Leading Chicas of YouTube

imagesSometimes surfing the internet can either be very fun or very boring. Maybe you have a day where there aren’t any updates from your favorite tweeters, or maybe you’ve spent just too much of your time scrolling through Tumblr. For days like these, Andrea Acevedo, 13, likes to head over to YouTube. “I check out YouTube when I’m bored to see if there are any new funny videos,” she says, “and a lot of times, there are.”

Of course, you might be asking yourself, ‘But where do I start?’ YouTube is a HUGE website with a variety of videos. From the weird to the funny, there are so many different v-loggers (video bloggers) out there and each v-logger has either a little or a huge fan base. Here are five female YouTube stars whose videos you should check out:

Dulce- dulcecandy

Dulce is a Latina from California with 1.5 million followers. She also happens to be the official beauty blogger of Cosmo for Latinas! Her videos focus on makeup, hair, DIY videos, and nail tutorials. Fun fact: She even has a La Llorona costume tutorial.

 

Kathy Cano-Murillo- craftychica

Kathy is a Latina whose channel is all about crafting! If you’re into crafting, or want to do a little DIY with your friends or family, check her out. She has videos on jewelry, art, and clothes, all ranging from easy to hard depending on your level. She has over 11,000 followers, so make sure to subscribe if you like her videos!

Bethany Mota- bethanymota

From sunny California, Bethany has 5 million followers! She has A LOT of DIY videos for those of you who want to fill your summer days with projects. The girl is so popular that she even has her own clothing line with Aeropostle!

Kat Lazo- TheeKatsMeoww

With over 1,000 followers, Kat is a Latina who vlogs about her life as a woman and her experiences in this day and age. She’s open and honest in all of her videos, so if you want to know more about feminism  and women in the media then you should definitely check out her video feed.

Bunny Meyer- grav3yardgirl

From the Houston area, Bunny has almost 2.6 million followers, or as she likes to call them, Swamp Family Members. Bunny’s channel has videos ranging from fashion and thrift hauls to her popular Does This Thing Really Work? In this segment she tests makeup and “As Seen on TV” products. Bunny is very open about her life experiences and has a habit of making everyone feel comfortable and loved during her videos.

Whether you end up liking these particular YouTuber or you click through the different recommended videos and find someone who you really love, YouTube is a great place to check out and connect with those who have similar interests as you. “I’ve learned so much from YouTube, and I love how I’m able to find new and different ways to connect with people,” says Martha Garcia, 17. “It’s even better when they’re Latina because I really like seeing others like me being represented on YouTube.”

Staying Fit for a Healthier You

Fitness is a mixture of staying physically active and eating a variety of foods to help keep your heart, mind and body balanced. Most people choose a fit life because they want to feel great about themselves, because when you feel good it shows on the outside — great vibes all around!

Benefits of Exercising

Latinitas El Paso - Summer Camp, Yoga Session

Latinitas El Paso – Summer Camp, Yoga Session

Physical activity can reduce stress and help you feel content. Brain chemicals, called serotonin are released during exercise, and they improve your overall mindset. Melissa Gomez, 7, says, “I like to ride my bike on trails. My dad takes me to the park and I ride my bike and he walks. I go a lot with my dad since my friends don’t live around here.”

Staying Active

Working out with a friend helps keep you motivated to have an active lifestyle. Being on a team helps create a tight bond with friends. For example, Angelina Diaz, 27, says, “I like to come to the park with both my aunt and my three daughters. I like watching them have fun.”

Her daughter, Mya, 3, jumps from one end of the hill to the next. “I would like to see my daughters live an active lifestyle. I know they look up to me. I do play soccer. I met some of my best friends on my team. So, as they get older I will encourage them to take up soccer like I am,” Diaz says.

Mya screams out, “Swing!” and proceeds to run from the hill top to the swing at the playground. Diaz says that though her aunt and other family members are overweight, she does her best to limit fast food and encourage more time outside so that her children remain consistently active.

In a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011-2012, it found that Hispanic obesity (being overweight) was slightly higher than any other group at a percent of 22.4% that set off the epidemic into adulthood. Having an active lifestyle at a young age helps decrease chances of obesity into adulthood. The benefits of physical exercise include the prevention of cardiovascular disease and obesity, as well as improving overall health, being more energetic, and being more confident.

