persi in mare

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Sometimes, the bright lights confuse us. We stare at them, hypnotized. They leave us disoriented. I understand the way an animal feels when it is caught in oncoming traffic. I think we spend half of our days like that.

The better light is the one that glows. We feel it deeply. We follow it like it is the sole firefly in the night. A glow crackles– a sound like an ongoing fire or sometimes rain on the stone streets. That particular night, there was no rain. So I followed the glow looking for the fire. There was no trace of rain. There was only a dying stream of soapy water on the stone streets, heading downhill toward the only other water, the sea. The sea was dark and feroce, stirring and stirring like unsettled emotions.

There are no lights reflected in the soapy stream of cleaning water headed toward the sea. There are no stars and no moon reflected in the rainbow tinted bubbles of the stream. The clouds muffle the night sky. I am walking. I turn my back on the sea. I turn my back on the darkness. I keep walking. I hear the crackle of light and a scratching sound at a distance. I hear shutters moving. I hear voices dancing inside the dimly lit houses. Murmurs.

I hear my shoes. My boots and their thick heel on the stone. I walk toward the glow, only to find myself in a dark street. The shutters are all closed. The stone walls don’t reveal any life at all. I reach out and brush the stone walls with the tips of my fingers as I continue to walk. I walk with authority to nowhere at all. The glow has hidden itself, and then suddenly, it reappears.

I walk to the rhythm I’ve created with my footsteps. I find swagger in my steps. I stop. I look up, and there is an open window, the shutters parted like a gasp. I now know what the scratching is. It’s your pen against the paper. A paper that invites. A paper that adjusts to its surroundings. It isn’t bright and blinding like a laptop’s white blank screen, cursor blinking, begging for more. Always more. No, the paper is quiet and loyal. It is empathetic. It is dark when it is dark. When it storms, it is left destroyed. It keeps our secrets. When a tear falls on ink, it can envelope a secret forever, leaving nothing decipherable. There you are, sitting in the window with all your secrets, spilling them like they are bubbles in soapy water. The papers gathering them all like the sea.

Your heavy eyelash curtain lifts, and you meet my gaze under the visor of your dark eyebrows. I see you clearly. I see you by the fire sparks on a grill beside you. Your fish, cooking. You stand up, unbothered, leaving the paper in the window like a bookmark. You take a metal spatula and start moving the fish and something else you have wrapped in foil. I stand there watching you. You look at me again and gesture with your spatula hand toward an empty chair by the window.

A rickety old chair against the blue stone wall. I see the concrete stairs that can take me there. Without hesitation, I reach the stairs. I unzip my boots, and peel my socks off. I place my bare feet on the concrete steps and climb. When I reach the top, I leave my boots and socks neatly by the entry. I sit on the chair and gather my skirt, tucking it under my thighs.

I stare at the empty balconies in front of me, all of them draped in drying rugs, sheets and clothes. Patterns barely recognizable, as the grill light dims. It grows quieter. It grows darker. And while everything may look like it is asleep, some of us are wide awake. We are looking to spill on paper. We are looking for that comforting embrace of the dark stillness. Away from the screens, from the lights, from the noise, from the brights. Being undistracted has a way of bringing our emotions to the top.

We search for the peace we dropped like a coin that rolls downhill, toward the sea. You eat quietly beside me, and push an open foil with a yam toward me. I feel its warmth through the foil, and start peeling the layers back. There, in the stillness of that night, with the cold clean stone beneath my feet and a warm yam in my stomach, life feels real again. It feels sweet. It feels bright in a different kind of way. All of my thoughts floating back toward the sea.

I’m Not Moving

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I had this song’s melody stuck in my head. I only remembered a part of the lyrics, something about “missing me”. I found out a ton of songs have that lyric as I searched high and low. I hummed it to every app and device imaginable. I searched the Top 40 lists from my college days. Nothing. I remember blasting this song in my car while commuting. I closed my eyes and could see the country roads and every turn. The fog rising above the long grass under the morning moon.

Then, I clicked through some YouTube playlists. I went through Maroon 5 and Train… Also, some Coldplay. I knew it sounded band-ish. Then, I found it. My heart skipped a beat. I blasted it. It felt good. A crazy rush of nostalgia.

Now, listening to the lyrics, I know why I loved this song. The Script, thank you.

It’s that crazy, stupid, can’t sleep, can’t breathe kind of love.

