Thursday, June 30, 2016

::Having it all...Or not... :: #Thisis35

So, it happened. 35. It's here. In full effect. I turned 35 yesterday and my co-worker asked if I felt wiser. Truth is. I feel the same but deep down inside, yes I am wiser. My eyes are wide open and my heart is prepared for the world and years to come. I have over the years been extremely blessed to meet, to know and to gain friendships from wonderful and inspirational ladies. My circle changes constantly, not because I don't love all the ladies the same but because life happens. Our situations and circumstances take us in different directions. But, at 35 I know those women have come into my life, made a beautiful impact and moved on to do so much more... it's amazing. I love that feeling. Of having been a part of someone's journey. That's what I have learned in 35 years. Life is a journey. It moves, changes and evolves constantly. Nothing is a given and everything should be appreciated. 

In 35 years I have learned balance. I have learned that some months I will have time to blog and workout and some months I won't want to do either, and that really is okay. You know why? The world keeps going with or without you. I have had times of great productivity when all I do is work, work, work and others when I veg-out on the couch for days at a time. And, you know what, my Husband loves me the same, my kids love me the same and the laundry pile, well, it's still there. Go figure. Balance and the ability to move on knowing that sometimes, dishes don't get washed, posts don't get posted, pictures don't get edited, and tasks never get completed. Life goes on.

Picture Credit: Ari of 3twentysix

Picture Credit: My Sister

Just in the last 2 weeks, I realized how much good I have in my life right now. Stability and being in a "good place" seems to be the thoughts in my head. Knowing that while our lives are not perfect and we might not have "everything" , we are happy. We are good. My career is in such a stable and good place, I love it. I haven't felt this way about a job in years. My kids are healthy and my Hubby is his same ol' sarcastic self that everyone loves to hate, or hates to love. HA. Our home, I always say, isn't an expensive super fancy place, but it's home and we make it work every day. In our own little crowded messy way. My kids love everyone and they are so happy and unique it makes me laugh, smile and cry all at once. We are blessed.

Honestly, "we have it all" without really having it all if that makes any sense. While we don't have big fancy belongings, we have one another and we are happy, we are blessed and we move forward. One of my Aunts, who has been there for me in many ways pointed out how happy we are as a family. How blessed Ricardo and I are to have an education, how great my parents are for being so supportive and loving and how no matter what we are always there for one another. That we do have. A happy family, supportive and unconditional love. Forgiveness. We forgive those who hurt us and move forward. We are real and honest about what we believe in and stand for. 

That we have. Realness. Truth. You will always get that from me. Now at 35 and 10 years from now at 45, I will be real and honest. On to a new year of life and feeling overwhelmingly humbled by all the beautiful messages on Facebook, direct messages, texts and phone calls to wish me a happy birthday. It was an amazing one. My loved ones made it a special day and I am SO thankful. Always. 

In the spirit of celebrating years of life, I teamed up with two amazing women Coppelia Marie who ran a special "Turning 40" series on her YouTube Channel. Coppelia is a former local DJ for a Christian radio station called KSBJ. Meeting her has been amazing. I have been a fan since I heard her on the radio years ago, meeting her and being able to call her my friend, is just mind blowing. Her featuring me on her blog for my Birthday is a true honor! I am such a fan and her message of self-love and embracing your age no matter where you are in life, is awesome! 

Not only did I team up with Coppelia for her series, we both teamed up with Ari of 3twentysix for her awesome giveaway series, The Paper Files! Make sure you enter. Ari also filmed our video! She did an amazing job. Thanks, Ari! You can visit any of our pages to sign-up for the giveaway!
Picture Credit: All picture below by Ari of 3twentysix 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Motivating Moms for Financial Success #WomenInspired #ad

::Momma of Dos Disclosure:: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Prudential and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

I hate to admit this but there is only one thing that pains me more than anything in this life as an adult, and that is money. Money and the concept of having, maintaining and saving it. Money truly is the center of many things in life, like having a home, and bills to pay and food, and all things needed to survive. It can be a true woe, but one that I know is highly important to be informed and educated about. Enter Prudential and their #WomenInspired workshop series.  The conversations being held in these workshops, the questions being asked to think and reflect on, have truly allowed me to gain a whole new perspective and one, that I want to know more about. 

