3 Inspiring Mexican Women My Abuelita Taught Me About By Krishna de la Cruz

A few days ago, I was inspired to sit down with one of my abuelitas and ask her about our female ancestors. This inspiration came from two places–a book I’ve been reading titled Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (which is pictured below and you should check out!), and a blog post on ancestral healing from one of my yoga instructors (which you should also check out!).  Gods of Jade and Shadow is about a young Mexican girl, living in Yucatan, Mexico in the 1920’s. We always hear about Hollywood and the roaring 20’s, and as exciting as that time period always sounds, I found that learning about that era in Mexico from my abuelita was a lot more special and personal.  The ancestral healing blog post that also served as inspiration for me focuses on learning about patterns and traumas that run in our families in order to heal something in our present life or to not replicate what has happened before. Let me tell you, when I asked my abuelita about my great-grandmothers, I learned about some really incredible things, things that you feel you only see in movies. It made me feel so proud to learn that I come from a family of strong women. It also made me feel so inspired–if they got through the things they did, then I can and I will get through whatever comes my way. So, I cannot emphasize how much I recommend sitting down with anyone in your family of an older generation and ask, ask, ask.

2Photo credit: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Guadalupe Garcia Ortiz 
She was one of my maternal great-grandmothers (or visabuela). She was born on July 5, 1920 and died March 3, 1987. She was likely born at Hacienda Santa Engrancia in General Teran, Nuevo Leon. Sometime before or after she got married, she moved to  Rancho San Jose in China, Nuevo Leon, where my grandmother was born. My visabuela was tall, fair-skinned, very thin, and had dark hair and brown eyes. She was very kind and always happy. She worked at Rancho San Jose her whole life. She was a very hard-working woman. She spent every day working, always doing something, and no one could stop her. At the ranch, she raised, fed, and bred chickens and pigs. She also worked the fields—corn, beans, squash, and watermelons. My abuelita says she never saw my visabuela angry or sad. No matter what happened, she was always happy. Throughout her life, my visabuela never got sick, and eventually she died of old age. I never got to meet her, but the picture my abuelita paints of her makes me feel like I have a little bit of her in me. I may not have grown up at a ranch and I may not know much about the kind of manual labor my visabuela did, but I do know that I am very much an optimist, even on the hardest days and I work really hard–so much that I have to remind myself that I need breaks. I asked my abuelita what she learned from my visabuela and she said, “She taught me how to be strong. I would see her receive bad news, such as the death of one of her children, and she was strong. She was a good mother because she always kept her children close. The family she built was a community. None of her children ever left too far from her and we never saw our parents fight.” She had more than eleven children. She’s a major inspiration and she is pictured top left in the photo below at about age seven in the mid-1920’s.
Aurora Barrera
She was my other maternal visabuela–mother of my maternal grandfather.  We have no record of her date of birth, but she was likely born at Rancho Guardado, Tamaulipas in the 1920’s. I could not obtain a photo of her, but my abuelita says she was tall, fair-skinned, very beautiful, with light brown eyes and light brown hair. She was very intelligent, educated, and kind. She received a full education, which during this time meant she finished high school, and then became a primary school teacher. During her spare time, she also tutored family members because the school they attended was not the greatest and my visabuela wanted to help them stay on track. A few years after she was married, she gave birth to my grandfather, but a divorce came soon after. Her ex-husband, pretty quickly remarried and had another child. My visabuela never remarried and remained independent for the rest of her life. My visabuela and her son (my grandfather) endured some pretty difficult traumas as a result of this separation. Listening to her experience made me feel grateful for the relationship I have with my parents, and helped me understand how this trauma affected my grandparents’ and parents’ lives. It also made me proud to know that my visabuela was a fully educated, independent, career-driven lady during a time where this was a rare thing for women to be.
La Generala 
La Generala means female war general. As badass as she sounds, she unfortunately was not related to me, but she was someone that made a big impression on my abuelita when she was a little girl in the 1940’s. La Generala’s real name was Aleja, but no one really referred to her by her actual name. They called her Generala because she actually was a general during the war where she worked as a nurse. She ran a whole hacienda near where my abuelita lived, called Hacienda El Mirador, which was a mansion surrounded by crops and by small cottages, where the people who worked the land lived (pictured below, it is now apparently a tourist attraction). My abuelita says it was a big community. They harvested oranges, tangerines, and avocados for the community, and sold whatever was left to people in the nearby city. Since La Generala had medical experience, she also served as the doctor in the community. She did not actually own the hacienda, but the man who did own it had to leave it and left her in charge. My abuelita says that she remembers her being morena, always having her hair in two long black braids, and always wearing a long dress. My abuelita got to know La Generala because every Christmas, she would throw a big posada (Christmas party), and invited the families of all the workers. My abuelita got to attend the posadas because some of her relatives worked at the hacienda and she still smiles remembering how beautiful and fun the hacienda was during Christmas time. I think female wartime generals and doctors don’t get enough credit so here’s to La Generala and to wishing I had met her too.
I feel like it’s your turn to sit down with your mamás, tías, and abuelas, and really learn about someone in your family. I promise you’ll be happy you did.


Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Krishna de la Cruz is currently an attorney living in Austin, Texas. She grew up on the Texas-Mexico border in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas and the Rio Grande Valley. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in Spanish from Texas State University in 2014 and Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2017. While in law school, she was an Executive Editor on the The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review for Race and Social Justice where she wrote an article focused on the issue of violence against women, particularly women of color. The article is titled “Exploring the Conflicts within Carceral Feminism: A Call to Revocalize the Women Who Continue to Suffer.” During law school, she traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico, where she was certified in Mexican Legal Studies at Universidad de Guadalajara.

In her spare time, Krishna enjoys reading, journaling, and hiking Austin trails. Krishna is a big enthusiast of mental health, mindfulness, physical wellness, and her Mexican heritage.