Switchblade PCRs, Standing Dresses and the Triplets Return

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Triplets

I thought maybe they were moving out because there was so much noise in the hallway, yesterday. Yes, I am talking about my neighbors, the triplets. I thought maybe they were carting their sofa away. (Wishful thinking). I hadn’t heard a peep from the triplets. But today, they were back, and there was so much discord in the room that shares a wall with my dining room while I was in a WFH meeting. I then saw one of the teen triplets zoom past us in her scooter. Me, squinting like a dweeb because I forgot my glasses. (I am still not sure if forgetting my glasses made me miss something on our walk or if it made it more interesting).

Triplets today. Image via Fanpop.

White dress

I had gotten a final sale white linen dress I tried on today. It was a steal. Hilariously, while it zipped all the way, I realized that around my hips and thighs it is so tight. I cannot sit in this dress like a comfortable human. I know I can’t return it. So I guess I will wear it to something where I need to stand. If there is something I have learned about being a woman is that just because you can’t sit doesn’t mean it don’t fit. 😉

Image via Quotesgram

PCR

Turns out our new testing “center” (I use “center” lightly) is a kidnapper van for cruelty. These are the most painful PCRs I have ever experienced. The swab is like a switchblade. I think that swab touched my eyeball and made me cry. The savagery. *Holds paper and says is going to write a letter like the girl from White Chicks*

Image via Giphy

Social Security

I filled out some HR forms today. I laughed when I thought about how when I was going to college, I wondered if I would ever know my social security number by heart. Ha. These were my concerns. But here we are. I wrote that thing like 40 times today. Also, I think this is the last time I mark single/unmarried on HR entry forms. Ahh, youth. I was worried about an ID number, when in reality, I know so much more by heart.

Image via Quotesgram.com

Wedding Planning (Vanderpump is a Mood)

Kevin Lee and Lisa Vanderpump (Image via Pinterest).
A must-watch scene from RHOBH.

By: Gabriela Yareliz

This scene on RHOBH cracked me up, mostly because I am #TeamVanderpump on this one. (If you skipped it, take a look. It is hilarious). First, I love Lisa Vanderpump’s desire for a church wedding. Her daughter wants her wedding on their estate, but Lisa is thinking church. The wedding planner Kevin, the main inspiration for Franck on Father of the Bride, sides with the daughter and tries to get Lisa on the same page by saying, “Let’s build a church here.” Lisa responds with, “What on earth is he talking about?” I felt that.

Wedding planning is no joke. I really wanted this process to be stress-free and enjoyable. That has always been the goal. It’s a lucky thing when you have someone helping you who knows what they are doing. The world is really different, or as Vanderpump says, backward, these days. Things aren’t as they used to be. They are unnecessarily complicated.

Things haven’t been horrible or stressful, but they have felt more disjointed than I expected. I still don’t know if the engagement has sunk in because I still don’t have my resized ring or any photos or save-the-dates. I think men don’t understand how much excitement women gather from things like that. But we do; sue us.

I always wanted a church wedding when I was a kid. That was the only thing I knew I did want, and hilariously, due to COVID restrictions, city and church leadership’s stubborn stupidity and the need to stay local, the wedding I had “envisioned” is not possible in NYC in the traditional churches. Since the church can no longer be choice ‘a’, we go to choice ‘b’, extremely classic east coast americana.

Due to the pandemic and the local city churches playing politics, I pretty much lost all respect for the local pastor who sold his soul for city money. That meant having to find another somewhere in this insanity.

I have spent weeks reaching out to pastors I do have respect for (or could have respect for) to start the pre-marital counseling sessions, and I have been met with responses such as: “I don’t have capacity,” “We don’t do that at our church,” “I only do this for couples I am friends with,” and “Maybe if I look into your eyes, I might be moved to be of assistance.” I am not kidding. This net includes pastors from all denominations and non-denominational. The only people I haven’t approached are a Catholic or Orthodox priest or rabbi.

Apparently, counseling before marriage is not a thing anymore. Just this morning (at 4 am), I wrote an email to the former pastor at our home church in FL who is God-knows-where who once ranked me on a ministry strengths and weaknesses assessment as being very blunt, to see if he would be willing to do it over Zoom. Let’s see if he is willing to take this blunt woman up on her offer. (He wasn’t wrong).

Me at Pronovias being a dweeb.

This whole, “Say ‘Yes’ to the Dress” doesn’t exist. Now, you must know what looks good on you walking in (somehow), pay a $200 fee to try on a limit of three gowns, and that is that. It has been a bizarre experience to say the least.

