Drip & drizzle with Wilton Candy Melts

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Wilton. As always, the opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Mmmm, chocolate.

I love chocolate as much as the next person. In a candy bar, a cup of cocoa, in a round truffle or tiny chips in a cookie -- you can't beat the deliciousness of chocolate. Because it's so rich, I've discovered that just a small amount satisfies my cravings. Dipping something into chocolate is right up my alley.

Good thing, too. I recently got to spend an afternoon dripping and drizzling with some of my foodie friends as we tried out some Wilton Candy Melts® and the Candy Melts® Melting Pot. It's super easy to use and I love how you can clean up without too much hassle by letting the chocolate cool down and harden, then popping it out of the pot. The Melting Pot is totally going to be my secret weapon during the holidays when I plan on making lots of yummy stuff for our family get-togethers. And Valentine's Day! Yes. We have a family tradition of melted chocolate and yummy stuff to dip so this is going to be perfect. Perf I tell you.

Hands down, I think my favorite flavor was the Coconut Candy Melts. It was so good.

We had a blast dipping strawberries, lady fingers, marshmallows, Oreo cookies, pretzels, potato chips -- you name it, you can drip and drizzle on top -- it's all delicious! Not a shabby way to spend an afternoon, my friends.

I'm totally set for any chocolate adventures that come my way -- yay. Happy dripping and drizzling!

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Frida Kahlo-Inspired: Blue Patio Wall

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Sherwin-Williams. As usual, all thoughts and opinion is 100% my own.

I’ve always had a deep love for Mexican artist Frida Kahlo but that's no surprise. I've been sharing my love of Frida on my blog since the very beginning. The fact is, I discovered her at the tender age of 18 and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I've had the pleasure of seeing her work in person and it always hits me in the feels.

It's delicate and fragile, just as I imagine she was. But it's also as powerful as the Earth--just like Frida was, too. She was her own person, outspoken and unique, yet trapped in a broken body.

Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón was born on July 7, 1907 in Coyoacán, Mexico. She died on July 13, 1954. I’ve come to think of July as Frida’s month -- her paintings, her face, her style, her life, her home--it captivates me.

Frida's home in Mexico, La Casa Azul, has always been on my bucket list. I'll get there someday soon. Inspired by the Blue House, I decided to bring a little bit of Frida to my own home.
Image source: Flickr / Kieran McGlone
Since we live in Southern California, we spent a lot of time outdoors. My kids skate and my husband paints while we hang out in our patio. We have a large cinder block wall that really needed some love. Check out the remnants of painted sky and a word cloud over in the corner.

Since it’s still July and I’ve been embracing everything Frida, I decided to search for the perfect blue color -- one that would make me feel like I was visiting La Casa Azul.


Road tripping: Santa Barbara and the Lincoln MKC

Disclosure: This trip was courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

When a friend messages you and asks if you can sneak away with her for a quick road trip to Santa Barbara to experience the new 2015 Lincoln MKC for a couple days, you say yes.

Yes, yes, yes.

I've been to Santa Barbara before, back when I was the mother to three small fries. We just piled them in the car and drove. We ended up staying in a funky motel, eating way too much fast food and walking along State Street. We bought the boys these Rasta-colored crocheted beanies from a vendor on a corner. Santa Barbara is beautiful, that much I can remember. I can assure you, my trip to Santa Barbara this time around was much different.

Together with my sweet friend Monique Frausto from Motor Chicas, we left L.A and its heavy layer of smog behind. The charming homes and cool, sea air of Santa Barbara greeted us. We had the pleasure of staying at the Belmond El Encanto and I have to say that it was amazing.

Like, I want to live there and never come back amazing. Seriously.

El Encanto walkway that leads to the pool and a view of Santa Barbara.
I've had the pleasure of staying at some really nice places but El Elcanto was exceptional. It's the kind of place that you just want to stay and relax in. Usually while you're on vacation the goal is to get out and do something. Not at El Encanto -- staying in and relaxing is ideal. Luxurious without being too fancy, lush, quiet and very homey. I absolutely loved that we could open the windows in our bungalow and see the greenery and hear the birds chirping. Monique and I were oohing and ahhing the entire time.
Clockwise from top left: the lush view from our bungalow, my roomie cheesin' in our livingroom,  bath salts in the wonderously deep spa-like tub, and our swoon-worthy bathroom that had radiant-heated floors.

