Summer Book Club

In Texas the heat of the summer can be draining and just down right miserable.  Although, the long days free up more time to do what I love most and that’s curling up on the couch with my favorite book.  Today on the blog I’m sharing a unique way to spend your summer beating the heat and turning pages.

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We’ve probably all seen the community book sharing programs, where you can leave a book and then borrow another one.  What I love about book sharing programs is the community it creates.  This idea has found itself among one of my favorite women’s clothing retailers, Talbots.

For the summer, Talbots has adopted this unique idea and created a reading community among their customers through a book sharing program.  Visit any store location and leave a book and pick up a book.  Each week online, Talbots shares photos of customers enjoying their summer reads and their partnership with Random House, highlighting classics from best selling authors.

Join the community and spend a little more time turning pages this summer with the Talbots Summer Book Club .

And here are a few of my top picks for the summer to get you started! xx-Jennifer

Gratitude Challenge

I can’t think of a better day, than today, to kick off the 2018 Gratitude Challenge.  I recently attended a philanthropy focused conference that truly moved me to take action, every day.  But not in a way that focused on myself, but in a way that inspired others and showed gratitude to others.

In a world of technology, the art of handwritten correspondence is lost.  Stop and seriously think, when is the last time you received a handwritten letter in the mail?  It’s ok, I honestly can’t remember either.  But now think about the feeling you get when you open a handwritten letter out of the mailbox – it’s a feeling of excitement and anticipation and most importantly appreciation and gratitude.

When I get a handwritten letter, I cherish it.  I will keep it forever. Some of my favorite letters are from my grandmother.  And now that she is passed I am so grateful to have even a small piece of her physically in my life along with the beautiful childhood memories she created.

Let’s spend 2018 telling the people around us that we are grateful for them, flaws and all.

Here’s my challenge to you… start by grabbing a box of note cards.  Tip: don’t break the bank.  Some of the best cards I’ve found are at Half Price Books, Home Goods, and Tuesday Morning.  Start each morning telling someone your grateful for them in a handwritten letter.  Make it a minimum of three meaningful sentences and be specific about why you are grateful for them.

Want to take the challenge to the next level?  Eliminate the words “thank you” and “I”.  Trust me this will take your gratitude to the next level.  It’s ok, I’ve created a few prompts for you below to kick off your handwritten gratitude note challenge!

  1. You Inspire our team to be successful when you…
  2. You’re a Rock Star! (this one is my favorite)
  3. You are valued and loved because…
  4. Words can not express how grateful we are…

Find an accountability partner and share your gratitude cards with me on Instagram @growinguptexas.  Use the hashtag #gratitudechallenge2018

xx -Jennifer

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Put Breakfast on Autopilot

Breakfast has always been a difficult meal for me, I confess, but I’ve realized that it’s truly your fuel in the morning.  Skipping breakfast in the morning is like not filling up your car with gas and then expecting to drive down the road.  So what’s my secret you ask? … make a plan.  Yep, it’s that simple, having a plan for the week is the key to my “breakfast success.”

I stumbled across this recipe at Tasty on BuzzFeed and decided to make a few edits to make it a healthier option.  Here’s what you need from the grocery…

  • 1 Dozen Eggs
  • Almond Milk
  • Mrs. Dash original or table blend, to taste
  • 100 calorie, whole Grain Wheat English Muffins, 1 package
  • Boars Head sliced ham (from deli counter, DO NOT use processed ham), 6 slices
  • Colby Jack or Sharp Cheese (optional), 6 slices

Preheat the oven to 375.  Mix one dozen eggs and 1 cup of Almond Milk, sprinkle Mrs Dash into a 13×9 baking dish.  I didn’t put in all of the egg yolks, I decided to do put in 7 yolks and the rest egg whites.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.    IMG_3155

while the eggs are baking (that sounds weird) I toasted the English Muffins. Thomas brand English muffins makes a 100 calorie whole grain that is really good. After the eggs are cooked, take them out of the oven and slice the eggs into 6 squares.  Stack the egg squares onto the English muffin along with a slice of Deli Ham and a slice of cheese.

I wrapped the sandwiches, deli style, in parchment paper and put them into plastic bags.  You can freeze them, but I only made enough for one week so I left them in the fridge.  When you are ready to warm them up, take a paper towel and run it under water.  Wring-out the excess water and wrap the towel around the muffin.  Set it in the microwave on a paper plate and reheat for about 20 to 30 seconds… watch the cheese, it melts fast!

So think about it, the time you spent on the weekend prepping for the week just saved you an extra 30 minutes of snooze time! Oh yeah and you are eating something healthy to kick off your day and give you fuel to make it to lunch.

My Health Plan: 6 tips to keeping your healthy living on track

 

My day job keeps me on the road a lot and I find that staying fit and eating healthy can be a challenge.  From finding the best time of day to workout to staying on a sensible meal plan, let’s face it, it can be tough.  Most of my meetings revolve around eating.. meeting for coffee, luncheons, dinners and banquets.  I have realized through trial and error that I have to have a plan or my health is going to take a backseat on my work road trips.

Here are six tips that work for me while traveling and honestly I really think that these tips can apply to anyone. If you have a 9 to 5 desk job or you’re a stay at home parent, it’s all about planning and looking for opportunities to make the right choices for your health.

Tip #1 Preview the menu.  If I know where I’m meeting a client for lunch or dinner I will get online and look at the menu ahead of time.  I will pick something that falls into my dietary guidelines, that is easy to eat and not messy, the last thing I want is mustard running down my face.  Planning my meal ahead of time allows me make my meal decision before I get in front of the client.  Whether it’s a work situation or a causal lunch with a girlfriend, as soon as we sit down we are usually talking and catching up with little time to really think about what healthy options are on the menu.  Previewing a menu ahead of time is a good way to avoid those quick decisions that you may regret later.

Tip #2  Pack a cooler.  Even if I’m going for a day trip to meet a client I will pack a small cooler with healthy snacks and water.  This is also a huge time and money saver, now I don’t have worry about stopping at a gas station for a snack and I don’t have to worry about the possibility of being tempted by the candy or chip isles.  It’s all about limiting your chances to make bad decisions, this can be done through little adjustments to your planning like packing a cooler.

 Tip #3 The Workout.  If you know your schedule a head of time, for example if you know your conference starts at 8:30 AM or your last meeting of the day will end around 5 PM, plan your workout accordingly.  This is where you really need to know yourself… I know from personal experience that I will not workout in the evening time, I always find an excuse as to why I’m too tired or I may actually book social time that completely eliminates the time needed to workout.  By blocking out a specific time of day and adding it to your calendar, you will most likely complete your workout and stay consistent.  Other tips to keep your workouts on track are to lay out your workout clothes the night before.  I keep my running shoes on the scale in my bathroom, this reminds me it’s time to hit the road and put some miles on the old sneakers.  It’s just like previewing your dinning menu, select your workout ahead of time, mentally prepare yourself for the morning.

Tip #4  Find a accountability partner.  This is a great method to use on all of your goals.  If I know I want to loose five pounds I am going to tell my family and friends (in a nice way) “hey I’m on a healthy kick right now” or “hey I just started a cleanse, so sorry I can’t eat the double stuffed brownie goodness that you made from scratch.”  I find that saying your goal out loud and better yet to a friend, family member or mentor instantly ups your accountability percentage.  Once step better is to have a partner who is also working towards the same goal as you.

Tip #5  Setup your meal plan.  Every Saturday I have my routine, I plan out what I’m going to eat next week.  If I know I’m traveling on Wednesday and Thursday then those are days that I especially need to plan for.  Now I’m not into the meal prep thing, but I mentally decide what I will eat on each day of the week, keeping mind leftovers, travel and social schedules.  (**Pause to shop moment: Now that I have Walmart Grocery on my side, that makes shopping even less than a hassle.  Click here to read about my experience with Walmart Grocery online shopping – hint there is a $10 coupon code at the end of my blog post.)

Tip #6  Mind, Body and Spirit. If you are stressed or anxious it’s time to take control.  Your mental status can cause you to make bad choices during the week, sometimes you may not even be aware that you’re making them… until the button pops off of your pants.  I am a stress eater, I know this about myself, so if I’ve had a tough week (or even day) my eating could go through the roof if I’m not careful.  The way I prepare for every week is pushing the reset button.  On Sundays I like meeting up with friends at Church, I love hearing Pastor Will’s message, I always have an Ah Ha moment at Brazos Fellowship.  Yoga is also an excellent reset button.  I enjoy hot yoga, the kind that when you leave it looks like someone dowsed you with a water hose.  There is something cleansing about sweating, I feel like I’m getting rid of all of the toxins in my body.  Go enjoy a movie with friends, catch the early show and give yourself time to relax in the evening before kicking off your week.  Other tips… don’t wait until Sunday to grocery shop or do laundry. I typically try to keep up with laundry throughout the week or even Friday evening when I’m winding down with a glass of wine.  I say all this because you need to take care of yourself, seriously take an hour (heck take 5) and have some “you time” and push your reset button on Sundays.

xoxo Jennifer