It’s no mystery why places are going out of business and churches are dying. There is such a general lack of care and attention toward people, it boggles the mind. Thank God for the planner who is taking care of the food and other logistical aspects. The experience with her has been lovely, so far. Things are slowly coming together. I am finding humor, as you can see, in the midst of it all.

When Vanderpump jokes in the video saying “maybe I will execute Kevin,” I laughed. This general sass and attitude seems to be like a smoke that envelopes anyone planning a wedding. I thought I could escape the frustrations, but apparently, it’s a rite of passage.

July 2022 Favorites

EYEEM+Getty Images (Heat wave got us like…)

By: Gabriela Yareliz

July was a month of break. I slowed down a bit, which is rare. I do have to say I am ready to get back to busy. I do love having the mind challenged continually. While I was on break, I read a good batch of books. I am currently at 64/100 books for the year. I am saving my Light in August William Faulkner book for, well, August. Crazy how this month has flown by.

I continued my Federalist Papers course from Hillsdale College (it is excellent), and stayed away from the computer a bit more. I also continued my Rachael Attard GAL (glutes-abs-legs) fitness challenge (Monday commences week 7/8). It is amazingly satisfying when you see a change in your body. I am really proud of my progress!

The heat wave has been brutal. I was blessed to get my AC situation fixed. Thanking my lucky stars I don’t live in Europe. I also found an amazing massage place. So excited to go back. I had never had a foot massage. Did you know we have little knots in our feet? Who knew…?

Back-to-school season is upon us, and that makes my mind go to fall. Maybe it is the sticky heat, but I am yearning for fall. This was always an exciting time of the year. New notebooks and pencils…

I am excited this new season includes a new chapter for me!

My Current Read: Leading the Unleadable: How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas, and Other Difficult People— This is an excellent read for anyone who wants to influence their work group for good, even if you aren’t in management. I believe we all hold influence.

Top Traffic: The American Wealth Series Page & Things I Will Start Doing for a More Human Summer

Here are some of my favorites from the month:

Quotes:

God didn’t just remove our sin, pain, and brokenness—He met us in it through the person of Jesus.” God is ____, YouVersion Plan– I truly find that to be the most remarkable thing about God. He meets us where we are with love.

Quererse es la manera de mantenerse en pie cuando el suelo se tambalea (to love oneself is the way to stay standing when the floor wobbles).” Carmen Lomana– Over my break, I read all three of Carmen Lomana’s books. I know. It may sound exagerated, but I loved each one. I have learned so much from her. She has so many self-care and elegance tips. I was also majorly influenced by her love for Nivea. I also discovered that there is such a thing as anti-cellulite cream that actually works and doesn’t break the bank. The more we live, the more we learn! When you read her books, you feel like lipstick, a bath sponge and some Nivea. (Unfortunately, I think her books are only available in Spanish).

And lend your voices only to the sounds of freedom. No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from. Fill your lives with love and bravery and you shall lead a life uncommon.” Jewel– I saw this quote in an email newsletter from the brilliant Beth Kempton. I am getting ready to do her Summer Writing Sanctuary for the third year in a row. My favorite part is, “No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from.” Wise words.

The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment… to put things down without deliberation… without worry about their style… without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked the way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote, wrote, wrote… By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught.” Walt Whitman– A reminder to write your heart out. And if writing is not your thing, find your mode of expression, and do it with courage.

A different language is a different vision of life.” Federico Fellini– In my studying of 8+ languages over the years, I have found this to be so true. Language is life philosophy.

A sense of humor is the main measure of sanity.” Hunter S. Thompson

I want the truth. That’s really my biggest obsession in the world. It’s just the f****** truth.” Johnny Depp (Source)

There are prayers in the Scriptures– in the books Moses wrote and especially in Psalms–where I cringe, half expecting lightning to strike the person dead. But it doesn’t. In fact, God seems to love that kind of raw, uncut prayer, skirting the line between blasphemy and desperate faith. He’s not nearly as scared of honesty as we are.” John Mark Comer

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” George B. Shaw

If you gained nothing by dealing with someone, what can you lose by leaving them alone? Your peace is priceless.” Steve Harvey

Freedom for Israel meant freedom for others.” Jeffrey Rosario

We live between D-Day and V-Day. Between Jesus’ first coming to land the decisive blow and His second to end evil for good. And in the meantime, our job is to stand in that victory. To hold our ground. To cooperate with heaven’s invasion of earth.” John Mark Comer

