Saturday, October 13, 2018

Tejas y Nopales #JamesAvery

::Momma Disclosure:: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with James Avery, all opinions expressed are my own. 

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, I am getting the opportunity to write a little about my background and heritage. Thanks to the beautiful sterling silver charms at James Avery I am able to fully express who I am and where I am from.

I'm a little bit Texan and a little nopaluda. In between Tejano music and Banda. I know English but think in Spanish (super true). I love carne asada and I can eat Whataburger and pizza every day. I love Novelas and watch This is Us. It's like the scene from Selena (Yes, I went there.) "Being a Mexican-American is exhausting." You have to live in two very different worlds and somehow merge them very gracefully. 

My parents were born and raised in Mexico. In the 80's they came to Texas, Brenham/Navasota area to be exact. I was born and then we moved to Houston, when I was in the 7th grade we moved down to South Texas, or what is known as the Rio Grande Valley. My identity since I was born has been both Texan and Mexican. Mexican-American. I was taught to speak, think and feel in Spanish before I even learned English. Being Bilingual is also a big part of my identity.

My love for both sides of the border has always existed. Over the years it's grown. I will admit being a young Mexican-American in the US, was not easy in the sense that I was always so embarrassed to bring my non-Mexican friends around. My parents (and whole entire family) were "super Mexican" whatever that means, right? Now in my 30's and with kids of my own, I find myself missing my parents home and all of our food, family, traditions, and way of life. I do everything possible to not only continuously embrace my heritage and culture but also further learn about it and teach it to my children.

Growing up I had the opportunity to visit and travel to Mexico quite often with my parents and sometimes spent months there over the Summer. As an adult, I have also traveled to certain regions of Mexico. The absolute richness of its culture, its food, the heart and passion that Mexico has to survive is something that I hope to one day share with my children. Right now Mexico is a distant place for them but they know exactly where their GrandParents were born and how great being Mexican can be. I have always strived to teach them about both our Texas/American culture and way of life as well as that of being Mexican. I think they understand it well. Of course, they see and know the Texas side a lot more but when they get older I hope to take them to Mexico where they can experience it all first hand.

In the meantime, I love being able to continuously express who I am through the beautiful and customizable accessories that James Avery creates. There are so many pieces that I know I need and am obsessed with. 

Visit their page for more: James Avery 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

::Supporting Local Moms:: #InspiredSeries

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I often find myself connecting, networking, stalking (in a very non-creepy way) local mom groups or women’s groups in general. I love forming relationships with these women because well, that’s kind of what I do. A few months ago, I connected with Amanda of the West University Moms Network and a few weeks ago I discovered a similar group closer to where I live, the Katy Moms Network so naturally I asked Amanda to introduce me to them and well now here we are. I was featured on their page and since they are pretty badass women I decided that to feature them here would be perfect!  Meet Audrey & Natalie as they share with us how they met and are building a community for local momma’s. 

Hey y’all! 

We are Audrey & Natalie from Katy Moms Network! We were brought together by motherhood two years ago when we moved across the street from each other and quickly became best friends. We’ve got four amazing kiddos between the two of us, and our sweet, supportive husbands. And they’re all best friends, too! Our oldest, both daughters, are four months apart, and our youngest, both boys, are four months apart! Natalie not-so-secretly fantasizes about getting pregnant with Audrey again at the same time and hopes their husbands aren’t reading this! 

Audrey is a Katy native and after moving around Texas for a few years, made her way back to this amazing community to raise her family. Natalie’s an Oklahoma girl who lived in the Northeast for five years before coming home to the great state of Texas in 2015!

We launched Katy Moms Network, an online platform for moms, in early June and have been blown away by the early support! We’ve also started getting out in the community to connect with moms outside phone and computer screens, and that’s been super rewarding. We hosted a Toddler Time event at a local Chick-fil-A recently and were approached by two separate moms who said they hadn’t had the best luck with getting to know other moms in the community, but thanked us for being open, inviting, welcoming and warm. We looked at each other and said if we do nothing else...if all we do is THAT...then we’re happy. We have big dreams for this community and it’s been so fun getting to connect with so many already.

The wheels started turning for Katy Moms Network in the early Spring of 2018, after recognizing a need in the community. What if we could create an online community where local moms could go for resources and information, while also being a source of inspiration, community and togetherness, and support. 

