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

Friday, January 5, 2018

::Momma-sanity:: Top 5 tips to keep mentally sane as a working Momma

Imagine you’ve been up since 5 am, gone to work for 8 hours and dealt withwell, work. 

You are now home trying to make dinner and get ready for the next day but to add to the mix, you are also dealing with a sick child. You are standing in the kitchen waiting for your husband to come home and help take over the madness. You are dazed and confused staring into space while your second child has been wreaking havoc on your entire house for an hour. 

No? Just me. Well, let me be real. This is my life most days. 

Crazy schedules, kids school activities, work from 8-5 pm and trying to pursue my own dreams and passion as a writer and community leader. All these things! Not complaining, I chose this life. I earned a degree so that I could have a career that would help me provide for my family. It's part of my purpose. I am one of those momma's who LOVES to work outside the home; of course, that means that home life and extra-curricular's can get a little tricky. 

But not impossible; and trust me I am a firm believer that a momma can have a fulfilling career as well as have plenty of time to make amazing life-lasting memories with her family. I am proof of that. I have no regrets of working 40 (plus) hours a week and only seeing my children and husband nights and weekends. We have so much fun, I am uber productive and my real purpose shines in every area of my life because I am happy and fulfilled. 

How? Well here are my top 5 tips of things I do to keep mentally sane as a working Momma of Dos and other challenges because we all have them. 

1) Create a schedule but know that SHIT happens.

I don't always have it written down but I have a mental schedule of things we must do weekly and sometimes daily. This includes work, school, doctor appointments, soccer for my son, dance for my daughter, me time for me and time for husband with his friends or co-workers. Do we follow the schedules to an exact science? Nope

That's where the sanity part comes in. Some days we are WAY off schedule and things don't get done cause we sit on the couch and enjoy each other’s company (which is hard for a busy body like me) but when we do, I am happy. 

The trick here is to not sweat the small stuff and be flexible with the idea that things will happen and you might not be on schedule every single day. 

2) Eat well, stay healthy and workout.

One of the best things I can do for my family is to remain healthy and fit. I learned years ago that when I exercise alone or with a group of ladies, away from my house and family I am happy. I get some amazing quiet, thinking time and/or awesome company when I do my group workouts which include other local momma's. I get an hour of happy, healthy me time, I love it! Plus, remaining healthy, trying to eat well and staying active is good overall for me as a human being not just because I'm a mom. I feel more energized and don't get sick as often which helps me be productive for my home! 

Now the sanity part. Do I work out every day and eat salads at every meal? NO. I try to workout 2-3 times a week and try to replace a big meal every other day with a good salad. I am a firm believer of balance: it does exist. Not saying I eat pizza and burgers every other day: at least I try not to. I limit those to 2-3 times a month, if not less. I do try to run home every other night and make a home-cooked healthy meal for my family. Does this happen every week? NO. Some weeks we are so busy after work that we eat out or pick up fast food because it's inevitable. 

We try hard to eat well often and remain active. 

3) Remain Active and Explore as a family.

Confession time. I'm a lazy Momma! Some days I can't or don't want to move because we are so active and always going. But my Husband is great at suggesting fun outdoor activities: parks, the zoo, museums, fishing, camping or the beach! He has to drag me out of the house while I grumble and complain but once we are out and about, it feels great! 

The kids love it and we have fun even if it's a simple walk on a new trail in a local park or if it's a day out and we picnic on the beach or fishing pier. 

Those are the moments when I am creating awesome memories with my kids! They remember those small moments and appreciate them so much, as do I! 

Sanity moment, don't worry about "creating memories.Focus on having fun and relaxing with your family. It's those spontaneous moments where nothing is truly planned that my family and I have made the most precious bike riding on the Galveston Pier or exploring a new park in our area and following a trail for miles! 

Nothing forced is ever fun.

2 years ago we did our first big family road trip. We drove from Houston, Texas (our hometown) to Destin, Florida (a gorgeous beach), and on our way back we stopped in New Orleans for a few days. It was "planned" but it was the best time we have had and my children remember every moment. It's the small things that matter.We didn't do anything too big and fancy, just us driving across the country and enjoying the time. We played the "telephone" game at dinner one night and the kids had a blast. Like I said, don't sweat the small stuff, and just relax. 

Which again for someone like me, this is easier said than done.


I mean some real me-time! Not the time you have while you go to the bathroom and lock the kids out or when you hide in your room while they are distracted watching TV and you enjoy those 10 minutes before they find you. I mean real me-time, away from it all! 

Going out for dinner and drinks with friends. In my case, attending events and workshops for my blog, or just hanging out with a girlfriend for breakfast or lunch. Getting a mani/pedi or your hair done or going on a fake mini-shopping spree at Target! That dollar spot though! Ha! Or whatever it is you like to do for YOU. Just time to pamper yourself. It's simple.  Make time, schedule it and then GO. At least twice a month, if not more. 

Taking care of me and making time for myself has been a wonderful investment. I try to get out as often as I can escape. Yes, it's not easy but I do it. I love when I do because I get to see my friends and truly relax. Everything about this screams sanity!   

5) Know your limits.

This is hard which is why I am writing about it. I am the type of person who does it all, takes it all on, and then falls so exhausted at the end of the day. It's insane! I have learned in my last almost 7 years of parenting two children, working full-time, following my passion and trying to be a normal momma, that I can't do it all. And, I probably won't. 

Sanity moment, IT'S OK! You don't have to be Super Hero Mom 24/7.Your sleep, health and sanity are more important. My friends will read this and laugh because they know it's BS coming from me. I don't rest. I get super sick and I feel like a failure a lot. I never said I was perfect; I only said I was trying to remain sane. 

To my defense, I am learning to rest and sleep more and not worry so much about the world and it feels good to be carefree sometimes

Know your body, your limits and how much you can do. Learn to say NO and move forward happy with your decision to take on less. It's necessary for you and your family. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

::Momma Podcast:: #InspiredSeries

It's 2018 Y'all!!! 

Did you miss me? Well, I am back. Sharing some fun ladies this week. Here we go. 

One of my favorite things to do is listen to Podcasts. I might have mentioned in the past that one of my favorites is THE MFCEO. Well, think of that but with MOMMAS! 

I started following and listening to Elle and Liz a few months ago when we met in a Facebook and Instagram group. Their conversations are SO fun, so real and so heart-warming. They have truly inspired me and moved me to tears with their shows. So, I decided to kick off the year by featuring them and their Mami podcast. (Links at the end of this post.) 

Hoping to one day follow in their podcaster footsteps... hello universe in 2018, te hablo a ti. 

:: About Oye Mami Hosts :: 

Hi! Our names are Elle Gutierrez & Liz Quirion, We are 36 & 32 yrs old and we are from New York City. Upper West Side and Brooklyn to be exact. Liz's parents were both born in the Dominican Republic and Elle's parents were born in the Dominican Republic and Ecuador. Liz is married and has three children, a 3-year-old son and (surprise) twin 2-year-old girls. Elle is married to her college sweetheart and has three children, two girls ages 10 and 9 and one 5-year-old son. 

:: Interview :: 

Tell me what is it that you are after when it comes to your podcast? What was your original goal? 

We wanted to give women like us a voice. The American Latina is a forgotten genre. Our audience loves Univision as much as ABC, the Latin Grammys as much as the VMAs, Biggie Smalls as much as Marc Anthony. This country is filled with women just like us who struggle with being the bridge between their Latino and American cultures. Our goal is to give these women a home.

Tell me what motivated you to start on this journey?
What motivated us was that during our weekly bochinche calls we would always have a story about someone pointing out how we weren't Latino or American enough. That's how this all started two outsiders rallying up other outsiders and becoming a movement.

Was was your plan of action?
Our first plan of action was to start our podcast off with a good foundation. We studied and learned for a year. We split responsibilities. One of us did all the tech and marketing research while the other listened to podcasts all day so that we could know what we did and didn't want to do. We also worked with our podcast spirit guide, Jackie MacDougall who is a TV & Digital Producer, Podcaster, Writer, and Media coach to help us kick off our podcast in seamless manner. 

How did you first get started and what was the most difficult part?
The most difficult part was going live and sharing our idea with whoever wanted to listen. We stalled so many times. Nothing was ever "right". The fear of vulnerability was our biggest obstacle. 

Did anyone help push you or inspired you to get here?
Elle: My husband. I am so grateful for his support and how he believes in my crazy ideas even more than I do. Also, Liz. When I called her with this idea she could have easily said, "Bish, you crazy" but instead she said, "Let's do this bish". 
 Liz: Elle inspired and pushed me to get here. My husband and family have also been so supportive in believing in our mission and pitching in to help with my three toddlers whenever I need it.

What has your progress been?

We set short term goals and surpassed them. Not to sound super cliche, but we are truly blessed that putting our hearts on our sleeves is being well received. It shows that this was needed. 

How are you keeping motivated to continue down this path?

What keeps us most motivated are our listeners. We had no idea what an impact our show would make in people's lives or how many women would connect with what we were going through. Men too! Whenever a listener slides up into our DM and says that we make them feel normal or that we get them or that we helped them get through a tough day gives us so much motivation to keep pushing. If you have listened to our episodes from the very beginning until now you will see how we held back more in the beginning and are now at a point where we say, "F-it, don't leave that on the cutting room floor because someone will connect". 

What advice do you have for others in your place?

Our advice would be to lead with your gut and work with your brain. Get ready to lose sleep, make mistakes, and get good sunglasses because the shade is real.

We all struggle daily with so many "self-issues"; what has been your favorite quote, book, movie, item, or website that has helped you keep strong and move forward?

Elle: For me and don't laugh it's DJ Khaled. His positivity is contagious. Whenever I feel overwhelmed I tune in to his snapchat story and feel like, if Asahd is a king, I'm a freaking king too. Liz even sent me a DJ Khaled book when I was in one of the lowest points in my life. She loves me. I also keep a mini notebook in my purse where I write my own personal quotes that pop into my head and reading those over inspire me. Now I sound like a low-key narcissist but seriously, re-reading those one liners that I came up with make me re-connect with those times. Some positive, some negative and they inspire me to keep moving forward and creating even more one liners. 

Liz: "It's never too late to be what you might have been" that's my favorite quote by George Eliot. I remember the first time I read that quote. I almost came to tears because I was at a point in my life where I was scared and then this quote popped up and I was like, THIS! THIS! THIS! It keeps me in check every time I think it's too late to accomplish my dreams. 

You can contact Elle and Liz (Oye Mami) via 
Twitter: @OyeMamiShow 
slide up in our DMs on Instagram: @OyeMamiShow