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

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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.

Woven Porch Bench

I love sitting on a rocking chair on the front porch of our house, especially at dusk. Our porch furniture has always been a bit random. About a year ago we were given this glider from our neighbor, there was nothing wrong with it, she was just restyling her back patio. We had it for months before we considered ridding of it ourselves in one of our recent Goodwill purges. But I remembered projects I had seen on Pinterest where they weaved on an old beach chair frame. I decided to tackle the project on the frame of this glider. I could have sworn I took a before photo, but regardless I’ll just say it was nothing special. I had a gray, weathered nylon material with no pattern or print.

I recently had an epiphany… I came to realize that arts and crafts and creating has been a great way to cope with my anxiety. I recently began taking a hold of my mental health care and so much growth is coming from it. I learned more about myself in the last few weeks! I also realized that ever since Olive was born I haven’t prioritized projects or creating and it took a toll on my mental health. I believe everyone needs a hobby, or hobbies like on my case. It is so fulfilling to do something for they joy and pleasure.

Back to the project.

All you need is macrame cord, I used a 6mm cord I found a Hobby Lobby and needed 2 skeins of each color (the light color was called Pearl). You can find the cord I used here. And you need two large crochet hooks. The hardest part for me was conceptualizing the pattern, that’s why I kept it simple! I used blue painters tape to try and plan out the pattern but it didn’t stick very well. I followed these tutorials found from Pinterest: Deuce Cities Hen House, DIY Projects and My French Twist.

It took me a month to complete and not because it’s difficult but because I would only do a few rows at a time before I was called to do something else. If you’ve never done a project like this, have patience.

I’d love you to share in the comments if this resonates with you… do you find yourself feeling less like yourself when you don’t spend time doing something you love? I didn’t realize crafting was part of my self care but it truly is.

Nonviolent Parenting Series

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A little more than a year ago, I made one of the most important and meaningful friendships. I met Leslie, a Santanera like me, mother and nonviolent parenting educator.  We met because of Instagram and decided to meet for a coffee.  I don’t believe there are any coincidences in this life, rather that there is a divinity greater than myself that brings ideas, people, things into our lives in their time.  Leslie was that for me and we’ve said to each other on multiple occasions that we manifested each other.

Leslie founded Comadre Wellness shortly after our meeting.  Comadre Wellness is meant as a community for co-madres, or co-mothers.

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What is a comadre?! . When I was growing up, I had a Nina. My Nina would care for me when my mom had to work, she fed me, asked about my life genuinely, took me to school every damn day, was the first one there when my parents were splitting up, and was just an all around chingona SUPPORTER who wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty when our family situation got messy. She was all of these things above and more. 👑 . In my own life, I have similar COMADRES who have given selflessly, exponentially, time and time and time again. They inspire me to be a better person but don’t have any qualms about being real with me when they see my strengths when all I see is weakness, even if that means telling me I’m full of caca (as I often am).💩 They will listen and they love my children like their own. . Comadre Wellness, a seed now, will grow into a physical space where women of color will come together to support each other in our individual journeys navigating the mountains peaks and deep valleys of motherhood. We will reach a blindingly bright wellness TOGETHER. I’m so excited for this labor of love that was born from my experiences as a mother, as a social worker, as a friend, and as a COMADRE. 💖 💪🏽👂🏽🧠👸🏽

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We began to build our dreams together and support one another.   Leslie returned to parent education and had vision for it’s future, soon after creating Latinx Parenting.

Latinx Parenting is a bilingual organization rooted in social justice and children’s rights, the ongoing practice of nonviolence towards ourselves and others, self-reflection and connection, and community wellness for every generation.

We offer family education and support that is culturally responsive to and for the Latinx community and its allies, trauma-informed, and centered on strengths and advocacy.

We are here to serve you, your children, their children, your parents, and the ripple of our ancestral mark on this earth. 

https://www.latinxparenting.org  

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuFAdqChC2I/

In October 2018 I began my nonviolent parenting journey.  I had only learned what it was and what it meant after meeting Leslie.  Her 6 week parenting series was exactly what I needed and now advocate for others to take it and learn about such an important topic.   For six weeks 12 parents joined for two and a half hours on Sundays.  It was a something I looked forward to for 6 weeks.

So what is “nonviolent parenting”?  The name sounds intense, does going to this series mean I’m violent?  The word ‘violent’ in this context refers to the way we can hurt  people (or our children) through the use of words which do not respect another as worthy of our compassion and understanding, rather than necessarily physical violence. Nonviolent parenting is synonymous with nonviolent communication, defined below.

With Nonviolent Communication (NVC) we learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—NVC helps us discover the depth of our own compassion. This language reveals the awareness that all human beings are only trying to honor universal values and needs, every minute, every day.

NVC can be seen as both a spiritual practice that helps us see our common humanity, using our power in a way that honors everyone’s needs, and a concrete set of skills which help us create life-serving families and communities.

The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative.

What is Nonviolent Communication?

When I thought of how I wanted to parent I thought of how I was parented and what I hoped to do differently.   There is no doubt in my mind that my parents had that same thought, but I think that deciding to parent differently takes more than a choice; it takes learning and support.   And so here we are…

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‘Never before in history have we been in this place where as parents, we are looking at the way we were parented, and we are questioning it. The past generational parenting patterns were based in power; power over a child. Parents are looking at this way of parenting and are saying “NO” we want to do this differently! This is exactly where most of you are right now! That’s why you are a part of this community of peaceful parents! Here’s the thing, most of still have pain related to the way we were brought up; pain from our childhood. It isn’t until we take time to heal our past, and understand our triggers (that are born in childhood) that we can move forward in to a space of peaceful and conscious parenting. Simply put, when we heal ourselves, we stop the cycle of pain being passed onto our children. If you struggle with this, lets talk, I can help you through it.😘💗’ . . . #repost @parentingforconnection . . . #parentingforconnection #healing #triggers #childhoodpain #healyourpast #latinxparenting #doingitdifferent #peacefulparenting #consciousparenting #crianzacompasiva #familiasfuertes #strongfamilies #nonviolentparenting #latinxfamilies #dejalachancla #latinamoms #latinodad #newways #nuevasmaneras #healingcentered #traumainformed

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What will you learn over 6 weeks?  Broken down week by week are the topics covered, but without giving all of the goodness that you will learn, I will say that the work is mostly on yourself.

WEEK 1: Setting Intentions & the Nonviolent Paradigm

WEEK 2: Reflecting on Our Narratives & Understanding Triggers

WEEK 3: Brain Science, Emotional Intelligence & Connecting Communication

WEEK 4:Anger & Self-Regulation

WEEK 5: Setting Limits

WEEK 6: Integration, Practice, Review and Planning for Future Support

I learned so much about understanding and empathizing my child to be a compassionate parent.   Parenting with fear tactics, scolding, or withholding of love are all normal… but why?   When I reflect on my own narrative I think about my ability to not be heard, my feelings were never considered and that taught me to hide my feelings.    I don’t hold anything against my parents, instead I choose to be grateful for the skills that I learned from their parenting.  For instance, for the above example I feel I gained a calmness and composure in periods of high stress or panic.    I gained so many tools from the 6 week series and I cannot recommend it enough.

Latinx Parenting has grown into a two women operation and in early March they begin 2 series (details below).

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Want to hear what other attendees have to say?

Testimony videos curated by me.


To register for the series visit Latinx Parenting. What is utmost importance to them is access— please do not hesitate to contact them to work something out with your budget.

Did you learn something new or have a story to share?   Please let me know in the comments!

Play Date Mamas NYE

 

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One of the best things I gained from becoming a mother, outside of the obvious, like growing my family and birthing a child… was this community of moms that with such arms wide open became my friends.

Three of these mamas have recently banded together to make The Playdate Mamas.  Their idea is to plan and organize play dates for families to take their kids but also build a community for us parents.   This was the second Playdate Mamas event I went to, the first was their Thanksgiving playdate.

I loved their idea for their NYE party.  It was for the families with young children that likely weren’t partying on NYE and it was on the 30th.   I loved that they had the festive hats, crowns and other NYE wearables on the tables for everyone.  There were sensory activities, dinner for parents (this was amazing and so appreciated), circle time with songs and a story, an apple juice toast and a countdown with a balloon drop!  The mamas did not disappoint with festivities and thought everything through.

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I am partnering with the Playdate Mamas to bring the Let Love Grow Galentine’s Party Playdate to life!  It’s in a few weeks, on February 10 and we are so excited for it.  It’s a twist on my Galentine’s Day party from last year… but this time with kids.  There will be activities for the adults and activities for kids, mimosas, adult snacks, circle time and more!   Follow us on Instagram to learn the details as they are released.  We are more than half way sold so if you want to attend purchase your ticket asap!  To purchase a ticket, direct message The Playdate Mamas on Instagram.

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To see more photos of the event, view them here.  To download photos use pin 8629. Please credit @olivelavida by tagging in the photo and mentioning in the comment.