A letter to my son, Because you are 15

A letter to my Son, because you are 15.

I’ll never forget the time you came home from school and told me you learned a new dance. I stopped what I was doing, sat the living room sofa, curled my feet on the cushions, excited to see your new moves, imagining you busting out in a head spin or moonwalk.

“Okay, GO!” And 3 seconds later, your 5 year old little body River Danced straight across the floor, for like 5 minutes straight. As I bent over in full blown tears of hysterical shock and laughter, you just kept patting your little feet like it was all your business. And then you stopped, looked at me with a seriously intense expression, and laughed right into my hug.

That by far has to be one of my most favorite memories with you. And I’ve taken it with me into my darkest days as a reminder of the joy you have given me, of the woman you’ve helped me to become, and of the strength you’ve helped me to find.

You are 15 years old today, Kid. 15 years ago today You and I began a vehement journey of Child and Mama. And through a wordless allegiance to each other, we promised to love, to protect, to grow, to learn from, to mess up with, to figure shit out with and to stretch for in the most unimaginable ways, side by side. Your soul entrusted me to parent you through this life, and I entrusted you to show me how.

I could NEVER have learned what I have through out my life without you. And what you’ve taught me surmounts what I could ever teach you.

You taught me how to become a Mom, one of the greatest roles of all my life.

And it’s at this 15 year mark of our journey, I believe we’ve reached a cross roads. Long gone are the days where I “teach” you a thing. From now, these are the days where through life lessons you will learn all on your own. I could only hope that with the years of love and trust I’ve shown you, you understand that life works a certain way and it has its’ own unwritten rules. The lessons don’t come in a scripted order. They have no guidelines. Some lessons are blatant and some will maintain their agendas for years on end. Some lessons are of the heart, and some are for your courage. I can’t tell you what they all are, as I’m still learning some myself. But I can pass on some things I’ve learned along the way. And hopefully, when the lesson presents itself, you can remember these words from Mom… We’ll start with a simple 15.

15 rules to live by

  1. Be kind. In as simply as I can put it, don’t be an asshole.

2. Respect those who were here before you. They fought battles that you’ll never have to.

3. Gratitude is sexy. Show appreciation to those who helped you get to where ever you are, no matter where that is. After all, you didn’t learn how to clean your own ass by yourself.

4. Never judge. You never know what a person is going through behind the smile they show the world. I’ve put on smiles like it was cherry chapstick hiding the bitter tastes of lifes’ fury.

5. Share time in real time. In the world of technology, nothing is better for your soul than an in person chat with an old friend. Be sure to nourish the connections you have. People grow and change. And so will you. Don’t fault them for it.

6. No one else are like your siblings. There are only 2 other people in this world that knows what Moms’ heart beat sounds like from the inside. Take care of them. No one will ever understand your reason for crazy like they will.

7. Be strong. In your mind. In your body. In your spirit. This is a lifelong exercise.

8. Stand on your square. Know what you stand for. And don’t let flashy lights or shiny things deter you from YOUR ultimate self

9. Open the door for women. Pull out the chair for women. Honor the women around you. You come from a woman who loved you enough to sustain you from womb to flesh and beyond. Women bear life. We were created with that strength for a reason. YOU cannot carry Life. YOU cannot nourish Life with your body. YOU cannot push a baby through your penis.  Respect Women at all times.

10. Help old ladies with their groceries, up the stairs, across the street when ever you see the opportunity, even if it will make you late. One day that old lady will be me.

11. What you put out , you get. Including your thoughts. Be mindful of those the most.

12. Your knowledge is yours. You have the capacity to learn WHAT EVER you want. And once you have that knowledge embedded in your cells no one can take that, not even your biggest adversary . Feed your brain as healthily as you feed your body. Strengthen your brain with knowledge to take you through any battle. Stock up on tools and instruments you can bring into any debate. And trust in yourself and your wisdom.

13. Be loyal to your friends. Surround yourself with genuinely good people. People that will cheer you on when you’ve achieved and call you out on your bullshit when you’re fucking up.

14. Be honest to your self. Who ever you are, whatever you stand for and however way you feel you should travel through life, be honest with your self about it. Know when something is working for you and your goals. Know when something is not conducive to your journey. Have those hard conversations with yourself. Don’t waste your time and anyone else’s.

15. Whatever you enjoy the most now is probably what you should do for the rest of your life as a career. Discover interests and explore what makes you happy. There’s nothing worse than waking up to go to a job you hate. Figure out what you love to do and life will show you a way how to make a living by doing it.

I hope to be able to add to these rules as our years go on. I am proud of you, Kid. I am proud of the struggles you are enduring. I am proud of the decisions you are making – even the wrong ones. Because it’s usually in the wrong decisions that you learn the biggest lessons and I am confident that every lesson you encounter you will take with you a valuable piece of wisdom that will only strengthen your character and mold you in to the Man you will become.

I want you to always remember… Life is full of amazing things. Always take a minute to smell the flowers by your feet. Feel the Sun on your face. Let the Rain cleanse your soul. Love with all that you have. Laugh with every breath. Live with purpose. Fight for your dreams. Reach for the Stars, Moon and Sun… Believe in you… cause I do. And remember, that I will always be here… right by your side… cheering you on.

Happy Birthday, Justin.

Love always & forever – your biggest fan,


Where are all the Facebook Pedestal Pouters? We need your help!

It’s incredible how there was all this outrage from Facebook Pedestal Pouters pissed off at “pink pussy hats” and how protestors decided to show their disgust for the elected officials at the Women’s March. Yet, Those Facebook Pedestal Pouters are not showing the same outrage over how children, Hispanic/Latino Children, and their families are being treated.

You know what, it’s so easy to ignore Facebook. It’s so easy to shrug it off and be like “They’re crazy people” and just silence the app and move on. But I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep my mouth shut when some of you are just out of control. WHAT.THE.F***.

For the preachers who are posting “Don’t want to get separated from your children? Come here LEGALLY!” You can’t say something more ignorant. Truly, undoubtedly, pathetically ignorant.  Because not ONE of YOUR ANCESTORS came here legally. NOT ONE of your ancestors came here upon conditions that they would treat this country and its’ native inhabitants with respect. And for the Latinos – your half ancestors RAPED your native bloods, and those native bloods FLED HERE under the same pretenses – to seek better, to get away from slaughter, to find light at the end of the literal tunnel. So those HISPANICS that are on their soap box talking about “MAGA, My President, this, My President that” YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED.  Because the administration that sits on that throne that you worship does NOT GIVE ONE DAMN bits ABOUT YOUR BROWN SKINNED ASS! Yeah – you’re brown. No matter how pale you are… YOU ARE BROWN under the laws of privilege.

This is all ridiculous. It’s insane. And probably the most saddening thing to me is watching all elders and peers swear by this system that REPRESENTS YOU. Because that is what you chose when you voted for it; you chose to stand by a system of people that represents your belief system to the world. And if this is who you are – a person that thinks separating a Mother from Her Child because she is seeking refuge from disastrous conditions is acceptable – then you’re as disgusting as the acts committed. And I’m embarrassed for you. Because any Mother looking at those photos, reading the articles should be thinking to themselves “This isn’t right. We have to find another way. THEY – the people who I trusted would DO THE RIGHT THING – has to find another way”.  I don’t know what to do. We donate. We send money. We write to whoever  and sign petitions for whatever. We’re still trying to find ways to help. But at the very least we should feel confident that when in crisis like this, the people that ‘lead’ will do what should be done.

Punishments should fit their crime. We don’t go around chopping people’s hands and heads off anymore because its’ not humane. Perhaps your tongues should be chopped off for spewing hate.

What’s even more unsettling are the comments all you pedestal preachers are writing – “Probably selling organs. Take their kids away forever. Let them starve, that will teach their people” Absurd.

This entire country is built upon slaves, immigrants, and refugees who physically built that door you were able to walk through. That flag you are waving today, that red is for blood, not valor.  And if my memory serves me correctly most of the people standing on the Facebook Pouter Pedestal have no idea what it is to FIGHT for what is right and fair. Just because something is a written law doesn’t mean it’s right.  WHO ARE YOU to say that door should be closed when that is how it was built to begin with?

Now, some are going to argue “ That bill was set in 1997! Those pictures are from 2004!” WHO CARES! This should NOT be happening PERIOD and you should NOT BE SUPPORTING IT!!!!!

No – thousands of people coming into ANY country is not healthy for stability, growth, blah blah blah. But this – what we’re ‘witnessing’ – separating infants, toddlers, children and teenagers from their parents,  putting them in separate facilities BEHIND CAGED WALLS, and sleeping with TIN FOIL BLANKETS is Child Abuse. And you are supporting it. #ThisIsAmerica

August 31 Day Challenge: 1. Mission Statement

This is a bit over ambitious for me. However, I am going to do this. I am going to make time. Because it’s what I need.

Day 1. Mission Statement

To live a life while earning an income that allows us to experience and enjoy what we can while we have time here. 

Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 6.24.54 AM

THIS is living to me.
Handling business during the morning.
Enjoying this crazy city of ours in the afternoons.
Relaxed. At ease. Breathing.
Today I start an entrepreneurial challenge and Day #1 asked… “Whats your mission statement?” This picture is a huge part of it. Something as simple as taking a 3 hour walk through the gardens, appreciating our lives, enjoying our littles, discussing business strategy, not answering calls or texts, and just being in our little moment… this is it.

Funny Pregnancy Thoughts

August 20 2016

Right now, there are people trying to perform the perfect front pike, surface arch, and ballet leg double in order to win a gold medal.

Continue reading “Funny Pregnancy Thoughts”

Does it snow in Africa?

May 14, 2013 at 8:27pm · New York ·

“Does it snow in Africa? Does it snow on the Moon? How do you know? Can you name all the continents? At what degrees does water freeze? Can you help me find this other sock, it’s my favorite pair. Do you know which way this piece moves? The directions on this key chain craft doesn’t make sense. If I am bleeding through my eye balls, am I going die? Why does he live outside? Where did the sun come from? What happens when we die? How many seconds are there in 1 billion years? Why do we fart?”

I love being a parent. I really do… But can someone please tell me WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY didn’t anyone mention that I had to be a walking encyclopedia, referee, all games rules knower, explorer, inventor, fake jewelry designer, expert card maker, science project all do-er, goodnight song singer, broken thing fixer, rapper, chef, maid, outfit matcher, nail trimmer, hair inspector, foot smeller, event organizer, appointment setter, confirmer and follow-up-er, plant grower, life philosophy explainer, astronomer, doctor, healer, gossip explainer, sticky note supplier, bully ass kicker, watch woman – day and night, tissue handler, car pooler, sock finder, hair tie finder, cap finder, how things work explainer, why things don’t work explainer, nerf gun expert, battery size expert, lego expert, hot wheels expert, playdoh picker, measuring the size of a kids foot by eye apprentice, measuring the size of a kids clothes by eye without the kid being present master, super hero power knower, monster hugh dolls name knower, food label reader, cleaning supply label reader, bad smell sniffer and culprit locator…..

I think I might be forgetting a few things….

Sheesh I could have at least taken a class or two if someone would have kindly given me a heads up!!!

her grace is as fierce as her kick… and i photographed her

her grace is as fierce as her kick… and i photographed her

One of my favorite photos.

She’s a beautiful force to be reckoned with. In and out of the ring. 

Ever meet people that you just know will leave a lasting impression… 

She wasn’t just a fighter to me. She wasn’t just another client for me. She became a friend, an inspiration. She became someone that I can look up to. Hard work and dedication is like breathing for her. “It doesn’t feel like work to me. It’s fun. It’s what I really love to do” is what she said to me on the day we had  our first official photo shoot. Her community was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. She was not exempt. But not even Mother Nature could stop her perseverance.  She continues to train for her upcoming fight at Combat at the Capitale in November. And she holds classes for her students at a temporary location so that they can concentrate on themselves at least a couple of times a week while their lives are pieced back together. 

Her name is Andrea DeAngelo…  and I photographed her. 

Andrea DeAngelo
Champions Fitness Center & Louis Neglia Martial Arts
Photos by Chastity Cortijo © 2012
See more photos HERE: –>