We’re also deeply passionate about motherhood. The journey of motherhood is something that overtook us in a way that we never knew possible. It’s this life-changing, earth-shattering moment when you become a mom, and a deep, indescribable love you never knew you could feel. But motherhood also comes with really hard, hard stuff. It’s a role we hoped we’d always play, but didn’t know just how much it would transform our hearts. Motherhood: something we were designed and made to do and something literally billions of women do across the globe, but also something so intricate that every woman has their own unique, beautiful experience and journey with. 

Most of us all follow some larger scale mom community online. The ‘I Mom So Hard’ and ‘Cat & Nat’s of the World, along with awesome blogs like Motherly and Scary Mommy. Tons of amazing platforms that bring togetherness, acceptance, and support back to motherhood. But there’s nothing like that on a hyper-local scale that we’ve ever been able to connect with on a meaningful level. We wanted to create a space where we can go to feel supported, inspired, accepted, normal, and all feel a true sense of community. A place where you feel understood by the moms who literally live next door, who are doing this all right along with you. A place where you can get all the information you need- best doctors, best places for dinner with kids, and what the heck to do in this town with those tiny humans! All this in one place, curated for you. So we created it! And Katy Moms Network was born.

What you’ll find on our site and our social media channels is a resource-rich website with local activities and events, as well as original, unique content. Our content will aim to inform, support, inspire, uplift, educate, and hopefully even make you laugh. Or maybe we can make a day where you felt guilty for yelling at your dang kids all day feel okay and normal because hey, we probably did it too. Because behind this website are just two Katy moms, just like you. We’ll aim to continually evolve this space, so it becomes your go-to resource in Katy, TX. We’ve also had so much fun adding the Monday Meet A Mom Feature, as well as Small Business Saturday, as a way to highlight mamas kicking ass and businesses that inspire us. Katy’s a pretty special place and we feel lucky we get to raise a family here. The moms we’ve met over the last few years in Katy have been instrumental in our lives and we’ve built friendships that will last a lifetime- not only for us moms but for our kiddos.

We like to think the best way to do this whole mom thing is with each other- a community of strong, kind, supportive mamas. They say it takes a village and we couldn’t agree more. Our best advice for any mother is to find your people. And if you don’t have your people yet, let us be your people. We would love to be in your village!


Thursday, July 26, 2018

::Created for More:: Turning 37 with #MyJaSummerStyle

::Momma Disclosure:: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with James Avery, all opinions expressed are my own. 

I turned 37 last month. And, in celebration of my birthday and my partnership with James Avery, I’m taking some time to reflect on this new year of life... and the opportunities it will bring to improve and grow. No need to be sad or feel regret, life is about living and learning and growing older...and hopefully wiser. 

There are so many lessons that I’ve learned over the years. Good, bad. Sometimes sad, life-changing and traumatic. So many experiences and people who have helped me and supported me along the way. Most importantly my family. And, in 37 years all I can say and think of is... I was created for more. More than just being a wife or Momma or even a professional.

Along the way, I’ve made many mistakes. Encountered so many problems and obstacles. Been faced with many issues. Some of which I’ve come out victorious and some of which I’ve failed at. I'm human. Not perfect. I say that all the time. I have many faults and make mistakes. Not everyone likes me. I’ve learned to live with this. Such is life

And, even though some days are tough and my confidence dwindles or I feel unworthy... there are always those moments, those people and certain words that remind me that I truly was created for more. If there is anything I’ve learned is that to make an impact you don’t have to be the smartest, the prettiest or even the most perfect. You just have to be human and care about others.

I am loving my partnership with James Avery and their customizable pieces which constantly remind me of my purpose and that I was created for more! I know that in order to achieve this I, at times, need to slow down, take a deep breath and be reminded of what my true purpose is and how I will achieve my goals.

Year 37, I’ve embraced you and I’m ready for the road that lies ahead. I don't know what it will bring but so far life has not let me down...

No matter what is going on around me, I am choosing to re-think, re-evaluate and re-do those things I know I can do better.

What about you, how are you embracing your purpose and what you were created for? James Avery can help you express this through all of the perfect and uniquely crafted items.

