two years of [somewhat] blogging

Happy two year anniversary to the BEANSTALK! I wrote my very first blog post just over two years ago. Not a whole lot has changed since those days in early 2012. In fact, it sort of feels like just yesterday. One of the things I love about blogging is going back through old posts and remembering the good times. It’s like a journal of happy life moments.

Well, since my faithful readers probably want a little more meat to this post than a simple “happy anniversary to me,” I’m going to share a couple of beauty products I am obsessing over right now. Most of my life I have been a drug-store makeup junkie. I never purchased high quality face care but instead went for the old Cetaphil regimen that every dermatologist seems to recommend. I used Cetaphil face wash and moisturizer forever. I know a lot of people hate on Cetaphil but it worked for me. However, these days I’m growing more aware of how important it is to take care of your skin in order to age gracefully. Now I’m not going to claim that I have wrinkles or age spots or anything crazy like that. With that said, I’m not getting any younger and it’s never too early to take good care of yourself. I recently invested in some fancy face products that I loooooove. Honestly, I love them.

First up: Glamglow Youthmud. Gah this stuff. This stuff seriously works for me. After one use my face felt smoother and softer. I kid you not. It also helped reduce acne. I had a pimple (*gasp* i get pimples?!) pop-up overnight at work. I came home, used the mask, and the pimple was noticeably smaller. I spot treated the pimple the following day, and it was basically gone. I’m not exaggerating. This is good stuff… and at $69 it should be. But I actually bought mine on Amazon for $39. The internets told me that Jennifer Aniston uses this product. I wanna look like Jennifer Aniston. So does Lu.

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Next up: Glamglow Thirstymud. Uh oh. Have I joined the Glamglow cult following? I put this thirstymud on after I wash the mask off before I go to bed. It’s a deep hydration that smells so natural and heavenly not like those artificial fragrances. My face looks dewy when I wake-up in the morning and yes, that’s a good thing. I gather that this product is fairly new so I couldn’t find it on the cheap like I did the youthmud. It just takes a little dab for the whole face and I’m only using it twice a week, so I imagine this will last for months.

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Lastly: Coconut oil. I have definitely hopped on the coconut oil is magical oil bandwagon. It is the coolest thing… purchased in solid form, the substance turns to oil when it touches the body. I use it as moisturizer after I shower. I also use it as a deep conditioner on my hair. I’ll put a generous amount on my locks and let it sit for a few hours before I plan on washing my hair. I actually found an article in the Journal of Cosmetic Science(1) that reported a study about oils on the hair follicle. Coconut oil is the best oil for hair because “coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins and, because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft,” (Rele & Mohile, 2003). In other words, it can actually get in your hairs and hydrate. Wow. Let’s also not forget that coconut smells amazing and every time I use it I close my eyes and pretend I’m in the tropics. Mmmmm. If you do buy yourself some coconut oil definitely get organic virgin, unrefined. It’s the most natural stuff.

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There you have my favorite beauty products right now. Winter months = dry months. I’m all about moisturizing. What products are you guys in to?

xo, lw

1) Rele, AS., and Mohile, RB. “Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage.” J Cosmet Sci. 54.2 (2003): 175-92. PubMed PMID: 12715094. 5 Feb. 2014.

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…la boda cuernavaca…

Let’s escape to the City of Eternal Spring. La ciudad de la eterna primivera.

Let’s escape this unrelenting frigid snowy situation in Chicago for the warm air and blue skies of the Sierra de Chichinautzin mountains.

Let’s go. Let’s go on a quick three and a half hour plane ride that takes us far away from the February weather we are suffering through. It’s basically a whole different world, for more reasons than one.

Who’s in?

As we embark on our journey to Cuernavaca, we touch down at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City. We go to pick up our checked bag. Oh wait.. where is it? I’m seeing dozens of large black suitcases on that conveyor belt but not ours. At least I have some basic toiletries and other things to keep me somewhat presentable. Worse things could happen. Worse things do happen…

After getting the runaround about our suitcase, we end up with an extra $100 dollars in our pocket and told our bag will arrive at our hotel the next day. I’ll take it.

Enter Senor Johnnie Walker, Lu’s awesome cousin. He lives in Mexico City and kindly agrees to pick us up from the airport. The drive from Mexico City to Cuernavaca (a drive that I’ve done only one other time) takes us through the bustling metropolis of Mexico and onto a curvy mountainside road that deposits us in this beautiful City of Eternal Spring. I’m sure everybody is well aware of the negative publicity Mexico gets for its crime. Having been to Mexico three times in the past two years, I have always felt far removed from any sort of violence. Although it is somewhat alarming that each policeman carries a machine gun strapped to his chest. Hashtag Yikes. Hashtag Scary.

Now we’ve only just begun our ride through the city. Mexico City has just shy of 9 million people and a surrounding urban population of 21 million. It’s dense, and it’s traffic is horrendous. Of course we leave the airport in the evening so getting stuck in that traffic is inevitable. At least I’m in good company. Remember when I mentioned that worse things do happen? This is the part where the worst happens. We’re stopped at a stoplight probably talking about something silly. Laughing. Windows cracked for a fresh evening breeze. The sun has already set. THUNK. Two men on a motorcycle accost the driver’s side, stick a gun in the window, and say in fast Spanish “Dame tu telefono! Tu telefono! Tu cartera!” Yep. That happened. We were robbed at gunpoint, and it was officially the scariest moment of my life. Johnnie handled the situation. He handed over his iPhone, which was already on display so there was no getting out of that one. He handed over some sunglasses. I sat in the backseat absolutely frozen scared. You never know how you’re going to act in these situations, and my act was inaction. If you had a snapshot of my face, I was probably holding my breath with my jaw dropped and eyes wide open. It didn’t even really occur to me to reach into my purse and handover my goods, which was quite dumb. I was too busy thinking “is this real life? Is this actually happening?” They told Johnnie to turn off the car. They told us to give them more. While I remained paralyzed, Johnnie and Lu were acting their hearts out. They were doing the universal “I don’t have anything else” sign where they pat their pockets and shrug. Johnnie told them we were visiting and didn’t have anything. Then by the grace of God, the light turned green and they sped off leaving us dumbfounded. We were all so shaken up but also very relieved that they left us alone without taking everything and most importantly without hurting us. Are you still in for our trip to Cuernavaca? I calmed my nerves with some simple math. The probability of that happening to us again had to be very low. Besides, having lived in Mexico his whole life that sort of situation has never happened to Johnnie before so it is a rare occurrence. Let’s not forget that the beans live in one of the most violent cities in America. Chicago is known for its gang-related violence and unfortunately large number of murders. It’s a sad truth that violence is everywhere but you have to keep on living. Onward, we go.

We arrive in Cuernavaca. It’s late, and we’re hungry. The answer to our hunger in Mexico is always street tacos. We love us some tacos. Two things that always taste better in Mexico are tacos and fruit. Always. We meet up with the bride-to-be (Lu’s cousin, Johnnie’s sister) and her handsome groom to bask in the taco goodness. Vacation has begun.

Let’s fast forward. Wedding day has arrived. Estefania and her mom planned one of the most stunning weddings. As expected, the weather was nothing short of perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky. Flowers blooming in a lovely garden. Pink and white were the predominant colors. Let’s let some pictures do the talking.

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After the beautiful ceremony came cocktail hour. Sunshine + family + margaritas = happiness.

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After cocktail hour came a delicious seated dinner followed by hours of dancing. You want to know a good way to make this American gal feel dumb? Throw me into a pool of beautiful Latinos salsa dancing in their gorgeous dresses with 4 inch heels on like it ain’t no thang. Um, yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I still got out there to bust my best moves but folks probably thought I had two left feet. At least my primary dancing partner (hi, big frijol) has a set of those Latin hips himself so my guess is everybody was looking at him and not me anyway. Seriously, if you don’t know then now you know. The big frijol is an amazing dancer. Swoon.

Now let’s talk more about how gorgeous the people were. Mexicans sure do look pretty. The ladies, and I’m talking both the bridal party and guests included, were dressed in beautiful, bright colors with hair and make-up to the nines. It was an exceptionally good looking wedding.

One of the cool things about the wedding was that the food kept on coming. After dinner, we indulged in esquites. Followed by chilaquiles, pozole, and of course there were some tacos shortly after midnight to round out the party. It was an awesome celebration in honor of the lovely couple who appeared so happy and so in love. The whole event was heartwarming and magical. Who doesn’t love love?

Now I’m back in the windy city. It’s calm before yet another winter storm moves in tonight.  Make today a good day. xo, lw.

PS: how beautiful is our abuelita?

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