Catching in the Rye (in Spanglish)

If The Catcher in the Rye had a sequel based on a Spanglish-speaking Mexican-American homeschooling, allergic to everything, eating-disordered writer mama of one, I’d be a happy girl. Because then, at least, I could just hand people a copy of the book when they ask how I’m doing.

‘Fine?” That’s usually a lie.

“My cat just got ran over, thanks for asking,” could possibly be the truth, but when people ask other people how they are doing, no one really expects an honest answer if honesty means replying with anything other than “fine.” Except  I don’t have a cat. I do have three dogs, though. And a kid. And two websites and an agent and a manuscript sitting in a file because I don’t have a platform big enough to stand on and wonder if I ever will.

This isn’t a Poor Me post. Don’t get your violins out, folks. This is a Truth post; one in which I step out behind the bullshit and tell you that fine is a lie and that I miss my nonexistent cat because I am, in short, a fraud. Not the Push Up Bra and Spanx Coming Off On the Third Date kind of fraud, mind you, but the Holden Caulfield kind in which I find myself standing in the middle of the high school cafeteria, holding my lunch tray, not sure where to sit because I have no idea where I really belong.

I preach body pride and self-acceptance because for some of us, we can't do the work required to care for ourselves if we don't value ourselves. I encourage you to find your inner chingona, redefine your path on your own terms and to celebrate the hell out of her because no one else is going to do it for you. I say thing like Love Yourself As You Are NOW and Our Daughters are Counting on Us to Get (and Keep) Our Shit Together (And I mean them...for you). I want to mean them for me, too, and I figured that if I shouted it long enough and often enough from my soapbox that I’d start to buy my own bullshit, but that hasn’t happened yet.

That, my friends, pisses me off.

I want to connect and inspire and feel validated for what I say and what I do and what I am hoping to become and I see so many others doing exactly that while I sit back and cheer them on, not sure what I’m doing wrong to keep missing the boat or if the boat’s going to bother coming back to the dock again to give me another chance. I want to speak to women on the same journey and let them know it’s okay to be where we are right now as long as we keep trying because that’s what matters. I want to organize inspiring workshops and a regular conference for women to focus on fixing the mess inside of our own heads because our kids aren’t going to believe in their own self worth if they constantly see us tear ourselves down.

It’s the old airplane analogy: No point in passing out from oxygen deprivation while trying to get our kid’s mask on first if the cabin depressurizes. The only way we can truly be effective role models is if we fight every maternal instinct and put ourselves first for fucking once. Once our heads are clearing from the oxygen-deprived fog can we be there to ensure our children are breathing, safe, and secure in the knowledge that Mommy has her shit together. And this Mommy is busy focusing on raising a future self-respecting bitch who (I hope I hope I hope) will never second guess putting her happiness before society's complex.

Maybe, I think, the boat is on to me. The boat knows I’m a fraud and frauds are not allowed on board. Only passengers who are truly at ease in their own skin who don’t look for and rely on approval and validation outside of themselves are allowed on this boat. I’m not there yet. I used to be. I will be again. But right here, right now, I’m a self-destructive mess who’s best bet it is to just let it all hang out because it’s the truth and it needs to be said.

I don’t have The Answers. I’m not standing at the Finish Line waving the Official Flag of Self-Acceptance because I haven’t run my own race yet. What I do have is a burning desire to share the crazy idea that it’s okay to be a fucking mess. It’s okay to have bad days and worse days and throw a party on the good days because they are so very worthy of celebrating. It’s okay to not love yourself (but want to) yet and it’s okay to talk about the bad in public because if we don’t then no one else will and the world will just continue to assume that “Fine” is the only acceptable answer to be given when they ask how we’re doing and that’s really just a giant disservice for those of us who need to know it’s okay to celebrate The Journey because The Destination is just a little too far away right now.

I’m not fine. In fact, I’m a royal fucking mess. My ADHD and anxiety are triggering my seven-year-old’s anxiety into fodder for her therapy appointments which happens to fall under the Mexicans Don’t Talk About That Sort of Thing category because it’s uncomfortable and much easier to sweep under the rug with the rest of our emotional baggage (like  the whispers about how pregnant the bride really was at the last wedding we went to while we collectively pretended to believe she wasn’t because it matters even though it really shouldn’t). It’s why I told The Husband I wanted yellow gold when he asked what kind of ring I would like when he was fishing for engagement ring hints because that’s what my family wore. It took me ten years to admit I hated yellow gold and really wanted platinum because that shit doesn’t work for me anymore, either.

