Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Giveaway: Maptote

I'm really feeling this fun New York City Grocery Tote from Maptote. They make environmentally friendly bags with silk screened maps, icons and landmarks (as well as Mapnotes!) so you can rep your city - or your dream hometown - with pride.

This week one of you will win a grocery tote of your choice. Just check out the site, shop around and comment on your favorite one. Followers and e-mail subscribers (give me a heads up) gain extra entries and a random winner will be chosen on Wednesday!

CONGRATULATIONS: Joy De Vivre Design is this week's winner! (Sorry I was so late!)


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Advent Calendar Round-Up

The countdown to Jesus' birthday is on! And unlike last year, this time I'm all in.
Here's how to spread the goodies and the love all month long.

This fabric calendar is so colorful and fun, I'd be tempted to leave it up year-round.
(via The Crafty Crow)

Or how about a paper cone version made by the little ones? (via Whip Up)

I'm also loving these simple little bags and recycled newspaper designs.
(So basically, I'm all over anything hung up with clothespins and thread!)

Nice Package has a how-to for a mini envelope advent tree!

Or head to Mibo for a free printable calendar. (via How About Orange)

How sweet is this one though? Jordan even offers up a list of special ways
to celebrate the entire holiday season. And this year I cannot wait :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for the People I Still Know

Some people feel that because I currently don't have a full-time I should be blogging on this thing 24/7. "You should be having giveaways five days a week!" a certain someone said. "Bring back Biz Quiz and Where in the World!"

Sorry to disappoint you, Sis, but no. For as much as I'd love to dedicate my entire being to this blog (right), I've actually been playing the social butterfly the last few days and reconnecting with old friends.

- I really needed an outing last week so I went to Public House with my undergrad buddy JK and some of her friends. We made fun of people's dancing, were probably made fun of and made "friends" with a couple weirdos who joined me in singing "Living on a Prayer." That song always does the trick.

- On Saturday I was immersed in football after a spontaneous invite from JK to meet her at Central Park. Her friend was playing with some UCLA alumni and afterwards we headed to Cornerstone Tavern for bar food, drinks...and more football watching. Thing lasted life, but I survived :)

- I spent Monday in Brooklyn with one of my high school BFFs that I hadn't seen in over a year (til I ran into her on my way back from the press trip)! We spent three hours working away at Starbucks and another three hours talking over dinner. It was incredible discovering what we'd gone through in the past year and why we each kept to ourselves instead of reaching out for the other. I left her house overjoyed that we'd reconnected and that it had been as if we never lost touch at all.

- And then Tuesday I had dinner with my closest girls from grad school whom I also hadn't seen in over a year. We rehashed every outing, every guy we crushed over and played "Where the Hell Are They Now?" with practically every kid in our class (Facebook is good for that, you know). Midnight came too soon and I wish it didn't end, but I walked home laughing to myself thinking of all the memories I made that year.

These are just some of the little things I'm grateful for at this moment. The fact that I've had awesome people in my life and that time can pass and then revert just as quickly.

And, of course, I'm thankful for you. You keep coming back (for some odd reason) to leave me smiles and words of encouragement day after day and I truly appreciate it. So I'll leave you with one quote I received last week from a sweet e-mail subscriber:

"'Come to the edge.' 'We can't. We're afraid.' 'Come to the edge.' 'We can't. We will fall!' 'Come to the edge.' And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew." ~Guillaume Apollinaire

I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Guess Who's Blogging for

Me! So go check out my first post/poll on the stress of hosting a dinner party.
(We all know how I feel about that.)


Monday Giveaway: Anne Taintor

Ready for some more fun office supplies? Of course, I have to keep it tongue-in-cheek and nothing screams sass louder than Anne Taintor. (Hey, if you need some giggles just read through this list of fave captions.) Having these goodies around your desk will either a) make you look forward to work (maybe), b) scare your coworkers into backing away slowly or c) convince you that you rock and everything would crumble without you.

This week, one of you will win a set of Fancy File Folders, Sticky Notes, a Note Set and a Mousepad. Just answer the question below and a random winner will be chosen on Wednesday!

What's the weirdest thing you've overheard around the office?

CONGRATULATIONS: Kerri is this week's winner!


Friday, November 20, 2009

The Calm

Funny how Fridays lose their allure when all the days feel the same.

