Uncategorized

Pamper yourself for pennies

handful

If you’re like most people these days, you’re busy. Too busy. But you’re also not sure how to be un-busy. You know you need to relax, but who has time for an hour long massage and facial when you’re schlepping kids to 4 soccer games and 2 birthday parties every weekend? (Or whatever else consumes your weekend).

I was pondering how to tackle this delimma, and then found these:


I had no idea these magical single-use ‘facial sheets’ even existed until I spotted this one at the closeout rack at Ulta. Bingo! Folks, we have a winner. Meet your facial for 400 cents.

Of course, I had to try more so I could figure out which I liked best! (Side benefit to choosing your own weekly content to investigate). Here’s the scoop on what I tried:

Master Lab Intensive Brightening: $4 Ulta,  $4 Amazon:

Skin was definitely brighter and ‘younger’ looking after I tried it. Worth the $4, and more importantly the 20 minutes I spent wearing it. My face felt amazingly refreshed and clean after giving this one a whirl. And bright eyed! its been awhile since I had felt bright eyed…

Cat mask (tightening), SNP Animals Character Printed Mask (4 Types X2) Multi-pack, $12.44 Amazon

Not sure this really “tightened”. It felt soothingly heavy on my face and felt like it was doing something. Afterwards, my face felt crisp and clean, but not necessarily ‘tight’. Additionally, I must say there is absolutely nothing cute about a 39-year old woman wearing a cat-themed ‘tightening’ mask and I fail to see the relevance of a teenager needing one?

Panda mask (brightening) SNP Animals Character Printed Mask (4 Types X2) Multi-pack, $12.44 Amazon

Similar to the goofy looking cat mask – this is a thicker sheet that feels very soothing on your face (although your family will surely mock you if they see you in it). This one was supposed to restore dull skin and even skin tone. It did appear more ‘even’ after I tried it!

Yes to PrimRose oil, Yes To Mud Mask Bundle (6 Single Use Masks – 2 of each) Pack of 6 bundle

Slightly less convenient, this is a mud mask paste you apply with your fingers. That said, it only needs 5 to 10 minutes to work it’s magic. After about 1 minute, my entire face was responding to the tinglely goodness and it sure felt like it was doing something! After a quick rinse a few minutes later, I went to bed and fell into one of those deep sleeps that happens only when everything is right in the world…seriously. 4 hours of deep sleep- not my norm.

Yes to Argan Oil$4 Amazon

Another mud mask, I like the initial cool feeling and then tightening as the mask dries slightly. In only 10 minutes, my skin did feel “brighter” as advertised. I spent the rest of the day sans makeup while we ran about town and then went wine tasting… and felt a-ok doing so! Again, takes only slightly more time to apply and rinse when complete, but I think more effective than most of the sheet options. I’m buying these again!

Tony moly I’m Real Luminating Mask SheetTONYMOLY I’m Real Pearl Luminating Mask Sheet, 21 g. $3 Amazon

This is one of the longer wearing masks that states to wear it from 20 to 30 minutes. It had a medium level thickness and felt less ‘cool’ on my face than some of the other options.

Tony moly I’m Real Nutrition Mask Sheet, TONYMOLY I’m Real Lavender Hydrating Mask Sheet, 21 g. $3 Amazon

Similar to the luminating sheet, this one suggests wear from 20-30 minutes. With lavender all over the label, it’s no surprise that I loved the way this one smelled. It also fit really well – not too big, not too small and strategic cuts in the right places to encourage a true one-size-fits all. I was excited about this one since I’ve been told a number of times my skin is dry or dehydrated. (All that water I drink is clearly offset by my caffeine addiction). I will definitely be buying more of these, as this one was my favorite sheet mask. I noticed a fresher look even the next day.

Have you tried one of these at home facials? What are your favs?

 

Uncategorized

Need a new strategy to get your @** to the gym?

