Friday, January 30, 2015

I Choose Happiness - Guest Post By Nadia Flores

I Choose to be Happy. Today, I choose to be - not I did choose or I will choose or I have chosen. No, today I choose to be. In this moment I choose to be happy. 
I choose to be happy in spite of my circumstances, in spite of negative comments from others, in spite of unfulfilled dreams and expectations. 

I also choose to move forward from the past. I choose to design and create my destiny. I choose to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. I choose to love and give and serve until it hurts, because to love give and serve sometimes hurts but I choose to do it because that is God's calling on my life - for he gave and it hurt and he served and it hurt but he did it anyway. 

I choose to see the best in people - I choose to see their intention and that their heart is in the right place. I choose to see their mistakes and imperfections as their humanness - the one thing that connects all of humanity - that we are all not perfect yet broken and HE came to save us. He came to restore us. 

I choose to believe in a better life for my son far exceedingly more abundant, blessed, joyous, meaningful and full of love then I can imagine.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Little Miss Know-It-All

As your kid gets older there are lots of great things that happen. They become more independent and can do most things without your help. You can have conversations with them and enjoy their company as little people. But just like with all phases there is a downside too.

In my 9 year olds case she is a big know-it-all. Now she is a little bit of a know-it-all when it comes to her friends, but where it's at its all time high, is when we are working on school work. She gives me these looks like she knows better than I do. The thing is, she doesn't.

For example, yesterday her assignment was to write 2 paragraphs on a person involved in the Mexican American War. Like with all writing assignments I set her up to start an outline. She bitched and moaned like a tween does and said she already knew what she needed to write and didn't need to do any pre-writing. So I sent her off to write it. She came back over a hour later with basically a plagiarized essay. She had just taken sentences from the articles she researched and put them together. There was no structure and she had not even touched on the persons importance to the war. It was a big mess. It was not something she could turn in and she had just wasted about 2 hours. 

So the next day we had to come back to it and start with the pre-writing. This happens a lot when it comes to school work. Now this is usually the part of the blog post where I tell what I did to solve this issue. Well right now I am at a loss. I have no idea how to handle this. Do I let her do the work on her own, turn it in and get a bad grade? Or do I keep fighting the good fight and battle with my tween during school time?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Open doors and hearts...

Tell me you've seen the most recent anti-bullying video? Wait!  Before you click the link below I must mention a few things:

Yes, this is just another viral video. 

However, the message is worth sharing 100 times over. It's inspiring and something to share with our young children and generations to follow.

Bullying is such a real epidemic in this country. This epidemic must end. I'm happy the young man featured in the clip below decided to simply do one thing to be in-service. The result of one small gesture changed his life profoundly. Even more profound to note, the kid being bullied became an example for others to follow. 

If you've struggled with a way to communicate with your child about anti-bullying behaviors and how to counter the hate share this video ( with them and others.

How do you create a bully-free zone in your home?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How I Can Get My Kids to Eat A Whole Zucchini

My kids are not huge vegetable eaters. In fact most nights dinner becomes a negotiation meeting with my kids. Most table conversations go like this...

"Eat 5 pieces of broccoli please."
"How about 3 pieces"
"4 pieces and that's my final offer" 

So imagine my surprise when a new zucchini recipe was an absolute hit with my whole family.  Taco Zucchini Boats are super simple to make and easy to make into an extra healthy dish.

Here is what you will need:
  • 4 medium to large sized zucchinis
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Taco seasoning packet
  • Shredded Cheese (optional) 
  • Sour Cream (optional)
Here is what you do.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees 
  • Wash and slice your zucchini long wise.
  • With a knife cut around the inside and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Set scooped out zucchini aside. 
  • Chop up zucchini pieces. 
  • Brown your turkey and drain excess fat. 
  • Add in zucchini pieces.
  • Add in taco seasoning per packet instructions. 
  • Spoon in the meat zucchini mixture into your boats. 
  • Cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese and cook for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is melted. 
  • Serve with sour cream. 

No joke, my kids will each eat 2 "boats". This is the equivalent of eating 1 whole zucchini! I can't get over the fact that my kids love it!

What veggie filled recipes do you love? 

