Friday, June 15, 2007

Why Irvina's Pearls?

It all started with my niece. My sisters and I ( I have 4 sisters) were all talking about my niece starting Jr.High. One of my sisters said, "It sucks she's going to have to go through all of that girl drama, beauty drama, body changing junk. Don't you wish you could just save her from it?" I thought wait a lip-lickin second why can't we save her from it? We have all been through the same stuff, every woman has. She shouldn't have a hard time going through any of it; if we are here to help her through it. To give her our "pearls" of wisdom if you will. I mean that's what got me through those times. My experienced older sisters who said, "This is how I did it. This is what worked and this is what sucked." So there you go. This is "Irvina's Pearls." This is how I see it:I don’t claim to know it all, but I do know that when I fall over board into bone chilling water (that is screw up) I usually get hit in the head with a clam that has a beautiful pearl inside. Thus I am given a new pearl of wisdom! I don’t even own expensive pearls, but I am rich in experience. I’d like to share the wealth. Take what you like from what I know. I have plenty of pearls to share. I wouldn't be here today had the people in my life not shared their pearls with me. Happy digging. xoxo Irvina

Monday, June 11, 2007

Moisturizer & Sunscreen? Aren't they the same?

No! as in "Heck NO!" I didn't know you had to moisturize your face AND put sunscreen on it. Well newsflash ladies....YOU DO! Ilearned from the sweetheart named Debbie Sue at the Clinique counter at Nordstroms in South Coast Plaza. She is the sweetest gal ever! Go see her and tell her I said, "Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeee!" Debbie Sue say that you want to 1.) Keep your face hydrated. Your skin will look fresher and fuller and hydration prevents wrinkles. You keep hydrated with a moisturizer like this one...

2.) You want to put your sunscreen on afterwards to block out the sun.Which is very important to prevent skin cancer and wrinkles also.

So one keeps you moist the other keeps you lets say, "shaded." I'm a visual person. I'm going to guess you are too...You want to always think of your skin as a plant. The plant will stay beautiful as long as you keep it "moist" and in the "shade" for most of the time :) Did you girls find this helpful? Would you like me to talk about other beauty stuff. Let me know :) xoxoxo Irvina

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Summer Party Idea!

My friend Lana is amazing! She is always throwing amazing parties with the best themes, details and of course food. This weekend she threw a party called, "Child hood favorites." Everyone was to bring a dish that was their child hood favorite food. It was so cute to see what people brought there was an assortment of Tater Tots, chili, puddings a grasshopper pie for dessert...which was phenomenal and of course there was Vodka Kool-Aid. As you can see I put a lot of effort into the "happy" fruit salad above. "NO one likes a sad salad :)" There were very cute tins full of candy through out the house and of course conversation about childhoood memories came up. A very cute idea that you might want to try this summer! xoxoxo Irvina

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Quote of the day "On Soaring"

My roommate April (the cutie on the left of the other cutie) put this quote on our white board today:"No bird soars too high is she soars with her own wings."
I thought about this quote as it is written literally. I thought if I was to take a bird with me up to Mount Baldy she might die. I don't know the first thing about birds. I'm thinking altitude probably affects them all differently and what they eat depends on the species. That bird has a better chance of living if it's on it's own. It is born with the nature to take care of itself. We are all kind of like birds. Deep down we all know our strengths and our limits. It's when we are in touch with them that we are free like the birds. What do you think?

Fake smiles suck!

Fake smiles suck! I know you agree with me. Tell me the last time you framed a picture of a person who is smiling as if to say, "Yes, liver and fried onions is my favorite meal." Everyone has thier issues with cameras, most of it starts with a mommy that has said "say cheese" one too many times while the kid is trying to recreate Noah's ark in the privacy of their bath tub. Well, here are a couple of tips to get that genuine smile in no time!

If someone doesn't want to worries. Just "Get em' when their not lookin'. My favorite photos have come from the times I stayed super quiet and payed attention to when people laughed. The blurryness of some pictures adds character.

And other times you need to talk A LOT in order to help people forget there is a camera here. Here with my nephew Chris I told him, "Did you know that I am a real live princess?" He said, "No you're not. You're Aunt Nini" I said, "Seriously Chris, I'm a princess. I own this beach too. So if you want to take any shells home you better ask me first cause I'm having a party with all of the mermaids in the ocean tonight and they need some shells to make "shell bikinis. for the party" As you can see my story got a way more genuine smile than "cheese" ever would of.

This one is my favorite! Scream at them! Here I totally caught my friends off guard. I started screaming and jumping up and down and rallyed them up. They played along...and look at that. A very cute picture. Do you have any cute picture taking tips? Comment below. I'd love for you to share! Happy shooting and framing :) xoxox Irvina

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Quote of the day: On "Love"

I believe we all shape eachother to be the people you are. Well I am proud to say I know my friend Jess.(This is her. Isn’t she cute?) We were just chillin’ in LA the other day and she was telling me about a movie she saw and she said there was thisone line that just summed up her whole life for her it’s: “Love is not a emotion it’s an action. Love is not something you feel it’s something you do. It’s not what you say it’s actions which tell someone you love them.” I couldn’t agree more. You know it makes me question the people I have said those words to and the people who have said them to me. I mean why is it that the people we love are sometimes the people we put last?

There ain't nothin' Chocolate can't fix!

