My Word for 2017: Conquer

Six days.

Six days have passed since January 1st, 2017. I watched, inspired, as everyone celebrated their words for 2017. Those small goals we whisper out into the world. Behind the one word prompts, we have hidden our future hopes and aspirations. I struggled to find my word.

I went straight back to work as an English teacher on the cusp of our standardized testing schedule. I felt overwhelmed, stressed, and apathetic.

I sat wondering about my word, staring out at empty desks and nothing. The recesses of my mind were empty. For a brief moment, I questioned if perhaps Tejana Made had outlived its time. When I started my blog, I was in it for something that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. Maybe it was my escape from my failing marriage or a way to find my voice. All I know is that for two years, I didn’t exist in the world of blogging.

Two years later, I emerged as a changed woman with a restored passion for all things Tejas and for her little blog meant to showcase her dying cultura. A true Tejana as DC lovingly calls me…I am neither Mexican nor Mexican American. I am other. A dying culture, the last stand of the American Cowboy, of the Mexican Vaquero, of Tejano Culture.

I sat here pondering and it wasn’t until I talked to my friend from Shine Beautifully, April Monterrosa that I realized my word.


Conquer to overcome and take control of a place, successfully overcome a problem. Synonyms include Ascend, Vanquish, Trounce, Master, Surmount, Rise Above.
I have risen like a the vanquished phoenix to rise again stronger. I rose different from the shattered remains that were life. I ascended to a place of importance once I released the focus of only allowing myself to rise. I could not conquer without a tribe, without help, without my hermanas (blogging hermanas) who were there when I descended into a deep abyss.
To conquer is to be true to who I really am. I truly look forward to conquering obstacles, creating more streamlined business products, writing on Stacked Pages, and relaunching Tejana Made Designs.
To all my hermanas, together we conquer 2017! Adelante!

Tejano Travels: Lulu’s Bakery and Cafe

We spent the first weekend of our 2016 Winter Break in San Antonio. My body was already used to our daily routine of being out the door by 6:45 am. Here I was on a Saturday morning wide awake and thinking about whether or not I should wake up DC. After 30 minutes, I decided we should all wake up but alas to my dismay DC gave me a look that would make Grumpy Cat jealous. After another hour, we decided that 5:45 was the perfect time to wake everyone up and get ready. 3 kids dressed and ready to seize the day is hard to achieve.

The first thing that DC wanted me to do was google Lulu’s  and I complied but the gleaming words  read  “closed”. He stared at me with a mixture of horrified surprise when I announced it to him which made him gasp “What?!” He made me google again and I realized he meant Lulu’s Bakery and Cafe which was an all night dine not Lulu’s Mexican Restaurant.

Nestled awkwardly among a white Motel 6, was a quaint white and red building with Lulu’s Bakery and Cafe splayed on the outside of it.  I was genuinely surprised at how small it actually was. I tend to not watch much reality TV  so in my defense I had no idea how popular the restaurant already was.


Did I mention it was 7 am which meant that we had the place to ourselves! We scoured the menu trying to decide if we wanted to share the giant 3lb Cinnamon Roll or have Chicken Fried Steak for breakfast. The kids ordered their usual fare of bean and cheese tacos whilst DC and I took the plunge and ordered the Chicken Fried Steak breakfast platter.

In case you didn’t know, but a good chicken fried steak is a staple of cuisine in Texas. I fondly remember after our athletic competitions we would file into restaurants like Lulu’s and eat chicken fried steaks with fries and a side salad.

Even though, I would like to think that my palate is refined (it isn’t y’all) but a good chicken fried steak is truly the epitome of being Southern and Texan. The breading was perfectly crisp with seasoning and covered with the best cream gravy I have had since the infamous yellow gravy at the Oasis Restaurant in Premont,TX.


Let me just say this, it was so good we had to eat there twice. Next time we hit up San Antonio that 3 lb Cinnamon Roll is on my radar.


Blended Family Chronicles: 3 ways to create Routines for a Newly Blended Family




Welcome one and all to the Blended Family Chronicles. DC and I have bumped heads over  many things like who can discipline the children, what is his role as a future step parent, and how do we navigate new family moments. Here are a few baby steps we have implemented to help the children and myself acclimate to the addition into our family.

