June is International Cavernous Angioma Month

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Five years ago, I was on the roller coaster of my lifetime dealing with my cavernous malformation which hemorrhaged and nearly snuffed me out. Of course, I am so grateful to God, and my incredible doctors and medical team, to still be here today.

Raising awareness about this rare and untalked about condition is something I am very passionate about.

The Angioma Alliance is an organization by and for those affected by cavernous angiomas and their loved ones, health professionals, and researchers.

Like many, many others, I had never heard of this condition prior to my diagnosis.

I suffered with headaches throughout my entire life. I always thought they were due to stress and never really thought much else of them. I just thought it was semi-normal thing to deal with.

Clearly, it was not. At age 25, after my health deteriorated severely over the course of a few days, and an emergency trip to the hospital resulting in a troubling CT scan, it was discovered that I had been born with a cavernous malformation in my brainstem.

Social media saved my life

For more of my personal story and recovery journey, please check out my previous brain surgery posts.

Now, you can bet, that I always encourage friends and strangers who suffer with horrible headaches to go and see a neurologist. You never know what “just a bad headache” can actually be!


What is an angioma or cavernous malformation?

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Did you know 1 in every 500 people have a cavernous angioma (also known as a cavernoma or cavernous malformation)? For most people, a cavernous angioma remains silent and dormant.

Unfortunately, we have no way to predict whose cavernous angioma will become active and cause a brain hemorrhage. Once the lesion hemorrhages, it is “awake” and can hemorrhage again.

Brain surgery remains the only treatment and isn’t an option for many because of the danger. Learn more: http://www.Angioma.org.

Please share this post to help bring awareness and shed light on cavernous malformations.

Spring Break at Villa Del Palmar Cancun, Mexico

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Since Hubby and I moved into our home back in 2015, it has been quite a while since our last vacation!

A few weeks ago, an opportunity to travel with some close friends came up and we jumped at the chance to get away. Spending Spring Break in Cancun, Mexico this year was amazing

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We stayed at Villa del Palmar Cancun Beach Resort & Spa located just north of the city of Cancun at Playa Mujeres.

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If you think Cancun during Spring Break.. it can get a little wild and crazy but this resort was very tucked away on a private beach location. We wanted to relax during this vacation so it really was the perfect setting.

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This all-inclusive was fantastic on all points. Beautiful, well-kept grounds, gorgeous accommodations. Great food & drinks, awesome restaurants, quality service, and very attentive staff. And not to mention, The BEST SPA EVER. One of my favorite events of the entire trip was our Spa Day Massages!

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The rooms all have very, very comfortable beds. My favorite feature is that every room’s balcony comes equipped with a lovely and super comfortable hammock for guests to enjoy… It was sooo nice! I loved getting a little taste of the hammock life.

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Another really sweet surprise was the resort’s band of mega-talented Cuban musicians, called Grupo Santa Fe De Cuba. These guys serenaded us by the pool with a traditional cuban song at my request. I loved being able to chat with them about my family and my Grandma’s little town in Cuba & they knew exactly what I was talking about. I cannot wait to go to Cuba one day soon!

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The weather in Cancun was perfect each and every day. We really got lucky. It was so nice not to deal with the Houston humidity and heat.. Cancun’s climate was just BEAUTIFUL.

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Until next time!

xo, xtine

Let the wedding planning begin!! #WhenBridesmaidDutyCalls

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First off, friends, I have to apologize about my posts being so few and far between the last year or so. I’ve been very happily focused on my full-time career (offline) – in turn, my actual hobby blogging time has been scarce. For more frequent updates, please do follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Now on to some GOOD NEWS!

In the last year, both of my little sister-in-law’s have gotten engaged to really great guys. A growing family is always a blessing and it’s a really exciting time for our family.

I LOVE weddings so to have these two very special days coming up for two of my closest ladies (and only siblings) — I am THRILLED.

Well, today, my sister-in-law made it official and asked her bridal party to come together.

It’s awesome each and every time bridesmaid duty calls (this will be my 3rd) but this occasion is extra special. My first sister to get married! <3

I’m so absolutely honored to be asked & of course, I said YES!

