Save the Date: LéaLA Feria del Libro en Español comes to LA

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It’s back! The annual LéaLA Feria del Libro en Español de Los Ángeles happens again in a few weeks. Mark you calendars for this book fair that always has something for everyone who loves to read en español. No pierdan la oportunidad de buscar nuevos libros, apoyar la lectura y participar.

The Feria dates are Friday May 17th, Saturday May 18th and Sunday May 19th from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm and it will be held at the LA Convention Center.

You can look at the program here, where you’ll find the publishing houses attending, all the pláticas y conferencias by the authors and moderators, activities for kids and fun for everybody.

A few items stand out for me on the program, sólo por el nombre de la plática y el subject. Creo que I’m gonna have to split myself in two or three to be at all the conferences I want to see. This is just a sample of the program.

Viernes 17 de Mayo:

Homenaje a la Música Norteña. Salón Rómulo Gallegos. 5:00pm

Sábado 18 Mayo:

Conferencia: Divas del Cine Mexicano en Hollywood, con Michael Schuessler. Salón Carlos Fuentes, 1:00 PM.

Presentación del Libro “Me Vale Madres, Mantras Mexicanos para la Liberación del Espíritu” de Prem Dayal. Presenta Andrés Ramirez. Salón Rómulo Gallegos, 1:00 PM. (Si no han visto el video del autor presentando este libro, por favor busquenlo en YouTube (link here, it’s an instant classic! Y apréndanse los 3 Mantras…)

Conferencia: “Parientes, Encargos, Raiteros, Fayuqueros y Peregrinos Fronterizos” presentada por Rubén Hernández León, Center for Mexican Studies UCLA. Salón José Martí. 1:00 PM.

Presentación del Libro: Historias Pérdidas 2, de León Krauze. The news anchor from Noticias 34 Univision en LA is also an accomplished author. (Y es EX-A-TEC a mucha honra.) Salón José Martí. 2:00 PM.

Presentación del Libro: “Jenni Rivera: La Increíble Historia de Una Mariposa Guerera” por la autora Leila Cobo. Salón Miguel de Cervantes, 4:00 PM. (Creo que es la primera biografía autorizada de la cantante y actriz. Should be interesting.)

Presentación del Libro: “Viviendo” por Adamari López. Salón Miguel de Cervantes, 6:00 PM. (Muy importante conocer la historia de esta guerrera que venció el breast cancer.)

Domingo 19 Mayo:

Beto Cuevas, a man of many talents, will be presenting his book “El Arte de Ser Beto Cuevas” en el Salón Miguel de Cervantes a las 2:00 PM.

Yes, it must be an art form to be a chileno rocker-entrepreneur-coach-actor among other things in this day and age, especially when he’s done it since his La Ley days. Looking forward to this one! (Beto, Soy tu fan.)

See you there amiguitos!

(Photo from DigitalGirl Inc./Rocío Gutiérez on Facebook) Beto Cuevas en una conferencia de prensa hoy para promover LéaLA La Feria del Libro en Español. Su libro "El Arte de Ser Beto Cuevas" se presenta el 19 de Mayo a las 2pm en el Convention Center.

(Photo from DigitalGirl Inc./Rocío Gutiérrez on Facebook) Beto Cuevas en una conferencia de prensa hoy para promover LéaLA La Feria del Libro en Español. Su libro “El Arte de Ser Beto Cuevas” se presenta el 19 de Mayo a las 2pm en el Convention Center.

Hey J.Crew, como que estás muy “Oaxaca inspired”

It’s Friday, it’s full on Spring weather in LA, and my freshly minted copy of the J.Crew Style Guide arrived in the mail today. Aaaah! Time for some fantasy shopping and virtual wish lists. It’s like I want the entire catalog every month. 

Something caught my eye, however, about these Spring trends and colorful items featured in the catalog this month. Como que J.Crew se fue south of the border for some inspiration, y se fusilaron todas las modas, textiles y los patterns de las oaxaqueñas y las guatemaltecas. Hmmm, these look really familiar. 

Claro que están padrísimas y super cute. But if the median price range from their collection is $110-395 dollars, it makes me think we should probably all book a trip down there soon and  bring back some of these goods, whilst we support the (our) people and artists who created the original styles. We should consider doing that instead.  Se me hace que esto es mas “fair practice” and doing the better thing.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to see these Latino trends in mainstream fashion. There’s blouses, linen tunics, a “Mercado” poncho (for $395 bucks thank you very much) and chanclitas and huaraches galore to get us all excited. It’s not like we didn’t know all these things were fashionable, but it takes a powerhouse company like J.Crew to bring it to the general market in America and you can bet your bottom dollar they’re gonna use it for all it’s worth, sin pagar derechos de autor. 

