Mom 2.0 Photo Recap


One of my favorite things about being Dove’s Global Self-Esteem Ambassador is the opportunity to reach different audiences with messages about confidence and the beauty of being you. Last week, I was at the Mom 2.0 Summit, which connects parent bloggers, content creators, and marketers around conversations that help shape how we see and think about today’s families.


The summit kicked off with an amazing conversation about the power of our words online with none other than the award-winning journalist (and my eternal #WCW) Soledad O’Brien.




Soledad is such a genuine, open, and captivating person. We went from strangers (although I have to admit, I had a HUGE professional crush on her!) to chatting like old friends, taking selfies, and having her adjust the microphone on my bra strap!


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During the keynote address, Soledad and I discussed the power of words, parents’ roles in how their children create and consume social media, and Dove’s recently launched #SpeakBeautiful Effect on Twitter that helps you identify the power of our online words and their impact.


With the rise of social media, everyone has the power and platform to share their stories and use their voices. It’s so important that we are intentional about the messages we send out and use those platforms to lift others up, rather than tearing one another down.




Don’t think I won’t frame this!




As if things couldn’t get any better – on day two – I hosted our famous Dove Self-Esteem workshops with the fabulous Hollis Heath, a fellow Dove Self-Esteem Educator who also works in New York City to help young people find their strength through education and creative arts.




Our workshops also focused on the power of our words and how to rewrite our beauty story. We were joined by the amazing women from Mom 2.0, who not only participated in their own workshop, but then came back to mentor girls in another workshop.


I’m always moved by how open, brave, and willing participants are, and these women and girls were no exception. Seeing groups of passionate people engage with their journeys of self-discovery, regardless of where they may be on their paths, inspires me time and time again.


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We were joined by the Girl Scouts of Orange County who were so incredibly outspoken and creative in their answers about beauty and body image. Clearly these were girls who have been thinking about and talking about how to develop their confidence. Their answers would blow you away!




We had everyone write their beauty story using just one sentence. And the catch? That sentence had to have just 6 words. Think of it as a mini-mini tweet. The girls were supposed to sum up the story they’d like to tell the world about their relationship and understanding to their own beauty and confidence. Here are just a few:


L: “Finding out that everyone is different.”

R: “Finding and expressing my inner creativity.”


I mean… 🙂


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Did a workshop really happen if we don’t take a picture??

Trick to getting a good smile – have everyone yell “1, 2, 3… Self-Esteem!!!”


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Mom 2.0 was an uplifting experience reminding me that, as long as we open ourselves up to seeing it, exploring it, and embracing it for what it is, #BeautyIs found in everyone around us.


If you want to learn more about the power of YOUR words and what you can do to leave a more positive digital footprint, check out Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful Effect on Twitter. It’s as easy as clicking “retweet” (literally).


5 Comedians Who Made Us Laugh and Stood For Something


In honor of Humor Month – here are some funny ladies with a serious passion for making change.


Moms Mabley


Jackie Moms Mabley was an African American, arguably genderqueer stand up comedian. Using her Moms persona, Mabley was able to touch on taboo topics like sex, politics, and racism. Mabley frequently visited prisons to perform and was considered a notable Civil Rights Activist.


Gilda Radner


Gilda Radner, an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, is best known for her outrageous characters, like Roseanne Roseannadanna and Baba Wawa. Radner’s boldness, fearlessness, and resistance to the status quo in her comedy and acting paved the way for women to step out of the roles that male-driven comedy traditionally forced them into.


Whoopi Goldberg


In her 1985 stand-up performance Direct from Broadway, Whoopi Goldberg uses five distinct characters to make valuable social commentary about racial stereotypes, reproductive rights, racist standards of beauty, immigration, and devaluation of people living with a disability.


Margaret Cho


Margaret Cho created and starred in the first show prominently featuring an East Asian family, All American Girl. Using radical commentary, personal stories, infamous accents, and body as art, Cho tackles sexuality, racism, body image, and rape culture all through her comedy.


Jessica Williams


The young Daily Show correspondent is already making huge waves in her role. From attacking race issues and police brutality head on to addressing violence against women and rape culture, Jessica Williams is making a name for herself as a comedian actively using her voice to incite cultural shifts.


Who would you add to the list? Who is your favorite funny change-maker??


3 Reasons Why Being a Leader is Better Than Being Liked

I know. I know. You want to be a leader. But perhaps you don’t feel like one because you are too busy caring if people like you. And listen, I get it. It’s totally normal.


In fact it’s our humanity that compels us to desire closeness and connection with others and want to feel accepted by our family, peers and community.


But the truth is that true leaders aren’t always liked. In fact, they often aren’t.


The tough and unsung choices leaders make everyday can’t come from pleasing people – they have to come from tapping into their gut, inner strength, wisdom and personal resolve. Leaders do the right thing even when it’s difficult.


Here are 3 reasons why being a leader is better than being liked:


  1. Because being liked doesn’t always create social change:

There is a lot for us to shift in the world and it won’t get done worrying about winning a popularity contest. When we prioritize being liked over roles in leadership, we let the opportunity slip by to make a palpable difference in our communities and in the lives of the people we care about most.


  1. Because the world needs more women leaders:

Women are drastically underrepresented in leadership roles, (and we need to change that – stat!) Women make up roughly 15% of executive officers and about 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs. We all have the power to change that by encouraging women we know to step forward for leadership positions and to be bold enough ourselves to step forward and lead!


  1. Because your voice needs to be heard:

Now more than ever we need to cultivate leaders who can share their courageous visions with compassion and connection. Who better than you? If we want to combat some of the vitriol and hate that we see in our world – let’s start by raising our voices. Playing small in the world doesn’t help anyone. You have strengths and incredible power. Don’t let them go to waste! The time to speak up is now.


Women Inspiring Women

I’m spotlighting my SHEROES in honor of Women’s History Month to celebrate the wonderful people we know in real life, and make them the true celebrities!


Erin Loos Cutraro is the Co-founder and CEO of She Should Run — an organization inspiring more women to consider running for public office.


I asked Erin: In this last year, what has represented the biggest step forward for women in our country?


Here’s what she said:

It’s increasingly likely that this year we’ll have a woman as a major party nominee for President of the United States for the first time in US history.

And by showing that no path is off limits for women, we inspire more women and girls to envision themselves making a difference by stepping up to lead.


The Power of Your Voice

I’m spotlighting my SHEROES in honor of Women’s History Month to celebrate the wonderful people we know in real life, and make them the true celebrities!


I asked Denene Millner — New York Times best-selling author and national parenting expert: Why is it important for women to create and produce their own work? What is your vision for your imprint?


Here’s what she said:


We women have such incredible voice — voice flavored with experiences that are all-at-once unique and interesting, intelligent and colorful. Beautiful. Necessary. When we lean into that voice, when we show that perspective in our art, we touch and teach — show that there is great value in diversity of thought. Great value in being exactly who we are, without apology. What’s the use in trying to fit the grandness of us into a sliver of what a patriarchal society thinks is appropriate and right? We should have absolutely no interest in playing ourselves small. When we create, produce and tell our own stories, we harvest truth. Creating and producing our own work, then, is about the pursuit of truth. Our truth. It gives us wings.


This is certainly the impetus behind why I founded Denene Millner Books, my children’s book imprint. I want children of all races and cultures to crack open these books and see the humanity of African American children — to understand that their stories are so much more colorful and interesting and beautiful and normal than those narratives that consistently find their way into our spaces. Black children — and, by extension, our families — are largely ignored in the children’s book space, and in mainstream media, they are made to be either pariahs or victims. My intent is to give us the proper airing we deserve. These books will be a love letter to the beauty and humanity of us.


6 Ways To Become Your Own Best Friend

True friendships offer a wonderful reflection of ideal self-care — you have someone by your side that treats you in a way you often don’t treat yourself — with reverence, respect, and the right dose of silly.


Wouldn’t it be incredible to show ourselves that same type of love?


Is it possible to see ourselves through fresher, kinder eyes and ditch the critical in favor of the compassionate? I think so.


Here are six ways to become your own best friend:


1. Take time for TLC. When we get busy, we drop off our own to-do lists. We stop taking care of crucial things like rest, nutrition, and soulful exchange. Don’t skimp on the self-love, instead make a date with nurturing yourself like you would schedule a catch up with a friend. It’s that important.


2. Feel everything. One of the best parts of friendship is that you have someone who validates everything you feel (yep, even the crazy stuff). So remember to do the same and allow yourself to feel a full range of feelings. Put away the judgment and trust that your emotions are healthy, and even the painful feelings will eventually pass.


3. Ask: “Do you need help with anything?” How many times have you said that to a friend?! Check in and ask yourself the same thing and then seek out the people who can help you. One of the bravest acts of self-love we can practice is knowing when to ask for assistance.


4. Learn to trust yourself. The trust within friendships is built over time through experience, the same can be said of trusting ourselves. Learn to root for you. Learn to believe that you have what it takes to be loyal, loving, and kind to yourself. Building that self-trust will guide you through decisions and dilemmas with confidence.


5. Celebrate victories. We LOVE to celebrate our friends when they have moments of success. So make sure you do the same for yourself! Acknowledging what is worth celebrating in your life is not only healthy my necessary. It builds up a reservoir of good experiences to enjoy. And life is sweeter when we can enjoy those moments with the people we love.


6. Continue to Learn About Yourself. All friendships grow stronger as we learn more about the other person. That is the foundational element of real friendship — a growing together through things. While getting to know our friends deeply can highlight some of the not-so-great aspects of them, we choose to appreciate them for all of the brilliant ways they add to our lives, instead of honing in their imperfections. In learning about yourself, focus on celebrating who you are, rather than bemoaning who you aren’t.


How Inspirational Women Shape Our Lives

This March, I’m spotlighting my SHEROES in honor of Women’s History Month! Let’s celebrate the wonderful people we know in real life, and make them the true celebrities!


I asked Julie Ann Crommett – force for change and Google’s Program Manager for Computer Science Education in Media: Who is the most inspirational woman in your life?


Here’s what she said:


Without a doubt, it is my namesake. Both my mother and abuela (“Abuita”). I am named after both of them and am a combo of their biggest personality traits.


My abuita Julie left Cuba with my abuelo, mom and godfather with only the clothes on their backs and what they could carry in some duffle bags. By the time she was my age, she had left her home country, moved multiple times with two kids, resettled in a new country and was holding down a steady job. That kind of courage and grace is at once astounding and inspiring.


At almost 82 years young, she is still going as President of the Southeast Regional Catholic Women’s Association where she is driving a campaign to stop human trafficking locally. She has modeled to me resilience, maintaining faith and hope at the center of one’s life and to believe that anything is possible no matter your age, circumstance or set-backs.


My mother, Ana, is a remarkable woman. Coming of age during the feminist movement, she attended Tufts undergrad and Harvard Graduate School of Education and has single handedly changed the lives of thousands of children as a tireless teacher, school principal and educational strategist. For her, the kids come first and that those who can not speak for themselves always need champions.


I watch her in awe as she’s reinvented the second half of her life learning non-profit management, working in corporate America and marking new paths to make a difference including working jointly with my abuela to stop human trafficking. It is from her that I learned my voice mattered, to never quiet down even when others demand, to follow my biggest dreams, that empathy is the key and that teaching / serving others is the greatest reward.


How To Be Confident Without Being Arrogant

One common question I’m asked: How can I be confident without being arrogant?


I love this question. I usually tell people it’s OK to know your own strengths (even more OK to own them!) And it doesn’t help anyone when we deflect compliments and play small in the world.


But it makes sense that human nature is to feel a desire to be liked. To be loved. To be admired. And we sometimes worry that if we’re too confident that might push someone away.


The truth is, true confidence doesn’t have to be bragged about. The real different between confidence and arrogance is all about the intention behind it. Confident people live their lives – confidently. They don’t need to “in your face it” with dropping names, putting others down or overly boasting about anything. Confident people live it because they feel it. They don’t need to prove it.


I find bragging (and trust me, I’ve done my fair share) comes from when we feel insecure, uncertain and unworthy. So check your intention next time you think you may be spouting off too much of your own awesomeness. And know that your confidence isn’t just heard but seen, felt, and witnessed. Just by being you.


Still not sure if you have confidence or arrogance? Think about:


  • Confidence is built on self-discovery. It comes from knowing and accepting yourself and your strengths – and owning those strengths. It takes time and effort to foster and build.
  • Arrogance is a reactionary feeling. In fact, it’s the opposite of confidence – it’s a method to prove yourself rather than accept and love yourself.
  • Being confident is being comfortable with who you are. You don’t have to put anyone else down to feel good. So if you are trying to – odds are you aren’t feeling true confidence.
  • Share!

