Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Christmas in Pictures

I hope you had a beautiful Christmas with your loved ones. We had quite an eventful holiday, but it was wonderful. I love that we get to do so much and see so many people from BOTH sides of our families.

(I know I keep saying this, but I just wish that my Mami and my Mom were still here!!! I miss them soooo much!!!)

The best gift (other than this baby of course!) was having Roxana home for the holidays. We were completely and utterly surprised to find her at her parents home on Dec. 20. WOW!!! Richard cried so much when he saw his sister. I cried, too! (In fact, writing this makes me all teary-eyed again.) Roxana has been gone for two years. She's been cloistered in a monastery with Carmelite nuns who are not allowed to go out and have any contact with family. When we visit, we see her in her nun outfit (or penguin suit, as we say jokingly!) through some metal bars. It's been very tough for her family, but this is the life she has chosen. For whatever reason, she was allowed to leave and she is here with us for THREE months! She wants to go back, but I pray that she stays. Not because I don't want her to be a nun, but because I don't want her to be a cloistered nun. I want her to do what she feels is right, but we want her to share with her family. When her grandma was critically ill in the hospital, we couldn't even reach Roxana to let her know -- and if we had reached her, she wouldn't have been allowed to visit the hospital anyway. Thankfully, Abuela Meri is home and doing well.

Here is a photo of Roxana and Richard the day she came home.

And here she is with her mom on the right and her grandma on her left (and her grandma's sisters).

Christmas Eve was very nice. I was happy to have my Titi Mae and Jorge join us at my in-laws' house. I love spending time with them and I cherish our family time.

After dinner, they were caught red-handed in the dessert section (heee!).

Here's our self-portrait for the evening...

And family photos by the beautiful Christmas tree...

On Christmas morning, we had our traditional BIG breakfast with my family. I baked two quiches, bought some ham and cheese, clementines, hummus with pita chips and some cheese danishes from Starbucks. Titi Mae got bagels from Einstein's, pate, and she baked a delicious cheese artichoke dip. YUM!!!

Then we opened presents...

And some family members went to bed and passed out afterward (I won't mention any names!)

Richard and I headed to my in-laws house next, where they dressed up the dogs (I got this doggy dress at the Target Dollar Spot for $2.50).

Then we opened presents...

Richard's grandma seemed to really like the soft cuddly throw we got her!

And we got a good laugh at my father-in-law and Richard's uncle FLASHING us with their awesome new robes!

My BFF was sick with a cold so we couldn't visit them this year since I am pregnant and all. Teehee! But we did get to go to Richard's cousin's house. They made a delicious dinner and this beautiful flan.

Oh, and by the way, my chocolate ganache cheesecake was a HIT!! My family and Richard's family loved it! In fact, my hubby said I "outdid" myself. Hmmm...

We ended the night watching Roxana sing some religious music and play the guitar. I missed seeing her play music. She's gotten really good! Richard joined in and sang with her. I LOVE this photo of the two of them...

I am finally working on my December Daily album -- after a brief scrapbooking hiatus during my first trimester! I still cannot stand the smell of my scrap room, but I actually have the urge (and need) to be creative so I am plugging along! I am on Day 16. I will post photos soon...

I guess I should have warned you about this loooong post at the beginning! But if you made it this far, I just want to say THANK YOU to all who left me sweet comments on my previous post and to those of you who come to visit my blog and leave me comments. I truly appreciate you!!!

Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR filled with love, health and happiness!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Blessing


I hope you are all enjoying the holidays and cherishing each moment. I know it can get so crazy this time of year, but for me it's still the MOST wonderful time by far. It's all about sharing, caring and giving (with a few in a hurry, rude Miamians thrown in for good measure!). I love spending time with my family (even though I miss my departed loved ones the most during the holidays and it's just not the same without them!); I love the cool Miami weather (yeah, it's 67 degrees! Whoohoo!); and all the shopping, decorating, music, baking and eating, too!

Although I must admit this year has me feeling a bit less energetic (to put it mildly). All my decorations are NOT up, Christmas cards just went out on Monday, Richard and I wrapped gifts last night till 1 am, and I am only baking one batch of sweets this year...

Why am I feeling tired, nauseous and grossed out by red meat? Lightheaded, not enjoying the smell of my scrap room/studio, and craving chocolate milk and starches? Plain cheese pizza, rice and beans, bagels with cream cheese -- bring it on! For the record, I am also having a love affair with fruit right now.

