Summer Styles to Rock All Day

img-thingFor some, the summer means relaxing by the pool and for others it means checking out the latest summer trends. Whether it’s looking for a new outfit or maybe trying a new hairstyle, try out something different this summer.

“This summer there are a lot of interesting patterns and colors blended together,” fashion blogger said Angela Littlefield, Junior at the University of Texas at Austin. “The Tribal Print with neon trend has been popular for a while now, and as a fashion blogger it’s really cool to see how people make use of this trend rather it be in swimwear, denim shorts, crop tops or with pencil skirts.”

Headbands

With warmer weather comes many more undo; for many, updos are best done in style. What better way to dress up a simple bun than with a cool headband? One of the latest, and simplest, type of headbands for this season is the 1-accessory headband. This type of headband is usually an elastic that goes all the way around the head and comes in a variety of looks and styles. From rhinestones all the way around, to a simple flower or feather on the top, or a single-colored headband. These headbands can come in a variety of colors, so try something new and different with your hair.

Swimwear

After a few decades, the full one-piece is finally making a comeback. For those who like a bit more coverage, but want some style as well, look no further. Stores like JCPenney and others have what are called shirred-front one piece bathing suits that come in solids and prints. These suits have a “high-waisted” look to them that flatters the mid-section for all sizes and elongates the torso. The suit also provides more coverage on the top and bottom, to provide a bit more security for those of you getting active in your swimwear and hitting the beach volleyball court.

Hats

Hats are not typically something many enjoy wearing because they don’t find caps flattering. Hats are another retro piece of headwear making its comeback to popular retail stores. Floopy sun hats are a hit this summer. These hats actually provide great coverage for the face in the sun, while creating a sophisticated look. Also, because they are so floppy, you can arrange the hat to lean on certain sides or flip it up to create your own unique look. Hats come in different colors, patterns and some even include accessories, like bows and flowers (can also easily be added on).

“Another trend that’s kinda of coming back is the overall jeans and shorts,” Littlefield said. “I think if you have the right body shape and a cute crop top you can dress the overalls up or down.”

Whether it’s a brand new headband style or an old-fashioned bathing suit to everything in-between, summer is the time to experiment with new, fun and colorful trends that are purely for fashion or styled for comfort.

Latina Lawyers: You Can Do It!

gavelHow many times has it been said, “Law school is so hard”? The chances are probably several times. Like any form of higher education, law school is a challenging commitment that requires hard work and discipline. Instead of letting naysayers put ideas of “you can’t” in your head, think “you can”!

Latinas are underrepresented in the field of law and that is something that needs to change. According to the 2010 census, only 3.7% of all licensed lawyers in the United States are Hispanic, so just imagine how few Hispanic females are in that 3.7%. We are all young, passionate and hard working women who would be amazing in the court room. If you’re wondering why law school would be of any interest to you, just think about the issues you are passionate about. Children? Sports? Immigration? Almost every aspect of our society requires an attorney at some point.

“Sometimes I think about going to law school because I know it would really help me in my career,” said Andrea Calderon, sophomore psychology student at the University of Texas at Austin.

Having a law degree to your name automatically sets you apart in the professional field. Being a Latina lawyer sets them more apart. There are so many benefits that come from being a law school graduate and giving it a thought would not hurt.

“Even though this might sound dumb, shows like Scandal make me actually want to go to law school,” Calderon said.

There are several different motivations for why someone would want to become a lawyer. Whether a chica is inspired by shows like Scandal or even the judges on tv, the most important thing is for her to know she is capable of doing the same thing. The preliminary steps to getting a law degree are to work hard in school and do well on the LSAT, the standardized test that measures one’s preparedness for law school. Once those steps are locked in, applying for law school is next!

Audrey Medrano, sophomore at Westside High School, said she has been thinking about law school as a possibility in her future. She hopes her athletic skills in volleyball and soccer can get a scholarship to undergraduate school so she can start saving for law school.