Away with the rug. Let the dirt fly. And when the dust settles, I’ll still be standing here holding my lunch tray because I’m not sure where to sit because no matter where I choose, I feel like everyone else will judge me for my choice even though none of that should matter. But it does.

And I hate that.

I most decidedly do NOT have my shit together. You need to know that. It’s okay to be a royal fucking mess. You need to know that, too.  I miss my imaginary cat and I have very real cellulite and I have a sweet tooth and a closet eating habit. I don't sleep enough and I am never on time unless a deadline and a paycheck is involved (or someone else is driving the bus.) My yoga mat is my zen place and I'm working my way back to being brave enough to step into the raging quiet inside my head (I'm almost there). I make sad things funny and funny things funnier because that’s how I deal.

I'm almost 37 years old and sans The Husband and the child, the words you see and the words you hear could be the same words I wrote when I was seven, 17, and 27.

All of this is today’s truth.

Now tell me…

How are you doing?

Casa Latina Home Expo: I'm SPEAKING!

   

casa-latina-blogher-logo-featuredWhen one door closes...Another opens.

My head is still reeling from my recognition as a 2014 Top Bloguera and subsequent passing on attending this year's pre-LATISM conference retreat for the 100 blogueras due to time and distance. I'm sad to be missing out on this year's event, but excited that Fate decided this weekend was going to be worth writing home about, anyway.

As of this very second, I have no idea where I am staying once we arrive or how we are getting there, but come hell or high water, I'm booked to speak at the Casa Latina Expo Home Expo in New York on  Saturday, Nov. 15. The event, co-produced by BlogHer (and featuring many of my Latina blogging and social media amiga-friends like Kathy Cano-Murillo, Jeannette Kaplun, and Helen Troncoso! From start to finish, the entire event looks like a winner and I am all kinds of excited to be a part of it.

I'll be speaking on the 3:45=5 p.m. panel on Getting Recognized with Jeannette, Mercedes Sanchez, and Mariela Dabbah. The panel will focus on how to become a multi-media entrepreneur and market yourself as an expert in your niche. And pardon me while I go pack my big girl 'chonis, 'cuz wow.

I'll figure out the logistics sometime between now and 3 p.m, on Saturday. Until then, let's stick to one syllable words and very short sentences.

Yep.. much better

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hastags Explained: #Latism14 & #TopBlogueras

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I'm not on a plane right now on the way to an event I've been looking forward to since last year. Turns out that sometimes it actually is just too hard to get from Point A to anywhere involving a plane when Point A is smack in the middle of nowhere.

#MexicaninMaine. That's me, remember? I am defined by the hashtags I have created to suit me.

#Dimelo. For the name of my Latina Magazine advice column.

#ChingonaFest. For my growing community and podcast supporting the spirit of the Latina women and our desire to raise the next generation to always celebrate their voices and their spirit.

#BitchRedefined. For the non-Latinas finding themselves drawn to the ChingonaFest community. I get it. I'm hyphenated and usually straddling the tightrope between both halves of my identity, never quite standing still long enough on either side to catch my balance. My Spanish is too choppy to be considered fluent and my English spoken in the same rapid-fire rhythm of the language I once didn't realize I thought in. My skin brown enough to arouse curiosity because What Are You seems to be considered an appropriate question to ask a perfect stranger while checking out the asparagus. My hair kinky curly enough for the person asking to step back, grin, and tell me that I do not fit their perception of who and what I claim to be. No way, they say. You're mixed, right?

I used to not know how to answer that question. Of course not, I'd think. I'm Mexican. That's what I'd want to say, but it felt like I was denying the unknown. I see my hair. I see my body. I know that when I tell people which area of Mexico my maternal grandfather was from, the asker will sometimes nod knowingly because they've now matched my appearance to the other side of the tracks in their minds' eye. Now, I just raise an eyebrow in silent warning to step away from the line in the sand. I may raise it higher and ad an eye-roll if the asker misses the first hint. Should they miss both, I feel justified in responding with many words considered inappropriate for mothers shopping with their little girls to be using. I'm not worried. My daughter is brilliant and is perfectly aware of the words Mommy uses verbally and in my writing and -- yes, I am bragging here -- she even knows which ones she is not allowed to repeat until she's paying her own rent.

I am mixed. Every Mexican is. And I live in Maine. Not every Mexican does that. In fact, I'm pretty damned sure I am the the first ever in my family to own a pair of snowshoes. That makes Eliana the second. Paths are being forged, my friends. We are pretty fucking fabulous at falling. That means we are even better at picking ourselves up.

