name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : 2017


Why I Decided To Take A Blogging Break

I love my little blog. When it started a few years ago, it became such an outlet for me as a new mom (for round two) and as a NEW stay-at-home mom. The words gave me a release - they lifted weights off my shoulders. And, they still do. But at this time, I don't feel too many words coming.

Maybe it's grief or anxiety - maybe a mixture of both. I feel like I'm currently in a time of research - what's next for me in terms of my career, my well being, and my little blog. A favorite blogger recently posted she was letting it all go, and while her reach is far greater than mine, her words connected to my current anxiety with all things. And like her, I think a blogging break - and maybe an entire social media break - is necessary. 

I won't leave this space alone for long, but I definitely feel the pull to stop for a bit. To enjoy this holiday season. To feel all the feels that come with the chaos and ultimate JOY of this season. I don't want to spend it scheduling posts or writing gift guides or holiday survival tips just because everyone else is doing it - I want to write when I feel the urge to share. The good, the grief, the joy, and the anxiety. After all, that's why I started this space in the first place. 

Some days, I don't feel anyone is reading, and I have often felt like I am stuck in this social media game - followers, likes, collaborations. Others are rocking it, and I am over here praying my words connect. I don't like how it's added to my anxiety, so when saying no is my new motto, I feel the pull to say no to that silly game I just can't seem to get on top of most days. 

Always A New Day was formed because I needed my space - I needed to feel like a person behind the mom title. I wanted to write because my dad liked reading. I wanted to write about how anxiety is a daily struggle. And then I had to write about grief after losing my brother. When I chose the words, I then was choosing the right time to post them or the right photo that would increase engagement. I just don't want to anymore. 

I think on my break, I will spend time writing. Just writing. The old-fashioned way. I will look into exciting career opportunities that have come my way. I will get healthier - mainly on the inside than the out. 

And when I come back, if you're still here, I hope you find words that resonate with you. 

Thank you for blessing me with your support. Have the best holiday season - spend it loving one another, being kind, and taking care of yourself, too. 

See you in 2018!


5 Reasons Why We Are Delaying Kindergarten

The topic of "will we?" or "won't we?" start our daughter early in kindergarten comes up often - and when I say often, it even came up right when she was born. Not if we would, but more of how we would make that decision. I've had many mom friends make the choice - for reasons that were best for the child, no doubt. Coming to our choice took patience and teamwork - and since many parents are faced with this choice, I wanted to share why we decided to wait.

Last year when deciding about my daughter's pre-school, we needed to make some big choices in regards to her school years. My little bit was born mid-August meaning she will turn five right smack in the middle of the summer's final month. Should we send this sassy, social butterfly? Could she hang among her peers who were quite a bit older? Am I making this choice too much about me? So many questions. Fears. Anxieties.

As a parent, it would be FANTASTIC if we could see the future - if our decisions now about our kids will have major impacts on their lives. I would love to know if putting her in kindergarten right when she turns 5 is exactly what is meant for her, but the truth is I have no idea.


My husband and I have talked at great length about what would be "best" for her. We have also talked to SO many parents - on both sides of the debate. Those who sent kids early, so to speak, and those who waited. We also have talked to her teachers and her pediatrician. None of these conversations happened overnight nor did they come and go. We have spent great care in our choice, and I feel so comfortable in our decision. 

We are choosing to send her when she turns 6 - yes, making her the oldest in the class. We are choosing this based on the mentioned conversations, the research, and the input of moms who have done both AND with their unbiased opinions. We have watched our daughter from all standpoints - socially, academically, emotionally, etc. The WHOLE picture of who she is - not one over the other. 

I think my daughter would excel in kindergarten - she is extremely social, loves other kids, and loves to play. She has some strong academic skills and weaknesses, too. But, we are also thinking beyond kindergarten. We are thinking of the tween and teen years. We are thinking of her going to college. A close friend sent her daughter "early" and didn't notice the frustrations until middle school. So while she would love and learn from kindergarten, we want to think about what happens after. When I discussed options and perspectives with teachers, they mentioned that academics didn't falter when they started kindergarten early, but they did notice maturity and some social skills were not the same as their peers. 

Beyond kindergarten is tough - I know, I see my son in third grade already struggling a bit to keep up with new concepts and to understand exactly what grades mean for him now and forever. We are thinking of her academically in sixth grade, ninth grade, and even college.

I am not worried about her being bored when she starts school - anyone who knows her says she isn't quite sure what boredom is as she ALWAYS on the go. I don't worry that she is missing out on anything as I do not see any rush to make her grow faster than she needs to. I cannot wait to watch her confidence soar - and while it could in kindergarten, I want to watch it grow naturally as that's just who she is. 

The gift of time. Sure, I want her little forever, but as we know, the years are fleeting. I am still confused as to how the baby I couldn't believe was mine is now the one who is able to start her school years. That gift of time will give her so much - her confidence, leadership, and self-efficacy will flourish. I cannot wait for that time to watch her grow even more. When I mentioned our story and plan on Instagram, I received so many positive messages from other moms - one said her daughter did great in kindergarten when she started young, but it was hard for her to head off into the "real world" at 17. Another said she looks at it as "18 Summers" - that's more for family trips, weekend outings, or just about anything to make more memories. Gah, I just love that  perspective, too. 


We decided to delay kindergarten because it's OUR decision as her parents. We've shared our stories with those who see her and know her best as that whole person. We talked at length with professionals and parents who tell both sides of the debate. And because of all of this, we have made OUR choice. 

If you are on the fence about delaying school, I'd love to chat more. I also encourage you to talk, share, and ask questions. One sweet friend mentioned that her son - who started later - does tend to gravitate towards older kids which makes her worry if they did the right thing. I love that she shared that with me, and for others who gave me reasons for going ahead and getting her in.  Bottom line is - find those you know will give you unbiased and KIND advice. You will come to the conclusion with ease once you've thought about it in all directions.

You are your child's advocate, their cheerleader, and their greatest fan. These are our choices. And with time, you will know yours, too. 


Our Favorite Holiday Tradition

**This post contains affiliate links via Amazon**

Hear me out, I know we haven't hit Thanksgiving yet, but I am thinking of Christmas already. When you have anxiety, you seek out the things that just make you happy. Decorating, Christmas movies, the joy on my kids' faces, and my family being together - those things just bring peace and happiness. Of course, above all, it's the reason for the season, too - it's a time of great thanks and grace.

My family has been through the wringer, but nothing makes us stronger than being together. For years, we have always gathered for Christmas - church service, family gift giving on Christmas Eve, tons of delicious appetizers, and waiting for Santa to arrive. My sister and I LOVE it - so much so that we created a tradition many years ago. It's our most favorite tradition and one I love shopping for each year. My hope is you can start this tradition with someone you love!

I honestly can't say where the idea came from, but I do know with how close we are, we knew one gift wasn't enough. We also didn't want to break the bank with gifts. My favorite part of this tradition is that it uses our creativity. Here's what we do:

We buy 5 gifts for each other.
The total of all gifts is no more than $50
One gift has to be made.

The DIY gift - including the materials needed to make it - are included in that $50. Some of our favorite non-made gifts are TJ Maxx gift cards, coffee mugs (she's already requested this one - ha), jewelry, scarves, journals, wine glasses, candles, books, etc... Basically, anything we know the other will love and use!

The made gifts have included jewelry holders, home decor, earrings (she's way craftier than me), holiday decorations, and the list goes on. Thankfully, I have a crafty husband who always helps my lack of creativity.

Take our favorite tradition and do it with a friend, spouse, parent, or sibling, too! Change it up to fit your relationship. I can't wait to get my shopping on - I already have the DIY gift on my mind. Stay tuned!

My sister painted this church on tin - so talented
I made this DIY necklace holder!
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? I love hearing new ideas and getting the absolute most out of this holiday season!


Easy Cheesecake Cupcakes

We all need a little sweetness in our lives - good thing you can get that love in these cheesecake cupcakes. Yep, you read that right - mini cheesecakes so small, it can't hurt to have just one. Or maybe two.
Cheesecake goes fast in our house. The hubs loves anything cream cheese - in fact, his groom's cake was one giant cheesecake. So, of course we love us some Cheesecake Factory, but we are loving that you can now get their beloved cheesecake to make on your own. The Cheesecake Factory At Home Cheesecake Mixes are easy and the perfect decadent treat. And it can become the easiest, cutest, and yummiest cupcake ever.


