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.

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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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!