Jenna Duenez, 8, says, “I play handball at school every day.” Her mother is quick to say that it isn’t only about being active, but the types of food consumed.

“It’s also a matter of what chemicals are in our foods. We live a no meat, no dairy diet and find that my daughter is growing with these eating habits just fine,” Duenez’ mother explains.

Duenez says, “I like coming to the park with my brother and mom. We like to walk around and play on the playground.”

Eating healthy means having a balanced diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables. Even though Duenez does not eat meat or dairy products, like milk and cheese, you can lead a healthy lifestyle by reducing the amount of junk food, like chips, coke, fast food, etc., in your diet.

Melissa Gomez, 7, says, ““I don’t drink soda’ cause it rots your teeth…I drink lots of water… it helps me stay cool.”

Finding the Motivation to Exercise

Though overweight children have a greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self esteem, Kimberly Avalos, 13, and Ana Espinoza, 14, are the best of friends with the same journey. Avalos says, “I used to be a little thicker, well chubby. I was always so depressed.”

Espinoza adds, “Me too! I really wanted to feel better about myself. I was hoping to join the dance team by this year, so last summer Kimberly and me started running at the school park. Then we got into doing yoga to help stay flexible, and,well….”

“Now we’re both on the dance team,” Avalos finishes.

Avalos explains, “I get why we run in gym class. I get that it helps our self-esteem. It’s helped mine. When I see other people in gym who don’t try, Ana and I like to be positive and tell them, “You can do it. Hustle! Hustle! Hustle!”

“We mainly try to say encouraging positive words because we both know how it was to be chubby.”

Having a positive support group, like your best friend, can be the motivation you need to go start exercising. A little “sì, se puede” from a friend can make a 15 minute walk around the park seem like 1 minute!

Ana adds, “Staying active starts off slow.

“There is a lot of pressure to look good from artists like Becky G and Jennifer Lopez, I like to tell myself that I do this to feel better about myself, to be a better person and be body powerful,” Espinoza adds.

Physical education can encourage a fit body and mind. It helps fuel the mind and pumps the heart to alleviate the stress and prepare students to do their best in school.

You too can take small steps in achieving a fit lifestyle. Encourage family and friends to ride bikes to the park or walk around town to find a new location to talk to talk to other kids your age.

Gluten-Free Dessert Pizza

Gluten intolerance has become more common in many people today.  More often than not, many are gluten intolerant without even knowing! Being gluten intolerant means your body is rejecting gluten, which is commonly found in foods process from wheat. They may be experiencing stomach troubles and not able to figure out why this is so. Since gluten intolerance is becoming more and more common, many foods have become available to these people in the past year or so.

This  gluten-free dessert pizza recipe is for those who are gluten intolerant but still want to be able to eat delicious foods like everyone else! Not to mention, this may be more healthy than many other desserts out there.

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What You Will Need:

Crust:

1 large ripe banana

1 box Gluten Free Graham Crackers

3 tbsp agave (or honey)

Frosting:

3/4 container Cool Whip

1/4 cup cream cheese

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup sugar

Before beginning, preheat the oven to 350ºF.

To start off, crush the graham crackers until it becomes almost like a flour texture. To do this, you can use a food processor or manually. After this is done, add the ripe banana and agave, or honey, into the graham cracker crumbs. Combine these ingredients with either an electric mixer or a fork, so that the banana is mashed completely or until the mixture will turn into a dough.

Next, grease a baking sheet, and roll out your dough mixture onto the sheet—flattening it into your desired shape. If you would like, indent the edges of the dough with a fork (like you would on empanadas) to add a little decoration to it.

Once this is done, place the crust into the oven for 12-15 minutes. Check on it periodically. It is done when the crust has a cookie-like texture.

While the crust is baking, prepare the frosting topping.

Add all the frosting ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until the frosting is whipped and creamy. Refrigerate the frosting mixture until it becomes firm. While the topping is firming up, let the crust cool down on the baking sheet.

