Holiday Shopping Etiquette

We were fourth in line for about 20 minutes on the sixth checkout of the day. A teal striped Ralph Lauren boy’s polo shirt was all my mother and I had to pay for, but it was the longest wait of the day.

Our bodies inched forward like cars do in stand still traffic just to make it feel as though you are getting somewhere—we were getting nowhere. What felt like a lifetime landed us next in line, and then it happened. The lady in front of us was making several returns, she began to burrow through her purse for the receipt when she reached the counter, and the saga dragged on. And on.

Other shoppers began to pile up behind us in a line that now stretched past the luggage department and into the home store of our local Macy*s. She wanted to return this, could not find her receipt for that, and wanted to purchase those boxes over there, but wait she has a coupon somewhere, let her check. The shoppers behind us began their huffing and puffing, we did too. They even shouted at her, I understood their frustrations.

Now that we have wiped the sweat off our foreheads from the rat race that is the holiday shopping season, I have a few helpful hints for the next time you hit the stores during high traffic shopping season. So you don’t get shouted at by a line full of grumpy, tired shoppers.

1. If you’re returning items, please have your receipt ready before you get to the register. There is no excuse if you’ve been waiting on a line for 20 minutes that you don’t have the receipt in hand when it’s your turn to checkout.

2. Have coupons? Cool, I do too and I love getting a good deal. However, I make sure that my coupons are in order of the stores I’m trying to hit, that way when I check out, I’m not misusing coupons or scrambling through my purse looking for them. Keep them together with a clip or an envelope for easy access.

3. Keep the aisles clear. I repeat, KEEP THE AISLES CLEAR. I have bumped into more strollers than I care to see while trying to make my way through the mall maze. If you have strollers, wheelchairs, or even just tons of shopping bags with you, make sure you keep on either side of the aisles that way there is a clear path for passerby’s to swiftly walk through.

4. One car go, one car let in. It took my mother and I over 50 minutes, an argument with a bus driver, and loud honking horns to exit a parking lot we’re usually out of in one minute. Everyone wants to leave, let’s agree we all have a common goal. But if it’s every man for himself in the parking lot, it will be a stand off and no one will win. I’m not saying to let every car cut in front of you for the sake of traffic. I’m just suggesting letting one car through in front of you, just one car. It’ll make all the difference in everyone shimmying out of the lot.

5. And finally, be kind. So many people are fed up with the holidays and the crowds. Store employees are overworked from the extended holiday hours, and they’ve dealt with their fair share of screaming customers. A simple smile and “Thank you, Happy Holidays!” goes a long way.

gif courtesy of StudentBeans.com

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X Factor’s Carlito Olivero Paves Way For Latinos

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Talent competition shows like X Factor, American Idol, and The Voice draw us in with likable personalities in all their contestants. There’s always one we identify with most and find ourselves cheering them on all season long, perhaps even taking the time to actually vote for them. X Factor is my favorite of the three and I found myself in that predicament with Carlito Olivero.

Carlito had moved from his hometown Chicago to LA to pursue big dreams only to find himself homeless and struggling beyond what he’d expected. He brought his humble talent to the X Factor and wooed us ever since his audition. With his praise to the Lord and his burning desire to win the recording contract for his family’s well-being, you could see why it’s hard not to root for him.

However, it is his contribution as a Latino that makes him stand out among the rest. We could agree that almost every contestant has a story, we all have stories, but Carlito brought something before that judge’s panel they hadn’t seen before—Latin flavor.

With his smooth moves and Spanglish lyrics, Carlito proved why Latinos do it better. These shows have had Latino artists compete before, but never in a manner in which they embraced their culture in each episode through every performance. Other Latinos have just searched for a spot in the Pop or Rock world, while Carlito is on the hunt for a bicultural singing career. I consider him the Latino Justin Bieber or Chris Brown.

Carlito took advantage of his experience by creating a platform for Latino artists on the American talent competition shows. He cleared the brush and helped America embrace Latino talent as just that, Latino talent. Thank you Carlito for representing la raza in such a bright shining light!

Photo courtesy of thexfactorusa.com

Coquito Que Rico

By now, just about everyone knows what coquito is and can’t get enough of it. Puerto Ricans know how to welcome the holidays with lechon and parrandas and none other than COQUITO. It’s the Boricua take on eggnog, pero so much yummier.

DSC00116Every Puerto Rican knows who in the family runs the coquito game. For mine it is my Titi Carol. It almost does not feel like the Navidades are on their way until Titi whips out a couple of bottles of coquito to share. And it’s so. damn. good. She hasn’t given me the recipe and I’d probably have to prowl and grovel for her to spill the secrets, but I’m totally ok with that if it means she’ll keep making it for me. On Thanksgiving she brought the first few bottles of the season, and it paired deliciously with apple pie. I still have some in the fridge–it’s such a seasonal delicacy that I’m sparing every bit I can.

All I know is that coquito is a mouthwatering combination of cinnamon, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and ron. There is definitely a few more ingredients I’m leaving out, and if you ask a Boricua how much of each ingredient, un chinchin or hechale bastante might not help you blend a perfect first batch. Someone should actually put out Latin measuring spoons, that’d be a hit–Abuelita Spoons (someone go run with that idea)!

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Back to coquito-making though, find a family member or a Puerto Rican friend who makes it and beg them to make you a bottle. You will earn your place at the table if your contribution at all the holiday family gatherings is coquito–it’s the perfect dessert drink. They’ll get drunk and be plenty merry!

Why Revenge Is About To Lose Me

…I mean us…I think you’ll agree [Spoilers Ahead]

This season opened with a flash forward scene of Emily Thorne, I mean Amanda Clarke, getting shot and falling overboard the night of her wedding to Daniel Grayson. We were forewarned this season would lead up to Emily’s planned death. Yet once again, Revenge disappoints.

Nolan's expression, mine exactly Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright

Nolan’s expression, mine exactly
Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright

I’m beyond frustrated with the mid season finale. Dios mio, how many times are they just going to end on the scene they started with? Viewers know nothing more than they did during the season premiere, other than Daniel is the one to fire the gun off on Emily.  After waiting on Emily to settle her revenge on the Graysons for the past couple of years, I’m fed up, por favor, make it end already.

The Graysons never get what’s coming to them, and that just pisses me off. Every time Emily puts a plan into action to finally settle the score with New York’s First Family of Evil, something goes awry. Of course, in this finale, just about everything that could have gone wrong, did.

Then there’s the little flaws of the episode that left me with a pending question mark hanging over my head. Like, if Daniel heard Emily’s confession to Victoria about no baby Grayson on the way, then how did he not see Aiden induce unconsciousness on Victoria while whispering the plan B to Emily?

Also, in the glimpses of the second half of the season, it appears that Emily has lost her memory. But she got shot in the stomach. And she didn’t drown. They could spin this as Emily pulling tricks again to make an unfortunate outcome somehow still work in her favor. So maybe Emily se hace la loca con perdida de memoria. Quien sabe.

Either way, I’m annoyed. I think Revenge has run out of twists and it’s time the Graysons go down and the curtains close for good on the theatrics. Are you with me?

Christmas Gift Ideas Para Tus Amigas

I love Christmas lists. Every year I create a well-organized Christmas wish list, where I color coat everything by price (I’m neurotic, I’m aware) and email it to my parents. You’re never too old to make use of wish lists. When it comes to shopping for others I’m always torn about what they’d like most and overwhelmed by the endless options. So I broke it down, pa que tengas stress-free holiday gift shopping for your closest amigas.

For the…

…Movie Lover:
I recently found out about movie pass. This membership service allows you to see an unlimited amount of movies at the movie theaters and best news of all: there’s no blackout dates! I have a few friends who are in the theaters every weekend on opening night of the latest big film, this is definitely for them. Every time your movie-lover friend checks out a new flick, they’ll remember how much they love you.

…Juicing Nut:
We have a monster sized juicer in my house, and we barely ever use it. Want to know why? Because it’s just too damn complicated. So many movable parts and the clean-up—forget about it! The Ninja has been on my radar for awhile now, and anyone who likes juicing will appreciate you making their craze a little easier.

…Fitness Freak:
Just because you are gross and sweaty does not mean you don’t still appreciate a stylish addition to your work out gear. Trekking to the gym with iPods, keys, earphones, etc. can be extremely annoying. Victoria’s Secret has the answer: adorable fanny packs. They come in a ton of bright colors and it’s small enough that your fitness friend won’t be tempted to lug around too much. Cualquier chica that spends any sort of time at the gym will be overjoyed you gifted this!

…Nail Polish Hoarder:
Let’s be real, we love us some nail polish but we hate us some paying $8-12 for it. My favorite Essie color is Marshmallow, pero every time I go to buy it, I cringe at the price and stop myself. So I still don’t have it in my collection. The fun and trendy polishes are always the priciest. We all have that friend that changes up her polish every 5 seconds, and her collection is always in need of new hues, so buy her one of the tons of holiday nail polish kits. You can find these just about anywhere, pharmacy to Target to Macy’s.

…Techie:
No techietona could ever have enough cases, be it for smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Every brand and designer has tons of affordable accessories for your techie amiga. Pick up a super cute case for her, and she’ll thank you when her year-old smartphone feels like new again!

Tweet me some of the things on your wish list this year @quelatinablog

¡Buena suerte! Oh, and, Feliz Navidad 🙂