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Moving Day...
in the LBC
Hello everybody!

After having an LJ account for so many years, I decided it was time for me to move over to my own domain. From now on I will only be posting at http://anitza.net

I struggled with the decision but ultimately, the thought of starting new somewhere else is what really lit a fire under my butt. Well, technically not really new, since I transfered all my content over there, but still ;)

I hope that you will continue to stay in touch with me through my blog over there, via Facebook, or Twitter. This place brought a really great sense of community for so many years but unfortunately, most people have moved on.

I'll keep an eye on my flist and I won't delete what is here, but I will no longer be updating here.

For me, it's the end of an era. See ya on the other side, I hope.

The saved draft that never got posted...
CSI - Nick smile
Setting: It is still February and are still living in our apartment in Long Beach. I sit at my computer and start typing out a grand ol' entry to catch everyone up to all the events that have happened since December. But then I got interrupted by actual work and this entry never got finished. Here is what I wrote:

My husband wins at Valentine's. There's also a box of chocolates.For Valentine's Day, Juan outdid himself. It was more than the flowers, the chocolates, and the margaritas with dinner. It was the note that he wrote with the flowers that totally melted me into a puddle.
Roses are red, violets are... too corny. This is going to be a big year for us. I don't know how to express my love for you more than  buying a house where we can finally live our dreams. I love you - Juan
It's not like the house thing was a surprise. We've been hard at work looking for houses online, scheduling visits, going to open houses, etc... but it was seeing it all wrapped up in a few words it just let it nall sink in.

We've checked out hundreds of houses online (started out on Zillow and Trulia, ended up on Redfin.com, it's the best!). 
PS: I really miss you guys.
PPS: I should really finish the story about our house.

Zoey's First Birthday
voyager- the doc/ content & happy
Zoom zoom!

My Mazda
It's been a year now. She is officially not of the current year. I thought it would take off the nice feeling of shiny and new, but it wasn't so sudden, even if this year did zoom by.

I wanted to share my statistics, ones that I have accumulated over the past year using the Gas Cubby Free App on my iPhone. I figured that someone else might find the MPG charts useful, as well as the cost of gas fluctuations over the year (just for fun).

I remember the almost 31 MPG average of that tank being a lot of traffic-less freeway driving. That's the only thing that I can attribute that to.

Just some numbers.

Gas got expensive. Thankfully it came back down, but never as far down as it used to be.

So my automatic 2011 Mazda3 Touring with moonroof and BOSE package got an average 25.68 MPG for the year. That includes a good mix of highway and "city" driving. I don't do too much driving in traffic, but when I do, I see it affect my MPG, big surprise.
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Well that wasn't any fun at all. A post with TMI.
*augh* - kitten
I thought my Christmas #manicure could use a festive light yesterday. #detailscoming Tuesday morning 5:30 a.m. I shot up out of bed with a sharp urge to go pee (you know this story's gonna be great or awful depending on your tastes based on that right there). I went but still felt the "urge" even after emptying my bladder. Crap. Isn't this how UTI starts? So I dragged myself back to bed. I spent the rest of the day taking it easy and drinking tons of water and going to pee every five minutes if I could. Other than that, pretty normal.

Wednesday morning 2:30 a.m. Sudden urge to go empty my bladder again. When I got back to bed, I realized that my back was sore and in my sleepy haze I was softly moaning (apparently) because Juan asked me what was wrong. I realized my back was hurting a lot more than a normal sore back. The combination of the bloating/swollen bladder feeling and the back pain soon became really really uncomfortable. Juan made the decision to take me to the emergency room. I am so glad he did because as soon as we got there, I was writhing in pain. As they were doing their prelim data gathering, I started throwing up.

They admitted me, started blood work, and set up an IV line. They wanted a urine sample but I'd already emptied my bladder and hadn't replaced fluids. I tried several times because of the incredible urge to go but nothing would come out. The pain in my back was so severe that it made me nauseous. I kept throwing up. It got to the point that I would just dry heave.

I was still waiting for a doctor to see me. They were under orders to not give me anything, not even water, until a doctor signed off on it. And I wasn't going to see a doctor until I had a room. And there were no rooms available just yet.

Those were the longest two hours I can recall.

I felt bad for the other people in the triage room waiting with me since I kept throwing up in my bucket and then eventually quietly sobbing in my corner. Juan was in the general waiting room and couldn't be there with me which made things more difficult.

Finally they got my results and a room opened up and they took me back there. It's kind of a blur, but I remember they were not so concerned about my pain, they were concerned with my apparently critical anemia. They kept commenting on how pale I was. My numbers were 6.9 and 26.5 (wish I remember what they stood for). They put in an order for me to get a blood transfusion even before I got medication for whatever was going on. Apparently, I could have dropped with a heart attack at any moment since my numbers were so low.