It happens. Life gets in the way, or we just simply aren’t motivated to get our workout in a particular day. The critical piece of this is your level of resiliency- don’t let one day turn into 2, or 7, or 30… HOW? Read on!

 

Here’s an awesome strategy to GET motivated and STAY motivated:

img_2900
I love peanut butter. But I love cash more. And who doesn’t like extra cash!?!?

Get paid to meet your fitness goals through DietBet, the app that pays you when you achieve your goals from the pot of the contestants who didn’t meet theirs. Bet between $20-$100 on yourself per contest. Fitness goals fall into one of three categories: losing 4% of your weight in 4 weeks, 10% in 6 months, or maintain your weight for a full year. Weigh-in photos, videos and/or random audits ensure fair play. Payouts can be very large – $1000 in some cases. Sign up now for the 4-week game I created to get ahead of the holidays!

Sign up for my 4 week contest (Nov 3 – Nov 30)

Have you tried DietBet? What do you think? What other strategies work for you?

Uncategorized

Funky Super Foods: Turmeric will brighten your day AND ease your pain! (part 4)

More than a pretty spice, turmeric has talents that extend far beyond curry; it’s SUPER healthy and kicking up the flavor in other unexpected ways below.

Check out this looooong list of issues that turmeric helps alleviate, according to WebMD:

Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), joint pain, stomach pain, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, bypass surgery, hemorrhage, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gallbladder disorders, high cholesterol, a skin condition called lichen planus, skin inflammation from radiation treatment, and fatigue.
It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, itchy skin, recovery after surgery, and cancers. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, swelling in the middle layer of the eye (anterior uveitis), diabetes, water retention, worms, an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), tuberculosis, urinary bladder inflammation, and kidney problems.
Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, sprains and swellings, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, acne, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, soreness inside of the mouth, infected wounds and gum disease.

I mean, seriously! You kind of need to be some sort of super-human to not see a reason to make this part of your daily regimen! We’ve been chowing down on this super spice at my house and loving every minute. Below are some great recipes to check out that we enjoyed; I used freshly grated turmeric in all the recipes, but you certainly don’t have to. (I really just wanted an excuse to play around with the spice.)

Lemon Ginger Turmeric Tea

This fantastic, light-up-your-tastebuds beverage eases your belly stress and simultaneously tastes delicious! Keep this one handy as we head into flu season.

I tried it both hot and cold, and personally preferred the “hot”. Full disclosure, I immediately thought some ginger rum would compliment this nicely (sort of a superfood Moscow mule?), but alas, we had none. If you have some on hand and give it a try, please let me know your thoughts!

Nutritional info (based on 4 servings): Calories 68, Fat .3 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Carbohydrates 20 g, Dietary Fiber 8.5g, Sugars 6.6 g, Protein .7 g

No time to boil water? Get some easy mix in turmeric here

Turmeric Hummus

The Minimalist Baker knows where it’s at with this awesome concoction!

In addition to a great appetizer, it paired very well on a sandwich I made with baby kale and leftover Sticky Chickie (recipe below).

Nutritional Info (2 Tbsp) Calories: 98 Fat: 5.5 g Saturated fat: 0.7 g Carbohydrates: 9.9 g Sugar: 1.6 g Fiber: 3 g Protein: 3.5 g

Weeknight Red Curry

Simple, home-cooked and savory meal in under an hour? Yes, please!

This dish is a real keeper. The whole family loved it, single-bowl-style (e.g. no segregated noodles, fish, & broccoli on a plate) the boys loved it all mixed together!

Jonas came up with the idea of throwing in some shrimp, because, well, shrimp! (And he’s got a 30-year-olds palette trapped in an 8-year-old body.) We added a 1/2 lb and it was super tasty.

Nutritional info: Calories 440, Fat 31 g, Saturated Fat 20 g, Carbohydrates 19 g, Dietary Fiber 6 g, Sugars 5 g, Protein 26 g

Sticky Chickie

Easy, on hand ingredients, and satisfying. Get ready to put this one in the regular rotation, folks.

