My Signature Scent.

The first perfume I remember owning was called Baby Soft. The name was perfect -- it was a whisper-soft scent, like that of babies. Wearing it made me feel safe, cocooned. Baby-like. Then came Narcisse by Chloe. It bordered on the almost too sweet, practically cloying, but I loved it because it made me feel grown up to wear it.

Those were the perfumes I routinely used in middle school, and then in high school there came a succession of different perfumes, many of them by Calvin Klein, with such heady names as Obsession and Eternity. I liked them all, but wearing them felt a bit like wearing someone else's clothes -- I could never really own them.

Of all the perfumes I used in high school and throughout my adolescence, Cristalle by Chanel is the one that stands out the most in my memory. It was a crisp, fresh scent, and as I conjure it up now, I can almost smell it. It is the only perfume I wore during that time that came closest to feeling like my signature scent.

The first ever perfume I received from a boy was Allure by Chanel. He was my first boyfriend and it was my first year of college, a time of experimentation, of stretching out my wings. He was gone before the last drop evaporated from the perfume bottle. The perfume made me feel sexy to wear it, but it was really more of a costume than anything else. I couldn't truly own it.

Later college brought other boys, other perfumes. I had a short-lived tryst with the perfume Rush by Gucci --perhaps the strongest scent I have ever worn. It's like a floral explosion, spicy to the nose. One of my most dedicated suitors, a pilot, bought me the perfume Romance by Ralph Lauren. I dumped him, but kept the perfume. I liked how flower-like it smelled, and wearing it made me feel clean and fresh. Then I met my current boyfriend and started experimenting with more "mature" perfumes, like Vera Wang's signature scent and the perennial classic, Chanel No. 5.

Now I usually alternate between Chanel No. 5, Romance, and one of my newest acquisitions, Magnifique by Lancome. The latter is a floral, fruity scent that makes me feel very feminine. But is it my signature scent? Can I call any of the scents I've worn throughout my life signature scents? I'm not sure. I don't think I've found my signature scent as of yet -- the perfume that feels entirely my own, the scent that makes other people think of me when they smell it.

This is what I'm getting for myself today...

I am so flipping excited...

UPDATE: So I got the iPhone! It's the 3GS model, 16 gb, white, and it's oh so pretty. I think I'm in love... ;) What I need now are your app recommendations. What are your favorite apps to use on the iPhone? Let me know in the comments!

When I grow up...

The lovely Camilla from Champagne Bubbles is featuring my "When I Grow Up" list over on her blog, so go check it out! Don't forget to come back here and tell me what you thought of my list. You might also want to send your list to Camilla so she can feature you. :)

Thanks again, Camilla, for making my day!

Tune in Tuesday! {White Rabbits}

 Happy Tuesday! At least it's a happy one for me because my visit to my heart doctor went well -- he gave me the thumbs up to start going to the gym (which I haven't been to since Bush was in office, and um, I think it was the other Bush). Now that I'm losing a little weight, I want to take it a step further and get in shape. I got a free pass to Bally's, which I'm not keen on because it's a co-ed gym (yeah, I know this is a silly reason), but it's a free pass for an entire week, so what do I have to lose?

Today I'm starting a new feature on this here blog: Tune in Tuesday! Every Tuesday, I will introduce you to my latest musical obsession. I'll try to pick bands and artists that you may not be familiar with, because there's nothing I love more than introducing others to awesome new music.

This week's pick is "Percussion Gun" by White Rabbits. I love the drumbeat in the background, the way the lead singer growls when he sings, and pretty much everything about the song. Here's the video below. Enjoy! And be sure to tell me what you're listening to today -- I also loving learning about awesome new music. :D

Lolcat of the Week

I  can't help but laugh at this week's Lolcat, cruel as the picture may be. (Never mind that I used to do the same thing to my dog...)

