Cellphone Fotos

Well, I’ve been loving the cellphone photos mi amiga over at La Cabrona shares each Tuesday, and I take a lot of miscellaneous cellphone photos myself which aren’t exactly worthy of a blog post on their own – so this seemed like a good way to share some of the randomness.

I buy a lot of canned foods, but I draw the line at canned rice.

I don’t really like Doritos because they remind me of the boys in high school – they always had Dorito breath and sometimes even an orange-tint to their upper lip… but I thought the design of the new “taco flavor” bag was cute.

A WalMart Cinco de Mayo display. My younger son said, “Look! Sombreros! Take a picture and blog about it!” Oh yeah, he knows his Mama well.

We went to one of our favorite Mexican places for tortas and decided to walk around the shopping center while we waited for our order. We happened upon this store front. Not sure what “Solo pa’ la Raza” sells or used to sell. Looks like it may be closed down. It would have been funny on multiple levels to have my photo taken in front of the sign but Carlos refused to take it. (Él es un aguafiestas sometimes.)

Speaking of Carlos, for those who don’t know, he’s blogging. It takes forever to write even one blog post because he’s not much of a writer and his English is a work in progress but he’s learning. If you want to visit him: A Salvadoran In Gringolandia

What photos are on your cellphone?

Link: What’s On My Phone

Being Social@Telemundo

As you know, I recently went down to Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. What you probably don’t know is that it wasn’t just to attend the Latin Billboard Awards or tour their studios.

Myself and nine other blogueros, were fortunate enough to participate in Telemundo’s very first Digital Influencers Summit. Telemundo’s new digital initiative is called Social@Telemundo.

From the Press Release:

Social@Telemundo will focus on delivering its fans across Facebook & Twitter interactive experiences tied to TV programming. With dedicated Social Media resources tied to each of Telemundo’s shows and novelas the Social@Telemundo aims to take the entire TV viewing process to a more engaging level. Building of the success of its Interactive Broadband Series “Telemundo Live” and Mobile social initiatives Telemundo plans to expand its focus on sharing more access to its Studios, Shows and Talent in Spanish and English.

Borja Perez, Vice President of Digital Media and Integrated Solutions

I wrote about this experience from a more business-minded perspective on LatinaBloggersConnect.com – but here I’ll share some of the more personal chisme.

As you might expect, the room where the meeting was held contained a long conference table surrounded by chairs and a screen on the opposite wall to give presentations. Large framed posters of Telemundo shows hung on the other walls. I knew that I wouldn’t be meeting the cast of my favorite telenovela, Los Herederos del Monte, since the show is filmed in Colombia, but I wanted my photo taken with the next best thing.

(For the record, I didn’t intentionally style my hair like Paula’s. It was a happy accident… Do you think Juan del Monte might mistake me for her? …Okay, maybe not.)

During the meeting, one of the executives asked which one of us was the novelera – I raised my hand and they asked what attracted me to Los Herederos del Monte. Now, to answer this professionally or honestly? I went with honesty, responding, “Okay, at first it was because the guys are hot…” But I did explain that I later came to appreciate the complexity of the storyline and the quality of filming.

Admitting that I began watching Herederos for the eye candy made it a little hypocritical of me to ask the question I asked later – which was if Telemundo was actively trying to step away from portraying women as sex objects in their programming. (Spanish language TV in general has a reputation for this and I know it’s something that bothers a lot of Latinas.)

The President, Don Browne, welcomed the question and answered that yes, they are producing programs that portray both real and fictional women as strong, intelligent and independent. (Examples – Kate del Castillo in Reina del Sur, Dra. Ana María Polo on Caso Cerrado, Jenni Rivera, and Maria Celeste of Rojo Vivo.) They really want to break a lot of the stereotypes about Spanish language television and consciously work social issues that affect, not just women, but other segments of the viewing audience, into their programming.

