Celebrate Watermelon Day Spa Style!

August 3, 2014 is National Watermelon Day! Watermelon is a delicious summer fruit that has become a staple at family picnics and cookouts. Did you know that watermelons are 92% water? No wonder they’re so refreshing! There are around 300 different kinds of watermelon in the U.S. and Mexico. You can find red, pink, white, and yellow varieties in various sizes and shapes. Watermelons are usually quite large, and many county fairs award prizes for the biggest ones. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest watermelon weighed 262 pounds. To learn more interesting watermelon facts, check out www.watermelon.org. To celebrate National Watermelon Day, have some watermelon for dessert tonight! Slice it up and eat it plain, cook it on the grill, mix it into a salsa, or blend it into a cocktail. Enjoy!

Watermelon-Day

4978294318_50bb804e14_zWatermelonade Recipe:

1 (12-pound) watermelon (preferably seedless) 1/4 cup sugar, divided 4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided 16 cups ice cubes, divided

Garnish: lemon slices; mint sprigs

Cut watermelon flesh into 2-inch chunks and discard rind. Purée one fourth of watermelon in a blender with 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp lemon juice, 4 cups ice, and a pinch of salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding solids. Make 3 more batches. Add sugar to taste if desired and serve over ice.

Cooks’ note: Watermelonade can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Drink will separate; re-blend before serving.

Watermelon-facial-mask-620x400Watermelon Facial Mask Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/4 watermelon

Mash up 1/4 of a watermelon and drain off the excess juice. You’re also going to want to make sure you get rid of the seeds or it might not make for the most pleasant of masks! By applying the mixture to the face for 15 minutes you will reap the rewards of the highly powerful antioxidant effects attributed to the watermelon. A great way to achieve a thorough cleansing!

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30 Days of Thanks

I noticed once November had started, many people on my sites began to do the 30 days of thanks…I kept mine to myself and decided to share…here they are.

 30 Days of Thanks

  1. Family. No matter what we have all gone through, the unconditional love remains.
  2. Husband. Though no marriage is perfect, he has shown loyalty & support in his own way.
  3. Nephews. Motherhood may not be in the cards for me, but with them in my life, being an Auntie is the next best thing.
  4. Health. Every day I wake up free of disease and able to walk.
  5. Job. I get to do what I love & live my passion of the beauty industry every day.
  6. Home. It may not be the fanciest house in the world, but buying the house I grew up in, I get to be surrounded by wonderful childhood memories every day.
  7. Clients. Without them I would have no business. They truly are some amazing people and inspire me to be better for them everyday.
  8. My city. San Antonio is so full of humble, cultured, friendly, family oriented souls. I never get tired of visiting the Riverwalk either.
  9. For the busy new client filled weekend I had at work. I appreciate all the referrals.
  10. Being able to sleep peacefully through the night in a warm bed.
  11. For our military troops; if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have our freedom.
  12. My dachshund Razoo; even though I rescued him, I feel like he rescued me right back.
  13. Close friends that have been with me at my worst, my best, and are like family.
  14. For chocolate, wine, and margaritas…it’s the little things that make me happy and feel good.
  15. The cool fall weather; it’s nice to feel fresh and cool and enjoy wearing fall clothing.
  16. Neighbors; growing up with them, they have always kept an eye on our home.
  17. For music…it’s my escape…there’s not a day that I don’t have my earphones on.
  18. For technology… We are all able to keep in touch with everyone throughout our day…near or far.
  19. Grocery stores…it’s easy for us to just go to the store and pick up what we need. Other places in the world do not have that luxury.
  20. Having a washer and dryer…not everyone is as fortunate to do their laundry in their own home.
  21. Warm blankets! While many people are out on the streets cold, my family and I are sheltered and snug.
  22. Bubble bath! After a long day it’s nice to soak in some lavender infused bubbles and escape to tranquility.
  23. Laughter. It’s the simplest thing to make you forget your worries.
  24. Beauty products! I’m a spa junkie…enough said! Ha!
  25. In-laws. They make our family and joyous occasions even more fun.
  26. Days off. We all need to relax, unwind, and have a day away from work to just enjoy ourselves doing what we want.
  27. Highways. If you’re on a road trip, on your way home from work or just taking a random drive…you get to your destination faster.
  28. Thanksgiving Day! Aside from the true meaning of the holiday, yummy food, it’s a day to be with your family and celebrate being thankful for what you all have as a whole.
  29. Another day of life. Here I am sitting at home, in pjs, with the windows open, enjoying my day off…living another day.
  30. Social media. Because of all my sites…YOU are reading this.

