10 Fave Foods ~ Blog Challenge D.11

Some nights, I lay awake wondering: What do I love more: books or food?

On one hand, one is the fuel to keep you going and thriving. It’s a treat to all of your senses, or a complete and utter disaster for them to have to recall. On the other, it is a fuel and force that many don’t understand. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, and having it go hungry is just wrong!

Alas, I have come to the conclusion that one is simple incomplete without both the love of a good meal, and the love of a good book.

For variety’s sake (and so I just don’t list out ten different chocolates I love), I thought I would divvy up the 10 foods into 5 desserts and 5 entrees I love.


  1. Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ The choco chip is my all-time favorite dessert of anything! I goes great as a cake, with ice cream, with pies, with a milkshake, with tea, and last but never least all by its self! I can’t even say chocolate chip cookie without a smile (Unless I’m saying, someone ate my chocolate chip cookies!)
  2. Arroz de Dulce ~ (literally Sweet Rice) There is something so simple and enticing of a good rice pudding. My great aunt made some really good arroz de dulce, and I still strongly remember the scents of it in her kitchen. Every time I’ve had some since her passing a few summers ago, I think back on her and smile. Alternatively, I love rice puddings too, but they’re just not the same thing.
  3. Empanadas ~ Another great Latin treat! My favorites are the cheese and onion filled ones, but they come in varied meats and even beans too! And yes, I know that the thought of cheese and onions sounds kind of offensive, but believe me it’s heavenly! I am the pickiest eater I know, and if I tell you you will not get a mouthful of onions (if they’re done right) and you will not stink of onions either, then you have to believe me! A little bit of sugar inside the puffed up insides doesn’t hurt in the least, but if you use a really good mozzarella, you don’t even need it.
  4. Coffee Cake ~ So. Many. Varieties. I love most cakes, but there’s something about a good coffee cake that just leaves your mouth watery. And I don’t even like coffee! I do tend to keep away from the ones made with liquor, but even those are yummy too. And yes, the alcohol will evaporate. You won’t get yourself or your kids drunk off of it. 🙂
  5. Ice Cream ~ In all of its forms (milkshakes, sundaes, bars, sticks, cups, popsicles, frozen fruits, etc.), ice cream is a treat! Maybe it’s because I was born in the summer, who knows, but just the very thought of sitting down to eat some ice cream brings a happy glint to my eye. Or that could the fog build up against my glasses from the open freezers, who knows.


  1. Lasagna ~ I like most pastas, but I think it’s the fact that I so very rarely have lasagna that makes me love it so so much! I have made it only a handful of times, but I have made it very very good! Usually, I prefer having someone else make it. Then, come whatever holiday it is that it was cooked up, I will have my healthy serving of it, Multiple times. And while the traditional ways of lasagna are tried and true to my heart, I am usually pretty keen on testing out a new one – like a veggie lasagna, or pasta free squash one. I like the versatility.
  2. Chicken Parmesan  ~ What is there not to love about this homey, tummy happy dish? You get the good crunchyness of fried chicken, cheesy sauce on top, and the whole house smells of good times and love. If there are baked potatoes to boot, I will likely pass out with a happy belly full.
  3. Meatballs ~ The spaghetti part is optional, though I do like that too. But a nice big meatball, good homemade sauce? I don’t even care what the rest of the plate has on it, I’m going to just keep wanting meatballs.
  4. Salad ~ Especially a good chicken salad! The added benefit of knowing you’re eating something that is good for you just seems to make the whole meal better. I like my salads with a bit of parsley, pepper, olive oil, and maybe some salt. I don’t like salad dressings. I keep mostly to lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, and maybe some bacon bits or potatoes, especially some sweet potato fries. Mmm.
  5. Beef Stew ~ Soups are nice and all, but a beef stew, a good stew, is hearty. Some soups are a great precursor to a meal, but a stew is the meal! It’s chunk full of big chunky pieces of meet, potatoes and vegetables all warm and practically melting in your mouth. And if the weather is bleh outside, nothing makes you feel more at home than a nice beef stew.

Bonus Food! ~ Cheesecakes ~ I love cheesecakes. I didn’t use to when I was little (Because I was an even pickier about food then. And I don’t like cheese. Yes, please ignore all the cheese related foods mentioned above :)) But now I love them! And I make really good cheesecakes. Like the kind people call you in advance to a holiday to make sure you make your cheesecakes. Or offer to go and buy your ingredients. Or offer to pay you for your recipe. Gooooood cheesecake.

Bon Appetit!

Review – The Am. Adventures of Toby the TrilbyD

The Amazing Adventures of Toby the Trilby By Angela C. Castillo

I received this story through Story Cartel for a review. What first intrigued me was this little boy having lived all his life underground. I knew that he would have to venture out, and I wanted to know about what he would think of the world he met.

What I did not realize was that this was a Christian story, though this isn’t something that bothered me, I just hadn’t known it going in. The first “Voice” however, not knowing of its intent, did make me suspicious. But all in all, this is a very nice story.

I most enjoyed that Toby has such a compassionate heart. How he was able to see good in just about everything, and his resilience on his journey. He faced some pretty harsh moments, scary times, but through it he was able to follow his heart and hold on to the belief that he had a greater purpose.

The only thing I would caution on is the hearing of a Voice that no one else hears. While this works really well within the story, (and it wasn’t creepy or out to get him, like I originally thought) I would caution for children too young. Otherwise, I think this is a nice story to read to your kid, or have them read. It’s simple enough to follow along with, beautiful creative imagery for a post “Great Calamity” world, and quite the little adventure. I especially liked the fact that his family is truly one of the heart.

Midweek Mayhems – Why I Will Not Get EZPass and Other User Friendly Things

Almost everyone I know has EZPass, credit cards, uses ATMs, ecetera, ecetera I do not.

Let’s start with an itty bitty story. Once upon a twelve or so years ago, on one of our many many many trips to the great city of New York, as we were in the long and slow lanes for yet another toll, I remember someone asking my dad why he didn’t just get an EZPass. It was likely a question based from frustration, seeing as how the EZPass lanes’ cars were practically NASCAR racers compared to the pace we were moving.

“People need jobs,” my father said. “If everyone went there (to the EZPass) then where would these people go?”

And it just clicked. Come rain, snow, wind, whatever, if the roads are opened, the toll booths people are there, doing their jobs. And for whoever has to go collect the tokens/coins only lanes (how do they do that?) that must be a person too.

With all of the increasing job losses and outsourcing, the fact that less and less people are finding work is depressing. We have a crap economy right now, let’s face it. No matter how often or how high the so-called “new jobs” that are reported each month, the numbers of stores/factories/businesses closures and laidoff workers is still increasing. Hospitals, policemen, teachers, everything seems to be downsizing, but our needs aren’t.

There isn’t a lot I can do in the long run. And while yes, EZPass might save you a few bucks here and there, is it really worth the cost of someone’s job? Same goes for the self-checkouts in the stores, or most ATMs. And the last one isn’t just because I seem incredible techno challenged with the things and I’ve seen to many movies where people get robbed from them. It’s more because of the times I’ve been with my mother, walking into the bank, and the personal touch of someone recognizing you for years and years. Seeing them in the stores and their interest in your well being to an extend.

Now, I’m the kind of person that, if I can solve something through an email or a website’s FAQ, I’m not going to call the service lines. But, I get the need to have an actual person on the receiving line! Is there anyone who isn’t sick and tired of picking up their phone, just to hear a animated computer voice trying to sound like a person?

Or the fact that an actual person is starting to sound like a computer?

And while I might be getting into a credit card soon (my credit needs a boost), I still prefer to have cash around and a person handle it. I don’t know, I just think people are falling pray to becoming too reliant on things instead of people. Wall-E much? Terminator series? Have we not been warned?!

What’s In Your Bag/Wallet? – Blog Challenge D.9

What’s in the Bag? I have a cute bag. Basic. Dark. One large section and a small inner section that has a zipper. I used to have this other bag, that used to be my sister’s. It was a jean purse and it had a long strap that i could put it over my shoulder. I used it on school trips, stuff like that. Then my sister made fun of me a little, because the bag was old, and looked it. I saw a bag, like five years ago, the one I use now, when I was out with my mom, and she bought it for me. My point is, I don’t use bags. I use my pockets mostly. The last time I pulled out my bag was for my abuela’s funeral. Currently, it has like three extra packets of tissues, mints, gum, and two of the little prayer papers that they gave out at the funeral with my grandmother’s name and dates of life. I had my camera in it, but I wasn’t going to take a handheld video camera to a funeral. And this post is officially depressing. Sorry about that! Love you Abue!

Site Worth Watching ~ Pacemaker Writing Schedule

I don’t know about you guys, but even though I love writing, I find it a little hard to get to the laptop and pound out some words every day. If you’ve tried anything like NaNoWriMo, then you know the (what’s a good word here?) charge you get from having the ticking timeline of the month-long challenge. Also, it’s great to use the forums and ll of that too. (Check it out if you have never been!)

Last week, I found this site: Pacemaker Writing Schedule.

Here, you can make your own writing schedule! My personal favorite thing about this is that you have the option of how to approach the schedule. You can have something like Nano, where there’s a set word count number for each day, one where it gradually increases the word count, one where it lessens, and (my favorite) one where the word counts are just random!

The picture is a screenshot of one of the schedules I made. It is for 52 days, and it is random. Some days, the word count is less than 100 words, some days it passes 2,000. And you can add “cushion” days, schedule weekends off, increase or decrease the intensity. It is really versatile, and I like not being so tied down to a “habit”, but still being expected to write.

There are also a few ways to view the schedule: by graph, progress plan, calendar, and in a table. I like the table best, but it’s nice to look at charts too. Oh, and did I mention you can save a schedule for yourself? Once you have your information all in, you can save a link to the schedule and Boom, there you have it!

Check it out for the none NaNo months. 🙂 Happy Writing!

My 5 Current Goals – Blog Challenge D.8

My goals right now have more to do with what I want to do than what I need to do, if that makes any sense. My laundry list of things that need to get done is too long!

  • Keep Learning Languages
  • Finish course work (this one is actually a NEED)
  • Get a better job
  • Read 20 books in 2015
  • And finally, Finish my two pending first drafts. (This doesn’t count my crazy Nanos).

Two of these are actually beneficial to me, the rest are more of the wants and interest I have. No one needs me to learn French, German, Japanese, etc. But I want to. These are fun languages and it’s even more fun to be able to enjoy another culture.

I better get back to it then, time is ticking!

5 Favorite Songs – Blog Challenge D.7

I have WAY too many songs I like, but just to keep to the 5 newest on my list. (In no particular order)

  1. Something Beautiful ~ NEEDTOBREATHE
  2. Impossible ~ James Arthur
  3. Appreciated ~ Rixton
  4. Thinking Out Loud ~ Ed Sheeran
  5. Beneath Your Beautiful ~ Labrinth ft. Emeli Sande

*Bonus new song, off of the soundtrack for The Giver, OneRepublic’s Ordinary Human. Really, the whole soundtrack, but that first piece is just very touching.

Happy Listening!

What Are You Afraid Of – Blog Challenge D.6

I don’t think there’s enough time in the day to list all of my fears!

I think it would be easy to say spiders or something like that. But none of the usual phobias fit me. (Not that I would say I like spiders, or small places, or clowns.) The only thing that has gotten me into full out panic attack has been the thought of death. I know I won’t be here, on this planet in say 200 years, and I’m okay with that. Maybe even 100 years. But, it’s when I go any lower than that, that a rock forms in my stomach. I start thinking about which of my parents would die first, or my siblings, or my niece and nephew, or my brother in law, or the whole slew of people beyond them that make up my life. And I just freeze. In all of the ways that someone should just relax and live their life, I never have. My mind, for as long as I can remember, has always been so focused on the end. It’s pointless and time consuming and useless, but it is.

I fear losing the love. I fear not having loved enough. I fear not loving right. I fear not meeting enough people and connecting, but I don’t connect or put myself out there enough either. I fear not learning enough, or not learning the right things. I start learning so many things, I don’t think I have a grasp on the things I do try to learn…

I would drive a boggart insane. (Harry Potter reference)

Proudest Moment – Blog Challenge D.5

I lost my grandmother on March 3, 2015. I still can’t believe it. She was the only grandparent I ever had. My siblings can remember my grandfather, my sister can remember my other grandmother some. She was it for me.

For me, she has been a constant stream of laughter and good times. She wasn’t the life of the party, she was the party. Even when there was a party, she could get up and dance. She cared about everyone and didn’t take anything to heart. Whatever she was thinking, she would say it. She was never intentionally mean, but she was brutally honest. Up until the end, you knew exactly where you stood with her, and I was always pretty sure that it was on good footing.

My proud moment isn’t even my own. It’s a little sad now, looking back at these past few months. We all never even thought about her passing, she was definitely ill, but there was something about her that we always expected her to spring back somehow. She was talking more and eating more.

Anyway, when it was time for the funeral, I for one was blindsided. It wasn’t until I was getting ready that day that I realized no one had planned for the eulogy or readings or anything. And I worried about this. I worried that my grandmother’s final moments with us would pass without someone saying a word about it. I worried that no one would be there, even though I kept insisting to my family that they shouldn’t worry about it. No one could do that to her, no matter the weather or hurt feelings.

And it turned out I didn’t have to worry. From the power of email, a beautiful and moving passage came by way of my cousin reading my (I think he’s my great uncle maybe) and grandmother’s best friend. And my brother stood up from beside me, even with his chills and sore throat, completely unprepared and from the heart, and spoke before our family. And it was beautiful, and I was proud. And then my sister, pulling out her cell and wrote the words she had prepared on her drive to the funeral home. Her words made me smile and broke my heart at the same time. I am so immensely taken aback by the people they’ve become. The way they lead their lives with a strong head on their shoulders and an open heart.

I wrote a poem the day she passed. It would have been my go to if no one had spoken. I wrote a little when we drove down there too, a jumble mess of thoughts and prayers and sadness. But I am not brave. I was too broken and were they made us proud, I faltered. I got my words out, eventually, when I stood beside her stillness. I know she was proud of us often throughout our lives, and her kids’ lives, and I’m sure her other grandkids too. I don’t often feel worthy of praise, but I do hope that I can continue to make her proud. And maybe this isn’t my proudest of moments, but its all that fills my mind now.

Dream Job – Blog Challenge D.4

My Dreamest Dream Job is to be a published author. I had the normal dreams as a kid; teacher, astronaut, motocross racer (I might have been a weird kid), inline skater…I actually can’t think of anything else I wanted to be. From the age of 8 onwards, I pretty much just wanted to be a writer.

It’s funny how you just don’t think about things as a kid. I read books and went to school, but the thought that you could make a living as a book writer blew my mind at about that age. But really, really, it wasn’t until I was 12 that I started thinking about it more and creating stories.

The first person I ever told was in the fifth grade, my best friend at the time K. She was like me, a dreamer and creative and super friendly. Well, she was super friendly. I was a bit of a not so nice kid, more like a tad bit aggressive tomboy. But she was girlie and funny and there weren’t that many girls I hung out with.

In the sixth grade, we wrote a story together. It as a bout twins that got separated and then plotted against their parents when they realized that they had been separated. No, not like the parent trap. These weren’t identical twins, they were fraternal, boy-girl twins. And the dad ended up with the girl (though he had taken the boy) and the mom with the son. It was the kind of story that really just makes sense when you’re 12.

And then K moved away and I never wrote another story with someone again.

But I never stopped writing, creating, dreaming. I don’t honestly think I could if I tried.

I have a brother that is 1½ years older than me and two grade levels above me, a sister that is 4½ years 5 grade levels older than me. I was always over their shoulders, reading over their assignments and notes and all kinds of things. It might have possibly made me smarter, but it definitely made me read things that were grade levels above mine. It made me feel so cool. Yes, I was the kid that saw reading and stories and being smart as cool. Going out and partying always sounded dumb to me. Geek Alert!

(My ultimate super dream would be to write a book worthy of being a must read, recommended by a teacher or a librarian. I think I would faint if one of my books was ever on a school reading list. That to me has always meant the best of the books. And if it’s banned, let’s just say I wouldn’t be upset. Not with the long, long list of amazing stories that have been banned. In fact, I may be honored.)