DIY: Día De los Muertos Accessories

Photo Credit: Jennifer Janviere

Photo Credit: Jennifer Janviere

Día De los Muertos is a day when we celebrate the wonderful people who have crossed to the other side, not to cry about them. It is a three day celebration in Mexico and it is filled with many parties and events. Well, why not accessorize to get into the Día De los Muertos festivities? It doesn’t always have to be expensive, especially if you do it yourself! Here are tips to help you create the perfect Día De los Muertos accessories.

Before you start creating your own accessories, do some research on the colors and common themes in Día De los Muertos

Día De los Muertos Colors

When it comes to accessorizing for the perfect events, colors do matter. Whether you wear red for Christmas or green on St. Patricks Day; those are examples of color scheming with a holiday. That is why knowing what colors are important on Día De los Muertos can help as a guide to make your Día De los Muertos accessories! The first color is black. Black is mainly used to accessorize the backgrounds of pictures and altars. Black is used as the foundation to help emphasize the other Día De los Muertos colors. The second color used is purple because it represents pain, suffering, grief and mourning. Pink is symbolic because it signifies celebration and the celebration of life. White is also a good color to consider when it comes to making accessories because it signifies purity and renewal for Día De los Muertos. Red and orange are also commonly used since they signify the sun and light. The last important color to consider when making accessories is red because it signifies blood.

Common Items in Día De los Muertos

There are many common items used when it comes to Día De los Muertos. When making your accessories, remember these items because they can help make your accessories more authentic and traditional. Skulls are everywhere on Día De los Muertos! You’ll see skulls in pictures, clay painted skulls, and even skulls on candles. Flowers are also equally important.

Flowers, vibrant colors, and skulls are common Día De los Muertos themes, but it doesn’t mean your accessory has to be like everyone else’s! Add your own unique personality to these super cute accessories:

Skeleton Hat

A cute accessory you can make is a skeleton hat. Buy any hat with one of the suggested colors and decorate it with handmade skeleton heads. Glue the handmade skeleton heads and glue them on the rim of your hat. You can also accessorize the hat with flowers and feathers!

 

 

Flower Crown

A simple accessory that you can make, and still be stylish, is a flower crown! During Día De los Muertos you will see colorful flowers everywhere. So, why not bring the flowers with you everywhere by making a crown? You can use fake or real flowers and you can make the crown have one solid color or several different colors!

Día De los Muertos Necklace

Another accessory idea is a Día De los Muertos necklace! You can go to any craft store and buy a necklace chain. Plus, you can create your own charms and hang them on your necklace. Add flowers, charms, or even trinkets your loved one loved.

 

 

Have other DIY ideas for Día De los Muertos? Contact editor@latinitasmagazine.org.

Girl Talk: Loving Those Who are in Love

JD-art-teenlove-20121229175333558035-300x0Valentine’s Day is far away, yes, but let’s take some time to talk about couples and the growing habit of people’s negativity against couples. Some people will groan, gag, or poke fun when a gooey-eyed girl talks about how her boyfriend gave her flowers, or at other romantic stories like that. Admit it, we all know someone who does this, or maybe we are one of them ourselves — someone who can’t sit through a romantic movie without making a snide comment or who maybe makes comments like how wrapped people get when they’re in a relationship.

The Negative Approach

Though, granted, these cynics (“cynic” is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a person who has negative opinions about other people and about the things people do”) have their reasons. Maybe they just went through a hard relationship, maybe they got their heart broken, and maybe they’re scared. Maybe they’ve just never gotten to experience true love for themselves. And while these are valid reasons, there should still be more open-mindedness and encouragement of love.When did we stop celebrating love? When did we stop realizing how gorgeous and how sweet it is to see a girl swoon over flowers, an elderly couple walking hand-in-hand, or a man singing with a goofy smile on his face because he got engaged. This may sound cheesy and cliché, but love really is great.

Mackenzie Henson, 16, talks about love, saying, “Every time you think about that person, you smile and always want to hang out with them, you want what’s best for them and it just feels…wonderful.”

Loving those who are in love can give you hope, not jealousy

Even if you’ve never been in love, you should still feel happy for those who are. Love those who are in love, don’t be cynical towards them. Of course, as stated earlier, there are reasons for being cynical. We tend to make fun of others as a sort of self-defense against maybe feeling hurt, feeling lonely, or against showing vulnerability — after all, it is easier to look down on others than to feel down yourself.

