Culture

California Man Is Using His Culture To Create Hilarious And Super Relevant Mexican Greet Cards

Jesus Ruvalcaba was an artist looking for more creative freedom in his life. Even after getting a job as an art director at eBay and Hewlett-Packard in Silicon Valley, the then 36-year-old felt complacent. It was a stop at a grocery store when he went to buy his mother a birthday card that a light bulb flashed in his head. 

“I looked at all these cards but couldn’t find something that resonated with my Latino culture,” Ruvalcaba said. “I felt that an entire population group was being ignored.”

That night planted the seeds of what would eventually become Paper Tacos, a greeting card business focusing on Mexican culture and traditions. From get well soon messages that read “sana sana colita de rana” ((heal, heal little frog) to birthday cards that read “sapo verde,” Ruvalcaba had tapped into a demographic that wasn’t typically represented in the greeting card business. 

“I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt like this,” he said. “This was more than just about a greeting card but seeing my culture being seen.” 

Ruvalcaba, the son of two Mexican immigrants, got most of his inspiration growing up in the Central Valley fields of California. He worked alongside his parents in the isolated artichoke fields where he learned to draw. 

Credit: Jesus Ruvalcaba / Paper Tacos

Ruvalcaba knew he wanted to be an artist at a young age and says growing up he would usually be found carrying around a sketchbook full of drawings. He didn’t grow up with much as his parents were Mexican immigrants who worked tirelessly as fieldworkers in the central California valley in cities like Castroville and later in Salinas. 

“My parents didn’t really know a lick of English so my drawings did a lot of the talking for me,” he says. “We didn’t have much growing up but they would buy me art supplies and always encouraged me to keep drawing.”

Those drawings would pave the way for a career in animation as Ruvalcaba became the first in his family to graduate college obtained a degree in graphic design at California State University Monterey Bay and eventually his Master’s degree. Shortly after, he would find himself in Silicon Valley working for companies like eBay and Hewlett-Packard as an art director. 

Ruvalcaba knew he could still do more with his talents. After attending a Dia de los Muertos art event in 2016, he met another artist selling Spanish prints with Mexican slogans. He was then reminded of that night at the market when he couldn’t find a Spanish greeting card for his mom. 

“It hit me right there and then that if I could come up with greeting cards that have Mexican sayings like “sana sana colita de rana,” I could tap into a market that was never really acknowledged prior.” Ruvalcaba said. 

After receiving encouragement from his girlfriend, Ruvalcaba put his illustration skills and graphic design experience to work as he produced his first set of 15 cards for 300 dollars. In Fall 2017, Paper Tacos became a reality. 

Credit: Jesus Ruvalcaba / Paper Tacos

About a year after the idea of Paper Tacos first came up, Ruvalcaba attended the same art festival from the year prior and sold his first greeting card for $5 apiece. The response to the cards was immediate and customers told Ruvalcaba about what it meant to see their culture on a product like this.

“It felt like my idea was validated in a way and seeing everyone respond so positively to Paper Tacos was just the cherry on top,” said Ruvalcaba. “From there it only got even bigger.”

In the following months of 2017, Paper Tacos made its launch and by the end of 2017, he had made $2,000 within just three months of launching his site. In 2018, he had made over $12,000 in sales and today has over 20K followers on Instagram alone. When he started the business, there were only 15 card designs which have now grown to over 100. He’s also branded outside of California and is currently selling his greeting cards at 25 stores throughout the country.

For Ruvalcaba, Paper Tacos hasn’t been just any business move or a little extra income revenue. It’s a tribute to his Mexican background and a reflection of his culture that he feels is being celebrated every time one of his cards is given. 

Credit: Jesus Ruvalcaba / Paper Tacos

When asked about where his inspiration for his greeting cards come from, Ruvalcaba says his parents. Those long days working along with them in the artichoke fields and holidays where all they had was each other. 

“Every card is a reflection of me growing up in a Mexican household and other people have connected with that,” said Ruvalcaba. “When I brainstorm ideas I just look back to my childhood.”

That connection is something special he says. While Ruvalcaba still has a full-time job as a designer in Santa Clara, if things keep going the way they are, Paper Tacos will become his main focus. 

Through Instagram, Ruvalcaba has begun working with more freelancers to keep growing Paper Tacos and get more artists opportunities. His business plan is to expand to other Latino backgrounds to work and reach out to Salvadoran and Nicaraguan artists so that they too can see representation.  

“This business has shown me how powerful this product can be and every time someone tells me the impact that these cards have had on a family member or a friend, it sticks with me,” Ruvalcaba says. “It’s a special thing to know a simple greeting card can do this.”

READ: Patty Delgado Is Changing The World Of Latino Fashion With Her Own Store Hija De Tu Madre

20 Classic Latino Baby Names to Consider

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20 Classic Latino Baby Names to Consider

What is the most adorable battle of sexes that you are ever going to come across? I will give you the answer. It is an expecting couple cribbing, crying and fighting each other on choosing the best baby names. It is hard for a man not to be a fan of Latin American names if he is a football aficionado. Given that we are living in times that shall go down in history books as those that were owned by a Lionel Messi or a Neymar Junior, the names of football stars represent just the tip of the iceberg of human nomenclature in Latin America. Of course, you would not like to discuss footballer names if you have a girlfriend or a wife that has an aversion to football. But then, there are still some amazing female Latino names that pop up when you think of the long list of glitterati in the domains of entertainment, literature, spirituality, and music. Which Latino baby names would you and your partner choose?

Here we present you a compelling list of what we thought are the most common yet powerful names that epitomize the beauty of Latin America’s rich heritage and culture. We start with 10 Latino baby names for boys and then take you through another set of 10 Latino baby names for girls. Take a look.

Latino Baby Names for Boys

Santiago

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@Jenny Silverstone / Pinterest

First on our list is the name Santiago. A direct adaptation of the name of Saint James, in Latin, the name spells spiritual enlightenment, purity, and blissfulness in one breath. Beyond the spiritual connection, Santiago is also the capital of Chile.

Mateo

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@Baby Photos / Facebook

Second on our list of 20 classic Latino names is Mateo. Mateo is a name derived from the Spanish language and literally translates into the phrase of God “gift of God.” The name works really well if you and your life partner consider the boy to be a gift from Almighty.

Alejandro

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@queenz.kat / Pinterest

Third, on our list is a name that is rooted in ancient history. Alejandro is the Spanish variant of the original Greek name Alexander. The name has lived since ages and continues to remind people of what is capable through resolute action.

Third, on our list is a name that is rooted in ancient history. Alejandro is the Spanish variant of the original Greek name Alexander. The name has lived since ages and continues to remind people of what is capable through resolute action.

Diego

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@thebump / Pinterest

Fourth on our list of the best Latino names for baby boys is one that reflects wisdom. Diego is a Spanish name that refers to a teacher. If you and your partner look forward to having a baby boy that can one day evolve into an erudite person, this name certainly fits the bill like no other.

Leo

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@thebump / Pinterest

Fifth on our list of the best Latino names for baby boys is a name that represents the qualities of leadership and the royalty of a lion in the jungle. The name Leo is derived from the Latin language and means a lion. There are similar variants of the name across different languages in the world. The German name Leopold refers to people with the virtues of bravery and valor.

Valentino

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@rosiesradrama / Instagram

Sixth on our list is a name that has its roots in Italian history and is universally associated with virtues of large-heartedness, love, and peace. The name Valentino derives itself from the Italian variant of the Latin Valentinus that has also seen versions in other languages.

Bautista

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@thebump / Instagram

The seventh name unfortunately for wives and girlfriends again reflects back on football. Remember the Mexican footballer Adolfo Bautista. The name Bautista also has a high spiritual dimension in Christianity. Derived from the Spanish language the name refers to someone who has been baptized.

Esteban

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@healthybabies / Twitter

Eighth in the list is a name that again has its roots in Spanish and refers to the crown. You got that guys and gals. Esteban refers to the crown, the ornament that embellishes the heads of the few powerful and privileged ones, i.e. the kings.

Gonzalo

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@healthybabies / Twitter

Ninth on our list is the name Gonzales that means someone that saves from harm. If you couples out there look forward to having a baby boy that can grow up to be the savior of the people in the world, then this name that has its roots in Spanish is just for you.

Angel

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@healthybabies / Twitter

Tenth on our list of names is Angel. Highly popular across Latin American countries like Mexico and Argentina, the name refers to one that is God sent or divine.

Girl Names

Veronica

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@KateJusko / Pinterest

First in the list of girl names in Latin is Veronica. The name traces its roots to the Bible and refers to the maiden that had given her handkerchief to Christ. A popular name in Latin America, it is essentially derived from Spanish.