In part of the Lincoln MKC experience, we had a whirlwind day, roadtripping to places I've never been to. Our first stop was a lovely lavender farm where we got to nibble on delicious lavender cookies and lavender lemonade. Then we popped in for a quick olive oil tasting that was the bomb because hello, all I need in this life is a crusty artisan bread and I'm a happy girl. We drove to Solvang and stopped at an adorable bakery called Birkholm's Bakery & Cafe for a much-needed pick me up of an iced chai and a danish. Yum. And then, for the first time in my life, I got to sip mimosas and watch a polo match.

Can you say fancy?

The Olive Hill Farm Garlic Olive Oil was a game changer, guys. Omg.
I'm usually scared of horses but this one was a gentle giant. Also, I'm wearing my studded sandals -- yay.
Mimosas at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.
Snapped a pic of a cool plant while waiting for my spa treatment and later, dinner at El Encanto.
What did I enjoy the most about the 2015 Lincoln MKC? The interior ambient lighting. Very, very classy.

Whenever I attend these type of blogger events without my husband or my family, I often wonder if I'll ever come back. I always say I want to come back. I really mean it this time. Santa Barbara is definitely a place where you want to take your time and explore.

Have you been on any fun road trips recently?

Disclosure: This trip was courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.


Birkenstocks never went out of style

I've always had a thing for Birkenstocks. What can I say? I'm a total 90's babe.

Funny thing is, I never wore them in the 90's. I coveted them, yes. But I was a struggling artist / college student and the idea of forking over $100 and some change for a pair of sandals was out of my league. Nevermind the fact that they were excellent quality and offered great support for people with miserably flat feet like mine, I just couldn't swing it. All of my art teachers wore them, of course. So, I just continued coveting them.

I totally wore the fake ones. Faux-Birks. Probably with socks. Oh yeh, fake Birks and socks all day, baby.

Fast forward a few years and I was now a young mother to four little boys. Deep in my crunchy phase, wearing Mexican peasants tops, I never did my hair, I made my own shampoo and hemorrhoid cream, used a serape purse, fed my kids goat milk and gave birth to my babies in a tub in the middle of my kitchen. I believe it was 2002. I finally got my hands on a pair of Birkenstocks.


No more "summer brain": 7 fun & educational titles on Netflix

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of the Netflix Stream Team. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

We are right in the middle of summer and all of the beach trips, late night BBQ's, swimming and sleeping in has given us "summer brain".  I don't know about you but when it's really hot out (we often have temps as high as 107 degrees in the summer), I like to keep my home dark and cool with the help of the a/c on full tilt. We watch movies on Netflix and stay cool, fool.

Here are a few titles from Netflix to help kickstart some brain activity -- if we're going to lounge around and watch movies, they might as well be educational, right? A few that caught my eye recently:

  1.  Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West
  2. Walking with Dinosaurs
  3. Secret Yellowstone
  4. Blackfish
  5. The Blue Planet
  6. When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions
  7. Food, Inc.


When your teenager turns into a different person overnight

Life with a teenager is hard, but I already told you that.

I guess it just hasn't really hit me until my third son seemingly turned into a different person overnight. For the most part, my 15 and 16 year old are the same, albeit taller and more hairy. But Solomon, my 13 year old, must have got the teenager memo. Dear Lord baby Jesus help me. 

One minute he was staying up late painting with me, cooking omelettes for the family and cuddling with us on the sofa. Then...he wasn't. Instead, he was rolling his eyes. Ignoring his chores. Headphones strapped to his ears all day so he could never hear us. Wearing the same stinky Nirvana tee for days. Not caring about school, his homework, his siblings. Taking off on his skateboard, like he couldn't stand being around his family another minute.

He almost had me in tears one day. Not almost -- I cried. Real hot, fat tears that I hid behind my glasses.


11 "Uncommon" summer gift ideas from Uncommon Goods

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Uncommon Goods. All thoughts are my own.

I love giving and receiving unique gifts. The only problem is, I rarely get them.

Don't get me wrong--I love practical gifts (and yes, I appreciate them, mother). Lord knows I'm the queen of giving practical gifts. But if I'm on the receiving end...something different -- uncommon, if you will -- sounds just right. So I usually just buy what I want for myself. Just cut out the middle man and get what you want. Amirite?

I was recently introduced to Uncommon Goods, a Brooklyn-based company that offers up cool and unique gifts for people with their eye out for something that makes a statement, like myself. Uncommon Goods has a good mix of fun stuff -- I wasn't disappointed! Here eleven fun ideas for summer that totally caught my eye:
1. ceramic fish bones 2. embroidered bird pouch 3. cheese & crackers serving board 4. gilded amethyst paperweight 5. fern frond earrings 6. watermelon serving bowl 7. succulent living wall planter kit 8. bloom box 9. personalized mixed tape pillow 10. flavor infuser water bottle 11. handmade lidded basket hamper


Happy 107th birthday, Frida Kahlo

To my muse, Frida Kahlo, I bid you the happiest of birthdays.


This is one of the many reasons why I love Frida Kahlo so much, why I find myself so inextricably drawn to her.

We are all broken.

Despite our broken state, we still have to keep living. We still have to love. We still have to create and make beautiful things. She did this in the midst of great pain and suffering.

The wonderful thing about this? All of the beautiful things Frida made are still alive, even if she isn't.

Happy birthday, Frida.

Follow Denise Cortes | Pearmama.com's board Frida Kahlo | The Muse on Pinterest.


Frida Kahlo | Body Cast Printable

With July comes the celebration of the birth and death of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Frida was born on July 6, 1907 and she died on July 15, 1954. I tend to go overboard with Frida-inspired art every July but I just love Frida so much, guys. I can't help myself.

Anyhow, Frida experienced a tragic streetcar accident at the age of 18, when a trolley collided with the bus she was riding. She broke her back and pelvis, fractured her collarbone and two ribs, and her right foot was crushed and her right leg broken in eleven places. Pobre Frida. She had many, many surgeries throughout her life to try to mend her body and the disabling effects of the accident.

It left Frida to live a life of continual pain, and she spent three months recovering in a full body cast. In typical, Mexican, artista, feminist, creative Frida fashion, she decided to transform her body cast by painting it.

Photo credit: Collector's Weekly
I recently attended the Frida Kahlo, Her Photos exhibit at MOLAA in Long Beach. They had the coolest make-and-take project called "Create a cast", based on Frida's streetcar accident. Small black and white drawings of Frida and a plain white body cast sat on a table. I'm sure they were meant as a child's activity, but soon enough, my husband and I sat down, grabbed a marker and started to draw.


Restyle: Geometric Jewelry Dish DIY

I'm always on the lookout for fun stuff to diy in the clearance aisle.

Flour sack towels, picture frames, lamps -- you name it, I'm stalking the end caps. If I can figure out a creative way to restyle something at a low cost and make it look cheerful and unique than I've used my powers for good.

I like to make gifts for people, too. It doesn't have to expensive--just a little something to show I care for enough to make you something no one else in the world has.

Take this ceramic jewelry dish, for example. I found it at Target, in home decor. I threw away the tag but I believe it is something from the Nate Berkus line. They were only a couple dollars on clearance but loved the smooth edges and the cozy way the inside of the box hugged the lid. It's tiny -- a mere two by three inches.

I knew I could transform this plain white jewelry dish it into something fun. Let's get busy!


What to watch on Netflix: Recharging YOU

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of the Netflix Stream Team. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

School is officially out for summer. Ahhh. 

Without school lessons to plan and art classes to teach, I have a smidge of free time for myself at night. I am that mom who waits until all of the kids are in bed for the night, armed with the iPad and a pair of headphones (the brand new ones that I have to hide or else the "headphone thieves" will strike) and the Netflix app.

So, what does a busy mama of six watch on Netflix? I watch all of the shows and movies I can't with my kids around, obviously. Gritty dramas, spicy rom-coms, raunchy comedies...oh, and BBC period dramas about midwives in the 1950's. You know, the usual.


Video: Incorporating DIY Into Your Blog

I consider Pearmama dot com to be a lifestyle blog but the fact is, I love me some crafts and diy. Crafts and diy are things I've done my entire life--when I started blogging seven years ago, it didn't occur to me that I could incorporate both. Now, my blog consists of storytelling about my family and the things I love to make.

Blogging about diy and craft posts have been a constant evolution for me and I was delighted when Ana Flores asked me to join her for a #WeAllGrow Google Hangout.

What is a #WeAllGrow Hangout, you ask?

Twice a month Latina Bloggers Connect features a few special guests — all bloggers themselves — to talk about specifics essential to the blogging world. Every 30-minute Hangout offers key takeaways to put to practice immediately. I love LBC's philosophy: We want you to grow, because that way #WeAllGrow! 

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to be a part of a #WeAllGrow Hangout titled: 5 Ways to Incorporate DIY into Your Blog together with my crafty bff and mentor Kathy Cano-Murillo from Crafty Chica. That was an honor in itself because I respect Kathy and what she does so much!

We did our best to pack our session with as much useful information as we could. I wanted to share my one of the topics I covered during our Hangout.


Summer Fun at Knott's Berry Farm

Disclosure: The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them. I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

I had the chance to see all of the exciting things happening at Knott's Berry Farm last week. I haven't visited Knott's in such a long time, and as I made my way through the park, I wondered why.

I have so many fond memories of this place! My parents took my brother and I to Knott's many, many times. My Dad loved the fried chicken and he always had to eat some every time we came. I have a great photo of the both of my little brother and I sitting next to the can-can girls in Calico Square--we must have been about four or five years old at the time. I can't wait to bring my kids so they can experience all of the cool stuff happening at Knott's this summer.

Entrance to Calico Mine Ride.
The classic Calico Mine Ride, Knott's first major attraction, is now open after six months of refurbishing. I had the chance to ride it, too and it was very different than I remembered. There are lots of cool animatronics, lighting and special effects.


World Cup Fever: Make your own World Cup team "book"

I didn't grow up in a family that watched soccer. I know, I know. We can still be friends, guys.

It was all about baseball and football. My dad and my uncles lived and died by the Dodgers and the only futbol I knew about was Monday Night Football and the Rams (when they were in L.A) so soccer has always been a mystery to me.

Until recently, that is. My son played his first ever season of soccer and loved it! My brother Eric is really into soccer (he was also my son's soccer coach) so he is pumped up about the FIFA World Cup. To add to the World Cup fever, he thought of this great idea to get our kids interested in soccer and the games, with a little bit of education thrown in.

Everyone was assigned a few teams. Their job was so find out a few details of the country: their flag, capitol city, population, biggest exports, etc. After gathering all of the information, they were supposed to display it in a way that they could share with everyone else on game day.

Well, you all know I couldn't just let my kid's stick some paper onto a poster board and call it a day. We had to get crafty with it because that is how we do. We decided to make a cool book out of a simple brown paper bag, complete with "pockets", this way my daughter could decorate each sleeve with one of her teams and add all of the facts she compiled into the pockets. These little books are so addicting to make! Check out the one that I made for Latinas 4 Latino Lit here.

This craft is super fun and easy and kids can easily make these on their own.

What you'll need:
brown paper bag
decorative edge scissors
glue stick
hole punch
yarn, string or jute twine (to tie pages together)
white cardstock

The paper bag is going to be the book itself. All you need to do is cut the edges off so the pockets can open. If you want more than two pockets, add more paper bags to your book. Align your folded paper bags and punch three holes along one side (opposite where you cut the edges off for the pockets). You can thread string, yarn or the twine through the holes and tie them tightly. Now you have a book!

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