Monday, January 26, 2015

9 "To-don'ts" for a Better Marriage

I recently celebrated nine years of marriage. Nine years feels like a lifetime ago. Truth be told, I wouldn't trade a minute of it to end up anywhere other than where we are today. That doesn't mean we haven't made our fair share of mistakes. I've realized as the years have past that the best part of it all has been the overcoming. We all know marriage isn't constant rainbows and butterflies and through the challenges marriage is one of the greatest journeys and blessings a person experiences in their lifetime (if they choose to).

With that said, here's a list of what NOT to do in order to grow your marriage and feel successful at the 9 (or 59) year mark, too.

1. Don't ignore the cues when something is amiss. What our partners say and sometimes don't say is always front and center. It can be in the words or in their actions but our partners words, tones and moods communicate how they really feeling. Don't ignore when something is off. Go with your gut and listen to the cues that might be pointing you in the direction of communicating more fully to ensure all is still in sync in your marriage. 

2. Don't complain. Seems so basic and yet too many couples spend time complaining. I've wasted years doing this very thing and I've only now begun to curve the habit because I see my children mimicing this unnecessary behavior. Our latest counter is to tell ourselves or whoever complained in our family to follow up with five positive statements. That habit works wonders to shift from nag-ful to grateful.

3. Stop waiting. Too many couples plan big for tomorrow. Get after if today. No matter what it might be. Be better today. Do that thing you've always wanted to do together or for yourself and do it now. Finally scratch those on-hold plans off the list and watch yourself evolve and grow your happiness. Accomplishments enrich a marriage, so get after it!

4. Don't get lazy in bed! Feels like this might go without saying, but I'll say it anyway: keep the sexual passion alive and it will work wonders in your marriage for decades to come. Don't let your partner off the hook if they're the lazy one. There's no excuse for a decline in sexual chemistry or activity. Besides this could be what ruins a great marriage. What began as a lack of sexual compatibility ends up destroying many marriages when ignored.

5. Stop only talking about the kids or work. Remember the foundation of your marriage is your marriage. Kids and jobs play a role but they shouldn't become the sole focus of everything. Watch yourselves because when kids leave the nest or careers fade you two have to have something more than kids and work in common.

6. Don't hold on to resent. We all feel it at some point. Communicate your way out of his hurtful space. Sure, your pride might get in the way, but screw pride. No one will eulogize you by remembering what a resentful son-of-a-gun you always were. Let it go and move on.

7. Never stop dating each other! Stick to a routine date night and fill your relationship with romance. Sure romance changes with years but it must evolve and exist. It's easy to get into a new routine without the initial romance but depleting romance is more harmful than we might realize. Romance is love in a very tangible form. Fight for what you can grasp in the romance department and feel more connected to your spouse because of it. Keep in mind, romance is as simple as spending 10 minutes of every day genuinely talking and actively listening to each other. 

8. Don't meet half way, instead meet all the way. Chores shouldn't be split 50% down the middle though that technically works.  It's better to expect to give 100% of yourself, always. Having yourself in 100% on all things leads to a better place of understanding. A couple giving 100% each is a couple working at 200% capacity without expecting anything from their partner. Think about it? This concept really takes marriage to new heights. This isn't to say you don't help each other and you don't compromise. Just don't spend too much energy meeting "half way" after all before marriage "you-did-you" 100% of the time! Also, too many fights are because of this 50/50 goal. Save the aggravation. I know this because I've learned the hard way. Today, I actually expect less from my husband and yet I've seen him evolve into someone who gives our marriage and family 100% of himself because he chooses to and wants to and not because I tally us up some scoreboard that keeping our efforts at 50/50. 

9. Don't compare yourself to other couples. Grass might seem greener on the other side, but every marriage is unique and you'll drive yourself nuts speculating about the rest or imitating them. You are you. Enjoy the uniqueness that is your marriage and aim to be the best couple in spite of those other couples around you. This isn't to say you shouldn't admire other couples - this just means don't measure yourselves against others. Instead measure yourself against the couple you were one year ago, 5 - 10-  20 years ago. Now that's a great comparison that hopefully illustrates just how far you've come, how much you've grown and how much better your marriage has become.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sorry you couldn't make it to the party. Here is your bill.

We have all been there. Your kid comes home with an invitation to his classmate's party. Everyone is excited and you happily RSVP. Then something comes up. Maybe it's a family emergency or maybe you just plain forgot. Now imagine that the following week your kid comes home from school and you find an invoice in his backpack from the parent of the kid's party you missed and they are charging you a no-show fee.

