Friday, August 30, 2013

The Magic Of Music! :>

I've been meaning to get this out and finally it's here. It's been too long since I posted a video and I am reminded by how much I love making them :>

A couple of weeks ago, Nui Nui and I went on a dinner date, just me and her. We grabbed a quick bite— she sat across from me, so big and grown-up-like... :>



We went on a walk and stumbled upon some live music. It was magical... :>



What does music do to you? Share below in the Comments or Instagram/Tweet us, we'd love to hear! xoxo :> :>



Interesting Social Media Bits For Families! :>

Lots of interesting stuff going on, on Facebook (aka. Familybook?) and Google+ this morning... :>

On Kids and Biting:

My friend posted...
Does your baby bite you? [My daughter] broke my skin at my toe yesterday and she tried to go for it again. Tonight she bit my belly. What is it? Shark week?
I responded...



On Peanut Allergies and Judging Others:

Another friend posted...

I responded...



On Nutrition, Health, and Edu-tainment!

YouTube on Google+ posted... and I responded...



What interesting things have you read lately? Share in the Comments below or Tweet/Instagram us, we'd love to hear! xoxo :>


Also, follow us on all of our social media sites (Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, this blog!)! Links in the sidebar! :> :>

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stanford's Coding Together Assignment 1: Matchisimo - Is Done Done And Done! :>

I just finished Stanford's Coding Together Assignment: 1 - Matchisimo!

Below is a snap shot of what my view from Xcode/iOS Simulator looks like, along with a closeup of the simulator and some of its code.





Below is the code for my implementation files: CardMatchingGame.m and CardGameViewController.m.



//
//  CardMatchingGame.m
//  Matchisimo
//
//  Created by Marguerita de Senna on 8/14/13.
//  Copyright (c) 2013 Marguerita de Senna. All rights reserved.
//

#import "CardMatchingGame.h"

@interface CardMatchingGame()
@property (readwrite, nonatomic) int score;
@property (strong, nonatomic) NSMutableArray *cards; //of Card
@property (readwrite, nonatomic) NSString *flipResultStr;
@property (readwrite, nonatomic) NSUInteger gameMatchType; //describes how many cards to match
@end


@implementation CardMatchingGame


- (NSMutableArray *) cards {
    if (!_cards){
        _cards = [[NSMutableArray alloc] init];
    }
    return _cards;
        
}

#define MATCH_BONUS 4
#define MISMATCH_PENALTY 2
#define FLIP_COST 1
#define MATCH_BONUS_THREE 8

- (void)flipCardAtIndex:(NSUInteger)index
{
    //card trying to flip
    Card *card = [self cardAtIndex:index];
    //int counter = 1;

    if (card && !card.isUnplayable){
        self.flipResultStr = [@"Found " stringByAppendingString:card.contents];
        if (!card.isFaceUp){
            for(Card *otherCard in self.cards) {
                if (otherCard.isFaceUp && !otherCard.isUnplayable) {
                    int matchScore = [card match:@[otherCard]];
                    if (matchScore) {
                        card.Unplayable = YES;
                        otherCard.Unplayable = YES;
                        
                        self.score += matchScore * MATCH_BONUS;
                        self.flipResultStr = [card.contents stringByAppendingFormat:@" & %@ MATCHED for %d points!", otherCard.contents, MATCH_BONUS];
    
                    } else {
                        otherCard.faceUp = NO;
                        self.score -= MISMATCH_PENALTY;
                        self.flipResultStr = [card.contents stringByAppendingFormat:@" & %@ DON'T MATCH! %d point penalty!", otherCard.contents, MISMATCH_PENALTY];
                    }
                    break;
                }
            }
            self.score -= FLIP_COST;
        }
        if (card.isFaceUp) {
            self.flipResultStr = @"Keep trying!";
        }
        card.faceUp = !card.isFaceUp;
    }
}





- (void)setGameMatchType:(NSUInteger)gameMatchType {
    _gameMatchType = gameMatchType;
}

-(NSUInteger)getGameMatchType {
    return self.gameMatchType;
}


- (Card *)cardAtIndex:(NSUInteger)index;
{
    return (index < [self.cards count]) ? self.cards[index] : nil;
}


- (id)initWithCardCount:(NSUInteger)count
              usingDeck:(Deck *)deck;
{
    self = [super init];
    
    if(self){
        for (int i = 0; i < count; i++) {
            Card *card = [deck drawRandomCard];
            if (!card){
                self=nil;
            }
            else {
                self.cards[i]=card;
            }
        }
    }
    
    self.gameMatchType = 2;
    return self;
}


@end

--------------------------

//
//  CardGameViewController.m
//  Matchisimo
//
//  Created by Marguerita de Senna on 8/13/13.
//  Copyright (c) 2013 Marguerita de Senna. All rights reserved.
//

