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Mi Reina Loves Murals ❣️✨🎨✨❣️

 

Tucson has always been a hub for public art and culture. During my childhood days, I grew up driving by murals and being able to touch and appreciate them. And every time, I could hear a story come out of the mural(s).  The majority of murals I love are based in Chican@ muralismo tradition and include social and political themes affecting the local and global communities.  These murals gave me a critical lens and allowed me to see magic in what was once a vacant canvas. Now, during my womanhood years, I crave murals and continue to be in awe of their beauty.  Sometimes, I cruise through areas with my family just to find these masterpieces and (re) connect with my favorite murals.   It is the best feeling when we are cruising inside our 1957 Chevrolet truck and 1961 Siesta Liner Trailer and spot these murals.   My hope is to expose my daughters to the rich history/herstory of murals.  This art form is a reflection of us.  It is a reflection of the community.

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Tattoo Mural of South Tucson, located at 29th and 4th Avenue. This artistic collaboration, led by Las Artes, an arts-based education program for young people, weaves traditional tattoo symbols together with messages of the barrio.
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Mi Reina model, Samantha Contreras posing next to one of my favorite murals (located in New Pascua) #mobilereina ARTIST: CARLOS VALENZUELA
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Sofia Luna loves to touch art! If a hummingbird flies around your head, do not touch it. She/He will take your desire and take it to the other; think about what you want: all positive things. You can trust that something extraordinary can happen. ARTIST: CARLOS VALENZUELA
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Las Artes

The south side of Tucson is rich with murals.  There is so much beauty that stems from them.  I am excited to announce there will be a new mural added to the area.  Mark your calendar for WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27th from 5:30 – 7:00 pm!  Join the community at YWCA’s Southern Tucson Campus – House of Neighborly Service for their ARTS & CULTURE DEDICATION event.  Enjoy refreshments, tour the property and hear from the artists about their creative process and inspiration.

@ywcasouthernaz “The Tohono O’odham Nation provided the grant and local artists: Melo Dominguez, Carlos Valenzuela and PennElys Droz worked with the community to collect ideas and neighborhood history that would influence their art. In turn, volunteers donated their time to help the artists make this vision a reality by painting murals, building adobe bricks and helping with the construction of adobe benches and grills.”

mm7We have been following the progress of this beautiful mural by Mel “Melo” Dominguez since our Herstory Pop-Up back in March.  Mel “Melo” Dominguez is an artist, muralist from Los Angeles who has lived in Tucson since 2007. Mel’s community outreach began at Self Help Graphics & Art in East Los Angeles where she was a Getty.  Mel’s artwork is a direct expression of her Chicano/a culture, political issues, social issues and environmental issues. Mel enjoys using creativity and activism to create a difference throughout the Tucson community.   From Los Angeles to Tucson, Mel has produced so much art and continues to impact the youth and communities she works with.

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Mel working with the next generation of artists!
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During our HerStory Pop-Up, the community participated in painting the mural.

 “I went to many community meetings from surrounding neighborhoods asking question about what represented the culture of the neighborhood. I gathered my notes and began to conceptualize. It came together with all the rich history. I invited various groups and ages from throughout the community.  Near the ending of the mural and tightening up of lines, I was introduced to a young man from the neighborhood who was just out of prison. This whole mural is about forgiveness.  I feel very blessed to have been asked to participate and lead the mural.”

~Mel “Melo” Dominguez

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Sofia Luna could not wait to “color” the mural.
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Next Generation of Artists
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Christian Daahir visiting his hometown from Ohio – taking a moment to paint!
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Vanessa Gallego supporting Mi Reina Mobile Boutique and the mural!
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My goddaughter, Debanny + My daughter, Sofia Luna + My homie, Liz

Mi Reina Mobile Boutique is included in the mural and words cannot express the emotions we are feeling!  Both my grandparents raised their families just a few streets down from where the mural is located.  My dad knows the area like he is the GPS of south Tucson (my husband laughs because my dad does not own a cell phone but knows exactly where he is going).  It is crazy to imagine, now we are raising our own family and drive Mi Reina through those same streets my grandparents and great grandparents once did!