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#SheSePuede. Because I can. Because I believe she can. Because we all can. Because I have to remind myself of my strength and pull myself up from the dark places that never have enough chocolate just as often as you do and because I know I always will. Don't be fooled by my resume. I will never have the five steps to unfailing happiness and self-acceptance because I am my history and my history is the Spanglish version of My So-Called Life. What I do have is a stubborn streak. I am bull-headed. I am determined. I am a realist. And a dreamer. I know I will fall again. I know I will pick myself back up. I share that because this is where we connect and relate and why it won't seem strange when we meet in person and squee and hug like we have known each other forever and really, in a way, we sort of have. So it's okay.

I'll be missing many hugs and Spanglish-lovin' this week as many of my friends and colleagues travel to Anaheim, CA. for the #Latism14 conference. I already am missing the party before the party I still can't believe I was invited to when I was named a Top Bloguera. I am honored and humbled and in need of a thesaurus, and I truly wish the four hours between me and the airport weren't an issue. The extra plane ticket I would have needed to buy for my daughter that just wasn't in the budget didn't help matters. One door opens. Maybe it closes. Another appears. I wish but I'm not. I am not but I was. And the sun will rise again. 1 of 100 selected of 400 applications. I suck at math an am easily impressed, but I still like what I see here.

I'll still be a badass. You'll still be a badass. And my daughter will still be working on my last nerve and saving my sanity at the last minute with a giggle and a smile. Thank you, Ana Roca-Castro. Thank you for today's reason to smile when you reminded us all that even if not at the retreat, the title is still ours to hold on to.

#TopBloguera. This is the one for which I thank you, my dear friends and readers. Because you read and you support and you share the words I write because we did that relating thing. Thank you. Let's do more of that, okay?

This is the Part Where You Ask Me a Question

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Okay, Internet. I've got a deal for you, so pay attention.

The short story is you need to ask me for more solicited advice so I can be witty and sassy in my answers while fixing your life and entertaining the rest of the world.

Fine, maybe not your entire life. But at least the part you're getting ready to ask me about.

So here's the deal. For those of you who don't know, the big glossy mags have huge lead times between putting an issue together and the actual date of publication. I turn my own work into Latina months in advance, which is actually pretty standard in the industry. So, maybe I'm ahead on paper, but next month's deadline is still giving me the stink-eye.

This summer is going to be insane for me with conferences (like that BlogHer '14 Me Speaking on a Freelancing Panel because I suck at self-promotion and totally forgot to blog about that when I found out forever ago!) and a few new projects I've got brewing. That's not counting the novel I'm still trying to write, the ChingonaFest workshops and retreats I'm in the planning stages for, and remembering to feed my child, or the times I write "Sex with The Husband" on my To-Do list so I have a visual reminder to step away from the laptop every now and again.

To make my life Slightly Less Insane, I need  you to talk to me. I need my inbox full of questions and to keep it full of questions. Topics include (but aren't limited to..)

  • * love
  • *sex
  • * relationships
  • * cultural issues
  • * body image
  • * dating
  • * parenting
  • * Crazy Ex stories and related drama
  • * or variations on how to respond the next time someone says you don't look/sound/act Latina enough. I have found that replacing the U in Fuck with an * totally works for spicing up a glossy mag page.

Email me at dimelo@latina.com.  All questions are confidential and if used, your name is replaced with a sassy secret identity. So basically, ask me for solicited advice and I'll turn you into a super hero for free.

I know.

I kind of love me right now, too.

 

 

 

** Have you sigedn up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter yet? (Look at the sidebar, y’all)! It's the best way to stay up to date with my Crazy and the latest #Chingona and #ChingonaFest news! Can't wait to connect with you on social media!  Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

 

 

Got a Story to Tell?

I'm taking a minute to share a great essay contest for my Latina #Dimelo readers I just learned about from Latina and SheBooks.  

From the SheBooks site about the I am Latina Essay Contest

Win $1,000 and publication in Latina and Shebooks!

With over 52 million Latinos in the U.S., it’s easier than ever to keep our cultures alive. Latina & Shebooks, a new e-book publisher, want to read about the moment that you felt the most connected with your culture and were proud to call yourself a Latina. Starting January 10, 2014, you can submit your essay up to 1000 words, and you'll be entered to win $1,000 and publication in a future issue of Latina.  Winner and runners-up may also be featured in a future Shebook.

