Repeat after me.

I am…Redefined

I am a

Chingona.

A Hell-Raiser.

A Bitch who takes no offense when you call me

the very word hurled at me as an insult.

10655102_655249274572918_909635074_n

My smile confuses

You.

My thanks steals

The wind in your sails and cools my

Cheeks.

10607929_1401051556783916_297437493_n

This is where I leave you,

Blinking and reassessing, only because

I don’t feel like wasting my time waiting for you to figure out

I never needed anyone’s approval

to

move

Forward

But my own.

10570088_252297338313075_821545248_n

This is

My Journey.

As I define it

I define myself.

10693618_905488446146600_1308463889_n

I lay the foundation for

The tomorrow’s during which

My sons and daughters

Will search for their own words;

Their own

Ways.  I am

A Chingona.

10611040_935231339827415_1072174516_n

I am not

Perfect. I am my own story

Being Written with Words

I

Choose

to use.

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Words Redefined.

Turns out…

I never needed

Anyone’s approval but

My Own.

wondereliana

Permission Granted.

The ChingonaFest Project Podcast with Pauline Campos is coming. Hopefully maybe tomorrow. I run on Mexican Time, which means I’m usually behind of and ahead of myself, and usually at the same time. Stay tuned in by connecting with me on the ChingonaFest Project Facebook Fan Page, and on twitter and instagram because you love me. It’s okay, I love you, too, in a totally We’ve Never Met But Would Probably Be Besties kind of way. Oh and all that art? It’s mine. I’m on Etsy with my Mexican in Maine shop, but I’m holding the ChingonFest branded art for a lil’ something special that involves me, you, the podcast, and community exclusives. *winks*

 

Welcome to WEEK 18 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purpose, Las Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you that it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Myrah Duque and Jesenia the Comedic Actress were two of the most recently featured wonder women. Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

Today’ featured Chingona is a saint of a woman I consider myself lucky to call a friend. Her name is Denisse Moltavan and she’s the founder of the Orphaned Earring, an incredible non-profit benefiting Latin American orphanages. The premise is simple — you send in your orphan earring and/or donate any unwanted jewelry pieces and Denisse turns them into new pieces like these to sell for The Orphaned Earring.

To be clear, y’all, this is what Moltavan does in her spare time — on top of the 60 hours per week she puts in at her PR job. (I know, RIGHT?) Connect with Moltavan and The Orphaned Earring on Twitter, Facebook, and instagram.

So let’s get to that interview!

rp_photo117-e1396025637927.jpg

Denisse Moltavan

Denisse Moltavan

 


Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Denisse Moltavan: Chocolate.

PC: OMG TWINS, right? Favorite book and why?

DM: Amor en Los Tiempos de Cólera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez has the ability to transport us to different ages and eras and make US feel like the main characters in his books. He did just that with Amor En Los Tiempos de Colera, so as a child my first love was the book character.

PC: My high school AP English teacher would have loved you. What’s your favorite quote?

DM: “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work” ? Thomas A. Edison

PC: Opportunity needs a new stylist. Or maybe a friend brave enough to tell her that the overalls are not doing her any favors. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

DM: No, I consider myself an independent woman

PC: oh SNAP. I think you tie with Vannessa for best answer to this question EVER. Who inspires you?

DM: Many successful “everyday” Latinos who have found their success through hard work such as Richard Montanez of Pepsi Co. and Tommy Thompson of Moroch/iNSPIRE. I’m also inspired by Malala Yousafzai.

PC: I need to up my game. I was gonna say I’m inspired by the BFFs in the world brave enough to tell their overall-wearing BFFs that they aren’t allowed to leave the house until they’ve changed. Who is it you hope to inspire?

DM: I hope to inspire everyone around me to identify the opportunities to do good and take them! We all don’t have to have our own non-profits, we just need to train our hearts and minds to feel more compassion for others in the world and act on that compassion, just not be a spectator.

PC: Do you dream in color or black and white?

DM: Both!

PC: Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

DM: BEAST! It’s fun to be a sexy beast, but chingona is the new sexy!

PC: That makes me the new Sandra Cisneros. I’ll take it. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

DM: Not enough Latinas are highlighted for their accomplishments and intelligence. Latinas “make it” in media if they are very sexy and dress sexy as well. I’m not only referring to general market media, our Hispanic media puts so much pressure to being beautiful and sexy on TV that the rest of the world thinks that that’s all we have to offer.

