Bella Vida by Letty


Latina Engineers Share Tips for Thriving in Corporate America

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM-related jobs will grow to more than 9 million by 2022. While women and minorities have been traditionally underrepresented in this field, there is a growing sense of urgency to increase their numbers in the STEM workforce. With Latinas completing college at almost twice the rate than their male counterparts, Hispanic women are poised to tap the jobs opportunity by considering STEM-related careers in a wide variety of sectors including the automotive industry.

In an interview with three outstanding Latina engineers at General Motors who have been recognized as Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers (YHCA) by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) for their passion in engineering, corporate leadership and community involvement share their experiences and advice.


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There is no doubt that Latinas have what it takes to excel in STEM careers and pursue the many opportunities corporate America has to offer. Imelda, Nydia and Diana are serving as an inspiration for young Latinas that desire to join the corporate world and build promising careers in global companies, such as General Motors. They started with a goal and determination to succeed, and are now living examples that the dream is possible.  Sí se puede!


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BVBL Wins Tecla Award for Best Latina Travel Blogger

Award Collage

I want to send a big thank you to the incredible Hispanicize team and the Tecla Award judges.  I’m incredibly honored to receive this recognition for my work.   It means a lot to be a part of an uplifting community of professionals.

Thank you family and friends for your eternal support.  Thank you to the sponsors, boards of tourism, ad agencies and marketing communities and advertisers for your support.  You have enabled me to maintain a career out of my passion for travel, photography and storytelling.

Bella Vida by Letty continues to be a place for me to share the beautiful things I come across and be a place of inspiration for others.






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Confession: I am a Rebel

create rebelliously

You know me as a creative through this blog.  You see my perspective through my photography and words.  I am eternally searching and collecting the beauty I discover around me.  As readers you get a taste of my activism when I write a feminist post but what you may not know is that every single day I do something to fight oppression and inequality.  It might be contributing or curating content for Latino Rebels, writing essays, shedding light on issues which need to be debated or addressed, journalistic writing, etc.  This blog which brings me so much joy is what balances that work because it can be emotionally draining dealing with heavy topics for prolonged periods of time.

It is also hard because there are no safe spaces online so I’m subject to trolls and unsubstantiated criticisms.  I have to find ways to deal with that.  Sometimes it’s easy while some days not so much.  This is why I have to be picky about what I will engage in.  And on the other end of the spectrum, my blog brings me endless joy.

My blog posts are purposefully empowering in a positive way.  I take my time creating and editing photographs until I am satisfied.  I edit my writing style to share important information in and uplifting and positive way.  I want my readers to feel inspired and empowered with information.  There are also posts where I simply want to share something absolutely beautiful I’ve come across.  Something so precious I have to document and share with you here.  This is a safe space for all to enjoy.

I’m participating in a blogging challenge from the talented tech guru Vicky Ayala  because I love everything she does and she is a fountain of tech information.  I write everyday but don’t blog everyday and this challenge would certainly motivate me to do more.  I say that’s a win win.  Since I’m rebellious I’ve combined the first two assignments which are to come up with a descriptive acronym which was pretty easy.  And second to make a confession which never is easy.


R – Rebellious

I am naturally rebellious and question everything.  I find myself instinctively doing the opposite of what is required of me.  This is what makes me good at journalism since I enjoy research and making sure I have accurate sources.  I also enjoy debating.

E – Eternally Creative

If I go too much time without writing I start to feel bad.  Sometimes it can make me physically ill.  I must have a creative outlet to express my thoughts and feelings.

B – Beauty

I use Bella Vida by Letty to remind me to focus on the beauty life has to offer.  It recharges me when I’m down or tired.  It nourishes me and gives me fortitude to do the work that needs to be done.  It is the lightning of an aha moment.  This is what I wish to share with the world.

E – Extraordinary

I’m always in search of the extraordinary in the perceived ordinary by seeing things from a different point of view.

L – Letty

Each day I strive to be authentically me.