As Lydia Strickland, 16, says, “Watching people in love is like sitting outside a pen of puppies. They frolic and play, have fun and love, while you watch on the outside of the iron bars thinking to yourself.”

For those who share the same thoughts as Lydia, keep in mind that watching others in love is not cause for jealousy, for self-pity, or for loneliness. Shouldn’t it be something of hope? Your time will come; one day you’ll stumble upon that kind of happy, glowing love, so there is no need to rush or torture yourself with self-pity.

Tai Goodwin, a speaker, coach, and brilliant catalyst, writes in an article in the Huffington Post,“When you see another person’s win as a loss for you, you pave the way for discouragement and resentment to set in. Instead allow other people’s success to ignite hope for the success coming in your time of harvest.”

Sharing is caring—and loving

Rather than ride the negativity train, share in your friends’ happiness! Realize the importance of love—the visible, engulfing kind of love that leaves people grinning goofily for days, the kind of love that makes others glow.

Hannah Young, 15, says she “realized that it’s actually cute and nice to see people in love.”

“I don’t feel bad for myself anymore. I try not to let myself get jealous either, because I know that love make you happy and everyone deserves that,” says Hannah.

When your friend talks happily about her date for the 100th time, you should listen just as attentively as you did the first time. When you see a couple kiss (though it might be overdone), smile! Because it really is sweet.

“When I first went out with my boyfriend, I wouldn’t stop talking about it with my friends,” says Mariana de Caro, 18.

“I bet it must have gotten annoying, but I needed to tell someone and I really appreciated it when my friends (I’m thinking of one specific friend, but I won’t say her name!) took the time to listen to my ramblings. They were attentive and supporting, and it made me all the happier,” adds Mariana.

You should remember that while you certainly don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy, you should still strive to smile for the happiness of those who are in one. It may not always be easy, but love shouldn’t be underestimated—enjoy it!

DIY: Your Room, Your You

Decorating your room on a budget is hard.  But with a few fun and easy ideas, you will be able to transform your room in no time.

Ribbon Curtain

RRibbons used to be something for your hair. Now they are something you can use for your bedroom window. Depending on the height and width of your window, the amount of ribbons may vary. But with just a handful, you will easily create a new ribbon curtain.

You will need to make sure your window has a rod (the stick in which a curtain is held). If not, you should ask your parents to provide you with one. Aside from that, you will need 10-20 ribbons and a pair of scissors — just in case you want to make your ribbons shorter.

Then, your first step will be to collect all of your ribbons. Make sure a window rod is tightly secured. If there was no rod before, have your parent or an adult help install one for you. Grab a ribbon from the edge and make a small knot on the rod. There should be more ribbon hanging than what is actually tied. Repeat the process until you are satisfied with the results!

Music noteMusic Wall

Music makes everyone happy. So why not have music notes on your wall!

You will need to make sure you have a roll of thick tape, black paint, painting brush, access to a computer and printer, regular tape, and a pair of scissors.

With the consent of an adult, you should first log on to the internet and print out any music note shape you want. By searching on Yahoo! Or Google, you should find different music notes in all shapes and sizes. Make sure each note you print out, however, is the same size. Then, print out and cut out all of the music notes.

When you are done cutting out all the shapes, grab your roll of thick tape and tape it to an area on the wall. You will do this 5 times since there are 5 staffs in music. Before you do anything else, tape another piece of tape in-between each section. Now with your black paint, begin to paint every other piece of tape. The pieces in-between are so you will not dirty your bedroom wall.

Wait about 30 to 40 minutes for the paint to dry. Once you are done, cut pieces of regular tape to put your music notes up on your wall.

Now sit back and enjoy the music!

Poster BoardGoal Board

Sometimes when we are going through a rough couple of days, it is very easy to forget things you have to do and things you have to achieve. Why not make a goal board? Force yourself to reach your goals for the day or week by creating a poster where you will get to see them every day.

You will need one poster board for your goal board. You can choose the size depending on the area where you will place your poster board. Good news! Poster boards are super cheap and can normally be found for about $0.50 – $2.00 at your local convenience store! The next thing you will need is a pack of standard size post it notes (3 in).  Finally, you will need a pack of markers.

