Something To Smile About!

Disclosure: I have partnered with Cricket Wireless as a 2014 Blog Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Smiling. I’m all for it. All of the time. For no good reason. Just because. I love to smile and to make other people smile. Life is too complicated already to not try and find the humor in every situation. I think that’s something I’ve learned from my family. No matter the odds, we always manage to laugh at our current or past predicaments.

Maybe that’s because of the old saying, mejor reir que llorar. 

And, in fact, I think that’s true. You feel much better after laughing at yourself than you do when you cry over spilled milk. With that idea in mind, I tried to capture a few of the smiles around me that always seem to brighten my day.

Something To Smile About Cricket Wireless

My nephew Allan. Even with that cast he’s sporting on his little arm, he’s all smiles.

Something To Smile About Cricket Wireless

Jonathan. The youngest of my nephews. Those big old eyes and smile always make me happy.

Something To Smile About Cricket Wireless

My niece Sophia. She’s not always smiling, but when she does… well, you see that beautiful face :-)

Something To Smile About Cricket Wireless

And then I always end up with this big, silly grin across my face.

Something To Smile About Cricket Wireless

And, of course, Edgar is always ready for a little silliness like his mamá.

This post was inspired by Cricket’s Something To Smile About campaign. They’re hoping their nationwide coverage and convenient month to month plans will make a lot of folks smile. Meanwhile, they’ve already inspired me to appreciate the little moments of happiness around me every single day.

Follow the #VidaConCricket hashtag and @MiCricket on Twitter.

Festival People en Español 2014

Strayer hired me to attend Festival People en Español 2014 and write this blog post. 

This weekend was a lot of fun! It had been a LONG time since we last hit the open road and headed for San Antonio. As I’d mentioned in an earlier post, Strayer University invited me to attend the Festival People en Español in San Antonio, Texas this past August 30 – 31. We did, and the experience was well worth the trip.

Not only did we get to hang out with a lot of fellow bloggers, but we also got to meet a lot of new faces as well. We met the family that’s a YouTube sensation, the Reality Changers. We watched the pilot episode of ABC’s sure-to-be-a-hit Cristela, and then got to hear the creator of the show herself – Texas native, Cristela Alonzo – tell us about her humble beginnings. We attended the Chicas Poderosas concert where Becky G and Zendaya rocked the house. We listened to Don Francisco, Genesis Rodriguez, and so many others share their personal experiences on the main stage, and most importantly, we heard over and over again why this is the moment for Latinos in the U.S. to start building a better tomorrow.

Strayer University was all over that idea. They had a personal success coach on hand during the entire event, meeting with attendees interested in talking about their own personal success plans. It really was a great event. We had never attended Festival People before and doing it this way was very nice.

When it was all over on Sunday, we drove to Corpus Christi and stayed the night there before driving home on Labor Day. Just in case you’re wondering what the last picture at the Texas State Aquarium has to do with any of this. We did also create the below video of our time in San Antonio. I hope you enjoy the pictures and the video.

Festival People en Español 2014

Our Metiche gear for the weekend. I made my cap. Juan bought his.

Festival People en Español 2014

Me and my baby.

Festival People en Español 2014

Juan and George of Sofrito for your Soul, a.k.a. Urban Jibaro.

Festival People en Español 2014

La familia.

Festival People en Español 2014

This is how you take selfies :-)

Festival People en Español 2014

Reality Changers meet Los Metiches!

Festival People en Español 2014

Reality Changers meet the Que Means What familia.

Festival People en Español 2014

The Strayer University crew.

Festival People en Español 2014

Excitement about higher education at the Strayer University booth.

Festival People en Español 2014

Houston’s own Las Fenix rocking the house conjunto-style!

Festival People en Español 2014

Actress Genesis Rodriguez.

Festival People en Español 2014

The legendary Don Francisco. He was definitely a show stopper.

Festival People en Español 2014

Yvonne of Spoiled Latina, Monique Frausto of Curves and Chaos, and Melanie Mendez Gonzales of Que Means What.

Festival People en Español 2014

Yvonne and Juan after they were surprised with their personalized coke cans.

Festival People en Español 2014

We had to stop by and visit Disney!

Festival People en Español 2014

Fellow Houston Latina blogger Yvonne and me.

