#ChingonaFest (Reboot) Fridays: Pili Montilla

This week's feature is sponsored by Collage.com. Be sure to stick around for the entire interview, y'all, because we've got one coupon code for a free 16x20 canvas wrap for one lucky Aspiring Mama reader to give away!

Welcome to WEEK 38 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. 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. Pili Montilla is an EMMY award-winnig TV host & producer of the music show VidaLexus Presenta "Te Para Tres (Tea for Three) with Pili Montilla", Pili is also an entertainment reporteractorblogger, lover of music, and considers herself a "life absorber". Pill's getting a second go at the Chingonafest spotlight to celebrate her backstage access with the starts at the Latin Grammys on November 19! 

Told you she's a chingona. I'll give you a minute to go do that liking and following thing on Facebook and twitter (and twitter.)

Ready?

Good.

Now it's time to get on with that interview.

Pili Montilla

Pili Montilla

Pauline Campos: What's your favorite quote?

Pili Montilla: “Un ‘NO’ te acerca más a un ‘SI’.” (“A ‘NO’ gets you closer to a ‘YES.’) My dad tells me that every time I don’t book a job. It reminds me that a ‘No’ is not equivalent to failure. Instead, this quote teaches me to be patient, that everything happens for a reason and at the perfect time.

PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

PM: I’m the youngest of three girls. My mom raised the three of us to be feminists, yet she really doesn’t practice feminism. She’s always depended on my dad and she never pursued a career. 

I am certain that for those exact reasons she was so adamant about us finding something we were passionate about and pursue a career around it. My parents have never pushed us to get married or have kids. Quite the opposite! It was very clear that we should grow up to be independent, strong women. They succeeded!

So, I definitely have an inclination towards feminist ideals, but I am pro-equality more than anything else.

PC: Describe yourself in third person...

 PM:Pili is a hard working, disciplined Latina who dreams big, but is clear that dreaming is not enough. She knows it takes sweat and tears to make dreams reality. She’s also a bit of a goofball. She makes the weirdest, funniest faces when she’s alone in front of the mirror. She’s opinionated, which has it’s pros and cons and has definitely gotten her into trouble. If there is something Pili feels passionate about, it’s music. This girl LOVES her música! She feels most alive when dancing at a live concert.

 PC: Great. You're writing the bio for my book jacket when the time comes. Sounds like you're pretty confident. I like that. Where do you draw that strength from? Who inspires you?

PM: Those who fearlessly go in full pursue of their dreams. 

PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

 PM: Through my music show “Té Para Tres con Pili Montilla” I’ve created a space where up-and-coming artists can truthfully open up and tell their story while also sharing their music. It is through their heartfelt stories of failures and triumphs that I hope to inspire others. My biggest reward is getting messages on our Facebook page of fans that have watched the show and tell me that they are back to pursuing their passion because they were inspired by the stories presented on the show.

I hope to continue giving these artists a chance to share their talent with the world. Their work undoubtedly inspires others. 

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

 PM: Fuerte.

PC: I'll take that and a bag of chips. Speaking of strength,how do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

PM: I don’t think we’re represented in the media. At least not in a truthful manner. There is a perception of what Latinas are like that is being represented in the media, but that’s mostly stereotypes of Latinas. 

Look at Sofia Vergara for example. Exaggerated accent and curves, fake tan and died hair. Like her, I am a blonde Latina but she has had to dye her hair dark to get more roles. I refuse to do that (¡Y mira que me lo han preguntado!) Why? Because I am not going to succumb to stereotypes. Instead I want to break them.

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

PM: I was brat when I was 8 years old. I mean, a big time malcriada. I misbehaved that whole year, so instead of los Tres Reyes Magos bringing me a bike,  I got “carbón” (charcoals) and a floor full of camel pee.

 I learned my lesson.

PC: Sounds like it. I may need to talk to your mother about parenting lessons in being a hardass. And I think I've got the answer to my next question, but I'llask anyway. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

PM: I’m all over the place. Spanglish is definitely by strongest language (Yup, I am trilingual!) However I usually think In Spanish when speaking in Spanish and in English when speaking inglés. 

 PC: What's your favorite dish? Why?

PM: Tostones. Why? Two words: Fried plantains. 

PC: Do you feel "Latina enough"?

 PM: Oh si. I feel super Latina. With this gringa look and all, I am as Latina as Latina’s get. I’ve never ever questioned my “Latinahood”. I’m truly blessed to have been born in Puerto Rico and have been raised in such a colorful and interesting culture.

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

PM: I usually chew it, but that’s because I like ice cream with things in it. You know, like Heath Bar crunch, nuts, granola and all that yumminess.

PC: Right. I chew the plain stuff. Ayway....Gimme one Latina stereotype you despise?

PM: That we all have big butts. I’m still waiting for some junk in my trunk.

PC: I'll gift you some of mine. Now for one Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

PM: Being loud. We let ourselves be noticed. I am extremely proud of being Latina and loud. By nature we are happy people. We love to laugh, dance, drink, eat, have a lot of friends and talk. We are very animated human beings. And we’re loud. AND I LOVE THAT!

PC: Your perfect day.

PM: “Sun is shining, weather is sweet...make you wanna move your dancing feet!”  Bob Marley.

Thank you to Collage.com for sponsoring WEEK 38 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama! Check out the giveaway details here! 

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingoaFest. 


#ChingonaFest Fridays: Eileen Carter-Campos

Welcome to WEEK 37 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.

Today’s featured Chingona is my sister-from-another-mister, Eileen-Carter Campos of Mommyteaches.com. Girlfriend is amazing and has shown me so much love in my #Babyfat book launch that I just had to get her on the blog as soon as possible. AND HERE SHE IS. 

Pauline M. Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

 

Eileen Carter-Campos: Chocolate hands down!

PMC: I knew we must be related. There’s proof! Favorite book and why: 

ECC: Too many to decide especially children’s books!

PMC: What’s your favorite quote?

ECC: A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. — Forest E. Witcraft

PMC: I love that one. Who inspires you?

ECC: My father has inspired me from day one. My children are a constant inspiration and my driving force.

PMC: Girl, if I didn’t KNOW you I’d wonder if someone can really be a walking spanglish Hallmark card. BUT I DO AND THIS IS ALL REAL! I love it. Who is it you hope to inspire? 

ECC: I hope to be an inspiration for anyone who speaks with me. I really think even through a short conversation you can be inspiring to others!

PMC: Hell yeah! Do you dream in color or black and white? 

ECC: It varies on my mood and who and what I am dreaming about.

PMC: I always dream in color. Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest…

ECC: That it’s important to be HONEST and always TRUE to yourself!!

PMC: I adore you, sister-girl. One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

ECC: So many beautiful memories of my childhood but one that sticks with me and drives me is the memory of my dad waking up every morning and modeling STRONG work ethics. He was an entrepreneur and he was a police officer in a very rough area in Brooklyn, NY.

