Thursday, December 11, 2014

That's A Wrap!

With Christmas just around the corner, I have been in such a cheery mood!  You know like the kind that gets you watching hallmark movies on the weekend and wearing funky socks while you are bundled up in a huge blanket and drinking your (Mexican/Abuelita) hot chocolate. (Yes it's that specific). Well not only have I been doing that, I finished my Christmas shopping quite early and then went crazy on things to wrap my gifts in!  Yay!! So excited!!

So I wanted to share my gift wrapping ideas with you all before the holiday hits!  I wanted to keep it clean and simple. But still keep it super pretty, classy if you will.

Most of my supplies was bought at Target... my fav store right now!  The ribbons however, those are from Michael's.  Enjoy!





Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The "What ifs" and "Will its"

I find myself constantly contemplating a lot lately. And will shamefully admit... comparing myself to others. I do not like that I do this. I do not condone anyone do it. However I can admit as humans, it happens.

In general I try not to dwell on how things could have turned out. I believe things happen for a reason. But lately I've been in this... "Mood" for lack of a better word... in which I tend to think "well if this situation would have turned out this way... then maybe this."  But in all honesty, I don't know why I do it. I mean seriously it didn't happen because it didn't.. Move on. Yet I don't see how I can just move on.(I've been a little thick headed lately... can't even take my own advice).


Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA
My Happy Place

I've always been the kind to give advice without a second thought.  The kind who will listen to others problems and if I have something to say, then I'll just say it.  I like to think of my advice as golden.  As something that can shed some light on someone and that will make their life easy because it was just an easy solution for me to find.  And this may stem from the fact that a majority of the times, my solutions have or would have worked (if the advice was taken).  But I find myself in similar situations and taking that advise myself seems hard to do.  I struggle with knowing what I want to do and what I should be doing.  I'm emotionally driven, and though I may have a stable head on my shoulders, emotions can run wild.  This part of me makes life so much more difficult when it comes to dealing with my "what if moments".

It doesn't help that I have a really hard time trusting people enough to truly open up.  I talk about a lot of personal things on here, personal thoughts, and touch on some emotions/feelings a may have towards certain situations.  But in person, even getting this much out of me takes a lot of trust from my part.  I don't unwind the pent up feelings the way I should, because there are somethings I feel I shouldn't share.  Fear of judgement, fear of rejection, I don't really know what it is.  But sometimes being inside your head so much can effect you.

Dwelling on the past lately at a time where I feel a stand still in my life, yet feel like life itself, time, are slipping away from me with no actual evolution to the quality of my life.  Though I know I have so many things to be thankful for that have recently happened and things from my past and pressent that I am very thankful for, I compare the life of others to mine.  I said it earlier that this is not something I like to do.  I do believe in the path of our lives being laid out and therefore should not compare ours to others because they are different.  However, this moment in my life has me questioning my path.  Do I want to stay where I am now? Should I have decided to do this or that?  Should I find something else, someone else to occupy my time?  Will my decision lead to the right outcome? Will I be able to do what I want in my life?  Am I actually doing what I truly want? Am I who I want to be?

It isn't fair to myself to add so much pressure.  Life always has a way of figuring itself out without much effort in my part.  However, I feel an urgency.  An urgency that has me unsettled.  I question my career path, my education, the people I've let into and out of my life.  I think back on past relationships, friendships, those I did not let reach even that far.  I wonder if my attitude, personality, lack of being sociable has effected the point in which my life has gotten to.  I question weather the decisions I made and was so sure of are now really what I wanted in hindsight.  And all this in itself makes me question my belief of a God written path!  My goodness what have I allowed my mind to venture into?

When you feel this stillness in the progress of your life, yet feel the progress of time, it's quite confusing.  Situations that make you realize life is short, you never know what will come of it, those are the situations that bring you down and you must bring yourself up from.  I don't think I will ever be able to figure out the "what ifs" and that "will its" as life is truly a journey we all must live to figure out how it will end up.  But a scary thought life is.

So why do I write this... well because I know I'm not alone in this.  I've seen and heard of many struggles and even some positive changes in the lives among those who I know and love or have loved.  I will admit we have mostly been fortunate to not have extreme circumstances.  However, there have been an instance or two that can be considered so.  The instances that whether they are happening to you directly or someone you may know make you question so much about your own life.

I give you this scripture, one that I only read the first line and had instantly felt the need to read more of it.  I had never read it before, but in that moment I knew it was something that would help me through anything.


Ephisians 6: 13-17
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.


