Friday, July 30, 2010


Today is Jared's 28th birthday!! It's a monumental day because without this special day....I would not have been able to enjoy so many wonderful days with him! (THANK YOU David & Janene for your amazing son!!) He lights up my life and I'm so blessed to be his wife!

We are going to Indy tonight to celebrate with a few friends. Dinner on the canal, Nicky Blaine's Martini & Cigar Bar, and possibly some dancing! SO excited! He is definitely a great reason for celebrating! He is an amazing man and I'm so incredibly proud of him!

I love you, Panda Bear! I hope you have an awesome day and fantastic year!

yes, I'm a dork and made him a panda bear cupcake for his birthday last year :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Things I Love Thursdays: Latin Dancing!

 I love Latin Dancing! My first Salsa Dancing lesson came from my Cuban Grandfather when I was only 10 years old. I have always been proud of my Cuban-Puerto Rican heritage and so my love for Latin Dance seemed to come naturally. Whenever I hear Latin Music I have to dance...HAVE's intrinsic! There is so much passion and soul in Latin Culture, especially in their music and dance. And I love it all! Bachata, Salsa, name it, I love it! Jared and I took a few salsa lessons together and really enjoyed learning different moves. He got a lot of husbands in trouble by dancing with me. Not every husband is willing to give it a try. But let me tell is SO much fun and it's a great activity that you both can do together. I know it brought us closer and Jared may not enjoy it as much as I do, but he certainly does enjoy dancing!

Here are just a couple of  my favourite Latin Dance performances that showcase a few different styles. (Yes, I have danced all of these styles before...not nearly as good though!!)










I hope you are inspired to get out there and start dancing! You don't need a partner to dance, just let your inner Latin out and have fun! :)

1. onlinesalsa
2. JacquiFaye
3. supernaturalflowers
4. lovelyish
5. onlinesalsa
6. flamencodiva

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Nephews Are The Coolest!

I LOVE being and Aunt and I know Jared loves being an Uncle! It has been such a blessing to be able to spend some extra time with our nephews while we are here. Today we got to spend the whole day with the boys and I enjoyed every last minute! Quote of the day was by my 4-year-old nephew Isaac who said "Cowabunga means Yea in "Cool"!" I should have known that he was fluent in cool....I mean, he is the coolest kid I know!! :)

It warms my heart to know that the boys love us as much as we love them. To hear Isaac say "Aunt Weah, I wuv you!" is quite possibly the sweetest sound these ears could hear! And to see Isaac get genuinely upset that he had to go home because he wanted to "stay with Uncle Jared" makes my heart smile. Elliott can't say many words yet, but his kisses and smiles say enough! Those boys mean the world to me!

We're definitely cherishing these moments while they last. In a little over a month we won't have the luxury of weekly visits. I am going to miss them terribly!! Thank God for video communication and PICTURES!!

Review Tuesday: What's In My Makeup Bag?

I used to hate makeup. I still wear very little makeup and some days none at all but if you're like me, you enjoy getting dolled up now and then. And unless you were blessed with perfect skin(which I was not), then there are days when you need to cover up blemishes or dark circles so makeup can be our best friend.

It can be so disappointing to buy a beauty product only to find that it doesn't work. Spending any amount on makeup (even if it's only $1.99) that doesn't work is still a waste of money, not to mention it's really annoying. And no matter how affordable drugstore beauty products are, if they don't work, they're never a good deal. So I'm going to do a review of a few drugstore products that I have found really work for me.

1. I have been using Maybelline's Dream Liquid Mousse foundation for over a month now and have no complaints about it. I love that it has a pump because it's easy to use, there's no mess and you don't waste as much product this way. It's a medium coverage foundation. It goes on evenly and smoothly giving an airbrushed look. It has such an airy feeling on your face, it blends easily and doesn't streak. It evens out your skin tone without looking like you have a coat of foundation on. I like to keep my makeup as natural looking as possible and this foundation works for me! My shade is Classic Ivory.

2. If you are like me then you are plagued with dark circles under your eyes. (9 out of 10 women have dark circles so we're not alone) I have tried several concealers and the best I have found so far is the Covergirl Simply Ageless Eye Concealer in number 215. It's extremely creamy and easy to blend and doesn't settle into your creases. It brightens up the eye by evening out the skin tone under and around the eye. It's a must have in my makeup bag!

3. It's always a good idea to set your makeup with a powder. It helps keep your makeup in place and last longer throughout the day. Too much powder can make your face look cakey so you want to be careful. I prefer Maybelline's Dream Matte Powder. I like the matte finish, it gives you smooth even-looking skin without that chalky look. My shade is Beige Medium.
4. When it comes to blush, lately I have been trying Maybelline's Dream Mousse Blush in Peach Satin. It's very creamy and blends easily over the apples of the cheeks. It's a very subtle color and gives you a nice natural glow. I sometimes put a little powder blush over it if I want to get a little more intense color, but usually I don't. It looks nice and natural on its own.
5. I don't wear eyeshadow everyday but there are two eyeshadow palettes that are my go to shades if I want to dress up my eyes a bit. If I want to keep my eyes looking more natural I wear Physicians Formula Baked Collection in Baked Sands. These neutral tones have a satin finish and are great for everyday wear. If I'm going out and I want to really play up the eyes then I will use the Covergirl Shadow Quad in Drama Eyes. LOVE this palette for a night time look. 

6. If there was only one makeup product I could use it would be mascara. It can do so much by doing so little. It can turn your tired eyes into glam eyes in seconds. My all-time favourite mascara is Covergirl's Lash Blast mascara. It thickens and lengthens without flaking or clumping giving you full, sexy lashes every time. If you are looking for a waterproof mascara then I would suggest Covergirl's Lash Exact  with hydrofuge. So many waterproof mascaras are dry, flakey and just plain horrible. But Lash Exact goes on like regular mascara and definitely holds up when you need it to but removes easily with makeup remover. It's the only waterproof mascara that I've tried that I would recommend!

 7. Another product that I don't wear everyday, but can really help you look polished is L'Oreal's Lineur Intense liquid eyeliner in carbon black. It gives the eyes definition and if worn correctly can give your eyes a lifting effect. I like this liquid liner because it's easy to apply, and you can make your line as thin or as thick as you like with it. It's long wearing and I haven't had any trouble with it running or smearing like I have with other liners.

 8. Now, when it comes to removing my makeup I like to use Olay Eye Makeup Remover and Anti-Wrinkle Treatment. It comes with a pump, which again, keeps you from wasting product and I have very sensitive skin, especially around my eye area so this works great for me. It doesn't irritate my skin and quickly and easily removes all my makeup while moisturizing my skin. Can't beat it.

9. Another must-have product for me is the L'Oreal Go 360 Clean Deep Cream Cleanser. It comes with a soft scrublett that you put the cleanser on and then rub all over your face. I have very sensitive, dry skin so I was nervous about trying this but it's amazing! I haven't had a single breakout since using this (I've been using it for about 3 months now) and my face feels so refreshed afterward. Jared uses the green one because he has more oily skin and he has had great results too!

10. It's so important to keep your skin moisturizes. It can really help delay the aging process and we all want to stay looking young as long as we can right? Before I go to bed I like to put on Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Moisturizer. It's thicker than a day cream but it's very hydrating and feels good after a long day once you have taken all of your makeup off. It's as though my skin says "thank you" when I put this on! :) I also wear a separate eye and face moisturizer during the day.

Every girl needs a cute makeup bag and I'm a big Hello Kitty fan! :)

I hope this makeup review was helpful. I went through quite a bit of trial and error to find products I like and that work so I hope this saves some of you time, money and frustration. As I said, I am not necessarily a makeup geek, I don't wear a lot of it, but I am a woman and I do like to look nice. I will never claim that these products will make you look like a supermodel (I mean, that should be obvious when you look at the reviewer) But my hope is that you understand that makeup doesn't make you beautiful, but it can enhance your natural beauty. Everyone has beauty inside and there's nothing wrong with trying to have your outside match your inside as long as you always remember where true beauty lies.

Here's a self portrait of me wearing many of the products listed above.
(click photo for larger view)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mental Vitamins Monday: True Love

These lyrics carry such truth, hope and power. I dare you to not be moved by this song.