The boys kept coming back for seconds, and thirds…. As recommended within some of the comments in the Simply Delicious page, we added in soy sauce (tamari) and a bit of ginger to the glaze – so good.

Nutritional info (2 thighs): Calories 267, Fat 6.8 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Carbohydrates 19.5 g, Dietary Fiber .6 g, Sugars 17.8 g, Protein 36 g

What other tasty dishes have you tried with turmeric? Please share any tasty secrets!

Uncategorized

Funky super foods: Should you get down with matcha? (Part 2 on food trends)

Matcha.

There are about a zillion health benefits to matcha – no joke. The secret is getting over the taste. 🤢 I think it’s definitely one of things you acquire over time; it was certainly not my favorite the first time I tried it. After trying quite a few recipes out, I’ve picked my fav’s for you to enjoy to help you get started!

The good news is that you don’t need to consume a lot of this super powder to reap the benefits, so if you are not a raving fan, you can still partake without feeling like you have to choke down your food.

What is it, and why is it so healthy anyway? 

Matcha is made from whole green tea leaves that have been pulverized into a super fine powder. Just some of the reasons why it’s good for you:

  • Higher levels of antioxidants per serving than brewed green tea
  • Mild caffeine boost, allowing you to energize without the normal coffee jitters
  • Induces alertness while promoting relaxation (due to the amino acid L-Theanine)
  • Natural fiber
  • Detoxifies the body because of its high chlorophyll content

A couple things to note before going crazy green in the kitchen. Matcha comes in one of two forms: ceremony-grade and food-grade. Ceremony-grade is technically higher quality and primarily used for beverages, while food-grade is used for baking/cooking. You can use whatever you’d like in either recipe; ceremony-grade is typically less bitter though and may be a good choice if you are not an instant fan and are trying to warm up to the taste. More tips on matcha buying here.

As little as 1 gram provides some impressive benefits:

Some great recipes to check out if you are not sure about this green stuff  but want to give it a try:

I really liked this dish; miso and matcha are a good pairing, and it has a nice sweetness to it. Since we’re meat lovers at my house, I doubled the miso mixture, and pan fried some chicken breasts in coconut oil while the eggplant was roasting to amp up the protein, basting the chicken with the extra dressing as it was cooking. Yum!

This grain salad takes some time, but is off-the-hook delicious. Great option for a “wow the crowd” potluck! (Don’t let the 3-4 servings fool you – this feeds a hungry herd). Cut down on the cooking time by using leftover rice.

Really great fix for those monthly chocolate cravings! Make sure to blend your coconut butter completely or the interior will have a gainy texture. Dark chocolate and matcha go really well together – do not pass this one up!

Nice, smooth and a pretty filling addition to a light breakfast! The pairing of macadamia nut milk and coconut milk is really good. Some think almond milk and matcha don’t pair well, so I suggest using a different alternative milk if you can’t find macadamia nut milk and don’t do cow’s milk.

How do you like your matcha? 

Ready to try some? Get some goodness here:

Uncategorized

Funky super foods: Smoothie bowls, matcha and more – find out what’s worth your time and what’s not. (Part 1)

We all see the recipes on Pinterest, Twitter, and other social media outlets…. The latest power foods you feel obligated to incorporate into your diet so you live a long life/ avoid an incurable disease/ ward off weight, etc. What fit foods should you try and which aren’t worth your time can be VERY confusing. Here’s some tips to navigate through the challenging waters.

Smoothie Bowls.


Pretty? Yes. Healthy? Possibly.

Admittedly – I didn’t “get” this until I tried it. In my brain, you drink a smoothie, not eat one. That aside, I had generally equated smoothies as the fruit equivalent to the bagel: 5 servings of any one food group is generally not satiating, can be full of hidden sugar, and often high calorie. 