Persuasion—the purpose of argument—is replaced with public shaming. Moral complexity is replaced with moral certainty. Facts are replaced with feelings. The rule of law is replaced with mob rule. Ideas are replaced with identity. Forgiveness is replaced with punishment. Debate is replaced with disinvitation and de-platforming. Diversity is replaced with homogeneity of thought. Inclusion with exclusion. Excellence with equity. In this ideology, disagreement is recast as trauma. So speech is violence.” Bari Weiss

When we humans commit idolatry– worshiping that which is not God as if it were– we thereby give to other creatures and beings in the cosmos a power, a presteige, an authority over us which we, under God, were supposed to have over them. When you worship an idol, whatever it is, you abdicate something of your own proper human authority over the world and give it instead to that thing, whatever it is.” N.T. Wright

Articles:

How to Decline a Meeting to Get Sh*t Done (from The Skinny Confidential)

The importance of small pleasures. I am someone who really believes in cherishing the small.

Famous immigrants discuss what they love about America.

The growing phenomenon of people regretting having children. I find many people of my generational bracket express that children have ruined their lives, which has been pretty apalling to hear. Children are seen as inconveniences that destroy marriages, lives, and careers. When did we start thinking like this?

Why this professor (and many others) are giving up tenure in American universities.

Susan Dunham’s column on “What We Learned from Hating the Unvaccinated.” Brilliant piece. She writes:

“Today, we face the hard truth that none of it was justified — and, in doing that, uncover a precious lesson.

It was a quick slide from righteousness to cruelty, and however much we might blame our leaders for the push, we’re accountable for stepping into the trap despite better judgment.

We knew that waning immunity put vast numbers of the fully vaccinated on par with the shrinking minority of unvaccinated, yet we marked them for special persecution. We said they hadn’t “done the right thing” by turning their bodies over to state care — even though we knew that principled opposition to such a thing is priceless in any circumstance. […]

And so it was by the willful ignorance of science, civics, and politics that we squeezed the unvaccinated to the degree that we did. […]

But betting against them has been a scathing embarrassment for many of us who’ve now learned that the mandates only had the power we gave them. It was not through quiet compliance that we avoided endless domination by pharmaceutical companies and medical checkpoints at every doorway. It was thanks to the people we tried to tear down.”

Susan Dunham

Kat-Von-D decided to throw out her witchcraft books stating: “But right now, it’s never been more clear to me that there is a spiritual battle taking place, and I want to surround myself and my family with love and light.”

People I am intrigued by:

Howard Marks: I was listening to a YouTube video and an ad came up. It was Howard Marks in conversation with Goldman Sachs. He was so engaging I listened to his entire talk for 40 min, and didn’t skip the ad. I wanted to share it here.

Carmen Lomana: I saw her in a photo and thought, What elegance! Then, I watched a bunch of her interviews and read all three of her books. She is a wise woman who has a lot of wisdom to impart. I am grateful I found her by chance.

I hope you are staying cool, eating ice cream and getting ready for the new chapter that awaits us soon. Autumn is on the horizon, but August is closer still.

American Wealth: Teen Angst & the Driver’s License

Image via Blogspot.
You can listen to this post as a podcast, but more informal. Also, don’t miss the images, articles, and videos linked below for the full experience.

By: Gabriela Yareliz

“A man goes where he wants, when he wants,” Daniel Castellano says on The Mindy Project when standing in line for the 100th time at the DMV to try to pass his driving test. The United States is filled with open space. In 97% of this country, I would say you need to have a car to get by.

Image by Vulture; Danny Castellano being the best New Yorker. 🙂

While a car is a necessity, it is a right of passage. What do you do in the middle of your teenage angst? You study to pass your permit exam. I got my permit at 15 because I was signed up to take Driver’s Ed, the only class where I cried (in my life). I felt the pressure. Sweet Georgia peaches, the amount of cones I drove over.

Danny Castellano feeling the pressure in the driving exam; Image via Recap Guide.

The driver’s license holds a specific place in the American experience. I am ignorant of any other country where driving is such a big deal. Hell, we write songs about it. I think the idea of driving has influenced American music a lot. Anyone else blasted Journey, The Eagles or Chicago in the car? Nothing beats it. Nothing is the same. Windows down. Drive through a rural place with country music on. You will never feel it more. If you have lived here, you have stared out the window like you are in a music video. Don’t even tell me you haven’t.

Paris and Nicole learning to drive; Image via Pinterest.

