Sunday, October 31, 2010

Every day is Halloween!

Halloween is such a fun holiday. It seems I am never fully prepared for it though. This year I tried harder to plan out a costume. Back in July when we were in San Diego, I found a pink fringe dress at H & M on clearance for $7. Yes! This is an easy flapper costume for Halloween I thought.
When it came time for the Critical Mass Halloween ride, it was a little chilly and I didn't feel like wearing a short fringe dress on a bike, so I did the face paint and that was fun.

Little 5 Points has a big Halloween parade every year, (one week early this year) and OOH the people watching!  There were a lot of costumes on the sidelines and I was wishing I had worn my flapper dress that day to the festivities.  As you can see the sidewalks were jammed with people waiting for the parade to come by.
Here are some of the other pics I took.  This is not your "normal" parade and if you've ever been to Little 5 Points you would expect nothing less.  Perfect example right here:
This is my favorite picture:
These cartoon character costumes made out of cardboard were really cool too.
Always interesting in Little 5.
On Halloween night we wanted to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.  It was a beautiful Fall day and we had gone on a little walk  in the woods [at Kennesaw Mountain] with Lucy and Sean, and decided to cookout at their house and wait for the rush of kids. 
Lucy bought her beautiful dog a bumble bee outfit and although she looked adorable I couldn't help but think the dog felt like she was wearing a dunce cap.  It was something I saw in her eyes.  You're not dumb little Aphi, as a matter of fact you are one of the smartest, most well behaved dogs I have met.  Not to mention the shiniest.
We were prepared with 5 lbs of candy.  I am sorry to say that the expected rush of trick-or-treaters never came and we were left with many pounds of left over candy.   (None of which I brought home with me)   We did see some cute kids in costume and no one was more excited than Lucy.  She jumped out of her chair whenever she heard little voices coming.
Lucy said she was going to be Princess Lea, and then bailed.  Ernesto and I thought it would be fun to dress up too. Really I just wanted to wear the awesome dress that I bought at Goodwill on Saturday.  It reminds me of a Mexican Katrina and it goes perfectly with the paper mache mask that Ernesto made and wore last year. 
Isn't it awesome? I keep thinking about when and where I will wear it!  $9!! LOVE.
Im not sure what Ernesto's mask is supposed to be, but he got it just so he could scare the kids.  He had a great plan to sit on the front porch very very still with the bowl, of candy.  Then when the kids come close he would scare them. 

Unfortunately he sat there for 15 minutes and no more kids came to the door.   Great idea though mi amor!  He had another great one too, he brought one of his Bliss Lights and pointed it on the house and tree.  Isn't that cool how one spotlight can cover so much space?  We had the coolest spot on the street. You can get one of these lights, just call us or go to the Christmas Light Pros

This is Halloween related and I just had to share.

My bother Bill and his wife Barbie went to a Halloween party and took "Cat Poop Cookies"
Take a look at how these no-bake cookies are served...on a bed of Grape Nuts  This is genius!

Cat Poop Cookie Recipe
Ingredients :
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 cups quick-cooking oats (Grind so Powder like)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Let cool a little.

Put in Ziploc bag. Cut end so you can squeeze "poop" onto wax paper- put in freezer to solidify.
Drop into a bed of Grapenuts and use a brand new kitty litter scooper.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Zafiro Jewelry: Going Going Gone

The Candler Park Fall Fest was a lot of fun last weekend.  Even though I was by myself at the Zafiro Jewelry booth, I did get to walk around a little bit and I saw a lot of great artists there.   I like that I am getting to know artists I see at different shows.  I learn so much from talking to them, and come home feeling inspired to try new things.
I also learn a lot from Zafiro customers.   I watch people shop.  I like to see what colors draw them in and what are their favorite designs.  

Yep, very informative they are, not to mention fun...especially if people are trying things on and buying! Yay!
Good and bad news: My favorite piece sold !
  Good, because Im so glad it found a happy owner.  Bad, because it was the piece I always had on my mannequin out in front of my tent.  It was a showstopper and always got people's attention.  So many women commented on it.  They loved it, but thought it was "too much for me."  I knew the right woman would come along.  She decided to buy it in 5 minutes.  It was made for her.

