Suck It Up and Be A Woman Dec2017

by on Dec.25, 2017, under Creativity, Family

Below is College Scholarship Essay by Emma Saldivar

Every year, my family has a tamale-making day a week or so before Christmas. Everyone from my mother’s side of the family gathers in my Aunt Julie’s house and we spend the evening in tamale frenzy. Now the women in my family have an organized system for how these tamales get made. One person washing the cornhusks, two people spreading the masa, two people filling them with the different meat, and a person folding them and putting them in the pot. At the head of it all is my five foot zero aunt, standing on a stool, spreading masa and giving orders like there is no tomorrow.

In my family you get thrust into this controlled chaos of women fairly young. These tamale sessions are only one example of how the women of my family control things. I am the second youngest woman in my family, with the next oldest being four years older than me. I was separated enough to just observe everything the rest of these women said or did. I make a fool of myself for the enjoyment of others because that’s what my Aunt Maggie would do. I am very competitive because my Aunt Julie and Aunt Bibi would find a way to turn anything into a competition. I try to find the middle ground in arguments because my mother was often a mediator for family disputes.

The ratio of women to men is two to one. The women are in charge of this family and all the men know it too. They know that once our minds are made up there was no possible way to change it. My feisty aunt has more power than her husband who is more than a foot taller than her.

Everyone is also very loud, as any Hispanic household should be. Every time we are gathered together, many conversations are held at once, all at the same volume. I learned quickly that I had to speak up or else the person I was trying to talk to would never hear me.

One common thing I noticed about these women was how strong they were. Part of that was because they always supported each other through the hard times, but most of the time they stayed strong because that what needed to be done. The Castillo women are mothers or are at least a parental figure to someone else, and they are strong because they have other people counting on them.

I think that is what I took away from them most of all. Sometimes life is tough, but your family is looking to you for strength, so suck it up and be the shoulders that support the people you love and all of their burdens. My aunts, cousins, and mother all had their fair share of struggle and heartache, but from what I have seen, that has never stopped them from being the powerful and nurturing women that they are.

That is what I strive to be. I want to be as selfless as they are. I try to find that perfect balance of confidence and humility that all of the women in my family have. Especially now as I grow into my own person and become more independent, I try to provide for those who need my guidance. It actually brings me joy when I am able to help or teach someone and I have come to realize that it takes my mind off of whatever bad things might be going on in my personal life at the time.

I also learned to not let anyone, especially a man, undermine me when it comes to something I am passionate about. Countless times I have seen my uncles and father be put in their place if they step on the female’s toes. I learned how to fight back and make my opinions known.

I may have been labeled crazy or too stubborn by some of my male peers, but I would much rather be called that than be considered weak minded or subdued. Those are two characteristics that are foreign to the Castillo women. And they will stay that way as far as any of us are concerned.

No one can change who we are. We stand strong and provide for those who need us, whether that is a comforting hug or a slap on the back of the head and a “get your life back on track” talk. We will always be the constants in our family’s lives.

Emma Saldivar

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Superstitious Minds Event – Main Street 9-29-17

by on Sep.30, 2017, under Creativity, Family, Photography, Sony A6000


This past Friday night, Elizabeth, Conny (Imogen) and I went to to hear my Brother in Law (David Castillo) play with Superstitious Minds at Main Street Bar. I took my Sony A6500 and took some photos. We had such a great time. I’ve posted some photos below – click on each on to view a larger version. 

Thanks for letting me share. 


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She is my Wonder Woman

by on Sep.22, 2017, under Family


Today was a tough day. My 17yr old daughter had her 4 wisdom teeth extracted today. She was a trooper. 

Of all the strongest woman I know, she ranks up there in the top 4. Elizabeth being #1. 

I worked from home today so I could help with my little girl’s extraction process. She’s already gone through braces and now had to have 4 wisdom teeth extracted. Her procedure was at 8am and as I mentioned, I was thankful I’m able to work from home to help my wife get her home. 

We thought it was going to take about 2 hours but we were surprised when they called us after an hour. She was ready to go home. She was a bit groggy and you had to ask…

Will this be an opportunity to film her in a goofy moment you see online of parent’s posting their children’s reaction to the procedure. 

She surprised me. 

She was a bit emotional but got to the car and in the house ok. Three hours later, she was sitting on the sofa with Momma bear at her side. A couple of times she used the “bell app” on her phone to get our attention when she went back to her room to sleep but let me tell you – she’s been awesome. She’s a tough girl…just like her Mom. She was already posting pics of herself to her friends on Snapchat and other media to show her friends (and GodMom) that she was doing well. Even during the ABC Nightly News she was so lively commenting on current events. 

Being a film maker, I wondered if I would have used this opportunity to film her in her most vulnerable state, blabbing like an idiot, 

But of course, she continued to surprise me with her strength and resilience. Just like her Mom. 

I’ve posted some pictures below to share how proud I am of this strong, young woman. I’m sure she did better than I did – yes those are my two wisdom teeth pulled as my header image…oh so long ago (25yrs?). 

We will be watching Wonder Woman tonight – to remind me that I am lucky to have these two women in my life. Both are WW to me. 


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Mariachi Lab (Festival) at the Pearl Brewery

by on Sep.18, 2017, under Family, Film making, Music, Sony A6000

Elizabeth and I went down to the Pearl Brewery this past Saturday to hear the Mariachis. I took my Sony A6500 and shot some film. 

Enjoy the video below. 


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Saldivar South Padre Vacation 2017

by on Jun.18, 2017, under Family, Film making, Photography, Sony A6000

Been one week since we’ve been back from our annual Saldivar Vacation. This year (2017) we decided to go back to South Padre Island and “complete” the vacation. See 8 years ago we went but Joaquin got really sick and we basically drove back. This trip felt like we closed the loop. 

Read about that here – Joaquin got sick

The video above is from Day 1 and I didn’t bust out my cameras the rest of the trip. Elizabeth told me not to make it “work.” So I didn’t. I did add a gallery below so if you click on images for a larger view. I did create some time lapses using my Sony A6500 and I’ll add those later. 


Thanks for letting me share,


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