My dad just celebrated his 21st birthday for the 66th time (I know :) )So I took him to his favorite restaurant in the whole wide world, “Cafe Irvina.” Where the service looks just as good as the food :) Well that’s what he says. Anyway, so the order from the birthday boy was a “healthy yet delicious”meal. My dad is recovering from colon cancer so healthy is important. For the main course we served Sea Bass Puttanesca from Rachel Ray’s Magazine….soooooo good! On the side we had asparagus with a homemade digon dressing and for dessert we had (what was supposed to be) chocolate pecan cake. However in Aunt Irvina style I was doing a little too much chatting on the phone while I baked and a little less paying attention to the directions. Short story- I used DOUBLE the amount of cream I needed for the cake. Which means I had less than half the amount of cream for the frosting…Bummer….SLIGHTLY! But, I licked my fingers and didn’t give up. As you can see I didn’t have much frosting so I smothered the sucker with a ton of chocolate syrup. Like I always say, “There ain’t nothing chocolate can’t fix!” The result? My dad said I needed to have some children to cook for and I said, “You show me tall, dark, smart and hansome and I’ll show you filet mignon” Ciao kids!

Chocolate Praline Cake:

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 package of chocolate cake mix


1-3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup confectioners sugar

1/4 teapoon vanilla extract

2 very “focused” eyeballs on this recipe!

In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and cream. Stir over low heat until butter is melted. Pour into tow grease 9-inch round baking pans. Sprinkle with pecans; set aside.

Prepare cake mix batter according to package direction. Carefully pour batter over pecans. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

For topping, beat cream in a mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff.

Place one cake layer, pecan side up, on a serving plate. Spread with half of the topping. Top with second cake layer and remaining topping. Sprinkle with a whole lot of chocolate syrup! Store in the refrigerator until it’s devoured. Serves 8-10 chocolate lovers :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sizzling Bachelorette Invitations!

So there's no denying it...I'm a Party Girl! I love it all from the planning, the inviting to the partying and the drinking! The invitation totally sets the mood for the party. Take Jackie's Bachelorette invitation. I gave it a "Mission Impossible" vibe. I wanted the girls to feel like this wasn't just "another bachelorette party." This is a Mission and they better be ready to go big! (Click on the image to read the wording. I don't lie, It's pretty cute)
*Tip- The envelope is just as much apart of the invition as the RSVP. I printed each invitation on my computer and added "Top Secret" and "Confidential" as embellishments to get the reciever curious about the envelopes contents. Oh! I also titled each girls invite as "Agent..." Bottom line...their cute!

Cute Bridal Shower Invitations

I'm going to be a bridesmaid! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! (SCREAM!) I've known Jackie since 7th grade when both of our mom's were an hour late picking us up from school. Everything happens for a reason eh? "Thanks Mom!" Now, I'm going to be a bridesmaid in her wedding! Well, this is the girlfriend drooling, grandma approving invitation to her Bridal Shower. I found the invitations at a cute little party store in Costa Mesa, CA called Where's the Party? I made up the rhyme at the top and had them print them for me. I really wanted to hand make the invitations, but being a "creative wanna do it all that I am" I've learned to pull back before I burn out. The price to have these printed saved me a lot of valuable time that I needed to help plan the shower...
*Tip: Some of the gal's on the guest list were out of the country. If you are sending any invites over the blue Atlantic then you need to put $1.20 postage on it. I know! It's a lot! I Just try to imagine my pretty invitation getting a double take from her First class seat while all the other post cards in coach drool over her pen-manship :) Ciao! - Irvina

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Quote of the day: "Your best"

Today's amazing quote of the day comes from the amazing Rachel!On the left is her groovin' to the be bop at Sutra. Besides being a hot go-go girl J/K she is also very wise. I don't remember exactly what we were talking about today, but I remember her saying these wise words: "Some people do their best and their best is phenomenal. Other people do their best and their best just sucks, but that's okay because God sees us for who we are." I think that's so stinkin' true. Everyone is so uniquely made. I think if we started looking at people as people instead of "performance vehicles" We would all be more accepting of eachother. What do you think?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Technorati Profile

No Sweat Workouts!

I would much rather sit on a leather sofa set with my legs cast over the side as I savor a chocolate soufflé than lift the cold, 15 pound , germ infested weights at the gym. I would much rather spend the day at my sisters dining room set creating scrapbooks as I leisurely listen to life advise from wise older women wearing cute antiqued broaches than run on a treadmill as I twist my neck trying to watch the Today show on the opposite TV in the gym. I would much rather lay on the beach and read the latest issue of In Style Weddings show casing the greatest and latest LA Wedding Photographers than surf. Physical activity is not my forte. However just like you I know the whole kitten caboodle about how women who don’t exercise are more likely to develop cancer and the inability to jump higher than their nephews on the backyard trampoline. My immature need to show up a five year old has put me in search of workouts that I like. I’ve broken down all of my fav’s by F.I.T.- Fun, Interesting and a Tip for you. Stretch your mind with this thought, “If Aunt Nini can do it. I can try it.”


Fun- Not only do you tone your body and develop a slender physique but you also develop your spiritual side. I remember my very first yoga class we did a posture called “Mountain Pose.” My instructor said, “Stand like a mountain. Standing completely still, unmoved by whatever may cross in front of you; always strong, always observing.” I thought this was such a cool way to calm myself, as well as see nature and myself as one in the same. Whenever things bother me now I think, “Be like the mountain.”

Interesting- As a novice yogi I thought, “it’s just a bunch a stretching.” Wrong! The trick to Yoga is the ability to calm your body. When you are calm your metabolism speeds up and your breath is deep. Keeping you slim and trim. The stretching and pulling allow blood to circulate to the organs in your body which are ignored.

Tip- My favorite Yoga teacher is Patrick of Freeman Yoga in Fullerton.


Fun-This is ab-mazing! Not only do my abs burn for three days after my workout I don’t break a sweat the entire time! There is also one instructor leading you at all times so it’s like having a personal trainer the entire time.

Interesting- The thing about Pilates is the slow and controlled situps, curls, leg work and arm work done on the machines. The slow pace of 10 sit-ups is equal equals the work of 100 situps. The pilates machine not only uses weights but uses your whole body as resistance training. Which is so good that Lance Armstrong does it!

Tip-My favorite Pilates instructor is Bristin from Escape Pilates in Newport Beach.


Fun-I have self diagnosed myself ADHD. I don’t take drugs to calm my hyper activity that starts at 6am and ends with crashing into my bedroom set at 1 a.m. Instead I go jogging. However I’m way to hyper to be confined to a treadmill in the gym. Born and raised a California Girl I am a “Sunshine Junkie.” I love being outside and petting all the dogs that are being walked before their owners go to work and checking out the hot business men buying their $4 lattes.

Interesting- The sun outside gives you Vitamin D which supports the healthy functioning of neurotransmitters in your body which keep your good morning smile very bright.

Tip- My favorite place to jog is at the beach and my favorite running shoes are New Balances.


Fun- You don’t have to bribe me with gourmet cooking to make me be in the sunshine, look at beautiful flowers, furry animals and talk to my friends. I consider hiking to be a “vaca-day” disguised as exercise. It works for me!

Interesting- “They say” (My dad always asks me, “who the heck is “They”? Does he have a last name?) that walking has the same health benefits for your body as jogging.

Tip- My favorite place to hike- Take PCH to Corona del Mar. Park on Poppy street. Walk down PCH (stay to the right and be cautious of the cars ) on the right hand side you will see some hiking trails along the side of the beach! They are so beautiful. They lead down to the beach. On the way back up you can grab a date shake from the “Shake Shack.” A long hike like that you will sleep well that night in your bedroom furniture guranteed!


Fun-Did somebody say, “Sunday Fun day?” The opportunity to ride my fire cracker red beach cruiser with my friends will have me jumping off of my living room furniture faster than you can say, “ A round of Pina Coladas, please.”

Interesting- Laughing and relaxing are as good for your health. Research (and this is “They” talking again) proves that laughter plays a key role in a healthy human life. A good laugh loosens muscles, lowers blood pressure, and may lower levels of hormones that create stress and weaken immunity. When laughing your body moves blood to your heart and lungs, boosting your energy level and making you feel better instantly. It also aids communication and creates a sense of closeness between you and the people you are with. en

Tip- Don’t hold up the party! Check out your bike tires before you take it out for the day.

What do you think? How do you exercise and keep it fun and entertaining? Do you think I would like it? I’d love to know your thoughts. Please let me know at

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

HOW TO: Make a twist to a hors d'oeuvres recipe

My mom makes this amazing Baked Brie hors d'oeuvres. It’s so good that I couldn’t even tell you how many times I have been cornered against living room furniture being asked how exactly it’s made. Having said that, you should know it’s darn good! However even masterpieces have room for improvements. The problem I have found with it is that you have to cut away the surrounding rind of the brie and cover it with brown sugar and chopped pecans around it. Then you bake it. During the baking process the brie melts quite a bit causing the entire piece to flatten. It’s still delicious, but it’s not very aesthetically pleasing (to me anyway.) Plus since the sugar surrounds the brie you always get a little more cheese than sugar when you slice. Being the busy auntie I am when I am at a family gathering I need to get the right amount of everything on my cracker and get back to my game of monopoly on the leather sofa. So check out my changes to this simple recipe:


1 Triangle of Brie

1 bag of candied pecans

1 cup of brown sugar

1 package of whole wheat crackers

1.) What were going to do is make individual hors d’oeuvres instead of the big triangle. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take the crackers and spread them out on a cookie sheet.

2.) Remove the rind from the brie. Cutting the brie into long strips and then into 2x1 inch squares. Place the squares on top of the crackers

3.) Take a measuring spoon out and place ¼ teaspoon of brown sugar on top of the brie. *I found that packing the sugar into the teaspoon keeps the sugar from making a mess

4.) Place a whole candied pecan on top

5.) Bake these for about 15 minutes and serve them hot. Placing these babies out on your dining room furniture and watch them disappear into your guests raving mouths!


*These still taste as yummy as the original

*They are less messy

*They are aesthetically more pleasing

*Next time, I would probably up the brown sugar amount to 1 teaspoon each

It’s when I enjoy doing stuff like restyling a hors d'oeuvres that I realize that being a photojournalist wasn’t my calling.

What do you think? Have you ever reinvented a recipe? I’d love to know!

Please let me know at

I would like to thank for kindly sponsoring today’s blog.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How to: Cure Boredom

Now that I think about it, it was probably my creative mind (and an affection for scissors) that probably kept me off drugs as a teenager. My hands were always covered in acrylic paint, fabric fuzz and glue was always stuck in between my fingers, a spatula full of cake batter always found its way to my fist long before it hit the kitchen sink and I was always reaching to save a broken dish from the garbage (my family still doesn’t understand that broken glass is art in the egg stage.) So, basically there just wasn’t a finger available to hold a cigarette. It was simply a matter of unavailable space. Well, if like me you don’t like being bored then you might like these ideas to keep it away. On the other hand if being bored is your thing and you would rather sit on your bedroom furniture and make your teeth yellow then you might want to check out You might as well rot your body in style. For the rest of you, check out these simple recipes for curing the boredom blues (their cheap too!)

Cookie Contest:

*Baking *Boy friendly

Who makes the best cookies in the cookie jar?

Irvina make the best cookies in the cookie jar!

Who you?

Yes me!

Couldn’t be!

Then who?

Have a cookie baking contest! Winners in four different categories: Craziest Cookie Creation, Sweetest Cookie Creation, Healthiest Cookie Creation and Prettiest Cookie Creation. What you gotta do is gather your friends, sisters, brothers, cousins, neighbors; my motto is “more is always merrier.” Get a recipe for cookie dough (I like chocolate chip cookie dough, minus the chocolate chips.) Provide an assortment of ingredients to add like: White chocolate chips, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, m&m’s, Butterfinger bars, snicker bars, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, marshmallows, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamia nuts, dried fruit, brown sugar, fresh apples, fresh bananas, powdered sugar, brown sugar… (You get the gist) Give everyone a big glob of dough and they can add their own ingredients. Have a large assortment of things to add and be ready to taste some of the yummiest creations!


