Posted in Random Stuff

CUBA 2019- Hemingway House and Varadero

SELRES_5de68f1d-210b-4da2-999f-c2a2ba0030aaSELRES_87e291db-d27c-4a01-99d4-5cbcc2b777a3SELRES_84962270-c50c-402a-a416-6f68d561dfd0SELRES_659a1678-f381-4d9d-858f-d5380c9c7c70SELRES_659a1678-f381-4d9d-858f-d5380c9c7c70SELRES_84962270-c50c-402a-a416-6f68d561dfd0SELRES_87e291db-d27c-4a01-99d4-5cbcc2b777a3SELRES_5de68f1d-210b-4da2-999f-c2a2ba0030aaWhat’s happening, everyone!?!?

Here we are on our sixth day in Cuba.  It was VALentine’s Day, and it turned out to be a pretty great one! Especially compared to the day before.  For starters, the rain stopped. Yes! Then we left the bustling city of Havana, in our third reserved classic car, for the laid back beach of Varadero. We made a few fantastic stops along the way and ended the day eating at a kickass restaurant.

Before I go onto journaling my day, quickly let me point out, Valentine’s Day in Cuba is a big deal.  I mean, BIG deal!  They really go all out for the day.  Here I thought I was would be the love-day-centric one with dressing cute and having the kids wearing springy heart headbands, but everywhere we went, places were themed, decorated to the nines.  It was like a magical place for me.  haha (Get it? nudge Cuz I love all holidays? nudge nudge..)


Overnight, the storm came back.  The sounds of the pouring rain and wind were horrendous, and we were so thankful our children slept through the whole thing. Waking up on this morning, I noticed before jumping out of bed, that a lot of birds were singing and chirping from the trees below our room. Something we hadn’t heard on this trip yet. The skies still looked grey when I peaked to check, but also seemed like the clouds could break to sunshine.  Just couldn’t tell.

Secretly the night before bed, I had set up a surprise in the corner of the kitchen by the terrarium for the girls. Nothing crazy;  silly cards, themed candies and a few fun toys.  When I walked from the bedroom through the kitchen, I noticed that they had left cards there for me and my husband, and each other, too! Those rascals got me!! 

As we got to the patio for breakfast, we were surprised by the staff, too. They had set a table for us with a special Valentine’s Day chocolate treat at each place setting. Gee, I wonder how long they waited for us to come down!?  Right when we got coffee, we had the girls exchange cards and open gifts.

Ok, onto breakfast.  Our last breakfast at this casa particular.  Which looking back, was such a beautiful, special place. We absolutely enjoyed this location with its people and beautiful landscape. I hope if we ever go back to Cuba we start our trip off right from this casa particular!

I laughed when we got coffee because what showed up…that darn bowl of fruit salad!  haha My husband didn’t have a chance to say we wouldn’t be needing it on this morning.  So, he did eat some, I don’t know how, but I watched him do it!!  (If you have no clue why I am laughing, it’s because during this trip we found the fruit to be strange in texture and flavor, just very undesirable.)

With the sun struggling to appear, our car showed up right on time at 10AM. It was a 1949 blue Plymouth sedan!  The tour guide who picked us up was Lester, the owner and best friend of the driver who took us to Viñales a few days before. Lester was a very young and pleasant man.   We packed up the car with every bag and person then headed on our way.  The drive to Varadero is about two and a half hours long. We had planned two stops beforehand, the Museo Ernest Hemingway  (Ernest Hemingway’s House now a museum), which was 20 minutes away from the casa, and then the Bacunayagya Bridge lookout for pina coladas, which was an hour and a half away from the museum.

For some reason Lester, his voice and demeanor, reminded me of the comedian/actor/podcaster Bryan Callen.  If you don’t know who Bryan Callen is.. shame on you, and I highly recommend The Fighter and The Kid podcast.