Have a great week, everyone! :)

Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Confession: I have never seen all of Breakfast at Tiffany's before today. Yes, I can hear you gasping on the other end, but it's true. As much as I love old films, and as much as I love Audrey Hepburn (who doesn't?), I just have never had the opportunity to sit down and watch the whole film. Sure, I've seen a clip or two here or there, but the whole thing? Not until today. What prompted the impulse was browsing the free films available on On Demand yesterday afternoon. I saw they had Breakfast at Tiffany's, and I wondered for perhaps the hundredth time why I had never seen it before (I seriously think I must be the only girl who's never seen it). So I decided, What the hell. And I started watching it then and there.

My date with the boyf interrupted my movie-watching, and so I wasn't able to finish watching the film until this afternoon. I curled up in bed with some peppermint tea and saw the last hour and a half I was missing. Final verdict? I absolutely loved it. I used to wonder if the film would be worth all the hype, and you know what? It totally is.

Here are my favorite moments in the film:
  • Every time Holly's landlord Mr. Yunioshi (who's played by Mickey Rooney!) threatens to call the police on her for making noise.
  • When Holly is woken up by Paul aka "Fred" and she's wearing that adorable blue sleeping mask.

  • Everything Holly wears, but especially her hats.
  • When Holly explains to Paul why she refuses to name Cat.
  • When Holly and Paul spend a day doing things they've never done before -- I totally need to do this with le boyf!
  • When Holly and Paul visit the library and he signs their copy of his book, much to the librarian's dismay.
  • When Holly and Paul visit the 5 and dime and steal those hilarious animal masks.

  • Holly's reaction to the press when she's arrested in the narcotics sting -- is she ever not charming?
  • When Paul tells "2-E" that for once he'd like to take care of someone else for a change. (*swoon*)
  • The ending, of course, which had me bawling like a baby. I am such a softy, I swear.

If you've never seen the film, I highly recommend it. It's perfect for a lazy, rainy Sunday like today, when you don't feel like doing anything other than curling up in bed with a good film.

Watch the trailer!

How I learned to stop worrying and love the mutt.

 Painting by Casey.

It's no secret I love cats. But I do consider myself solely a cat person? No. The truth is I love all of God's creatures (except for spiders and squirrels, but that's besides the point). I especially love cats, true, but my love for dogs comes just as close. It's just it took me a while to learn this love.

In my defense, my first experience with the Canis lupus familiaris was not a happy one. You see, before I was even a twinkle in my mother's eye, my mother had already had her first baby -- a baby with big brown eyes and a tendency to pant when she got overexcited. Her name was Dolly and she let me know practically the second I came out of the womb that I was not welcome. In fact, my mother loves to tell me about the time(s) when Dolly would stand at the foot of my crib on her back legs just so she could lean into my crib and bark at me. (Gee, thanks, Mom.) To be perfectly honest, I was never that nice to Dolly, either. As soon as I got out of the crib and was fully mobile, I immediately set upon taking revenge on this mean mutt.

Lest ye think I am calling Dolly a mutt as a disparaging slur, she actually was a mutt. I don't know exactly what breeds she was mixed with, but I have to admit she was pretty. She was of smallish to medium size with an orange-red coat and fox-like ears. Her snout was a bit foxy, too, in that it was long. Her eyes were not fox-like though, but those that usually belong to cute yappy dogs, those big brown eyes that practically puddle over with affection. Only hers didn't puddle so much as glare.

Back to the revenge part. How did I wreak my vengeance on this conniving canine? The only way a little girl can -- by dressing Dolly in my doll's clothes. It was poetic justice, in a way, given her name and all. I can still remember the frilly pink frock with matching bonnet into which I stuffed Dolly, her aggravated yips and yowls bringing my parents into my bedroom, upon which my mom immediately started scolding me. My dad knew humor when he saw it, though, and he ran to go get the camera. I still wonder where that picture is... I promise to post it if I find it.

