Momma of Dos: December 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

::Celebrating the holidays with JOY!:: Guest Blogger, Coppelia

{Guest Blogger Coppelia of www.CoppeliaMarie.com

I started thinking about Christmas back in September. Ha! Seriously, there's a website that counts down 101 days to Christmas with ideas on how to get organized, plan ahead and make sure the crazy busy holiday time is less stressful and more merry and bright. The countdown starts in September and I love it!

You know how some people are adulting? I'm more into Christmasing.

And yes, singing loud for all to hear (which, we all know is the best way to bring Christmas cheer), happens daily in my car.

But here's the thing: finding joy during the holidays can be tough, especially if:

-Someone you love is sick, battling cancer, needing surgery, etc ...

This season, it was my mom. (And I'm thanking God that she's doing great! But we were all pretty worried about the whole thing.)


Finding joy during the holidays can also be rough if:

-Finances are tight and the kids need Christmas outfits for the reindeer romp, the holiday piano recital, gifts for the teachers and you need an ugly sweater for the office Christmas party. 

Or, maybe you can relate to this: 


-You know those moments when you go through the drive-through line at Starbucks and try to drown your sorrows in a peppermint mocha or gingerbread latte? You could be having a peppermint pity party. 

So, what can you do when you're experiencing a combination of all these things (and maybe some more that I didn't have on my list), and you are just not feeling joyful? 

You can still have JOY! 

Sometimes getting out of town for a while helps. We recently had a blast at SeaWorld's Christmas celebration. We even met Rudolph! 


But when you're home, maybe wishing you could go somewhere but the circumstances just don't allow (been there, done that), this might help:

There's a local radio station in Houston, KSBJ (I used to do the morning show there!) and they do something called "The JOY Pledge." Basically, when you're feeling the stress of the holidays for whatever reason, or when you have the Christmas blues, you stop for a moment & say the JOY pledge:
I choose joy
And when I keep my eyes on Jesus,I have joy!
 When I lose it, I will choose it.
 I choose joy! 

It might seem like those are just words, and maybe you're skeptical that "saying a pledge" won't do much to solve your holiday woes. But try it! 

Sometimes, a little change in attitude can go a long way. 

If we are focused on all the negative things that are happening, of course we're not gonna feel joyful! 

BUT, when we decide to think about what we're thankful for, when we make up our minds to choose joy, we often find that one of my favorite quotes, really is true:

"Feelings follow actions more often than actions follow feelings."

In other words, if you wait until you feel joyful… you might be waiting until the new year. But if you decide to act and make the decision to choose joy, you might be surprised that the feeling of joy will follow!

I'd love to hear from you in the comments! Share with me the things that work for you as you try to find joy in this season. 

Here's to more JOY than ever before!

Laughing (and being JOYful) thru life,

Coppelia



~Coppelia
Singer/Speaker/Blogger

**My new book is out now!**
"Whole: How One Book Can Transform Your Whole Life" 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

::Holiday Blues From a Mom’s Perspective:: by Candy of Fullest Mom

:: Guest Blogger today for Mini-Holiday Series :: 



Holiday Blues From a Mom's Perspective
Christmas is, in a sense, a crazy time for moms. We have our usual lists of daily to-dos; but, December completely tops it with a few sparkling extras. There are gifts to mail, seasonal parties to plan, and let's not forget shopping for the kids. It goes without saying that moms are typically the ones in charge of bringing on the festivities and it can get pretty overwhelming. One thing leads to another, then you're hit with RGF (Resting Grinch Face). In fact when asked, 64% of people have the holiday blues. This post will explore how to deal with it from a mom's perspective.

First step is acknowledgment.

You're part of the #StrongMomsClub, right? Yep, me, too. I'm the type to think logically, keep it moving, and even do a few push-ups on the side. When you're faced with the holiday blues, especially when you're busy, it may be hard to acknowledge that you even have it. Additionally, you might just want to pretend it's not there so you can keep your schedule. Pushing it down, and bottling it up, will not do you any good.

If you sense any sentimental or compulsive feelings of being down, or stressed, you need to face it head on. Pause and ask yourself if you would feel this way if it wasn't Christmas time. Symptoms of holiday blues include fatigue, tension, loneliness, and senses of loss. This is different than true clinical depression because the occurrences are temporary and only associated at the onset of the holidays. Once you understand this you can move on to the next step.

Talk about it.

Talking, or communication rather, is the best thing for a mom's well being. Some of us do not work outside of the home and it can get pretty isolating. Additionally, we can get into the false mindset of thinking that no one really wants to hear about our day. There's messiness, slobber, and mundane house chores. Who really wants to hear me complain about that? The truth, your loved ones do.

So, talk about your holiday blues. Get it out. That may be all that you need to make it past the season. Tell your spouse, or close loved ones, that you could use a little help. They will be more than happy to listen.

How to avoid holiday blues in the first place.

Here's a simplified list of how to avoid holiday blues in the first place.

1.    Aside from a few parties here and there, stick to normal routines as much as possible.
2.    Get enough rest. Please do not stay up to 2 am trimming the Christmas tree, or wrapping presents.
3.    Make sure to eat and drink in moderation. Bingeing on holiday ham when you're normally a salad goddess will completely throw anyone out of wack.
4.    Keep things simple and family focused.
5.    Lastly, set reasonable expectations for the month of December. You know you want to do gift shopping, bake cookies for Santa, and all that jazz. Just rationally plan only what you can handle.

Whatever your reasons for celebrating, I hope you find some joy. The holiday blues can be tough to handle from a mom's perspective. Use our tips of acknowledging, communicating, and furthermore avoiding, Christmas depression to turn things merry again.

Sincerely,
Fullest Mom



Guest Blogger Bio 

::Fullest Mom is owned by Candace Ann, wife and mom of 3. Her fundamentals are grace, laughter, and perseverance. She thrives off of coffee and hazelnut syrup. 

Her social media links are as follows:






Tuesday, December 13, 2016

::Survive the Holidays by Setting Boundaries & Releasing Expectations:: by Guest Blogger Eliza Boquin MA, LMFTA-Relationship Therapist

::GUEST BLOG POST- Survive the Holidays by Setting Boundaries & Releasing Expectations::


It’s the most wonderful time of the year...or is it?  For some, the holidays are the highlight of the year.  They look forward to the decorations, traditions, and family get-togethers.  For others, the holidays can trigger painful memories and serve as a source of anxiety and stress. But there’s hope and I’m going to share (2) simple ways you can survive and, hopefully, enjoy the holidays.

1.   Set Boundaries:  Setting boundaries is a term that therapists LOVE to use.  Essentially, boundary setting communicates to others what is okay and what is not okay with you.  In addition to physical boundaries, we can also set emotional and relationship boundaries. 

During the holidays, many couples struggle with how to balance the demands of extended family.  Each partner may feel pulled by their family/friends to partake and celebrate the holidays by their family’s traditions.  This outside stress often results in each partner taking their frustration out on each other.  Here’s the good news! If you set boundaries ahead of time you can avoid a lot of pain & frustration.

How To:  Discuss with your partner how the both of you want to celebrate the holidays.  This may mean setting new traditions.  Decide what works for your relationship.  Be as specific as possible.  What time will you allot for visiting one another’s family/friends?  What time will you reserve for your new traditions?

Communicate to one another what is most important to you – your must haves as well as what you’re flexible on.  It’s important to be as eager to meet your partner’s requests as you are for them to meet yours.

Once you’ve established your limits and rules refer back to them anytime a family member or friend challenges you.  For example, if your sister insists on having dinner for New Year’s Eve at her house because that’s what you’ve done for the past 15 years, but you really want to celebrate New Year’s Eve this year alone with your beloved then be ready to communicate that to your sister.  Note: It’s most important that the person who enforces the boundaries/limits be the one who has the most history with the person challenging the boundaries.

Benefit: By establishing and agreeing to your boundaries as a couple there will be less confusion about how to respond to outside pressure.  If you’ve decided as a couple what you will commit to prioritizing one another’s wishes, then you can both rest assured that you are both working towards the same goal.

2.      Release Expectations: Having a plan and a wish list of ways to celebrate is GREAT.  There’s nothing wrong with having a vision of how you would like things to go.  However, if you forget to include flexibility as part of that vision you’re likely to suffer from great disappointment when if things don’t go exactly as planned.  I’m no psychic, but you can probably bet on something not going as planned.  Depending on how you manage disappointment, your reaction may hinder your ability to enjoy the festivities.  However, by allowing for the unexpected you increase your likelihood and ability to manage the stress of things going off script.

