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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Chingonafest Fridays: Myrah Duque

Welcome to WEEK 17 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. 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 purpose, Las 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 that it does. Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Jesenia the Comedic Actress and Vannessa Vasquez were two of the most recently featured wonder women. 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.

Today’ featured Chingona is too fancy for a last name. She’sMyrah Duque, otherwise known as Coupon Mamacita (or Mamacita! with in italics and with an exclamation point, if she's feeling sassy)...Duque is a wife, mother, former realtor and PTA President and if you read her about page on her blog, she's been an "etc." three times. That last one sounds important.

Duque set 0ut to live frugally after watching a TV show featuring a woman who paid $10 for $200 at a local store with extreme couponing. Turns out Duque has a knack for what she refers to as her "frugal passion-venture", which, by the way, she happens to share in English AND Spanish. Duque, who has been featured on NBC Latino, Latina.com (a personal favorite.. a*HEM*), among others, is one busy lady.

So let's get to that interview.

 

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Myrah Duque

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla? 

Myrah Dulque: Vanilla

PC: I like a woman who gives a straight answer. Favorite book and why:

MD: "Remarkable Courage" by Deb Cheslow. This book's message transformed my negative "I can't do that" attitude to a permanent daily POSITIVE attitude.

PC: Come to think of it, you are pretty perky. It' a wonder I haven't felt the urge to slap you yet. What? Why the shocked face? Most perky people drive me up a wall but you? I like you. So... let's talk about your favorite quote. Spill it, sister.

MD: "Fake it till you make it."

PC: *Nods head* A perennial favorite amongst these parts. Describe yourself in third person.

MD: She overcomes difficult barriers. She is strong. She is influential.

PC: Ohhhh you're gooood. Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

MD: STRONG MAMACITA!!!

PC:  You sassy minx, you. I think I just fell in love with you, Myrah. Do you dream in color or black and white?

MD: Color

PC: Shut the front door! Me, too! But let's get serious for a minute. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media? 

MD: Latinas are strong, open-minded mamacitas! We are underrepresented and misrepresented, however that is rapidly changing with the growth in roles social media, fashion, politics, entertainment, sports.

PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest... 

MD: The sky is the LIMIT! NEVER, Ever, EVER give up!

PC: Okay, perky and...and yet...I still don't wanna slap you. Maybe it's the chingona mixed in with the perky that totally make me just wanna ply you with alcohol to see if I'm right, cuz I bet you swear like a sailor when you drink. NO! Don't say a word. Let me just hold on to the dream for a moment here. Tell me about one childhood memory that has stuck with you...

MD: Relocating to NYC's Spanish Harlem from Santo Domingo at the age of 6.

13 - Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?  Spanglish

MD: Spanglish.

PC: Me, too, Mama. What's your favorite dish? Why?

MD: Sancocho Dominicano, it's synonymous of Family gatherings, Family Love.

PC: Do you feel "Latina enough"?

MD: Oh yes! To the bone!

PC: 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?

MD: Hillary Clinton. A nice lavish Sancocho Dominicano with tostones and aguacate! Wine: A tasty Merlot since the sancocho I like has 7 different types of meat in it. Why Hillary? She inspires with her strong, courageous, tough character, leadership skills, handling the Monica Lewisky scandal, who won’t walk away from what is truly important to her.

PC:  Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

MD: Chew ice cream? Say What??

PC: Watch it, sister. I chew ice-cream always. I think it's a rule. Anyway, one Latina stereotype you despise?

MD: That we are all dark skin. Look at me: Fair Skin, BLonde, blue eyes DOMINICANA. We come in all skin colors

PC: One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

MD: EL Baile! We hear music, we are moviendo la colita!

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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. This week's reader is 20 and dating a 45-year-old and SUPRISE....mami is NOT happy. Check out my response and let me know what you think! Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun'll come out tomorrow, y'all..

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all..

Who likes Pretty Pictures? I’m #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!

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

#ChingonaFest: The Starfish Project

  Image credit: The Starfish Project

I have a story to tell you about a starfish.

Well, a lot of them, actually.

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The Starfish Project is a socially responsible business providing exploited women in Asia with alternative employment and a chance to heal and grow through counseling, vocational training, language acquisition, family education and grants, and access to health care and housing in their dedicated shelter. As of 2013, the Starfish Project has grown to support 50 women, allowing them to provide for their families through meaningful employment creating stunning pieces of jewelry.

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Starfish has expanded it's business model and holistic care program, expanding into poorer locations to reach more women by opening two more branches of the Project. As of 2013, the Starfish Project now operates and offers care and employment to exploited women in three different cities in Asia, committed to restoring hope for them and serving as a beacon of hope with the change they represent.

