Olive’s Play Kitchen

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As a kid I longed for things that represented my culture. I would paint and modpodge furniture and tables and anything I could. I remember a kitchen table I painted with chiles of all colors. Now that my generation is grown up we are out here creating things that represent us. From clothing, accessories to everything in between, finding a coffee mug with pan dulce decals isn’t as far fetched as it was when I was a kid. For Olive’s kitchen I knew I wanted to make it a Mexican style kitchen and that required just a tad of DIY and some decor pieces to bring the look together.

I went with the Ikea Duktig play kitchen and kept it all it simple. You’ll find so many DIYs on Pinterest painting and sealing to customize the color, but while I love a good DIY, I also am a bit more practical these days.

I left the Ikea kitchen as is and chose not to paint it. I went this route for a few reasons… lack of patience for one. I was so excited for Olive to use it that the thought of taking however many days to paint it was not ideal. The biggest reason I didn’t opt to paint it is because it’s a process if you want to do it right. Because it’s a finished piece paint doesn’t stick to it easily. To prevent chipping and fast wear on repainting it would require multiple coats of paint and sealant. Some people go so far as to paint the plastic too and it chips and scratches easily so again, extra care and attention. I was happy with the natural color so I kept it that way.

For the backsplash I embellished with a backdrop. I only bought one piece and cut it to fit the backsplash area of the kitchen.

I knew I wanted to find hanging chilis or vegetable with the raffia. I grew up with some in my kitchen and it’s such a common find in Latino kitchens. I got so lucky (totally manifested) finding the mini avocado version on the side of Olive’s kitchen while in San Francisco this summer.

Tea Set + Pantry Items
The tea set was a total diy job. I painted the Hearth and Hand tea set they had earlier this year. I sadly don’t see it available at the moment, but something like it can come back durning the holiday season. Target does have the breakfast set available. Because the pieces are wood I lightly sanded and painted the tea set to look like Mexican pottery, the ones with dot flowers.

For the pantry items I painted a set of Melissa & Doug wood toys I thrifted. I painted them as cafe de olla, sopita de letras, and leche.

The look came together with the vintage copper tea kettle and sugar cup that was a gift from Olive’s grandma. I used adhesive hooks to hang her aprons on the side of the kitchen and added a cute Mexican tile on the inside (found in a small shop in San Juan Capistrano). Fake plantitas (little plants) also tied the whole look up nicely. Last but not least for Olive’s kitchen… a speaker on top because we love to dance and sing while we cook in our house.

diy, Essential Oils

Bath Fizzies

Bath time has been one of my favorite routines with Olive. I couldn’t wait to bathe her in her bloom plush flower when she was an infant (which I later realized was pretty useless and not the best registry item from my baby shower. Bath time in our home is pleasant and fun, at least that is my intention. Enter bath fizzies!!!

I’ll admit, bath time is not always fun, Olive and I will just hop in the shower together most days. Bath bubble baths are standard for Olive when she does bathe, my favorite brand is Alaffia. We use their bubble bath and shampoo, they are made with clean ingredients (synthetic fragrance free) and they have such a huge focus on empowerment projects throughout Africa.

Essential oils, baking soda, epsom salt, and bentonite clay all entered our bath routine when they became needed for Olive. For instance when she would get a diaper rash, I would use baking soda, bentonite clay and essential oils; it would clear up her rash within a day of the bath! Before making bath fizzies I had a jar of 1:1 baking soda and epsom salt and Olive would scoop it out and wait for me to drop 5 drops of lavender on it and then plop it in the tub. It became routine and Olive knew just what to do but when that ran out I wanted to make something different. Before I get to the fizzie instructions let me explain the reason for each of the ingredients, it helps to understand the role it plays.

Baking Soda

An alkaline compound, sodium bicarbonate that is partly responsible for the bubbles in bath bombs or any fizzy bath action. Baking soda reacts with citric acid and together they produce carbon dioxide, bubbles! It has dozens of benefits from soothing, cleansing, detoxifying, anti fungal, and so many more.

Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate. It’s a chemical compound made up of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It’s actually not salt but is called salt because of its appearance. In water, it breaks down into magnesium and sulfate. The theory is that when you soak in an Epsom salt bath, these get into your body through your skin.  Epsom salt is thought to alleviate physical pain, soreness, sunburn, swollen feet, bruises, swelling, and promote peaceful sleep. For kids, the reasons are also countless, think growing pains, toddler bruises (Olive gets them because she’s clumsy), or sunburn.

Citric Acid

Citric Acid is key for the fizz it makes in conjunction with baking soda. This ingredient is sometimes more difficult to find but I recently got some at Target in the canning section.  Citric acid is a mild preservative that’s often used in canning and other applications like candy making.  It’s also naturally found in citrus fruit. There are some recipes all over the web substituting citric acid, but from what I’ve made and experimented with you don’t get very much fizz, which is the best part to bath bombs or fizz rocks.

Corn Starch

By binding to the baking soda as well as the citric acid, the cornstarch slows down the rate at which both of them dissolve. The effect is that the fizziness may last 3 or 4 minutes, instead of only seconds.

Salt, Herbs & Oils

Himilayan salt: Our body organs resonate with the natural frequency of the minerals in the salt bath, your body is naturally recharged, boosting metabolism and triggering its self-healing powers.
Coconut Oil:  Coconut oil contains loads of fatty ingredients like saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Nutritionists say that these ingredients are not good to consume but the coconut oil does greatly benefit the skin, softening it and even healing minor damage. Soothe dry skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema by bathing regularly with this gentle emollient.
Herbs: Plants are healing! Putting them in your bath allows you to soak up all of the oils as they are broken down in the warm water. An even better option? Essential oils! Pure essential oils are extracted from plants and are potent little drops. Did you know that one drop of oils had 40 million molecules of that compound!

Bath Fizzies

  • 3 cups epsom salt
  • 1.5 cups citric acid
  • 1.5 cups baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Alaffia bubble bath
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 30 drops lavender oil
  • dried herbs (optional and honestly not recommended because it’s more to clean up)
  • food coloring or mica (optional)
  • large bowl
  • small bowl
  • 2 baking sheets
  • parchment paper

  1. Mix epsom salt, citric acid, and baking soda in large bowl. (and herbs if you are using)
  2. In a small bowl or jar blend coconut oil, bubble bath, essential oil and food coloring.
  3. Gently and gradually add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix gently because adding liquids means reaction begins between citric acid and baking soda.
  4. It will begin to fluff and foam up. Pour it between the two parchment lined baking sheets. The mixture has to harden which can take 1-3 days.
  5. Once the mixture is dry, break up and place in a jar or container.

Also I wanted to note I made a large batch of this but you can definitely make half of it. Another idea… this would be such a great party favor for a bridal shower, baby shower, birthday, etc. or gifts! If you, like me, enjoy making gifts for birthdays or holidays— this is a great option for that!

Hope you enjoy this! Please comment below if you would like blends for diaper rash since I did mention that in the post.


Silla de Paz | Peace Chair

Parenting paradigms are plentiful. Parenting advice is usually unsolicited and unwelcome, especially when it comes to discipline. It might start with “if I did that I would have been smacked”, “it’s because they’re not hit enough” and other non sensible responses to a child expressing their emotions.

Long before Olive was born my parents bought a chair at Goodwill– a tiny little wooden chair with the words TIME OUT on the back rest. They jokingly assured me they were ready to be grandparents with the cutesy chair. They did become grandparents and my view on parenting took a drastic overhaul from my parents view. After taking a class with Latinx Parenting , nonviolent parenting and parenting with compassion became a fast priority to me.

Time outs didn’t align with the parenting I wanted to practice so the cute little chair was used just as a normal chair until it got a facelift. So what’s wrong with time outs? Let’s start with what they are-

Originated by psychologist B.F. Skinner, timeouts are a form of light punishment in which a child is placed in a certain spot for a set period of time. Often, the child is made to stay “in timeout,” even if it requires restraint, and is ignored for the duration.

I don’t remember being put in “time outs” as a kid but I do remember not being heard. I remember not being allowed to express my feelings and always being told to stop crying. When I grew up my mom would always tell me I have no emotions and I was stoic, but that was a learned behavior, I learned to show no emotions…. because I wasn’t allowed to as a child. I am currently reading and recommend Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children and it is so enlightening and affirming.

All punishments are ineffective, [Linda] Hatfield went on to say, because the vast majority of kids don’t misbehave; they behave. They behave like kids. They don’t do things to be bad; they do things because those things are age-appropriate, or because they’re still learning, or because they’re not getting some basic need met. Maybe they are hungry or tired; maybe they are overstimulated or overwhelmed; maybe they need a hug. Or maybe they just don’t know how to process whatever emotion they’re feeling.

Via column written by Wendy Thomas Russel

I know what you’re thinking… timeout are so normal… but listen, just because something is normalized, doesn’t make it ok. Pick up  “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind,” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson to start, because the science is there. Punishment in any form, doesn’t work. What does work— empathy and compassion!

Reclaim your time outs

I turned the Time Out chair into a Silla de Paz or Peace Chair. It’s a seat where I will guide Olive to self-regulate her emotions with breathing, essential oils, sound (we use tingsha) or simply listening and holding space. Rather than isolating her and ignoring her feelings, I sit with her as she processes or she sits without me if she wants some space.

This is a practice that is very much for the both of us. What has helped me in self-regulating myself is knowing that every one of her emotions is a means to meet a need. She’s not intentionally trying to ruin my day or make me mad… And also self reflection, asking myself, why am I triggered or why have I lost my patience and identifying my needs. Parents have needs too! Our needs aren’t more or less important than the needs of our children, they are as important and deserve attention.

Jolie Paint

For the painting of this chair I first prepped the chair. I scraped off the letters and wiped it clean. After a very light sanding I painted with a sample Jolie paint I received at Alt Summit. I intended on finding a project for this paint sample I received and it was so fitting the color was called Zen.

Jolie Paint is a water-based, non-toxic, and quick-drying paint for furniture, floors, walls, and home accessories. Achieve beautiful painted finishes, such as smooth, modern, distressed, textured and many more. Jolie Paint adheres to almost any surface, including wood, matte plastics, stone, brick, concrete, and metal.

Jolie Website

After painting a couple of coats I was left with a beautiful milky fresh start. I almost called the chair a “Zen chair” but I really wanted to incorporate some Spanish. I added my touches with black acrylic and to finish of the piece I used the Jolie Finishing Wax (also received at Alt Summit). It was my first time using a finishing wax, to be honest I don’t usually opt for matte or flat paint because I feel like it dirties easily. The wax makes a huge difference. It leaves a nice finish on the piece that you can leave matte or lightly buff for just a touch of sheen.

My hope is this might inspire you to find moments of peace with a toddler. It seems like an oxymoron because toddlers are active little people but they are very much in touch with their emotions, it’s when they become disconnected they have tantrums.


Bloomi With Me

My journey into natural personal care began a few years ago when I began to really question the ingredients in the products I used everyday. I slowly began to learn about the ingredients not good for me and over the course of a year or so I started transitioning to cleaner products. But then I learned about green washing, it’s the practice that companies use to trick us into thinking their product is safe, clean and free of all the harmful chemicals, when in fact— that’s not the case. You’ve likely seen this or even purchased an item thinking it was better for you because the packaging looks “greener”; there’s a leaf on the label or it has bamboo accents, literally all marketing tricks they’ve figured out.

I became more vigilant, particularly with fragrance. Products are listed as organic, natural and that cost twice as much as the conventional version still sometimes have fragrance.

