Why I LOVED Valentine’s Day in 2017- SireneWorld

The last couple of months have felt like living in a war zone of political views between families, friends, colleagues, and anything that holds some sort of human relationship.

I am that V-day grinch who feels Valentine’s Day is a marketing stunt for consumers. But this year, I definitely loved all the marketing on love, friendship, chocolate, roses, and anything that feels mushy, cheesy, and overly lovey dovey. I loved seeing my Facebook timeline full of people showing their Valentine’s gifts. I loved every photo of married couples reminiscing on their Valentine’s love over the years. I loved seeing all the snap stories celebrating love. I loved showing my love to those I appreciate through a text or something materialistic like a balloon, or some dessert. It felt really great and not overly cheesy.

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For a while, I have felt a little disoriented and confused about people’s choices. But, thanks to Valentine’s Day and a project I’ve been working on (more about it later), my brain can humanize humans more efficiently again. Not that I think humans are monsters or anything. I’ve just felt very disconnected from everyone and everything lately.

This Valentines I am not only gratefully in love with my Baby Seal, family, and friends, but I am also grateful for the new people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Coming from a place where I have felt disconnected and not really myself, they are a reminder that kindness among strangers exists. And, that people love “love”. And that, my friends, rules over anything else. People love “love” and I am happy they aren’t afraid of showing it off.

Alas, Valentines came to save the day guys! haha. Thank you for stopping by.

Stay goovy,
Sirene

 

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Pet Shop Boys-Super Tour, HTx

Oh, the Pet Shop Boys. Such legendary sound in that name and set. I had the chance to see them in concert this past Wednesday, November 2 at White Oak Music Hall. It was fantastical to say the least. I found out who the Pet Shop Boys were back in high school (05-06?), in a MySpace page. lol. I’ve grown to appreciate them and what they have done for the music industry more and more as time passes. They played a variety of songs from their latest album and of course some classics. Even though this tour is about Super, I love their ability to carry their style in their newest sounds. I took so many pictures of such an amazing show. I am posting only a few because quite frankly, Pet Shop Boys is one of those bands that everyone should experience live at least once in their life time. If the show is coming near you, I encourage you to go! You won’t be disappointed. Great music, great visual effects,  great company. That is all.

Do you listen to PSB? What’s your favorite song of theirs?! 😀

Stay groovy, Pop Kids!
Sirene

PSB 2016
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If you are interested, here is the set list: http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/2016/07/set-list-pet-shop-boys-pull-out-some.html

 

This is not a compensated post. All opinions are my own. 

Last Minute Halloween Decor

Halloween is upon us my friends! I love Halloween, although I didn’t always. Mainly because I grew up not celebrating the holiday up until I started going to college. Yes, you guessed it, I was one of those college girls wearing a hoochie Halloween costume. Haha. Hey, it was fun and the thing to do! It’s still the thing to do, but I am passed the hoochie costumes. I rather spend time creating my own costume or painting my face into something cool these days.

Anyways, enough blabbering. Below are a few Halloween decor items that my niece and I created at the very last minute for this Halloween. All things are very simple to make. But, for some pieces you may wanna stop by your nearest craft store or dollar store.

Candle Cauldron:
Need:
Small mason jar
Black Paint
Old candle (or candle wax)
Candle wick
Wire
Scent for candle (optional)
Dried small flowers (optional)

Steps:
1. Measure a ring around cauldron neck with wire. Create a handle with wire and attach it to ring around cauldron neck. You may wanna use tweezers to twist both pieces together.
2. paint cauldron, wire too if you want.
3. Melt candle wax in a double boiler (I used to old pots). Mix in scent.
4. Pour in melted candle wax into “cauldron”. Sprinkle in dried flowers.

Jello Brain
Need
1. Jello Mix: I used a cream coconut flavor mixed with milk to resemble brain flesh and a strawberry jello mix to resemble the “bloody” part of brain.
2. Brain Mold (I got mine at Dollar Tree for $1)

Steps
1.Follow steps for jello on jello box.
2. Place jello on mold according to how you’d like the colors to appear once the jello hardens. I first did a layer of cream coconut, allowed jello to stiffen, then added red jello.


