Covered Up? Become a Fall Fashionista

Don’t you think it’s a little chilly in the fall?  Is your inner fashionista being covered up? You don’t always have to suffer for the sake of fashion. There are many ways to be comfortable and still stay stylish. Learn how to express your sense of fashion while still being zipped up. By following these simple steps, you’ll be on your way to dominating the fall season with your style.

Pick the right jacket

The most important thing about the fall is trying to stay warm and cozy. Since the fall ends up transitioning into winter, these fashion tips can help you stay stylish for the next months to come! Picking a good yet cute jacket is the first step into becoming a fall fashionista. There are many options such as short jackets, medium sized jackets, and even sweaters that can be found at many stylish stores for a good price. Pay attention to what clothing and accessories that you already own when it comes to picking the color and style of your jacket, since it could potentially impact your wardrobe choice as well.

 Color Coordination 

Color coordination is one of the most important factors when it comes to fall fashion. Because the weather can be unpredictable at times, it might affect your jacket choice as well. Looking at your wardrobe, try to pick out colors that match or blend well with your jacket. Remember that you shouldn’t accessorize your look with the same color. So if you’re wearing a black jacket, accessorizing with brighter colors will help brighten up your outfit while wearing dark colored accessories will help cool down a bright colored one. If you currently don’t have anything that goes well with your jacket, then going shopping or borrowing items from your friends is always an option.

Bottom wear

One of the final steps into becoming a fall fashionista is picking the right bottom wear. Once you have remembered to color coordinate and organize your outfit, picking the right kind of bottom wear can make or break your style. Denim will always be a classic choice, so, as long as it blends well with the rest of your outfit, go for it! If you want to add a girly flare into your fall style, then a circle skirt is a great choice to incorporate into your style. Also, if you’re a fashionista who can’t stay away from shorts then that can be a possible option with leggings!

Hairstyles & Hair Accessories

Something that a jacket can’t cover up is a chica’s hair, and that is why the fall season will give you the opportunity to play around with your hair. You can curl, straighten and style your hair to help show off that you can still be a fall fashionista while also being cozy. If you don’t have the time to style your hair, then there are plenty of accessories in this world that can be just as stylish! From hats, to hair scrunchies, to hair clips, be creative! Remember to try to coordinate what you do to your hair with the jacket and outfit that you have chosen to wear.

Footwear

There are so many different options of footwear for the fall. The possibilities are endless such as shoe wedges, heels, boots, sandals, etc. Depending on the setting and occasion, footwear can take you a long way. Because you are covered up for the fall, try to work with the clothing and accessories surrounding your jacket. Fashion is a girls best friend, and cute footwear can help you walk the streets like a runaway model all season long. Since most jackets don’t cover up your footwear, try to use the fall season to express your fashion through footwear!

Need help cording an outfit? Here are bonus styling tips:

  • By wearing this leather styled jacket, you are showing your brave and wild sense of fashion. A pair of slightly ripped jeans will always be a classic that will add a little more flare to your wardrobe. Since this jacket has dark tones, try to accessorize with lighter colors to balance the colors of your outfit. Light pinks and reds will also go well with black. Plus, they will contrast well with denim tones. These light colored accessories are simple, stylish, and make your outfit pop!

Fall Fashion 1

  • If you decide that dark tones aren’t for you and instead want to elegantly stand out, then this light pink pea coat might be the right choice for you! Cool down your overall look with a black circle skirt that is accompanied with leggings. Now, you don’t always have to cool down your bright tones, it’s okay to emphasize them sometimes! Heeled sneakers are very stylish and comfortable at times. By adding a little flare to your girly look, you’ll be stepping up your fashionista game. Complimenting your outfit with some splashes of red will work with your overall look. Make sure to end your look with class, simple and stylish pearl earrings.

Fall Fashion 2

  • If you are looking for a simple yet fun style, this red letterman styled jacket could be a possible choice! Accompanying the look with denim shorts will help bring out the red color some more. Cute black leggings are always a good accessory since it’s fall season. Putting a few flashes of pink accessories will help your outfit stand out even more. Finish your look with some stylish tassel boots. The brown color will help soften your brighter tones and balance out your overall style.
    Fall Fashion 3

 

You’ll be able to strut your stuff wherever you go by following these simple steps. Remember that fashion doesn’t have to be expensive. You can go to many affordable shops that sell the same styled clothing as its bigger and more expensive competitors. Remember to pick a jacket that you will plan to use for the next few months and try to organize your wardrobe with it. With organization and patience, you will be on your way to becoming a fall fashionista!