#import "CardGameViewController.h"
#import "PlayingCardDeck.h"
#import "CardMatchingGame.h"

@interface CardGameViewController ()
@property (weak, nonatomic) IBOutlet UILabel *flipsLabel;
@property (nonatomic) int flipCount;
@property (strong, nonatomic) IBOutletCollection(UIButton) NSArray *cardButtons;
@property (strong, nonatomic) CardMatchingGame *game;
@property (weak, nonatomic) IBOutlet UILabel *scoreLabel;
@property (weak, nonatomic) IBOutlet UILabel *flipResultLabel;
@property (weak, nonatomic) IBOutlet UISegmentedControl *segmentedControl;
@property (nonatomic) int gameType;
@property (weak, nonatomic) IBOutlet UILabel *matchTypeLabel;
@end

@implementation CardGameViewController


- (CardMatchingGame *)game
{
    if(!_game) _game = [[CardMatchingGame alloc] initWithCardCount:[self.cardButtons count] usingDeck:[[PlayingCardDeck alloc] init]];
    return _game;
}



- (void)setCardButtons:(NSArray *)cardButtons
{
    _cardButtons = cardButtons;
    [self updateUI];
}

- (void) updateUI
{
    
    for (UIButton *cardButton in self.cardButtons){
        Card *card = [self.game cardAtIndex:[self.cardButtons indexOfObject:cardButton]];
        [cardButton setTitle:card.contents forState:UIControlStateSelected];
        [cardButton setTitle:card.contents forState:UIControlStateSelected|UIControlStateDisabled];
        cardButton.selected = card.isFaceUp;
        cardButton.enabled = !card.isUnplayable;
        cardButton.alpha = (card.isUnplayable ? 0.3 : 1.0);
        
        if(!cardButton.isSelected && cardButton.isEnabled){
            [cardButton setImage:[UIImage imageNamed:@"cardback.jpg"] forState:UIControlStateNormal];
        } else {
            [cardButton setImage:nil forState:UIControlStateNormal];
        }
        
                
    }
    self.scoreLabel.text = [NSString stringWithFormat:@"Score: %d", self.game.score];
    self.flipResultLabel.text = self.game.flipResultStr;
}




- (void) setFlipCount:(int)flipCount
{
    _flipCount = flipCount;
    self.flipsLabel.text = [NSString stringWithFormat:@"Flips: %d", self.flipCount];
}

- (IBAction)flipCard:(UIButton *)sender
{    
    [self.segmentedControl setEnabled:NO forSegmentAtIndex:0];
    [self.segmentedControl setEnabled:NO forSegmentAtIndex:1];
    
    [self.game flipCardAtIndex:[self.cardButtons indexOfObject:sender]];

  
    
    self.flipCount++;
    [self updateUI];
}


- (IBAction)dealButton:(UIButton *)sender {
    self.game = [[CardMatchingGame alloc] initWithCardCount:[self.cardButtons count] usingDeck:[[PlayingCardDeck alloc] init]];
    self.flipCount = 0;
    self.scoreLabel.text = @"Score: 0";
    self.flipResultLabel.text = @"Welcome to Matchismo!";
    
    for (UIButton *cardButton in self.cardButtons){
        cardButton.selected = NO;
        cardButton.enabled = YES;
        cardButton.alpha = 1.0;
    }
    [self.segmentedControl setEnabled:YES forSegmentAtIndex:0];
    [self.segmentedControl setEnabled:YES forSegmentAtIndex:1];
    [self updateUI];
}

//Match 2, Match 3
- (IBAction)gameSwitch:(UISegmentedControl *)sender
{
    if (self.segmentedControl.selectedSegmentIndex == 0) {
        self.matchTypeLabel.text = @"Matching 2";
        [self.segmentedControl setEnabled:NO forSegmentAtIndex:0];
        [self.segmentedControl setEnabled:NO forSegmentAtIndex:1];
        [self.game setGameMatchType:2];
    }
    if (self.segmentedControl.selectedSegmentIndex == 1) {
        self.matchTypeLabel.text = @"Matching 3";
        [self.segmentedControl setEnabled:NO forSegmentAtIndex:0];
        [self.segmentedControl setEnabled:NO forSegmentAtIndex:1];
        [self.game setGameMatchType:3];
    }
    
}

@end



I am well aware there are probably better ways to do this but, hey, it works (I think) :>

What fun projects have you accomplished or cool things have you learned lately? Share in the Comments or Tweet/Instagram us, we'd love to hear! :> :> xoxo


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Am Today's Modern Outdated Parent

Something must be seriously wrong with me...