Just recently, Olivia Rodrigo brought us a Driver’s License ballad. Here is this teenage girl, driving past her old boyfriend’s house. It’s that emotional car moment we can all relate to. I am convinced driving is the cheapest form of therapy.

Sunday drives are a thing that belong to American history and also American Wealth (see 1903 and then the 1950s). After dad worked all week and mom ran that household to perfection, what would the American family do? They would pile into the car on Sundays and just drive. There was no particular destination in mind. Maybe it was just to drive through the neighborhood or get ice cream. (More on Sunday drives here and here). When life got busy, we knew how to pause and be with the ones we loved most. (Some people started doing drives again in the pandemic, but you can imagine that not many people are taking Sunday drives nowadays due to gas prices).

Image from the Samantha American Girl books that take place in 1904. See the automobile in the back.

Cars would take you to drive-in theaters, drive thru restaurants, and to other states. As someone who grew up in a car world, we took a bunch of road trips. Piling into the car meant going to camp with a church group or visiting family in another city. When we lived in Michigan, we would visit my grandfather and great grandmother on weekends in a city just north of us. I spent many a Saturday night in the back of a car. I saw so much of this country through the back of a car. Open highways, sometimes covered in snow, the streetlights lining and lighting the way, mountain side houses in North Carolina, the ocean from tall bridges in Charleston, orange groves and retention ponds in Central Florida.

Image via Pinterest.

Cars are accessible. I have walked through many housing projects due to the nature of my job. You can find some nice cars parked around the projects. Even what is considered the poorest person on the ladder can have a car. There are American icons who slept in a car– see Steve Harvey.

Image via Thethings.com; Steve Harvey who once lived in his car now owns a gorgeous collection of cars.

Cars shape our society, and more importantly, cars shape American youth. Whether your parents get you your own car, or you work to buy your own or you simply borrow your parents’ car, cars afford(ed) us independence. An independence I am not sure many other young people know abroad. Sure they can take a metro or train somewhere, but can they drive across the country, music blasting, with one too many friends stuffed into the back shoving fries in their faces…? I am not sure. Even still today, when one looks at Instagram accounts from around the world, it is obvious cars do not hold the revered status they hold here.

Cars shape the stories we tell. See Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, documenting his drug riddled road trip to Las Vegas with his attorney.

Image via industrialscripts.com. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Before I learned to drive (and even at times after I had my license), I was a co-pilot. I had a giant atlas on my lap. If you need a map read, I am your girl. I am good at maps. I did have my fair share of MapQuest maps printed, as well. GPS came much later in my life. Maybe late high school, and then college. I still don’t understand how I am supposed to know which turn is “200 ft” from me.

I went to a high school where they had a parking lot for student vehicles. The spots closer to the school were for the top Seniors of their class. I am not even kidding. This sounds foreign to some people. Also sounds foreign to some who grew up in large cities like New York.

Cars are sort of a protagonist in the American teen’s journey to finding oneself. I think we can all look back at an experience in our late teens or twenties where we had a life-changing or emotional moment in a car. I am not even being dramatic. I know I did. What do you think all these movies are about? You were either going somewhere, running from someone, or some even lost their virginity in the back of a car.

Image from Getting There with the Olsen twins.
Image via Gossip Gist
Image from Crossroads film with Britney Spears via Refinery29.
Hilary Duff in A Cinderella Story; Image via Fanpop.
The iconic car in A Walk to Remember; Image via Hollywood.com.
Troy Bolton’s car in High School Musical; Image via Pinterest.
The car in That 70s Show; Image via Pinterest.
Image via Pinterest; That 70s Show.
Image via Giphy; New Girl car scene.
White Chicks; Image via Tumblr.

Take it from someone who had a car and now doesn’t, the loss of independence sucks. You are crammed in trains with dangerous characters, you have to literally drag your groceries from the supermarket back home or you depend on others or an Uber to go to certain places or move things of a certain size. It is draining. I look forward to having a car again, someday.

This independence and ability to explore are part of American Wealth. And can I also say one thing? The ability to have a teen angst moment is such a first world thing. When you are in survival mode, there is no time or energy to go through mini frivolous crises. The opportunity to be edgy and obnoxious is a very privileged thing. I grew up in a bracket of years that celebrated angst. See The OC on TV.

The OC via Fanpop.

We loved Alloy and dELiA*s clothing. It was all funk, shiny boots, mohair sweaters and low rise jeans with a suede tie up instead of a zipper. Claire’s was way edgier. I mean it always had pink glitter frames, but we had the chokers, “cute by psycho” tops and terry wrist bands.