The get together was so beautiful today.

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The bride to be spoiled us with brunch and a bunch of goodies.

Including, the most unique way to ask… a scratch off card!!! (plus, a special heartfelt note inside from the bride that means the world to me that I will treasure forever).

She also had these SUPER cute shirts made for all of us.



So needless to say, LET THE WEDDING PLANNING ADVENTURE BEGIN! These girls are READY!

We love you, Jenn! & look forward to the next few months of making things just as you have dreamed for your special day!



July, already?! Announcing the newest addition to our family!

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Hey guys! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post. Time sure does fly! I’ve been keeping busy with work, working out, family time, and enjoying the SUMMER.

Here are a couple of non-weight loss journey new updates since I last wrote:

Hubby and I welcomed another fur-baby into our bunch!

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Meet Boston.

We got him Mother’s Day weekend and life just hasn’t been the same since!

You guys might know, I grew up with an amazing little Miniature Schnauzer. His name was Comet. Yes, named after the Full House dog *hardcore Full House fan here*. He was my world. I loved him from puppy to senior citizen and beyond.

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As an only child, I always considered him my brother. He was with me from the age of six to almost twenty four. I was so blessed to have my best friend with me for so many years and my husband even got to know him.

But since his passing five years ago, there’s always been a hole in my heart (the size of a Schnauzer). We’ve had Boston for only two months but I can’t even begin to explain how much he’s helped to heal that heartbreak and mend that wound. Dog lovers will only understand.

Our puppy is definitely keeping me and my husband busy. Along with our other two fur baby girls, Chloe and Andie. Our family of 5 is complete  for now!

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Hubby and I have also been working on our home.

The end of August will mark our first year anniversary of owning our first house. We are so blessed!

Over the Fourth of July weekend, we took advantage of some great furniture sales and are very much enjoying making our house a home little by little. Shout to Sam at Star Furniture’s Clearance Outlet in North Houston!!

I’m one of those people that these things take time! I don’t buy something unless I’m really, really in love with it. Plus, I like to shop around! But we got very lucky last weekend and got some great pieces for the living room.

(No pictures because the furniture hasn’t been delivered yet. & yes, the anticipation is killing me!!)

I wish you guys a wonderful Summer. Remember to take time for yourself and your loved ones. Life is busy and oh-so-good. Make the most of every moment!!!

Diet-To-Go’s 2016 List of Top 100 Weight Loss Blogs

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Last week, I received some very AWESOME news.

I’m so excited to share that I’ve been recently included in Diet-To-Go’s 2016 list of Top 100 Weight Loss Blogs!

I’m humbled and super honored to be a part of this GREAT group of bloggers sharing their journeys of weight loss, health, and self love.

I’m listed at spot #15. Check out the entire list here!

It’s been incredible to join the weight loss world via my blog and social media these last few years. The community, as a whole, is just so inspiring and supportive. It’s without a date been a tremendous part of my weight loss motivation and still continues to be as I continue my journey!

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Everyone is capable of making change in their life. Living the life you love and working toward the best version of you inspires all of us. The ability to share those stories only helps us build this positive momentum in our lives.

We continue moving forward and the biggest secret to success is support!

Thank you, Diet-To-Go!

& as always thank you to all of my readers and followers. Your support along the way is priceless and means the world to me.

Progress Update & New Jenny Craig Menu Items! #WeightLossWednesday

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Disclosure: I was provided a free trial program and a discount on the Jenny Craig meals. However, the opinions and writing in this post are entirely my own. Results not typical. Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs per week.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a weight loss journey progress update. Since beginning my journey in September of 2013, I am down -87 lbs!

58 lbs of this weight loss has been with Jenny Craig since February 2015.

With all of the plans I’ve been on before, THIS one is definitely the one that works best for me. I still have another ~40 to go in order to reach my final goal weight.

I’m excited to get it done so I can move into the maintenance part of my journey.

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I’m finally getting back into a healthy routine with incorporating working out into my busy work schedule and NOT making anymore excuses.

My willpower is back – and saying no to temptations and yes to a better me is getting easier and easier again! My focus is strong on reaching my goals.

