Saturday, February 26, 2011


Im so excited with this armoire I found on Craigslist this week.  It's solid wood and only set me back $60.  The details on the top doors scream Moroccan/Moorish design.  I haven't decided what color I will paint it yet, but I see a bright high-gloss finish in its future. 

No, no we don't have the space for it, which is why I was surprised I was able to convince Ernesto to pick it up for me.  I stressed that all the drawers will come in handy.  Plus I promised that I would organized his socks and underwear.  It is now shoved inside our walk in closet, but will be on display once we have our house. 

Sometimes, space or not,  you just can't pass up a cool piece. 
 Titi likes the ample drawers too! 
I would love to hear your ideas.  What color would you paint this beauty??
updates to come.......

Friday, February 25, 2011


Here's hoping I am a winner of this months GrandTurismoTravels HomeAway Holiday-Rentals Travel blogging competition. The February contest is simple.  List 10 memorable travel moments.  Just 10? How to choose?
1. Buying shrimp as big as my head in Kerala, India from an old man who pulled up to our house boat in a wooden canoe.

2. Riding bikes in the "Ruta Durango a Mazatlan 2009."  A two day, 200 mile ride through the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico. Funny story: We had no training!

3.  Building a house in the small village of Nagewadi (outside Mumbai, India) with Habitat for Humanity's Global Village program.   

4. Cutting in and riding some guys horse at "el Tope de Palmares" an annual festival with a crazy horse parade just outside San Jose, Costa Rica.

5.  Tasting unknown street food in Shanghai, China while filming a short travel video for Delta Airlines. 

6.  Meeting a man on a ferry to Isla de Omatepe, Nicaragua and following him to a "great restaurant" which really seemed to be the backyard of his family or friends.

7. Sipping mint tea and modeling different belly dancing outfits in Istanbul, Turkey

8.  Walking the streets of Honolulu eating fresh pineapple when my boyfriend (now husband) turned to me and told me he loved me for the first time.

9.  Sleeping in a hammock on the beach in Mazunte, Mexico and ordering/eating my breakfast without moving from said hammock.

10. Playing with the kids of a small indigenous village in Copan Ruinas, Honduras and buying their corn husk dolls for $1.

**This post has been entered into the Grantourismo/HomeAway Holiday Rentals travel blogging competition.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I want to thank you for all of your excitement and well wishes for our  big announcement the other day.    It feels nice to say it and make it real!  I think Ernesto and I are still in disbelief!  Maybe when my tummy is huge it will hit us!?

I will be blogging all about our experience here on Viva Cindy,  an online pregnancy journal of sorts.  I looked at a bunch of pregnancy journals at the bookstore and none seemed cool enough to buy.  (if you have a recommendation for one you like, please leave it in the comments) I took some ideas from different books because there are definitely certain things I would like to record and remember.   I made up this fun little Q and A  for starters.  

How long were you trying to conceive?

3 months

Was this time longer or shorter than you anticipated?

We weren't really anticipating.  I don't think we realized what we were getting ourselves into.  It happened so quickly.  Luckily it didn't go on long enough for us to get discouraged.  

Were you using any special "methods" to assist with conception? 

Month one and two I just used this generic ovulation calculator I found online.  On month three I bought a Clear Blue Fertility Monitor on a recommendation of one of our customers and I got pregnant the first time I used it.  I would highly recommend it to anyone not wanting to mess with temperature readings and charting, etc. 

What made you decide to take a pregnancy test?

My period was 4 days late, so I wanted to know if I should stop drinking a half pot of coffee every morning and wine with my dinner.

How many pregnancy tests did you take?

One.  Come on, they are 99% accurate!  Those odds are good enough for me. 

When and  how did you tell your spouse? How did he react? 
It was Sunday, January 16th morning.  I went to CVS for the test.  Ernesto was sitting right there on the couch when I did it.  When the line showed POS in 2 seconds, I said OMG.  He said "No way!" and scrambled for the directions to see if I was reading it correctly.  ha!  We stared at each other smiling. Totally in shock.  I did a little preggy preg dance, and we hugged.  2 seconds later I was taking a picture of the test when then the phone rang.

Who is the first person you told ?

It was my brother Bill calling.  Ernesto said,  sure, tell him if you want.  

