Friday, June 29, 2012

The Measure of a Year

A huge storm hit home this week.  Not only did Tropical Storm Debby reek havoc on our city, a storm of a different nature has also been blowing, wildly through my heart.

This week we received news that close pastor friends of ours from Guanito, Cuba, Pastor Alexei and Pastora Iliancie, brought into the world, their first child.  Much like the waters from the storm surged in to flood our streets, emotions of a year since my trip to Cuba have surged and seized my heart.  

I remember the day we met the Pastors, it was the beginning of our trip and they had just arrived from a long and difficult journey to arrive to Havana to meet my Mother and our group.  They had breakfast with us and we had brought some peanut butter with us and Iliancie ate some for the first time. It was love at first bite with her and that jar of peanut butter!  We spent the entire morning with them as they came with us while we ran our errands around Old Havana, exchanging currency and picking up some supplies for our week ahead.  They were such a vibrant couple singing out in joy and thanking God for the blessing of our team.  
Enjoying their first Peanut Butter and Jelly

While we were riding in the bus, Iliancie complimented my sunglasses.  They were my oldest pair, and I brought them just in case they got lost or broke. As I looked at her glasses they were practically falling apart and the tortoise shell coating was flaking off.  The lenses were terribly scratched and it's the only pair she had.  My heart sunk thinking about the 10 pairs of sunglasses I had at home.  I had regrets for not bringing them all.  I took off my sunglasses and I told her to have mine.  At first she refused saying she didn't want to leave me without glasses and I said ok, then let's trade.  Her face lit up and she put my sunglasses on and started doing a series of model poses.  She hugged me and showered me with kisses, and again she sang out thanking God through song.

The Hyde Park UMC Team with Pastor Alexi

Within a few minutes she had burst into tears along with the rest of us.  They received many gifts that day and the promise of more to come.  We brought money for them to take back to our sister church, sashes and runners for their pulpit and altar, medicine, clothing and a laptop.  My mother would be returning that Fall, so I asked the Pastora to make a list of all the things they need that my mother can bring them.  She asked for fabric and sewing materials so that they could make dresses for their liturgical dancers and that they had a lady in the church who could sew them all by hand.  (When my mom returned that Fall, among many things, including peanut butter, she brought them a sewing machine.  With great joy they all celebrated for this wonderful gift, and they are now able to sew many things for the church and the community.)

That day started  a lifelong relationship between our family and theirs.  My mom sent the Pastora maternity clothes, baby clothes and a multitude of things throughout the year.  They write each other, and although I haven't gotten to see them in a year, sometimes I hear Iliancie's songs.  There are days, without reason, that I can feel my Cuban brothers and sisters fill my heart with prayers. For as much as I pray for them, many more of them continue to pray for me.

So how do I measure this year?  My emotions can be measured by the degrees of a storm. Fierce winds that rattle and shake me or a soft breeze that carries the songs and cries of my brothers and sisters in Cuba.
Surely I could measure it in tears, those of happiness and of sorrow and longing for my brothers and sisters. I could measure it in laughter.  I think I will measure it in eggs.  I still think of Cuba every time I buy eggs, see them or eat them, and I am reminded that I can have as many as I want, at any given time.  I guess that here I can use eggs as a metaphor for blessings.  For as many eggs as I have, I am even more abundant in blessings.

An egg ration Market in Old Havana
Each person gets 5 eggs a month

PastorAlexei and Pastora Iliancie hatched a big egg and had a baby girl this week.  With great honor and overflowing love, they named her, Drema, after my mother.  Out of curiosity I looked up the definition of Drema, and it means "joyus music."  For this child I cannot think of a better name.  It was with Joyous Music that we met the Pastor and Pastora.  It was with Joyous Music that the Pastora sang out in love and thanks for her blessings.  And most of all, there will be Joyous Music when we return this winter to reunite with our family in Cuba.  With Joyous Music I will sing out to my new baby sister and  I wish "Dremita" (little Drema) a life filled with Joyous Music as her generation will be the face of change and hope in her country.

I wish I was in Cuba right now, sweating, wearing ugly clothes that don't fit, and sorting rice at the Methodist Center. Until then, I will long for the day that I see my Cuban family and every day I will raise my eggs in a toast to Dremita with the promise of a future life filled with an infinite amount of eggs and Joyous Music:)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Salty Sisters goes on Vacay in the Salty South!

Just got back from a great Vacation in the keys last week, and although we were soaked by a tropical depression that morphed into our dear friend Debbie, we had LOTS of laughs and a TON of inspiration!

Chris Fishing


getting ready for some really rocky night fishing

So windy we could only fish off a bridge and this one happened to be in the middle of nowhere and we had LOTS of fun

Something about wearing boys clothes that make us look so feminine

1 am cookies!

 Father's Day

Checkin out some local sites

Blue Heaven is really heaven for your mouth!

Car load of Gasparilla Goodies

Adult night out

 A night out in Key West is not complete without a drag show!
 I wanted those letters
yup! We are havin Fun!
 Not so much fun...
 Tried to make the best of it!

And this is what I like to call baby Debbie... and she followed us all they way back to Tampa and stayed for awhile!  As I type this, Tropical Storm Debbie is still waging a wind war you can't barely go outside!

It was fun and I am looking forward to the rain stopping so my wood can dry and I can make all the goodies inspired by this trip!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Upcoming stuff

A cousin asked if I would share some of my social media experiences with her in a virtual interview for her blog for her new marketing business and I can't wait to share that with you.

In virtual news,  I purchased the Domain name for in anticipation of a huge Gasparilla season. The link sends you to the Facebook Page I just started for Gasparilla wreaths. Yes it's still 5 months away but I am learning that when it comes to the holidays you can never start to early... so yes I am staring stuff for Christmas already too!!!

That means I have lots of new projects to try so that means more tutorials for y'all and some good laughs for a couple fails... cause there definitely will be plenty of those!

Also,  Salty Sisters Junk Partnership with Life Writing Photography is starting off great!!!!
We finished our first round of sessions just hours before Tropical Storm Debbie hit.  Talk about taking serious advantage of the calm before the storm!!!  (look for an additional post about that)

Thanks for reading my blog!  I love you all!!!!

Super Slacker

When I started this blog I apparently felt like I had a lot of extra time on my hands!!!  I had a boyfriend studying for the Bar and my Salty Sisters business only had me making about 1 or 2 custom orders every 2 weeks or so!  And then came Pinterest!  And I seriously do have an addiction to pinning.

Glad to report I am producing at least 2-5 orders for Salty sisters a week, and doing a monthly market and about to pick up a second market... so 2 markets a month... and now I am getting ready for the Mother of all holiday markets in the Tampa area  so I have been crazy busy.  Did I mention I also work full time for my family's business that couldn't be more unrelated to art?!

With That being said I want to post about some great beauty products that I have come across recently!

I have really enjoyed some products I picked up on a whim by Maybeline...

I love this stuff, its nice and glossy so it doesn't dry out your lips like other stains, and I adore the berry heavenly color.  It doesn't last 10 hours but it does last pretty well through a meal or drinks.

This mascara will make your lashes SUPER long and the full bristle brush really looks natural.  It's a gel mousse so it doesn't leave flakes under your eyes by the end of the day.

These next two Products were introduced to me by my wonderful aesthetician, Angelica at Angelica Beauty and Waxing,  You can get the following products from her Salon.

Merben Sisal Bikini Brush
It's summer time which means bikini time and this little bristled brush is my new best friend.  When your skin is dry you rub it along your bikini line and it super exfoliates your skin, removing a lot of the dead skin that often traps hair creating unsightly bumps and ingrowns.

Starter Sets
I am in love with this line of skincare products by Eminence.  I have sensitive skin and if there is too much chemical junk in it I will definitely have some sort of reaction to it, and since so many products today are full of junk, my skin routine was basicallly baby shampoo and avoiding any other skin products.  Angelica introduced me to this line and I love to use the products and perform my daily skin care ritual.  Plus everything smells sooooo great.   I started with the dry skin starter pack, and so far I love everything in it.  The starter kits are great cause its a wonderful way to start using the products without spending a fortune.  I can now start buying the full sizes incrementally.

I  purchased the full size of the Almond and Mineral Treatment

 Almond & Mineral Treatment
Between the outdoor markets, going junking in some really dusty places, and cutting wood and painting outside, my face can get really grimey so I love this scrub cause it seems to get just the right amount of scrub without being to harsh or overly abrasive.

Ok folks!  I hope this was helpful and that you may enjoy some of these products too!