To decorate your dessert pizza, grab your favorite fruits and other toppings such as nuts and seeds. Set them out and have them ready to use as toppings for your dessert pizza while your frosting is firming up and your crust is cooling down.

Decorate your pizza however you desire and have fun with it! It is healthy and safe to eat for those who are gluten intolerant.

Family VS Facebook

1374166_668942679783592_214847276_nFacebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. The social media world; entertaining, but can also become harmful to people. Have you ever seen a person that never has time for anything else but surfing through their phone on social media? What if a close family member or friend is too busy on their social network to spend time with you or even acknowledge that you are there?

According to statistics found on The Guardian Liberty Voice, “when habits begin to interfere with daily lives – where one simply can’t do anything else until they’ve had their social media ‘fix’ – then it has become an addiction.” One doesn’t only like to get on social networks daily, it becomes you, you cannot seem to go with your day without getting ‘online’; after a while it simply becomes an addiction to social networks. 

These social networks have become more than a part of our lives, but part of who we are and what we choose to do on a daily basis.

Mom VS Facebook

Sometimes when I get home from school and something exciting happens I would like to run home and tell my mom, but recently it has become a war for her attention between myself and Facebook.When we hear her laugh it is because of a picture she saw, when she talks to me is to help her navigate better through Facebook. It has been bothering me and I didn’t know how to face it, until I just learned to accept it. Once I wasn’t paying attention to her anymore she noticed she was excluding everyone around her and realized the mistake she had done, and now she only uses Facebook when she has nothing to do or no one to talk to, she learned to make time for her social media use and myself.

Stephanie, 18, had a similar experience like mine. ”I love my Mom, but sometimes I just want to yell at her because all she does is Photoshop me in pictures and post them on Facebook, everyone would see and some of those pictures were embarrassing. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but I had to tell her to stop because she wasn’t even paying attention to me, she wasn’t even doing her job good, and she wasn’t paying any attention to her family. It got to a point where she was ‘talking Facebook’, she would used to say. ‘Ooh, Like! Poke! 50 Likes, yes’ and she would post every 30 seconds to say exactly what she was doing, even when she was going to shower! It was already to another level, she had gone over board. Good thing we… talked some sense into her. Now, she only gets on social networks when she’s bored at home and I couldn’t be more proud of her,” said Stephanie.

The Pew Research and Project claim how “a widely-reported 2006 study argued that since 1985 Americans have become more socially isolated, the size of their discussion networks has declined, and the diversity of those people with whom they discuss important matters has decreased.” People care less and less about social interaction face-to-face now with the new technologies and have been socially alone, and the ethnic group that belongs to this is mostly Americans.

“My best friend was always on it, she even started missing school because she would stay up until 5 in the morning on social networks, posting pictures, looking at her feed, it got to a point where I had to do an intervention to show her how bad social networks were affecting her. She realized then how it was also affecting everyone around her. I just think everyone needs a balance, everything must be done with moderation,” said Lizzeth, 24.

Social networks can be entertaining and fun, but if you choose not to do it with moderation, there will be consequences. Being stuck to our electronic devices daily can affect how we behave and cause us to miss out on special moments with people that matter. Put down the phone and go look at the world, enjoy the priceless times you get with your loved ones and you can go back to the social media world when you have absolutely nothing better to do. Use it as a way to get away from reality once in a while, but don’t let that take away time from precious moments you could be spending with someone you love.

Planning For Your Future

College Chica, 2013

College Chica, 2013

Do you know what you want to study or what you want to be when you grow up? If you don’t, that’s okay. Your parents or friends have probably encouraged you to start thinking about what you want to be when you grow up so you can pick the best college for you. From financial aid to finding the perfect university, they might have shared some advice because they are concerned about your future.

You might know what you want to be when you grow up or maybe you’re just barely thinking about it. Knowing what you want to be when you grow up increases the opportunities that you can take advantage of in middle school and high school. Even if you are torn between two dream jobs, knowing what type of career you are interested in helps in knowing what type of scholarships you can apply to , and you can start early in your career by picking classes in high school that will give you a head-start in your dream job.

“I want to be an FBI agent, I was so ready for college and ready to have fun, but I never thought it was going to be this hard. I should’ve listened to everyone; college is really expensive, I can barely afford it, and I have to take out a lot of loans just to get by. I should’ve applied for scholarships and applied to more colleges. I procrastinated too much,” said Jocelyn, 20.

Even though she knew what she wanted to study, she didn’t plan for her future. Unlike Jocelyn, girls like Xochitl whom needed extra time to figure things out had a back up plan in high school.

“I didn’t quite know exactly what I wanted to be or what to study, but when I was a senior in high school I applied to all of the scholarships available, even if I thought I wouldn’t get it. I applied everywhere no matter how hard it was,” said Xochitl, 23.

She started early, even if she didn’t know what to study she kept applying everywhere. Some were a miss, but in the end she did wind up receiving enough money to pay for everything and still had some leftover money.

Even if you already know what college or university you want to go to, it is recommended for you to apply to more than one school and multiple scholarships because it is always better to have a plan B, just in case.

“Of course, I didn’t win all the scholarships, but the more you apply the more chances you have of winning one. I got two scholarships; I paid my tuition, my books, and everything I needed for school. I still had $2,000 left all for myself, but I bet if I knew what I wanted to study like I do now I would’ve gotten more scholarships,” said Xochitl.

Preparation may not be easy, might take awhile, or you might think you still have a long way to go, or that you will do it later, but take advantage of the time where you have nothing to do and start brainstorming. It’s never too early to start.

If you start planning your future now who knows, you might get more money than you ever expected. If you don’t you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket or with loans. Loans are often the last resort, and it’s not the best financial decision because you’ll be in debt. The worst thing you can do is to not apply at all. Planning ahead will not only help you financially, it will reduce the stress. Start planning, little by little, it might be stressful having so many options thinking of your life, what you want to do with it, but it will all be worth it in the end.

Winter Wear

The winter season is the best time for getting together, but you want to stay comfortable chic in the process. Scarves, socks, and beanies, if you don’t have them now’s the time to start. Cute accessories are the best way to stay warm and you can finally bust out with those cute boots; unless you live in Texas, that’s all year round. This year’s staple is of course, the always changing and always fashionable winter coat.

 FAUX SHOW!

The winter season calls for many festive events along with many family and friend get-togethers, where you always want to dress conservatively but still cute. That’s where the faux comes in, faux fur and leather.

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Courtesy of Polyvore

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Courtesy of Polyvore.com

Coats lined with fur on the collar and sometimes the sleeves are darling, a full fur coat  or vest is also a classic staple. There’s nothing wrong if you’re into the real stuff, real leather and fur can be very nice this time of year. Full fur coats are also a staple and add an extra heat insulator. Leather isn’t only for rock stars anymore, it’s a versatile material that can give you that classic edgy look that only you can pull off.

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Courtesy of Polyvore.com

Another important staple for the cold weather is the boot. Everyone knows that the key to a warm body is a cute boot. Whether it be knee highs, or booties, boots are stomping on the streets, and they’re getting creative. Boots work well in any setting, a day out on the town, walking around school, and family get-togethers. They’re a stylish casual wear that is acceptable everywhere.

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Courtesy of Polyvore.com

TRENDY

One trend that has been catching on this past year is the skater skirt and the color or print pant. The skater skirt can also be in the form of a dress but is extremely flattering on the waistline. It’s perfect with a tight fit top or cozy sweater, and you can wear it to a holiday dinner or a night on the town!

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Courtesy of Polyvore.com

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Courtesy of Karmaloop

 

The print and color bottoms give your outfit that fun, creative accent to any perfect basic. Especially if they’re high wasted or a fun fabric, like velvet or corduroy. Pair these bottoms with a sheer button up, lace blouse, or a fun T-shirt coupled with a sports jacket for a little maturity. Add your favorite pair of heels or flats and you’re ready for a fun day at school or the movies with your friends.

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Courtesy of Polyvore.com

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Courtesy of Polyvore.com

 

WINTER WHITE

You can’t survive winter without a coat, and this year the lighter colors are in. Winter white, soft cream, light gray, and powder blue all compliment any occasion, creating a soft and fun winter warmth.

