rawr means “i love you” in dinosaur.

i think the best way to preface this blog post is by sharing a little story with all of you.


i have a car – a blue VW jetta, to be exact. {for the sake of storytelling, let’s refer to it as “bleu.”} so, i was on new jersey’s infamous route 22 with “bleu” one day, when it dawned on me that…wait for it…dinosaurs once roamed what is now route 22. {don’t quote me – it’s just a guesstimation that they made it around what is now route 22.} intense; it somehow managed to both penetrate and blow my mind simultaneously.


i confess – that wasn’t much of a story. anyway, what i’m trying to say is – i think dinosaurs are mind-blowingly awesome + i’m a bit of a fan. 🙂

what does any of this have to do with anything? absolutely nothing. 😉 just kidding! it’s just my lame intro into telling you all that i went to the newly opened “field station: dinosaurs” in secaucus, nj this past weekend. 🙂 if you’re thinking about going, i strongly suggest you purchase tickets online for a slight discount. the prices, in my opinion, were a little high for what it is {$25 for adults; $20 for kids};  and, albeit a fun experience, it’s certainly not the jurassic park i was hoping for. 😉

here are some pictures of my adventure to “field station: dinosaurs” –

 {+ a big thank you to my sister-in-love, because we’re not quite sister-in-laws yet, for taking this picture + getting me that dinosaur shirt! thank you lia; you already know you are awesome! ;)}

so, the moral of today’s revamp session is: go on adventures that involve crazy things you enjoy – like dinosaurs. it may not live up to your expectations {or involve jeff goldblum}, but it’s always worth it. 🙂

<3 always,

ana patricia

p.s. here is a video of one of the dinosaurs in “action” –

what kind of random things are you fans of?

let me set the mood right.

i went to the thrift store this afternoon and i bought me a candle.

a fancy one made in africa.

and i lit it, just for this very special occasion

with you –

    the reveal of the cork playmat “rug.”

poetry + a lit candle=setting the mood oh-so-right. 😉

and now that i’ve got you all curious and such, here is a shot of that awesome candle {which was $1.43ish}:

now let’s get to it – the reveal:

i kinda, sorta love it. 🙂 i know i played it safe considering it matches the countertop and cabinets – but i still thoroughly enjoy it. success!

so, now that we’re in my kitchen…

i know it doesn’t look it to anyone else but me {and my wild imagination}, but i have a “vintage” vibe going on in there. disregard the stainless steel {and everything else} and feast your eyes on these crosleys:

modern vintage, maybe? could there be such a thing? i know they aren’t the most original pieces, but i love them and the fact that they help emphasize the overabundance of stainless steel and black in our kitchen. 😉

you might also not have noticed, but i have a thing for collecting fun crap on top of my cabinets. see:

my parents + al like to criticize my empty bottle collection – but they just don’t know! they just need to pinterest some empty bottle ideas and they would realize how essential it is to have some readily available.  🙂

and another set of cabinets:

you saw right –  it’s a popcorn maker. i have yet to use it, but my awesome brother – paul – got it for my past birthday. he’d be so happy to see me proudly display it. 🙂

ok, back to the cork playmat “rug.” i do thoroughly enjoy it, but i am hesitant to say it will last long. this is why:

notice the nails – and that uncontainable lab mix energy! how is my piece of artwork supposed to survive all of this?! i’m still an amateur to all of this do-it-yourself stuff, so i’m not sure if i should have coated the mat with some sort of special puppy protector elixir, but i’ll just have to live and learn on this one.

totally random, but i should tell you all that i narrate for tanner {the pup} all the time. it’s a gift and a curse. with that being said, here he is, saying “mama – can i keep this rug forever? i loves it.” yeah, he’s cute awesome like that. 🙂

and only like a proud mama could, here is another shot of him; this time practicing his downward dog on the {yoga?} mat:

ok, so that was it – candles, playmat rugs and puppies. i hope you enjoyed it and as always, i wish you all the best of luck in any and all of your own revampings. 🙂

until next time! 🙂

<3 always,

ana patricia

p.s. al will hate that i am posting this {again} – but i just had to. i mean, what kind of loving girlfriend would i be if i just didn’t tease him constantly?! 🙂 so here goes…

doesn’t al slightly resemble iron man {robert downey. jr., for all of you that are not familiar}?! 🙂


painting the town – black?

