Because Rum Fixes Everything: The MultiCulti Wrap Up

 

I know. I know.

If you didn't go to BlogHer this year, your probably wondering when those of us who did are going to stop talking about it. And I will...eventually. There's just so much to share about the conference and the connections and Hello MultiCulti!

I am still getting over the Did That Actually Happen feeling about being asked to host the party with Ananda Leeke and Dwana Delacerna. Both women are amazing and I am so grateful planning it all brought us together. As for the MultiCulti itself? People came! People Danced! People told us repeatedly what an incredible time they were having! And that?

Totally made up for high school.

The success of the MultiCulti cocktail I dreamed up -- with The Husband's help, of course -- was just the icing on the proverbial cake that I'm probably allergic to. The cocktail, actually, is the reason I'm writing this. You see, I didn't just throw alcohol in a glass and ice it without thought before tossing it back and calling it good. (Although that's not entirely a bad idea.) No way, y'all. The MultiCulti was all about celebrating all that makes us who we are and the cultures and cultural identities we call our own. The cocktail had to reflect that. And then it had to actually taste good.

Here's what I came up with:

BlogHer MultiCulti Cocktail

Non-Alcoholic Version

Equal Parts:

* Coconut Water

* Pomegranate Juice

* Blueberry Juice

*  Apple Juice

* White Grape Juice

The Breathalyzer Version?

* Add two splashes of Malibu Rum

So why this particular mix? So glad you asked, Internet.

* Coconut Water is and has historically been a popular drink in the tropics, especially India, the Brazilian Coast, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Caribbean.

* Pomegranates are considered to have originated in the vicinity of Iran and have been cultivated since ancient times. Today the pomegranate is also grown throughout the Mediterranean, Africa, parts of southeast Asia, and in Arizona and California here in the United States. It's also important to note that the pomegranate was introduced to Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769.

* Blueberries and are native to North America with Michigan and Maine coming out on top.

* Apples originated in Central Asia and have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe. The saying "As American as apple pie" didn't exist until European colonists showed up on American shores. Apples also have a major role in Norse, Greek, and Christian traditions and mythology.

* Grapes have a pretty impressive history dating back up to 8,000 years ago in Western Asia. And the oldest winery was found in Armenia dating to around 4000 BC. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics show grapes cultivated for wine, and historians tell us that Greeks, Phoenicians, and Romans grew purple grapes for both eating and wine production. Eventually, grape cultivation made its way to other regions in Europe, North Africa, and North America.

* Rum has a hefty history and plays a part in the culture of most islands of the West Indies as well as in the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland. It's been associated with The Royal Navy, the principal naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces, as well as piracy. Rum also was used as a form of currency to help fund organized crime, slavery, and even the American Revolution. Today rum is produced everywhere from Belize and Colombia to Australia, Canada, and Fiji.

And that, girls and boys is your history lesson for the day.

Thank You, Sheraton Chicago, for spectacular service. Bartenders Manny & Carolina were incredible and Food & Beverage Group Sales Manager Doug Leuthold is my new best friend.

And BlogHer? My inner-teenager is still preening. [slideshow_deploy id='5393']

 

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Blogher13: The Loner's Conference Guide

When I was a sophomore in high school, I found myself sitting on a hotel bed trying not to cry.

I was in Orlando, Florida with the marching band, and because no one had wanted to room with me, not even the flag girls, I ended up in the extra bed of a room shared by a group of the Popular Girls. One was a cheerleader. Another was a star soccer player. And I was the girl no one wanted in their room only because there happened to be an extra bed.

 

Every year the band raised money to travel to a new location for a performance and that year we were all about Mickey and Epcot and All Things Disney. We had plenty of time to tour the park outside of our performance commitment, and I blissfully attached myself to the room number my roommates shared because that was my only proof that I belonged anywhere.

Until the high school seniors I had leeched onto very kindly sat me down and haltingly explained that we might share a room, but that didn't mean I was their friend.

Even while they said the words and I crumbled inside, I knew they were right. And because I had felt lost, I attached myself to their group without asking if they minded. I'm not mad at them for doing what they did. I'm grateful, actually, because as I found myself wandering BlogHer13 happily alone at times, I thought about the parallels to the insecure 16-year-old who just needed to belong.

A lot has changed. A lot has stayed the same. I might still have bad days, but I'm also arrived in Chicago with only the MultiCulti on my schedule and left proud of myself for going with the flow. I've read posts by friends about their jam-packed schedules and am thrilled they had so much to do and choose from. But I'm thrilled for them.

I was thrilled to have time to take my daughter to the American Girl Store and decided at the last minute that I just had to get to the Voices of the Year where I had the opportunity to tell Dresden Schumaker, one of last year's speakers, that her words still stuck with me and I thanked her for sharing them. Imagine my surprise when she congratulated me on my column and I managed not to blurt out "you know who I am?"

Dresden did. And she made me smile.

Eliana and my mom outside of what has beeb deemed The Best Store in the World.

I wandered the hotel lobby and ran into Elisa All, founder of 30 second mom,  and one of my favorite bosses of all time. I found Deborah Cruz and Jenny Chiu and hugged them both because karma was kind and our paths were meant to cross in a place where hugs and verbal validation were possible. I met a woman working on a documentary about lead poisoning in America and am committed to helping promote her work because it is simply amazing. I inspired a woman to start the blog that made her smile just talking about it and she made sure to find me again and thank me. And then I thanked her for reminding me why I live for the chance hallway/bathroom/elevator meetups.

For me, these stolen moments are the heart of the conference experience. I can plan anything. I'll miss half of it. I always do. But the paths I'm meant to cross and the connections waiting to be made if I'm open to the opportunities as they present themselves? That's why I go.

The only difference between 16-year-old me and 35-year-old-me is that today, I'm perfectly content to wander independently, and that my friends, is fucking empowering.

 

 

AspiringMama on MultiCulti Pride - Ananda Leeke Interview

 

It's crunch time for BlogHer '13, you guys. That means (if you're going or want to learn more about it) that you'll be writing about and talking about and tweeting about the conference and parties and excitement so much that you won't mind my current state of mind.

For those of you not going or the conference thing isn't your thing, feel free to take a blog and social media break and stop by in a week or so.

Then again, maybe stick around. Not for conference talk, but because if you are proud of your cultural identity, you'll want to read up on the fabulous women I've got lined up for interviews on AspiringMama. Thanks to my BlogHer MultiCulti party cohostess Ananda Leeke for my interview on The Digital Sisterhood Network and for sharing her answers (and questions) with me!

Click here for my interview and read on to learn about what multicultural pride means to Ananda Leeke!

 

 ***

Pauline Campos: Why is celebrating Multi-Culti at BlogHer important to you?
Ananda Leeke: It gives me an opportunity to be a part of something that celebrates UNITY in the digital space.
PC: Describe your family's Multi-Culti melting pot (ethnicity).
AL: My African American family’s roots represent a mélange of West African, Native American, Canadian, and European cultures. The historical data from the American slave trade has helped my family conclude that our African ancestors who were brought to North Carolina and Virginia came from West African countries. Knowing this to be our only factual tie, I traveled to the slave castles on Goree Island in Senegal in 1994 and Cape Coast, Ghana in 1997 and 2003, to honor the spirits of our African ancestors. Based on family records, research, and stories, I know I am the great-great-great granddaughter of Hence Daniel, a Native American man who married Ann Daniel, a former enslaved African woman who lived to be 113 years old in Kentucky. I am the great-great granddaughter of Ida Goens Bolden, a woman with African, Native American, and Portuguese blood running through her veins. In addition, I am the great granddaughter of James Ebert Leak, a French Canadian man born in Winnipeg, Canada. My grandfather John Leonard Leeke told me his father James Ebert Leak also had Irish blood running through his veins.
As you can see, my family like many American families is a melting pot of people from all over the globe.
PC: What are your top 10 Multi-Culti favorite musical groups and/or songs?
AL: Japan's Keiki Matsui, Cuba's Celia Cruz and Omar Sosa, Haiti's Emiline Michel, Benin's Angelique Kidjo, Afropean songbirds Les Nubians, England’s Sade and Julie Dexter, Jamaica's Bob Marley, and Peru’s Susana Baca.
PC: What is your favorite Multi-Culti fashion (clothing/jewelry/designer/accessories/shoes)?
AL: When I was in Cuba, I purchased a black opal ring that I adore. A few years ago, I purchased a Thai jacket from this store Thai store called Stem in neighborhood. Franco Sarto is one of my favorite shoe designers.
PC: What are your top 5 favorite Multi-Culti foods?
AL: I love Thai, Indian, Cuban, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Mexican cuisine.
PC: What are your top 3 Multi-Culti wines or cocktails?
AL.: Ethiopian honey wine is DIVINE. A Cuban Mojito rocks my world. A French martini is lovely!
 
PC: What are your top 3 Multi-Culti artwork/artists, books, and films?
AL: Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite artists. My favorite books include anything written by Isabel Allende, The Altar of My Soul by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, and all of Thich Nh?t H?nh books. My favorite film is Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Children of Midnight by Deepa Metha, all of Deepa Metha's films, and all of Mira Nair's films.
PC: What are your top 5 Multi-Culti travel experiences?
AL: Puerto Rico, Cuba, Paris, Egypt, and Senegal.
Be sure to check back in to see who's next! And please share what multicultural pride means to you!

Blogher 13 & The Multi-Culti

It's 2 a.m. and I just sat down. I could be sleeping.

I should be sleeping.

But before I do, I'll tell you about this little party I'll be hosting. 'Cuz you're invited.

 

That's right. It doesn't seem real, but I'm all Giddy about the fact that I've been asked to co-host BlogHer's Multi-Culti Extravaganza at this year's event in Chicago with fellow hosts, Ananda Leeks and Dwana De La Cerna. Read Lori Luna's post about the full lineup of events, including the #MultiCulti here.

No, this isn't THE secret. That one is scheduled to be announced on June 1, so you still have to wait to hear that little bit of Happy. For now, consider this your official invitation to meet up with me, Ananada, & Dwana in Chicago. I'll be the one with too many suitcases, not enough Xanax, trying to look badass while drinking water from my wine glass.

Cheers.