Monday, April 27, 2009

Adios!

We're off to DR in the morning and I just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful week! I promise to bring back lots of pics and crazy stories if you all promise to stay away from that Swine Flu. Deal? Sweet! See you next week :)

P.S. Packing is still the bane of my existence.

Image: privateislandsblog.com

Swine Flu 411

So we have a new virus in our hands and I haven't been able to stop reading article after article on the Swine Flu (this virus contains a combo of swine flu, avian flu and human flu). It's scary to me how these things just materialize, mutate and spread.

As of now there have been 48 confirmed cases in New York City (28), California (7), Kansas (2), Texas (2) and Ohio (1). Last I read (when the count was only at 20 earlier today), all but one case recovered without a need to be hospitalized. Unfortunately, cases in Mexico have been much more serious where at least 100 people have already died from this flu.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers general tips on how to stop the spread of germs (wash your hands, don't touch your hands, nose or mouth, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and stay home and avoid close contact if you're sick) as well as other pertinent info. Symptoms are similar to the flu and include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, diarrhea, runny nose, sore throat and vomiting.

Image: nytimes.com

Sunday, April 26, 2009

March for Babies

Today was the March of Dimes' 5K walk to raise awareness and funding to help sick and premature babies. Thousands showed up at Lincoln Center on 62nd Street early this morning, marched through Central Park and down Lexington Avenue all the way to Madison Square Park on 23rd.

These walks always pull at my heart strings. Moms and dads walking for their children. Babies are pushed along in carriages with signs that say, "I walk for my twin." Families with homemade shirts in honor of another little angel. People cheering us along and the magnitude of our efforts bouncing around us as we pass under bridges in the park. I don't know what it's like to lose a child and I hope I never have to. That's why I walk.

Too bad I'm missing out on next week's Revlon Run/Walk for Women because I'll be away. But I'll be there next year.



































Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Things Women Will Do

Today was my first wax appointment. After trying on the two bikinis I bought for next week's trip to DR, I realized I should just go for it. My coworker swore by a woman named Lee over at Acqua Beauty Bar so I took her word for it and booked it.

So for the past few days I've been thinking about how painful it's going to be and dreaming up every possible horror scenario: getting burned, feeling uncomfortable, yelling so loudly that everyone outside will hear me. This morning I even considered canceling altogether. But I popped in two aspirins and decided to try it once so I could at least have a legitimate reason to never do it again. Still, my palms were sweaty once I arrived at the spa.

Now I cannot say how awesome Lee was in there! I told her it was my first time and she was incredibly nice. She told me exactly what to expect, which areas would hurt a bit more and was so fast I was done in ten minutes tops! For some reason, I felt completely at ease with her and actually laughed - not cried - through the waxing. And talking to her was a lot more comfy than talking to my gyno.

As for the pain, it was nowhere near as bad as I imagined it would be. When she removed the cloth strip, it hurt for that split second and then the pain went away. There were only a couple instances where the pain lingered and she'd warned me that would happen (I pretty much cursed in my head and had to remember to breathe at that point). Lee even explained what I should and shouldn't do for the next few days and that it should last for at least a month (score!).

All in all, it went really well. I didn't hobble out of there (like I thought I would) and went skipping off to enjoy the rest of the beautiful afternoon counting down the days til my beach getaway!

And seriously, this so counts as a fear.

So what do you think of waxing? Yay? Or no way?

Image: askmen.com

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Couple Questions for Anonymous

So my buddy and I are heading out to the Dominican Republic on Tuesday (at the crack of dawn! What on Earth were we thinking??). I know she's been crazy excited since we booked the trip and I thought I'd shoot her some questions to see just how much she was bouncing off the walls/if I'll have to slip her a Ritalin during our flight.


Why did you want to go to on vacation together?

Because I think it'll be lots of fun to go bug out somewhere, sit on the beach, have some drinks, chit chat and talk bad about everyone.

[Sounds good to me! Sure beats sitting at work, sipping tea, e-mailing and...oh wait, we talk bad about everyone here, too.]

