Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Little Pumpkins

This past weekend, LoLo and I decided to head down to New York to see our family since I will be in China over Thanksgiving and LoLo will most likely have to work. We had a really great visit and it feels weird that we were just there and now much of the city has been devastated by Sandy. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love New York. They will make it through this storm just like they made it through many other tragedies.

So for now, I will leave you with some of my pictures from a really fun weekend in my favorite city.

Saturday morning, my sister in law Luisana dressed up the girls in little Halloween outfits so we could take them into Central Park to take some pictures and walk around and enjoy the day. Check out my favorite little pumpkins!

After we came back to Queens from the park, we decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants, Basurero, on Steinway Street.

And finally, a picture of my husband that I am not necessarily proud of, but still think it's kind of funny.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Girl Talk

Wednesday night I stayed up a little too late because I was having a little too much fun with some ladies you might know (and if you don't know them, you should get to know them for sure).

My sister, Lacey, Alix, and I had our second video chat date Wednesday night and it was just as much fun as our first one a month ago. I felt like a teenager again, but this time, with girl friends who were in three different time zones. Anyone remember the game Girl Talk?

Blondie had the bump it before it was even in style! via
It was just like that. Permed hair and all. Nobutseriously. It felt like that.

We even went old school seventh grade sleepover style and made a prank call. Lacey called LoLo and pretended to be this cougar woman from New York. Back in New York, he worked at a fireplace building/cleaning company and this cougar woman had hit on him hard core and even called his company to ask for him to come back to her apartment the next day. Lacey pretended to be the cougar and it was hilarious. He kept saying "Why are you calling me? I don't even live in New York anymore! I'm sorry, I can't help you with your fireplace!" I couldn't stop laughing and even though I tried to hold it in, LoLo said he could hear us all laughing over the phone. As soon as she called him a second time, he came running up the stairs and said, "Erin! Don't play with me! I don't play childish games!"

Luckily for me, he totally passed the test. He was respectful but also didn't bite when she asked him to call her back when he came back to New York. Also lucky for me, his new job keeps him in good spirits and he laughed it off.

Maybe someday I can get him to tell the story about the cougar in a vlog because seriously, everyone who hears him tell the story asks to hear it again because it's so funny.

I'm so happy my sister begged me to get into blogging. Not only has it been a great outlet for me, it's also allowed me to meet some amazing friends who I feel like I've known forever. Sometimes I even forget I haven't actually met them in person!

I'm off to New York this weekend to snuggle with my little nieces and laugh with the rest of our family there. Rumor has it we might be making a music video on their rooftop terrace. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Evolution of Friendship

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this quote twice in one day:

During much of the time that I lived in New York, I had a group of friends that I had made during college. Fast forward about, oh, three years to the present day and I am minus several of those friends. I won't get into the whole story here, but suffice it to say I learned who my real friends were around a pretty significant event in my life.

Coming home to Maine was a decision my husband and I made because we were ready to settle down and feel more financially stable. What we didn't expect was that coming home to Maine would help us to examine some of our friendships and realize who was really worthy of our time.

In another post, I talked about how I think that sometimes New Yorkers are selfish out of necessity. When I look at those "friendships" that I've since lost, I realize that those people were selfish by nature and selfish out of necessity. I'm not saying they were mean on purpose (or at least some of them weren't) or that their selfishness was also malicious, but what I'm saying is that they were people who had lived lives that led them to think of themselves first because previously, they had been in survival mode.

I think during college, I was drawn to these people in particular because we shared feelings of not fitting in. We shared stories of struggling to assert our identities in a place where we were different from most of the other students. And even though I hadn't really had to be in survival mode like some of them, I felt like I fit with them more than anyone else at school.

As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that there are others who can relate to my struggle to find my identity and who are passionate about the same issues I am passionate about, yet have values much closer to mine. My parents taught me to care for others, to be considerate of others, and to always think about how my actions could affect others.

Marriage, work, family, and taking care of a puppy leaves little time for friends. And this is one place where I am selfish. I only share my limited free time with people who deserve it; people who support me and care for me, and who see friendship as a two way street.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sights of Puerto Rico

As you know, I spent last week working in Puerto Rico at a conference. This was my third time going to San Juan and I absolutely love it there. To me, it's the perfect mix of Latin America and the United States.

Let's start with the food! On my first night, I ate with some of my coworkers at a really fun place called "Aguaviva". I ordered coconut shrimp and tostones (fried green plantains). YUM!

The next day, my co-worker/friend Elaine and I ate at The Parrot Club which is owned by the same people who run Aguaviva. Another amazing meal!