Discovering the Benefits of Yoga

988693_312767932201750_669936676_nYoga is a great form of exercise, both in the physical and mental realm. According to the American Yoga Association, yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years; there are ancient stone carvings found in the Indus Valley of figures doing traditional yoga positions. It grew in popularity in the United States around the 1960s, and is widely used to improve physical health. Yoga is used to help alleviate back pain, reduce depression, and the risk of heart disease. It is also used as a way to help in managing stress and can serve as a form of meditation. It is composed of exercise of the body, careful breathing techniques, and meditation of the mind.

This form of exercise can help you get active and improve your elasticity, while also helping to keep your heart healthy, and by helping you achieve patience and relaxation. Yoga can help you to let go of negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. It is known to be a great way to find inner peace, and to center oneself. Taking the lessons learned through practice of yoga and translating them into your life can be a great way of improving the way you deal with situations in your everyday life.

Cassandra Salas-Porras has been a student of Yoga for 13 years, and been a Yoga instructor for 2 years, earning her yoga teaching certification in Bali, Indonesia. In giving a class to girls at the Latinitas Healthy Chica camp this past summer, she went through various poses, and instructed the girls to “inhale courage, exhale fear.” She shared the following about her experience with yoga, and how she thinks it can be helpful in one’s life.

“Yoga can help with confidence, in trust with oneself and towards others, with physical health and with body image, with quality of sleep, in relationships towards others, with anxiety, stress, maybe a little depression, sadness, and patience. Really, it helps with anything life throws at you. You learn how to manage these things in the best way possible,” Cassandra shared.

“I started when I was 18 or 19 years old, but the younger you start, you grow up surfing through life in an easier way. I see my life as before and after. It has helped me be truer to myself and to have congruence and coherence in my life, and to be healthy in mind, body, and soul,” she added.

Cassandra shared that yoga is tough, but rewarding, and has brought an inner strength to her life. Finding a way to get active that is enjoyable and fun is the perfect way to stay healthy. Yoga may be that outlet for you! If you’re interested in what yoga can bring to your life, don’t be afraid to try out a class for the first time or search for more information about it. It could turn out to be life-changing for you, too!

Politically Active Latinas

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) is moving forward several strategies to help empower the Latino community. Through trainings, outreach and advocacy efforts, NHLA works to identify and support entry-level through Cabinet-level candidates pursuing presidential appointments. They have been involved in supporting the rise of several Latino professionals now serving in some of the highest ranks in government, including U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta and Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

NHLA_Logo_Vertical_Hi_Res

NHLA has also launched LatinasRepresent, a joint initiative of Political Parity and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, to call out the lack of elected Latina leaders and change the political landscape to reflect all Americans. Though there are over 25 million Latinas in the U.S., just 109 of the 8,236 seats in state and national political office are held by Latinas. The project stems from research that involved interviews, national polls, and focus groups.

Since the launch in February of 2014, NHLA has hosted LatinasRepresent forums in Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C. and San Antonio to spotlight Latina leaders and to embolden more Latinas to pursue public service leadership roles. NHLA has a digital campaign with the latinasrepresent.org web site; over 70 videos on the LatinasRepresent Youtube Channel, Google+ Hangouts with Latina leaders including journalist Maria Hinojosa, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and civil rights legend Dolores Huerta. Conversations and stories of inspiring Latinas are also regularly shared on Twitter, via the hashtag #LatinasRepresent.

When asked why Latinas are underrepresented in high-government positions, Melody Gonzalez, Presidential Appointments Program Director at NHLA, said, “I think Latinas are natural-born leaders. The problem isn’t necessarily that Latinas don’t want to serve in leadership roles or run for office — the problem is that we need to be more intentional about tackling institutional barriers and about building alliances so that Latinas can be better poised to run and win…I’ve been really inspired to see that in every city we go to, nearly 200 women come out to support the LatinasRepresent event — and many of them are voicing their interest in one day running for office. The more we lift up stories of successful Latina elected officials and candidates, and the more communities come together to take action on this element of underrepresentation, the more we’ll start to see the political landscape change.”

But what about those Latinitas that feel they are not ready to run for office but want to be involved with positive change in our community? Melody had some great advice for us as well.

“There are so many ways for Latinas of all ages to make an impact and become involved in the political process,” said Melody, “Register to vote, make sure that every eligible voter around you is registered to vote, and make sure the circle of voters you know actually show up on election day to vote.”