We got a lot of great insight into just what Telemundo, and mun2, are about from various executives who attended the meeting, and just as importantly, we had the opportunity to give them feedback, advice and ideas. Mutual respect flowed between Telemundo and the bloggers and the atmosphere was fun yet intellectually stimulating. Telemundo has a rare chemistry, passion, creativity and positivity there which has to be experienced to really be understood. I definitely felt like I was with mi gente. (Did you know that some of the Telemundo staff, including the President himself, are “Latinos de corazón” like me?)

For lunch, we were joined by Telemundo talent; Gaby Espino, Jorge Bernal, Vanessa Hauc, Enrique Acevedo, Karim Mendiburu, Sammy Sadovik, and Jessi Losada.

Left to right: Vanessa Hauc, Gaby Espino, Jorge Bernal, Karim Mendiburu, Sammy Sadovnik

We all introduced ourselves and explained a little about our background. This conversation centered around the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. They had a few questions (such as “What is a good tweet?”) for the bloggers, and they shared with us how they use the websites to connect to fans, etc.

All of them were really down-to-earth. While we chatted in real life, we were also tweeting each other – and those tweets were being projected onto the wall for everyone in the room to see, which was a fun idea.

As you can see, I thought Jorge Bernal was especially funny. After lunch he gave me a big kiss on the cheek and said, “Adios, gringa!”

Me and Jorge Bernal of Al Rojo Vivo

Me and Karim Mendiburu, of Titulares y Más and Ritmo Deportivo

Disclosure: I was invited to the Digital Influencers Summit at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.

I’m in Miami, trick!

(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.

Tatuado

My cumple is at the end of the month, but Carlos wanted to give me his gift un poco temprano.

This is Carlos’s first and only tattoo… y lo amo!

Suegra still doesn’t know about it. When she finds out, she will probably threaten to disown him, (otra vez.) She believes tattoos are a pecado and that only “mala gente” like pandilleros get them. When Carlos told me this I said, “Wait, doesn’t your older brother have tattoos?”

“Yeah,” Carlos said, “but when my mother found out, she slapped him.”

So Carlos’s birthday present to me? A permanent reminder of his love, and the promise of mucho drama to blog about in the coming days.

(Thanks, nene!)

Feliz día de San Valentín to YOU

Today’s post is for YOU, sí tú! … To those of you who visit me loyally each day, and to those who visit once in awhile. To those who comment and those who are too timidos – Gringo, Latino or otherwise – I love you all.

Thank you for understanding me and Latinaish.com – for contributing your thoughts and positive energy. You help make this blog a place full of amistad y corazón.

Ricky Martin says, “Lo mejor de mi vida eres tú.” – I say to you, “Lo mejor de mi blog eres tú.”

Feliz día de San Valentín, amigos.

Peek-a-boo

To mis amigos escondidos: It’s National De-Lurking week. This week bloggers ask those who read their blog but don’t comment, to come out of hiding.

Comments are one of mis cosas favoritas. So, if you read my blog but have never left a comment, I am formally inviting you to leave one today, (though of course, no invitation is needed.) You don’t have to give me your name or even say much at all, or you can introduce yourself and tell me your life story. Tell me why you visit Latinaish.com, how you found me, what you’d like to see more of, what language(s) you speak, where you’re writing me from – or anything you want!

I would love to hear from you and be able to personally say “hola”, so don’t be shy!

Live Blogging: Tamalada

Last night I went out and bought all the things I need to make tamales. Carlos has gone to work, and the niños to school. The house is quiet and empty, unlike a traditional tamalada.

I mentioned in my last post, Galletada, how I don’t have family to make tamales with. Some of you recommended inviting friends, regardless of whether they’re Latina or not. I think that idea is bien chévere. The only problem? My friends are spread across the world.

So, here is what I’m going to do – I’m going to “live blog” my tamal making with you! You’re all invited to my tamalada. Visit throughout the day as I update. Chat with me here in comments, or over on Twitter!

8:20 am – I boiled the chicken last night so it would be ready. I’m going to go shred that first.

9:35 am – The chicken is nicely shredded. Unlike Suegra, I didn’t include bones in my mixture. Chomping into a hueso while trying to eat a tamal, I find very disconcerting.

What do you think of my apron? Do I look like I’m ready to make tamales or sell them at the mercado? ;)

10:36 am – The filling mixture is almost finished. I’m tasting it with Hoja Santa to see if I like it. I heard that Hoja Santa is used for tamales in regions of México and that it gives a distinct flavor. It smells like root beer or licorice. Qué rico! …

While researching the herb, I found out some interesting things. First, the FDA isn’t a fan of Hoja Santa because it was found to be carcinogenic in animals. Carlos thinks I’m loca for trying it just based on that, but cigarettes are carcinogenic to HUMANS and yet the FDA doesn’t have a problem with them, so I put my faith in the Mexican people on this one. They’ve been using this herb since the times of the Mayans and Aztecs, and they have less incidence of cancer than those of us in the U.S.

The story behind its name – Hoja Santa, (Holy Leaf), is that the Virgin Mary used to dry the diapers of baby Jesus on the wide leaves of the Hoja Santa plant. (Providing a place for them to dry, as well as leaving a nice scent.) … Qué cute, right?

Okay – going to upload a video for those who are asking!

12:36 pm – Getting tired and I haven’t even assembled the things! … I finished the filling quite awhile ago, (video below!), and just now I finished making the masa. This is the first year I used manteca (lard) in the masa. The idea gave me the heebie jeebies but I tried tamales last year which I liked, which had algocito that my tamales didn’t have – and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Well, it was manteca, of course. I had Carlos call his co-worker, Armando, last night – to ask what his wife put in her tamales. Te juro, I tasted queso in the masa, but they insist that it’s just manteca.

So, anyway, I made the masa with manteca and the smell made me a little queasy. The masa is resting and so am I for a few minutes, but I really need to get a move on. The day is half over!

Here is the video of me making the filling earlier:

2:26 pm – All the tamales have been made and are on the stove. Very tired and ate so much of the filling que no tengo ganas de comer tamales. Bleh. Ojalá, Carlos and the boys will like them.

I’ve posted my recipe in comments before, but I will post my recipe here according to how I made them this year.

Latina-ish Tamales Recipe

What you need:

Dry corn husks
Aluminum foil
water
MASECA (instant corn masa flour for tortillas)
1 whole chicken – boiled, (remove skin and bones and shred into small pieces)
Chicken broth – (use the broth from the chicken you cooked. Seems to be more flavorful than canned/boxed broth.)
1 can chick peas/garbanzo beans
1 medium onion (minced if you have the patience, otherwise, chopped is okay)
3 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
2 cans of uncut green beans
2 cans of diced potatoes
1 can of chiles in adobo sauce
achiote molido (annatto powder)
achiote entero (whole annatto)
hoja santa
1 cup of lard
1/2 cup cooking oil
cooking oil
salt

1. The filling: In a large pan, heat a few tablespoons of cooking oil. Add 1 tablespoon of achiote entero. Cook briefly until oil turns orange-red. Remove from heat. Remove the achiote with a spoon and discard so that all that is left in the pan is the oil. If you don’t have achiote entero, just heat some regular oil.

2. Put the pan back on the medium heat, saute onion and garlic until tender. Remove from heat. Add the drained cans of potatoes, chick peas and green beans as well as the chicken. Combine. Add salt, adobo sauce from the can of “chiles en adobo”, and hoja santa to taste.

3. For the masa, I used this recipe. Only changes – I added a tablespoon of achiote molido along with the salt to the dry MASECA. Then, after completing the recipe, I added a 1/2 cup of cooking oil.

4. Fill a big bowl with hot water in your sink. Submerge the corn husks in the water to soften.

5. Rip off 40 squares of aluminum foil, (about 1 foot by 1 foot each.) … This will be used to secure the tamales while cooking if you have trouble folding them securely closed. (Some people tie them closed. Look up methods online, but I’m telling you, foil makes it way easier.)

6. If you don’t have a large steamer pot, you will need to loosely crumple foil balls enough to cover the bottom of your largest pot with a tight fitting lid, (or an upside down metal pie plate works.) Once the bottom of the pot is covered in foil balls, fill it with water – BUT the water should not be higher than the foil balls. The foil balls keep the water off the tamales since the tamales are not boiled – they are steamed. If you have a steamer pot and know how to use it, all the better!

7. Now for assembly. Take a corn husk from the water, making sure it isn’t too small or ripped, and shake it dry a bit. Put it on a square of foil. Spread a big spoonful of masa (dough), onto the husk in the middle, spreading it out in a sort of rectangle shape, but don’t go too close to the edges. (There are tamal tutorials online, so look around for them. Video would be the best way to learn this.)

On top of the masa, place a spoonful of the chicken mixture.

Now fold the corn husk closed, (again, hard to explain, so look online for a tutorial if you don’t know how.) … Then I take the extra step of enclosing each one in foil so they don’t open up.

Repeat this until you run out of either corn husks, masa, mixture, or energy — This made about 40 tamales when I ran out of masa, but I had enough filling mixture for at least 2 dozen more.

Stack them all in your steamer pot on medium to low heat with the lid closed. They take between one and two hours to cook. Check once in awhile, (though not too often as you’ll lose your steam), to make sure there’s enough water in there – if not, add a little.

To be sure the tamal is done – best to take one out, unwrap the foil, and let it cool for a little bit to give the masa a chance to become the right texture. Then you can unwrap the corn husk and check to see if the masa is properly cooked, (it shouldn’t be too mushy – it should be firm…difficult to explain exactly. I know you’ve eaten tamales so just judge the doneness based on personal experience of what it should look/feel/taste like when cooked.)

5:46 pm – Tamales were taken out of the pots over an hour ago and have cooled. Carlos loves how they turned out. Now for a nap. Thanks to all of you who chatted with me here in comments and on Twitter! This one is for you…

Field trip to the Archives

Since some of you are new amigos, it occurred to me that you may have missed some of the fun we had before you arrived here. Instead of digging through the archives yourselves, I’ve chosen the blog posts I think you’ll like most. Chécalos!

Where Do Latinos Come From, and other Google Questions

Spanish Pig Latin: Idioma Efe

Passion

Speedy Gonzales

Jeem

Latino Job Hunting Perils

Equality

Remind me not to fall into a coma in any small villages south of the border

Sex on the Floor

Ask Señora López: Parental Involvement

The first question has been answered. (How to encourage parental involvement at school when there are linguistic and cultural barriers.) Come visit my new column “Ask Señora López”, over at Sofrito For Your Soul – (Thanks, George!)

And as always, if you have a question, ask me! Your question can be serious or silly, about Latinos or gringos, in English or español, and you can remain anonymous. Te espero!

La Copa Mundial

I am so tired. I’ve been waking up at 7 am almost every morning to catch the first game of the day. Then I spend an inordinate amount of time on Twitter watching the games with my friends, which is so much more fun than watching alone.

If you want to watch with me, come on over! (A small warning though, I got overly passionate during Mexico’s game and let loose a few dozen “Viva México Cabrones!” … This is not the Spanish I intend to teach my kids. My apologies to those with delicate ears.)

Yesterday, Mexico’s historic win against France had me feeling breathlessly excited for a country I have absolutely no roots in, (“I wish I was born Mexican, but it’s too late for that now.” – Morrissey), and today, I am proud of how the U.S. played against Slovenia, yet simultaneously pissed that their third goal was taken away, leaving it a 2-2 tie, instead of a win.

Whatever the outcome, I’m exhausted and my productivity is laughable. Somehow I’ve managed to keep up with the 2 articles per week deadline over at Copa Café. I will keep links to those posts here for those who want to go read them.

*All Paths Lead to Fútbol

*A Sweet Game

*U.S. Latinos: Never Offsides When It Comes To Team Loyalty

*On this day, we are all Mexicans

*Better Late Than Never

* Fútbol Fortunetellers

* Cheaters Never Win (Except in Fútbol)

* Best Commercials of the World Cup