Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to all you gorgeous folks! Here’s the daytime costumes:



The Red Queen (The Sugarbean’s costume from her 3rd birthday party) and Princess Juliana: What made those two costumes great is that they came out of our dress up closet. No new sewing for me and no money spent!


Holly Golightly: My version of the main character from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. My friend snapped these photos of me as I had breakfast at Stanley Korshak, while I oogled over suit porn!

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Additionally, I was nominated for a Liebster award! Yaay! Thank you Vanessa with Pretty Little Ivy!
When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you. You pass the award onto other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions. You’re not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you! (To get the button, right click the picture on my page and save the picture to your computer. You can then upload to your blog.)



11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I once sang the National Anthem at a Minor League baseball game. Oddly enough, I was more nervous about having the right outfit than actually singing.
  2. When I was in 6th grade, we went to a professional basketball game and at halftime, the women were asked to go down to shoot free throws. The first 25 to arrive were selected to to participate. My mother and I were among those 50. It was a sold out game and I made my shot, earning a $50 gift card to a local grocery store. When I went to the line, I was a tad bit nervous only because everyone who’d gone before me had yet to make a shot. I fired mine off and swish, made it. I was very proud when the crowd erupted with cheers!
  3. I was engaged at a sold out professional baseball game (Rangers v. Yankees). The roar of the crowd cheering faded when he planted a kiss on me after I said yes.
  4. I can actually be really shy and nervous. When I get around crowds of people, I give myself a tiny pep talk, take a deep breath and put on a smile. Once I get over that, I’m ok.
  5. I don’t like green beans. That’s probably one of the few things in this world that I will refuse to eat, unrelated to my food allergies.
  6. Speaking of which, I’m allergic to raw onions, red/green/yellow bell peppers, and raspberries.
  7. I’m also allergic to Asiatic lilies…really any lily except for callas.
  8. I have highly sensitive skin. I have to use unscented soaps and lotions, as well as laundry detergents. I spray perfume on my clothes. I secretly groan when I’m gifted scented soaps and lotions, and will inevitably re-gift them to others.
  9. I CAN use Lush bath bombs without serious issue.
  10. I am not a morning person. If you know me, then you know this about me. Likewise, if I miss my window of opportunity to fall asleep at night, I’ll be wired for sound until 2AM, then I’ll pass out.
  11. I first had my eyebrows shaped when I was 19 years old by my fellow theater friend. I didn’t realize how much of a difference it made until afterwards. In that moment when I saw myself, I was finally appreciative of my brown eyes. (Thank you Nathan)

11 Questions from Vanessa:


  1. What is your favorite movie? I don’t have one favorite. I have my favorite(s): Gladiator, Just Friends, Easy A
  2. What is the first thing you would you do if you won the lottery?Sit down, take a deep breath, say a prayer, then open a bottle of champagne, if it were a sizeable amount.
  3. What is your favorite holiday memory?Opening gifts with my family, not all of which were wrapped with the same paper and mis-labeled for the wrong person.
  4. What book are you reading right now? Who has time to read? *sigh* Technically, it is probably Dinorella, Dinosaurs Wear Underpants, or If I Had a Dragon/Si Yo Tuviera Un Dragon
  5. Why did you start blogging?To chronicle my memories for my daughter and then it evolved into recording my life.
  6. Where is your ideal place to live?Northern California or Denver if my family lived closer
  7. What is your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?Slow dance with my husband in our kitchen while we are cleaning up.
  8. If you could have one day to do anything, what would it be?Depends on where I am and what money is available. I do like to take mini-chill days where I will go to the Drybar, treat myself to a nice lunch, go to a movie, then plan some kind of craft.
  9. Which chore would you rather do…clean house, do laundry or go grocery shopping? Go grocery shopping, easily!! Love it.
  10. Did you think you would have children when you “planned” out your life? If so, how many?Yes. It varied between 2 and 4.
  11. What do you look forward to most about Fall?Pumpkin scented candles.
Blogs I’m giving the Liebster Award to:
Henthorn Happies
the (mis)adventures of Jenna
The Pajama Mama
Ciao from Texas!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Health Check Reminder

I process quite a bit by writing. In the past several months when I have had the time, I’ve been doing less writing in this forum, and more writing in actual journals. I wrote quite a bit about what I’m going to talk to you about now on small notecards. Little words of encouragement to myself, just as a reminder to keep myself focused and positive.

