Mother’s Day Gifts the Fit Mom will Love

Mother’s Day 2017 is almost here, how are your honoring the special woman in your life? I’ve rounded up six of my favorite gift ideas for the fitness-focused, active mom – perfect for your mother, daughter, sister, or other important female in your life — including YOU! Mother's Day Gifs 2017 for Fit Mom

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How to Top an English Muffin Ideas for Any Meal

My childhood years were fueled by a lot of English Muffin Pizzas. My parents both worked and this quick-fix meal or snack could be made in the toaster oven in under 10 minutes, reducing my mom’s worry that I was sitting at home starving, or worse yet, burning the house down. Naturally, I’ve taught my own three boys how to fend for themselves and make these little single-serve pizzas and variations of an open-faced sandwiches.Quick & Easy English Muffin Ideas For Any Meal

One of the perks of English Muffin Pizzas is that each can easily be adapted to suit picky palates and gourmet appetites alike.  With just a quick switch-a-roo of ingredients (even leftovers found in the fridge or freezer), you can come up with a one-of-a-kind, personal-sized cure for any craving – even dessert!  Check out these quick recipes using English muffins and solve your current breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack situation.  Continue reading

One-in-a-Melon Holiday Gift Guide for Watermelon Lovers

Even though summer season has long gone, the watermelon lover on your holiday list is sure to love any of these gifts inspired by the planet’s favorite jumbo-sized fruit – and, I’m not talking jackfruit.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Watermelon Lover

I’ve got 20 things on my list, there’s a little something for everyone here, from a designer coin bag to a ‘lil ukulele for plucking. While Santa would sure like to deliver real watermelons to all the good boys and girls, it’s bound to break his back — so do him a favor and “live on the wedge” with one of these fun novelty gifts.

Gift Guide for the Watermelon Lover

 

Watermelon KedsWatermelon Keds – These fun classic canvas tennies show how watermelon satisfies the “sole”! $20

 


Watermelon UkeleleWatermelon Ukulele – Pluck out your favorite, fruity tunes on this fun musical instrument.  $22

Watermelon Seed BookThe Watermelon Seed – This picture book by Greg Pizzoli is a must-read for watermelon lovers of all ages. Find out how the crocodile overcomes his fear of swallowing seeds! $12

watermelon growing kitSprout ‘n Go Greenhouse Baby Watermelon Kit – Perfect for the future farmer or budding botanist, this kit has everything needed (except patience and sunshine) to grow a Sugar Baby mini watermelon in less than three months! $9

crochet watermelon braCrochet Watermelon Bra – Bet your knitting granny never made a top quite like this bikini halter top that would be so amazing to show off at a summer music festival!  $6

Watermelon Gumballs by Double Bubble – fill up the gumball machine with these adorable pieces of round gum – the 3lb bag should last all year ‘round. $17

Salted Watermelon Energy GUSalted Watermelon GUs – Optimize performance in an endurance event with these salty watermelon energy gels — yassss, I just ordered some! $29 / for 24

Watermelon KnifeWatermelon Knife by Kuhn Rikon – Not is the blade painted up pretty, it makes an easy task of a tedious job. $20

 

 

Kate Spade Watermelon Coin PurseWatermelon Coin Purse by Kate Spade – Save your nickels and dime to get this awesome leather coin purse by one of America’s favorite bag designers. $48


Watermelon Knee SocksWatermelon Socks by Socksmith – I get a zillion compliments every time I step out in these fun knee-highs. $11

 

 

Watermelon Fitness Headband“Watermelon Crawl” by Sweaty Headbands – This hair accessory holds hair back off face and stays in place for running, CrossFit, yoga or pretty much any fitness activity.

Watermelon PJs – by Carters This four-piece, toddler-sized pajama set is a sweet choice for the little watermelon lovers in your life. $22

 

 

Pandora Crystal Silver Watermelon CharmWatermelon Charm by Pandora – enjoy a little slice of summer all year long with this sterling silver charm with sparkly crystals. $63

Watermelon Tervis Water BottleWatermelon Insulated Bottle by Tervis – Cold drinks stay cold, hot drinks stay hot in this sportym 24-ounce reusable water bottle. $20

 

 

 

watermelon-bike-hoodieWatermelon Bike Hoodie from Design by Humans – Artists from around the world submit artwork that you can then have made into everything from tanks to hoodies and more. There are so many watermelon designs (I’ve purchased quite a few) and this is bike one is next!

