Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Force is Strong in My Family

Okay so yes I am a child of the 80's, but I grew up with sisters and no real interest in science fiction stuff. The movie ET really messed me up. Also the Neverending Story was so weird. So what I am trying to say is that I had never seen the original Star Wars movies. I haven't seen the newer ones either but from what I hear I am not missing out there.

When Uncle Matty found out that I had not seen the movies he declared 2015 the Summer of Star Wars and vowed to get our families together to watch Episode 4, 5 and 6. Last night we watched Return of the Jedi and much like Harry Potter I get the fandom now.

Okay in case you too have made it this far in life without watching this trilogy be warned that the following has spoilers! 

Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope: If I had to rank these flicks this one would be my least favorite of the 3. Coming in with just general "I don't live under a rock" info about the plot it was a bit confusing to follow. The crazy names of places didn't help out. The 70's hairstyles were on point. The trio of Luke, Han, and Leia reminded me of Uncle Matty, Joey and Myself back in our pre-kid days. Joey was obviously Han because like Han Joey is a smartass who always drove. Of course C3PO and R2D2 were my favorite characters. And Chewy. What's not to love about a big cuddly wookie. Now the special effects are straight out of the 70's so a little cheesy, but in a really cool retro kinda way. Plus the plot was so hard to follow crazy special effects would have made it harder to concentrate. And is it just me or did Luke take the deaths of the aunt and uncle who raised him a little too well? I mean finding out you're a Jedi is cool and all but they did raise you Luke.

Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back: So I had some time to digest the first movie and ask a million questions so I went into this film with a clear understanding what was going on. Of course the star of this one for us was Yoda. As soon as he opened his mouth I was like "Ummmm that's Grover from Sesame Street!". Turns out the guy who did Grover's voice also does Yoda. Frank Oz rules. So thanks to a vision of Obi-Wan  Luke is out training to be a Jedi with Master Yoda. While he is doing handstands with Yoda on his feet Leia and Han are left to fight Vader and the Empire, and to fall in love. Ohhhhh.

This is the one where we meet Lando Calrissian. How gorgeous is Cloud City? We also get to meet the charming Jabba the Hut and Boba Fett. We also get a glimpse of the connection between Luke and Leia. This is my second favorite of the movies. And who knew that in the same battle Luke gets his hand sliced off and finds out that Vader is is Poppa? Talk about giving him Daddy issues!

Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi: Despite the amount of characters that meet there demise in this one, it has to be my favorite. Mostly because of baby Ewoks.

these are like Gizmo cute!

First off I was not mentally prepared for Yoda to die. I thought he was immortal. Wasn't he like 800 years old? That was some sad stuff.

The whole incident with Jabba was way cool. When Han is finally removed from the carbonite I would have bet cash money that it was Luke but when the helmet came off and it was Leia I was like of course it's Leia. She's his lobster! I loved the forest like setting of Endor. Mostly because it reminded me of Bass Lake. This movie had some great suspenseful time and twists that left me with my jaw on the floor. Seriously I did not see that ending coming. Vader shocked the hell out of me. Shocked...get it....get it.....? We are left with a happy ending. How very Disney!

We ended the night by watching the trailer for Episode 7. We are all stoked. (Not as much as Uncle Matty, he is a Star Wars geek from way back) As much as I didn't think it was possible Uncle Matty has converted me and the girls into Star Wars fans. It really is a great story about good over evil, a father's love for his children, finding friends that stick by you no matter what, and even a little love story line thrown in there.

Anyone know where I can get a plush baby Ewok?

Next up on the Summer of Star Wars is Space Balls of course!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pool Party

 Over the weekend the weather cleared up just long enough for our Girls Scout troop to have their end of the year pool party. We rented the entire pool out just for our Girl Scout family.  It was such a blast!