My Three Favorite Work-Outs That Don’t Stress Me Out

Working out is supposed to be a form of relieving stress, not piling it on. You know what I mean. Trying out a new gym or some trendy new workout studio can be intimidating. You don’t know what to expect. You feel like everyone in there might already be a pro. Will everyone know you took a three month break from your last workout?

I also can’t tell you how many gym memberships I’ve had that I stopped using because I have no clue what to do with those machines and because there’s no way in hell I’m going to go work out with the guys in the weights section. Props to you if you’ve overcome this! But if you’re inconsistent about exercising like I am and still find it challenging, know that you aren’t alone.

For the last two years, I’ve stuck with the following and actually look forward to working out (what?!):


I attend Black Swan Yoga in Austin, and I absolutely love it. It is hot yoga, which I used to hate at one point, but I’ve become used to it. Also, sweat dripping down my body makes me feel accomplished as hell. Like, damn. I am a super sweaty yoga goddess (even if I can barely hold any given pose).

What I love about yoga the most is that the entire point of the workout is time you make for yourself to focus on yourself. You aren’t there to check out other people’s poses or talk with your friends. You’re there to meditate and feed yourself spiritually and physically. After every yoga practice, I feel calm, relaxed, free, and proud of myself.

If you’re barely starting out, I recommend a beginner’s or all levels vinyasa yoga class. Hot or not is dependent on you. I don’t push it on anyone because it doesn’t suit everyone. And no, you do not have to be physically flexible to try a yoga class. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “I can’t do yoga because I can’t even touch my toes!” Good! That’s the point. Everyone is at a different level in their yoga practice and it’s called practice because the more you do it, the more flexible you can become.

Oh, and if you really don’t feel like attending a class, try YouTube for Yoga with Adriene. She has all sorts of yoga for anything you might be feeling for as little as fifteen minutes.

Orange Theory

As someone who was consistent in her cross-fit regimen back in the day, Orange Theory feels like cross-fit but just one level less intense. AND I LOVE THAT! I loved cross-fit, too, but honestly, for me it felt stressful going into a WOD (workout of the day) every day because I just knew I was about to die trying. It’s also worth noting that I’m afraid of lifting (very heavy) weights over my head because I am a clumsy individual and I get hurt a lot. Enter OT.

Orange Theory is an hour long workout that includes both cardio and strength training during every. single. workout. Every day is a different workout, and while there is a diversity of training equipment, there are no bars to lift over one’s body. It’s a group workout, which I’m a big fan of because nobody’s eyes are only on me and the coach isn’t yelling directly at me. We’re all in this together! And in one hour, I’ve knocked out both cardio and strength training and nobody laughed at me while I did it.

Yes, the workouts are intense, but they’re not so bad that you have to say a little prayer before you begin.

Jogging Outdoors

Finally, jogging. I am a wannabe runner. I’m that person who begins training for a half-marathon (hell, I have even paid to enter) and then gets to six miles and doesn’t run for another six months. But despite my lack of consistency (I’m beginning to notice a trend on this post), jogging outdoors is so relaxing. You can put on your favorite music, or not. You can run fast or slow. You can even meditate. Seriously, I do walking meditations sometimes and they really chill me out.

I hate running on a treadmill. I know, Orange Theory is fifty percent running on a treadmill, but they change it up so much that it doesn’t feel boring. If I have to run on a treadmill, I’m bored out of my mind with nowhere to go. Running outside is so liberating. It feels like when you were a kid and you played on the playground. Or like you’re running away from all your problems. I typically imagine the latter.

Let your ambition wake you! By Liliane Avalos

It’s four a.m. and the first urge to use the restroom wakes me. It’s still dark, peaceful, and silent out. Six a.m. and the second round hits me. I’m fighting to ignore it.  My mind begins to have an argument with my bladder now: “Are you serious? You just went!” My bladder sarcastically barks back, “Well you’re the one who thinks it’s a great idea to chug water before bed.  So yeah lazy bitch, I gotta go again!” I am simply the driver of a vehicle in this argument, listening to children fight in the back seat. Guess who wins. 

The sun is now quietly starting to peek over Mt. Agung and in through my window. The neighbor’s roosters are popping off, waking up their buddies to join in on the noise. As the sun continues to climb higher, the local Balinese school drums and xylophones commence followed by Muslim prayer over the communal intercom for all to appreciate. Privileged is truly the only Americanized word I can use to describe being awakened by these blessings. 

However, there are still those damn days that it is the pounding beat of my heart’s anxiety and murmurs of self-judgment that awaken me. “The sun has made it out before you, again! You’re behind on your art projects! You should be doing more!” On other days, it is just straightforward ambition with a more boot camp-like urgency cheering me on. “Today you’re gonna fuck shit up! You’re almost done! Today we get to meet new people and start new work!” Nevertheless, these multiple internal inflections are one and the same and I’ve made the decision to recognize them as my higher conscious shepharding me to my purpose. I miss the mornings, days, or even weeks at a time when they are away. But it’s okay because we all need a mental break sometimes, even if it is from ourselves. Without a doubt, some people may see this as extreme or even incomprehensible. But this is what and how it works for me. 

It is part of the human experience and our life’s journey to want to be and do better than our former selves. Being a freelance full time artist is not the easiest profession in the world per say, but it’s definitely the best in my eyesAs an artist, you are creating your own schedule, goals, agendas, marketing, and advertising yourself as a brand all while physically creating and forever educating yourself to evolve your skills. To be a great teacher I need to remain a student, forever learning and accepting of the fact that I don’t nor am I never going to know it all. This all takes mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energy.  Starting off it can feel like trying to dig up mountains with a plastic spoon. For any artist or person to be successful you really have to silence your own hesitation and procrastination, as well as nay the naysayers – even the make-believe ones.

Moral of this story is: Let your ambitions wake you! Do what works for you and focus on your higher purpose! Discover a way to turn that manifested energy into the fuel that feeds your driving force! In turn, let that be the same energy that motivates and triggers you to be the best version of yourself! Perhaps I’m just vain, or perhaps it’s only because the stardust has forged me into a Leo.  Perhaps its because I now realize that you will always only have yourself at the beginning and end of every good and bad day and I want to help construct the type of world I want to live in. A world with more genuine creatives are true to themselves… I know life is not always rainbows and lollipops and that’s okay. 

So on the way through it, I encourage you sing to yourself in the mirror and dedicate that small verse from Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games”:

It’s you, its you, it’s all for you

Everything I do 

I tell you all the time

Heaven is a place on earth with you

Tell me all the things you want to do…



LA_Bio Pic 2

Visual Artist
painter – digital illustrator – art model

Liliane Avalos is a contemporary visual artist, an acrylic and watercolor painter, digital illustrator, and fine art model. She was born and raised in Weslaco, Texas, USA central to the Rio Grande Valley and a 10 minute drive to the border of Mexico. In 2012 she earned her BFA, Bachelors in Fine Art with a concentration in Painting at Texas State University of San Marcos. 

Her Hispanic cultural heritage has always manifested its way into her work through vibrant color theory, sentimental portraits of family and friends, and an evolving exploration of Hispanic culture symbolism. Her most recent and current works in progress are heavily influenced by the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, Memento mori. Merged with the Latin American holiday “Dia de los Muertos”, the Day of the Dead celebrates the lives of the deceased. Through her art she recognizes death as an un fearful natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up. Although the subject matter may be heavy for some the dynamic and energetic colors offer a more optimistic way of “looking on the brighter side”.

My Top 3 Makeup Foundations: Everyday, Going Out, & Full Glam

I’m no expert, but I do love make-up and have experimented with a lot of it! Currently, I have three go-tos for different occasions that I absolutely love.

Before going into it, every skin type is different. Obviously, what works for me may not work for everyone else. But just to set the backdrop, I have oily skin. Because of my oily skin, I have to stay away from water-based makeup foundation. I didn’t even know this was a thing, but after purchasing one particular brand, it seemed that by the end of the day my foundation was practically streaking off my face. Whenever I’m experimenting with new foundation, I just make sure to ask the expert at the makeup counter whether or not it is water based. Secondly, no matter if I’m using any type of makeup foundation or even just powder (or even not wearing any makeup at all), I have to use primer and finishing powder. It’s a must. Otherwise my makeup won’t stay put without a primer and it will get oily quick without finishing powder. I’ve used Neutrogena Shine Control Primer and Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Pressed Powder Microfinishing Pressed Powder in translucent for several years now, and they’ve become staples for my face that I don’t change.

Okay, now for the foundations I use!

My Everyday Foundation – Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream in Shade 120 Medium Sheer Tint

Technically, I know this isn’t full on foundation, but I treat it as such. BB Cream is so light, but totally gets the job done on evening out my skin tone and covering up my redness. Plus, it has built in SPF! Win/win. Although I have read that you should apply separate SPF because the SPF in your BB Cream or other makeup is not enough. But still, the more SPF, the better! I apply the BB Cream with a makeup sponge and just add on a little more if I need a bit more coverage. I love this for work or just having a chill day because it isn’t heavy and thick on my face.

My Going Out Foundation – Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder in Shade 3 Fair

I’ve only been using this foundation for a few months, but I love it! First of all, I love how the little bottle is built to apply the foundation directly to your face. I just squeeze out a few lines onto my face and use a makeup sponge to apply it. This foundation is also fairly light, but provides more and longer coverage for a full day and a night out. It also provides build-able coverage, so you can just add more if you like. The finished look is dewy and glow-y.

My Full Glam Foundation – Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r in Shade 180

I LOVE this foundation! I can put it on in the morning and it will look just as fresh and provide full coverage well into the evening. However, this one is a little tricky. I talked to a make-up specialist at Sephora when I was trying out this foundation. If you’re not fully comfortable applying foundation, this one isn’t the easiest to start with. You have to apply it in sections and move fast because it dries quickly. From my experience, people either love it or hate it. You know which end of the spectrum I land on. The coverage is heavy, but its well worth it for those long workdays and glam nights out.

How I learned that hating my body was an immature act (and I had to grow up)

Do you ever see pictures of yourself from a few months or years ago and think, “Wow, I was so thin!” And do you remember that at the time, you thought you weren’t thin at all? This happens to me frequently. I see pictures of myself that are pretty recent and I remember being so unhappy with my body at the time. I remember all the negative thoughts, like thinking I was too big, too soft, too bloated. Then I see these pictures some time later and I think, I looked really great. Why did I waste so much time being so hard on myself about the way I looked?

Insecurity about our bodies is not a new issue. It’s something we constantly struggle with, and I mean that for both men and women. I used to believe that men never wrestled with body image, but over the years, as I’ve become more aware of the negative self-talk that exists about body image, I’ve heard men make some pretty sad, self-deprecating comments about their bodies as well. They’ve been unhappy, too. A lot of us are!

I’ve read about studies of little girls as young as age six talking about diets they want to try or commenting that they don’t want to be fat. This breaks my heart. I guess in this sense I’m “lucky” that my body image issues didn’t start until I was about age twelve. This is around the time puberty hit and all of a sudden, my body was doing its own damn thing and I felt like a passenger on its crazy train. But from the time I began to worry about what my body looked like until very recent years, the effect of trying to achieve a thin, lean figure has been so damaging to me.

I’ll take it back a little bit. I don’t believe anyone had a good time in high school, and if you did, you’re lucky. As dramatic and angst-y as it sounds, I hated high school and you couldn’t pay me to go back. I’m grateful for the harsh lessons that were learned, but dear Lord, I dreaded walking down those halls every day. It felt like I was always being scrutinized, and I wanted so badly to look good while being scrutinized! I guess I thought if I was pretty enough or thin enough, it would lessen the blow of the mean things people would say. When I started the ninth grade, I was exercising numerous times a day and I simultaneously got sick (unrelated to the exercise). This caused me to lose a significant amount of weight and I felt good about myself. People noticed, and I was happy. Later on that year, I put the weight back on. Mind you, I was never fat or even overweight. I was just an average looking girl. But it got back to me that an upperclassman cheerleader had said, “Dania gained weight, right?” I remember that day so clearly. I remember the cheerleader’s name to this day. I got home and cried and refused to eat the rest of the day. I fought with my mom because I took my anger out on her, as teenagers do. I remember crawling under the covers of my bed and thinking I never wanted to come out. I just wanted to wrap blankets around my body and never have to show it to anyone again. I felt so ashamed and disgusted with myself. It honestly breaks my heart thinking about it now. I see pictures of myself throughout all my years in high school now and I was, dare I even say it, thin the whole time!

Fast forward to the years after I graduated from college. I went to Boston for my first year of law school, and I became so anxious and depressed that I had to withdraw after I finished my 1L year. Because I was so depressed, I had begun losing a lot of weight. When I moved back to my hometown in the Valley, I didn’t have a job and I wasn’t going to school. So, I took up cross-fit. And I loved it! And I got pretty good at it (if I do say so myself. Nobody else said so, except my coach. Once.) I also auditioned for a semi-professional dance team and made it. This meant I was working out five to six times a week doing cross-fit. I had dance practice twice a week. The dance team also gave us a free gym membership, and we were required to go workout twice a week in addition to dance practice. (Yes, they checked to see if we fulfilled this requirement each week). I would start my cross-fit workout at five a.m and then dance practice or gym time (or both) later that day. So what did this mean for me? It meant I was suddenly in the best shape of my life. Not only was I leaner than I had even been in high school, I was strong. I was fitting into clothes I hadn’t even fit into when I was twelve years old. I was down about 25-30 pounds and I loved the way I looked in a bathing suit, and/or my very small dance uniform.

So that’s it. Obviously, at this point of my life, I was ecstatic with happiness, right? My whole life I thought if I were thin and built and beautiful, all my self- esteem issues would go away. And is that what actually happened? NO.

I remember weighing myself every day and night and freaking out if there was even the smallest increase in my weight. I remember sitting at a family get-together once, and my cousin told me, “Stop touching your stomach! You think you’re fat, but you’re not!” I hadn’t even realized I had been fidgeting the whole time, trying to suck it in and touching and touching my waist. I’m not going to pretend I hated this whole exercising like crazy experience. It actually taught me just how capable my body is of doing things that I never thought possible. It taught me that I was strong and I had stamina. And honestly, ever since then, I may not exercise as intensely, but it is something I will always do.

But at the time, even though I was happy with my body, I hated myself because I hadn’t finished law school and I didn’t have a job. I was living at my dad’s house, and I felt like a failure. My self-esteem was shot.

Fast forward and I’m in law school again. I went from exercising every day, sometimes three times a day, to exercising once a week if that. School stressed me the hell out, and I neglected taking care of my body so that I could put that time into studying instead. When I did make some free time, it was to see my friends and go out for drinks. Definitely not to exercise. So, of course, I slowly gained all the weight I had lost over the years.

And guess what? I hated myself again. Now I was in law school, working hard for my dream, but I wasn’t skinny anymore. So, of course, that made me a huge, unattractive failure in my eyes.

Do you see the vicious. fucking. cycle?

I am just so tired. I’m tired of hating my body because it can’t be thin and toned during the times I want it to be. When I was in law school, I would cry and hide under the covers like when I was in high school for the same damn reason. Wasn’t it time that I grew up and stopped acting like a scolded child? Why do I have to be ashamed of my body, like it did something wrong? My body is beautiful, not offensive.

It has taken me several years to finally reach the point that I’m at now. That point is to stop hating myself and my body because I’m not thin. When I’ve had relationships end, I’ve thought, “Maybe if I were skinnier, he would have stayed.” When I’ve been happy in a relationship, I’ve thought, “What if he cheats on me with that girl because she’s skinnier and prettier than I am?” When I’ve dated someone who can’t stop singing praises about my body and tells me that I’m beautiful every single day, I’ve thought, “He’s just saying that because I’m his girlfriend and he feels obligated to.”

The truth is you will never be happy with yourself and your body until you decide to be. We will always feel we can be more toned, more muscular, more fit. Some people are trying to gain some weight or add some curves. But at what point will it be enough? Why are we so unkind to ourselves now? And who decided I had to look a certain way to be worthy? We keep striving for this ideal goal and without knowing it, we believe that once we reach it, everything will fall into place and we will never have a negative thought about ourselves ever again. But that ideal goal just does not exist. Or it does, and you’ve already reached it. You just have to decide.

We are so accustomed to calling ourselves “fat” or “not skinny enough” or “ugly.” We are accustomed to seeing someone disgusting when we look in the mirror. We are so accustomed to those things that we will not recognize when the moment comes that we realize we are actually just fine as we are. Even if you decided today to never make a negative remark about yourself for as long as you live, your brain will still make those remarks for you because we’ve trained it to be that way. It’s wired to be an asshole. We have to reach a point where we fight back. We have to reach a point where we grow up and stop accepting society’s lies about our bodies, like scared little kids who believe anything you tell them.

This is where I’m at now. As much as I love to preach body positivity, it does not mean that I see no flaws when I look in the mirror. I’m not going to lie – I’ve come a long way and I can’t help but love the person I see in the mirror these days (Hey, girl, hey! I see you feelin’ yourself!) But it took me a lot of tears and self-loathing to get here. I had to make a conscious effort to look in the mirror and say, “I love you. I love your legs and your stomach and your super round cheeks.” And I had to do that every time I wanted to say the opposite, or every time my brain was automatically saying the opposite for me.

Could I stand to lose a few pounds? Sure. Am I going to feel like a disgrace until I do so? Nope. Do I even want to make an effort to lose the weight? To be honest, no. I love to exercise, I love to run, I adore yoga. I also love to eat tamales and I adore buffalo wings, and I don’t own a scale. I feel good about myself. You should, too.

5 Summer Wardrobe Essentials Under $25

Summer is here! If I’m being totally honest, I have a serious dislike for the Summer season. Texas heat is no joke, and I seem to have a permanent sweat ‘stache throughout the Summer months. It’s not sexy. But, even during this horrid sweat fest, I still attempt to look cute – sweat mustache and all.

I don’t know about you, but I’m almost constantly economically challenged. Thus, I’ve narrowed down the search for some Summer basics at affordable prices. Check out the links below to shop!

White Sandals

sandals 525

I like white sandals because you can wear them with any color of clothing you put on. You don’t have to worry about mixing black and brown shades so you don’t have to necessarily buy both colors. White goes with everything! I love this pair from Target. They were only $20 and they’ve lasted me almost a year but look brand new! Seriously, I just took this picture of them. I also wore them on my trip to Havana, Cuba almost a year ago and they were comfy and durable. And I walked A LOT down those Havana streets. There’s also an option on Amazon if you can’t find your size here.

Jean Shorts 

shorts 525

These are a given! What’s not a given is that you should opt to buy statement or printed shorts. Again, I like white shorts because it brightens up any outfit. The striped shorts are from Marshall’s and they were only $15. Target has plenty of patterns and colors also under $20 which you can shop here. Both of these styles are stretchyyyy, which is my favorite. Nobody is trying to deal with tight, rough fabric on top of the sweat session.

Summer Dresses 

Dress 525

I found dresses made of the softest, lightest material for $10 at Marshall’s! So I stocked up. Forever 21 also has dresses like these for $10. I have some of these Forever 21 dresses that I bought years ago (circa 2015) and they’re still going strong. I don’t know what this magic fabric is, but it’s the comfiest. And the less amount of clothes to sweat in, the better. Oh, and this one has POCKETS!


sunnies 525

I love to buy cheap, quirky sunglasses for the Summertime. Mostly because I end up losing them all at the beach or the pool. It’s also better to buy cheap pairs that are bound to end up scratched up by the sand, scratched up from throwing them into your purse all the time, or lost in a lake. Plus, these are the perfect months to wear silly styles you wouldn’t otherwise wear. There’s a carefree vibe that comes with the Summer, so your accessories can reflect that, too. Shop fun sunnies here.

A Statement Purse

bag 525

A cute purse freshens up any outfit you have on. These straw rattan crossbody bags are super trendy right now. I had a hard time finding one under $25. Most of them are pretty pricey due to the intricate weaving. But my search paid off! I found this one for exactly $25 at Marshall’s and other options on Amazon, like this one. These are pretty small, so be wary that maybe just a small wallet and your phone, keys, and your lip gloss will fit in here. But they’re just so cute that I’ll find a way to make it work.


The Five Books That Changed My Life

Shel Silverstein’s Poetry Series – Falling Up, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and A Light in the Attic

There is no way I can start on a list of books that have inspired me without mentioning these three. Long before Harry Potter came along to sweep me off my feet in the fifth grade, I was obsessed with Shel Silverstein’s books of poetry. I’m not sure how I stumbled across these gems because I don’t remember having an interest in poetry in the second and third grade, but I suppose these called out to me. These books are filled with sweet, sad, funny, weird and everything in between poetry and drawings. I know I read through all of them countless times, and being my nerdy eight-year-old self, definitely memorized a few (hey there, Twistable, Turnable Man). These still sit on my bookshelf and provide me with serious comfort and nostalgia. It’s so easy to get lost in its playful, magical, heart-wrenching innocence and somewhat creepy but still cool vibe. These poems may be written for children, but let’s be real. Their meanings go way deeper.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Basic, basic, basic. But I don’t care. This book absolutely changed my life. I even have kalos kai agathos tattooed down my back because of it. This book opened up a whole new realm of spirituality for me, or at least granted me permission to explore it (not to mention a whole array of unforgettable quotes that break your heart open and fill it with wisdom). Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey with depression and anxiety as she embraces her new found spirituality gave me so much insight into my own struggles with anxiety and depression. This was the first book I read that shined a light on mental illness for me, and thus, the first tiny steps I took in embracing my illness rather than being ashamed of it. It gave me lots of hope.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This is a beautiful story, period. The entire book is a metaphor for a person’s journey through life and in fighting for your destiny, but the story itself is enchanting. Yes, I said enchanting because that’s definitely the mood. I read this book when I was going through a difficult time in my life, feeling lost and not really knowing which direction to choose. It gave me strength to keep pursuing my passions and to be patient with my decisions. It’s also a big pep-talk for when you need to be or do something brave.

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

Where do I begin with this book? I’m going to go with the language and prose. Cisneros switches from English to Spanish to Spanglish and back again effortlessly and beautifully. She also switches the tense of the book and goes back and forth between family generations. I relate so much to this book because of Cisneros’ Mexican heritage, but it changed my life because it felt like for the first time, I was exposed to the change in languages when I was reading. When I was younger, I was ashamed to speak Spanish in front of my friends. I’m ashamed of saying that now! But I was a self-conscious pre-teen. This book helped me embrace my culture, relate to my ancestors, and be proud of my native tongue and where I come from. All wrapped up in an intriguing fictional story.

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

The premise of this book is that Veronika, a twenty-four year old woman who has everything going for her, decides to kill herself. Her attempt is unsuccessful, and she wakes up in a mental hospital where she is told she only has a few days to live. At this point, Veronika begins to understand life and all its gifts and burdens. She doesn’t want to die anymore, but now she doesn’t have a choice. Hooked yet? This story takes a deep dive into mental health, mental hospitals, and the human desire to sometimes just check out. Again, as someone who deals with anxiety and depression, this book helped me on my mental health journey. It was also the first time I realized that people (not just Veronika, but other characters in the story and the author himself) can have everything in life in their favor, and still feel unhappy. It’s an eye-opener for why the human condition functions in this way, and what could happen when we do check out.

