Category Archives: celebrity

U.S. vs. Brazil: Holding hands with Rômulo & Chatting with Donovan

As most of you know, my 10 year old attended a McDonald’s Soccer Clinic and was selected to be an escort for the U.S. and Brazilian teams at their game last night.

The day was a little crazy and I was overwhelmed by details – I didn’t want anything to go wrong. I checked and double checked that we had everything we needed – tickets, the uniform, money for the Metro, etc. Even when I was sure we had everything, I worried that we would arrive late, (we ended up arriving super early as a result), or that my son would spill something on his shirt, (he didn’t.)

Finally we were able to turn him over to the organizers from McDonald’s for a couple hours. The McDonald’s people were really awesome with the kids and I relaxed knowing that whatever happened now was out of my hands.

I think most of the kids were nervous – also, it was really hot, but they’re all so adorable.

After we dropped off our boy, we went to our seats and waited for the big moment. We knew we would be sitting in the upper level of the stadium but I wasn’t prepared for how high up it would be. Climbing the stairs to our seats felt like climbing Chichen Itza and I was very close to having an anxiety attack. It took a few minutes and some deep breathing but I calmed enough to appreciate our beautiful view.

So high up that a bird flew past my face.

The players came out to warm up and the escort kids were instructed to sit along the sidelines. Little did I know at that time that my son had actually had a chance to talk to his favorite U.S. players minutes before in the entrance hallway from the locker rooms to the field. He says he told Landon Donovan, “I’ve seen you on TV. You’re one of my favorite players.” Donovan reportedly smiled and said, “Thank you.” My son also said “Hi” to Tim “El Pato” Howard who responded in kind.

Once the players were finished warming up and the field was readied, the music began and the players returned with their escorts. My son got paired up with a Brazilian player, (Rômulo, #8.)

My sister texted me a few minutes after the anthems played and told me she saw our son on TV – She even took a photo.

Once the game began, Carlos went to retrieve him and we enjoyed the rest of the game together as a family. (This was our older son’s first time attending a soccer game in a stadium so he was just as excited as our younger son.)

Despite the US Team playing really well, ultimately the terrible reffing wasn’t in their favor. While I’m complaining a little, let me just say that the new uniforms make our guys look like Where’s Waldo.

In happier news, we were part of history. The crowd that attended the US vs. Brazil game at FedEx Field on May 30th, 2012 broke records – the stadium was definitely packed.

We ended up leaving the game a little early to avoid being crushed. Thankfully we made it to the Metro moments before a train arrived and we pulled out just as the station was starting to fill up with people. Within minutes our younger son had fallen asleep, the long day finally taking its toll.

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. We were invited by McDonald’s to the soccer clinic and given tickets to the game. No compensation was received in exchange for this post and as always all opinions are my own.

Chicharitos de Sabor (recipe)

When I saw this recipe, I knew right away that I wanted to share it here on Latinaish. Of course the name of the recipe caught my eye – I love Javier Hernández, the Mexican footballer better known by the nickname “Chicharito” – but “Chicharito” or “Chícharo” is simply the word for peas. (Javier’s father was given the nickname “Chícharo” for his green eyes, and that’s how Javier became “Chicharito” – the little pea.)

Anyway, for once, my mind wasn’t in the wrong place because this recipe does seem to be a play on words. Look at the little soccer ball-like “bolitas”!

Image source:

Notice the red, white and green plastic food picks! (Colors of the Mexican flag) … Clearly Chef Maggie Jiménez is not only a creative genius, but a fan of Chicharito.

I haven’t had a chance to try this recipe out but it looks almost as good as Javier Hernández on the pitch – chécalo!

