Posts in Tips & Insipration
A fabulous treat that gets better with time
Peanut Butter Bars - a fabulous treat that gets better with time. #recipe #delish #chocolatetreats #nuttygoodness

Have you ever served yourself a treat to snack on while you read and forgotten about it while on your reading journey? That was my experience with this treat. I was having one of those days where I really needed some me time. I served myself a wonderfully generous portion of my personal take of Angela’s recipe and little did I know that I would end up with a fabulous melty treat as I let it sit for a little too long. I fell in love with this recipe. I hope you do as well.

Crust Recipe

1 Cup – Agave Nectar

2 Pinches of Salt

1 Tablespoon – Melted Coconut Oil

2 Tablespoons – Cocoa Powder

2 cups – Crispy Rice Cereal

1 Cup – Agave Nectar

*I like it sweet. I would recommend starting with 2 or 3 tablespoons and gradually increasing to taste.

Mix it together in a lined pan of your choice and freeze while you make the filling.

Peanut Butter Bars - Bars that get better with time. #delish #recipe #foodbloggers

Filling Recipe

¼ Cup – Melted Coconut Oil

1 Teaspoon – Vanilla Extract

¼ Cup – Agave Nectar

1 Cup – Peanut Butter

2 Pinches – Salt

To me there is nothing better than a treat that is both sweet and savory. Added salt fulfills my desire.

 Once thoroughly mixed, remove crust from freezer and pour your filling over crust &, once again, freeze.

Chocolate Coating Recipe

1 Teaspoon – Coconut Oil

¾ Cup – Chocolate Chips

2 Pinches – Salt

A Handful – Roasted Peanuts

Melt coconut oil then add the chocolate chips. Stir frequently until creamy.

Pour over filling.

Add 2 pinches of salt.

Sprinkle a handful of roasted peanuts.

Swivel your pan to ensure that your peanuts adhere to the chocolate.

Freeze for at least an hour, then enjoy! While this treat gets better with time, it is amazing as it’s supposed to be enjoyed which is frozen.

If you end up making this recipe, or a variation of it, pleas let me know! I would love to see pictures or hear your thoughts about your creations.

How I celebrate Day of The Dead - A Magical Holiday
How I celebrate Day Of The Dead - a magical holiday. #lbloggers #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #cbloggers

When I was little, I remember going to the cemetery and hopping from grave to grave. We lived in Mexico then and things were very different. The pace was slower, we all knew each other, and town celebrations were frequent and merry. Honestly, I scarcely remember why we celebrated other than that we did so what seemed like every other Sunday in our town plaza—and, it was magical.

Visiting our town’s cemetery was not uncommon for us as taking care of our grandmother’s grave and those of our close relatives was part of our Sunday ritual. With that said, I regrettably do not remember celebrating El Dia De Los Muertos specifically as celebrating our ancestry was almost an every day occurrence.  

How I celebrate Day Of The Dead - a magical holiday. #lbloggers #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #cbloggers
How I celebrate Day Of The Dead - a magical holiday. #lbloggers #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #cbloggers

My nanny, whom I lovingly called Mama Manuela, was the one that I went with on most occasions. We would spend what seemed like hours in the cemetery cleaning, talking – to each other and to our relatives. While I remember being disciplined for jumping on the graves by family members, Mama Manuela encouraged it. She would tell me that our ancestors enjoyed the company and energy we brought, and that as long as we were being respectful while playing, which I think she meant as long as I did not destroy anything, we were okay.

How I celebrate Day Of The Dead - a magical holiday. #lbloggers #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #cbloggers

Until a few years ago, I had honestly forgotten to celebrate or even acknowledge the holiday. Once we moved to the United States, we no longer had graves to visit or random celebrations in the plaza. It was all very different, and assimilating became a major priority for us. Now I struggle to remember important Mexican holidays and tradition as well as the proper way to speak Spanish. I tend to lean closer to Spanglish most days, which I honestly find embarrassing. I grew up knowing the language fluidly, and now I struggle to have a conversation without taking long pauses while I think about the proper way to say something. It is these circumstances that make me truly appreciate whenever opportunities to learn more about and celebrate my heritage arise. And it is these circumstances that have led us to create our own traditions. Some of our current traditions include:

·        visiting the Springs Preserve the first weekend of November, as this is when they host a big Day of the Dead celebration

·        lighting candles in honor of our ancestors

·        reading a lovely book on the topic

·        sharing an enchanting evening with family

Spending time with my family is my favorite activity as we seem to have less and less free time for each other the older we get and because we tend to always share a delicious meal, compliments of my mom.