This may not mean much to many, but in a moment of uncertainty it meant something to me.  It speaks of being torn between God's way and the way of other things, in this case of evil influences of the devil, but in our lives, anything can be considered an evil influence.  The bad, evil, dark, and wicked can come in many forms.  Thoughts, feelings, desires, physical ailments, words, stresses, you name it, if it effects you in a negative way then it falls into this description.  Prayer is a strong and powerful tool.  And can be done from anywhere, during any kind of activity at any time.  You're are on a jog and get too much in your head, say a prayer.  You are in bed and ready to sleep but something is on your mind, say a prayer.  You just received the best news in your life, say a prayer.  And if you have gone through the worst situation and believe there is no out, say a prayer.  Trust in His plan, trust in His help.  Walk through your journey with Him.

-Andrea

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Bucket List...

A bucket list... A list of things to do before you die. Yet I'm more interested in doing all of these before I'm too old to care (who knows what that age actually is).

"If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it.  If you don't ask, the answer is always no.  If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place."


So the term "bucket list" is essentially meant to be a list of things to do before you die. Well I guess I do want to accomplish them before I die... Obvio... but it's not necessarily a list I'd feel rushed to accomplish because "you never know when your day will come". It's more to me a list of ambitions, goals, dreams, things I just essentially imagine being a part of my future. 

A time ago I made a list of goals... a bit of a bucket list. It just contained a lot of things I wanted to be able to accomplish in life, things that may be situational and continuous, some just a one time thing.  Either way this list is what I consider to be something that I would like to base my life on.
Now a lot of these things are a bit personal... but I figure its still something that I should share.  We all have things in life we need to accomplish, things we feel shouldn't be said due to embarrassment or shame... however, if it is what our mind needs to rest, what our heart desires, what our body needs, then maybe there are plenty more out there feeling the same.  And I'm sure you all have wished at some point that maybe there would be someone who could help you through something or just root you on.  So that is why I'm sharing with you all.  To show that no goal is too small, if it is something you want, then write it down and share it. 




I mentioned this is more of a list of goals and things I want to accomplish. Almost a guideline to what I would like my life to be like. Sometimes we just need a little reminder of them. I know I do... Especially when I feel I've lost sight of myself or as if my life is going up and down and all around. 

Clearly I like to write. I jot down things I want to remember. Quotes. Goals. Shopping lists. Songs. It's nice to have little reminders everywhere. And something about a written word, a jotted note, just makes things feel more concrete to me. (Kind of like my blog posts. They affirm my beliefs and clear out/unscramble my thoughts.)

I encourage we all make lists of things we want to make happen in our own lives. Make yourself realize it's what you want... Make it real. And once you've done that, make it happen. 

My goals are listed in no particular order... and like I mentioned, have no end date... some are continuous and more of a lifestyle and others are a one time thing.

Enjoy!



Move on. Let go. Turn over a new leaf.
In life there are things that happen.  And it's normal to want to hold on to the way things used to be, it's natural to not adjust to change well.  However, I constantly remind myself to let things go and move on.

Find self worth.

Being on this journey of finding myself, growing, maturing, I find myself constantly asking, "what is my purpose?".  I always remember being told at a young age during religion class (#CatholicSchoolKidProblems) that God put us on this Earth with a purpose.  Well I'm not sure if I've accomplished mine yet, or maybe I have, either way I question what it may be.  All the time! I guess its just one of those things where you want to know but you don't know what you are looking for.  I'm sure some day at a wise old age I'll have my "aha moment" and think to myself, "well if I woulda known back then!"  But in the mean time, the guessing game is quite interesting and mentally stimulating.

Get educated... on anything and everything
I want to read whatever.  Become interested and be interesting.  And lately I have. I found myself interested in reading many different books, this summer alone I read about 8! But the funny thing is I've really gotten into some old classics. I want to read the Alchsmist. I never got a chance (or assignment) to read The Giver in school... guess what, now I have. But there is more. It goes beyond books. I just want to read about everything!  Spiritual stuff, fictional stuff, news articles, consumer reports, blogs. I just want to become more well rounded. And the thing is, I have my whole life to educate myself. It's funny how finishing my educational career has lead me to want to learn about so much more than what is taught in a classroom. Hey maybe I'll even write a book someday... Maybe. 


Go to nursing school.
I've always loved biological sciences. Now I'm not so sure I'd go back to school again. But if I did this would be an option for me. I always wanted to be one. Thought about working in the NICU. However the queezyness I get with blood and needles...and then you add little innocent babies to the mix that are really sick and suffering. Well let's just say I may be a strong woman... but I'm not strong enough for that. Either way... the idea of possibly going back to school still lingered. And I know that a continued education will always be an option available to me. Either way... if I go back to it, medical field it will be.