A very worthy cause, you think. But what the hell does this have to do with #ChingonaFest, you think.

I'll tell you.

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I founded #Chingonafest as a means to encourage Latinas to embrace our own voices in the face of a culture which dictates we conform, keep our thoughts to ourselves, and always put the needs of the many before our own. It's about female empowerment and finding the strength within to stand up for ourselves no matter what. Chingonafest is here because you made it happen, and it will continue to grow because you continue to make it happen. A Chingona knows that in lifting up women in need of support, regardless of culture, we make ourselves stronger. The hashtag may be culturally specific, but the spirit behind the hashtag is universal. Tonight's #chingonafest chat is about all of this and so much more.

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My BFF, Heather Jackman, recently joined the Starfish ranks in the role of Director of US Sales & Operations, and I can't even begin to express how proud of her I am. Heather is a survivor of domestic and sexual abuse who has supported Starfish long before packing up her belongings and moving from Tucson to Indiana  -- where the US offices are located -- with her new husband just recently. Tonight, Heather will be representing the Starfish Project as our featured guest.

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The Starfish Project has graciously offered one lucky winner one of these beautiful necklaces. To enter, you must follow Heather on twitter, a well as The Starfish Project, and Chingonafest (from which the chat's main tweets will be generated) And, while not required, I encourage you to sign up for the Starfish Project Newsletter, and shop their selection. If you see something you love -- and I think you will -- I invite you to take advantage of the Starfish Project's sale, offering free shipping on orders $50 or more.

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I hope to see you tonight from 10-11 p.m. EST. Don't forget to use the #chingonafest hashtag.

As Latinas we must work against the tide to force positive change for ourselves, as well as for our daughters. As women, the mission is the same. The only difference is the size of the playing field.

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Juliana Marulanda

Welcome to WEEK 9 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama!

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 that it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Lisann Valentin and Jenni Rivera  were two of the most recently featured wonder women. 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. 

Today’s featured Chingona is Juliana Marulanda., operations specialist and founder of MarulaNY, Consulting, offering comprehensive consulting services to mid-sized, local, and start-up businesses. I met Juliana while in NYC for Rick Najera's Almost White book launch, and I have to say I'm in love. Why? Her hashtag, #UpgradeYourShit, serves as a reminder to always strive for excellence. (Why do I suddenly feel the need to do actual yoga just because I'm wearing yoga pants?)

If you happen to be local, Juliana is leading a workshop on maximizing productivity on Monday in NYC - click here for the details.

And now? On to the interview!

 

 

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Juliana Marulanda

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Juliana Marulanda: Pistachio PC: You don't like boxes, I gather. Favorite book and why:  JM: 1984, I love dystopian novels.  I like books that concentrate on our humanity or loss thereof. We live in a world where the social is becoming digital. No matter how much of our world is flattening and we have greater accessibility to mobility, people tend to be drifting farther away from each other. Our structures of community are changing. For a book written half a century ago, it’s still one of my favorites. 

PC: I'll have to read that one. After Anna Karenina, that is. I still feel guilty for that A in high school. What's your favorite quote?

JM: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

PC: Usually it just pisses me off. Same thing, right? Don't answer that. The real question is--Do you consider yourself a feminist?

JM: Yes, I believe in equality for all and the right of independent choice (whatever those choices may be). 

PC: Pistachio, anyone? Describe yourself in third person...

JM: This one is hard not good at this. 

PC: Obviously. You might wanna #UpgradeYourShit on that one, Juliana. But first, tell me who inspires you?

JM: Everyday individuals who make choices to be extraordinary, go beyond the status quo and dare to change the way we live. 

PC: Awwww, you say all the pretty things. You're welcome. *grins* And for the follow-up to the last one, who is it you hope to inspire?

JM:Anyone and everyone who is willing to make choices that reflect their true self on a daily basis PC: Is Pistacchio the answer to every Jeopardy question today, Alex? 'Cuz it should be. For now, do you dream in color or black and white?

JM: Color, dreaming in black and white would be cool. I'd love to have a Casablanca dream. PC: Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

JM: Yay! PC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

JM: Awful. We are either completely underrepresented or misrepresented. I cannot wait till the moment where we don't all look like we came out of a telenovela. PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

JM: Be strong, be yourself and live life to the fullest. 

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you... JM:First couple of years of life were spent in Cartagena, and I think one of my favorite sensory memories is sand in my toes. 

PC: Mine is the smell of cilantro. Takes me right back to my Guelo's house in Detroit. Next--  Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

JM: Situational and emotional, it's weird but I think in English and feel in Spanish. I'm not sure if that makes sense. PC: I'm trying to figure out if I get it because, strangely, I think I do-- or if I want to know why you aren't sharing the "special" brownies. Instead, I wanna know your favorite dish and why?

