“Yo Cuento Outdoors”~The Stories of Latino Outdoors. Part 2

Aribba en el Cielo. Abajo en la Tierra. Afuero con Latino Outdoors.


I promised you more stories from the amazing Latino Outdoors leaders, coordinators and volunteers. This organization has provided us the space to grow and nurture nature in our own unique and individual ways. Nature knows no boundaries and how beautiful is that? Here we all are, hikers, bikers, mountain climbers, bird watchers, backpackers, environmentalist and the list goes on but our passion is the same … Tierra Madre! We have individually been called to nature in our own way and up next is the story of Ruby J. Garcia~Executive Projects Coordinator.

Ruby J. Garcia~Executive Projects Coordinator.

What are some of the earliest memories you have with a connection to Nature?

I remember sitting in my grandma’s little mint garden as a small child. I’d help her transform rocks into ladybugs with a little bit of paint. One of my favorite past times as a child was examining California burclover fruit; I’d unravel it and eat the tiny seeds inside. This activity was very soothing for me, and I can confidently say that it is the foundation to my connection with nature.

I also remember standing beneath towering nopales and being so awe inspired. I grew up in the country, next door to a ditch – yes, I played in it during summer months. There was a pond at the end of this ditch, with a tire swing hanging from a tree. The ditch itself was lined with eucalyptus trees and a few weeping willows. And there was a bridge, where I’d sit and watch the tadpoles before jumping in to catch them. I remember catching ladybugs in the adjacent open field. This was my refuge, and I revisit it from time to time.

At 30, I am still soothed by the tiniest details of my interactions with nature. In these moments, I am fully immersed in nature and the burden of being human leaves me; suddenly, I experience life as one with my environment.

Tell me more about who Ruby is and how you connect to doing what you do now in the outdoor space?

[Big sigh] I was at Fresno Community College, switching majors every semester, when I finally decided to visit the Fresno State website to browse their programs and find a career path that would maintain my interest. Scrolling, scrolling through the programs. Then I saw “Recreation Administration” and was struck with curiosity. As I scanned this major I was hooked by, Adventure” “Serve at-risk youth” and “Leadership.” I wasn’t much of an outdoor enthusiast at the time, but intuition told me that this was the path I needed to take. At this time, my connection to nature was fairly faint. My connection to the outdoors was simple: I liked to be outside, in the sun, surrounded by plants.  

A few years later, I ventured to Yosemite in a time of tremendous hardship and eventually fell in love with hiking. I say “eventually” because my first two or three visits to this park consisted of driving around the park, awestruck.  You see, I didn’t know what to do. I just knew that I wanted to be in that space. So, I sort of just drove around aimlessly; awestruck and taking it all in. Eventually, I brought a backpack with some food and water (my “day pack” – I know that now) and took my very first day hike to Nevada Falls. It was emotionally painful and awkward, because nobody on the trail looked like me; that’s super uncomfortable. And I was alone on this journey. Everywhere I looked I saw groups of happy White people with gear. I honestly felt like I didn’t belong there, and I felt like I wasn’t free to feel connected to that space. But at the same time, I was in awe of my hike. And it became clear that the only time I ever felt I had potential as a person was when I found myself on an outdoor adventure. And I remember thinking, “Why not?”

It would be a few years before I took my first Recreation Administration course, but, when I did, all of these connections came flooding in. I began to realize that outdoor recreation was my passion because I saw its potential as a tool for empowerment. I uprooted myself and my children from Fresno so that I could attend Humboldt State University; eighth hours away from home. Outdoor recreation became my go-to tool as I established myself as an independent, empowered single mother – a life changing endeavor. You see, I have experienced first-hand the benefits of outdoor recreation whilst learning the theory and practice behind such efforts. I have gained the confidence, empowerment, and resilience that comes with relentlessly pushing one’s boundaries. I have simultaneously witnessed, experienced, studied, and managed the power of recreation, emerging with an unbreakable faith that recreation is the antitheses to oppression. I advocate for this field with all of my heart, because it has allowed me to break cycles of poverty and oppression.

What is the connection that makes the outdoors so special to you?

Connecting with nature alleviates the negative parts of my human experience. It allows me to reconnect with myself and the world around me. I see my potential more clearly when I find myself in open spaces. I also use nature as a tool to accomplish my motherhood endeavors, teaching my children about the value of wonder, perseverance, environmental stewardship, and so forth. Outdoor spaces alleviate stress, encourage introspection, and promote well-being. We were meant to be outside.

How do you celebrate the connections between a Latinx identity and do you see yourself “counting” in the outdoors?

I highlight my connection between a Latinx identity and the outdoors with an unruly and celebratory rebelliousness, because this is my chosen avenue to empowerment, and I had to fight for it. I fought against the uncomfortableness of feeling unwelcomed in the outdoors. I stood against all odds and refused to fold in my pursuit of higher education. My experience has been that I make myself count in this field, as an outdoor enthusiast and recreation professional. And now that I’ve accomplished that, I seek to do the same for others as an extension of my own healing and empowerment.

How do you see it in others and the community around you?

There is a sense of comradery within the campus community here at Humboldt State. I see Latinx students making that journey to the outdoors together, venturing into an extremely culturally significant space which we’ve tradionally been excluded from as an act of resistance, self-discovery, and healing. It’s the adventure of a lifetime!

Why does what you do matter to you?

I wouldn’t be the empowered woman I am today without my unbreakable connection to nature. I couldn’t love myself, my children, or my community the way I do without having climbed this mountain. I believe in humankind’s capacity for growth, because I did it. Through my work I seek to create this opportunity for others.

It’s important that we use the outdoors to foster a connection between people and the environment. Yes, I want to promote environmental stewardship. Yes, conservation is of the utmost importance. I have heard a lot about providing outdoor recreation opportunities to underserved communities as a way of incorporating them into the mainstream conservation movement.

I’ve heard that people do not protect what they do not love. And I’ve heard the conservation movement needs all the help it can get. But my approach is this: Create outdoor recreation opportunities to uplift people first, and watch environmental stewardship come naturally. I don’t understand how we can expect populations that have been tradionally marginalized and excluded from the outdoors to even entertain ideas surrounding protecting our public lands, until they become empowered and make the journey to our public lands.

What three words best describe you?

Introspective: I learned how to love myself by spending lots of time exploring my mental and spiritual temples. This was my first step towards my journey to empowerment.

Open: Openness has helped me embrace vulnerability, practice honesty, and create pathways to understanding myself and the world around me. I am open and honest with myself and others on so many levels, and it has been so exhilarating to see the opportunities for growth this brings.

Resilient: My ability to thrive in unbelievably unfavorable conditions is something I have worked really hard for and am very proud of. At times I am in disbelief of my growth; it astounds me. The result is a profound belief in humankind’s capacity for growth.

The river or the beach?

Hands down the beach! The California Coastal National Monument is among my favorite places in California. I love to agate hunt, go tidepooling and watch the water in all its magnificence. Sometimes I visit Luffenholtz County Beach Park just to get quick kisses from my favorite place in Humboldt.

If you had one day to go outside where would you go and why?

The answer to this question is almost always the same. I would got to Humboldt Lagoons State Park to agate hunt by myself. I am a firm believer in self-care and spending time alone. Agate hunting couples nicely with this, because it is a passive activity which alleviates stress and promotes a sense of well-being.

The Family that Ruby built : ).

Thank you Ruby for sharing your story. A Latina Outdoors powerhouse and inspiration. The passion you have for the outdoors is now something your children will always associate with you. Couldn’t imagine better memories! Your on the right path Mamacita!

Stay tuned for more stories of Latino Outdoors “Yo Cuento Afuera”.

Southwest Ambassador for Latino Outdoors~Josie Gutierrez


Mi Vida Latina. #TXLatinoBlog


I must have been about 7 years old at the time this picture was taken. I remember my mom brushing my hair and picking out my clothes. I was always up for a photo shoot. Smile!

When I look in the mirror today, I see who I am, what I have become and who I still want to be.


My parents met in middle school. They eventually married and just had me. Happily ever after is not what happened. They divorced by the time I was about 6 or 7.


A testament to the love they had for me and the eventual mutual respect they had for each other in parenting me is the smile you see on my face.


My parents were both born in Texas. I am 2nd generation Mexican American on my Father’s side and 3rd on my Mother’s. I naturally picked up the Spanish language, Gracias a Dios! My parents never really taught it to me but it was the language spoken on both sides of my Familia. It was how I could communicate with my Abuelita. It was la musica my Grandfather sang.


My Mom and her parents Cristina and Domingo Garcia.

My Cultura was playing all around me and I was never the wiser!


The soundtrack of my youth is Mariachis, Musica Chicana and my Abuelo (Apa) playing his guitar as he sang Spanish songs.