Valentia

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@KateJusko / Pinterest

Second, on our list of baby girl names is Valentia.  A typical Latin name, it symbolizes virtues of bravery and courage and is very popular in South America.

Amada

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@KateJusko / Pinterest

Third on our list of baby girl names is Amada. A Spanish name that means loved or beloved, it is perfect for your cute baby girl if you believe in the power of love.

Angelica

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@KateJusko / Pinterest

Third on our list of baby girl names is Amada. A Spanish name that means loved or beloved, it is perfect for your cute baby girl if you believe in the power of love.

Angelica

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@BabyGirl / Pinterest

Fourth on our list of baby names is the name Angelica, the feminine version of the name Angel. Representing the same virtues as the name of her male counterpart, the name derives itself from the Latin language.

Antonia

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@BabyGirl / Pinterest

Fifth on our list of names for baby girls is a name with Roman roots, Antonia. The feminine version of Antony, the name means someone who is invaluable and commendable.

Susanita

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@AfrinShaikh / Pinterest

Sixth on the list of names for your princess is the name Susanita, the Latin adaptation of the English name Suzana. Remember the lyrics of that immortal love song “Suzana I am crazy loving you.”

Amelia

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@AfrinShaikh /Pinterest

Seventh on the list blends names like Emilia and Amalia and is rooted in the Latin language. Amelia is a popular name for baby girls in Latin America and refers to virtues of industriousness and enterprise. It can also refer to someone who is the vanguard of something or people.

Isabella

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@ErikaEskamilla / Pinterest

Eighth on the list is a name that is an adaptation of Elizabeth and refers to one that is devoted to God. A popular name for girls in Latin America, the name reflects the widespread culture of the English, Portuguese and French royals having an Elizabeth in their courts.

Gabriela

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Pinterest@ Erika Eskamilla

Ninth on our list of baby girl names is Gabriela, the feminine version of Gabriel in Hebrew that literally translates into one that God gives strength to. It fits perfectly for parents looking for some divine inspiration from the name of Biblical saints.

Martina

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Pinterest@Haleyyxoo

Last on the list of baby names for girls and also in this collective of 20 classic Latino names is one that is inspired by sportspersons and Olympic champions, the most heard of being Martina Hingis. Martina is a Latin name for girls and has become synonymous with virtues of excellence in sports.

On a final note, you and your partner can continue to fight on all the petty issues of life ranging from football matches disturbing your schedules for candlelight dinners to the time that women take in front of the mirror to adorn themselves. Yet, these 20 classic Latino names should ideally provide you some meeting ground and serve the purpose of reminding you of what stands to be achieved for long lasting world peace! Cheers to your parenthood and choosing the right name for your baby.Toggle 

A Colombian Orphan Was Adopted By His Host Family And The Video Will Tug At Your Heart Strings

Things That Matter

A Colombian Orphan Was Adopted By His Host Family And The Video Will Tug At Your Heart Strings

Amanda Thiessen Barkey / Facebook

Sebastian is a young boy who was growing up in Colombia with no biological relatives. A program called Kidsave’s Summer Miracles connected Sebastian with the Barkey family for a summer. During that time, the family fell in love with Sebastian and they decided to secretly adopt him after the program ended and he flew back to Colombia.

The Barkey family fell in love with Sebastian after hosting him for a summer so they decided to adopt him.

Orphan Reunited With Family

After spending summer with the Barkey family in the U.S, Colombian orphan Sebastian has become a part of the family…👨‍👩‍👦

Posted by UNILAD on Thursday, January 30, 2020

The adoption was a true family affair. All of the Barkey children and their parents boarded a flight to Colombia to collect the newest member of their family. The reunion was caught on camera and it is a sweet and honest representation of modern families.

The moment Sebastian sees the Barkey family is an emotional experience for everyone in the room.

Credit: UNILAD / Facebook

Sebastian is walked through the hallways of the adoption agency and led into a room with the family he has grown to love. He is immediately surrounded by the Barkey family who smothers him in hugs. The feeling of excitement and love is palpable from the video.

Sebastian even signed the adoption papers using his new last name: Barkey.

Credit: UNILAD / Facebook

Congratulations, Sebastian. And well done, Barkey family. What a touching and sweet moment captured on camera.

READ: In The Middle Of National Adoption Awareness Month, This Movie Is Making A Statement