This is a chicken sandwich and a log cabin of yuca frita (yuca/cassava fries) seasoned with cilantro and olive oil.

After lunch, I hung out by the pool for a few minutes before I had to go to the conference center. This is the view from the rooftop pool. 

This was also a view from the rooftop pool. It was so nice and sunny over the pool but right across the water, I could see this storm coming.
I put my conference table together on Monday afternoon and felt like my brochures really fit in with the caribbean feel of Puerto Rico.

For most of my time there, I was working, but on my last day, I had some free time before my flight and I walked (and walked and walked) around Viejo San Juan and took some pictures.
This building is the Antiguo Casino de Puerto Rico. The closing reception for the conference was held here. It is an absolutely amazing space.
I also saw some interesting sights... like a pimped out bus...
And the perfect bench for a short person like me...with a foot/leg rest!
And a new friend on another bench...
And yet another friend...his name was Luis. I like his hat.
And I will leave you with my favorite sign I saw on my trip. All I have to say is "Whoop Whoop!!"

I had so much fun on my trip to Puerto Rico. I definitely recommend Puerto Rico if you need a little fun in the sun!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Buy me some peanuts and....Sailor boys?

I apologize for being missing in action all week, but I was working in Puerto Rico all week. Next week you'll get a recap of my time there, but I wanted to just leave you with another funny thing my LoLo said.

Tonight we were at the supermarket and he was trying to explain to me that he used to like making a mix of goldfish crackers and some kind of caramel peanuts and other stuff. He kept trying to explain it to me and finally he said, "I know! They are sailor boys!"

And that's when it hit me. He meant Cracker Jacks. From now on, the song is "Buy me some peanuts and sailor boys! I don't care if I ever get back!"


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Perfect Saturday

All week, I had been feeling a little down because Mr. LoLo was going to have to work Saturday and have Sunday off, the same day that I would be leaving for Puerto Rico at 5am. We looked at our calendars together and realized that we wouldn't have another day off together until the last weekend of October and that felt like just too long.

Saturday morning, I woke up because Bronx was whining (squeaking really) and because I heard kind of a loud noise coming from downstairs. LoLo had gotten up at 6:30 to go to work so I was a little nervous when I heard noises. My first instinct was to look out the bedroom window which overlooks the driveway and what do I see? LoLo's car!

I swung open the bedroom door to hear the sound of sizzling and the smell of onions and green peppers. I yelled down, "LoLo??? What are you doing here?!" And ran down the stairs with Bronx right behind me.

When I got downstairs, there was LoLo all dressed and cooking an amazing breakfast. Apparently, his boss had made a mistake with the schedule and told him Friday night that he wouldn't have to work Saturday, but LoLo wanted to surprise me.

Eggs, shredded potatoes with onions and red and green peppers, and garlic toast... YUMMMM!
After breakfast, we decided to run lots of errands together. The first stop was the L.L. Bean Flagship store right up in Freeport. When we got out of our car, we realized there was some sort of barbeque happening right on the green in front of the store. There was even an L.L. Bean Bear walking around so of course I had to take a picture.

On our way back to our car we realized they were giving away free peeps and chocolate truffles so we headed over to the Peep-mobile and the Lindt Chocolate Bunny-mobile.

And right before we got to our car, we saw free local cider and apples.

It turned out to be such a nice little fall date even though we didn't plan any of it! Sometimes the days you don't plan turn out to be the absolute best ones!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My New York Story...part III: Roommates

Everyone who has lived in New York has a story about their living situation. My friend Lacey mentioned two of her situations yesterday on her blog and inspired me to write about my New York roommate story.

I was lucky that I barely had to even search for my first New York apartment. About 2 months before I was going to move, my mom was talking to a colleague at work about how I was looking for an apartment in New York. The woman said, "Oh that's so funny, my son is moving home to Maine from New York in 2 months! She should go check out his room!"

Long story short, I took his old room. And his old roommates. Including a woman who was bi-polar but had decided it was a good idea to stop taking her medications. Some days she loved me and would talk about how lucky she was to have me as a roommate. Other days she would storm into the apartment at 2 in the morning, completely drunk, and yell at my friends that it was rude that they were sitting on her couch.

Several times, I even found her with her ear pressed to my bedroom door while I was talking to my mom. We started having parts of our conversations in Spanish so that she couldn't understand what I was saying.

And just like Lacey's roommate, my roommate loved bringing "friends" back to the apartment in the middle of the night. One morning, my other roommate had the pleasure of literally almost running into one of these "friends" when he ran naked out of the bathroom, which she may have enjoyed had he not been a balding married man in his mid 50's.

The final straw though was when she decided it was time for me to move out and placed an ad on Craigslist and SHOWED and OFFERED my room to a woman without telling me. I hadn't even made the decision to leave or found a new place yet. This all happened a couple of days before Christmas and the woman was set to move in by January 1.

Luckily for me, I was able to find an amazing room in Washington Heights that was about twice the size of my first bedroom and had a half bath in the room (this is completely unheard of in New York!). So on New Years Eve, in the middle of a snowstorm, two good friends helped me move all of my stuff out of the first apartment and into my 5th floor walk-up building in Washington Heights.

Moving to Washington Heights, a large Dominican neighborhood in uptown Manhattan, was one of the best moves I made while living in New York. I felt so happy there, surrounded by the constant sounds of merengue music, loud Spanish conversations, and the smells of amazing Dominican food.

I also had some interesting roommates in that apartment, including one that me and another roommate submitted for a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy life makeover...even though he was gay. But that's another New York Story for another day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New York Recap

Last week, I went to New York for a verrrrrrrry quick trip for work. I flew out from Maine Tuesday night and was back in Maine by noon on Thursday. As quick as it was, I made sure to fit in many of my favorite New York things.

Like Sito's cooking! Here was my breakfast Wednesday morning: Mangu (mashed plantains), eggs with cheese, and coffee.

Time with my little twin nieces!

Incredible photo ops!

The Freedom Tower rising into the fog
Random sightings in semi-hidden parks in the middle of the city!

Reminiscing about all of the good times on the 1 train!

And one of my absolute favorite things about New York...

The Chinese food! No matter where you go, Chinese food is never as good as it is in New York. And make sure that the place you order from looks totally sketchy. If there's bulletproof glass, even better. The food will be better than any other place.

So thank you, New York, for the quick trip full of many of my favorite things. Can't wait to come back and spend a little more time catching up.

P.S. Happy 89th birthday to my grandfather! I love you, Papa!! Feliz Cumpleanos!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I'm back! I'm back from a crazy quick trip to New York where I crammed in as much NY as I could and I've recovered from the exhaustion that came with doing that. This week I will definitely be blogging more than last week, but today, I wanted to share with you a really special story.

Remember about 2 weeks ago when I wrote about my blog world being shattered? Well, there has been a bit of redemption. And funny enough, the topic of one of the blogs that has redeemed my faith in the blogging world is redemption.

Yesterday as I read some of my favorite blogs, this post from Emily at The Real Life Housewife of Ciudad Juarez really hit home for me. She wrote about her father and how he has become inspirational to her despite the fact that he was absent from much of her life because of drugs and alcohol. While his story is incredibly inspiring, what hit me was his message.


A couple of weeks ago when I read the hatred that spewed from many women's fingertips and into their computers, the point I wanted them all to see about poverty was that it is a cycle. In the video, Emily's father, Michael, talks over and over again about how poverty becomes part of one's psychology and how the only way to get someone out of the cycle is to change their psychology. 

He says that the very way we try to help the poor is flawed. We throw money at them and expect that they will change. And when they don't, politicians say "See, you're wasting your money on these people." But what Michael says is that we need to change the way we help others. He says, "There is a cycle of poverty. You can get out, but you have to do certain things. We can't donate you out of it."

And as I've said a number of times before, and Michael agrees, the way to get out is education. I've dedicated my career to helping the less fortunate find opportunities for education. Someday maybe I'll write more about the jobs I've had and how I've tried to contribute to changing the cycle of poverty. 

But for now, enjoy the video about The Accidental Missionary and his story of redemption. It's nice to know that no matter where you've begun, you can always end in a more positive place.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Transition to Fall

After all of the deep, intense writing I did last week, I decided it was time to lighten things up a little bit this week and show you how my wardrobe has been transitioning to fall.

This was one of the outfits I wore at the beginning of September while it was still warm out. I love the navy blue/pink combo.

This was one of my casual Friday outfits. I love this color because it's the perfect fall transition color.

I have really been loving bright colors lately. I think they look best with my skin tone and also I just love how they can brighten up my day.

I love the simplicity of this look. I am excited to wear scarves and boots again just like everyone else has already said.

As much as I love bright colors, I also love neutrals in the fall. I was so excited to find these wide calf boots last fall. Nothing like fashion trends that translate for plus size girls!

I hope you've enjoyed this little look into my outfits from the past month. I love summer and am sad that it has ended, but the boots and scarves make fall worthwhile.