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Saturday, October 31, 2009

BOO! HAPPY HALLOWEEN

I love Halloween. It is my second favorite holiday coming in behind Thanksgiving. I have loved Halloween ever since I was a child. I loved dressing up and getting free candy. I loved the whole idea of Halloween. I will not be giving out candy tonight though because no one comes to our house. That makes me sad because I love seeing little kids all dressed up and handing out goodies to them.

When I think of it, when we lived in Santa Fe no kids came either. We lived out in the boonies like we do now and the neighborhoods just aren't conducive for trick or treating. In Santa Fe, coyotes would have grabbed a kid or two if they did come around. We had dirt roads and NO street lights. Plus all the houses were far from each other so it was not a good thing.

When we lived in Florida we got a lot of kids coming by our house in Boynton Beach. The first year there was wonderful. We had tons of kids and I put on my witch hat and handed out candy like crazy. The next year and subsequent years after that, I was elected to be the person from The Lord's Place (where I worked) to go to the mall and hand out candy. Every year, they sponsored an organization and we were elected. So I would put on my Lord's Place polo shirt and some jeans and head out to the mall. It was actually quite fun because the people were really nice and they had a stage set up where kids would bring canned goods in exchange for goodies.

I saw so many cool costumes and the kids were actually great. That is saying a lot for someone who hates kids. But the first year, our director was late and I was forced to get on camera and talk about the food drive. I was petrified. But I did okay. The next day I remember a neighbor coming up to me and saying hey I saw you on TV. I was famous for three minutes! WOO

But as much as I liked doing the mall gig, I missed about 3 or 4 Halloweens where I could have been handing our candy to the neighborhood kids. Then we moved to Santa Fe and no Halloween and now here, no Halloween. It sort of sucks because I love decorating and hanging ghosts from the trees and putting out ghouls and stuff. I love anything scary.

I also like dressing up. When we were little my mom made some of our costumes. One of my favorite Halloween costumes was a gypsy dress my mom made for my sister, it was great. I was jealous because I was a store bought cat that year but I think I inherited the dress later on. I just loved dressing up and running around the neighborhood getting freebie candy. I mean how cool is that?

My best costume EVER was Magenta from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was when I was in High School. I so wish I had a picture of that but my friend never gave me a copy and I never saw her again after we graduated. My mom made me the maid's dress. I braided my long hair the night before so when I brushed it out the next day it was like Magenta's. I had the whitish makeup, fake eyelashes and the red lips. I looked great and, of course, we headed off to the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show along with the other freaks. It was great fun.

My other favorite costume was the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. I didn't wear that on Halloween though. I wore that for a Volunteer Party we had at The Lord's Place. It was cool. I still have it and plan to wear it again, one day. I had the Cheshire Cat head hat. I bought and made my costume. I got a big t-shirt and leggings and dyed them pink. Then I painted purple stripes on the outfit. The stripes were a little demented but that sort of worked because the Cheshire Cat is a little demented and weird. I attached a pink tail and bought some cool pink furry boots. The pink boots made the outfit. Unfortunately, I don't have a full body picture because I looked so cute! I made a great Cheshire Cat! And damn, my mouth and smile are just as big!!

But this year, Tom is out of town for a few days so I am alone on Halloween. It is the perfect Halloween day: gloomy, stormy and windy. I am being bad and making Olla de Carne (Oxtail soup) for dinner. I will then curl up and watch some bad horror flicks I Netflixed. I won't eat candy as I am still watching the diet. But I might sneak in some popcorn because 3 cups of popcorn is a free food on the Nutrisystem plan! YAY! Then the horror fest will begin.

Have a Happy and safe Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Art of Random Willy Nilly Pumpkin Carving

I decided to finally carve the pumpkin we got this weekend. I think I have only tried to carve a pumpkin once or twice in my life. The only time I remember doing it was in Florida. I learned an important lesson: Never carve pumpkins in Florida. We put that baby out and it rotted in two days. It was then my pumpkin carving days were over.

But now that we are in NC, I figured why not try it again. It would look good on the patio. SO today I grabbed the pumpkin and brought it into the house. I figured I would carve it in our massively large sink because that way it would be easier to clean up then having to drag pumpkins guts from the patio. Isn't my sink the best thing? It's huge!!