Have you ever tried with coming up with your own acronym?  If you had to what would it be?

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

Eva Peron Quote

International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900’s.  It’s a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.  Throughout the day there are many events going on around the world.  My contribution is a roundup of inspiring quotes by Latinas.

The world is full of strong brilliant women who have had to overcome.  Their stories are not found in history books. The voices which have been marginalized in mainstream media are the ones I chose to highlight in this space.  

While many milestones have been achieved the reality is women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts,  are not present in equal numbers in business or politics.  On a global level women’s education, health and violence against them is worse than that of men.  This is unacceptable.  Let us be inspired to continue striving for equality  because we deserve it, out daughters deserve it and the whole world needs it to happen.  

Julia de Burgos quote

justice sonia sotomayor quote

celia cruz forgive quote

dolores huerta quotes

What are some of your favorite quotes from strong women?

Please share the quotes that inspire you because it is sure to inspire others and ignite change.

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Benefits of Reading With a Purpose


As an avid reader I devour articles, magazines and books on a daily basis.  I guess that’s why I’ve never made any formal reading goals.  It’s something I already do, but seeing others create reading goals for the new year made me want to take my reading to another level which is reading with the purpose to acquire and use information.

Reading to Learn

Writing better will always be a goal of mine.  The first two books I’m reading this year are about writing.  I’m re-reading Syd Field’s, Foundations of Screenwriting.  It helps me to look at the plot of the story I’m working on and strengthen it.

The second book I’m reading is Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole.  If you are writing for young adults or middle grade I highly recommend it.  This is one of the best books on writing I’ve read.

Reading to Acquire New Information

There are things I want to learn like how to best handle my finances, business and marketing.  I’ll be reading books on these topics and I’ll share them here and on Goodreads.  Please share your recommendations in the comments.

Reading for fun

I also like to read for pure entertainment especially fiction.  Next on my to read list is one I picked up at the Miami Book Fair.  It’s a book of short stories called: The  Vintage Book of Latin American Stories.  There are some classics stories in there like Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph but also many other great gems I hope to discover.

Some of my favorite books are:

  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  • Wild Women: Contemporary Short Stories by Women Celebrating Women by Sue Thomas
  • The Dragon Tattoo Series by Stieg Larsson
  • The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature by Ilan Stavans
  • The House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferre
  • Puerto Rican Obituary by Pedro Pietri
  • The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles

 Benefits of Reading

10 Benefits of Reading

Mental Stimulation

Improve Memory

Acquire Vocabulary

Boosts Analytical Thinking

Improves Empathy

Improve Writing Skills

Increase Emotional Intelligence

Expands Your World View

Makes You Look Sexy


If you’re on Goodreads you can check out what I read in 2013.

Your turn, tell me what you’re reading?


“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”  Gustave Flaubert

“We read to know that we are not alone.”  William Nicholson

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”  Fran Lebowitz

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”  Mortimer J. Adler

Update: I found an old Vine video with some books from my shelf.

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How to Be Crazy

how to be crazy
It’s the beginning of a new year and most people are making lists to improve themselves so they’ll look better to others.  Take a good look at your list.  Is your list personalized to your needs?  Is it a little bit crazy?  It should be.

Being yourself and following your instincts take courage but why waste your time worrying about what others think when you can be happy right now?  Very few people actually know who we truly are.  At best a person at any given time only knows a slither, a very small slice of who you are and what you’re capable of.  Other people’s opinions reveal everything about them and absolutely nothing about you.  Make it your year.  Be crazy.

How to Be Crazy

Believe in yourself. 

You have many skills and amazing qualities.  Best of all you have the never ending capacity to learn.  Practice self love and that will build your self confidence.  No one can resist a powerful attitude.  I learned to believe in myself when I heard peoples criticism and I knew how wrong they were.

Follow your intuition.

Intuition is tapping into your unconscious or subconscious mind.  They are a resource of information.  Pay attention to your body’s signals.  Your body provides powerful information about your health, decisions and other people.

Believe in your dreams.

Indulge in daydreaming, imagination and play.  Dreams are like magic.  When you respect and nurture them they will bring you meaning and purpose.

Be courageous.

It’s not easy being courageous but one thing that has helped me is knowing people will criticize no matter what so I might as well be happy.  My happiness is more important than a fleeting opinion.

Follow through.

Don’t procrastinate.  The quicker you act the less time you have to worry or become fearful.

What crazy things are you planning on doing this year?

Here’s my short list:  Create every day.  Write and write better.  Travel and have many fun adventures.

I hope you go crazy this year.  If you need extra inspiration here’s a song to get you started.


“One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.”  Tim Burton

“Be crazy! Be brave enough to live different.”  Paulo Coelho

“What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?”  Ursula K. Le Guin

“Live life fully while you’re here. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You’re going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.” Anthony Robbins

“I’m not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours.” Lewis Carroll 

“Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.” Sigmund Freud

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Creating New Goals & Objectives

Your life is the manifestation of your dreams.  It is an art."

As the end of the year approaches I like to take a look back and see which of my previous goals were accomplished.  It helps me to understand what I focused my time on and where I placed my energy.  I had a really long list of goals for 2013.  Many of which I didn’t get around to.  However the ones I did accomplish were things I was very passionate about like launching Bella Vida by Letty .com.    Hard work has paid off and the site has grown steadily since the May launch.  It is going through another growth spurt right now with an incredible increase in subscribers.  Thank you to all my readers, followers and subscribers for being there every step of the way.  I truly appreciate your support.

Before moving on to some tips I want to share a really wonderful inspiring quote I found while reading The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.

“Your life is the manifestation of your dreams.  It is an art.”

I find this sentiment absolutely beautiful.  This year when I begin my list of goals I will include my hopes, dreams, desires and wishes.  While I’m here I might as well manifest them.  Why not create the world I want to see and the experiences I want to live.

After compiling my list I must strive for clarity.  Creating clear goals makes them easier to achieve.

Some questions to ask when brainstorming:

  • Is your goal clear?
  • Are your goals realistic?
  • Can they be achieved?
  • What is your main goal?

Setting smaller goals have given me more confidence in my capabilities.  This allows me to take greater risks and accept bigger challenges.  Since I have so many goals I’ve categorized them into family, personal, business and creative.  Then I will select the ones I am truly passionate about and devise a plan.   From the list I will chose only a few and brainstorm the steps I will need to take to reach my goals.

Have you defined clear goals or are you fine tuning them?

I would love to hear your tips and tricks for achieving your goals. Please share them with me in the comments below.



“You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.” Miguel Ruiz

 “Many people flounder about in life because they do not have a purpose, an objective toward which to work.” George Halas 

 “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau

 “The big secret in life is there is no secret. Whatever your goal. You can get there if you’re willing to work.” Oprah Winfrey

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You Never Know What Someone Else is Going Through

I always put my best face on just like everyone else does.  I work hard at my craft and present to the best of my ability on this site.  I guess that’s why it might be easy to make assumptions about other people.  However we can never truly know others.  You never know what someone else is going through.  Some people don’t even take the time to know themselves.  I’ve been thinking about this for some weeks now after reading about the suicide of two different bloggers.  Even though they put themselves out there, no one imagined either of these two people would go so far as to kill themselves.

Everyone has stress.  I know I sure do.  For some it might be health, relationships, financial problems or work related issues.  There is no way to know.  Even when the person reaches out we can never really know the extent it is effecting them.  Just this past week a good friend has been cyber bullied, another is going through some health issues while another’s mother is seriously ill.

I practice and teach compassion.  No I am far from perfect but I can try.  I can stop myself from judging others, being critical or cruel.  I can chose to smile and say something nice and I can chose to speak up against wrongs.  Perfection is a unicorn.  Fun to chase.  It’s all about the chase.  Every bump in the road, every person you meet or the situations you avoid are details that make up your unique life.


