My sister was here in August so I was planning way ahead when I did this Day of the Dead sugar skull look. But it’s something that I really wanted to do with her since I saw her recreate the look I did for NBC Latino last year. There was no time better than the present.
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My Day of the Dead makeup certainly got more elaborate than it was last year! It was a whole family affair. And did I mention it was a lot of fun too? It’s really an awesome experience when you’re hanging out with your favorite people and creating art while listening to music. From going over ideas, buying makeup and dressing up — these a great things to do as a couple or a family.
Day of the Dead is a beautiful tradition that originated in Mexico and celebrates the lives of those who passed. I’m Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian so it’s not a tradition I grew up with nor did I really know about it until I moved to Los Angeles. The first time I’d heard of it was during a visit to my son’s kindergarten class. The children were making sugar skulls. Intrigued, I looked it up and immediately fell in love with its history and approach toward the idea of death, which completely differed from how it’s perceive in America.
Embracing this new tradition in my life, I think of my grandmother this time of year and how much she contributed to my life with her generosity and love. She’s always there watching over me and her grandson, who she got to see be born before she passed. That was an experience she always wanted. Her life is certainly one I celebrate, as she would have wanted me to. After all, in the 11 years she battled cancer, my grandmother stayed strong and lived life with passion.
I was born and raised in the Bronx, NY by my loving and amazing Puerto Rican family. Day of the Dead is not something we celebrated, as it is not part of our cultural traditions. In fact, I didn’t know anything about it until I moved here in 2004, and my son brought home sugar skulls from school. Eventually, I learned more about this tradition and fell in love with it (as you can see by all makeup tutorials).
Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated on November 1st and 2nd throughout Latin America, and is a day remember and honor our loved one who passed. Many celebrate by painting their faces (which I have done several times), creating altars and/or baking Pan de Muerto. I think it’s such a beautiful way to honor those who left earth but still live on.
About a year ago, I started to feel TMJD creep in but wasn’t sure what was happening to me – pain, vertigo and basically an assault on my central nervous system. My ability to deal with day to day things started dwindling as the pinched nerves and flight or fight response turned my life completely upside down. It’s hard to believe that your jaw muscles can cause so much havoc but, believe me, they can. However, can you believe that this “flare-up”, as much I didn’t feel it at the time, is the best that happened to me? One day, I will jot down all the reasons why … But I will share that the woman standing in this picture feels incredibly strong (with a new definition of strength), happy and incredibly blessed to have the family and friends that I have. Sometimes it takes a debilitating illness/disorder to truly break you so the light can come in. I still have symptoms but my perception and the healthier road I embarked on has opened up the world for me in ways I never imagined.
A light that came through was the commitment and love that I received during a time when I was likely not the easiest (head splitting migraines that shoot through your eye will not make you pleasant, my friends). The obvious was my mom, who talked to me several times a day to reassure me that I will be OK. But the biggest gift I received was from my guy. I’ve never – ever – felt that type of care from a man. Ever. It was the kind you dream about but are convinced does not exist. I’m not talking grand, bells and whistles gestures either. I’m talking simple things – the kind that family does for you when you are not well. Pure unconditional love. Had I not been ill, I don’t think I would have taken it in the way I did. I had to trust. I was forced to let my guard down. There were so many days/nights he just sat with me and held my hand, walked me through the pain, meditated with me, made food I could chew, called to check in all the time and just simply watched over me. He was consistent and patient. When I could not do much, he held the house down, which was so important because I’m sure it wasn’t easy for my son to see me in pain and not truly understand what was happening. In so many ways, the whole experience was a huge blessing and I now deeply recognize why this needed to happen. When I was at my worst, I kept asking God to please show me what He wanted me to see from all this. I see it now, and the way I feel today is only the beginning. And to keep the promise that he will always be by my side, I got a beautiful engagement ring. It’s wonderful have, it really is … But he already delivered his in sickness and in health promise.
So here I am in my staple pencil skirt and a classic trench feeling wonderful after a weekend of Day of the Dead activities at Museum of Latina American Art and a bit of Ann Taylor shopping. I cannot get enough of their purses – Always chic with a great price range for those of us who love lots of options. And with all my experiences this past year, I just find the biggest joys in simple things like a great coat and a beautiful clutch. It was the perfect Fall weekend as we celebrated the death and life of those we love as well as the symbolic deaths that give us new life.
(H&M trench coat , Marciano Brea Pont Cutout Crop Top, Bebe Bodycon Midi Skirt, Steve Madden leopard pumps, Ann Taylor Pebbled Signature Crossbody Bag)
So … I decided to do a recap of some of my blog’s highlights of 2013. It’s been a full year to say the least. I’ll try my best to be sum it up. My memory decided it was going to quit after I tried to overload it with dates and numbers, so they’re not in a strict order or anything.