Cheesecake Factory At Home Cheesecake Mix (any flavor!)
Cupcake liners
Additional toppings (fruit, chocolate chips, caramel, whipped cream, etc)
NOTE: You'll also need cream cheese, eggs, and if you follow the chef's tips on the package, you may need heavy cream too #yum

What to do:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 12-cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  3. Make crust as described on box and put a tablespoon of mixture at the bottom of each liner.
  4. Make the cheesecake as described as well - then fill each liner to the top with the mixture.
  5. Bake the mini cheesecake cupcakes for 20 minutes or until the centers are almost set.
  6. When finished, let the mini cheesecake cupcakes rest at room temperature.
  7. When cool, place mini cheesecake cupcakes in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  8. Before serving, add your desired topping. (NOTE: the caramel and strawberry flavors come with toppings, but you can definitely add your own.)

Bring to your holiday gathering or add to your kids' lunch - they fit perfectly in our lunch containers. No matter how you serve them, The Cheesecake Factory's new At Home Cheesecake Mixes will impress your guests and your little dessert lovers at home.

The Cheesecake Factory is America’s favorite restaurant known for its delicious and LARGE menu of more than 250 items and more than 30 legendary cheesecakes. Sharing is highly recommended, but I dare you to share your mini cheesecake cupcakes. They are perfect for the busy mama to sneak when the kids aren't looking!

Enjoy your sweet treats and thank you Cheesecake Factory for making mamas happy all over the world! Cheesecake for everyone :)

Click HERE to learn more about Cheesecake Factory At Home Cheesecake Mixes


The Truth About Anxiety

Ten things you need to know about anxious moms. Where I've been with anxiety lately. How it is to live with anxiety. Oh so many titles, blog post ideas, random thoughts, etc. I've erased and written again because I want others to know what it's like to live with anxiety. And I want even more to know they are not alone. I don't like being anxious, and in the last few weeks, it honestly has gotten pretty bad. This is my truth about anxiety.

Too much on my plate or relationships that have fallen apart - it has felt like I cannot get my mind to stop worrying. I replay conversations or I even make up scenarios that haven't happened yet - its never-ending. And it's so exhausting because it comes suddenly, without warning. You almost have to be on full alert even when life is good. You have to be prepared for that worry to spring up at any moment. And in the last month or so, I have been on edge about it all - parenting, friendships, obligations, grief, etc. See? Exhausting.

I've shared before how I seek help when it gets too hard. The help has lifted life-sized boulders off my shoulders. But, lately, I  thought I could fight it on my own. All on my own. Asking for help is not a weakness or a sign that something is desperately wrong. In the last two weeks, I realized I cannot do hard things without a community - a good doctor, understanding friends, and quite a bit of prayer.

I could sugarcoat my truth and give tips on combating anxiety or say I welcome every morning feeling refreshed to tackle a new day, but the truth is I have run out of tips. The triggers are obvious; the worries are the same. But, I am so tired of living in a Groundhog Day type of life. When that fatigue set in a few weeks ago, I knew what I needed to do.

We are tired, anxious mamas. We have so much on our plate, and we try to control every aspect of our day or at least I do. I think too much of the what ifs and the whys, and I've hit the wall. Two weeks ago, I buckled down and started a new journey.

If you are in the trenches of worry - whether it's a continuous struggle or a new thing that has come with motherhood, the other truth is you are not alone. The battles don't have to be big to give you worry. You should never feel ashamed. In fact, as my friend Lisa recently posted - "when you're troubled, throw out a lifeline to someone else. It will keep both of you afloat in ways you never imagined."

So let's say my new truth about anxiety is that lifeline. Recently, I have felt troubled. I have felt weak. I am now throwing this out to someone else - hoping we both remember we have strong tools in our arsenal to keep us afloat. Of course, there will be wounds that still come up as we get through the days. There will be times when my arsenal feels depleted. But, with a new plan in motion, and a tribe that beats all tribes, I am ready.

The real truth is I am more ready than ever.


How To Style Your Family Photos - 6 Simple Tips

Thank you to Jennifer Spencer Photography for our photos and for assisting in this post. Amazon Affiliate link also used. As always, thanks for supporting Always A New Day.

We took our family pictures last week - we try to take them in October when it's just the right temp here in Texas. Nothing says "happy family" like sweaty, tired mamas and sweaty, cranky kids :)

Luckily, we had a sweet taste of fall and all went perfectly. It definitely pays off to have the BEST photographer in town. Jennifer Spencer Photography has been our go-to for all family photos including a little photo shoot she did for me.

And, thanks to her for some pro photog tips. Moms could spend hours putting together a coordinating scheme, but why? Here's what Jen and I think will make the perfect shoot for your little family.

Pick a color scheme - It's best to work with TWO colors that fit your style. For fall photos, go for oranges, browns, navy, or dark reds. For summer-y beach-y photos, think light colors. Coordinate your fam's clothing around those choices.

