Toby's COCO Themed Baptism and Birthday Bash

My Baby Turned 3


Happy Birthday & God Bless Toby!

I keep reliving the moment Toby realized the mariachi band had entered the room playing “Recuérdame” from Disney Pixar’s COCO. My little boy was so moved by the familiar tune, that he looked over to us and asked to be held by Paul. Benny was on the verge of tears too.

This is my fondest memory of Toby’s birthday and baptism celebration held in early March.

We had heard Recuérdame hundreds of times but never heard the melody “live”.


Toby’s party preparations

were done on a last-minute basis because the church had many requirements of both the parents and godparents (Uncle Mikey & Tia Rosita David) and not until we provided all required documents were they able to confirm that the baptism would officially take place.


Toby loves COCO.

He has watched the movie dozens, upon dozens of times. He knows the lines, the characters, the songs and early in the year before we knew we’d combine his baptism with his birthday party, we asked him what type of party he wanted and he said: a COCO Party.

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It rained pretty terribly on the day of his party.

It was pouring when guests started arriving at the small venue where the celebration was relocated to (it was initially supposed to be a big backyard event at our home). Fortunately, I had a lot of help from friends and family to make sure it all ran smoothly.


The warmth from our friends and relatives in attendance was magical.

Everyone was invited by email or text message. No time to have phone conversations about the party or send out paper invitations because time was of the essence (sorry to our friends and cousins who got a last-minute reminder text).


We enjoyed a delicious Mexican food buffet

prepared by my parents who previously owned a catering business. We enjoyed plenty of beer and tequila drinks, including pre-made chile & cucumber margaritas by Dragos Cantina (a company owned by L.A. #bossbabe and friend, Mina Trujillo). My lovely friend Marilyn served as a bartender and drink host (thanks beautiful):


My closest friends were all there—

from my bestie Sheryl to my girls from junior high, high school and college (a special shout-out to my fabulous 805 friends).


Preparing for a last-minute party

Friends, when it comes to event styling and preparing, we are very, very lucky to have Downtown L.A. and the Piñata District in our backyard!

I bought all the Coco-themed favors and decorations the week before. I ordered a huge Dante Alebrije piñata from my friend Crystal from Compton and she definitely delivered!! My sisters helped with flower arrangements and decorations.


For the kids’ favor bags,

I opted for Coco guitars made by the incredible owner of Busy Bee Designs who was able to offer expedited shipping. I filled them with Coco Wallets and other goodies and candy. Then my sisters decorated them throughout the dessert table where I also offered candy apples, Miguel-themed marshmallows and caramel popcorn.


My aunts danced.

They stomped and swung and moved to Zapateado and rancheras and cumbias and pretty much any music genre the mariachi played. Best of all, the young kids were also dancing and smiling and having a heck of a time!


Family is everything.

I hope Toby remembers this festive celebration for years to come. If you’re planning a Coco-Themed Party, feel free to send an email if you’d like information on the vendors and places where I shopped for stuff:

Thanks for reading!


-Anabel M.

The Chinese Lantern Festival Will Light up the Night in Pomona

Happening November 15th - January 6, 2019


Prepare for “The Wild”

Friends, I’m really excited about the upcoming Chinese Lantern Festival happening Pomona Fairplex!

The evening skies will become ablaze with the color and light with more than 1,000 beautifully handcrafted lanterns.


The lanterns range in size from 12 – 23 feet tall, and combines art, tradition, and culture. This year’s theme, “The Wild,” features five different locations: America, Oceania, Asia, Antarctica and Africa, with lanterns representing wild animals from each region, including Cheetahs, panda bears, jellyfish, majestic cranes, lions, and even dinosaurs.

The festival will also feature food, Kung Fu shows and demonstrations, and shadow play. Guests will also be able to shop the craft marketplace where authentic Chinese jewelry, artifacts, dough figurines, as well as Chinese embroidery art, sugar art, paper-cut and fabric art will be available for purchase. 

For more information, visit

Hope to see you there, friends!


-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Greeting Cards With a Cultural Flair!

There's a new bilingual/bicultural greeting card shop!


Sweet Llamita For All!

Did you know I'm still old fashioned when it comes to writing notes and sending greeting cards through the US Postal Service (as opposed to online)?
It's true.
In my opinion, there's something about the written word that can never be matched by an email or an e-Card, and trust me I've used the latter plenty of times but I love writing and receiving hand written notes!
A few years back, I went on a shopping spree for cards and bought enough to commemorate all occasions for years ahead (sorry friends if you've received the same birthday card from me, several years in a row...). But my stash is finally dwindling and I decided it was time to purchase a few new cards for my collection.

This is how I've organized my greeting cards. Believe it or not, there used to be MANY more than what you see here.

This is how I've organized my greeting cards. Believe it or not, there used to be MANY more than what you see here.

That's when I came across Sweet Llamita.
Their cards are simple yet meaningful because they convey thoughts of the Mexican-upbringing type.
If you grew up in a Mexican home, then you know that no matter how awful the tumble or how painful the fall, as a little kid your mom would always say: "Sana, sana colita de rana si no sanas hoy, sanaras manana"  Translation: "Heal, heal, little froggy butt. If you don't heal today, you'll be fine again tomorrow."
It always made us feel better, if anything because the sing-songy chant distracted from the pain.
Well, Sweet Llamita has a "get well soon" card that reminds us of those good ol' childhood stumbles:


"Chiquita pero picosa" is sort of an interpretation of Shakespeare's famous line from A Midsummer Night's Dream "Though she be but little, she is fierce". A feel good card for your favorite girlfriend:


And if you just wanna be like me and write your lover boy (aka husband) a love note, just because-- there's a card for that too:


These are only a few of many cute and clever cards currently on sale at the Sweet Llamita website.
Check them out:

*Not a compensated post.

