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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.

Latin Billboard Awards + The Red Carpet

I intended to share my trip chronologically but it wouldn’t be nice to make you wait more for the part you really want to hear about – la alfombra roja (red carpet), and the actual Latin Billboard Awards show.

Cuban sandwiches and other randomness, while worthy of sharing with you, are not as exciting as the main event, so here we go. (I’ll tell you about the sandwich más tarde.)

My ticket!

The Red Carpet

We arrived at the red carpet and first we were seated in the bleachers with the fans. After a little while, we were given the option to move to the press area where it would be possible to actually speak with celebrities who chose to stop, with the caveat that we would have to stand for over 2 hours. I didn’t think twice – I wanted to be with the press.

Press area near the red carpet.

(Thanks to CityChicOnline.com for the dress!)

When I got to the press area my hands started to shake. I caught a glimpse of a white cowboy hat and my heart fluttered, thinking it was Espinoza Paz. One of the blogueras who has a lot more experience with these kinds of events, kindly gave me some advice, reminding me that to gain respect I couldn’t freak out.

I think I did pretty well, despite an unintentional gasp here and there – like when Prince Royce gave me a shout-out.

Many celebrities stopped to talk, even shaking hands and giving hugs or a kiss on the cheek. One handsome telenovela actor was so close to me that I could smell the cologne on his skin and it wasn’t like he had put too much on or anything, (can’t remember which actor it was pero qué rico se huele!) I chatted up the cast of the new mun2 show, RPM Miami for a minute or two – but you know my heart was set on finding Espinoza Paz and Pitbull.

Pitbull did walk by, but didn’t stop to chat.

Ay Pitbull! So close, and yet so far away!

And it was cool to meet El Trono de Mexico.

El Trono de Mexico

El Trono de Mexico - botas picudas

I told one of the guys from El Trono, “Me gustan tus botas picudas!” and he smiled.

_________
More photos! (From Gloria Estefan to Marc Anthony and actors from telenovelas like Reina del Sur…

Here are some photos of the celebrities that came into the press area of the red carpet. Some stopped to talk, others just posed for photos. How many musicians and actors do you recognize?

My Flickr Slideshow of Latin Billboard Awards 2011

_________

Espinoza Paz never did pass by the press area – I’m not even sure he walked the red carpet. I felt a little heartbroken. I tried to spot him in the audience but wasn’t sure. At one point, I saw someone in a black cowboy hat come in late. I wonder if it was him?

I spotted Pitbull in his seat.

Pitbull seated at the Latin Billboard Awards 2011 (white jacket)

The stage set-up was super awesome. There were three stages and the one in the middle extended further into the audience. The stage had areas cut out that looked like little pools, where some very lucky fans got to stand. Stages left and right were cube shaped with walls that moved up and down. I loved the colorful lights and the feeling of the bass.

I video taped some of my favorite performances between tweeting:





One song I absolutely love that I neglected to video tape: Me Duele by Roberto Tapia. I loved the couples dancing quebradita during this performance.

The last performance of the evening – Pitbull. I don’t understand how he didn’t win anything. He brought the house down, (the shaky video is evidence of this. I was dancing.)

The last award of the night, “Artist of the Year” – went to Enrique Iglesias. To thank his fans he ran out into the audience. He ran by my section, maybe 20 feet away but I didn’t try to touch his hand. A lot of people were out of their seats and trying to do just that. I like Enrique but not enough to risk falling down stairs or getting crushed. Had it been Espinoza, that’s another story.

Disclosure: I went to the Latin Billboard Awards in Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.

Guanaco actor stars in new mun2 show

Before I visited Miami and spent time with Telemundo, I had heard of the new show on mun2 called RPM Miami. I knew it had something to do with racing cars, and since that didn’t really interest me, I didn’t look into it any further.

During my time with Telemundo I learned that one of the stars of the show, actor Adrian Bellani, is half Salvadoran. Born in Miami and raised in San Salvador, Bellani plays the character Alejandro who is a soldier returning home from a tour in Iraq. He discovers that his father is missing and while trying to find out what happened to him, gets mixed up in the world of Miami street racing.

Two other things that I liked – First, the characters on the show are all bilingual and the show is a mix of both Spanish and English. And second, RPM Miami is shot on location in Miami.