For us, we circled around the girls because Girls Rule! And, I also saw a cute idea of matching my mini in pink tutus. My Em already had one, and I got my skirt off Amazon for $17! That's what I call WINNING.

To get some color going and knowing the boys would nix the pink, we also chose navy. I love the contrast of the colors. Good thing is - navy is ALL around. Think denim, too.

Dress comfortably and for your personality - Sure, you want to be picture perfect, but choosing something stiff or too layered can put any kid in a bad mood then goes mom then goes the family happiness. Comfort over style says Jen!

If your family loves Western, strap on your boots! If your family likes being fancy, get fancy and dress up. If you're casual, then keep it that way. You don't want to try something new for a family shoot. Be real. Be YOU.

Shop your closet first - I started with my little bit's tutu and worked from there. I only ordered the skirt for me. No need to spend beaucoup money - check out the closets first then borrow if needed. Something tells me you've got all the goodies already!

Prepare ahead of time - Lay out all outfits together to see if they coordinate AND try them on (especially if you think your kid could have a growth spurt between now and photo time). Moms, I love this tip from Jennifer - use clothes that make you feel comfortable and that fit your body type. We are too critical of ourselves when we see the pictures so make sure you love your own outfit choice. Check it out in the mirror or have the hubs snap a photo to make sure it's perfect for you. If you are uncomfortable in your pictures, it will show.

Another big tip from Jennifer - preparing ahead of time also means IRONING THE CLOTHES, too. Photoshop can't iron them for you!

Wear your make-up a bit heavier than normal - Your face will pop in the pictures! Highlight the cheeks and definitely go bold on the lipstick. I wore Hazelnut Lipsense, but reds are good, too.

HAVE FUN - FUN happens when your photographer is awesome! Find someone who is laid back and allows your family to be themselves. Then, just be normal. The candid shots are my favorite!

I LOVE the pics she got of my kids - twirling princess and busy boy included. I know I will look back on these photos and smile - she captured us right where we are in our lives.

And if YOU book with Jennifer, she is offering $50 off a family session
when you mention Always A New Day.

Hurry and book now! Find the right temps, the right photog, and the right look JUST for you, and you will have some sweet memories, too.


Healthy Halloween Snacks - Cheesy Ghosts

If you ever see anything crafty on the blog, you know it will be easy-peasy! And, even better? There will be NO MESS to clean up. There are so many fun Halloween crafts out there on Pinterest, but with a busy toddler and a lack of creativity, I need something quick and easy.

Enter our FAVORITE snack - Mini Babybel Cheese, a wholesome, nutrient-rich, all natural snacking option for their whole family. I cannot keep these in stock at our casa. The kids even love these for breakfast on-the-go, too. Pair it with a granola bar for those mornings when you're late or just can't get it together.

And now for that easy and no-mess crafty fun - check out these Cheesy Ghosts!

What you need:

Mini Babybel Cheese (regular or light)
White tissue paper
Black marker
Orange or black ribbon

What you do:

Grab your Mini Babybel (we are loving the fun Halloween ones - a fun bonus when you open up your ghosts) and wrap in tissue paper. I just took a full sheet of tissue paper, wrapped it around the rich and creamy cheese, and tied it with the festive ribbon.

Once they are all in place, take the black marker and draw on two large ghostly eyes! For the final step, cut the bottom of the tissue paper to your desired size. I fluffed (is that a word?) the bottoms to give a floating effect.

Pack up some of your cheesy ghosts for lunches or bring to your neighborhood Halloween party. Easy. Quick. Healthy. Fun. The kids love the fun of opening these mini treats; the moms will love how perfect they fit in a lunchbox.

There are deals on Mini Babybel all month long at your local Target. Only a big cheese like Mini Babybel can rescue your family from snack boredom. Snack time, lunch time or anytime, this 100% real cheese is always a hit! Enjoy all six varieties!

Are you getting creative this Halloween? I'd love to hear your ideas to spice up the lunchbox or to take to your kids' next school shindig!

And if it's easy for this crafty amateur - even better!

Click HERE to learn more about Mini Babybel Cheese - then hit Target to grab some for your Halloween fun!

Happy ALMOST Halloween, friends!


Saying NO Without Guilt - For The Anxious Mama

Forgive me if this post is nothing but rambling and such, but oh the words are stuck and need out! This past week has been crazy - planning events, raising crazy cute kids, and living life. When you're anxious, even little things on your calendar can turn your world upside down.