Lester started driving us in a totally different direction through Havana. He told us to get to Hemingway’s House, our first stop, he had to take us through a different ward, which is a neighborhood that not many tourists go through.  This neighborhood was totally different on every level from where we had been before on this trip.  The serious economic problems were glaring.  I had alluded to this previously in my Cuba posts, but driving through this neighborhood it was raw. In your face. There were no impressive embassies, no large distinguished hotels, no crystal ocean views, no historical monuments, and definitely, no vividly bright buildings; here had none of that.

Side note:  This is what I battled with emotionally through this trip.  It is a beautiful country with a lot of history and culture. So much of its modern-day culture, however, is draped in its socialism, which lends to this devastating way of life and poverty peppered throughout.  We would see poor living conditions a lot, not to this extreme as we did here, but every night I was left feeling sad.  Wanting to give everyone I saw whatever I had to offer. The people we were meeting were so wonderful and generous, even if they were living in what we know as an oppressed society.  Which seems to be on some uprising, or at least I hope it is.  It really is a complicated country. It’s hard to explain to people that it’s beautiful, with its rich history, without telling them of this heartache.  I mean, I am sure people can turn a blind eye, it’s just I don’t know they can.

This neighborhood spilled into another and then into the San Francisco de Paula ward.  This is where Hemingway’s house/museum is found. It is definitely a different vibe from the streets we just traveled through.  We were now on a wider boulevard with large homes, and green trees tucked perfectly around. Such a shock from the one we just drove through.   We were just observing a man wheeling cakes through black exhaust to sell by the train tracks, then we were driving up this amazing wooded driveway to a villa. 

Hemingway’s house lays upon serene wooded and hilly grounds, with a vista of Havana from the back patio of the house.  It is just beautiful. My gosh.  Though the house is not open to visitors to walk through the inside, it is completely open for viewing from the outside through doorways and windows. This goes for the three-story look-out building adjacent to the house, as well.  Everything is preserved, and staged, as he had it while he was alive. While you poke your head into a living room, or a bedroom, or even into his bathroom, you can’t help but want to jump in there to play house with all of his belongings.

Walking the paths of the gardens was peaceful.  We went down the main path towards the recreation area; there was a swimming pool, cock-fighting ring and his boat. What an amazing sight!  First you come across the pool to the left. It was empty, but all I could think of was the blue glistening water on a sunny day. And, Ava Gardner skinny dipping and how I would totally be there doing that same thing!  The cabanas that flank the back of the pool are decorated with poster sized photos of Hemingway with his famous friends. Just thinking of all the people who went through that space is dizzying; must have been an amazing sight!

Right past the pool is the burial spot of his favorite cats.  They were in front of his boat; they look as if they are guarding it!  His fishing boat, recently restored, is not accessible by guests, as it’s grounded in the tennis courts space. I spent a long time looking at this boat.   This boat saw a lot of action in the water with Hemingway. He invited notable guests on that boat.  He caught record-breaking sized fish. He made a few epic water trips like those we read about to Bimini. Also, he used this boat to search for German U-Boats during WWII and on science expeditions off the coast of Cuba!  How cool, right? Also, two of his books were influenced by the time he spent on this fishing boat, The Old Man and the Sea, and, Islands in the Stream.  So much history.  If that boat could talk, it would probably have some insane stories!

We left the Hemingway House with the sun still struggling to come out. It did peep out a few times. Ahead of us was another hour or so of driving before our next stop. We were headed for a little stretch and drink at the Bacunayagya overlook.  This overlook is in the town of Bacunayagya and faces a valley where the highest bridge in all of Cuba is located. The Bacunayagua Bridge is considered a modern Cuban engineering marvel.  It is quite impressive, and the view from the overlook was magnificent of the valley.

The overlook had an outdoor cocktail bar. This place was a lot of fun; a great place to check out views holding a pina colada. An interesting little fact about cocktail bars like this is Cuba is that they make the drink virgin, then you put the alcohol in the drink.  So, we had a lot of fun making questioning faces with the bartender pouring lots of rum into our drinks. 