What are you most excited about our trip to DR?

THE BEACH! Well everything actually. I’m excited about the plane, the unlimited resort food, the shows at night. I’m excited about Ocean World, the heat, the sun, looking at boys. I’m excited about EVERYTHING.

[Make that two Ritalins.]

What other things do you want to do over there?

Oops, I think my previous answer answered it all! There’s dancing, of course, and the pool and the unlimited drinks and watching cows…oh! Maybe we should go horseback riding…

And I’ll show you the hole of a campo my family is from. You'll love being in the middle of nowhere. I can take you to the Mirabal sisters museum, which is not much but hey, it’s a hole in the earth. We can go to the car wash and eat helados BON.

[Three... And apparently, the "car wash" is both a car wash and a club. You can go hang out and dance as they clean cars. The things these people think up.]

You’ve never traveled with me before. What do you think that will be like?

I think it'll be great, Dorkys. I think we'll have fun together and it'll be a bonding experience!

[Aww, how sweet! I take that back. Only two then. I'm so nice!]

What will you do if I get on your nerves?

I guess I could drown you in the deep end of the pool, but since I don’t swim, I can just push you into the deep end...LOL! Just joking...why would you get on my nerves??? Oh let’s go to the spa too. They’ve got some cheap massages!

[TEN!!]

What do you hope I get out of our trip?

Besides a tan? A relaxing, get away from it all vacation with good company.

[Meanwhile, I feel like I just ran a marathon reading this itinerary.]

Did you start packing yet?

Yup! I'm halfway packed. I just need to get a couple things at Rite Aid and do 1,000 sit ups. : )

[Me? I haven't even pulled out my dusty suitcase yet. The clothes I bought weeks ago are still laying on the couch with their tags still attached. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get to the airport without my passport or flight confirmation page. Last minute, frantic packing is all me.]

On a scale of 1 to 10, how sane do you think you are?

Ten being the most sane?? Then I am a perfect 10!

[So wait, do the insane actually know they're insane?]

Do you snore?

No way. I talk. I talk loudly and a lot…just kidding...

[Time to charge the iPod...]

This is going to be one hilariously interesting trip. (And I can't wait either!!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Birthday Wishes for Mother Earth

And you're invited to join the party!

P.S. From now til the 23rd, Grist Magazine is
offering free downloads of their book Wake Up
and Smell the Planet to those who register online.
It's filled with funny and useful tips on how to
green everything from shaving to shopping to
video games! Get your copy here. (via PopSugar Daily)

Image: flickr.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Health Challenge Week 1: A Rocky Start

So like I mentioned last week, starting off The Latina Staff Health Challenge was a bit rough. I seriously thought I'd be good to go once we started, but I got a nice little reality check. It was going to take a lot more than just buying the right foods; I was actually going to have to change those bad habits of mine. Easier said than done! Read my first week's entry here!


Image:
latina.com

Single Ladies Take It to the Streets

I never tire of this song (and these girls are looking sharp)!



(Thanks sis!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The People Pleaser

I usually bite my tongue and play semi-nice in order to avoid confrontation. I do my best to kill people with kindness (even if it slowly kills me in the process) because it's always better to be kind than mean, right? Better to take the high road than to stoop to lower levels. "What was that? You want to torture me a little more? Why sure!!" Yeah, only this whole "think of others and wear their uncomfortable shoes" can get pretty painful after a while.

So how do you know when it's best to say what you need to say no matter the outcome? Or should you always say how you feel regardless of how the other person might react? I ask knowing full well that the answers will depend on the situation. I know that some people need a reality check so that they might (hopefully) learn from your point of view. And there are also times when some things are better left unsaid.

It's distinguishing when to do what that gets hard. When to realize that one relationship is taking too much energy to maintain. Or when to let go of the past so the relationship has a chance at surviving. When to speak your mind, when to hold it all back, when you're being used. From experience I also know it takes time (and mistakes) until it finally all clicks and you realize, "Oh now it makes sense. This is what I need to do."