::GIVEAWAY:: Do you want to win a James Avery gift card? You still have until July 30 to enter to win! Post your favorite way to wear their jewelry and use the hashtag #myjasummerstyle 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Beautiful Purpose :: Social Share:: Work/Life Balance

This past weekend I partnered with Danelia who just created a new project called Beautiful Purpose. Her events are called Social Shares and it can best be described as interactive sharing of personal experiences with women who have similar lifestyles, or not. Women from all walks of life joined us and from various age groups and backgrounds. We talked about work-life balance, and what that means and looks like for each of us as individuals. We discussed our most recent struggles with achieving this "balance" without losing our identity as women, as momma's, as wives, as entrepreneurs and just as who we strive to be. 

As someone who suffered early on from depression and anxiety and ultimately had to quit my job due to a massive panic attack. I shared about those things and what I have learned along the way. Here are some of the top lessons that my past situations and emotional hardships have taught me. 

My personal key lessons as a working momma of dos with high anxiety and depression complications:  

It's OK, to be an “OKAY" Mom. –  You don’t have to win at everything. Being average is OK. As someone who has always needed approval from others to proceed in life, being average was not a good idea or a concept I could grasp. I was absolutely overcompensating for something else that happened to me in my childhood, most likely with my parents. Now that I am a Momma knowing that my kids love me more than life on my best days the same as they do on my shit days, is so life-changing. In their eyes, I am not just OK, I’m amazing. So, if being OK for them is ok, then, I AM OKAY with that… I am really. It’s taken time to get here so it’s easier said than done to not care what anyone else will think if I am not perfect. But I no longer care about those judgmental (more times than not my own judgment) moments. 
You don’t have to win at everything.
It’s ok to say NO. - We can't do it all. Sure, we can try, I have tried for many years but the burnout is real and my family needs me to be at 100% to get things done.  FOMO. The fear of missing out was real. Truth is, you won’t be missing out on anything. Being ok with not being everywhere is very important. Saying NO, to those things that are just fill up my calendar and have no real meaning or benefit for my family, or purpose; are no longer a priority for me. I realized that what’s truly important is ME, who I am and what I want. My kids, their well-being and being able to provide for them. And, simply being there for my immediate family, mostly for my husband, and my kids.  So saying NO to things that don’t serve those people closest to me or my purpose are no longer on my to-do list. And, that is so freeing. 
You can try to do it all but you will over exhaust yourself.
Don’t forget about YOU! - We do SO much for everyone else it’s so important for yourself to be happy, to be fulfilled and to want to do for others. But first, you have to do MORE for yourself. If you aren’t happy then those around you will also suffer. As a Mexican-American momma, I learned from women like my mom and my aunts and grandmothers, that we do for everyone else regardless of how we feel. This is for sure a cultural cycle, that I decided years ago I could not continue to allow. The moment I decided that my needs, wants and passion comes first I realized that it's the best life I can live. So in 2013 I regained my sense of self and purpose and decided that while I love my children and husband, I would always work hard to be the best ME. To do more for me and never look back. Do I have momma guilt? Eh. Not anymore. (MAYBE) every once in awhile but once I realize how much certain things mean to me and how happy they make me I get over it. It does take time to get to this place and it's a very energizing experience. 

Cause it's true if Momma ain't happy....ain't nobody gonna be happy! #sorrynotsorry 

Refocus, reprioritize and move forward. - Have I had a perfect, happy, me-filled life for the last 4 years? No, not always or ever. But, when I notice that I am not doing enough for me and that I am getting lost in what everyone else wants, I tend to back away from it all again, hit reboot and start over. I know the feeling of hitting rock bottom, why would I want to be in that place again of unhappiness and bitterness. Where I am my own lowest priority and my focus is on the outside world. That is no way to live. The best way to regain this focus is by joining women at events like the one we had on Sunday. Where like-minded women who are willing and ready to invest in themselves are and who can help you realize that you need to get back on track. 

In all, I have learned that my happiness matters just as much as everyone else's.  It's sometimes hard for us to see things but you don't want to be in a bad situation trying to find your way out. It's always better to be preventative with your self-care and self-love! 

Trust me, you will love yourself for it! 

To learn more about Beautiful Purpose with Danelia
please follow her social media and 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Staying Positive in a Negative World :: Guest Blogger from Houston Latina Bloggers::


Staying Positive in a Negative World by Erica Martinez

I am a mother of three beautiful children. Every day I see more and more negativity take place in the world around us. Growing up I remember as a kid I just worried about my favorite cartoons that I was going to watch on Saturday afternoon and staying up a little late because it was the weekend. These days our children go through so many more advanced issues that we never even had to deal with until adults. 

