Holiday Parties

I don't know about you, but this next week for us is jam packed with parties, hangouts and family gatherings.  I know my way around the table well enough to know what to avoid or eat moderately so my pants still fit by the time we head back to Nashville a week later, but, I've never given a thought before to the beer and wine we drink (in moderation of course).  My family is Italian and we love our wine. This article was a huge eye opener for me and definitely something I will be keeping in mind as we head home for the holidays.

If you choose to drink, here are some tips to limit the number of calories that you consume:

1. If you are going to drink mixed drinks, mix with diet beverages or fruit juices.
2. Stay away from "heavy" beers, light beers can taste just as good.
3. Remember that white wines are lower in calories than red wines.
4. Try drinking a glass of water between drinks. You will not only fight off calories, but you will keep yourself hydrated as well.
5. Alcohol slows down the body's metabolism, which means you are burning less fat when you are drinking.
6. Don't forget to exercise at least 3 times a week.

Type of Beer
Miller Lite
Bud Light
Natural Light
Coors Light
Michelob Light
Sam Adams

Type of Wine
Bordeaux, red
Burgundy, white
Cabernet Sauvignon
Zinfandel, white
Type of drink
Long Island Ice Tea
White Russian
Pina Colada
Rum and Diet Coke
Vodka and Diet Sprite
Bloody Mary
Mike's Hard Lemonade

I don't know about you but at least half of my Christmas vacation is spent lounging on the couch watching movies with my family.  If your break sounds anything like that, here's an added bonus to help you through that lazy Christmas week.

We not only have a habit of enjoying a snack while we tune in to our television sets, we also tend not to pay attention to how much we're eating while we’re doing it.  In fact, research has shown that we automatically overdo portions when we snack in front of the television, especially on the foods we tend to eat too much of anyway like straight-out-of the bag potato chips.  So, we’re eating more than usual and we don’t even realize it.
Here are some tips that will help your weight loss/maintenance efforts survive your time in front of the TV this Christmas season:
  • Eat a meal as close to TV time as possible.
  • Divvy a portion of your snack into a single serving bag ahead of time.
  • Or, always use serving bowls instead of eating straight out of the package.
  • Don’t watch TV in a room next to the kitchen.
  • Keep a large bottle of water at your side and sip, sip away.
  • Snack ... but only during commercial breaks. That hand doesn’t go back into the bag once your show returns!
  • Ladies: Paint your nails. You may be looking at your hands instead of the TV or your snack.
  • Chew flavorful sugar-free gum. Pop it in at the beginning of your show. Not only will it keep your jaws busy, but if you take it out to eat, I’ll guarantee you your chosen snack food won’t be so tasty and you probably won’t keep going.
  • Choose something that takes a long time to chew like apple slices dipped in caramel or something you have to work for like peeling string cheese or shelling pistachios.
I hope you find these tips useful over the next week or so and from our family to yours,


Christmas in Our Home

2 days before Christmas and I am finally posting this... I told you I would post it before Christmas! ;) Honestly though, I can't tell you how much I love this time of year (minus the cold weather although it's be like 70 degrees here the last couple of days). The decorating, the food, the decorating, the parties, the smell of Christmas trees, the decorating, the music... I could go on and on but lets get to the decorating.

Can I get a show of hands of those who googled and pinterested (is that even a word?) for hours scouring the Internet for holiday decorating ideas? My hand is  up, waving in the air.  Without these sources I'm pretty sure my house would be the ugliest decorated home you've ever seen.  I need a picture to tell me where to put what so it doesn't look like I unloaded half our belongings onto a shelf in a disorganized cluster.  

Anyway. I've decorated our house and wanted to share what I've done for all you out there who are like me and need a picture for guidance. =)  We still have no tree topper, I feel like my table is rather bare and we have no stockings but when your on a super tight budget, those things must just wait.  But, without further adieu...here is Christmas in our home. =)

*(I rushed around this morning taking pictures before I left for work so they aren't the most fabulous looking pics, but you'll get the idea).

 This year I used jute instead of ribbon for our presents. I also bought plain cardboard looking card stock and cut it into the shape of labels. Super easy and super cheap.

When using fake anything (like garland) I like mixing it with the real deal to make it look more natural.  On our mantel I mixed into our garland with some branches from our Christmas tree. 

A quick wrap of gold wire helped spruce up our candles.

Even our little birdies got festive for the season.

Obviously, still making use of the cinnamon pine cones... =)

Here is another example of mixing fake decor with the real deal.  In the vase is a mixture of plastic branches and berries with some sticks and the greenery is from our tree.

Love, love the Willow Tree nativity.

A little Christmas in the kitchen..

And that about sums it up.... there were a few smaller decorations here and there but I was too distracted by our super cute visitor to take pictures of them...

I seriously can't get enough of those chubby cheeks!


Who I am.

As I continue to post exercise tips, healthy recipes and ways to stay motivated through this busy time of year, the thought crosses my mind every time, "When people read this, what are they thinking of me?" I hope that doesn't come off sounding conceited because that is not the direction I'm going with this.

I've spent countless hours over the last few weeks trying to update this blog to better represent me, the author, so readers like you know who this lady is that is babbling about scheduling time for yourself to be healthy even when you’re working full time, taking care of a family and just trying to stay sane. You can read more about me and my professional background in the "about" page but I wanted to take a moment to give you a peek into who I am and who I am not on a personal level before I published the next post in my healthy holiday tips series.

I am health conscious and do make it a daily effort to be healthy. That looks different every day. Some days it's just trying to eat a few vegetables or a piece fruit. Other days it's getting in a good workout. Most days it's both. It's part of my job. I always tell people, would you ever go to a dentist who has rotting teeth? No. So, would you reach out for wellness assistance to a person who doesn't practice healthy habits themselves? No. I believe you should practice what you preach.

I am not perfect. I struggle from time to time with the consistency of my nutrition and fitness habits too.  So while I post these tips, please do not think I do all of them all of the time. I don't think I have ever worked out 7 days out of the week and my favorite food is mac n' cheese which I eat (by itself) as my dinner probably once a week.  I believe if living healthy is part of your lifestyle, moderation is the key. 

I am passionate about health for the health benefits not for the appearance benefits. Through high school and college I struggled with an eating disorder, so I am very careful to focus on the health benefits of what this lifestyle is accomplishing, and not what I'm seeing in the mirror. I know that this is a struggle for so many women (and some men) out there and I want to be sure those who are reading this blog understand the position I’m coming from.  I'm not posting these tips and suggestions to help you look more like that super model you saw strutting down the runway during this year's Victory Secret fashion show. My motivation behind these health related posts is to help people understand the small and simple things they can do to become a healthier person one step at a time. Maybe that’s trying to drink more water each day, maybe that is trying to walk a few days a week, maybe that's incorporating strength training into your current fitness routine to prevent osteoporosis, or maybe that's just trying to take 5 minutes a day to manage your stress. The point is, it looks different for everyone and every little bit counts.

I am broken sinner who struggles like everyone else. We're human. The biggest lesson I learned when I became a believer (and am still learning) is I cannot do life alone and this healthy lifestyle I lead is not an exception. I have learned I must lean and rely solely on my Savior for strength, motivation and right thinking. When I do, I understand His reason behind my passion for health, to help & empower others to take steps towards a healthier life and I know I must be of sound mind to hear and do His will. When I'm not leaning on the Him and trying to do things myself, I struggle to have the right motivation and thinking behind my diet and fitness routine. My motivation becomes selfish, and the thoughts and voices that caused my eating problems long ago start to creep back into my mind. I know now to lean the Lord for that peace and right thinking but those weak moments still rear their ugly head from time to time. I'm only human.


Like I said, stay tuned for the next post in the holiday tips series which will touch on how to manage your calories at parties with all those festive holiday drinks.


Weekend Fun

As I mentioned a few days go, my girlfriend Lindsay and her fiance were in town this weekend visiting.  It was so great to spend a weekend of fun and fellowship with these two, and of course Linds and I made sure to squeeze in some much needed girlfriend life chats too.  We met up for lunch at Mad Donna's here in East Nashville which was delish as always. If you live here, you must go! They have everything from sandwiches and burgers to yummy brunch items and on the weekends they run 2 for 1 mimosa special. Yes please.  We spent rest of the day people watching at the Opryland Hotel and searching for baby cowboy boot socks.  The people watching was super entertaining, the sock search was an epic fail.

Last weekend we met up with our friend Barrett in downtown Franklin for a quick little photo shoot to get a cute pic taken for our Christmas card we are unfortunately no longer sending out (we went a tad over budget this month). =)  At least we got a few nice pictures taken right? And hanging out with Barrett always ends up being such a great time anyway.  He is one of the first people Bobby met when he moved here to Nashville and has really gotten into photography over the last couple of years.  You can take a look at some of his photos here but I wanted to post one of the pictures he took of us last weekend because frankly, it's just awesome.  Check it out:

PS. I promise I wasn't lying when I said I would post our Christmas decor... I just keep forgetting to actually take pictures of everything! I also promise to post it before Christmas... =)



The indecisiveness has gone, and so has that old header.  Thanks for the sweet and encouraging comments, but I just wasn't feeling it.  To be honest, it kind of hurt my eyes when I looked at it... it was a bit too bright and loud for me.  I'm a loud person... but not that loud.

