Category Archives: women

Sisters, Strangers & Starting Over

Book Review: What happens when a niece you’ve never met before shows up on your doorstep needing to be taken in, and the ensuing turmoil of painful memories of a lost sister and a life disrupted threatens to destroy your marriage?

Sisters, Strangers and Starting Over, is the second book I’ve read by Belinda Acosta. Like her first book, (Damas, Dramas and Ana Ruiz), Acosta’s talent is in drawing out each character’s deepest thoughts to show the motives behind their behavior, so that the reader feels immense empathy. Also, when it comes to writing about marriage, I rarely see myself and my husband in fictional characters but Acosta completely nails it.

The unapologetic Spanglish writing style she uses is a treat for English/Spanish bilinguals and the other thing I absolutely loved about this book was that the couple reflects the changing face of families today in the United States. (The husband in the story is Anglo and the wife is Latina. How many of you who married gringos can relate to having a name like “Beatriz Sanchez-Milligan”?)

Ask Señora López: How do Latinas Keep Their Man?

George over at SofritoForYourSoul.com has posted the second question in my “Ask Señora López” column. The question this time: How do Latinas keep their man? … Come find out and add your 2 cents in the comments!

Ask Señora López: How do Latinas Keep Their Man?

Flequillos y Selena

Suegra has returned early.

Long story short, she went to visit her other hijo and was supposed to stay until mid-August, but a family situation in El Salvador made her decide to return to our casita so she could get her things together and arrange to leave. Well, by some milagro, the family situation in El Salvador has been resolved … and now she won’t be leaving until October.

I probably sound a little suspicious, because truthfully, I am. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that Suegra just wanted to come back to our house because she wasn’t enjoying her other hijo’s house as much as she says. (Of course, I’ll never know the truth because Suegra only tells me good things about her visit there.)

Ni modo, while Suegra was still on her trip, I got a hair cut. I read that mujeres of a certain age should have flequillos (bangs) to look more youthful. Well, thankfully I had the wisdom that comes with this certain age to know not to attempt cutting the bangs myself. There are no 3 words worse than hearing an amiga or hermana tell you, “I cut bangs” – it rarely turns out well, yet some sort of mania causes us to forget and do it again a few years later. Cutting bangs is sort of like childbirth that way.

So, this time, thankfully, I decided to go to a professional to have my bangs cut but I’m still experimenting with styling them. Today I have them sort of side-swept, but the day we went to pick Suegra up from the airport I had them styled like Selena. (Like I said, I’m still figuring these things out, okay?)

As we walked towards Suegra at the baggage claim she looked at my husband y los niños and smiled, but she looked at me as if she didn’t know me. She didn’t realize it was me until I was right in front of her face. She said she was confused because she wondered who the Mexican girl was walking behind her son. (I’m choosing to take that as a compliment, but I’m not sure how she intended it.)

Last night, coincidentally, the Selena movie was on T.V. so I was watching it with my husband, snuggled on the couch together. Then Suegra comes in, sits down and immediately starts talking.

“What’s this?”
“A movie about Selena, the singer.”
“…But whose that little girl?”
“That’s Selena when she was little.”
“How did they get video of her when she was little?”
“It’s not really her, Mamá. It’s a movie about her life.”
“Whose that man?”
“Her father.”
“Her father for real?”
“No, madre, they’re all actors!”

Yes, Suegra has returned and she’s just as much fun as she was before.

Cómo volver a ser feliz

I am usually a nice person but lately that doesn’t come naturally to me. I find myself getting frustrated and angry too easily. The worst part is that I know that the things that are upsetting me are cositas – little things. I feel like my tolerance and patience levels have dropped like the out-going tide before a tsunami. I’m not quisquillosa, yet lately if anyone so much as breaths the wrong way near me, I feel like I’m going to lose my mind.

I think the problem is that I’m introverted, and introverted people require time alone to recharge. With Suegra living with us, plus the niños home for the summer, I never get that. It exhausts me to never be able to complete a thought without the kids barging in and asking me for a snack while a telenovela blasts from the television in the next room.

Last night I found myself kicking a soccer ball up against the wall in the bedroom repeatedly for a solid 15 minutes in order to compose myself. This has become one of my coping mechanisms. My husband used to chide me as if I were a niña playing ball in the house. He used to say I’d damage the walls. Now he leaves me alone because a damaged wall is better than the alternative.

Today even kicking the soccer ball didn’t make me feel better and when my husband came home, I explained to him how I was feeling… He listened until I was finished and then after a minute, he offered to buy me ice cream.