And all the planning in my head just spins and spins. I am ready for a week without spinning.

My sweet friend, Kristy, just wrote a post on recharging, and I desperately need a week to do just that. And I am starting by saying no.

I want to say no to anything that takes up too much time - time away from my family or even time away from the self-care I desperately need as an anxious mama.

I want to say no to things that take up too much space in my mind - the silly things that cause my anxiety to swirl and take small events to catastrophic in no time flat.

I want to say no to social media comparisons and just do ME.

I want to say no to plans. All the plans. I want to please too many people too many times, so I am running in a thousand different directions. No plans means time to just be.

I want to say no to things that take me away from the blog. My little outlet and therapy for me. The place where I can throw up all the words that fill my head and ache to get out. I want to write, y'all. The reason I started my little space.

I want to say no to people who don't get me and never will. My time needs to be with those who love me despite my grief roller coaster; they love me despite my faults. They take my apologies when days are dark, and I am definitely not my best self.

I want to say no to this anger stage of grief. The stage that I have been stuck in and can't get out of even though I try. The anger AT my brother, FOR my brother, and WITH everyone who isn't in the muck with me. I hate this place. And, I want to say YES to my blessings more than my frustration.

I want to say no more than ever. We are only one person and can only do so much. If you've been reading since the beginning, you know I have a passion for mental health. A passion for MOMS who need to care for and nurture their hearts and their minds.

I encourage us to catch up this week and say no. Let's touch base soon and see how we do. I hope in a few weeks, I can say my mind has slowed down, my anger has lessened, and my heart feels full again.

Thank you for being on this journey with me. What will you say NO to this week?


The Best Small Shops. For Moms. By Moms.

Oh, mamas! Do I have a post for you! I am so excited to share some of my favorite small shops - created by passionate mamas who have YOU in mind. Whether you want to get some beautiful shots of your family, grab a shirt or two for you, help your kids in school, or snag some goodies for your kids AND your home - look no further.
These hardworking mamas helped me by writing their stories themselves. Go take a look - then go visit them and maybe help out a small biz or two!

Jennifer Spencer Photography


My name is Jennifer Spencer, and my love of photography has turned into the most rewarding and fulfilling job.  My three kids have been the perfect subjects through the years and because of them, my love for photography grew.  Now, my hobby has become my passion.   I am a self-taught, studio and natural light, portrait photographer for almost 10 years, but my passion is newborn photography.  I started the newborn side of my business about two years ago, and now it is my specialty.  I provide families with the best memories you can have during the most hectic and exhausting time of their life.  I always remind my *tired* parents during their newborn sessions that once they get their newborn images hung and decorated in their home, their baby will have already changed and won’t look quite like the newborn they brought home.  Posing newborns is a challenging and physical job.  At the start of each session, I have to take the time to get to know each newborn and recognize what soothes them (some babies like patting while others prefer rocking), what keeps them happy (a pacifier, shushing, head rubs) and what positions they are most comfortable with (not all babies will do every pose!).  In a typical session, I can spend upwards of 20 minutes perfecting a pose while keeping your newborn sleepy and comfortable at the same time.  My studio space is kept very warm, so I am a sweaty mess by the time my 3 hour sessions are done! 

I didn’t start out with newborns, my journey started with families and children.  I learned how to use natural light by trial and (lots) of errors, learned how to shoot full manual and how to use my camera to make the best images.  After every family session I would take a moment to figure out what I didn’t like about the session, figure out how to make it better, and use that at my next session.  I never stop learning and trying new techniques.  The most important rule I learned the hard way was to get your images correct in camera!  It takes so much practice but it’s worth it.  Luckily, I have great friends and family who don't mind me taking their pictures (all the time) so I could perfect manual mode. I wouldn’t trade my busy photography life for anything!  I love it!

Chicks Picks Boutique

Instagram / Facebook

My name is Christina, and I am the owner of Chicks Picks Boutique. I have over 15 years of retail experience from being a department manager at Neiman Marcus to opening up my first brick and mortar boutique in the early 2000s. I sold my boutique shortly after I got married, and we decided to move to the suburbs to start a family! I was a stay-at-home mom of two school-aged boys and found myself needing something more to do with my time while the boys were in school. I am very blessed with a hardworking husband who encouraged me to live out my dream by starting Chicks Picks Boutique out of my home in early 2015.

