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That’s why it’s called “practice”

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George Carlin said it best, “Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice”?

I’m not here to bash the medical industry, or to point out what a study found several years ago, that pharmaceutical companies spend more money on marketing than on research and from my many contacts and friends in the medical field.  Nor will I point out that as soon as we saw the commercials for the magic pills that cure everything from being too inactive to being too active many people started shopping doctors, looking for the ones with the loosest scripts.

What I would like to talk about is finding the healthcare that’s right for you, whether it’s just you, your parents or your kids.  You need to have a level of comfort with your doctor.  It’s your body (still right?  that didn’t change overnight did it?), you know how much time/effort you or whomever the patient is able/willing to invest, and there are options.

This is what I mean. Prior to becoming pregnant, I did my annual physical, y ya!  Thankfully there wasn’t more to it, so practically anyone could handle that.  And I hated doctors.  Actually feared them a bit.  Then… I became pregnant and was forced to find a doctor with whom I was going to have a relationship with.  For those of you who haven’t had a baybe, it’s an intimate process.  Plus, for your first pregnancy you have a lot of questions and occasionally those questions, feelings or concerns could sound a little… crazy, so you need an OBGYN that will answer your crazy questions without letting on that he or she is secretly laughing a bit and thinking, “oh those silly 1st timers”.  In my case, I wanted my OBGYN to deliver my babies, versus going to a practice where you are shuffled around from doctor to doctor.  Apparently this is hard to come by, but I persevered. I asked other moms, my regular doctor, other doctors until I found “the one”.  Really, he’s great.  Delivered both babies and even noticed my pedi during delivery 😉

Same with pediatricians.  While still pregnant I started interviewing other parents and my OBGYN for suggestions.  Then I made an appointment with the pediatrician’s office.  Many pediatrician’s offices are accustomed to this, and you really should meet them because when you baby is born or sick, is not the right time to find out you picked a quack – and believe me, they’re out there.  Here are some questions I asked which you may want to consider:

  • Is the pediatrician you’re going to see covered by your insurance? Sometimes the practice is, but not certain all doctors in the practice.  I know, odd, but true.
  • Do they have before/after work appointment times? What about weekends?
  • Is there a charge to page the doctor on call? First time parents, this means that at 1am, when your baby is doing something unfamiliar and you’re not sure whether or not you should freak out you can get in touch with your pediatrician or someone from there to give you advice before you haul yourself to the ER for no reason.
  • Make sure the pediatrician’s beliefs are something that you are comfortable with on topics like antibiotics and vaccines.  Yes, there are standard practices, but trust me, some doctors are waaay more liberal with medicines than others and there are some doctors that agree with spacing out vaccines more than others.
  • What about sick visits? You wake up on Monday morning and your child is sick, can you get a same day appointment?

You want to be sure that you have chosen doctors whose decision you are comfortable with. And no matter what don’t ever hesitate to get a 2nd opinion. Be it for yourself, your children.  It’s your right and well-being we’re talking about here.  Get informed, ask questions and if something doesn’t sound right, get a second opinion!  Doctor’s can be a great ally, but remember, they are people too.  They are not infallible and as one doctor put it, once your out of medical school, it’s hard to stay updated on everything.  And many doctors still don’t prescribe to holistic treatments or CAM‘s, so shop around, the right doctor is out there for you!

XOXO

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There are calories in the air!

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Ok, let me just say it. I have body image issues.

You know how kids have lanky bodies where their legs and arms have almost the same circumference? Well that wasn’t me. My mother says I started that way, but the child I remember was too tall, too brown and too fat. Yes, fat. And it wasn’t fun. It was clothes from the husky section at Sears and elastic waistbands. It was “what are you?” because I was neither black or white. It was not the best. Then around 6th grade I grew into my weight and although I still wasn’t thin, I wasn’t an obvious oval anymore. By the time I reached high school the need not to feed was strong.  I lost the weight, and entered the fashion world where smokes and soup were all one needed to sustain themselves.

I was not anorexic, I was not bulimic, but I was aware of every forkful that entered my body. Painfully aware. Keep a running tab aware. Apps for entrees aware.  My family called me Olive Oil and some wondered if I was ill (we’re Latinos remember? being thin is a sin). I looked fabulous.

Into my 30’s I was 5’9″, size 6. I worked out at least three times a week and ate a high protein diet.  I felt great, I looked great.

Fast forward to  now.  I’m 42, overweight, with no time, or willpower to workout. A penchant for chocolate and a deep… disgust towards my body.  People often tell me, “you look great for someone who has two kids” and I sincerely appreciate the compliment, but this is what I call a compliment with an asterisk., like… “you breathe really well for someone with a nose” .  So my goal this year?  To get rid of the asterisk.

Where to start? What to do?  For first time on my life, I started to count calories and oh my God, there are calories in the air!  Ok, not really, but practically. Two things became painfully clear:

1. No wonder I’m  overweight!

2. It’s a miracle I’m not heavier!

It’s really been an eye opener. A wake up call. A really hard look at what I’m eating and what I should be eating instead.  Every bite I take while cooking, every bocadito from my kids’ plates…it has all added up over the years, and now, it’s time for it to go.  Instead of cafe con leche, I’m drinking cafe cubano.  This saves me approximately 145 calories, which on its own isn’t a lot, but if you drink several of these everyday… imagine… 3 cafe con leches in a week’s time is… 3,045 calories!!  Viste? Did you see how easily that adds up?!  So the counting (not fun) begins.

Will I ever get back into that size 6?  Quien sabe.  The important thing is that I remain healthy, which means that I lose some weight, through conscious food choices and that I start exercising.  So as I sometimes tweet it’s time to get #FitOrBustCarajo !!

 

That’s me and my Dad.  Don’t let his uniform fool you!  He stopped doing business at a bank once because he was judged by his uniform.  That’s my father. 

Just because they’re selling it, doesn’t mean it’s right.

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Something happened when my daughter grew into a size 6.  I stopped buying her clothes.  The days where everything I saw was “soooo cute” were replaced with horror.  Sweatpants with words on their bottom, padded bras, strapless dresses… it was all too much.  Without really making a conscious decision, I just stopped buying her clothes.  It took me a little time to realize what the problem was, it wasn’t that my baby had grown out of the toddler section into the little girls’ clothes, it was that for the most part, little girl’s clothes are completely inappropriate.

Think about it.  Why is it ok to dress our little angels in miniskirts?  What message are we giving our daughters by buying them padded bras?  They are paying attention and if we allow them to dress scantily now, we are telling them that it’s perfectly acceptable to dress in a provocative manner.  And in a few years, when they enter that tween and teen years, will it still be “funny” or “cute” when they want to wear a miniskirt?

This phenomenon of dressing children in our image isn’t just for girls.  Most of the boy’s clothing is “street-style”, hoodies, skulls and crossbones, dickies and plaid shirts.  Are we raising gentlemen or gangsters?

Parents, what examples are you setting?  Are your clothes too tight?  Did you brush your hair today as you ran out the door to run the kids to school? Do you dress like your kids friends? Are you kids embarrassed to be seen with you?  It’s just as important the example we set as the clothes we choose for them.

All children have their own likes and dislikes.  My daughter loves glitter, as I’m sure most 6yo’s do, but I’ve taught her that if everything has glitter on it – top, pants, shoes – you just look like a big piece of aluminum foil. No one can appreciate what you have on.  When she told me she wanted pants with glitter on the bottom, it was that she wanted embellished clothing, not that she cared where it was, but unfortunately, this is what she sees on other kids, so this is what she asks for.  As parents, our job is to guide them.  Our children don’t know the perils of dressing provocatively, or of the endless choices out there, so talk to them, offer solutions and be frank.  Not every child has the same rules that we do in our home, and that’s ok.

Cultivate your child’s individual style now, so that they are confident in their choices later on, and able to be proud of what they are wearing, whether at school or at abuela’s and you will save yourself a lot of heartache now as well as when they are older.

It’s a wrap!

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As you may know I was on the organizing committee for the LATISM’11 Conference this year.  Working from the inside gave me a unique perspective which, despite the difficulties, I would not change for the world.  My poor husband saw me slowly transition from wife and mother with a project to a consumed woman and mother who occasionally made him dinner.  The machine that is known as Casa Dieppa in the last couple of weeks before the conference was in crazy mode, and he found himself stepping in to make up the slack.  When Frick and Frack met Reina (@Soylamar) Frick said, “I’ve heard you say that name a lot on the phone” and when we were looking and some of the fantastic pictures and videos many other directors and attendees have posted, Frick excitedly pointed at the people she knew in the pictures, Ana (@AnaRC), myself, papa and even my mom who attended the Gala (ella nunca se pierde una fiesta! she never misses a party!) and what a party it was!

For those of you who don’t know about Latinos In Social Media, or as we lovingly call it #LATISM, it is a volunteer based organization that started two years ago with a tweet and has grown into chapters around the country, a sustainable development program in Montecristo, Dominican Republic, a relationship with the White House, Latino2 (our tech conference), and most recently the LATISM National Conference this past week in Chicago.

As a volunteer based non-profit, we were wowed when so many great sponsors expressed their interest, put their dollars on the table and – more importantly – put together unique experiences with the LATISM community in mind.  There was an incredible amount of attention to detail put forth to ensure that our conference and community needs were being met in a manner that’s consistent with the LATISM mission of educating and empowering our community.  Take for example the Sears/Kmart opening reception “Noche Buena, Cartera Llena“.  A delightful way to kick off the conference with tastes and sounds from around Latin America.

And the sounds of Latina America followed us throughout the conference thanks to SoundCulture who provided all of the live bands that greeted us for every meal.

                  

                 

Then there were the wonderfully appointed suites, which I hope everyone had a moment to visit – PBS kids partnered with us and brought their new bilingual “Virtual PreK” program which was developed in conjunction with the Chicago Public School system, and a tool I will use at home since no one will accept a 3yo in preK.

Johnson & Johnson, a long time supporter of LATISM, from the sustainable development project in Montecristi to LATISM’11 where they brought information about their Text4Baby program as well as interviewing Ana and other LATISM directors in their suite throughout the conference.

And I know many, many of you had a moment to recharge, play and chat in our Wifi lounge, sponsored by Nintendo.  This groovy space was perfect for recharging your laptop, phone, tummy (there were snacks) and mind (hello, we’re talking gaming people!) as a proud member of the WiiFamilia I was happy to have them at LATISM’11 and know you were too.  The only time there was an empty seat in the suite was during the breakout sessions!

In between the suites, breakout sessions and days of running from break out sessions to the ballroom to handle catering details and run-of-show, there were the cafecito breaks.  Sears and Kmart were kind enough to provide us with delicious snacks, espressos, cappuccinos and lattes – que rico! I don’t know what I would’ve done without that special touch to get through those long and amazing days.

The sponsors gave LATISM’11 cache.  As you walked in, you knew that you were dealing with an organization that meant business, not as a friend put it, a meeting de las comadres.  We had large corporations, like McDonalds hosting breakfast, Google+ (how cutting edge Latino’s In Social Media is that?!) giving Google+ workshops and teaching us about the new business pages, Cricket mobile had their @MiCricket team there providing us a fun-filled dessert break with music from their Cricket phone – yes, that was a phone that we were Muving to!

Let’s not forget the amazing awards gala, and the generosity of Toyota, that not only brought us a lovely evening, their Corporate Communications Specialist, Javier Moreno (@Javi_NYC) and two gorgeous Camry’s which were displayed in the ballroom (I don’t know why I get a kick out of cars when they are inside), but they also brought a fleet of cars!  Many delegates also got to test drive the Prius and Camry during the conference thanks to @jeanmanolo.

And last, but certainly not least, Amway brought their makeup line Artistry.  After listening to the incredibly inspirational and moving closing keynote by Tony Melendez con bocas abiertas  (thanks @latinorebels for this clip), many of us were crying from exhaustion, happiness, euphoria, and epiphanies as we digested this amazing persons life.

Then as we composed ourselves and began the last dance of LATISM’11 we were able to have our makeup touched up (or in my case put on) by the Artistry makeup artists.

The glam was back, the cocktails were served, la tribu de LATISM was ready to go out with a baile!  And baile there was!

Overall the conference was amazing, at one point I was telling @TonyHTonyH that it was like “meeting old friends for the first time” which is something that only social media can do.  Instead of waiting for introductions and the right moment, it was all besos y abrazos as we shared handles, retold online jokes IRL and shared new jokes (#JSS)!

But it’s not all about branding, there were many other sponsors that helped in so many other ways, from design to media and scholarships, we received an overwhelming response from the business community.  So mi gente, what does that tell us?  That we should keep on doing what we’re doing, having honest conversations online during our Twitter parties and then taking those ideas offline through our chapters, our volunteering and collaborations to then all meet in Houston next year for LATISM12!! And let’s never forget que sin trabajo y negocio no hay fiesta, without business and hard work, there won’t be a party, so GRACIAS to everyone who made LATISM’11 possible, the sponsors, the community, my husband and YOU!!  

To really get a feel of the conference take a moment to watch this video compiled onsite by the creative genius @EdwinGil  (thank you!) y nos vemos en LATISM ’12!

Many thanks to http://www.photopeddler.com and Jacinto Ariza for their amazing coverage of LATISM ’11.  You can see more pictures on LATISM’s page at Google +


Blogger vs. Blogger – Battle of the Rebeldes

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Vote for me! I mean, Welcome to my blog!  I’m not even sure where to begin… I loved Spy vs. Spy, so when I saw Blogger vs. Blogger I was thrilled.  I mean really, who doesn’t love a little healthy competition right?! So, thank you for taking the time to read, and vote – you can vote twice, in Chicago even the dead vote, so don’t be shy!

1.  When I’m not working I’m still working!!!

 Yes it’s true.  Since I work from home, I have the luxury of seeing and being with my family whenever they are around, or whenever I’d like.  This “luxury”  isn’t as luxurious as it sounds because you never really escape your work.  It’s always there… calling your name.  And as a workaholic turned wife and mother, the temptation is even greater to get a little something done while dinner is cooking.  Just one second more and I’ll be done – LOL!!

2.  There’s no place like home, there really isn’t because I make the best coffee evah!

 For reals.  Hands down.  Ok, so it looks absolutely nothing  like this but dammit it tastes delicious!  Café cubano? Café con leche? Un cortadito?  Served every hour on the hour.  Asi que look out Estarbucks!  I’m colando mi café en casa!

3.  My signature dance move is a secret.

And this secret move will be revealed during the LATISM ’11 conference’s Awards Gala.  I will be exhausted, I will be full of adrenaline, my brain will be full of new ideas, I will have met so many online friends for the first time, and I will be ready to bust a move!  Will it be the running man?  Un meruengazo?  Will I dance like Elaine from Seinfield?  Only those that are there will see because what goes on at the conference… oh who am I kidding, somos latin@s, claro que vamos a hablar!  😉

4.  This is how we roll..

 Whether we’re going to the park, running errands or enjoying some music like here at the Once Upon a Symphony created by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, we GO!  You will most likely hear me telling the kids “hubba, hubba” at some point because we have places to be and are most likely in danger of being late because mommy was working.  Asi que ponte los patines, and if you’re in Chicago, you should really take your kids to the symphony.  It’s created for kids younger than 5 and they really have a lot of fun!

5.  I have a dream too…and it’s run by music!!! And all sorts of music, from classical to house music, from bomba to bolero’s I love it all (ok most of it) but this week the song that has gotten my inspirational juices flowing the most has been this oldie but goodie 

6.  I’m most proud of well you know, my family!

Especially when they are off doing things on their own leaving me time to get things done… DON’T THEY KNOW LATISM ’11 IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER?! 🙂

7.  My guilty pleasure is…

Chocolate!  No champagne.  No…. chocolate!!  Definately cho…mpagne… what can I say?  Work hard play hard!

8.  Que siga la fiesta!!!

Channeling Amelda Marcos:  Shoes dahlings!!!  Tall heel, taller heels, shiny heels, peep toe heels, you say vamos I say TACONES!!

9.  My favorite place to think was taken by Juan.  So my second favorite place to think is my car!

I can crack up the music, open the sunroof, roll down the windows, throw that baybe into 5th and just driiiiiive!!  It’s relaxing, it’s refreshing – especially on a gorgeous sunny day along the lakeshore – and it’s where I get some great thinking done!

10.  It’s mine and I’ll keep it if I want!  I have so many little oddities that I don’t even know where to start.  I almost, almost think my husband is used to me, but alas he still wonders what the hell I’m thinking.  This fall I’m thinking.. toe socks!

See how fun?  Especially with a pair of suede peep-toe pumps.  I heart them and they heart me back.

Well friends, that’s it!  You now know more about me than you probably wanted to, and I thank you for taking the time to check out my blog post (you can poke around other posts if you’d like), and don’t forget to check out Efrain’s post…

http://palantelatino.com/2011/10/07/blogger-vs-blogger-battle-of-the-rebels/

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