::My history and knowledge of and with money::

For some reason, in my family, and early on in life, we didn't learn much about money except that we have to find a way to earn it and that since we have earned it, we have the right to spend it. I don't remember thinking about or talking to my parents about a saving account, how to fund future education, or where I would obtain a down payment for a big purchase like a car or house. I knew I would go to college but had no real plan on how to fund it. While I obtained some scholarships, it wasn't enough. I came out of college with debt, one that I have carried since I graduated from the Univeristy of Houston in 2005. Not the most convenient or best use of my money now. Thankfully my Husband grew up with a different mentality and teachings. We are both first generation Mexican-American, born to immigrant parents. But, had very different upbringings. Not bad, because we balance one another. 

I feel that we cannot blame anyone for where we are now, but we can become knowledgeable in our habits and become aware of the resources available to break the cycles of poor money management. During the Women Inspired conversation, we all spoke openly about our wants, needs and fears in regard to money and our futures, and more importantly the future of our children. Knowing that I am not the only person with questions and that there are resources via organizations like Prudential is relieving.

::Where I am now and what I want to learn about money management:: 

Knowing that I can properly secure funds for my children to attend college, that I can teach them the value of saving at an early age for a future investment, is all very important as our young family ages. I know that I will need to properly manage my money and obtain the appropriate advice and consulting in order to have a system in place as my kids grow and our needs become more pressing. Currently, I have mentioned being in a "good place", one where we are slowly coming out of years where we have accumulated debt for various reasons and/or spending money on big purchase items like a home and new cars or more importantly our children's daycare services.

As a Momma who values my career, I knew that my children would have to be placed in some type of child care facility. I wanted, of course, the absolute best in both care and expense. I didn't know how we would be able to afford it as we had not financially prepared ahead for it. Now that those years are almost over and my children will enter public school, I am relieved and know what I should have done differently. I feel Prudential would have been a good resource early in my pregnancy for this type of planning.

As stated currently we are in a "good place" one where perhaps there is room for struggle but we also want to enjoy our children and ourselves as a small reward for all of our work in past years. With that said one of our fun "splurges" this year will be a little more family travel. We have indeed planned ahead and saved up for our upcoming vacations. So, while I feel that we should be prepared for rainy days we also want to enjoy our investments and the now.

::About Prudential and how they can help:: 

Prudential is here to help you find a solution for those challenges that we can all face at any age or stage of our lives. Learn more by visiting their website. Follow their hashtag #WomenInspired so that you can follow along on their journey across the country as they discover how women are taking charge of their financial lives. Prudential is bringing together women from all walks of life to open up in a conversation that, I feel, needs to begin in every home across America.


::Women Inspired::

Prudential has inspired me to become educated in my finances, to take charge early on of my future planning and to teach my children about money management and savings so that we can break the cycle of bad money habits and create a better future for us all.  ~Connie, Momma of Dos 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

::Summer Giveaway with The Pink Envelope:: #giveaway #partnership

This morning I have partnered with Samantha of the Pink Envelope for a super fun Summer giveaway for your kids! To enter follow the Raffelcopter instructions below or visit The Pink Envelope!! 
Good luck and happy Thursday! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 The giveaway Swag Bag includes: 

Treestar Hair Pins from EC Boom Box - $10.00
Espionage Cosmetics Nail Wraps in Turquoise & Pretty Poison - $24.00
Mad Hatter Book Mark - $1.00
Owl Temporary Tattoo Sticker Book - $1.00

Dress Up Costume Jewelry - $9.95

IG: @thepinkenvelope

Monday, June 20, 2016

::This is 35:: House of Alice Rose~Stylist Review & Tender Nest Portraits Photo Shoot

::Momma Disclosure:: { This is a compensated post. All statements are my own and my true and honest opinion. All photographs were taken as part of a brand ambassadorship with Tender Nest Portraits, Momma's outfit styled by House of Alice Rose}