With technology becoming and being such a huge part of our everyday lives, it is important to keep a positive outlook on the world around us. Who we associate with and what we allow into our space has a great impact on how we handle everyday issues. 

Let’s be real…staying positive can definitely be a true task for some of us when so much negativity is surrounding us on a daily basis. Whether it is an unhappy customer, family issues, illness or death, a failed relationship, we all can relate to having some type of negativity we deal with daily. We hear of so many sad stories and real-life events that take an emotional toll on us and sometimes staying positive can be very hard.  

Let’s look at some ideas on how to stay on that positive vibe:

Keep positive friends around!
Keeping friends who are upbeat and positive will keep your mind focused. You will be able to have your own circle of greatness and positivity surrounding you to help you stay in the right mindset. Don’t ever underestimate a good girl’s night out- whether that is a movie night and popcorn or a dinner at your local favorite diner. Keeping good vibes around is the best thing in town!

Find your happy place!
Do you have that favorite spot you just like to be when things get out of control? That is what I call your “Happy Place.” It’s a place that helps you unwind and relax when things are just a bit too much! Keeping a happy place is one of the best assets to keeping negativity out of your mind and heart. 

Make time for you!
I know this one is always hard for me. Being a mom to three children and running so many projects, my main priority is always taking care of everyone else. Yes, of course, we still need to do our motherly duties, but I think we forget that we are important too! Take time for yourself. Take a nice relaxing bath, go to the movies, shop a little. (In moderation of course! Then we will be worried about what we bought!) We need to always understand we matter too!

Cut out Negativity
This is also a bad habit to break because it pertains to so many things. This could be eliminating negative people, gossip, and just anything that is not released into this world in a positive way. I know lately, turning on the television brings instant negativity. I’m not sure why we can’t hear about all the good things that happen in and around Houston? But, it does seem that we only hear about the bad things happening which can have a huge negative impact. I personally stop watching the news. It was just a bit much for me and it has helped. Figure out where your negativity is in your life and release it! Believe me, you will feel so much better when you do!

Staying positive can help you feel great and express greatness in the world. Smiling at those around you, showing kindness to those around you and encouraging and sharing the positive vibes will make impacts on everyone you meet. Bringing kindness and positivity into the world begins in our home. I make it a point to show my children to be kind and treat those around us with respect. It all begins with you and you can make that change in the world.

My name is Erica Martinez. I am a mother to two children and one future stepson... so really 3 beautiful children. I am a writer and event planner. I own my own company Socially Elevated. I love making new friends and being a part of a group of strong women!
IG: @tx_southerngirl 

affiliate link for Momma of Dos-  TARGET

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

::Four Tips on How to Pick A Therapist Now That You’re Ready for Therapy:: Guest Blogger- Eliza Boquin, MA, LMFT


As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to an end, you’ve probably heard about the importance of therapy many times by now.  Now you’re finally convinced that therapy isn’t restricted to people living with a major mental illness and realize you don’t have got be in crisis to go to therapy.  

Yay, you!

The problem is you don’t know where to start on finding a therapist.

No problem!  

Here are Four Tips on How to Pick A Therapist Now That You’re Ready for Therapy:

1) Ask for a Referral from People You Know:  Don’t be afraid to ask people you know if they can recommend a trusted therapist.  Most people are eager to share a referral of services they love.  Therapy is no different.  Ask them what they like about the therapist; why they chose them; what they gained from therapy with them.

2)  Ask for a Referral from a Physician:  Medical professionals often have a network of referral sources, including therapists to whom they refer clients.  If the reason you’re seeking therapy is related a medical issue, you can also sign off medical consent for your physician to collaborate your care with your therapist.  Addressing both medical & mental health issues is key to getting the most out of your therapy process.

3) Use an Online Therapist Directory: If you rather find a therapist on your own then hop online.  There are several online directories, including which specializes in listing culturally competent therapists, that you can search by your location to find a therapist near you.  Most of these websites will include a link to the therapist contact info.  This is a great way to review several of your options at once.

