Inspiration: 11 Things I’m Grateful For On 1-11-11!

I got this idea to write this post after reading my friend’s blog Self Feast. Since today is 1/11/11, she decided to make a list of 11 things that she is grateful for. I took the challenge and drafted my own list. I hope this year will open up new opportunities for us to continue experiencing more treasures that inspire and humble us everyday.

Here is my list, not meant to follow any particular order in less or more significance:

1 – Living the freelance life – I do appreciate the small things about being where I am in the present. I love having the flexibility to wander the city, go to the library for hours, and hit up my favorite cafes throughout the day. Ready and open for new professional opportunities!

2 – Bikram – I just started up my monthly membership yesterday and it made me so happy! I feel like it helped me hit a mind and body reset button.

3 – My body – Number two sort of encouraged this one. I’m so grateful for my health! My body always finds the grace it needs to keep it moving!

4 – My boyfriend – I hate to sound cheesy, but he is my number one fan. He encourages me and challenges me to keep pushing forward. Very grateful for him.

5 – My painting classes – I start my first class on Saturday and I’ve been super excited ever since I joined! Look forward to hanging all of my pieces up in the apartment.

6 – My apartment – It may be a temporary space, but it’s our space. I love the location, the staff, and the peaceful space! Very thankful for it.

7 – Sex and the City on E! – Do I have to explain?

8 – A good book – Right now I am reading Oprah’s Happiness book. It’s a great resource for inspirational stories and just adding a little bit of O in my life.

9 – My niece and nephew – They make me smile so much! Hearing Tia Sugey never gets old.

10 – My blog – I’m so glad I finally went live! I feel such a great release whenever I publish something. It sort of feels like the first time I saw my article published in a magazine. That too, never gets old.

11 – My friends and family – I love you guys, you know who you are. Plain and simple.

Thanks Mercedes and Vic!

Image: Google Images



Why Latinas Should Be Pissed About The Dirty Girls Social Club  Adaptation

I remember being introduced to “The Dirty Girls Social Club” by my sister-in-law when I was an undergrad. Being an English major, I was obsessed with reading books in general, but especially novels written by Latin-American authors. Once I started reading Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez‘s novel, I was hooked. The colorful narrative features six Latina women who form close friendships after attending Boston University. Now in their late twenties, they are faced with their own personal hurdles and critical moments that test their resilience and perseverance. The strong themes of sisterhood, strength, acceptance, and inner growth inspired me to recommend the book to all of my close girlfriends from high school. For the first time, I felt like I was reading a fiction novel that mirrored my own cultural identity.

I personally admired the character who was a writer for a Boston newspaper as much as I looked up to Alisa’s brilliant career. The Mexican-American author began as a freelance writer at The Boston Globe and interned at the Village Voice. She would later publish cover stories for mainstream magazines including RedBook and Glamour. The huge success of “The Dirty Girls Social Club” led to Alisa selling the film rights in 2003. The story is now being adapted into a television series for NBC spearheaded by Ann Lopez, George Lopez’s ex-wife.

One would think that one of our own would try to develop an authentic pilot honoring the creativity and cultural context of the piece, but that just hasn’t been the case. The educated and successful characters I previously mentioned have been transformed into (in Alisa’s words),

“a story about four Latina whores in San Francisco, their white friend who is being abused by her ‘hot blooded Cuban’ husband, and their black friend who is fat-n-sassy.”

The truth is Latinas have always been stereotyped in Hollywood. From Rosie Perez’s performance in “White Men Can’t Jump” to Carmen Miranda’s fruity headpiece and “tropical” dance. These pop culture trends have continued to manifest despite a growth in Latina actresses. Why are these stereotypical messages still being reproduced in 2011? Penelope Cruz may have won an Oscar, but that doesn’t mean that Hollywood’s perception of Latinos has completely changed. It appears to be a formula that works for the masses. Popular culture has become the arena in which we struggle to know ourselves and to make ourselves known, but creating more Sofia Vergara characters leads to a one dimensional script lacking the substance that even one of Alisa’s characters carries on page.