*Have everyone make ½ teaspoon size cookies so you can taste lots of cookies without getting full too fast

*Have plenty of milk in the fridge so you can clean your cookie tasting palette

*Have everyone name their cookies something fun like: “Princess Food” or “Choco-lotta-nuts”


Cookie Dough

Add in ingredients

Cookie sheets


*Art *Boy friendly

Strike one…

Strike two…

A piece of art made by you!

You are going to be making a piece of art for your room. What you do is gather any old sports balls lying around the house. A thick canvas about 11x14. Get about three different colors of paint ready. Dip the ball into the paint and either pitch, volley or serve the ball onto the canvas. Makes an original design (parents have been knows to display it with their living room furniture too.)


*Use baseballs, golf balls, volleyballs, tennis balls. Hold off on the bowling balls Picasso

*Pick up to three colors of paint. It will add a variety to the piece

*Stabilize the canvas by placing it up against a wall in your backyard


11x14 Canvases: $7

1 pint of paint: $ 6

Balls: FREE you’re a kid you should have plenty of these laying around

BUT if you don’t go to the Salvation Army and pick some up for 50 cent

Café Me!

*Cooking *Boy friendly

Everyone has to eat right? Spare the Rice a Roni and spoil your family with an original dinner made by you. First pick a type of food. Let’s say, Chinese. Your menu will be green tea to drink, soy beans for an appetizer, chicken and beef teriyaki for the main course, white rice on the side and Apple wontons for dessert. Your family may have beautiful dining room furniture but, ambiance is everything! Have fun with it, pretend to be the waiter/waitress. Wear all red if you can (red is a lucky color in Chinese culture), ask that everyone remove their shoes before they enter the restaurant (Chinese culture says to remove your shoes at the door of someone home in order to leave any bad spirits outside the home.) Take sheets and hang them around the room to change the feel of the room. Place silverware and plates on the table with flowers and candles. Dim the lights to make it feel like a real restaurant. My little sister and I used to do this all the time as kids. Our family still asks us when our “café” will be taking reservations again.

Grocery List:

Green Tea

Soy Beans

Chicken and Beef Teriyaki- Chicken, beef, red and green bell peppers, white onions, teriyaki sauce

Soy sauce

Wonton wraps


White rice


Name your café and make a sign with markers for the door

Make menus (be sure to only put the things you are making for dinner)

Have waters already on the table

Speak in an accent of the country of food you are making.

No Lookie Portraits

*Art *Boy Friendly

Peek a boo!


Where the heck are you?

This is so fun! What you do is try to draw your sister, brother, friend or parent without looking at them. Not even once. From start to finish you just stare at the person and let your hand do the drawing without peeking at the paper. You start with the head, then the eyes, hair. Try everything you see. What comes out is something totally hilarious. When your done try and water color over it. An even more impressive piece of art. I like this one because you can do it in the car, at your grandma’s house, in your backyard or on the leather sofas in your living room and with anyone. All you need is a pen and paper.

Jas and Bots

Jelly and Wine got me painting all the time!

*Art *Gifts

Who the heck knew that the jar of peach raspberry jam was just as useful as the actual preserves inside? I did! Yes, I take credit for rescuing jelly jars and bottles of wine from the trash. I take them and paint flowers, vines, trees, sunsets and whatever else I am in the mood to paint on them. I always make sure the jar or bottle is really clean. That all the old stickers are all peeled off completely. I first use pencil to draw what I am going to paint. Then I use acrylic paint for my painting. Then I use a glossy sealer to seal it all up. This is so fun and it totally beats just sitting on the sofas and watching reruns.


Paint the wine bottles with Easter eggs and you have a flower vase for Easter dinner!

Paint names of jelly on the jars and actually make homemade jelly and give it as a gift.

That’s all folks!

What did you think? Do you think that these ideas could cure boredom? Do you have something better to suggest? Would you do these? Let me know at

Ciao Cuties!



I would like to thank

For sponsoring today’s blog and paying for my craft supplies with my paycheck!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How to: Have the Best Birthday Party Etiquette

Live for today, Plan for tomorrow, Party tonight! – Author Unknown

I love birthday parties! I love having them and I love attending them. As a girl who has had 24 bangin’ birthdays I’ve got some tips for you on being the perfect party guest. Just follow the conga line to the word P-A-R-T-Y!

P- Present
A- Acknowledge

R- Relieve

T- Thank you

Y- Yackety yack

Present: Congratulations you made the “close friends who get invited to my birthday” list! Now you get to find a nice birthday gift. If you have the cash to spend you should shoot for the $25 range. Try and remember what the birthday girl/boy likes. Do you remember them saying they really liked the color indigo blue? Did she say she liked beads for making funky bracelets? If your budget is in the $10 range then you might want to pick up some flowers (every girl loves em’) or chocolates (every boy loves to eat em’)

Acknowledge: Okay Miss. Popular I’m talking to you! You walk in the door and everyone attacks you like Pooh Bear to honey. As hard as it is to escape the mob you need to acknowledge why you’re there and go find the birthday girl/boy pronto! Greet them with “Happy Birthday!” Hand them their gift and give them an honest compliment on the house, their outfit or the yummy food.

Relieve: So there is 30 guests and only one person cutting birthday cake, scooping ice cream and handing out slices. Be a great guest and relieve some of the stress of the birthday girl. Offer to hand out slices of the yummy apple cake. Did you see someone accidentally spill punch on the leather sectional sofa? Haven’t you been coming to this house since you were 5 years old and know where the rags are? Hop to the helping with the mess and be called a great guest!

