Movie Review: McFarland USA and FUN Facts #McFarlandUSA

 McFarland USA Movie Review

Grab your friends and family and run to see McFarland USA!  Based on the 1987 true story, McFarland USA movie follows the lives of athletes from McFarland, a predominately Latino community in California Central Valley as they build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner).  The McFarland athletes are farm workers before they arrive to school, students during the day and champions in training after school.  They overcome adversity, economic challenges and lack of athletic resources through their loyalty, hard work and dedicated coach, to become  top cross-country team athletes.

McFARLAND

McFarland USA is  recommended for families, teachers, students, sports enthusiasts and all athletes.  The story is very inspiring and does an outstanding job of showing the real life experiences of economically challenged students pursuing high school athletics.  It doesn’t hold back any dialogue and does a great job of showing how athletes, who are also farm workers deal with adversity on and off the field.   It also dives into the Mexican-American heritage, rights of passage for latinos as well as give us an inside look at mexican culture and traditions.

McFARLAND

McFarland is much more than your typical inspirational sports movie.  It is a story of the journey for the McFarland athletes and Coach Jim White.  A series of events put McFarland students and Coach White on the same path.   Coach White was able to inspire them to greatness by going the extra mile, providing sound advice and taking an interest in each runner’s life on and off the field.  Coach White was also able to make McFarland home for his family and give purpose & meaning to his life through his hands on efforts in his community.  The movie also does a great job of telling the story about the bond between coaches and athletes.

Having come from a latino background and raised in a small border town myself, I can relate to the storyline of the under dog and feelings athletes have without proper equipment or uniforms.  When you lack resources and have the right attitude, you can get inspired and things can definitely take a positive turn! Coach White and the McFarland students show  us that anything is possible!

McFARLAND

The true story came to the attention of the film producers in 1999 after hearing the story in the media about a small town group of heroes. The film’s producers suggested the Director, Niki Caro read the story and the movie started coming to life.

McFarland USA Filmmakers

Directed by . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NIKI CARO
Screenplay by . . .CHRISTOPHER CLEVELAND & BETTINA GILOIS and GRANT THOMPSON
Story by . . . . . . . . . .. CHRISTOPHER CLEVELAND & BETTINA GILOIS

McFarland USA Cast

Jim White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . KEVIN COSTNER
Danny Diaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RAMIRO RODRIGUEZ
Thomas Valles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .CARLOS PRATTS
Jose Cardenas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .JOHNNY ORTIZ
David Diaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RAFAEL MARTINEZ

Johnny Sameniego. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .HECTOR DURAN
Victor Puentes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SERGIO AVELAR
Damacio Diaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . MICHAEL AGUERO
Señora Diaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . DIANA MARIA RIVA
Señor Diaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .OMAR LEYVA
Principal Camillo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . VALENTE RODRIGUEZ
Sammy Rosaldo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DANNY MORA
Cheryl White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MARIA BELLO
Julie White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . MORGAN SAYLOR

McFARLAND

McFARLAND

 

McFarland USA FUN Facts

  • “McFarland, USA” is inspired by a 1987 true story.  Over the years since then, the McFarland High School cross-country teams have won nine state championships and the small school is considered a powerhouse in the sport.
  • Coach Jim White taught in the town of McFarland for 40 years and coached for 25 of those years.  He retired in 2002, but is still involved with the cross-country program.  If you go to McFarland you will see him riding his bike with the kids.
  • Some of the original runners on the championship 1987 cross-country team are educators at McFarland school district.  They are also raising their families in McFarland and support the team financially as needed.
  • Three out of the seven young actors on the team in the movie are from the McFarland area—Sergio Avelar who plays Victor Puentes and Michael Aguero, cast as Damacio Diaz, are actual runners and Ramiro Rodriguez, as Danny Diaz, was a champion soccer player.
  • Ramiro Rodriguez had no intention of auditioning when he agreed to drive his cousin to the casting tryouts for “McFarland, USA.” He landed the role of Danny Diaz after being pestered repeatedly by executive producer Mario Iscovich to audition.
  • Classic lowriders are featured in “McFarland, USA” in several scenes. Lowriders are custom cars fitted with hydraulic jacks that allow the chassis to be lowered almost all the way to the road. Lowriding was very big in California’s Central Valley in the mid-’80s with Bakersfield being one of the lowriding epicenters of the area. Lowriding is often stereotypically depicted as gangster-related in film but the reality is that these car clubs are essentially about family and community and the cars are lovingly treasured.
  • Director Niki Caro took particular interest in the “hero-car” lowrider vehicle— and not just in the service of the movie. The car actually belongs to Caro and she likes to drive the 1970s Chevrolet Caprice, which was customized to the movie’s specifications. The beautiful classic features an iconic chain steering wheel and a mural on the hood that is in the likeness of the owner’s girlfriend in the film, Lupe. The painting is in the style of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which is an ongoing visual theme in the movie.

Uno, Dos, Tres… McFarland!

