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3.17.2017

5 Simple Tips To Complete Your First Half Marathon

Hold up, don't say you would never be ever to run a half marathon. Because I am here to say YES, YOU CAN.  This self-proclaimed hater of running (and pushing 40) never thought she would be able to do it, and then life got hard so she wanted to go harder.

Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer nor fitness expert. I highly recommend you talk to your doctor before starting a running program if you have any concerns. I am just a mom who wants to share five simple ways to complete your first half marathon.


Pick A Run - Set the date. Write it on the calendar. I chose a race in Louisiana because my nephew and cousins ran it last year and loved it. I also knew I would have family at the finish line so I chose the Zydeco Half. For me, I picked a date that gave me 3-4 months to train. If you are new to running and you're busy, it may take time to get a program/routine going.



Get Fitted For Shoes - With the race date set, go get some good shoes! I asked all the running pros, and they suggest 3 months ahead of the race, get your new kicks. I headed to Ground Up and tried on multiple pairs before I found the fit for me. I also used these shoes only for running and wore my older favorites for at-home workouts or strength training.

Start Planning - I loosely followed this Hal Higdon plan because some weekday runs did not allow for long distances. I wrote down a long run on each weekend since I had more time to run and the hubs was home. Another friend also suggested running 13 miles a week so I incorporated this idea into my planning. If I ran 6 on a Saturday, I completed the other 7 some way during the week.

Find A Running Buddy - Honestly, this is my #1 tip for running your first half. Sign up with a friend or set up long run dates. My friend Kim and I met five different weekends to run the long ones. We had the same pace, and it gave us plenty of time to catch up, motivate, and counsel each other. The brunches we did after weren't too bad either.

For race day, I had my cousin by my side. She ran with me the whole race, stopped when I did, and pushed me to finish in my goal time (which was 2:30 - I finished in 2:26!). There is NO way I could have finished this milestone without her.


CELEBRATE - Cry. High five a stranger. Raise a glass. Share your joy. You just ran 13 miles. Moms, this runner's high is no joke and add in your littles at the finish line - it's truly amazing. The run gave me hope and proved that after hardship, I can do hard things. I can survive hard things.



For more great tips for running your first half, these posts can help:

Running Tips for the Beginner - Always A New Day
My Half Marathon Experience - Seven Graces
Half Marathon Training Tips - Momma To Go

If you have questions or other tips to share, please do. My next run is scheduled for December. Any takers? :)

3.02.2017

Why I Love Spring Cleaning

I am just not a fan of January and February. In Texas, we aren't even sure what season we are in - some days, it's summer. The next - you may have a slight freeze. But, with March's fresh air comes a sense of newness - of cleanliness. It puts me in the mood to start fresh, to enjoy our few months without all the summer sweat. March makes me want to share why I love spring cleaning.


Oh, the clutter. Have you seen that episode of Friends when they discover Monica's closet? The one where they open this secret door to all the mess she's been hiding? Hi, I'm Monica. You will find my hidden clutter in "junk" drawers in the house. You will find my clutter in the guestroom closet. You might even find it in all the random baskets/bins in the game room where small toys go to die. I open and close these hidden spots often because I can't even. Yet, when spring comes, I get the burst to purge and feel human again.

I will spend time in these crazy spots and make piles: what to keep/what to donate or sell/what to toss. Even if these Monica spots stay clean and organized for just a day or two - #winning.

And, I have a confession. Since I've had kids, I am a terrible housekeeper. I don't see the point of spending hours scrubbing this or that when kids take .5 seconds to destroy it all. I have used a cleaning schedule before that works for me - I pick a room (i.e. living room) or a task (i.e vacuuming) to complete each day. I don't spend hours cleaning - ain't no mama got time (or energy) for that.

I also love finding tools that make cleaning easier. I really don't know why this gem has JUST NOW entered my life, but I am loving my new Libman Tornado Mop I purchased at Walmart. The size, the ease, and the spaces this thing can reach are lifesavers. You won't end up with sloppy floors or excessive water because of it's fancy wringing feature.