I adored the edgy style. I was not preppy and honestly couldn’t afford to be dressed in Abercrombie & Fitch. I loved Ashlee Simpson’s style when she came onto the scene. And yes, I wore the black nail polish. I haven’t since.

Image via Photobucket
Image via Pinterest

I have noticed that some teen icons today copy the style many of us had or wanted to emulate in the late 90s/ early 2000s.

I mean, look at Olivia Rodrigo’s style. This is my childhood stuff (it really all does come back). Look at the shoes, the hairstyles, everything– I smiled when I saw this.

Image via Pinterest.
Image via Tumblr.
Image via Bing.

Even the music is starting to sound like what was on the radio in junior high. GAYLE’s music video abcdefu is like a blast from the past. This is 100% inspired by the early 2000s. And yes, there is a car in the music video (of course, which is such a symbol and reminder of the place the vehicle has in our lives). She is a Texas girl, and hey, this level of teenage angst shot with a camcorder vibe is a reflection of American Wealth. I leave you with her early 2000s vibe jam. It looks like something we would have acted out in 2001, except we would never have been allowed to say such things. Kids, these days.

A Lesson from Ms. Hilton (Loves It)

Courtesy of Quay

By: Gabriela Yareliz

It’s 2004. For Christmas, I get the new Paris Hilton fragrance with a black quilted handbag that has a little compact in it, and it has the name “Paris Hilton” embroidered into it in bright pink. The greatly coveted and cherished gift set.

Image via Fragrance Net

If you were a teen in the early 2000s, you know the level of celebrity Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie had. Both icons in their own right, more widely known for The Simple Life.

Wiffle Gif

So, I wasn’t allowed to watch this show (and I know why lol), but I would find little clips on the baby internet, back in the day. (Remember when you got internet through that cable that had to be in the wall?) What I gravitated toward the most was their style. Both quickly became known for their smart humor while playing dumb, large sunglasses (which I found, and still to this day, find glamorous), velour tracksuits, and phrases (“Loves it” and “That’s hot!” being among the most popular).

Ok! Magazine

Years have gone by. Both are elegant business women, but I love that when I look at them, I still catch glimpses of their eclectic flair. You still see * them *. Nicole Richie is married and has cute kids and a thriving business.

Nicole Richie; Image via Andylecompte

Paris Hilton has followed no one’s timeline, and got married in 2021 at the age of 40. She sings, she sells, she DJs, and she keeps coining phrases #sliving (slaying+living). She has also been an advocate for bipartisan issues dealing with children, abuse and education.

Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton at Hilton’s wedding; Image via People Magazine

Paris Hilton came back into focus for me through a special collab from Dolls Kill x Powerpuff Girls. Here is the story: I had seen this cute Powerpuff Girl sweater that filled me with so much nostalgia. I decided I was going to get it, but then I thought, Nah, I am too old. Then, days later as I was searching it again (I clearly kept thinking about this sweater), I saw Paris Hilton wearing the same sweater (the one I talked myself out of), and I was like, Of course. Ha! Great minds think alike. (Except she went for it without hesitation).

I was a HUGE Powerpuff Girl fan as a kid. I mean here are three strong cuties who don’t go to bed until they have saved the world. (Life motto, anyone?) Their message is service, and we are stronger together. My favorite was and is always Buttercup.

Puff Fandom

Spoiler alert: I got the sweater (it will join my “Loves it” sweater, which I wore throughout the height of the pandemic).

Image via Giphy; Name a more iconic gif… I will wait.

The post isn’t about the sweater(s). It’s about not forgetting the little pieces that make us who we are (it can be tempting to fit into a box). Remembering the things that make us smile and remind us of childhood. I think seeing Paris in it not caring what anyone thinks reminded me of how important it is to still have fun, even as we get older. * Especially * as we get older. It’s the attitude. Even seeing Paris Hilton was nostalgic. I told my dad about the sweater, and he said to me, “One is NEVER too old.” I’ll try to remember that.

No matter what stage in life we are in, let’s keep sliving. Loves it.

Image via Daily Mail

Things I Will Start Doing For a More Human Summer

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Here are some things I want to implement:

Tumblr

More grounding: Bare feet on the ground. I got a wooden shower mat for this as well. I want my feet on solid ground (lol just thought of the hymn).

trainhardteam.com

Move every hour: There are days where I am sitting so much. Doing leg deadlifts has shown me that my hamstrings get so tight. I need to move more often throughout the office days.