Thank you: Whenever you leave a birthday party, be sure to thank the Birthday Girl/Boy and the Birthday Mom. After they went through all the work of cleaning their home, preparing food, finding a cake and organizing games it’s nice for them to hear that you enjoyed the party.

*Why do you say thank you to the Birthday Mom, you ask? Here’s the dealy yo: Your friend’s mom has probably worked her tail off all day to make this party happen. Nobody else will think to thank them and it will mean the world to them when you do. You are such a nice kid!

Yackety Yack: Unfortunately some people don’t read Chica Irvina’s blog and don’t know how to be good guests. They don’t help relieve party stress, they don’t say hello and thank you and they need your help! Maybe they are in a funk tonight and just not themselves…who knows. If you see someone at the party who looks a little sad and lonesome on the leather sofa then pour yourself a tall cup of spiced apple cider and go yackety yack with the lonesome one. Chances are that there will be a time when you won’t have anyone to talk to at a party. A good guests helps all the other guests to have a good time.

What do you think?

Am I right on about birthday party etiquette or did I fall down in my stilettos one too many times this weekend? Let me know by emailing me at

I would like to graciously thank

for sponsoring today’s blog

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

You don't know what it's like to have a bestfriend, until you have a sister....

I saw my nieces who are 8 and 11 yesterday. They are my two favorite girls. One is super smart and engages easily in conversation. The other gives really tight hugs and is always asking you to play. Oddly these two girls with great personalities annoy each other. Some would say, “Their sisters. They’ll grow out of it.” I wish I could give them a simple recipe to accept each other the way they are. I think life is too short to make the mistake of hurting the person who will one day be the best friend you’ll ever have.

It’s not like I’m some far off idealist. I know what I’m talking about. I have four sisters. Three older and one younger. My older sisters love to tell me the stories about when my baby sister Walesa was born and how I took on the role of her big sister. I would translate her baby gibberish to, “She says she wants a peanut butter sandwich. No jelly.” I would pour a whole box of cheerios on her high chair and say, “She told me she wanted some….a whole lot of them…she’s really hungry.” When she would try and stand up on the swing in our backyard she would cautiously watch for my discriminating eye as she did it. The moment I would see her I’d yell, “Sit down!” and she would immediately comply. We had the perfect relationship. We all knew who was boss…ME!

That was all until the dark and gloomy morning at our dining room table when my sister learned to talk. Not that she didn’t have the cutest baby voice in the world, it was what she said that morning that shattered our relationship of two years. My mom had just given us both bowls of rice crispies. We were told to add a spoon full of sugar and stir and my mom walked back into the kitchen. I told my little sister, “I’m not stirring my sugar. I’m leaving it on top. You can taste more sugar that way.” My little sister then did the unfathomable, she yelled, “Mommy! Irvina isn’t stirring the sugar into her rice crispies she just letting it sit on top!” All I could think was, “Backstabber!” How could she? After all I’ve done for her! Did she forget that I was always the one who did the James Bond operation to sneak her out of her crib to go peek on our parents dinner parties downstairs? Did she forget that whenever our mother lost her in the mall that I was the only one who could ever find her? (No one had the sharp eye that I had to find her little white Keds.) Did she forget hat I was the one who told her “back up and cover your eyes” when our dad showed us how to crack open a coconut with a hammer and a nail? And what about the time that there was only one more glass of milk for chocolate milk and I had “chocolate water” so she could have chocolate milk. Yes, that bowl of rice crispies marked a turning point in our relationship.

Over twenty years have passed since the morning in the dining room, and if I put emotions aside I would realize that I am blessed. I am blessed that I have four women in my life that aren’t afraid to tell me when I am in the wrong and eating too much sugar. No one quite like my sisters. Of course while growing up my little sister and I fought and at times couldn’t stand to be in the same with each other. The age difference with the older ones left me feeling distant at times. I remember being annoyed that my mom let my older sisters correct my etiquette at the dinner table. But, now more than ever I appreciate having all four of my sisters. Each one of us with different personalities, tastes, values and beliefs.

I have friends who tell me, “You’re like a sister to me.” As nice a gesture as that is to hear I don’t know if a lot of people would put the time into a friendship as the amount of time it takes to have a sister. I mean how many friends do you have who have completely forgiven you after you have hurt them for years? How many of your friends still call to hang out with you when the two of you have nothing in common? How many of your friends totally accept you for the way you are and your differences and don’t try to change you? How many of your friends really understand your mother? Maybe I’m the odd one out, but I don’t know many of my friends that would or have done that for me. Except for my sisters.

It makes me sad to know that at one time we were able to all sit on the same leather sectional sofa and watch a movie without making an appointment to do so. Now, flights have to be arranged, vacation days need to be requested and husbands need to watch children in order for quality sister time to take place. I feel foolish for having taken my sisters for granted. Yet, I’m glad that at least now I know what it really means to be a friend, it’s being a sister.

I would like to thank for sponsoring today’s blogs.

Please check out their beautiful new site

with beautiful leather sectional sofas, bedroom sets and office furniture.

Happy Shopping!




Monday, March 05, 2007

Breakfast Monday- Sunday the easy and healthy way!

A blog brought to you by Irvina at

Not having a healthy breakfast in the morning can bring down your day the way a bad date can bring down your Friday night. You NEED to eat breakfast! I hear your whining, “I don’t have time.” “I’m not hungry in the morning.” Well Chica Irvina to the rescue. I ‘m giving you my favorite, lite, sacred, delicious, 20 minutes or less ( except for Saturday) recipes. Go forth and feed yourself dang it!