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First Phase
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Final Phase

Special thank you to local artist, Antonio C. Estrada for sharing these pictures. Antonio grew up in the neighborhood and has supported Mi Reina’s journey since our very first pop-up. It is an honor having him paint these details on our truck + trailer; bringing it to life!  If you attend the ARTS & CULTURE DEDICATION ON WEDNESDAY and take a picture of the mural (including the image of Mi Reina) post either on your feed or instastories and tag us; we will send you an appreciation gift! THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who supported and manifested this magical project!

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Generations to come will be able to visit the mural and our story will continue!  This mural is a cultural blend.  It is visual testimony that as part of this society, we are part of its past, its present and its future, something which as a people, from the south side of Tucson will always embrace.

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Thank you, Mel for your dedication + passion!

 

Photos courtesy of // RESCOPHOTOGRAPHY, MARIA ALVAREZ-ALMADA, VANESSA GALLEGO, ANTONIO C. ESTRADA, LIZ HERNANDEZ, MELISSA BROWN-DOMINGUEZ

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Super Mamás Social 2018

Motherhood cannot be described.  Our culture today is very demanding and as women we have so many pressures to do it all, but the truth is that motherhood is not meant to be done alone. We do not do it all! That is a huge misconception.

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It is important to find a group of people that you can turn to and vice versa.  Some call this your tribe, squad, network group or family.  Whatever you call your support group, you need one. After having my first daughter, Sofia Luna – I felt so many mixed emotions.  I felt like my life was a true roller costar (and still is). I felt love I have never felt before, yet at the same time very isolated.  This was also before we launched Mi Reina Mobile Boutique, so I did not have you all – the #mobilereinas to show us the support and love we feel now.  As women, we go through different stages in life. We carry different crowns throughout these stages.  Women are students, bosses, caregivers, workers, and overall magicians. Mi Reina captures the essence of the complex and beautiful life we as women live.  The mobile boutique is more than fashion.  Mi Reina takes pride and ownership in knowing that each woman who visits this unique trailer has a story (and a story to share). We are inspired by stories of other women. What we strive to do with Mi Reina is bring that community love to you all, so you do not feel isolated, but rather inspired and empowered. Through our private and public events and pop-ups, our goal is to make every person who visits the 1961 Siesta Liner to leave away feeling like a queen, inside and out.

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picture courtesy // Super Mamas website

As a first time mommy (with Sofia Luna), I felt stuck, isolated and confused. Now looking back, I was dealing with post partum depression during those first few months.  Often we deal with these uncertainties alone because we may feel embarrassed or ashamed to question how we are feeling.  Mental health is real.  There are various spectrums and outlets you can turn to.  Knowledge is passed down from our ancestors – our mothers and grandmothers.  I did turn to traditions and my own mother, mother in law, tias and cousins for direction.  I would ask my mom to share stories of my nana and how she dealt with motherhood.   We also receive information from our comadres and I did ask my friends how they adjusted.   All of these outlets helped me move forward, but what really comforted me was listening to the Super Mamás Podcast.   I credit this podcast for transforming my life and where I am at today, especially in regards to being a mom entrepreneur.

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picture courtesy // Super Mamas website

 

If you have never heard of Super Mamás  before, please do so.  You do not have to be a mom to follow.  This podcast is for everyone.  On Super Mamás, so many diverse topics are featured on their podcast.  It is co-founded by sisters,  Paulina and Bricia Lopez. They bring in guest speakers and have touched on a lot of subjects that are not usually talked about in our Latinx community, like miscarriage, domestic violence, finances, business tips and love advice.  Each podcast is different and after listening to each episode, I learn something new.  In 2016, I remember listening to some of the episodes, especially the ones featuring moms who work full time and started their own “side hustle.”  I told myself, “If these moms can do it, so can I!”  Super Mamás helped propel me to start Mi Reina Mobile Boutique.  These women provided the confidence and reassurance I needed. Flash forward to today, I can honestly say (with a newborn and toddler in tow), I have my tribe – my Super Mamás tribe!

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The MAIN SUPER MAMAS – Paulina and Bricia Lopez who started the group!                          picture courtesy // Super Mamas website

 

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MomBOSS and Celebrity Stylist, Monica Rose + Super Mamas    photo courtesy // Super Mamas website
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Viva La Bonita! photo courtesy // Super Mamas

Last weekend, we attended our third Super Mama Social.  The popularity of the podcast has grown into a gathering of sister/motherhood. It gets us mamas out for a day of family-friendly celebrations, including a live taping of an episode of the show, keynote speakers, beauty bars, michelada truck, arts and craft area, nursing cabana, Super Papás arcade + more!  We arrived before the doors opened and left when it was over and there was still so much we did not get to see or do!

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Fun at the Super Papas Arcade! photo courtesy // Super Mamas website
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Supporting Lil Libros (Sofia Luna’s favorite books)
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What is your Super Mama Power?

The first social in 2016 was attended by maybe 500 mamas + kids.  The Super Mamas 2018 had over 1,500 people in attendance and more super papas than ever! It was great to see so many moms, children (young and old) and dads at this event.  It was awesome to see the sponsors supporting this network as well, like Target, McDonald’s, Delta Airlines, and Munchkin, Inc.  This year’s social was bigger and more elaborate than ever. Although it was a whirlwind with our 4-year old, Sofia Luna and 4-month old, Mia Sol – it was the best way to spend Mother’s Day weekend! Special thank you to our Super Papá, Abraham for being there with us every step of the way. We are already looking forward to the next social. What a fantastic job, Super Mamás!

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❀ Making HERstory ❀

It has been a month since our Herstory Pop-Up and we are still feeling all sorts of love.  In honor of Women’s Herstory [History] Month, the Microbusiness Advancement Center (MAC) and Mi Reina Mobile Boutique hosted the first ever Herstory Pop-Up! 🤜🏽✨🌷✨🤛🏽  It was held on Sunday, March 25th and people came together to celebrate and uplift the stories of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and the rest of the women in our lives at the House Of Neighborly Service (HNS) in South Tucson.

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Women’s Herstory [History] Month is an annual declared month (in March) that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.  When starting our Mi Reina Mobile Boutique journey, I knew that we would eventually have a pop-up that would honor and highlight contributions during the month of March. Doing this type of event was something I knew I would want Mi Reina to host, specifically to the south side of town because so many women who are from the area have helped pave our path.  I also wanted to make sure that our Herstory Pop-Up would be women focused and women driven and would include the surrounding community. We had all sorts featured at our pop-up from live painting, to a braid bar to a mobile coffee cart!

All of the vendors who participated in our pop-up were women owned and driven.  Check out the full list of vendors who participated (and continue to support them)!

BIG THANK YOU TO RESCOPHOTOGRAPHY for documenting the day!

We are so thankful towards the YWCA’s Microbusiness Advancement Center (MAC) and their south Tucson campus, the House of Neighborly Service (HNS) because our event was able to be held in the heart of South Tucson and involve other small businesses from the area.

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After Mia Sol arrived, I felt this urgency to make sure my daughters would hear and know about other strong, influential women.  I want my daughters to grow up to hear and SEE their stories as well; hence HERSTORY!  I was a bit hesitate to plan and organize a pop-up during my postpartum months, but it is the energy of you all and knowing that you support our journey that keeps us inspired and motivated.   What also motives us is knowing that Mi Reina Mobile Boutique is cruising through the same neighborhoods our grandmothers grew up in.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by! Hope to see you at our next event!

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My Nana Erlinda Gallego holding her son (Frank); she raised her family on 30th Street in South Tucson.
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My Nana Rosa Rodriguez with her cousins on top of A-Mountain. She raised her nine children on 6th Avenue/President Street on Tucson’s southside.

