Thursday, October 31, 2013

Favorite FALL Color -- Purple!

My favorite color of all time is PURPLE (yay!!). To me, its just a very mystical and provocative color… I love it, I love it, I love it. 

Purple band Mickey watch (gift from hermanito)
Needless to say, I was excited for the Fall to arrive since purple seems to be an autumn color and fashion blogs and magazines highlight it as a good shade to wear this time of year.
So I decided to round up my favorite purple colored items of the season, including lipstick shades, clothing and accessories. But before I continue, there’s a funky little website that claims to provide “Color Psychology”. It’s supposed to be able to tell you about your personality based on your favorite color. 

Link here:

According to the website, “purple relates to the imagination and spirituality. It stimulates the imagination and inspires high ideals. It is an introspective color, allowing us to get in touch with our deeper thoughts."
Further, the website states that the color purple is "specifically associated with royalty and the nobility, creating an impression of luxury, wealth and extravagance.
Purple has power. It has a richness and quality to it that demands respect. Purple is ambitious and self-assured, the leader.”
I needn't read further. I’m Sold.
So with that stated, here are my purple articles of choice:
A purple coat for the winter purchased through

Purple lipstick & nail polish:

Purple jewels

A purple-shaded plaid button-up shirt for my handsome little Benny

And my personal favorite – a Vera Wang purple two-tone shirt with a jeweled collar.

I think I’ll call it a night on this chilly October evening and sit back and enjoy a glass of purple grape wine and watch Oprah Winfrey in “The Color Purple”…Ok, maybe that’s too much and who has time to watch movies these days!?… but I’m sure you get the point. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Confessions of a Mother during a government shutdown Pt. 3 of 3

So with the government shutdown in its second week, I figured I would make plans to meet with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. Well, I didn't meet with anyone (except for a zoo date with Benny and my best friend Sheryl-- but that requires an entire blog post to itself).

Sheryl & Benny at the zoo (more on this later)
I was hoping to catch a drink with my good friend Ozzie (who is a video game guru) but that didn’t happen. Instead, I lounged around the house and helped Paul build Benny’s first vehicle (a baptism gift from my friend Reyna).

I was hoping to meet up and visit with my college roommate Lorena now that she moved to the West side but that didn’t happen either. Instead, I went back to Oxnard where Benny got a chance to play with his tia Ani Hunt.

I was hoping to take Benny to Hollywood and visit with my cousin Nena and her kids one day but that didn’t happen either. Instead we went to the library...Many times.
And I was also hoping to reorganize my closet but that didn’t happen either. Instead, I took Benny to Disneyland.

On my last furloughed day, Benny and I ended up in Fillmore at Baby Ethan’s house with my cousin’s Jeff and Luanita—so nice to spend a little time with them!

Ok. I confess. Other than doing it to spend time with Benny & Paul, I am no good at staying home all day. As a matter of fact, I am awful at it. If I were a stay-at-home mom, I’d probably keep my house messier than I do as a full-time employee.
Overall, I am disappointed that Congress reached a whole new ‘low’ with the political games and antics played by our lawmakers. I love my job and I love our country but…seriously? Wow. This government shutdown was entirely ridiculous and unnecessary.
I’m glad to be back at work and here’s to realizing that without a job, I’d probably be lazy and unproductive!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Confessions of a Mother during a government shutdown Pt. 2 of 3

My second thought upon realizing that I would be furloughed for longer than a couple of days was to go spend time at my parents’ house with Benny!
Although my mom works full-time, I figured it would be great bonding time for Benny and Abuelo.

Being at my mom and dad’s house during the day on a weekday was reminiscent of my childhood days growing up in Oxnard. The days seemed long and the time never mattered because there really wasn’t much to do other than play and enjoy every moment. So Benny and I did just that (while Paul worked).

We allowed Abuelo to cook delicious, healthy meals for us (Abuelo is changing his eating habits to lead a healthier lifestyle).

We moved Benny’s crib to the living room and let him roll around and play while we watched the news.

On another day, we spent time hanging out with Uncle Chavo (my dad’s brother), who visited us.

We went out to eat a few times with abuelo and when Mama Lupita got home, she gave Benny baths in her kitchen sink (which he absolutely LOVES).