 Hope you enjoyed reading!

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About the Author:

Beauty Writer & Lifestyle Blogger April M. Monterrosa is a Proud Latina from San Antonio, Texas, a Military wife, the mama of a dachshund, a licensed Cosmetologist of 18 years, Owner of The Lil Spa Room, & a Nuskin Skin Care Distributor. With beauty & blogging being such passions, Shine Beautifully was born. Shine Beautifully will feature beauty tips, home remedies, quotes, poetry, recipes, personal stories, travel adventures, & an array of other topics. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Thanksgiving Family Drama

Thanksgiving is the time of year that we’re all gather together with our families. We all sit at the table as one big happy family, say a prayer before someone carves the turkey, and spend the day feasting and enjoying each other’s company. All week long at work, clients have all asked me the same thing. Do you go to your grandparent’s house? Do you spend Thanksgiving with ALL your family? Are you closer t your mom’s family or your dad’s family? I guess with the holidays around, they feel more comfortable to ask me such personal questions; maybe they are just trying to get to know me a little more. So here are my answers; no, we don’t go to any grandparent’s homes. No, we don’t spend it with all of our family & no, we aren’t close to either side of the family. Sad to say, yes, but has it worked for my immediate family, yes. Being the oldest grandchild from both sides of the family and never being naive  I was very observant of all the favoritism my grandparents had (on both sides of the family). Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, may be your family yes, unfortunately the world is full of liars, vindictive, and shady people…and yeah, you may even be related to them.

People try so hard to get the acceptance of their families, I mean, that’s who you are suppose to love and be supported by, right? Sometimes, jealousy, envy, and greed get the best of people and they ruin the bond they are supposed to have with their families. Many of us have these kinds of people in our families, some may try their hardest to fix things and are never met halfway, and others may keep on holding the same grudge or having the same meaningless argument and never resolve anything. And then they are people like my parents. Both so strong in their own individual ways, but yet complement each other well. My parents got tired of the gossip, the lies, the grudges, the bullshit, and the wishy washy-ness that was all for nothing. Being that they eloped at a very young age I am sure the family each had their own opinions about them lasting together. But come on, it’s been over 35 years, they are obviously happily married and have a great life to show for all  their hard work…so if the family can’t get over that…then I guess that’s just too damn bad, right?

This Thanksgiving season, I have realized so much. Even though I didn’t understand at the time why my parents kept to themselves and kept us away from all the family drama, I totally get it now. For those of you that are trying to fix unhealthy relationships with your families and in-laws. Really take a look at the bigger picture. Are they meeting you halfway? Is it really worth it? Are you just wasting your time? Are you hurting your family or putting your marriage in jeopardy? I like to think my parents got together and asked themselves and each other these same questions, because our childhood was so drama free and good by keeping away from the rest of the family. Sure, we are close to a few cousins, aunts, and uncles, but only because there wasn’t ever any drama with them. If you have children and do not have a great relationship with your family or in-laws, focus on making things even better for your children. I know it’s hard when your children do not have that relationship with their grandparents, aunts, or uncles, but why try with people that just don’t care to?

This thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for. My life isn’t perfect, but incredible, I can’t even explain how wonderful things have gone for me, despite all I’ve been through. All of my family will be at the table this year; my husband, my baby brother & sister in law, my nephews, & my little brother , & even my mother in law. I’m especially thankful for my parents; they are both here, healthy, and together after 40 years. No matter what their families have put them through, how many times they have caused drama or try to ruin their happiness, the both of them stood strong and together. They made sure we had fun holidays always. For this, I am not only blessed, but lucky. I don’t know any other way then to be happy and to stay away from people that want to ruin that. It’s because of them, we all have always sat together at the table for every holiday making wonderful family memories…and can now pass all those traditions to my nephews. Thank you mom and dad, for making me the women I am today, and making our family bond so strong.  Every joyous holiday memory we all have is because of you. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
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Blueberries & Pancakes!

It’s National Blueberry Pancake Day! Blueberry pancakes are a wonderful treat to enjoy anytime of the day. They are nutritious enough to eat for breakfast, tasty enough for a mid-day snack, and easy enough to make for dinner. 