By the time I was well into my teenage years, Dolly and I had made peace of a sort. She no longer stood on her back legs and barked at me. And I no longer dressed her in my doll's clothes, comedic gold though that was. But we were never exactly friends. There was never any love lost between us, and it was understood that yes, Dolly was my mom's first baby, as Mom liked to say. I didn't lose any sleep over this and any lingering resentment had long since faded when Dolly passed away in my 15th year. She was also 15. This was something I never thought about growing up -- Dolly had been born not long before I was and so we were like quasi interspecies twins, if you will. But seeing Dolly fade away at 15, my same age, was a sobering experience that made me question my seeming immortality.

It also made me look at Dolly herself in a different light. She and my mom had the perfect dog-human relationship. They were truly best friends, never far from the other. When one was down, so was the other. When my mom was happy, I remember seeing Dolly's tail wag in sympathetic joy. I realized then and there that this was something I wanted for myself. I wanted my own so-called "man's best friend." I wanted my own pet.

To this day, I've never had a dog like that. My cat Tigger comes close, but I think one day I'd like to get a dog. I yearn for that kind of kinship. We have had one other dog over the years, a Doberman Pinscher that we wound up having to donate to the local police as a K-9 after she decided to try and take a chunk out of my forehead, but that's a blog post for another day... Somehow that experience didn't scare me off liking dogs, though I will be honest and say I probably won't be getting another Doberman Pinscher in the future!

As for what kind of dog I would like, I am not sure. I will probably go to the pound and try to rescue a little puppy. For sure I would want a puppy. Breeds I like are the Papillon and the Cockapoo (the latter of which isn't a pure breed per se but rather a mix between a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel). But honestly, I know that the dog I select will probably be based on what I feel when I meet him or her for the first time. Even if she's a mutt like my mom's dear Dolly. ;)

Trip to the Salon: $50. Free Therapy: Priceless.

Hair salon in 1950s Florida.
(picture courtesy of Flickr)

Salon, take me away!
Every time I sit down in one of those funny chairs in my local salon, the kind that swivel in place and can move up and down (not that I've tried this out or anything...), I breathe a reflexive sigh of relief. I can feel my limbs loosen, my stress melt away -- I am instantly relaxed. What is it about going to the salon that is so soothing, so therapeutic?

This is something I've been wanting to write about for some time, to try and answer that very question. I should state outright that I have never visited a salon in another state, or country, for that matter. So I can only discuss this based on my experience visiting salons in Miami. However, I've visited quite a few, and I think I can narrow down the types of salons we offer pretty accurately.

Based on my experience visiting salons in Miami, I can categorize the major types of salons into three groups:

  • Top Dollar

  • Ethnic (Cuban, Dominican, Haitian, etc.)

  • Cheap and Sloppy

There may be other types of salons that exist, I don't know. But these are the three that I've visited.

Top Dollar
In Top Dollar salons, you can tell it's Top Dollar because they greet you at the door with a glass of white wine and a fluffy white robe. There may even be rose petals in your pedicure water. The stylists all wear white monogrammed coats that have been starched within an inch of their life, and they are, of course, impeccably groomed.

All mani/pedi treatments at Top Dollar salons come with a requisite hand and/or foot massage, and your hands will literally feel like new afterward. The same goes for hair treatments -- whether your visit is for a trim, dye, straightening treatment, or simple blow-out, etc., you will no doubt have your hair washed by someone with magic hands. By which I mean they will give you the best scalp massage of your life. (I still tingle all over remembering this experience.) Their blow-outs are great, too, and can last for days.

The only downside of visiting a Top Dollar salon? The price-tag! Something as simple as a blow-out can cost a hundred dollars or more. You may be relaxed and sweet-smelling by the end of your visit, but chances are the stress will come right back when you see the bill! But if you want quality and don't mind paying top dollar for it, this is the salon for you. Some great areas in Miami for Top Dollar salons are South Beach and Coral Gables.

My only experience with an Ethnic salon has been visiting Cuban salons in Miami. I myself am Cuban, so this is the salon I'm most comfortable with -- especially since my paltry teacher's salary means I can't afford to visit those classy Top Dollar salons (sniff, sniff). But what my little Cubiche salon may lack in class, it more than makes up in warmth. You may not get rose petals in your pedicure water, but you will get a grandmotherly lady who will give you advice on your latest spat with your mate. You may not get white wine, but you will get a piping hot cup of espresso (which will keep you fueled for the next 24 hours).

