Review: Princess Academy

85990Princess Academy by Shannon Hale tells the story of a 14 year old girl named Miri Larendaughter. Miri lives in the village of Mount Eskel with her father Laren and her sister Marda. There, she struggles to fit in and feels isolated, because she has never been allowed to work in the quarry like the rest of the villagers due to an accident that left her motherless.

The only person who actually sees Miri for what she’s worth is Pedar Doterson, her childhood playmate and best friend. Pedar and Miri both share a secret affection for each other but it is not allowed to flourish because one day, a messenger from the king arrives and announces that the prince is to choose a bride from Mount Eskel. A “princess academy,” is created and the girls from the village are taken away for princess training.

At the academy, Miri outshines all the other girls and receives the title of academy princess. She is allowed the first dance with the prince and from that point onward, Miri experiences many changes and is faced with trying to figure out where her heart lies… Does she want a prince, or is she in love with Pedar? Can she leave her family behind? Even scarier, can she be a princess?

Princess Academy is a wonderful coming of age story, and it really calls attention to the themes of community, gender, and education. It’s empowering. It’s thrilling. And more importantly, it breathes hope and life into the hearts of anyone who reads the tale.

Gaby Orendain comments, “I remember really liking the book! To me, Miri was a strong but relatable character who did great things despite her ‘humble’ mountain origins. I liked how she started off as being small and shy, and then grew to be not only one of the best in the academy, but also someone who helped save the day!”

It’s hard to say why Miri Larendaughter is the great protagonist that she is without spoiling the story, but one things for sure: Miri breaks the norm. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty,etc.  are damsels in distress and they needed a prince to come save them. And sure, Miri may start off as a damsel in distress, but she evolves so much throughout the story. However, in the end, she provides the saving. She saves the prince, she saves the village, and she grows up to be a real woman with strength, power, humility and big big heart.

DIY: Coupon Book & Photography Project

In Costa Rica, Mother’s Day is celebrated on August 15th, also known as the Feast of the Assumption, which, in the Catholic religion, celebrates the rise of the Virgin Mary to heaven. For those in the U.S. and in other Latin American countries, Mother’s Day has passed, but who says you can’t celebrate Mother’s Day more than once? Tell your mamá she’s extra special and deserves to be honored at the same time as Costa Rica!

Coupon Book
Now, I’m not talking about any old store coupon book. I’m talking about a coupon book that you make yourself. This special coupon book will include free favors that your mother would really appreciate. Like washing the dishes, doing the laundry, baby sitting your siblings so your mom can have some alone time, and if you are feeling extra giving, you can even put a free 5 minute foot massage.

Materials

  • You can use flash cards, construction paper, or just normal paper
  • Writing utensils (markers, pens, or even crayons)
  •  Scissors

What to do

For this DIY project, you cut the paper of your choice into rectangles and write something like this:

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Now, if you’re like me, your mother doesn’t speak English, so you can translate with “Dia de la Madre cupon.” You can make as many many coupons as you want, be creative!

 

Photography Project

My mom absolutely loves photographs, and I know that whenever I give her one she always get super excited and happy. What I love doing for my mom is taking a picture months ahead of her birthday or Mothers day, that way when I give her the photo she’ll totally forget about taking that photo and take her by surprise in a beautiful way. Now, this DIY project can be done in a lot of ways, including making a collage of your favorite pictures. Once you have a few photos, go to Wal-Mart, CVS, or Walgreens and print them out. For chicas on a budget, you can also print them out at home. When you’re ready to make a collage, you can make them scrapbook style or something unique like using a clothes hanger:
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To make this DIY project, you will need a clothes hanger, ribbon, hot glue, and a set of pictures. You can use two small ribbons to create like a ladder, or you can use larger ribbons — it’s up to you, chica! Arrange the pictures how you want them on the ribbon, then glue them on, and, when you;re done, tie them to the hanger. Super cute, right?

Career Spotlight: Director of Nemours Children’s Hospital


By Blair Beggan, Director of Communications for The Association of Air Medical ServicesMaria Fernandez, the Director of Nemours Children’s Hospital, has aced both personal and professional challenges to rise to her current position, but she wouldn’t change a thing. Her heritage and her culture only aid in the work she does today, and I was lucky enough to sit down and speak with her.

1) Could you describe what your current position at Nemours Children’s Hospital entails?

