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Rincon, Tostones and a Little Infatuation


They say Travel is like falling in love. Strangers at first. A glance turns into a stare, and then you're entranced. The stare becomes a longing gaze. You realize that you, the tourist, become the one conquered by a once-unfamiliar location. And that's how I fell in love with the sunset at Rincon. Specifically at "El Faro," or the lighthouse in Rincon. The rays of the setting sun shimmering over the waters were a mesmerizing sight. It was God's postcard meant to be enjoyed by our naked eyes. Sounds cliche, yo se (I know).

It's my second time in "La Isla del Encanto," and it has enchanted me a second time. We celebrated my niece's birthday with her abuelos there as well as Labor Day Weekend.

Up in the western boondocks of Aguada, we ate at a neighborhood restaurant which served chicken, "tostones" (smashed plantains then fried--Puerto Rican fries), burgers using Puerto Rican beef, and ribs. 


Puerto Rico feels like going to a province in the Philippines, because the houses are painted in the same bright colors, and the heat is similar. Except people spoke Spanish. Although a U.S. territory, people especially in the rural areas mostly spoke Spanish. In the more touristy locations such as San Juan, Puerto Ricans are bilingual. This trip meant that I could practice my still struggling EspaƱol. But I loved being able to do it even just to order or pay for things. I even delighted in asking a Walgreens clerk to look up my rewards card with my phone number. (Puede buscar con mi telefono?)

At that little food shack up in the boondocks, I watched a man inside prepare our order. He must have been chopping the pollos to perfection. But I couldn't stop staring at his face through the small order window, so much so that I zoomed in my camera to take one photo.


At least the sight of him made my pollos con tostones much more sabroso.
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Hola!



Why hello there! I'm back! If I didn't know Blogger had an iPad app already, I would probably still neglect my poor blog! 

Anyway, I just installed Rosetta Stone Spanish on my desktop PC because I've been meaning to learn Espanol for the longest time....especially since I'll be flying to Puerto Rico for the second time next month! Sure, we learned Spanish in college for a semester, but it was a forced kind of thing that your brain didn't want to retain...and we weren't really encouraged to converse or compose complex phrases on our own. It was just textbook Spanish....the kind that will probably get you by if you need to look for the bathroom in a Hispanic country.

I want to speak like a native...and this will help me a great deal when I travel to South America and Spain. And Spanish happens to be a widely spoken foreign language in the United States. It might even take over English in the future!

So I took the Rosetta Stone plunge because I found a 60% off discount thanks to Live Mocha, an online language learning community where you help others with your native language while learning a new one! Pay it forward! You earn points by teaching others which you can use to move forward with your own language course. This site was recommended by a dear friend in Ireland, Odette!

The coolest thing is that the Rosetta Stone course comes with a headset so you can listen and pronounce the words and phrases, and they let you know if you're saying it right!

Well, I hope to be fluent by the end of August! Wish me buena suerte, amigos!
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Boy Oh Boy!

Boxed baby shower cake
Dear Neglected Blog,
Hi, how are you? So sorry I haven't updated you in a while. Well, a baby shower cake was the last cake I made this month before I lost my sense of humerus a second time. Translation: I redislocated my shoulder. I am sorry it took me an injury to remember your existence. Isn't it ironic?
But check out the tic-tac-toe tiled icing on the sides:
Tiled icing
I went to the Philippines last month for a two-week vacation, right smack when the rainy season started there. I got to stay in the Eastwood area the first week. It seemed I ate somewhere everyday, but it also meant meeting family and friends again...including two who were pregnant. I tell ya, 'tis the season to be having baby boys!
I purchased an iPad and I've been wifi-hunting with it wherever I go. This is actually my first blog post using my iPad which is quite challenging, especially photo-editing on flickr with Aviary (it used to be Picnik, but they've closed basket...I mean, shop.).
The doctor wants me to remain sling-bound for another two weeks. I look forward to be able to dance again, and bake again. And get a healthy dose of *his* smile again.

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Dancing with Barbie Dolls

#DWTS Barbie dolls! Paso Doble & Waltz! $34.99 each! at Target!

"Oooh I wanna dance with somebody...I wanna feel the heat with somebody!" sings Whitney Houston.

Even Barbie is feeling the urge to dance...in the ballroom, no less! Spotted these special edition Barbie dolls at Target tied in with my favorite celebrity dance show "Dancing with the Stars."

Only serious Barbiephiles can afford to collect these at $34.99 each.

I would pick the Paso Doble Barbie if I had to choose between these two. The All-New Season of Dancing with the Stars returns on March 19th and I can't wait! Ballroom glitz and glamour as they descend on the spiral stairs! Who will I root for this season? I have a feeling they'll dance to at least one Adele song.
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Fortuitous Flowers


I bought myself flowers sometime last week. It was on Leap Day Eve. It was a day when my heart grew a hundred times the size of golf balls. I think it's the first time I treated myself to a bouquet of blooms, that which isn't bought for someone else or for the prayer altar at home.

I purposefully picked pink. Because I had felt tickled pink. Well, not immediately. Stunned at first, then the color saturated my being as soon as the fortuitous event sunk in. I wouldn’t compare my heart to yellow golf balls, so pink flowers it was.

The late great Whitney Houston (God bless her Divine Diva soul) echoes my sentiments with uncanny accuracy in her 80’s song “How Will I Know.” But am I brave enough, bold enough, to really want to know?
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Cake Pops!

nakedcakepops

On Valentine's Eve, I stayed up until 3am to make cake pops for the first time. I originally wanted to make cupcakes, but someone else at work already planned on baking red velvet cupcakes so I decided to do something else.

bananapops

I didn't have everything I needed, but I worked with what I did have, such as only one bag of Wilton candy melts instead of two. I also didn't have styrofoam to dry the coated cake pops on, so I used a banana instead. No candy pop sticks which would have been sturdier, so I had used our colored coffee stirrers instead.

closeuppops

They're not as smooth and evenly coated as I had hoped, but they were gone by the end of the day! I brought about 20 pieces to work. They loved it!

I guess the treat for me was when three people asked me how I made them, including someone I was secretly hoping would sample them. He did, and he came bursting through our office to inquire about the cake pops' creation. I calmly explained the method employed while this unexpected attention was secretly enjoyed.

Some weeks back, I had imagined bringing something to work on Valentine's Day and offering him to try it, but that day I didn't even have to do it and it still happened on his own initiative. 

Oh, and the funny thing was, he had called them "Cake Balls," which I promptly corrected. 
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A Car That's 2Strong

2strng

It took two toll booths and a total of $18.50 to get to Woodside in Queens, New York to satisfy a Jollibee craving on President’s Day Weekend. It was really a request from our Canadian guests who came to visit us, and it was either that or freeze while queueing for the ferry boat to the Statue of Liberty (which they’ve been wanting to see up close). The red bee won, especially since we were all hungry and it was already lunch time.

Thankfully, parking was a breeze on a sidestreet near the one and only Jollibee branch in the entire East Coast. Right in front of our spot was this car with a heroic trunk and matching message on the license plate. Someone is obviously a huge (pun intended) fan of The Hulk! And that reminds me, the new Avengers movie is coming up! Hopefully it lives up to the hype!

I wonder if the owner of this car was dining in the jampacked fastfood shrine we were visiting, or perhaps lives in the apartment building right next to its spot. This is what I love about New York: it never ceases to amaze, surprise and amuse. If this were a car sighting in California, though, it can be a cool ride to do San Francisco hotel reviews in.  

Ideally, Bruce Banner would do this in a mild manner.
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