How I Part My Hair

I never realized how controversial a hair part could get. You want to know which way I part my hair?  Depending on the day, whichever way it looks the least dirty.  Truly that is it. Whether my hair will be a side part or down the middle is solely based on which style looked more acceptable post dry shampoo. 

If you see me with my hair slicked back and in a bun- understand that you should not get too close to my hair. On a slicked back bun day I have likely gone one day beyond what you would consider an acceptable time to not wash one’s own hair.  Sorry, not sorry.  Washing my hair yesterday would have robbed me of the 20 minutes it took me to help my daughter with her math homework.  You see it requires me watching several you tube videos where some nice lady teaches me how to do common core fractions, so that both my children and I can survive this afternoon without anyone banging their head against a table. 

There are so many things to worry about. I’ve never wished to be a dog more in my entire life. Between having survived year one of a global pandemic, worrying about my parents and basically all the “elderly” people in our lives, stressing about our children’s well being and also teaching them at home, worrying about our businesses, worrying about our society as a whole, a toxic presidential election, plus the other day to day shit of you know, being an adult, now I have to hear that there’s a movement of Gen Z kids telling me I can’t side part my hair anymore because it makes me look old?! 

Young ladies, gather around.  Let me tell you a story about a lady who DOES NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS SHIT! It also leaves me wondering how do you have time for this shit?

Why don’t you do things that would actually be, I don’t know, helpful?  For example you could send me your playlists. I admit it- your playlists are probably better than mine. You know what else is helpful?Those tutorials. Honestly if not for you I would not know how to do my hair when I do find the time to wash it every 4 (ok really 7) days. 

As I have been trying to tell you dry shampoo saves lives.

Classic Camarones Enchilados (Cuban Shrimp Creole)

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Ani Mezerhane

I love a one pot recipe. Makes cooking and the cleaning so much easier. This recipe will take you up to 40 minutes tops, and if you make the sofrito ahead of time, it will take you not even 20 minutes. Great for a weekday when you are short on time. The best part is, it’s delicious and in my opinion so comforting. Enjoy!

  • 1 cubanelle pepper, finely chopped  
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped  
  • 2 white onions, finely chopped 
  • 26 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Parsley, finely chopped 
  • 1.25 – 1.5 pounds, large shrimp, peeled, devained with tails on 
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic, finely chopped 
  • 1/4 cup extra Virgin olive oil 
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons salt
  • Pepper to taste 
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes 
  • 1 packet of Sazón con achiote 
  • 1 teaspoon of creole seasoning 
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce 
  • A few threads of saffron, bloomed in 1 cup of seafood stock 
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of brandy, I like Cardenal Mendoza 

In a large sauce pan, add onions, peppers, red pepper flakes, Sazon, salt and pepper. Sauté for 8 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and cook but don’t let it burn.

Once softened, pour in tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire, cardenal Mendoza brandy and saffron with water. Cook for 5 minutes on high so that it begins to boil. 

Dry the shrimp. Sprinkle creole seasoning,  salt and pepper on the shrimp. Sauté for 3-6 minutes in the sofrito or until they are bright pink and curled up. Mix each shrimp to assure both sides are cooking.

Add parsley and serve.

Cuban Natilla

This is my all time favorite Cuban desserts, of all Cuban desSerts and if you know anything about Cuban desert- you know there is some serious competition. Each bite is a creamy, luscious, spoonful of heaven. I have always been intimidated by it. It seemed too delicious for me to attempt to make it. I imagined it had to be complicated or out of my skill level. Enter Chef Ani Martinez. We got together and made it a few different ways. Finally we found the easiest and best (in our opinion) way to make it smooth and creamy, and it really doesn’t take too long to do. It’s also very straightforward, and just requires about 15-20 minutes of your time. So get out your leche condensada people, it’s go time:

  • 1 can (12 oz) of evaporated milk
  • 1 can (14 oz) of condensed milk
  • 20 oz of whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean cut lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons of natural Tahitian vanilla
  • Ground cinnamon for dusting

In a blender or food processor add the egg yolks, salt, evaporated milk, and condensed milk. Hold onto the can of condensed milk.

In a bowl mix together the cornstarch with the water until it is completely dissolved. Strain this and add to the blender. Mix on high again, scraping the sides to be sure everything is incorporated

Add this mixture to a heavy bottom pot. Then pour part of the whole milk into the empty can of condensed milk, filling it almost to the top. Using a spoon, scrape the sides and get all the condensed milk left in the can and pour into the pot. Then add the remaining milk into the pot (this will total about 20 oz). Turn heat to medium. Add the cinnamon sticks, and the vanilla bean being sure to scrape out the seeds.

IMPORTANT: Mix constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Once you start this recipe you are committed for the next 12 minutes.

It will start to thicken after about 6 minutes.

BE PATIENT. If you feel the bottom of the pan is sticking don’t scrape it. Just let it be and slowly mix the top portion only.

Drop to low once you see it thickening and cook for another 5-7 minutes on low stirring slowly.

Add the vanilla extract. Pull out the vanilla bean. Then strain this mixture into individual portions or a large ramekin. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Let it set in the fridge a few hours. Serve with toasted pound cake.

The Best Homemade Brownies

I bribe my kids. There I said it. They do their homework, treat. They pick up their room, treat. They put their shoes away, treat. I learned this method from getting and training our puppy. It’s extremely effective. Stumbling upon this recipe has made bribing them much easier. The best part is how easy it is. I got it from Love and Lemons and my daughter and I now make it about once a week. It takes not even 10 minutes to mix it all together and throw in the oven. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar*
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil**
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish (not a 9×9 dish or your brownies will overcook) with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, water, and vanilla.
  • Sprinkle the dry mix over the wet mix and stir until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan (it’ll be thick – that’s ok) and use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake for 40 to 48 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs attached (note: it’s better to pull the brownies out early than to leave them in too long). Cool completely before slicing.*** Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. These also freeze well!

Notes

*If you’d like to reduce the sugar, I’ve had success with 1 cup granulated sugar instead of 1 1/2 cups.**I like to use olive oil because it’s what I keep on hand and I enjoy the pairing of olive oil with chocolate. Keep in mind that you will taste it here. For a more neutral flavor, use canola oil.***When these brownies come out of the oven, they’ll be super gooey in the middle. Allow them to cool completely, about 2 hours, before you slice into them to give them a chance to set up. They’ll continue to firm up the longer they’re out of the oven. If you still prefer a firmer brownie, store them in the fridge.

SW 41: It’s Been A While…

Happy New Year

Happy 2021.  I think that by February we should probably stop saying Happy New Year! But it’s the first time in quite some time that I’ve sent a newsletter, and it only felt right to start there.  

I think we can all safely agree that last year, 2020, was an utter calamity.  A complete shit show wrapped in a dumpster fire that just wreaked havoc on any and everyone in it’s path.  

Our family has been very fortunate to have steered clear of COVID, but we were not without tragedy.  We lost my grandfather, Cesar Odio, to a very aggressive form of pancreatic cancer.  It was brutal for us, as it was about 3 weeks from the time of diagnosis to the time of his death.  There was not much time to process or cope. 

In the last three months, I have learned that grief comes in waves and these waves are very unexpected.   This last weekend was his birthday.  He would have been 85.  I wanted to send this newsletter last week in celebration, but it hit me that it would be the first time since I started this blog, that I would send a newsletter out and he wouldn’t be reading it.  I chickened out.

Every time I sent a newsletter I always knew at least one person was going to read it, and that person was going to be Beto (our nickname for him).  I knew without fail, I would hear from him after to tell me what he thought.  Sure enough a few hours after sending, there would be the reply I was waiting for.  A quick little something like this: 

I realized last week, that this would be the first time I would not be getting a reply like this back.  I’m not saying this to you for pity.  I’m not looking for one of you to send me this reply.  In fact what I think we can take from this, is a little inspiration to bring a little Beto to the people we love in the world.  Encourage your people.  Show them love.  Be their fan.  

The last thing you need here is a lecture, but living in this world is hard enough.  Especially now with all the negativity and division in the news cycles and in our feeds.  Be someone’s Beto.  And if one or two of you want to write back telling me how wonderful I am, I am not above admitting that I would obviously love that.  

xoxo,
Cristina 

The Big Reddit Short 

At this point you have heard about what happened in the stock market last week. You have been hearing the words Gamestop, short, hedgefund, Robinhood and so on in your feed in some form or another. The story is big. It has so many moving parts and could seem really intimidating for most of us who have no idea how any of that stuff works.

To be able to completely and thoroughly understand what happened last week, would take a lot more than reading a blog post. Especially this particular post, as I am in no way an expert in this area. So I naturally thought it would be fitting for me to give you a breakdown. Don’t worry I googled, watched MSNBC, and asked my husband to explain about 100 times. I got this. Ready? Click HERE for full article.


Standouts of the Week 

Mercury Retrograde.  I am sorry if I am the one that is breaking you this terrible news, but Mercury has indeed been retrograding down on all of us.  Please don’t comment to me telling me you don’t believe.  The universe is working overdrive right now.  Everyone I know is coming in hot.  I repeat, HOT!  On the bright side, it’s a built in excuse if you happen to lose your shit on one of your kids because they still haven’t put their shoes on.  Click HERE for a how to survive retrograde guide. 

Golden Globes Nominations Announced. I love to see the list of nominees, and see what movies or shows I might have missed.  This being the year I thought I had finished Netflix, turns out there are a few things I didn’t catch.  (Hillbilly Elegy, Black Monday, Unorthodox) I think they missed some Comedy actor and series nominees (Insecure and Never Have I Ever).  I mean look I watched Emily in Paris twice I enjoyed it so much, but should it have been nominated for “best” meh.  Unconvinced.  There is also a little controversy over Bridgerton not receiving any nominations.  Again- as someone who watched Bridgerton (probably more than twice) were you really watching for the writing, acting, and the compelling storyline? NO ONE BELIEVES YOU. However you decide for yourself.  HERE is the list for who is nominated and HERE is the list for who was “snubbed”.  This picture of the Duke was totally just to thirst trap you. 

Netflix Moves fast.   Netflix is already working on adapting the Gamestop short fiasco (see above or anywhere on the internet) and they have cast this guy: 

How many times can one be thirst trapped in one newsletter?  They have cast Noah Centineo, and I look forward to how the somehow get him to take his shirt off at some point in the film.  

Jeff Bezos is Retiring. That’s it.  Just thought you should know.  Can read full article HERE

TV Addict Update  

As we have established, time and time again, I watch too much TV.

HERE are my top shows of 2020.  Did I miss any?

What’s on my list to watch next?
For Drama?
Your Honor (Showtime): Starring Bryan Cranston who just got nominated for a Golden Globe for his role.  He plays a judge who has to help his son create an alibi after getting involved in a tragic accident.  You can click the picture for the trailer. Haven’t seen it, but I heard it’s excellent.  


Sports Entertainment
Tiger (HBO):
 I have heard from countless people that this two part documentary on Tiger Woods is incredible.  It’s about his career, all that drama (that I had completely forgotten about by the way).  Going to check it out. 

Have a suggestion? Let me know

Wreak:
Wreak is a verb that means “to inflict” or “to carry out.” It’s most commonly used with havoc. However, it can also be used with other words, like ragerevenge, or destruction. Someone who wreaks vengeance inflicts punishment on those who hurt them.

2020 wreaked havoc
If you have a monthly prescription that costs you too much out of pocket go to Goodrx 
This is not an ad, I just think everyone should know

The Big Reddit Short

At this point you have heard about what happened in the stock market last week. You have been hearing the words Gamestop, short, hedgefund, Robinhood and so on in your feed in some form or another. The story is big. It has so many moving parts and could seem really intimidating for most of us who have no idea how any of that stuff works.

To be able to completely and thoroughly understand what happened last week, would take a lot more than reading a blog post. Especially this particular post, as I am in no way an expert in this area. So I naturally thought it would be fitting for me to give you a breakdown. Don’t worry I googled, watched MSNBC, and asked my husband to explain about 100 times. I got this. Ready?

The story is not that simple. Nor did it happen overnight. I am going to try my very best to explain this as quickly and easily as possible.

First there is the original Reddit post, which noticed that some hedge funds were taking a “short” position on Gamestop. This came about 190 days ago. What is a “short” position. In it’s most simplest form, it means to bet against. So these hedge funds commonly “short” certain stocks, and while it is risky it usually ends in a big pay day, and it’s a way the market sort of self corrects.