Read a ton of books.
I love reading. And I don't do it enough.  But getting into a really good book is such a thrill.  I can sit there reading for hours and never get tired.  It's like this urge to get to the end. It keeps you going and going.  I love reading all kinds of books, from Nicholas Sparks to John Steinbeck.  I mean really, recommend me a book.  I'll probably end up reading it. And the best thing about reading books, one that this generation is losing touch with, is actually having the book in your hands.  Feeling the pages between your fingers as you prepare to flip the page. smudging the ink and words on the page because you grip the page for too long.  The smell of books.  New and old.  You know the library that the Beast has, from Beauty and the Beast, and he takes Belle in there and pretty much says it's all hers.  Ya I want that! 

Read the entire Bible.
Being the good Catholic girl I am, I have definately had my fair share of reading scriptures and turning to the bible and the word of God for moral and spiritual support.  But I have yet to accomplish my goal of reading the Bible.  A top seller book.. in like the whole world and in multiple languages and different "editions/versions"... how have I not read through the whole thing.  Plus, I really do believe it has the answer to every problem, the words to ale every broken heart, broken down mind, and deflated soul.  So why not start reading it now.  Maybe I'll finish it soon.



Travel!... The whole world!
Wanderlust! I have it to the fullest. I need to experience it all. I want to see it taste it. Feel it. The world is mine for the taking. And I'm ready to have it. There is no greater passion stirring inside me that that which yearns for travel. I've started a bit of my travels, within the USA, Mexico, and Brazil. But I haven't even had enough of these countries yet. I'll never fully fulfil this goal if mine. But only because there just isn't enough time for me to see it all and because it's a thirst that will never end. Once you experience a culture... you will always want more. 



See the Wonders of the World.
So the Seven Wonders of the World I'm noticing change, or at least there have been some added to the list here and there.  However, I will say it now, and I will continue to say it until it is done.  I want to see ALL of the Wonders (or 10 or 20 or whatever the number will end up being).  If there is one traveling goal I need to have accomplished, it is this one.  I may not see all of them, since there are plenty of different kinds of wonders out there, but I want to see as many as possible.  I have been very fortunate to have seen some of those!  Just to show you a couple of the more recent ones...







Take a road trip down HW 1 in an old school convertible.
Although it would be absolutely fantastic to do this in an old (yet swooped up) convertible, I just really want to road trip it down HW 1 with my girls!  I know its a simple task really, but the older we all get the more involved in our own lives we become, and getting together to do something like this is really nothing that simple.  But I still hold out hope, that someday, we will get around to doing this.  I just want to do it in general.  I'm a California girl just dying to see my state coast side!  Simple request... but one I see myself accomplishing... So maybe you will see a post on this one soon!

Go to Thailand and swim with the baby elephants.
Yes I know this one is a very specific traveling goal.  But its emphasized for the Elephants! I mean come on... not only would I get to eat like my favorite foods, but I would get to swim with the elephants.  So frikin cool!  'Nough said.  Case in Point!


Move away. (maybe just live on my own)
I've always dreamed of a house on the beach... in San Diego to be more precise.  The idea has come and gone... and come and gone... and come and gone again.  However, at this point, I think what I really want is a chance to make it on my own.  To kind of "grow up", like forcefully, and learn to do things for myself.  And no I honestly don't want to wait till I'm married to do that.  That just seems scary to me.  And it defeats the point of doing things on my own.  Even if it's with a roommate, I can't just depend on a roommate to support me, but a spouse... well it might be a little easier for me to lean on to be supported in my time of need.  So there it is, my final take on what started out to be moving away has now came to learning to live on my own.  (with my own twist because like really alone is still to scary for me!)

Fall in LOVE. 
Easier said than done right. Especially with my beliefs about love. See I believe we love each person in a special way costumized for them. No two loves can be the same. You may love people with similar intensities. But they are still distinct. With that however, I do believe in true love. The kind of love you find in Nicholas Sparks books... you know that Notebook kind of love. Or hey let's even shoot for a Titanic kinda love, Disney fairy tail, if we wanna refer to movies.  But I do want that love... The kind that drives you mad but in the sence that no matter how crazy someone makes you feel, you crave more of that craziness. Yet at the same time, that caring, protective, no one else in the world but you and me, instant smile on your face, butterflies in your stomach... welll ya that kind of love. I hope to find that some day. I can say I have loved many at different "levels" and in different ways. But someday I know I will find that One. The one I'm meant to be with. The one I'll love forever. 

