OMG, She Did Not Just Say THAT!

 

I’ve always been the kind of girl who has the answer to every question in class, and for some reason my teachers prefer to pick on the kid who doesn’t pay attention.

One day, when I eleven and just in the fifth grade, I raised my hand. I wasn’t called on but I forgot to put it back down. I completely zoned out. For a couple of seconds, I sat there annoyed. “Por que nunca me escoje! Soy la unica interesada en la clase,” I thought. I knew what was going to happen next. La profesora would pick on the boy sitting in the corner scribbling T.H.U.G L.I.F.E across his knuckles, in an attempt to humiliate him for not knowing the answer. I had seen this one too many times, and so I became lost in my own thoughts.

As I stared at the different objects in the room looking for something to entertain me, I noticed the projector light cast a shadow from my teacher’s glasses. I had seen her face a million times, and it always looked the same to me. But not this time. This time, there was a shadow that lined her eyebrows and the space between them so perfectly that she appeared to have a fuller unibrow than Frida Kahlo. The five year old in me found this sight so amusing; I think I may have sat there over ten minutes, solo mirando y apreciando, just looking and appreciating the view. After all, it’s not everyday your teacher grows a unibrow.

Irritated with me for still having my hand up my teacher asked, “Alondra what do you want?” and you won’t believe what I said next…

“YOU HAVE A UNIBROW!” I blurted, almost shouted out. It was all so surreal. No lo podia creer. It felt like one of those scenarios that play out in my head when I day dream. But the laughter of children, and the burning sensation I felt across my face, that occurs only when I blush a real blush, told me that all of it had really just happened.

Fortunately for me, the class ended quickly afterwards. But the embarrassment I felt that day, still resonates with me when I tell this story ten years later. I’m sure you probably have a similar tale to tell, or that you would rather not tell… because of how embarrassing it all was for you, but trust me when I say that when you get older, all these embarrassing stories will be the ones you remember with most joy and laughter.

Live life to the fullest and enjoy every part of it, even the little mistakes. And don’t be like me or “thug life” kid, pay attention in class!

Photo Credit: rantchic.com

Photo Credit: rantchic.com

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:

4

 

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:
mom2

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?

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.

9 Tips to Being BFFs with Your Mom

Photo Credit: http://thinkinkpr.com/

Photo Credit: http://thinkinkpr.com/

Is your mom your best friend or your  enemy? Do you argue constantly and can’t seem to get along? Your mom can be the coolest person you know and can sometimes become the person you don’t ever want to talk to again. Believe it or not there are ways to improve the relationship with your mom and make it much better!

Sometimes it might seem that your mom doesn’t understand your problems or what you’re feeling. How could your mom know what you’re going through if there isn’t any communication? The truth is that she most likely DOES know what you’re going through.

Instead of seeing your mom as a MOM, try viewing her as what she was before she became your mom. At a point in her life she was just like you, she was your age once, she went through fights with her friends and even had her heart broken too! If you really think about it, she’s your best candidate when it comes to advice!

Of course, your mom isn’t always going to know what is going on in your life although most of the time she has a pretty good idea. How will she understand your problems? It’s simple. Talk.

Talk – Communication is the key in any relationship. Easier said than done – right? Even when you feel shy or embarrassed about a problem you may have your mom is there to help you out! Talk to her like a friend after all she isn’t just your mom but she is also your friend. The hardest thing to do is to start so as soon as you start talking it becomes easier! But how do you approach your mom? Here are a few helpful tips.

Tip 1: Know Your Goal in the Conversation

The experts at WebMD recommend that you think about the goal of the conversation first. Whether it’s advice, asking permission to go somewhere or even bad news, know what you want from the conversation. Practice how and what you will say to make it easier for both you and your mom.