Other great ways for Latinitas to bring change to their community are:

  • Intern and work for elected officials in your local government, at your state capitol, and in the U.S. Congress.
  • Ask a community leader or elected official to serve as a mentor.
  • Volunteer, work and/or fundraise for the campaign of a candidate you believe in.
  • Explore paid internships and careers in the federal government through usajobs.gov.
  • Apply for professional and leadership development programs organized by great organizations like the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, National Council of La Raza Lideres Program, National Hispana Leadership Institute, US Hispanic Leadership Institute, Voto Latino, and others. A great new online resource to explore for programs and scholarship opportunities is https://www.chcinextopp.net/.
  • Be intentional about building a network of real, lasting relationships with people who support you. Write down a list of your leadership goals and talk to your circle of mentors and supporters about your goals. Ask your support network for their help and ideas to help you achieve those goals.
  • Consider running for office — and encourage wise Latinas around you to run for office.

If you are interested in learning more about NHLA, visit: http://nationalhispanicleadership.org

Poetry: Drifting Thoughts

Photo Credit: Scubaexplorer.net

Photo Credit: Scubaexplorer.net

Drifting Thoughts  by Andrea Barreto

I keep my heart where blue kisses gold,
near sand that sparkles like the facets of a diamond.
Sunlight beats down, reflecting off the constant waves.
These waves gleam golden for the day, then fade to an incandescent glow in the silver light of night.
With every splash against the shore, another doubt slips away.

The night brings darkness, a comforting shadow over droning worries made harsh by the day.
Bright moon and faint light soothe lingering thoughts of uncertainty and self-doubt.
In the dark my senses are heightened,
each grain of sand delightfully coarse against my skin,
and each wave lapping gently against my feet as they wash away the troubles of my soul and mend the wounds in my heart.
The sun will return as night gives way to day, but in this moment I am alone in the dark,
and, with the moon, my uneasiness wanes away.

Dressing For a Petite Frame

For many Latinas and girls of Hispanic ethnicity, being petite comes with the territory. While this is not true for every Latina, for those who are, it can be challenging to find something to wear that is both flattering, and not made to fit a small child. Being petite has its perks. The petite frame allows for shorter (but not too short) skirts, the ability to wear a nice pump or wedge and not look ridiculous, and the bragging rights to being “fun sized.”

Here are some tips on finding clothes that celebrate and flatter a small frame and some that give the illusion of a couple of added inches:

1. The Pencil Skirt Might Not Be Your Friend

For things like interviews and semi formal events, avoid the pencil skirt. They are most likely snug in all the wrong places and too lengthy. You want to be comfortable and chic at an interview; instead, opt for a flowy A-line skirt that will hit at your knee or just above it.

2. Matching Tights and Shoes

In the fall and winter seasons, wear solid colored tights underneath your skirts or shorts with matching shoes for a lengthier illusion on your legs. For example, if you are wearing black tights beneath a dress, opt for black shoes for a longer leg illusion.

3. Avoid Ankle Cuffs

Shoes that cuff, or stop at the ankle, can make a short frame appear shorter.  For this reason, look for shoes that don’t cut off the view from your leg to your foot. Ballet flats, sandals, and/or pumps won’t make you appear shorter as long as they don’t have a cuff.

4. Peplum Blouses

Shirts that cinch at the waist and flare out look great on pretty much everyone. Peplum blouses especially show off a curvy figure and look great no matter your height. This type of shirt or dress is always flattering, and having one or two in your closet handy for a special occasion, or even just a day where you don’t want to wear jeans and a t-shirt is a must.

getting dressed

5. Maxi skirts and Dresses

Maxi length bottoms and dresses might make you turn away with thoughts of tripping over the pretty hem, but have no fear. You too can rock a maxi skirt without stumbling. The key to wearing a maxi skirt is making sure it fits your waist nicely and that the length comes down just over your feet and not an inch longer. This is different if you choose to wear wedges or heels with this piece, and in this case you can afford for your skirt to drag if you try it on without these shoes.

Quince Project

All in fairytale gowns and glamorous hair and makeup, Hope, Diana, Yareth, and Yeneira made their grand entrance into the Sand Dunes ballroom on August 21, 2014 to celebrate their Quinceañera as part of the Quince Project! The Quince Project is a charity program that works to put together a free Quinceañera celebration for girls selected in the El Paso, TX area who show strong leadership, academic, or volunteer experience, and who have overcome obstacles or financial hardships. Throughout the summer, the four girls were both involved in the organization of their quince, while also getting to learn more about their heritage and this traditional celebration.  The event relied heavily on donations, sponsors, and the help of a committee of Madrinas who volunteered to pull everything together. Madrinas and the girls received a great amount of support from the community!

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The morning began with hair and makeup for the girls at Tri-State Cosmetology Institute. Each girl got the star treatment and came out looking glamorous with their makeovers.

“I really loved getting our hair done, that felt really special,” Yeneira shared.

The girls then changed into their gowns, were dawned with princess-like tiaras, and had a photo shoot at the park before heading over to Sand Dunes hall.

“I felt nervous at the beginning of the day, but once we started practicing the dance and arrived at the hall, I got much less nervous. I started to get so excited and happy to see everyone here,” Diana recalls.

After a reception and dinner, the girls made their way for the grand entrance, accompanied in by family members. Next was the doll and shoe ceremony, followed by a fun dance set to the upbeat “Follow the Leader” by Jennifer Lopez, and slower waltz with loved ones. Hope, Yareth, and Yeneira all recalled the fun dance as their favorite part of the night, remembering that despite feeling that they messed up the choreography a bit, they improvised, and had great fun doing so!

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At the evening’s toast, in accordance with the butterfly as the symbol of the Latinitas organization, each girl was presented with a “set of wings,” recognizing each girl for her unique qualities and strengths.

“The best part of the night was when we did the cake ceremony and gave a toast, and got to thank everyone. Sarah gave us our wings, and I was very happy to hear her words. They were really meaningful. It almost made me cry, but I had to remember my makeup!” Diana laughs.

During this special moment during the celebration, Hope was awarded the wings of Confidence, Yareth received the wings of Cheerfulness, Yeneira was presented with the wings of Optimism, and Diana earned the wings of Courage.

“I felt just like a princess! It was just like I had pictured it,” Hope shared at the end of the night. A

fter a night full of dancing, great food, and memories, the girls reflected on their special day, and what it meant to them.

“This Quinceañera meant becoming a young woman, and getting to share that special moment with my family and friends,” Diana said.

As the night came to a close, each girl left with a few words of gratitude for all of those involved in the making of this memorable event.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone for making our dream possible. I enjoyed today so much,” Yareth shared.

“Thank you so much to everyone for your hard work,” said Hope.

“Thank you for making our day special, and for making it all possible. I hope it’s possible again for other girls like us next year!” Yeneira added.

Diana shared, “Thank you for making my dream come true, for helping me and the girls out through it all, and allowing us to share this important moment with our friends and family!”

As a young Latina, a Quinceañera marks a meaningful time in a girl’s life, and these four girls expressed such joy into being able to take part in this celebration.  This magical Quinceañera night proved to be a great success, thanks to the girls’ hard work, and to all the volunteer and community support aiding in the Quince Project!

High School Survival Guide

latina student with backpackWhen middle school is finally over, you feel great about yourself and are exited to start a brand new experience at your future high school. Some girls feel completely the opposite; they are scared to set foot on unknown lands. If you have a headache or your stomach hurts by just listening to the “H” word (high school), here are some tips to start high school on the right foot.

1. Speak up! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get along with your teachers.

 Sometimes we see our teachers as being super mean and strict, but, in reality, they are not so bad. Teachers are the best people you could ever meet. To be honest, you do not want to be on the bad side of a teacher, because sometimes they will make your year suck. Be friendly with them, try to talk to them and soon you will realize that they can help you with any problem you have with the class or even life. If at any time you do not understand something about the lesson, do not be afraid to ask questions. Trust me, they do not bite.

2. Make new friends!

Alexis Bobadilla, Club Leader for Latinitas, says to not close yourself off from people when you enter high school. Being shy is not a bad thing; for at least one day, try to talk to the girl or boy that sits next to you. Maybe she or he might end up being your best friend in the future. Open up and be friendly. You do not have to be Miss Popular, but trying to make new friends with the people you are going to see for the next four years will make high school more fun.

3. Explore the school! Know where everything is located before you start the school year.

High school has some pranksters, especially the upperclassmen (juniors and seniors). When you are a freshmen everything is new, so explore the school or look at a map before school starts to see where the main stuff is located (library, computer lab, your classes, etc.). It will come in handy in case you come across a prankster.

“I remember that the seniors will tell us that the pool was at the 4th floor of the building;  little did we know that we didn’t have a 4th floor… or a pool! It sucked,” shares Alexisis.

Watch out for the pranksters! Knowing where your classes are and where everything is located boosts your confidence and makes you stand out from most freshmen.

4. Get involved! 

Try to get involve in school activities, such as clubs, sports, etc. School activities can definitely help you with your college applications, scholarships, and even work applications.  They are also a great way to make new friends, meet new people (students, teachers, etc.) and learn new skills.

5. Always be yourself!

Do not be afraid to show off your amazing personality and stay true to yourself. Peer pressure will happen, but you are the only one that knows what is right in this situation, not your friends. Your parents taught you to be an amazing, honest, and trustworthy person, so if your friend is telling you to do something your not comfortable with or know is wrong…. do not do it! It is very important for young girls to appreciate and value themselves; do not let anyone put you down.  Always remember that you are a beautiful and your personality is just as beautiful — embrace and love it! Your friends will love you for who you are, so do not pretend to be someone you are not just to fit in.  a

High school should be one of the best experiences of your life, but sometimes it will be tough. It is up to you to make the best of it. Be yourself, get involved, and make new friends. After high school, you will be remembered for how you treated people and what you did.

Early College Program: Worth It?

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Written by Joella Methola

 My experience with the early college life is remarkable. I attend the El Paso Community College (EPCC) as an early college student. As an early college student, this means that I go to both high school and college. It is a unique campus environment where I earn college credits, a high school diploma and an associate’s degree upon graduation. It is a great educational program, plus it is free.

Enrolling in an Early College Program
Applying for an early college program takes a lot of work and effort. Applicants need to have one available in their city, complete an application (submit by the priority deadline), write an essay (why you want to go an early college), meet the compliance with state attendance policy, have an GPA of 90 in core subjects during the student’s 8th grade year, submit 7th grade STARR scores, and, finally, submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher.

Benefits of Being an Early College Student
The transition from middle school to an early college is not that easy and it took me a while to get used to it. After all, going to an early college after middle school is a great jump but a grand opportunity. Being enrolled in an early college program has helped me grow academically and personally. For example, I have learned how to manage my time, how to use and improve my strengths, open my mind to new ideas, and how to be aware of my surroundings.

It is rewarding process because you learn to be a more mature, responsible and successful college student. I personally believe the hard work is worth it because you have the opportunity to learn in a college setting with other EPCC students. This type of environment helps you decide which route to take when you  continue your education to earn your bachelor’s degree.

Myth VS Reality: Is It Worth It?

The early college is not all work though. There are a lot of rumors saying that when you attend an early college you miss out on a high school experience; however, you do not. There are clubs and activities you can participate in. For example: Mock Trial, Science Bowl, High Q, Piano, Moot Court, Fashion Club, Community Service, Business Professionals of America, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Spanish Club, and more! Plus, we have scrimmages against each other on sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer. One other cool thing is that all students (freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) can go to prom and homecoming! We also have a lot of school spirit.

Being in an early college has been the best choice I have made so far. I believe that others should follow the same path. It is very fun but also challenging, which is a good thing. It challenges you to be a better student.

Packing for College

Photo Credit: Studentuniverse.com

Photo Credit: Studentuniverse.com

Ah, the dorm life! A new room, a new roommate and, most importantly, a place to call your own. Whehter it’s your first time moving out or returning back to campus for the second year, prepping and decorating your dorm room is a pretty big deal — especially if the dorm is in another city away from home.

Here are some tips about essential and definitely non-essential items to pack in order to make that suitcase (or u-haul) a little lighter this upcoming semester.

1) Learn to downsize:

“But what about my 80 pairs of shoes?!” said almost every girl ever. In college, especially if your campus is a large one, you’ll be doing a lot of walking in great distances in not the perfect air conditioned weather. So having 50+ pairs of heels in all colors and hues of the rainbow won’t be necessary, and it’ll be especially difficult to fit into that small dorm room! The same goes for plain t-shirts. Generally, five is a solid maximum number — unless you’re into band tees or something unique like that. Otherwise bring only a few as there will be free t-shirts galore at college. When packing clothes, don’t bring your entire wardrobe. Select your favorite piece and include one or two business-casual outfits for  job interviews, meet and greets, career fairs, etc. Love the nightlife? Pack a dressy outfit or two if you plan to join a sorority. Keep in mind that the less you pack the more room you’ll have in your room. Most college students agree that their suitcase grows while in college because of all the new trendy shops they discover.

