Friday, September 8, 2017

New Website

It has been a while since I blogged and although I find inspiring topics around me, I have been focused on my daily life. However, I revamped my blog and created a new one over at wordpress. It's a little prettier with new content about my life in Texas. This site will stay up. There are good memories here and the articles live on to tell the tales of my beautiful friends and my time in Los Angeles. If you'd like to read more recent musings, check out my new blog here:

Thanks for reading! Peace, Ase, Blessings

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Have a Heart

My good friend Laura is working on promoting the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" heart disease awareness campaign and I couldn't help but think of how many people I know that have passed from this preventable disease. In our flavorful Latino culture, we tend to toss caution to the wind when our traditional dishes are placed in front of us. These wonderful delicacies were created by loving hands with recipes passed down from prior generations.

However, we do not live the same lifestyles as our abuelos. Mine were humble ranching people. They kept animals and grew their own produce. They were hard workers from sun up to sun down raising many children who learned the importance of sacrifice and hard work.

Today, my generation hasn't seen a live chicken in over a decade and we pass our time staring into computer and phone screens. Not that what we do is not important, but we are not as physically active as our grandparents and parents. We don't have a need for fatty foods because we are not poor. We know when our next meal will be and have the luxury of having a host of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What I'm getting at is that we relish the thought of our traditional dishes but forget that we do not need all those calories or fatty ingredients as much as our ancestors did just 50 years ago. Our food is now laced with questionable ingredients and medications such as anti-biotics and products we cannot pronounce.

We have to be cautious and understand how we nurture our bodies, especially us women. Yes, having a curvy body is all the rage these days but be sure your heart is healthy before eating that 7th tamal or reaching for the pan dulce in the morning. Let's make good choices, use healthier ingredients in our traditional food and indulge on special occasions. I'm not saying give up on our favorite fatty dishes, just modify them or have them sparingly. Let's add more veggies than arroz to our plates and reach for tequila shots instead of the whole sugary margarita (ahh, you liked that one huh?!). There are creative and simple ways to work around the heart-clogging foods we love and still celebrate our culture and food heritage. Let's have a healthy heart and a long life!

Heart disease facts for women:
  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women's deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
  • 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and the gap between men and women's survival continues to widen.
  • The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood.
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.
  • On average, Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics.
  • Only 1 in 3 Hispanic women are aware that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.

Here are some tips for healthy eating to try this Heart Month. Recipes can be found on
If you devote one day to healthy eating, you will know you can do it again and learn to enjoy it!
1. Slow down on the sodium: Americans eat more than double the daily amount of sodium recommended by the American Heart Association. Too much sodium increases the risk of heart diseasestroke and other health problems, but this excess isn’t just from salting at the table. Americans get most of their sodium — 77 percent — from processed foods. If you choose these foods, compare the labels and look for lower-sodium versions.
2. Pile on the fruits and vegetables: Choose all kinds of fruits and vegetables — fresh, frozen, canned, juiced and dried. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Look for fruits and vegetables of many different colors. Then try a “healthy sauté” using a small amount of liquid to cook vegetables. Need a quick, healthy weeknight dinner? Try a salad. The American Heart Association has tasty recipes packed with such items as tofu, broccoli, mushrooms and much more.
3. Get the skinny on fats: Learn how to substitute good fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats) for bad fats(saturated and trans fats). For example, try canola oil or olive oil instead of butter. Choose lean meats, poultry without skin and fish instead of fattier cuts of meats. Enjoy heart-healthy fats in moderation and remember this tip: 1 teaspoon equals 1 serving.
4. Cook at home. Cooking at home is not only a great way to make sure the ingredients are healthy, but portions are correct. Try using a smaller salad-size plate instead of a big dinner plate, as well.
Check out this important video:

Join the fight and Go RED on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 6, 2015. That same day, San Antonio buildings will celebrate the day by turning their buildings red in support.  Be on the lookout Friday evening for San Antonio landmarks going red including the Alamo Quarry Market (smokestacks), the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, North Star Mall, The Shops at La Cantera and the University Health System's Robert B. Green Campus. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm Not a Fan

Backstage access rocks!
Just the other day, a well-known MC, Kanetic, posted a picture of us together on his Instagram with a caption that read "As an Artist, one shouldn't consider someone who likes their music a 'Fan', but rather 'Familia'." My initial reaction was to go into shock upon seeing the word "fan" mentioned in reference to myself but then I realized he was saying what I have always felt, that I'm not a fan. I'm part of the music machine that promotes and keeps my favorite types of music genres alive and in business. Yes, we are family.

