Monthly Archives: October 2016

Day of the Dead Décor – It’s Everywhere!

img_1320-1Every fall I look forward to discovering new Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos items to add to my growing collection.  This year it seems stores had their items out even earlier than usual.

The first place I always hit is World Market.  Usually, they have quite a huge spread of items but this year the collection wasn’t as large.  Mind you, this is always my “go-to” place for DOD items so in fairness, it could be that I’ve collected most of their items already!  At any rate, over the course of 3 visits, I picked up some cute things including a Mariachi skeleton pillow, sugar skull measuring cups, sugar skull measuring spoons, 2 sugar skull nutcrackers and two ornaments – one sugar skull and one hot sauce bottle!  I haven’t checked other stores in my area to see if they have a more robust collection in their stores…there is still time and I may do that, but I really do love the things I’ve picked up so far.


Sugar skull measuring spoons and measuring “skulls” from World Market.


Mariachi pillow from World Market! So cute!


img_1317 img_1316 img_1315Target is another place to pick up cute DOD items.  This year, their selection was also a little limited.  Again, I think I bought everything they had last year, including a door wreath which will go up on my front door the last weekend in October.  I bought a sugar skull vinyl tablecloth along with a DOD banner and a sugar skull dog statue.  The tablecloth reminds me of the beautiful colorful Mexican vinyl tablecloths that my cousins always use in their decorating.  On another trip, I found a sugar skull cup and a kit to make sugar skull pumpkins.  I bought two pumpkins over the weekend for Halloween decorating so I’ll convert those using the kits this weekend.







img_1313 img_1312Finally, last week I was in Michaels and saw an adorable DOD door wreath.  I considered buying it as I walked through the store and then I turned down an aisle and found an entire display of DOD items!  It would have been easy to go nuts and add everything to my cart but I took a deep breath and selected just a few things – a DOD “coffin”, 6 small sugar skull plates and a Catrina statue – an iconic DOD item that is seen every year at the local DOD Festival in downtown Birmingham!

Honestly…it seems as though you can find DOD and Sugar Skull items all over the place these days.  I always look forward to pulling out all my stored items as I prepare to make my annual altars and decorate my house.  I think this year I’ll need to add another storage container for all my new items!

Do you have any favorite DOD items?  If so, please share them with me.  I would love to see them and know what you do to celebrate Day of the Dead!

Fiesta 2016 – Some of my Favorite Photos


Drummer for Los Canarios on the Fiesta Coca Cola Main Stage

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day!  The sky was blue and the temperature reached the low 80s and the sun made itself known throughout the day.  After the constant drizzle of the previous year, this was so welcomed to the Fiesta board, volunteers and especially the patrons!

Approximately 14,000 people made their way to Linn Park in downtown Birmingham for the 14th annual Fiesta event on Saturday, September 24.  My favorite things to do every single year is to walk the park, visiting all the booths and meeting and greeting all the nonprofits, businesses and vendors who come to be a part of this incredible event.  I take their photos, welcome the new folks and catch up with old friends along the way.


A little girl wearing a traditional Mexican dress gets her nails painted in the Family Village.

One of the highlights of this years event was the competition between countries in the Cultural Village – the heart of Fiesta.  A group of judges went through – anonymously – and voted on the best country booth based on presentation and creativity.   This year the Mexico won the competition and took home $500!  Next year, the stakes will be even higher as the best country booth will walk away with $1,000!


A collage of photos from past Fiestas adorned the Mexico booth in the Cultural Village. The Mexico booth won the first ever competition of Cultural Village country booths!

By the way…next year will be Fiesta’s 15th year anniversary – our quinceanera…and we have big things planned for this milestone!  Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 30, 2017, for Fiesta 2017 and stay tuned for an event packed year leading up to this great event!


Mark your calendar for Fiesta 2017!!!!!

Meanwhile…please enjoy some of my favorite photos from this year’s Fiesta!

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Dad…making his presence known on his 93rd birthday…


Photo I took of my dad when we lived in Illinois – photo is circa 1970s

Today would have been my dad’s 93rd birthday.  Praxedis Sotelo Zuniga was born in Carlsbad, New Mexico on October 25, 1922.  He died on June 1, 2001.  I remember it was a Friday.  He was 78 years old.

This time a year, I like to take a Virgen de Guadalupe candle to the memorial garden where his ashes are interned and replace the one from the previous year.  I just returned from a trip to visit my sister Kanista in North Carolina last night, so I haven’t had a chance to buy one and go by the gardens in Alabaster.  I hope to do this over the weekend.

Meanwhile…dad has been making his presence known today!  Kanista and I were talking about things like this yesterday.  You know…dreams, things that happen that appear to be a coincidence…being open to these types of happenings or just being observant can show you so much and also be comforting in many ways.  Kanista and I spent five days together and we had so many instances happen to us that we were recalling them all and laughing about them on our way to the airport yesterday.   At the same time, we were marveling and delighting in how great it made us feel and the fact that we were experiencing these happenings together!

So the marvel continues today as I was heading home after work.  I was thinking about dad and also of the traditional Mexican birthday song called “Las Mañanitas.”  I decided to look up the lyrics to make sure I had them right.  It’s been awhile since I had sung it, after all!  Then I got the urge to hear the song along with some mariachi music, so I pulled up a YouTube video of Vicente Fernandez singing it.  Vincente is a Mexican ranchera singer and for further coincidence…he was born on February 17th which is also MY birth date!  Anyway, the song was sung to a series of photos put together in a slideshow.  The first slide that popped up was this one…


This slide appeared at the beginning of a YouTube video for the Mexican birthday song – Las Mañanitas. Praxedis is my father’s name – coincidentally?!!!

Remember, my dad’s name is Praxedis!  I sat in disbelief at first, but then I started to smile.  “Ok, dad!  Happy birthday!” – I said out loud.  Then I decided to sing along to the video to serenade my father.  Next, I decided to run by my favorite thrift store and browse through quickly.  As I hurriedly ran through the rack with all the coats, I spotted a green shirt hanging among the coats that was clearly out-of-place.  Or, was it there to get my attention?  It had the Notre Dame initials on the front – very small letters – and it was a man’s shirt in the women’s section.  Notre Dame was my dad’s favorite school and football team.  Now, we live in the state of Alabama where you are either “for” Alabama or Auburn.  To mention Notre Dame here is taking your life into your hands!!!  And finding a shirt with these initials…what were the odds?  Dad was a Notre Dame fan his whole life.  I still have his ND sweatshirt and blanket…


Notre Dame shirt at the thrift store. Notre Dame was my dad’s favorite team!

Of course, now I was laughing!  “I hear you, dad!  Happy birthday and I’ll raise a glass of wine for you tonight when I get home…because I don’t like Schlitz beer!”  Schlitz was his choice of beer, by the way.

Happy birthday, dad!  I feel certain the entire Zuniga clan is celebrating you today in heaven!

Con mucho cariño….Teresa