Turning 35 seems like no biggie. Only really it is. 35 is one of those mid to something numbers. Midway to 40, is what 35 is. I am okay with that. When I look back at the last 35 years and more specifically the last 17 years, I have learned, grown and endured so much. Life has not always been pretty, or fair, or good. But, I have pushed through the struggles and today I have a life filled with a great Husband who is constantly supporting all my crazy thoughts, and ideas, one who hates taking family pictures but loves us so much. I have dos amazing little children, who have changed my body, my drive and my heart in so many wonderful ways. 

In the last 8 years, I have slowly walked the blogging journey and started meeting some of the most amazing women. Women with whom I have long distance, over the internet relationships and some of whom live in Houston and I have the great honor of meeting in person. For my 35th, I decided to accept an invitation to do some shopping with a personal stylist. I know and follow the wonderful ladies of House of Alice Rose, but had never met them in person. A couple of weeks ago that all changed. I met Isabel one of the creators and stylists of HoAR, she is without a doubt a strong Houston Latina Momma, stylist, blogger, creative, and sweet soul. 

I wasn't sure what would happen, first off I am NOT one to shop for myself. Secondly, I suck at shopping and making things go together and fit me and yeah. All that kind of pretty, girly stuff, I truly didn't inherit when it was handed out at birth. BUT, be still my heart, Isabel. She has become my fashion hero. She not only put a perfect outfit together for me in a matter of minutes but she herself walks the walk. The day we met she wore the cutest printed shorts with a striped shirt and wedges, y'all she looked amazing. She made me feel comfortable and definitely helped me step out of my comfort zone. Though I am highly outspoken and outgoing there is still something very conservative about me and how I dress, I have always been that way. 

Isabel and I spoke about marriage, our children, our careers, and how we joined the blogging world. The connection was instant. I love people, I love women who are constantly seeking to better themselves, who push and create lives that are exemplary and true. She is a U.S. Coast Guard and crossfitter so not only is she a strong, determined and fit Momma, she is also one of those badasses I truly admire, for their courage and bravery. Isabel reminded me of how being feminine and looking pretty comes from deep within especially as we age. She made me feel my age and I loved it. 

Thank you again for the amazing 35th birthday present Isabel, I will forever appreciate it. 

There is so much more to my life than the number 35, you might look at me and not know what my heart truly holds. But, another great person that I have met in the last year and thanks to my blog is Anel of Tender Nest Portraits, a fellow Momma, a professional photographer, and new Houston Latina Blogger member. She has managed to capture the inside of my heart in this world, my children's smiles and love, they are everything that my heart always holds true. They show me how beautiful life can turn out despite all the ugly, bad and disappointment. They have managed to erase the bad memories, the heartache and the pain that once ate at my heart.  

Please don't confuse our happy smiles for perfection. Our lives are not perfect and may never be but we make it all work-out.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

::No Light at End of the Tunnel::

This post came to me the other night as I did chores and tried to summon the strength to get them all done. Hope it helps in whatever stage of childhood you are in.


In those moments right before you are about to lose your shit. You think. This too shall pass, right!?

As I wipe pee off my toilet seat and floor for what seems like the millionth time today and I pick playdoh pieces off my bare feet. The exhaustion kicks in but the determination lingers. Determined to tame these wild children of mine; their giggles and Christian music play {yes this potty-mouth family listens to Christian music} in the background. My nerves ease and my frustration gone. I am living in these moments  of  chaos and messiness. You know those moments all too well? The "half" moments; of things making it halfway to the toy bin, halfway to their room, halfway to the trash and of course halfway in the toilet. Hence, the pee wiping.  

And, still no matter what they are happy, those two little ones that put up with my extra loud voice and sometimes witness the tears. Their love is endless y'all. And, in that moment, I see a light at the end of the tunnel that wasn't there before. And, I have peace. I have love and joy. Always. Deep in my heart no matter what the sorrows are or what obstacles we meet, they bring me true joy and peace. No matter how many times I have to wipe the pee off the toilet seat or how much playdoh sticks to the floor. I am living in these moments that will never come backAnd, the frustration is gone. 