How would you react?

This actually happened to a family in England. When 5-year old Alex RSVP'd and then did not show up to a classmate's party due to a family event. His parents were not happy about it. The whole incident has now escalated and threats of lawsuits are being thrown around.

I believe that this is an example of how 2 wrongs don't make a right. As a parent we know how frustrating it can be to plan and pay for a birthday party and have people not RSVP and then show up, or RSVP and not show up. In this situation the courteous thing to do is to call the party host as soon as you realize you aren't going to be able to attend. This way the parent hosting the party can make the necessary arrangements. On the other hand sending an invoice through the child is not the way to handle a no-show. It is passive aggressive and down right rude.

As much as it sucks to have to eat the cost of a no-show you really just have to chalk it up to the cost of parenting.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Skittles Bag Game

Self-talk is a powerful concept. We may not realize, but we're often our own harshest critic and I see this a lot in children. I see this with the children in my day to day work and with my own children at home. It drives me mad really and I always catch my kid beating himself up with something simply like a whine and complaint because he isn't writing neatly. He'll literally hit himself with a light tap as if he's condemning his small mistake and silently berating himself. 

Might not seem like a big deal, but NEGATIVE self-talk is truly a set back for any mindset. Kids grow up believing the negative words and judgements and as adults these beliefs hold them back. We can't be there for all those moments, but we can create the opposite from happening and make that part pretty fun!

A game we play in my field of work is called the "skittles bag game." You have the children in your life pick three skittles and code each color with a question. These questions should be positive. What kid doesn't want a chance to eat candy. Let them have their candy, but first make them say a couple of great things about themselves.

For instance:

grab a green one, tell me what's the best thing about you?

grab a red one, tell me what you like best about yourself physically?

grab a yellow one, tell me how you made a difference today?

grab an orange one, tell me what you LOVE most about yourself?

and on and on...  the possible questions are endless!

Having kids get in the habit of complimenting themselves is a great habit to create.  This isn't meant as a way to build boastful character, but to create instances where children understand that how they speak about themselves matters! They must become their biggest fans and aim to be happy with themselves first and foremost. This also reinforces that what others believe doesn't matter more than their own beliefs. Their self-love and acceptance at an early age causes a profound impact stretching many, many years into adulthood.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Are You Reading?

I love books. Like I want to live in a library. Most nights I will read until I cannot keep my eyes open anymore. When a book starts to get really good I stop and hug it. Yes like actually hug it. Last year I read 75 books. Some were hard to get through but others were amazing! Here are a few of my favorite reads from 2014...

Dancing with Butterflies by Reyna Grande: Chicana authors always hold a special place in my heart. Many write stories that really speak to me. Reyna Grande is no exception. All her books are great but this one is a beautiful story about the lives of women in a dance group.

The Bear by Claire Cameron: This is one of those kind of books that really sticks with you. You find yourself thinking about it months later. If you were a fan of the book "Room" you will enjoy this one. This is the story of a family of 4 who go on a camping trip and are attacked by a bear. The children are forced to survive on their own in the woods.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell: The book "Eleanor and Park" by Rowell was one of my favorite books of 2013. I have read a few other books from Rowell and none have really compared until this one. Landline is the story of a woman who is in a marriage on the brink of ending. While at her parents house she finds an old phone that is connected to the past. On this phone she is able to call her husband but they are back to the beginning. She has a chance to start over and save her marriage.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio: Last year I found some really great books in the young adult genre. This book is about a young boy who was born with a physical deformity of the face. This books follows along as he decided to go to a regular school. He learns many lessons along the way, as well as teaching others. A very good and quick read.

I am always looking for a great book to read. 
What are you reading right now? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Planning a Staycation

For some families full-fledged vacations aren't necessarily practical and/or affordable, but that shouldn't keep families from local mini-vacations a.k.a. Staycations! Groupon offers great hotel stay packages searched by location and often offer discounts for last minute getaways!

Here are a few So-Cal gems:

1. Visit San Diego and combine that with a trip to Legoland, Sea World, Wild Animal Park or all of the above! San Diego is a city with plenty to do and so many hotel options that prices are fair.

2. Knotts Berry Farm Hotel with theme park tickets for all registered guests to visit the neighboring Knotts Berry Farm Amusement Park. My family did this over NYE weekend and loved the price, proximity to theme park and hotel restaurant (good food option away from park crowds).

