Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm Here to Make Tamales... Not Friends

Yesterday was the mamacita of all tamaladas, the 3rd annual tamalada at my sister's house in Oakland. We started doing this a couple of years ago when I felt the strong need for a massive masa encounter. My sis has a huge social network comprised of neighborhood dog owners, corporate event planners, Bay Area foodies, family, and the new friends we make who learn that a tamalada is going to happen and "please oh please can I come??!!!"

I missed last year's tamalada. I was too busy having psychotic hallucinations from prednisone but this year I arrived clean and ready.

My role is Masa Maker, the most important job (in my humble opinion). My last tamalada didn't come out as nicely as I'd wanted due to a bucket of sludge we called manteca but you can read about that later. This year we came armed with the good stuff: the large white bucket of highly processed fat. (Everyone check your cholesterol issues at the door before you make tamales!)

My sister Jeanne bought a 25 pound sack of Masa. Think the size of a cement bag, something that can fortify weak levees. Humongous amounts of masa. Buckets of manteca lined the kitchen counter, with chicken broth balancing the act. And yes, we used the Kitchen Aide mixer. (Sorry purists like Marta, but we've got power tools and attitude this year!)

I am happy to say that this year's masa was PHENEOMENAL. It rocked. Light and fluffy, passing the float test each and every time. Flavored with hints of New Mexico chiles, cumin, other batches with roasted garlic, another with cinnamon and brown sugar. Some plain batches, too. Yes, it was a banner year for masa.

My field crew, however, was inconsistent at best. How can my sister assemble such a highly educated group of world travelers, scholars, foodies, professionals... and hardly any of them can roll a decent tamale? Hijole!

I would leave my masa mixing and tamale steaming post from time to time to visit the assembly line at the kitchen table. A lawyer and his wife were patting their masa into the corn husks like it was PlayDo. "Can I offer you a quick tutorial?", I asked.

"No, I have a perfectly fine system worked out here," said Mr. Lawyer.

OK, I'm dealing with a person who argues to be right for a living, I think to myself.

"So how many times have you made tamales?" I asked.

"Well, this is my first time."

"Let me offer you a tutorial," I repeated.

Honestly, I practically had to strongarm the guy to get a tutorial going. I showed him how to put the corn husk in his hand, spread the masa EVENLY with a spoon. Pointed out the sweet spot to put the filling in JUST the right amount. Folded it and finished it with pride.

I picked up the tamale he made. I picked up the tamale I made.

"Any questions?"

"No", replied Mr. Lawyer sheepishly. But I could still see rebellion in his eyes.

My inner Clint Eastwood emerged. Wish I had a smoldering Tiparillo between my teeth and High Plains Drifter playing in the background.

"So you can do it your way and make a mess of things... or you can do it my way. I'll see you at the steamer with some well made tamales, right?"

Mr. Lawyer nods. Yeah buddy, good answer.

Mrs. Lawyer wasn't EVEN going to mess with me after that round. She compliantly listened, an easy and teachable student.

Imagine that scenario repeating itself about 100 times through the night. At one point I pulled my sister aside. "We have serious quality control problems on the floor. Our crew is flabby... their tamales inconsistent."

My sister is a wonderful cook and hostess, but she opted for making sure her guests were happy and having fun. "Just let them do what they want to do."

I clenched my imaginary Tiparillo once again, squinting my eyes in disbelief. "Next year I'm revising our whole training operation. Next year we'll whip these people into shape."

OK, maybe you're thinking I'm taking this tamalada too seriously. Well fast forward to the steamer, 90 minutes later. I'm grabbing broken tamales out of the steamer, the result of poor masa spreading and corn husk folding. Maureen the massage therapist/amazing chef/world traveler comes up and looks in the pot.

I knew she'd understand.

"How is it", she said, "that your sister can have such smart friends but none of them know how to listen?"

"They're over-educated", I surmised as I pulled out tamale pot roadkill- perfectly flavored fillings lost forever.

"I've had to be the heavy all night", I told her. "But dammit, I'm here to make tamales, not friends!"

Maureen nodded in solidarity. We knew what this was all about as the rest of the crowd guzzled margaritas on a Wednesday night like it was a weekend in Cabo.

Next year I'll whip those sorry ass tamale makers into shape and we'll have the tightest tamalada ship around!

But first, I need to relight my Tiparillo.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I should be working right now (ooh, bad choice of words... "should")

Let me rephrase that: I am choosing not to work right now. (ahh, much better. More honesty)

It's sort of a crappy day and I need cheering up, so instead of working on THE NEW BOOK PROJECT I am happily watching videos on my new fave upload network VOY.TV

wanna join me? You can spare 3 minutes right? It's not like we're renting a movie and wasting a whole afternoon. Just a few delicious moments in time..


OK, now this one is total 5th grade humor but it cracked me up!

So go to VOY TV and sign up, it's free and fun and all that. There is another one called Filmmaking 101 that was hysterical... had some profanity so I'm not going to put it up but look for it and watch it. It was pretty darn funny.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nancy Marmolejo on Entrepreneur's Radio Show

I had the pleasure of being a guest on Neil and Barbara Bry's radio show, The Entrepreneur's Guide to the Galaxy. They also go by the name "I'm There For You Baby" and there is this whole "baby" cult around it that I love. Not baby as in "waa-waa", more like Austin Powers baby. You have to listen in to appreciate it! My segment is a few minutes into the show, I gave the story of Comadre Coaching as well as some info on the meteoric rise of Latina business owners. Go Latinas!

Turn up your speakers and enjoy the ride, baby!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Post Tamale Syndrome, Manteca and All

Yesterday I spent most of the day at a Tamalada (that's a tamale making party in case you aren't familiar with the term). My comadre Sylvia opened her home to families w/ kids for a day of expressing gratitude while working together to make homemade tamales.

I suggested the project and claimed to be an experienced tamale maker, so that put me in a leadership position of sorts. The idea was for us to take our thanksgiving leftovers and turn them into awesome tamale fillings.

The day before this tamalada, my job was to assemble equipment and key ingredients:
1. Tamale steamer (tamalero)
2. Bag of masa harina
3. Manteca... yes the real deal.

Manteca is Spanish for lard. (It is also the name of the town where I met my husband but that is for another day.) You hear "manteca" and folks either cringe in fear or quiver in sinful delight. It's the grease we all love to hate (at least from a health perspective) but hands down makes the best tamale masa around.

Basic tamale eating rule:
You eat your tamales and you don't ask too many questions about how the masa got so fluffy.

I drove down to Northgate Market, my favorite Mexican market, and strolled the aisles looking for my ingredients. I got totally sidetracked in the produce department, picking up guayabas, nopales, and chiles, but soon got back to the business of looking for lard.

I passed a big display of already made masa, but something in me kept saying, "No, you MUST make your own!". Carol was going to bring her Kitchen Aid mixer so we were set. We were prepared to make masa.

I grab the masa mix, get some chicken broth, now all I need is the manteca. I find an aisle with oil and crisco, and am looking for the familiar white bucket of El Mexicano manteca. Hmmmm,don't see it. Looking, looking, looking... oh there is container of manteca, it's the Northgate brand. Not a white bucket, but hey that's cool. Let's get it and go.

This manteca was so O.G, so "my abuelita", so non-processed it made me shudder for a moment. For in this innocent looking bucket was a light caramel colored substance that smelled like chicharrones and carnitas. This was not the white processed manteca I'd purchased before, this was that brown stuff that Mama Keke used to keep in a coffee can next to the stove and add to her frijoles.