PMC: My dad was amazing, too. I’m really feeling this one. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

ECC: Spanglish!!!

PMC: Me TOO. What’s your favorite dish? Why?

  ECC: Sometimes I swear I am Mexican, Italian and of course I love the typical Puerto Rican dishes but especially made from my family members.

PMC: Shut up! You ARE Mexican. Remember, SIS???? Do you feel "Latina enough”?.

ECC: I have always FELT ORGULLOSA de ser Latina. You’re NEVER enough!!! hahaha… I am who I am and I am enough for me!!]

PMC: And you I truly believe mean it when you say it. Next! 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?

ECC: I would choose my dad who is deceased. We would eat Italian food from lenny’s Clam Bar in Howard Beach, drink some red wine and talk about everything he missed. My dad because I really would have loved for him to meet our boys and see where I am now.

PMC: Now I wanna go to the clam bar. Speaking of food…Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

ECC: I have to chew my ice-cream it just tastes so much better! :) 

PMC: MY SISTER-GIRL! YESSSS!

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. Interested in SEEING YOUR NAME OR BRAND HERE? Email me for details sponsoring the weekly #ChingonaFest Fridays feature right here on Aspiringmama.com!

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#Babyfat is available online at all major retailers including Barnes & NobleAmazoniBooks, and Books-A-Million. Order your copy today! Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

 

#ChingonaFest (Reboot): Veronica Arreola

It’s WEEK THIRTY-SIX for the Aspiring Mama #Chingonafest Fridays. Today, the Fabulous continues with proud feminist Veronica Arreola sitting in the hot seat once again in honor of the 365FeministSelfie con going on right now in Columbus, Ohio. I am honored to have been asked to speak to this great group of ladies tomorrow and my session is entitled Body Image: Our Children & Ourselves. The topic is on point and so is Veronica, as per her feminist awesomeness. 

Veronica is a a force to be reckoned with. She's a writer, professional feminist, current change-mer, and future historical figure. She's also a contributor in the newly released Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox, which is making waves. Buy it, read it, and then LEAVE A REVIEW. I'm kinda big on those now. Go figure, huh? Oh, and that #365feministselfie thing the entire internet is talking about? Yeah, Veronica founded that, too.(Of course, I’m posting the daily selfies because I like words that start with the letter “F”.)

And on to the interview!

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Pauline M. Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Veronica Arreola: Vanilla bean.

PMC: So you’re a rebel and don’t like boxes, then. *nods head* Can you tell me what favorite book is and why?

VA: This is like asking me to choose my favorite child! Oh wait, I only have one. Damn…still, you can’t ask a bookworm this.

PMC: I should have seen that one coming. Okay, let’s go three for three. What’s your favorite quote?

VA:  “Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel.” Bella Abzug

 PMC: Alrighty then. Um, and now for the obvious. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

VA: OF COURSE!

PMC: Good. You had me worried there for a minute. Let’s talk about who you hope to inspire. 

VA: My daughter. She is everything that I had hoped to have as a daughter. Smart, witty, strong, athletic, caring and with an eye on justice. It is an honor to be her mom. Watch out world!

PMC: Sweet. When she’s old enough to say Chingona without getting grounded, send her my way, will ya? But back to you…do you dream in color or black and white?

VA: Technicolor. When I was a kid, I often got dreams and real life mixed up. I’d swear things happened and my mom would have to explain that I dreamt it.

PMC: Why am I not surprised? Okay, so, let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

VA: VIVA!

PMC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

VA:  Hijole! The sad thing is that I think of the awful representations first. SNL’s Cecily Strong’s continuing to play the ditzy Latina, Sofía Vergara’s Gloria on “Modern Family” is like a Latina Peg Bundy without Peg’s sharp wit and then there’s a new Latina character on “The Walking Dead” who looks to be drawn by a 13-year-old boy. ENOUGH! But then we go to the news part of the media and we see Latinas like Maria Hinojosa and Soledad O’Brien, who show our intelligent side. Thank goodness for America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson making movies with strong and intelligent Latina characters..or at least not a stereotype of a Latina which the rest of us have to dispel over and over.

PMC: hmm..I see your point, but I also loved Peg Bundy. But it was probably the sharp wit thing. Anyway, NEXT! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

VA: To keep exploring the world.

PMC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

VA: Hard to choose just one! Why do you do this to me, Pauline? OK, so my dad always had pick up trucks when we were kids. I loved riding in the back, especially when he didn’t have a cap on the back. It was heaven. I vividly remember my girlfriends & I tagging along while he want to the auto-part store. We piled in with my boombox, turned up the music and sang all the way there and back.

PMC: Oh that makes me think of my Guelo’s station wagon and the seats that flipped up and telephone poles with signs with phone numbers for the “Yunk Yard.” *sighs wistfully* Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

VA: English

PMC: Yeah, unless I’m drunk (and I mean like College Frat Party levels), I think in English, too. So what’s your favorite dish? Why?

VA: Cheese enchiladas con mole. My mom use to make the best enchiladas. When I moved out of my parents’ home, I started my now 20+ years of trying to replicate her recipe. No canned mole for my mom’s enchiladas. And since she died 11 years ago, my quest for that perfect recipe so my daughter has the same memories keeps me going. BTW – Anyone know where I can get some California Chile powder?

PMC: Going out on a limb here, but California sounds like a good place to look. What? The door..it was RIGHT THERE. You can glare at me later. For now, I wanna know if you feel “Latina enough”?

VA: Not really.

PMC: WHAT? You so NO and leave us hanging? That was just mean. Let’s see what you do with this one: Describe your perfect day.

VA: A warm day, full of sunshine, cool breeze, then climbing up a tree. I’ll find a comfy nook, then settle in to read a good book. These perfect days happened almost every day when I was a kid. Now I substitute biking to a park with my family. Still toting a book along.

HT: That we’re family orientated.

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Who likes pretty pictures? Today, and in honor of believing in loving ourselves as we are because that's the whole point, I'm sponsoring my own damned #chingonafest. (Don't worry, next week is still open for a sponsor spot. Email me at aspiringmamna@gmail.com for details). 

Check out my etsy shop for original art, doodled quote mugs, and postcard sets featuring the design pictured here. It reads "Yes She Can" in Spanish and is a play on the phrase "Si Se Puede" and I love it. 

Oh! And don't forget! You can now order signed copies of #Babyfat by clicking RIGHT HERE!

Happy Weekend, y'all. Now, go be happy you are you. 

 

 

 

 

#ChingonaFest Fridays (Reboot): Lorraine C. Ladish

Welcome to WEEK Thirty-FIVE on #ChingonaFest Fridays here 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 it does.

