Book Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Poetry comes alive!

The Poet X is a beautifully written novel by Elizabeth Acevedo. Her debut novel has the cadence and beauty of slam poetry. Of course that makes sense given that the author started her career as a slam poet.

The story features Xiomara, the female half of a Dominican twin set living in Harlem. The story, told in first person, focuses on the struggles that Xiomara faces- a highly religious mother, an unloving father, and being sexualized by the guys from around the way.

Xiomara is a writer. And, when she discovers slam poetry, she finds direction for her passion and writings. Along the way she finds courage and confidence to share her writing with the world.

The book was solid. It shows many facets of the challenges that young women face growing up in a machista culture. The one thing I would have liked to see was a closer relationship between Xiomara and her twin, Xavier.

I had the good fortune of getting to enjoy this book in audio format. The audiobook features the author herself. I found it on @hoopla. She is an amazing narrator. In fact, I enjoy her narration so much that I tried a book by a different author because she narrates that.

The Poet X is an excellent young adult novel. Once you are done with it, you will be eager to find all of Elizabeth Acevedo’s works. My

Check it out and then let me know,

What did you think of “The Poet X?”

power of the pocketbook

I believe that one should use their resources, when they can, for good.

I am not someone who loves to shop. But, I will shop for good. I will buy items from friends who are in direct sales. I will stop at a roadside stand to support a local business person. I shop the small businesses in my town whenever I can. And… I am the person who will not go to a place if that business does not align with my belief system.

Case in point…

For years, I have avoided places like Hobby Lobby and Chick Fil A because I do not like the causes that they support. I do not hate on them. But, I will never volunteer to go to these places. In fact, if others suggest I will politely decline. I simply say, “I do not patronize that business.” I do not make a big showing of it.

In 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Trump administration regulation that allows businesses to opt out of providing their employees (through health insurance) free birth control. Businesses are permitted to do this if they have “religious and moral objections.”

Prior to that administration’s regulation update, an Obamacare mandate required company health insurance policies to cover birth control. As a result, millions of Americans have had access to free contraceptives. Unfortunately, thanks to this SCOTUS decision, those same people will now incur out of pocket costs for their contraceptive care.

Sexism in sexual enjoyment.

Here’s the problem that I have… viagra and other erectile dysfunction medicines are covered by health insurance companies. Why? Where is the equality?

So what are we to do? Well, I ask each of you to recognize the incredible power of your pocketbook.

Of course, corporations don’t care about our opinions. But they do care about money. They care about you spending your money on their shit. So, stop pending money with corporations who do not support their employees. This year, I will be focusing on encouraging on friends, family, and fans (do I have any fans 🤔🧐?) to use their #Pocketbook #Power by #boycotting companies that do not provide this essential benefit to their employees.

State Action

In 2021 and 2022, this US Supreme Court, now tainted with THREE Trump appointees are allowing States to get in on the action of impeding women’s autonomy. Texas an southern states are limiting women’s right to obtain abortions. These are the same states that think it is perfectly acceptable for people to choose a vaccine that can help save lives!

A way for us to impact these states on s to avoid traveling to them. It also helps to ask organizations to whom we belong to avoid scheduling conventions or programs there.

More importantly, write to the leadership of that state and tell them that you will not travel to those states due to their unfair laws. Remember States benefit from the tax revenue that is generated when you travel and use hotels and spend money there.

For those of us already living in such states we can do a variety of things. We should reach out to our State government officials and ask them to vote against such initiatives. If you have the financial capacity, donate resources to organizations who are working against such initiatives.

How do you use the power of your pocketbook?

You Need a Plan!

Any goal, whether it’s short-term like going on a weekend trip or long-term like completing a degree, requires a plan. But planning is not easy. It requires, more than anything else, a sense of self determination.

Ever since I was young, I have noted something odd from my Mexican mama… an unwillingness to plan too far ahead into the future. Whenever a plan comes up for the coming year, my mother invariably ends the conversation with “Con el favor de Dios” or “if it is in God’s favor.”

