name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day


2.13.2019

Faster Way to Fast Loss - A Review and My Six-Weeks Results

Get ready...I am about to blast my feelings about The FASTer Way to Fat Loss. Before I do, let's review my previous eating plan, shall we?

Wake up/Coffee/Workout

Post-workout meal - healthy choices

Afternoon snack - chips. A few more chips. Maybe the whole bag.

Dinner - Screw it, I already jacked up the day. Let's go out to eat.

Repeat.

I have been looking for a practical, reasonable, carb-friendly plan that fits with my favorite eats, my busy schedule, and won't required separate meals for the family.

Enter my sweet, sweet FWTFL coach, Jo-Anne, and boom - GAME CHANGED. I CANNOT praise this program enough, y'all. For this mom who has zero willpower and loves all things queso, I DID IT.



My favorite parts?

The Prep Week

While it can seem tedious to track your food (just one more thing to add to our to-do list, right?) - tracking your eats helps you so much. You learn the process, how to utilize My Fitness Pal, and get tips on what each day will hold.

My Fitness Pal 

Once you get the hang of the app and your days, it's SO easy to plan and keep up with your macros (your daily intake of carbs, protein, and fat). When you are invited to your group's Facebook page, you now have access to documents that guide those macros. It becomes habit and not one bit tedious.

The CARBS 

You get to eat them. Of course, you monitor how much, but you get to have them. Want some bread? Go for it. Want some wine? Get it, girl. Rice? Pasta? YOU CAN HAVE THAT.

The Group

I love my coach and the ladies in our group. Talk about support, patience with all the questions, and daily encouragement. You are NOT alone in these 6 weeks. Not one little bit.

The Health

I have lost weight and inches, but I have lost bloat, indigestion, heaviness, anxiety, and all that comes with not knowing what my body can handle. I FEEL GOOD which translates into FEELING GOOD mentally, too. My confidence alone is reason enough to do FWTFL.

The Results

Here is my breakdown from January 7, 2019 to February 13, 2009:

Waist: 35 inches to 31 inches

Upper Waist: 33 inches to 29.5 inches

Lower Waist: 36.5 inches to 33.5 inches

Hips: 38 inches to 36.5 inches

Thigh: 20 inches to 18.5 inches

Arm: 9.75 inches to 9.5 inches

Total inches lost - 13.75 inches!

Weight loss - -8 lbs.




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The next round starts NOW. I'd love to help you understand the journey a little more or answer questions you may have. I am about to start another round, and I am excited to see more results.

I didn't eliminate anything during this program so continuing on in "real time" won't be hard. You learn so much about yourself - physically, mentally, and nutritionally - that this investment is beyond worth it!

2.05.2019

A Mother's Reminder - You Are Loved

As I drove to the appointment, I felt my hands getting sweaty and my heart start to race. I switched to the radio station that gives me peace - I always have it on when going to these check-ups. My stomach feels queasy as it does every six months as I make this drive.

Suddenly - maybe it's the song or the message from the DJ - but, I hear, "you are loved." The sweaty palms don't dry, but the words play on repeat.
When the doctor comes in and once again senses my panic, I hear - "you are loved."

When she checks for any suspicious spots, and I am sure she can hear my heart racing, I hear - "you are loved."

When she stops at one, says she doesn't like the way it looks, my heart drops, I hear - "you are loved."

When she assures me she's just being safe given my medical history, I hear - "you are loved."

When she shakes my hand and tells me not to worry, I hear - "you are loved."

As I drive home in tears not wanting to go through it all again, I still hear the words. Even though I wanted this check-up to end with a clean bill of health. Even though the two-week period of waiting for results will wear on my brain. Even though flashbacks of before are going through my anxious mind, I still heard - "you are loved."

I await the news of something so simple yet so big to me. I think of what it could be and what we'd have to do next. I just keep repeating the words I heard so loudly that day - the day the panic originally set in. This weekend, I learned that the results are in and read them as I heard the words louder than ever - "you are loved."



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I am thankful that I am okay, but I am more thankful that it was that day where the radio station put the words on repeat. I do have scars on my back, my hand, my stomach - all from that medical history that spun me into fear. But, through that fear, I am leaning on love. Through life hardships, I am repeating the words. 

