Momma of Dos

Monday, July 25, 2016

::Visiting the Valley~Summer Road-trips:: #WeekendSnapshots

Some of the best memories from when I was a kid, were when my parents would load us into the car to make a 7-hour drive to Reynosa, Tamaulipas & South Texas. With homemade tortas, bags of chips, and canned sodas. These days we want to recreate these moments and memories of family time to visit family with our kids. We may not cross into Mexico anymore but we have visited South Texas, the last 4 years, it's become a bit of a yearly trip now. {You can see our trip from last year ::HERE::}

We have gone not only to visit family but to celebrate life, with the birth of one of my nieces. It's been the best "excuse" to make the 6-7 hour long trip to McAllen every year which then turns into a mini-vacation destination for us. Last year we visited the best little museum in Edinburg and then we headed off to South Padre Island for a few days. This year we decided to make our trip a little shorter but still managed to visit some awesome local sites. 

First place was Quinta Mazatlan and then there was the McAllen Nature Park, which was right next to a local eatery called La Lomita which has some great gorditas! We also visited a local comic book shop, where my cousin drew one of the superheroes! Pretty neat, I know.

Quinta Mazatlan is just that a beautiful Quinta set right in the heart of McAllen near the border with Mexico. It is known that the original owner of the Quinta was a writer and adventurer. The Quinta is perfectly set for both, a serene and quaint place to explore and get away from it all. The Quinta has so many wonderful areas to explore and learn about nature and the local habitat. If you have never been it's worth the time and heat to get to know the area.

According to the Quinta History:
"Composer, writer, and adventurer, Jason Chilton Matthews (1887-1964) traveled the globe collecting artifacts and stories while serving in 11 countries during World War I and even fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia. When he finally settled in 1935 with his affluent Pennsylvania wife, Marcia Jamieson (1891-1963), they built Quinta Mazatlan at what Matthews called the “Crossroads of the Western Hemisphere.”"

We had a wonderful time and the kids enjoyed exploring. The day we went it was hot, humid and rainy but it didn't stop us from wanting to learn more about this great Valley treasure! In all my years living in the Mission, I never knew about it. Goes to show how fast life can speed by you without you realizing the beauty that you grew up with. I sure am glad that now as an adult I am taking the time to seek out these places for my kids to enjoy. Also, that my Husband is uber talented at googling local attractions. Ha.

One of my favorite rooms in the house was a pink room filled with Calaveras, Mexican paper dolls and a ceiling covered with amuletos. I want to live in that room. Ha. The kids loved all the trails and finding live creatures as well as very life-like steel recreations of local animals.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

::10 Things I have gained in the Mujeres de HACE Latinas in Leadership Program::

::momma disclosure:: I did receive a partial scholarship for the Mujeres de HACE Latinas in Leadership program and all opinions and statements expressed here are my own and honest. 

I am going to sound a little Academy Award-ish, starts acceptance speech... "I would like to thank God."  But all jokes aside really, I am very, VERY thankful for the opportunity to be part of the Houston HACE cohort. It was one of those things that I applied for and never thought I would get into. I am very fortunate to have a Husband who is always supportive {after some rational thought and long drawn out conversations about pros and cons to the program, HA. } of the program and me attending. Finally, I am also fortunate to have had so many wonderful women in my circle who pushed me, motivated me and messaged me with true words of positive support to just go for it and participate. As well as the support of my current employer which was also key and highly  important.

This opportunity was not taken in vain and I have been taking every week in and fully embracing every moment. I have been very vulnerable and emotional in most of the classes. We are coming to the end of the 4-month program with graduation being just around the corner and I wanted to give you a recap of what I have gained so far.

I have gained the following from going through this program:

::New lasting Professional connections::

Yes, my network is extensive after almost 18 years of career building experience, but to really get to know some of those connections is not the same. In this group, I am meeting, like-minded career-driven women but also very professional high ranked women. Those of whom I am learning from and connecting on a very personal level. It helps create very lasting professional friendships which are important to my career as I advance. In addition, these new connections can then become mentors and advisors along the way. 

