Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Foot Care Gift Basket for my Loving Mom, Featuring Amopé™.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AmopeLovesMoms #CollectiveBias

Much of my ability to multitask and manage a full-time job, a family and a household comes from the amazing example set by my mother, Lupe Marquez.
It’s true that mothers have a major influence in the way their children perceive life.
And my mother taught me to look at life as an opportunity to succeed by working hard, staying focused, not complaining, loving the little things, being humble, and never stopping.
Anyone who’s met her has alluded to the fact that she’s an extremely hard-working woman.
After marrying my dad in 1979, she started working at a uniform company as a seamstress and sewing machine operator and worked there for nearly 20 years.

Growing up, I remember she’d have 8-10 hour work days, get home, cook for the family, clean the house, bathe and play with my sisters and I, prepare my dad’s lunch for the next day, and wait for him to get home.
Several years later, she and my dad started a catering business, which my mom managed while keeping her full-time job. She also created a party rental company by making and sewing her own table cloths, table runners, and seat chair covers (500 of them, to be exact).
And to this day, my mom is in constant motion.
She retired recently to care for my grandmother, which is a full-time job in itself but one she loves to do.

My mom is my hero.

She’s a very quiet and timid person who blushes easily. She hates the spotlight and never seeks attention or recognition for anything she does.
But because she’s always moving, always cleaning and always working, she never gets enough pampering.
As a matter of fact, her tired feet deserve royal treatment and she’s never given herself the opportunity to bask in the joys of a salon pedicure!
This year, I decided to create the perfect Mother’s Day gift basket that contains tools to pamper her feet. These include the amazing Amopé™ Pedi Perfect™ Electronic Foot File, Amopé™ Foot Cream and a pair of DIY Moisturizing Gel Socks!

When I saw it at Target, I immediately thought of my mom’s gift basket.
First off, Amopé™ is Portuguese for “Love your Feet”… Isn’t that a perfect message for my mom!?

All you have to do is twist the silver ring and the electronic foot file buffs away hard skin with gentle rotating action.

I know she’ll be grateful and hopefully get in the habit of giving her feet a little more TLC.

Again, Amopé™ Pedi Perfect™ is sold at Target and priced at $39.99 (there’s also limited edition, pink Amopé™, while supplies last) and you can find it in the foot care aisle and special side caps.

Something to keep in mind in case you’re interested: there’s going to be a Cartwheel Offer from May 3rd through May 9th that’ll get you a FREE $5 Target Gift Card if you buy it!

Back to my mom’s gift basket, I wanted to include something hand-made to go along with the Amopé™ Pedi Perfect™ Electronic Foot File and Amopé™ Foot Cream. I thought about making a spa tote or buying some slippers and decorating them with paint and embellishments, but then it occurred to me that she needed something that would hydrate and moisturize her feet after using Amopé™ Pedi Perfect™. So ultimately, I decided to make DIY moisturizing gel socks.
They are easy to make and likely to provide feet plenty of dryness relief.

To make these, you’ll need the following items (all can be purchased at Target):

1.Pair of socks (I purchased an extended size to offer feet a little extra room)

2.Waterproof material (I used an inexpensive machine-washable, waterproof shower curtain)
4.Needle and thread
5.moisturizing gel
6.Lavender oil
7.Shea butter
8.Amopé™ Foot Cream
9. Soft Bristle paint brush (to mix and apply moisturizers on feet)

From L to R: Shower curtain, scissors, shea butter, Lavender oil, clear moisturizing gel, Amopé™ Foot Cream & socks

Place each foot over the waterproof material. Draw an outline of each foot reaching up to the ankle. Draw a second outline approximately two inches around the first shape. Cut the lining around the outer outline and place this cutout over the material. Trace the cutout twice, until you have four identical foot-shaped pieces. Take both sets of two and sew them together around the edges. Check that your foot can comfortably fit inside.

Once you're done sewing, you turn your hand-made sock inside out

Make sure it's a comfortable fit. The waterproof cloth will "lock-in" the moisture so it penetrates your feet well.
Wear your newly sewn waterproof “socks” and put the regular socks over them. At that point, pinch the material at the end tip of the sock, which covers the toes, between your thumb and forefinger and away from your toes. You can then sew the inner waterproof lining to the socks so that it is attached to the tips of the sock. Repeat for the heel and collar. This will make it easier for you to wear and remove the sock by holding the lining steady within the sock.

