The ULTIMATE Ten Commandments for Being a Chingona! #InnerChingona Food for Thought.

8 Oct



I loooooove this!   Especially as I’m always trying to channel my Inner Chingona to work it for me in all aspects of my life.   I decided that I wanted to start writing when I couldn’t find my story in any book that I had read.  One summer, I decided to read books by Latino authors from A to Z:  A lot of the great Latina authors, and some of my favorites, were books I read first because their last names ended in A, B, C:  books by Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, Ana Castillo, Denise Chavez, and Sandra Cisneros among many others.  Some books were ok, some I didn’t like, most I totally LOVED.

The books I loved best were the ones by Chicana, Mexican-American authors like Ana Castillo, Denise Chavez, and Sandra Cisneros.  In their stories, I began to hear snippets of “my” story, I began to see in writing, in black and white, English and Spanish written together as well as Spanglish — just like I talked all of the time!  When I started to practice writing, I also started to notice that it was easy for me to write as I thought, that it came out ok, that people understood it, that they ‘got it’, that I lost none of the Latina flavor that I loved — and I felt like I was finally home.

While I have yet to read my exact story, probably because I have yet to write it LOL, I was highly influenced by these authors and especially empowered by Sandra Cisneros:  straight-up Chicana, no holds barred, hilarious, insightful, and she wrote about experiences that I had gone thru like moving out of the house without being married…OMG, I was either the first or surely one of the first in my entire familia to do this so who could really understand what that was like?  Sandra Cisneros put it out there and I so related to it.   

One of the things that I try to do with my writing is to be myself, to be as authentic as possible, to embrace the fact that I am not perfect at all, to try to talk about my experiences in the hope that someone will relate to them, find that little pedacito that they can identify with and maybe we can all do great things by channeling our perspective Inner Chingona.

So when I saw the Ten Commandments of Chingonas written by none other than Sandra Cisneros — I just HAD to share it!  Believe me, there are some of these commandments that I must work on more than others!  But, finally, there is a road map LOL.


How to Be a Chingona in 10 Easy Steps

  1.  Live for your own approval. Center yourself. Be alone. Create your own space.
  2. Discover your own powers. What floods you with joy?
  3. Find true humility and practice it.
  4. Keep your palabra, your word.
  5. What are you using to cover or mask your pain? Address it.
  6. Your only true possessions are your actions.
  7. Seek forgiveness.
  8. Live in the present moment.
  9. Depression has a purpose if you use it before it uses you. Transform it to light. Compost it through art. If you can’t do it by yourself, see a professional curandera (healer, therapist).
  10. Listen to your body.
    – Sandra Cisneros


Keeping Our Spirits Up “Mike-Torres Style”

6 Oct


Today was a significant and sad day for us Torres5 and TorresBabies17…one year ago today, Mama had made her decision to stop her dialysis treatments and we then knew that it was a matter of time, we were unsure of how long, that she would no longer be with us.  I have to give it to Dad, he has made it a point to honor Mama in small, yet profound, ways.  He made a beautiful garden in her honor and, what he did during the last couple of days really made us all feel so much better!


Dad, along with the help of our famfriend Mary Rangel Hernandez and sis Kiki, got the ball rolling to remodel and paint the kitchen.  He chose yellow and asked them to match the yellow of one of Mama’s famous flowered plates.   The minute I walked in and saw this, my thoughts instantly flew to Mama!  The kitchen looks great and I also love how he kept the little shelf above the sink with some of the little things that she always had wherever she was:  her little clock that she always needed to see whenever she would lay down,  there was this silver thing, looked like a bolt of some kind, and Mama used it as a paperweight in her lil table like forever, the sugar bowls that we had since forever, some of the lil shot glasses that we would use to put her medicine in, at least I did, so that she wouldn’t drop the pills since she took so many :(   Just seeing these things make us feel instantly comforted.  Love the new sink and counters too!


Like most rooms in the house, one side belongs to Mom and the other side belongs to Daddy.  These bottles are, of course, his and love that they found a way to display them.  Most of these are gifts from his 80th Birthday party.   But we don’t really need these kinds of ‘spirits’ to keep our spirits up LOL,  we do need, love and appreciate, our Dad’s efforts to keep our familia together, happy and smiling.  Sure, we may have sad days but thank God we have Mike Torres to steady us and keep us going when things get tough for us without Mama.  I do not know what we would have done this past year without him.  God Bless him!


The beginning of my Inner Chingona: From Francisca to Carmen in Three Months

4 Oct


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Every year, on October 4th, I’m reminded that this was the day that I was supposed to be born…Mama always called me to tell me “Happy Birthday” — I was born prematurely on July 16th and Mama’s due date was on October 4th.    2 pounds, 5 ounces.   Lots of premature babies didn’t make it back in the day and I did, so I was one of the lucky ones.  I was born with no fingernails, my ears were folded over, and I’ve been told that I fit into a shoebox.


It was also very touch and go whether I would survive or not.  I was baptized immediately and needed to be given a name.  The plan was to name me Francisca, doesn’t get more Mexican than that LOL, can you imagine me having nicknames like Pancha or Kika? I cannot even imagine it.  The way that I got my current name was via the Mexican calendar – all Mexican calendars come with the corresponding saint name on each day of the year.   The name for July 16th was Carmen so that was the name that I was given.

Fall has always been my favorite time of the year and maybe it was because I was supposed to be born during this season which I love because it gets cooler instead of hotter — well, usually it does, we still have all of the windows open and fans going as I write this LOL.

I had to stay in hospital for three months in an incubator and my family insists that this experience paved the way for how my personality would be.   It was all about learning how to survive and fight my fears alone as my parents couldn’t hold me and could barely touch me – to this day, I am extremely ticklish and have tended to shy away from hugs and things like that.  I’ve always been pretty fearless on doing what I wanted to do with my life.   I’ve also always had a ‘sixth sense’ about people and situations, especially when something doesn’t feel right.   I’ve been that way ever since I can remember.  Now if I walk into these ‘wrong’ situations with the ‘wrong’ people, it is por pendeja or from me not wanting to listen to my Inner Chingona.

I would get two birthday calls every year from Mama and my two birthdays are great days for me to review my short-term goals and to see how I am doing with my life and change what needs to be changed, toss what needs to be tossed, keep what needs to be kept and always count my blessings.   More than anything, this day always feels special to me — like as if I’ve been blessed twice.

Day 15 of Hispanic Heritage Month Photo Challenge: Tomorrow/Mañana #HHM15Foto

1 Oct



As I submit this final entry for the Hispanic Heritage Month Photo Challenge, it is the anniversary of my Grandmother’s passing. I remember that I was on my very first cross-country road trip when I got the news from my familia that she had died; and SHE used to tell me how she used to drive cross-country alone back in the 40s and 50s so Grandma was on my mind during that first trip.

It was exciting and a little scary and I had a blast driving 90mph thru parts of the way and stopped at every rest stop so that I could see parts of our great country, I saw some beautiful scenery along the way.


So for tomorrow/mañana, I would like to plan another cross-country road trip or something similar that will recharge and energize my creative, fun, and aventada self!

This attitude always worked for me in the past and it’s time to bring it back, front and center, to all areas of my life! It’s time to see the world from another window. I’m on it starting mañana! Thanks for letting me have fun with this Photo Challenge in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, photos are Mexican toys featuring ways to travel, horse, cart, car! #HHM15Foto


Day 14 of Hispanic Heritage Month Photo Challenge: Hoy/Today #HHM15Foto

28 Sep



As El Dia de Los Muertos approaches, I think about how much my life today is IN FLUX and going thru a lot of CHANGE. I’m still trying to find my way after Mama’s passing and, more than that, trying to figure out what I want to do and how I want to live the rest of my life. I feel good about whatever comes next because I know three things: God exists: there’s no way Mama could have gone weeks without food or drink before her passing, He took care of her and us. 2) Mama always calmed me down whenever I worried that the family wouldn’t be together, “you’re all too old to change now, you’ll always stay together” 3) This ‘giving myself away’ attitude ended on 11/11/2014 so whatever is next for me will be positive and right. Just like Mama said it would be LOL #HHM15Foto ‪#‎MargaretLivesInMe‬


Day 13 of 15 Days of Hispanic Heritage Photo Challenge: Amor/Love #HHM15Foto

28 Sep


Part of learning how to love oneself is to give love to others…it is so easy for me to love all of my ‪#‎TorresBabies‬. Seventeen godchildren niece nephews of all ages/sizes are the joy of our familia and, for me, just like my own children. I pray, worry, cheer them on, cry and laugh with them, and celebrate them. I may be in the pic with my YeziYesenia but you can put in the faces of any one of the TorresBabies17 and it wouldn’t make a difference the look on my face and in how I feel about them. Love love love them all! #HHM15Foto

Day 12 of 15 Days of Hispanic Heritage Photo Challenge: Mi Ciudad/My City #HHM15Foto

26 Sep


I’ve been blessed to live in many places so it was hard to choose which city to feature in this post. In this past year, I pretty much came back ‘home’ to Lathrop, CA to care for Mama and, as I sit here with Dad, I know that it was the best decision.

Lathrop is still a whole lot of rancho and fields but it’s not wild wild west, there is Starbucks LOL. Whether I’m driving home from North or South, I know that I’m close to home when I see the fields that Tio Mundo used to work, when I drive by a certain river, when I see the road signs that lead to the Ranch.

My side of Lathrop is still quiet, comforting, and filled with family blessing me as I leave and welcoming me home. ‪#‎HHM15Foto‬

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Day 11 of 15 Days of Hispanic Heritage Photo Challenge: Inspiracion/Inspiration #HHM15Foto

24 Sep

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A lot of what I do requires a huge amount of self-motivation and getting inspired really helps: studying, writing, planning events, planning family activities, cleaning LOL.

marco antonio solis

To get the inspiration flowing, I find that MUSIC inspires me best. When I am going to write, don’t ask me why, but I always start with music by Marco Antonio Solis songs. After I get into the writing groove, I’ll change up the music but it’s like Marco Antonio Solis is like a cup of cafe in the morning.


When I’m planning events, I find that listening to a mixture of fast Old School, Ranchera and Banda songs get me moving in the right direction. With each song, I visualize each part of the event from the set-up to the day of event and I visualize it all going well!


When I am going to socialize with friends: Smooth R&B – LOL I remember when it was straight-up party music, you better know we must be getting mellower.


When I’m cleaning or when I’m in the office, my Pandora shuffle has EVERYTHING. Anyone who has had to sit my me in an office will tell you that my Pandora shuffle is the most diverse ever!

In the Torres Fam, we love any/all kinds of music! ‪#‎HHM15Foto‬


>>>>>>See videos below!


Marco Antonio Solis & Joan Sebastian:  La Venia Bendita


Earth Wind & Fire:  Got to Get You Get You Into My Life


Jenni Rivera – Ya Lo Se


Musiq Soulchild – Yes


Ruben Blades – Pedro Navaja


Day 10 of 15 Days Of Hispanic Heritage Photo Challenge: Aventuras/Adventures #HHM15Foto

23 Sep

ct blizzard

I know that the minute I post this entry, that I will have remembered many more adventures of my life!

This adventure happened when I was living in Denver,Colorado. I had never been around the snow in my life (and I loooooved it). This particular night, we noticed the snowstorm hit from a downtown remote and, after taking my crew home, I went back to the station in the Radio Romantica van. By then it’s really snowing and I’m wondering how bad it will be to get home. Like a sonsatontapendeja, I try and drive my car out of the parking lot and it was impossible so I turned back … yeah it was a BLIZZARD!

By the time I remembered that there was a Hilton across the parking lot, I had to WALK across that lot in snow that was almost to my waist. I ended up staying in that hotel for three days and there was no room service for one whole day because no one could get to work so I had my trusty box of Captain Crunch to hold me over.

Walking across that parking lot that night and hearing that weird wind felt like I was at Little House on the Prairie LOL. This is a pic of my car TWO days after the blizzard, as you can see I was going nowhere!  I had never seen anything like this and I was really amazed with Mother Nature and laughing at the stupidity of trying to drive in this mess!

I remember that Quique, the News Director, and I  had to go up on the roof and take the snow off of the satellites as the blizzard had knocked us off air and we needed to get back up on the air.  I wish we would have taken a picture of THAT!  It was hilarious trying to sweep off the snow as it was still snowing! ‪#‎HHM15Foto‬

Day 9 of 15 Days Of Hispanic Heritage Photo Challenge: Familia/Family #HHM15Foto

22 Sep



Day 9 of 15DaysOfHispanicHeritage photos: Familia/Family.

Not enough words exist in the Spanish or English language to say how important familia is to me. My parents both lost a parent at a very young age, my paternal grandfather was gunned down in front of my father and my maternal grandmother died of cancer. Although it was traumatic for my parents both to lose a parent at a young age, it is beyond amazing that they were able to instill in us Torres5 the importance of staying together no matter what and that family is everything.


Both Mike and Margaret have told us how much we Torres5 are loved which is so important for a child to hear and know.  Above is a recent pic of Grandpa and Great-Grandpa Mike with some of his grand- and great-grandchildren.


Some of us at the Ranch celebrating Mother’s Day earlier this year!

1888744_10204099480901312_8767930624991095463_nSome of our Grijalva Fam celebrating at the Grijalva Girls Annual Christmas Reunion!


I also love that we grew up with our extended familia at the Ranch and that Mama made sure that we hung out with our Grijalva fam as well. Now we have to keep the tradition going with the future generations of our family. No family is perfect and not all is perfect but all is most def right in the world when all is right with familia. #HHM15Foto


Below please find The Fabulous 5 of our Ranch, the rocks of our family!  Tia Elvira (Tio Mundo RIP), Tia Lili, Dad, Tia Becky, Tia Chayo, and Tio Freddy.



Below is the future of our familia…the littlest Torres babies:  Lucia, Olivia, Yesenia, and King!  Love our bebitos!

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