The conversation went something like this:   
me:  puckwaa!!
Bill:  hey puckwaa!  What are you doing?
me:  you wouldn't believe me if I told you.
Bill: whaa?
me:  Well I was just about to take a picture of my positive pregnancy test!
Bill:  WHAT? No Way! 
me: yep
Bill: I don't believe you. [laughing] Are you kidding?  Im about to tell Barbie, so tell me if you are lying.
me : Im not kidding and I have a picture of the positive test right here.
Bill:  Let's Skype, I have to see it.

How did you tell the rest of your family? 

I called everyone else.  Once I told one person, the rest had to be notified promptly.  Word travels fast with the Arnolds.  I received the same reaction from Jenny and Kelli too. Non-believers.  I guess it was a case of crying wolf.  I had pushed my stomach out one too many times.  Tim and Brrrian did believe me the first time I said it.  Thanks hermanos!

I skyped my parents to tell them.  I wanted to see there faces.  They have been waiting so patiently over the years.  But my dad couldn't get the sound to work on his computer so we were on the phone talking with the picture on the computer.  My mom said said " oh, I will just read your lips"  Perfect!  "Ok mom, read my lips,"   I proceeded to mouth into the camera "Im pregnant!!"    There were squeels of joy [from my mom] and disbelief followed by tears from my dad (he's quite the crrry baby, crrry baby-love you dad!).

Ernesto called his mom and told her by making a joke that she make his [twin] sisters baby shower a joint shower including me.  (She is due April 4)   "Si??? De veras? De veras?"  (we may have teased her too much over the years as well)   She started crying immediately.  She was so happy and must have started calling people as soon as they hung up because our phone started ringing with congratulations from California! 

How far along were you when you made your "official" pregnancy announcement?  Why then?
9 weeks, 3 days.  I needed something exciting to blog about :)  You can read the "official" announcement here.
I know it can be taboo to tell people too early but this is the way I look at it:  Im not a private person, so [heaven forbid] if something did go wrong, I would be blogging about it, and people would know what had happened.  You can never have too many encouraging words, right?

What are your symptoms (if any) now ?
 Just tired.  Morning sickness spared me, thank god.  I really pride myself on never getting sick, so Im glad the streak lives on.

Have you been to the doctor yet?  If so, how was your first prenatal appointment?

I went to my first Dr's appointment a week ago. It was very uneventful. They did some blood work and couple other tests.  When we found out they weren't doing anything exciting, Ernesto left and I walked home.  It was a beautiful day and we live 3 blocks from my Dr's office.  I will probably walk to the hospital when I go into labor. ha!  We go back March 3rd for our first ultrasound.  

Boy or girl? One baby or multiple babies? 

TWINS PLEASE!!!   I know, I know maybe that is crazy, but we are getting a late start.  I would love to have a boy and a girl in one shot!  Done and done! 

Will you be finding out the sex of the baby?
NO!  Again, maybe that is crazy, but I am the type of girl who LOVES surprises and I can't think of a bigger, better surprise than anticipating something so exciting for 9 months.  Plus, Ernesto and I are neither planners nor controllers so we don't really have that itching NEED too know. 
The sex won't matter anyway, I'll decorate unisex.  Not baby pink or baby blue. 

How have you changed your lifestyle (ie: eating habits, exercise routine, etc)?
The biggest change is that I have cut WAY back on caffeine.  I was relived when my doctor said a cup of coffee is fine.  I love coffee and don't drink any other caffeinated drinks.   Im also drinking herbal teas at night.  I haven't had any cravings per se, but have been eating a ton of grapefruit and trying to drink even more water than usual.  I have had to skip some of the raw milk cheeses that I love, but it's no big deal.  I am taking pre-natal vitamins and fish oil pills.  

My exercise routine has continued, although, I have notice that I tire much quicker while running or even walking up a hill!?  That really makes me feel like a puss.  The other day I found a this Crossfit Mom blog with modified Crossfit workouts for pregnant women.  I will be starting these workouts promptly.  Don't worry, when my body has had enough or I am too tired I will stop.  I always have. Only difference  now is that I have an excuse to quit and Ernesto won't yell at me for it. ha!

What books (if any) are you already reading ?

My friend Chris recommended a funny book called. "The Baby Owners Manual: operating instructions, trouble-shooting and advice on first-year maintenance"
It refers to the baby as a piece of equipment and the book reads like a manual for the "model."    He said he read it twice before his son was born so I ordered it for Ernesto.  He read some to me last night and its quite funny, yet informative.