1. Family Dinners

One thing we have introduced more often is family dinners. We try to eat together as often as we can but sometimes DC has a game (he coaches high school sports) so on those nights we eat without him. They usually are on Fridays but with his new soccer schedule he may miss two nights a week. On weekends. we eat all our meals together and the general consensus is that we are not allowed to use our electronics or watch TV.

2. Gaming or Family Activities

DC doesn’t have any children from his previous marriage so sometimes he has to get used the whirlwind that is having kids. We have implemented Family Game Time which allows him to bond with the other two children while I work alongside them on the blog, lesson plans, or the relaunch of the jewelry store. This usually happens when the youngest is taking her nap.

Danny and DJ (my eldest) also share the love for Pokemon GO which has strengthened their bond.

3. Sharing Responsibility

This is a big one. We both work so we share the responsibility of maintaining the household but we still have separate checking accounts. We have discussed opening an account strictly for bills but we’ll see. I like that each one of us is responsible for our own finances.

However, it doesn’t end at monetary equality. DC also pitches in around the house, picks up the children from school when he can, and is an essential member of our little family. I have made it a point to let him know when I am unhappy or when I need extra help. We are all getting used  to each other.

Patience, Understanding, and Communication are all essential to the development of any relationship and even more so when there are children involved. Keep the lines of communication open and remember that it will take work.


The road less traveled in Texas

The last few months have been really exciting and interesting for me. I met a wonderful, loving, and thoughtful man who cares for me and my children. It isn’t everyday that you meet a person who is willing to care for children as though they are theirs.

The one thing that I love about DC is that he loves to travel and since we met there has been nothing but roads and open adventures for us. We have traveled to the local places first.

I have learned so much about him, myself, and my kids as we travel along the desolate back roads of Texas. Growing up, we hardly ever traveled anywhere instead staying home since my mom was a Coach. The closest thing to a vacation was when I went to Dance Camp as a teenager on a horrible  non air-conditioned bus.

With DC, we have experienced so many places together as a family

We have recently traveled to as a family the following places:

  1. Brownsville
  2. Corpus Christi
  3. San Antonio/San Marcos

Keep following along as we travel through Texas with our little ones.

What places should we see next?

How I handle being a working, single, Mommy

Being a parent is one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do and mostly because these tiny min-me’s are relying on me. As a former married mom of three, the burden was less because for 1) I was a Stay at Home Mom and 2) My now ex-husband worked in the oil field.

My mom recently moved to a different city for better career opportunities and because of my lengthy divorce process I have yet to see any money owed to me by my ex-husband. I have only recently begun to get back on my feet. I am truly on my own and while gratifying it is simultanously frightening. The lack of stability makes me uneasy and sometimes overstressed. The amounts I pay just for childcare makes me cringe. I never truly knew the struggle my mother went through raising us until I had to follow her footsteps.

Even though it can be scary being a working mom of three, I have learned some tiny coping mechanisms that work for me. It isn’t perfection. It is always be a work in progress because the reality for me is that balance does not exist.

Here is how I handle being a Single, Working Mommy:

  1. Be Grateful

The ability to be grateful for the small things is one of the hardest things for me. I always feel as though at any moment the worst is about to happen. There is so much pressure placed on my shoulders and it is so easy for me to want to give up.

I think about the little things. The boots I bought my kids, how my rent and utilities are always current, the joy my children have when we eat dinner and play games, and of course our movie nights.

2. Don’t be so hard on myself

As a divorced parent, I am even harder on myself.  But, the reality is, I am doing okay. Could I be a better parent? Yes, but we all can be.

I am doing the best that I can be in the situation that I am.

You are enough! You are surviving! You are worthy of self love!

3. Find ways to love yourself

Love yourself. You know that cliche saying “Happy Wife, Happy Life”.Pretty much “Mommy is Happy. Everyone is Happy”. Our moods reflect on our outlook.  I hate when people ask me how I am. Basically, small talk. I answer with “Tired”

I am tired.I train 4-5 days a week for my powerlifting compettion, work full time, and am raising 3 children with very little monetary or parenting help (this changing though as both of us heal and come towards common ground).