When we started Girl Scouts almost 2 years ago I did it because when we decided to homeschool I still wanted Phi to have some socialization with girls her age. It has become such a great part of our lives. Now Louie has joined and we have met some really awesome people. I knew that the girls would get so much out of the organization but I didn't except that I would make some really good friends. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Artist Spotlight: Save the Panduhs

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook then you know that we have a thing for artwork. I think that if we had all the money in the world our house on the beach would be filled with artwork. There would even be art work on our yacht. Even on our tight budget we make it a point to collect art when we can. 

For our 9th anniversary we decided to invest in a piece of artwork instead of gifts to each other. I don't know why we didn't think of this earlier. Deciding what to get was easy. 

We have been going to Riverside Art Walk for a few years now and one of our favorite artist booths is Save the Panduhs also known as Rick Garcia. His work it a a bit Disney with a touch of bad-assness. Here is some of his work..

He does a great job of offering of a variety of items with his artwork. Think t-shirts, bags, patches, hats, candles, and even dresses. The girls have been collecting buttons, Louie has a t-shirt and I have a candle.

Click the picture to head over to Save the Panduhs website!

For our anniversary we decided we wanted an original painting. At the time Save the Panduhs was offering a 2x3 canvas painting for a really good deal so we jumped at the chance and asked for a painting of Frida. Or as Save the Panduhs calls it Friduh! Waiting was the hardest part but a few weeks ago we meet up at Riverside Art Walk and picked up our piece.

We could not believe how incredible it turned out. So much more than we ever imagined. We instantly fell in love and could not wait to get it on our wall. We got home and hung it up and we all just stood there and stared at it for a long time.

Louie could not believe that she gets to look at it everyday. I thought the same thing. Joey has been designing a frame in his mind. Think red and glitter.

Thank you so much Save the Panduhs. You can see all his current work in his Instagram page. 

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Oreos Will Never Be the Same- Magic Mike XXL

Back when Magic Mike was released my friend Karla and I made it a girls night out and went to see it. We enjoyed it and made a pact that if they released a second one we would go together and see it. Well thank you Lord, they made a sequel and Karla and I went to see it last night.

Now let me start off by saying that I have a healthy admiration for male entertainers. With that being said Magic Mike XXL was everything I wanted it to be and more. It was sweet, funny, and had enough amazing stripper moves from hot bodied men to keep a smile on my face the entire movie. I wasn't alone. Karla kept leaning over and whispering "I can't stop smiling".  It was that good.

Much like porn the storyline was not all that important. Really just filler to get to the action, and by action I mean dance routines. But it was there and it was kinda cute. They guys are heading to the annual stripper convention to do one last performance. My first thought was..

"Is there really an annual stripper convention?"

My second thought was....

 "How do I get tickets?"

Again let me clarify that it is a healthy obsession admiration for male strippers male entertainers.

But the "dance" scenes were mind blowing. When those first notes of "Pony" started the party really was on and popping and didn't stop until the credits rolled. I was also very happy to hear some Jodeci on the soundtrack. Jada Pinkett Smith was so freakin fierce that I have labeled her my new spirit animal. I found myself, like legit, giggling like a school girl. And that grand finale! I literally was covering my mouth with my hand in complete shock and awe. Karla and I were something like this for the last 20 minutes...

But like in a totally good way. I have a suspicion we will be seeing again soon. 

Monday, July 06, 2015

Taking it Back to '91

Ever fall into a totally random YouTube hole? It happens to me all the time. Today I started out watching a video of the Mexican sports announcer calling all the goals from the USA World Cup soccer game win. Then I somehow ended up watching music videos from my junior high days. 

1991 was the era of cardboard covered cassette singles and everyone sounded like Milli Vanilli. It started when something reminded me of that one song from the girl who talked in a real high voice but sang with a really deep voice. 

Of course it was Michel'Le with the song "No More Lies". A classic....

From there  I was lead to another classic song from that era that I loved. I can totally picture the cassette single with the green cover in the huge bulky and heavy briefcase cassette holder that I owned. But seriously doesn't this sound just like Milli Vanilli. They look like a bad-boy version of Richard Marx.