Then hope kicks in, hope that your kids will grow up to be appreciative, hard working and loving. The hope that they will be a better person than you and achieve far more than you. The hope that they will not fear or suffer the things you did. Faith. Faith that they will have happy fulfilled lives with the best blessings that they surely deserve. That in 20 years they will remember all the moments you lived together. Moments of joy, sacrifice, and peace.

As Momma's we all live in these moments, whether we publicize it or not, we are all in that same boat of days when you don't see a light at the end of the tunnel and could decide that you can't anymore. But, somehow with short rests and time, strength is renewed, and we do it all over again the next day. 

Momma, you are strong, you CAN do this. Wipe that pee off the floor and move forward... because I promise you, this too shall pass. You can either sit and cry over the moments of frustration, which sometimes are needed, or you can learn to embrace it all and love every moment you are living in. It's not always easy and it is VERY much easier said than done, but if this unorganized working Momma of Dos can do it, you can too!  

Just a little piece of my heart on this Tuesday morning.... 

Monday, June 13, 2016

::Original Wear Clothing:: Travels to the Valley

::Momma Disclosure:: { This is a compensated post. All statements are my own and my true and honest opinion.}

One of my favorite Texas shops abroad is Original Wear Clothing for several reason; Myriam the owner is a High School friend and finding her via Facebook over 10 years after we graduated to learn about her adventures and success has been wonderful! Not only is her story fascinating; which is always my favorite part of local shops, getting to know how they were created and founded then there are her store items, they are amazing. If you have not visited her online shop, you should. Her sense of style is very unique and is kind of Texas boho meets Spanish Chic. I love it all. I love her accessories and those small detailed clutches. 

For this review, she sent  several of us over at Houston Latina Bloggers the above box with a bonus which I will talk about below, it was awesome to open! I loved the personalization that Myriam took the time to do. She is always very cheerful and giving, much like her beautiful items! The colors and  quality in her leather goods and clothing is what keeps me attracted to her brand. 

In picture, which I think she is running out of.... soon, are the Moroccan Leather Wristlet-
and, one of my personal favorites the Slice of Heaven Cuff-

Since Myriam and I grew up in South Texas, I thought it would be most appropriate to take my items with me on my recent visit back home and do a mini-photo shoot while on my trip! My Husband who tries to be helpful and supportive was funny enough to take the following pictures of me. If I am smiling really big, it's because he makes me laugh a lot.  I wore the wristlet everywhere I went because it was small and still very spacious for all the things I really needed!

You can see all of Myriam's new items over on her website:
Pictures were taken in McAllen, Texas at the Quinta Mazatlan by my Hubby and myself.

As you can see, the wristlet is fairly small but a good travel size, great for carrying around just the right amount of items while out and about. And, it really does go with just about anything. Everyone who saw it asked me about it and loved it. I even purchased one to gift to my Cousin's wife who hosted us for the weekend, so it's also a good personalized gift for all fashion lovers! 

The bonus item that Myriam included was an original leather cuff created by another South Texas Artist, Mitch D'arte, you can see all of her creations here: 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Turning 35 ::Oh Hello June:: #BirthdayMonth #Thisis35

::Solo Girl Chronicles is a series created by #Femmeboss, a mobile app and membership app for women only who are seeking like-minded and compassionate friends to connect with or meet locally. This blog post is part of the series. You can learn more on their website and find new friends.::

Age is nothing but a number. I know now how true these words are. I will be 35 in 19 days. And, I feel amazing. No joke. I stay busy, that's my secret. Some days are hard only because I take too much on. At 35 I have two children, a Hubby, a full-time job outside the home, a college degree which has allowed me to gain a career and a full life. I help run a group of local latina bloggers, called Houston Latina Bloggers and then I run this little ol'blog. 8 years and counting. I also do boot camp twice a week with am amazing group of ladies who have inspired me so much in my weight loss journey. And, currently, I am attending a class for local Latina's in Leadership, every other Wednesday. With the Summer in full effective we have gotten somewhat of a travel bug, nothing big just small road trips to explore new places in Texas and the U.S. for ourselves and mostly for our kids!

