Juan of Words

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!

Festival People En Español, San Antonio

Festival People En Español, San Antonio

Strayer hired me to write this blog on their behalf. 

Next weekend San Antonio is going to be the place to be. I’m not saying that only as a born and bred Tejana, but also because of my recent partnership with Strayer University for the People En Español Festival taking place on August 30 and 31 in San Anton. Strayer University was kind enough to invite, and I was more than happy to accept. So I will see you in San Antonio next weekend! I’m pretty excited because it has been a while since the last time I was in the Alamo City, and also because the lineup of talent is pretty impressive.

Don Francisco, Maite Perroni, Becky G, Chris Perez (yes, Selena’s widower), Zendaya, Julian Gil, La Dra. Polo, Saul “El Canelo” Alvarez (the boxer), Eduardo Verastegui, Mane De La Parra, Las Fenix, and so many more are already confirmed to make an appearance at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center during the Festival People En Español. Coincidentally, this massive festival is open to the public and free for the most part, and also takes place over the Labor Day Weekend. What other reason do you need to make a mini road trip to San Anton? 

There are a couple of nighttime concerts that will require purchased tickets. You can get all those details at the Festival People En Español website

Strayer University is the Official Higher Education Sponsor for the event. With over 80 campus locations in 17 states, the university hopes to inspire a lot of young people to pursue a higher education over the weekend. They will have a booth at the festival with special meet-and-greet opportunities, one-on-one career counseling sessions, lots of cool goodies to giveaway, and more. In fact, I hear Strayer will have a couple of other surprises for us at the festival itself.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center either, so it will be cool to check that out also. I’m hoping there will be lots of arts and artesanias in the vicinity of the festival too. That’s one of the main reasons to visit San Antonio for me. They have such a rich selection of original and authentic Latino art and culture.

Now for the 411 on Strayer 

In case you’re not familiar with Strayer University, the institution’s staff describes it as a leading postsecondary institution for working adults. Basically, they’re trying to make gaining a degree as accessible as possible for working adults. Very recently, Strayer partnered with talk show host and comedian Steve Harvey for their “The Success Project.” This program looks to motivate and help college-aged individuals to not only register for college, but to also stay in school and earn a degree. The Success Project will introduce a team of professional success coaches who will provide mentoring and support to Strayer University students.

Each student – whether they are taking classes at a Strayer University campus or online – will be assigned their own personal success coach, who will assist 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 will help prepare them for the real-world challenges that are inherent in building a successful career while managing other life priorities. That’s all straight from their website. You can get a lot more information here.

You guys already know how we feel about earning a degree. It’s so important for your life and future.

Who else will be at the festival?

Festival People En Español, San Antonio

YouTube sensation, The Reality Changers will also be on hand to entertain and inspire.

Excuses, excuses

I promise we’re constantly trying to put new videos out for y’all. Don’t believe us? Well here’s the proof. No matter what we do, it always seems something funny or crazy always happens to interrupt our creative process. jajaja… bien creativos verdad?  Okei, okei, le bajamos. But seriously, from the car running out of gas to us just not finding the words to say what we want to say. Or just saying the wrong words all together. We didn’t want to let this week go by without a new vlog, so here’s a little compilation of all our recent mishaps. Enjoy!

And hey, if you have any tips for us, we’re all ears.

Mexi-Vocabulario: ¡Ay Aja!

Like totally. We haven’t done one of these in such a long time that it was only fitting to start back up with an ¡Ay aja! I first heard this term while Juan was watching one of his novelas. The young chica fresa in the scene was expressing her disbelief for what she was hearing and she did so by uttering an ¡ay aja! Ever since then, those two words seemed to have captured a lot of momentum. I hear them all of the time now. Not only on television, but even at home when Juan and I take turns answering each other with the phrase.

And that’s precisely what it means. Although chances are if you Google ay aja right now you’ll come up with a lot of random findings that will leave you with more questions than answers. We did do that ourselves just for kicks. Surprisingly enough there aren’t really a lot of videos out there with just that expression. That kind of sounds like a job for Los Metiches, jajaja! There were, however, some memes out there to help get the point across.

Here are just a few.

Mexi-Vocabulario: ¡Ay aja! Mexi-Vocabulario: ¡Ay aja! Mexi-Vocabulario: ¡Ay aja!

But that still leaves us with the question we started out with. What does ¡ay aja! mean. It’s quite simple really. By definition, aja is an affirmation that implies either approval, satisfaction or surprise, depending on the inflection and tone used. Adding the ay at the beginning gives it a more sarcastic tone, sort of like an oh really! or an oh, really? You can use it playfully to respond to somebody when you don’t really believe what they are saying, or when you just want them to know you’re kind of excited about what you’re hearing.

You can use an ¡ay aja! too when you completely disagree with what you are being told.

So there you have it. Try it out for size. And tell us how you like or dislike this particular word.

For more fun words check out our Mexi-Vocabulario.

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