Hispanicize Afterglow

It’s hard to believe it has already been two weeks since Hispanicize 2014 wrapped. In its fifth year, Hispanicize is the largest annual event for Latino movers, shakers, and trendsetters in the fields of social media, journalism, advertising, PR, film and music. I was so grateful to have been able to attend, thanks to winning a full event registration during the HISPZ14 Twitter Party in late February.

Here are a few of my favorite things about this year’s conference:

Location, location, location! This year the conference was held at the world renowned Intercontinental Hotel in Downtown Miami. The venue was great!! Because it is downtown there were several parking options, including affordable event valet parking. Public transportation was another great option, with the Metromover station just two blocks away. I didn’t take advantage of the Metrorail/Metromover, which would have saved me gas and tolls, since I knew I’d be sticking around for a few of the late-night events. While I still had to deal with rush hour traffic in the morning, I didn’t have to drive all the way to Miami Beach, which would have added 30 minutes to my already-long-enough-during -rush-hour 90 minute commute from home. I’m definitely going to attempt staying at the host hotel or nearby next year.


Old and New Friends
: It is always fun to hang out with old friends at an event like Hispanicize. You have someone (or someones) to compare session notes with, take silly pictures with, and share great meals with. But it’s also equally enjoyable to make new friends. Not only have I added great people to follow to my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook accounts and my blogroll, I’ve made some promising connections that I hope will grow into wonderful personal and professional relationships.

Target Lounge – Target knocked it out of the park once again! Their lounge in the brands expo area was so much fun, with a photo booth, comfy couches and a virtual jukebox (visitors tweeted songs from a list and their selections played in the lounge). Then on Wednesday night, they transformed the main ballroom into an amazing space with a catwalk to introduce the upcoming Ambar collection. This confirmed something I already knew: Target is fabulous!

Here I am, hamming it up with Staci from 7 on a Shoestring, Leanette from Teach Me 2 Save, and Janet from Outer Sparkle. Below is the ballroom, converted for the Target Party/Fashion Show, awesome huh?

Latinovator Luncheons – Each day during Hispanicize, outstanding Latino individuals were honored with the Latinovator award. From the Hispanicize website:

“The Latinovator Awards recognize Latino celebrities, business professionals and other high achievers who have become crossover successes or whose stories of achievements are remarkable or inspirational.”


It was an honor to be in the same room with this year’s iconic Latinovator recipients:
Yoani Sanchez, Carlos Vives, Maria Hinojosa, and Sheila E.

Music – Oh my, I was in music heaven during Hispanicize, thanks to the hard work of Vanessa James and Katherine Johnson. On Wednesday night, Hispanicize showcased local bands Elastic Bond and Spam Allstars during the Miami Sounds “Noche de Musica” at the Gibson showroom in Wynwood. Because I know the team, I offered to lend a hand during this event, and I saw most of the two performances from backstage. That was so cool!

Besides Wednesday’s event, another favorite was the “house band” during the Positive Impact Awards on Thursday night: Suenalo! I got to see three out of the six bands featured on the recent documentary Miami Boheme in a span of 24 hours, and I was ecstatic! And, as if that weren’t enough, Sheila E. performed during the Positive Impact Awards after party. She not only Rocked, but looks absolutely stunning! I hope I look half as amazing as she does when I turn 56!

Cricket Event I was fortunate enough to have been invited to an event hosted by Cricket Wireless. At first I was not sure I was able to attend, as I did not have anyone to pick up the kids from school that day, but the stars aligned and Eric ended his workday early: problem solved! The rest of the invitees and I were whisked off from the hotel to Haven Lounge near Lincoln Road for a wonderful reception and some exciting news that I can’t share just yet. Suffice it to say, great things are coming from Cricket!

There you have it, my Hispanicize 2014 wrap-up. Can’t wait ’til next year!

Posted in Around Town, Entertain Me, Here's What I Think, Social Media | 1 Comment

I have a new personal record!

(I wrote this about a month ago, but never published it. I was in the funk I mentioned on Sunday and just didn’t have it in me to finish it. But I do want to recognize that I reached this personal record, and therefore am publishing it now for posperity.)

