Sunday, July 29, 2012

Miss M.I.A....

Hi there!!  I know I know, I feel like I've been away far too long as well.  Believe it or not, I had a good blogging flow going there for awhile, and it was so therapeautic for me.  Just when you think things are looking up, you get HIT.

With a broken laptop.

Yikes!!  And it looks like I might have to send it off too...which is definitely no bueno.  Right now I'm sitting on my cousin's comfy sofa, using her computer to update real quick.  I definitely missed everyone though!  I feel like I've been missing out on so much not being able to catch up with all your posts!  It's just not the same on the ipad I have at home either.

Anyhow, I have to make it short, but the main thing I wanted to share with everyone was my WW weigh-in from earlier this week.



I did it!!!  I reached my goal of 100 lbs. lost!!!  102.4 lbs. to be exact.  This past week alone, I managed to lose 5.6 lbs.  All I have to say is...Zumba does a body goooood!!  You would not believe how freakin' excited I have been this week.  I celebrated with some friends and family, and took some time for me.  Everyone needs a little me time.

With that being said, I'm gonna keep on pushing foward, in hopes to reach my ultimate goal one day.  I don't care if it takes me months, or even years...I WILL get there.  It seems like things are starting to turn around for the better in some parts of my life.  I think it all comes down to the positive attitude I've been trying to have, and having the support of mi familia, y mis amigos/amigas.  And I can't forget to mention the never-ending support I receive from Him on daily basis...

Hope eveyone has a great Sunday evening, and an even better week!!  I will try to update as often as I can while my laptop is under construction, and hopefully that won't take too long.  :/  On a brighter note...wish me luck...I have not one...but TWO dates this week.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for me now!!


Be blessed...and stay blessed.

xoxo,
❤Nica

Friday, July 20, 2012

WW Weekly Weigh-In...and a peek inside...

My chiiccaasss!!!

This week has been eventful, to say the least, mainly due to work 'issues' coming up.  I've never really disclosed much about my job, but if any of you all are interested, it's a mix between case management/social work.  Dealing with people's lives on a daily basis is a huge responsibility.  I don't know how I've managed to do it for over 8 years now.  It's rewarding on so many levels, and although I will vent about it from time to time, it is where my ❤ belongs right now.

I am really looking foward to this coming weekend.  Guess what?  I have absolutely NO plans!  Sounds like a negative, but trust me, it's a good thing.  I've been wanting to catch up on my DVR for weeks now chicas.  General Hospital is calling my name!!  lol  Maybe I'll catch a movie also.  Speaking of which, I DID finally go watch Magic Mike.  One word.

YUMMY.

Review to come.  ;)

Earlier this week I attended my weekly Weight Watchers meeting.  You know what I was realizing on my way home that day?  I have never missed a meeting since I first started WW back in January!  Can we say NSV?!?!  How's that for accountability?  I love how this program is making me feel!  It really is a lifestyle, and sooo easy to stick to if your mind and ❤ are ready.  Plus, it is a biiig help if you get the support from friends and familia.  My family has been awesome, and have actually been following along as well.  Mi madre has lost nearly 40 lbs. herself!  That is just a-mazing, and I couldn't be any happier for her.



1.2 lbs. lost this week!  Yaaayyy me!! 

I'm gettin' there chicas...slowly but surely.  I'm doing it for ME.  Noone else.

I have to admit though, having people to lean on is essential in any journey, no matter how big, or how difficult that journey may be.  Awhile back, I said I would share a personal story with yall' about why I initially decided to join WW.  It's not because I've always secretly yearned to be skinny, or smaller.  It's not because I felt ugly or unwanted either.  Noone can make you feel disposable or unloved, if you don't allow them to.  Period.

