Things That Matter

From Bad Bunny Notebooks To A Concha Mochila, Here Are Our Top Picks For Back To School

No matter if it’s your first day of third grade or the first day of senior year, we can all agree that going back to school is rough.

After a long, restful summer with fun in the sun, all of a sudden you have mami waking you up and shaking you to get dressed and ready at an ungodly hour. You’re worried about what you’re going to wear, the classes you’re going to take and everything that comes with the dark, unknown territory of a new year.

But don’t sweat, we’ve put in the legwork to help make sure you’re prepared for the year ahead. Check out some of our top finds for back to school:

First things first, you need the perfect mochila.

And we got you! This mitú backpack is perfect for going back to school, is water resistant and all the pockets give plenty of room for all your supplies, including a hidden pocket with zipper for your laptop (or stash of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.) Get it here.

Or, if you’re a little more sweet – no prob – this is the backpack for you.

Since sweet is how you like to live your life, represent with this medium-sized backpack. Perfect for school or for just stowing your stuff, this backpack even has a pocket specially designed for your laptop. The material is water-resistant and it’s designed to be ergonomic so don’t be afraid to load it up and get on with your day. Buy here.

And with all that learning you’ll be doing, you’re gonna need a spot to write things down and take notes.

Credit: VeryThat / Instagram

As a student you’ve got loads to do. So keep it all organized while flying your Latinx Pride. Take notes, create to-do lists, organize your schedule in these fierce af notebooks from Very That. Buy here.

Wanna show how real your thirst for Bad Bunny is? Walmart’s got you!

Credit: @drivetexi99 / Twitter

The Bad Bunny line of libretas comes in three different designs based on BB album art and featuring the Puerto Rican rapper. Available at Walmart.

Or you wanna embrace your Latinidad?

Then you need these notebooks! You always hustling, on the go, and these let everyone know just how real the Latino Hustle really is. Shop here.

You’re also gonna need a pencil pouch/makeup kit and this is legit the perfect one.

Sometimes you need a delicious sweet treat. Sometimes you need a pencil. This concha pencil case can at least help you with one of those things. Designed to keep all your pencils and pens together, this pouch is perfect to use as a catch-all for anything you’re looking to store. Available here.

Then there’s our limited edition Dora and the Lost City of Gold Barrio Box survival kit.

In our limited edition Dora and the Lost City of Gold Barrio Box there are many treasures to discover but some are especially suited for your back to school prep. The Drawstring Survival Pack, Adventure Fuel Reusable Water Bottle and Educated Latina Pencil Pack are perfect for your return to the jungle that is higher education. Be warned — only 100 of these boxes exist so get yours soon before they sell out.

And I don’t think you’ll find any notepads out there that make more of a statement than these do.

Credit: EsLaMaestra / Etsy

You can find them here.

And we know you want/need the perfect reusable water bottle.

If you’re thirsty AF and need to be quenched, then look no further than our splashing new Mermaid Guacardo Water Bottle. No other reusable water bottle features this majestic underwater avocado! Get yours today and savor that wetness!

Hispanic Heritage Month Is Meant To Celebrate Spanish-Speaking Cultures, But What Does That Mean In The Age Of Trump?

Culture

Hispanic Heritage Month Is Meant To Celebrate Spanish-Speaking Cultures, But What Does That Mean In The Age Of Trump?

This week is the start of a month long commemoration of Latino culture as Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, kicks off across the U.S. Compared to Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month starts in the middle of a month. This is due to September 15 and 16 marking the independence days of Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. 

The annual observance started back in in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson’s administration as a one-week celebration called Hispanic Heritage Week. It wouldn’t be until years later that President Ronald Reagan proposed extending this celebration into a month-long event. On Aug. 17, 1988, it was put into law officially designating the 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

But in the age of Trump where anti-Latino sentiments run high, what does this month truly represent beyond just a marketing opportunity for companies to cash in on our culture?

Credit:@itseduardosolis/Twitter

For the next few weeks, Latinos will be at the forefront when it comes to “representation”. In other words, Latinos will be involved in marketing campaigns, corporate social media accounts will attempt to tweet in Spanish and sugar skulls will be all the rage at your local Target. That’s Hispanic Heritage Month in 2019 and something doesn’t seem right about that. 

The problem with Hispanic Heritage Month is that it represents almost everything that our culture isn’t about. That starts with the name itself, Hispanic, which came into use after the 1980 Census to refer to Spanish and Latin American descendants living in the U.S. It’s this lumping of all Latino people under the Hispanic umbrella, whether it applies to us or not, that is problematic. It leaves out countless of groups of people like those who identify as Afro-Latino or Indigenous that are constantly overlooked or never given any representation whatsoever. 

Beyond just the name, the question of it’s purpose and its meaning in this day and age also comes into play. In reality, most Latinos don’t need a month to be acknowledged or be at the forefront of a marketing campaign to feel accepted. Most celebrate their cultural pride every single day.

Hispanic Heritage Month was created by and promoted by the U.S. government to show that we “arrived” as people in this country. Yet in the 31 years since HHM started, Latinos have more than just arrived. We have made ourselves at home and have contributed to U.S. culture, science and art in ways that deserve more than just a month when brands pander to us. 

While some look at Hispanic Heritage Month as a time to celebrate maybe it can serve a better purpose by letting us tell our own narrative for once. 