“I love to argue with people and prove my point,” Medrano said. “I always win arguments with my dad and one day I will show him I can do it professionally.”

Arguing is one part of being an abogada, and it’s safe to say Latinas love to voice their opinions. But before a chica can even get into law school, she needs to be focusing on her grades since high school. Getting into law school is a competitive process and Latinas need to give their competitors a taste of their hard work! Sharpen those GPAs and focus on what you’re passionate about, and law school will be something that you can achieve!

For more information on how to become a lawyer, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm

Raised As One Of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Nina Santillan

Photo Credit: Nina Santillan

My mom began studying the Bible with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses when I was two years old. My dad was not very inclined to it, but my mom was interested in the amount of knowledge they had in the Bible. She would teach me what she would learn—the basics, of course. As I grew older and into my toddler years, she would not expect me to apply everything she would teach me, but I knew she would be disappointed if I did not. I remember at first it seemed difficult, since my dad was not studying and was a Catholic, to please both of my parents. I loved what I was learning from my mom, though, because it made perfect sense to me even as young as I was.

As I grew into my elementary school years, the peer pressure to do what everyone else was doing, as far as holidays and misbehaving, were things that I was afraid to face. However, as I began to make friends and let them know about my religious beliefs and where I stand, they really came to respect it. They supported me even to the point of standing up for me when teachers or others would question why I would choose not to participate in holidays and saluting the flag. They would do all the work for me without even asking them to.

As high school came around, my dad finally started to gain interested in attending our theocratic meetings with my mom, my little sister, and me. He began to study with another brother on his own time and his interest began to grow. He began to apply what he learned to his own life and made it something that he really wanted to have a share in and make part of his life. He strongly holds the knowledge he has gained from the Bible and even enjoys sharing it with others no matter how difficult it may be sometimes — since many can be religious-sensitive.

Even to this day, my friends from elementary and also from middle school and high school still remember that I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They tell me that they have always admired my conduct and the strong stance I have kept throughout all these years. Maybe one day, someone will knock at their door and begin studying the Bible with them because of the witness I gave throughout the time I was in their lives.

Film: Life on the Line

Photo Credit: http://finelinefilms.org

Photo Credit: http://finelinefilms.org

In the documentary, “Life on the Line: Coming of age between nations” by Jen Gilomen and Sally Rubin, the life of a young eleven year old girl, Kimberly Torrez, is portrayed in the story to show her family’s hardships in life facing difficulties in two different worlds. This documentary will be aired during Hispanic Heritage Month, in September on PBS.

Growing up is hard as it is, with all of the different changes happening, especially when you have to grow up in two different countries. In the life of Kimberly Torrez, the oldest of three children, she is faced with drastic changes in her life living in Mexico and going to school in Arizona. Each morning she wakes up early to walk across the border to go to school because she does not drive.

At such an early age of only 11 years old, she is faced with many responsibilities, has to wake up extra early, takes care of her little siblings from time to time to help out the parents, and, most importantly, is being brave through this passage of growing up.

As if it isn’t enough, she also has to deal with the ongoing violence occurring in Nogales; from hearing gunshots to police sirens nearby, at an early age in her life, she has many worries at such a young age.

In addition, she also has to cope with her parents going through a rough patch. Her father has Hepatitis C from getting several tattoos, which he later realizes were done with unsterilized needles. In need of a liver transplant, it became difficult for the father to find a reliable job in Nogales.

Because of the father’s sickness, the mother became the only one that could work to provide for their family.  She worked in Mexico because she was never a U.S citizen; she had crossed a long time ago illegally to have her children, but returning was not possible.

Times began to get more difficult, and the father then decides to cross the border and find a job in the U.S, which he did. He found a job in construction in Arizona, which was hours away from his family. He took the job and was separated from his family for months, in order to earn more money to be able to support his family through these difficult times.

