It is this time of the year again! as we gear up for Christmas and prepare our shopping lists don’t forget to give your local shops some love.
First observed on November 27, 2010, as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday promotes local shopping and giving back to your community. In Houston, we have tons of small boutiques, restaurants, and vintage/antique shops that offer amazing products all year round.
“Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.”
If you are unsure where to go I would recommend starting at Rice Village, Montrose area, and midtown. There are a large number of small bookshops, boutiques, antique stores, and coffee shops in the area. Make it a day out with the girls, sip on some mimosas and let the fun start! On of my favorite boutiques are on Westhimer/Montorse area. You can find many one of a kind dresses, boots, blazers (which I am obsessed with lately) and accessories. Also, I have to mention Thinking Girls Boutique located on Dairy Ashford. This brilliant little shop is packed with unique finds that Alicia the owner, has handpicked from around the world. Trust me, you will love it there!
Also in terms of buying local remember to always go for local produce when doing your groceries. Texas has some amazing natural (not watered down with nasties) local Honey, as well as jams, wines, and cheeses. If you have time I recommend a trip to Froberg’s Farm who offers delicious homemade pies and fresh local produce. Local farms offer fresh eggs daily, and if you venture outside Houston and visit Salado, TX you are in for a treat! make sure you visit their Winery and get some Texas Wine.
Don’t forget to show us your findings on Small Business Saturday using the Twitter hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday or show me on IG by tagging me @OnixJihane.
Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation.
So I am not from the States, I have only lived here 5 years. I have come to love and hate the Thanksgiving celebration.
I do LOVE to take one special day of the year to reflect on what we have, and to give thanks for those around us. I think it is a beautiful tradition and I have learned to adopt it as my own too.
However, the commercialization of Thanksgiving seems to revolve around the mass consumption of Turkey. According to PETA “300 million turkeys raised and killed for their flesh every year in the United States. That is more than 45 million turkeys each year at Thanksgiving alone and more than 22 million at Christmas”
Wow. Really? Does the celebration have to revolve around the eating of Turkeys? I mean I understand its cultural significance, as well as the symbolism involved nowadays, but as an “evolving” species we cando better than that? can’t we? I certainly don’t plan on eating turkey this year (neither did we consume turkey last year) This year I plan to make a lentil “meatloaf” which recipe I will share with you next week.
Now I am not saying you are in any way a “bad person” for eating turkey, I am just saying that – as always – we need to be responsible on our decisions. Do you know where the turkey you are eating came from? Do you know in which conditions it grew? Was it given antibiotics and hormonal enhancers? I recommend you to (If you really need a turkey) go local and have that conversation with your farmer.
But if you, like me, rather give turkeys a break and help toward the improvement of their lives (because hey news flash! they are lives too and I’m going to go ahead and say it, #TurkeyLivesMatter) you can ADOPT A TURKEY. Yes with Farm Sanctuary Adopt a Turkey Program you can give these little birds a break.
From Farm Sanctuary web page
Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project has encouraged people to save a turkey at Thanksgiving through sponsorships that help us rescue animals and provide care for them at our sanctuaries, as well as educate and advocate for turkeys and other farm animals everywhere.
As a turkey sponsor, you will receive a special Adopt a Turkey certificate with a color photo of and fun details about your new friend.
Turkeys are related to the T-Rex (yeah, I bet you wouldn’t be picking on it if you knew big cousin would come after you huh?)
Turkeys sleep in trees to keep away from predators (unfortunately humans are equally as good climbing trees)
Only male turkeys gobble!
And if you can tell by that then know that according to The Smithsonian a turkey’s gender can be determined from its droppings–males produce spiral-shaped poop and females’ poop is shaped like the letter J.
I believe I can fly! yep, wild turkeys can fly.
