name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : August 2015


Keep It Simple

I hope you all had a weekend of fun! I know we sure did - I was able to spend a nice dinner with the hubs on Friday, and then a mama night out on Saturday. There are just some times when you need to take a break from all the responsibility to laugh and enjoy others - and to eat dinner in peace.

I am so thankful for those that take the time to be quiet with me. I need it more than ever these days. You know I have blogged about my anxiety, and for some reason these last few weeks, I have seen it increase unexpectedly. 

My husband has been exceptionally busy at work which means impromptu meetings and late night work sessions. With the back to school craze going on, I feel as though I have been going uphill alone. So, when this weekend rolled around, I needed to be kid-free for a bit, and I am so blessed for reliable peeps who are there for me. This includes a sweet, caring babysitter, an understanding hubby, and two people who NEVER let me down - my sister and my dear friend, Kristin. It never fails that these two hear my cries and run to help. Thank you both for a great dinner and great laughs over the craziness that is adulthood. I hope you have your core group - whether it's 2 or twelve - who come to your aid always.

And this thought brings me to something that has been brewing during these anxiety-ridden weeks. I need to take it down a notch with all things life. I have been letting small things REALLY eat me alive and wear me down. It's been a bit ridiculous, really. So this week, this is my motto - SIMPLICITY.

From my meals to my plans, I am going simple. I am not making major plans that require too much thought and angst. I am not spending time planning out glorious meals for the week. I am focusing on what I DO have and not what I DON'T. And, I am so thankful I have people who understand these wise words someone posted on Facebook this week.

The best friends in life are the ones who know you're busy and love you anyway. They love you even when you don't call. They get it that you read their text message and replied in your head.

They love you even if it's been six months since they've seen you. They don't get mad or manipulative. They don't play head games or try to make you feel guilty if you need to stay home and take a hot bath instead of meeting up for coffee on the only free night you've had in a month.
Good friends understand "seasons" of life ... and they give grace to you for the season you're in. I'm thankful today for friends like this.
I want to be THAT friend.
We are all in a crazy season of life. I want to be THAT friend who gets when life is tough. I want to be that friend who loves all the time. I want to rely on simplicity rather than the complexity and fast pace of the mommy world. I want to drink wine and eat warm brownies and ice cream like I did last night. I want to remember how great my family is even on the days when I want to run away. I want to pray like crazy that this week will be better than the last, and that God will forgive and mold me into a better person with every waking moment.

I want these things for all of you as well. Keep it simple. Have a great week, friends.

I'm linking up with Life of Meg and Mom Favorites - check them out!

With Love,


Friday Finds {Vol. 14} - Finding YOU

You know I love my workouts. You know I TRY to stay healthy. But do you know how it all started happening for me? I am so lucky to have my mentor and friend to guide me along this crazy journey; I am so blessed she let me share my story on her blog. You can just out my guest post HERE. Check it out! While you're there, make a note to keep up with Tiffany - she rocks!

There’s so much to say about my story. I could start with the worry wart I was when I was younger. How that worrying increased to anxiety when my dad died. How I struggled with anxiety more so when kids entered my life because I constantly worried something would happen to them. That this anxiety easily turned to depression when it got really bad. How all of this went on for many years before I finally figured it out - I figured out to make me feel whole again.

I had my daughter in 2013. We struggled to have her so when I finally got pregnant, I made it my mission to make a dent in my couch and eat all the food. I knew it would be a struggle to get the weight off, but I couldn’t bear to risk anything. Hey there, anxiety. When she turned about 5 months old and decided sleeping just wasn’t her thing anymore, the rut became deeper, and I felt so lost. You see, I worked as a teacher/counselor for 13 years. When I had my daughter, I chose to stay home with my children. Yet, this new job was HARD, and I felt so lost and just plain gross - inside more than out. I HAD to find myself again.

