Once in a very blue moon, life hands you an amazing opportunity that you can’t pass up. Mine came just over a month ago when I received a call from my friend Marianna of Bilingual Avenue. Marianna has been chosen as one of the 2017 Storytellers and representative of Disney’s Dream Big, Princess campaign. Her call was to invite me to be her special guest “Blogger Bestie” to the 2017 #WeAllGrow Latina Network Summit. All I have to do is get to Long Beach, California, and my meals, a field trip to Disney Studios, and a four night stay at the Hotel Maya is included.
WHAT? Of course my answer was- YES!
After the initial excitement of the invite (did someone say Disney?) and booking the flight wore off, I started to prepare for the logistics of the Summit- and started freaking out a bit. This is my first conference. I’ve been working hard to live a healthier lifestyle through my One Million Steps Challenge and my 100 Vegan Days Challenge– but most days my style consists of jeans and tennis. How was I going to keep up with all the stylish women at the Summit?
I think that I’m like most frazzled moms of young children- we take so much of our time to take care of everyone else that anything we do for ourselves is an afterthought, at best. So when the Fashion Tips for the Summit hit my inbox, the negative thoughts in my head were pretty much saying “I don’t belong.” And that’s not the spirit (AT ALL) of the Summit- it’s about Sisterhood and Authenticity- two things that I care a lot about.
Luckily, I have an amazing village of people who cheer me on, who help me when I am feeling overwhelmed, and who constantly remind me that I am enough. This village turned out in the past few weeks to help me prep for the conference, and I want to share what I learned from each of them with you:
- Sara of Mom Endeavors– So not only has Sara been my blog mentor since before I even stated blogging, my cheerleader through all of the ups and downs of the first year of starting a blogging business, and one of the most phenomenal content creators on the web- she also is a great example of authenticity. (Check her out as she walks the red carpet at the Moana movie premiere– true to herself and gorgeous!) She sent me a zillion photos of people at past Summits with notes like: “you already own clothes like that.” Her constant mantra to me was “be yourself, be yourself, be yourself.” Thanks Sara.
- Jessie of Joyful Jessie. Once Sara talked me off the proverbial plank, it was time to actually open my closet and start thinking about what clothes to take. My dear friend Elle started a secret Pinterest Board for us to pin outfit possibilities and talked me through all of the basics I would need for 5 days of relentless networking. I was finding myself a.) super nervous about budget and b). trying to even figure out when in the world I would go shopping somewhere that wasn’t the grocery store. Enter Jessie- she came to my house and did a complete closet audit and make-up audit. It turns out that I have really great clothes in my closet that are begging to be worn- and she put outfits together that make me feel confident and beautiful. She gifted me a LuLaRoe dress, and my next door neighbor (generously) surprised me with some amazing wedge booties that I will be rocking all week. I really only need to purchase a layering piece for chilly California nights and a bag that fits my laptop and camera. Jessie’s mission is all about helping women to feel beautiful in their own skin- and she pushed me to be my authentic self. (She and I will be partnering for a giveaway soon, so stay tuned and follow her on Instagram!)
- Abbi of Village Solo. If you have seen me in the past 3-4 months, you know that I had a TERRIBLE haircut that I have been trying to let grow out since before Thanksgiving. I was feeling super nervous about doing anything to my hair, but my friend Sarah (who always has amazing hair) recommended Abbi to me for a cut. As soon as I sat down in her chair, I felt like I was at home. She spent a ton of time fixing my cut and working with me on a long term plan to get my hair back to the style that I am comfortable with (read: low maintenance) and that looks great in the meantime. Giveaway forthcoming with Abbi too- in the meantime follow her on Instagram!
Being a woman can be hard, and being a mom can be even harder. Through this whole journey, I’ve learned to take a few extra minutes each morning to make sure that I feel confident and comfortable in my skin and my clothes, and I’ve connected more deeply with women who are cheering me on as I continue to be the best person I can be- on the outside and the inside. That’s what authenticity and sisterhood really are- and I’m excited to step out at We All Grow 2017 Summit and meet my authentic blogging sisters. I’m already cheering us on- see you soon!