I know I have it within myself to teeter along the edge of depression. Quickly things can spiral out of control in my brain and fear upon fear upon worry upon sadness down that long tunnel into darkness. It’s at that point where I can see the world around me going on about its business and I feel like a mannequin in a poorly lit window, watching it all. It sucks. For that reason, I lean on my coping mechanisms. I run. I workout. I cling tightly to my family. I inhale loads and loads of motivational and inspirational quotes. I also cut out negativity. I have to. I purposefully stop watching the news. All that to say, the past couple of weeks, I was walking an emotional tightrope.

Let’s back up. After everything I witnessed with my mother last year, I decided to make a dramatic change in our lifestyle and cut out animals from my diet at the beginning of the year. (I don’t say vegetarian because well, there are so many definitions to that. My thing was, if it has a face, then I didn’t eat it. This included fish.) It was supposed to be a six week experiment that has evolved into a mostly permanent thing. I allow myself to eat something with a face one or two meals a week. To say it was life changing is an understatement. For me, this is what happened:
  • I lost 25 pounds.
  • I’ve shaved off nearly two minutes from my mile pace (multiple miles).
  • I have a waist. <---That one, well, I’m square shaped, normally. I’ve never, in my life, had the abdomen lines on my belly. Not even in college when I was an athlete and my body fat percentage was really low.
  • My allergies mostly disappeared. I’m the sneeziest person I know. And yet, here I can breathe again. I still have off days, but I don’t suffer as much as I used to.
  • My face is brighter, well, the complexion. I thought some of that had to do with the Costa Rican and Californian sun, but no, it is the diet.
Great, right? Well, I must also admit, I took on that challenge because I wanted to increase the time I had to share with Don. He’s always active, making great food choices, and pushing me to be better. Sometimes, it’s exhausting. Many times it is exhausting. There are times where I just want to lazy around and watch movie marathons, eating tortilla chips dipped in chocolate frosting (or Velveeta) while drinking a Coke. Who, in their right mind, wants to get up before the sun to log 3-6 miles, eat only plants, and drink heavy amounts of water? <raising hand>  Yeah, that’d be me. I can bend time and do more in the day because of those choices. I get to enjoy more of him and more of my girls. I have “cleaner fuel” which lends itself to more physical activity. I run more. I run with the girls more. I run after the girls more. And the running gives me endorphins, which combats that evil depression and kicks it in the pants! It also tightens and tones my legs and works my heart. During my runs, I meditate and pray. I try to send out love and light to the world. I also breathe slowly. Gain perspective and chew on things that I need to sort out. I find myself laughing and smiling more. I still cry, but 7 times out of 10, they are tears of joy. There is no shame in showing emotion.

For a few years now, my Beloved has been having pain in his abdomen area. In June, Don finally acted on that pain in his abdomen and had his gallbladder removed. In it, they found polyps, which we later discovered to be benign. (whew) We also discovered that his gallbladder had only been operating at less than 10% efficiency. Hooray, right? Well, mostly, until August when the pain in his abdomen persisted. It kept hammering at him and hammering at him. That month, several people around me (around our age) were new diagnosed and battling cancer. You can imagine my fears. They were creeping in, gaining a stronghold. I insisted he go in to get it checked. Before we made that appointment, he decided to give the non-animals diet a whirl. His challenge for himself was for two weeks. He lost 10 pounds in those two weeks. His blood pressure became more normalized. However, the pain, it lingered. In he went to a GI specialist.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been running around with angst, worry, sadness…knocking on that door of depression. My world with him was in jeopardy. Why? Because when we sat down with the doctor, she told us that he would be undergoing a series of tests. Bloodwork, CT scans, ultrasounds, endoscopy, colonoscopy, and even biopsies..they wanted to rule out everything. At the worst, he could have some type of cancer. At the best, he has a food allergy. Talk about a broad spectrum! Shortly after we heard of the news, we had a road trip to Lubbock. We had 12 dedicated hours in the car to discuss, plan, and prepare. I spent three of those hours quietly sobbing to myself as my beloved lay next to me sleeping, our two blessings in the back slumbering. I prayed and prayed, crested over the canyons in the black of night and was greeted by the most amazing lightning storm I’d ever witnessed. For the next two hours, I focused on each bright burst, attempting to gain as much confidence and reassurance as possible for our own personal storm.
We faced each day, holding hands and embracing. His attitude changed from worry to relaxed. He tried to calm my fears by telling me it was ok. When things got to be too much, I ran. (or jumped or danced or cried) My closest loves held me tightly. Their infectious positivity lighting my mood. Their words of inspiration jumping out from the paper, the screen, my phone, all of them lifting me up. Despite all of that, the day before the “big tests” I curled up into the shower and ugly-cried for the better part of an hour. The biggest thing I lamented about that was all of the water that I had wasted. During that time, I considered the people we met along the way during our journey this summer. I reflected back on genuine and loving conversation from a beautiful man who has been victorious against throat cancer (and he has now become a mentor of sorts and a coveted friend). I remembered the sounds of the ocean lapping up the shores of Costa Rica, where the tiny bit of paradise is littered with trash, but in spite of the garbage, it is lush, thriving, and still very beautiful. I thought of my friends who have had other battles and remained steadfast in grace and positivity. I emerged from that shower, braver and ready for what may come. (We won't even discuss the crazy dreams.)

No matter what.

That’s our motto, mine and my beloved’s. I held his hand, he held mine, each of us taking a deep breath. He the calm and steady one with the sexiest antrum I've ever seen. (ok, it is the only one I've ever seen, but still) Me, the nervous wreck, trying to be as cool and cheerful. Why do I do that? Must be my way of coping.



--------------------

Results came back and all is normal! (wiping tears) They had found and removed a polyp, which was non-cancerous. All of the other tissue samples they had taken to perform biopsies came back normal. What they did discover is erosion in his stomach and small intestine. Basically, it’s as if someone took sandpaper to them. The acids in your stomach are so strong that with this weaker lining, you are inviting ulcers, which could eventually lead to worse things like cancer. Because the stomach is near all of the other major organs, this poses an even bigger threat. Now, he has to take a pill to coat his stomach to prevent further erosion and ulcers. Eating better is now essential. Additionally, he will undergo tests for food allergies. To start, they encouraged him to eliminate gluten from his diet.  Changes, indeed, but nothing we’ve not encountered before. 

All that to say, please, please, please go get yourselves checked out if you suspect something. The tiniest bits of changes in your body could be indicators for things far worse. Not knowing is scary, but knowing and having a plan is better, right? That’s where we are. Attempting to live our lives, buying more time, and embracing challenges ahead as happily and as positively as we can…together.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Adamantly, “We are NOT old!”


“Wanna go see Madonna tonight?”

That was the text I received Sunday afternoon. I’d just gotten up from a much-needed nap. My body ached and I knew my annual Autumn cold was trying to rear its ugly head. Head throbbing, muscles sore from working a magical wedding the night before (into the wee hours), I was shaking, and just felt yucky. I nearly typed back, “hmmm…” Instead, I remembered a conversation she and I had earlier this year when we were discussing our Resolutions. “Bianca, I need to you to keep me accountable to these. I want to have more nights out. We are NOT old!” This has become our little mantra for the past 10 months. When we have free moments and she and I can go out, I pull out the “We are NOT old” card and we have a good ol’ time.

She’d purchased the tickets long ago, thinking she would sell them, hopefully at a profit. Instead, after 5 failed attempts at selling them, they were in her hands. On her end, she’d started a bathroom re-do, and was painting. She fully prepared to add another coat of paint. But my positive response to be her wingman that night had her thinking otherwise. We threw on some clothes, came up with a plan and called upon the 8-15 year old versions of ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. I like Madonna. During those aforementioned years, I LOVED Madonna. Never in my life would I have thought I’d get to see her perform live. I don’t really remember her coming to Texas (in fact, I think someone said it has been 10-20 years since her last visit to Dallas). When she did come, tickets were in the hey-you-are-out-of-your-damn-mind range. Cherish, Holiday, Like a Virgin, Vogue, Like a Prayer, Material Girl…all favorites. Her attention to detail for performance is top notch. I admire her. She’s the first female to define her own rules and be successful in a male-dominated industry. I may or may not agree with her controversial acts, but I do admire her business acumen (or ability to recognize the right people to surround herself). But was I chomping at the bit to see her live? Meeeeeh… (The only time I'm ever taller than her is when I bust out my dancin' shoes. She's nearly 2 inches taller than me normally.)


We laughed and giggled at so many things on the ride over. My sides were aching and we’d not even started dancing! Any time I’m with my best friends, I know it is going to be a great, great time. As we walked over, I mentioned that if the concert was lame, we’d leave it completely and head to House of Blues to see Matt & Kim perform. Although, her husband would have been less than thrilled about that one simply because he’s as big of a fan as I am. Anyway, we walked in and I was blown away (blown.away) by the fashion. Boy howdy, do Madonna fans know how to dress. “Dayum!” No really, that’s what I said. So many, many beautiful gay (and a few straight) men in tailored apparel working the hell out of the halls of the AAC like it was a runway. I was incredibly glad that I decided against wearing my Helvetica tshirt and Chuck Taylors.

We got our drinks (Smirnoff Ice and a glass of vino) and headed to our seats.



The DJ was spinning great beats, I was grooving in my seat, and getting excited for the show. Nevermind that we were almost behind the stage and two rows from the top. And it really didn’t matter when one of our row mates spilled their drink all down my leg. What set me over the edge was the fact that he didn’t even apologize for it. I asked my bff if she wanted to walk around to try to find our friend on a lower level. Prior to leaving, there was this guy wearing a white tank top on the big screen who was tearing it up with his dancing. He was amazing! Flipping his blonde hair, gyrating his body to the beat. I wanted that energy. I could feel the energy from that far away. (that is the screen showing what is going on at the front of the stage. The pointy thing is the end of the stage)


We made it to the lower level. We are lingering there hoping our friend comes out when I think, hmmmm…maybe we can sit closer to people who actually want to be there instead of sour pusses who are bringing us down (when we are already wavering). And so we walk in, past security.We walk down several rows. We keep walking. We are searching for our friend. When I spot him, no, no our friend. I spot white tank top dancing guy! I act on impulse, run over to him and give him a hug. We connect. Just like that. We are dancing. We are laughing. We are hugging and squealing. And then we are on the big screen with him. I look over and the name “Benny Benassi” is flashing across the screen in front of the DJ. Are you freakin’ kidding me??? I love him. How did I not know he was Robert Downey JR’s doppelganger?? Just like that, the concert went from  bah-humbug to EPIC! Here’s our new view:



After that dance sequence, we embraced, my new friend and I. We parted with positive words to one another, each of us acknowledging the energy the other brought, covering each other with kisses on our cheeks, giddy at the wonderment of the experience. We were grateful and happy. Here we are together (BOOM...Happy!):


He was such a light! I loved it! We rehydrated for Madonna. My BFF and I telling one another that no matter what, we had to leave by 11:15 at the latest. We were both fighting off something. We both had to get up early for work. “We are NOT old, but we do have responsibilities.” Again, we walked back in to the lower level and struck up a conversation with one of the workers and escorted us to some seats to watch the show. He was a hoot and had many stories to tell!

Madonna opened up with some very dark and controversial numbers. Outstanding set design. Impeccable dance sequences. Spot on costuming (straight up fashion show). She has THE BEST DANCERS! Always, always, always, the very best, most attractive, and physically fit dancers.  Right as it was almost time for us to leave, she popped cotton candy and filled up my inner teen with all of the Madonna goodness that I was hoping for. She belted out “Express Yourself” to which I danced wildly (even more so than the other numbers) and sang along. She completed that number and we had to leave. I didn’t want to go, but I needed to go. Good thing too, because I yawned all the way home, barely keeping my eyes open. I was beaming!

Good thing we left when we did. Not an hour after getting home, the Sugarbaby was up fussing. Then wheezing and coughing and bark coughing. Then she took a header, which caused her first-ever nosebleed. Reality slapping me in the face, but you know, I was smiling and still dancing despite my lack of sleep. Thanks, Lindz for a WONDERFUL date night!

When was the last time you went out?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fashion’s Night Out: Dallas Galleria

You read that title right. But Bianca, you are soooo not a fashion blogger. Right? Well, that is accurate. The focus on this ol’ blog isn’t fashion. The focus is….well, it’s all over the place, but that is neither here nor there. If you know me at all, then you know fashion is near and dear to my heart. It’s right up there with Mexican Coke and chocolate cake.

I had an opportunity to be part of the media during the Galleria’s Fashion’s Night Out and I was beyond ecstatic! This was my first official media event for Hello Bianca and I wanted it to be special. I fretted over what to wear for the days leading up to it. I could have been over-the-top fashionista, but instead, I wanted to project more writer, less fashion guru. I wore: a black and white striped 3/4 sleeved top from H&M (my tribute to Jean Paul), straight leg dark wash Citizens of Humanity jeans, a cobalt scarf, and gold Roxy flip flops (I know, right, even I’m eyerolling right now…at the time, I thought I would be doing a lot of standing and walking and the last thing I wanted was achy feet or an unsightly klutz moment). I didn’t bust out the big camera. Instead, I wanted to rely solely on my Samsung Galaxy S3 to capture the event, that and I wasn’t sure if they were going to allow cameras (duh, I WAS the paparazzi, facepalm).

I went to the booth to get my media badge and I was off and running. I smiled at lots of people and did my best to blend in.


I was behind the velvet rope and I had a front row pass to the pretty people and the gorgeous frocks. Typical me, I was feeling anxious and excited. I was nervous and not really sure what to do. Here I was, now what. I was oogling at everyone, clutching the media guide, trying to determine what spots to hit up. Naturally, I went for a drink.


