Samantha “Sweet Sammie J” Volmert

On February 29th I woke up, stretched, turned my alarm off, and started mindlessly scrolling Facebook. I came across several “I’m so sorry, what a terrible tragedy” type post in my newsfeed about a friend  from high school. Of course I naturally went straight to her page trying to figure out what in the world had gone so terribly wrong.

I remember frantically scrolling down and then gasping out loud. Tears sprung out and ran down my cheeks and face.

I hadn’t spoken to Keri in years, but we definitely keep up on Facebook. We’d see something on each other’s page and comment, rarely sending the other a private message…

Keri was in my home room in high school. I was always amazed by her perfect clothes and make up. Especially since I am almost 40 and still cannot do eyeliner well.

Keri was the ultimate girly girl in high school. On Facebook I would comment that “some things never change.” I am so jealous of how great her hair and make up look every day, the  girl is on fleek. She also loves football and hunting, and she’s pretty much just amazing and awesome.

However, no matter how pretty you are, how much money you have, or who you know, tragedy strikes us all. It’s part of the human experience. And tragedy struck her on February 29th. Her are her own words…

“On February 28, 2016, I changed my precious baby into her tiny nightgown, wiped her snotty little nose, walked through the living room with her in my arms as she proudly said “night night” to her Daddy and big brother. I carried her up the stairs and placed her down in her beautiful crib that was made for a princess. She cried a little bit, and I walked out of the room knowing she would be asleep within two minutes as she always was. I never would have imagined that would be the last time I would see her alive. The desperation and screeching panic in my husband’s voice the next morning as he went to retrieve her from upstairs is something I will never forget. I was in the kitchen making coffee and as soon as he screamed “Keri” I knew something was terribly wrong. I froze and he yelled my name again as he ran down the upstairs hallway. “I think Sammie is dead.” I met him as he rushed down the stairs carrying our precious angel who just hours before had been so feisty and full of life. Attempts to resuscitate her did not work and she was pronounced dead fifty minutes later at the emergency room. Even though our upstairs thermostat was set on 72 degrees cool, the heater was blasting upstairs and it felt like a sauna. The temperature registered 99 degrees on our thermostat which was as high as it could go (meaning it was over 100 degrees.) Sammie died of hyperthermia. Doctors believe she never woke up or made a sound since children (until age 3 to 5) cannot regulate their own body temperature as older children and adults are able to do. Throughout our shock and disbelief, we have researched and found cases similar to ours. Upon preparing to become a mother, I read multiple books and stories on possible dangers that could harm babies and toddlers. I knew blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, etc. could be dangerous to babies before they were a year old. Both of mine slept in sleep sacks with an angel care breathing monitor until they were one. I was such a worrier and they both stayed in bassinets in our room until they were six months old. I wish I had once read about this. There is a cheap temperature monitor I could have had-would have had If I had heard of even one instance where a child could die by a heater not turning off like it is supposed to. Our son, Jackson, is three years old and had been sleeping in our bedroom downstairs for a year because he claimed monsters were in his room! Doctors said he would have likely died if he had been in his room. We want others(especially those with two-story homes) to hear Sammie’s story so that children can be protected and other families spared from the horrific grief we are forced to endure each day.”

Today they will celebrate Sammie’s second birthday as an angel in heaven. I cannot even imagine what Keri, Larry, and Jackson will have to endure today. I hope God holds them close in the palm of his hand as they release balloons with messages on them to their sweet baby angel in heaven.

I never met Sammie, but I feel like through Facebook that I got to “know” her. I “liked” every picture that I came across of her. She was always smiling, a lot of times with a halo of flowers on her beautiful crown of hair, and she was always eating something that I wished I had in front of me.

Keri, Larry, Jackson, and your family and friends, I am praying for you all. And I encourage anyone who reads this post to do the same.

In honor and loving memory of Samantha “Sweet Sammie J” Joyce Volmert.

Win it Wednesdays!

Did you know there are only 16 Wednesday’s before Christmas? I didn’t either. I just counted.

In the spirit of giving, for the next 16 weeks I will be giving away some of my favorite things on Wednesdays. You aren’t going to want to miss this, so be sure to follow my blog! And this week… all you have to do is comment on the picture below and tell me why you would love this necklace. Winner will be drawn tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. {central}!

This gorgeous gem is from Marcie Finney Ditto of Mustard Seed Jewelry.  This necklace retails for $85.