Creepy Angel
Need
1. 
Ceramic angel (from dollar store)
2. Old plastic artificial grape, I had one laying around from old decor.
3. Paint
4. Paint brushes
Steps
1. paint any creepy eyes on angel
2. Paint eyeball on grape. You don’t need to know how to draw for this. Just google eye ball clip art and go from there.

Floating candles
Need
1. Toilet paper and napkin carton roll tubes. (don’t throw them, save a couple). I used different sizes of them to add a hint of variety in candles. Not all candles are same size, specially if they’ve been burning for a while.
2. Flameless tea lights (from dollar store)
3. Clear string
4. White paint
5. Hot glue gun (optional)

Steps
1. Paint cartons to what ever color your candles will be. I chose white.
2. Add hot glue to top rim of tube. Add hot glue in a way  that resembles melted wax dripping down.
3. Punch two small holes on top rim, each on opposite sides.
4. Slide clear string through holes. Leave enough string to hang.
5. Place flameless candle on stop of tube, it should sit comfortably on the string.
6. Hang your candle!

If you have any more questions on these DIY’s do leave your comments down below. Each one of these pieces were so fun to do. What made them even more special was doing all of them with my sweet niece. Do you have any fun and spooky DIY ideas you’re doing for Halloween this year? I’d love to hear about them!

Stay spooky,
-Sirene

*This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.”

Can wine get better? Yes, yes it can!

disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

I know, I know. What a promising title have I picked for this blog post! Ha! But really, I did find a way to make wine just a bit (or a whole lot) better: by turning the wine bottle into a beautiful chocolate pineapple.

It was one of my closest friends’ birthday a couple of weekends ago. For the life of me, I could not think of anything good enough to get her. Of course, I could have gone with the conventional gift card and balloons with flowers, etc. etc. But, I felt I should get her something a bit more thoughtful. Of course, me being me, felt like getting a little crafty with her gift. As per ush, I logged on Pinterest and typed “gift ideas for friend”. And lo and behold, hundreds of gorgeous ideas popped on my feed. One idea, in particular, caught my eye- a gorgeous pineapple made from Ferrero Rocher chocolates. At first glance, it looked like a bunch of chocolates placed to form the shape of a pineapple. When I clicked on the actual post, I realized it was a wine bottle covered in Ferrero Rocher chocolates and BOOM! I decide to re-create a wine-pineapple-bottle for my dear friend. I used different materials from the ones listed on the blog post I came across, but the idea is just the same. Scroll down for the Pinterest blog post.

Here is what you need:

  1. Wine of your preference. I picked a bottle with curves because I felt it’d give the final product the proper pineapple shape.
  2. Ferrero Rocher chocolates, I used 52 chocolates for my bottle.
  3. Raffia Ribbon
  4. Rope Ribbon (optional)
  5. Gold metallic paint (optional) I ended up not using paint on the final product.
  6. Glue Gun
  7. Real leaves from a tree/plant that needs trimming. I used sago plant leaves
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Materials

Steps:

  1. Begin by gluing each chocolate on the wine bottle. Add a drop of hot glue to the base of each chocolate and start placing them on wine bottle from the bottom, up. Stop gluing once you get to the neck of the wine bottle. About 2-3 inches from the lid. Tip 1: Ferrero Rocher chocolates are wrapped in gold foil that is glued to mini paper baking cups. Make sure you add a bit of extra glue between the gold wrapper and the paper baking cups. This may be a bit time consuming, but if you skip this step the chocolates will begin to fall off the paper baking cup once they’re glued onto the wine bottle. Tip 2: start gluing chocolates from the bottom, up. This way, chocolates glued on top of the bottle have extra support from chocolates glued at the bottom.
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    You may cover wine label if you wish. I chose to leave it open so my friend could see what kind of wine she got.