Currently, I work as the Director of Critical Care Transport Services. My patients’ ages range from birth to 18 years of age. And although a lot of my current position requires management and oversight, I am still able to practice my clinical skills. I started as a nurse practitioner, and to this day I still go out and do field work when needed. For me, the ability to go out and transport a pediatric patient that requires critical care is the most rewarding part of my job. I like to be there for the families and friends of the patient, as well as the patient themselves. And my job doesn’t end when the patient leaves the hospital. I follow-up with the patients once they go home and keep track of their progress.

2) How are you involved with the Association for Air Medical Services (AAMS)?

I have been involved with AAMS since 1992! During my first nursing job, I worked very closely with the director of my medical transport team. In 1997, I became a member of AAMS and was involved with the organization from Day One. Being able to attend conferences and training seminars helped me to expand my network and grow as a medical transport care provider. I love the wealth of information that AAMS has given me, both for my professional development and for the growth of the organizations I work for.

3) Can you tell us any stories about patients or situations that were especially meaningful to you?

Several years back, I was on a medical transport for a premature baby who had not yet been home due to ongoing medical issues. The concern was that the baby was going to develop blindness because of how premature he was. The patient was very unstable, but needed to be transported to a specialist at another hospital and the decision on whether or not the baby could make the flight came down to me. But I was confident in my team and the people around me. I knew we could safely transport this baby and give him a chance at a great quality of life. The baby was in Puerto Rico and it was a two hour transport to the states. We stayed by the baby’s side the whole time, making sure he was comfortable and stable. He survived the flight, underwent eye surgery and he is now able to see. The family feels like my decision to transport their son is the reason he isn’t blind today, and I still keep in touch with them to this day. This type of story is the reason I do my job – I want to give these children a chance to have the best life possible.

 

Early this year I had another patient experience that really moved me emotionally. A teenage child was found unconscious about two hours away from my hospital. The medical crew on site was not sure what had caused the child to pass out. I arrived on the scene and immediately began to communicate with my team back in Orlando. We used FaceTime to communicate and share thoughts about the condition. We came to the conclusion that the patient may be having an allergic reaction to medicine. We changed the medicine and, amazingly, the child did a complete 180 and survived. It was wonderful to be able to use my knowledge in a situation like this and help save a life. I tell people all the time that I picked the best profession!

 

4) Can you tell us a little about your background and how your heritage has helped you become the woman you are today?

I was born in Cuba, but I left for Mexico at a very young age. Shortly thereafter, when I was two years old, we immigrated to the United States. My mom was a single parent in New York raising two children, and we grew up speaking mostly Spanish in our home. She was definitely an inspiration motivating us to pursue higher education and take advantage of life in the U.S. Being a single mother myself, I appreciate her even more today and understand how hard she worked to give me a wonderful life.

 

I moved to Miami in 1978 because I wanted to go to University of Miami to get nursing degree. I graduated from nursing school in 1983 and went on to get my masters in nursing at Florida International University (FIU). I then received my Masters in Business Administration and Health Services Administration in 2006. And this December, I will be completing my doctorate in nursing!

I think growing up in a Spanish-speaking household gave me a huge advantage in the nursing world, especially in Miami and Orlando. I am at an advantage for working with patients that a have a Hispanic background because I can speak to them in their native language and put them at ease. During times of crisis, people prefer to speak and communicate in their native tongue and it is wonderful to be able to offer than to them. I love being a mentor for other Hispanic women looking to pursue a career in nursing – I tell them it is something they won’t ever regret!

Advice: Dealing with Anxiety, Bullying, and Shyness

Young Latinitas gave some advice on issues that may affect all of us at one time to another. Hispanic girk looking sadWe have all dealt with anxiety, bullying or being shy on certain occasions. We get it; we’ve all been there, and these girls are here to give some advice on some of these issues. Here’s what you can do if you ever find yourself in these situations.

1.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH ANXIETY?

When I am anxious I try to first calm myself, then I try to distract my mind with something that I like to do. It could be as simple as going to sleep and take a shower or going out with my friends or family.

2.WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH BULLYING?

If you experience bullying, do not stay quiet! Words are a powerful tool, and if you stay quiet the bullying is going to continue. Try to talk to the bully first, and if that does not work then talk to a responsible adult like your parents or a teacher.

3.WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH BEING SHY?