 

Sounds great, doesn't it? And I love what I'm seeing about SheBooks, a new e-publisher of short books written by and for women. I'm also excited to see my column about raising a chingona as one of the many listed as examples of essays Latina loved.  Click here to get the full details on the essay contest and get to writing!

 

Self-Worth & Raising Chingonas on the Latino Talk podcast

Have you heard of the Latino Talk podast?

It's pretty fabulous. And I'm not just saying that because my first interview with host Ray Collazo is now available on iTunes.

I did share yesterday, but the post was about a few things and one of those things was date specific, so rather than promote a blog post that contains old news I figured I'd dedicate a quick one to my interview and Ray's show.

In this segment, we talked about the Dimelo advice column with Latina Magazine, self-worth, and why I am all for raising our girls to be chingonas. For the new kids in class, that’s a not so nice word in Spanish, kinda like “Bitch”, which has been embraced by many Latinas as a positive. There are plenty pissy about my use of the word and it's many connotations, but I’m good with it because Sandra Cisneros is all for it and probably because my Guelo called us his little cabronas our entire lives  (which roughly translates into calling us his little assholes).

I know….just thinking about it makes me all Smiley Faced.

Have a good day, y'all. I'm off to work on that novel I'm writing.

From Nothing

 

I tried planning ahead this year. Working from home while homeschooling and trying to keep up with the laundry usually means everything is last minute and so many things get pushed off until tomorrow. Or the next day. And then the day after that. I had planned to met my deadlines a week early and enjoy this week with my little family and some close friends. The house was going to be clean and the Christmas menu set and the food prepared so all I had to worry about was what to do with the leftovers.

We never got to that part.

I got the flu. The kind that came out of nowhere and hit my like a frat party hangover. Suddenly the world was spinning and my head was too heavy for my neck to lift. I sat there breathing slow and shallow breaths like the kind usually reserved for labor pains. The column I had started working on was put on hold as The Husband silently took away the Macbook and I shuffled off to bed. Tomorrow, I told myself. One day wouldn't change anything.

Three days later I was still sleeping more than I was conscious, burning up even when the thermometer didn't register a temp. Every breath felt like fire in my lungs. My body ached. The Husband took to sleeping in Eliana's room on her tiny little twin bed, hoping ti avoid the plague, while my little shadow crawled into our big queen and snuggled up next to me every evening. "I'm taking care of you," she told me. "Don't worry. I'll hug you all night so you feel better."

By focusing on me, she was letting herself forget the suitcase she had packed in her room. The one full of randomly selected clothing and toys and even her toothbrush and toothpaste for her "trip" to see her Guela in Detroit. My mom had moved with us to Tucson when Eliana was 18 months old and lived with us for three years. When she moved out, Eliana was lost, but the presence of a very close-knit friendship circle did wonders for soothing her anxieties. Then we moved again and this time, Eliana was old enough to miss those we left behind and want so very badly to wave a magic wand and instantly recreate something out of nothing in our new home. Northern Maine is beautiful. We love it. But it can also be a little lonely when it's time to explain to a child that making friends takes time. Making friends that become family takes even longer.

So she packed her suitcase and pretended she was taking a magic airplane to see her grandma and would be back on Christmas morning in time to open gifts. I was the flight attendant. Her daddy was the cab driver. And then for the entire day before I got sick, I was my mother and our home became her home and I wished so very badly for Santa to fit a new friend-family under our tree. And then I couldn't move without the world spinning and her make-believe was forgotten because Mama had the flu and Daddy was either working or trying to help out when he got home and she dealt with it by comforting herself by comforting me and I love her for it.

Day four was better. I was able to get out of bed. The world was still again. My body ached and I moved slowly, but I was out of the woods and still planned to get those fucking deadlines met and out of the way. We were going to make cookies, dammit. And drive around to see Christmas lights. And play board games and listen to Christmas music and drink hot chocolate. And then on my birthday, we were going to drive the two hours to Bangor for the sales and a movie and a birthday dinner. That was the plan. Then the plan changed again.

Both Eliana and The Husband got knocked senseless by the same flu I had just weathered. My laptop sat open and waiting as the laundry piled up and the sink over-filled with mugs from tea with honey and hot toddies and broth. I didn't shower because I was too busy shoveling snow, carrying more logs inside to keep both woodstoves piping hot for heat, and making sure my husband and daughter stayed hydrated. I took their temperatures and grabbed my keys to drive to Walmart for Nyquil for The Husband and more albuterol for Eliana's nebulizer and learned I wasn't going anywhere until I shoveled away the snow the plow driver had piled four feet high against the garage door.