Eva-TFL

McFarland USA Movie – EXCLUSIVE Interview With Kevin Costner and Real #McFarlandUSA Coach Jim White

I recently had the opportunity to meet and interview Kevin Costner, Coach Jim White, cast and real life heroes behind McFarland USA Movie.  McFarland USA opens in theaters on February 20th.  “McFarland, USA” movie is inspired by a 1987 true story, in which an  inexperienced group of  young Latino runners with exceptional athletic skills and determination rise to become champions under the leadership of their coach, Jim White.

Meeting the Actors Behind McFarland USA Movie

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Hector Duran, Sergio Avelar and Johnny Ortiz ignite the McFarland athlete within all of us

 

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Carlos Pratt plays the role of Thomas Valles. Inspiring Latino actor to watch

An EXCLUSIVE Interview with Kevin Costner

All of the actors connected to their characters to bring McFarland USA to life.  Kevin Costner plays Jim White, the McFarland High School Coach. Although he was born in Southern California, Kevin Costner also lived in Central California areas of Visalia, California near many farming areas.   It is through this experience that he was able to connect to his character and bring Coach Jim White to life.

Here is what he had to say about playing the role of Coach Jim White, how he felt about doing the role in McFarland and life wisdom that applies to all of us.

EXCLUSIVE Interview With Kevin Costner

“We all have to have our north star we kind of fix on and we go to. But life is so much about the things that bump into you.” – Kevin Costner

What appealed to you about the Jim White Character?

Kevin Costner: I had read the story some time ago over 10 years ago.  But I had read about it in Sports Illustrated.  I remember being very taken with it.  I had lived in the Central Valley in Visalia and actually played McFarland in high school baseball.  I was taken with the story, and then of course closed the page and moved on with my life.   Then this movie came up, this shining cloud Niki Caro and said, “Would you be in this movie?”  For that to match up was really a nice thing for me, and it was a beautiful thing, actually. 

To play Jim, who, you know, there’s these men and women all over America who are affecting our young people.  And relationships that coaches establish with young people is something that carries through their life if it’s done right.  There’s not a lot of Jim Whites, but there are Jim Whites, and he represents the best, really, of the best. 

It’s almost biblical; our children have a hard time listening to their parents, right?  There’s a moment in time where kids really don’t want to hear anything from their parents.  But a coach can take on that thing, and boy, if they are of the cloth that Jim White came from, a very graceful, very quiet man, who somehow let them know what was possible.

 What was just possible; not that they were gonna get there, but this is possible for you, a goal.  And Jim White, in just kind of putting the goal out in front of them, look what happened.  Champions.  Look – they did – the exceeded beyond their expectations, so it’s a great lesson to us, McFarland, that if we give our children, our young men, our young women goals, we let them see what’s possible, they can exceed beyond their own wildest expectations.  It’s just a very good lesson, this movie.  So I was proud to play the essence of Jim White.  I’m not Jim White.

You know, I think we’d all like to be Jim White in some way.  But it was a pleasure to be able to do that, kind of from that Sports Illustrated article make this giant circle to actually being in the movie.  I mean that feels like a movie, doesn’t it?

 

Question: How did it feel to play this role in McFarland

Kevin Costner:  I’ve grown up in Ventura, and also in Visalia.  I’ve driven down these roads and I saw people working in those fields.  I played and fought and had friends where their families were pickers in Saticoy, California, a little Mexican barrio school that I went to.  But I didn’t invest the way I did until Niki brought me this movie.  Bending down to work and seeing a field go forever, understanding that this is forever, this is every week, this is every day in all kinds of weather, I have an appreciation of who these people are, this is as American story as you can possibly have.

You think apple pie and baseball’s American?  No.  McFarland is way more American than any of those things.  Those are pastimes.  What’s American –  I’m gonna get real sentimental here. 

There is no American story than parents who are willing to do anything to better their children, to give their children a chance.  There’s nothing more American, and it’s been playing out over the last 300 years, here.  McFarland is not some weird little  town.  Poor McFarland?  No.  Number one, there’s a mythology around McFarland because their lives changed when they understood that they could be champions and repeat that idea.  The simplicity of  there’s nothing more noble than a father and a mother making an opportunity for their child, knowing that their life is gonna be hard.  And there’s something very noble about that, to me; something incredibly heroic.  

 

Question:  You did a lot of different cameras over a lot of different genres.  Do you have any character that you have not done yet that you want to do?

Kevin Costner: I’ve been able to do a lot of things in the movies.  I’ve been able to run with the buffalo, I’ve been able to pitch a perfect game in Yankee Stadium, in the bathtub with Susan Sarandon.  

I’ve had a lot of chance to do a lot of things.  I enjoy sports, but I enjoy sports so much to the point that I wouldn’t do the movie unless I thought it had a chance to be good.  That’s how much I like them.  I’m not dying to do a sports thing and have it just look average.  There’s nothing that I covet out there.  I wait for something to come a long that really is a clear sound that I can respond to, and that I can just really move to it.  I’m not looking for the next sports movie at all, by any stretch.  I did two sports movies back to back – Field of Dreams and Bull Durham, and no one thought that was a smart idea.

