Nothing A Little Chicken Soup Can’t Fix

I had the worst cold of my adult life last week.  All I could do was sleep and blow my nose. One of those days where you imagine getting hit by a truck would feel better than you do in your bed under the covers.  

When I was younger, if I even sneezed in my Abuela Yaya’s presence, I could expect a full pot of chicken soup almost immediately.  Food was a huge part of how she showed her love to all of us. She fed us. Her chicken soup was actually the last thing she made for me before she passed.  Even through her cancer treatment, she did what she could to comfort us. I remember showing up early, and she finally let me in on her favorite Tomato sauce that she swears was the secret to her soup.  You should know she was a dirty liar who won’t give you the entire recipe to anything. Maybe she just wanted us to keep coming back for the real thing. However, the next time I made the soup, shortly after she passed, I put in some of the sauce like she told me to and it was the best one I ever made.

It’s been almost 10 years since she left us.  This soup is my secret weapon to any and all colds and viruses.  I now make it any time someone in my house sneezes in my presence because, thanks to Yaya, I know how loved and taken care of it feels to get a warm pot of chicken soup when you aren’t feeling your best. I made it for myself last week once I got the feeling in my legs back.  

I now make it in my instant pot, because that machine is magic.  However I made it in a pot for so long, that I am also giving instructions for the good old fashion way.  Also, feel free to sub in whatever veggies you have, or like to use. I mix it up depending my mood, and what is available. This is just a guide you can add in or take away vegetables or seasoning depending on your taste. Hope you enjoy

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb skinless boneless chicken breast or cutlets also work
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • Tomato Sauce (I use Pomi Strained Tomatoes)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Bijol
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • Noodles – I like thin noodles but it’s your preference

Veggies:

  • Potato
  • Malanga
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Spinach
  • Plantain
  • Garlic

Directions

Instant Pot

Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Pour three cups of chicken broth and add your chicken to the pot.  Add all your cut up vegetables (except spinach if using) and spices (except dill).  Add more broth if you think it needs it but do not pass the Max line. Pour in ¼ cup of tomato puree, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  

Close the top.  Make sure the pressure release valve is in place on Seal.  Press the Soup/Broth Button. Let the magic happen.

Once the pot is done cooking the soup, release the pressure by switching the valve to release. BE CAREFUL DO NOT OPEN THE VALVE WHEN YOUR HAND IS OVER IT. Open the lid.  Throw in any egg noodles, the spinach if using and a little dill.  Mix it all in and cover for 5-8 minutes. Enjoy.

Stove Top

Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper. Pour 4 cups of broth into pot on medium high heat.  Add the chicken, and all your cut up vegetables (except spinach if using). Add in the spices to taste (except dill). Pour in ¼ cup of tomato puree, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Mix it all together and bring to a boil. Let it boil strong for 2-3 minutes then cover and lower heat to medium-low. Let it cook mixing ever so often for 45 minutes to one hour. Add in the spinach (if using) noodles and the pinch of dill.  Mix in. Cover. Let stand for 5-8 minutes. Enjoy.

Let’s Just Say NO!

Over the weekend we celebrated my daughter, Dylan’s, 7th birthday with a big gymnastics party!   

I made the controversial decision this year to refrain from handing out goody bags to the kids.  Obviously, this did not make me very popular with the children.  I was the anti-Santa. I had so many adorable little 7 year olds coming up at me.  Each one would hug their mommy’s legs, eyes full of hope, voices timid as they said “um hi, Dylan’s mommy, thank you for the party, can I have my goody bag?”  I would gently come down to eye level with each one of their gorgeous little 7 year faces, and with a warm smile say “Nope!”

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed saying no.  I’m not a monster. Did I feel guilty about it? Sure didn’t.  Not even a tiny bit. It was a relief.  I had just nailed this party {Yes- I did!}.  I brought in Mickey and Minnie.  I even had Mal from the Descendants pop in as a special surprise.  There was pizza, popcorn chicken, cupcakes, cookies, and all the pirate’s booty you could ever want.  I drew a line in the sand- no goody bags.  

Goody bags? Why do we do this to ourselves?  Do we not have enough going on as parents?! Why are we adding this absurd “to-do” to our lists that are already endless.  We, as parents, should get a goody bags {I mean vodka} for throwing our awesome little assholes parties in the first place.  We are already coordinating and managing all their school schedules, projects, homework, and the like. Plus their after school activities including but not limited to making sure they do not overlap, driving them, carpooling, buying all the required equipment, and coaching fees.  We plan and get dinner on the table. We monitor whether their shoes fit for crying out loud. We have jobs. We have relationships. Agreeing to take on a party is a bold task in the midst of all of this.

If we so lovingly and generously throw them a party, why do we also have to give goody bags full of cheap little garbage to all the kids who attend? Who started that trend?

Am I cheap? Yes! But that is not the point here.  Let’s do the math:

  • I dedicate  $5 p/kid (which is a lot) for the goody bag.  
  • At 40 kids that’s $200 just in goody bags.  This is a lot of money.

What am I getting for $5 to put in each bag-  It’s going to be either a bundle of cheap little plastic toys in line with the theme of the day, or slime or a lego set that you will inevitably step on because it was too small for them to assemble and they got bored.

The only thing worse than paying and assembling the goody bags, is knowing that inevitably you are going to have a few left over and now what are you supposed to do with all of it? Throwing away always seems wasteful, so out of guilt and obligation you keep it.  This, Marie Kondo, is how we end up with a house full of things that spark no joy!