This past SundayA month ago, I once again participated in the Carnaval Miami Run. I decided that I’d run the 8K this year and I had great company: both my sisters registered for the 8K as well! We ran together for the first 2 miles at a 3 minute run/1 minute run pace. Then my little sister kept the pace while my big sister and I rolled back to our comfortable 2 minute run/2 minute walk. The new pace, even if only for a part of the race, got me to my latest personal record. My official net time was 01:03:31 with a 12:47 pace. We had such a great time running together and having some quality sister time. I’m hoping I can convince my big sister to train for a Half so we can all do the Disney Princess Half early next year.

Posted in Family & Friends, Health & Wellness, Run Manders Run | 3 Comments

Showing our Disney Side!

Last month we hosted our Disney Side@Home party, and we had a blast!! I knew we would be hosting our party at home, as that’s what the name implied (though I certainly wouldn’t have minded celebrating at the parks!). Since I scheduled our party for the weekend after Valentine’s Day, I found lots of goodies in the seasonal aisles at Target to supplement all the great stuff that came in my party kit. I may have gone a little overboard…who can say no to Disney themed goodies?!

During one of my first shopping trips, I found really cute Mickey Mouse Clubhouse tin boxes. I was only able to purchase six, so I filled those with Mickey themed bubbles, Craisins, and little tissue packets I found at the dollar store, and made them into family goody bags. Each child also received an individual party gift: the boys received an Avengers plastic cup with a Mickey pen, tissues, and those magic washcloths inside, and the girls received a gift bag with a Mickey pen, chocolate covered hearts, and a little princess button I purchased at the Disney Store. I also purchased a few items as prizes at the Disney Store: Mickey, Minnie and Goofy Vinylmation characters, along with a coloring book and colored pencils. Prizes also included Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Disney Princess Frisbees. My princess guests received the Mickey & Minnie “So This Is Love” lithographs. Each guest also received the Muppets Most Wanted calendar postcard, a packet of HP photo paper, Run Disney rubber bracelets, and stickers and tattoos that were included in the party kit I received.


The morning of our party, I wanted us to get into the spirit of Disney bright and early, so I had hubby make Eggs in a Mickey Heads with the cookie cutters we were sent while I finished getting the house ready. They were delicious…but doesn’t everything taste better with a little bit of Disney magic? We also used the cookie cutters to make little Mickey shaped ham and cheese sandwiches as well as Nutella sandwiches for our guests. Speaking of guests, my high school friend Ely made delicious mini cupcakes for the party, topped with Mickey & Friends decorations. They were perfect!

Our party games included a Snowman making station, Disney Bingo, and Disney Trivia. For the snowman station, I had several sizes of marshmallows, chocolate chips, candy corn and pretzel sticks. This was so much fun, and we had some very creative participants! After our judges chose the winning snowman and everyone and everything got cleaned up, our guests played Disney Bingo and Disney Trivia for prizes. My boys had taken out all their Disney themed Wii games and and took turns playing the different games with their friends as the party wrapped up. My party pack included Hanes Tshirts for our guests to decorate, but we honestly did not have enough time! As the year progresses, we are going to decorate a shirt and give it to our guests for their birthdays, and this way we’ll keep the Disney Side celebration going!

Our e-invitations, which my wonderful friend Marta made for me using a scrapbook paper sheet I had as the background, asked guests to dress in their ears, or Disney themed gear, be it costumes or shirts. Just about everyone did so, and that made me very happy!


I used an accompanying scrapbook sheet as a sign-in log, and am looking forward to adding the pictures from our party to our family scrapbook.

As a huge Disney fan, I am so glad to have been chosen to host a Disney Side @ Home celebration. Huge thanks to Mom Select and Disney for choosing me, as well as sponsors American Tourister, HP, Hanes and Ocean Spray for an amazing party pack!

Posted in Disney, Entertain Me, Family & Friends | Leave a comment

Angels watching over us

The last few weeks have been tough for my family, to say the least. After losing my grandfather unexpectedly on January 30th, we lost my great uncle on March 3rd, just four weeks later. While his death was expected due to a long battle with cancer, it still took an emotional toll on all of us. Both of these losses come at the heels of losing my other great uncle last winter. I wrote a few blog posts due to some commitments, but following these losses I just haven’t had the inclination to write recently. Things are slowly getting back to normal though, so I’ll be back to a regular writing routine.
While we were mourning, life went on as normal, and some great things happened during the last few weeks that I’d like to mention. Matthew achieved Principal’s Honor Roll for the first time, and we were so proud! Brandon was accepted into the magnet program he wanted for middle school for the upcoming school year. Hubby started a new job, and will keep his old job on a part time basis. I can’t help but think that these things were a result of three special angels looking over us.