While Top Dollar salons use quality products that truly make a difference on your hair, hands, and feet, I find that my Cuban salon's products, while generic, get the job done. And the blow-outs honestly are often just as good. The price also happens to be right -- it usually costs me about $25 for a wash and blow-dry, and $25 for mani/pedi.

The only downside to visiting an Ethnic salon like mine is that sometimes the stylists don't speak English. For example, in my Cuban salon, everyone speaks only Spanish. I speak Spanish, so it's no problem for me, but I can see how it can be an issue if you walk in wanting your hair cut or dyed -- and you don't speak any Spanish. However, this is an easy fix -- find someone to translate for you! One of my good friends is my salon buddy, and she speaks little to no Spanish. In fact, I think she's been picking up more Spanish ever since she started coming to my salon. :) Good places to get your hair and nails styled -- and practice your Spanish --  in South Florida are in Hialeah, where the majority of salons are run by Cubans and other Latin Americans.

Cheap and Sloppy
When you need a haircut that's both quick and cheap, this is the type of salon you will probably visit. They take walk-ins, they don't bat at an eye if you have to leave right away, even if it means leaving with your hair wet. Best of all, the price tag is super cheap. I've seen some places charge as little as $15 for a wash, cut, and blow-dry. (This would run me $30-35 at my Cuban salon, for example.)

It seems like a win-win situation, right? You get your hair washed, cut, and styled in minimum time and you pay a minimum price. Plus these types of salons are ubiquitous and can be found virtually anywhere. What's not to love?

Actually, there's a lot not to love. In my experience, the stylists at these Cheap and Sloppy salons aren't that experienced (I had one lady get her round brush stuck in my hair), and since their paychecks are probably pitiful (how high can they be with such low prices?), they don't show their customers that much care or attention. (Supercuts, I am looking at YOU.)

The Long and Short of It...
Maybe it's different for you -- maybe your local Cheap and Sloppy salon is Cheap and Not-So-Sloppy. If so, count your blessings! Remember everything that I've posted above has been based on my experience. And my experience in short is this: I visit my local Cuban salon every other week for a mani/pedi and to have my hair washed and blow-dried. Each visit runs me $50 plus tip. It's a small price to pay for my happiness (not to mention sanity!) -- I find that after a stressful day, visiting my salon is an instant pick-me-up. I leave the salon not only looking better, but feeling better, too. And that's what going to the salon should be all about, right?

Now that I've given you my two cents (more like a twenty bucks, right? ;p), I'd love to hear what you have to say. Do you go the salon? How often and why? Let me know in the comments!

7 things about me.

One of my new favorite blogs to read is Champagne Bubbles, which I discovered thanks to The Rockstar Diaries. (That's the lovely part of reading blogs -- one great blog inevitably leads to another and another and another.)

The writer for Champagne Bubbles, Camilla, recently wrote a cool blog post: "7 things about me." I thought it would be a neat thing for me to do, especially since I've got new followers on this here blog who may not know much about little ole me. :)

And away we go...

7 things about me
  1. I am a fussy eater. It takes a lot for me to try something new (though I've gotten better), and I don't like it when food runs together on a plate -- I like to have everything in its own place.
  2.  Even though my job as a high school teacher comes up with a requisite 6 AM wake-up schedule, I am a night person, happiest to be awake when the rest of the world is sleeping.
  3. I can only read one book at a time, and if I put down the book for an extended period of time, chances are I won't pick it back up again.
  4. Although I have traveled to the Caribbean, Europe, Central America, and Asia, I have only visited one other state in the U.S. -- California. I hope to rectify this soon!
  5. I have never broken a bone. *knock on wood*
  6. I love playing video games, but I hate fighting the last boss. Which explains why I have yet to finish numerous games like Final Fantasy VIII, IX, and XII.
  7. I am allergic to bee stings. I discovered this in Panama while I was visiting Ricky's family. A bee stung my arm and it immediately starting swelling to double its normal size.