it’s really nothing new what a little black paint can do – like jazz up some random home decor. i happened to have a bottle of black acrylic paint lying around that i bought a week or two {or three} ago for that cork board rug project i kept mentioning in my posts, and i finally put it to good use. {“good use” is obviously subjective in this case.} well, i don’t want to use the words “gave up” – but i semi-gave up on my original idea of creating a chevron pattern on that cork board rug. now, i know that goes completely against what this blog is about {giving up – or whatever this blog is actually about ;)}, but i figured “practical” and “getting it finally done” was becoming more of a priority.

let’s start from the beginning –

my kitchen floor tiles, they are white-ish…and a pain in the arse-ish. {arse is a friendlier version, right? i’m trying to keep my sailor mouth out of this blog. :)} anyway, with a dog always coming in and going out, the white-ish floors often look even more not-so-white, if you know what i mean. to distract both the horrible choice in tile color and the constant “mess,” i craved a good-sized, affordable rug to at least break up the kitchen floor. no such luck. my kitchen is small as it is; the small rugs were too small and the big ones, well – too big. one day i randomly came across – somewhere in the big world wide web – the idea of painting one of those baby playmats and using it as a “regular” floor “rug.” {you know, the puzzle ones that usually have the alphabet?} luckily for me, i came across a playmat in cork {as opposed to the alphabet} on fab.com. oh yeah. {see here: http://fab.com/inspiration/cork-playmatand i had somehow acquired some fab.com credits, which knocked $15 off the price, for a total of $25 for two packets {including s+h}. oh yeahs.  would i say it was an amazing deal? no. 😉 but it was a great deal nonetheless –  especially since i could size it up the way i wanted to. {fyi: each pack covers 9 square feet.} i got the cork playmats and laid it out on my basement floor {still not sure how it will fit in the kitchen, but i’m thinking it will be swell. crossing my fingers!} i was, as previously mentioned, hoping to paint a black chevron pattern – but decided that pattern was far too complex for me with no real stencils. what did i do then? i got painter’s tape and i made stripes instead. black ones, of course.

the tape laid out:

{i confess i didn’t do this as accurately as possible. i improvised with that small metal-ish thing i found lying around in my basement – and the rest was history as “they” say. and as my mom says, “i don’t give a smushy” if the lines aren’t straight. it adds character. ;)}

the cork playmat painted:

as you can see, the “rug” still lies on my creepy basement floor and still has the painter’s tape. {the failed chevron stencil i tried creating also lies next to it.}  i don’t know how i will feel about it once it dries and the tape is removed. i especially don’t know how i will feel about it when it’s finally on my kitchen floor. but it shall all be unveiled tomorrow. stay tuned. 🙂

um. now, you didn’t think that was the extent of my painting black, did you? while i had the paint readily available, i finally attacked this nightstand that had been sitting in our basement for at least a year. we {al + i} bought it at the salvation army for $9.99 and decided it would eventually go in our guest bedroom. i was initially thinking of just giving it a fresh white coat {a shabby chic look in the guest bedroom, if you will} but obviously decided otherwise. i gave it a coat of black acrylic paint and quickly realized that the paint was more matte than i had wanted and not coating all that well in some areas that still had the previous white paint color. {i sanded, but i didn’t sand it all the way down to the original wood. forgive me!} my source of redemption came in the form of a can of black glossy spray paint {or what might end up being two cans of black glossy spray paint.} i did one coat of spray paint over the acrylic paint, which was still drying last time i checked. {the humidity wasn’t helping the drying process.} i will be applying another coat tomorrow – or at least in some areas that looked a little off. after that, i am going to rely on a little stencil, white paint and a new knob to round up the jazzing phase. stay tuned for that final project in the next few days to come! i’m excited to see how it will all finally come together in our guest bedroom. 🙂

the nightstand, before {original}:

the nightstand with a coat of acrylic paint:

the nightstand, now:

the stencil + the knob{s}:

sidenote + conclusion: i clearly don’t abide by the blog rules of consistent daily posts and of delivering completed projects to “the masses.” i won’t ever claim to do that either {but i will try!} i will, however, come to this interweb hole to share with you my mini adventures, journeys – and the like. as with most other journeys, it doesn’t all start and end in the same day. with that being said, i wish you all luck and success in your own projects and journeys “in the works.” 🙂

<3 always,

ana patricia

p.s. just wanted to share that i found this awesome lamp in the ikea as-is section for a whopping $10! it’s missing the shade and a bottom – but that’s what our imagination is for, right? 😉 this will eventually make it’s way onto the nightstand above. 🙂

what kind of things have you started and are in the process of finishing up?

lair {n}: a wild animal’s resting place.

it’s been a little over two years now since me + al embarked on the adventurous journey of homeownership. out of all of the houses that we looked at {and there were many!}, 215 was the most “move-in ready.” {215 being our current house, of course.} there were no holes in the kitchen ceiling, no leaky tubs creating water damage and more importantly, the foundation wasn’t on a slant {the walk-through of that house was interesting to say the least}. al was hesitant about 215 at first, which wasn’t a surprise since he was apparently looking for a mansion, but it quickly grew on him. the neighborhood was quiet with a healthy sprinkling of friendly people walking their dogs and kids; the house, as previously mentioned, was not in need of any “major” renovations {in fact, the main bathroom and kitchen had just been redone by the previous owners}; and the backyard was bigger than both of our childhood homes combined. so, we did what any rational person would do: make an offer that day. it was a short sale so it took us about 4 months to close on the house – and then, for whatever reason, another 3 months to move in. although i say it was move-in ready, it wasn’t perfect – and is still very far from it. it is, however, ours. with every little thing we do in, around and to the house, we make this old house that much more our home.

so, without further ado, i would like to present to you the “before” and the current “revamp-in-progress” of one of the rooms: our “lair.” 🙂

the “before”:

like i said, the house wasn’t perfect. but, we were able to see past the hanging ceiling fan, disgusting carpet and unforgivable curtains. this is the view of the master bedroom as you walk into it.

here is a better pictures of the absolutely gross carpet that once lived in our bedroom, as well as one of the “walk-in” closets. {by “walk-in,” i mean for people that are shorter than 5’3.”}

and here is a look on the inside of that fabulous little “walk-in” closet.

here is a view of the other side of the bedroom. the small brown door leads to the other “walk-in” closet.

the inside of that “walk-in” closet.

a better look inside.

some of the things we did to revamp this room, include: remove the disgusting carpet; put in new wood flooring throughout the rooms and closets; replace all of the moulding in the room; decrease the size of the first “walk-in” closet and replace it’s doors; move the fallen ceiling fan to the office and fix the hole; painted and began acquiring furniture.

and, here it is – the “revamp-in-progress”:

i wasn’t a fan of  the white wooden box around the ugly random pipe, so i opted for christmas lights instead. clever, i know. 🙂 my mother likes to remind me that i don’t live in a loft and that i can’t get away with exposing the pipe, but i’ve convinced myself that it’s awesome nonetheless. {you might have to click the picture in order to see the pipe i am referring to. }

the new closet doors. {and, unfortunately, that is me looking like a bum in the reflection. so much for using the camera remote. }

reflection of the windows and such.

that other little area where the chair was in the “before” shots. {don’t mind the cushions – their covers are being washed because a certain puppy likes to lick them excessively and get them dirty. they belong to the daybed in our “alcove,” which used to be part of one of the master bedroom “walk-in” closets. more on that another day. :)} i would, however, like to eventually put a nice arm chair and corner table in this section, as well as spray paint that lamp for another room.

that first “walk-in” closet was made smaller to accommodate for that “alcove.” because of the dropped ceilings, we weren’t sure how we were going to organize our closet. we had a few people come and give us quotes for both of our closets, but they were far too pricey. instead, we opted for some shelving in different sizes from home depot – and it worked!

another angle. there is another shelf and rod to the left, but you get the general idea. 🙂

and a quick shot of the other closet, which also has three shelving units before, in-between and after the two hanging rods.

as you can see, my walls are still very bare. at some point, i would like to hang some home-made art and/or landscape pictures. i already have something in mind for that wall above the dresser. i’ll keep you posted! 🙂

anyway, i hope you enjoyed my little “revamped” space. and  i hope that you are all enjoying any of your spaces that are “revamps-in-progress.” 🙂

<3 always,

ana patricia

what kind of “revamp-in-progress” are you in the middle of?

studies show that girls just want to have fun; cyndi lauper right all along.

there are some things you do and don’t need in life. for example, some things you don’t need are: piles of random puppy poo on your front lawn {none of which came from your own puppy}; for random youtube court videos chock full of vulgarities to accidentally turn on while your boyfriend is on a work phone call; and leftover desserts/temptations when you’re trying to lose weight.


some things you do need are: a photo album full of super-filtered silly-face pictures of you and your family + friends; a pair of ridiculously painful/fun shoes that you can only wear for 10 minutes at a time {sitting down, of course}; and an overall fun-filled weekend getaway with the girls.

