October 29, 2013

Last minute Halloween mummies

Hi, y'all! Are you ready for Halloween? I have candy ready to give away (even though trick-or-treaters are more than likely not going to knock on our door), have lightly decorated the house accordingly, and, oh, yeah, my crappy carved pumpkin is already rotting, haha. I did not know they went bad so fast! It was my very first time carving and probably my last one, too, at least till we have kids. It was entertaining, though, and slightly painful on my fingers.

See? When I say "lightly decorated", I really mean it. I guess the holiday has to grow on me; maybe next year I'll go a little more overboard. 

But, anyhow, this post is specifically aimed at those of you, procrastinators like myself, who leave everything for the last minute. If find yourselves rushing trying to figure out what cute treats to take for your co-workers, this silly idea might come in handy. 
Supplies needed: 
- Oreos & Chips Ahoy or any wrapped candy that's about that width. 
- White streamers.
- Tape. I used both regular and double sided.
- Googly eyes.
- Scissors.

Simply tape one end of the streamer on a slight angle, wrap around your pack of cookies and tape the end on the back. Tape a pair of googly eyes on the top part and that's it!


Have a happy Halloween, everyone!

October 19, 2013

A Tour in Everyday America - Seasonal products

I think I started to understand the scope of the phrase "seasonal products" after spending a whole year in the US. My, oh, my the things you can find! It's hard not to fall for beautifully packaged goodies, the smells, the colors. Let's start a little graphic journey through some of my favorite seasons and holidays.

Fall & Halloween

I hate winter, but I gotta admit that October through January in the Northern hemisphere has a whole different look and taste to it. 

Halloween treats for pets!


I love these transparent ornaments, they come in different shapes and sizes. I filled mine with colorful pompoms and shredded paper :).

 Snow globes.

Chewable toys for pets.


Edible Easter confetti :p.

Even though Easter and Christmas are religious holidays, I'd never seen candy that is so religiously bold. Nor had I ever seen the Jesus fish before.

Election time

Not an actual season, but it's funny to see the political merchandise they come up with.

There are so many more pictures I could show you, but this post is photo heavy enough.

Which is your very favorite season? What seasonal products do you love?

Have a wonderful day, everyone! ;D


October 14, 2013

Mailing unconventional packages

Happy Monday, everybody! I still don't understand why we got the day off at the library for Columbus Day when kids had classes and all businesses seem to have open. I'm not going to complain, though, I really appreciate not having to leave home on a Monday; plus, this week's going to fly by and it's a good one! We're seeing Placebo on Friday, hooray to that!

But anyhow, this post is about snail mail, one of my favorite things in the world. Soon after I moved to America, I realized that USPS is way different from Correo Argentino, the biggest mailing company in Argentina. It always pissed me off to drop off letters in my home country because 1) the lines were always too long, and 2) they always, always had something to say about my envelopes ... You can't use tape ... I'm pretty sure your DIY envelope will get rejected ... blah, blah, blah. My reply was always the same "Well, I'll take my chances ..." And most of the times, I ended up getting away with the employee sticking the stamps on my packages. Sometimes they didn't reach their recipient (and sadly were not returned to me, either), sometimes they did. Here it's a whole different story. You can mail pretty much anything you want (except the obvious, e.g. explosives) and there are certain procedures to follow if you send items that are poisonous or liquid, but generally speaking, you can send whatever the heck you want. Here's a very interesting article if you want to learn more about unusual packages.

It's become an obsession of mine to mail letters and things in unconventional envelopes and containers. Aside from using magazine pages, I've been mailing Zip Lock bags and popcorn bags from the 99c store.


I also resort to free downloadable printables; my favorite page is Design is Yay, that's where I downloaded the designs below. 

If I need to mail something bigger, I like using cello bags instead of boring manila envelopes.

And when it comes to sending packages, before getting a regular box, I check inside my pantry where I keep a ridiculous amount of empty jars, bottles, tins, etc.

Using transparent containers is particularly fun to me. I like to embellish them with magazine scraps and stickers.

Right now, I'm in the process of preparing some Halloween little packages. You can find so many light and inexpensive things at the 99c store, Walmart and Target!

There only a few rules to abide by. You should always:

* Write the recipient's address on the bottom right and the sender's info on the top left;

* Cover the bar code (if any) on the container you're mailing.

 - If the employee gives you a hard time, have him/her bring the manager, chances are you'll be able to send your package. Employees need to write a report every time they get an unusual looking package, so sometimes they try to discourage you from sending it.

If you want to see what other unconventional packages I've mailed, you can check the following posts:

Have a wonderful week, y'all! ;D

October 12, 2013

Introducing "A Tour in Everyday America"

Well, hello, there!  2 posts in one week? It seems I'm back in the groove, hehe :p. I am cooking a few related posts which I'll publish under the title "A Tour in Everyday America". I really missed talking about the differences between Argentina (my home country) and America, the cultural gap, the pros and cons of living in one or the other, you get my point. 

A day rarely goes by when I don't take a cell phone picture while in a store, restaurant or at work; I have tons of pics! I finally decided to sort them into different categories and as I was doing so, lo and behold, this new series of posts was born! This first issue is devoted to random things that have caught my eye, things I had never seen before moving to this country. This will be a general post, but it'll get more specific; expect to read about grocery stores, restaurants, seasonal products, libraries and the list goes on.

I really don't know where to begin, so many things have struck me and I keep learning something new pretty much on a daily basis, especially words and expressions. I guess I can start by mentioning that a lot of people ask me if they're pronouncing my name right. When I came here to visit, I couldn't believe such a simple name, "Miki", could be mispronounced, I realized that I didn't even know how to pronounce my name in English?! But guess what? Now it kind of bugs me when people pronounce it "Mickey", haha! There's one person at work who always says it that way and my other co-workers have pointed out that it bothers them, too. Funny :p.

Something that I picked up pretty quickly is the fact that America is exactly the way REM depict it in Imitation of Life, remember the line that goes "... You've got it all, you've got it sized ..." Yep. You can find anything, even the unimaginable and in any size. Also everything's ready to use/eat and usually nicely packaged. Here are just a few examples.

Going shopping is a very entertaining adventure, there's always something that catches my eye. Remember when I used the word unimaginable in the previous paragraph? I think I'd use that adjective to describe the following fruit: grapples: grape flavored apples! :/

I thought I was going to miss certain typical Argentinean products such as dulce de leche, but the truth is that I can find pretty much everything ...

... Even things I can not even find in my home country such as "mate" flavored soda, haha. Yes, it does taste weird.

Speaking of beverages, have you ever seen gun-shaped bottles of booze?

Americans get very creative when it comes to selling, I guess; and accessorizing, too. How cute are these little kisses to prevent take-out coffee from getting cold? :p

Vehicles can be accessorize in all sorts of ways, too, but I think I'll leave that for a separate post.

There all different kinds of snacks, but the strangest ones we've ever bought are these so-called sour cream and onion "crikettes" :/.

Ok, it's time to show you some non-edible goodies I find amusing! Products are very specific here, when you buy say ... glue, you have a wide variety of adhesives, this one is aimed at puzzles, hehe.

And when you want to buy crayons or chalk, you should first asked yourself  "what shape do I prefer?"

The way classical board games are updated to modern times doesn't cease to amaze me. Can you believe you can find a version of Monopoly that lets you slide a Monopoly credit card instead of using bills? 

As for services, most businesses offer the very convenient drive-thru not just fast food restaurants, Starbucks, but even the post office, the library and the bank. Look at this folk using the drive-thru at our bank ... On his rascal, bahaha! Rascals, by the way, are available for customers to use in most grocery stores.

There are also drop-off boxes like the one below where you can donate clothes and shoes to be recycled or sold for charity.

Something that I really love about living here is that you can get really great deals. Most of the times I go clothing shopping it's either because it's clearance time, I got a discount code in my inbox (or text in my phone) or have a coupon.

Even thrift stores and swap meets offer special deals on certain days and specific items.

Something I really miss is Argentinean TV commercials, our humor is so peculiar and fun! American TV ads can be funny, too, but in a different way. Also, other brands can be mentioned so some ads get pretty aggressive towards the competition (especially in cell phone ones). The music chosen in some American commercials catch my attention, wanna listen to some examples? Check this and this (that's what David calls "indie voice", hehe).

I guess this has only to do with California not the rest of the country, I can't stand how dull architecture is in this neck of the woods (except for cities such as Pasadena or LA), businesses are gathered in brown boring clusters. I like to be surrounded by mountains, though, it's so relaxing and the air feels fresher and the clouds, awe, the clouds are breath-taking some days. I took the following pic in the parking lot in a mall that's 10 minutes away from home.

Geez! I've written so much! I apologize if I've bored you and for the crappy (cell phone) photos; I used to take the good camera in stores till one day one employee at Walmart caught me and made me delete them all, ha.

If you're an expat, too, in America or anywhere else in the world, I'd love to hear about differences that have caught your eye! ;)
May you all have a wonderful weekend! ;D