If you are shy, the first thing you need to do is feel comfortable in your own body and accept your strengths and weaknesses. When you achieve that, then take the risk of getting out of your comfort zone. Many times when we are shy we just stay in our own bubble and stick to the things we know, but if we do not take risks we can never know of the things we are missing out. The third step is to be confident about yourself. Know all the potential that you can bring. Lastly do not be afraid. I know it may not be easy, but overcoming shyness can bring you more benefits.

Chica Poderosa: Emily Hernandez

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In our Chicas Poderosa series, we highlight the stories of chicas and what makes them poderosas! Meet Emily Hernandez, Spring 2016 Editorial Intern. When asked why she’s a chica poderosa, Emily shares:

I am a chica poderosa because I’m proud of my Mexican roots, I’m independent, and I do everything I can to help the Latina community.

I’m a first generation Mexican American and I cannot be more proud. Growing up I had to translate everything for my parents, make doctor appointments for my entire family, and even help my siblings with their homework. Being a first generation and the oldest, I had many responsibilities a normal child didn’t have but those responsibilities and extra work made me the person I am today. I know two languages, I know how to cook and clean, I’m a college senior graduating this May, and I’m independent. Being the brain of the household gave me grit and the motivation to make a difference in Latinas lives.

My advice to Chicas everywhere is to be proud from where you came from, be proud of your body and mind, do not depend on anyone, and never stop dreaming.  You can achieve greatness and so much more if you put your mind to it and never let one failure kill your spirit. This same advice I give to my younger siblings. I know theres times in life when stereotypes makes it difficult to be happy with our looks and brains, but you’ll slowly realize that you are unique and you should never let anyone tell you otherwise. I see this all the time in young chicas and it makes me want to be a big sister for each and everyone of them.

Haunted: Legends of Our Past

One part of our culture is the leyendas or legends that are passed down throughout the time. As legends are passed through the grape vine each person, family, or even city has different versions of legends. Legends were once used to pass time or even scare children into behaving. Legends are an important part of our culture and are fun to talk about at anytime.

La Llorna:
“The crying woman” which is the literal translation of the phrase, is one of the most infamous leyenda. Though there are many versions of the story they all tell of a woman drowning her children either in sorrow, insanity, or selfishness. The tale most commonly goes that a young beautiful Mexican woman fell in love with a Spaniard, they had two children together. She waited and waited for him to make her his wife but that day never came. One day she decided she could hold her silence no more and traveled to his house to talk to him of their future. Upon her arrival she saw a fiesta (party) going on; it was her Spaniard’s wedding celebration to another woman. She was incredibly heartbroken and in a fit of insanity she drowned her children in the nearby river. She later realized what she had done and was cursed to wander the earth forever searching for her children. Some versions say that she drowned her children because she was waiting for her husband who never returned or that she wanted to rid herself of the burden the children caused. Each version warns children to not be out late at night because La Llorna searches each night for her lost children.

La Calle de la Quemada:
This legend despite its title (“the street of the burnt woman”) is not haunting like most legends, but instead tells the love story between Doña Beatriz and Martin Scipoli. Doña Beatriz was the most beautiful girls in her town; she easily charmed all men and had many suitors. Her father constantly pestered her to marry one of the men that loved her but she did not love any of them. One day she met a young Italian by the name of Don Martin Scipoli and they instantly fall in love. Soon the couple reaches turmoil as Don Martin is incredibly jealous and fights with everyman who looks at Beatriz. Doña Beatriz grows fearful that he only loves her for her beauty and decides to create a test. She places a wet handkerchief on her eyes and buries her face in coals becoming incredibly disfigured. Upon seeing her Don Martin does not act disgusted but instead ask her to marry him. They loved each other and neither one ever lived in fear again.

Pascualita:
There once was a clothing store in Chihuahua and the owner of the store (Pascuala Esparza) was said to have one of the most beautiful daughters in all of Mexico. Her daughter was soon to be married and on her wedding day tragedy struck, she was bitten by a black widow. Pascuala sunk into a depression and the store was closed for weeks. When the store re-opened everyone was in raptures over a new mannequin placed at the largest window in the store. The mannequin was incredibly beautiful and looked very life like. Soon people began to wonder about the mannequin because its eyes seemed to follow you and sometimes people swore it would come to life by smiling or winking at you. It was said that Pascuala found it difficult to part with her daughter that she preserved her body in the form of a mannequin.

By Ytzel McDaniel

Artistas Talentosas

These talented women have made significant contributions within the art world.

Alexis Herrera
Alexis Herrera is known for her diverse gothic paintings. Cuento de mis monsters is one of her outstanding galleries that emphasize anxiety, ordinary illusions of herself and her own version of mythological stories. She possesses an excellent technique at drawing and an outgoing imagination since she tells the most creative, and sometimes dark, stories around Texas with her paintings.

Carmen Herrera
Carmen Herrera has made great contributions to the abstract expressionism movement in Cuba with her paintings. She is iconic and well-known for using bright colors and expressing them through geometric figures.

Carmen Lomas Garza focuses on the daily lives of Mexican Americans. Her paintings emphasize ordinary events that she went through while living in California and Texas during her childhood. She uses a technique called gouache (which is a water color paint in a dry and opaque surface). This contemporary Latina established the Carmen Lomas Garza Primary Center in 2007 in Los Angeles. The center creates a free discrimination space for Mexican American kids who want to learn about painting.

Latina Activists: Huerta, Sor Juana and Anzaldúa

Learn more about these Latina activists:

Dolores Huerta

Huerta is a labor leader and civil rights activist who was an early member of the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). Huerta was the daughter of Juan Fernandez, a miner, farmer worker, union activist, and state assemblyman, and Alicia Chavez. Chavez raised Huerta and her two brothers in the central California farm worker community of Stockton, California. Huerta’s mother was known for her kindness and compassion towards others and was active in community affairs, numerous civic organizations, and the church.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

She was a self-taught scholar and poet of the Baroque school, and was known in her lifetime as “The Tenth Muse.” Juana was a devoutly religious child who often hid in the hacienda chapel to read her grandfather’s books from the adjoining library, something forbidden to girls. She learned how to read and write Latin at the age of three.Sor Juana is considered today as a Mexican writer and a contributor to the Spanish Golden Age. Her famous poema is “hombres necios que acusan a la mujer sin razon.”

Gloria Anzaldúa

She was a scholar of Chicana cultural theory and feminist theory. Anzaldúa was born in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. Gloria Anzaldúa’s great-grandfather, Mr. Urbano, was the first owner of the Jesús María Ranch in which she was born. Her mother grew up in an adjoining ranch, Los Vergeles, which was owned by her family. She met and married Urbano Anzaldúa when both were very young. Anzaldúa was a descendant of many of the prominent Spanish explorers and settlers to come to the Americas in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as of indigenous descent.

Soy Bilingüe

 These Latina women tell their story and the experiences they’ve had growing up in a world where they have to balance two different cultures and two different languages. Some have more experience speaking English and Spanish, but being Mexican-Americans and coming from Latino families, they all agree that living between both worlds and both languages just became part of their normal lives.

Bianca Castrejon grew up in El Paso Texas. Her grandparents and father grew up in Mexico; being second generation in the United States, English is her first language. She shares that in school, speaking English was a requirement while speaking Spanish was punished, yet because her family spoke to her in Spanish she is familiar with both.

Because my family speaks a lot of Spanish, there’s some words that I know in Spanish better than I know in English. Sometimes I’ll be mixing the two even though Spanish is not my first language,” Bianca shares.

Bianca is not the only one to mix these two languages; many agree that living in an area with such a strong Latino culture, it becomes a normal thing. Evelyn, who lives in a bilingual home, feels more comfortable speaking English. She comments on her views of those who speak this new language, Spanglish.

“Most people that do speak Spanglish are learning English, they went to school in Mexico and then came over here. They can’t just pick up English so they mix it. I don’t see a problem with it, Spanish is their language and they are trying to catch English,” she adds.

Sharlenne Zubia, who feels that she is fluent in both languages, grew up in the border region of the United States and mixes both frequently.

“I’ll say something like quiero esos red shoes, I’ll mix English and Spanish,” she says.

When asked if she thought this was okay she responded that “as long as you can communicate, I think it’s fine.” She explains everyone in her community find this normal.

With 41 million native speakers in the United States plus an additional 11.6 bilingual speakers, all women feel that knowing both languages and being bilingual has now become a great advantage.

Vanessa Ramirez, who speaks Spanish at home and English at school shares that “when you apply for a job, they prefer the ones who are bilingual.”

These women are not only used to hearing and using both languages, but looking back at history and how the world has become highly globalized, it should then come as no surprise that surely knowing both languages is a positive thing. Yet, some of the girls share some of their negative experiences when accidentally mixing both when speaking.