Watermelon UmbrellaWatermelon Umbrella – Stand out from the crowd with this whimsical watermelon umbrella, sure to brighten up any gloomy day. $15

 

 

WAtermelon OrnamentWatermelon Christmas Ornament – Deck the halls with this beautiful glass-blown holiday ornament. $7

Watermelon Scented PensWatermelon Scented SNIFTY Pens – the familiar fruity scent takes your mind off whatever boring task is at hand!

 

 

reload-watermelonReload Watermelon helps your muscles refuel, recover and rebuild after a hard run or intense workout with just whatcha need including branch chain amino acids. $22

 

 

 

FYI, this post contains affiliate links.

Do you eat watermelon in the winter? Do you have traditional fruit of the season (like my mom always put an orange in my stocking). What is the most fun or funniest gift you are giving this year? Lemme know — xoxo, Jennifer

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Kick the Fall Allergy Crud, Stay in the Game with #MinuteClinic

Living in warm climate has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to running and exercising outdoors. I really love the fact that it’s nearly November and it’s in the 80s, sunny and breezy– but with that beautiful weather comes an extended fall allergy season. Fall is the worst season for allergies sufferers; there are more allergy triggers than any other time of the year. Typically, weed pollens (like the 17 varieties of ragweed) and mold spores peak in the autumn months as do other irritants like dust mites (yuck). This pesky problem is nothing to sneeze – or, actually it is!  Austin Sunset in October / Middle School Football

Sniffing and snuffing in the stands puts a damper on watching my kid’s football games, and I know my boys don’t like to be out there on the gridiron feeling all gunked up.    Thank goodness we have a MinuteClinic at the corner of our neighborhood to help make a quick diagnosis between cold, flu and allergies and to provide the treatments needed to stay in the game.

text to mom about allergies and minuteclinic

Seasonal fall allergies can even take a toll on my indoor workouts – for example, we open the garage doors on both sides of my CrossFit gym to get the air circulating. When the air starts circulating, the allergens get their groove on. But, it’s too hot to close the doors with no gym air-conditioning, so we all suffer and #UseAllTheTissues until swinging by MinuteClinic for relief. minute-clinic-allergy-gym

Practical tips can help reduce allergies, as well. For example, at home (unlike my gym!) don’t leave windows open during the day and avoid the use of a window fan – both will fast track unwanted pollens and mold spores into your home.  Be mindful to clean and change air filters every three months to lessen the amount of dirt, debris, and allergens that invade your space. Also, shake out pillows, blankets and other bedding between frequent washes and don’t go to sleep after being outdoors without washing your hair (allergens get trapped in there too).

minute clinic waiting room 2

If you or your kids need over-the-counter or prescription medications in your allergy-fighting “toolkit,” MinuteClinic is a convenient solution to get you feeling like a champ again. This walk-in clinic located inside select CVS Pharmacies and Target Stores across the U.S. and the District of Columbia has nurse practitioners and physician assistants who can give you a good look over and recommend the right over-the-counter medications and even write prescriptions when medically appropriate.  Minute Clinic is open 7 days a week with both weekday and evening hours – and, most health care insurance is accepted. Find a MinuteClinic near you!  Also visit Twitter feed or Facebook page.

Also, pick up a J&J coupon book when you visit your nearest MinuteClinic and save up to $40 on brands you can trust!

Do you or your kids have seasonal allergies? Do you have any tips? Do you have a box of tissues in your car right now? Haha! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Why a Daily Treat Trumps a Weekly Cheat Day


Why a Daily Treat Trumps a Weekly Cheat DayTreats, desserts, goodies, nom noms, whatever name you longingly call a little something sweet after or between meals don’t have to be off limits or induce guilt. In fact, if you are craving something outside of your normal healthy-eating routine, it’s better to go ahead and satisfy the urge with a reasonable-sized portion rather than setting aside an entire day to pigging out on whatever “cheats” you want.

Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars perfect post workout.

Really, when you think about it, no food is a “cheat.” All food provides calories, which translate into energy to burn through the day. —  however, as most of us know, some food provides better quality energy than others!  Most experts would recommend keeping your treats to 200 calories or less and don’t feel obligated to indulge everyday if you don’t really want it!  If you calorie needs are in the range of 2,000 per day, then a 200 calorie treat makes up only 10 percent – just make sure your remaining diet is balanced with lean protein, healthy whole grains and lots and lots of veggies and some fruit.

Why a Daily Treat Trumps Weekly Cheat Day

1) Guilt- Free: Postponing a treat or small splurge and labeling it as “bad” also sets you up for an unhealthy relationship with food, it creates guilt.  A day set aside to “cheating,” how can that be a good thing?