Tip 2: Make Small Talk

Try to have small talk about anything. In fact, it can be a sport you play, her cooking, or the cat. By having small talk everyday it allows you to have a connection and it makes it much easier to have a conversation. “Definitely communicate with your mom on a daily basis and maybe do something for them because I think sometimes we don’t realize how much they do for us,” says Kimberly Apodaca, 17.

“Try to open up, ask her about her day just have little conversations with your mom,” adds Sabrina Portillo, 18.

Tip 3: Right Time and Place

Find the right time and place at home, like in your favorite room, can help ease the situation. If you have to try to talk to your mom and it’s bad news, it’s not the best to say it while she’s in a rush to work. Don’t bring it up at a party or at a time when your mom is distracted (like talking on the phone).

Tip 4: Listen to your Parents Speak

What your parents have to say may not be what you wanted to hear. But you wouldn’t want your mom to storm out the room when you have something say, right? Give each other time while talking in order to process. Being patient and understanding can make a huge difference!

Tip 5: Talk to Another Adult

It may be hard to have a conversation with your mom, but there are other adults that can help with the situation. Perhaps talking with an aunt or a counselor can even help you talk to your mom. If you feel that your mom won’t understand you even after trying to talk to her, simply remind her that you are trying and that you want to work thinks out.

Tip 6: Give Each Other Space

Sometimes it’s not the talking that’s the issue, it’s the arguing. In the heat of the moment sometimes we say things we don’t mean, which means having  shouting match with your mom can lead to someone getting their feelings hurt. Give each other space to calm down and avoid saying hurtful things to each other. When asked what to do when she argues with her mom, Sabrina agrees that giving each other space eases the situation.

Tip 7: Apologize

Arguing and raising your voice isn’t always the best feeling in the world. If you try to get your point across in a calm way and give each other space, it gives both your mom and you time to think. Once you really think about what you said or what the real problem is, it becomes much easier to talk and try to fix the issue. Remember to STOP. THINK. AND APOLOGIZE. A sincere apology at the end of an argument always eases things and makes room for understanding.

Does this “closeness” happen overnight? No, of course not! It’s a process just like with anyone else.

Tip 8: Put Yourself in Her Shoes

At a time when the problems may only be yours, try to think about your mom and put yourself in her shoes. Kimberly gives a piece of advice: “Try to understand your mom’s point of view and if you don’t agree on certain things reason with them, that doesn’t mean throwing a tantrum when you don’t get your way.”

Tip 9: Show Appreciation

Above all showing your mom you care is important. Sometimes they need a simple ‘thank you’ to show you care. “Appreciate your mother; It’s always the small things that you do with your mom that count, like small jokes you have between each other or just showing your mamá some love,” says Kimberly.

Sabrina also adds that as she has gotten older, her mom has become more of a friend. “I can tell her most things that happen to me and I gossip with her,” she says.

Trying to be close with your mom can be a challenge, but ultimately that’s what she probably also wants. If you ever seem to struggle to understand her something you can always do is put yourself in HER shoes. Think what you would say or do if you had a daughter. It’s not always easy being a mom; seeing her daughter grow up and become a young independent lady can be challenge, too. Make your mom your best friend and not your worst enemy.

Girl Talk: Becoming a Chica Poderosa

I don’t often think of myself as a powerful woman. It usually takes some reminder, like Latinitas asking me to guest blog, for me to take a step back (away from doubts, insecurities, and tasks that occupy my mind) and say, “Hey, you know what? I am a chica poderosa.” So that would be my first piece of advice to all of us: realize that each and every one of us is powerful, and don’t let yourself forget it. Remind yourself constantly. Take time to really appreciate it and think about what that means. So, how do you know that you’re a chica poderosa? Make a list and find out. Just like the one I’ve made below.

“I am a chica poderosa because _______.”