Then comes along this little gem called Instagram and up pops this transformation of an amazing mom. She’d been there. She totally understood it. I reached out, and she reached back. Within a few weeks, I was doing an exercise program that fit with a non-sleeping baby. I was determined, and I was feeling so much better. A few months down the road, Instagram saves me again, and I find a new boot camp in my area and decide to give it a go. I was the only “student” that day, and I was terrified. I got a friend to join, and between the two programs, I was feeling better and stronger. I was feeling so much like a person again - that feeling had but disappeared in the months prior.

Suddenly, my routine was all I ever dreamed of and more. Sure, I could see changes in my body, but I FELT SO AMAZING. Not only that, but I became friends with these Instagram buddies, and they understood me. They pushed, cheered, and supported me day in and day out. But, there seemed to be one piece missing. And one year after I reached out to my friend, Tiffany, I decided this life was for me. I wrote down my goals - start a blog, get healthier, and get certified. And, I am all of those things right now. Dreams do come true, friends.

My message to that mom is - find YOU again. Yes, you are an amazing mom. Yes, it’s one heck of a tiring job. This job can play tricks on your emotions when you’re suppose to be on an amazing mom high. REACH OUT. Oh, that last one is SO important. Reach out to someone and share where you are and where you hope to be. I am not done, and neither are you. This journey has ups and down, twists and turns, but you deserve a healthy life - for the inside more than the out.

My transformation story is still going. And, I know I can’t stop it - ever. I can’t go back to the sad, anxious mom I was before these changes. Find YOU. Find your person amidst the mommyhood, amidst the diapers and temper tantrums, amidst the days you don’t get to shower and just want to cry. Reach out and FIND YOU.

I am so excited to share my story HERE and HERE! Go check out these awesome blogs!

With Love,


Weekly Meal Plan - 21DF

Happy new week to all of you! My weekly meals are coming late today as we just started back to school. My 1st grader was nervous last night which freaked out his highly anxious mama! I do have some meal plans happening, but tonight he requested pizza. I can't think of a better way to welcome him home from school (and wine is a perfect addition to pizza night, amiright??).

This week, I did a Pinterest search for 21-Day Fix approved meals. I do incorporate these ideas into my eating on most days - even when I am not fully engaged in the workouts themselves (currently doing a rotation with 21DFX and Body Beast). Here are two meals we are going to enjoy this week!

Caprese Salad and Grilled Chicken

I love all the bright colors - and bonus for my daughter being on a tomato kick right now! I will grill up some chicken breasts and serve them right along side this yummy salad. 

Baked Ziti

In keeping with the Italian theme for the week, this pasta dish will be a hit as well. I will use an organic sauce instead of making my own, but I know it will be just as delish. Go HERE to see this 21-Day Fix approved dinner. 

BONUS - Pizza Roll-Ups

My picky eater (the 1st grader) isn't a big fan of sandwiches, but he does love all things pizza. I doubled this recipe and made some pizza rolls to put in his lunches this week. He loved when I did it last year, so I had to share. You can find the recipe HERE.

Fixtate Cookbook

I have heard many amazing comments about this cookbook, and I am so excited for mine to arrive. As I have mentioned before, the 21-Day Fix is where my fitness road started after baby #2. This program was a game changer for me. If you would like a copy to incorporate some great recipes into your weekly plans, send me an email. A cookie recipe is in there #needisaymore :)

See where I am linking up HERE!

Happy week, friends!

With Love,


Friday Finds {Vol. 13} - A Recipe (and a Workout)

If you are like us, you are preparing for the first day of school! To me, it feels like a new year - we need resolutions, new routines, new plans, new goals... I like the idea of new and fresh. So, for this edition of Friday Finds, I want to share what I'm doing to get in the back-to-school zone.


I adapted the recipe from this one HERE, and it was a hit. It made some great leftovers too!

Chicken Enchiladas

1 rotisserie chicken (cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 can of red enchilada sauce
1 can of diced green chiles
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder

12 flour tortillas
1 C of cheddar cheese

Mix chicken, green chilies, black beans, and spices and cook over medium heat until warm. Add in 1/4 C of the enchilada sauce and mix again.