Interview with Amanda I. Hernandez: SACDLA’S 2019 Young Lawyer of the Year

Where were you born?

Nogales, Arizona.

Where did you grow up?

I lived in Rio Rico, Arizona, near Nogales, until I was around nine or ten years old. After that, my family and I moved to a small town called Ricardo right outside of Kingsville in south Texas. I lived there until I graduated high school.

What was your childhood and adolescence like? 

I had an amazing childhood. Both my parents worked very hard to make sure my siblings and I were provided for and loved. They always stressed the importance of education and told me I could be whatever I wanted to be, as long as I put my mind to it.

I loved growing up in Arizona. Our house was in the mountains. Sometimes it would snow in the Winter, and I remember it like our own Winter Wonderland. In school, they were really big on culture and history. My teachers taught me about Native American tribes and folktales, and always made learning fun. When I was in elementary school, the school I attended was next door to the junior high school where my older sister went to school and where my mom was a vice principal. I would walk over after class and go help the basketball coach in the gym or peek in on my sister’s class. I have really great memories growing up there.

I was sad when I found out we were moving to Texas. It was really hard to imagine leaving my friends, our house, and my favorite pet – my horse Midnight. My dad was a border-patrol agent, though, and he had been re-stationed to South Texas, where both he and my mom are from.

After a while, Texas became home. My parents both grew up in the valley and most of their families still lived in Texas, so it was nice to be closer to family. I had a hard time fitting in when I first moved here, but pretty soon I bonded with other girls over N’Sync and sports.

I was a total dork in middle school, but I defiantly did NOT care that I was not cool. One thing I did like about Texas was having neighbors. I remember finally being able to ride bikes with other kids that lived nearby, like I would see in the movies. My best friend growing up, Kristin, lived down the street and we lived in our own little world. There was no internet for us back then so we played outside, rode bikes, spied on neighbors, went to Blockbuster to rent movies, and just had good innocent fun. We would even write scripts for and film movies about spies or mystery (staring us, some neighbors, and my siblings, of course).

In high school I discovered makeup and boys, but I stayed out of trouble for the most part. I was on the tennis team, active in FFA and 4H, and even hosted my own talk show for a local channel, “Kingsville, Let’s Talk.” It was awesome.

Who were your biggest influences growing up?

The first one that comes to mind is definitely my older sister, Nyssa. She is a few years older than me, but I’ve always felt like we’re the same age. In Arizona, it was mostly just us growing up because, like I mentioned, we didn’t have many neighbors. She was (and  still is) my best friend.

All of my siblings and I are very close, but Nyssa had to deal with me in a special way. I followed her around and copied her like no other. I always wanted to be just like her and do everything she did. I was so annoying. Most of the time I wanted to be the center of attention, but she never cared. She just let me, always making me feel like her equal. I even went to some of her school dances and was in some of her junior-high plays. She’s still a role model for me. I’m forever grateful.

My parents were (and are) also huge influences in my life. They always led by example and showed me what it means to be a good person. My dad is by far the smartest and most hard-working man I’ve ever met, and my mom made having a career while managing a family of six look easy. I joke that I was in school before I was even born, because my mom was finishing her Master’s Degree and working full-time when she was pregnant with me. I remember both my parents always working full-time, but always making time for us and their marriage. My dad would sometimes work all night and still wake up to spend time with his family, even if it was just for a few hours before he went back to work again. Both my parents instilled in me the value of hard work, education, and family.

Lastly, the Olsen twins. I was obsessed with their movies and Full House. I look up to them less these days.

Did you always know you wanted to attend law school and become an attorney? Why?

Yes and no. In high school, I talked about it, but mostly only because people always told me things like “you love to argue – you should be a lawyer.” I could see myself moving to a big city and doing it, but I had my reservations.

At UTSA, I still had the idea in the back of my head, but I definitely was not sure what career path I would end up choosing. I was majoring in international business and working multiple jobs while attending school full-time. As a senior, I was working part-time as a waitress, Brand Ambassador, and bartender, and still attending school full-time. At that point, I couldn’t imagine graduating only to go back to school. I felt ready to get into the real world and find a career. I figured I would get an entry level marketing job at a big company and work my way up from there.

What made you change your mind?

After I graduated, I started interviewing for all sorts of entry-level positions. The more I interviewed, the more I realized I wasn’t done learning. I actually did miss school. I didn’t hate the idea of the positions I was interviewing for, but I knew I wasn’t motivated by them. I didn’t feel any sort of passion. I had worked so many jobs my whole life that I knew deep down that I needed a career I could be passionate about.

I decided to apply for a job in the legal field so that I could see if being a lawyer could bring me that passion. After applying at multiple places, I finally found work as an assistant for a lawyer who had just started his own practice. After working for him for a few months, I decided that if he could do it, so could I. I began studying for my LSATs and within a year, I was accepted into St. Mary’s University School of Law.

Did you receive any help in applying to law school?

No, I’m the first lawyer in my family, and I didn’t really have anyone close to my family who practiced law. I remember researching law schools in Texas and reading about their application process. After that, I bought a used book on Amazon called “LSAT for Dummies” (seriously, I did) and studied that. I took a bunch of practice tests, studied, and finally signed up to take it. I applied online to most of the law schools in Texas in hopes of getting into one.

What was law school like for you?

I’ll never forget orientation day. When we got a speech from (then) Dean Cantu, he talked to us about the importance of the journey we were about to embark on. He told us how important lawyers in America are and how we should be honored to be on our way to the profession. I felt so empowered in that moment. It was the first time it hit me that this was something I could do. I felt like God was telling me I was in the right place at the right time, and that was a rare feeling.