The tamale party was going to be a pretty PC crowd, so I was a little nervous about bringing this blatant animal product on board. I knew once they ate the tamales they wouldn't have minded, but there's a strong visual impact upon opening the plastic tub. I didn't want to be the woman scorned for corrupting this pure group with rendered animal flab.

My great idea was to arrive super early and make the masa before anyone came! (It took a lot of years of school to get this smart) That way, no one would see the manteca, all they'd do is get a bowl of amazingly aromatic masa and ya estuvo.

Sylvia, the hostess, is a bit like me. We strive to eat organically, limit junk food with our kids... but when it comes to our roots food, we throw caution to the wind and go for it! After all, we don't eat like this everyday, so it's all totally justified.

She let out a howl when she opened the manteca tub. Cracking up, she ran and grabbed her movie camera. "Oh, we have to get this on film!" So I did an impromptu cooking show, expounding on the merits of manteca and how we weren't really going to be eating the manteca, just sort of biting into places where it once rested.

The tamale-manteca theory is as follows:
You whip the holy hell out of your manteca, then add your other ingredients. You continue whipping it until the masa is fluffy.

When you steam your tamales, all that fluffy manteca melts away, leaving you with greaseless pillows of air, and a delightfully light texture.

We grabbed the Kitchen Aid and started whipping this chicharron fat til it was shiny and looked like frosting. But it seemed a little too soft...



"Well," I stammered, " I think we are having masa problems."

This masa just wasn't working. You have to beat your masa until a little ball of it floats in ice water. I was producing sinkers.

"This isn't right... we have the Kitchen Aid mixer for God's sake! That makes it fool proof!!!"

So we tried again. And again. And again.

Sinker, sinker, sinker.

Great tamales are made with great masa. With my masa flunking the float test, I knew all was doomed. Why didn't I go to another store and find my familiar white processed manteca? Crap! That's all I could mutter. I hung my head in shame.

God, are you messing with me or what?
I am a person who writes a lot about letting go of perfectionism. My higher power has this warped sense of humor and delights in putting me to the test at the untimeliest moments.

I had a lot of ego invested in this tamalada it turns out. I came up with the idea, I took a leadership position, I branded myself as this masa making queen. All eyes were on me. All questions were directed at me. I wanted this to be the be-all, end-all tamalada. However, my masa sunk. My manteca let me down.

Of course this all ends happily.

1. People glimpsed the manteca and didn't run after me with lit torches.
2. Their focus was on getting together and enjoying each other's company... not on me or the quality of my masa. (Light bulb moment)
3. The tamales turned out great, no one was hospitalized for excessive manteca intake. The fillings were tasty and the texture was fluffy enough.
4. I got the chance to learn about manteca and masa in a fun and funny way.

Now of course that evening I felt a bit stuffed and followed the next day with a flaxseed smoothie (ironically the Mexican market sells flaxseeds right across from the meat dept)and vow to eat nothing but celery sticks today.

A little bit of masa goes a long way and a with the right manteca, you never know what you'll learn.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Learn Spanish, the spicy way

My cyber comadre Maya is a wonderfully eclectic and interesting woman. When we first met online 3 years ago, she was living in Oregon. Her kids were these world travelers going on exchange programs to Brazil and Germany as teens. She teaches mindful meditation and offers a host of classes to take online.

Then Maya and hubby moved to Mazatlan, which was a big thrill for me because my grandparents were from a pueblo not too far from Mazatlan. Just as I got comfortable with her being in Mexico, they decided to move to Buenos Aires! Can you imagine the dietary contrasts? I hear that in Argentina you're hard pressed to find a salad anywhere, and that eating beef is a national pastime. With my Mazatlan tropical / California healthy tendencies, I can't imagine a day without lots of fruits and veggies.

Well all that iron in the bloodstream must be doing something to Miss Maya because in a quest to improve her Spanish, she has started The Sexy Spanish Club. Bored with the traditional Spanish classes, Maya has assembled a group of ex-pats to learn Spanish by writing steamy letters to imaginary lovers. Guided by a fun teacher, they are taking language acquisition to a whole new level!

Check out The Sexy Spanish Club blog... then either grab your honey or take a cold shower!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Photo Updates-

If you're on dial up, go grab a bite or something while this page loads. For the rest of you, here are some photos that I've been wanting to put up for ages.

Here it is November, and I'm still blogging about the Crafty Chica Cruise! This photo was from the Captain's dinner, that's where you get all dolled up and go to dinner. Lobster, desserts... yum! My seasickness was subsiding during this as I downed a lobster like it was nobody's business. That's me, Bunny, and Auntie Tallo. Citlalli was having a cookies and milk party at the Kid Camp Carnival.
To see the really good pics, check out the ones on Kathy's blog.

After the cruise I went to Kelly O'Neil's Uplevel Intensive. Here I am with my new comadres Laura Figueroa, Denise Trifeletti, Linda Hollander, Kim Jameson, Mary Pat Sorenson, and that's me on the right.

This is one of my favorites. How many princess ballerinas does it take the shred the Trike Track at KidSpace Museum in Pasadena? Right after this we had a celeb sighting: Jason "My Name is Earl" Lee, wife, and son enjoying the Pumpkin Fest. He dresses like Earl off the set. OK, not to be catty, just an observation. Plaid flannel shirt, backpack... whatever! He wasn't a princess ballerina, though.

2nd Annual Indigenous Womens Conference, Orange County, CA

Myself, Jacqui Garza, and Terri Lawrence were some of the speakers at this recent indigenous women's conference. I really admire Jacqui and Terri for being who they are. Jacqui spoke of surviving domestic abuse and Terri shared the history of Two-Spirit people. She did it so eloquently and with such dignity, anyone who came in w/ any preconceived notions quickly had a paradigm shift. I spoke on a spirituality panel with Corene Graywolf and danzante Virginia Carmelo.

Lorena Ortega showed what it's all about in this pic. Here she is with her baby in arms, running the show and being a great MC. She also spoke on surviving violence and her story would make an incredible movie.

This is Lupe Lopez, Director of Alianza Indigena and the inspiration behind all of this. She amazes me. This woman is a true community treasure. With her is health advocate and awesome mujer Rhonda Folsom.

Big shout outs to all the amazing women who went, the panelists who shared their stories, and Alianza Indigena for doing beautiful work in the community. Hi to Blanca Gordo, Dr. Emily Chavez, Tia Martha Collins and everyone else who traveled far to join us.

Come early November and we have Citlalli's birthday. Here I am at her preschool bringing cupcakes and celebrating with her. Right after that I went to a luncheon for National Latina Business Womens Association and saw even more comadres. I am in green, did you notice? That's a new color for me. I always wear red or black, this was going out on a limb. any comments?

Oh, and look who washed ashore in Long Beach to join me for dinner! It is none other than coach Catherine Bruns, my podcast partner and true soulmate. We can sit and talk for hours in person or on the phone. This was our annual get together. Next year I think I'll have to bite the bullet and meet her at her home in Hawaii.

Next we went to San Diego for a 90th birthday party, squeezed in a birthday party for Citlalli at Disneyland and now it's Thanksgiving.

Yes, this was a long update, but now I can get on w/ things! You wonder why I'm taking time off in November and December... all this fun can tire a person out!

Monday, October 30, 2006

No Pumpkin Left Unturned, No Ancestor Forgotten

Being bilingual and bicultural is double the fun, and nothing shows that more than Halloween and Day of the Dead.

From a decorating and shopping point of view, it could be overwhelming but I will share with you how I deal with it because this year it's a little different. My daughter Citlalli is now into aesthetics and is conscious of the fact that other houses on the block are decorated like Halloween. So I went all out at her request to make our house more in the holiday spirit: made a trip to the 99 Cent Store and Big Lots(!) for some low budget, no muss no fuss decor.