After a while Kimberly’s mom got her Visa in the mail, which allowed her to finally cross the border to the U.S.. To add to the good news, Kimberly’s family finds out that a liver became available for their father’s transplant

Growing up is hard, and living in two worlds is difficult, but with Kimberly’s family supporting one another and always trying their best without giving up, they did it, together. For a tale of perseverance and the obstacles that come from immigrant families, this film is a must-see this September.

Do’s and Don’ts on Throwing a Grad Party

Photo Credit: Partycity.com

Photo Credit: Partycity.com

For the month of May and June, calendars are full of graduation ceremonies and celebrations. When it comes to planning your own graduation party, it can be a little hectic for some party planners. ”I try throwing a party every now and then, but something just isn’t right-  some of my friends have fun and some don’t. I want everyone to have fun and everyone to say what a great host I am,but I need help to make it extra fun,” said Bailey, 18.

Like Bailey, Jane feels stressed when it comes to throwing parties.

“I always try throwing a party, but somehow it always gets ruined. I get really insecure about the people in my home. I am always in the lookout of something breaking, or of someone getting hurt,so most of the time I don’t even have fun because of how much I am worrying about it. I just want to have real fun without over thinking every little detail my friends do,” said Jane, 17.

Throwing a graduation party takes a lot of planning, but, with a little help from Latinitas, planning a party can be stress-free. But where should you start? Here are some Do’s and Dont’s for throwing your very own graduation party.

Do’s

Make sure to invite people that you can trust, because your real friends wouldn’t disrespect your home or your rules; always stay positive and have an upbeat attitude. Don’t rely on everyone else to be upbeat, smile, jump around, laugh, have a great time, it’s your graduation night!

Food

A good party always has some sort of food, not a whole meal where you have to cook, but snacks that you know the majority of people like. Everyone loves free food, especially if it’s something they like. Throw in some chips, a salsa or dip, maybe some wings of different flavors, some nachos,  or even pizza; you want to make something that will be fast and tasty, nothing that will make too much of a mess. Make sure to use paper plates and cups so that you don’t have to worry about washing dirty dishes!

Music

Always have upbeat music at the party! Try creating a playlist beforehand to avoid different music you don’t like to play. If you love Spotify and Pandora for a quick playlist, put them on hold in order to prevent the ads from breaking up the fun atmosphere! Everyone is at your party to have fun, so keep it upbeat! Putting instrumental music or slow music will make it seem like it’s a prom. Lively music will make your party a hit!

 Theme

Try choosing a theme to the party so everyone can dress up accordingly. Plus, having a theme can make the party seem more entertaining.  For example, a Hawaiian theme can lead to people wearing hay skirts, flowered patterns, etc. A themed or costume party means people can show off their creativity or wear their favorite costume.  If having a themed or costume party is not your thing, that’s okay!

Don’ts

Angry Neighbors

If you are throwing this party at your house, make sure to tell your neighbors you’re going to have some friends over and if they have a problem to call your cellphone. Your neighbors will appreciate your initiative to take action when your friends are laughing a little too loud. Being the “noisy” neighbor may lead to a neighbor reporting you for noise complaints. Avoid having to shut down your party by keeping the noise and music level to tolerable level.  If you can’t hear yourself think, then the party might be a little too loud.

Rules

Having a few house rules, like not going into your parent’s bedroom or touching your mom’s fancy and expensive decoration or painting, is normal, but having too many or outrageous rules can ruin the fun atmosphere — like yelling at a friend for not putting a hand towel in the right place. Unless your guests are disrespecting your home or one another, relax and have fun! Don’t think something bad is going to happen, be positive.

No One is Alone

Don’t let your friends wander around your home looking for the restroom, instead lead the way to the restroom in order to avoid them getting into the wrong room. Talk to everyone, it’s your party, your house, don’t exclude anyone out. Make conversation with everyone, don’t let everyone hanging. Come up with ice breakers to break the tension or come up with small talk about  at anything you can think of –the new movie that just came out, how they feel of being done with school, where they are going to college, etc. — be creative, be friendly, and be yourself!