How I celebrate Day Of The Dead - a magical holiday. #lbloggers #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos #cbloggers

Visiting the Springs Preserve is a lot of fun and something Ryan and I have been doing for the last couple of years. If you live or visit Las Vegas the first weekend of November, I highly recommend stopping by the if at all possible. They have taken this celebration to a whole new level. Not only do they invite the community to build altars in honor of anyone they would like to recognize – I’ve seen some dedicated to Selena, to events such as the local shooting that took place on October 1st , and of course to family members–but they also have a wonderful selection of activities for kids to take part in as well as traditional and nontraditional food for everyone to try. I am a huge fan of this event and try to always attend with Ryan.

 Before our first visit, Ryan knew about the holiday but did not really understand it. As time goes by I realize he is not in the minority and that is why I wanted to write a post on the topic.

The Day Of The Dead is a day where we celebrate our ancestors; their lives; their accomplishments; their personalities. To honor them we build altars dedicated to them and fill them with some of their favorite things—bread, drink, favorite dishes, candles, flowers, garments, jewelry, etc.—and then we celebrate. We celebrate their lives with the hope that they know they are cherished and not forgotten, and we celebrate life. Our festivities include singing, dancing, parades, creating our own drink and treats while leaving their altars up in their honor overnight, or until we are ready to take it down. It is quite a special event.

I love dressing up the day of. I’m not the best at creating the traditional sugar skull makeup but I have improved year over year. Do you celebrate Day Of The Dead? How do you try to keep some of your traditions alive?

Here are a few articles I think you’ll enjoy relating to the topic:

·        Pan De Muerto Recipe

·        Bringing home the dead – anatomy of an altar

·        Stunning sugar skull makeup

P.S. This post is not sponsored. I love the Springs Preserve try to support it as much as possible as I think they add a lot to our community.

Why Poet X Is The Most Brilliant Book of 2018
Why #PoetX is the most brilliant book of 2018. #booklove #bookreview #greatbooks

Have you ever read a fictional story and totally forgotten about its fictional nature halfway through? The story sounds so familiar to you and you can relate to it given that you have experienced a lot of the story either first hand or vicariously through a close friend’s story. That was my experience while listening to the audiobook Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. This story is wonderfully vivid and heartfelt. It is written in verse and eloquently performed by the author herself.

I first heard about it while watching a video from Sam of Thoughts on Tomes. Honestly, she didn’t have to talk too much about it as the breathtaking cover entranced me, but of course she did talk about it and further convinced me that I needed to experience this book for myself. Thankfully it was available on Audible. I listened to the sample which further convinced me to get a copy now, specifically the audiobook version. I immediately used my credit for the month and listened to it – over and over and over again. It’s made me cry. It’s made me laugh. It’s made me fall in love, time and again. If you are on the fence, I hope that the following points persuade you to read it yourself.

Wonderful Writing

Initially I had reservations about how I would feel about a YA contemporary story written in verse. I thought it might be too dramatic or distracting. I was mistaken. In fact, I found it poignant, beautiful and impactful. It subtly reminded me of Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street. Each chapter adds to the story, but it does not follow a traditional chapter format. Like in Cisneros’s book there is a chapter that explains vividly the meaning of the protagonist’s name and it perfectly sets the stage for the rest of the book. Unlike Cisneros’s book, it takes place within a few pivotal months of Xiomara Batista’s life.

Smokey quartz choker for all occasions, especially when you need a little bit of solace. #smokeyquartz #handmadejewelry #healingcrystals #crystaljewelry
Why #PoetX is the most brilliant book fo 2018. #bookbloggers #booklovers #diverserbooks #yabooks (16).jpg

Amazing Performance

Something you should know about Elizabeth Acevedo is that the woman can slam. She slams like no other…that I’ve ever heard. Her words are moving but her voice is powerful. She accentuates emotions with great force and invigorates dramatic scenes to a level I know I would never be able to achieve had I read it on my own. Just listen to the Audible clip and you’ll understand what I mean. Honestly, I hope she narrates a few more books in the future, even if they are not her own. (What can I say? I am hooked.)

