Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Memories of my Wedding Day— 8 Years Ago Today!

As you read this, my husband and I are taking a much needed mini vacay.
We hadn't had time off together since I returned from my 4-month assignment in Washington D.C. last summer.
The reason for our vacation though, is not just because WE NEEDED IT.... but because we're also celebrating our 8-year wedding anniversary.
EIGHT years, can you believe that?
Marriage is not easy but we're still together because we've chosen to adapt to our evolving personalities as we get older.
Parenting is not easy but we love our little one so much that it makes us happy to give him comfort in the love we feel for him and each other.
I'm not the perfect wife by any means and my husband Paul has flaws of his own but we've learned to forgive and let love lead...
Here are some pictures from that day, 8 years ago, when we said "I do" and began this amazing journey. All photos were taken by Anahi Navarro.

We celebrated our wedding with a reception at The Camarillo Ranch in Camarillo, CA. We had over 400 guests!

The morning of my wedding was fun and busy with a house full of friends, relatives and cooks! My dad owns a catering business and contracted help to cater my wedding! In this picture, from L to R: My sister Irene, my mom Lupita, Anabel the bride and my baby sister Frenchee.

My dad gave me the "bendicion" or blessing before walking out of the house and I cried!

My mom helped me with every detail!  I decided to wear a bolero to the religious ceremony.

My husband waited nervously at the altar as I walked with my father down the aisle to meet him.
I wanted a lot of color at the church and went with neon pink, orange and yellow daisies. My little ring bearers wore Guayaberas!
After the religious ceremony, the first thing Paul said to me was: "hi wife" and I had a laughing attack

On our way to the reception we celebrated with champagne and kisses.
I wanted to have a colorful summer wedding with hints of "Alice in Wonderland" 

This 'Madhatter' cake was my favorite! It was created by Bread Basket in Camarillo, CA!

Centerpieces were colorful "flower cakes"

My lifelong BFF always by my side and ready to share a laugh!
It couldn't be a Mexican wedding without a mariachi!

An unforgettable day, it was...

Thanks for reading!

En español

En este momento, mi marido y yo estamos de vacaciones.
No habíamos tenido tiempo a solas desde que regresé de mi asignación de 4 meses en Washington DC el verano pasado.
Sin embargo, el motivo de nuestras vacaciones, aparte de que las necesitamos, es para celebrar nuestro aniversario de boda de 8 años.
OCHO años, ¿lo pueden creer?
El matrimonio NO es fácil, pero seguimos juntos porque hemos elegido adaptarnos el uno al otro conforme evolucionan nuestras personalidades con los años.
Ser padres de familia no es fácil, pero nos encanta darle consuelo a nuestro hijo con en el amor que sentimos por él y por el uno al otro.
Definitivamente no soy una esposa perfecta y mi marido Paul tiene sus defectos también pero hemos aprendido a perdonar y seguir queriéndonos...
Aquí están algunas fotos de ese día, hace 8 años, cuando nos prometimos amor eterno y comenzamos esta increíble jornada de vida...

¡Gracias por leer!

Friday, June 26, 2015

How to Throw a FruitTastic Summer Party!

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

Don’t you agree that everything tastes better with chocolate!?
That was my thinking when I started brainstorming our fruit-themed summer party.
I wanted to host an afternoon soiree with drinks & desserts for a few of our friends to hang out/cool off in our backyard but I wasn’t sure how to incorporate one of my favorite things in life (chocolate) without distracting from my fruit-theme.

First, I started thinking of unique ways to showcase summer fruit. Then it occurred to me that a fun and easy way to bring chocolate into the equation was to decorate and embellish my fruit-themed desserts with none other than M&M's®!

I imagined a Papaya-shaped cake with brown M&M's®.
And a strawberry-shaped watermelon slice with yellow M&M's®
I wanted a Kiwi-shaped Gelatin dessert with brown M&M's®.
And I also thought about a rice cereal and marshmallow pie shaped like a watermelon slice with brown M&M's®.
Before I knew it, my fruit-themed desserts, featuring yummy bites of chocolate M&M's® started coming together, one by one.
What’s awesome is that Sam’s Club sells bigger XXL bags of M&M's®, available in three varieties: M&M's® Original M&M's® Crispy and M&M's® Peanut…yay!

You can find the XXL bags of M&M's® in all three varieties in the candy aisle at Sam's Club.

So let’s get started!
For the party theme, I wanted something bright & cheery that matched a particular color palette. In other words, I didn’t want a rainbow of colors all over the place so I chose metallic green and bright yellow as the base colors: Table cover and balloons were bright yellow, frames and personalized labels were green.

I created word document printouts using the font, “Rockwell Condensed” (to match the ‘FruitTastic’ letters). My printouts read: “Kool as a Kiwi”; “Party like a Pineapple” and “Chill like a Cherry”. All three received an extra element of cuteness when I inserted fruit images from Clipart. I also made a fourth printout with horizontal fruit lines. Here are my downloadable fruit printables in case you want to use them!

I purchased plastic frames from the dollar store and painted them green before framing my printouts.

For the fruit-themed dessert table: It came together gracefully thanks to several apothecary jars I own, including vintage silver and gold stands, vases and plates. The key to displaying treats on a dessert table is to add height. I did this with different sized cake stands and even candle holders.