Not too many Do’s and Dont’s to remember, but make sure to simply be yourself at your party. People will love your party and they’ll want you to throw more; don’t be worried about anything, just have a good time and be friendly with others.

Revisiting with Lizzie Velasquez: Q and A

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” –William Shakespeare.

LizzieLizzie Velasquez is a twenty five year old fierce motivational speaker, author, and a special inspiration. What makes Lizzie so special? Well, that can be found on the outside and on the inside. On the outside, Lizzie is special because she was born with a rare genetic disorder — so rare it remains undiagnosed. The disorder prevents Lizzie from gaining any body weight at all. On the inside, Lizzie is special because she was also born with this outstanding courage that enables her to combat forces as she grows up. Of course, Lizzie would not admit to this, in fact, she will accredit her courage to her parents’ love and support (Thanks Lizzie’s parents).

 

When Latinitas last talked to Lizzie she was getting ready to graduate from Texas State University. Since then, Lizzie has released another successful book, appeared on a handful of popular interviews, and hosted a Ted talk – which launched her career as a public speaker to a bigger national status. She is getting recognized by YouTube’s iJustine and actresses, like Kristen Bell and Hilary Duff! Her efforts to end bullying recently extended to a (now) successful Kickstarter campaign called The Lizzie Project. As if she couldn’t be more inspiring, there are many lessons that can be taken away from this young woman’s outstanding courage.

Q: What is The Lizzie Project?

The Lizzie Project is a documentary that will give a very personal look into my life and my own experience with bullying, but also be the vehicle to address online bullying in a way that has never been done before and hopefully inspire a movement for real change and make the online community a more positive place.

Q: What message do you hope people who don’t know your story will receive?

The message I hope people who don’t know my story is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to overcoming obstacles, diversities, and hardships. My hope is that my story of inspiration will open a door to a new and positive path that is waiting for them to discover.

Q: What has been your favorite moment in this past year?

There have been multiple favorite moments of mine over the past year, but I think one that sticks out the most to me is the very first brainstorming meeting we had with my dream team in California for my documentary. Being in a room with four women I greatly admire and look up to all rallying around me and believing in my dream is something I will always cherish.

Q: Anyone you’d like to be interview by or get the chance to meet?

I would cry tears of joy, giggle out of giddiness, and jump around in pure excitement all at the same time if I was able to meet Julia Roberts. My love for her as an actress and empowering woman is something I admire beyond words. In my mind, Jules, as I like to call her, are already besties!

With the recent success of the Kickstarter campaign, Lizzie will begin shooting her documentary in June 2014 and the expected release date will be determined at a later time. Her goals for the rest of the year are to “make the most of every single minute of this new chapter in [her] life and to make it as memorable as [she] possibly can.” One thing is for sure though, Lizzie Velasquez will be a continued hero for many generations to come as The Lizzie Project takes roots in the lives of the people around her.

To read Latinitas’ previous article on Lizzie: click here.

Poetry: The Beautiful Truth

Polet Espinoza

Polet Espinoza, author

Turn the page, perfect symmetrical body

Wearing the clothes you wish you have

With their glowing colored eyes and skin.

Turn the page, expensive make-up ads,

Make your eye lashes look longer than your hair,

Make your flawed skin look flawless

And your lips look bigger than your face.

Turn the page, tips on boys,

They tell you how to act around them

And try to convince you to be something you’re not.

Turn the page, you start feeling neglected

You feel the urge to look like them,

You feel the need to buy their products to look better

And you feel imperfect because they’re in magazines and you’re not.

But no one said there was only one type of girl,

With only one type of perfect

And only one type of beautiful.

And then you notice;

Those girls aren’t real,

They were altered and created with technology;

They’re an image from someone else’s imagination.