4)  Call the Therapist: Now that you have a referral, maybe even a few referrals, reach out to the therapist.  Call them and tell them you’re interested in going to therapy but first, you want to find out a bit more about their service.  Some therapists, such as myself, offer free phone consultations.  These consultations are the perfect opportunity to give the therapist a general overview of what’s bringing you to therapy (remember, this won’t be a therapy session) and asking them a bit more about their practice.  This also allows you to get a feel for the therapist’s personality on the phone.  Finding a therapist that you feel is a good fit for you is essential to the therapy process, so if the vibe feels off, don’t be afraid to keep looking.

The process of finding a therapist can be overwhelming, especially, if you’re eager to start on the path towards healing.  Stay encouraged and remember, there is strength in seeking support.  Use the tips listed above and commit to the process.  

Remember, therapy works if you work the therapy! 

Your Favorite Therapist,

Eliza Boquin, MA, LMFT

As a Licensed Psychotherapist, Relationship & Sexuality Expert, and Owner & Founder of The Relationship & Sexual Wellness Center, Eliza Boquin works with couples and individuals to overcome any traumas, pain, or destructive patterns that keep them from enjoying healthy, satisfying, and pleasure-filled lives.  By working with clients in her office, online, and in workshops Eliza helps people gain the skills necessary to get closer to their life and relationship goals.  She is also the co-founder of Melanin & Mental Health, an organization committed to spreading mental health awareness in Black & Latinx communities.

She believes that pleasure is our birthright and shame is one of the greatest blocks to enjoying healthy, balanced lives. Eliza's journey of finding healing through self-compassion drives her to help others heal from shame. 

Topics of discussion she frequently comments on include: Unapologetic Self-Care, Therapy Stigma in Minority Communities, and Mutually Satisfying Healthy Relationships.  Her advice has also appeared in Bustle, ThriveWorks, Good Therapy, Stylecaster, Fatherly, Business Insider, and various local radio stations in Houston, TX including Amazing 102.5.

Download Your FREE Self-Care Reset Guide:

Sunday, May 13, 2018

:: Faith and Motherhood:: with James Avery #MyJamesAvery

::Momma Disclosure:: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with James Avery, all opinions are my own. 

In September 2009, I had my Son, Santiago and 10 1/2 months later in July of 2010, I found out I was pregnant again this time with a Daughter, Camila. By March of 2011, I unexpectedly became a Momma of Dos. Being a mother isn't always an easy title to take on. I have had some very trying moments in the last almost 9 years but there is one thing I always find comfort in, my faith. Having faith that my direction as a mother is right, not always perfect or at all what I expected, but just right for me.  Along the way, I have learned many lessons of self-love as a Momma, patience and unconditional love towards my children. Not everyone walks the same journey into motherhood, it's easier for some more than others. Regardless of all the struggles, I wouldn't change the experience for the world. 

While motherhood isn't always an easy journey, it's a rewarding one. When I was asked to select two charms from James Avery Mother's Day collection, the first two that stood out to me were that of the Virgen de Guadalupe who has always been one of the biggest signs of faith in my life. I grew up Catholic and visiting many shrines in Mexico. La Virgen was always one of the saints that I prayed to the most, and still do. Her story of love and compassion towards a poor Mexican Campesino is one that always touches my heart so much. And the second charm was the Motherhood charm, which reminds me of the path I have been placed. One of great responsibility and love toward two tiny human beings. It reminds me of how much I should protect my children daily and remind them of how much I will always love them. 

I love James Avery current promotional offer where you can purchase two charms and receive a free bracelet, (or necklace up to a $70.00 value) This offer ends on May 29th so you can select to buy that special Mom in your life a new set of charms and necklace or maybe your favorite graduate a bracelet with some commemorative charms of their achievements since May is also graduation season!  

I love their jewelry because it's so versatile and I can wear it with any of my outfits which even for special occasions are usually very casual. Seen below is my new bracelet with my charms, which I was able to just clasp on and can change out whenever I want since my bracelet has an open clasp to hook the charms onto! 

Visit your nearest James Avery location and find out more about the offer details::HERE::  

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Protect the ones you love By Ariana Montelongo

When Tragedy Strikes

February marks the month that my life would forever change. On February 24, 2012, I received THE call. That dreaded unexpected call. My best friend Alex was fatally injured in a car accident while driving across the state to come home and console his grieving wife (and my other best friend, Maria) who had just buried her dad. Maria wasn’t over the initial shock of losing her father and now she faced the harsh reality of losing her husband, father to their five children, and grandfather of two. Their lives forever changed. The worst was yet to come.