Now you can start being a goal setter!

The top portion of your poster-board (vertically) will be dedicated to the tile of your poster. Go ahead and write (however you may please), “Goal List for”. Then next to those words, you will trace a post it note. You can write “This week,” but it is really up to you whether you wish to write “this year” , “today” , “this hour.”  Be sure to decorate this top portion with your markers. Doodle. Be creative!

Now to the bottom portion ….. Go ahead and trace six post it notes in the bottom.  Three post it notes should be on the top and three other ones should be in the bottom.  Now write your goals! Once you’ve completed them, take the post it note and throw it away. Time to post a new one!

 

Avoid the Boy Drama

Boyfriend - LatinitasThere’s a really dreamy guy who you and your friend just “ooh” and “ahh” over. Everyone thinks he is just the best guy in the whole wide world, a total cutie.

One day your wish comes true: He talks to you and thinks you are pretty awesome. But, the hard part, what about your friend who likes him just as much as you do? Or reverse it, he talks to your friend and thinks she is the best girl ever. How would that make you feel? Would you still want to be friends with her? What would you two do?

Well, here is the best answer: drop him! No real girlfriends should ever, ever fight over a guy! University of the Incarnate Word freshmen, Brigitte Prunty, says it’s important NOT to fight over a guy because “you never know if he’s worth it. Your friends are way more important.” Your friends have been with you during your ups and downs and truly love you for the great girl you are, and a guy shouldn’t stand in the way of a friendship.

“Both friends need to get over him. If both are genuine friends, they wouldn’t break a friendship over some guy. They would get over him and move on with their lives with each other in it. That’s what matters most,” says Leia Hill, a junior at University of the Incarnate Word.

Advice from One Girl to Another

Both Leia and Brigitte agree that a boy is not worth losing a friend. Brigitte also knows how it is to be in this sticky, tough situation, since she has unfortunately experienced boy drama with a friend.A really close friend of Brigitte liked this one guy a lot. Even though Brigitte thought he was really cute, she wasn’t him into him that much, especially since she knew her friend was so into him. But, that didn’t keep this guy from liking Brigitte. After Brigitte’s friend found out this guy liked Brigitte and not her, Brigitte says, ”My situation was not fun at all.”

Of course, this caused Brigitte’s friend to become angry, and somewhat jealous. Brigitte apologized and insisted she did not want this at all. After giving her friend some space and time to think, Brigitte’s friend came around and they made up! Brigitte says, “Do the best you always can as being a good friend. Don’t give up on the situation– there is always a solution.”

“Every single relationship needs its ups and downs to be able to grow and prosper into the best, strongest relationship it can be. Which is why it is okay to have a rut happen in the relationship, just as long as both friends are smart enough to pass this rut,” Leia says.

In a situation like this, make sure to set boundaries. Any guy your friend may be interested in and you’re not into, is only a friend  and that you’re not into him. Simple. It is totally natural for your friend to get her feelings hurt and be upset if a guy she likes ends up liking you. Give her space and keep reassuring her; she will come around!

Just as you and your friends cherish each other so much, thinking the guy you’re into will  replace your friends may not work out the way you expect it to. There could be a day where you are feeling really sad and just need to talk and cry it out, and you go to him for emotional support. But, he sees you crying and thinks to himself: “this is not what I signed up for.” Always remember if this guy is a good guy, he wouldn’t dare break a friendship between two close girlfriends.The cute guy you thought was the love of your life may not stick around, but a true friend always will.

Friendships include arguments and hard work in order to sustain the wonderful bonds they have.Girlfriends are valuable treasures and the genuine treasures last a lifetime!

“After both friends have moved on with their lives and forgotten the crazy circumstances they were in, when they look back in their time together, they will laugh with each other and remember the (now little) arguments, and can both say ’we got over this.’ It made them the friends they are today,” says Leia.

It’s always exciting when you like a new guy, but it isn’t exciting when you lose a friend because of a guy. Make it fair for the both of you and just remember a friendship comes before a dating relationship. You and your gal pal need to always have good communication when you feel like something may hurt your friendship. If both of you like him, avoid competing for his attentions. It’s not healthy for you or your friendship. Talk with your friend about what’s fair for both of you, and for both of you to find someone else to crush on.