Are you showing yet? Any other physical changes? 

No tummy bulge yet,  but my boobs sure do look great!  I can't wait to show them off all summer.
  (come on, let me have this...I've never had cleavage before!)

Have you started thinking of names for the baby? Do you already have a nickname for the baby? 
I've kept a list of baby names over the years.  Girls names are so much easier than boys.  Whatever we choose, you can be sure it will be a name that sounds nice when said in Spanish and English.  Ernesto suggested that I pick the girl name and he picks the boy name.  And we have to accept the others choice, no matter what.   If I agree to this, our sons name will be Francois.  (although since ernesto has liked it for 10 years, it has grown on me)
I joked around about the baby being "feety-feet"  (fetus in Cindy talk) but Ernesto doesn't like it.  Im sure a nickname will pop up sooner or later.  They always do with me.  I don't call any of my siblings by their real names.

Have you purchased anything for Baby yet? 
No, but I have a whole new search criteria on Craigslist!  So fun!  I am determined to find the Bob Revolution Stroller for $200! Im also loving this white  baby mod crib.   The biggest baby purchase will be a house.  We started the hunt a few weeks ago.


Now that the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, I want to give a shout out to the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor.  I give 100% credit to this device for such a quick conception!

It's not that we were frustrated with trying, or too impatient.  It had only been 2 months and we were very casual about it.  (No crying when it didn't happen)  As I said before,  I looked on some websites about determining your ovulation dates, but they seemed so involved, (charting temperatures, mucus etc.) and I was not motivated too put this type of effort.  The easier way?   Plug in the first day of your last period to this handy little ovulation calculator.  ha!  This "technical" method did not work.

One of Ernesto's customers that has been with him from the beginning would ask him every year if we were ready to have kids yet.  No was the answer for 7 years.   Finally this year, Ernesto told her that we had started trying last month.  She told him "Oh you have to get this fertility monitor.  My husband and I used it for 2 kids and both times we got pregnant the first month."   Hmmm. 

Ernesto told me about it that night and I looked it up on Amazon.  First I saw the price:  $140. Ouch!   (and that didn't even include the pee sticks)  But then I got sucked in reading the 200+ reviews of women who conceived right away after buying this.  Ok, Im buying it.  Who wants to "try" randomly for months on end?  Not I.  If you know me at all, you know I am an instant gratification kind of girl, and usually if someone/thing is offereing me some help, I will take it.

Just before I was about to buy on amazon, I thought, let me check Craigslist.  Strangly enough, there was only one ad and it had been posted just the day before for only $50.  Just my luck!  I picked it up the next day.

How this little thing works is simple:  When you start your cycle, you push the start button.  On day 6 the monitor tells you to pee on a stick and insert it into the monitor so it can read the levels of htc hormone.  (you will do this at the same time every morning, first pee of the morning)  Each day the monitor will read low fertility.  When your chances are greater for conception it will read high.  The day that your egg has actually dropped it shows a picture of an egg (fool proof!) and this is your sign to get busy.  (or do the "baby dance" as it is referred to online)

Funny story:  We were at my parents for xmas the month I used this.  On day 13 of my cycle, we were up at 4am to go to the airport.  I peed on the stick and and without any "high" warning the day before,  the egg appeared.  Shit!  Ok, ok we will be home in a few hours.  Surprisingly (extreme sarcasm) the flights were full a few days after xmas and we did not get on several in a row.  Waiting...waiting...I thought we were going to have to sneak in the airport bathroom.  Luckily we squeezed on a flight and were home by 2pm.

I added our success story to the amazon reviews the day we found out so I could help convince other women to go ahead and buy this.   Of course if you are reading this, I will just let you borrow mine:)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blogging Your Way e-Course

I am so excited!  I finally signed up for the Blogging your Way e-Course with the talented Leslie from A Creative Mint  and Holly Becker from the awesome design blog Decor8.   I wanted to sign up for the this class the last couple times they offered it but was too slow to commit and the class filled up.  Not this time.

The class is 4 weeks long and include podcasts, webcasts and a ton of learning materials that I will get to keep and review at my leisure.