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 feature is a reboot of my interview with the amazing Lorraine C. Ladish. This lady is amazing and truly one of the smartest chingonas I have had the pleasure of meeting through social media. Lorraine is currently finishing up her week in D.C. as a #LATISM15 top influencer - an honor I also received, but I was unfortunately able to participate in the retreat due to a scheduling conflict.

Ladish is a bilingual, published author of 17 books, a mom, and a self-described social media maven. She's also the sass behind her new site, Viva Fifty. 

You can connect with Lorraine on twitter. She doesn't bite, I promise. And now? It's time for the interview!

Lorraine C. Ladish

Lorraine C. Ladish

Pauline M. Campos: Favorite book and why?

Lorraine C. Ladish: Wuthering Heights. It was one of the first books that I read over and over as a kid and I can still reread and get lost in it. The main character, Kathy, is a rebel, although she does conform for a bit and actually gets sick and dies because of that. I think we all die a little when we conform.

PMC: Thanks for the spoiler there, sweet cheeks. Unless you run into my high school A.P. English teacher. In that case, I *totally* read it. Six times, even. So...What's your favorite quote?

LCL: Just Do It. It’s the way I’ve lived so far, for the most part. 

PMC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

LCL: Yes in the sense that I want equal pay, equal laws, equal opportunities for both men and women. But I also love certain differences between the two genders. I enjoy my femininity and I’m a sucker for a gentleman.  

PMC: I totally get it. Like my 7-year-old said today, if the world was made up of just Mexicans in America, things would get so BOOORING. I didn't tell her it would probably have a paleta stand on every street corner, but I thought it. Describe yourself in third person...

LCL: I can’t do that! I’m too close to the subject. 

PMC: *Note to future Chingonas, Ladish is sneaky. You, however, get to answer all 15* *AHEM* Who inspires you?

LCL: My daughters.

PMC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

LCL: My kids and women who feel they haven’t achieved their full potential. They can do it. Wait, I also want to inspire myself on a bad day! I don’t always feel as great as it may seem on social media. 

PMC: *Nods head* Totally. Trying to have conversations in 140 characters offline is a surefire way to get tossed in a padded room. Do you dream in color or black and white?

LCL: Color, vividly, I remember my dreams every morning and most are pretty trippy. The older I get, the more my dreams are about things that happened in the past. 

PMC: You're not old. My mom is just really, really young. Also? Everyone reading this is going "She went THERE?" and is wondering if this is going to go to blows. I, however, know you are laughing your ass off. And that's why I love you. Now...Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

LCL: Kick-ass. 

PMC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

LCL: Latinas in the media are usually pigeonholed into these ridiculous roles. But this has happened before to other ethnicities and it’s up to us to change that. How? By telling and showing mainstream America what we’re really like. 

PMC: You mean you've never seen Jesus in a tortilla, either? Good. I was starting to feel lonely over here. Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

LCL: That I’m ok with whatever they do in life as long as it makes them happy and doesn’t hurt them or anyone else. 

PMC: I like the qualifier there. One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

LCL: My dad and my grandfather, always writing. Books on shelves. The sound of the printing press my family had. The smell of fresh ink, and the glue used to bind the books. I come from a family of writers and publishers. 

PMC: And you just adopted me. I'll be your sassy and slightly eccentric younger sister. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

LCL: All of the above. I switch from one to the other easily. I can’t imagine life otherwise. I owe that to my dad. 

PMC: Show-off. *grins* Do you feel "Latina enough"?

LCL: I don’t feel I have to justify my languages, ethnicity or background to anyone. Not anymore. When I was younger I felt I didn’t fit in anywhere, being multicultural and bilingual. I certainly did not feel American enough although I’ve always had that nationality and my mom is from Pittsburgh, Pa.  

PMC: 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?

LCL: First of all, I’d drink a beer, straight from the bottle. I’d eat something easy to handle. I remember being an interpreter and having to eat and talk at the same time. I didn’t enjoy that. When I’m sharing good company and conversing, the food takes second place. Perhaps Michelle Obama. We’re the same age, we have two young girls, and I’d just love to chat with her like a friend. 

PMC: Eventually, someone' going to say Me. Eventually. Right? But I'll take FLOTUS for the win. Describe your perfect day.

LCL: Get up at 10 without an alarm. Coffee in backyard with the dog. Write. Walk on the beach. Read a book. Short run and workout. Hang out with my kids. Go on a date with my honey. Write some more. Cuddle with the kids. Read a book. Have sex. Sleep whenever I’m tired (maybe 2 am) and back to the beginning. This is not how I spend my days, mind you, but I’d love to! 

PC: And that, my friends, is one hell of a perfect day.

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. Interested in SEEING YOUR NAME OR BRAND HERE? Email me for details sponsoring the weekly #ChingonaFest Fridays feature right here on Aspiringmama.com!

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#Babyfat is available online at all major retailers including Barnes & NobleAmazoniBooks, and Books-A-Million. Order your copy today! Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The #ChingonaFest Project: What's a Chingona & a Few Words with Eliana Mercedes

Welcome to WEEK 34 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 (and if you're here just for the podcast link, click here!) 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.

Today’ featured Chingona is a special one and I think you'll like getting to hear more about how the original chingona's fabulous little brain works. This little girl is the reason this whole thing started, so it made sense to revisit the convo on the podcast before moving on. I asked Eliana a few question here and you can listen to the rest on the poscast! 

Don't forget to follow her on twitter andinstagram!

I'd also like to thank Julia Carillo of Soy Chingona jewelry for sponsoring this week's #ChingonaFest post! Check out Julia's sassy line of Pretty Things at Soy Chingona, and follow her on Instagram and twitter! Email at at aspiringmama@gmail.com for details on how your website or business can be featured!

So let’s get to that interview!

Eliana Mercedes: Because this is the look of a child of a blogger who is not impressed with a camera in her face. 

Eliana Mercedes: Because this is the look of a child of a blogger who is not impressed with a camera in her face. 

Pauline Campos: What's your favorite quote?

EM: Yourself is yourself and who can argue with that? I said that on your podcast. Your friends think I'm adorable.

PC:  We'll have to work on your confidence, I see Describe yourself in third person.

EM: I have no idea what third person is.

PC: And your language arts, I see. 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?

EM: Princess Katie. We would eat ice cream. Probably rainbow flavored. I can't have wine because you said it's only for mamas. I'd serve chocolate milk, chilled, of course. I'm not picky. Store bought or homemade is fine.

PC: Princess rock stars are the absolute best. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

EM: I chew it. Doesn't everybody? Chewing is pretty much a human thing.

PC: That's what I keep asking the internet and they keep looking at me like I'm crazy! Why are you looking at me like I'm crazy? Never mind. Describe your perfect day.

EM: A perfect day would be getting a horse, probably pretty reasonably because, yaknow?

PC: No, not exactly. But m'kay...Would you rather be a unicorn or a Pegasus. Why?

EM: I'd rather be an alicorn.