I actually like my kid. In fact, I love her. And I love being with her and spending time with her. Crazy, I know.

This is my reaction to two articles I read recently. One, I already responded to— Why Women Can't Have It All... Or Can They?— and now, I'm reacting to the NYT's Modern Mothers' Turn To Scratch An Itch, which deems 'Modern Mothers' as those who engage in so-called luxurious practices of spending more than 1/2 the week away from their kids (if not more) and be, well, single again.

Source


They get to indulge in complete independence and zero parental responsibility, which might typically consist of drinking more alcohol, spending more time by oneself, and perhaps going to the spa, reading, exercising, and/or working more, while the kids are 'Daddy's problem'.

Daddy's problem?

Is that what kids are these days? This seriously makes me wonder why people even have kids to begin with (other than on accident).

One woman described living with just one of her kids, with the help of a sitter, while her husband lived elsewhere with their other kid, 'felt like a deep breath. You’re running so fast when all the players are around you and, when they’re not, you focus on what’s good for yourself'. I'm not chiding this woman for what she's saying— as a parent you do forget about yourself and it is important to find time for yourself but to what extent is necessary? Is being far and a handful of days away on end satisfactory? What ever happened to the good-old weekly date night, consisting of a few hours away, most of which are when the kids are sleeping?

I admit I am biased. Completely. I actually think having a kid(s) is the luxury. As I've said before, Parenthood is the best and will make you into an even greater version of yourself than you could have ever imagined :> But that requires actually being there.

Personally, I think the problem lies in the approach. This is my opinion and at the risk of sounding harsh, here are my thoughts...

There are 24 hours in a day and we all get tired. That is just the given parameter everybody— man or woman, mom or dad— has to work within. Parenthood is a choice. It's a lot of work and very consuming. But it's also really rewarding and brings so.much.joy. Don't have kids or too many if you want more time to do other things that don't involve things like helping someone(s) change clothes or diapers, brush teeth, bathe, tie shoes, wipe nose, eat or drink, read books, finish homework assignments, spell words, teach words and everything else it takes to be a HealthyButJuicy human being. It's almost that simple and there are condoms and birth control pills (or abstinence) that can help.

It's important I say this, I think, because our kids hear what we say and read (or will someday) what we write, and they need.to.know we DO value, care about, and want to spend time with them. At least some of us outdated parents do, anyway. Because, seriously, before we know it, they won't want to with us. Childhood is fleeting...

Before becoming a parent I said I'd live by certain parental tenets, including 1. Being There, 2. Smiling Often, and 3. Loving Unconditionally. And I'm sticking to that.

Date night with my daughter consisted of dinner, music concert, and gelato! :> = T+2.5 hours together :>

Date night with my friend consisted of good food, laughs, and design talk! :> = T-1.5 hours apart :>

Balance, fulfillment, and having it all in parenthood while not spending eons away from kid— it IS possible. I'm scratching my itches all over the place and laughing while doing so.

How do you enjoy your kids? Share in the Comments below or Tweet/Instagram us! We (your kids included!) would love to hear! :> xoxo

Why Women Can't Have It All... Or Can They? (**HealthyButJuicy REPOST**)

I just stumbled upon Glamour.com's recently-published article: Why The Woman Who 'Has It All' Doesn't Really Exist'.

'Why Women Can't Have It All, According To Barnard College President Debora L. Spar', though, is the title that actually appeared on my Facebook newsfeed and one that drew me in.

Barnard, in case you didn't know, is Columbia's all-women sister school— I went to Columbia, only reason I know. I was curious to see what this Barnard president had to say, expecting something empowering and inspirational. Something on the lines of: 'Feeling down about yourself? [Yes]. Don't feel bad because it's an ideal/unrealizable goal anyway. [...Ok, but that's not what Facebook is telling me...].

The article's headlining photo is a woman dressed as Wonder Woman running in New York City's midtown with a hoard of other women running after her trying to keep up.

As you can see, the woman is 'svelte', 'scantily-clad', hair so thick 'like Beyonce', beautiful enough to be in Glamour's publication, and, actually, real. How appropriate. Does she, the model, have it all..? Clearly, I'm missing the point but the image is loud, hard-to-miss, and relevant. No?