But then I was lead to what was my favorite song in 8th grade. I LOVED this jam by The U-krew. This cassette single had a purple cover. Because I grew up without cable TV I never knew that there was music video, but 24 years later I have found it and its mind blowing. Those outfits! Those giant hoop earrings! The super cool neon backgrounds. The sexy dance moves! The Key-tair! This music video is everything that was good about being in junior high in 1991. 

I think I love this song even more now. 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Summer School

We have been out of school for about 4 weeks now. The girls schedule doesn't change much except that there is no homeschool work to keep Phi busy so instead she has been sitting in front of a computer playing Animal Jam and watching YouTube video of people playing MineCraft. After 2 weeks of this I knew we needed get some kind of educational learning time into our day. 

So I went straight to the source for all my things in life...


I have found some really great and quick little lessons for both girls. 

If you have been following along with us for the last few years than you know that math is the evilest evil in our house. Phi has a hard time with it and so convincing her to do some during the summer is practically impossible. As usual I had to get creative. 

I have found that Phi likes sudoku. She takes after her Nana like that. She can now do an 'easy' level' puzzle practically on her own and she really enjoys it. 

With Little Louie we are just working on number recognition. For this I found a really fun game that involves dice and a bingo stamper. Louie loves herself a bingo stamper. She takes after her Grandma Josie like that. This game is simple. She rolls the dice, counts and find the number on her sheet and stamps it. 

Sometime I try to involve both of them in one big giant word problem. This one here started with the balloons in the corner. I am obviously not the artist in the family. I had Louie count them and told her we were going to plan a party. We drew out her guests and she counted them. But them 2 more people showed up so we added them in. We talked about gift bags and how many of each candy we would need for each bag (multiplication). We talked about pizzas and how many slices were in each and how many we would need to order to feed everyone (fractions). We also determined how much the pizzas would cost (multiplication). Then we got to presents. Each person gave the birthday girl money and each card had double what the card before it had (multiplication). In the end Noah had given $256! Then of course we added all the money. Then I told them that the parents had offered to double whatever they got in gifts. I totally made this one up as we went along and both girls enjoyed it. 

When it comes to writing I found a really awesome website called  Here you can find video writing propmts with activites for grades k-12 for each video. That means that girls can watch the same video and each do a separate activity from it.

For example we watched a short video from Monsters University. With Louie we talked about how even Monsters go to school. Then we talked about the kind of classes that a monster would take. Then I asked her to draw me a picture of monsters at school.

As she did that Phi and I discussed what a prequel was. How it tells the story before the original story. Her project was to pick a movie she liked and jot down ideas for a prequel.

She picked Teen Beach movie. (It's all they talk about right now) Here are her notes...

I try to do lessons like these about 4 times a week. They take no more than 30 minutes and then they can go back to whatever new YouTube channel that are obsessed with. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Chicano Collection at Plaza de la Raza

For our anniversary Joey and I decided to spent part of our day checking out "The Chicano Collection" presented by Cheese Marin at La Plaza de la Raza in Los Angeles. The park and the little lake around it was so cute and we parked at one end and walked through the park to La Plaza. We walked around looking for the gallery with no luck so we entered the office. They opened up the gallery just for us. The exhibit was gorgeous and afterwards we got a tour of the offices that were filled with art. Many pieces were donated or just left by the artist. We got to see the art studio were people can take classes and the theatre where kids put on an original play where they do everything from writing to lighting and props.

We also got to see the projects done by the students of the mural class. Here was last years project.

And here is the work in progress for this year. These kids get to work with established professional artist. It's such a great program.

Back to the exhibit...

The exhibit is prints of original pieces in Cheech Marin's collection. So not as awesome as seeing the real thing but still pretty cool. Here are some highlights...