I not only refuse to hand out goody bags to my guests going forward BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY I request that you do not give my kids goody bags at your party.  

Am I ungrateful? I guess the argument can be made.  However you want to know the dirty truth- when you give my child a goody bag it has the lifespan of however long it remains in my child’s field of vision.  The second I can throw that away without them noticing- it’s gone. Gone! You read that correctly.

Is it because I am extremely eco-friendly? No! But since I had to give up my plastic straw in my iced coffee, I decided to have a zero tolerance policy for plastic crap in our home. 

What are goody bags? Essentially a cheap bundle of  plastic uselessness, all of which manage to spread into all the random areas of my home, and ending with the inevitable stamp to my couch.  You know what I am talking about those cheap stamps that are impossible to remove from a child’s skin without a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  Don’t get me started on the stickers, mazes, straws, and candy.  I’m throwing it all away. No matter how nice you think it is. Stop being upset with me, you also want to throw out goody bags. Maybe not as quickly as I do, but you throw it all away as soon as you can.

I want us to stand together and agree we can take this off the list for future parties.  Save your money. Save the to-do. When you throw a party you’re not only entertaining my children for a significant amount of time but you are also feeding them.  They’re having a blast! That is the gift to them. It’s a win-win.  We should stand together as parents. No more goody bags. Say it with me NO MORE GOODY BAGS!  

 

Happy Easter

Have you ever wondered how the mystical Easter Bunny came to be? Why each and every Easter you find yourself scouring Target or Walgreens looking for plastic eggs and candy? As if our lives are not busy enough, we have to take these plastic eggs, break them apart, fill them with said candy, and somehow try to get them to snap back together again to hide around the yard? I asked myself these questions typically in a more vulgar way each and every Easter.   Then, one year, something happened and it led me to a rather strong theory.

I grew up Catholic.  What I mean when I say that is, I attended Catholic private school from 5 years old up until 18.  I went to church every Sunday, no questions asked. My grandfather is a Deacon at our church, and he and my grandmother attended Church every day when I was growing up.  He still does.

The Catholic Church had its rules, its beliefs, its stories and each day in class we were given an hour of religion to learn it all.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. Being an over achieving, type A, teacher’s pet- I ate this up. I learned all the Bible passages, recited all the prayers, and on holidays like Christmas and Easter I was the first one to put on the very puffy dress and run to mass.  I took everything the nuns, priests, teachers, and my grandfather said as concrete truth, and never ever questioned it. Would not have even thought to question it. It all happened. Facts.

So imagine my surprise as I was having a conversation with my oldest daughter, Blake, a couple of years back.  It was a typical weekday at this point in time they were 5, 4, and 2 ½ . Our house was in total disarray, toy bins were dumped over and no one was wearing pants.  I had just given the kids dinner and most of it was on the floor, and the rest was all over them. Naturally it was bath time. I wrestled the three of them into the bath and started to fill it with water and toys.  

Easter was coming, and the girls were so excited.  Blake especially was ready. She wanted to know all the plans for the weekend, because like a true competitor she wanted to plan her egg hunt strategy.  However the conversation took a strange turn.

“Mommy, why do we celebrate Easter.”

I had this answer down pact.  Walk in the park. I had basically been reciting this for most of my life.  I looked her right in the eyes and said, “Well baby, we are celebrating Jesus, rising from the dead.” {Nailed it.}

“What? Rising from the dead? What do you mean?” She asks so innocently.

“Yes baby.  A long time ago, no one believed Jesus was the son of God, and they killed him.  Then on the third day he rose from the dead and that is why we celebrate Easter.”

There was a long silence as she kind of just stared at me.  As an adult reciting this story, I do see how someone could have doubts about this.  But hey! That’s the story I had, so I gave it to her. I could see her brain working, and she said:

“So… Jesus is a zombie?”

BOOM!

My entire Catholic upbringing flashed before my eyes.  All the crucifixes. All the reading (and sometimes performing) of the Stations of the Cross.  Jesus is a zombie. Zombie Jesus. How did I never catch that? In all the years of hearing this story, how had I not seen it?

Then I brought myself back to my reality a tiny person staring up at me asking again.  “Mommy, is Jesus a zombie?”

I was now a parent of a child who was not in Catholic school (we can talk about this another time) and here she was barely out of Kindergarten questioning the story behind Easter.  What was I supposed to say?  Then it hit me. I looked right at my daughter and completely ignored the question and said, “Blake how excited are you for the egg hunt? Wow where are we going to look for eggs first?”

It all makes sense.  The whole egg hunt thing for Easter.  If parents put candy in plastic eggs and throw it around the backyard, the kids don’t have time to think about the story behind the holiday.  They definitely don’t have time to question it. They just take it as is and rejoice!

Jesus rose from the dead and now there are Kit Kats and Peeps everywhere.  Bravo to the parents who came before. The distraction method. Genius. Happy Easter!

 

SW 37: {4.13.19} 

Weekend Update

My family and I recently got back from a magical trip to Beaver Creek, CO.

I am not a girl who grew up skiing.  I am Miami born and raised, and most of our family vacations were tropical.  So when my husband and I went on our first ski trip two years ago, it should go without saying, that I was less than a “skilled skier”.  In fact it would not be completely inaccurate to say that I was terrible.  Our first instructor became so nervous and flustered attempting to teach me to ski, he called in sick the next day.

I guess watching someone lose control and go straight down a green (beginner) run, with no control, and no knowledge of how to stop- is hard for some people.