After trying out a few bowls, my advice is to  still proceed with caution: choose recipes that aren’t chock full of added sugar, only fruit, or include large amounts of high calorie “toppings” if you are watching calories or trying to make it through to lunch without snacking. The trick is to find recipes that have a healthy mix of carbs, fat and protein.

Some options below that you don’t need to feel guilty about:

1. Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl

I can almost guarantee you will have a “WTF?” moment when you check out the ingredients list for this recipe. Frankly, it sounds odd. It tastes pretty good though. I tried it without toppings and it did seem a little light on the sweet side, so would suggest sliced frozen banana on top, or maybe even a little drizzle of pure maple syrup to give it some more of a carrot cake taste. Alternately (and this is what I ended up doing), add 1/2 cup uncooked, old fashioned oats and that drizzle of maple syrup, put it in the fridge and you have carrot cake overnight oats for the a.m. I liked it that way better than the smoothie!

Smoothie: Serves: 1. Nutrition: 471 calories, 15.9g fat, 4.3g sat fat, 54.6g carbs, 8.6g fiber, 32.5g sugar, 25.3 g protein (Facts include: One scoop vital protein collagen, 1/4 C carrots, 1 tbls Unsweetened Coconut, 1 Medjool Date)

Overnight oats:  Serves: 1. Nutrition: 478 calories, 10.9g fat, 1.7g sat fat, 71.1g carbs, 11.8g fiber, 27.2g sugar, 28.7 g protein (Facts include: One scoop vital protein collagen, 1/2 tbls pure maple syrup (no toppings))

2. Arugula, Romaine and Pear Smoothie Bowl


I was excited to try this one, and then ECSTATIC when my 6-year old wanted to help (a self-described salad hater). I thought it was good as is, but he needed some sweetness so we added in half a fresh pineapple and he gobbled it all up. No longer a salad-hater!


Serves: 1 (without the extra pineapple). Nutrition: 223 calories, 10.9 g fat, 1.2 g sat fat, 29.2 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 13.2 g sugar, 6.6 g protein (calculated without toppings)

3. Chia Berry Coconut Smoothie Bowl

My kids tried this one with me too; they each needed a teaspoon of honey, but otherwise thought it delicious with chia seeds, coconut and some sliced banana on top. They had no clue there was collagen in there, either! Bonus!


Serves: 2. Nutrition: 282 calories, 16.2 g fat, 3.9 saturated fat, 32.2 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 13.3 g sugar, 7 g protein

What smoothie bowls have you tried to add to the list? Please share!

Uncategorized

Funky Super Foods – Get Tight and Get it Right with Collagen (Part 3)

Collagen was actually the reason I wanted to start this super food mini series. I love this stuff! Finally an awesome replacement for protein powder that isn’t full of whey (which so many of us have a hard time digesting), unpronounceable ingredients, and most importantly – doesn’t taste like chalk.

Collagen can be found naturally in the body’s muscles, skin, and bones, and makes up about 30% percent of your total body mass. As we age, our collagen production slows by about 1% per year starting at age 20. Sound like around the time you saw your first wrinkle? Yeah – not a coincidence. As we lose collagen, wrinkles become more prominent, joints start to make that snap, crackle, pop noise and hair starts to thin. Which is why many people are looking to boost up their body’s collagen levels, and how I stumbled upon it.

I initially learned about the benefits of collagen when I was doing research on how to get my stomach to tighten back up after having two babies grow in my short-waisted body that expanded my poor belly out further than I ever thought humanely possible. I’d heard of great results and it seemed pretty easy to give it a go (it basically dissolves in anything – hot or cold). Alas, things often don’t ‘bounce back’ as quickly as we want them to and knew I wasn’t willing to go under a knife to improve results on a little extra skin. But after a solid dedication to strength training AND adding collagen into my diet, I’m proud to say you can’t tell the difference between my stomach and a fit woman who hasn’t given birth. No gimmicks, no doctors, no diet drama. Just hard work and this molecule made up of more than 1,000 amino acids.

