Hispanic Heritage Month 2015 Photo Challenge: Day #1


Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! And Happy Independence Day to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua today, as well as an early feliz día de independencia to Mexico and Chile.

I’ll be participating in the “15 Days of Hispanic Heritage” photo challenge over on Instagram hosted by ¿Qué Means What? and The Nueva Latina. If you want to participate, just use the hashtag #HHM15Foto and take a photo for the given theme on each day! Here’s my photo and caption from Instagram for Day #1: Yo/Me


It’s the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, and the first day of the #HHM15FOTO challenge! Today’s challlenge is yo/me, so aquí estoy. I am not Latina by birth, but by corazón. I love my Salvadoran husband’s culture almost as much as I love him, and I love mis dos hijos who are orgullosamente 1/2 Salvadoran. I support #HispanicHeritageMonth because I don’t want my husband or my sons to ever forget their roots… (and also, I’m here for the free pupusas. #kiddingnotkidding)

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco (Giveaway!)

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by debut novelist Judith Robbins Rose will be released September 8, 2015, but I had the opportunity to read an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) for review. It’s not often that I read Middle Grade fiction, but despite the 10 year old target audience, I couldn’t put the book down.

The story is in the voice of Jacinta Juarez, a young Mexican-American girl who reminded me a little of an older Junie B. Jones due to her spirited personality which results in quite a few humorous moments, despite some of the very serious themes this book takes on.

Being bilingual and bicultural has a million advantages, but it has its challenges too – Jacinta must learn to straddle both worlds as she deals with the stress caused by her family’s socio-economic situation and the legal status of her parents, while figuring out if it’s possible to balance obligation to one’s familia with the very American ideal of pursuing one’s own happiness.

When local news reporter, Kathryn Dawson Dahl, (a white woman who Jacinta simply refers to as “Miss”), sponsors Jacinta at the Youth Center, she is introduced to a new world of exciting opportunities and hurtful, confusing experiences. While this could be exactly where this book goes off the rails and becomes problematic as a “white savior” narrative, I think the author succeeded at very honestly portraying how white women often see themselves as “rescuers” in this type of situation and the mess that results.


Title: Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco
Author: Judith Robbins Rose
ISBN: 9780763672355
Ages: 10+ (Middle Grade Fiction)

A quote from School Library Journal review: “…It’s as pleasurable to watch these characters take one another by surprise as it is horribly anxiety-producing to see them hurt, stumble, insult, and misunderstand nearly every situation requiring contextual awareness. [The author] doesn’t sugarcoat the hypocrisies and tough realities of the relationship, and of the very real reasons that they mistrust one another. Nearly everyone in the book makes some pretty serious and unforgivable mistakes, but as flawed humans they are allowed to wear their flaws, to make mature decisions and stupid childish ones. Rather than writing an ‘issue book,’ [the author] presents characters in crisis, whose stories are personal, rather than broadly representative, and the book is better for it. Ultimately, this is a story about code switching, and about the different skill sets and assumptions required for complex cross-cultural and cross-class situations…” – Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library

Want to win a copy of the book? See below!

—Giveaway Closed!—

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book LOOK BOTH WAYS IN THE BARRIO BLANCO by Judith Robbins Rose.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below! (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: 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 person responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between August 27, 2015 through September 2nd, 2015. Entries received after September 2nd, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, 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.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Conversations at Casa López – Part 7


Here we go – my family’s most recent “bilingual moments” and funny conversations. (Be sure to share your recent funny conversations in comments!)

17 year old son: I got to speak Spanish twice today. All the Latino customers keep choosing my line when they see me.

Tracy: Really?

17 year old son: Yeah but I don’t just start speaking Spanish to them cause I can’t assume, you know? So I start in English, then they like test me out with one or two words in Spanish to see if I know it, then we start talking in Spanish.

13 year old son: We got to choose names in Spanish class.

Tracy: But your name is already Spanish.

13 year old son: It wasn’t on the chart to pick from. I chose Rafael, like from Jane the Virgin.

Carlos: What’s the difference between a meteor and a meteorite?

17 year old son: Meteorites are like the “-ito” in Spanish. They’re little pieces of the meteor.

17 year old son: I’m not sure if jeans would be proper attire. What do you think?

Carlos: A tire?

17 year old son: Yeah.

Carlos: Like una llanta?

17 year old son: What does una llanta mean?

Carlos: A tire.

17 year old son: Ok, um, yeah, do you think jeans are proper attire?

Carlos: I don’t understand what you’re talking about.

Tracy: Attire, babe. Attire means clothing, ropa. Not tire like llanta.

Carlos: Clothing?

Tracy: Yes.

Carlos: Why didn’t he say clothing?