If you care to do me a favor please subscribe to the newsletter.  When I launched in May everyone was unsubscribed.  I tried to make it very easy.  You can subscribe either below or in the sidebar.  You can also click here if you prefer.

I thoughtfully chose the name Bella Vida because I wanted a constant reminder to slow down and take in the details that make this life and everything in it beautiful.  I personally need that for myself, Letty.  I feel it is my mission in life to share that feeling which is why I put it out there everyday on this site.  I’m grateful if I can make someone smile with a word, photo or artwork.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for your comments and kind words.


“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”  — Marilyn Monroe

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”   Maya Angelou

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Bella Vida by Letty is a Latism 2013 Finalist

I am honored and humbled Bella Vida by Letty has been selected as a finalist for the

Latism13 Awards for best Lifestyle blog.

I truly pour my heart and soul into every word and photograph I post here.


 I’m very happy to see many acquaintances also nominated.   Especially Latino Rebels for Best Political Blog & Best Digital News Site and the site’s founder Julio Varela for Best Social Network Leader.

Not only have I met many wonderful people through LATISM but they are also an organization who brings community together and advances Latino causes.  I have to say again I am very humbled and honored to receive this acknowledgement.

A little about LATISM

“Latinos In Tech Innovation and Social Media (LATISM), a 501(c) 4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community. Founded by @AnaRC.  At the heart of Latinos in Tech Innovation & Social Media (LATISM) is a commitment to integral action for and by Latinos. We believe in community action and our mission is the manifestation of that commitment.  LATISM seeks to equip our members with the tools they need to transform their communities by integrating community and networking resources that enable our members to make choices, take part in actions and decisions that affect their lives, and become agents for change.”
The 2013 LATISM conference will be held in New York City this year on September 19 – 21.
Will you be attending?

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Knowing Yourself Is the Beginning of All Wisdom

Knowing Yourself Is the Beginning of All Wisdom
To become the most complete human being you can be requires taking the time to know yourself.  Spend time alone.
Ask yourself big questions: your hopes, beliefs, dreams and desires.

Do you take the time to know yourself?

I get to know myself through my writing.  I’m naturally curious and always asking questions.

“Don’t exist.
Get out, explore.
Challenge authority. Challenge yourself.
Change forever.
Become who you say you always will.
Keep moving. Don’t stop. Start the revolution.
Become a freedom fighter. Become a superhero.
Just because everyone doesn’t know your name doesn’t mean you don’t matter.” 
Brian Krans

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How to Use the Power of Imagination to Create Your Ideal Life

Today I want to remind you that you have one of the most powerful tools at your disposal and it’s absolutely free.  It is your imagination, the action of producing ideas.  Imagination can also be referred to as inner vision because it’s the ability to form new images which are not perceived through our senses such as sight and hearing.  It is an awareness not confined to our senses or the rules and laws of our reality.  This is precisely what makes it such an effective and powerful tool.


Without the boundaries of the real world we are free to create and reinvent the world.  From these creations we may not only inspire ourselves but others as well.


By using our imagination we can see beyond our current condition and find new insight into how the present changes our future.  Viewing things from new perspectives can allow us to tap unrealized potential.  We may imagine ways to make our dreams come true.

Solve Problems

By comparing our imaginations to reality we may prevent bad outcomes.  Seeing things from different perspectives allows us to generate alternatives.  It allows us to tap into the knowledge of possibility.  By enabling you to imagine all sorts of scenarios, it alerts you to dangers as well as opportunities.

Deal with Emotions

We can deal with emotions by generating alternate scenarios with different outcomes.  For example, if you fear something you can imagine a way that you are able to conquer that fear.


Imagination allows us to remove any earthly boundaries granting us the ability to take fresh new perspectives.  This helps us uncover things we might not have been able to see before or discover things we never knew of.  One way is by empathizing with others and seeing the future through their eyes.

Feeling Free

In your imagination, you can travel anywhere in the speed of light, without any obstacles.  There are no limits or boundaries.  In addition you are absolute free to express yourself.