In a very concise rant, I will say that synthetic fragrance is in no way something that you want to put on yourself or in your home. Fragrance is considered a companies proprietary information so they actually don’t have to tell you what ingredients make up their fragrant blend. Our country actually has really lax rules when it comes to cosmetic and personal care in general; only banning 11 chemicals from products when the European Union has banned 1,300. I urge you to research and read up on this. Maybe start here.  And also check out the Banned List on The Bloomi

Why do I mention all of this? Because The Bloomi is taking it upon themselves to make and sell really clean products we can trust. Just yesterday I was going to order laundry detergent on Amazon, the one I had landed on had rave reviews, a gorgeous label and I was ready to buy it. But then I looked at ingredients, the label said 95% plant derived but what’s in the other 5%… fragrance (parfum). I didn’t get the detergent and one reviewer actually commented that she got it because of the reviews and because it says natural but the Environmental Working Group graded it a D! You have so many choices to make when it comes to which items you use for cleaning and personal care, and it is more important than ever to spend your money where it matters most to you and not what is most convenient or cheapest, because you are worth it and your health deserves it.

This all leads me to Bloomi. The Bloomi is the first marketplace to focus on clean intimate care products. The Bloomi founded by Rebecca Alvarez Story, and not only is she a Sexuality Expert (she created the Women’s Health & Sexuality major at UC Berkeley) she is a Latina and a mother of 2. This matters to me because it means so much more to me to support a WOC owned business.

The Bloomi offers a variety of personal care items divided into four simple sections: Hygiene, Periods, Sex, and Motherhood. I discovered The Bloomi at the We All Grow Latina Summit Wellness Day. What stood out to me at their booth was the necklace that Rebecca wore was also a vibrator and of course her wisdom as she spoke on stage. I so appreciate that she is speaking about topics so taboo, especially for Latinas… masturbation… sex…..

I recently saw a meme that was funny but true… it basically said there is a fine line between “no boyfriends ever” to “when are you having babies” when you become an adult. Latinas that are single know how persistently questioning family members can be with their “y el novio”s.The Bloomi has also been featured in numerous online publications from Forbes, Refinery 29, mitú, and Bustle.


I am so honored that Bloomi trusted me to share about their marketplace. It so aligns with what I’m all about. Being a birth worker means working with so many women transitioning into motherhood where sex lives, intimate care and self care take a drastic transformation which is why it’s so important for me to understand and have a good relationship with my own personal care.

I received my first Bloomi box with a personal lubricant, yoni egg and a book. The book is The Ultimate Guide to Sex Through Pregnancy and Motherhood and I can’t wait to get into the depths of it. As a doula I recommend sex and masturbation as natural ways to induce labor and often times I get a weird face from clients. I will often say, the same way you got this baby is the same way you will get them out.

Researchers think there’s three ways that sex could possibly affect natural labor induction. The prostaglandins in the semen, orgasm that stimulates uterus activity, and the increase in natural oxytocin from sexual activity. (Evidence Based Birth)

I hope that you are inspired to go through your medicine cabinet and bathroom cabinets and clear the products that are not serving you. Your most intimate care products should be the best for your body! The Bloomi is a one stop shop for all of your intimate care needs (there are even the best toys on there, which in eyeing for my next delivery). And guess what, here’s 10% off of your order with Karissa10.

Be the CEO of your body because the job belongs to no one else.


Gratitude Practice

My top 9 photos on Instagram in 2018.
My year in colors.

Last year brought amazing personal growth. One thing that I am totally conscious of is my practice of gratitude and how not only did it make me happier but it aided in manifesting things and experiences I wanted.

  • Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
  • Gratitude improves physical health.
  • Gratitude improves psychological health.
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
  • Grateful people sleep better.
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem.
  • Gratitude increases mental strength


It just makes sense doesn’t it? Imagine focusing on only the negative: what you don’t have, less than feelings and then imagine how you would feel over time… want to read about the science of gratitude, here’s The Science of Gratitude by The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

This past December I reflected on my year, as I usually do at the end of the year. One of my intentions for 2019 was to practice gratitude and invite others to join me with a social media weekly photo challenge.

My intention is that this is effortless for you. I didn’t want to call it a social media challenge because my hope is that it is not a challenge at all, and instead becomes a habitual practice in your life.

The year started strong until March when I took a few months off because I wasn’t able to keep up with posting the weekly topic. In the middle of May the topics returned and now that we’re in June I have taken time to reflect on the first half of the year and plan ahead. Below I have shared the remainder of the year’s gratitude topics and I hope you will join in!

Be sure to tag #olivelagratitud and @olivelavida.