I'm very happy with what I've created this time around and I think it may be here to stay. Say What!?! I know! Check me out making a decision. Hah. After asking my husband if he liked it like 3 million times and changing the colors about 2 million times, I think I'm finally content. =)  I'm still learning how to add things like fancy fonts, creative gadget titles and pictures on the side bar, (especially since the merge with Google+ has removed my profile...) but those are mostly minor things that hopefully don't take me weeks to complete like this header did. Wahoo!!

Oh, and Happy Friday!!! Anyone else out there extremely happy this week is finally ending? I sure am. It's been a super long week for me but also, in less than 24 hours I get to hang out with this girl:

Lindsay is one of my close girlfriends from college and I love her.  She is a special education teacher with such a heart for those kids and is on fire for the Lord.  She also has a blog Have Faith. that you should totally check out.  Oh, and she is getting married in June! YAY!

Can't wait to see you tomorrow friend!


So Indecisive

See this the header right here??

...I've been working on it the last few days (this is what I was talking about in the previous post that is consuming any free time I have). So...now I don't even know if I like it. (!!!) Talk about being indecisive. Anyway, if you stop by over the next few days an see constant change.. you'll know why. Any thoughts on the header are welcome too!

Now that it is 3 hours past my bed time, (yes, that makes my bed time 9:30pm) I'm must go to bed.  I can't remember the last time I was up this late during the week.  This is what happens when my husband travels and I get bored.  Tomorrow is going to be a long day.


Shout out to Chicago!

Cool Music is heading north as my husband makes is first ever debut in the Windy City! Wahoo!  If you live in the Chicago area, like country music and your in the mood for some live entertainment, head out to the Elbo Room!

What's that you say? You wish he would come play in Iowa?? Well, today is your lucky day my friend! Bobby will be in Bettendorf, Iowa Tuesday night playing a Christmas show at The Clubhouse Indoor Golf & Lounge.  Click here for more details.

PS. Things are (obviously) under construction over here... sorry for the mess.  Updating the blog it is taking much longer than I expected.  Bear with me... =)


Keep on Truckin'

"It's too cold", "I'm sleepy", "It's too cold", "I'm too busy", "It's too cold", "I need to spend time with the family"...womp, womp, womp. Any of this sound familiar when the thought of exercise pops into your head this time of year?  My husband hears at least one of these every other day.  But! I know how great it feels once you get finished with that run or yoga class or whatever work out you enjoy, and I also know how not so great it feels when those already puffy sweaters start to make me feel like a marshmallow, so I do my best to keep on truckin' through this miserably cold time of year.

Here's are some tips if you can relate...
  • Plan ahead.  Seriously though, plan ahead. Plan ahead. Catch my drift? =)  Spend a few minutes working out a training program that you will be able to follow during this time, even if it changes week to week.  Simply putting pen to paper and taking it along with you (in your purse, wallet, etc. especially if your traveling a lot this month) will help keep you stay focused and on track.   This doesn't need to be anything crazy so relax. =)  Focus on maintaining your current level of fitness instead of trying to improve during this time.  This will take some pressure off and make it easier to adhere to your plan.
  • Try to get your exercising in early in the morning.  As the day evolves, you are more likely to get involved in other activities, chores, facebook, pinterest, etc. that could lower your motivation to exercise.  Also, I don't know about you, but with it getting dark here at 4:30PM, I feel ready for bed at 5:30PM and so the last thing I want to do is work out.  If an a.m. workout isn't doable with your schedule (or you are not a morning person--join the club), going directly to the gym from work (no pit stops at home, the grocery store or where ever else) has made a huge difference for me.
  • When your out of town for the holidays (or have visitors): include your family and friends in your training program.  Involving family and friends will make it easier for you to get out there every day, and also benefit the people who come with you.
  • Find a buddy.  I promise you are not the only one who is lacking in the motivation department right now.  Recruit a friend or two, or drag along your better half, and go together. Knowing you are meeting someone will help keep you accountable and makes it much harder to convince yourself not to go.
  • Set small targets.  If you wake up tired and you cannot face the thought of going out for your daily exercise, bargain with yourself.  Tell yourself that you will only walk for 10 minutes.  Chances are that once you start, your head will clear; you will get into a rhythm, and end up doing your normal time anyway.  If that 10 minute walk is all the happens, pat yourself on the back for getting up and moving and continue along your merry way.  It maybe wasn't what you "should" have done, but you didn't stay in bed and skip it all together, so kudos to you my friend! (I am all about the small victories if you haven't noticed).

Any other suggestions? I'd love to hear them!
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