Lifestyle

A churro-free life

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Can you believe I just had my first churro this summer?

It’s important you understand that I grew up very in-tune with my roots. I am first-generation American (on my dad’s side). I grew up on the Texas-Mexico border. I spoke Spanish before English. My grandparents never even learned English. I went grocery shopping in Mexico. In fact, we did a lot of shopping in Mexico, ate at the restaurants, visited the doctors and picked up our prescriptions across the border.

Yup – I know my cultura well and I happily embrace it, albeit it wasn’t always that way.

This weekend Mi Amor and  I had a craving for Pan Dulce. I’ve never been a huge fan (I mean, I like it, but I’d rather have ice cream or cake!) but after experiencing my first churro I had to have it. We left BabyCoolJ with my in-laws and picked up some goodies.

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When we got back I mentioned, in complete embarrassment, that I had just tried my first churro last month. To my complete surprise, my in-laws hadn’t either! And they also grew up in the Valley.

So it got me wondering – are churros like burritos; American made? I started to do a little digging – I love the internet!

Fascinatingly enough, according to a few articles I found, churros originated in China! What the what?! I love this excerpt, according to The Prisma:

The history of the churro is ancient and revered, lending the snack an almost mythical status. It begins not in Spain but in China, where Portuguese merchants first tasted youtiao, strips of golden fried salty pastry traditionally eaten for breakfast.

Ancient and revered…where have you been my whole life! Funny thing is I just assumed it was like a bunuelo, which I am not a big fan of. I learned that, while in every country churros vary, in Mexico they are usually filled with dulce de leche, Yup, delicious, gooey dulce de leche. I am sold.

Culture…heritage, background, society, familial upbringing…it is such an interesting thing. Mi Amor and I are both Mexican-American. We grew up in the same area, only miles away from one another, yet thousands of miles apart. We celebrate differently, treat family differently and fundamentally our ideals had to make dramatic shifts for us to finally be on the same wave-length.

When we get to know people in Austin, this always fascinates them. Not only do a lot of people think Latinos are the same, but compact that with us both being Mexican and that we’re both from the Valley just adds to the assumption that we were raised the same. I love “educating” my friends on what it was like growing up in a world where I was neither American, or Mexican, yet always both. And I especially love discussing this with my husband – who happens to see it differently than I do (or at least he used to!).

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I wouldn’t change my mish-mash of cultures for anything. Latina, Texan, Mexican, American…I identify with them all. And I’m proud. Puro Raza. Now hand me a churro.

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#MusicMonday, Lifestyle

#MusicMonday – Lift up your hearts with a smile

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We had such a great weekend, and with perfect timing after being stuck at home for more than a week with a sick kiddo!

My in-laws came to town Saturday. Before you get a little uncomfortable with that sentence, know I am extremely blessed with great in-laws! We have been praying they’d visit for a long time – especially because we haven’t mustered up the guts to drive 6+ hours with a toddler to see them!

It is moments like these – sitting Familiaaround the living room or dining table, seeing them love on BabyCoolJ, seeing joy sparkle in everyone’s eyes, and hearing the roaring laughter from the other room, that I truly feel complete. We moved away from family for opportunities, but honestly we also love our independence, space and privacy. But in that process our son misses out on important family time. And, so do we.

He has no cousins or grandparents nearby so we make the best of it in our little family of three. But when we have these special visits, life just feels full.

Also during their visit we also took full advantage of our special gift from Latina Home Party! These guys sent us a full setup of Palm Breeze Sparkling Alcohol Spritz, swag and decor for a fun summer Luau. All that was missing was a pool.

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Latina Home Party provides chicas exclusive access to new products and services to try at home with friends and family. Latina Home Party is a community of collaborative marketing by Hispanic women. If you sign up, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in marketing activities from your favorite products and be able to collaborate with your favorite brands. You learn about new products just to be launched to market at the convenience of your own home (try them for free) and influence with your opinion some of the best known companies in the world.

The Palm Breeze drinks were a hit at Casa Alfaro! Perfect on a hot summer Texas evening. Luckily we stocked up so we had enough for a couple of nights.

So, to families out there… Lift up your hearts with a smile, lift up your feet with a dance and lift up your spirits with a song. Family time can be an awesome time.

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#MusicMonday

#MusicMonday: You can’t judge right by looking at the wrong

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I feel compelled to share a little story with you, especially being knee-deep in mama season which can include a whole lotta judgement. So I invite you to sit back, relax and use your imagination.

A woman picked a perfect spot on a park bench to enjoy a beautiful and peaceful fall day. Birds were chirping, kids were laughing at the nearby playground and there weren’t many people around. She worked long hours so having a free day to find peace and quite was rare, so she intended to take full advantage. She opened the book she brought along, settled in and began to read.

During a very interesting plot twist, she felt something hit the back of her head. A child had thrown some dirt at her and ran off. Considering the day she was having, she felt a tinge of annoyance but let it go. She brushed the dirt out of her hair and looked around to see the kiddo was with their father and two younger siblings.

At first, she felt sympathy for him. But after witnessing that he was distracted and disciplining them wasn’t his priority, sympathy turned into annoyance, frustration and eventually she disregarded his ability to father.

She wanted to continue reading, but in-between the pages she could see that the father had lost all control. One child was pulling a girl’s hair on the playground, the toddler was eating mulch off the ground and the oldest was terrorizing everyone around. She sat there in disbelief – but brushed it off again, and started reading.

A couple was enjoying a picnic near her bench – close enough to hear them, but not close enough to hear their conversation. Out of no where, she hears the girl scream and stand up. The child had thrown a bunch of dirt on the couple and their food.

She had had enough. Being a mother of four, she understood that kids can be kids but she also knew the importance of discipline. She debated saying anything to the father or just walking away. Then, she saw him grab his kiddo and run over to the couple.

Authentically apologetic, he explained that he had just lost his wife, their mother, days before and this was the first time they had gotten out of the house since her funeral.

Feel that kick in the gut? I did too. So this goes out to all of us – whether quick to judge or not.

 

I love this little saying from my mom – “Thank God it isn’t my place to judge, that is for Him only.” Doesn’t that take a lot of stress off you?!

Full disclosure: I heard a similar story the other day and made it my own. Not because their version wasn’t good, but because I couldn’t remember the details…and I enjoy writing! So if you have heard something similar, know that I was inspired by…and not trying to steal the idea!

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Reviews

Review: L’Oreal Revitalift Moisturizer

20170613_085322-01.jpeg I was really excited when I received L’Oreal Revitalift Triple Power™ Deep-Acting Moisturizer complimentary from Influenster – a special platform for product discovery and reviews. I’ve formed an on-again love for L’Oreal when I decided to try some drugstore products again. L’Oreal has become one of favorites, but I have mixed feelings about this moisturizer.
So, let’s be real here. I don’t have a lot of wrinkles or age spots, however, I do have uneven skin tone, dark circles under my eyes and my skin isn’t as young as it once was. I’ve seen quite a difference in my skin texture in just 14 days of using Revitalift. My makeup applies smoother, my under-eye circles have really brightened up and my skin is overall healthier looking…except for the zits.
The moisturizer felt a little heavy on me and took some getting used to. It also has a strong scent – not a bad one, but it is very distinctive. I have preferred the moisturizer for evening use, but hesitate for daytime because of the heaviness. When I used it paired with my L’Oreal Magic BB Cream, I loved it! It held my BB cream really well and the shine wasn’t too bad by the afternoon. I really liked how well it made it glide on. Now, with my full coverage foundation, it was a little too heavy and by mid-day there was a lot more slickness.
Then there was the BAD…I broke out three times since using Revitalift for just 14 days, twice a day. And it wasn’t one here-or-there, it has been big breakouts all around my jawline. Breaking out does not happen often for me, except for the occasional single zit.
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Before & After
Because of the good and the bad, I wouldn’t purchase Revitalift for my self, however I would recommend it as the breakouts are the only thing keeping me from purchasing. I was impressed with it overall and will probably try another L’Oreal product line soon.
What’s your favorite moisturizer?
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lisa's loves, Reviews

Lisa’s Loves – what I heart in June

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Another month bites the dust! I can’t believe we’re almost halfway thru 2017. This year sure has been a whirlwind! I feel like every month has had some huge highlights, and June didn’t fail to deliver. I started working hard on both my businesses and am pleasantly surprised at the success so far. I had a month full of playdates, joined a new morning mom & toddler bible study and made a few new friends along the way.

At the beginning of the month I had the opportunity to be a part of an amazing, inspiring retreat for the volunteers with Created Woman. I assist with the ministry’s social media, but many women that are a part of the CW Family are stylists and makeup artists. So, to fit the crowd perfectly, on the first day of the retreat we spent a few hours shopping at The Domain. Then, for the first time, I stepped into a NYX Cosmetics store.

I love everything I bought! I am honestly shocked at how professional the items are, and delighted that I bought a ton of items for what I would have gotten on 1-2 at Sephora. Don’t get me wrong-I still love Sephora-but this was awesome!! You should also know that a friend pro makeup artist helped me pick out some items, and she is not biased towards any particular brand.

Here are my top 3 items I am still in love with a month later:

NYX Wonder Stick: I purchased this in medium and it has been the perfect color. This makes it super easy for a newbie like me to contour without errors! Here’s a little tip: many reviewers say the contour is too light. I found that by using a blending brush (stay tuned below) instead of my beauty blender it made it considerably darker. And it layers well. I still love my L’Oreal beauty blender for the highlight part.

20170610_113102-01.jpegNYX High Definition Blush: I’ve been using NARS Orgasm for years. I mean, like, 15 years…and it was my first and only real blush. My friend mentioned that I may want to try a non-glittery kind because my face has a lot of texture…and voila! This blush is amazing – it has high pigment, blends great and I found my perfect shade. Bye, bye NARS…Hello $6.50 blush!

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream: The color is high intensity without being overly bright and and it lasts for hours. It isn’t drying like many lip colors, and it glides on so well. I was so impressed I’ve already gotten 3 more colors. You should know the color of the tube and the color that goes on DOES NOT MATCH…at least for my skin color! Luckily I’ve loved every color so far.

20170625_123130-01.jpegOUGES Maxi Dress: A girlfriend posted this dress on Facebook, and lucky for me she shared the link! I have minimal experience buying clothes on Amazon, even though I love online shopping. This dress is absolutely perfect! I mean, you get what you pay for, but the material is lightweight, the pattern is exactly as advertised and the fit is perfect. I love that is grazes the floor so I can wear small wedges…a great option for short gals! (I’m 5’3)

I received an unexpected gem in my June Sephora Play box, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in K-Dub. First, I never would have even tried this color but I was dying to try KVD lipstick after seeing all the hype. Verdict is I LOVE IT! This blows any other product out of the water – it is moisturizing, doesn’t dry, comes in some great shades and has awesome staying power. I can’t wait to go pick up a few more shades. I love pairing K-Dub with plain white or black outfits.

Real Techniques Sculpting Brush: After asking a few makeup artist friends about their favorite drugstore brushes, I was reintroduced to Real Techniques. I’ve seen these around but never would have guessed they work well. I love learning from others! So I snagged the Sculpting Brush and it has totally changed the way I sculpt. It made my NYX Wonder Stick 100% better.

Anyone else digging NYX? I’d love to hear about your favorite products!

#MusicMonday, Lifestyle

#MusicMonday: When you’re in a jam, here I am

After an interesting and busy week, Mi Amor and I were chatting about how full our lives are from our friendships. We are currently working on BabyCoolJ’s guestlist for his birthday party and it became very apparent that we have some valuable people we want to celebrate with!

It wasn’t but 2 years ago that we were utterly lonely from not having friends. Sure, we knew a lot of people, but genuine friends are hard to come by. I watch kids and it is always so amazing to see how they can make friends so easily. What a blessing that is! As adults it is so much more challenging. But, when you snag a good one, it is worth cherishing.

I say it often but I can’t say it enough – since staying home with BabyCoolJ, I have been immensely blessed by new friendships. And not those catty, judgy kind everyone jokes about in mom groups. Nope, this is my mom tribe. Well, I have several! You see, I’ve always had different groups of friends-it’s probably the only child in me. I need enough activity to entertain my busy lifestyle and friends play a vital role in that. When I worked, my work friends were enough, especially after the birth of my child. Life just gets too busy, too messy and too hard to nurture friendships, especially new ones. But now that I am home, my life has made some amazing transitions.

I really fell in love with the song “Friendship” by Ray Charles – the lyrics are so funny, but I appreciate his way of sharing what a true friendship looks like. And it’s who I want to be: if you are in a jam, here I am. No matter what.

#MusicMonday, Faith

#MusicMonday: I’m not the kind of girl that gives up

Last week a girl from my church’s Bible study organized a care calendar for a family in need. Their sweet 5-year-old daughter was in and out of the hospital, and we rallied together to support the family. So, I signed up to leave dinner on Friday.

What you don’t know about me is I don’t cook. In fact, when I first met my husband I told him, “Just so you know, I went to college so I never have to cook.” Little did I know that I would eventually be home with our kiddo, slaving over a stove 3 times a day! Seriously though, it brings me joy to prepare meals for BabyCoolJ…key word: prepare. As in, toss together and heat up. I am still no cook.

My heart broke for this family, especially the mom – I can’t imagine what she’s going through or how difficult life must be. She should not have to spend any time worrying about food. So, even though I knew it would be tough, I signed up for the meal proudly. Then, Friday came.

Whoa, what had I gotten myself into! It’s funny because, while I never felt disappointed for signing up, I sure did feel anxious about getting it right. I made two batches of Million Dollar Spaghetti – easy enough, right? Well – I ran 45 minutes behind, layered the stuff incorrectly, and at one point when I was boiling, stirring and pouring 3 different items simultaneously, my toddler decided to sneeze on me…with a mouth full of crackers. That’s right – my legs and dress were full of snot and snack, while my hands were full of sauce and spaghetti. (And yes, I was in a dress because I went to a scam interview and still hadn’t changed – remember I was behind!!)

 

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I didn’t get to capture my mess, so you get this cute kitchen shot instead!

 

But I didn’t give up. I wiped my legs, washed up and kept going. I made it the family’s house an hour after I said I would, but I am so glad I didn’t give up. The look on their faces…the appreciation…and their daughter’s excitement! What a blessing. They don’t even know that THEY blessed ME in this whole scenario!

And, because we all know Satan loves to attack when we’re working for Christ, I had a rough drive back, including a big truck cutting me off and making me swerve and slam on my breaks. In that moment, I prayed. I prayed instead of cursing, I thanked God that I was driving home to a happy and healthy toddler instead of hating on the truck driver. And that, my friends, is why we should never give up. Not just on a project or recipe, but on our faith.