Ariadne Venegas was born in El Paso Texas yet continues to live in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. She spends a lot of time in the United States and actually started learning English when she was in kindergarten. Even though Spanish is her first language, spending so much time in the United States has resulted in some English words occasionally slipping out.

Porque ya paso la mayoria del tiempo aquí. But it’s not because I want to. Like, I can’t remember the word in Spanish,” she shares.

She says that at times, doing this, brings negative remarks from Spanish speakers.

[My dad] he would tell me don’t use both languages because you will be called chicana…that’s why I refer it as a bad thing because my dad put me into that culture, mixing both languages I would be called chicana, but I mean I kind of don’t like the word because nobody should be called that way, I mean, it’s a culture, it’s just a culture,” she adds.

When it comes to culture, sometimes mixing both languages creates challenges.

I’m always being called white cause I’m mixing both languages,” Sharlenne says.

Bianca believes that because of this reason “being multicultural is a challenge.”

Not everyone is going to understand, because you’re coming from a different culture and you’re managing two cultures and not everyone is going to be understanding and tolerant of the language…it comes with its ups and downs….that’s probably where the issue kind of lies because people think black or white, either or, so pick one,” adds Bianca.

It’s like a double work for us because we have to learn Spanish and then we have to learn English,” says Ariadne.

Still, after experiencing some of these negative reactions, all agreed that they were proud of being Latinos in the United States and having the opportunity of sharing both cultures and both languages. Additionally, they comment on how they are proud and would even teach their children and the future generations to be bilingual.

The Latino culture is now expanding so more people are speaking the Spanish language,” adds Ariadne.

That’s just the result of somebody balancing two cultures, living here in America but having your roots and family in Mexico. And that’s just the result, speaking Spanglish,” comments Bianca.

Being bilingual is something valued greatly in this globalized world, and having multiple cultures should be something to be proud of. While before, Latinos in the United States were forced to forget their roots and language, now they can hold on to their origins and still belong to the American culture and society.

Price of Beauty

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Written by Jackie Aguilar

In 2013, the European Union decided to ban all products or product ingredients that have been tested on animals. In the United States we have laws for animal cruelty yet none on them seem to ban animal testing. According to the Humane Society, 92% of experimental drugs that are deemed “safe” in animal trails fail in human clinical trials.

Animal testing first took off in 1920, since then it has continued to grow and exist. Since 1920 technology and humanity have made it over so many mountains but we have yet to fully go over this one. The question is: why haven’t we?

“I never really think about it. Animal cruelty has been shunned when it comes to beauty products. When you think of beauty products, you don’t think about what it took to make them but how they are going to make you look, which is kind of materialistic and selfish but that’s how society is,” says Monica Burciaga, 17.

For girls like Angelia Carrete, 17, being conscious of brands you buy can be hard, and when you’re trying to find a specific brand it might even be the last thing on your mind that day.

“I have honestly never thought about it. It is something I do care about, but for some reason it has slipped my mind, ”says Angelica Carrete,17.

“When you think of beauty you really don’t think about what it took to make them, but only about how they are going to make you look,” adds Burciaga.

 

In order to create awareness about the issue and create a lasting solution, we must shed the ignorance we have put ourselves under and realize that this is a problem.

As a society we think that if it is out of sight, it’s out of mind. However, the truth is that even though there are companies whose products are not tested on animals, there are many companies who still practice animal testing.

“I don’t think we should still be testing on animals because first off, the chemicals in makeups shouldn’t be so harsh that we nee to test them in the first place. Secondly, as advanced as we are with technology there should be some way to test it on something other than animals,”says Rosemary Vozza,17.

In fact, some companies try to comply with animal cruelty laws of other countries in order to “pass” as cruelty free. Even though this is publicly accessible information, the role animals play in the production of make-up still remains a problem in the United States. DoSomething.org claim that up to 90% of animals used in U.S. labs are not counted in the official statistics of animals tested.

Burciaga,Carrete, and Vozza have agreed to be more proactive of animal-tested products. Being more proactive and making the decision to making a change is the first step. What you buy matters! It’s kind of like a vote for the company. If more people stop purchasing the brands that are not cruelty free, the company will be forced to revaluate why and do something to change that. If we want to make a change for these animals, we must be proactive with awareness and our power as consumers. The next time you’re shopping for a new palette, check the packet for a cruelty free logo. Remember, raise awareness and support cruelty free companies.

Want to know if your favorite make-up brand is cruelty free? Check out this official list of what companies test on animals:

http://www.leapingbunny.org/guide/brands