3. Hotel stay beachside in the South Bay, OC or even more popular destination,  Santa Monica, CA. This is always so easy since a beachside stay is fun in and of itself. 

4. Palm Springs trip combined with shopping (Cabazon Outlets). Make sure to stop by the neighboring Morongo Casino for their yummy buffet or to gamble if this trip is kid-free.

5. Spend a day in Santa Barbara where you can combine a 1/2 day at the beach with a 1/2 day at the Santa Barbara zoo. While there for the weekend enjoy wonderful shopping on State Street and tour the wonderful local university UCSB! 

A couple of things to keep in mind to save on all trips: find hotel deals with no hidden fees (Expedia features these often). Look for rates that include free parking, wifi and meals. As a minimum, search for kids eat free deals. This is a great way to stay locally and save!

These destinations are easy, fun and local for So. Cal. residents, share your favorite spots, too. We'd love to learn about other staycation destinations across the nation. 

Monday, January 19, 2015


Pop star Demi Lovato is starting her own trending hashtag. We all know "MCM" (man crush monday) and TBT (throwback thursday), but Demi is using social media to remind women that they are beautiful with NNM or No Makeup Mondays. 

The idea is simple. You post a picture of yourself, makeup free on Monday. The purpose is to celebrate natural beauty. In an age where photoshop and and makeup are a regular part of our media it's nice to see a pop star embracing realness. When my girls watch me put my makeup on in the mornings the older one asks when she will be able to wear makeup and the youngest always wants to put some on right there and then. I always respond with the same thing...

"You are so beautiful you don't need makeup".

Why can't I embrace those words for myself.

So to support #NoMakeupMonday, Irene and I are posting our pictures here on HerMamas.

We would love to help spread this hashtag because we love what it stands for. 
Share your #NoMakeupMonday on Instagram and twitter today! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Take Care of YOU, first!

I can't say I've been the most balanced parent... correction: the most balanced person these days and I once prided myself on balance. I didn't even know what was causing me to be so out-of-whack even though I knew there was suddenly plenty more landing on my plate. 

The list goes on...I was recently promoted, recently moved, I am a wife, and I have ever growing commitments with my children. My 8 year old alone has 4 weekly basketball commitments, a weekly catechism class and school work/activities to attend to. Assisting him in his everyday life feels like a pretty big package and he's 1 of 5 in our family! 

Then I saw the amazing Jada Pinkett-Smith talk about this very thing.... balance in motherhood, and more importantly, self-care!  Truth be told, I realized that my out-of-balance feeling comes from me neglecting to care about me, FIRST! I love how Jada breaks it down in the following video and I especially understand the part about projecting on to our children and partners because of our own internal struggle with overly depleting ourselves. 

And with that here's a little something for those mothers out there giving every ounce of themselves to everyone but themselves...

Are you taking care of YOU, first?!?

Let's do like Jada and start placing ourselves at the top of the list. We'll be better for it and love in the best way possible. Don't you agree?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Giving Kids "THE" Talk

This is something that I am really, really dreading. The time is coming soon where I am going to have to sit my kid down and have "THE" talk. You know about the birds and the bees. Ugh I am getting the nervous sweats just thinking about it. This is such a delicate subject that can be confusing and lead to many, many questions that I am just not ready to answer. I think part of my fear comes from the time my mom sat me down for the talk. She literally handed me a pop-up book. Yes, pop-up penises and sperm. As you can imagine it was a bit traumatizing.

Cut Video released on YouTube this great video about parents giving their kids the sex talk and the kids reactions.

I can only hope my talk with my kid is as entertaining as these! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Throw That *ish Away

Too many of us are hoarders whether we like to admit that or not. I recently moved literally next door and while that sounds easy as can be, it was hell. A hell we're still recovering from and it's actually more stressful than we remembered then suddenly we were moving again.

In moving I realized one thing. My life was too cluttered and in turn my household was out of control. Many of us don't realize just how unorganized we really are. 

Here's the test? Do you have a junk drawer? Many of us do. It's the drawer where too many useless knickknacks end up. Now let's be honest. Do you have more than one junk drawer/cabinet?

Really, is there more than one?

Here's how you know. Do you have a drawer or cabinet full of an assortment of random items "living" there with no real rhyme or reason. For instance, what once started out as drawer for pens and paper suddenly includes tissue paper for wrapping, coupons, leftover restaurant condiments, an address book, your hot glue gun and unopened mail. Okay, that's a random combo of odd things but if that sounds familiar and there's more than one spot like this.... It is time to declutter your life!

Decluttering means getting yourself organized by simplifying your life. Often we lose track of what's where when we live in cluttered space. A great way to declutter is to tackle organizing your junk one closet or drawer at a time. Set up three boxes: keep, trash, donate. Then get to it. Be honest with this process. You likely can't keep or trash everything. A good rule of thumb: if you haven't used something in a year (unless it's seasonal) than you don't keep it. Choose the donation pile unless the item is too worn or incomplete and really belongs in the trash!

Next, designate space by themes if you have enough space. For instance, we have an office supplies and arts and crafts drawer and here "live" all things considered office supplies and homework essentials (tape, pens, crayons, notepads, etc.). Themes are endless and help productivity! 

Decluttering can feel a tad overwhelming but don't avoid it. Take it slow, move in sections and complete the process at least once annually! You'll feel lighter and in control once it's all said and done. Plus, decluttered folks are the most productive on earth!  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Raising Girls: Documentaries Raising Awareness

I am raising 2 girls. I want them to be happy, confident, kind and leaders. I am conscious about the women whom they interact with, and I am conscious of the fact that I will always be their role model. What I do, think, and say will have the most impact on my girls. I do my best to show my girls that women can be powerful and leaders. I have them both in Girl Scouts because I believe the program helps girls to build confidence and gain leadership skills. I am trying to reemphasize that idea by being a troop leader myself.

I recently watched two really great documentaries that are currently streaming on Netflix.

Girl Rising is all about the power of education. It follows different girls from different parts of the world. Some of these girls have to fight and overcome just to get into a classroom. This documentary shows how important education for girls is. It shows how education can overcome poverty and help each generation become better than the next. The statistics in this documentary are outrageous and sad. I feel that this film would be appropriate for young girls to watch with their parents. I think this is a great film to remind our girls that education is so important for them to have, and to remind them how lucky they are to be able to go to school.

Miss Representation is a documentary about the image of women. The tag line "You can't be what you can't see" is powerful. This documentary talks all about how the media is perpetuating the idea that women are judged by their looks and not just regular everyday looks. They are judged against impossibly perfect images. Even though I am trying to give my daughters a role model who values intelligence and kindness I am fighting mainstream media who gives my girls the idea that women are judged by their looks and that women are looking for that prince charming. Or if women are success business women, they have to sacrifice a family and are usually pretty bitchy. Even the powerful badass types are still sexual.  It's not just movies or magazines but it's even in the news. And let's not get started on reality TV. Women are portrayed as bitchy, mean, stupid and constantly against each other. This documentary was such an eye-opener for me. These images and the messages that these images are sending have become so ingrained in my mind that I did not think twice about what I have been watching. All this even trickles into our government. Even though this documentary is not appropriate for kids to watch I think it's a great way for parents to start a discussion with their kids. 

These documentaries are great not just for parents of girls, but for all, these issues impact boys, girls, women and men. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Meals in Minutes

My life is becoming so fast-paced I can't remember the last home cooked meal I made. This isn't sustainable and truly I enjoy cooking for my family. If you're often short for time like this mom, try these easy meals that can be whipped up in minutes.

1. Cheese, meat and cracker spread - Yes, these spreads can be a healthy and hardy dinner meal. Cut in large cubes pre-bought turkey and ham from any deli, add cubed cheddar or mozzarella and
whole grain crackers to round out your spread. Kids will feel satisfied so long as there's plenty of hardy protein on their plates. Also add delicious fruit options to balance out your meal (think melon cubes, sliced apples or grapes)! Prep. takes only about 15 mins. for this mealtime option.

2. Chicken salad - easy peasy and delicious! Grab a store bought rotisserie  chicken, shred and add diced red onion, bell pepper, light mayo, pepper and salt! This is a simple and delicious chicken salad recipe that can be combined with tostadas, chips or even better, Hawaiian bread rolls. Takes about 20 mins. to prep. and serve this yummy dish.

3. Loaded quesadillas - quesadillas are really so easy to whip up, just add cheese to a flour tortilla and you're set using a stove top grill. I like to add flavor to my quesadillas by adding yummy extras that are easily store bought i.e. cowboy caviar. This is a corn and black bean salsa from Trader Joe's that turns boring quesadillas into a delicious meal. If you can't get your hands on this "salsa" whip up your own diced fixings such as avocado, tomato and add sour cream or grilled onions to your quesadillas. This whole spread can be whipped up in less than 20 minutes!

Those are three easy dinner fixes! Share yours too! 
Hermamas want to know what you whip up for dinner with only minutes to spare!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Winter Coats

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 

When I moved out to the desert area people warned me about the brutal summers. They kept saying that I wouldn't make it past my first triple digit heat summer. They were wrong. The summer's out here do get into the triple digits but to be honest I kinda like it. It is those winter's that are hard for this beach kid. I grew up in an area where the weather stayed between 70-85 pretty much all year long. Out in the desert the winters can get down to the low 30's and this year as already had one really cold spell. I mean it snowed here people! Snow! Do you know how cold is has to be outside for it to snow? A lot colder than 70 I can tell you that!

I realized really quickly that I do not own a good winter coat. The one I have is from 1993. So I did what anyone does, I headed to Pinterest to "window shop" for coats. So many cute coats! Everything from faux fur lined with hoods, to tribal designed panchos to soft cashmere wraps. Above are a few of my favorites. Just click on the number to go straight to the pinterest page!

After browsing coats on my browser, I realized that winter coats are expensive! Guess I will bust out my 1993 red plaid coat. That's back in style again right? 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

It's lonely at the top... (plus, a chance to win a Target gift card)!

I'd always heard the saying "It's lonely at the top" in reference to business but the same is true in friendships and even with family. Now the top could be anything... reaching new levels of personal success, building a business, a family, or connecting more deeply in your religious faith. The top is defined in many ways and we each have personal goals to reach this so-called top eventually. What we may not know is just how lonely it can be when we get there!

And yes it's lonely. Lonely isn't bad it just means, and maybe to your surprise, only a few made it there with you...

Few will work as hard to get to the same place. You'll look around and realize not everyone who started out on your similar path arrives and honestly that often boils down to most individuals giving up while you didn't. So others may not have reached your same level of success and sure you may want them there too, but they'll have to put in the work to meet you at the top!

Leadership is lonely by nature. Leaders reaching new heights in any endeavor are doing so while not always making the popular decision. Same goes with friendships and with family. Individuals thriving begin doing what's best for the greater good. Not being liked by the status quo is normal in that pursuit even if that status quo may have once been a best friend or a relative. For instance, I have less friends today than I did ten years ago. In fact, I have many less friends and this was and is intentional. I don't aim to be liked by all or included by many. I aim to be myself and accepted as such. No-nonsense, non-judgement, just genuine communication and connection (not perfect but real) and these traits aren't always shared leaving more room for honest-to-goodness relationships as one evolves and reaches new heights.

Making the tough calls doesn't come easy, but is needed. Again, to be lonely at the top means you've had to make the unpopular decisions. Being at the helm of those decisions though good for you if focused on the greater good can be a source of isolation from the masses. And that's okay. Never ever make the popular decision over the right one. This is particularly true in business. The best leaders understand it's not about being best friends in business it's about being the best in business. Plus, you begin to realize you're not actually lonely... you simply have a different circle around you full of quality relationships as opposed to a high quantity of acquaintances. 

How have you felt "lonely" at the top? 
Share your comments with HerMamas' readers and be entered to win a Target gift card!

For contest: make sure to leave your email along with comment. Winner announced Monday, 1/12.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Chicana Role Model...

On Monday morning the news broke that author, poet and public speaker Michele Serros passed away. The news broke my heart and many others. I am sure that Michele had an impact on many of you and I wanted to share what I wrote on my personal blog on HerMamas today.

When I heard the news that author and poet Michele Serros passed away after battling cancer I cried. A lot. I did not know Michele personally. I have heard her speak a few times. Once at a bookstore on Main Street in Ventura with my Mom. But her passing saddened my heart.

See back when I was a young kid Chicana growing up in an upper middle class community trying to find my place I picked up a copy of the poetry book "Chicana Falsa: and other stories of death, identity, and Oxnard". I mostly bought it because it was cool to see a fellow Ventura County gal in print. Then I read the book in one sitting and my whole life changed. Michele was telling my story. I finally was able to put a name to what I felt. I too was a Chicana Falsa. If I had a dollar for everytime I was called " white washed" or a "coconut". I understand the feeling of not being " Chicana" enough.

Reading that book started a fire in me. Because of this book I would spend 6 amazing years learning all I could about Chicano history, art and literature. Which would become my passion in life.  It was this book that made me realize that my life was not just beautiful but worthy of being literature.

Michele's writing was simple in the best way possible. It felt real. It felt like talking to my prima on the phone. I have read everything she has written and always had a sense of pride of being from the same area as her.

Tonight at dinner I read a few stories and poems from Chicana Falsa to my family. We all got a good giggle about "chicharrones choke Chicana child to death in Chino" and we laughed over the frozen vegetable revolution at the super market and we all related to being excited to see a family member on television. These books will remain on our book shelf and will be there for my girls when they need it. And for me to read over and over again.

Rest in peace Michele. Thank you for your words and for being my Chicana role model. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Boys asked to slap girls... What do you think happens?

Have you seen the latest social experiment video where young  boys (age 8, 9, 10) are asked a series of questions, introduced to a young girl, then asked to slap her? I couldn't believe my ears when the interviewer  got to the request "slap her!" I wasn't sure if these boys would be so impressionable that they'd actually slap this girl because an adult, almost authority figure, simply asked them to.

What do you think happens? Raising boys of your own? Would they slap a young girl and perpetuate violence against women or would they know better to refrain.

Check out what happens with these youngsters...

Was this the outcome you expected. Chime in below and tell us what you thought about boys being asked to slap a girl and share your opinion regarding how this was handled by the young boys in the "hot-seat"!

Dia De Los Reyes Magos

You might have spent the weekend putting away all your Christmas decorations but the religious holiday season officially ends tomorrow, January 6th with Dia de los Reyes Magos, also known as Three Kings Day or Epiphany. This holiday is in celebration of the gifts that the 2 wise men gave to baby Jesus. This holiday is celebrated in Mexico, Spain and other Latin American countries. In fact in some parts of Mexico this is the day where gifts are exchanged.

There are 2 traditions associated with this holiday - the first involves shoes. Children leave their shoes outside with a list of gifts they want. Some even leave grass for the Kings' camels. Then at night the 3 Kings visit and fill the children's shoes with toys and treats.

Another important part of the holiday is the traditional "Rosca de Reyes" or Kings Wreath. An oval shaped sweet bread made to represent the Kings' crowns. It is topped with dried fruit to represent jewels in the crowns. Inside the bread is a little plastic baby doll to represent baby Jesus. If your piece of bread has the baby Jesus in it then you get to host the party for the Dia de la Candelaria in February. 

Feliz Dia De Los Reyes Magos! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

It's that time of year again. During the new year most folks set resolutions or annual goals. My family has done it all from setting family goals to creating individual goals that were reevaluated weekly. Whatever the reason and method there's one thing that remains... The best goals are SMART goals!

See, it's easy to say something to the effect of, "my goal is to lose weight." However, that's not specific enough and doesn't include a plan. Goals without clarity or a plan are the hardest to reach. 

For instance, to lose weight this would be a well-developed SMART goal:

Specific: Lose 20 lbs.

Always start by writing down your specific goal(s). If goals aren't clear enough they're almost impossible to meet. In this example the goal is to lose 20 lbs. The following points outline the how:

Measurable: To lose 20 lbs. plan to lose 1 lb. weekly working out (30-60 mins.) 5 times every week and eating a reduced calorie diet of 1200 calories per day.

The measurable bullet point example gives you action-items with a clear & measureable (numbers) plan to follow in weekly, measureable increments.

Attainable: Lose 20 lbs. in 5 months 

Always give yourself a realistic time frame. Without one you could grow frustrated and quit on goals that were simply too unrealistic to reach.

Relevant: Lose 20 lbs. by eating healthfully 6 x per week , exercise 5 x per week, etc. 

Outlining a relevant plan aids your ultimate effort to meet a specific goal.

Time-bound: Lose 20 lbs. in 20 weeks

For best results, goals must have a realistic end-date. This ensures you remain on target. This also gives you something to look forward to and time to measure progress against.

What are your 2015 SMART goals?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015

Irene and I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year. 
We are so excited for 2015 and another year of funny, informative, and even sentimental posts
here on

May 2015 be a year filled with love, laughter, prosperity and adventure!