Cheers to saying Yes!! 

Say yes.Say yes?
Yes.

To what?

To the Year of Yes. 

Ok, I was skeptical in reading the book by Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes. I thought it was another self-help book, like oh my god, I’m so done with self-help books! I could write a book, what with all the self-help books I’ve read. But alas, when I asked a friend of mine, which book she would recommend, as I was itching for a good read, guess what book she recommends? Yup, that’s right, “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. Coincidence? Perhaps not! 
Reluctantly, I said ‘grrr ok’ with the emoji face where it looks like it’s gritting its teeth. Anyway, I believe that everything happens for a reason and there are signs everywhere. So I went ahead and purchased the book. And off I go to into Shondaland. And whoa what a ride…

What this book is basically about is how a successful woman in her own right, with three successful shows, who shows diversity in all of them, who shuts down ABC on Thursday nights, who has received accolades and acknowledgements in many areas, was missing something in her life. She needed permission to say yes. It began when her sister mentioned to her during one thanksgiving dinner that she never says yes to anything, which got Rhimes thinking, which led her to make a commitment to herself to start saying yes to anything that was asked of her. Thus begins her year of YES. 
After she started saying yes, many opportunities opened up for her. The process wasn’t easy but the revelations she experienced were everything she needed. She learned a lot about herself, she became more self-aware, she said yes to herself. She started putting herself first. She started to play. She became present for her family; friends and her first love, writing. She let go of people that were toxic in her life because she was happy. She started to see people for who they really were and accepted it. She began working on her image by losing weight. And in the end she was genuinely and truly happy because she said made a promise to herself to say yes. 
This is just a synopsis of what encompasses the book. What I really want to write about one part that really to stood out for me and that I could relate to. Those aha moments. Those damn Shonda ‘you did that?’ moments. Those, ‘you get me’ moments. Those ‘I wanna be just like you when I grow up’ moments. I wrote this in her first name because after reading the book you will think you are BFF’s or in my case your big sister. Trust me. 
So lets begin, shall we? I’m only going to focus on two points because there are so many moments that I loved but I don’t want to overwhelm you. 😉 And I want you to get the book… 

The parts that stood out to me were the parts where she talks about fear, being your authentic self and loving yourself. (Side note/FYI: Just because she started saying yes it didn’t mean she wasn’t scared or fearful, she still had anxiety but she did it anyway.) Because this is where I am at now. Fear paralyzes me. Fear is always hanging on me, all the damn time. Fear has led me to not do things, to not be a doer just a dreamer and hope that what I want falls on my lap. Hey, a girl can dream right? But we all know the answer, you gotta get to werk! 

In the book, Rhimes writes about giving a commencement speech, which she said yes to, at her alma mater Dartmouth that resonated with me. In her speech she tells the graduating class to be doers not just dreamers. Any one can dream, we can write our goals, talk about it with friends, create vision boards, dream, dream, dream. Which I have done and still do. But the really successful people, what do they do? They are doers. She says, “the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing…its hard work that creates change”. 
“My dreams did not come true. But I worked really hard. And I ended up building an empire out of my imagination. So my dreams can suck it. You can wake up one day that you are interesting and powerful and engaged. You can wake up one day and find that you are a doer”(p. 89). 

  It takes action; not just talking about it but taking real action to move towards to the life you want. It’s sooooo difficult but it is my goal. I don’t want to stop dreaming but I do want to dream and take action. However, she is right, no one that is successful just dreams, they do things, they make shit happen, they are movers and shakers and thinkers and doers. After that speech I got it. Be a doer! 

After I was done with the book, I can pretty much say Shonda Rhimes is a badass. And you should read this book because she writes as if you are in the living room with her and you just want to hang on every word with a glass of wine, of course! She writes honestly and openly and lets us know that she is human with flaws and real emotions, but she is doer. She doesn’t claim that she has it all figured out being a woman, a mother, a POC or that she can do it all by herself without the help of her tribe. What she does convey is that by being who you truly are, you can say yes. Say yes to yourself and dance and live and love. And we should all strive to do the same. 
If you have read this book, which part resonated with you? 

