Podcasts, Jane the Virgin & Resolutions

Thankfully “Jane The Virgin” continues to be a much needed source of entertainment and distraction in my life. The scene in this past Monday’s episode when Jane prepped Rafael for dinner with her family was hilarious, but what really made me laugh out loud was Rogelio’s interactions with Xo after Xo had vowed to remain chaste.




(Image source JaneGifs.Tumblr!)

By the way, if you’re also a “Jane” fan, you might like an article I wrote for Latinamom.me this month, 7 Reasons to Watch ‘Jane The Virgin’.

Writing for Latinamom.me again has kept me a little busier than usual. As many of you know, I took a break from freelance writing for a couple months last fall so that I could work on my manuscript (book writing) instead, so getting back into the flow of balancing my time at the computer between freelancing, book writing, this blog, social media, and the constant flow of emails, not to mention responsibilities away from the computer like family, household and my own self-care – Well, that’s been a little challenging, but I’m attempting to figure it out. (And I know so many people struggle to balance even more, so I’m not complaining.)

Anyway, if you’re looking for more of my writing since I’m not updating this blog quite as often at the moment, here are two more articles I wrote on Latinamom.me that you might enjoy.

10 Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep (in GIFs)

5 Must-Listen Podcasts for Latinos

In February, be on the look out for more posts from me over at Latinamom.me. I can’t tell you what they’re about before they publish, but I think many of you are going to love the topics!

Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) Latina Blogger Retreat in DC

Image source: Brian Talbot

LATISM (Latinos in Social Media), is hosting their first ever “Latina Blogger Retreat” which is scheduled for May 20th to May 22nd, 2012 in Washington, DC. The event is by invitation only, and I was selected to be one of the bloggers in attendance! (Gracias to LATISM’s Ana Roca, Elianne Ramos, and Elma Placeres Dieppa, as well as Latina Bloggers Connect, Las Blogueras, Blogs de Mamas and New Latina.)

The program includes “sessions ranging from blog and business best practices, leadership skills, and social good”, mentoring from top executives in various industries that match each blogger’s interests, and a briefing at the White House, “where Administration officials will discuss the top issues affecting our Latino community: Education, Health and Jobs.”

[More information HERE, HERE, and HERE.]

I’m hoping that outside the obvious awesomeness of being able to see all my bloguera friends, that this will be a learning experience. I would like to learn at least one new solid skill or piece of information that I can apply to my life and/or my writing. I’m also happy that I’ll have the opportunity to discuss the social causes I’m passionate about and that I will potentially learn ways I can better champion those causes.

Want to follow this event and see what I’m up to? I’ll be tweeting using the hashtag #TopBlogueras over the next few days and will also be writing a recap post with photos and possibly video on Latina Bloggers Connect next week. Stay tuned!

Erase or Embrace the Accent?

When I made the “Shit Salvadorans Say” videos, I never once worried while filming that my accent would be so gringo as to be a distraction – but apparently some thought it was.

Initial response to the videos was overwhelmingly positive and I was happy to have made people laugh – but then came the first negative comment about my accent, which, more than hurting my feelings, kind of left me dumbfounded.

“That lady doesn’t even sound like she’s Salvadorian, that’s the funny part,” read the YouTube comment.

I responded that I don’t sound Salvadoran because I’m a gringa. (I refrained from typing “duh” at the end of that response.) I chalked it up to one person obviously having a bad day and taking it out on me, however before I could shake it off and move on, more comments came in.

“Y’all don’t got the accent.”

(At least I “got” good grammar I retorted in my head.)

“I think the gringa was right on the money in what to say, but I can’t get passed the whole gringa accent,” said another.

Nice. A back-handed compliment. And then…

“The accent isn’t there.”

“Lo siento esto es una gringada! Cero Salvadoreño!”

“OMG! I’m Salvadorian and this is NOT how my family or I talk lol what part of El Salvador are you from?”

“She sounds white lol maybe she’s first generation American and didn’t learn Spanish well lol.”

“Sorry y’all sound too gringo.”

Every time I’d get an E-mail notification that a comment had been left, my heart would start to race – will it be a positive comment, (for there were an equal amount of people who loved the videos) – or a negative comment? Will it be more of the same or will they find something even crueler to say that will crush me? I finally decided to disallow comments on those YouTube videos because I started to obsess.

Now, YouTube comments are famously horrendous, and I’ve kept that in mind, but I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t made me self-conscious about my accent. I’ve been studying Spanish for twenty years now and I’m still not fluent. I make grammatical mistakes all the time, but my accent is one thing I thought I had conquered.

Although I knew I didn’t sound “Salvadoran” and that I wouldn’t be mistaken for a native speaker of any Latin American country for that matter, I never worried that I sounded “white” or “gringa” — at least not in recent years.

“You told me I don’t have an accent!” I said to Carlos after receiving yet another Youtube comment, and Carlos insisted very sincerely that I don’t. Perhaps he’s blinded by love, but then I think back on all the people over the years who have so enthusiastically complimented my Spanish – did they just mean it was good compared to other gringos?

“Wow! Your Spanish is so good!” I’ve been told in both Spanish and English – but what is “good” Spanish? Does the fact that I can do more than ask where el baño is make me a success?

Do I speak better than the white “abogados” and used car dealers on local Spanish-language channels whose mispronunciations make me cringe? Better than college girls who go to Cancun on Spring break and get drunk while wearing over-sized sombreros? Better than Dora the Explorer or Erik Estrada? What standard have I surpassed exactly?

As I read Roque Dalton poems aloud to Carlos in bed last night, asking him to rate my accent on a scale of one to ten, he asked me why I continue to sweat it. “Your accent is cute,” he said, taking the book from my hands and pulling me to him. I eyed him suspiciously, for “cute” is very different from “fluent” or “beautiful” or even “good.” A puppy chasing its tail is cute. A baby babbling gibberish is cute.