PC: Of course you would. If you could wish for three things what would they be? And no, you cannot use one of the wishes for three more wishes.

EC: A horse, a unicorn, and a pagasus. Because I could then wish for a alicorn because I'd have a unicorn.

PC: You're smarter than me, aren't you? Nope. Definitely don’t answer that one.

 

UPDATE: My #Dimelo column will not be updated with new material, but rather, be kept online to feature reader favorite columns from the print magazine. Be sure to get your questions in to dimelo@latina.com! 

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. Interested in SEEING YOUR NAME OR BRAND HERE? Email me for details sponsoring the weekly #ChingonaFest Fridays feature right here on Aspiringmama.com!

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.comFollow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!  As for the ChingonaFest Project podcast? I'm making it stick this time. Just gimme a bit to figure out how to get this baby on iTunes with a dedicated RSS feed. It's always something, isn't it? 

 

ChingonaFest Fridays: Margaret Elysia Garcia

It's week THIRTY THREE on #ChingonaFest Fridays, brought to you by my friend (and #ChingonaFest alumni) Lorraine C. Ladish, and the Viva Fifty community. Lorraine has ben hard at work creating a community for Latinas fifty and up, and she's done that and more. Viva Fifty is an amazing community which somehow manages to include everyone in on the conversations while addressing needs specific to the the intended demographic. I highly suggest you check them out on twitter and Facebook.  

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. 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 it does.

This week's Featured Chingona is Margaret Elysia Garcia from Tales of a Sierra Madre. Margaret has been hard at work with a new book out, working the director angle with a new play based on the Sad Girl zine she produces with her 10-year-old-daughter, and the development of a new website. Check out the podcast interview for details. For now, I'm just saying throwing and chanclas are involved. 

You're WELCOME.

And now! Time for the interview!

Margaret Elysia Garcia

Margaret Elysia Garcia

Pauline M. Campos: What's your favorite quote? 

Margaret Elysia Garcia: I’m a romantic by nature. “Why is the measure of love loss?” Which is the first line in Jeanette Winterson’s phenomenal novel Written on the Body. Which kicked my ass it was so good and played with language so much. Heavy influence on me. And also because hey. That line is so fucking true. I’m saying fuck too much already.

PMC: Favorite book and why:

MEG: 100 Japanese Poems (translated by Kenneth Rexroth) also 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and no I didn’t notice they both have ‘100 ‘ in the title. I say these two because as a writer these two are the bibles of their genres. If you don’t know how to write or don’t know what I’m talking about, read these two and you’ll be saying ‘Fuck. That’s how it’s done.’

PMC: I have never read either and I already say that. Does that mean I am ahead of the crime or just lazy? Wait. Don't answer that. Let's do this one instead. 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? 

MEG: I want to time travel to the 1930s and 40s and drink and make out with my literary, cultural, and artistic heroes. Definitely make out with Frida Kahlo. I would eat anything she or Diego’s ex-wife Lupe made. Frida and I would do shots. Because. FRIDA.

PMC: Frida is ALWAYS the answer. One Latina stereotype you despise?

MEG: That we can’t be academics. I’ve been teaching community college for 17 years. No where have I seen more racism than in academia. Try disagreeing in a faculty meeting. They speak louder to you thinking you can’t understand their English. They get confused when you have an MFA and are Latina at the same time. We need to work on making Latina academics more visible so we don’t get mistaken for being janitorial services on campus. It happens more often than you care to know. I like my giant hoop chola earrings thank you very much. It doesn’t mean I can’t read.

PMC: You can READ? *Falls over laughing*. Last question: Chocolate or vanilla?

MEG: Mexico gave the world chocolate. Enough said.

Stay Tuned: Click here for the direct link to Margaret's interview!

UPDATE: My #Dimelo column will not be updated with new material, but rather, be kept online to feature reader favorite columns from the print magazine. Be sure to get your questions in to dimelo@latina.com! 

Thanks again to this week's #ChingonaFest Friday's sponsor, Viva Fifty!

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. Interested in SEEING YOUR NAME OR BRAND HERE? Email me for details sponsoring the weekly #ChingonaFest Fridays feature right here on Aspiringmama.com!

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.comFollow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!  Before you go, please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter. 

 

ChingonaFest Fridays: Dior Vargas

This week's #ChingonaFest Fridays is brought to you by one of my favorite companies: WeMontage. I absolutely love their removable wallpaper photographs and encourage you to click through for a peek at their offerings. Say hi to WeMontage founder James Oliver on twitter and tell him you found him on Aspiring Mama. 

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. 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 it does.

It's Week THIRTY TWO on #ChingonaFest Fridays! Let's get to the nitty-gritty: There's one of Me and a 90 billion things on the To Do list, so I'm knocking back the question count to FIVE each week for every Featured Chingona. Short, sweet, and sassy. See? It's even fun to say. Today, we start with an amazing woman I am truly honored to know: Dior Vargas. (Stay tuned- I'll be talking to Dior as my guest on the ChingonaFest Project Podcast ...which will be relaunching soon! Check out my Patreon page to support the show!) 

Dior is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist. She is a CrisisTextLine crisis counselor and a facilitator for the Young Adult Support Group at NAMI-NYC Metro. She is also a member of NAMI-NYC Metro’s Young Professionals Advisory Board.

For the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, ior was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations. She was chosen as a Voices of the Year honoree at #BlogHer15: Experts among Us Conference for her online photo project, People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project. She holds a B.A. in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College and an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University.

ior lives in New York City. Follow Dior on Twitter, Tumblr, and find her on Facebook.

And now! Time for the interview!

Dior Vargas

Dior Vargas

Pauline M. Campos: Favorite book and why?

Dior Vargas: I have many but one that stands out right now is Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. It is about his experience living in a concentration camp and how logotherapy gave meaning to his suffering and as a way to understand it. I first read it in high school and it had such an impact on me as someone who was going through a very deep depression at the time.

PMC: My Chignons are always so much more well-read than I am. Do you consider yourself a feminist? 

DV: Hell yeah! But an intersectional Latina feminist.

PMC: And you are a badass. Do you dream in color or black and white? 

DV: Actual dreams or dreams/goals? Color and both.

PMC: Dude. that’s the first time I’ve been asked that. Why are you hogging all the special brownies to yourself? Wait, don’t answer that. Answer this instead: Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...? 

DV: Woot!

PMC: I knew you were my people. One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

DV: I remember when I was little and I got hurt (I cut my gum and my lip swelled up so I looked pretty awful). It was around Halloween and I wasn't able to wear a mask. I felt so ugly but my mom placed rhinestones on my face and said that I still looked beautiful. I'm probably not doing justice to the story or expressing it in a way that truly explains how meaningful that was for me.

PMC: It’s okay. I’ll ghost write your memoir. Because I like you. What’s your favorite dish? Why? 