::A bigger circle of support::

As the years have gone by and jobs have come and gone, I have gained one or two people within my professional support system. With HACE I am gaining a support group of over 10 ladies. All of who are working professional Latinas or working Mommas which makes me so happy. Their life experiences all come together in one room every other week and we learn so much from one another and can support and help one another as the months have gone by. 

::Skill set to move forward::

Yes, I have plenty of good skills that I have acquired over almost 18 years of working in corporate America. But the skills being learned in the Mujeres de HACE Leadership course go far deeper than learned skill sets. They combine those technical skills with experience and professional development. The combination is an eye-opener for sure.  I have in the past months been exposed to deeper levels of self-awareness, emotions, and topics that I don't think I have really been able to develop over the years. Yes, we learn how to be professional and handle certain situations. But now, I feel like I have learned a better way to handle myself and my emotions so that I can not only overcome situations but take control of them and move upward in my career. 

::Confidence to gain in the workplace::

One of those "skills" that I have gained in past years has been confidence. What I know now that was missing is boldness and the assertiveness to know what I am worth and my value. These concepts have added to my level of confidence when it comes to speaking about certain topics in the workplace and when it comes to handling how I want my career to move forward. HACE through the series of classes allows you to be inspired by other like-minded Latinas who have been able to boldly take control of their careers and advance. It's such a wonderful skill-set to develop. 

::Inner Strength::

When I came to this program I knew that I was a "strong" person. Life and work have made me this way. But, listening to the speakers in our course, those strong Latina's who have overcome so many types of adversity and obstacles to be where they are, has created a deeper sense of inner strength within me. More than I knew I had. Just the ability to overcome and mindset to push forward and fight for what I know I deserve and am capable of. I try to push myself daily to do better, to correct my wrongs, and with the HACE program, it has helped create a refresher as to why I do what I do and why I have come so far.

::New Girlfriends::

The women I have met in this course are not only classmates or career peers, they have become good friends. I know that I can confide in them, trust them and ask them for advice. In return, I have been there for some of the ladies who simply need a listening ear. Building friendships is important to professional Latina's who at times might feel like the odds are against or who may feel the world is out to get them. Building one another up and providing good genuine friendships is so important. 

::Better Understanding of myself::

As stated before, the course was an eye-opener. I have taken many personality tests and talked to several life/professional coaches now. But, I feel that speaking to them on a professional level and in a more established setting has helped create a different perspective. In the past, I have been in not-so-good professional setting or place in my career. Right now I feel settled, and as if though thriving in this current place is necessary. What helps is that the setting is just that, professional. It has helped better understand myself as a career Momma. 

::A different perspective of others in the workplace::

The best advice so far has been to not take things personally in the workplace. I know that this has been said to me before but with listening to so many professional women in the last 3 months, this has become far clearer. Yes, you spend a lot of time at your job and you want to do well and succeed. But, at the end of the day, we don't truly know everyone we work with and taking things personal or home with you after 8 hours of work, is not good. We are all here to do a job. Regardless of our personal feelings, we should all have one goal in mind, doing what is required to complete our assigned daily tasks. I know that some people do better than others within a workplace. But, truly being the bigger person gives you the upper hand. My perspective has shifted and I want to do well. Not just to gain a paycheck every 2-weeks but because I want to have a long lasting a good career. 

::New outlook on my career::

With this new perspective, the better more enhanced skill-sets, it gives me new hope and a new goal for my career. The desire to do well where I am for my overall career advancement and that doesn't mean I need to be promoted or moved up, sometimes good growth within a position or lateral moves can also create good shifts in your career. Being happy and open to what's coming. Embracing change and loving my job, it's what I want and strive for. Sure, there will be bad days, nothing is perfect. But, constantly seeking to do well for yourself and your future within a company has never really been a set goal of mine. In the past, I have had great positions where I have obtained promotions but it was almost always about the money and making more to provide for my family. Where I am now, sure money is needed to provide for my family but my true goals have changed and I don't think that's a bad thing. 

::Further Confirmation that I am following the right path::

If you have been following my blog for some time or know me personally you will know that in the past I have not been happy with my jobs. My workplaces have placed me in situations with not so favorable people. Again, I have despite all these obtained promotions and raises because I believe in working hard no matter what. But, until now  I knew the past places were not permanent. Maybe it has to do with my current more stable family/home life, but I know that where I am could be my permanent place. Especially with the empowerment tools that HACE has provided.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Taco Lovers Unite! #TacoGear

::Momma Disclosure:: This is a compensated post. All opinions expressed are true and my own. 

When I was first asked to review shirts about tacos, I knew I couldn't say no. Then I saw the Jesus Loves Tacos shirt on the Taco Gear website, and I was absolutely sure I couldn't say no. Plus there is one thing I love more than tacos and that is working with young Texas entrepreneurs. Supporting them and their pursuit of what they love.  Oh, and did I mention tacos? 

Side story, my dad's name is Jesus and yes, he really does love tacos. But, that's not why I wanted this shirt, or maybe, just a bit. He will probably think this shirt is about him. 

Gerald reached out to me and all I could think was I must go eat Tacos and I must bring Ariana of 3twentysix along. And, so we did. We both selected our favorite shirt from the Taco Gear website and then waited anxiously for them to arrive.  

::A little about Gerald and his story::

Photo Credit: Dustin Ashcraft

 Gerald, what is the name of your company and the creative behind it all?- 

"Taco Gear is the name of my company. We create taco apparel for taco lovers!

I've been a graphic designer for the last 10 years and a taco lover for life, working with businesses agencies and startups, creating and developing brands, advertisements and more.

My experience over the last 10 years has given me the ability to launch my own clothing/apparel line. This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time, and I am thrilled to have finally had the opportunity."

What was the driving force behind your brand?-

"I always knew I wanted to start my own business (apparel mostly), but never really knew what kind or what style. I've always collected and worn all types of t-shirts and appreciated the unique designs they had. I knew the market was flooded with so many companies selling their own graphic tees, so that was never really in my mind as something I would want to jump into. 

When I say I am a taco lover, I really mean it. Like many I know, I can and do eat tacos almost every day for breakfast lunch and dinner, and I usually do. 

One day, I was looking for a taco t-shirt. I wanted something simple that was designed well. I remember thinking, 

"I'm sure there's something cool out there that someone has created." 

It's so easy in today's market to launch a shirt design or online e-commerce business. I was very surprised to find that there were not very many options out there. The few options I found were mostly overdone jokes or badly designed. 

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! I should design my own! My experience as a designer and lifelong taco lover have given me every single tool I need to launch my own taco apparel company.

I knew when I started, that I wanted to focus on taco related apparel only. The thought of Mexican / Spanish culture designs did cross my mind, but I knew there were already companies out there designing some amazing apparel in this area. So the decision to focus on tacos only, became even easier, and it's been so much fun!"

Want  to snag your own sweet JESUS LOVES TACOS t-shirt? 
Here is how....
Use code: houstontaco at checkout to get 10% off your first order!
Expires 9/21/2016 (end of summer)or Enter below to win one!!! 

Finally, what inspires you most and allows you to be creative?-
"Creativity can come from anywhere and at anytime, at least for me. I can be inspired to create a new design or slogan from anything really. It's because of this that I always write everything down. To quote Field Notes,
 "I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now."
 As far as where I do most of my designing and creating, it's usually at a large desk in our living room either watching tv (listening really), or listening to music."

Do you want to follow, shop or just say hello?

Anyone is free to contact me via my social media networks or email me at

Also, could not forget, big thanks to my wild child and our blogger assistant for this collab, Cam. 
She loves tacos too. 

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