Responsabilidad: Senior Care for Your Parents

As nuestros padres grow older, we face the realities of having to care for them. According to AARP, family caregivers shell out about $5,500 every year to meet an relative’s  senior care needs. Adding to the financial burden of caring for elderly parents are the emotional and physical stresses that can zap joy from the family unit. Las Fabulosas gets expert advice on how to keep the family fuerte by preparing and organizing for the senior care of our relatives.

Financial Well-Being

Deborah M. Higgins, President Higgins Capital Management, Inc., has seen an increase in clients asking for help with planning for the costs of senior care. Taking care of a parent “can be daunting and leave you feeling overwhelmed,” says Higgins, who has spent the past three decades working as a financial advisor. “You have to look at the big picture,” which can be done with a checklist that identifies and lists the tasks associated.

  1. Balance your parents’ housing needs and wishes by speaking to them at length. Can they live independently? Or does the parent need assisted living, day care or nursing home care?
  2. “Has a list of important financial documents and records been prepared,” asks Higgins on sample checklists she drafts for clients. This list includes all bank and investment account records, credit card statements, mortgage, insurance, utility bills, retirement plan statements and income tax returns for the last three years.
  3. Plan when you will start gathering your parent’s “relevant personal information,” such as passwords or their Social Security number, and start coordinating “long-term care with government benefits.”

Emotional Well-Being

When it comes to caretakers, there are two kinds, according to financial planner Francine Russo: primary and secondary. “If you are your parent’s primary helper,” says Russo, “ask yourself what you really want.” It helps to take an honest turn with yourself about whether it is more help, appreciation or control that you desire. “Lots of caregivers feel lonely and unappreciated.”

  1. Be specific. “If you’re feeling lonely, let other family members know that you would consider it a big help if they would just call more regularly,” says Russo, author of They’re Your Parents, Too!: How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents’ Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy. “If you think you ‘shouldn’t have to ask,’ think again, and request the help that you can get realistically.”
  2. If you have siblings: Band together. Whenever possible, “change places for a few days or a week,” with your sibling, suggests Russo. Otherwise, pool enough cash “to hire paid help, arrange meal deliveries, or a car service to take your parent to appointments.”
  3. Avoid “Should-ing” others. Making a sibling feel guilty will only drive “them to defend themselves, often in angry ways,” says Russo. Instead, remember that “your siblings may not have had the same relationship with your parents that you did. There’s no reason they ‘should’ feel the same way you do.”

Our padres taught us that family always comes first. Here are more family values we’ve learned from nuestros padres.

Easy Cocktail Recipes: El Dia De Los Muertos

Host a party for El Dia de los Muertos the festive way, with these five tasty and easy cocktails recipes that will get the party started. “When creating a good cocktail for parties, make sure your flavors are consistent with the theme,” says Ion, head mixologist at Yerba Buena Avenue A. And don’t forget the green-slime guacamole and chips for guests to snack on.

Blood-red sangria

Sangria is not only an easily prepared crowd-pleasing cocktail, but also has an interestingly spooky meaning; this refreshing beverage’s literal Latin understanding translates to bleeding.

Orange, sliced thin

Lemon, sliced thin

Lime, sliced thin

Apple, sliced thin

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup triple sec

¼ cup brandy

1 bottle of dry red wine

Mix wine, brandy, triple sec, sugar in pitcher until sugar is dissolved. Add fruit and let chill for 2 to 4 hours.

Dark and stormy

Skip the “dark” rum for this spooky cocktail, and opt for a festive spiced option to add a little kick to your fiesta. Serving this fizzy libation in a goblet will add some ghoulish flair.

2 ounces spiced rum (can substitute for the true “dark” rum)

8 ounces ginger beer

Put ice in a highball glass. Add in rum and beer, and garnish with a lime.

Chocolate martini

An adult version of trick-or-treating goodies, this dessert cocktail is really paying homage to explorers of the Spanish Conquest. Chocolate has been used as a drink for centuries tracing back to one of its first recorded uses in Honduras, dating from about 1100 to 1400 BC.

Chocolate sauce or syrup (to dip rim of glass)


2 ounces chocolate liqueur

1 ½ ounce vodka


Dip martini glass rim in chocolate sauce, then sugar. Fill shaker with ice, and add chocolate liqueur and vodka. Shake and pour into glass.


El Kookooee (The Boogeyman)

From Ion at Yerba Buena Avenue A: pumpkin spice adds a celebratory dimension to your cocktail list at any fall festivity.


Rye whiskey

Pumpkin spice liqueur

Cordials and lime juice

Mix ingredients in shaker and pour into highball glass.

Bloody Maria

Put a Latin spin on the classic vodka cocktail by subbing-in spicy tequila for a bloody Maria.

1 ounce tequila

1 lemon wedge

4 ounces tomato juice

Squirt of lime juice

3 to 5 drops hot sauce

3 to 5 drop Worcestershire sauce

Celery stick for garnish

Dash of celery salt

Add ingredients to chilled shaker with ice. Mix ingredients and strain into a highball glass. Garnish with lemon wedge and celery.

Entrevistas: Tips for Successful Job Interviews

Despite upbeat reports about the country’s economic improvement, employers have remained cautious when it comes to hiring and job interviews. That’s why making a lasting impression during a brief in-person interview is especially important. But hitting the right notes requires properly preparing for a job interview. Las Fabulosas speaks to three experts who share simple and surprising techniques to help you ace your next interview.

Use Social Media: According to Shay Olivarria, author of 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money, understanding what your prospective employer does will give you an idea if the job and environment are a good fit. “Use Google, LinkedIn and Facebook to look up the company and the person” that will be interviewing you if possible,” says Olivarria. “Find out any professional history about the person,” and the company’s clients.

Ask Critical Questions: Before you show up to job interviews, come prepared with at least two thoughtful, researched questions to ask. “The interviewer wants to know that you will able to contribute something to the company,” says Olivarria, founder of “Asking thoughtful questions shows that you understand how your job will contribute to the overall well-being of the company.

Know Your Personal Brand: “Articulate your capabilities and skill-sets succinctly and how your personality traits will add-value to the workplace,” says Annette Prieto-Llopis, director of the Center for Hispanic Leadership. Prieto-Llopis also suggests being specific with your techniques and approach to your work.

Draft Talking Points: Olivarria emphasizes going to job interviews with a game plan. Write down at least three things, such as previous experience, that you want to get across before an interview is over, she says. This is an opportunity to “showcase your ability to see the big picture and that your interest in contributing to the organization is well beyond the job you are interviewing for,” says Prieto-Llopis.  

Dress to Impress: “Know what you are wearing the night before,” says Andres Gutierrez, a financial expert and speaker whose website,, offers tips and products to improve financial literacy. “Plan on what time you are leaving the office so no matter what, you’ll be there on time.”

Get Excited: Get pumped by reviewing the positive aspects of the job opportunity and “stand tall” during the entrevista. Gutierrez adds, “If you are not excited about working there, they won’t be excited about hiring you. Shake hands firmly, look people in the eye and have a good posture during the interview.”

La Salud: Breast Self Examination and Early Detection

The stats are startling. A mujer born in the United States today has a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer at some time during her life. According to the American Cancer Society, Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed with larger tumors and late-stage breast cancer than white women. Researchers believe there might be a biological or genetic reason behind the differences between breast cancer in Hispanic and white women. But thanks to high-profile educational and fundraising events, such as the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure (with over 1.6 million participants in over 140 races annually), breast cancer awareness is at an all-time high. In honor of October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Las Fabulosas spoke to three breast cancer survivors for tips on detection, prevention and coping with the illness.

Breast Self -Examination

For Luisa Lavalle of Seattle, WA, a monthly breast self-examination was part of her routine. This allowed her to detect her breast cancer at a very early stage. “Because my cancer was detected so early, I ended up not having to get chemotherapy after the cancer was removed,” says Lavalle. As for making it through the trying times post- diagnosis, Lavalle made stress reduction her main priority. “For me, the best way to cope was to try to be realistic and to put emotions and drama on hold, and concentrate on how to move forward.” Indeed, recent research has shown that psychological stress can weaken the immune system, which can increase cancer cell growth.

Family History

Prior to her diagnosis, Michelle Marquez of the Bronx, NY knew to be extra vigilant about breast cancer, since her mother had passed away from the illness. “It helps tremendously to know whether you have immediate or distant family members who have suffered from cancer,” Marquez says. Statistically, a woman who has one immediate female relative with breast cancer has nearly twice the risk of a woman without a family history.

Early Detection

Rachel Galarza of Dallas, Texas was trying on a bathing suit for a winter vacation to Hawaii when she felt a small lump in one of her breasts, which turned out to be cancerous. Galarza, who was young, healthy and had no family history of cancer, was shocked by the diagnosis. “I didn’t think it could ever happen to me, but it did,” says Galarza. “I was lucky I caught the cancer when I did, since I never used to do breast self-examinations. All women should do monthly breast self-examination, no matter what their family history is.”

To find more information on the causes of breast cancer visit the American Cancer Society and for more information on what you can do to help find a cure, visit

Five Riesgos to Avoid When Buying Your First Home

Buying a home is typically the biggest purchase anyone makes, which makes it the scariest, too. Las Fabulosas dug deep for must-know tips before jumping into the real estate game.

Plan Your Life First

Younger individuals and couples should plan -- when possible -- for life changes that may occur. “For young people, there are too many changes that happen initially to buy immediately,” says Andres Gutierrez, financial expert and host of The Andres Gutierrez Show. Career changes, marital status changes and having children can all affect your financial status.

Know Your Budget

Do not buy a home until you are 100 percent free of debt, including any loans. Once that is checked off, Gutierrez suggests this simple formula: Your mortgage shouldn’t be more than 25 percent of your take-home pay. Pay for the home with as much cash as possible, to avoid the rapidly rising interest rates. Also, try to use a 15-year mortgage, as opposed to 30. “Pay off your house before your newborn goes to college. Then use that payment toward their education,” he says. Remember to account for taxes and home insurance in your monthly budget. “The biggest mistake is buying more home than you can afford,” says Gutierrez.

Find a Trusting Agent

When interviewing real estate agents, ask the tough questions, “Learn their fortés, what they have sold in the past year, and ask to see their résumé,” says Sarah Carmona, agent at Dreams Realty in Nevada, who was listed as a top real estate agent by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. Your realtor should also understand your needs and wants. “Get on their multiple listings service to directly stay on top of the market,” says Carmona.

Prepare an Emergency Fund

Home ownership, versus renting, will always require repair and maintenance -- even with new constructions. “Have three to six months living expenses saved as an emergency fund,” suggests Gutierrez. The emergency fund accounts for small and large repairs, as well as the chance of a reduction in take home pay.

Don’t Rush

Remember, this is a huge purchase, so take it slowly. While the market is currently booming and houses are selling like pan caliente, it’s still important to play it safe and protect yourself. “Make sure you are preapproved before starting the house-hunting process, to know how much house you can afford,” says Carmona. “You don’t want to fall in love with a house you can’t afford.” Shop rates with several lenders -- not just one. Start with your bank and other bigger establishments, which Carmona says usually have lower closing fees. Once you make an offer, take time to follow necessary steps such as getting an inspection. You want to go in with your eyes wide open on what the actual costs will be.