Chicharitos de Sabor


4 Tazas MASECA®
2 ½ Tazas Agua
½ Cdta. Sal
½ Taza Aceite para freír
1 Taza chícharos congelados
½ Taza Queso manchego cortado en cubos pequeños
½ Taza carne molida
½ Taza Chicharrón
½ Taza Chorizo


Mezclar la MASECA® con el agua y la sal durante 5 minutos hasta que la masa ya no se pegue en las manos. Dividir en 20 porciones iguales y hacer 5 bolitas rellenas de queso, 5 de carne, 5 de chicharrón y 5 de chorizo. Integrar las bolitas con chícharos. Calentar el aceite y freír las bolitas.

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. MASECA® granted permission for this recipe and photo to be reproduced from their website,

2012 Billboard Latin Music Awards CD Giveaway

Latin Billboard Music Awards 2012 Finalists

While nothing can compare with actually attending the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami, which I was fortunate enough to do last year, this CD es bien buenísimo. All the songs on this CD are by finalists, so you know it’s got to be good. Chécalo!

SHAKIRA – featuring El Cata – Rabiosa
PITBULL – Bon, Bon
MANA – Lluvia Al Corazón
PRINCE ROYCE – Recházame
JENNI RIVERA – featuring Marco Antonio Solis Basta Ya (Pop version)
RICKY MARTIN – featuring Natalia Jimenez Lo Mejor De Mi Vida Eres Tú
WISIN & YANDEL – Estoy Enamorado
GERARDO ORTIZ – Amor Confuso
CHINO & NACHO – Tu Angelito
ALEXIS & FIDO – Energía
DON OMAR – Taboo

This year The Billboard Latin Music Awards will be live on Telemundo, Thursday April 26th at 7 pm. Target has remained the exclusive retail sponsor of the Latin Billboard Music Awards show for 8 years, so this CD will be sold exclusively in Target stores and on, but here’s how you can win one!



Prize description: One lucky winner will receive the 2012 Billboard Latin Music Awards Finalists CD

Approximate value: $9.99

How to Enter:

Just leave a comment below telling me which song or performer on the CD is your favorite. (Please read official rules below.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the company in charge of prize fulfillment. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid E-mail address in the E-mail address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 48 hours to respond. After 48 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between April 23rd, 2012 through April 27th, 2012. Entries received after April 27th, 2012 at 11:59 pm, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. I received this CD for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Dichos de Espinoza Paz

Espinoza Paz

Image source: Lunchbox LP

Aside from being a talented composer and performer of Regional Mexican music, Espinoza Paz, (born Isidro Chávez Espinoza), has a surprising amount of wisdom to offer fans and anyone else willing to listen. Here are some of my favorite quotes, dichos or frases that I’ve taken down from various interviews and from tweets from his Twitter feed.

Espinoza Habla Sobre Raíces Humildes / Espinoza on Humble Beginnings

★ “También los ‘nacos’ tenemos derecho a oportunidades, a triunfar, a lograr nuestros sueños y a ser respetados.” (Después de haber sido llamado “naco” por un reportero.)

Translation: “As ‘nacos’, we too have the right to opportunities, to succeed, to achieve our dreams and to be respected.” (Said after being called “naco” by a reporter.)

(Language note: “Naco” is a slang derogatory term for an uneducated person who comes from the country.)

Espinoza Habla Sobre Humildad / Espinoza on Humility

★ “Yo creo que hay gente que canta mucho mejor que yo.”

Translation: I believe that there are people that sing a lot better than I do.
(After being asked if he believes he sings well or badly.)

Espinoza Habla Sobre Racismo / Espinoza on Racism

★ “Por qué cuando alguien quiere ofender a alguien utiliza [la palabra] ‘indio’? Los indios no son seres humanos? …Yo soy indio para demostrarles a los que no lo son cómo se llega lejos siendo un indio.”

Translation: “Why is it that when someone wants to offend another, he uses [the word] ‘Indian’? Are Indians not human beings? … I’m Indian – to show those of you who are not, that you can go far being an Indian.”

(Language note: The word “Indian” in Spanish is often used to insult someone and call them “stupid.”)

Espinoza Habla Sobre Chisme / Espinoza on Gossip

★ “Yo nunca voy a vivir de hablar mal de los demás. Yo voy a vivir haciendo a los demás felices con mi música.”

Translation: “I’ll never live to speak ill of others. I’m going to live making people happy with my music.”

Espinoza Habla Sobre Criticismo / Espinoza on Criticism

★ “Yo no me siento mal cuándo hablan mal de mí. Por qué? Porque yo sé quién soy.”

Translation: “I don’t feel badly when people speak badly of me. Why? Because I know who I am.”

espinoza paz frase

Espinoza Habla Sobre Fe / Espinoza on Faith

★ “Mientras más me atacan, más Dios me ilumina con cosas buenas… Pues, que me sigan atacando para que me siga iluminando.”

Translation: “The more they [critics] attack me, the more God enlightens me with good things … So, I say go ahead and continue attacking me so I continue to be enlightened.”

Espinoza Habla Sobre Defenderte / Espinoza on Standing Up For Yourself

★ “Cuándo alguien me quiere pisotear, cuando alguien me quiere humillar a mi, yo no lo puedo dejar…No puedo hacer eso. No lo puedo permitir. ¿Por qué?”

Translation: When someone wants to trample me, when someone wants to humiliate me, I can’t leave it be. I can’t do that. I can’t allow it. Why should I?

Espinoza Sobre el Pensamiento Positivo / Espinoza on Positive Thinking

★ “Si pasa por tu mente, pasa por tu vida.”

Translation: If you believe it, you can achieve it.

espinoza paz frase

Note: Images legally used and adapted from photos available through creative commons and Lunchbox LP. Use and adaptation of photos does not signify their endorsement of

Going to Miami? 10 Tips

tips going to miami

This past week I got two E-mails from two different people asking me advice on traveling to Miami. The thing is, I’ve only been to Miami twice and as much as I loved immersing myself in the culture of the 305, I wouldn’t exactly consider myself an expert. That being said, I did manage to think up 10 tips with a little help from my friends. So, are you going to Miami? Not sure what to expect? Here are 10 things you should know.

#1. Perfect Bodies

As Miami-native Pitbull says, “Ella es una bombona y su cuerpo, dos siliconas” and “Body is all great, 26 24 28, body parts fake.” That isn’t to say all or even most people in Miami have had plastic surgery to look the way they do – maybe they were born lucky, maybe they’ve worked hard for it, but whether it’s natural or not, the psychological result is the same: Being surrounded by so many perfect-looking people who appear to have walked straight out of a music video can make one feel just a little insecure.

Even the mannequin? Image source: Martin Allen

My only advice for you on this one is to be prepared for it, accept it, and try to look your best without comparing yourself to everyone else. Why spend your trip moping that you can’t bounce quarters off your ass? Serious waste of time which could be spent simply enjoying the eye candy.

#2. Cuban Culture & Español

Being in some parts of Miami is kind of like taking a trip to Latin America without ever leaving the country. Experience Cuban food, music and more – soak it up. If you don’t speak Spanish, be prepared to be in the minority. If you do speak Spanish, you might feel like you’ve died and gone to Heaven. The casual Spanglish thrown around here, the way people assume and expect you to speak it, is something pretty special.

#3. Bright Colors

Image source: Jules Gervais

From the natural bright blue of the ocean and the sky to architecture and fashion – bright colors are everywhere.

#4. City & Beach

Miami has everything from gorgeous tropical beaches to sky scrapers.

Image source: Marc Averette

#5. Humid & Sunny with a Chance of Rain

The weather is gorgeous but at times you will experience some hair-do destroying humidity. Veronica of Cid Style File says to make sure you bring your anti-frizz products – you’ll need them. (And don’t forget the sunscreen.)

#6. Expensive

Depending on where you’re visiting from, prices – particularly in South Beach, might be a little shocking. If you’re the type to buy items at your destination rather than try to fit them in your luggage, you may want to reconsider this time.

#7. Party Atmosphere

Maybe it was because both times I went to Miami I was there to attend special events, but I can’t help but think a “party atmosphere” permeates Miami year round. Get some sleep before you arrive – you’re going to need it.

#8. Rudeness

Okay, now I didn’t personally experience this to any extreme where I would say Miami is any more rude than some other places I’ve visited, but apparently the city does have a reputation. Readers of Travel + Leisure magazine apparently voted Miami the 2nd rudest city in the nation, but you can decide for yourself.

#9. Celebrities

Miami is second in something else – celebrities. I imagine only Los Angeles has a larger movie star population, although New York might be a bit of competition. Don’t believe me? A few famous faces that make their home in Miami include Gloria Estefan, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Pitbull, among others. While some celebs don’t live in Miami, many keep vacation homes there or just come to party.

Be prepared for celebrity sightings wherever you go – especially Spanish-speaking celebrities. Telemundo studios is in Miami and they’ve been known to shoot on location.

#10. Fashion

Ah, the topic you’ve been waiting for. What do you wear in Miami? I’m not a fashionista so all I can tell you is, when in doubt, use fresh, clean colors. Show some skin but be classy not trashy. Here is what some of my friends have to say.

Miami style? This chick's got it.
Image source: Alejandro Amador

“Fun dresses that are lightweight and make you look put together. Dresses that can transition from day to night with the change of shoes and accessories and that can be layered with a lightweight sweater or denim jacket for the air-conditioned indoors. Don’t forget sunblock and a killer pair of shades.” –

“Colorful. Tropical. Skin. Sexy shoes. Perfume. Lipstick. And a Smile.” – Carrie /

“You can wear nice jeans and a sexy top too. Miami is tropical. Or just all black.” –

“Something colorful or flashy with a simple, but very clean look. People in Miami know how to dress.” – Chantilly /

Bonus Tip? Have fun! Miami awaits!

Salvadoran salsa dancers come to Q’Viva!

I was contacted many times with the opportunity to interview any of the contestants of Jennifer Lopez’s and Marc Anthony’s new show, Q’Viva The Chosen. I responded that if they had any contestants who were Salvadoran, I’d be interested.

Well, I got my wish! Junior and Emily are half-Salvadoran salsa dancing siblings from California. Check out my exclusive interview with Junior below!

Latinaish: I saw your auditions with Marc Anthony in Q’Viva and it’s very clear that you guys are professional dancers and that you love to dance. At what age did you start learning to dance?

(See Junior and Emily at minute 2:25)

Junior: We love what we do! We have been dancing salsa for 12 years together. Emily started when she was 10 years old and I started when I was 14 years old. It’s an incredible feeling to do what you love and to do with your sister. To be able to travel and share amazing and unforgettable moments with family.

Latinaish: You guys dance salsa but do you like other types of dance as well?

Junior: We love all types of music and dance. Our specialty is salsa but we also do other types of social dances.

Latinaish: What are your favorite songs to dance to right now?

Junior: We love to dance to everything! As of right now we have been very into doing music by Rodrigo y Gabriela. 

Latinaish: You guys are siblings and you have a lot of chemistry when you dance together, but siblings have a tendency to argue and annoy each other. What does your brother/sister do that annoys you more than anything?

Junior: We have learned to work together. We have learned to separate the personal and the professional. We have been dancing for 12 years together so like everything else, it’s a learning process. The thing that we try and focus on most is pushing each other past our comfort zone and constantly pushing limits. We always have to keep each other positive and motivated when things get really tough because for us it’s a never-ending process to create new limits and continue to innovate.

Latinaish: Your biography says that you’re from San Francisco, California – but I also heard you’re Salvadoran. My husband is from Soyapango, so I’m curious – who in your family is from El Salvador? Your father? Mother? (From what part?)

Junior: That’s exciting to hear that your husband is Salvadorean as well! We were both born and raised in San Francisco, California, but we currently live in Los Angeles, California. We are both half Salvadorean and half Korean. Our father is from Santa Ana, El Salvador and our mother is from Seoul, Korea.

