Blog| The Importance of Pixar’s Coco

Last night I finally got to see Coco with Rony after waiting what seemed like forever. Simply: it’s my new favorite Pixar film and it’s the perfect example of how I wish all cultures are treated in fiction.

(This may be a little jumbled, but my thoughts are scattered right now.)

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A little background.

I’m a woman of color. My family has lived in the south pretty much forever, mainly Texas, so we’re pretty Hispanic. That being said, I didn’t grow up heavily in my culture. When we were babies, my parents moved away to Lubbock and away from the small town they grew up in. Charlotte is tiny and mainly consists of my family from both sides. It has one grocery store (that my grandparents started), one gas station, a library, and one main road. It’s a “driving through on your way to San Antonio” town.

11807567_10203646150394808_5512592928468078294_oLubbock and Charlotte are very different. My life in Lubbock was always more modern where we played video games, went to the mall, ran around with our bikes, and watched TV on the weekends. In Charlotte, you can barely get cell phone reception.

During the summer, we’d visit my grandparents and my sister would work in their store and I’d walk down the dirt road to the library. My grandpa taught us how to catch Tarantulas for fun (you fill their hole with water until they pop up. I didn’t say it was a humane way) and we would eat Watermelons from his giant garden or run across the street to the snowcone stand my uncle started. There were always a ton of stray cats or chickens running around in the road and I would play with them all the time.

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One of my most prominent memories was playing in the kiddie pool with my cousin and sister and my family skinning rabbits on the porch. The skin comes off entirely in tact so they looked deflated. For holidays, they would make menudo and barbacoa and I would walk into the kitchen and there’d be a giant, skinless cow head with it’s tongue sticking out. They would dare me to poke it’s big creepy eye.

But we didn’t really celebrate a lot of Mexican traditions. There wasn’t a Dia de los Muertos celebration (that I knew of) and even though my older relatives like my grandmother and some of my uncles and aunts knew Spanish, no one taught us. It felt like a divide between the old and the new. The kids only cared about their friends and new games. The older we got, the more the divide grew, especially with the kids from out of town.

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I would visit as a teen and I would just sit with my laptop and edit videos and write stories. I didn’t interact much with anyone. My grandpa had passed away, who I was closest too, and my favorite Uncle that I would hang out with had moved away to be an air marshal. The disconnect grew.

I haven’t been back in years. The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize the loss of that culture. I’ve talked previously about being ashamed of being brown skin colored and how when I was younger I wanted to be lighter. That need to fit in, to be like everyone else had already started. I didn’t want to be Hispanic. I was stuck in between. I got called a “coconut” which is basically the equivalent to “Oreo” for African Americans. Basically it’s someone who doesn’t fit into the mold of how you should act. It’s a bullshit term but most people of color have heard it enough to know what it means.

Getting involved with comics and fiction and Feminism, I’ve fought for representation without realizing I’ve never really embraced my own culture. I wanted their to be Hispanic, African American, Muslim, Asian characters but I still felt like an outsider in the Hispanic community. So we started trying.

Rony’s been learning Spanish so he can talk to his Grandmother without a translator there. We’ve been trying to learn our family’s recipes and traditional food. When we lost family members and animals, we started celebrating Dia de los Meurtos to help us cope. I learned more about the women and figures in our history. I learned not to be hesitant about accepting my Latina roots and how I look.

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When the trailer came out for Coco, we got excited. A major film was featuring our Hispanic culture with a Latin cast and actual Latin music AND it looked like they were actually going to be respectful. It was amazing. Then we started hearing the complaints. It’s a rip off of Book of Life, we already had a Day of the Dead movie, etc.

We saw Book of Life. I liked it, but it didn’t give me the same feeling Coco did and honestly, they’re COMPLETELY different. Rony and I discussed it on the way back home. Yes, they both have Day of the Dead settings, but complaining they’re too similar based on just that is like saying being moves are set during Christmas or Halloween then they’re all the same. Dia de los Muertos is a holiday. Why can’t we have more than one movie set during it?

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This past October, we went to Disneyland and they turned the Plaza into a Coco themed area. They had a female mariachi band play along with dancers and they would sing songs from the film. The crowd was majority Latin of all different types. Young and old, it was amazing to see them all enjoy this at Disney of all places.

They even had an area where you could write messages to your loved ones or memories about them and hang them on a marigold chain. I was amazed at how respectful everything was of MY culture. Because it was mine. The whole area was beautiful and the food was amazing. I almost started crying because it was something I didn’t think I’d get to experience. Representation and acceptance.

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When Rony saw Coco on Sunday with his family, he told me that sitting in front of him was an older Hispanic lady watching the movie by herself. She cheered and cried and sang along. There are a lot of jokes in Spanish and nods to the little things that almost all Latin families do. Tiny little things that make a character dimensional. He said that he would catch her crying and laughing and completely enraptured by the film.

