Día de Los Muertos Round-up!

Saw this chévere sugar skull mochilla at a local store. Also found it available online. If you want to buy one, the brand is Yak Pak.

I’ve got a backpack full of links for you to check out for Día de Los Muertos (also known as “Day of the Dead” or “Día de los Difuntos”.)

SpanglishBaby.com had the genius idea of creating this collection of Day of the Dead links which includes everything from altars/ofrendas, crafts for adults and kids alike, themed products available for purchase from around the internet, recipes, history, culture, photos, videos, and personal stories. The collection of links includes all my Día de los Muertos posts too in case you missed them in previous years.

Click the image below to go to the SpanglishBaby post which includes not only all their awesome links within their own site, but links to all our fellow amigas’ great content which continues to be added!

Day of the Dead-ify your Fotos!

Like many other people out there, I’ve come to love using the online image editor PicMonkey to edit my photos. It has every awesome feature you could want, plus some – and it’s free. I didn’t think I could love PicMonkey more than I already do, but I just came upon a super chévere seasonal addition. Not only have Halloween features been added, but there is now a Día de los Muertos theme!

This screen capture doesn’t even show all the features. Go check it out!

Although I’ve never had a desire to paint my face like a sugar skull before, PicMonkey made this idea very tempting. Carlos came into the room while I was in the middle of creating this.

Carlos asked me, first, what in the world I was doing, and second, “I thought you said you were busy writing?”

(Thanks a lot, PicMonkey, for distracting me and getting me into trouble!) … I’ll go back to writing now, the rest of you, go have fun!

Stories from el Corazón

On SpanglishBaby I talked about a non-profit organization called Story Corps which records people’s true stories to create a sort of archive of American history for future generations. Some of these stories have been animated, and I shared a really hilarious yet heartwarming video from the Story Corps collection called Facundo the Great – (go check it out on SpanglishBaby!)

While I clicked around on the Story Corps website, I found several other animated stories I loved just as much as Facundo the Great. Here are two more, and if you love them mucho, check out Story Corps for más.

Keep Calma and Vote Obama

I’m not planning on getting too political here on Latinaish.com despite it being an election year, but I couldn’t resist sharing this greeting card I discovered this evening at Target.

Wow – this simple card manages to hit 3 demographics at once!

1. Spanglish speakers
2. Democrats or others voting for Obama
3. People familiar with the “Keep Calm” meme

Congratulations to the artist at Recycled Paper Greetings for hitting it out of the park. And for Republicans out there, no worries, there was a much less catchy “Keep Calm, Vote for Rom” version as well.

La artista

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is below!

Cuando yo era niña, yo quería ser una artista – una pintora específicamente. Mis padres me compraban un caballete, pinturas y brochas. Sólo me faltaba una boina. Me encantó pintar, pero cuando veía a cuadros al óleo profesionales, me desanimé. Años más tarde todavia quería ser una artista pero, decidí que quería ser una arquitecta. Mis padres me compraban una mesa de dibujo y papel cuadriculado. Me encantó diseñar casas de mis sueños, pero cuando me di cuenta de que los arquitectos tienen que ser muy bien en matemáticas, no me interesaba más.

Así pasó por una docena otras opciones de carrera. Poco a poco dejé de dibujar pero a veces me interesa otra vez. Ahora si podría trabajar como artista, quería ser la persona que crea nuevas ideas para las tarjetas telefónicas. Las tarjetas telefónicas siempre tienen nombres bien chistosas y me imagino que es divertido dibujar las imágenes para las tarjetas.

Aquí hay una tarjeta telefónica Carlos compró recientemente.

¿Y tú? ¿Qué otros trabajos te gustaría hacer?


When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an artist – a painter specifically. My parents bought me an easel, paints and brushes. A beret was the only thing missing. I loved to paint, but when I saw professional oil paintings, I became discouraged. Years later I still wanted to be an artist but I decided I wanted to be an architect. My parents bought me a drafting table and graph paper. I loved designing houses, but when I realized architects have to be very good at math, I lost interest.

That’s how it went for a dozen other career options. Gradually I stopped drawing but sometimes I feel interested again. Now if I could work as an artist, I would want to be the person who creates new ideas for phone cards. Phone cards always have funny names and I imagine it’s fun to draw the images for the cards.

Here is a phone card Carlos recently bought.

How about you? What other jobs would you do?

Piñatas Peludas

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is below!

Ustedes ya saben que me encantan las piñatas, (Bueno ¿Qué tipo de persona sin corazón no le gusta de ellas?)

Pero, la semana pasada encontré unas piñatas que nunca vi antes. Las piñatas eran bien grandes pero la cosa que me impresiono más era que las piñatas eran peludas – ¡sí! Peludas!

Les voy a enseñar para que me entiendan mejor qué estoy diciendo.

Ya ven que no estoy loca y tenía razón! Las piñatas son peludas, ¿vá?


You all already know that I love piñatas, (well, what sort of heartless person doesn’t like them?)

However, the other week I found some piñatas that I had never seen before. The piñatas were kind of big but the thing that impressed me most was that the piñatas were furry – yes! Furry!

I’ll show you so you have a better idea of what I mean.

You see, I’m not crazy, I was right! The piñatas are furry, are they not?

Random El Salvador

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is in italics!

Cuándo regresamos de El Salvador yo compartí con ustedes un montón de fotos que tomé mientras estábamos allí pero todavia tengo unas fotos interesantes que no encajan fácilmente en un tema. Hoy comparto esas fotos “random” con ustedes.

When we returned from El Salvador I shared a whole bunch of photos with all of you which I had taken while we were there. However, I still have some interesting photos that don’t fit easily into a category – Today I share those “random” photos with you.

Una Tía de Carlos tiene un van decorado con un imagen de los “Thundercats” – no sé por qué.

One of Carlos’s aunts has a van decorated with an image of the “Thundercats” – I don’t know why.

La próxima vez que se quejan de tener que lavar la ropa, mejor estar agradecidos por su lavadora y secadora. Esta es la forma de lavar la ropa en la casa de Carlos.

Next time you complain about needing to do laundry, be thankful for your washer and dryer. This is how you do laundry at Carlos’s house.

Camisas de la Selecta (equipo de fútbol) para toda la familia por venta en una tienda en Metrocentro.

La Selecta (soccer team) shirts for the whole family for sale in a store at Metrocentro.

Donas por venta en WalMart, San Salvador. (Fijaste que no están en una vitrina?)

Donuts for sale at WalMart, San Salvador. (Did you notice they’re not in a glass case?)

Pregunté por qué los árboles y postes de teléfono estaban pintados de blanco en la parte de abajo. Se me dijo que le da un aspecto limpio y simboliza la paz, (no sé si es verdad.)

I asked why trees and telephone poles were painted white on the bottom. I was told that it gives a clean look and symbolizes peace, (I don’t know if that’s true.)

CD’s, DVD’s, etc.

Chalet Teresita, Chalatenango

Estos jóvenes estaban usando pintura en aerosol en la pared en plena luz del día. Estaban destruyendo la propiedad o creando arte? No lo sabemos.

These young people were spray painting the wall in broad daylight. Were they destroying property or creating art? We don’t know.

¿Quién quiere agua de coco?

Who wants agua de coco?

Este era el pasajero en frente de nosotros en la fila mientras esperábamos abordar nuestro vuelo de regreso. Una familia en los Estados Unidos iba a comer Pollo Campero por la cena. (Tenga en cuenta que la bolsa tiene una foto de la catedral antes de que fuera destruido unos meses más tarde.)

This was the passenger in front of us in line while we waited to board our flight home. A family in the United States is going to eat Pollo Campero for dinner. (Note that the bag has a photo of the cathedral before it was destroyed a few months later.)

Finding Latin American Art in DC

Because a National Museum of the American Latino does not exist (yet), I try to find Latin American art and culture in all the museums we visit around DC. Here are a few of the most recent things I found.

The Return to Aztlan by Alfredo Arreguin at the National Portrait Gallery

Mis Hermanos by Mexican artist Jesse Trevino, at the American Art Museum

Selena, National Portrait Gallery

As you know, we also made a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian. After I took a million photos of the Huichol art car, I made a stop at the gift shop. A friend has an upcoming birthday and the gift shop at the National Museum of the American Indian is the perfect place to find something for someone who loves Latin American culture. One display in the museum shop is dedicated just to Día de Los Muertos. I didn’t end up buying this item, but here is a neat “calacas” toy from Peru.

Where do you find Latin American art and culture in your city?

Huichol + Volkswagen = Vochol

On Saturday we took a much needed trip to the National Mall to see various new exhibits at some of the museums. The exhibit I wanted to go see most was “Huichol – art on wheels.”

Before I explain what that is, first let me explain what or rather who the Huichol are. The Huichol are indigenous people from western central Mexico, “living in the Sierra Madre Occidental range in the Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Durango.” [Wikipedia] Though they’re commonly known as “Huichol”, they call themselves “Wixáritari” which means “the people” in their language.

My interest in the Huichol people first started a few years ago when Carlos dedicated an adorable song to me by a music group called Huichol Musical. (He does this often – serenades me with songs from YouTube. Carlos will find a video then say, “This song is for you” before playing it at full blast. Not exactly the same as finding a mariachi ensemble outside one’s window, but such is modern romance.)

As I researched more I discovered Huichol art which quickly became one of my favorites. I love colorful folk art and Huichol art is beautiful beyond words.

Image source: Patti Haskins

Image source: Lucy Nieto

So, when I heard that there was an entire vehicle covered in Huichol art, (a Volkswagen Beetle to be exact), at the National Museum of the American Indian, I knew I had to check it out. I’m not even going to apologize for the dozen photos I’m about to bombard you with because it was that chévere. (In between the photos I’ll share some facts I learned about the exhibit from a pamphlet provided by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.)

This piece of art is called “Vochol.” The word “Vochol” is a combination of “vocho” (slang for Volkswagen Beetle in Mexico) and “Huichol.”

The Huichol are known for their colorful beadwork and fiber arts.

Guess how many glass seed beads cover this vehicle, (including interior details!) … If you said 2,277,000 then you are correct. (That’s more than 2 million for those of you who aren’t good with numbers like me.)

The beads alone weigh almost 200 lbs. and are held on with 35 lbs. of resin.

It took eight Wixáritari artists from two families more than 9,000 hours to create this work of art.

The names of the families who created The Vochol: The Bautistas from Jalisco and the Ortiz from Nayarit, Mexico.

The Vochol features a lot of symbolism. Can you spot a two-headed eagle? A snake? Maize? A canoe?

The Vochol is a collaboration between the Association of Friends of the Museo de Arte Popular, the Museo de Arte Popular, and the state governments of Nayarit and Jalisco.

The Vochol will only be on display in DC until May 6th – so if you want to see it in person, go now.

The phrases on the front fenders say “Two hundred years of independence” and “One hundred years since the Mexican Revolution in Wixáritari.

After an international tour, The Vochol will be auctioned off with proceeds going towards promoting the work of native Mexican artists.

Want to learn more? Links:

Official Vochol website
National Museum of the American Indian
Smithsonian.com: Meet the Vochol

Spanish Conversation Hearts – Free Images!

Did your novio forget your flowers? (Or in my case, did you wake up too late to sneak a note into your macho’s lunch box?) … No te preocupes! Here is a Valentine’s Day gift from Latinaish.com that all of you procrastinators are free to re-gift. Put them on your valentine’s Facebook wall, E-mail them to friends, Pin them to Pinterest, or print them to hang up on the door for when the kids get home from school. The posibilidades are endless. Feliz Día de San Valentín!

Update: Here’s an extra one added by request.

Thanks to Kate Pullen for making the blank conversation heart clipart available for use.