Obsessed With Romance Novels

I have a confession to make: I am obsessed with Romance novels.

I read an average of 3 books a month but, lately, I had gotten bored of all the “smart” books I had been reading and found myself reaching out to Netflix more and more for light entertainment.

I told my significant other about this problem, and he, as smart as he is, gave me the worst advice: you should try reading Romance novels. I shrugged. Looked at him like he had insulted me. I am WAY above Romance novels, I told him. I need something intellectual in my life, to what he responded: “I think your problem is exactly the opposite.”

I am not going to tell you the name of the first romance novel I read, mainly because there is a side of me that is pretty embarrassed about it, but let’s just say I googled something like Viking and romance and a million of different options came up. It was just the beginning.

I found a 400 pages novel that had decent reviews. I decided to give it a try on Saturday morning. Bad, horrible, crazy idea.

How can I faithfully describe what happened that Saturday?

Well, I could start by giving you a general hint: I read for 8 hours straight without stopping, not able to attend to any of my responsibilities. I could not put the darn book down. I kept on reading until I finished, no matter the consequences.

The first sign of something going awry was when I put off preparing breakfast for my hungry children. I thought I would cook after finishing one more chapter, but one more chapter turned into 10 and food prep had not been started. George had to take over.

At that point I wasn’t worried yet because George usually feeds the kids in the morning, but when 10 am came around and I still couldn’t stand up from my bed or separate from my book, I knew there was a problem.

I hit rock bottom at noon when I was in charge of looking after the kids while they took a bath and, without me noticing, they splashed 1 in. of water all over the floor. This was bad for a lot of reasons, but mainly because George is obsessed with the kids not splashing water on the bathroom floor and I just let it happened 3 feet away from me, not being able to pay attention.

I tried to cover the trails as much as I could. I took the kids out of the bath, dried them, placed them in front of the Legos while giving words of encouragement, before I zoned out into my book again, within half an hour I realized the Legos were all over the house and my children were building a castle with all the pillows and blankets available at my place. I recognized then that I wasn’t capacitated to take care of children until I finished the darn book.

As soon as I came to this realization, George came into the house, stared at the tornado that it had become, gazed at me and said: “you can’t read Romance novels if you can’t be responsible about it.”

Well, THANK YOU MR. DETECTIVE!!! But, could you have said something like that before handing me to the devil?????? IT IS YOUR FAULT! (In my relationship everything wrong is George’s fault, FYI).

My husband realized the seriousness of the problem when immediately after yelling at him I grabbed the Kindle and started reading again. YOU GUYS! I WAS OBSESSED! But I really mean OBSESSED! I could not stop. I could not care. I could not win. There was only one possible outcome for that Saturday and that was me finishing the novel no matter what.

This is how addiction must feel like! The pain and obsession is so real, so uncontrollable.

George took pity on me, repeated his statement about the need for responsibility, grabbed the kids and took them to the park while I read that book page by page until I was completely done with it. There was no other way.

Since then I have read 12 romance novels in 20 days. Seriously. A new world has opened to me and I am scared, very scared.

Please, tell me you have been there, done that. Anyone?

Also, while you are at it, if you have any romance novel recommendations, I would much appreciate them.

Your truly,

Romance novel addict

(Image via unpizzicodipassione.tumblr.com)

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An Interview With Chiara Arroyo, Co-Owner Of LA Libreria

Happy Friday, you all! We are ready for the weekend around here, aren’t you? Good news is that I have a really good post for you today!

You might already know that I am from Chile and that George and I are raising bilingual kids. Children’s books have been an important part of our lives since the kids were born so I am always on the lookout for books in Spanish, that is how I stumbled upon LA Librería, a magical Spanish bookstore (and distributor) in Los Angeles. They import original literature from Spanish-speaking countries plus great translations of English literature.

The first time I went to this beautiful store I met one of the owners Chiara. She was warm and sweet. I liked her immediately. Her daughter, Matilde, was with her that day. We talked about the difficulties of juggling business and family – one of my biggest life concerns. She told me about her business partner and friend, Celene, and how they both deal with the pressures of motherhood and work.

After meeting her I was curious to hear more about how this successful and wonderful business came about. I was also interested in hearing about the relationship between these two very strong and smart women. Starting a business with a friend sounds like a beautiful idea, don’t you think? So I wanted to learn more about how they make it work.

Celene on the left. Chiara on the right.

1) Could you tell us a little bit about you?

My name is Chiara Arroyo. I am a 40-year-old proud mother of three children: Nico 12, Leo 10 and Matilde 7. I am half Italian, half Spanish, married to a Mexican. We moved to LA six years ago from Mexico City. In 2012, I co-founded LA Librería, a bookstore and book distributer specialized in children’s literature in Spanish.La libreria

2) How did you decided to start LA Librería?

Celene (my business partner) and I love books. As mothers, we wanted our children to be bilingual and book lovers. In order to do so, we needed books, but we could not find the Spanish books we wanted in the US, so every time we traveled to our countries we would bring back a suitcase filled with Spanish books. Our kids go to a bilingual school, and we soon realized that other parents were also looking for good children’s literature in Spanish. This is why we decided to take our hobby a step further and start curating a collection of authentic literature in Spanish, beautifully illustrated and culturally diverse.

La libreria

3) Tell us the story of your relationship with Celene. Why did you decide to start this business together?

I met Celene at my childrens’ school: a public Spanish Immersion Elementary. Her daughter and my son Leo were classmates. We were both first time parents of a Kindergartener so we wanted to meet new families and support the school. We both signed up to volunteer at the school’s book fair. Disappointed by the low quality and small number of books in Spanish, we decided to help the school to find a better selection of books in Spanish. We called a few publishers and convinced them to give us some books we could sell ourselves. We set up two tables with books at the fair and sold out everything. Everybody in the school was very excited. Soon the word was out and we started receiving calls to participate in other school fairs. At that point, we realized that there was a big need for these kind of books and that this need had to be fulfilled by a professional service, not volunteers. We started this service and here we are, five years later…

La libreria

4) What are the best and worst aspects of owning a business with a friend?

There are many positive aspects of owning a business with a friend. The best part is the tranquility of working with someone you trust and respect. I also like the capacity of sharing the whole experience with your partner and friend, especially if you complement one another. I feel very fortunate.

The most difficult part is to be able to separate the professional from the personal life.

La libreria

5) What have been the biggest accomplishments of LA Librería so far?

The biggest accomplishment is to see that a bookstore – an already endangered species of Spanish children’s literature, a banned and discriminated language – is thriving thanks to a big community of families that want their children to be bilingual while reading good books. On a personal level, I feel very proud to see how a simple idea has become a reality and how much fun we have had in the process. We have learned so many things we did not know about Los Angeles, like the nuances of the American and Latino culture; we have also met a lot of nice people and communities.

6) And the biggest setbacks?

The biggest setback it is to overcome the feeling that whatever we do is not enough. There is always more to do. No matter how much you work, how fast you do it, how productive you try to be, you always end up feeling you should do more… With time we have realized that this is a marathon, not a sprint, so we need to prioritize.
La libreria

7) Have you ever felt like giving up? If yes, what kept you going?

I have felt exhausted and overwhelmed by work, by being a mother, a wife, a sister… I have felt I am doing things in halves, not in their entirety. What kept me going was the energy and excitement of Celene and the enthusiasms and expectations of the children and families that follow and support us.

8) What are the most important lessons you have learned since starting this business?

I have learned how important it is to communicate, accept your limitations, and exercise. (Men sana in corpore sano).

La libreria

9) You are a family person. Do you feel like you are able to juggle your personal and professional life?

I am able to but it is not easy. It is actually my biggest concern. My children are still young and they need their mum, but LA libreria is also a young business and it is very demanding.

10) How is your husband involved? And, do you feel having a business has changed your relationship with him?

Pablo, my husband, has been very supportive. He is my biggest fan and a very enthusiastic promoter of LA Libreria. He has helped a lot with the children. He understands because he is an entrepreneur himself. I share with him all the details and challenges of starting and running this company. I can say that our relationship has become stronger, but it hasn’t been easy, especially because we have three children in a city with no relatives and with jobs that often require travel.

11) What are your recommendations for other women that want to open their own business?

I would recommend them to enjoy the process as much as the goal. To be creative especially when solving problems; to follow their instinct and do not forget we need to make time for ourselves.

12) How do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself happy, enjoying family and friends. Traveling, learning and reading. I hope LA libreria can give me all of that.

Thanks, Chiara! I really enjoyed reading your answers!

LA Librería

Address
4732 1/2 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

You can buy books online, too!

 

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Things To Consider Before Taking Your Kids To A Feminist March With 750,000 People

I took my kids to the Women’s March in LA. My kids are 3 and 5 years old. At the march we chanted, laughed, talked to many, many people, had a hot-dog, ate ice-cream, walked some more, chanted again, and went back home. It was a sunny and beautiful morning. People were nice and supportive.

Before going I had a little trepidation. It is not easy to take two young kids to a protest where hundred of thousands of people are expected. Not sure if you have been in crowds, but they can be scary. In Chile, I have been in a lot of events with a large number of people in uncontrolled environments. Soccer games without seating numbers, music concerts standing up in the middle of the field, protests of some kind or another. This is why I know that taking children to the middle of a huge crowd can be a bad idea if you don’t take precautions. What to do then? Here are some considerations:

  • If you want to go to the event with friends, meet them before and travel together. Many of my friends went to the march. We decided to meet at a train station at a certain time so we could all go together, but trains were filled with people! There was no space. We decided to go separately in an Uber or car and meet there. Bad Idea. It was virtually impossible to find each other once we arrived to the march. First of all, walking around the crowd was difficult, so moving from point A to point B was tough. Secondly, cell phones reception stopped working! Many people lost signal and could not communicate! At some point, I gave up on meeting anybody else and just went with the flow. There were plenty of people to meet and talk to anyway.

  • Related to the above, if you have small children, avoid public transportation. Trains and buses were packed! There was a very long wait and we all know that young children have a very difficult time waiting. It is also difficult for them to be in crowded places with little space to move. I am SO happy we decided to take our car in the end. It took us 25 minutes to get to the march and we found parking only 4 BLOCKS AWAY! It was so easy! If I was by myself, I would have rather take the train and participate in the exhilarating energy that big crowds produce, but with little ones on toe that was not an option

  • Stay on the outskirts of the crowd. When you see yourself surrounded by too many people, retreat. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a crowd without being able to move forward or backwards. Being “incarcerated” by people would freak my children and I out. Make sure you are able to move around at any moment and stay out of the middle!

  • Take a stroller. As long as you don’t get stuck in the middle of a crowd, a stroller is the way to go. We were walking around for more than 4 hours on Saturday. There is no way my lazy children would have walked for that amount of time without asking to be carried, plus, it helps keeping them contained so they don’t run away with the excitement.

  • Write your phone number and name somewhere on their forearms. If they get lost, which it didn’t happen to us (thank goodness), whoever finds them will need to be able to call you. Write your cellphone on their forearms with a sharpie and the problem is solved. Although some people didn’t have cell reception all the time, some were still able to make calls.
  • Bring snacks because obviously!!! That is THE way of keeping children quiet and happy for a minute. Every mom knows that. Actually, I shouldn’t even write this tip on this post, but having more things to say makes me look smarter and knowledgeable so why not share the obvious sometimes? (wink emoji)
  • Women are amazing! Remember 70% of the attendants in this March were mothers or mothers-to-be. Women are cool people! I always feel they have my back! So many of them came to talk to the kids and helped taking care of them. It was sweet to see. I didn’t feel judged but supported. There were SO many kids from all ages. It was beautiful.

As a mother, it is important for me to have my kids participate in peaceful civic engagement, so I am very happy we went to the march. The kids liked it too. They understood some of the issues, albeit not a lot, but they understood the gravity of the moment and the beauty of being part of something bigger than yourself.

Thanks for reading.

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Let’s Go To The Women’s March On January 21st!

When we first heard about the Women’s March happening in DC  on January 21st, some friends and I were ready to buy tickets and fly there, but then we realized that was not necessary because big marches are happening all around the US. I am pretty sure this is going to be big and I want to be part of it.

Every single one of my friends in LA is going to DTLA for the Women’s March on the 21st. It is impressive. If you don’t live in LA or DC, there is probably another march happening near you. You can find out where here.

The March in LA will start on Pershing Square at 9am. A lot of my friends are bringing their kids. This will be a family friendly event. I know my two boys are definitely coming with me! Will I see you there?

(Image via Zurda Magazine)

WHEN

Saturday, January 21, 2017

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM PST

WHERE

Downtown L.A.
Pershing Square to City Hall

WHO

The march is open to everyone who stands for human rights, civil liberties, tolerance of diversity, and compassion for our shared humanity.

THE MISSION

We stand together in solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.

Getting to Women’s March LA:

We highly recommend using public transportation/ ride sharing services for transportation to the march, as there will be high congestion and street closures in the Downtown LA area!

METRO:

Ride the Red Line toward downtown Los Angeles and exit Pershing Square (5th Street). For alternate routes, visit MTA.

DRIVING:

Drive the 110 Freeway toward Downtown Los Angeles and exit 6th Street.

DASH:

From City Hall ride DASH “B” toward the Financial District and exit Olive at 6th Street. From the Garland Building ride DASH “E,” exit Olive at 7th Street, and walk north one block. For alternate routes, visit LADOT.

AMTRAK:

Union Station is the closest to Pershing Square; it is 2.5 miles in distance. Please be aware that street closures may increase difficulty in getting to Pershing Square via car/ ride share service, so please allow yourself extra time.

CHARTERED BUSES:

Chartered buses, please contact karen@womensmarchla.org

PARKING:

Parking under Pershing Square will be available all day; many public lots in the surrounding areas will also be open to the public and charge anywhere from $10-$30.

For more information go to www.womensmarchla.org

 

 

 

 

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global fund for women

A Time To Give – Global Fund For Women

Today a group of 10 bloggers (including me) got together to talk about charities we like and support, you know, because of the Holidays and all. (This charity cyber event hop has been organized by Brynne from The Gathered Home.– Thanks, Brynne!). If you are arriving here from Cassie Bustamante’s site, welcome!

You might already know that a cause close to my heart is women’s rights. I am thankful everyday (literally) for the place I live in and the husband I married, but not all women have had that luck. There are many women that live in places where they can’t assert themselves or have freedom to make their own decisions. This is a cause of poverty and little education and why I want to talk today about the Global Fund For Women.

This organization stands behind grass roots movements for women’s human rights all over the world – movements that fight for gender equality that are created by women who are facing these issues every day. They help give funding that helps provide for the fundamental things like rent, computers, staffing, travel, training, security, and electricity. They also help connect these movements to other donors, as well as local or national women’s groups. These connections enable groups to share, learn, and rally together to strengthen movements for women’s rights.

The fund works on freedom from violence, economic and political empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Here is its financial information, and here are some of their results.

If you want to know about more charities we like and support, please, go to your next stop Cuckoo 4 Design.

Also, for other non-profits that support women, go here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County – The Gathered Home // The Humane Society – Monica Wants It // Dog Rescues – Cassie Bustamante // Global Fund for Women – Jest Cafe // Peaceable Kingdom – Cuckoo4Design // Buyamba Uganda – House Homemade // Compassion International – The Home I Create // Canadian Premature Babies Foundation – The Learner Observer // The Heart Gallery – Pinterest Addict // Three Angels Children’s Relief – Bright Green Door

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