Axis Bold as Love
by George Yepes

La Virgen de Guadalupe and Other Baggage
by Rupert Garcia

La Estrella Que Cae
by Adan Hernandez

Little Girl with Yellow Dress
by Patssi Valdez

Recortando de Frida
by Jose Lozano

Janine Age 39 Mother of Twins
by Margaret Garcia

Los Piscadores
by Jesse Trevino

Herbert Siguenza
by Eloy Torrez

The Arrest of the Paleteros
by Frank Romero

Hombre Que le Gustan Las Mujeres
by Cesar Martinez

Kill the Pachuco Bastard!
by Vincent Valdez

Wedding Photos- Hollenbeck Park
by David Botello

And then this was this one that reminded me why I fell in love with Chicano art in the first place...

by Carmen Lomas Garza 
Carmen Lomas Garza paints these beautiful scenes of family life. I remember seeing her artwork for the first time and recognizing my family and my life in them. Growing up art was something that seemed unattainable, like it wasn't for us. Art was fancy and expensive and filled with people and faces that never looked like mine. Then I saw Carmen Lomas Garza and there I was. There was my Nana lighting candles for the Virgen at church. There was us making tamales during Christmas. There was my Pops cutting and cleaning cactus. There were me and my cousins hitting the pinata at a birthday party. There was us walking Las Posadas. There we were hanging in an art museum. All of a sudden art wasn't just accessible it was like a mirror. It made me look at my life and my family so differently. My life and the normal everyday things were now beautiful. They were worthy to be works of art.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Got the Only VIP Pass

I remember the day I first laid eyes on Joey. It was the summer of 2003 and my sister and I were at the Vans Warped Tour in Pasadena. I was wearing jean shorts and a yellow Endless Summer t-shirt. We went over to The Erks booth to say hi to the band. We were walking away when we stopped the bass player in line for food. He was with his best friend/roommate. The roommate had dickies shorts, a black t-shirt, dark sunglasses and a black goatee. I can close my eyes and still see the exact moment Joey turned his head and I saw his face for the first time. Of course he doesn't remember this at all but I will never forget it. Somehow I knew that at that moment everything changed.

Joey is like the most exclusive show that everyone wants to get into and I have the only VIP pass. He is my dream come true. Today is our 9th wedding anniversary. The past 9 years have thrown good times, bad times and hard times but we are very lucky in that the good outweighs the bad by a whole lot. Our life is not perfect but its good and fun and easy. And no matter what my day brings I can handle it all because I have him by my side.

I'll stay the short and sweet and you stay the strong and steady.

Here is to our last 9 years and to the 31 years you still owe me.

P.S. I love you

Forever and Today. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Toothpaste Showdown

Our house has been consumed by Louie and her attitude. Since turning 5 she has entered this phase of freaking the f out over everything. Tantrums are a daily occurrence and most of the time they all start thanks to toothpaste.

Yes toothpaste.

This toothpaste to be exact.
Here is how it all started.

We were grocery shopping and Louie needed toothpaste. As we walked down the toothpaste aisle I showed her all the usual kids options. I tried to push her towards the Doc McStuffins tube but then she saw the Frozen box and begged for it. I told her that it was a mint flavor and she might not like it. She still wanted it. I told her (and this is important) that if she didn't like it she would still have to use it, everyday, twice a day until it ran out. She still wanted it. So I got it.

We all see where this is going right?

From the first time she tried it she hated it. It was too minty It made her mouth too cold. It was too spicy. And since then everytime we ask her to go brush her teeth she gets all Veruca Salt on us.

So the easiest solution would be to just buy her some new toothpaste right?


If I cave and buy her new toothpaste she wins. I lose my power and she gains the upper hand. Then Louie's plan for world domination gets one step closer to being a reality. We are only half way through the tube. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Poppa / Tata / Big Tata Weekend

The role of Dad changes with each generation. My Tata worked a lot. Sometime even multiple jobs to provide for his family.

 My Pops was home with us a lot more but he still has never changed a diaper.

Joey not only has changed hundreds of diapers but is also a part-time stay at home parent. One thing that all 3 of these men from 3 generations have in common is a real deep love for their kids and grandkids. They all worked hard to give their kids opportunities to become great people. 

Happy Father's Day to my 3 favorite Dads.