 But those movies separated themselves so much.  If I plan my life so much in advance, I’ll miss this. I would have missed McFarland by getting in my mind what I’m going to do in my life.  I mean we all have to have our north star we kind of fix on and we go to.  But life is so much about the things that bump into you. I was – it was really happy, and – you know, how this really happened. And Niki and I know the story more than anybody, but it’s one I  treasure.

 

An Exclusive Interview with the REAL McFarland USA Coach Jim White

I also had the honor and privilege to meet the real life McFarland High School Coach Jim White. Meeting the real life hero behind the McFarland movie was a once in a lifetime event.  Coach White reminds me a lot of the coaches I had in high school who are dedicated to their teams not only on the field, but off the field.  They instill drive, determination and perseverance in young athletes that carry them on not only through high school, but help mold them into future leaders.

McFarlandUSA_Movie_Exclusive_Interview_Coach_Jim_White

“My whole philosophy on everything is about attitude. I had to have a good attitude, and I had to transfer that to the kids, a good attitude. In order to achieve anything it has to be your attitude.” – Coach Jim White

Question: What does it take from your heart to do all this? For these kids to have a better life?

Jim White: I think my whole philosophy on everything is about attitude.  I had to have a good attitude, and I had to transfer that to the kids, a good attitude.  In order to achieve anything it has to be your attitude.  That is the only thing that you can control.  I can’t control other feelings about me.  I can’t control what happened yesterday or what’s going to maybe happen tomorrow.  But the most important thing for me to transfer to these kids is the attitude of hard work can transfer into the classroom, and into your jobs, and into their real lives.  So when you have problems in life, and we had problems with building the team and outfitting the team, putting shoes on the team.  But it’s how we let the problems affect you in life that’s the main thing, that’ll get you down.  So yeah, these kids were my kids. Thank you.

 

Question: I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about how the cross country program at the high school has changed the town overall, or what impact it’s made on the fabric of the community.

Jim White:  As an example right now, our town is really changing.  They’re really picked up this thing with cross country so much so that we now have a new city logo.  It’s not the heartbeat of agriculture or whatever they showed on the first one.  I don’t even know where that first sign came from in that movie.  It now has a runner, running through the field – a silhouette of a runner running through the field.  They gave this to the high school for a scholarship: whoever comes up with the best city logo.

A girl developed this.  Underneath it – underneath the silhouette of a runner running through the fields, you have “Tradition, unity, and excellence.”  So that has really changed our whole city.  Our school came up with a new logo.  We have now a water tank that’s 20 by 80 feet in the town that’s completely dedicated to our state championships.  And the silhouettes of runners, a big sunset, the big cougar coming out of the State of California, and their names are on the water tower; everybody’s names that were state champions there. 

Question: Do you think this film will inspire kids that were in your situation when you guys were younger?

Jim White: I do.  I definitely do.  I think it’s such an inspiration to see that kids can come out of the fields, and kids can have some success with the right attitude and with the work ethics that you can pick up from cross country.  I definitely do feel that it will inspire a lot of kids to go on and do better, I’m sure.

 

An Exclusive Interview with McFarland Director Niki Caro

We also interviewed McFarland USA Director Niki Caro.  She write, produced and directed several films.  She was drawn to this film because it tells a story about real life people in a real life community.

McfarlandUSA_Exclusive_Interview_Niki_Caro

Question: What was it about the story that attracted you and fits with your film making sensibilities?

Niki Caro:  I was inspired by Jim White, the original team, the scale of their achievement, and the legacy that they left and that goes on.  I was really inspired by the people, by how hard they work, the commitment to their families, their faith and their community.  It was great for me to be able to light that up.   I really get a big kick out of  actually working with real communities and this is a real story.

You drive to McFarland and you’ll see a bunch of people you see on screen.  It’ll look like it does on screen.  It’s deeply satisfying to me to go in and tell a story that is not only meaningful, but is true and real, and tell it with the real people.  If that weren’t enough, to go in with the likes of these people (pointing to cast), has been a deeply, deeply satisfying experience for me and I hope it will be for the audience, too.

 

It’s not often you meet people that make you feel like you can run through a brick wall, but that is exactly how I felt after meeting the cast and real life heroes of McFarland.  McFarland USA Movie will be in theaters on February 20th.  SAVE the date and make sure to take your family to it. Stay tuned for my movie review tomorrow.

For additional inspiring quotes and insider look into the making of McFarland:

Follow McFARLAND, USA on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mcfarlandusa

Follow Disney Pictures on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/disneypictures

Eva-TFL

Presidents Day 2015: Top Presidential Stories, Quotes & FAQ

Today we celebrate the life of our first President George Washington and all American Presidents.  The Federal Holiday originated in the 1880s to celebrate George Washington’s Birthday.   In 1968 the observation was moved to Mondays.  Some reformers tried to rename the Holiday to “President’s Day” to observe President Lincoln’s Birthday as well, but were unsuccessful.   Over the years the date has been observed as “President’s Day” primarily by retailers and eventually adopted by businesses and the federal government.   However, President’s Day is not the official name of the holiday.

We observe Presidents Day on the third Monday in February with a three day weekend vacation, shopping or just relaxing around the house.

Here are a couple of President’s Day frequently asked questions and answers, top presidential quotes and top news across the web to celebrate this special day.

 

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Public services  are CLOSED on Presidents Day

  • Postal Services:  All Post Offices will be CLOSED; There will also be no mail delivered on Monday, except for Express Mail.
  • Department of Motor Vehicles: All DMV Offices are CLOSED.
  • Libraries: All Libraries are CLOSED.
  • Federal, State & Local Offices: Riverside County, San Bernardino County Public Schools will be CLOSED. Check your local districts.
  • Trash & Recyling: All trash pickup will be delayed by one day.
  • Retail  & Grocery Stores:  Most are OPEN.

 

Top Presidential Quotes

  • Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – President Barack Obama
  • If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit. – President William J. Clinton
  • The momentum of freedom in our world is unmistakable – and it is not carried forward by our power alone. We can trust in that greater power Who guides the unfolding of the years. And in all that is to come, we can know that His purposes are just and true. – President George W. Bush
  • This is America … a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. – President H. Bush
  • Whether the borders that divide us are picket fences or national boundaries, we are all neighbors in a global community - President Jimmy Carter

Top President’s Day Stories Around The Web

 

60-Second Presidents: A Chronological Playlist

Smart Tech Tips | 3 Ways To Avoid Being Hacked

Did the recent celebrity hack occur due to a security vulnerability with iCloud?  We still don’t know the full extent of the compromise.  However, what we do know is that the majority of hacks typically occur with the unknowing assistance of the account owner.  In fact,  most account hacks take place when someone gains access to your username and password via phishing, social engineering or weak passwords.

 

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Here are 3 smart tech tips to proactively protect yourself from being hacked:

 

Phishing Schemes Protection

Phishing occurs when someone tries to acquire your username, password, credit card numbers or personal information via electronic methods by masquerading as a trustworthy source.  The phishing attack can be as simple as an unsolicited email with a link from  your bank, your internet service provider, retail company or social media account.  However, when you click on the link it redirects you to another link that looks like a clone of the providers website.  The links typically contains malware, viruses or record username and passwords with failed attempts to login into your account.

To protect yourself from Phishing schemes do not click on unrecognizable links or sites from unsolicited sources.  The companies you do business with will NEVER send you unsolicited emails to change your username and account password. Also, make sure to report unsolicited emails to the company to engage IT Security teams.

 

Social Engineering Precautions

Have you ever received an unsolicited phone call or face to face request asking for personal, credit card or user account information about you, your family or coworkers?  This type of hacking technique is referred to as Social Engineering and is also a form of phishing.  The hacker(s) will use human interaction to gain your trust to access to your accounts, company secrets, company assets or strategy.  The sensitive information you unknowingly share is collected and will eventually be used against you to help the hacker bypass security safeguards and make you or your company a victim of fraud or computer access.    The interaction or phone call also leaves a weird feeling in your stomach.

To protect yourself from Social Engineering become aware of the security threat and do not share any personal information.   Minimize the amount of information you share via the phone.  Also, record the full name, phone number, company name of the offender and specific details about the interaction and report it to the affected company to engage IT Security teams.  Also,

Password Computer Key In Green Showing Permission And Security

User Names and Passwords

With the recent hacks it’s critical for online users to take an inventory and record all digital accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Email, iCloud, Instagram, Retail accounts, etc… and periodically change your passwords. Also, make note of accounts you are no longer using and consider deleting the account(s).

The most common way that hackers access user accounts is via weak passwords, such as no passwords required to access accounts, the password simply set as the word, “password” or one of your kids’ names.

To ensure the security of your user accounts:

  1. Set passwords that are 5-7 characters long and include capital letters & special characters.
  2. Change your password periodically by changing 2-3 times per year.
  3. Answer the Security Questions. The questions are put in place by the company for additional security and to protect you. Answer the questions and do not share the information with anyone.
  4. When selecting a new password consider using a paraphrase to create your new password. A paraphrase is a catchy phrase or sentence you can translate to a password.

Example of a password using a paraphrase:

I always ride the teacups at Disneyland
Password example: I@rtt@D

 

To stay informed on the recent Apple iCloud hack, check the Apple Media Advisory – Update to Celebrity Photo Investigation for up to date information.  To protect yourself from similar hacks, proactively take an inventory of your user accounts and start changing those passwords!

Latina Innovation Presented By Ella Institute

Join us for a dynamic conversation on how Latinas are innovating in this country at work, in business, technology and in our communities!  Meet some amazing Latina innovators, and learn how to leverage technology and social media to advance your innovation!

As a women in Technology field I believe it’s important for us to share our experience so that future generation can be inspired to succeed in Technology fields.

The focus of the Twitter Party is LATINA INNOVATION.

During this live Twitter conversation, we want to hear how Latinas are innovating in every field and sector, and how social media and technology are helping women advance their entrepreneurship and innovation.

 

We want to hear from YOU.  How do YOU innovate?  Together, let’s redefine the face of innovation in this country!  During the event, we’ll discuss how we innovate, why we innovate and what is in store for our future!  JOIN US!

LATINA INNOVATION TWITTER PARTY

 

PRESENTED BY ELLA INSTITUTE

DATE: JUNE 26, 2014

TIME: 6-7PM PT / 9-10PM ET

TWITTER PARTY HOST: @ELLAInstitute

OFFICIAL HASHTAG: #LatinaInnovation

RSVP: http://www.twtvite.com/latinainnovation

 

Join us for a dynamic Twitter chat on:

Latina Innovation

 

Calling ALL:

Digital Latinas | Innovators | Entrepreneurs | Latinas in STEM | Bloggers

Digital Media Entrepreneurs | Social Media Influencers | Career-Driven Latinas

 

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

➨ Follow: @ELLAInstitute and #LatinaInnovation on Twitter

➨ Follow the discussion using Twubs at twubs.com/LatinaInnovation

➨ RSVP: http://www.twtvite.com/latinainnovation

 

FOLLOW OUR PARTNERS AND CO-HOSTS:

Voto Latino || @VotoLatino || www.votolatino.org

Crowdismo || @Crowdismo || www.crowdismo.com

Chantilly Patiño || @ChantillyPatino || www.chantillypatino.com

Deborah Deras || @DeborahDeras || www.deborahderas.com

Deldelp Medina || @Deldelp || www.avionventures.com

Eva Smith || @Eva_Smith || techfoodlife.com

Francesca Escoto-Zavala || @WAOFrancesca || www.francescaescoto.com

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato || @GraceTiscareno || www.gracefullyglobal.com

LaLa Castro || @LatinaGeeks || latinageeks.com

Mahrinah von Schlegel || @MLvS || embassy2.org

Vicky Ayala || @VickyAyala || vickybydesign.com

Hilda Ramirez || @HildaRamirez1 || facebook.com/Got2BSocial

FEATURED LATINA INNOVATORS

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CAROLINE AVAKIAN

Founder & CEO SourceRise

@CarolineAvakian

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CLARA GONZALEZ

Creator of DominicanCooking.com

@Aunt_Clara

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EVA SMITH

Engineer & Publisher of TechFoodLife.com

@Eva_Smith

GIVEAWAY PRIZES

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Fitbit Flex Cordless Activity / Sleep Tracker

Never stop moving with Fitbit Flex. Wear this slim, stylish device all the time and get the motivation you need to get out and be more active. It tracks steps, distance and calories burned and shows you how you re stacking up against your daily goals. At night, it tracks your sleep cycle, helps you learn how to sleep better and silently wakes you in the morning. Access your stats anytime on your computer, tablet or smartphone both iPhone and Android. Flex is your perfect companion and stays with you everywhere.  Learn more.

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Leverage + Launch Latte Consultation

In this 60 minute session we will review your business and identify how to best leverage your personal brand to launch a new service offering, program or ecourse. After 60 minutes you will have at least 3 actionable tasks that will help you take your brand to the next level. If you are struggling with naming your brand or find yourself at a crossroad with what direction to go in, this quickie session is perfect for you. http://vickybydesign.com

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Brand Clarity Coaching Session

Is your brand getting the attention that it deserves?  In this 45-minute Brand Clarity session, we’ll uncover ways to position your brand so that you can make a bigger impact online. We’ll talk about what you can do to target your audience, how to use strategic branding and messaging to attract the RIGHT audience, and ways to increase your visibility and influence online.  You’ll walk away a list of resources and action steps that will help you to establish your brand as a leader in your niche. www.chantillypatino.com

Latino Social Media Day

On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 Latinos nationwide will join forces to celebrate Latino Social Media Day.   Latino Social Media Day is being hosted by the Hispanic Public Relations Association and recognizes the growing influence of Latinos online.  As an active Social Media power user, I’m really excited to support Latino Social Media Day and celebrate nuestro dia!

According to Pew Hispanic Center research, 80% of adult Hispanics use Social Media today.   The number of Hispanic Social Media users is also growing daily.  Latinos use Social Media to share content and shop online.  However, Latino Social Media is more than just about selling to the Hispanic consumer.  Latino Social Media is also  being leveraged to connect Hispanics, build loyal followings and create digital communities.  Latino Social Media also empowers digital communities to join forces and create change in Politics, Education, Health and Immigration Reform.