I had the opportunity to meet some of the stars and of course, my question was, “Which one of you is the guanaco?” … Well, they totally misunderstood me. They thought I was saying “El Guajo” – (which is the name of the antagonist on RPM Miami.) Too funny…Chécalo!

RPM Miami premieres Sunday May 1 @ 10p/9C on mun2.

Disclosure: I went to Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.

Shout out from Prince Royce

I have so much to share but this is one of the most exciting moments of my trip to Miami. Prince Royce, one of my favorite singers, gave a shout out to Latinaish.com from the red carpet of the Latin Billboard Music Awards. This was so kind of him, (and qué cute!)

And I’m not sure if that’s me gasping at the end or one of my amigas blogueras. It was probably me because I still feel like gasping every time I watch the video and hear him say the name of my own blog. I can’t tell you how surreal it is to stand face-to-face with famous people you admire. More to come soon!

La Casa Blanca y La Familia López

Driving by the Washington Monument on our way to the White House. (Carlos calls this "La Aguja" - "the needle.")

The visit to La Casa Blanca was bien chivo although President Obama wasn’t around to welcome me as I had hoped. I didn’t tweet or blog until now because between waking at 4 a.m. for the White House tour and preparing for our trip to Miami, I’m just super cansada.

I wish I had a lot of photos to show you, but on White House tours, no cameras are allowed inside. And honestly, although it’s fun to say, “I’ve been to the White House” – the section they allow you into is really more of a museum than actual living quarters for the family. (I didn’t even so much as see “Bo” – the Obama family’s dog!)

When you first walk in there are photos of the Obama family on the walls of the foyer. The very first photo prominently displayed, was President Obama with mariachi. I instinctively reached for my non-existent camera before remembering – no cameras allowed so I hadn’t brought it. I did find the photo on the internet though so you can see.

(By the way, I found this photo on a website called Obama Looks Bored, which features photos of President Obama looking bored. Love it.)

There were a lot of fancy furnishings, three immense crystal chandeliers that weigh 1200 pounds each. Each chandelier takes 72 hours to clean. (And that is the extent of historical tour guide type data I retained.)

There are various rooms named for colors – The Blue Room, The Red Room (which looked hot pink to me for some reason – but I loved it), The Green Room, etc.

In the Green Room a painting caught my eye and I wanted to remember the artist so I could look it up later. Without a pen and paper I had to rely on my memory, which isn’t so good. To remember things, I usually have to play word games with myself. So, to remember the artist, Jacob Lawrence, I said to myself, “Jacob Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence… how can I remember his name? … Oh! Jacob Have I Loved!”

Carlos immediately turned around, “Whose Jacob?”
“The artist of that painting,” I said.
“No, the other Jacob you loved,” he said narrowing his eyes.
He didn’t believe me for several minutes that ‘Jacob Have I Loved’ is the name of a book.

The Builders - by Jacob Lawrence

The Obama family in the Green Room, (the painting I like is in the background)

(The painting turned out to be ‘The Builders’ by Jacob Lawrence, if you want to read more about it.)

Once we were outside, we were allowed to take photos, so I took a few with my cell phone camera.

White House lawn being cut.

Back outside the gates.

The future 1st Latino President and his hermanito.

Pollo Campero & Lakeforest Mall

We went to Pollo Campero for the first time in El Salvador. Since then, my only taste of it has been from buckets of cold chicken smuggled on Taca flights brought by visiting family.

(Fun fact: Carlos’s sister used to work at a Pollo Campero in El Salvador.)

I knew that the fast food Guatemalan chicken restaurants had been popping up in the United States for quite awhile but I just didn’t get around to visiting one until last weekend. The Lakeforest Mall location in Gaithersburg, Maryland has been open for several years.

Now, I was born and raised in Montgomery County, (or MoCo as it’s called by unassuming non-Spanish speakers who think that sounds cool.)

Lakeforest Mall is where my mother took us for back-to-school shopping – It’s across the street from the townhouses I lived in for the first year of my life. It’s where I skipped class and went to watch Jackie Chan movies, (there used to be a theater where the food court is now.) … Lakeforest Mall is 5 minutes down the street from where I met Carlos and it’s where Carlos and I spent time walking around as novios… In other words, it’s a familiar place – so when I heard rumors that Lakeforest Mall had become “ghetto” – I wanted to check it out.