Fidn what you love to do and do it. Like to blog, blog. Like to lift heavy weights…lift. Like to make your own beer…make it. Just do what makes you happy.

4.  Always strive for more

Being a single mom is tough. We laud single dads but single moms are treated with disdain and labeled as money hungry. Don’t ever let anyone tell you not to do what is best for your children. I strive to be better for them. I want to grow in my career because I know I have to provide for them. I can’t settle with just being in the classroom. I have to build a side hustle…well several at this point. I can’t just be content with where I am. I don’t have that luxury and you know what it is going to be hard. So, damn harder than a married mom.

Hard, Ladies. But, the success when you reach that top is worth it. So, go back and get that degree. Get those ceritifcations.

Build, baby, build.

5. Don’t Settle

In life, with men, with clothes.

Don’t ever settle. If those in your inner circle don’t believe in your goals and dreams, let them go.  They need to be your cheerleaders. We have so few support systems as single moms. Find that support.

Don’t ever settle for a SO who isn’t willing to put in the work and doesn’t put children first. Reality is our children should come first and if your SO has children their children should also be a priority.

I date but reality is I am a packaged deal.  I don’t introduce anyone to my children until I know that they are serious about pursuing a real relationship. I am very careful about not shaking the fragile stability I have finally put in place.

6. Have FUN!

Your single. Have a girl’s night out for goodness sake. Don’t forget you are a person also.

We are all trying to find ourselves again.



Do it for You: My new love, his name is Gym

I am calling this series “Do it for you”.

As a divorced parent of 3 children,  doing anything for myself is overwhelming and sometimes feels a little selfish. I started wondering what people thought of me for dropping my kids off at daycare in the summer and the Boys and Girl’s Club. I had to work summer school so not much of a choice in that department.

We give single and divorced moms such a hard time when they do anything for themselves whether it is a Spa Day, an hour in the gym, or heck a drink at the bar.

One day, I was persuaded to start Powerlifting again at the ripe age of 33 nearly 10 years after being a retired college athlete. Can college athletes retire or do we just graduate?

I joined a gym, avoided the gym, and finally embraced Gym. My first few workouts were easy and then the real work came.  Training was brutal. This was the real deal not the “Hey, I hit the gym today” but it was like “Damn, I’m dying”.

It has been nearly 12 weeks and I am finally losing weight and gaining strength. I still weigh around 240 lbs but my body composition is changing.

Those moments in the gym reminded me who I used to be. That confident, athlete who would stand up to life with fists clenched and head held high. I find her cowered inside me as I bring her everyday to the surface. Every weight, every bead of sweat has brought me to this moment of self discovery or should I say rediscovery.

My calloused hands have helped to heal my broken soul. Each rep allows the anger, bitterness, and sadness to escape.

My solace for that hour and half is something I will be doing for the rest of the year if not my life. I am still a plus size woman but I feel like I have found one of my passions. I will be updating all of you on my progress and my competitions.


Dating after Divorce

Dating in general feels like a game of Guess Who most of the time. Dating while divorced feels like a post apocalyptic or dystopian novel.

I am insecure, vulnerable, and did I mention that I have 3 kids under 10. My ex has already moved on so there is no hope for reconciliation. In fact, he decided to post his obligatory FB engagement announcement. It doesn’t hurt (yes, it does who am I kidding).

It hurts more because I am sitting here thinking about how un-dateable I am.

Am I too fat?

Am I not intelligent enough?

Will I ever find a man who will embrace my children?

Plus the best one of all:

“What is wrong with me?”

That is the question I ask myself the most.

But, after my last heart crushing encounter with a person I thought was a contender I began to think about these questions instead.

Do I want to rush dating because I am lonely?

Do I rush dating because society looks down on a single woman who has 3 kids?

Do I rush dating because it is what is expected?

My last dating encounter about 6 months ago has taught me that time is a precious commodity and I have to be careful who I spend it on.

Not everyone is worthy of time because that is time I am taking away from my children,my job,and myself to include you in my life. People get busy but there is no way you are busier than I am especially when we work the same type of job. I soon realized that I was being blown off.