Apparently Benjamin Franklin was a huge fan of Turkeys. According to the Franklin Institute, he wrote in a letter to his daughter:
“For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; he does not get his living honestly…like those among men who live by sharping and robbing…he is generally poor, and often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward; the little kingbird, not bigger than a sparrow, attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district…For in truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America. Eagles have been found in all countries, but the turkey was peculiar to ours…”
So, regardless of what you choose to do, Happy Thanksgiving!
It is the season to shine and sparkle! and If you are anything but me you are obsessed with glittery eyeshadows, purple and blue mascaras and delightfully warm golds for this time of the year. But when to know if a brand is still doing animal testing? Are you sure your favorite shade of red lipstick doesn’t come with a side of guilt and blood?
I have been doing some research myself after I recently found out one of my favorite brands was still using animal testing for their products. And for those who say “well better test on a rabbit than on a human” all I have to say is ……. Not PG 13 so I won’t say it. Animals don’t ask to be tested on, they certainly don’t need or care for makeup and should not be put to misery only for the sake of human fashion trends. It is just disgusting, come on, let’s try to evolve a little, the days of cavemen (and women, to be politically correct) are far gone.
Being vegetarian and/or advocate of all things eco-friendly and somewhat not damaging the environment translates into many things in life not just what we eat. Therefore let’s be responsable shoppers and fill ourselves with knowledge to make educated decisions during this holiday season.
So according to Sephora, the makeup brands listed bellow are either Vegan or Cruelty-Free (which means they might use animal based ingredients in their products but do not engage in animal testing)
**Sadly note Sephora’s own brand is not in the list.
“There are no animal by-products in any of the salves or lip balms. Beeswax is contained in Brambleberry Rose Lip Balm, Strawberry Lip Balm, and Mocha Rose Lip Balm, however, NO beeswax is contained in Rosebud Salve, Minted Rose Lip Balm, or Menthol and Eucalyptus Balm”
Wow! time flies! although it certainly goes slower when you do this motherhood business on your own. I wasn’t always on my own tho, I was married when my son was born and got divorced when he was 4 years old.
I don’t really want to make this post about divorce.I want to make this post about my son and the man I hope he becomes.
My son’s name is Sean. Sean is turning TEN years old this weekend. When people ask me “can you believe he is turning 10?” I say oh yes I can. I have been there every single day! Motherhood doesn’t come with a manual, and many things can and will be trial an error as we go through the journey of life. I was 23 years old when he was born. I was so ready and willing and I took the motherhood thing on board from day one like a pro! That is not to say that I didn’t struggle at times. But guess what new momma out there? It is ok to cry, it is ok to fail and it is ok to get right back up and try again! You can do this because you and only you know whats best for your child.
My Sean is the sweetest boy I know. His compassion has transformed him in a vegetarian-ish all his life. His compassion has transformed me in a vegetarian-ish over the last 5 years or so.You see one day when he was 5 he told me “but mommy, if you eat that pig and it was a mommy pig then her baby pigs will be alone, sad and crying – and I don’t want that, I dont want to kill animals to eat them”
… how could I argue with that?
His softness is his strength, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. He loves to play with Legos, and everything Math. He says, he wants to be an architect. He says he wants to design houses for the poor, and make cool slides for stairs for those who can’t walk. He is fascinatated by WWI and WWII, the history of it all, the uniforms, the struggles. And he worries about a WWIII happening in his lifetime.
He is like any other 9-year-old who loves to play video games; and I do let him play somewhat violent video games like Call of Duty, because guess what? that kid can’t even think about killing and eating a cow so who are you to question his playing options? who is more violent now? yeah, you there munching on that fillet mignon.
He is messy, and he hates wearing pants (sorry Sean) and I still have to struggle every morning with “find your shoes” regardless of how many times I have said to put them in one place the day before.
This kid has made me a stronger person. He has made me flourish and grow. I own who I am today not only to my parents but to my son. My gift to him will love, knowledge and compassion. It is my mission to make him a well rounded individual who knows about world history, wines, food, politics and art. It is my mission to make him a responsable man, a man with high morals and integrity. It is my mission to love him and care for him, yet to give him enough room to fly and let him be independant.
