Mama's That Love Hip Hop

I've been a life long fan of Hip Hop.

As a young kid growing up in the 80's, I had an uncle who lived with us, and he was a DJ. This meant a daily diet of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, U.T.F.O, Run D.M.C, Whodini, Newcleus and the Beastie Boys. I was 12 years old but I knew every single word to Whodini's Five Minutes of Funk.

Still do.

As the years went on, the soundtrack of my life involved lots of EPMD, De la Soul, Tribe Called Quest, Erik B. & Rakim, Digital Underground, X-Clan, and N.W.A. Sidenote: Picture a group of white girls and one brown girl (um, that would be me), wind in our hair, driving in the high school parking lot rapping N.W.A's "Gangsta Gangsta" at the top of our lungs.


College passed in a haze of green smoke and my boyfriend (who also happens to be my husband) introduced me to underground hip hop. Along with that, I listened to Ice Cube, Wu Tang Clan, Beatnuts, Gang Starr, The Fugees, Notorious B.I.G, Tupac, Dr. Dre, Nas, Cypress Hill, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dog and Pharcyde to name a few from that era. Gawd, I'm so old.

I still love hip hop even though I'm a mama with six babies! We just passed it down to our kids. Remember the series of paintings my son Sol was working on? It's an ode to a well-loved rapper (may he rest in peace) and an ode to Hip Hop.

A combination of stencils, spray paint and artist acrylic paint.

Incorporating some vinyl lettering.

Guess who? Yep, it's Dirt McGirt.

"Keep it nappy or braided up" --Old Dirty Bastard from Wu Tang Clan
It's not easy finding other blogger moms that share a love for this genre of music. I was so excited to discover that Xenia from Raised by Culture has a cool button to display on your blog and a way to link up with like-minded mama's that love hip hop.

Go grab the button, but first...tell me what you love about hip hop? Who do you listen to?


Fangirl Fridays

¡Hola! Let's get down to business.

Although some people call it the devil's playground, good things can come from Tumblr.

Case in point: Mexicanfoodporn.

It's exactly what it sounds like: Mexican...food...porn.

Fish tacos, enchiladas, chile rellenos, carne asada tacos, chile verde, guacamole, mangoes dusted with Tajin, frijoles, pan dulce, nopales--you get my drift? All the drool-worthy Mexican food that we know and love. I fangirl the ish out of them on all their social media outlets coz that's what fangirling is all about. Mmmmm.

I hate Mondays just like the rest of the general population. But one thing is going to alleviate Monday suckage: RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5.  

No T, no shade, but I've had a love affair with drag queens since the 90's. When season one came out, I was hooked. It's creative, it's hilarious and I often watch it alone, with my headphones on. Micheal doesn't understand my fascination (neither does Boifromipanema) and my kids often peek over my shoulder and ask, is that a man, mama? And I'm like, BYE. Mommy is watching her show.

Even though Fringe & Frange is completely in French (therefore, I can't understand a word), and there is a very questionable picture of a Native American headdress (hello, cultural appropriation) in the header, I die for her ombre hair.

I thought ombre hair was over,  you're thinking.

Maybe all the bleach did something to my brain because I still love it. I don't care about hair trends. Marion from Fringe & Frange is adorable and oh so fashionable (she has studded Vans). And that ombre? Divine.

Photo by Rio Yañez
When I was a kid, my mother strictly forbade me to be chola. No teardrops, no starched creases, no pendletons, no dark lipstick,  no Nike Cortez, no hair feathers, no black bracelets, no East Side Story cassettes--nothing. I guess this made me develop some sort of chola obsession to compensate!

Enter Hella Breezy.

I've been fangirling her and her firme chola style from the Bay since forever.

I'm one of those people who is seduced by packaging. Food, makeup, shoes, candy--if I love the way it's packaged, I'll probably buy it. It's the same with blogs.

When blogs look like SwellMayde, I fall hook, line and sinker.

I think this DIY Pom Pom Fringe Scarf is so cute and so easy to do. I love a good pom pom fringe. And come on, you can glue pompom fringe with your eyes closed. Oh, the possibilities. If I could do a pom pom fringe over life, I would.

Happy Fangirl Friday, my friends!


I will Cre8time for...the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show 2013

"I will Cre8time for...inspiring others!"
January always means crafty good times at the annual CHA conference here in Southern California. I love to go and walk the floor of this conference and take a peek at all of the new products coming out in the crafting world, as well as meeting craft celebrities like Mark Montano, Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza, Margo Potter, Jaderbomb, Glitter N Glue, Heather from Dollar Store Crafts and the Crafty Chica (of course!) to name a few.