'True Love' by Phil Wickham 

Come close listen to the story
About a love more faithful than the morning
The Father gave His only Son just to save us

The earth was shaking in the dark
All creation felt the Fathers broken heart
Tears were filling Heaven's eyes
The day that True Love died, the day that True Love died
When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn't move came crashing down

We were free and made alive
The day that True Love died, The day that True Love died

Search your heart you know you can't deny it
Come on, lose your life just so you can find it
The Father gave His only Son just to save us

The Earth was shaking in the dark
All creation felt The Fathers broken heart
Tears were filling Heaven's eyes
The day that True Love died, the day that True Love died

When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn't move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that True Love died, The day that Jesus died

Now, Jesus is alive

Jesus is alive
Jesus is alive
Jesus is alive
Jesus is alive

Oh, He is alive
He rose again

When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn't move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that True Love died, The day that True Love died

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Jesus is alive

Friday, July 23, 2010

Feature Friday: Loaded Week

This week was loaded with surprises and challenges! Both of my grandparents had big health issues and had to have brief hospital stays. Both are doing much better, but they definitely gave us quite a scare. Also this week, my Papa was diagnosed with early stage type II diabetes. Because he was diagnosed early, he will be able to manage it with diet and exercise but it definitely was not news that any of us were expecting to hear.

Because of the recent events I definitely have been reflecting on my own health and I am determined to start living a healthier life than I have been. Jared and I began running together and I have to say, I actually feel good doing it! It helps to have him there to do it with me. His support is so important because I tend to talk myself out of exercising but having him to exercise with me, makes it less painful! :) Running is not for everyone...but here are a few tips for becoming a better runner. I think these tips are helpful to keep your experience positive and also helps prevent injury and overexertion.

This week we also submitted our Swiss visa application. They required so much paperwork to make sure we are who we say we are and to make clear what we plan to do during our time there. We have been to every government building possible and filled out every form there is. I'm convinced of it. Acquiring a visa is a very thorough process that, for us, has been very time consuming and quite a learning experience. So now....we wait. Hoping to hear that our application was approved soon so we won't have to think about it anymore. I don't think I'll be able to really relax until our visas are in hand. So please pray that everything goes smoothly from here on out. Our departure date is quickly approaching!! 2 months exactly...that is if everything goes as planned. It's all in God's hands!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Martinis!

I'm not a big drinker but I do appreciate a good cocktail now and then. My favourite cocktail is a Belvedere Martini straight up with three bleu cheese stuffed olives. I had my first Belvedere martini at Nicky Blaine's Martini and Cigar Bar in downtown Indianapolis and have yet to find a drink I enjoy more.

On our cruise it became my signature cocktail. Each evening the waitress had my martini waiting for me at dinner and as unimpressive as that may sound to made me so happy. I felt so classy having this fancy drink waiting for me and sipping on it throughout dinner. Hey, it's the little things in life, right?

Here are a few photos of me and my martini! :)

my martini waiting for me...
the happiest girl to ever hold a martini! :)

Here are a few others who appreciate a good martini....

1. Erik Wunstell
2. fringefx
3. pradee p jeganathan
4. Colby Ware
5. Melissa McCart
6. greengirlcanvas

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Swiss Progress

This week has been full of paperwork, and countless trips to various government buildings to acquire said paperwork. We are in the process of applying for our Swiss visa and there are so many steps involved, so many forms to fill out, so many documents required. It's a bit insane. But so far we are right on schedule as far as deadlines and getting things done. And I'm not really complaining about all the effort required to legally move to's comforting to know they take this sort of thing seriously and check the background on everyone who enters their country. It gives me a sense of safety and security.

We're hoping to finish up the last few steps of the process tomorrow and then we can just wait for our visas to arrive and enjoy the rest of our summer here in the U.S. with our family and friends. It's hard to believe that we will be Swiss residents in 2 months! Exciting times!

Get in touch with us before September so we can see you all before we move!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review Tuesday: BabyCakes!

I have a sweet review for you today! :) This weekend, I was introduced to BabyCakes, a bakery in New York City that offers all-natural, organic and delicious alternative ingredients free from the common allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs. My mom is gluten intolerant and because of this her food options can be somewhat limited. So she bought a cookbook by the founder of BabyCakes, Erin Mckenna and if the products taste anything like how they look then they are sure to be delicious!

There are several famous Hollywood faces that have given rave reviews about BabyCakes yummy goodness including Madonna, and actress and vegan, Natalie Portman. BabyCakes has also been voted as having the best vegan treats in NYC by New York Magazine. Erin McKenna reveals in her cookbook and other media outlets that what inspired her to create BabyCakes was her own food allergies and says "I saw a need for a place like BabyCakes where those who couldn't go to "normal" bakeries could be treated to everything they were missing out on." 

So if you or someone you love is plagued by food allergies or dietary restrictions this is a great way to get that sweet fix! Mama Bear and I plan on baking a few BabyCakes cookbook recipes ourselves and I'll give you a full review after the taste test! :) For now, here are a few more visuals to drool over...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mental Vitamins Monday: Building Dreams

A pyramid isn't built from the top down or overnight. The apex is attained only by laying strong foundation stones, one by one. The same is true of achieving dreams. The crucial thing is to lay the first stone, to take the first step.

I'm stepping out. I'm building pyramids. Because I believe dreams do come true.

Friday, July 16, 2010

'Feature Friday': It's Official!

When Jared had his interview in Switzerland back in January, he was offered the post-doc position on the spot. But it has been quite a process in order to get his employment contract and work visa. This week Jared  finally got his contract which makes this whole thing all the more real. To see it in print was like "Wow! It's official! We're moving to Switzerland!" He will start work on October 1st but we will be living in Switzerland starting September 20th. We want some time to get settled in before his first day of work. So now that he has his work contract we can start actively looking for a place to live. Without it we weren't able to even inquire about places to live. I'm pretty excited about finding where we will call home for the next two years and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing views like this everyday! :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

'Things I Love Thursdays': Antique Shops

Antique shops are to me what a candy store is to a child. You never know what kind of treasures you will find inside antique stores and there is no two shops that are alike. I love all things vintage. I have always had an appreciation for classic charm and I believe this was sparked by stories and photos my grandmothers would share with me. I'm definitely an old soul at heart.

I found my(now OUR) bedroom furniture which includes a tall dresser, headboard and bed frame along with a vanity as a matching set at an antique shop several years ago. The vanity is definitely my favourite piece. I was inspired to look for a vintage vanity because of a photograph I saw of my Nana getting ready in front of a vanity mirror shortly after she was married. She looked so beautiful, so classic and a part of me wanted to be just like her. I wish I had a copy of that photo to share with you. Instead, here are a few photos of my antique bedroom furniture that I love so much! :)

Here are some antique shop finds from other vintage lovers...

1. the illusive swan
2. directory of york
3. ultraviolence
4. jewelparadise
5. alfiesantiquemarket
6. fensterbme
7. kerryball
8. boopsiedaisy

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Graduate

It's husband is now Dr. Panda!! :) After 5 long, arduous years of chemistry grad school, he finished strong! He worked so incredibly hard for this and I couldn't be more proud of him! His Advisor, colleagues, family and friends will all tell you that Jared is a brilliant chemist and amazing man but he is also a very humble man who doesn't take himself too seriously. (which is what I love about him!) Prime example was today when he was being his goofy self, I started laughing and he said "The University of Illinois gave this big dork a PhD...what does that say about them?" He deserves his title and earned his success but he will not brag on himself or take himself too seriously. In fact, he didn't even tell me that he was one of the top 10 chemistry grad students in the world...when I found out I was shocked and asked him why he didn't tell me and told him that it was something you should tell your wife! He said he just doesn't like to make a big deal about himself. I had to hear from his co-workers how big of a deal some of his awards have been. Which his humbleness obviously makes me even more proud of him! OK, I'm done gushing over my husband now. I'm just so excited for him and proud to be his wife! :)

Congratulations, my darling! I love you to the moon and back!

 Jared being hooded at his graduation ceremony
Jared with some of his research papers

Tonight....we celebrate! :)

'Review Tuesday': Yearbook Committee

Due to my self-diagnosed ADD, I like to constantly change things up. I guess I'm one of those people who actually enjoys change. I love challenges and new experiences and those experiences shape who I am and influence my everyday life. As much as I have enjoyed the Q&A's Tuesdays I think I share enough about myself as it is throughout the week in my blog posts and want to focus more on other people's talents and share more about people and things that I admire and appreciate. So I want to dedicate this day as Review Tuesday. I will write about anything and everything that I feel deserves the spotlight. Whether it be music, fashion, food, or name it, I'll review it.

For my first review I want to talk about a band based out of Terre Haute, Indiana called Yearbook Committee. This group is unique in that there is No lead singer. No sole songwriter. YBC is simply a group of musicians with one common goal; to write and perform music. The number of musicians who perform changes with each show but there are 10 people who are active band of which is my big brother! :) I caught my first YBC show this past week and really enjoyed their set. They played several originals along with some wild card covers that brought a fresh sound to several well-known songs. It was an intimate outdoor setting which was perfect for their sound. So check out Yearbook Committe on myspace and/or facebook and if you're in Terre Haute this Saturday, be sure to catch their show at Coffee Grounds. Check their website for times and details.

all photos taken by Behind A Lens Photography

Monday, July 12, 2010

'Mental Vitamin Mondays': Courage, Patience and Peace. Oh My!

I don't know about you but patience is a virtue I was not born with. Waiting on the Lord is something I continue to struggle with. I'm human, and a very imperfect one at that and I find myself saying "I want the answer NOW!" I have dreams of how I would like my future to go, I have my own plans and my plans sound really darn good in my head. But sometimes things don't happen according to MY plans. (which in the end can be a blessing) But I think what may be worse than things not going my way is having to wait for answers. The suspense, the unknown, the frustration of the waiting. Let's be's torture! It's hard to wait and see how the future unfolds. Especially when you have to wait a long, long, loooong time!

What I have learned is that while patience does not come easy, waiting on the Lord is always rewarding. As I look back at my life I can see how God was answering my prayers all those years ago and how He continues to answer my prayers. Not all of them were answered right away, in fact, most took several years before I received a reply. But I now see that His plan is more perfect than any of my plans could ever be

Although I have countless examples of where God has answered prayers it is still so hard to not get anxious about the future and start having feelings of doubt creep in my head. It's definitely an ongoing personal struggle. But I love that I can be honest with God about those feelings of anxiousness and doubt and He continues to comfort me with hope and gives me peace about my concerns.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart. Psalms 27:14

This verse is so encouraging! It confirms that waiting requires courage and that once we find courage to trust in God to perfect our future He will give us the strength to overcome our doubt, fears and anxiousness of the unknown. So the key to patience, to peace, is to find our inner lion! :) With courage we can have peace.

Friday, July 9, 2010

'Feature Friday': Our 2010 Cruise!

Our family cruise was wonderful!! It was so relaxing. All we really did was lay out, eat awesome food, read, shop and RELAX! Our ship was the Emerald Princess and was our first time on this cruise line. We stopped in the Bahamas, Mexico and Jamaica. Our favourite port was Cozumel, Mexico. We found a secluded beach where we just relaxed and enjoyed a few cold ones on the beach with our sister, Jamie and her hubby Eliud. The worst port by far was Jamaica. Jared had been there before and had actually gotten mugged so we were very cautious going there and all I can say is the place is a hot mess. Everywhere you turn people are shoving drugs in your face, they harrass you for blocks and the island itself (at least what we saw) was filthy - overrun by pollution and garbage! It was not a good experience. But I had to go. I wanted to visit the place where Bob Marley was from. I'm a big Bob Marley fan so I had to see his homeland before I died. Now that I've been there, I have no intention of ever going back.

Every night we had dinner together as a family and really enjoyed that time together. The food was AMAZING! Some other highlights from the cruise would definitely be the outdoor movie theater. Watching movies under the stars in the middle of the ocean is such a spectacular experience. We also enjoyed their night club. Jared and I love to dance and they played some great music even late into the evening. Ok, so there wasn't anything I didn't enjoy about the cruise. It was a great vacation all around.

Here are a few images from the cruise:

I'll post more photos on Facebook so be sure to check those out!