My frail, barely revived ego took another hit. The insecurities soon followed which are probably the main reason our fledgling relationship ended.

I was ghosted and you know what it sucked. It sucks because I still have to interact with this person. It sucks because I thought we were adults. A conversation or even a “Hey, it isn’t going to work out” would have been awesome but no.

Instead, I am stuck playing out scenarios of what I could have done wrong while simultaneously hoping they will call me like a sad, in real life Rom-Com.

Basically, dating is tough. I think I am going to sit out a few rounds for a while because honestly even after two years of separation my heart isn’t ready. I have to heal myself before I can allow myself to be loved by someone else.

What have you done to jump back into the fray of dating?

A little bit of Tex-Mex in your Holidays

christmas! (1)

The white caliche rocks of the backroads of my small country town remind me that I live in a place that still clings to Tex-Mex culture. My weathered boots remind me that we cling to this culture even more tightly now even as we become more acculturated. The Vaquero is alive where I am and is not a caricature of what most believe. It is real and breathing. Struggling with the advent of technology but still here.

I saw it when I went to the Ranch Hand Festival. My friend from work called me authentic and she was right.

I am authentic,

Authentically Tejana.

It is who I am and how I grew up. City living is part of me but my heart belongs among the thicket of mesquite trees and cacti plants.

In honor of celebrating my little patch of Texas, I will be doing a series of posts that reflect on what it means to have a Tejano Christmas. In a way, I will be cataloguing what my family has done and what they continue to do. It is time we write our own stories.

Day One: The Ranch Hand Festival

Day Two: Tejano Gift Guide

Day Three: Tejanito/a Gift Guide

Day Four: The Nativity

Day Five: La Posada

Day Five: Virgen de Guadalupe

Day Seven: Stocking and Ornaments

Day Eight: Meal Planning for your Tex Mex Christmas

-The Tejana

Divorced Parenting: How to transition from Stay at Home Mom to Working Mom

Transitioning from a Stay at Home Parent to a Single, Working Parent has not been an easy transition. In the beginning, my online blog and being online was my escape and it was those personal connections that helped me survive my imploding marriage. I started subbing and getting my feet wet with being comfortable with leaving my baby alone. I hadn’t stepped into a real working environment for little over 4 years.

1) Network. It is so important to network outside of the computer. Get to know the people in your community and make sure to have real life references as well. People who know you. If you haven’t worked in a while, do some freelance work or volunteer so that you can explain the gap in your employment.

2) Don’t be scared. It is hard to go back to work because i knew that it was the first step into my new life.

3)  Remember, it is about our financial security and independence.

I have been so busy with my first year back as an educator that I have had to step back several times to readjust my life. Healing is a process and taking back your independence is not an easy road. I am lucky that I already had my degree and certifications before I had my children.

I found my place again. The classroom makes me happy and inspiring others has made me branch off a little into really delving into pedagogy and helping new secondary teachers in my  new blog called Stacked Pages. All things secondary education will be there.

In the end, we have to branch out and figure out what works best for OUR family. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and know that despite all the trials that there is a way out. All you need is to have a stable foundation to regain your footing and it will not be easy but it will be worth it.





Do it for you: Life after Seperation

It’s been a rough year, y’all. The end of my marriage has taken everything from me and it took me letting go to find renewal. It is easy to be bitter and allow that anger to fester. It hurts so much. The shattered pieces of my life are finally becoming a mosaic of a new beginning.

I’m not here to say it will be easy because it isn’t. I’m here to tell you it’s possible. It is possible to feel normal, strong, and empowered. It is possible to be happy even as a divorced mother. You need yourself. I am not saying that I am not lonely and that I don’t wish things were different between my husband and I.

I went from being a stay at home mom to a divorced mom of 3. I am well educated so I benefited from having that already in place but the key was finding a job that would allow me ample time with my children. They are all under the age of 10. I went back to my career as an educator through the substitution pool. When I was a stay at home mom, we lived off a single income but unfortunately I had to relearn how to live off an income that is significantly less than what I was used to.