Well this time around, I did eventually catch the hang of of it.  By catch the hang of it, I mean I can very gingerly make it down the mountain without dying.

Now- I have filled you in on how limited I am on skis, let me tell you how my husband and the other “responsible” adults who were all aware of my deficiency set me up to fail on this trip.

My husband, three friends of ours, a ski instructor, 4 of our combined children, and myself all wanted to ski down an easy run together.  We had to split off to go on the chair lift.  Our girls wanted to go with my husband, and my son with me.  Since there are two kids with my husband, the ski instructor decides to ride with them.

Somehow all of these “skilled” skiers, these responsible adults, have left ME alone with my son.  I try to be cool and confidant. I mean of all the times I had fallen, I had never fallen on a ski lift. I can’t let my 5 year old son catch even a whiff of how insane I think everyone else is for leaving us, so I’m playing it cool as I watch them all get on the lift ahead of us.

There goes the chair in front of us, I say “Ok buddy time to start scooting, let’s go.” Only he had dropped something and didn’t scoot right along with me.  The ski lift guys swoop in and take Tristan out of the chair lift lane, breaking our hand hold, and somehow I am sitting on a chair alone with my son crying in this guy’s arms.

So I did what any warm blooded, anxiety filled, nervous spaz would do- I threw myself off the lift right before it began to go up.  My skis went flying, the lift came to a stop.  I looked over and the ski lift guys are not happy.  As I start to come to, I realize they are also yelling at me really loud.

“Ma’am you cannot do that! We would have sent him up with someone on the next lift. Are you crazy?!”

First of all, who the hell are they calling “ma’am” and secondly my son is not going up with anyone else.  I stood up, grabbed my son, grabbed my skis, and made eye contact with no one as I sat us on the lift. I looked back at the lift guys and just said, “carry on.”

And they did.  When we got to the other side of the lift, there were all the “responsible adults” laughing and whispering amongst themselves, “what did you do to make the lift come to a stop!?!” they ask.

xx
Cristina

Woodstock 

In a time where Fyre Festival is bringing a disastrous name to the music festival space, and being the first weekend of Coachella- I bring you word on the latest revamp of Woodstock.

In its 50th Anniversary, Woodstock is coming back to show us that not all music festivals end with cheese sandwiches and a port-o-potty wondering what JaRule did with all the money.  Even though looking at pictures of the original Woodstock, I’m not so sure the original hippies of Woodstock would have minded the Fyre Festival fiasco.

What made the original Woodstock so legendary?  Most of us were pretty young at that time.  I found THIS Buzzfeed article that helps bring it home.

With some pretty major headliners, this year’s Woodstock is looking to be pretty incredible.  Click HERE for an article on the headliners and what you can expect.

Shout out to Santana, The Grateful Dead and John Fogerty for being at the original Woodstock!

Tickets go on sale on April 22- check out the full website HERE.

Standouts of the Week 

Brace Yourselves. Coachella Is Coming. Yesterday was the first day of the California music festival.  Rumors are rampant that Ariana Grande is going to be bringing out some or all members of *N’SYNC (cue the gasp) at her set today.  To get all the details on who is performing click HERE. To watch and stream the performances click HERE.
Adele Is All of Us.  When Adele and her friends caught word that Beyonce was dropping a documentary (see below for all those details!), they reacted the way we all did.
Meghan Markle Breaks Instagram.  The royal couple broke tradition 10 days ago by joining the rest of the commoners/peasants on IG.  Check out @sussexroyalAnd The Award For Best Drama Goes to… The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  This is not a drill.  The story of Will Smith, Uncle Phil, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Jeffrey will be coming to a theatre near you as a….. DRAMA! Check out the trailer below, while simultaneously singing the theme song in your head.  Trust me.

I Want to be a Millenial.  I used to say that I was part of the millenial generation in shame.  Society’s view on millenialism (it’s a word go with it), has been harsh in the past.  But no more.  Apparently Millienials are figuring out how to YOLO and maybe we should all start taking notes.  HERE is how Millenials are redefining luxury, and HERE is how Millenials are figuring out moderation- which I have always heard is key.

Feeling Annoyed of Your Sibling Today? Imagine having 30 of them.  THIS lady did 23 and Me and went from being an only child to finding out she had 29 siblings out there from the same donor father.  This is why you I will always keep the anonymity box checked.  I have enough crazy family members in my life (dear family member, No! of course not you the other ones).

Dogs > People.  Click here for 14 Dogs From Around the Internet that will make you smile because it’s Friday and well, dogs.

TV Addict Update  

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

What’s on my list to watch next?  

Homecoming a Film by Beyonce: (Netflix) One year to the date of this epic headlining Coachellaget a complete behind the scenes look at everything Beyonce did to get ready to blow us away. Will air April 17 at 3 AM EST

The Perfect Date: (Netflix) Noah Centineo is back for another teen romcom of your dreams.  I have yet to see it, I am way too caught up with GOT BUT HERE is a review that says “it’s just fine” which is really all I need to know- I’m definitely going to watch it and love it.  Now playing! Click the picture for the trailer!

Game of Thrones: (HBO) TOMORROW! Sunday, April 14.  I found THIS amazing list featuring the must watch episodes in case you are feeling ambitious.  I know there’s a good amount of you who probably watched all 7 seasons to get prepped! God bless you!