I'm always taken back to that scene in the movie Almost Famous that explains it perfectly:

Penny Lane: We are not Groupies. Groupies sleep with rockstars because they want to be near someone famous. We are here because of the music, we inspire the music. We are Band Aids."
And this: 
William Miller: "That groupie"? She was a Band-Aid! All she did was love your band. And you used her, all of you! You used her and threw her away! She almost died last night while you were with Bob Dylan. You guys, you're always talking about the fans, the fans, the fans; she was your biggest fan, and you threw her away! And if you can't see that, that's your biggest problem. And I love her! I love her!

So maybe no band member is proclaiming their love for me or my fellow music-supporters to this extent but those of us that take our music seriously don't mess around when it comes to who we follow and engage with in person, at concerts, and of course, social media. I'll drop my money on the actual CD and get it autographed and maybe buy some merch I'll never use like those boxy, tight collar boy t-shirts that make me look like SpongeBob---square and unflattering---or that bumper sticker I'll never plaster all over my car just for the sake of supporting the band and their work. I'll go see a band that doesn't rise to my standards if it's free and there's cheap booze but I have no problem supporting those groups that put all their heart and soul into their art form. Call me a music snob. I do and am proud of it. 

Music has been a huge part of my life ever since I was a kid and learned the words to Juan Gabriel's No Tengo Dinero and thought Vicente Fernandez was my dad because they both rocked the sideburns and brillantina in their hair. My brother Gonzo and I were in the school district mariachi and I went on to join the band in middle and high school. We even made some decent money gigging around town. My friend Jeanette and I had a love of classical music in middle school. We were such nerds but cool nerds because we loved Mozart's Requiem, the rock song of the genre. When I moved to LA, I was surrounded by working musicians and often hired bands for whatever cultural non-profit I was working for at the time, mainly Latin bands doing salsa or alt rock. In fact, I'm back working with musicians in my current position in San Antonio. I'm very comfortable here. These are my people. Music is my first love. Art is a very close second. History and culture are right up there too. Combined, this is my world and it makes for a very exciting and inspiring life. This is why I take my music and musicians seriously. I have songs that represent certain times in my life and when I connect to a lyric or an emotion in the music, it's magic. You know the feeling. 

My favorite part of living in a musical world is understanding the reason for it. I like to look at the big picture and see where a certain artist or genre fits into the historical timeline. What is happening in the world that influenced this artist to write songs. What is everyone working on at the time? Happy cumbias or sad dreary distortion? Are the lyrics about a social cause or pretty butterflies floating in the wind? Did you know that Gene Autry rose to fame with his happy go-lucky songs during the Great Depression? Why? Because everyone was so sad and, well, depressed, that they needed an escape, something happy to get their mind off their troubles. This is the genius of music. It alters your mood. It makes you think. 

The worst part of being a music lover is discovering an artist when their obituary comes out. I hate it. Where was I that I didn't know about this person? I should know about everyone, right?! Yes, it's an obsession. So please don't call me a fan. Call me a music snob, music lover, a promoter and sometimes the band's publicist or pretend tour manager just so they can put me on their guest list, go backstage, and get our selfies on. Yes, the bands and musicians do appreciate the support and are humbled by your vote of confidence in their music. It's a reciprocal relationship. I live and breathe music and I will drop an artist if they do something stupid that doesn't align with my beliefs about the world. I won't admit that I do listen to pop music on commercial radio or that I need to take a heavy dose of Swiftamine (see video below) now and then. We all fall victim to Taylor Swift onset vertigo. Admit it! But yes, I do support independent labels and artists. It's the accessible artists that I prefer. I may never meet the Red Hot Chilli Peppers or Metallica nor Nikki Minaj. They're in a good place making their money. Following them and buying up all their merch and expensive concert tickets makes one a fan and that's all well and good but for me, I rather be familia. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Morally Corrupt Ordinace To Criminalize Charitable Folks

There comes a time when something so ridiculous comes to light and you wonder what are the real motives behind such horrible proposals. Well, the award for most infringement on civil liberties and basic human morality this year goes to San Antonio Police Department's Chief William McManus. His proposal before City Council will criminalize the giving of money to panhandlers. The "logic" behind it is to dissuade people (regardless of circumstance) from begging for money on the streets and public areas. He generalizes by saying that this money is being spent on drugs and alcohol. Apparently, he hasn't spoken to any of these people before because if he had, he'd hear stories as varied as there are dire circumstances plaguing our city's poor.