As I said, it isn’t easy. I am thankful that I have my mother and that she opened her home to us. We may be all cramped in a tiny home but we all love each other. Life after separation takes work. As divorced spouses, we need to take time for us to heal and refocus on our lives.

Here is what I have learned in my year of separation and soon to be divorce.

1. You will say hurtful things to one another unless it’s an amicable separation. It may take a few months for you to be civil (it did for me) but with children involved it is better to learn how to polite. I’m still learning this since I was still in love with my husband when he decided to file for divorce.

2. Don’t jump into another serious relationship.  Divorce is the dissolving of a joined way of life. You need time to heal, in my opinion, before you become seriously involved with another person.

3. Make time for you! This is a hard one especially as a mother. We have to carve out time for ourselves to be with other adults. I spend my Saturdays playing tennis and eating breakfast tacos with one of my amigas.

4. Routines. Routines are very important when you are divorced and working. I have 3 little people to get ready plus myself every morning. My older two are pretty organized but it is always hectic in the mornings and in the evenings.

5. Learn to Organize and Save. This is a biggie. Organization will save you as will saving your money, ladies and gents. With one income in play, you may have some huge penny pinching in your future. I am working on this everyday.

I hope this helps someone because I know that some days I just want to sit and cry. Other days, I am so happy. All that matters is that you come back from divorce a stronger person. I finally forgive my husband because our divorce is as much my fault as it is his. I don’t want to hold onto that animosity because this is the man that I had my wonderful children with. He is and always will be part of their lives. We are connected always and the love I have for him is still there. But, every day I try to move on a little more.

Robot Building

Each one of my children is so unique in their own ways and everyday I can see their passions grow. As a family, we decided that making a robot seemed like a pretty good idea. I have to give it to my little dude that he was right. My son is a maker like his momma while his sister is probably more of a creative (idea person).  Mara also tends to have more of the “gets bored easily” from me.

This Mindstorm Kit from Lego was perfect as an introduction into robot building.  Being that it was a Lego based kit  allowed my seven year old son to be able to follow the directions on his own.


Both of my kids were able to participate even though they are both fairly young and under the age of 10.


My son is already showing interest in Engineering so we may focus on creating modified curriculum based on his interests. My daughter is more of a designer so for her the focus will be on using tools for illustration.

As parents, expose them to everything and support their interests even if it is something that you know nothing about. The need for youth entrepreneurship starts with us. Together we can help change our communities by mentoring our kids and youth.

Divorced, Broke, and Fat: The 3 Words That Launched My Health Journey



I’m a Mexican American woman who came from a twice divorced home. My mom left my dad when I was ten. I remember sitting in my room, tears streaming down my face, as my mom told me that she was leaving my father. My dad with the old vintage cars, who made an amazing BBQ, and always held me when I was sad. Unhappiness masked my idyllic childhood and I was too young to fully comprehend or notice.

I swore I would never end up divorced. That I would fight for my marriage and we would work through it. At that time, I was 24 and married. I lived in that first year in marital bliss. Time passed and children happened. He worked in the oilfield and I stayed home.  I was held hostage financially because I had no out. I couldn’t leave because I was broke. I justified to myself that we had a good marriage. He wasn’t an alcoholic, an adulterer, or an abuser.

At 31, I lived a lie. We pretended to be married because we had become too co-dependent to be without each other. I wanted marriage counseling and he refused. It isnt all his fault though. I also contributed to the destruction of our marriage with my lack of trust and my low self esteem. I had fallen into a depression. All I did was sleep and eat. I barely remember the last few years and that is awful especially because of my children. They saved me though. Without them, it would have been meaningless.


So, I left. I have a BA in English but I was jobless and pretty much penniless. I was pregnant with our third baby and packing up what little belongings myself and my children had into my mom’s truck. I had to move in with her at 31. I felt like a failure. I wanted to hold onto the false hope that he would fight for our marriage.

Hollywood, you screwed up! It sorted of ended in a noisy battle of finger-pointing and it took me months to be able to say his name without crying. Being penniless makes you realize how grateful you are for family. My mom especially has helped me so much with my children. As I search for work, there are days I feel like just giving up but I can’t. I’m not giving up but transitioning and becoming stronger.