Christmas did happen, though. They opened their gifts from the sofa bed. Santa was nice this year, even if he didn't get a chance to tackle that last request from me. Eliana was well enough to get out of bed and play with her new toys but the suitcase stayed packed because she's not done imagining her grandmother closer.  And The Husband apologized for not being able to take me out for my birthday. I told him to shut up and just feel better.

Today was my birthday. I spent it taking care of my patients and picking up more prescriptions. We ate leftovers and the sink is still full and the laundry untouched. Then I made homemade pumpkin ice cream floats and they sang Happy Birthday to me before our ice-cream melted and we watched Mary Poppins and my laptop sat, waiting just a while longer, while plans were ditched in favor of The Moment that was right there for us to grab on to.

"I'm sorry about your birthday," The Husband told me before he dragged himself back to bed.

"Don't be," I told him. "We're together."

#Dimelo: The Wonder Woman Close-Up

Another week...another #Dimelo column on Latina! He wanted sex on the first date...she's new to dating after divorce. Click here for my response and let me know what you think! And send me your questions here for consideration in upcoming Dimelo columns!

Also? I'm not exactly new at the publishing thing, but I'm still easily amused (and probably always will be.) When my copy of Latina arrived in the mailbox yesterday, I found this inside...

Hold your ponies, people. I've got a close up so you can read the actual words. Which you should. Because this little paragraph took me longer to write than it should have. Nothing like 3 million readers to spur on a tiny bit of anxiety on the BUT WHAT IF I SAY SOMETHING STUPID front. (Don't worry, I got over it.)

Seeing my words in print is wonderful, but it's not as much of a WOW-factor to me as seeing my face. The words are something I'm used to; the picture is proof I'm exactly where I've always wanted to be. And that? Feels amazing.

 

NaBloPoMo: The Little Bits

 

So...long time, no blog, huh? I kinda think I need to show ID or something to prove I belong here. As busy as I've been (and still am) I shouldn't be here right now. But that's the way of it, ironically. Sometimes our writing makes us too busy to...you know... write.

I remember when I had the luxury of staying up until 3 am to get that post out that just had to be written. And that year that I churned out the first draft of the manuscript that got me my agent while simultaneously blogging like a crazy woman because writing more, frankly, makes me crazy less. But things change. Priorities shift. I got to do all of that aforementioned writing spree-happiness when I didn't have a job. Now that I do, I tend to stay up until 3 am working on a deadline, getting a few hours of sleep, and then waking up to homeschool my daughter before I sit down to work again. Until 3 a.m.

Hello hamster. Meet Wheel.

This blog used to serve as my scrapbook, of sorts. I never did a baby book (very well, anyway), nor have I written with a pen in a journal since I was in high school and dotted my "i's" with puffy hearts. But I was covered because if Eliana made me smile when eleventeen used to be a number or that time she told me I was beautiful, I took a picture with words and hit publish and then it was saved for always. And you can bet your sweet ass I "captured" the time she yawned out a chipmunk-voiced mother fucker at just 18-months-old because, obviously. But it was more than that. I can't tell you how much this blog has saved me on co-pays for therapy.

Lately though, I've had to skip the little bits that matter so much in favor of the work and responsibility. Don't get me wrong. I love my job. And my editor kicks ass. But I do feel like I'm cheating myself because those missing words are still trapped in my brain. I really don't think I'll have room for more unless I Write Them Out.

So I'm going to do something Slightly Crazy. I just signed up to participate in BlogHer's #NaBloPoMo. I'm a few days late, but I'll just go with some story about me showing up fashionably late for the party.

Here's to the little bits.

Hashtag: #LatinoProblems

 

While at Latism13, I had the chance to speak to a roomful of 100 influential Latina powerhouses on my transition from blogger to columnist. The transition is actually more like Newspaper Reporter to Freelancer Who Couldn't Remember to Invoice Clients to Didn't Go Back to Work After Baby to Stir-Crazy to Blogging is a Thing? to Columnist, but who's keeping track, anyway?

Writers are a unique lot, I told the Top Blogueras. We are the most vain about the words we share (or we wouldn't share them to begin with) and the most insecure about the words we share (because validation is always a necessity).

And I saw quite a few heads nodding in a agreement. They know.

The longer I'm at it, the less insecure I am about new words written about old topics already discussed. Give me a new topic and I might hesitate (Ok, I will hesitate) a bit, but I'm still hitting publish because at the end of the day it's the voice expressed in the written word that I am most confident in. That's exactly why it took me until after 11 p.m. last night to listen to my debut radio segment (in partnership with Latina Magazine) on Latino USA.

At least, I think that was the reason. Maybe I was just afraid I'd sound like a man?

Either way, I listened and I loved it. Loved the questions and the experience replaying itself in my head as I translated the editing into the full recording session in the halls of the Waldorf Astoria. I smiled because I know my 6-year-old was sitting right next to me for at least one of those questions, snuggling in quietly while I dispensed advice to conference-goers because it was Friday and after five days of non-stop craziness, she was ready to go home.

Take a listen. I've been told I sound Awesome by People Who's Opinions I Respect so it must be true.

Did you listen yet?

Latism13 Goes Gatsby

I never did get into the Halloween thing much as a kid. But for some reason, dressing the part for the Latism13 Gatsby-themed awards gala became a personal mission. Maybe it was the fact that the 1920's were not exactly a decade known to be kind to women with hips and ass, what with the straight-style drop-waist dresses that were all the rage (or maybe it's today's designers screwing it all up, but we can save that for a Girl Body Pride post). I tried on so many dresses. Some were a nightmare and stopped at my hips when they should have flowed freely to my calves. Others were maybes that didn't fit the image of the flapper girl I imagined I would have been. Photos like this one at the Clarion Hotel in Portland, Maine (where I stayed on my way out of town and back), served as the perfect inspiration for getting into the #ElGranGatsby spirit.

I live in the boonies. This is not an exaggeration. There may be a Walmart in town, but the closest Target (and Starbuck's) is a two-hour drive south to Bangor where Stephen King lives. It's probably worth noting I used to be impressed by the idea of living in Bangor and roughing it writer style, but then I moved to Maine and blew past Bangor (and my trenta iced green tea with four honey packets, mind you) so I now figure I get to say I've got one up on Mr. King for where I live sounding bad-ass on the book jackets of my future works of awesome.

But I digress. The point to that whole living in the boonies thing was to simply emphasize why I went straight to the internet to dress myself virtually for the gala. Because I was shocked into a permanent grin from all the compliments I received on the authenticity of my look that night, I thought I'd share how it all came together.

I started with a vintage-look drop waist dress made for my curves that I found on DressBarn. Having shopped enough there with the BFF in Tucson before packing up for the Great White North, I knew I could order online without having to worry. What I didn't expect was that the dress would be so perfect. Just change up the accessories and it goes from Gatsby to contemporary in a snap. That fit with my Dress Buying Rule: If I can't think of three other ways to wear it other than for the intended event, I keep looking.

I started with the cloche. That's fancy for hat and yes, my kid reads a lot of Fancy Nancy. Anyway, my short and kinky curls weren't going to do a feathered headband any justice, so I combed through Etsy stores trying to find the perfect cloche -- and then I spent hours I should have been sleeping searching for one I could, yaknow, afford.

(Note to self: add vintage in front of any item and good fucking God on the price, y'all.)

Just when I was about to give up, I stumbled across Elsewhen. The name made the writer in me smile. And I found the perfect cloche, which I wore the hell out of while in New York. Minus the pretty flapper feather, it's pretty damned awesome with jeans and a simple tee and, of course, boots.

In case you were wondering, yes, I'll be buying from Elsewhen again.

Often.

The flapper feather was The Husband's idea. Jeeze Louiseto the rescue. You're welcome.

The purse was a handmade piece of art I found because I'm dedicated, y'all. I searched through hundreds of vintage and vintage-inspored 1920's era purses and almost all of them made me cry when I saw the price tag. This one from A Bit of Luxury not only fit my iPhone, it also was real people affordable and it's gorgeous. Win!

And of course, the shawl. I'll admit I'm self-conscious about my very non-Jada Pinkett Smith arms, so a cover up was essential. But it had to work with the authentic look I was working for. At this point, all the research I had done on what real flappers actually wore and how Halloween totally has it all wrong, so it was go big or go home. I went big and landed on the Trove Vintage Boutique Etsy shop.

 

The best part of all the compliments at the gala had to have been the utter shock that I committed to this whole thing from head to freaking toe. Thank you and You look great, too's were part of the conversation but shut UP....THE SHOES just made my fucking day. Yes, they are fantastic. Thank you, ModCloth, for getting them to me on time for departure.

I had a blast. I want to do wear it all again. It might be a bit over to top for Walmart, but the time will come. And I'll be ready.