Tenor

More airplane mode: I want to be more unavailable more often. Being “on” all the time is exhausting. I am pretty good on weekends. I still want to get better at it. Sometimes, I feel so much pressure to answer a text within minutes. It irritates me to no end.

Pinterest

Shut off the wifi: I lived here for about 5 years without wifi. I loved it. The minute I got wifi, I don’t sleep as well and I feel a difference I can’t explain. I hate it. I want to remember to turn stuff off at night.

Giphy

More dance parties: I want and need more Lisa Rinna moments. (Happy birthday to the iconic Rinna).

Here is a good summer jam to start:

What are you going to do to feel more human this summer?

American Wealth: Cowboys & Tupperware

1950s Tupperware Party. (Image via Fine Art America)
You can listen to the post here. Sort of like a podcast, but informal. All sources are linked in the post below.

By: Gabriela Yareliz

The United States is known for its entrepreneurial spirit. This idea of taking risks to build or expand something, even if the outcome is uncertain. Name a country that has more group or multi-level marketing businesses than the U.S. of A. By this, I mean companies like Mary Kay, Avon (both sell cosmetics), those companies that sell knives door-to-door or the ones that do the Tupperware parties.

This was much bigger in the 70s, 80s and 90s, but I still see traces of it on car bumper stickers and social media. It was the catalog company and the friendly neighbor or church member who was the rep/distributor/consultant you would order from.

I remember my mom hosted a Mary Kay party when I was little. I will never forget how funny my great aunt looked with one of the face masks on. Some church friends had a troubled nephew come live with them, and they got him in this business selling knives, and he did really well. He sort of got his life back on track, had a purpose and started making money. Some of these companies turn into weird pyramid scheme type dynamics, see Amway (short for The American Way), but the strange dynamics aside, let’s face it– these jobs aren’t easy. Take it from someone who has gone door-to-door with the church to collect canned goods for the needy on Thanksgiving– knocking on a stranger’s door takes guts. Serious guts.

Back in the day, I did an info session for one of these businesses that sell kitchen supplies. After the first day, I decided it was not for me, and I couldn’t juggle graduating early from college and this very people-centered sales approach. I left with a lot of respect for the people who were going to go for it, though.

These companies have interesting histories. Fun fact about Mary Kay: Cars were (and still are) the incentive. “In 1968, Mary Kay Ash purchased the first pink Cadillac from a Dallas dealership, where it was repainted on site to match the “Mountain Laurel Blush” in a compact Ash carried. The Cadillac served as a mobile advertisement for the business. The following year, Ash rewarded the company’s top five salespeople with similarly painted 1970 Coupe de Ville cars. GM has painted over 100,000 custom cars for Mary Kay.” (Source) Mary Kay still gives different types of vehicles for different levels of sales, I believe. I found this interesting.

The Mary Kay Cadillac. (Image via Mary Kay Global)

Regarding Avon, “Avon’s founder, David H. McConnell, initially sold books as a door-to-door salesman to New York homes. In September 1886, he decided to sell perfumes rather than books. He started the new business in a small office at 126 Chambers Street, Manhattan, New York.” (Source)

Madame C.J. Walker (Image via famousafricanamericans.org)

As a kid, I loved reading about Madame C.J. Walker and how she became the first female self-made millionaire. She was orphaned by the age of seven, but nothing stopped her. (Source) I remember an American Girl book I had about Samantha had a whole section about her.

While the multi-level marketing business has shifted to probably essential oils and fitness and weight loss powders, the American sales spirit is alive and well. It is just different. #capitalismbaby

I truly think that this spirit is a part of our history. The beloved series Little House on the Prairie is one of many books that illustrate the American tenacity, resilience and sense of adventure people around the globe recognize and revere. When I think about our country’s sense of adventure, I think beyond the arrival here, but of the expansion to the West. I truly believe this is the appeal of the very popular show Yellowstone. This TV show, with its land battles and cowboys, reminds us of rugged adventure and life on our own terms (plus the tensions and losses that come with it).

Image via Messy Nessy Chic

The idea of the cowboy (as we think of it today) comes from right here in North America (modeled after the European settler ways). It was a type of animal herder (typically herding cattle on horseback). (Source) Ironically, “‘Cowboy’ was [also] used during the American Revolution to describe American fighters who opposed the movement for independence.” Id. Very interesting!

The idea of the cowboy has been romanticized, but the life was tough. It also came with a lot of complexity. An interesting piece on the black cowboy explains: “Growing up, many Americans are taught to see Manifest Destiny as this thrilling spectrum of possibility – a blueprint for bravery, with the occasional dash of Donner Party crazy. ‘The whole idea of taming the West,’ says Ron Tarver, ‘well, basically, you’re just uprooting indigenous people.’ The history of the Mexican-American cowboy, for example, is very complex, and interwoven with that of the black cowboy. It opens a layered conversation about integration, adaptation, and survival. This, too, has been superseded by cowboy whitewashing. Colonialism, but make it Marlboro.” (Source) We all know the smoking packets have that cowboy as an advertisement. You can read more about the black cowboys at that link.

The idea here is not to “whitewash.” (I am not white). The truth is America has cowboys of all shades and backgrounds. No matter what the shade, we are all American. The idea is to look back at all the people who took the chances they took, and they did it because of bravery. If you have a hunger for winning, this country feeds it. This is part of the American legacy. The truth is, a great deal of American history takes place in the wilderness. There is clash, conflict and integration. There are wild creatures you have to beat before they eat you. Deep in the woods and fields of uncertainty, we dare. Boldness, community and resourcefulness, it’s part of American Wealth.

Image via Pinterest

The Squad is All Here

Image via diariodeibiza.es
Listen to the post here. xx

By: Gabriela Yareliz

If you speak Spanish, you have probably held an Hola! in your hands. It is filled with fun features, royal news, and now, influencer tracking. Spain has an incredible network of influencers. Some countries have one influencer that sort of stands out and represents them. The Netherlands has Negin Mirsalehi (of Gisou fame), the U.K. has Lydia Millen, Italy has The Blonde Salad’s Chiara Ferragni and France has Jeanne Damas (Rouje).

Spain has the network of Maria Pombo, Maria F Rubies, Dulceida, Madame (Angela Rozas Saiz), Teresa Andres Gonzalvo, and Marta Lozano (to name a few). This network of influencers attends fashion weeks, parties, launches and events together. And now, weddings.

Image via modalia.es

Best friends Teresa Andres Gonzalvo and Marta Lozano both got married this summer (about a month apart), and interestingly Hola! decided to broadcast the religious ceremony (both were very Catholic ceremonies) on their streaming service, allowing all of Spain and the global followers to attend the influencer-replete nuptials.

Image via Pitnerest

I found it interesting that Hola! took such a special interest in the weddings of marketers. They are not royals or famous other than for their social media presence, which has allowed them to build their personal businesses. (Gonzalvo has her Enea Clinic (spa) and Lozano her Glow Filter skincare line).

Madame arriving to the cathedral for Teresa Andres Gonzalvo’s wedding on 7/8/22. Image via MSN.

Fans lined the walkways and interacted with their favorite influencers flying in from all over Spain for the event. The moment the bride arrived and stepped out of her vehicle, the onlookers brought down the house, yelling “¡Guapa!”. The ceremonies were both extremely traditional, and very religious. Both brides wore long sleeves in unair-conditioned stone cathedrals that have stood there for centuries. Guests fanned themselves as they melted. Both brides cried while the priest commenced the service, and both had guests take communion along with them at the mass. In both ceremonies, I recall the priest praying a blessing over both couples and asking God to bless them with many children so they can strengthen the church.

Image via GTres. Teresa Gonzalvo entering, walked in by her twin brother.

Such a religious ceremony with so much fanfare around it is rare in the U.S., I feel. It was refreshing to see traditional services and values celebrated even by some of Spain’s biggest party animals. I know I wasn’t alone. I posted about the ceremonies (I tuned in for both), and I know many others watched. It was like a viewing party with fun strangers. It was heart-warming to see the moving moments. Often, on social media, it feels like people do life together. There is this vague feeling of knowing someone. Hola! certainly brought that feeling home.

Image via hoymagazine.es Teresa and Marta celebrating their bachlorette parties before their respective weddings.

I am curious to know what Hola!‘s motivation is. Is it the views? Is it that they know these young women have connected with the nation? Why just the ceremony and not the reception? Is Hola! reminding Spain of its heritage and values? Is this a push against globalization and a tightening grip on tradition? I don’t know. I don’t pretend to know the answers. All I know is that the nation’s international marketing faces were there, we the community were there, and well– looks like the squad is all here. I am here for it.

Image via Hola!

Vivan los novios.

Marta Lozano entering the church. Image via Elcorreo.com.