how do i know? from the movies, duh! 😉

i kid – i know from experience!  let’s recap, shall we?


we – as in myself, dema, tina + christina – made our way to atlantic city. we checked in at our hotel room at the tropicana hotel and ate at a little place called chef volas. never heard of it? well, neither had i. i’m still not sure if i’ve heard of it, it’s that much of a mystery. i’m not entirely sure how we booked reservations, seeing as though it is a bit top secret, but we managed to do it. and, i have to tell you, that it was quite the lovely experience. the “restaurant” is actually located in the basement of a house, at the end of a tiny residential street of atlantic city. the entrance is through the side, which most normal-heighted people would have to actually duck to get into. {myself not included.} as for the food: it was authentic –  authentically delicious. 🙂 i can’t remember the exact deliciousness that was shared, but it was a medley of pasta in a blush sauce, chicken parmigiana, a chicken/spinach dish and crab cakes. for dessert, we had a bit of hazelnut gelato and some sort of ricotta cheese cake thing. it was all yums – and very much recommended for anyone looking for a lovely offbeat dining experience in atlantic city. 🙂

food at chef volas.

the rest of the evening was mostly spent at a karaoke bar at the tropicana hotel {planet rose}, which was actually – fun. i do have to admit that singing at a karaoke bar is on that unwritten bucket list of mine, but i just didn’t have it in me to do it during this stay at atlantic city. i have to practice – and uh, get over that ridiculous stage fright thing i have. but, when the day comes, i am thinking of doing a rendition of salt-n-pepa’s “shoop.” stay tuned for that one. 😉


we packed up and made our way to the chelsea hotel, which was where we had reservations for that night. i’m not all that familiar with atlantic city and all of its accomodations – but i must say, this was a super cute hotel to stay at.

christina, tina, me + dema @ the chelsea.

after exploring the hotel, we made our way to the infamous tanger shopping outlets. being the big spender that i am, i bought $20ish whole dollars of uselessness {because i needed another pair of bangles and all that other jazz. ;)} after a good amount of time walking around, we went back to the hotel to meet up with two of tina’s other friends to continue the festivities. {did i mention that we were all there celebrating tina’s pre-birthday? did i also mention that we have been friends since we were in the 7th grade? that’s many a years of celebrating! :)}

we ate dinner at the hotel and got ready for a girls’ night out and about. remember those shoes that i mentioned earlier – the ones that you can only wear 10 minutes at a time? yeah, well i happened to be wearing a pair this particular night. needless to say, after 10 minutes at the boogie nights club, i headed back to the hotel room to change into some flats.

the shoes

not much else to say, besides that we roamed around between clubs + the casino – and had a blast doing so. {i won a whole $5 gambling; big spender and big winner!}


after checking out, we made our way to breakfast – which was ::ahem:: a buffet. i know, i know – mediocre food, but it was slightly better than mediocre this time. 😉 it was a beautiful day, so we took advantage of it by walking the boardwalk for a bit and even spreading our toes in the sand + ocean. we were debating how to end off our “weekend” adventure, and ultimately decided to partake in a winery tour. it was my first time – and it was certainly good times had. 🙂 for $3 we got to taste a few of renault winerys wines…and we even got to keep the wine glass! free-ish stuff is always exciting.

me + my free glass @ the renault winery.

a few hours and many songs later and we were all back home. i had an amazing time with the girls – but i was also ecstatic to be back home with my boys. 🙂

and to conclude –


{happy belated mother’s day to all of you amazing women! <3, one of your biggest fans. :)}

we hosted a little sunday mother’s day lunch with my parents and al’s mom, sister and niece. surprisingly enough, i did most of the cooking – and i wasn’t too ashamed of it. i baked some paprika chicken, salmon topped with mayo with a tomato/mango “salsa” {thank you to my friend valerie who taught me the recipe!}, rice, beans, and brussel sprouts. {that’s right – brussel sprouts.} i sprinkled the table with a handful of appetizers and desserts and voila – a mother’s day lunch. 🙂

and that was my weekend – a lovely few days spent celebrating friendships and mamas. i hope your weekend was full of new adventures with your girlfriends, moms – or whomever! 🙂

<3 always,

ana patricia

p.s. tomorrow my blog post won’t be so 3rd grade “this summer i…” essay-ish. i am going to open my doors to you and show you the “before” and “where i’m at now” of one of the rooms in my house. looking forward to sharing that “revamp-in-progess” space.

