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.

Michelle Obama, Democratic National COnvention, Hillary Clinton, ImWithHer, Barack Obama, Democrats, DNC, Michelle Obama Speech

I’m voting for Hillary Clinton this November because I want a better world for my daughters and Michelle Obama is my new woman crush. I’ve always respected the woman behind President Barack Obama, but never more than last night when she spoke out on behalf of Hillary Clinton. These women know what all parents should know and that is that the presidency is about leaving something better for our kids. It’s about our American legacy, our footprint on the world. We have the power to change it, what will we do with that power.

With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are the most important role model.

Let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as president and first lady because we know that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls but the children across this country.

Make no mistake about it, this November, when we get to the polls, that is what we are deciding. Not Democrat or Republican, not left or right. In this election, and every election, it is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives. I am you tonight because in this election, there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States, and that is our friend Hillary Clinton.

I trust Hillary to lead this country because I have seen her lifelong devotion to our nation’s children. Not just her own daughter, who she has raised to perfection, but every child who needs a champion: kids who take the long way to school to avoid the gangs. Kids who wonder how they will ever afford college. Kids whose parents don’t speak a word of English, but dream of a better life; who look to us to dream of what they can be.

Hillary has spent decades doing the relentless work to actually make a difference in their lives. Advocating for kids with disabilities as a young lawyer, fighting for children’s health care as first lady, and for quality child care in the senate.

And when she did not win the nomination eight years ago, she did not get angry or disillusioned. Hillary did not pack up and go home because … Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own disappointment. She proudly stepped up to serve our country once again as secretary of state, traveling the globe to keep our kids safe. There were moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][torn] apart for how she looked, or how she talked, or even how she laughed.

But here’s the thing: What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure.

She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life. And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls and all our children, that is what I want. I want someone with the proven strength to persevere.

Somebody who knows this job and takes it seriously. Somebody who understands that the issues of our nation are not black or white. It cannot be boiled down to 140 characters. Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well-informed.

You can see the full transcript here, if you want to read it, write it down and commit it to memory like I did.

Michelle Obama’s speech made me want to go knocking door to door campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

A president that truly believes in the [precedent] that our founders put forth all those years ago — that we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story. When crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other, we listen to each other. We lean on each other. We are always stronger together. I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president Hillary Clinton will be and that is why in this election, I’m with her.

You see, Hillary understands that the presidency is about one thing and one thing only. It is about leaving something better for our kids. That is how we have always moved this country forward — by all of us coming together on behalf of our children. Volunteering to coach the team, teach the Sunday school class, because they know it takes a village.

Michelle Obama, Democratic National COnvention, Hillary Clinton, ImWithHer, Barack Obama, Democrats, DNC, Michelle Obama Speech

 

Michelle Obama moved me to tears because she is everything that is right with this country. I am sick of the mudslinging of the Trump camp. I don’t want to go low, I want to go high. So, I am asking all of you to register to vote this year and get out and vote for Hillary Clinton. Don’t let something terrible happen to this country of ours, let’s fight to keep it great. I’m with her all the way.

I say Hillary Clinton for President 2016 and Michelle Obama for President 2024!

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Disney, Elena of Avalor, Latina, Princess

Elena of Avalor is a princess for my little girls. Latinas, how long have we been waiting for a Latina princess to share with our daughters? Seems like a lifetime, right? The closest we’ve had has been Dora and she’s not even a princess. She was a little explorer with a blue monkey in wellies but we loved her because she was all we had at the time, when my girls were babies.

Then a few years back, we were super excited about Sophia the First but that kind of fizzled and, while she is adorable and my niece’s favorite princess, she is not really Latina in any discernable way, unless you count her brown hair.

Well, no more. She is here. Disney’s new Elena of Avalor is an animated series that follows the story of Elena, a brave and adventurous teenager who saves her kingdom from an evil sorceress and must now learn to rule as crown princess until she is old enough to be queen. Set in Avalor, an enchanted fairytale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore, Elena’s journey will lead her to understand that her new role requires thoughtfulness, resilience and compassion, the traits of all truly great leaders.

Disney, Elena of Avalor, Latina, Princess

Elena of Avalor is a princess for every little Latina girl.