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    Completely covered in chocolates wine bottle.
  2. Begin to glue leaves onto the neck of the bottle. You can play with the placement of leaves to your liking. Tip 1: If you are using real leaves like I did, I suggest to use hard leaves. Hard leaves are long lasting and can handle the heat from glue gun a lot better. You can also create your own paper leaves, click on blog post link below for a guide to paper leaves.

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    Add glue to the lower part of the stem.
  3. Once all your leaves are glued onto wine neck, it’s time to cover those babies with raffia ribbon. Wrap the ribbon all around until you no longer see glued stems. You will use a lot of ribbon, FYI.

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    Add as much ribbon and rope to the neck of pineapple, tie it, and voila!

Optional Steps:

4.Add rope ribbon for a bit more texture and detail. I added this on the top of raffia       ribbon, I think it adds a nice accent on to the final look.
5. Spray gold spray paint on the leaves. I left this step for last and actually skipped it              because there was enough gold going on with all the chocolates. Ha. But, I am                       including here because it’s an option.
6. Gift this beautiful gift as it is, without wrapper, without gift bag. Whoever you give            this to, they will be surprised as it is since they won’t know a wine bottle is underneath         all that chocolate goodness.
7. Enjoy!

This was the perfect gift for my friend, since she’s a wine lover and of course chocolate lover, too. I was so happy to see her so pleased with her gift. It took me roughly 2 hours to complete it, probably less. Quite frankly, it was one of the easiest projects I have ever created. I wasn’t sure I wanted to create a blog about it since I know several people might benefit from a gift like this. *wink*. Hehe. But alas, I had such a great time doing this! If your significant other, or close friend love wine and candy, this might be the perfect gift for them. You can even use this as home decor. Remember, there is no limit to your creativity.

Do you have any creative gift ideas? If so, share them with me below! I am always on the lookout for DIYs.

Thank you for stopping by!

-Sirene

Blog post from Pinterest: http://www.handimania.com/diy/pineapple-champagne-bottle.html

 

Blog Give-away! Win Houston Children’s Festival tickets!

Houston is awesome for many, many reasons. One of them being that it serves as a host for the largest Children’s Festival in the nation! And, as of today, you can enter my very first blog giveaway: A family pack of four tickets to this amazing festival!

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This year, the festival excitement includes one of Disney’s biggest stars of the moment, Ms. Dove Cameron!  That’s right! Dove, the star of the Disney show “Liv and Maddie” and singer of the Descendant’s-themed cover of Christina Aguilar’s popular song, “Genie in a Bottle”, will do two Q&A sessions as well as a meet and greet for attendees with backstage passes. dove-cameron

And, wait for it… the excitement does not stop there! By popular demand, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles return to Houston’s Children Festival! Can you believe it? Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael will be arriving at this year’s festival in their “Turtle Van” and will be meeting their fans each day at the festival. Fans will be able to get their photo taken free with festival admission with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at scheduled times both days.TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles

Get Meet and greet Tickets here!

The McDonald’s Houston Children’s Festival presented by Baker Hughes is the largest children’s festival in the United States and will be celebrating its 28th year.  The Festival has raised over $5.2 million dollars over the past 27 years for Child Advocates, Inc. (www.childadvocates.org). The McDonald’s Houston Children’s Festival was selected as “one of the world’s 300 unmissable events” by Frommer’s Travel Guides. Celebrating its 27th year in 2015, it is one of Houston’s signature events and has developed into one of the primary fund-raisers for Child Advocates.

For more information visit: www.houstonchildrensfestival.com

Now, time for the extra fun! Entering the giveaway is super fun and easy. You have until April 8th to enter and win. One winner will win a family pack of four tickets to this awesome event. All you have to do on your end is:

  1. FOLLOW the Houston Children’s Festival on Instagram
  2. FOLLOW the Houston Children’s Festival on Twitter
  3. LIKE the Houston Children’s Festival Page on Facebook
  4. EMAIL ME your contact information after you have completed steps 1-3. Provide your name, address, email, phone number and let me know you did steps above. My email is: sireneworldblog(at)gmail(dot)com

**All giveaway entries must be submitted by April 8th, 2016. **

As a Houston educator, I always encourage parents to have fun with their children through events that are educational, family friendly, and especially that seek to aid those in need. The Houston’s Children Festival is an amazing place and event where parents and kids learn, have fun, and most importantly, help those less fortunate children who are victims of child abuse and neglect.

Join me and participate in this party that delivers fun, education, and advocates for our Houston kiddos!

I hope to see you there!

Love,
Sirene

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Disclosure: This is a compensated post. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Sunflower Bakery & Café- The Sunflower of Galveston

Little gem in Galveston, Texas! The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe

Recently, my boyfriend and I had the opportunity to brunch at the delightful Sunflower Bakery & Café, located on Galveston Island.  We were in G-town for one of my dear friend’s wedding (beautiful wedding, btw), and being the opportunists we are, we made the event a mini get away for us.

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Look at all those goodies!

We live in Houston, so naturally we have been to Galveston often, but never on a staycation. We both know of Galveston’s gastro reputation; we know there are plenty of big chain restaurants, as well as local gems, such is the Sunflower Bakery & Café.  The bakery/ café was established in 1999 (rebuilt in 2008 due to IKE) and has been serving fresh food created from scratch ever since. They take pride in making and baking all of their menu items from scratch, and specialize in making their dishes and desserts using local and seasonal ingredients.

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Sunflowers every where!
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Their own pancake mix! Yum!
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Sunflower Granola Mix

The experience:
When we walked in to the restaurant, I was a bit confused because there’s the restaurant sitting on the right side and a cool small shop on the left side- the Bacon Farm. This small, unique shop carries all kinds of cool stuff! Anything from antiques, to furniture, to great collectibles.  Nevertheless, after some re-orientation, we were welcomed by the hostess who proceeded to sit us right away. We were fortunate to get a table in front of the dessert pantry.  Like kids in the proverbial candy store, we were both gawking over the pastries tugging at our eyes and hearts. Soon enough, we were greeted by our polite and agreeable server, Serghei, who was very knowledgeable about the restaurant.

One of the things my boyfriend and I pay close attention to when visiting a restaurant for the first time is the menu selection. If a restaurant has one too many items on their menu, it makes us wonder what can they cook really well, since they have so many dishes to focus on and prepare “well”.  Can they focus on cooking all dishes deliciously without having a few of them being cooked half-heartedly? What is their specialty dish when they have so many dishes on their menu?  Not to our surprise, the Sunflower had a good handful of items in their brunch menu: not too many, not too few. And they are all brunch-relatable items that align with the culture of the restaurant- A cozy, home-cooking type of place.

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One of the sweets pantries.

Our food:
We ordered the Big Breakfast and the Eggs Benedict. Both dishes were served in a timely manner, they were both very delicious, and were both hot and right out of the kitchen onto a plate. The Big Breakfast included freshly made pancakes from the Sunflower’s own pancake recipe. I personally don’t fancy pancakes much, but my boyfriend does. Let me tell you, he was in pancake heaven. The pancakes were steaming, soft, and cooked thoroughly. Not to mention they tasted delicious. He claims they make Le Peep pancakes…weep, and IHOP pancakes drown in their own syrupy sorrow.  Our Eggs Benedict was worthy of a Michelin star (if Michelin ever gave stars for breakfast); eggs perfectly poached and the sauce culled from the Hollandaise gods. The coffee was proper and so fresh; a perfect accompaniment to our perfect breakfast foods.

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Eggs Benedict, Big Breakfast & Coffee
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Season greetings
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Life really is SWEET!

Over all:
We loved The Sunflower Bakery and Café! For as long as it’s been in operation, my boyfriend and I couldn’t believe we hadn’t made the trip to dine there sooner. It’s evident that they care about who they hire and what they cook. The food was peerless, coffee was spot-on, and customer service was 5 stars.- thanks Serghei!  The Sunflower Bakery & Café is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny seaside brunch whether you’re a flip-flopped, vapin’ bohemian or a hungry hungover sailor.  We encourage all Texas visitors to make the trip to dine here, you will not be disappointed!

Till next time!

love,
Sirene

Minority Owned Business Summit by Verizon

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored event.

On Tuesday November 17, 2015 Verizon Wireless held their first and only Small Business Summit in Houston for 2015 at JW Marriot Hotel in Westheimer – and it was an awesome gathering indeed!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Houston leads the nation in generating non-farm employment in the nation! With that in mind, small businesses must have a clear understanding of how to achieve profitable outcomes through their endeavors while also inspiring employees to uphold their companies’ core values- Especially in such a multicultural city such as Houston.

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Verizon gathered a handful of successful business professionals who have been in the “business owner” game for years and who have gone through trials and tribulations in order to be where they are today. We had the opportunity to listen to Linda Alvarado, president & CEO of Alvarado Construction and Co-Owner of The Colorado Rockies. The only word I can think of to describe her and her words to us that day is extraordinary. Linda talked about being a business woman in an industry dominated by men. One of the things she talked about that struck me was something her parents said to her as young girl- “don’t let your heritage define you”. I believe that being a woman is part of my heritage, as it is for her because she is a woman. In an industry that is primarily dominated by men, she did not let her femininity or Latin roots get in the way of her success and determination, she never “looked for excuses” but found reasons to succeed.

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Alvarado’s speech was followed by the minority-owned businesses panel that included Emilio Gonzalez- Executive Director For Strategic Alliances at Verizon, Alex Davidson-CEO at Securranty, Carol Guess- General Counsel at The Guess Group, Inc., Alex Lopez Negrete- President/CEO of Lopez Negrete Communications, Laura Oldaker- CEO/Executive Director at By Your Side Senior Care, and Nelson Reyneri- Senior Vice President, Sales & External Affairs at Liberty Power Corporation. All of these leaders shared insight and anecdotes about starting and maintaining their own businesses. The recurring theme throughout all of their experiences was to “do good business”.  As Mr. Negrete inferred, it is important that business owners are driven by a “higher order” or “higher reason” to be in business- that is to do good business. Big or small, any business must align with their core values. When the business takes on a new business partner or client, “if the conversation is about growth, then you become a different type of partner”, says Mr. Lopez Negrete. It’s all about building relationships and genuinely offering a two-way-street business with clients.

Last but not least, we talked about blogging and social media. This was also one of my favorite parts of the summit because, hello, new blogger over here! lol. I was delighted to meet and listen to Eric Tung, Byrdie Franco, and Monica Vila who are all blogging gurus and know what works best for bloggers and for business who maintain blogs. Blogging enables your business to build trust and adds value to your brand. The beauty about blogging and social media is that it’s almost like the nucleus of the business cell. Blogging and social media allows the blogger and the audience/customers to be “friends” and share a conversation. This is crucial for any business because at the end of the day, you want to treat your clients like a person/friend, not just a cash opportunity.

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As a new blogger, I am always looking for tips and tricks on how to better improve my blog. Eric Tung gave a great tip that I would have never thought of: When you want to write a blog on a topic, but don’t know where to start, google questions that you may be asked in the future about that topic. This is a great tip because 1. it will improve traffic to a blog post and 2. it makes the blogging experience an easier one by unlocking lots of questions about one topic- meaning I won’t be stricken with writers block. lol

In a city where diversity is part of its charm, it is vital for Houston small business owners to consider themselves as part of the Latino community. I am very content and vitalized with Verizon’s Small Business Summit because it enhanced the importance and the necessity to address the Latino market through an amazing, inspiring handful of multicultural speakers. Thank you, Verizon!

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Did I mention we had amazing food? Here’s a snap of the dessert by Jihane Rodriguez

Thoughts? Share bellow! or share them on my Instagram at @sireneworld!

Thank you for stopping by,

Love,
Sirene