Once your socks are made, mix the gel and cream ingredients, including the Amopé™ Foot Cream to create a wonderful foot moisturizing experience.
(The idea here is to first use the Amopé™ Pedi Perfect™ Electronic Foot File and do away with hard skin before applying the moisturizers).
Thoroughly apply the cream and gel moisturizing mixture on your feet and put on your DIY socks. Leave them on overnight so the moisturizers can penetrate well. Remove socks in the morning and place them in the washing machine or wash by hand.

I hope my mom gets excited about her gift basket.

She has forever left a ‘footprint’ in my heart and deserves all the love and pampering in the world.

Is anyone else giving their mom a themed gift basket? I’d love for you to share!!

Don't forget to visit & like the Amopé™ Facebook page!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Home is a Circus! (And how you can make one out of yours too)

Being a working mommy is not easy. If we had all the money in the world or lived in a state where a single salary would provide for a comfortable life, I would probably consider being a stay-at-home mom.
But then I think about how much I love my job. I think about how my paycheck gives me a sense of independence and allows me to purchase things I enjoy and contribute to our savings and investment goals. I think of my role as a public servant for a government agency in our great country. And I think of the example I'm setting for Benny (the same example my mom set for her three daughters) as a multi-tasking, working woman, and suddenly, I feel better.
But then there are those days when I get home from work tired, only to arrive to a ridiculously messy house. I begin wondering when in the world I'll have a chance to clean and make dinner, give Benny a bath, read him a book, prepare myself for work the next day, workout and spend time with my husband. There just aren't enough hours in the day!! 
But I quickly stop overthinking and instead of getting anxious over having so much to clean, I choose to make the most of the evening with my little Benny boy, even if it means, ordering take out, hiring someone to help me clean and skipping on the treadmill.

Benny's room on a Monday night-- a day after I spent an entire weekend deep cleaning and organizing it!

The bathroom: dirty clothes, a tub full of toys and random objects including Tupperware!!

The other night I literally went from feeling frustrated about what seemed to be a circus at home (messy rooms, toys everywhere, Benny running & screaming around house) to actually playing circus, at home!!!
I'm sharing this because it turned out to be a really fun evening activity that anyone can create. 
A few weeks ago, I bought a red and orange striped children's circus tent (IKEA, $20) and had it set up in the living room. Then I asked Benny to push the rocking horse from his bedroom to the circus tent and quickly made a tall hat out of black cardboard paper to give him the appearance of a circus animal tamer.
Then I put on some clown makeup and we had an evening full of laughter and fun.
All this to say, it's okay to leave things pending and let the house stay messy if it means playing with your kids. The laundry can wait, the messy room will get picked up and the bathroom will be cleaned eventually...
I have chosen to keep my job and enjoy every evening and weekend to the fullest with my son-- those moments matter most. One day Benny will grow, leave the house and I'll have all the time in the world to clean and organize... And I'll probably think back on the years when I was a younger mommy who would get home from work only to ‘clown’ around the house with my little boy and finish making a true circus out of our home.
Thanks for reading and Happy Sunday to all!

En español
Ser mamá con trabajo de tiempo completo, no es fácil. Si tuviéramos todo el dinero en el mundo o viviéramos en un estado donde un solo sueldo proporcionara lo suficiente para vivir una vida cómoda, probablemente consideraría ser ama de casa.

Pero cuando me pongo a pensar en lo mucho que me encanta mi trabajo, en el hecho que mi sueldo me da un aire de independencia y me permite comprar cosas que me gustan y contribuir a los ahorros y a nuestras metas de inversión, me siento mejor. Pienso en mi papel como funcionario público para una agencia gubernamental en nuestro gran país.
También pienso en el ejemplo que le estoy dando a Benny (el mismo ejemplo que mi mamá nos dio a sus tres hijas) y de repente, me siento mejor.
Pero luego hay días cuando llego a casa del trabajo cansada, sólo para encontrarme con un desorden garrafal. Empiezo a preguntarme cuándo demonios voy a tener la oportunidad de limpiar y hacer de cenar, darle un baño a Benny, leerle un libro, prepararme para el trabajo al día siguiente, completar mi entrenamiento físico y dedicarle tiempo a mi marido.
Y es que simplemente no hay suficientes horas en el día!!

Sin embargo, cuando esto sucede rápidamente dejo de pensar en tantas cosas y en vez de ponerme ansiosa  por tanto que hay que limpiar, elijo divertirme con mi niño Benny, incluso si esto significa, ordenar comida rápida, contratar a alguien que me ayude a limpiar y olvidarme del ejercicio.

La otra noche, literalmente, pase de sentirme frustrada por lo que aparentaba ser un circo en casa (habitaciones desordenadas, juguetes por todas partes, mi hijo corriendo y gritando) y me dediqué a crear un verdadero circo, en casa!!!