Spar touches on major life areas— self-image, marriage, motherhood, and career— pointing out despite womens' increasing freedom, we are pin-holing ourselves into a greater misery than when we were suppressed. She writes, 'Feminism was meant to remove a fixed set of expectations; instead, we now interpret it as a route to personal perfection. Because we can do anything, we feel as if we have to do everything. In other words, women today face towering expectations: a pileup of the roles society's long heaped on us, plus the opportunities feminism created.'

On this note, Spar has a point. While feminism has opened a lot of doors, at the same time, it has also increased the pressure to achieve more. But is that a bad thing? And is striving for more the same as trying to be perfect? It's one thing to beat yourself up over things you can't necessarily control like finding your soulmate or even landing your dream job— yeah, that's not HealthyButJuicy— but it's another thing to blast others for trying to reach their goals and criticizing 'Why Women Should Stop Trying to Be Perfect'.

Because what about the writer/speaker herself? Spar is the president of 'arguably the most important all-women’s college in the United States', or at least that's what is touted on her book's description on Amazon.com. She is a mother of three, is married to a husband whom she 'adores', and engages in the daily 'burden' of keeping up appearances by spending about 282 hours per year on beauty (unlike the noted, average 30hrs/year compared to men).

It's funny. She shares...
On beauty: 'Any magazine rack confirms our obsession with one scantily clad celebrity after another... As a requirement for success, beauty becomes just another burden.' Huh? Why is this woman publishing her thoughts in Glamour of all places?— a woman's 'guide to the latest fashion trends, outfit ideas, hair + makeup how-tos, and celebrity scoop', and where the focus is all about beauty and 'burden'.

On marriage: 'Marry someone you love and like; finding a person who doesn't care if you're perfect is a good start.' You hear that ladies?! Stop wasting your time on douche-bags you don't even like. Duh. It's easy as finding a box of fiber cereal for breakfast, a great way to start the day. Try the supermarket?

On motherhood: 'Now we've set the standard that if you can become a biological mom—by spending exorbitantly and undergoing endless medical procedures—then you should. Is that liberating? To me, it feels like another way women have to be perfect or, in this case, perfectly fertile.' Ouch. Let's seriously hope her infertile 'friend' doesn't see that comment...

On work: 'Professional women are frequently asked, "How do you do it?" I hate the query, because doing it all, as is expected of women today, is not doable.' But seriously, how did she do it?

Her conclusion: 'The most crucial thing for women to know today? No one does it all. We each, if we're lucky, will have our chance to leave a mark on the world, but we are trying too hard to be perfect. So don't emulate Wonder Woman; think about what's wonderful to you instead. Then boldly, audaciously, joyfully, leave the rest behind.'

In other words, 'You'd be lucky if you have any impact in this world. Stop trying to be like me. And just settle.'

HealthyButJuicy thinks otherwise.

On beauty: To reiterate MissGlamorazzi's philosophy, 'Makeup is a supplement, not a requirement.' Other than maintaining acceptable hygiene (ie. showering), if you adhere to a beauty routine that feels burdensome, stop it. Use the time to work on your inner beauty.

On love: Source


On motherhood: However you became a mother— through sex, adoption, or one of the 'at least 15 additional ways.. none of which involve sex'— makes you no less of a woman nor crazy.


On being a homemaker: Spar referred to the toils of having to make this dish— Harvest Vegetable Pancakes With Greens and Goat Cheese via Martha Stewart's Everyday Day Food magazine. This is yet another case and point about the author and reason to question how relevant what she is saying is to the average consumer/woman/reader. Who makes vegetable pancakes with beets, carrots, potatoes, and chickpeas? From scratch? Seriously. Who? At the risk of sounding controversial, people who are health-conscious might. People who have the time might. People who are highly educated are the most likely. Time and time again, studies show folks with higher education tend to be healthier. It's an unfortunate disparity but one that still has not yet been bridged. Moreover, it doesn't help when leaders in our educational field don't help, or even make the gap wider with garbage to sell.

On work: There will always be someone out there who is better than you. Likewise, though, there will always be someone out there who lacks your talent. But who even cares? It's not about them, it's about you.

The HealthyButJuicy conclusion: Like everything you hear about health, take what Spar is saying with a grain of salt and always ask questions. Is she a reliable source of information? What will you do differently (if anything) and, ultimately, will your actions make you a better, happier version of you?

All in all, women can't always get what they want. That much is true. Neither can men. But does that necessarily and automatically restrict your ability to be happy, to have drive, to be HealthyButJuicy, or to have it 'all'?

I'm single and unemployed. I lost 10 years of my life to illness, and friends and career-building time along with it. I have this beautiful sunshine I call daughter and the most amazing mother that is an angelic warrior who loves me. I smile. And I laugh. It's not a perfect life nor am I expecting it to be but I kinda feel like I do sorta have it all... Is that crazy?

What're your thoughts? On Spar's opinions, article on women, perfectionism, and having it 'all'? Share below in the Comments and/or Tweet us your thoughts. We'd love to hear!

Happy Healthy Juicy Women! HealthyButJuicy believes in you! xoxo :>

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ashton Kutcher Sexier Than Sexy, Post Teen Choice Awards (**HealthyButJuicy REPOST**)

After reading a couple UNinspirational stories yesterday— AOL's Armstrong rant/public firing and some lady's premier lazy-A parking spot— I'm in more positive spirits this morning after consuming some more inspirational reads.

I first stumbled upon the hubbub about Ashton Kutcher's recent acceptance speech at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards and, hubbub, it was deservedly earned. There, on perhaps one of the most perfect platforms to speak to young people, he took take advantage of his status, popularity, and, most notably, ability to influence and inspire those both young and old (myself included :>).

Image via web


Ashton spoke about three things: Opportunity, Being Sexy, and Living Life.

1. Opportunity
'I believe opportunity looks a lot like hard work... I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job...'

2. Being Sexy
'The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you. It's just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less just don't buy it! Be smart. Be thoughtful. And be generous.'

3. Living Life
Channeling his recently-portrayed character, Steve Jobs, he referenced this quote by the latest and greatest:
'When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you're life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.'

Ashton concluded his speech with a bang...
'Build a life. Don’t live one, build one. Find your opportunities, and always be sexy.'

Following all of this sexy, I stumbled upon 11 Rules For Success, From The People Who Got It Right, the first line reading: 'No one is born a success, but everyone has the potential to become one.' It's not so much a list of 'rules' per se as it is a list of inspirational quotes.

There's a lot of stupidity and negativity in this world so it's important to refresh with positive, empowering messages like Ashton's speech and this collection of quotes often if not daily.

What inspires YOU? Share your inspirations in the Comments below or Tweet/Instagram your goodies, the world would love to hear! xoxo

Reposted from HealthyButJuicy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My First Objective-C/Xcode Assignment Done!

I just completed my first assignment of Stanford's Coding Together: Developing Apps for iPhone and iPad (Winter 2013) class!

Here's what my code for CardGameViewController.m looks like, followed by my Xcode project overview, and iOS Simulator! :> :>



My goal was to finish this assignment today. Done done and done! I'm literally through the roof right now and hope you're having a stellar day yourself! :> I know it's not much— just a few lines of code— but it's also one step closer to becoming an app developer [and reassurance that a) my engineering degree really wasn't for nothing and b) I really do know how to learn, I'm not kidding... :> :>

What goals have you accomplished lately? Share below or Tweet/Instagram us, we'd love to hear! :> :> xoxo

Are e-Cigarettes HealthyButJuicy?

So I'm sitting at Starbucks and out of the corner of my eye, I see a long cloud of smoke wave by me. I'm sitting two seats down from an expansive window and think maybe there's someone outside smoking. But no. Instead, it's the guy sitting next to me who is. Clarification: I'm sitting INSIDE Starbucks. What gives?



The guy is holding a pen-like device— kind of looks like a flat-ended stylus pen or a slim flashlight. With every major wave of cloud— it was a huge, extended puff of smoke, and thereby classifiable as a cloud in my humble opinion!— my heart continued to drop, my body angled itself as far away as it could from the source, and my hand even attempted to shield any inhalation by covering my nose. [I don't even wear shoes in my house, let alone voluntarily breathe in smoke!] After several dirty looks and fidgets, they guy finally let. Needless to say, I Googled 'electronic cigarettes'.

Apparently, e-cigarettes are pretty popular— about to hit $1 billion in sales, in fact. Since I'm clearly oblivious, I had to actually look up what it is. It's basically an alternative for tobacco smoking that utilizes vapor instead. The vapor might release nicotine— the drug that makes tobacco smoking so addictive— or it might just release flavors.

Now, more importantly perhaps, are e-cigarettes a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes and should they be allowed in public areas, like restaurants? After all, the smoking ban in most public areas has been a significant leap toward a healthier lifestyle, cleaner air we breathe, and exposure of just the image and act itself (especially for our very naive and easily-influenced children, our future). Because e-cigarettes are a relatively new product, the debate is heated and research lacking. Some claim they don't produce the negative side effects of second-hand smoke, don't contain tar or tobacco, and can possibly help with smoking cessation. But Jeffrey B. Lane of the HuffPost eloquently describes the situation and writes:
Today one in six Americans already have the disease of addiction -- that's more than the number with heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Another 80 million engage in substance use in ways that threaten health and safety. Addiction and risky substance use is the largest preventable and most costly health problem in the U.S. today. Given the history of cigarette marketing in this country and the horrific health consequences and costs that resulted, common sense requires immediately regulating and taxing e-cigarettes as cigarette products while developing a solid knowledge base about the content of these products, how they are used and by whom, their short- and long-term health consequences and the anticipated market for new users. After we have the facts, we can then build a sound regulatory structure around them. Let's not make a hasty decision to add another addictive product to the consumer market that could well sacrifice the health of another generation. Read the full article!

I, personally, could not agree more with Mr. Lane but what do YOU think?. Are e-cigarettes HealthyButJuicy? And should they be allowed in public places like Starbucks? Share your thoughts below or Tweet us, we'd love to hear! :> xoxo

H&M Online Store Finally Open To US!

I was excited to find out first thing this morning that H&M has finally opened its web doors to fashion-hungry Americans. I thought it was odd, too. Why would such a popular store targeting the younger/middle-aged crowd— aka. web-savvy shoppers— want to limit their sales to just brick-and-mortar? Online clothing retail, though, is apparently more complicated than meets the eye, having to juggle inventory with the American way of buying, or, extra-loose practice of returns, amongst others.

But, no worries. I'm sure they'll do just fine and figure it out (not to mention earn generous profit from their 21th century endeavors :>). I'm excited to check out what pieces they have to offer that aren't available in stores. ...There goes my morning... :>

Here are some gems we covet... :>

Follow us on Twitter or Instagram for more @hm pieces :>

Hurry now, American readers, Free Shipping ends today! :>

Affordable fashion— what's not to love? :> Where do you like to shop for threads? Share below, we'd love to hear! :> :>

Monday, August 12, 2013

ArchiTECHture: New Campuses Coming To Silicon Valley

This morning I tweeted this:
These are all great companies, building great products and, well, great structures too, apparently :> I'm excited to see the landmarks when they're finished :>

What cool architecture or design excites you? Share below or Tweet/Instagram us, we've love to see/hear! :> xoxo

What Does It Take To Be A Great Dad?

I was reading Daniel Odio's blog— he writes all sorts of cool stuff about tech— and one of his posts was titled, 'What Does It Take To Be a Great Dad?'. Don't you love how, no matter what the topic, parenthood is unavoidably shared? :> More and more, it sometimes seems, for example, Facebook is becoming FamilyBook. It's quite lovely. Parenthood is awesome and we could always use a little more rainbow. Seeing all the brand new faces (literally) and being able to watch them grow up no matter where you (or they) are, social media is a blessing aside from the little blessings themselves :>.

Anyway, in response to Daniel's question: 'Anyone have advice how how to be a great dad?', I responded with this:
Parenthood is the best and will make you into an even greater version of yourself than you could have ever imagined :>

I've never been a dad but as a mom and daughter, I share this:
  1. Be there. Money is important but time spent together is priceless (and you can never get it back).
  2. Smile often. You are the most influential role model for your kid(s). When you smile, they smile. And isn't that the goal-- for them to be happy? [Rhetorical question]. Yes. ...Cheese! :>
  3. Love unconditionally. Love is so powerful and can get you/them through nearly anything. Anything.
Cheers, to you and your wife! #bestadventureever!


Here's a woman who embodies these things and a girl who is lucky to be cared by her :> #warriors

I and Daniel's readers aren't the only ones who have opinions, though. What do YOU think? What makes a dad great? Share below or Tweet/Instagram us, we'd love to hear! :> xoxo

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Got Milk?

What's up?? ...and so begins the milk moustache pics! :> :>



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I Love You More.

One early school morning, Nui Nui was very tired. She managed to open her eyes but her body was floppy and still not awake. I changed her diaper and put her in the stroller at max recline and with the hood expanded for a sustained nighttime effect.

I gathered our things and headed out the door. As we waited for the elevator, I pulled open the peak-through window of the stroller's hood. She looked up and smiled. I whispered 'I love you'. She whispered 'I love you more'. She smiled. I smiled. And my heart just suddenly melted...

Thank goodness for peak-through windows. Thank goodness for little girls.



Check out more of our pics on Instagram!

