Changes…

So, I had to do a very small, yet minorly public thing today for the new book.  And I got paralyzed (even though no one will even I know I did it for a bit).  I finally did it, but it made me realize that I need to get my gumption going because pretty soon I’m going to need to start promiting Beautiful You out the wazoo and, though it’s not my thing– I don’t think anyone becomes a writer because they are excited about having to put themselves out there- I do believe in this little book and want it to land in people’s hands who it can help.  And I might actually have to leave my house in something other than workout clothes and open my mouth in order for people to know about it.  I’m getting my game face on.  And I hope you don’t mind the promotions that appear on here in the coming weeks as Beautiful You takes off.  I’ll have other blog content in here, too, but the promotion has to happen and it seems like this is the friendliest place to do it so I’ll need to spend a little bit of time on space at sharing the merits of the Beautiful You experience.  Thanks for your grace along the way! 

In other exciting news, we’re changing faces around here, soon!  For years, I’ve had a blog and a separate web-site and that is a whole lot for a not very technologically capable gal to keep up with so I am merging them.  Soon, hijasamericanas.wordpress.com will become www.rosiemolinary.com.  When that happens, you’ll land on the home page of www.rosiemolinary.com and will need to choose the blog tab to come here.  And please come here.  Because I’ll miss you if you don’t and because I’ll need a little squad of friends to get me through the next month of book promotion (the sometimes lonely world of book promotion, I might add).  For now, you don’t need to do anything.  When the change happens, you’ll enter in Hijas and it’ll redirect you immediately to www.rosiemolinary.com.  We’re hoping there’s not downtime between the transition but who knows for sure with technology so if you get the computer screen version of static, just try again later. 

Alright, happy weekend, friends.  Go out and drink in some sunshine (under a layer of sunscreen).

September 16, 2010 at 7:50 pm 1 comment

Operation Beautiful with Caitlyn Boyle

Earlier this year, I discovered Operation Beautiful and blogged about it here.  Earlier this summer, Operation Beautiful went from being a global project to also being a book.  Now, people everywhere can enjoy what the web-site has to offer and more in book size!  I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to meet Caitlyn Boyle, the author of Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note at a Timewhen she so graciously came to speak to students in my body image class.  Caitlin is just as you imagine her– sunny, bright, refreshing– and so, knowing that y’all would love to know about Operation Beautiful and Caitlyn, I invited her to share some of her experience here.    

How did the Operation Beautiful project begin?     

I was having a very stressful day and wanted to do something nice for a stranger to lift my own spirits.  I wrote, “You are beautiful” on a Post-It and put it on a public bathroom mirror.  Then, I took a picture of the note and blogged about the experience at my personal blog, www.HealthyTippingPoint.com.  The concept quickly went viral, and the rest is beautiful history! 

When and why did you decide to translate that project into a book?  

The site was noticed by a literary agent two months after it was launched (the site started in June 2009).  I never thought one post-it would become a website and a book.  I think it’s the natural progression of the site though because the book gives more details on how to lead a truly positive and healthy life – the Operation Beautiful lifestyle, if you will! 

What was your favorite part of writing Operation Beautiful?   

It feels amazing to know that I am part of something so much bigger than myself.  The site wouldn’t exist without all these wonderful people who want to make the world a better place.  It’s awesome to be the one who gets to write about it everyday.

What would you say to encourage someone to try and live with more greater self-compassion?  

There is more goodness in the world than you know, and one small act can have a HUGE impact on another person.  There is no limit to the impact that your greatness can have.

Some issues we discuss on a regular basis on this blog are self-awareness and community engagement.  Given that, what community issues most speak to you?  There is a lot of negative messaging in our society.  The biggest mistake we make is beating ourselves up for not looking like models or celebrities.  99% of images in magazines are photoshopped in some way.  It’s time we stop emulating or striving for a type of perfection that doesn’t even exist in the real world.  It’s OK to look like a human!   If you have a negative thought, replace it with a positive, realistic thought. Consciously correct yourself if you engage in “Fat Talk.” Posting Operation Beautiful notes can also lift your spirits!                         

 And what do you most appreciate about yourself?     I really surprise myself with my drive and ambition.  I never knew I had this in me! :) Running the site and writing the book has made me a more gracious, accepting person.  There are so many different, wonderful, and amazing women out there with great stories.  There is truly beauty in all of us.                                                                                                                                                              

What do you wish all women knew? I wish all women realized how infinitely powerful, wonderful, and beautiful they really are – inside and out.

September 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm 1 comment

NPR and the Yard

As Happy and I were driving in the car on Tuesday morning, I had this concrete memory of a moment in the car with my dad when I was in high school. 

You see, Happy was in the backseat complaining about NPR, imploring me to put on music.  This was exactly what I would be thinking when my dad would pick me up from my job at one of the mall’s department store (where I sold those triangle-labeled, zippered leg Guess jeans that were all the rage). 

And, so, just as we were coming around the curve next to the mall movie theatre (the same movie theatre where I had met my 8th grade boyfriend, unbeknownst to my parents, kissed him during that Cher movie Moon something, and then dashed across the street to the mall to feign that I had been there all along; only to later discover that in the dashing across the street, my glasses that I had been hiding bounced out of my sweater pocked and got run over by a car.  This story is the one I will tell Happy one day when I am stressing the value of not lying to your parents), I had this thought, “You are old when you listen to NPR and care about the yard.” 

Fast forward to today when my two year old is so over NPR that he’s hollering for music in the backseat, and my mind flashes back to my dad’s cherry red Mitsubishi Cordia and my teenage mind being bored beyond measure with the idea of an adulthood stuck caring about the news and the yard.  Twenty years later, I care deeply about the news and, yet, I can barely muster a look towards the yard.  I want to care about the yard.  It’s something I think I should care about.  I just can’t do it. 

Anyway, I posted on my Facebook wall about the NPR and the yard and getting old and all that and that sparked an interesting discussion that I thought I would bring here because it was so fun there.   So, here’s the question:

What did you think made one “old” when you were young?  And given your standards then, are you “old” now?

September 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm 1 comment

Random Bits

The lunchbox that needs filling.

The random bits are coming early this week (because random bits are good when one has writer’s block and an imminent deadline for what you hope will become a major project suddenly sprung on  you). 

First, some advice is needed.  Alright, mamas, papas, aunts, uncles, grandmamas, grandpapas, caretakers, what have been some of the two year old’s in your life’s favorite noshes?  Happy would eat eggs for breakfast and a peanut butter and fruit spread on multigrain everyday for lunch if he could, but the kid needs some main course food variety– especially for preschool lunches (where sunflower butter is substituted for peanut butter) that go with him to school in his lunch box and can’t be heated.  What have been hits with the little ones in your lives? 

And, now, for this week’s bits.

1.  My sister called to say that my nephew approached her with this question the other day.  “Happy’s just a baby right now.  When will he be a boy?”  I think it’s happening much too slow for my sweet four-year-old nephew but way too fast for this mama. 

2.  BF and Happy went to the beach this past weekend.  In the grocery store checkout there, the little boy in front of them, who had been studying Happy and BF, finally blurted out, “How did you get a black baby?”  Five or six years old is when kids start to notice color/ ethnicity and try to better understand how that all fits into things so it was absolutely age appropriate for this little boy to ask– especially if he’s never seen multi-racial families around him.  BF said that before he could engage (he did get out a “Well, he’s adopted…”), the boy’s mom, mortified, dragged him out of the store.  Bummer, because it’s not at all shameful to be curious about how families come together, and we’re always happy to engage in that sort of productive conversation.  We both feel kinda bad that that mama may have felt embarrassed for what was absolutely normal.

3. I received a ransom note today.  Well, not a ransom note.  An SOS note.  It seems that while BF was putting Happy down for his nap, he couldn’t smoothly transition a sleeping Happy into this crib from BF’s arms.  Now, the solution to this problem is breaking BF and Happy’s habit of falling asleep together before Happy goes down for his nap and putting Happy down awake but BF has no desire to know what my solutions are after the year and a half that we have suffered with Happy’s sleep (Bizarrely, Happy goes down at night with nary a tear.  It’s just the naps where he desires the coddling.), and Happy has no desire to let mama put him down for his naps because he knows that mama’s plan does not involve endless minutes of coddling.  Did I think that or type that?  Anyway, BF came home for lunch and went to put Happy down, and Happy was in an especially pitiful state because he was too tired from pre-school (just his third day) and because he is having this awful allergic reaction to sand flea bites that he suffered on the beach.  Anyway, about 30 minutes after BF entered the room, I noted that he was still in there.  At my computer, answering emails, this comes across the screen from BF:

Baby is asleep but as I move he wakes up. I am being held hostage. What should i do?

Back to me:  I’ll have you know that I successfully brokered a surrender.  I will not say which party gave up. 

*

September 13, 2010 at 8:42 pm 2 comments

Let's talk about… a quarter?

15 year old me, none the wiser

I begged my way into my first real date at fifteen.  I begged my mom, I mean.  Not the guy, I promise. 

And as soon as permission had passed my mamacita’s lips, I ran to my bedroom to begin the three hours of preparation necessary for a teenage girl’s first date.  What did I do during those three hours? I didn’t wear makeup or blow dry my hair so my time was spent on two things: trying on every outfit I owned to decide which one was casually cool enough and lipsynching REM, most likely “You are the Everything”  (don’t know this song?  Go download it.  It’s gorgeous and my favorite all-time REM song).

A knock on my door ninety minutes into my ritual revealed my father.  Surely, he was presenting himself to apologize for my mother’s ceaseless grilling earlier (why does he want to go out with you?  she kept asking.  So he can kiss me mom, I wanted to say.), but instead he sat on my bed and looked at my wall, a vivid collage of words and images I’d been working on for three years.

“We gotta talk, nena,” he said without shifting his gaze.

Until then I’d been spared a sex talk from my parents, and I assumed that our devout Catholicism meant I wouldn’t be subjected to any uncomfortable conversations on this topic. Certainly, there was nothing worse than hell, so why bother with warning me about STDs and teenage pregnancy? But eyeing my nervous father sitting on my bed, holding something cupped in his hand, nausea licked at my stomach lining. His eyes left the wall, perhaps satisfied that there were no words related to sex plastered up there, and he opened his hand. In his palm, he held a quarter (yes, I was just as surprised as you are).

“This quarter is for you to keep between your knees. Put it there tonight and do not let it drop until you are married. ¿Comprendes?”

He stared at me, expectant.  This was not a joke.   

I nodded, silent. It would be years before I could laugh at this incident, before it could be an antecdote in our family’s folklore that I delivered to great guffaws.  Eventually, my close friends mailed my fathers’ quarters as they got married.  Every semester, I tell my students this story as we talk sexuality and body image (what do body image and sexuality have to do with each other?  As it turns out, girls and women with healthy body image and self-image engage in the least risky behavior).   

In that moment, though, I sat there stunned and silent. I already had clear intentions—convictions, even—to follow the rules of Catholicism. I had never disappointed my parents before, never acted in a way that would shame them, and I certainly did not want them pondering between themselves whether I was having sex. But that is what every kid probably wants—a free pass from talking about sex to their parents—and even though my lesson did not include the details of how the sperm meets the egg, their way of going about things was an attempt to let me know their expectations and there was something to be said for that. 

Years later, one of the more ironic storylines in my life is that despite my naivete as a girl, I am now a vocal proponent of sex education- not because I think all kids are having sex (although I learned today that 25% of high schoolers will have had 4 sexual partners before they graduate), but because I believe that it is unacceptable to not know what is happening to your body, what impact your decisions can have on your body, your health, and your life while you might possibly be making decisions that put you at risk.  Kids need to know what is happening with their bodies as they approach and go through puberty.  They need to know what happens during sex and what can happen because of sex.  If we don’t tell them those things, they make up their own storylines- storylines that include “you can’t get pregnant your first time” and  “you can’t get pregnant standing up” among other things.  Storylines that put them in jeopardy not just that day but for the rest of their lives.  Moreover, I think parents need to share their expectations with their kids (which is what my father successfully did even though he wasn’t able to tell me much more) and parents need to know that talking to your kids about sex does not mean they are going to have it.  I promise that if your kid was that highly suggestible, then you’d never need to ask them to do something twice- like clean their rooms.  In fact, the number one reason a young person abstains from sex?  Not fear of pregancy.  Not fear of disease.  They abstain because it goes against their values. 

Most importantly, though, I think it’s dangerous to keep empowering information from a person at any age.  And this sort of statistic: 53% of Latinas get pregnant befor the age of 20- is a statistic that lets me know we’re failing too many girls (the overall teen pregnanty rate shows us that, too).  And so I was gungho when the Circle de Luz board decided that we needed to do a Teen Health workshop not just with our Circle de Luz girls but with their parents, too. Then, as it turns out,  I was the board member who drew the straw of being at the parent workshop (let me just go ahead and say that we had a very capable physician, Dr. Kristin Rager, whose specialty area is adolescent medicine do the workshop; not me).  Then, I was less gungho and mostly nauseous, reminiscent of the teenage girl facing her father over a quarter so many years ago. 

Turns out, though, that these parents were receptive and already on top of it and wise and not at all offended that we wanted to have this talk and so my 15 year old girl stomachace went away in short order.  The most important advice that Dr. Rager gave our parents was that they didn’t have to know the right scientific answer to every question that their daughters had.  The most valuable thing to show their daughters is their willingness to talk about it, to be present, to not shy away from the subject, and to share with them what their hopes were for their daughters’ futures as well as the information they need to be safe no matter their decisions.  Sure, this can be done with a quarter, but it’s so much better when it is done with actual words. 

The other thing that Dr. Rager said that I have seen echoed in both research that I have done (for Hijas), read (for teaching), and witnessed (with Circle de Luz and as a teacher) is that the best thing a kid has going for them is the feeling that a number of adults care for and are invested in them (they do not have to be related adults) and are available for earnest, open conversations.  So think about the young people in your life who you care about and be one more unafraid, supportive, open adult in their fold. 

* I went looking for a circa 15 year old photo and found this one which is not from my first date at all but, I believe, is totally the outfit I wore on that first date.  That coincidence totally cracked me up.

September 12, 2010 at 8:33 pm 1 comment

Let’s talk about… a quarter?

15 year old me, none the wiser

I begged my way into my first real date at fifteen.  I begged my mom, I mean.  Not the guy, I promise. 

And as soon as permission had passed my mamacita’s lips, I ran to my bedroom to begin the three hours of preparation necessary for a teenage girl’s first date.  What did I do during those three hours? I didn’t wear makeup or blow dry my hair so my time was spent on two things: trying on every outfit I owned to decide which one was casually cool enough and lipsynching REM, most likely “You are the Everything”  (don’t know this song?  Go download it.  It’s gorgeous and my favorite all-time REM song).

A knock on my door ninety minutes into my ritual revealed my father.  Surely, he was presenting himself to apologize for my mother’s ceaseless grilling earlier (why does he want to go out with you?  she kept asking.  So he can kiss me mom, I wanted to say.), but instead he sat on my bed and looked at my wall, a vivid collage of words and images I’d been working on for three years.

“We gotta talk, nena,” he said without shifting his gaze.

Until then I’d been spared a sex talk from my parents, and I assumed that our devout Catholicism meant I wouldn’t be subjected to any uncomfortable conversations on this topic. Certainly, there was nothing worse than hell, so why bother with warning me about STDs and teenage pregnancy? But eyeing my nervous father sitting on my bed, holding something cupped in his hand, nausea licked at my stomach lining. His eyes left the wall, perhaps satisfied that there were no words related to sex plastered up there, and he opened his hand. In his palm, he held a quarter (yes, I was just as surprised as you are).

“This quarter is for you to keep between your knees. Put it there tonight and do not let it drop until you are married. ¿Comprendes?”

He stared at me, expectant.  This was not a joke.   

I nodded, silent. It would be years before I could laugh at this incident, before it could be an antecdote in our family’s folklore that I delivered to great guffaws.  Eventually, my close friends mailed my fathers’ quarters as they got married.  Every semester, I tell my students this story as we talk sexuality and body image (what do body image and sexuality have to do with each other?  As it turns out, girls and women with healthy body image and self-image engage in the least risky behavior).   

In that moment, though, I sat there stunned and silent. I already had clear intentions—convictions, even—to follow the rules of Catholicism. I had never disappointed my parents before, never acted in a way that would shame them, and I certainly did not want them pondering between themselves whether I was having sex. But that is what every kid probably wants—a free pass from talking about sex to their parents—and even though my lesson did not include the details of how the sperm meets the egg, their way of going about things was an attempt to let me know their expectations and there was something to be said for that. 

Years later, one of the more ironic storylines in my life is that despite my naivete as a girl, I am now a vocal proponent of sex education- not because I think all kids are having sex (although I learned today that 25% of high schoolers will have had 4 sexual partners before they graduate), but because I believe that it is unacceptable to not know what is happening to your body, what impact your decisions can have on your body, your health, and your life while you might possibly be making decisions that put you at risk.  Kids need to know what is happening with their bodies as they approach and go through puberty.  They need to know what happens during sex and what can happen because of sex.  If we don’t tell them those things, they make up their own storylines- storylines that include “you can’t get pregnant your first time” and  “you can’t get pregnant standing up” among other things.  Storylines that put them in jeopardy not just that day but for the rest of their lives.  Moreover, I think parents need to share their expectations with their kids (which is what my father successfully did even though he wasn’t able to tell me much more) and parents need to know that talking to your kids about sex does not mean they are going to have it.  I promise that if your kid was that highly suggestible, then you’d never need to ask them to do something twice- like clean their rooms.  In fact, the number one reason a young person abstains from sex?  Not fear of pregancy.  Not fear of disease.  They abstain because it goes against their values. 

Most importantly, though, I think it’s dangerous to keep empowering information from a person at any age.  And this sort of statistic: 53% of Latinas get pregnant befor the age of 20- is a statistic that lets me know we’re failing too many girls (the overall teen pregnanty rate shows us that, too).  And so I was gungho when the Circle de Luz board decided that we needed to do a Teen Health workshop not just with our Circle de Luz girls but with their parents, too. Then, as it turns out,  I was the board member who drew the straw of being at the parent workshop (let me just go ahead and say that we had a very capable physician, Dr. Kristin Rager, whose specialty area is adolescent medicine do the workshop; not me).  Then, I was less gungho and mostly nauseous, reminiscent of the teenage girl facing her father over a quarter so many years ago. 

Turns out, though, that these parents were receptive and already on top of it and wise and not at all offended that we wanted to have this talk and so my 15 year old girl stomachace went away in short order.  The most important advice that Dr. Rager gave our parents was that they didn’t have to know the right scientific answer to every question that their daughters had.  The most valuable thing to show their daughters is their willingness to talk about it, to be present, to not shy away from the subject, and to share with them what their hopes were for their daughters’ futures as well as the information they need to be safe no matter their decisions.  Sure, this can be done with a quarter, but it’s so much better when it is done with actual words. 

The other thing that Dr. Rager said that I have seen echoed in both research that I have done (for Hijas), read (for teaching), and witnessed (with Circle de Luz and as a teacher) is that the best thing a kid has going for them is the feeling that a number of adults care for and are invested in them (they do not have to be related adults) and are available for earnest, open conversations.  So think about the young people in your life who you care about and be one more unafraid, supportive, open adult in their fold. 

* I went looking for a circa 15 year old photo and found this one which is not from my first date at all but, I believe, is totally the outfit I wore on that first date.  That coincidence totally cracked me up.

September 12, 2010 at 8:33 pm 1 comment

Good Eats

A "better blueberry muffin" is enjoyed at Happy's party.

We’ve really enjoyed some new recipes over the last few weeks and thought you might enjoy some leads on your end. 

Breakfast: 

Better Blueberry Muffins were featured in Shape Magazine in July and are just amazing.  I made them for Happy’s birthday party and have also made a dozen for the family the last couple weekends so we had them for breakfast and snack throughout the week.  They are easy to make, are delicious, and are pretty healthy for a muffin. 

Lunch: 

The easy homemade pizza has become a fast hit here for lunch.  I take a multi-grain tortilla, top it with tomato sauce that I add Italian Seasonsings to, and then cover with mushrooms, other toppings of choice, and a sprinkle of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.  I bake it at 350 for 18 minutes and, walla, we have a small homemade pizza. 

Snack:

Apricot and White Chocolate Cereal Bars.  These bars are chewy, not too sweet, have just the right amount of chocolate, and require no baking.  I used diced dried mango instead of apricots and they were fabulous. 

Dinner:

Pappardelle with Peas and Parmesan.  I found this recipe in O The Oprah Magazine, and we have loved it.  It’s really satisfying, the pea “sauce” is fabulous, and I have added shrimp to it with great success.  Moreover, it seems fancy and yet is a piece of cake to make.  It’s been good for a family meal and for book club (and my book club is filled with great cooks and a professional chef and they all loved it).

Inside Out Lasagna takes vegetable lasagna ingredients like mushrooms, spinach, and ricotta and gives you a whole new take on the dish.  Lasagna is the birthday meal I choose every year because while I love it, I hate making it.  Ricotta ends up on the kitchen cabinets; things are a mess; I am left disgruntled.  So a recipe that had the flavor of lasagna without the complication thrilled me.  All of us had seconds of this low calorie meal. 

 Dessert:

Maya Angelou’s Banana Pudding.  Yep, I have Maya Angelou’s banana pudding recipe.  It’s quite the coup, right?  Except for that she shared it with O The Oprah Magazine and so every one of Oprah’s millions of readers have Maya Angelou’s banana pudding recipe.  And this recipe?  Delicious.  Yes, you make the pudding from scratch and you make meringue in lieu of using cool whip and, yes, it is so worth it.  And a note from the learned the hard way file:  the first time I made this recipe, I used my hand mixer for the meringue.  It turned out as flat as my hair the day after getting it straightened.  The second time I made this recipe, I used my Kitchen Aid mixer.  Why didn’t I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer the first time?  Because it was still in its box, taped shut, never opened after it was given to us as a wedding gift more than 8 years ago.  But I realized that my meringue needed more muscle and that called for the Kitchen Aid so we took the mixer out of its box to audition for the role of merigue maker.  Guess what?  That merinque rivaled the friggin’ Himalayas; it was that beautiful.  

What recipes have been a hit with you lately?  Would love to know.

September 9, 2010 at 7:37 pm Leave a comment

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In a Bookstore Near You

What does it mean to be beautiful in America? For years, pop culture has insisted that beautiful women are tall, thin, and blonde. So what do you do if your mirror reflects olive skin, raven hair, and a short build? Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina offers a provocative account of the struggles and triumphs of Latina forced to reconcile these conflicting realities. Rosie Molinary combines her own experience with the voices of hundreds of Latinas who grew up in the US navigating issues of gender, image, and sexuality. This empathetic ethnography exemplifies the ways in which our experiences are both profoundly individualistic and comfortingly universal.
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