How do I do it all and how does 35 feel? Well, it feels like a whirlwind of emotions and really I sleep a lot (but not really) and my house is a mess. That's truly how I get things done. Half asleep and in a daze, not good, I know. But, I do what I can, I work hard and passionately and move forward. It's not how life has always been for me. I used to have a real life with friends and family that I helped and bent over backward for, over the years, that's diminishing. I now do things I love, things that benefit me and those things that will further create who I am and where I want to go. I feel that at 35, I can say these type of selfish things because for years I have not been selfish. 

As I thought about what to write in this reflective post weeks before my 35th, I heard the song "Wake me Up" by Avicii. As I am a lover of words, I take the lyrics in and think about how turning 35 will change me, and how I have changed over the last 35 years. Evolved if you will. It's pretty dang amazing. I love learning and living my life to the fullest. Doing as much as possible because tomorrow is not guaranteed. 

So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost

I have been through so much in my life that sometimes it does feel like a dream. I am older and wiser now and in the process, though at times I didn't know, I was lost. I have found myself. The last 35 years have not been perfect. I have had lots of sorrow, sadness, depression and made tons of mistakes, hurt so many people and been rude and offensive. I apologize to those who have suffered because of me. In return, many have hurt, used and offended me. I forgive them. None of this is necessary. But, I do it anyway, because of who I am, an apologetic person. My good friend Ari always tells me to stop apologizing and it's hard to change after 35 years. I have discovered that some will love me for that and others will straight up hate. And, that's okay. 

At 35 I no longer care for others opinions and need to refrain from giving mine out. And, refrain from wasting words on those who don't care for them. It's part of my 35-year-old resolution. Stop giving advice when not asked. Most people will do what they want anyway, and that's okay. It's their life, not mine. It's something hard for me to comprehend sometimes, I always feel I should help or change the world. It's not really my job. I have children who need me and that's where the change and help will begin and end.

I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands
I hope I get the chance to travel the world
And I don't have any plans

So, I am turning 35. How does it feel? Pretty good. To know that I have survived on this earth this long, with minimal trauma and so much more to look forward to! At times, I do wish life would stop for a moment in time, but I have learned to live in the moment, to appreciate the time and to slow myself down to enjoy it all. 

I wish that I could stay forever this young
Not afraid to close my eyes
Life's a game made for everyone
And love is a prize

Thursday, June 9, 2016

::FINDING DORY:: Flash Giveaway! #ad

::Momma Disclosure:: this is a compensated post in collaboration with Allied Hispanic Media. 

The wait is over! We can all see what Dory is up to in her latest adventures! 
Join Momma of Dos on Monday, June 13th, enter below to win!!!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rating: PG
Directed By: Andrew Stanton
Release Date: June 17, 2016.

Synopsis: Disney•Pixar's “Finding Dory” reunites everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory, with her friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale? Directed by Andrew Stanton and produced by Lindsey Collins, the film features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton. “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016.

Friday, June 3, 2016

::Last Day of School:: First year complete..many more to come...

The last day of school finally came and guess what just like the first we survived. We missed the bus and were a little late but we made it. Made it through a whole year of school. As my Husband would say... "I didn't think we were gonna make it, but we made it." Truth is, our first year of Kinder with Santiago was not easy. I am not going to blame it on anyone but his teacher was a little difficult. Regardless of all the continued work and efforts on my part, it just was never enough for her. She had some kind of complaint about Santiago every other day. Toward the end of the year, it got old. I would tell Santiago every day until the last day, be good son. The complaints were harmless, trust me.