p.s.s. in response to my previous blog post about my weight loss goal, i received recommendations for: www.caloriecount.com and “the dukan diet” by dr. pierre dukan. just wanted to share that with anyone else who would be interested! {thanks paula and ana! :)}

what kind of “girls just want to have fun” adventures have you had – or plan to have?

a weighty issue.

i’m not sure how else to approach this meaty subject without getting right into it. so, here goes:

i’m a chunker; i like to overeat and i like to avoid exercising like it’s my job.

now, i could sit here and regurgitate some random quote i found online about there just being more of me to love – or i could even go the other way and make myself out to be some sort of victim. i’m not feeling either of those approaches today. instead, i’m going to share with you a letter my 24-year-old self wrote. i do ask that you kindly overlook the corniness of it all – because let’s be honest, it’s pretty corny.


“Dearest Me:

I started off writing this letter with a question. The question simply put was: where do I begin? But, I am tired of questioning myself. This letter was designed in my mind to do the complete opposite- to start answering the doubts.

Since I can remember, I have wanted to lose weight for the obvious reason that I am overweight. It’s technically as simple as that. Then again, that hasn’t done enough for me up until now. I wanted to start a new approach where I confront myself with all the reasons, and blatant excuses, that I give myself to keep me from becoming healthy and becoming the me on the outside that I want to be. I should begin about how I feel now about my physical self…

I don’t hate myself- nor do I necessarily hate the person I see when I look in the mirror. I’m a big believer in the power and beauty of our souls and minds. Perhaps that is my #1 excuse, but it is an excuse that has worked to exercise and strengthen my belief in me as a human. In the end, I love myself. There are times, however, when I do look at a picture of myself and fall short of almost vomiting in my mouth. The person I am looking at in the picture does not reflect the person I feel that I am. So, with that- I want to change. I want to have some sort of equilibrium with myself. I’m not looking to be perfect, I am simply looking to become stronger; to become healthier; to prove to myself that I can finally do something that I put my heart, soul- and finally- body into it.

I believe that I will be more inclined- and successful- in losing weight if I begin a regiment that includes waking up early in the morning to exercise.  5:00 a.m., however, is not always the most appealing time to wake up, especially for someone who enjoys late night t.v. watching and late night b.s.ing. The truth of the matter is losing weight- and waking up early to do so- is way more important than catching tonight’s episode of the family guy and two and a half men…and it’s definitely more important than catching up on celebrity gossip. Things like that are ridiculously mundane in the grand scheme of things and will ultimately get me nowhere closer to my goals. The home in which my soul and mind reside in needs to start becoming a priority in my life. In this physical world, it is the tangible surface of my body that sustains my inner self; therefore, shouldn’t I be taking better care of it, shouldn’t that be my number 1 priority? So, I say to myself- wake up! Make some effort in fighting for what you want, after all- the final reward is all yours anyway. Stop waiting for Monday to come to start. Better yet, stop waiting for a Monday that never comes to come. That Monday you wait for every week is never guaranteed.  Just as time is man-defined, you must define that “Monday” and you must take control.

Food. I love and hate you. But it is a hate that comes from my very own lack of self-control. I need to learn how to eat when I am hungry. My body needs to be sustained; it does not, however, need to be a garbage disposal. I should not feel obligated to eat everything that is on my plate, even though I am full.  I am no longer a child visiting my grandparent’s house; I am a woman in control of what enters my body- and how much. So, stop overeating! That excessive food is just as useless in your body as it is in a literal garbage can. Even that last tiny bit is not necessary if your body says no. Eat when you are hungry; eat and listen to your body…in this case, your body knows best.

My two biggest foes – food and exercise – I hope the three of us can now engage in a healthy relationship.”

there you have it: a moment in time of weight loss motivation-turned-failure via a random letter to myself that never got me to shed even one pound. {and what was i thinking with all of those philosophical undertones? i should know better than to be so serious with myself. :)}

so, what does this all mean?

it means it’s time to take that letter into consideration and perhaps even write myself a new one. this time it might be abbreviated to: get your ass up and on that elliptical you wasted your accumulated hard-earned credit card points on and stop eating all that crap you don’t even like. keeping it simple this time. 🙂

now, i’ve loved myself my whole chubby existence, but i’m officially at my heftiest and less than thrilled with the way i feel and look. i’m “lucky” enough to now have the time and resources to finally put some real effort into losing weight, so i need to get my act together and do something about it. with that being said, i’m going to make a very bold statement as a professional quitter: i am going to eat healthy food + portion sizes and i’m going to exercise. and i am going to stick to it {finally}.  AND i’m going to keep you updated on my progress just so that i hold myself accountable for this very big and bold adventure.

i’ll save all of us the embarrassment of putting up a “before” picture and the “shame” of categorizing myself into a weight category. {i’ll save all of that for when i’m in the “after” phase. ;)} it won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but i’m ridiculously nervous thrilled about this. 🙂

wishing all of you fellow life revampers the absolute best in your own weight loss + strengthening journey. 🙂

<3 always,

ana patricia

p.s. this is a little awkward but, um, i do want to briefly mention that i will be in atlantic city from today-saturday and then hosting mother’s day on sunday. this new lifestyle will commence on monday. i promise. 😉

and in lieu of putting up a designated “before” picture, i will share with you instead a picture of me and two of my best friends – dema + tina – who i will be celebrating with in atlantic city. 🙂

dema, tina + me: central park 2012

do you have a weighty issue/story?

doing=the thing to do.

ok, ok – i have yet to fully comprehend and deliver a consistent daily blog post…but baby steps people, baby steps. needless to say, however, i am working diligently on coming up with future brilliance, i.e. party adventures and random to-do’s around the house. i promise that it will, at some point, become chronicled on a  consistent daily basis and become progressively awesomer {proper grammar may or may not be included}.

but for now, let’s put the future on hold and focus on the past: this past weekend. it was a lovely one, full of “doing,” which is the new thing to do around here. 🙂


a good portion of the day was spent with my friend, demaris, at the mall. we’re both not the biggest fans of shopping in malls, but it was delightful nonetheless. it was a good source of exercise if nothing else. if you’re curious, i had a coupon to old navy and bought a pair of jeans, some $1.99 earrings and a fun $1.99 bracelet. exciting big spender, i know. 🙂 {do bloggers usually give out this kind of information in their posts – or only the awesome ones, like me? ;)}

from there, we decided to be adventurous and have lunner at a buffet. it quickly dawned on me, while i was working on my second plate, that most buffet food that i have consumed in my life has been mediocre at best. it’s depressing –  in that ridiculous kind of way – to know that i have eaten so much crap just for the sheer fact that it was readily available for a nominal fee. but, because i am so open-minded, i am willing to take into consideration any “good” buffet that anyone feels they want to recommend. 😉

after catching up with dema, i met up with al at my parent’s house. my mom was still in portugal, so it was the perfect opportunity to work on a surprise for her: replacing the dining room and kitchen chandeliers with new ones. now, this may sound biased, but it’s not:  i have the world’s best boyfriend. 😉 he may occasionally get cranky when he is doing carpentry/electrical work, but he is one hell of an awesome guy. my little computer nerd was able to successfully replace both chandeliers for my mother, which ultimately made both me and my mom happy. please note that i was an amazing assistant – i held the chandelier once or twice when he needed an arm break. 😉 although it was my idea {i have to take credit somewhere!}, it was al who executed. so, hooray for awesome boyfriends! 🙂


i have participated in many “walks” for causes: mental health, MS, lupus, arthritis, etc. saturday was the first time, however, that i participated in a sjogren’s syndrome walk. it was also the first time that i did a walk for a cause in a zoo. i have to, not-so-secretly, admit that i think it was an absolutely genius idea. my little clan – al, his sister {lia}, and his niece {tatyanna} – met up with my friend ana and her husband, sergio at the philadelphia zoo. ana and sergio have participated in this walk in the past and extended the invite to participate this year, which i was more than happy to do. although we didn’t quite stay on track with the rest of the folk participating, we were more than happy to support a worthwhile cause and partake in an adventure simultaneously. with that being said, thank you ana and sergio for the wonderful adventure! 🙂

here are a few pictures of our sjogren’s walkabout at the philadelphia zoo {feel free to click on the pictures – they are clearer when they are enlarged}:

saturday also happened to be cinco de mayo so we opted, so originally, for mexican food. on our way back home we stopped at “on the border” for a super big bite. if we were going to celebrate, we made sure we were going to celebrate in a big way. 🙂


we continued with the theme of  a little “doing” by working on replacing al’s mom’s fence. once again, i served as a supportive assistant: handing al the tool that “does this” and the tool that “does that,” picking up the washers that kept falling out of the box and making awesome jokes when things weren’t going so smoothly. we al worked hard to finish one side of the fence and it has already vastly improved the overall look of the backyard. we’re looking forward to the final result. 🙂

and finally, i ended the weekend by partaking in what may be considered a “guilty” pleasure: two episodes of long island medium. i don’t feel remotely guilty for loving the show and theresa caputo as much as i do – but i’m sure someone out there is judging me. 😉

so, there you have it: a fun-filled weekend of good “doing.” 🙂 hope you guys had an equally enjoyable weekend of “doing!”