Some other pieces that sold at the show:
I only have two more shows this year, but I need to get moving and make some new pieces. Next up for Zafiro Jewelry:

28th Annual Fine Art & Craft Sale 
Saturday November 13  - 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday November 14  -  12 pm to 5 pm
Location: Paideia School (Near the corner of Oakdale and South Ponce de Leon)

Clairemont Elementary - 155 Erie Ave,  Decatur  30030
Friday December 03- 5:30 to 9:30 pm
Saturday December 04 - 10 am to 8 pm

Fit Fridays: Critical Mass Halloween Ride

It was just last month that I learned about the monthly Critical Mass bike rides. There were a couple hundred people on that ride and I thought it was so fun! Riding in such a large group and stopping traffic on busy Atlanta streets was so cool. On last Fridays' Critical Mass, over 430 people showed up for the Halloween ride and most of them were wearing costumes.
Smita had already had her costume on from work that day (iphone app: plants vs zombies) and Ernesto and I painted our faces like Day of the Dead.
It turned out being a very frustrating evening as I got separated from the group and ended up riding the busy Atlanta streets on my own (wearing all black no less).  How did I get separated from a group of 400 people you ask? No, Im not a slow rider!  I had to stop and try to coordinate [by phone] with two other lost riders (Grrrrr....Smitter and Nester!) and by the time I did that, the riders were out of site. 

I still probably rode around 10 miles that night, but the group went 20 and I.....Ugh!  I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Here are a few pics at the begining of the ride.  Happier times.

After the ride we ended up hanging out and the Elmyr in Little 5 for a little bit.  Everyone [but me] was tired from the long ride... grrrrr...
Oh well, lesson learned:  Don't use a cell phone or worry about lost people when you are riding your bike.

PS. FIT FRIDAYS was not posted the last week, but you didn't miss much.  Only I did. There were a few short runs over the last couple weeks. One Crossfit.  So Sad!

Last year at this time [xmas lighting season] I didn't workout much, because Ernesto didn't workout at all.  This is why I will be trying the 60 day challenge of INSANITY on my own.  My neice, sister, brother and sis-in-law are doing it and although I prefer to work out outside, this should fit into my schedule and there is no weather barriers to consider. 
I am starting this on Monday Nov1, along with no sweets [til Thanksgiving] and trying to drink a gallon of water every day!  Somethin' different!

New Mexico Posole (or Pozole) with Roasted Green Chilies

Roasted green chiles straight from New Mexico. Check. (thanks Lucy)
Posole recipe also straight from New Mexico.  Check.  (thanks Tim)
Well, no sooner did I get the email from my brother with his Posole recipe and I went grocery shopping for the ingredients!  I couldn't wait to eat this stew.  The recipe is so easy.  It would be great to make if you are having friends over.  However, we did not want to invite anyone so we could eat it all ourselves.  Two days in a row.  Sorry friends.

One key ingredient in making posole is the hominy.  Hominy is a large corn with hulled  kernels.  In Mexico, hominy is called maiz, and served in pozole,  but in New Mexico they call the actual hominy posole.  You can use canned hominy in this recipe, but I highly recommend that you find dried hominy and soak them in water overnight.  They will cook all day with the stew and really soak up all the delicious flavors.

This recipe calls for pork or beef.  I used pork, but I also think this would be great with chicken, or better yet, use all three.  Either way this is a repeater! 

Tim's Territorial Chile Posole Stew (serves 6-8)

1.5 Tbsp Canola Oil
3/4 pound pork or beef stew meat 
salt and pepper to taste
1 med onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups rich chicken, beef or veggie stock
2 cups dried hominy
(if you use dried, soak overnight.  otherwise, use 2- 16oz cans)
3/4 cup chopped roasted green chiles
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 medium potato, diced
3/4 pound chorizo, diced and browned

brown the meat, salt and pepper in the oil
add onion and garlic and saute until onion is tender
put in crockpot and add the rest of the ingredients - cook all day - add water as necessary
What are your favorite recipes using roasted green chiles?  I have one more up my sleeve (also a recommended by my brother). It's an apple pie and green chiles!  Doesn't that sound interesting? I would love to hear what you have made.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Couch: Out with the Old, In with the New

Out with the OLD in with the NEW [to me]!
A Year ago, when we moved back to Atlanta, we needed a couch.  We had a beautifully worn brown leather couch in our house before we moved to Costa Rica, and asked Brrrian  to couch sit for us.  Needless to say, he did not want to give back to us.  Anyhoo, Ernesto came home with this couch that he found on Craigslist.
For the record, I never liked it, but he argued that we would need a pull out bed for guests and I concurred.  Yes, it would be convenient and functional.  I agreed, that is, until the night our first guest arrived and we pulled out the wafer thin mattress.  (If he wouldn't have been so drunk, I never would have let him sleep there)  No one has slept there since.  Ok, functionality was gone, style was never there... it was time.....I had to get rid of it. 