We were feeling pretty happy leaving there, to say the least.  🙂

After leaving the bridge, which we were able to drive over, we drove along the coast line of Cuba.  Wow, it was beautiful.  The colors of blue and aqua beaming from the water looked like a postcard. It was fascinating to see how not the Cuban government nor its people capitalized on the spaces along the water. I mean, we drove for a good hour along the water without any homes or businesses, not that they were needed.  That isn’t what I am inferring, but all I could wonder was how prime real estate could exist without any need for it.  Back in the States this space would be eaten up!  (I hope for Cuba’s sake no one does overbuild and ruin the coast.)

We made it to Varadero!  Yes!  The skies were still a little grey.  No!

Varadero is known as a beach resort town.  This town is located on the Hicacos peninsula, which lends to great surrounding views of the Atlantic Ocean.  One side of the peninsula is beach front, the other side is a coastal highway.  The beach is about 13 miles long, with government-run resorts along a small stretch of beach. (We never walked to that part.)  As colorful homes are conveniently located along tightly nestled grid alleyways, roughly a block away from the beach entrances. Between the homes and the beach front are the restaurants and souvenir shops.  There are no boardwalks lined with stuff, this is a natural sight where the streets make their way to the sandy edges of the beach paths with small fences and trees.  Walking the paths towards the beach is a HUGE treat, visually.

We were reminded along the drive by Lester that the Cuban government did not allow its citizens to vacation in Varadero until a few years ago.  We learned this information before arriving in Cuba.  The boom for its privately owned industry is very recent, open a handful of years.  Which is something we thought about throughout our trip.  I can’t imagine my government telling me that I couldn’t vacation with tourists in my own country.  But that is what they did, and that is how they lived.  

We arrived to our casa particular, the Casa de la Familia Cubana, at 2PM.  We were greeted by Iris, one of the staff helping the owners of the house. Iris took us on a great tour of the house, showing us all the ins and outs, and details for breakfast. We had a lot of space.  Two bedrooms equipped with AC and fans.  Our bedroom had a mini fridge, which was stocked with waters and beers. We had two full bathrooms, which was a treat!  A kitchen with dining area that had access to the roof deck and to the patio where they served breakfast every morning.

Iris was a very sweet woman, but spoke no English.  Which was fine with me!  haha

After our walk through of the house, we ran to get into our bathing suits because you know what came out when we got to the house?  THE SUN!!!  Seriously, it was like a gift from the universe.  We drove over the town border, onto the peninsula, then the skies cleared up and the sun just shone with all its might.  I was beyond happy to see the sun.

We headed straight for the beach with towels Iris handed us and the water from the fridge.  I stashed a few snack bars in the bags too.  Oh I forgot to mention, that we had taken the rice and plantains from dinner the night before to have for lunch today.  Which we scarfed down before the beach.  I totally forgot.

This is all we had planned for the day, get to Varadero, sit on the beach then eat dinner somewhere nice!

The beach was literally a five minute walk away from our casa.  We crossed one major street, then took a right down another toward the entrance of the beach.  Along the walk there were restaurants and breweries, other casa particular, and public bathrooms lined up.  The walk onto the beach transported you to a more private space.  The sands were cool to the touch of your feet, even in the sunshine, and the turquoise waves were brilliantly crashing.

There were not many people on the beach, as we were warned not a lot of people would be.  It’s Cuba’s Winter season, so not many locals will go, which was ok by us!   The storm from the days prior really shook up the ocean, bringing us these crazy waves.  I have never seen such clear blue water anywhere else as I have in Cuba.  The colors made my eyes sparkle and my heart flutter.

The sun started to set, but we had to run to get ready for our reservations.  We were so excited to go out tonight! Not just that we were all starving, haha. We got to the house to find the view of the sun set from our front door.  We got ready as fast as we could because we were running behind, and still needed to flag down a car to get us to the restaurant.

We flagged down a watermelon colored vintage Pontiac.  This car was cool!  The girls loved it because, well, watermelon colored and a convertible! And my husband loved it because the driver of the car blared Cuban music along the drive, and would randomly honk his horn to pedestrians on the side-walk.  The horn sound was whistling, you know, that sexy whistle. If you play the video below, you can hear it in the background of the song. That ten minute ride to the restaurant was super funny, and set a tone for the night.

