The Summer of The Keytar

I first started going to Mexico when I was about five years old for summer vacation. Every summer my dad would pack my suitcase with gifts for my cousins. One year it was barbies and action figures. The summer of 1991 it was this key-tar that we were all supposed to share. Bad idea. Every one of us wanted to play with it and when it came time to letting another cousin have some time with it, some of us weren't too happy about it. 

Keytar Summer 1

Keytar Summer 2

Keytar Summer 3

Keytar Summer 4

Keytar Summer 5

It's been way too long since I've had a field day with my family. I remember baking bread with my grandma in an old stone oven and playing in the creek. Okay, I'm reminiscing now. 

Amanda ❤

R.I.P Tia Cacho


Last night, the most amazing woman that has ever touched my life, passed away. We got to enjoy her for the last 86 years and finally, God gets his chance with her. I'm honored to know that she'll be one of my guardian angels from here on out and that she'll fight tooth and nail to protect us all. She was never afraid of death and knew that one day he'd come knocking on her door. Being the wonderful woman she was, she'd invite him in, offer him what little she had and then gladly take his hand while he led her away. Never one to be sad or angry or any negative emotion, we've all learned that we should strive to live life the way that she did. Always positive, always smiling and forever getting calling us 'Cabrones'. She was such a positive person, that everyone loved her and no doubt, there will be tons of people in church at her mass tonight. Even though she was terminally ill, she wasalways out in the streets, or had people coming over to visit her or her phone would be ringing off the hook.  She was always so grateful, even for a small thing such as a pair of earmuffs or a box of chocolate or just to have someone visit her, if only for 20 minutes. 

I wrote about my Tia Cacho earlier this year when I came back from Mexico and you could go read that if you'd like. I don't cry because I know she's in such a better place now and instead of only being able to see her sporadically whenever I went to Mexico, she can now be with me all the time. 

She'll be forever missed! 

Amanda ❤

That Time When...| I Got Pee'd On By A Dog


Funny story about this drawing. Well, not really funny as much as it was embarassing. While I was in Inde, I decided that I wanted to try and draw the plaza. There really isn't much to draw in Inde so it was either this or a kiosk. So, off I went to go draw. My cousin Melanie sat by me and I tried sketching it out in pencil. Then another friend, Eder came, and I got super nervous about drawing in front of him. I don't think I'm a good draw-er (is that a word?) and Inde isn't the type of place where drawing is something that's encouraged (not as much as learning how to make tortillas or wrangle cattle). I closed my sketchbook and decided this was something that was going to take a couple of days to complete. (Normally, I would knock it out in a day). 

The next day I decided to just fill in my outline with color. (My process is, rough pencil outline> color blocks> Ink) That day I had a bunch of people come over to see what I was doing. They varied between a couple of school girls who stayed with me for about 15 minutes, to a couple of housemoms, and some old guys who are my grandpa's friends. They were all curious. Once again, after a while feeling conscious about it, I closed my sketchbook and put it away for the day. 

The next time I took out my sketchobook was for the inking and detail of the drawing. I threw on some Kid Cudi, which always seems to relax me. (That's how I managed the 2 hour flight to Mazatlan and back). I sat outside the pharmacy with my grandpa watching me and focused on the detail. I'm pretty sure some more people passed by to watch what I was doing, including my childhood crush. Ha! (Bam sucka! I can draw!) Anyway, soon Melanie joined me and my grandpa.  Side note: Inde is the type of place where people just let their dogs roam around. There are no dogs on leashes here) so when I saw the dogs, I didn't think anything of it. They had passed by me before so it was no biggie. 

Next thing I know, Melanie is ripping my button up shirt off of me, I had a t-shirt underneath, and I'm confused as all hell. I took my earbuds out of my ear and asked her what she was doing. All the while, laughing at me, she tells me that one of the dogs that had just passed by me had smelled me and realized I was something he'd hadn't pissed on before so he decided to mark his territory. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I had just got pee'd on by a dog! 

Being the go-with-the-flow type of person that I am, I just chocked it up to a new experience and laughed it off. This wasn't something that I had ever intentionally put on my life list, but I can say it's happened. 

Has anything like this ever happened to you? How'd you react? 

Amanda ❤

A Short Video on Vaycay

I didn't take very many videos on this trip but I'm making it a point when I go back. I think everyone got accustomed to me carrying my camera(s) everywhere so they shouldn't be as timid next time around. So here's just some of the stuff I did take video of. 

Amanda ❤

My First Goat Slaughter

Let me forewarn you, this isn't for the faint of heart. Lord knows how the hell I managed to get through it but it is kind of gruesome. Although I know this is something on the everyday level of the people in small ranches, this was the first time I had ever experienced something like it. I was squeamish yet intrigued at the same time. Like I said, I had never experienced anything like it so I DID want to see how it's done. While my uncle, cousin and I were walking back to the house, my heart was racing so fast as if I had run a mile. I was traumatized for a couple of hours after the fact, then I completely forgot what I had seen earlier in the day. 

Amanda ❤

This Must Be What The Apocolypse Feels Like

Looking for signal

[Alejandro and Melanie looking for a signal]

As soon as my plane landed in Mazatlan, it hit me that I wasn't going to have any service. I was able to slightly pick up the wifi signal at the hotel but that was it. How was I going to do it? Three weeks without my cell phone? That's like, social suicide! 

I couldn't even fathom it for the first day that I was there. I was so used to checking Facebook and Facebook Messenger, looking over tweets, checking in on Foursquare, Yelping, checking E-mails and bank accounts and most importantly, Google Translate! How was I going to be able to communicate if Translate wasn't there to make sure I was saying what I thought I was saying?! I'm so connected to my phone and the interwebs that I felt lost not being able to communicate. 

Oh well, 'How do I get through this?' I thought. What if something happened to me? What if there's an emergency and I need to contact someone? I have cousins and aunts and uncles phone numbers in my phone but what good is a phone number without a phone to call from? Come Day 2 and guess what I did? I conciously TURNED OFF MY PHONE. I came to the realization that I'm not going to be able to use it, no matter how determined I am to find a signal. The only thing I could possibly use my phone for was the camera, and I was already carrying two cameras so what's the point? 

I tossed it into my suitcase and went about my day. The next day it's like a weight was lifted. I wasn't being bombarded with E-mails at five in the morning. I wasn't getting Twitter and Facebook alerts, I wasn't getting Words with Friends updates. It was the most liberating thing to know that I wasn't in the loop with what was going on. I was completely oblivious to everything. To the point where, after being gone only two days, I kinda lost track of what the date was and what day of the week we were on. 

It's kind of sad to realize that I can't live without my phone. It's practically attached to my hip. I rarely put it in my purse because it's either always in my hand or in my pants pockets. Talk about first world problem!

The sad part though was because I hadn't used technology in three weeks, I forgot passwords and other very important information such as my Social Secirity number. For my job, we have to change passwords every month and since I hadn't been to work, I had to call tech support to reset my password. The guy on the other line asked me, "Just to verify, what the last four of your Social?" to which I answered him, "Hmmmm, that's a good question!". 


Amanda ❤



Cappuccina is my cousin Melanie's dog. She found her as a puppy in Indé a few months back. Melanie loves coffee so she named her after cappuccinos. 

This was the first time I had met her and I decided I wanted to take pictures of Melanie and her. I love how this picture came out where she's kind of grinning. As soon as Melanie showed her to me, I fell in love with her. She's so sweet, is super soft, doesn't bite, is playful and loving. I only heard her bark once the entire time that I was there and that was because she was chasing pigeons around the garden. 

Unfortunately, the 'doesn't bite' aspect is a disadvantage. Turns out, some people thought it was okay to beat dogs and since she's so loving and trusting of humans, she didn't even bite to protect herself. There were a couple of times where we'd find blood on her and she'd limp around. It's disgusting how people think it's okay to do that. 


She would sleep in a yard with a horse and in the morning she would go to my grandpa's store. My aunt or my grandpa would call the house to let us know she was over there and then we'd call her to the house and she'd come and we'd feed her or she'd take a nap in the garden. Some nights she'd sleep in the house in the back hallway. I even let her sleep with me in my room once simply because that night was really cold and I felt sorry for her having to sleep outside. She didn't even know what to do with herself inside the room but eventually she got settled in and fell asleep. 

My favorite thing she would do is she would just throw herself on the ground to be scratched and petted and she's just wiggle her tail contently. I miss her. :( 

Amanda ❤

Casimira Aguirre Bustamante


My Tia Cacho is one of the strongest people I've ever known. As an Aguirre, we've always done things our own way on our own terms. There's no question about it. You can't tell but in this picture, you'd never know that she is terminally ill. 

All the Aguirre woman are strong, assertive woman and during this trip, I learned where we get it from. My Tia didn't get married until she was in her 50s which is something that's admirable to me. I've always wanted a family early so for her to wait, is beyond belief to me. She never had kids but everybody loves her so much. We're all her kids, she says. Let's put it this way, there are non-family members who call her Tia. My cousin Melanie's friend, Alejandro, asked if he could call her Tia and she said, "As long as you're not ashamed to call me Tia". How sweet! 

She's battled cancer twice without chemo. Unfortunately, she's battling it one more time presently and it hurt me so much to see her in the condition that she's in. This time she also has a pulmonary edema as well. I didn't know how bad it was until I went to see her. But she's a trooper. 

She still talks smack to us girls calling us 'Cabronas' but we just respond, "Look where we got it from!" and she just laughs. She still has an insane sense of humor as well. On a recent doctor's appointment, the doctor told her she was slightly anemic. She gets to my grandma's house and tells her, "Put some beans on the stove. I've got anemia". Forget about having cancer and a pulmonary edema, she's worried because she's anemic!  

Bless her soul though because there was one point where my cousin Melanie and I had to go to her house, (after just coming from there) to explain to her how to plug in and operate a small heater. We stayed there for 15 minutes trying to explain to her how to turn it on, where to change the temperature, and how to turn it off. 

After seeing her though, I honestly have no idea how long she's going to have left but I'm glad I was able to see her before things got worse. When I showed up at her door when I first got to Indé, she practically started crying since she hadn't seen me in so many years. I'm glad I was able to take a couple of pictures of her and you can't even tell that she's sick. 

What makes me so happy is the fact that everybody does love her so much. When she's at home, because she was out in the streets more than I was, the phone is constantly ringing to see if she wants company, to see if she needs anything, to see who's with her, to see what she's been doing. Everybody is constantly checking in on her. She also takes the time to talk to anybody who talks to her on the street. 

I hope I can have an impact on people the same way she does. 

Amanda ❤

Feeling Healthier

I realized that since I got back from my trip, my eating habits have REALLY changed. My grandma uses a lot of vegetables with a little bit of meat in her cooking and I got used to it. While I was out there my portions got smaller as well and I was much more active. (When I'm at my grandma's house, I HATE being inside the house).

El mono 1

El mono 2
My cousin Melanie asked it I wanted to climb 'el mono' which is just a rock that from the top you can see the whole town. I told her "Sure. I'll try". I hadn't done it in years so I wasn't sure if I'd still be able to. But I managed to climb up and back down again without killing myself.  The rock itself is like a 20 foot climb but you have to climb a hill to get to it. 

Before I left, I was really more of a meat and potatoes girl. Now that I'm back, I'm more of a fruit and vegetables girl and it feels great. Salads have been my biggest craving. I've just wanted cripsy, crunchy and healty food. 


As far as being active, I started going back to the gym and doing small little workouts at home using my dumbbells and yoga mat. I actually feel pretty good and want to keep it up so that I can be in shape for summer. Maybe I'll actually be fit enough, in my eyes, to buy a bikini again. 

Here's hoping I can keep it up for the next 6 months. 

Amanda ❤