10 Activities You Must Do This Spring!

Spring is here and while many are busy with their indoor Spring cleaning, many of us are heading out to enjoy the warm sun during the day and the chill breeze of the afternoons. Every year we try to enjoy outdoor activities and one of our favorite places Knott’s Berry Bloom. This is when Knott’s Berry Farm dresses with the beautiful Spring colors flowers and picks the best berries for their guest and cleans-up the barn for all of us to enjoy because Spring is a time to come out from your homes and start enjoying the sunlight outside.

Here are a few activities you must to this season:

Knotts Bloom

  1. Play a board game outdoors
  2. Talk a long walk with friends
  3. Ride a bike
  4. People watch outside at a café while enjoying a latte
  5. Sit in a barn and enjoy a glass of wine (or milk)
  6. Visit a garden and help water the flowers
  7. Bake cupcakes and decorate them with spring colors
  8. Feel the sun on your face
  9. Decorate your home with fresh tulips and daffodils
  10. Enjoy an outdoor music concert

Snoop

My love and my little cousins will be joining me for Knott’s Berry Bloom where we plan to scratch many of the activities listed off my to-do list. We hope to see you there too to enjoy the nostalgic history of Knott’s ‘roots’ at the Ghost Town Boysenberry Festival, celebrating the delectable berry that started it all in inventive and delicious ways.

 

Fun Ways to Keep You & Your Kids Moving to Stay Healthy

Cutie Pie

My nephew Aiden is among the cutest little human beings on earth!

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

Exercise is essential for everyone and when you teach a child from a young age that exercise can be incorporated in their daily lives, the results are happy and healthy adults. So if you have young children let’s get them moving now!

 

As I perused through the Molina Healthcare website for tips on raising healthy families I found dozens of helpful articles about staying healthy, caring for health conditions, and being the healthiest version of you at every stage of life. Inspired by Molina Healthcare here are a few ideas on how to keep young children moving while having fun:

To keep a healthy heart – Play Tag
Cardio is the best way to raise your heart rate, make your heart stronger and makes you take-in more oxygen. Tag is the best cardio exercise for children as running around will have them (and you) breaking a sweat in no time.

Strong Muscles – Pillow Tossing
Having more muscles helps burn the fat away. Little kids often remove the pillows off sofas or beds to play. During playtime, take it a step further and encourage them to toss the pillows. Raise the pillows over their head and either hit a mark or even over the sofa. Although pillows seem very light, to children it may be the perfect weight and texture for play.

More energy – Dancing
Kids have much more energy than adults and dancing is a great way to help both parent and child with their energy levels. When you get children dancing they’ll be burning off some of that natural energy in kids to prepare them for a good afternoon nap. For you, dancing may give you the much needed energy to keep up with the little munchkins.

Silly Mommy

Pictured my niece Brianna who I admire for raising a handsome, loving and active little boy! She’s the definition of a healthy loving and fun mommy.

Flexibility – Yoga
Having flexibility allows you to bend and stretch without pain and also gives you energy that can help put you in a better mood and make you feel happier. It has the same effect on kids. Here is a fun Yoga routine you can do at the tune of the popular nursery rhyme Twinkle Little Star:

Everybody reach up high, stretching, stretching to the sky
Swaying left and swaying right,
Swaying to the sky at night.
Everybody reach up high,
Stretching, stretching to the sky

When incorporating exercise in your child’s life, make sure it’s fun and don’t overdo it or you might turn them off from staying fit and active.

Cesar Chavez Movie, Five Facts Worth Noting

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The Cesar Chavez movie does a great job of telling the story of a man’s fervent desire to help his people, of perseverance, struggle and ultimately victory. The movie did a good job of addressing the issues and abuse that the farm workers had to endure but I would have liked a more visual portrayal of the conditions to give us that wake-up call we sometimes need to see. That visual portrayal would help put our own lives into perspective. Either way, the movie was great and I hands-down recommend it. Here are some of the facts that stood out to me:

Born in Yuma Arizona – It’s so ironic that a man that spent his life fighting for equality and justice for farm workers was born in a state that today is so backwards. Arizona needs to stop being so ignorant and stop justifying detaining people based on the clothes they wear, the accent they speak with or by simply having the wrong skin color. But I will not lose hope for Arizona, in the mist of the ignorance of a few, someone is bound to be pissed-off enough to stand up and rattle the Arizona ground and shake out all the racist snakes and ignorant scum of the land. Beware Arizona, more Cesar Chavezs will be coming your way!

Back to your roots – At some point Cesar Chavez had a comfortable life in the city with a stable salary and was working with a team of people that shared his desire to help. Despite of all the comfort, he wouldn’t have lived a fulfilling life if he lived-on ignoring the conditions of his people in the farms. He decided to go back and live like the farm worker he once was demonstrating that he had never forgotten about them. Many of us pride ourselves of being Latinos yet we don’t do a thing for our own community. It’s time for all of us to go back to our roots and help the people in our communities that would benefit from our strong voice, our knowledge and have the courage to stand up for them.   

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Not all immigrants look the same and have the same struggles – A grape grower in the movie said he had migrated from Croatia and had worked hard to own his farm. The character questioned why the Mexican farm workers couldn’t do the same. This got me thinking about a very delicate but real subject, the color of our skin does matter (but it shouldn’t). In many parts of our country if you look white, no matter from what country you’re from, you will be treated with greater esteem than if you had darker skin.  That greater esteem brings more and better opportunities than the ones available to darker races. Nothing against people looking white, we are all beautiful and the many shades is what makes this world a beautiful place but there are still too many people judging only by the color of your skin. I do think our younger generations are doing a great job at blurring the race lines and embracing people that look different but we still have to keep an eye out to prevent ignorance from creeping-in – I’m thinking of you Arizona.

El Malcriado

Effective Communication – Chavez and his team truly knew the people they were helping. The movie briefly depicts the purpose of the El Teatro Campesino, founded during the Delano Grape Strike picket lines to create and performed short skits on flatbed trucks and in union halls to help illiterate farm workers understand the plight and cause of the farmworkers union. Cesar Chavez and team also did a great job of including drawings or cartoons in their weekly newspaper to also dramatize the situation and explain the struggle in a way that was relatable. How do we communicate with people we want to help? Are we compassionate, understanding and willing to find different ways to reach who needs us?

Get up and go – At some point it seemed that Cesar Chavez and his team had been defeated by the grape grower’s new business tactics to dodge the effects of the strike. Cesar Chavez had to make a drastic move to ensure that the cause didn’t get derailed and his team didn’t lose hope. Once again that meant leaving what was comfortable and known to him and traveled to Europe to get people to support the strike. If this doesn’t demonstrate the courage and cojones this man had I don’t know what else does. Making a difference may sometimes mean we’ll be pushed to our limits and out of our comfort zone. We’re going to cry, we’ll be judged even by our closest friends and family and many will try to crush our dreams and goals… But how bad do you want it? Enough to set sail to unknown lands, to stand up in a crowd and be the odd one?

Be bold, be brave, be the difference! No great civil rights leader obtained victory by being normal.

Off to YWAM – We’ll Miss You Crystal!

Such a bitter sweet moment to say goodbye to The Orphaned Earring team member and digital photographer Crystal. She’s off to fulfill a dream and we fully support her dream of helping others. She’ll only be gone until end of June this year but we’ll miss her dearly! Good luck Crystal! Read below to learn what Crystal is doing.

By Crystal Gudino

yogisHave you heard of University of the Nations? How about Youth With A Mission? I had never heard of either of the two until just recently. Thanks to social media, Instagram to be exact, I was able to discover them both. I received a “like” on a photo I posted of myself doing yoga poses with some of the orphans from Grace Children’s Home in Tijuana, Mexico. I proceeded to their IG account (@UofNKona) and received a beautiful visual glimpse as to what it was about. I wanted more information about this place so I visited their site (www.uofnkona.edu) and fell in love with what this place has to offer.

Youth With A Mission also known as YWAM, is an inter-denominational, non-profit Christian, missionary organization. It has become a global movement of Christians dedicated to serving Jesus by helping others around the world. Since the start in 1960, YWAM has grown in numbers and in impact. They currently work in excess of 1,100 locations in over 180 countries, with a staff of over 18,000.

Crystal GudinoBorn out of YWAM and founded on biblical principles, U of N is a university with branches in 600 locations in 142 countries, providing programs in 100 languages around the world. Kona, Hawaii along with Jeju, South Korea, and Perth, Australia are of their largest locations. From its seven facilities they offer Associate’s degrees, Bachelor’s degrees, Graduate Diplomas and Master’s degrees in varies disciplines.

University of the Nations also has amazing volunteer programs for people of all nations that have a heart willing to serve and grow. There are three programs: Kokua Crew, Mission Builders, and Kokua Specialists.

    • The Kokua Crew (this is the program I’ll be part of) is a 1-3 month program with a commitment of people working to fellowship, serving in different departments throughout the campus including kitchen, maintenance, mailroom, foundation school, and preschool.
    • The Mission Builders is a 2-week – 3 month commitment program for skilled trades persons in the construction field. They go to serve on the campus as they work towards building and expanding dormitories, classrooms and facilities.
    • The Kokua Specialists are a part of their newest volunteer program for individuals who have specific skills or qualifications in areas that can benefit the campus with a 2-week – 3 month commitment. Some of which include accountants, chefs, teachers, lawyers, medical practitioners, and architects.

Find out more about what they’re about by visiting their site (www.ywam.org).

During college I was a drive away from home so this is the furthest I’ll be from my mom and friends. I am nervous but excited to meet new people that share my same interest of helping and serving others. I will miss my home, friends and kids at the orphanages we support but I know time will fly by and at the end I will have the satisfaction to know that I was brave enough to do something I truly wanted. I ask for your prayers and good wishes during this new adventure in my life!

Field Trip with Frida Kahlo @MOLAA

 

 

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Only people that have not been afraid to stand up to popular thought, that have been able to swim against the current even when the current brings cutting debris and have been able to express with the world their creative minds are remembered through history. Figures such as Frida Khalo and her story of survival serve as inspiration to our lives. And now for a limited time you can enjoy photos of this amazing woman.

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The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is honored to be the only West Coast venue for the exhibition Frida Kahlo, Her Photos, which presents over 200 images from Frida Kahlo’s personal Casa Azul archive in Mexico City. The photos offer insight into Frida’s daily life, showing her with family, friends and at work painting. They provide a stark contrast to the collective image of Kahlo that has been largely generated by her self-portraits. The exhibition is not intended to biographically chart Kahlo’s life, but rather to explore how photography played an important role in shaping and documenting her personal experiences.
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Divided into six sections: 

  • Her Parents: Guillermo and Matilde 
  • La Casa Azul
  • The Broken Body
  • Amores
  • Photography
  • Diego’s Gaze

The exhibition includes images of Frida, by Frida and for Frida. Represented here are a wide range of photographs that shed light on a more personal side of Frida’s life, from family photographs, both traditional portraits and candid shots at the Casa Azul, to mementos of pain and love, as well as images depicting her interests and associations from the artistic, intellectual and political circles that were such an important part of her world. Included in the exhibition are images by Lola and Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Man Ray, Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, among others.

Don’t miss Fridamania: Women’s Day Festival 2014! A day that celebrates the contributions of women to art, movement, and music.

Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, Calif. 90802
Hours: Sun., Wed., Thurs. and Sat., 11:00am – 5:00pm, Friday, 11:00am – 9:00pm
Admission: $9.00 General/ $6.00 Students (w/ID) and seniors (65+) Members and kids under 12 free
Free Admission every Sunday sponsored by Target
Info: (562) 437-1689 or www.molaa.org

Frida Kahlo
 

Create Happy Memories – Win Season Passes to Knott’s Berry Farm

disclosure: this is a sponsored post but the love for Snoopy is the real deal. See below for contest details.

I have a problem. I’m in love with a dog, not just any dog, a dog who’s my pet name for him (no pun intended) is Snoop Dog!

When I’m around him I just can’t avoid puckering up and giving him a kiss. He brings everything that is nice and sweet from within me and makes me want to be a better person. Although I’m unclear if he feels the same way about me, because he is a dog of very little words, which only makes him more mysterious and sexy,  I still love him the same.

KnottsKiss

All kidding aside, my love affair started several years ago, while I was a little girl. I’ve mentioned how I had a couple of dates with my dad to Knott’s as a little girl so I associate this theme park with love, happiness and most importantly FUN!

Fun For KidsThis past year I was lucky to been part of the Peanut family and visited their home during their many seasons and themes. I saw this home bloom in the Spring, walked the Boardwalk in the Summer while cooled down with some ice cream, felt the cool Autumn breeze while strolling down the shops and became spooked during Halloween. Knott’s Berry Farm continues to be a place of happy and long-lasting memories in my life and the life of my family.

Among the biggest pleasures was to take my family and friends to Knott’s Berry Farm different themed seasons. While they had fun and watched the different shows I couldn’t stop thinking how lucky I was to share this with them and be the one to create the same type of happy memories I have.

Thanks to my friends at Knott’s Berry Farm and my lover boy Snoopy, you too can win four (4) Knott’s Berry Farm Season Passes! Just visit Knott’s Facebook and enter the Season Pass Contest!

You can also buy season passes NOW (click link) as low as 6 payments of $14 per ticket. As a season pass holder you will also enjoy of perks, special discounts and inside scoop of what’s going on with the Peanut Gang. The Platinum even offers entrance to Cedar Fair Parks and includes parking.

Don’t let another year go buy and not invest in the memories of your family. And if you see my Snoop Dog… STAY AWAY, he’s mine!

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Run, Have Fun, Stay Fit and Do Good!

We’ve often said that doing good is easy but it can also be fun and help you stay fit! This year The Orphaned Earring has put together a dream team of about 10 members and we plan to represent all our little kids at each orphanage while helping The Color Run raise funds for good! We would love to have you join our team! If you live in or near the Los Angeles area here are a few other runs, walks and challenges that also contribute to charity.

Nike NTCNike’s NTC Tour
Beneficiary: $10 per registration benefit A World Fit For Kids
Date: Saturday, March 15
Location: On the beach in Santa Monica
Time: 10:00 am
Price: $75

The first ever NTC Tour Los Angeles arrives with exclusive access to elite trainers from around the country. With heart-pumping workouts from Barry’s Bootcamp and Flywheel, to balanced sessions of barre3 and Exhale Yoga – you’ll get full access to your favorite fitness trends, beginning with an epic NTC workout led by the country’s best Nike Master Trainers.
When you’re not sweating it out, you can refresh at our beauty bar, get an instant manicure at the nail art stations or visit the braid and bun bar for a new look.
And the fun doesn’t end there. Get styling and nutrition tips from Nike athletes Skylar Diggins and Gabby Douglas with panels and Q&A sessions hosted by Refinery 29.
Now there are no excuses to stay home!

 

ToughTough Mudder
Beneficiary: Wounded Warrior Project
Date: March 29 & 30
Location: Glen Helen Raceway, San Bernardino, CA
Time: Various times
Price: $69-$189

ough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course challenges designed to test your all-around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. With the most innovative obstacles and over one million participants globally to date, Tough Mudder is the premier obstacle course series in the world.

 

Down & Dirty Obstacle Race
Beneficiary: Operation Gratitude, $75,000 goal
Date: April 13, 2014
Location: Castaic Lake State Recreation Area
Time: various times, check out website
Price: $45-$85

Dirty

If you are up for a challenge this is the race for you. There are various obstacles and miles you can run, all choices cater to a different level of resistance, challenge and adventurous spirits. Tough Mudder is more than an event; it’s a way of thinking. It’s about pushing yourself to the limits and helping others to do the same. It’s not a race, it’s a challenge. If we timed you, what would be your motivation to stop and give someone a hand? When you run a Tough Mudder, you’ll meet new people and overcome challenges when you get through the course—together. Running a race gets you busted knees and a medal you’ll never wear again. At the end of a Tough Mudder, you get an orange headband to proudly wear to work on Monday morning, a pint, bragging rights and membership into Mudder Nation. And it gives you an excuse to get all your friends together and start a tradition.

 

Color RunThe Color Run
Beneficiary: Global Citizen
Date: June 21, 2014
Location: Dodgers Stadium
Time: Various times, visit website
Price: $35-$50

Founded in January of 2012 this run promotes healthiness and happiness by bringing the community together to participate in the “Happiest 5k on the Planet”. They are the original paint race and have created a completely new genre of running events that continues to grow exponentially. Now the single largest event series in the United States, The Color Run has exploded since their debut event. They have more than tripled our growth, hosting more than 170 events in 30+ countries in 2013. Click here to join the party!

The Global Poverty Project, the non-profit behind Global Citizen, is The Color Run’s global charity partner. This partnership gives Color Runners the opportunity to engage in global issues, make an impact in the world and be part of the movement that will end extreme poverty. Color Runners can join the Global Citizen movement in two ways: sign up and take action on Global Citizen or sign up to fundraise for one of five amazing nonprofits that are working to end extreme poverty.

The Color Run also works with local organizations in various cities they host events in. The Color Run’s number one goal, as it relates to local charities, is to increase cause awareness. We want to help shine a light on important issues. We hope our Color Runners will spend time on the website of our partner charities, join mailing lists, attend other events hosted by the charity and become an advocate for these causes. We give our charity partners a microphone to speak to thousands of good hearted people.

Protect your baby! Learn the ABC’s of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and MedImmune but all the love, ideas and experiences are my own because I love babies!

ABCLast year I learned about Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) which is a common, seasonal virus contracted by nearly 100 percent of babies by their second birthday. This information was shocking to me since I have a few young children in my life. Because RSV is extremely common, many of us were unaware of the dangers that RSV presents to our children, it can even result death. In fact, two-thirds of Hispanic mothers have never heard of RSV, and one in five Hispanic moms only becomes aware of RSV once their child has contracted the virus.

When I heard about RSV I immediately talked to my sister and my godson’s mom and asked if they were aware of RSV because I can’t even bear the idea of any of my little ones being sick. I also relayed the information to each of the orphanages we work and although access to clinics and medicine is sometimes hard in Latin American countries they will at least take the necessary measures to protect the children from contracting RSV by:

  • Washing their hands and ask others to do the same
  • Keeping toys, clothes, blanket and sheets clean
  • Avoiding crowds and other young children during RSV season
  • Never letting anyone smoke around your baby
  • Steering clear of people who are sick or who have recently been sick

RSV is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of two, and typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. Preterm infants, however, are born with undeveloped lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring  hospitalization.

Learn the ABC’s of RSV:

Letter A

Is for Awareness

RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year

  • RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States,  with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year
  • RSV disease is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five
  • Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers (and two-thirds of Hispanic mothers) have never heard of the virus

 

Letter B

Is for Babies

  • Premature babies—defined as those born before 37 weeks gestation—are most at risk for developing severe RSV disease because they have underdeveloped lungs and fewer antibodies to fight the virus than babies born full term.
  • Amongst Hispanics, the preterm birth rate has grown six percent over the last decade. Currently one in eight Hispanic babies is born premature and it is likely that high prematurity rates are a reason for increased risk of RSV within Hispanic communities.

 

 

 

Letter C

Is for Contagious:

RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Additionally, the virus can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. Learn the symptoms of severe RSV disease and contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:

  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
  • Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
  • Fever [especially if it is over 100.4°F (rectal) in infants under 3 months of age]

 

There is no treatment for RSV disease once it’s contracted, so prevention is critical. A pediatrician is the best way for mothers to get answers to their child’s health issues, but one in three Hispanic mothers has made a decision to avoid or postpone proper treatment for their child because of healthcare costs.

For more information about RSV and prevention, visit www.RSVprotection.com.

 

8 Easy Ways to Teach Children to Do Good

Donating hair

Everyone wants to live in a world where everyone is considerate and work together to achieve social good goals. At times we even get mad when someone else is not doing it but we need to understand that we need to start ourselves and start teaching our children that to do good is just a way of life. One of the recent ways a friend had her daughter do good is donating her hair to Locks of Love, it is an easy and fun way to have children practice the art of caring for others.

Here are some ideas to start shaping children’s lives with strong morals and love for their community:

  1. Put together activity boxes. If your child is a preschooler, decorate shoe boxes and fill them with a deck of cards, small games, and puzzle books for kids patients at Children’s Hospital or a classmate who is out sick.
  2. Provide storytime. Read your child’s favorite books to children in the hospital. She can sit next to you and turn the pages.
  3. Walk for a cause. Many organizations use walks to increase awareness and raise funds. There are walks/runs that would be fun for them such as The Color Run, Walk For Wishes and even Foam Fest. Check at each site if you can push little ones in a stroller.
  4. Donate food to a food pantry. Have your child pick out one item each time you go to the store. When you get a bagful, take it to a local food pantry.
  5. Visit a nursing home. Contact your local nursing home and have schedule a visit during activity time. Ask attendants to match you with someone so you and your child build a meaningful relationship with them if possible.

    Spacedragons

    photo credit: spacedragons.com

  6. Clean ups. Join clean up brigades to clean up a local park, the beach or simply while you and your child take a walk in the neighborhood.
  7. Be kind to animals. Volunteer to care for abandoned dogs or cats at shelters.
  8. Chores for others. Many parents have specific chores for children to do around the house. Consider asking your children to do chores for others when they are sick or had an injury.

By taking this kind of action in your children’s lives you’ll be not only raising amazing kids but also allowing your children to experience an act that is gratifying and where the rewards are un-measurable.

Alma Mei Teams Up with The Orphaned Earring and Makes Fashion Look Good by helping Orphans

The partnership creates a shopping experience that allows consumers to

shop-with-meaning without compromising style!

AlmaMei PicAlma Mei, a fashion forward boutique based in Miami teams up with the non- profit The Orphaned Earring as part of their philanthropic business model to help orphaned children in Latin America.

Founded by the common love of fashion, a distinct interest in community service, female empowerment, and social change between two Latina friends, Alma Mei boutique was created as a way to give fashion lovers everywhere an opportunity to shop for trendsetting looks while allowing them to be part of a greater cause.

Every quarter Alma Mei selects a charity organization and donates 10% of their proceeds as a way to have customers shop guilt-free while giving back. And to kick-off 2014 they’ve selected The Orphaned Earring as the beneficiary charity. In addition, Alma Mei is including The Orphaned Earring bracelets to their fashion line for the duration of the partnership.

“Giving back is an integral part of our business,” said Liz de la Cruz, fashionista and co-founder of Alma Mei. We wanted to create a win-win situation and we feel confident that we have,” she added.

“There’s nothing wrong with having an entrepreneur spirit and wanting to make money, said Gaby Ortega, co-founder Alma Mei, but it’s also important to give back to our community.”

Through this collaboration, children at four orphanages in Latin America will benefit by receiving food and clothes to meet their basic needs and arts & crafts as a way to bring healing to orphaned children. “Our orphans depend on the help of our community and we’re excited to receive help in an unconventional way,” said Denisse Montalvan, founder of The Orphaned Earring. “Even more exciting is to see our bracelets be part of prestigious boutique,” she added.

To see Alma Mei’s latest styles and for more information visit www.almamei.com, to learn more about how the orphan children are helped visit www.theorphanedearring.com.

Alma Mei

About Alma Mei

Alma Mei is an online fashion boutique founded in sunny Miami, FL by Latina entrepreneurs and friends, Liz De La Cruz-Jean and Gaby Ortega. Their mission is to combine the worlds of fashion and philanthropy so that they may, as a united front, start a movement that makes an impact in today’s world.

Alma means “Soul” in Spanish and Mei means “Beauty” in Japanese, and through both, Gaby and Liz hope to bring the spirit of philanthropy to the world of fashion. Visit www.almamei.com for more information.

About The Orphaned Earring

The Orphaned Earring is dedicated to bringing aid and healing to four orphanages in Latin America,NicaraguaColombia, Guatemala and Mexico. How it works:

1) Donate your orphaned earrings or unwanted jewelry
2) We find a home for the earring by beading it into a bracelet while recycling materials
3) The bracelet gets sold and together we raise funds for orphans in Latin America

To shop for bracelets please visit, http://theorphanedearring.com/shop. Send your orphan earrings and/or unwanted jewelry to The Orphaned Earring, P.O. Box 1565, Hawthorne, CA 90251. For more information on The Orphaned Earring please visit www.TheOrphanedEarring.com.

Knott’s Berry Farm Creates Pink Tickets to Beat Breast Cancer

KBF_SusanGKomen_MagnetLogoIt’s such pleasure to hear that my favorite entertainment park, Knott’s Berry Farm, is proudly partnering with Susan G Komen Orange County this Spring for a special “Pink Ticket” offer running from February 1 through March 31. Portion of proceeds will benefit the local Susan G Komen Orange County breast health organization helping to serve women and save lives.

Knott’s Berry Farm has kicked off the promotion by donating $25,000 to Susan G. Komen Orange County. The money that the theme park has already donated will provide 400 women in Orange County with life-saving breast health services.

Guests entering the theme park during the time of the promotion will be greeted by a pink Knott’s Berry Farm for the Cure display adorned with Snoopy and his pal Woodstock. Guests can purchase a commemorative limited edition magnet to place on the special display in honor of, or in memory of, someone affected by breast cancer. The magnet will be sold at select merchandise locations inside Knott’s Berry Farm and all proceeds will benefit Komen Orange County.

So? What are you waiting for? Let’s go!

Girl Scouts Helping Orphaned Girls in Guatemala #4LoveOfLife

The Girl Scout Junior Troop 5635 in Culver City is helping us transform the world into a better place!

GS_Teaching_Girls

As part of #4LoveOfLife (For the love of life) campaign that we do every year in the month of February to help indigenous families and the orphanage in Guatemala, the Girl Scouts will be showing their love and support for other girls, our 90+ girls in Guatemala.

During Girl Scout cookie season, the Culver City Girl Scouts will be working hard to earn their Girl Scout Bronze award, a leadership adventure and the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve. The troop plans and completes a project, where they will develop more confidence, meet new people, and have the kind of fun that happens when they work with other Girl Scouts and their community to make a difference.

The Culver City Troop has decided to adopt our orphan girls in Guatemala and help give each girl a school uniform, school supplies and hopefully cover other immediate needs. The program will focus on Girl Scouts helping other girls.

GS_Teaching_Girls_4

bronze patchWhen we encourage children to volunteer and be involved in charity work, we’re teaching them compassion, empathy, tolerance, gratitude, and community responsibility. And children who volunteer are more likely to continue doing so as adults. So we applaud the Girl Scout Junior Troop 5635 in Culver City and their troop leaders for shaping girls into pillars of this society who make a difference in the world because doing-good to them will be simple a way of life!

I Won! Snoopy Journey Contest

Snoopy’s #MerryFarm Journey Contest!KnottsMerryFarm

A dog is a man’s best friend and Snoopy is a girl’s best companion.  For the last couple of months Snoopy has been traveling with me for work and helping run errands for The Orphaned Earring as part of a Knott’s Berry Farm photo contest. Participants had to reflect through images how Snoopy was helping us prepare for the holidays. Snoopy helped by sending money to the orphanages at Western Union, traveled to visit friends to wish them a great holiday, helped an American Airline pilot fly passengers safely to their holiday destinies, helped shoot holiday themed segments and sneaked in a kiss or two to the beautiful TV hosts.

I’m happy to share that I won that contest and now I’ll be going to one of my favorite theme parks with my fiancé and two guests!

As a little girl my dad would take me to Knott’s. I’m sure he didn’t enjoy it since he’s always been a simple man that would rather spend his weekends at a baseball field. Nevertheless, he would go to make his little girl happy. I remember walking holding his hand and those memories are among my favorite.

Now I get to make my own memories with my fiancé thanks to my dog Snoopy and Knott’s Berry Farm. This is the one theme park where we feel they cater to both children with Camp Snoopy and adults with so many other choices: all types of attractions and rides,  great restaurants, specialty crafted beer, wine and shopping all the unique items only found at the park.

I’m excited to continue making memories and can’t wait to take my own children to the park (soon). Thanks Knott’s Berry Farm for putting together a great contest and selecting me as the winner!

 

Your Favorite Charity Could Win $1K with a Tweet to JetBlue

Originally on LatinaGeeks

Jet BlueIn the simplest yet witty way that only Jet Blue can do, they are asking us to share how we chip in to make a difference. By simply giving a shout out to your favorite charity and using #IChipInFor, the organization or cause of your choice enters to win $1000. How easy is that?

We are already giving shout outs, why not to do it for the cause dearest to your heart?  And of course I’m asking you to tweet @OrphanedEarring to help us win the money for our kids!

JetBlue

But you must hurry because that promotion ends 1/20. Here is how you can enter:

 

  1. Follow @JetBlue on Twitter.com
  2. Create and post and original tweet that includes the name of your favorite nonprofit or organization and why you support its efforts
  3. Include the hashtag #Ichipinfor in the Tweet

Hashtag required for entry. As always tweets may not exceed 140 characters. Entrants will be required to have a public account in order to accept an eligible entry hashtag. Limit one (1) Entry per Twitter account.

For full promotion details visit the site HERE. And for all your traveling needs, consider booking your flight with Jet Blue because they inspire us to think about chipping-in and hopefully they too are encouraged to continue doing good.

Bring Home the Adventure for Kids by Reading

DisclosurenatgeologoOne of the biggest gifts you can give a child is the love of reading. According to Teach Reading Early, reading is at the heart of all formal education and has many advantages in the development of children, some of the benefits are:

  • Neurological: Reading helps to develop a young child’s brain. In the first six years, children learn at a much faster pace than at any other time in their lives. Vital connections in the brain are made very early in life.
  • Educational: Reading opens the door to your child’s early academic success, imparts a love of learning and leads to higher grades in every subject. Numerous studies have shown that strong oral language skills are the basis for literacy development.
  • Psychological: A child who learns to read joyfully at home, at an early age, with a loving parent or caregiver, grows in self-confidence and independence. Reading promotes greater maturity, increases discipline and lays the basis for moral literacy.
  • Social: Early readers have the opportunity to relate to their peers on a more confident, more competent level as they are already being recognized for their superior accomplishments. Such experiences increase the child’s social status among peers as well as his or her self-image and self-confidence.
  • Linguistic: The sooner children learn how to read, the more books, knowledge, and ideas they will be exposed to and this will create linguistic skills in the form of a richer vocabulary, correct grammar, improved writing, better spelling and more articulate oral communication.

nat-geo-booksWhen I was raising my nephew Jacob while my sister was serving in Afghanistan we read books every night. He was 2 years old and after just one year I noticed that he already recognized words, pretended he was reading but accurate and when we got a new book he could make up his own story based only on the illustration.

Today he is a smart 6 yr-old boy that can express himself very well, is logical about his responses and arguments and very curious. Although he doesn’t live with me anymore, I make sure he continues feeding his curiosity with information that will keep him interested. That’s why National Geographic is the best choice for my family.

When I received National Geographic books for kids thanks to Moms Meet (a program by May Media Group LLC), I started flipping through the pages before giving them to my nephew, next thing I know I spent the next hour just reading on meerkats, weird but true animal facts and learned how smart dogs are.

These are the kind of books that children should read; it keeps them entertained with real life education, transports them to different parts of the world and allows their imagination reach new heights they’ve never even imagined. National Geographic is one of the world’s premier scientific, education, and research organizations. For more than 125 years, the National Geographic team has been dedicated to exploring and documenting the world making it possible to have all the adventure at home.

Stay on top of the latest and greatest books by National Geographic by liking their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and be among the first to know when they have their discounts and sales as well.

You’re Invited! The Orphaned Earring & Latina Bloggers Connect Bake Sale!

The Orphaned Earring is hosting the first bake sale with the support of Latina Bloggers Connect to bring gifts and holiday parties to over 300 orphans this year and you are invited! See details below:

THE OE BAKE SALE

What:

Delicious creations from renowned food bloggers will be available for purchase during the bake sale while enjoying a festive evening of raffles, giveaways, prizes and face painting. Music provided by Exitos 93.9 and DJ Johnny Miles courtesy of Infusion Lounge!

Call to Action:
Attendees are encouraged to bring and donate their orphaned earrings and  unwanted jewelry to be recycled and made into bracelets that are later sold to raise funds for other needs such as school uniforms and supplies,  food and clothes.

How The Orphaned Earring works:

  1. Donate your orphaned earrings or unwanted jewelry
  2. We find a home for the earring by beading it into a bracelet while recycling materials
  3. The bracelet gets sold and together we raise funds for orphans in Latin America

 Follow Social Conversation:
@OrphanedEarring, @lbconnect
#4LoveOfLife

Why:
While everyone gets ready to celebrate with family and loved ones, orphaned and abandoned children in Latin America will not have festive food or a gift to open on Christmas day. That’s why The Orphaned Earring along with Latina Bloggers Connect are uniting to give over 300 children a holiday to remember.

Free and Fun Apps that Give to Charity #GivingTuesday

givingtuesdayEvery year people live the excitement of anticipating great deals said to only be found during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Marketers and advertisers do a great job of creating a sense of urgency and a need for all of us to score that sweat deal, and a great job of making us feel like we’re missing out if we don’t shop these holiday-ish days. Although saving on gifts for your love ones is great, we must stop and think what are we doing to balance our life?

I recently read that truly successful people share one trait, it’s not about them. They achieve success because they create change in lives of others, not just their own. There’s no fulfillment in simply giving gifts, there’s fulfillment if your life when you are making a change as well. Some might argue that a holiday gift can change someone’s life, but I’m talking about beyond material things, I’m talking about giving yourself too.

Following Cyber Monday is the not-too-well-known Giving Tuesday, the day where after scoring your sweat deals, you make sure to you give to others.

If you haven’t yet, make Giving Tuesday a yearly celebration and make your family a part of it.

One of the many ways to integrate giving not only on Giving Tuesday but every day is to shop with meaning. Be on the lookout for those brands that while providing a product, they help others.

And among the easiest ways to help is by downloading and using these FREE apps – Doing good couldn’t be any easier:

 

IInsteadnstead
Micro donations, making macro impact.

A small change in your routine, makes a big difference on the life of someone else. Instead encourages simple cost saving alternatives that make an impact $3 and $5 at a time.

Instead of buying a coffee, you can brew a coffee at home and donate $3 to provide clean water.

Commit to cooking your own meals at home for 3 nights and you can provide HIV medication to someone.

 

 

 

Check-in for Good
Check-in for Good lets businesses offer a $1 donation for every customer that comes in and uses the app to “check-in” using the GPS location of your smartphone. This app could become a great way to discover new restaurants, stores or other business.

 

Donate a photoDonate A Photo
I love when brands develop apps for good. That’s the case of Johnson & Johnson.

With this app you choose a cause, share a photo and Johnson & Johnson gives your cause $1. Sign up is required.

Johnson & Johnson was curated a list of trusted causes and for every photo shared the company gives $1 to the cause you want to help. You can choose from fixing a public park, get medicine for an infant or help kids play sports safely.

Each cause will receive a minimum donation and will appear in the app until its donation period ends or its goal is reached.

 

Charity MilesCharity Miles
This free app allows you to earn donations as you sweat. Track your exercise miles with the Charity Miles app and earn 10¢ per mile for bikers or 25¢ per mile for walkers and runners for your charity of choice.

 

 

 

Givatron – Give to Charity
Givatron lets you easily find and make mobile donations of any amount to nearly any registered charity in North America and the United Kingdom.

One Today by Google
Allows users to easily donate $1 to various nonprofit organizations. A different charitable cause is profiled each day, and if you like what you see, contributing $1 from your Google Wallet account is as easy as tapping a button. If you’re particularly passionate about a given nonprofit, you can also opt to match donations of your friends. A summary of each nonprofit organization is provided, along with a general overview of how your money will help make a difference.

  • Donate to what inspires you.
  • Learn about a different cause every day.
  • Amplify your impact by matching your friends’ donations.

Latina Wins National Award for Philanthropic Efforts in benefit of Children in Latin American

Bloganthropy Awards

The Orphaned Earring was a finalist to the 2013 Bloganthropy Award and last week I traveled to Arkansas to attend the Champions of Kids Conference where the award ceremony was being held and where we would find out if we won, and we did! It was an experience beyond words. To see so many brands come together for the good of children and their communities was so inspirational! The do-good sessions were very educational, the speakers were profound but most of all the friendships I made will be for life!

 

Do Good Bloggers

My new Do-Good friends!

LOS ANGELES – November 22, 2013 – (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – Denisse Montalvan, Founder and Chief Inspired Visionaire of The Orphaned Earring, is the only Latina to win a prestigious national award for her philanthropic work with children in Latin American. The prestigious Bloganthropy Awards recognizes and honors bloggers who use their sites to support charitable causes.

“When I get discouraged and feel I want to quit and give up because I have no money, no sponsors and four holiday parties for 300 kids weighing on my shoulders, God sends me a reminder – this award is not about me, it’s about the kids”

 

Denisse Montalvan SpeechWhile being a full time Public Relations professional, Denisse has dedicated the last 3 years to ideate and build a self-sustained non-profit organization that also creates opportunity for others to help. She’s found an artistic and effective way to recycle orphaned earrings and unwanted jewelry by creating bracelets to sell. One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit four orphanages and their surrounding communities in Latin America.

“When I get discouraged and feel I want to quit and give up because I have no money, no sponsors and four holiday parties for 300 kids weighing on my shoulders, God sends me a reminder – this award is not about me, it’s about the kids,” said Denisse. “I’m so excited for the award but even more honored to represent my Latino community.”

Denisse has been a guest speaker at local schools inspiring children and teenagers to make a difference and to strive for a college education that can be used as a tool to extend the hand of good. She develops unique programs that create opportunities for everyone to become involved and do good.

Champions for Kids congratulates Denisse on her award,” said Blake Brandes, Chief Program Officer at Champions for Kids. “Denisse is a true example of a champion for kids – an individual who mobilizes her community to create positive social impact for children. We are grateful for the oAward Certificatepportunity to host the Bloganthropy awards, and we wish Denisse and the other finalist much success in the future.”

“Our winners and finalists show that great change can start from a simple act.  Denisse is an inspiration to her community, and we are thrilled to have her join the prestigious group of Bloganthropy Award Winners,” said Debbie Bookstaber, President of Element Associates and co-founder of Bloganthropy.

About The Orphaned Earring
Having migrated to the U.S. at age 17, Denisse Montalvan promised God to use her education for a good cause if He helped her obtain her college education. Beating all odds she graduated top of her class and first in her family to obtain a college degree. In late 2011, Montalvan converted her homemade project into a self-sustained non-profit organization and has expanded to aid three other orphanages since. Today the organization helps over 300 children living in orphanages in Nicaragua, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico as well as over 20 indigenous families living in Latin America by providing food, clothes and creative activities as means of healing.

How it works:
1) Donate your orphaned earrings or unwanted jewelry
2) We find a home for the earring by beading it into a bracelet while recycling materials
3) The bracelet gets sold and together we raise funds for orphans in Latin America

To shop for bracelets please visit, http://theorphanedearring.com/shop. Send your orphan earrings and/or unwanted jewelry to The Orphaned Earring, P.O. Box 1565, Hawthorne, CA 90251. For more information on The Orphaned Earring please visit www.TheOrphanedEarring.com

About Bloganthropy
Bloganthropy.org aims to empower bloggers to become philanthropic leaders in their communities. The annual Bloganthropy Awards recognize those who have made a difference by using social media to effectively promote a cause or charity.

About Champions For Kids
Champions for Kids makes is simple to give children in your community the resources they need to thrive. We believe all children should have someone who cares, a place to belong, hope for tomorrow and provisions for their journey. Please visit www.championsforkids.org  for more information.

Volunteer Opp: Thanksgiving Dinner in Westside L.A.

Do Good Partners, Denisse & Shirley

Do Good Partners, Denisse & Shirley

Every Thanksgiving The Orphaned Earring and volunteers invest our time in supporting Westside Tranksgiving (in the L.A. area). What once was a big celebration bringing lots of volunteers to serve hundreds of people is now a smaller event that had to make drastic changes due to the lost of support of funds.

We need to continue supporting our local events with our time, and if possible cash donations would be great, in order to keep them alive and helping a larger community. Luckily this year, Westside Thanksgiving has the support of St. Anne Catholic Church and School and will be hosting the event. The event will be held outdoors, it will be a shorter day, a smaller space, a new menu, but still a great free celebration for all! They’ll have a Thanksgiving lunch, Children’s Carnival, blanket, clothing and hygiene kit distributions.