Time and time again I've put other people's feelings ahead of my own only to beat myself up about it later. I'll fiercely disagree with someone's opinion to the point of offense and yet I won't say a word. Thoughts might be racing through my head and as much as I'd love to share them with someone, I don't because the other has no interest in hearing them or I don't know how to breach the subject. And so they're left unspoken.

I don't know how to say, "No more." I don't know how to say, "Shut up and listen." I don't know how to just speak. So I write. And though I write knowing the words will never be sent to those I wish would read them, at least they're formed, real, concrete. They can be seen and saved.

At the end of the day I wish I had the courage to yell and live without holding back. What about you?

Image: foxnews.com

Saturday, April 18, 2009

When Do You Want Someone Most?





Do you usually wish you had someone to cuddle with during those cold winter nights? Or do the *sighs* kick in when the sunny days of spring come around?

As I was walking the puppy, I realized: cold winter nights were manageable (though all those holidays were tough). But Mother Nature and her procreation agenda make it much easier to feel lonely when you have no one's hand to hold onto as you stroll through the park and enjoy this beautiful weather.

Images: guidespot.com and joyfulbirthclasses.com

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Getting Into Graphic Novels

I'd never completely read a graphic novel before, which is why when I turned to the back cover of Watchmen and read "If you've never read a graphic novel, then Watchmen is the one to start with" I was intrigued. Clearly doesn't take much for me, but of course there were other reasons: one coworker had just finished the book and another had just seen the film. Both had great reviews on each. Also, Mr. First had recommended I read this back in November and I proceeded to forget about it until this month. Either way, odds were good that it'd be at least a decent read.


Let me just say that I really enjoyed that book! It was such a visual feast, I'd completely lose track of time during my commute. I'd even get annoyed when someone interrupted my reading to ask me questions about it.

You know how some stories are hard to get into at first? The ones that take work for you to imagine the scene and characters in your head? Definitely did not happen with this one. You're instantly thrown into this world. In fact, there's so much to take in that you're bound to miss details as you fly through the story. I actually kept flipping back to earlier chapters after learning new info and realizing I completely missed several clues! The end of each chapter even includes supplementary background info (via newspaper clippings, book excerpts, letters, etc.) that are referenced in the story. And, of course, the art is amazing. The way each panel is set up was clearly made for the movies.

I'm not sure if I'll go see the movie now (since I always prefer the book to the film), but a part of me is curious to see how they brought this already-lively book to life. And if I had known it'd be this good, I would've just bought it myself instead of borrowing it from my coworker.

The Complete Persepolis is one I did buy two years ago after the movie came out. This story serves as a memoir of author Marjane Satrapi's childhood in revolutionary Iran. The bits I've read so far are funny and touching, but like I mentioned earlier, I'm having a little trouble getting into this one. Maybe I'll give it another chance now (though now that I've read Watchmen it seems so much more subdued).

I never did watch the film, but I remember it caught my eye because it was filmed as a black and white animated feature. It's just another to add to my ever-growing list!

Other graphic novels I've recently read about and would love to get my hands on include:














A Year in Japan both by Kate T. Williamson

And French Milk by Lucy Knisley

If you're looking for others, well then here's 20 Graphic Novels You Should Read (After Watchmen) according to GQ. Enjoy!

Images: barnesandnoble.com, barnesandnoble.com, chroniclebooks.com, chroniclebooks.com and barnesandnoble.com

Spring Clean Your Make-Up Collection

Do you keep your favorite lip gloss for ages making sure you've used every last drop? Do you still have old polishes you refuse to throw out because the color still looks good as new? Yeah, well I'm guilty as charged, too.

It's hard parting with make-up (especially when it cost a pretty penny to score in the first place), but here's why you should: that stuff all expires. You don't want to risk getting an eye infection by using old mascara. In fact, that should be replaced every three months because it's the perfect home sweet home for some really nasty bacteria. Keep this list in mind to know what's still good and what to throw out!