It grew from there and next thing I knew, I had a website! Today, I am running my website, social media sites, and hosting shows where I am able to meet my amazing customers! I LOVE what I do, and I couldn't have done any of this without trusting myself and trusting God!

Make It Mine By Gretchen

Make It Mine by Gretchen is a custom appliqué and embroidery shop.  I do everything from personalized birthday and holiday shirts to baby gifts, monograms on backpacks, school spirit shirts and custom hooded bath towels.  I started making fun t-shirts for our two daughters, our family and friends.  I have several albums on my Facebook page with examples.  I am always updating the page with new creations!

Rooted Woods Signs

Rooted Wood Signs is a small business that specializes in custom made painted wood signs. It started just a short year ago when my husband encouraged me to get back into painting - but painting on those wooden signs has become my passion! Plus, it allowed him to work on those carpentry skills he was dying to activate. So off we went and we haven't stopped!

We offer a range of sizes and styles - the sign is ALWAYS handcrafted just for you! We also offer DIY classes or parties where you and a group of friends can come to make your own custom sign together. Visit my Facebook page and contact me if you'd love to come take a class or order a sign. I love it when friends or new clients contact me and say "can you do this?" Most of the time, the answer is YES! As a gift or for yourself, you'll always be glad you purchased one. It's my personal mission that everyone is always 100% happy. 

Maddie & Mae Designs

My name is Holli Lynn Vongphakdy, formerly Gifford. I am from Waller, Texas, a small country town about 40 miles NW of Downtown Houston. I grew up learning how to craft with my great grandmother, Mama Dee, as we spent many hours and days of my childhood creating things together. My passion for making things roots back to those days spent with her and all of the things she taught me along the way. I originally opened my business in 2015 under a different name, Burlap & Bling, creating handmade wreaths, crosses, and signs.

I never thought in a million years I’d be able to turn a hobby that I loved so much into a business, but my beloved grandma Barbie gave me a good shove in the right direction, and so it began. I reopened my store in 2017 under the new name Maddie & Mae Designs, for two reasons. One - I was adding new things to the store and the name just didn’t seem to fit anymore. Two - in 2015, I had two life changing events happen - my son Maddox was born (Maddie), and my beloved Grandmother passed away (Mae).

Prior to having a baby, I was a Certified Paralegal working a 7-6 job that allowed little to no creativity, which drove me crazy.. My dream was to be able to have my creative outlet and be able to stay at home with my son to watch him learn and grow everyday. I have such a passion for creating things, which is why I love what I do. I get to stay at home with my sweet boy, while doing something I love so much and still contributing to my family’s financial future. Saying that I am blessed is truly an understatement - how many people do you know that get to truly live out their dreams? I am living mine every day, and I couldn’t be more thankful to my wonderful friends, family, and customers for all of their support in making this big dream of mine into such a huge reality! 

Little Ladybug Shop

Online shop / Instagram / Facebook

Hi! I'm Jacqueline Ortiz - an area #TeacherMom with a passion for creating curriculum, sharing teacher inspiration, and decorating it along the way. I began my digital online store “The Little Ladybug Shop, LLC” for teachers to shop for classroom needs making their life a little less stressful! You can find lessons and ideas for upper elementary ranging from ELA, Science, Social Studies and so much more!

Jill Allison Designs

Instagram / Facebook

Jill Allison Designs offers antique, vintage, reclaimed, repurposed, salvaged finds! Hunting or "junking" for treasures that can be used as is, restored, or repurposed is a slight obsession for me, and I am excited to bring many of my unique finds here to you! I want you to have something in your home that nobody else has! In addition to furniture and home decor, I also offer jewelry and cowhide handbags.

I do not have a brick and mortar store but travel to numerous pop-up markets around the country. I love being on the road and meeting all of the wonderful customers along the way. Hope to see you out on the road!


Thank you to all these amazing ladies for sharing their passions. If you have any shops you love or want me to feature YOU, send me an email. This post was a favorite to do - these moms are so inspiring. They remind each of us we can do HARD THINGS even behind that #MomLife!


25 MORE Blog Post Ideas

I'm feeling the blogging excitement all over again. After a rough start to our fall, I had to really take a minute to take it all in - the good and the ugly. Now that we are on a routine again, I can get back to my outlet - this little baby blog of mine.

Pinterest has been my go-to for blogging resources and has led readers to Always A New Day. One of my most popular pins is the post I did on 25 Blog Post Ideas - for ANY type of blogger. I really shouldn't even say just bloggers but anyone who loves words! In my writing journey, I have made so many new friends who share their stories and help get their words out into the universe. It is these amazing women who give me the courage to share and who show me the power behind your story.