I started the search [months ago].  I wanted clean lines.  I wanted Mad Men, but newer.  Like everything in my life,  nothing is set in stone.  When a new idea comes along, the others are out the window.  And when I stumbled upon this antique couch that needed a full blown redo, that is exactly what happened.

I thought this could be our main couch.  Stupid girl.

After starting the upholstery project I came to the realization that this was not going to be done anytime soon.  Much to Ernesto's dismay, I continued the search.  I prevailed.  I acquired another couch from Craigslist last week.  This down filled sleek mid-century modern style couch looks great in our place and was only $125.  I love it!
It is only 2 years old, yet has the mid century shape I was looking for.  It's very sturdy and very comfortable too.  My first feather filled couch, and I don't think there is any turning back.  Although the upholstery is not my favorite,  I don't hate it. (but is does give me another reason to frequent the discount fabric stores)
I sold the ugly sofa bed on Craigslist in a couple days for $35. Done.  I have  promised Neto that I will stop  my CL searching obsession now that I have 2 couches and my kitty.  But it won't stop.  Now I have a wood dresser/credenza/buffet on the brain...painted in a bright yellow lacquer...or wing back chairs in turquoise linen with white piping.  Ugh! Boy oh boy do we need a house!


Good news!  I have figured out the sex of Rare rare rare ti ti ti.  At first I thought girl then boy then girl.  I kept going back and forth, but after reading and looking at the [graphic] pictures on this site I was able to determine that Ti ti (for short) is in fact a male. 
 In the 2 weeks that we have had him, he has grown a lot, and I want it to stop.  He is so damn cute, and I know that is not going to change, but still, little animals are so precious!  Stop growing Titi!

I did a lot of online reading about how to take care of my new kitty, during which I found an organization called SNAP 2-IT.    SNAP-2 IT  is a non-profit and offer low cost spay/neuter services to Georgia residents.  They operate out of Fulton County Animal Services (managed by Barking Hound Village Foundation, Inc.) They are committed to decreasing the number of unwanted pets in Fulton County.  This is why low cost spay/neuter and vaccinations are made available. I paid $25 for registration tags, rabies and booster shots, and neuter. (plus the small donation I gave to SNAP) At a "normal" vet I would've easily paid over $200.   Note: all surgeries are preformed by certified vets.

I was able set up the appointment to get Titi neutered and his first shots for yesterday.  I felt nervous for him all week, and when I took him into the clinic I actually broke down and cried to the tech.  I know, what a crrry baby crrry baby. But he was crying in the crate and I felt so bad to leave him.  pobrecito.

They called me 4 hours later to pick up Titi and everything was fine! He weighs 2 lbs 4 oz and is very healthy!  He seemed a little groggy, but as soon as we got home he was ready to eat and play.  After which he slept the rest of the afternoon until his papi came home.  I love you mi Titi!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Mexico Green Chilies: Freshly Roasted!

I am so excited about these chiles!  My friend Lucy just got back from visiting her friend in New Mexico last night and as a thank you for the ride to and fro the aeropuerto, she brought me 2 big bags of freshly roasted green chilies. She watched them being roasted earlier that day too !  (Im sure she will be including that in her blog about her trip)
We ate one straight from the bag and froze the rest.  They are so delicious and spicy! wow! I can't wait for all the recipes I can try with them.
The first will be Pozole.  And until I get my brother Tim's recipe, I will save them.   I know there are other recipes out there, but I had this once at his house and it was unbelievalbe.  
I wrote him and email the other day about this...Come on Tim....Im waiting and hungry!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Upholstery Project: The Fabric Search

Back when I bought this couch on Craigslist,  I called my mom as I was driving to go see the couch and asked my mom if she would "help me" as I attempt my first upholstery project.  She said yes.  I purchased the couch for $50. Here is a reminder of what it looks like:
My goal while my parents were here a couple weeks ago, was obviously not to finish the couch, but to at least start.  It is an overwhelming project.  So like my mom does with everything, she jumped right in!  We flipped the couch over for the first step, taking off the bottom [black] lining.