I put together a dessert table mockup the night before... I spy my hubby peeking through my pineapple stands!
 Also, I filled two glass apothecary jars with miniature plastic green apples and made a bite-sized lemon cake tower with M&M's® Peanut as the individual cake toppers.  (You see the yellow and green colors everywhere?)

To add extra touches of colorful ‘funshine’ to my table, I separated the three types of M&M's®
M&M's® Original M&M's® Crispy and M&M's® Peanut, by color and placed them in small clear containers throughout the table!

As for the desserts

Here’s how to make a “papaya cake” without ever having to use the actual fruit—
Bake an orange cake in a deep pan. Once it’s out and cooled off, carve it so it takes on the shape of a papaya and add the brown chocolate M&M's® in the hollow center to look like papaya seeds. 

For the Kiwi-shaped gelatin dessert—
Make the green gelatin, as indicated on the package instructions. Pour into an oval-shaped container. Once it’s ready to be served, cut out an inverted cloud from the center and scoop out the gelatin (this is necessary so the center looks white). Place brown M&M's® Crispy along the inner edge to assimilate kiwi seeds. M&M's® Crispy are perfect for this dessert because they're a tad smaller than the M&M's® Original, which makes it perfect since Kiwi seeds are so tiny.

Strawberries made out of watermelon—
Slice a watermelon into about 1" slices. Cut out heart shapes  (try to make it look like a strawberry by making the tip round instead of pointy). Place on your display plates and tray and decorate with watermelon shell to look like the strawberry leaves and yellow M&M's® to look like seeds.

Rice cereal marshmallow pie that looks like a watermelon slice
Here’s what you will need:
1. Red Color Mist (edible food spray paint)
2. Green Cake frosting
2. A round rice krispy treat pie
3. Brown M&M's®

Start by making a Rice cereal marshmallow pie. Ingredients: 1.5 TBSP butter, 2 cups miniature marshmallows, 3 cups Rice cereal. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add rice cereal and stir until well coated. Evenly press mixture on cake pan, coated with butter or cooking spray. Cool.

Using the red edible color mist, spray paint the center of the rice cereal marshmallow dessert. Once it dries, you can pull out and place on a flat surface.

Using green cake frosting, decorate the outside of the round rice cereal marshmallow treat to look like the watermelon shell.

Add brown M&M's® Crispy to the dessert, These will give it a 'watermelon seed' effect.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas & inspiration to throw your own FruitTastic Summer Party. If you decide to host a similar event, make sure you incorporate M&M's® (they make everything more fun & colorful) and don’t forget to share… I want to see your summer parties too!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Several Good Reasons to visit Olvera Plaza for lunch!

The rush of getting to Downtown L.A on time for work sometimes leaves me without a chance to pack a lunch!
And when that happens, I start thinking of places to eat even before arriving at the office because I love food  and I enjoy discovering places that offer tasty meals.
My palate is quite diverse but there is a type of food that is ALWAYS a great option, no matter how many times I’ve had it a week— Mexican Food!
Even more awesome is the fact that Downtown L.A.’s Placita Olvera (Olvera Plaza) is only a couple of blocks away from my office— so it’s very likely you’ll bump into me there at one point during a weekday lunch hour.
Olvera Plaza is the oldest part of Downtown Los Angeles.
It pays homage to the Mexican culture with authentic Mexican food eateries, a marketplace with all the Mexican crafts and goodies you can imagine and a main Plaza for presentations and performances that takes center stage during Mexican celebrations like Cinco de Mayo and 16 de septiembre.
Here are a few good reasons to visit Placita Olvera for lunch sometime:
Enjoy live music overlooking the main plaza. Everyday during the lunch hour, there are musicians playing live in hopes of donations or sales of their CDs.

Take in all the colors and designs of this historical plaza.

Shop for your favorite accessories, toys, clothing items and framed artwork.

Enjoy unique pieces like this Guayabera for women!
Visit the Avila Adobe House, built in 1818 and known as L.A.'s oldest house.

Museum admission and tours to the Avila Adobe House are free.

Have lunch at an affordable price, like this Enchilada plate at Juanita Café for $7.

Finish your visit with a delicious, fresh churro from Mr. Churro. They can stuff the churros with caramel or fruit filling. Sooo good!

En español

La prisa de llegar al centro de Los Ángeles a tiempo para el trabajo a veces me deja sin la oportunidad de preparar un almuerzo!
Y cuando eso sucede, me pongo a pensar en lugares para ir a comer, incluso antes de llegar a la oficina porque me encanta comer y me gusta descubrir lugares que ofrecen comidas sabrosas.
Tengo un paladar diverso, pero hay cierta comida que siempre se me hace buena opción, sin importar las veces que la haya consumido en la semana—la comida mexicana!
Aún más impresionante es el hecho de que la Placita Olvera del centro de Los Ángeles está ubicada a sólo un par de cuadras de mi oficina- así que es muy probable que me encuentren allí algún día durante la hora de almuerzo entre lunes y viernes.
La Placita Olvera es la parte más antigua del centro de Los Ángeles.
Ahí se le rinde homenaje a la cultura mexicana con auténticos restaurantes de comida mexicana, un mercado con todas las artesanías mexicanas y golosinas que puedas imaginar y una plaza principal que funciona como el lugar central para las celebraciones mexicanas como el Cinco de Mayo y 16 de septiembre.
Aquí les comparto algunas buenas razones para visitar la Placita Olvera para el almuerzo en un día de estos: