Sunday, February 28, 2010


Well, we have been in San Diego a week. In the 10 years I have been coming here I have never seen such crappy weather. The temperatures are mild but It rained 4 out of 8 days. Consequently, San Diego is the greenest I have ever seen.
Ernesto and I have embarked on a major challenge. We have given up alcohol and sweets for 40 days. We are back to doing Crossfit and thought this would be a great way to jump start our workouts. A flushing of sorts. As of today week are one week in. The fact that we are in SD makes it even harder because there are always sweets in the house. And as if you didn't know, drinking goes hand and hand with Mexican food [which is all we eat here and Im not complaining] and just the Espinoza's in general. Besides pining for fudge bars, cup cakes, chocolate cake and black licorice and a cold beer, here is a wrap up for our first week in San Diego:
  1. Take a long bike ride (riding with just one speed as a tribute to Back of the Pack Racing)
  2. Hike Cowles Mountain
  3. Thrifting at AmVets
  4. Dinner at Posiedon in Del Mar
  5. Hike Mt. Miguel
  6. Bought blue suede shoes for $20 at DSW
  7. Eat tostadas, fish tacos, ceviche, carnitas, and palomitas
I hope you had a great week too!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Avocado y Tomatillo Salsa

We are constantly trying new salsas. Last month Ernesto made a recipe on a recommendation from his co-worker Victor. You may remember this picture.
We posted that tomatillo salsa recipe here. Only later did we find out that his recipe called for blending the ingredients (not cubing). Ha! We made a variation of Victor's [blended] salsa a couple weeks ago and 3 times since. It is a refreshing, healthy salsa. Great for tacos or eating with chips. You can adjust number of chiles to your tolerance. Avocado y Tomatillo Salsa

To a blender add:
3 avocados
3-4 serrano or jalapeno chiles
8 tomatillos cubed
1 clove garlic
handful cilantro

Blend until creamy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Weekly: Concerts I Have Seen

I ran across this great site called Wordle. It's has program that generates tag clouds with words that you type in. I had a lot of fun with this today. You can pick the colors, font, direction of words. Imagine this printed out and framed! This is art! My wheels are turning. What a great gift for a friend or family member...or hang it in your baby's room (barb!?) or your studio.

I started typing in what I thought were random words, but when I looked closer I saw that these are all things I enjoy in my life.
Then I popped in all of the tags from my posts and came up with this busy cloud.
Anyway, back to the main point of this post. Today is Wednesday and this weeks listy-list is of: Concerts I have Been To (I may have forgotten a few/added one or two since events before this blog can sometimes be fuzzy)
(Lists still posted at Listography but since today I am fascinated with Wordle, I posting in a more decorative way )
What theme will you use? Be careful, this site can easily suck up an hour.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Taste of Santa Fe New Mexico

Every time I have visited NM I have those thoughts that inevitably cross my mind when I visit a cool place. I could live here. If you saw my Wednesday Weekly post, you know some of the things I love about NM. The list grew after visiting Santa Fe.
I had always heard Santa Fe is a lovely town. A shoppers dream. It is just 40 minutes north of Tim's house so we took a day trip with my sis-in-law Michelle on Wednesday. Btw, the speed limit is 75mph.

Michelle's friend works at a huge consignment store called Double Take (321 South Guadalupe Street) and said this can't be missed when visiting Santa Fe. The place is packed with vintage finds and ethnic pieces. It took all my strength to resist the fur coats.
There were cases of vintage jewelry, much of it costume and so sparkly
Even if you aren't into vintage, it is still worth a visit. There is something for everyone. You will find a huge selection of Native American jewelry
Plus the biggest selection of western wear I have ever seen
Full of textiles, colorful huilpiles, tunics or blouses worn by indigenous Mayan and Zapotec women in Mexico and the northern part of Central America
Handmade tiles from a local artist, Kathleen Koltes.
Michelle bought the tile she's holding and I ended up getting the blue bird tile show below (top right) as a gift from her. I love it! Thanks Michelle!
Woven rugs and wall hangings are scattered throughout the store. I love the designs and colors.
There is some great iron work. Michelle bought these goaty-goats for her front courtyard.
Ernesto and I found the perfect piece to come home with us to Atlanta. I can't wait to hang it above the couch. I am serious.
We wandered into Sanbusco Market Center (500 Montezuma Ave) just down the street. It houses 22+ stores, one of which is Chapare specializing in South American Imports. Nothing makes me want a house more than when I see great artwork that I don't have room for in our small apartment. These wall hangings are from Bolivia and I will have it eventually. The pieces are ceramic and hanging from a stick. This pic doesn't exactly capture the brilliance of the colors, but they fade from blue to turquoise to purple. Small $150, Large $499. Bigger is better in my opinion.
I love the pinks and oranges in these beautiful handwoven blankets. They will look great on my cream leather couch (that I don't have yet).
Without a doubt my favorite store in this complex was Dell Fox Jewelry. When entering the tiny shop, you really believe 'all that glitters is gold'. I immediately fell in love with several rings. All of the jewelry was 22k gold! Oh my heart be still! 14k gold holds nothing on the bright, rich color of 22k. The artist was in the shop and she is very pleasant and informative. She told us these rings were inspired by ancient Greek, Roman, Etruscan, and Byzantine designs. Many of these are replicas of Jewels at the Met in NY.
I picked out 4 favorites. I am seriously debating whether I want a diamond for my [replacement] wedding ring. I mean look at these beauties! My favorite is the one with a wide ornate band and pink tourmaline. Ps. 22k is not cheap! $3800 for that bad boy! There was a sale going on and is now only $2900, much less than a diamond.
While in the store, Dell Fox recommended a restaurant for lunch. Los Mayas (West Water Street & Guadalupe) is located in an adobe house dating back to 1929, and known for its authentic Mexican food and warm atmosphere. We were the only patrons in the place, which usually turns me off, but the menu was fabulous and in my opinion, recommendations from locals are always the way to go.
The city of Santa Fe enforces rules about the style of buildings so there is a cohesiveness throughout. I highly recommend you check out this unique, rustic town.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Weekly: What I love About New Mexico

{the view from Tim's front gate in Placitas, New Mexico}

listy list posted on
  • My brother and his family live there
  • Mountains everywhere
  • Gorgeous adobe houses. Most have courtyards
  • I hear mucho espaƱol
  • Food is muy rica
  • Good weather. Even when it's cold, it is sunny
  • Hiking biking skiing- all at your fingertips
  • Full of culture and history
  • NM green chiles. They know spicy
  • Great shopping. Ethnic decor galore.

Monday, February 15, 2010

24 Hour Race Wrap Up

Well kids, if you missed all of the updates over the last few days, the 24 hour bike race in AZ was a success! The Back of the Pack team broke their personal records, and Ernesto and I earned major props for being a terrific support crew to the team. We kept the fire going all night, had the burritos hot when they pulled into camp, made coffee and had tunes blasting (much to other campers dismay) at 6am. More updates and a few more interviews will be posted soon on Judd's blog. I was able to capture some great photos during the race.
{Racers line up at the start for the 500 meter run to their bikes}
{Back of the Pack team with the awesome work shirt jerseys}
{This one is the best, and may be used as the banner on Back of the Pack Racing blog.
They are coming around the 1st lap}
{After the race, Back of the Packers relax with a beer}

Overall, I enjoyed this experience immensely. I vowed to the team that I can be there anytime, any race for just a small fee [to cover the minimal airline costs]. I got some great exposure with my all of my interviews with the members, so hopefully my schedule will allow me to travel with them to upcoming races.

Ernesto and I are very inspired by these amazing racers and would like to pass this probationary status we have now as members of Back of the Pack. We will start saving for the single speed Black Sheep bikes today and promise to never wear spandex alone while biking. (2 of the criteria for becoming a member)

While I wasn't nearly as tired as the bikers after the race, I was pretty darn tired. With only a short nap from 430am-545am, I needed every minute of the 12 hours sleep we all got the next night. I leave you with a couple shots from a beautiful desert sunset and a few ristras from our drive through Hatch, NM, the chile capital of the world.
If you are interested in seeing the rest of the photos from race weekend, here they are:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Habanero Salsita..Muy Picante

Habaneros are one of the hottest peppers around. According to the scollville chile heat chart, there is only one pepper that is hotter. With that being said, you need to take care when handling these bad boys, they can literally burn your skin.

We never cooked with habaneros too much, but lately we have started to appreciate its unique flavor. The palomitas (popcorn) that we make every other day come out perfectly spicy with habaneros. Sometimes we add one to a big batch of pico de gallo to give it an extra kick.

The other night we were flipping through The Complete Book of Mexican Cooking cookbook, which I can't even find online. The cover pic is to the right. I bought it for Ernesto years ago at TJMaxx.
This salsa is HOT! We dipped some chips, and although the flavor was superb, it was too spicy [even for Ernesto] to eat straight. The finely chopped spring onions add a wonderful crunch.
Try adding this to a beef stew, or on tacos.