PC: I knew I liked you for a reaon… Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

DM: You must show God’s love and mercy with others by helping and caring for them. People will be able to see God’s love through their actions.

Everything is possible, everything has a solution and the worse others can say to us is NO, and that’s not a big deal.

PM: One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

DM: Being at the baseball field watching my daddy play every weekend, he was my childhood hero

PC: I like your dad. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

DM: I think in Spanish at home and with friends and English at work.

PC: That sounds entirely like way too much work. What’s your favorite dish? Why?

DM: Fritanga which includes red beans and rice, carne asada, tajadas verdes, ensalada de repollo, queso frito

PC: Bless you. Why am I suddenly hungry? Also, Do you feel “Latina enough”?

DM: Yes, very very Latina.

PC: Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

DM: Nope, I take a bite, hold it in my mouth and let it melt.

PM: Patience, young grasshopper. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

DM: That we are nurturers.Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-6.09.16-PM-e1375409462117

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader wants to know how to handle a competitive best friend. Check out my response and let me know what you think! Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun'll come out tomorrow, y'all..

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all..

Who likes Pretty Pictures? I’m #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

Welcome to WEEK 17 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purpose, Las Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you that it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Jesenia the Comedic Actress and Vannessa Vasquez were two of the most recently featured wonder women. Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

Today’ featured Chingona is too fancy for a last name. She’sMyrah Duque, otherwise known as Coupon Mamacita (or Mamacita! with in italics and with an exclamation point, if she’s feeling sassy)…Duque is a wife, mother, former realtor and PTA President and if you read her about page on her blog, she’s been an “etc.” three times. That last one sounds important.

Duque set 0ut to live frugally after watching a TV show featuring a woman who paid $10 for $200 at a local store with extreme couponing. Turns out Duque has a knack for what she refers to as her “frugal passion-venture”, which, by the way, she happens to share in English AND Spanish. Duque, who has been featured on NBC Latino, Latina.com (a personal favorite.. a*HEM*), among others, is one busy lady.

So let’s get to that interview.

 

 rp_photo117-e1396025637927.jpg

Myrah Duque

Myrah Duque

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla? 

Myrah Dulque: Vanilla

PC: I like a woman who gives a straight answer. Favorite book and why:

MD: “Remarkable Courage” by Deb Cheslow. This book’s message transformed my negative “I can’t do that” attitude to a permanent daily POSITIVE attitude.

PC: Come to think of it, you are pretty perky. It’ a wonder I haven’t felt the urge to slap you yet. What? Why the shocked face? Most perky people drive me up a wall but you? I like you. So… let’s talk about your favorite quote. Spill it, sister.

MD: “Fake it till you make it.”

PC: *Nods head* A perennial favorite amongst these parts. Describe yourself in third person.

MD: She overcomes difficult barriers. She is strong. She is influential.

PC: Ohhhh you’re gooood. Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

MD: STRONG MAMACITA!!!

PC:  You sassy minx, you. I think I just fell in love with you, Myrah. Do you dream in color or black and white?

MD: Color

PC: Shut the front door! Me, too! But let’s get serious for a minute. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media? 

MD: Latinas are strong, open-minded mamacitas! We are underrepresented and misrepresented, however that is rapidly changing with the growth in roles social media, fashion, politics, entertainment, sports.

PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest… 

MD: The sky is the LIMIT! NEVER, Ever, EVER give up!

PC: Okay, perky and…and yet…I still don’t wanna slap you. Maybe it’s the chingona mixed in with the perky that totally make me just wanna ply you with alcohol to see if I’m right, cuz I bet you swear like a sailor when you drink. NO! Don’t say a word. Let me just hold on to the dream for a moment here. Tell me about one childhood memory that has stuck with you…

MD: Relocating to NYC’s Spanish Harlem from Santo Domingo at the age of 6.

13 – Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?  Spanglish

MD: Spanglish.

PC: Me, too, Mama. What’s your favorite dish? Why?

MD: Sancocho Dominicano, it’s synonymous of Family gatherings, Family Love.

PC: Do you feel “Latina enough”?

MD: Oh yes! To the bone!

PC: You have the chance to eat dinner and drink wine with one person, living or dead. Who is it, what do you eat, what kind of wine, AND WHY THAT PARTICULAR PERSON?