Carlos: The lady didn’t type in my email right. She said ‘v as in vase?’ and I said yes.

Tracy: Why did you say yes? There’s no ‘b’ in your email.

Carlos: V! V as in vase!

Tracy: B as in bass?

Carlos: What are you saying? Big b, or little v?

Tracy: We don’t need that in English but when you say them they sound the same.

Carlos: Are you making a vaca negra?

Tracy: If that means ‘Coke Float’, then yes.

El sexo débil


Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Soy muy exigente con las telenovelas que miro. No he visto ninguna con lealtad desde Herederos del Monte, pero El Sexo Débil es una que creo que voy a ver hasta el final. Sólo he visto dos episodios hasta ahora, pero me encanta la trama y los personajes mujeres fuertes. He aquí una descripción de la serie:

Los hombres siempre han pensado que el machismo es sinónimo de respeto, liderazgo y valentía; que el ser macho es provocado por sentimientos que un hombre no debe revelar, o al menos, lo exige la sociedad. Eso ocurre con los Camacho, una familia de hombres dedicados a la medicina cuya característica principal es el ser machistas. Eso causa que, un día, cada una de las mujeres de los Camacho abandonen a sus parejas: Álvaro es abandonado por tener celos de su esposa, al ser ella más exitosa en lo profesional; a Dante lo deja su novia actual por un sueco que conoció en París; a Julián lo abandona su prometida por haberle sido infiel varias veces; y a Agustín, el patriarca, lo deja su esposa por no escucharla durante tres décadas de casados. Bruno, el menor de los Camacho y el único que queda con una relación estable, es homosexual.

Tras este acontecimiento, los Camacho tendrán que enfrentar sus miedos solos, coincidiendo con la llegada de Helena, una mujer que abandonó a su prometido el día de su boda y que cambiará la vida a todos los hombres de esta familia. Wikipedia

Si quieres ver la telenovela conmigo, puedes ver los episodios en la página web de NBC Universo, o en el canal NBC Universo lunes a jueves 7:00 pm ET/PT.


I’m very picky about the telenovelas I watch. I haven’t watched any Spanish-language soap operas with loyalty since Herederos del Monte, but El Sexo Débil is one I think I’ll watch through to the end. I’ve only seen two episodes so far, but I love the plot and strong female characters. Here’s a description of the series [my rough translation of the Spanish-language Wikipedia page]:

Men have always thought that machismo is synonymous with respect, leadership and courage; that the male shouldn’t reveal his feelings, or at least, that’s what society demands. That goes for the men of the Camacho family, men dedicated to medicine whose main characteristic is being macho. One day this leads to each of the women leaving their partners: Alvaro is abandoned by his wife for being jealous of her professional success; Dante’s girlfriend leaves him for a Swede she met in Paris; Julian is abandoned by his fiance for having been chronically unfaithful; and Augustine, the patriarch, his wife leaves him for not listening to her the entire three decades of their marriage. Bruno, who is gay and the youngest of the Camacho family, is the only one left with a stable relationship.

After this event, the Camacho men will have to face their fears alone, coinciding with the arrival of Helena, a woman who abandoned her fiance on their wedding day and who will change the lives of all the men in this family.

If you want to watch this telenovela with me, you can see full episodes at the NBC Universo website, or on the NBC Universo channel Monday to Thursday at 7:00 pm ET/PT.

Folklife Festival 2015: Peru

I think my favorite event in Washington, D.C. is the annual Folklife Festival which is held the last week of June and the first week of July. This year the featured country is Peru.

The festival is being held adjacent to the National Museum of the American Indian, and extends into the museum itself. Inside you can visit a new English-Spanish bilingual exhibit called The Great Inka Road (third floor), and buy Peruvian folkart, (in the atrium just inside the entrance.)

The most interesting fact I learned from the Inka exhibit, which will be in place until June 2018, is that the Andean people knew the bark of the quina tree (also known as “quinine”) cured malaria for thousands of years. Use of quinine in Europe occurred in the 1600’s after Catholic missionaries learned about it from the Andean people.

Peruvian flowers, folkart

The folk art available included traditional items, like these colorful tin flowers made in Ayacucho, Peru.

But the equally colorful more modern typography art called “chicha” was available as well. I love the quote on this signed print by artist Elliot Túpac. It says “La suerte cuesta trabajo” (luck requires work.)

Art by Elliot Tupac

Outside was an awesome mural in the same style which combines ancestral colors in modern street-style urban designs. I can’t say for sure whether that was the same artist working on it, as another artist by the name of Pedro “MONKY” Rojas, chicha pioneer and mentor to Túpac, was being prominently featured nearby.