Brainwashing happens on the consumer level, I am convinced. From scary skulls to overly sexy costumes to evil witches, the message for Halloween is lost on me but obviously resonating w/ others. I opted for happy pumpkins, and non-menacing characters. I'm down on all the witch and scary bat stuff- after all, bats are pollinators and eat mosquitos, and witches were the medicine women of their people. Those are not evil traits.

Day of the Dead is such a different type of holiday. Besides having a more spiritual element, it doesn't go out of its way to scare the be-juju out of you. The goal is to heal your fear of death, not make you wake up sweating for fear of the grim reaper chopping off your head.

I assemble an altar each year to honor my past loved ones. Just found a deck of cards, so that and a racing form will be perfect for my dad. My grandmother gets honored with her photos and old Mexican jewelry of hers that she left me. My stepdaughter's baby (who didn't make it past 2 months) has a place by my grandmother (she loved babies). We put my husband's father and grandfather there, his Aunt Rosie, and the baby shoes of a child we lost in miscarriage many years ago.

The joy and laughter of Day of the Dead balance the fear and mischief of Halloween. Having them next to each other is an interesting study in contrasts, allowing us to enjoy them both to whatever extent we choose.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Something to Declare

So I have now wrapped up 3 back to back trips and am really glad to NOT be in an airplane, conference room, or foreign bed. It turns out that I am a high maintenance person masquerading as a laid back comadre, as my restless sleep, motion sickness, and unending tiredness point out.

In my last post I alluded to my seasick tendencies while on the Carnival Paradise with my comadre Crafty Chica. What I didn't mention was that a quote from the movie Snatch kept coming up in my head:

"Anything to declare?"
"Yeah, don't go to England."

Except my version says "Yeah, don't go on cruises!"

But there's a happy ending and yet another plug for non-traditional medicines.

2 weeks after the cruise, I was a guest at Kelly O'Neil's UpLevel Intensive. This was a spectacular business building seminar (which she is repeating in February and you ought not miss). However I felt like crap the first couple of days, still feeling like I was bobbing on the SS Paradise. I met a wonderful chiropractor there who was interested in my situation, and she suggested a little neck adjustment.

As much as I love chiros, I still haven't gotten comfortable with the idea of someone's hands clutching my neck, but Kim had this great distraction technique to get me to relax and BOOM-CRACKA-LACKA she tweaked me so good it sounded like firecrackers going off.

Dizziness and queasiness: gone.

High five to Dr. Kim and her miracle technique.

When you're a solopreneur, your health can make or break your business. I made a decision to really focus on my wellness. November and December are going to be light months for me, no big new pushes (none that I'm instigating, anyhow).

Oh, and staying on dry land is a major component of my new wellness regimen.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Will Cruise for Crafts

Well I'm officially Fresh off the Boat!

That would be the Crafty Chica Creativity Cruise, a lovely 4 days bobbing at sea on a large cruise vessel, The Carnival Paradise.

Kathy Cano Murillo (Crafty Chica) is perhaps the most positive, upbeat person I have ever met. She is so sincere, so funny, and LOVES to spread the gospel of glitter throughout the world. Her husband Patrick is awesome too, they are one of those great couples that makes you believe in the power of love.

So where are the pics? Still in my camera. I'll post them soon.

Accompanying me on the cruise were my mom (she's my sidekick!) and my tia Auntie Tallo. (Say "Tie-oh"). Used to be Chayo, but through the miracles of Spanglish she became Tallo.

OK, I will never go on a cruise again, simply because I get motion sickness and spent half of Sunday wishing the world would stop bobbing. But for Kathy, I'd do it. She was great and treated us all as if we were her special guests. My mom and aunt had a blast too. We made shrines and cards and jewelry... with lots of Frida, Virgen de Guadalupe and glitter.

My daughter enjoyed the kid activities and made a great amiguita in Pilar, her new fave 4 year old pal.

I came home to find my web connection AND telephone out of service and the phone company says it may be til Thursday. Yikes! so I'm working from my cell phone and blasting this blog out from the public library. Yay for internet Hot Spots!

My head and stomach still feel like they're on the ocean, but let's hope that subsides soon. Am I a wimp traveler? Hope not because there is one more trip to the Bay Area in a week.

If you have any cruise stories to share, please comment away. I had many insights on cruise indulgence culture that I'll share at a later date, but all in all it was a very interesting experience.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Big Award Ceremony

Just got back from receiving the Anna Maria Arias Award at the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 27th National Convention and it was amazing.

It was the first time I've left Citlalli and Dad for 2 nights and miracle of all miracles... they survived! (Quite nicely, might I add.)

The awards ceremony was elegant, beautiful, emotional, inspiring... a heartfelt tribute to Anna Maria Arias and the women of her legacy.

As much as I enjoyed myself, I have to admit that the festivities weren't all about me or the other awardees.

Oh no, not by a long shot.

Another woman stepped up and occupied a joyful time in the limelight.

If you really want to know...


Bunny is this bouyant, energetic woman with more enthusiasm than people half her age. She'd never been to a convention like this before, never been "networking", yet she handled herself like a pro. Armed with a pocket of my business cards, she went forth with my segunda mama Nora from Las Comadres and together they conquered the convention hall.

Key people... the kind that you have to muster up nerve to talk to ... came up to me. Did they say, "Oh hello, Nancy and congratulations"? Not at first. First they had to say, "Oh Nancy, I just met your mother and she's WONDERFUL!" She is a PR machine without even knowing it. (Here she is having drinks with Doug from Wells Fargo).

Out of the corner of my eye I'd see her talking with her hands telling people all about how I help Latina business owners, adding her own little touches like a story or two about grandkids, how she discovered Shakespeare at age 70, then expertly weave it back to business. It was really amazing. She was deputized on the spot and is now my Corporate Relations Specialist. Gotta get her cards now! This is raw natural talent.

We met several cool people from Wells Fargo Bank (they co-sponsor the award), LATINA Style magazine, and the US Hispanic Chamber. The Expo hall was filled with everything from the phone company to official delegations from Latin America. Imagine a mariachi strolling the aisles as you're amassing a bounty of SWAG.

The award is gorgeous and it is proudly on display. Last night I went to a Comadrazo for Las Comadres and showed a DVD with clips of us all. (Remember I wrote about the film crew in my house?)

I had been advising several clients to get massages recently to alleviate the stress they've been under, and decided to treat myself to a hot stone massage the day after I arrived. It feels good to be back home, back in touch with clients, and feeling the euphoria linger.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Where did Summer Go?

Weather wise, it is hot as H-E-double toothpicks, but it's not really summer. The days are getting shorter, the kids are back to school. August was really a great month, and here are a few snippets from my life.

Yet another niece heading to college!
OK, we've got Kati and Julia at art colleges in the Bay Area, now high school senior Allie is looking to come to SoCal for college next year. I hope so- I told her she could do laundry at my house and babysit! (See how I snuck in babysit- genius, pure genius).

She came down with my sister Jeanne and toured some colleges and I am crossing my fingers that she gets accepted at the one closest to me.

While they were down here, my other sister Suzanne/Zan/Suzy/Sue met us at Jeanne and hubby's friend's house for an incredible dinner. We had the most amazing meal. Let me just say, when you are going to dinner at a famous food writer's house, you bring a plant. Or a scented candle, or a book, or anything but food. Why? This guy is DA HOOK UP for gourmet food. Humboldt Fog cheese, burrata or "mozzarella crack" as I call it, cured meats that I can't pronounce, etc etc etc. The only thing I could offer was a correct pronunciation on the famed restaurant La Guelaguetza. Other than that I just ate, smiled, and appreciated!

Us 3 sisters kept the air full of conversation and good cheer. (Don't you love our Osmond family smiles?)

August 28 I had the absolute good fortune to attend Handmade Galleries customer appreciation party. Andy Spyros is my hero! She put on a great party and I shopped til I dropped in her store. I have stocking stuffers checked off my list for the holidays.

Citlalli and Andy's daughter Zoe had a blast running through the store (nothing broken). Zoe showed Citlalli the ropes of how to play in the store without causing major damage. I don't know how they did it, but they did. Zoe is the older and wiser one.

This month has travel to Philadelphia (my nerves are shaking!) for the heretofore unidentified award, then off to the Crafty Chica Cruise, then up to the Bay Area in October. I'm not used to all this excitement but I'm loving it while it lasts.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Can you keep a secret?

Well, I don't know if you can keep a secret, but I sure can.

Yes I can, yes I can, yes I can.

I sure can.

OK, you dragged it out of me, but I'm not letting you in on everything:

Last month I posted an entry referring to a big award I was applying for and guess what:
I got it!

I'm not saying which award (the organization giving the award wants us quiet til they officially announce it), but it's prestigious, a huge honor, and will help me further develop my coaching work to help Latinapreneurs (my term) find personal and financial success.

I fly back east in September to get the award at a big snazzy event. I'm really excited because I'm bringing my mom and it will be Citlalli's first time ever spending the night without me, just dad. They'll be fine... remember, they love to watch Bob Marley DVDs.

On Friday a film crew (1 guy doing the work of 3 people still counts as a crew in my mind) came and filmed an hour of me that will get sliced down to a 30 second snippet. They'll flash that on the screen as I accept the award (I'M NOT TELLING YOU WHAT AWARD YET! OK!?!) I think their idea was to avoid long winded acceptance speeches. (I kept my acceptance speech for Entrepreneur of the Year to under 3 minutes- I know to keep it short and sweet.)

The funniest thing is that this past week has been the week I decided to redo my office, and living room. House=disaster. The goal of this film shoot was to capture me in my work environment. Hmmmmmm. Need to think creatively.

I called my extremely talented artist friend Erin and asked if she could stage an area in my house that we could use as a substitute office. She was awesome! We had to take about a million of Paco's books down (Advaita, Zapatistas, Dreads, Reggae, Politics, Native Struggle, etc), stack them up under the kitchen counter, then recreate this space as my ideal office. She did a great job turning my dining room into a dream office- Maria Sanchez art, my grandmother's molcajete, certificates of recognition from Congresswomen Loretta Sanchez and Linda Sanchez, pictures of my family. I sort of felt like I was moving into an IKEA vignette.

I invited my comadre Alicia Maciel over and asked her if she could pose as my client for the film shoot. Since my business is mostly virtual,I don't have a client meeting space, but we made it look like we were really going at some good strategizing. (Actually we were, we were going to meet later that day to talk about licensing and intellectual properties, so we just had our meeting while being filmed).

This has been a whirlwind, I totally hit the wall of exhaustion after all was done, but perked up enough later that day to do a girls night out w/ my moms group.

Whew! More exciting info to come...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ice Cream, Grit Under the Car Seat and Other Highlights From a La Vida Loca

Today was a restless day punctuated with cravings for sweets and the desire to GET OUT of the house. My husband wasn't feeling well so I invited 3 year old Citlalli to have some girl fun with mom. How could she refuse, we're BFFs.

Ice cream was on my mind. Either Watson's old fashioned drugstore/fountain in Old Towne Orange, or maybe Ben and Jerry's?

Using an ice cream date as the carrot on the stick, I got Citlalli to eat ALL of her frijoles, half an avocado, and take a gummy bear vitamin. Each time she put up a fuss I mentioned how poor little me would just have to go eat all that ice cream alone... well, it worked and she gobbled her dinner up.

She had vanilla in a chocolate sprinkle waffle cone and I had a scoop of strawberry cheesecake in a cup if you're curious. While we ate she decided that her name would now be Sparkle Girl and I'd be Ice Cream Girl. Later on I was renamed Raindrop Girl which I like a whole lot better and sounds way more Ben and Jerry-ish.

Next to the Ben and Jerry's is a new Hooka Lounge. I wasn't sure what that meant til I saw the Hooka pipes on the counter and hand written warnings on the windows warning everyone that this was a place to smoke and that pregnant women shouldn't come in. Then that reminded me of a bizarre craving I had for tobacco when I was pregnant (I don't smoke and I didn't fulfill the craving but it was odd).

As I was strapping Citlalli into her carseat on our way out, I couldn't believe how dirty the car was. Imagine a mix of cheerios, sand, twigs, leaves, broken crayons, and doll parts all ground into the rug of a car. It was disgusting. And whose fingernails were those? Eeek.

We had to go through a full 2 rounds of vaccuming, that means $2.00 of heavy duty vacuuuming! We didn't have any rags with us so using the carwash was out, but as soon as we got home we set to work on making our wagon sparkle.

I have neighbors who are compulsive car washers. We are the occasional car washers. My philosophy is "why bother? It will be covered in fingerprints and cheerios tomorrow?" But every now and then the bug bites me and I feel oh so California out there with my bucket and sponge.

Actually if I were super OC I'd go to some place and have my car washed for me, but the way they set up the carwashes is so voyeuristic. Anyhow, I feel a rant coming on and I don't want you to see me lose it right now. It's too good a day.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Cardio Azteca

That's my nickname for Thursday evening practices with the Danza Azteca group I joined.

I'd been looking for a danza group near me for so long, and as life always does, things worked out perfectly for me.

A young couple decided that they wanted to help heal the community through danza, so they brought the drum outside, and let it call those who were ready to hear it. It just happened that my good friend lives across the street and she called me immediately.

Danza Azteca is sacred dance, strenuous, and filled with references to nature, dieties, and history. Each dance tells a story or gives honor. It has been an incredible experience for both me and my daughter. She hops around the circle for a while, shakes a sonaja, then leaves to play with her little friends, but I try to stick it out. We dance for about an hour then we spend the next hour telling stories, learning nahuatl, and sharing what's on our minds. (That's called palabra, or word.)

My knees can't do the acrobatics and lunges known to danza Azteca, but my feet keep the best rhythm they can, my corazon is in the right place, and my daughter is learning about her culture that books could never capture.

I found a clip of some danza on It's actually a stage performance, a real danza ceremonia is performed in a big circle outside. But it can give you an idea if you're unfamiliar.

Here are some cool links if you want to read up more on la cultura Azteca and how it lives on today:
Mexicayotl Cultural Center
Learn Nahuatl
Danza Terms

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

La Diva Latina in Print!

As much as we all love the paperless world of online living, nothing compares to thumbing through a good old fashioned paper magazine. You can bend the pages, listen to the flipping sound as you turn them, fan yourself while contemplating what you've read, even swat a fly or two with it when you're done.

The other day I received a paper version of Jennese Torres' cool magazine La Diva Latina, and it was great! I love reading her magazine online, but the hard copy was really cool. My favorite articles were about the boricuas who are embracing their Taino roots. Way to go, hermanas! Looks like someone out my way sent you some white sage.

Did you get a chance to meet Jennese on my podcast Release Your Inner Loca? She is so funny. I sent out an email blast promoting the podcast I did after hers (with vampire loca Marta Acosta), and Jen immediately emailed me "Where's MY email blast?"

That's what I love about her- so direct and to the point. Muy NYC. Out here in California, we just let things slide but that NY directness always reminds me that it's OK to ask for what you want.

Make sure you subscribe to Jen's online magazine La Diva Latina and follow what she's up to. She is definately one to watch.

Friday, August 04, 2006

New Logo for Release Your Inner Loca

Well, all those years of helping my talented niece with college applications, life, and everything else have finally paid off! Here is my new logo, thanks to the talented skills of Kati P. What do you think?
 Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 31, 2006

NLBWA San Diego

When I told people in my last issue of the Pocket Comadre that I would be speaking in San Diego to the National Latina Business Women's Association, I got emails wishing me a great trip. I know it must sound far away, but San Diego isn't really THAT far from me, and the north side of the county (where my speaking engagement was) is a good 25 miles north of the city of San Diego. So all in all, I drove less than 90 minutes each way and what an amazing drive! Imagine a sunny day on the California coast, unclogged freeways, ocean views from the highway. It was heavenly.

In the picture above (I'm in the middle) you see Victoria Spencer of Fiesta Imports on the left. Fascinating woman- a background in anthropology and a world traveler, she opened this store filled with wonderful folk art and textiles from Latin America. I'm wearing a hand tied silk shawl from Columbia which I ended up going home with- lucky me!

On the right is author Sylvia Mendoza holding up her book The Book Of Latina Women: 150 Vidas of Passion, Strength, and Success . Sylvia invited me to speak to this group after attending one of my teleclasses. She was so inspired by what she got out of the class that she created a college course based on her book and will be teaching it this fall. Go Sylvia!

When I finish a speaking engagement my head is always buzzing, so I just turn the radio off and drive home with Radio Nancita blaring in my head: replays of conversations and feelings of immense gratitude for meeting such cool people. It's a cross between mind chatter and prayer chanting.

I got home just in time to rest for a half hour, then picked up my daughter and we went to our Aztec dance practice. (I'll be blogging more on Danza Azteca soon- we're a great little group of dedicated people, all ages, all ability levels. Let me just say that deep knee bends and lunges are off my list so I hunker along as best as I can!)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Education of Little C

My husband hates hot weather and it's been stifling here this summer. So when he is in charge of our daughter, he prefers to settle in a cool house and run a video.

Having endured Care Bears and Dora for a few years, he's taking the cultural reins and sharing some cool (perhaps unconventional for a 3 year old) movies with little Citlalli. Mind you, this is a child who can identify Bob Marley, Buddha, and Frida Kahlo. I mean identify them in her understanding- according to Citlalli Bob Marley and Buddha are Daddy's friends, Frida Kahlo is actually Mommy.

So here is their heatwave film fest with Citlalli commentary:

Neil Young Heart of Gold
Citlalli likes it when he mentions elements of nature. "He said 'ocean!'" He is now known as Uncle Neil.

Waking Life
Mom: "What's this movie about?"
Citlalli: "It's about people."


No Direction Home
"His name is Bob? Like Bob Marley? Are they friends?"

I think of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird who learned to read at age 3 by sitting with Atticus as he read the daily paper. With Citlalli's musical education, I'm wondering where she'll go.

Oh and she gives a big thumbs up to the new Michael Franti CD.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Taking off my God suit

Something about this photo of Diana Rigg stirs another dimension of my Inner Loca. The ass kicker, the invincible one. I think it's the catsuit. And it reminds me of something that happened the other morning.

I was sitting with my friend Maria and shared with her all of these things I had going on. Applying for a big award, preparing pitches, should we move out of our house, start Citlalli in kindergarten next year or wait, etc. Concerned about missing a great opportunity I told her this big plan I had to tell them this so they would think that and then they'd give me what I want...
can you hear the insanity?

She stared me straight in the eye.
"Nancy," she said, "take off your God Suit."

A God Suit is not to be confused with a birthday suit. It is that delusional mindset we don when we start thinking that we are in control.

"You don't know what is going to happen and face it- you have no control over the outcome. So far your higher power has done some pretty amazing things in your life, wouldn't you agree?"

I nodded. She was right. There I was, stickin' my nariz where it didn't belong. I thought that I knew the ideal outcome of a situation. As this old vato back in SF used to say, "you don't know nothin' bout noBody". Dang, he was right. And deep!

I have no beef with manifesting good in your life, but what I've learned is this. When things are hard, then I'm trying to force my will. When things come easy, that's my higher power's will working in my life.

I felt a great sense of relief when I let go of my need to know the outcome. Maybe I'll get the award, maybe I won't. It's not in my control... I submitted the best application I could. In fact by waiting, I got new information that may help my chances.

As for the pitch, the house, the kid... not every decision needs to be made now. Tomorrow a new person or piece of information may pop up and provide the missing piece that I need.

So off with the God Suit, back into abundance thinking and gratitude. It feels better already.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Remembering My Dad

It's hard to believe but it's been an entire year since my dad passed away.

To commemorate his passing, my family gathered at a farm owned by a family friend.
The weather was hot, the cherries ripe for the picking, and in the evening we joined in a circle and shared what insights we gained this past year without him.

I cry over my dad's death all the time. So does my mom, so do other family members. It's something I doubt I'll ever shake. Shopping for a Father's Day card then you suddenly realize you aren't buying one this year. Expecting to hear him take his customary 3 steps then spit out the front door every morning at 6am. I get pounded by grief with each holiday and special event, yet the unexpected reminders of his death are the ones that tear at me the most.

What struck me more than anything after my dad's memorial was how badly the men in our family needed this commemoration. As many men do, they held their emotions in this past year. Suddenly, in front of family they love (in-laws, surrogate siblings, close relations) they came face to face with the feelings of loss. My dad was loved and admired by many. He was a second father to a number of our friends, and a close confidant of many relatives. We put a bench in a special spot for him and I look forward to visiting the farm and having conversations with my Dad for many years to come.

The Drive Home

My sister, daughter and I had to drive home from Grass Valley, CA back to L.A. It's about an 8 hour drive. To get from the central valley of California to LA, you need to traverse this big mountain road called The Grapevine. It's a ruthless stretch of highway that consumers car radiators like candy and makes truckers cry like babies.

Fortunatley I have good Grapevine Mojo and never had a problem. Except Sunday when it was on fire and the entire road was closed.

We were 1 hour from my sister's house. 1 hour away if the Grapevine hadn't been a raging inferno. After conferring not only with fellow stranded motorists but my brother in law in Oakland, we decided not to sit and wait but to keep moving. My brother in law had all his maps out and was so happy to help us out. His Inner Boy Scout was earning a merit badge big time.

Now back to my dad for a moment. If this were a family vacation, he would have told us that we were the lucky winners of a dream vacation in Lebec, CA and that our prize would be a night at the nearest motor lodge, room service, and a swim in the Olympic sized pool. He'd maneuver our dusty station wagon to the motel and we'd be in hog heaven jumping on the motel beds, ordering Cokes from room service (we'd catch hell for that later when he got the bill) and disrupting everyone in earshot with our laughing. When asked why the Olympic sized pool was so small, he would have looked at us in disbelief. "This pool was specially built for the 1952 Midget Olympics. Didn't you ever hear of Hound Dog Henderson, the 3 foot tall high jumper?"

I was probably the only one who bought those stories... well, I was the youngest!

Anyhow, back to my journey home. Unlike Dad, we opted to keep going. Everyone had things to do Monday morning so it wasn't the time to pay hotel bills.

With my brother in law on the cell phone in Oakland, he mapped out a route for us that I confirmed w/ a local. Go north, over the Tehachapi Pass, down to Mojave, through the Antelope Valley, then you'll be in Santa Clarita 20 miles north of LA.

It all looked so easy on paper.

OK, the down side: it took over 3 hours.

The up side: It was a beautiful drive!

Up the mountains we saw the golden light of late afternoon reflect on the hills, then on the pass we watched a train circle up a mountain track going in and out of tunnels dug into rock. On our descent we watched the oaks turn into Joshua trees and before you know it we're in the Mojave desert. Edwards AFB was next to us - good thing the Space Shuttle didn't land that day too. We saw places I'd only read on maps and now I can happily say I've been to Lancaster.

It was a long trip, but with many sweet moments.

Monday, July 03, 2006

When Cool Kids Graduate

My niece Julia (pictured) just graduated from a public high school that is completely dedicated to performing and visual arts. You have to audition to get in and the dedication and talent of the students is phenomenal. These kids, from the jazz players to the dancers to the filmmakers to the actors to the visual artists to the opera singers to the gospel choir to the vocal ensemble (whew!) are already performing at a professional level. And no, they aren't rich kids who have spent their lives being tutored in the arts. The mix is as diverse as the county they live in. The common denominator is their intense passion for what they do.

I have to commend my sister, who as a single mom, searched high and low for public programs to serve her two talented kids. Now they're 18 and 20, both outstanding artists and ready to make their mark on the world.

The ceremony was held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in downtown LA, home to the Oscars for many years.

My sister, mom and I (pictured) all laughed as we sat down in our plush orchestra seats: "I wonder whose famous butt sat here on Oscar night!"

The "show" for lack of a better word (oh yeah, diplomas were handed out but we were there for the talent) lasted over 4 hours and blew our minds. We saw experimental abstract theater, jazz improv, piano, dance, film, art...

I'm so incredibly proud of my niece and have to admit, it's nice being from a family that CELEBRATES when someone declares themself an art major (rather than disowning them as some can do).

Viva el arte!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Rock Camp for Girls!

... or should that read "grrrrrrrrrrrrrrls"?

For all you mamis who sang in front of the mirror dreaming of being a rock star, now your hijas can live the dream at Rock Camp!

Thanks to Maegan "La Mamita Mala" for telling me about this NYC rock camp for girls.

Learn about Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. Even if you're not in NYC, support this great effort.I loved looking at the photo gallery, I think my kid would be ready to join forces with The Pink Kitties anyday now, then graduate on to Hellish Relish!

If you're on the West Coast, you can check out Portland's Rock'n'roll Camp for Girls. Just saw that they have a Ladies rock camp... does that mean it isn't too late for the rest of us?

Rock on!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Just call me Nancy Marmolizzle from now on mah shizzle. Here is a Gizoogle translation of the first paragraph of my last post:

Gangsta pissed off Mexican speaks:

I met a woman a year ago at a network'n event who, gangsta trad'n business cards wit me, decided tizzle I needed ta be added ta her email B-L-to-tha-izzast list.

Go to and enter your website. It'll make ya shudda.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Racist Emails - Keep them Away from Me!

Another pissed off Mexican speaks:

I met a woman a year ago at a networking event who, after trading business cards with me, decided that I needed to be added to her email blast list.

So at first it was all those happy little chain letters with flowers and sappy poems but then recently it started to get downright racist and belligerent.

She sent me something that masqueraded as having a Holy type of message (or holier than thou) about why we need to have her religion and her way of interpreting her religion shoved down the throats of the country as a whole. My Aztec bones began to shudder as I read each word. Veiled behind her message was intolerance and racism. Quite unveiled was her sheer stupidity.

I shot her a note back telling her that
1) I don't want any more of her emails
2) Not to assume that everyone's mind was as closed as hers. I believe I asked her a WWJD question like Who would Jesus bomb/deport/etc.

My mistake was not blocking her address from my email server. Today I got the real doozy.

She sent me an email with "The New California Flag" in the subject line. It was a graphic (poorly done might I add) of the California flag, with our state bear chasing down the famous silhouette of the fleeing border crossing familia. AAAAGGGHHH! I'm still sick to my stomach thinking about it.

I really got pissed at this one and fired off a response that was "write now/think later". I hit reply all because I'm sick of this type of ignorant stupidity.

Here is exactly what I wrote-


I think that this is racist and an absolute insult to me, my family, and my community. I am deeply offended by this and have already requested that you cease sending me your racist right wing chain letters. If this is the underlying agenda of the (networking group name), then I for one will stay away for good.

This type of fear based ignorance is how our society stays in the problem and not in the solution. I feel sorry for all of you who think this is funny or somehow "right".

OK, now to block that pendeja from my list. See, I'm not all smiles and happy faces, I can get downright pissed when provoked.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Latina Entrepreneur of the Year

Well I had my princess party this weekend and let me tell you it was a blast!

Here I am just off the stage after accepting the award for Small Business/Entrepreneur of the Year from the National Hispanic Business Women's Association.

It was a night to make my mama proud. The event was muy elegante, black and white attire. A room full of amazing, inspiring Latinas and Latinos. I was joined by my sister Zan, and comadres Sandra and Deborah who danced the night away with me and bolstered me when I got overwhelmed y muy emocional.

I dedicated the award to my dad who passed away last year and that got me choked up. My mind drew a blank after that. A slicker person would have talked up her business at that point but I just felt all this love from my dad and my comadres and that was all I needed. The rest will work itself out.

I have a STACK of no less than 15 certificates, commendations, and recognitions from Senators, Congresswomen, Cities, the County, Assembly persons, City Council... hijole!

I also have a big framed proclamation that uses the word "Whereas" at the beginning of each paragraph. When you get the "whereas" proclamation, you've arrived! (Que no?)

The best part of the night was watching future Latina leaders being introduced to the crowd- the cutest chiquititas ages 3-9, beautiful party dresses standing so proud and full of confidence. They were being honored for representing hope for the future. Yes, we cried! It was beautiful.

I didn't have any major problems with hair, nails, dress, shoes, accessories so that was a relief. All was good - we even got commuter mugs with the organization logo to take home. (Ask my sister how she ended up with 8).

South Central Farm: Plant a Farm, Go to Jail?

Fresh from the South Central Farmers:

"For over three weeks supporters have been onsite at the South Central Farm, the nation’s largest urban farm, which serves as a 14-acre oasis in the middle of L.A.’s concrete jungle. This 14-year-old community gem functions as an active farm for more than 350 families and fills a local need for fresh produce, green space and a safe haven in a poverty-stricken region of Los Angeles. The farmers, community volunteers and celebrity supporters are in a daily state of peril anxiously awaiting the farm’s fate."

“The South Central Farm is a gem in the Los Angeles landscape. It supplies local communities with fresh, organic produce, gives children a safe environment to play and learn in, and provides a successful example of urban sustainability for the rest of the world to follow…”
- Dr. Joseph Hurwitz, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Isaiah, Palm Springs

Support the South Central Farm. Go to their website and find out what you can do whether it is by writing a letter, donating, or showing up.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Good Day to be a Latina Entrepreneur

What a great month this has been with even more good things to come! My momentitos of fame are blazing brightly with lots of awards, recognition, and buena onda coming this way. And with awards and recognition come... fiestas!

The biggest news is yours truly being named to the Latino 100 (pictured), and hot off the presses is the news that I am Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year for the National Hispanic Business Womens Association. (Please join me on June 10 at the awards banquet- go to, click on "Events" and order your ticket today!)

Having all this occur while I launch my new Inner Circle Program is simply divine icing on the cake. So my mom is proud, I'm feeling validated and now I must do the task I dread... shopping for clothes. More on that in a minuto.

Saturday May 20 was the National Latina Business Women's awards banquet where I got to see friends get awards and connect with people I know. I wish I had a photo, but I didn't take my camera that night... but will certainly put pics up when those arrive. The day before I spent half the afternoon fighting prom-bound teens for the last shreds of evening accessories and shoes. As I'm holding my cafe con leche complexion up to this season's light colors, I realized that I was in serious need of RED. Pastel colors are not my friends, they make me look listless, yet that was all I could find! The only red had a July 4th theme and sorry... not this girl.

So I'm walking up and down this mall, missing the days when I didn't have to shop at malls, grumbling about all these butt ugly styles available to women, the whole shopping-industrial conspiracy... oh my mind was busy. However I found a kiosk that had red accessories (sales girl to me: "Oh no one EVER buys red, maybe for Valentine's day..." as if to say what?)

Long story short, I managed to pull together a nice little black number w/ red accents and had a great time!

Tuesday May 23 was the Latino 100 reception here in Orange County... (not to be confused with a great play The Mexican OC. ) Here I am pictured with my "date" for the night the super accomplished Alicia Maciel. I think we were trying to do a prom date picture... or were we thinking of stealing the centerpiece? Hijole!

Thursday May 25 I attended Dialogue on Diversity's annual conference in LA which was also very interesting. What I took away most from that day was connecting with some really cool amigas y comadres, such as those here with me... Top row left to right there's Addy the bling chica, Tanya of Crafts From Argentina, la famosa y buenisima Ana, next row is me, Yolie who is Ana's right hand, and Claudia of Chunk'n'Chip Cookies. Not pictured is Laurelle a public speaking coach who was also great to connect with.

Send me a comment back if you have a link to an outfit worthy of the Entrepreneur of the Year awards night, if you too hate shopping, or whatever this post pops up in your mind.


Pictured (Latino 100 photo) above I'm wearing this awesome necklace made for me by artesana Sally Evans. You just don't find these types of things in malls...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Now I Can Sleep... The Inner Circle Program is Done!

If you've tried to contact me in the last month, chances are I've had to explain that I'm in the middle of a huge project and...
can we talk some other time?
Can we reschedule that lunch date?
Would it be OK to call you back in... JUNE?

Well, mi gente, I am back and let me say that the journey into the labs of creation was AWESOME.

It started with an inkling. Create a coaching program for my loca entrepreneur comadres who need a boost. But do they want it? What should it focus on?

Then Catherine sent me a survey one day and I realized that I could do the same. Thanks Cath for the push!

Over 400 people responded to the survey, and I found out quite a bit. The majority of my ezine subscribers are women entrepreneurs, mostly Latina. (kinda figured that one...)

They are looking for resources that won't break the bank but will keep them creative, efficient, and on the path to success.

They're willing to pay, but do have worries about investing too much in consulting and coaching.

They are dealing with focus, overwhelm, balancing family... the usual suspects.

So I pored through my resources, hired a great coach/consultant to help me craft the best program possible, and finally am ready to launch it!

Behold, the Comadre Coaching Inner Circle Program... it's ready and waiting for you and your friends!

Take a peek and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Kinesthetic Driver Takes Over the Roads!

I'm a learning styles freak and have recently discovered some amazing insights into my own learning style... and I bet you'll get an insight too.

Your learning style is how your brain remembers stuff... that's about as simply put as possible.

Most of us are a combination of visual, auditory, verbal, and kinesthetic styles. We need visual cues, verbal reminders, we need to jot notes and doodle, pace about... little things to help us think.

For the longest time I was convinced that I was overwhelmingly VISUAL. And yes, I am but I have now embraced the sobering fact that I am off the charts KINESTHETIC. In fact, I wonder if I'm as kinesthetic as I am visual.

Telltale Clues: a lifetime of shaking my foot while thinking, pacing, doodling, writing, and a recent discover.

The Moment of Discovery: A couple of weeks ago, my client and comadre Ruth Kunstadter joined me for mole at La Guelaguetza in Los Angeles. Amazing Oaxacan food.

But it wasn't the estofado that gave me the insight.

After lunch I took Ruth on an impromptu drive through East LA. At one point I realized that I wasn't sure how to get back to Union Station to drop off Ruth, and she suggested I ask for directions. I declined. I kept driving.

I have never liked asking for directions, mostly because I can never make sense of what people tell me. I nod my head, drive off then find my own way.


I'm kinesthetic! I have to DRIVE AND BE IN MOTION to make sense of where I am. My animal instincts, my inner compass, are only activated in movement.

So for all of you who are bugged by people who don't ask for directions when lost, think twice. They may not be as pigheaded as you think but simply challenged due to a learning style preference

ahhh, what a relief! I'm not being a sonsa as some have accused me of being (not Ruth). Look at some of the quirks and challenges you have and maybe there is a learning style gem for you.

Interested in your learning style? I like this website a lot:
Learning Styles Online

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Red Hot Copy Workshop

This past weekend I attended the Red Hot Copy Speed Copywriting Workshop in LA. It was truly amazing, I really learned a lot about writing effectively to reach your target market. Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero is the hottie behind Red Hot Copy, pictured here. As an aside, Lorrie is one of those women who seemingly never has a bad hair day, bad clothing day, or a bad anything day! She is so nice and genuine, and a master at her art. I love how she shares about her kids and completely related to her commitment to her kids as the impetus behind starting a business.

Here I am with Lorrie posing with her Red Hot Chicken. (The chicken is a little kitchen timer we used during writing exercises, but soon became the co-star of the entire weekend!)

OK, another aside: we had a big section on using testimonials in your copy, but I kept giggling because of the origin of the words testimonial and testify. I heard that in ancient Rome, when one testified, he (remember this was a patriarchal society) held his family jewels I guess the way you put one hand on the bible in certain courts of law. "I swear on all that is holy to me!"

Maybe it's an urban legend, but Lorrie loved it and she shared it with the class. Tee hee!

Now here's a perk you gotta love: Lorrie had a massage therapist on site to give us shoulder rubs! Ahhhh, the bliss. His name is Jason and he is the founder of Taifuchi. If you're in LA or Orange County, I highly recommend him! (That's me getting the kinks worked out of my shoulders)

Now off to apply this newfound knowledge!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

7 Secrets Class 1 Week Away!

If you're out there and catch this post, just a little reminder that there are only a few spots left in next week's teleclass, the 7 Secrets of Big Picture Thinkers!

What to do:
1) Go to THIS PAGE
2) Sign Up
3) Show up and enjoy!

Class starts Thursday April 27 on the new moon (a very good time to start new things).

We meet by phone for 4 class sessions, all sessions are recorded for your convenience.

Thanks and "see" you there!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Citlalli's Healthy Heart Birthday

Thanks to my mom pal (and digital scrapbooking dynamo) April for putting together this page for Citlalli (no "e" at the end, but that's OK!). This past week we dyed Easter eggs and April was fascinated by Citlalli's wild abandon as she dunked her entire hands into the dye. So taken by the experience, April made a whole page for her with commentary. She doesn't realize it, but she couldn't have timed this better.

3 years ago this weekend, my little girl Citlalli underwent heart surgery.
She was 5 months old and the event remains a defining point in my adult life.

I don't want to focus on what was, I prefer to focus on WHAT IS. Today, she is 3 1/2 years old, a spitfire to say the least (part of her survival spirit). She's bright, active, funny, cute... all the things we love about our 3 year olds. She also has the OTHER set of 3 year old traits that I choose to gloss over today, but let it be said that this child can hold her own against human and beast.

The lesson I learn over and over with Citlalli is that people are RESILIENT. We can survive so much more than we think. Hard times, illness, conflict, not getting our way, loss... we survive.