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Courtesy of Refinery29

 

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Courtesy of Polyvore.com

 

 

If you’re like most people and have a hard time keeping white clothes clean, simple black coats with a longer lapel (collar) and limited buttons work fabulously. You could also wear the simple black petti coat, a timeless winter classic. Below are a few outfit ideas to fit into your everyday life.

Latinas Living Healthy

Did you know Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States? That’s right, according to the U.S Census Bureau, there are approximately 52 million Latinos living in the country! With a population like that, you would think Latinos would surely be healthy, right? Well, according the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one-third of Latinos in the U.S. do not have access to health insurance and are facing some pretty serious health conditions like Cancer and High Blood Pressure. Diseases like these and many more are becoming a noticeable trend amongst Latinos and are indeed affecting La Raza of all ages.

Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the topic of Latino Health and stated that a whopping “Forty percent of Hispanic children are overweight and 50 percent are on track to develop diabetes.” With data like this, you may be pretty worried about you and your loved ones also becoming part of the statistics, but, don’t panic just yet, there’s good news! Simple lifestyle changes like exercising and eating healthy can drastically improve your health and lower your chances of diseases.

Water - healthy option

San Jose State University alum, Karen Gonzalez, says when you choose healthier snacks and leave the sugary drinks behind, life has more to offer.

“Health is important because you cannot enjoy the pleasures of life or any aspects of life to the fullest if your health is not a priority,” shares Karen.

While some focus on their health to enjoy present times to the maximum, other like Claudia Candelas says she maintains a healthy lifestyle today to make her future brighter. The Public Relations major says, “I want to be healthy when I have my children in order to be more active and keep up with them, eating clean and staying active is part of my life.”

Finding healthier food alternatives can be somewhat difficult so ask your parents for their full support and make it a family lifestyle change all together. Join them on grocery store visits and even offer to find new healthy recipes to whip up together. You’ll show your parents and family that you are actively taking interest in your health, which will inspire them and many more to take preventative action against health diseases in the Latino community.

Now that you know the value and importance of living a healthy lifestyle, the next step is in your hands.Doctors typically recommend daily physical activity anywhere from 30-45 minutes so find a local hiking trail or grab a few girlfriends, a softball bat and a new attitude to hit your health out of the park!

Stand Up to Cyberbullying

As technology advances, so do the problems that come with it.  Cyberbullying is defined as the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostel behavior by an individual or group who wants to harm others. It is a serious social problem that seems to be growing among teens. Cyberbullying has led to eating disorders, depression, suicidal thoughts and suicides. Cyberbullying needs to be addressed by schools, law enforcement, parents, and online websites in order to stop completely. Here are some actions you can take to avoid cyberbullying and stay cyber-safe.

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Ways to Stay Safe:

1. Never give out personal information: Waiting for hours on your favorite band’s page to buy tickets, to their upcoming show, is extremely important, along with your online shopping addiction. But be on the lookout, keep personal info like bank account numbers, pin numbers,and  passwords to online social networks to yourself! This will help prevent others from posting inappropriate information on your accounts and stealing personal information.

2. Don’t believe everything you see or read:
Just like your soccer team’s locker room gossip, don’t  believe everything people say or post online, because they could easily be rumors. Also, don’t believe all the  personal information people share, like their age. That Justin Bieber look-alike can be lying and tell you he’s 15 when he can actually be a lot older.

3.Use Netiquette:
Manners online are just as important as those in the real world. Be cautious of what comments you make, or words you use to address others. When online treat others the way you would like to be treated. In other words, treat them just like you would off-line, with respect.

4. Don’t send a message to someone when you are angry:
Keep an online diary or notepad and write down all your frustrations, but don’t send anything. Anger can cause you to express yourself in ways you normally wouldn’t, which can be hurtful. Wait until you are calm and have analyzed the situation before sending a virtual message.

5. If it doesn’t look or feel right, it probably isn’t:
Trust your instincts and if your gut tells you not to do something then don’t do it. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

6. You don’t always have to be “on.”
Escape back to the real world. Turn off, disconnect, or unplug your device once in a while!  Try actual reality instead of virtual  reality: Don’t spend too much time online; try riding a bike, reading a book, or exercising instead. Challenge yourself to an afternoon without electronics!