Thanks to my donors. Eventually I find out that I am probably passing a kidney stone. This is later confirmed via CAT scan. At some point they gave me morphine and anti-nausea medication. That didn't work (I was still in pain and throwing up). They then gave me some souped up Motrin and Flomax to open up the path for the stupid stone to pass and I was able to knock out for about half an hour.

Each unit of blood took about an hour for me to take in.

 So after the two units, they basically discharged me after almost 12 hours exactly. I was starving at this point (yay, no more nausea!) and incredibly thirsty because no one had the authority to give me anything and the doctor never gave the order. We picked up food, and my meds and crashed at home.

A couple of unitsI tried to finally take an undisturbed nap (for some reason, at the emergency room we happened to be there on the same morning that they were doing some construction right outside the curtain to my room). At about 6:00 p.m. the beast decided to start moving and I could feel it. I could feel the bastard crawling through and it was more pain than anything I have ever felt before. It felt like it was forever and I yelled to Juan. He tried to help me out by rubbing my back since that had been invaluable in the hospital. But this was too much. After a few minutes, it stopped and it was like the clouds parted. The stone had passed.

At least in retrospect, that's what it seems because when I went to pee after that, I think I saw a speck at the bottom of the bowl that disappeared when I flushed and the pain was mostly gone. I was able to sleep through the night. Hallelujah.

I woke up really sore this morning though and at first I couldn't figure it out. When I sneezed, I realized it was all the throwing up from the day before because it was pretty much the same muscles.

I was ordered to go to urgent care to find out why I am so severely anemic. So, we went. And we haven't found out anything. I gave three vials of the blood they so urgently gave me yesterday so they can send it out to a lab and find out what is wrong with me. The doctor suggested that it may be genetic. (Side note: if it is genetic, will the foreign blood mess with the results? I don't know enough about blood to know the answer to that yet.) We'll find out next week what's wrong.

In the mean time, everything that we look up for a kidney stone-free diet conflicts directly with a diet for anemics. :-/

So anyway, now we are home, and we are happy to just sit here and watch some TV and veg out. It's been a long couple of days.

PS: Other than my direct family, the only people who really knew what was going on were my coworker buddies because, well, I couldn't go to work. And the thoughts and messages you sent my way were very well received and appreciated. Thanks for thinking and praying for me. <3
PPS for Chris C: This was one of the worst things I've ever been through. And no, I wasn't wearing pants.

Life badges
AHHH! - peewee
With the advent of achievements on Xbox and badges on things like Foursquare, you kinda get used to the idea that there should be something to commemorate certain events.

What if we had them for life? Graduation, filing your taxes for the first time, paying off a loan, etc. Today was one of those days where I wish we had them. I drove home for the first time, at 32, on the freeway in rush hour traffic in a downpour. My wipers were going nuts and we never went over 40. I am wearing an invisible badge on my shoulder right now that reads "rush hour downpour survivor".

I think it would make things more interesting.

PS: I got home in time to see this from my balcony:

Sunshine & rain
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My new obsession: Nail art
moi - pink glam
Zoom Zoom Manicure I mentioned in my last post how I've gotten into painting my nails. Lately, what that involves is nail stamping, but I also want to experiment more with water marbling and other methods.

I think I got into it when I was looking at YouTube videos last year. I honestly don't remember when it all started. But I got hooked. I have the fortune of having strong long nails (I get that from my mom) and I also have a desk job. I have only ever gotten two manicures in my life at a salon: first was when I was 16 and I was working at a legal center and the other girl who worked there took me out to get one; the second one was when I got married.

Anyway, I've always done my own manicures but I tended to hate it because nail polish took so long to fully dry. I would do at least two solid color coats and one clear top coat. If I wanted to add glitter, that would be another coat. All that polish takes some time to dry all the way through. The top would be dry to the touch but as soon as any pressure was applied, I would get dents and stuff.
French Silver Swirls on red
But technology has come a long way. The new top coats available really live up to the hype. I can do an elaborate manicure and my nails will be dry at the end of the hour (that's including the actual manicure)! You can pick up Sally Hansen quick dry top coats at most drugstores and those penetrate the layers to dry the nail polish quickly. But then I discovered Seche Vite! All the v/bloggers rave about it and now I know why! It is an amazing top coat that feels so smooth and glassy, has beautiful shine, and dries super fast! If you have any bumps or nicks left from your manicure, Seche Vite will even it all out. So if you are running low on time, get yourself some of that polish. I got it at Sally Beauty Supply.

