Category Archives: Issues
Agua Con sent me a box of their newly launched line of flavored waters to try. The box arrived at our door just as we sat down to lunch so I wanted to try them right away but I discovered it’s really important to drink these very cold or the flavor isn’t as good.
Here are some super chévere things about Agua Con:
• The flavors right now include: Piña y Coco, Guayava, Lima y Limón and Horchata.
• Agua Con has zero calories.
• Agua Con has no sugar or artificial sweeteners.
• Ingredients include: Filtered Water, Natural Flavors, Ascorbic Acid and Stevia.
• Agua Con is a product of the USA and they’re based out of Los Angeles.
• Agua Con contains no preservatives and no sodium.
Hours later, I gave them another try and after sampling each, the entire family agreed that Guayava and Lima y Limón are the standouts. I would have bet a million dollars that Horchata would be my favorite, but I guess I love real horchata so much that horchata-flavored water can’t quite do it for me – Each time I try it, it does grow on me though. (I desperately want to love it because drinking horchata-flavored water instead of real horchata all the time would be better for my health.)
Over all, I think it’s a genius idea and I wish Agua Con a lot of luck.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored review. I received Agua Con products to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.
In high school we would have one week of gym class that we spent in the weight lifting room. It was in a dark, windowless room down a forgotten hallway. Students were allowed access to it after school but it was often forgotten, except by the jocks. The girls stood in a corner talking, watching the boys, examining their nails and refusing to do anything other than a minute on the rowing machine – preferring to take a zero for the day. I, however, loved our week in the weight lifting room.
Already known for challenging boys to arm wrestling contests at lunch time, (and sometimes winning), my reputation was further sealed by my behavior in the weight lifting room. The boys gathered around to see how much I could bench press, taking bets that I wouldn’t be able to do it each time the peg was moved lower and the weight got heavier. I fed on their pessimism. I loved being underestimated. I took a deep breath, felt the muscles ripping but pushed, pushed, pushed, my lips closed tight, my nostrils flaring. I heard them say knowingly to each other, “She can’t lift it” – as I struggled. My arms shook and I pushed harder still until I would feel the weight give way and my arms straightened above me in victory.
I didn’t care that I wasn’t the kind of girl you ask to the prom, but instead the kind of girl you ask to help push the car when it breaks down. I come from a family of strong women. My mother is well-known for re-decorating while my father is at work – sometimes moving heavy furniture up and down two flights of stairs by herself.
I associated femininity with weakness and wanted no part of it, but I realized how simplistic this point of view was when I gave birth to my first child. Giving birth is an act that is simultaneously the height of femininity and strength. Now, as the mother of two boys, the lone female in a household full of males, I value my feminine side more than I did growing up. Being married to Carlos though, has made me examine my femininity from a cultural perspective. It hasn’t been easy to sort out.
I will try to open a jar of pickles. Carlos will offer to help, reach his hand out for the jar, and I’ll turn away with the jar, stubbornly determined to do it myself. This is when Carlos will tell me I’m like my mother or say, “Why do you have to be so American?!” … to which I’d reply, “Why is it an insult to your manhood for me to open the pickles myself?!”
Over the years, I’ve learned to (usually), hand over the jar of pickles. It makes Carlos feel good to do it for me. I never pretend I can’t do anything, but if it’s difficult, why not give him the satisfaction of feeling that he takes care of me?
I thought that over the years, Carlos and I had mostly ironed out this one cultural wrinkle. We both have made compromises. I let him open jars of pickles that are difficult for me to open, (damn you, carpal tunnel) – and he doesn’t expect me to act completely helpless – fair enough… but at the grocery store while I was unloading the cart at the cash register, I retrieved the case of bottled water from the bottom of the cart and hefted it up and onto the conveyor belt. I thought nothing of it but Carlos whispered through clenched teeth, “Hey, you should have asked me to do it. You’re embarrassing me.”
Embarrassing Carlos was not my intention or even something I had considered – I just wanted to get the groceries checked out so we could go home, (and for the record, the cashier seemed completely unaware of the battle going on right in front of her.) I guess the lesson here is that Carlos and I will always have cultural issues to work on – nothing is ever resolved so completely that it won’t pop up again, so ingrained are the traits we bring from our two different backgrounds.
What is your take and your experiences on the topic of feminine strength vs. machismo?
