23 October 2014

The Man at Waffle House

A few months ago we traveled to St. Louis, Missouri for work. We had some time to pass before the race track opened so we stopped at Waffle House for breakfast. It was packed when we walked in, so we settled for some seats facing the kitchen. To my left sat my teammates and to my right sat a gentleman whose face I'll never forget.

The man appeared to be in his 50s. He was wearing a pair of blue jeans and an old worn out t-shirt. He had the biggest smile and most welcoming eyes I've ever seen. As soon as I sat down his eyes lit up and he greeted me with a big "hello!"

I was immediately uncomfortable. I looked to my left and saw my teammates smirking. They got lost in their own conversation and I was mad at them, mad at them for leaving me with the weird stranger who insisted on talking to me.

I clutched my purse close to me, in the ridiculous way that we so often do, even though nothing about this man was threatening. He continued to ask me questions about my job, what were doing in town etc. and I continued to give him short, cold answers and ignore him the best I could.

The stranger finished his coffee and wished me the best of luck over the weekend. Before he got up to leave he gave me this coupon and reminded me not once but twice to use it. I immediately crumbled inside. This coupon was worth so much more to him than it was to me, but he wanted to share something with me, his new friend.
All this man wanted was to enjoy a conversation with a stranger, and my pride and ego were to big for that. It would have cost me nothing but would have meant so much to him if I simply answered his questions with a friendly smile, and it's a lesson I'll never forget.

I've carried this coupon around in my wallet ever since that day. It serves as a reminder that people are good and to never consider yourself better than anyone else. It helps remind me to smile at that passerby on the street and to take the time to have a conversation with the stranger next to me. You never know how much those few minutes of kindness can mean to someone else.

14 October 2014

The Makings of a Gallery Wall

1. "God Bless Cowboys" (antique store) 2. "B" Hobby Lobby 3. "2 Corinthians 12:9" print (LilyandVal) 4. "Meet Me in Paris" print (The Wheatfield) 5. "Love Is How We Got Here" print (Oh Brooke) 6. "Your Home Is Where Your Heart Is" print (Lily Gene) 7. "Paris Print" streets of Paris 8. Key (antique store)

We moved into a new apartment last weekend and I knew that I wanted to create a gallery wall in my new room. I've been collecting parts and pieces for a few months, and when I brought it all together I was so happy with the look! I think the key to a good gallery wall is making sure that all of the pieces are a reflection of you and your personality, if you do that, I don't think you can go wrong. I also have to thank my amazing dad for his patience, and for hanging every single piece just the way I had layed it out.

Most of the prints above came from Etsy, and I've included links to the shops you can find them at. What do y'all think? Have you created a gallery wall before?

02 October 2014

Fake It

Warning...you might need sunglasses to look at the following picture...
No folks, I didn't use a filter for this picture, I am actually THAT pale. After posting this on Instagram a few weeks ago I decided I need to do something to make my skin glow during theses gloomy months.

Tanning beds just aren't an option after a few skin cancer scares in my family, so I went on a search for the best products to help you fake that "sun-kissed" glow this winter.

1. Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer (Fair/Medium) -I like to use the daily moisturizer in the morning, and my regular moisturizer at night. The fair to medium color gives my skin just enough glow without looking orange.

2. BeneFit Hoola - This is my absolute favorite bronzer. It has a matte finish so you won't look like you're going to a club, and the color is light so you can build the perfect tan to match your skin. It's great for the winter months when it's easy to look like a pumpkin if your bronzer is too dark.

3. Karora - Tinted Self Tan Mist - Radiant Goddess Light-Medium - Karora was nice enough to send me this self tan mist and I have to say that I will be buying it once I run out. I'm a fan of spray tans but can't afford to get them very often. This Karora self tan mist was easy to apply, and the color looked better and lasted longer than any spray tan I've ever gotten. This is a product you definitely need to try this winter! You can learn more about the Karora products here.

These are some products I love. What are some of the products you use to fake that sun-kissed glow?

30 June 2014

Writers Block, and How I Found The Words Again

I haven't blogged in over a month. An entire month. I have seven drafts sitting in a folder. Posts that I started and just couldn't find the words to finish.

As a "writer", one of the most frustrating feelings is not being able to find the words to express yourself. I realized that my problem was that I was feeling uninspired and I didn't have a place to create. I couldn't write in my bed without falling asleep, and writing at work just isn't an option. Our dining room table makes me want to poke my eyeballs out, and lugging my computer to a coffee shop every time I'm feeling inspired just isn't very practical. So, this weekend I was determined to create my own space, one that was warm and inviting.

I present to you...my new little magical corner....
Our patio seems to be the spot where we throw everything we can't find a place for. I lugged all of the junk to the dumpster, and since I'm on a budget, I spent the rest of the weekend bargain hunting for the perfect pieces. Between Target, Home South and World Market I was able to put together the outdoor space you see here. 

I sat down tonight with a glass of wine, soaking up my new space and determined get a new post up on "Just Bri", and it worked.
My dream is to be sitting at a cafe in Paris drinking Café Crème and smoking a cigarette (a la Earnest Hemingway) while I write, but if you can't be in Paris, you can attempt to re-create it. Right?

13 May 2014

My life on the road, traveling the NASCAR circuit. (Daytona, Miami, Martinsville, Charlotte & Kansas)

On  keeping with my promise to share more about my life on "Just Bri", I'm starting a new series of posts about my life on the road. I work for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. If you don't follow the sport, it's comparable to the minor leagues in baseball. Our schedule has 22 races a season, which means I'm on the road a lot. I love what I do because every day is different, which I think is something that helps keep me passionate about my career.

