Bring it on 2016!!!!

Happy New Year 2016 from us to you!


We plan to LIVE more WORRY less and ENJOY the time we have.  In more detail we also plan to eat clean, exercise, be healthier, and have a lot more fun than these past 3 years.  Our life begins anew today, and we are on a quest to get ourselves back.  Those selves that got lost in the battle with infertility; I will not let her claim us.  We are taking us back.

I am also looking forward to my teaching, my research and of course growing and expanding our business.  Last but not least, I am soooooooo looking forward to another year of growth of our miracle child.  I do not get tired of seeing them become a person year after year.

Here is a great way to start the year  courtesy of my co-merchandiser Katrina:


So, what are your New Year resolutions?

She believed she COULD, so she DID


You learn so much about yourself in Direct Sales, and you also learn so much about others.

One saying that I have always loved that circulates among #BossBabes is “She believed she could, so she did”.  It’s that simple.  If you believe you can do something, then you will accomplish it.  Think about little kids when they are learning to talk, or walk, or climb.  They BELIEVE they can and they NEVER GIVE UP until the DO IT.  At least that’s my daughter, and more recently that is me.

I got this bracelet from my #LuLaRoe sponsor, and I also get this message daily from my C+I manager – she believed she could, so she did.  I wear it EVERY DAY.  I tell my daughter every day to believe in herself.

I made it through college because my parents knew I could.  But I made it all the way to where I am today because I also believed I could.

In March 1993 I was BORED out of my mind working retail at Nine West. I also needed a higher income.  For some reason  – even though I had never waited on anyone before – T.G.I. Friday’s seemed like a good option.  Back then Friday’s was a hopping place where you could make TONS of money.  I filled an application and got called for an interview.  I WANTED this job.  I needed to get out of my comfort zone and learn to talk to strangers and seem NICE doing it.  I totally bullshitted my way through the interview with the fantastic Lois Quartochi – who later admitted to me that he knew I was lying, but if I wanted it that much he was going to give me a chance.

And he did.  And I EXCELLED as a waitress.  It became my fallback job later in live.  I believed I could and I DID.

Got a Master’s degree, moved to Miami and found a job, got married, got a Ph.D., got an academic job, became a Mom on top of a wife, and got into sales.

Had I never believed I could do all these things, I never would’ve – no matter how much others believed in me.

This will be my mantra moving forward.  This will be the mantra of 2016.

I need to get in shape.  I need to lose about 50lbs.  I need to eat healthier.  I need to organize my life.

I BELIEVE I can so I WILL – Do you believe in yourself?

Goodbye 2015!

2015 was an interesting year to say the least.  For us really 2015 was the end of 2012 when our sibling quest started.  As we look back it is beneficial to see all that transpired, to understand why 2016 signals a new beginning for us.

Life forever changed when our daughter arrived – 2011-2012 was a blur for us but a WONDERFUL blur.  Parenthood has been the BEST thing to ever happen to us!  We love our little miracle dearly and I cannot describe how much fun its been to watch her grow – even with all the sleeplessness factored in.

Grieving our loss of a sibling has not been easy for me – and honestly I don’t think it ever will be.  It’s one of those things you don’t get over but you learn to live with it.  When I lost Papi I learned that there are things you never get over – you just learn to live with that absence.  This will be one of them.  And I have no choice but to be ok with it, because my daughter deserves my 100% of a Mom and Alan deserves my 100% of a wife.

But not all is sadness and gloom.  2015 saw Alan defend his Master’s Thesis and graduate with his Master’s degree as well as to commence that road to scholar by starting a PhD.  Yes we will be a PhD household.  We are not sure if he will go the academic or the Research industry route – but the good thing is he will be happy either way.  For the first time in years we finally feel excited about our life and like it is going somewhere and we are giddy about that.  Daughter also started her new school which we love but most importantly SHE loves.  We feel its a good environment for her and will continue to develop her “free spirit” unconstrained.  We certainly want her to be whomever and whatever she wants.

On the job front I had a tough year.  I have research projects in the works but nothing stuck this year.  I am kind of under the gun since I go up for tenure next year, so I will have a busy January.  Teaching wise though things are in an upswing.  We participated in a competition of 45 schools and managed to place top 9.  My students and I are overwhelmingly proud of our achievement and cannot wait to see the presentations of the Top 3 teams!

We also continue to grow as entrepreneurs.  In May I entered the direct sales industry with Chloe and Isabel Jewelry.  It has not been easy, but it has taught me a lot about myself, who I am, and how to step out of my comfort zone. We also launched our own retail business and I became a LuLaRoe Fashion Consultant – arguably the most flattering and comfortable clothes you will ever wear.  It’s been a lot of work, and a lot of space – we carry inventory with LuLaRoe – but again, it teaches me every day that I can do anything I want, it helped me recover my feminine side and my self confidence, and has opened me to a world of strong supportive women.  I have made more friends in these past 6 months than in the past 6 years.  And it teaches daughter that she can do anything she wants.

As we look towards 2016 we have many goals to accomplish: tenure, a successful academic year for both Alan and I, daughters continued development, growing our business, blog more, paying down debt and moving into a house and out of an apartment.  We hope God graces us with the health and determination to accomplish this, and on the personal life get back to us as a marriage and as individuals (weight loss anyone?)

We wish you a wonderful 2016 that gives you many blessings and health, and sees your goals reached or at the very least get closer to attainment.

Happy New Year 2016!



Hope, Heartbreak and New Beginnings

Monday ended a THREE year journey for us – the quest for a sibling for our daughter.  After three years of needles, hormones, btichiness, hope and ultimately heartbreak our quest came to an agreed upon end.  When 2015 started we vowed this would be the year of our last fertility treatments.  It was three years or a roller coaster I don’t wish on anyone, of great emotional and financial investment.  Three years that took a toll on us personally as we hid our pain and disappointment from our miracle child – our daughter.  Our last attempt failed miserable with a negative pregnancy test.  I have no option but to accept this outcome and move on, and give our miracle child the best life and the most love we can.  As someone who always wanted four kids, this was beyond a kick in the gut.  But then again, blood family comes without insurance so maybe she is better off as an only child.  She would’ve made an excellent big sister.  She so wanted a sibling – and yet she still doesn’t understand fully why she can’t have one.  Infertility is one lonely journey; no one speaks about it but more than 1 in 4 suffer it. IN SILENCE. The friends I have made in this journey are not friends – they are SISTERS.  We were forged in fear, pain, hope and heartbreak.  We each celebrate our successes and suffer our losses as a collective.

As I reflect on these three years of HELL that ended with our dreams shattered and look at my daughter – our miracle child – and smile.  To all those who call us selfish for pursuing IVF to have our children I say FUCK YOU and BULLSHIT.  I want to see you all adopt a child – newborn or foster care – BEFORE having sex to have your own.  Then maybe, *maybe*, you have some standing to call me selfish.  Until then, please look at yourself in the mirror and see what a fucking hypocrite you are.  To the ignorant masses that say or believe that IVF kids – you know good old test tube babies – are “fragile”, “ugly”, or an “aberration” FUCK YOU too.  Read up and learn.  They are the same as any child.  Hannah would be exactly the same had she been conceived the old fashion way – you know SEX.  And to the men in capes and beanies of the Catholic Church – my church – who decided that kids conceived outside the womb are somehow less of a being in God’s eyes because they were not conceived out of LOVE – never mind that Jesus nor God never have said anything about this – an even bigger FUCK YOU.  It takes LOVE for a woman to freaking inject herself with Lupron the drug from hell, shoot herself daily with FSH, undergo an egg retrieval and endure intramuscular progesterone shots in her hips and an unbearable 12 day wait to see if all this bruising, and emotional and hormonal roller coaster paid off.  It takes LOVE for a man to undergo a biopsy to extract his boys, to inject his wife in the hip and to watch her come undone only in the hopes that at the end they will both be parents.  It takes LOVE for an RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) an their nurses to suffer along with us, ultrasound after ultrasound to see how many follicles are developing and do try and calm us down, and to face us when the results are not what we hoped for.  And it takes LOVE from the embryologist to carefully match each egg with a sperm and watch as these little lives develop to be transferred into a womb.  So much LOVE that they even give you a picture of your child.

So many pictures of MY children that never came to be.  So many little angels watching us and our daughter from above.  So many tears in all those embryo pictures that I get to keep and show her someday.

As we close this chapter in our life, I look at my miracle child and understand more than ever that she is a miracle from God and Science.  That both worked together to make her happen.  That there is no time to shed another tear for another hope dashed because I have a husband, a child, students and a home to take care of.  That the next time you see someone with one child don’t be an ass and ask them when they are having a second – because I swear the next person to ask me will get a hell of an answer.  So unless you are willing to be someone’s counselor or provide them with the financial means to pursue their dream of being parents DON’T ASK ANYONE ABOUT HAVING ANY KIDS.  It’s none of your business and it is a world of hurt for those trying.

We were lucky – we made it to the OTHER side.  We became parents.  But for every one of us there are MANY who never make it, who end up with empty arms and a broken heart.

Infertility is a bitch – a mean one.  FUCK YOU IF.

Christina and Nitza

As I’ve told you before, every Cuban kitchen has a bible – Cocina al Minuto de Nitza Villapol.

The Cuban Cookbook

She was the Cuban Betty Crocker, and her cookbook is a staple in every Cuban cook’s home.  It’s not only great as a reference, but also for recipes Abuela never got to teach.  The version of her book available in the states is incomplete compared to her original (and actually considered plagiarism in Cuba).

I was lucky.  Someone in my family got the ORIGINAL book out, and Abuela got photocopies.  Yes photocopies.  With two legal covers and presillas.  That’s how my Cuban bible stays alive – barely.  Or maybe she smuggled the photocopies out of Cuba, who knows!

Fellow blogger Christina, however, has a different experience.  Inspired by the movie Julie and Julia, she decided to hone her Cuban cooking skills – and keep the culture alive in her family –  by following on the same experiment – except this time its Christina and Nitza.  And she even got interviewed by the Today Show!

So for all of you that can’t wait to get your hands on some authentic Cuban cooking, hop on over to her blog and follow her trek through the mother of all Cuban Cookbooks.


Note: I found this post buried in my drafts – for some reason I thought I had published it – sorry Christina!  However, she is now more famous than before which makes this short post even MORE relevant!

The elusive Miami “RumCake” Cuban Birthday Cake

You always take for granted what you have.  ALWAYS. Until of course, you no longer have it.

I grew up in Puerto Rico in pretty much a Cuban enclave.  All of our cakes were the same, they all tasted the same, mainly because they were all done by the same woman Tete Fundora.  She made awesome panetela borracha cakes with Royal Icing. Wedding, birthdays, graduations – you name it.  If you asked who had made the cake it was always Tete Fundora.

Let’s get something straight Rum Cake and RumCake Birthday cake are two different things.

What makes the birthday cake awesome is that the cake comes out spongy and somewhat wet – to the point that it can last days and it can be frozen and defrosted successfully.  Our top tier of the wedding cake defrosted beautifully a year later and tasted AWESOME.  You would never know it had been frozen.

In Miami I never ever gave this a second thought, are you kidding?  I had places and places to choose from!  There was Sweet Art, Cakes by Edda and the now gone Cake Emporium (all three of whom I’ve used in the past) and even the cake lady contracted by our wedding package knew how to make a kickass rumcake cake.  More recently we’ve been using Moulin Rose for H’s birthday cakes as we usually do a birthday party for her in Miami so Abuela can be present.

Oh those wonderfully rum flavored birthday cakes.  Yes FOR KIDS.  And adults too.  We are Cuban, we are from the Caribbean,we like rum everything and that’s how we roll, right Martha?

So, you ask?  Well the problem is I no longer live in Miami, and I am in a No Cuban zone apparently so I cannot get my fix of RumCake whenever I want – or when I need to.  My Birthday, Alan’s Birthday, Our Anniversary, Easter, Thanksgiving and of course H’s birthday (on her actual birth day) which is of course what brought us to this post.  My somewhat failed attempt to start my daughter early on the Cuban RumCake addiction (she already loves Buttercream frosting so I need to get her to eat the cake!).

H was turning 3 and I thought what better deal than a home made Cuban RumCake Birthday Cake!  So I took to the net and to friends and got a recipe from my good friend Vivi for a cake her aunt used to make.  I already had a theme – Olaf from Frozen – so I went to Michael’s to get the Fondant and the decorating sheets, to Wegman’s for my ingredients and got to work.  I followed the recipe to a T.

Beat Egg Whites to punto de merengue? Check.

Eggwhites "a punto"

Eggwhites “a punto”

Beat butter with sugar into a cream? Sort of check.


Butter & Sugar

Add yolks one by one? Check.

Add cake flour? Check.

Fold in the EggWhites? Check.

Butter the mold? Check

Cake Batter

Cake Batter

Dress up the cake?  SUPER CHECK – I mean isn’t it amazing for my first Fondant cake?

Olaf Cake

Olaf Cake

Fluffy, spongy, rumcake? FAIL.  EPIC FAIL.  This cake came out so dense I could probably kill someone with it!



Arrrrgggghhhhhhh.  The trials and tribulations of being a Cuban mom.


There are two things I think went wrong here.  One is I do not own a Kitchen Aid mixer – I own a hand mixer by Sunbeam that was probably $20.  So the settings and the speeds may have been off and maybe the butter or the eggwhites were not beaten as they should.  Two, is I think I needed a bigger mold.  I think I made the cake too tall (4″) and it took the oven almost two hours (instead of the one hour on the recipe) to cook the cake and maybe it got a bit over cooked?  I dunno.

The cake did look gorgeous, so at least of that I am proud and happy.  But I did get frustrated that taste wise and look wise the inside was such a fail.

Does anyone have a recipe they want to share?  I will try it and post a review here.  I just really want to get this cake thing right, as I do not want H growing up without the staple Cuban RumCake Birthday Cake!

RumCake Cake recipes anyone? For sure there has to be a Cuban or a PuertoRican reading this who knows EXACTLY what I am talking about.  I will patiently wait for your feedback.




I’ve been off the blog for a very VERY long time.  Who knew raising a child would be so time consuming?  I miss writing and I miss sharing my recipes with all of you as well as my musings.  So I will be making time out of my busy schedule to write again here in Moros con Cristianos.

Apparently there is some housekeeping needed as I see all my posts in italics now!  I will definitely go through and fix that so that all the posts are readable.

In the meantime I am very happy that my Ropa Vieja post (recipe adapted from Marta) is such a huge hit!