The car dropped us off, with the music blaring, right out front of the restaurant that was booming with people! The entrance to the restaurant was decorated fully in red balloons with a sign above that read ‘love you forever’ with hearts. We walked up to the desk to check in with the woman.  She greeted us by handing a Valentine’s Day themed cocktail to each adult, a caipiroska, and a virgin drink of the same to each child. We were then seated at a table outside which was perfect because the weather was warm and there was a light breeze. The table was set in red with flowers in the middle and a box of candies for the girls.

We had an exceptional waiter.  He explained that they had a prefix menu for Valentine’s Day along with their regular menu… and what a menu they had! I decided to get the Valentine’s Day prefix. My husband opted for the seafood platter as the girls decided to get a risotto dish, which was black squid ink with seared beef, and a pasta dish, which was with a meat sauce, to share.

Soon served was the appetizer to my meal. It was a play on sushi; three large rolls on a plate neatly.  One was a twirl of squid ink risotto with a black salmon center.  The next was a red wine tinted risotto with Serano ham. And the third was a traditional white risotto with shrimp. We enjoyed that dish so quickly that I didn’t have a chance to take a picture; and I kick myself every day because it was so beautiful to look at! We grabbed another round of drinks, and then the mushroom cream soup with balsamic vinegar reduction was served. This soup was by far the best soup I’ve ever eaten in my life! And I’m not exaggerating. The soup was that good. The consistency, the finesse, it was all beautiful. My family took a bite but let me eat the majority of it..which I gladly did!  haha   Then everyone’s main dishes arrived.  We tasted the pasta and risotto dishes, which were pretty great.  My husband’s seafood platter was so good, but my dish really out shined them all. I had the paired pork chop and steak with a port wine salsa. The food on my plate was definitely cooked with love. Even the side of potatoes, that seem to be au gratin, were some of the best potatoes I’ve ever had.

All while we were there, about 3 hours, in the background was a band playing at the end of the enclosed patio.  It was a guitar duo, playing classical versions of modern songs.  No singing, just guitar.  They were amazing. This restaurant just had such a great vibe.

What a joy of a meal. A great way to end a day.

 

 

My review of the day.

I was so grateful when the sun finally showed itself as we got to Varadero.  This was the first day of our trip that I felt like I was on vacation.  We got to see some sights, but knowing where we were headed, to the beach, my thoughts didn’t seem so heavy on my shoulders.  Like I was letting go of thoughts of back home and focusing on …nothing, just me and relaxing.  It was a day my family needed.

And I just have that to say in my review today.  🙂

 


Next Cuba post will be Days 7 – hanging out in Varadero.

 

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- more random things to know about Valeria

  1. I…trained our cat, Gordon Ramsey, to box. He knows when I ask him to ‘jump jump’ on the back of the couch in the front room that it’s go time. He is real good at it! He also plays hide-n-seek and tag.  He is that smart!!  Also, he is named after the chef but his last name is spelled differently as my cat is not a jerk.

  2. I…cannot believe my 13-year-old has a frickin’ boyfriend. By all means, I trust her and they are naive kids, more into the label of boyfriend/girlfriend as they find everything, like holding hands, to be awkward. Let’s hope everything is awkward forever. LOL. Bahhhh. Ok this isn’t about me, but it’s been on my mind for two weeks.

  3. I…will reference Seinfeld at least three times a day. *at least. A few weeks ago the damnedest trend started.. I met people who HAVE NEVER seen Seinfeld. 😮

  4. I…cook. It’s one of my strongest talents. I feel at most myself while cooking. On average, I cook at home 6 days a week. From the simple to complex, using whole ingredients, and I enjoy every minute.

  5. I…am utterly obsessed with Halloween. Anxiety kicks in if I don’t have a Halloween costume planned before Spring.  I am torn choosing between two right now.  I have some time.