2) More- Consistent: A daily treat is there every day if you want/need it!  Our bodies respond better to consistent behavior, rather that dieting and overindulging to the extremes.

3) Enjoyment: Enjoy your food, all of it. Being well, healthy and happy means living your life embracing food for what it can do for you and not obsessing over a specific diet, what is good or bad, or setting unrealistic expectations.

4) Extra Energy+: A daily treat can give you those extra calories and other important nutrients you need on days when especially active. You definitely need to consider your activity level when planning snacks!

4) Hormones Happier: Studies have shown that with calorie and carb restriction, Leptin (the hunger hormone) is altered, messing up its ability to tell your brain you are full and to stop eating. Similarly, T3  (the thyroid hormone) can be decreased by calorie restriction and extreme dieting, creating a backfiring situation where your metabolism slows down.

5) Sustainable for Life: With a daily treat, there are no feelings of abstinence,  meaning its easy to keep an overall healthy diet for life.   If you’re eating a variety of colorful, whole foods the majority of the time, a treat now and then or every single day has no harm!

Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars

You know, some days I slice myself a piece of chocolate cake and other times I’m completely satisfied with a healthy snack like these New Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars I found at Target*  – they totally take, errrr, the cake!  I really appreciate how Outshine® uses simple and honest ingredients  — 100% yogurt, blended with real fruit, that’s it!  These healthy treats contain no artificial colors or flavorings* and are not gunked up with high fructose corn syrup – with each lick and am treated to simply the bright, delightlful flavor as Mother Nature intended. *Check the Store Locator for other locations.

Outshine Fruit Bars I Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are available in seven creamy and yummy varieties including Strawberry, Peach, Blueberry, Pineapple, Lemon, Strawberry Banana, and Mango. Also good to know, each frozen bar contains live & active cultures, 5 grams of protein, and 10% of our daily requirement for calcium. The company also makes all fruit bars and fruit & veggie frozen bars!

Of course, Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars make a smart choice to eat after a workout – that little blast of protein helps speed muscle recovery.

Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars

And, because Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are so sensible, I like to occasionally dress these healthy frozen snacks up a little more with my favorite sundae toppings – like today I used the Blueberry bars and topped with whipped topping, fresh blueberries, granola and crushed dehydrated raspberries (those are the “healthy red sprinkles”).

You can find  Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars at Target, Safeway or other convenient locations.

Outshine Fruit Bars Instagram

Also, check out Outshine on Instagram — they have a very cute, vibrant and happy page!

What is your snacking philosophy? What is your favorite healthy dessert or yogurt flavor? Any big plans for these last days of warm weather? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

My Old Dog is Smarter than Your Pet (Just Sayin’)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND. The opinions and text are all mine.


jen and lucy pranaWhile I have three of my own human babies (who are now all bigger than me!), my “furbaby” holds a special spot in my heart – she’s easy-going but very athletic, friendly but enjoys her alone time, wakes up early and is always ready for an adventure.lucy ears flyingHeck, I’d even go as far as to say she’s the canine version of me . . .but, then I’d be calling myself a dog (haha).  Another thing that Lucy, an 11-year old Brittany Spaniel, and I have in common is that although we are both well in to our middle years, neither one of us likes to slow down or be off our game due to fuzzy thinking.

bright mind chicken and riceI eat foods to help me feel, think, and recover better – so why shouldn’t she?! That’s why I was very excited about having her transition over to Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+dog food and having her participate in the Dognition program.

I’ve been feeding her the chicken and rice formula and she’s been gobbling it up — however, I transitioned her by adding a little to her regular kibble (giving her a little less of that) and gradually tinkering with the ratios until she’s was 100% on the new feed.

Brittany Spaniel

Lucy is totally focused when it comes to “hunting” in the backyard — she’s a pointer by nature!

I really don’t like to a accept that dogs (especially mine) are considered “senior” around age seven – but about this stage in life, the glucose metabolism in a dog’s brain starts to change, which can affect alertness and mental sharpness. As owners, we may start noticing little issues in our pet’s memory, learning speed, overall awareness and ability to make appropriate decisions, but we also may quickly dismiss them or even overlook them in the business of life.

lucy fishing 1All these little age-related changes can sneak up, it’s like finally coming to the realization that your child has grown 6 inches in the past year when an infrequent visitor exclaims  very loudly on their new height! It can be hard to see these small incremental changes in your dog when you live side-by-side, day-by-day – that’s why I really appreciated the giving my dog the Assessments at Dognition.com.