One year and nine months later Maria was killed in a car accident while driving home from work. How could this happen? Why did this happen? So many questions left unanswered yet so many responsibilities overwhelming the children at this tragic time in their lives.

We may never know why these things happen to the people we love. What we do know is that we have two options: hide behind the mask of denial or arrive at acceptance. Live life on life’s terms. Plan for the best and prepare for the worst. 

Six years have passed since the loss of both my best friends. Four of those years I spent living in denial, full of resentments, refusing to face reality. Then, on the third anniversary of Maria’s passing something changed. I shifted my focus to solution-based living and have since embarked on a quest to bring education and resources to families so that they can protect their legacy. 

Protecting your family against all odds

Here are five areas where you and your family may be unprotected and the solutions to get your house in order:

  1. Will & Testament: Also called a Will. Is a document that describes how a person’s debts are to be paid and assets distributed at his or her death; it names a guardian for minor children, and names an executor or personal representative to oversee the settlement of the estate.
  2. Living Trust: Also called a Revocable Trust, is a trust that is often used to avoid probate. This type of trust can be changed or revoked at any time (and from time to time) during the lifetime of the person (called the settlor or the grantor) who set it up.
  3. Power of Attorney: Is a document which names and authorizes a person(s) to make financial decisions and/or transactions for another person (called the principal).
  4. Living Will Declaration: Also called an Advance Directive, is a document that instructs your physicians and loved ones as to your intentions relative to life support (i.e., artificial nutrition, hydration, and respiration), in the event that you are permanently unconscious or have a terminal condition.
  5. Healthcare Surrogate Designation: Also called a Health Care Power of Attorney, is a document naming a person to make health care decisions for another person (called the principal) when the principal is no longer able to do so.
  6. HIPAA Authorization: “HIPAA” is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a federal law that protects a person’s private medical and mental health information. A HIPAA Authorization is a document that designates a person(s) who may receive another person’s private medical and mental health information.

If you don’t have these documents in order and you think you do not have a plan, think again. It’s likely that the state where you reside has a plan for you. You could run the risk of the state taking temporary or permanent possession of your assets and most valued possession – your children. 

For a nominal cost, you can protect your family and your hard-earned money by visiting: 

About Ariana Montelongo:

Ariana is a public speaking maven whose titles include Realtor, Director of the Katy Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and WealthWave Financial Advisor. She graduated with a Public Relations and Global Business degree from the University of Houston and has been in the media industry for over ten years. She enjoys empowerment sessions,  networking and educating women on financial freedom.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

::5 Ways to overcome a Challenge:: #WednesdayWisdom

I recently became aware that my coping skills are great, except when I'm under true pressure and stress, go figure! Challenges come in many forms; you can be overworked, having too much on your plate, dealing with difficult people, and really just about anything in life can become a challenge.  If you read about my mental breakdown in 2012 here, then you know how well I handled stress then. I've thankfully grown so much since then; mentally, physically, emotionally. And, I am now able to walk myself back into a good place.

Creating these strengths within myself has been vital to my overall success. 

Some of the best ways that I have learned to deal with it are as follows:

1) Talk it out- Like a really raw and serious talk with someone who will be REAL and RAW. For me, that person is my Husband. He tells me the things, I don't want to hear. And, we all need that one person. Who isn't going to tell you that, it's all going to be OK. Because sometimes, it's not going to be okay, and that is also OK. If that makes sense. (Bear with me here.) But, you want to have that one person who you can truly express your frustration too and will help you talk it out so that you can think of a solution. Sometimes, that person is a therapist. And, that is OK too.

I have had the ability to get therapy and it was truly freeing and very helpful! 

2) Have a moment (melt-down if you will)- the release is needed. A good friend told me a long time ago, "Connie, I'm going to let you have your pity party, but then I'm going to need you to put your big girl panties back on and get over it."  It's been the best most memorable pep-talk of my life. One, it came from a very loving place. She meant well and I knew it. She was allowing me to "have my moment" but then giving me the motivation to realize, I could get past it. Sometimes, it's ok to have that moment but don't give up. Keep pushing forward and you will see that it's so worth it.

Also, a rule of thumb. I have my meltdowns, alone, in a quiet place where I can truly reflect. 

