Posts in Family Lifestyle
The story behind the brand

Hi there! I'm Karina.

If you've been around for a while you know I'm a photographer that has a passion for sharing my Mexican culture with others through beautiful, ready-to-hang prints for your home. However, I'm ready to go a little deeper.

1935828_138770123155_4950998_n.jpg

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. My mother stayed home with my sister & I, and my father worked his hardest to provide a great life for us. He is a self-made entrepreneur and has pretty much taken classes to do just about anything. If he didn't know how to do something, he went to school to learn. He taught me that education and knowledge are my greatest assets, and that I should never stop learning.

While I'm obviously Mexican-American, it was always a tricky balance to be Mexican enough...but not too Mexican. 

Can anyone relate? Spanish was my first language, and my father always pushed me to speak it as much as I could. On the other hand, in school it was treated like a game. As kids shouted out words in english they would make me teach them the Spanish word. Over, and over again.

Situations like this happened often.

I know there are more people like me, who were raised in a Mexican home, but were pushed into the American culture as soon as they walked out of the house. It's hard to balance both, but I want to share my journey now as I raise bi-racial kids and help them navigate and be proud of their cultures. 

IMG_7503.JPG

I am so thankful for my parents who gave everything for their children.

My father keeps on inspiring me with his desires to learn and grow, as well as his constant flow of generosity with everyone he meets. He truly sees the maximum potential in people, and will do anything to help bring that out in them.

My mother always made sure we worked to our fullest potential. She also built a safe home for us and encouraged us through every extra-curricular activity, and is now doing the same for my children.

These values are what I want to share and pass on. While I'm going to enjoy sharing about Mexican traditions, family vacations, I'm going to love passing down lessons, and encouraging others based on how I was raised.

My first encounter with racism was when I was 5. I was coming home on the bus from kindergarten. I had already found my seat, but the bus continued filling. A girl, a few years older came and sat down next to me. After a few seconds, she turns to me and asks, "Are you Mexican?" I nod my head yes. "Oh ok. My parents said I can't sit next to a Mexican," she said, as she got up to find another seat.

I realize that that kind of thinking starts in the home.

They learn from the examples around them. If I lead with kindness and love I know they will then treat others with kindness and love. I think it's so great for them to have my husband as an example of a white male who is supportive of who I am, with a humble, compassionate and understanding of his role in the world. He is able to help both my son and daughter navigate through life with a different perspective and awareness for the privilege they will have. Hopefully they will take both of our experiences and backgrounds to help advocate for others.

I never thought I would be a homeschool mom.

But here I am, the director of a homeschool community, talking to people for hours and hours about it. This is a part of my life that I tend to be more private about. I'll be completely honest and say that it's in some part because of guilt and shame.

The homeschool community from what I know is largely white. I always saw it as something privileged, conservative, pretentious families did. It's been a journey for me to even be able to talk about this openly.

When we had kids, my husband worked full-time, and I worked part-time as a wedding photographer. We still do. That means that I worked a lot of evenings and weekends. My husband works during the days. With that schedule, when the kids became school age, I would not see them very much due to our opposite schedules. That was the number one reason I decided to homeschool.

IMG_7506.JPG

Now that I've been homeschooling for 4 years, I've come to appreciate it, and really feel like it's an amazing opportunity that gives us a huge amount of freedom as a family, but also for the kids to pursue their passions individually.

While I am a huge advocate for homeschooling, I also know that it's a privilege and not everyone has the same opportunities to do it. I think the most important part about having any sort of privilege is living through it with humility and responsibility. I hope my children use their education and talents to bless others.

I know I still have a lot of preconceived notions to work through as a homeschool type-A, public school raised mom, but I want this to be a platform to be honest about our journey and encourage others who are on the same path.

The arts weren't looked at as a career choice.

Who else can relate to parents wanting them to go for an MBA or to become a lawyer or a doctor. I'm sure parents always have the highest of hopes and the best intentions, but as soon as I discovered photography, and was able to build a business with it, I knew this was my path.

In the past year I've been wanting to shift the wedding photography business to something that gave me more flexibility with my schedule, and that also came from my heart. I communicate best with photographs and stories, so after going to Mexico for a workshop, I was energized and felt this responsibility to share my culture with the world. It's frustrating how Mexicans can be portrayed, especially when I grew up with such vibrant, relaxing, family-oriented, and beautiful experiences of Mexico and the people there. There are so many things in America that people don't realize have come from or at least been inspired by Mexico.

I want to travel Mexico telling it's story through pictures that can then be brought into the home as an encouragement, a conversation starter, and something that makes you feel like home.

 

 

 

 

As I take a deeper dive into my heritage I'll be bringing you and my family along for the ride. I'm excited for the conversations that will stem from this.

As I move from Karina Mora Prints to Karina Mora I want to share more of who I am, and connect with other people who have had the same experiences as me, or who are trying to find their way along as they raise bi-racial kids.

This is going to be an amazing time.

Thank you for reading this, and I'm excited to connect with you! Leave a comment below and let me know what resonates with you. And if you're in the Chicago area maybe we can hang over drinks...or if you're in Mexico, tell me where you're from so I can visit you!


SIGN UP

Join the mailing list to be the first to know when there's a new collection launch, exclusive promotions, blog posts, and to get a behind-the-scenes look as Karina travels to capture work for new print offerings.

Coco Inspired Birthday Party
coco-inspired-birthday-party-theme-1.JPG

My son Elias turned 5 years old on April 11th. Every year for my kid's birthdays I let them pick a theme, which is usually what they're really into that year, and I plan a big party around it. They LOVE looking at pinterest boards with me, and brainstorming ideas. 

This year, I was especially excited when Elias wanted to have a "Coco" themed birthday party. We saw Coco in theaters in November and I was actually surprised by how much he loved it. I was surprised because he was the kid who refused to speak Spanish at Spanish camp last year. He also doesn't like any Mexican food other than quesadillas and chips.

So, when he himself decided on a Mexican birthday party I was like ok, I'm running with it, and going all out...within reason, of course. 

 
coco-inspired-birthday-party-theme-2.JPG

Elias had also asked for ONE specific thing for the party; a Coco cake. I usually make the dessert, but he really wanted one after seeing it on pinterest (thanks a lot pinterest) I knew I couldn't pull it off, so I ordered one from Pastel! Cakes and More and was blown away by how it turned out. Elias screamed with such joy when he saw it.

I also asked my friend Veronica to make cake pops for favors. I just want to say these are the best cake pops I've ever had. I usually don't like cake pops, but these were amazing...and a perfect cake topper for the cake. 

The rest of the menu:

Guacamole, agua de horchata, arroz, beans, quesadillas, barbacoa & carnitas from a local grocery store, and Palomas that Michael mixed toward the end of the evening.

Everything was delicious.  

 
coco-inspired-birthday-party-theme-3.jpg

I worked hard to transform our living room to a space that felt like Mexico. I displayed some of my pieces on the wall, and hung papel picado across our ceiling. Elena helped me decorate one wall with the quote from one of the songs in the movie; "Our love for each other will live on forever" It was great.

I also made a mural as the backdrop of the bridge from the movie between the land of the living and the land of the dead. It took me a few days, but with the help of my friend I think it came together nicely. At least Elias was impressed, which made it worth it. 

coco-inspired-birthday-party-theme-8.JPG

We had his friends over to break a pinata, and watch the movie Coco of course. They had a nice time hanging out and eating all the sweets they could get. We celebrated with family in the evening too, so it really was a day full of good food, celebration, and lots of love for Elias. 

This birthday was so great that Elias is already asking for a Coco birthday party for next year. 

 

 


SIGN UP

Join the mailing list to be the first to know when there's a new collection launch, exclusive promotions, blog posts, and to get a behind-the-scenes look as Karina travels to capture work for new print offerings. 

My personal review of Pixar's newest movie: 'Coco'.

This Thanksgiving I was so excited to take the family to see Pixar's newest film 'Coco'. I first heard about it in October, when I saw an ad on a billboard while driving Elena back from ballet class. I immediately looked up the trailer (well once I got home...not while I was driving) and started reading up as much as I could about this new movie coming out. It was then that I decided this would be our holiday movie. It had the promise of being amazing. I was super proud that this was actually a thing, but skeptical, due to the possibility of them "messing it up" by making it super Americanized. 

Regardless, we went to the theater on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Now I can confidently say, I LOVE this movie so much, but here are the TWO main reasons why:

1. The main character is a great role model for my son. 

coco-movie-review

I go out of my way to make sure I empower my daughter. I'm always looking for books, movies, youtube videos, shows, anything that will inspire her in her talents and character. 

Sometimes I forget to do the same for my son.

When 'Elena of Avalor' came out last year I went a little crazy in my excitement that Elena not only had a Mexican Disney character that looked like her, but had the SAME name. 

My son doesn't usually mind, and even encourages Elena in everything she does, but I do go out of my way to tell Elena how proud I am of her, and it breaks my heart when he asks, "are you proud of me too mom?" 

So when I saw that Miguel, the main character resembled my son, I built up the hype for him. And this character did not disappoint. There have been many times Disney's representation of male roles is to be macho and more of a muscly tough guy. However, Miguel is a little boy who is passionate about following his dreams, shows compassion for his family and his stray pet. And, while he's strong, you can see the process he goes to understand the difference between right and wrong. The love he has for his family is true to Mexican family values, and that is who I want Elias to aspire to be. Compassionate, humble, passionate, and loving. 

2. The depiction of the Mexican culture around the holiday Dia de los Muertos is authentically amazing.

I was blown away by the color, and representation of the little Mexican town. Even in the Land of the Dead we see references to iconic Mexican artists. It was the little details that helps this movie reach several generations of the people who watch it. 

Especially in this political climate, the timing of this movie couldn't have been better. It's very encouraging and gives Mexican's pride of the culture that is being attacked in the media. I launched this new business to share more about my culture through art and stories. Since watching this movie, I've been even more encouraged and proud to have made this shift. 

I've found some great articles since Coco came out. People are realizing how representation matters, and how inclusion in hollywood has been huge. It's even inspiring to see how the movie 'Coco' came to be.

This is my current favorite animated movie, which is saying a lot because being born in the late 80's I've seen them all starting with 'The Little Mermaid'. 

Things to think about before seeing 'Coco'

It is a very emotional movie. I wanted to cry in the first 10 seconds of seeing Mexico represented so beautifully on the big screen. The whole story is about a family's bond even after someone dies.  The concept of death, specifically family member's deaths is the whole premise of the movie. 

SPOILER

The plot twist involves deception and murder. These thematic elements could be a bit strong depending on how your child processes things. My daughter Elena is extremely sensitive and empathetic. She cried through the last 20 minutes of the movie. Once the villain was revealed she could barely contain her empathy for Miguel, the main character. She sat in my lap and cried. I insisted she finished the whole movie so that she could have the piece of mind that it ended on a positive note. She also has a hard time thinking about death especially when it comes to family members (really, who doesn't) but still, week's after she's seen the movie, it's still hard for her to process it all. My son on the other hand, who is two years younger was perfectly fine the whole time and really enjoyed the movie. 

Let's take it back 20 years and talk about how I'm still traumatized from the scene where Simba watches his father Mufasa fall to his death. And come on, Scar blaming the murder on Simba, that's just cold. The Lion King is a movie I probably won't let Elena watch because she's so empathetic, but I also think the difference between people being vengeful and murderous is a little harder to take in than animals doing the same thing. So be prepared to possibly have some hard conversations with your kids about death.

All in all, this movie is AMAZING. I can't wait to watch it again, and again, and again. 

If you see one animated movie over the holidays, make it this one. And then leave a comment below to tell me what you think. 


Join the mailing list to be the first to know when there's a new collection launch, exclusive promotions, new blog posts like this one, and to get a behind-the-scenes look as Karina travels to capture work for new print offerings. Right now there's 10% code for subscribers, so what are you waiting for? Put in your e-mail below. 

Family LifestyleKarina Metts
The story behind the shop.

I've been so encouraged by my friends and family as I launch this new business. I'm so grateful, because putting something out there is such an emotional rollercoaster.

I've been a wedding photographer for 9 years with the best partner I could ever ask for, my husband Michael. Hey boo! *waves* (he reads all my blog posts...or so I hope). I've loved building a business with him where we can hang out doing what we both love; documenting stories.

However, over the past year and a half I felt a complete shift in our personal life. As the political climate started to change, I started to realize I was living in this bubble. I felt shocked and sad as I saw micro-racist and sometimes straight up rasist comments being thrown around social media. The people saying these things would tell me I'm "One of the 'good Mexicans'" or "'You're not like them'".

But you know what, I AM Mexican, and I was tired of just nodding my head politely.

So I decided to find my voice through my camera. I'm great at reading people and documenting their stories, but I wasn't good at documenting my own. I really want to teach my children to be proud of their heritage, but in order to do that, I needed to know what it meant for me to be a Mexican-American first. I've been quiet, polite, and safe in my words for far too long, but I want to empower my kids in who they are.

I found a workshop led by two photographers from Canada who have been leading groups through San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for over a decade. This is the workshop if you're interested: San Miguel Photo Workshop. It was the best investment I've ever made in myself.

I had nothing else to do except take pictures and think. And think. And think. This was the first time I felt empowered by my camera. I felt like I had a talent and a responsibility. I needed to stop feeling frustrated and letting it harbor resentment, and actually be proactive.

*the pictures above were taken by other workshop attendees (obviously not me).

Just like I'm passionate about educating my children (I homeschool...but that's anther story), I'm equally passionate about educating others when it comes to Mexico, the United States' southern neighbor. In the US, Cinco de Mayo is a glorified "let's drink tequila" holiday, but the Mexican culture is much more than taco Tuesday, bottomless margaritas, and piñatas. I want to show the vibrancy, beauty, and HUMANITY, that is Mexico, one piece of art at a time.

Thanks for joining in this journey with me.


I'm excitedly planning my next trip back in early 2018.

If you want to stay in the loop on my travels, on new collection launches, and exclusive promotions, sign up for our weekly newsletter.