Looking back on law school is interesting. It was really great for the most part, and I met some people who significantly impacted my life forever. It was really stressful at times, but also fun. It was challenging, but gratifying. It took a tremendous amount of patience and work. It was hard, but easier than working a job I didn’t want. It was different than college, but similar in ways. I definitely grew as a person from the time I started to the time I left. It was an unforgettable experience.

What advice would you give to someone who is about to embark on their first year of law school?

I would say that law school, like life, is about balance. You have to give it your all and you have to take it very seriously, but you can’t let yourself stress too hard. Take the experience all in, the bad and the good. Try and enjoy it. There will be times you want to quit and there will be times you feel like it’s impossible, but that’s how being a lawyer sometimes is, too. You’ll get through it. You have to believe in yourself, truly give it your all, and remember to take care of your emotional and physical health. Have some fun, make friends, and read for your classes. Don’t lose yourself in stress. Ask for help if you need it. Study hard. Eat well and exercise when you can, but don’t hate yourself when you can’t. Don’t compare yourself to other students, don’t worry about what you may not be doing. Just worry about doing your personal best and try to get experience in a field you think you may want to pursue.

Which year of law school do you consider your most difficult and why?

The first year, because in law school you have no way of knowing how you are doing in your classes (grade-wise). I was used to having classes with multiple assignments and tests and knowing where I stood in the class. In law school, you have no assignments, usually no other tests besides finals. You don’t know how you are doing compared to everyone else because you have no way to gauge it. I don’t like uncertainty, so it was really hard for me to adjust to just studying and hoping I was retaining the information I had to be. On top of that, everyone had the sense that the school is trying to weed you out in your first year, so there is this pressure to do better than everyone so that you won’t fail out. It was my most stressful year.

What kind of organizations or activities were you involved in in law school?

During my second year of law school, I was on the external advocacy mock trial team. I absolutely loved it. That is actually how I decided I wanted to be a trial lawyer. The thrill mock trial gave me was like no other. I had no problem with public speaking, but this was the first time I was in a situation where I wouldn’t be able to practice my words. The unpredictability of what can happen is exciting and nerve racking. I was really drawn to it.

My third year, I served as Vice President of the St. Mary’s Criminal Law Association. I chose to not do mock trial because I had received a law clerk position with a criminal defense firm and knew I could not devote the necessary time and effort to both positions.

ah 1

Did you ever feel like you weren’t going to make it to graduation?

There were definitely sometimes where I wanted to cry because I felt like it was too much work or that I wasn’t retaining enough information, but I never let myself believe I’d actually fail. I always told myself I could push through it. If I let myself think I’ll fail, I might actually fail, so I didn’t let that become an option.

What or who helped you push through?

I’ve always had a strong support system. I have a strong faith, so sometimes it was prayer. Other times it was just leaning on family and friends for support. What was probably most helpful was talking to the friends I made in law school who were in the same situation. It was nice to have friends like Ally and Jessie who I could both study and vent with. We helped push and encourage each other when one was down or feeling like they wouldn’t make it. It was awesome to have that push when I needed it. I felt like we were a team, not on our own.

What year did you graduate from law school?


What kind of law do you practice?

I am proud to practice criminal defense.

How did you decide on that area of law?

During my second year of law school, Ally, one of my best friends, was a total go-getter. Long story short, she got a sought-out summer internship with prominent criminal defense firm here in San Antonio. Shortly after, she got engaged to her now-husband, Joe, and decided she needed to intern somewhere in Chicago, where she would be moving. Anyway, Ally didn’t want to let the firm down and told me that she really wanted me to consider taking her place. I hadn’t really thought about it, but she got me an interview and I received a clerkship.

Working there really did change the course of my life. I saw firsthand how our criminal justice system works and the people that it affects. I saw how it can be flawed and how innocent people are still being convicted of horrible crimes every day. I learned how to work a criminal case from the ground up and realized that this was the best way for me to help people in my community. I saw that criminal cases are sometimes unfair fights and it made me want to dedicate my life to helping those facing some of the worst times of their lives.

What is your current position and how did you obtain it?

I am the Associate Attorney at the Flanary Law Firm, PLLC, through my own company, the Law Office of Amanda I. Hernandez. When I clerked at Goldstein, I primarily worked for Donald H. Flanary, III, who at the time was an associate at that firm. In November of 2016, the month I received my law license, he started the Flanary Law Firm, PLLC, and asked me to become the first associate.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

It depends on the day. Right now, I’m in the process of hiring a secretary for our firm, so it’s been just my boss and I for a few months. I basically do everything from representing clients in jury trials and hearings to filing motions and answering phones. At least two to three times a week I’ll spend my entire morning at the courthouse representing clients and the rest of the day in my office catching up. Some days I’m relaxed on my computer all day, others I’m in court in various counties across the state.

In three words, can you describe what it is like to be a young, female attorney starting her career in the legal field?

Amazing, challenging, and humbling.

Have you experienced any situations where you were given a difficult time or underestimated in some capacity because of your age or gender? 

Oh, so many times. I do look young for my age and I am a female in a very highly male-dominated field, so yes. What was surprising, though, is that the attitude comes from females more often than it comes from males. Sometimes women are harder on other women.

I often get mistaken for my boss’s assistant or secretary, even in court. Just recently I was in a felony court for a client. I asked to approach the judge and he gave me permission. I started to tell him why I was there, how my client needed a bond reduction, etc. As I was talking, he cut me off and asked, “Are you an attorney?” Although I have gotten that question a lot, it was more surprising to get it in open court when it should be obvious.

Anyway, my mom always taught me that the best way to handle these situations is to kill everyone with kindness. So I answered with a smile, “Yes, Judge,” and kept talking. When I finished, he said he assumed I was my boss’s assistant.

I also seem to get a hard time from some of the female staff around the courthouse. They’ll give me a hard time about a simple request that they don’t question when an older male asks them. But again, I kill them with kindness. Some of them eventually break and are nicer to me, probably out of guilt.

A lot of the time I am dismissed by male prosecutors who will only look at my boss when we’re both on a case. Stuff like that is just common.

