Shout out from Prince Royce

I have so much to share but this is one of the most exciting moments of my trip to Miami. Prince Royce, one of my favorite singers, gave a shout out to Latinaish.com from the red carpet of the Latin Billboard Music Awards. This was so kind of him, (and qué cute!)

And I’m not sure if that’s me gasping at the end or one of my amigas blogueras. It was probably me because I still feel like gasping every time I watch the video and hear him say the name of my own blog. I can’t tell you how surreal it is to stand face-to-face with famous people you admire. More to come soon!

I’m in Miami, trick!

(Title from a LMFAO song feat. Pitbull)

I’ve been in Miami since Tuesday morning and have been going non-stop since the plane touched down. I should be in bed right now because mañana is the big day (Latin Billboard Awards!) … but I have too much I want to share.

First, the hotel. Okay, gente, this place is so chic and exclusive – and yet the design of it is … well, let me show you.

Chandeliers inside of bronze bells.

The decor reminds me of chess and Alice and Wonderland… pero, when we arrived, our rooms weren’t quite ready yet, so Carrie, (from TikiTikiBlog.com) – and I, waited out by the pool. (I was also waiting for Carlos to arrive since he took a different flight.)

Carrie offered to buy me a [very expensive] drink. When she asked me what I wanted, the first thing I thought of was a Cuba Libre, never mind that it was still before noon and I hadn’t eaten since 4 am.

A Cuba Libre is basically a rum and Coke with lime. (Gracias for getting me half-borracha, Carrie!)

Soon enough our rooms were ready except I had a small problem. I had been told my debit card would suffice for check-in, but it wasn’t working for some reason. I didn’t have a credit card to offer them so I called up my little sister and thankfully she gave them her card instead. I felt totally naca, but I got my room key.

(View from the room.)

(Mini-bar treats I can’t touch or my sister’s credit card will be charged.)

Really – The Mondrian is amazing in every way, but I do have one complaint and it’s this…

This carita loca is in every hotel room and she’s seriously freaking me out. She stares right at the bed… which is where I need to go now. More soon! Besos from Miami!

Disclosure: I’m in Miami for the Latin Billboard Awards at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.

La Casa Blanca y La Familia López

Driving by the Washington Monument on our way to the White House. (Carlos calls this "La Aguja" - "the needle.")

The visit to La Casa Blanca was bien chivo although President Obama wasn’t around to welcome me as I had hoped. I didn’t tweet or blog until now because between waking at 4 a.m. for the White House tour and preparing for our trip to Miami, I’m just super cansada.

I wish I had a lot of photos to show you, but on White House tours, no cameras are allowed inside. And honestly, although it’s fun to say, “I’ve been to the White House” – the section they allow you into is really more of a museum than actual living quarters for the family. (I didn’t even so much as see “Bo” – the Obama family’s dog!)

When you first walk in there are photos of the Obama family on the walls of the foyer. The very first photo prominently displayed, was President Obama with mariachi. I instinctively reached for my non-existent camera before remembering – no cameras allowed so I hadn’t brought it. I did find the photo on the internet though so you can see.

(By the way, I found this photo on a website called Obama Looks Bored, which features photos of President Obama looking bored. Love it.)

There were a lot of fancy furnishings, three immense crystal chandeliers that weigh 1200 pounds each. Each chandelier takes 72 hours to clean. (And that is the extent of historical tour guide type data I retained.)

There are various rooms named for colors – The Blue Room, The Red Room (which looked hot pink to me for some reason – but I loved it), The Green Room, etc.

In the Green Room a painting caught my eye and I wanted to remember the artist so I could look it up later. Without a pen and paper I had to rely on my memory, which isn’t so good. To remember things, I usually have to play word games with myself. So, to remember the artist, Jacob Lawrence, I said to myself, “Jacob Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence… how can I remember his name? … Oh! Jacob Have I Loved!”

Carlos immediately turned around, “Whose Jacob?”
“The artist of that painting,” I said.
“No, the other Jacob you loved,” he said narrowing his eyes.
He didn’t believe me for several minutes that ‘Jacob Have I Loved’ is the name of a book.

The Builders - by Jacob Lawrence

The Obama family in the Green Room, (the painting I like is in the background)

(The painting turned out to be ‘The Builders’ by Jacob Lawrence, if you want to read more about it.)

Once we were outside, we were allowed to take photos, so I took a few with my cell phone camera.

White House lawn being cut.

Back outside the gates.

The future 1st Latino President and his hermanito.

La Casa Blanca

[Scroll for English translation!]

Hoy es Spanish Friday pero casi no tengo tiempo por escribir mi post. Es las 5 de la mañana y estoy lista por ir a la casa de mi amigo, El Presidente Obama.

(Gracias a mis padres, hoy, la familia López anda en un tour de La Casa Blanca en Washington D.C.)

A visitar Barack voy! (Si está en casa!) Hasta luego, y si participaste en Spanish Friday, deja tu link en comentarios!

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

Today is Spanish Friday but I almost don’t have time to write my post. It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and I’m ready to leave to go to the house of my friend, President Obama.

(Thanks to my parents, today, the López family is going on a tour of the White House in Washington D.C.)

Off to visit Barack! (If he’s home!) See you later and if you participated in Spanish Friday, leave your link in comments!

Botas Picudas

ElVaqueroImports.com

The first time I saw botas picudas was in a WalMart parking lot. The boys piled into the car with Suegra while Carlos and I put the groceries into the trunk. Across the row, a group of young Mexican guys walked by and caught my eye.

I nudged Carlos. “Look at those boots!”

These tipos were decked out – cowboy hats, jeans tighter than I could ever hope to fit into, fancy button-down shirts, big belt buckles, and these pointy toed boots I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

Carlos sneered and went back to putting groceries into the car.

“If we find you boots like that, will you wear them?!” I asked, handing him a bag from the cart.

“No. They look ridiculous,” he answered, before reminding me for the millionth time that he wasn’t Espinoza Paz, he wasn’t Mexican, and he wasn’t even from the Salvadoran countryside – he’s a city boy.

I watched the Mexican guys get into their truck and pouted. That was a year ago and I still haven’t convinced Carlos to buy a pair of botas picudas. In fact, the fashion has gotten so out of hand that now he definitely wants nothing to do with it.

Apparently the men wearing these boots got a little competitive about whose boots were longer and pointier, (*ahem* … we are talking about BOOTS here but it makes you wonder.) … Now, some of the botas picudas can be so long that the wearer attaches the tip of the boot to their wrists to keep from tripping.

This documentary explains how DJ Erick Rincón and the Tribal music scene in Mexico City played a part in popularizing botas picudas, (which can be seen even in the United States – especially in Texas.)

People who wear these boots are sometimes called “nacos” and “chuntaros” – but they’re not ashamed and you have to admire that.

Links:

Chuntaritos.com
¡Que Chuntaro! by JuanofWords.com
ElVaqueroImports.com
Erick Rincón, 16, Spins Mexico’s Newest Craze by ReMezcla.com
[free downloads]
Erick Rincón on Twitter

(Gracias to mi amiga, Elsie, for sharing the video and inspiring the post!)

The music… it helps you.

This post is dedicated to all the musicians out there who make music and share it with the world – the famous and the not so famous. Thank you.


(image source)

The other day I took Suegra on an errand. As is my habit, I started the ignition, put on my seat belt, pressed play on the CD player, turned the volume up, and then checked my mirrors before backing out of the driveway.

Lately I’ve been playing the hell out of my Pitbull CD. I can’t play it around the niños but Suegra doesn’t catch the dirty lyrics. She did say once that she doesn’t like the Pitbull CD, but my car, my rules. (Sometimes I joke with Carlos when he changes the stations on me, “Don’t you ever touch a white girl’s radio, boy!”) [Rush Hour reference - warning: strong language in video]

Suegra knows better than to complain too much though since I don’t like taking her on errands in the first place. Besides, I’ve caught her out of the corner of my eye tapping her fingers to the beat.

This particular day we’re driving along – a gringa and an elderly Salvadoran woman, with Pitbull blasting from the speakers. The sun is shining, I put on my sunglasses, roll the window down a little. Despite being on an errand with my mother-in-law, I’m feeling good. I’m smiling, moving to the beat, sauvecito – just a little – not so much that I look like a loca – happy to be alive and thankful for what I’ve got.

Suegra breaks my trance, yelling to be heard over the music, “Tracy, ya no tomas las pastillas para la tristeza, vá?”

I tell her that no, I haven’t taken medicine for depression for several years now.

Suegra nods, is quiet for a moment. We stop at a red light.

“La música…te ayuda, ¿verdad?” she lifts her chin in the direction of the radio.

Now it’s me who is quiet. I’ve never known Suegra to be especially insightful so I’m shocked into silence by the realization that she understands something so deeply personal about me without me having ever breathed a word of it aloud.

The music…it helps you.

Yes – I answer her. The music helps me.

Courtship, Latin American style

Reading a book called “The Hacienda: My Venezuelan Years,” and though I don’t think it’s intended to be a comedic book at all, this part made me laugh, perhaps because it’s vaguely familiar.

“He said he would die if I didn’t marry him. He said it was my destiny. I was sixteen and I didn’t know then that it was an old cliché, as though, somewhere, there is a little latino lexicon of courtship which is learnt by heart in adolescence and then regurgitated to girl after girl.”

- Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

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What have you been reading? Which literary quote made you stop to think or laugh lately?