SISTER SPOTLIGHT: SARA QUINTANAR, MUSIC WITH SARA

 
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Welcome to our monthly Sister Spotlight! We are excited to share with you the stories of the inspiring women who make up our Super Mama Squad! If you would like to be featured or would like to nominate someone to be featured please email us at info@supermamas.la

Sara Quintanar is the founder of Music with Sara, her mission is to make early childhood music education accessible to more families and educators. She is a bilingual early childhood music educator based in Los Angeles, California. She teaches music in Spanish to hundreds of children each week. She is also a mother of 3 children ages 12,10 and 5. Her family comes from East Los Angeles, and from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, México. Her husband is from Zacatecas and Jalisco. 

Sara Quintanar started “Music With Sara” after her first child Celia was born. After trying various mommy and me classes around LA, she wanted to have a class with music in Spanish and music parents could really vibe to. So after attending a few, she decided to start “Music With Sara”, bilingual ‘grown up and me’ classes for children. She told us, “I saw a direct need for early childhood music classes AND music in Spanish.”

 
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When her oldest started school at a Dual Language Magnet, Sara started teaching in her classroom. By then she had a broad understanding of how music impacted learning, and how it facilitated learning a second language and improved fluency. A parent, who she now considers a great friend recorded her so the kids could practice, and that recording became her first album “Canciones en español”. She now has 4 albums of music in Spanish. Her latest collection of songs was published by Scholastic for First 5 CA as a bilingual songbook.

“Children learn through whole body activities how to move, make music, follow rhythm patterns, and explore. In my classes children learn to share, make friends, listen, and improvise. I had no idea what a huge impact these classes would have on the families or my own career. “

Currently, she teaches music in pre-schools, Head Start and Childcare Programs, and at the Elementary level. She has published 2 books for children and makes bilingual videos and music for children.

She wants parents to know how each rhyme they learned as a child helped them grow. She told us,“sometimes as parents we forget the simple things our parents and grandparents did for us, like sing those little songs, playing games like “A la riki ran”, or “papas papas para mamá” These are so important to a developing brain.”

In fact, she shared that children who enter kindergarten knowing at least 5 rhymes tend to have higher literacy levels. Those rhymes connect our children to their traditions and culture and are their first forms of storytelling. They build a child’s vocabulary and creativity.

Music has now become a family affair. Her children have been learning music along the way and her daughters play Latin Percussion. Her oldest learned to play violin, guitar, and drums but now plays mostly clarinet and vibraphone. She believes learning to play music is like learning a language. She shared, "It just takes practice but anyone can do it!"

While entrepreneurship found her, now she is grateful for the opportunity to know that she didn’t have to follow someone else’s footsteps. “My parents worked pretty much in the same jobs for their entire working careers. I look up to them. They showed me what it was to have a very strong work ethic and to work hard. But I wasn’t always that good at following rules, so doing my own thing suits me.” She wants to share with others now that you can make your own way too. She was candid in sharing that is still trying to figure things out too.

Since she is musician we asked her about her musical inspirations. Her favorites include René Colato Lainez, a children’s author from El Salvador that has inspired her to continue to create while continuing to teach. Other influences have been José Luis Orozco, whose music has been so influential in the world of bilingual music for kids, and Ella Jenkins. More than anything she is continually inspired by the children she teaches. “They push me to do better, be funnier, and keep going,” she added.  

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Sara is not done maximizing her impact! She is hoping to reach more people by creating more content and working with parents and teachers. She wants to empower parents and educators too.

“We ARE creating the future based on how we treat children in our society. So we have to give them our best.”

As her business has expanded Sara has also expanded her giving. In the Fall, Music With Sara classes will be part of family activities at Ascensia in Glendale, which offers transitional housing and homeless services. 

You can connect with Sara online and on her website. 

  • @musicwithsara – instagram
  • @itsmusictime – Twitter
  • facebook.com/musicwithsara
  • Musicwithsara.com 

Thank you for sharing your story with us! 

SISTER SPOTLIGHT: SONIA SMITH-KANG, MIXED UP CLOTHING

 

Sonia Smith-Kang is the founder of Mixed Up Clothing a line for kids that aims to build friendships through fabrics. They encourage the exploration of culture and family through fabrics from around the World! Her mission is to showcase and celebrate cultural diversity.

Her clothing has been seen on the Today show, The Real, NPR, Huff Post and the clothes have been worn by celeb children including Modern Family’s Lily, Zoey from The Little Couple, Tia and Tamera’s little ones and many others.”

Sonia was born to an Afican-American father, and Mexican-American mother in Puerto Rico, and spent much of her childhood in Hawaii.

The idea for her business stemmed from her own mixed-race background and her multicultural family. Her husband is Korean-American and together they have 4 children (2 boys & 2 girls) ages 9,11,18 and 25. She told us about how her clothing line started. 

“Clothes struck an emotional chord with people. There was a need for them to have a piece of their culture that they could wear daily and not just during cultural ceremonies or special occasions. They wanted to represent who they were in a mainstream way but didn’t know how?

She told us that she thinks of her kids as “mini global citizens” because they represent the changing face of America.

 

“We teach them that just like being ambidextrous is using both hands, they can be ambi-cultural in that they can straddle all of their cultures without having to assimilate or lose out on any one culture.”

Her children are being taught children English, Korean and Spanish. They eat all foods and listen to diverse music. They code switch like champs and they understand the benefits of being multi-cultural.

But her life could have gone a very different way. She went to the University of San Francisco and became a critical care registered nurse. Even then she used her multicultural background to become an RN that brought a holistic, cultural and family-centered philosophy to nursing and she made sure she took patients and their caregivers’ religion and cultural needs into account while patients were in her unit. For instance, she would move hospital beds toward Mecca, have prayer rugs available, bring in Chaplains, have translators on hand all in hopes of improving the family’s stay, "which (hopefully) in turn helped the patient get better care." 

Being a RN was stressful and a hobby was encouraged for self-care. This is how she started first sewing clothes for her children finding ethnic fabrics sourced from around the world that represented their cultures.Then she started mixing and matching prints and silhouettes in a fun way that would have folks stopping her on the streets to ask what culture was represented on the fabric and where they could buy the clothes.

She noticed that in their exchanges people loved sharing their cultural stories as well. She was fascinated listening to them and learning about other cultures.

She was also building friendships and using the clothing as a vehicle to teach about culture and diversity through the fabrics. It was a comfortable way to discuss topics that can be difficult to talk about, especially in our current climate.

Then the proverbial light bulb went off!

After 15 years as a RN, she took a leap of faith, resigned from nursing, borrowed and took out her savings, took an entrepreneurial business class, got all the necessary licenses and permits, made a payment on a downtown LA studio, sourced fabric and contractors to help get my clothes from idea to distribution and voilà, Mixed Up Clothing was born.

Her children are her motivation each day. She herself struggled with my identity and grew up feeling that she wasn’t Black enough, Latina enough or American enough.

She promised herself then that her children (and multicultural children like them) would not have the same experience. She works hard everyday to dispel the cultural myths and breakdown the barriers that prevent inclusion.

Her kids are not only her motivation; they help her package, sort, take inventory, and ship each clothing season. They make public appearances with her too!

“It’s all hands on deck and they know that they may not always want to but family jumps in and we are there to help each other succeed.  It’s a family thing!”

But her greatest success was leaving the comforts of a regular career as a RN in exchange for one that is unknown and she considers herself a small business owner living her dream.

Being an entrepreneur has allowed her to be the mama, wife, daughter, amiga, granddaughter, sister, tia, nina, etc. she wants to be.

With so many projects and things to keep track of she plans her day the night before so that when she starts the morning after morning kid/school drop-offs, she can just hop on the treadmill without wasting time looking over my calendar. While on the treadmill she listen to the news and read emails that have come in overnight and looks over social media accounts and puts out fires as needed.

But behind every great woman is another great woman! She counts her mom as one of her greatest inspiration. And her abuelos who taught her about her “Mexican cultura.” and to respect everyone whether they are a CEO or anyone else.

One of her tips is to “culture-proof” a home is by having toys/dolls/books/movies that LOOK like your kids and reflect their reality.

She lives and breathes diversity in her numerous projects aside from Mixed-Up Clothing that include: MultiCulti Corner: a community group that explores the ethnic enclaves here in Los Angeles to bring cultural awareness to children, Mixed Heritage Day: which a day (9/23/17) where she partners with the LA Dodgers to celebrate those of mixed heritage, in interracial relationships, or are transracially adopted.  This is a day of community and celebration held at Dodger Stadium. She also volunteers as Vice President of a non-profit organization called Multiracial Americans of Southern California (MASC). It is a 501c3 that advocates and educates for the multiracial community.

“I wanted to be the change that I wanted from this world.I needed to be a part of it. So I jumped without a parachute.”

Her commitment to shedding light on multiculturalism has led her to contribute to major websites like Babble, Huff Post, Medium, Mash Up Americans and The Mixed Up Blog and as a multicultural expert who has spoken on different panels about race and identity around the country. She also still uses her medical knowledge as an advisor to a non-profit organization called Mixed Marrow which helps encourage and sign up more bone marrow donors or color and multiracial heritage to become donors on the bone marrow registry.

We are in awe of Sonia and all that she is doing to create a better world for all children. You find her clothing on her website, www.mixedupclothing.com and on Amazon. You can learn more about Mixed Heritage Day on her site.

You find her on social media @mixedupclothing.

 

Scoring Goals with McDonalds

 

This week, us and a couple of super mamas had the pleasure of taking our kids to the McDonalds Soccer Clinic at the StubHub Center to practice their skills before the 2017 International Champion Cup between Manchester City and Real Madrid. The experience is one we will always remember.

As we arrived, we were surprised with two things: the coolest and cutest McDonalds soccer uniforms and the one and ONLY Ronald McDonald. Luckily, the kids had the opportunity to practice with him before the event started. 

To kick off the event, Ronald gathered us up and introduced the official soccer coaches and emcee of the day, Piolin (who need no introduction). Then the fun began!

The kids were divided into different teams, each with their own soccer coach. Max (@nardasarit), Krista, Sabina, Eduardo, Benny (@mommyinlosangeles), Xavier(@scillasticks) and Ji (@lamamacitablog) eagerly waited their turn to kick the ball. While the handsome little Kai (@thepennycloset) cheered from the sidelines with his mamaOn right field,  Alexander (@pattyrodriguez), Mia (@ themotheroverload), Nia and Knox(@momdutyblog) scored some serious goals

As the session went on, we noticed a huge group of kids gathered around someone in the distance. It was non-other than the legend himself, Jared Borgetti! Everyone was freaking out (especially the husbands). Seriously. He’s a huge deal! Paulina’s husband can tell you every single detail of his famous goal against Italy in the 2002 World Cup. Basically, every major soccer fan knows who Borgetti is.

Borgetti visited every team and made the effort to interact with every single child on the field. He encouraged them to be brave and gave them confidence to go for the goal. Borgetti and Piolin were the best goalkeeper and coach any child could ask for, the perfect dynamic duo. 

Not only did the soccer clinic give our kids the opportunity to play outside, but also a once-in-a-lifetime experience to practice with a world-renowned player and further connect with a sport that plays a major role in their culture. Thank you for the amazing experience, McDonalds! Now, it’s time for us to get ready for the ICC game tonight at the Los Angeles Coliseum!  Who are you guys rooting for?

 

5 Birthing Methods You Should Know About

 

If you are an expectant mother it can be overwhelming to sort through the numerous birth options available to you. Below you will find a few of the options and methods available!

We are strong advocates of women taking charge of their births in consultation with their health care providers, midwives and doulas. 

Read on to learn more! 

Bradley Method:This is a 12 week course in which expectant parents learn how to give birth without the use of epidurals and with minimal interventions. A doula or midwife will normally deliver the classes, and create a plan for you. This method focuses on the wellness of the mother, baby and partner. Please note these classes should begin around your 5th month of pregnancy. Learn more here.

Hypnotherapy Method: As the name implies, this method teaches mothers a form of self-hypnosis that reduces pain and stress during labor. Think of it as meditating through labor. It helps mothers learn how to reduce anxiety in your mind and your body and how to get through painful contractions. Learn more here.

Lamaze Method: This method was commonly taught by hospitals and includes pain management techniques as well as breathing and relaxation methods to help women during delivery. The Lamaze approach and birth classes aim to“increase women’s confidence in their ability to give birth.” Lamaze classes also provide information about unmedicated and medicated births. Learn more here.  

Water Birth: Water births are known as the “gentlest of births.” Mom’s are immersed in water during delivery. This environment replicates what babies experience in utero. The warm water also helps moms manage pain. However, Parents Magazine cautioned that “if your baby is breech, if you've been diagnosed with excessive bleeding or maternal infection, if you're having multiples, or if preterm labor is expected, you'll have to discuss with your healthcare provider whether you're a candidate for a water birth.” While not many hospitals offer the use tubs, you can find a birthing center, or rent one for use in your own home. Learn more here.

Home Birth: This method allows you to deliver your baby in the comfort of your home with midwives and doulas on-site to support you. Home births are mostly recommended for women with low-risk healthy pregnancies. Decide if this plan is for you only after consulting with medical professionals, midwives and discuss it with your partner too! Learn more here. An alternative option is to use a birthing center that has a homelike environment.

For more discussion on this topic check out these episodes that focus on birth and delivery.

Labor and delivery are joyous occasions for families. However you choose to experience them, you should feel supported and respected! Don’t be afraid to speak out and assemble a team that makes you feel empowered!

Happy Labor Day!

 

HOW TO TEACH YOUR CHILD TO NAVIGATE DIFFICULT EMOTIONS

 

This week on the show our guest Lesley Yadon, talked to us about how meditation and mindfulness can be great tools to become more calm and peaceful mothers. But mindfulness isn't just for adults. Mindfulness is a skill you can start teaching kids from a young age to help them develop resilience and the ability to deal with their emotions. But it can be hard to know where to start. Which is why are so excited to share an amazing resource that can help you.

Stop, Breathe and Think is a mindful games app designed specifically for children ages 5 - 10. With this app kids can check in to how they are feeling using fun emojis and try recommended mindful missions tuned to those emotions. Stickers reward their progress and keep the activities engaging.

 

Mindfulness and meditation are tools to help children better deal with the variety of emotions they experience. It develops coping mechanisms and strengthens their emotional intelligence, which helps them avoid being overwhelmed by their emotions.

.The app was created by two moms, Julie Campiston and Jamie Price who wanted to address what they feel is an "emotional crisis with younger generations."

"Stress and anxiety are on the rise, and are more prevalent with 18-34 year olds than any other generation. Suicide is the #2 cause of death for that age group. " 

They are big advocates of having an "emotional wellness hygiene" and taking 5 minutes to Stop, Breathe & Think. They are excited to extend their mission to younger kids.

The meditations and mindful missions in Stop, Breathe & Think Kids were developed in collaboration with activity-based mindfulness expert Susan Kaiser Greenland, creator of the Inner Kids program and author of Mindful Games and The Mindful Child.

STOP, BREATHE & THINK KIDS FEATURES:

  • Meditation & mindfulness for kids:
  •  15 free mindful activities for every situation
  •  Fun video animations
  •  Stickers to reward progress

Julie and Jamie have the following tip to create an emotional hygiene routine. 

"Pick a time in the day, like right when you wake up or at bedtime, when you take a few minutes to Stop, Breathe & Think. It helps create a positive routine for the whole family and integrate mindfulness in your daily life. "

The app is super interactive and includes mindful missions to deal with common emotions like: sleep, over excitement, stress & worry, disappointment & sadness, caring & connecting.

"We want to raise our kids to be able to handle whatever comes their way. Whether they need to mellow out before bed, develop positive relationships or simply have a peaceful moment, Stop, Breathe & Think Kids offers children a fun and easy way to identify and process their emotions.

From counting breaths to friendly wishes or frog jumps, each activity brings fun rewards to keep them engaged. The activities in the app are a great way for grown ups to spend time with their children and create a positive daily routine.

Jamie and Julie are both mothers themselves and hope to inspire other moms to know, "they can take on risky and demanding adventures like founding a startup." 

They are both excited that they have had overwhelming support for their venture and even won the People’s Voice Webby Award for Best Health App this year.

Keeping true to their vision for a more peaceful world they donate 10 percent of their proceeds to a non-profit. 

We are happy to highlight them and their mission to lead a mindfulness revolution that will result in happier kids and moms! 

Learn more about them by visiting their site. You can also download the app! 

You can also follow them on Instagram. @SBTbreathe

 

 

 

 

CARS 3: If you want to Dream, DO IT! I will be there for you

 

By: Paulina Lopez @iampaulinalopez

Today was the official release of Cars 3, the latest addition to the Cars Franchise. I have enjoyed and loved all the Cars movies, but this one is by far my favorite!  It may be the fact that this time around there is such a strong female presence in the film. As a #Super Mama of two girls and a third one on the way, I was so happy to see a character that doesn’t have to be a princess, and that proves that with hard work and dedication you can accomplish anything you desire even in an environment that is considered “only for boys”, just as Cristela Alonzo has done.

The movie is still based on our beloved Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), and we see all the familiar characters from the previous films, but it’s amazing to see how they came out with a whole new story, a new perspective according to the “stage of life” he is going through.  That means that if your kids still haven’t seen the previous movies, they will understand and love the story just the same.  This time around we see McQueen struggling with the fact that he might no longer be the king of the race tracks, as a new generation of “younger” more advanced and modern race cars like Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) are ready to take his place. After a devastating accident, he is faced with the tough decision of giving up or proving himself once again to his fans. 

The movie takes us along on his journey as he decides to get his throne back, but we learn many lessons along the way, like the fact that a relationship between a boy and a girl doesn’t necessarily have to become romantic.  Cruz meets McQueen’s at the super modern and technologically advanced Rust-eze Racing Center, where she is assigned as his trainer. At the beginning he resists her,  but they eventually become friends and each other’s support and inspiration on the tracks.  While trying to find his way back, Mcqueen reflects on the ones that have come behind him, his teachers and mentors, and he knows that without their knowledge and advice he wouldn’t have gotten as far as he did

In the movie, we also see a hard reality that we confront every day, where women must work extra hard to prove themselves in a male dominant environment and though at times she doubts herself, Cruz finds out who she is meant to be and becomes an inspiration for McQueen himself.

Cruz Ramirez ends up showcasing her skills leaving everyone around astonished, including those of us watching the movie, I know I was surprised because I was not expecting this ending at all! It’s a huge deal for girls all over and for the Latino community that Pixar made Cruz Ramirez such an important part of this story. She's had a life long dream, and we learn that Dreaming might be uncomfortable to outsiders, but its something that we should all do! As parents it is important to know that we HAVE to support our children's dreams even if at times they sound crazy, because being there for them is the one thing they should alway count on.  

 

This is a movie you don’t want to miss, look for the nearest theater and check it out!

If you want to read a more about the people behind the movie, read the Movie Junket piece I wrote and check out this super cool trailer featuring Cruz and McQueen! 

 

SISTER SPOLIGHT: CARMEN LOPEZ, CURRENT BOUTIQUE

 

Welcome to our monthly Sister Spotlight! We are excited to share with you the stories of the inspiring women who make up our Super Mama Squad! If you would like to be featured or would like to nominate someone to be featured please email us at info@supermamas.la

Current Boutique, is a shop for fashionistas with an eye for vintage gems.

Carmen Lopez founded her shop in 2007 with the notion that the modern woman’s busy life needs a revolving wardrobe that can keep up with that schedule. It began with her own love of designer pieces, that kept her fashionable, current and on trend. She also had a thirst for recycling her pre-loved designer gems.

Current Boutique operates by accepting lightly used women’s clothing, bags, shoes, jewelry and other accessories from people who want to sell. They take pieces they they can sell in stores and online and then split the proceeds with the seller if its purchased. But soon after starting the business she noticed that this could be something bigger! 

Current Boutique is known for innovative events and for making connections. They collaborate with the hottest influencers, up-and-coming fashionistas and style-novices alike. We browsed her site and instantly found some Vintage Valentino and Jimmy Choo we would love for our closets. (Wink, Wink) 

She soon saw an opportunity to develop a community for fashion lovers!

My goals was to create A community where women could bring their pre-loved designer gems and recycle them into, new-to-them designer outfits.

She started the business by pulling together her entire life's saving and investing it into her business. There were skeptics but she believed so firmly in her idea that she signed a ten-year lease on her first store in Alexandria, Virginia. Her business now generates million dollar profits each year and boasts thousands of devout sellers and buyers. 

She is also the mother of a 14 month old daughter, Annie who is named after her mom.  She told us that her husband and family are a tremendous support system, "I have a wonderful father who is the greatest babysitter on the planet and two older brothers who have always looked out for me.  Oh yes, don’t forget my nieces, nephew, aunts, uncles and my cousins (LOTS of cousins!). " Her husband also runs the business with her. 

 “My family is the heart of everything I do and I love them all.”

 One of the things she likes about being an entrepreneur is that she gets to create her own schedule and spend her mornings with her daughter Annie and she couldn’t image starting her day without the quality time they share.

 “I get to work with a sense of determination – knowing I need to work hard every day to keep the life that I’ve grown to love.”

 She is proud of  launching our e-commerce site and challenging herself to venture out of her comfort zone.  She told us that “moving into the online space was a whole different animal. I surrounded myself with great people that new the industry.  All I had to do was teach them about what made Current Boutique great.  From there, we built an amazing online experience.  It was my biggest challenge but my greatest reward!”

 She has been an entrepreneur since she was 28 years old and she likes that everyday is like an adventure.  

 “I am betting on myself and my team to get things done every day to keep the ball rolling and making new discoveries and improving processes as we go along"

 We asked her about her secret weapon and she noted that she can’t live without exercise.  

“Stamina is important for running your own business and chasing your little one - staying in shape is key.”  She also enjoy reading books about professional development. Her favorites are, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “No Thanks, I’m Just Looking.”

We love that through her business she is also creating a more sustainable world. For over ten years, they have donated tons of clothes! They also donate to Suited for Change, a DC based charity that helps women in need of professional attire, mentoring, and job-readiness education.

They are also working on a functionality that allows consignors to donate a portion of their earnings to charities.  

Style with a conscience at the click of our fingers? We love it!

Learn more about Carmen and her boutique by visiting their social media @current_boutique or their website:www.currentboutique.com

 

Stop Feeling Sorry for me because I'm having another girl

 
Photo by: @Lilyro_ 

Photo by: @Lilyro_ 

By: Paulina Lopez-Velazquez   @iampaulinalopez

 
 

“Aaaaaww its ok, you can always try again”,  “Well, if the baby is healthy I guess it's ok” , “I can imagine how disappointed you must feel” or the worst one I have heard so far “I heard there is a treatment that can change the baby’s sex while still inside of you” Really?!?!?

 

These are some of the many lines I have heard from people when I tell them I’m having a girl for the third time.  Yes, I’m the first one to admit I was thrown off myself when I found out, and so was my husband, but it wasn’t because we didn’t want a girl. It was because long before I got pregnant my husband and I knew for sure next time we would have a baby it would be a boy.  The same way we knew for sure Krista & Sabina would be girls long before we conceived them. I got rid of all Sabina’s baby clothes because I wasn’t going to need them anymore.  I started buying items that were gender neutral so they could all share, and whenever we would see cute baby boy clothes we would get them. We even had a name picked out long before the pregnancy happened! So, from the moment we found out I was pregnant we never really considered the fact that we might have a girl, we immediately started referring to the baby as a him and by the name we had chosen. Even Krista, my oldest would say my baby brother, and that is not something we told her to say. 

 

 You can imagine our surprise when my brother popped up a princess lollypop and not a cars lollypop at our mini gender reveal over lunch at our family restaurant.   It’s a girl!! It took us some time to digest it, and to adjust to the idea.  I was already struggling with the idea of being pregnant at all, and this added to my confusion.  But it didn’t take us long and by the next day we were talking about all the wonderful things about having another girl. Girls stay closer to their parents we said, our grandkids will spend a lot more time with us.  

Photo by: @Lilyro_

Photo by: @Lilyro_

 

I don’t know what it is, I have heard it from Latinos, non-Latinos, man and women the same, but when we started telling people the news, I started getting so many negative comments from strangers, friends and even close family members.  They viewed it as a negative, they assumed we were sad, disappointed and that we would immediately start considering having another baby. We obviously had to keep trying for the boy!  I would say: “No, this is our last baby” and their face would look concerned for us " But you  have to try at least one more time" they would say. At first I thought it would be something occasional but it has been a continuous pattern. 

 

When they told me I should look into changing my baby’s sex within the womb I was baffled, did they really think I would consider something like that?  I went off on them, I tried to lecture them about being a girl nowadays but when someone has those kind of opinions, is there really a point on trying to argue with them?  I started realizing the kind of challenges my girls have even before being born.  A lot of people still view being female as a disadvantage, or an obstacle in their life. I know for a fact this is not the case. I am so thankful my parents never made any distinctions because I was a girl, they raised me without highlighting that fact, and that only encouraged me to prove those people wrong. It only made me happier to bring in another girl into this world. 

Photo by: @iampaulinalopez

Photo by: @iampaulinalopez

 

 My husband and I are determined to educate them, encourage and empower them as much as we possibly can so they can be part of the generation of women who are changing this archaic views.  It inspires me to keep working on myself so that I can be an example for them.  She chose us for a reason, she was meant to be part of our family long before we knew it and I finally know why. So, don’t you dare feel sorry for me, if anything I feel sorry for you, because you will have a very difficult time living in the future my girls will help construct, so get in with the program. And don’t you forget  "Who runs the world?  GIRLS!"

 

Bricia's Beauty Essentials

 

A few weeks ago I posted my nighttime routine on our @_supermamas instastory and so many of you wrote in with questions on all the products I used.  I will admit that when I put all my beauty essential products in one picture, I realized that it may seem a bit overwhelming.  In my defense, I don't use all of them at once.  I pace them out throughout the week, but I do use them all.  

Before I go into my routine, I want to mention that I have dry to normal skin and that I in no way, shape or form a beauty guru. I am a skin care junkie and as a lot of you may already know, a make up one as well.  I try to get facials at least once every 4-6 weeks. I always like to ask questions to my esthetician and have learned a lot from her.  These products listed below I have been using for the past couple of months and can personally vouch for them all. My face washing routine does change up throughout the year and I will list alternative products I use below as well.  Ok, lets get started! 


1. CLEANSE

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  1. Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover - I have been using this product for the past 7 years.  I have tried others and no other product comes close to this for me.  It removes even the toughest water-proof mascara.  The only other product I have tested that may be a tad better is Bobby Brown's eye make up remover, but it also costs a lot  more, so I just stick to Neutrogena's.  If you are a Target shopper, their Up & Up Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover works just as well and is just as amazing.  A great tip is to use cotton swabs to cleanse any left over make up residue under the eyes. 
  2. Facial Cleansing Oil - I love this particular oil from No-Tox life, in fact I love a lot of their products.  I am also a big fan of their deodorant collection.  (Both me and my husband use them, I particularly love the grapefruit mango scent). ok, back to the routine, I always begin my night time routine by taking my make up off with a great oil cleanser.  Since it's the first thing going on my face, I make sure they are organic and vegan.  Also, since my skin can get very dry, this helps.  Other oil cleansers I have used and like are DHC Deep Cleansing Oil and Mineral Fusion Cleanser
  3. Gaffer & Child Deep Cleanser - after using the oil cleanser, I follow with a deep cleanser.  I am currently using this refreshing Gaffer & Child face cleanser.  Other cleansers I love are: Neutrogena Hydroboost Gel Cleanser and Derma E Hydrating Gel Cleanser
  4. Face Wash Clothes- I don't use make up wipes, I instead opt to use terry towels to cleanse my face.  I find it that it's the only way for me to make sure all of my make up is total off my skin.  Also, I think its better for the environment.  I bought 12 from Ikea and wash them regularly with my laundry. 

2. MASKS & PEELS

  1. EmergenC's Triple Threat Mask- This is a pricey one, but very much worth it.  I have been using it for only a month or so, but my skin thanks me every time I use it and has quickly become a favorite.  Also, I only use once a week, so I know it will last me a very long time.  I make it point to use it on Sunday nights, this makes it easier for me to remember to use.  
  2. IS Clinical Coolmint Revitalizing mask -  This mask I use twice a week, generally on Saturday and Wednesday mornings before getting ready for the day.  Its a quick hydration boost that never hurts in the morning time.  I also always use it to prep my skin if I need to wear event or photo make-up. 

3. TREAT 

  1. Resurface Retinol Reform - I heard so many  great things from so many beauty bloggers about this, that I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did.  I only use this product 2-3 times a week at night time depending on the amount of sun I anticipate to get the following day.  you never want to apply retinol products if you expect to be out in the sun all day.  I've used other retinol products before and this one has been the least abrasive on my skin.  Also, I only use retinol on the days I don't do peels, or the day's I don't use my IS clinical active Serum. 
  2. IS Clinical Active Serum - This I use on the days I don't use Retinol to help prevent any breakouts and help with uneven skin tone.  I suggest you apply it with a cotton face pad.  Makes a huge difference than applying it with your fingers. 
  3. Emergin C Vitamin C Serum- This product I have begun to only use it in the daytime.  Helps fight and prevent free-radicals also helps in combating bacteria that causes breakouts and aids in skin texture and tone. 
  4. Revitalizing eye gel- I use this eye cream every day both day and night.  I must say that I am not a HUGE fan of this particular product.  But to be fair, I haven't found an eye cream that I just absolutely love and adore.  Maybe I just expect a lot out of an eye serum.  Because this product was pricey, I probably won't be buying again but do want to use every last drop before I buy switch to a different brand.  Until then, my search for the perfect eye cream will continue.  I will keep you all posted on any new finds!  Just as an FYI, the reason why I didn't return it was because  wanted to give it a fair chance and any cream is better than no cream.  

4. HYDRATE & PROTECT

  1. Eminence Herbal Facial Recovery Oil - I absolutely love this stuff.  It looks like a small bottle, but all you need are two drops to completely boost your face's hydration.  I add a couple of drops to any of my two favorite moisturizers.  I also always add a couple of drops to the ends of my hair after curling or when I get out of the shower.  This stuff is really amazing if you suffer from dry skin. 
  2. IS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion- I use this moisturizer every other day and every time I use it, it feels like my skin drinks a gallon on water.  I usually use this on the days I don't wear my retinol, because I don't like to mix the retinol with any other ingredients other than natural ones and really sink into my skin. 
  3. Control Corrective Healing Lotion - This is a moisturizer I absolutely love to wear on the nights I use retinol.  It's a basic face cream that anyone can wear and should be in every women's beauty arsenal.  It's also very affordable.  
  4. PIXI Hydrating Milky Mist -  This is the first thing I spray on my face when I wake up.  Since I don't wash my face in the mornings, just a couple of spritz of this on your face feel so good in the mornings.  Always follow with a tall glass of water in the morning
  5. Trish McEvoy SPF 30 Primer - This product I wear every single day, rain or shine.  I wear it alone or under my make up.  I love it because it serves both as an SPF and as a make up primer.  There are a lot of great SPF's in the market that I have used and love as well such as DELTA MD and Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen.  I am almost out if this particular tube so I will be switching back my SPF this summer to either Delta or Supergoop!

5. Misc.

  1. Konjac Sponge- I don't have an exfoliator cleanser, but do use a konjac sponge a couple times a week with my face cleanser twice a week for deep cleansing of pores. 
  2. Rejuvenate Eye Mask -  I use these when traveling or after having a long night.  Makes a huge difference.  Feels even better when you've kept them cold in the fridge. 
  3. Lip Balm - I have so many laying around my house and wear a balm constantly throughout the day.  I can't say I have a favorite, but I am currently loving my lip butter from No-tox life in Rose Petals.

Thanks for reading my super long beauty regimen. I hope you find it helpful.  Please hit me up on my Instagram @bricialopez or in the comments below for any questions!

 

 

SISTER SPOTLIGHT: MARILYNN RENTERIA, MADRE TRIBE

 

Welcome to our Sister Spotlight! We are excited to share with you the stories of the inspiring women who make up our Super Mama Squad! If you would like to be featured or would like to nominate someone to be featured please email us at info@supermamas.la

Marilynn is 21 years old and the Founder of Madre Tribe a community where mothers meet, connect, and inspire. Marilynn is a graphic design student at FIDM, a military wife and mother. 

"I am still a work in progress.  But motherhood turned me into the person that I always hoped to be."

Marylinn created the group after the birth of her daughter, April Renesme who is now 14 months old. She explains that, "Loneliness is often a feeling that is felt by first-time mothers, I experienced it first-hand, and I told myself that I did not want anyone else to feel like that."

She wanted to create a group of women, who could stand tall and deal with the challenges of motherhood together. Her mission was to create a safe community for mothers. A place where they could be honest about all aspects of motherhood. Specifically she wanted to talk about the side of motherhood that she feels is often not talked about like: loss, postpartum depression, and other topic that are often,  "thrown under the rug."

Marylinn also wanted to create the antidote to the Instagram version of motherhood, "I want women to stand up strong while accepting that they are not perfect and that there is way more going on behind the pretty photos on Instagram." 

But she wanted to create a space that demonstrated different perspectives about mothers too. This is why she regularly highlights other young, hip mothers on her site.  In her interviews, they talk about everything from dealing with the regular challenges of motherhood, to their favorite song lyrics and foods. 

She hopes that mothers will connect with each other and maybe develop friendships and networks of support. "Social media is amazing and if you use it wisely, you can meet great people," she says. 

Like many members of our sisterhood, she credits her daughter as the reason for her drive and motivation. "This whole project revolves around motherhood and because of her I get to be part of this amazing community."

She also shared with us how her daughter has allowed her to step out of her comfort zone.  

"Motherhood made me strong and emotionally raw. I was always being what others wanted me to be. That all changed once I had my daughter."

In fact, after having daughter she left community college and decided to go after art. She did it to be a strong role model for her daughter.   

We asked her how she starts her mornings. She likes to start with music and fresh air.  Her and her family spend their free time eating ice cream, hanging out with loved ones, or running errands.Her number one book would be: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. 

She is currently working on arranging a small get together for the Los Angeles members of her tribe. 

"Motherhood gave me the confidence that I was missing my whole life. I realized I can do anything I want if I set my mind to it."

She is very excited about the future of her site! "I have so many visions and ideas that I want to bring to life and although it feels overwhelming at times, I know that it is possible. I already took the first leap of faith and now it is time to take ten more. "

We wish Marilynn much success in all of her endeavors! We can't wait to attend a Madre Tribe event ourselves! 

Keep up with her and her tribe of cool mom's on social: @madretribe / @marilynncristine

Visit her site: Madre Tribe

 

 

The Super Mamas Social presented by Target was a huge success! We were so thrilled to meet and re-connect with our Super Mama Sisters and their babies at La Plaza de Cultura Y Artes

The event began with a greeting from our fabulous volunteers!

A team of 18 volunteers helped us make this day extra special! They helped us staff the check-in area, and ensured everyone was having a great time! They even wore special buttons that said, "I speak mom." 

Guests then walked through our Super Mamas Marketplace! They were able to shop products many made by other Super Mamas and entrepreneurs! 

There was plenty of fun activities for the kids too! Including an activity corner by Target where kids created a keepsake with a powerful message #stronglikemom. They kids also enjoyed a reading of Roselyn Sanchez and Eric Winters' new book, "Sebi and the Land of Cha Cha Cha," a bubble and tent area and soccer by Super Soccer Stars! 

Meanwhile, moms were pampered by the Northgate Cabana and Target's Beauty Concierge's 

Of course, like any good party the food and drinks were amazing too. Thank you to Todo Verde, Love Swirls, Viva Los Cupcakes, Greenz on Wheelz and Food Truck Stop LA for the delicious eats! I Love Micheladas was a hit with dads, and mom's alike! Everyone got their caffeine fix thanks to Califia Farms. 

Mom's left feeling inspired by our amazing panelists! Hanna Lim, Natalie Alcala, Jacqui Saldana, and Melissa Fumero 

Munchkin dropped by to share with us all about their new and exciting grass-fed baby formula and our mom's walked away with samples too! 

We were excited to share this day with our friends from Northgate! During the event a few lucky mom's received a complimentary make-over and were invited on stage for a special surprise! This was followed an amazing serenade by an all female mariachi! 

Paulina surprised us all with a gender reveal at the end of the event! Surprise! It's a girl. We could not be more excited to bring another girl into our #Momboss tribe! 

 

This event was made possible thanks to all of you, our team and amazing sponsors! Don't forget to save the date for next year May 12th, 20181 

Photos by: Lily Ro Photography

 

 

 

 

SISTER SPOTLIGHT: IRMA VAZQUEZ, MY ESCUELITA

 

Welcome to our monthly Sister Spotlight! We are excited to share with you the stories of the inspiring women who make up our Super Mama Squad! If you would like to be featured or would like to nominate someone to be featured please email us at info@supermamas.la

We are excited to highlight Irma Vazquez an educator, entrepreneur and Founder of  My Escuelita: Spanish for Kids.

Their mission is to teach Spanish to children through play and interaction, using activities like songs, stories, arts and crafts, in a fun, stimulating and encouraging environment that fosters fluency and language development and exposes children to traditional music, literature, games, themes and Latin American traditions.

Irma’s entire reason for becoming an entrepreneur was inspired by the fact that at a point she had three children under the age of 3 and one with special needs. In fact, her entire purpose was to be able to spend more time with her children. Her goal was to be present in their young lives as possible and model a positive and powerful version of what it means to be a working mother. She is proud that her three children. Monica (16), Ellis (14) and Carolina (12) have grown up seeing her build a successful business doing something she loves.

Her idea for a place where kids and families could learn Spanish and about Latino culture soon grew from a few classes to a much bigger venture. Spanish for Kids now offers Spanish enrichment programs, preschool classes, Saturday Spanish Institute, summer camps, cultural events and community networking events. They also provide students with Spanish materials curated to help parents teach Spanish at home. My Mochila: Spanish on the Go! is a monthly subscription program. Included in the back pack or Mochila are over 20 components to help parents explore and teach Spanish in a multicultural approach.

Irma explains, “We believe that families and children deserve quality instruction that is affordable and accessible. Every class is taught by bilingual credentialed teachers who are certified to teach children language, dance and yoga. The entire family is supported in the language learning process by way of classroom observation, participation and resources that are sent home or made accessible online. The goal is to engage everyone in learning!”

As an entrepreneur she has learned an entire different set of skills. As an entrepreneur she’s learned about marketing, finances,manufacturing, shipping and creating brands. All these lessons have enriched her life as a human and a mother.

She tells us, “I feel empowered to create and be able to help and guide others to do the same. Often I am asked for guidance on starting a small business and I feel honored that through my journey I am able to help someone else. And if that someone else is a mother even better!”

Last year, she designed a child’s backpack that contains materials and resources including 20 components to help parents teach their child Spanish. She writes lesson plans and curates the multicultural materials. She is re-launching the project with a Kickstarter in September and this Summer every My Escueilta: Spanish for Kids Summer camper will have a backpack!

She shared, “being a small business owner and doing what she adores each day teaching Spanish to children has been the best decision she has ever made.”

But like every entrepreneur Irma has her rituals and support to stay on track. Irma sets her intentions everyday by mediating. She also listens to music and eats breakfast everyday. She also credits her village that helps her each day with support, and advice.

Irma also understands the importance of giving back and finds time to serve on various boards too including: the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) School of Education Alumni Board, the LMU Schools of Education Alumni Board as well as the LMU School of Education School Counselor Advisory Board and Learning Rights Law Center Advisory Board. She is also an expert teacher advisor for Little Ripples a preschool my family has built in Darfur, Africa. www.littleripples.com.

Irma is Super Mama for sure and we are so excited to highlight outstanding mommy’s like her!

Learn more about My Escuelita by visiting their site. Learn more about Irma’s newest venture My Mochila here.

 

Quick Tips to Make the Most of the Super Mamas Social

 
  • Bring Your Squad but Make New Friends Too -We encourage you to come with your current friends but open up the circle to include others. You never know who you might meet! Don’t be shy! Venture on your own for a while and introduce yourself to a new friend! If you see a mom who is alone ask her to join in our conversation. Which reminds us...
  • Don’t be Afraid to Come Alone -This is the perfect place to meet your #Momsquad. Trust us when we say having a group of women to support you on your motherhood journey makes this adventure so much more fulfilling. Feeling shy about introducing yourself? Strike up a conversation by complimenting someone’s cute outfit or asking how old their baby is. Those are always great conversation starters for us.
  • If You See A Mom You Know From Social Media Do Say Hello-We all know that feeling, “I know her, but I don’t REALLY know her!” Go say hello to your online friend, who knows, you may become IRL friends too!
  • Make Sure You Visit Our Super Mama Marketplace-We have curated a great selection of vendors this year that have great things for your kids and for you too! Don’t forget to check it out! From Raggedy Tiff’s beautiful creations to books from bilingual booksellers there is something for everyone. If you still need a gift for mom you might just find the perfect gift at our marketplace.
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  • Make Sure the Kids Have Fun But Don’t Forget About Yourself-We have a variety of activities for the kids and a beautiful reading corner, but don’t forget to hit our Mom booths where you will get pampered by sponsors like Target, and Northgate. We encourage you to bring a friend or loved one who can watch the kids while you get pampered. Don’t forget tickets will available at the door.
  • Check the Map and Schedule When You Arrive-We will have activities happening throughout the day but we also have various panels you don’t want to miss. Check the main stage schedule to find out times and speakers.

We can't wait to see you tomorrow sisters! 

 

 

My last chance to make labor a good experience.

 

I can’t believe I’m almost half-way through my pregnancy already; it has been all so fast, it feels like a blur.  Someone brought it up recently, and when I checked the calendar, I started freaking out. 

I better start preparing for labor and I need to start now!

What I mean by preparing is not this: worrying about what I’m going to pack in my hospital bag, whether I should take candles or magazines or swimming trunks for my husband (Yes, I had all of this on my hospital bag with my first pregnancy). What I mean is; I need to mentally, physically and emotionally prepare my body for what it’s going to go through - whatever that might look like this time around.

My two labor experiences have been completely different from each another. The first time around, it was the hardest experience of my life; I had my perfect birth plan ready, I had gone to all the classes, checked all the boxes and made all the arrangements necessary. I knew how everything would go, easy peasy!  Everything I needed was in my hospital bag(s) after all. 

As soon as I stepped into the hospital, it all went out the door.

My water broke on a Friday night, but I had no contractions. By the time I got to the hospital, my amniotic liquid was running low and the baby needed to be closely monitored.  They started induction and after some hours (what seemed like forever) they increased the dosage of Pitocin and that is when things went from bad to worse.  The pain was increasing fast, so I asked to get an epidural and epidural it was not my friend. I started getting contractions from the waste up and it was unbearable. By that time, I had been in bed for almost 38 hours.  I was swollen, hungry and tired.  I finally dilated to 10 cm and I was ready to push.  I was extremely exhausted but I still managed to push for almost 4 hours. Toward the end of this ordeal, I was not all there - I was hallucinating and talking nonsense. I had an oxygen mask and was going in and out.  Thankfully, I had my husband, my sister, my mom and the best attending with me (she was a Midwife that was coming fresh into the shift and was so patient with me and my whole family).  I am so thankful for her - she was the one that got me through the hardest part and made us all feel at ease. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, after 42 hours, my beautiful Krista came into this world. We spent the next 4 days in the hospital; she in the NICU and I being monitored for all my labor complications. My recovery was long and painful, but it was worth it.

As you can imagine, I was not looking forward to labor, or post labor with my second daughter. I wrongfully did nothing beforehand to prepare. I was just too scared to relive my previous experience. My due date came and went and one afternoon after a long walk, I had a conversation with my baby and later that same night, I started feeling some discomfort. I took a nap and a couple of hours later I woke up again with some pain. As the pain increased slowly, I took a bath to get comfortable. To me, the pain wasn’t bad enough for me to think I was going into labor.  I thought it was the same Braxton hicks pain I had been feeling lately.  That whole night I walked back and forth in my apartment, sat on a yoga ball and did some stretching.

Around 5 am I told my husband, “I think I’m in labor.”

We drove to the hospital and when the nurse examined me, she told me I was 6 cm dilated. I was in shock and I immediately panicked. I asked for the epidural again and again. My doctors sensed the fear in me and tried to get it in me as soon as possible. 30 min went by and finally the anesthesiologist came in. Before he could start, they checked me again and I was 9 cm! Panic turned into horror.

“No epidural? I can’t, I won’t be able to do this, I am going to die,” I thought.

I started crying, yelling, cursing and refusing to cooperate. I even went as far as to hold back when I felt the urge to push. I was just not mentally ready. My entire birth plan spelled out: epidural, epidural, epidural. But Sabina was ready and there was no turning back. Within 40 minutes she was out and I couldn’t believe what had just happened.  I felt exhilarated and incredibly empowered. Within a few hours, I was taking a shower and hosting my visitors in the room. The very next morning I was on my way home and ready to celebrate my birthday.

So, just as my third pregnancy has been different, I know my labor will be as well.  But this time around, I will mentally prepare for whatever is destined to happen. I will go in with no expectations. I will read, train my body and my mind for that moment.

I’ve come to realize that my body knows exactly what to do, whether my mind wants to cooperate or not.  I now know that it can do incredible things. Like the time I ran a 10k after only 8 weeks of training, or the time I did cross fit for 6 weeks straight, or the time I went through a 42-hour labor, or the time I went through natural labor.

All of these experiences have one thing in common - I would constantly tell myself, “NO, I WILL BE NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THAT”.

I know I can now. 

It will not be perfect, but at least this time I want to own it. Whatever happens happens, however it may be. I want to know that I did it with intention and that I did the best I could.

My baby deserves a better experience, but most importantly, I deserve a better experience.