Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Grown-Up Christmas List

I was inspired by the song My Grown-Up Christmas List and Jill Rigby's Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World to write my own special Christmas list. Every family has their own list of traditions for the holidays and I am hoping we can add some new ones to ours. I want to make sure that I help my daughter (and me!) to focus on the true gifts of Christmas; compassion, generosity, and a child being born into this world to bear our sins.

 My Christmas List
  • Start reading A Christmas Carol out loud as a family
  • Help children go through toys to give away to needy children
  • Participate in Heifer Intl or Samaritan's Purse
  • Adopt a child/family for Christmas
  • Make a batch of something homemade to share with neighbors/mailman/garbagemen
  • Invite kids over to make candy houses
  • Make homemade Christmas cards and send them out via snail mail!
  • Let kids add canned good to the food donation pantry
  • Adopt an elderly neighbor
  • Make a Family Newspaper to record Christmas memories
  • Homemade gifts for each member of family
  • Host Birthday Party for Jesus and invite kids to come with a little gift that will be given to children in need
  • Help kids write and perform a play
  • Sing Christmas Carols at dinner
  • Make homemade bread from scratch
  • Watch It's A Wonderful Life w/ popcorn
  • See a LIVE Nativity scene
  • Make old-fashioned popcorn garlands
  • Pass out Candy Canes door to door
  • Have a candlelight supper around the Christmas tree
  • Make lists of family promises for the new year
  • Read the Christmas story of Luke 2
  • Attend Christmas Eve service
  • Make a cake for Jesus Birthday
I know we probably won't be able to finish our list but we are going to try! What are some of the things you are going to add to your grown-up list? What special traditions do you have with your family already? Happy Holidays Everyone!

Love and Light, MARS

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Black Christmas

I love wearing black and am always looking for new ways to rock it. My loves for the winter:

Bebe: Jimmy Lasercut Boot

 Bloomingdale's: Wolford "Rose" Tights

Bluefly: Robert Rodriguez Sequin Shift

What are some things you like to wear in Black?

Love and  Light, MARS

Monday, December 6, 2010

Forget Cookies, Give Me The Money Jar

Amaya decided to try to take a counting coin jar situated between two dressers and gets stuck. My little brother noticed what the little imp was up to. Hilarity ensues.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Blog Giveaways: My Afternoon of Lunacy

For the first time in a long time, I found myself financially not so well off the day after Thanksgiving. I have never been a "wait in line at Best Buy right after eating drumsticks in cranberry sauce" kind of person, but I always have ventured out to the stores on Black Friday to peruse the sales and abuse my wallet. This year, having no job and lack of savings, (no pity party here, just stating facts) I resigned myself to the fact that I would be skipping the craziest shopping day of the year and spending my Friday reading snarky TV show recaps and watching Hulu while doing so. 

As I began my inane clicking of tabs (the crazy Gemini in me cannot focus on just one browser window, quelle horreur!) it dawned on me that maybe there was a way I could score some loot after all. I had just read an article about blog giveaways the week before. Women were  sharing how they did their holiday shopping on a tight budget. One lady shared her love of blog giveaways. She had won gifts for almost every person on her list. I stored this tidbit of info in the back of my brain (after of course the pessimist in me scoffed and the snob in me snooted. Hey I am not a schizo alright? I'm just a Gemini). But I digress. I found a website that listed giveaways (Click HERE to go to Blog Giveaways) to make it easier for myself and just worked my way down the list. I didn't enter each one, just things that I knew me or someone from my family could use. There were many different givaway sites; blogs designed for just giveaways, blogs with the occasional giveaway, blogs that people should giveaway, but the format was pretty much the same. A mandatory entry consists of something fairly simple: following the blog and making a comment "I would really like this or that because it would be perfect for so and so."  Then you could get additional entries by following the blogger or product on Twitter, liking them on Facebook, putting their button your blog.

After 4 insane hours of whoring out my likes on Facebook and following cartoon Twitter icons, I had entered in about 20 giveaways. My fingers cramped, my back ached, I was done. It was all in's hands now. I would never attempt to do another giveaway marathon, but I am definitely going to enter a giveaway now and then. I just got word that I won a pair of cute leggings from Agoo!

 Here are some tips if you are interested in blog giveaways:

*Bowse several blogs and choose 2 or 3 you like best. Additional entires to the giveaway usually repeat so you can save time by not having to like 50 different blogs or products on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

*Try to find giveaways that don't have too many comments/entries. It increases your chances to win. If there are over 200 comments of "I wanna win!", I usually move on the next. (Hello, Pessimist Mars! Nice to see you again!)

*Sign up for things you know you are going to use! Be practical. Yeah, the item is free but your time surely isn't! Do you really want that bottle of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce?

Lots of Luck, Love, and Light, MARS

Monday, November 29, 2010

Humble Gratefulness

Humble Experience: Being unemployed for the first time since 15 years old
Grateful Lesson: Being able to spend Quality Time (Homeschooling, Instilling Values, Laughing ) with my daughter

Humble Experience: Becoming single again after 4 committed (but tumultuous) years and 1 child
Grateful Lesson: Finding the person I once was before the chaos; creative, strong, independent.

Humble Experience: Going from exorbitant spending to coupon-clipping and money-budgeting
Grateful Lesson: Learning how to value memories of laughing around the dinner table over material objects.

Humble Experience: Admitting that I don't know everything.
Grateful Lesson: Realizing nobody does.

Humble Experience: Leaving home and moving in with my mother at 26 years old
Grateful Lesson: Finally understanding that my mother is my HOME

I am so thankful for everything God has blessed me with this year (good and bad). I strive to remember to give Thanks every other day of the year. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Love and Light, MARS

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Honey For My Honey

I have always been a "book-reader". My mother taught me how to read at the early age of two and I never looked back. From then on, my nose was always buried in a book. I was even a top library aide in middle school. I cringe as I type but I still relish the memory of walking through aisles and aisles of books knowing there was adventure waiting behind every title. (Yes I was and am still a dork!) Granted, my reading material was not always of high-caliber. (Anyone else alternate the Baby-Sitters Club series and Fabio Romance Novels aka Bodice Rippers? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) In spite of my preference for *ahem* light "summer book-reads" as opposed to classics, I still garnered 98th percentile Literature and Vocabulary mandated test scores every year of middle school and was automatically placed in Honors English classes all through high school. (How I did in those Honors Classes, however, is a whole different story. Party Girl rears her ugly head yet again!) Nevertheless, I attest all this (the positive stuff anyway) to my early exposure to reading.

Now that I'm a mommy, I am excited to share my passion for reading with my daughter. Amaya and I have been reading books together since she was 3 months old. I have countless pictures of us at different libraries browsing through board books, playing with puppets from story-time, and choosing a DVD or two from the extensive and always overwhelming collection of Dora, Barney, Elmo and more! (Lots and lots more!) We visit the library at least once a week and I am proud to state the fact that even though Amaya loves to play with the children's library smorgasbord of toys, she never fails to bring me books for us to read together and take home. She even has her very own book-bag to carry her special choices in. As we navigate through aisles and aisles of adventure waiting for us, I want to make sure I help her choose quality material that will expand her mind, entertain her personality, and nurture her soul.

Honey For A Child's Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books In Family Life by Gladys Hunt is the best book I've read in a while. The author quotes Eric Fromm in the Art of Loving, "Children have two basic needs; they need both milk and honey from their parents. Milk symbolizes the care given to physical needs: brush your teeth, drink your orange juice, eat your vegetables, get enough sleep. Honey symbolizes the sweetness of life, that special quality that makes life sing  with enjoyment for all it holds. Most parents are capable of giving milk, but only a minority of giving honey, too." Honey For A Child's Heart has lists of  high-quality books for any age range. It is never too late to start reading to and with your child! As I strive to always give honey with milk to my daughter, I pass along this great book for you and your children, grandchildren, parents, ANYONE! May we always remember that, "To give honey, one must love honey and have it to give."

Golden Gate Library Oakland CA 12/2009

Reading Mother Goose 11/2010

Honey For A Child's Heart, Fourth Ed.

 What are your favorite books to read? What are your favorite books to read to your child? What were your favorite books to read as a child? I would love to know!

Love and Light (And A Lil Honey), MARS

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Who Else But You

Who else but you can make me throw my head back, open my mouth wide like Julia Roberts, and cackle Maleficent-style in the middle of a Chinese buffet regardless of death stares from nearby patrons trying to stuff themselves full of mediocre crab legs?

Who else but you would I be with at Albatross Pub 7 months pregnant playing Gin Rummy all night long and not ordering a single alcoholic drink? (Sorry, waitress.)

Who else but you would lecture me about making the wrong decisions over and over again but still open up your door and home every time I come, dragging my broken heart behind me?

Who else but you would I have had the most perfect day of eating our way through SF, buying panda hats, winning the Wicked Lottery, meeting Eden Espinosa, and clubbing in the Castro with?

Who else but you can unselfishly make someone laugh and feel good about themselves even when YOU are going through a rough time?

Who else but you can listen to me sing musical numbers at the top of my lungs and not care that I'm a dancer not a singer, about my pitch or key, but genuinely enjoy it because I'm expressing myself.

Who else but you would I cry softly about knowing I'm missing your birthday and how pivotal of a year it has been for you?

While I'm not there in person, I am definitely there in spirit. Happy Birthday, Steven. I love you, my best friend.


Monday, November 15, 2010

In Her Eyes: For My Mother and My Daughter

FACT: There will always be that one song that can make you stop whatever you are doing and cry uncontrollably. For some, it might be their wedding song. Maybe "At Last" by Etta James? For others, it will be the song that reminds you of the night your first boyfriend broke up with you. (Forget a song, Jagged Little Pill was the pillow I cried on!)

Without fail, the song that makes me want to curl up in a fetal position and sob unashamedly is "In My Daughter's Eyes" by Martina McBride. I first heard the song when my mom sang it to me at my baby shower. It was beautiful and made everyone cry. My mother and I have always been close but we had a tumultuous stretch of trying times right before my daughter was conceived. (No thanks to that damn party girl!) Listening to her sing with tears in her eyes "Everything becomes a little clearer, I realize what life is all about, It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough, It's giving more when you feel like giving up" while cradling my stomach holding my unborn baby girl, no words can express how I felt at that moment. And now, while the little girl who "was sent to rescue me" runs her hand over my face and says "I love you, Mommy", the song has come full circle.

In my daughter's eyes, I see my mother. I love you both very much.

Two lovely ladies

P.S. Would love to know everyone's sob song. Also, what do YOU see in your child's eyes?

Love and Light, MARS

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Holiday Inspiration

L♥VING  these looks for the 2010 Winter Season

Cobalt, Ruffles, & Affordable? I'm so there
 Lanvin for H&M 

Just not all at once, ok? I hate when one finger is a different color than the rest! TACKY!
 Fab Nail Polish Inspired By The New Movie

Love, Love, Love the Tutus. It's the Dancer In Me
BCBG Maz Azria Holiday 2010

Now that I think about it, I am past my tutu prime. I am way too tall and definitely not sample size. 
Hmm, wonder if I can find a tutu for Amaya?

Baby Ballerina Couture!
Tu Chae Boutique

Living vicariously through my daughter but with lots of Love and Light, MARS

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Beauty Without Expression is Boring" *

Before motherhood, I always thought that there were three simple expressions that could be made by a child. Happy, sad, or sleepy. (Oh naivete!) Amaya goes through three expressions in one minute. I am constantly amazed at how expressive one little face can be. This week, she has learned to master the scowl. Terrifying and endearing at the same time. (Terrifying because a tantrum is apt to follow aforementioned glowering and endearing because who can resist a grumpy old woman expression on such a tiny face?)

I have learned in the past years to keep a stoic expression on my face regardless of whatever circumstances may be going on around me. I have also now learned that just because you attempt to cover up the expression on your face when someone makes you  mad, sad, or even happy, you still have to process your feelings eventually. (Which sometimes can result in a blow-up at an innocent by-stander!) In a world where we are taught as adults to always hide behind a cool demeanor, (DON'T EVER LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT!), we forget how freeing it is to let every emotion show on our faces. Memo for the week:  EXPRESS YOURSELF.

Love and Light, MARS

*Quote By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

From Party Girl To Potty Girl

The Cognizance of My Drastic Life Change:

Party Girl: Fully stocked bar complete with Ketel One and Grey Goose in the freezer
Potty Girl: The only bottles put in the freezer the last two years were full of breast milk

Party Girl Bathroom Routine:  Long Tub Soak, Luxurious Moisturizing, Mini-Facial, Make Up & Hair Sesh
Potty Girl Bathroom Routine: 5 min shower (while toddler is screaming head off trying to pull curtain open), Frantic Lotioning of legs (one unshaved), Scrunchie in Unwashed Head Hairstyle

Party Girl: Social Butterfly politely declining invitations due to a busy schedule
Potty Girl: Social Calendar revolving around Story-Times, Potty Breaks, and Wiggles Concerts

Party Girl: Fried Anything at Denny's after a long night of drinking and clubbing
Potty Girl: Healthy Home-Cooked Meals after long day of cleaning and home-school

Party Girl Shopping: Relaxing therapy session of browsing through racks, trying on garments and shoe-whoring
Potty Girl Shopping: Frenetic Grab and Go strategy coupled with whining and temper tantrums (from both Mommy and Daughter)

Party Girl's Morning: Waking up in a pile of own vomit and clothes from going out the night before
Potty Girl's Morning: Waking up in a pile of sick baby vomit and same clothes for past 3 days (missed laundry day again!)

Party Girl: Depends on no one but herself!
Potty Girl: Is depended upon to nurture a mind body and soul. (How amazing is that?!)

Party Girl: Can pound shots faster than anybody, parties harder than the rest, but almost lost her mind and spirit
Potty Girl: Can change a diaper quicker than everybody, cuddles better than the best, and is learning to love herself again

Party Girl's Perception of Love: Money, Material Objects, Men
Potty Girl's Perception of Love: Faith, Food, Family

Love and Light, MARS