Image: realsimple.com

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Latina Staff Health Challenge

The challenge has finally begun! Here's my intro blurb that appears in our current May issue and I'll be posting weekly updates online (on Tuesdays) along with my two other colleagues! I've been excited about this project for a while and though the beginning wasn't exactly peaches (you'll read about that next week), recently I've been looking forward to stepping on my scale and not cringing at the number staring back at me. I can't wait to reach my goal and hope you'll join me on the journey there!

Image: latina.com

How to Job Hunt These Days

Whether you've just graduated or have just been laid off, finding a job during this recession can be a real pain. And the thought that many are competing for the same few openings available can be discouraging. But you have bills to pay and mouths to feed (even if it's just yours), so getting a job - and soon - is a must. Here are some smart tips on how to job hunt wisely and get those paychecks to roll on in.

Image: superlative1.wordpress.com

The Hot Dog Sign Story Continues

Which is good because after months of snow and rain,
that old one was starting to look pretty disgusting!
And it looks like someone upped their ad budget!

P.S. I'm not really sure why I keep posting these silly
pictures, but they make me chuckle for some reason.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Seeking Balance

I didn't feel any more centered when I woke up this morning. After a lovely night of tossing and turning I woke up feeling just like my sheets looked: a tangled mess. My curls were all over the place and I thought for sure someone had snuck into my room last night and beat me with a tree.

I guess luckily for me, today was the day I'd check out a tai chi school for a work assignment.

For the first part of the class, three instructors performed their routine for us, this slow fluid string of steps. Each move seemingly effortless and deliberate. And each body tuned in with the one next to his. I've never taken tai chi before nor have I seen it being done. At first I wanted them to crank up the speed, but as they continued their seven-minute dance I actually found some beauty in their movements. Then it was our turn to try.

I'll just say this: it's way harder than it looks, but it forced me to step on the breaks if only for an hour of my day.

So yesterday I saw "slow-moving" as a negative and today it's become something graceful. What on Earth do I want? It's so conflicting sometimes. I know I need to slow down and then when I do, I call it "feeling blue" instead of "a body/mind rest."

Nice quote of the day, by the way. Maybe Tom Edison was on to something when he said, "Discontent is the first necessity of progress." When you're not happy something should change.

Or maybe I should just ride this current funk out and in the meantime take advantage of the fact that it's Spa Week. Because seriously, what can't be resolved with a nice, long, slow massage?

Image: tsvetankapetrova.files.wordpress.com

Say Hello to Bo

Sunday, April 12, 2009

String of Thoughts

Today was quiet.

And I shuffled through not wanting to raise any dust or leave my footprint upon the day. Quiet. Slow. Seemingly uneventful. Went through the motions.

When I'm having one of my mid-air days, I walk. I walk until my feet seem to move on their own. Some walk to clear their head; I walk to clear it and then fill it back up with thinking and wondering this, that and the third. "Flowers are blooming. I need to start taking my pills regularly." "I wonder how my cousin is doing." "Why do I feel so blah?"

Usually I go to the park and get my words down on paper. Sometimes they come. Today I didn't have the energy to pull them out. Instead, I quietly sat alone and deleted old messages from my phone. I didn't feel connected to anything around me.

It's both scary and amazing how the universe has the power to send you just what you need at the moment you need it. Only you don't really know what it is you need until you receive it. Sometimes it's a phone call or text from someone you thought had forgotten about you (and in my case it's just when I'm thinking of giving up on them). Other times it's a small hint of a path that will lead you to your answer. Little things here and there get set in motion just for you.

Today it was a middle-aged woman named Ana who came up to me and kept me company at the dog run. I hope to see her and her three dogs on another sunny weekend.

In the hopes of boosting the day, I finally watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall. My coworker has been telling me how hysterical it is. Hmm, maybe I wasn't in the right state of mind? I did laugh, but I related too much to it.

I've been off since Friday and my weekend was filled with incomplete thoughts, reading, way too much walking and shopping and an Italian lesson at a cafe. Back to the grind tomorrow. I'm so tired.

How was yours?

Image: freewebs.com

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

High School Reunion Finale

I can't believe tonight is already the final episode of High School Reunion. My thoughts (as I watch the show):

- Scott W. is standing by Maricela despite Crazy Jessica's allegation that Maricela is a woman of the night several weeks ago. Funny, Maricela kind of skirted the accusation. Hmm...

- Wow, their tradition is staying out in the football field the night before prom? Why didn't Tech have something like this? Oh wait, that's right...because our football team had to go AWAY for home games. Lame.

- Dennis, the used-to-be-annoying guy who managed to offend the whole house in five seconds flat, just asked Shalonda out to prom. I'm actually impressed by his reformation. Let's hope it lasts once he's back in the real world.

- So rooting for Kara and Tom to do some rekindling! He just asked her to go to prom with him. Will they give it another shot after the show's over? *Fingers crossed*

- And Andrew, the band geek who had a secret crush for 5000 years on one girl, finally had his dream come true when she asked him out. Mind you she totally rejected him the first few days, but who cares?! Anything can happen on prom night ;)

- Man that Tom is one cutie! And he's so sweet.

- Uh oh, Scott W. is trying to pull some man stunt. Why does he want to discuss the gossip now?? Boo now her feelings are hurt. On prom! Unacceptable.

- Ok, on the real, I think she might have had a shady past (hey, those student loans are no joke), but that she's all good now.

- And because all things are always forgiven in the HS Reunion world, they kiss and make-up.

- My own prom memories were eh. I didn't get asked out to prom so I just went with some friends. It was all fun...until the final song came on and I realized that my whole table had someone to dance with and I was just sitting there alone. Blah. I teared up and went walking around the hotel ballroom (in the World Trade Center) hoping someone would pull me out to the dance floor. Seven years later, Mr. First found that song and played it for me one night so it could replace my memory of that song.

- Andrew got an "oh, what the hell" kiss (after she told him he'd make some other girl really happy)! I think his eyes popped out.

- YESSSS! Another shot for Tom and Kara! Hollerations! "I feel butterflies when I'm with him. I think Tom is my fairy tale, I just never knew it." And I love that everyone else has been feeling the same for those two.

- Cue Taylor Dayne's "Tell It To My Heart" performance. So if you'll excuse me, it's dance time!

- Prom King: Cowboy Chad. And after being an outcast through high school, never making the cheerleading team or going to her prom, Liz became Prom Queen :)

- Good-bye Chandler class of '88! (And slick Tom and Kara stayed behind for the "honeymoon they never had." Mmhhmm...)

For those who watched, what did you think of it? Were your own prom/reunions any fun?

Image: tvguide.com

Spontaneous Dance Combustion in Belgium

Remember this T-Mobile ad from a couple months back?



Well there's another spontaneous mob dance video! This time it took place in Belgium's Central Station to the tune of Julie Andrews' "Do-Re-Mi" from The Sound of Music. I'm embarrassed to say that I almost teared up watching this for some reason. I'm a mush like that.



Now what I want to know is why can't anything fun happen on my commute? Seriously, all I get are the panhandlers, the steel drum guy on 42nd Street- Bryant Park and the weirdos who fall asleep on me until I jab them with my pointy elbow.

I think I'm going to go sit at Grand Central Terminal and wait until something cool happens.

P.S. Before you guys start asking where on Earth I find these things, I will tell you: CNN.com always has interesting stuff!

You Can't Be Serious

Can someone please tell me why it's snowing in NYC on April 8th?? And of course it's snowing on the only day this week that I decided to leave my umbrella at home after double-checking today's forecast (and after not using it at all when rain was predicted).

"Partly cloudy" my behind. Meteorology is such a joke.

FIVE MINUTES LATER: The snow has stopped and the sun is shining. Mother Nature, is it that time of the month?

PROOF OF THE CRAZINESS: (Filmed in the span of 30 minutes.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

2009 NCAA Tournament Champions

UNC Tarheels!

Photoshopping Genius

This morning, a certain someone sent this my way and I just had to post it. They want no credit for this, otherwise I'd totally give them a shout-out here! Thanks again :)

The Bikini Search

Since Anonymous and I will be heading to the beach at the end of the month, I was excited to shop for a new bikini. Can you blame me? I've been using the same plain red bikini top and boyshorts piece from H&M since 2004! (For the record I've only worn it four times tops since that trip.)

Of course, Anonymous had some suggestions. (Seriously, she should just become my personal shopper already.)

"You need a plain one, a cute and flirty one and a sexy one," she said.

Well I crossed out plain right off the bat. I've always done plain, hiding behind non-attention-getters and then hiding that underneath towels and cover-ups. I've even worn jeans and a T-shirt to the beach just so no one could see my body! Well I'm sure I got attention nonetheless - for pure insanity. (My high school years were rough.)

I still had my Victoria's Secret gift card so I figured instead of buying sexy lingerie I'd use it for a nice bikini. It was just a matter of finding one I loved and one that actually fit my tiny frame.

And then I stumbled upon this one. "Perfect!" I thought.

Too bad it's backordered until the end of May. Boo. The search continued.

After a couple trips to the stores, I found my two winners: a cute one from American Eagle and this sexy one from Victoria's Secret.

Granted they are tiny - much tinier than anything I've ever worn - but I'm trying my hardest to leave any body hangups at home. No pointing out flaws that could very well be unnoticeable to anyone but me. If I see women of all shapes and sizes showing off their bodies in the sun, then why can't I? That said, I'm still trying to pack on the pounds so I don't look like a sunbathing skeleton.

Hmm, that was a hangup wasn't it? Positive flip: I've gained five pounds since November's trip to Cancun.

Just one thing: I'm contemplating going for a first-ever wax in three weeks and I'm scared!

So tell me, what type of beachwear do you prefer? A one piece? Boyshorts? A string bikini? And what do you do to get your body ready for swimsuit season?

P.S. Look at this little number my sister bought. If I could get her to pose in it while biting into a piece of toast, I'd totally switch out that banner picture!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Play Ball!

And of course now that the NCAA college basketball tournament is nearly over, it means it's time to turn our attention to baseball!

In NYC, the Mets and the Yankees each christened their new stadiums on Friday with wins though they're still in Spring Training. Their home openers will be on April 13 and 16, respectively.

But the Phillies' home opener is tonight! Totally forgot (actually I don't think I knew it really since I only took note of when they'd be in NYC playing against the Mets), but a text from Mr. First had me flipping to ESPN2 stat! They're currently losing though and this one's tearing into them like any true fan would.

Can you believe it's already time for this?

Image: morningbuzz.wordpress.com

And Then There Were Two...

I can't believe we're down to one game in the NCAA tourney, but here we are. Tomorrow night (at 9:21 EDT) North Carolina and Michigan State will face off for the final showdown. This could actually be the first time my chosen team is still in the running, but I don't really remember. So go UNC!

By the way, ChicagoLady's has been beating my bracket by just a couple points this entire time! I think I was in the lead for about a day, before she shoved me aside for first place. We both have North Carolina winning the whole thing, so at this point there's no way I could beat her. Oh, if only UConn had won last night...

Anywho, a big congrats to her!

Image: sports.yahoo.com

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Widget

I've come across this widget on several blogs and decided to test it out myself. It appears under each post (just give it a sec) and collects three other posts that relate to the current one. Sometimes it's a hit and sometimes it's a complete miss (and the selected stories change each time you refresh) so I'm still unsure about it. What do you think? Is it helpful or does it make the page look too clunky?



UPDATE: The widget has been chucked.

Green Dreams


I've always wanted my own garden to grow every type of flower there is and watch hummingbirds flutter about from bud to bud. I imagined myself laying down on the grass daydreaming and watching the clouds float by for hours on end or sitting under a tree with a good book.

Unfortunately, since I live in the city I had to take that dream down a notch by creating my little green space indoors. And now that spring has finally arrived, I'll be working on number 16 this weekend! Here are some basic tips on gardening at home.

How about you? Are you planting anything this spring?

Image: apartmenttherapy.com