I can see why he thought ice cream was the solution. Ice cream has been the solution in the past and why stray from a tactic that works? But I had to explain to him why ice cream wouldn’t fix this. Of course, my calm, rational explanation came out more like, “I don’t want ice cream! I want to be alone!”, followed by sobbing.

My husband handed over the car keys and told me to go.

I got into the car and started to drive, sin rumbo y sin dirección. I listened to bachata music and just enjoyed the luxury of uninterrupted thought. Eventually I stopped in a parking lot, pulled out the moleskine journal a friend gave me earlier this year and began to write.

So, today I finally got that pedacito of solitude I needed, but I go to bed knowing that mañana is another day and I won’t always get to escape to a deserted parking lot. Tomorrow I may just have to settle for ice cream, but I’m prepared to demand sprinkles.

“Cómo volver a ser feliz…
Cuando este día se parece al fin del mundo?
Cómo volver a ser feliz…
Si tu partida me ha tirado a lo profundo?
Solo tú sabes mi amor….
Cómo volver a ser feliz…

Más que hablar
Solo intento despertar algún motivo en tu conciencia
Solo quiero en recompensa encontrar lo que tú eras…
Cómo?”

-Luis Enrique/Cómo Volver a Ser Feliz

Piropos

I had a few errands to run today and it’s so hot out that I didn’t feel like bringing the whole circus along with me for the ride, so I left the niños at home with la Suegra.

My weekend was emotionally draining and I’m tired, but even though I was entering the fires of hell by going outside today, (high of 93 F today in the D.C. Metro area), I decided to make the most of having a couple hours to myself.

Before I left my air-conditioned sanctuary, I put on a black belted shirtwaist dress which shows my curves, (the good ones, not the bad ones.) I hadn’t yet worn this dress which has hung in my closet for many months because although I adore it, I never had occasion to wear it. I was over-dressed for running errands, but wearing it made me feel good, so I did. Some days you just need to do that for yourself.

Well, while I was out, I got a piropo. Now, I’m not going to lie and pretend I’m offended. I know that some modern women will shake their heads in disgust at being treated like a piece of meat, but I don’t mind being a pork chop once in awhile.

The truth is, sometimes I even make up reasons to go by the Latino market when I’m having a low self esteem day. I’m sure to get a smile and an appreciative glance . Another confession? I love nothing more than pulling up at a red light next to a truck full of construction workers on a hot summer day.

So anyway, today I’m walking out the store and this young guy, (I’m guessing 20′s and he wasn’t feo, okay? He looked kind of like Jadiel and I’m only exaggerating un poquito), smiles, stops in his tracks and says, “Hey girl. You lookin’ fine. Look at you. Mmm, what’s your name? What’s your name, huh?”

I played it as cool as possible even though I was freaking out. I blushed and then managed to point to my ring as he approached me.

“Oh, man, you married? Dang, okay then,” he said, checking me out one last time before going on his way.

After I made it to my car and turned the air conditioning on, I burst into giggles and called my husband to brag. His first question was, “What are you wearing?” and then he told me to “Behave.” Hee hee.

So, chicas, how do you feel about piropos?

Unforgettable You

Book review:

Unforgettable You by Daisy Fuentes is a beauty guide which recognizes that it takes much more than just a pretty face to be truly beautiful. This book is equal parts autobiography and self-help, with multiple questionnaires to assist the reader in discovering more about themselves.

Daisy talks candidly, in the voice often utilized in women’s magazines, and covers everything from etiquette & style to spirituality & sex. Over all, I thought it was an easy read and a useful guide although 50+ pages were simply blank questionnaires. The target audience would be women in the 20-40 age range looking for light pool-side reading, but I do not recommend this book for younger women due to some language and sexual references.

Disclosure: Unforgettable You by Daisy Fuentes was provided for review by ID Public Relations. All opinions are my own.

I <3 Miami

Maybe I’m romanticizing it since I was only there for a couple days, but I really fell in love with Miami. I don’t know if it’s the kind of place I could live in year round. I’m an East Coast girl at heart. I need my change of seasons, my autumn leaves. I need the smell of fresh cut grass in the summer time… but going tropical felt good at least for a little while.

I loved the art deco architecture, the rustle of palm trees, the turquoise blue of the ocean, hearing Spanish everywhere we went, the adorable casitas, the couples dancing to the salsa version of Coldplay’s song, “Clocks“, the taxi drivers hanging out their windows and calling out piropos to pretty girls, mojitos, learning how to run in tacones, guava cupcakes, and most of all, the diverse group of amazing women who I now call mis amigas.

Going to Miami was life changing in ways I never expected, and probably in ways I have yet to see.