A kind reminder of the important role our teachers play in our lives.

“Remember, teaching is not community service…”

This is a line from one of the chapters…and it totally got me—meaning, I cried my eyes out. I think that most people become teachers because they want to make a difference, but once they get in the field they realize that the challenge is much greater than they ever expected, and as a result their passion dwindles. It happens to some but not all, and it is because of their passion and fight that many of us are touched everyday. This line reminded of a few of the wonderful teachers I’ve had in my life, and it filled me with regret as I really wish I had made more of an effort to stay in touch with them. Even today, I have a hard time staying in touch with those that are no longer a part of my daily life. Staying in touch takes effort and it involves an investment of precious time. While I understand that everyone has priorities and mine are not universal nor do they take precedence over anyone else’s, I will work on this making a bit more of an effort. If only to feed the flame that guides their fighting spirit.

Sharing a post about why #PoetX is the most brilliant book of 2018. #bookbloggers #booklove #bookish #elizabethacevedo
Why #PoetX is the most brilliant book of 2018. #booklove #bookreview #greatbooks

love – Love - LOVE

Several love stories take place within this book. They are not all heterosexual in nature. They do not all end joyously. They are not all romantic or platonic. Like the world that we live in, they are quite diverse. They exist between a young shy boy and a courageous young woman; between two young boys; between brother and sister and child and parent. These story lines were wonderful. They filled and broke my heart—especially that of child and parent. Reading about Xiomara’s thirst for answers; for clarity about what it means to be a good woman because she has no control over how others—especially men—see her or rather, lust over her. It is devastating to hear what she is called or accused of by some of her most precious relationships. I had such a hard time hearing these scenes, because I think most of my friends and I have had similar conversations.

Smokey quartz choker for all occasions, especially when you need a little bit of solace. #smokeyquartz #handmadejewelry #healingcrystals #crystaljewelry
Why #PoetX is the most brilliant book fo 2018. #bookbloggers #booklovers #diverserbooks #yabooks

Religion—challenging it & deciding for ourselves

This is a big topic in the book. Xiomara questions many aspects of what she is being taught both at church and at home. Her mom is a devout Catholic who in her youth aspired to follow the path of a nun. As a result, she pressures her family to follow the Catholic faith diligently.  

Like Xiomara, I started questioning Catholicism in my late teens. Unlike her, I was not obligated by my parents to follow the path. I started off willingly and excitedly. I became an active member of our church and slowly started seeing things differently; and slowly, I started to shy away from all of it. My experience was challenging and heartbreaking, but thankfully it did not come close to resembling Xiomara’s experience. Her experience was extremely stressful. Having to battle with inner doubt AND with a strict mother who seemed to put her down quite frequently was a challenge to get through. Her mom was not the only issue, her father while physically present was mentally absent and that really took a toll on everyone.

Body Image – dealing with it while everything and everyone around you seems to change at a hundred miles an hour

Do you remember when you first started feeling “womanly” or different? When you noticed that everything, from the way your body felt and looked to the way your interactions with your close friends and family changed? Even your relationships with best friends were changing—as if everything else wasn’t enough of a challenge. Elizabeth Acevedo articulates this painful experience touchingly. I found it heartbreaking to relive it through Xiomara’s experience. She is a young woman in a mature woman’s body who cannot help but turn heads wherever she goes, and that as unsettling as that attention is, the truth it never really goes away. Eventually you develop coping mechanisms when confronted with those uncomfortable feelings, but they take time to hone. Although, sometimes the attention is nice to receive, and that is when things become confusing and you start to question your character and values. Seriously, what is the difference between good and bad attention? Is it that there is mutual attraction? Then the question becomes—am I being easy? The answer, of course, is no. As a humans we deserve to be loved and treasured and made to feel beautiful every single day, and part of it is getting attention from those you wish to embrace physically and emotionally. Guilt should never be a factor in your love story unless you are doing something that goes against your values. Ultimately, Xiomara comes into her own and that was utterly enchanting.