Stroller is Britax's B-Agile model. Review to come! :>

What melts your heart? Share below or on Twitter or Instagram, we'd love to hear/see! :> xoxo

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Second New School Playdate! :>

We had our second playdate at our new school and Nui Nui continued to do stellar. She recognized the building and knew she was about to embark on a sandbox adventure. The kids in her class were just starting to have snack and she was antsy to go outside. She tried to amuse herself with a snack and then finally ran out the back door the second it was let open for outside playtime.

The kids were hilarious, initially running back and forth with these stroller/shopping cart toys. I would have never thought a shopping cart would be a good toy but it has proven me wrong to being an excellent one. You should have seen these kid run, Forest, run.

Then it was onto shooting hoops and balls, the coveted sandbox (see below— Nui Nui gathered a posse :>), riding toys, and the most perfect-sized playground playset— high enough that the slide is worth climbing for, low enough to keep Momma standing afar at ease :>

Dr. M.


The Goonies.

Look at those pants!

The black mustang of toddlers.

Beware the po po...

On Instagram! :>

The slide! :>

We were there for a good two hours and I could see Nui Nui loved every minute of it. I'm loving these new-school playdates and loving even more that she'll be attending there in just a few weeks!

On our way out, Nui Nui successfully said goodbye to many of the people there, which is a great sign that she is in a comfort zone. Then, as she exited the building and climbed into the car parked right in front, she turned around and waved goodbye to the building and said, 'Bye New Friends!'. Suddenly, my heart just melted...


Check out the full album! :>



What are you looking forward to this fall? Share below or Tweet or Instagram us, we'd love to hear/see! :>

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Melissa & Doug's Wooden Clock! - Learning Time, Shapes, And Colors!

There are a couple of (or more :>) things on our list of things we want to get Nui Nui. She doesn't have a lot of toys but we're not interested in getting her junk to just fill the toy box either. It's funny yet typical but we actually put a decent amount of thought into each toy we get her [there hasn't been many :>]. Our criteria includes:
  1. Must be educational. This is an absolute must. Or, at least, semi-absolute anyway. I guess everything is somewhat educational. Playing devil's advocate, I suppose even Barbie can be if she fuels imagination. Whatever, though. By educational, I mean in the traditional academic sense. [I went to the Dollar Tree this weekend and ate up the Pre-K/K workbooks and teachers' decorating section :> [Dollar Tree haul to come! :> :>]
  2. Must be affordable. It's the main reason I put so much thought into the purchase, or any purchase for that matter. Our money doesn't grow on trees. At least not non-technically :>
  3. Must hold her attention more than once. You never know with this one. One way to try to measure it, though, is to let her hold the toy while walking through the store. If she throws it away after 10-15 minutes, it might not be worth buying.
  4. Must fit into our small apartment. Not every toy or kids item, even if educational, is appropriate for small apartments. Same with food and cleaning supplies, you really do have to limit the amounts and sizes of the things you get. Fake Christmas trees and anything from Costco are prime examples. We just don't have the room to have too many large items or space eaters.

If money weren't an issue, I'd probably throw all of the above out the window. But isn't it interesting? Like food, can the toys you select for your child shape the way they think, act, and/or become? Munching on my own food for thought...

Anyway, we finally got her Play-Doh a couple of weeks ago, which we were eyeing for a while. And, this past week, got her Melissa & Doug's wooden clock, which we've also been eyeing for a while. We were about to get her the one at Barnes a few weeks back but didn't end up getting it in hopes to possibly find something better? I was hoping we'd be able to play with it on the table/floor but also be able to hang it up on the wall. Wishful thinking. We ended up buying this $1 foam clock that ended up being a waste of time (seriously :>) and is now on our return list.

The clock at Barnes was $15 but we managed to find it at Target, in a better color (red!), no less, and for just $10. Target really is the best, huh? :>

MelissaAndDoug.com- Over 2,000 Unique and Exciting Toys for Children of All Ages! Click here!

Nui Nui eagerly wanted to open the clock and played with it over and over for the first time. The girl loves puzzles :> I'm starting to teach her how to read time by setting the big hand to twelve and counting as I move the small hand. It's still too early for her to know what it is and how to read the clock but it's definitely not too early for her to play with it— the box says '3+'— but I am of the opinion that you can never be too young to play with something... unless you're going to eat it and choke. Otherwise, it's never too early to learn or play :>.