Just check out some of the topics covered in the class:


* Key things to include on your blog
* Finding your niche & your voice
* Writing from the heart
* Creative post ideas
* Overcoming fear & writer's block
* Sourcing your content
* Photo copyright
* Community building
* Building your readership
* Handling negativity online
* Marketing
* Blog ads
* Social networking
* Tips for taking better blog photos
* Styling photographs (beginners/intermediate)

So Exciting!!!  Ill let you know how it goes.   Better yet, you will get to see the changes in action!

Im so excited to meet all the other bloggers taking the class and can't wait to get started re-vamping Viva Cindy and making it the best it can be. 

I will keep you posted on the class from beginning to end.  Who knows, maybe it will inspire you to sign up for the next class!?

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I love grapes.  I love all fruit really, but this week I am really loving grapes.
A few fun facts about grapes:
  • grapes are a refreshing snack
  • grapes are an excellent source of antioxidants 
  • grapes are used to make wine [ie: one of my favorite drinks**]
  • a grape is the size of a baby in the womb at 9 weeks
My wombGrowing for the last 9 weeks***.  
A baby!! Coming to the Espinoza household in September 2011!

I realize some of you may have thought we were never going to have kids.  But after 12 years together, Ernesto and I decided that we finally know each other well enough to take the "next step" in our relationship.  ha!

Those of you that know me well, know that I am always up for a change in my life. 
Do you think this will do it?   We have been practicing with Titi for the last 6 months, so we should be ready when the baby arrives. 

I have written up a little question and answer page that I will publish this week to let you know all the fun details.  If you have any questions, please add them to the comments section below [or shoot me an email] and will be sure to include them in my post.

At just 9 weeks, there is little evidence that I am pregnant, which is why I am only sharing this non-bump picture from the day we found out the news.   (if I could show you my boobs, you would be convinced!)

Bye bye flat stomach!!
Taken January 16,  the day we found out!
Well there you have it.  Our sweet news for 2011!  
We are excited for all the changes coming our way, even though nothing seems real yet.  More to come on that, plus next week I will kick off week 10 with a belly shot series that will last the duration of my pregnancy (if you care to follow along).    
Viva bebe!

**Is it too early to announce?  Not for me. 
*** I stopped drinking wine:)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Last weekend Ernesto's primo Marcos came to Atlanta with his girlfriend Shanel for a little escape from San Diego.  (I know, Atlanta?  Really?) 

  I liked that they came to Atlanta with a list of places to check out, because frankly when I think of taking guests "sight seeing" in Atlanta, I am at a loss.  You know how it goes, you don't really explore the city where you live like you do when visiting another city. 

When we discovered that they are big time foodies too, their destination choice made sense.  Maybe it had a little something to do with us living here, but they often pick destinations based on what they have seen/read about the cities food scene.  If there is one thing Atlanta has, it is an abundance of great restaurants [and shopping, for that matter]. 

We indulged the whole weekend in both cultural and gastronomical activities.  What a great time!  Sometimes it takes visitors to make you explore in your back yard. 

I am happy to say after 10 years in Atlanta, I finally know what the Cyclorama is.   Located right next to the zoo in Grant Park, this historic site is not a biking route/facility as I had thought (ha!)  It's actually a museum that houses a cylindrical oil painting of the American Civil War Battle of Atlanta. Visitors view the enormous painting from their seats as the central cylinder rotates slowly affording a view of the entire painting while a narrator tells the story of the battle.  A great history lesson! The painting is said to be the largest oil painting in the world, and if unrolled would almost fill a football field.  It weighs around 9000 pounds!

Another site that I am embarrassed to not have visited before is the Martin Luther King Center.  There is really no excuse, I mean,  I live just two blocks from the house where he was born and 3 blocks from the center. 
Well, this was a weekend of firsts.  The MLK center was so interesting and gave an amazing recap of unjust times.  It was even a bit emotional.  It's hard to believe the civil rights movement was a relatively short time ago.

Usually when Ernesto and I have visitors we cook for them.  This time? Not even once.  I have never eaten out so often.....ever!  5 days in a row, some days 2 times a day.

Here is a great list o places to try if you are already in Atlanta or coming to visit:

The Vortex  (Little 5 Points) A unique burger joint with a crazy decor and a funny as hell list of "stuff you should know".  For example, the Vortex is an "idiot-free zone" at all times. So if you are acting like a great big jerk, we will be sure to let you know, right before we throw your ass out." (visitors choice, featured on this Man vs Food episode)

The Porter  (Little 5 Points) Pages and pages of beers from around the world. (our choice, a favorite spot close to our place)
Fontaine's Oyster House (Virginia Highlands) Just like the name says, this is the house of Oysters!  Delicious and always fresh.  Also serve up a great gumbo! (our choice, we love oysters!)