Les comparto esto porque mi pequeño circo resultó ser una actividad muy divertida que cualquiera podría crear.

Hace poco compré una carpa de circo para niños en IKEA por $ 20 dls. y la armé en la sala.
Luego le pedí a Benny que empujara el caballito de madera de su habitación a la carpa de circo y rápidamente me puse a hacerle un sombrero alto de cartulina negra para darle la apariencia de un domador de animales.

Luego me pinté la cara de payasa y tuvimos una noche llena de risas y diversión.
Les cuento todo esto solo por el hecho de recordarles que a veces es mejor dejar las cosas pendientes, dejar la casa desordenada y dedicarle tiempo a los hijos.

La ropa se puede lavar después, la habitación desordenada luego se recogerá y el baño terminará limpio...
Por lo pronto, he optado por quedarme con mi trabajo y disfrutar de todas las noches y fines de semana al máximo con mi hijo—considero que esos son los momentos más importantes. Un día Benny crecerá y se irá de la casa y entonces tendré todo el tiempo del mundo para limpiar y organizar... Y probablemente reflexionaré en los años cuando era una mamá joven que llegaba a casa del trabajo solamente
a 'payasear' con mi hijo, pero presiento que esos recuerdos, me darán vida y me harán sonreír.

Gracias por leer y feliz domingo!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Movie Party at our House in Anticipation of Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, in Theaters May 1st!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AvengersUnite #CollectiveBias

 My husband has been a long-time fan of Marvel Comic Superheroes. He actually owns a pretty nice collection of vintage Marvel comic books, which according to the hubby himself, he stopped collecting once he met me (his extra cash was instead being used on dinner dates and flowers).  
Not surprising is the fact that he also loves superhero movies…and well, I do too.
So when we found out that Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron was opening in theaters on May 1st, we decided to host a party in anticipation of the big day!
This was an awesome family experience because I love to host parties, my husband loves The Avengers and our son Benny loves when kids come over to play.
We had about 10 guests over for a Movie Marathon night where we watched movies, played games and enjoyed plenty of food.

When we started planning this party, I made a trip to Wal-Mart and realized everything I needed was right there! Needless to say, just about everything purchased for the party came from WalMart, including Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron Doritos, Cheez-Its, Dr. Pepper and Kellogg’s Fruit Snacks. These items feature really cool movie character images and themed packaging!

You can find displays like these at Wal-Mart next to the snack and soft drink aisles. Isn't the Doritos packaging awesome?

To start off the evening, we watched Iron Man, because it seemed to be the consensus among the youngsters (later, a lucky winner got to take home the movie). We made our popcorn machine look like Iron Man and it was standing next to our Iron Man ice cream & soda bar...

The food table was decorated to highlight some of the upcoming movie’s main characters.
I printed food labels using a movie-themed font I found online.
We had Captain America Shield Pizza, Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron Sandwich Bites, Hulk Hot Bites, Thor Thirst-Quencher (Iced Apple Juice), Black Widow Brownie Bites, Ultron Prime Pieces and the movie-themed Cheez-It and Doritos snacks.
The shield pizzas were basically created by placing pepperoni and olives over a cheese pizza to look like the emblem on Captain America’s shield.

These yummy appetizers weren't quite hot wings, as planned and labeled but you get the point: "Hulk Hot Bites"

I used a Thor headpiece to decorate the juice dispenser.

Keeping things fun with Thor erasers on the straws and plenty of glitter paper for the food labels!

Our guests had too much fun with the paper character masks!

I made "black widows" out of brownies and black licorice

For the Ultron Prime pieces, I cut rice marshmallow treats into small squares, spray painted them with silver food coloring and placed silver appetizer forks in them.

I wanted our big screen TV to look like Hulk was standing behind it.
I painted a big Hulk Head and purchased Marvels’ The Avengers: Age of Ultron Hulk Gamma Grip Fists from Walmart and positioned them to look like Hulk was about to grab our TV… too much fun!
We made a cityscape behind Hulk’s head with black cardboard paper and yellow paint.

As far as games, we played “hot shield” (like hot potato) with a Captain America shield. The child who won, got to keep the shield.
I also created a “Wheel of Fun”.
Every child and adult got to spin the wheel and the prizes varied from movies, to Kellogg’s fruit snacks to books and toys, all themed after Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
And just to add extra fun for the kids, each one received a movie-themed goodie bag, with treats and prizes. Benny helped assemble and stuff the goodie bags the night before…it was the only way I distracted him from wanting to open the other toys!!

I made the Wheel out of cardboard, glitter paper and a small nail (in the center)!

