enveloped in milk chocolate and finely chopped hazelnuts. The chocolates are individually wrapped in gold foil.

My First Vlog...yes a How to on Devouring Ferrero Rocher!

See!!! Not even Stitch can keep his hands away from my other Ferrero Rocher boxes!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Very Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your loved ones the very best of the holiday season!
May your home be filled with blessings of joy and laughter in the company of your family!

My favorite Christmas movie is Love Actually...

I have recently discovered the most amazing decorations placed on someone's front lawn! The house was decorated all over. They had so many visitors, they even needed parking attendants! 

The owners decided to place a donation box benefiting the Autism Speaks Foundation for research and help for families of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

We just HAD to have our picture taken on the sled. Notice he is wearing shorts and a short sleeved shirt. I think that was one of the "coldest" night in Miami in some time! I think we hit mid 50s that night! LoL!

Hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Melt-in-YO'-mouth Cookies!

My favorite thing to make during the holidays is definitely Alfajores [Alpha-hor-es]. They are these delicious Peruvian cookies that I've been told look like macaroons! I promise you...I PROMISE YOU! These are so much better!!!

By no means, do I consider myself an expert cookie maker. Specially these, but all the ingredients are so delicious when put together!

You must not...I repeat...YOU MUST NOT LOOK  at the calorie/fat content in this recipe. LOL...

Here it goes:

1 cup of flour
1 cup of cornstarch
5 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 1/4 sticks of butter

1 can of Dulce De Leche (or more to fill the cookies)
Powdered sugar to sprinkle on cookies

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet and lightly sprinkle some flour on top.
2.Allow the butter to soften and mix all the ingredients with your hands. The consistency of the batter should not be crumbly (if so, add little a sliver of butter) nor super greasy (if so, sprinkle some flour).
3. Once all ingredients are mixed in, with a rolling pin roll the batter to about 1/4 inch thick. With a simple cookie cutter (round or heart shaped) make as many cookies, carefully placing them onto the cookie sheet.
4. Bake cookies for about 10-15mins or until golden. Remove them and allow to cool on wax paper.
5. Open a can of Dulce De Leche and liberally spread the gooey goodness onto the cookie. Top it off with another cookie.
6. Once you have made enough cookie sandwiches with the Dulce De Leche, set them up so that you can sift powder sugar on both sides of the cookies.
7. Enjoy at your leisure!!!!

I swear, they melt in your mouth!

Talking to Children About Violence


My schools sent out some information to educate both parents and teachers on the best ways to address a child's questions/concerns on violence. You can download the document through [this link]. Below is some of the information provided by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP):

High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.

1. Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.

2. Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient. Children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.

3. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate. 

  • Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety like reminding children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills practiced during the school day.
  • Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.
  • Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines (e.g. not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to the school safety made by students or community members, etc.), communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.

4. Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.

5. Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.

6. Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.

7. Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.

Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children
• Schools are safe places. School staff work with parents and public safety providers (local police and fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals, etc.) to keep you safe.
• The school building is safe because ... (cite specific school procedures).
• We all play a role in the school safety. Be observant and let an adult know if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened.
• There is a difference between reporting, tattling or gossiping. You can provide important information that may prevent harm either directly or anonymously by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.
• Don’t dwell on the worst possibilities. Although there is no absolute guarantee that something bad will never happen, it is important to understand the difference between the possibility of something happening and the probability that it will affect our school.
• Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand. Doing things that you enjoy, sticking to your normal routine, and being with friends and family help make us feel better and keep us from worrying about the event.
• Sometimes people do bad things that hurt others. They may be unable to handle their anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffering from mental illness. Adults (parents, teachers, police officers, doctors, faith leaders) work very hard to get those people help and keep them from hurting others. It is important for all of us to know how to get help if we feel really upset or angry and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
• Stay away from guns and other weapons. Tell an adult if you know someone has a gun. Access to guns is one of the leading risk factors for deadly violence.
• Violence is never a solution to personal problems. Students can be part of the positive solution by participating in anti-violence programs at school, learning conflict mediation skills, and seeking help from an adult if they or a peer is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions they cannot control.

Above all, just remember:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On My Soapbox - Thoughts on Sandy Hook

As I walked from my office towards the main campus of the elementary school on Friday afternoon, my friend sends me a horrifying text..."OMG! Shooting at an elementary school, 18 students dead in Connecticut!" I stopped in the middle of the hallway, my heart sank. I look up to watch as one of the Kindergarten teachers lead the students to the front of the building for dismissal. Who would do this? It must be a mistake! A drive-by shooting?

I could not believe it. Those poor little angels! Those families! This is not fair!

Every time something like this occurs, whether it is a high school, a university campus, a mall, or a movie theatre...our everyday lives are affected. These are places we go to where we and our loved ones are supposed to feel safe! Where we go to study, learn, de-stress, and enjoy time with friends.

However, what I see as a way to fix and avoid these situations, seems in my opinion, not to be the solution rather a bandaid. I am by no means pro-guns, but think of this: Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Did you know that on Friday, there were 22 children wounded as a result of a knife attack during the dismissal at a primary school? China is a country that prides itself in strict gun control, but alas, violence at a school still occurred! [click here]  

In light of these events, my only request is to not focus on the right to bear arms or gun control, rather what do the suspects have in common? They all have a mental illness. Mental illness is a disease that is not very glamourous. You will not see heartfelt ads on TV, there are no televised fundraisers to end mental illness, there is no pretty face to give light on the issue and make something we can all understand. Rather, this is an illness that comes with a horrific staple: a mugshot, poor judgment/decisions, or innocent lives affected by their actions.