It is my mission to teach him that lying is not allowed. Lying is not punished neither is permited in this house. Open communication is constanly promoted, because you see, when you are open and honest lies become uncecessary and quite franly just plain yuck!.
I won’t however bespow religion upon him in any way or form. I will give him the tools to decide what is what, and for him to make a decision on what to believe in. Because I believe we as indivduals have the right to decide what works for us, and I rather give him the knowledge than make him repeat like a parrot whatever religion I decide to follow. Morals and values can be given without the ties to a religion.
It is my gift to you, son. Not today, not just for your birthday but every single day. Learn, Live, Smile. Be proud!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOO! MUM LOVES YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK 93844293802 TIMES!
More than 200 artists from the U.S., Mexico, Italy, Australia, and Belgium will create chalk murals on the streets of downtown Houston.Live bands will perform on three stages throughout the weekend. All proceeds benefit The Center for Hearing and Speech.
WHEN: Saturday, November 21, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, November 22, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WHERE: Hermann Square at City Hall. 901 Bagby, Houston, Texas
WHO: 200 Artists including:
Joel Yau, professional artist, San Rafael, California; Vera Bugatti, professional artist, Italy; Adry del Rocio, professional artist, Mexico; Melanie Stimmell Van Latum, professional artist, California, and many local artists.
Admission is free.
For more information on Houston Via Colori, visit www.HoustonViaColori.com.
About The Center for Hearing and Speech
For nearly 70 years, The Center for Hearing and Speech, a United Way agency, has been dedicated to improving the lives of children with hearing loss through clinical, education and support services. All of the Center’s programs demonstrate a commitment to enable deaf children to reach their full potential by teaching them listening, speaking and literacy skills. Last year, CHS provided services to more than 8,500 children. For more information on CHS, visit www.CenterHearingandSpeech.org.
Houston, TX. This past Tuesday Nov. 17, Verizon celebrated its Minority Owned Business summit in Houston Texas at the very chic JW Marriot Hotel in Westheimer.
I had the amazing opportunity to attend as part of Houston Latina Bloggers and was joined by a few selected Texas-based bloggers. During the summit, we had the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker Linda Alvarado, CEO & President of Alvarado Construction & co-owner of The Colorado Rockies. Mrs. Alvarado is such an inspirational Hispanic Business Woman. She spoke about her struggles breaking the “concrete ceiling” in a market usually owned by men. Her funny, professional and inspirational speech was on point, leaving many of us in awe ready to tackle the business world. One of the things that stuck with me was “Convince yourself, take some risks and don’t be scared of making mistakes” many of us, especially women, are constantly afraid of making mistakes, both professionally and personally and this only limits our ability to progress and grow.
“Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards” – Linda Alvarado.
Mrs Alvarado is without a doubt a role model for business women, and for Latina Women all over the world. Her speech was my favorite part of the summit, and I am sure many – like me – feel elevated and inspired, ready to tackle the world.
Mrs. Alvarado speech was followed by an equally impressive panel of minority-owned local businesses who shared their ups and downs in their industries and how they overcame their struggles and succeeded becoming who they are today.
The panel included Emilio Gonzalez, Executive Director For Strategic Alliances; Alex Davidson CEO at Securranty; Carol Guess, General Counsel at The Guess Group, Inc.; Alex Lopez Negrete President/CEO of Lopez Negrete Communications; Laura Oldaker CEO/Executive Director at By Your Side Senior Care; and last but not least Nelson Reyneri Senior Vice President, Sales & External Affairs at Liberty Power Corporation. These business men and women spoke to us about their experiences when they first started.
“We are all a product of the road we travel & our experiences” -Alex Davidson
But it was Mr. Alex Lopez Negrete, who enlightened me with his experiences and perseverance as a minority owned (Hispanic) business in the city of Houston. Why Houston? one word: diversity.