Those who were there with me may know that I argued on and off with my husband via text message almost the entire two days. This made me feel vergüenza, because I know what it looks like from the outside looking in. Most people like to keep up the appearance that their marriage is perfect, but sometimes there is no hiding the truth.

I felt lucky that despite my shyness, I bonded so quickly to all of the girls and that I was able to open up to them. Many of them gave me good advice, some simply a listening ear and a knowing smile. Marriage isn’t easy and mine is no exception. In fact, bi-cultural marriages tend to be even more difficult.

In the end, my husband and I came to a major turning point as individuals and as a couple. My husband was forced to realize that his celos is a result of his own insecurity and I was able to fly free long enough to realize that living like a pajarito in a cage of gold, is not how I want to live. Changing won’t be easy, but we had a very difficult heart-to-heart and our marriage has weathered another storm.


Lights go out and I can’t be saved
Tides that I tried to swim against
You’ve put me down upon my knees
Oh I beg, I beg and plead, singing…

Confusion never stops,
Closing walls and ticking clocks,
Gonna come back and take you home,
I could not stop, that you now know, singing,
Come out upon my seas,
Curse missed opportunities…

And nothing else compares
Oh no nothing else compares
And nothing else compares

You are, Home, home,
Where I wanted to go…

-Coldplay/Clocks

Disclosure: General Mills paid for my trip to Miami for their Qué Rica Vida media event. I received no compensation, monetary or otherwise, for writing about the event. All opinions expressed are my own.

Qué Rica Vida

Okay, I am so tired and should be sleeping, but I wanted to share my day with you. I’m at the Qué Rica Vida event in Miami, hosted by General Mills. They invited a lot of press, and 20-something blogueras. They are treating us like reinas here and despite my shyness, I am having fun and feeling very loved by all the wonderful mujeres here with me.

Okay, here are some fotos!

(The view from my hotel room.)

And we went to dinner at a restaurant on the water called The Rusty Pelican. It was so beautiful – all of it. I had the churrasco and it was seriously the best piece of steak I’ve ever had.

(view from a restaurant window)

(my table)

I texted my husband to tell him how it was going. At one point I texted him that there were mariachi, and knowing my love for them, he became celoso until I sent him a photo to prove they were women.

(The beautiful and talented “Las Damas de Jalisco”, who came all the way out from Texas.)

I need to go get ready for a long day and have a few thousand cafecitos, but if you want to keep up with me while I’m traveling, keep an eye on my Twitter stream!

Disclosure: General Mills paid for my trip to Miami for their Qué Rica Vida media event. I received no compensation, monetary or otherwise, for writing about the event. All opinions expressed are my own.

Gaucho Gorgeous

I don’t buy women’s magazines. I used to years ago, but then I realized every time I looked at them, I felt worse about myself. I also grew annoyed with the conflicting messages. Often on the very same cover you will see something like, “50 cupcake recipes you can’t resist!” alongside “How to lose 10 pounds in one day!” (This is only a slight exaggeration.)

Well, today I was browsing the magazines at the store while I waited for my husband, (he was lost somewhere in electronics.)  I picked up the May issue of Marie Claire because it claimed to contain photos of Jessica Simpson without makeup or retouching, and I’m a sucker for that sort of thing -  except as I searched through the pages of the magazine for Jessica, I found something quite different.

I flipped back a few pages to find out what in the world this image went to. Turns out it’s part of a fashion spread called “Gaucho Gorgeous”. I don’t see myself going out to the grocery store dressed like an Argentinian cowboy any time soon, but fortunately some of the other photos weren’t quite so silly.

Turn about is fair play?

I recently came upon this old Coca-Cola commercial. Take a look.

How did it make you feel?

I felt a confusing mix of emotions. Along with a slight smile of amusement, I also felt an instinctive indignation as I digested it on a personal level. “This is a perfect example of the media pushing beauty standards that cause women to have low self esteem and form eating disorders,” I said to myself. Then I felt annoyance because the commercial only represented the reality of how many young men act. Other thoughts were to roll my eyes at the hypocrisy, (for the young men accessing the women’s figures are drinking Coca-Cola, which isn’t exactly healthy), and then I ended up wondering how I can prevent my own sons from objectifying women as they grow closer and closer to adolescence.

After a few minutes, I suddenly remembered another old commercial, also put out by the Coca-Cola company.

Now the tables have turned. In this video we have a group of women objectifying a man yet it didn’t strike the same nerve in me. Is this natural or hypocritical? Is turn about fair play? Should we just smile and not take either video so seriously?

¿Qué opinas tú? What do you think?

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