I started off 2013 with a trip to Michigan with Ford, and had the best time ever (even though I got sick with a cold mid-trip). I got to visit the Henry Ford Museum , which houses the Kennedy car, Rosa Parks bus and Lincoln’s chair. One of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve had at museum.
My blog was given a facelift, and I started adding more style posts. Just for fun. I love clothes, accessories and all that good stuff. Little did I know that these pictures would open up a few new doors. Putting these images all together has given me lots of new ideas for 2014.
Ah, The MoMA. I went to NYC twice in 2013 (or was it once in the end of 2012?). It’s my hometown and I can never go without visiting at least one of my favorite museums. This particular trip was for the LATISM conference, which was held a few blocks away from MoMA at the Waldorf. We were working with our client Johnson & Johnson but during a lunch break I stopped by to see a few Pollocks and Cezannes.
I became a beauty blogger for Babble. Starting with my post about turning 40. Oh yes, I turned 40 is 2013 too!
This is from my trip to Miami. Part work, part fun. My boyfriend (who once lived in Miami) took me to Morakami in So. Florida. Beautiful place! He flew back here for a visit, and I took him to Huntington Gardens for Japanese Zen beauty. This was the last trip before he finally moved west.
A few months into working with Babble, I also started contributing to their Style Channel. I also wrote a few posts for Latinmom.me.
Lots of cool art shows happened this year, like Hush. You can see more art stuff here.
My Day of the Dead posts were a lot of fun, and were featured on Buzzfeed and NBC Latino.
And recently I was listed in Babbles 100 Best Blogs of 2013, which was truly an honor to be in such great company.
Putting these images together has given me lots of inspiration for the new year. In the beginning 2013, I had several goals for the blog but left room open to explore – some ideas worked, some didn’t. That’s the great thing about blogging. It’s just an organic process that just progresses through time. I’m super excited about 2014, and all that awaits! Here’s to a prosperous new year!
Inspired by all of the Day of the Dead and Halloween black and white face painting (especially for my son’s Joker costume), I thought I would do a bit of nail art. I actually found that my hand did a lot of shaking when attempting to line my nail so I tried this design several times. The hat and gloves were from a Halloween party we went to the other day as a Steam Punk couple. Sadly, my picture did not come out very clear but it’s definitely a look I would love to re-create for the blog. But in the meantime, if you’d like to try this nail design, I posted a mini tutorial on Babble.
Last week we attended ¡Vivan Los Muertos! event at the Autry Museum, which is one of my favorite museums. I love their collection, and I guess being originally from the east coast, I find there’s so much to learn about California history – its origin and culture. Of course, you can’t talk about the history of California without celebrating its Mexican roots. You can’t honor Mexican tradition without including the Day of the Dead! I’ve been celebrating all month starting with this makeup tutorial (which was just featured on Buzzfeed) and this one and … I was also asked to do a tutorial for NBC Latino. You can see the full story HERE.
Tell me there’s going to be an Aztec procession, and I am there. After hosting a potluck, which by the way included a couple of my favorite food bloggers (post to come), I grabbed the hubby, my son , his friend and Vianessa, and headed out the door to The Autry. I’m not a huge Halloween person but I can definitely get down with Day of the Dead festivities. Music, guacamole, vibrant art, costumes, celebrating life and remembering the dead? Yes, yes, yes.
Super Mamás podcast – How to befriend your teenager
Ray’s podcast – Journey from The Art Muse to the #WeAllGrow Latina Network
Latina Magazine – How to make money blogging
Domain.me – Meet theArtMuse
iBlog Magazine – Fashion Niche: Obstacles for Success
NBC Latino video – How to create a Day of the Dead look
Babble’s Top Latina Blogger
Mom.me Best Style Blogger
LATISM Best Arts Blogger
LATISM – Meet theArtMuse
Buzzfeed – 29 Breathtaking Día De Los Muertos Photos
NBC Latino – Moms Learn To Be Own Boss
New Latina Spotlight Artist
I started this blog back in 2010. Back when bloggers were just realizing they can make a living off their own little corner of the internet. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew that I loved to write, I loved photography, I loved art and I loved to learn. I bought a URL, and the rest was history. I spent countless hours learning how to code, edit photos, edit my writing and market my work. My hustle eventually landed me a job with an Influencer marketing agency changing the trajectory of my entire life. I’d heard the term reinventing yourself before, but looking back at the last decade of my life, I can say I’m mastering the art it and it’s been amazing journey.
If you’ve ever been part of organizing a conference (or any large multi-day event, really) then I don’t need to tell you what the last few months have been like. Lots of long work days filled with spreadsheets, deadlines and approvals with lots and lots of updates and changes in between. It’s about getting things done well and quickly, making sure every sponsor is happy and ensuring that guests will have the best experience possible. With 31 sponsors and 450 attendees on their way, everything had to run smoothly for our third annual #WeAllGrow Summit. I’m proud to say, it did. From the food, accommodations at Hotel Maya, speakers, keynotes and suites, there was something for everyone.