Festival People en Español 2014

Latina bloggers (L to R) Yvonne with Spoiled Latina, Monique Frausto with Curves and Chaos, Melanie Mendez Gonzales of Que Means What, Eileen of Mommy Teaches, and yours truly.

Festival People en Español 2014

Singer Zendaya performing at the Chicas Poderosas concert. I really enjoyed her set!

Festival People en Español 2014

Juan and Edgar at the Texas State Aquarium.

About Strayer University 

Founded in 1892, Strayer University has over 80 campus locations in 17 states. The mission of the 120 year old higher education institution is to help working adults earn a high-quality college degree that fits into, and advances their lives. Each student – whether they are taking classes at a Strayer University campus or online – is assigned their own personal success coach, who assists them with financial advice, goal setting, career advice, time management, and other skills. In addition to helping to increase each student’s opportunity for academic success, coaches help prepare them for the real-world challenges that are inherent in building a successful career while managing other life priorities. Degree programs available at Strayer University include Executive MBA, Executive Grad Certificate, Traditional MBA, Masters, Bachelors, Associate, as well as Certificates and Diplomas. To learn more about the university click here.

Cristela. I am a fan!

So I’ll admit, before watching the pilot episode for Cristela this weekend I was kind of hesitant about the new show. We’ve all been through the highs and lows of hearing about an exciting new Latino show that will be the “big hit” of the season, only to then, let’s just say, be less than impressed. For whatever reason, it seems all of the major networks have had the hardest time developing a hit show that actually resonates with the elusive US Hispanic viewing audience. It’s not that we’re apathetic. I think it’s more the reality that there is a very fine line between being too Latino and not Latino enough.

I know, that’s an oxymoron in it of itself. Still, too many shows have played the Hispanic card with very thick accents, crude grunts and “¡eys!” and “¡eses!,” instead of just talking to us like normal human beings who also happen to be Latinos. I mean don’t get me wrong, those characterizations are a part of who we are, and we all know people in our lives who have fit that identity at one point or another. The thing is not all of us talk or act like George Lopez all of the time. We just don’t.

So how do you bridge that hard-to-define-gap? In the case of Cristela, you do it by being yourself. That’s what I realized this weekend at the Festival People event I attended in San Antonio. ABC flew in comedienne and actress Cristela Alonzo to pilot her show and talk to us about how she got started. As it turns out, Cristela on screen was very much like the Cristela off screen we met. A daughter of Mexican parents who grew up in San Juan, Texas and who never imagined, she told us, that she would one day be working on her major network debut. After hearing about her humble beginnings it’s easy to understand why.

Despite the odds, however, she is currently touring in support of her self-titled series Cristela. 

It’s a seriously funny show. And a family show at that. Alonzo told us that was on purpose. She wanted to create a show the entire family could sit down and watch together, and also one her own family could be proud of. The characters are based on her actual family. And from what I saw in the pilot episode I believe she has done both. The characters were lovable and tough, funny and real, and Cristela herself has a knack for hitting the right humorous chord every time. The script, which she cowrites as well, is genuine and relatable. Nothing stereotypical at all. When normally a script could have and would have predictably gone right, the writers of Cristela make a conscious decision to go left. And it’s very likely going to pay off. 

The show kicks off on ABC this fall.

Here’s a little bit from Cristela on the show:

I don’t know what the future holds but like I said earlier, everything happens for a reason.  Whether this show fails or succeeds, I’m just glad I got to be on this ride…if even for a second.  All I know is that I am living something that very few people get to live…and I am so grateful for that.  So grateful.”

HAHMP Border Crisis Event

The numbers are staggering. The headlines, sensational. The debate, uber-political. And for many of us who are either immigrants or children of immigrants, this “border crisis” hits extremely close to home. Parties on both sides  have raised their voices and made their opinions clear. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that according to some predictions nearly 60,000 unaccompanied minors will enter the United States this year alone.

That’s 52,000 more children than the average 8,000 unaccompanied minors that entered the country annually prior to 2012, according to the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies. These kids are coming from Latin American countries, for the most part, in search of a better future for themselves, or to try and reunite with their parents or other family members in the U.S. Los niños de nadie, some media outlets have labeled them.