Thanks for reading!

Anabel Marquez
Baby Gifts That Embrace Latino Culture

The Cuteness is Real... de verdad


The cutest cositas!

I didn't have a baby shower for Toby.
Early in my pregnancy, I told my mom and sisters that I didn't think one would be necessary because I kept all of my first son Benny's baby clothes, accessories and nursery furniture.
Imagine this: I had two baby showers for Benny,  I received tons of gifts and even then, I still splurged on baby stuff for him. There are outfits, shoes and toys that Benny outgrew before getting the chance to use them! Having a baby shower for my second boy would've been excessive.

Nevertheless, I did want Toby to have a few items intended just for him, so I focused on purchasing gifts that highlight our Mexican Culture. With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, I thought it  made sense to bring them out and share.

Here's my little Toby boy sleeping comfortably... sigh. i love my chiquito.

Here's my little Toby boy sleeping comfortably... sigh. i love my chiquito.

There are A LOT cute items out there and I'm sure there are plenty of vendors whose culturally-influenced baby products I haven't had the chance to explore but here are eight of my favorite things for bebé. These things are cute, affordable and have cultura written all over them:

1. Lil' Libros

This awesome collection of children's books is designed to make your baby familiar with popular Mexican themes  and characters, like Frida Kahlo, Emiliano Zapata and Virgen de Guadalupe, among others. The text is simple enough to engage younger audiences and the illustrations are so dynamic they give parents the opportunity to offer visual explanations for the older kids. Best of all, they were created by two LA-based mommies who are currently working on adding to the collection with upcoming titles, including "Cuahtemoc" and "Un Elefante"... I can't wait!



2. Guayababy 

I saw this Guayabera onesie and my heart skipped a beat! How charming is this clothing item for wee little cuties? It's available on, with various colors available in sizes 6 - 24 months. And in case you want one for your chiquito too, you'll be glad to know certain colors are on sale!
The Guayababy is just one of many unique products sold online by the creative husband and wife team that is Robby and Samantha Vient. Their company bio says their "curiosidades y chingaderas range from humorous an array of irreverent Taco-Tee's..." So have your credit card handy cause you'll wanna buy everything!



3. "Fuchi Face" Onesie

Now here's something that cleverly highlights that line your mother repeated whenever you gave her a look of disapproval. "No hagas cara de fuchi," is what my mom would tell me when I didn't want to eat her Lima bean soup (sopa de habas).  This "Fuchi Face" onesie sold by Ellie Elote was way too reminiscent of my childhood to pass up. Now I'll just wait for Toby to get a little older and have my phone nearby to snap the perfect fuchi face photo in his perfect Fuchi Face onesie...yay! 



4. "Dreaming of Tacos" beanie

How can I explain the coolness of having a tiny taco beanie on my baby's head!? He doesn't eat solids yet but I can arrange to eat tacos on his behalf when he wears it. Seriously though, I found this beanie on Etsy. It accurately describes what my son will probably be dreaming about in three years or so... TACOS! The design is a creation of LeftRight, which has a variety of other styles designed for babies who want to make a statement. This one makes Toby's little head a few notches cuter, doesn't it? And it makes mommy's belly a few notches hungrier and ready to ask the taco man: "Deme tres de al pastor!" 



5. Sarape Bib

There is nothing more colorfully reminiscent of Mexico than a bright & loud Zarape. So when I saw it as a bib, I made the executive decision that it was exactly what we needed for Baby Toby before he gets his first taste of Fideo while I play 'El Son de la Negra' to my baby boy.... (If you don't know it, Google search the song and you'll get me). This bib was also an Etsy find. The shop that sells it, Finney, also has teethers, blankets and an array of cute things for babies, but nothing quite as colorful as this bib! 



6. Uncle Goose's Spanish Wooden Blocks

Here's a great take on the classic children's toy-- a classic children's toy en español. These neat wooden blocks made in the US from fast-growing sustainable basswood are also printed with child safe non-toxic ink. What's more is that they weren't kidding about getting the Spanish alphabet right-- I was ecstatic when I found the "Ñ" and all the accent marks in the right places. What a great way to start your kiddos on that bilingual tip at an early age... And they come in an adorable brown box perfect for storing. The blocks are also available in several other languages. 



7. Baby Poncho/Jorongo

What better way to cover up my baby when he's cold!?!
Any time a blanket seems too cumbersome, it's baby Jorongo to the rescue! This is the tiniest little Jorongo that I ever did see (often confused with a poncho, which is similar but a Poncho is traditionally from South America whereas a Jorongo is exclusively from Mexico). This was another Etsy find. It arrived from LoveSofiaShop based in Texas and its cute enough to literally make a mother go gaga over it. The slit is big enough to fit any baby's head. True story: the first time I put it on Toby, my husband Paul got the itch to wear one too. He wanted a picture of father and son twinning...Lol. There are several colors available.... You're welcome ;-)



8. Lucha Libre plush

This may very well become Toby's favorite toy. The little stuffed Mexican wrestler is soft, cute and handmade (a stark contrast to the real luchadores but that's ok). Its button eyes are adorable and the shoes with yarn laces are sooo cute! It's a necessary gift for your baby if you grew up hearing about "El Santo" and "El Demonio Azul" or if you simply love the concept of men in masks kicking each other's butts, inside a ring, in Mexico. The girl who makes these also makes fun greeting cards and sells her stuff on Etsy.
And now to watch the most adorable wrestling match between Toby and his plush! 


Thanks for reading. Hope you consider supporting these cool vendors...AND please, by all means, leave a comment with other suggestions!
Hasta pronto and Happy Cinco de Mayo

Note: I did not receive compensation for writing about these items.

Gracias for reading!


-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez