Sweet 16

I can’t believe our eldest daughter is 16 years old today. When we first became a family, she was only 8 years old. Even though it is her birthday, I felt like she gave me a wonderful gift about a week ago. She told me she wanted to talk to me and my first reaction was that it was “about a boy”. Boy, was I wrong. When I least expected this conversation to happen, she poured her heart out to me about how much I meant to her, how much she appreciated me and how if anyone were to ever ask her, she would say that her “stepmom” has been the one who has been a mother to her – that I was the one that she could talk to, that I had been there for her throughout all of these years, and that I am the one who has been present in her life. What a moment. After months of living with her mother I truly believed that my special bond with her was lost and even though I am the “stepmom”, I felt in a sense replaced. But I wholeheartedly encouraged a healthy relationship with her mother and only prayed that her mother would provide what our 16 year old needed. It’s so easy to be a “friend” but I know that children need a mother, whether they like our rules, our expectations and reprimands – children will become adults and will realize what we as parents wanted for them. She is years away from being an adult, but something in me tells me that she has realized in these past several months just how much her Dad and I love her. As a stepmom, it is so gratifying to hear a child tell you that they appreciate all you do for them.  I realize that these teenage years will continue to be challenging, but I am so thankful that she expressed her love and appreciation for me, something that every parent in the world deserves to hear from their child. It is truly the greatest gift.

Happy birthday, Nini – I love you and thank you for MY gift.


8 years and counting…

On November 16, 2003, my life was changed forever. I met with the man I’d marry 4 years later, although I just didn’t know it yet. What I did know was that there was an immediate chemistry, an instant connection, and something magical about this person, and if he was meant to be just my Best Friend, I’d be more than thankful for his presence in my life. My blessings were greater than what I was willing to settle for, and today we are Husband & Wife with four beautiful children.

Every year, on the 16th of November, we meet at the Starbucks where we first met 8 years ago. We order the same drinks we did then. And we write on a Starbucks napkin some notes about what’s happened in the past year, and just talk about anything and everything. Some may say it’s silly or corny, but to us it’s our special tradition and a special kind of anniversary.

I posted a blurb about our special day on FB, and to my surprise I had received the most “likes” I ever received on any wall post. I believe it was something like 82 likes. I guess those are from my “romantic” network of FB friends. :) Thanks to all – and to my Hubby: Thank you for changing my life that day! I <3 You.

Snaps from Our Holla-Ween Party

The Hubby and I had a blast throwing our Spooktacular Holla-Ween Party last month. This is the very first Halloween party we’ve thrown at our house since we moved in over 6 years ago. Now that we have Little Miss Ella, it excites me to plan fun parties for her and her little friends since they are growing up way too fast (plus, it’s a great way for us to hang out with our friends too).

So thankful to have a Hubby who enjoys planning parties as much as I do). We enjoyed decorating the house with our kiddos, cooking, and making Halloween cake pops. THAT was fun and I have to admit that the Hubby was better than me at decorating them. :) We also bought fabric with a fun festive pattern as well as lots of fun props from the dollar store that we used for our “photo booth”.

Another thing that motivated us to throw a spooky party this year was that Halloween fell on a Monday this year – Ella, along with a lot of her friends, have school the next day. We thought it would be fun to get the families together on a non-school/work night (Saturday) and ask them to bring treats for the kids so they can “trick-or-treat” in and around our house with all the parents and grandparents handing out the candy…and you bet, we had spooky tunes in to get us all in the mood!

And this year, we dressed up as…RUN-DMC and Jam Master Jay! Enjoy the snaps…

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#31 Reach Elite Status on Yelp: DONE!

Oh, how the simple things in life just make me smile – something as simple as a red badge next to my name that reads “Elite”. There’s definitely something about my new “status” that motivates me to write more and share more. I am happy that my thoughts, opinions and experiences have been well-received and appreciated by the Yelp community. Call it a “red badge of courage” if you will…after all, you have to post a picture of yourself and share your REAL name. You have to stand tall and proud next to your reviews, good, bad and everything in between. :)

Check out my Yelp page here

I cannot wait to attend an Elite event in the future…can you imagine how much fun THAT would be?

Happy Thursday, everyone! :)

Here’s What’s Up…

  • I’ve been slacking on my blog posts -__-
  • I’ve been more stressed at work than usual.
  • Almost all of the pants I own now require belts. :)
  • I’m 90% done with my holiday shopping – woot woot!
  • I’ve been spending a lot of time with family and friends these last few months…and I LOVE IT!
  • In the middle of planning my one-on-one dates with our four kiddos – can’t wait!
  • This cold weather makes me want to stay in bed and cuddle.
  • Top Chef started its new season last week – my Wednesday nights are exciting again!
  • Excited to watch the Pacquiao fight – on the topic of boxing, RIP Joe Frazier.
  • RIP Heavy D – gone too soon…only 44 years old.
  • A lazy Thanksgiving is sounding really good to me right now: holidays.freshandeasy.com
  • Still deciding on what to do for the Sweet Sixteen celebrant at the end of this month.



#1 Get Back into the Boxing Gym: DONE

Ok, so maybe not a real boxing gym that has an actual ring and requires a fee or membership. But even better, my big brother (who trained in boxing in his ‘earlier’ years — way before the Muay Thai craze, MMA and our beloved Pacquiao) has been ever-so-willing and enthusiastic to train me, the Hubby and my SIL (his wifey) in our folks’ backyard. Complete with gloves, a heavy bag, a punching mit and an awesome trainer, it’s been an awesome weekly workout for me! 

Getting back into boxing made me realize how much I really miss the workout — hope I just keep it going as long as possible. Getting stronger… (insert Rocky theme here)

Fresh Branding

As a “marketeer” and lover of all things clever and well-designed, I just had to post a recent favorite of mine. Not only do I love Fresh & Easy products, but I love their packaging design. It’s so hip, colorful, eye-catching and simple. I just wanted to officially give the designers and marketing team at Fresh & Easy a nod for being clever and creative…and so, so fresh! ;)

Something about their scalloped corners, their use of non-traditional “food” colors like pink and pastels, the versatility in their logo, and gotta love their font choices…when the weekly ad comes out, I am not only looking at what’s on sale, but I find myself admiring great work. Take a look for yourself!