Truth is, he is a great kid. He is 6, active and very social. Some may see that as bad and will scrutinize his behavior, which is that of an active healthy 6-year-old boy, who loves to joke and play around. But, we worked on it and at the end of the day he wasn't a robot. He did though excel in all his academics especially math and science according to all his testing and "grades", cause we never actually saw grades just pass or needs improvement. Mostly pass. Santiago was also bullied this year, to the extent that I had to call upon  a friend who is a police officer, the bullying ended once I threatened to press charges. I am sure the issue will arise again, but we will know how to handle it. None-the-less, we made it! We survived. 

Now on to a kick ass Summer with lots of fun and some studying. I want Santiago to do even better in 1st grade and I know that a lot of that will come from our own efforts and hard work. We plan on doing all that's needed to make 1st grade better than Kinder. 

As for Camila, I am not sure Kinder is ready for her. Her sass grows with every new thought in that little crazy brain of hers. She doesn't miss a beat and is currently the reigning Queen of her daycare. We have warned her time and time again that nap time will be no more and that Kinder at a new school will be a whole new ball which she replied this week... "I'm not gonna stress about it." Y'all be ready for the stories...Kinder watch OUT, Cam is on her way and she is gonna bring you down. Just saying.... Of course, she had a wonderful year in pre-K, as I said, she rules and runs her school. She is smart and SO strong willed, I have no doubt Kinder will be a breeze for her. I think I will send her teachers' thank you notes in advance, maybe even apology letters. She is getting all the new school particulars from her brother, who has warned her..."Camila this school is hard."

Her reply... 

"Santiago where do you go when you get in trouble and how do you get in trouble?" 

Y'all help me! HAHAHA. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Surviving the Storm ::Weekend Snapshots::

As we all know Houston is currently under water, again. The rain has not given our communities a rest. Of course, mother nature is so unpredictable and we can't allow it to dictate what we do. For a few weeks now we had planned to go camping this past weekend since it was Memorial Day and we all had some time off. But, we didn't expect the rain to pour down the way it did last Friday night. As we packed up and got our truck ready for the weekend's adventure the rain came down, we didn't let that stop us. 

We had planned to arrive in San Antonio that night and then drive out to Garner State Park Saturday morning. As we started our drive out of Houston and onto I-10 the rain started to clear. We made it to San Antonio with no rain in sight and the next morning left to Utopia. Camping has become one of those yearly must trips! Especially as the kids grow and learn to love  the outdoors. 

This has been, at least, our 4th or 5th time making this trip with the kids and despite the hiccups along the way, it's always fun! The kids do become restless and get on each others (and our) nerves.  But, it's manageable and all part of the road trip experience. We tolerate it to a certain point and take plenty of rest stops to give one another a break. It's all about learning along the way and fixing those areas where we could all use some help, like patience!  

As I said before, Friday night we made it into San Antonio and the next morning after a very hardy breakfast at Cracker Barrel (I had never been) we started our route to Garner. It's always exciting knowing that you are so close to your destination. 

We arrived at Garner Saturday morning and spent the day setting up, cooking and swimming in Rio Frio. Everything was great. We ate good food, laughed, splashed in the water and had some sangria made by my Sister-in-Law, Ale. It was picture perfect until the storm.

That afternoon I took a much-deserved nap and when I woke up it was night time and the kids were roasting marshmallows. At about midnight, the rain started, but it wasn't some light trickle rain. It was a flood advisory downpour rain. After about 30 minutes or so Ricardo and I decided we needed to abandon ship, or in this case evacuate our tent. The water was seeping through the seams of the tent and rising from below. Our air mattress and pillows were getting wet. It would be a somewhat long, uncomfortable and kind of scary night for us. The rain poured for about 3 hours or so. When the morning came the sun came out but we had already decided to head back to San Antonio and spend the rest of our holiday weekend there. 

We made breakfast Sunday morning and then headed out once again. 

The kids were such good troopers and usually go with the flow so it's easy to make quick decisions. It's always good to remain calm and the kids will follow your lead. We did panic the night before thinking about rising water and our safety but overall we made it through. We did have a great weekend with lots of fun memories and good experiences that will help us survive any other storms that come our way!


{Pictures from San Antonio tomorrow...}