Me and Boifromipanema got to hang out with our friends at the iLovetoCreate booth, grooving alongside their tie dye van and sharing what we'll Cre8time for (check out the video below to learn more).

The best part of CHA? Meeting, in real life, the creative people that have shared so many DIY projects, video tutorials, craft hauls and crafty goodness on the interwebs. Also, the cool make and takes at each booth. Oh, and the swag never hurt nobody either.

Some of my favorite pics of the conference.

Thanks to Marvy, DecoArt, iLovetoCreate and Plaid for the photo ops.
Wondering why we have written messages on the palm of our hands? Tune in to this video by Cre8time.


"I have a dream": MLK Printable

Today is the day we celebrate the life of the honorable Martin Luther King Jr. This is a holiday I love to observe with my children because I feel passionate about what this man stood for.

Yes, he stood for justice.
Racial equality.
Civil rights.
But the most important thing Martin Luther King Jr. stood for, in my humble opinion, is...love.

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King:

If you like this quote as much as I do, you can download this free printable here (yay!).

Today is the perfect time to share the life of Martin Luther King Jr. with your children. My husband Michael and I often talk to our kids about being people of color. It's important to share the realities of life, to open their eyes and ears to things that MLK talked about in his speeches. We've sat down and listened to his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 and it never fails to give me goosebumps and leave me in tears.

In honor of this great man, I asked my husband to draw and create a coloring page for ya'll, my lovely readers.

You can download the free printable here.

 Activity time:
  • Color it with markers. My kids love Le Plume II markers by Marvy Uchida.
  • Cut up small colored pieces of paper and create a collage on top, using the drawing as a guide.
  • Use oil pastels and don't forget to blend your colors--oil pastels are perfect for blending!
  • Color pencils are fun, too, especially large sets with plenty of colors to choose from, like the sets from Prismacolor (these pencils are like buttah, baby).
My little ladies having fun coloring.

I hope you enjoy this Monday with your family and take the time to educate your little ones about Martin Luther King and what he did for our country.


Fangirl Fridays | First Installment

There are so many cool things happening on the interwebs that I just want to sit here and chop it up with you guys about it.

A new song.
A sweet DIY/craft I want to try.
An amazeball pair of shoes that I could never afford, much less stand in.
What about the cool things I pinned on Pinterest? I promise, no mason jars.
Something delicious I want to eat.
A quote that became the wind beneath my wings.
A hilarious tumblr gif.
Someone on Instagram who does the perfect cat eye.

You know, the important things in life.

Insert Fangirl Fridays. What's a fangirl? According to Urban Dictionary:

fangirl noun, verb
/fan/ /gərl/

1. A fan of something (female) who is obsessed with the said subject to a certain degree (normally unhealthy).
2. A general term for a female fan of something.

Here we go:

kelleybakerbrows on Instagram gives me life with all of her eyebrow pics because she does thick eyebrows justice. No, we don't want caterpillars on our faces, thankyouverymuch. Kelley Baker creates such lovely eyebrow shapes and keeps them full and natural, which I love.

 Am I the only one who positively froths at the mouth whenever you see/hear/read about a delicious cocktail? After checking out A Beautiful Mess and their scrumptious-sounding Wasabi Bloody Mary, I was ready to run out and buy all the ingredients. Betcha it would taste just as delightful without the vodka.

If I was tall, rich, thin and possessed legs that didn't resemble tree trunks, I would most definitely be scooping up all of the ponchos from the Riders on the Storm collection from Free People. I mean, first of all...loving The Doors reference. Second, I die for all of those groovy ponchos, fringed boho bags, fedoras and necklaces. Love!

I've been fangirling Our City Lights for a while now. I mean, Diana's kitchen is pink for heaven's sake. And it's decorated with Hello Kitty--I can't ask for more. Diana's blog is so fresh and so clean and her images are just so perf that I keep coming back for more.

I have this thing for hearts. Don't know what it is but I love the shape and I, of course, love what they stand for. I always seem to find myself gravitating to hearts on stuff. I am so going to have to try this cute tutorial called DIY Heart Print Jeans by My Little Secrets. I certainly have a pair a jeans I can choose from in my vast collection of jeans that I never seem to wear.

I hope you enjoyed my first ever Fangirl Friday! That was fun. If you have any cool links you'd like me to check out, leave me a comment. I'm always on the lookout for something to fangirl over.


