Category Archives: música
It was sometime last year, during the summer, that I stopped at a gas station downtown while out running errands, having found my tank on empty once again.
Suegra happened to be along for the ride, sitting next to me in the passenger seat. I pulled up to the pump and shut the car off. As I blindly rummaged in my bag to find my debit card, I watched a couple cross the parking lot, laughing so hard that they had to hold onto one another for support as they walked. I began to smile, feeling their infectious happiness, but Suegra clicked her tongue.
“Borrachos,” she muttered, shaking her head.
“Drunks?” I said, “Maybe they’re just happy?”
Suegra looked at me like I was stupid. I shrugged my shoulders and got out of the car.
The rest of the day, and even a year later, I still think about that moment because it so clearly demonstrates how one’s outlook on life can change any situation.
It’s Saturday morning and it’s sunny out, so this means I felt the inexplicable urge to open windows, put on merengue and clean my house. This is usually a family effort but Carlos is working overtime and our older son is on a school trip, so it was just me and our youngest son.
I did most of the work, but our youngest son tidied his room, and “passed the vacuum” – (as Carlos translates literally from Spanish – “pasar la aspiradora.”) …Suegra cleaned the bathroom her and the boys use, (my eyes burn from the scent of bleach when I walk to that side of the house), but mostly she has been going to neighborhood yard sales – bringing into the house twice as much as I throw out.
Anyway, if you need some music to clean to, here are some of my favorites right now:
Pégate – Grupo Treo (thanks to TikiTikiBlog.com for this one!)
Me Duele – Roberto Tapia
Give Me Everything – Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, Nayer
Estoy Enamorado – Danny Fornaris
Estar Enamorado – Golpe a Golpe
Taboo – Don Omar
Si no le contesto – Plan B
What are some of your favorite songs right now? What kind of music do you listen to when you clean?
Via a press release yesterday, mun2, (Telemundo’s bilingual cable broadcast network aimed at young Latinos) – announced several awesome things – among them, an upcoming show that I’m really excited about. Chécalo!
From the press release:
“El Más Ching*n” [is] a competition reality series set to discover the next big Regional Mexican artist. It’s a talent search with a twist. Selecting contestants through an interactive online campaign, the road to regional stardom is filled with lifestyle challenges that include writing and performing, as well as horseback riding, media pressure tests and other identifiers of regional respect. Judged by celebrity personalities, the contestants will also be documented through behind-the-scenes rehearsals, back-story segments and confessionals, and tensions between the contestants, competing for one prize. Quién es el más chign*n?
I’m envisioning cute chicos vaqueros, some good Regional Mexican music, (and probably some bad Regional Mexican music from those who are NOT el más chingón), maybe some botas picudas… and… espera un momento! … They said “judged by celebrity personalities” … I wonder who? My fingers are crossed for a guest appearance by Espinoza Paz! Vamos a ver!
More about mun2, (because I like them and I identify with the term “culture connectors” that they use):
“…mun2 (moon-dos) is the lifestyle cable network for today’s culture connectors (C2s) – bicultural Latinos 18-34. As the bilingual network that amplifies the Latinos experience, mun2 is culturally-grounded and reflects the best of both worlds – mun2 is uniquely American. From reality to music, on-air to digital, mun2 creates original content across a multi-screen platform. As the only nationally measured bilingual cable network by Nielsen NTI, mun2 has an increased distribution to over 36 million households, and is a part of the Telemundo Communications Group, a division of NBCUniversal.”
Carlos arrived in Miami a few hours after I did. When I kissed him hello he asked if I’d been drinking. “Just one Cuba Libre with Carrie,” I said. He sat down. He stared out the window. “You’ve only been here a few hours and already you’re drinking? … That’s not good,” he said.
We weren’t off to a very good start. I took his photo while telling him, “Cheer up! We’re in Miami, trick!” … That didn’t help. I promised no more drinking unless he was with me. He stopped pouting and we went for a walk.
The first order of business was to buy the boys a post card. I wanted to send it right away so it would arrive home before we did – We found a CVS and I bought one. (I later wrote the message, addressed it, put postage on it, and sent it… To this day, it has not arrived.) … While Carlos paid for the post card, I wandered outside. This dog was tied to the bike rack. I thought he was cute.
Both of us were starving so we continued to walk, in search of lunch. Carlos was looking for familiar fast food. I was looking for something new and exciting. This is a metaphor for our relationship in general. Carlos wants the comfort of the predictable. He wants things to stay the same – he wants to know what to expect. I, on the other hand, want to explore and discover. I want to try anything and everything. I think that frightens Carlos sometimes.
Eventually, Carlos relented and let me have my way, again, pretty typical for us… I think I’m just more willing to “argue to the death” as he says, and he gives up.
I was on a mission to find Cuban food. Every time someone who seemed “local” would walk by, I’d nudge Carlos and say, “Ask them!” and he’d say, “No, you ask!” … This happened a few times. When I finally got up the nerve to ask an elderly Cuban guy hobbling by with a cane, (I assume Cuban only because he was wearing a straw fedora, but I could be wrong), I realized we were standing in front of a place called “Bernie’s L.A. Café.” I saw some Cuban food on the menu in the window so we went in. The bilingual waitress was super nice, the prices were decent and the meal was simply amazing – very fresh, high quality food.
We both got the Cuban sandwich, (and tostones just because.) They served these really tasty pieces of toasted bread with a basket of different hot sauces. Mango habanero, (judging from the amount left in the bottles), is the most popular, and it was certainly my favorite.
The tostones came with “mojito dipping sauce” … I don’t know what it was made of but I need to find out. It was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had. The sandwich portion was so big that we both only ate half and brought the leftovers to our room for a second meal later.
By the way, another must visit place – InStyle Cupcakes. Last time I went to Miami, Carrie introduced me to them. I like cupcakes to begin with, but with varieties like Dulce de Leche and Churro, I became a little obsessed. Since I knew we’d be back in Miami, I took to Twitter stalking them. If we’d have been given more free time, I was more than willing to invest the money in taking a taxi to visit them, but thankfully InStyle delivered a box to Carrie’s room.
Surprisingly, though I’m not crazy about fruit-flavored things most of the time, guava is my favorite. Next time I’m in Miami and don’t have such a full schedule, hopefully they’ll agree to a taste-testing tour of their actual location… for journalistic purposes of course.
Anyway, after lunch we stopped at Whole Foods which was like a block from our hotel, to buy bottled water and some snacks, etc. for our hotel room. We don’t usually shop Whole Foods cause we’re too poor, but it was a good experience. (And their sushi is awesome.)
After dropping our things off at the hotel, we went back out to make the most of our day. We met with Dean of Surropa.com, who I’ve been in touch with via E-mail, Facebook and Twitter for over a year now, but had never met in person. We had a nice chat and he gave us a lot of tips about where we should go for fun before dropping us off on Lincoln Road.
I could have walked around hand-in-hand with Carlos all night, but I had a busy two days ahead. During those busy two days, Carlos began to feel some discontent growing inside him. At first he couldn’t sort out just what he was feeling and why. I became frustrated with his negative attitude, chalked it up to simple macho jealousy issues – so we argued, (apologies to whoever slept in the room next to 307 that night.) …Once we calmed down, we talked and talked until we unraveled the problem.
It turns out, Carlos is feeling “stuck.” He see’s me following my passions and he’s proud of me, but he doesn’t feel like he’s growing or achieving anything himself – and he doesn’t know what to do about it.
I told him he needs to mix it up, try new things, and see what happens. He was resistant at first, but then he made the brave decision, against his natural tendencies, to see what possibilities are out there. I’m happy for him because I know what he’s capable of despite what he was told growing up – despite what he came to believe about himself, and despite the challenges of living in this country as an immigrant. He’s the only one whose been holding himself back.
All these years he’s supported me while I follow my passions – now I will be there for him.
Disclosure: I went to Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. I have not been paid by any companies or restaurants mentioned. All opinions are my own.
Telemundo invited us into their studios to check out where they film some of their telenovelas.
The first set we visited was for a telenovela that is still in production called, “Mi Corazón Insiste.” The lead male actor is JenCarlos Canela. (I honestly thought he was only a singer, but apparently he’s an actor, too.)
Okay, here is another happy accident. (The first one was when my hair was styled like Paula del Monte’s in the poster behind me.) … Before I went to Miami, my friends at Surropa.com gifted me a T-shirt to wear for my trip. I chose one that said “Mi corazón” on it – partly because I loved the design and partly because I hoped to be wearing it if I met Espinoza. (He says “corazón” a lot in his songs. It’s like his “thing” …)
So anyway, I’m posing on the set of this telenovela and I say, “Which telenovela is being filmed here again?” and they tell me, “Mi Corazón Insiste.” – Muy raro, no?
Here are a couple photos of the set of Mi Corazón Insiste:
(This, we were told, is where a scene was just shot of a maid who was searching for something… Looks like it’s supposed to be an attic, don’t you think?)
(This is the fancy living room where I had my picture taken.)
Next we checked out where they keep props. It looked sort of like a well-organized thrift store. All the items on the shelves had bar codes and were catalogued – this is so they can be re-used. When they are setting up for a new telenovela they can see what they have in the catalog as far as lamps, for example, and choose one they already have, or make plans to go acquire one if they don’t already have something that fits what they’re looking for. (Wouldn’t “prop shopper” be an awesome job?)… My favorite fact I learned during the tour was that each year about 10% of the less popular props are donated to charity.
After props department, we visited the set of Aurora where they were rehearsing a scene for one of the final episodes. I wasn’t allowed to take photos or film, and we were supposed to be very quiet. It was difficult to be quiet for me though because one of the actors looked kind of funny due to his er… costume … I don’t think I’m allowed to give details… but a few of us were giggling and got shushed. Oops. I think that third graders on a field trip may have done a better job of being quiet than some of us blogueras. We were about 10 feet away from actor Eugenio Siller too which didn’t help some who were slightly smitten…(Good looking pero a mi me gustan los morenos.) The way they rehearse is really interesting. There was a woman there holding the script and she would feed each actor their lines. (Another cool job!)
(By the way, remind me to tell you what was so funny after the episode airs.)
Next we visited a room which I call “the editing room” because I don’t remember what it’s officially called.
Here is where they… edit…video?… I think he was putting together a promo for La Reina del Sur.
Last visit was to what I call the “music room” … again, because I don’t know what it’s really called. I do remember that this guy’s name is Joaquín and he is the one who adds music to the telenovelas. (Everyone say “Hello Joaquín!”) … Joaquín is also a musician, so when he can’t find exactly what he wants, he creates music on his own.
The question I asked Joaquín was, “Do you ever put suspenseful music in a telenovela at a point where nothing is really going to happen, just to mess with the audience?” — He said, “Yes. In Spanish, it’s called ‘suspenso falso’.” (English translation = False suspense – I’m sure even the non-bilingual peeps got that one, right? Gotta love cognates.)
Besides all this fun, Telemundo also took us to dinner. One night we went to a restaurant called “Cecconi’s” – which is much fancier than I’m used to. It was really beautiful, the waiters were attentive, the company couldn’t be beat, and (though I will seem very naca for saying this), the food was really good even if I didn’t know exactly what I was eating some of the time.
Disclosure: I went to Telemundo Studios and Cecconi’s at the invitation of Telemundo. The “Mi Corazón” shirt was gifted to me by Surropa.com. All opinions are my own.
I intended to share my trip chronologically but it wouldn’t be nice to make you wait more for the part you really want to hear about – la alfombra roja (red carpet), and the actual Latin Billboard Awards show.
Cuban sandwiches and other randomness, while worthy of sharing with you, are not as exciting as the main event, so here we go. (I’ll tell you about the sandwich más tarde.)
We arrived at the red carpet and first we were seated in the bleachers with the fans. After a little while, we were given the option to move to the press area where it would be possible to actually speak with celebrities who chose to stop, with the caveat that we would have to stand for over 2 hours. I didn’t think twice – I wanted to be with the press.
(Thanks to CityChicOnline.com for the dress!)
When I got to the press area my hands started to shake. I caught a glimpse of a white cowboy hat and my heart fluttered, thinking it was Espinoza Paz. One of the blogueras who has a lot more experience with these kinds of events, kindly gave me some advice, reminding me that to gain respect I couldn’t freak out.
I think I did pretty well, despite an unintentional gasp here and there – like when Prince Royce gave me a shout-out.
Many celebrities stopped to talk, even shaking hands and giving hugs or a kiss on the cheek. One handsome telenovela actor was so close to me that I could smell the cologne on his skin and it wasn’t like he had put too much on or anything, (can’t remember which actor it was pero qué rico se huele!) I chatted up the cast of the new mun2 show, RPM Miami for a minute or two – but you know my heart was set on finding Espinoza Paz and Pitbull.
Pitbull did walk by, but didn’t stop to chat.
And it was cool to meet El Trono de Mexico.
I told one of the guys from El Trono, “Me gustan tus botas picudas!” and he smiled.
More photos! (From Gloria Estefan to Marc Anthony and actors from telenovelas like Reina del Sur…
Here are some photos of the celebrities that came into the press area of the red carpet. Some stopped to talk, others just posed for photos. How many musicians and actors do you recognize?
Espinoza Paz never did pass by the press area – I’m not even sure he walked the red carpet. I felt a little heartbroken. I tried to spot him in the audience but wasn’t sure. At one point, I saw someone in a black cowboy hat come in late. I wonder if it was him?
I spotted Pitbull in his seat.
The stage set-up was super awesome. There were three stages and the one in the middle extended further into the audience. The stage had areas cut out that looked like little pools, where some very lucky fans got to stand. Stages left and right were cube shaped with walls that moved up and down. I loved the colorful lights and the feeling of the bass.
I video taped some of my favorite performances between tweeting:
One song I absolutely love that I neglected to video tape: Me Duele by Roberto Tapia. I loved the couples dancing quebradita during this performance.
The last performance of the evening – Pitbull. I don’t understand how he didn’t win anything. He brought the house down, (the shaky video is evidence of this. I was dancing.)
The last award of the night, “Artist of the Year” – went to Enrique Iglesias. To thank his fans he ran out into the audience. He ran by my section, maybe 20 feet away but I didn’t try to touch his hand. A lot of people were out of their seats and trying to do just that. I like Enrique but not enough to risk falling down stairs or getting crushed. Had it been Espinoza, that’s another story.
Disclosure: I went to the Latin Billboard Awards in Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.
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!
(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.
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.)
(Gracias to mi amiga, Elsie, for sharing the video and inspiring the post!)
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.
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.