Have a suggestion? Let me know

White Walkers:
mythological “creatures of ice and cold who, more than eight thousand years ago, came from the uttermost north.” They have the ability “to reanimate the dead as their servants, known as Wights.” A wight is also any “preternatural, unearthly, or uncanny creature.” The First Men were “the original human inhabitants of Westeros.”
James Corden hooks you up and recaps all of Game of Thrones in a 4 minute rap #yourewelcome
The King’s Council as played by Jimmy Fallon and company
#winterishere

Am I Lori Loughlin?

It’s almost impossible at this point to not be aware of the college admissions scandal going on at USC, Yale, Wake Forest and a few other universities.  When the news first broke, I was shocked. I mean the Aunt Becky I knew would never be going to jail.    “Appalled”, “Disgusting”, “Selfish”, and “Entitled” are just some of the words being thrown around at drop off, the girl’s soccer practice, the gym, and anywhere else I find myself.  I didn’t hear a single person defend her. I mean defending her is not exactly possible. I did try to see and understand her point of view. I mean she’s a parent, she’s a mom.

There is this funny phenomenon that has happened {at least to me} in parenting, in where I found myself doing and saying things I never ever thought I would say or do.  My decision making process no longer includes things for myself, but for these three tiny people that I brought into the world. To say that I lose a grip on what is “fair” or “rational” in the midst of a decision that involves my children would be putting it mildly.  In the name of doing what “I think is best” for my children, I have now found that this includes many things that I would not have imagined prior to having kids or being in that scenario.

In all of our own small ways we “Lori Loughlin” our kids’ lives.  How many of us have given extra donations to our place of worship in an attempt to guarantee a spot for our child at the school or class? How many of us have put deposits down at the “best preschools” in an attempt to reserve spots to the detriment of other people who needed to secure a school more desperately than we did?   How many of us have sent gifts in an effort to influence teachers and principals to make sure our kids got the “good” teacher or “gifted” placing? How many of us have put our noses into making sure our kids got the “best” coach or got playing time? How many of us fight and scratch at each other to get the “most sought out” standardized test teacher? Plumped our kids’ resumes?  How many of use or plan to use “legacy” to get them into a prestigious high school or college? How many of us use the side doors available to us?

Where is the line? We are privileged.  We, as a society of privileged parents, create this culture that our kid must be and have the best.  It’s this unspoken philosophy of doing what it takes for our own children, sparing no expense.  Never stopping to think that the price of these decisions are not just monetary there is a social cost, and no one, myself included, likes to think about it that way.

Is this college admissions scandal too far? Absolutely. Should she and the other 33 parents, 9 coaches, and others be punished? Without hesitation, yes. 

The system has punished other parents for doing far less to help their children advance.   Here is the story of a mother, Kelley Williams-Bolar,  who was  arrested and sentenced to jail for 10 days plus 3 years probation on the charge of falsifying her address to get her daughters into a better school district.  Kelley was also sentenced to pay $30,000 in “back tuition” {for a public school}, for the education her children received.  Can you imagine? This woman just wanted to give her children the chance to receive a better education in another district. Perhaps that is where our disgust should be redirected. We are worrying about booking the most elite standardized test teacher, while other people are just trying to get their children something that we take for granted- a great education.  

Following these thoughts, I started to wonder, if I were put in the position to do what Lori did- would I? The truth is- I cannot know.   How could I know? As of right now, my husband did not create a clothing brand found in every Target across the universe, and I was not the famous aunt on a long running syndicated TV show that just got a reboot on Netflix.  It’s impossible to say that I would not have taken the same opportunity she did if all things were the same (all things defined as access and money, both limitless). I’d like to think I wouldn’t do it. I try to think that I would not cross the line and do something I know to be illegal. I would like to think I would let the cards fall where they may and have my kids attend colleges to which they earned admission, on their own merits.  I know most parents with similar access and money do not decide to cheat. I know a lot of parents stress hard work, work ethic, and determination. We definitely do that here in our house.

However, I return to how rational any person can be when making decisions about a child and his/her future.  When a person has the opportunity to do what she thinks is best for her child, and the means to accomplish it- she takes it. Every time. In whatever facets of life that means to her.  

Perhaps this is the reality check we all needed.  To start being more mindful about how we are parenting.  More considerate of others as we make decisions.  Maybe this allows us to see more clearly the chasm-like disparity in opportunity and fairness in our society that we already knew existed.  Maybe, we can start to wonder what we can do to change it.

 

SW 36: Have Mercy {3.19.19}

SW 36: Have Mercy {3.19.19}

 Becoming That Mom 

Becoming a mom is a funny thing.  I always wanted to be a mom.  I had ideas about what my career would be, but I knew without a doubt that I was going to be a mom.  I also knew without a doubt that I would be the best mom, obviously.  I had the entire mom thing planned out and down to a science.  I was going to ROCK and it was going to be so easy.

I was going to have three kids, all boys.  I was never going to have a minivan.  I was never going to feed my babies store bought food.  I was going to always have my kids well dressed.  I was always going to be patient and understanding.  I was never going to be the mom who yelled.  I was never going to be the mom whose child was screaming at a restaurant or had a tantrum at the market.

You get where I am going here….  In my 20 something naive mind- besides not being able to control the gender of your child you are also definitely not able to control what kind of mom you become. Also I practically begged my husband for a minivan- and almost exclusively bought store bought food.


In the latest installment of “the mom I thought I would never become”- my daughter joined a traveling soccer team.

I’m two years in, and have started to notice a common thread in all of her videos when I watch them back.  It’s my voice.  It’s my voice yelling.  It’s my voice yelling A LOT.  I am not only “that” mom- I am THAT MOM.

But I love it {another surprise}.  My daughter wishes I would take it down about 15 notches, but one day when she has a kid of her own she will know- it isn’t possible.  There is no bringing it down notches.

However I was humbled this weekend.  As I was filming her shoot a penalty kick, I got a little too excited and I completely fell face first.  In being nothing if not open and authentic, I just posted it on my Instagram.  Enjoy!

xx
Cristina

Aunt Becky- Have Mercy!


The ongoing college admissions scandal, for those who still don’t know, involves the arrest of 50 people total including Lori Loughlin, her husband Mossimo Giannulli, Felicity Huffman, 33 other parents,  9 coaches, and other administrators and test takers across the country.  William Singer- the ringleader would take money from parents across the nation to sneak their kids in through the “side door” of universities. Since 2011 Singer has reportedly earned $25 Million running the scheme.

For those wondering who else besides Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are involved HERE is an article filing you in on who else has been arrested in this fraud.

The jokes are rampant, the memes are amazing:

*if you do not understand this meme go watch Netflix FYRE Documentary- I mean what else have you been doing?

Other celebrities are jumping in and taking some jabs:

But these parents have one major defender in their corner.  Meet “Billa” otherwise known as Malcom Abbot, whose father and mother have been charged for paying Singer (the standardized test taker) to help one of their daughters get into college.  Billa, very proudly defended his parents before promoting his upcoming album “Cheese and Crackers”.  I can’t make this shit up.  Read the whole articleHERE.

In the end, Operation Varsity Blues, as it was called by the FBI was worked on for about 10 months, used over 200 agents across 6 states.

This article gives an excellent breakdown. Click HERE and The New York Times has a great break down HERE.

My Internet Rabbit Hole 

Pete Davidson has gotten himself into a pickle again.  He compared being a Catholic to being an R. Kelly fan on SNL Weekend Update, and the Catholic Church is not having it.  Growing up a Catholic, I have to just chime in and say to the Catholic Church- REALLY?! I know no one wants to be in the same category as R. Kelly BUT you may just have to take that jab on the chin and keep looking down.

Either way something tells me, these days, he does NOT care at all about what most people think about him… (I only posted this picture because Antoni gives me life). Find the article HERE

I’m Burning Up.  I realize I am a 35 year old adult, but is it just me or is that new Jonas Brothers Song, “Sucker” catchy AF?  I don’t know why I felt any shame- I’m going to just say it right now I’m a Jonas Fan #takethat, I just can’t stop listening and you won’t be able to either.  Check it out HERE

*** But if you want to jump into a serious Jonas Rabbit Hole
HERE they are are on Spill Your Guts/Fill Your Guts on James Corden and HERE is Carpool Karaoke

My New Favorite Instagram Follow! Pivot! Pivot! Courtney Cox just joined Instagram and is quickly becoming my favorite follow.  I’m a nostalgic fool when it comes to Friends, and her references are OH MY GOD.  Check out her page HERE.

A Whole New Aladdin.  The new live action Aladdin was not going to be good.  I was convinced.  How could it possibly be good, when Will Smith looks like that? I was so wrong, because if the movie is anything like the trailer- I may actually make it through one of these movies without having taken a mini nap or 4. Check it out HERE.

TV Addict Update  

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

What’s on my list to watch next? Velvet- have you seen it? Is Don Alberto everything I have heard he is?
Have a suggestion? Let me know

Lots to discuss today!
GOT: April 14! Guys we 26 are days away.  Are we even ready for the final 6 episodes? Is there any prep we should all be doing? People are rewatching the entire series? Should I be doing that? Are you doing that? Other people are telling me about all these GOT Podcasts (HERE is a solid top 5 list). For those who haven’t seen it check out the trailer HERE:

Pen 15: (Hulu) I LOVE this show! The episodes are 25 minutes and it is a hilarious take on two nerdy girls trying to survive 7th grade in the year 2000- I’m talking landlines and hand written notes. Check out the trailer HERE.

Billions: (Showtime) Season 4 just premiered on Showtime this past Sunday. If you aren’t caught up- it’s on my must watch for sure.  Love me some Nick Brody mixed with Paul Giammatti and Tara Knowles for good measure.  If you need help with these references I am happy to give you a course in useless TV knowledge.

Queer Eye: (Netflix) Season 3 of of the Fab 5 is back and I’ve only ugly cried through 2 episodes out of 4 so far.  These 5 men bring so much joy everywhere there go.  After Leaving Neverland and all the other darkness I’ve been catching- this show is a breath of much needed fresh air and love.

Paradoxical
seemingly absurd or self-contradictory.

Stephen Colbert tries to guess how GOT ends and John Snow has a cold dead heart doesn’t even give us an inch.
In case you needed more evidence that British people are far and away more polite than Americans- check out David Beckham keeping his cool during this prank.

SW 35: Happy New Year!

SW 35: Happy New Year! {2.26.18}

Happy 2019! I realize it is [the end of] February.  I know we aren’t exactly saying that to people on the street anymore, but it’s the first time we’ve spoken this year so it seemed appropriate.

So what’s been going on with me? Here is the quick nutshell version.  Kids went back to school.  I have yet to forget a pick up time or place, but  to be clear this has only happened once and it was last semester and we will discuss this at another time.

Let’s see I turned 35 earlier this month, and was what some would call a shit show.  By some I mean all my friends and family, and by shit show I mean I cried spontaneously, was overly sensitive and impossible to please.

What else? Oh my husband started Whole 30 and invited me to come along.  I’m kidding.  He would never do that because he knows one week in I would be Miranda Lambert throwing my salad at a poor passerby.

I did however decide to join a “fitness challenge” at my gym that requires me to go 19 out of 30 days.  I’m currently on day 8 and have serious plans on skipping tomorrow.

As you can see things are as about as exciting as ever!

Picked a few good headlines from the year… will be back soon.

xx
Cristina

An Oscar’s Breakdown  

And the Host Is.  No one.  Last night for the first time since 1989 (apparently that was a train wreck click HERE) there was no host at the Oscars.

The Oscars.  If I am being super honest- I didn’t watch.  I fell asleep.  I had already seen all the dresses (JLo being my favorite obviously), and had a sneaking suspicion the Bradley Gaga love fest was not going to play until the end.  So I did what all red blooded millenials do- I googled all the good stuff this morning.  Here is the breakdown I have for you {in order of importance}:

Gaga and Bradley Sitting in a Tree: The duo really delivered in the performance that has the entire world on FIRE.  Everyone is talking about.  Did they almost kiss at the end? Maybe! One thing is for sure, if Bradley’s baby momma, Irina, was Latin, Gaga would no longer be with us.  At least in Cuban women, the jealous rage is real. #facts Check out the performance HERE.

The Fashion: There were so many different looks.  I went through most of the lists, Harper’s Bazaar pretty much nailed it with their Top 10 click HERE

but in case you want to see a few of the other looks from last night here is People’s,Vogue, and E!.

Vanity Fair After Party Fashion: Because the after party fashion is kind of more important than who won the show.  Check out the Vanity Fair Red Carpet Arrivals HERE.

The Winners: Full List HERE

Chrissy Tiegen is a Godess: as usual- in my favorite moment of the entire night, Chrissy Tiegen pushes John Legend out of the photo.  Check out the hilarious momentHERE.

Standouts of the Year So Far 

We Didn’t Start the Fyre.  This year started off with a big buzz around the Fyre Festival or AKA the #FyreFraud. I mean look at these two guys.  How could this have happened?  What could go wrong when you have Ja Rule and some guy named Billy MacFarland in charge?
                   Tale of the Dueling Documentaries.  If you have yet to see one of the dueling documentaries that were put out by Netflix or Hulu about the personified mayhem that occurred in the months leading up to #FyreFraud- it is definitely worth your time.

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, the Netflix Documentary does a good job of cataloguing and setting a timeline for how and when things started to go very wrong.  They also shed light on the Bahamian workers, and other staffers, who arguably lost the most in this fraud.
Particularly this guy.  I would tell you what this guy was willing to do to save the Fyre Festival but some people may report me as spammy content.  See for yourself.  Trust.

Fyre Fraud: A Hulu Documentary does a good job in filling in the theory as to how this kind of fraud could be so successful.  They analyze the power of influencers and social media on this generation.  More importantly they also let you know how much Jerry Media (the producers of the Netflix documentary) had to do with the viral promotion of the festival.  They break down how this insane social media induced ponzi scheme played out, and have an exclusive (BUT paid for) interview with Billy MacFarland.

The Ultimate Fab 5 Performance.  Jonathan, Bobby, Karomo, Tan and Antoni went onto Lipsync Battle and magic ensued.  There was a Britney tribute and a Beyonce tribute that will bring nothing but unadulterated joy.  Click HERE

The Marie Kondo Effect.  Thrift stores can actually no longer take us sparking joy.  Since Netflix released the organizing series, Goodwill reported a 42% increase in donations.  Check out the article HERE.

I Don’t Want No Scrubs.  Is Weezer making all of our dreams come true, again, with another cover?! The answer is YES! They have gone and remade arguably TLC’s greatest hit and it’s obviously amazing!

TV Addict Update  

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

What’s on my list to watch next? Russian Doll (Netflix) just caught the first episode, and it’s dark and twisty and really smart.  Natasha Lyonne is one of my favorites.  Will report back soon.
Have a suggestion? Let me know

Abducted in Plain Sight: (Netflix) I watched this documentary over the weekend, and the story just keeps replaying in my mind.  I have started to take a deep dive to write a post about it, because it leaves you asking yourself WTF over and over.  However in the mean time I would suggest watching it, especially if you are into the crime drama scene.  Even if you aren’t, it’s worth watching if you are feeling like you’re doing a shitty job as a parent.  Turns out you could definitely be doing it worse.

Whiskey Cavalier: ABC can find any genre, with any script, and any director and so long as it stars Scott Foley- I will most definitely watch it. Basic, right?  When I first saw the commercial for this series, I thought it was a joke.  ABC and Scott Foley could not be coming out with something so cheesy and predictable.  Well, just saw the first episode on Hulu, and it was watching Jake Ballard be a traffic cop.  My prediction is this show gets one season- unless there is a drastic turn of events in the next episode or two.  Try it for yourself premiers Wednesday, February 27 (ABC).

Flimflammer
a person who cheats
Jimmy and Gwenyth have a lyric battle- and it ends with Gwenyth getting sprayed with water in the face.  I have to admit- I really really enjoyed that more than I should have.
Jimmy Fallon joins the cast of Hamilton, Puerto Rico for the opening of his show.