I wanted to do Ghostface from the Scream movies because I love him! Now if you haven't seen the Scream movies, go rent them RIGHT NOW! They are a "Scream." I love them because they spoof all the real horror movies and they do it really well. It cracked me up and scared me a little bit. They are clever and witty and scary. Even Tom liked them and he hates horror films! So I figured that Ghostface, the villainous killer from Scream, would be perfect for my pumpkin.

I went online to find a stencil because I draw for poop. I searched high and low and NOTHING, NADA. I finally found a picture and printed it but I had no idea what I needed to cut out or not so I decided like I do most things to just do it willy nilly and see if it worked out.

I began by cutting out the top and digging out the crud. Once I did that, I attached the picture to the pumpkin with toothpicks and began carving. I figured I had to do the eyes, nose and mouth and then played the rest by ear. It took a while but I think overall the pumpkin came out looking pretty damn good. Of course I think if I would have had a stencil it might have been better but I am very happy with my pumpkin!!

Here is the finished product at night ~ Spooky!!!



Thursday, October 29, 2009

I have totally been avoiding this post


Nutrisystem is providing me the Nutrisystem food free of charge for my weight loss journey. The compensation received will never influence the content of my posts. No other form compensation has been offered or given.

I am sure you all can guess why I have been avoiding this. Let's just say for the past week because of my trip to Cancun, I was off the Nutrisystem program for a week. So when I got on the scale this week, I was scared I might have gained a lot of weight.

Well, I gingerly stepped on the scale and found out that I hadn't really gained or lost weight. I am up a few ounces but I am not sure how correct that is since my scale sucks! But I am so happy. But I really shouldn't be surprised. Sure I cheated some in Mexico eating some dessert but mainly I stayed on my portion control kick.

I also have been good about making better choices. In Atlanta, I went to eat at Ruby Tuesdays and I wanted to get the little sliders they have but opted for a soup and salad instead. In Mexico, I have a egg white omelet instead of eggs and bacon. I ate grilled chicken and veggies instead of something worse. I did have a burger one day and ate half. Luckily, the portions at the Dreams Resort were small. They have very nice portions and not like we have here in the U.S. Part of that is probably because they are all inclusive and that cuts down on waste but they worked out well for me.

I did also have some liquor when at the resort as well. I usually don't drink so that might not have been the best thing but when in Rome. . . I also had dessert but we split one and the other times, I ate half.

So I am very proud of myself for learning to eat better and I have to thank the Nutrisystem program for that. It really helps knowing what I should and shouldn't be eating and how much.

This week, I am back on the plan and hoping to continue the weight loss. I have to admit though that because I get sent the same food every two weeks, I have grown tired of some of it. But if you sign up for the plan, you can pick and choose your foods so that might not happen. But when I don't want to eat something, I opt for a salad instead and that helps a lot. I am finding that a good salad with a little protein is a wonderful meal. Well, I am hoping to report some weight loss next week. I also have to start getting off my butt and exercising again. I swear once you get some time off to relax on the beach, you never want to go back to exercising but I have to. So wish me luck!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday (Addams)


In honor of Halloween (my second favorite holiday) and Mostly Wordless Wednesday I thought I would pay tribute to Wednesday Addams. Oh I loved watching the Addams Family when I was little. The Addams family was a little kooky but I never thought they were ooky. The first picture is of the original Wednesday from the TV show and the next picture is of the newer Wednesday from the movies. For some reason I totally related to her when I was little. I loved her. I even love her now. Sure people thought she was creepy but I never did. And yeah, she did bad things but they weren't that bad. I mean what's a little arson and dismemberment among friends and family?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekend Fall Fun

This weekend we needed to do a Sam's Club run in Asheville. So we headed off to the big city. We had lunch at a place we have been dying to try: The Mellow Mushroom. The Mellow Mushroom is in downtown Asheville. It always looked funky monkey when we walked by and so we decided to give it a go. It is really super hippyish and I love anything hippie-like. It was actually really good. Since it was a gorgeous Fall day we sat outside. It was great except for the bees that kept buzzing around. I hate bees! Anyway, they have sandwiches, salads, pizza etc. and it was packed. But then again, every time we walk by it's packed. Tom got a sausage sandwich and I got an avocado sandwich. Plus we also got some hummus and it was delish. Next time we will definitely try the pizza because it looked fantastic!! And how can you not love a place that tells you to Feed Your Head? All they need is the White Rabbit hanging around.