DV: My favorite dish was the tuna casserole my grandmother used to make for me. She used to add potato chips to the cream of mushroom while it was cooking in the pan. I thought it was so cool and made the meal so tasty.

UPDATE: My #Dimelo column will not be updated with new material, but rather, be kept online to feature reader favorite columns from the print magazine. Be sure to get your questions in to dimelo@latina.com! 

Thanks again to this week's #ChingonaFest Friday's sponsor, WeMontage! 

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. Interested in SEEING YOUR NAME OR BRAND HERE? Email me for details sponsoring the weekly #ChingonaFest Fridays feature right here on Aspiringmama.com!

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.comFollow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!  Before you go, please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter. Sign up by or before my #BabyFat launch date - September 28 - and you're automatically entered for a chance at a signed copy of my book! See you next week!

 

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Eleanor Parker Sapia

It's Week THIRTY on #ChingonaFest Fridays! Now that I've got a minute to breathe after losing my mind on revisions and final editing for #BabyFat, I can work on getting the rest of this train back on track. Today, we start with my fellow Booktrope author, Eleanor Parker Sapia

This week's #ChingonaFest Fridays is brought to you by one of my favorite companies: WeMontage. I absolutely love their removable wallpaper photographs and encourage you to click through for a peek at their offerings. Say hi to WeMontage founder James Oliver on twitter and tell him you found him 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 it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Pili Montilla shines in her interview in 2014. Pili was, in fact, my first Featured Chingona and I'll always be grateful for her support of Chingonafest. 

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.

unnamed-2.jpg


Puerto Rican-born novelist and painter, Eleanor Parker Sapia was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Her passion for travel and adventure, combined with her careers as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, and a Spanish language social worker and refugee case worker inspire her writing. She loves introducing readers to Latina characters and stories. When Eleanor is not writing, she enjoys facilitating The Artist’s Way creativity groups, and has taught creative writing to children and adults. Eleanor shares her passion for telling stories at her blog, The Writing Life and her website, http://www.eleanorparkersapia.com

A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s debut historical novel, has garnered rave reviews and currently sits on several Amazon best seller lists for Hispanic, Latin American, and Caribbean Literature. She has two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia.

And now! Time for the interview!

Eleanor Parker Sapia

Eleanor Parker Sapia

Pauline M. Campos: Chocolate or vanilla? 

Eleanor Parker Sapia: If it’s Dairy Queen ice cream, then a soft vanilla cone. If we’re talking Ben & Jerry’s, it’s Chocolate Therapy ice cream in a cup. It tastes like chocolate mousse.

PMC: Chocolate...Therapy...ICE CREAM? Why did I NOT know about this already??? Favorite book and why: 

EPS: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is still one of my top ten favorite books because of her incredible descriptions of life in the Congo told through the ‘eyes’ of multiple narrators. That’s tough to pull off, and Kingsolver did a beautiful job.

A current favorite is Gabriela and the Widow by Jack Remick. It’s simply the most beautifully written novel I’ve read to date. Remick’s descriptions are poetic, lyrical magic. I was blown away the first time I read this novel; it’s one of the few books I immediately read a second time.

PMC: What's your favorite quote?

EPS: “She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”
—J. D. Salinger, “A Girl I Knew”

PMC: Describe yourself in third person: 

EPS: Eleanor is a fun-loving, sassy, sensitive, complicated, highly creative, emotional, deep-thinking woman with a great laugh, a great sense of Self, and lots of empathy for others. This mother of two great, young adult children writes and paints in a drafty house built in 1900, in her adopted state of West Virginia, and she is always up for a road trip.

PMC: I do believe you just invited me on a road trip. I call shotgun! We can talk particulars later. Back to the interview...Who inspires you? 

EPS: As a young wife and mother, I was inspired by my maternal grandparents who taught me to be a strong, brave woman, to always see the humor in the ridiculousness of life, and to never forget I was Puerto Rican.

As an older woman with no kids at home, my children inspire me every day with their brilliant minds, adventurous spirits, and kind hearts.

PMC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

EPS: My children tell me they’re inspired by me, which is music to my ears. I hope I inspire women to take healthy risks in life, to look for their passions, and I hope to inspire readers to embrace diversity in literature, through my historical novel, A Decent Woman, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico.

PMC: Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

EPS: BADASS!

PMC: You are now allowed to be my friend. Tell me, how do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

EPS: I’m proud to be Latina and I root for everyone in whatever they try to achieve in life. Of course, I would like to see more Latinas in professional roles in current films and TV shows, but I write historical fiction, so I’m okay with seeing Latinas play stereotypical roles in period pieces—it’s our women’s history, and the past can’t be ignored if we hope to learn and get ahead in life.

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

EPS: All of the above; I even dream in Spanish.

PMC: Show off. I need to be drunk to think in Spanish and I don't feel like preemptively signing up for a sponsor and a 12-step just to see if I'd earn a few Spanglish dreams. Anyway...favorite dish? Why?

EPS: In Puerto Rico, one dish goes with so many other dishes; it’s nearly impossible to pick only one. Lechón asado, pasteles, arroz con gandules, viandas y guineítos en escabeche. This meal, served during the Christmas season, always reminds me of happier times with my family, many of them passed on now. Oh, and barrigas de vieja for dessert!

PMC: I'm coming over for dinner! Now, be honest...Do you feel "Latina enough"?

EPS: I’m Puerto Rican-born and was raised in the US, Europe, and Puerto Rico. I am a Latina in my heart, mind, and soul. That’s all that matters. I don’t have to prove a thing to anyone.

PMC: You're damned right you don't. Here's another fun question: 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?

EPS: I have a special devotion to Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, Our Lady of Lourdes. The Virgin is my patron saint and as a child I loved the film, The Song of Bernadette, about a poor French girl who claimed the Mother of God appeared to her several times in a grotto, on the outskirts of the town of Lourdes in France. I grew up praying only to Mary because I always thought the Old Testament God was a bit frightening. As a kid, I was a Mama’s girl, through and through. As an adult, I volunteered at the Sanctuary in Lourdes, France as a piscine lady for over ten years. I love that holy place.

Mary and I would eat plain omelets with lots of butter, slices of crusty French baguette, and slightly steamed asparagus on the side with creamy Hollandaise, and a great bottle of Saint Emilion, Grand Cru Bordeaux, 2012. The dinner would take place in Paris—it’s my dream—and for dessert, warm crème brûleé!

PMC: I expect the novel based on this question to be dedicated to me. That cool? *blinks prettily*. Moving ON! One Latina stereotype you despise?

EPS: Good question. My historical novel, A Decent Woman would make an awesome film, so I hope a Latina screenwriter and Latina/o director pick it up, but they must stay true to the story and era. So I would say the stereotypes depend on the era we’re thinking of. As a writer, I immediately think novel or film, and many stereotypes today were the norm through Latina women’s history.