Mopping isn't my favorite. But, with this mop and my vinegar/soap/baking soda DIY floor cleaner, my kitchen looks and smells fab. And did you know that The Libman Company has been around for 120 years? This family-owned business has made quality their priority, offering the finest USA-made brooms, brushes, mops, and cleaning tools.


Learn more about Libman by clicking HERE
and downloading a $3 off coupon for your Libman mop -
they have other varieties you'll love, too!

ADDED BONUS: Enter The Libman Company’s Pinterest sweepstakes - follow The Libman Company on Pinterest and re-pin from their sweepstakes-specific board. Create a “Spring Cleaning Toolkit” using images of The Libman Company’s products and Spring cleaning tips from the pinboard, and then enter your information on The Libman Company’s Facebook page.

Invite your friends to enter as well!
FIVE winners will receive a “Spring Cleaning Toolkit” comprised of Libman products, and one additional winner will receive a prize package plus a $1,000 cash prize.

Do you spring clean? I'd love to hear any tips and tricks that you use to declutter. My house and my sanity will be forever grateful!

2.28.2017

How Moms Save Money When Shopping Online - With Groupon

Disclaimer - This is a sponsored post. As always, the thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting Always A New Day.

Raise your hand if you love anything that makes your daily chores easier. Yes, please! With two kids always on the go, I turn to online shopping to get errands complete. And to be honest - it saves my sanity instead of taking a certain precious and precocious threenager to the stores. Where are my toddler moms? Can you feel me?

When you can save money, too - it's such a huge win and makes any mom feel like the queen of the world. I love getting my daily emails from my favorite coupon site and wanted to share how you can also benefit from the amazing world of Groupon.


Since I became a SAHM almost four years ago, we definitely had to cut costs. I am no coupon guru, but I do love the latest deals and ways to cut costs on our everyday needs. If you have been around or follow me on Instagram, you know my son is ALL about sports - football especially. Gone are the days of super hero tees. Now, we beg for the latest gear from Nike. How excited am I that Nike has some steals happening over at Groupon? Check out what they have going on HERE. Here's a sneak peek of what goodies you can get:

  • 20% off coupon for your purchase
  • Up to 50% off men's sneakers
  • Up to 40% off women's running shoes and apparel
  • Free shipping
  • Up to 50% off women's sports bras, shoes, plus apparel
  • $7 off accessories and equipment

While this cutie may get a little something, this fitness mama is eyeing some treats of her own!


And my favorite part of Groupon is there is no membership fee or any other fee attached. FREE to join and easy to use! We are an active family which results in running gear for me and new shoes every so often for my growing boy. I don't plan to spend without thought as I mentioned in my post about giving up unnecessary spending, but when he does outgrow those shoes, I feel good knowing Groupon is going to save us some dough.

Do you use Groupon? What are your favorite coupons?

You can also learn more about Groupon via Facebook and Twitter.

5 Things To Give Up Forever

I cannot believe we are about to be in March. Time flies when you're crazy busy! No matter how crazy, it's an exciting time for my son as he will be making his First Reconciliation and First Communion soon. And, I love that all of these big moments are happening during this Lenten season.

I've done chocolate, fast food, and social media - well, let me be honest. I intended to "give up" these vices, but...FAIL. I recently saw a post about giving up what's REALLY interfering in your life. And, as a person who deals with daily anxiety, I love anything beneficial to my well being. This year, I am fighting harder (because I know me, it won't be easy) to GIVE UP these five things for Lent this year - and not just for the 40 days but beyond this season, too.


Comparison

As a blogger who puts herself out there, you can easily start comparing. My content won't reach anyone. My blog views are nowhere near what I want. Basically, I am not as good as the others I see. If I do this comparison thing too often, I lose the focus on why I share in the first place - which is talking ALL the parts of this mom life. Comparison won't bring me anything but more anxiety. And God knows I do not need anymore of that!

Unnecessary Spending

Budgets and finances. These things make my head spin - with worry, of course. Lately I have noticed some patterns - when the days are too much, that daily Starbucks is well deserved or that third trip to Target this week MUST happen. Deep down, I know that isn't right or fair. For the next 40 days and beyond, I plan to watch those extra Iced Vanilla Lattes and frequent runs to the Dollar Bin. Lord, hear our prayer :)

Forgetting Prayer

This time with my son has opened my eyes to how much more we need to be prayerful. More than anything, I want him to get in a routine himself of being grateful and knowing where to turn. In one week, he will confess his sins - which he says are pestering his sister or talking too much at school - but he will know God forgives. Prayer is powerful, y'all.


Worry

Story of my life. My daily battle. I turn 40 this month, and I don't see worry exiting my life completely. And, I am a mom so there's that. But, I want to be more alert to when the worry comes and how to combat it. The fitness, the writing, and the faith - they will be my main weapons when worry appears.

Not Being Able to Forgive

Since my brother died last year, I have had quite a hard time forgiving. I not 100% confident in sharing a lot just yet, but those close to me know this stage I am in. Basically, I'm mad and too stubborn to stop. Healthy, right? During this Lenten season, I hope to dig deep - as painful as it may be - to find forgiveness. God does not want me to feel this way, but it's not easy for me. I pray that tearing down this wall will leave me so much lighter.
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February 28th also marks the 15th anniversary of my dad passing. I don't see it as a coincidence that it falls on such a Holy week of reflection. This amazing daddy of mine taught me that worry got me nowhere and to watch my money. And, I know he'd get a kick of this blogging thing, too. He loved that I loved to write. He is my inspiration for this post. Actually, he's my inspiration for life, really. Thank you, Daddy.


What can you give up now and beyond Lent to improve YOU? I would appreciate prayers in this journey and would love to pray for you - we are in this together. Lord knows I cannot do it alone!

Have a blessed week and a blessed Lent, too!

2.21.2017

Why This Is Us Is All Of Us

Another week. Another episode of this show. The show that pulls on every single emotion one person can have. A show where the characters are real. They are flawed. They are troubled. And they are every single one of us.


We can watch some shows become big hits. We can love Olivia Pope because her fashion is on point, and she can put on her white hat and gladiator on. But, what about the real us? The ones who grieve and who stress over jobs, kids, loss, and life in general. Not until This Is Us has a show put a mirror to our own lives and made us feel ALL THE FEELS - whether we want to or not.

When you struggle, words don't seem to come out right and if you're like me, you can feel alone because you are crazy, stressed, or panicked for no reason at all. Or maybe you are grieving the loss of a loved one, a job, a friendship, or the life you thought you were suppose to have. This Is Us says, "Hey there, buddy. I got you." And thus, you watch after the kids go to bed, and you let your friends like Jack and Rebecca or Randall (oh how I LOVE me some Randall) and William hug you so tightly with their words. You let them because this has been YOU at some point before in your life.

We yearn for parents who are no longer with us, but who taught us to turn up the music so loud and roll down those windows because life is really great if you take a minute to see that.

We are thankful for siblings - who in the midst of an absolute crisis - throw down their dreams to come and help you handle your crazy.

We hug our babies because we know what gifts they are to us - no matter how or HOW LONG it took God to place them in your arms.

We take a minute to see our spouses who know us better than anyone and love us anyways.

We, as crazy, rushed, and tired adults, have to take a breather at the end of this 60 minutes to wipe our swollen, crying eyes and think how much you felt every word. Every gesture. Every lesson.

For me, I already had an ugly cry about 8:40 this morning while hearing a song that made me miss my brother. But, I had to gather my business right after and hit a PTO meeting because LIFE KEEPS GOING. And just like I know deep down, I have my minute of hot mess, say my prayer of hope to God, and go about my day.

Then, after a chaotic evening, I get my little ones down, pour me a glass, and settle in with some tissues. I watch and within 15 minutes, I am crying. I hear my dad's laugh. I see my mom's pure, deep love for her children. I know there is a lesson coming, and I am hungry for it. Sure enough, with Randall's hands on William's face, there it is.

Wherever you are, BE WHERE YOU ARE. I think that lesson speaks volumes - ever since episode one. Last night's did that for me, so I grabbed my computer and all of this came out. Thank you to the creators for making a show that isn't just Randall or Kate or Kevin. It's all of us. THIS IS US.

2.17.2017

Friday Finds {Vol. 33} - What I'm Loving

Well, my friends, it's been too long since I have posted some Friday Finds here on the little blog. I come across so much fun that I need to share the goodness.

Without too many words, here's what I am loving this Friday!


PLAYING

I've shared a bit about the Mother/Son Kickball game fundraiser we had this past weekend. I wasn't too sure how I'd feel about my kickball skills, but that all went to the side when the game started. The boys were PRECIOUS and pretty darn determined. But....don't underestimate the drive of a mama. I haven't laughed like that and just let loose in quite some time.


And the time with my big boy...priceless. If you need a fundraiser idea (and want to kick some kickball booty), this idea should be on your list. PS. Moms won.

MAKING

I've been promising my little one we'd make Valentine treats, and we all know the mess that can occur when it all happens. So, we settled for these simple, fun, and perfect little gifts for teachers and neighbors! Here's how you can make these Chocolate Covered Wafers.

Ingredients:

Wafer cookies
Vanilla Almond Bark
Sprinkles/Candy treats

Melt almond bark according to the package. Dip your wafers in the melted chocolate and place on waxed paper. Shake sprinkles or candy treats onto chocolate dipped section then allow to harden.

You could use any flavor wafer - try vanilla wafers, vanilla almond bark, and green sprinkles for St. Patty's day!


PLANNING

In case you missed our latest plans, you know we are in limbo with a possible move. I can't lie and say I am not scared/anxious/worried/excited, but I am so thankful I came across UpNest. Click HERE to see how they help get you moving. You can see my moving tips for the busy mama HERE.

LOVING

S'mores Girl Scout Cookies are the newest addition to their yummy cookie collection, and I have to say WELL DONE, Girl Scouts. Or, maybe I should curse you because they are NOT good for the healthy eating. And, I cannot have just one.


I'm also loving my weekend long runs. I did 7 last weekend with 9 on this weekend's agenda. MY HALF MARATHON IS IN THREE WEEKS. Pray. Hold me. Pray some more. I just keep picturing my kids at the finish line. They may be waiting a while for me, but I will be at the end somehow, some way!

We've got a little road trip this weekend to see friends. I loved this post I found while perusing my favorite blogs. How genius are the window decals? If you see a black SUV cruising through Texas with all the stickers, make sure to give us a wave, ok?
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And what about you? What are you finding FUN and FAB on this Friday?

No matter what, enjoy your weekend, my friends!

2.12.2017

4 Tips To Make Moving Easier - For The Busy Mom

Moving happens. And sometimes it can happen without much warning. On top of the parenting and the life thing, how in the world do you plan to sell, pack up, and plan for your new adventure?

We are currently in limbo ourselves. And let me tell you how GREAT that limbo is when you have anxiety. With the possibility of a move due to the hubs' job, my head is already spinning with the what ifs and the how-in-the-heck-would-I-get-it-all-done? I do not want to get ahead of myself, but we do need to be prepared if the move happens. Since I am a list-maker, I've already come up with 4 tips I am going to follow if God has moving plans for my little fam.


REACH OUT TO YOUR FRIENDS

The day the news broke about this potential move, I went straight to a dear friend who lives in our possible new city. Not only will we need a house, but we will need good schools, too. I don't want to make any hasty decisions, so reach out to those who just KNOW. For me, it's busy moms who know the importance of all the choices you need to make.

GET ORGANIZED

Get your planners. Make your lists. Check out movers. I have already found checklists for moving via Pinterest. Also, check to see if the company requiring the move will provide packers and movers. I have had many friends who move sit back and let great companies pack up their homes and organize the boxes. While my OCD could get the best of me, I would love help in moving around a toddler.


DO YOUR RESEARCH

While we wait for news of a possible move, I've researched ways to make any move with kids an easy one! Thankfully, I've come across UpNest! UpNest takes the pain and complication out of finding a trustworthy local agent because all of their partner agents have the best records of selling and buying homes for clients in your area. As an added bonus, UpNest’s top partner agents compete for your business resulting in an overall savings on their services. After filling out a couple of simple questions, you are well on your way to finding the best local real estate agent fit for your unique situation.

I love that selling AND buying is all at my finger tips through UpNest. In my original search, I have been sent proposals for top agents in our area. From start to finish, the whole process took 10 minutes. And busy moving mamas across the land say YES, PLEASE!



TAKE A BREATH

From the moment we learned this move could happen, my busy brain began to fill with all I'd have to do. I don't do change well; I'm not sure I want to leave the life we've made here. My anxiety is at top notch speed, and with regular activities already keeping me spinning, I'm a mess. The best avenues for me are to take a minute - then assess the moment. 1. We do not know for use this move will happen. 2. If it does, we will take it one minute at a time. Just like life, really.

Have any of you moved lately? If so, I am all ears for helpful advice. For now, I will sit back and do my thing with UpNest knowing that I have great support and guidance for our future.

To get started on your moving checklist,
click HERE to see how UpNest can work for you!

2.06.2017

Exploring Your Town - The Boardwalk Towne Lake

This post was sponsored by The Boardwalk Towne Lake. As always, the opinions expressed here are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting Always A New Day!

Living in the 'burbs of a major city definitely has its perks - life is a bit slower, yet there is easy access to all the fun in town. But, sometimes, driving into the big city isn't feasible (or a good for the patience - hey, Houston traffic). Thankfully, our area is growing with possibilities!

Last Thursday, I spent my day at The Boardwalk Towne Lake to take over their Instagram (see my takeover HERE.) To be honest, my family has already spent many a time here - watching live music, indulging in some yummy treats, and letting the kids run free in the green area. So, when the Boardwalk asked if I would showcase all they have to offer, you bet I jumped on board.


Orangetheory Fitness at Towne Lake - I was very nervous about my first stop of the day. This mama loves a good workout, but I wasn't sure I could keep up with the pace/structure of Orangetheory. Confession: I watched YouTube videos before I went to make sure I did it right (#OCDprobs).

But y'all. I cannot say enough about the staff and my instructor for the day. Morgan was the sweetest in introducing me to the format, and Matt was the perfect instructor for this newbie. He checked on me throughout the workout and guided me as needed. Seriously, once I hopped on the treadmill, all the anxiety went away. Being the new girl wasn't as scary as I thought, and in fact, I am thinking of joining! I cannot wait to share more of my journey now that I am becoming an OT junkie. Thank you to the staff for your kindness and help.

Breakfast Brunch Café - Next up, a juice from BBC. This stop wasn't my first here - their breakfast has been so good each time I've gone. I highly recommend the Chorizo Burrito, the Breakfast Sandwich, and the Salted Caramel Mocha. My kids recommend the S'mores Hot Chocolate! Thanks, Anthony, for letting me stop in!

The Reserve Spa and Salon - Mama got a new do, too! I had an appointment scheduled with my sweet former student, Jessica, so we built my day around my time with her. I got my color cleaned up and took some length off this growing mess. Loved my time with Jessica! The salon itself has so much to offer - from facials and massages to any hair fix you need! Can't wait to go back!

The Cheese Bar - After my do, I picked up lunch at one of my favorite places EVER. You need the grilled cheese in your life. Or the chicken salad sandwich. Or the turkey, apple, brie one. Or their meat/cheese board. You just need it all - go ASAP. Even better? Grab a friend and add a glass of wine to your meal.

Laura's Line - I ran over and spent some time perusing through this precious boutique. I found myself two cute tees that are the softest I've ever felt. Her spring line is up and ready too - bright colors and all. You can even find the perfect gift for a friend. But, trust me, you will leave with something for yourself.

Land of A Thousand Hills - After shopping, I picked up my daughter from school and hurried back for an afternoon cup of caffeine. Another LOTH fan recommended I get the Skinny Muffin, and she was on point with her suggestion! Delish! In past visits, we also have devoured their mini quiches, turnovers, buttercream doozies, scones, and cookies. I highly recommend grabbing a coffee or latte and sitting down inside to enjoy!





Thank you so much to the Boardwalk for the great day of a good workout, pampering, good eats, and a few treats. Lindsey, Shana, and everyone else who made sure my day went smoothly - thank you!

Follow the Boardwalk at Towne Lake on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram for info on special events and other fun happenings! You must go soon. I'll gladly be your tour guide :)
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