This has been beauty, brains and blogging approved! ☺ 

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Women’s History Month Day 3

Celebrating Women’s History Month!! Up next the writer Edwidge Danticat. She is Haitian. She is a writer. She is a mother. She is an educator. She has written great works such as Krik? Krak? Breath, Eyes, Memory, Claire of the Sea Light among others. She is a prolific writer so check her work online. I met her here at the Union Square Barnes and Noble where she was reading from her book Claire of the Sea Light. During the open question portion of the reading someone asked what advice do you have for new writers? She simply said that writing is a solitary act and to write and keep writing. Her presence was sweet and light. Beautiful person. #day3 #servingknowledge #themoreyouknow #wmh #womenshistorymonth #womenwriter #haitianwriter #edwidgedanticat @edwidgedanticat

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✨Vision Board 2015✨

Hey all!! Just wanted to share my vision board! It is growing and expanding. It is great to have goals and aspirations that you can see on a board but most important of all is to act on what you want to accomplish. Action is crucial to get to where you want to be. To all the dreamers who take their goals and make them a reality, I admire you. 😘 ‘You can and you will’ 😉 #dreams #goals #action #youcanyouwill

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⚡️Book Alert Monday⚡️

¡¡Hola mi gente!!

I hope everyone had a great time spending it with their loved ones this holiday season!

So, it has been a little while since I’ve posted so I’m bringing the latest books I’ve purchased…
Loitering by Charles D’Ambrosio
The Empathy Exam by Leslie Jamison Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta
The Unspeakable by Meghan Daum The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz

And many more books to come! Enjoy! #books #blogger #loverofbooks #booksgivemelife #loveoflibros

The Jlo Mystique!

Hola mi gente!

Hope you all are doing well. It has been a minute. I know. But I am back to let you in on a discussion you do not want to miss! Tomorrow, December 4th, will be the premier of #latinachatmedia: The JLo Mystique! Yes, it will be all about Jennifer Lopez aka Jenny from the block aka la JLo!!

I had the honor of getting an exclusive viewing of the latest #latinaschatmedia: The JLo Mystique from the creator, Linda Nieves-Powell, herself. She is a Latina producer, director and editor. She started the #latinaschatmedia with the purpose of having Latina artists get together to have in-depth conversations on how latinas/os are represented in the media and providing ways to promote growth within the artistic community at large.

What compelled her to have this chat about JLo you may be thinking? Well, Nieves-Powell found that many women are on the fence about her, they have a love/hate relationship with her. She couldn’t understand why. JLo is a Latina doing her thing as an artist, as a fashion icon, as an entrepreneur, and as an actress. She is a straight up hustler yet many seem to be mystified by her. Not everyone is happy for her being a Latina in Hollywood. Some feel she doesn’t deserve that position because she is not the best vocalist or actress. Some critique her for doing the booty video with Izzy Azalea at her age. Some critique her because of the many relationships she has had. Some critique for not doing enough for the community specifically the Bronx, being that she claims it all the time—Jenny from the block, hello! And would she even consider herself a feminist? Is she a feminist? So because of these points and more, why not put together a platform where Latinas can voice their ideas about JLo, putting it all out there, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well she did just that. And it was brilliant. She gathered together 5 fierce Latina artists, 3 of JLo super fans and 1 PhD student to weigh in on how JLo is being perceived today and is it okay from a feminist academic stand point.

I have to admit that I am a JLo fan. I respect the fact that she doesn’t let fear stop her from doing what she is set out to do. It does not matter if she is good or not because, do I think she can sing or act well? No, not at all, but she does it anyway. I think that should count for something. She is showing her fans that with determination and persistence you can achieve whatever you desire. However, after listening to all the perspectives and point of views of all the ones involved I can see why these conversations are important. It is because what started as a dialogue on why Latinas have mixed feelings on how JLo portrays herself or is perceived, it turned into a meaningful exchange of how we place or how we hold our people accountable, especially women.

This was one of the many topics that intrigued me the most. We really set the bar high for our own, within reason I would presume, but with that comes a lot of responsibility. Is it fair? I honestly do not think so. She is only one person. We cannot assume that she is going to represent the whole Latino community as we see fit. It is impossible to give one person that autonomy. At the end of the day she is a performer doing what she loves to do. She gives her audience what they want, a performance. Why do we expect so much from her, from one person? Hasn’t she done enough? As the academic Phd student said, “we place unrealistic expectations on one person to represent us (Latinos)”. She speaks so much truth. And another thing, why can’t she show off her body in her forties without being critiqued about it, she looks pretty darn good, she has worked for her body to be that way. So what if she has kids. She is showing us that just because you are mother it doesn’t mean you have to hide your body. JLo is teaching her children to be happy in the skin that they are in especially her daughter. I mean, I get it as consumers, spectators, admirers we are always analyzing, contextualizing and even psychologizing those we see in the media because they put themselves out there but aren’t we doing too much? Aren’t we scrutinizing too much? Isn’t she human like the rest of us? Why can’t we take her for what she is? An entertainer.

I don’t want to give too much because I know you need to see for yourself how these conversations empower and enlighten us. I think these chats are necessary because this is an ongoing discussion that needs to be expanded in all of its forms. I’m just giving you a glimpse of what you will experience. I truly feel Nieves-Powell did an incredible job of weaving all point of views together and left us wanting more. Job well done to everyone who participated!

You don’t want to miss it!! Stay tuned for #latinaschatmedia: The JLo Mystique. I would love to hear your views after you’ve finished watching it.

Here is the link where you can watch it mañana at 3 pm: http://www.latinaschatmedia.com

This has been Beauty, Brains and Blogging approved! 😉

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All pics are by Linda Nieves-Powell.

Canvas of Words- ‘Preserving Our Roots’ Interview with Co Producer Iyawo Peggy Robles-Alvarado!!

We always hear that women are petty, caddy, and can’t work together. Oh I have news for you! These two powerhouse Latina women are here to prove those tired ass sayings wrong! You may be thinking, who are these women you speak of? Well, they are Wendy Angulo and Iyawo Peggy Robles-Alvarado.

Iyawo Peggy Robles-Alvarado is one of the most amazing magical women I have ever met. This woman who wears many titles proudly is known for always giving her all in anything she does. She is always willing to help her people because she believes that we can all succeed when we help each other. I am always in awe of her essence, a truly beautiful soul.

Iyawo Peggy Robles-Alvarado also has a production company, Robleswrites. Roblewrites was created to empower the community by offering opportunities where the arts can be seen and heard. Because of this, Wendy Angulo and her have teamed up to produce Canvas of Words an Art and Poetry annual festival because she believed in Wendy’s determination to create greatness since its inception. And here we are now on Canvas of Words third installment with its theme ‘Preserving Our Roots’, where the fire that was ignited a year ago is still burning.

Please enjoy this wonderful interview where we get to know Iyawo Peggy Robles-Alvarado, on how Wendy and her connected, and why this year’s show is important along with a few spoiler alerts!

Beauty, Brains, and Blogging: Please tell us about yourself, the work you do, and how did you connect with Wendy Angulo?

IPRA: I am a mother, abuela, award winning performance poet, writer, producer, tenured educator, magic making boca grande born in New York City to a no holds barred Dominican madre and an industrious Puerto Rican padre. I am currently producing and supporting literary events, workshops and festivals in the Bronx and Queens through Robleswrites Productions.

I met Wendy Angulo during a poetry performance in Queens several years ago. After learning of Wendy’s love of poetry and prose and her ability to weave dreams into reality through a powerful combination of diligence, planning and passion, I didn’t hesitate in supporting her vision of creating an annual art and poetry festival now known as Canvas Of Words. She and I stem from the same fundamental tenet that believes that we can breathe life into anything we put our energy into by kicking fear in the face and asking others for help.

BBB: Tell us about the collaboration between Wendy Angulo Productions and Robleswrites Productions to create the show. And what can we look forward to at this year’s 3rd installment of Canvas of Words?

Our collaboration was very natural and in the same manner that it began it continues to be today. It is based on reciprocity as well as respect for each other as mujerones making moves. Wendy Angulo and Robleswrites Productions wants to continue to provide a platform where artists can share their creative power with the community.

IPRA: The third installment of Canvas of Words focuses on the idea of preserving our roots, the origins of self, and what that means to each featured performer. Poets from diverse backgrounds will share their perception of history, justice, familial ties, social rejection and frame their identities through pain, loss, love or the joy of music. This year we have an emerging poet and professional dancer who will use movement and verse to tell of her experience as a Dominicana en Nueva York. We will also pay homage to 5 Points with our featured graffiti artist Myse and a surprise guest who will close the show in true b boy fashion! This show is not to be missed! Tickets will be available at the door. ¡Te esperamos!

Yes! She said it all! Be there! We are one day away and believe me, the poets, the performances, the host, and the producers are going to give us an unforgettable show. One for the books.

Let’s go!! Get your tickets.

Here is the link:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/canvas-of-words-preserving-our-roots-tickets-12710263741

And here is the flyer:
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This has been Beauty, Brains and Blogging approved!! 😉