I am excited for Elena and so are my girls but, honestly, I am reserving judgement for after I see a few episodes and see just what Disney did with their first ever Latina princess. I want to see if she is really a true representation of a Latina girl. Is she someone my daughters can look to and recognize themselves? Or is she simply like every other princess but with a slightly tanner complexion? These things are important to me and my daughters and they matter.

I’ve watched two episodes and I love the focus of the importance of family. I love the fact that her grandparents call her mija and they play guitars like my father, my daughters and I. I also loved that they made it all begin when she was 15, which is a very important year for a Latina girl because it is the year of our Quincinera. This is especially exciting for my girls because they are already planning their quincineras that are 4 and 6 years away.

One of my most favorite things is that the people of Avalor, though Latino, are all different shades of skin tone, hair and eyes and that is more realistic than most portrayals on television. I also really appreciate the references to Latino culture and language. In fact, my daughters said, “They only got one thing wrong…our Grandpa Manny doesn’t have grey hair.”

Disney, Elena of Avalor, Latina, Princess

Meanwhile, I know all the little Latina girls are going to want to get their hands on Elena of Avalor merchandise because, you know how we Latinas are, we support one another and we really want to love Elena. I just hope she can live up to our expectations. I had the opportunity to get my hands on a few pieces and my daughters really loved them. They really love the “Sister Time” song and love both Elena and Isabel.

Hasbro provided me with three dolls from the Elena of Avalor collection for review purposes.

My girls are loving them and I have partnered with Hasbro to giveaway a gift pack of Elena of Avalor prize pack for that special little girl in your life.

Disney, Elena of Avalor, Latina, Princess

*Disney Elena of Avalor and Skyler 2-Pack; ages 3 years & up; $34.99

*Disney My Time Singing Elena of Avalor Doll; ages 3 years & up; $29.99

*Disney Elena of Avalor Doll; ages 3 years & up; $14.99

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To enter to win all you have to do is subscribe to my newsletter and leave a comment below telling me what you love the most about Disney’s newest princess Elena of Avalor.

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Dia del Nino, Nabisco, Recipe for plantain quesadillas, Chips Ahoy, Latino recipes, dessert recipes

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Nabisco and Latina Bloggers Connect in celebration of El Dia Del Nino .

In the Mexican culture, family is everything. We are taught this from very early on, as children. We are taught to respect our elders as part of our history and to adore our children because they are our future. In life’s fickleness, we know that there is only one thing that we can truly count on and that is family.

We’ve all heard of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and even Grandparent’s day. They are big deals in our house. We earned it. I mean, 10 and 13 hours of labor, one open-wide Pitocin inducement and an unmedicated labor, definitely earned me one-day off a year. I look forward to it every single year. The Big Guy handles all the “mom” duties and nary an argument between children do I have to endure. I simply walk away and let daddy handle it. It is glorious.

On Father’s Day, the same goes for him. He gets to sleep in and I field all bickering children. We’ve got a good system and it truly is the one thing we want more than anything; peace and quiet.

April 30th is a Mexican holiday called El Día Del Niño (children’s day). Children are a very important part of our culture and society so the day focuses on the importance of loving, accepting and appreciating children.

To celebrate, there are many things you can do. Basically, we make it a day about our girls so that they know they are loved (so pretty much like every other day but we do all the things they like to do). It’s more about celebrating having them in our lives. Letting them know they are blessings to our family and us. It’s a day of crafts, play and treats of their choice.

In Mexico, special events with clowns, magicians, music, shows and balloons take place. Amusement parks as well as zoos and children’s museums usually offer discounts or special deals for children on this day. It’s the perfect day to take the kids to see one of their favorite movies in the theater, go on a family picnic in the park or just unplug for the day and give your little ones your full-undivided attention.

This unique celebration is full of laughter and play, when adults are reminded of the importance of childhood and children teach us how joyful and simple life can be.

For our snack this year, I’m making this fun and delicious Latino-Inspired treat Chips Ahoy! Plantain Quesadillas. It’s a sweet new twist on a family standby.

Chips Ahoy! Sweet Plantain Quesadillas.