Place a bit of cheese on a tortilla and top with a spoonful of the chicken mixture. Top with another sprinkle of cheese then roll. Place down in a greased 9x13 casserole dish. Keep going until all tortillas are filled and in the dish. Top with the remaining sauce and cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with salsa and sliced avocado.
These enchiladas lasted us 3 days and were so delish. You could play around with the ingredients and make them your own. I personally like the short cut of the rotisserie chicken. YUM.


Now after you eat your enchiladas (or before if you want to work yourself up to a great meal), complete this awesome ab circuit shared by my trainer, Megan. I added it in this week after some Body Beast Back and Biceps. Go get it, fit friends!

25 sit-ups
25 flutter kicks
25 sit-ups
25 leg raises
25 sit-ups
25 Hello Dollys
25 sit-ups
25 crunches
25 sit-ups
25 Russian twists
25 sit-ups
25 flutter kicks

If you need to, complete 15 or 20 of each exercise then work your way to 25.


School starts next week, and I thought I was in good shape. I had my anxiety when he started kindergarten, so I thought I was in the clear for this upcoming year. Truth is, I am really going to miss him. He's so much fun to talk to, and not to mention, his little sister wants him around her at all times. I am thankful for him and how much he's grown. I am going to focus on that pride instead of the pain of him being away from us. I mean, I will only allow myself one ugly cry then I'll get over it, k?

Best wishes for a great school year! I hope you work some NEW into your year and get stronger than ever! Check back to this Friday Finds post for help to get you ready for all the upcoming fun. My Boo Hoo lunch is already on the calendar. 

See where I am linking up HERE and HERE :)

With Love,


Weekly Meal Plan - Dining Out

We are big fans of eating out - no cooking or cleaning is the way to go! Since I have been staying home and trying to stay healthy, we have limited our eating out to one day a week. And every month, we try to do a date night to a new restaurant we haven't tried before. My favorite way to find a restaurant is through Open Table. I have the app on my phone, and I can set up our reservation quickly and easily. In fact, I use it so much that I just received a gift certificate. We plan to use it soon during Houston Restaurant Weeks. 

Eating out can be tricky if you are trying to stay healthy. I do sometimes use our dinners out as my cheat meal, but when I don't, I need to plan ahead to be mindful of my choices.

Here are my tips on eating healthy when eating out -

Plan Ahead

Use your Open Table app to see the restaurant's menu options. Some restaurants do share the nutritional information as well to help with your choice. We recently ate at Seasons 52 where the information was available for their food options. The drinks too! 

Share a Plate

Maybe you and your dining friends can share a meal to cut down the portion size. The sharing also prevents you from gorging yourself full of a portion that is too large (#guilty). When this happens, I don't always feel so great right after or even the next day. Think of also getting a kids meal to eat smaller portions of food as well. 

Avoid the Grease

Stay away from any fried options - instead look for broiled or grilled. You may also ask what they use to grill their meats and perhaps ask for a different cooking method. This option may also be considered by calling ahead and staying on track of your order. 

Skip the Treats

Oh this one is SO hard for me. I love my chips and dips. And bread. At a restaurant where these treats are given complimentary as you wait for your food. avoid them. Or ask them to not bring them to your table - temptation station! But, if this meal is your cheat time. get those chips and queso, my friend. 

Beware of the Salad

Salads may seem like great options for the healthy diner. However, the portions are usually huge. Not to mention the fatty dressings and add-ons such as cheese, tortilla strips, and the like. I also highly recommend asking for dressing on the side so your meal does not come drenched. When your salad arrives, ask for a different plate to separate it into a smaller portion. Or ask for the to-go box early and separate it then - take it for leftovers! Recently, I used my Open Table app to eat at Mi Cocina in the Woodlands area. I had the Rico Salad and asked for cheese and tortilla strips to be removed. I also asked for salsa for my dressing to lighten the calories. 

I can't wait for our next meal out - preferably without the rowdy little ones - and I will use my Open Table app to make our plans. Be it a healthy night out or our time to splurge, I like that I can set it all up quickly and easily. That gift card makes it extra fun, too. 

See where I am linking up HERE :)

With Love,


Friday Finds {Vol. 12} - Yogurt Fruit Dip

School is just a few days away, and I am planning meals and snacks for my big boy. Here is one favorite for moms and kids alike!

I am guilty of eating my kids' leftovers. Crusts of the PB and J. A handful of mini Ritz crackers. Maybe even a puff or two. So when we decided to change up our habits, we had to simply make better choices. I'm not going to lie - it was hard to switch from Oreos to fruit, but we learned to do it, and it became our habit.

One of my favorite things to do with fruit is to dip it! This recipe has been a favorite of ours for a while, but I needed to clean it up a bit. Good-bye cream cheese and tub of whipped cream. No worries though, this cleaned up recipe is just as good. 

Yogurt Fruit Dip

2 5.3 oz containers of Chobani Vanilla Blended Greek Yogurt
2 Tbl. peanut butter or almond butter
1 Tbl. honey
2 Tbl. fat free Cool Whip (not pictured)

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Serve with apple slices, strawberry slices, and banana chunks. Kid and mommy approved!

If you love Greek yogurt and want to see how to incorporate it into delicious recipes, check out these great eats HERE.

See where I am linking up on Friday - check it out HERE and HERE.

With Love,


Transformation Tuesday

When you decide to make changes to your life, they do not happen overnight. They don't happen within a month or two. If I am being honest, this transformation is ongoing. Everyday, I have to remember what I am doing and why; and there are quite a few days that I don't do well. My worry is excessive; my temper is short; and my food choices are not healthy. A transformation really doesn't abruptly stop. I have to wake up everyday to commit to better choices as a person, a mom, a friend, a sister, and a wife. And, there are SO many days I break my commitment.

I want to be honest, I am not always a picture perfect match for what I preach. Many things I post I do so to motivate myself. If I motivate others, then that's just awesome. But the truth is, I need that push too to keep going. For example, this weekend, I was determined to make better food choices because most weekends are usually a free-for-all. I was doing so great - then I had birthday cake. And chips and salsa. Then a piece of buttermilk pie. When I went to bed Saturday night, I was so mad at myself for that lack of will power. I beat myself up over and over until I fell asleep.

Not too long ago, I did my measurements and stepped on a scale after two months of not doing either one. And I wish I didn't do it because there wasn't much physical change. I felt like my transformation was at a halt, and I didn't like it. And I felt like I needed to stop posting things because I wasn't seeing that change. How could I promote fitness when I felt so stuck?

But, part of a transformation isn't the physical change. Like I have mentioned before, I have changed in other ways. Everyday, I try again when there have been some days where I didn't want to get out of bed. Many days where my thoughts were cloudy and negative. I was scared to be "out there" with my journey, to do the Beachbody thing, to post more on Instagram, to start my personal trainer certification - all of it was terrifying. The more I did it, the more I stepped out of that comfort zone, the more transformed I became.

For now, I'm commiting to ignore my poor self-talk and to focus more on how I've changed - and continue to change - inside. I'll keep my Transformation Tuesdays going and hope in the next few months, I will reach more physical goals. And if I don't, I will keep posting motivating things for me to keep pushing and trucking along. I hope you stick along with me on this transformation because all of you have made this journey more meaningful than I ever thought possible.

With Love,


Friday Finds {Vol. 11} - Back to School Edition

The commercials are out. The wonder of who the teacher will be has started. The back to school jitters are creeping into the dreams of students and teachers alike. On today's edition of Friday Finds, I want to share some tips on how to get your child AND you ready for the new school year!

I am still new to the school parent game - with my son just finishing kindergarten. But, I am no stranger to the back to school world as I was an educator for 13 years. Here are some tips to get you all prepared for the best school year yet. 

Plan a Date Day

Last year, before my son started kindergarten, I took him on a "date" - just the two of us. I let him pick his favorite restaurant then we shopped for clothes, a lunch box, and a backpack. This year, we are doing just the same. We are celebrating HIM. He already has his eyes on some high tops (insert wide-eyed emoji here). I can't wait for a date with my little man. 

Make It Personal

Remember our Summer Bucket List? If there is still an item or two left, do it the weekend or even the day before school starts. Say goodbye to summer with a bang! Or maybe pick your child's favorite dinner or breakfast to make the night before or morning of school. My personal favorite? Leave a little note in your child's lunch. I would write a little note or song lyric on his napkin everyday. He even would keep them after throwing all his trash away #bestillmyheart The little things mean so much to our little people. 

Show the Teacher Love

And please don't forget the teachers. They work SO hard - especially over the summer - to be ready for your kids. Show them some back to school love - gift cards, treats, school supplies, etc. They will love the love right from the start. See my Pinterest page for "Gift Ideas" for these great folks.

Celebrate the Big Day

Our close friends started an awesome tradition a few years ago when they would chalk up our kids' driveways the night before school started. Then, the kids woke up to such fun messages on their way out the door. I love this idea! My son had notes all the way to the bus stop - warmed my nervous mommy heart!

I also loved this poem I shared with my son the night before his first day. We read the poem right before bed, sprinkled our confetti, and he rested well before the first day.

Jitter Glitter and poem:  Terrific idea for a meet the teacher night prior to the first day of school.
You also can't forget the required back to school photos. My talented friend, Jennifer, made us a sign last year, and we have our signs ready for this year too. They are so fun to look back on when the year is done. 

Check them out HERE

Celebrate the Mama

No matter if you're a mom who is working or at home with the other littles, you need some time to soak in all that's going on with school beginning. Take some time for yourself - especially the busy mama teacher who is going to be working crazy hours! Don't cook on the first day - I vote take-out or dinner out because you will all be tired. Or, maybe find some friends and have a Boo Hoo Brunch as you say goodbye to your babes or a Woo Hoo one if you're ready for summer to end :)

No matter what, plan ahead. Get your mom mind right and ready to tackle all that comes with the start of school. Take care of your kids and take care of YOU. Best wishes for a great year!

With Love,


Summer Recipes

It's hot. So very, very hot. We like to do dinners out on Fridays, but lately, we've been sticking close to home and the pool. I save Fridays for my cheat meals and treats, and there is no other treat than a nice, cold beverage by the pool. Red wine is my favorite mommy drink, but with this Houston weather, I had to change it up a bit. 

My neighbor shared this recipe with me, and I have decided this Summer Sangria is my go-to in these hot summer months. In fact, it may be what I serve at someone's birthday bash in a couple of weeks. Add in this Sexy Ceviche, and you have yourself one crazy Friday night!

Summer Sangria

1.5 bottles of red wine (we used a Malbec)
2 c. of Fresca
2 c. of orange Juice
1/4 c. of brandy
1/2 c. triple sec
Sliced oranges and limes

Mix all together and chill until ready to serve. And here's a good tip - we didn't have brandy on hand so we substituted with apple juice. That combo worked perfectly too!

Sexy Ceviche

5 large tomatoes
1-2 jalapeno (seeded)
12 limes
1/2 garlic

1-2 Cilantro stalks
2.5-3 medium white onions
(HEB fans - you can purchase these veggies chopped up to save time - they have onion/cilantro packages or separate packages for each)

2 Tbl. garlic powder
2 Tbl. garlic salt
2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbl. white wine vinegar

3 lbs of medium to extra large shrimp (peeled and deveined)

Finely chop all veggies. Mix in a large bowl with the squeezed limes  and vinegar. Add spices then set aside. 

Flash boil shrimp (barely let them cook/get pink) - about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse, cool, and chop the shrimp. Mix with the rest of the ingredients above and let it sit about 5-6 hours or overnight. You can add any white fish or crab meat as well. Dip with tortilla chips or add to your favorite fish dish!

Don't these treats sound delish?? Sweet summertime!


Dealing with Worry

I'm taking a break from my Weekly Meal Plan post to share an topic dear to me. It's a long post, but it's one I hope you read.


Worry has always been a part of my life. I worried for my family, my friends, my life. I would at times be consumed by the worry even at a young age. When I suddenly lost my dad in 2002, I felt justified in my worry. See? Bad things happen; worrying is necessary. If I stayed vigilant with my worry, I wouldn’t be caught off guard like that again. So, I kept on this way. It wasn’t healthy, but it was my way to approach life.

In June 2011,  when my son was 2 ½, I learned I had early stage melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer. In fact, when I went to the doctor to have the spot examined, I just had this feeling. I fretted, I worried. My husband said, “why worry until you have something to worry about?” Oh how I wish I could turn off those awful thoughts while I waited for an official diagnosis. Then, two long weeks later, my worries were confirmed - Melanoma In-Situ. Surgery scheduled for two days later. Again, my worries were validated. Life was too much. I need to be ready for the next piece of bad news, and the worry continued.

After the surgery, I learned in fact it was an early stage skin cancer; surgery would be the cure, and I would be okay. But, from now on, I needed to include sunscreen in my daily routine, be monitored every 6 months, and keep an eye on my skin. For the normal person, this would be no big deal; new protocol to live by, keep on keepin’ on. Not for the worrier. I became consumed with body checks - daily ones in fact. I would focus on one spot and hold on to this crazy fear that it was somehow missed. And, add in the random appointments I would schedule to confirm my fears. I couldn’t make it to 6 months. I was going almost monthly.

My anxiety and fear were out of control. I would go to bed at night convinced I was dying; this was it. Melanoma was going to get me, take me from my family. It was so awful. So much so that I had to seek counseling. That part is hard for me to admit publicly. My skin cancer drove me to seek help. I found someone to speak with previously about my worry and to help in my grief over my dad. But, I was feeling good and didn’t need to go back - until my skin became such an obsession. I couldn’t keep on like this - studying my moles, sneaking in appointments, losing sleep. I couldn’t do it anymore.

In counseling, I found reassurance. I wasn’t crazy; it’s quite normal, but we needed a way to get my mind off what could be. Yes, my dad died suddenly and not in a way I could ever comprehend. Yes, I had skin cancer, the worst kind there is. But, what did all that worry do? It took me away from all the goodness in my life. I had to work to see that, and to be honest, I work to this day to eradicate these fears of my skin cancer returning.

It’s been 4 years since my melanoma removal. I can’t even tell you how many spots I have had removed since - mainly by my pleading. This last week, I received yet another clean report. And when I sat in the parking lot after this appointment, I thought it’s time to share one reason my anxiety is high. Another reason why staying active has become my saving grace. It’s another way to view my body as something awesome - not something defective because of the skin cancer that consumed me.

I know now that worrying isn’t going to solve the world’s problems; it’s not going to prevent bad things from happening. But, it will stop me from being present with my family, and I am SO over it. I know my dad is over it for me too - this worried life is in no way how he wants his daughter to live. Am I free of worry? No way. Does it consume me on some days more than others? You bet. I just can’t let the worry of losing a loved one or another skin cancer scare overcome me. I need to be IN my life not floating around it, waiting in panic for it all to fall apart.

A year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to share this story. It was like talking about it out loud - to the world - made it more real. Scarier. This fitness journey I am on has affected me internally, and I vow to try and keep the worry away. There is so much I want others to take from this - to hear more of my story, to learn more about me, to have hope, to be present. Take care of yourself, take care of your skin - you’ve got one life to live, and I hope, like me, it will be one where we learn worry never solves a thing. I know I will keep working on living this way. I have to.

For more information about skin cancer screenings, please go to
And know your ABCDEs - early detection is key.

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Lindsey, who has been fighting Melanoma for almost 3 years. Her beauty, her strength, and her faith motivate me daily. Lindsey, I love you. My heart and prayers are with you all the time.

With Love,
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