Staples, staples and more staples.  I was actually supposed to have the whole thing stripped down to the "bones" before my mom got here.  Like I said, overwhelming! (...did i mention I'm a  procrastinator too?!)
The lady I bought it from said she bought it at an auction and had it reupholstered 20 years ago! wow! It turns out the springs ties are still in good shape.  A few of them had come loose where they were stapled to the wood frame.  Not a problem though.  We will reattach them and cover with the new batting and padding.
The cushions are in great shape and filled with down feathers. Besides being dirty as heck,  the only thing that is broken is the front left leg, which Ernesto broke while pulling it out of his truck after I bought it.  He already bought a new dowl so he can fix it.
Lucy is wanting to learn the art of upholstering too, so she came over one day and help us rip out staples, and staples and more staples.
The current status of the couch project:  stagnant.   My mom did say she would fly back to Atlanta when I have all the old fabric off the couch, staples removed and new fabric purchased.  I am determined to get this done!   I don't know why but all of my energy has gone into the fabric search instead of the labor intensive, carpel tunnel creating staple removing. ha!
In the past, my favorite fabric stores in Atlanta have always been Forsyth Fabrics and Lewis & Sheron. Both are filled with designer fabrics and frequented by "the trade."   Sometimes I'll find a great deal, but most of the time I go, it's for inspiration because the fabrics are just too darn expensive.  That being said, the selection can't be beat!

Recently, a women I met, told me about a store called Fabric World (1555 E Park Place Blvd # C)  in Stone Mountain, just 15 miles east of Atlanta.  It also is a huge store but all of the fabric is $3.99/yard!!!!   Oh.My.God.  It was so fun. My mom and I were in there  for over 2 hours the first time.  They have so many rows to search through, and this is my favorite part of shopping: THE SEARCH.  The same owner has another store on Memorial Dr. called Discount Fabrics and he sends fabric to this store and sells it for $1/yard. 

I am going to need 12 yards for my antique couch.  The fabrics at the designer shops are $15/yard and up.  I want need will find the perfect fabric at the discount stores even if I have to go there every week. ha! With my new found discount fabric stores, I can't justify paying more.

For example, I am in love with this Ikat fabric [below] at Lewis & Sheron.   But at $20/yard, I have compromised on buying just enough for pillows.  1 yard.  Although I love this chair, I think this fabric in a smaller dose will still be effective.
At first I was thinking a neutral fabric, but really I think this couch calls for something a little less boring and safe, don't you agree?  I see it sitting in our office or my studio one day.  I am always looking online at furniture before & afters for inspiration.  Design Sponge has a whole section dedicated to readers' projects, you can browse them here.  If I ever get my couch done I will have to send it to them.  Even though I would never do red, this couch redo below is one of my favorites.  I wonder if this fabric come in bright yellow?
I found this couch on Bloom Girls. I have had a swatch of this fabric on my inspiration board for over a year.  Forsyth Fabrics doesn't carry it anymore (plus it was really expensive) and I can't remember the maker. Anyone?!  I love it, but I would rather use this for the two club chairs my mom has waiting for me in her basement instead of my couch.
I also love this deep blue velvet with a contrasting white wood trim....oh the possibilities are endless!
Anthropologie couch via Casa Sugar

The "plan" [and I use that term loosely] is that I will work on tearing this couch apart in the next couple weeks, while also searching for the perfect 'wow factor' fabric so I can get my mom down here to help me bring this couch back to it's original glory. Updates to follow.....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Candler Park Fall Festival 2010

Come one and all! 
What:  This weekend Zafiro Jewelry will be at the Candler Park Fall Fest 2010
The weekend will be filled with a variety of events including an artist market, a food court located at the end of the festival street, live entertainment, free children’s activities, the Candler Park 5K at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and the Tour of Homes on Sunday from 12:00 ~ 6:00 p.m. They anticipate up to 15,000 attendees during the two-day festival.

