Botas Picudas … now 30% picudier!

El Trono wearing white botas picudas on the red carpet at the Latin Billboard Awards

Okay, “picudier” may officially be the ugliest Spanglish word I’ve ever made up, but let’s get on with it.

I’ve blogged about botas picudas many times now – I blogged about my first encounter with the boots and the now well-known Behind the Seams documentary. I blogged about asking a guy at Wal-Mart if I could take a picture of his botas picudas and about seeing them on the red carpet at the Latin Billboard Awards. I even went to the trouble of creating an entire page dedicated to Mexican pointy boots. What more could I possibly show you on the topic?

Well, although I would have predicted that the fad would die down by now, it seems only to have become more popular. Once DJ Erick Rincón, the king of Tribal Guarachero music, (which is what you dance to in botas picudas), got together with Sheeqo Beat and and DJ Otto to form the group 3BallMTY, they released the Inténtalo video featuring El Bebeto and América Sierra, and things seemed to take off.

Botas picudas have even been featured on the popular English-language show, Glee.

Cast of Glee wearing botas picudas

Click this screenshot to watch "The Spanish Teacher" episode of Glee on Hulu, featuring Ricky Martin and botas picudas.

Marc Anthony encountered pointy boots while searching for talent for his and J.Lo’s show Q’Viva The Chosen. In Marc’s words “What the f*ck is that?” – (and yet he tries a pair on!)

A photo circulating on Facebook advertises the new Nike picudas… but I don’t think they actually exist.

Nike SB 3Ball

However, Adidas has come out with boots that you really can purchase… they aren’t pointy but I wonder what sparked the idea to create them – maybe botas picudas?

Adidas cowboy boots botas

Click the photo to read more about Adidas cowboy boots.

And of course Tribal has come to Zumba classes.

If you like Tribal (or Trival) music, plenty new danceable songs are popping up.

This one cracks me up. Is he like a Tribal Pitbull? He even throws a “Dale!” into the song… but then they end the song “El Mudo” style. Weird. (Also, yay! for women wearing the botas!)

La Cumbia Tribalera – El Pelon del Mikrophone Feat. Banda la Trakalosa & Violento

Now these guys definitely have a lot of time on their hands. Hilarious lyrics and check out their homemade botas picudas.

La Bota – La Chuzma

So what do you think? Have botas picudas and música tribal reached their limit, or are they here to stay? … It seems possible that twenty years from now we’ll be playing lotería with our nietos and someone will call out, “La Bota!… Una bota igual que la otra” – and we will search our bingo card only to see this:

loteria la bota picuda

El Salvador – Tight Jeans & Inappropriate Head Massages

Despite the ominous title, te juro – we had an amazing time in El Salvador and I have a lot to share with you. This will be the first of several posts about our adventures. I haven’t really written for two weeks, except for the notes I kept in a small book during our travels. I hope writing is like riding a bicycle, (“Once you learn, you never forget”) – because at the moment I’m finding it difficult to put any of my thoughts and emotions into words.

So much happened in such a short time, I’m not even sure where to start. As soon as I stepped off the plane I was overwhelmed with an urgency to absorb everything – every scent, sight, taste, sound, detail. It’s impossible, of course, but I tried. There was so much I couldn’t capture with my camera, but there were solid rather than poetic reasons for that. In some places/situations, the risk of theft and drawing attention to ourselves was too great – other times I didn’t pull out the camera because I don’t like to make others uncomfortable.

As much as I tried to blend in, it wasn’t possible. At the San Salvador airport, Comalapa, the man who checked over our passports before granting entry, asked Carlos if the boys and I were all his children. I had my hair down to cover my face and wore sunglasses. Carlos told him that I was his wife. I removed my sunglasses so he could compare it to the passport photo and he charged me for a tourist visa. (Carlos and the boys didn’t have to pay even though they’re all U.S. Citizens, too.)

Everywhere we went, people stared completely sin pena. I realized that while gringas married to Latin American men are becoming increasingly common here in the U.S., it’s still something of a novelty in El Salvador. Maybe many people know of a friend or cousin who immigrated to los Uniteds and married a gringa, but, (perhaps due to lack of legal paperwork) – they don’t travel back to El Salvador on vacation. (Or they travel back and don’t bring the wife with them.) I didn’t see a single gringa/Salvadoran couple, (or any interracial/intercultural couple for that matter), the entire time we were there.

I also realized that using a backpack and chanclas definitely wasn’t helping me blend in. While generalities don’t apply to everyone, I’ll say that most women I saw in El Salvador, (especially in the malls) – carried big, fancy-looking purses and wore high heels. Some of the women could barely walk in their shoes. I watched one woman nearly fall down the escalator with her baby because of her stripper-esque platform heels, (her friend grabbed her arm and held onto her until she regained balance.) The women also wear jeans so tight from waist to ankle that I really have no idea how they fit into them, and form fitted tops as well. In El Salvador it doesn’t matter if you’re flaca, curvy, rellenita, or gorda – Tight clothes are what you wear. It was really freeing for me to see women my size and bigger who seemed to have no shame about their panzas. Not only did they have no shame, they seemed proud, walking belly first, head held high, with plenty of confidence that they were just as sexy as their slimmer friends. When it came to fashion, there was no attempt to hide or camouflage fat like women here in the United States do.

A pretty typical outfit for a young woman in El Salvador.

I noticed that heavy make-up and thinner eyebrows, (what I call “chola eyebrows”) are also common. I definitely felt the need to up my game while in El Salvador. With all the women walking around looking so hot, the casual tourist look wasn’t cutting it. I started carrying a big purse instead of the backpack, plucked my eyebrows a little thinner, (not totally chola, but thinner), and began putting on more eye make-up than I thought was decent for daytime. I felt this helped me blend in a little, but I refused to trade my chanclas and regular fitted jeans for high heels and skin-tight pants.

And it wasn’t just the women who looked nice. Most of the men, (again, especially in shopping malls and usually in the 15-30 age range), loved to wear name brand shirts, stylish jeans, (sometimes as tight as the women’s), and either name brand sneakers or pointy-toed shoes. The most popular hairstyle among young men was definitely the faux-hawk.

(Note: Again, this was what I saw in the malls of San Salvador. Out in the markets, on the streets, in areas outside of San Salvador, with older and more religious people – the fashion tended to be more conservative.)

We spent a lot of time walking around Metrocentro, a huge multi-level mall with indoor and outdoor shopping, kiosks, food court, movie theater and a “pasarela” (pedestrian walkway over a busy road) – to connect you to the other half of the mall. I was told that Metrocentro is the “poor people mall.” When I asked how the “poor people” could afford to look so trendy, I was told they prefer to wear name brand shoes and survive on beans and tortillas for breakfast. I don’t know how true that is, but that’s what I was told.

Pasarela to Metrocentro

Carlos and the boys wait while the vendor makes our minutas.

My crema soda flavored minuta was red and tasted spicy – I have no idea why.

In the malls there was an abundance of people trying to sell me cell phones or a weekend at a resort. For the first couple days I was very polite in my response – listening to the vendor’s pitch and then issuing a “no gracias” with a smile. This of course becomes exhausting and I realized why locals just keep walking and usually say nothing.

I admit, at first I thought Salvadorans were rude because they don’t say “excuse me” – I stuck out as a gringa for this reason alone. Walking through crowds I’d say, “Con permiso” and “Perdon” multiple times. Eventually I realized, the locals weren’t being rude, it’s just accepted that with this many people in a small area, you will get bumped and brushed, elbowed and stepped on, by strangers. It’s accepted that you can’t give everyone personal space, (Americans love their bubble of personal space but in El Salvador, be prepared for that bubble to be burst.) … No one says “excuse me” because it would be exhausting to apologize to every person you touched.

Most Salvadorans you encounter working in stores and restaurants provide excellent customer service. You’ll always be greeted warmly with a Buenos días/Buenas tardres/Buenas noches. If you say “gracias” – it will always be met with an “a la orden.” People will thank you for your patronage and wish you “Buen día” – and Carlos was often referred to as “caballero” – (gentleman.) In fact, there was one woman who was too friendly with Carlos and it made me very uncomfortable.

After a week in El Salvador, Carlos’s hair already needed a trim, so I insisted we stop somewhere to get him a haircut. We found a place in Metrocentro and went in to inquire. The cost of the haircut was $6 and apparently it included a massage that seemed, at least to this gringa, to be really inappropriate. You should have seen the way she was touching his head. I think she enjoyed it more than Carlos did. Carlos, to his credit, was very uncomfortable and told her several times that the massage wasn’t necessary. The boys and I sat watching in shock as the young woman massaged Carlos’s head for a good ten minutes. She looked at me while she was doing it, smiled slyly, and started laughing as she continued a conversation with Carlos, asking him if it felt good, etc. A friend later assured us that the massage is a normal part of the haircut and Carlos didn’t receive special treatment. I got over the jealousy after about 15 minutes but for the rest of the trip I teased Carlos saying it was only fair for me to go get my hair cut by a man.

A lot of time was spent absorbing all these cultural differences and then sorting out the resulting thoughts and emotions. Thankfully this time of adjustment didn’t cause me to shutdown the way it did last time I went to El Salvador. During our time there, I was quite often pensive, (as well as fighting a flu which locals insisted was “allergy to the climate”) – but I was always happy. It helped to know the boys, and even Carlos, were trying to make sense of everything right along with me.

Belleza en Grande

Telemundo is beginning a special series aimed at plus-sized women to air during their show “Al Rojo Vivo.” The series, “Belleza en Grande” seeks to promote acceptance of all body shapes and sizes while providing helpful fashion advice.

Spanish-language television isn’t exactly known for promoting acceptance of anything but perfect bodies, (and English-language television isn’t much better), so I’m really pleased to see Telemundo taking this step in the right direction.

For more information on the series, including when to tune in, check out the press release:

MIAMI – July 8 2011– Telemundo’s “Al Rojo Vivo” will air “Belleza en Grande,” a series of special reports starting Monday, July 11 at 5pm ET/ 4C. María Celeste Arrarás, will present a sneak preview of this series during her appearance on NBC’s “Today Show” on Saturday, July 9, as part of the ongoing collaboration between the two networks.

Conducted by fashion expert Quique Usales, “Belleza en Grande” celebrates female beauty in all shapes and sizes. Changing the belief that fashion is designed only for skinny women, Maria Celeste, along with Quique, will present daily reports that will transform the way people see the plus-size woman.

Ranging from how to pick the right underwear, how to dress for the office, and how to select the basic pieces for a wardrobe, to how to choose the perfect lingerie for seduction as well as the right hairstyle to accentuate her best features, this series will not only offer beauty and fashion tips to women who are not a size zero, but will also give them the tools -and the inspiration- to have the right attitude to look beautiful, whatever their size.

Viewers will be able to see these and other special reports on http://www.Telemundo.com/alrojovivo.

What do you think?

¡Que vivan las panzas!

Most people have at least heard of The Vagina Monologues, even if they haven’t seen it. The Vagina Monologues was a one-woman show which told stories about the vagina – with the intention of celebrating the vagina and empowering women.

Now we celebrate the panza with The Panza Monologues. (“Panza” is Spanish for “belly”.) Written by Virginia Grise and Irma Mayorga, performed by Ms. Grise, these stories told in Spanglish, are not only diverse and at times hilarious – they are emotionally stirring and empowering.

It’s probably amazing to see Vicki (Virginia), perform live, but I was at least lucky enough to watch her powerful performance on The Panza Monologues DVD. I loved it so much that I wanted to share one of my favorite parts with you. Vicki gave me permission to post the written scene. If you love it as much as I did, please, check her out, buy her DVD, and if you’re able, go see her live.

Links:
Panza Power blog
About the show: The Panza Monologues
Buy the DVD

___

FROM CHA-CHA TO PANZA

[Lights rise.]

(seductively) I wasn’t always big. I use to be cha-cha thin, tall and skinny like my gringo daddy. I would wear tacones – black with straps that reached across my ankles, boots that stopped short of my knees, diamonds across my feet. Tacones – upper leather, suede, alligator, snake, all leather and in different colors- brown, red, cork, biege, gold, green, black, blue even. Tacones that matched the dresses I wore, dresses that always fit my body, showed shape, whether they were long with slit on the side, in the front, in the back / separating my piernas, or short, showing my thighs. Me and my tacones.

[Vicki stands, pulls the tacones [high heeled shoes]
out of the shopping bag.
Holds them up for the audience to admire.]

And they weren’t puta shoes / girl, they were classy. Tacones made me feel taller. Somehow tacones made me feel stronger, more sure of myself. Not submissive or anti-feminist but like the virgen in a Yolanda Lopez painting, karate kicking out of her blue veil with gold stars, stepping on the head of an angel with her tacones. Pues yo tambien. I throw punches for my raza and I can do it with my tacones on too just like the old school cholas use to do.

[Vicki places one foot on the stool
and begins to put her tacones on.]

And the men, the men were scared of me when I walked into the cantina made up / hair swept, red lipstick and tacones. You see, men like fuckin but they don’t like bein fucked and when I walked in I wuz the one doin the choosin. I didn’t sit back in dark corners waitin for someone to ask me to dance. I asked you. Locked eyes and said “You will dance this polka with me,” sometimes without even sayin nuthin.

Other times I’d say, “Fuck all of ya’ll” and take the dance floor at Daddy’Os all by myself

[Music erupts into full blown conjunto.
Vicki dances across the stage, swirls, turns.
Music lowers, Vicki remains standing.]

They all watched / old school vatos, young cholos, graduate students trying to remember their hometown barrios in a bar east of the freeway, forgetting in between too many beers. Hell even the cholas were lookin. Some worried I’d take away their man. Others, shit others just wanted to dance wid me. Be free. Be free like me.

They say a bar is a man’s space but I owned that motha fucker. I walked in with my own go-go juice in blue bottle cuz my dad once told me, “Beer makes you fat Virginia,” so I drank vodka on the rocks, learned how to play pool “Call your shots. I’m not fuckin around.” And I learned more about community politics/who owns who, who runs what than I could of ever learned workin at a cultural center.

I claimed power through my pussy, and I didn’t even have to let any one in. I just had to let em all know I knew I had one and that I controlled my own cho-cho. Ya, I owned that motha / fuckin bar / ‘till the city tore it down after li’l Danny got cut.

[Vicki sits.]

I use to be cha-cha thin. Proud of my calves, well-defined. Calves that did not look like my mother’s calves. My mom’s calves were more like tree trunks. Her whole body was like one huge bloque. My mother gave us everything, everything but I never remember her having anything. Instead of tacones, she wore chanclas. She use to threaten us with her chancla and it didn’t matter if she were big and old, she could still bend over, take off her chancla, grab us by the arm, and meternos un chingaso, real quick like/good ol’ fashion chancla discipline. My mother use to say that my father wanted boys. We were three girls. My mother never said what it was she wanted. That was her way I guess. I’m not sure if my mom ever loved my dad but I grew up thinkin that women that fell in love were weak.

I never thought my mom was pretty, even when she was younger and I never wanted to look like her but slowly the image of my mother crept into my own body. Slowly after too many two o’clock after closin time tacos, candy bars and coke for breakfast. They startin callin me dis—short for gordis—instead of la vicki. Cha-cha became panza and not little panzita even. The whole body grew and you know, it’s not easy balancin this much woman on an ity, bitty heel. I no longer walked real straight and tall. Hell, I looked more like a weeble, wobble. All my weight on a heel as wide as my pointing finger with my foot arched in the middle. I feel the weight of my panza all the way in the ball of my foot. When your panza gets bigger so do your feet and those thin sexy straps that use to hold your feet well they aint that sexy no more. You’ve got these little lonjitas hangin off the side of your shoe and it causes your feet to swell. It’s like they’re chokin, pulsatin, gaspin for air as they struggle to balance all of you on a tacon. And to tell you the truth, I don’t really feel so strong, so sure of myself anymore. Shit I’m scared I’ll fall when I’m dancin and the people that are lookin at me now are starin because they’re scared if I go too low I might not be able to get back up. They’re worried I’ll hurt someone out there.

There’s somethin classy about cha-cha/medias and tacones but when cha-cha becomes panza and you think you can still pull the same shit you could when you were 21, you just look kinda silly. You loose your tacon super powers and your magic slippers really are just puta shoes. Your dress clings tightly to lonjas and you can’t lock eyes with anyone anymore and talk to them without speaking cuz now they only look at your huge chi-chis and well chi-chis just aren’t as powerful as cho-cho. I don’t know why. Who makes these rules?

[Seductive music rises. Lights dim.]

[During the transition, Vicki sits on the edge of the altar, takes off her tacones and replaces them in the shopping bag on the altar. Vicki remains seated.]

© 2004 Virginia Grise and Irma Mayorga
No part of this script may be reproduced, published, or performed without express written consent of the authors.

Disclosure: The Panza Monologues was provided to me for review at my request. All opinions are my own.

Go Cut Pants

Comedian George Lopez talks about being told to “cut pants” if he wanted to go swimming. Well, we cut pants at our house, but not necessarily to go to the pool.

When the days start to get hotter, the boys usually have quite a few pairs of pants with worn out knees which aren’t even nice enough to give to charity, so we cut them into shorts.

It’s kind of naco, but it saves money which is why we do it, and it’s also environmentally friendly. If you know how to use a sewing machine, you can even finish off the hem so it looks nicer. (Suegra does all of my sewing but she’s not happy with us right now, so we’ll have to wait.)

Latin Guru

It’s official – I’m a Latin Guru.

This is a shirt from a company called SPƎNGLISH. I really like the company’s mission statement. Here it is, in part:

“Just like love + happiness = peace, Spanish + English = SPƎNGLISH. The union of two amazing forces results in the creation of a unique identity. To coexist while being able to nurture and accept ones roots, is SPƎNGLISH‘s ultimate purpose. To live a mindful life and practice being fully present, is SPƎNGLISH’s ultimate path.”

The shirt description:

Know that You are a Latin Guru and live by that awareness. Know and never underestimate the power that you possess. Be mindful of the words you choose when they are coming out of your mouth, and be even more conscious about the ones that are already inside your head. In SPƎNGLISH we believe that everyone is a Latin Guru, and everyone holds the powers to change in any direction at any time. We chose “Pele” to represent our Latin Guru because we want to show the world how such a simple man could change the world with his bare feet. He made a sport so popular that would ultimately become a very powerful tool to promote Paz e Amor all over the world.

Chévere, right?

Disclosure: This shirt was given to me by SPƎNGLISH. All opinions are my own.

Come chat with me + Surropa!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know how much I love Surropa.com. Aside from wearing their T-shirts, I’ve blogged about them and mention them on Twitter and Facebook once in awhile, too.

Short description of their company if you don’t know: Miami-based clothing company with shirts, (and other items), in English, Spanish and Spanglish – but always stylish and with a touch of Latin sabor. You can also design your own shirts through their store. I designed this one:

jijiji… like it?

Anyway, the guys at Surropa asked me if I’d moderate their first ever TuitCam Event. I was like, “Totally! … What’s a TuitCam Event?”

Well, as it turns out, TwitCam is a website that allows you to have a tweet chat while on webcam. So it will feel like we’re in our own little chat room but you use your Twitter account to tweet chat while watching and and listening to the live streaming video. We tested it out last week and it was so much fun.

Two of the guys at Surropa will be hosting (on camera): Marketing Director Esteban “El Chato” Montano and Creative Director Ernesto East… I know their professional titles sound all business-like, but these guys are hilarious. While we were testing out TwitCam they told me to ask a question so we could just get a feel of how it would be. Well, one of them was wearing a cowboy hat so I said, “I want to know if the one in the cowboy hat is wearing botas picudas!” … He held his foot up to the camera and he was wearing socks with chanclas!

So, I hope you’ll join us mañana, Wednesday May 25th, 2011 at 3 pm EST. Just follow me and/or Surropa on Twitter. Once the TwitCam Event begins, we will tweet the link so you can join us! Here are the details from Surropa.com’s blog:

“…ask any question you want, give us ideas for new designs and products or just tell us how our t-shirts have completely changed your lives. We’ll even take constructive criticism (please no hate tweets, we’re extremely sensitive).

By the way… We’ve asked our friend and blogger extraordinaire, Tracy Lopez from Latinaish.com to moderate…and to keep these two in line and entertaining. Come check it out, what do you have to lose? You might even get a special discount code for 25% off your next order.”

Disclosure: I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.