We would like send a HUGE THANK YOU to This is Tucson for highlighting our Herstory Pop-Up!  If you didn’t get a chance to read it, please check it out here! You are helping us keep our story alive for generations to come!

 

Bucket List Trip 🌊

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It has been a while since our last blog and life changing events have happened! First, we welcomed our daughter, Mia Sol on January 16, 2018.  She is our sunshine and full of light (and like the sun, our lives revolve around her).  Her tata, my dad, Rene took a ‘Bucket List’ trip to meet her.  My dad always envisioned himself driving Mi Reina (both our 1957 Chevy and 1961 Siesta Liner) from Tucson, Arizona to Los Angeles, California.  His dream while restoring Mi Reina was to eventually take a ‘Bucket List’ trip to the beach and park our duo right next to the beach. He even mentioned it last year in the Tucson newspaper!

 

 

Well, guess what folks…he did just that! Both my dad and mom took the Bucket List trip in February!

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When my dad started this journey, he always told me his vision of driving by the beach.  Although I knew he would eventually accomplish this goal, I was still a bit hesitant because the truck and trailer is fairly new and not 100 percent complete.  Still, my dad was persistent and did not have any doubts.  He moved forward with his Bucket List trip and completed his dream! Throughout their adventure of driving from the Sonoran desert to the Pacific coast, it was an emotional ride.  Finally, when he drove into Dockweiler State Beach, both the sunset and granddaughter were there to greet him!

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Photo // @stephphotography_

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Mi Reina Mobile Boutique even had the opportunity to participate in a pop-up hosted by our dear friends, Catrinas de Colores, which was also something that we wanted to accomplish from our bucket list!  Until the next adventure #mobilereinas!

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Strength in Sisterhood

Definition of sisterhood

1a : the state of being a sister
b : sisterly relationship
2: a community or society of sisters; especially : a society of women in a religious order
3: the solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences, or concerns
Any day now, Sofia Luna will have a little sister! It is both surreal and amazing to think of the relationship she will gain.  When I found out I was pregnant, I wondered what type of relationship she would have with her sibling.  At first, I thought I was having a boy because this pregnancy started off different and the majority of our family and friends assumed it was a boy.  When I found out I was having another girl, I was a bit stunned.  Then my husband, Abraham turned to me and said, “Sofia Luna will be so happy.  They will have an awesome relationship. Imagine all the conversations we will have.”  Sofia Luna had announced to everyone before we found out the gender that she was “going to have a baby sister, named Mia.”  I thought it was funny how Sofia Luna had already picked a name for her little sister, like she manifested this already.  And I loved it! So, when we saw our baby girl on the ultrasound; I was reminded how beautiful sisterhood really is.
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When I was five years old, my little sister, Alyssa was born.  I remember that day vividly and visiting her at the UMC Hospital.  I remember holding her and being so excited to have someone to play with.   I remember fond memories of playing with my little “traviesa” sister.  She is so gutsy and always ready for an adventure!  We would play in the desert together, run outside and as she got older, shared dreams with one another. My sister’s dream since high school was to attend culinary arts school in New York.  During her senior year, she was awarded the highest honor and received a 4-year scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America.  I cried when she received this honor.  I cried not because I was sad, but because I knew my little sister deserved it.  I also knew that she was closer to having her dreams become reality! Although we live in completely different coasts; we talk weekly. I am so proud of her. She continues to live life and inspires me not to settle.

 

 

My brother married my sister in law, Andrea in 2012. I remember the first time meeting her and thanking God for (re)introducing them.  Andrea is a free spirit and has so much patience with people and animals.  She has been the best partner for my brother.  I have witnessed how she supports my brother’s visions and encourages him.  She is a great mom and I have learned a lot from Andrea.  They are raising three beautiful and kind children.  During both of my pregnancies, I would often turn to Andrea for advice. She continues to comfort me and reassures me that everything will be okay. She does the same for her family.
When I married my husband, I gained a little sister, Jasmin.  I knew that once I met Jasmin, “I had the green light” to date her brother.  Although Jasmin claims to not have liked me right away, our relationship quickly grew close.  While living in Los Angeles, I did not have family here with me.  Once I met Abraham, I gained family and Jasmin became someone who would join me on what used to be lonely outings to fun adventures.  We spent many Sundays together, watching girlie movies, going to Target, eating Trader Joe’s snacks, going to coffee shops and sharing secrets. I miss these outings because now she is away at college and I couldn’t be more proud!  This young woman has taught me patience and compassion.
Throughout this pregnancy, I turned to all three of my sisters for advice, comfort and reassurance.  It was my sisters who helped me move forward and provided the extra confidence I needed these past +9-months.  Over the years, as I experience my own relationships with my sisters and have seen other sisters maintain their relationship, I have gained some insight on what sisterhood has taught me.  I love to meet new sisters and reconnect with hermanas who visit Mi Reina Mobile Boutique. This brings so much strength and inspiration to our journey!
  1. Sisterhood is a friendship for life.

    You don’t have to be related by blood to be sisters or share the same family.  Sisters can be friends you meet along the way in life.

  2. Sisterhood has taught me to be strong.

    I have seen my sisters go through battles and still carry a smile.  My sisters have taught me to stay strong and to move forward no matter what obstacle.

  3. Sisterhood has taught me to forgive.

    Sisters may carry similarities, yet at the same time each sister differs.  These differences may bring tension and conflict to a relationship.  It is important to learn from these disagreements and understand that it is important to forgive and learn something new from the differences.

  4. Sisterhood has taught be how to be a true comadre.

    Sisters are there to listen and advise (when needed).  Being a true comadre is understanding that you are responsible for being a support system for your sister(s).

  5. Sisterhood has taught me how to love.

    Sisters display love like no other. Sisters will have each other backs no matter what and stay loyal.

 

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Sisters I look up to: my mom (to the left), Nina Artie and Nina Irene.  All three have watched each family grow and have supported one another.
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Sisters I look up to: the relationship of my mother in law, Rosa Irma and her sister in law, Lupita. They have known each other for over 30 years and are best friends.

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Dedicated to Sofia Luna + Mia Sol

Celebrating our FIRST ANNIVERSARY of Mi Reina Mobile Boutique! ♥

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Last year, on #SmallBusinessSaturday Mi Reina Mobile Boutique officially launched!  It was an exciting and anxious moment for us! I always had this vision of creating something mobile; something that would empower and inspire others, specifically women and communities who have historically been neglected or ignored.   We decided on clothes + accessories, but our concept is more than just fashion.  My hope is to go into different hoods, reservations and private parties and bring community together, especially women of all ages.

Mi Reina’s goal is to make every person who visits the 1961 Siesta Liner to leave away feeling like a queen, inside and out. Every reina, or queen deserves to feel beautiful.

After doubting my idea and second guessing my thoughts; I regained confidence and reassurance from my family and friends, our parents and my husband.  All told me to try it out – what is there to lose!?  As my 32nd birthday approached, I decided to go full force and have a game plan.  I always told myself that I wanted to own a business by the time I was 32 (32 was one of my lucky numbers growing up).  It was now, or never! Of course, I had to communicate with my dad, Rene since he was the one putting our vintage trailer back to her beautiful self again!

Our first official event was the first ever Pop-Up Holiday Market on Tucson’s Southside (702 W. Irvington Road)!  We co-hosted the event with The Common Group  and it was a HUGE success!  The goal was to launch on small business Saturday because 1.) I wanted to support those who love to create and 2.) I have several family members who are already small business owners.  I believe in supporting local.  Why not host an event that could build an awareness and help out others achieve their dreams along the way?! The event featured local, small businesses- regional artisans, crafters and boutique businesses of locally produced goods. The community was able to buy gift items and products, such as handmade soaps, beauty supplies, health information, home décor, clothes, specialty stores and much more! It was an awesome way to launch Mi Reina Mobile Boutique; better than I could have imagined!

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So many people we love were there to support us on our journey and continue to inspire us!  This past year has been more than I could ever dream of! We have hosted several more pop-ups and events. Met so many people and #mobilereinas from all over Tucson and beyond! We were even featured in the local newspaper! Thank you Carmen Duarte for sharing our story.  Check out the article if you have yet to read it (click here).  Can’t wait to see what our future adventure brings us!

THANK YOU all for your love and support! We greatly appreciate every visit, purchase, love on our social media and just your positive vibes! I have learned so much this year and I look forward to learning and growing with you.  As a thank you, we are promoting our FIRST ANNUAL GIVEAWAY! The winner will receive a whole new wardrobe for the upcoming holidays or any special occasion!

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If you cannot support Mi Reina Mobile Boutique tomorrow on Small Business Saturday, please try and spend your money and invest in others who want to create and have a vision.  ✦✦✦✦✦

#WeAllGrowFAMILIA 2017

Its been one whole week since the #WeAllGrowFamilia    summit and I am still feeling inspired!  The invite-only event, included a network of more than 175 Latinx bloggers and creators that are part of the parenting segment and also represent fashion, beauty, food, entertainment, travel, tech, social causes, and more.  The event was organized by the #WeAllGrow Latina Network.  The network is an influencer marketing agency that connects brands with digital Latinas.  This was my first time attending a #WeAllGrow Latina Network event and it won’t be my last!23336182_10106905319850562_62451032_o

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I was a bit nervous as I drove on the 405 North Freeway to the MUNCHKIN headquarters, which is located in Van Nuys.  MUNCHKIN hosted the all day summit and as soon as I walked into their space, I fell in love.  It was so artsy and welcoming.  I was nervous because I am new to this blogging realm and I did not know one single person prior to entering the space.   That soon changed.  All the women were so positive and eager to get to know one another.  I was able to  mingle and learn about other bloggers, influencers and creative entrepreneurs.  We had the opportunity to sit down and eat breakfast, lunch, café and snack breaks together.  Everything was so beautiful and yummy!  It was so motivating to meet other moms, especially other women of color who strive to create for their families.  According to  Steve Dunn, CEO of Munchkin, “67% of moms today are multicultural.”  Latina moms also influence “85% of purchasing decisions in the household.”  Therefore, we are the primary consumer and have a HUGE influence on these brands.

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All day, I was able to network with other women and brands who were interested in talking and listening to us.  I had so much fun learning about new products, like AguaVida, Ivy + Paper and Canticos and revisiting old ones, like Munchkin, Amazon, Baby Alive and WordPress.com.  We were all given a swag bag upon entering and had the opportunity to visit with each sponsor.  After the summit, I made sure to research the products and I had fun showing my family, especially my 3-year old daughter what was in my bag!  She loved the Munchkin Miracle Stainless Steel 360 Sippy Cup and she is waiting for her Baby Alive Sweet Tears doll to arrive in the mail! I am looking forward to using my Water Wipes on our baby girl once she arrives and this mama will be eating the Lactation Cookies by Milkmakers to help boost my milk supply! So many cool brands out there! Make sure to check out who were the Partners and Sponsors of the #WeAllGrowFAMILIA 2017 Summit.

Partners and sponsors included:

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171028_121807-X3The day went by so fast!  After several sessions and mentor roundtable discussions, the summit ended with a closing fiesta presented by Pixar’s Coco, which opens in theaters on November 22nd.  As a mompreneaur and woman of color, it was an awesome feeling to be in a room full of others who also aspire to create and share their story.  I left with a bag full of goodies, business cards, following new Instagram accounts (and new followers), potential collaborations and some new adventures.  It was a magical day for sure!171028_175548-X3171028_180457-5-X3171028_182631-X3171028_183256-X3

Photos provided by Robson Muzel, @muzele on Instagram

Thank you #WeAllGrowFAMILIA !

I will continue to GROW WITH PASSION!!!