Happy Heart Birthday Mija! Mommy loves you Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Good Excuse to Postpone the Podcast

Today I was all set to interview Nora de Hoyos Comstock, the founder and mera comadre of Las Comadres Para Las Americas. Las Comadres Para Las Americas is an amazing grass roots movement of Latina/indigena women from all over who support each other via the web and at in person events.

So I called Nora just a few minutes ago and I got her voice mail! Nora, where are you, I ask myself. I rechecked my calendar, made sure we had our time zone differences understood... hmmm, not like her to miss.

So I called her cell phone and this excited, enthusiastic Nora answered.

Me: Hi Nora, it's Nancy.

Nora: Nancy! I'm at the Immigration Rally!

Me: Cool! Well, I guess we need to do this another time.

Nora: I am soooooooooo sorry, I have to be here. You know that.

Me: I'm there with you, Nora. We'll reschedule. Go raise hell!

She passed the phone to Annabelle Arteaga, another awesome comadre so that was fun. They were pumped up, that's for sure.

That's what being a comadre is all about. You suit up and show up when the signal sounds. You get out there and support your gente, raise your fist, your voice, whatever it takes.

So Nora's interview will happen a little later than sooner, but I can't wait to see how the demonstration in Texas went.

Read this Prayer for Immigrant Justice and share it with your friends.

My opinion on the Immigration Debate can be found in one of my favorite posters. An Aztec warrior points his finger at the viewer saying, Who are you calling illegal, pilgrim?

Friday, April 07, 2006

National Hispanic Business Women of OC- NHBWA

I have been a member of the National Hispanic Business Womens' Association (NHBWA) for about 2 years and I just love the group. Yesterday I had the honor of speaking to the group on The 7 Secrets of Big Picture Thinkers. I was told to expect a small group (ouch, my ego!) but it turns out twice as many people showed up as was anticipated (ah, ego mended!) Thanks yet again to Addy Perez Mau of Heaven Sent Jewelry for hooking me up with the bling. She designed a bold necklace with red accents (red is MY color) that dazzled and sparkled.

Pictures will be posted shortly!

Doing this talk several times in the past month is getting me so excited about the upcoming teleclass on the topic- I am happy to be able to delve deeply into each of the 7 secrets without feeling rushed. Interested? Here is a link to learn more.

You know how this blog is all about behind the scenes, but I am going to save the chisme for another day. Here is a tease: I had a BAD experience with a hairdresser the morning of my talk. I believe she was intent on giving me a mullet. If it weren't for life saving hair products, I very well could have been in that boat. More on that another day.

Now just take a peek at my class that is coming up- it's guaranteed to uncover and unleash your big picture skills in no time flat.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Rain, lots of rain

You know what? It has been damn rainy here in California. Not so much here in the Southland as it has been up north, but still. Mucho agua.

My family in the Bay Area laments that March 2006 was the RAINIEST March in recorded history. Can you hear the shoes sloshing through puddles with that one? And my podcast partner in crime Catherine Bruns lives in Hawaii, which is inundated.

Do we let a few raindrops stop us in our tracks? NO WAY!
One thing I hate about living in Southern California is what a bunch of weather wimps people are. The threat of a sprinkle and the news has Storm Watch, with terrifying graphics and close up shots of gutters rushing with water.

Hello? That's what rain does. It's wet. It rolls in gutters.

So to all my friends in deluged parts, my heart goes out to you. Don't let it get to you. There are going to be some amazing wildflowers soon.

And to everyone in SoCal, just chill out. Put on a raincoat and take your kids on a hike, like me and my friend Stacy did with our kids. The fresh air will do you some good, stimulate your ideas, and brighten your outlook.

Wet socks WILL dry, you know.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Is Emily Cool, or What?

My comadre Emily Robinson, founder and editor of Enterprising Latina magazine, has done something really cool on her website.

She created an audio business directory where Latina entrepreneurs can post a 5 minute audio infomercial. I love this idea and will have mine up in no time.

This is a great example of thinking out of the box. Thank you Emily for the idea!

Interested in audio? My favorite service is Audio Acrobat. They rock. It's so easy to use and has enabled my world domination through amazing audio scheme to unfold.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Enjoy Your Sleep with Dreamlandia

Congratulations to Comadre Coaching client and 110% comadre Suzanne McKaig for getting some noteworthy ink on her Dreamlandia line of pillowcases.

Suzanne started in the Chispa (that means "spark")coaching circle with a foggy yet sincere idea to print surreal dream stories on luscious cotton pillowcases. Over the course of time, Suzanne adopted a personal board of directors (aka fellow coaching circle members) and was able to flesh out her idea from concept to product.

Now here's her business spotlighted in Not For Tourists as a great San Francisco find.

Check out more from Not For Tourists.

And if you have an idea for a business, check out Comadre Coaching for support!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

"And I'd like to thank my coach..."

The New York Times March 26 issue ran a story on the rising popularity of coaching in Hollywood. Seems like Hollywood stars are finding out the benefits of working with a coach.

Do you have to be a Hollywood Star to afford a coach?

The article highlights several success stories of Hollywood careers skyrocketing after hiring a coach. Of course to balance the article they must include a naysayer who inaccurately declares that coaching " is for people with too much money."

Not true, not true, not true! Mentiras!

I am working hard to get the final details of my new program finished and as soon as I get that last piece, I'll be posting about it.

Sneak peek: Coaching that starts at $47 month.

Now go write the NY Times and tell them their naysayer source is full of himself!

Read the article here

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Accidental Techie

Yesterday I spoke to the National Latina Business Women's Association on using technology in business.


Technology in business.

(Reminds me when my nephew Andrew was little and he was seated in a restaurant with actual silverware in front of him. For the first time, no one was doing the sweep of dangerous objects he could hurl across the room. "Me? A fork? Wow! Me?")

I guess I didn't take notice, but after running a mostly virtual business for the past 3 years, I have acquired more than my share of tech expertise. Now I don't mean tech like I'm going to debug your computer and fix your jammed printer (although I do have a gift with old persnickety copy machines), but really the APPLICATION of technology.

In my talk, I asked the attendees to remember WHY they had their own business to begin with and WHAT their business needs to stay visible.

In my case, it was all about wanting to create a home based business that wouldn't interrupt my life as a mom. A virtual business was the way to go and staying visible required me to establish a web presence.

Did I know how to do any of this? NO.
Was I willing to learn? Absolutely.

I embarked on an adventure that unveiled the mysterious world of internet marketing, websites, you name it. I took a beginning HTML class at my local junior college (6 months pregnant and a good deal older than my classmates), spent hours and hours on web tutorials, all to make this succeed.

The first thing I did was launch a website, then the ezine, next came teleclasses, blogs, podcasts... dang, I have done a lot haven't I? A natural teacher, I find it easy to share what I've learned with others.

To balance things out at the presentation, NLBWA also invited people who actually understand tech and speak that language. The local Staples store sent some folks over with great information on gadgets (that was easy!) , and Ray Hernandez, CEO of Pueblo-Tel told us about his Voice Over Internet Phone company. (As soon as I finish figuring out how to move this blog successfully over to Type Pad, I'm calling Ray. Sounded very cool and saves lots of dinero).

By the way, muchas gracias to Addy Perez Mau of Heaven Sent Jewelry for bedazzling me w/ her bling. She made me this awesome necklace and earrings to wear while I spoke.

Speaking of all things tech, check out the interview I did with Addy on my podcast. She and I have a lot in common, besides that fact that we were born just days apart and are both Sagitarrius Dragons. Growl! Powerful women unite.

Random photos:

Here I am dazzling them with my brilliance.

And you can learn more about NLBWA by clicking their logo