To celebrate Latino Social Media Day, the Hispanic Public Relations organization will host a Google+ hangout to discuss the growing influence of Latino Digital Communities.  You can also follow the conversation online via the #LatinoSMday hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

Make sure to put on your best outfit and share a #LatinoSMday selfie and join in the celebration.

What:

Latino Social Media Day

When:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hashtag:

#LatinoSMday

Join the Latino Social Media Day Google+ Hangout below on June 25th at 11amPST:

 

Five Tips for Saving Our Environment and Recycling Electronic Devices With ecoATM

I recently partnered with ecoATM to share important tips about saving our environment.  Today is Earth Day! To people who care about the environment, today marks the day to celebrate the earth and make a commitment to make lifetime changes to change our environmental impact.  Every year our family takes a look around our home and tries to find new ways to make the Earth a better place to live for our children.   On Earth Day I would also like to encourage you to take the initiative to  save our environment by recycling your unused electronics with ecoATM.

I recently checked out a local ecoATM and got instant cash for recycling my families unused electronics.   The kiosk was easy to use and provided many options for recycling phones, tables and mp3 players from various vendors.  It inspired me to take an inventory of all the electronics and accessories that are hidden in drawers and boxes around my home and recycle them.

 

Five Tips for Saving Our Environment and Recycling electronic devices with ecoATM:

1. Cash For Unused Devices:  Did you know that 57 percent of American device owners have idle cell phones in their homes, yet only 22 percent state they have previously recycled cell phones they no longer use.   ecoATM enables consumers to dispose of unused electronics responsibly by making recycling of old phones simple, fast & fun.  Simply places your device in the kiosk and obtain a quote for the best price for your device.  If you agree, ecoATM will dispense the cash immediately.

2. Location Location Location: There are about 900 kiosks located nationwide in local malls and surrounding areas. They are very easy to use and conveniently located.  Most transactions can be completed in 5-15 minutes.  You can find the nearest location online and get a preliminary quote.

3. Preparing Your Phone For Recycling:  Do you have an old iPod collecting dust around the home?  ecoATM also provides an option to recycle your unused mp3 and get cash to use towards a purchase of a new device.  Whether you are selling a phone, mp3 or tablet you should make sure to erase your personal data before visiting a local ecoATM.  If you are recycling an iPhone, make sure that you have deactivated iCloud and Find My iPhone on your device and  get instant cash payments as an incentive to recycle.

4: Trading in Devices that Don’t work:   Do you have a devices that doesn’t work?  No problem.  ecoATM is the world’s first automated eWaste recycling station, a friendly green machine looking to pay cash for the responsible recycling of your old cell phones, MP3 players and tablets.    It also has options to sell devices that are not working or dispose of unused electronics in a safe manner.

5. Recycling Unused Accessories:  ecoATM also has several options for disposing of unused accessories via the accessory bins on the side of the kiosk to keep them out of landfills or from languishing in desk drawers.  EcoATM can’t offer cash for these items, but offers a safe way to dispose of unused accessories.

 

With all your ecoATM transactions you also have the opportunity to donate towards a local nonprofit.  Have something different?  make sure to check out ecoATM for a complete list of over 4,000 devices.

Considering taking some time out of your day  on Earth Day to make a difference and recycle your old Tech Devices with ecoATM.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in partnership with ecoATM and Smith New Media.  Thank you for supporting the brands that make Tech Food Life Magazine possible. As always, all thoughts are 100% my own. 

Celebrating 365 Days of California Strawberries Farm & Culinary Event

Did you know that  nearly 90 percent of U.S.-grown fresh strawberries come from California, with more than 1.7 BILLION pounds being harvested annually – basically, if California were a country, it would be the world’s largest producer of strawberries!

I recently attended the 365 Days of California Strawberries Farm & Culinary Event and learned about the process of growing, cooking and  celebrating life with strawberries.    We enjoyed over 30 different appetizers and entrees made with fresh California Strawberries and toured a California Strawberries farm.  All our strawberry inspired recipes can be easily made at home.

California Strawberries Beach Side

We started off the festivities with a beachside gathering with strawberry appetizers and main dishes.  We had grilled salmon with fresh strawberry mango salsa , strawberry salad with berry dressing, chocolate dipped strawberries and strawberry shortcake.  Two of my favorites dishes were the strawberry gazpacho and strawberry mango salsa.  The gazpacho was light and delightfully sweet.  I also couldn’t resist getting second and third servings of the Mango Salsa with tortilla chips.

 

 

California Strawberries Farm Tour

The following day we headed out to a California Strawberries Farm for a hands on tour of a family owned and operated Strawberry Farm.   We walked through the strawberry fields, learned how to properly pick strawberries, touched and smelled the soil with our bare hands and ate fresh strawberries. We also learned about the hard work, discipline and dedication involved in farming Strawberries.

There are more than 400 strawberry farmers in California, many from multi-generational farming families who grow both conventional and organic strawberries. California grows more organic strawberries than any other place in the world.

Terry & Will Terry (L-R) - Father & Son - Terry Berries Strawberry Farmers

Our favorite multi-generational strawberry farm is Terry Berries Farm, the farm we toured.   Edgar Terry an Oxnard native and farmer was raised by a family that has farmed in Ventura, California since 1890. A fourth generation Californian, Edgar wanted to be a farmer since he was a child.   Edgar runs his family owned business, Terry Farms, Inc., alongside his wife of 29 years, Martha, who handles HR for the company. His son, William, handles the day-to-day farming activities, while his daughter manages employee compliance, hiring and food safety. Edgar’s brother runs the machine shop.  In addition to growing strawberries on 200 acres since 2002, Edgar grows a variety of crops, including celery, peppers, cilantro and spinach on about 2,000 acres of land.

 

California Strawberries Culinary Event

After our California Strawberries Farm tour we celebrated with more Strawberry inspired recipes.  Our specially prepared menu highlights the nutritional benefits and creatively prepared recipe ideas for  cooking with strawberries:

We enjoyed fresh herbs in farms cheese with stuffed strawberries rolled in pecan bacon.  Yes! Bacon.  These yummy appetizers were very savory.  The lacinto kale salad with strawberries, red grapes, spicy candied pecan & blue cheese was my favorite entree.

After enjoying the mountain views  for a couple minutes we enjoyed our next course, grilled chicken tacos with savory strawberry serrano, fire roasted corn, red onions, avocado salsa with ancho cheese.   We also savored a peanut butter, strawberry jam and bacon Kobe slider with waffle fries and strawberry ketchup.  The strawberry ketchup was delicious!

We ended our culinary experience with a strawberry shortcake popsicle and strawberries and ice cream.   It was truly one of the most amazing culinary experiences I have ever attended.  My palette is still dancing!

California Strawberries Nutritional FUN facts

  • Superfruit: 8 strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange. Low in sugar, with only about 50 calories, strawberries are a great source of fiber, folate and potassium.
  • Stay smart with strawberries: According to a recent study, eating strawberries more than twice a week appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years!
  • Good for your heart: Potassium found in strawberries can help control blood pressure and fight strokes. Plus, antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals in strawberries have been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels.

 

The next time you buy and eat strawberries, I hope you remember my California Strawberries tour and consider creating nutritional strawberry inspired recipes to celebrate life. Make sure to visit California Strawberries for strawberry recipe ideas & additional tips.

I’m very thankful to California Strawberries for the opportunity to tour a California Strawberries farm and the Terry Family for sharing their love and passion for farming strawberries.

 

 

Disclosure:  I was invited by California Strawberries to tour a California Strawberries Farm.  All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Question:  What is your favorite strawberry inspired recipe?

MOLAA | Frida Kahlo Her Photos

I recently attended a preview of Frida Kahlo personal photos.  You can view the Frida Kahlo exhibit with over 200 of Frida’s personal photo collection through June 8, 2014 at the Museum of Latin American Art.

"My painting carries with it the message of pain.” - Frida Kahlo

"My painting carries with it the message of pain.” - Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo - I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of “madness”. Then: I’d arrange flowers, all day long, I’d paint; pain, love and tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say: “Poor thing, she’s crazy!” (Above all I would laugh at my own stupidity.) I would build my world which while I lived, would be in agreement with all the worlds. The day, or the hour, or the minute that I lived would be mine and everyone else’s - my madness wouldn't be an escape from “reality"

“I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of “madness”. Then: I’d arrange flowers, all day long, I’d paint; pain, love and tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say: “Poor thing, she’s crazy!” (Above all I would laugh at my own stupidity.) I would build my world which while I lived, would be in agreement with all the worlds. The day, or the hour, or the minute that I lived would be mine and everyone else’s - my madness would not be an escape from “reality”.” ― Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo - I remember the first time I was sick. I had gone to play with a boy, Luis Léon, and on the patio he threw a wooden log at my foot, and this was the pretext they used at home when my leg began to grow thin

I remember the first time I was sick. I had gone to play with a boy, Luis Léon, and on the patio he threw a wooden log at my foot, and this was the pretext they used at home when my leg began to grow thin

“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.” ― Frida Kahlo

Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.” - Frida Kahlo

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you.” - Frida Kahlo

" I was fascinated by Papa’s studio. I would help him wash, crop and press photos and afterwards sell them, when we were poor. " - Frida Kahlo

She is gone now but her legacy will live on forever….

L4LL’s Dia Blog Hop with Author Rene Saldana

I am participating in the Latinas 4 Latino Literature  Día Blog Hop (L4LL’s Dia Blog Hop).   Established in the United States by poet and author Pat Mora, Día is a celebration of books and children. The month long program celebrates Latino Children literacy by pairing a different author or illustrator with a different blogger each day.  The 2nd annual blog hop has 24 authors/illustrators paired with 24 Latina bloggers.

