Monday, October 6, 2014

All about that bass?

"'Cause I'm all about that bass 'bout that bass, no treble!" Ya you know it's in your head now.. you're welcome. You guys may as well grab a drink and get comfortable because its been a while since I have blogged and I have a whopping 2 followers who may read this lol. So I am here to talk about it, a topic that I have struggled with my whole life.. and I mean my WHOLE life. Need proof? I came into this world at a whopping 10 pounds via c-section. I was a normal, active little girl but still a bit thicker than most girls my age. This went on throughout my entire career as a student. In high school I would have argued your brains out that I was the fattest cow ever and I now take back ever beating myself up back then at a size 10/12 that I would KILL to be now. I am 30 years old  and a size 14. The biggest I ever was was at an 18. I have been teased about my weight my whole life and it really affected me in high school to the point where I would not dare be seen near a body of water without being 80% clothed, and yes I went in that way. I had it drilled into my head via media, magazines, TV, etc. that if you are "plus sized," you cannot be beautiful physically. I believed it. I kept myself well-covered and battled with my body image every day in the mirror.
As a mom of two kids and one of them being a girl, I was determined not to let her beat herself up the way I did. I promised myself, no, SWORE to myself that I would never say the words "I'm fat" around her. She would not know the meaning from me and would not see others that way if I could possibly help it. I made that promise 7 years ago and have held to it. My daughter has only very recently learned about body sizes and has inquired about it and all I have told her is that we are all made differently and all look different but its important to still love everyone JUST the way they are, including ourselves. As a result of holding to this promise it has given me a tiny bit more confidence in myself, however, I still struggle, I'm not going to lie. It's a fault I have and as hard as I try, it still haunts me from time to time. I catch myself self-hating and comparing myself to others. If you do this to yourself, STOP!! It will never make things ANY better by you verbally beating the poop out of yourself and I am talking to me too.
As females especially, there is a much higher standard and competitive market for beauty and body image. Why? They thrive on our insecurities and the fact that men are visual creatures. Hmm.. kinda like parasites..yes that's an appropriate name. Women have always been admired for their softer features and natural beauty, but throughout time that beauty became more and more skewed. People stopped appreciating and seeing the raw beauty to be held in EVERYONE and instead saw the Photoshopped standard of perfection that females must achieve in order to be considered "hot" or "sexy" or even "beautiful." We have followed this way of thinking and it has infected most of the population. But every great once in a while there will be something, be it a song or movie or book or person, that will celebrate the beauty in everyone, especially us that have a little more to work with ya know what I'm saying? lol. I applaud these that celebrate the beauty in everyone, I don't like the bashing of any particular style or size. There are those who are super thin and can't help it, and there are those who are short, or tall, or have gorgeous blonde hair or no hair at all. Why can't we see that we are all uniquely made and there is beauty in that? I will however say that there is true ugliness and it comes from the inside. That should be the ONLY ugliness that we see.
I have met very few people in my life who see things that way and it is awesome. They are some of the best people I have ever known and I can't help but be drawn to their natural confidence. It's a fact that confidence (not cockiness) is universally attractive. When you are confident you have more fun, don't you? You're not worrying about what people think when they see you because you are too busy just enjoying everything else, am I right? You know I am! We need to stop teaching the younger generations how to hate themselves even more than they naturally tend to do. We have no grace for ourselves physically and it becomes an UN-attainable pursuit of perfection. Not a single one of us are perfect and we need to learn to accept and love all the little "flaws" we see. Can I also say, when you stop seeing the flaws in yourself so much, you naturally stop seeing them in others as well? 

So can I challenge you, whoever you are, whatever size you are, to celebrate your God-given beauty? This is a challenge that I myself need to take as well! We need to stop bashing ourselves and killing ourselves in unhealthy ways to achieve a standard that can never be achieved! Remember to stay humble and know that there is always room for improvement but it should never be an obsession to change what God has made with His own hands! Let's start seeing the beauty in every one we know and, for bonus points, TELL THEM THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL THE WAY THEY ARE!!!!!! We NEED to hear these words, you never know it may even save a life or change one. So join me.. let's tell someone they are beautifully made and a fabulous work of art! <3

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Clearance confessions

Hello! My name is Lisette Lopez and I am addicted to clearance. The best place I find clearance?? Good ol' Tarjay (Target). Since the appearance of Super Targets, I have had a long love affair with them and find no reason to stop. I own a Target debit which saves me 5% automatically on my total purchase which may not seem like a lot, but for someone like me who shops there regularly and gets all my household and grocery items, spending $100 automatically drops down 5 bucks. I love that on your receipt it keeps track of your savings JUST with the card alone, but throw in Target coupons and Cartwheel and manufacturer coupons, the savings are massive and really add up!

My sister has frequented trips with me and always laughs at me because I have a "route" I always do as soon as I enter those glorious double doors. First stop, the oh-so-amazing dollar section. They used to strictly sell only items that were $1 but have since added $3 and $5 items too, which still is pretty great for certain items. Items I frequently purchase from this section are individual snack items to occupy my kids' mouths while I attempt to shop without a meltdown, craft items, storage items, coloring books, and I have even grabbed electronic items. Next on my route is always the end caps on the search for those shiny, beckoning red tag clearance sections! I always have a budget when I go in, so say my husband gives me a budget of $110, that includes everything from grocery to household and maybe even an extra item or two. No matter my budget, I will always squeeze in some sort of clearance if they have some good ones going on because in my mind, if I don't grab it right then and there it will be completely gone by the next trip the following week. This week had some good clearance sections of home decor and beauty products.

 The best time to purchase home decor on clearance is the turn of the seasons!!! Especially the transition from summer to fall because they are making room for all the seasonal items. I had my eyes on many of these decor items for a while but when you have a tight budget and what you want is normally 12 bucks, the choice comes down to sacrificing a couple dinner items or scraping up the money later to grab it lol. Almost ALWAYS, the items I have my eyes on eventually go on clearance...the hard part? Patiently waiting for that glorious day. My budget was a bit of a squeeze this week so I was only able to purchase this little beauty for.. drum roll please.. $3.98!!! I plan to grab a few more next week if they are still here.
Right now I just decorated my home for Autumn because I am desperately attempting to usher in fall with my seasonal "rain dance" of decorating early, probably TOO early lol. So this little guy would be what would normally be around for summer so it will be put away for a while, I MIGHT be able to sneak it in for my Christmas decor though. :)
At target, when they have big clearances they will usually reserve at least one aisle for it. In this case, there was one available in the home decor area (where the picture frames and art would be). Occasionally, they will have hidden little sections of clearance tucked into little places here and there in random spots in the aisles. Almost ALL of the Target home decor that I have in my house have all been purchased on clearance. I have saved hundreds of dollars throughout the years by being patient.. and its so hard to sometimes especially when its fresh out of the box onto the store shelves and sitting there in all its pretty newness and you just HAVE to have it.. but trust me, if you don't have the money for it, and the price is not on sale or clearance, you will be kicking yourself later when you see how low it drops and wonder, "Why didn't I listen to Lisette?? She was right all along and I could have gotten that vase I paid 20 dollars for only 12!!" OK maybe you won't be saying that... but still, be patient and it will be worth it I promise!
Of course, a good trip to Target wouldn't be complete without a stop at Starbucks. I loved their display for their newest blend of Ethiopian beans and Kenya beans. And it smelled AAAHHHHHmazing!!
But I went for my comfort.. slow roasted ham and swiss with a grande skinny iced hazlenut macchiato<-- yes i probably spelled that wrong. :/ The best way to cap off a great Target trip. <3

Do you enjoy clearance? Are you a clearance connoisseur or a savings amateur?  What have been your best finds in clearance? Let me know in your comments I would love to hear them! <3