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

EPS: I’m not sure if this is a stereotype, but I can embrace fierce Latina loyalty toward her family, and being the protector of the family unit and the keeper of oral storytelling traditions.

PMC: Describe your perfect day.

EPS: That’s easy—a day with my beautiful children—doing nothing but hanging out together, listening to them laugh and horse around with each other. Then, they’d begin telling stories about me as an overprotective, young mother, which are hilarious tales. It’s amazing how much I relaxed when my kids reached high school, and how much these cachorros remember today in their late twenties! Thanks for inviting me to Chingonafest, Pauline! Great questions, I enjoyed answering them.

UPDATE: My #Dimelo column will not be updated with new material, but rather, be kept online to feature reader favorite columns from the print magazine. Be sure to get your questions in to dimelo@latina.com! 

Thanks again to this week's #ChingonaFest Friday's sponsor, WeMontage! 

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. Interested in SEEING YOUR NAME OR BRAND HERE? Email me for details sponsoring the weekly #ChingonaFest Fridays feature right here on Aspiringmama.com!

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.comFollow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!  Before you go, please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter. Sign up by or before my #BabyFat launch date - September 28 - and you're automatically entered for a chance at a signed copy of my book! See you next week!

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#BlogHer15: a Recap in Captions (Part 1)

 

It's been a few weeks since returning home from my trip to New York. Every year, after my foray into the Real World - the one outside of the little one I call my own in the middle of a private forest hiding my home from the drivers by- I tell myself that I'll write my recap today and then it becomes tomorrow ... And then another tomorrow still.

Women inspiring women at #blogher15

Women inspiring women at #blogher15

The world doesn't stop spinning while I'm not home; the bills will always continue to appear in the mailbox, the laundry will continue to pile, and the dust and dog hair will continue to take over the floors and the couches and entertainment center and the floors. 

 

With Lizz Porter and Dresden Schumacher.  

With Lizz Porter and Dresden Schumacher.  

Three dogs will do that, you know. Living in the middle of a private forest; dirt driveway - no asphalt in site.  

No iPhone at the #multiculti because it held the playlist we tried to talk over. This is what I've got-a few images from Before and a few Afters. This one, a prize given to one of the attendees. Because Life is Sweet. 

No iPhone at the #multiculti because it held the playlist we tried to talk over. This is what I've got-a few images from Before and a few Afters. This one, a prize given to one of the attendees. Because Life is Sweet. 

Evevtually, I begin to wonder if it's worth it - worth the time to edit and upload and caption each memory saved in a hasty selfie taken to commemorate the 30 seconds of OMG HOW ARE YOUs and hugs and rushed In Person For This Once Until Next Year, Probablys. I tell myself maybe it's not, but then I do it anyway because I want to remember the Little Things that make up the Big Picture - the Everything of my life.  

 

My travel buddies when the universe allows for the moons to properly align and Mercury isn't in retrograde. When planes are not required and piss-poor customer service at the Greyhound at the station eventually work in our favor and bring my mother to the same place we are, at the same time we are there. 

My travel buddies when the universe allows for the moons to properly align and Mercury isn't in retrograde. When planes are not required and piss-poor customer service at the Greyhound at the station eventually work in our favor and bring my mother to the same place we are, at the same time we are there. 

I'm not a blogger. That's one thing I realize every year while skipping the sessions for bloggers, presented by bloggers, about things good bloggers are good at it, at least, want to be good at. SEO, monetizing, ambassadorships and brand relationships. I'm good at none of these things and never will be and that's okay with me.  

I'm not a blogger. I'm a writer with a blog. I'm an Almost Author with an Almost Book with a blog that makes no money that you read for the content only like a book because that's how I write it and never expect the few comments I do receive here.  

Timing is everything and Eliana will one day appreciate a June birthday and not enough time between the party and the mail from the out of state relatives holding the birthday cards and cash arriving and U.S. packing our suitcases too full for our trip. Eliana brought home a new friend, Grace, and twirled around the American Girl store in the Josefina dress she scored on our last trip there. 

Timing is everything and Eliana will one day appreciate a June birthday and not enough time between the party and the mail from the out of state relatives holding the birthday cards and cash arriving and U.S. packing our suitcases too full for our trip. Eliana brought home a new friend, Grace, and twirled around the American Girl store in the Josefina dress she scored on our last trip there. 

That's okay, too. Even if I forget that I suck at this thing I started only to Build My Platform like The Agents who Told Me Not Yet Told Me I Must Do, I continue to do it. 

With the always incredible A'drienne Nieves who is always unapologetically everything because that's exactly who and what she is.  

With the always incredible A'drienne Nieves who is always unapologetically everything because that's exactly who and what she is.  

I write. I connect. I write and I write well. I blog and I do it spectacularly badly.  

With my #multiculti cohostesses Dwana Delacerna and Ananda Leeke. Three years running now and I love these ladies.  

With my #multiculti cohostesses Dwana Delacerna and Ananda Leeke. Three years running now and I love these ladies.  

This is who I am.  

 

A New Old Dress I couldn't wear last year that I could wear this year with the badass boots I forgot to take a photo of because I couldn't keep a full charge for some reason. No matter. It was what it was. It is what it is.  

A New Old Dress I couldn't wear last year that I could wear this year with the badass boots I forgot to take a photo of because I couldn't keep a full charge for some reason. No matter. It was what it was. It is what it is.  

#Blogher15 #ChingonaFest Fridays (Reboot): Lori Luna

It's Week TWENTY-NINE on ChingonaFest Fridays! I'm till trying to claw my way up from the crash after #BlogHer15 re-entry, and then there's this book thing taking up every spare moment, so this week it's a Reboot with one of my favorite ladies ever. Next week, I PROMISE promise with a cherry on top that I'm bringing you a new interview with a badass bitch. 

*winks*

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 in 2014. 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!

Lori Luna

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 conversationDescribe 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!

UPDATE: My #Dimelo column will not be updated with new material, but rather, be kept online to feature reader favorite columns from the print magazine. Be sure to get your questions in to dimelo@latina.com! 

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. Interested in SEEING YOUR NAME OR BRAND HERE? Email me for details on the weekly #ChingonaFest Fridays feature right here on Aspiringmama.com!

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.comFollow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!  See you next week!


Chingonafest Fridays (Reboot): Elisa Camahort Page

Welcome to WEEK 12 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 it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? I interviewed myself to mark my year anniversary as Latina Magazine's Dimelo Advice Columnist right before Lorraince C. Ladish made me look  bad in last week

s interview by referring to books I pretended to read in high school.  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 …Elisa Camahort Page.

Camahort Page is a BlogHer co-couner  and, amongst other honors, was also a Fortune Most Powerful Entrepreneurs, 2013.

And now? It’s time for the interview!