(“Ghetto” – not my word, by the way, in case anyone out there is offended – I’m quoting.)

Anyway, visiting Pollo Campero was a good enough excuse for me. Off to Lakeforest Mall, pues.

So first we eat. Honestly, I can’t even remember what Pollo Campero tasted like in El Salvador, so I can’t compare them. The chicken was spicy and really good. The horchata was good though slightly watered down. The platanos were okay, (A little too ripe for my personal tastes and I prefer mine cut differently – that’s just me being picky though.)

The yuca frita dipped in this spicy Campero sauce was awesome. I will definitely go back for that.

I also liked the decor of the restaurant. This Spanglish sign was the best. “Flavor you can’t CAMPERO” – get it? … Clever.

And a little educational Latino pride never hurt.

Now, as for Lakeforest Mall itself – is it “ghetto”? In my opinion, not at all. It was clean, and though some high-end stores have been replaced, the quality and selection are still good. Maybe it isn’t as beautiful as it once was, (I remember there being fountains but they were turned off), but it’s still a nice mall.

So, what has changed the most? … The demographics of the shoppers. It felt almost like being in Miami again – the shoppers at the mall were an obvious Latino majority. This is drastically different from just 10 years ago, and worlds different from 20 years ago.

I tried to look at this from a gringa point-of-view. My conclusion is that maybe “ghetto” is just a code word that some people use when they really mean “there are more brown people than white people and that scares me.”

So, here’s the deal. The gringos who are now uncomfortable shopping at Lakeforest Mall, you can drive on over to Montgomery Mall instead.

As for me – Yo me quedo aquí…Pass the yuca frita.

“Clementino” Part II

Okay, some of you have asked what else is happening with the “Clementino” situation.

I’ve found it amusing that I’ve now been labeled a “rompecorazones” – I don’t think I can see myself that way and I feel a little badly for Clementino – if his intentions came from his heart and not from lands further south, (si me entiendes.)

I still say it was a romantic gesture but ultimately it was made inappropriate for the fact I’m married, (and Clementino is, too.)

I tend to be a romantic and flirtatious person but I also believe there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. I try very hard to respect my husband by not doing anything that would hurt him. Carlos is generally okay with me being a little coqueta because he trusts that it won’t go further than una mirada, or sonrisita.

That being said, I don’t feel anything negative towards Clementino. I think he’s naughty and hope his wife doesn’t find out but he’s been so nice to me this past year, it’s difficult for me to be outraged in any way. I feel a little sad that he crossed the line though, because he put an end to what I saw as a casual friendship. I really liked going to the store – it was part of my weekly routine. It also feels strange to imagine him realizing after a few weeks, that I’m not coming back. Maybe it’s silly and I’m overly emotional, pero me da tristeza.

Bueno, I think most of you want to know more about how my husband has reacted though. Carlos has been acting differently since this happened. He is naturally a jealous type but he has worked to overcome his insecurities this past year, (lucky for Clementino!) … So, when I jumped in the car and told Carlos what had happened, he was a little on edge. He wasn’t happy about what happened, especially the part where Clementino touched my hand. He said that was pushing it too far and if Clementino tried it again, he’d break his fingers.

Knowing that Carlos felt that way, I was a little panicked to find out that he was going back to the store the next day, thanks to Suegra.

You see, after trying and failing to call El Salvador with the phone cards she had bought, Suegra came to me saying, “Tienes que decir a tu novio que estas tarjetas no sirven.” (Very funny, Suegra. She is going to get me into trouble!) – I refused to take her to the store to exchange them and so when Carlos came home from work, she asked him to take her.

Suegra told me that she wanted to scare Clementino. She said she was going to tell him she knew all about what he had said to her nuera and that she was going to tell Clementino’s wife. I begged her not to do this but she wouldn’t say anything more.

So, Carlos and Suegra went to the market. Both deny that they said or did anything. According to them, Carlos waited in the car and Suegra just went in to exchange her phone cards without mentioning anything. They are really good mentirosos though, so I don’t know if I believe them.

One thing I do know – Carlos has been super romantic since this happened. He has always been that way, but he has definitely been even more so lately. Here are some of his text messages…

When Carlos was hugging me last night, I asked him if he was worried that Clementino would steal me away. He hugged me tighter and said, “No… you’re mine.”

