Pieces of Truth from #BlogHer14

This is what six hours to the airport look like.

Before blogging and columnist deadlines -- I was many things. I was a daughter, a sister, a college student, convinced of the fact that everything was going to be just fine because I knew exactly what I was doing and where I was going.

My official business travel buddy. And no, those are not *my* business cards she's handing out. Girlfriend is networking for her *own* blog.

The plan was to get my degree in communications with a concentration in journalism because the small university I attended was too small for a dedicated degree. I'd write for a paycheck during the day and head home to pound away at the keyboard, writing the stories that would be rejected until they weren't, and then I'd pound away some more, rearranging small pieces of truth into the sentences that would turn into the paragraphs upon which my story would stand.

Petty sure it's my kid here who introduced me to BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone.

I'd be brilliant. I'd be relatable. I was going places, Goddamit. Until $45 exchanged hands in a generic apartment kitchen with a generic psychic who told me a lot of things I forgot and one thing I remembered. California, she said, was off-limits. She couldn't tell me why or give me more than a vague why, except to say that Something Bad would happen should I wiggle a pinkie toe over the state line, so it was best just to stay the hell away.

I know. She's adorable. I know I love her. I'll remember her name in a minute, I promise.

Now, I'm not sure if it was The Boyfriend who became The Fiance who became The Husband's reaction that sealed the deal, or if it was the social media friends living in the danger zone I would eventually make -- after surviving myself, graduating from college, working as a newspaper reporter, getting married, not getting pregnant while everybody else was popping out babies, and finally  growing our little second chance at raising ourselves inside of me -- but suddenly, where I was going became irrelevant. I suddenly realized I only knew what I wasn't doing and where I wasn't going. Who knows what would have happened had I decided to ignore my psychic directive while utterly convinced of its power. It didn't really matter if I stubbed my toe, lost all my luggage, or if Kurt Cameron grew up to be a giant asshole and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen turned out to be tabloid train wrecks because I wasn't taking the blame for any of it. I stayed away. I couldn't be blamed should The Big One finally hit and California fell right off the ends of the Earth.

This is how you take a bad-ass selfie with youyr kid and Sarah Fader...

“Shit.” That's what I said when I saw the BlogHer announcement that 2014 would be celebrated where it all began. That would be San Jose, California. Obviously, we had an Issue.

 

I figure the odds of getting me, Lizzie, and Alicia to stand still long enough for another one of these shots is up there with me remembering what I was doing five minutes ago...

“Shit what? What's what?” The Husband said. After I filled him in on the news, he, too, became pensive. Shit. He said that.

And then we both sighed, defeated by a giant Maybe from a psychic who still needed her tarot card directions. I'd been planning to apply as a speaker and was prepping our pitch with my 2013 MultiCulti hostesses to bring the party back. I had a lot riding on another giant Maybe.

Just so we are clear, Latinas come in every shade and shape and I'm just gonna shut up because my kid and Alicia's kid are the Spanglish Bobsy Twins.

“You're going to be pissed at yourself if you don't even try,” The Husband told me.” If you don't get the stuff you're applying for, you stay home and we all live Happily Ever After.”

“And if I get it?” I asked him.

I wanna be my kid when I grow up...

 “I drop you off at the airport and up your life insurance policy. Either way,” The Husband said,” it's kind of a win-win for everybody.”

I glared at him while Sugar Jones Facebook-messaged back to my frantic #CaliCurse with threats to follow me around with a burning sage bush just in case and I laughed.

The Real Life of a Freelancer: Too much for an hour-long panel. Throw me a book deal and we may just scratch the surface. I promise to even let other people share their opinions and stuff.

"What if I get psychic clearance,” I asked Sugar. "New psychic. New reading. If I'm in the clear I go. If The End is Nigh I stay home?"

"Deal."

Go Cavs! Only took me and Erin until BlogHer12 to figure out she was a senior when I was a freshman at the same metro Detroit High School.

I told the voice on the phone that she could be my Sylvia Brown. Five minute in to our phone conversation, Dr. Lauren Cielo from Gaiam TV, had already won me over. She is warm and genuine and her laughter is rich and comes from deep within. She made me want to laugh with her...at least until she told me that my fist psychic was right.

"Say what now?"

 

Here' your future, Internet. Meet Hala, Princess of Spain, and Aspiring Eliana. You're *Welcome*.

Dr. Lauren went on to explain that the original psychic hadn't misread me. Instead, she had basically reiterated the energy I had been giving off at the time. I'm not sure if my Energy and Aura had been playing a random and totally subconscious reel of the entire state of California sinking to the bottom of the ocean, but the lesson here, I think, was that what we sometimes mistake for Fate is oftentimes the culmination of our own perceived realities. Because I finally had a reason to question my path again instead of just blindly following along like a character in a book, I had changed my fate. Laugh if you must, but I asked Dr. Lauren to double check and she did, bless her sweet soul, after which she conformed she had "cleared" away what would have happened had I not challenged myself. The new forecast showed only open doors and many, many return trips to California in my long-term future, she said. There was plenty more to the reading, but this is the part that mattered. It's the part where I refocused on where I was going instead of where I wasn't.

My #multiculti sisters, Ananda and Dwana. Serious love, y'all...

There was a long flight after an epic journey to the airport via car and bus. There was a little girl winning at social networking with her own business cards every chance she got. There were hugs and squees and selfies and there was me speaking on a freelancing panel and hosting a party with good friends celebrating our diversity and I am so very grateful for all of those things that were because self-doubt is sometimes a good thing if it makes us re-evaluate a future we have mistaken for an absolute.

Best quote of the entire conference? Rita Arens speaking on what a book deal does to change your life: "Unless your a dick, it's not changing anything." And this is why Rita gets a Christmas card this year....

I am still many things. I am a writer, a wife, a hell-raiser who has realized it's better not to set my sites on the finish line, but rather, move the mountains in my way and let the cleared path take me where it may. I may not know exactly what I'm doing or have a fucking clue as to what I'm doing when I get there, but I think that's the point of it all. I'll wait for tomorrow to get here in its own due time. For now, I'm just going to enjoy today.

#ChingonaFest Fridays: BlogHer14 with Lori Luna

It's Week FOURTEEN on ChingonaFest Fridays! I'm not even going to lie to you. Necessity is the mother of invention, and crazed, last-minute, Week Before BlogHer Memory Lane tripping with previously published work is just a nice way of saying It's This or I Got Nuthin'. I used to go all out and try to provide shiny and new material before each conference but I moved beyond the need to drive myself off the nearest cliff repeatedly around the time I figured out 14 pairs of shoes and 50 copies of my unpublished memoir manuscripts are not required packing.

Hint: Unpack 12 pairs of shoes now. Leave the unpublished magnum opus at home. And you can thank me later.

That takes me to my reason for writing today. In an attempt to keep my ChingonaFest Fridays feature going with some regularity, I'm rerunning my kickass interviews with two of my fave BlogHer ladies. This week it's Lori Luna and next Friday y'all get another chance to catch up with Elisa Camahort Page (without having to scroll).

If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purposeLas Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Carol Caine shines in her interview last week. Trust me when I say it's a must read.

It seems I’ve added Chingona Cheerleader to my soapbox recently (Mostly by accident but I’m running with it anyway). Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

Lori Luna’s bio speaks for itself. She is the Vice President of Events Operations, overseeing all operational and logistical elements of BlogHer conferences. Since joining BlogHer in 2009, Lori has helped grow the conference business from one annual conference a year to include BlogHer Food, Entrepreneurs and BlogHer PRO, as well as the annual flagship event. With more than 12 years in the event/conference industry and background producing events such as COMDEX, N+I, and ad:tech, Lori has been instrumental in growing attendance for the events, as well as revenue for the company.

And now! Time for the interview!

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Lori Luna

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?  

Lori Luna: Always vanilla, I know that is boring to some but it makes me happy.  Vanilla is so versatile and can make anything taste good.

PC: I’ll go with that. Vanilla is kind of the blank canvas of the ice cream world. Favorite book and why: 

LL: Anything that has a political nature.  I love to read autobiographies of political people.  I find it fascinating as to why they do what they do and how they came to where they are whether it was in the past or current.  Another is the Book of Questions…it’s an icebreaking book that asks random questions that both starts conversation and generates fabulous discussion.

PC: So you’re saying the Twilight series is out. Okay, then..lWhat’s your favorite quote?  

LL: Fake it ’til you make it

PC: No wonder we get along. I say that all the time. I won’t ask you how I’m doing till I’ve crossed the finish line. Do you consider yourself a feminist?  

 LL: Most of the time.  There are certain things I am passionate about such as equal pay for equal work and then there are things that just don’t bother me like they would bother someone else. I guess I am an issues oriented feminist.

PC: Issue Oriented? I LOVE that. *Adds to mental Rolodex to use in stimulating conversation* Describe yourself in third person  

LL: Lori is a kind, generous, thoughtful person.  She has passion and fire and that is both good and bad.  She is fiercely loyal and will live and die on principle.

PC: I like the honesty. My fire isn’t always nice, either. Who inspires you?  