Latinaish: Have you visited El Salvador?

Junior: We have been invited to perform in El Salvador before, but unfortunately we have never been able to go because of schedule conflicts. We would definitely love to visit someday!

Latinaish: In the Q’Viva competition, you guys represent the United States, but do you also feel like you represent El Salvador?

Junior: Yes, we were representing the USA, but we definitely felt that we represented El Salvador as well. Our parents divorced when we were really young and we were raised by our father. We were brought up knowing only our Salvadorean side of the family. It was such an honor to represent both countries.

Latinaish: What else can you tell us about your part on the show Q’Viva?

Junior: Q’Viva was an amazing and unforgettable experience for us. It was so incredible to see such amazing talent from all over the world and for us to be a part of that was an honor. We definitely were extremely excited and nervous at the same time performing for Marc, Jennifer, and Jamie. It will be a moment that we will never forget!

Telemundo brings back Herederos del Monte heart throbs in Corazón Valiente

If you had a thing for José (played by José Luis Reséndez), and/or Gaspar (played by Fabián Ríos) in Telemundo’s novela, Herederos del Monte, then prepare yourself… Telemundo has brought both actors back in their new telenovela, Corazón Valiente.

Fabián Ríos as Willy del Castillo

José Luis Reséndez as Juan Carlos Arroyo

Here’s two promos, one featuring José who plays a character named Juan Marcos Arroyo and the second one features Fabián playing the part of Willy del Castillo.

Watch Corazón Valiente, weeknights at 9pm starting March 6th, 2012. Not fluent in Spanish? English subtitles will be available in closed captioning options. For more information visit or follow @CValienteTV on Twitter.

Will Ferrell Answers all Spanish Questions, “Chicharito”

Actor/Comedian Will Ferrell appeared during halftime of the Colombia vs. Mexico fútbol game last night to promote his new movie, “Casa de mi Padre.” Hilarity ensued. Chécalo!

Lana del Rey – Is she Latina?

Apparently Lana del Rey is the hot thing right now, and her popularity began some time last year – but I had no clue who she was until a couple weeks ago.

I don’t listen to music in English even half as much as I listen to music in Spanish – so that might be why Lana flew under my radar for so long, and she would have continued to remain unknown to me if it weren’t for these terrible headaches I’ve been getting.

These particular headaches aren’t anything to fool around with – I can’t just take Tylenol and carry on as I usually do – and by “carry on as I usually do”, I mean playing Pitbull full blast for at least some portion of my day.

Well, I can’t manage with no music at all and so I decided I needed a temporary replacement for Pitbull, Reggaeton, Norteños, and all the other typically loud-ish music I listen to. One day, with a headache building, I flipped through the satellite radio channels and impatiently stopped on some sort of “coffeehouse” station – I ended up leaving it on the entire week. The music was calm, didn’t distract me from my work and some of the songs they repeated often began to grow on me.

Then one day, this song began to play and I stopped mid-typing, completely absorbed in the hauntingly beautiful music and the singer’s voice.

I rushed to find out the name of the singer and the song, which turned out to be “Video Games” by Lana del Rey. I laughed to myself, seeing the name. Leave it to me to find the only Latina on the coffeehouse station, but when I looked up the artist to find out more about her, I found a number of things I didn’t expect.

First of all, she’s highly controversial for a multitude of reasons. (See here, and here, and over here…Okay, and here too.)

The other thing I found out? While her exact heritage isn’t publicly known, Lana most likely isn’t Latina. Born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, her birth name suggests Anglo ancestry, (though one never knows whose hiding in the family tree.) The Spanish-sounding “Lana del Rey” is just a stage name which some say was concocted from the name of movie star Lana Turner and the Ford Del Rey automobile. Lana tells a different story…

“I wanted a name I could shape the music towards [...] I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba – Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamour of the seaside. It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue.” – Source: Vogue magazine interview

Despite the various controversies over everything from her authenticity to her plump lips, I can’t help but like the girl based on her voice alone. As for Lana/Elizabeth using a Spanish name for her public persona, who am I to judge? If I hadn’t married a Mr. López, maybe I’d have changed my name to Tracy del Rey by now. Is it not one’s prerogative to call themselves whatever they please? What do you think?

Why Salma Hayek’s accent is sexy but the gringo accent isn’t

Antonio & Salma are well-loved for their accents. Mayor Bloomberg? Not so much.

The other day I talked about my accent and whether I should embrace it or continue to attempt to erase it. For the sake of brevity, (which I don’t think I quite succeeded at anyway), I edited the post before publishing and took out some other points I wanted to make.

One of the rabbits I didn’t chase down the path the other day, but will today, is the fact that the gringo/a accent in Spanish is often perceived as one of two things:

1. Ugly, (i.e. “That gringo’s accent is horrible. He’s butchering our language!“)


2. Amusing, funny, hilarious

Latinos born and raised in the United States who have difficulty speaking Spanish are often made fun of or criticized even more heavily than Caucasian gringos who try to learn the language. Jennifer Lopez, Cristina Aguilera, Erik Estrada and many other celebrities have taken plenty of flack in the past.

Yet native Spanish speakers with heavy accents in English are often considered “sexy.”


Salma Hayek

Antonio Banderas

Sofia Vergara

And so the question occurred to me – why the double standard? It seems rather unfair, (and yet, even I admit that I would rather hear a native Spanish speaker speak English with an accent than a native English speaker speak Spanish with an accent.)

I decided to ask an acquaintance I made this past year, François Grosjean, a Professor of psycholinguistics and author of several books including, Bilingual: Life and Reality. I don’t know him in person but I discovered him via the fascinating articles he writes on Psychology Today and once E-mailed him questions I had regarding the phenomenon some bilinguals experience which feels somewhat like having a split personality. He happened to be working on an article on that very topic and asked permission to quote me. (The article: Change of Language, Change of Personality? is here. I’m quoted as “Bilingual 1.”)

And so, when I had this new question on my mind, I didn’t hesitate to contact Dr. Grosjean again. I asked:

…Why is it that when White/Anglo/”Gringos” speak Spanish with an accent, it is usually considered “ugly” sounding or “funny” – Yet it seems when native Spanish speakers speak English with an accent, it can be considered “sexy”…

I’m sure this can be said about other languages as well. If you asked Americans if they preferred to hear a native French speaker speak English with an accent or a native German speaker speak English with an accent, I believe the majority would choose the French speaker. The French accent in English is considered sexy or pretty, but the German accent is considered ugly and harsh.

Are these learned cultural preferences or are there scientific linguistic differences that simply make one scenario more pleasing to the ears than the other?

Dr. Grosjean gave me permission to share excerpts of his E-mail. He answered, in part:

“As for the other question: “are there scientific linguistic differences that simply make one scenario more pleasing to the ears than the other?” – I don’t have an answer. You’d expect that researchers would have examined this but I personally don’t know of a study. Everything you say is correct but how much is due to the way the dominant language sounds and how much to cultural preferences is simply not known.”

So there you have it – it’s still a mystery!

While I had Dr. Grosjean’s ear though, I also asked him what he thought of my dilemma regarding my accent. Should I erase it or embrace it? His opinion?

“I think the best thing is to accept it as it is. Your loved ones like you the way you are, with an accent, and that is what really matters. As for the others, hopefully, with time, they’ll put more emphasis on how well you speak Spanish and not on the accent that you have. In any case, the more you do speak Spanish, the more your accent will improve; so it’s a win win situation all the way, I think.”

Thanks to Dr. Grosjean for allowing me to quote him and for being so kind in answering my various linguistic questions. Check out his most recent Psychology Today post – it should hit home to many of you, (as it did for me!)

Falling in Love With a Culture and a Language.

(Image sources: Live at J&R and Eva Rinaldi.)


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