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.

LHM

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, 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.

Lifestyle

40 gifts for his 40th!

20170522_173510-01.jpegI discovered a few years ago what I always pretty much knew – gifts are my love language. The good thing is it is not just receiving (although I love that too!). I love to give – I find true joy in finding a thoughtful, perfect gift for those I love. So it was a super easy decision to give Mi Amor 40 gifts for his big milestone of turning 40!

While gifts are not really important to Mi Amor, I think he truly appreciated the fun of opening all the gifts, plus many were practical or things he loves. There was no way I could do 40 expensive gifts, so it was a big mix! I gave him the choice of when to open the gifts, and h20170523_094249-01e settled on 10 every day we were on our getaway in San Antonio (we were there 4 days!).

To help inspire anyone else who may want to do a lot of gifts, I thought I would share what I gave him. There was no order behind my strategy, but I tried to include a lot of random stuff he loves. Also, none of these are sponsored, but I did link anything I could to help others out. Here goes!…

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  1. 12-pack of Dos Equis with Michelada mix
  2. Billboard Top Hits: 1977
  3. Keurig reusable coffee filter
  4. Sprezzabox
  5. Cassette tape sticky notes
  6. COZILIFE silicon popcorn maker
  7. Harry’s men’s shave gel
  8. A box with 40 dark chocolate Hershey’s kisses
  9. Merona anchor crew socks
  10. Mead canvas planner
  11. Leaf liner socks
  12. Party in a box (birthday boy badge, birthday plates, cups, party hats, blowers)
  13. Smurf Pez dispenser
  14. Puma boxer briefs
  15. Swago on-the-go cologne wipes
  16. Beef jerkey
  17. Artwork with Jeremiah 29:11
  18. 40 memories written on 40 heart-shaped cards and envelopes
  19. Trail Mix
  20. Grillin’ & Chillin’ outdoor sign
  21. KONOV men’s faith bracelet
  22. Shutterfly photo cube
  23. Organic basic tee
  24. Star Wars pen
  25. Mini bottle of champagne
  26. DIY painting by our toddler
  27. Starbucks GC
  28. Cuisinart BBQ thermometers set
  29. Old Navy Oxford shirt
  30. Cap
  31. Birthday card with lotto tickets and a hand written letter
  32. Pack of gum
  33. Whataburger gift card
  34. Then, 7 individually wrapped items from the Amazon Men’s grooming sample box (which made 40 gifts!)

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Needless to say, it sure made for a fun surprise! The rest of our trip was amazing – totally relaxing! We didn’t make any official plans, other than eating some good food, so we were able to spend a lot of time in our room just laying in bed (as you can see from the messy photos!). It’s a luxury we remember all too well pre-baby!

I’ll also add that our stay was incredible, and I recommend the Drury Plaza to anyone staying in San Antonio. We were able to walk everywhere, it was clean and the amenities were fantastic. In addition to free breakfast (which we only made once) they host a “kick-back” where every guest is given up to 3 free alcoholic drinks, unlimited snacks, soda and coffee. It was our best hour spent daily!

The hotel also had an indoor pool with a nearby balcony facing the San Fernando Cathedral, as well as an outdoor pool and jacuzzis on the 23rd floor. That was the best way to soak after a long day, and we took full advantage on day 1!

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Have you ever done any creative gift giving? Let me know in the comments!

Lifestyle

Vacation mode starts now!

Blog (6)When I lost my job in March we quickly canceled our annual vacation, adjusted our spending and started living in survival mode. It was such a scary time until just this week.

I’ve taken on some consulting work, we’ve moved around a few things and we were blessed with some surprise funds. Now I finally feel like I can breathe again! And I am so excited about growing my business and spending at least the remainder of the year staying home with BabyCoolJ. Not to mention I can search for my dream job in the process! God is so good.

7290078While we would be packing right now for Mexico (oh, I’ll miss the white sand beach, unlimited drinks and food…not to mention hammocks!) we have found ourselves overly grateful for the gift of TIME. There is no measuring time with my 20-month-old!

But, now we get to plan for something else! Mi Amor’s birthday is the 25th, and while we won’t spend it with drinks at the beach, we may be enjoying drinks by the pool! We are taking a mini-getaway just down the road San Antonio so we can sleep in, relax and eat unapologetically. It will be an awesome few days!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also planned something special for Mi Amor. Seeing that it’s his 40th, and my love language gifts, I made/bought/threw together 40 gifts! It was super challenging seeing that I had no money to spend, but with our blessing this week I’ve been able to pull a few last minute items together. I’ll share those 40 items in a blog post next week to help inspire others!

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone! I know I will – I’m kicking it off tonight with a girl’s night!