Take note! When you purchase the powder, it’s important to know where it came from, particularly if you are Vegan; all sources I’ve encountered come from cows, chicken or fish.

Enough chatter! Let’s get on with the recipes:

Too-Good-To-Be True Paleo Cookie Dough

This even has the texture of cookie dough! Just don’t try to actually make cookies with it. I have no idea how they would turn out, but I’m guessing, not as a cookie.

img_2814.jpg

Per Serving (1/10 recipe) (with 1/2 c dark chocolate chunks): Calories: 144; Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 6 g; Carbohydrate: 15 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sugar: 7 g; Protein: 3 g

Bacon and Egg Collagen Cups

These are a filing and great make-ahead breakfast option. At 25g of protein per egg cup, you really only need one to get a good breakfast under your belt. We made ours on a Sunday and enjoyed them through to mid-week for an easy am option. And the whole family loved them! If sweet potatoes aren’t your deal, you can use hash browns too.

img_2827Per Serving (1 egg cup): Calories: 272; Total Fat: 11.2 g; Saturated Fat: 5.7 g; Carbohydrate: 16.5 g; Fiber: 8 g; Sugar: 8 g; Protein: 25 g
Easy Protein Pancakes (add 2 scoops of Collagen to this recipe)

I should have taken a picture of the first collagen pancake recipe I tried. TOTAL DISASTER. Even my loving, happy-go-lucky 6-year-old made a sour face and stated, “Mommy, those DO NOT look good”. Gotta love the honesty! And I love pancakes. Almost to the point of obsession. Loss of pancakes without good alternatives was the single-most disappointing thing about having to become gluten-free before some good flour blends and mixes came out for those of us that can’t eat our Wheaties. It still takes some due diligence to find the good recipes though (clearly), and this is one to add to the arsenal, gluten-free or not!

The trick is to add 1 scoop of Collagen powder for every 1 serving in the recipe. 

biggest-loser-pancakes10
Per Serving (1/3 recipe): Calories: 310; Total Fat: 3.5 g; Saturated Fat: 1.3 g; Carbohydrate: 33 g; Fiber: 8 g; Sugar: 5 g; Protein: 38 g

 

Check out my Pinterest page if you want to see more pancake goodness, using the same 1:1 ratio as I did with the Biggest Loser Pancake recipe above to add an extra protein boost.

Roasted Carrot Soup

If fall had a flavor, it would taste like this. Soooooooo delicious. Nothing else to say about this one, other than it’s a perfect way to roll into rainy season and leaves changing.


Per Serving (with lite coconut milk and Vital Proteins Collagen): Calories: 303; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 9 g; Carbohydrate: 35 g; Fiber: 7 g; Sugar: 15g; Protein: 10 g

Have you tried collagen? Have any yummy recipes to share? We’d love to spread the love! 

Please note: I fully support and endorse the product mentioned in this post. Should you choose to purchase, I will get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.



Uncategorized

I went on a pescatarian diet for a month and here’s what happened…

Avoiding meat and only eating fish and dairy products as protein sources for 30 days started as a selfish way for me to eat more of my favorite foods while reducing time in the kitchen during the chaos of summer.

I didn’t know what to expect in terms of changes, or if I should even expect anything. I was really surprised though to see what happened: 

  • My average daily grams of fat when down, but not as much as I anticipated  it would
  • My sodium intake plummeted. I had no idea I was way over the recommended daily allowance prior to this ‘test’ since I eat a very “healthy” diet normally 
  • My late night craving for peanut or almond butter completely diminished.

  • Why did these things happen? This is what i learned:

    1. There are a lot of seafood recipes that involve fried food (or include mayonnaise-based sauces). I don’t have a particular craving for fried foods and I really don’t like mayo, but as I was trying to diversify our options, I expanded beyond our standard set of recipes and meal planning. Side note: Bang Bang Shrimp by Damn Delicious is a positively fabulous way to indulge. (Scroll down for lots more recipes below)Take away: when I do this again, I’ll experiment more with plain Greek yogurt replacements for mayo and seek out more grilled seafood options to balance out the fat.
    2. As I mentioned previously, I had no idea my sodium intake was off the charts (as was my cholesterol). I had literally zero awareness that I ate as much processed meat as I did until I removed the turkey sausages at breakfast or occasional chicken sausage stir-fry away from my diet. The pescartaian diet forced me to eat ‘clean’ because there are frankly not as many options for processed seafood. My breakfast replacement was a very satisfying and quick-to-pull-together meal: egg whites, leftover veggies, fresh spinach, a sprinkle of Parmesan and side of fruit. Yummy, without all the cholesterol and salt without even trying! Take away: save money, cholesterol and sodium by skipping the processed meat. There are other options just as quick, delicious and likely with fewer calories.
    3. This whole nut butter deal was perplexing. For many years, I have craved (and occasionally indulged in) a small scoop of nut butter post-dinner. Over the years, I had done research on it and learned I could have a shortage of magnesium in my diet. Despite vitamins and supplements though, I still needed that scoop of peanut butter from time to time. I didn’t even realize I stopped craving it until about 3 weeks into pescatarian month. Only now do I realize I ate so many avocados on this diet, I was probably finally meeting my body’s Magnesium requirements. Take away: be sure to indulge in healthy fats and don’t be afraid to mix up your diet. You never know what you’ll figure out! 
    4. Interested in some of the recipes we tried out? These were some of our favorites! 

      Grilled salmon and asparagus

      Halibut with lemon caper sauce (My in-laws went nuts over this. Skip the almond flour and fancy oil. Use good ole fashioned butter)


       
      Poke. Lots and lots of poke.

      Kid-friendly poke

      Feeling adventurous? Octopus is my favorite food, but I’d never tried to make it myself until now. ‘Easy’ Octopus (still harder than you think, but fun to try)

      Summer doesn’t get any easier than no-cook, easy prep Ceviche


      I couldn’t close out this post without my favorite meal of all-time: Fish tacos This recipe is an easy keeper that feeds a crowd!



      What other awesome seafood/fish dishes do you and your family enjoy? 

       

    Uncategorized

    Anxiety Busters: The Magic of “No Service” and More Tips


    Best week of the year: The week my cell phone doesn’t get service in a remote area of Northern California for 7-8 glorious days.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m addicted to my phone and it’s nearly always in my hand. The idea of my phone ceasing to function is making me sweat just thinking about it.

    But the week I go on vacation with three other families and completely check out of all the stresses of normal life with work, the kids’ obligations, and constant juggling of what’s going to get done because not everything will, is the most revitalizing and enjoyable week that I have all year. I gain a new appreciation for my family. I get to spend uninterrupted time with friends, and have the opportunity to truly reconnect with those I love, while doing things we love together and celebrating our bonds.

    What a great reminder of what really matters.

    So now that I’m back to reality (work, school prep, post vacation email inbox, laundry, etc.), what can I do about maintaining some sense of this new freedom and simplicity?

    Yes, this is the hard part.

    I honestly didn’t know so I did some investigating and here are some great tips I came across and also realized I had a few tricks up my sleeve as well:

    1. One thing at a time. This is the simplest and best way to start reducing your stress, and you can start today. Right now. Focus as much as possible on doing one thing at a time. Clear your desk of distractions. Pick something to work on. Need to write a complex document or conduct some research for work? Do only that. Remove distractions such as phones and email notifications while you’re working on that task. If you’re going to do email, do only that. I suggest blocking time off in your calendar to focus on those singular tasks. This takes practice, and you’ll get urges to do other things. Just keep practicing and tell others when you will be available so they know when they can expect to have some if your time.