After lunch we decided to visit the Castle in the Corn Maze that is put on by a non-profit organization in Asheville: Eliada Homes. I had seen a mention of it in the paper and we thought it would be cool to try it out. Since I am an L.A. girl, I never ever in my life saw a cornfield until I traveled when I got older. Tom had never gone which is surprising since he grew up in Ohio. So we bought our tickets and headed off into the corn. I was actually hoping to see some Children of the Corn but there were only real children who were frolicking. I was hoping for the kind of children who carry sickles and cause havoc and mayhem. Oh well maybe next Halloween.

The Dragon's Lair maze we took was supposed to encompass 2.2 miles. Now that's a long way to be walking around in dried out corn and, of course, I was like UGH because I hate walking. But being the good sport that I am, I headed out into the corn with Tom and started walking. It was muddy and there were others trying to navigate the corn along with us. Luckily, Tom couldn't read the map they gave us and we ended up getting lost in the corn. Because we got lost we ended up NOT doing the whole 2.2 miles. This was fine with me because the less I walk the better. It was fun though. I think these type of activities are probably better with kids because it's more of a kid thing. But now we can say that we did the corn maze thing.

After the maze, we went to the pumpkin patch and Tom bought me a pumpkin to carve. Now I have only carved one pumpkin in my life and that's when we lived in Florida. It wasn't bad until we set it out and then it rotted in 2 days because of the heat. Suffice it to say, no more pumpkins ever. But it was fun picking out a pumpkin. So this week I am going to carve the thing but I am pretty much clueless and hopefully I will be able to find a stencil online and make something cute.

After the maze it was off to Sam's and then home again. The drive back and forth was wonderful. I think the peak of the leaves was this weekend and possibly this week. Next weekend might still have some of the colors as well but then it's downhill from then. I wish my pictures did the colors justice but they don't.

On Sunday, Tom decided to "winterize" the outside of the house. He cleaned out storm drains, pulled in hoses, pulled in the outdoor furniture and cleaned up. He also got some wood ready on the patio. It's been slowly but surely getting colder around here so it's a good thing he is preparing. I got crazy and decided to do something in my veggie garden. Tom had taken out all the wire tomato plant thingys this past week. I decided to dig up what was left and turn over the soil so any of the plant material could compost itself into the ground. I had a few pepper plants left but when I was in Mexico there was a frost and it basically killed off anything plants left. The jalapenos, green peppers and basil were totally dead when I got back home. Anyway, digging up the garden and turning the soil was hard work. I almost died for Pete's sake. But it got done and hopefully now all that will compost and stay clear and then it will be easier to get it going again in the Spring. I can't even believe that I had a garden much less think about Spring. But the picture on the left is the before and the picture on the right is the garden after all the work I did.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cancun Vacation with My Sister

On Sunday, I had to drive to Atlanta to spend the night to catch the plane to Cancun at 9:30am. If I hadn't done that then I would've had to leave my house in Sylva around 3:30 am to make it in time and that was not happening. The drive is gorgeous and it went fine.

The next morning I left the hotel around 7:00am and thank god. Once I got to the Atlanta airport the Air Tran check in was quick and easy but the security line was insane. OMG they had us weaving all over the airport and in the end it took about an hour to get through. Luckily, I had enough time to grab some cheesy celebrity gossip magazine and board the plane. The plane was full and it sucked balls because we were jammed in like lemmings in a shiny metal box. GRRR

The Cancun airport was easier to navigate and they were not checking people for the flu like the last time we went. I had rented a car because it was cheaper than paying for a shuttle, believe it or not. If Dreams Resort could do one thing better, it would be to offer a courtesy shuttle to guests. It was cheaper for me to rent a car because a shuttle or taxi would have cost around $80-100 one way. So we actually opted to rent cars (separately) and drive 1.5 hours to the resort.