In the year and a half that I've been back in one of the friendliest cities in the nation, I've listened to stories of people in need begging for money on the street corner. Just here in my neighborhood at the big intersections of Military and Zarzamora, and Military and I35 you see a variety of needy people. The most heart-breaking is the families who are in need of covering medical costs and funerals. They hold up poster board signs with photos. Mothers, brothers, sisters, children all gathered near their pickup trucks at the Walgreens directing family members to stand on either of the street medians.

I walked into a chain restaurant to watch an elderly woman count her change and order a senior coffee then realizing that she didn't have enough for a burger. She didn't ask but I offered to pay for her meal. She told me she didn't like to beg because people assume she's going to use it for drugs. "Yo deje de hacer drogas hace mucho tiempo. Ahora solo vengo por un cafe y algo para comer," she said. Perhaps she made bad decisions in life but that doesn't mean we should continue to punish her and avoid her like the plague because the SAPD gestapo is watching citizens like a hawk to see what we do with the five dollar bill in our hands. The city will be like a spoiled child asking to be paid 100 times over in the form of a fine because I decided to give a needy person money. We're not handing out $100 bills here. We're talking pocket change, but the city wants to criminalize us and charge us a steep fine. If I wanted to donate money to the city I would but it will happen when I say so, not when it enacts an ordinance that violates my rights as a decent human being. Where is the morality in this? There is none. It's business and it's ugly.

One night my friend was waiting for me out near a local business when a man approached him telling him how he found a job in the city but not before he ran out of money for a cheap motel room for the night. Mother and little kids were sitting inside the car filled with their belongings unsure of where they were going to sleep that evening. My friend gave him enough to make the man crack a smile and bless him many times over. Did my friend think that money was going to drugs and alcohol? Of course not. Then there's the military veteran that can't bend his knees when he walks. He's young enough but you know that he's not all there mentally. You can only imagine what he has been through to get to this point. I haven't given him any money because he is a bit intimidating in his camouflage but I believe he has a right to stand there on that street corner and show us his battle scars. We may not want to see it. Could that be the reason for the ordinance? Make them all go away because they shed light on where we have failed them as a society?  It's already a crime to panhandle if you can believe that.

Just the other day, an elderly man approached me at the gas station. He walked with a limp and showed me the few coins he had in his hand. He wanted to buy a taco. At first I said I didn't have any change and he left. When I was done pumping gas, I felt something inside me that said I needed to help him. He was elderly and we in this country, don't treat our elders with the respect they deserve. I'm sure it was difficult for him to approach me, a younger lady, to ask for money. He probably grew up in a time when men where the bread winners and women stayed home raising children. Times have changed and I didn't want him to feel any worse than he probably already did. I tracked him down and gave him some money. The smile on his face, his apologetic acceptance of it, and amount of blessings he showered me with made me feel incredible. There's a wonderful sense of respect and divinity in this one exchange. It's special. The saying is true, it is better to give than to receive. I just don't need the government overstepping it's bounds and chastising actions that are born from my heart and consciousness. If this ordinance passes, we are headed down a dark and evil road. San Antonio, with it's spiritual, generous people and great amount of need won't stand for that chief.

Sign the petition here!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Viva La Barbie

I've never been a Barbie hater. In fact, I think Barbie does a better job than other dolls out in the market of providing diverse looks, jobs, fashion . . . ok, maybe not body type, but growing up, I never looked at my blonde hair/blue eyed size 0 doll and made any comparisons to myself. I watched my daughter ask for and play with a variety of dolls with various skin colors and hair types. Doll play is about creating a novela and acting it out with your friends.Who wants to play with dolls that all look the same? Perhaps on a deeper level, her diverse doll collection helped her better able to make friends with diverse kids at school and on the playground. On second thought, I wouldn't give one toy that much credit. It takes a whole host of influences to develop a child's mind, taste, discretion, and personality. And sometimes they're just born with their own opinion like mine.

While the previous Mexican Barbie realllly missed the mark by putting her in a less-than-ornate folklorico outfit, sending her off with chihuahua and passport in hand, I think they did a beautiful job on Mariachi Barbie  (the hat may be on backwards with the wide brim up front) but as as a former mariachi, it's part of my past, my culture and a big part of who I am. I wore that same black outfit and wore it with pride. I also wore a folklorico outfit but not to the fiesta like Barbie 2012. Perhaps their next Mexican doll could be modernized a bit but in a world where kids are dressing the same across the westernized globe, idolizing Zendaya and Selena Gomez or all those crazy Comic Con characters, it's nice to bring back traditional outfits and nods to our cultural roots.

Let's get upset when they come out with Reggaeton Barbie or Chicklet-selling Barbie instead ok?
I mean really: