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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Neutrogena Naturals #WipeForWater - YouTube

Neutrogena Naturals #WipeForWater - YouTube

Do you know that every day you can waste up to 5 gallons of water just by washing your face? This Earth Month, Neutrogena® Naturals is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to save water. So get involved. Pledge to clean your face without using water.​​ Use less water and clear your face of makeup and pollutants. Protect your skin and the environment at the same time! ☺️

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

La pasión de amor latino en 2:43 - DG Speaks

When you grow up in one culture and you are a child of another, often people just don't get you. I am so my mother's daughter when it comes to my embrace of all things Latin, including my passionate personality. Because of this, dating American men has always been challenging and I've been called 'crazy' by more than one! It's true that I am a slave to my emotions and when I feel it I say it, very rarely with any filter. My mother says, "we have fire in our blood" and I think that is an accurate assessment of what it means to be Latina and how we express what we feel inside.

Trying to find someone in this country with the same amount of fire or at least who can handle the fire is hard. Maybe that's why most of my boyfriends have not been American. Normally, they are from cultures with their own high context over the top temperaments. The most recent guy that I dated was from Pakistan and it is he that accompanied me to my most recent DC Shorts screening at E Street Cinema.

At that showing, the film "2:43" was amongst the lineup. It is a Spanish film that depicts "love, loss, fear and heartbreak through an answering machine." As soon as the very dramatic woman on the phone began to speak, pleading for her love to come and be with her, he looked at me and said "OMG that is you!"...LOL I had to laugh because I knew it was true. Plus, I thought is was super cute that he got that the drama that is Mercedes is rooted in a culture where we love hard.

One thing I loved about the film was that it definitely stretched the gender boundaries, at least from an American perspective where men are taught that it is not cool to embrace their emotions. In this film you get to see a man in pain, a man who is heart-broken and totally distraught because of betrayal. This is an image you almost never see in American media. This is what makes showings like the DC Shorts Film Festival so great. American audiences get exposed to others ways of thinking and have an opportunity to see that what they might deem "crazy' is normal and expected in other cultures.

It was refreshing to see a man vulnerable and crying. To see real love and pain expressed in its rawest form. I have to admit that it made me a little homesick for Colombia. Lately, I have been really miss the passion of the Latino culture, and the appreciation of that passion that emanates from Colombian society. However, for the little time I was watching this short, I felt like I was instantly transported to the land I love.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Diane's Waste Not Pumpkin Bread - DG Speaks

PictureGolden brown perfection! :)

This past weekend at the hostel, we carved pumpkins and that meant we had a great deal of pumpkin flesh left behind. Rather than discard it all, as is normally recommended (because this is not the ideal type of pumpkin for cooking), I decided to try and salvage it. My bright idea, purée the flesh, cook it down, and make a Pumpkin Bread. I don't actually care much for pumpkin and I have never cooked with it, but I thought why not give it a shot. To my surprise it turned out to be great!

PictureThe pumpkin purée after being cooked.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Yellow fever and being Gaysian - DG Speaks

Last night, I attended a special LGBT Showcase at the DC Shorts Film Festival, playing at E Street Cinema in Washington, DC. It was a very eclectic line up that featured a range of topics  from polyamorism, transsexualism, even  pedophilia. However, one of the films that stuck  out most to me was "Gaysian."

In this film, "a gay Asian man has difficulty  accepting who is and isn’t attracted to him." This particular film stood  out to me because recently I have been having a great deal of  conversations with one of my female friends, who is part Filipino, about "yellow fever" and how it's always looming over her head that a great deal of men will only want her because they want to fulfill their fetishist lust for Asian women.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The morning after - DG Speaks

Ever had a random hookup with someone you least expected? I know I have! I know, I know, good girls don't have random hookups!...LOL Well, that might be what they say but we all know better. Besides, who wants to be a good girl anyway? As Mae West famously said, “Good girls go to  heaven, bad girls go everywhere.”

In the modern era, sex is par for the course of any meaningful connection between men and women looking for love and no one is playing by the antiquated rules that say marriage first. As has normally been the case with me, this random hookup might have very well been with someone you actually liked. And, when this happens the morning after can be a real doozie. You wake up in a fog of disbelief, awkwardness, regret, doubt, fear, and anticipation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Awaiting the DC Shorts Film Festival - DG Speaks

This year's DC Shorts Film Festival is opening tomorrow, with 135 short filmsfrom 25 countries that are screened in 17 unique 90 minute shows. It is poised to yet again be a phenomenal program.

I have always been a fan of shorts. The ability to capture your audience and tell a story in just a few minutes takes tremendous vision and dedication to one's craft. There is no room for the superfluous details that carry many Hollywood movies with shallow plots. It is all about the art of cinema in its purest form.

Since I'm a Gender Specialist, my focus for this year's festival will be on exploring and analyzing the representations of gender and sexuality in the shorts featured. Also, you all know that I'm a big science fiction buff so the portrayal of women in the SciFi shorts is another avenue I'm going to explore at this year's festival. Luckily for me (and hopefully you), my interest are directly in line with this year's selections. As a matter of fact, on Wednesday, September 17th, there is going to be a special LGBT showcase at 7pm at E Street Cinema (located at the corner of 11th and E Streets NW). 