Family Photo Tradition-ish

December is arguably the busiest time of the year for our circus.  We have birthdays, our anniversary, all the holiday parties at school, and my husband caught the flu this year which really just throws your entire universe into a blender.  So in order to really complicate us, I decided to schedule a family photo session a few days before Christmas.

I don’t do family photo sessions as often as I should.  I aim to do it once a year, but realistically it’s been about every other year.  I do it for a few reasons.  First, it’s my favorite way to document how much our kids have grown and changed from one session to the next.  Second, it’s probably the only time I am going to be in a picture with my kids with my hair clean and with makeup.  Finally,  I secretly like to torture the kids and my husband for an hour by having to be dressed like humans who like to smile at a camera.

I was excited this year to work with Christian Arevalo and his amazing wife, Genesis.  I remember seeing a family session they did for a friend of mine on Instagram, and just being blown away.  You just immediately pick up on his vibe. There is so much warmth and beauty in every one of his photos.  If you have not had a chance to check out his work, I would scroll down below or check out his site, HERE

We spoke a couple of weeks before and decided to do the session in our home to help make the kids more at ease.  We both agreed that in-home sessions always bring more heart to the photos.  From the moment they stepped into the house, the kids were taken to them and he just started snapping. 

He gave us some direction to sit on the couch as a family… Then he let the kids be, themselves…

He captured some pretty sweet moments….

And some pretty funny moments…

 

But most importantly it was just us.  He just captured us, and I’m so very grateful. 

Bustamante Circus 2018

SW 34: {12.21.18} ‘Tis the Season

Bah Humbug

I have been busting my ass and my AMEX this last month to try and make Christmas perfect for my children.  However, here I am 4 days before D day and in full fledge panic mode.

Organizing who gets what, all the holiday shows, lists of what you should give and to who, and when to gift wrap- it’s all just too much.  I called my best friend today on the phone and we just screamed in unison. 

It’s hard enough to figure out exactly what to get them. Then you try to find all the best prices and get the toy before the “holiday rush” and you end up having to spend 3x on Amazon just to snag one.  Plus there is always that added bonus that your kid changes their mind and wants something new before Santa even arrives. 

Now I have an 8,6 and 5 year old.  I order the gifts early enough for the right price, but where am I hiding them?  Where does one hide the toys for three children without said children finding them.  Then you have to wrap them, but they can’t see the wrapping paper.  Because how could you be wrapping the gifts- doesn’t Santa do that? 

“Yes darling I just bought the paper to help.”

No one is buying this. 

You see where I am going with this.  This is exhausting.  I now look back at the day my dad told me there was no Santa in the name of “always telling the truth” and more to free himself and my  mother from the prison that is Santa. I get it, dad.  I think I’ve been subconsciously leaving hints the last two weeks.  I know what you’re thinking:

 
You may not be totally wrong about that.  But before you write me off as a mean old Grinch- really think about it.  We put our blood, sweat, and tears into making this holiday so special for our little monkeys.  Then you’re standing there waiting for a hug, and it never comes.  They don’t think YOU are awesome they think this magical man, this Santa guy is awesome.   What gives?! 

I know. I know.  The innocence.  The magic.  It’s incredible to watch them open the gifts and be so mystified by how it all happened.  Listen, I’m talking a big game but I’m on my 8th Christmas doing what I can to keep the magic alive.  

Which also does bring me to the big question, when is the jig up?  I thought for sure by 8 Blake would have had this all figured out.  That girl can crack the code on my phone, overhear private conversations between Bobby and I that I didn’t even realize she was around for, and can do multiplication.  Does she actually want me to believe that she still thinks some magical old man from the North Pole is delivering all these gifts to her and kids around the world.  This kid is playing me.  I know it.

Not to mention that our son is now in the phase that all our kids go through, in that he now believes he is Jewish.  He is really in the throws of confusion as he has asked for a yarmulke from Santa to wear to Shabbat. Never a dull moment.

Wish you and your families a very happy holiday season.  I linked some pretty funny holiday videos below, and will catch you in 2019.

xx
Cristina 

In The Spirit of Christmas

The creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, actually got the chance to bring South Park to Comedy Central because of a Christmas short they made one year and sent to a few friends.  People thought it was so hilarious, that Comedy Central gave a green light for the show.

Wish you could see that clip? Well I got it! The clip is a little under 4 minutes- consider it my gift to you.

Click HERE or on the image to watch the first ever South Park Christmas Special and you can click HERE for the second because I love a good Santa vs Jesus fight.

More Hilarious Christmas Clips 

James Corden Won Christmas.  I promise you that you MUST watch this.  Guaranteed happiness. Click HERE or image.

Matt Damon hosted SNL over the weekend and they perfectly captured what Christmas is like for most of us. Click HERE or on the image it’s a MUST

Deck the Halls. Jimmy Fallon and Lin Manuel Miranda turn Cardi B and Migos songs into Christmas Carols.

It’s a Wonderful Life. SNL does what they do as they spoof a classic Christmas movie with “It’s a Wonderful Trump.” Click HERE or on the image.

Happy Xmas.  Miley Cyrus, Sean Ono Lennon, and Mark Ronson teamed up to sing Happy Xmas (War is Over), and it’s beautiful.

Jimmy Fallon, Horation Sanz, Chris Katan, Tracey Morgan all come together to recreate their SNL skit “I Wish it Was Christmas Today” and are joined by our Ari. Click HERE or the image

A Few Christmas Gifts from Me to You

Christmas Morning Breakfast.  My favorite part of Christmas is definitely my kids’ joy.  But my real is answer is definitely the food.  For anyone looking for some recipe inspo, I found some good ones HERE.