DIY: Father’s Day Gifts

It is always hard to buy a gift for a guy friend, brother, uncle, or a boy. Your uncle would probably not like a bouquet of roses as much as your aunt. And even though we are all kids at heart, you can’t really buy your grandfather a doll. Now is the time to really think of some gifts you can buy your fatherly figure, or you can even make something yourself if you are a last minute gift-shopper or maker.  If you have nothing in mind, don’t worry! There are plenty of gifts you can make and things you can do to give your dad as a surprise gift for a Father’s Day that he will never forget. Here are some last minute go-to gifts you might want to give on Father’s Day:

Sticky Note Car (Warning: This is very time consuming)

Are you working on a budget? Well this is a surprise that would surely make a bigger impression on anyone and everyone who sees it. Here’s what you need:

A. A pack of permanent markers

B. 100+ 4×4 sticky notes

Start by writing some sweet messages to your father. It is going to take some time but write messages, one by one, on each of the sticky notes. Then, start posting the notes on your dad’s car. Depending on the size of his car, you might need a lot of sticky notes. But try to cover it up the most you can. That is the point of the surprise! If you find yourself stuck on what to write, a simple “I <3 YOU” is enough. Here is what the final product should look like:

png_base64bbea4d724d4757a6

Coupon/Activity Book

A. Construction Paper

B. Scissors

C. Ribbon

D. Markers/Crayons

Do you feel as if you’re not as close as to your father than you wish you would be? Here’s an idea! Why not give your father a coupon book where he can “cash” in on activities he can do with his favorite daughter? Give your father a coupon for “TV TIME” or “Father/Daughter Gardening.” Make him know he has quality time with you and get ready to have a lot of fun! Use markers and crayons to write out different messages on the construction paper, hole punch each one (like a mini-book), and use the ribbon to tie them together. Don’t be afraid to be creative!

 

The Video Message

A. 1 Smart Phone

B. Creativity

C. Computer/laptop

This idea is fun and super easy! Just make a fun plan and tape a nice video message for your father. You don’t have to have video skills to make this gift – all you need is a smartphone. Search through YOUTUBE to get some ideas!

 

The MIX CD

A. 1 Blank CD

B. A computer/laptop

C. I-tunes*

Is your dad a music fan? Is that a passion you both share in common? Well, it can be! Make a mix cd for your dad with songs you like and songs he likes as well.Or make the CD with songs that remind you about him. Whatever it may be, the CD will definitely be something your dad loves! Decorate the CD case or write a nice message for him on the CD. Guaranteed smile every time he listens to it.

*You will need to purchase the music.

Giving your dad a Father’s Day he will never forget will not be difficult at all. What a dad wants the most though is just to really spend time with the family. So on June 15th leave your cellphone at home,  and don’t worry about Twitter, Instagram, or even Facebook! Give your father all your attention.  Make sure to really engage with him in whatever way your family chooses to spend Father’s Day. If you don’t have any ideas yet, you can always plan to do his favorite activity. Does he like to fish? Does he like to play board games? Whatever it may be, do it with him! All that really matters on this day is to show your father that he is loved.

Poem: If We Were All the Same

Polet Espinoza

Polet Espinoza

Have you ever wondered?

What life would be like,

If we were all the same.

What would be exciting about life

If we were all the same?

Never learning new things,

Never seeing new things,

Never doing new things,

That would be a waste of a lifetime.

If we were all the same,

How could you know the difference among us?

No one would be special

No one would stand out.

Why would you like to be the same,

When you have the chance

To be different.

Me, Myself, and I

girl on computerWe live in a very social world, constantly surrounded by people. Even when we’re at home and no one’s around we can still communicate through e-mail and texting and social media, so even then we’re not “alone.” We’re always told that when someone is alone they must be sad or have no friends, when in reality the person may simply enjoy being alone. There is a social bias against solitude. People link solitude with people who are lonely, sad, or with antisocial tendencies. Solitude has been, sadly, underestimated. And it’s actually quite healthy!

“I like hanging out with friends just as much as the next person,” says Hannah Young, 15, from Westlake High School. “But I sometimes go away from all that and just spend time by myself. It’s nice and really relaxing.”