For me, I am a chica poderosa because ……

  1. I haven’t let failures stop me from pursuing my dreams. Sometimes that means I’m persistent. Sometimes that means I change directions. But either way, I keep going.
  2. As my mom has told me since I was little, I am una mujer de recursos. Being resourceful does not mean you always have every answer at your fingertips; it means you’re curious and driven to find it.
  3. Taking small steps equal big goals. Nothing happens overnight. I believe in working hard for the things I want—day after day after day—in small, doable ways. You know how we’re always surprised how fast a month, a year, or even a decade can pass? You’ll be surprised how fast small steps add up to big achievements.
  4. I am not fearless. (But I don’t let my fears stop me.)
  5. When someone tries to make me feel bad about myself, I remember that only I can give them the power to make me feel less-than. Don’t give them the power.

Your turn. What does your list look like?

Natalia Sylvester is the author of the novel Chasing the Sun. Born in Lima, Peru, she came to the US at age 4 and grew up in South Florida, where she studied Creative Writing at the University of Miami. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram: @NataliaSylv or visit her at nataliasylvester.com.

DIY: The Flower Edition

The weather is warming up, which means spring is around the corner. Our club chicas are helping us redecorate the office with this cute, fun DIY projects — just in time for spring!

Bouquet Flower Card circleflowercard

Materials:

  • Colored construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Stapler

1)    The first step is to cut out nine circles in different colors. There should be three groups of circles: small, medium, and large.

2)    Next, glue them together. You should have three different circles that have four circles glued together.

3)    Next,  get another color paper of your choice, just a small piece, and roll it to make the stalk for the paper flowers.

4)   Then, use tape to attach each of the flowers to its stalk. Be sure to staple the flowers together so that there is one group of three flowers.

5)    Fold another colored paper entirely in half to make the card, and use another small different colored paper to make the pocket. Once the pocket is ready you will be able to insert the flower bouquet.

 

Tissue Flower tissue flower

Materials:

  • Kleenex tissue paper
  • Markers
  • Bobby Pins

1) The first step is to fold the Kleenex into an accordion fold.

2) Next, put a bobby pin in the center of the Kleenex tissue once it is folded already into an accordion.

3) Then, cut off the ends.

4)    Next, color the ends of the Kleenex with the color of your choice.

5) For the last step, start unfolding the Kleenex petal by petal and you will have your flower you can make several flowers if you like.

 

Rose bookmark

Materials:

  • Heart Template for flower
  • Colored construction paper or scrapbook paper
  • Ribbon

1)    The first step is to cut out the heart four times.

2)    The next step is for each rose to cut out four hearts from scrapbook paper.

3)    Then turn one of hearts upside down so that it looks like one of the center petals of a rose bud. Then, use glue to stick the top of a pipe cleaner stem in its place.

4)    Next, place a second heart on top of the first one with glue. With your fingertips, curl the tips of the hearts.

5)    Next, fold the remaining two hearts in half vertically, fold the rounded sides of the hearts backwards, and then fold down the tips.

6)    Finally, put the sides of the center between the folded hearts using glue so that they stay in place.

 

Have your own DIY projects to share? Send ideas to editor@latinitasmagazine.org. 

DIY Lip Balm

Keeping track of little tubes of lip balm can prove to be difficult for many during these cold and dry winter months — in reality, keeping a lip balm for a year can be a challenge. If you’re tired of buying a new lip balm every so often, or even want to try something new, you can make your own. Making a batch of this easy-to-make lip balm can save money and can be a fun way to spend an afternoon or make cute personal gifts for your friends.

Ingredients and Materials:

  • 4 tbs coconut oil (this can be purchased at any grocery store)
  • 3 tbs shae butter, or petroleum jelly (available at craft stores or health food stores)
  • 1 tbs shaved beeswax (available at craft stores)
  • Microwave safe bowl and stirring utensil
  • Container to hold lip balm (bottle caps, old containers, or even the travel size small container from your local store)

Instructions:
1. Mix these ingredients in a microwave safe bowl

2. Microwave mixture in 30 second intervals until completely melted. This will give you the base for your lip balm.

After this you can basically play and experiment with different ingredients depending on what kind of lip balm you want. You can add a drop of peppermint extract if you want a minty lip balm (or any kind of extract oil), or some powdered make-up for color (kool-aid will sometimes work).

Once you are done mixing in any additional ingredients in your lip balm mixture, pour the mixture into a small container (or several if you are gifting it). Once the mixture is in a small container, place it in the fridge for a couple of hours until it hardens.

DIY Gift Ideas

If you want to give a thoughtful gift on a budget, a do-it-yourself project is a great way to show you care. Here are some tips on making your own gifts at a lower price:
“I Love You a Latte” (Decorated Coffee Mug)

DIYMug

You’ll need: A plain colored mug of your choice and oil based sharpie markers of any color
Steps: Decorate the mug any way you’d like with the markers, you can write your name, a silly joke, draw flowers, dinosaurs, hearts, or even write your name on them. Use your imagination, go wild! After you’ve finished your masterpiece, place your mug in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Make sure to have an adult supervision when using the oven. After the 45 minutes have passed, you can carefully take them out and there you go, a creative gift that will last forever!

Letter Photography

DIYPhotoLetter
You’ll need: Big wooden Letter, mod podge, brushes, scissors, and photographs
Steps: First cut out the pictures you want to use in the letter in the exact shape of the letter, and find the spot you want to place them in. Then put mod podge all over the letter, make sure to fill it all in, then place the pictures carefully accordingly to where you want them placed. After you have placed the pictures, put mod podge all over the pictures once more, wait 10 minutes while they dry and then put a second layer of mod podge. Put a third layer, just to make sure everything is glued on right. Afterwards, wait about 20 minutes to make sure everything is perfect and then you have a beautiful photographed letter.

Poetry: Senses of Thanksgiving

5 Senses Thanksgiving Poem

Using their 5 senses, these Latinitas created awesome poems about Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving smells like an abundance of food
Thanksgiving sounds like lots of people talking
Thanksgiving looks like the colors of brown, yellow, orange and red
Thanksgiving feels like prayers and blessings
Thanksgiving tastes like turkey
~Angelica

On Thanksgiving, I tastes like turkey
Thanksgiving looks like fall colors
Thanksgiving feels like hugs
Thanksgiving sounds like singing
~Carol

Thanksgiving tastes like turkey and bacon
Thanksgiving looks like the brown and orange
Thanksgiving smells like a turkey in the oven
Thanksgiving sounds like neighbors
Thanksgiving feels like love and happiness
~Marely

Thanksgiving smells and tastes like turkey
Thanksgiving sounds like laughter
Thanksgiving looks like a family reunion
Thanksgiving feels like love
~Valeria

In Thanksgiving it smells like the fresh turkey on the dinner.
Thanksgiving looks like the beautiful fall with pine cones with the colorful colors.
Thanksgiving feels like warm comfy pajamas.
Thanksgiving sound like the “mmm” of my family.
Thanksgiving tastes like sweet mashed potato.
~Jackie

Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving smells like turkey.
Thanksgiving looks like family having fun.
Thanksgiving feels like warm hugs.
Thanksgiving sounds like family laughing.
Thanksgiving tastes like good food in a good night and happy day.
~Ashley

On Thanksgiving, the family unites and we make ensalada de fruta y bombomes
It smells like fruit and marshmallow salad
I hear my family talking
The colors are orange, yellow and brown
We watch movis
We eat turkey and ham and salad
~Etmi

Thanksgiving smells like pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving tastes like turkey.
Thanksgiving feels like family united.
Thanksgiving sounds like parrots talking.
Thanksgiving looks like colorful.
~Rossana

In Thanksgiving I smell turkey and pie.
I look at the turkey on the table.
I touch the turkey.
I hear people talking.
I taste the delicious turkey.
~Leslie

Thanksgiving smells like apple pies and turkey baking
Thanksgiving sounds like laughter and conversations
Thanksgiving looks like falling leaves and tables full of family
Thanksgiving feels like family, love, gratitude and blessings
Thanksgiving tastes like turkey, yams, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes
~Alicia

Latinas and Spoken-Word Poetry

Spoken-word poetry, also known as slam poetry, is a type of poetic expression written and performed for an audience. Because they are performed, the poets tend to focus on the rhythm, musicality, and emotional impact of their poems. This type of poetic expression has been weaved into the American arts scene since the 1980s when open-mic performances in cafes became popular in big cities across the nation. Since then, spoken-word poetry has grown in popularity, giving rise to annual competitions such as the National Poetry Slam and the Women of the World Poetry Slam. These competitions attract hundreds of people from all different backgrounds and who have very different experiences and outlooks on life. What brings these poets share in common is that they each have a story to tell and a voice to be heard.

Spoken-word poetry is known for being appealing to people of  different cultures, age groups, and educational backgrounds because it does not necessarily have a scripted style. A slam poem is what the writer wants it to be. With this in mind, we can then turn to the question, What role might spoken-word poetry play in the life of a Latina girl?

“I think spoken-word poetry attracts each Latina’s generation differently. For example, my mother was the first to come to this country with only an elementary educational background…for her the art may be beautiful, but sometimes she’ll question the boldness of the topic I choose to speak on,” says 19-year-old poet Selena Martinez who has been writing since she was 13.

Like many young spoken-word poets, Selena turns to poetry to express her feelings and thoughts about certain experiences in her life that have brought her grief, happiness, and even questions that seem unanswerable. Selena suggests that the generational differences within a Latino family are also something she has found worth speaking about because these differences can sometimes be marked as obstacles to overcome. She says, “[In] a household such as mine…men embraced the machismo and women stuck to the cultural norms. I think spoken-word is a way to help us evolve beyond those expectations to voice stories that [need] to be heard.”

Another young Latina poet, Sofi Chavez, age 19, acknowledges that she too looks to writing in order to makes sense of her life experiences. “[It] was amazing because I could turn something negative and sad into an experience that I was proud of, and something that I did for myself,” states Sofi as she reflects on her first open-mic performance, which revolved around a poem that was initially inspired by angry feelings. However, Sofi is proud that she is able to draw from these emotions and create something beautiful that others can appreciate as well.

When it comes to creative expression and performance, there is always the question of who or what can be identified as the inspiration. Both Selena and Sofi make it known that relatives of theirs originally inspired them to write and perform, for Selena it was her cousin and for Sofi, her sister. However, the situation varies for each young Latina writer. For instance, a great many young writers who have taken on spoken-word poetry have noted that they found out about this style of poetry mostly from peers and/or YouTube. It has come to the point where hundreds of videos of world-famous slam poem performances have been posted on YouTube and can be watched by virtually anyone. One Latina spoken-word poet whose YouTube videos have likely served as inspiration for countless Latina writers is Denice Frohman. Frohman began performing in college in the early 2000s and is best known for winning the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam. A performance of Frohman’s poem “Accents” was recorded and uploaded onto YouTube, and this video alone has received over 180,000 views in the past two years. Latinas across the country have sung praises for Frohman and been inspired by the way she so boldly speaks about her culture and family.

Selena Martinez adds on a young adult’s perspective, commenting on the personal growth that one may experiences as a result of practicing spoken-word: “When people can challenge norms, propose unusual questions and express it with all their body, confidence begins to grow…your character transforms mentally, spiritually, and physically. There’s no way you’ll ever be the same person again.”

“Write even when you think you have nothing special to say…The only way you’ll get to the poem that you’re proud of is to practice,” advises Sofi, who acknowledges that she still has a lot to learn about writing and performing, but is not going to let that stop her from putting herself out there. It is evident that these women practice poetry not only to empower themselves but to send an empowering message to their audienceas well. Finding the strength in one’s voice is one of the main reasons why these women chose to practice spoken-word poetry and encourage others to do so.