This week I wanted to feature two of my favorite Jenny Craig meals – they’re new and delicious!

The first is the Southwest Chicken Salad Topper.

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It’s super delicious. You heat up the chicken, veggies, and beans then pour it all over your bed of lettuce. You also have tortilla strips and a little bit of shredded cheddar to add. Then I add my favorite salsa and viola…. healthy deliciousness!!

The new Classic Cheeseburger is taking over for the Beef and Cheese Slider.

I tried one last week and it’s sooo much better! Less bread and more of the good stuff. Also, I find that this one is much easier to load up with all your favorite burger fixings.

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I also tried the new and revamped Grilled Chicken Sandwich and it has highly improved. I couldn’t eat the old version at all. This one is much more tender and juicier. Definite upgrade!

Here’s this week’s #SweatySelfie:

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Thanks so much for reading!

Remember, if you guys have any questions for me about my weight loss journey, Jenny Craig, or any other topics you would like me to cover, please write in and let me know!

I’ll be happy to feature them in a future post!

3 Tips for Building Your Weight Loss Motivation Momentum

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Disclosure: I was provided a free trial program and a discount on the Jenny Craig meals. However, the opinions and writing in this post are entirely my own. Results not typical. Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs per week.

Of course, we know that the biggest motivation is when we see our hard-work paying off. Results like the numbers dropping on the scale, feeling it in the way we wear our clothes, and having added energy, etc. This is what we call building your weight loss MOMENTUM.

But, unfortunately, this won’t happen overnight. Good things like changing your life forever TAKE TIME. So you have to stay patient, stay positive… dedicated and persistent…

Once we DO start seeing results, though, it gets easier and easier to make healthy choices in our daily life.

Stay committed. YOU WILL GET THERE.

Here are three tips to help you build your weight loss motivation momentum while on your health journey to a happier, healthier life:

1.) Practice Mindful Eating and Enjoy your Food

Luckily, on the Jenny Craig program – I get to enjoy some really tasty foods. Mindful eating is the practice of slowing down and truly taking the time to enjoy what you are consuming and nourishing your body with. One thing I’ve always struggled with is eating too fast and gobbling my food down without even really tasting it. It takes TIME for your brain to register that you are full… so SLOW down, what is the rush?

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For further reading, check out this really helpful infographic all about the practice of mindful eating from the University of Illinois.

2.) Take Sweaty Selfies After Your Workouts! 

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If you’re like me, you feel your best and most empowered after a great workout session. Whether it’s kicking butt in the gym while on a cardio machine, weight lifting, running, spinning, doing a group class, or working out at home… there’s something about SWEAT that is just so encouraging!

It’s physical PROOF. How does that one quote go? “Sweat is fat crying” – YES!

“I wear all black when I work out because it’s a funeral for my fat” – YES! LOVE IT! KILL IT!

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Literally, by keeping record of your sweat sessions and documenting your journey with these photos, you’ll be able to see your hard work pay off… I think there’s nothing more awesome than documenting your weight loss journey – especially, all of the hard work you are putting in to bettering yourself!

I’ve hoped on to the #sweatyselfie movement and totally recommend you doing the same! Have fun and post your photos to Instagram with the hashtag #sweatyselfie.

Currently, there are 164,804 #sweatyselfie photos! Awesome. Go team!

3.) Have a Daily GOAL Reminder!

My Jenny Craig Anywhere consultant, Amber, suggested this idea to me. Go out and buy a goal outfit or do like I did and bust out a goal dress that you’ve had hanging in your closet.

Hang your outfit up, front and center, so you can see it/feel it everyday. It’s a great physical and visual reminder of what you are working so hard towards!

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This is my goal dress. I want to fit into this sexy little purple dress by my 29th birthday (which is in July)!

The story behind this dress is that it was a gift from my Dad years ago and unfortunately, I gained weight so quickly at that point that I wasn’t ever able to even wear it out. I WILL be in this dress soon! Mark my words.

What’s your daily goal reminder? Do you have a #goaldress, outfit, or swimsuit that you’ve purchased to motivate you to reach your goals?  Share it with me in the comments section!

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