*If you have not seen The Big Short– highly recommend, helps you understand the financial fiasco of 2008 and the cast is incredible: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Kendall from Succession, with appearances from Pharell, Selena Gomez, Snoop Dog, and this one here from Margot Robbie who gives you a quick “short” explanation.

Usually the companies that are the target of the “short” are failing or have diminishing returns and are on the way to failure. They do not usually begin to improve. THIS IS IMPORTANT because if anything was to happen such as the company gets bought out, or creates a new patent or gets a drug approval, this would cause “a short squeeze” and as the price of the stock rises, these companies have to pay the difference with interest. A short squeeze is bad, because it means their bet didn’t work out.

So if I’m a fund and I want to short the “Bananas” their stock is at $10, things are not looking good for “Bananas” company, it hasn’t been doing well for a while. But alas! Looks like it’s pandemic and banana bread is the new flourless cake. Everyone wants bananas! Bananas are taking off and now their stock is worth $50. My short has been squeezed. I’m covered in banana puree.

Shorting a stock isn’t free. Whoever is taking the short position borrows the stock. In a very complicated manner that probably no one really understands, the short buyer, in this case the fund, will now owe the broker, to get out of the short, they will buy the stock at its current price, thus paying the $40 difference plus interest, fees…

Gamestop, which is considered to be in a dying brick and mortar industry, wasn’t the “blockbuster” company you might have thought it to be. It had $100 million in net cash, so bankruptcy is not as imminent as many short seller may have made it seem.

Now, back to the story. After the original Reddit post, some time passes, and two eccentric big name investors come into the story.

Enter Florida. Because a guy from Florida is always involved. Ryan Cohen is the former CEO of Chewy.com, whom famously took his 3.3 billion dollar buy out and only invested only in Apple and Wells Fargo, for the last 3 years. Until Gamestop (GME). Cohen took out 6.2 million shares of GME on August 31 (raising the price of the stock, limiting the amount of available stock, and signaling Gamestop may have potential).

This leads to Michael Burry (Christian Bale’s character in The Big Short), taking notice and he began to see the short position and decided to buy a significant amount of shares (again raising the stock price and limiting the amount available). The Reddit plan was going according to plan.

The hedge funds had to make a decision. Continue paying the fees on their short positions, or close out their short positions by paying the much inflated new price of the stock.

At this point Gamestop has gone from being valued at $17 in early January to being valued somewhere at almost $400. The people who got in early, and were able to sell made up to $13 million. It led to stories like this:

Some hedge funds are estimated to have taken a hit of about 5 billion and had to be bailed out by the other funds. They will live to short another day.

Proving my earlier point about there always being a South Florida connection. The owner of one of these hedge funds recently purchased not one but two homes on North Bay Road. Ah… Florida.

I’ve really simplified this. There are so many layers here. Some other stocks were in play like AMC (as in the movies) and Nokia (as in the flip phone you played snake on). I am trying to just pull out the meat and bones for you because what has happened here is historic. Never before has “the little guy” been able to manipulate the system the same way big hedge funds do every day.

If you are into the story, this is a good starting place for you, if my blog was the first place you started to read about it: https://thehustle.co/01262021-gamestop/

This guy is also a great follow on Instagram and gives a great perspective on what is happening: Dave Portnoy (President, Barstool Sports)

Click here for the 50 Best Memes on Buzzfeed like this one:

I left Robinhood and how they were involved out here which is a big part of the story. Nutshell: There is suspicion that Robinhood, stopped selling the GME stock in order to help the fund from losing more money. Robinhood argues that they just were maxed out and could not process any more purchases. There will be an investigation. Until then it is hard to say. I’m obviously going to keep following the story. Here are some links to get more information:

https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/robinhood-why-it-stopped-gamestop-trades-everything-else-you-should-know/

https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/2021/01/31/robinhood-explains-reasons-halting-trading-meme-stocks-last-week?email=robert.bustamante@gmail.com

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/gamestop-stock-plummets-short-squeeze-conditions-dissipate-citadel-melvin-capital-2021-2-1030028921