Get married and have a family.
This goes along with the previous. I have hope for this. It's really the one thing I've always known to be true for what I want in my future. There has never been doubt in my mind of it. I want to marry. I want to have children. And family already being the most important thing in my life... it just seems logical to have my own some day. Future occupation... MOM!

Dance Ballet Flocorico again.
These little dancing feet still got some boogie and twirls left in them. Plus I love make up so bring on the red lips!!  haha No but really, this was a huge part of my childhood... and if I learned how to do all these dances at the age of 3 then I had to have been born for it. Not to mention my love for my Mexican culture and the colors and music. It just seems fit! I would love to do it again. To perform. To glide across the dance floor. Wear my frilly skirts and tapping heels. I see it now. It's marvelous!

Be able to do the splits.
Silly goal to some... however, I have never in my life been able to do the splits, or a cartwheel, or anything of that sort that the cool kids were doing back in the day.  My legs grew way too fast and I was way to awkwardly tall for my age in many stages of my life... so, no flexibility to do the splits.  But someday, I want to get there... Someday.

Be able to do a head/hand stand.
This is a bit similar to the last goal, however it's slightly different.  Rather than just a childhood goal, or personal challenge just to do it, this one has a bit more to it.  I want to physically get myself to that point. Meaning that a lot of old injured parts of my body will have to be rebuilt in strength. And on top of that I just need to have more strength in general.  A physical shape that I have most likely never, even at the top of athleticism have had.  Again... someday!

Start a blog.
I wrote this goal down a few years ago.  I've always enjoyed writing and never thought it would actually happen.  Until one night I just decided to go for it.  I can easily admit that this is definately one of the best choices I've ever made in my life.  Although I know I slack on it quite often and have not written as much... or should I say published as much as I would have thought I would by now, I still feel proud of what I have published for you all to see.  I finally have a place to share all my ideas in the best way I know how to express myself.  If anything that I have done can give me instant peace of mind and help me through any situation, its logging on to this and jotting down an idea that is just eating at me to be said.  However, sometimes it being said just isn't enough for me.  It needs to be written.  To be made concrete.  Something that can be seen and read over again.  A place to share all my accomplished dreams.




Now that I have shared these dear dreams and goals.  My bucket list is never ending.  I honestly feel as though it will continue to grow.  And there is plenty I have done and shared and that I will do and share  that may not have made it to this list, but still feel like a life accomplishment.  One of them being that I attended a World Cup game.. and I guarantee I'll go to more.  2014 has definately been an amazing year for me so far.  And I can't wait to see how this journey continues. And to accomplish my goals. Are you ready to journey through it all with me?



-Andrea


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Of Trees and Tresses

Trees and Me:
Fall is here and this girl could not be happier.  I love the cooling down in the weather.  The warmer drinks and the bundled up clothes.  Scarves!!!  And Nature! The colors of fall have to be some of the most beautiful! Leaves begin to fall and decorate our lawns and drive ways.  It's a wonderful sight to see.  I am definately the type to want change as the seasons do.  So I finally took a balls-y chance!  Like the trees shed their leaves, I shed my hair! A good 10 inches of it to be exact!



I've been talking about it for a while... but those close to me know how precious my hair is to me.  So when I told my best friend that I pretty much would have to be forced to do it... she took matters into her own hands.  Never have I gone to an appointment and pretty much just not needed to tell the hairstylist anything other than that I was ready for a change.  She already knew what I came in for.  And that was perfect because I probably would have backed out last minute.


Either way I have to admit this hair cut makes me feel 10 lbs. lighter... because that is probably how much hair was cut off.  But seriously I feel amazing. I feel liberated.  I feel like I finally did something that was really a change!  And the color is perfect for fall.


New Season! New Me! Turning over a new leaf! (haha see what I did there)

Speaking of fall hair!...

I thought I could take advantage of this short post boasting about my NEW hair (can you tell I'm over excited about it) and talk a little about some fall hair trends I'm digging.

We've all been seeing the darker hair come out, shorter cuts, extensions put in, and so on.  Everyone is going for a change. But I think this fall I have a different approach to my hair goals.  Here are some of my favorite looks for fall!

Color and cuts:
I think I'm still partial to the whole Balayage Ombre hair style. Truth is that it adds depth to the hair and still highlights the face. However, unlike highlights its more of a subtle change form the natural tone at the root to a lighter tone...it looks unintentional and is very low maintenance.  Even though people think they must go dark for fall... though I can admit I do like darker for fall and winter,  this kind of hair coloring can last all year long.  And the best part, you can really use any color you would like so it suits everyone's style and preference and for all seasons.

As far as cuts go... these are all medium length hair, because in reality hair is beautiful in any length, long, short, shoulder length. Here you get an idea of how this style of color would work in any length, short to long.  But I like this length and slightly shorter for the fall season.  You no longer need those long mermaid locks for the beach, or to have those perfect beach waves.  And hey, if the trees shed their leaves for the fall and winter, why can't we shed a few inches off our wavy locks!



Hair-Dos:
As far as styling goes, I'm quite accepting of everything.  But the common theme seems to be low maintenance and easy on-the-go hairstyles.  

I love the look of messy curls and loose waves, or what I learned to call (back in my pageant days...yes pageant) "the 5 minute curl" which at my hair's length peak was more of a 10 minute thing... but now it might actually be 5!  The picture below is something slightly shorter than my current look, however, its just the style I'll be sporting most of the time.  CHIC!! Messy with an edge, and super quick.  The fact it has very little structure makes it simple to do. 

Also in my pageant days we learned to do this quick bun (bottom left)... a twist to a sock bun, no sock involved.  It literally involves a hair tie, a teasing brush or comb, and bobby pins.  Basically, you put your hair at a ponytail wherever you would like the bun to fall.  You drape it over so it covers your entire head (picture the ponytail kind of feathered out like a flower and your hair strands are the many many petals) and tease the underside (which if it was still in a ponytail would be the outside of the ponytail), and from there you just twist the hair around to form a bun. The looser the twist the bigger the bun.  Pin where needed.  This is usually best done with "second day hair", you know those days that you curled your hair the day before and it looked BOMB! but you woke up with flattened curls and maybe slightly greasy roots... yup, this bun will save you!! (and a little dried shampoo, or baby powder.. can help with absorbing the extra oil) This look can be used for any occasion and I think it looks super chic!

And last but not least.  Braids!!! I love braids though my thick, layered hair always would fall out of it.  This obsession may have stemmed from always having braids as a kid.  None the less, the best part is they are easy and can be accessorized to look anywhere from casual chic to classy and elegant.  I just included a long braid, but I've seen so many looks as well that have only bits and pieces of the hair braided and pulled back with hair still loose.  


My favorite tips and tricks:
A lot of people tell me I have super healthy hair. Well I do, but I mean it looks healthy because of how thick it is too. And over all it does have to do with genes.  But here are some things I've found to really work for my hair.
-Apply heat as little as possible.  Natural hair texture and a little hair product can go a long way.
-Do not wash every day.  The natural oils that make our hair greasy are actually good for your hair. There are hairstyles and accessories that can also help hide the grease.
-When washing hair, do not put conditioner at roots.  I will only apply conditioner to my roots maybe 2 times a month.
-Baby powder! Instead of dry shampoo, I use baby powder. Dust it on your hands and pat lightly onto roots or lightly dust onto your hair.  There are many ways of applying it (just don't over apply)  The powder helps absorb the oil so you won't need to wash it every day. (the bun above helps too)
-Hairspray.  Just a couple of sprits of hairspray can hold your style.  Get a strong holding spray which will still leave your hair soft and not harden it to chunks. 
-For messy curls, sprits your hair with a texturizing spray.  Once you have finished, comb out curls with your fingers or tousle them so they separate. Sprits with a bit of hair spray.
-Bobby pins have been used wrong for year! The textured side should actually be the bottom side and the smooth side should be what goes over your hair (the side that would be showing).  Who knew!?

Pinterest is my favorite place to find hair-dos and make up looks... here is my Beauty board.

Well, I have actually really enjoyed writing this because I'm slightly obsessed with all things beauty.  Expect to see more of these little snippets!  With half my hair gone and a "new leaf turned over", I'm ready for the short-haired journey I've come to.

-Andrea

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cocoa "Friends-y"

In honor of National Coffee Day... I accompanied my beff (best effn friend forever) to one of our favorite coffee shops. The Coffee Garden... let me tell you has the best tuxedo mocha. I'm not much of a coffee drinker (don't do well with too much caffeine so I tried it decaf... Not that I'd know if that really even makes a difference) but this was like a Mexican hot chocolate with a hint of white chocolate. Bomb!!




 Anyways... this friend of mine somehow always has me talking and thinking about just everything under the stars.  Never a dull moment with us. And I started thinking... I've got to get out of the writers block funk I'm in lately. It's nice to have people who can inspire you write about so many things. And to think that you may influence them to do the same. I gifted this friend of mine a journal so that she can write down her ideas and thoughts and work through some of those thoughts herself.  And I've got to admit I like her idea.

I never really thought of myself to be an influential person in other peoples lives. But then I remembered why I started to like writing my blog in the first place.   I felt like maybe someday... somewhere... someone would be touched. And I really hope that's true.  I don't want everyone to do the same things I do, say the same things I do, write the same way I do... but I do want them to feel comfortable with themselves in the same way that my writing makes me feel.  People can express themselves in so many different ways. For me writing has always been that way and I feel fortunate to have found the courage to actually start my blog and do this for myself and for everyone else to enjoy. 

But enough of the sappy stuff... what I really want to say is that I've got so many ideas going on through my head right now that I'm ready to start writing again.  I mean I've gone through Scottish accents, to books, to dogs trying to pee in bushes, to cute coffee cups, to flowers all around me in just one conversation. Needless to say it was an interesting night.  We talked about fashion funks, daring hair moves, Instagram pictures, photography tips, just taking better pictures in general, planning vacations, our outlook on dating, and people having kids and getting married way too young nowadays (or is that just our own insecurities), either way... I wanna write a book for y'all!  

I wanna try something out. I've been so concentrated on being inspirational lately that I,ve reached a road block. So I will do something different and try a few things that aren't. I'm talking about the second nature to myself type things. Like clothing for the new season. The books I've enjoyed. Make up. Travel plans. Trust me I've got a lot of ideas. 

So hopefully I'll be having more to show for the new fall season. So stay tuned... let's continue the journey.  


Just a few photos of the "garden"...







-Andrea

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Let's Ride!

I've been going through a few stressful yet exciting things for anyone's life lately. (Sorry for the scarcity of my writing... the stress has given me writers block) however I've got to admit the good outweighs the bad!  I'm extremely happy with the changes in this life of mine. I have been working in a new and interesting area at work. And after a couple months of being there, I got a promotion. Let me tell you... having a degree is always beneficial! It definitely came in handy with qualifications for this promotion and for a higher pay scale!  WOOP WOOP!!!  But the real point of this... with the raise it's time to buy a car! I started off car shopping (online) for a while now. And who would have known it is such a stressful process!  (Or is it that I have a fear of commitment... new trait I'm discovering... and can't seem to make up my mind on what I want!?) It's exciting none the less.

I have found this to be quite the learning experience. Not only about cars and what to look for and about budgeting and what not. I've learned a lot about myself. 

New discovered traits:
Indecisiveness
Fear of commitment
Money thoughts/talk stress me out
Not ready for grown up decisions (ok I am... I just don't like the idea of having to make them)
Expensive taste (ok ok everyone already knew this.. I'm just admitting it)


Anyways. It has definitely been interesting. Big decisions in life, whether it's just big to you or if it is to everyone, can seriously take a toll on someone. Literally consume your every thought. I've gotten to the point where old stresses have been haunting me (like "what do I have for homework" freak outs... FYI I graduated over a year ago!). I even wake up on the weekends startled thinking I'm late to work! (I just started working full time... still not used to it.) But I will admit to having that tingly feeling of excitement deep down in my gut... like butterflies. Well really it's the feeling I get anytime I buy something new! But this, this is a big shiny NEW CAR!  

I have to admit though... Like always I've had a lot of support from my family and friends. I can never make big decisions without consulting those around me. Somehow their support and their approval helps me make these decisions and in the end feel good about it.  I ended up choosing the Ford Escape 2014!

In reality I just wrote this to brag a little... show off my new toy... and mostly because I've been excited driving my new car around.

So I present to you, my dear readers, (voice from the Price is Right) my SHINEY NEW CAR!!!




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Brasil-Copa do Mundo 2014

Brasil: Curitiba, Foz do Iguaçu, Rio de Janeiro June 14-24, 2014


As I sat here watching World Cup games I reflected on the experiences I was blessed to have on this trip.  The fact that I have been able to accomplish life long goals in one trip is truly amazing.  The fact that I was able to watch my favorite sport with 73,819 people, in Estádio Mario Filho, Maracanã, who share the same passion for fútbol, who all had love for their own countries and were still united at that one moment.... truly indescribable.  If there was one thing that I can say "made" this trip, its the ambiance, the passion that exuded from every person there.

If you know me, you know the passions I have, the interests I've acquired through the years, the style of which I live my life.  I experienced so much that I feel my life has reached a beautiful path, a path in which I feel is right for me. There comes a time in everyone's life where they begin to feel like they are in the right place.  Not necessarily physically in the right location, but in time and in their life.  Traveling to a different hemisphere/continent/country, where they speak a different language, where I'm surrounded by people from all over the world, where I can marvel at the beauty of people or land, all of God's creations.  I had the opportunity to witness in awe at a couple of the worlds wonders... I realize I'm where my life was meant to be.  Where I was meant to be.  Where my heart felt the most happiness.  I'm traveling and experiencing all that is wonderful and out there to be experienced.