Well, you see, Richard and I have been truly blessed...

And we're expecting a little Vanessa or a little Richard (no worries -- that won't be her/his name!) in late June.

I am 13.5 weeks along.

Lots of emotions going through my heart and mind right now. It's been an emotional roller coaster ride with all these hormones raging. So much excitement. So very blessed. So many questions. Missing my loved ones. Trying to stay healthy. Changing priorities. Seeking strength and faith to guide me along this wonderful journey. Not knowing who to lean on sometimes.

So that's the BIG NEWS that I couldn't wait to share with everyone!!! And the second reason (other than LOTS of work!) why I haven't been blogging as much lately. :)

But I am feeling a little better and looking forward to counting my blessings this holiday season. Life is good.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Launch Party

I know that I have been missing from the blog world for a few weeks, but I have good reasons to have been MIA. One of the reasons will remain a "secret" for a bit longer (check back in a couple of days!), but the other reason is work. Lots of work. Did I mention work? It's been a busy and challenging year trying to get all our publications out on time. This week, we finally released the four final magazines for 2010. But none of our pubs can compare to this one.

After almost three years planning and developing the concept, researching, writing, designing, producing and printing this baby, it's FINALLY here! I present to you "The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom," a book we published in partnership with Emilio Estefan and Estefan Enterprises.

It's a one-of-a-kind, coffee table book that chronicles the pain and suffering that Cuban Americans have endured in search of freedom. It also celebrates their achievements after arriving in America. It includes historic images from many sources, including The Miami Herald Archives, and tells the personal stories of many. There are three versions: Freedom Flights, Pedro Pan and Mariel (each one lists the names of all Cubans that arrived here during that time period).

I have to tell you, the book looks AWESOME in person (and I'm not just saying that because I worked on it!) It just came together beautifully. The editorial and design team worked day and night, even weekends, sometimes till 1 am to meet deadlines. But we did it! I am so proud to work with such talented and dedicated individuals!

The big launch event took place this past Tuesday at the Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami. We had a VIP guest list and a limited number of books for sale. Emilio Estefan was on hand to autograph books and talk to everyone.

Richard joined me for some photo ops. He has read most of the book already and he really likes it. Trust me, that's a huge deal. I may not be Cuban, but my hubby is and he is as honest as they come. He is my biggest supporter but also my critic at times. Okay, maybe he had ONE complaint. LOL!

Many people from our company attended. Folks from all areas that worked on this book and it was a great feeling to see it so well received by many.

The book is on sale online at and you can still get it before Christmas so hurry up and order! It costs $34.95 plus shipping and handling. You can also pick it up at some CVS Pharmacy locations (and save on shipping) in Miami starting tomorrow (see website for locations). In 2011, we will expand the distribution, but we wanted to make it available here in Miami in time for Christmas.

If you're in South Florida, there will also be extensive coverage of the book in The Miami Herald's Sunday paper.

Now that the book has launched, I look forward to some much-needed R&R and to spending the holidays celebrating with loved ones...

I'll be back soon with more exciting news! :) Merry Christmas my friends!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you so much for the get well wishes and the support... I love reading the comments you all leave me :)

I am feeling much better now. Still a bit "nasally" but doing a LOT better so that's great!

I took the day off yesterday and did some shopping. I can't tell you how good it felt to go out and get things accomplished, not to mention the wee bit of shopping I did at Pottery Barn. Hee!! I bought a beautiful basket to display my mini albums, a vintage-looking ornament for an upcoming ornament swap with friends, some musical note paper pieces in the shape of stars for my glass bowl, and one or two other little things.

I bravely battled the loooong winding line at Honey Baked Ham to pick up my online order and except for one woman who was fighting and acting like her misplaced ham was her firstborn child, all went well. The police were even there keeping order. LOL!

Last night, I did some baking.

I baked two pumpkin pies and some Pumpkin Pecan Dessert Squares using this yummy Pumpkin Butter from Williams-Sonoma.

Now I am going to finish up with a Dutch Apple Pie - YUM! Then it's off to my aunt's house followed by Richard's parents house later tonight.

Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to all!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Still Alive (barely)

Okay, so I am exaggerating just a bit but that's how I am feeling right now! Just wanted to check in and let you know that I am indeed alive and I'll be back blogging and sharing creative projects with you very soon...