Because I am a freak, I sort of got lost. I couldn't find the Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort once I got to where it was supposed to be. I got off and because the signage wasn't clear, I headed into town. Town was sort of a hole and I realized I was way off track so I drove back toward the highway and I figured if I headed toward the beach, I would find it. Thank goodness I finally figured it out. They do have great signage in Cancun but this certain hotel was more in a private marina/development so it wasn't that clear. But I made it.

The valet was terrific and the check in was a breeze. They had upgraded our room so when I went up to see it, I was like Wow! The view was amazing. It was so nice I actually vlogged about it because I wanted everyone to see it live. We didn't expect such a nice room and we were thrilled. At night it got a little noisy because people were partying but it was well worth a little bit of noise for the spectacular views we had. Plus the room was super comfortable and spacious.

The rest of the day while I waited for Jackie (my nickname for my sister Yvonne - don't ask), I went down and explored the hotel and then came back upstairs and ordered some lunch, put on my jammies and napped. I was pooped. I was getting a little worried when nighttime came and she hadn't arrived. Unfortunately, she got lost too and didn't show up until 7:30 but at least she arrived safe and sound. After she got settled we went to eat at the Italian restaurant: Portafino.

The food was fantastic. The service was excellent. And it was nice catching up with my sister. We ended up at a show where they had Mexican dancers but snuck out because it wasn't our cup of tea. So we went upstairs got into our jammies and proceeded to talk all night long!

The next morning we slept in because we went to bed super duper late and we were lazy. It was great. Then we went to breakfast and to the beach. We hung out at the beach pretty much all day although the water was chilly. The pool water was a little chilly as well so we jumped into the jacuzzi because the water there was warm not hot. We got some sun but the day was off and on cloudy. We pretty much hung out, had mojitos, read and just relaxed.

Lunch came next. I have to tell you that all-inclusive is the way to go because you don't have to think about a thing. You just eat when you want, what you want and not worry. Again I was good having grilled chicken for lunch and not something worse!! Jackie is a vegetarian. When the captain of the servers found out they made her special cheese quesadillas and veggies. They were very nice and more than willing to accommodate her dietary needs.

What I loved about this Dreams Resort is they actually had an adults only pool and jacuzzi. It was small but after the screaming kids got to us, we went over to the other side to relax. It's nice to be able to jump in the pool or jacuzzi without having screaming children around. It's funny that neither of us has kids because I am sure my parents would have loved grandkids but we both opted not to and it was a wise decision, at least for us. Anyway, it started raining a little so we went upstairs and showered and hung out some more.

Jackie works a lot so when we vacation she likes to relax more than anything else. And if you know me, you know I am lazier than sin so if we just hang out and talk and do nothing, I am all over that!! We have a pretty easy and relaxed relationship so we can spend hours talking or spend hours not talking and it is all good. It's just nice being together.

Dinner on Tuesday night was at El Patio. Mexican food is always good and the restaurant was lovely. It was like a hut and in the middle was decorated with a giant tree with red hearts hanging from it. It was a great dinner and again they accommodated Jackie with a veggie meal. The evening was beautiful. After dinner, we watched some performers playing with fire and some drumming for a little while before calling it a night. When we got back to the room, we had a bottle of champagne and two glasses waiting for us as well as some sweets.

The resort has a turn down service and that rocks. The other Dreams Resort we visited in Tulum a few months ago had the same service and we loved it then too. They make up the beds, replace towels and toiletries, leave a goodie and the room is all perfect when you get back. It's a luxury you usually don't get all the time and I like it. Awesome!

I must have gotten a little too much sun that day because after we came back to the room and talked a little, I was beat. I fell asleep watching TV and Jackie stayed up late. again, she was on L.A. time and I was on East Coast time so that's a big time difference.
Wednesday we awoke to a HUGE rainstorm. Boy it was a doozy so we lounged in the room, ordered breakfast and hung out because Wednesday was Spa Day.

Jackie decided to get a manicure and have her brows done. I decided for a haircut and my brows done. Okay, I never in my life touched my eyebrows. I never plucked or waxed but got crazy and thought why not. It wasn't pretty folks. It hurts like hell! I think I would rather end up looking like Frida Kahlo then have that torture inflicted upon me again. Holy Mother of god! I never realized that getting a little brow wax would bring tears to my eyes but it did. Of course, it actually made a difference in my face because it opened the eyes up a little. So who knows, I might have to do it again in a few years. After the torture, I got my hair cut short. Of course, this only lasts a few months as my hair grows like crazy! And it's not that short. Anyway, it was fun doing girly stuff.

We decided to hit the Seaside Grille for lunch but it started raining again so we decided to eat lunch in the room. We ordered up some room service and because it continued raining the rest of the afternoon decided to rent a movie. We watched Angels & Demons with Tom Hanks. We LOVE Tom Hanks and the movie was really good. It reminded us of the days when we were teens and would ditch school sometimes and stay home and watch movies all day. Those were the days!!

Dinner was back to the Portofino since the only other restaurant open was Oceana and I don't eat seafood and Jackie is a vegetarian. But it was so nice there and we were able to sit outside and enjoy the evening that actually turned out to be pretty nice although it had stormed all day.

I have to say that the staff at the Dreams Resort Puerto Aventuras rocked. I swear they had great service. By the second day, many already knew us Gonzalez sisters. They would greet us by name and as a fundraiser, I know that makes a huge difference to people. The maid service was fantastic. Our room was always perfectly done and things were so clean. Everyone from the front desk staff to the room service people to the restaurant staff were wonderful. Everyone was so friendly and that's how it was at the Dreams Resort in Tulum when Tom and I went in Spring. It makes a huge difference when the staff is so professional.

Our last night at Portofino Restaurant, the chef even came to our table to say hello and said he had heard that one of us was a vegetarian. I said guess which one because only one if us is skinny! He made a special off menu salad and made my sister a special entree he created. Now that's excellent service. We had a great final dinner together but then it was to hit the hay since I had to leave around 8:00 am the next morning.

The next day we awoke to a beautiful sunny hot day! Of course, I was leaving. Isn't it ironic? But check out and valet were easy peasy and I left my sister there. She at least got to enjoy a few more hours of sunny Cancun before she left in the afternoon. The drive was fine but long to the airport.

I had no trouble at the Cancun airport and the flight went well. Luckily, the flight was not full this time round and the flight attendant rocked. I nicely asked if I could be moved to a free row and he said he wasn't sure. But sure enough, right before the flight was going to take off he was able to move me from a crowded row to my very own private row in the back of the plane so I got to stretch out. Then another Air Tran employee gave me a code for the free wi-fi! The flight went well since I had all the room in the world to relax!! Thank god the flight went well because then I landed in Atlanta and it was downhill from there. My god, I hate the freaking Atlanta airport.

Like our other trip, we landed, went through customs and then got our luggage. Then you have to re-check your luggage and go through screening again. Yep, you have to once again take off the shoes, take out the laptop and all that freaking nonsense. Then you have to take the tram to the baggage claim area and we had to wait a long time before I got the bag. By the time I took the bus to get back to the hotel where I left the car it was 2 hours. It was perfect timing to get me onto the Atlanta freeway right at rush hour. Yay! I swear I can never imagine going back to a big city because it was crazy. Let's just say that I got home at 9:30. It was a long, long, long day.

Overall, it was a great trip and it was really nice to spend my honeymoon with my sister. We had planned this trip before Tom and I got married so I guess Tom still owes me a honeymoon. Since we missed going to Vegas to get married by Elvis maybe one day I will get back to Vegas and track down a Fat Elvis to at least take a picture with and pretend he married us. I am also hoping these sister vacations happen more often then they have because I love spending time with my sister, just the two of us. So that was my adventure to Cancun and it was great!!

Also on a personal note to my mom, who I know reads my blog: Gracias mami por el regalo de boda!! Esta muy apreciado!! Y talvez podemos usar lo para ir a Vegas para una luna de miel de verdad!! Abrazos!





Just some random pictures!