We went the following day on a Monday night so the crowd was thin (because, you know, it’s a Monday night), but I could hear everyone’s enjoyment. The characters and family felt real and whole and not like stupid stereotypes. There was no Cholo or Chola or drunk uncle or sassy aunt causing drama. Their family was hardworking and together and despite the main conflict of them not allowing musicians in the family, they all supported one another and took care of each other. The importance of family was emphasized throughout the movie.

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My great grandmother passed away last week. She held the family together and was strong, much like the women in the movie. My Grandma Romo, her daughter, is pretty similar to the abuelita in the film, but not as crazy strict. She’s strong and tough and fierce. I saw my family in these characters. I saw myself in Miguel. Different from the rest, but still loved. On a different path, but still having support.

The story takes you somewhere different than most. It’s about sacrifice and acceptance and dealing with the consequences of your actions. It doesn’t hold your hand through the cultural references, but also does a wonderful job of explaining certain things without seeming handfisted. The characters are multi-dimensional and complex. There are a few moments that are heartbreaking and some wonderful laughs.

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It was also refreshing to see side characters actually willing to help rather than showing a cynical, “you’re on your own” world. In one scene, Miguel is in a competition because the winner gets to play at De La Cruz’ party. Stuff happens and he doesn’t get to accept or win but the actual winners are more than willing to help him later because they loved his music. They easily could have done the whole, “No, you lost, go away” situation and then have him like steal a costume but I like the direction they took. You help one another.

And as an artist, this film is gorgeous. It’s saturated in blue and oranges and color because that’s what the Day of the Dead is. It’s traditional to wear a ton of colors instead of black because you’re not mourning your loved ones but celebrating. You want to be happy and joyous and remember all the wonderful things about them and the memories. They talk about death and some dark subjects, but it’s never perceived that way. Death is just a part of the circle of things. We live and we die and it’s nothing to be sad about. The only sad thing is being forgotten.

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They don’t dumb down our culture in this movie. The family loves each other even when they’re different and any disagreements are always showcased in a protective or loving way. The abuelitas in the film are strict, but loving. If you’ve ever been in a Latin household, you know that though the dad is looked up to, the families tend to be Matriarchal. My own families on both sides are run by amazing, strong women. I do wish it was explained a bit why they are as they are, but it’s a tiny tiny complaint.

The movie presents our culture in all it’s wonderful, gorgeous splendor and I’ve never been more appreciative of that. Coco is a marvel and a gift to Latin culture. The music is a love letter and the little details are icing on the cake. Please see this film. It’s a work of art and I could not stop crying at the end of it.

Also fun fact, the soundtrack has all the tracks in Spanish included on it. So you can bet your ass it’s playing on repeat in our house.

Rony and I are going to be working harder to embrace our cultures. A lot like Miguel, I ran away from it in search for my passions, but by choosing one or the other you’re always going to be missing something. You have to find the in between. I’m a Hispanic female artist from a family of strong women that’s full of love. It’s time I accepted and embraced that.

And you can bet that we’re going to be putting more love into our Day of the Dead alters next year and making sure our ancestors and loved ones are remembered properly.

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Thank you, Disney and everyone involved in Coco. I’ve never been more happy with a film.

-Sam <3

PS. I didn’t mind the Frozen short. Don’t murder me.

 

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Blog| November Goals

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Almond’s B-Day!

It has been a hella busy month, as predicted.

From galleries to Almond’s Birthday to Halloween events and Disneyland, I feel like we haven’t had time to stop or pause. Which is probably why we are sick right now but c’est la vie.

Despite all that, I actually got a lot done! Not as much as I wanted, but I’m an over achiever. So let’s recap our crazy busy October (I’ll be putting in pictures from all the different events this month as well!)

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October Goals

Personal:

  • Get Mae Mae fixed-  She’s fixed and currently resting! 
  • BUDGET- I’m gonna give this to myself even though we are super duper broke. But this was our Christmas and we’re being tight budgeted until next year!
  • Pack and plan for Disneyland–  Disneyland was amaaaaazing! 
  • Keep the house clean- I could have done better. The house isn’t a total wreck but keeping up with it fell aside for a while
  • Relax and have fun-  Definitely did that.

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Inktober!

Work:

  • Inktober-   Um excuse me, but I FINISHED INKTOBER! YAAASSS!
  • Work on Wonder Woman Piece- ……..didn’t do this. 
  • Plan out NaNoWriMo- aaaaaaaaand I scrapped this because lol yeah too busy
  • Painting for November Gallery- aaaaaaaaaannd I scrapped this too. Hey I’m learning to let go and not do all the things
  • Plan out paintings for December-  I do have ideas! I’m going to be working on them after I get a few deadlines done! 
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Mine and Rony’s designs got used in a screen printing workshop!

Projects:

  • 31 Days of Halloween Movies- We got far but nope
  • 31 Day Challenge for IG- THIS DIED SO FAST OMG

6/10 is still pretty good! And I’m not dying like last year, just tired. We had fun, we did a ton of art, we hung out with friends and enjoyed ourselves at Disney. I can’t really complain much. November is going to be all about getting things back into order after the craziness and focusing on prepping for holiday season.

I will be making a post later today about Inktober and preorders for prints, originals, and a sketchbook collection so be on the look out for that! I’m looking to get more professional prints and seeing about having a colored version of the collection.

Lots to do but I’m prepared!

And now! November!


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November Goals

Personal:

  • Get the house cleaned up and deep cleaned!
  • Fix the backyard fence
  • BUDGET
  • Use the bullet journal!
  • Spend more time with the animals and socialize the kittens
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Our Halloween party! I went as Medusa and Rony as a skeleton

Work:

  • Get Inktober art scanned and prints made
  • Wonder Woman art piece!
  • Start working on Xmas gifts
  • Redo the Etsy shop and get everything listed
  • Work in your office!
  • Start back up your IG
  • Draw and post 2 times a week at least

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Halloween night. Rony was John Zacherle and I was Jack Skellington. Shortly after this pic was taken, I went into and passed out all night. Yep, I slept through Halloween.

I want to keep the momentum of Inktober going and keep drawing. I made so much progress and I don’t want to fall into an art block slump so I think if I can keep working on things I’m not good at and just draw for arts sake then that will be amazing. I have deadlines and projects to work on and I want to get into working on my Etsy more and focusing on that.

The kittens and Mae Mae are officially out of the room and roaming the house with all the other animals so that means I can deep clean my office and actually start working in here. Stripes was adopted out last week and we have a potential adopter next week, which leaves us with Black and White and Mae Mae. So here’s to finding them all homes!

October was pretty awesome and though I didn’t hit all my goals, I hit the important ones. I’m motivated and feel excited about art again and can’t wait to see where this all goes!

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Also what content do you want to see from me? Do you miss my fashion photosets, want more art or tutorials or progress blogs, or recaps and events? Let me know!

Happy November and Feliz Dia de los muertos!

-Sam <3

Blog| Disneyland Adventures Part 3

On Sunday, we reserved the day to go to Universal. Not gonna lie, after doing Disneyland we weren’t as energetic and even tried to see if we could refund our tickets to go back to Disney. No go. So we got an Uber and drove about an hour to Universal Studios.

It’s actually in an area called Universal City where there’s a bunch of shops and restaurants since the park is only open like 9-6pm. It closed even earlier when we went for their Halls of Horror event (that was a separate purchase to attend and I was like nah)

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There were some cute shops and we got food pretty much right away and decided to wait and get Voodoo donuts for when we were headed home. I wanted one of those apples real bad tho but knew I would destroy my stomach if I got sugar that early.

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Our first stop was the Waterworld stunt show, which was pretty amazing even if it’s been the same show for years. The pre-show guys were hilarious and we did indeed get wet. There were a few actors from shows and movies we recognized and the finale was pretty darn cool. Not bad for an old movie I wasn’t aware was that popular.

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Next we went to the main event: Hogwarts!

I am not a big Harry Potter fan. And I’m going to get murdered but I’ve never been able to read or get into the books. Not sure why, but they were a struggle. I have seen all the movies though but that’s probably not that much better. But I do know enough to enjoy everything there. First stop, we got a frozen Butterbeer from the cart vendor and went exploring.

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It’s pretty amazing all the work they put into the place. Everything looks real and most of the workers stayed in character. If you got a wand from the shop, there were certain areas where you could do movement spells to make things move.

First we rode on the Flight of the Hippogriff. The biggest props I can give Universal Studios: they put misters in all the lines. The was the worst part of Disneyland is waiting in the heat in those long lines. Here, they had giant misters all over the line area so you stayed cool. It was wonderful. After a bit of a wait, we got on the ride and then 15 seconds later it was over. It was very fun but yeah, not very long.

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Next we went to Olivanders for the wand choosing experience. While we waited in line, all of us who didn’t know took our house sorting quiz. Alex’s sister was kind of over joyed to be chosen for Slytherin, Rony was proven to be a Hufflepuff, and me…okay, I got Hufflepuff which sounded really weird. We took the Buzzfeed one and some of the questions were weird so I took it again. Gryffindor. Ok. Then Slytherin. And then Ravenclaw.

Literally got all the houses.

Suffering an identity crisis, Alex made me do a percentage one. Yeah, I’m all four. Almost split evenly. Like WTF guys.

Finally, I signed up for Pottermore and took the official one. We all decided that whatever it chose, that’s what I would be. The questions were more understandable now and finally, I got my house.

Gryffindor.

So yep, that’s me. We had all 4 houses.

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Alex’s sister mentioned wanting the full wand experience. She wanted one to be chosen for her and luckily, we ran into a super sweet, helpful worker there. She asked Elizabeth a whole bunch of really random, open ended questions for a while and then said she would be right back.

She came out with 3 boxes she had picked just for her. She went over what each were “made” of and their meaning and strengths. They were Hawthorne, Elder, and Alder. And each one she presented, Elizabeth got more excited. Finally she pulled out the Alder and it had a snake head with a skeleton sculpted into the end. She was told it’s one of the strongest and is very picky and even if another wizard one it, it may not like them. Like a cat.

Elizabeth was in love. Picture above was her face when she saw it. It was super wonderful to witness.

Afterwards they tried on some robes and we went outside to practice the movement spells. They weren’t as easy as they looked but a bunch of people were super helpful in teaching us.

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Afterwards we went to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The line was neat and took us all throughout the castle and had little interaction points. The ride pretty much puts you in a harnessed four seater and moves you around in the air to simulate riding a broom. It was probably easiest one of my favorite rides of the whole trip. You dipped and got lifted and the 3D effects were pretty on point. It was super immersive.

Worth it.

We decided to take a break and go see the rest of the park. We went to a Special Effects show which was pretty cool and then got some snacks in the Simpsons area.

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To get to the rest of the Universal lot you have to go to the lower level. It took 6 steep ass escalators to get there. SIX. It was ridiculous and not for people who 1) hate escalators and 2) don’t like heights.

We went to go ride Jurassic Park next and once again, bless those misters. It made the line wonderful. The whole area was just misty wonderfulness.

The ride needs updates. The animatronics are clunky and a few times we had no idea what some dinosaurs were meant to be doing. Compared to Disneyland, it’s very sad. The ride would keep taking us up these steep inclines only to do tiny small dips. It was more like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride but with less good animatronics.

Finally we got to the area where the T-Rex was broken loose and would pop up everywhere. It dropped down and yelled in our face and we started to go down a drop. So at this point, we’re pretty jaded on the drops. None of them have been that steep so we’re like, yeah whatever.

The drop is dark and we go down and we see the end light at the very bottom. Far away.

Oh shit.

It’s a steep ass drop and none of us were prepared. So we get crazy splashed and I wish we could have been able to save the picture because for the first time this whole trip, Alex doesn’t have a perfect smiling face and is screaming like the rest of us. But nope we don’t have that picture so of course there’s no proof.

22688867_10209929646227813_2153407141872550549_nWe got soaked in very cold water and then had to go walk around like that. After a quick stop by Starbucks to get more mugs, we went back to Harry Potter to quickly buy souvenirs before the place closed. There were a few other rides that we didn’t get to go on like the Mummy, Fast and Furious, and Transformers but we got to do the big famous ones so that’s all the matters.

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We head back out to Universal City and explore, stopping by the biggest Hot Topic I’ve ever seen, a comic book store (because of course), and then wait in line for Voodoo Donuts for Rony.

The line is long. Like crazy long. But we’ve been in it for too long and there’s no going back.

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Rony is obsessed with Voodoo. We go there every time we visit Austin and whenever Rony goes to Denver he visits it. He has a shirt, art, and a handmade vinyl clock I got one year for him. So we wait in line and take pictures with the giant statue and rest our feet because holy shit, three days of walking is awful.

This Voodoo Donuts layout is pretty neat and there’s some art and merch that’s not in the other ones. I’ve always been in love with their design and aesthetic so I’m perfectly okay waiting for donuts.

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45 minutes later and we have donuts and are walking to the parking lot to Uber back home. The drive home is crazy and I feel like I had a handful of near death experiences. The whole time the guy talked about how sorry he was for us because we were missing all the good LA parties.

Hint: we aren’t that sorry. We aren’t “party” people.

45 minutes after that and we have never been so happy to be out of a car. We collapse all over the living room, eat take out Thai food, and watch Nightmare Before Christmas.

We get to sleep in a tad bit the next day and take our time packing. Our plane doesn’t take off until like 2 and we saved time to get through the traffic and get to the airport on time. We eat, draw, and read while waiting for our plane and then we’re headed back home.

The trip was pretty amazing and even if we were busy the whole time, I loved the whole experience. My feet were in pain, I was broke afterwards, but we got to be kids again and eat good food, and hang out with our friends.

Now we’re back home and dealing with all the Halloween craziness. I’m booked for two weeks with events and parties and birthdays and art. Holiday season is fast approaching, but it felt amazing to not have to plan or organize or deal with anything for a few days.

I need another vacation.

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Expect a bunch of posts this week while we catch up. We had a Halloween party this past weekend, Rony’s been gone on TWO concert trips, I got to see my designs printed in a workshop, and we have a gallery and Ladies Night and I’m guest speaking at a creatives meeting Saturday.

So much craziness.

What are your Halloween plans or what is the coolest vacation you’ve been on?

Until next time ;)

-Sam <3

Blog| Disneyland Adventures Part 2

Day 2 of Disneyland was a long one. We got there at 9, took about half an hour to get through security and the front doors, and then met up with our friends to go immediately to meet Jack and Sally since the line was going to get crazy fast.

 

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We did stop first to take a picture in front of the entrance garden and I will tell you now: buy the $10 Maxpass for your ticket. Do it. It’s totally, completely worth it.

Not only do you get to do Fastpasses, which are limited passes that will hold or “reserve” your space in line for a specific ride at a specific time but you also get free Photopass downloads! All over the parks are scenic spots where people usually take pictures so Disney went ahead and put professional photographers there. You line up, take a picture, and they’ll scan the barcode in your Disney app and in about 20 minutes all the pictures they took are linked in your App and available for download.

It’s pretty damn amazing. And some of them do AR photos and will put in characters or affects. Alex got this amazing one with her family around a cauldron and they’re holding a poison apple. It’s pretty darn cool and you end up with a ton of good photos.

Moving on tho.

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Unfortunately, Sally wasn’t there when we went to see them but Jack was pretty amazing. He’s super interactive and pretty damn amazing. When Alex went to talk to him, he ended up doing a “trick” and made her scream which was hilarious. He talked to me about my Poison Apple fastener and my hair and Rony about his outfit. He was just so wonderful.

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We took individual pictures and then a group photo and then wandered around the French Quarter. One of my favorite things is that sometimes the characters just roam around outside of their picture spots and in character, may chat with you. While we were outside the restaurant we saw Dr. Facilier from Princess and the Frog and then Jack came around with Sally this time and walked around. The first day we saw Alice and the Mad Hatter which was pretty cool.

First we got some bigneits and mint juleps and then got actual food. The lines are separate so we had to order them from different spots. They had a special Halloween bigneit flavor, which we obviously got, and Alex got regular. Both were Mickey shaped but mine was Dreamsicle flavored. While delicious, it was super super sweet and I may have ate too many.

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Alex was in charge of Fastpasses so we road Pirates of the Carribean, Space Mountain, the Toy Story little mini-game ride, and Space Tours. In between we would stop for treats or shopping or what have not. It was a lot of running around.

I still got ride anxiety, especially after Guardians of the Galaxy, but it wasn’t that bad. I actually enjoyed the Halloween version of Space Mountain even if everyone didn’t really and despite my face in the picture.

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Ride pictures are the worst.

We happened to find the Coco area and caught the mariachi performers and dance they had there. It was super neat to see traditional dances, the skeleton puppeteers, and the fact they had an all female mariachi group performing. The Plaza is GORGEOUS. There’s marigolds everywhere, alters, folklore and background about the traditions, and Mexican food. I enjoyed not only seeing my culture so  respectfully displayed but celebrated and getting to see everyone else’s reaction.

Also the food was freaking delicious. Just saying.

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Inside the plaza they had a little area where you could get your face painted for free, buy a handmade flower crown, or write a memory of a loved one and add it to a chain in the memory wall. I think that part was my favorite and yes, I did get a little teary eyed. You could read other people’s memories or messages for their loved ones and it was very bittersweet.

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In the back area was actually a Tree of Life sculpture/wall with sculpted flowers, statues, and decorations. They had a very sweet photographer there who took our picture and we even did an AR photo with the grandfather from Coco. The whole thing was fun and beautiful and it’s definitely one of my top favorite spots in all of Disneyland and California Adventure.

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We went and did some more rides and then me and Rony went off on our own and explored. The sun was setting and we took advantage of a photopass spot in front of the Ferris wheel that turned out beautiful.

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I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t seen the Cars movies. I had little to no interest in the movies. BUT holy shit, did they go all out to decorate Carsland and it was pretty freaking amazing. They fully redid the area.

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All the places in Carsland were decked out in Halloween gear. The cones were turned into Jack-o-lanters, there were gas can pumpkin patches, and the pumpkins were made out of tires. It looked incredible at night! They even had a Dia de los Muertos area with an alter inside.DCA_CARSLANDROVER_20171022_811447943222728788_10209929621307190_7904866010997950271_n

And yes, that is a Vampire Mater. It drove passed us and even talked.

(Did you notice that Rony finally got his orange bat light up Mickey ears? Yep, we found them and everyone cheered)

We met back up with Alex and I found my bat sundae I had saw online. Holy shit, it was delicious but soooooooooo much chocolate. Those cookies were soft tho.

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California Adventure is pretty cool and feels kinda more like a shopping area than food and rides. I wish we had more time to explore. We didn’t quite get to do everything like the Cars rides, but we’ll save that for next time.

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Alex and her family decided to go to the fireworks and we went to World of Color. On our way into the park, two girls stopped us and gave us tickets since they were leaving early. I had no clue what it was, but she actually gave us two reserved spots along the water so we didn’t have to find a spot in general admission.

Unfortunately, no one told anyone, but since they had canceled the Halloween fireworks the night before they decided to do them on Saturday! We were already at World of Color and we missed the freaking Halloween fireworks. Later, we looked it up on Youtube and uggggggggggggggh they were amazing.

But World of Color was amazing too so we would have lost no matter what. Stupid wind.

World of Color is pretty much California Adventure’s end show. They shoot water into the air and project colors or movie scenes onto them with music. Sometimes they make giant sheets of water and it’s almost like a projection screen.

At some points they even shot fire out and we were so close that the heat was almost overwhelming.

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I’m glad we got to see the show and thanks to the girl who gave us the tickets. Even though my feet were on fire from walking two days in a way, it was an unforgettable day. I had so much fun and loved getting to spend the day with Rony and my friends.

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It took all day, but we finally got to take a picture in front of the Mickey pumpkin and it was pretty adorable and a good way to end the night. Our feet hurt, we were tired, and Rony was entirely decked out in orange light up gear, but everything was perfect.

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Sunday we would be going to Universal Studios so we walked through Downtown Disney after close and said goodbye to Disney. I think calling it the Happiest Place on Earth is pretty accurate.

Stay tuned for the last part of our vacation trip :)

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-Sam <3

 

Blog| Disneyland Adventures Part 1

Blog| Disneyland Adventures Part 1

On Thursday, Rony and I hopped on a plane for LAX to join my friend and her family on a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim! I’ve actually been once before when I was little and I remember absolutely nothing about it. Nothing at all. So this was basically my first time.

I’m gonna be honest, I get travel anxiety hardcore. Alex had gotten there the day before so they were going to be at the park all day, we decided against renting a car and so that meant we were gonna have to Uber from the airport to the Airbnb where we were staying.

It was an hour long ride. I hate talking to strangers and it seemed like torture.

The flight went relatively smooth. I tried to sleep through take off and landing to lessen my anxiety and overall it worked until we went through some clouds and oops, turbulence.

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We landed at about 3pm, had to figure out how to get to the cranky Uber driver, and then rode in awkward silence the whole hour. LA drivers are the worst and yeah, crazy drivers did not help anxiety.

When we got to the house, it was wonderful! Three rooms with the best beds ever and a gorgeous garden in the back. There were lemon and lime trees growing out front!

We both decided to just stay in and order food and watch a movie while we work on last minute projects and Inktobers. Alex got home around 10 and we planned out the following day.

For Friday, we only got tickets to the Halloween party so we could get there as early as 4pm. That left most of the day for adventuring. Saturday was going to be Disneyland the whole day and Sunday we were going to Universal Studios. Good plan.


Friday

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Friday morning we got up and Alex’s family had reservations at Goofy’s Kitchen. They were nice enough to invite us and add us on and we got to have breakfast with the characters! It was super cute and the food was pretty good and adorable. I wanted to eat EVERYTHING. Pluto, Minnie, and Chip & Dale would come by the tables and interact with us and the whole place was decorated in Halloween.

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Dale snuck up behind Rony while he was on the phone and startled him, Alex’s mom accidentally called Pluto Goofy, and Rony missed out on seeing Minnie so we got a girls picture with her.

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We walked around Downtown Disney a bit and saw Legoland, all the pumpkins, and the different stands. The place was huge and I still feel like we didn’t see everything.

Rony had to stay at the house and finish working and doing his costume for the party so we went to the beach and laid in the sand, drove up the coast, and visited a neat little cafe called Creme & Sugar. They’re very popular because they created the Mermaid and Unicorn Hot Chocolate. I saw online they had a Nightmare Before Christmas menu and had to go.

We were not disappointed.

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I got the Deadly Nightshade Hot Chocolate and it was purple with cotton candy that turned black when melted and a ton of chocolate and sprinkles. It was huge. Alex got the Pumpkin King and her mom got the Oogie Boogie latte while her sister got a Unicorn Hot Chocolate. It was so much sugar but totally worth it.

We headed back and by the time we got to the house it was 5pm. We rushed last minute to help Rony with his costume while I got dressed. Alex had missed out on getting a Halloween party ticket so we decided to try and find someone selling theirs. We got SUPER lucky and found someone with an extra one so I gave her one of my extra costumes and quickly helped both of them get done up.

I was a bat, Rony was a skeleton, and Alex was a witch. It worked and we were comfortable which is what matters.

Disneyland was only 10 minutes from the house so we Uber’d there and got there just when it was really starting. They gave us Trick or Treat bags and a map and it was chaos. Non-Halloween people were leaving and it was super packed.

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Our party tickets got us access to both Disneyland and California Adventure so we decided to do Disneyland first. The castle was lit up and there were pumpkins EVERYWHERE. It was amazing. Mostly everyone was in costume and the characters were all walking around. Once we got passed the Party Only areas, it was a lot less crowded. We found some Halloween exclusive merch, went and ate at the Red Rose Tavern, and started on the rides.

22687870_10209929568305865_1043072168698972221_nI cannot do all rides. I’m no good on drops. I can do turny roller coasters and even upside down ones, but the ones that are just steep drops are no go. So I was a little anxious. We got to trick or treat around the park, take pictures, and went to the Haunted Mansion. It was amazing and fully done in only Nightmare before Christmas. We did the teacup ride also and found out if you spin it fast enough with three adults, it goes waaaaaaaay too fast and almost gets you sick.