BLOCK ROBO CALLS. My Gift to You.  I’m nothing if not generous.  I am so sick of getting all these weird spammy phone calls on my cell.  I know that there is no privacy anymore but what happened to decency?!
Anyway there may be a way for you to block these calls.  Click HERE for an article which tells you step by step how to block all unwanted or unknown calls.

Lin Manuel Miranda, Emily Blunt and James Corden do 22 Musicals in 12 Minutes.  You’re Welcome. Click HERE

Grinch:
a person or thing that spoils or dampens the pleasure of others.
“visit Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.”
December 10, 2019 1:51 P.M.

11 Years

Memory is a funny thing.  I can barely tell you what I did over the weekend, but I can tell you what I ate for breakfast the day I married my husband, Bobby.  Smoked Salmon and a bagel, but only half the bagel because God forbid I have too many carbs the morning of my wedding (so young and so naive- you’re 23, eat the carb girl!)  

I was so calm that morning, the entire day really.  I remember my mom and sister asking me if everything was ok- and it was probably one of the first times in my life I would say yes and truly, confidently mean it.  Saying yes to marrying Bobby at 23 was the easiest decision of my life and I could not wait to do it. We had sort of known of each other our whole lives (our families were friends), but only really met 5 years before that.  Once we kissed- I was a goner.

Our wedding was perfectly us.  We kept it simple and beautiful with as little pomp and circumstance as possible.  It had most of our families, all our friends, and two cases of tequila that were gone within the first two hours.  We passed around bottles of champagne while “Pasame La Botella” blasted and we danced until 2 AM. It was one of those nights that I still can’t believe we had- let get to say was our wedding.  

Up to this point we had been living a fairy tale.  So when people would say how hard marriage was, and we saw all these divorces- I thought to myself that could never be us.  I didn’t get it. I couldn’t begin comprehend how that could happen to a couple. Our marriage could never be one of those falling apart or out of love situations.  I would think about our 10 year anniversary and plan where we might go to celebrate, because I knew we would make it there.  Not only would we make it there but we would be spilling over in happiness.  But then life happened.

I graduated law school.  We moved. We had a baby. My husband was in the midst of starting up a new company, and money would fluctuate.  We had student loans. We had bills. We fought. We gained weight. We had a second baby. My husband’s company was doing well.  We moved. We had a third baby making it 3- 3 and under. My husband’s business had to tighten up. We had bills. In-laws. We moved.  I got sick and was in hospital for 2 weeks. My husband sold a company. We had bills. We moved. Arguments with families.  We went to many weddings. We had death. So much death, so close together. We had graduations. We lost weight. I got high blood pressure.  We had soccer games. I got a therapist. We made new friends. We hung out with old friends. We traveled. We fought. We went to therapy. We fought more.

Life.  It fucks with you. It takes no mercy.  There we were on the cusp of 10 years, and we had been through so much.  This man that I so clearly knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with that morning 10 years prior eating my bagel and lox- was the same man that I know could hardly be in the same room with without fighting.  

What the fairy tales don’t tell you- is staying happy is work.  If you don’t work, resentment creeps in. We had some amazing times in those 10 years, but when you’re racing through life trying to get from one place to the next or survive one bump in the road before the next one hits.  It’s so easy to just let the resentment linger there. Rather than really work through it, we ignored it. You’re exhausted. Watching the movie or the latest TV show is easier and way more enjoyable than having yet another talk about feelings, and the he said she said of it all. So resentment grows.

We weren’t talking to each other, and when we were talking we definitely weren’t listening.  Was it too late for us? We brought our relationship up to the edge and we were either going to jump into the Divorce abys or we were going to turn around and try to work through it.  

I wasn’t calm this time.  This time I was an anxiety ridden mess, and I was definitely eating the whole bagel because at 34 I know that you need to YOLO, and also I eat my feelings.  This time I didn’t know what to do. I knew I had the lives of three beautiful kids, kids we made together on the line. I had no idea what was going to happen, because I knew that I was being taken for granted and under appreciated, and this was definitely ALL his fault.  Right?

Long story short, no.  I was not right. I was equally at fault, and equally as ungrateful.  Without accepting my part in this- it could never work. We decided to fight for it.  We started dating again. We started being honest with what we need from the relationship.  We started compromising. We started taking care of ourselves. We started seeing each other again.  We love each other. We are best friends. And soon the calm came over me again, because I knew that we had learned that we needed to work for it.  Being together was the only option for us right here, right now, and hopefully for always.

We are more grown up at this point in our lives.  Life isn’t a fairytale. If anything it’s more like one of those Wayan’s Brothers’ scary movies.  You’re more likely to have to run from some huge scary man trying to kill you in a hilarious way than you are going to find a prince marry him and live happily ever after.  

I can see now how marriage doesn’t work out.  You can’t take it for granted. It’s work. It’s effort. It’s sacrifice. Sometimes people aren’t ready.  Sometimes people are too hurt. Sometimes life just hits too hard. I count us as one of the lucky ones. We were able to find our way back to each other in a time where it is sometimes just easier to quit.

I look at our 11 year anniversary now as the the anniversary I am most proud of.  It is the year we took ourselves to the brink and learned how to fight for it. I fell in love all over again.  We renewed our commitment to each other this year. Maybe not with words, but with action. We grew as individuals and we came back to grow together.   I look back at the 23 year old who so confidently and quietly knew what she wanted and smile. She nailed it.