Cantando con Orgullo: Singing with Pride

I know....I speak Spanish kind-of-sort-of-fluently and the Spanish word for Pride has always thrown me for a loop. But that's not why I'm here today.

I'm here to sing. Sing badly and with pride.

You see, there's been a lot of flack being thrown at Latinos singing a pretty little song called God Bless America. I wrote about that here in my weekly online Dimelo column on Latina magazine's website. One company, Bebe Lanugo, has decided to make some noise by encouraging American Latinos and their families to join in on their Cantando con Orgullo initiative and I happen to love the idea. I wrote about that one here, too.

Now, it seems I may have missed the boat on submitting my contribution to Bebe Lanugo for inclusion in the final video so I'm going with plan B and embarrassing myself (proudly, thank you very much) right here.

Eliana loved learning the words to God Bless America. And I'll explain to her a little later why being Patriotic with a Tan caused a public uproar to begin with. For now, we focus on being proud to be American because that's all that really matters.

Because Every Writer Needs an Entourage

I'm at that weird place where I'm finding myself at a loss for what to post here. This space used to be my only outlet after leaving the newsroom to stay home with Eliana six years ago. Now, the soapboxes I once stood on and the She Said WHAT stuff that once were automatic blog fodder are now the columns and commentaries that I save for Latina. It's not a bad problem to have, I know. And I'm grateful for it.

Last week, The Husband, Eliana, and I packed up the truck at drove over seven hours from northern Maine to Stamford, Connecticut, where we caught a train to the Grand Central Harlem station. the purpose of the trip was two-fold and one of those folds I can't tell you about...yet. The other was to finally go the the Latina Magazine offices and meet the amazing staff and my favorite editor in person. We Did Lunch while The Husband took Eliana to FAO Schwartz to dance on the giant piano, and the next day we packed up to hop on the train for home.

 

It was exhausting. And except for the projectile vomit thing that happened in Massachussettes on the way home that forced a hotel stop for Eliana to rest (and us to clean out the truck), it was amazing.

Eliana and The Husband were invited to visit the Latina office with me. I loved that. So did they.

 

And then we drove hours and hours to our little sanctuary so far north I'm no longer impressed by the fact that Stephen King lives in Bangor. i'll be back in New york soon enough. But it's good to be home.

30scondmom: Self-worth & Scrubbing Stoves

My house is spotless.

This is directly related to the fact that The Husband, Eliana, and I leave before I usually drag my ass out of bed in the morning for New York for my Secret Thing and my first visit to Latina Magazine offices since I started writing my Dimelo advice column.

I should be sleeping. I swept, scrubbed, and organized instead. Minus the lack of sleep, The Husband is all for high-anxiety freakfests triggered by things like, say, going to New York for a Secret Thing and vising the Latina offices for the first time since I started writing that column. Mainly because the house gets some much needed TLC and because we both know I'm not scrubbing a damned thing until the next time something big is going on. Or the Adderall wears off.

Since I'm waiting for the laundry to finish so I can fold it before climbing into bed, I figured I'd use the time I have to officially invite you to the 30Secondmom Twitter Party I'm leading on Wednesday night, 9 p.m. EST.

Being confident and believing in your self-worth isn't about weight, beauty, or that kickass corner office with the receptionist. It's about knowing yourself and loving who you are during the good, the bad, and the nights when bleaching garbage cans at 1 a.m. seems like the right thing to do.

RSVP here to be eligible for prizes. And don't forget to BYOB.

 

The Spanglish Lady & the Panda

I'm not really here right now. Instead, I'm running around in a frantic ADHD circle -- which strangely resembles a dog chasing its own tail, releasing it, blinking, and being surprised when the tail reappears because CIRCLE CHASE!!! Why? Because I leave for NYC in the morning for a Super Secret Special Thing and meeting with my editor and the Latina Magazine crew for the first time since I started writing the Dimelo advice column.

Speaking of which?

 

This is where I am today. Stop by and help me look good for Thursday?

Pinch Me, Maybe?

On second thought, don't pinch me. Chances are I'd reflexively bitch slap you and then we'd both wonder what the hell happened. Instead? Just check out the August issue of Latina with the gorgeous Evelyn Lozada on the cover and find me on page 32.

 

 

Now for the Acceptance Speech

Big HUGE thank you's to those directly responsible for my shiny pretty byline --

* my friend, Beth Bartlett, because she's the reason this is happening. I never would have known about (or bothered applying) for the spot had Beth not emailed and told me I was an idiot if I didn't.

