Month: March 2012

home, lifestyle

Spring Cleaning for the Soul

If you are not sneezing with tissues in hand and flying high from a Claritin D buzz, then maybe you are considering a couple of Spring cleaning projects for your home. (The “D” must stand for “Damn, I’m high.”)

Just the term “Spring Cleaning” sounds determined and full of promise, even buoyant. The current commercials for “Home Depot” rival chick-flick montages where the heroine suddenly loses 30 pounds, passes the big exam and makes over her entire New York City apartment, all to a Natasha Bedingfield song.

Gardening, re-decorating, cleaning, painting…..it is almost like we have to be doing something.

You can have the same effect without major project overload, all the while bringing order to your own personal chaos. Here are three easy Spring Cleaning exercises that are not only good for your home, but good for your soul, too. You can even create your own playlist to achieve that same triumphant montage soundtrack from the movies. I have added some musical suggestions, just to get you started.

Before you begin, though, stand in front of your home. Apartment or bungalow or mansion or cottage or dorm, this is your home. You have a roof over your head. Be thankful. Now, show it and get to work.

Don’t Bring Me Down/ELO

If you have anything on the floor, a pile for dry cleaning, stacks of books or catalogs you haven’t had a chance to peruse; any clutter at all, pick it up. Everything should have a place, but if you must have clutter, put it on a high shelf. It only stands to reason that clutter on the floor represents an in your face “to do” list: laundry, errands and unfinished projects. This will only bring you down. If you are feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated, chances are high that you have a few clutter areas that need to be cleared. Picking it up will pick YOU up. When you de-clutter your home, you will de-clutter your mind. Get ready to feel a rush of energy. No, really, you will, so go dance to the ELO song. (Now, you’ve just burned a few calories, too. Boom.)

I Can See Clearly Now/Jimmy Cliff

Where is the window in your home that you stare out of and dream? Or, plot your revenge?  Look closely at this window, pretty dirty, huh? Grab the white vinegar, newspaper and clarity will arrive in … Read the rest

cocktails, lifestyle

Bésame, I’m Irish…ish

I love to celebrate. Especially when it is celebrating collectively; a holiday, the Olympics, major sports championships, preparing for a hurricane, etc. I relish the community spirit that surfaces when we all rally together in anticipation for something big.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of these particular celebrations when we all get to join in and become Irish for a day, if for nothing else but to celebrate with a beverage. Here is ours.

I say “ours’ because it was a family effort. Many of you know that we are in the “beverage” business. I get to live with professionals. My husband, Larkin, and daughter, Jordan, are incredibly creative alchemists and were duly inspired having just returned from the Las Vegas Bar & Nightclub Convention this week. Jordan is a successful film student at Boston University, but she has always appreciated the family business as her fall back.

The two of them were hard at work creating a Lola-style Irish cocktail that would make me proud. I don’t do beer. I don’t do girly drinks. I did have help in the tasting department since it is Spring Break and Jordan’s childhood best friend, Katie, was visiting from her Colorado university. It was tough work, but we powered through.

Disclaimer: A) They are both 21. B) It is quite jarring to test drive alcoholic beverages with girls who just the other day, it seems, were sitting in my kitchen having after school snacks in their Catholic school uniforms.

With that said, here is the winning concoction. Salud!

Lola’s Santo Patricio

  • 2 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 3 oz. sweet and sour
  • 2 dashes Cayenne Pepper
  • muddled mint
  • lime to garnish

 

Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

-traditional Irish Toast

 

 



 … Read the rest

motherhood

For My Boy-Child

Happy 19th Birthday, Joshua! I love you, mom.

Boy Child’s Heart

 

There is a particular section, in a boy child’s heart

Whose love sits purest, among definite cell part

Ignited in the womb, started never to cease

Delivered in a room, our love beginning to speak

Natural love comfort comes from

Maternal’s beauty, driving thunderstorm

Onward and So forth

Brought in, just to give out

Her most beloved creations

Then, to raise right and send out

The most genuine version

Of possible variations

I hope to one day be a Job Well Done

But for now,

and always

My mother is loving

And I am her loving son.

