Romantic Valentine’s Date en Casa

A Valentine’s date doesn’t necessarily mean fancy dinners or expensive gifts. This year, get creative and think outside the chocolate box. “Stay home and celebrate by bringing the outside in,” says Lisa Velazquez, a love coach and founder of Lisa Talks Love. Velazquez shares her top ideas for bringing out the romance on Valentine’s Day -- and every day.

Prepare in Advance: Build up the anticipation with your partner by having a little countdown to Valentine’s Day and leaving written notes to each other prior to the holiday. “Remember little tokens of appreciation,” says Velazquez. “Do what you did when you were single, such as sending a cute or sexy text. That way, you’re igniting the fire before you get home.”

Go All Out, Stay Indoors: Prepare a space in your home for your romantic date that is off-limits to kids. Hire someone to cook, and get dressed up as you would for a night out. For your date night, turn the living room into a dance floor, and the dining room into an elegant candle-lit restaurante. If you’re the more casual type, have an indoor picnic in the living room. “Remember why you got together in the first place,” says Velazquez. “Let your man express his emotions, and be an interested listener.”

Involve the Kids: Before your romantic date, get the whole family involved in celebrating. “Teach kids to express their love in healthy, creative ways,” says Velazquez. Plan a Valentine’s Day breakfast and pass out tokens, such as flowers, to each other. Make your child his or her favorite individual meal. Share the reasons you’re thankful for your kids, and help them to do the same for you.

Chisme: Can it Boost Your Mental Health?

There's no doubt that chisme is frowned upon. But new findings may have you thinking twice the next time your girlfriends spill the beans.  Research suggests that gossiping can actually have physical and mental health benefits -- when done without bad intentions.

"Gossiping is a way of passing along social norms," says Dr. Ana Nogales, a clinical psychologist and founder of Nogales Psychological Counseling, Inc. in Los Angeles. "It’s a way of connecting and relieving anxiety."

Dr. Nogales is not alone in her thinking. According to a 2009 University of Michigan study, “gossiping” can make you feel emotionally close to a friend. It turns out that sharing a secret increases your levels of the hormone progesterone, which boosts your wellbeing and reduces stress and anxiety.

Some gossip can even act as a cautionary tale by repressing bad behaviors. “We control our behavior because we're afraid of what people will say," says Dr. Nogales. For instance, if you hear a story of someone who cheated on their spouse or was arrested for drinking while intoxicated, and the feedback from the group is negative, it can help you resist those same temptations.

Gossiping may also increase your imagination and perspective. Say there’s something that you want, like a new baby, gossiping can help you realize your dreams and inspire you to action.

There is a difference between negative and positive gossiping, or gossiping sin maldad, explains Dr. Nogales. When you "gossip" about someone getting a raise, or getting engaged, it actually makes you feel good, because you're passing on happy information. Just make sure your gossip has a positive spin, like telling a co-worker you heard bonuses would be back in effect this year. “Positivity is infectious,” she says. And that’s news worth sharing.

Motivating Latinas to Start a New Beginning

It’s easy to envy Karen Hoyos. The celebrity life coach and author is a red carpet regular, attending such fantastico events as the Grammys and Oscars. She's stunningly gorgeous and travels the globe on humanitarian missions for the U.N. Plus, as a self-help guru, she has reached over 40 million people through her seminars, TV appearances, articles and products.

But life wasn't always shiny for the Colombiana mom of twin boys. Growing up, her family life was unstable with a physically abusive father. Later, she married a violent man who consistently beat and belittled her. He even threatened to kill her. Karen finally got the courage to leave Colombia and start a new beginning when she found out she was pregnant. Arriving in the U.S. with only her growing belly, Karen leaned on her faith in God that things would get better. And they quickly did. 

One fateful day, she attended a seminar by renowned motivational guru Anthony Robbins. Says Karen, “I heard a voice in my heart that said, ‘Karen, this is what you are going to do for the rest of your life. You will carry a message of transformation, starting with your Latino community and then you will spread it across the world.’”

Karen hit the ground running. Today she shares her inspiring story via global seminars, writings and TV appearances, and through Kids for a New Planet, her foundation for abused children in Latin America and Africa.

Her message is one of forgiveness and service: "Forgive others, because they can only give you what they have. Forgive yourself, because it was all part of a perfect plan for your personal evolution. Help others and accept that you are in this world to be happy.”

Give Back to La Comunidad This Season

The holiday season offers many opportunities to give back to la comunidad in meaningful ways. Here’s how tres Latinas are helping in their areas.

Helping the Homeless

As a decades-long New Yorker, shop owner Bianca Moreno has endured many crises, from 9/11 to blackouts to subway strikes. But when Hurricane Sandy flooded the Red Hook neighborhood just blocks from Moreno’s Brooklyn apartment, the catastrophe struck close to home.

"I went shopping at a grocery store to prepare for Sandy," says Moreno. “After the storm hit, there was no grocery store. It’s surreal."

Stirred by seeing neighborhood haunts flooded or closed -- and their owners out of money, jobs and homes -- Moreno cooked meals for the newly homeless and displaced. Then she brought them supplies, such as bottled water, batteries and toiletries.

Moreno still contributes by raising money at her vintage store, A Little Wicked. Fifteen percent of all sales go to help storm victims. "I'm committed to volunteer through the holidays. These people need help long-term, especially after the camera crews are gone. I don't want to forget about them."

Galvanizing Volunteers

Elvia Rodriguez, a government agency worker in D.C., doesn't wait for the holidays to lend a helping hand. "What I love about this season is that I can inspire others to volunteer because they tend to be more generous.” 

Rodriguez jumps at the opportunity to educate friends and strangers alike about organizations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and other Latino charities she works with.

Her favorite non-profit? St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. From ice-skating fundraisers to gift giving, the benefits of working with the hospital are a two-way street for Rodriguez. "Helping out helps me, too,” she explains. “Supporting my community makes me feel like I'm part of it."

Comforting Single Moms

Being a single mom is the catalyst for Yvette Castillo's big Christmas spirit. Every year, she volunteers at a battered women’s shelter in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas.

In addition to a big heart, Yvette brings the kids and moms toys and gifts. "I know what it’s like to want things for your kids and not have the resources to get them,” says the native Tejana. “I promised myself if I was ever in a position to help a mom, I would." And so she does.

Looking for more ways to give back this holiday season? Our sponsor, Orgullosa™, is working with the League of United Latin America Citizens (LULAC) to donate toys to Latino kids in need. For every new “Like” on the Orgullosa™ Facebook page, they will donate $1 to LULAC so they can provide toys for kids in need. To learn more about LULAC visit


Like the Orgullosa™ page today to help kids in need!

Comedy’s New Reigning Queen: Debi Gutierrez

Before comedian Debi Gutierrez landed hot spots on Showtime, HBO, NBC and CBS, and before she hosted the popular parenting show called “A Place of Our Own” on KCET in California, Debi was a public school educator for sixteen years.  

"I really depended on my sense of humor when teaching high school," the Mexican-American mother of three remembers. "On tests, I'd include jokes like, 'Who's your favorite teacher? And list my name for options A, B, C and D!"  

Her stand-up may have started in a classroom, but today she's a star comic garnering large followings at L.A.'s top comedy clubs. Gutierrez recently shared some insights with us on how humor can be used to diffuse tense moments and improve marriages:

You Could Cut the Tension with a Laugh: "Having a sense of humor and warmly accepting the playfulness of others gets us through anything! If I can get you to laugh, I can get you to listen. If I can get you to listen, I can get you to learn."

What Women (and Men) Want: "My act has been called 'blame-free couples counseling'!  I am not going to make a bad marriage better, but I believe I can make a good marriage better for an evening. I explain to women that we are nothing like men and show them how to recognize a man's love language. During my act I actually see couples getting physically closer. It's no marriage seminar, mind you. It is rowdy, bawdy and even naughty!"

Get a copy of the comedy queen’s hit show, “He's Not Your Girlfriend,” at