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Happy 115th Birthday to Dr. Seuss (Theo Geisel) & Happy Read Across America Day!
What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
Raise your hand, if you’re a bookworm and not-so-secretly hope and pray your child becomes one, too! Yep, that’s me, too!
My Momma and I would routinely walk to the biblioteca – weekly library trips would be filled with reading and singing! It was our special bonding time that I am still very fond of today! I joyfully continue this tradition with my two-year-old daughter, Ellie.
Do you take advantage of your county’s library system? There are plenty of FREE story time and arts & crafts activities organized and scheduled for different age groups at your local library!
In elementary school, I waited for the Scholastic Book Club flyer to be passed out in class to circle the books I would love to read next! My own personal little wish-list, pre-Amazon Kindle days! haha
It felt extra special to receive this little curated list of reads by Scholastic just for us!
Maybe that’s why it makes me so very happy to see organizations provide:
High-five to First 5 California (see what I did there?) for initiating these valuable resources for parents throughout our state of California. You may request a New Parent Kit from First 5 California to help you start your child’s literacy development. (Kits are available in English, español, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, and Vietnamese.)
To see leaders create organizations in our community such as Read Conmigo is delightful! “Read Conmigo is a bilingual literacy program that provides free children’s books in English and Spanish, educational apps, and literary resources for children in preschool through 5th grade. The program was created in 2010 by Infinity Insurance to provide parents and teachers free tools and resources to help them foster a love of reading among their children and students.” (Read Conmigo website, 2019)
And exceptionally excited to learn of small-businesses like Sol Book Box are inspired by the owners’ own child! The subscription service “Sol Book Box makes reading en español easy by bringing you a carefully curated Spanish or bilingual children’s book each month, sending you stories that celebrate bilingual/bicultural familias.” (Sol Book Box website, 2019)
For the Love of Reading
The people behind these organizations truly care to spark a love of reading in children as early as possible — crucial for early development and their future!
Reading with your child should be fun! Get creative and give each book character a unique sounding voice!
Once you memorize the story (because it will eventually happen) act it out and don’t be afraid to break into song! My Ellie gets a kick out of this one! If there’s one person you should be okay being silly with, it’s your child!
You’ll be giving your child the opportunity to comprehend how words create visuals and emotions, and be able to apply what they’re learning between the lines! Doesn’t this just pump you up?!
By investing time and effort into your child’s reading, you’re investing in their future as a whole.
“Reading makes for confident, smart, and emotionally healthy kids.”
Vanessa Nielson, co-owner, Sol Book Box website
Literacy is a Gift
Appreciate and be grateful for these moments. Literacy should not be overseen — it truly is a gift. A gift that can be shared and passed on countless times.
4 Simple Steps To Teach Gratitude During Story Time:
After reading a story, ask your child to describe each character’s circumstance from their perspective;
Join your child by listing five things you’re both grateful for in your daily life (Help them by going first);
Ask your child to draw the five listed items, or to find photos of them; and
Create a Gratitude Board to spotlight your list and hang on the wall at their eye level! This will be a great visual reminder when days are not too sunny!
Please share creative activities you have incorporated with story time to make reading interactive and more educational for children!
This is me telling you how lucky you are!
P.S. As a child, or maybe just yesterday, did you worry about having an actual ‘bookworm’ slither out of your book? Asking for a friend.
This post is in collaboration with LAMBT for BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Burbank, CA. All thoughts and opinions are my own. All photos taken by me, Vanessa Torres, unless captioned otherwise. Thank you so much for your time and support. Enjoy!
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Do you need 4 fun & easy steps to brighten a mommy’s rainy day?
You do? Great! Because the girls from LA Mommy Blogger Tribe (LAMBT) and I discovered all 4 of them at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Burbank!
Follow along below to find out how you can help out your mommy friend… hey, this could even be for you!
1. Call your amigas and head over to BJ’s!
Yes, getting to BJ’s is the first step! The SoCal-comfort, with attention to detail warmth welcomes and serves you – whether you arrive alone or with a large party of your favorite gals!
So, schedule child care, do you hair, add some mascara to your lashes, and find your favorite rainy-weather comfy-chic outfit to head out the door!
LAMBT was fortunate to have BJ’s in Burbank invite us to experience their new EnLIGHTened Entrees® Menu on Sunday, February 10th just in time to celebrate Galentine’s Day a few days early!
Do you celebrate Galentine’s Day? This was my first time celebrating and I had a blast! Proof? This was a three-hour lunch! haha Time passed by so quickly!
2. Order drinks to get the fun started!
21+ and over and please have a designated driver.
Even though not all of us enjoyed an alcoholic drink, the rest of the girls did, and they were super satisfied. Not only with the taste, which is the most important, but with the presentation! Look at these pretty party enhancers!
If you prefer to eat your calories instead of drinking them, I have a solution for you!
For the days where water just doesn’t cut it for you and would like to splurge a little. You can enjoy BJ’s Oasis® Amber.
This light beer is under 160 calories and just won an award at the 2016 North American Beer Awards or you can try BJ’s Lightswitch® Lager at under 140 calories per pint. Most beers are over 200 calories per serving!
3. Order appetizers and entrees that will satisfy cravings and not leave you stuffed with guilt!
“At BJ’s we’ve listened to our guests who want ‘better for you’ options. Comfort food is great, but some of our guests find more comfort in our myriad of options to meet their special dietary needs…
Because we believe it’s not what you take out that makes it better for you, it’s what you put in it.”
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
Below you will see a few of the tasty dishes our host, Leanne, curated for our table, from the EnLIGHTened Entrees Menu®, after kindly asking us of possible food allergies and dietary preferences.
From all the delicious food that was delivered to our table by Leanne and her kind staff, I was picking out what I could eat from the dishes since I’m vegetarian.
…and then here comes Leanne surprising me with their Vegan Lentil with Ancient Grains Soup! Friend, I was so grateful! This soup was savory and hit the spot on this cold and rainy day!
There aren’t many restaurant just yet where you’re able to find steak dishes and vegetarian and vegan options, plus gluten-free meals! And not only that, but they are accommodating to their guests with food allergies and/or sensitivities! BJ’s you’re the MVP!
Happy Galentine’s Day Mommies
While enjoying our savory meals we updated each other on our children’s most recent silly escapades, learning achievements, and opened-up about challenging moments we have encountered recently or overcome. It’s amazing to have a tribe you can confide in with an open heart and mind.
And in the same level of care, we discussed and listened about our success and hiccups with our individual businesses. Moms Supporting Moms. Can it get any brighter?!
4. Come back and enjoy Ballast Point Tap Takeover!
Tuesday, March 19th at 6pm! Come alone, bring a friend, or your mom and enjoy award-winning brews in a great atmosphere at one or both of the grand bars at BJ’s in Burbank!
If you feel like you’re not a “beer person” not to worry! You can take this fun opportunity and find the right beer for you with the expertise of one of the bartenders, or you can order any other drink from the beverage menu and still enjoy a great time!
The gals and I are planning on returning to join in the Ballast Point Tap Takeover – “Tap Tuesdays!” If you see us, please say hello!
Ballast Point Tap Takeover is Featuring:
Brut IPA, Bone-Dry India Pale Ale
Ballast Point Lager, Lager
Passing Haze, Hazy Session India Pale Ale
Grapefruit Sculpin, India Pale Ale with Grapefruit
Barrel Aged Victory at Sea, Imperial Porter aged in High West Bourbon & Rye Barrels
We are thankful to our hosts for not only providing the gals and me with a place to disconnect from the mundane mommy duties (like laundry and dishes) and to connect with each other as mompreneurs with passions and goals, but also for providing us with a complimentary opportunity to learn of and experience their new EnLIGHTened Entrees® Menu!
For most moms, eating out is an adventure in itself, especially with kids (I mean, we pack half the nursery in the diaper bag when venturing out of the house!), so it’s great to know, that we will be taken care of when we enter their doors with not only healthier food, but super-foods, too!
Have you been EnLIGHTened®, yet?
Let me know in the comments and share this awesome new BJ’s menu and Ballast Point Tap Takeover event with your friends and family!
P.S. We were each sent home with one of their famous Mini Pizookie® desserts for our kids!
And it gets sweeter…
Earlier in our luncheon, while discussing future yummy menu options, I had mentioned that my 2.5-year-old daughter, Ellie, loves quinoa and Leanne surprised me with some to take home to her! So thoughtful!
FYI: This is the Enlightened Vegetarian Quinoa Bowl and we both enjoyed the flavors so much!
This post is not sponsored. I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes; and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you so much for your time and support. Enjoy!
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As an adult, some days you just feel the need to wear makeup when up against stress-causing flare ups. Even though, not so deep down, you’re really thinking, “WHY? Why am I still having to deal with pimples going into my 30s!” Insert dramatic yell emoji here —> !!!
Nevertheless, life goes on and you have to go out in public! The best option is clean makeup.
The last thing you want to do is cake-on heavy foundation to try (emphasis on the try) to hide the blemishes and only end up irritating your skin some more.
I’m glad Influenster provided me with the bareMinerals Blemish Rescue Skin-Clearing Spot Concealer complimentary for testing purposes last month because wouldn’t you know it…
My face surprised me with a new flare-up on my chin in the beginning of the new year just in time for the concealer’s arrival. (I’m blaming it on my standing 3-year KonMari Refresh ritual I perform every 6 months). And let me tell you, this pimple was not sparking any joy!
You can insert the eye-roll emoji here —> !!!
I was especially excited to test the bareMinerals concealer because if I found that it would actually conceal the blemish while treating it, I would no longer fret (as much) about being up close and personal with someone during a conversation while I had a red-glaring flare-up on my face. You mamas know how it is!
After 3 weeks of consistent use in January – I’m a believer.
I was not totally convinced the first week. I mean, the blemish was still there, even though I’m sure it was performing all of its acne-fighting powers for me! But, you know how you low-key hope for miracles when you first start using a new product? haha
By the second week, the blemish was not red, nor irritated, or dry and itchy! Always a good sign. And by the third week, the blemish was on its way to blending into my surrounding skin!
Please note, I did not use any other acne medication during the testing period.
“Featuring Salicylic Acid, Kaolin Clay and Sulfur paired with Mushroom Stem and Licorice Root Extracts to help soothe and fade the look of scars.”
bareMinerals, The Power of Good
There are ten mineral-rich full coverage shades to chose from, which is pretty awesome for an acne spot concealer!
I received shade Tan/Dark 4.5N. This shade worked well, but I think a shade lighter, such as Med/Tan 3.5C, would have blended much better with my skin tone, especially since I was only using a tinted sunscreen on most days because being barefaced (with sunscreen) is my favorite! Especially when just hanging out at the park or the public library with my two-year-old daughter.
Super awesome little surprise was having a hidden sharpener within the concealer stick! One less thing to carry in the diaper bag when you’re on the go. Worked well, too!
Inserting happy dance with spirit fingers emoji here —> !!!
4 reasons to keep a bareMinerals Skin-Clearing Spot Concealer in your handbag:
Salicylic Acid Medication: Don’t just hide it, treat it!
Matte Finish: Yay to not having a shinny pimple!
Full Coverage: It can totally do double-duty and be used anywhere on your face to prevent future breakouts!
#CleanBeauty: Made from cruelty-free skin-improving minerals and botanicals! Basically, it’s good for your skin!
(You just never know when you’ll be unpleasantly surprised with a pimple.)
Now I’m left with the need to test the other three products in the bareMinerals Blemish Rescue collection! (Influenster: Why didn’t you send all four?) There’s the Blemish Rescue Primer, Concealer, Loose Powder Foundation, and its very own charcoal-infused Seamless Buffing Brush!
I think, if I would have been able to use all four Blemish Rescue collection products during the testing period, there would have been a whole better and faster skin-clearing experience.
Have you tried any of the products in the bareMinerals Blemish Rescue collection? Are you an adult still coping with acne?
Please don’t make me feel like I’m the only one and let me know in the comments!
This post is in collaboration with LAMBT for Joe’s Cafe and all thoughts and opinions are my own. All photos taken by me, Vanessa Torres, unless captioned otherwise. Thank you so much for your time and support. Enjoy!
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Ping! My instant messenger softly sounded in the background as it shared the sound-waves with “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack, as I water-colored with my two-year-old daughter on the kitchen floor, dubbed our art studio. A few hours later (or was it days?), because #MomLife, I checked my messages. It was Naza!
Super-excited, she shared of how much she had enjoyed an unexpected breakfast date with her husband at Joe’s Cafe, and she would love for as many of us from the LA Mommy Blogger Tribe (LAMBT) to attend our next monthly brunch there!
The way she described the creative menu and the warmth of the customer service – I was in!
Come On In!
Are you ready to dive into a menu overflowing with authentically “homemade” and craving-filling dishes created by owners, Chef Joe Wheterbee and his business partner and wife, Aliceon? Yes? Me, too!
But First, Coffee!
My friend! Here are a few of fun facts I learned while at Joe’s Cafe:
Chef Joe won the Food Network’s “Chopped,” on the last episode titled “Dread and Breakfast”, which aired in 2014;
Joe’s Cafe was recently featured on an episode of Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise;”
You can enjoy live local music at Joe’s Cafe on scheduled Friday and Saturday nights;
And if laughs are your thing, check-in with Joe’s Cafe for their next Comedy à la Carte for “a delicious night of stand-up;”
They have an Instagram account: @JoesCafeGH and use the #FoodDoneGood
How awesome is that!
There are so many sweet and savory breakfast and lunch options to choose from, and there’s also a variety of hot & cold drinks. Beer and wine for the 21-and-over, but I’m a sucker for the traditional breakfast staple: fresh-squeezed orange juice!
