Monday, February 28, 2011

Beiber Fever?

Two weekends ago Luis made this comment: "What is this going around? Justin fever?"

"Yes, grandpa," Russ retorted quickly without missing a beat.

So, here is grandpa Luis with the Beibs.

Beiber fever has really taken the nation by storm.

All three of my sisters have seen the movie. In fact, my oldest sister is in the market to adopt the Beibs because he is so cute [her words, not mine].

My question is this: Can you really adore and love a boy with a new haircut like that? And have you ever noticed how freakishly dark his eyebrows are? You probably haven't because his hair has been covering them this entire time! Maybe that is why he stuck with that particular hair cute this entire time. Well, folks, the eyebrows are out and ready for some camera time.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Flashback Fridays

Rituals are comforting in a world of turmoil coupled with the unknown. That is why I have decided to start a little tradition here on sepia toned vignettes. Every Friday I will be drawing from the scores of photos that I have taken over the years and show you a bit of my past.
Today we are going back to the summer of 2005. What can I tell you about that year. Well, according to the pictures the only thing I did during that summer was swim and hang out with my next door neighbors. I do believe that I was more tan during that glorious summer than I ever will be again.

It also marked, if I remember correctly, the year my dear sister started her adventure at a four year school. So that summer was also marked by the impending doom of her departure. Therefore, let me share with you just a few pictures of what that summer looked like like for me.

I swam every day at the local pool on our community swim team. Let's be honest for a moment, I was horrendous at this sport. I was slow. My form wasn't very good. My butt got kicked in almost every single race I was ever in. But, I had fun. Competitiveness doesn't play such a big part when you suck at something.

Our next door neighbors helped us throw a superhero party. Apparently this obsession with Marvel and DC has stemmed from a long history of dressing up and pretending that we had powers. That's normal, right?

My litter sisters were tiny. Not the one in the middle. I'm not related to her. Awww... little J. and her sun/chlorine bleached hair. Sometimes it even looked a little green she swam so much.

This looks like one of those super awkward family photos. It was taken in Ocean City really close to when Lauren left us. Our neighbors wanted to have a special overnight in her honor. Seriously, why would anyone ever pose like that unless they were forced too?

Below is the girl I spent nearly the entire summer with either by going to the pool or playing cards. Phase Ten was our card game of choice, and boy did we ever own it. I don't think I have even attempted to play that game since 2006.

Here we are posing at Lauren's final dinner before shipping her off. My skin looks like I went through a dozen tanning sessions at my favorite spa. But at least everyone else did it as well! We could be from the Jersey Shore if we teased our hair enough. Except for the sister. She will never look like she is Italian or from the Jersey Shore. The skin gives her away.

Uno mas. Here is the prom dress I bought for $12. It was quite possibly one of the biggest deals I have ever found. What a lovely reminder to look for another ball gown of sorts for the Ring Dance in May. If I find one as cheap as this, I may just possibly have a gift. The gift of clearance shopping.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Excessive Breakfast Food

Recently I have started eating breakfast again. I'm not sure when this meal stopped in my life, but I am guessing it was somewhere between middle school and high school. I suppose it just seemed unneeded at that time in my life [which is ridiculous, because when would you ever need it more? except for when you are in the infantile stage of life. apparently food is essential when you can't feed yourself]. Anyways, the point is that eating food before 10am in the morning is a habit that I am trying to start. It doesn't help either that food of the morning variety is not my favorite. I would honestly much rather eat soup. Or a sandwich. Or Pad Thai.

In Massachusetts breakfast is somewhat a big deal. They have really great diners and greasy spoons that serve superb morning food [and this is coming from an unappreciative breakfast consumer]. I had the great pleasure of dining with some of the most wonderful people you will ever know. I was blessed to transfer into my school with them and form some dear friendships that I have oh so appreciated over the past few years.

Let me give you a little background. Luis, the Puerto Rican in the middle, is one of my dearest friends. Together we have gone on a wilderness adventure [la vida for those of you who know these things], Guatemala in 2010, Israel for a Biblical geography class in 2010, and Guatemala again in 2011. We like to call each other adventure buddies. Sarah transfered into my school at the same time as me. Out of all the transfers I felt one of the biggest connections with her. She also went to Guatemala in 2010. Finally is Russ. Russ who I adore. Also a transfer with us, he was on my La Vida trip in the summer of 2008. All three of these beautiful people have made such an impact in my life, and I am incredibly indebted to all of them.

Below is Sarah and her very nice boyfriend. They are awfully cute together, and I am very happy for them!

I have always thought that Luis would look nice with a pink man-purse. It really goes with his skin tone.

Luis is actually one of the most trustworthy and honest person I have ever met. Legit. I am of the opinion that everyone should know him. But I'm also glad that not everyone knows him, because then he wouldn't have time to hang out with me [my selfishness gets me every time. baaazinga]. Plus he has an amazing fiance whom I adore. The two of them are incredibly fun to be with.