I guess that’s why they call it capitalism, right? (Lo malo es que lo copian en China y se roban toda la creatividad de los nuestros… sigh.)

This brings up a conflict of interest for me. Pero no me hagan mucho caso. I love J.Crew and can’t really speak ill of them, except to say que me gustaria que le bajaran a los precios mas seguido.

By the way, Jenna Lyons is on the cover of Fast Company this month and there’s a great story of how the company works with a behind the scenes look at her office. 

Here’s a sneak peak at what they’re featuring this month.

The "Embroidered Gauze Top" retails for $110 dollars. Must be nice! (Photo from jcrew.com)

The “Embroidered Gauze Top” inspired by a vintage Mexican folk dress retails for $110 dollars. Must be nice! (Photo from jcrew.com)

I can't get over the "MERCADO" poncho. This baby sets you back $350 bucks. ¡No manchen! (screenshot from jcrew.com)

I can’t get over the “MERCADO” poncho. This baby sets you back $395 bucks. ¡No manchen! (screenshot from jcrew.com)

Here's another look at the Mercado Popover from jcrew.com ($395 bucks I tell you!)

Here’s another look at the Mercado Popover from jcrew.com ($395 bucks I tell you!)

A short sleeve sweater with patterns and embroidery reminiscent of the Mayas. "Collection short sleeve beaded sweater" retails for $188 at jcrew.com.

A short sleeve sweater with patterns and embroidery reminiscent of the Mayas. “Collection short sleeve beaded sweater” retails for $188 at jcrew.com.

Jenna Lyons on the cover of Fast Company this month (a good read!) and the May 2013 Style Guide from J. Crew. (photo from iPad)

Jenna Lyons on the cover of Fast Company this month (a good read!) and the May 2013 Style Guide from J. Crew. (photo from iPad)

For the photogallery Inside Jenna Lyons office, click here.

What I want most for 2013: Amor, Dinero y SALUD

Here we are at the end of the year, standing before the precipice of 2012, y que conste que  I don’t want to make any references to “la mentada” fiscal cliff...

Alas, maybe you too are taking stock of the year that was and all that we want 2013 to be.

As if to remind me of the priorities in life, en estos días a mi como que se me atravesó un flu-like symptom-bug at the worst possible time. Just when I thought I was going to enjoy some R&R south of the border con la familia, que me ataca un really bad cold con tos, dolor de garganta, dolor de oído y todo el kit…Not exactly how I wanted to spend my holiday vacation.  Oh how I longed to be “buena y sana” para irme a visitar a mi familia y amigos. Pero esta gripa me tumbó all week. Bah-humbug!

Thank goodness que en México la farmacia está just a few steps away y que pude encontrar uno que otro remedio. There’s a modern day herbolaria called Bótica Guadalupana in my hometown that has all sorts of remedios naturales, herbs and cures, to make teas or syrups or whatever works. My Mom got me the “Te Bronkis” que dicho sea de paso sabe a rayos y mentadas de madre. Don’t even ask me what’s in it because it doesn’t even say on the label. Es un menjurje misterioso!

Even though it did the trick for a while, upon my return to the States I didn’t want to risk anything at the border crossing, so I decided not to bring it with me. Bad move! I sure wish I had more of the gooey boiling tea that soothed my coughing and aching which has since come back with a vengeance.

(Side note: I guess the replacement of the Q’s for the K’s is not limited to texting teenagers and “flojo” spellers, even the branding people at Bótica Guadalupana have made the move. It may also be a visual trick, as Té Bronquios takes up more label space than Té Bronkis. But I digress…)

Santo Remedio for a while.. el "Te Bronkis" de la Guadalupana worked. Just don't ask me what's in it.

Yes, the Santo Remedio worked for a while. El “Té Bronkis” de la farmacia Guadalupana looks weird and tastes like dirty socks. But it stopped the coughing. Just don’t ask me what’s in it.

So if you ask me, what I really want for the New Year is to feel better.

Which brings me to my next point. My  only “salida a la calle” was to the supermarket the first night I arrived. At the checkout counter I noticed that the old adage about using “chones rojos” to ring in the New Year is alive and well in México. They had them placed right by the checkout counter, para que no se te olvide. (How convenient!) I haven’t always believed that wearing red underwear on the night of Dec. 31st to January 1 brings passion and love and a newfound novio in the New Year, but being the supersticious mexicana that I am, I never wanted to jinx it. So I try to go red, you know? Whether or not it worked I guess it depends on the year. Ya ni me acuerdo.