MD: Hillary Clinton. A nice lavish Sancocho Dominicano with tostones and aguacate! Wine: A tasty Merlot since the sancocho I like has 7 different types of meat in it. Why Hillary? She inspires with her strong, courageous, tough character, leadership skills, handling the Monica Lewisky scandal, who won’t walk away from what is truly important to her.

PC:  Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

MD: Chew ice cream? Say What??

PC: Watch it, sister. I chew ice-cream always. I think it’s a rule. Anyway, one Latina stereotype you despise?

MD: That we are all dark skin. Look at me: Fair Skin, BLonde, blue eyes DOMINICANA. We come in all skin colors

PC: One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

MD: EL Baile! We hear music, we are moviendo la colita!

Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-6.09.16-PM-e1375409462117

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader is 20 and dating a 45-year-old and SUPRISE….mami is NOT happy. Check out my response and let me know what you think! Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun'll come out tomorrow, y'all..

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all..

Who likes Pretty Pictures? I’m #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

 Not-so-fine- Print.

I’m here. I’m just not really here, here. In an attempt to buy myself the illusion that I’m ahead for the next five minutes, what you are about to read was a favorite in the archives. I dressed it up a little and made it Shiny New But Not Really and that’s okay, I think.

In lieu of thanks, just leave a comment at the end. My therapist is begging you.

 

Five Ways to Jump-start Your Platform (or Not)

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to resort to drastic measures to increase my writing platform to the size necessary for a publisher to like my writing and think I’m worth a book deal. Seeing as how my current plan for world domination isn’t quite working, I believe it is now time to resort to drastic measures.

Idea #1: I need to rob a bank (and get caught)

Go with me on this one. In my other life, I was a newsroom reporter who somehow always was assigned police beat, business, and those feature stories you read about how another kid was awesome enough to reach Eagle Scout. I’ll tell you right now that every time, it was the asshole who decided to do something Incredibly Stupid and then get himself arrested after tripping and falling over the pants that were already down at their ankles before they started running that always made the front page. Why? Because it’s funny.

People remember funny. People hone in on the funny in a newspaper because the rest of it is usually depressing as hell. So imagine, if you will, me trying to rob a bank and getting away with it. Me, the woman who sprained my ankle making a sandwich and broke my baby toe so many times I’ve lost count. Imagine me making a clean getaway and living the rest of my life in luxury on some remote island I bought myself after carefully putting my loot in the washing machine. That’s not funny.

Living the high-life is not the way to go with this one, y’all.

But if I got caught? The headline would probably read something like Woman Holds Up Bank, Arrested While Fumbling Through Purse for Keys to Getaway Car.

Idea #2: Become a reality TV star

Snooki. Really, do I have to explain this one, people? Didn’t think so.

Moving on…

Idea #3: Become a really popular blogger (Shut up)

Dooce, Scary Mommy, The Bloggess, The Pioneer Woman…the masses flock to their sites, and rightfully so. Hell, I’m a card-carrying member of The Masses, so I know what I’m talking about here. But achieving that level of fame and notoriety and page views and unique visitors would require me to, you know, not be an Unpopular Blogger. And therein lies my dilemma.

Idea #4: Put Some Actual Effort into Building My Online Presence

I really should start to take advantage of the whole world of connections that social media offers with Twitter and the Facebooking and Fan Page Liking and the the Linking on that In thing and the Pinterest and the Instagram and the StumbleUpon and the making sure I always keep my iPhone in my bra as to not miss an opportunity to feed what The Husband now lovingly refers to as The Addiction.

Wait a minute…

Idea #5: Being Famous

As in, for the sake of simply being famous. Like Paris Hilton or Kevin Federline. Or the Kardashian sisters. That kind of fame might not result in interviews on CNN, but it sure as hell feeds the paparazzi hiding in their garbage cans. I’m thinking a few cover shots on The National Enquirer will start to peak the public’s interest. Especially if the Unattractive Cellulite Shot with Black-Barred Face image is of me being led off in cuffs and in an orange jump suit.

Which leads me right back to where I started. If I want to get a book deal, I need to become Paris Hilton’ Bestie just long enough to make her disown me…because I robbed a bank.

 

I’ve had one hell of a week and it’s only Wednesday so I’m taking the easy way out today by reposting something I wrote in January.

Fine Print: Yes, The Husband is completely aware of the fact that I used the words “Sex”, “Penis”, and “Pinterest” in the same blog post. He even snickered and said I may need to consider therapy after reading it. See you soon for #ChingonaFest Fridays!

What does one buy her husband to make up for the general craziness of the writing/blogging/freelancing life putting the sex life on the back burner when Important Things Are Happening that Must Be Attended to Right This Minute? I’m thinking the man-equivalent to Something Shiny and Sparkly.

Don’t say a Ferrari. I’m freelancing. That Writer-Speak for “Looks Good On Paper Only” with “Fucking Broke” understood to be the most accepted translation. Besides, it’s not like I came home smelling like another man’s cologne or something. That, my friends, would require what normal people tend to refer to as “Free Time”.  I have been told this “Free Time” is something one can only find outside of The Internet and requires the separation, if only temporary, mind you, of self and laptop. Always interesting, this learning about the habits of the Non-Writer.

The other night, after a frantic nod to, um, Quality Time, (and a “Was That Good For You? Yes? Good!,” exchange as I bolted out of the room and into my email to reply to a revision request from my editor, I realized I’m married to a saint. I mean, I knew that before Oh Husband Whom I Know is Reading These Words, but sometimes, the little Aha! Moments tend to jump out and say You Have No Idea How Difficult You Are to Live With Sometimes and Why is Pinterest Giving His Penis a Complex?

Let’s discuss, shall we? Or would it be easier to just get a calendar and a Sharpie and circle the other days of the month indicating:

  • Deadlines
  • Twitter parties
  • Sherlock
  • That blog post I REALLY need to write about that thing that just went viral that I’ll go to my grave swearing a tiny part of me wasn’t convinced my brilliant response would go viral, too
  • General stabbiness because ten different bloggers TOLD me I’m a much better writer than that two-bit hack that went viral only because she got lucky (after I asked them, of course)
  • My fictional characters in that novel I’m writing just acted out the next scene inside my head I have to write RIGHT now or I lose it all
  • The kid drove me nuts all day
  • PINTEREST
  • Live-tweeting Downton Abby
  • I got in a phone fight with his mom
  • I got in a phone fight with my mom
  • We’re out of chocolate
  • We’re out of wine
  • We’re out of chocolate-flavored wine
  • The hours I need to comb through blog archives in search of THE PERFECT PIECE of literary wit to submit to –
  • A) Listen To Your Mother
  • B) Blogher Voices of the Year
  • That Facebook quiz I need to take to figure out what character I’m most like in Harry Potter, which leads me to the one about what kind of French cheese I am
  • The dishes in the sink that aren’t gonna do themselves
  • The fifteenth online book launch party this month for yet another friend I can’t let down
  • The twitter argument I have to finish with this idiot who has no fucking clue who they’re messing with
  • The planets are out of alignment
  • Mercury is in retrograde …. Again
  • File another invoice while secretly cursing the chick with the 300 Sandwiches and the book deal
  • I’m busy buying 19 more URL’s for ideas I’ll never get to…just in case
  • Frantic text conversations with the online friends I’ve yet to meet in person discussing Important Things like how many pairs of shoes to pack for that conference none of us have actually purchased tickets for yet
  • My 1,000 word goal for the day is still 989 words short
  • The NEED to Google my blog Alexa rank RIGHT NOW even though I still have no idea what it means
  • Which, obviously, is to be followed up by checking my Klout score
  • *Googling “Does Klout Matter to People who don’t think in 140?
  • I haven’t yet taken 30 selfies from different angles, narrowed it down to the perfect one, and thought up a witty caption for that #365feministselfie thing and posted it EVERYWHERE before I even THINK of getting naked
  • That important email I’m waiting for that will show up right now if I keep hitting refresh
  • The conference call I’m waiting on in east coast time with everybody else in west coast time
  • The kid drove me nuts all day & we’re out of chocolate-flavored wine
  • The writing and scheduling of next week’s blog posts
  • When I was frisky while he was at work and I was home alone and I took care of it myself already because I was being proactive and really should be congratulated for thinking ahead to free up my night to …
  • Pick any of the above

Damn. Poor guy puts up with a lot, doesn’t he?

We writers are a special bunch. And the people who are nuts enough to love us deserve their own reality shows, I think. Because when we make it big? That’s when we make it up to them and they can proudly tell the world they knew marrying the crazy lady would totally pay off in the end.

Just let me finish up this chapter so I can write this blog post and hit Publish because dammit, this one’s gonna go viral.

I just know it.

 

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