“La merienda” is a traditional Latin American snack break which can be taken between breakfast and lunch, or between lunch and dinner. It’s different from most American snack or coffee breaks because la merienda isn’t something you would scarf down behind the wheel of your car, buy from a vending machine, or mindlessly munch while checking E-mail. It’s a moment each day, often shared with others, where you sit down at the table and savor what is more like a miniature meal. This tradition is about taking a moment to relax and truly appreciate comida, familia and amigos, which creates a thankful spirit.
Nestlé Abuelita sent me some of their products to enjoy during our daily merienda and although I wish you could have been sitting at the table with me, I took some photos so you can share in the experience.
History & Culture
Coincidentally this past weekend, while watching a Pedro Infante film, (Los tres García) with Carlos, I said, “That old lady looks familiar,” – referring to one of the actresses on screen. Carlos laughed, “That’s abuelita!”
“I know that’s the abuelita,” I said, for she was the grandmother of the three main characters in the movie, “I mean I’ve seen her somewhere else.”
“Yes, she’s the abuelita on the hot chocolate!” Carlos said.
I thought he was joking, but it’s true. After a little research I discovered that the woman on packages of Abuelita is Mexican actress Sara García – She so often played the part of the “abuela” in films during the 1940′s-1950′s that she became known as “Mexican Cinema’s Grandmother.”
Are you ready for your merienda?
Below, find out how to win a Nestlé Abuelita Prize Pack. Also know that sometime on or around March 7th, you can visit Facebook.com/Abuelita and RSVP to join a special event where you’ll have another chance to win a merienda prize pack from Nestlé Abuelita.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED AND IS NOT ACCEPTING NEW ENTRIES. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER: LISA!
Prize: The Nestlé Abuelita Prize Pack for ONE lucky winner which values at $50 will include:
• Nestlé Abuelita Instant and Nestlé Abuelita Granulado product
• Two coffee/hot chocolate mugs and saucers
• One hot chocolate spoon
• A set of recipe cards to provide some ideas for enjoying your Nestlé Abuelita products
• Nestle note cards
• Disposable digital camera
How to Enter:
In the comments section, tell us if you currently partake in a daily afternoon snack break or “merienda.”
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 February 20th, 2012 through February 25th, 2012. Entries received after February 25th, 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 Latinaish.com 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: I received products from Nestlé to facilitate the review and writing of this post. All opinions are my own.
El año pasado compartí una foto de una camisa chistosa que encontré en una tienda que se llama “Five Below.” Five Below es una tienda que lleva un montón de cosas para jovenes y todo cuesta cinco dólares o menos, (de ahí, el nombre “Five Below.”)
Bueno, la semana pasada tuve que visitar esa tienda porque mi hijo mayor necesitaba un regalito para una amiga que estaba cumpliendo años y lo invitó a su fiesta.
Mientras estabamos buscando un regalito para la amiga, econtré otra camisa.
Como puedes ver, representado en esta camisa tenemos un cono de sorbete, (parece que es sabor de vainilla) – y un taco. Los dos están agarrados de las manos y el cono, (que es hembra con pestañas largas y un listón) – está diciendo, “It’s complicated.” (En español: “Es complicado.”)
Suponemos que ella está hablando sobre su relación con el taco. La camisa es super interesante. No sé si estoy analizandolo demasiado pero creo que la camisa está simbolizando una pareja intercultural – especificamente, una gringa blanca con un latino. O sea, soy un cono sabor a vainilla y Carlos es un taco.
No sé si es divertida la camisa o un poco ofensiva. ¿Qué crees tú?
Last year I shared a photo of a funny shirt found at a store called “Five Below.” Five Below is a store that has tons of things for young people and everything costs five dollars or less, (hence the name, “Five Below.”)
Well, last week I had to visit this store because my older son needed a birthday gift for a friend’s party he was attending. While looking for the gift for his friend, I found this shirt.
As you can see, depicted on this shirt we have an ice cream cone, (it looks like vanilla-flavored), and a taco. Both are holding hands and the cone, (which is a girl with long eyelashes and a bow) – is saying, “It’s complicated.”
We assume she’s talking about her relationship with the taco. The shirt is really interesting. I don’t know if I’m over-analyzing it but the shirt seems to symbolize an intercultural couple – specifically a white gringa and a Latino. In other words, I’m a vanilla-flavored ice cream cone and Carlos is a taco.
I don’t know if the shirt is funny or offensive. What do you think?
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but this year it became a time of self-examination and a clear starting point to make some changes. The changes I’ve made have been a long time coming – some once, (or many times), attempted and abandoned, others have been bouncing around in my head waiting for me to give them importance – still others have only come to me recently, as if they knew now was the moment I would welcome them.
