Ghosts of Halloweens Past: A Cow and a Butcher

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I have to admit that once I was too old to go trick or treating, I lost interest in Halloween altogether. As adults, it seemed that the day turned into an excuse to either act like an asshole or dress like a slut. Yet, two years ago, I once again found myself excited about Halloween. At the time I had the pleasure of working with several people I considered (and still consider) good friends, and our workplace encouraged wearing costumes to the office. There was also a costume contest, which was much more competitive than I expected, considering the prize was a tacky trophy, which the winner would proudly display until the following year’s winner was chosen. The excitement of Halloween was contagious, and before I knew it, my boyfriend and I were plotting a couple’s costume.

The costume came together rather quickly after I spotted a cow suit on a costume-seeking trip to Goodwill. I should probably back up and tell you that I love cows. I had never spent much time around these gentle creatures, but once surrounded by them during six months spent in India, I grew to adore them.

I should also mention that when I adopted Marley six years ago, I adopted another cat. While perusing the Oregon Humane Society’s website, I spotted Marley (then named Squiggle…I’m not kidding) and instantly fell in love with his blue eyes. Imagine my surprise when I saw a note indicating that he was part of a bonded pair that must be adopted together. The other cat’s name? Cow! I knew it was meant to be and adopted them both the very next day. Cow, much like his name would imply, was a big, black and white cat with an even bigger personality. He acted very much like the cows in India, who knew they could get away with anything because they were worshipped. Some might say I worshipped Cow. He and I instantly connected in a way that I have never experienced with an animal. Many people called him a “mama’s boy” because when I was in the room, it was like no one else existed. I adored him with all my heart, which I can honestly say was broken when his life was suddenly cut short. It is his paw prints that I have tattooed on the inside of my wrists, something I did shortly after his death when my grief was utterly unbearable. I digress; the point is that at the time I spied this costume, I was a cow-loving lady with a cat named Cow.

And, the final part of this background story: shortly before Halloween, there was a flurry of e-mails in my office about purchasing a cow from a local farm and splitting the meat. In fact, the subject of one of those e-mails was “Happy Cow”. That didn’t quite sit well with me, a cow lover, as well as a longtime vegetarian, so I crafted a reply to the entire office letting them all know as much. My direct communication precipitated a slew of apologies communicated via e-mail, cards, and even gifts of cow figurines. Needless to say, I did not receive any e-mails regarding the purchase of a so-called “happy cow” after that day.

It is only now that I think I have accurately conveyed the hilarity, not only of wearing this costume to my office’s costume party, but also winning the costume contest! My boyfriend and I actually thought we were toeing a fine line when we decided to go ahead with the costume, as many people were still slightly afraid to mention beef or cows around me, so you can only imagine our surprise when we were voted the winners! We celebrated our victory at one of our favorite bars, surrounded by close friends. The evening ended just as hilariously when I stumbled out of the bar as a cow in very high heels and attempted to hail a cab, which upon closer inspection turned out to be a pizza delivery car. No cabs in sight, the cow and butcher caught the next bus, and much to my embarrassment, my rather intoxicated boyfriend/butcher tried to sell brisket to everyone on the bus.

Happy Halloween!

Panza llena, corazon contento

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One of the more surprising things I’ve learned during these last few months of glorious freedom is that I actually don’t hate cooking. I just hated cooking after a long day in an office; cooking after a day spent on the beach is actually enjoyable. Now that the tourist season is picking up and the restaurants in town are becoming more crowded, it’s quite nice to come home and have a quiet dinner with my boyfriend.

I’ve never considered myself to be a good cook although I come from a family of amazing cooks. Italian families tend to breed women who can whip up delicious meals at a moment’s notice without cookbooks or measuring cups…that’s never been my style. While cooking was never my forte, eating certainly always has been. Those of you who know me in real life know that I can eat, but strangers are often surprised at how much I can throw down at warp speed. My ability to eat mass quantities of food even earned me a bit of a reputation at several restaurants I frequented in Portland. Waitstaff found it amusing, and at one of my favorite restaurants, I was greeted with a loud “Hey, fatso!” upon walking through the door. This often confused other customers who would turn to see me waving back. I have to admit that I’ve always secretly feared that years and years of overeating would catch up with me one night and I would awake to find a six hundred pound woman staring back at me in the mirror. I'm not kidding.

Since moving to Mexico, quite a few local friends have been kind enough to invite us into their homes for authentic, homemade meals. Needless to say, I’ve paid attention as they cook and my boyfriend and I have successfully recreated several of those meals, much to our own surprise. I thought it would be a nice addition to Style by Santina (when my outfits might not be quite as interesting as they were when I lived in a city and will be again once I return) to share a few of those meals with my dear readers.

Tonight’s menu includes a new favorite: potato and cheese flautas, which I like to think of as Mexican style Perogis, topped with Pico de Gallo and sour cream, served with rice and beans.

For the Pico de Gallo:

½ of a large red onion, chopped
½ of a green pepper, chopped
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Juice of three limes
Approximately 3 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
Hot peppers (to taste), chopped (Tonight we used three serrano peppers.)


1.    Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2.    Season with salt and pepper.
3.    Allow to sit for at least a half hour before serving.

For the flautas:

2-3 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
Approximately 1 ½ cups Oaxaca cheese, chopped
Corn tortillas
Vegetable oil


1.    Place potatoes in a medium saucepan. Add just enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain.
2.    Place potatoes in a large bowl and add cheese. Mash potatoes and cheese until smooth and well mixed.
3.    Spread about two tablespoons of potato mixture along the middle of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla as tightly as possible. (Note: I used tortillas that were handmade today. If using ones that are not fresh, warming them is recommended so that they are pliable.) Place the flauta seam down on a plate. Repeat.

4.    Add vegetable oil (just enough to fry half a flauta) to a skillet and heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Carefully lay the flauta in the oil, seam side down, until one side is golden and crisp (about 45 seconds). Flip the flauta and fry the other side. Remove from oil and drain on a plate covered by a paper towel.

5.    Plate with a side of rice, refried beans, Pico de Gallo, and sour cream.

(Note: No recipes for the rice and beans were included as I did not make either from scratch…a girl can only do so much!)

What do you guys think? Are you interested in reading more about the yummy Mexican dishes I’m learning to make?

Celtics pride

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October 26, 2010

T-shirt: Gap
Skirt: Gap
Necklace: Sloan Boutique, Portland
Shoes: Sperry Top-Sider (Nordstrom Rack)
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs (Nordstrom Rack)
Hoodie: NBA Store (gift)

As many of you already know, I’m a big basketball fan and, more specifically, a lifelong Celtics fan, so for the season opening Celtics vs. Miami game there was only one option when it came time to get dressed: green. I actually have this shirt in three colors; I bought them on super sale, and I really like the roomy fit and wide neckline. That being said, the length of the shirt isn’t the most flattering as it hits right at the widest part of my hips, so I almost always tuck it in albeit in a haphazard way. Some of you might recall that I found this denim skirt while packing up my house in Portland and wore it immediately. I still can’t remember when I bought it, but it’s a nice contrast to the other denim skirt I brought to Mexico. With all the hype about Miami’s “big three”, I couldn’t resist wearing my wishbone necklace for luck…not that my Celtics needed it! This preppy look begged for my boat shoes, and this berry ombre bag perfectly complements them. It was also big enough to hold my hoodie, which I planned to wear as soon as the sun went down, as well as the new camera.

These pictures were snapped just before the start of the game. I spied this Banksy poster a few weeks ago and knew that once the camera arrived I’d have to take a few shots in front of it. After all, perhaps my favorite pictures from Portland were taken by a Banksy design…whether it was a real Banksy or not is up for debate, but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? That being said, I do know one thing that was most definitely real: the Celtics victory over Miami!!!!

Romping around

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October 25, 2010

Romper: Victoria’s Secret
Tank: Banana Republic
Necklace: Betsey Johnson (Nordstrom Rack)
Sandals: Gap

That’s right, I’m back! So much has happened since my last post; I don’t even know where to start! Obviously, we received our new camera (like, today), and I couldn’t wait to snap a few pics! As most of you know, the camera and laptop were stolen when our previous house was broken into, along with jewelry, sneakers, iPods, my makeup…yes, you read that correctly…even my makeup! Basically everything except our clothes and surfboards was stolen, but we are moving on. September is behind us, and October has been a much better month. The humidity is gone, and the weather is perfect: daytime temperatures of around 95 and “cool” evenings around 85, not to mention nothing but sunshine! After six years in Portland, it feels liberating not to have the thought of rain even cross my mind. We finally found a long term rental and will be moving in November 1st. I can’t wait to unpack, after two months of living out of my bags, and start to feel more at home. The issue of buying a laptop and waiting for someone to visit and bring it down was alleviated by two rather generous individuals, who, upon hearing about the break in, offered up a laptop that wasn’t getting much use for us to borrow indefinitely. Things are starting to fall into place, and it feels like the extended vacation we planned is just now beginning. Days are spent on the beach and evenings seem to go in one of two directions: quiet nights in the house cooking dinner and hanging out with Marley or out with local friends, drinking lots of tequila into the wee hours of the morning!

A Canadian friend, who lives here but went home for a few weeks, offered to bring a camera back for us, so I took advantage and ordered a camera the day she left! We were on our way to the beach when we saw her, so playing around with it had to wait until our return. I was so excited to get back to blogging that when I got home, I immediately showered and threw on some clothes. The boyfriend and I planned to hang out at the house for a bit, reading and sitting in hammocks, so I went with comfort but also something that was true to my style. I can’t think of anything more true to me than black and white stripes! I have to admit that I love rompers, so when I eyed this black one, which I had yet to wear, it was a no brainer. As I always do when wearing only black and white, I added a pop of color with this neon pink and silver necklace (one of a few necklaces that wasn’t stolen) and finished it off with silver sandals.

While this isn’t my favorite look, I couldn’t resist putting together a quick post after such a long break. Not only that, I had to show off my tan. Go on, tell me you’re jealous that I’m this tan in October!

Guest post: Stripes unite with Ashley from Free Honey!

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Top: Gap
Jumper: a now defunct Upper East Side boutique
Tights: Hue (Macy's)
Shoes: Nine West
Necklace: made by me
Bag: H&M

Hola!  I'm Ashley from Free Honey!  When I first volunteered to guest post for Santina, I knew I would have to pick an outfit that incorporated stripes, since we both love them.  In fact, our mutual love of stripes has enabled us to form a friendship, first cross country, now across the border.  Okay, so maybe it wasn't just stripes that made me come back again and again to this lovely lady's blog, but it sure as hell didn't hurt!  Once I had settled on a theme for this outfit (Stripes. Duh. Pay attention!), my next quandary was which stripes should I sport?  Anyone who's familiar with Free Honey probably knows I have a few (ahem) striped pieces to choose from.  Sidebar: for those of you who are not familiar - get yourself over there! 

I went with this simple crewneck because it's new (for those of you in the continental United States, the world's softest crewnecks are on sale at The Gap). I wanted to pair it with something fun, so I went with this adorable little plaid jumper.  There is a chill in the air so tights were a must, and since Santina and I also share a love of wedges, these shoes seemed perfect!  I took these at dusk in the park just by my house hence the moody atmosphere. 

So Santina, are you jealous of my tights and suede shoes?  No, you're probably too tan to care.  Thank you so much for having me over here!  Next perhaps you will invite me to Mexico. Not that you have to or anything, I'm just saying...

*Notes from Santina: Maybe I’ve watched too much ANTM and heard too much talk of “signature walks” but whenever I read Ashley’s posts I can’t help but notice her signature shot: side to camera. So, when Ashley sent me not one but three signature shots for this post I just had to smile.

And while Ashley is correct that I am rather tan, I will admit that I do miss tights…and wedges, actually. For life in a town that has mostly cobblestone and dirt roads, I couldn’t justify bringing more than two pairs of wedges although Ashley came very close to convincing me to bring these!