LL: Smart people.  When I have the opportunity to meet really smart people who are doing something fabulous I am inspired.  I also just watched the Tina Turner interview by Oprah and wow!  She was very inspirational.  I think I’m inspired in the moment..I don’t have a single person that I think, she (or he) inspires me to be “x”

 PC: *Blushing* It’s okay, Lori. You don’t have to talk in riddles. You inspire me, too. Do you dream in color or black and white?  

LL: Color

PC: ME TOO! But I don’t remember my dreams very often. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?  

LL: Frankly I am tired of how Latina women are always showcased with an accent. As if none of us were born here and can speak without the accent.  I find it annoying!  Oh and there aren’t enough of us!!!

PC: Amen on the accent thing. I don’t think I have one, either, except I roll my ‘R’s’ when I say “three”. Go figure. Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…  

LL: I don’t have kids

 PC: And let’s add “a million children running around in diapers” to the Latina stereotype. I’ve got one and the last family wedding I went to, I had tias outright ask me why I only had one. Like I failed the Mexican test, or something. Anyway, one childhood memory that has stuck with you…  

LL: One of my favorite memories is riding in the car with my mom and I was about 5 and Ricky Nelson was on the radio singing Garden Party.  My mom specifically called out these lyrics: You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxdiraVxwkI)  Ever since then I live by the idea that you can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself.

 PC: Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?  

LL: Sadly I only speak English, what a pathetic Latina!

PC: Stop it right now. Language doesn’t define us. We do, sister. End. Of. Story. What’s your favorite dish? Why?  

LL: Anything my father cooks!  He makes a mean chorizo and menudo and oh, that always makes me feel like home.

PC: CHORIZO – yum! MENUDO- *blech!* Do you feel “Latina enough”? 

LL: Not when I’m surrounded by other Latinas who are fluent in Spanish and doing something in the Latin community…then I feel lame.  I am never ashamed or embarrassed by who I am I just feel lame that I haven’t embraced my culture as much as I think I should.

PC: Stop feeling lame, woman! I used to feel the same way, but now I just focus on my own perspective on Being Latina. Also? You like menudo. That automatically means you earned your Mexican card. Now…You have the chance to eat dinner and drink wine with one person, living or dead. Who is it, what do you eat, what kind of wine, AND WHY THAT PARTICULAR PERSON? 

LL: President Clinton! I have had an absurd political crush on him for years.  He is brilliant, charming, charismatic and did I say brilliant?

PC: It takes a special kind of charm to make us all question the meaning of the word “is”, that’s for damned sure. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)  

 LL: No. Chew ice cream???

PC: Okay, then. Just me. MOVING ON! Describe your perfect day.  

LL: Any day where I can be with my dog and just relax – Missy first!

 

Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-6.09.16-PM-e1375409462117

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. Two besties made a bet on who I would say is right. For the record? They were both wrong.

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com. Don’t worry. I promise to give you a kick-ass code-name that doesn’t rhyme with your own.

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Who likes Pretty Pictures? My art and #ChingonaFest related snazziness are available by clocking the following links:

Etsy#MexicaninMaine

Etsy - ChingonaFest

ZazzleChingonaFest (make sure your filter is set to moderate because Zazzle says I’m a badass.)

Society6Pauline Campos

And because I like you so much…

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! 

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

 

Hashtag MultiCulti 2014

Photo Credit: Google It's time to celebrate the Everything, y'all. More specifically, it's time to celebrate the Everything that we are as individuals and the diversified fabulousnesses (shut up- it's called poetic license) that makes BlogHer the thriving community we love.

Last year my jaw hit the floor when I was asked to cohost the first ever #MultiCulti community party with Ananda Leeke and Dwana Delacerna. To say I was honored is an understatement. To be asked to return as cohostess for the same event with the same amazing women is flat out just fucking amazing.

And yes, thank you very much for asking. I am quite proud I made it to the end of the second paragraph before dropping my first F Bomb.

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. I've got standards, y'all. As a former waitress and bartender, my street cred was totally on the line.

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

* A splash of club soda

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.

See? Awesome, right?

Now, I can't say what's in store for the MultiCulti at #BlogHer14, because we're still in planning mode. One thing I can say, though, is that the MultiCulti is not our party. It's yours. We want you to own this party.

How do you do that?

* Hashtag the hell out of #Multiculti on your social media channels in the days leading up to the party

* Write  blog post sharing what multiculturalism means to you

* Give a nod to The Year of the Selfie by posting a #multiculti pic celebrating the Heinz 57 mix that makes you...you

* Tweet me with a favorite song (or 10) for a chance to have it included in the official #multiculti playlist we will be jamming to during the actual party

* Check out BlogHer's Community Party Plan for Friday, July 25. We'd love to see you!

And, of course, join me and the growing #chingonafest community during our weekly Wednesday night twitter chats, at 10 PM, EST. We'll be talking about the importance of celebrating diversity in our personal (and social media)! I may even have a surprise or two to give away during the chat. Use #BlogHer14 #MultiCulti & #Chingonafest in your tweets, and follow me, Ananda, and Dwana for some fun conversation! The #chingonafest hashtag may be culturally specific, but the spirit behind it is universal. That means we all get to play together in the sandbox.(Click here for my Latina Magazine column that lunched #chingonafest!)

I'm looking forward to so much in the coming week, and I know you are, too. For now, enjoy a look back at last year's beautiful faces and take a moment to just breathe before The Crazy officially kicks off.

Cheers, y'all!

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Calling all Idea Peeples...

Yes, I spelled "Peeples" like that on purpose. You can call it  typo. I call it Creative License.

I'm ignoring the laundry today to tell you about something pretty spectacular. If you've been following the blog for a while now, you know I'm a veteran BlogHer attendee (I've been to three now) and even got my feet wet on the Party Hostess front last year in Chicago with Ananda and Dwana at the MultiCulti. I left Chicago with the resolve to get my shhhhtuff together and finally put my name in the hat for speakers when the time came for 2014. (I might be a vet but I've never applied to speak at BlogHer. I know. I'm a slacker.)

Now? It's time.

But I'm not writing to tell you about me...that was just the long and overly wordy lede (cuz that's how us crazy journalist types spell lead) to get to the important part where I light a proverbial fire under your ass and tell YOU that BlogHer wants to hear your ideas.

Every. Single. One.

BlogHer is an incredible network of bloggers and writers and I'm thrilled to be a part. I'm even more excited to encourage you to start mentally packing that suitcase of yours with too many shoes for too few days for the 10th annual BlogHer. In 2014, I'll hopefully see you in San Jose, California. Oh, and do let me address those doubts making you do that wrinkly-nosed face thing right now...

But I'm New to Blogging

So? We all started somewhere. Some of us have a clear view to the finish line when we start up and some of us kind of shuffle along until we figure things out. (I'll be honest. I was not in the first camp. Related? I used to have a blog written from my dog's point of view. He's the only one pissed off that I let that one die.) New to blogging or not, you have a voice and that voice is important. And? It could just be the voice that someone else need to hear.

I've Never Spoken Before

So? Go ahead and tell me you tell your kids not to bother trying to ride their bike without the training wheels. Or that the next time you slave over a brand new recipe for your family and they turn their noses because it's New & Different that you just say Oh You Guys and chuckle while you nuke up some mac 'n' cheese. Or that you aren't gonna bother trying for that promotion at work because...well...you get the idea. Also? If you ever gave a book report presentation in elementary school, or said "Bartender? Make that a double!" (note: preferably not in elementary school)...then you've spoken publicly and I win.

No One Knows Who I am

Really? Are we back to the But She Has More Followers Than Me on (Insert Social Media Channel Here)? Cuz here's the deal on that: the numbers don't matter to anyone but the bosses at the publishing houses (I know, trust me.) When it comes to Life, Love, BlogHer, & Everything Else? They don't matter. Maybe only your 2 best friends and your mom read your blog and think you're brilliant because you are. Maybe you have 50 twitter followers or 3 Facebook Likes. And maybe the rest of us are being cheated of your brilliance because you don't believe your fans when they say you should apply to speak about the Incredible Idea you have. And maybe you need to stop being mean and just share already. Please and thank you.

But BlogHer is for (Insert Preconceived Idea Here)

Think you're crowd isn't represented? Think again. Am I wrong? Speak up and be the first of your tribe to roll out the red carpet and get the party started. Think BlogHer is just for mom bloggers? Or just for women? Wrong again. Conference organizers strive to provide as diverse a program and speaking roster as possible and that, my friends, means everything from the personal to the political to the technical and the professional. When you check out the call for ideas, you'll see topics like craft, style, activism, identity, and A Whole Lot More. *Ahem* on the MultiCulti, y'all? Exactly.

What If I'm Not Selected????

Put on your big girl panties and suck it up (after your chocolate fudge brownie sundae, of course) and then try again in 2015. BlogHer is a Giant and Enormous network of bloggers. Maybe your idea doesn't get chosen but maybe it's because too many of you listened to me and applied and there just wasn't enough room. In that case, I'm sorry. Sort of. In any case, you never know unless you try.

WHAT IF I'M SELECTED????

I know, RIGHT? BlogHer is a Giant and Enormous Network of Bloggers and Now You're Gonna Be Front and Center and OHMYFUCKINGGAWDTHEPRESSURE! It's okay. Breathe. Have a nice drink (or two.) Pretend the eager audience is on the other side of a computer screen during a Google HangOut, and you'll be just fine.

I promise.