 

Dia del Nino, Nabisco, Recipe for plantain quesadillas, Chips Ahoy, Latino recipes, dessert recipes

  • 10 min prep
  • 20 min total
  • Makes 8 servings, 1 wedge each.

 

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. brick cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 flour tortillas (8 inch)
  • CHIPS AHOY! Cookies, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 lb. frozen ripe plantains, cooked, cut into 16 slices
  • 1/3 cup thawed frozen whipped topping
  • 6 strawberries, each cut into 6 slices

Dia del Nino, Nabisco, Recipe for plantain quesadillas, Chips Ahoy, Latino recipes, dessert recipes

Instructions

  • Mix first 3 ingredients until blended; spread onto tortillas to within 1/2 inch of edges.
  • Reserve 2 Tbsp. cookies. Top half of each tortilla with remaining cookies and plantains; fold in half.
  • Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat on medium heat. Cook each quesadilla 1-1/2 min. on each side or until heated through and lightly browned on both sides.
  • Cut each quesadilla into 3 wedges. Serve topped with whipped topping, strawberries and reserved chopped cookies.

I’ve made this for my family before and they loved it. It’s a very decadent and rich dessert so we only have it on special occasions and only one serving. I know your family will love it as much as my family did.

You can find other great recipe spins on traditional favorites on the Nabisco Pinterest page. If you’d like to try this recipe, here’s a coupon for $1.00 off your favorite Nabisco products.

What’s your favorite treat to make for your children on special occasions like Dia Del Nino?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nabisco. The opinions and text about El Dia Del Nino are all mine.

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#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays

Disclosure:  This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Hallmark and Latina Bloggers Connect.

This time of year is all about celebrating family. No matter what direction life takes us as we grow into adulthood and have children of our own, our upbringing keeps us grounded in the roots of our culture. Family is still everything.

As a child in a biracial home, the one thing I looked forward to every December was Christmas eve and celebrating Nochebuena. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it was a Latino custom until I was in university. It was just how we had always celebrated.

Most people look forward to Christmas morning but not in our house; in our house it was all about Nochebuena. Every year I looked forward to decorating the tree, eating sweet and savory tamales, buñuelos, attending the posadas celebrations and mostly being together with my parents and my brothers and sisters during the holiday celebrating.

We grew up fairly poor and to be honest, I don’t ever remember believing in Santa Claus… ever. I’m sure when I was very small that I did but I couldn’t have been older than 4. I know, it’s sad. That’s probably why I try so hard to maintain the magic for my own girls, as long as possible. It’s probably the reason the gifts spill out from under the tree and out into the middle of the living room floor every year. This is why we have 5 elfs on the shelf and watch every single holiday classic. I’m trying to preserve their childhood magic for as long as I possibly can. So please, if your kid doesn’t believe in Santa…keep them away from my children.

On Christmas Eve before midnight mass, we would eat and drink and have a blast listening to Christmas music. It was always very exciting. My dad videotaped every Christmas Eve. It was the one night of the year where we all felt happy and things like money and possessions didn’t mean anything. We just enjoyed being together.

#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays

After all of the eating, drinking, dancing and laughing, we’d venture out into the cold winter night and attend mass. I have very fond memories of those ethereal nights attending church on Christmas Eve. I was there every Sunday but somehow on Nochebuena, it was like God and the angels themselves were in the building or maybe it was just the weary eyes of a small child, half dreaming my way through the celebration.

After mass was done, as a family, we’d go home and were allowed to open one present. That was a huge deal because we only ever got to ask for ONE present… the rest were socks and underwear because that’s how it works in a home when you are struggling financially. You were allowed to ask for ONE gift that you wanted, everything else was what you needed and even then it wasn’t much, basically just something to open.

We knew my mom bought us our “BIG” Gift because she asked us what we wanted. When we opened it, we were grateful. We knew there was no Santa because if there was we wouldn’t be opening socks and underwear on Christmas morning but we didn’t care.

Every year of my childhood and still now, I look forward to Christmas Eve because, for us, it is the best night of the year. My celebration with my children may look a little different than it did back then because, just as I was  biracial child, so are my children. There are not 6 children and we don’t make it to midnight mass because our girls aren’t old enough to stay up that late yet. We go to the 6 p.m. mass, then to celebrate with family and then we come home and put on our matching pajamas to wake up early the next morning to open presents together. My children still have the luxury of believing in Santa Claus. Even though the celebration might not look exactly the same, the sentiment is…family is the most important thing on Nochebuena.

#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays
This holiday season Hallmark helps Latinos celebrate and connect with family and friends. Hallmark’s assortment of cards in English and Spanish cultivate traditions with loved ones, both during the holidays and every day. Hallmark’s beautiful, hand-designed cards offer something for everyone on your list.

Some cards are funny, lighthearted, religious and heartfelt. All are perfect for the holiday season. Hallmark cards speak to the language that everyone understands — the heart, whether it’s for mama, papa, los abuelos, brother/sisters the kids and/or a significant other.

Visit Hallmark.com or a participating store to find the perfect holiday (or every day) cards for those you love.

#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays

Giveaway:

I will be giving one lucky reader an assortment of five Hallmark Holiday and Everyday cards in a set (3 holiday and 2 everyday) and a $25 Hallmark Gift Card.

The giveaway is open to readers over the age of 18 that live in the contiguous U.S. No Puerto Rico. The giveaway will end December 20, 2015 t 11:59 p.m. EST.

 

Mandatory entry: What is your favorite holiday tradition?

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Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly

Discosure: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with DiMeMedia and Shutterfly, however, all opinions expressed about photo books are my own.

How important is a photo to you? They say a photo is worth a thousand words. When I think of the most precious possessions I own, I immediately think of the people I love. These people that I am honored to call family and friends, they mean everything to me. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and every single photo I own holds a memory of someone I love. This is why I love to give and receive photo gifts.

Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly, photo

In the past, I’ve made mugs with our girls’ smiling faces on them for my husband. I’ve filled countless frames with photo collages for grandparents. This year, I decided that I wanted some special photo gifts for ourselves because nobody loves and adores those two little faces more than I do.

Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly, photo

I made a photo book to keep on our coffee table filled with pics of our family adventures and important moments from the past year. I’ve decided that this is going to be a new tradition. While I’m at it, I decided to do one for my dad too.

My dad shares my passion for family and photographs. Since I was a small child he was documenting all of our special moments on film. These days he’s retired and spends about 6 months of the year in Mexico, his homeland. Spanish is his first language, He’s spent my entire life adapting to us, learning to speak our native language. He has always been thrilled when we make the effort to speak in Spanish to him.

Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly, photo

So you can imagine how excited I was to find out that Shutterfly mi vida now offers an easy, creative and convenient way to share family milestones. Now, it’s even easier to share these with my papi with the new Spanish applications (complete with ñ’s and accents). This makes this gift even more precious for me to give and him to receive.

I took me a couple hours to go through the photos and organize the book but in the end, the result was priceless. My copy is sitting on my coffee table for anyone who stops by to pick up and look at all of the beautiful adventures we lived this year’ our trip to Nashville and the week at the beach in Maine. There are photos of the first day of school, new ballet shoes and first communion. Every moment that touched my heart this year made it’s way into that book.

Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly, photo

It makes me smile to know that while I’m here looking at my photo book, my dad can be in Mexico looking at his when he misses us. Somehow that makes us all feel closer. Thanks to “Mi Vida Shutterfly” he can cherish those moments in his native language.

Shutterfly, photo book, photo gifts, #miVidaShutterfly, photo

What’s your favorite photo of and who would you like to share it with?

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sledding, Fuel up to play 60, how to stay healthy, keeping kids active this winter

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with National Dairy Council Fuel Up To Play 60 en español and Latina Bloggers Connect.

How can we motivate our children to stay active as the winter months are fast approaching? In the summer it’s easy because who doesn’t love to be outside? We live for spending summer days riding bikes, jumping on trampolines, swimming at the pool, riding the zip line and doing flips in the back yard. But winter is something different entirely.

Once the temperatures start to drop, the outside just doesn’t seem as appealing. In autumn it’s great because you still can go for bike rides, walks and jump in the leaves. You can do everything you would do in the summer months, only more comfortably because the weather is better. I don’t know about you, but my family prefers being active when the air is a little crisper and there are fewer bugs to contend with. What can I say, I have girls and bugs are not our favorite of God’s creatures.

But once it starts snowing and hitting below freezing temps, we all prefer the comfort of the indoors. Truth be told, we like to gather around the fire inside and play board games. I like to think of these as the mental acuity months. December through February, those are the months we like to pump up our brains and give our bodies the winter off, but that’s not really sensible.

I mean, sure snuggling by the fire while sipping on hot coco with your favorite people sounds like the perfect afternoon while the snow is falling all around you, but is it really good for your body? No.

There are certainly things you can do during the cold weather months to keep yourself and your children active. Believe me when spring and summer creep back up on you, you’ll all be glad that you kept the physical momentum of the summer going. Your body will thank you.

That’s where programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 come in. It’s the largest in­-school health and wellness program founded by the National Dairy Council and the NFL, in collaboration with the USDA, which empowers today’s youth to lead healthier lives. It encourages all students to live healthier lifestyles through good nutrition and physical activity. Fuel Up to Play 60 knows that one in four children in the U.S. is Latino and they want to ensure that this dynamic and fast‐growing group receives the best tools to help them succeed.

Fuel up to play 60, how to stay healthy, keeping kids active this winter

Fuel Up to Play 60 playbook offers several tools for families to make healthy changes in both the way they eat and how they can add activity into their lives liek smarter snacking or joining the 100-mile club. It also provides online resources and hosts events with NFL players to inspire kids. Even better, the recently launched Fuel Up to Play 60 en español extension made possible with the help of PepsiCo.Foundation, now offers Spanish language resources, aimed at getting Hispanic parents and communities involved in health, nutrition and fitness inside and outside of the classroom.The Spanish-language Fuel Up to Play 60 playbook can inspire parents with ways to lead an active lifestyle at home

Here are some other things you can do with your kids to keep you both healthy this fall and winter:

  • Rake the leaves all into a giant leaf pile and take turns jumping into it. Rake. Repeat. This can go on for hours.
  • Go to a pumpkin patch/ corn maze and walk all the mazes. Walking a pumpkin patch looking for the perfect pumpkin and exploring the corn mazes can easily and almost unnoticeably eat up 2 hours of activity time.

Once the snow starts coming down is when the real fun begins. Here are a few of our family favorites:

 

  • Get dressed in all of your snow gear and head to the neighborhood golf course and tube down the hills. Getting dressed and walking around in 10 pounds of snow gear will burn a lot of calories on its own, but the walking up and down the hills will definitely put a dent in your daily caloric burn.
  • A family snowball fight or snowman building session will definitely burn some calories while making great memories.
  • Another great family activity is cross-country skiing throughout the neighborhood or ice-skating.
  • And if the kids are complaining of being bored, there is always the tried and true, no fail calorie burner…shoveling snow, but I think if given the choice, the kids would much rather build snowmen.
  • Just because there is snow outside doesn’t mean you need to stay inside and not move. If you are inside, why not try roller skating, indoor swimming or just really fun family game of Just Dance?

The point is that it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something with your children so you’re all around for a long time to keep on making all of those awesome memories.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of National Dairy Council and Latina Bloggers Connect. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Day of the Dead, dia de los muertos, dis de los inocentes, Mexican Holiday, Halloween

Do you celebrate Day of the Dead? It’s a Mexican holiday but I think it’s something everyone who has ever lost someone could benefit from taking part in. It’s hard when you lose someone you love because of the finality of the situation but when you celebrate Day of the Dead, there is a comfort to be had every year. It’s about being soft and being strong at the same time.

First, let me start by telling you what Day of the Dead is really about. I know it follows immediately after the pagan holiday, Halloween, but it is not the same. Not at all. One holiday is celebrated by dressing up and begging for candy from strangers, the other is celebrated by building alters and remembering loved ones who we’ve lost.

Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that lasts for 2 days, November 1-November 2.

November 1st is Dia de los Inocentes, honoring children who have died. In preparation of the holiday, the graves are cleaned and those of the children are decorated with white orchids and baby’s breath. November 2nd is Dia de los Muertos, honoring adults, their graves are decorated with bright orange marigolds. On Day of the Dead we honor our dead with festivals and celebrations; it’s a marriage of indigenous Aztec ritual and Catholicism.

We believe that our dead loved ones would be insulted by mourning or sadness, so on Day of the Dead we celebrate the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties and activities that they dead enjoyed in their life.

I like that Day of the Dead recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up. On Day of the Dead, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with loved ones. It’s a very healthy way to look at death and takes away some of the fear of the unknown.

I like to think of it as a way of staying connected to those I love that have passed on. Sure the connection is based on building an altar and spending a day or two celebrating their lives and my life with them but it helps. In the end, it makes me feel not so much like I lost them but like they are still with me, all around me.

I find this particularly comforting on Dia de los Inocentes. I don’t have a headstone to decorate with marigolds or photos to use on an altar but I do take the day to remember the baby I lost. Losing a baby was one of the hardest things I’ve ever survived and Dia de Los Inocentes is very personal for me because it’s not about a spectacle or a grandiose gesture, in my case. It’s about quietly grieving my loss but at the same time being thankful that I had that baby in my life for as long as I did. I celebrate the possibility and the blessing.

In a weird way it gives me closure while at the exact same time it makes me feel connected to my baby and to the world in away that I don’t on most days. For me, Day of the Dead, especially Dia de los Inocentes, is about being strong while being soft.

Who would you celebrate on Day of the Dead?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Georgia Pacific. The opinions and text about Day of the Dead are all mine.

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general Mills, How to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, home, celebrating, dia de los muertos, day of the dead

Disclosure: This post about Dia de Los Muertos is part of a sponsored campaign with General Mills. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

When someone we love dies, it can be crippling. The hardest part of living after losing someone is surviving without them. It doesn’t matter if it’s an elderly grandparent or a new baby that you never got to meet; it hurts in a primal way that makes you want to crawl inside of yourself and die. Having experienced this pain, I can truly say that I look forward to celebrating Dia de Los Muertos with my family.

I know it sounds macabre, especially if you don’t know what it’s all about. Firstly, it’s not Halloween. That’s the holiday where little kids dress up like monsters and get free candy from their neighbors. Actually, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays but it is nothing like Dia de Los Muertos.

As a Latina, fall season means Dia de Los Muertos is right around the corner. Last year, we watched the movie Book of Life, with our girls, to start the dialogue. It’s a big part of our Mexican heritage. They’d seen sugar skulls but didn’t fully understand what the celebration of Dia los Muertos was about.

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that lasts for 2 days, November 1-November 2.

November 1st is Dia de los Inocentes, honoring children who have died. In preparation of the holiday, the graves are cleaned and those of the children are decorated with white orchids and baby’s breath. November 2nd is Dia de los Muertos, honoring adults, their graves are decorated with bright orange marigolds. On Dia de los Muertos we honor our dead with festivals and celebrations; it’s a marriage of indigenous Aztec ritual and Catholicism. I love this part.

The cemeteries in Mexico that are normally grey and melancholy, like any other cemetery, suddenly are bursting with color and life. You can’t believe the vibrant colors of beautiful sugar skulls and marigolds that fill the cemetery. My father celebrates this every year by going to Mexico and decorating the tombs of my Tio Narciso, my Abuela Bertha and my Abuelito Manuel. I know this is hard for him but it is also cathartic to celebrate their lives, rather than just be sad they are gone.

We believe that our dead loved ones would be insulted by mourning or sadness, so on Dia de los Muertos we celebrate the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties and activities that the dead enjoyed while they were alive. For my Abuelito that would mean leche con pan (he was a simple man with simple tastes), for my Tio Narci that would definitely mean a Big Mac (he loved the United States, especially Big Macs and Ronald Regan) and for my Abuela it would mean as many beautiful marigolds as you could fit at her burial site.
I like that Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with loved ones. It’s a very healthy way to look at death and takes away some of the fear of the unknown.

The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos are the calacas and Calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, on Pan de Muerto, on parade masks and even as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations because it’s a celebration of life.

In addition to celebrations, the dead are honored on Dia de los Muertos with ofrendas—small, personal altars honoring one person. Ofrendas often have flowers, candles, food, drinks, photos, and personal mementos of the person being remembered. For example, if I were to make an altar for my Abuelito Manuel it would include lots of sweets and breads like Pan de Muerto.

Pan de Muerto (Spanish for “bread of the dead”) is a big part of the Dia de los Muertos traditional celebration. Pan de Muerto is sweetened soft bread shaped like a bun and decorated with bone-shaped pieces. The living eat the bread along with our departed loved one’s other favorite foods in their honor. No Dia de los Muertos celebration would be complete without Pan de Muerto.

Bonus: You can save $3.00 when you buy 3 Big G cereals and “Pan de Muerto” bread to celebrate Dia de los muertos.

 

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calavera, beauty, day of the dead, make up tutorial, dia de los muertos, day of the dead makeup

Do you celebrate Day of the Dead, also known as, Dia de Los Muertos? Always wanted to dress up but had no idea where to start? Well, I’ve got the perfect and easy Day of the Dead make-up tutorial? Celebrating Day of the Dead will never be easier than with my Dia de los Muertos make-up tutorial.

We celebrate it as one of our culture’s most sacred traditions. One of our favorite things to do besides building our altar to honor our dead is I to dress up as La Calavera Catrina. All the makings of the perfect DIY Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos Costume, was in my closet.

Halloween and Day of the Dead are right around the corner. Every year at this time we start trying to figure out what our Halloween costumes are going to be and what our costumes for the annual Zombie walk might be. Yes, we’re that family. As they say, a family that costumes together stays together.

This year I went Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos, makeup for the zombie walk.

While the Big Guy and our girls are getting their zombie on, I prefer to dress up as la Calavera Catrina, more universally recognized as the Day of the Dead Doll.  Dia de lo Muertos royalty.

READ ALSO: How Disney’s Coco got Mexican Culture Right

I love the vibrant colors and the fact that I get to share my Latino culture with my daughters in such a big, beautiful way. I stick out like a flower among weeds with my make-up compared to all the zombies. Believe it or not, it’s pretty easy and it’s perfect for adults and kids.

The hard part is getting the make-up off but with a quick trip to WalMart, I can pick up a package of Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes and removal is easy peasy.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to get your very own Day of the Dead look with this Dia De Los Muertos Make-Up Tutorial:

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  1. First, begin by spreading an even layer of the Clown White make-up all over the entire face, except the eye sockets, with a sponge, and set with powder. It is important to set the color with the powder, because the black lines and color on top may get smudged unless you place a barrier in between.

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2.  Next, sculpt the perimeter of the eye sockets with black liquid eyeliner, it allows you be more precise with your lines. Then intensify the area by blending a matte black shadow in the same hue over the top of the entire eyelid and filling in.

beauty, day of the dead, make up tutorial, dia de los muertos, day of the dead

3.  For detailing, I used a black liquid liner with a precise tip, and drew an upside-down heart on the nose, two rows of scalloping, connected by a circular motion, that surrounded the eyes and the two small circles on either side of my cheekbones. Mark out seven lines in a V-shape on your forehead. I made a jewel in the middle of mine. Connect the lines with curved shapes to create a spider weUse the same liquid liner to draw the two lines on your cheeks and draw a rose on your chin.

READ ALSO: How to Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos

4.  Use a color wheel of your choice to fill in the scalloping around your eyes, your jewel and any other designs on your face that need color. I set the color with more translucent powder, not too much, just enough to keep the color from running.

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5.  Moving on to the lips, I wanted red lips so I used my red lipstick to draw in my lips. Then with the black liquid eyeliner, I drew in the intersecting lines across my lips. I let all lines dry well and then went over with liquid eyeliner again.

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6.  With the liquid liner, add a few dotted details over the face, and a flower on your chin. Touch up individual areas with the color palette of your choice as needed, and after a few coats of mascara.

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After showing off your gorgeous la Calavera Catrina Dia de Los Muertos makeup on day of the dead or Halloween, you can easily remove it using Neutrogena Makeup remover cleansing towelettes. It will effectively dissolve all traces of dirt, oil and, most importantly, makeup, even the waterproof mascara that you used to make your Calavera eyes pop. The cloths are ultra-soft and gentle with superior cleansing technology that is clinically proven to easily remove 99.3% of the most stubborn Halloween makeup. One step and you have clean skin with no residue.