Paolo's Gelato (Virginia Highlands) Ooooh Paolo!  This place has been my favorite for years now.  Unique flavors are his specialty and I tried rose and avocado this time.  Both were great, but I stayed true to my favorite, pistachio.

Gladys Knights Chicken & Waffles  (Midtown) How have I missed this landmark southern food joint?  Clearly everyone else knows about it because at 10pm we still had to wait an hour for a table.  Outside. On the sidewalk.  The food was classic and the service proved that there really is such a thing as "southern hospitality".  While everyone else did order the chicken and waffles, I opted for a veggie plate with greens, black-eyed peas, grits and green beans. Yum! (Picked by our guests, featured on this episode of Man vs Food)

Big Pie in the Sky (Kennesaw)  I had never heard of this place, I had only even been to Kennesaw one time.  I missed that episode of Man vs Food, but Marcos and Chanel didn't.  When they saw the "carnivore pizza challenge"  they wanted to check out the 30" monster.  Have you ever seen a pizza this big?  At $35 it was a deal for the four of us, and it would have fed another 2-4 people too.  Cheap family night!

Tap  (Midtown)  Named for the restaurants extensive list of draft beers and barrel wine selections, Tap is a great place to grab a drink.  They also serve wonderful food, but after stuffing ourselves with that pizza, we didn't even consider it. 

Flip Burger Boutique  You may have heard of this gourmet burger place because the chef Richard Blais was on the the popular show Top Chef.  We each ordered a different burger and cut it in four so we could try each of them.  You cannot leave Flip without ordering one of the ridiculously delicious milkshakes.  My favorite is the Nutella-burnt marshmallow followed by the pistachio-white truffle, and the Krispy Kreme, all of which we ordered that night.  This is a very badly lit photo, but can you see there is a soft boiled egg on top of this steak tartare burger (yes, that is raw meat!)
Thank you Marcos and Shanel for showing us some new spots in Atlanta.  We had a great time! 
Do you watch Top Chef, Food Network, or Man vs. Food?   Have you ever gone to a restaurant because of a show you saw or an article you read about it?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tucson Wrap Up!

After arriving to Atlanta a few days ago and enduring the road trip back from Tucson, I am finally ready to talk about it.  I think road trip actually implies fun, and let me tell you, fun it was not. Hell-ish is more accurate.   After packing up our booth the last day, stuffing ourselves with scrumptious Indian food at Sher-e-Punjab, we filled up the gas tank and rolled out of Tucson at 1230am (EST).    The 30 hours [straight] in the truck seemed like 50 because we were so ready to be home.  It was the sweetest homecoming I have experienced in years.

There was no love lost when we checked out of our temporary home in Tucson either.
Days Inn - bad hotel, great view
I have never been so sick of looking at gems.  10 days in a row. 10am -6pm. Sitting Right. Here.
Nevertheless, sick or not, I had to shop.  The only other shopping i did was at Kamal [in the Holidome]  for all my chain.  My oh my, is gold expensive!  I was in and out.  That show was crazy busy and I was in no mood. I also picked up quite a few 24k gold wrapped pieces from Goddess.   Every time I went to the restroom I had to pass their booth and...need I say more? 

For the gems thankfully, I didn't have to go far. A great selection with the best prices was right there at the True Bead True Blue Show.  Only Beads, the booth where I was working:)
I ventured out with some new gems for Zafiro 2011.  Pink sapphires, london blue topaz, peridot, golden citrine, black spinel and sleeping beauty turquoise, to name a few.  I have many ideas floating around in my head and these little teardrop gems will be so beautiful.

After staring at these all week, I had no desire to check out more shows.  But Ernesto and I did take a day to explore the Electric Park Show, which features many geodes, fossils, furs, skeletons/skulls and a plethora of ethnic vendors selling some housewares and other odds and ends.  A far cry from the sparkles at our booth.

Overall Ernesto and I had a great time in Tucson and we already told Arif that we will help him out at next years show too. I know, I know, the Espinoza's planning a year in advance?  It could happen.


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