    5 Books That Will Inspire You

    For me, reading is an essential outlet for my inspiration. I feel like a great book has the power to uncover our most buried emotions and awaken a new delicious curiosity.

    Here are 5 books that give insight into inspiration, education, and motivation in my life. Enjoy!

    daringgreatly-199x3001. Daring Greatly
    by Brene Brown

    Who doesn’t love Brene?? (Insert Oprah voice here).

    She has the uncanny ability to make you excited about embracing imperfection and uncertainty (I mean, come on!) But I’m also lucky to call her a friend – so do yourself a favor — dive into her love, humor and smart advice right away!






    Masterminds_and_Wingmen_jacket_image-768x11672. Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World
    by Rosalind Wiseman

    Rosalind is the mastermind behind Queen Bees and Wannabes (which ultimately became the movie “Mean Girls”), and now she tackles the boy world with Masterminds & Wingmen which explores how bullying, social stigmas and power struggles shape our boys emotionally. A must read for parents and educators!




    big-magic-book3. Big Magic
    by Elizabeth Gilbert

    I’m in love with Elizabeth Gilbert. And her work. Totally, madly, obsessively in love. Her words and thoughts hit me in the heart and make me go, “MMMM YAAASSS” out loud! This book helped me also develop a really sexy relationship with my creativity – so I highly recommend!







    97812500789574.  I wonder: Celebrating Daddies Doin’ Work
    by Doyin Richards

    Doyin hits on the question every dad asks himself: “I wonder if I’m doing a good job.” And my answer to Doyin after reading this book is: YES! I love his persistent optimism and his wonderful and refreshing celebration of fatherhood. A must read and share!




    imgres5.  Poems From the Pond by Peggy Freydberg, edited by Laurie David

    I’ve already written a post about how Peggy (who started writing poetry at age 90, btw!) has become my muse. Her brilliant collection of poems brought every emotion I have to the surface and gave me new perspective on how we view life’s progression. Even if you think you don’t like poetry, I promise – you will not put this book down.




    Ending Toxic Friendships

    You may have heard me talk about your “esteem team” before.


    I think it’s important to know very specifically who has your back at all times.


    The one you ugly cry with.


    The ones who see you at your worst and know you at your best.


    The one you call to the move the body.


    Consider it my new definition of #squad goals – but you really only need one special person on your esteem team.


    And I can’t emphasize enough how important it is on your journey to self-discovery. It’s been a crucial component on my own path, too.


    So how do you know who’s on your team?


    Your “esteem team” are the ones who allow you to grow, and who encourage it, actually.


    But we may not always be surrounded by those people.


    Especially when we’re younger, it can feel like having a bunch of friends is important. But the truth is – especially when it comes to friendship – quality goes much further than quantity.


    Sometimes when we realize we are friends with people who are stumping our growth it’s hard to think about letting them go.


    But trust me when I tell you – and you can borrow my 15 years of hard friendship lessons learned – you need to say goodbye to someone who can’t stand fully by your side.


    How do you know when you’re in a toxic friendship?


    Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:


    When you are with this person do you feel more empowered or more discouraged?


    Are your thoughts and ideas valued and listened to?


    Do you feel comfortable being yourself around this person?


    If you can’t be your true, authentic self when you’re with this friend, it may be time to have a conversation about this. I know – it’s scary, but a true friend can handle a moment of discomfort and honesty. It can be awkward but real friendships survive.


    What happens if you have that convo and nothing changes?


    Maybe it’s time to move on.


    So now what?


    Ending a toxic friendship doesn’t have to be dramatic. We can start by making a conscious effort to limit the amount of time we spend with that person. We can focus on the friends who ARE positive and gravitate toward them.


    But it doesn’t end there. It’s also important to take a look inside yourself in the process, and ask:


    Why am I continually choosing friends like this?


    How can I prevent this from happening again?


    When we want to make a change in our lives, we have to take initiative.


    There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re capable of it. We all are.


    We have to make sure we’re learning from our experiences. When you go through difficult patches, remember to think about what you can take away from them. How can it help you better yourself? How can it help you get back on track to where you want to be?


    It isn’t always easy, but it IS possible and worth it!