Let's think of this:
Do we know what kind of childhood they endured? Were their issues addressed? Did they receive adequate psychological services? Or were they denied services at some point because they didn't have insurance or benefits to pay? It's hard to tell at this point. There are a lot of factors in play and a lot to be considered. 

I have worked in the trenches right out of college as a group counselor for mentally ill adults. I then worked in the mental health and substance abuse system that managed funding and heard of budget cuts first hand for agencies. Now I work in the school system doing what I've always wanted to do, work with children with special needs. The mental health and well-being of our children is truly important. We need to be teaching our kids coping skills and create a greater awareness for mental illness and mental health. Children do suffer from mental illness and this Huffington Post article gives light on the issue.

It's time to increase awareness on mental health. 


With that said...I will now step off my soapbox. I came across this letter on GlamHungryMom's site and Living In Yellow. Read, copy, and paste this onto your blog in support for the victims and for all of those affected in Newtown, CT.

To the Blog World and Anyone Else who Wants to Help,

On Friday 12.14.12, tragedy struck so many of us in ways we did not foresee. An elementary school and small town in Connecticut was shattered by a mass shooting. We knew we wanted to help and we came up with this:

On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence.
We will post the button and that's it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.

We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services, Inc. Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to:

"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Please visit THIS PAGE or THIS United Way PAGE to make your donation.

We can't imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let's make a difference and use blogging in a positive way. Thank you in advance for participating.

The Blog World

Repeat Sunday: Home is where the Heart is

And my heart is with you...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Milkshake Brings all the Boys to the Berry Farm

The best thing in my life are strawberries.
The fact that we can go to the Strawberry farm pick up fresh berries and have a delicious strawberry sundae or milkshake on a beautiful weekend afternoon...priceless....

Below are some random pictures from my visits to Burrs Berry Farm in the Redlands.

Doesn't this look all kinds of wonderful and deliciousness!?!

My cousins visiting from Peru. Not only do they love the Biebs...but they also love strawberries!

Just a couple of cute kids that I  get to hug every now and then..

Uber cute bird houses!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gabriel v. The Red Velvet Cake

Remember I told you I become Betty Crocker during the holidays? 
Ok, let me remind you...I hate despise cooking.... HOWEVER

It all starts with our friends' Thanksgiving gatherings in November. 
This time around, the hosts requested Red Velvet Cake. Oh and did I mention I do it from scratch? 
All of it, except the icing...haven't quite mastered that yet!

Meet Gabriel. He loves loves loves cupcakes. 
Lucky for him, Auntie Andie knew exactly what to do for him...

Gabriel 1 - Red Velvet Cake 0

Below is the recipe I used to make my delicious Red Velvet Cake and Cupcakes.
Tip: Make sure you sift your flour before measuring the 3 1/3 cups!

Magnolia Bakery's Red Velvet Cake

as published on The Nest.

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 Tbl. red food coloring
3 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1½ tsp. salt
1½ cups buttermilk
3⅓ cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1½ tsp. cider vinegar
1½ tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour 3 (9x2-inch) round cake pans and line bottoms with waxed paper. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time; beat well.
In a small bowl, whisk food coloring, cocoa and vanilla. Add to batter and beat well. In a measuring cup, stir salt into buttermilk. Add to batter in three parts, alternating with flour. In a small bowl, stir together cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to batter and mix well.
Divide batter among 3 pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour. Remove from pans and frost.
Vanilla Frosting
1½ cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 to 10 cups confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup milk
1 Tbl. vanilla extract
Place butter in a large mixing bowl; then add 4 cups sugar, milk and vanilla.
Using an electric mixer, beat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition, until it’s a good consistency for spreading.

Monday, December 10, 2012

...A Lesson in Procreation

Once upon a time a couple of fools decided to get to know their neighborhood a little better so they ended up at the local zoo.  They had so much fun as they were able to go and visit some tigers, giraffes, bears, and pooping elephants...oh my!

Even these gorillas were flirting with them!

I bet, Chubby Hubby would have been upset...

But the absolute best part about the zoo was the Lesson in Procreation...

...even turtles gotta get their freak on!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

I'M BACK.....Coffee Mug Swap!

So my life? 

Well, it was in boxes...most of it still is. However, I have found a little nook where I can feel comfy and at ease. While I was putting my life away in boxes...I received the BEST BOX EVER!!!

I was partnered up with Angela from Please Mommy, No More Daddies... who is the coolest mom and photographer! I just love the way she documents her life and her family! 

Angela...I have a thing (or two, or three) to learn from your photography skilllllzzzz!

It was Angela's Coffee Mug goodies that gave me something to smile REALLY big about! 
She made me feel special since she was able to capture different things that I love and blog about in her box of goodies! Some of which, I probably would've picked up to send to her myself! (camera and coffee stuff of course!)

Check out the FUN contents in my swap box! 

She knew perfectly well that Candyland is my favorite game AND she even made my heart pitter patter with all the wine and coffee key chains and stuff! 

and the Garbage Pail Kids cards.....outstanding my dear Angie!

I loved getting my little fun E.L.F. polish combo pack and what and talking mustache? That's the freaking shit!

By the way...the chocolate and the mallow bites are almost all gone! There's only so much candy you can avoid in between stressful moves!

Angela...THANK YOU... and I know I'm super late, but I know that your box of goodies is finally on its way!!

Make sure you are following Natalie at The Spunky Poser who hosted this awesome swap!


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