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We saw the Halloween parade which was amazing (Hades and Jack were my favs) and were in a spot to see the Halloween fireworks but they canceled them because of the wind. And then these two dudes got in a fight next to us over who knows what so that was intense.

Rony was on a hunt for these light up orange bat ears the whole night and a garland of light up pumpkin mickeys and we could not find them all night. Finally when we went to California Adventure, we found the garland but no ears.

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We were tired and exhausted, but had one last ride to do. The line was “short” for Guardians of the Galaxy After Dark so we lined up for that. The inside is pretty cool with different objects from the Collector and everything. And the lead up was awesome with an animatronic Rocket.

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Do you see my face?

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That is the face of someone about to beat the shit out of her friends because they said it wouldn’t be that bad.

It was that bad.

Remember how I said I don’t like drops? Yeah, only drops. Worse, GRAVITY DROPS. The kind of drops where they speed you up and let you fall naturally. I had actually looked the ride ahead of time. It looked cute with the cast all trapped in the Collector’s jail like system. After Dark is not that. You are monster bait. It is pure black. There were like 2 stops where they showed you story scenes and they were like 1 second long. IT IS JUST DROPS.

I almost had a panic attack.

It was a big ol bag of NOPES.

So yeah, that’s how we ended the Halloween party. I was fully awake then! We got our stuff, took a pic with the Headless Horseman statue and peaced the fuck out. Our Uber driver was nice and had Sailor Moon on his car and we chatted on the way back to the house. I think we passed out as soon as we got home.

Besides the Guardian ride, Halloween was pretty perfect. It was fun and we got a ton of candy and saw costumes and we got to be big ol kids for the night.

The next day, we’d get to do it all over again!

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Tune in tomorrow for that adventure

-Sam <3

 

Blog| Weekend Recap

This weekend was a busy one. Friday we kicked it off with our Lubbock Artist Collective Halloween Gallery reception on Friday the 13th. Yeah, pretty much a perfect date to have it. We had some amazing art from local artists in the collective and got to celebrate and eat treats and chat with our favorite people.

It’s been crazy to think it’s been one year since we started the artist collective but the art and progression of so many of the artists has been wild! It makes me so excited for future galleries!

Afterwards, Rony and I had a shindig at our house, had friends over, and got to share one of our favorite horror movies, The Babadook. Rony even has a handmade replica of the pop-up book from the movie signed by the director. It was fun and we got to play the Halloween expansion of King of Tokyo before hand as well.

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The next day was a lazy, errand running day which was capped off by going to a 7 HOUR LONG Horror movie marathon. Our theater, Alamo Drafthouse, did a 4 movie marathon called Dismember the Alamo and we got to see 4 old horror movies all at once. It was a trial.

I almost died. Rony fell asleep a bit in the last and best one. Some were good, some were mind-numbing. We saw Slaughterhouse, Eaten Alive, Grizzly, and Day of the Beast. The last was my favorite, mostly because it had a pretty good plot. I’m not a fan of dumb, bad gore, horror movies and Eaten Alive gave me a headache.

But we survived!

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Before

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After

Sunday we got up early, ran more errands like costume shopping, groceries, getting Almond’s presents and treats for her birthday party, and getting flowers. We were seeing our friend act in the Addams Family Musical and wanted to get her something and finally got to see the play!

It was wonderful. I’m actually a big fan of theater and musicals, Rony less so, but we both enjoyed it a lot and Alex was wonderful <3

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On the way home, we stopped at a Pumpkin farm and picked pumpkins, got ingredients for Almond’s cake and cupcakes, and finally sat down and finished watching one of our movies while I worked on my Inktober.

I ended up staying up until 1am making Almond’s cake and then making frozen pumpkin treats for her. Her and Leon got to lick the bowl and spoons.

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And now we prepare for Disneyland in a few days. I’ll be taking lots of pictures and will definitely make posts when I can! We’re all excited and anxious but what better way to see Disneyland than during Halloween season!

And of course, I’ll do an Almond party post too. My little baby is turning 2 and time flew so fast.

Until next time.

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-Sam <3

Blog| Social Media Free Weekend

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I’ve been seeing a lot online about these digital detox challenges and camps. Essentially, You spend a weekend to a week without social media, your phone, or television. Pretty much any electronics.

I will admit: I am addicted to my phone. Mostly because I handle everything through it. Events and business contacts and the different things I’m in charge of are all handled through Facebook, Messenger, or Email. I’m a control freak so I need to constantly be able to be reached at all times.

Yes, I am glued to my phone and usually have it in my hand all the time. Which isn’t great. Notifications give me anxiety so I always have to check them to make them go away (turning them off just gives me anxiety that someone is contacting me and I don’t know). I have two laptops and hardly use them because I have my phone! A few minutes can turn into a few hours and more times than not, my productivity goes down the drain with my battery life.

So I thought maybe it was a good idea to try one of these “detoxes.” And even though no one was forcing me, boy did I make a lot of excuses. I couldn’t do it this or that weekend because I had events or meetings and what if someone tries to get a hold of me??? Rarely do I have a weekend where nothing is happening. I was just going to have to suck it up.

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Saturday

I compromised and instead of nixing out all digital devices, I pledged no social media (and email/games) which is what I use a majority of time on my phone anyways. No Facebook, Instagram, Email, or Snapchat. I don’t really use Twitter or Tumblr and I made an allowance for Youtube (on the TV only) because we don’t have cable.

My routine is I usually wake up and mess around on my phone for an hour or two before I get up. This morning was the first day we actually got Fall weather. It was cool and cloudy and rainy and the dogs were snuggled up with me. I ended up sleeping until 10-11. Yep. Good start.

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Instead of grabbing my phone, I grabbed one of the many books I had on my bedside table that I’ve been meaning to read. I had started Alias Hook forever ago and hadn’t gotten very far so I picked that up again. I think I got about a third of the way in by 1pm and then we had to get up and get ready.

First on our agenda was our friend’s pagan meet up at the park. We finally got to throw on some layers and were all set to go….except then we accidentally locked ourselves out the house without our keys.

Our house has two different locks. We always lock the bottom one as we leave and then lock the top deadbolts with the keys. Naturally, I turned the bottom lock and shut the door as we left. Rony hadn’t grabbed the keys thinking I had them and I hadn’t because I thought he had them. And the backdoor was locked.

So, naturally, I picked our front door’s lock with bobby pins. I’m not even lying or exaggerating. Rony was upset because we were going to be late and were going to have to call a locksmith and I figured it didn’t hurt to try to break in ourselves. I had seen different videos on picking locks (for writing purposes!!) and if that didn’t work, I was going to try the credit card trick. Luckily I had a few bobby pins in my purse. I stripped them, looked into the key holes at the tumblers inside and somehow managed to get it unlocked in five minutes.

Rony was impressed (so was I, to be honest) and we are now going to make sure those other deadbolts are locked at all times because holy shit it should not be that easy to get into our house.

The pagan get together was nice and we had a good time chatting with people and eating snacks. We didn’t get to stay long because I had an art meeting after that and Rony had to drop me off.

When he picked me up, we got Starbucks and food and snuggled on the couch while he watched the news and I kept reading my book. I am a fast reader. Always have been. I finished that book in one day. It was about 11 at night when I was done and cleaned a bit before bed.

At the end of the night, I had 57 freaking notifications and it was kiiiiiiiilling me.


Sunday

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Sunday was another lazy morning, snuggling with the dogs. Rony totally forgot about the Magic Prerelease happening and was going to do that at 1pm and I was determined to get the house totally clean by the end of the day. We did all the laundry, put the animals away and let the kittens out of the room to play in the entryway and let Mae Mae roam the house, and swept and mopped the dinning room and kitchen.

I took breaks to start reading Basic Witches and we ate cereal for breakfast. The dogs ran around the house and as Rony was getting ready, we finalized our 31 Days of Halloween movie list. I sketched out Inktober ideas in a new sketchbook he had bought me and drank tea and it was surprisingly very relaxing.

Yes, my phone went off all the time. I had to put it on silent. I almost just straight turned it off, but then I had anxiety that something would happen and no one would be able to reach me.

That was really the hardest part. There was so much anxiety from not checking those notifications, even though I knew none of them were important or pressing or needed immediate attention. I have an admin team now for the Artist Collective to take care of things, people could get a hold of Rony if they really needed me, and nothing was life or death.

Did I want to Snapchat or Instagram my day? Absolutely. Did the world fall apart because I didn’t tell everyone immediately my feelings on Basic Witch as I read it? Nope.

The house got cleaned, we were productive, I spent time with all the animals, the house smelled WONDERFUL (seriously, Bath & Bodywork’s Fall candles are the best), and I didn’t feel this claustrophobic cluttered feeling from my surroundings anymore. The laundry even got all put away.

We hung out at Rony’s work for a few hours and I did more sketches in my notebook. I filled up about 5 pages in it and figured out my Inktober theme for the month. My planner got filled in and updated and I felt a little more prepared for October. I even packaged up some orders I’d been meaning to fulfill.

The weekend was over and all in all, I had 107 notifications.

And wanna know what? NONE of them were important. None were life or death and I didn’t miss out on anything just because I waited a whole weekend to get to them.

I think that helped. It had been a while since I was able to have a nice, relaxing weekend just with myself and a book and Rony and the animals. I felt relaxed and productive and realized I didn’t need to be attached to my phone all the time.

So will I do it again? Definitely. I think a break is needed from social media every now and then, especially with how it is now in days. It’s a break from the comments and arguing and constant need to post post post. I don’t need to check up on other people’s lives when I have my own to live.

-Sam <3