Recently in Houston, the Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals held a panel to discuss the “border crisis” created by the debate around the influx of unaccompanied minors entering the country. Latino journalists from KPRC Local 2, La Voz de Houston, News 92 FM, MyFoxHouston, Univision, Telemundo. and various other media outlets shared their experiences in covering this story.

Below are a few images from the event. Anjelica and I were part of the audience during this panel.

HAHMP Border Crisis Event

HAHMP members with veteran News 92 FM journalist Mike Barajas.

HAHMP Border Crisis Event

Husband and wife power couple Jessica and Nelson Vanegas.

HAHMP Border Crisis Event

Macky Osorio, United Airlines; Aurora Losada, Assistant Managing Editor of Spanish Publications for the Houston Chronicle; and Anjelica.

HAHMP Border Crisis Event

The Houston blogger crew, Anjelica, me and our good friend, Sandra Fernandez of SandraSays.com.

Paisa Discount?

You know those people who just can’t seem to help themselves? They’re always looking for a deal, no matter where they go. Chances are you’ll often find them at the clearance section of Target, JCPenney, or any other major department store. They can’t make a purchase without first wondering if they could find it cheaper somewhere else… and most of the time visiting several stores before coming right back to the one store they started at, only after having confirmed they are really getting the best deal. Or in the case of Los Metiches, making their kid ice skate around and around the ice rink at The Galleria until they are satisfied they have gotten the full worth out of their $15 entrance fee.

Pos sí. That kind of happened this weekend. Juan was even adamant that he should have gotten the “paisa discount” when he went to go buy a bottle of water in Spanish. I know. Ta bien loco… but don’t take my word for it, watch the video, and tell us, are you tacañ0 or tacaña too?

We’ll see you in Galveston – Blog Elevated!

Last year in September I had the chance to attend Blog Elevated in Houston for the very first time. Juan was in New York then at another conference and was not able to attend with me. Coincidentally they were both about the same thing. Social media and blogging. Afterwards, like buenos metiches of course, we compared notes.  And as you might imagine – LOL! Especially if you’re from Texas – the final verdict for us was that things are definitely done bigger and better in Texas.

Alright, alright, so I may be a little biased here. The truth is having attended several major blogging conferences now myself, I was really starting to get to the point where I was struggling to justify going again to the same conference event as the year before. I mean, of course it was always great content, and we love networking with others in the same field in person because there’s just something special about meeting every year, once a year to catch up, learn together, and just act silly. The acting silly part is the part of attending conferences we definitely have down. We’re always the ones walking around with the goofy smiles, pelandole la mazorca a todos (that basically means grinning from ear to ear uncontrollably).

But at the end of it all sometimes it felt like the biggest gain for us was always the networking. That seemed to be the biggest benefit of attending these things. And hey, maybe that’s the point. We’re surely not the experts here.

Last year, though, at Blog Elevated I felt like I was learning so much so fast that there wasn’t enough time or active brainpower within me to take it all in. I’m still using what I learned then today. To be quite honest, this was kind of shocking. It was the first time the conference had ever taken place. It was held here in Houston where the founders (my friends Bobbie and Lisa) are from, and it was a relatively intimate affair. Still, even when Juan and I were texting from each other’s respective conferences, we both knew then Blog Elevated was going to be huge!

This year, we were pretty excited when we were both personally invited to serve as mentors during the 2014 Blog Elevated Conference. Blog Elevated 2014 is taking place in Galveston, Texas from September 25 to 27 this year. If you’re familiar with the region, the event will take place at Moody Gardens, in fact. And if you’re curious about what you might learn at the conference, there will be three main tracks: Business of Blogging; Social Media; and Creative.

In a nutshell, being a mentor means being available to answer questions or offer support throughout the conference. We’re kind of really excited that we were asked to be mentors. We don’t have all the answers, but you can rest assured we’re going to try our best to find them for you.

I could go on and on. Let’s just say I highly recommend attending Blog Elevated to anyone serious about turning their blog into a business. That’s another thing about the conference, they bring la creme de la creme in terms of speakers, to share their expertise. In fact, I so highly recommend it that if you click the link below you can purchase your tickets right here, right now. Hope to see you there!

Have questions about Blog Elevated 2014? Let us know and we’ll work on getting you the right answers.

Buy Now

 

We'll see you in Galveston - Blog Elevated!

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