Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween...

Blogging is so easy! All you need is a laptop, a fast Internet connection and voila! Trust me, guys, this is not keeping me in the room instead of sightseeing! I've updated my blog at night or in between other things. Right now, Richard went to rent a car so we can drive to Cordoba today instead of taking the train. It seems like a great idea since we want to continue on to Seville and see the Costa del Sol on our way to Granada. So, we'll probably have the car for 5 days. Therefore, I'm taking care of our luggage while he gets us a car... and surfing the Net!

Isn't it funny how women can make some suggestions and the men in our lives won't even think twice about it... BUT when they have an idea (the very same idea, mind you!) it seems like the best thing since slice bread! So, yeah, we're renting a car. LOL!

Yesterday, we were in Avila, the birthplace of St. Theresa, and we visited the Alcazar, Cathedral and Roman Aqueduct in Segovia. What a breathtaking experience. Can you believe that the Romans built the grand arches of the Aqueduct without any mortar or cement and it's still standing there 2,000 years later! The stones are so perfectly placed, it's amazing! When Richard and I were standing below the structure, we had to wonder whether or not one of the stones could quite possible land on our head. Hmm...

After this full day tour/side trip, we rested for about an hour or so at our wonderful hotel (Vincci Soho -- love this place -- can you believe the restaurant has steel butterflies all around!) in Madrid, and then headed out at night for a walk around the other side of town. We saw Plaza de Cibeles, Banco de Espana, Palacio de Comunicaciones, Plaza de la Independencia, Puerta de Alcala, and more! If you know us well, then you know we really don't rest on vacations. We just want to get out and see everything! I've walked more than I have the past year I think! But I'm eating well, too, so I probably won't be losing weight. Shucks!

Well, we're off now... don't know when I'll be blogging again, but I'm having a real blast and loving this extraordinary country. The people are the friendliest and the surroundings are awe inspiring. So cool.

Peace and happy travels... or happy scrapping! He, he, he!

Monday, October 29, 2007

I don't want to leave Madrid...

But there's much more to see and do on this vacation!

We have really enjoyed walking through this awesome city. It's so conducive to walking and walking and walking some more. We have explored so much. The day we arrived, we headed over to the Prado Museum, but we were burned out by the end and we crashed in our hotel room until the following morning. However, we haven't stopped since... We've seen the Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Opera, Teatro Real, we ate imaginative tapas at Casa Lucas in Cava Baja, we attended mass in the Basilica de San Francisco, we walked through the Parque del Retiro, which was so picturesque and entertaining. We saw magicians, musicians, break dancers, and so much more! We visited the Plazas around Palacio Real, and we saw works by Picasso, Dali and Miro at the Reina Sofia museum. We visited the Jardin Botanico and strolled the streets at night. Wow! All that in just two days.

Tomorrow, we booked a side trip so we'll be off early in the morning to explore Avila and Segovia. The following day, we take a fast train to Cordoba.

As you can imagine, we've already shot lots of photos. We seem to find a picture-perfect structure or park or window around every corner. LOL! Today, there was this old man on his balcony overlooking the main street and he was fixing some flowers and we just had to stop and take his picture. So Spanish, so typical, so in the moment.

Oh, and I found my code of arms with the Molina name on it, and it tells of its Spanish origin. Same goes for my DH's last name.

I love just being able to disconnect from the stress of everyday that seems to be consuming me lately. I'm really enjoying this...

Hugs to all of you! I'll try to post again soon.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'm in Madrid!

We just arrived in Madrid and the airport was the first highlight of our trip. It's ultra modern and really cool... So now we are in our hotel room, our ultra modern and awesome hotel room. Love this place. It's called Vincci Soho in the center of all the action. I've already shot lots of pics. LOL! We only slept a couple of hours on the flight, but it's only 11 am here and so we're heading out to sightsee... So happy to experience this new adventure. There seems to be this interesting contrast of historic and contemporary architecture and artistic treasures. I love it already!!! I have free Internet and I wish I could call home, but it's 5 am there and I don't think anyone would appreciate that. He he he!