Bundle Monster Plate 20 - BM20 And lastly, how do I get these designs? Konad. It's a nail stamping system. It's not stencils, which is what most people think. I have these metal plates that are very shallowly engraved. You brush on your nail polish onto the design that you want and then scrape off the excess. That only leaves the nail polish in the design. You then take a blank rubber stamper and lift off the design from the plate and stamp it onto your nail. It takes a little bit of practice but is now so easy to do for me. You have to sometimes experiment with the colors because of a polish is too thin or doesn't have too much pigment, the design won't be noticeable on your nail. Konad thought about that and made their own "Special Polish" which comes in handy but isn't the only thing that works. Juan did get me the black and white ones for Christmas though, and they are really easy to use.

If you want to get started, I suggest going on Amazon and buying a fauxnad plate set by Bundle Monster. It's the best deal. Then you can add to your collection with single Konad plates later. You'll also need the stamper (get the one with two sized ends, it is really convenient).

Here are a couple more manicures. I made this post in bits and pieces so it may sound a bit rambly. If you have any questions, please let me know. I'll be happy to help!

Rainbow Argyle Silver Doppler Manicure

Set on Flickr

PS: I created a Listmania on Amazon for people who keep asking me what I have or how to get started: These are the must-have items to get started on Konad-ing your nails.

Just made it
bsg - vipers
I am sneaking this entry at the end of January hoping it still qualifies as a "Happy New Year!" entry. 

The ongoing LJ-entry in my head doesn't stop, by the way. I may be terrible at updating, but I've had this long enough that I still think about my life in LJ entries. Doesn't really work when you don't bother to actually sit down and write them out though.

So, anyway... gonna go with bullets.
  1. Christmas was very interesting this year. My sister is working remotely and my parents decided we would have Christmas over there because she wasn't getting any time off. So we all took off and spent it with her in a hotel. Juan took advantage and rented a 2011 Chevy Camaro for the road trip. It was awesome!
    • Noche Buena 2010 Noche Buena 2010
  2. This was the best Christmas present I have gotten in a long time: an industrial strength snow cone machine! It was on my wishlist and my sister actually got it for me. I couldn't believe it. I am a bit addicted to enjoying ice. I have enjoyed many snow cones since then. :D [Xmas Flickr Set]
    • Noche Buena 2010
  3. New Year's was also a little different this year. It's always been kaptainsnot's birthday first, New Year's Eve second (her bday is the 31st). But this year she spent it with the sister who is not in town so we were left to figure out what to do. We ended up having dinner with the parents and in-laws and then going down to the waterfront in Long Beach hoping to catch some of the action and fireworks. It was actually pretty mellow, but we did get to enjoy the fireworks which was what we mostly wanted to do. [Flickr set]
  4. We ended up taking the week between the holidays off like we normally do. We typically stay home and relax, which we did plenty of. But this year we had a very specific goal in mind: get me a car. I've never had my own car and it was about time for me to have one. Long story short: Juan bought me a 2011 Mazda3 Touring with the BOSE/Sunroof package in Liquid Silver. Zoom zoom baby! I've been checking out Mazda3's for a few years now. I mean, just look at that smile! [Mazda Flickr set]My Mazda
  5. I love my car so much and I have been so much more productive now that I can drive myself everywhere. I can get home early enough to go grocery shopping and cook at home which is a huge deal for us. Waiting for Juan to pick me up from work meant that we had to pretty much have takeout for dinner almost every night. Not so anymore!
  6. I don't normally do resolutions, but this year my main one is to organize a monthly get-together with my friends. We've all grown apart these past few years and it seems like it started becoming almost impossible to get us all together with any regularity. So, I organized a board game night and it was a success! We had a ton of fun. My sisters also gave us a bunch of board games for Christmas, so we had plenty to choose from. I highly recommend Scribblish, which is like a cross between Pictionary and Telephone (yeah, that game you used to play as a kid).
  7. Another post is coming soon with my latest hobby: painting my nails. If you've been keeping an eye on my Flickr stream, you've seen a bunch of the manicures I've worn over the past few months.
OK, that's it for now. I want to get to bed and start this busy week off right. 

Photojojo Camera Phone Lenses Review
in the LBC
I've been eyeing these for a while. Luckily, AR got them for me for my birthday. He was on top of it and ordered them in the beginning of September so that they would arrive in time for my birthday on the 27th, except Photojojo kept postponing their shipping. They kept emailing every few weeks with new hopeful ship dates. Well, they finally arrived at the beginning of November, two months after! But enough about that, onto the review!

