Simple and Cute 2-Ingredient Chocolate St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

Simple and Cute 2-Ingredient Chocolate St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

This post is not sponsored. Thank you so much for your time and support! Enjoy!

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You know how you spend time browsing Pinterest before a holiday looking for fun and cute art projects you can create with your toddler?

Yep, me, too!

I found the perfect GREEN chocolate cookies for St. Patrick’s Day — shamrock-shaped!

Thank you 3 Lil Ladies n Me for the super cute recipe!

There’s only one small drawback for us: they’re not vegan (Wilton Candy Melts contain cow’s milk), but they were so cute, I decided to make them anyway and gift the majority of them to our neighbors down the street!

Win-Win!

We get to be creative and have fun in the kitchen for the holiday and my neighbors receive cute cookies!

Let’s Make It!

Needed Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 1 Bag Wilton Candy Melts (green)
  • 1 Package Oreo Cookies (original size or mini)
Optional Ingredients
  • 1 Package Wilton Candy Eyes
Supplies
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator
  • Shamrock-shaped Silicone Baking Mold
  • Microwave-safe Bowl
  • Spoon
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Curious Clovers!

You place the vanilla-flavored candy melts into the microwave-safe bowl and heat at defrost setting for 1 minute.

You stir the candy at 30-second intervals until smooth and completely melted.

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This was my first ever using Wilton Candy Melts for any of my baking, and melting them did not come as easy, for me, as it should have! haha

As you can see below, I was not able to bring the Wilton Candy Melts to a consistency that was easy to pour into the mold. Pinterest-fail, you think? haha

I believe I overheated the candy and therefore began to become too thick. Perhaps heat at 15-second increments, instead of 30-second increments as the package suggests.

I filled half of the mold first, leaving room for the Oreo cookies, and the rest of the melted green candy.

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Oreo Mini!

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For the vegan-friendly ingredient of Oreos — I went shopping at Aldi grocery store, which was closer to me at the moment when I was curating the ingredients.

I was not able to find original-sized Oreos at Aldi, but I did find the Snak-Saks with the Oreo Mini. These packages are pretty cool since they can be resealed! I’m thinking perfect for picnics at Disneyland!

I had Ellie carefully place the Oreo Minis on top of the first half of the melted green candy, inside the shamrock-shaped silicone mold.

Once she finished, I poured the rest of the melted green candy.

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Because I was not successful in melting the green candy into the right consistency, I did not have enough of it to cover the Oreos completely.

In case this happens to you, I would suggest purchasing a second bag of Wilton Candy Melts to cover your… cookies!

I placed the shamrock-shaped silicone mold into the refrigerator for the St. Patrick’s Day cookies to start taking shape!

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The mold could have been left for only 2 hours to set, but since we weren’t in a hurry, we actually ended up leaving it in the refrigerator overnight while we left our home for the evening to watch a movie at the theater.

The next day, I asked Ellie to take out the mold from the refrigerator and place it on the cutting board.

Once on the cutting board, I slowly pulled the silicone mold away from the cookies.

Little by little, Ellie and I had cute little shamrocks!

When turned over, you could see the Oreo Minis shapes popping through, yet, still covered with the Wilton Candy Melt, as you can see in the photo below. haha Real life outcomes, ya’ll!

Your St. Patrick’s Day cookies are deliciously finished!

However, for extra cuteness, you do have the option to purchase the Wilton Candy Eyeballs (edible and certified kosher) to give your shamrocks some personality — Curious Clovers!

Googly-eyed for you!

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You can use the same Wilton Candy Melts to “glue” the candy eyes; however, since we didn’t have any left, we used green icing that we already had in our cupboard. I purchase all of my Wilton products at Michaels Craft Stores.

While wearing her purple Princess Rapunzel dress, Ellie helped me placed the cute and tiny eyeballs onto the shamrocks.

She also wore her St. Patrick’s Day-inspired “Lucky You” headpiece! Adorbs!

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Kiss Me! I’m Irish!

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Sometimes, if not most of the time, you will not have the beautiful Pinterest outcomes with your creations, but you can get quite close to them!

In the end, these simple and cute St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock cookies were delicious and were a hit with our neighbors!

Plus, it’s always fun to get a little messy in the kitchen with my daughter, Ellie.

Please let me know, if you try to make them, and don’t forget to repin to Pinterest to share with your friends & family! I hope you have the best of times!

Love,

Love-Vanessa-LifeOfTorres-Blog-

DYPER™ – Biodegradable Diapers!

DYPER™ – Biodegradable Diapers!

What’s more important than your baby…nothing right?

It’s hard to get THE best when you’re on a budget and even harder when you can barely make ends meet.

Remember when the words compostable and biodegradable meant nothing to you?

Then your kiddos came along and you started to see what a mess things were — that our landfills are loaded with diapers that take 5 centuries to decompose.

Doesn’t that sound crazy depressing?

Not DYPER™ — it decomposes in 75 days, and you can compost it yourself! How awesome does that sound?!

You can be on a budget, still offer your baby the best, and reduce your carbon footprint to help our earth!

$64 a month for the new revolution in diapers!

Depending on how old your baby is and your current potty training situation with your toddler you can be saving $30+ per month. Parents can easily spend up to $100+ a month on diapers.

DYPER™ was kind enough to offer my readers a special freebie! With the links found in my blog you can get an additional 2 weeks free with a new subscription!

“DYPER™ — decomposes in 75 days, and you can compost it yourself!”

DYPER™, www.getdyper.com

“Guess what? 30% of that landfill is disposable diapers! [DYPER™] diapers decompose in 75 days, [others] take 500 years. Let’s be smarter…”

DYPER™, www.getdyper.com

These diapers are completely free of bleaches, phthalates, ink for designs (who sees them anyway?), lotions, pvc, and fragrance!

My daughter has a history of diaper rash, so this makes me very happy! Saving the bum and saving the planet!

DYPER™ diapers and wipes are made of bamboo, which is naturally renewable, sustainable, and hypoallergenic.

Best of all, they are delivered right to your doorstep — for FREE — shipping and handling is complimentary!

This is why I became a DYPER™ Ambassador!

My two-year-old daughter is still in diapers since our first run of potty training wasn’t successful — baby steps, ya’ll!

For now, I’ll be using DYPER™ diapers for her and my future children — for their future.

How about you?

Love,

Love-Vanessa-LifeOfTorres-Blog-

4 Simple Steps To Teach Gratitude During Story Time

4 Simple Steps To Teach Gratitude During Story Time

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 at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your time and support! Enjoy!

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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss and Happy Read Across America Day! Reading with your child should be fun. If there’s one person you should be okay being silly with, it’s your child! Literacy is a gift. A gift that can be shared and passed on countless times. Learn 4 simple steps to teach your child gratitude during story time!

Happy 115th Birthday to Dr. Seuss (Theo Geisel)
&
Happy Read Across America Day!

What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?


Bookworms Unite!

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!

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Book Clubs

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:

Literacy Resources

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)

4 Simple Steps to Teach Gratitude During Story Time. Celebrating Read Across America and Dr. Seuss' Birthday! www.lifeoftorres.com by Vanessa Torres

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. Celebrating Read Across America and Dr. Seuss' Birthday! www.lifeoftorres.com by Vanessa Torres

4 Simple Steps To Teach Gratitude
During Story Time:

  1. After reading a story, ask your child to describe each character’s circumstance from their perspective;
  2. Join your child by listing five things you’re both grateful for in your daily life (Help them by going first);
  3. Ask your child to draw the five listed items, or to find photos of them; and
  4. 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!

4 Simple Steps to Teach Gratitude During Story Time. Celebrating Read Across America and Dr. Seuss' Birthday! www.lifeoftorres.com by Vanessa Torres

This is me telling you how lucky you are!

Amor,

Love-Vanessa-LifeOfTorres-Blog-

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.


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Toddler Valentine’s Day Cookie Decorating

Toddler Valentine’s Day Cookie Decorating

This post is not sponsored. Thank you so much for your time and support! Enjoy!

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Happy Valentine’s Day amiga!

Not a major holiday in our household, since we believe LOVE should be celebrated every day, but having a toddler brings new light and fun into these small holidays! Don’t you agree?

We can feel like kids, again!

Plus, this is a great way to start getting used to helping our little toddler girl with future school projects!

Something, I can wait for though! ; )

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We were at the market on our bi-weekly grocery shopping trip and I spotted this Valentine Message Cookie Decorating Kit — it was in our shopping cart without a second thought!

We make an effort to shop the perimeter of markets, as opposed to the inner isles so we choose healthier options, but this kit caught my eye, girl! haha

It was right next to the bulk section where we get our oats, beans, and nuts (and sometimes dark-chocolate covered pretzels for our Netflix trail mix! Keeping it real.)

First Cookie Decorating Experience

Our daughter is 2.5 years old and I thought this kit was perfect for her first Valentine’s Day cookie decorating experience!

Which holiday was your first cookie decorating experience with your child?

I have not decorated Valentine’s Day cookies since I baked a batch for my husband when we were newlyweds. They were delicious!

I opted not to bake with her for the first time because I’m not ready to handle the experience, yet, but perhaps by mid-summer when Ellie is a full 3 years old!

This cookie decorating kit is super easy and not messy at all (thank goodness the sprinkles didn’t spill! haha)

FYI, a good-to-know detail is that this kit is sealed with a badge of having been created in a peanut-free factory, so it’s safe, if you or your toddler are allergic to pea(nuts).

Also, the sugar cookies are delicious on their own, too!

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Red, Pink, White, Oh, My!

Ellie was super excited when she saw the red, pink, and white heart-shaped sprinkles through the bottom of the heart-shaped box!

As soon as I opened the box for her that’s the first thing she picked up!

Which is so funny because once I opened the icing tubes for her and showed her how to squeeze the icing out and on to the cookie, she forgot all about the sprinkles… toddlers!

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At one point Ellie didn’t want a new cookie! She just kept adding the icing to that ONE sugar cookie! All three colored-icings, if I may add, all on top of each other!

Looked SUPER SWEET! Literally.

She finally added sprinkles and tried to imitate my decorating. She’s very observant.

I admit, her hand-eye coordination skills are really great! I’m a proud mama.

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I want to share a little small fact that made this day extra special.

My tiny dancer is wearing a 18-month-sized onesie in these photos and it fits perfectly! She’s now usually wearing between a 2T and 3T, so it was quite a surprise when she asked me to put it on her and it actually still fit her.

It’s like she knew that having her decorate cookies was bittersweet for me! She’s growing up so fast! I was so happy to see that she’s actually still physically my baby and not a big kid, yet! haha Do you relate?

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I was so excited to have completed this Valentine’s Day cookie decorating kit a week prior to actual Valentine’s Day, but of course, here I am a little over a week after Valentine’s Day posting about it for you! #MomLife am I right?

Nevertheless, Ellie and I had a great time during our mid-afternoon ‘Arts & Crafts Time’ creating an art project in our kitchen that was edible and not to hang on our refrigerator or on her bedroom walls!

Daddy was also very happy to find some tasty snacks, made with tender loving care, when he got home!

Love,

Love-Vanessa-LifeOfTorres-Blog-

P.S. Any day is a good day to buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers for your home! Our favorite flowers are from our local street vendors.

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Moms Rise Community Launch Party – Moms Supporting Moms and Rising Together

Moms Rise Community Launch Party – Moms Supporting Moms and Rising Together

This post is not sponsored. Thank you so much for your time and support! Enjoy!

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Inclusivity Matters

What an amazing feeling to have been selected along with other moms to attend the Moms Rise community launch party!

Moms Rise is a new community, founded by Nancy Lozano-Stecyk and Nadia Hernandez, bringing together moms of different cultures, lifestyles, careers, and educational backgrounds to share their unique talents and help each other network and rise together.

Moms gathered on Saturday, November 10, 2018 for a fun-filled afternoon of yummy food, grown-up drinks, creative vision board making, and bonding with new mom friends!

“We believe that education, awareness, collaboration and support can help ease the challenges in motherhood.

Every mom deserves the opportunity to reach her goals whether that is personal, professional, business or in her role as a mother.

We are here to cheer you on and provide you with resources. We encourage you to use this platform and share your challenges, wins, dreams, & goals.

Together we will rise.”

Nancy Lozano-Stecyk and Nadia Hernandez, Moms Rise Founders

Self-care is found beyond the spa

Moms shared their time away from family, their private visions for their future, highlighted their strengths and goals, and allowed themselves to a few hours of self-care.

This time may seem as a simple craft moment, but the thought process it takes to truly make an actionable vision board is priceless.

The keyword is action. What are the steps we must take to make these visions tangible? And can we combine our resources to make them happen?

Yes, we can!

“We wanted a space where diversity and inclusion are embraced.

A safe place for all moms to come together for support and empowerment. Where education and community are easily attainable.

We have so much to learn from each other and so much to gain from our alliances.”

Nancy Lozano-Stecyk and Nadia Hernandez, Moms Rise Founders

Here are a few of the powerhouse women who presented their vision boards during the Moms Rise launch party:

Lorena Mendez-Quiroga
Documentary Filmmaker, Journalist, and Human Rights Activist

This night allowed us to see how powerful and unique our talents are because they’re a reflection of our individuality, but also how we face the same struggles of fear, doubt, and imposter syndrome in our daily lives.

Here I am, also owning my space:

Vanessa Torres
Business Administrator, Photographer, and Blogger


Thank you Yesenia Medoza-Menchaca
for taking my picture.

Take up space!

Sometimes all we need is one person to let us know that we are welcomed at the table to muster up the courage to continue working towards making a dream a reality for ourselves and our family.

Yes, we can make our own table and hustle hard alone, unfortunately sometimes we have to, but is it not more fun and productive when you have a team of humans at your table that just get you and want the best for you?

Yes!

Plus, you can pay it forward and help your team do the same! There’s room for everyone at the table.

Moms Rise Community Launch Party, Saturday, November 10, 2018

United Diversity

Moms raise children, whether working in or out of the house (because all moms are working moms!), attend school meetings, medical appointments, we run businesses, we take care of the house, cook and bake, plan birthday parties, landscape the backyard, organize the paperwork, take the car out for maintenance, and pay the bills on time! These are all skills!

Before becoming amazing moms we were amazing women.
We still are.

Moms Rise seeks to help moms take inventory of their skills and services they can share with other moms in their community.

By connecting with each other we are able to support these skills and services for successful growth.

How many times has someone told you, “What? I didn’t know you could do that? I wish I would have known! I would have asked for your help, heck, I would have hired you!”

Isn’t that something? Your skills and talents are needed and wanted.

Moms Rise will build a directory with your specialty and contact information, so others that need you can find you! How awesome!

Moms Rise Together

We all know moms are powerful and we can do anything we set our mind to, but the message Moms Rise wants to make clear is that it’s much easier and rewarding to make dreams happen together as a community.

We must come together to encourage, listen, support, and lift each other up.

#momsrise

Go on to Instagram and follow Moms Rise to keep a lookout for their website launch, future networking events, educational workshops, and the first annual momference in 2019!

Love,

Love-Vanessa-LifeOfTorres-Blog-

P.S. Are there any mom groups that have allowed you to see and own your true potential and helped you make strides in your visions and goals? Share with me!

#TeachItMamas Body Love Workshop

#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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