<3 always,

ana patricia

p.s. and because i was a horrible blogger and future photographer by not capturing more of my weekend in photos, i have uploaded a video of my rebellious pup, tanner, doing his new favorite thing: opening doors.

p.s.s. speaking of good causes, read my friend theresa’s amazing story here about how she joined the leukemia and lymphoma society’s (LLS) team in training: http://pages.teamintraining.org/vtnt/chicago12/tmelendreu. you can also visit her blog @ http://fueledbywings.com/.

what kind of things have you been “doing”? 

DIY: pink string/yarn things.

i think it’s semi-safe to say that most people are now fully acquainted with a little magical place in this world known as “pinterest.” in this magical place, i have opened up treasure chest upon treasure chest of endless awesomeness.  it makes me wonder, where were all of these amazing ideas hiding all of this time and why didn’t i think up half of this brilliance?! i guess we’ll never know.

but speaking of pinterest, i am happy to update that i have semi-completed my first pinterest-inspired d.i.y. project. it’s not “ready” per se, but it is “done.” it’ll make sense as we go along.

{f.y.i. the pinterest inspiration: http://www.craftyendeavor.com/2012/03/08/easter-egg-garland/}

ok, so…

mondays and thursdays are customer appreciation days at our local thrift store, which means 25% off – which means those are the days we usually frequent that thrift store. this particular monday i was browsing the aisles when i found these two begging to come home with me:

 for $2.99 and $3.99 with an additional 25% off, it came out to a whopping total of around $5 and change. not too shabby for an endless supply of soft + hot pink yarn/string.

i was ready to follow my inspiration’s instructions thoroughly, but decided to opt for this fabric stiffener instead of making one:

{excuse the creepy basement. i was trying to keep the mess contained and away from troublemaking tanner.}

i blew up a bunch of water balloons i picked up from the dollar store:

i put the fabric stiffener in a paper bowl and found it easiest to just get some of the fabric stiffener on my fingers and run it through the yarn/string as i was wrapping the balloon. i initially tried putting the string/yarn in the glue itself and then using a paintbrush, but neither really worked for this amateur.

the result:

i let it dry overnight, popped the balloons inside and ta-da:

24 ready to be hung pink yarn/string balloon-shaped things!

they were a little more time-consuming than i expected, especially the hot pink ones since they were a bit stringier and therefore, involved more wrapping. the soft pink ones were a bit of a softer, yarny material and didn’t require as much wrapping around the balloons.

so, like i said – they’re done but not entirely ready. i was thinking of stringing them as garland as my pinterest-inspiration did or even putting them over some hung christmas lights. all i know is that i’ll be hosting mother’s day this year and hopefully a dirty dancing themed party {that’s right, the dirty dancing} and they would make a great addition to both of those event’s decor. yay! 🙂

and because the whole process of the balloon popping felt like more of a science project than a d.i.y. project, i felt a video needed to be made and posted for everyone to see. here it is:

ok, maybe just me + al thought it was really cool 😉

<3 always,

ana patricia

p.s. i am currently working on that cork playmat i recently bought. i was totally under the impression that chevron would be an easy design to mimic, but alas it has been slightly troublesome for this girl. perhaps it involves math, and i was never any good in math. anyway, trying it again later. stay tuned! 🙂

buckets of lists.

a few months ago when i was cleaning out some boxes, i came across a list. i want to say this list was written circa 2006ish at the hands of my 22ish year old self. if you need some sort of visual, it’s a scribbled list on a slice of letter size legal pad paper written in green pen, titled “dreams/goals.” {random sidenote: i have to admit that the whole letter vs. legal size and then letter size legal pad boggled my mind for a second.}

anyway,  it appears that i’m a fan of making lists – the simple to-do all the way to the complex to-dream lists. this was one of those random ones. things have since changed and although most of them remain on my ultimate and unwritten bucket list, some of them have since become at least some version of a reality.