You followed the safety protocol but are being threatened by a cyberbully, what should you do? Here are some tips on how to handle a cyberbully.

 How to Handle A Cyberbully:

1. Don’t reply to messages from cyberbullies:
To avoid any problems simply ignore the cyberbully by  not replying to his/her messages. This might be difficult, but it’s best not to add fuel to the fire.

2. Do not keep this to yourself!
You are NOT alone and you did NOT do anything to deserve this!  Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to a parent or adult. The best way to deal with this sort of situation, is to ask someone you trust for help and advice.

3. Inform your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or cell phone/ pager service provider:
Most websites or cell phones have ways to block a bully. Use these services and don’t be afraid to report anyone who is harassing you.

4. Inform your local police:
If the bullying continues and escalates, call the police.  This might be scary but remember, the police are there to help no matter what your problem is.

5. Do not erase or delete messages from cyberbulies:
If things get really bad, don’t delete anything so that you have proof of the cyberbullying. Do not reply, but save them so you have evidence for when you do report them.

6. Protect yourself!!:
Never arrange to meet online with someone without knowing who they are. If you decide to meet up with a new online acquaintance make you sure it is in a public place and that you have your parents approval. Always practice internet safety, chicas.

Cyberbullies tend to be male and the cyber-victims female. More research needs to be done in order to determine how much influence gender really has on cyberbullying.  Statistics show that 1 in every 7 students is either a bully or a victim, which should be a high enough number for schools to realize more should be done about the problem. Some online websites that aid victims of cyberbullying mainly approach parents or caregivers instead of the adolescents who make up the highest number of cybervictims.  Schools are slow to do something about the problem because they’re not quite sure how or when to approach an incident.

Cyberbullying should be taken more seriously because of the physical or physiological consequences it can have on someone. More can be done if Cyberbullying is seen as a problem and not as an issue among adolescents.

How to Start Experimenting with Makeup

Deciding whether or not to wear makeup should come down to two things: if you want to and if you are comfortable with it! According to tenth grader Ana Rivera, girls should wear makeup “if they like it, not if they [feel] they need to [according to] someone else’s [opinion].” Twelfth grader Nancy agrees with Ana, saying: “[it] depends on them (girls) and how they feel about it.” Wearing (or not wearing) makeup is a personal decision. Glam it up or keep it natural because it is what makes you happy, not anyone else!

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At What Age Should I Start?

Ah, the age old question. The answer is, well, there is no definite answer! In a series of interviews conducted for this article, high school girls gave a range of responses. Alyssa Ariola, a tenth grader says 13 is a good age for girls to start wearing makeup. For Adriana Cardiel, a  twelfth grader, 13 is too soon. “14 or 15” is an appropriate age for girls to start, she says. Nancy Palacio has a median answer, saying 14 is a preferable age to begin experimenting with makeup.

If age does not determine when you should wear makeup, what does? According to Beauty Fool blogger Renée, the best age to start wearing makeup is “whenever you feel you are ready to wear [it. Everyone is different, so a single answer does not fit everyone. Whenever you’re ready, go for it!

How Much Makeup Should I Wear?

For those of us starting out, it is tempting to want to try on everything in the makeup department; everything looks so pretty and fun! However, it is best to slowly “ease into it with little things,” according to Ana Rivera.

To play up your eyes, Adriana suggests wearing clear mascara and pencil eye liner. For your lips, Nancy suggests trying lipstick. If you are barely starting to wear make up, soft pinks are the way to go. Leave those dramatic hot pinks, reds, browns or purples for when you are older and more experienced with makeup. If you want to take it a step further, you can sweep on a little blush, according to Nancy. Keep in mind: you do not have to wear all of this stuff at once! It depends on what features you want to bring out.

Now What?

Now that we have answered some of your big makeup-related questions, the choice is up to you. If you feel like you are ready to experiment with makeup: go for it and have fun, because makeup should be fun. Never feel obligated to change the way you look because of peer pressure or because you feel you are not “good enough.” You’re already perfect, chica.