Photojojo Fisheye, Macro, and Wide Angle Camera Phone Lenses

Photojojo's Fisheye, Macro, and Wide Angle Camera Phone Lenses

OK, so what are they again?
These two small yet powerful and finely constructed lenses, one fisheye and one combo wide-angle/macro, attach to your cell phone transforming your standard flat phone photos into wide and up-close wonders.

They work with any camera phone and attaching them is easy breezy! A detachable magnetic ring sticks to your cell, providing a sturdy, shake-free hold between the lens and your phone.
When I first got word that these lenses existed, I fired off a tweet to Photojojo asking them what, if any effect, would there be on my photos if I used the lenses with my case on my phone? Got radio silence.

Fortunately AR got them for me so I could now try it out for myself. If I was going to use these at all, I had to be able to leave my case on, so I tried that first (thank goodness I got 4 metal rings in case things went awry). I peeled off the backing from a metal ring and placed it around the lens opening on my iPhone 3GS case. Then it is just a matter of taking off the magnetic backing from one of the lenses (and the lens cap, of course) and just stick it on via the magnet onto my phone to give it a whirl.

Here are my non-scientific test shots:

Normal iPhone photo without any lens attachments

Straight OotC Shot

Fisheye Lens attachment test. The first was taken from the same approximate place as the one without any lens. The second is moved in to take a closer (better) look at the toy.
Fisheye Test 1 Fisheye Test 2

Wide Angle Lens attachment. If you compare to the normal photo on the right, you will see the wide angle gets a lot more of the scene.

Wide Angle Test Straight OotC Shot

Macro lens attachment. This one required me to revisit it once I realized that when they meant that it was a Wide Angle/Macro Lens attachment, they meant I had to unscrew the lens to get the different effects, well, then it made sense. See, the first test shot below was me just getting really close to the dinosaur with the Wide Angle/Macro Lens attachment on. The second one is with only the Macro Lens attachment. You have to unscrew the lens into two pieces and use the one labeled "Macro". Duh!

Macro Test Fail Macro Test

If you are still wondering what I meant, here is how the lens comes apart:


In both the fisheye and wide angle attachments, I get some of that black lens rimming around the photo, and it isn't evenly centered. This is because my phone has a curved edge where the lens is. This is something that will affect all curved phones, I think. I had high hopes that next year when I upgrade to version five of the iPhone, that it would still be flat like the current one, but on the Photojojo site they explicitly state "iPhone 4 Disclaimer: our sticky lens rings don't play well with your sleek, well designed glass backing. Dern you Steve Jobs!". So if the next version is glass-backed, I may be SOL. The sticky metal ring might also interfere with a flash if you have one right next to the lens on your device. 

In the end, I am not sure if my case had any negative effects on the photos. I don't really want to put the rings on my naked iPhone because it will basically be a waste of a ring. But from what I saw, they performed as one would expect.

Overall, though, it is a really cool set up. My next step is to get myself a nice long chain so that I can wear them around my neck instead of buried in my pocket so that I remember to use them more. I bet outside they will be even more fun.

Poor Lomo Fisheye camera. I had a lot of fun with you, but this is a whole lot easier!

So thanks to AR for my awesome birthday gift! If you have someone on your Christmas list that loves to take photos with their camera phone, then this is a great gift. You can purchase each lens individually for $25 or both in one combo pack for $40 at Photojojo.

PS: That dinosaur came in my package from Photojojo, so I figured he would make a suitable test subject.

Halloween Wrap-up
scary - girl turns skull
So I'm just going to pretend that it was just Halloween and that it isn't almost two weeks later so I can do my Halloween recap post!

This year, for the first time since I put together my Ravenclaw costume (sweater, tie, robes, wand, etc), I actually made myself a costume! I had been toiling around the idea of making myself an owl, but hadn't actually jumped on it until my sisters really pushed me to really do it. And I am so glad that they did! I had a lot of fun making it and of course showing it off as well. How I went about making my costume...Collapse )

The result:
Halloween Night Dive

Aside from two crazy people who thought I was willing to dress up like a turkey, the feedback was awesome. I got all sorts of famous owl references that day, everything from Hedwig to Bubo to the Tootsie Pop owl. I won the office costume contest and wore my costume to that night's Night Dive at the Aquarium. It was an awesome night!