Being part of the Houston Latino community was one of the driving forces for @LopezNegrete – Alex Lopez-Negrete, CEO
The Hispanic community in the United States, and more importantly, in the city of Houston is without a doubt a pushing force in the market. According to Pew Research Center tabulations from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, in 2012 there were 10 million Latinos and 11.6 million non-Hispanic whites living in Texas, making up 38.2% and 44.4%, respectively, of the state’s 26.1 million residents.( Jan 24, 2014)
Nowadays many large (and small) corporations have finally come to realize addressing the Hispanic market is not a luxury nor an option, it’s a must. It is imperative these corporations understand the dynamics of this very diverse market which within itself contain many faces, colors, traditions and even and colloquialisms and culture. We can’t market Hispanic-Americans the same way we market Asian-Americans or African-Americans.
Know and serve the customer and the community – Alex Lopez-Negrete, CEO.
Lopez Negrete also spoke about the importance of Social Media in today’s PR/Advertising market and how this “tool” should be used to make connections with your customers and to engage in conversation rather than to do old school hard sales.
Social Media is incredibly powerful, and it’s not about Ads, it’s about Conversation says Alex Lopez-Negrete, CEO.
Which brings us to the next topic on the agenda. Our future is Digital. By 2020 there will be 50 billion devices connected! 50 billion! we are so intrinsically, and invisibly, connected nowadays that any news in the world travels with the speed of time – an issue many news outlets have to deal with on a daily basis. How to maintain information accurate, and deliver it fast to meet the demands of today’s consumer? Is this why we as consumers have to be more responsible with that we share, and more accurate with what we demand. Corporations both big and small, also need to be prepared to move at the speed of technology and provide solutions to digitalize their services – Either that or perish!
And last but not least, the highlight of the day, the Blogger Panel! Uber cool and always so charming Eric T Tung (my social media hero) Byrdie Franco who came all the way from San Antonio and sweet internet mom, Monica Vila spoke to us (bloggers and small businesses) about the importance of Blogs in today’s business world. The importance of “having a voice” customers’ can trust and relate to, and to convey messages via the online platforms readily available for us to use.
Businesses that publish at least 15 blog posts per month average 1200 new leads per month – Eric T, Tung.
And on that simple quote relies the power of writing. Educate your customer on value, not price. Give them the power to learn and communicate to you at the same level.
And if you are a blogger and you struggle to find content, just start writing and content will find you!
Overall Verizon’s Minority Owned Business Summit was a fantastic experience. We learned we networked, we drank tea (or coffee if you are not me)
Oh and we had delicious dessert too…
Verizon has and continues to invest in many small businesses and organizations, as well as non profits, and continues to provide a growing platform for businesses to grow and prosper.
During the event, Verizon awarded two $5,000 donations to local charities.
Yo, everyone I had the super amazing chance to meet Becky G Latina pop singer, actress, and songwriter at her appearance in Houston last week. I have to say she is the sweetest and most down to earth celebrity I’ve ever encountered. Humble and true to her origins Becky G shared her story with us, sang with us and was part of an informal Q&A with her fans.
Listen up for some information about her latest venture with AT&T.
Now is your time to shine!
Fans with the right rhythm and sound could harmonize their way into an exclusive VIP experience with Becky G this fall.
The singer-songwriter, rapper has teamed up with AT&T* to find the ultimate fan cover of her hit You Love It.
Fans can record and upload their rendition on Twitter by tagging @ATTLatino. To enter, they must use the hashtags #ATTBeckyGCover and #Contest.**
Becky G will select the best entries along with AT&T. The winners will get a once in a lifetime trip to meet Becky G in person during her U.S. music tour this fall. How awesomely cool is that!
“Becky G’s music and personality are infectious. Her unique voice and sound make her one of the most promising young talents today,” said Jennifer Jones, vice president, Diverse Markets, AT&T Mobility. “We share the excitement of her fans and want to make this program unforgettable.”
“I do what I do because music was the one thing that was always there for me, besides my family,” said Becky G. “I started my career covering songs. Now I’m teaming up with AT&T and we want you to cover my song You Love It… Go make yours today!”
For more information about the Becky G Cover Contest visit AT&T Latino.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to U.S. citizens and U.S. resident aliens physically located in and legal residents of the contiguous 48 United States or DC (excl. Alaska and Hawaii), at least 18 years of age (19 in AL and NE, 21 in MS). Submission period starts 7:00 AM CT October 29, 2015 and ends 11:59 PM CT November 22, 2015. Only entrants who post elig. entries will receive a reply msg from @ATTLatino. Must respond to msg from @ATTLatino with completed entry form in order to confirm your entry. Subject to Official Rules, available at att-fz.us/beckyg1. For entry requirements, judging criteria and prize descriptions see Official Rules. Data charges may apply. Sponsor: AT&T Mobility LLC. VOID IN AK, HI AND WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
My absolute favorite time of the year! HALLOWEEN! the pumpkins, the jack O’Lanterns, the Witches (ME) lol… everything I just love!!
SAMHAIN is the term not known by many. Halloween has its origins in Celtic Pagan religion. More specifically in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”).
The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.
Exciting history! Today Halloween is celebrated in many countries including United States, United Kingdom and Canada. In these countries it is customary kids for kids to wear costumes and gather candy. I simply love both modern and old Halloween traditions, its colors and its spirit of freedom and wonder!
To celebrate all things Halloween I have gathered a few amazing posts by the ladies at Houston Latina Bloggers! see bellow!
Halloween!!! time for scary masks, little superheroes, vampires, green witches and well candy! Please, parents, grandparents and carers let’s be extra careful this Halloween season with our little ones (and no so little) safety is important!
That is why I have decided to share some safety tips kindly provided by the Houston Police Department in my community. Thank you HPD!
Halloween Safety Tips
• Parents should accompany their children while the children are Trick or Treating. At least be close enough to see your child at all times.
• Take a cell phone if possible.
• Children should travel in a group. Although older children may travel in pairs, they should still be in contact with their parents or a guardian.
• If the neighborhood is participating in a Trick or Treat Trail program, stick to the trail.
• Pre-plan the route children will be taking and consider the approximate time they will be gone.
• Work out a plan in case your child gets separated from the group. Supply each child with a telephone contact number and an alternate place to meet; If necessary attach the telephone number to the child’s costume.
• Each child should be equipped with a flashlight.This flashlight, whether carried on a string or in a pocket, should be considered a part of the costume making it important to the child
• Incorporate reflective tape into the costume for maximum visibility in the dark. • Avoid costumes made with large amounts of plastic. Be extremely cautious of materials which could come in contact with flame (candles, etc.)
Trick or Treat
• Children should not go to homes which are off the established path or the path agreed upon with parents.
• Don’t go to homes which are either poorly lit or not lit at all.
• Be wary of older individuals who are not known to the group, but begins walking with and associating with them.
• Accept no rides from strangers.
• Children should not ride by themselves, in a car, with anyone except a parent, brother or sister.
• If you observe something unusual happen; children should notify their parents. A parent may need to notify the police.
• Parents, do not allow your children to eat their treats until they return home and you are able to inspect it.
• Inspect all wrappersfor tears, holes and/or unusual characteristics.
• Pay particular attention to soft candies and soft chocolate bars.
• If a wrapper is torn or exhibits a hole in it, open it and inspect the candy further. If you feel uncomfortable about the candy or suspect it in any way, throw the candy away. Give the child candy from your own stock. Inspect fruits also for cuts, punctures, or marks which may look unsanitary or the results of tampering.
Safety first! I am sure that all of my readers already know these tips but just in case, let’s be extra careful especially with the little ones. Halloween can be a confusing concept for kids as we constantly tell them not to accept candy from strangers, yet during Halloween…. yeah, we contradict ourselves, lol parenting.