Friday, July 11, 2014

Love Your this Case, Our Neighbors

 "…"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.…" Matthew 5:43-45

You have heard it one time or another, "love your enemies," and depending on your situation at the time, this may sound easy. However, if you are faced with someone who has deeply wronged you, you know how incredibly difficult this is to put into action. In my recent devotions I have come across forgiveness and loving your enemies several times. Little did I know that the Lord was preparing me for the huge bump in the road just ahead of me.
My husband and I are very easy going, sweet people. Sometimes we are TOO nice. It takes a lot to get us upset and we don't like confrontation and tend to trust others more than we should. We were living in a rental house for the past 3 years with the landlords living right across the street, literally. Most people when they heard this looked at us with that expression of "yikes." We used to defend them saying how they are great landlords and never bother us and have been pretty sweet to us. All of that changed when our lease was about to expire. They informed us that we were going to have to move out because their son was "having financial difficulties" and they were going to rent it out to him, his girlfriend and their two children. When we first moved in there, they said "don't worry, we would never kick you guys out so that our kids could live here." I didn't bring this up but instead just tried to be understanding. We were never late in the 3 years we had lived there and have always been courteous and sweet with them and had a really great relationship (or at least I thought so) with them. We did the "initial inspection" walk through to where they replied, "Wow, everything looks great! You guys took great care of the place. Don't worry about the carpet, just vacuum because we are tearing it out. Don't worry about the kitchen counters, we are replacing them with granite." I was happy to hear this because it meant one less expense to pay to have the carpets shampooed. We were in such a financial pinch with moving expenses and my husbands low hours recently and the only thing we had agreed to have taken from our deposit was to replace all the blinds in the house which were CHEAPIE plastic blinds that all broke within the first year of living there. The only other major issue we needed to deal with was painting both of the kids rooms that I painted one was a light grey and the other was a pale aqua. They told us to only "Primer" the walls because their son was planning to paint whatever color when he moved in. I did TWO COATS in both rooms of primer and a little bit of the paint showed through, but they were primed and any coat of paint you placed over it would cover it completely.  I thought I cleaned it really well and literally spent HOURS scrubbing the floor with bleach and a toothbrush and bleach-bombed the rest of the house as I normally do when I clean.
So the dreaded e-mail came...they complained about EVERY.SINGLE.THING. They marked just about everything as "dirty" and painted us to be dirty slobs. Anyone who knows us personally or have ever been to my house at any time knows how clean we are. As a matter of fact, they have been in there un-announced  several times and each time the place was "so cute and clean," according to what she would say. They took $700 our of our $1,100 deposit. They charged a cleaning service to clean the place over and replaced the blinds and charged $40 per room to "re-paint and primer." The move out itemized list was even worse. They blamed us for things the previous tenants did and placed responsibility on us for MAINTENANCE issues that are the landlord's responsibility such as the return air filter on the AC being dirty even though we paid for a new one to be nice and left it for them in its original, unopened package. 
This was pretty much my reaction at the e-mail.
I was hurt. I felt betrayed. We both (my husband and I) felt we were taken advantage of. We did not take pictures because, silly me, I thought they were decent, reasonable people. I wrote an e-mail of how upset I was, how unfair it was, etc but I deleted the whole thing because that still, small voice was saying,
"love your enemies."
But it's not fair, God! They are wolves in sheep's clothing! They misled us!
At this point, my whole body was trembling from anger and my face was red-hot. If I had a punching bag at the time, I'd have two tickets to the gunshow with my buff arms. But then, I recalled something I was told by someone who had this advice passed on to them, " You have to forgive them, you don't have to trust them." Whoa, mind blown!
It really put it into perspective for me, I don't have to be friends with them, I don't have to trust them, but I do need to forgive and move on. Another verse that kept coming to mind was one I came across in my devotion time from 1 Corinthians 6 when Paul was addressing the issue of "suing" one another in the church of Corinth.
"Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?" 1 Corinthians 6:7
This seems to be "unfair," but is it really worth the expense, the headache, the stress, for a few dollars won in court? Is it not more mature and godly to accept the injustice and in turn leave more of an impact on our enemies by choosing to forgive? Jesus Christ was treated "unfair" and even put to death for it! He was the only sinless man to have ever existed and in being so and being God, could have easily demanded justice and defended himself by all means, but He didn't, and I believe He left an incredible example for us to follow. Our landlords are not Christians. We may be the only Christians they are exposed to. We have an incredible responsibility to represent Christ, especially to our enemies! Would my angry email reply have made a difference? Would they have opened it and thought I was right? Most likely not, so what would have been the purpose? In my flesh, I may have felt better about giving them a piece of my mind, but we are called to have self-control and restraint. I can pray for their salvation, and show them Jesus through my actions and witness to them. I'll be honest, I really wanted to defend myself and my character, but God knows and will honor my restraint. It took a while to cool down, but in the end I feel better knowing I held back at my fleshy urges in order to honor God. We are grateful to receive almost $400 out of our deposit, just enough to pay off our marriage retreat for later this year.

One thing I would highly advise to would-be renters out there, go for a complex rather than a house rented out by a personal owner. Companies seem to be more fair and decent on move out inspections rather than owners. Might just save you your deposit ;)

For all those out there who struggle with this, know that God will reward you for making the right choice. Being kind to your enemies could leave a profound impact on them, and show them their need for Christ. Thanks for bearing with me through my blog therapy! Lol :) God bless <3

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Things I Learned from Moving and a tour of our New Place

I HATE moving!!! Where my haters at?? The process is so stressful and tedious and expensive one way or another its no wonder hiring a moving company can cost an arm and a leg and maybe even an eye lol! Our lease at our previous address was over July 1st and we had planned to do a few more months but our landlords had other plans for their son to move in so we were forced to find a short-term place (less than a year hopefully) until we are able to purchase our forever home. We had in mind the place my husband and I lived in our BC days.. (Before Children, that is lol) and luckily they has one opening just in time for us to move in! They are luxury townhouses and we LOVE being here!! It is a gated community, with a pool, playground, gym, lounge, and its very family oriented. The kids are over the moon about being here because of the amenities of course.
Our moving experience definitely taught me a few things though and I would love to share some tips that will hopefully help anyone else out there who may be moving.

1. Plan Ahead
We had about 2 months notice to find a place and plan our move. We had to quickly find a place and begin making calls to see if there was availability, we also called our utilities and notified them of our move-out date and the post office was notified of our new address and transfer date. This way, everything was ready in time for us without having to worry about it while moving. Ask friends in advance if they could hep with the move, the more strong hands you have that day, the faster it will go! We had my mom watch the kids for us overnight and we had help from my uncle, cousin, and mother-in-law. We were unable to rent a truck but luckily borrowed a pick-up and flat trailer from an aunt. We did our whole move loading up the truck beds, cars, and trailer.

2. Start Saving
If you are fortunate enough to have a bit of an advance notice, start saving for your moving expenses. Consider whether you will be moving yourselves, or hiring a company, gas, truck rentals, tips for any help you get, money for fast food for a day or two while you settle in, groceries, Deposits and first month's rent, and packing materials. 

3. Use a box numbering system
Instead of labeling everything on the sides of the boxes, assign them a number and keep a paper where you list in detail all the items you place in that coordinating box number. This way, if you need to find something specific, you can look on your sheet to find which box it is in. Also, use color codes for each room it belongs in, for example, red=kitchen, blue=living room, etc.  

4. Pack away decor in advance
I began packing about a month and a half in advance beginning with things I knew I wouldn't need immediately such as decor. I got free boxes from local stores and my father-in-law's work. I asked family to save newspapers so that I can use them for packing delicate items.

5. Keep your plastic grocery bags!
When it comes to moving food and other small items from your kitchen or even other parts of your home, these are very handy to have!
Using re-useable bags to carry small appliances  and other items is great too!

6. Use kitchen trash bags to move your clothes from the closet
Turn the bag upside down, cut a slit in the middle (on the sealed part), and feed about 6-10 hanger hooks through the hole (with the clothes still hung on them. The tie the drawstring closed, this helps to keep the clothes together and easily hangs right up in your new place.

7. Have a "First night" box ready
Pick a box and fill with your immediate essentials. A couple bath towels, coffee maker and cups and the like, a bar of soap, shampoo and conditioner and other basic toiletries, toilet paper, pjs and an outfit for the next day, and any other items you may want to have on hand right away. You definitely don't wanna be stuck without something to wipe your bum should the urge occur know what I'm sayin? 

8. As tired as you might be, try to get as much done as quickly as possible in the first day
This isn't to say you should forget about sleep and stay up all night unpacking, but try not to take more than a 15 minute break here and there and don't forget to HYDRATE!! We moved in the heat of summer in the desert no less, and water was DESPERATELY needed! Moving heavy things in the heat Will make you sweat like a sinner in church! Just saying...

9. If you really want to get done fast, Have one person stay at the new place unpacking
I was fortunate enough to stay behind after a few runs and start unpacking. This really helped get everything done quickly and made it feel like home faster. This isn't NECESSARY but if you can do it, go for it!

10. If your new place is a downsize or temporary, live minimalistically!! 
In our case, it's both. We are not hanging anything on the walls and the very few things we will hang will be done with command hooks so that we don't do any damage to the walls. We kept a lot of decor in boxes/storage, and took out only a few things that fit where they could.

                                                             And now...The tour!!
 This is the dining area. We squeezed in our portable fireplace and entry table.

I made these mason jars right before we moved.. I was on a bit of a crafting spree almost like a pregnant mother nesting like the apocalypse!

This is the only view you will see of my sofas because I am so embarrassed of them, they are in terrible condition and we plan to replace them as soon as we have funds.
This is my relaxing corner of the living room. My late grandparents chair and a wooden crate filled with magazines and books.
this is my son's bedroom..not very thrilling and not very organized lol
my daughter's bedroom...she had her cousin over.
this is the master bedroom tour.

This is the master bath

I apologize for the bed photos :/
This is the guest bath.
This is the Kitchen.

And here's a shot of us chillin on a VERY HOT day in the pool and at the playground!

We really do love our place and will enjoy every minute while The Lord has us here. We have been truly blessed and now He has great plans for us! It was just stressful being in "Limbo" and not knowing what was ahead of us but we have really learned to trust in God through the fog and He has never failed to provide for us even in our darkest times. I hope these tips help any of you or encourage you if you plan to move and I hope you enjoyed the little tour! :)

**If you would like to see tons of ideas on how to decorate rentals, check out my board on Pinterest labeled  "Portable design for the renter"

Monday, June 16, 2014

Make-It-Monday and a Galaxy Paint Tutorial

Instagram seems to be the hot spot for all the new catch-phrase "holidays" made by its many followers; the latest I came across was "make it Monday." I thought, ooohh ya that's a great way to make Mondays a little more fun! I had already made over a few flower pots that I received for free via my aunt that I will share photos with here as well. When I get stressed or need to keep myself busy, painting objects has such a soothing effect on me, so I look around the house for things I can make over with paint..anything. I think I have gone a little crazy though, its like crack to me and I start craving it. I may have opened Pandora's box. One day my kids may even wake up painted...
So here is the flower pot you can see its pretty outdated, I mean the thing screams 90's right?
I had a sample size of enamel paint laying around and all I did was paint two coats (letting dry in between) until it was completely covered.
I had three of them and after they were all painted over I had some gold paint and just experimented with it a bit on each pot. So that's that for these babies onto my next venture...

A while back I needed a way to keep my 2 year old (at the time) son occupied with a simple toy that he can put objects in and out of. All I did was grab an empty baby wipes case, and small objects like bottle caps, fake coins, etc that would fit into the slot on the top. It was quite a hit with him, he uses it to this day and loves sticking things into it and dumping it all out when its full. So I got bored and wanted to give it a little makeover so that it will be "new" to him all over again. This is a very forgiving paint process and "mistakes" can very easily be fixed/covered.

To do this you will need:
**If you want the "toy" for a toddler, an empty baby wipes case (mine was from huggies) and have it spray painted black all over. Otherwise, you can do this with just about any other object that will take to paint.
-paint brushes
-craft paints in black, gold, turquoise, lavender
-makeup sponges
-an old toothbrush (not pictured)
OPTIONAL: mod podge (to seal when done)
To start, you will be placing random little splotches of the turquoise and lavender around on one side to begin.
With one of the sponges, begin blotting and spreading around the color. WARNING: at this point it will start looking chaotic and weird and you will mildly panic and wonder what you got yourself into (if you are at all like me anyway). Just keep at it I PROMISE it will get better looking by the end!
I looked up images of galaxies from the Hubble Telescope as reference. Try to blot up as much as the paint as you can to give it that "cloudy" effect.
Next step is the gold paint. Squeeze a small amount onto the same sponge you used for the first step.
Start to dab along the edges of the places you already did with the same technique, trying to make it as "cloudy" as possible.
Next, get the black paint and squeeze a small amount onto a paper plate or something you can wash. Dip the sponge into the black and blot it out a bit before using it. Now is the time to go over any areas you may not be happy with and control the shapes a little better and soften any hard edges.
Here's the fun part; squeeze out a little bit of white paint onto an old toothbrush and using your fingers, rub it over the bristles causing it to flick specks of white "stars" all over it. (Make sure to do this step in a covered area so as not to get splatters everywhere)

You can get the paintbrush and with the tip dabbed in the white paint, dab more "stars" or "comets" as you please.
When its dry, you can coat the whole thing in mod podge to seal and protect the masterpiece you just made. ;)
And then find little things to fit in and watch your toddler keep busy while you get a chance to breathe and maybe possibly to to the bathroom without an audience.
He is 3 years old and STILL loves this thing. I tell ya, they had it right back in the day where the simplest things were the best toys. No need to spend money on expensive toys that pretty much do the same thing and leave little to the imagination.

I hope I was a help and that your galaxy painting is a success! If you use this tutorial, be sure to send me a pic so I can see how yours turned out! Make Monday fun and get creating!! :)