Now that I'm no longer in the service industry ( 🎉), and not working with food, I can afford to start exploring ways to indulge my hands! While I'd love to be boujee enough to get fancy manicures at a salon all the time, my student loans say HECK NO.
I keep hand lotion with me at all times to treat my skin, but I don't ever take the time to paint my nails. Why?
1) I'm HORRIBLE at it. People with those kind of fine motor skills are my heroes!
2) It chips right away anyway
3) It takes foreeeeverrrrrrrr
At my current job, I work with a ridiculous (fantastic) co-worker named Liz whose nails always look fabulous. She uses Color Street strips (100% real nail polish), and is the entire reason I've been wanting to try them.
After over a year of nice-nails-envy, I decided to finally try Color Street for myself!
Do you want to learn Spanish? So do I. I'm half Latina, but Spanish was forbidden from being spoken in my house when I was young. By the time I got older, it felt more intimidating and harder to focus on learning a new language. But that part of me that yearns to connect, to understand, to communicate has only grown larger over time. THIS YEAR, I'M NOT LETTING EXCUSES GET IN THE WAY!
This post was supposed to be the first YouTube video in a series designed to bring you along on my Spanish journey! Technological difficulty means any YouTube recording has to wait till I get a new phone.
I've always had refurbished smart phones, and it took me way longer than average to even get to that point! Flip phones for life ;) Apple is rumored to release a new iPhone SE2 (or iPhone 9) this spring that will feature entry level/much lower prices and the internal processor of their new, higher end models. I don't know technology, so feel free to google and see what I'm referring to! Either way, I'm wildly excited and this will be the first new smart phone I plan on buying -- with the idea that it's decently future-proofed and can last a good long while. Here's hoping! Until I get that phone, my YouTube channel is on hold.
Like so much in life, smartphones are tools. And learning to recognize the right tool for the right job is always the first step in getting things done.
I have three books I'll be using on my journey:
-The Everything Spanish Grammar Book: All the rules you need to master Español by Julie Gutin
-Gramática Apasionada: Reminiscences of a Love Affair with the Spanish Language by James K. Gavin
-Spanish Vocabulary: Second Edition by Dorothy Richmond
In addition, I love watching Spanish-language TV shows. I also love Bad Bunny, Natti Natasha, etc but the music will wait for another blog post :)
Here is a roundup of my favorite Spanish-Language TV shows:
Show: Velvet (NETFLIX)
Gist: This show is set in a fashion house in Spain during the late the 1950s. Follow the hopes and dreams of a sweet, charming seamstress with always more going on than meets the eye.
Why I like it: I love it for the same reasons that I love Downton Abbey. The time-period costumes, the romantic subplots, the earnest like-ability of the two main characters. I do think that two of the supporting characters, Rita & Pablo, nearly manage to steal the whole show! There's everything to love and nothing to hate. Velvet does have a second/spin off show called Velvet Colleción I haven't been able to really get into. But Velvet? Forever a favorite!
Show: Cable Girls (NETFLIX)
Gist: 1920s Spain, and Madrid houses a successful telephone company. The main character gets a job as a telephone operator, passing herself off as just another cable girl, but is hiding a giant secret.
Why I like it: While Velvet is all feel-good sweetness, Cable Girls has a refined edge to it. There's murder, secrecy, queer folks -- and still all the fun period-costumes a history-loving heart could wish for. I'm currently watching this! Don't spoil it, please :D
Show: Grand Hotel / Gran Hotel (NETFLIX)
Gist: (this is from Wikipedia. Thanks Wiki!) "The series, filmed at the Palacio de la Magdalena in Santander, is set in an early 20th century aristocratic hotel during the reign of King Alfonso XIII and is centered on the mysteries that involve the owner's family and the hotel servants."
Why I like it: This is probably the closest to Downton Abbey of all the shows. I don't know why all my favorites are historical! I haven't totally finished watching this show, but adore the romance, costumes, class politics, and unfolding mystery.
Show: House of Flowers / Casa de Las Flores (NETFLIX)
Gist: Mexican comedy-drama. It depicts a dysfunctional upper-class Mexican family that owns a prestigious flower shop called 'La Casa de las Flores'." (thanks Wiki!). MODERN DAY!
Why I like it: I've had a hard time getting into season 2, but I LOVED season 1! It might all be the way that Paulina talks? If you watch, you'll start to understand what I mean. It's a fun, occasionally sad, show that gives a peak into wealthy worlds.
SPECIAL MENTION: One Date a Time (NETFLIX)
While One Day At a Time isn't a Spanish-language TV show, there is a fair amount of Spanish that gets spoken. I resonate SO deeply with this fun, light-hearted AND deep television show. While the side of my family I know best is Puerto Rican, and the family on this show are Cuban, it still hits so very close to home.
I see my mom and my grandma in the dynamics between main character Penelope and her mom Lydia (literally, I think my mom and grandma have had many of the exact same conversations before).
I see myself in Penelope (a hot-mess of a mom with PTSD, big dreams, and big curls), and I see myself in her teenage daughter Elena (queer, a bit of a dork, and unable to speak Spanish). The son Alex is charming and adorable, and neighbor/best-friend Schneider is a great reminder for all white folks to check their privilege and ridiculousness at the door. Every single person on the show is both love-able and interesting, with so much story to be told.
One Day At a Time has touched my heart and made me sob real tears, but usually just makes me laugh till my stomach hurts. It's high-quality writing and acting. The worst part is the laugh-track, but it only takes a few episodes till you don't even notice it anymore. Go binge the existing seasons, and wait with me on the release of the next!
That's all for now! Join me the third Sunday of every month to Learn Spanish With Me :) Are you learning Spanish? Do you speak Spanish? What are some of your favorite Spanish-language TV shows? Drop a comment, tell me (and everyone else) all about it!
One of my goals this year is to discover my roots. Perhaps by sharing my journey, it can help you (or inspire you!) to Discover Your Roots too. I am the descendant of so many fascinating people, a long line of DNA and story that I’m only beginning to uncover.
I grew up thousands of miles away from any sort of extended relatives for most of my life. Maybe that's one reason I crave more connection. Here’s the quick scoop:
My dad’s mom: Grandmama, and who I’m named after :) A Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe and the daughter of an Orthodox Rabbi. I saw her pretty infrequently — but she was my favorite e-mail (& ICQ Messenger) buddy in the 90s :D She passed away a few years ago ❤️😞
My dad’s dad: Grandpa Bob. Mostly a mystery that my dad didn’t grow up with. We all met him once when I was too young to properly remember. He's since passed away, before I ever reached out to him ❤️😞 I’ve started connecting with a first cousin, a third cousin, and uncle that I never realized I had!
My mom’s mom: Grandma Ruth, who I’m named after with my middle name :) Born in Puerto Rico, and the side of the family I grew up knowing the best! She lives in Florida right now, and I miss her BUNCHES. If you've ever met her, you know she's the most adorable human on the planet!💖
My mom’s dad: Grandpa Rueben. Mexican descent (via Arizona). He died when my mom was twelve ❤️😞 I’ve only begun connecting with that side of the family this year! I think that's absolutely, wildly exciting.
I’m half Latina*, and half miscellaneous European/Ashkenazi Jewish. While my sense of identity is rooted in much more than those two halves, they are important parts of myself that I want to connect with and understand more deeply. This blog post is the introduction to that discovery!
Sometimes, I let the fact that my mother's not Jewish (the ever important question) and the fact that I wasn't raised within Judaism intimidated me. But not this year!
The second Sunday of every month, I’m going to blog about exploring my Jewish side. Judaism isn’t just a religion; it’s also DNA, ethnicity, culture, and shared history. I love how Reconstructing Judaism puts it: that Judaism is a “progressively evolving civilization.”
While Judaism is best experienced in community, sharing a car with Janet right now makes that a bit trickier to attend events/synagogue/etc. I’m also an introvert, which means often I don’t have the people points left over to go attend big social things with other humans.
This year, I’m going to see what I can explore through books, the lovely internet, and incorporating little pieces into my ordinary life. What will resonate? What will I learn in terms of my own history, modern Jewish views, and my own evolving relationship to the passing of time?
I hope you join me! Whether you are interested in exploring Judaism yourself, have (OR crave!) a well-rooted sense of connection to your heritage, or just want to cheer me along in this journey -- I’m glad you’re here :)
*ps. check back on YouTube the third Sunday of every month to LEARN SPANISH WITH ME!