I don’t like to call them “goals” or “resolutions” because I prefer to think I spend every day of my life stepping toward the self-actualized version of myself – Admittedly it’s a two steps adelante and one step atrás sort of thing.
Like many others, one of my “resolutions” (for want of a better word), is to take my health more seriously. I’m starting to feel my age and that – even more than wanting to look like a bikini chica in a Pitbull video, may be enough to scare me straight. My back hurts when I wake up. My knees ache when it rains. It’s too early to consider retiring to Miami so maybe, just maybe, I need to put down the Bubu Lubus.
When my dedication to working towards these “resolutions” wavers, (as it always does), I need to try to remember that my “problem” – my “struggle” – is only difficult from my perspective.
Think about this with me. Think about the ridiculousness of the challenges we face. Some common complaints:
• Food is too accessible and abundant. I can’t get away from the temptations.
• It’s too cold out so I can’t [leave the warmth of my house to] get some exercise.
• I’ve become bored with my workout. I don’t feel motivated.
• Food blogs tempt me with delicious photos of flan and burritos.
(Okay, that last complaint is mine.)
These are what you call “first world problems.” If you just shift your perspective, you may start to laugh at the once mountainous obstacles that seemed insurmountable.
This should shift your perspective. I took this photo in El Salvador – but what does it have to do with anything I’m talking about here? Let me explain.
While we were in El Salvador we went to visit family in Chalatenango. It was a long drive from San Salvador in an unairconditioned microbus. On the way back to the city, the traffic became thick. We shoved at the already open windows to let more air into the vehicle which now moved at a crawl. We fanned ourselves, watched beads of sweat roll down the sides of each others’ faces.
At some point, we came to a stop in front of a public well just off the highway. There I watched women and children washing laundry and scooping water over their heads – bathing fully-clothed with no privacy. I tried not to stare, didn’t want them to feel self-conscious, but Salvadorans are famous starers and I was probably the only one on the highway trying to watch without being obvious about it.
The laundry now heavy and wet, was put back into large plastic tubs, balanced on sturdy heads, and walked home, who knows how far, to be hung to dry.
…Something to remember next time taking a walk around my quiet suburban neighborhood seems too difficult.
Immigrant Voices is a new feature I hope to do here on Latinaish.com once in awhile. Basically I will pick a topic and those who identify with being a Latino/a immigrant will send me their thoughts/memories on that topic to share here. Those who participate are welcome to remain anonymous if they wish. If a name is given, I’ll also provide a link back to their Twitter profile and/or blog.
Today’s topic is “Christmas.” I hope you enjoy the stories shared here today.
“My first Christmas in the United States, I don’t really remember. I had only been here a couple months and I wasn’t working yet. All the days passed the same sometimes. My second Christmas here, in 1997, Tracy and I had a wedding date picked in January but she lived with her parents and I still lived with my brother. That year my brother went with his wife and daughter to Puerto Rico to visit her side of the family. I was all alone in their apartment on Christmas Eve and there wasn’t even any food in the house. I didn’t have money or a car. I didn’t really have any friends. It started to snow outside the windows, and someone knocked at the door. It was Tracy and she came with grocery bags full of food. We pulled the sofa bed out of the couch and spent the evening eating and watching T.V. together. It wasn’t anything like Christmas in El Salvador, but I was happy during those hours she stayed with me.”
- Carlos López (Blog)
“My best memory is that of the Christmas I spent with my grandpa in Tejutepeque, a small village in Cabanhas.
My sisters and I ended up living with him for a while and part of that time included the Christmas season. He didn’t have a tree or anything else as he wasn’t accustomed to having kids over or in general, decorating his house.
His solution: chop down a coffee tree from the local hills. He then proceeded to decorate it with whatever was around the house like packing peanuts, etc. In the end, everyone in town wanted to check it out because it was so unique.”
“For my mom, my sister and I, living ‘sin papeles’ was hard enough, but when the holidays came around it felt like we had it twice as hard…mainly because we moved around a lot and we never knew if we were even going to have a Christmas or where we would end up. But somehow my mom always worked her magic and found a way to get a tree and put gifts under it for us. And if we needed a place to stay, we knew we could always count on friends or family. We may not have had much, but just being around family and friends during the holidays was very comforting and gave us some of the best memories of our childhood.”
- Rafael Gameros (Twitter)
“I was 7 when I came to live in the States. Besides the general cultural shock, the Christmas tradition shock was even greater. I had always spent Noche Buena with my Abuelitos in El Salvador, but only my Abuelita migrated with me. Abuelito refused to come. So the first 3 or 4 years, right after opening presents, stuffing my face with “Sanwiches de Pollo Salvadoreños” and having fun with my family, my stomach would become a knot and I would retire to my room, to cry. It would not be a melancholic cry either, it would be a hysterical sob fest. I still get chills remembering my 9 year-old self crying into my pillow, missing my Abuelito and the Salvadoran Christmas of my younger years. Abuelo passed away 3 years ago, and I only saw him twice after emigrating to the US…”
- Emisela (Twitter)
Celebrating Christmas as a Latino in the U.S. means strategically finding the line between your own cultural beliefs and society as a whole. For us, it means going to mass on Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus but also enjoying Santa and all the commercialism of the day. When my “American” friends ask how we celebrate Christmas, I find it hard to say that we had tamales – my response is usually, “traditional/family.”
- Hector Flores (Twitter)
“Growing up, my sister and I would have to board a plane every other year to spend Christmas with our dad and his new family in Houston. We were always happy to visit and be with him, but I could never get over the fact that Christmas in Houston was much quieter and serene than it was in El Salvador. I always missed the smell of pólvora (gun powder) and going to sleep way, way past midnight to the sound of cuetes being lit all around.”
Early Christmas Day… we groggily made it out of bed, following my mother into the living room…There, smiling from ear to ear next to the white three story bookshelf he’d built with his own hands was my father, not saying a word, just pointing at what was sitting on each layer of the shelf…Immediately we raced across the room, screaming and hollering, jumping from one end of the room to the other with our brand new toy cars in our hands. The size, make, model, and even the color of our cars, today, are memories long gone, many, many years ago, but the one thing that has always remained in the deepest and most treasured of my childhood memories is the feeling in our hearts that morning.
We knew we didn’t have any money. We didn’t have a Christmas tree, or even so much as a single Christmas light anywhere inside or outside of our house, but somehow, some way, whatever little money they had, our parents had managed to make certain we didn’t wake up to just another day on Navidad. Even better, my two older sisters didn’t get anything at all and they were just as happy and excited for us as we were.”
My first Christmas was in Michigan. I was recently married, so it was the first Christmas with my hubby, (so romantic). I loved the idea of a white Christmas, a freshly cut tree, a fireplace, different food to what I usually had etc. But then it hit me. I had no family to hug at 12 o’clock, no fireworks, no kids’ laughter, no cumbia music in the background. I felt very nostalgic. I felt so lonely and even though my husband had tons of love and presents to give me, there was an enormous emptiness in my heart. I talked to my family, every single one of them. They were all together at my house. They told me what the menu was going to be, all the fireworks they had bought, and how much they missed me.
Last night my 13 year old interrupted my very impassioned rendition of Yertle the Turtle, which I was reading to his little brother before bedtime.
“Mommy! Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull just performed on the American Music Awards and it was nasty!”
“What do you mean nasty?”
“Jennifer Lopez was barely wearing anything, first of all.”
“Okay, not shocking.”
“No, but she like put her butt near Pitbull’s… you-know, and Pitbull looked like, all happy, of course.”
(The 10 year old giggles.)
I answered my 13 year old with something like, “Yeah? Well, you know how Pitbull is, honey,” and I went back to the story. I mean, it’s JLo and Pitbull. It’s the American Music Awards… what did he expect? We have these conversations often enough. I’ve told him, sex sells. I’ve told him that at some point very soon (if not already), he will find performances and images like these to be spectacular rather than “nasty.” I’ve told him that no matter how strong certain urges may be and despite what the culture says is appropriate – he should always treat women with respect.
Then this morning I came across a photo from the performance which he had described to me and it made me think.
(I can’t use the photo here since it’s owned by Getty Images. Click the link above to see the original. Here are some screenshots I took from video.)
What can be said about these photos? I’ll admit that my first reaction was to laugh – (partly because it appears that Pitbull’s pants aren’t flat in the front and partly because I imagine Marc Anthony watching this from the sidelines.)
Look, total honesty here – I love both JLo and Pitbull. I listen to their music and think they are both talented individuals and exceptional entertainers. Pitbull is one of the very few artists that I’m willing to actually buy the album from, because I love every song and know I can dance through the entire CD from beginning to end. As a woman, I get kind of disgusted with the constant objectification of women in his music – but as a music lover, I can’t get enough. It’s a moral contradiction that I’m totally aware of.