In her book, Unqualified by Anna Faris, Anna talked about how angry she became during those emotional wretched years. She would challenge the status quo and dress as provocative as she could if only to prove a point—that all men were scum. I can relate, in some ways. I think my experience was a mix between bald Britney and provocative Anna. I felt alone in my journey, which lead me to make irrational conclusions about myself and others. I like to think that if the internet had been more of a presence in my life then, I would have felt less alone; however, I highly doubt it. Knowing me, I would have probably gravitated towards social media posts that relate to fashion and beauty that do not truly represent real women, and that would have been a bit worse, I imagine.

Why #PoetX is the most brilliant book of 2018. #booklove #bookreview #greatbooks (11).jpg

I am getting off topic. Point is, this book is fantastic, relatable and the audiobook is a must read. Honestly, I think this is going to be my favorite book of 2018, but there are still a few months ahead of us so I probably should not make the proclamation yet.

Please let me know if you have read this story or if you are planning on doing so. If you have already done so, what did you think? Did you read or listen or both? How did you like your reading experience?

Affirmations That Inspire Me.
There are always flowers for those who want to see them. #qoteoftheday #qotd #mondaymotivation #cbloggers #lbloggers #artislife

Affirmations

Empowering words?

Poetic truths?

Utter rubbish?

All of the above?

Earlier this year I came across an Instagram post from a woman I follow and admire that advised that in 2018 she hoped to see fewer affirmations. Her caption was lengthy and well thought out. She noted how she found them disingenuous and utterly gag-worthy. I understand. They can come across really silly or overly optimistic or quite judgmental at times.

There are always flowers for those who want to see them. #qoteoftheday #qotd #mondaymotivation #cbloggers #lbloggers #artislife
Glow like the stars under the midnight sky. #qotd #lbloggers #quoteoftheday #dailyquote #cbloggers #flowerlover

Having said that, I can not resist a good affirmation. When in a foul uninspired mood I can always count on my “Lovely Quotes” Pinterest board to find something that resonates. I also keep a list of quotes on my phone for quick reference as well. Words have power. When we meditate on them, we find our truths—we find our power.

Books can provide us with such power as well. Once we fall in love with a story, it is easy to reread it, make it your own and pick out some of the quotes that most speak to us.

Alas, I will not be sharing some of my favorite bookish quotes today. That post will come in the not too distant future. My objective for today’s post is to share some of my favorite affirmations. These are simple but when recited with repetition and through deep Ujjayi breaths they live within me and somehow make me feel better for it. These words are powerful and I hope they affect you with great positivity as well.   

Blossom with grace. #qotd #quoteoftheday #lbloggers #flowerlove #flowerlovers #carnations

I am enough.

Que sera, sera.

I choose love.

Blossom with grace. #qotd #quoteoftheday #lbloggers #flowerlove #flowerlovers #carnations

Adapt…adapt…adapt.

Patient. Forgiving. Kind. Love.

With patience and kindness, anything is possible.

There are always flowers for those who want to see them. #qoteoftheday #qotd #mondaymotivation #cbloggers #lbloggers #artislife

What are some of your favorite affirmations?

There are always flowers for those who want to see them. #qoteoftheday #qotd #mondaymotivation #cbloggers #lbloggers #artislife
How To Take Care Of Your Lovely Brass Jewelry

How to care for your brass jewelry.

Brass jewelry is versatile, affordable and relatively low maintenance. That is why I love it. Second to brass jewelry, I love silver jewelry but unlike brass jewelry, it tends to tarnish quite quickly. Honestly, I do not know of an alloy that does not tarnish but some tend to tarnish more quickly than others and silver is one of those that has caused me heartache over my lifetime. For the price paid for such pieces, I just expect that the tarnishing process would take longer, but it is rarely the case as it simply cannot be helped.  Alas, I have had to learn to work with what I have—and such is the motto of my life.  

If you are a jewelry lover like I am, chances are you have also run into the unavoidable tarnishing problem and have researched different ways of keeping your gems shiny and new. If this is you, I would love to know which process is your favorite.

