Friday, April 30, 2010

Driving in Mexico


Driving in Mexico City is a fun and unique challenge. I personally love to drive and love to negotiate through traffic and unique situations.

Things to consider
Safety is a primary concern in Mexico City and is something that I took for granted before going to live there. When driving in Mexico City, ladies should be sure to put their purses in the trunk of the car or under the seat. Purses should definitely NOT go on the passenger seat or back seat! This is an open invitation to would-be thieves to do a “smash and grab” on your window and purse! I rarely wore jewelry or nice watches while driving, either.

If you’re traveling on one of the wide tree and building lined avenues of Reforma, Palmas, Revolucion, or Insurgentes, you’re bound to encounter young or not so young men who are eager to clean your windshield. They’ll squirt your windshield with semi-clean water and a few drops of soap out of a recycled plastic soda bottle. Most often, they leave it looking marginally better than when they started. I used to dread being the first or second car stopped at a stop light because I knew that the windshield washers would try to get my car.

Sometimes vigorously shaking your finger with a scowling face is enough to keep these people away from your car, but sometimes they squirt your windshield regardless of your wishes. Having a Suburban or Expedition never kept the men or young boys from actually jumping up on the hood of the vehicle to better reach the windshield. Seriously! It’s customary to give these people a few pesos for their trouble. So, since you can’t always avoid the aim of the window cleaners, you should always keep some extra peso coins in your car to give to them.



At other stop lights, there may be children who are begging for a few coins. It breaks my heart to see them on the streets, but it also frustrates me because many of them are part of a mafia that collects money from street people in exchange for a place to stay. Being a street beggar is their profession. In my opinion, it is a sad thing that these street mafias exist, but I will not support them by giving money to street people. But the children do have real needs and are truly innocent, so I prefer to give them a piece of candy or a bag of Japanese peanuts. Keep some non-perishable candy or nuts in the car, too.


Things that might surprise you
A law exists that states that females driving alone after 10 p.m. can run red lights! Now I’ve never actually sat down to read Mexican law, but trust me, it is true. I’ve done this many times when traveling with other women. Even when I was in cars with mixed company, sometimes in a chauffeured car, the same rule applied.

Parking is rarely a hassle in one of the largest cities in the world. It’s more of a hassle for me to go to park at my local Target on a Saturday than it ever was in Mexico City. Almost every restaurant, shopping mall, nightclub, or store has valet parking. I rarely walked far after parking.

In places where parking is at a premium on the street, the “cuida coches” men direct you to a place to park in triple or quadruple file and keep your keys while you are away from your car. As needed, these men move your car to accommodate other drivers. Things can get a little congested around churches on Sundays, so some impromptu entrepreneurs offer to keep your keys and wash your car while the car is parked illegally in the middle of the street. As strange as it sounds, these guys are pretty trustworthy for the most part. There are always the same guys on the same street corners and they usually have a huge ring of keys. I figure that if people trust him with their BMW and Mercedes already parked on the street, that I can trust him with my car. If I saw the same car-watcher for about a month or so with other nice cars always parked in the area, then I would also entrust my car to them.

Only in Mexico
The police drive with their blue and red or various colored lights on their patrol cars on all the time. The first few times I saw this, I wondered what was happening, but then I realized that it was pretty customary to have the lights going 24/7. Maybe it’s a warning to the bad guys to stop doing whatever they are doing before the patrol car gets to them!!

More installments about my adventures in Mexico will follow...

xoxo


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pretty Envelopes

Recently I discovered the most beautiful calligraphy on etsy. Primele has the most beautiful envelopes I have ever seen. They are so whimsical and fun. What fun would it be to receive an envelope like this?




A simple detail can make a morning a little brighter...

Placecards like this are sure to please your party guests.


Primele has gorgeous options for invitations, too! The faces behind this contemporary calligraphy belong to three sisters, Kim, Patricia, and Rachel. Patricia is the calligrapher and illustrator. Her blog, Patricia Mumau, has stunning visual images and creative ideas. The design studio is based out of Yates, New York.



