Familia, Fotos

Christmas déjà vu

The second family Christmas party felt like déjà vu from last week.

The similarities:

Cinnamon rolls made in the cupcake pan

We had an abundance of delicious food and desserts. Everyone contributed something to the spread.

Ureño family in from Chula Vista

Family came in from out of town to join the festivities. Our out-of-state family members didn’t make the trip, but it was great to see the family from San Diego.

Minel says his goodbyes

Minel did his part for the adorable baby/toddler quota.

Sean, tío Pancho & Santa

One of my male family members volunteered to dress up as Santa and pass out gifts. Last week it was my cousin Jesus, this week it was tío Beto. Of course, Minel wasn’t into the Santa thing. He was just as resistant as Olivia last week. [Side note: even though Minel and Olivia are not related, I think they could be fraternal twins. It must be the curly hair and the proximity in age.]

Adrian on drums

Dad got out the guitar and we sang some Christmas carols. Adrian accompanied him on the snare drum.

Valerie's turn

I brought a second beautiful piñata and my cousins’ kids gave it a beating. Since these kids are older, taller and stronger, we had to handicap them in some way. After diving in to the melee for some candy, Padrino José passed out the bolo, or the traditional grab bag of peanuts, cookies, candies and tangerines.

Most of my bridal party

Once again, I felt like I got hosed when it came to the height genes when standing next to my tall cousins. Nancy, Vanny, Valerie and my sister will all be part of my wedding party next year. I either need to make them wear flats or wear the highest heels I can find, if only for photos.

Me, Dad & Sean

I forgot my camera this week and relied on my iPhone. Luckily, Sean brought along his camera and tried out his new flash and diffuser. He was a good sport being the unofficial photographer.

The differences:

Papá Chepe, Daisy and Santa

Instead of doing a white elephant, we were much nicer an did a Secret Santa. Sean picked Papá Chepe and bought him a newsboy cap. I think he wears it well.

Also, we played some games. In the past we’ve done Wii games and karaoke. This year we kept it less physical with a round of Taboo amongst the cousins.


We got to open more presents!


Christmas Day was super low key as it’s been for the last 10+ years. Since we went to Mass on Christmas Eve, I just spent the afternoon and evening lounging around the parents’ house. My brothers spent most of the day with their girlfriends so it was just Lori, the parents, Sean and me. We watched a few basketball games, ate leftovers for dinner, and played card games. It wasn’t too different from most Sundays.

Comida, Cultura

Tamales tally

Tamales are not my favorite Mexican food. They’re not even in the top five.

I used to pride myself on how few of them I could eat each Christmas season. Usually the count was somewhere around 2. I’d have one of the spicy red chile and pork tamales and one of the sweet cinnamon, pineapple and raisin ones for breakfast. The sweet ones are always best as breakfast on Christmas morning when my mom places them on a comal or a pan to toast them lightly. A savory/spicy tamal works just as well for breakfast.

This year, I’ve been craving tamales. Prior to Christmas, I’d only eaten on tamal and that bugged me. That changed last night and this morning when we had the traditional tamales and a bunch of other delicious food. Funny thing, Sean asked me if it was okay to have tamales for breakfast. I almost laughed at him. It’s not only okay, it’s condoned and might be the only thing available aside from some beans and eggs. He’s a newbie at Mexican Christmas.

The tamal tally is currently 4. Let’s see how many more I can eat.


It used to really bug me when I heard people refer to the singular tamal as tamale. It sounds wrong to my bilingual ear, but I know the English translation is tamale. In fact, my spell checker has tamal as incorrect and tamale as correct. I mentioned this to a friend once and he mentioned that tamale is closer to the Nahuatl word, “tamalli.” He reasoned that tamal was the bastardized Nahuatl term for the food we’ve come to love.

Anyway, who talks about tamales in the singular anyway? If you eat just one, you’re doing it wrong. Or you’re saving room for all the other delicious food. I can’t blame you too much.

Los Angeles

Christmas past in Los Angeles

Posadas, 1949
Posadas on Olvera Street, 1949

A couple of days ago, I was going through my reader and found a post on KCET’s SoCal Focus blog about holiday celebrations of yore in Southern California. It’s a pretty neat compilation of photographs and postcards from various digital image archives.

Olvera Street posadas, 1949
Posadas on Olvera Street, 1949

There was one thing that bothered me. It didn’t look diverse. By that I mean, where were all the people of color? We’re in LA and Southern California too!

Pacoima Junior HS, 1963
Pacoima junior high school students, 1963

I don’t think it’s cool to whitewash Southern California history, even if it’s unintentional. Still, it’s pretty easy to find some images that are more representative of the holiday season in LA.

Ella Fiztgerald sings to kids, 1975
Ella Fitzgerald sings to children in South Central, 1975

I did a simple search on UCLA’s photograph archive, Changing Times: Los Angeles in Photographs, 1920-1990 for old school Christmas photos. All photos here come from that archive.

East LA Christmas parade, 1984
Olympic themed float at the East LA Christmas parade, 1984

Street scene along Sunset Blvd in Echo Park, 1988
Festive Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, 1988

Photo Credit:
Los Angeles Times photographic archive, UCLA Library. Copyright Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.

Used under attribution, non-commercial, share alike Creative Commons license

Boda, Fotos

Pictures of you (and me)

On Sunday afternoon, Sean and I met up with Michael Fletcher, our talented photographer. We made the super short trip to downtown Culver City.

For the next 3+ hours Mike took hundreds of photos of us in various states of PDA. Or rivalry.

It was a little odd to have a tiny audience when we were in Downtown Culver City and at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook.

We really stuck out at the overlook since most of the people up there were in workout clothes.

On Monday morning, Michael sent us a link to the online gallery. I’m very happy with the photos. It wasn’t easy to choose favorites from the 180+ he uploaded [#humblebrag]. I picked 1-2 per location/wardrobe change. If you want to see a few more, Sean chose his favorites and posted about them on his blog.

Photos: Michael Fletcher Photography

Makeup: Evette. Going to her work on Saturday was totally worth dealing with Eastside Carmageddon, aka the 60 freeway closure. We did a trial run on Saturday. On Sunday morning she came over to my mom’s house. If not for Evette, I would’ve never thought to go for red lips or add false lashes.
Hair: Alexis (brother’s girlfriend), she styled it with 5 minutes’ notice on Sunday morning
Sean’s beard: Headmaster Barber Shop
Dress and Sean’s shirt, sweater and tie: Banana Republic. He influenced me with shopping there, I influenced the color choice. I love purple and so does my grandmother, Mamá Toni.

Downtown Culver City
Cheviot Hills Recreation Center
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook


Family Christmas party (part 1)

The treats are out

A few years ago my family began hosting an annual Christmas party for the Mosqueda side of the family. I think for several years after my grandparents passed, it felt like we’d lost some of our holiday traditions. We always host the party a week or so before Christmas so that it doesn’t conflict with Christmas Eve gatherings. Typically, Mexicans gather on Christmas Eve and do all the fun stuff — including presents — then.

This year my family hosted the biggest party. Part of the family who moved out to Texas years ago returned. It was good to see my aunts and uncles again. Last year, tía Nellie and tío Rick came to LA for tío Joe’s funeral. This time they brought their spouses and kids to celebrate and have fun.

After a dinner that included the requisite tamales and several other options (roast beef, pasta, meatballs, fried chicken, etc) and digging in to the dessert table, my dad got out his guitar and we sang a few Christmas carols.

Carlos, Luz and Santa

Santa showed up shortly afterward and the kids went crazy. Well, most of them. My cousin’s 18 month old wasn’t too keen on sitting on his lap. The adults didn’t get anything from Santa except a photo op.

Isabelle takes shots at the piñata

We cleared out the tables and set up the piñata. Even if Isabelle hadn’t asked me a few times when it was time to break the piñata, she would’ve gone first as one of the youngest. Again, her little sister wasn’t interested.

Cousin group shot

The adults played a white elephant game, we took lots of photos and then cleaned up.

Dad leads the Christmas caroling

I’m glad I didn’t miss this year’s party. Last year I was in New York with Sean. This year he got to meet the Texas side of the family. It was nice to hear my tía Nellie welcome him in to the family.

It's raining candy!

Even though I attended a few low key holiday parties for Job1 and Job2 last week, I didn’t really feel in the holiday spirit. It usually takes me a few weeks in to December to begin to feel like it’s Christmas. This weekend I couldn’t help it. Seeing toddlers go crazy for Santa and singing carols with my family is enough to snap me out of my grinch mood. Candy and baked goods help too.

Photos mainly by Sean.