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I Rise

Life is a wonderful, bizarre journey.. Like everyone else, I have lived through my share of soaring highs and the lowest of lows. It has taken me years to learn that the best possible thing you can ever do for yourself is to learn to live in this moment, to take life one day at a time. Another thing to become fully aware of is that we are all in this boat ride together, we aren’t alone! Lately I feel so eternally blessed because for the first time in my life I am making all of the right choices, for me, and have learned to shield my heart and my mind from the criticisms of others. At the end of the day, I am happy, with or without anyone else’s approval! I have learned to love myself and understand that I will mess up sometimes, and that is okay, we all will. I am human, just like you. I have learned that I am strong beyond measure due to this understanding, because after I stumble, I rise.

Written August 26, 2014

Chicago | March 2014

#Photography #Travel #JuniperBloom #LifeisaLovelyDream

Last month the husband and I decided we would venture out of Texas for Spring Break and explore a new city. Can you guess where we went? Yep!

 C H I C A G O 

It was COLD and windy, but wow, we had a blast! However, I know you must be wondering why in the heck we chose to go to Chicago for Spring Break. I mean, hellooooo, it's freezing there! Aren't you supposed to go someplace warm? I have already been asked this question several times, and each time, with the same bewildered expression to accompany it. We chose Chicago for two main reasons!

1. We are going to be vacationing in Florida this Summer, which covers our bases for a warm vacation.
2. We have never been to Chicago before and have both always sorta wanted to see what the Windy City was all about. You know, with it being the THIRD largest city and all! 

We ate, we drank, we found some really amazing (authentic) blues dive bars, we tried one of the oldest ice cream parlors in the city, we went sightseeing, we drank TONS of coffee and hot chocolate, we hopped from train to train, we hailed taxis, we kissed in the snow at 4am, but most of all, we held hands, we enjoyed each others company while strolling along the city streets, we cuddled in our coats, we shared our dreams and we were in love. 

You might recall in one or several of my previous posts that my husband works out of state for 28 - 30 days at a time. So when we can afford the luxury of getting away together to reconnect, we steal it with no guilt or shame. It is such a bittersweet thing, him working out of state. Sure, I can catch up with my friends, and practically do whatever I want, when I want. It allows me a great deal of freedom, and I love that. Hell, for the first week.. ahem, maybe a little longer, I totally own my king size bed. I mean I sprawl out right in the middle, hog as much of the covers as possible. Wait.. I do that anyway. Damn. ;) But after a while I start to slowly feel the empty space of the bed suffocate any warmth that remains from him being there with me, the visions of him in my mind begin to dim slowly too. I get lonely. 

Through this experience I have learned that I am a very strong woman. Mostly due to one thing, people rudely asking me why we do this. Not out of general curiosity, but in a condescending, what is wrong with us, or we must not want to spent time together sort of way. Some have even been good friends of mine, so it has been hurtful to some degree. I am not saying everyone who asks has some rude intention or anything melodramatic like that. But some have. It used to hurt my feelings and I would get uncomfortable, but then I really thought about it. My husband and I are strong enough, in love enough and smart enough to make big sacrifices NOW for US later. In fact, everything is working out perfectly. We will finally be able to buy our FIRST house come the first of the new year, we will also be 100% debt free and have a killer savings account to boot. Sure, it is hard sometimes. But what we are gaining is so much more important than throwing in the towel for today's heartaches. 

Sometimes you've got to suck it up and persevere, my friends! 


Well hallo!! Today I felt compelled to share my experience (so far) with taking my first Tai Chi class. I am just beyond stoked about taking the course, first off. As a young girl, I dabbled in Tea Kwon Do but never belted up past my green belt... If I remember correctly. As I got older my fascination for most Asian cultures has grown, blossoming into the desire to learn Tai Chi. 

What is Tai Chi?
(Tai Chi Chuan)

The way my instructor describes it, Tai Chi is throwing your Chi, which is your energy or your life force. It can perhaps best be thought of as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined, or as my book explains, 

"Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is a healing/martial art that combines martial arts movements with Qi (Chi-energy) circulation, breathing, and stretching techniques. It utilizes the ancient philosophy of Yin-Yang and the Five Element theories for its foundation and to estabish its training principles. The training of Taijiquan includes the integration of mind, Qi, and body. The focus on Qi circulation was initially used for the purpose of increasing the internal strength of the physical body for combat. The same techniques that were capable of developing internal power for combat, also proved to be effective as life prolonging, healing and rejuvenating exercises. These health benefits are the primary contributions that led to the popularity of Taijiquan today." - Tai Chi Chuan 24 & 48 Postures With Martial Applications By Master Liang, Shou-Yu & Wu, Wen-Ching

Through only being in this class since January 14th, I have whiteness a shift in my perception, as well as the way I view everyday life, and how I handle stress. In Tai Chi, everything you do is focused around the intent behind your actions, right down to standing and how we breathe. 

Today, I was reminded of a quote:

Our time here is limited and it is no guarantee that we will be alive in the next hour, week, month or year, what we need more of is to take responsibility for our time and energy and stop blaming other people for our unhappiness and misfortunes in life. 

Bottom line: 

YOU are responsible for YOUR happiness, YOUR attitude, YOUR choices and YOU decided who YOU devote YOUR precious energy and time to.

Today, I challenge you to pay attention to your own thoughts and actions, instead of watching everyone else. How do you feel? What are your internal reactions to things? How do you tolerate issues throughout your day, both externally and internally? Are you genuine? What is the intent behind your words, thoughts, and actions? Do your actions reflect the REAL, private feelings you have inside your mind, or are they just an outward appearance of what you believe others want you to say, think or feel?

If you constantly find yourself in a situation where you are questioning yourself negatively, that drains you, makes you doubt yourself or does anything but lifts you higher or adds meaningful value to your life.. maybe it is time to step back and reevaluate. This goes for relationships, friendships, jobs, hobbies, anything in life really. 

We are given this ONE precious life. 
How do you INTEND to FEEL in it, LIVE in it or BE in it? 
It is all up to you.

Because I know the song is in your head from reading the title, it is in mine anyway, here ya go! 

Affordable Beauty Products.. That Work

Today I thought I would switch it up and do something a bit different by posting a beauty haul. I got the idea a while ago after watching YouTube video after YouTube video by all those lovely makeup gurus who post makeup tutorials and beauty product hauls. Which by the way, if any of you reading are one of those gurus, THANK YOU! You make gals like me love putting makeup on and brave enough to try out a new hairstyle or beauty product from your tutorials and reviews. You absolutely rock, please don't stop posting! I am certainly not brave enough to create a video and be that vulnerable, so I will stick to my comfort zone, safe from behind my computer screen. lol :D

Let's get to it, shall we? 

Suave Professionals Touchable Finish Hairspray

I have super fine/thin hair.. So when I style my hair I do not want anything that is going to weigh it down, I need all the volume I can get. I also really love to use a hairspray that has hold but that does not make my hair crunchy and stiff. I LOVE Suave Professionals Touchable Finish Hairspray! I mean whats not to love about this product? It's dirt cheap. It smells GREAT! It has a lightweight, flexible hold AND it comes in a big bottle so I don't run out very fast. You have GOT to try it, trust me! 

Suave Professionals Heat Protection Spray

I am sure you are just like me in the fact that you have tried just about EVERY DAMN thermal/heat protection spray, serum or leave-in ever created. Am I right? I mean jeez.. They come in all price varieties, shapes, sizes and who really know the difference? Who really cares? As long as the product does exactly what is advertised, it's all good! Since I love the Suave Professionals Touchable Finish Hairspray so much I bought this, and am equally please! Some of the heat products I have tried either leave my hair greasy or weird and crunchy.. and umm no to all that. The Suave Professionals Heat Protection Spray is also dirt cheap, smells great and doesn't leave some funky reside on my hair. Give it a whirl, you might just fall in love! 

Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Light Detangler

I find that sometimes my hair is really really hard to brush when it's wet. I don't want to rake through my hair and accidentally rip it out or add more breakage than I already have all thanks to the consequences of wanting platinum blonde locks. I have been trying really hard to be gentle to my hair and nourish it back to good health, so I bought the Pantene Pro-V repair Repair & Protect Light Detangler to use along with a wide-tooth comb for extra protection when brushing my wet hair. 

Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash with Shea Butter

My skin is ultra sensitive and gets very dry.. So when I read that the Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash with Shea Butter gently cleanses skin with a soap-free formula, contains shea butter and contains an entire jar of moisturizer, I though.. what the hell and bought some! I haven't been disappointed with it yet and am already almost through the entire bottle with plans to buy another. 

Olay Quench Ultra Moisture Body Lotion with Shea Butter

It is extremely important to moisturize your skin everyday, at least once per day. I have certainly tried my share of moisturizers, some are greasy, some never seem to rub into your skin, some smell weird and some are perfect.. and Olay Quench Ultra Moisture Body Lotion with Shea Butter is perfect for me. It leaves no residue and leaves my skin nice and soft! 

To be continued... 

Oh Hai!!

Jeez.. it has been a mllion years since I last posted, right?

Ay, mi vida loca.. *breathes deep, exhales slowly, shakes head and takes a big gulp of coffee*

So as you know from my last several blog posts, I recently spent some time (three weeks) visiting my husband in Wyoming. We had THE best time you guys, it was a winter wonderland to say the very least. It was so refreshing to get out of Texas for a while, clear my head and hit the restart button on life. I think we all need that from time to time.

So.. here is where the fun begins. Bear with me until the end, I promise there is method to my madness!


Last day in Wyoming, didn't want to say goodbye to hubby again. :(

I fly home then take the shuttle to The Parking Spot and my frickin battery was dead. Great! Thank the Lord that the folks over at "Spot" have encountered this issue before and easily/quickly gave me a jump, then I was on my way. Before I could go home and plop down on my bed to try to make up for lost time, I had to swing by my parents house and pick up my furry child, Joon. That was the cutest thing ever, I thought she was literally going to jump on top of me, she was so excited to see me! I finally get home, take her upstairs so I don't have to fight her, a HUGE bag and two carry on bags at the same time, then head down for the bags and my car battery was dead again.

Thankfully my husband left his truck at our apartment, otherwise I would've been without a vehicle altogether.


I have really done some heavy duty soul searching over the end of last year and have begun making so many positive changes in my life, one of those was to establish some new short and long term goals, one of those goals has been to take advantage of my city and explore. Whether this includes going to the Zoo, visiting the many museums Houston has, checking out a new restaurant or heading out of town.. I really want to make a few new friends in the process.

So on New Years Day, while browsing Meetup.com looking for new adventures I got the urge to create my own group. I am now the proud Organizer for Fitness and the City, if you live in or around the Vintage Park area in Houston, join us HERE!

We had our very first meetup on this day and it was a total success. :)

please excuse the mediocre at best image quality.. these were all taken with a phone. 


I celebrated my 31st birthday with some of my closest girlfriends, sister-in-law, and family!


I was sick. :( So, unfortunately I missed the first day of classes and was not able to meet my dad to replace my battery.


I got to cross off an item from my bucket list because I started Tai Chi!


I got up all excited because this would be the first day of my other two classes, I got dressed and headed out the door.. walked around the parking lot in search of my husbands truck. I literally thought I was losing my mind because the truck was NOT where I parked it. I walked to my apartment leasing office to see if there had been any reported towed vehicles, in hope of that being the case, nope. The truck was stolen.

So.. not only was I in shock, I was going to miss class, again.

It was just so stressful because my husband was out on a rig site with NO phone service, so I couldn't call him. I had to send an email hoping he'd eventually receive it and call me back. I called the police to report the vehicle stolen and they sent out a rookie.. which is totally okay, everyone is learning in life.. but when someone tries to tell you you cannot report your vehicle as stole, even though it was reported as abandoned and recovered on the complete opposite side of town will land themselves at the top of my shit list.

He tried telling me my husband might have driven it, and I stood there in disbelief because though my husband is pretty damn amazing I don't think he has mastered teleportation just yet. I explained the situation, nicely, and he then tried to tell me that since the vehicle had already been recovered I could not report it stolen. I was panicking because he just told me that the truck had physical damage and that it had been recovered on the other side of town, I couldn't possibly have driven it there myself.. I was grateful that the truck had been found, but was feeling very helpless and confused.

Thank God he finally called and asked his fellow officers how to properly file the report and they told him he would file a recovery AND a stolen vehicle report. What? I was standing right next to him, I couldn't help but eavesdrop!

Another bummer is that since my husbands truck was paid off, we had liability insurance coverage on it.. and that does NOT cover theft. So just a little advice would be to bump up your insurance coverage to comprehensive so you are covered in the event of theft. We are out 100% on this. All because someone wanted speakers, a radio, a window motor, a battery, tools and headlights.

Can you believe that? The things that make you go, hmmm. But, all in all, even thought this situation does suck.. We are alive and it could have been so much worse!

On a very good note, once hubby got back home I took him on his very FIRST camping adventure and we both enjoyed some much needed alone time surrounded by nature.

Until next time!

Twelve Days of Fitness Challenge | Day Eleven

If you are just joining us, feel free to catch up by clicking on "Twelve Day of Fitness Challenge" under the labels section on my right side bar, as well as checking out the Fit Armadillo Blog HERE! Want to join in on this challenge? Awesome! Check out our group page HERE! :D

Day Eleven is actually pretty boring.. because I took a rest day! I know.. I know, I can hear you already. But when it is -10 degrees outside, you go into instinctual hibernation mode. At least that's the story I am sticking to! 

I hope you have all enjoyed your week nonetheless! 

Twelve Days of Fitness Challenge | Day Ten

If you are just joining us, feel free to catch up by clicking on "Twelve Day of Fitness Challenge" under the labels section on my right side bar, as well as checking out the Fit Armadillo Blog HERE! Want to join in on this challenge? Awesome! Check out our group page HERE! :D

Hi'ya my lovelies! Tonight was such a great night. Know why? Hubby and I had a hot date and it snowed to boot! :D 

Follow me on Instagram HERE!

As I mention in one of my previous posts, hubby has a super unpredictable schedule, which in turn makes it kinda hard for us to get in some free time. So yesterday when he asked me if I would like to go on a date, I happily said YES!! In little ol' downtown Casper, Wyoming there is a neat little Italian joint called Botticelli Ristorante Italiano (view website HERE) and every time we pass by we say, "Hey, lets eat there sometime!" and tonight we were finally able to make that a reality!

Being in adventurous spirits we both tired something we have never tried before! Hubby ordered duck and I ordered lamb. Holy smokes you guys, they were both amazing BUT the duck. 

Out. Of. This. World.

We were blown away actually! (sorry no photos, I was being a good girl and left my phone out of our dinner date.. as much as I could.) To end our dinner we shared a slice of New York style cheesecake over some yummy coffee! ...Even the damn cheesecake was amazing, in fact I am prepared to say that it was THE best I've ever had in my entire life, and that is a bold statement! (har har ;))

After we left we were both in a food induced coma and didn't feel like hitting the gym.. SO we completed this!

... and I also completed today's workout for another challenge group I am participating in! 
Feel free to join in, don't forget to follow along on Facebook HERE. :) MWAH

I completed 4 sets for this challenge group and officially feel like a bad-a$$!

Well tis all folks, tis all. 

hopefully I will be able to get out of bed in the morning, or brush my own hair. :)