Another time, a female judge refused to sign a standard order for me, insisting it was outdated and that I didn’t know what I was talking about. I tried to politely let her know that it was still a standing order in effect in her Court. She dismissed me and asked that I return only with the correct document. My male boss approached her later that day with the exact same motion and she signed it without hesitation.

Many people have a desire to apply to and attend law school or other post-graduate programs, but are concerned with the debt they will likely accrue in doing so. What would you say to those people?

I would say don’t let that be your reason for not going. Everyone has debt. At least this debt is for something invaluable. I still have a lot of student loans to pay off and it seems unfair, but it doesn’t really affect my everyday life. I have enough to get by and make payments and I feel like I’m doing a job I love and helping people every day, so it’s worth it.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

I enjoy feeling like I’m fighting for the right side and helping people in need. When people are facing criminal charges, it is scary and horrible for them and sometimes their entire families. I enjoy feeling like an advocate and fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves. Especially when the client is truly innocent, there’s no greater feeling than helping them move on with their lives.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Not to give up, no matter how wild the ride. Things sometimes seem worse than they are, you’ll be okay, just keep your head on straight. Don’t worry so much about doing things right, just do the right things.

A 20-Something Girl Guide to Portland by Krishna de la Cruz

I just got back from Portland, Oregon and can’t stop raving about it to all my friends. I loved it and I think it’s mostly because I live in Austin, I love Austin, and Portland very much feels like a sister city to Austin.

I stayed at a a cute boutique hotel called Jupiter Hotel, on east Burnside Street. I loved it because it was affordable and walking distance to the hip bars and shops on the east side of Portland, and to the Burnside Bridge. The hotel concierges were all super knowledgeable about what the cool walking distance spots were in the area, and one of them even grabbed a pen and paper and mapped out the ideal bar hopping day.

My trip started on Thursday of Memorial Day weekend, but unlike other well-known cities, Portland was not packed with crowds of vacationers. That was perfect for me because I tend to run away from large crowds of people. Thursday was spent bar hopping and I have to say my favorite bar was Roadside Attraction in the southeast quadrant of Portland.

PO 1


If you love the movie Practical Magic, or are into witchy vibes, period, you will love this place. Something cool about Portland is that roses there grow like weeds, so the outdoor patio of this bar reminded me so much of the garden/greenhouse in Practical Magic, with roses and other unique looking plants growing everywhere. The indoor area is dark, red, smoky, and feels very mystical. A dive-y speakeasy. Roadside Attraction is not immediately apparent if you are just walking down the street. It is in the middle of a mostly residential neighborhood and it looks like a closed up secret garden that could be part of any other home, so be on the lookout!


Hiking is one of my favorite hobbies so a majority of my trip was spent hiking. On Friday, I started a hike at Macleay Park, not really knowing where I would end up, and I ended up hiking up a forest-y mountain for about a mile or two, and stumbling upon the Pittock Mansion with a breathtaking garden and viewpoint. You can take a tour of the interior of the mansion for $12 and explore the gardens and viewpoint for free.


PO 2
PO 3


Saturday was one of my favorite days because–POWELL’S CITY OF BOOKS. If you are a fellow book-lover, let it be known, you will probably spend three hours at this bookstore. This is one of the only places that I felt was affected by Memorial Day weekend in terms of the amount of people inside the store. But obviously, that didn’t stop me from browsing my life away. This bookstore is HUGE and has a ton of color-coded rooms with different literary themes. My favorite genre is contemporary fiction so I spent most of my time in that room. I bought The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer. I follow several book club Instagram pages and that’s usually how I find books to read and how I decided to buy this book in particular. Recently I’ve noticed that my favorite subtopic seems to be women coming-of-age stories.


PO 4
PO 5


On Sunday funday, my last full day there, Oregon blessed my soul with its nature. I walked along the pedestrian walkway under the Burnside Bridge. Then drove out with friends to Multonomah Falls and to Mosier, Oregon for my favorite hike yet.

PO 6
PO 7


Being outside, taking walks, and hikes, are all so essential for me. I try to go for walks at least three times per week. It is my time for self-reflection and ENDORPHINS! The mountains of Mosier were everything.  Geographically, this trail felt like a prarie – not really any trees, just the open skies, and flowers, and grass. We did not hike the entire trail, but made it to the top of one hill, and hiked a total of about 600 feet uphill. Mosier is a tiny town with a population of 400 people and it is about an hour and a half east of Portland.


PO 8
PO 9


Monday morning was short before heading out to the airport, but not too short to leave without eating my favorite meal of the entire trip–Blue Star Donuts, “Donuts for Grownups.” The location I visited was downtown and the line was nearly out the door, but it moved very quickly. I didn’t care about the line at all because I was a kid at a candy store. Some of the donuts are alcohol-infused, but my favorite donuts were the Mexican Hot Chocolate and Blueberry Cake.  If all else fails, please don’t leave Portland without trying these.
PO 10


All in all, Portland reminded me very much of Austin in terms of the friendliness of the people, the emphasis on local businesses, and quirky everything, just with a lot less people and a lot more nature. I’ll be back.


Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Krishna de la Cruz is currently an attorney living in Austin, Texas. She grew up on the Texas-Mexico border in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas and the Rio Grande Valley. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in Spanish from Texas State University in 2014 and Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2017. While in law school, she was an Executive Editor on the The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review for Race and Social Justice where she wrote an article focused on the issue of violence against women, particularly women of color. The article is titled “Exploring the Conflicts within Carceral Feminism: A Call to Revocalize the Women Who Continue to Suffer.” During law school, she traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico, where she was certified in Mexican Legal Studies at Universidad de Guadalajara.

In her spare time, Krishna enjoys reading, journaling, and hiking Austin trails. Krishna is a big enthusiast of mental health, mindfulness, physical wellness, and her Mexican heritage. Currently Krishna is planning her first trip to Southeast Asia.