Learning about Reyes Magos with #Net10Latino

Growing up, my family didn't celebrate Three Kings Day, or Reyes Magos, which took place on January 6th. My husband remembers taking part of this holiday tradition as a child but all these years later, it wasn't something we made a conscious effort to teach the chil'rens. However, expanding their world view is always something we like to do, so this year we decided to share this cultural happening with our kids, in our own special way. 

Our kids love it when we spend the day doing things as a family. We learned the lesson a long time ago--spending our time in malls buying them "stuff" brings out the absolute worst in them. It's so much better when we hang out in nature, go on walks, and breath in fresh air. Attitudes disappear and smiles happen. This seems to be the best time to share life with our kids. So this is what we did. We took a walk up our local mountain, called Mount Rubidoux, and we talked about the three kings following the star to Bethlehem, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the sweet Baby Jesus and all of the fun Mexican traditions that go along with this time of year.

It just began to rain but it didn't matter to them--it just made the adventure sweeter.
The view from our path.
The reward at the top of the mountain. Look at that view!
After the long, wet walk up the mountain, my little ladies requested some pampering with a warm foot soak.
Noah took the shot of his sisters enjoying their mini-spa time with his Net 10 Wireless phone. My son is happy he now has a phone to call his own. He's been snapping pics, posting them on Instagram and Facebook, texting his buddies, listening to music on Pandora and finding funny ringtones. We've really enjoyed the service so far. He was able to download all of his favorite apps and I've been able to get in contact with him when I need to.

It's been a win-win.

In today's day and age, having a wireless phone and service plan that fits your needs--and budget--is very important. That’s why I think Net10 Wireless phones are the perfect way to control spending and usage for every member of the family--especially tweens and teens. Plus, with Net10 Wireless phones, there are no contracts to sign, no monthly bills, no long-term commitments, no credit checks, no age limit and no hidden fees, which I can totes appreciate. One less thing for me to worry about.

Buying Net10 Wireless phones and airtime cards is easy, too. They're available at 90,000 locations across the USA, including Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Family Dollar, K-Mart, Radio Shack and CVS stores and online at net10wireless.com (English) and in Spanish.

Get social with Net10 Latino on Facebook for more information.

Net10 Wireless and Latina Mom Bloggers invite you to join us for "Make this Year a Perfect 10” Twitter Party on Tuesday, January 22nd from 9-10:30pm ET. We’ll be sharing our goals for the New Year and best of all – tips on how to KEEP THEM! Of course, there will be prizes too! We’ll be giving away Samsung Galaxy tablets and Visa gift cards. Please visit Latina Mom Bloggers to RSVP.

Disclosure: This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Net10 Wireless. However, all opinions expressed are my own.


Birthday Love

And if I may add...driving his mother completely insane.

There is a reason why I was chosen to be his mother...and vice versa, there is a reason why he was meant to be my son. I love him madly. Happy birthday, son!


Frida Kahlo TOMS & a FREE Printable!

New Year, new projects. I recently spoke to a fellow who really really wanted me to paint his girlfriend a pair of TOMS with Frida Kahlo on them. She really wants Las Dos Fridas on the top of them, he said. Can you do it?

All I could think of was, shoes with Las Dos Fridas painted on them? WANT. NEED.

Someday I'll paint that masterpiece! Instead, we settled on a slightly different concept.

Frida Kahlo stencil

When you Google "Frida stencil", a ton of options come up. Some good, some not so good. If you want to make something for yourself, then by all means take inspiration from a design that catches your eye. But if you want to make something to sell, you can't just take an artist's work and reproduce it without their permission. That's a big no-no. This is why I always create my own design. Yes, knowing Photoshop helps, but you could totally accomplish this posterized technique using Picmonkey.
After creating my image, I printed it out and cut it out using a #11 x-acto blade.
The key to creating a sweet stencil is to have quality design and a bottle spray glue, like Aleene's Repositional Spray. It helps hold your stencil in place and ensures clean lines around your design. Just what can you do with a Frida stencil? You can:

  • Make a tote bag.
  • Put it on a scarf to make it extra snazzy.
  • Stencil it onto primered canvas and create your own Frida paintings.
  • Put it on sofa pillows.
  • Hook up an apron.
  • Cut up a funky tee and adorn it with Frida's face.
  • Create a "wallpaper" pattern on an accent wall.
  • Stencil it on wrapping paper or a gift bag for the Frida-lover. 
  • Or you can do what I did....put it on a pair of shoes! Specifically, TOMS shoes.
I have a little something something for you, guys. It's a Frida Kahlo Printable Stencil! Yes. This is what it looks like. The image is 4 x 6 inches, so you can make it bigger or shrink it down, totally up to you.
Isn't she pretty?
This is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

Now back to the shoes. Painting shoes is a little tricky because they have curves and dips. You just have to be willing to work with curves and dips. This is real life, people. It won't be absolutely perfect, but the stencil should give you a definite guideline. You can get creative with the rest.