When: Saturday and Sunday noon-7p

Where: Inside Candler Park, 1500 McLendon Avenue, Atlanta, Ga. 30307 • One half mile east of Little Five Points on McLendon Avenue • Three blocks walk from Candler Park Marta station (East line)  
Zafiro will be in booth #8 on the right side of the street near the entrance of the park. 

It looks like the weather is going to be a beautiful, so come out support your local artists!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mad Men Yourself!

I can't believe this season of Mad Men went by so quickly. Sunday night was the season finale, and I don't want to spoil it for you, but Don, what have you done?!  Are we really going to have to wait till next year, July even, for season 5 to begin??  I think I may die in anticipation.

My friend Lucy found Mad Men Yourself on the AMC website where you can actually pick your traits/accessories and create a Mad Men avatar for yourself.  How fun!!  I did Ernesto first.
He does have a fedora hat like this one that he looks so hot in, the sport coat is also something he wears, but the skinny pants are not him.....yet!  (I did buy him a pair of skinny jeans that he promptly made me return)  Notice he has a donut in his hand and a "lady friend" on the couch. 

For my avatar, I picked the airplane setting (of course) and dressed myself like Betty Draper when they went to Italy.  Remember that episode?  Oh the beehive hair and gloves and jewelry.....
I also added the donut in my hand because when Ernesto does sneak the donuts by me at the grocery checkout, I end up eating one or two.  
I cannot stress enough that you must watch Mad Men.  I don't think any other show would convince me to share [or even make] these silly avatars.  You just want to be a part of it...somehow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fit Fridays: Ti ti

This week just flew by, didn't it?  Mine was filled with joy.  I think this picture will explain it.
Look at my cute little babies:
I didn't even want to leave the house all week so I could spend time with my little Ti ti.  He is doing really well.  He's using the litter box and eating kitty food.  He is really funny too.  He's chasing around his toys: balls with bells and a squeaking mouse, jumping up for feathers and climbing his way up the bed, chairs and legs.   I already have him trained to come running when I call him.  He likes to hide in my Tico pot.
He also likes to sleep a lot, especially on my sheepskin rug. 
Nothing seemed more important as giving lots of attention to my new kitty.  However we did manage to get a lot of work done for The Christmas Light pros,  do a few more estimates and get our workouts in.

Saturday: rest
Sunday:  Run Atlanta Belt Line to Piedmont Park
Monday:  Run 4 miles
Tuesday: Crossfit: 5 rounds:  run 800 meters, 30 wall balls, 30 box jumps,
Wednesday: Crossfit: 9-27-27 /6-18-18 /3-6-6 of thrusters, pull-ups, bar dips
Thursday: Crossfit:  4 rounds or 50 sumo dead lifts
Friday: rest

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Christmas Light Pros of Atlanta
That's right!  I know you aren't ready to say it yet, so I will!  Christmas is right around the corner.  Believe it or not, we have already been getting calls and going out for estimates.  We are scheduling our current clients and offered a discount for early installations.  I am determined to raise our sales by even more that I did last year.  It is my job after all.

We will be doing a lot more internet marketing this year.  We had a postcard designed and will be mailing it to the neighbors of some of our current customers in hopes they saw the awesome work of the Christmas Light Pros and want to do the same.  We have also posted it on Craigslist, & Flickr.  Registered on Merchant Circle, a great site for local advertising and connecting with other businesses . 
If you live in the Atlanta Metro area, this discount applies to you as well. If you book your installation for before November 8, you will get a 15% discount.  Call us for a free estimate on your home or business.

Also, if you live in Atlanta, you are bound to see our commercial:

It's not just Christmas time that we work.  For example, one of our xmas light clients was celebrating a birthday of a friend and went all out a couple weeks ago.  Ernesto wrapped trees, lit up the entrance and a wooden garden arch that went over the "red carpet" entrance.  They also wanted Ernesto to make a Happy Birthday sign, which which ended up taking him a long time, but it turned out so great!
Needless to say, the clients loved the sign and since they did not want to keep it, we now have a great Happy Birthday sign to rent out to clients. (we will cut off the Sandra, or Sandy do you want it for your New Years Eve Party?) I know we will be using it for my birthday!


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