This is how you can help!

Please read carefully, because MANY things have changed from past years:

  • Donate new or gently used, clean clothing of all kinds. We especially need men’s clothing, especially pants.
  • Give a tax-deductible donation to help defray expenses. Donate here
  • Donate bottled water—personal size and 2 ½ gallon jugs for making coffee
  • 110 pounds ground coffee
  • Small or medium size stuffed animals for the kids in new or nearly new condition

VoulnteersFood…..

  • Premium sliced turkey in sealed packages. (We need this by Wednesday.)
  • Individually wrapped treats (like cookies or snacks)
  • Fresh fruit

Volunteer: There will be five work shifts, starting promptly at 6am, 8 am, 10am, noon, and 2pm. No need for reservations or signups this year, but they still need your help! (Please note this is different from last year.)

Free parking is available off site

  • DMV office at Cloverfield/Colorado Ave.
  • UCLA Les Kelly Clinic at 20th/Colorado
  • Calvary Baptist Church at 20th/Broadway

Convenient donation drop off on Thanksgiving from 6am. Entrance on 20th Street

Pre-Thanksgiving Day drop-off: Monday through Wednesday 7am-9pm at First Presbyterian Church, 1220 2nd St.

Drop off site for clothing: 7 Days/wk 9am-9pm at MacMall, 1505 Wilshire Bl.

Nurse Ariana

Rise From the Ashes – Women Empowerment #RiseAboveIt #ad

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Pine-Sol®and Latina Bloggers Connect but all ideas and stories are my own.

Women Rise AboveWhen I learn of organizations such as Women Empowerment that connects, educates and supports women of all ages and backgrounds, and inspires them to give back to their communities through mentorship, networking, and volunteerism, I’m relieved to know that many lives are being transformed and they are helping create a society of strong, good hearted and confident woman.

At 17 I was a shy self-conscience girl that was afraid of the world. I thought I was ugly, useless and would never amount to anything, although in my heart I wanted to conquer the world.

Thankfully I came across many people that, without them knowing, helped me build my self-confidence, be strong, take life by the horns and made me believe I could achieve anything. Many of these people were actually very cruel to me but even then they are the reason why I’m strong today.

When I migrated to los estados unidos, I didn’t have friends and didn’t have a close relationship with my extended family. My only refuge was God and sought Him at church. I would faithfully attend church on Sundays and every weekday service because it was the one place that felt like home.

It was unfortunate that many people at church did not recognize that I attended church on my own; no parents to push me, no friends to invite me, it was all on my own will. I could have chosen a path that lead to no-good-things but that was not attracting to me.

Church was the place where I experienced great pain and sorrow.

Because I was a mystery girl with no parents to defend me and no one to vouch for me I was treated poorly and emotionally tortured by all the judgment, criticism and bad intentions of people. There was always something bad said about me. If a liked a boy people would always jump to conclusions and say I was fornicating with him, if I gave an opinion of what I thought a passage in the Bible meant I was a heathen, if I questioned my leaders on the treatment and compassion of others I was wrong and sided with sin and if I wanted to have a leadership position I was scrutinized because I was a girl.

I knew why I was there though, it was for no man or no woman, it was because I loved my God and knew their treatment was NOT a reflection of his love for me. I refused to leave that church because I wanted to leave when I was in good standing and treated as an esteem member of the church. I experienced much pain and happiness for 9 years until the day came when I finally realized that the battle was never ending.

There would always be someone that disliked and I would never be good enough for them.

One day church people and its leaders were too much to endure emotionally and physically. The stress I was experiencing was so much that I started experiencing weekly migraines and had gained so much too much weight.

I finally made a decision that I never thought I would make. It was time to leave church.

I prayed and asked God to guide me to the path where I could serve Him better, reach more people and really make a difference. That’s when I went full force with college and taking care of my health. I got my degree and lost 40 lbs. and this time around I was not afraid to face the world alone… but I was never really alone, my God was always there protecting me.

Today I proudly stand tall with my scars adorning my beauty and soul, living a life I had never dreamt of and helping children that fulfill my life and tattooed a phoenix to remind me of all the pain and the beauty that came from it.

Las Mujeres No Se Rinden LOGO SPANISHTo recognize and celebrate the remarkable women among us, Pine-Sol®® has teamed up with actress and activist Rosie Perez to launch the ‘When Life Gets Tough, Women Rise Above It’ campaign – “Las Mujeres No Se Rinden.” As part of the campaign, Pine-Sol®® awarded a $25,000 donation to Women Empowered, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles that connects, educates and supports women of all ages and backgrounds, inspiring them to give back to their communities.

How about you? How did you rise above life’s challenges? You can share your own story of triumph by entering the Pine-Sol®® sweepstakes on www.WomenRiseAboveIt.com or www.LasMujeresNoSeRinden.com and enter for a chance to win!

Prizes include:

  • Once a week for 12 weeks, Pine-Sol®® will award one lucky winner small tokens of appreciation. (Flower bouquet + Pine Sol coupons) ARV: $150
  • Three first prize winners will receive complimentary house cleaning services for a year ARV: $2,400
  • One grand prize winner will be awarded an all-inclusive trip to enjoy a peaceful spa experience at a deluxe hotel.  ARV: $5,000  

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Open to legal residents of the 50 United States & D.C. 18 years and older.  Ends 1/31/14 at 11:59 a.m. PT.  To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions, visit www.womenriseaboveit.com. Void where prohibited.

SIN OBLIGACIÓN DE COMPRA. Abierto a residentes legales de los 50 estados de los Estados Unidos y D.C., mayores de 18 años. Termina el 1/31/14 a las 11:59 a.m. PT Para participar y consultar las Reglas oficiales, incluyendo las probabilidades y las descripciones de los premios, visite www.lasmujeresnoserinden.com. Nulo donde esté prohibido.