There is also a really cool set of free lunch shows from Monday, September 15th, through Friday, September 19th. These free lunch shows start exactly at noon and run for 40 minutes. You can bring your lunch and enjoy. Each day has a specific theme and I have a personal interest in the Superhero and SciFi lunch series on Friday, September 19th, at the Angelika Mosaic (2911 District Ave, Lee Highway & Gallows Road, Fairfax, VA).

The cool thing about this festival is that it has so much variety. There is something for everyone and it's being held at four locations with showings at various times to fit all sorts of schedules.

Throughout the festival I will be checking out the films and giving my feedback so be such to check back in.

To learn more about the festival and to order tickets, visit
7:00PM and 9:30PM at both Landmark's E Street Cinema and the U.S. Navy Memorial's Heritage Center. 

Catch one of four different 90-minute screenings of the best short films from around the globe. Films tonight include "One Minute Time Machine " from award winning director Devon Avery, the zany "5 Ways to Die " from first-time filmmaker, Daina Papadaki, and the eye-opening documentary, "The Red Carpet " from India. And remember to stay in your seats after the show for the moderated filmmaker Q&A, where you can ask the filmmakers about their process and new projects.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Loving Yelp and Steve Coogan - DG Speaks

Tonight, I had the privilege of enjoying my first outing as a member of Yelp's Beret Cinema Club with E Street Cinema and &pizza. It was a great night out. As a filmophile, it's always a pleasure to hang out with others who share your love for the art of cinema. Also, who doesn't love pizza, especially when it's from &pizza (best pizza on the planet)? Everything about the night was perfect. I had my homegirl Chi-chi with me to share the experience. The other Yelpers in attendance were very friendly and warm. The pizza was uber delicious, as I loaded it up with almost a little of everything they had. And, the movie (although the jokes were a bit off color) kept us laughing out loud time and time again. It was more than anyone could asks for.

"The Trip to Italy" is the film we watched. It is a largely improvised film following comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as they tour Italy, exploring new culinary delights and retracing the steps of some of history's great romantic poets. The film doesn't have a plot. Watching it is just like being a fly on the wall with two dudes hanging out. You get to listen to them banter back and forth with dueling impersonations and snarky wit. 

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and found a rather strong attraction to cutie Steve Coogan, who seemed rather lonely in the film and in need of me to come cuddle with him!

All in all, this one of the best nights out I've had in a while. Thanks Yelp!!!  (^‿^v)  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Looking inward at abuse - DG Speaks

Domestic violence is caused by a myriad of systemic factors and in order to address domestic violence in a way that will promote sustainable change there must be attention paid to all factors.

Recently, I made a post to Facebook that stated:

"My momma always said, "There is no way I could lay next to a man who just hit me and he wake up the next day!" I have always lived by the hit me and die code. Maybe that's why I've never been hit. Guys have a sick sense about who is prone to be prey and who isn't. Ladies demand better and you will get better. Stop the cycle!"

This post received a great deal of backlash without people paying any attention to the subsequent commentary. Now, I was not literally suggesting that a woman in an abusive relationship retaliate with further violence. However, the post was perceived that way. Rather, the post was intended to highlight a mentality whereby tolerating abuse is not an option and showing how this is the first step to breaking the cycle of violence. In my family, this epidemic has taken lives and ruined others. It has psychologically damaged members of my family in ways that have led to violence, criminal activity, and an inability to formulate any semblance of a healthy lifestyle. For me, this is unacceptable and I take a zero tolerance approach to enabling abusers but I also recognize that victimization starts before the first blow is ever struck.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Game On! Worlds Await at VGU_Con - DG Speaks

This weekend's VGU Convention in Washington, DC was a spectacular event. It was chocked full of cool things to experience for young and old. It brought out the inner gamer in me that I had not seen in some twenty years.

My go to game of choice?...Ms. Pac-Man! I can play it all day every day. As long as I can remember it has always been a source of joy. Every time my cute little yellow avatar is bitten I feel it at my core and I jump. My other all time fave, Mario!!! Who doesn't love that little red plumber and his brother Luigi? When he saves the Princess, we save her together and the joy of victory against King Koopa is as real as any. In the gaming world it's so easy to be totally lost in fantasy and live a life beyond your wildest dreams. It was nice to experience this all over again and share the joy with my son.

I had forgotten the power of gaming to transport you into an alternative reality where you write the outcome of your existence by every move you make, a world where a second chance to right your wrongs is as simple as pressing the reset button.

PicturePhoto by: GCF Photography
VGU had set up an incredible free-to-play arcade that included modern consoles and old school consoles, and even included stand-up machines. There were games for every interest, for every level, for every age. It was the perfect event for family time. I was able to play the games that made me laugh as a kid as well as new games that made me feel like I was in the middle of some Hollywood epic. My son taught me all about the games he loved and we were able to suspend reality for a time and just get lost in our own little worlds.

Luckily, we also had the bonus benefit of access to the VIP lounge where I was able to be bitten by a vampire (True Blood's Riley Smith), my son sat next to an NFL all-star (Clinton Portis), I snapped a pick with Rufio (Actor, Danté Basco) and we were able to lose ourselves in the fun and excitement of the gaming world. There was wonderful catered cuisine, an open bar, plus a chance to do the cha cha slide with Spider-man. Talk about living the dream!

Ironically, I remember when video games were thought to be brain drainers, something smart parents steered their kids away from. That is certainly the stance my parents took. Books, books, and more books, is what I was given. Indeed, all things in excess can be bad; however, this event showed how powerful video games were as a tool to teach creative thinking, logic, and reasoning. What my parents, and others, missed was that video games are just like books in that they tell stories of adventure, that challenge the mind, that infuse imagination. Additionally, games have the added benefit of forcing players to make the tough calls, to use their intuition, to be adaptable to challenging situations, to become logical thinkers and learn to formulate patterns. When you play a game, you don't just read a story, you are the story! 
Video games are not bad for kids but rather something parents should value as part of their kids' routines. Players are not only the actors in gaming but they become writers and directors of their characters realities. Any child exposed to such an expressive outlet has access to a tool that can stretch them without limit, where the only boundary to their exploration is the one they create themselves.

I can't wait for next year's event. I'm filled with anticipation to see what new worlds will be created for gamers to explore and what new platforms will have evolved. This is an exciting time for the world of gaming and I'm so happy to be a part of it and to be able to share it with my son.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bring On the Brony Love - DG Speaks

This past weekend, I joined my son and over nine thousand other My Little Pony (MLP) Fans at BronyCon 2014 in Baltimore, MD. For those who might not be aware, a Brony is a male fan of the MLP show (Bro+Pony=Brony). Why the distinctive title? Well evidently, MLP is supposed to only be for girls.  I guess these boys didn't get that memo. However, what they did get was an appreciation for a show that focuses on friendship, love, and tolerance. Sadly, it is this appreciation for these wholesome values that often puts them at the center of teasing and physical aggression at the hands of their peers. Afterall, boys are supposed to be stoic, cold, tough...not full of feelings! BronyCon is their time to just be, and to be accepted. It is an opportunity for them to share their love of the show with other boys in a fun, safe, loving, and supporting space, free from ridicule.

From the moment we arrived, the energy was electric. People were shouting out, "Free Hugs!" Bronies were decked out in lots of great colorful cosplay. Musicians were making music. Fans were displaying their best MLP gear. Even, whole families came out to get in on the Brony love. These boys were riding high on cloud 9 and my son was more than happy to join in.  I was overwhelmed because I had no idea this phenomenon was so huge. Who would imagine that a boy liking a cartoon was such a polarizing issue that it would garner this much attention and foster such a strong community.

As a Gender Specialist, I am often confronted with challenging gender norms in my work. However, my focus is almost always on women and girls. It is very easy to forget that the hammer swings both ways and the same forces putting girls in their gender box are also doing the same to boys. The first question people have asked me, when I tell them my son loves this show, is "Is he straight?" As if it mattered! Although I have no reason to think my son isn't straight, so what if he is or not. What in the world does one's sexuality have to do with what TV show he likes. That people can jump to such great leaps in assumptions based on the most trivial of things is alarming and holds extreme implications for Bronies.

Many of these kids endure pure torture on a daily basis because of the homophobia that this issue triggers. What's worse is they often get little support from the adults who are supposed to protect them. Rather they get told to toughen up and that they should not be interested in a girl's show in the first place. Talk about blaming the victim! Just being able to say that you like MLP (coming out of the stable) is a huge traumatic experience because of the fear of rejection and ridicule from family and friends. When we were on our way home  my son cried for an hour because he knew that he was going to have to go back to a world where loving MLP had to be treated like a dirty little secret. I try very hard to nurture in my son a sense of self that is independent of what others think but, at 10 years old, ones peer group dominates and no child wants to be an outcast. 

PictureDiego with Dusty Rhoades, known as the "World's Manliest Brony."
Attending BronyCon has really opened my eyes to an issue that I think too many parents take for granted, the pressure to conform to very narrow gender roles, roles that are suffocating freedom of expression and creativity in our children.  I am going to investigate this issue further and the issue of gender-typing in play as it relates to the Brony phenomena. This is a multi-layered issue that really sheds light on the hetero-normative patterns in our society and how those patterns play out in the lives of our children.

One particular layer that I am most interested in, as it pertains to the Brony Fandom, is the issue of race. I'd like to learn more about the lives of Brony of color. It was not hard to miss that the audience at BronyCon was not very diverse. It certainly was not 12% African-American nor was it 14% Hispanic, which would mirror the ethnic distribution of our country. Why is this, I wonder? It is clear that for those who are already members of divergent communities, where individuality is not usually held in very high regard, being an outcast (or shall we say outcast among outcasts) can be devastating. If you are a Brony of color and you are reading this, I'd love to hear your thoughts.