Category:

Latina

Growing up a bicultural first-generation Mexican American Latina, my viewpoint may be a little different than others. I think my unique perspective and exposure to the Latino culture and Southern American culture growing up let me look at the world with an open heart and open mind.

I grew up in a very culturally rich city, Chicago where it was normal to see people of all different races, religions and countries of origin. It was nothing exceptional to hear many different languages spoken at any given time. Even in my own home, Spanish and English were both spoken.  I thought this was completely normal and I wish it was.

When we traveled abroad, our parents demanded that we treated the people and country of others with reverence and respect. We were taught to immerse ourselves in the culture. When in Rome, live as the Romans was sort of my dad’s travel mantra. I’m so grateful he did this for us. I want to do the same for my girls.

I want them to embrace their Latina and their American cultures and I want them to respect the people and cultures of other people. We do this through exposure, travel and teaching patience and tolerance and immersion.

I think our cultures, our religions, our circumstances and experiences give us all our own very unique perspective of life and here I share mine.

immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

Zero tolerance for humanity, this is the America our President wants us to live in. A world where we dehumanize entire races and refer to them as criminals and “vermin”. Spreading the gospel through fearmongering that these “vermin” will infest our country.

A world where we rip children from their parent’s arms and put them into “camps” where child migrant detention workers are told to stop frightened siblings from hugging, denying them even the simplest comfort through the trauma of being stolen as they watch their parents being arrested for trying to seek a better life. If nothing else has made the connection for you between Germany in the 40’s, the “camps” should make it crystal clear where this all is headed.

immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

This could be me. This could be many of you. And don’t kid yourself, if it’s being done to immigrants at the border, it can be done to anyone. Just because you had the good luck of being born inside this country does not make you better, more deserving or immune from the wrath of zero tolerance. Because let’s be honest, the only thing that makes you any different than “them” is dumb luck. You are not better in any way than any other human being. A human is a human is a human. Tomorrow, zero tolerance could be pointed in your direction.

READ ALSO:  No Sanctuary for Children

What I find to be the most sickening thing about all of this (and the list is long) is that our current leader has asked himself, “What is the quickest way to get people to give up on their dreams? What is the quickest way to stop a strong-willed asylum seeker in their tracks?” Threaten to take their children away. This is America today.

Some people value being “right” over being moral. They value getting their way, over giving in to help others. They would rather die proving us wrong than relent to make things fair. Kindness, respect and human dignity are provisional and not extended to all people. To them, not all humans are created equally.

No one is safe; not even children. In fact, they are the targets. Anyone with a brain knows that the fastest way to stop anyone from doing anything, including fighting for their own life until the bitter end, is to threaten their child’s life. We lose the ability to live for ourselves the moment we become parents because we serve a higher purpose.

immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

As parents, we would lay down and die for our children without hesitation. It’s not even something we rationalize or think about. It is instinct. I’m not even sure we can control it. If our child is in danger, we throw ourselves in harm’s way without a moment’s regret. It’s compulsory and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

READ ALSO: We the People

But as every parent knows, that kind of all-consuming, unconditional, miracle, life-affirming love has a price. The price is that we will do anything for them and would rather sacrifice everything, including any chance of happiness and safety and peace, to make sure that they are safe and have a better chance at life.

This is why so many immigrants come to our country from Central and South America (and around the world) seeking asylum; seeking shelter; seeking safety; seeking a better life for themselves and for their children. These are third world countries where the most valuable thing you have is family and we are taught from a very young age that family is everything. To deny them even that basic right is a cruelty beyond measure.

They do not come to steal your jobs. They do not come to rape you. They do not come to pillage your towns and destroy your lives. They do not come to flood your streets with drugs and murder your children. Most people seeking entry into the United States come for one thing and one thing only, a better life. It has absolutely nothing to do with you, least of all to harm you.

When I became a mom, my entire life changed. I was no longer who I was. I was a mom. My life was no longer my own and it never will be again because I relinquished that life for a bigger more intentional one. My purpose is to care for, love and raise good human beings. I am the keeper of the future, as are all mothers and fathers.

The people who want to build the wall know this but they don’t care when it applies to immigrants because they have dehumanized this group down so much that they no longer see them as human beings, and they never see them as equals. This is how they deny culpability. This is how they sleep at night. This is how and why they rip sobbing children from the arms of their desperate parents.

READ ALSO: If we Do Not Recognize, We Cannot Heal

The children being ripped from their parents’ arms are not collateral damage of immigrants coming to this country. No, the children are being used as pawns by our administration. Give us our wall, stay on your side and your children will be back in your arms. Until then, we will take them. Displace them. Make them disappear. You will never see them again. Our government is holding their children hostage. Our President is terrorizing families seeking shelter and asylum.

immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

Imagine coming to a country, someplace you have always believed is better than where you come from; less dangerous, less volatile, less crooked and you find yourself being so cruelly refused.  Not only are we sending you back. We are sending you back with empty arms. We will eliminate the very reason you came seeking a better life. Go back to your dismal life with your empty arms and let this be a lesson to you, we don’t want you here and your children mean less to us than garbage.

The only way any of this changes is through Congressional legislation. Even though, please keep in mind, there is currently no law requiring that families be separated at the border that is a mandate of our President. This is your America.

It is up to you and me and every single person in the United States who respects and values human rights to experience a little discomfort, step up and speak out on behalf of the sobbing, frightened, motherless children in the camps. If we don’t help them, who will? You can stop this madness. Start small.

Contact your Congressional leaders, raise your voices to let them know this is not ok and we have zero tolerance for separating parents from their children.

Contact your congressional leaders. Find them here.

Here is what you can say:

“Hi, my name is _____ and I reside in ______. I’m urging Senator/Representative ______ to denounce Trump’s family separation policy and use all of Congress’ authority to stop it. I urge you to support of Senator Feinstein’s bill, the Keep Families Together Act, S. 3036, and insist that immediate attention be given to the atrocities occurring at our border.”

Sign the petition.

I signed a petition to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate, which says:

“Stop tearing children away from their parents. Families belong together.”

If you believe families belong together, please sign this petition? Click here 

Make your voices heard. This is our America.

 

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avocado, aguacates frescos, avocados, heart healthy fruit, american heart association

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Aguacates Frescos – Saborea Uno Hoy® but all opinions and love for the avocado are my own.

Have you ever eaten something and thought to yourself, this is amazing? This is how I have always felt about the avocado. I grew up with them in my kitchen constantly ripening, like most of you grew up with bananas. In a Mexican household, it is a staple.

I know the avocado fruit has gone mainstream lately with the rise in popularity of avocado toast and I get it.

I had never had avocado toast until the last couple of years. I’ve eaten it in guacamole, on tacos, out of the skin, in salads, with my eggs and on the side of just about everything but never on toast. Once I did, I questioned how I had gotten this far in life without putting my favorite fruit on sugar-free toast.  Who needs jam?

READ ALSO: Easy Recipe for Chicken Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce

Did you know that while heart disease is the #1 killer for all Americans, Hispanics are typically at higher risk (according to the National Institutes of Health) because they are more likely to have risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking and diabetes.

But just because we are predisposed to some of these risk factors that doesn’t mean we are destined to that fate. It means that we need to consult our doctors and be more diligent and aware of what we put into our bodies. Our dietary choices (what we choose to serve our family for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day) can help manage blood pressure and blood cholesterol and prevent type 2 diabetes. And if we reduce these risk factors, we help reduce the chances of developing heart disease for ourselves and our family.

Many Americans struggle with being overweight. It’s just the super-sized portion society we live in. But as we are all learning, sometimes less is more. When it comes to tackling obesity; good sources of dietary fiber like fresh avocados add bulk to the diet and can help you feel fuller faster, which can increase satiety (satisfaction) and help manage weight, reducing the need to eat bigger portions to feel full.

When it comes to tackling high blood pressure: sodium can increase blood pressure and so it is recommended that we limit intake. Lucky for us, avocados are sodium free and can be paired with just about any other nutritious food.

READ ALSO: Best Tech to Help You Get Healthy in the New Year

Like many of you, I believed for a very long time that all fat was bad. I was guilty of eating all the fat-free food but I was misinformed. Let go of outdated thinking that all fat is bad for you. The truth is there are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. The saturated “bad” fats should be avoided because eating saturated foods can cause cardiovascular disease whereas unsaturated “good” fats can have heart-healthy benefits. Avocados contribute naturally good fats to our diet, are a great substitute for foods high in bad fats and do not raise cholesterol levels.

avocado, aguacates frescos, avocados, heart healthy fruit, american heart association

Visit the Saborea Uno Hoy website for more information about the heart health benefits of fresh avocados. Avocados are such a versatile fruit. There is surely a recipe for everyone. Plus, I recommend checking out R.D. and Saborea Uno Hoy spokesperson Sylvia Meléndez Klinger’s 4 tips that will help keep your heart healthy, click here to read more!

One of my favorite recipes from the Saborea Uno Hoy site is Heart-Healthy Frozen Avocado Banana Paletas. My girls love ice cream and this frozen avocado banana paleta is not only creamy and delicious, it’s very kid-friendly.  Adults love them too. I know I do. They’re so tasty and you can feel good about feeding them to your family.

avocado, aguacates frescos, avocados, heart healthy fruit, american heart association

What’s your favorite way to enjoy aguacates frescos / fresh avocado in your home?

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How Disney Pixar Coco got Mexican Culture Right, Coco, Disney Pixar, Mexico, Why Coco is culturally relevant, What Coco is really about, Dia de los Muertos, Day of the dead

Yesterday, we finally saw Disney Pixar’s Coco and, as a Mexican, it exceeded my expectations in every way. Disney got this movie 100% right from the culture, to the people even down to the small details in the geography. Being Mexican isn’t just where your people are descended from it is a way of life, a way of thinking and believing. It is all about our culture and our culture revolves around one primary belief…family is everything.

Without too many spoilers; Coco is the story of a little boy and aspiring musician, Miguel, who in pursuit of his own dream to be a musician goes against what his family wants for him. Through his disobedience on Dia de los Muertos, he finds himself in the Land of the Dead. In order to return, all he needs to the Land of the Living is a blessing from a family member, a magical marigold petal and a promise he’s not sure he can make.

Through an expected spiritual journey of his own, Miguel comes to realize that while pursuing your dreams and being passionate and unrelenting in that pursuit is something that our people believe very deeply in, family always comes first. Sometimes you have to lose that safety net, one most of us have never been without, to realize what is truly important in this life and beyond.