Overall, we loved having good friends and relatives over. This movie anticipation party was really a treat for all… Oh and did I mention Paul brought out his comic books too?

Paul's been collecting these since the early 90's!

Toward the end of the night, he shared part of his collection with the older kids…
By the way, there is a “Super Heroes Assemble” app available in the iTunes and Google Play store. If you download it, I guarantee you will love it! All in all, we just love superheroes and can’t wait for Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron to hit theaters on May 1stWill you go see it & who's your favorite character?

Here's Benny's older buddy taking the role of several characters at a time!

En español
Mi marido ha sido fanático de los superhéroes de las historietas de Marvel desde hace mucho tiempo. Tiene una amplia colección de los libros de Marvel, que según él, dejo de coleccionar al conocerme porque sus ganancias se iban en sacarme a cenar y comprarme flores.
Mi marido también ama todas las películas de superhéroes... y bueno, yo también.
Por eso, cuando nos enteramos de la nueva cinta, Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron que llegará a los cines el primero de mayo, decidimos organizar una fiesta en anticipación del gran día!!
Fue una experiencia increíble de familia porque en lo personal, me encanta organizar fiestas, a mi marido le encantan los personajes de la película y a nuestro hijo Benny le encanta cuando vienen niños a jugar a la casa.
Terminamos con 10 invitados en la fiesta tipo “maratón de películas” donde vimos películas, organicé juegos y comimos hasta llenar.

Cuando empezamos a planear esta fiesta, hice un viaje a Wal-Mart y me di cuenta que ¡todo lo que necesitaba estaba allí! Así que casi todo lo comprado para la fiesta fue de la tienda Wal-Mart, incluyendo los Doritos, Cheez-Its, Dr. Pepper y golosinas de fruta marca Kellogg’s. Todos estos productos cuentan con imágenes de los personajes de la película!
Para empezar la noche, pusimos la película Iron-Man, porque parecía ser el consenso entre los menores (más tarde, un afortunado ganador se llevó a casa la película). Hicimos de nuestra máquina de palomitas una estatua del mismo Iron Man y a su lado teníamos barra de helados y refrescos Dr. Pepper que todos los niños quisieron de inmediato.
La mesa de la comida estaba decorada para resaltar algunos de los personajes principales de la anticipada película.
Imprimí etiquetas de los alimentos utilizando una letra semejante a la del título de la película. Encontré la letra en un sitio web.

Tuvimos Pizza de escudo del Capitán América, Piezas de pollo del Increíble Hulk, Bebida de Thor para calmar la sed (jugo de manzana en hielo), arañas tipo viudas negras hechas de pastelitos de chocolate, Piezas de Postre de Ultron y los Cheez-Its y Doritos como aperitivos con temática de la película.
Las pizzas de escudo fueron básicamente creadas colocando rebanadas de salchichón y aceitunas para asemejar el emblema en el escudo del Capitán América.
Para las piezas de Ultron Prime, corté cuadritos de postre de cereal de arroz, los pinté con spray comestible de color plata y coloqué pequeños tenederos dentro de las piezas.
Quería crear un concepto donde pareciera que Hulk estaba sosteniendo nuestro televisor de pantalla grande.
Así que me puse a crear una cabeza de  Hulk compré manos verdes de Hulk en la  Wal-Mart y las posicioné perfectamente para aparentar que Hulk estaba agarrando nuestra TV ... una vista demasiado divertida!
Hicimos un paisaje de edificios altos como fondo detrás de Hulk  con papel cartón negro y pintura amarilla.
En cuanto a los juegos, nos divertimos mucho jugando "escudo caliente" (como la papa caliente) con un escudo del Capitán América. El niño que ganó se quedó con el escudo.
También hice una "rueda de la fortuna".
Todos los niños y adultos llegaron a girar la rueda y los premios variaron desde películas, bocadillos de frutas de la marca Kellogg’s, libros y juguetes, todos con temática de la película Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Y para agregar otro elemento de diversión para los niños, cada uno recibió una bolsita de regalos de la película, con golosinas y premios.
Por cierto, Benny ayudó a rellenar las bolsitas la noche anterior... fue la única manera que logré distraer a mi niño de querer abrir los demás regalos!!

En general, nos encantó tener la compañía de buenos amigos y parientes. Esto fue como una manera de pasarla bien y divertirnos en anticipación de la nueva película... Ah, y ¿mencioné que Paul sacó sus libros de historietas también?
Hacia el final de la noche, compartió parte de su colección con los niños más grandes...
Nos encantan los superhéroes y estamos ansiosos por ver la nueva película Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, en el cines el 1ro de mayo!!