Increases Your Focus

Like Hannah said, being alone is therapeutic. Disconnecting from the complex, wired world by being alone gives your brain time to unwind. Constantly being around others can be distracting, so when you’re alone you get a chance to clear your mind, to focus, and to think. And by having a clearer mind and less distractions, you’ll be able to concentrate better on any work to be done. After all, it’s hard to study for that big test when you’re surrounded by a lot of people talking.

Not only can solitude refocus your mind and make you more productive, but it also provides time for you to think deeply. It seems hard to think about anything when the world is constantly buzzing, but when you’re alone and without distractions you can meditate and mull over things. Why do you think many great ideas come during showers or late at night? It’s because you were alone!We’ve all had those “eureka!” moments while going to sleep, and sometimes you can feel like philosopher when taking long showers. It’s all because we let ourselves be alone.

Gabriela de Caro, a sixth grader at Regents School of Austin, says, “I like being on my bed staring at my ceiling at night. I actually get a lot of cool ideas. Like one time I was stuck on a play we had to do at school, and after thinking a bit I figured out which part fit me the best!”

Helps Find Your Own Voice

Solitude gives you an opportunity to find your own voice. Psychology Today writes that “When you’re a part of a group, you’re more likely to go along with what the group is doing or thinking, which isn’t always the actions you would take or the decisions you would make if you were on your own.” And in finding your own voice, you discover more about yourself.

Rachel Prichett, 16, says “everyone has a ‘mind palace,’ and being alone helps me explore my own…it’s funny because I learned a lot more about myself than I ever knew before.”

Every person has an inner world full of creativity. Take time to disconnect by turning off the phone, the Internet and the TV. Give yourself some time to just be alone. Whether it happens early in the morning, at night, at lunch, or any other time, you decide. You’ll be surprised by just how rewarding solitude actually is!

Advice to My 13 Year-Old Self

Photo Credit: AAUW

Photo Credit: AAUW

Latinitas celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting a blog-a-thon. Members of the MyLatinitas.com community shared heartfelt advice they wish they were told when they were 13 years old.

Popularity is a big one. When I was thirteen I tried hard to be an extrovert, and I thought being ‘shy’ was a weakness. Whenever someone ignored me or was rude, I figured it was my fault. I thought I wasn’t interesting or cool enough. Then I realized that ignoring people and being rude was a bad trait, and that it wasn’t me who had to change anything about myself, but rather the other person. Trying to be popular through fake behavior, modifying our physique and being hard on ourselves can be stressful.

I’m not sure if hearing someone say this to me at 13 would’ve worked or made much sense as it does now. But the truth is that beautiful and genuinely kind girls eventually blossom into respectable women, especially if they remain honest with who they are. So it’s important to endure through those hard and confusing times, not letting anyone change who we really are.” – Giselle

“When I was 13 years old, I didn’t know how to put on makeup yet and my biggest concern in life was that there must be something wrong with me because all my friends had a boyfriend but I didn’t. I had to start thinking about where I’d go to high school and even college. I was really insecure at the time and constantly put myself down. I always felt like was never good enough for some reason.

I wish that someone had told me not to give into too many of your emotions. So often I make decisions on what I feel rather then what is logically correct and I wish someone told me to follow my head instead of my heart. I needed to hear that I need to put myself before anyone else and become the best person I could possibly be. And most importantly, I wish someone said to spend time with family. It’s so important because you sometimes often get so busy with growing up that you forget your parents also grow old too. I wish someone told me all of this but even if I heard it at 13 years old, I may have been too stubborn to actually follow this advice, but it still would have been nice anyway. ” – Claudia

All I can say is that I grew up ‘too soon’ in a sense that I [didn't have] a childhood, and my teenage years were controlled and spent at home playing video games (sometimes up to 12 hours a day)… You are still young, 13, you still have a lot of time to spend with the family! It is your decision to stay with the family or not, whether you are 13, 18, already in your mid-20′s with your own kids, it doesn’t matter; age is a number and [spending time with your family is a must]. [It's] not a choice.” – Irena

Pharr Away

Photo Credit: Flickr, mylitocupcake

Photo Credit: Flickr, mylitocupcake

By Sara Cabrera

I eat menudo and barbacoa
with a fresh warm packet
of Guerrero tortillas
on Sunday mornings after mass.
After, I drive at 3 mph down the
bumpy Raul Longoria Road
to go to La Pulga de Alamo
and to beat
the Rio Grande Valley heat.
There I buy verduras y frutas frescas
and of course some Mexican candy.