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What are you dressing as this Halloween, Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos?

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sex, Mexican food, Mexican food and sex don't mix, sex after children, marriage

Mexican food does not mix well with sex and it’s not for the reason that you might think. It has nothing to do with beans, though, I am sure that has it’s own set of consequences. Mexican Subway anyone. ( Just Google it. You know you want to.) This is something my mom should have warned me about when she gave me “the talk”. Well, maybe she did. Our sex talk went a little  like this, ” It’s going to hurt A LOT!” Then my dad chimed in, “Don’t do it!” Maybe they were telling me their truth…

Mexican food and sex don’t mix!

Since having children, finding the time to have sex (whether Mexican food recipes are involved or not) has become a challenge. Making love has gone from being recreational to a full on covert ops sport. The days of spontaneous sex are long gone, unless you count the rogue moments of bathroom sex or Saturday morning, wake up early, quietly lock the door and do it quick and dirty. Oh yeah, that happens. Quick and dirty is the specialty in this house with an 8 and 10-year-old. Those broads know how to jimmy the door open.

But sometimes when you try to do it quick and dirty, well, to be quite frank, people get burned. I know this because I was recently on the receiving end of a bad combination of Mexican food and lovemaking. That’s right, a little healthy fooling around with my Big Guy ended with me in the shower pouring milk straight onto my vagina. See, I told you that it had nothing do with beans!

So, you’re thinking to yourself, what kind of kinky shit are Debi and the mister getting themselves into over there? Well, let’s just say that you should always wash your hands at least three times after handling spicy foods, especially peppers. I know because, well, I’m Mexican and have put jalapeno, habanero and all sorts of peppers, accidentally, into my eyeballs throughout my lifetime. It’s a damn miracle that I’m not blind. Apparently, my eyeballs are kinky and like it hot and rough. This is obviously a lesson lost on my 100% caucasian husband, otherwise, he might have known…and heeded my father’s warning of, “Don’t do it!”

The other night after a mouth-watering meal of homemade Mexican food, the Big Guy and I were feeling the heat and getting a little frisky between the sheets. It was all well and good until Mr. Vagina Whisperer over here decided to get a little up close and personal with my nether regions. Look, I am all about a good “massage” but, men, you MUST wash your hands if you’ve been handling hot spices or peppers, especially if you just deseeded 5 veiny jalapeños for your super secret, ultra spicy homemade salsa. Well, this goes for all men; in general, all men must wash hands before lovemaking. Think of it as one of those signs posted in Fast Food restaurant bathrooms, if it helps.

All I know is that one minute, I was enjoying the “massage” and the next, I was feeling the burn and immediately following that I was in the shower screaming for the Big Guy to bring me all the milk in the house. This girl was on fire, and not in the good Alicia Keys way. I was a very, unhappy burning crotch down under kind of girl on fire. Bad things were happening to my lady bits and I could do nothing but watch in horror as the flames engulfed me.

You know how when you eat a really spicy pepper your lips start tingling, then they start swelling and then you’re crying because the burn is like a thousand bee stings. Yes, I had that….right there in my vagina and vagina adjacent region.

Just to recap….

Mexican Food and Sex Don’t Mix!

Write it down. I’ll wait.

The moral of the story is this, there are a few things that I’ve learned over the years that certainly don’t mix with sex; spicy Mexican food fingers being at the top of that list (no you poured $8 a gallon organic milk on your vagina in the middle of the night to stop feeling the burn), toddlers within 5 miles of an unlocked bedroom (no you were naked wrestling with your husband when you to caught by a 2-year-old and played dead) and certain sleep aids for insomniacs. Here is my rule of thumb, Ambien is great for forgotten, wild sex weekends but Xanax before bed can leave your partner with the longest hand job in the history of the universe. Think puff, puff, give but instead…rub, rub, snore. I hear it’s embarrassing and you never live it down because truly the only thing funnier is a Norwegian Knob gobbler. Now, go Google that and have a nice day.

And remember, no sex after handling spicy foods until all parts that have come in contact with the heat have been properly cleansed and eradicated of any spicy residue. You’ll thank me later.

What’s your best sex advice?

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