Hispanicize 2011

Last week I was fortunate enough to be a speaker at Hispanicize in Hollywood. Hispanicize was a three day Hispanic and social media conference that was not only informative, but a lot of fun.

Edward James Olmos and I after his keynote speech

The sessions were really good. My favorite was “Hispanic Media in the Digital Age.” What struck me was the message of “Empowerment Through Action” that speaker Fernando Espuelas talked about. He has a talk show on Univision Radio. He said that it’s up to us as bloggers to communicate the power that Latinos have to effect change in their communities. He gave an example of a group of parents in Compton, where 80 percent of students are Latino, that have been fighting for a decent education for their kids. The empowerment message was that they didn’t have to wait for something to happen; they had the power to make it happen through voting, calling their congressmen and being vocal about the problems in their school district.

On a lighter note, I also enjoyed the sessions on Mami Blogging and bilingual blogging. I spoke on the food-related panel called “Arroz con Bloggers” with Veronica Gonzalez-Smith of Muy Bueno Cookbook and Piera Jolly of JollyMom.com. It was moderated by Midgalia Rivera of Latina on a Mission.

I was really nervous, but it seemed to turn out okay. I made these gluten-free brownies to pass out in the hopes that if I did really terribly people would only remember that I brought food.

In hindsight, it might not have been necessary. Veronica, Piera, and I talked about how we incorporate our culture into the food we make. A lot of it comes from our family and how we were taught to cook. We also talked about how brands approach us to promote their products. I loved how all of us mentioned that we only work with products that we believe in.

MuyBuenoCookbook, JollyMom, and I on Hispanicize “Arroz con Bloggers” panel

All in all, it was a really wonderful experience. I got to meet so many great bloggers and catch up with friends.

For more about the conference, check out Kim Tracy Prince’s article on She Posts and Eva Smith’s post on her blog Tech.Food.Life.

I was hacked!

I woke up early this morning excited about going to the Hispanicize conference in Hollywood. Then I checked my email.

Message after message said the same thing: “I think your email was hacked.” Someone (or a computer somewhere) sent out spam under my name with what I assume is a virus. I know this happens all the time and that’s what many of the emails said, but still. That’s never happened to me and I feel violated.

So this morning, instead of making my kids a nice breakfast, finishing work, and answering emails I was sending out messages on all my networks warning people not to open up any links or attachments from me. Then going and changing passwords on all of my online accounts after doing a thorough screen for viruses and malware.

How did this happen? I have my theories that include someone stealing my password while I was using the free wi-fi at the coffee shop. I hate the idea of a hacker hanging out, drinking coffee, and grabbing passwords as people sip their lattes.

There is one bright spot from this experience and that is getting to connect with some friends I haven’t heard from in years. The rest of it pretty much stinks.