And the winner is...

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Remember that post about a Clyde's Rebirth giveaway? A winner was chosen...

And just who was lucky number 41?  Ummmm, that would be me!

Screaming "I LOVE MERL" while jumping up and down was one of the requirements for entry, but saying it in Spanish while dripping with sweat? Well, that was just my personal touch.

I am so excited to get my hands on one of Merl's amazing creations! Sadly, shipping to Mexico is Sha-dy (yes, with a capital s), and my necklace would probably never arrive (as so many friends have warned me). There is no way in hell I will be robbed again, so I will have it shipped to Erin for safe keeping until her visit in December. Is that an unbearably long time to wait? Yes, but it will be well worth it!

Stay tuned for pictures of what I decide to get with my $100 store credit! Thanks, Merl!

Guest post: Becca from Free Honey

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Dress: Aqua

Sweater: Forever 21 
Bracelet: Forever 21 
Flats: Jeffery Campbell 
Tights: Target

Hello! I'm Becca from Free Honey. I was thrilled to pitch in when Santina put out the call for guest posts. The relationships that I've built through blogging never cease to amaze me. Even though we've never met in real life, Santina has quickly become a friend and confidante, and lately, a constant source of great advice!

I'm sure Santina will be back to blogging before we know it and making us all jealous that she's living in warm, sunny Mexico and making daily beach trips while we're all scraping frost off our cars and wearing Ugg boots against our better judgment (oh...what? just me? Shut up! My feet get cold...). So, I thought it was only appropriate that I infuse this place with some New England fall! I'll admit that I'm not fall's biggest fan, but I'm trying to roll with the punches and make some of my favorite pieces more autumnal.

If you read my blog, you'll know that I pretty much hate wearing pants. Just because the weather's colder doesn't mean I like pants any better. So, during the colder seasons, I'm addicted to tights. I'm busy over here trying to get all the wear I can out of my summer pieces, this dress included. I've found that tights and a chunky knit do wonders to tone down summery colors and patterns. I scored this sweater last year at Forever 21 and I'm kicking myself for not buying it in multiple colors - I've been wearing it incessantly since fall rolled around.

Right now I'm trying to be an optimist about the colder weather, but, at heart I'm a bit of a complainer (especially when it comes to snow)! So, in exchange for this guest post I'm hoping that Santina will be hosting a Mexican blogger meetup and fiesta come snowy January. Sounds fair. Right? Who's with me!

Clyde's Rebirth Giveaway!

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My fellow self-proclaimed crazy cat lady, Merl, is having a giveaway, and I really want to win! I first came across Merl's unique jewelry when the lovely Morgan rocked a harness necklace on her blog, Morgan and Lua. Not only did I fall in love with Merl's creations, but her blog quickly became one of my daily reads...what can I say? I can't resist a girl with a sassy spirit!

As many of you already know, my house here in Mexico was broken into, and many of my favorite accessories (you know, those that I couldn't live without...ironic, isn't it?) were stolen. If I win this giveaway, I think a harness necklace of my very own could fill a few of the holes left in my heart by my stolen jewelry. Seriously, how cute would this look on my rather tan shoulders?


Guest post: Kate's back!

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October 8, 2010 

On Kate:

Dress: Everly (Modcloth)
Shoes: Chelsea Co (Modcloth)
Patterned tights: H&M
Pink tights: Target
Necklace: Nordstrom
Earrings: Vintage
Cardigan: Romy
Bag: let them eat cake (Ruche)

Fall has officially begun in Portland, and despite the rain and chill, I can at least be happy about my favorite shopping season!

In honor of Santina, I thought I would dress to match the weather, which was grey—but I wasn’t quite ready to let go of summer today, so I adapted one of my favorite summer dresses to be more season-appropriate with a cardigan and of course, my favorite fall staple: tights. (I was also sure to sneak in a splash of color by layering my knit tights with a magenta under-layer, which also made for a warmer outfit!)