I decided not to paint a defined edge on the background--instead a played around with the turquoise and then gave it a pretty paisley type of pattern. Also, get creative with your color palette. I didn't want to paint it with traditional flesh tones on the skin so I gave Frida purple and pink skin! Also, her hair isn't painted black--it's the unpainted shoe surface. I thought that was a fun twist.

I've waiting to paint Frida on a pair of shoes for a long time. It was so fun! If you are interested in getting a pair for yourself, please check out my Etsy store for all of the important details.


Pinterest Inspired: DIY Pallet Wall

Hi. Hello!

Welcome to 2013.

Let me start this post off by saying I understand 2012 was the year of the almighty pallet and we're now in, ahem, 2013.

Pinterest gave us all things pallet board: DIY headboards, patio furniture, theater seating, shelves, coffee tables, staircases, picture frames, farmhouse tables--you name it, you can construct it with pallets. The minute I saw all of those projects on Pinterest, I swooned like a fat girl in front of a bowl of guacamole and tortillas chips.

That's major swoonage, guys.

And although this is a new year and we're all ready for the next big thing...if loving pallets is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

Think about it--pallets are cheap, easy to come by, versatile and green. To be totally honest, I've never paid for my pallets. I've done my share of dumpster diving. I'm not afraid to get dirty.

And now, onto my project. As you know, my husband and I have like, a bajillion kids running around our home. By no means are we living in a mansion here. Our home is small. Cozy. Like, 1600 square feet or so of "coziness". We do our best to pare down our belongings so we'll have breathing room but let's be honest--you can only carve out so much living space before you start heading outdoors.

Thankfully, we live in Southern California where it's nice to be outside at least nine months out of the year. I wanted to carve out some sort of cool hang out spot so I could sip my herbal tea and read a magazine while the chil'rens were terrorizing the neighborhood with their bikes, skateboards, scooters and Nerf guns. My backyard is a virtual wasteland of dry grass and bike parts, so I knew I had to focus on the front yard first.

My son Cyan and I got busy one late summer evening and dragged out the outdoor furniture to a little nook in the driveway and set up this sweet little spot for us.

I love my familia!
It was great. Awesome. Cool. Sweet. Comfortable. Until I realized we had absolutely no privacy from the street. I took up this issue with my husband one night.

Me: We need a fence.
Husband: I've been saying that for years. We could build a wall right here. Install a water fountain right there. Put in a hammock. Install some speakers. I could paint a mural right here...
Me: Hol' up. Right now, I just want a fence so I can sit outside without a bra if I want to.
Husband: I can make it for you, Queenie. Let's get busy.

We knew we didn't want a permanent structure because it would block off our garage entrance. But we absolutely wanted to take advantage of our long driveway which basically eats up a ton of square footage in our yard. We spent many a night after the kids were in bed, sitting in the moonlight and staring at the driveway, trying to envision what we wanted. Brainstorming, if you will. I had a few ideas floating around my head involving pallets and some sort of makeshift room divider or privacy screen. I knew we were on to something.

The privacy screens from our local Panera Bread was our inspiration.

We just had to figure out how to secure the walls onto our driveway without breaking up the concrete.

Remember when I said I dumpster dive and get dirty? Okay, so sometimes I mean, I make my kids dumpster dive and get dirty.
We didn't want it to look like we just threw up a few pallets and called it "a fence". We aren't that bohemian. We wanted it to be creative and to look intentional but at the same time, not have the pallets look so spiffy that they didn't appear to be pallets anymore. No sanding, no staining, no painting. Just 100% pure pallet realness for you.

But all this required even more time sitting in the driveway under the moonlight, staring at our placement of the pallets, trying different configurations, making sure they looked legit. We settled on a pattern and Michael attached them to heavy-duty railroad ties, which he then secured onto the concrete.

Of course, you can still see through the pallets but I don't feel like every car that drives down my street knows my business.
When it was all said and done, we added a few succulents, planted a wisteria vine that will hopefully grow and trail over the fence next Spring, pulled up a few Adirondack-style chairs and now we're sitting pretty.

Don't forget to follow me @pearmama on Pinterest.
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