If you still feel like a kitty that won’t jump boat then remember these things:

1. People who eat breakfast are healthier and weigh less than people who don’t

2. People who eat breakfast are more alert at work and get better grades at school

3. People who eat breakfast get to try Irvina’s yummy breakfast recipes!


Groovy banalime-applinach-oothie!

The 70’s were trippy, the Beattles rocked it out,

but Groovy Banalime-applinach-oothies are the best drink from this century…no doubt!

The grooviest smoothie around. Not only does it taste “Grade A” A-MAZING it is also good for your brain, your eyes and your bones. Studies have shown that spinach improves learning capacity and motor skills, provides iron for energy, prevents cancer cells from forming. Trust me after you try this smoothie you’ll consider Jamba Juice tap water.

You need:

1 banana

½ of a lime (with the rind)

4 apples

1 bunch of spinach

2 cups of water


How to:

Chop everything before hand (the lime should be chopped really small) and then dump the apples first, then the spinach, then the rest into the blender.

Serves you, sister, mom, dad and left overs for a after school snack!



Amigas is Spanish for friends! This recipe has one rule:

When you make these for breakfast you have to call an old friend within 24 hours and say, “Hola Amiga, que pasa?” Nothing like breakfast to bring friends together!

You’ll Need:

1 large skillet

1 wooden spoon

4 corn tortilla’s

7 eggs

2 tablespoons of chopped onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Salsa to serve on the side

Serves: Family of 4 Cook Time: 15 minutes

How to:

1. Tear the corn tortilla’s into pieces that are a little bigger than a postage stamp

2. Heat the olive oil in large skillet

3. Add the cut tortillas to the skillet and brown them until they are crunchy like tortilla chips. Remove from skillet.

4. Add the chopped onions to the skillet and cook until they turn a caramel color

5. Add salt, pepper, tortillas and beaten eggs to the skillet

6. Toss until eggs are fully cooked. Serve with salsa to taste.

7. Don’t forget to grab your cell phone on the way out the door!


Have Apple Halves!

Have an apple,

Have a seat,

Have some peanut butter,

And stay up beat!

Don’t forget breakfast,

Not hungry today?

Have an apple anyway!

Eating breakfast when you’re not hungry or in a hurry is like hanging out with your friends when you’re bummed out. You don’t really want to, but in the end you feel better and are glad you did. If you’re not hungry then grab something small and healthy like an apple with some peanut butter.

You need:

4 apples

½ cup of natural peanut butter

1 knife

1 chopping board

How to:

1. )Take one apple cut it in half

2.) Take those halves and cut them in half,

3.) Take the half, halves and halve them again

4.) And then you “have” your apple halves J

5.) Serve with all natural peanut butter, like Laura Schudder’s

*DON’T* Eat peanut butter brands like Jiffy, Skippy or Bonny…if it ends in a “Y” you should ask, “Why” does this cost so little? Because it’s made with partially hydrogenated oils that will hurt your precious little bodies. Trust me on this one!

*DIDJA KNOW?* That the skin of an apple prevents cancer? Yeah, the apple skin contains 4 milligrams of quercetin, an anti-oxident that prevents oxygen molecules from damaging cells. This can prevent cell changes that can lead to cancer. They found out that men who had the highest intake of quercetin lowered their risk of heart disease by 20%. Now go tell your daddy that!


1 “Eggcelelent” girl!

This one person omelette made with basil and tomatoes is named after me. Yes, I am calling myself “eggcellent!” Mostly because the omelette looks like me. The tomatoes are my red lips, the basil is my green eyes. Wrap it up and you’ve got “1 Eggcelent girl!”

You need:

1 egg

1 fresh basil leaf

1 tomato wedge

1 dash of salt

1 dash of pepper

2 table spoons of olive oil

2 table spoons of grated parmasean cheese

1 skillet

1 spatula

1 fork

How to:

1. Beat eggs, paramsean cheese, salt and pepper with a fork

2. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat

3. Pour in egg mixture

4. Just as the eggs start cooking add the tomato, smile side up, tear the basil leaves in half to make two eyes.

5. Say, “Have a nice day in my tummy “Eggcellent girl”


Pro-Teen shake!

This shake got me through my teen years. Between school starting at 7:45 a.m (thanks Newport Mesa school board) after school cheer practice, pep rallies, charity work, family and dreaded geometry, I needed something to keep me balanced. Blessed as I am I had a sweet, little Mexican lady who I like to call “mom” who would hand me one of these while I straightened my hair. It’s delish!

You need:

1 banana

1/3 cup of peanut butter

1 raw egg

2 cups milk

1/3 cup wheat germ


How to:

Blend it up girly!

Serves: 2 teenage girls and 1 mom


Lickity Liscious Lemon and poppy seed scones!

After a long week of school or work , it’s time to have some fun in the kitchen! Make these scones with girlfriends, mom or take some over to your dad’s house.

You need:

3 cups all purpose flour (organic)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (organi)
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel (organic)
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup (or more) whole milk

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Mix flour, 1 cup sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, lemon peel, and salt

3. Add butter and using clean hands mix it all (okay so you’re freaked out by using your hands, but I’m 24 and cannot afford a food processor, God gave me hands for my 20’s I’m sure)

4. Whisk egg and lemon juice in medium bowl to blend.

5. Add to flour mixture. Keep mixin with those hands until moist clumps form. Add 1/3 cup milk. Mix just until dough comes together, adding more milk if dough seems dry.

6. Gather dough into ball. Flatten into 8-inch round. Cut round into 8 wedges.

7. Transfer scones to large baking sheet; brush with milk. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

8. Bake until scones are golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

9. They’ll keep baking if you don’t take them off of the sheet. So move it sistah!


Make some Rest!

Nothing like Sunday to make some rest,

To wake up leisurely,

To wear a green dress,

To go into church,

To be calm and pray,

To eat brunch with friends

While you laugh by the bay.