    2. Simplify your schedule. A hectic schedule is a major cause of high stress. Simplify by reducing the number of commitments in your life to just the essential ones. Learn to say no to the rest — and slowly get out of commitments that aren’t beneficial to you. Schedule only a few important things each day, and put space between them. Get out of meetings when they aren’t absolutely essential. Leave room for down time, enjoying your family and fun. I tend to schedule my least desirable activities first thing in the morning and get them over with. It leaves room then for more fun the remainder of the day and you don’t have the ominous cloud hanging over your head dreading your end-of-day meeting.

    3. Get moving. Do something each day to be active — walk, hike, play a sport (we pick water-skiing!), go for a run, do yoga. It doesn’t have to be grueling to reduce stress. Just move. Have fun doing it, and if you’re particularly stretched for time, or don’t have childcare, get your kids involved with you- they will appreciate the quality time. On days I don’t have time to exercise, I walk a mile (each direction) to get coffee during the day. I feel better having moved, have a chance to strategize or solve work problems in peace, and get some vitamin D. (Just make sure you bring some comfy shoes with you in your car.)

    4. Develop one healthy habit this month. Other than getting active, improving your health overall will help with the stress. But do it one habit at a time. Eat fruits and veggies for snacks. Floss every day. Quit smoking. Cut down on the alcohol. Cook something healthy for dinner. Drink water instead of soda. One habit at a time. It all adds up!

    5. Do something calming. What do you enjoy that calms you down? For many people, it can be the “get moving” activity discussed above. But it could also be taking a nap, or a bath, or reading, or have coffee with a friend. Other people are calmed by housework or yardwork. Some people like to meditate, or take a nature walk. Find your calming activity and try to do it each day.

    6. Simplify your finances. Finances can be a drain on your energy and a major stressor. If that’s true with you, figure out ways to simplify things. Automate savings and bill payments and debt payments. Spend less by going shopping (at malls or online) less frequently. Find ways to have fun that don’t involve spending money.

    7. Have a blast! Have fun each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Surround yourself with people that bring you happiness. I like to play with my kids — they take my mind off everything that really isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things and remind me of what matters. Play sports (again, often with my kids), jam out to music in the car, play a board game. Whatever you choose, be sure to laugh.


    8. Get creative. Throwing yourself into a creative activity is another great way to de-stress and to prevent stress. Writing, drawing, Doodle with a fun Adult Coloring Book, play music, or build something!

    9. Be early. I will be the first to admit that it’s hard to be early when you have to get your kids ready. But being late can be very stressful. Try to leave earlier by getting ready earlier, or by scheduling more space between events. Things always take longer than normal, so schedule some buffer time: extra time to get ready, to commute, to do errands before you need to be somewhere, to attend a meeting before another scheduled appointment. If you get somewhere early, it’s good to have some reading material.

    10. Disconnect. When all else fails – disconnect. We have an agreement at work that no emergency is communicated via email. That is what the phone feature is actually for on those damn addictive devices. Our obsession to have our phones and constantly check email is our own paranoia. When I find myself reverting back to that stage, I stop and ask myself if I really need to interrupt the conversation with my kids over breakfast because a work email just beeped in….Likely not.

    I hope this helps! Let me know what works for you!

    Uncategorized

    Live it up While the Suns Still up: Hot Weather Alcohol hacks 

    I’m going on vacation this week and am feeling particularly festive, so I thought I’d share a quick list of hot weather alcohol hacks to get everyone in the vacation spirit with me.

    (No judgement here for popping a bottle or two on a Tuesday).

    1. Keep it cool. Did you know you can freeze wine? Me neither! Well, not until my brilliant friend Kristen showed up on with Pinot Rose ice cubs, made in a silicon mold. She’s a genius. Pop a wine cube in an oh-so-glamorous solo red cup, top with a generous amount of the same wine and you have yourself a party! (Kristen and I recommend buying 2 bottles for this, because – why not??)
    2. A fuss-free margarita. A no-nonsense cocktail that doesn’t mess around on a hot day? Sign me up. It doesn’t get easier than this: 1 can frozen limeade, juice of 2 limes, 1 (use the same can as the limeade to measure) of tequila, add a couple splashes of triple sec if you’re in the mood. Blend and enjoy. Easy peasy.
    3. Prefer a boozy snack? Get drunk on fruit. Sidebar: first time I was officially drunk was off my older brother’s everclear soaked cherries. Anyway… I digress. Try this little red grape and wine concoction to wow a crowd: Frozen grapes marinated in wine
    4. Like to drink and eat? I knew I liked you. Use this awesome chart to make your party come together:
    5. Champagne hacks. Are you the fancy one at the party? Or maybe just the one that knows champagne is low in calories… (100 calories for 5 ounces if you’re curious). In either event, this list may be for you: Champagne hacks

    What other hacks can you share with the crew? We’d love to hear them!!

    Uncategorized

    3 *NEW* Tricks to Achieve Your Goals

    Are you the type of person that is never able to accomplish or complete your goals? Do you get distracted, frustrated or lose focus after you start something?

    Falling off track is not at all uncommon. It’s why 21% of people set the same goal every New Years Eve to be fit/healthy, yet when only 32% achieve their goals, it becomes a repetitive cycle of setting goals, not accomplishing them and thinking your goals are too far out of reach, or worse, that you’re somehow less of a person because you missed the mark. 

    I shared in a prior post that I had a goal to run a sub-6 minute mile before my 40th birthday. I’m happy to say that not only did I achieve that goal, I actually surpassed my own expectations by a large margin because I got organized and figured out what I needed to do to get there. The 3 hacks below are what I did to achieve this goal, and many others in the past:

    1. Become an evangelist for your goal. 

    Humans are a funny, yet predictable species. We enjoy the sense of accomplishment. We light up like a Christmas tree when we receive a genuine compliment. We take pride in doing what we say we’re going to do. No one likes to admit failure – so tell everyone who will listen to you what you’re going to do.  

    Say your goal enough times out loud until not only YOU believe you can do it, but also so you have others checking in with you who will hold you accountable to it.  

    You may even get some tips from those you respect that help you define your schedule for achievement, or other ideas to incorporate into the process.

    2. Put a schedule together.

    You’ll notice I said ‘schedule’ and not ‘plan’. You may ‘plan’ on running a marathon, but it’s only after you outline your 16-week progressive training schedule, research which shoes, hydration pack, nutrition supplements and running watch you need to buy (and subsequently purchase), sign up for the marathon and input what you need to accomplish each day during that 16-week period into your daily calendar that you’ve truly put the necessary components into an actionable schedule to achieve your goal. This may sound like a lot of work, but there is no point in creating a goal if you don’t think about what needs to go into achieving it, what the order of events needs to be, or when specific smaller goals need to be achieved to meet your timeline. 

    3. Make your goal your password.

    I don’t know about you, but I have to enter in A LOT of passwords on a daily basis – PC, email, shopping sites, applications for work, banking account, signing up for a class at the gym — we could go on and on… but, if I want a constant reminder on a goal, I set it as my password, so I’m reminding myself CONSTANTLY of what I’ve committed to. 

    I’m a big fan of passphrases for this reason. Let’s say your goal is to run the Chicago marathon in under 4 hours; for that, you may use:

    iwr<4Chicago – “I will run less than 4 Chicago”

    Or, maybe your goal includes eating oatmeal every morning instead of skipping breakfast:

    I<3oats2Day! – “I love oats today!”

    You get the idea – it’s also an excellent way to ensure you don’t forget your password!

    I hope these hacks help you achieve your next goal! Let me know how it works for you. 

    Remember: Make it fun. Remind yourself what’s possible. Get encouragement from others. Get your schedule together.