This trip, despite all the craziness of moving from one city to another and the lack of ability to communicate (let me tell you... that was the hardest part), was a dream come true!  We couldn't stop telling each other the entire trip "Hey (insert name you are talking to) guess what.... We are in Brazil!!" And we would all just smile and laugh in sheer disbelief that we made it happen.  Ok I know you want to actually hear about the trip itself.  So here it goes... day one.

The flights were quite long... 6 hours from San Francisco to Miami, 8 hours Miami to Curitiba... which by the way is pronounced Coo-rri-chi-ba and I learned that from a cute little tri-lingual girl on the flight there.  Let me tell you, this little one is going places, speaking English, Spanish, and Portuguese interchangeably without actually mixing them together.  (I probably shoulda dragged that little girl around with me the entire trip!) But let me get to each city and the experiences...



-Curitiba-
Curitiba is an industrial/urban city.  With about 20 malls.... I'm not exaggerating.  And they call them "shopping"!  Imagine the excitement I felt when I heard that word. Our first morning we woke up to breakfast and a bit of commotion... in a good way.  Of course we decided to be nosey and found out that the Iranian national team was staying in our hotel!! We somehow happened to get into the elevator with one of the coaches and made a friend.  The entire day he would see us he would strike up a conversation.  He let us know what time his team would be leaving for the game (2:10pm...) and we decided we just had to join in on the commotion.  We camped out in the lobby and were approached by so many people asking us if we were Irani... I'm guessing we looked it...and after seeing the Iranians that were there, I could see why they thought so.  They had a range of different features.  We sat and talked to many, the Iranians, a couple of Brazilians, the coach from the team, the Iranian head/representation in FIFA, and we even had a few run-ins with a couple of the players!  Before heading out behind the Iranian team for the stadium I even was gifted an official jersey for the Iranian team!


The first full day I was there I had the best food that I had the entire trip! Now, finding food isn't easy when you can't communicate. My cousin Tania and uncle Ramon were pretty much looked to for communication... and even they weren't 100% sure they knew what was going on.  And it being our first 24 hours in Brazil... and me and Melissa, my cousin, being on our own to explore didn't help much.  However, we walked around the neighborhood of our hotel and looked to see what kind of food we could find.  Image how grateful we were to find a menu posted on the wall with words like "hamburger" that we actually understood!  But don't worry, we didn't settle for a hamburger... we had stakes!  Brazil is known for stakes, meats in general, with churrascarias on every block! I ordered the chorrizo steak topped with chimichurri... and boy was it amazing! And for some reason every meal came with a side of fries... didn't matter what you ordered. We couldn't help ourselves and had to order a Caipirinha... which was pretty much a cup of rum blended with strawberries and kiwi... seriously... it was pure rum! But still so delicious.  Later that night as we watched the USA game at a restaurant, I had banana frita.


We were in Curitiba twice within our trip.  The second time back we were able to explore the tourist side a bit more.  The Botanical Gardens were in a beautiful park that I absolutely loved! The only part that wasn't so great... the winter season had actually hit Curitiba and we were NOT prepared for that... it was cold.  However, we still boarded the tour bus to explore and ride through the whole city and it was nice to see how much of the european influence it had with museums that were dedicated to the Polish, the Germans, and so many more.  We also got to see the not-so-nice side of town as we drove through.  You never hear of the bad on a trip, but in countries like these you know they exist.  Favelas were not to be forgotten.



-Foz do Iguaçu-
Foz do Iguaçu was absolutely beautiful! The World's Wonders are it's wonders for a reason!  This city had truly made dreams come true for me!  We landed with just a half hour to spare before the Mexico vs Brazil game.  Let me tell you I was a nervous wreck with our flight delayed about 5 hours and being in a Brazilian airport with my Mexico jersey on, all my luggage, and not understanding why they would send us from on terminal to another.  All I wanted was to be in our resort watching that game!  As we drive through traffic we realized that everything was closed and everyone was on their way home to watch the game. When Brazil has a game it's a national holiday... everything closes early for the game. When we finished checking in we ran to dump our bags into the room and we ran to make it just in time for the game to start.  Needless to say we were the only Mexicans there and all the Brazilians would say "boa sorte" (good luck).  But after Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa's spectacular performance as goalie that gained him the player of the match trophy... they couldn't say anything other than smile and admit we played a good game.