that list –


  • visit each state at least once and have a picture next to a famous landmark in each of the states. {the same applies to the rest of the world.}
  • take photography classes {+ art classes.}
  • with that being said: excel at photography and buy a professional, professional camera.
  • write a book.
  • learn new languages – and actually use them on a frequent basis.
  • own a quirky little coffee shop.
  • drive like a professional.
  • be a mother – and a good, selfless one.
  • experience life both on a farm and in a big city firsthand.
  • find out where i come from/my ancestry.
  • help my brother live independently + happily.
  • give my parents an endless vacation.
  • sponsor more children and visit them in their home countries.
  • buy my mother the house of her dreams.
  • have a farm of animals.
  • ride a motorcycle.
  • have and tend to my own little garden with a little table where we can sit and have breakfast.
  • get tattoos representing the most important people of my life.
  • learn how to cook like a gourmet chef – and like an experienced grandmother.
  • get physically fit.
  • be my own boss or find a career in which i look forward to waking up and starting each day for.
  • visit the statue of liberty with my grandparents/go on multiple adventures with my family.
  • move in with you {al}; see you every day in a place we can call our own.
  • host tons of get togethers, theme parties, poker nights, etc. with all of our families and friends.
  • read a library of books, including classics like anna karenina.
  • my ultimate dream is to look back on life and know that despite it not being perfect, that it was well-lived. i want my future kids to be in absolute awe of my life.

i didn’t promise that the list made any sense. it was where i was at that point in my life and still very much am to some degree. i still want to travel the world, i still want to do something outside of the ordinary with my life, and i still make random lists. maybe one day i will finally sit down and write that ultimate bucket list. in the meantime, i will just aim to chronicle my daily mini-adventures with all of you, which makes it one down and a million more things to go on that unwritten bucket list. 🙂

<3 always,

ana patricia

p.s. this was me circa 2006ish:

get it – i’m smiling and wearing a yellow shirt. it’s like “where’s waldo,” except it’s “where’s ana?” 😉 grandma jokes, kids, grandma jokes. 🙂

do you have an ultimate bucket list; what’s on it?



i’m going to be honest with you, all 2.5 of you out there:  i was totally in danger of writing a stuffy post today. it was all about life lessons and all that stuffy kind of stuff. i promise that i started it with good intentions. i briefly mentioned what my plans were {they were pretty awesome – at least in my book} and why none of them panned out. and then…

ok, i take it back. i’m going to live on the wild side and just go with the stuffy post because that’s what real bloggers do – they stuff it up, right?

here goes. take two.

i had, what i believed, was an exciting weekend planned out. saturday was to be spent perusing north plainfield’s big yard sale outside the vermeule mansion*, visiting the fleetwood museum inside the vermeule mansion and potentially gardening with the coolest lady ever – my mother*. then sunday, it was off to a big hike/getting lost in watchung reservation* with my two boys*.

and then early saturday morning i received a phone call; my grandpa*, who now lives back in the motherland of portugal, had taken a turn for the worse. the weekend suddenly went from adventuring to planning my mother’s impromptu trip to visit her ill father. it goes without saying that we were thrown a major curveball in both our plans and life, in general.

it has dawned on me that perhaps life is simply that – a major curveball. we, as humans, keep planning and acting as though we are in complete control of everything and learning each day that we are, in fact, at the hands of some greater force – whatever it may be. with that being said, however, it is not an excuse to not try and do the things that we want to do; to not be the best possible version of ourselves; and to not continue fighting for the life we want. it is also not a reason to not be grateful for the good things that are thrown our way.

unfortunately, this weekend did not pan out the way i had wanted it to – but i was able to spend it bonding with my family, which is just as big of an adventure most people could only hope for; an adventure so obvious that most often it is overlooked.

so, i confess once again that this blog entry is perhaps one of the more stuffy and less quirky that i will write.  the lack of grandma jokes actually both irritate and frighten me. but i guess in the end, this blog is just like life – full of curveballs. 🙂

if nothing else, i hope that all of you were able to embark on a similar adventure of family bonding this weekend. 🙂

<3 always,

ana patricia

vermeule mansion – north plainfield, nj

my awesome parents: paula + max

watchung reservation: al + tanner, march 2012

my adorable grandparents: luisa + jose

 p.s. i may have just created a blog post inception: a blog post within a blog post. that clearly makes me just as cool, if not cooler, than leonardo dicaprio.

p.s.s. stay tuned for upcoming non-stuffy blog posts. i just got some cork laminate floor tiles that i am looking to – ahem – revamp. it should be interesting.

what kind of curveballs have you been faced with recently?