I’m honored to be paired with Professor René Saldaña, Jr.  today.  His children and young adult books inspire us to pursue our dreams through passion, dedication and hardwork.  I can relate to many of the books he has written, especially, The Jumping Tree.  The book is a coming of age novel about the experiences Rene faces to become a young adult while living between Mexico and Texas.

I was raised in a bicultural home by a Latina mother who instilled the importance of  hardwork.  We celebrated the arts, literature and culture with our familia across the border.

Consider carving out some time in your day to follow the month long celebration at Latinas4LatinoLit.org Dia Blog Hop after reading today’s inspiring reflection.

REFLECTIONS by René Saldaña
FOR Latinas For Latino Literature

This morning in Lubbock, Texas, it rained. It’s such a big deal here when it does rain because it doesn’t happen often. A local news station even runs a sort of a pool, wherein viewers predict when we’ll get our first rain and they’ll win goodies in the form of paraphernalia from the TV station. I’ve yet to participate myself, but I’m happy somebody won because it means it’s rained.

We are several years into a drought in West Texas, which makes sense because we’re basically a desert out here. It’s bone dry, I tell you, and the local meteorologist occasionally will put up on the screen how much it would have to rain daily for us to catch up to normal levels. Though I get it that we’re so far behind, I’ve seen these numbers before, and I still can’t quite wrap my brain around how dire our situation.

So, this morning, there were puddles on the ground. And though I tell my own kids not to walk through them because they’ll ruin their shoes, they still do it, and inside, I smile. I smile because I know how fun it is to stomp on a puddle, making a big or small splash depending on the size of the puddles. I used to do it myself as a kid, against my mother’s wishes. Incidentally, she gave me the exact same reason why I shouldn’t plow through a puddle: I’ll ruin my shoes. And yet, today, inwardly, I smile when my own kids “ruin” their shoes that way. Because secretly, I wish I had the guts to do it still. But I’m an adult, and so I don’t.

What I do, though, is to look down into the puddles as I’m stepping over them, and I see my own reflection in them and that makes me happy. In the middle of this drought, puddles are so infrequent that I take any and every chance to see myself reflected in them. My reflection is precious in this format because it is as uncommon as the rain. You know what? I admit it: I’m so egotistical because I can’t get enough of myself in these puddles. I have to wonder: is it the reflection of myself that is attractive, the puddle, or both? I think it’s both.

Recently, Walter Dean Myers wrote in the New York Times (03/15/14) that there is a similar dearth within the publishing industry of books by writers of color about kids of color: books in which young readers might see themselves represented accurately and fairly: books in which young readers of color are “struck by the recognition of themselves in the story, a validation of their existence as human beings, an acknowledgement of their value by someone who understands who they are.” I’ve been arguing the same on behalf of young Latino/a readers for years now. So has Matt de la Peña in Arizona of late, where the powers that be have seen fit to do away with Mexican American studies, in essence rubbing out of existence Americans of Mexican descent by outlawing the culture’s literature. (For more on the subject of the futile attempt at the unmaking of a people, follow Tony Diaz, founder of Librotraficante, on The Huffington Post.)

When such titles appear on the scene, imagine the response on the part of young Latino/a readers at seeing their own reflections in the characters therein: they are validated, they see for themselves how they are very much a part of the American-Dream tapestry.

They will experience the same joy I do at first stomping a foot into a puddle, making a splash of indescribable proportions; second skipping over the puddles to see a flash of myself flying; and last, seeing myself clearly reflected back at me, not as stranger, not as other, not as illegal, but very much at home in my own skin, in my own story, in my own books.

Tonight, there is a hint of more rain in the air. A sort of coolness in the breeze. I’m waiting for the first sign of rain: the pitter-patter of drops on the skylight as I’m typing this. The prognostication for tomorrow says no rain, though. It’ll be dry, dusty, and windy, says the weatherman. But man, having seen myself in those puddles earlier in the day I’m comforted because for a brief moment today I saw myself in countless puddles and the next rain can’t be far off. So like our kids must who wait on the next book about them, I, too, will wait for the next storm. At first, I’ll wait patiently. And then anxiously. And then I’ll be out of my mind waiting. Mad like that because I’ve caught that clear reflection of myself in the puddles now, and I know how right that is, and how wrong the drought.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

René Saldaña, Jr., is an associate professor in the Language, Diversity, and Language Studies in the College of Education at Texas Tech University.

He is also the author of various titles for children and young adults, including The Jumping Tree, Finding Our Way: Stories, A Good Long Way, the Mickey Rangel bilingual detective/mystery series, among others.


In May, his first picture book will be published; it is a bilingual counting book that follows a boy on the day of his birthday fiesta. It is titled Dale, dale, dale: una fiesta de números/Hit It, Hit It, Hit It: A Fiesta of Numbers (Piñata Books).

He, his wife Tina, and their children Lukas, Mikah, Kalyn, and Jakob have adopted a puppy that they named Chito, after René’s pet dog from childhood.

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