Yeah, momma got fat. I used to be a hottie or so my ex husband used to tell me. I let myself go. I’m not going to lie. I went from exercising everyday to not exercising at all. For six years, I ate nothing but fast food and hiding my shame in those sinfully delicious rumpled wrappers. It was a constant cycle of guilt and disgust.

I wanted revenge. Hey, whatever motivates you right? I started walking for 20 minutes a day when I was cleared from the doctor. A month later I started getting up at 5am to walk/jog, and then my mom got me a gym membership. I finally started to do it for me. I was happier and I wanted to be healthier. Those excess pounds to me were a reminder of what I had done to myself, of that unhappiness, of that feeling of hiding who I was behind the wall.


It’s never too late to start over. I’m now 3 months into getting up every day at 4:30am to hit the gym.  My baby is almost 6 months old. It took me 2 months to stop making excuses and get up out of my bed. There is something deliciously intoxicating about taking back control of your life. I can’t change everything but my health was the one thing I could change. I’m still broke and divorced but at least I’ll be healthy, happy, and able to play with my children.

We can all do this together. Share your hopes, dreams, and goals with my #doitforyou hashtag.


Do it for you: The End of New Year’s Resolutions


The last year I have gone silent for the most part except for sporadic postings here and there.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t able to write. It’s just I wasn’t in a place to write.  I didn’t have the animo or rather the will to write or make pretty things.

I was a nomad who was trying desperately to find herself again. I didn’t know what to do with this space. I forgot why I even started it in the first place. I forgot what was it’s purpose and did it match my purpose. Did it match my passions and what I wanted from my fleeting life?

In January, my life imploded. I was alone, pregnant, mom to two school age children, and I had no where to go. My marriage had ended. We were not amicable and I was broken. Because of my pregnancy,  I cried all the time. I gained weight and was slowly climbing out of a depression with the help of my mother.

It isn’t easy to admit but for the first half of the year I pretended to be married. We were in a live in seperation because he just wouldn’t leave and finally I just couldn’t stay.

In the summer, I had my daughter. I still couldn’t deal with anything other than caring for my newborn and my children. I put on a brave face and just started to heal.

The road has been arduous. I’ve gone back and forth. I’ve cursed the fates. I’ve doubted my purpose. I’ve stared down the crossroads of this treacherous new path with fear and trepidation.

Then one day it just clicked and I started working out. I got under the bar for the first time in 10 years. That was the moment that I found my confidence. It was that moment I found my strength.

It was then that I decided I don’t need a New Year’s Resolution to change. I have to make the change. I have to decide I’m ready for a healthier me. Even more important is that we value everything but our own health as Latinos. I realized I am not the best version of myself.

This blog was meant to chronicle my life as a Texan. I think it’s time to renew that passion. Because, sometimes life is about getting back to the things that originally made me happy instead of chasing and comparing myself to others. It is time to redefine myself and this is the place for that. I may grow as a person, as a business owner, and a mother but ultimately I just want to heal.

2015 seems like a good place to start because we should always think “Do it for You”.

Meet The Character Blog Hop: La Lechusa

My amazing amiga Sabrina Vourvoulis, author of INK, has graciously extended an invite to a Meet the Character Blog Hop. I have several works in progress that have been haunting me from my computer. Each one tenderly calls my name in hopes to be the one that i would write about. I can only choose one i a sort of Highlander-ish type dual.

!. What is the name of your character?

I was going to go with my protagonist but instead why not meet my antaganist because They are always a little more fun. Her name is hidden but we can just call her Lechusa, half-woman and half-shapeshifter.

2. Is she/he fictional or a historic person?

Well, if you are not Latino then she is fictional. As a Latina, I swear the Lechusa seems real as I hear the hoot of the owls on cool, fall nights.

3. When and where is the story set?

I have gone back and forth between different time periods. Is it a post-apocalyptic or is it time travel? Finally, I settled on Steampunk. I focused on South Texas which during that time was heavily influenced by the Spaniards. Why do England when you can do New Spain?

4. What should we know about him/her?

The Lechusa struggles with duality, She is neither completely human nor is she compleely monster. It makes her vulnerable. in order to hide her vulnerability, she becomes a beacon of despair to those around her. Her darkness enveloping her to the point where she is a story to be told to children to make them behave. An object to be cotrolled to fuel other peoples vengence.

5. What is the main conflict?

Katarina has decided to cross the threshold into the Forest of the Lechusa to try and dismantle the hold she has over her town. Lechusa kidnaps her and in that act she faces her own internal conflicts.

6. What is the personal goal of the Character?


7. Is there a working title for this novel,and can we read more about it?

Lechusa and right now the only way to read it is if you are remote accessing my laptop. You’re not, right? i trust y’all.

8. When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?

It still isn’t a published book, yet. I have high hopes though.

Meet the other fabulous people on this Meet the Character Blog Hop:

Ezzy Languzzi

Sabrina Vourvoulis

Gina Ruiz



Hispanic Heritage Month 2014: Gloria Anzaldua

Gloria Anzaldua is my all time favorite Mexican American author and the first time I ever read her book Borderlands/La Frontera my life changed. The words she spoke truly reflected the way I felt about living within two realms of reality. I was part of two places at the same time.  I am not from there nor am I from here.


Ni de aqui, Ni de alla. We are no one and someone at the same time. One foot caught on each side where we are Pocho there and Mexican here. The reality is that I am a thirty something generational Mexican American who can trace her lineage to before the Texas-Mexico War.

This melding and meshing of two distinct cultures has forever transformed South Texas. We are forever intertwined and connected. Texas is the only home that I have ever known.

I am Texas and Tejas is me. I have always considered myself a Tejana. It was Gloria Anzaldua who made me understand that the essence of who I was. She began to delve into the notions of all our dual selves. The hidden selves that often contradict the basic societal and cultural norms that we are taught in our homes. Womanhood and personhood are also intertwined as we struggle still for acceptance and acknowledgement. This to me is where the very essence of Chingona was born.

“Wild tongues can’t be tamed, they can only be cut out.”
Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

That internal struggle could do two things:

1) Hinder our ability to succeed or

2) Enhance our collective voice.

It was Gloria Anzaldua who allowed me to find my voice as a young women. With my wild tongue and my duality, I was able to embrace the word Pocho. To embrace my dark skin and dark hair, to embrace the indigenous side of my culture as well as honoring the Spanish side of my culture  as well.

Gloria Anzaldua was an intelligent, brave, and courageous scholar who wrote about the issues facing our generation and her words resonate on. I honor her and hope you will pick up her books and keep her legacy alive.

“The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian–our psyches resemble the bordertowns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the “real” world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.”

– Gloria Anzaldua



Adventures in the Brush Country

Walt Whitman Quote

I recently moved to a much smaller town and now live in the Brush Country.


I spent most of my twenties trying to get away from the Brush Country but at the same time I am grateful. My family has allowed me the opportunity to fall back on them while i go through my life crisis. Divorce may not be life threatening but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt any less.

It took me a few months to bounce back with the birth of our newest addition. With moving and enrolling my children into school and finally finding a routine that works for me. Well…sort of.

The only drawback is that  my mom lives in the dark ages. She doesn’t have internet or as she likes to say “Wee-Fee”.  Gasp, #firstworldproblems, people. She loves to regale me with her stories “When I was a kid”.

Come on mom, your early twenties was in the 80’s.

I will still be making cuff bracelets and other jewelry. I also will be including lots of great pictures, anecdotes, and stories about revisiting my old childhood stomping grounds. I will still explore my artistry and mastery of leather crafting and share what I discover with all you.

I also have several projects in the works and will share accordingly  as I begin to flesh out all the details.  I believe that every door is an opportunity, every person met is opportunity, and sometimes you just have to take a risk.

Each moment I spend learning, reading, and growing is one that helps me heal and move forward with what I want to do and what I want to accomplish.

It is only through growth that we can become a better version of ourselves.  It is through those stumbles where we learn from our past transgressions and recreate what it is that we first wanted.

We have to rid ourselves of the fear and doubt even if for a moment. Even if the fear is the only thing we feel grasping onto our backs with clawed fingers. The only option is to leap.