  6. I…am currently on a baking mission. I cook but baking is different. So I decided a week ago to teach myself to bake from scratch. I want to be that person who whips up yummy treats all the time easily; and with my youngest daughter wanting to learn, I have to!!

  7. I…like giving advice. Ask me anything!

  8. I…was disappointed for weeks with my DNA test results until my husband convinced me how amazing they actually were. The results seemed lame to me because I look like a mashup of many nationalities. Guess what? I’m 96% Italian, from Sicily. Ha! The rest Greek.

  9. I…am actually more of an introvert than extrovert. Whenever I tell people this they don’t believe me, but it’s true!

  10. I…, since I was a kid, have been picking out which actor or actress would play my family and friends in my life movie.  I, especially, love doing this when I meet someone new. The weirdest part of this is … well, I have never chosen anyone to play me!  And yes, if we are friends irl, I have chosen someone to play YOU!  haha

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Face Cleansers

Hello everyone!

As I mentioned in my makeup posts before, I get stopped often about my makeup, and to be honest, whenever anyone asks me about my face I want to talk about skin care more than makeup. Good-looking skin starts with how we take care of it.

The first step in skin care is cleaning your skin. Cleaning your skin should be an effective way to clean pores/remove dirt, oils, makeup and/or dead skin cells.

How we choose our cleanser is directly correlated to our skin type.  Are we dry, oily, or have mature skin or sensitive skin?  Then our determination for a cleanser is the product formula type.  Do we choose a powder or bar cleanser?  Do we choose a face wipe or a foaming cleanser? Then we choose the product by our other likes and dislikes of cleaning power, the product’s texture or its scent.

Skin types vary person to person. Generally there are four major skin types: normal, dry, oily and a combination.

  • Normal refers to well-balanced skin; whatever way you wash this skin it feels dry to the touch but supple.
  • Dry skin type produce less oil than normal skin; whatever way you wash this skin it feels dry immediately after being patted dry (feels tight).
  • Oily skin has an overproduction of skin oils (sebum); whatever way you wash this skin it feels oily immediately and throughout the day.
  • Combination skin types go in both directions of dry combination and oily combination.  Each combo skin type is majorly defined by the skin of the t-zone and cheeks. ALSO, I’d like to add sensitive skin to the list of combination because some skin is highly sensitive.

On top of skin type there is skin condition.  Many exterior and interior factors play in your skin’s condition.  Skin condition is affected by age, climate, genetics, air pollution, certain medications, and stress, and they all play in how our skin reacts and what it produces (like oil/sweat).   You may notice skin condition if you travel often. You may see that people who live in high wind, coastal areas have drier, mature skin vs people who live in hot, humid climates that have oilier, smoother skin.

Then on top of skin type and condition, there are so many formula types on the market based on makeup removal, texture, consistency and scent. Personally, I have tried all the types out there, not all brands, but all types.

Here’s a quick list of formula types: bar, clay, cream, foam, gel, milk, oil, powder, micellar water, and wipes.

 

Before I get to the Top Ten Thursday list of what products I tried, let’s talk about how to wash your face.  Some folks may not know!  Now I am going to start here with using your hands (my favorite tools) to wash your face. There are a lot of brushes and tools on the market that can assist in washing your face, however.

Wet your face with warm water. Never use extremely hot or cold water, which can irritate your skin. With your cleanser of choice, dispense about a nickel-sized amount on one hand. Massage the product between hands, using your other hand to ‘warm’ the product. Then apply the cleanser to your face, moving in a circular motion until the product reaches all parts of your face, including over eyes.  This motion helps to breakdown makeup, dirt, oils, etc.. Then rinse your face with warm water, passing the water over your face still the cleanser is fully removed. Follow to dry, by patting your face dry. DO NOT rub the towel across your face, this can actually irritate your skin.

Here is my list of cleansers that I have used, but let me explain my skin.  My skin type is normal/dry, and my skin is still considered youthful.  My likes in a face cleansing product are 1.) one that washes away my makeup, 2.) AND leaves my skin soft to the touch before my serum and moisturizers, 3.) the consistency shouldn’t be goopy, and 4.) no overpowering scents.