    Now that you've learned a little bit about me, go and post your own 7! Be sure to come back here and give me the link so I can learn more about you, too. :)


    This has been a very relaxing long weekend. You know the feeling you have when you wake up and stretch for the first time that day? That loose limbered laziness that washes over you? Yeah, I've felt that way all weekend.

    On Friday, I went to the salon with a good friend from work to do our hair and nails. Afterward we met up with my boyf at this Tex-Mex restaurant called On the Border where we had some margaritas and tacos. After saying goodbye to our friend, we went back to Ricky's house where we took a long, cozy nap.

    Saturday was pretty lazy, too. We went to Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza for some yummy sausage and ricotta cheese pizza, did some groceries, and then came back home to watch "500 Days of Summer" (which Ricky adored -- I'm so glad he's my boyf :D).

    Sunday was a so-so day for me. I was down all day, thinking of my grandma, trying to come to terms with the idea that she's gone. It still hasn't hit me 100%, I don't think. But I know she would want me to be happy. So I will try.

    Today's been better. I woke up at around 10 AM, ate some chocolate chip mini waffles, and caught up on my blog reading while I waited for the Ojon to work its silky magic on my hair. Plans for today: shower, blow-dry hair, laundry, grade midterms, go shopping for my mom's birthday gift and a new agenda for me, and sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.

    Picture courtesy of Flickr.

    Lolcat of the Week

    I wasn't liking last week's submissions over at I Can Has Cheezburger that much ... until I came across this one. LOL!

    Have a great week, everyone! :D

    This is my earliest memory.

     I was messing around with my new favorite interwebby toy, formspring, when I received the following question:

    What's your earliest memory?

    And this is what I wrote...

    My earliest memory is something that many will claim I won't remember, but I swear I do. In my earliest memory, I am just a little girl, about two years old. I am at the beach with my family, and everyone was having fun, except for me. Why? Because I am caged in a "playpen" on the sand, in the shade, away from the shrieking laughter of my cousins who are playing in the surf. For my enjoyment I have been given a little red bucket and a little yellow shovel, the two of which entertained me for about five minutes before I decided enough was enough -- it was time to break free of my confines. Using my little red bucket as a makeshift stool, I climb up until I am grasping the top rail of my playpen. Freedom is so close I can taste it! I take one small step ... only to fall face down in the hot sand. Needless to say, my escape was short-lived.

    Now it's your turn! What is your earliest memory?

    P.S.) Want to ask me a question on formspring? Go for it!

    Help Haiti.

    I've been in my own little fog for three days now, but I'm slowly coming back to myself. Something that helped shock me sane yesterday was learning about the devastating earthquake in Haiti. I couldn't help but think, My God, what can I do to help?

    Well, today I found a way to help:

    I just did it and it's super simple. They message you back so you can confirm, and all you have to do is text back with "YES" and you're done. Just a minute and $10 of your time, and you can provide so much. But it won't be as effective unless we all do something. So do something.

    Comfort Food

    I want to thank you all for the outpouring of kindness you have shown me this week. Losing my grandmother on Sunday was so unexpected, so much of a shock, that I still feel like I'm reeling. But I'm getting better. And your kind comments brought me comfort in this difficult time.

    Last night we had a funeral for my grandmother, and today we laid her to rest in the cemetery. The unseasonably cool weather was like ice in my veins, both last night and today. Even though I'm back home now and wrapped in my flannel blanket, I'm still shivering.

    I haven't been very hungry today, but my parents pushed me to eat something, and I listened to them because I knew I would probably feel worse if I didn't eat. Not being prompted by hunger, I wasn't sure what to eat, but I was drawn to my Nutella jar. So I decided to make myself an open-face Nutella sandwich for lunch, and for some reason I can't explain, it brought me comfort.

    This got me thinking about comfort food, and why we are drawn to particular foods when we are going through a difficult period. It's different for everyone -- someone might be drawn to pudding, someone else to pasta. I guess today my comfort food was Nutella.

    Hold on to the ones you love.

    My grandmother passed away today. She was my father's mother, the only grandparent I had left. She was 86.

    A few months back she had a stroke that left one side of her body partially paralyzed. We had hope that she would recover most if not all use of that side. But then her mind started wandering -- she started imagining that people were coming into her room and taking her things. She wouldn't recognize certain people. She would claim that she was hungry, that she hadn't eaten, when my father had just helped her eat. Little things like that, that started small but then began to snowball. That made me want to visit her more often than I normally did.

    On Friday, I remember thinking to myself, Gosh, I haven't visited Abuela in a while. I should go see her. And then today I received a phone call from my mom, the kind of phone call you never expect and that you never want to get: "Your grandmother's in the hospital. She had another stroke. We don't think she's going to make it."

    My boyfriend and I rushed to the hospital where I found out my grandmother was currently being observed by the emergency doctor. Some kind of scan was being performed. My aunt (my dad's sister) went in to see what was going on, and then hurried back motioning for my dad and their other sibling, my uncle, to join her. Moments later, my aunt returned with my father and uncle, tears streaming down her face. My grandmother had passed away with all three of her children surrounding her. It was very sudden and she seems to have died peacefully.

    I am happy that she is no longer suffering. I am happy that it was sudden for her, not prolonged, and I hope she did not feel any pain or fear. For my family and myself, I am very sad. This was my last grandparent, my father's only remaining parent. We are both orphans of a sort now, and I can't help but feel unmoored, lost, drifting.

    Moments like these make you want to hold on the ones you love a little tighter. To make the good times count, make them last. In the hustle and bustle of every day, it's so easy to forget this. I will try my hardest not to forget this in the future.

    My father and grandmother on her 84th birthday.

    These are a few of my (current) favorite things...

    As I type this post, it is 39 degrees outside on a Saturday afternoon. It is now 2:10 and it is expected to get even colder as the night falls. The sun has barely shown its face all day, and my house has no central heating, so I am hunkered down in bed under blankets, wearing my fleeciest socks and pajamas. Two minutes ago my cat Tigger was ensconced under my arm, but he has since fled to the kitchen in search of food. I may join him in a second to make some hot chocolate. This drink has been my saving grace all week! I love how it warms me both inside and out. I love how the marshmallows (for what is hot chocolate without marshmallows) float to the top and stick to my lips when I take a sip.

    Recently I bought some new lipstick from Sephora. I love trying on new shades, seeing how this color brightens my face or how that color makes my mouth look bigger. Makeup can have a very transforming effect on a woman -- I remember seeing a made-for-TV film a couple years ago starring Sarah Chalke (from "Scrubs") in which she played a cancer patient. I can't remember the name of the movie, but I can remember this one scene where she's at her lowest ebb, having lost both her hair and her strength. Then she puts on some lipstick, and it's a bright red shade, and instantly both her look and her outlook on life change. I will never forget that.

    Normally I am the type of girl to wear sensible shoes in neutral shades -- the majority of my shoes come in only three colors: black, brown, and gray. Occasionally I will buy a white or blue pair, but that is rare. Something happened to me the other day that made me rethink my shoe-buying habits. I was browsing the shoes in Target when I came across these brightly colored shoes. Reader, it was love at first sight. I don't care if you think they are ugly -- I love them. I didn't have the nerve (nor the cash) at the time to get them, but I made a promise to myself: when I get paid this next Friday, I'm going back to Target to buy those shoes. The promise goes further: I promise to wear more colorful shoes in the future. Like lipstick, they can not only brighten up an outfit but your outlook on life as well. :)

    When "500 Days of Summer" came out in the theaters, I knew instantly I would love it. Unfortunately I didn't get around to seeing it until last week, but my original hypothesis was correct -- I fricking lurve this movie. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes me love this movie so much. It's the fact that it tries so hard not to be a love story when all along that it's exactly what it is. It's the music, for I am a huge fan of the Smiths and yes, even of Ringo Starr. It's the clothing, especially Zooey Deschanel's adorable dresses and hair accessories (not to mention those bangs!). It's the witty dialogue, how it feels larger than life and exactly the way I wish I could talk in public, if only I were brave enough. It's the editing, it's the music, it's the acting. It's everything.

    I tend to gravitate towards quirky singers -- Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Bjork, Imogen Heap, and P.J. Harvey all spring to mind. I recently discovered a new (well, new to me) singer that just might be quirkier than that entire bunch combined. Her name is Regina Spektor and she is, in a word, wonderful. She's most famous for her album Fidelity, but I think I like her most recent one, Far, even better. It has this really great song, "Folding Chair." In this song you can tell just how much fun she has singing. To her it's not just a talent or a job, it's a fun past time. And the fact that she's so darn good at it just makes it even better. She also happens to be on the most excellent soundtrack for "500 Days of Summer" with my second favorite song of hers, "Hero." So check that out, too, if you get a chance.

    One of my dear friends gave me The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy as a Christmas gift. It may just be the most unique set of books I have ever read. Not for its story -- it is a romance, and goodness knows almost every book that is published has a romance in it in some way, shape, or form -- but for the way the author, Nick Bantock, tells the story. The story is told through postcards and letters, the latter of which are tucked into envelopes that the reader must open in order to read. This style gives you a voyeuristic thrill, as if you were actually reading strangers' correspondence. In addition to the romantic angle, this trilogy has a supernatural undercurrent that manages to feel completely believable. I won't say anything else because I don't want to give key details away. It's a really neat series and I highly recommend it!

    What are YOUR favorites this month?

     Creative Commons License

    All content on this site is the sole property of Ana Cristina Simon, unless otherwise stated, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

    There are few things I love more than sleep.

    Reader, I am so unbearably happy it is Friday, I could cry. *weeps*

    Why am I so unbearably happy? Because tonight, finally, I can sleep without having to worry about the dreaded alarm clock. I can sleep in tomorrow. I CAN SLEEP.

    This was my first week back to work after my two-week vacation, a vacation spent waking up laaaaate, sleeping 10+ hours a night. Because I am a marathon sleeper. If you let me, I can probably sleep 15 hours in one go.

    When I tried to get back to my regular work schedule, in which I wake up at 6 AM every morning and (try to) go to sleep every night at 11 PM at the latest, I found I simply couldn't revert back to a normal sleep pattern. And as a result, I barely slept this week. If I slept 6 hours last night, that was a lot. Sunday night I did. not. sleep. at. all. And I think I am still paying for it.

    Do you know that you can DIE if you don't get sleep? I think it's something like five days the human body can go without sleep before you die. Holy crap, that is scary.

    So you see, sleeping is healthy. It is GOOD for you. And I plan on being very good to myself this weekend. What are your plans for this weekend?

    Happy Friday! :D

     Creative Commons License

    All content on this site is the sole property of Ana Cristina Simon, unless otherwise stated, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

    Fun with fake polaroids.

    One of the blogs I discovered recently, The Rockstar Diaries, has become one of my daily online haunts. It's written by one "Taza" (real name Naomi) who writes on her adventures living in Washington, D.C. with her husband and newly acquired (and adorable) pet puppy, Kingsley. Taza is not only a great blogger but a talented artist as well, experimenting with photography and crafting some truly amazing headbands.

    Her love of Polaroids inspired me to investigate hunting for a Polaroid camera of my own. Alas, I discovered that while you can get an old camera for a reasonable price, the film is frightfully expensive, especially for a poor little schoolteacher like me. So my hopes of owning my very own Polaroid camera were dashed. :-(

    Then I discovered the "Poladroid project." It's an online app that allows you to create Polaroid-like pictures out of your digital photos. It's not perfect -- I don't like how it cuts out some of your pictures -- but it is pretty cool. And at least it allows me to satisfy my newfound Polaroid fixation. :)

    Here are some pictures I recently "polaroidized." The first couple are just me messing around, and the rest are from New Year's Eve, which I celebrated with some friends in West Palm Beach.