I'm thinking that these might be fun Christmas card address options. If I can get myself organized, I would love to do this. What do you think about this modern calligraphy?

xoxo

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kentucky Derby Hats

Saturday is the Kentucky Derby. One of my dreams is to attend the Kentucky Derby in style some day. Until then, I'll enjoy Kentucky Derby parties to celebrate this occasion.

A horse race is an excellent event to show your style and flair with a straw hat. A wide brim protects delicate skin from the sun, but also adds allure and mystery. Grograin ribbons or fresh flowers woven into a simple straw hat transform it in to something wonderful and personal.

Here's some eye candy to inspire you for Saturday's race!







My choices may pale in comparison to other choices in the Kentucky Derby photo galleries, but I really enjoy wearing a hat and prefer to invest in a favorite Helen Kaminski hat that I can wear to many spring and summer events. Here's is a little inspiration for more adventurous peeps.









xoxo

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stella and Dot ~ Minnies Style!



You're probably familiar with Stella and Dot. The Palm Beach collection is one of my favorites this year and I especially love the starfish earrings. But now, I'm thrilled to be among the first to present the newest (and very exciting) collection from Stella and Dot. On April 26, the Little Girls collection launched. This line offers quality jewelry for children at an affordable price. As a mom of "twincesses," I'm constantly looking for jewelry that looks nice but something that is strong enough to withstand play and normal wear and tear. This collection is a perfect solution for blossoming fashionistas! The price points are quite reasonable and each piece arrives in a special keepsake tin that is perfect for little girls' treasures.

Here are some of my favorite pieces from the collection:

Mini soiree necklace


Mini soiree bracelet


Mini bloom necklace


Allie pearl and ribbon bracelet


You probably know how much I love to match with my minnies. One of the neatest things about the Stella and Dot little girls' collection is that many pieces coordinate perfectly with jewelry for me!!

I am having a Stella and Dot party and wanted to invite my lovely readers to purchase items as part of my party. You can place your order here. Click on "Can't make it to the trunk show" and enter Bethany Brown as the hostess. You can also speak with Jeanne directly to place your order at 443.534.8913 or by email at jeannecpoole@gmail.com.

Each order is processed as it's received, and the orders will be shipped directly to the customer. Shipping is a flat rate of $5.95 regardless of the size of the order.

Also, orders received by Friday night will be shipped and received in time for Mother's Day. There are so many great Mother's Day gift options, and everything arrives in a precious package.

As an extra bonus, Maryland Pink and Green readers who join my Stella and Dot party will be eligible to win a giveaway!! You will earn one entry for each item purchased, making your chances to win almost unlimited. The winner will receive a Soiree bracelet of her choice.


Hope you love this collection as much as I do! You can place an order before Mother's Day, Sunday, May 9, in order to be eligible for the giveaway. I'll announce the winner shortly after all entries are received.

Some fantastic options for ladies, moms, grandmothers and "gift to self" are also available as part of my party. I just adore the starfish earrings and bloom flower ring.




What are your favorite pieces from this collection? I love it all!

xoxo

Molly Ringwald's Book!

To me, Molly Ringwald will always be the bridesmaid outside of the church who looks behind her shoulder and asks "Who me?" to the handsome Jake Ryan across the street. This iconic 80s figure is famous for her roles in fantastic movies like Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club.



But time passes and now Molly Ringwald is celebrating a new chapter of her life ~ age 40! This book, Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick explores how to be gorgeous and smart in your adult life. I can't wait to read this book. It will be especially interesting to hear what she has to share about John Hughes.





xoxo

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meatless Monday

Have you heard of Meatless Monday? It's a campaign to cut meat out of your diet 1 day a week in an effort to improve personal health and the health of the planet. At first, I thought that it would be difficult to cut out meat, but there are a lot of recipes that make it easy. You can learn more about Meatless Monday here.

Here's my go-to recipe for a simple, fresh family dinner. It's so easy and tastes great with fresh ingredients from the Farmer's Market.