Pets were chickens, ducks and my horse Big Red. My dad bought me one because he said I asked for one, lol. The chicken’s and duck’s were gifted to me every Easter (by me Dad) and I am forever grateful that my grandfather (Apa) had plenty of land to care for my pets.


Me and my horse Big Red.



My Sweet Sixteen.

La comida was so traditional that my expectations are high. I was raised on homemade tortillas, and frijoles from the jarro. Nopalitos, carne asada, chorizo, sopas, arroz con pollo were food for my soul. The salsa was always made from the cilantro, tomate, cebolla y chili piquin picked straight from my Abuelita’s backyard. Amor was comida and it showed.

Medicine was El curandero (the medicine man) for any ailment that the “Sangre de Chango” otherwise known as monkey blood (not really monkey blood) couldn’t cure. Aloe Vera was the plant kept in the front yard for burns and scrapes. If you still weren’t cured no worries because you probably had “ojo” (the evil eye) and having your Abuela rub an egg over your body as she prayed in Spanish somehow did the trick! The egg is then cracked and placed into a glass of water with a broken stick to make a cross on top of the egg. After a certain period of time the egg starts to separate and the more it does the worse the “ojo”.  I only wish my Abuelas were around to cure me without having to head to the local pharmacy.

The Amor is what cured us all.



Mis Abuelas Cristina y Manuela.

My parents loved me unconditionally and gave me the best of themselves. We were rich in culture and that was my happy. We weren’t rich but I always had what I needed and the most important thing for me was that they were always present in my life and I knew I was loved. It showed in their actions as it does to this day.

I am a lucky girl! I looked in the mirror as a child with no clue of who I was other than happy.


I look at myself in the mirror now (still happy) and see the past, the present and the future. My past was an abundance of Cultura, Tradiciones y Amor. The present is the family I have raised and the future is full of promise.


Mi Familia.

I grew up!


I am a daughter who became a woman, who became a Mom, who became a grandmother!


A dance recital with my granddaughter.

My family is my backbone and the love and traditions I was raised on is what I hope my girls have had a taste of. I still can’t cook a tortilla but I know what restaurant makes a good one. I don’t usually play Spanish music on the radio but they know the sounds of a good Mariachi. I do make a mean Fidello, family approved!

I have lived a lifetime and my dreams have now taken me Outside and into Nature. I became an ambassador for Latino Outdoors a year ago. An organization engaging, empowering and inspiring communities to share and identify Cultura and the outdoors.


Me and my Paleta.

I can’t be anyone other than me and I carry this in my heart. I am a proud Latina born and raised!


National Hispanic Heritage Month is honored September 15th to October 15th. It is a month to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation.


This post is a part of the #TXLatinoBlog Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop. Visit the bloggers listed below as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month together/juntos! Follow the hashtag #TXLatinoBlog on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too.

Que Means What – Being Latina Enough – Wednesday, 9/14

MexiMoments – Importance of Learning the Language as a Child – Thursday, 9/15

The Social Butterfly Gal – Mentoring Young Latinas – Friday, 9/16

Juan of Words – Mexican-American Culture – Monday, 9/19

Sweet Life– Food Recipes – Tuesday, 9/20

The Optimistic Heathen – Sharing Our Heritage with the Kids – Wednesday, 9/21

Modern Tejana – How to Live Your Latinidad in Mixed-Race Families – Thursday, 9/22

The Esposa Experience – Navigating the Pressures of Traditional Esposa Expectations – Friday, 9/23

The Nueva Latina – Mexican Independence Day in Guadalajara – Saturday, 9/24

FitFunAnd.com – Self-Reflection and Latino Outdoors – Sunday, 9/25

VodkaGirlATX – Latin-Inspired Cocktails – Monday, 9/26

Momma of Dos – How Mexican I grew up! – Tuesday, 9/27

Family Love in My City – Immigration – Wednesday, 9/28

Creative Meli – Basic and Healthy Latin Cooking – Thursday, 9/29

Mejorando Mi Hogar – Being Latino or Hispanic – Friday, 9/30

Power to Prevail – Body Shame in Latino Culture – Monday, 10/3

Teatrolatinegro – Latin@ Theatre Show in Houston – Tuesday, 10/4

Candypo – Being a Latino Military Spouse – Wednesday, 10/5

Coppelia Marie – Am I a Bad Latina Mom? – Thursday, 10/6

The Restaurant Fanatic – Cocina Latina – Friday, 10/7

Haute in Texas – Mothering Latinas When You’re Not a Latina – Monday, 10/10


La Onda Chicana Concert 40th year Anniversary

In celebration of the 40th year anniversary of the concert La Onda Chicana, Efrain Gutierrez is making it available for free screening for the month of July. This concert was filmed in Port Lavaca ,TX on July 4th 1976 U.S. bicentennial.

Bands performing were Little Joe Y La Familia, Snowball and Company w/Laura Canales, Los Chachos and Johnny Elizondo y La Fabrica.

Efrain Gutierrez is the First Chicano Filmmaker and most recently his unique and personal window into motion history has now become a permanent part of history at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Preservation and Foundation Programs.

Thank you Efrain (Dad) for allowing us to take a trip back in time to La Onda Chicana. Password is 3gfilms.us.

FitfunandHappy 4th of July!


Memorias Y Cultura

I’ve heard my dad (Efrain Gutierrez) often talk about his years growing up as a migrant worker. So when he told me he was invited by The Northwest Michigan Migrant Resource Council to participate in the parade held on Saturday July 11, 2015, I was elated for him. I headed over to his place a few days later so I could learn more about his years as a migrant.


Efrain Gutierrez is a 1966 graduate from Edgewood High School in San Antonio, Texas. He has an A.A. degree in Multimedia from Northwest Vista College in San Antonio,Tx and a B.A. in History from Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Gutierrez is also recognized by academia as the first Chicano (Mexican/American) to independently produce a movie “Please Don’t Bury Me Alive/Por Favor No Me Entierren Vivo!” released in 1976. Gutierrez’s low budget feature  film “Please Don’t Bury Me Alive !/ Por favor, no me entierren vivo!” revenues topped “All the President’s men” and “Jaws” in several Texas theaters. He also wrote/produced/directed two other films “Amor Chicano Es Para Siempre/Chicano Love is Forever” released in 1977 and “Run Tecato Run” released in 1979.  Each year UCLA selects 15 movies per year, out of over one million films available. UCLA has honored Gutierrez by selecting these three films for restoration and preservation at the UCLA Film and Television Archives, making Gutierrez the first Chicano/Latino/Hispanic/ to have his films archived at UCLA.  UCLA Chicano Film, Television, and Digital Media Studies Research Center professor Chon Noeiga compares Gutierrez to Oscar Micheaux, an African American film pioneer.  Oscar Micheaux, who directed “race movies” for black audience from the 1920 through 1940s. Rooted in Chicano teatro, Gutierrez films dramatize the moral dilemmas and socioeconomic hardship facing the Chicano working-class community, in his honor Noriega has nominated Gutierrez’s three films to the National Library of Congress. 

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Leelanau County League of Women’s Voters  invited Efrain to screen his films for the migrant community in Traverse City, MI on Sunday July 12th and before that he will be in Grand Rapids,MI for a radio interview and a platica (conversation) at the Grand Rapids Hispanic Center.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Efrain was a migrant worker from San Antonio,Texas who traveled “Al Norte” (North) every summer with his family and from 1955-1961 they picked cherries in Traverse City, MI. Michigan holds many special memories for my dad and he has not visited the city since. He had screening’s for his 1st movie “Please Don’t Bury Me Alive!” in 1976 in Saginaw and Detroit, MI and even took my mom and I to visit my mother’s family in Adrian, MI when I was about 4.

His memories from the ages of 2-15 years involve many a caravan trips. The family and many cousins would head “al norte” sometime in April and wouldn’t return home till December. This was the life of a migrant worker.

Tomatoes was the main crop where the bulk of the money was made. The family stayed at two different tomato farms for many years in Auburn and Woodburn, IN. They would hoe and plant the seeds in April for about 4 weeks then head to Traverse, MI where the scenery was beautiful and the weather was cooler. They went as migrants to pick cherries and Efrain recalls being the happiest there. He recalls that while they worked, the older men talked about the Revolution, Mexico and fresh lemonade while his older brothers went through adolescence. The women would take their children if any and have them under the trees while they worked/sang and talked about life and family.  Efrain had 5 brothers and 1 sister and he was the 2nd youngest. They stayed in Traverse about 4-6 weeks and afterwards they would head back to Indiana to harvest the tomatoes they had planted.


The list is long……tomatoes,cherries,potatoes,pickles,melons,corn and the last was always the cotton, where the weather was cold and the work was hard. It was December when the family would make it back into San Antonio.

I asked my dad, what about school and he said “we went from January-April”.  The teachers were not fond of the migrant kids because they were always so far behind. They would literally split them up in two sections A & B. The migrant kids were B. My dad was always embarrassed by the divide and boasted that it only used to take him about 2 weeks to catch up and be transferred to the A side. This was life for him until he was about 15 years old and it was only then that he was able to go to school for a full year.


I only wish I could post every memory and write every adventure. I told him that should be for his book. I walk away from our time together being reminded that his family meant everything to him. They bundled up in the car together to only be bundled up again in small quarters to live in and and the end of the journey they would bundle together one last time for their journey home. Together they traveled, together they worked, together they played and together they loved….Familia !

My dad’s memories are beautiful ones. He always had someone to play with in the nearby rivers and lakes and knew that his older brothers and dad were there to protect him. His mom always had food on the table even if at times it was small. Life was hard but simple. He remembers the Era was as colorful as it was vibrant. and the music was beautiful. I can only imagine what he will find when he returns to taste the cherries he once picked and ate as a child. He has often wondered what it would be like to return to the place that held beautiful memories for him and a place where his family was one.

Efrain the migrant worker.

Efrain the First Chicano Filmmaker.

Efrain my DAD !!!!!

Fitfunand………..CULTURA !




Dia De Los Muertos/Day Of The Dead.


A traditional Mexican holiday to remember the people in our lives that have passed. The Day Of The Dead falls on Nov. 1st and 2nd every year, coinciding with the Catholic Holidays’s, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.

The belief is that the gates of Heaven are opened at midnight on October 31 and that the spirits of all deceased children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours on November 1st. The spirits of deceased adults come down on November 2nd to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. Indigenous people from Mexico believe the soul is eternal and that it can travel back and forth from this world and the next.

Celebrations will vary but a most common custom is the making of an altar (ofrendas) to welcome home departed spirits. Altars are usually decorated with flowers, candles, pan de muerto, ceramic skulls, and most importantly pictures of loved ones. Food placed on the altars consist of the loved ones favorite dishes and treats. Salt is considered the spice of Life and is often seen at Altars. A beverage will be waiting to quench the thirst of the dead after a long journey home.

  • PAN DE LOS MUERTOS (BREAD FOR THE DEAD) – A tradional sweet bread shaped like a round loaf with rolled strips of dough layered on top that resemble the bones of the dead.
  •  MARIGOLDS – The marigold is often referred to as the  flower of  the dead. The attractive scent of the flower is said to help the deceased find their way back home again.
  • CALAVERAS DE AZUCAR (SUGAR SKULLS) – A skull made of sugar and decorated with bright colors and fancy ornate’s. They will adorn the altar as a sugar delight for the visiting spirits.

I have lost many cousins,uncles,aunts,grandparents and friends to death. The pain of losing someone never gets easier. The Day of the Dead is just a beautiful celebration in honor of remembering the people we once loved and will never forget.

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” –  George Eliot




Hispanic Heritage Month (Mi Cultura) part 1.

La Familia Gutierrez de Silao Guanajuato, Mexico L-R Dionicia (daughter),Tranquilina (Wife), Mauricio (Dad) and Efren Abran (my grandfather)

Hispanic Heritage month is a celebration of Latin American culture, history and contribution. I am 2nd generation Mexican American on my Father’s side and 3rd on my Mother’s. My Mexican roots run deep and my culture runs through my heart and soul.

I was able to spend some time with my Dad talking about the story of my Great Grandfather Mauricio Gutierrez who was born in Silao Guanajuato, Mexico. The Mexican Civil War started in 1910 and lasted until about 1920. Mauricio was a Notary in his city and by 1915 the city of Silao had very few young men, women and grain due to the ongoing Civil War. The story my grandfathers told was that Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula one of the most prominent Mexican Revolutionary Generals, known also as ” Pancho Villa “, had stopped by the city of Silao around 1915. “Pancho Villa”  rounded up more men, women and grain. Mauricio felt the need to stand up to the General and told him that by taking what little they had left they would slowly die. “Pancho Villa” looked at him then looked around at what was left and decided to leave the city of Silao alone. Mauricio decided then that the future of his family was not in Mexico.

Between 1900 and 1930 Mexican Immigration into the United States rose dramatically. Mauricio, his wife Tranquilina and daughter Dionicia each signed a registrar and paid $1.00 to become citizens of the United States.  My grandfather, Mauricio’s son, Efren Abran Gutierrez was just 10 years old at the time and was put on a boat to cross the Rio Grande where his parents picked him up on U.S soil.  Efren Abran Gutierrez never became a legal citizen so he had to register every year to stay in the country. The family settled by Kyle,TX and became labor workers for the Germans. In 1939 Efren married my grandmother Manuela and together they moved to San Antonio and became the parents to 6 boys and one girl.

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My Abuelita Manuela Gutierrez.

My Abuelita was born in New Braunfels,TX in 1916 and worked at an early age farming and managing a mule team. Her strength and zest for life is what I remember the most. My grandfather died when I was very young but my Abuelita Manuela I was fortunate to have in my life till my late twenties. Manuela is the reason I speak Spanish and her home was full of culture and love. Her walls filled with images of the Virgin of Guadalupe and her candles varied from Saint to Saint, depending on the need of prayer. The front lawn was not grass but cilantro (the herb) and her back yard was lined with small tomatoes, fig trees and the popular and super caliente chili pequin. I will never forget the never ending rose bushes that always seemed to be in bloom. Her gorgeous silver hair was kept that way because she used the rose petals to rinse her hair….if only she had the web to spread the knowledge. To the left side of her front doorway there was an aloe vera plant which seemed to cure just about anything. Her cocina (the kitchen) was where the magic really happened. She loved cooking and you could definitely taste it in her food. I fell in love with the aromas and her famous homemade tortillas still make my mouth water.

Manuela passed away in 1997 mowing her own lawn. She is one of my heroes and I am proud to have her blood running through my veins. My grandparents only had about a 2nd grade education but worked hard to ensure that their children had more than they had. They kept the core of who they were and where they came from by sharing stories of the past so that our culture and history would not be forgotten.


The Familia Gutierrez and Gregg Barrios (S.A. playwright,poet & critic) Cine Las Americas International Film Festival 2014

My father Efrain Gutierrez went on to become a Chicano Film Pioneer. He is known as the first Chicano filmmaker documenting the struggles he felt needed to be addressed during that time. Chicano meant, newly or recently arrived and it seemed that there was a respect when you addressed yourself as Chicano. He wasn’t Mexican but Chicano and that just felt right. He went on to become a part of the Chicano Movement. He encapsulated an era still dealing with the struggles of our people in his films. In doing so he also preserved the beauty of who we are from our culture,fashion,food and beautiful music. His movie soundtracks are filled with musica by Esteban Jordan, Little Joe y la Familia and Henry Balderrama y la Patria just to name a few.

Please, Don’t Bury Me Alive! Por favor, no me entierren vivo! 1976


Chicano Love is Forever/Amor chicano es para siempre 1977


Run, Tecato, Run 1979


My father’s films have been restored courtesy of the UCLA Film and Television Archive. His legacy will never be forgotten. My dad now runs an Art studio in San Antonio,TX with the help of his beautiful wife Irma and my younger brother Efrain Abran.

I was unwillingly cast in my dad’s films as a child but forever grateful for it. I knew my Dad was special and it was a struggle for him to make those films. The struggle was hard but his passion was endless.

Embrace your heritage and may we all continue to never forget the past but let it be our guiding light as we strive for even bigger and better for the future of us as a human race.

As my Abuelita would always say “Dios de bendiga” God bless you!


FITFUNAND….Hispanic Heritage Month!





Why not a Birthday Blog : )?

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Birthday’s are something we are all familiar with. We all have one every year whether we like it or not.

I choose to embrace mine and sometimes I even celebrate in different cities because my best friend has chosen to NOT  live in mine. This was strategic on her part I am certain so that I am then forced to go visit her and have another birthday celebration … YAY!!

The first memory I have is the one with me putting up the number 2 (not the peace sign) and every year they just kept on coming so I decided at a very early age to just embrace them. It was always a day full of countless cousins, presents, cake and the must have PINATA.

My mom was the oldest of 13 children,my dad the youngest of 7 and together they only had ME. I feel they overcompensated for my lack of siblings but looking back ….that was quite alright : )).





Some years were better than others but I can at least look back at my childhood and youth and know that my parents,family and friends cared enough to make me feel a little extra special on my day.

I have tried to do the same with my daughters by trying to use the same ingredients, love, laughter and family.

Blow out the candles,make a wish and hope that it comes true. Age is just a number that you should never let define you.

The only problem with blowing out my candles now, is that I have to take a deeper breath….YEP!!!!

Today we celebrated my granddaughter’s 4th birthday and although I may not physically be that pigtailed little girl……….I know the feeling : ). I am blessed today to know that I have done my best to give her some of the same memories and I don’t just look forward to mine but my entire family’s!