You are already imagining scenarios when you worry, feel anxious or stressed.  By using your imagination you can access your potential and begin creating the life of your dreams. There are no limits to positive energy.  Here is exactly how to use your imagination to zone in and focus on making your dreams come true in ten easy steps.

 10 Steps to Tap Into the Power of Imagination to Make Your Dreams Come True

10 Steps to Tap Into the Power of Imagination to Make Your Dreams Come True

10 Steps to Tap Into the Power of Imagination to Make Your Dreams Come True


– Think about your ideal life and begin with answering what your ideal house would look like and where it is located.

– Imagine your dream job.  What tasks are you performing?

– There are no limits when using your imagination.  Name 5 things that would allow you to live in your dream home.

– There are no limits to what you can imagine.  What 5 things can you do today to get you closer to your dream job?

– Visualize your life getting better.  What does that look like?

– Imagine yourself succeeding.  What small successes can get you closer to that?

– What 5 goals can you create to attain your dream home?

– What 5 goals can you create to attain your dream job?

– Expect the best possible thing to happen to you.  What would that be?

– What 5 changes can you make right now to get you started?


If you are not comfortable with using your imagination here are some ways to get you started.

10 Ways to Stimulate Your Imagination


10 ways to stimulate your imagination

10 Ways to Stimulate Your Imagination


Will you be using the power of your imagination to create your ideal life?

If you found this post helpful please share it.



“Imagination is the highest form of research.”  Albert Einstein

“I need, therefore I imagine.”  Carlos Fuentes

“There are many ways to be free. One of them is to transcend reality by imagination, as I try to do.”  Anaïs Nin

“The greatest gift you were ever given was the gift of your imagination. Within your magical inner realm is the capacity to have all of your wishes fulfilled.”  Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

 “Everything you can imagine is real.”  Pablo Picasso


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Meeting Bernice Steinbaum and Addressing the Lack of Latinas in Museums

My life is truly an adventure.  I never know what weird interesting things I’ll see or the cool people I’ll meet whenever I venture out of my house.  This year the Hispancize Conference added an extra day dedicated to art.  You know I was not going to miss out on anything art related.  Especially when it took place at one of my favorite places, Wynwood.  Noche de Diseño‎ was sponsored by Sherwin Williams featuring Sonia Velasquez host of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Latin America.  We were not told ahead of time which galleries we would be stopping at but I was incredibly elated to visit the Zadok Gallery where the semi retired legend, Bernice Steinbaum, serves as curator.

Bernice Steinbaum is a legend because from the beginning of her career as gallery owner in the mid 80’s she has focused on showcasing women artists as well as artists of color.  If people like BS didn’t do so, these artists would have no other way of getting discovered.  The night I visited the gallery she mentioned being an original Guerilla Girl who are a group of feminists banding together to fight sexism and racism in the art world.

Rich people have always had a lot of stuff. A few centuries ago, they ran out of room in their palaces and churches, so they started art museums. The Guerrilla Girls love museums and all the art in them, but we worry about them, too. Why do they raise hundreds of millions for new buildings, then complain that they don’t have enough money to buy art? Why do they blow a fortune on a single painting by a white male genius when they could acquire hundreds of great works by women and people of color instead? Why do museum store execs get paid more than curators? ”  Guerilla Girls

Bernice Steinbaum Zadock Gallery

Bernice Steinbaum, me, Farah Mesa at the Zadok Gallery

The Zadok Gallery was the highlight of the evening for me.  Wearing her signature Prada eyeglasses and Chinese inspired one of a kind couture dress Bernice spoke passionately about the artists, their works and why she loved them.  Learning these interesting details made me enjoy the pieces even more.  I was so happy and inspired I spent the next day painting and working on a mixed media piece.  Below you will find a list of artists whose work was on display that particular evening.

A special message to museums and galleries wanting to tap into the growing [email protected] market.  Don’t disrespect me.  I don’t want museums to ‘attract’ me as a consumer.  I want to be included and equally represented.  I want to see my reflection everywhere I turn.  Yes it’s great to have a Latino Museum and Smithsonian Latino but don’t segregate me.  The United State’s Hispanic heritage is many centuries old, including colonies dating back to before the 1500’s, predating the arrival of other immigrants.  We built this country, we are this country.  Inclusive equal representation is how you will succeed.

And here’s what YOU can do to change the scene:

  • Support and visit galleries especially when [email protected] artists are on display.
  • Attend art events and festivals.
  • Purchase [email protected] art as an investment.

[email protected] should not be intimidated nor discouraged from entering the art industry either as artists or investors because the world’s richest are its greatest investors.

Check out some of the artists on display that night:

  • Gabriel Dawe whose work is centered in the exploration of textiles, aiming to examine the complicated construction of gender and identity in his native Mexico and attempting to subvert the notions of masculinity and machismo prevalent in the present day.
  • SeonGhi Bahk whose sculptural works reorder the natural arrangement of objects, enabling the viewer to imagine the existence and non-existence of an object.
  • Tatiana Parcero whose works explore the relationship between the human being and life; between man and earth; between nature and the body; religions, rituals and traditions of diverse cultures are -clearly or subtly- reflected in the images, using these elements to re-invent and recreate visual metaphors.
  • Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons work is an investigation of history and memory, and their roles in the formation of identity. Born in Matanzas province in Cuba in 1959, Campos-Pons bears a familial history that is intermingled with the sugar industry’s presence in her hometown of La Vega. Her roots can be traced from America, to a Cuban homeland, to the enslaved who were traded by Spanish colonists and finally back to what is today Nigeria.


“On a school trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum, when I followed a sign marked WOMEN, thinking it was an exhibition on the changing roles of women in society, and actually ended up standing in the ladies’ toilets.”  David Nicholls

“Philanthropists and donors traditionally haven’t been sufficiently interested in women’s rights abroad, giving money instead to higher brow causes such as the ballet or art museums. There could be a powerful international women’s rights movement if only philanthropists would donate as much to real women as to paintings and sculptures of women.”  Nicholas D. Kristof





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Truth, Opinions & Lies: How to Deal With Rumors

A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth is Still Putting On Its Shoes

A Lie Can Travel Half Way Around the World While the Truth is Still Putting On Its Shoes


When you are a descendant of the invisible people’s the truth becomes sacred.  At least it did for me.  For a long time I held ‘the truth’ close to me and it became precious.  I would use it often as a weapon, whipping it about and clobbering lies as hard as could until finally pounding the life out of the lie.  But holding on so tightly to the truth became a burden.  It’s painful to be rejected or ignored by those who just can’t handle the truth.  And I will concede, the truth can be a very hard pill to swallow.  Sometimes the truth can be as blinding and searing as staring directly at the sun for a preposterous amount of time.  I know I’ve been scarred by the truth way more than once.  I personally just prefer the truth to being lied too.


truth quote

“Truth is neither universal nor verifiable.”  Lee Gutkind

la bella vida tatoo

I found this photo while googling my brand Bella Vida.  It’s not me.  However, the point is, some people might believe it’s me.  I posted it on facebook as an experiment and I noticed not everyone read my comment stating this was not me.  My personal reaction was to laugh.  I’m non judgmental about things that have nothing to do with me but I’m sure it would offend some conservative family members or potential business contacts.  Yes, each person has a right to their opinion but what happens when people believe the lie?

I’m sure this has happened to everyone at one time or another regarding serious and sometimes not so serious issues be it at school, work or in your personal life.  I know I was particularly vulnerable as a teen when rumors can and do inflict emotional damage.

What has helped me get past this problem is having stopped judging others.  I stopped judging people long ago, and as journalist and debater it has become easier to separate opinions from facts.  Each of us shapes our opinions through the narrow scope of our life experiences.  No two people’s will be the same.  Therefore, I understand their opinion has everything to do about them and very little about me.  And I guess I’m so used to disagreeing and debating I don’t take it personally.  Most of the time anyway.  I can only try today to be better than I was yesterday.


Facts vs. Opinions

Facts are things demonstrated to exist or known to have existed and can be proven with evidence while opinions are judgment or belief not founded on certainty or proof rather are based on feelings, preferences or bias.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”  Marcus Aurelius

How to Deal with Rumors

  • Address the issue.  The first thing to do is to address the issue frankly and honestly.  When people don’t have complete information, they may fill in the gaps with suppositions that may not be accurate.
  • Set an example by refusing to get involved when others share gossip or rumors with you.
  • Perception is not reality. You know what’s true, and others important or close to you know what’s true.  Share the truth with your family and friends who have your back.
  • Some people will believe the rumors.  Try not to take it personally.  Opinions stem from the ego and are separate from the self.  A fascinating topic which Eckhart Tolle does a great job of explaining here.


“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”   Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 “The liar’s punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.”  George Bernard Shaw

 “Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.” Paulo Coelho

 “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”   William Faulkner

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Latinas and Cancer: “I do not feel any less of a woman,” said Angelina Jolie of her double mastectomy.

Angelina Jolie  Actor and director Angelina Jolie revealed she has successfully undergone a preventative double mastectomy which she describes in uncensored detail in today’s New York Times.  I commend her for having the courage to step forward publicly, especially when working in an industry which more often than not treats women as objects and measures them by their body parts.

Jolie’s mother died of cancer after battling with it for ten years at the young age of 56.  Knowing her history she took the proactive step of testing for mutations of the breast cancer susceptibility gene, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which can be inherited.  In normal cells these prevent uncontrolled cell growth whereas mutation of these genes have been linked to the development of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  After testing, Jolie’s doctors concluded she had 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer.  She then took the proactive measure of having a double mastectomy dropping her risk to only 5%.

 Who should consider getting tested?

In a family with a history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, it may be most informative to first test a family member who has breast or ovarian cancer. If that person is found to have a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, then other family members can be tested to see if they also have the mutation. Source

In her own words:

“For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.

Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”   Angelina Jolie

This is a great opportunity to address the issue of cancer in the Latino community so let’s look at some statistics.

Cancer Statistics for Latinas

A high proportion of Hispanic women are uninsured (about 30%). Uninsured Hispanic women with breast cancer are more than twice as likely as other women to be diagnosed with breast cancer in advanced stages. The disease is more difficult to treat successfully when it is diagnosed in its advanced stages, and survival rates are lower.

Latinas also face other barriers to health care, including difficulties with language, transportation, child care, immigration status and cultural differences.

breast cancer statistics in the latino community

  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic American/Latina women.
  • Latinas are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women who are diagnosed at a similar age and stage. Some ethnic and racial groups have been less likely to receive breast cancer screening, and thus their breast cancers are often diagnosed at later stages. This later diagnosis increases the chance of dying from breast cancer.
  • Latinas women have a lower incidence of breast cancer than white women, however, they are more likely to be diagnosed with larger tumors and late stage breast cancer .
  • Lack of medical coverage, barriers to early detection and screening, and unequal access to improvements in cancer treatment may contribute to observed differences in survival.
  • Recent research indicates aggressive breast tumors are more common in younger African American/Black and Hispanic/Latino women living in low socioeconomic areas. This more aggressive form of breast cancer is less responsive to standard cancer treatments and is associated with poorer survival.

cervical cancer statistics in the latino community

  • Latinas have the highest cervical cancer incidence rate.
  • The disproportionate burden of cervical cancer in Hispanic/Latino and African American/Black women is primarily due to a lack of screening.
  • Persistent infection with certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the major cause of most cases of cervical cancer. An HPV vaccine is now available that targets two strains of the virus that are associated with development of cervical cancer and account for approximately 70 percent of all cases of cervical cancer worldwide. This vaccine prevents infection by two HPV strains and has the potential to reduce cervical cancer-related health disparities both in the United States and around the world.  Source

What You Can Do

As you can see some of these statistics can be turned around by being proactive.  Be an advocate for your health care. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, become informed about your diagnosis, treatment, and long-term follow-up care.  If you are age 40 or above, get regular mammograms and breast exams and spread the word to women you know to do the same. Getting the HPV vaccine is yet another preventative measure.  Another suggestion is go with a friend or family member and get screened together.  Participate in making decisions about your health.


Please feel free to share suggestions and resources in the comments.



National Alliance for Hispanic Health:

The National Cancer Institute:

Susan G. Komen .org

Breast Cancer .org

Report: Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos 2009-2011



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Empowering Latina Voices: Film Maker Fanny Velez

 photo homebound_zps5508053a.jpg

Latinos are no longer waiting for corporate media conglomerates to wake up and smell the coffee. With the tools at our disposal we are taking matters into our own hands and creating our own opportunities. Filmmaker Fanny Veliz did precisely this and raised funds to shoot her first feature film. Now that the film is completed she has created yet another opportunity for you to get involved with your local communities to create positive change.

Please read the following press release and contact Ms. Veliz with any questions.

Indie Film “Homebound” Uses Community Screenings to Raise Audience Awareness
Filmmaker Fanny Véliz wants to bring the Hollywood machine to her.

Los Angeles, CA – January 7th, 2013 – Writer/Director and actress Fanny Véliz raised production funds to shoot her first feature film, Homebound last year, through the increasingly popular internet crowd funding method. Now that the film is complete she is turning to the community once again with a unique concept.
“Use my film to raise funds for your organizations, it’s a win-win situation.” Says Véliz. The goal is to show to Hollywood that there’s a hungry audience out there ready for a film like HOMEBOUND.  It is about empowering the community to empower filmmakers to tell the Latino stories Hollywood chooses to neglect.

“I’m committed to helping transform the image of Latinos in the media by telling stories that aren’t usually told,” says Veliz. “We are all used to seeing stories of immigration, gangs, and other stereotypes, this film shows another side of the American Latino. Homebound is an American story, a human story told with an American Latino cast.”  Homebound tells the story of Richard Lynn, a successful young Latino business professional who returns to his small hometown in Texas to help his dying father. His father insists he take over the family business, a bar. Secretly, the young man wants to burn down the bar because he blames it for the death of his own mother and the illness of his father. In the process he rediscovers his childhood’s small town and falls truly in love for the first time.

The film features a cast of seasoned actors which includes Enrique Castillo, whose work in such films as El Norte, Mi Familia and the cult classic Blood In Blood Out have made him a fan favorite among Latino audiences and his role in Showtime’s Weeds has made him a hit among mainstream audiences. Texan born Julia Vera, who has built a career as a character actress in film and television for over twenty years is not only an actress in Homebound, she is also invested in the film as an associate producer. Richard Lynn is played by a dynamic young actor, Jeremiah Ocañas, who not only plays the lead, he is also a native El Campo, Texas, where the film was shot. El Campo served not only as the prime location, but its citizens helped facilitate permits, meals, lodging, a source of talent pool for minor roles and the extras, and even a helicopter needed for the shoot. Fanny Véliz, in addition to her producing, writing, and directing duties also plays the female lead in the film.

Community is at the centerpiece of this undertaking. It takes a community, and Véliz is hoping to once again enlist community and embrace the film through the “Community Screenings” concept, and help them raise awareness of the film.

The production company is currently looking for organizations, companies or individuals nationwide that would like to host a “Community Screening” of the film. They would need to commit to create a screening, which would raise money for their own Non-Profit organization or other Non-Profits they wish to benefit. Each host will receive a Homebound Party Pack that will take them step by step on how to tailor the event to the Homebound theme.

To sign up to host a Screening of Homebound in your city please email:[email protected]
For more information on the film Homebound go to

Homebound Official Trailer

Why is it important to support this film?
The success of this film opens doors for new voices creating more opportunities.
 Let’s support each other and grow.

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