Your Questions About Body Image, Answered

1. My friends are always calling themselves fat even though they’re not. I weigh more than they do and it sucks that they’re always calling themselves fat. They make me feel like a whale. Should I tell them something? I’m worried that they’ll make fun of me. 

Yes, tell them something! Friends should always be able to talk and be honest with one another. What’s more, I think you’ll probably be surprised by what this conversation brings to light. Notice that you don’t think they’re fat, even though they call themselves fat. Could it be that the way they’re looking at their own bodies is way too critical? And if that’s the case, isn’t it also possible that you’re being way too critical of your own body when you say you feel like a whale?

Talk to each other. Listen. Use this opportunity to help bring each other up, rather than putting each other down. We’re always hardest on ourselves, and what are friends for if not to help us see the good in each other?

2. My mom calls me “gordita” and makes comments that my clothes are feeling tight. It bothers me, but every time I bring it up she tells me I’m being dramatic.

First of all, know that you’re not being dramatic—words are powerful and for some reason in our culture, words like “gordita” and “flaca” are considered terms of affection, even though I’ve never met anyone who actually enjoys being called either. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our loved ones called us by nicknames that are a reflection of who we are rather than how we look?

In fact, next time your mom calls you “gordita,” ask her to think of a new nickname for you—one based off her favorite quality about you. Make it something you both can do together: ask her to pick a few names, tell her which ones you like and which ones you don’t, and why.

If she continues to comment about your clothes or say that you’re being dramatic, don’t let that stop you from speaking up. Tell her, “You may think I’m being dramatic, but it’s only because this is a big deal to me. Can we please talk about it?”

3. I started to lie about what I eat to lose weight. My friends are telling me it’s not healthy, but I’d rather be skinny than be fat. How do I make them realize it’s what I want?  

Let’s start with the issue of lying. Ever notice that we only lie when we know something we’re doing isn’t right? You should never have to lie about your eating habits, so why do you feel you have to? Could it be because you think your friends might be right? It sounds to me like they’re concerned about your health, and are worried that you aren’t eating enough in an effort to lose weight. If this is the case, they’re right. There are healthy and effective ways to lose weight, but lying about what you eat and starving isn’t one of them.

It’s time to be very honest with yourself and those who care about you. Are you trying to be “skinny” because it’s something you really want, or are you hoping to look like the supposedly perfect models we see in magazines or in the movies? The problem with having “skinny” be a personal goal is that we end up pursuing an idea of perfection that doesn’t exist. Skinny models and actresses in magazines are Photoshopped to look pounds and pounds lighter than they are in real life. This means that girls who end up pursuing this idea of skinny can never reach that goal, because that goal is a lie.

But, you know what’s a great goal to have? To be healthy and strong. If you want to feel good about your body, start by treating it right—no negative thoughts like calling yourself fat allowed. Make sure that your body is getting the foods and nutrients it needs, and find fun ways to exercise like playing sports, dancing, or whatever other fun activities you enjoy. Ask your parents to help you pack meals that are healthier for you.

You’ll find that eating better and getting exercise creates some positive changes in your body, like giving you more energy and helping you get stronger so you can do more of the things you love. Take care of your body and it’ll take care of you. Honestly.

4. Every time I go to a family member’s house they serve me soooo much food! I try to be nice and say I don’t want that much, but they get offended. I don’t want to be fat like them, what do I do? 

First, thank them for the food. Oftentimes food is how family members express their love and affection, so it might be hard for Abuela or Tia to not take it personally when you turn down their homemade meal. Keep this in mind as you tell them how much you want—it’s not that you don’t appreciate them cooking for you, and it’s not that you don’t like the food, it’s just that you want to enjoy it without feeling super full afterwards. Try to make this clear to them, and well, if they still serve you too much, listen to your body and stop eating when you’re no longer hungry, not when you’re feeling stuffed. Offer to put away your dish and thank them again for the meal. Keep this up and they’ll get the message eventually—no one likes to see food go to waste!

Most importantly, treat each other with respect and kindness. Nobody likes being called fat, and if you judge your own family by their looks and weight, you’re bound to judge yourself by the same measures. We are all so much more than that.

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