*Katy is the winner!!! I will get this beautiful piece to you ASAP! I hope you enjoy your gorgeous necklace. xoxoxo

End of the Summer

I know a lot of moms are thrilled when school starts and the kids are back at school… Me, not so much. I love the summers with the kids. I mean, I work, so it’s so nice to come home and not have to do homework or rush dinner… To just be able to spend time and cuddle and do nothing but have fun. I love the chaos that summer brings and the lack of routine. I love being able to have an impromptu ‘movie night’ at 9 p.m., and not having to worry about waking everyone up in the morning. But, those days have come and gone. Cole started PreK 4 today. My little cutie…

That’s him eating a sandwich for breakfast as we walk out the door. No, I didn’t make adorable “First Day” signs. I barely got the boy dressed and fed. See his backpack? No? That’s because I didn’t even bother to pack it. It’s half days this week, and he’s four…

All that being said, I wanted to do something special with the boys the last weekend of summer, and I needed it to be super cheap. Like, free. After wracking my brain for awhile, it hit me. The beach at Lake Granbury! I had heard about it, but we had never been. The boys had a blast.

We had so much fun Saturday, we went back Sunday.  And we might go back tonight as well. I am so bummed I didn’t think about this at the beginning of the summer, but there is always next year! The beach is open daily 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. You can check it out here.  It wasn’t crowded, and it was sandy and perfect for wading and swimming in. This may be my new favorite summer spot! And, it’s FREE!!!!

The People I’ve Come to Know

Meet Riley Holloway. Fort Works Art took a risk when they hand selected Riley Holloway from what some would say, were much more talented and well-known artist. But that is what Fort Works Art does. It challenges the status quo. This gallery is standing strong behind their convictions, and making quite the name for themselves.

By choosing an African-American young, unknown male, they show their support of the Latinos and females and blacks {oh my, how un arty of them}. Fort Works Art is breaking barriers and opening dialogue in a community that desperately needs it right now. Their hybrid of high-end artist and the new risk takers is what makes them stand out among their peers.

Do not miss the opportunity tonight, Friday, May 20th, to meet Riley Holloway in person at Fort Works Art, 2100 Montgomery Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107 and support this unique and exquisite gallery.

In addition to this, Fort Works Art supports the youth of our community. Their other exhibit right now is the Betsy Price high school art competition. It’s nothing short of spectacular. This year had over 500 applicants, up from 230 last year. 65 works by 55 students were selected and Lauren Childs, co-owner of the gallery and artist herself said she was “stunned” by their work, stating “It’s so far beyond anything I could do at that age… It’s… very very impressive.”

But please don’t take her word for it. Come and decide for yourself. Tomorrow, Saturday, May 21st there will be a reception for the artist from 3 to 6 pm. The judging will be held at 4 p.m. and the artist will be presented their awards by the Mayor, and strong supporter of education, Betsy Price. Frist Place receives $5000 and the painting will be hung in City Hall for one year. Second place receives $3000, and third place $1000. Judging will be hard. Who would you pick?

Betsy Price High School Art Competition

The Betsy Price 2016 high school art competition finalist have been announced, and you are going to be able to see their work from May 17 until May 28th at Fort Works Art. The reception and judging will be held on May 21st from 3 – 6 p.m., at 2100 Montgomery Street in Fort Worth. These artist are so talented, and I cannot wait for them to be able to show off their work in such an impressive gallery. Please come and support these up and comers. The third place recipient will get $1000, second place gets $3000, and first place, $5000! Cha-ching!

The jurors are Andrea Karns – Curator of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Sedrick Huckaby – an award winning artist and Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Arlington. Most recently you can see his work on display at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, receiving the ‘commended’ award for  The Outwin 2016 portrait competition.

The winner of the 2016 Betsy Price high school award will be presented by Mayor Betsy Price herself at 4 p.m. on the 21st. I love our mayor. She is wonderful and supports the arts and a million other things. Thank you Mayor Price!

So come see these amazingly talented high school students. Seriously. Do it.

And bonus, you will also be able to see the collection of Riley Holloway.

Propane and Propane Accessories

I have worked for my father, who owns his own business in wholesale propane, since 2000. And yes, when everyone ask what I do for a living and I tell them, they always say, without fail, “So you sell propane and propane accessories?” No. We sell propane, no accessories. We sell propane in quantities of 9000 gallons or more, so unless you have a grill from your uncle Jolly Green Giant, I can’t fill your grill tank, so don’t ask. I don’t even own a grill, but that’s another story.

One day I was at Neiman Marcus, buying the only thing I can afford there, mascara {and even that is questionable} and I ran into one of my mom’s old friends that I hadn’t seen in years. Clearly, because she had no idea I worked for my father. “So what are you doing these days?” Miffy ask, as only a ‘Miffy’ could. I leaned over and cupped my hand next to my mouth and loudly whispered, “I sell propane.” Miffy looked perplexed, but that didn’t shock me. So I continued… “Yeah, I started working for my dad awhile back when I was finishing school, again {why go to grad school when you can go back for a second undergrad?} and I didn’t think I’d like it, but I started to really like it, and…” “Excuse me dear,” Miffy placed her hand on mine. “What did you say you do again?” “Wholesale propane.” “Oh!” Miffy’s face relaxed and she started laughing. I thought you said you wholesale COCAINE.” We both laughed hysterically. When I caught my breath I mused… “On second thought… I’d be making a lot more money… do you have a wholesale hook up?” That was years ago… and I stand by my ground I’d be making a lot more money if it was, indeed, cocaine.

Fort Worth Fit Body Boot Camp Grand Re-Opening

Fort Worth Fit Body Boot Camp, run by owner Toni Lacey, is having it’s grand re-opening this Saturday, April 9th from 9:00 a.m. until noon. If you have ever thought about trying out a boot camp, this is your chance! The talented staff is going to be running mini work out sessions in increments of 15 minutes, and in addition to that, they are giving away a ton of cool stuff! Free memberships, a free ‘challenge’ {trust me, you want to get in on this. The challenge that members participated in during January netted a group loss of over 800 lbs!} And one of my favorite things about these workouts… they are 35 minutes and change daily. You can’t possibly get bored, and talk about muscle confusion! Not only are they raffling off gym memberships, but there are tons of other giveaways, free food, and a bounce house, so bring the kids. It’s going to be so much fun!

I want to tell you a little more about Toni. She is from Canada and she is a red-head. These two things alone make her totally awesome, but it gets even better. She is so positive, and radiates that positive energy to all of her clients. And what a story she has… here it is, in her own words.

“My Why for what I do started in December of 2007. I joined my first gym ever when we moved here, to meet people. I was super lonely moving from Canada leaving my friends and family. What happened that next year was the start of my passion of fitness. In that year I lost 50 pounds, felt amazing, confident and I became very secure with who I was. I had found a happy place. I started to teach group fitness classes and went on to become a Personal Trainer. I was so happy, I felt great and completely loved what I was doing. Then in 2011 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, this was a very difficult time for me and my family. I went from a healthy, active life too not being able to walk, not being able to live the life that I loved, the way I wanted too. I was very angry and mad. I felt very sorry for myself and did not think it was fair. I couldn’t understand why this happened to me because I had done everything right, I was healthy, I had lost all this weight. I let all those feelings take control of my life. I spent a lot of time on face book sites for groups for Multiple Sclerosis (this just put me in a worse place with self-pity, most of the people on there had given up just like me.) One day something changed in my heart, I wish I would have journaled so I could remember how this happened. I do believe it was the good Lord giving my head a shake. This is where my why changed. I so wanted to be the great Mom and awesome wife that I used to be. I was sick and tired taking the back burner and not being there for my family. This is where I started to read and research like a crazy women. Prior to living with MS, I was quite content with the knowledge I had and content in the life I lived.This is where I realized I had to make changes. These changes started in my head. I changed my thought process from letting Multiple Sclerosis control my life to “I am gonna kick MS in the a$$”. Through my powerful thought process and changing my food I started to regain my life back. The anger, hate and self pity started to go away. I slowly returned to the gym and made it back up on stage teaching group fitness. I have never looked back. This is where the second part of my WHY comes in and how Fit Body Boot Camp came about. You see the gym I belonged to was a close-knit community. I knew everyone and they had seen what I had gone through. For them to see me push through and return gave people so much hope and inspiration. I realized then that my why was also to Help and inspire people. I honestly believe things happen for a reason and that God has put me exactly where I am supposed to be. I am supposed to help people like you guys. Do i still have tough days….Hell ya. Do I have days I want to quit…Hell ya. Do I still get angry…Hell ya. But when I get those thoughts and get control of them and stop ’em out. I look back and think my journey and really how awesome its been. Never easy but worth every moment of it. Life can be hard, but it is worth every minute. No matter how hard you are hit(cause dang it life can hit hard sometimes) Don’t stay down get up and keep pushing. Life is to short and so precious.”


After reading that, don’t you just want to meet this fiesty and vivacious person? Well lucky you, you get your chance tomorrow morning! Please come and share in this great {and free} experience. What have you got to lose except some pesky pounds?

Fort Worth Fit Body Boot Camp, 6489 Southwest Blvd., Benbrook, TX 76132. (682)704-9698.


Did that just happen?

Wow. I’m blown away. I started this blog a week ago, and by day three I had been contacted by a high school classmate that works for Fort Worth Weekly. He said he had read my blog {all two of the post} and was curious if I would like to blog for them. After I jumped up and down and Facebook{ed} all about it and called everyone I know as if I had just gotten engaged, again, or an Oscar… I replied and said, Yes. Yes I would be interested. They even said they would pay me. That’s crazy. But I’m fairly crazy… so I guess it works. I cannot wait until I get to start. I’m slightly overzealous. And by slightly I mean I want to turn in a piece tomorrow. They are not in a rush, but I am so like, feeling like a teenager with my first crush, I just had to shout it out to the world!!! Okay… I must act cooler… I must act cooler… That’s a tall order for me. Hmph.

Local Foods Kitchen

Local Foods Kitchen, aka, my grocery store, is simply amazing. If you haven’t had time to check it out yet, you must. A little over 10 months old, It’s tucked away right off Hulen on Hartwood drive in Fort Worth, and it’s like a little piece of Heaven. I found out about it on Facebook, and, at a time when my kitchen was being re-modeled last summer, it was the perfect place to pull right upfront and run in and grab dinner. It’s a farm to market spot, and, well look… I took a few pictures from tonight when I was grabbing my dinner and talking to owner and friend, Katie

It’s so stinking farm to market precious, and Oh my gosh y’all… it’s so tasty! They have a chef’s case stocked with items that change monthly, with things like grilled salmon, gourmet {and oh so delicious} mac-n-cheese. They have a featured turkey burger, think pesto, goat cheese, and a whole lotta, ‘oh yeah baby’. Right now they have king ranch casserole, grilled chicken, featured fish, featured chicken… trust me, you should check it out.

They also have a menu with soups, sandwiches and salads. I cannot recommend the Pimento Cheese BLT enough… it has rooster sauce and red onion, grilled to perfection and served on sourdough. The Hippie Crunch, with Guac, Sprouts, Tomato, Spicy Lemon Hummus, Cucumber, fried onion and walnut scallion is almost to Hip for me. Not really. It’s too delicious. Too delicious. Get one. The smoked chicken panini, layered with red onion, fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil pesto, and rooster aioli on foccacia… well… after reading that description, I shouldn’t have to say any more. And this is just the tip of the iceberg folks… The Kebab Cobb salad, featuring tandoori chicken, avocado, tomato, smoked bacon, red onion, cubed feta, red and green peppers, mixed greens and pita chips with Greek Tzatziki dressing, is my go to. I can’t get enough of the flavors… the dressing with greek yogurt and dill, is not only amazing, but makes me think the salad is totally guilt free. Speaking of guilt free, the also have many gluten-free selections, including desserts! If you stumble upon the gluten Free Ginger Zest cookies you must have one, whether you can tolerate gluten or not!

Their brunch menu is amazing but be sure you don’t go on a Sunday, they are closed! Also, don’t expect to be eating their late night… they close down at 7:30, so get there early, it’s definitely worth it! I recommend picking something from the chef’s case or menu and while you are nibbling on that you can have them bag up meals for the next several days. And why not drink a glass of wine, Bonus!

And if you are having an event, be sure to contact Local and ask for Katie! I went in one night when I was having girls over to my house at 7. I was there at 6:30, mind you they close at 7:30. “Um,” I him-hawed to Katie that evening… “Can I get a couple of sandwich trays?” “When would you like them?” Katie replied with a big smile. “Now.” I smiled, hoping that would soften the blow. She jokingly shook her head, and said, “What do you need?” Now, I don’t recommend this… I just happened in on a slow night, but she is the best. So accommodating. Not only did she come through… She made simple black catering trays look elegant, decorating them with fresh flowers and greens, for no extra charge. She will also let you bring your own trays up there and arrange things for you. I’m telling you folks… If you need a cheese plate, this is THE place to go. Her goat cheese log… TO.DIE.FOR.

In summation… If you haven’t been to this place, you are missing out. If you have a get together, you need to talk to Katie. She’s the best. If you like to eat food, you will enjoy Local Foods Kitchen. Did I mention at brunch they have a breakfest burrito with a tamale. A FREAKING tamale. Yeah. This place is that good.

Thanks for reading! And if you stop in Local, tell Katie I said hi! xo, Alexis