How To:  Sit down with your partner and make a list of activities that are important to both of you--activities such as driving around local neighborhoods to see how they decorate their homes with holiday lights or baking cookies. Then decide again which are most important and how you will be flexible about.  It’s great to have a vision, but if you’re ability to enjoy the holiday is contingent upon strict orchestrated ways that these activities will be performed then you may end up disappointed. 

Also remember, this is YOUR vision.  The rest of your family may not find these activities as exciting or joyful as you.  If your ability to enjoy the holiday relies upon OTHERS enjoying the activities you planned you may end up highly disappointed and resentful. Stay flexible!  For example, decide that you want to see the neighborhood lights, but be flexible on the day/time you see them versus, “We have to go see the holiday lights on Christmas Eve at 8 PM with everyone in their PJS and then stop afterwards to get hot cocoa from the coffee shop drive-through because THAT’S WHAT WE DO EVERY YEAR!” That attitude may not spark the holiday cheer you’re working towards.

Benefits: By implementing flexibility into your holidays, you will be better equipped to manage the anxiety that may arise if things don’t go exactly as planned or if someone isn’t as thrilled about your plans as you.  This will allow you to stay in the moment, be present, and perhaps even laugh at the chaos.  I know…wishful thinking.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that the stories and the value we assign to life is exactly that…the value WE assign to it.  So this holiday season, decide WHAT you will prioritize and what value you will assign to it.

Happy Holidays!

Eliza Boquin, MA, LMFTA
Relationship Therapist


Thursday, December 8, 2016

::Top 5 Unique Gifts for the Awesomely Fun Momma in your Life::

::Momma Disclosure:: This post is not a sponsored, but some of the items below have been gifted to me by some of the shops mentioned below. All opinions are true and my own. 


We all have those people in our lives who have everything and who just need a little extra swag this Christmas. I love being a fun and cool Momma. Sometimes I fail, majorly, but I still love being a Momma. I have loved receiving the items below and know that there has to be that one Momma in your life who would also love them! I love it when gifts are more about the true thought put into it than the cost. The gifts below are all great items to add to any area of your collections and are also not going to break the bank! 

::Unique Graphic Tees:: 

I am known to wear graphic tees, a lot. This year I was happy to work with a couple of awesome Texas shops like; Sew Bonita (Frida Shirt below) and Taco Creative (Jesus Loves Taco shirt below). There are so many other shops where I get my t-shirts including places like Liv Luv Shop (Caffeine t-shirt below) & Pick Your Plum. As well as more common stores like Target or Walmart.  As part of my shop review with Elena, of Sew Bonita, we did an interview! 

It was our first time doing this hope you like it (Content edited by 90 Seconds Media): 




::Workout Clothes:: 

I am an active Momma. I am not the skinniest, nor do I run 10 miles a day, but I workout and love workout clothes! This year I partnered with Dick's Sporting Goods and received a gift card to purchase the items I needed and wanted most. They also sent me a great new pair of workout tennis shoes, all which I love. My favorites are comfortable form fitting yoga pants and bright colors! Loved this whole outfit from Dick's. I usually end up looking a hot mess after my workouts but at least now I look cute! Hey! 



::Mugs:: 

So, I have a little secret, or maybe not so much, I love MUGS! I drink tea more than coffee and I rarely use my pretty mugs but I love collecting them! These are my top favorites that I have sitting on my desk, looking oh so pretty! I also use them to hold my pens or business cards. Multi-use! I have purchased them in different places. Some local shops and places like Francesca's for the Blogging Day mug. The Calavera mug my co-worker gifted to me, of course, it's my absolute favorite!



::Unique Colorful Clutch bags or Purses:: 

This year I also partnered with Original Wear Travels Abroad, the three bags below are from some of their Spring and Summer Collections. You can truly never have enough purses. They are so handy and when you have options it makes getting ready a little more fun, such a girl, sometimes! There are so many shops that have unique pieces that are sure to match something in your closet and can turn into a great conversation piece at your next outing! 