2) Pack the essentials:

First-aid is important. Be sure to bring a first-aid kit in case anything happens unless you’re prepared to become bests with your neighbors.  Plus, it’s good to have in case of emergencies. Speaking from personal experience, I’ll never forget the time my friend recalled her first day of move-in after her parents left when she accidentally cut her finger and then had no first-aid kit. Yikes! It’s also very awkward to feel independent one second to completely dependent the next simply because you literally do not have the basic supplies to take care of yourself. A first-aid kit is a must but so is stocking up on your flu remedies/medication. No matter how immune you are to getting the flu or a stomach virus, living in a new city/environment will eventually catch up to you, like realizing you have allergies after moving from your home in the desert to the humid climate of the east coast. Avoid the hassle of leaving the comfort of your bed when you’re sick and stock up on ck-day(s) essentials like decongestant, stomach medicine, ginger ale, saltines and other medicine-like or edible essentials to help with your sickness.

Don’t forget to pack stationery! If you’re planning on sending handwritten letters to friends and family or want to submit formal letters to organizations, purchase a few standard sized envelopes, large manila folders, stamps, and paper.

4) Declutter your dorm, leave these things behind:

Now to things that should be forgotten, a good golden rule for this is if you only need it to go camping then you probably don’t need it at all (unless you plan on frequently camping). Leave things like mosquito-repellent and fly swatters at home. Being in a cement-surrounded room deep inside a building, you won’t be seeing much flies. Some exceptions to this rule are raid and a sleeping bag. In college, one learns and experiences the “all-nighter,” which in some cases, may involve needing to sleep someplace other than their bed. These also come in handy when needing to stay at a friend’s place last minute, or basically anywhere else that’s not your dorm.

Regardless of how far you are going, these tips can be useful when preparing to live in a dorm room for the first time. It’s important to remember the essentials and to plan ahead for what you will need a lot of, versus what you will need a little bit of. Lastly, one of the biggest things you can learn before moving out on your own for the first time is that you cannot learn EVERYTHING you need to know before actually moving out.  One of the biggest lessons you’ll learn is that mistakes are inevitable and some can only be learned after experiencing first. Pack a few keepsakes, but don’t overpack and bring your entire bedroom, childhood toys and all, with you.

Latin Beats: Raul y Mexia

Photo credit: Latinousa.org

Photo credit: Latinousa.org

Have you ever noticed just how much Latinos are surrounded by music? Think about it, whether you’re listening to your parents’ favorite rancheras on a Sunday afternoon or dancing the night away at your quinceañera, Spanish music is almost always playing wherever Latinos are gathered. For most music-loving kids, a desire to be a famous Rock Star seems like nothing but a dream, but for Spanish pop duo, Raul y Mexia, they’ve made their dreams a living reality.

Raul y Mexia say their passion for music runs in their blood because they’re the sons of artist Hernan Hernandez from the legendary Mexican group, Los Tigres del Norte. “Our father would take us on tour with him and introduced us to various instruments, like the accordion,” says the eldest brother, Mexia.

While famous Latino artists would often visit their house to have “jam sessions” with Señor Hernandez, the brothers say they got the best of both music worlds as their mother also played popular American music. Raul y Mexia say growing up in a bilingual environment has helped shape their career. “We definitely are proud of our roots and want to showcase that but we were born in the U.S. and have our own musical tastes so I think that makes it easy to relate to a younger audience, ni de aqui, ni de alla,” says Mexia.

The San Francisco Bay Area native group defines their music as Urban Cumbia and says they want to use their songs to shine light upon their beliefs and passions, like immigration reform. Their song, “Somos Arizona,” Raul says, may be considered political and controversial but plays a crucial role in giving Latinos a voice. He knows his lyrics and band mates need “to be smart and educated about the topic they are fighting against.”

Karen Gonzalez, a Political Science major graduate from San Jose State University, says she enjoys listening to Raul y Mexia because they use their talents as a platform to positively speak out to Latinos. “Latinos in media is essential for growth of our community. If Latinos can be an influence, we can essentially share our culture our style and every other aspect of our roots.”

To date, Raul y Mexia feel their proudest moment as a group was when they were featured in both Billboard Magazine and The New York Times. They say there’s definitely more to come, but the best part of these experiences is sharing them with family. “We travel together so life on the road doesn’t seem lonely. We are able to share successes and failures and lean on each other when one is down.”

Los Tigres del Norte offspring say they credit much of their success to the work ethic and determination their father instilled in them and say they want to help spread that message to those looking to go into the music industry. “If you love to rap, sing or just play instruments, practice daily. The most important thing, though, is having love for what you want to do,” says Raul.

To learn more and hear Raul y Mexia’s music please visit their YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/raulymexia/videos

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