 

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Face Cleansers

  1. Peter Thomas Roth, Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Cleansing Gel- This is by far my favorite face wash!! The technology, the scent, the consistency and the texture are everything my face wants.  I can clearly feel the smooth gel where it is being applied, and it fully rinses from my skin.  This product leaves my skin glowing and it feels refreshed …and squeaky clean.  (meaning no foundation is found on my towels when I pat my skin dry!)
  2. DHC, Cleansing Foam- This is a pretty fantastic cleanser in an unassuming package.  And, though, I am dry/combination skin this product is for oily/combination skin, and I still think it’s great.  This cleanser lathers to a fluffy mousse like consistency and feels like it moisturizes my skin as it’s applied.  It does a great job at breaking down my makeup, too.
  3. Neutrogena, Ultra Gentle Daily Cleaning Foam-  This foamy cleanser is a perfect cleanser for most folks.  The foaming action is not as tactile as the DHC one above, but it does a great job at cleaning the skin, removing makeup and leaving my skin feeling happy.  I used the gentle formula which means there is no dyes or perfumes, and it worked great for my two daughters, one a teen and one a pre-teen.
  4. Kiehls, Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil-  Let me start with this..oil cleansers are NOT like other cleansers.  They do not foam, they do not give you that feel, so please try this with an open mind. Oil cleansers are great for all skin types, but oily skins may like a foamy soapy feel.  I LOVE oil cleansers, especially in the Winter when there is not much humidity in the air.  This cleanser is great and I feel like my makeup melts off well. My skin was clean and soft to the touch.  There were a handful of times I did use a follow-up cleanser when I had non-transfer foundation on.  I did compare this to my other favorite oil cleanser I used to use (ten years ago) from DHS, and this oil was a touch better, but both are great.
  5. Lancome, Energie de Vie Foaming Cleanser- This lathering cleanser has THE best scent out of all on my list.  It’s a burst of glowing freshness.  My skin feels refreshed and clean, with all my makeup that was removed. 
  6. Oil of Olay, Gentle Clean Foaming Face Cleanser-  This creamy foam cleanser is simple and effective, AND INEXPENSIVE!  It left my skin feeling clean and comfortable.  This was my go to face cleanser for over 10 years!!  I haven’t seen it on the shelves of my local drug stores any longer, but I am not sure if they discontinued the product of not.
  7. DHC, CoQ10 Washing Cream- Another great cleanser that left my skin squeaky clean and refreshed.   Not a trace of makeup left behind.  Also, I would walk away from the sink with my skin feeling moisturized and supple.  I have gone through MANY tubes of this cleanser, and highly recommend it if you are looking for something to shake up your current skin care regime.  
  8. Lancome, Bi-facil Makeup Remover and Cleanser- This is a dual phase liquid cleanser, which needs to be shaken and used on cotton rounds like it’s brother Bi-facil Eye makeup remover (Bi-facil Eye is MY FAVORITE AND ONLY EYE MAKEUP REMOVER THAT I WILL EVER USE. ). This face cleanser works really well if you use infallible/non-transferrable foundations, and leaves your skin feeling refreshed.  However, I like to use a cleanser after this because, again, I prefer a foamy wash.
  9. Clinique, Liquid Face Soap- Ok, this is where I will not sound so positively.  This soap is good, not the best. And I only say that because it never left my skin feeling refreshed. And many days I felt like my skin had to be moisturized right away or I’d ‘die’.  
  10. Vichy, Purete Thermale 3in1 Cleanser- For a milk cleanser that is to be tissued off, this cleanser may be my favorite one. With that said, I am just not a big fan of cleaning my skin without water and tend not to lean towards milk cleansers like this one. I feel like I use an absurd amount of tissues, cotton rounds and towels to feel clean…then follow up with a cleanser and water.  :/   I started to use it in my shower as a conventional cleanser, which actually worked but I prefer foaminess.

