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Writing Sample: Personal Blog

As a way to incorporate two things that I am passionate about, I started a blog with a friend
that would feature everything local. We wanted to make sure to highlight many of the local artists,
shops, restaurants, etc. so that more people could learn about them in a casual and relatable way.
Due to the fact that I have a partner, not every piece of writing on the blog belongs to me, but I
have decided to highlight some of the writing I have done for the blog as a way to showcase a
different style of writing.
I decided to include some of the posts that highlighted different areas of the blog. The first
example is about Raul the Third a Belpre Award Winner illustrator from El Paso, Texas. Next, I
interviewed the owner of the store Chuco Relic, which focuses on selling El Paso novelties and
promoting the city. I decided to include an interview with an Asian fusion restaurant in Ciudad
Juarez, Chihuahua called Hamsa that is looking to serve its community foods unique to the city.
Lastly, I included an interview with a Mexican artist, Mustang Jane, who uses her art as form of
activism against femicides and violence against women in Ciudad Juarez.
Raul the third
This book is a love letter to El Paso.

Raul the Third is an El Paso native who shows the love for his hometown through his artwork, as
you can see in his Pura Belpr Award winning book, Lowriders in Space.

Raul grew up in the border and even now, while living in Boston, he still has a love for these two
sister cities. If you ask Raul what he does at El Chuco when he visits his first answer is to visit
my parents. Something that he loves to do while in town is to walk around Downtown El Paso
all the way to the bridge and walking on over to Juarez, maybe even pay a visit to the Mercado
Cuauhtmoc. Rauls art speaks for his love of his hometown, a place he calls unique, safe, and
full of culture. Raul believes that El Paso is the city of the future.

Raul is going to be visiting soon to talk about his book Lowriders in Space, where the world of
the characters is heavily influenced by his upbringing in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. You might
ask yourself, how does he do that? If you pay close attention, you can find a restaurant called
Tortas Nico, familiar to you Juarez natives, as well as many eloteros. You can also see a
mountain with a Thunderbird that will leave you thinking of our beloved Franklin Mountains and
a lot of nopales. Raul even included one of his characters whistling to Noa Noa by Juan
Gabriel, and if that wasnt enough to show his appreciation, he dedicated his book to Juanga!

As for the process of illustrating a childrens book, Raul is very grateful and appreciative of his
team at Chronicle Books. Raul works closely with different editors and an art director to make
the book happen. Of course, his collaborator, Cathy Campers, helps Raul create a cool script that
goes along with what he feels inspired to illustrate. The illustrations for Lowriders in Space are
unique because Raul decided to complete the entire book only using Bic ballpoint pens,
something that anyone would be able to draw with.

For all you aspiring illustrators, Rauls advice is to be truthful to representing yourselves and the
community you grew up with above all else. He believes that people sharing their own stories is
the perfect way for people to be passionate about their work. The art should be about people that
you know, care, and love so that you can become invested in your work. Above all,
representation is important, and it is up to us border natives to demonstrate our love for our city
through our work so that others can learn about it.
Chuco Relic
Let's teach locals to find a love for El Paso

If you haven't heard about Chuco Relic yet, then believe me when I say you've been missing out.
You can go find them at Time at Montecillo and even better, you can make online orders!

Chelsie, the owner of Chuco Relic, found her love for El Paso when she moved back a couple of
years ago. She realized that she wanted to do something to promote El Paso, but most of all she
wanted for other locals to find the same love she has for her hometown.

In 2012, Chelsie became the owner of Machot a store dedicated to cool novelties, but she
decided she wanted the store to focus on El Paso novelties. There are many cool local vendors
who make El Paso themed novelties and Chelsie wanted to have a space where you can find all
of these things at once. A year and a half ago, Chelsie decided to change the name to Chuco
Relic which not only represents the border area but also represents the initials of her and her
family members.

The bicultural experience that the people living in the border experience is unique and it forms
connections between the locals. Chelsie wants to celebrate the culture and the people by having a
space dedicated to El Paso. The name, though thought to have a negative connotation, is another
way to show appreciation for the community. For Chelsie, Chuco is something that the people in
El Paso get almost like an inside thing, our very own secret.

If you want to be part of the Chuco Relic family you will be happy to know that everyone is
welcome to participate. The only criteria for people is that their work is El Paso themed or that it
relates to the culture. They even have a 10 year old artist who does work for them, so if you are
an artist don't hesitate to contact Chuco Relic to see how you can collaborate.

If by the end of this you're still wondering what Chuco means, then I have some good news for
you. We're going to give you all the chisme on Chuco soon, so check back next week!
Hamsa
Prepare yourself to be completely mind blown with the out of this world food experience I am
about to introduce you to... Baos! Yep, you read it right! Hamsa, an ethnic restaurant in Ciudad
Juarez, provides you with some of the most fresh, innovative, and delicious food in town! You
can go find them at Paseo De La Victoria #2118 A9 at Pueblito de Don Cuco.

Innovation is really important for the chef at Hamsa, Jacob R. An opportunity came up for him to
open a new business, but with this new opportunity came the challenge of having to create
something new and different. So if you ask Jacob how he came up with the idea of baos, his first
answer will be "by accident," and yet I can grantee you this is the most delicious accident I've
ever tasted.

As a plus, for all you sci-fi/fantasy lovers out there (cough* cough*, starts with St... and ends in
..rs), Hamsa really gets inspiration from and tries to incorporate this greatly loved space opera
into their decorations and their menu. So not only will you enjoy their food, but their space as
well.

If you're still asking yourself, what the hell are baos?! Don't worry you're probably not the only
one. Baos are a Vietnamese dish that consists of a handmade steamed bun with an assortment of
fillings. For Hamsa specifically, these steamed buns are filled with pulled pork in different
sauces and a variety of ingredients. Even better, Hamsa has added fresh handmade noodles to
their menu, which I hear are just as delicious. For desert, you can enjoy their mouthwatering
Beignets, which are a French pastry super popular in New Orleans.

Don't be put off because Hamsa serves food you're probably not used to, on the contrary plan a
trip to try something new (which will not disappoint you!). Personally, I recommend trying all
the different baos that they offer, because they are all equally yummy. One think that you cannot
miss is the beignets, they are heavenly.

Make plans this weekend to go get your dose of yumm at Hamsa!


Mustang Jane
There's something about people whose dreams are translated into their work that inspires you to
chase your own, and Mustang Jane is one of those individuals. So, prepare to be inspired!

If you've never heard about Mustang Jane, I will let you know that she is a very inspiring artist
who looks to make a change through her art and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.
Mustang Jane describes herself as a "multidisciplinary political artist" and she does a lot of work
in "arte de denuncia." This means that for her art is a way to talk about injustices and violence,
especially regarding women.

For Mustang Jane, living in the border really influenced her decision to go into this type of art.
Ciudad Juarez has a lot of history regarding femicides and other violence against women and this
motivated Mustang Jane to speak out about it through her art. For her, a well-articulated
community process has the potential for social change because though education and
organization the younger generations can be reached.

Having left Ciudad Juarez, her hometown, for ten years made her realize that if she was going to
come back, she needed to create something meaningful that would create an impact. Mustang
Jane decided to make a change and start by doing something, no matter how small. Little by little
her "small grain of salt" in the community has begun to expand with the help of her
collaborators.

Not only is Mustang Jane committed to making a change on her community, but she also
embraces change herself. Her process and her projects have changed because she believes that
you always learn something new. She explains that you constantly need to be making
connections to your surroundings, including politics, your environment, books, and other
individuals. All of your experiences begin to grow and add up, making you into who you are.

Mustang Jane is very dedicated to her community, and her art speaks about the many issues she
is passionate about. You can see this through her work with embroidery, textiles, knitting,
drawing, and painting. Mustang Jane is an artist to watch and following her work feels like you
are growing right alongside her and I think this is one of the many things that makes her so
special.