On Valentine’s Day, the last thing you want to do is get stuck in a Netflix and takeout rut—or, worse, end up at a cheesy, overpriced, and decidedly unoriginal dinner. Whether you’re single, coupled up, or somewhere in between, ensure your V-Day is free of clichés with these non-boring ideas, below.
Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve and pretty similar. They’re both made up holidays, they’re both associated with smooching, and they both never tend to go as planned. But that’s OK, because what matters the most about V Day is that you spend it with people you love and who love you back. Having a reservation at the most romantic corner table in the fanciest restaurant is just icing on the fake-holiday cake. I know we can’t always afford to go all out, so I’ve created a few different categories to choose from, depending on your situation.
Stay at Home Date Ideas:
Roast S’mores in the fire pit.
Themed dinner and movie night.
Watch the sunset (or sunrise).
Date night in a box.
Suite Retreat. Create an at home spa type basket and enjoy together.
Here are a few ideas if you are looking to go out on the town:
6. Go for a hike/picnic. Take along your favorite foods and drinks and enjoy a meal out in nature.
7. Get dessert only. This is a great idea if you’re short on time and/or money, but still want to go out.
8. Go for a progressive dinner. Get appetizers and drinks at one place, your main course at another place, then end the night with dessert at a different place.
9. Do a selfie date night. Go around town taking selfies doing your favorite activities. You are sure to document some fun memories!
10. Go test out your skills at your local shooting range. This is one of our favorite things to do on date night.
11. If you’re really looking to pamper yourselves, enjoy a spa day date. There’s nothing more relaxing than a day of pampering.
12. Book a hotel room for a night, no kids! Enjoy each other’s company without interruptions.
If you’re looking to spend the evening at home with your family, these are some great ideas to ensure a fun-filled evening:
13. Have a family dance party. Turn on some good music, turn off the lights, grab a flashlight (bonus points if you have a disco ball or light), and get moving! I promise, your kids will LOVE it!
14. Go on a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt. Create a list of things to find around the house, or take it outside if you choose, and the winner gets a price!
15. Family dinner and a movie night. You can even let your children pick the menu and help prepare dinner. Then choose a movie to enjoy as a family.
16. Have a conversation heart dinner. Decorate the table with fun conversation hearts plates, napkins and decor, then have a heart themed dinner. Go around the table and take turns telling each other things you love about your family.
Well, there you have it! I’d love to hear what your plans are for Valentine’s Day this year and if you try out any of these ideas!
Are you looking for a little help establishing a healthy day-to-day routine in your life? Or maybe you’re looking for a little inspiration on how to take your health and fitness to the next level?
Today, I want to share my daily fitness routine and some habits to help you improve your daily workout routine.
During the school year, my routine is much more structured. So I like to drink my pre workout about 20 minutes before I plan to workout. I like to use this.
For my workouts, I usually do 3-4 days of strength training, and then 1-2 days of cardio. I absolutely LOVE Beachbody on Demand because I can do my workouts anywhere! If I can’t make it to the gym, I can just grab my phone or iPad and go to my room to get my workout in. On the days I want to go to the gym (free childcare!), I just download my workout ahead of time and take it with me!
After my workouts, especially the ones where I worked out hard/lifted heavy, I always drink my post workout. It helps aid my muscles in recovery, and combats muscle soreness.
One thing I must stress, is that you need a rest day! Sometimes more than one. It’s definitely important to listen to your body! I usually use my rest day to stretch or do yoga.
Now I want to share some habits with you to improve your daily workout routine. Especially if you’re just getting started (or starting back). 1. Choose a workout you will enjoy. Don’t try to choose something you know is too difficult or even too easy. Make sure it will challenge you, but not so much that it makes you miserable and dread doing it. 2. Use social media! I know that sounds weird, but if you put it out there, you will be more likely to follow through knowing people are expecting you to. 3. Find a support system. Accountability is SO important in your health and fitness journey. 4. Ease into it. If you find yourself struggling, just do what you can when you can, and you WILL get stronger! 5. Schedule your workout into your day. Just like anything else, write it down. You don’t miss doctor appointments, or dentist appointments. Don’t miss your workouts! 6. Set your clothes out the night before. It’s so much easier for me to not have to think about what I’m going to wear when I get up in the morning. It’s already out and ready for me to just throw it on. 7. Don’t be afraid to buy cute workout clothes. I LOVE buying new fitness attire. I find it way more fun and motivating when I look cute. 8. Your daily workout routine needs to be just that… DAILY. Yes, rest days are important, but it’s just as important to still MOVE on those days. That’s why I like to at least stretch or do yoga, maybe even go for a short walk. 9. Which brings me to rest day. Make sure you schedule those rest days! Yes, it’s ok if you have to take more than one. It’s more important that you listen to your body so you don’t injure yourself. If you need to move your day up sooner than you had planned, that’s ok too. Don’t beat yourself up about it. And last, #10, make this a LIFESTYLE change! This is not a fad or a temporary fix. You should be making this fitness routine a part of the rest of your life!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, or if you have any other tips you’d like to add. Feel free to leave a comment!
With every new year comes new goals. And usually SOME of those goals are health and fitness related. I wanted to share these tips with you.
How to Get Started With Fitness (Before Even Pushing Play)
If you haven’t exercised or tried to eat clean in a while (or ever!), Day 1 of a 30, 60, or 90-day fitness and nutrition program can feel intimidating.
It doesn’t have to be. Here are several small things you can do to get started. With these simple tips, you can begin to prepare your body and mind for a healthier lifestyle before you even break a sweat or eat your first green vegetable. Though you could snack on some snap peas while reading this article…
Figure Out How Many Calories You Should Eat
Knowing is half the battle, right? Use this simple method to determine approximately how many calories you should try to eat each day, or consult your fitness program’s nutrition guide, and begin to make small adjustments to reach that daily goal. Using a nutrition tracker like MyFitnessPal can be extremely useful in helping you figure out how many calories are in the foods you eat and where you’re overindulging.
Get those muscles ready to move. If you haven’t used them in a while, do some gentle stretching to wake them up and get familiar with the current limits of your flexibility. Knowing where you’re tight can help prevent injury. Try these stretches to improve hip and lower back flexibility so you’ll be ready to move comfortably in workouts.
Start to Move More
Even if you’re not Pushing Play yet, you can begin to make an effort to move your body more every day. Take a walk, stand (or do squats!) when you talk on the phone, take the stairs, park a little farther away from your destination, stretch during television commercials, rearrange the furniture in your living room. What suggestions do you have for adding gentle movement to your day? Share your ideas in the comments.
Being dehydrated can make you sore even if you don’t exercise. Set yourself up for success, and minimize initial muscle soreness, by drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to the start of your fitness program. Get in the habit of drinking enough water every day. Read this article to find out how much water you need and get tips to help you drink enough.
Throw Away Junk Food
Empty your desk, cupboards, fridge, freezer, car, and secret snack stash drawer of foods and drinks you know you shouldn’t be eating. If you want to reach your fitness goal, prevent temptation by removing junk food from your house. If the packaged foods are unopened, donate them. We know you spent good money on those Ding Dongs and Doritos, but they are doing the opposite of helping you reach your health and fitness goals. If throwing them away seems like a daunting task, try these 6 tips to kick your junk food habit.
Build a Healthy Pantry
Now that you’ve eliminated the processed junk food from your home, replace it with good-for-you staples that will help you create healthy meals every day.
Set Up Your Workout Space
This could be as easy as moving the coffee table in your living room, or as elaborate as setting up a dedicated gym in your garage or basement. You won’t need much space to exercise, but it’s a good idea to figure out where you’ll do it and make the space usable and inviting for the workouts you’ll be doing.
Plan an Outing that Involves Exercise
A great way to get into the spirit of exercise before you actually commit to a fitness program is to plan activities with friends that get you moving. Invite friends or family for a hike, go ice skating, or organize a softball or flag-football game.
Find Your Reason Why
In this video, Tony Horton says, “If you’re really caught up in the numbers on the scale, or the dress size, and what’s happening with the tape measure, chances are that does’t really motivate or inspire you. Find a new purpose. Find a new reason why. The reason why has got to be so powerful, so strong that you’re not going to quit, you’re not going to fail, and you’re going to be consistent, and show up 5-7 days a week for the rest of your life.”
Build a Support System
Getting fit doesn’t have to be something you do alone! Announce your commitment to get healthier and stronger to your friends, family, and coworkers. Start or join a Challenge Group, join a Facebook group, or recruit workout buddies and accountability partners to help you stay motivated when your resolve starts to slip or you feel tempted to make unhealthy choices.
Make Time in Your Schedule
Figure out when you’ll fit exercise into your daily schedule and begin to make adjustments to reserve that time slot every day. Will you work out in the morning? During your lunch break? In the evenings? Schedule exercise time in your calendar and commit to it as an important meeting with yourself. You wouldn’t skip a meeting with your boss just because you feel tired or grumpy, would you? No, you’d be there on time with a smile on your face and do your best to impress.
Lose a Few Pounds Before You Start Exercising
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It’s OK to Start Slowly
You don’t have to Push Play and go full speed on the first day. If you’ve been spending the last few months or years sitting on the couch, just do what you can. It’s OK to start with a few minutes of exercise and work your way up to a full workout. Five or ten minutes of exercise a day is better than no minutes. Try to add one minute each day until you can do a full workout. In his article, 5 Steps to Avoid Muscle Soreness, our fitness expert Steve Edwards said, “It’s very tempting to begin an exercise program with a lot of enthusiasm, but try your best to go at a reasonable pace. If you’ve never exercised, or it’s been a long time since you have, go much easier than you feel you are capable of on Day 1 and ramp things up at a pace that is based on how you feel. If you’re not sore, go a little harder the next day. If you’re a little sore, take it down a notch.”
What tips do you have that could help someone else get started? Share them in the comments.
I love finding easy, cheap, and fun things for us to do as a family. So, I have had a lot of fun creating these bucket lists for us to do every few months. It gives us easy access on those days where we aren’t quite sure what to do with ourselves.
The days may be shorter and we may be missing the sun, but that doesn’t mean we are doomed to months of boredom. Because we live in Texas and it doesn’t get SUPER cold here much, most of these are not necessarily cold weather activities.
So, here are my top 20 ideas for our Winter Bucket List:
Sit by a fire
Develop an indoor workout routine
Read a book
Stay in your pajamas all day
Go ice skating
Set goals for the new year
Make DIY Valentines
Visit a local museum
Watch a marathon of your favorite tv show
Do a random act of kindness
Try a new restaurant
Make hot chocolate
Make a vision board
Go to a movie
Build a fort
Have a family movie night
Do a new puzzle
And if you’re lucky enough to have snow, make a snowman
And there you have it! Most of these activities are free, and if they aren’t, you can typically find discounts for cheap activities. What are your favorite things to do in the winter?
As I sit down to write out my goals for 2019, I find myself searching for my focus word for the coming year. I have really been struggling with feeling less than lately. And no, I don’t mean that I don’t know my worth. I just know that I am not living up to my full potential. So, for 2019, my focus is to just be the best wife, mom, friend, and just all around person I can be. With that said, my word for 2019 is a simple one… BEST.
The definition of Best is: of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality. My goal this year is to be the best I can be in all areas of my life!
I really wan to take the time to invest in my marriage this year. We have a great relationship, don’t get me wrong. But in all of life’s daily demands, its easy to not make your relationship a priority. So, I plan to be more intentional this year and take a little extra time to just spend more quality time with my husband, whether it be watching a show together on tv, going on date nights, or even taking a short trip together just the two of us.
I also want to invest more time into my kids by just being in the moment with them more. Whether its watching their favorite show with them, playing with them, or taking them to do their favorite activities. I want to put down my phone more and just BE with them. They are only little for a short period of time and its already going SO fast. I want to cherish every moment!
Next on my list… I want to work on being a better friend. I know life tends to get in the way, especially when you have children, and before you know it, it’s been months or maybe even a year or longer since you’ve seen friends who you were once close to. I know it happens, and I totally get it, but I want to make the choice to spend more time with my friends. I want them all to know how much they mean to me.
So there you have it! I’m going to do my BEST to be the BEST wife, mom, friend, and all around person I can be this year. What are some of your goals this year?
Are you like the majority of us who have a hard time finding things to stuff your kids or family member’s stockings with? I like to add practical things that are actually useful, but won’t break the bank. Over the years, I’ve made a pretty solid list of things I like putting in my family’s stockings, and they seem to go over pretty well. I thought I’d share them with you in case you are looking for ideas! These can all be found for under $5:
For those moms/women in your life, some good stocking stuff ideas are:
Starbucks Gift Card
My favorite, Amazon Gift Card
For the dads/men in your life, these are typically big hits:
Home Improvement store Gift Card
Amazon Gift Card
For the teens in your family, try some of these ideas:
iTunes Gift Card
Starbucks Gift Card
For the little ones, these are some of the most practical ideas:
This one is probably one of the tougher ones starting out, but also can end up being the easiest, because they can’t eat candy or chew gum, etc. Haha Try out some of these:
Small stuffed animals
Age appropriate snacks
So, those are my typical go to items. I’d love to know what you guys think! Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite things are to add to your loved ones stockings!
Do you find yourself struggling to make healthier choices when the holidays roll around? I know I do! Especially if you’ve been invited to a get together where multiple people are bringing dishes. Here are some tips to help you make healthier food choices while still enjoying those holiday get togethers:
1. Have a healthy snack BEFORE going to a holiday get together. Even something as simple as a piece of fruit or a small portion of vegetables would be a great option. You definitely do not want to show up starving, because you will likely have less control over your choices.
2. If you are in charge of the food, or even if you are just asked to bring a dish, choose something you know you can eat! Look up healthier recipes for your favorite dishes and make those instead.
3. Always aim to fill half your plate with vegetables (and no I don’t mean potatoes!). About a fourth of your plate should be protein, and the other fourth should be fiber filled carbs (healthy carbs like whole grains, sweet potatoes, etc.).
4. Drink at least 8 ounces of water before you sit down for a meal. This will ensure that you stay hydrated and help you feel full.
5. Be active! Take some time to go for a walk, or even get a workout in the day of your holiday festivities. This is good for so many reasons! You’ll burn calories, rev up your metabolism, and help aid in digestion are just a few of the many benefits of getting in some kind of physical activity.
I could really go on and on, but I will leave you with those for now. Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments. As always, I would love to hear from you!
I don’t know about you, but with the fashion trends constantly changing and evolving, I struggle to keep up with all of the trends. Today, I wanted to share my favorite fall fashion must haves.
This seems to be a huge trend for fall and one I can really get behind. I love to wear jeans and they are a staple in my wardrobe because, you know, #momlife, but I definitely find myself getting bored with the same ole regular denim jeans. This year, I’m excited to mix it up with colored denim in shades such as purple and olive green. My favorites right now are the Universal Threads skinny jeans from Target! I absolutely love the way they fit and the price is great too.
The Shrunken Blazer
What is a shrunken blazer you ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like. A blazer that’s a little more “shrunken” than you may be used to wearing. It’s more fitted and tailored and so much fun to wear.
There are many reasons this is a good addition to your wardrobe. It is extremely versatile and, depending on the style, you can wear it with jeans, dress pants or even a skirt. It’s perfect for layering when the fall weather seems to change so drastically. It also turns an ordinary t-shirt and jeans outfit into something that will turn heads. Thanks to my friend, and business partner at Urban Grace TX for modeling this look for me! We have several options over at Urban Grace TX.
Utility Cargo Vests and Quilted Vests
I love wearing vests in the fall and on warmer winter days. They add the perfect touch to an outfit when it’s not quite warm enough for a coat, but you need a little protection from the cooler weather. And there are so many options to choose from! My favorites right now are a military style utility vest and quilted padded vests. You can layer these over flannels or striped tees for the perfect look! We carry both of these styles at Urban Grace TX.
Basic Striped Long Sleeve Tees
I think a basic, striped long-sleeve tee can go with just about anything! They layer perfectly until the vests I mentioned above. You can wear them alone as a more casual look, or add a vest or some fancy jewelry to dress it up a little more. My favorites right now are from Old Navy and Urban Grace TX.
Cargo Utility Jackets
You can really ruin a great outfit with some frumpy outerwear, so make sure you keep up your amazing style even when choosing what to wear over your fab outfits! Now, I’m not saying you should sacrifice your comfort when choosing your outerwear, that’s why I think these amazing cargo utility jackets from Urban Grace TX are a great option!
I’d love to hear from you all on what you think of my favorites, and if you have any favorites of your own! Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
I am always on the lookout for new recipes. I am not one of those people who can eat the same meals over and over again without changing it up. I found this AMAZING recipe and I just had to share. I love that it works with my 2B Mindset plan, and it’s a great lunch meal that should have plenty of leftovers to give you a few days worth at once.
Crack Chicken Pasta Salad
1 lb dry whole wheat pasta (I like bow tie pasta for a pasta salad, but you can use any type you like)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into cubes
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup cottage cheese
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I prefer uncured nitrate free bacon, but you can also use turkey bacon)
1/3 cup cheddar cheese
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp parsley
1 tsp fresh dill, or 1/2 tsp dried
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the chicken and sauté for a couple minutes. Add the pasta and water to skillet. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is done.
Drain the pasta, rinse it and let it dry. Place the pasta and chicken back into the skillet.
Blend together the cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, garlic salt, onion powder, pepper, parsley, and dill.
Pour your blended sauce, cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions over the pasta. Mix well. Transfer to a serving dish. Top with more cheese, bacon, and green onions for garnish if desired. Serve at room temperature or cold.
Now, I am NO chef, so this recipe is NOT something I came up with on my own, so I definitely want to give credit where credit is due! You can find the link to the original recipe here.