To make blueberry pancakes, mix up a batch of your favorite plain pancake batter. Wash the blueberries, pat them dry, and keep them in a separate bowl. Once you’ve poured the batter onto the griddle, drop a few blueberries on top. This will ensure that your blueberries aren’t bruised during the cooking process and will be perfect bursts of flavor when you bite into your pancake.

Make a delicious batch of pancakes, top them with a little blueberry maple syrup, and celebrate National Blueberry Pancake Day!

Blueberries are considered by many experts to be the highest food source of antioxidants, which target free radicals that can wreak havoc on skin cells. The antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant sources of nutrition) in blueberries neutralize DNA-damaging free radicals, reducing cell damage. When skin cells are protected from damage and disintegration, the skin looks younger for longer. Blueberries are also an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E and riboflavin.

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The Holiday Hookup

I was in the dating scene a long time so I picked up a few tricks of my own and this was one of them…the holiday hookup. Now that the holidays are over, I’m hearing about lots of breakouts from friends that are in the dating scene and it reminded me of a guy I dated once. If you were dating someone exclusively and now that the holidays are over and so are they, it may be because they simply don’t want to be committed. Been there, done that. You’re dating someone before the holidays and it’s going ok, not like you want, there are still signs that who you’re dating is not as committed as you are…but you hang in there because you’re really into the person you’re seeing, maybe you’re even in love with them. Besides, who wants to go through a breakup during the holidays anyway, right?

The holidays are here.. everyone is joyous, merry, and you’re relationship has taken a higher level. You and your sweetheart have grown closer to each other, are spending more time together, and you’re now gonna meet the family. All the signs they showed you of not being committed  100% to the relationship prior to the holiday season has now just been deleted off your mind. You’re head over heels, this it is, he’s finally coming around, things are perfect…everything between the two of you were complete bliss from Thanksgiving to New year’s day.

We are now two weeks into the new year and your sweetie one day just doesn’t call…No text messages…and does not even reply to yours. The wheels in your mind started turning and turning…they’re at turbo speed bringing back all the doubts and memories of how unstable things were before the holidays. Finally, your long lost love decides to contact you, now you could either be mad at them for blowing you off or sad because you’re hurt…or both…depends on your personality and how you handle things. Either way, I guarantee, the reason for their disappearance is gonna be the same.

“I think we need time apart”, “it’s not you, it’s me”, “I need space”, “I don’t know what I want” are probably the most used phrases holiday hookups use to get out of being in the relationship. People change during the holiday season, some want to take someone to their family’s house or just not be alone. There are even those that are lame and just wanna receive Christmas gifts! Either way it’s unfair to you if you’re giving your all to make this work. When the holidays are over and they really don’t wanna be in a relationship, out comes the bullshit.

These are signs and red flags of someone that wants you and the loving relationship, but still be able to keep their options open like a single person. If you’re dating someone, make sure they’re consistent, make sure they are the holiday honey year round. After all you deserve someone that puts in everything you do to make a relationship work. And no one wants a ho ho ho! 🙂

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Christmas Cocktails Recipes

Here are the top 10 Christmas cocktails recipes to try:

  1. Candy Cane Cocktail: Festive Christmas cocktails add to the cheery atmosphere. For this drink, combine 2 ounces strawberry vodka, 4 dashes white creme de menthe, 2 ½ ounces cranberry juice, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Combine well and strain into glasses. Use crushed candy cane as a garnish around the rim.
  2. The Blizzard: Hot Christmas cocktails are a comforting beverage when it’s cold outside. In a glass coffee mug, stir together 1 ½ ounces Irish whiskey or rum, ½ ounce hazelnut liqueur, and ½ ounce Irish cream liqueur. Top with hot coffee and a dollop of whipped cream.
  3. Pear and Cranberry Bellini: This pretty drink pairs well with elegant bites. In a small pitcher, combine 1 cup pear nectar and 1 cup cranberry juice cocktail. Set out 8 champagne glasses and pour ¼ cup of the juice mixture into each. Finish by topping off with Prosecco or another dry sparkling white wine.
  4. Eggnog Martini: This Christmas cocktail recipe puts a new spin on an old classic. Stir in your favorite brandy with either homemade or store-bought eggnog and ladle into glasses garnished with pumpkin-pie spice.
  5. Kumquat-Champagne Cocktail: Spreading good cheer is easy with this sparkling drink. Prick two pints of kumquats with a pin and cover with cold water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and then drain immediately. Repeat this process twice and then add 3 cups sugar and 2 cups water to the drained kumquats in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat immediately. Let your kumquats and syrup cool completely. To serve, spoon 3 kumquats and 1 tablespoon syrup each into 12 glasses and top off with champagne.
  6. Berry Little Cocktail: Lend some festive fizz to your holiday bash with this light and bright drink. Dissolve ½ cup sugar into 1 ½ cups water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a cup of fresh cranberries and simmer for 5 minutes or until softened before removing from the stove and letting cool. Strain your berries and place them on a tray in the freezer for at least 2 hours. For each drink you will need to chill 2 ounces of champagne, 1 ounce ruby red grapefruit vodka, 1 ounce cranberry juice, and 1 ounce black currant juice. Mix liquids in a champagne glass and garnish with a skewer of 4 or 5 frozen candied cranberries.
  7. Mulled Wine: Warm Christmas cocktails are a toasty treat. Start by zesting and then juicing a large orange. With the flat side of a knife, bruise two cardamom pods and combine with the zest, juice, 6 whole cloves, 6 allspice berries, 6 whole black peppercorns, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cups of fruity red wine, ½ cup of sugar, and ¼ cup of brandy in a large non-aluminium pot. Cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the flavors have melded (approximately 30 minutes). Pour through a fine-mesh sieve and serve immediately.
  8. Winter Solstice Cocktail: A citrusy delight for your tastebuds! Combine 1 ½ ounces orange vodka, ½ ounce orange-flavored liqueur, ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice, and ice cubes. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Add a splash of chilled club soda and garnish with a mint leaf and raspberry.
  9. White Cosmopolitan: Perfect for a chilly, sophisticated Christmas cocktail. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and then add 1 cup white-cranberry juice, 4 ounces vodka, and 2 ounces Cointreau. Shake to combine well and strain into large martini glasses. Serves 2.
  10. Gin Fizz: Invented in New Orleans in 1888, this concoction has a distinctive frothy cap. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 ounce gin, 3 dashes fresh lime juice, 3 dashes lemon juice, 3 dashes orangeflower water, 2 teaspoons superfine sugar, 1 large white egg, ¼ cup light cream, and ice. Shake vigorously and pour into your cocktail glass. Top with ¼ cup seltzer and garnish with ground cinnamon.

About April M. Monterrosa 

April Monterrosa April M. Monterrosa is Proud Latina from San Antonio, Texas, a Marine Corps wife, Mama of a Dachshund, licensed Cosmetologist of 17 years,  The Lil Spa Room Owner Founder of the Wonderfully Wise Women Group, Blog, & Online Magazine, a Writer for SAXtreme Magazine, PCA Skin Chemical Peel certified, & a Nuskin Skin Care Distributor.

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A Lil Thanksgiving History

Today is Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is a special celebration full of family gatherings, holiday meals, and giving thanks. It is a time of roasted turkeys, cranberry confections, cornbread stuffing, piping hot pumpkin pies, football games, and holiday parades. The three-day festival that is now hailed as the “first Thanksgiving,” took place in the village of Plymouth in 1621. Governor William Bradford organized a feast to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first successful corn harvest. Those in attendance included the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Historians know that the Mayflower’s sugar supply had run low, so the meal did not feature any pies, but one record indicates that four men were sent on a “fowling” mission, which very well may have resulted in a turkey! Presidents Washington, Adams, and Monroe proclaimed national Thanksgivings, but the custom soon fell out of favor. Then, in the 1820s, Sarah Josepha Hale began a campaign to reinstate the national celebration, and in 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed a Thursday in November as the National Day of Thanksgiving. The holiday has been celebrated ever since.

Today is also National Cashew Day. November is Family Literacy Month & National Pomegranate Month & Peanut Butter Lover’s Month & National Pet Adoption Month. This week is National Game & Puzzle Week.

About April M. Monterrosa 

 April M. Monterrosa is Proud Latina from San Antonio, Texas, a Marine Corps wife, Mama of a Dachshund, licensed Cosmetologist of 17 years,  The Lil Spa Room Owner Founder of the Wonderfully Wise Women Group, Blog, & Online Magazine, a Writer for SAXtreme Magazine, PCA Skin Chemical Peel certified, & a Nuskin Skin Care Distributor.