Fresh Tomato and Basil Pasta
Ingredients
1 (16 ounce) package of pasta (I love Barilla’s Campanelle shaped pasta!)
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Fresh basil, cut into small strips
1 tsp Italian seasoning seasoning

Salt & fresh ground pepper (to taste)
Fresh grated Paremsan cheese (to taste)
Asiago cheese (to taste)

Directions
1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.

2. Heat the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and Italian seasoning in a warm skillet. No need to COOK the items, you’re just warming them!

3. Drain the pasta and then toss the hot pasta with the ingredients in the skillet.

4. Lightly pan fry the entire mixture in a large skillet with some additional olive oil for 2-3 minutes.

5. Remove from the heat.

6. Add in basil; mix to combine, then season with salt and pepper.

7. Serve with grated Parmesan and Asiago cheese.

Of course, you could add other ingredients to this such as eggplant or squash and it would be delicious. Let me know what you think when you try it. I'm constantly tweaking my recipes to improve them. Have you tried Meatless Monday?

xoxo

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Boat Shoes and Giveaway Winner

You'll be the belle of the boat with these adorable shoes. I am in the mood to go boating...



Many congratulations to Sarah Brooke who is the lucky winner of the Loren Hope Designs giveaway. Please contact me within 48 hours at blbrodger1@hotmail.com so that we can coordinate your winnings. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway and a huge thank you to Loren Hope Designs for their generous donation. Keep them in mind as a great source for gorgeous jewelry.

Have a wonderful day.

xoxo

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sex and the City 2



Who is waiting for this movie? SATC 2 will be in theaters on Thursday, May 27. Are you going to see it on opening night? It's a perfect idea for a Girls' Night Out! Until then, hope you enjoy some images from the movie.







Of course, you probably recognize the Lilly Pulitzer originals "Not So Crabby" print, but do you recognize any other pieces in the pictures? What do you think of the styles from the movie?

I'd love to know who makes Charlotte's gorgeous dress in the last picture. Carrie's pulled back hairstyle is so elegant, too. I like it a lot. Share your comments about this upcoming movie and the fashion in the pictures.



xoxo

Friday, April 23, 2010

Musical Motivation II

Music is such an important part of my life. It makes me so happy. A while ago, I shared some of my favorite 80's music with you in this blog post. Today's blog post covers a completely different genre of music. ~

As you probably know, I'm doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred workouts. The workouts are fantastic and I can feel the effects of said workout in my arms, legs, and abs. The music on the DVD is far from fantastic. It's pretty bad. Sometimes the beat does not even match the tempo of the exercises she is doing!

Good music is a strong motivator to me when I am working out. It helps the time pass quickly and serves as a fantastic distraction to the difficulty of the exercises. If I can sing along in my head, it's even better.

So if I'm going to be sweating buckets and panting for breath with Jillian, I figure that I deserve some good music. Some of my choices my surprise you, but my musical tastes range from tame to wild with everything in between.

Workout number two of the 30 Day Shred seems much tougher than the first workout, so I decided that some "tough" music was in order.

Here's a short list of songs for the short, but tough workout.

Rock, Roll, and Shred!

I Love Rock and Roll ~ Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Rock and Roll All Night ~ KISS
We Will Rock You ~ Queen
Sweet Emotion ~ Aerosmith
Livin' on a Prayer ~ Bon Jovi
You Shook Me All Night Long ~ ACDC
Panama ~ Van Halen
Fight For Your Right To Party ~ Beastie Boys

The playlist is about 28 minutes in length and will get you through the warm up, workout and cool down of the DVD. Enjoy!

(As a funny aside, I usually have flashbacks to my childhood at the County Fair where scary carnival workers would play really loud rock music on the fastest, biggest rides!)


MusicPlaylist
Music Playlist at MixPod.com



xoxo


P.S. To all the moms and ladies who may have little ones in the vicinity while doing the Jillian Michaels workout: Jillian uses bad words on several occasions in both the first and second workouts. While I do these workouts alone, I certainly don't want my girls to hear profanity in a workout. I know my playlist is not perfectly squeaky clean, either, but her use of profanity bothers me a little bit.

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