3) Don't be a Victim- Accept that you too have faults and are allowing these things get to you. There is nothing worse than denial. And, don't get me wrong. I have been there. I pretend that everyone else has issues and I'm the victim they prey on. Nope. A lot of times I am my own issue. Whatever it is, I have been there. We all have faults. Instead of focusing on a "woe me mentality" push forward and think about the solutions and positive. It's often hard to see these when we are in the middle of something bad but trust me, steps 1 and 2 are a huge help.

Don't be a victim, be victorious! 

4) Care but not too much- I hate this advice. Because I am a person or was one, who cared so much all the time about what people thought about me or if I was playing nice. Well. (and, it's easier said than done.) Try not to care so much. Care enough that you know hard times can come, bad things happen and you will make it through. But, don't dwell on the feeling so much that it consumes you. As an overthinker, thoughts, and what-ifs slowly eat at my soul. I know I'm weird. But, it's true. Over time I have learned not to allow this to hinder my existence or to slow my progress. You should never allow emotions of what others could think of you, overwhelm you this much. Don't get me wrong, it happens, but push past it anyway!

Push through the emotion... 

5) Move forward As that famed Ice Queen (and my 6-year-old daughter) would say, LET IT GO... LET IT GO..- The hardest part of getting pas hard times, for me, is letting it go. Not everything has a solution or endpoint. Not everything will. Knowing that sometimes words are left unspoken, through are held back and people change, is the key to moving forward. Being able to let things go and again not allowing them to dwell or sit in your mind or heart is very important. Very important. Let it go, more so for you than for the situation or person.

And, remember that you can and WILL overcome these challenges. You can do this Momma!

Remeber that troubles are temporary.... live in peace with yourself and who you are... 

Monday, January 8, 2018

::Motivational Monday:: Workout Goals with Bryanna G. for 2018

Some of the most inspiring women in my life are, no surprise, family. Bryanna and I are cousins. We didn't really see each other much when we were growing up but now as adults via Facebook, we've become reacquainted. Bryanna is such an inspiration, she is a fellow momma of dos, married and with a busy work life. It has been now that she found her motivation and her reason and she is pushing towards her best self. I love her story and hope you join her on this journey. 

Me wearing a maternity dress, Easter 2016, holding my 9-month old precious boy. “Before” pic.

The narrative below was written by Bryanna Gutierrez: 

It was just another evening in my hometown, Corpus Christi, Texas and I was headed into the shower, but my husband came home early! “Hi, Amor,” he said. My name is Bryanna, but we call each other “Amor.” I ran into my closet to hide.

I thought. What do I do now?

Wait until morning when he’s asleep? No..I never wake up that early…Should I undress here in the closet, wrap a towel around me & run for the bathroom? What if he walks INTO the bathroom? We have one of those stupid see-through, glass showers! My heart pounds when I think that he might see the mountain of fat that pushes out my navel, the two fat rolls below that, or the beyond-wrinkled, loose skin that looks like forgotten clothes at the bottom of a smashed bag.

Nine years married to a man that loves me no matter how I look, but here I am in my mid-30’s, wearing maternity clothes nine months after my second baby, trying to shower and change in secret. It hit me: This isn’t healthy! I shouldn’t be hiding in my own home! I’m pretty confident in others areas of life but I can’t take a shower without a mini, mental freakout? This has to stop.

Months after having my baby, a doctor said that surgery was the way to lose most of my fat, the 30 lbs left over from pregnancy. I didn’t want to do that. My motivation and goal became to get out of maternity clothes, without surgery, and no fear of the shower!

I went to my husband for help. He said he would help how he could, but reminded me that I had to follow through with my part, which was exercising and eating right. I realized there wasn’t much he could do for me besides cheering me on. He couldn’t exercise FOR me. He could cook something for me, but I had to eat it instead of going to eat with co-workers. I had to lose the excuses.

It was me. The most difficult part was accepting this. I had to take responsibility for myself and make the decision to be committed. I also realized that whatever I did would become “normal” to my daughter. When she’s older, do I want her feeling bad because she actually eats food? Do I want her skipping meals or turning to magic “diet” pills? No! For me, there has been no quote, book or movie that has enabled me to stay committed to my own decision and the desire to be my daughter’s example of true health. This became my new motivation, and keeps me going today!

My “after” pics, most recently completed  28-day challenge in August 2017.

I committed to exercising 3 times a week and saying no to eating out at lunch. I developed time-saving tricks for making homemade meals. I’m a busy mom of two and work full-time. My husband works days and evenings, so I need to save time where I can because it’s full-time mommy duty after work!