 -Joshua Stallings 

 

 … Read the rest

decorating, health, Latina, recipes

for the love of Kale

I had planned to post this on Friday, but had to attend a funeral in South Texas. As we made the drive from Harlingen Airport to Brownsville, I was taken aback by the sheer number of brand new fast food restaurants that lined the freeway. South Texas, known as “the valley”, is 81 percent hispanic. This many fast food options, in this area, simply does not make sense.

 “According to a national examination survey, Mexican Americans are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.  They have higher rates of end-stage renal disease, caused by diabetes, and they are 50% more likely to die from diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.” –Office of Minority Health/U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

March is National Nutrition Month. As a Latina, health conscious blogger, I felt obligated to pass along these statistics, along with good information about how vital it is to make better choices about food and your health, especially within the Hispanic community.

I’ve had so many relatives develop Diabetes, including my dad, who also survived a massive heart attack last summer. Between my mom, my sister and myself, he is lucky: he has 3 bossy, latina women in his life that tell him what to eat!  So, once more, here you go, dad: for the love of you…and Kale!

Last year, I spent my first New England winter at our vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard. MV is a popular summer haunt that depends on the tourist season to survive; many businesses and restaurants shut down for the winter. For year round residents, fresh food variety can get pretty limited and expensive.  I noticed that the market, which carries local farm produce, was always in abundance of this inexpensive, beautiful, green leafy vegetable…Kale. I was intrigued.

 In Texas, we eat greens, as well. There are plenty of southern dishes that include mustard greens, collards, cabbage and spinach. But, I wasn’t familiar with preparing kale. Well, there are as many ways to add kale to your diet, as you can imagine. Remember “Bubba” in Forrest Gump? “…shrimp gumbo, shrimp creole, shrimp kabobs….” It’s just like that with kale.

 The best news is that Kale is not just good for you. Kale is a Superfood!

And, what is one of the best foods to combat diabetes? Yep! You guessed it.  Livestrong.com is an … Read the rest

decorating, lifestyle

a kick start to easy spring decor

This post is for all of those people who say that they don’t have the time or don’t know how to decorate their homes. It doesn’t matter if you are single, married, kids, no kids…we all want to live and be supported in a beautiful space. The true beauty of your space is in the eye of the beholder. Your home, room, apartment, dorm, cell, whatever, should not only be a reflection of you, it should be an inviting, comfortable place to relax and recharge.

 

At the market, which sounds so much better than grocery store, I noticed this big bag of Granny Smith apples. Something about the color just seemed to say, “Lola, it’s time to get ready for Spring.” Just a little color. Just a little change.

 

The more I have fallen in love with decorating over the years, the more I have come to appreciate terms like “simple elegance”, “less is more” and “understated”. Make simplicity a habit.

 

I believe in filling your home with things you love. I love modern, antique, contemporary, vintage and industrial. I do not believe in having just one style. I also do not believe in “bed in a bag” or “one size fits all”.

When you put everything you love all together, you create your own personal style.

 

Honestly, I find all of my favorite home decor treasures at antique shops, vintage boutiques, thrift stores and tag sales.

Putting your own unique personal touches throughout your home is the key to creating an inviting, memorable, beautiful place for you and your family. They will appreciate every holiday or seasonal decoration that you adorn. Maybe not now, when you actually have your kids living with you. But, someday, when they are off at college or live in a different city, you will get a text that says: “send pics of your Halloween decor”. Trust me.

 

 

You do not have to spend a lot of money or time to make changes around your home. Using real fruit, flowers, greenery from your garden reinforces a flow of natural positive energy into your home.  In fact, you will feel a quick dramatic shift in the energy of your home if you bring nature inside. Feng Shui is some pretty powerful stuff.

 

 

 

After I picked up the bag of apples, I noticed that they were throwing away … Read the rest