Check out the clock and gudtimes! :>



Any suggestions for fun, affordable, educational toys? Share them in the comments below or Tweet or Instagram us! We'd love to hear! xoxo


MelissaAndDoug.com- Over 2,000 Unique and Exciting Toys for Children of All Ages! Click here!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

22 Months Update! :>

Finally uploaded Nui Nui's 22 month update! :> I'll be doing these monthly updates until she's 2 years old— not far off at all!— and then I'll be spacing them out.

Man, how fast time flies! Seriously, she's just so much fun and has made life a gajillion times more incredible :>

This month has been another one of great development, again, namely in speech. Throughout the month I try to keep mental notes of things I'm going to mention in the monthly-update video but then, of course, by the time I get to it I forget it all. I think the most prominent thing is that we can actually have conversations with her. She also can tell us what she's feeling, which is a huge help in helping her.

In the video, I said I'd like some things she frequently says if I could think of more.
Here's what I have as of this writing:

  • She points out when things are noisy, including the hand dryer in public bathrooms and fire trucks
  • Sometimes, blessed child :>, she points out when she's tired and wants to sleep. She says 'go to bed'.
  • She always wants to use Pau Pau's bathroom and for Pau Pau to take her. She says, 'Pau Pau's bathroom. Pau Pau take you.' She still has difficulty distinguishing between you and me because we always refer to her as 'you' and she does the same.
  • She says 'my turn', 'me first', and has recently been saying 'I want this' when we are out shopping.
  • She can say 'earn a sticker', which is equivalent to successfully using the bathroom :>
  • She can say 'peanut butter' and 'hot dog', which is hilarious. She eats neither of those things but... well, let's just keep it as that... :>
  • She sometimes says 'do dishes' and 'get mail'
  • She knows how to say/identify McDonalds (in Chinese), Starbucks, Trader Joes, Safeway, and Kohls; and 'put on makeup' and 'do lipstick'... kind of embarrassing :>

She can say more but it's too much to list/remember. Conversations. Conversations! It's exciting and fun and... where did my little baby go :>

Here's the video! Thanks for reading and watching!



What fun have YOU been up to this month? Share below or Instagram or Tweet us, we'd love to hear! xoxo

Friday, August 2, 2013

First New School Playdate!

This week has been the week of firsts and change. Newly unemployed, full-time job hunting, recovering from germs I just couldn't avoid (Nui Nui = unavoidably kissable), Nui Nui's first intro/playdate at her new school she'll be starting in September, and breaking the news to her current school, which was unexpectedly weird— I wasn't prepared and didn't even realize I had to be. At this point, I'm actually content with where she is but, o well, that's what growing up is all about, right? Reminds me of the wise words of Elenor Roosevelt:

Credit: wordstruly

Isn't this so true?...

Credit: good.is


You can't grow without change. #mantra

This week has been a haze to say the least. For sure, I realized my appreciation for schedule and routine— so much for my love of change, huh? :/— as well as my un-appreciation for job searching: 'Hey! I'm great! Can I play on your team?', followed by a 'Sorry, no thank you'. Sure brings back fond memories of middle school gym class...

Anyway, onward an up... #nothingbutrainbow

In the meanwhile of solicitation and finding a home, I've started studying Xcode/Objective C, as I said I would, and amping up the social media skills, including Hootsuite, Facebook Pages (check us out! and please support by 'Like'! Facebook.com/piecesofm :>), and soon Google Adwords. I have a steep learning curve ahead of me and am putting to test my claim that I know how to learn.



As for being proud, I was really was of Nui Nui on her first playdate. The new school she will be starting in September encourages new students to spend the summer leading up to the start date to come in on 'playdates' and ease the transition by getting the kids acquainted with the enviornment and people. It's really a terrific practice and one, I think, all schools, should practice in some form or another.

I'm very happy that Nui Nui has had the 'school' experience since she was one and, though only one day a week, feel that it's been an invaluable experience for her (and me). For her, it's interacting with her peers and other adults independently in a different environment than what she is used to and, for me, it's learning to let go, though I will always always be there for her no matter where she is or I am.

So she entered the school shy as a button when the directora greeted us at the door but once she found her classroom, she had at it with all the new toys and playstations— gotta love those kitchenettes! :> Followed by outdoor play in those mini-coupes? a la Little Tikes. I was able to sit aside without her worrying where I was. Climbing, exploring, enjoying— keywords of the visit— and making new friends :>

Here's a peak into our first school playdate vist!



Check out the full slideshow! :>




To wind down the almost end-of-week, I got to spend some time with the ever-lovely J and new friends over some local small bites. Drool this.



What fun filled your week? Share below or Tweet or Instagram us! We'd love to hear/see! :> :> xoxo

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