What this means is that she usually would prefer to avoid all conversation of that topic until said event is closer in time.

I didn’t understand that for a long time. I saw it as short-sighted and overtly religious. I would become frustrated by my mother’s unwillingness to grab the world by the collar and shout “THIS IS WHAT I WANT!”

It took me a long time to realize the truth. My mother has never really had the freedom of self-determination.

As the second oldest daughter growing up in a Mexican family led by a single mother, my mother’s life was not her own. Despite her talents as a folkloric dancer, an ability to get a scholarship to the Autonomous University of Chihuahua and a dream to become a teacher, she entered the workforce to assist her mother to earn money in order to support her younger siblings. She provided for her mother’s children from the time she was 18 until she turned 20.

At age 20, my mother had her first child, me. From that point forward, my mom’s entire life was about her children and their potential. She worked difficult blue collar jobs to ensure that her children had everything they needed.

She never had the luxury of thinking about her own goals. She has never been able to even contemplate “am I fulfilled by the work I am doing?” After all, feeding and providing for her children was what mattered. We were her fulfillment.

But, she did create that opportunity for my siblings and I. Understanding that, it has become very important for me to have dreams and goals, create and execute plans, and, most importantly, achieve the life I endeavor. Planning and succeeding have become joyful acts for me. For that reason, I have tried to learn as much as I could about planning for success.

How to plan

Planning for the future is necessary. There are several things that one must do to create an effective plan that will lead to success.

Think of all the possibilities

In our world, just about anything is possible. To begin making a plan, you must start with thinking about what you want. Once you have done that ask yourself “what.”

“What do I want?”

Understanding what you truly want out of life is the most critical thing to making a plan. So start by thinking what. Of all the amazing things in this world, what do i want most? Don’t be shy about it and don’t shrink from the truth. “To thine own self be true.” This Shakespearean quote is powerful because it demands rigorous self honesty. So, be honest, what it is it you want?

Next think, why? Why do I want this? Why is it important to me? This question is critical because it helps analyze whether or not you have the motivation to take the goal from idea to completion. Additionally, it will help you discover all of the ancillary things you can do to further your goal. For example, if my goal is to lose weight, thinking it through may help me identify that working out is nothing the only thing I must do to succeed. By thinking it through, I may identify “eat out less” or “cut alcohol calories” as additional “to dos” to my success matrix.

Write it all out

Writing out a plan can be fuel for success. The act of writing your plan can give you a sense of direction. Plus, it affords you the opportunity to check in frequently on thst goal. According to planning guru, Michael Hyatt, the success comes from the frequent check in.

Break it down

An important result that comes from writing your goals and creating a plan is the ability to break it down into bite size pieces. The break down will help identify all the pieces necessary to accomplish the goal. Returning to my lose weight example, I may determine that four actions will help achieve the goal.

If I see that change in diet, cardio, and lifting weights are the key to success, the break down let’s me pick one to start. So, after breaking it down and writing it out, I may determine that changing my diet starts on 1/1. I would then give myself a month or two to get that under control before I start cardio on 2/15 and incorporate weight lifting on 4/1. The idea behind this is to reduce the stress you create by wanting to do it all. Sometimes when you overwhelm yourself with goal, you don’t complete it because you try to do it all immediately.

Don’t stop

Lastly, to be successful in your goal, don’t stop. Even if you have a bad day or week, give yourself patience and remember that just because you did not do great today or this week doesn’t mean that you have failed. But, it means you have to say to yourself, I’m not perfect and even though I did not do the best today, I cannot stop until I accomplish my goal.”

This is the most important piece because you will mess up. But, if you remember that you cannot stop until you succeed, the occasional missteps will not make you feel like you failed.

Now it’s your turn, tell me…

What steps do you take to succeed in your goals?

Fun Movies for the Familia

Family Fun Night.