I've been involved in the sport in some way, shape or form since I was 17, so it's easy to take for granted how cool my "every day life" can be. With these posts I'll try to give you a behind the scenes look at what you can't catch just by watching the sport on TV.

We've had three races already this season, plus a media tour in Miami and a test here in Charlotte so this post is a bit of a catch-up. Moving forward I'll try to post once per race. I hope y'all enjoy!
  1. As a PR rep you sometimes wear lots of hats. At Daytona in January this included lugging around an extra firesuit and helmet for media availability.
  2. It rained the entire race-day in Daytona and I prayed for it to stop so we could race and so I could get back to Charlotte to see my parents. I snapped a picture of the most beautiful sunset over the race track as the rain began to clear.
  3. Boarding a plane to Miami while I finished some post-race work from the weekend before. Sometimes our trips are back to back so you learn to use your time wisely.
  4. Behind the scenes at Telemundo filming a segment for "Titulares y Mas.
  5. At the Yahoo! Deportes offices in Miami. As a Hispanic PR rep this was one of my favorite moments.
  6. Waiting for the Sprint Cup Series race to end at Martinsville Speedway so that we could finally race. It had rained all weekend long.
  7. Celebrity chef Lorena Garcia cooked some delicious Mexican food for the race track that our team was able to taste test.
  8. Two of the drivers for my team about to be introduced at Kansas Speedway before the race.
  9. Two crew members from my team watching the final laps of the race at Kansas Speedway. After what had been a long and eventful race all of us were holding our breathe at the end.

12 May 2014

10 Things People Love Saying To Latinas

I get all kinds of remarks when people find out that I'm Hispanic. The fact that I don't "look Mexican" (whatever that means) sends people into a state of shock and evokes a nasty case of diarrhea-of-the-mouth.

By this point I've heard it all. I know that the majority of the time people don't mean to be offensive with their comments, but sometimes they make me cringe. I've compiled for you a list of the most frequent things I hear as an American-Latina...

"You don't look Mexican"...What does that mean? What am I supposed to look like? Latin American people all look different, just like people in the United States do.

"Can you say something in Spanish?"...Yes, I can say almost as many things in Spanish as I can in English. Do I want to stand here and say random words to you in Spanish? Not really.

"Do you mean New Mexico?"...I always get this comment when I tell people I grew up in Mexico City. No I don't mean New Mexico the state, I mean Mexico, the country directly south of us.

"You probably made straight "A's" in Spanish class"... I wish I would have. Did you make straight "A's" in English class?

You're not really Mexican, so you don't get it....I've gotten this comment from both Hispanic and non-Hispanic people. Because I'm multicultural (American-Latina) people assume I can't fully relate to one culture or the other.

It shouldn't take you long to translate that document... If you want me to literally translate it word for word then no, that shouldn't take long. If you want the document to make sense, then that might take a while.

You're probably really good at salsa dancing... This one makes me laugh because I consider myself to be rhythmically-challenged, I wish I could move like Shakira but unfortunately "my hips don't lie".

I bet you tan really easily... Nope. I actually have relatively fair skin and burn to a crisp if I don't wear sunscreen.

Is your family Spanish?...Spanish people are from Spain, the country. My dad is from Mexico, so he's Mexican.

Don't you just love J. Lo?...Whyyyyyyyy does it always have to be J. Lo? Let me tell you about Julieta Venegas, Belinda or Paulina Rubio.

11 May 2014

Bachelorette Weekend in Nashville

I've been feeling a bit frustrated with the blogging world. Lately it seems like you're not a "real blogger" unless your pictures are perfectly staged and splashed with gold glitter, fancy quotes and fresh flowers. I have fun sharing makeup finds and outfits I've styled, because let's face it, I'm about as girly as it gets. Honestly though, I've never been one for following the crowd. So pictures of macaroons and peonies, although beautiful to look at, aren't an honest reflection of my daily life, which is what I want my blog to be about. I've realized that the most unique thing I have to offer to the blogging world is my life, and my experiences, so that's what you'll be seeing a lot more of around here. Life isn't perfect, so I don't want to make my blog look that way in order to feel accepted.

Now that I got that off my chest...
One of my "little sisters" from my college sorority days is getting married in a few weeks, so we headed to Nashville for her bachelorette party. Jordan and I lived together my senior year of college, and we have one of those rare friendships where you can not talk to the person for a few weeks or months but quickly pick right back up where you left off. I wouldn't have missed her special weekend for the world, but I was a little nervous because I didn't know some of the girls going on the trip. Such a girl thing to be worried about, I know.
Well, it was a great weekend! Nine of us piled into two rooms and did all the typical things you do during bachelorette weekends. We found the best brunch spots, which included lots of Bloody Mary's and the most delicious breakfast I've ever had (a quesadilla covered in scrambled eggs and salsa from Jackson's). We walked along the river, wandered in and out of all the country bars and some girls even bought boots. When in Nashville, right?
We tried to visit The Bluebird Cafe, but I think it's become pretty popular since the show "Nashville" and kind of hard to get in. A picture in front of The Bluebird still counts right?
Lately I've realized that the friends I have now will be the ones who will be there for me during the next milestones in my life - weddings, babies, etc. It's so cool that I've known these girls throughout different chapters and I can't wait to support each other during these next ones. Jordan is the first one of my close friends to get married, and I'm so glad that I was able to be a part of her bachelorette weekend. I can't wait to watch her walk down the isle in a few weeks!
Nashville, you're pretty fun. This Texas girl can't wait to visit again soon.
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