In July of 2011, I was faced with the seriousness of the possibility that I may never be able to have a child of my own.  If that wasn't heart-wrenching enough, my doctor also informed me that there was a 5% chance that a few cells he had collected could potentially become cancerous.  I would never have found any of this out, because I would never go to the doctor chicas.  I finally listened to my own advice, after months of irregular cycles, and months of no cycle at all.  Scary, I know.  But that's how deep of a hole I had dug myself into, that I was putting my own health at risk, and ignoring all the warning signs.  I made an appointment with my OB/GYN, and faced the truth.  And yes, my weight unfortunately did play a big role in the start of these problems.  When I got those two wake-up calls, my initial reaction was complete sadness.  I lost all hope, and if it wasn't for the strength of the people around me, I don't think I'd be where I am now.  I did have to have a minor surgery, which was scary as hell for me.  I had never been under general anesthesia, much less have to visit the hospital for anything more than a bee sting in the past.  (YES I'm allergic...badly.)  The surgery went well, and I spent the rest of the year pretty much sulking.  That honestly sums it up.

Shortly after the holidays last year, my aunt finally convinced me to join WW with her.  I was hesitant at first, mainly because I was afraid of change.  A light bulb literally lit up one day, and that was it.  I decided I was ready, and I haven't turned back since.  I keep telling myself that the loves I do have now, my niece and my nephew, are the lights that keep me going.

Fast foward nearly 7 months, and thankfully, all is well now.  No more cancer scares, and the dream to have a child of my own one day is back.  I cannot stress this enough though...

Go to the doctor.

I don't care if it's for a lingering cold, a migraine you've had for days, or a problem similar to what I had.  You ARE important to somebody, and there ARE people who love and care for you.  Sometimes we just shut them out, and ignore all the red flags waving in front of us.  No bueno, either way. 

Love yourself first chicas.

You deserve it.


Be blessed...and stay blessed.

xoxo,
❤Nica

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Texas Tuesday (Volume 2)

Howdy yall'!
Soooo Texan I know...but that's the kind of mood I'm in, since it is afterall Texas Tuesday!  We really do have our own dialect down here, and being in a border-town has an even greater impact on my vocabulary and accent.  But that's a post for a different day chicas.

Today I'd like to share some pics from a little roadtrip I took to San Antonio this past weekend.  It was actually a family trip we had planned earlier this month, to take my niece and nephew to SeaWorld.  There are only three locations in the United States, located in San Diego, Orlando, and San Antonio.  This is one of the many reasons that I love love LOVE Texas.  As a kid growing up, going to SeaWorld was always a treat for my sister and I.  They have it all!  Amusement park rides, every sea animal imaginable, yummy snacks, games, an awesome aquarium, and just recently added, a newly built waterpark.  I used to love getting on all the rides, feeding the stingrays, watching the seal show, and always at the end of the night, my favorite, the Shamu Rocks show.  This is an amazing performance of killer whales and their trainers put on in the evenings, with great music, special effects, and lighting.  The kids...okay okay, who am I kidding...everyone loves it!  And if you're lucky enough to get seats in the infamous 'Splash Zone', just make sure you put your phones and cameras away in a safe, waterproof, place.  :) 

There are also 'Behind the Scenes' tours, where you get to interact with a lot of the animals on a one on one basis, such as feeding the dolphins and stingrays, and touching a shark.  We didn't take any of those tours this past weekend, as our main reason for visiting was the new Aquatica Waterpark.  I have taken a few of the tours in the past, and they really are pretty amazing.  Definitely memories that you keep with you forever.

Okay, so here are the goods chicas!  Enjoy!!



These are a few of the pics I took at the entrance to SeaWorld.  I remember snapping pics in front of these killer whales every time I would visit the park when I was a kid.





The aquarium at SeaWorld isn't the biggest in Texas, but it's still pretty awesome to visit.  Plus, it gives you a chance to get out of the heat, and cool off in the air-conditioning.  :)  Believe me, we needed that little break after walking a few hours in 100 degree heat!





These pics are from the Sesame Street Bay of Play.  I actually hadn't been to this section of the park before, but seeing as I had my niece and nephew with me, this was definitely on my list.  They had a blast, and actually got to interact with most of the Sesame Street characters walking around.  This area of SeaWorld is all kid-friendly, and has some pretty nice 'splash' pools and playgrounds for everyone to enjoy.



This was the entrance to Aquatica Waterpark.  The sand sculpture was even more WOW in person.  Unfortunately I didn't get many pics inside the park, for fear that my trusty iphone would get any kind of water damage.  No bueno.  But ohmygoodness we had so much fun!  I think I spent the majority of my time in the wave pool, relaxing and working on my tan.  :)
It is a definite MUST visit, and I plan on going again in October hopefully.

One of the other great things I need to mention is that if you have the annual pass for SeaWorld, you get free preferred parking, and awesome discounts on food and merchandise in the park.  It realllly came in handy this past weekend.  Plus, if you're on a budget like me, SeaWorld offers payment options online for annual passes, where you only pay a small monthly charge of about $10.00 per pass.  This beats having to pay full price up front, AND you're able to easily print your ticket online.  Love it!!

I hope some of yall' get to visit SeaWorld in the near future, and if you do, share some pics with me!  I'm sure you'll love it just as much as I do.  :)

This is gonna wrap up my Texas Tuesday for today.  And as a reminder, if you don't know what this link-up is all about, visit J over at 'An Unstyled Life', or Amanda over at 'Princess of the Panhandle'.  Anything and everything Texas is the motto!!


I'm off to my WW meeting for my Tuesday weigh-in.  Wish me luck chicas!!


Be blessed...and stay blessed!!

xoxo,
❤Nica

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WW Weekly Weigh-In

Hey gorgeous ones!  Happy Wednesday...happy hump day...happy who cares because it's almost Friday!  And Friday the 13th at that!  I am definitely looking foward to this coming weekend.  My body has been back at the office all week, but my mind is still in vacation mode, thinking of sleeping in, swimming, road-trips, familia, and good eats.

Yesterday was my WW weekly weigh-in day, and let's just say I was very surprised with the results.  I know I know...the number on the scale definitely does NOT define me.  I just can't help but be excited, because it brings me even closer to a huuuggee goal I set for myself earlier this year.



Yeaaahhhh buddy!  I lost 3 lbs this week!!  As you can see above, that puts me at a total of 95.6 lbs total loss since January.  The reason I was so surprised is because I didn't exercise as much as I usually do.  Thinking back, I may have only gone to 1 Zumba class, and went walking another night for only about 30 minutes.  I normally rack up about 35-45 activity points for the week, which for all my non WW chicas out there, translates to more food points.  This past week, I only managed to earn 15 activity points, and best believe I ate up every last point.  I guess I need to take my own advice sometimes, and give my body a rest.  It's not going to hurt me if I take a week off now and then, nor will I allow it to get me off track.  Honestly though, I did feel it, in terms of the amout of energy I had.  I felt like I was draggiinngg alll week long.  Exercising really does give me that energy boost that I love, and not to mention, puts me in such a great mood.  I leave my Zumba class with an 'I can take on the WORLD' attitude.  I have been thinking about switching up my routine a bit, because I would love love LOVE to be able to run a marathon one day.  Maybe start alternating between Zumba a few days, and walking/jogging 1-2 days, because chicas...I am nowhere near marathon material right now.  One day....I will get there.  Positive thinking is KEY.

My tracking wasn't all that great either, but it's okay, because I realize that I am going to have days/weeks like that.  I am not perfect, and all I can do is continue to put my heart into reaching my goals.  On a positive note, I had a few NSV's this week that made me feel
A-MAZING.  NSV's are non-scale victories, or in other words, all those little things that happen on your journey that mean the world to you, for your own personal reasons.

Some of my NSV's for the past week included:

1.  Being able to fit into clothing 2x smaller than what I was fitting into back in January.
(You have no idea how excited I was in the dressing room...I think shopping is my new BFF.)

2.  Getting compliments from friends and family, and finally being able to just smile and say 'thank you'.  I can't always do that.  Some of my fellow WW members will understand why.

3.  Giving myself a break, and letting my body rest for a few days.  Yes...even though I kept thinking, 'I should be at Zumba' right about now', I did need the break.  And going easy on yourself is not the easiest thing to do.  At least for me it isn't.



Love love LOVE Nicki...and these quotes are perfect for today.  It's been raining all week over here, and the clouds are starting to roll in as I'm typing.  Better get back to work before I'm forced to leave.  Office in a flood zone= no bueno.

Have a good one chicas!


Be blessed...and stay blessed!!

xoxo,
❤Nica


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Texas Tuesday (Volume 1)


Hey chicas!  I am so super excited about this post, mainly because it's my first time participating in a blog link-up, specifically titled 'Texas Tuesday'.  And yes, you guessed it...it's focused on all things Texas!  I ❤ my Lone Star State!

Texas Tuesday will be a post dedicated to anything related to this great state of mine, and anyone is free to link-up!  To read more about it, or to link-up as well, you can go over and visit J at 'An Unstyled Life', or Amanda over at 'Princess of the Panhandle'.  I absolutely loved their idea, so all you Texans AND non-Texans, feel free to join in!

For my first Texas Tuesday entry, I'd like to share with ya'll some of my favorite celebrities, singers, rappers, actors/actresses, etc. that hail from the Lone Star State.  There are tons more, but again, these are a few of my favorites for reasons listed below:

Photo courtesy of www.beyonceonline.com

Beyonce.

Need I say more?  She is aboslutely stunning, and I love love LOVE her style.  Not only is she an amazing artist, musically, as well as in acting, her sense of fashion is off the charts!  I was lucky enough to see her in concert many many years ago, when the original members of Destiny's Child were still together.  She hails from Houston, and has established herself as a triple threat in the music scene, as an actress, and most definitely in the fashion industry, serving as a muse, for what's known as the House of DerĂ©on.  Add all that to the fact that she is married to one of hip hop's kings, Jay-Z, and throw in adorable Blue Ivy Carter.

Singing...'Who Run This Motha'??

Photo courtesy of www.people.com

Matthew Mcconaughey.

Happy 4th of July!!!  Again!!!

Ummm...do I really need to keep typing??  Or can we just drool over him together chicas?  Omgoodness he is the epitome of hotness!  And to think I have YET to go and watch Magic Mike.  Shame on me!!  The ever so sexy Mr. Camila Alves was actually born in the tiny tiny town of Uvalde, Texas.  This little place is actually only about an hour and a half away from me.  One of my favorite Matthew movies of allll time has got to be 'Dazed and Confused'.  Really...reeaallyy...if you have not seen this classic, go watch it!!  You heard me!  I am officially giving you permission to close my blog, and call it a Blockbuster night.  :)

Hope you all enjoyed my very first Texas Tuesday post!  Again, if you're from this great state and love it, or even if you're across the country and maybe had an awesome experience here, feel free to link-up!

Have a great week!!  WW weekly weigh-in is tonight!!  Wish me luck chicas!



Be blessed...and stay blessed!!

xoxo,
❤Nica

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wham bam thankya maam'...

TGiF!!  Or....not.  For me, it just means that I'm closer to the end of my week-long vacation, and even closer to having to return to the oficina on Monday.  No bueno.  lol

I do hope that everyone had a great 4th though.  I relaxed, bbq'ed with the familia, and enjoyed some pretty fireworks after the rain finally cleared up.  Yup...it rained on Wednesday night down here.  Isn't that supposed to be a good sign?  Or am I confusing that with the wedding day/rainy day myth? lol  Either way, it was VERY welcome, even if it was just a one-nighter.  I feel so used chicas!!  ;) lol  Anyhow, I DO have an awesome recipe to share with ya'll, but first, here are a few pics from my 4th.

My precious nephew eating his home-made popsicle.

My niece and my godson having fun in the sprinkler.
My niece (making silly faces), and her cousin having a blast.

The clouds started rolling in towards the end of the day, and my
grandfather's flag waved high in the stormy sky.
These were just a few of my favorite pics from the day.  How did you all spend the holiday?

Yesterday evening we were going to have a bunch of family members over again for dinner.  Mind you, this is a pretty common occurrence for me.  lol  'Having family over for dinner', usually translates to 10+ people gathering together over good food.  Maybe it's a Texas thing...but when I cook, I cook to feed to an army!  lol

I created this recipe using the WW Recipe Builder on eTools again.  Remember, even though it's a recipe I created following the WW guidelines, it doesn't mean that if you're not on the program, you can't try it.  I'm all about the flavor, and satisfying, filling meals, for everyone's lifestyle.  Note, I did not say diet.  WW isn't a diet, but a lifestyle.  Love it.  :)

Here's my take on home-made chinese take-out, 'Rice Noodle Stir-Fry'.  Remember, I was feeding 10+ people that night, so this recipe will give you plenty of servings!


Here are some of the ingredients that I used, just so you get an idea of the brand, etc.


1.  KA.ME Rice Sticks.  I bought these at Wal-Mart, and I found them in the 'Asian' section we have here.  The package says 4 servings, and believe me it was more than enough.  Prepare these per package instructions, and set aside after straining, and rinsing under cool water.

2.  La Choy Water Chestnuts.  Drain and set aside.  Any brand will work fine.

3.  HEB Central Market Safflower Oil.  This is GREAT for stir-frys, and counts as a WW healthy oil.

4.  Argo Corn Starch.  This is used to thicken the sauce.


5. Some of the produce I used. You can add or omit veggies per your preference, but it may affect the PP value of this meal.

6.  Broccoli florets.  I used frozen this time, but prefer fresh.  Make sure they are somewhat thawed out before using them for this recipe.

7.  Wash your peppers, deseed, and cut into long, thin, slices.

8.  Wash your zucchini, and cut into slices similar to peppers.

9.  Add shredded carrots to the bowl.  I used the pre-packaged type.

10.  Take a damp towel and clean off any dirt from your mushrooms.  For this recipe I used plain ol' button mushrooms, but you can take your pick.  Mushrooms are so filling, and yummy!  Once clean, chop into quarters, stem and all.

11.  Wash your green onions, and chop into small pieces.

At this point, you've prepped all your veggies, which is probably the most time consuming part of this recipe, but well worth it.


12.  Cut your chicken into thin slices, or per your preference.  I used boneless, skinless chicken breast, which is a lot healthier than using beef.  Season with 1 tsp. of salt, and 1 tsp. of black pepper.

13.  Pre-heat your skillet on high, using 1/2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil.  This is just to pre-cook your chicken.  I actually used a wok for this recipe, but any large skillet will do.  Chicas...this wok has been used sooo many times, but I LOVE it.  It actually belongs to mi madre, and there is a great story behind the gifting of it to her...but another time/post.

Once your chicken is all cooked (browned slightly), set it aside in a large bowl.  Now comes the fun part!


14.  Add 1 tbsp. of safflower oil to your skillet, and heat on high.  Once the oil is hot enough, add 1/3 of your zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, and mushrooms.  Stir frequently, and season with 1 tsp. of salt, and 1 tsp. of black pepper.  Sautee the veggies for about 4-5 minutes, so that they stay crisp, and fresh.

15.  Next add in 1/3 of your thawed broccoli florets, water chestnuts, and green onions.

16.  Take 1/2 tbsp. corn starch in a cup, and add 1/3 cup of water.  Mix well.  Using your spatula, form a 'pocket' in the center of the veggies, and add your liquid mixture.  Then add 2 tbsp. of low sodium soy sauce as well.  I used Kikkoman Soy Sauce, Less Sodium for this recipe, which I found at Wal-Mart.  (gotta love Wal-Mart!  Or as you'll often see me refer to as 'Wally-World')  Cover and let cook for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes.

17.  Uncover and add in 1/3 of your cooked chicken, and 1/3 of your rice noodles.  You may have to rinse them under cool water again at this point, but make sure to strain them very well.  Then add in 2 more tbsp. of soy sauce, toss it all together, and...


Yummmyyness...I know chicas.  Soooo filling, full of flavors, and colorful!  I love when my meals have bright pops of color in them.  Makes my plate look even prettier.  Repeat the process two more times, as this amount of ingredients will make 3 batches.  I don't know about ya'll, but left-over chinese food is the BEST to me.  So whether you're feeding a large group, or it's just you and your close ❤'ed ones, you'll be more than prepared.

Here's the 4-1-1 on this recipe for all my WW partners out there:

PointsPlus Value= 5
Serving= 1 cup
Yields approximately 16 servings.

We had a great time cooking, eating, and laughing that night.  This meal is a great way to get everyone in the kitchen helping, especially with all the prep work involved.  Plan ahead, pre-chop the night before, or wait and put your familia to work!

Hope you all get to try it out!  Please let me know if you do, and what you thought chicas.  I'm off to a pool party tonight...hopefully it will be the start to a FANTASTIC weekend.
Have a good one chicas!!


Be blessed...and stay blessed!!

xoxo,
❤Nica

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July...

Hope you all enjoy the holiday today, and get to spend it doing something fun, relaxing, and memorable with la familia and friends. :)

I had quite the weekend the past few days, starting with a trip to the ER late Friday night, and spending the entire day Saturday in bed.  I must have caught a 24 hour bug, because ultimately when I left the ER that night, I was never really given a formal diagnosis for what was going on with me.  In short, I was having a very sharp pain come and go for over an hour that night, in my upper stomach/abdomen area.  It got bad enough for me to actually have my sister rush me over to the hospital here in town.  (YIKES!!  FYi...the ONE hospital here in town does NOT have the best reputation..speaking from personal experience with a family member in the past).  Anyhow, I was hooked up to an iV, given some pain medication, some medication for my nausea, and sent home after a few hours. 

I spent the entire day/night Saturday in bed, which really did suck big ones, because I had plenty of familia in from out of town for the weekend.  There was a baby shower planned for one of my tia's this past Sunday, and if any of my other mexicanas out there know...we do baby showers BIG lol.  By the time the day came around, I was feeling well enough to get out of bed, and actually have a little to eat.  The rest of the weekend was spent recuperating, and all in all, it turned out pretty nice visiting with some of my extended family.

Apparently, my vacation week decided to start off on a crappy note, but has progressively gotten better. :)  It's the 4th of July chicas...celebrate however you want, and for whatever reasons you want, as long as you are having a good time, and your heart is full.

Yesterday..no wait....yes...yesterday (considering it's already 1:48am), was my WW weekly weigh-in.  Considering the yucky bug I caught over the weekend, and the fact that I didn't consume much for a day other than Gatorade, soup, and crackers, I wasn't very shocked by the number on the scale during my Weight Watchers meeting Tuesday afternoon.



I lost 2.2 lbs. this week chicas, putting my total weight lost at 92.6 lbs.!!!  And to make it even more awesome, yesterday marked exactly six months since I started the program on January 3rd earlier this year.  I'm so pumped to be sooo close to reaching that 100 lb. goal!!!  As I was looking at these pics and reviewing my progress up to now, it actually felt a little unreal to me.  I'll get there one day...to the point where I can feel completely proud of myself, and acknowledge it too.

Now don't get me wrong, I am in NO WAY promoting or insinuating that not eating much for my 'sick' day was a 'plus' towards this notch off the scale.  Believe me chicas...and all my 'Believers' out there, I was sweatin' it thinking about how I was not eating enough.  Eating your daily PP values is VITAL towards your success on the program!!  I hate when I go off track, especially when I'm forced!!  lol  And I especially hate those days when it's hard just to consume your daily total.  I'll admit those days are few and far between, but they do happen sometimes.  This chica's gotta eat!!

And with that said...stick a firecracker in me...I'm pOpped/pooped...whatever. lol

Nighty night mis chicas!  Be safe tomorrow, and think of me as you're sippin' on your beer, grubbin' on that burger, and enjoying the color explosion in the night sky.  I'll be doing the same!!!


Be blessed...and stay blessed!!!

xoxo,
❤Nica