When your relationships falter, and you feel lonely - you are loved.

When motherhood wears you down - you are loved.

When you are at a crossroads with a career or broken dreams - you are loved.

When fear is way greater than your faith - you are loved.

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My next appointment again is six months away, and I know that the same feelings will come up as I make that drive. I will still have the sweaty hands and racing heart, but I know seven years after having skin cancer, I am loved.

I am loved. You are loved. 

For more on my skin cancer journey, read this post originally shared on Her View From Home. 


11.21.2018

Simple Tips to De-Stress Your Holiday Season

This post is sponsored by Isotoner but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Halloween is done, Thanksgiving is coming, and then it's all things Christmas! For me, Christmas is hands-down my favorite holiday - from the social gatherings, to the lights, and to the true reason for the season.




But, for anxious mamas like me, the holidays can be overwhelming. In the last two years, I've tried to dial it down a bit. For my easily-stressed self and for my kids to see what this season is really all about. So, if you're getting nervous about all the festive headed your way, here are some simple tips to de-stress your holiday season.


Let the memories happen spontaneously.


There can be pressure to make Christmas BIG and BRIGHT every single day of the holiday season. Perfectly decorated trees. Perfectly iced sugar cookies. Reality? The kids put the ornaments on the tree in ways to make your OCD spin, and you fight more than you bake.


Instead, put on your pajamas and these Isotoner Surround Comfort™ slippers and drive to see the neighborhood lights. You will love the foam technology - no other slippers offer this comfort. They are perfect for cold nights and Christmas lights. If you like the pair I have, they are called the Marisol Closed Back slipper!

















Go easy on the gift giving.


See my post last year on how my sister and I make gift-giving fun. Make lists. Keep a budget. For the kids, adopt the practice of giving them something they want, something they need, something they wear, and something they read. Easy, peasy.


Give the gift of comfort this holiday season with 360 degrees of cozy memory foam. Isotoner Surround Comfort™ slippers are the perfect gift for everyone on your list!


Keep the gatherings simple.


I love all the parties and festive gatherings, but driving all over town throughout the holidays can be too much. If you have to say no, say NO. If you are throwing a party, make it BYOB or potluck. You don't need place cards or to break out your fine china. Do you. And if it means keeping it simple, go for it.


Then, when the party is done, prop up those tired feet and reward yourself with comfort! Your slippers are waiting.


Take time for YOU.


The Christmas season IS jolly. Don't overwhelm yourself trying to make your holidays Pinterest-perfect. Before you know it, it's all over and you may not feel like you had time to sit back and enjoy the JOY. Binge some Hallmark movies (my favorite). Cuddle up with hot cocoa (or wine) to watch your favorite Christmas special.


And while you're doing all that chillin' - grab yourself those cozy slippers again. These Isotoner Surround Comfort™ slippers are perfect for snuggles on a movie night - it's like having
a memory foam pillow in shoe!






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So, off we go, friends. Even though Thanksgiving is coming first, we still need to prepare ourselves. Take it easy, make it fun, and slip into your Isotoner Surround Comfort™. The holidays are meant for memories - for joy, for comfort, and for peace. Enjoy the moments with your kids, family, and friends.

And sit back - in these slippers, of course - and reflect on what could be the most memorable holiday season ever.



To grab your own pair of cozy slippers or gift someone on your list, 
click HERE!

11.15.2018

4 Steps To Finding the Right Family Photographer

I am so excited to share more of our family pictures! As always, my friend, Jennifer, snaps the best pictures of my crazy crew. Have you taken your fall photos yet? There's still time! If you're in Houston, you need to use Jennifer Spencer Photography. And if not? Here are steps to finding the right photographer for you and YOUR crew.

Ask your friends for recommendations

Sure, Google reviews are great, but trust your friends' expertise and experience. I've known Jennifer for a while, and she has taken such fun shots of my kids and my family (like these in 2016 and 2017). If you also look through her portfolio, I bet those clients will say the same.

Chat with them before your session

To make sure the photographer is the right fit, give them a call to discuss ideas. Do you both have the same vision? Are there certain poses, outfits, or locations you had in mind? Taking family pictures is a collaboration so it's nice to be on the same page before picture day.

Choose someone who is laid-back

As you know, I'm not the best at laid-back. I can't imagine a photographer who is the same as me - crazed too quickly. Jennifer is calm which is FABULOUS when your kids are driving you nuts during photos. She is fantastic with kids of all sizes and sass. You want someone who can move the session efficiently and without stressing the mama who just wants a good shot of her peeps.

Find someone is creative

From pose ideas to location options, the best photographer is one who has seen what works and what doesn't. Someone who has worked with families of all sizes and can design a picture that captures your family perfectly. Silly shots or other ideas definitely make fun pictures so ask about their creative ideas. Locations are key, too. A creative photographer knows the best spots - from the best light to the ideal scenery. Let them guide you - I bet you'll find places you never thought could make such a wonderful backdrop.










I just ADORE our pictures this year. She captured the kids' personalities and made the session so fun. Now, local friends - we have a deal for you! Mention ALWAYS A NEW DAY to Jennifer when inquiring about photos, and she will give you $25 off a session!

I can't wait to see all of your pictures! And don't forget to follow Jennifer Spencer Photography!

11.13.2018

Why We Believe the Research - Decorating Early for Christmas Does Make You Happier

Thanksgiving is next week; Christmas will soon follow. I started my shopping and planning the Christmas decor. I'm hearing carols and the channel is stuck on Hallmark, so all of this means it's time for lights, parties, and the like. But, I know many wish that Christmas didn't bypass Thanksgiving or that shopping would start on Black Friday. And while I love turkey and family feasts, there's just something about Christmas for me. 

And to fuel the debate, research has come out saying that those who decorate earlier are just happier folks. I say, what is wrong with that? In a crazy world of worry and sorrow, I see nothing wrong with connecting - at anytime - to something that gives you joy. Something that brings you back to childhood memories. Something that creates even bigger memories for your kids. That's why my family believes the research - decorating early makes you happy. 


My Christmas memories from when I was younger are so vivid still. One of my favorite things was being in charge of turning on the outside lights - from plugging in the porch lights or turning on each lighted candle in our windows. I took my job seriously. 

I remember watching Christmas specials (The Brady Bunch one was my favorite), shopping at the Galleria, and the cardboard fireplace my Grandmother set up each year. The cousins would do a gift swap after we sang the 12 Days of Christmas to our large family. I could barely sleep on Christmas Eve knowing what was to come.

Now that I have children, Christmas excites me even more. Now that I have lost loved ones, Christmas brings me JOY when so many days are filled with sadness that those memories are no more.

So, when I decorate before Thanksgiving, think of me. Think of the excitement my kids have knowing the holidays are coming. Think of them taking the light boss job seriously. Think of my mom who decided to decorate, too, because in glimpses of sadness, this season brings peace. 

We do long for Christmases past and miss those no longer with us. I wish we could all gather in my Maw Maw's living room and watch my uncle dress as Santa. I wish my brother was here to give my mom a cat again this year (she doesn't, trust me). I wish my dad was here to bundle up and go for a ride on his new mountain bike. 

And, if we decide that season starts in November, let us. If we decide to put up a tree because the lights make the cold nights brighter, let us. If we decide that Christmas carols and holiday movies are starting before Thanksgiving, let us. 

You do not need to understand why others do things differently. You don't know their reasons why because sometimes we don't either. What we do know is when we find small spots of joy, we hold on so tight hoping they last. We want the Christmas season to be long because the joy can overshadow the moments of grief and anxiety. 



Of course, we will grieve. We will stress. We will deal with festive, holiday anxiety. But, when we are together, and the kids are giggling, we get a reprieve from loss and worry. We remember the reason for the season when we see the little ones filled with joy. 

Happy Holidays, friends. Do what makes you happy. Find joy today, on Thanksgiving, and during the entire holiday season. 

10.19.2018

A Letter To My Son - On His 10th Birthday


My first-born, my baby boy, turns 10 this weekend. I'm having a hard time with the double digits - it feels as though time is just slipping away. Have I done enough? Does he know how loved he is? At this age, I love that he can read this letter on his own and KNOW how special he is. Happy birthday, Griffin. God sure did bless us with you. 


To my son – on your 10th birthday,

I’ll be honest, Griffin. Turning ten is hard for me. While you want to be double digits and get more into your big kid status, my heart sinks just a bit. Ten years ago, you stubbornly came into this world a week later than planned. And from that moment, my world flipped. The first night at home, we put you to sleep on a large Boppy pillow. While your dad snored away, I stared at you all night long. Out of fear, probably. But, mostly out of sheer amazement that you were ours.

I’ll spare you the details of my extreme love for you (I’m learning that age 10 comes with “Mom, no more kisses, please!) and share more of what your dad and I see every time we are with you.

One of my most favorite things about you is that you are FUN. You wake up fun. You go to school for the fun. You try and make sure your sister has fun. When you’re graciously around kids smaller than you, your goal is to make sure they have fun. If anything, I wish that you keep on with the fun times – especially when times get harder as you get bigger.



Currently, you love sports – from the Texans to the Falcons and of course, our Astros. You love American Ninja Warrior, too. We love watching you love all these things. Why? Because you have big dreams to be in their shoes one day. And, we have no doubt you will be there changing lives just like they do. Remember to be like the good ones though – the ones who are heroes off the field and off the warp wall. Remember to be kind like that while using your talents to reach those goals.

And to that big brother status – you’re a good one, G. From the moment you just knew I was having a girl to current day when you’re talking that little sister out of her latest antic. You’ve been one she can look up to every single day. I want you to know how much I appreciate your taking care of ME when that little girl pushes my buttons. I don’t think I ever told you that I love when you reach for my hand when you sense my nerves are on edge. You reach over and tell me you love me. Just when I needed the reassurance the most. I appreciate that love you give me, and I’m sorry for when those rough moments are rough on you.

For now, I can’t wait to sneak you out of school and take you for a treat. You deserve all the good coming to you as you turn 10. My wish for you this year is to keep the fun in your heart and to keep dreaming big. No one can get in the way of your dreams because your determination and heart are so much bigger. And every step of the way, I will be there cheering you on. From scoring those touchdowns to being kind to those around you to shining that light on everyone you meet.




Thank you for making me a mom. Thank you for holding my hand. Thank you for being mine.

Happy 10th birthday, my lovey.

Thank you to my friend Maggie for the pictures of G in 2013. And to Jennifer Spencer Photography for the last photo. To see my other letter to him, click here

10.02.2018

My Favorite Way to Challenge The Mom Brain

This post is sponsored by Jigsaw Puzzle but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

All moms know the feeling - the kids are in bed, and you're ready for some quiet. Reading a book, catching up shows, and avoiding any tasks that involve your mom responsibilities are some of my favorite after-bed activities. I covet anything that turns off the mom brain and the anxiety.


When my brain is overwhelmed with all things, it's time to decompress. Currently, I love taking a break with a puzzle using the Jigsaw Puzzle app. Their vibrant, colorful puzzles challenge your brain AND give you a fun sense of accomplishment. Mom win!

Waiting in car line or at the bus stop? Long wait at the doctor's office? It's puzzle time - grab the Jigsaw puzzle app and challenge yourself. Playing on the app feels just like doing a puzzle on your kitchen table (bonus: no mess). The beautiful puzzle packs include patterns with nature, animals, food, artwork, and crafting. They also include work from famous artists who focused on European Landscapes, the Americana Summer, and Enchanted Gardens.

My favorite features are that you can also play up to 1024 puzzle pieces on tablets and 400 puzzles pieces on your phone - including daily puzzles to keep things interesting! Search for puzzles that align with your interests (crafts, travel, food, and more). And if you want to kick it up a notch, you can choose your music as well as an adjustable time clock to boost the challenge.






I preach quite a bit about making time FOR you and ABOUT you. A good game/app turns of my anxious brain, and this Jigsaw Puzzle app does just that! Are you ready for a brain break? The Jigsaw Puzzle is available in the App Store as well as Google Play and the Amazon Kindle Fire.

The mom brain is a real thing - our brains are full of schedules, plans, goals, and worries. I love opening my phone to an app that challenges me and turns off all the anxiety of that day. My kids also took hold of the app and love it, too!

 But, I always get it back because when it's my time, I am all about the puzzles!




What's your favorite way to challenge your brain?

Learn more about the Jigsaw Puzzle app HERE
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