Elisa Camahort-Page

Elisa Camahort-Page

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Elisa Camahort Page: Vanilla

PC:  A straight-shooter. I like it. Favorite book and why:

ECP: That's a tough one, I love many books. Perhaps Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer had the most impact because it articulated a philosophy I already subscribed to in terms that were relatable to regular people who might not have my same activist fervor on the subject.

Pauline Campos: *blinks* My IQ just developed a complex. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

ECP: YES.

PC: There's that straight-shootin' again. I like a woman who tells it like it is. Who inspires you?

ECP: The BlogHer community inspires me every day. Every day *someone* tells an amazing story, does something incredibly brave, makes real change in their life, their community, or the world. It's crazy actually. Crazy how much talent and passion are out there...this despite the regular conventional wisdom proclaiming the death of the very blogging that creates that inspiration.

PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

 ECP: The BlogHer community has so many new folks still flooding into this space every day. I hope to inspire them to do social media and blogging *their* way. There is no one right way. There is no single one-size-fits-all approach. There is so much opportunity...knowing what you want to grab from that grab bag is important.

PC: I was just gong to say "Anything dipped in chocolate" but I think that you've got a T-shirt quote somewhere in that last one. Lemme have my coffee first... Do you dream in color or black and white?

 ECP: I don't remember, actually. Why, do you know what that means?

PC: Not a single clue. Also? I should Google that one so I have a slightly smarter answer the next time a featured Chingona throws this one back in my court. Speaking bad words redfined... Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

 ECP: Huh? You're the chica who introduced me to the term :)

PC: ummmm... *blinks slowly* Well? The short answer is DON'T SAY CHINGONA IN CHURCH. Also, it's probably not a good idea to yell the word out randomly in public, 'being as I like you, and and all. Also, did you know "pinche" is a bad word in Mexican Spanish but means "barette" in Chilean Spanish? You're *welcome*. Why are you giving me the side-eye? Focus, Woman! Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

ECP: Not applicable...no kids :)

 PC: Fair enough. Do you feel "Latina enough"? 

ECP: Definitely not. I don't even call myself Latina, although I will say I'm Hispanic. But, for example, I never learned Spanish...I think when I was growing up there was a lot more assumption that immigrants would assimilate and less expectations that their children would retain any culture. Add on top of that my family is a mixed family originating from Spanish immigrants to the Philippines. So much of my connection to the culture is through food...which was actually kind of a mix of Spanish and Filipino. And being spanked with a slipper...which I think is more of the Asian side of that equation ;)

PC: Don't take this the wrong way, Elisa, but we gotta talk. Because every Mexican reading this just choked and simultaneously yelled out "LA CHANCLA"! Anyway, 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? 

ECP: Stephen Sondheim. Why? Because I'm a #theatrenerd and he is completely brilliant and my idol.

PC: You are totally smarter than a fifth grader, aren't you? *runs off to Google the name the smart lady just said* Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

EC: That is definitely just a you thing.

PC: Admit it. You think I'm adorable, don't you? Gimme one Latina stereotype you despise?

 ECP: Oh, I guess it's the whole kit and caboodle...fiery Latinas, sexy Latinas, spicy Latinas...and then there's the indomitable Latina matriarch. The problem with any stereotype is that it ignores the diversity within diversity. That Latinas are not a monolithic bloc, just as women aren't, just as no group is like the Borg.

PC: You win the Internet for using the Borg to bring that last point home, Elisa. *High five* Describe your perfect day.

 EC: Well, it would start with actually getting a full night's sleep #damnyouinsomnia. Then I would probably chillax with my cat and my iPad full of all the books I never have time to read. I'd be playing music. And my S.O. could join for a couple of great meals of #vegan food!

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

 ECP: Yeah, in case it wasn't clear, not very into embracing stereotypes :)

PC (grinning):  Nope...everything is crystal...

UPDATE: My #Dimelo column will not be updated with new material, but rather, be kept online to feature reader favorite columns from the print magazine. Be sure to get your questions in to dimelo@latina.com! 

UPDATE: My #Dimelo column will not be updated with new material, but rather, be kept online to feature reader favorite columns from the print magazine. Be sure to get your questions in to dimelo@latina.com! 

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. Interested in SEEING YOUR NAME OR BRAND HERE? Email me for details on the weekly #ChingonaFest Fridays feature right here on Aspiringmama.com!

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.comFollow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!  See you next week!

 

ChingonaFest Reboot: Eliana Mercedes

Welcome to WEEK 27 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. Yes I am perfectly aware its been MONTHS since my last feature but I was writing and revising a book, so...

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?  @Ana-Lydia Ochoa Monaco and Ane Romero 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 a special one and I think you'll like getting to hear more about how the original chingona's fabulous little brain works. I'm featuring Eliana Mercedes today as a nod to my recent inclusion in the From Her Art Exhibit through the El Pueblo National Monument in Los Angeles, which actually just closed up. I am honored to have had my photograph, Mexican in Maine, selected for the juried show, and as the subject of the photo, I thought Eliana deserved a bit of limelight for so patiently dealing with a camera in her face almost every waking moment, and with BlogHer 15 on the way, I figured it was a good time to post the rerun on the original grin back in March. Don't forget to follow her on twitter andinstagram!

I'd also like to thank Julia Carillo of Soy Chingona jewelry for sponsoring this week's #ChingonaFest post! Check out Julia's sassy line of Pretty Things at Soy Chingona, and follow her on Instagram and twitter! Email at at aspiringmama@gmail.com for details on how your website or business can be featured!

So let’s get to that interview!

My photograph, (The unblurry version, anyway) Mexican in Maine, features a pinata made by the other Mexican in Maine, Paula Daulk, from Mainely Pinatas  --- and to answer your question, YES she ships!

Photo by Pauline Campos 

Photo by Pauline Campos 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla? 

Eliana Mercedes: Chocolate

PC: Good. Now that we've proven you are my child, it's time for the next question. Favorite book and why?

EM: Favorite book? I would say I have no idea. Spiderwick? 

*Daddy interjects with What about Whatever book I am currently reading?"

Okay. Whatever book I am currently reading.

PC: Yep. That sounds about right/. What's your favorite quote? 

EM: Yourself is yourself and who can argue with that? I said that on your podcast. Your friends think I'm adorable.

PC:  We'll have to work on your confidence, I see Describe yourself in third person. 

EM: I have no idea what third person is. 

PC: And your language arts. Who inspires you?

EM: Everyone? 

PC: Are you asking me? Who is it you hope to inspire?

EM: Everyone?

PC: Uh-huh... Do you dream in color or black and white?

EM: Sometimes color and sometimesd black and white. So there's really no pacific answer to that.

PC: No, no I don't sup[pose there would be. What's your favorite dish? Why?

EM: Macaroni and cheese. I think you see why I am saying that, correct? 

PC: Because I asked you a question and you decided to answer it with a giant hint telling me I don't serve you enough cheese-covered carbohydrates No, it's okay You don't have to answer that? But this one you do...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? 