There were three bands (Rumspringa, The New Fidelity, and Bella Novella), DJ's spinning in every gallery, art, a photo booth, and tons of people in awesome costumes. Speaking of which, kaptainsnot  and the husband also came and showed up in costume!
Halloween Night Dive The Undead Bride Night Dive (10-28-10)-67

It was amazing. Juan was like a celebrity in that costume, everyone wanted a photo with Gumby! And then they would see kaptainsnot  as the undead bride with her milky white eyes and they would get creeped out and stop mid-conversation or go out of their way to avoid her. The only thing our costumes had in common, as someone pointed out to us, was that no one could see our eyes!

After that we went for a short visit to a friend's party, but we got there just in time for the cops to shut it down. So we only stayed to mingle a bit and then went home, tired from a long day of awesome.

Halloween Halloween Halloween  Halloween

On Sunday (which was actually Halloween), my parents and sisters hosted a little party which consisted of a ton of cute and delicious things to eat, handing out candy, and trick-or-treating ourselves. We just had a good time hanging out and at the end of the day, this will go down as one of the more fun Halloweens we've ever had.

And one more thing:

Gumby Riding a Shark - Halloween Night Dive

At long last, a post!
juanitza - fremont
Oh eljay, I love you, but what have I done? 2010 has been a pathetic year for my journal as I have neglected it so much I don't even have ten posts and we are already in the tenth month! I even had grand (but vague) ideas for a photo and post on Sunday, to signify the 10/10/10 date. Sigh. So here is an photographic recap of what I've been up to so that I can stop feeling like a lame procrastinator that doesn't get anything done. Also, I dedicate this post to canutius  who I don't get to see anywhere but here (unlike the hordes of you on FB or Twitter ;)).

Little Corona [August 15, 2010]
Little Corona

Little Corona    Little Corona
The little beach is beautifully tucked away and requires a bit of a hike on a pretty steep incline (not bad going down but the way up was killer!). But here in Southern California, it was the year without a summer. We stayed pretty cool the entire season which meant that the water was unseasonably cold! We tried, kaptainsnot  even tried more than the rest of us, but in the end, we just couldn't get in. Our very bones rejected the idea (really, they were in pain). Still, it was a day at a beautiful beach with my family and that will always be a win. [Photos]

Vegas [September 17-24, 2010]
Mandalay Bay Hoover Dam Fountains at Bellagio

Meetup with Star & Klaw  Lake Mead
We took our vacation in Vegas this year (again). What can we say?! We ran out of time to plan and our timeshare there is great, and we love Vegas. No airfare to deal with is also a plus. So we spent a week lounging about in the pool/hot tub, staying up late, waking up at embarrassingly late hours, eating at buffets (or after-midnight specials), watching/playing craps, seeing shows, and meeting with friends. The best part was just not having to work. We were both burnt out and definitely needed the break. We got to catch up with conspiratorsb and Klaw at an awesome buffet off the strip. We also saw the Bodies Exhibition at the Luxor which was fascinating (wish I could have taken photos, but couldn't). And we saw The Lion King. It was beautiful, but I don't think it holds a candle to Cirque's O or Ka. Oh! We also finally made the 45 minute drive to the Hoover Dam! Like I mentioned on Twitter, they sure do love their dam puns there. It was really cool, we took a tour and checked out the museum in between posing for photos, it seems. And after so many visits, we finally made it a priority to see the Fountains at Bellagio. Totally worth it.  [Photos]

Turning 32 [September 27, 2010]


By now, you probably already know that it is always about spending quality time with my friends and family. We got back from Vegas the Friday before my birthday with absolutely no plans for parties because I wasn't in a planning mood. I'm usually a social planner but I just didn't feel like it this time around but things had a way of working out. Saturday, my family and I went out to George's Greek and had a delicious dinner. It was followed by a gift exchange where we gave them their souvenirs and they gave me birthday presents!

Then on Sunday afternoon, I felt a tinge of wanting to do something on my birthday (Monday), so I texted my Chusma friends for a last minute get-together for Monday night. I was very surprised by the response! Almost everyone could make it for a dinner out. Funny thing is, my sister texted me the morning after inviting me over for a birthday dinner at my parents. So I replied that I already made plans with the Chusma but if we could all come, then that would be awesome. Got the reply and it was on! My parents hosted a very last minute party with my family and friends all in one place. It was fabulous and I had a great time.

Dance Dance Revolution! Dad

Earlier in the day though, I also went out to lunch with my work buddies to KDB (which replaced the local Gameworks). They have a great deal where you can go for lunch and it is just $9.99 for anything off the lunch menu, drink, and a $5 game card or a game of bowling with shoes included. So we did that and had a blast!

Other than the fact that it was the hottest day on record in Los Angeles (it got to 113 in Long Beach), it was the most perfect birthday a girl can ask for. [Photos]

PS: I missed you guys!