In my quest to get back at it, I made a list of topics that fit my niche and my heart. Here are 25 MORE blog post (or writing) ideas.

  1. Your favorite way to deal with stress/anxiety.
  2. A story of grief - of the journey, the stages, and the recovery.
  3. A day in the life - in my case, a day in the life of an anxious mama.
  4. Expand on an old post. Hey, see how I did that?? 
  5. Your favorite small shops - best way to love on some hardworking mamas!
  6. Birthday party ideas - for your kids or why not for you, too?
  7. A recent proud moment or small victory you've had.
  8. Write a microblog - just a small snippet of your day or your feelings/thoughts.
  9. A bucket list - for the fall or one you have for yourself.
  10. A children's chore list - what things do your children do to assist at home?
  11. Share what your dream job is.
  12. Share about any mom struggles - open your heart or make us laugh!
  13. Tell a story just using your Instagram pictures.
  14. Write about your journey with social media - favorite apps or blogging/writing tools. 
  15. Write about some must-haves for your everyday wardrobe.
  16. Share your favorite make-up or skin care items.
  17. Share a favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas recipe - stay tuned for mine!
  18. Take us on a home tour and give details on your favorite home goods/stores.
  19. Write about marriage - the joys, the hardships, and your wisdom.
  20. Write a letter to yourself pre-kids.
  21. Share your favorite blogs/writers.
  22. Share your current reading list.
  23. Write about the importance of unplugging.
  24. Share something you've been quiet about - and need to get the words out!
  25. Make and share a favorite music playlist
I hope these new 25 ideas give you a push to write more of your story. And if there's anything you'd like to see here, let me know. Writing will forever be my outlet, and I want to write anything for the busy mom - where she sees herself, where she can laugh for a bit, and where she can remember just how beautiful her story is.


An Open Forum: Sharing Your Story After Hurricane Harvey

I've received such love after sharing this post. Special thanks to BetterHelp for reaching out and sending information about their services. They are offering 3 months of free online counseling for the areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Licensed therapists are ready to help. You can sign up HERE.

And, if you are in need of a counselor for any reason, click HERE to learn more information - even if you do not qualify for the Harvey assistance. Thank you BetterHelp -  I hope just one person reads this and takes a step forward in their health. 

After Hurricane Harvey did his dirty work on my hometown, all the world fell away a bit. Dear friends had flooded homes; school was closed until further notice. Life came to a screeching halt. My family was blessed to walk away unscathed - we had our homes - so I feel guilt in even talking about my anxiety after the storm. In fact, I tried for weeks to put my feelings into words, and I couldn't get the picture to come out. My words were jumbled and jumped from one idea to the next. When I felt the energy to write it out, they came out quickly so forgive me if they sound a mess.

Photo by Olia Gozha on Unsplash

A week ago, I wrote a piece called "After The Hurricane." I even applied to have the piece appear on a writers' website. I learned today that it was not accepted. Oh, hey there, anxiety. Here you come again just when I was feeling a breeze of relief. And when I think about it, I'm betting that ebb and flow of relief to "what the hell do I do next?" is only one small part of what hurricane Harvey did to so many. I have anxiety over the storm? Pfft. Get over yourself, lady. You have a home. You aren't battling FEMA. And, your house has four walls. GET OVER IT.

This is where I wish I could handpick all the perfect words to make others understand what living with anxiety is like. My kids and I huddled into a closet after multiple tornado warnings. Pure anxiety. I see pictures of friends' parents who flooded. I feel guilty and now have anxiety for having anxiety. My youngest no longer wants to sleep in her room because there are too many windows - what if another tornado comes? Anxiety for wronging my child in some way. My friend's youngest is devastated and misses her home. You guessed it. Guilt. Anxiety. Repeat.

Words have been swirling. Guilt has been settling in. Fatigue has taken over. And I am not talking about myself - these words describe half of Houston. Anxiety has made me tired but imagine those who spend hours finding a new place to live or on the phone trying to find monetary relief. Think of those who struggle after a life-changing event and try every single day to keep going. They are back to square one after Harvey, I can promise you that.

I know this post is jumbled. I know I don't have the eloquence to make others understand what Harvey did to Texas. I also know that hanging onto worried thoughts makes you physically tired. For me, this post is a small part of release. Writing is how I release anxiety. But, I am small in the midst of this aftermath. I can only share my story.