For me, those words bring images of Friday nights filled with board games, movies, and pizza. Of course, FFN does require some preparation.

The most difficult part of FFN, in my opinion, is the preparation. After all, not all movies are family friendly. Of course, a good recommendation can go a long way in this process.

What follows is a good list of movies. This list features both movies in Spanish or, if it is in English, movies featuring Latinx actors.


Are you a fan of superhero movies? Are you interested in watching a Spanish language superhero movie? If so, I think you will like this film. This movies takes the Superman trope and makes it funny.

Super Lopez is sent to Earth by his father and mother to prevent him falling in the hands of a villain. In this case, the super baby lands and is raised in Spain. Early on, Super Lopez wants to showcase his alien superhero skills. His father, a Spanish garage owner, explains to him that in Spain mediocrity is preferred. Super Lopez grows up to be a low level manager in a technology company.

Unfortunately, Super Lopez is chased to Earth by an alien supervillain who seeks to return him to the home planet for the purposes of turning him over to her father, the master villain. At age 30, he must achieve his super potential. Here, the story becomes extremely comical and endearing. I highly recommend this movie to all.


This is a 2014 movie whose storyline features a Mexican-American protagonist who endeavors to break into a career that is plagued with racism and sexism. Sushi chef. The movies ending is beautiful and poignant. It demonstrates the power of human drive to succeed.


This movie uses Pedro Infante as the central protagonist. For those who might not now, Pedro Infante is the cultural icon in Mexican history that defined for generations what it meant to be a man.

This movie poses the question, could a womanizing former cultural icon return to earth, fix problems for his biggest fan, and earn entry into heaven? In a fun, slightly sexist storyline, the protagonist learns how to become more sympathetic to the women of the world. If this story sounds familiar, it is. It is inspired by “Down to Earth” starring Chris Rock and “Heaven Can Wait” starring Warren Beatty.

Put Together Nicely

As a young person, I tried to pay attention to people whom I admired. I sought to emulate them. But, of all the things I noticed about people, I don’t recall paying attention to the way they dressed. Looking back on it, there are a few people from my youth that spring to mind when I think of fashionable or elegant. But it is only now as I contemplate this question that those images even come to mind.

When I finally had the means to invest money on my wardrobe it took time to decide what I liked. I had to realize some key things about clothes and personal presentation to help improve my style.

Eventually, I realized that I did not want to be fashionable or trendy person. Being fashionable or trendy requires a great deal of effort, attention, and money. None of which I wanted to emphasize in my daily attire. But, i do try to find ways to look put together nicely. Here are some of the lessons that I have incorporated into my life in order to look put together.

Color Me Happy

A key component to looking put together is to find ways to flatter your looks. One component of this is understanding your coloring. After all, not all colors look the same on everyone. What may work for a person with a fair complexion and blonde hair might not work for someone with black hair and an olive complexion. For that reason, understanding the colors that look best on you will help elevate your style. For more guidance on colors, check out this story from InStyle.

Tailored to a T

Tailoring your clothing to your figure is important. It makes you look like you spent more money on clothes. and ensure that everything looks nicer on you. Second to selecting the right colors and styles, tailoring your clothes to fit your body, makes you look more elegant.

You will want to find a good tailor or seamstress. Ask around to see who other people use. Once you do, that person can become a valuable ally in helping to identify the rights cuts and fabrics for you.

Confidence is Key

The third most important thing to looking put together nicely is to feel good about yourself. Internal confidence can elevate any outfit. The reality is that even the most beautiful clothing will not look good if your confidence does not shine through. To feel confident in whatever you wear, remember to listen to your internal cues.

Steam, punk

So, you have selected the right colors. You have taken your clothes to the tailor. Now, you have to properly care for your clothes. Wrinkled clothes do not hang properly on your body. They detract from your overall appearance. Clothes looks so much better on you when you take the time to iron or steam it. Doing that makes people focus on you, not the wrinkles in your clothes.

What tips do you have for someone who wants to look put together nicely?