After that initial amused reaction though, the photo also made me kind of sad. Here is JLo, one of the most successful Latinas in the world, bending over for Pitbull like an endless number of women have happily done for him before being tossed aside like used Kleenex.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a meaningless performance meant to entertain and nothing should be read into it. I know it was just a choreographed dance, a music awards moment that lasted for no more than 10 seconds and will ultimately be forgotten – but it just seems symbolic of how women, (Latina and otherwise), are viewed and consequently treated.
The cultural message: No matter how smart, how successful, how kind or talented you are, in the end, chicas, this is what you’re good for.
A peso for your thoughts, gente.
While I was at the Blogalicious conference, you may have seen me using the hashtag #amatucereal (love your cereal) on Twitter. Ironically the Blogalicious conference didn’t have cereal available for breakfast or else I would have been eating it.
Cereal is a staple at our house, and in most houses in the United States, for many reasons. For one, cereal is easy to prepare and many people don’t have the time or energy to cook a hot breakfast like frijoles molidos, tortillas, huevos revueltos, chorizo, platanos, etc. (though I do make that breakfast for the entire family on the weekend!)
You’ve heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and it’s true, so it’s good that we have cereal as an option to start the day. Not only is it fast, easy, affordable, and well-loved by even the pickiest niños – breakfast cereal with milk is the leading source of 10 nutrients important to growing bodies.
Here are some more interesting facts from a survey conducted by Kellogg’s:
- Nutrition experts agree that breakfast in the morning helps children focus in the classroom.
- 9 in 10 Latina mothers want their kids to eat breakfast every day.
- Latina mothers are 20% more likely than mothers overall to get up early and prepare breakfast.
Want to learn more about the Kellogg’s survey? Visit AmaTuCereal.com.
Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. Kellogg’s sponsored my attendance at the Blogalicious conference. All opinions are my own.
This weekend I will be reporting from Blogalicious – a conference “aimed at celebrating the diversity of women of all ethnicities in social media.”
The conference is being held about 20 minutes from Washington, D.C. this year, so I knew I had to go. Despite its proximity, there are still expenses associated with going to a conference, so I’m thankful to the sponsors who stepped up to support Latinaish.com in attending Blogalicious 2011.
It’s especially awesome when those that offer to sponsor you are brands you’re proud to represent. Here’s a little bit about each of them.
• Chí Chí & Flaco – is “a modern t-shirt line savoring the flavor of Latino and Hispanic culture in the United States.” (If you have Cuban roots, you’ll especially want to check them out.)
• New Latina – is an online magazine, (which I’m very proud to contribute to), that celebrates and redefines Latina women while providing a supportive community.
• Kellogg’s – Ya sabes! You probably have a box of their cereal in the cabinet right now. I do, except it’s empty. (Why do the kids do that?)
And look what I discovered while grocery shopping this week – Bilingual cereal boxes!
When I saw the bilingual cereal boxes I was even happier that I agreed to the Kellogg’s sponsorship, but the truth is, Kellogg’s has had a long history with the Latino community.
I still remember when Carlos and I first married and he wanted me to buy “Cornfleis” at the grocery store. I had no clue what he was talking about until he put a box of “Corn Flakes” in our cart. I love that Carlos loves Corn Flakes because that used to be my grandfather’s favorite cereal. Seeing the classic box with the rooster on it in our cabinet gives me some good memories.
Of course, Carlos doesn’t eat it like my grandfather did. He heats up the milk in the bowl and eats it warm. (Is that a Latin American thing?)
Anyway, I’ll have more to share from Kellogg’s especially for la comunidad Latina later via Twitter and right here on Latinaish – so stay tuned! My last sponsor is:
• Latina Bloggers Connect – LBC connects brands with Latina bloggers and is another website I’m super proud to contribute to. At Blogalicious I will be part of the #SprintConnects LBC team. Along with Ana Flores, Dariela Cruz, Chantilly Patiño and Rachel Matos, I’ll be sharing photos, updates and tweets from the conference all weekend on Twitter, Facebook and Latina Bloggers Connect. There will be a contest and prizes for those attending Blogalicious – so be sure to check that out!
Excited to reconnect with mis hermanas blogueras and meet new amigas as well. Ojalá we’ll learn and have fun all at the same time. See you there!
Disclosure: All companies mentioned above have sponsored my attendance at the 2011 Blogalicious Conference. This is not a sponsored post or paid advertisement. This blog post conforms to WordPress.com Terms of Service. All opinions are my own.