JM: Seafood, I can eat shellfish Everyday. PM: Do you feel "Latina enough"? 

JM: Yes, I do. I've been asked many times, but I think my bicultural feelings are pretty standard for my generation. 

PC: 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? 

JM: Leonardo da Vinci - think about the endless conversation topics. Art, architecture, music, geloplogy , philosophy, music etc. Him or Plato, I just want to know if socrates was real and have him ask me questions all evening or drink more wine and ask him questions all evening. Wine and dinner, well if they come back from the dead I figured they will be hungry and can pick the menu.

PC: You sneaky minx. You got two in there. So, do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

JM: No but I love the waffle cone. And, chew that. PC: One Latina stereotype you despise?

JM: That we are all Mexican. It's funny, in theory, but we are not all from one nation and come from incredibly diverse backgrounds. I feel like our society fails to see the diversity and pluralism of the Latino cultures, experiences and perspectives. 

PC: You mean you AREN'T? That's it. Interview OVER! (But not until you answer a few more questions.)One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

JM: I hate stereotypes, but if I had to choose one - I would say passion. Not all Latinos are passionate, but I do consider myself to be incredibly passionate in personality, choices, life and work.

PC: Describe your perfect day. JM: Waking up to the waves of the ocean, being surrounded by the people I love and working from my laptop anywhere in the world and learning at least one new thing that day. 

 

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweetm e with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. This one's a doozy because y'all know telling the family you aren't having kids after getting married is gonna be all kinds of Spanglish-drama.

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

ChingonaFest Womens Flowy Tee ChingonaFest Womens Flowy Tee by ChingonaFest Find other Chingona T-Shirts at zazzle.com

Check out my Zazzle Shop for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!

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

 

Launching the AspiringMama Zazzle Shop

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I'm a dreamer. That means I rock the creative side of most anything I do but utterly suck at implementation so even the good ideas take forever to become new realities. Case in point? Creating my line of #ChingonFest greeting cards in my new Zazzle shop. Reader response to my quotes has been incredible and I've fielded plenty of requests for ways to bring the quotes home in swag form to show off the Chingona Spirit! Last night, inspiration hit and now the AspiringMama shop is open for business. I'll be designing prints of my horse photography, greeting cards and buttons with Chingona quotes, and so much more!

Check it out and tell me what you think!

To celebrate the store launch, I'm running a contest!

Up for grabs are:

 

 

Yeah, it's one of my favorite's, too.

*  one Celebrate Who You Are Button

I know, total conversation starter...

*  one #ChingonaFest Button

I like to chant this silently   to pep myself up in the toy section at Target before telling my kid "No."

* and a set of three Stronger if you Do Greeting Cards.

 

There will be one winner for each prize category listed. To enter, you must:

 

* sign up for my Tortilla Press newsletter (that's the only place winners will be announced for this contest and any I run from here on out)

* visit my Zazzle shop, take a look around, and head back here to leave me a comment on this post sharing which you like most or what you would like to see added

 

One bonus entry per social media share can swing the odds in your favor, though. All you need to do is share the following on any or all of your social media channels and leave me a separate comment with the direct URL of each link shared.

I just entered to win #chingonafest swag from @pauline_campos ' new zazzle shop! http://bit.ly/QTMjlO #chingonafest 

I'm excited. You guys are talking to me about online classes and requesting workshops in your city on how to embrace your inner Chingona and raise one of your own (and, of course, the boys who will grow up to love the next generation of self-respecting bad-ass women). It's incredible and I am brainstorming ways to make things happen. For now? Spread the word and share the love, because without you guys, I'm kinda like the fallen tree in the forest wondering if anyone heard that hilariously improper thing I just said.

And for this week, that's all she wrote.

 

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Lori Luna

Week THREE, Y'all! I'm keepig count because you should be impressed. I usually suck at anything that requires follow-through. Except deadlines. Gimme words to  write and have an editor light a fire under my ass and, for some reason, I hit the ground running. Anyway, I'm loving the energy and feedback I'm receiving about #ChingonaFest Fridays. Have you seen Pili Montilla and Veronica Arreola's features yet?

 

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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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!

 

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet e with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out this week’s Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine (this week’s reader hid in her bathroom to email me about the dogshit her mother-in-law left on the carpet. I suggested wine and a bendy straw. Send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

Check out my Mexican in Maine Etsy shop for Sassy Spanglish Digital Quote Prints and sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter (Look at the sidebar, y'all)! Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here's the FB fan page! I know. You're welcome.