Amy has totally lost it.

My daughter, Amy Kikita has been working hard these past few months to lose weight. She has to date lost 30 pounds and the scale is still moving to the left every day.

Amy after

I admire the courage it has taken her to face her own fears and presuppositions about what this will mean to her and her life.


Today on the Tiki Tiki, she shares her essay titled "The Fat Friend."

Please read. In fact, you should totally go hang out at the Tiki Tiki all week and enjoy this wonderful series on Body Image.

Way to go, Mimi!

Celebrating Abuela

I never knew my grandparents.

We left Cuba when I was so very young that I barely remember my grandmothers. I think my dad's parents had already passed away by the time I was born. And I have just the few mental snapshots that a five year old can retain of my mom's mother.

Here's a beautiful old photo of her, my maternal grandmother, Osmunda Perez-Puelles when she was pregnant with my Tio Fernando. (Incidentally, Tio Fernando will be turning 100 in Miami next week.)

1a - pregnant abuela

The only abuela I have ever known is this woman in this 100 year old photograph.

My mom says that maybe that's why I have always loved old people. And it's true. I am very aware of the richness of life that most older people have to impart to us "youngsters." That attracts me tremendously.

I hope to be that wise old woman myself to my (as yet, unborn) grandchildren someday.

It's from this perspective of not really ever having had a grandmother in my life that I worked on this beautiful project for Tiki Tiki Blog.

It's a fabulous collection of stories by seven women who fondly remember their grandmothers and share their reminiscences.

Abuelitas photo collage copy

Tiki Tiki readers submitted photos of their grandmothers and I am extremely proud to say that I designed this cover and created this E-book, Celebrating Abuela. (I know. Shut up. Get the sandpaper...)

Of course, I also added the photo of my mom, Luza (left-hand side of cover), because she is the Quintescential Cuban Grandmother.

Please download your free copy of this 40 page book by clicking this link: Download Celebrating Abuela with Tiki Tiki.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you from me and my big, fat, Cuban family and from my good friend, Carrie at Tiki Tiki Blog. She's completely genius when it comes to collecting and editing these wonderful stories. (My job is just to make it all look pretty, but that's not important right now.)


And to those of you who still have her with you, celebrate your abuela.

Besos! ~Marta

The Best of MBFCF in 2010

I started this tradition last year.

I reviewed my posts for the entire year (which was kind of interesting in a wow-is-that-a-train-wreck? kinda way, but that's not important right now) and picked a mix of some of my favorites.

These links are a pretty good representation of what it's like Living the Vida Loca, MBFCF-style.

If you've been a regular reader, I thank you for your time and attention and your cyber-love. You may enjoy going into my cyber-time machine and re-living this past year via the following blog posts.

If you're new to my blog, make yourself at home and enjoy this slice of my Cuban-American life in the O.C.



1. The Writing is On the Wall - The one where I take you on a tour of the walls of my freakishly small cottage-like home.

E I love you m

2. A Living Legacy - The one where my mom turned 96 and had her photo taken with (almost) everyone in my big, fat, Cuban family.


3. Amy's Trip to Cuba - The one where Amy Kikita (my daughter) goes to Cuba and shares how she experienced the island and the people and how she ended up meeting Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez of Generacion Y. This link is to all the posts from her trip.

Amy varadero

4.  How Google Works - A Very Cuban Explanation - The one where my 96 year old mom explains how the internet search engines work. She calls them Cuco and Yayo (Google and Yahoo) and becomes an instant Youtube hit among Cubans everywhere.

5. How to Turn 55 While in Miami - In which I drag out my birthday celebration for days and enjoy a wonderful party and my husband's sweet surprise.

Birthday party

6. How to Throw a Virtual Birthday Party - In which I surprise and amaze my daughter by having everyone she knows post a birthday greeting. (*takes bow*)

Val birthday amy

7.  Hasta La Vista, Baby! - In which my son, Adam, moves far away and leaves me sad. (*wipes away a tear*)

Adam car

8. Baking With Betty - Brownieliciousness - In which I get to bake in the Betty Crocker Kitchens in Minneapolis and am overwhelmed by my own nerdiness.


9. When is a Pitbull NOT a pitbull? - In which I am introduced to Cuban rapper, Pitbull and I may or may not have called him a muñecón. Here's the video version. ;-)


10. El Palacio and me. (It was love at first sight.) - In which I visit El Palacio de Los Jugos (with my partner in Tiki Tiki blog-crime, Carrie) in Miami and document the entire comelata.


11. The Mother Ring - In which I tell about how I received a family heirloom.


12. Nochebuena. Cubans. Photobooth. (Pachanga!) - In which I manage to capture the silliness and beauty that is my big, fat, Cuban family.


It's a nice compilation, isn't it?

I'll just keep writing in 2011. I hope you come back. My blog-casa is your blog-casa. =D

Happy New Year!

My Two Favorite Dolls

As a child, I played with dolls. A lot. In fact, constantly.

I had two that were my favorites. I had a Chatty Cathy doll. The kind with the pull string in the back that made her talk. And talk. And talk.


And a Skipper doll. Barbie's little sister. She had the coolest wardrobe ever.


I loved these two beauties so much that one day, I decided in my childish imagination, I'd have two daughters and they would each look just like my two favorite dolls...

Chatty Cathy:


And Skipper:

Lucy red

Maybe it was a prayer, because obviously, I got my wish. ;-)

[Read all about the story of the Christmas when I first got Skipper over at the Tiki Tiki.]

El Palacio and me. (It was love at first sight.)

I've been home for a week now and I'm still processing all the wonderful things I got to do and experience in Miami. I'll be writing about the trip little by little as I sort through my stuff and check my mental rolodex to remind myself of the stories I want to tell.

This particular one, I videotaped. (I know! Shut up!)

I'm starting to get more things on film and I'm finding that I enjoy telling my stories this way. I have even stopped cringing when I hear my voice on tape. Weird, right?

My Tiki Tiki blog-partner and Cuban friend, Carrie, took me to the Palacio de los Jugos on Flagler and 57th when we were in Miami last week.

Usually, I hold out for Versailles or La Carreta, but Carrie convinced me that the best "comelatas" are to be had at the Palacio.

What I found: All Cuban food is not alike. (The thing about Cuban food, though, is that it's sooo affordable, wherever you go.)


We managed to eat our way around the building (very cheaply!). Don't judge us. We both live far from Cuban restaurants (and La Dieta empieza mañana).

But can I just say....THIS over-abundance of Cuban food on every corner is why I could never live in Miami.  (Well, and the humidity, but that's not important right now.) I have no self-control when it comes to Cuban food. And I couldn't be held responsible for my actions if I lived so close to all that deliciousness.

In my life I've never seen so much fabulous Cuban food in one spot..... except for maybe here, at my house, on Nochebuena. =D

My girls

Cuban girls "do" the Palacio: L-to-R - Amanda, Yllien (my cousin), me, & Carrie after we successfully tasted everything in the building.

Follow us, as Carrie and I explore the wonders of the Palacio de los Jugos....I miss it already. * heavy sigh*

I Parranda and I Do Laundry - Multi-tasking the Cuban Way

I'm still recovering from my The Traumatic Thwarting of My Trip Home by the POTUS.

Thank you all for your concern. I'm definitely home now and back to my real life which includes laundry and laundry and more laundry and I have some videos I have to edit - in between loads of laundry.

I'll tell you all about Blogalicious Weekend and what I did and the cool places I got to stay in and my visit to the Palacio de Los week.

Remember my ¡Parranda! shoes? I totally got to wear them at the Que Rica Vida sponsored ¡Parranda! Party and I wrote all about that over at the Tiki Tiki today. Click here to read that story and watch the video.


Carrie & Me at the !Parranda! Party

In my mind I am still in Parranda mode, so while I'll be doing my best to scale Mt. Washmore* I'll definitely be moving my Cuban butt self to the delicious sounds of Celia Cruz.

You can take the Cuban girl out of Miami.... ;-)

(*H/T Flylady)

The Taming of the Do - The Movie

Hi. I’m Marta and I have naturally curly hair. (“Hi, Marta.”)

I know my hair looks smooth and straight in all the photos you've ever seen of me, but that's because I go through great pains and pay big bucks to get it done.

And I realized as I was writing this that I started straightening it about a year before I started blogging. So you won't see me here on my blog with my original curly hair.

Today, I tell the story about my hair insecurities and my ongoing struggles to tame my Naturally Curly Hair over at the Tiki Tiki.

Kate & me

Here's my amazing hairdresser, Kate Berry, who straightened my hair a lá Brazilian Blowout. We documented all the fun and made a short film.

Please enjoy:

Marta Meets the Brazilian Blowout. (You should go get some popcorn.)

It's fabulous, no? =D

Freida hair


When is a Pitbull NOT a pitbull?

It seems that lately I've been getting invited to all kinds of  "events"- apparently bloggers are the new press. Who knew?

Iwas invited by a fellow Latina blogger, Ana Flores from Spanglish Baby (Thanks again, Ana!) to come to the launch of the new Victoria's Secret perfume called Bombshell. It turns out that one of Ana's close friends, the lovely Susan Stipcianos from the Dream Team Agency was spearheading this event.

So I took Amy to L.A. with me, of course. The event was held at the enormous Victoria's Secret store at The Grove and there were all these gorgeous skinny semi-famous VS supermodels that we were supposed to interview. (I'm the new press, after all...)

But I got a little distracted because of all the fun we were having (but that's not important right now).

We got the Royal V.I.P. treatment. We had makeovers done by professional makeup artists

Makeup me 

Amy makeover

...and they had us do a glamour photo shoot...

Amy shoot 

Amy bombshell 1005

...and they gave us swag bags with beautiful umm....things....

...and, of course, the new perfume, Bombshell.

Bomb perfume
In the middle of the craziness, I notice a handsome young man having his photo taken with the supermodels (whom we have yet to interview.....because....Hey! Is it my turn for the photo?)

So Amy says, "Mami, that's Pitbull." He's getting his photo taken with the supermodels and then he leaves.

In slow-motion, I went Wait! (or more like W-A-A-I-I-T-T!) I'm the CUBAN BLOGGER here!

So I grabbed Amy and we head towards where Pitbull was last seen and he is now exiting the building - *sigh* We missed him. (Sad faces.)

Right at that moment, the very-on-top-of-it PR gal, Susan (that I told you about earlier, who was in charge"OMG! Come on!" And she proceeded to run down the internal alley of the mall, in her stilettos, yelling, "Wait! Pit!"

And here come Amy and Marta chasing Susan who is chasing Pitbull through the bowels of the Grove. (Talk about a surreal moment.)

When she finally caught him, she said to him, "This is the Most Important Person At This Event!" (If you look at the photo, you can tell we were far away from people and totally in the bowels of the mall.) And Pitbull was treating me like I was, well... The Most Important Person At This Event.

Of course, I spoke to him in Spanish, and I may or may not have called him a muñecon.

I think because of that awesome introduction he was very charming. (Amy was upset that he barely looked at her and paid me so much attention. I quickly reminded her of my Most Important Person Status. =D)

We chatted briefly, took our photos and he was delightful and charming and funny and when he turned to leave, he left behind a small puddle of what was formerly The Most Important Person There and Her First Born.

We regrouped beautifully and made the executive decision to skip the supermodel interviews. After all, we just had makeovers and got to meet Pitbull. (Which proves the existence of God.) Our evening was pretty complete with the added plus of the Pitbull meeting. I had my story. I came strutting back into the store and showed the photos on my camera to the swooning, skinny girls. They were staring at me with a total "WHO ARE YOU?" vibe. I loved it.

I decided it would be wisest to skip the supermodel interviews and focus my story on meeting Pitbull. Yeah, I'm shallow that way. =D

I do have a comment giveaway today, but you'll have to travel.

I want you to go over the TikiTikiBlog and follow this link to the Pitbull story post.

To be entered in the drawing for the new VS Bombshell perfume, (I promise want this!) go over to the Tiki Tiki and leave a comment on that post. Instructions and deadlines are over there.

Also, be sure to watch the video I put together. Then come back and tell me your opinion of how I'm handling my mid-life crisis. Or how jealous you're feeling right now. Bring it. =D

Link Love

I've been blogging here at MBFCF for almost four years (Wow! That's like high school!) now.

I love blogging as an a creative outlet. Not only because it's my blog and I can write pretty much whatever I want, but also because I get feedback. And for the most part, that feedback is positive, which makes me happy. 

I enjoy blogging so much that I also cook (and write) over at Babalú blog as you know. My feature there is called Marta's Cuban American Kitchen. That's where most of my recipes live on the web.

Martas kitchen logo 1 copy-1

I'm assuming you already know that I also co-edit a blog called Tiki Tiki with my friend, Carrie Ferguson Weir of Bilingual in the Boonies fame. 


Carrie gave me the news yesterday that had chosen the Tiki Tiki as one of their Must-Read Moms: Mom Blogs We Love

I was especially excited that they chose a blurb from one of my articles. (See actual post about my family's cleaning habits here.) They also mention my recipes.... 

And I quote: "And the recipes!? Oh. My."

I know. Shut. UP!

Screen shot 2010-08-12 at 10.34.50 AM

Our friends from Modern Mami and Spanglish Baby also made the list. Congratulations, amigas!

If you get a chance, check out the other Mom Blogs. Those women are talented! But also, get yourself over to the Tiki Tiki. Check out the contributor articles and videos. And you may want to consider sharing some of your stories there. (Sin pena!)

What exactly is the Tiki Tiki?  This video from Cuba Nostalgia explains a lot.

Look for Christina Diaz Gonzalez, author of The Red Umbrella. Also, Tony Mendoza the phenomenal Cuban artist. My friend, Val Prieto, editor of Babalú blog is represented here. And yes, you may even recognize yourself.

I feel sooo accidentally cool once more. =D

"Que es El Tiki Tiki?" - an explanation

We just got back to California from Miami yesterday. I am just starting to sort through photos and videos and memories.

My birthday celebrations extended out over the full week. (I am NOT complaining.) And I got to hang with (almost) everyone I knew or was related to at one point or another. Seriously, this trip was complete bliss.

As most of you already know, I also blog over at Babalú and at the Tiki Tiki. I was particularly pleased that I got to hang with all the folks I usually only see online.

My friend and partner in blogdom, Carrie Ferguson-Weir, is much more on the ball than I am (and much bossier, too, but that's not important right now) and has already started posting videos of all the people we chased down with our video cameras to talk about "el Tiki Tiki."

Carrie & me



Do yourself a favor and head on over to the Tiki Tiki this week. You won't be sorry. I think the interviews we got were pure gold. Oh, and don't be surprised if you find yourself on camera there, too.

Here she puts me on the spot. (Yes, my face really is that round. I know. Shut up.)