But now I noticed they are also pushing yellow underwear, supuestamente for money and more money. ¿PERO de cuándo acá?! Who thought of this? That’s totally pushing it and abusing my marketing sensibilities. No les creo! And it’s not just any yellow but the brightest yellow Pantone Yellow C Auto racing Yellow there ever was. Pa’que se note el interés. Considering the options at Soriana, maybe they want you to try a red bra and a yellow calzón. Or viceversa…But I didn’t buy any.

Had they had a bright green, “el verde es vida” then maybe I’d bite. Ahora que estoy con gripa maybe I should start a trend of my own. Green calzones anyone? It’s the “healthy” choice.

And on that note, I want to wish you a Happy New Year, my dear friends and readers. Much Health and Happiness and Time to enjoy it all... As always, so grateful for your company, comments and visits. Please come back for more in 2013. Gonna try and keep it interesting.

Besos y Abrazos,

Cristina

Chones Rojos y amarillos, para el amor y la abundancia...muy a la mano en las cajas del Soriana.

Chones rojos y amarillos, para el amor y la abundancia…muy a la mano en las cajas del Soriana para que no se te olviden.

Random acts of kindness by Jenni Rivera

Jenni Rivera’s passing on Sunday has brought all sorts of tributes and appreciations, constant reports in Spanish television channels and radio stations, and an outpouring of messages from her fans and friends social media. It was sad news all over.

While I personally was not a fan of her banda music, I had grown to like her personality and her story. She was a Mexican American who was born and raised in Long Beach, California, who came from nothing to make herself one of the most successful women singers, Hispanic entrepreneurs and role models, in spite of all the drama and troubles that continually followed her.

Her death seems unfair because at 43 years of age, she was at the peak of her career, and she was expanding beyond the music and the reality TV shows. She also leaves behind a large family and 5 kids.

And yet there is another side of the artist coming out: the version of Jenni with generosity and kindness she showed to people, to her fans, to Latinos, to her fellow musicians. It’s as if she won you over just by getting to know her. Como dijo Miguel Bosé about meeting her for the first time, her fellow judge/coach on the Mexican version of “La Voz de México”: “Fue amor a primera vista.”  

Someone who knows firsthand about her generosity and kindness is Krystle Corral, who works at Telemundo in Los Angeles and who was kind to share this story and photos of her experience meeting Jenni Rivera just a few months ago.

Krystle is a cheerleading coach at Wilson High School in El Sereno, California (Los Angeles) where she coaches 20 kids (boys and girls) between the ages of 14- and 18. The WHS Cheerleaders were fundraising to attend and compete in the National Cheerleading Association’s High School competition in January 2013 and they needed money for the team and their chaperones. They reached out to famous people via social media and websites, and the first one to respond was Jenni Rivera’s assistant, to inquire and see how they could help.

As it turns out, Jenni Rivera herself surprised the team during one of their practices on August 15th. The kids did not know she was coming, and they literally did flips of joy when she showed up at their gym. Jenni spent about 40 minutes with them, watching their practice, posing for pictures with everyone, giving out hugs and words of wisdom. She also mentored them and asked them to do 4 things:

1. To listen to their coaches.

2. To stay in school and get good grades.

3. To compete in the Nationals and represent Los Angeles proudly.

4. To continue volunteering and give back to the community.

She told Krystle that a check would be coming in the mail for them. To their amazement, a few days later, they received a check for 15 THOUSAND DOLLARS for everyone to attend the Nationals. She paid for everything they needed to get to the event in Dallas on January 12 and 13, 2013. Imagine that!

On October 17th, the cheerleaders visited Jenni at the radio station where she recorded her weekly show. Again she posed for pictures with the team and wished them good luck and asked them to keep her posted on their progress.

On Sunday, the kids were volunteering at a Senior Citizen’s center in LA when Krystle had to break the sad news. As you can imagine, the kids were devastated and couldn’t understand why this happened. La verdad es que nadie lo entiende…

But their spirit to win is now stronger than ever. The kids have dedicated their performance and all their preparation to Jenni Rivera. Sirve de consuelo saber que ya están siguiendo los consejos, and that they are already volunteering and giving back. 

So thank you Jenni Rivera, for this and the countless other acts of generosity that mostly went unnoticed, like paying for a young child’s kidney transplant in my hometown of Mexicali, B.C.… like helping battered women get back on their feet after episodes of domestic violence… liking helping organizations that help a los indocumentados en Estados Unidos and standing up for them… And thank you for proving women can make it happen y que pueden salir adelante cuando son luchonas y le echan ganas a todo.

As her father Pedro Rivera said last night, “She never gave up and she was always good to people.” Descanse en Paz.

Back on August 15th, 2012 Jenni Rivera surprised the Wilson High School Cheerleaders in El Sereno, California. She later supoprted them with a check for 15 thousand dollars to attend a national cheerleading competition next January.

Back on August 15th, 2012 Jenni Rivera surprised the Wilson High School Cheerleaders in El Sereno, California. She later supoprted them with a check for 15 thousand dollars to attend a national cheerleading competition next January.

Jenni Rivera with 2 of the cheerleaders. She was in a leg brace that day and went to visit and wish them luck.

Krystle Corral wrote a letter and Jenni Rivera responded. Jenni was in a leg brace that day when she went to visit and wish them luck.

On October 17th the cheerleaders visited Jenni at the radio station.

On October 17th the cheerleaders visited Jenni at the radio station.

Celebrating Fiestas Patrias con unos Chiles Rellenos

To commemorate Mexican Independence Day weekend, and just because nos dió el antojo, last night we whipped up a batch of chiles rellenos, Mamá Lilia style. (Mamá Lilia is my grandmother, who at 93 years of age, is the sharpest and best cook I have ever met. She’s the chef that didn’t go to cooking school, but she can teach some of those chefs on television a thing or two.)

Lucky for us we had the ingredients in the house. I’d never made them before in my life… pero pos ahi te voy! (ML  supervised and helped with the eggs.)

We used 3 poblano peppers; 1/2 lb. of ground turkey for the relleno* cooked with a bit of onion, 2 garlic cloves chopped; 2 eggs whipped up; about 1/2 cup of flour, salt and pepper, and canola oil. (*Other altenatives for the relleno are Cheese, or even tuna prepared as you like it.)

Anybody who makes chiles rellenos will tell you this is a labor intensive process, de veras que no es difícil pero lleva varios pasos, so you just have to go along and be patient. But in the end it’s totally worth it.

It’s certainly not as complicated as the Chiles en Nogada, which is the traditional platillo de Fiestas Patrias and a beautiful delicacy and historical reference in Mexican cuisine. This chile we make is more likely a dish from Sonora, where ML is from, adapted by yours truly.

Apologize if I don’t have a photo for every step. I was busy cooking and couldn’t use my camera at the same time.

Started out with 3 chile poblano peppers, nice size for stuffing.

Here we are “tatemando” the chiles (roasting) directly on the flame from the grill.

Tatemando (roasting) and preparing los Chiles: You have to blacken the skin of the chile evenly, turning the chile on the flame, then carefully place in a small plastic bag (like those from the produce at the supermarket) to sweat them out. Hay que sudarlos for about 10 minutes. Then you wash them gently under running water, removing the black skin and making an incision on one of the sides to remove the seeds from inside and which will be later used to stuff the chile.

Stuffing: Meanwhile you cook your relleno as you like it. I just used the Jenny-0 ground turkey (half a package for the 3 chiles) and cooked it with la cebollita bien picadita and garlic.

Eggs: The next step was tricky, beating the eggs to a nice foam so you can do the “capeada de los chiles.” I couldn’t master it yet so my ML got impatient. And then she said this to me, “A ver, házte a un lado, te voy a subir los huevos…” (no pun intended!)

She made a little hole on the top of the egg, separated the white and beat it first, then added the yolk, a little bit of flour and a dash of salt.

In the meantime I heated up the skillet with the canola oil, it has to be hot and ready for you to add the chiles.

Here is my grandmother whipping the eggs. There’s a special technique which is to beat the clara first (the white first) until it reaches a merengue foamy texture and then you add the yolk and continue whipping until you get a nice pale yellow foam. Add a dash of salt and a bit of flour.

Whipping up the egg.

After the egg is ready you move very quickly: Stuff the cooked turkey in the chile to make it nice and full, give the chile a dusting with flour on a plate and then move to a bath of the egg foam batter. Transfer quickly to the hot skillet with the oil.

Cooking the chiles: You want to get a golden brown finish on each side. The top white one is what it looks like with the batter mix before turning.

Turn the chiles on each side to thoroughly cook them. Make sure there is no raw egg or flour left uncooked, around 2 minutes per side. Make sure not to burn them either!