Habanero Salsa

5 dried roasted habanero chiles
4 dried chile de arbol peppers
3 spring onions, finely chopped
juice of 1 orange
grated zest and juice of one lime
small bunch of cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

*Soak the habanero and chile de arbols in hot water for about 10 minutes, until softened. *Drain, reserving the soaking water.
*Remove the stems from all chiles and chop roughly
*Put chiles in food processor and add some of the soaking liquid. Puree into a fine paste.
*Scrape mixture into a bowl.
*Stir in scallions, fruit juice, lime zest and cilantro. Mix thoroughly. Add salt to taste.

Live with Back of the Pack Racing in AZ

Today at noon the "24 hours in Old Pueblo" endurance bike race begins at noon. My brother Tim and his buddies Judd and Ted are founding members of Back of the Pack Racing, and they stoked to start this grueling race. Just as the name suggests, the race is 24 hours long and the goal is to do as many laps on the trail as possible. (each lap 16.4 miles) No sleeping!

It is not only these 3 dudes that are crazy enough to try this, the camp ground is filled with around 1000 people, 1/4 of them being supporters of the racers. Here I am sitting on top of the mountain overlooking the campsite. (in the middle of nowhere)
I have been assigned to blog, tweet and photograph this race from start to finish. All coverage will be on Judd's blog, Back of the Pack Racing so please check there for interviews, updates and tweets. Judd introduces me as guest blogger right here.

Ernesto's assignment is to keep the fire going all night, warm up the chile burritos and have good music blasting when they come into the camp between laps. The challenge for us is far less.

Pre-race videos are now up on Back of the Pack Racing. Check them out here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Flying to Tucson

It had been too long. 41 days since I had been on an airplane! Luckily there is always somewhere to go. My brother Tim invited us out to Tucson to cheer him and his buddies on in the 24 hours in the Old Pueblo endurance bike race. Thousands of people camping in the middle of nowhere while a 24 hour mountain bike race goes on? Ok, that sounds pretty darn exciting to me. More coverage on that coming in the next couple days. The flight to Tucson was 4 hours. A big thank you to Delta for a smooth [cheap] ride. I never mind long flights [with the exception of red eyes]. I turned on my musica, ordered a coffee and dug out a project from my bag. I love to fly!

As you may know I love turquoise and over the years I have accumulated lot of left over pieces from other necklaces I have made. I cut a 18 inch piece of heavy textured silver link chain and started to wire wrap random pieces on it. A jumble of sorts. I think I will call it pila (since I don't think there is a word for jumble in Spanish). As you can see I had a great little workstation on my tray table. I will post a picture of the finished necklace soon.
Quite a few ladies stopped by me to see what I was working on and asked questions. I recommended they go to the Tucson Bead and Gem Shows which are still going on until the 14th. If you haven't ever been and you love sparkly things, plan a trip. It is the biggest show of its kind, held annually in February.

Our ride from the airport should be here any minute. I am going to run to the restroom since it will be the last "real" toilet I will see for the next 3-4 days. Nothing like roughin' it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Weekly- Countries I have Traveled To

Countries I have Traveled
(A list from

  1. Mexico
  2. Belize
  3. Honduras
  4. Costa Rica
  5. Panama
  6. Nicaragua
  7. Colombia
  8. Peru
  9. Argentina
  10. Chile
  11. Brazil
  12. Ecuador
  13. Grand Cayman
  14. Bahamas
  15. Dominican Republic
  16. St. Kitts
  17. St. Marteen
  18. Aruba
  19. Canada
  20. France
  21. Spain
  22. Italy
  23. Greece
  24. Germany
  25. Czech Republic
  26. Poland
  27. Hungary
  28. Scotland
  29. England
  30. Holland
  31. Luxemburg
  32. Austria
  33. Switzerland
  34. Turkey
  35. United Emirates
  36. Egypt
  37. India
  38. China
**Layovers at airports: Iceland, Japan, El Salvador

Monday, February 08, 2010

New Recipes on VLC

I don't know how many of you check my cooking blog (Viva la Cocina) but I just added a couple muy rica recipes from the new Food Network show called Mexican Made Easy.
One is a traditional Mexican dish called chilaquiles. It uses stale tortillas and drowns them in a tangy green salsa for a delicioso breakfast.
Another recipe is huevos benedictos. (eggs benedict) This one is not a traditional Mexican dish, but by using chipotles in the hollandaise sauce it has a Mexican twist. Give them a try you won't be disappointed. Buen provecho!
{chilaquiles with roasted salsa verde: recipe here}
{huevos benedictos with chipotle hollandaise: recipe here}


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