Bye for now!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Week in the Life

What a week! I have really missed my scrappy friends, but it has been crazy this past week. I had a birthday and turned 32 on Oct. 16, my three-year wedding anniversary was Oct. 23, I spent the entire weekend taking care of Mami, I've worked through many a deadline trying to finish at least six books during the past two weeks, I caught a really bad cold, and I've been preparing for my trip tomorrow in the midst of all this... oh, and yes, I'm still sick! That's a week in my life...

Speaking of which, here's a sneak peek at my Week in the Life album that I started at CKU. I still have a lot to do, but I love this project from the talented and inspiring Ali Edwards. I learned a lot from this class. "It is OK. Embrace imperfection. Play." Repeat after me... (Go, Ali!)

Oh, and by the way, here's some happy mail I got this week. Some cool Interactive Circle stamps, a Catslife Press mounted stamp, and the Fontwerks foliage stamps we used in Ali's class so I can keep using them in my album.

That's all for now... There's lots more to show you from my CKU experience, including some layouts from my Sketches class with Becky Higgins, Noteworthy goodies from my Making Memories class with Margie, and my Fancy Pants layout. Cool stuff.

But that will all have to wait because I'm gonna take some NyQuil and I'm going to continue packing... and then tomorrow afternoon, I am off to... SPAIN!!!!! Yeah! See you all later.

Peace and happy scrapping!

Monday, October 15, 2007

CKU... What an amazing experience!!!!

Hi my scrappy friends!

Last night, I returned from CKU-Orlando. I was so happy that my BFF was able to join me on Friday morning. Her grandma was in the hospital so she wasn't going to go, but then her grandma started recovering and she was able to meet me up in Orlando. She took a flight and made it just in time for her classes! Yeah!

CKU was such a blast. I cannot begin to tell you what an enriching and amazing experience it was for me... It was inspiring beyond belief and the amount of talent there was extraordinary.

On Thursday night, I drove to a local bead and scrapbook store because Ali Edwards was signing her book (see photo above and notice that is Anilu's necklace that Ali was wearing!). I was so thrilled that I got to attend and listen to her speak about “no fear scrapbooking.” It was cool because there weren't that many people there and she answered our questions and just hung out with us. All I can say is WOW. She just brings out a lot of emotions in me when she speaks because she knows how to connect so well with everyone. I get tears in my eyes when she speaks about her son, Simon, or talks to us about being a "Life Artist."

During the event, I took some awesome classes and I got my picture taken with Ali, Becky Higgins, Tim Holtz, Candice Stringham, Ana Cabrera and the product designer for Making Memories, Margie.

I worked on some layouts, learned new painting techniques from Tim, got some great info on photography from Candice and a whole lot more! Wait till you see the album we’re working on for The Week in the Life (Ali’s album class). It will take some time for me to finish it, but it will all be so worth it. This album is so personal and it opened up my eyes to new things. It has helped me appreciate my everyday life and pay more attention to my surroundings. It is really an incredible album. So inspiring.

Also, there were people there from all over the world: Japan, Germany, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, etc. Next year, CKU will be held in Chicago, Provo and Houston, but I still want to go... It was well worth it!!! I can't wait to be back.

Here are some more photos... I have so many great stories...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ali Edwards, here I come!

Guess what???? Tomorrow, my BFF and I are driving up to Orlando to see Ali Edwards. OK, that's not all that we're doing, but that's all I can think about right now. We're heading to CKU to take photography and scrapbooking classes with Becky Higgins, Tim Holtz, Candice Stringham, etc. and to create an album project with the one and only Ali Edwards. I'm so excited... I can use a break from work right about now (even if I'm worried sick about what's going to happen to the books while I'm gone! Yikes!)

Changing the subject, I went to Macy's last night to buy some makeup that I needed from MAC and Clinique. To my surprise, Clinique had a free gift with purchase and I LOVE it. This bag is awesome... and it's my favorite color.

One more thing. Check out the mini album I created a couple of weeks ago celebrating my scrappy friends Ady, Damaris, Rena, Anilu, Barb, Esther, Lou and Ivette.

