Event Recap: #TeachItMamas Body Love Workshop

Event Recap: #TeachItMamas Body Love Workshop

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.

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).

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

Love,

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.

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Event Recap: L.A Mamacitas “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” Pumpkin Decorating Party

Event Recap: L.A Mamacitas “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” Pumpkin Decorating Party

This post is sponsored in collaboration with L.A Mamacitas. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you so much for your time and support. Enjoy!



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My Ellie and I took a mini road trip on Monday, October 8th to the Montebello Town Square. We were invited to attend the L.A Mamacitas “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” Pumpkin Decorating Party hosted at the Robles Pumpkin Patch Festival!

The family-owned Robles Pumpkin Patch Festival not only has pumpkins (obvi), but they also have a jumper play zone for multiple age groups (#momapproved); a super cute petting zoo with bunnies, goats, pigs, chickens, and even a pony; many snacks, including popcorn and candy apples; and all of the instagramable photo ops for the whole family!

Having fun with my Ellie and my fellow mami bloggers, and their super cool kids, at the Robles Pumpkin Patch Festival totally has me looking forward to attending the early showing for “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” this Thursday! All U.S. showings start on Friday, October 12, 2018!

Both, my husband and I, read the Scholastic Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, as kids in the 90s, and love that now the Goosebumps Monsters are in comedy-adventure movies!

Low-key, wouldn’t you like a R-rated Goosebumps movie for us 30-something-year-olds who grew up reading the original series? Just an idea my husband had. I mean, Ken Jeong is already casted, and Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy still scares me! Yep!

Don’t you feel the same?

I was so excited to attend the pumpkin decorating party, as this would be my little girl’s first time decorating a pumpkin!

She happily chose our pumpkins and then we joined the rest of the mamacitas and kids to decorate — some of us may have been distracted by the yummy donuts and pizza generously provided by L.A Mamacitas.

Last year Ellie was a one-year-old and was too tiny to join in the festivities. This year, she was able to participate in the Halloween tradition and was introduced to Goosebumps!

I look forward to handing over my R.L. Stine book collection to her! Yes, I have not donated my collection after two decades — they’re ready for her!

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Ellie and her friends decorated their pumpkins with silly faces, stickers, and colorful rhinestones.

However, she took to the awesomely designed “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” movie poster and explored with patterns and compositions to add her own bold and  abstract designs to it! ; )

Don’t you find joy in letting your kid’s imagination run wild?

I love when Ellie creates wooden-block buildings and street-chalk masterpieces. I can already imagine the spooky adventures she will author as she brings Halloween to life à la R.L. Stine!

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Thankful to @la_mamacitas for sponsoring this post and being awesome at organizing fun-filled family events in our community for moms and kiddos! And thankful to you, for riding along the nostalgic train with me on this post. Seriously.

Let me know when you go see “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” and your thoughts in the comments section below!

Find me on Instagram @LifeOfTorres and hashtag #GoosebumpsMovie and #LAmamacitas — we can both go down memory lane together!

Love,

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P.S. Here’s a sneak peek inside the complimentary promotional swag bags!

We will definitely use the tote bag for trick or treating in a couple weeks. I felt like a kid, again, with the pencil pouch goodies and bookmarks (I collected those, too!). Wouldn’t you?!

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Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween Official Movie Poster
Only in theaters October 12, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Goosebumps, Sony Pictures

 

Tips for Fun and Safe Biking with Toddlers!

Tips for Fun and Safe Biking with Toddlers!

This post is not sponsored, but does contain affiliate links to products I love. If you purchase something with these links, you are helping support this blog and my family at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your time and support!



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Did you love spending quality time in the outdoors prior to having children?

You don’t have to wait until they’re past five years of age to continue that part of your life. Thanks goodness!

Continuing to exercise activities that bring you joy and a great dose of healthy endorphins should be celebrated and shared with your child. You will be setting an excellent example of self care.

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There are many ways to bond with your child outdoors throughout their life, but I’m sure actual bike riding wouldn’t have been on your list during their infant and toddler years! No training wheels needed!

⇒ You always wear a well-fitting helmet! ⇐

Child should wear seat belt, use foot rest, and have a good backrest for stability!

It brings a smile to my face to know that I can share this experience with my Ellie — going tandem!  ¡Pa’lante! Let’s go!

It’s a personal choice, if you decide to bike ride with your child rear mounted vs. front mounted.

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Let’s explore the pros and cons!

REAR Mounted Child Bike Seat

PROS:
  1. Age ranges from nine months (they can hold their head up) through six years old
  2. Maximum weight is 40 lbs. regardless if over six years old
  3. Parent has more range for leg movement for peddling
  4. Compatible with more bike models
CONS:
  1. Parent is not able to see and verify child’s well-being without stopping
  2. Parent is not able to try to protect child in a fall or accident
  3. Child faces their parent’s back/No view of scenery
  4. Lack of interaction for bonding

FRONT Mounted Child Bike Seat

PROS:
  1. Ability to try and protect child in a fall or accident
  2. Child faces the front and is able to view scenery
  3. Interaction and bonding is increased
  4. Bike ride has more stability
CONS:
  1. Age ranges from nine months (they can hold their head up) through four years old
  2. Maximum weight is 35 lbs. regardless if under four years old
  3. Parent has less range for leg movement for peddling
  4. Not easily compatible with many bike models
  5. Child may want to steer handle bars

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If it’s a short ride, I do not bring along a small backpack with the essentials, but I do wear this super lightweight waist pack to carry my home/car key, chapstick, a small snack, and my phone for the music (and emergency calls). Ellie loves to sing and dance as we ride!

We enjoy a special Spotify playlist we created for Ellie. The playlist includes her Top 5 Jams: The Wheels on the Bus, Let It Go, Elmo Slide, Recuérdame, and The Greatest Show… yep, I bet you didn’t see that song coming! She has inherited our love for musicals!

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I usually ride 5-7 miles to find a different park each day we bike ride. For the most part, I look up park locations before heading out the door and let a family member or friend (and always my husband, if he’s not with us) know where I’m heading!

However, there have been times, I’ve encountered a small community park during my travels and decide to stay for a while. For the longer rides, make sure to always bring water with you, there may not be a working water fountain at your destination.

I believe that by having the end destination be a fun place to play and learn will allow your child to be more excited during the bike ride, and less fussy!

Libraries, museums, beaches, indoor play areas, they all work great, too!

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Once at the park, we both stretch out our legs and back, and then run to the jungle gym!

You best believe I’m the mom running around with her child, and suddenly not being able to outrun their tiny little legs! haha

Until it’s time to bike ride back home (or to the car)!

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I have to share that Ellie chose her outfit this morning — this little lady loves her skirts! She was sporting her t-shirt and leggings, when she spotted the skirted-overalls on the “too small” pile of the closet. I will let you know, these overalls are size 12 months, but they can definitely still be worn over cute leggings!

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I swear she enjoys her bike rides (or anything for that matter) a lot more, when she gets to choose her outfit!

I hope these fun tips allow you to safely venture out and bond with your child on a nice bike ride and enjoy the blue skies, green landscaping, and the sounds of our world!

Don’t forget the snacks!

Love,

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Safety First:

                    

Comfort Riding:

                   

Event Recap: #TeachItMamas CPR, AED, and First-Aid Training

Event Recap: #TeachItMamas CPR, AED, and First-Aid Training

This post is not sponsored. Photos taken by event photographer Rachel Carillo of L.A. Momma Photography and provided by Teach It Mamas are specified (including featured image). Thank you so much for your time and support!



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Alex Andrade and His Grace Instructor, Jose L. Chavez. Photo by L.A. Momma Photography.

On Sunday, May 20, 2018 Alex Andrade, founder of Teach It Mamas on Instagram, an inclusive motherhood community and support group, hosted her first community event for us mamas and it was one that would bring so much value to our daily lives: Adult & Child CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator) / Standard First-Aid Training!

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Photo by L.A. Momma Photography.

The private group training, organized by Alex, met Sunday at 8:00 AM at the His Grace CPR & First-Aid Training (His Grace) located on 13112 Hadley Street, Unit 103, Whittier, CA.

Mamas were met with a cute black canvas swag bag, customized with #TeachItMamas embroidered on the front and filled with goodies, including a composition notebook and pen to take notes during the training!

And some yummy breakfast snacks and drinks to share during their attentive and supporting conversations between them before the training began and on break.

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Photo by L.A. Momma Photography.
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Photo by L.A. Momma Photography.

How many of you can say you are, or have been, certified in CPR, AED, and First-Aid Training?

I now can, thanks to Alex and His Grace. It’s something I have had on my to-do list for many years, especially after having my daughter two years ago, but just never got around to do it.

I’m sure it had a lot to do with knowing that my husband has always kept his CPR certification current during the past fourteen years!

The best part, I not only signed myself up, but my mamá, too! It was such a special bonding experience for both us.

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In my Hispanic culture abuelitas and abuelitos bless us with care taking for their grandchildren, but we seldom arm ourselves with training above personal experience that could save our children’s lives and even our own.

Please take the steps I did and sign-up with your parent(s) (or your current babysitter) for a CPR and First-Aid Training as soon as possible!

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Photo by L.A. Momma Photography.

We had a great experience with Jose of His Grace. He was professional, knowledgeable, and very accommodating with providing enough pauses during his instruction to allow me to translate from English to Spanish for my momma.

You may contact His Grace CPR & First-Aid Training by phone at (562) 519-1595 or by email at hisgracepr@yahoo.com to register for your training and receive your Emergency Care & Safety Institute (ECSI) certificate and wallet card.

And in the spirit of Teach It Mamas: Teach, Learn, Connect, Empower.

Love,

P.S. Here’s a sneak peek inside the goodie bags, just in case you were curious!

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Four Mom-Approved Summer Denim Shirt Outfit Inspirations

Four Mom-Approved Summer Denim Shirt Outfit Inspirations

This post is not sponsored, but does contain affiliate links to products I love. If you purchase something with these links, you are helping support this blog and my family at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your time and support. Enjoy!



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Amiga,

What is one of your most versatile wardrobe pieces?One of mine is part of my denim shirt collection because it looks so similar, but it’s actually a chambray shirt! Chambray is lighter and softer than denim — perfect for summer, but honestly, great for all seasons!

I have owned denim shirts in a range of washes and styles throughout the years because no matter the trend they continue to be a classic neutral, plus I am loyal to comfort and simplicity.

Especially now when you can find me running around with my two-year-old daughter — by choice, and by necessity! #MomLife right?!

I have incorporated the denim shirt into my wardrobe by layering it over feminine blouses, under knit sweaters, wrapped around my waist… the outfits have been many!

For this post I have collaborated with my friend Fely from MissFely to provide you with four denim shirt outfit inspirations that are completely mom-approved for summer!

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Fely – MissFely.com

 

For my first look, I buttoned the chambray shirt for structure, yet rolled up the sleeves to look less formal. Layered a three-quarter-sleeve plum-colored knit blazer, stretchy black slacks, and paired with bejeweled tan-colored heeled sandals!

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To add more interest and femininity, I included a floating bead necklace with matching bracelet within the same color scheme as my sandals to tie the whole look together.

This outfit is perfectly comfy, yet chic for work, a special family dinner, and even date night!

 

I was only able to find the Lauren Conrad knit blazer still available online, but if you would like to shop this look, I have provided similar items for your reference:

For my second look, I layered the unbuttoned chambray shirt over my cotton screen-tee for a laid-back vibe and also rolled-up the sleeves to keep cool at the park.

I believe you can definitely combine denim-on-denim as long as the washes are in different shades of blue to avoid a monochromatic look, so in this instance, I opted for a darker wash for my pants.

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This pair of original Old Navy straight jeans are so breathable and stretchy. I have four pairs! A day at the park with my little girl includes running and my black Nike sneakers are the best fit these days! Plus, they also match my current favorite Quay x Desi sunnies!

 

If you would like to shop this look, I have provided similar items for your reference:

Motherhood is beautiful, even on tough days, and you should aim to dress accordingly, so you feel beautiful, too without compromising your comfort. I’m about that life!

Head on over to visit Fely on her blog at MissFely.com to get inspired with the next two of the four outfit inspirations, but this time with a dark-wash denim shirt!

Please leave a comment and share your favorite summer denim shirt outfit combinations with us!

Love,

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Event Recap: Avenue Mama Super Self-Love Saturday: A Gathering for Women to Stand in Their Light

Event Recap: Avenue Mama Super Self-Love Saturday: A Gathering for Women to Stand in Their Light

This post is not sponsored, but does contain affiliate links to products I love.
If you purchase something with these links, you are helping support this blog and my family at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your time and support. Enjoy!



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Only two months into 2018 and I already know this will be a year of pure growth for me — low days included!

I was having one of those low days, when Super Self-Love Saturday was announced and described as a “morning to refuel yourself, practice self-care, and dive into self-love and self-compassion. Disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life and join a community of like-minded women.” I just knew I had to attend! Plus, I had been following Avenue Mama on Instagram and really felt I had to meet its founder, Annie Vovan, in real life and give a her hug after so many virtual fist pumps and high-fives! Have you experienced that type of human connection before?

Our morning began with introductions, while enjoying a few tasty homemade tidbits by Annie and her adorable children — how awesome is that! The women easily approached each other and seamlessly came and went within multiple circles of conversation. It was beautiful to see and experience.

The Super Self-Love Saturday hosts, Avenue Mama founder, photographer, and former pharmacist, Dr. Annie Vovan, and Embraced Podcast host and psychologist, Dr. Whitney Dicterow, led the women into the studio to begin the event.

We began with a Self-Care Yoga Session lead by Rachelle Tratt. Her personal story, her choice of music, inspirational quotes, and yoga movements, all energized the room. So enjoyable! Do you practice yoga? I enjoyed that towards the end of the session she allowed us to have a moment to take our practice at our own pace, so we could concentrate more on our personal intention(s).

We then transitioned to Self-Love Journaling led by Annie. We sat in a healing circle on these lovely and comfy bohemian-styled pillows with our gifted flowered-journals adorned with the quote “She believed she could. So she did.” Love it! Annie shared her story and slowly and organically opened-up a space for vulnerability without judgement. We went around the circle as every woman in the room shared a portion of herself. I learned, we have many journeys throughout life and sometimes we have multiple journeys working simultaneously with each other.

During our self-love journeys, we need support and guidance for ourselves, so Embraced Podcast host, Whitney, taught us the Pillars of Self-Compassion through mindful meditation. I have always found meditation simple, yet not easy, to say the least. The challenge is to stay in the moment of each present breath — however, your mind is always wandering! And that’s just it, you shouldn’t react and become frustrated. Allow yourself grace and compassion. Getting to know yourself deeper brings many emotions, but also clarity for your future-self.

From there, there’s only pa’lante! We must keep moving forward!

At the end (or is it the beginning) superfood snacks were provided by Philosophie founder, Sophie Jaffe, a Los Angeles-based health and wellness expert (insider scoop: she has worked with George Clooney!). The nutritious smoothies she prepared for us were a great way to replenish our bodies and minds.

The day’s event was hosted at WMN Space (10764 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232); and it couldn’t have been more perfect!

WMN Space Founder and doula, Paula Mallin, says, “WMN Space is a conscious space for women to gather in service to their own healing as an offering to the community. The intention of WMN Space is to support women wherever they are on their journey of womanhood and motherhood. We offer healing modalities that include; doula services, spiritual counseling, pre and postnatal classes, bodywork, massage therapy, workshops and women’s gatherings.”

Avenue Mama Super Self-Love Saturday and WMN Space coming together was the best collaboration for the women in attendance — the healing energies were aligned.

I have seen time, and time gain, that finding people whom share common ground with you bring calmness and provide support for your self-care. The relationships that are formed are not forced, and they assist with positive reinforcement of personal growth.

“YOUR
VIBE
ATTRACTS
YOUR TRIBE”
— unknown

What I have learned:

Making yourself a priority is not selfish.

Taking small steps to embrace every season of our lives is key. How many times have we heard, “It is not a sprint, it is a marathon.” We must take our time to evaluate all the components, in and out of our home, that make up who we are and who we are becoming.

It is okay to create space between something or someone that does not positively serve you, or your family.

However, I must say, do not allow this journey, to seek love for yourself, bring you more stress and anxiety.

Getting closer to self-acceptance is a life journey you can enjoy.

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“you carry
so much love in your heart.
give some. to yourself.”
— r.z.

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“Choose, everyday
to forgive yourself.
You are human, flawed,
and most of all
worthy of love.”
— Alison Malee

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“Allow yourself to transform
as many times as you need
to be fully happy and free.”
— yung pueblo

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Here I am after the Avenue Mama Super Self-Love Saturday. I could feel my inner light shining and I wanted to document it. This is a photo taken by my lovely iPhone timer and Ford Edge.  ; )

Taking a few minutes each day to yourself will make a world of difference for you!

Don’t forget to love yourself, amiga. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Love,

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The following photos have been provided by Annie Vovan of Avenue Mama:

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Día De Reyes Gift Guide – Top 9 Educational Toys Under $25 for Toddlers

Día De Reyes Gift Guide – Top 9 Educational Toys Under $25 for Toddlers

This post is not sponsored, but does contain affiliate links to products I love. If you purchase something with these links, you are helping support this blog and my family at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your time and support. Enjoy!



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We anticipate the Christmas season so much to honor the birth of Jesus Christ, but then New Year’s Day comes and it seems like Christmas is gone! However, if you’re like my family, you extend the joy of the Christmas season for twelve more day, until January 6 – El Día de los Tres Reyes Magos! Día de Reyes for short.

Per the Gospel of Matthew, the three Kings, Melchior (Europe), Caspar (Arabia), and Balthazar (Africa), followed a star and traveled the desert for twelve days to Bethlehem to find El Niño Jesus, the Divine Child, to present him with three symbolic gifts.

The symbolic gifts are as follows: Gold to acknowledges Jesus’ royalty as “King of the Jews;” Frankincense to demonstrate the divinity of Jesus’ existence as the Son of God; and Myrrh to foreshadow Jesus’ mortality and His future death to be our Savior.

This divine day is celebrated with family and with a special focus on our very own children by also giving them gifts on Día de Reyes, instead of, or in addition to Christmas morning. Gifts are traditionally placed in children’s shoes, instead of under a tree.

Will your little ones be leaving their shoes outside their bedroom doors, so the Three Kings can leave their gifts inside?

Don’t worry. These larger presents on my gift guide can be placed around their shoes! I’m sure your bebé will not mind and neither will your wallet! All of these educational toys are under $25!

My daughter is 18 months old and has played with all of these gift guide options. It’s never too early to learn while having fun.

  1. Amiga, the words “Reusable” and “Washable”! The My First Crayola® Dry Erase Activity Mat by Crayola is only $6.79 is just gives loads of art time over, and over, again! It includes 12 reusable activity sheets and four washable, easy-to-grip dry-erase crayons. We use the fold-up activity mat at home, in the car, at the doctor’s, and at restaurants! Life-saver. So easy to take anywhere because of its built-in storage.
  2. The Bath Letters and Numbers by Munchkin are only $4.49 and are the best during bath to identify the alphabet, learn to count, spell simple words, or group by color, but also work anywhere else you can think of! I keep an extra set in the car because I love that they’re small and light-weight enough to fit in my bag and be taken on-the-go!
  3. Want a toy that doesn’t require batteries, but keeps it poppin’? Brilliant Basics Corn Popper Push Toy by Fisher-Price is $9.59 and it’s the same awesome classic Corn Popper that you probably grew-up playing with, but with a sleek new design. As your bebé learns to walk and pushes the Corn Popper along, the rainbow colored balls will pop around inside the clear dome! Ellie loves it! The faster your bebé moves, the faster the “poppity-pop”sounds go! This toy will definitely help you tire baby out just in time for their next nap!
  4. Hungry? So is Luke! This Baby Alive Super Snacks Snackin’ Luke by Baby Alive is $11.09 and ready to be loved, fed, and taken care of by your little one! If you want to foster their empathy and big sibling instincts – this is the toy for you! You’ll love to watch all of the pretend play and the subtle reminders of YOU! Your little one will start imitating your parental behavior! Oh, and please be warned, Luke “poops” in his diaper! ¡Gracioso! Have fun!
  5. It’s My Pal Violet by LeapFrog and is $14.89. With the help of your phone, tablet or computer, you can help personalize Violet by helping her learn your bebé’s name and favorite things, as well as help her teach first words, feelings, emotions, counting and colors to your little one! What’s not to love of such a cute and cuddly friend. My Ellie keeps hers at Grandma’s house for the added comfort from the soothing bedtime music during nap time.
  6. Like I said earlier, never too early to learn! Mr. Pencil’s Scribble & Write by LeapFrog® is $16.39 and comes with six activities that will introduce writing, drawing and spelling. Plus, Mr. Pencil will also show step-by-step instructions on how to write numbers, shapes, uppercase letters and lowercase letters. Don’t be afraid to allow your little one to venture on their own, but this is definitely a toy you want to spend time guiding your child with in the beginning. ¡Divirtiénse y aprendan juntos!
  7. Laugh & Learn Puppy’s A to Z Smart Pad by Fisher-Price is $20.49 and so awesome! My Ellie has been playing with this one since she was 11 months old and we love the sing-along songs! Smart Stages technology lets you select the stage that’s best for your little one – there’s 4 levels! The Smart Pad teaches creative thinking, letters and numbers, large motor skills, shapes and colors, but my favorite is the little clock with rotating hands that teaches them how to tell time! So valuable in a digital world!
  8. Table manners are a must and Laugh and Learn Say Please Snack Set by Fisher-Price is $23.49 and helps you with that value, plus matching and sharing! We love that the Snack Set knows which of the fruits, veggies, and treats are served and what’s missing on the table and depending on which of three levels it’s set at your bebé can interact differently with Puppy and Sis. This toy is more fun when played by two, so get ready to have a fun, yummy, and lovely meal with your bebé. I would recommend this toy to encourage sibling play-time.
  9. Do you have a dancing queen or king? Bright Beats Learnin’ Lights Dance Mat by Fisher-Price is also $23.49 and teaches ABCs, numbers, colors, shapes and encourages dance moves all around! Its always awesome when toys can grow with your bebé. The large, soft mat was perfect for Ellie when she was just sitting and crawling, but now it’s just as great for dancing and continued learning!

As you wait for the arrival of the Kings, I hope you get to enjoy the Rosca de Reyes (or Kings’ Bread) with your familia and friends! And remember, if your slice of bread has El NiñoJesus (or “Baby Jesus”) figurine baked inside, you’ll have to host on the Day of the Candles, Día de la Candelaria, on February 2 and prepare tamales for everyone in attendance! ¡Ay!

Trust me, it’s a blessing!

I hope the gift guide was helpful and your toddler wakes up with one of these fun and educational toys next to their shoes!

¡Feliz Día de Reyes, Amiga!

Love,

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Sustainable Christmas Gift Wrapping With Lil’ Libros Printable Gift Tags

Sustainable Christmas Gift Wrapping With Lil’ Libros Printable Gift Tags

This post is not sponsored, but does contain affiliate links to products I love. If you purchase something with these links, you are helping support this blog and my family at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your time and support. Enjoy!



↓ PIN ME! ↓Sustainable Christmas Gift Wrapping with Lil' Libros Printable Gift Tags

Amiga, Christmas is here and the spirit of extra gift giving is upon us!

I would love to share one of my favorite sustainable ways of wrapping small gifts with a used grocery paper bag while also sharing with you how I used the Lil’ Libros complimentary printable gift tags. If you’re not, yet subscribed to their newsletter, sign up at Lil’ Libros.

If I see an opportunity to recycle and reuse – I will take it! Are you the same? Amen to sustainable living.

I use reusable shopping bags, but there are always those days when I pop-open my car trunk to realize I didn’t place my reusable bags back in my car after my last shopping trip. How many times has that happened to you? #MomLife Right? haha On those days, I purchase paper bags.

If I don’t use the paper bags for birthday gift wrapping throughout the year, I save them and I end up with a nice stack at the end of the year to wrap small Christmas gifts!

 Only one grocery paper bag was needed to gift wrap the Lil’ Loteria: A Bilingual Picture Word Bingo Game (English and Spanish Edition). Excess paper was cut and ends were folded as you would any gift wrapping paper and taped with Scotch Gift Wrap Tape . Any tape will do, but this one is my favorite because it disappears with a nice satin-finish. It’s all in the little details!

When creating crafts where I want to write and even doodle on, I turn to Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens. I love that they provide great color, yet don’t bleed through the page, and the medium point allows me to create thin or thick lettering.

I took the excess scraps of the paper bag and gave the adorable gift tags a mat to sit on and be framed by to give them an extra pop of attention.

Here you can see the detail of the bows tieing these super adorable Lil’ Libros printable gift tags and the bold, yet delicate lettering I was able to create on them!

I purchased the beautiful white and metallic gold twine at HomeGoods. I love how the gold compliments the naturally rustic beauty of the paper bag by adding delicate elegance to the gift!

There’s a very similar twine on Amazon, if you’re interested.

I wanted to create little extra detail for the gift tag portraying Our Lady of Guadalupe, so I took a 6″x6″ square of tissue paper and folded it like an accordion and taped it underneath the bow. Simple and pretty.

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I’m so happy with the finished product! I love how these keepsake Lil’ Libros printable gift tags added a personalized touch grounded in our Mexican culture. (¡Gracias Ariana and Patty!)

We spend so much time thinking of a person’s likes and interests to decide on the perfect gift for them to only end up placing the gift into a gift bag — you gotta do what you gotta do, I completely understand. #MomLife is real, but if you can spend the extra time and energy to create extra special gift wrapping, please do! That in itself is a gift. Don’t you agree?

I would love to know if you enjoyed learning how I add a special touch to gifts when reusing a used grocery paper bag, instead of overly expensive gift wrapping paper. Please leave a note with your thoughts.

¡Feliz Navidad! May Los Tres Reyes Magos bring you a gift especially wrapped just for you on January 6 for Three Kings Day!

Love,

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#WeAllGrowFAMILIA • Grow With Love • 2017 Event Recap

#WeAllGrowFAMILIA • Grow With Love • 2017 Event Recap

This post is not sponsored, but does contain affiliate links to products I love. If you click and/or purchase something with these links, you are helping support this blog and my family at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your time and support. Enjoy!

Some of these photos are  my own and the rest were beautifully taken by event photographer Robson David-Müzel (@muzele).


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It was such a gift to have been invited to #WeAllGrowFAMILIA, a one-day, invite-only event with 175 multicultural influencers and creative entrepreneurs in the parenting space! On October 28, 2017 Latina Millennial mamis and papis gathered for the second consecutive year at the awesome Munchkin, Inc. headquarters in Los Angeles, CA. #WeAllGrowFamilia’s theme this year was Grow With Love. The day’s topics were centered around committing to help grow ourselves and our children’s future.

When I arrived at registration I was welcomed with a smile and a #WeAllGrowFAMILIA swag bag filled with gifts from the event’s awesome parent-focused sponsors before entering through the Munchkin headquarters’ doors and into the whimsical outdoor lounge designed by Celia of @prettylittlethings.

This lounge’s positive vibes allowed for me to meet and have great conversations throughout the day with great and inspiring women, including Martha (@mrscastro), Linda (@luz_warrior), Delfina (@soylatinafit), and Jacqui (@babyboybakery).  Forever thankful for your time amigas!

Soon after registration we were served breakfast sponsored by Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh. So glad there were vegan options for this plant-based mama! And they were delicious, too! I heard there was a cubie-wall decorated with  delicious cupcakes! I unfortunately was probably in a daze full excitement and completely missed it!

I did, however, enjoy a delicious warm tea in the morning and a cafecito in the afternoon provided by @cafesanto. They are known for their signature Cafe de Olla and Chocolate Oaxaqueño.

During this time I was able to meet IRL (in real life) some more women I had been chatting with on Instagram already, including María (@lacooquette), Fely (@missfely), and Gemma (@gemma_marin). We shared laughs over new mami moments — the beautiful and the not-so-fun, but always with a full heart.

One of my highlights was meeting and sharing a selfie with the ever-wonderfully-kind and creative Susie Jaramillo (@canticosworld)! I love that she has created a bilingual nursery rhyme book collection rooted in all of the Latin-American canticos! You can sing-along in English and Spanish! How awesome is that!

Mami Tip: If your baby loves singing and dancing you can watch the Canticos rhymes on YouTube! This works even if you’re a no-screen-mami. Just leave the audio on and dance in the kitchen with your little one! I may have done this! haha

During her keynote session, Susie shared and explained to us how to build a family-oriented brand that is easy and fun to love and partner with families and large family brands already successful on the market.

Cascade Ice, flavored sparking water, had an amazingly fun and colorful space perfectly decorated to “Live a Flavorful Life.” They were so kind and their Cascade ice mixed-drinks (non-alcoholic) were super delicious!

I’ve made my own mixed-drinks with Cascade Ice at home since then and they have been a hit with my guests! If you haven’t tried them, yet check them out @cascadeicewater on Instagram for more information and to find a location near you to purchase.

The #WeAllGrowFAMILIA panel sessions were began by a warm welcome from Munchkin’s CEO, Steven Dunn, and Munchkin’s Instagram Director, Karla Ortiz.

The first #WeAllGrowFAMILIA  panel (Christina Soletti of @ergobaby, Frances Barajas of @readconmigo, Tracey Del Moral of @carters / @OshKoshB’gosh) let us in on how brands market to millennial moms and dads.

After the panel, #WeAllGrow’s Melissa Bailey interviewed Jacqui Saldana, founder of @babyboybaker, as she shared with us all about The Art Of Creating Family Memories! Jacqui — you go girl!

I took so many notes in our new #WeAllGrowFAMILIA custom mint-colored journal by the planning queen herself, Erin Condren (@erincondren)! It’s beautiful!

P.S. I was so in love with Melissa’s dress, I had to let her know when she sat next to me after the panel! haha

P.S.S. It was great to tour the Munckin Headquarters and admire Steven Dunn’s unique art work collection.

One of my favorite keynotes was from Laura Fuentes, founder of @momables. She shared her personal experience with mompreneurship — the highs and the lows with so much realness and gusto! I was so happy to be able to be part of her Mentor Roundtable session! (We had the opportunity to sit down in a small intimate group setting with three of the nine awesome speakers and ask specific questions in 20 minute sessions.) Her insights were tangible and that makes a huge difference for a mom just starting out to make her ideas into a brand!

To end the Mentor Roundatables on a yummy note, we headed out to enjoy a light and delicious lunch and hydrated with the deliciously fresh @aguavidapremiumwater alkaline water made in our very own Los Angeles! You’re also able to reuse, refill, and rehydrate with their cute little glass bottles. Look how awesome the custom tags look on the bottles!

During lunch I enjoyed the creative spaces of @wordpressdotcom and learned a few tips and tricks to maintain my website and create my great looking blog posts!

Have you been able to play with a Baby Alive doll? I took a moment to experience the magical Super Snacks Snackin’ Luke and Sweet Tears Baby by @hasbro who creates the world’s best play experiences! These dolls will definitely teach your baby empathy, as they need to provide love and nurturing to keep them fed, healthy, and happy. What a concept!

Can you relate mamá? 😉

I had the best time throwing confetti in front of @timemachinevideo‘s camera! There’s nothing like letting go a little bit and acting silly for a great slow motion video!

If only my 16-month-old Ellie could have been there to enjoy it with me! She’s the reason I’ve learned to let go and be silly at the toddler playgrounds with her! LOL No Kidding mamas!

Al fin del día and after all the love of parenting and entrepreneurship was spoken into us, we gathered for the closing fiesta — COCO themed — thanks to the amazingly talented team of  Disney-Pixar’s Coco!

What do you think? Will COCO win an Oscar next year at the Academy Awards?

It was quite the experience to hear Alanna Noël Ubach speak as the closing keynote speaker. If that wasn’t enough, I was able to meet @alannaaubach at the after-party! She did a superb job lending her voice to COCO’s Mamá Imelda.

Let’s talk about the snacks! Yummy cotton candy by @twistedforsugar, juicy eloteschurros dipped in chocolate, flavorful hot chocolate, agua de horchata and beautiful COCO-inspired cookies baked and decorated by the amazing @aliciasdelicias. Aren’t they the cutest!

It was great catching up with Martha and meeting Ruby (@la_mamacitas), and of course, an after-party is not complete without a photo booth!

Immensely thankful to @WeAllGrowLatina for inviting me to such a heart-felt community event.

¡Viva la familia!

Love,

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