A few days later, Benny's Grandma Dotty, Grandpa Pablo, Auntie Cristina, Uncle Mikey and Tia Rosita traveled to Oxnard to celebrate Auntie Cristina's Birthday. Paul had a day off and we spent a great afternoon laughing and sharing over Italian food.

Here with Grandpa Pablo
Cristina makes a birthday wish!

Tomorrow, I’ll share more about my experiences doing little but enjoying much during the government shutdown.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Confessions of a Mother during a government shutdown Pt. 1 of 3

I'm fine. I’m good. It’s perfect.
Those were my thoughts when I received notification that I would be officially furloughed due to the government shutdown. I work for the public affairs division of a government agency in Downtown L.A.

March 2013-Was getting ready to return to work after delivering Benny
My particular agency asked 90 percent of its workforce to not to report to work until Congress reached an agreement to fund the government for the 2014 Fiscal Year.

At first, the thought seemed silly, like something that would be solved within a day or two so I figured I’d hang out at home, spend some time with Benny and finish a few long overdue household tasks (like organize my laundry room area and shred pieces of unwanted documents that contain personal information). Of course, this would be the perfect time to write a few blog entries and make a nice home-cooked meal for Paul and Benny (Benny eats table foods now).

Benny enjoys a home-cooked vegetable medley
But as the days passed and I stayed glued to the television watching lawmakers go back & forth over non-government funding issues on C-SPAN, I started getting a bad feeling about the length of time I would be furloughed. And with a bad feeling came worry and with worry came doubt and with doubt came a total lack of motivation. And with a lack of motivation, I was absolutely inefficient during my time off!

I have every intention to make the most of my time off, I swear!
Yes I cleaned the house (a little) and yes I organized my laundry area (just enough) but I didn’t blog and I surely didn’t shred the many dozens of pages that need to be shredded. On the contrary, I learned that without my structured daily routine, I take longer to make decisions, I am a genuine lagger when it comes to jumpstarting my day, it’s impossible for me to plan effectively and with all the time in the world, I simply don’t have the time to complete simple household tasks (go figure!). That doesn’t mean I didn’t do ANYTHING, of course. But overall, I learned that at least for me, to not go to work literally means NO WORK!!! With the exception of the Manhattan Beach 10K race, I didn't necessarily push myself to excercise either!

Moments after crossing the finish line
So here I am, late at night today. It’s been over a week since we were recalled to return to the office which means I’m back to being busy. For example, today I left the office at 5:00pm, I picked up Benny at daycare, took him with me to the gym, brought him home, fed, bathed and put him to sleep. I prepared and packed my lunch for tomorrow, ironed my blouse, worked on some things for my sister’s bridal shower and still made time to sit and write this blog post. But since I’m pretty much reaching the end of my energy for the day, I’ll return tomorrow to let you know more about the few (but meaningful) things that I did do, while furloughed. Good Night!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Baby Benny's Allergies

After months of noticing an on-going eczema reoccurrence on certain areas of Benny’s face (so sad), we wanted to find out exactly what was triggering the eczema.

By the way, eczema is a chronic inflammation of the skin, often caused by allergies and resulting in a rash. 

A little patch of eczema on Benny's cheek

Even before Benny was born, I guess I already knew my child might be pre-disposed since I too suffered from eczema as a baby (Benny is seriously my mini-me!). But one thing is hearing the stories and looking at pictures of yourself as a baby and another is holding your own sweet, happy, little child and knowing he has it...It suddenly makes the skin condition more painful!

Another patch of eczema by his left jaw

We have managed to keep it under control with prescription creams and other home treatments like oatmeal baths, Aloe Vera and by keeping him in temperature-controlled environments (hot weather makes it worse). Even then, we wanted to get to the root of the problem. So we waited until Benny turned the required 9 months to get a comprehensive allergy test. His pediatrician, Dr. Imelda Tanchoco, called us with the results soon after she got the blood work results.

Here Benny's lower cheek eczema was flaring up
Benny tested positive for -- eggs. When I heard this, two things went through my mind— first, thank God my son is not allergic to fruits, vegetables and dairy!
My second thought was--- WHAAAAT!?!? Who the heck is feeding my son eggs? It’s a universal fact that babies shouldn’t eat eggs. Period.

So we spoke to his sitter and then I started thinking: Benny loves homemade veggie soups, which often contain a pasta product, like noodles, fideo, rice or spaghetti. Then I went to my kitchen cupboards and started pulling pasta boxes off the shelves and reading the ingredients. And whaddaya know? Eggs and egg whites are often listed as ingredients in many pasta products. So there you have it.

Playful Little Benny's skin cleared up recently

This doesn’t mean Benny will not be able to eat noodles later in life—but we simply have to avoid giving them to him as an infant to avoid eczema breakouts and wait until Dr.Tanchoco recommends we re-introduce his beloved sopita.

Found these little toy eggs at Lakeshore 

His eczema has since improved but that can be attributed to the cooler Autumn temperatures. Still, we will watch his meals carefully and for now, as a way to remind him of the one thing that he cannot eat, I bought him a cute little “Peek ‘n Peep Eggs” Carton from toymaker Kidzookie...Baha!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Taking Baby to the L.A. Garment District

Sure it’s not the cleanest or safest place to take a baby, especially on a weekend, with skid row only a block away and with so many things to see and shop for… but making a trip to the garment district in Downtown L.A. with Abuelo Pancho (my dad) as a babysitter sure made for a good experience.

I had already taken Benny to the Fashion district when he was about 6 months old…but I was there very briefly and at that point he was still sleeping most of the day so he didn’t take in the experience. I figured that at 9 months old, with his senses and curiosity in full gear, this would be a great experience for him!

First, Benny couldn’t stop watching the parking lot attendants flagging down drivers in an attempt to get them to park in their lots…

Next, he was very intrigued by the smell and the sizzling of the bacon wrapped hotdogs, which are very popular in this part of town…

Abuelo used a baby carrier and Benny couldn’t help but giggle every time they crossed a street.

When we shopped inside a fabric shop, Benny and abuelo sat outside waiting patiently.

Being in Downtown’s garment district was probably a bit of sensory overload for Benny but my son loves movement, color, noise and people so he did quite well.
Next time we’ll stop at the party supply and toy district to prepare for bridal showers and birthday parties…but only if Abuelo can join us again!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dapper Day (at Disneyland)

Dapper Day at Disneyland started only two years ago (Spring of 2011) by a few creative and vintage fashion-loving individuals who felt the need to "celebrate the tradition of stepping out in style" at the happiest place on earth! Visit Dapper Day Website here

The group that organizes the event itself (DAPPER DAY® Events) is neither operated by nor associated with The Walt Disney Company but it has done a fine job in getting folks to dress the part, show up in style and enjoy a lovely afternoon.
It's a well received event, especially because so much of Disneyland's charm is based on the original designs and trends of the 50's (The park opened in 1955). If you observe Main Street and New Orleans Square, for example, you'll find shops with storefronts that feature vintage-looking signs, decor and styling.

Don't be alarmed, Benny Boy!
Paul and I decided we would go to Dapper Day with Benny this fall and we are so glad that we did!
First off, we arrived in the evening and being dressed in heels and wearing gloves didn't allow me to take too many pictures...but...we made it to the Small World gathering area where many Dapper Day visitors were mingling and having a great time discussing fashions from the 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's.

At the Main Street Fire Station, we had a mini photo-shoot with a friendly cast member who allowed us to get on the fire truck, use the firemen's sliding pole and give Benny an opportunity to play atop the antique secretary's desk.

He's going to kill me for posting, but isn't he handsome?
I did my own hair featuring "Victory rolls" following the guidance of a Youtube Tutorial and wore a dress from my closet and comfy, 2-inch thick platform heels. And I pretty much put an outfit together for Paul and Benny based on clothing items from their closets.

Benny wore little overall shorts from Zara that his nina Irene bought him. We used a khaki button shirt I bought at JC Penney and a checkered hat from Crazy 8 children's store... My styling of his little outfit turned out to be a hit because we we're constantly stopped by people who wanted to see him and take pictures of my little dapper boy.

Forgot his annual pass and made us wait!
This was a lot of fun and for annual passholders like us, going to Dapper Day meant enjoying the evening without having to pay at the entrance...although Paul forgot his Disney annual pass at home that day, so we waited FOREVER before they verified his passholder status and let him in the park.
This visit marked Benny's first time riding the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction (which he loved) and it was his first experience watching the Disneyland Fireworks!

Benny aboard the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction

The Next Dapper day at Disneyland will be on February 23, 2014... See you there, maybe??