It's noon. I've been sitting at my desk for two hours now willing a dose of inspiration to fall on me from the sky - or at the least the fifth floor. I can hear Toby softly sighing as he curls by my feet, his tags jingling every time they touch my wooden floors. And there's this sweet smell of incense seeping in from my neighbor's walls. Someone out there is listening to R&B, but it's so low I can't make out the words. Still, the music sounds soothing, romantic. He must really love her. I move closer to the window, but the passing planes make it harder to hear.

It's 12:05 PM. Other than the steady stream of travelers overhead, it's incredibly quiet - for New York City standards anyway. Toby's gone off to the bedroom to snuggle up on the shaggy rag he's recently adopted as his own and here I sit, still, listening and thinking with a plate of toast crumbs and an empty mug to my left and pen and paper on my right. I wish today were brighter, busier. The calm feels odd.

I realize I'd grown used to the bustle and stress. The constant motion of city life. An impatient car honks on the street below. Ambulance sirens break their way through the traffic. A closer plane zooms on by. Speed and forward. A need to be propelled somewhere, anywhere, and get rushed along with the rush surrounded by everyone and no one.

The unexpected stop sign made me slam on the breaks and look both ways before proceeding. I could choose "carefully" or "with wild abandon."

Today is not like yesterday. Today is Friday. And it's incredibly calm right now. Perhaps a whirlwind will soon follow.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Want Candy

Dreary and sleepy days like today would be perfect for a trip to Dylan's Candy Bar. After the office move, my coworker and I would walk over to the sweet wonderland and feast our eyes (and bellies) on all the goodies for sale: new treats, childhood faves, ice cream and even Crumbs cupcakes! Oh what I wouldn't give for some of their big, red sour belts and gummy bears right now...

P.S. I wouldn't be against holding my 28th bday party there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life is Currently One Big Question Mark

I think I've started to come down from my optimistic high.

I've signed the severance package, applied for unemployment and have visited every doctor imaginable before my insurance runs out. I've renewed my passport, organized my desk at home and brainstormed story ideas to pitch elsewhere. Every time someone offers their "I'm sorry" to the news, I pipe in with an, "It's ok! I'll be fine!"

I've been going, going, going and last night it finally hit me: I'm unemployed. (Talk about slow.) What the hell am I going to do now?

Yes, I know. "Anything." Or at the very least "many things." But having an open road before me is paralyzing. Where do I even begin? How do I keep from falling in a rut? What happens if I go down one path and it's the wrong one? What if I'm not good enough to make it?

I've never been the one to set concrete goals, just vague ideas of what I'd like to accomplish before I die. My reasoning is this: plans fall through and things usually have this roundabout way of happening for me. I guess it would help to at least have a clear-cut plan for the next few months, but with all these other things I'm busy worrying about (insurance, bills, eating enough), it's hard to focus on what I should do next.

I guess we'll see what happens. Right now I'm just feeling a bit discouraged, overwhelmed and confused. Maybe tomorrow's story will be different.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Essie Love

Last night, I finally gave myself a mani/pedi and used Queen of Hearts from the Essie Loves Diamonds by Judith Ripka collection and I LOVE. It's just the perfect shade of red! Too bad I'm impatient, went to bed an hour later and woke up with marks on my nails. But no worries. If the results are going to look that good, I can definitely make room for a do-over.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Giveaway: Knock Knock Stuff

In light of my recent unemployment, this (and next) week's giveaway features office supplies the rest of you can use and enjoy. Because if you ask me, teeny cubicles could always use a little pick-me-up!

Knock Knock Stuff has an awesome selection of amusing office supplies and stationery sets. Those never-ending to do lists won't seem so dreadful if you write them on say...a To Don't Pad. Or how about leaving that special supervisor in your life a sweet little Go To Hell Nifty Note? There's also a bunch of accessories to make M-F 9-5 feel a little bit more like playtime.

But because those aforementioned pads won't fly at work for most of you (unless you've got a home office situation going on), this week one of you will win the To Do Pad, the 5 Days A Week Paper Mousepad, Stuff/Docs/Bills File Folders and Utility Task Clips from the Make it Work Bundle instead. You know, so you won't be making a mad dash for them if the boss happens to make a surprise visit. Just leave a comment below and a random winner will be announced on Wednesday. In the meantime, enjoy those morning commutes!

CONGRATULATIONS: Execumama is this week's winner!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday! I Got Canned.