::Unique Jewelry Pieces::

Also from Original Wear are the slice of heaven and colorful cuffs seen in the far right corner. The leather cuff with the large metal piece is from another amazing Texas talent, who is from the RGV (If you know me, I am a Texas Valley girl, so much support local!! so much support local?) the artist's name is Mitch Darte. She recently partnered with two local artists and opened a shop called Mi Casa Hidalgo. Check it out!! One of my favorite partnerships this year was with JORD Watches, their wood watches are amazing, and as holiday gifts, I am sure you'd make the Momma in your life very happy! The other items above are from The Silver Loft (red heart necklace and silver bracelet)  and  Luca Love Bracelets  (Set of 4 bracelets which include the Tree of Life, Story of Jesus and Alejandra's arrow, a set I created). 


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

::Blogging 101 Workshop:: at Thinking Girls Boutique

About the blogging journey..... 

When I started blogging in 2008, as my own personal improvement project to simply practice my writing skills, I couldn't imagine what it would become. I have long since left my job at Harris County Elections as part of their communications and outreach department but Momma of Dos has become one of the best personal improvement projects ever. As the year continued, Barack Obama became president and my inspiration grew. 2009 came and I became pregnant with my first son. My pregnancy was not easy. I quickly found myself expressing my pains, feelings, cravings and everything in-between and discovered, "mommy bloggers". 

 {Picture Credit: All pictures taken by Chris Pozo of Lex Photography




Soon after I had my son I realized I had become severely depressed during my pregnancy, since the depression "went away" when my son was born, I left it alone. 10 months after my son was born, I found out I would be having a second baby. This time a girl. And, that's how Momma of Dos was born. A new onset of depression began and this time it lingered past the first year after her birth. I continued to share and the sense of community became my free therapy. 

In the Summer of 2012, I could no longer hold it together. I went to therapy and eventually had a panic attack in the fall of the same year. I landed in the hospital and was sent home to rest, I quit my job and decided I would refocus and take some time off. During this time I attended my first ever blogging conference, LATISM here in Houston. My blog would once more grow. In 2013 I returned to work full-time this time more relaxed and with more motivation to keep blogging. I have since been part of various campaigns local and nationwide as well as have been invited to several conferences both local and out of state, even made it to Washington DC last year! 

Blogging has never been my full-time job, as a Momma/Wife with a degree, I have chosen to work outside the home and pursue a career which would match my education efforts. I work in Corrosion and that's pretty much all I share on here about my real job. 

Blogging is a side-gig which has afforded me MANY experiences and at times extra income that is very much welcomed! 




Fast forward to 2016, when I decided to host Blogging 101 classes partnered with Thinking Girls Boutique as the venue. The rewards of sharing  my journey, my work, and how to create your own blog for various reasons have been immense. I have met so many people from all walks of life. Those who just want to share their story of motherhood, of life, or their experiences to those who  are looking to enhance their small business' advertising/promotion strategy and exposure.

I love what I do and growth and change have allowed me to pursue passions I really didn't know I had.... 





Tuesday, December 6, 2016

::Wine Styles Houston with Houston Latina Bloggers::

::Momma Disclosure:: This is a sponsored post. All content is my true and honest opinion.




Are you looking for a great place to host your next company event, meeting or just gather with friends? I had never been to a wine tasting so when we were invited to visit Wine Styles for one of our administrative meetings with Houston Latina Bloggers, I was excited!

As a Momma who works outside the home I know that many daily business interactions are conducted over lunch or dinner. Some time those meetings are very high profile, professional meetings and with very important clients, vendors or organization members who like to have a nice dinner and drink wine. One thing I like to be is well educated in dining etiquetes. You just never know when you will need it. Which is why the Wine Styles experience was very unique and relevant for many occasions.






We received a small tour of the location which is very business conducive if needed, and relaxing for entertainment purposes. I loved the learning aspects of it as well. Our hostess, Crystal Ybarra was great, and so knowledgeable. She not only taught us about the different wines and what foods they are paired with she also taught us of the different senses used when drinking wine. I felt very comfortable learning about the wines and what to look for when tasting and smelling them.






And, if wine is not your favorite drink, they also have events with craft and specialty beers, their next event is December 16th!

Visit their page for more:
Wine Styles Houston is located near 249 on Louetta Rd.  in Vintage Park;