And then I ran into a friend! It was nice chatting for a bit and mingling with beautiful people instead of just staring at them. But then it was time for us to move on and explore some of the rest of what was going on. By the way, those chandeliers were gorgeous and definitely added to the level of fancy!


In the middle of it all, there was a fashion show that stretched the length of the Galleria, which is about a quarter mile.This media lounge where I started had a DJ controlling his tunes on a large television. It looked cool (but honestly, I thought it a tiny bit unneccessary). I was still groovin’ to the beats, while everyone was huddled in their respective groups, talking about whatever, while they each casually looked each other up and down. At this type of event, it’s ok to look each other over. Heck, most everyone had on their very best choices. It was wonderful!


I stopped at the Brahmin store and fell in love (lurrrrve) with this pattern! Very chic, very Fall. I coveted the larger bag because it would easily fit my laptop, big camera (lovingly known as “Baby”), and a couple of diapers and wipes.


Next I stopped by Pink (Thomas Pink) to oogle at my version of lingerie for men…socks and ties. Whoa baby! I seriously spent 5 minutes at this table staring at the ties and mentally putting each one on the different shirts. I later spent 10 minutes staring at every pair of socks they had in stock.

I spent the next half hour, pretending I had loads of money and filled up my shopping bags with all sorts of goodies for myself, my kiddos, and my husband. Good times!

How about you? Did you participate in Fashion’s Night Out? Have you heard about it before? I’m thinking of posting my favorite outfit that I wore during the week on Wednesday’s. This by no means is turning into a fashion blog (nothing wrong with that), but it is a good accountability measure for myself to attempt to get out of my usual rut and try new things.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kroger Cart Busting Sale: Preparing for Cooler Weather


I live in Texas. Up until last week, we have been having 90 degree weather. All of my summer clothes have been out and I've been happily (mostly) wearing my flip flops enjoying the last bits of summer. In reality, I knew Autumn would roll in fast. That's how it happens here. One day, it's nice and warm, and by that evening, the wind has blown in the cooler weather, the leaves change color and fall in a matter of days, and next thing I know I'm surrounded by hoodies, closed toe shoes, scarves, and colored tights. It's exciting and fun! 

The only drawback for the cooler weather...sickness! The changing of the seasons always forces some kind of cold. For us, we've already had bouts of sinus infection and yes, even bronchitis for the Sugarbaby. Yikes! To prepare, we stock up on plenty of Hunt's Tomato Paste for fideo and Vick's, especially their Dayquil to help us adults get through the day! 

Wanna make your own fideo? Well, here's how we do it!

Fideo (fee-day-oh)--goodness for the soul
1 package of angel hair pasta nest
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic
1 can Hunt's Tomato Paste
2-4 cups water
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp of cumin (I love cumin!!!)
Pinch of salt
Oil

Fry up your angel hair pasta nests in a bit of oil just to get them brown. If you have plenty of time and want to turn on your oven, then lightly coat the nests in the oil, place on parchment paper, and bake at 300 for about 10 minutes (just until it is brown)

On medium-high heat, in the oil, fry up your onion and garlic. Once brown, add your cumin and stir until coated with oil. Next, add your pasta and immediately add the tomato paste and the water. (You might need to add a bit more water. Use enough to cover the pasta. We tend to add more to ours because we like it soupy.) Go ahead and sprinkle a bit more salt and add the remaining cumin. Stir and bring to a boil. 

Lower heat and cover. Letting it simmer until your pasta is al dente and ready to eat. Enjoy!

For added flavor, you can add some demi glace and saffron if you have it on hand. (Don't we all have such things on hand? Right??<---stole that idea from Chef Primo) If we are wanting extra spicy, I will add a tablespoon of red pepper flakes or dice up a bit of serrano to add to it. 

YUM!

This post is sponsored by the Kroger Cart Busting Sale going on from October 7th to October 20th! Visit this site each day for different savings (shown below). Download a digital coupon for a different product each day straight to your shopper card at the Cart Buster site for great deals on your favorite products at the Kroger Co. Family of Stores! 

Participating Stores include: 
  • Kroger
  • City Market
  • Dillons
  • Food 4 Less
  • Food 4 Less Fremont
  • Fryís
  • Gerbes
  • Jay C
  • King Soopers
  • Owenís
  • Pay Less
  • QFC
  • Bakerís
  • Fred Meyer
  • Ralphs
Download a digital coupon for a different product each day straight to your shopper card at the Cart Buster site for great deals on your favorite products at the Kroger Co. Family of Stores!

****I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective.****

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