When a 21-day or 28-day challenge popped up, I participated! I did two in five months and lost 23 lbs! I maintained for 6 months before doing another 28-day challenge, losing another 5.5 lbs, totaling nearly 29 lbs overall! I’m ecstatic to say I don’t need maternity clothes! I’m stronger physically and mentally. I still have fat and loose, wrinkly skin, but NOTHING like before! In August 2017, I took my health to the next level by becoming a certified Ground Force Method INSTRUCTOR! And…I no longer fear the shower!

The best advice I have for you is to decide to be committed! Make a plan for eating better and exercising - either on your own or hire a coach - and STICK TO THE PLAN! You WILL succeed with consistency!

You ARE a strong mom!

Training at gym, summer 2017


How to contact Bryanna G.:
Facebook: @healthyBryannaG
Instagram: @_Bryanna_G  

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Rosca de Reyes with Arandas Bakery #DiadeReyesHouston

::Momma Disclosure:: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Arandas Bakery. However, all opinions expressed are my own. 

Some of my favorite memories are from when I was a child and spent Christmas in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. We loved going to all of the Posadas in December, spending Noche Buena and New Years at my GrandMother's house and just when we thought the season was over. We had a bonus holiday, Dia de Reyes. We would place our shoes under the Christmas tree or in front of the Nacimiento (nativity scene) and then on January 6th our shoe would be sitting on top of an extra gift depending on how big it was, from the 3 wise men. It was so magical. It's this type of tradition that I love passing on to my children. 

When I was asked to visit one of the original locations of Arandas bakery here in the heart of Northside Houston, where I grew up, I was more than happy to do it. I went behind the scenes with the location's manager, Johnathan who gave us a tour of how things happen on one of their busiest holiday's. You can see a full video on my Facebook page. The location works around the clock with 50 staff members, for almost 4 days to produce, hundreds, if not thousands of delicious roscas, or King's Cake. The dough is set overnight to rise and then baked for 45 minutes in their industrial ovens, cooled, then decorated with candies imported from Mexico and then inspected again. The roscas are then boxed and set out in the bakery for fresh purchase or delivered and picked up for external orders. The roscas go as far as Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  To be enjoyed by families who celebrate this day. 

The rosca has a secret though, plastic "baby Jesus" figures are hidden inside the bread and it's said that whoever finds the baby Jesus figurine is blessed. It is then that persons' responsibility to have a rosary or mass dedication on February 2 on el Día de la Candelaria. In the Mexican culture, this person then hosts a dinner and typically serves tamales and atole for the attendees. Arandas Bakery hides 3 figurines in their large roscas and 2 in the smaller one. And, by the way, those tamales can also be purchased at an Arandas Bakery location nearest to you.  

After we had the location tour, the Arandas team had a Dia de Reyes celebration at their Plaza Arandas location near Airline and Tidwell, where they gifted a large group of deserving children, with a gift from the Reyes Magos. It was great to see all the kids patiently waiting. The Reyes Magos showed up and the children lit up with joy.  You can see more on my Instagram and page. 

A little about Arandas: 
"Arandas Bakery comes from a strong, deep tradition of delicious and authentic Mexican pastries and desserts. Through the years we have used are traditional recipes that come from the depths of Mexico. Our name, Arandas, comes from the small town name of Arandas in the state of Jalisco, which is about 140 kilometers East of Guadalajara. This is where our family is from, and where our traditions began."
 Arandas Bakery #1 – Airline & Tidwell
5307 Airline
Houston Texas 77022 
Monday – Sunday  5:00am – 10:00pm
(713) 694-1813

Arandas Bakery #2 – Beechnut
8331-C Beechnut St.
Houston Texas 77036 
Monday – Sunday 6:00am – 10:00pm
(713) 771-3616

Arandas Bakery #3 – 45 Sur & College
9803 Gulf Fwy.
Houston Texas 77034 
Monday – Sunday 5:00am – 10:00pm
(713) 941-0100

Arandas Bakery #4 – 59 Norte & Aldine Mail Rd
11919 Eastex Frwy.
Houston Texas 77039 
Monday – Sunday 5:00am – 10:00pm
(281) 227 3600

Arandas Bakery #5 – Conroe
1906 N Frazier St 
Conroe, TX 77301
Monday -Sunday 5:30AM–9:30PM
(936) 760-6677