Words out, I’m a Jew! Actually “half-a-jew” which means I try to practice the Sabbath day. I’m so hyper during the week that I need a day to “chill-lax.” A day when I don’t cook if I don’t want to, a day where I visit with friends at leisure, write down a rhyme or two, read a chapter or so, bike ride by the beach, pay a visit to my sister and help her rearrange her leather sectional sofa for a more inviting atmosphere or just go home and sit on my own leather sofa set and get paint on everything else in my living room, but the canvas. We all need to learn how to “make some rest.”

I hope you all liked my idea’s for

“Breakfast! Monday through Sunday the easy way!”

Don’t forget to get on the internet and search for all of your bedroom sets from my company

it’ll be good for you ;)

Big Smiles!


J x o J xo J

Leather and Canvas Creations for Big Boys

Happy Monday!

I would like to take a moment in time to thank

for sponsoring this pretty, witty and crafty blog.

Thank you, for making a job for me that is fun, relaxing and beautiful….just like the sofa sets you carry….and now for our

Leather and Canvas Creations for Big Boys!

So I know my nieces like getting creative pictures of our family that I have taken. (Remember Cutie Patootie Photo Purses? –Big Hit!) Well I have come to feel that my nephews might like something creative from Aunt Nini also. Even if they don’t appreciate it now, they will probably like it later in life. The challenge was keeping it “masculine” “big boy tough” looking. What I ended up with is putting photos on canvas. Leaving space for a frame and making the frame using a “Crackle” finish. Adding a leather trim (of course to coordinate with the leather sofas they will have in their study when their 50 years old. Aunt Nini’s always thinkin’) To top it off I added their name at the bottom with wooden star accents. What do you know? It looks like quite a cute token of memorablila. You too can make one yourself! My recipe concoction is below!

You need:

Photo images stretched on Canvas

Delta Ceramcoat – Crackle

Delta Ceramcoat- Navy Blue

Delta Ceramcoat- Barn Red

Delta Ceramcoat- Magnolia White

Delta Ceramcoat- Gloss sealant

Delta Ceramcoat- Satin Interior Finish

½ inch paint brush

20-0 size, tiny brush for writing

1 ½ yards of leather fabric (can be found in the ribbon section)

Cowboy font

¼ inch of crafting tape

1 jar of Rubber Cement

Needle and thread

1.) Take some very cute photos, (the ones I shot are pretty super duper cute, if I do say so myself ) and have them put on canvas and stretched. The picture should be 5x7 in size, the canvas should be 8x10 in size (the differences in size is going to give you a 3 inch border all the way around )….This costs a pretty penny of $50 each. For my bargain hunting babes out there, you can use a piece of 8x10 wood and rubber cement the 5x7 picture to it, that process is $10 each. (*Remember, what you pay for is what you get. The canvas route is going to look more professional and the picture will be protected from nicks and scrapes. Just a warning*)

2.) Take ¼ inch tape and border it all along the image of the picture. This is so you have a clean line of paint that does not get on your image.

3.) Using the ½ inch paint brush paint on the color that you want to show up in the “cracks.” Let this color dry completely.

*The first coat of color you put on will not be the main color.

4.) Using the same washed out brush. Apply Crackle all over 1st layer of paint. Let dry until tacky.

5.) Using the same washed out brush. Apply second coat of contrasting color. The cracks will form in the direction of your brush strokes. Apply your second coat of contrasting color (this will be your main color) Watch the cracks form in just minutes. It’s so cool! Allow the canvas to dry completely.

5.) Using the ½ inch brush apply the Satin Interior Varnish. Apply 2 coats.

6.) Remove tape from picture borders.

7.) Using the cowboy font as a reference, write the boys name on the picture below.

Sketching in pencil is a good idea. Using the tiny brush 20/0 paint in the letters with the Magnolia white paint.

8.) Using the ribbon fabric, cut two, 7 inch pieces and two– 5 inch pieces. Border the picture. Attaching the leather with Rubber Cement. Allow to dry over night

9.) Using needle and thread, attach stars on each side of the painted name.

10.) Sit back on your leather sectional sofa, call your girlfriends and tell them how you now know how to use crackle paint, leather and pictures to make one very cute

Leather and Canvas Creations for Big Boys! Of course you’ll tell them to check out Aunt Nini’s crafts at

It’s been fun ladies! I’m off to create a life worth of memories! If you have any ideas or comments to share please contact me at

Happy crafting chicas!



AKA “Aunt Nini”

Friday, February 23, 2007

Boys! As easy as A, B, C, D, E, F, G!

Boys! As easy as A, B, C, D, E, F, G!

Alright boys and girls, it’s Monday morning and it’s time to blog. The funny thing is I’m at a loss for words. I know, hard to believe, but true. I was tapping my foot channeling my creative energy when my boss suggested, “Write about something interesting.” Interesting? As profound a suggestion that is, I am still sitting on this leather chairs waiting for something to come to me. Aha! Gifts for boys! Such a struggle for some ya know? Not for me! Read on for pearls of wisdom!

A- Car:
(Not in the budget for all the bargain hunters who read my blog? We’ll get to ya’all in just a momento)! Men love cars…..some guy told me once that cars to men are like scrapbooks to women….so they love them. And, if you’re a sugar momma, black AmEx card carrying success then by all means….Vroom Vroom!