But you are real,

Don’t let anyone alter or create your true self;

You’re not an image from someone else’s imagination.

Turn the page, you’re perfect.

Latina Athlete Spotlight: Brenda Martinez

Photo Credit: Runnersworld.com

Photo Credit: Runnersworld.com

Brenda Martinez is from Rancho Cucamongo, California, 25 years old and is a Mexican-American. She was the only Latina on the national track and field team for the USA since 2012.

How It Began

Her passion for running began when she was five years old. Her parents placed her in a track club at this age. They wanted her to be able to focus on her passion and school and keep her mind away from the peer pressure and bad influences around her. Her parents were very supportive of her especially since her mother was also involved in sports when she was younger. She later attended college at UC-Riverside, being the first in there family to attend college, where she majored in sociology and law. In 2009 during her college years, Martinez won NCAA Outdoor Championship in the 1500 meter and was also a three-time NCAA All-American. She was also named UC Riverside Female Athlete of the Year in 2008 and named Big West Women’s Track Athlete of the Week in 2009. What an inspiring Latina!

Her Dreams Continue

In 2013 at the Moscow IAAF Track and Field World Championships, Brenda Martinez became the first American woman to win a medal in the 800 meter event. Not only did she become the first at that, she also ran her personal best at 1:57:80. According to another interview Daily Relay had with her, Brenda Martinez states that before the race began, the crowds were so loud and cheering on for their runners that represented their homeland. This must have been intimidating for her and overwhelming especially from the nerves that were building up since the race would begin shortly. Martinez said that she cannot even remember most of the race except for the last 100 meters because she remembered that her fellow runners were all running together in a group and she had told herself to give it all she had for the coach. Even then, once they had all passed the finish line, she was not even sure what place she got, let alone that she had placed third! When they had finally informed her about her victory, she was so ecstatic and ready to run her victory lap while holding the American flag. How exciting that must have been for this chica!

Her hopes for the future are to inspire little girls. She led a training camp in Big Bear, California during one weekend for three days to help five girls from different high schools. She continued to mentor one of the girls in that camp. She loves talking about positive thinking with the girls and hopes that there will be more participants in the future. What an inspiration for, not only girls, but Latinitas!

Honoring Motherly Figures

Latinitas Austin - Parent and Daughter Workshop

Latinitas Austin – Parent and Daughter Workshop

Mother’s Day is the day you go above and beyond to support, spoil, and go over the top to find the perfect gift for your mom. You tell your mom you love her, you tell her things you don’t tell her every day, the same things, year after year. For some people, this is an exciting and a happy day, but for others, it’s a bittersweet feeling. For some, a motherly figure is sometimes not even a woman.

Some girls experience the love of a mother for a temporary amount of time and only have one person to look up to. “I still have a mother, but she left when I was only 8 years old. I have siblings, but they all live in different cities and I’m not as close to them. They’re much older than I am, and it’s only my dad and I. When it’s Mother’s Day, I don’t feel mad, but I also don’t feel happy. I sometimes do feel sad, because I really have no feminine guidance or help,” said Stephanie, 23. She grew up on her own, went through a girl’s passage to a lady on her own, with no one but her dad to look up to.

“But I love my dad, and he goes beyond what I ask for him, only to make sure I’m well. I wouldn’t trade him for anything or anyone, he might not be my mom, but he’s much more; he’s both parents,” Stephanie added. Although she no longer has her mother, she still feels secure and happy with her own motherly figure, her father.

Even though Stephanie went through harsh times, she always knew she could count on her dad, and doesn’t hold grudges against her mom for not being there. She considers her dad as both parents because he has been trying to play both roles throughout her life.

Other girls have experienced a great loss of their mother, but still feel close despite her passing. “I lost my mom 2 years ago. I loved her with all my heart, and it completely destroyed me when she left, but I know she’s in a happier place now. When Mother’s Day comes, I don’t feel sad. My family and I still wish her a happy Mother’s Day, and we still appreciate everything she ever did for us,” said Maria, 19. Although Maria lost her mom when she was 17 years old, she still takes flowers to her mom, she still talks to her, and she knows her mother is watching out and taking care of her.

“Before I go to bed I like to talk to her about my day. I ask her for help when I need it, and sometimes I even feel her hugging me when I’m sad,” Maria added. She knows she isn’t physically with her anymore, but even then they still have a close relationship. Maria still thinks her mom is with her, even if it is only by spirit, because she feels a strong bond that unites her and her mom.

While certain girls have the privilege to have been raised by their own mother, some didn’t get the chance to ever meet their own mother. “I never met my mother. I’ve seen her in pictures though, and she was beautiful. I was raised by my grandma, and I consider her my mother. I know she’s always there if I need anything. During Mother’s Day, I celebrate my grandmother, even with her age, she took me in and gave me everything and much more, even when she couldn’t. I look up to her, she is my motherly figure,” said Andrea, 20.

We all have different stories, some are similar, but none are the same. A mother is irreplaceable, and some play the role wonderfully. Even though some people have gone through roller coasters of feelings, they always have that one person to look up to when they’re feeling down. Make sure you say thank you, not just during Mother’s Day, and show them how much you appreciate what they do for you, a mother, a father, your own motherly figure.

DIY Graduation Gifts

Graduation season is here! While you are searching for that “unforgettable gift,” you will find the typical stuffed animal with a cap and a diploma, candy, flowers, and gift cards card. If you are looking for something really special to get the graduate instead of the boring gift cards, why don’t you get creative and make a gift from your heart? Do it yourself, it can have more meaning, and it really can be an unforgettable gift. Here are some ideas on what you can make that gives a gift card a new twist.

Lei Money Tree:

Every graduate needs money for their next step in life. Get family members to contribute  a dollar each, make a hole through each dollar, pinch them like a bow, and put a long string through them to make a lei, or a “Hawaiian necklace,” full of money! Your graduate will love your gift.

Going Away Box:

If the graduate is going far away to school and you want them to have the essentials, buy a medium box to decorate with college sayings or pictures that you know will brighten his/her day and anything essential you want him/her to have. For example: Flip flops for the shower, a notebook, some pens/pencils, air freshener, toothpaste, socks, etc. Then, write write a little side note for them to read on each item.  For example, for the flip flops “I knew you were going to need them…” something humorous for him/her to smile to and not feel so lonely by themselves.

Survival Guide:

Your graduate might be going away without his/her parents for the first time, and he/she might not know exactly how to cook, clean, or do laundry. Write him/her a neat survival guide, it is better if you write them on a thick poster board with a fine point sharpie so that it will last longer. Write instructions on how to clean, how to do laundry, recipes for fast meals, etc. On every tip you give the graduate, tape a dollar to it and write a little side note that will brighten his/her day or make him/her smile.

The next one is a little time consuming, but it is worth it!

Day of the Week:

Choose any day of the week, like Monday because no one really likes those. Make a small envelope of any color, put a little goodie like a chocolate or candy or a granola bar and write a note, or a letter. Do every Monday until you will see him/her again with the date on them. For example, if the person leaves in August and you won’t see him/her until December, give them the amount of Mondays there are when you won’t see him/her. Up for a DIY challenge? Do every day of the week! It’s more time consuming, but it will be totally worth it.

Emergency Glass:

There might be some stressful situations the graduate might need money for something and they don’t want to call home or take out a loan, so why not give them an emergency cash box? Buy a long picture frame with more than one spot for pictures, and, instead of putting pictures in the frames, put large dollar bills, a $20 or $50 if you want more, and in the top write “In case of an emergency, Break glass” like the fire extinguishers say.

Gift cards are plain and boring, so if you are looking to give your graduate some extra cash then these DIY gifts are perfect for you.

 

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