I explored my granny’s backyard,
which reached the chin of Africa
to the most northern part of Canada.
My brother and I
were evil scientists and made our secret lair
in the luscious shrubs farthest from mom and dad;
making poisonous potions from water de la mangera
and crushed exotic flowers that danced in the yard
with names too fancy to remember at seven.

I chased lizards
up and down the old mesquite tree,
that met its final battle in ’08
against hurricane Dolly.
The tree used to serve as a clubhouse,
now Dad just uses it to make BBQ.

I celebrate Christmas
on December 24th, not the 25th.
Celebrations with tamales, pozole,
buñuelos, and who can forget the
posadas. I have two birthdays,
the day I was born, y el día de mi santo.

DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts

Candy-Hearts-for-Valentines-DayThat time of the year is coming again, the time where you walk in to the stores and you see pink, red, and white all over the place, stuffed animals of all sizes and chocolates, but everything is the same; it’s time to create something special and unique!

The Scavenger Hunt:

You’ll need balloons, paper and markers, sticky notes, and helium. Write tiny clues in a piece of paper, fold it in very small and put it inside the balloon before you fill it up with helium, you can write anything that lead to the big prize, for example “It’s in something you use daily.” Then, place these clues in different locations you know that person is on a daily basis so that they get surprised when they see it. Once you fill up the balloon with helium write on the balloon with a marker “Pop for clue” and they would have to pop the balloon to see your clue. It’s a fun, playful gift! Once they get all of the balloons popped (you can make as many as you want), lead them to where the big prize is, for example: you can fill their car or bedroom with sticky notes with memories and inside jokes of you guys, make it colorful, make it original, make it unique!

If you want to go with a simple, but cheesy gift, go with this one:

The Candy vase:

All you need is a small glass vase of any size, a sharpie marker, m&m’s and skittles. It’s a candy fun activity! Pour half of the chocolates into the jar, open the skittles and only put one. Then, pour the rest of the chocolates into the jar and you can enjoy eating  the rest of the left-over skittles! Once you’re done pouring the candy, write “You’re one in a million” on the vase. If the person likes skittles more than chocolate, you can do the same but vice versa!

The Scratch off:

All you need is a nice piece of paper, white Crayola crayon, paint (any kind), a pen, and a quarter. First, you fold the paper in half so you can make two “scratch-offs,” write “scratch to reveal,” draw three hearts, and write what you would like to give them inside of the hearts.  For example, you can write “pay for the movies,” “make you dinner,” a hug, etc. Be creative! Once you write on all of them, color the heart with the white crayon.

Tip: You will need color it in over and over.

After you finish coloring it in, you paint the hearts and let it dry. Finally, when you give it to them you can tell them only to scratch only one or, if you’re feeling generous, have them scratch off all of them. You can make your own rules for the scratch-off game.  Next, give them the quarter to use to scratch off the pain, and voila!

Similar to the cheesy, but cute, vase gift is the “Open When….” Envelopes

“Open When….”  Envelopes:

This is a smart and sweet idea to make someone’s day. To make it work you will need to get as many envelopes as possible. On each envelope put “Open when…”  to indicate when the person should open the envelope. For example “Open when you feel sad,” or “Open when you want to laugh” and inside you put something that will cheer them up or make them laugh, pictures of you guys, funny/inside jokes, anything that will make them not feel sad anymore or laugh like crazy. The point to these envelopes is to make the connection with the person stronger, whether it is a friend, family, or your special someone. When you’re done making the envelopes, put them in a pretty hardcover box and label it “Open when…” You can make an envelope out of any occasion or situation. Have fun with the envelopes; make the other person feel loved on this special day!

DIY gifts are cute and fun ways to show off your creativity. Most importantly have fun doing these gifts; picture their face when you give them your home-made present. It’s going to be even more important and valuable because you didn’t buy it at a store and no one else has the exact same thing, it’s unique.

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