If you were a victim of Harvey and want the world to understand what your life is like now, I'd love to hear from you. We are not done hurting - the sadness and anxiety remain. I'd love to open my small little corner to you.

To share your story or those of your loved ones, please email me at Release your thoughts and handpick your own words.

Know your story makes sense. I hope by sharing it, you can feel lighter, too.


Easy Chocolate Twinkie Trifle

We have been enjoying some yummy desserts during our many summer backyard barbeques, and this dessert is just perfection. Easy perfection. I brought it to a friend's potluck and made it last school year for a teacher appreciation luncheon. A hit both times!

And, did you know Hostess makes CHOCOLATE CAKE Twinkies? They add some decadence to this easy trifle that will wow everyone at your next backyard get-together. Short on time? Love all things chocolate? Make this sweet, chocolate-y trifle soon!


Hostess Chocolate Cake Twinkies
3.9 ounce box of instant chocolate pudding (plus 2 cups of milk for mixing)
12 ounces of whipped cream (store-bought or homemade)
8 ounce bag of toffee bits


1. Cut Hostess Chocolate Cake Twinkies into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

2. Make the pudding according to the instructions and let set.

3. Begin your layers in a trifle bowl -  start with Hostess Chocolate Cake Twinkies, and follow with pudding, whipped cream, toffee bits, and repeat until your left with a top layer of that delish whipped cream.

4. Top with more toffee bits and chill until served.

I definitely vote for a glass bowl so you can see the layers, and people will ooh and aah over your creation. You can act so tired as though you've been baking all day. No one needs to know :)

And you thought Hostess Twinkies were for snacking. Think of all the possibilities - the Hostess Fudge Covered Twinkies could work, too! Thank you, Hostess, for making this chocolate fan's dreams come true.

What's your favorite Hostess product? These Chocolate Cake Twinkies and Fudge-Covered Twinkies are climbing to the top for me - head to your nearest grocery store and grab some, too!

Click HERE to learn more about Twinkies
and other Hostess snacks. 

This Easy Chocolate Twinkie Trifle is waiting for you!


The Ultimate Gift Giver's Guide

This post is sponsored by  UncommonGoods. As always, all opinions are my own.

How has summer gone so fast, you guys? We are less than a month away from school starting, football season, and big events like 40th birthdays, anniversaries, and babies (not me - no way - but, some sweet friends have bundles a'coming). I'm trying to be more organized and diligent in remembering all the milestones.

If you need a gift for any occasion, I've got just the place for your gift-giving needs - this ultimate give giver's guide.  UncommonGoods has you covered!

 UncommonGoods is the best place for all your shopping needs. They work to change the way 
business is done by making sustainability a part of every decision. They also believe in the environment and make it a great place to work - working hard to take care of each individual inside and outside of the workplace.

My favorite part is all the creativity and design that goes into each product - including working with each artist to preserve their goods.  UncommonGoods also features products that contain recycled components and have not sold products containing leather, feathers or fur - a beautiful commitment to selling products that do no harm to people or animals.

Besides the amazing gift ideas,   UncommonGoods also created the Better to Give Program in 2001, which allows you to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from us at checkout. They have donated over $1,000,000!

Now to the goodies! I got lost in all the unique and special gifts. All of my friends are turning 40 (this girl already did) so  this gift collection would be great for those headed "over the hill." I know a few friends who would love  these wooden wine glasses. I accept late birthday gifts, too - just FYI :)

Can't forget  the new homeowners in the bunch, too. So many cute,  personalized goodies here that double as housewarming gifts. Like these pillows - can someone get me the  Texas one? So much fun to add to your new casa.

Now for the babes - and even a few things for your big kids! No matter if you have a baby shower to attend or a kid's birthday to celebrate,  this sweet collection has you covered. The baby keepsakes are too cute as is this  wooden banner that would complete a nursery. Or, if your toddlers are picky eaters like mine, keep their food apart with this  mini happy mat

I think my favorite find is  this thumbprint guestbook for my daughter's upcoming birthday. Our guests can leave her birthday wishes that she can keep for years to come!

 UncommonGoods should be your one-stop shop for any gift you need to give. Check them out - this ultimate gift guide has you covered. And if you see a little something you like, I don't think you need a reason to just treat yourself. Mom life is always an occasion for giving yourself the ultimate gift!

What gift catches your eye? Trust me, there's something for everyone!

Happy shopping! Until next time, my friends...
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