That's right boys and girls. This morning I rolled into work after a lovely 5-day press trip and got the wonderful news. And oddly enough, I'm taking it A LOT easier than I imagined I would. Yes, I was caught off guard and yes, I'm worried, but it's been jokes and laughs so far. I mean let's face it. The way things have been going in the magazine and newspaper world, you'd have to be dumb as a rock - or a literary genius - to not fear for your job. But still, you never know when it'll be your time to go.

So now I'll be Latina's Contributing Editor. What? You thought they'd get rid of me that easily? No way. And I have to look on the bright side: now I can dedicate my time to doing what I want to do: write. Who knows? Maybe I'll get to travel more too! I can't control this and all I can do is roll with the punches and seriously get my hustle on. I still do have bills to pay you know.

And so it's onto the next chapter.

P.S. Had to be on Friday the 13th, huh.

P.P.S. Let's cheer ourselves up with some Happy Friday links, shall we? (Don't front like you didn't let out a gasp for me.)

My former editor/mentor/friend wrote Canned: A 10-Step Program
after she was laid off a year ago. I think it's time I re-read it.
Yay for free airport WiFi at select locations! Too bad it wasn't available when I was stuck at my layover stop for three hours yesterday.
(But I did run into one of my high school BFFs there!)
Apparently you can learn stuff from porn.
I've yet to get sucked into the madness that is Twilight, but if you have,
Stephenie Meyer will be on Oprah today.
And if you still refuse to read the series, maybe you'll be interested in
Harvard Lampoon's version, Nightlight: A Parody, instead. (I am!)
Now that I have the time, I want to make cute little craft projects. How perfect would this toast keychain be? Or maybe freezer paper stenciling? Or a coffee stencil?
Anybody excited for Fantastic Mr. Fox? (I think I'll skip out on 2012.)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Talk to Me, Baby

Did you know the Irish accent was recently voted world's sexiest? Do you agree because I sure do (along with Australian, of course)!

Last Sunday, I was sitting around the waiting area at La Guardia when this scruffy, long-haired guy-in-a-hat sat right next to me. At first I was annoyed because hello! Why can't you sit on the empty over there?

Anywho, right before we boarded the plane he asked if I could watch over his bags while he went to the restroom.* At least that's what I assumed because I was so caught off guard (and wonderfully surprised) by his accent, I didn't really understand what he said. So I said, "Sure!" while in my head was a smitten "Hi..." Too bad I couldn't catch where the accent was from. I'm thinking Australia though.

Do foreign accents turn you into an instant puddle of goo, too?

*Ok, before you chew me out, I know I shouldn't watch over stranger's packages. It's only posted in every corner of every airport. But I didn't get any Creepy Man vibes from him. And I'll try not to do it on my flight back home today.

Ha! I'm currently waiting around the airport for my plane to arrive and just as I was about to publish this post, an announcement came on. "Ladies and gentlemen, please to do not accept suspicious packages or leave your packages unattended." Point taken, thanks.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Truths from the Universe

Any attempt to measure one's progress in life with an assessment of their present physical surroundings, or even a panoramic glance at their life and times to date, is just plain "whacked." The reason being is that each journey, kind of like a haircut, should never be fully appraised until it's complete. Otherwise, one might mistaken a miracle-in-the-making for a setback, loss, or the "wet-look."

Your cosmic barber and de-whacker, The Universe

Life is not what you see, but what you've projected. It's not what you've felt, but what you've decided. It's not what you've experienced, but how you've remembered it. It's not what you've forged, but what you've allowed. And it's not who's appeared, but who you've summoned. And this should serve you well, beloved, until you find, what you already have.

Yeah, The Universe

Shall I remind you that the reason you care so much, sometimes even worry so much, is because there still exists between you and life, a passionate love affair. And because of this, everything's going to be just fine.

xxoo, The Universe

I hope these bring you as much peace as they did to me.

Images:, and

Monday, November 9, 2009

Greetings from an Undisclosed Location

Hi foolios! I know I've left you all in the dark for the past four days, but I've got my excuses all lined up and ready to go:

- Last week was all about researching and writing a piece for the magazine. So after transcribing interview after interview I just couldn't think of anything other than that story. In fact, I still can't because this week it's all about working on those edits my editor e-mailed in today.

- Oh by the way, I'm not even in NYC. Sunday morning I flew off on a press trip and won't be back in the city 'til Thursday night. I'll give you details, like where the hell I am, and more photos once I do a write-up for our site. Compared to home, it's a whole 'nother world. For one thing, it's so pitch black at night, the stars look amazing! And the other journalists have been so fun :)

- I know I never chose a winner for last week's Monday Giveaway. Sue me. Let's pretend it's this week's too and I'll choose someone on Friday. Also, the winner of the red foldout makeup bag never got back to me so that means there's still a chance for those that entered for it!

