12.18.2016

365 Photo Project – One photo a day

365 photo project Today is a great day! Well, really, every day is a great day but today, or I should say yesterday, I decided to take on the 365 Photo Project. Why? Because I love to torture myself by adding more things to my to-do list. Also, let’s face it, we take lots of photos and then we don’t do anything with them. We might as well try to experiment, right?

Basically, I used to love photography, that’s why I started this blog ages ago, and with another name. I wanted to take beautiful pictures and learn to edit them. As usual, I stopped for a few years, but this time I’ll just blame my iPhone. Really, it’s its fault. The photos are nice, you can take videos, you can edit them, post them directly to your social media, send them to friends, plus it’s easy to travel with. Do you know how heavy a camera and extra lenses are? Let’s just say that the phone is easier. That being said, I’m sorry but you just can’t beat the flexibility of a DSLR. That’s why yesterday I decided to start.

365 photo project

365 photo project

My goal with this project is to take a photo a day with my camera. I already do it with my phone, which is fine, and I may post that photo here or in other social media outlets, but I want to learn. I want photography to become a habit and to learn to edit my photos. Simple, right?

No theme, really, except for the fact that my daughter will show up A LOT.

10.05.2016

Fall 2016 – Nail Polish Edition

fall-2016-nail-polish

Yup, I may be a little bit late to the nail fashion situation, but it’s kind of summer here so I’ve been wearing bright and white nail polish until now! You know, we have the seasons wrong here in SF. What’s a girl to do?

So, I finally decided to stop getting gel and going for a regular nail polish so I can play with it at home when I please. More reasons to have my own? Well, I had about 20-30 bottles completely expired, plus if you’re a busy mom like me, you don’t always have the time to go to the nail salon, right? I know it’s relaxing and all that… but when you get a call from your husband the second you sit down on the chair asking “when are you coming back?” the relax turns into stress…

Which brings me to the next question… How long can it possibly take to get your nails dry? That’s usually an inconvenience, and the reason why I love gel. BUT, fear not. I found Poshé top coat and used it twice before giving it a solid thumbs up. The advantage of it is that you must apply it when your nail polish is still wet to actually work. Win win. Nobody has time to dry every.sing.coat you put on! It also doesn’t have any of those weird chemicals, although it still smells like good old-fashion nail polish.

And, as for the colors of the season? Well, I don’t follow the trends that much but, here are the couple I just got…

  • I wanted to replace my favorite nude, it’s pricy but I LOVE it. It’s Yummy Mummy from Butter London. My favorite brand.
  • I think that you should always have a dark “vampy-ish” color, just because they’re cool, fun, and awesome. I picked Velvet Voyage from Essie.
  • And for the trendy shade, as per Harper’s, I got Now and Zen from Essie too. I love this one. I remember always wearing gray nails in college, and this one has a hint of sage which makes it different from what I’m used too.

At the end of the day, it’s just up to whatever fits our style and preferences! What are your favorite fall colors?

xo

03.09.2015

Public Speaking

Public speaking - presentation This post is quite different from what I usually post but I thought it could be of interest. Public speaking is very scary for most people, including me. If I can get out of a presentation, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. It doesn’t matter if I’m the expert in that area,  create the presentation, and train someone else to present it; I would pay to get out of it if I could. Unfortunately, this is not how it works, which is actually good. Doing something scary is always good. You learn and at the end you realize that it wasn’t that bad after all.

Public speaking is not something they teach in college and it should be mandatory. You go through all those years of study, get a job, your boss says that you have to present something and you don’t even know where to start. Fortunately, they are teaching it now starting in kindergarten, unfortunately this is happening only in private schools, at least in San Francisco.

In my case, I was lucky to have a great teacher in business school who gave us incredible tips for effective presentations. Since I’ve learned them, I’ve been paying attention to all the public speakers I’ve seen and trying to learn from their styles.

Here are some of these learnings:

  1. Address your audience. In public speaking you can’t just talk to one person, you have to look at different people around the room and make eye contact as if you were talking directly to them. This actually calms me down.
  2. Don’t read the power point. I can’t address this enough. We can read, so please don’t waste people’s time. If for some reason my slide is so detailed that it would make more sense to read it, I still try to paraphrase it.
  3. Walk around the room if you can. This is self explanatory. You add movement and you make your audience more engaged. Now, this is not always possible or necessary, but the idea is that there’s some movement and you don’t stand still.
  4. Gesture. Now, I have to say that Spaniards and other cultures, probably Italians, have this to their advantage. We gesture a lot which tends to keep people interested. See point 3.
  5. Your speech needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. I really think this is very important, and the truth is that not everybody does it. You open your speech with a “why we are here” or “what we are going to talk about today”, and then you follow with the issue at hand. Then you close your speech with a recap, conclusions, recommendations, etc. Sometimes this may vary, but this is the basic structure.
  6. Props. I’ve found that if I have some props, something to hand out, a video I want to show from YouTube, or even asking questions to the audience, this will help break the ice and calm me down, so I relax and stop shaking!
  7. Pace yourself and speak at the right volume. I have a strong voice so I don’t need to do much with the volume, but pacing is another story. I can speak too fast. Ideally we want to pace ourselves and have the right volume. I heard someone presenting the other day and she was way too loud, which is very annoying.
  8. Practice, practice, practice. 

So here are my tips which I hope will help you to have a more polished presentation. Needless to say, I’m not an expert, I’ve only done this a few times so I’m learning, and I still want to get out of every single presentation. But what I found out is that if you are prepared and know what you’re talking about, you may be nervous the first couple of minutes but then you’ll be fine.

03.02.2015

Pretty Lashes – My favorite mascara

Mascara Let’s talk mascaras, shall we?

I’ve never been a makeup girl, seriously, I’m very lazy. My rule was that if I didn’t wear makeup then I didn’t need to wash my face at night… Well, this has worked for pretty much my entire life, but there was a moment when I decided that it would be a good a idea to wear some makeup. The thing is that I’ve always liked to buy it, but not to wear it. That has changed in the last couple of years, although I wear very little/light makeup. Now I feel naked if I don’t put something on. I know, first world problems.

One of my favorite makeup products is the mascara. I really think that it makes a big difference although it’s a pain to remove, and believe me, I’ve tried different makeup removers. I also try to avoid waterproof formulas because of the extra difficulty trying to remove them. I have to say that I have spent way too much time and money trying to find the perfect one, and I think I found it: YSL Babydoll. I believe it was released a couple of years ago and I’ve been using it for almost two years. I got to test it when I exchanged my points at Sephora and fell in love with it. It doesn’t clump, it doesn’t make my lashes heavy, and it makes my eyes look pretty natural. Again, I love natural looks on me.

YSL Babydoll mascara

 

There are other mascaras I’ve tried that I liked too, for example, they’re Real from Benefit. I got it on my birthday set at Sephora and really loved it, but when I removed it, it felt like I was removing a waterproof mascara and that was the part that pushed me away from it.  Lancome Hypnose is another good one, but Babydoll is my favorite. I really like Covergirl LashBlast Mascara but it starts flaking after a couple of hours.

 

mascara

I know that YSL is not the cheapest one around, but I’ve spent so much money trying to find the perfect drugstore brand that this one is worth it to me. The first time I ran out of it I looked for a dupe online and I heard that L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes was the perfect substitute. Well, I went ahead to buy it and when I opened it I realized that it was waterproof. I went back to the drugstore to buy the non-waterproof formula, and yes, it was fine but I prefer the YSL one. In the end I decided that I better stick to what I know and like.

What’s your favorite mascara?

09.30.2014

Movies

Hector and the search for happiness

Image via City movies

How often do you go to the movies? I don’t really go. I’m lucky if I can squeeze it once or twice a year. It might sound weird to lots of you, but those parents out there know what I’m talking about.
Going out without your kids is like a mission impossible; the babysitter is not available, you have to find a new one, which is not worth it for a couple of hours, the grandparents aren’t around, the rest of the family has plans. Forget it! No movie, just playground and dinner with the kiddo.

Not last weekend. My husband and I went to the movies, woohoo. We went to see Hector and the Search for Happiness. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was actually really good. It had a dark sense of humor plus a couple of different twists in the story. It also had different actors that I knew I had seen before but couldn’t remember in what movie, which is something that drives me insane. This movie wasn’t my normal pick for the random occasion I get to go to the cinema (I like this word a little bit more than movies or movie theater). Something I found strange is that the movie theater was empty, no lines whatsoever. Is this normal on a Saturday night? Because I still remember those days where you had to wait forever in line to get your tickets

Afterwards we even had dinner at the mall! I know what you are thinking – You finally made it out of the house without the kid and had dinner at the mall where the movie played? – Yes, but just leave it to San Francisco to have a couple of fancy/gourmet restaurants in a mall. No wonder we are spoiled foodies here. Besides the typical food court area in the basement, which is a little bit gourmet too, there’s an area at the top of the Westfield mall called “Under the Dome”. There you can find a couple of really good restaurants. The advantage of this is that the wait was just 30 minutes so we went shopping. I hate waiting for food, except for brunch.

What do you guys do on your date nights? Are movies still in or it’s just me being old?