Peruvian urban art

There was so much going on, I didn’t really know what to check out first, and as soon as I’d spot something interesting, something else would distract me. There were many different types of artisans weaving, working with clay, carving wood, and this guy who was lashing together reeds to make rafts called “caballitos de totora” which have been used by fishing families in Huanchaco for five thousand years.

Peruvian reed boats

I loved the embroidery on this woman’s blouse.

Peruvian woman weaving

I learned about different types of corn, (I was told the purple corn is used only for chicha morada and chicken feed because it never gets soft), I watched a cooking demonstration for lomo saltado, and I saw what quinoa plants look like.

There were also plenty of things I missed, like the Marinera dance with Peruvian Paso horses, (there was a huge crowd, so I went in the opposite direction to take advantage of everyone else being away from other exhibits), but here’s one of the performers and his horse afterward.

Peruvian horseman

Of course, all this walking around made us hungry, especially since the smell of Peruvian food was in the air.

Chicha morada and papa rellena

We had brought along a picnic lunch so we wouldn’t spend money, but I couldn’t resist a small snack. This is a papa rellena, which is a potato croquette filled with ground beef, hard-boiled egg, raisins, and spices. The green sauce is aji verde, and the drink is, of course, the ever popular chicha morada.

The most interesting part of our day occurred when I wandered over to a tent to investigate men who were dressed in very unique-looking costumes. One of the men turned around while I was staring at the embroidered design on his back and so I said to him in Spanish, “Su traje es bien bonito.” (Your suit/costume is really nice.) The man thanked me in Spanish and so I asked him if it was worn year-round or for a particular event. He explained that he was part of a Contradanza troupe and the costume is worn in a small town during the celebration called the “Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen de Paucartambo.”

I finished my conversation with the gentleman, thanking him for his time, and then turned around to look for Carlos. I found him and the boys standing a few yards away watching a man weave together rope. I realized that this must be one of the Quechua men who is working on recreating the rope bridge, (“Q’eswachaka”) which, when finished, will be suspended across the National Mall. When the festival is over, a section of the bridge will be put on display in the National Museum of the American Indian. This bridge is built and re-built by four Andean communities each year in Peru, a tradition that dates back six hundred years, and being tradition, as you’d imagine, there are many rituals and beliefs surrounding the creation of it.

Well, the man who was working on it, stood up and addressed the crowd in Spanish. “Necesitamos ayuda. ¿Quién puede ayudarnos?” he asked, (We need help. Who can help us?)

I wasn’t sure exactly what he needed help with. Judging from the faces of others who had gathered to watch, nobody else knew either, or perhaps they just didn’t speak Spanish, and maybe for that reason, no one volunteered.

I pushed past my shyness and raised my hand.

I stood only feet away, and yet the man somehow didn’t see me as he repeated his question – “We need help, who will help us?” – Still, no one else volunteered. I waved my hand a little higher. The man explained in more detail that they needed to stretch out the rope that had been woven together by pulling on it from opposite ends. Pull on a rope? I can do that. This time I spoke up with confidence.

“Yo. Yo puedo ayudar,” I said aloud, prepared to hand my purse over to Carlos.

The man shook his head and finally looked me briefly in the eyes, “Sólo hombres.”

Men only.

I felt my cheeks go hot, a mix of humiliation and indignation stirred inside me. I grew up playing tackle football with the neighborhood boys, climbing trees, swimming laps all summer long. I used to fight grown men in martial arts class. Maybe this man just didn’t know I was capable. Maybe he thought I’d get hurt. I’m no stranger to machismo, so I didn’t shrink away quietly. Instead I pulled up my shirt sleeve and flexed my bicep.

“Pero soy fuerte!” I called out loudly – But I’m strong!

Yet the man ignored me as finally a few volunteers of the male persuasion started to come forward.

Carlos rubbed my shoulder, “Did he hurt your feelings?”

“Just go ahead, you help, you guys help,” I said to Carlos and the boys.

Peruvian rope bridge

Two men from the Contradanza troupe smiled at me kindly while trying to comfort me. “It’s not personal,” they said, “It’s just tradition. It would be bad luck for a woman to participate.” I nodded my head, watched the two groups of laughing, grunting men play tug-of-war. I tried to act like I totally understood, but to be honest, it caused me to feel and think a lot of things – Things I won’t delve into here because the festival is meant to celebrate the beautiful and diverse culture of Peru and it just wouldn’t be in the spirit of the event to chase that rabbit today, but I did want to mention it because culture clashes and the questions that arise from them are so very interesting, aren’t they?

So to conclude, if you want to visit the 2015 Folklife Festival, (which I recommend!), you still have July 1st through the 5th. The festival hours are 11 am to 5:30 pm, with special events such as concerts taking place most evenings beginning at 7 pm. Details available at the website. Unable to attend in person? The website has plenty of great information, photos, and videos.

Conversations at Casa Quezada – a guest post!


I absolutely adore Tracy’s posts that share the hilarious, family moments that make up her bilingual household. I can relate so much, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to add a few of our own family’s multicultural conversations.

I’m an American girl, born and raised in the South. I am “bilingual-friendly,” meaning I know just enough Spanish to be dangerous. My Guatemalan husband Billy and I are raising our two bilingual-ish kiddos in Atlanta, Georgia. Here are few of our favorite Spanglish-y moments!

Me: (looking around the parking garage) Okay, we’re parked in Aisle 8.
Billy: THAT? (pointing at the sign) That. That is how you spell aisle?! Eye-eez-lay???

Billy: (hanging pictures) Does it look straight?
Me: Hmm… I’m not sure. Are we sure we want them there? Maybe a little higher?
Billy: (handing me a hammer and some nails) Go kill yourself!
Me: Um… What?
Billy: It’s an expression. You know…
[long pause]
Me: Oooh, knock yourself out!

Me: (reading a picture book in Spanish)
4 YO Daughter: Mom, please stop. I know that you don’t speak Spanish.

When dad has two languages, and mom has only one, you get this:
4 YO Daughter: My daddy is my Papi. And my mama is a big girl!

At a fruit stand in Los Angeles

Me: Hola. Por favor quisiera piña, sandía, mango, y coca.
Vendor: (eyes widening) Coca? Quiere coca?
Billy: No, no, no. Ella quiere coco.

Basically, I ordered a bunch of fruit and then “coke,” which, similar to English, is also slang for cocaine. I just wanted some coconut!

Me: Where are the chips I asked you to buy?
Billy: (hands me a bag)
Me: (putting away the Ranch dip) Awh, man. I asked you for chips, not tortilla chips!
Billy: Wait. What? You wanted potato chips? But you asked me for chips, not potato chips!

Stranger at the airport: Are you going to Guatemala?
4 YO Daughter: No, no. I’m going to Wat-te-ma-la. Wat-te-ma-la is Spanish. Gwah-tuh-mall-uh is English.

Thankfully, this kind man turned to my husband to ask if we were raising her to be bilingual and then offered some sweet encouragement.

Sitting in the OB/GYN office with our first pregnancy.

Me: “I’ve been having Charlie Horses at night.”
Billy: What are those?
Me: Leg cramps.
Billy: Why don’t you call them leg cramps?
Me and the midwife: I don’t know!
The midwife: Have you been having any Braxton Hicks?
Me: I don’t think so.
Billy: What is that?
Me: False contractions.
Billy: Why does everything in English need a first and last name?

My daughter’s toddler friend trying to work out our bicultural household:
Well, her mommy’s name is Sarah. And her daddy’s name is Papi.

We were visiting a Spanish church for the very first time. I was about seven months pregnant.

Stranger: Bienvenidos! (Rubbing my belly with both hands.) Hola bebito!
Billy: (looking at my panicked face and laughing) We’re not in an English church anymore! (leaning in towards me in mocking compassion) Do you want to go hide in the corner?
Me: (eyes wide, nodding) Yes!

sarah-quezada Sarah Quezada lives in Atlanta, Georgia in a talkative, Spanglish household with her Guatemalan husband and two amusing kiddos. She writes about culture, family, and immigration on her blog, A Life with Subtitles. Sarah is a big fan of travel, basketball, and peppermint patties. You can connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Comida Salvadoreña (Poster Giveaway!)

Do you guys remember around the holidays I shared my gift guide here which includes an awesome Cuban food poster created by Marta of My Big Fat Cuban Family? Well, Marta is actually someone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face years ago and she was so thrilled that I loved her Cuban food poster that she contacted me with an idea for a collaboration. Her idea? A Comida SALVADOREÑA poster!

So I created a list of all my favorite Salvadoran foods and narrowed it down to the ones I felt were most important to include (because it was way too many to fit!) Once I provided the list of foods, Marta worked her creative magic and designed the poster! Here’s the one she sent me. I’m still trying to decide if I want it in my kitchen or dining room.

Salvadoran food poster

comida salvadorena poster

Want your own COMIDA SALVADOREÑA poster? The poster is available HERE in Marta’s online shop in standard sizes to make framing it super easy: 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20.

And Marta is generously offering one for giveaway to one of my readers, so enter below for your chance to win!


Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a COMIDA SALVADOREÑA poster in the size of their choice. Sizes available are: 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite Salvadoran food is. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: 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 person responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between May 28, 2015 through June 4th, 2015. Entries received after June 4th, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, 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.

Buena suerte / Good luck!