I Went to Starbucks. Here’s what it cost me.

STARBUCKSAnyone who knows me knows that I love Starbucks. I actually give a lecture in one of my classes based on the business model of Starbuck’s and why they are so successful. I understand that it’s one of those things that you either love, or you hate, or you love to hate. But I love them. I would jump on Oprah’s couch and shout it to the masses if I could. I. LOVE. STARBUCKS.

My usual visit to Starbucks has been interrupted this summer because school is out for the kids. My favorite location is near the kids’ school, so it’s easy to dart in and out as I’m dropping them off at school. Reason #1 that I can’t wait until school starts next week.

However,  I was near the school one day last week and I did have the opportunity to stop by my favorite place and I was oh-so-excited about the experience that I failed to plan ahead. I simply enjoyed my time there, soaked in the atmosphere, loved hearing my name called as my drink was ready, and felt so….at home again.

And while I was sipping my raspberry white chocolate mocha and imagining that I didn’t have a care in the world, I remembered something quite important.

I AM SUPPOSED TO BE MONITORING MY SUGAR INTAKE. And by monitoring, I actually mean limiting and decreasing the amount of sugar I eat each day.

But y’all — if I can just be honest and enter a judgement-free zone with you —  I need to tell you that remembering my mandatory low-carb lifestyle halfway into that mocha did absolutely nothing for the mocha or me. Yes, I finished it. It was delightful.

I did check the nutritional values and I discovered that my drink had 63 grams of sugar in it. While I am watching my sugar intake, I am not completely sugar free and I can have  some sugar each day. Usually, I cure my sugar fix with a serving of fresh fruit or melba crackers, or a bit of salad dressing on my salad. But this particular day, because of the mocha, there was no room for anything else. Not even some watermelon.

Because I drank my entire allotment of carbs in one sitting. Out of habit. And that should not happen again.

Sometimes, we have to develop a plan of action and pause to make intentional choices when we have a lifestyle change. 

What I’ve learned is that habits can be hard to break, but in the end we must break them. We must also make intentional choices that align with our goals and our priorities. So as I acknowledge that change is not easy, it is necessary. And no matter what my old habits are, I now have new habits. And, dear friends, I am taking low-carb suggestions on drinks from Starbucks.

Wearing Converse Everyday. Forever. Seriously.

CONVERSEAbout six months ago, my daughter Tyra decided and proclaimed to the world (or whomever would listen) that she is wearing Converse tennis shoes every day for the rest of her life.

And she was serious. Very serious.

As any good Mom would do, I told her that I support her but I needed her to understand that sometimes there will be days in her life that she may not be able to wear tennis shoes everyday. From the shrug of her shoulders and the roll of her eyes, I don’t think that went over so well.

And so we dropped the conversation until she had to get dressed up for an event at school. And then I had to hear how unfair it is that people can tell you what to and what not to wear to an event. Sigh. But we made it though that event sans the Converse.

Fast forward about three months and I am taking some time off the grid and every day hustle and bustle, allowing me to dress casual and comfy. Translation: if I make it out of my pajamas, I am in shorts and t-shirts. Right now, dressing up to me is a nice pair of capris, a cute top, and a pair of sandals or flats. And for the record, in the past three weeks, I’ve had to “dress up” twice. And I wore the exact same outfit both times.

And somehow y’all, I am now wearing Converse, every day. And I don’t want to change that.

2015-08-05 13.34.23 It’s so bad that I bought two new pair for myself while back to school shopping with the kids. My recent purchase  brought my converse collection to four pair. When I mentioned to my daughter that I could truly understand her love for the shoes now that I want to wear mine all the time, she looked dryly and said, “It’s a lifestyle mom. You don’t just decide one day to change your lifestyle all of a sudden.”

But y’all I beg to differ. I think that certain life events can encourage you to change your lifestyle — and as we all know — any lifestyle change requires commitment. Demonstrated commitment is what it takes to maintain a lifestyle change. Be it wearing converse, or eating healthy foods, or reading the Bible every day. Anything.

Now I do realize that I will not be able to wear my Converse every day. For me, though, the comfort and the diversity in the style and color of the shoes remind me to stop and appreciate life. Especially a life that you don’t need to escape from.

And that, my friends, we can all remember as we adjust our own lives, hopefully for the better, and with strong commitment.

Are you committed to any lifestyle changes for the better right now? What are they?2014-10-31 19.48.50

Momtography: Mastering Back to School Photos

mommywithcameraHi friends!!!!! Are you staying cool in this heat?!?!? Here in Texas the heat came down on us and has not let up! According to our the weather forecasts, the temperatures are going to surpass 100-degree heat rather quickly.
More importantly though, is the fact that school is starting soon and in Texas, this weekend is TAX-FREE WEEKEND on school supplies, clothes, shoes, and some electronics. So while we are helping prepare our Littles for the upcoming school year, I want to help you get your first day of school photos “on fleek” as my teenagers would say. I shared these types last night on Periscope (follow me there at @twillisbestshot) and I’m posting them here for you today!

  1.  Take a photo of you child holding a photo of themselves when they were little. This one is guaranteed to get lots of oohs and as and you and others can marvel over how they’ve grown.10532067_10152615996940731_2856085934567300787_o
  2. Take a photo of your child with backpack and stack of books currently reading. This is a good way to see changes throughout the years as your child progresses from Dr. Seuss to Captain Underpants to Harry Potter to Twilight and probably back to Dr. Seuss. This is one I wish I did over the years when my kids were younger.

ATTENTION. I interrupt this list to inform you that you do not have to take the photo on the first day of school. If there is too much anxiety in your house, take the photos the weekend before school starts and post it on the first day of school. Trust me, your Facebook friends and Instagram followers are not there to hep you recover in the aftermath of the first day, so take the photos when it’s best for you and your child! Shall we continue?

3. Take a photo in front of the school doors or near the school sign. This is a good one to get before the first day so you don’t actually have to wait in line for other families to get the perfect spot. 1930487_38544310730_3043_n

4. For older kids who may want to get out of your sight as soon as possible, grab a photo of your kids walking away but interacting with friends, greeting teachers, and going to class. If you have a DSLR camera, a 70-200 mm lens or higher could be particularly useful here.


5.  When your child starts kindergarten, get an Adult X-Large t-shirt and use fabric paint to decorate the shirt with “Class of _____” for their high school graduation year. Each year, take a photo of your child in the shirt and you will be able to see the child’s growth throughout the years!

6. Use simple props. You don’t have to be glamorous for this one. Use an apple. a lunchbox, a backpack. Any of those items say “school” to those watching. This summer, Tyra has proclaimed to the world that she is only wearing Converse tennis shoes for the rest of her life. Only. Converse. Forever. In light of that statement, I will probably use her Converse as a prop, especially since I’m certain whichever pair of shoes she wears on her first day will match her backpack. So, even if I am faced with 13-year-old eye rolling and attitude when I pull out the camera on August 24, I will have a cute photo of the shoes and the backpack from the night before. And speaking of the night before…don’t forget to take photos of the outfit in the closet, the inside of the lunchbox, and the school supplies stacked on the table.

7. Find a school bus, any school bus, and use it as a photo back drop. Right now, school buses tend to be parked in school parking lots and are unattended to. Take a photo of your child with the school bus in the background!

8. Involve family members in the fun! Last year, my daughters and I visited their younger cousin for a quick photo shoot on her first day of school. It was fun because now the first day of school became a family affair and it made the social media interaction more fun for our cousins who live in a different state.10603476_10152608913120250_925844826717520577_n

9. Give your child a sign that says “STOP CRYING MOM.” Have them hold it and snap a photo as they are ready to leave the house. This is especially cute for smaller children who are in prekindergarten or kindergarten,

Have you seen any really cool ideas for back to school photos? Please share in the comments below!