As I reviewed the menu, I did notice that Joe’s Cafe does not have plant-based diet friendly options; however, vegetarians may have better luck, especially ovo-lacto-vegetarians.
Parents: there’s a kids menu!
You can find the staples: chicken tenders, grilled cheese sandwich, and mac n’ cheese.
These protein-stuffed pancake balls pictured below are perfect for kids, too!
I absolutely appreciated the environmentally-friendly paper straws, the farmhouse-chic mason jars, and the large & beautiful green reusable water bottles, and the tiny glass milk bottles for the milk and/or creamer for the coffee!
Plus, cacti plants for decor here and there around the cafe – my favorite!
Below are a few photos of our flavorful “homemade” American-style dishes.
Not pictured is Rosie’s order, Ojan’s Junk (a pancake sandwich with two eggs, a sausage patty, smoked Gouda cheese, sliced tomato, and house ranch) – the Food Network’s “Chopped” winning dish!
You’ll have to check it out!
You know we had to take the mandatory aerial photo of our aesthetically pleasing dishes – the taste did not disappoint either. Look at that not-so-basic avocado toast!
I also noticed Gouda cheese and bacon seem to be a staple in most of the dishes. Are you a fan of Gouda cheese? This was my first time trying it!
Being able to spend time reflecting on January, and sharing our goals and plans for February with the LAMBT while enjoying great food was the best!
Desserts made from scratch, just like the rest of the food on the menu. Not pictured: the chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting! Enough said.
Ready for Super Bowl LIII
As soon as you walk into Joe’s Cafe the excitement for this weekend’s Super Bowl LIII (Sunday, February 3, 2019) is evident!
The dessert pantry is decorated in Patriots’ gear (and Joe’s Cafe merchandise available for purchase)!
Aliceon may not be a New England Patriots fan, such as her husband Joe, but she’s the real MVP at Joe’s Cafe!
As mompreneurs, having a tribe of women to lean on is essential, and as a member of the LA Mommy Blogger Tribe, I look forward to our monthly brunches, not only to help support my fellow mommy bloggers, but also our local small business, such as Joe’s Cafe.
It was such a treat to get to know Aliceon during our brunch! This multi-tasking new-mompreneur (Yay!) attended to her guests, prepped and baked fresh desserts, and still made time to have real conversations and pose for a Boomerang with our mommy tribe! Aren’t Boomerangs so much fun?!
Shout out to Destiny for her attentiveness and sweet, yet sassy sense of humor – she was Joe’s Cafe first hire and I can see why she’s a valued member of the team. Everyone was awesome!
Here we are after much deliberation and great laughs: Mommies with their creative spirits and bellies full.
Friend, I hope you stop by at Joe’s Cafe and enjoy the warm and casual environment, and deliciously creative “homemade” menu. Would you like to visit?
Don’t forget to leave a comment and share this post. Your feedback fills my creative cup to share even more with you!
See you on the other side of the camera lens!
P.S. How stinkin’ cute is it when restaurants provide clean water bowls for your doggies?! All the heart-eyes!
P.S.S. Subscribe to our Life Of Torres newsletter tribe to be the first to know of our LAMBT brunch adventures and get the scoop on the next place in Los Angeles you should go have a foodie experience!
This post is not sponsored. Thank you so much for your time and support. Enjoy!
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On Monday, October 15, 2018 Alex Andrade, founder of Teach It Mamas, hosted a Body Love Workshop, alongside three other empowering mamas: Crystal Dominguez, founder and artist at Crystal Domi, Rachel Carrillo, founder and photographer at L.A. Momma Photography, and Mary Carrillo, founder and educator at Maryposa Essentials, the workshop emphasized the need for women to self-care, love, and accept.
I attended Alex’s first community event back in May 20, 2018. You can read all about my experience here.
We met for the Body Love Workshop (Workshop) at 6:00 PM at Makers Mess, located on 602 N. Hoover, Street, Los Angeles, CA (Silver Lake), just around sunset.
Let me share with you, I took a moment before the Workshop to take in the beauty of nature and let my gratitude sink in.
I was grateful to have made the Workshop a priority and to have the support of my loving husband. To avoid the after-work traffic, I drove to my husband’s place of employment to drop-off my daughter with him and take off to the Workshop from there.
Earlier in the day, I had productive day of biking for bonding, cleaning the house, and getting ready for the workshop — physically and mentally. Is anyone else a social introvert with anxiety? 🙂
Nothing better than a gorgeous sunset overlooking the city to ease into a group setting and calm the nerves.
Self-care is not indulgence it is self-respect.
However, there was nothing to worry about! The atmosphere was welcoming from the moment I hugged Alex “hello!”
As we finished setting up, and the ladies started arriving, you could already feel that the night’s group was going to connect and love on each other.
There was mingling and whispers of support, while enjoying sweet snacks, infused water, and even some adult drinks (I’m sure this helped relax any nerves).
I contemplated where to sit. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and sat in the middle of the group, instead of the corner — my personal favorite.
Anyone else go for the corner of the room?
Plus, I loved how the sunlight was coming in gorgeously bathing the studio walls, furniture, and beautiful women in the room.
At each seat, the ladies could find a beautiful spiral-bound journal and pen for them to embrace journaling, during and after the Workshop. Journaling has becoming a form therapy for me. It used to be scrapbooking. I would love to merge the two!
The journal was beautifully decorated with custom art by Crystal Dominguez. The art piece was simple and inclusive. Isn’t that how we should be with ourselves?
Yet somehow we inevitably learn to get into our head, over analyze, and criticize our every thought and move; it’s much more complicated and discriminatory.
How do we ground ourselves enough to focus on our inner positive voice, yet energize to be able to do all of the things?
Mary shared a great option for just that! Essential oils!
All while holding her months-old daughter in her arms (…and breastfed later on while standing tall and loving — that’s her superpower.
From her personal experience, she has found that essential oils have been able to aide her during the most common cold symptoms to heart-wrenching life experiences.
We thank her for opening up her wounds to share with us the power she has experienced with essential oils.
Nature has been able to help us since the beginning of time, yet I do not think it has been this easy to access its goodness. You’re just a few drops away from mental healing, and that sounds amazing!
Do you use essential oils?
Crystal has found that journaling and art is one of the best therapy options, as well as the best method to revolt against society’s unrealistic body expectations for women, and a creative way to empower and inspire women to heal and live their best life.
Crystal shared a future project of hers with us: A journal for your thoughts, while also providing space to color-in beautifully drawn women-empowering designs. Two-in-one goodness.
I’m looking forward to seeing the final product!
I love all of this! As you can see from the photo below, so did Alex!
All the ladies in the room were able to share their body love journey: struggles and wins, ranging from when they were children to that very moment sitting at our table.
The conclusion is always the same. We all have different body compositions, but in the end, we are all dealing with the same conflicts. Let’s make like Elsa, and let it go…
We are stronger together.
We took a moment to choose a word we felt defined our body that night. Without giving it much though, I felt the word ‘Resilient’ appear in my mind’s eye. I wrote it down without hesitation.
And on my Crystal Domi Worksheet I quickly answered the question before moving on to the next phase of our Body Love Workshop:
How do you see yourself?
“I love my journey of self-acceptance. Turning thirty years old and becoming a mother has blessed me, not only with a healthy baby girl, but also with the blessing of self-love. Having this gift now allows for me to truly appreciate it. I would have taken it for granted as a teen and as a twenty year old. Thank the Lord for knowing His time.” — Vanessa Torres
How would you answer this question?
We were to take our chosen word and bring it to life in our portrait session with the talented photographer, Rachel.
In this phase, we were granting ourselves permission to allow our body and all of the feels to be the center of attention in our portrait. Take up space!
I cannot wait to view the final edits of our portraits and admire the Resilient body that I am blessed with. I have to admit, I was feeling sassy during the portrait session, and I know for a fact that the light came from within and from the positive vibrations around all of us in the studio. We were empowered.
Inspired by the night’s heart-felt stories. Here’s a small round-up of some of my favorite body-positive quotes:
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” – Brene Brown
“Health isn’t just about what you’re eating. It’s about what you’re thinking and saying too.” – unknown
“In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.” – unknown
“Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own.” – unknown
“I’ve put up too much, too long, and now I’m just too intelligent, too powerful, too beautiful, too sure of who I am finally to deserve anything else.” – Sandra Cisneros
Do you have a favorite body-positive quote?
Remember, the lesson is to self-care, love, and accept where you currently find yourself in your journey of growth. Don’t wait until tomorrow, or when the timing is “perfect.”
And in the spirit of Teach It Mamas: Teach, Learn, Connect, Empower.
Teach it mama!
P.S. Subscribe to our newsletter tribe to see my sassy portrait! Are you curious?
P.S.S. Little awesome inside scoop:
Teach It Mamas was nominated to be able to utilize Makers Mess through their first Move-in Mondays giveaway! This is where Makers Mess allows members of the community to nominate their friends to take over their empty studio every third Monday of the month. How amazing is this of Makers Mess! That’s what I call paying-it-forward.