Director, Lee Unkrich, went above and beyond by sending members of the crew to Mexico for research in order to gain an authentic sense of the country’s music and culture and it shows. I also love that he used an all Latino voice cast including, to name a few, Renee Victor, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Edward James Olmos, Anthony Gonzalez and Ana Ofelia Murguía. It made it feel authentic and not contrived like so many other movies have done. The Spanish language is not merely adding an “o” to every English word and the culture is certainly more than adding heat to everything. I especially loved that in the Land of the Dead some of Mexico’s great icons were included like Frida Kahlo, Cantiflas, Pedro Infante, Jorge Nigrete and Pancho Villa to name just a few.

If you’ve ever wanted to get a real inside feel for what it’s like to be Mexican, to live the culture and to understand what propels us forward, what drives us to live our truth on every level, Coco will lay it all out for you.

I love that it also shows how important music is to our people. It is not just to dance to, though we love a good party, but to pass down the stories of our people, portray the love of our culture and share our deep feelings about life, love and death. The grito, that portrays pure happiness and excitement, was a big part of my childhood coming from a family of musicians and farmers. Farming was the family trade but playing music and singing was the family’s joy, something we’ve always done together.

When I was watching the movie, I was quite emotional because the landscape was the perfect portrayal of my Mexico. The cobblestone streets, the courtyard in the center of the family homes, the iron gate opening to the family’s courtyard, the graveyard, the “chancla”, the musicians in the plaza and the way the people all take care of one another; everyone is family, this is exactly what it was like for me as a child visiting my grandfather and grandmother in my dad’s small village of Etúcuaro, Mexico.

Coco, Disney Pixar, Mexico, Why Coco is culturally relevant, What Coco is really about, Dia de los Muertos, Day of the dead

I think there has always been a common misconception to the outside world that our Day of the Dead is an extension of modern-day Halloween, in which the main focus is dressing up but it is nothing like that. Our Day of the Dead is a beautiful day of reverence; a day to pay homage, honor and remember our loved ones who have passed on. For us, they may be gone but they will never be forgotten. It’s a day to feel close to them and share memories of their lives. It’s a day to celebrate not that they are gone but the lives they lived. I think Coco did an amazing job of portraying that.

The film, Coco, itself is a visually stunning Disney film with a beautiful message; the most important message. I think every child and parent of every culture, nationality and race should watch this movie because when you have nothing else, you always have your family because family is everything. They are who will always catch you when you fall, love you when you are unlovable, forgive you when you do the unforgivable, pick you up when you’ve fallen down and never forget you. We live on through their memories forever so be the best you while you’re here because that’s how you will be remembered for eternity.

Coco is a movie that I can and do plan on handing down to my children and my children’s children. My only regret is that I didn’t get to watch it with my dad and he will be returning to Mexico this week. As a Mexican and a musician himself, I know he will fall in love with Coco and its soundtrack as much as I have. The music is haunting and beautiful and pulls at your heartstrings while making your chest swell with emotion. I was transported back to my childhood and left blurry eyed remembering all those who have crossed over the Marigold bridge.

Coco, Disney Pixar, Mexico, Why Coco is culturally relevant, What Coco is really about, Dia de los Muertos, Day of the dead

I haven’t been to Mexico in years since my grandfather died. My dad has asked me repeatedly to bring my girls to visit him, to show them the land where he was born; the country that is drenched in passion, soul, and an unending belief that through hard work and big dreams anything is possible but the pain of the loss of those I remember so fondly, no longer being there to greet me with a smile and a hug has been too much to bear.

The thought of not greeting the day with the sight of my grandfather’s back as he quietly eats his breakfast of pan con leche or hearing my tio Narci’s Grito or “Orale” when he’s proud of something we did, even if it was just our first steps has been hard for me but now, I want to go to be among the place where they once lived, where their memories are soaked into the furniture and the walls. Where they are known and remembered.

Coco stirred up all the pride I feel for my culture, its people and brought it all to the top. I’m putting it out to the universe to take my daughters to see the land that made us who we are today and visit the graves of our loved ones who came before us and made those dreams possible.

Last night, Coco took home the Golden Globe for Best Animated Motion Picture. Unkrich thanked his cast and crew during his acceptance speech and made a point of highlighting the vital importance of the culture that inspired the film and it was beautiful.

Coco would not exist without the incredible people of Mexico and their tradition of Día de los Muertos.”

I fell in love with the story of Coco, maybe it was because I’m Mexican, maybe because my dad plays the guitar and has been singing songs to me since I was born, maybe because I saw myself and my family in every scene of this movie. All I know is that I love it.

If you’ve seen it, I would love to discuss the film and its themes with you. What did you like or not like about it? What moved you? What did you not understand? Do you have any questions about the cultural side of it that I can explain better?

What did Coco mean to you?

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At&T,dreams, Walt Disney World, HIspanic Research, New Year's Resolutions

At&T,dreams, Walt Disney World, HIspanic Research, New Year's ResolutionsI told you all about my word of the year but it’s more than just words and visions, it’s hopes, dreams and goals all pursued with purpose and intent. I want attainable goals to better my life. After all, isn’t that all any of us really want?

What are those goals? I want to be my best self; physically and mentally. I want to be present in my life. I want to be available to my children and husband and I want to do my best to grow my career. I would rather spend every moment pursuing my passions and enjoying my life than being safe.

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with AT&T and #WeAllGrow Latina Network.

One of my biggest goals is to take my passion (writing) and my business (this blog) to the next level. I want to grow beyond my self-imposed boundaries. I’ve spent years being afraid of the next level and I’m done with that. I’m more afraid of not trying than I am at failing because if you try, you can’t actually fail because you succeed just be going for it.

One of the primary ways that I will be pursuing this goal is through the use of technology. In fact, without it, my dream would not even exist. My dream lives on the Internet and plays out via my laptop, camera, phone, routers, Wi-Fi hotspots, desktop and so many other pieces of technology that keep me connected and provide me with a venue to pursue my dream.

My website has provided me not only the vehicle to connect with other moms and women around the world, it’s given me a place to share my words, my thoughts and my experiences. It’s allowed me to raise money for charities and bring light to important issues that need our attention. The internet has given me a place to amplify my voice and to actually do something to change the world, instead of just talking about it amongst a small group of friends.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. ~ Steve Jobs

Last year, a small group of us raised over $100,000 for charity in a couple months just by using social networks. I’ve traveled the world. Met celebrities and politicians. Seen Broadway shows, concerts and musicals. Been given backstage access to some of the coolest events. Worked with some of the greatest brands around the world all while being able to stay-at-home and raise my daughters. Technology has changed my life and allowed me to touch other people’s lives. It’s as close to having it all, as I ever could have imagined.

In April 2017, AT&T conducted a Hispanic research study to explore the role of technology in U.S. Latinos’ pursuit of their goals and aspirations across various aspects of their lives. Of those Latinos researched, 77% say technology plays a big role in keeping socially and culturally connected. 67% say technology enables them to stay connected to their Hispanic identity. 58% feel more empowered through technology. 68% believe technology is key to the empowerment of the Latino community in the U.S. I agree.

At&T, HIspanic Research, New Year's Resolutions

Technology is the great equalizer. It makes all of our voices carry equally. There is no accent or preconceived notions or prejudices parlayed via our online voices. Technology has leveled the playing field and there is no dream too small or too large that I can’t pursue and achieve. Knowledge of technology is power.

What is your resolution for the greater good? How has technology made your dreams come true?

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alone, loss, life perspective

It’s been a week of life perspective and reevaluation; loss does that to you. My Aunt Erma died a week ago today. I haven’t been able to escape the name this week, it’s all over the news and every time I hear it, it’s like a cruel reminder that she’s gone. Like some cosmic joke, as if the universe thinks we’d forget.

Losing someone is never easy. Even if you prepared for it and expected it, the abrupt force of letting go hits you like a mac truck. We weren’t prepared or expecting it, to be clear. It knocks the wind out of you and leaves you feeling like a shell of a person with nothing to fill you up but more pain. In all honesty, the moments of emptiness are preferable to feeling anything at all, especially in those first hours.

We’d lost touch over the years as a by product of growing up and moving away; starting our own families. But she was still my aunt and even when we hadn’t spoken in years, she showed up when it mattered, my bridal shower, wedding and baby shower. She’s been there since my first birthday.

Even when years passed that I hadn’t seen her face, I’d cling to the memories of my childhood. I was the lone niece in a sea of nephews. I was the little girl in the family and we shared special moments, my aunt Erma and I. She was my aunt I loved her, no amount of time can change that.

I was a child, even as an adult, in our relationship. I would always be her first niece. She never intruded or forced her way in, but she was always there and now she’s not. I guess we take for granted that people won’t always be there. There won’t always be time for reconciliation and homecomings. Sometimes people die and things go unsaid. We have to live with that.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what my uncle, cousins, and her grandchildren are going through. She was a true matriarch and loved her boys beyond anything else and it was reciprocated fully. She is gone and they remain, broken shells of who they were the day before. Fragile and empty, with pain filling up every nook and cranny of space of where she once resided.

My heart breaks for them. I know the look of loss. I’ve tasted it myself. I wanted to crawl into my own body and curl up and die. The world went on around me and it was unfathomable how people could continue to carry on with their lives when the unthinkable had just happened. But that is the way it goes. Loss is personal and profound and no two people feel it the same way.

I watched helplessly this past week as my family had to let go too soon. I saw the blank stares and confusion on the faces of those who loved her as the realization that she is no longer here, swept over them. I saw the wind almost knock them to their knees with that realization.

I learned another valuable lesson this week, funerals and mourning are for the living. When I was a child, funerals scared me to death. I hated them. The loss of a loved one, seeing those I love in such excruciating pain, seeing my relative dead in a casket but now, I know, it’s part of the letting go process. Without it, we would have no closure. Without it, the pain would be insurmountable.

We need this ceremony to let those left behind be comforted, coddled and loved to get through it. It’s hard. It can almost break you and you never fully recover from such a huge loss but you learn to survive it.

I watched my uncle and cousins ( grown men) brought to their knees from this loss. Our entire family rallied around them to lift them up with love and support because that is what family does. You put aside any petty qualms or past hurts and you just be there. Moments of normalcy began to seep through and in the next, the weight of the loss would be bearing down on all of us so heavily that we felt as if we all might be crushed by it.

It was a horrible situation but it served a purpose to remind us all just how important family is to all of us. There’s been check ins and phone calls and texts between all of us because if my aunt Erma’s death has taught us anything, it taught us that life is brief and we have to make the time to love those around us; to show them, not just think it.