Alisa has decided to write her own pilot, just in case Lopez’s falls through the cracks. Let’s hope that a more honest and authentic version of “The Dirty Girls Social Club” gets picked up. In honor of Alisa’s voice and our story.

Source: Jezebel


VP of Marketing for Siempre Mujer Reveals Her Secret to Success

There is no better way to get inspiration than to hear from successful Latinas themselves. This summer, I attended a Hispanic Professionals Networking Group event featuring a meet up and Q/A with Ruth Gaviria (first to the right in the photo above), the Vice President of Hispanic Ventures for Meredith Corporation. Before the Colombian marketing guru launched “Siempre Mujer” a Latina lifestyle magazine targeting Hispanic women in the U.S. in 2005, she worked as the Director of Marketing and Brand Development for the publication “People en Español.” Fast forward five years, and now Gaviria is in charge of Meredith’s Hispanic magazine portfolio including “Ser Padres,” “Ser Padres Espera” and “Ser Padres Bebé,” which she re-launched and redesigned in 2008.

During the HPNG event, she revealed her experience as a Latina leader in corporate America and shared her secret to success:

I want to share one experience that changed my life. It’s not even job specific. I was identified by management that I was leadership potential and I was sent to the Center of Creative Leadership. I was honored. I was sent there and I was the only Latina woman, and I was the youngest. When you go to these programs they break you down to your core and they build you back up. The goal is to make you a better manager and it’s a formula that works. During that process, a counselor sat next to me and said, “As a woman of color you have to tone it down. You aren’t going to succeed if you act like a part of these people.”

She continued on to explain that she received this feedback because people weren’t used to seeing women of color or Latinas take control in a corporate environment. Gaviria then gave a list of lessons related to her experience at the Creative Center for Leadership: First, adapt to your environment. Second, know when you can be yourself in a professional environment. Lastly, find a company that aligns with your passion.

Thankfully her tips for success didn’t end there,

“Your first advocate has to be yourself. You have to believe in yourself and the biggest part of leadership is listening. When you are saying, “Look at me! Look at me! I’m Latina and I have done this, this, and this.” You are showing me that you are not open to other opinions. What I have learned is that the process of listening and aligning your goals with your client or company is what is going to help you win. The second thing is that you can’t do it all alone. What fuels me is to create that group of powerful Latinos and have us join together. We [as Latinos] aren’t very cohesive. When you look at the American community, you definitely feel a sisterhood or brotherhood. With events like this, I would have to say that things are changing.”

Gaviria’s strong passion and powerful diction made me feel like a part of that change. I secretly walked away pretending that she was my mentor. I recorded the entire lecture, and whenever I feel like I need that motivating push, I listen to her speech all over again. I hope you leave here a little inspired as well.

Share your secrets to success or your view on women of color and leadership below.


Image: Google Images


Inspiration: Generation Y Forms A Digital Revolution In Cuba

In a country where one voice has dominated the political landscape for over 45 years, a University of Havana graduate has been successfully leading her own digital revolution one blog post at a time. Yoani Sanchez is the voice behind the award-winning blog Generation Y, a bilingual site that chronicles the daily struggles and bittersweet experiences of living in modern day Cuba. Being a blogger in the island is a tough task, especially since owning a personal computer and publishing anything outside of the revolutionary ideal isn’t necessarily encouraged.

Despite facing these adversities, the site has a steady readership of over 2 million and with the growing popularity came even more problems. In 2008, the Cuban government shut down her site, but with international support and a new URL she continues to run her blog today. However, in November of 2009 she faced a direct attack after being abducted, beaten, and detained by “secret police agents.”

Sanchez describes her experience as:

“They squeezed my wrists very hard, beat me in the back in the kidney area, and when people stepped in to do something, they said we were counter-revolutionaries…Clearly, the beating hurts even more a day later; I am still really affected by all of this, but it is not going to stop me from writing my blog.”

Blog at