Click here to view my entire album

Did I mention I'm going to CKU tomorrow and meeting Ali Edwards???? Oh, yeah, I forgot! LOL!

Peace and happy scrapping!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I'm so tired!

Hi my scrappy friends! I couldn't think of a title for my post, but the only common factor in my life lately has been that I'm so overwhelmed and tired these days.

I haven't even visited Scrap in Style lately and I was addicted once upon a time (I have severe SIS TV withdrawal symptoms). I can't wait to see what all you talented scrappers have been working on... I haven't scrapped lately because there's just no time and I so wish I could make some time to scrap. It's my stress reliever. Work is unbelievably hectic, I'm going on three trips this month, and the other two weekends I'm taking care of my grandma. I'm even stressing about the things that I should be happy about. What's wrong with me?! On Wednesday, my BFF and I are off to CKU-Orlando to meet Ali Edwards! Yeah! I'm still trying to get everything ready because I have to trim lots of photos to size for Becky Higgins' Sketches class and organize tons of stuff for Ali's The Week in the Life album workshop.

Here's some happy mail news: Yesterday I received this yummy Kristina Contes kit from SIS... Kristina is amazing! Her style is so inspiring and I'm enjoying the Dare book so much!

Today, I'm taking care of Mami and she's not doing well at all. I've had two breakdowns today because sometimes I just don't think that I can handle this. She's so frail that she almost fell twice and mentally she's hallucinating all the time and seems so lost. She didn't even know who I was at one point, she imagines things and asks for people that are deceased all the time. She can't be left alone either because she made an absolute mess in the bathroom and hallway earlier today and I just have to stay with her and watch her constantly. I guess it's like caring for a child, but worse, because I feel like my Mami is already gone. This is difficult and it's mentally and physically draining me today. I cannot imagine how my aunt deals with this daily. The situation seems to be getting a lot worse...I love my Mami so much. Please keep her in your prayers (her name is Ramona).

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Back from the USVI and into the craziness...

I returned from the USVI on Monday and headed straight to the office. It's been non-stop ever since. Yesterday and today I worked 11-12 hour days. I can't tell you how crazy busy it has been!

Aside from that, my trip went well. I arrived in St. Thomas and stayed in the Charlotte Amalie area since that's were most of my meetings were. The real treat was when I got to spend some time on St. John and St. Croix and my DH met me there for the weekend. I was getting to know the islands so that I can finish editing the book and so I basically did a fast and furious tour of the USVI.

St. John is absolutely gorgeous!!!! It's my favorite by far. The beaches are the prettiest I've seen and I have visited a lot of islands in the Caribbean since we publish books for many of them. I got there by car ferry (similar to a barge) and you won't believe what happened. Another car ferry crashed into us when we headed out of the bay. It was like the Titanic because the car ferry was going so fast that it side swiped us and boom! That was a bit scary, but we were fine and hey, we just kept going. I drove the scenic narrow roads (on the left side) into the mountains and down into the bays. Wow! Here are some photos.

My favorite was Trunk Bay...just look at that beach!

This is Cruz Bay, where all the action is...

Then it was off to St. Croix, another beauty. I had to take a seaplane to get there because the ferry ride back and forth takes about three hours and I only had one day to explore. There's a rain forest and a scenic road that I couldn't take because I was driving a Toyota Corolla and I needed a 4x4. Oops! Now I know for next time. Anyway, the views from the top of the mountains were spectacular. It's so lush and there's a lot of history on this island.

Here's a view from the seaplane...

Another seaplane shot (I think we're getting ready to land on the water)

Some of the roads were so bumpy it was out of control! I found that lots of the street signs have funny sayings. We came across this one and my DH just had to stop and snap a shot...

These are just a few of the many photos I shot! I didn't get to see too much because my time was limited, but I learned a lot and now I know what to focus on when I return.

Before I go, I just want to ask you all to please pray for Carmin, my BFF's grandma. She's back in the hospital and we all are hoping that she can go back home real soon!

Hugs to all!