 

Share your favorite cleansers!  I always love to hear what people are using out there..comment below or on FB!

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Things I Love in Winter (part 3 of 3)

Hello WordPressers!

Part 3 of what I love about Winter.

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Things I Love in Winter (part 3)

  1. The glisten on fresh snow in the sunshine
  2. Wearing bright plum lipstick
  3. Smelling fireplaces in the distance on a crisp day
  4. Hot English black tea before bed
  5. Seeing birds from my window land on the bare branches of my boxwood tree
  6. Wearing my velvet thinsulate insulated gloves (BEST GLOVES EVER) 
  7. Burning peppermint scented candles 
  8. Scarves!
  9. Cuddling in bed early watching TV
  10. Seeing deer or rabbit tracks in the snow 

Though.. Snow is on the ground. The winds this week were whipping trees around, but yet, Winter is almost over!!  🙂  Spring is 21 days away!!  YAYA!!

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Things I Love in Winter (part 2 of 3)

Hello Everyone!

Here we go, another post of this series of Things I love in Winter.  I have to say, I haven’t even thought of anything to put in this post so this is going to hurt me a little.  🙂  It’s difficult for me to put myself in this place, Winter.  Especially after being in Cuba and re-living that trip through my photos.  BUT.. I am here and ready to convince myself that Winter is great!

So let’s go on this journey!

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Things I Love in Winter (part 2)

  1. The glisten on fresh snow in the sunshine
  2. Wearing bright plum lipstick
  3. Smelling fireplaces in the distance on a crisp day
  4. Hot English black tea before bed
  5. Seeing birds from my window land on the bare branches of my boxwood tree
  6. Wearing my velvet thinsulate insulated gloves (BEST GLOVES EVER) 
  7. Burning peppermint scented candles 
  8. Scarves!
  9. Cuddling in bed early watching TV
  10. Seeing deer or rabbit tracks in the snow 

Hmm, well, that wasn’t that hard once I forced myself to focus.  I really do love these things about Winter, especially number 10!

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday-Synonyms for LOVE

Hello everyone!

Happy  ❤︎VALentine’s Day❤︎!! 

love (noun) \ləv\
1(a): strong affection for another arising out of kinship/personal ties
  (b): attraction based on sexual desire: affection/tenderness felt by lovers
  (c): affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
2: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion

3: the object of attachment or admiration

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that you either love or hate.  Lots of people call it a “fake” holiday.  My opinion?  I LOVE IT!  It’s always fun to celebrate, and to celebrate love is a beautiful sentiment.  Which is why I jumped to the top ten list below.  What better list for Valentine’s Day?  There isn’t!

Let’s go!

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Synonyms for Love!

  1. Affection
  2. Fondness
  3. Passion
  4. Tenderness
  5. Enchanted
  6. Worship
  7. Devotion
  8. Lust
  9. Infatuation
  10. Amour

I hope you all share a loving moment with all whom you care about on this VALentine’s Day!  

“There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.” – George Sand, Author

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday-Things I Love In Winter (part 1 of 3)

Hello Everyone!

Yes, you read my title right. haha  Well, you guys know me as the person who shades on Winter as much as possible. Winter’s usually the worst part of the year for me. The cold, the freezing rain, the ice, the slush, the winds, blah..everything I can’t stand!! BBUUTT! I am going to use this three part series to post things I love about Winter, to shift my perspective.   This is called growth. (right?!?!?)

So, here I go!

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Things I Love in Winter (part 1)

  1. A hot non-fat latte
  2. Neon colored nail polish
  3. Drives in the sunshine
  4. The heat from the oven after cooking
  5. Curse of Oak Island on TV!
  6. Planning warm locale vacations
  7. Cooking comfort food
  8. Sunsets from the top of my street (easier to see with the bare trees)
  9. Comfy slipper boots
  10. Flowering Azaleas

This list may be pretty hard for me to continue, as I already ran out of things I like during this season. HAHAH!!  But I am going to keep trucking and make it a total of thirty things. (yikes!!)

Share with me what you love about this season!

xoxox