EM: Princess Katie. We would eat ice cream. Probably rainbow flavored. I can't have wine because you said it's only for mamas. I'd serve chocolate milk, chilled, of course. I'm not picky. Store bought or homemade is fine.

PC: Princess rock stars are the absolute best. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

EM: I chew it. Doesn't everybody? Chewing is pretty much a human thing.

PC: That's what I keep asking the internet and they keep looking at me like I'm crazy! Why are you looking at me like I'm crazy? Never mind. Describe your perfect day.

EM: A perfect day would be getting a horse, probably pretty reasonably because, yaknow? 

PMC: No, not exactly. But m'kay...Would you rather be a unicorn or a Pegasus. Why?

EM: I'd rather be an alicorn. 

PC: Of course you would. If you could wish for three things what would they be? And no, you cannot use one of the wishes for three more wishes. 

EC: A horse, a unicorn, and a pagasus. Because I could then wish for a alicorn because I'd have a unicorn. 

PC: You're smarter than me, aren't you? I'm so totally screwed. What do you want to be when you grow up?

EC: A fairy who has a mermaid tail. Wait. No. Someone who owns a horse.

PC: That's what you get for growing six inches the same summer we bought you a pony that was perfectly sized for you...six inches ago. Moving on...if you were a fairy, what would your magical power be?

EC: The power to do everything, yaknow? 

PC: Yeah. I totally know.

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me ataspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget t send in your questions are being saved for the print magazines, so send me ALL THE GOOD STUFF for the sassy solicited advice y'all love so much that you stop me in public bathrooms to talk shop to dimelo@latina.com.

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

I Know...I Know..(too)

A friend posted a video on her Facebook page and I clicked.  If you've got a secret or feel like you're the only one dealing with whatever it is keeping you up at night, you should click, too.

Shannon Curtis is her name. The woman behind the video. I'd never heard of her before tonight. But after seeing the video, I have a feeling Shannon and I are going to become friends. Maybe not Christmas Card and Actual Address Friends; but Facebook and DM Status Friends, at least. The point of this post isn't upping my FB friend count, though.

It's hard for me to share this, just as I know it is for most of us when we land in this place- the one between not giving a damn and wanting to. We are harder on ourselves than we are the people we know and love. We show our friends the grace we fail to show ourselves because we are perfectionists and expect more of ourselves than is fair.

I've said time and time again, through my #chingonafest posts and quotes, that we need to stop judging ourselves through other people's eyes and learn to see the beauty within ourselves. I've said that we define our own perceptions and realities. And when it comes to things like society's ridiculous obsession with impossible beauty and body image standards, I still stand behind those words. But maybe it's not that simple. Maybe, when we are blessed to have friends and family who love and care about us, when we find ourselves treading water with no land in site, maybe this is when we must flip a switch in order to be the friend to ourselves that we know we have been and would be to others.

My eyes see what I've failed at; what I'm not doing;  what I've done poorly or flat out fucked up. My eyes see where I think I should be instead of where I am; they blink too much at the sun because it's too bright. My head tells me I shouldn't bother when my gut tells me I need to want to keep trying. All these things I see and feel and think I tell myself I wouldn't and shouldn't if I was stronger, tried harder, and stopped being the mind mess that I am.

And it's all bullshit.

If any one of you came to me with what I share right now, I'd tell you how much I love you.
How incredible you are.
How much you matter.
That depression is a chemical imbalance and nothing to be ashamed of.
That you need to keep sharing and keep trying, if not for you, for me. Because I would know that you wouldn't see in you what I see. That you are too hard on yourself. That you can't do on your own all that you you have come to expect.

I would see YOU.

And I would tell you to stop trying to be a fucking superhero and do it all on your own when there is no reason to because that's just fucking stupid. And then I would remind you how brilliant I think you are and probably remind you that brilliant people don't do fucking stupid things. (Okay, so brilliant people don't do fucking stupid things twice may be more accurate. Maybe?)

Maybe part of my thinking can be blamed on the Latino mindset. We don't exactly share the hard stuff. We are raised to show our best Everything and sweep the shit beneath the collective rug we all share. I've led panels on this very topic with respected colleagues at conferences like Latism. And I believed everything I said about the importance of speaking up. Both for ourselves and for the good of our community.  I still do.

Maybe my thinking can be blamed on society in general and the impossible belief that as women and mothers, we need to be able to do it all. We fail if we cant balance work, raising our children, keeping the house spotless,  prepping organic non-gmo meals with vegetables grown in our own gardens and served on bamboo dishes because apparently that's not a bad thing for the environment. We aren't trying hard enough if we don't make the time for spin class and hot yoga at least three times a week, help our kids with their homework nightly, update our blogs daily (because how the fuck else are we ever gonna accidentally on purpose go viral?), and feel sexy enough to fool around with the loves of our lives before passing out, getting too little sleep, and doing it all again tomorrow.

Are we crazy? Who fed us this line of bullshit, anyway?

Maybe my thinking is just human nature. what I am experiencing is not exclusive to Latinos and it's certainly not only a female issue. It's science. It's chemicals and the delicate balance our brains are either capable or not of producing. I don't shy away from my severe ADHD and the related anxiety that comes with it. So why have I tried talking myself out of being depressed? Why am I refusing to see myself through your eyes when my own can't handle the sun?

Eliana hasn't been sleeping. She's up all night and can't tell me why. She sleeps all day and wakes up exhausted. I asked her today if there's anything I'm doing that might be keeping her from dreaming.

She's worried about me, she said. I'm miserable, she said. And she stays up because she doesn't know why I am unhappy. I won't lie. I wasn't surprised. She's always been extremely sensitive to my moods and my hormones. Trust me when I say if she's pissed off at the world, there's a damned good chance it's because I'm about to go on my period. So her insomnia about my depression makes sense. And so did the steps necessary to get from where I am to where I want to be when I explained serotonin levels to my very bright 7 yr old.

I reminded her that mama takes medicine to slow my brain down. She understands that. I told her that it's not my fault the way my brain works and that sometimes, our brains may need help staying happy. She knows what serotonin is and that being active helps our brains make more of it, and now she knows that sometimes, through no fault of our own, we still come up short.

She suggested we do more yoga together and take bike rides and that I can walk while she scooters on her new Frozen scooter from her Aunt Cyndi because Best Easter Present Ever. And I suggested she tell me when she's worried and why she can't sleep. We can't fix it if we pretend whatever It is isn't a problem, I said. And there is no shame in the solution involving medicine that helps us be as happy as we were before we weren't.

I'm not fixed.  But I'm not entirely broken, either. I'm just me where I am and I'm me where I aim to find myself. Until I get there and can trust what I see, I'm borrowing your eyes and her eyes and my husband's eyes...because I like the view from where you are standing.