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    Lolcat of the Week

    Happy New Year! I think the Lolcat of the Week this week is very apropos, don't you? ;)

    Anyone else hitting the gym this new year as part of your resolutions? I know I plan on doing so (gulp).

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    All content on this site is the sole property of Ana Cristina Simon, unless otherwise stated, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

    "The years shall run like rabbits."

    Another year has come and gone. Where do the years go?! 2009, I hardly knew ye.

    But it was a good decade. In the last ten years, I met the love of my life. I graduated from college. I worked as a passenger assistant for Iberia Airlines, a VIP club attendant, a legal secretary, a middle school teacher, and a high school teacher. I started writing again. I began blogging. I traveled to Los Angeles, Panama, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Segovia, Malaga, and Tokyo. I got my first cat. I rode my first roller coaster (and liked it!).

    There were bad things that happened, too. I lost a grandfather. I almost lost my mother to a heart attack (she's okay now, thank goodness). I drifted apart from all my high school friends. My boyfriend lost a grandfather, an uncle, and his beloved dog Rocky. But for all the sad things, all the losses we've experienced, I cannot help but feel blessed at the end of this decade, because when I weigh both the good and the bad times in my mind, I realize how much the good outweighs the bad. This is something I forget too often -- I become too focused on the bad to realize how much goodness there is in my life.

    What will the next decade bring? I am excited to find out. In so many ways the past ten years feel like they went by in a blur. It reminds me of that W.H. Auden poem that Ethan Hawkes' character recites in "Before Sunrise" -- "The years shall run like rabbits." And they do run like rabbits, always just out of reach. Well, I'm going to do my hardest to keep up with them in the next ten years. I don't want to feel like my life is running away from me, but rather that I'm keeping in step with it.

    "As I Walked Out One Evening"
    by W. H. Auden

    As I walked out one evening,
    Walking down Bristol Street,
    The crowds upon the pavement
    Were fields of harvest wheat.

    And down by the brimming river
    I heard a lover sing
    Under an arch of the railway:
    'Love has no ending.

    'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
    Till China and Africa meet,
    And the river jumps over the mountain
    And the salmon sing in the street,

    'I'll love you till the ocean
    Is folded and hung up to dry
    And the seven stars go squawking
    Like geese about the sky.

    'The years shall run like rabbits,
    For in my arms I hold
    The Flower of the Ages,
    And the first love of the world.'

    But all the clocks in the city
    Began to whirr and chime:
    'O let not Time deceive you,
    You cannot conquer Time.

    'In the burrows of the Nightmare
    Where Justice naked is,
    Time watches from the shadow
    And coughs when you would kiss.

    'In headaches and in worry
    Vaguely life leaks away,
    And Time will have his fancy
    To-morrow or to-day.

    'Into many a green valley
    Drifts the appalling snow;
    Time breaks the threaded dances
    And the diver's brilliant bow.

    'O plunge your hands in water,
    Plunge them in up to the wrist;
    Stare, stare in the basin
    And wonder what you've missed.

    'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
    The desert sighs in the bed,
    And the crack in the tea-cup opens
    A lane to the land of the dead.

    'Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
    And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
    And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
    And Jill goes down on her back.

    'O look, look in the mirror?
    O look in your distress:
    Life remains a blessing
    Although you cannot bless.

    'O stand, stand at the window
    As the tears scald and start;
    You shall love your crooked neighbour
    With your crooked heart.'

    It was late, late in the evening,
    The lovers they were gone;
    The clocks had ceased their chiming,
    And the deep river ran on.

    Le boyf and I on New Year's Eve.

    Picture was "polaroidized" courtesy of

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    All content on this site is the sole property of Ana Cristina Simon, unless otherwise stated, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.