I also couldn’t go today without wearing my favorite bow necklace—funny, I never pegged myself as a bows kind of girl before I got this necklace, but now it’s probably my most frequently worn piece of jewelry. And I love that it’s reversible—the opposite side is a plan copper design, but today I felt like jazzing it up with the pearl side.

Lastly, I am always happy when sporting my heeled oxfords, which I was thrilled to find this summer. My friends either love them or hate them—some arguing they’re too “grandma” and some saying they are adorable. I personally think it is possible to rock the “grandma” look and still look fabulous. What do you think?

*Note from Santina: I have to smile whenever I see these shoes as I still recall the day they were purchased. Kate and I were attending a terribly boring training (while painfully hungover, if I remember correctly) and when I glanced in her direction I saw her staring at my shoes. A minute later I received a text from Kate, telling me just how much she adored the shoes I had on. I returned to my desk at the end of the day to find an e-mail from Kate with a link to these shoes. Before I could even respond to tell her to click "Buy", another e-mail came my way telling me I was too slow and they had already been purchased. I guess I'm on "Team Grandma" because I absolutely love these shoes on Kate!

I get by with a little help from my friends...

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October 7, 2010

Sweater: Trouve (Nordstrom)

Dress: Tucker for Target

Necklace: Temple St. Clair for Target

Ring: BCBG Max Azria

Shoes: Forever 21

Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs (Nordstrom)

As I'm still without a laptop and camera, I am relying on friends (of both the real life and blogosphere variety) to help me out with guest posts. Unsurprisingly, Erin was more than willing to lend a helping hand during a challenging time in my life. Over the course of our friendship, I've learned that I can always count on Erin. She's the type of friend who never belittles my feelings even when others might consider them completely absurd. When my boyfriend convinced me to go to a divey sports bar to watch the NCAA basketball finals and the waiter spilled beer on my See by Chloe bag without an apology even crossing his mind, I knew exactly who would rant with me while others thought I should get over it. During the ANTM season which McKey won, I happened to have nearly identical hair (I had it before her makeover, thank you very much), and everywhere (everywhere!) I went I was constantly being told that I looked exactly like the point of annoyance. My dear friend ran interference and would stop people mid-sentence in her charmingly sarcastic way with "yes, she knows." While I can look back and laugh at these memories, it is the truly painful ones that really demonstrate what an amazingly caring and loyal friend I have in Erin. I know that whatever life throws at me, when times get tough and I feel like I can't go on, Erin will always be right there with me, agreeing that life sucks (I hate that rainbows and sunshine bullshit) but reassuring me that I will pull through.

So now that you all know what a true friend Erin is, let's talk about her fabulous outfit! I have to admit that when I first saw these pics, I was a little sad not to be experiencing fall this year. Growing up and attending college in New England instilled a deep love for fall above all other seasons. Crisp, clean air, striking foliage, apple picking (not to mention apple pies and cider), layers and layers of clothes...what's not to love? While fall in Portland isn't quite as lovely, Erin captured the essence of the season perfectly. I absolutely adore the deconstructed romance of this it just me or does this feel very Rodarte in that sense?

I was actually with Erin when she bought this sweater (and the shoes and bag for that matter), and had I not already planned to move to Mexico for the winter, it would have been another item (like this dress) that we both just had to have. I love it paired with this floral dress and platform Mary Janes, creating a sweet yet edgy look, which many of you know is exactly the aesthetic I can't resist! As I've mentioned many times, Portland's dreary weather can easily drive a girl to wear all black, but Erin kept this look cheerful with this vibrant red bag. To finish off the look, she added a gold ring and necklace, which perfectly compliment the hardware of what I call her "Blazer bag". Erin is a die hard Trailblazers fan, and this bag matches all of her jerseys!

Not only is Erin an amazing friend and a style maven, but she is also a whiz in the kitchen! Seriously, there is nothing this girl can't do! Please check out her new cooking blog and show her some love:

I owe a big thanks to Erin for helping me keep Style by Santina alive. I should also thank her photographer (do you recognize that signature diagonal shot?), Kate, who you will be seeing again soon, as well.

If you are interested in contributing a guest post, please e-mail me at:

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