But onto what really made this city beautiful... the wonderful waterfalls that really make you feel like this world was made with a design in mind.  The falls connect three countries but fall mostly over Brazil and Argentina. I gazed in utter amazement when I first saw these falls.  The closer we hiked to it, the more wonderful it became! (And the more wet our clothes got!) There is a bridge that if you cross it to the end of it, you will be standing right in the middle of the falls and are surrounded by the cascades, looking deep down through one of its breaks (you can see the bridge in the picture).  Needless to say, my cousin and I went in a bit dry and came out soaked because we didn't buy a pancho... the raccoon/armadillo animal didn't let us off the table (yes, we were scared of it).  We even took a safari through the natural habitat of this raccoon/armadillo looking animal (which I believe was actually the 2014 World Cup mascot, Fuleco).  At the end of the safari it was another hike (where we were bit my mosquitos or who knows what) to where we could finally take our boat ride to the falls... like literally to the actual falls where I swear it was like I was taking a shower in it because we came out soaked!  Every time we came close to the fall I swear all the water only came to us and the poor guy who sat in front of us. But it was an experience to take this boat ride through the Argentinean/Brazilian boarder.
Well you know what... let me just show you this Wonder!






After enjoying this marvel and checking that off of my bucket list, I got the chance to mark off yet another from my bucket list.  To be in more than one place at the same time.  We stopped to see Las Tres Fronteras, the spot where the boarders of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay meet. 



-Rio de Janeiro-
Rio has to be my favorite city of the three.  Not only because it is a beach destination, but because even more dreams came true, experiences of a life time happened, and the world cup atmosphere in this city was beyond explanation. Driving into the city one of the first things we saw was Estádio Mario Filho, Maracanã.  Every soccer player should relate, but my cousin and I could not contain our excitement! We were pretty much jumping out of our seats and craning our necks so we didn't have to stop looking!  And then we finally made it to the beach.  People everywhere!  Beautiful people from everywhere! Languages from everywhere! The world is full of beautiful people!!!!  The sun setting on the beach, the game playing on the big screen, the soft, impeccable, white sand beneath my feet.  Surrounded by soccer everywhere, from people playing on the beach, little kids with the ball just dribbling all around, jerseys from every country being worn, and the game on the screen.  Markets on the streets. Bars on the streets. Restaurants on the streets. Copacabana had it all! I had found what I wanted from this trip in this one city, Rio de Janeiro!
I was even able to meet and take a picture with one of Mexico's National team's very own, the recently retired (I mean like literally the week before this World Cup), Cuahutemoc Blanco #10!!!!



 Estádio Mario Filho, Maracanã, one of the infamous stadiums in Brazil.  The place the World Cup final was played... congrats to Germany!!  All I can say is that being in this stadium, to watch a World Cup match, to have everyone comment on our Mexico jerseys, to speak to people who were born in Belgium and speaking to us in fluent spanish but lived in San Francisco, to hear the chants, see people representing so many countries in this world, to participate in a wave that included 73,819 people and still managed to go around consecutively a few times, to watch the team score and the crowd to go wild, I mean honestly the experience is one that must be lived to understand.








After the game we took detours through town to find Escadaria Selaron.  This staircase is full of tile collected from all over the world by the artist Selaron who took over 10 years to complete his piece.




Fan Fest on Copacabana -- USA vs Portugal game on the big screen, the most Americans I had seen on this entire trip in one place.  And the chants.... "I, I believe, I believe that, I believe that we, I believe that will win, I believe that we will win!!" and the not so iconic one, "We bring the noise, we bring the ruckus, USA ain't nothing to F*ck with!"... well no one said the americans were sober.  One of the coolest experiences... to finally be surrounded by Americans and all of us there cheering on our country, chanting, jumping, and embracing the fact that we all could communicate with one another!




This trip would not have been complete with out visiting el Cristo Redentor, Christ Redeemer.  The whole time I was in Rio I looked everywhere to be able to "see Jesus" and He was not to be seen.  As we drove to the vans that would take us up, the taxi driver (who was the worst driver I've ever encountered) finally pointed the hill out to me!  I had "found Jesus"!  I was extremely ecstatic! But all that aside, I must admit that I needed to see the Christ, I needed to make my pilgrimage, I needed to be able to give thanks for all the beauty I experienced and saw on this trip.  And can't even tell you how wonderful it felt to be there.  Yet again, marking off another of the World Wonders.




This trip presented many emotions, many wonderful experiences, many beautiful sites and memories.  I dared to dream, you journeyed through with me. I came away with a Portuguese vocabulary of maybe less than 20 words... but regardless I know I can always say...

Eu te Amo Brasil!


- Andrea