* Chela? You made my day by sending me the scanned image of my column today. Let's all appreciate the irony surrounding the Mexican chick in Maine who would have to drive to NYC to buy a newsstand copy of Latina, shall we?

* The Husband: Because you believed this would happen and always supported me. Plus? You never questioned why I was braless at 1:30 p.m. after writing until 2:30 a.m.

* Elma Placeres Dieppa: Because you are my Spanglish Typo Finder and have a dead sexy voice.

* Damarys Ocana: My fabulous editor at Latina. You put up with my 3 am tweets and my craziness and made my all sniffly when you told me that Dolores Prida would have loved me.

* Dolores Prida: The one and only voice behind the popular Dolores Dice column that came before me. Not sure if heaven has wifi, but I'll be sure to give a shout out in tonight's prayers. Thank you for paving the way.

 

 

 

The Weekly Wrap #3

 

Week 3.
New name.
Actually, it's the name I meant to use last week, and the name I thought I used until about three minutes ago when I logged in. The proof is the hashtag I've been using since last week when I started tweeting the link for the post. So technically speaking, this is only a partial do-over (and the last time I have to explain to potential sponsors that I'm only half-crazy and mostly medicated.
Anyway, I'm obviously a bit late on the wrap up and I have no qualms about blaming the squeaky-voiced 6 & 7-year-old sleeping in my basement guest room, the miserable humidity that is preventing me from freezing homemade ice-cream in the state of Maine, and the related bad hair month I'll be having until fall hits and cools this em-effer off. There's a reason we moved to this state, you guys, and it wasn't so I could sit here in my central-air-less home thanking God this shit only lasts for a short period of time. Trust me when I say four years in hell (otherwise known as The Desert) has given me perspective on how much I am allowed to bitch right now. Four weeks of 80 degree weather and a pixie-fro ain't got nuthin' on the 112 degrees in the shade my Tucson friends are telling me about on Facebook.
Funny though, because when it's -30 and 6' of snow outside and the rest of the world thinks I'm supposed to be miserable, I'll actually be in heaven (or in my snow-shoeing gear because that's basically the same thing). More proof for my theory that the Universe got my DNA order mixed up because this Mexican chick will take my parka and being able to see my breath over flip flops and sun dresses any day of the week.
That brings me to the sponsorship portion of the weekly wrap-up because this week there isn't one. The fourth of July kicked my ass this year (because we actually joined the living and celebrated) and I forgot to pay attention and check my inbox. Each week The Weekly Wrap is published will be (usually) thanks to sponsors. The profit leftover after I self-medicate with caffeine by drinking my weight in Canadian coffee will be pooled to lobby Target and Starbucks to make my life Suck Less by opening stores up here & not making me drink Canadian coffee all the time.I’m actually only half-kidding.

So, no sponsor this week BUT that just gives me a chance to pimp the Multi-Culti party at BlogHer in Chicago and remind you to stop by, mingle with me and my amazing co-hostesses, Ananda Leeke and Dwana Delacerna, and celebrate the cultures we come from (and take pride in). Me? I'm the Mexican in Maine married to the Mexican-American-Native-American-Italian-Irish-Canadian who likes it here who once thought in Spanish but now relies on Dora the Explorer to teach my kid simple words I've forgotten. I take pride in and celebrate my hyphen, think Spanglish rocks, and am totally at peace with my #multi-culti identity.

Your turn....

Let’s get this week Wrapped Up, shall we?

On Latina

This week's #Dimelo column: The Real Me (If I was Interviewed by a Tabloid)

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On Girl Body Pride

Regular contributor Margaret Elysia Garcia remembers James Gandolfini.

Me and my progesterone deficiency story.

Best-selling Mind Over Medicine author & GBP contributor Lissa Rankin on How to Wildly Succeed in Your Life's Work.

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Pin this, bitches....

 

And finally, some Awesome by Other People

Stacy Jill with the unoffial BlogHer 13 Lip dub! (and no, I haven't seen the one I'm in from last year. Let's keep it that way.)

Alisa Valdez of the Dirty Girls Social Club on The Stories We Tell Ourselves (& Why They Matter).
An incredible & thought provoking post on race, parenting, & raising our kids by A'Driane Dudley on BlogHer.

Interested in sponsoring the next Wrap-Up or nominating a Post Written By Someone Other Than Yourself for a mention and a link? Shoot me an email for details. I promise to come up for air while pinning and zulily-ing like a mad woman to take a look.

Totally.