You’ve heard the saying to one person you are the world? Well, while our lives may not feel as if they amount to much in the grand scheme of things…to one person, they could amount to everything. I think we take that for granted.

A life well lived and a life well loved is all any of us can hope for. The brokenness that remains behind is a testament to how we loved while we were alive.

That’s the way I survive loss, by remembering that it was a privilege to be able to love these people; to see them smile, hear them laugh, see the twinkle in their eyes when they were happy, hold their hand when they were sad. Life is fleeting and loss lingers so love so full on that it borders on crazy because there is no such thing as showing someone you love them too much.

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Chicago, family, soccer, MLS, All Star Game, Major League Soccer, Target, Youth Soccer

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with Target but all opinions and the love of soccer are my own.

Chiquitibum a la bim bom ba, chiquitiboom a la bim bom ba, a la bio, a la bao, a la bim bom ba, favorite team name, favorite team name Rah rah rah!!!

This is the siren song of my childhood. Add to that a vuvuzela and you have my countless World Cup experiences. In case you haven’t guessed it, I come from a soccer (futbol if you want to be technically correct) family.

Chicago, family, homegating, soccer, MLS, All Star Game, Major League Soccer, Target, Youth Soccer

I was raised on soccer. My dad and uncles played soccer in Mexico and then, here in the United States, all of my brothers and sisters played soccer, all of my cousins and now all of the nieces and nephews.

Chicago, family, soccer, MLS, All Star Game, Major League Soccer, Target, Youth Soccer, homegating

Even my two ballerinas are known to trade in their pointe shoes for an occasional pair of cleats. Soccer has been coursing through our veins for decades.

Chicago, family, soccer, MLS, All Star Game, Major League Soccer, Target, Youth Soccer, homegating

We’re not alone. Did you know that more than nine million kids played in youth soccer leagues in 2016, making it one of the top youth-participation sports in the country?

Chicago, family, soccer, MLS, All Star Game, Major League Soccer, Target, Youth Soccer, homegating

Soccer matches (here and abroad) were what we watched most weekends. If we weren’t playing soccer, we were watching it at the fields or on television. We love everything about it; the game, the intensity, the skill, the strategy and the stories behind each player. We were invested. Our first hero was Edson Arantes do Nascimento better known as Pele. It’s not just opinion but fact, he was the greatest player of all time.

Chicago, family, soccer, MLS, All Star Game, Major League Soccer, Target, Youth Soccer, homegating

In fact, most Cruz kids who played soccer have played under the numbers 10 or 12. My family has used those numbers from preschool all the way through their days of recruitment to play for the university.

We even have one cousin who played for the MLS before heading overseas to play in Europe. This is not to brag that my family is a bunch of die-hard soccer fans. It’s just a fact.

 

Chicago, family, soccer, MLS, All Star Game, Major League Soccer, Target, Youth Soccer, homegating

The literal motto for our family is play with passion. In fact, do everything in life with passion. Do what you love until your legs are so rubbery below you that you fall to your knees in elated exhaustion. This is something that soccer has taught us and this is how we live our lives. Going for it.all day. Every day.

 

Chicago, family, soccer, MLS, All Star Game, Major League Soccer, Target, Youth Soccer, homegating

You can imagine how excited I was when I learned that one of my favorite brands, Target, is sponsoring this year’s MLS All Star Game in my hometown, Chicago next Wednesday.

Chicago, family, soccer, MLS, All Star Game, Major League Soccer, Target, Youth Soccer, homegating

The All Star game is a celebration of the growing momentum and popularity of soccer in the U.S and Target is proud to be a part of that not only by supporting the MLS but by also. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend but I will be hosting a “homegating” party with my family as we watch the MLS All Star Game on August 2nd.

Are you excited? Will you be watching the Target sponsored MLS All Star Game? What is the one thing that bonds your family through thick and thin throughout time?

 

 

 

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Cirque du Soleil, Luzia, Chicago, Mexico, Waking Dream

Have you heard of Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring show, LUZIA? If you are a long time reader of The TRUTH, you are fully aware that we are huge fans of the Cirque du Soleil. We’ve been to several live performances and if we haven’t seen it under the Big Top, chances are pretty high that we’ve seen the DVD. Last summer we took the girls to see, Kurios, in Boston.

The Big Guy and I fell in love with the Cirque du Soleil n our honeymoon, when we saw our first performance, La Nouba, at Disney Springs, which by the way is retiring so if you get the chance to see it this year before it leaves, I’d highly recommend it. We were enthralled by the feats of impossibility the performers could complete and captivated by the sounds and colors of the new world we were immersed into and that was it. Love at first sight.

You can imagine the excitement that filled my heart when I heard about the Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring production, LUZIA, especially since it is based on the culture and land of my father’s people, Mexico. I feel very connected to this show and cannot wait to see it.

Cirque du Soleil, Luzia, Chicago, Mexico, Waking Dream

Cirque du Soleil is excited to bring back its magic to Chicago this July with its latest soul-touching production, LUZIA.

From July 21 – August 20, 2017, audiences will be invited to a redesigned white-and-gold Big Top next to United Center to escape to an imaginary Mexico – a beautifully intricate world suspended somewhere between dreams and reality. If you’ve never seen a Cirque du Soleil under the Big Top, you need to. It has that very otherworldly feeling of the circuses back in the 1940’s.

LUZIA is Cirque du Soleil’s 38th original production since 1984, and its 17th show presented under the Big Top. The company has brought wonder and delight to more than 160 million spectators in more than 400 cities on six continents.

Cirque du Soleil, Luzia, Chicago, Mexico, Waking Dream

But what is LUZIA, you ask?

LUZIA takes you to an imaginary Mexico, like in a waking dream, where light (“luz” in Spanish) quenches the spirit and rain (“lluvia”) soothes the soul.

Freely inspired by Mexico, LUZIA is a poetic and acrobatic ode to the rich, vibrant culture of a country whose wealth stems from an extraordinary mix of influences and creative collisions – a land that inspires awe with its breathtaking landscapes and architectural wonders, buoyed by the indomitable spirit of its people.

The tableaux of LUZIA weave an intricate, contemporary mosaic that awakens your senses and transports you to a place suspended between dreams and reality. Featuring a cast of 44 performers from diverse artistic backgrounds, LUZIA surprises with acrobatic performances breaking down the barriers, such as integrating water into contemporary circus disciplines.

For more information, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/luzia.

This 4th of July, get 4 LUZIA tickets for the price of 3! Buy 3 and get your 4th ticket free. Offer good June 26th– July 4th 11:59 p.m. Offer on PL1,2,3 for the first 2 weeks of shows.

This show that is guaranteed to be more explosive than the fireworks.

LUZIA opens July 21st in Chicago under the big top at the United Center-lot K.  Get ready to be transported to a surreal world of wonders!

@cirquedusoleil, #LUZIA, #cirquedusoleil, Cirque du Soleil, Luzia, Chicago, Mexico, Waking Dream

Also, thanks to the generosity of Cirque du Soleil, I am giving away one pair of tickets to LUZIA in Chicago to one lucky reader. Just enter below.

I’ll also report back after I see Cirque du Soleil LUZIA on the July 21st and tell you all about it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided 2 passes to give away to one lucky reader but all opinions and love for all things Cirque du Soleil and LUZIA are my own.

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date my dad, uptv, barry watson, family tv

I watch a lot of television so when I was asked to screen Date My Date and have the opportunity to interview Barry Watson, I was all in. I like television shows and movies for various reasons. Truth is I’m a bit of a show binger. In the end, there is usually some kind of connection or take away that keeps me coming back and Date My Date did not disappoint.

I’ve spent my life as the kid who was always looking for the keychain at the gift shop that had my name on it. I never found it, at least not spelled correctly and my girls have the same issue. I was also the little girl who changed which box she checked on the enrollment card every single year. #BiracialKidProblems My point being my “niche” in life was a little smaller than others. I never quite found kids on television or movies who I could completely identify with.

Enter, Up TV’s new television show Date My Dad. Date My Dad is an original scripted dramedy starring Barry Watson (7th Heaven, Gossip Girl), Zenia Marshall and the legendary Raquel Welch. How can you go wrong?

Date My Dad begins airing June 2nd at 9PM ET on UP TV.

date my dad, uptv, barry watson, family tv

I had the chance to watch the pilot and rewatch it with my daughters and I have to say, we love it. It’s the first time my daughters have been able to watch a show and identify with the characters. For me, it’s huge that my 2 biracial daughters who follow after their mom’s freckled Mexican complexion can see girls on the show who represent Latinas that look like them and the fact that we all come in different colors, complexions, eye and hair combinations. That is refreshing for me.

But whether you are a single parent, raising your kids alone, or like many of us finding ourselves depending on extended family and friends to help raise our children (because it really does take a village) you too will find something you can identify with on Date My Dad.

Date My Dad is about a widowed father, Ricky (played by Barry Watson), who is navigating his way through raising his daughters ranging in ages from just pretween to teen and between. Ricky just turned 40 and life is not what he expected it to be at this juncture in his life but along with the help of his Mother-in-Law (played by the force that is Raquel Welch), his brother and his wife and his neighbors, he is figuring it out. Along the way, he is learning a little bit more about himself and, maybe for the first time, seeing his daughters as people and not just his children. It all becomes very evident in the pilot when his girls set out to find their dad someone to love because they feel he deserves to have someone.

The show is touching and endearing without being overly saccharine. It’s also infused with just the right amount of sarcasm and humor to balance the sometimes serious themes of the show.

My girls are 9 and 12-years-old and we watched it and all found it not only captivating and well-written but appropriate for audiences of all ages. Finally, something you can watch with your children without having to worry about suddenly having to cover their eyes or ears.

date my dad, uptv, barry watson, family tv

But if you don’t believe me, just check out this video of Date My Dad.

I also had the pleasure recently of interviewing Ricky ( Barry Watson) at Mom 2.0 Summit and I’ve got to say, aside from playing a great Ricky he is a genuinely good and likable guy. Plus, he is a fellow hand talker so obviously, we are now best friends. Okay, maybe not best friends but he certainly was fun to interview and run into, over and over again. Stop following me, Barry 😉

I only wrote that because I know he would totally laugh because he did. We seriously ran into each other several times in those 3 days. We have a bet going on who is actually whose stalker.

Anyways, if you don’t believe me that this show is going to rock, check out my interview below and see for yourself. And don’t hold it against me that I totally have over expressive face disorder and am a major hand talker.

Kudos to Barry because if I were him, I would have been terrified with all that craziness going on in front of me. He was a good sport and I’m telling you as a friend, you really should watch Date My Date and watch it with the whole family.

To celebrate this great new addition to the UP TV roster, join @UPtv on Twitter every Friday night during Date My Dad for the chance to win great prizes and chat about the show with special guest hosts. UP TV is the entertainment brand that can truly say “We Get Family” and offers viewing experiences that feature authentic, relatable stories about all types of families, in all their complexities.

 

date my dad, uptv, barry watson, family tv

 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by UP TV however, all thoughts and opinions about Date my Dad are my own.

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Chase, talking to kids about money, teaching kids to save

The talk, the “money talk”, that is it’s just about as frightening as the sex talk with your kid and just as important because if you get it wrong, the consequences can be dire so talking to your kids about money is very important. In fact, a major study conducted by Chase and Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making at the University of Colorado discovered that Boomers put more value in having the “money talk” with their kids than “the talk” about “the birds and the bees”.

Talking to kids about money is that important!

As far as I’m concerned, especially since my children are of the snowflake generation and they believe life is fair and they get everything they want just for the simple fact that they exist, it’s never too early to start talking to kids about saving money, being financially savvy with their futures and planning for the future. And as everyone knows, knowing is half the battle. How can we expect our children to make good financial decisions if we don’t talk to them about it? As uncomfortable as talking to your kids about money may seem, it is necessary to boost financial confidence and preparedness in our children.

I grew up very blue collar. We did not have a lot of extra money. There were no grand vacations and elaborate luxuries. Our family lived on a budget and we knew it. Everything we had, for the most part, was a necessity. Luxuries for when you were old enough to get a job, work hard and pay for it yourself. Which is what we did. But we were taught from a very early age to save our money because we didn’t know when we would get more. There was no allowance for us.

Luckily, our girls have never personally known what it feels like to be poor or go without. But I’m not sure that is a good thing either. I think we’ve created a false sense of security. They have everything they need and most of what they want and they’ve never had to go without. This makes me feel happy that we can provide this ideal childhood for our girls but on the other hand, I feel like I am doing a major disservice to them because am I really teaching them to live in the real world? I don’t think so.

This is exactly why we should be talking to kids about money.

So, the Big Guy and I have put into place an allowance system. The girls do chores to earn their allowances. It’s $20 a month and it is theirs to do with as they please. We cover the necessities but if the girls want an ice cream cone and I had no intention of buying ice cream or if they want a Chapstick and they already have 3 or a new shirt and they absolutely don’t need one, they have to buy it themselves.

We explained savings and interest and the value of saving for something that you really want versus buying everything you see. Impulse buying is a fleeting feeling of fulfillment. There is no way you are going to enjoy that giant stuffed animal as much as you will love having the money to spend on vacation on something special. But the only way to teach them is to ultimately let them make their own decisions.

In the beginning, I won’t lie, they just spent money like it grew on trees, like it wasn’t real because they hadn’t earned it. Believe me, I understand this concept because I did the same thing in college with my credit cards they were handing out in the quad. It wasn’t “real money” so I just spent it like it was monopoly money. I’d pay it back “someday”. BAD IDEA!

Lately, I’m noticing the girls are shopping much more carefully. They are putting stuff back. They are asking themselves, do I need this? Do I really even want it? Is it worth all the cleaning I did to earn it? More often than not, the answer is no. I’m seeing a trend of saving for bigger things. They are loving the freedom that having their own money comes with. For instance, they know that if they want to buy ice cream, they can whenever they want. But they now ask themselves, is today the day I really want the ice cream?

Talking to kids about money is actually be working.

Now, not all Hispanic families grow up poor but a lot of us are direct descendants of immigrants and when you make a move like that, to an entirely different country, you learn a little something about the importance of saving money and the value of a dollar. A recent study showed that Hispanics started saving for retirement at age 27 vs. age 31 for the general population. Also, Hispanics are more likely to spend on ‘things’ over ‘experiences’, while Americans would equally spend on the two (60% vs. 50% general population). Things are tangible expressions of financial wealth, whereas experiences are not.

However, this is not true for me and my immediate family. I definitely believe that experiences are priceless. For example, for me, travel and showing my children the world and other cultures is more important than having all the coolest things. Of course, that is coming from a perspective of privilege because we do have all the things we want now.

 

That same study showed that Hispanics are especially open with their kids about money. I think this goes back to the fact that, most of us, have at one point not so long ago struggled financially. It might not have happened to us directly but it happened to a family member who is still alive and able to serve as a cautionary tale of struggle.

    • 56% Hispanics said their parents were open about money with them growing up, versus 45% of the general population.
    • 67% of Hispanics regularly discussed finances with parents growing up, versus 55% of the general population.
    • 49% of Hispanics said their parents told them how much money they made, versus 36% of the general population.

I think these all have a lot to do with the focus Latinos put on family. We are very open with our children and the first person we turn to in a crisis or for advice is our family; brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and grandparents before we would ever go to a professional because a family member is always going to have the best intentions for you.

Chase understands the importance of learning more about each generation’s financial habits, which aids them in providing even more sound financial advice. The findings from the study reinforce the importance of having open and honest conversations about finances, no matter where you are in your life.

Chase, talking to kids about money, teaching kids to save

How open are you with your children about money? How important do you think talking to kids about money is?

To learn more about the study and follow the Generational Money Talks series, please visit Chase.com/LaCharla.

How are you talking to kids about money and teaching your children the value of money and saving for the things that matter the most?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chase and #WeAllGrow Latina Network. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Super Bowl, immigrant, immigration, Mexico, border, the wall, Desierto

Ever wonder why an immigrant, illegal or otherwise, really comes to the United States willing to risk his life? Maybe that question is too big, maybe we narrow it down, ever wonder why my dad came to the United States? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not to take anything from you.It’s more about admiration of the freedoms we have and the will to succeed; to achieve the American dream. The freedom to work hard and get ahead in life.

Then ask yourself, if you were desperate, and your child’s life depended on you doing something dangerous, would you do it? What if it were illegal? What if you needed to fast track things in order to save a life? Would you do it? I think we all know the answer is yes. we’d do anything for our children.

I’ve heard a lot of discussions online about immigrants and why many Americans don’t want immigrants here in the United States. People are talking about immigrants like they are not humans but has anyone ever just asked a real, live immigrant,

Super Bowl, immigrant, immigration, Mexico, border, the wall, Desierto

Hey, immigrant why are you here?

If you are not an immigrant, or the son or daughter of an immigrant, or the friend or loved one of an immigrant, maybe you just don’t know and I’m sure it is different for every single person. But I’m happy to share with you my immigrant story. How this freckled Mexican was born on the right side of the wall.

I’ve been quick to judge all of you. I was only seeing things from my perspective, the daughter of an immigrant; a first generation Mexican-American. I never even considered that there are actually people who don’t even personally know any Mexicans. They know of us, apparently our reputation precedes us, but they don’t “know us”; know us.

Super Bowl, immigrant, immigration, Mexico, border, the wall, Desierto

They’ve not grown up with us; eaten dinner at our home, been welcomed by my interracial couple parents and been kissed on the cheek and treated like family. They’ve not had the pleasure of hearing my dad, in his thick Spanish accent, look them in the eye, give them a firm hand shake ( even the most down trodden of our neighbors) and say, “Good to see you, buddy!” Never seen the way family is more than the people you share a last name with; never been willing to risk everything for those people.

They’ve never heard my dad sing Happy Birthday, Las Mananitas and You are my sunshine to my daughters every birthday or seen him grab them and start dancing with them whenever he hears music. They’ve never seen his giant smile and the way he says, “Sonofagun” any time his grandchildren do almost anything because he is so in awe of them.

They don’t know that my dad used to bring homeless people home for dinner that he’d see on his walk home from mass. My mom wasn’t too keen on this practice but that’s the type of guy he is. When he wants to, he’ll give you the jacket off his back if you need it more than he does. He’s the man who wore sunglasses when he walked me down the aisle so no one would see him cry, when he gave me away.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a long time reader of this blog you know that my dad is not perfect. He’s made mistakes but he’s also never been a drug dealer, a rapist or a murderer.

He simply falls into the immigrant category because he was born someplace else.

immigrant, hero

He’s the kind of man who has played the guitar in the church choir since I was a kid. He’s the guy who stopped drinking and now, devotes most of his retirement to not only staying sober but keeping others sober. But he is Mexican. He’s lived in the United States longer than he ever lived there. This is his home but Mexico is where he was born. Mexico is where part of my roots begin.

When all of the political mudslinging started during the campaign, I felt personally attacked because my dad is an immigrant and even though he is not perfect, he has always been a contributing member of society and he raised us to work hard, trust in God and respect our government.

Just because someone is an immigrant, doesn’t mean they are a bad person.

It just means they weren’t born here. They chose to come here. They choose America.

He’s a good man; a good Christian man who reads the bible daily, who has been married to the same woman for 44 years, who has raised 6 children and paid taxes to a country that he loves. The kind of man who plays in the sprinkler with his grandchildren. The kind of man who doesn’t want fame and fortune, he only wanted to be able to give his unborn children a better life than he had; maybe a house without dirt floors, maybe a life where the struggle wasn’t so real.

When people bad mouth immigrants, I take it personally. I feel like the country and the government that my dad loves so much, that we’ve been raised to believe is the best in the world, hated him simply for the color of his skin and by association me, my brothers and sisters and our children; the most precious thing in our lives; family.

The will to succeed is always welcome here.

Those were the words at the end of the Lumber 84, full 6-minute commercial, the one thought to be too controversial for a commercial during the Super Bowl. Those words spoke to me because I was raised by an immigrant who taught me to believe in myself and to know that where there is a will, there is always a way. My father is legal, but is that really relevant to the man he is?

That is all that my immigrant father wanted. The chance to be a member of our society; a chance to give his children a better life. He doesn’t hate Americans. He loves everything about this country. So what are we all so afraid of?

There’s been some confusion about the true meaning behind this commercial. I saw it as a beautiful thing but it seems I didn’t realize that a mother and daughter making their way to a better life is only beautiful if you come through the door. If you can’t find the door, I guess you’re just supposed to give up and live the life you’re doomed to live and I guess, according to Lumber 84, we’re all supposed to be okay with that.

Tomorrow, Desierto is released on DVD, I highly recommend that you watch it then maybe you’ll see why immigrants are more afraid of you than you should be afraid of them.

What’s the difference between the European immigrants that founded this country hundreds of years ago and the Mexican and Muslim immigrants who are trying to make a better life for their children now, besides the color of their skin? Then again, I guess it’s always been hard for immigrants.

What is the difference between an immigrant and you or I, besides a piece of paper?

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