“Your accent is perfect,” he amended, and I noted his accent in English, the one I love so much, the one he makes no attempt to refine but which causes misunderstandings for him at fast food drive-thrus.

In the end, I realize, I have a decision to make. I can continue to try to erase my accent or I can embrace it. I’m not sure yet which way I’ll go.

What is your experience with having an accent? What is your native language? What is your second language? How do native speakers of your second language react to your accent? Do you embrace your accent or try to erase it?

Latinaish Newsletter


Let me tell you what that’s about! While some of you already subscribe to this blog via email or other services, (gracias!) – I’m creating what is called a “mailing list” which most people use to send out a weekly or monthly newsletter via email.

I don’t know if I would send anything out with any regularity, (good news for you! I promise not to overwhelm your inbox!) – but sometimes I want to do something special for those of you that are really loyal readers. Whether you’ve been reading Latinaish.com for years or you just found it today – whether you comment regularly, once in awhile, or you’ve never commented at all – I appreciate that you’re here.

I’m hoping to have some special gifts for you every now and then, but I need a way to tell you all about them so that they’re exclusive and not open to the public.

Signing up for the mailing list is kind of like a backstage pass, (although, since I’m not Pitbull there will be less nakedness and vodka), and it’s totally free. You’ll receive a peek behind the scenes of Latinaish.com, special deals and fun surprises coming soon.

Sign up by clicking HERE and filling out your information so we can start the party!

I’ve got some ‘splaning to do

I’m not usually chismosa but I admit it, yesterday I Googled “hijo de Espinoza Paz” … I was CURIOUS, okay? Just curious.

I respect Espinoza’s privacy and blah-blah-blah, but I just wanted to see the cute bebito. So here I am, innocently acting like a tabloid-crazed fan when I should be writing or folding laundry, and here are the Google Images search results I see for “hijo de Espinoza Paz” …

Santa. Mierda. That’s my younger son! The photo is from this post, which doesn’t even mention Espinoza Paz.

Anyway, I just wanted to head off any rumors.

#1. That cute polar bear/child is mine and Carlos’s.
#2. I’ve never even met Espinoza Paz, let alone…
#3. Even if I met Espinoza Paz I doubt he’s into chubby gringas.
#4. IF Espinoza Paz happened to have the same taste as Carlos and he let it be known to me I would say the following:

“I’m sorry, Espinoza, but it isn’t meant to be. I’m happily married. I’m sorry to break your heart, but maybe you can at least get a few good songs out of it? … Can we still be friends?… Actually, I can’t be friends either. You wrote that song ‘Amigos con Derecho’ so it won’t look right, plus my husband, (WHO I’M MADLY IN LOVE WITH), can be a little celoso. I should go… Espinoza, please. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be.” {Pulls his hands off my ankle and walks away.}

Now all that’s left to do is hope Carlos doesn’t read this or I’ll end up on an episode of Maury. At least DNA test results would prove I’m telling the truth. Then I could get all up in his face, “I told you! I TOLD YOU!” … Then Maury would have our Polar Bear/Child brought out where we’d hug him together, Carlos would apologize for having ever doubted my fidelity and we’d live happily ever after.

Pero, sheesh, who would have ever thought Google Images could cause such drama?

Tech to Connect at Blogalicious

I don’t love having my photo taken even under the best circumstances. My mother has always told me I have a “cat who swallowed the canary” smile. I’ve accepted my smile for what it is, but I’m still selective about which images of myself go up online.

At Blogalicious, I had to let go of the urge to control every picture that was taken of me. Within the first hour of the conference, I noticed several people taking my photo which made me self-conscious. I attempted to straighten my posture as I sat at the table trying to figure out the Sprint tablet, (which I had been loaned as part of my sponsorship.) Of course, within a minute I would forget about my posture, relax, and then a flash would go off again. I kind of had to give up on caring about those photos.

Figuring out the Sprint HTC EVO View 4G tablet - (me on the far left)

Getting good at tweeting on the Sprint tablet.

Once I accepted that dozens of “unapproved” photos were floating around in cyberspace, it was actually kind of freeing and I stopped caring.

I'm not quite at the level of not caring as my friend Roxana, who loves to make faces to annoy the photographer, but I aspire to be. (left to right, me, Roxana, Maura.)

me (left), Ezzy (right)

(left to right) Roxana, Ana, me

Blogueras! (And yes, I changed out of stylish shoes in favor of chanclas.)

So far I haven’t loved all the photos taken of me, but it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world and I’m not perfect. I’m just happy that Sprint loaned the tablet to me so that I could capture happy memories with my friends. (I can say that calmly for now because I still haven’t discovered any of the photos of me dancing. They’re out there somewhere though.)

Anyway, I took plenty of my own photos of amigas with the Sprint tablet, once I got the hang of it, if you want to go check those out.

More importantly, f you want to take your own photos, there’s an opportunity for you to win a Motorola Photon 4G smartphone at a Twitter party I’m co-hosting! (The Motorola Photon 4G has an 8 megapixels camera, digital zoom, flash, auto focus and image editing tools, among other features.)

For the official invite to the Twitter party with date, time and other details, check out the Latina Bloggers Connect Facebook page. Hope to see you there!

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. Sprint sponsored the Latina Bloggers Connect team at the Blogalicious conference and made a Sprint HTC EVO View 4G tablet available for my use on a loan basis. All opinions are my own.

Muchas Gracias to my Blogalicious Sponsors!

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!

This is the Spanish side of the cereal box. "New Choco Zucaritas" ... the other side is in English and they're called "Frosted Flakes Chocolate."

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.