So fill me in: what's up on your end?

P.S. Have I ever mentioned how much I love free WiFi? Because I looove free WiFi!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Road: The Movie

Um, why did I not know that Cormac McCarthy's novel was turned into a movie and that it's coming out Nov. 25th? I guess I'd better get up on it and read the thing stat!

Sorry Oscar, but you're going to have to wait.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This Is So Inappropriate

But 15-year-old Justin Bieber makes me giggle like a schoolgirl. He's too stinkin' cute.

I don't know what he's doing singing about giving a girl everything she needs, but the kid has a pretty sweet voice. Now if only I could get someone 12 years older to sing this to me:

And in other related news, I found myself in Target this weekend following the trail of beautiful piano music because I just needed to find out who was playing it. Too bad the pianist was accompanied. As much as suited men and bike riders turn me on, there's just something about a man who can play an instrument or serenade you in the morning. I'm telling you, it's instant swoon...

Giving Oscar Wao a Second Chance

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is another book I've owned for about two years and haven't been able to get through. But unlike The Lovely Bones, I gave this one a try before and hit a wall 30 pages in. As interesting as it was to read a novel based on my culture (about a Dominican ghetto-nerd severely unlucky at love and life), I just couldn't handle all those damn footnotes!

And yet everyone who's read the book loved it. LOVED it! Coworkers included. I even went to a reading last year and found it pretty entertaining, but apparently not enough to push through my current spot and finish.

So I'm thinking of giving Junot Díaz's masterpiece another go. Maybe this time I'll get through it. Of course, you guys are more than welcome to join in.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Giveaway: ADzif Wall Decals

My walls are always too bland for my taste. I've been living in my apartment for nearly a year and a half and all decorating ambitions came to a screeching halt about six months in. But lately, I've been craving some change in the bedroom.

So when I learned about ADzif wall decals at the NY International Gift Fair, I thought I'd give them a try. I still like the IKEA vines I have in the living room, so why not? It took me a while to finally choose a design and color (let's just say lists were involved), but I decided on Spring Branches in red because I want to switch my room's current color scheme to black and white with red.

Why was it so hard? Maybe because the company has seven different lines of decals: Foto, Spot, BlaBla, Baby, Ludo, Ado, Memo and Mini. If nature is your thing, they've got you covered. Prefer the written word? Then check out BlaBla.

I just stuck on my set and I have to admit that my first go at it sucked. But after I got the technique down, I was able to put up the other branches fairly quickly. The key is to grab a credit card and really rub the decal onto the wall before pulling off the top sheet. And when you pull, make sure you keep the sheet as close to the wall as possible instead of pulling out and away from it. I ripped a couple bits like that. (I'll put up a pic later on as my room is in no condition to be photographed right now.)

This week, one of you will get a chance to punch up your own rooms with a set of ADzif wall decals. Just check out their site and comment on which design you like best. Followers and e-mail subscribers (give me a heads up) will gain extra entries and a random winner will be chosen Friday night!

CONGRATULATIONS: Dariany is this week's winner!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Cheap Strawberry Shortcake

I can't really remember when I stopped buying costumes at the store. What I do remember is getting back into the Halloween spirit during my college years and rocking items already in my closet with a couple additions. Then I went all out in grad school and actually sewed something up for the occasion. Since then, I've loved putting a costume together rather than taking the ready-made (and more expensive) route.

I'm a starved creative soul that doesn't get to exercise her skills too often these days and Halloween (along with the holidays) are the perfect time to do so. Oh, and I'm also broke. That said, I loved my costume this year! Not only did it turn out well for a semi-last minute idea, but I didn't spend more than 10 bucks on the outfit:

Knitted hat: H&M (about $5) with a strawberry shape cut out from an old canvas bag
Striped thigh-highs: Ricky's ($5)
White peasant top: Promod (bought in France in 2002)
Pink ruffled skirt: H&M (borrowed from the sis)
Apron: sewn in 2005 for Little Red Riding Hood costume with green diamonds cut out from an old canvas bag
Brown flats: Steve Madden (bought in 2006)

And if I buy something, it has to be reusable so you know the hat and socks will definitely be worn again!