Once cooked transfer to a plate with a paper towel to remove excess. Serve immediately. I used a little homemade tomato salsa to serve it.

And maybe I don’t get any points for presentation, but let me tell you, these were delish…if I may say so myself.

Gracias Mamá Lilia por la receta y la ayuda, y por dejarse tomar fotos aunque “no ande arreglada.”

¡Feliz 16 de Septiembre y Qué Viva México!

My first chile relleno. Came out good!

TGIF, Cinco de Mayo Fever, and a Super Moon

Oh yeah, it’s Friday. This weekend couldn’t come soon enough. For all of you who haven’t noticed, today is “Star Wars Day” which gives you a chance to say the now famous tag line “May the Fourth Be With You.”

But mañana, ah mañana nos da a todos los ex-pats mexicanos living in the US a chance to appreciate the one Mexican Holiday that gringous love and cherish, the annual “let’s drink till we crawl” Margarita infused celebration that has become “Cincou de Mayouu”.

Let’s be honest, people here don’t know, and frankly don’t care, that this historic celebration commemorates La Batalla de Puebla. It was 150 years ago in the beautiful state of Puebla, México, when the Mexicanos defeated and outmaneuvered a los franceses who had invaded the land of ours. So Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that observes a historical and mathematical coup in México, one that always makes us proud. (Never mind that a few days later los franceses got their act together and came back for more desmadre and fighting… but that’s another story.)

Pero si quisieramos celebrar como Dios manda, we should not just drink Margaritas, but enjoy the typical Poblano dishes, like Mole Poblano, Chalupas, Chiles en Nogada and other delicacies. If only we had a “Fonda de Santa Clara” restaurant in LA. I haven’t found one yet, so I’m gonna have to stick to the Margaritas.

If you feel adventurous, and if you’re not driving this weekend, may I suggest a recipe I found on Bonappetit.com. I think it’s a good twist on the original, and it sounds really good. Click on the photo for the recipe. BUT PLEASE DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.

Click on the image to get the recipe from bonappetit.com

Also, not to be missed this weekend, is the annual appearance of the “Super Moon,” which is basically the largest size the moon appears all year and the closest it gets to the Earth. (Just don’t get too close, Luna)…And it’s gonna happen on Saturday as we celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

“For reasons still unknown to science, the moon appears much larger and more magnificent when it is near the horizon than when it is soaring overhead, despite the fact that the moon’s size never actually changes.” (Click here to go to the article by space.com)

Image from Space.com

Just be careful of all the lunáticos * (you know who they are) who get extra moody, sensitive or weirder “cuando la luna se pone regrandota,  como una pelotota y alumbra el callejón…”

For a musical rendition of this fabulous line, check out “El Gato Viudo” on the link. Gracias Chava Flores!

At the Oscars: Demián, Demián, Ra! Ra! Ra! (New Bromance: Bichir and Clooney!)

¡Seguimos echando porras!

However, Oscar night did not go as planned for our favorites, at least for the Mexican nominees Demián Bichir and (five time!) nominated cinematographer Emanuel Lubezki. When all is said and done, we still feel a little bit robbed, but as they say, “it is an honor just to be nominated.”  I’ll leave out my nationalistic sentiments and all the “shoulda woulda” comments. Ni modo, no nos ha tocado ver ganar a nuestros nominados todos estos años, but at least it was a fun ride.

Para mi Demián fue el ganador y no sólo porque en mi humilde opinión fue la mejor actuación. Ganó porque sólo hay que ver como lo reciben y quieren todos los del Hollywood royalty to know he’s up there with the big guns.

Look at this picture below from the arrivals last night and how Clooney greeted Bichir in this lovely “Quiubole compa!” moment. That is genuine love among men, my friends. You can’t fake that, I don’t care how good an actor you are.

We witnessed a true Hollywood romance brewing before our eyes on national television in the Oscar pre-telecast:

Feel the LOVE. Clooney and Bichir are the newest Hollywood power couple. (photos from the E! Telecast)

From People.com, a lovely moment between Demian and Clooney.

We also found these great pictures on Quien.com, back from the Oscar nominee luncheon in Beverly Hills a few weeks ago. You can practically feel the joy in these images en donde se ve que le están echando muchas porras a Demián. 

Y así se acaba otro Oscar season. Congratulations to Lubezki and Bichir, you made us very proud.

From Quien.com (Demian y su momento Whiskey, articulo 26 de febrero 2012)

Demián, Demián, RA RA RA!! Foto de Quien.com ("Demián y su momento "whiskey" articulo 26 de febrero 2012)