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Friday, December 30, 2011

Hit the Rewind Button - A look back into 2011

Each time we close out the year we immediately set our sights straight into the New Year.  We look forward to and even yearn for a clean slate, a fresh start, a New Year full of more excitement, love, money, success...we all do this, even me.  
This year, before zooming into your New Years Resolutions or as I like to call them, goals, take a moment to reflect on your life's events that occurred in 2011 (the good and yes, even the bad) and honor them, because without those events happening in your life, it wouldn't have brought you to this very point, right here right now.  

sooo...I'd like to share with you my 2011 moments that I want to cherish and reflect on before moving into the next amazing chapter (year) of my life.  

Here's to 2012!!!!! But first...

Kikey's 2011 Year In Review 

I moved into my very own flat! No, the wall did not remain orange lol! 

Had an amazing photo interview with famed photographer Araldo di Crollalanza

Started a Snowboarding Crew...and growing! Let me know if you want to join.

Celebrated my bday not Once...

...not Twice (at the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood)

but Three Times!! (at Backstage Bar & Grill doing some karaoke and dancing)

Joined a co-ed softball team.  I was a kickass second baseman!!

Became a Royal Wedding Watcher.  I loved it :) 

My beloved talk show 'Let's Talk' aired on TV!!... was seen in homes all over LA - That's me!

Won 2 Gold Medals at the LA International Wushu Tournament. Me and Master Hu.

'Livin' La Vida LA!' blog was born in July

Was named LA's Rising Talent...this was COOL!

As part of 'Let's Talk!' I got to grace the red carpet at the Alma Awards 

Hometown newspaper writes story on amazing! What a way to close out the year. 

Let's move into 2012 with gratitude and appreciation for all that happened to us in 2011  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hometown Girl Makes Good: Kikey Castillo's story "From Fields to Footlights"

I got my Christmas present early this year and it came wrapped in a pretty HUGE bow -- the front page of the lifestyle section of my hometown newspaper!  

That's right!!!  I couldn't believe when I got the call from writer, Kathy Aney, from the East Oregonian Newspaper from back home asking to interview me.  I was floored and flattered all at the same time, actually, I was feeling many different emotions.  She said that Cathy Minnick (the mother of my high school sweetheart - whom I had kept in touch with up until a few years ago) had wrote in telling them I would make a great story with all my accomplishments here in Hollywood.  

After a video Skye interview, many back and forth emails with Kathy, and interviews from my best friend, Amy Jewett Hoffert and cousin, Jose Navarro...Voila! 

I am so proud of this piece and I hope it inspires may others out there to follow their dreams. 

*Thank you to Kathy Aney for writing my story with such warmth and wit and to Cathy Minnick for making this possible* 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Give! Give! Give! this Holiday Season - Give the Gift of Volunteerism

Volunteering this holiday season can bring about some indescribable gifts back to us.  Most often when we think of volunteering or doing philanthropic endeavors we think we are changing the lives of those people in need.  Which in the big picture, we are and that's the whole beautiful point of doing this selfless work, but what we often fail to see is is they who give us the greatest gifts.  

The Gift of Perspective 'Are our lives really that difficult?'  The Gift of their Smile which can disarm our guarded hearts.  The Gift of their Laughter that we feel as warmth in center of our chests...our soul.  The Gift of their Hug that makes us feel helpless and empowered all at the same time.  The Gift of their Gratitude, how their eyes say thank you without a single word being spoken.  There is no greater gift than being someone's philanthropic angel. 

Don't know how to get started? Or who is taking volunteers?  
Well let me tell you!

Big Sunday 
Volunteer Calendar (Los Angeles)

Big Sunday has made it an easy one stop shop volunteer calendar. Scroll down on page to find out who is organizing events and accepting volunteers.

Great volunteer ideas for those who don't live in LA or even if you do!

- Donate blankets to a pet shelter for the cold winter months
- Volunteer at your local senior citizens center or nursing home
- Organize a clothing drive at your church and donate it to a woman's shelter
- Sever food at your local homeless/skid row shelter
- Drop off a toy at your local Toys for Tots donation center
- Contribute food to your local food drive
- Assemble your own brown bag lunches with toiletry items and pass out to the homeless who ask for money at the street corners or businesses you frequent

Here is what I did

Roy was a bright spot on my day. His fun and cheerful spirit is apparent by his holiday decoration

Culver City Senior Center Annual Holiday Party

I volunteered at the Culver City Senior Center Annual Holiday Party for the disabled elderly.  For four fun hours I got to blow up balloons, serve food and drinks, escort blind women to the restroom and mingle with the magnificent party goers and fellow volunteers.  I was full of holiday spirit and I was simply soaring with glee.

Now go out there and put yourself of this list!

Happy Holidays Everyone! And many thanks for being a fan of my blog.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Coca-Cola Tour: Adelante Los Angeles

What did I do with my Saturday?  

I joined more than 300 Southern California Latinas and attended the Coca Cola Tour: Adelante Los Angeles Forum. A wonderful event created to ignite a national movement to improve our lives.  

The Adelante Tour is created by Latina inspirational speaker and media entrepreneur Nely Galán (“The Swan”, “Celebrity Apprentice”), in association with Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence (CMI), the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources, business education, and community support for women entrepreneurs and Coca-Cola.  

Sounds fun right? Well it got better!

Bel, Elia and I arrived bright and early in the morning at the beautiful Casa del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica on the beach, overlooking the beautiful ocean.  Equally beautiful was the conference room - very luxurious.  

Casa del Mar Hotel on the beach

the conference room but not wedding decorated

Before the event even started we were treated to red carpet pictures, what a great way to kick off the day. At least for me it is :)

Elia Esparza, Kikey Castillo and Bel Hernandez 

Kikey Castillo

After a decaf cup of coffee and eyeballing the beautiful continental breakfast spread (can't have sugar right now) we found our seats and readied ourselves for whatever was to come.  

Naibe, Kikey, Bel and Elia

During the day we got to hear from very inspirational, wise and empowering women.  The three key speakers were:

Sandra Cisneros, acclaimed novelist, poet, educator and Latina advocate who has been awarded the MacArthur Genius Award, will lead the Begin (Empieza) segment of the Program. 

This mujer is COOL, she is very spiritual and metaphysical in a mother earth sort of way. She spoke my language. 

Nely Galán first generation Latina and self-made media mogul, who was the first Latina president of a U.S. TV network (Telemundo), Emmy Award-winning producer of over 600 episodes of television in Spanish and English, including the hit reality series “The Swan” and the only Latina to appear on Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump.  She will lead the Continue (Sigue) segment of the program.

Whoa, I love this woman! What a tour de force...what a life (good and bad).  She really made me feel like anybody can achieve greatness you just have to want it bad enough and do something about it to get it.  

Nely at the podium 

Nell Merlino, Founder and President of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and the creative force behind Take Our Daughters to Work Day, will lead the Arrive (Llega) portion of the Forum.  Merlino’s mantra is:  “Before you grow your business, you need to grow yourself.”  Her segment focused on building financial strength and discovering what you really want. 

I was in a bit of an awe to meet the woman behind 'Take Our Daughters to Work Day' 

The great day was topped off with a great treat for me!  I got interviewed by 2 media outlets: CNN en Espanol (thank you Naibe) but I totally feel like I butchered it as I got nervous speaking Spanish off-the-cuff and trying to sound intelligent LOL and for Coca-Cola Tour: Adelante (in English, went MUCH better!) 

Media interview for Coca-Cola Tour: Adelante

And that's how I spent my Saturday.  It was a nice change from my usual running errands or hanging out and I felt ALIVE, EMPOWERED and INSPIRED - I'd say, not a bad way to spend my Saturday!

And here is the CNN en Espanol interview, where I actually came off sounding not too shabby!

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