Posted in Life Happens | 4 Comments

Testing out the Fellowes 73Ci Shredder #IDSafetySeason

Disclosure: I was provided a Fellowes 73Ci shredder for review. All opinions indicated are my own.
I’ve been testing out the Powershred 73Ci shredder that Fellowes was kind enough to send my way. I tend to fry shredders, and it’s been a while since we last had a functioning one, so I had a bin full of documents to shred to put the 73Ci to the test.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the 73Ci is its sleek design. The silver edging around the shredder openings features SafeSense technology, which will turn off the shredder the moment it recognizes hands near the opening. I love this feature, my two boys are old enough to know not to reach into the shredder, but we have lots of little people among our friends and family, and don’t have to worry when they are visiting us that they’ll get curious and try to put their little fingers where they don’t belong.

The digital display, featuring a Capacitive touch screen, has several useful indicators, including power, paper maximum, bin full. Notice I didn’t say it has a “paper jam” indicator? The 73Ci is Jam Proof! It measures the thickness of the paper and adjusts the power to shred the contents.

It has a huge waste bin, six gallons, which means you can shred and shred and shred before the bin full indicator comes on. To empty, you just pull out the bin, dump out the contents, and put it back in. So easy!

The 73Ci will automatically kick into a 20 minute cool-down after 10 minutes of continuous use. This is a great feature, I think I killed all our other shredders from overheating.

The 73Ci shreds paper, CD’s and DVD’s with Cross-Cut technology, which will tear things apart into hundreds of pieces, making it nearly impossible to put items back together. It also features an Energy Saving System, which will automatically put the shredder in sleep mode after a short period of no use. And speaking of use, it is so quiet. Even when it’s working “harder” to shred larger piles of paper, it doesn’t work “louder”. This is great because on occasion I’ll clean up our desk area or pay bills after the boys have gone to sleep, and I know my light-sleeper Matty won’t wake up from the noise.

Check out this video I made with just a small sampling of items that it tore through. Please note the non-noisiness, and the SafeSense technology.

The Fellowes 73Ci retails for about $199.99. It is available online and at most retailers where office products are sold. It is great for home use or business environment. I definitely recommend it, it passed the test at our house!

Posted in Here's What I Think | Leave a comment

DisneySide@Home Package Reveal!! #DisneySide

Disclosure: I was thrilled when I received notification that I was chosen to host a #DisneySide @Home Celebration. We received a party kit filled with goodies from Disney Parks and Mom Select. Items were provided by several sponsors, including American Tourister, Hanes, HP, and Ocean Spray. The opinions expressed here are our own.

I was chosen among 600 other bloggers to host a DisneySide@Home Celebration. The day our package arrived, I was so excited to see the big box by the door as I pulled into my driveway, I practically jumped out of the car. I was shouting, “It’s here, it’s here!” to the boys, and they just couldn’t wait for us to dig into it.

The kit includes a tablecloth and decorations, ballooons, paper cups, plates, & napkins, Craisins, Mickey Mouse cookie cutters, several HP Photo Card Packs, measuring cups, cupcake liners, face-painting templates, Hanes T-shirts and fabric markers, Run Disney cheer cards, Run Disney bracelets, and 10 “So This is Love” Mickey & Minnie lithographs. All of this came inside an American Tourister suitcase, a gift for the hostess (in this case, me!). We are so excited about our party, and I have a few great ideas for party games and treats, all Disney themed, of course! Our celebration is this coming weekend, can’t wait!

Posted in Disney, Entertain Me, Social Media | Leave a comment

Battle Identity Theft with Fellowes #IDSafetySeason

This post was created in partnership with Fellowes. All opinions are my own.

Shortly before the holidays, I was asked by Fellowes to review their 73Ci shredder. This could not have been more timely: since our spending habits increase significantly during November and December, we are more at risk for identity theft during the holiday season. In fact, we had a little scare in early December after our trip to Disney for my birthday. A few days after we got back, our bank blocked my husband’s debit card thinking it was compromised because of all the activity from our visit to Orlando. Around the same time, news outlets were buzzing with information from Target accounts being compromised (we practically live in Target!) and we started to get worried that we were at risk for identity theft. Thankfully, we were not victims of identity theft, but in this age of technology everyone is vulnerable.

While there’s no sure-fire way to avoid identity theft, there are a few ways to decrease the odds that it will happen to you. Look out for suspicious activity: check your credit report at least annually, more often is possible. There are several sites that provide this service once annually for free, more often for a fee. Credit card companies also provide periodic credit checks and fraud alerts for a small fee.
A great way to battle identity theft from home is to shred, shred, shred! Shred old bills, receipts, anything with your name and any other identifying information on it. Fellowes has several models that will fit your needs. Check out the great infographic below.

Here are some facts about the 73Ci Shredder:

The stylish 73Ci is great for gadget lovers because it features a sleek design and several advanced technologies such as:

⁃100% Jam Proof System that eliminates paper jams and powers through tough jobs

⁃SafeSense® Technology which automatically stops shredding when hands touch the paper opening

⁃A proprietary Energy Savings System that maximizes shredder energy savings 100% of the time – both in use and out of use

⁃Capacitive touch screen controls

⁃Heavy-duty Cross-Cut blades that destroy 12 sheets of paper into 397 particles per sheet, making it extremely difficult to reassemble

⁃The 73Ci is available at office superstores and their online counterparts for a suggested retail price of $199.99.

I’ve been using our new shredder here and there during the last couple of weeks, but we’ll really be putting it to the test during the next few days: we’ll be doing our taxes by the end of the week, and we’re organizing our office area in preparation for a get-together next weekend. I’ll let you know how it handles the job, but I’m almost certain it will win the battle against our pile of old bills and receipts.

Posted in Here's What I Think | Leave a comment

Papito

My grandfather was larger than life. He had huge hands that he always said were rough and calloused, but they were just right to me. He was big, in stature and in demeanor, and when his Gallego side came out, watch out! He played many roles: husband, father, son, cousin, uncle, but his greatest achievement was being the best grandfather and great-grandfather in the world. He was our rock, our patriarch. He’s been gone for six hours, and I miss him terribly.

Thank you, Papito, for being you. We are lucky to have had you in our lives. I am so glad the boys got to know you and love you for as long as they did. And I will forever remind them what an amazing man you were.


Jesus Prieto, February 15, 1931 – January 30, 2014

Posted in Family & Friends | 4 Comments

Things we’re celebrating

How did we celebrate and commemorate Brandon’s 11th birthday? If you know us well, you know the answer: we went to Disney, of course! We’re trying to maximize our annual passes as we aren’t sure yet if our financial situation will allow us to renew in a few months. This, combined with Brandon’s birthday falling on a weekend, made the decision easy. It was one of our funnest visits to date. I think it helps that the boys are older now, so not only do we not have a stroller slowing us down, they can also ride all the rides (save for two or three that Matty is still a little short for). This time, we let them create the itinerary, and we visited the parks and attractions that they wanted to see and do.

It was also the 2014 Disney Marathon Weekend, and I was so glad to at least be in the area so that I could cheer on my friend Vivienne, who completed the Marathon with a personal record of 4 hours and 39 minutes: GO VIVI!!

Another awesome thing we are celebrating around here is that this blog turned 10 years old on Brandon’s birthday. I’ll be having a few fun giveaways to commemorate this occasion, I have a separate post for those coming up. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our readers: old and new, past and present. And thank you to Tio Val for one of the most creative presents ever given. Here’s the post that started it all: What a great birthday present!!

I have exciting news to share: I’ve been chosen to host a Disney Side@Home Celebration!! As a Disney lover, I was beyond excited to be chosen for this opportunity. I took video of us opening our #DisneySide@Home Celebration kit, which arrived yesterday. I’ll be posting that tomorrow along with all the goodies we received.

Last, but certainly not least, my baby boy turns seven in two days!

I hope the coming year is as exciting and eventful as the month of January has been.

Posted in Disney, Family & Friends, Giveaways, Life Happens, The Boys, Travel | 1 Comment

Eleven

To the darling boy who made me a mother on this very day, 11 years ago. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for showing me what it means to love unconditionally. Thank you for making me a better person, I want and hope to be the best example I can be for you. Today I wish you as much joy as you bring to us, and I hope all your birthday wishes come true. I love you with all my heart, baby boy, and I’m so proud to be your mommy.

Posted in Family & Friends, Life Happens, The Boys | 1 Comment