My two favorite ways of keeping my brass jewelry clean involve 1) cleaning as infrequently as possible with the help of Ziploc Bags and 2) using water and a gentle soap.

How to take care of your lovely brass jewelry #jewelrylovers #fbloggers #lbloggers #cbloggers
How to take care of your lovely brass jewelry #jewelrylovers #fbloggers #lbloggers #cbloggers

Ziploc Bags

It is not a glamorous way of storing my pieces but it sure is effective. Using a Ziploc Bag has been wonderful for my pieces. I especially love tiny little bags as the less my pieces rattle around the more likely they are to stay detangled, and the less space they take up in my jewelry box.

Soap and water

I like to think of this method as a simple tune-up. No soaking. No harsh chemicals. All you do is run a steady stream of water on your piece of jewelry while cleansing with a nonabrasive cloth & dish soap. I personally use Dawn Dish Soap. Once satisfied with the cleanliness of each piece, I use a nonabrasive dry cloth to remove as much of the moisture as possible. If after doing all of the above I still feel grime on the piece I start all over again and repeat until satisfied with the feel of the piece.

How to take care of your lovely brass jewelry #jewelrylovers #lbloggers #cbloggers #accessories
How to take care of your lovely brass jewelry #jewelrylovers #fbloggers #lbloggers #cbloggers

Stronger Cleaning Solutions

The methods above work great for maintenance but sometimes the grime becomes too excessive. This is when I bring out the big guns. The stronger chemicals, but only when things get to an unmanageable level.

I can not stress enough that I only use the following as a last resort as I find that they can be a bit too harsh if used too frequently. The original finish may be compromised and as a result, pieces may end up raw. Raw alloys tend to tarnish faster and once this happens your piece will lose its original aesthetic. Alloys that have been treated have a stronger defense against tarnishing, hence it is important to use the following options as a last resort.

EZ Brite Penny Brite Copper & Brass Cleaner / Polish 7oz by EZ Brite Brands

The first necklace I ever made was made with a combination of copper chain, a magnetic heart clasp, and seed beads. To this day it is my favorite necklace, maybe because it has such sentimental value. Unfortunately, I stored it in a bag that was not locked securely, and it tarnished. I tried soap and water but when I first wore it I could smell the scent of tarnish grime. I turned to Amazon and found that this little gem is quite affordable and highly rated. Most customers complain that when it arrives it is not clean or a full jar. I totally agree with them. When mine arrived, it was wrapped in some bubble wrap which was also covered in the product resulting in a tub that was almost half empty. Yes, I was disappointed with the shipping and handling but the results derived from using the product were amazing! My necklace cleaned right up, and the smell was virtually nonexistent. I used so little that what I had that I have not felt the need to repurchase. I highly recommend this little tub of magic if you are in the market for something effective and affordable.

Lemon Juice

WARNING - Whatever you do, do not soak your jewelry in lemon juice. If you do, expect that you will forever change the appearance of your jewelry.

The best way to use lemon juice is sparingly. Moisten a soft toothbrush with lemon juice and use it to apply the lemon juice to your jewelry. Brush with as much vigor as you see fit but do be careful. The end game is to clean your piece, not change its composition. (Well, at least in this case.) Once you have brushed off as much of the grime as you can, whip it off with a soft cloth dampened with water. Promptly follow this step by drying your piece with a soft dry cloth.

Following this step, I like to smell and tactically inspect my pieces to ensure that there is no lemon juice residue. If I smell lemon juice or feel the presence of it, I again use my soft dampened cloth and again quickly dry it off. I repeat these steps as often as I see fit as the last thing I am looking for is to forever change the appearance of my jewelry pieces.

I hope you found this post useful. It is by no means all-inclusive. These are measures I have used and tested and found to be most effective and cost-efficient.

Again, if you have a favorite method of cleaning your brass jewelry which I did not cover here, please share it with us as we would all love to hear.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I really appreciate your time.  

How to take care of your lovely brass jewelry #jewelrylovers #fbloggers #lbloggers #cbloggers

PS: All of the pieces featured in this post were handmade by me. Some can be found in my shop

PPS: This post is not sponsored. Thank you so much for stopping by. I really appreciate your time.