For the Love of Blue

Yesterday, as many of you know, was Baseball Opening Day. 


Can you just smell the freshly mown grass and the chatter of happy and excited fans?

Can you picture the dramatic unfurling of the US shaped flag?


And of course, the fireworks?


And are you now celebrating the Dodgers' Opening Day (1-0) win over the Padres?


And are you now so super excited for Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium coming this summer? (Of course you are.) We've also added a Cuban Night at Dodger Stadium this year. On Monday, May 11th at 7:10pm. How cool is that?

That's two games of Cuban Dodger Awesomeness. Oh the Cubanity!

I happen to live a few area codes from Chavez Ravine, but having grown up in Santa Monica, LA will always be my team. And, of course, I'm Cuban, which means baseball is part of my cultural DNA.

I'm super excited to be involved in the Cuban Heritage Day Committee to help plan all the fun for Cuban Heritage Day (July 12, 2015) and Cuban Night at Dodger Stadium (May 11th, 2015).

So, for the planning...

I get to visit with my favorite Cuban friends at Portos Bakery while we plan the festivities for both Cuban Night and Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium.


So picture us having coffee and pastelitos and talking baseball at Porto's Bakery. (I know you're jealous.)


Now picture us having coffee and pastelitos and talking baseball at Dodger Stadium. (I know. Shut up.)


I can't even believe I get to be one of the members of this group. All lovers of baseball. All leaders in the Cuban community. And I'm out-of-my-skin excited that they've let me be a part of this. I feel sooo accidentally cool.


First, let's talk about Cuban Night. Monday, May 11th, 2015. No se pierdan esta noche de Dodger Baseball mixed in with a bunch of Cubania. The Dodgers love us Cubans so much that they will be giving away the awesome Cuba t-shirt to EVERY person that buys a ticket

Cuba Night tshirt


ONLY those that buy tickets for Cuba Night on 5/11 thru or thru Sammy Park at group sales will receive a voucher for the commemorative t-shirt. Dale see you all there!

And now, since we're on the subject, let's talk Cuban Heritage Day Tshirts. 

Picture a stadium full of Cubans all wearing the same beautifully designed tshirts. Last year it was something to see and seriously, took my breath away. Here's some pictures from last year's event. It felt like being a part of a really cool and exclusive club.

Now picture yourself as part of that sea of beautiful blue Cubanity. I want you to have this experience. 

Which is why I want all of you to stop what you're doing right now and pre-order your tshirts for this year's fabulous Cuban Heritage Day.

Cuban heritage day tshirts

Habana Brand Clothing is accepting pre-orders now thru May 1st, at a special Pre-Order Price of only $20.00 - after May 1st the online price will be $25.00.

Orders will be shipped early May. They are only producing a very limited amount of these shirts, so do not be left out.  

Wear it proudly when you join your family and friends at Dodger Stadium for the cultural celebration of the 3rd annual Cuban Heritage Day on Sunday, July 12th.

The Cuban-themed Viva Los Dodgers festival will begin 2 hours prior to first pitch and fans can enjoy festive live music, player autographs and various activities. Admission to Viva Los Dodgers is free with a paid ticket to the game.

We will also be selling the t-shirts on various dates at Porto's Bakeries.

Click on this link to Habana Brand Clothing to pre-order your shirts. I can't wait to see all of you in your beautiful shirts.

Because, Go Blue!

For more info, please follow Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium on Facebook.

Cuban Heritage Day - "Tremendo Vacilón"

The 2nd Annual Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium has come and gone and it was, by all accounts, a huge success. 

I'm still a little overwhelmed by all the fabulousness and fun of celebrating baseball and Cubanity(<--it's a word, right?) with my people. And it was the hottest stinking day of the summer in LA, so, if this is a little incoherent, please forgive me ahead of time. Still recovering from the heat.


Picture this: Cuban music playing (loudly) from the stage. Once a song starts, the smile of recognition quickly spreads across the faces. When the music plays, we must dance. It's in our Cuban DNA. We seriously can't help it. We spontaneously begin dancing with, and next to, and behind, and in front of whoever happens to be there. I so loved that.

Although many wore their tried and true Dodger Blue, many of us showed off the official shirt of Cuban Heritage Day 2014. Designed by the extremely talented Roly Vega of Habana Brand Clothing

I have it on good authority that these beautiful shirts (only $20!) are still available through the end of August. Please visit Habana Brand Clothing and place your order ASAP. 


It was a crazy-hot day in LA, but there were lots of fans (works on two levels) available to beat the heat provided by Café La Llave and a special one designed for the day by Habana Brand Clothing and our good friends from Wassup En LA. 


Part of the fun was wandering the stadium (in the shade, of course) and finding old friends, all of us flapping our fans to cool off in a modern version of what was probably a typical scene from Havana of the 50's. 


Rudolpho Zalez, Pritesh Shah, Carlos de la Vega of Wassup En LA?

Speaking of old friends, the first pitch was to be thrown out by Tony Plana, the very talented Cuban actor who played the dad on the hit TV show, Ugly Betty. Tony has had a distinguished and accomplished career. My favorite of his roles being "Jefe," from the comedy film, The Three Amigos, but that's not important right now.

It turns out that Tony's brother and I went to school together and I knew his family pretty well. "Tony, I'm Marta, from St. Augustine's..." I didn't get a chance to finish my sentence.


He grabbed me in a big Cuban hug of recognition. Made my day.


The Committee

It was my pleasure and privilege to serve on this year's Cuban Heritage Day Committee. What a delight it was to get to know the other Cubans involved in putting on this event and sharing our love of baseball and Cubanity (<--I'm pretty sure it's a word) with each other. I loved how everyone brought different skills and talents to the table. 

My friend, Lucy Vega, of Habana Brand Clothing, also brought red lipstick. I'm forever grateful. The beautiful blonde you see here is Rose Marin, head of the committee and the mastermind of this entire project. 


Lucy Vega, Marta Darby, Rose Marin celebrating red lipstick

The committee got to do a photo-op with Cuban Wonder Boy, Yasiel Puig. Or as our community refers to him, "Yasielito." 


I confess that I totally gave in to temptation and went in for the selfie. Guys... I had to.



I know. Shut up. 

Jonathan and Lucy (and friend, Nathan) happily partook of the Cuban Dogs. Picture a Dodger Dog, but with a Cuban sandwich twist to it: Ham, pork, swiss cheese, mustard, pickles. (For more on the awesomeness of Cuban sandwiches, see this post.)


Eric, who has been married to me for 22 years, held his own with all the Cubanity (<--I think it's a word now).


 To get all the info about next year's Cuban Heritage Day, please be sure to follow them on Facebook: Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium on Facebook.

It was a long, hot, wonderful day. The Dodgers eventually lost to the Brewers, but that didn't dampen our spirits. The day was a perfect celebration of all that is good and holy about Cuban baseball.

Here's a perfect recap by the talented and lovely, Ailis Garcia of Dodgers Nation

Pastelitos provided by Portos Bakery. Cafecitos provided by Café La Llave. First pitch and MY FAVORITE MOMENT provided by Tony Plana. Tshirts provided by Habana Brand Clothing. Fans provided by Wassup En LA? Dodger Baseball magic provided by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The rest of us? We brought the Cubanity. (<--word officially coined by me.)



photo credit: Lucy Vega


Cuban Heritage Day and the Dodgers - Stuff You Need

I'm still recovering from the LA Cuban Festival last weekend. Thanks to all of you who came out and said hello. Also, if you have a photo of us together (and we look cute), please send it to me! 

Today's post is really a PSA for Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium.

Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium is coming up next month on August 17th, 2014. I would love to see as many of you there as possible, which is why I'm sharing this today. I promise you won't want to miss it. In case you were wondering about my love for the Dodgers and last year's day, look here, and here.

(Also, if you want to read a really cute story about my mom, Luza and a former famous Dodger player (full disclosure: she's a Yankees fan), click here.)

Thing 1) You need tickets! Click on over to the Los Angeles Dodgers Page and order them today. There are some good seats still available. (I'll be giving some away in a couple of weeks, but that's not important right now.)

Thing 2) You need shirts! My good friends at Habana Brand Clothing have designed some gorgeous t-shirts, which you will want to wear to the game, beause that's what all the cool Cuban kids are doing. Pre-order is happening NOW. We need to represent, people! 



I'm loving these shirts so much that I'm thinking you're going to want one even if you don't make it to the game.I'm super excited about this day, because...

Cubans + Dodger Baseball = The Best Day of Summer 2014. See you there!

"It's time for Dodger Baseball!"

Habana Brand Clothing - A Winner

First of all, I'd like to thank Habana Brand Clothing for being so supportive of My Big, Fat, Cuban Family in everything I do here.

Secondly, I'm so grateful to all of you who faithfully read, and follow along with my blogging adventures and enter my fun giveaways. I'm grateful that you're the ones who have made this little corner of cyberspace such a great place to hang out. Gracias.

MBFCF Giveaways

Congratulations to...

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Martha, you won! Please send me an email with your mailing address and HEY, MARTA! I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG! in the subject line (so I don't accidentally delete it).

Lucy & Jon Habana Brand

I'll forward to my good friends at Habana Brand Clothing and you can let them know which shirt you want and what size and all that and they will send out your goodies ASAP. You will be sooo proud to represent. I promise.

Also, don't miss any of their new designs and promotions, follow Habana Brand Clothing on Facebook. And love them on Instagram. You can thank me later.

Thank you again to everyone who participated. You make me so happy.

Habana Brand Clothing (MBFCF Giveaway #7)

There's still a whole lot of celebrating going on around here.

I'm the kind of person who likes to celebrate birthdays for the entire month, so celebrating my 7 years in the blogosphere really does deserve a month-long celebration, but that's not important right now.

Also, I've been busy lining up the very best the Cuban community has to offer for My Big, Fat, Cuban Family readers. So thanks to your wonderful response, this is going to be a really fun giveaway.

Let me tell you what I have in store for you today.

MBFCF Giveaways

My wonderful friends at Habana Brand Clothing have very generously offered the following giveaway to celebrate my 7 Bloggywonderful Years. You probably remember Roland from his beautiful Cuando Sali de Cuba story that he shared with us last year.

Here's just a taste of the Habana Brand Fabulousness that you sooo want to be a part of:

Habana Brand Clothing
Lucy and Jonathan looking sooo accidentally cool in their Habana Brand shirts.

The winner will receive both:

  1. A Habana Brand T-shirt - they have some amazing designs that you get to choose from.
  2. A 16 x 20  poster - you can choose from one of 5 beautiful designs.

Habana Brand Poster
This is my favorite.

To enter this drawing for A Habana Brand Shirt and Poster of Your Choice, please leave a comment on this post and answer one or both of the following questions:

  • Do you love wearing your Cubanness for the world to see? (Or is the word, Cubanity?)
  • Do you have Cuban art in your home?

Please leave your comment on this post and I'll choose one winner on Friday, October 25th, 2013 at 11am PST.

2) For an extra entry, please go "like" Habana Brand Clothing on Facebook and come back and leave me another comment telling me:  

  • "I like Habana Brand Clothing!"

So that's not one, but two entries. Because that's the way I roll...

My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cubiche Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas shopping.

I am so not the get-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-to-snap-up-deals-on-Black-Friday type of person. I am much more the online-shopper-in-my-pjs type. (However, if you tell anyone about the PJ thing, I'll most certainly deny it, but that's not important right now.)

It's just a matter of covering more territory while sitting in the comfort of your PJs (or not...) and finding fabulously different gifts. Plus think of the savings on gas!

For example, I'm pretty sure Target doesn't carry a Tardis 4-port USB hub for my nerdy,  Dr.Who-loving son, Jonathan. But ThinkGeek does. (Don't worry. I've given nothing away. He doesn't read my blog unless I ask him to.)

Also, I may or may not have gotten one for myself. (Don't judge me.)

My mom, Luza, who is 98 now, says she loves the hustle and bustle of going shopping at Christmastime and that she loves fighting crowds and she loves carrying lots of bags and packages around. I remind her that she hasn't been Christmas shopping on her own since the 70's and that perhaps what she probably remembers is a scene from a Christmas movie and that maybe her memory is not what it used to be. (Note to self: Don't ever contradict an Old Cuban Woman on what she may or may not remember. That is all.)

So, back to online shopping.

I live in a wonderful all-American Peanut-Butter-and-Jelly neighborhood in Southern California. It's not just the place to be finding gifts with an especially Cuban sensibility. Sad, but true.

This is why God invented online shopping. To get the perfect gift for your Cuban Cubiches. (For my non-Cuban readers, a "cubiche" is loosely translated as "Cuban kin.")

Which is why I'm providing the... *drum roll, please*

My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cubiche Christmas Gift Guide

Disclaimer: These are places that I myself have ordered from and who have delivered on quality and service. None of them are paying me for this free linky-love. (I wish! *sigh*)

1) From Cuban Food Market (if you're in Miami, the name of the store is Sentir Cubano on Calle 8):

Tacitas! Or Demitasse espresso coffee cup gift set. With a Cuban flag on them and they come in a "it's a Cuban Chrismas" straw gift bag. I think, yes! (Trust me, there is nothing like this in Mission Viejo.)

2) From the "Jewelers to the Cuban Communtiy," Santayana Jewelers:

Santayana charm bracelet

The Habana Bead Collection of Charms. They fit Pandora and Chamilia bracelets. And come in such genius designs as: A cafetera, Corazon de melon, Azucar, and Caja China. Go check them out. You must see to believe.

Santayana Jewelers is running a special promotion right now: $40 off on your purchase of $150 or more. Trust me, I have already taken advantage of this great deal (someone in my family is going to be deliriously happy on Christmas morning). The promotion expires January 6th, 2013 - El Dia de Los Reyes. Of course. That's sooo deliciously Cuban, isn't it?

VERY COOL PROMOTION ALERT! Just for MBFCF readers: If you suggest a design and they make it into a charm, they will send the winner that charm. Come on, people! I know you've got this. Leave suggestions in the comment section of this post.

3) And of course, my good friends at Habana Brand Clothing have got the most fabulous über-Cuban (<--is that a word?) designs on their high quality shirts.

I also want to take a moment to thank Habana Brand and all the MBFCF readers who suggested new designs for their shirts. They have assured me they are hard at work creating some of your concepts. Way to go, kids!

This one is hot off the press (thanks to YOU!) - Ladies V-neck Vintage Ride T. Click HERE to order and see the rest of their beautiful line. That's my Lucy being all cute in her Cubanity (<--is that a word?) and rocking the Habana Brand Vintage Ride tshirt.

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They're also having a Facebook promotion right now as the Cuban community finds them online and they are working their way to 1,000 "likes." Please go like Habana Brand Clothing on Facebook. And please share with your friends.

HBC promotion

Go! Shop! Be proud of your Cubanity! (<--That should totally be a word!)

Habana Brand Clothing - The Winners!

I hope you've been enjoying all the "Cuando Sali de Cuba" stories from the various contributors. I know I certainly have. I always tell people that there are as many amazing escape-from-the-island stories as there are Cubans in the U.S. Thanks for proving my point. I'll be sharing more stories in this space in the coming weeks.

A great big Thank You to Roland Vega for sharing his story and to Habana Brand Clothing for hosting the giveaway. Here he is rocking that classic Cuba men's design. Isn't it beautiful?

The Getty 2011 008

Thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway for the Habana Brand Clothing. I have looked through their entire catalog and have seriously fallen in love with their genius designs. 

Congratulations to the winner of the Men's tshirt in the size, color, and design of your choice.

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And the winner of the Women's tshirt in the size, color, and design of your choice.

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For those of you who did not win, but would still like a fabulous Habana Brand tshirt, please go to the Habana Brand Clothing site and when you purchase the tshirt of your choice, please mention My big, fat, Cuban family in the comments and they will send you a Habana Brand tote bag with your purchase. Isn't that a sweet deal? Go! And represent! And as usual, tell them Marta sent you. ;-)

Thank you for continuing to support Cuban-owned businesses and for all the Facebook "liking" you've done in the past few days. You guys seriously rock.

Congratulations, Ody and Rosalina, please send me an email to with HEY, MARTA! I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG! in the subject line so I don't accidentally delete it. Send me your snail mail address so I can forward your information to my friends at Habana Brand Clothing. Yay!

Cuando Sali de Cuba - Roland's Story

Marta here: This story is really about Roland's mother. I love how totally genious she was in preparing her young son to leave Cuba at any given moment. 


as told to Lucy Vega

In 1966, little Roly Vega was just 4 years old, born in Habana and living in Camajuani, Las Villas in Cuba.

Castro had been in control of Cuba for over 5 years and his parents knew that it was time to leave their beloved homeland.  His parents had already seen their nephew Henri sent to the United States as part of the Peter Pan Project and with President Lyndon B. Johnson opening doors for Cubans they saw their opportunity. 

Being allowed to leave Cuba was challenging; you had to leave everything behind and be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.  This would be difficult as the entire family needed to stay close to home and each other, ready to go and with two small children there would be additional challenges. 

One of those challenges was the fact that Roly was afraid of airplanes. Really afraid of planes and if he caused a scene when it was time to leave, well, they wouldn’t be going anywhere. So, everyday his mother would take him to the small airfield they hoped to leave from to see the planes and watch them take off.

“Look Roly, look at the planes! We will be going on a trip in one of them soon.”  Every day they followed the same routine until they got the word that they were given clearance to finally be able to leave Cuba.

Roly was, by now, used to the planes and didn't make a fuss when it was time for the family to leave on the airplane that would carry them to freedom.



Roland today with his very clever and brave mother.


Roland's dad wearing one of the most popular Habana Brand Clothing designs.

Many years later, (okay over 45+ years) Roland Vega lives in California and still thinks about his beloved Cuba. In 2009 he joined his love of his heritage and his love of art to create Habana Brand Clothing.  A family run business specializing in men's and women's vintage style t-shirts with a Cuban and Caribbean feel. He hopes to show the music, history and nostalgia of the old Cuba that Roland and his family left behind 45 years ago.

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111222 Family Portrait-8646

Roland and Lucy Vega with their handsome sons.

Visit Roland and his family at and yes that is Roland singing to his parents! He will always be grateful for their struggles to give him and his sisters a better life.

P.S. Roland Vega is still afraid of planes, really afraid of planes!!!


Marta here:

I found Habana Brand Clothing through the Wassup en LA? page on Facebook and I immediately fell in love. So, I shared the link on the My big, fat, Cuban family Facebook page. And I said to my fans, "Go like them. And tell them Marta sent you."

According to Roland, what happened next was crazy....their "likes" started climbing and they couldn't understand what had happened, until they saw the posts on their wall that looked like this:

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Isn't that absolutely awesome? Oh the Cubanity.