Latina Magazine

"I love you more than my own skin." Frida Kahlo

I look at this picture and it makes me smile. I can't believe this actually happened. We were chosen to be featured in April's Latina Magazine. It all happened when an editor emailed to ask me if I'd be interested in being interviewed as an entrepreneur and a mom. She wanted to know what every budding "mompreneur" wants to know: how the heck do you balance kids with following your dreams and passion of running a business? She also wanted to know my process for coming up with Mixed Up Clothing and all the various designs in the collection.

I explained that balancing mommyhood with business is a never ending process. In fact it's a daily battle. I call it a "battle" because some days I win the battle and on other days I fail miserably. That's the real truth and I own it!

Owning a business while being a wife and mom of four, one of whom has special needs, is hard. I mean the hardest thing I have done. Some days I get it right. On these days I'm taking meetings, networking and making sales. I get home to take kids to Korean tutoring, Tae Kwon Do, get dinner on the table while homework is progressing, then baths and bed.  All is right in my world.

Then, as if that day never existed, the next day I'm running late dropping kids off at schools (yes plural). There's traffic getting downtown, my appointment cancelled 15 minutes after it was supposed to start and contractors are calling needing more trim and bias. I head home again in traffic and I have to call my mom to pick up the kids and take them to soccer practice. Dinner means picking up fast food and sleeping in the clothes I wore during the day because I'm exhausted.

It's tough to do everything well everyday. EVERYDAY? I go on talking to the editor that it's impossible to do THIS without first giving yourself a break for not being super woman. It's about being ok with asking for help - whether that comes in the form of grandma, friends, assistants, housekeeper, healthy meal deliveries, etc!

My family and friends are my lifelines. If it weren't for them I wouldn't be able to do many of the things I need to do in my business or with my children.

I haven't even mentioned my husband have I? This guy is my rock and my biggest supporter. Don't get me wrong, the guy drives me nuts some days as I do him, but he is truly my best friend. He's a pretty smart dude, too. As an extremely busy doctor, medical director, he runs the pediatric intensive care unit and pediatric trauma department at our local hospital. He has so much on his plate but still finds time to be my IT guy, Luke's basketball and baseball coach and Mixed Up Clothing packager and shipper. Half the time he's on 2 hours of sleep but doesn't complain. He just keeps it moving. When I have to spend more time downtown at the office, he's there to pick up and transport kids. We sync our calendars and communicate several times a day to make sure who is doing what and when.  With Rich, family and friends supporting me, I'm able to work on Mixed Up Clothing.

The editor asked about why I left 15 years of being a RN to start a children's clothing line.  Being multiracial (Mexican and Black), marrying my husband who is Korean, I wanted to teach my children about different cultures. I use my clothing designs and fabrics to teach others about cultural diversity. I use models who, like my daughter, have special needs. They are beautiful and need to be on runways and in magazines.

I promote inclusion in everything I do. I start by designing fun silhouettes and choosing fabrics that have a cultural significance to them. Whether it's calaveras or pinatas; senoritas or calabashes; Frida Kahlo or cherry blossoms, it's all about the cultural significance to the fabric.Then I design silhouettes that I think would look great paired with the fun fabrics. Once that's decided, we're able to make a pattern and start the production process. It's timely but I enjoy seeing it come together from an idea to a finished product in a matter of a few weeks.

The editor finished our interview and said she'd be in contact IF we were chosen for the spread in Latina Magazine. Weeks later we received the great news that we made it and we would be photographed.

When it was time for the photo shoot, it was hard being the main focus of the shoot. I'm more comfortable behind the scenes, not front and center, but I made a point to step out of my comfort zone and relish in this moment.

The day started with hair and makeup provided by BeautyByTK. Then the arrival of famed photographer, Lee Clower and his team. Delia of DDHPR was instrumental in directing us.

Lee had the idea of putting our four kids and Richard behind our shelving. He moved them around, had them poking their heads out, which everyone got a kick out of.

It was a great day full of laughter and it reminded me of what really matters: that even though days are crazy and life is hard, you have to poke your head out from what you are doing and just laugh!

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