Credit:@ric_galvan/Twitter

The purpose of Hispanic Heritage Month needs a reboot rather than some faux-celebration about ethnic representation. Instead, the month should focus on how to move our communities forward and how we can share our own narratives and stories. 

For a population group that makes up 18.1% of the total U.S. population, representation has been hard to come by in recent years. The majority of this visibility has been succumbed to President Trump’s antipathy towards Latinos and demonization of migrant groups coming from the Southern border. Then came Aug. 3, when a shooter inspired by the President Trump anti-Latino rhetoric killed 22 people in El Paso. The deadly shooting sent shock waves to Latino communities across the country and placing fear in the minds of many. While this isn’t the first time Latinos have been targeted, the attack represented divisiveness that has once again reared it’s ugly head. 

Yet instead of living in fear, the best response can only be one of visibility and solidarity. The truth of the matter is that Latinos never needed government validation or permission to share our heritage, no matter what month of the year it may be. 

Rather than waste a month grasping onto what others perceive us as, we should embrace our own stories and bring to light the issues we face everyday. In reality, no month long celebration will ever validate our experiences or our stories. But as long as we have the platform, let’s make the best use of it and share our own narratives for once. 

READ: Latinos Are Still Waiting For Their Own Movie Moment As Hollywood Tries Casting More Diverse Films

The Internet Is Cheering This Former Bus Boy Who Is Now Running His Own Sushi Restaurant

Things That Matter

The Internet Is Cheering This Former Bus Boy Who Is Now Running His Own Sushi Restaurant

mariscosysushitomateros / Instagram

For almost 15 years, Edgar Baca worked as a busser at Nobu Malibu, a high-end Japanese restaurant established by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, until he was finally able to open his own restaurant ⁠— Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros

Baca delivers high-quality seafood, making this a great spot for those who want to indulge in delicious sushi or Sinaloan mariscos.

Credit: Yelp.com

Baca worked in the same position as a busser for nearly 15 years, hoping to see the day when he would be able to open his restaurant. Those years gave him the necessary skills to create exquisite dishes that are satisfying, visually appetizing and most importantly – affordable. 

Inspired from the innovative cuisine at Nobu, Baca creates creative sushi dishes with a Mexican twist.

Credit: mariscosysushitomateros / Instagram

For example, the Guamuchilito roll that is stuffed with seafood and topped with avocado and tampico sauce is named after a town in Culiacán, Mexico. Another roll they have is the strawberry roll that has shrimp tempura, cucumber, strawberries, and tamarindo sauce. However, sushi isn’t the only item served at this restaurant. The menu at Los Tomateros also consists of traditional Mexican dishes, such as ceviche, tacos, molcajete, aguachile and so much more. 

As an immigrant from Culiacán, Baca pays homage to his hometown with his restaurant and food, dropping little hints of his home throughout.

For example, the logo of Los Tomateros is a tomato with chopsticks, as the tomato is a prominent vegetable grown in Sinaloa. Los Tomateros is also the name of a popular baseball team in Culiacán. Baca is proud to show off his roots and is unafraid to experiment with traditional and well-known recipes to create the items on his menu.  

Baca is also cooking for people like him as the average meal at Nobu costs about $30-$60.

Credit: Yelp.com

Although the menu at Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros doesn’t consist of Rosemary Panko Crusted New Zealand Lamb Chop’s or Scallop Truffle Chips, Los Tomateros brings a little taste of Sinaloa to Los Angeles.

However, Baca does carry Yellowtail Yusu in his restaurant.

Credit: mariscosysushitomateros / Instagram

The Yellowtail Yusu dish that Los Tomateros serves is similar to a popular item found on the Nobu Malibu menu that is approximately $30. The dish is expensive, but Baca is able to recreate it beautifully for less and introduce it to folks in the community that may never have the opportunity to dine at Nobu. Baca is establishing his own spin on sushi, proving that you don’t have to go an expensive restaurant to get delicious and high-quality seafood. 

Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros is the outcome of years of sacrifice, savings, and hard work. 

In the beginning, Baca worked two shifts at Nobu and faced sleepless nights to make his restaurant a reality. Baca started small, first cooking from his home for his coworkers at Nobu the traditional Mexican dishes they craved, then he began cooking for celebrities. His determination to make his business and delicious food did not go unnoticed as he has catered events for famous Mexican figures, such as soccer player Carlos Vela. 

At some points in his career, Baca struggled to keep his restaurant afloat and was left without electricity or the money to buy the proper ingredients to cook his dishes. He would call his relatives for help, asking for funds to maintain his business. All this to keep his dream alive. 

Baca’s goal to own his own restaurant and be the boss of his locale is a goal that is shared by many immigrants around the United States.

After all, it is the American dream to have your own business, but it is not easy to obtain. Baca demonstrated a lot of patience as he stayed at the same job for almost 15 years to make Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros happen. However, it’s more than just having the money to fund your business. Baca has the skill to mix traditional cuisines together to create something amazing. Moreover, the knowledge from working at Nobu allows him to cook exquisite meals. It was not easy for Baca to get to where he is today as it took years before he was able to see the fruits of his labor materialize, but it did eventually happen. Baca fought hard to keep his dream afloat and did not let the setbacks hinder his success as an entrepreneur.

If you find yourself in the Lynwood, California area, make sure to check out Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros and try some of their mariscos that are 100% Sinaloense!