One final picture of the blondest haired, blue-est eyed girl I have ever met. Sure there have been a couple guys that have been in my life at some point with the essential German mix, but never has there been a girl quite like Sarah. She is beautiful, and her boyfriend is lucky to have her. If you ever need to make friends with someone who is sweet and kind and loving through and through, just give Sarah a call.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Old and the New

I love the combination of mixing the old with the new. The old reminds me of the process and trials that it took to get me to this point, and the new shows the potential and opportunities that I have for the future. Whether it is visiting with old friends and catching up on our new lives or rummaging through a Salvation Army filled with old and new trinkets alike, I am reminded at every turn of the intricacies of ideas living next to each other in daily life.

Lynn, Massachusetts embodies the idea of the old and the new living side by side. It was first settled in 1629 and has been growing and changing ever since. As I walked through its streets I passed aged buildings and heard old country languages spoken rapidly. Yet, there is a generation being built that is different and modern. Their ideals are birthed out of a different age and culture. Isn't that how most generations are though? Moving onto the next idea while their patriarchs hold onto what they know and have sustained over so many years.

While in the lovely city of Lynn, I was most fortunate to consume a meal that has never touched my palate before this moment. A Mexican burger. Complete with homemade tortilla chips. The salsa tasted very Guatemalan, which made sense as Fernando is Guatemalan. I love food. I can't help it!

After lunch we ventured over to the Salvation Army to find a vase for J.'s flowers.

Old and new popped up again in my mind. All these discarded and old items have been thought about as old and unworthy for so long. But there are many people who regard them as shining and new [and a great buy at that]. I can't force any idea or object or person in my mind into one specific category. Often things are far different than how I perceive them.

Spending time with J. was refreshing and wonderful. We had a lot to catch up on, and it was a stark reminder of different my life is now. It blows my mind how just a year ago I was in the throes of college life. I ran from one obligation to another, never pausing to take a breath. I loved it. I miss the constant activity and interactions with peers and leaders alike.

I apologize for the garbled and random thoughts today. My mind is all over the place, and unfortunately this is the result. Ah well, better to work it out then let it lie.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Falling off the Edge

Women have been taught that, for us, the earth is flat, and that if we venture out, we will fall off the edge. ~Author Unknown

In honor of my dear friend J.R., I have decided to start this musing with a feminism quote. She is quite possibly the most stubborn person I have met [aside from maybe my dad, but i don't ever try to push his buttons] in my college career. Sometimes I try to fight her on stuff, but it just doesn't end up well. That is absolutely one of the reasons I adore her.
 Look how cute she was when I stayed in her apartment this past weekend! She made me up a couch cushion bed [which was incredibly comfortable, like i was sleeping on angel wings] complete with a chocolate on the pillow and flowers by my bedside. It was just like being in an incredibly fancy hotel. Except there was no bell boy. Sigh.

Because I have been on a cooking/baking kick recently, I baked chocolate chocolate chocolate chip cookies. Essentially I took a chocolate chip recipe and doctored it to my own tastes. Which means that I want everything cocoa flavored added to them! So I bough mini m'ms, mini chocolate chips, and cocoa powder. Then I mixed it all up with my super buff arms [so buff that I can barely open some doors due to their overpowing strength] and popped them in oven.

Tadaaa! Muy delicioso.

I also bought my dear friend roses because she hasn't recieved any since she graduated highschool! How atrocious! I personally love flowers. They make any day brighter for me. So I thought, why not? She is about to graduate college, she deserves some roses to adorn her apartment. She arranged them ever so tastefully in a beautiful vase that was purchased from the Salvation Army down the street.

It was most excellent to see her beautiful face. I miss it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lovey Dovey Dinner

Valentines Day came and went without any particular huzzah of sorts. The actual day of Valentines was a little odd I felt. The day came and went like any other, there was nothing that set it apart. Yet, for many others, it is a special day filled with sweet remembrances and thoughtful goodies. It is funny how a holiday can mean so much to some people and mean nothing to others. Perhaps that is how December 28th will be in the future when it becomes a national holiday filled with free hot air balloon rides and Pad Thai eaten at every table. My birthday will affect some, but not all. I wasn't affected by Valentines Day, but I am deeply moved by Presidents Day.

All that to say, I cooked food for the family that I love! What's that you say? You cooked delicious and tasty morsels for your father, mother, sisters, and brothers? no no no. I said the family that I love!

It was a joke.
Now you probably think that I am some unfeeling, callous clown who writes terrible things about her family. Yet, the truth is that I cooked this meal because my sister really wanted spaghetti and meatballs. And since I am working on my wife skills [obviously so that my dad can marry me off], what better way to celebrate all that is lovey and dovey?

So I made a flourless chocolate cake and meatballs.

I started with this recipe found is USA Today. I was drawn to the fact that it was Ingrid Michaelson's recipe. I can't help but love her.
Correction: I can't help but love her and her flourless chocolate cake.
After reading every witty quip that surrounded the recipe [oh, ingrid, you are one clever folk singer], I threw some butter and some chocolate together in a sauce pan.
Then I added sugar and egg yokes. Looks delightful, does it not?
In the end it actually looked pretty tasty. Not as tasty as the chocolate Ganache that I made for the top, however. That topping was like heaven come full circle here on earth. Like the circle of life. Like Chuck Norris performing his famous round kick to the face. It was that sweet.
Meringue quickly followed part one. I had never actually attempted to make this white fluffy stuff before, so it was a little unnerving to separate the yolks from the egg whites and know what was coming next. Peaks of white grandeur filled my mind with terror. Yet, with the Kitchen Aide on my side, we dominated those egg whites and successfully turned out some "stiff peaks".
Folding the egg whites into the chocolate was the second most trepidating experience that I experienced during this little experiment. I had heard horror stories of women that folded to hard or to long, and it ruined the cake. I was determined to not follow in their footsteps.
Because of my consternation over such a delicate operation, I don't think I folded enough. However, after popping this baby in the oven it was still magnificent. Sadly I have no documentation of the final product. You can believe me on this however, it was tasty.

I'll save the pictures of meatballs for another time. I think these pictures may be a bit overwhelming by themself. Also, see you next week! I get to go away this weekend to the Arctic*!

*The Arctic in my opinion is Massachusetts. It is cold and winter like in the entire state.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a White... Tuesday?

I actually don't remember the specific day that it snowed here in Maryland. Honestly, I can't even seem to recall if it was in January or February. I think my mind is going... slowly. All I know is that it snowed one night, and it was absolutely beautiful. It wasn't just light, fluffy, little snowflakes falling from the endless sky either. It was heavy, wet packing snow perfect for snowball fights and snowmen.
My younger sister M. and my dog Orly ventured outside with me to take in the scenery. And take in the picturesque view did we. Orly loves the snow. Show me a dog that loves snow more than her, and I will laugh at your boldness. Aside from Eskimo dogs [huskys?], I have never seen a dog enjoy and romp through snow with such delight. Orly was running at break neck speeds through our neighborhood just to take it all in. I brought her outside without a leash, because how could I contain that joy? Harnessing it and not letting her run free... Also, there were no cars out because of all the wet stuff, so I was pretty confident that Orly would not get run over.

And like I mentioned before, it was snowing hard. It was just whipping across our street with inches accumulating quickly. The next day I definitely got to go into work late.
  Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Little Superhero Action

My lovely, dear sister turned twenty-four. In her honor a superhero v. villians themed party was thrown. Those who attended were urged strongly to dress as their favorite hero or villian. The attempted outfits were poorly thrown together in most cases without very much thought or consideration. My outfit on the other hand was most excellent as I constructed it myself that very afternoon.

My sister owns a batman shirt. Yay. Therefore she was going to attend as Batman... or a poorly outfitted female who owns nothing else superhero themed but a Batman shirt. And because I love my sister, and because it was her birthday, I agreed to attend as Robin. Remember the beloved 1966 Adam West Batman movie where the dynamic duo battles the Penguin? They also use shark repellant to unhinge a shark's jaw from Batman's leg at one point. Whether this was an endearing movie during your childhood or not, this is probably the best Batman movie every made. Thus I tried to model my Robin outfit after this one...

I made my entire outfit by spending just $9 total. I love that you can buy simple colored shirts at the craft store and just transform them however you wish. What you can't see is my awesome utility belt that I bought at the costume shop for $2. It really helped complete the outfit. Too bad my cape wasn't a nude color.

And like I said, L.'s outfit was essentially just her tshirt and black pants. Lame.

But not quite as lame as the other outfits at the party.
I don't think that throwing on a bath robe right before you go to a costumed party is considered trying. It doesn't matter that you are wearing aviators on your head.

The day after the party my brother came up to me and commented on the fact that I dressed as Robin. "Didn't you know that everyone hates Robin?" Thanks, B.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lo Siento

Work is really really really busy right now, thus the lack of lovely, joy filled, thought provoking entires.

Here is one picture to keep your interest piqued. After this one though, I may have to go out and actually do something picture worthy so I'll have something else to muse over on here.

If you have any suggestions relating to what activites I should pursue next, please leave me a comment! I am very open to whatever crazy ideas are up your sleeves.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inevitable Parting

Today does not bring deep insight or musing [does my writing on here ever do that? hardly], but it does bring an appreciation for the people we worked alongside in our short two weeks in Guatemala City.

Let's start with dear V. What a beauty straight up.

Then of course is S. Such a wonderful guy. I am hopeful that I will have the chance to see him again.

The manly men on our team, Guatemalan and American alike. Such a wonderful crew full of musicians, models, car detailers, construction workers, students, pastors. It is truly the real deal.

Aaaand the chicas. Hearts of gold, determined spirits, and beautiful souls. I was truly blessed to work alongside each and everyone of them.

 For your viewing pleasure: my favorite two Guatemalan boys and my favorite Puerto Rican.
I love them.

Finally, almost our entire group. We are missing a few people, and I am not sure where they scampered off to when the picture was being taken. It was taken using a bucket, rag, and camera [you thought it could be taken sans camera! fuuuunnny]. 

Dios te bendiga