As in Pacifico beers! By the way did you know that beers go exceptionally well with chocolate chip cookies? Yeah their like cheese to wine. Just ask my friend Will. Will got his appendix taken out this past week. Ouch! I know, so what better to console him than a prescription from Dr. Irvina for chocolate chip cookies and Pacifico beer? Now some girls I know refrain from this kind of stuff because they think it looks too girly. Of course, if you’re going to wrap it with hot pink flowers and violet organza ribbon he’s gonna be less than excited to show his roommates. BUT! If you put it in a natural basket, use earthy raffia for the ribbon then he’s going to be totally stoked. Check out the pictures below and thank me with a Watermelon Daiquiri later. .…

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

These come with some precautions....remember the “Ahhhhhhh! So cute” factor? When you’re making crafts? The same goes for anything you bake or cook. If you’re going to make a baked good a gift it ought to look like a perfect 10 and be lip lickin’ scrumptious! Now, it doesn’t have to be difficult to do that though. Honestly, I’m not a big cupcake baker myself, but I know a pretty cute girl that is, Patty! She is this totally cute New York gal who is at the height of easy entertaining and simple recipes check out her website at . Try her recipe for apple cake. Yummy! Also if you’re looking for some more great cupcakes you can never go wrong with Sprinkle’s Cupcakes (or as my girlfriends call them, “crack”)

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D-eep tissue massage:
My boss…okay…the guy may be the connoisseur of women, the cream of the crop at great conversation and have impeccable taste in leather sofa sets, but when it comes to taking a chill pill the guy is in need of some serious 911 help from Chica Irvina. So, a gift certificate for a massage at the local spa made quite the splash for his birthday. He said he was going to use it the same day!

E-ndless kisses:
Write out a cute little gift certificate on your computer for “Endless kisses.” A very big smile….100% Guaranteed!
NOTE: Not to be used on friends, co-workers or family members (unless of course you are under the age of two.)

F-lourless Chocolate Cake:
WARNING: If you’re going to serve this to anyone (guy or girl) be prepared for a marriage proposal on the spot! No joke, my girlfriends give me the eyes after I make this recipe at girls nights. Guys just tend to blurt out “I love you” over and over again as he devours it in one sitting at the dining room sets. So again…Bake with caution: Here is the recipe: Bake’r up girls!

1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar
4 ½ oz bittersweet chocolate
4 ½ oz cacao chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate and cacoa. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan or serve warm. To reheat put each slice in the microwave for 25 seconds. Add some vanilla ice cream for yummyness!
G-adgets: As in watches….pretty, pricey and perfect! You know where to go, the mall, the boutique. Wind it and wrap it!

Alright my lady friends I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog!
Until we meet again, keep sweet, smiley and shoppin’ at


Friday, February 16, 2007

Do what you love!

Valentine’s Day was this past Wednesday. Being a 24 year old chica I have a diverse amount of friends who are newly married, going strong for 50 years, single and even (cue lighting) divorced. The funny thing to me is how much single gals talk about being single. I think I have heard every strategy about how to find love the quickest, dump it the nicest, test it’s authenticity, the mushy perfect endings and how to shape your prized perfect love into happily ever after. Dreadfully, after listening I get the gruesome question of, “Why aren’t you seeing anyone?” Being a pretty content single senorita for quite sometime, I pondered the question, “Why am I so content being single?” A thought came to me last night while I sat on our leather sofa in our living room, “Do what you love.” It’s a motto I try to live my life by. However, if that statement rang true I would have to say that,

1.) I love to drive through bumpy dirt roads

2.) I love to bathe in a shower that changes from scalding hot to ice cold ever 10 seconds

3.) I love doing work and not getting paid for it

4.) I love getting a whiff of dog feces every 3 miles

That’s pretty much what this past weekend was like in El Nino Mexico. I went with my church to build a home in this little community of people who lost their homes right after the storms of El Nino. They have tried to build their own shelter for themselves with scraps of plywood and old garage doors. I would guess the question of whether to go with the cherry wood or mahogany bedroom set for their master bedroom hasn’t recently crossed their minds. The question of whether they are loved or not probably sits with the latter of the two.

It was my fourth trip down there. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something has kept pushing me to sign up and go. For a long time I didn’t know why, but I found it on this trip. On top of an 8 foot ladder while I was painting the white trim on the pink house we built. I saw a God’s eye view of the dirt hills of El Nino. All of the homes that have been built over the past few years in the community were in front of me. A palette of homes in light blue, lime green, fuschia pink, royal blue, purple and mint green were spread out among the dusty hill. I thought to myself, “What if not even one of these little homes was ever built?” What if the voices that so loudly say, “going down there allows the Mexican government not to take care of their own people” and that “the Mexicans take advantage of charity and will learn to live off of it.” What if all of the volunteers that traveled down here had listened to those voices and not come? How much worse would the conditions in this community be? The only thing I could think of that would turn off those voices in someones head is the sake of “doing what you love.” No matter how stupid, ridiculous or out right wrong it looks to another person. “Do what you love.”

Yeah, so according to my girlfriends if you’re a women and not married by the time you’re 30, you’ve done something wrong. But, I beg to disagree. My challenge for all of the single, unique and beautiful women I know out there is “Do what you love and you will always have love.” Don’t bother with worrying about where your hottie husband is in the world and what precise time he is going to find you. “Do what you love”, is the name of the game. Love all the people you can a long the way. Whether it takes you to Mexico to build a home for some strangers or down the street to buy a turkey, avocado, extra Dijon mustard (hold the mayo) on a wheat baguette sandwich for yourself. If you don’t have a significant other in your life, that probably means the love you have to give is so great that it needs to be spread out before you give it all to a husband and your 2.5 kids . As it is said, “For where your treasure is there your heart will be.” Hugs, kisses and a big smile!

Want to find some bedroom sets you will absolutely love?

Visit the new site!

Happy Valentines Day 2007!

It seems like lately every one tells me, "You're too hard on yourself Irvina." Well ya know what, I dont' think that's too bad because I get some pretty cute, creative stuff as the result. Check out this cute Valentine's card I made this year. When I make something I know it's not done until it has hit the "Ahhhhhh!" factor. You know you look at it and say, "Ahhhhhhhhhhh! So cute." Well this one shot right off the charts!