name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : March 2016


5 Tips to Shopping Round Top

My sister is a big fan of antiques and even started her own business - I'm so excited for her. She turned me into a fan too, and we LOVE  Round Top, Texas. Twice a year, this tiny, precious town has an antiques week, and it is a blast. Grab your girlfriends, your shopping shoes, maybe a mimosa, and hit the road. Here are my top 5 tips to shopping Round Top (with help from the pro herself, my sister). 

ONE - Stay Overnight

I know kids and life get in the way of this one, but if you plan ahead, you can make this a fabulous girls weekend. There are some precious farmhouses and B&Bs to keep you cozy after a day of shopping. We have stayed here numerous times, and it's perfect. The food? YUM. Another tip to staying overnight - book early. The next antiques week is September 26-October 1 so you can go ahead and get something on the books now!

TWO - Know the Best Time to Shop

Go at the beginning of the show for the first dibs on all the goods. Or, go at the end of the show for the best deals. It's pretty popular at these times, so go in the morning if you can. The traffic can get crazy, but there's tons of parking! Wherever you land, you'll will be in the midst of shopping. 

THREE - Bring Cash and/or Checkbook

It's just easier for everyone to have cash on hand. The service can get spotty out there, so it's easier on the vendors if you use one of these payment options. And, when you find the perfect thing, that booth may not take cards! Prepare - hit the ATM before and you will be good to go. Also, you can negotiate with the sellers with sensible offers too. 

 FOUR - Go to the Junk Gypsy Prom

I have only gone once, but I highly recommend the Junk Gypsy prom. Get gussied up in fabulous clothes, listen to good music, stop by the photo booth, and have a ball! My sister just prom'ed it up - how cute is she?!

FIVE - Get Comfortable

You will walk and walk some more, so wear comfy clothes and shoes. Put on a hat and some sunscreen too - this shopping thing is hard work, so you want to be prepared. And, if you have a wagon or a cart, bring that too (they do sell carts there if you need one).  If you find some goodies, you will want to be comfy as you shop and lug your treats around Round Top. Added note - if you find something big, you can make arrangements to pick up later as you head out.

My sister's treasures can be seen in these pictures. You can also see more on Facebook
Or, if you do come out, come find her! Say hi and get something fun. 
Happy shopping!

{Pin this!}


Saying Good-Bye to the Pity Party

There are a few things I'm good at - drinking coffee, being disciplined with my workouts, loving my kids, eating foods that aren't the best for me, and having pity parties. I can do that last thing LIKE A BOSS. Moping around because my day is the worst ever or staying in a rotten mood because I have to grieve more than the average bear - I'm just super great at that skill.

So this weekend with my birthday happening and a post going live that had me scared AND excited, I had SO much to make me happy. And guess what? I WAS so happy. Friends came out to celebrate my day - plus a dear friend surprised me when he came too! Then, my post was shared and shared some more; people reached out, and I felt so much love. I felt peace and prayers; I felt God. With Easter coming this weekend too, it was just good timing.

Now, I want to put this right here and leave it right here - I want to say good-bye to my pity parties. I want to hang on to this weekend and remember how good it felt and how PERFECT our GOD is. Life isn't pretty, and no one promised it would be without bumps and bruises. But, I am surrounded with love, laughter, and life. And if life goes crazy again (I pray it does not), I really feel that this life around me will sustain me in some way. Grief will sneak in; anxiety will come creeping back, but I want to chronicle the good from this past weekend. If I can hold on to these sweet memories, I will remember life can be good right after it's bad. Holding on to that thought will get me (and YOU) far if we let it.

I really, really like that thought. I am changing some things I'm good at - not the coffee or the occasional bad food item (I'll never say good-bye to the occasional queso or cupcake), but I want to be good at celebrating a better party. Not the pity, but the party.

Thank you to my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, my blogging family, and my God for letting me see that light so brightly.

Have the best week, friends. I plan on it.

If you havent, I hope you will head over and read my post at Her View From Home. I wrote this post right before my brother passed. Now, it's helping me find my strength again. Thank you for your support!


Friday Finds {Vol. 24} - My Birthday List

High five, it's FRIDAY! We have a three day weekend to celebrate Easter, AND it's my birthday. Normally, I wouldn't shout that from the rooftops since this year is my last in the 30s, but I am in desperate need of some celebration. Since life has been heavy, I need something light. Welcome to this week's Friday Finds - My Birthday List. My husband keeps asking what I would like for my birhtday so I thought I put together a list of some practical gifts. Consider it a little gift guide for this tired, crazed mama.


Sleep. I want to wake up on my own. I don't want any children to scare me into the day with their face in mine. I love them dearly, but when your 7 year-old creeps in about 6:30 am on a weekend and asks if he slept will jolt you into the day for sure. I would like some sleepy time then to wake up at my pace and prepare for gift #2.


Coffee. Like, a whole, hot cup in one sitting. I NEVER get to finish my cup - blame the toddler, the 1st grader late for the bus, or the laundry that beckons. I use to wake up extra early just for the quiet and the coffee, but on my birthday, I just want to wake up and drink in peace. The coffee of my dreams would be in a fun little mug, and I would sit gingerly on the couch and sip until my heart's content. A cup I don't have to reheat 37 times, please.


A long shower. No children allowed in the bathroom at this time either. No toddler trying to see if my liquid eyeliner is her color. I might even wash my hair AND dry it with an actual hair dryer. Put on some make-up and non-workout clothes and just be cute for a hot minute. If I see little fingers under the door, it doesn't count and my time will start over. It's my birthday, I make the rules.


A solo trip to Target. No, I don't have a list. Maybe hand me a gift card on the way out the door for an added bonus. Me, the red cart, and let's be honest - a Starbucks. Also, please be patient too because I plan to casually make my way up and down the aisles taking in all the goods. Honestly, if you can't work out the other gift ideas, I'll just settle for this one. Alone in Target = vacation.


Quiet. Take the kids, run some errands, see what it's like. I may be here on the couch confused by the stillness but enjoying it nonetheless. I do have some Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Fixer Upper to watch on the DVR, so no rush at all. Enjoy those sweet kids. You've got this, honey.


While you're out, if you see anything in the form of a chocolate cupcake, I'll take one, please. Grab one for yourself. If you make this gift guide happen, you deserve a treat, too.

Birthdays sure have changed when you get older, and on a serious note, I am thankful for a husband who will probably make a few of my wishes come true. Starting Friday night when we have quiet, kid-free time with wine and friends! 

What would be your perfect birthday gift? We all deserve the quiet, the coffee, Target, and the chocolate. Pin this nifty gift guide if your big day is coming soon. I say use these ideas for Mother's Day too! These gifts are universal. 

Cheers to 39! It's going to be a good one!


The Heavy

Amidst a crazy time in my life, I am so happy that the Healthy Mama Series got such great feedback. I am excited to share the next mama soon!

Now for The Heavy. I found a post this week that really hit home for how I've been the last few days. Sure, we have had some spring break fun and celebrated some family moments, but life has been hard.

We are two months into life without my brother, and I am not sure I can put into words how weird and hard and beautiful life has been. I prefer the beautiful part, but I am not naive - the harder parts are there too. They lurk and sneak out without warning. I read this post this week, and wow. Those 100 foot waves are crashing down on me right now. They are big, and they are heavy.

I am in the season of grief where life just keeps going, and you go too. But, you have this moment in the middle of a good time, and you are suddenly stunned. My brother isn't here. I can't call him to check on him or ask him to help me with something. He's not there, and that feeling is heavy. Just this week, I was at the rodeo with my son having a great time and I see an old friend. We hug, and he says, "I am praying for you." I have to be honest, it took me a second to realize why he said that. Then, I spent the night going back and forth between sad and fun. He meant well, but that's grief for you. Sneaky little thing.

Then, I feel alone. Grief is different for many people, and it comes out differently. I am angry, and I am sad. When my dad died, I took one month off of work to process what I could. Now that I'm a mom, I don't get to take time off to "work" on my grief. I am okay with crying in front of my kids - I want them to see real emotions. But, wiping the applesauce painting (by my toddler artist) off the wall when you really want to crawl under the covers - it's a weird balance.

There are also the times when I think I am grieving incorrectly. I do feel angry, but should I feel it more than I do? I could sit for hours and pray and/or write, but I don't cry. Should I cry more? We spent the other weekend with family while my nephew ran his first marathon. And dare I say it, but I had the best weekend. Just real people having a casual time - laughing a lot. Should I not have that kind of fun when grieving?

I don't want to change the focus on my blog from well being to grief, but I do feel it's honest to share when life isn't perfect. When it's dirty, gross, confusing, and downright frustrating. I know I am still in the early season of grief, and maybe I am afraid because I know already how nasty it can get next week, next month, and even in the next 5 years. Sometimes, I just don't want to do this grief thing all over again.

They say that it will get worse before it gets better. Maybe this the worse right now. Maybe it's not. I have to get the words out so I could feel just one bit lighter. Until then, I am going back to this post over and over. I am going to admit I am not okay and remember that THAT'S okay.

From The Wellness Warrior
If you’re struggling today, feeling like you’re not enough, that you’re broken beyond repair, and that you’ll never have your act together, here’s some good news:
That’s why God sent us Jesus.
You are enough because of who He is.
You are not broken, you’re loved. We get to turn to Him and let Him take our broken places and to turn them into beautiful testimony of His healing power.
And you don’t have to have your act together all the time. Our weakness is the perfect vehicle to display HIS glory. 
Truth is? I’m not okay. But I’ve got a Savior who is. 
And THAT is enough for me.


The Healthy Mama Series - Meet Kristin

I am SO excited to start my first blog series - moms sharing their transformations and stories of health, hope, and happiness. Moms are crazy busy, but we deserve the time to take care of ourselves. These awesome moms will share how fitness works in their lives, and I hope they inspire you just as they do me!

Up first - Kristin! Kristin is a teacher, coach, wife, and mom of twin toddlers. I love her transformation story and thank her for sharing her world with us!
I first want to start off with a thank you to Kim for asking me to share my story. I have never done anything like this before and do not really know where to start. So, I will start off stating my struggle with weight and being healthy has gone on since high school. I was very active playing volleyball full time, but even then, I wasn’t happy with how I looked. Then off to college I went where I yo-yoed through the four years.
Fast forward, I was now married and wanting children. After four years of different fertility treatments, we were blessed with boy/girl twins. Through the process came a lot of weight gain, due to hormone treatments, depression, pregnancy and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy during my pregnancy and embraced every moment as I knew it was a blessing.

The twins turned one and as I looked at pictures, I didn’t recognize the person in them. I first went into denial and continued my horrible eating habits. I knew I had to do something so that summer I decided I would start “running” again. My mile times were in the 15 minute range, but I was doing it. One morning I ran by what looked like a boot camp, I went home to google Camp Gladiator and read what they were all about. They were at the time running a special so I contacted the trainer and set up a chance to go try it out. Oh I forgot to mention, this was 5:30 in the morning! Little background, I have always been the person who said they would NEVER wake up early to work out, sleep is too precious. What I didn’t realize is your time is limited when you become a mom. I fell l in love with the program and the trainer. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it work when I went back to school, but I was determined to figure it out. The class time changed to 5:15 to help us teachers out, but with me needing to be at school at 7:10, I was still pushing it.
I started going twice a week; those first two weeks I couldn’t walk and came home to almost throw up each time. That is how out of shape I was. I then moved it to three days which in turn changed to five days a week. I started work, and it was tough, but I made it work. I got to class at 5, got some light jogging in before class started and left at 6, a full hour. My best friend ended up joining which made class even better. We then moved the time up to meet at 4:50 some mornings to get 2 full miles in before class. Here I was a person who said they would never wake up early to work out, getting up at 4:15 to workout, then go to school to coach to then return home to be a mom and a wife.
I was feeling really good, so one Saturday, I set my alarm to get up and run. I made it six miles with no problem. I also realized my mile time went from 15 minutes to around 11 at that time. At this time I had run four marathons and was a runner in the past. It felt good to get outside and be running again. I decided to keep going each weekend and soon my 6 miles turned to 10. I registered for the Cypress half marathon where I beat my record time by 5 minutes. Here, I was a mom of twins with a full time job and I just hit my PR for the half. Needless to say, this was a very emotional day and one I will remember forever. Please know I am not judging any other moms here as we all know our plates are filled with different obstacles and challenges.
My love for running came back full swing, and I quickly got into the Houston half and Katy Half. I ran three half marathons in 3 months and now my total count was 7! I still do Camp Gladiator 4-5 times a week and run on the weekends. What I hope you get from this is find what you love and get back into it. We all have to start somewhere, mine was a 15 minute mile now down to about a 9:45-10 minute pace. Never say never and ALWAYS make healthy time for you!
Also during all of this, I tried a new product line Plexus. Plexus brought me back to healthy in a way I never imagined. It balanced my hormones and blood sugars to in turn helped the weight loss. I sleep a lot better and the Plexus slim gives me energy for the whole day…4:30AM comes quick! I would love to share with you the many products Plexus offers and that I currently take, if you are interested at all in learning more about this product, you can contact me at or message me on Facebook. You can check out the products HERE.
I am SO excited for Kristin! With a full time job and little twins at home, her story is more than inspiring. My message - just like hers - is for moms to explore their health and fitness options. We all can find time for our health - boot camps, at home workouts, running, etc. You have so many options to find your fit - just as Kristin did!

I can't wait for other moms to share how they make fitness work into their worlds. I hope you find something to inspire you!


How To Set Your Goals {7 Quick Steps}

Spring Break is just around the corner, and we need some family time up in here. It's a good time to reorganize, replan, and rethink my goals for this new year. As I've shared, this year did not start as I had hoped - and you can bet those 2016 resolutions can to a crashing stop. Grief sure is a crazy, mad journey, and I am hanging on for dear life. I keep reminding myself to take one day at a time, let myself rest, and give myself grace; I'm doing that when there is downtime, but I am also feeling the urge to get back to things - but get back to them differently. These 7 steps are how I plan to set my new goals.

Follow a Process

Since so much has changed, I need to spend time brainstorming and planning what I want to do now. I'll be honest - my plans have changed; I just feel different. Just like you would research for any project, paper, job, or blog post - research YOU. The English teacher in me plans to pre-write, draft, and final draft those goals. If they are important to you, you need to spend time constructing them.

Use a Planner

We always need an excuse to go to Target, right? Head over and grab a planner, desk calendar, dry erase board, sticky notes - anything! Once you see the goals in writing, they become real. This planner becomes your book of dreams, and I am strong believer that moms can dream big too. Check out this awesome free printable here that is great for goal-setting. 

Set an End Date

I want to have my personal training certification done by July 1st. Having an end in mind helps me focus and plan how each step will look and how long it will take. Plus, I can start making plans for the fall and prepare to open my own boot camp. With these visions in mind, I can get to work.

Be Realistic

We are moms - we work, we play, we need sleep. You know I am a big proponent of taking care of yourself so you can take care of them. So when setting your goals, realize you cannot do it all - and you definitely can't do it all today. I could easily study and make this certification my first goal in life, but that's not my reality. I need to pace myself and spend time with my family. Honor those commitments - and mainly that commitment to your well-being when setting your goals.

Chunk Your Goals

Look at the goals you've created then figure out the steps to finishing each one. For studying, I need to chunk my time for each topic, chapter, etc. For blogging, I need to look at one element at a time so I can improve this little blog. Each goal takes time and won't be accomplished in a day, so chunk them into little pieces and work on each one slowly. Give yourself that time so each one falls into place just as you envision.

Involve Others

Share your plans with friends - maybe those who are like-minded. My trainer knows my studying plans; my sweet friend, Kristy, supports my blogging goals. Both are mentors to me as they give great advice and check in when needed. Or, grab your besties and share your goals with them so they can be your cheerleaders. You will need others to rally around you as you push forward.

Reward Yourself

This reward isn't for the end- small rewards along the way are great motivators. If I study on my designated study days/times, I may use the next day to catch up on Fuller House :) Or, if your finances allow, go buy something nice for yourself - celebrate that you spent time on your goal and spend time on you. I may slowly buy workout equipment with each small goal I accomplish. Go for it - those small rewards push you towards the big reward at the end. 

I'm sharing this post today because I want to empower myself and others to keep going. We are going to have ROUGH days for sure, but just think of all you can do if you plan and set those goals. That day will make all the yucky ones in between worth it. We are all WORTH it. 

This little one is watching. I want her to be a goal-getter too! 

If you're ready to draft your goals, pin these tips - they'll help get you all set! What goals are you reaching for in 2016?


A Slumber Party

I wanted to title this post something like How to Be a Good Friend When Your Friend is in Crisis or How to Keep Your Friend From Going Crazy. But, I'll keep it simple. I am almost 40 (gasp), and I went to a slumber party on Friday. Like, put on your jammies, get some junk food, talk about boys kinda slumber party. And, it was a blast.

When my brother passed away in January, so many friends asked what they could do. They took me for drinks, watched my kids, brought me wine/dinner/etc. We had a private service for him, so many friends wanted to do something to help me cope since they wouldn't be at his service. Since grief is not new to me, I knew what I would need - once all the chaos slowed down, and people returned to normal, I wanted to "get away" with my girlfriends and be real. Real tears, real talk, real laughter...just a time to gather 'round my peeps - minus kids - and just have FUN.

And we did.

We ate cupcakes.

We laughed. We laughed A LOT.

We watched a movie - a WHOLE NON-CARTOON MOVIE. I even stayed awake for the whole thing.

Then, I slept so peacefully (though we went to bed late, and my natural alarm clock now goes off so early. Darn kids).

If you have a friend who is going through anything hard, check on them even if you think things are okay. If you can, kick your kids and hubby out (in a nice way, of course) then get on your pajamas, open some wine, indulge in some goodies, and just laugh.

Mom life is already tough so when there is a crisis too, it's really suffocating at times. For the first time in two months, I felt really happy.

Thank you, sweet friends, for a fun night. I cannot wait until the next one.


Friday Finds {Vol. 23) - The 4x4 Diet

You know I am all about my workouts and fitting them in NO MATTER WHAT. You know I do it for my sanity. And, for the longest time after baby #2, I could not figure out how in the world to make it happen. After quite a bit of trial and error (not to mention a gym contract gone bad), I found my "place" with a fitness routine that works for me. But, my plan may not be yours - our lives are different! My goal is to share ideas so you can see just how mentally beneficial fitness can be for the tired mama.

Time is the number one reason why moms do not work out. If you had time to do something for you, you'd be fast asleep or parked on the couch watching a Real Housewives episode. And, I do those things too - I just schedule time to workout; I find time each day to MOVE. With my boot camp now down to one night a week, I have increased the at-home workout plan. This week, Beachbody released it's latest workout - 22 Minute Hard Corps - and I've worked it into my weekly routine. TWENTY-TWO MINUTES. I am digging this one for sure.

But, what else is there? When can you get your heart rate up each day? You work; you are tired; your kids have activities every 5 minutes - when do YOU take a few minutes and workout? Recently, a former student (Hi, Linds!) posted a picture with celebrity trainer, Erin Oprea. Erin released a book about getting your body where you want it in 4 weeks - including key foods and FOUR minute workouts. I am loving this book and her information. She is a busy working mom who gets it - she has found a way to make diet and exercise work in our overwhelmingly busy lives. Connecting to moms like Erin is why I love social media and why I'm learning more about healthy living every single day.

While I am in the middle of this great book and my notes to make it work for me, I see a news story about Erin - with her client, Carrie Underwood, jumping in to defend this awesome mama. Here's the gist - Erin was at her son's soccer game when she decided to make her workout happen. What does she do? Grab her jump rope (smart idea - keep one in the car!) and gets some cardio in while watching her son play. And without knowing, a man snaps a picture of her and blasts her over the interwebs for trying to grab attention to herself, and thus, a debate erupts.

But, here's my take - and it's a take I've had since I started sharing my journey almost one year ago - there is nothing wrong with taking time for YOU. I applaud Erin for using this time to stay healthy. The mom life is so crazy that we rarely remember to take care of ourselves so we can take care of them. If you have 30 minutes at your child's practice, grab the jump rope or walk/run around the field.  Or try these ideas: wake up earlier - just 20-30 minutes and do something at home. Join a gym with childcare and take a class. Grab your neighbor and make one night a week your night to walk. Hit the park and do some step-ups while chasing the kids. Research local boot camps and try a free class. I am forever glad I did that. It can happen, friends!

Or, grab Erin's book and let her continue to be an example to the busy mom - use her key foods/recipes to change up your meal planning. Try her workouts and notice what happens when your body starts to change. I am so excited to use this book as a guide and Erin as my role model for getting that workout in no matter your lifestyle. Grab your copy and maybe we can make a book club of out it :)

I am so excited to share her influence on me in just the short amount of time I've been reading and learning from her. And, coming soon, I will be sharing more amazing moms who have found a way to make health a priority.

Now, excuse me...I'm going put a jump rope in my car. Have a great weekend, friends!
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