But right now I am coming out of a REALLY BUSY season at work. I'm talking LATE nights and weekends, too! Making several deadlines, the most pressing of which ended just yesterday. It's an exciting project and I'll be sure to share the details of the book we're publishing very soon (in fact, it will be for sale!) I'm somewhat relieved that the worst of it has ended, but it seems that these days work just gets busier and busier. Don't get me wrong -- I know I should be HAPPY to have a job in this economy and I am, but it's been very tough this year!! I am looking forward to hopefully getting back to a somewhat "normal" work schedule in the coming days as we approach the holidays.

During all of this madness, it seems my body gave up on me and said, "I've had enough!" After getting home around 10 pm on Monday night, I came down with a horrible cold/flu that has had me bedridden for two days. Yesterday, I managed to work from home and get myself out of bed to review and approve some layouts that were being released to the printer, but today I did nothing but rest... and I am still feeling pretty sick!!

So that's where I have been and I am looking forward to feeling better, coming back to blog land and creating something really soon!!! (I can't wait!)

Until then, I'll leave you with a sneak peek at the Dec Studio Calico kit. These are the exclusive SC papers and some more papers that Sassafras has created exclusively for this month's kit. I'm so excited!!

Back to bed I go (with sniffles and all)...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Good evening my bloggy friends :)

I've been working so much lately and I've been so tired that I can hardly blog these days, but that will change soon (hopefully!)... Work should calm down a bit come next week.

I used the random number generator on to select a number between 1 and 7 and it chose 4. It took me forever to figure out how to add the screen image from onto this post because I couldn't figure out how to create a screen shot on a PC to save my life... It's so easy on a Mac! LOL!

Anyway, the 4th comment was from Caryl Hope! CONGRATS Caryl!!! Please send me an email with your mailing address and I will ship your print out to you by next week. :)

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Oh, one more thing! Have you seen the new SLICE Fabrique? It's so cool!!!

I don't sew, but this is super cool and maybe I would actually use this to create fabric embellies for my layouts and projects... Love this! Check out these awesome projects on Laura Vegas's blog.

I'm off to catch some zzz's...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm baaaack... with a giveaway!

The Halloween party was soooo much fun (and a LOT of work!)! Everyone had a great time and we got to see many friends and family that we hadn't seen in a while. And Richard's haunted house was a HUGE hit -- even though he didn't have the time to create and build everything exactly as he wanted! Maybe next year :) Now that we have the foundation down and ideas to work with, I can definitely see us doing this again next year and taking it to the next level. Hee!

I will share some Halloween photos with you soon, but right now they're still in my camera...

October was a great month, but it's over now and I'm ready to embrace November and all that it brings :) To celebrate the holiday season, I'm giving away a beautiful print created by an artist that I really like. This is Kelly Rae Roberts' Silent Emotion. I thought I'd share this with someone who will enjoy having it up on their wall. It's an 8x8 print matted to fit an 11x14 frame. Click here for more info.

Oh, and it comes signed by the artist with a certificate of authenticity.

If you'd like to win this print, please leave me a comment on this post telling me what your favorite holiday tradition is... I'll select a winner on Monday!

For now, I'll leave you with a peek at my 2010 December Daily album cover, which I am really excited about this year.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Banner

Last week, I completed this banner for our upcoming Halloween party. In the meantime, it's hanging above the French doors in my family room. This was a fun project to make! (Click on each image to view larger!)

I used old Scenic Route papers from my stash, as well as some new paper that we got at SPARK from My Mind's Eye. I created a template and cut up cardboard banner shapes to mount each patterned paper so that my banner wouldn't be too flimsy. I painted the edges of each one with Claudine Hellmuth black paint. I also painted the large corrugated letters black and covered each one with black and purple glitter that I mixed together.

I wanted each letter to stand out and read well so I mounted each one on a large orange or green scalloped circle (from Archiver's and Stampin' Up). Then I punched a smaller scallop circle out of my leftover patterned paper and glued the letters onto that. I kept the embellies pretty simple, with some pumpkins, spiders, a bat, a cat and some words.

It's strung on a garland and I attached rubber skeletons to each end! Hope you like my "SPOOKY" banner! :)

I also made some treat bags for the kids that will be attending our Halloween party.

And I bought these sticker labels and attached them to straws to make fun signs that I will place on the buffet table.

Happy Halloween week to all! More fall goodness (and a giveaway) coming up soon!