The feminist in me objects to the ownership implied in those words. The romantic in me says, “Yes, I’m all yours!”

Read: Clementino Part III

Lo Mejor de 2010

Here are the most chévere things I discovered in 2010.

Comida:

Bubu Lubus
• Valentina (salsa)
• Chipotle Mayonnaise (via Maura)

Bebidas:

• My go-to drink used to be the Shirley Temple, but after drinking about a dozen virgin Mojitos in Miami, I have a new favorite.

• As for “real” drinks, Tecate & Corona are still numero uno for me.

• My cipote-friendly choice is still horchata (Salvadoran, not Mexican.)

Libros:

• Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse
• My Name is Pablo by Aimee Sommerfelt

(Non-Latino Fiction picks):

• Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya
• The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins
• The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Películas:

• Quinceñera
The Other Side of Immigration (documentary)
• The Karate Kid (Jackie Chan)

Noticias:

• World Cup in South Africa (U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!)
• Mexico’s Bicentennial (¡Viva México!)
• Chilean Miners (¡Chi-chi-chi! ¡Le-le-le!)

Música:

(Really too many to mention, but these are the first three that came to mind)…

Espinoza Paz
Natalia Lafourcade
Crooked Stilo


(I like this video of Espinoza performing on Mun2, because it looks like the host, Yarel, has a crush on him as much as I do.)

I considered listing favorite blogs, but you can already check those out on the Link Love page, (and there’s no güey I’m choosing only three!) …That being said, I want to thank all of you who visit me here at Latinaish.com.

The very best thing about 2010 is the community I’m blessed to be a part of and all the people around the world that I consider amigos para siempre. Gracias por tu amistad – it has more value to me than an entire box of Bubu Lubus.

How about you? What do you consider lo mejor de 2010?

Semita de Guayaba

One of my favorite things in todo el mundo, is receiving a yellow package in the mail with my name on it. Yesterday, such a package arrived from mi amiga, Claudia.

You see, a few months ago when I came back from Miami, I mentioned some guava cupcakes I had tried while there. I loved those cupcakes, and I don’t consider myself a fan of guava-flavored anything. Claudia told me she had seen guava (guayaba) flavored “semita”. This blew my mind because I love the Salvadoran jam-filled pastry, but I had only ever had semita de piña, (pineapple).

Being a thoughtful friend y una orgullosa salvadoreña, Claudia searched for the semita de guayaba and sent me one! (¡Gracias!)

This is a brand, Panaderia Santa Eduvigis, I never tried before. (I believe Saint Eduvigis cares for those without food or shelter but don’t quote me.) I love the little story on the back of the box that tells the history of Ernestina Castro – the woman who created the recipe and the company.

Finally, after much anticipation, my family tried the famous semita de guayaba.

My husband and I agree – the quality of the brand is excellent, and it is definitely guayaba flavored. We still prefer piña, but this is really good. Best of all, the niños hated it, so it’s all mine!

Amigas: Fifteen Candles

Amigas: Fifteen Candles, created by Jane Startz, but written by Veronica Chambers, is the first book of a new series in juvenile fiction for girls. I don’t know how the author pitched her book, but I would call it, “The new Baby Sitter’s Club for young Latinas.”

The story revolves around a group of friends in Miami who create a party planning business to help one of their friends throw the quinceñera of her dreams, (on her parent’s limited budget, of course.)

At times the main character, Alicia Cruz, comes off as a spoiled brat but despite the mansion and personal chef, girls will relate to her very normal teenage troubles, (though possibly fantasize about such an idealized life.)

Refreshingly, Alicia is properly contrasted by a cast of diverse Latina characters from all types of financial and ethnic backgrounds. One thing I especially liked was the fact that the characters also range in Spanish-speaking ability – from completely fluent, to not speaking a word – I think that is something most U.S. Latinas can relate to.

Over all, the book is fun, though somewhat silly from an adult perspective, (it wasn’t written for us anyway!) The Amigas series will give young Latinas drowning in a world of Anglo everything, a little dose of cultura and characters they can identify with. Though these books would never replace more substantial classics such as Sandra Cisnero’s The House on Mango Street, or How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez, the series succeeds at providing a positive message for young Latinas with themes ranging from the benefits of teamwork, to inspiring an entrepreneurial spirit.

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