You have to jump with both feet and your eyes closed.  Ill let you know what I find at the bottom.


About 3 yeas ago, I had the opportunity to hear Sandra Cisneros speak at Latism. She had mentioned how we needed to embrace our Chingona-ness.  Before that I had heard her speak in an HBO special. Her words resonated with me and this was long before I became a leather maker. I was and have always been a writer. An outcast among my extended family and a little weird as my mom still tells me. A little weird, a little defiant (well more than a little), and my own person.

Chingona Quote

After, I heard her speak at LATISM12, I started really trying to focus on what I was doing and what I wanted. Life got in the way but leather crafting became a way for me to explore my culture. first…,my designs were really, really pink. I think I was still trying to find my way. It took awhile to define my style.


For years, I was a Chingona and I strode against the norm. It wasn’t until my marriage sort of unraveled that I realized I had lost that woman.

I lost the courageous woman who stood up for what she believed in, who spoke her mind, and who was fearless. Between motherhood and wifedom, I had become a shell of my former self and it wasn’t until my daughter said to me “That daddies are the ones who work” was that I had failed.

I had become someone else and although I love being home with my children. I also miss being a part of something larger than myself. I missed being independent.

I was reading a friend’s timeline and saw a quote from Pauline Campos (Dimelo and Aspiring Mama). It was about how speaking Spanish does not define our culture. We instantly connected and I have been an avid fan. When she came out and wrote ” How to raise a Chingona.“, I knew we would be friends. Then came the comments and discussions about whether Chingona was a positive or a negative word.

To me and where I grew up it was always “Badass Chick” but sometimes it meant “You thought too highly of yourself”. Well, hell yeah, we should think highly of ourselves. I commented, she replied..and the rest is Chingona history. I participated in our weekly Twitter Chats where we met other like minded, strong Chingonas and Chingons. Follow along at #chingonafest.

Although when I think about us getting together IRL, this country song pops into my head:

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Hey, I am Texan remember so Tejano Music and Country Music sort of collide in my veins.

As I said before, I had to rebuild myself now that I am single again. I had to build something for my children. I have to be a Chingona for my two daughters.

We are all Chingonas. Each one of us on a different path towards our own acceptance.When we speak our minds without fear of repercussions, when we write with all our corazon, and when we love and build each other up is when we know we have arrived.

Till then we fight for every ounce and step. Together, we will rise to the top. I will wear Chingona proudly and not like a crimson bade of dishonor.

I designed this cuff shortly after I connected with Pauline and #chingonafest. I modeled it after my Rebel Cuff and thus this beauty was born.  You can get your very own cuff at my etsy store.

Chingona Cuff 2




30 Minute Monday: Lace Bow for Back to School


We finally had the opportunity to enroll my four year old into a Pre-K4 program in the same school as her older brother. This was the monumental milestone that she had been coveting since her brother went to Kindergarten last year.

Unfortunately, she was not too happy with the uniform requirements. She is my little diva so I wanted to do something special for her.

I decided to create some bows for her so that she could still rock some sort of personal style while being in compliance with the dress code. I started looking up lots of ideas on Pinterest and apparently bow making is more complex than I realized. It even has its own lingo much like any other craft.

Acronyms like OTT began to pop up and I immediately used google. I mean what else would you do. Apparently, OTT means Over the Top and let me tell you those bows are FABULOUS. Add in snaps while saying that if you want to because I literally channeled Hollywood from Mannequin.

But, the OTT bows DIY’s scared the heck out of this Texas gal so I decided on a cute, feminine bow that encompasses both class and sass. My motto if you ask me. The only downside was that I couldn’t find any good ribbon material in our local stores since we moved to a very tiny Texas town.

I had to make due with what was in my stash and what I could find. The school that she attends they can only wear maroon and khaki and on Fridays they are allowed to wear Black and Gold. Because, obviously, Football Fridays and we represent for the local high school.

I followed this basic bow tutorial and added a little bit of lace from my stash in Ecru.

Here is Cowgirl Lace in all its simple glory:

Lace Cowgirl Bow

I hope to be making more bows for my daughters and maybe even some headbands. It was a fun and easy project that can be done in 30 minutes.