My 17 year-old son played games with Lucy that tested her Empathy, Communication, Cunning, Reasoning, and Memory.  Now I can use this data as a benchmark against other dogs of her age and breed and to also monitor her mental sharpness as she continues to get on up there in years. And side note, Lucy LOVED these games and stayed on task with the games for nearly 2 hours – it was impressive!

charmer dog badgeThese tests showed that Lucy is a “Charmer,” that means she is very smart and adept at problem-solving, but likes to use her exceptional social skills and ability to read our body language to recruit us as partners! She’s no dummy, every things more fun when you get the family involved! On the individual tests, she scored the very highest in Empathy and Memory, above average in Cunning and Communication and average in Trustworthiness (haha, she’s a little impulsive)!

purina infographicI’m so thrilled and grateful that Lucy’s as smart and focused as she is for her age – nearly 80 in dog years! I’m planning on keeping her on Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+ formula dog food, a dry kibble introduced last year that contains enhanced botanical oils that have been show (after 30 days) to promote alertness and mental sharpness in older dogs. Lucy’s doing even better than she normally is and definitely wanting to play and interact more – I’d say 11 years old is the new 5 years old for her! I’m beginning to wonder what eating this dog food would do for my forgetful, fuzzy, stressed-out middle-age brain!

I found this infographic on canine cognition and the amazing things dogs can do very enlightening (and cute)!

Learn more about this great cognitive health dog food for senior dogs at BRIGHTMINDEFFECT.com.  You can also enter my giveaway to  Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+ formula dog food

I’m also giving away a free code for a Dognition Assessment (a $19 value) on my Instagram Post – not only are these tests very eye-opening when it comes to the status of your pet’s cognitive health, they are a very fun and bonding activity for you and your older pooch! You might even find out you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! ENTER HERE through 11:59pm on 8/21/2016.

Do you have a senior dog? Are you noticing any changes with cognition or mental function? Or, just physically?  What is your dog’s favorite game to play? Please share in comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Hate to Wait? Skip the Line at Doctor + Squeeze in a Workout

This post is sponsored by MinuteClinic® , however all opinions, experiences and enthusiasm are my own.

minute clinic waiting room 2Waiting in line, I hate it. Just spent an hour on hold with the Department of Motor Vehicles and found out that there is a 3 month wait to get a “scheduled” behind the wheel driving test for my son . . . or we can come in and wait all day with no guarantees. Uh, that makes me want to scream and punch someone – I’m a busy working mom, who doesn’t have time to sit around in a waiting room all day. Same sentiments for the doctor’s office, I’m not a big fan of wasting my precious time reading stale magazines and digging through my purse for mints to fuel an hour plus wait.

When I have a simple medical need, like need a flu shot, allergy relief, or basic physical exam I’ve already been going to the MinuteClinic® that’s located in my neighborhood CVS for treatment. This is so much easier than trekking into downtown to see my primary caregiver (if I can even get lucky enough to score a same day appointment with him) and they take most insurances.  MinuteClinic® has always made it easy to just walk right in and get an appointment – sometimes there is no wait, other times it’s been a bit longer but not bad. But now, MinuteClinic® has come up with a genius solution that benefits everyone — a new digital tool from that allows me to view wait times at my local MinuteClinic® and hold a place in line from the convenience of my computer or smartphone.

cure for the common wait graphic minuteclinic

This means my “waiting room” isn’t the clinic; it can be wherever location I desire – a nearby coffee shop, the park, the grocery store. It totally appeals to my multi-tasking gene – Even if I don’t have other errands to do, knowing I have a spot in “line” allows me to linger at home just a little bit longer and knock off some work on my computer, in the garden, or routine household chores – or, better yet, score a little extra time in my yoga practice.

So, today, I checked in on the wait times of the two closest locations and reserved my spot at the one showing the shortest wait – it was only estimated at 30 minutes and honestly my drive time was going to use up 20 minute.  Thanks to this new appointment scheduling procedure, I determined I had 10 minutes “free” to knock out the easy-sounding (but actually sneaky-tough) body weight workout below. Heck, you could even do this 10 minute workout in an actual waiting room and use the chair for the step-ups.

You Got "Mad Ups" Body Weight Workout -- knock out these exercises in about 10 minutes and be done for the day!

So, I had might have headed off to my MinuteClinic® a little tired and sweaty. When I got there, I checking in on the touch-screen computer and saw that I just had a few more minutes of wait time. minute clinic waiting room 3

minute clinic waiting roomHowever, I hardly had time to peruse the huge display of greeting cards CVS had displayed right by the clinic sign-in area.

My check-up was awesome, the nurse practitioner was very friendly yet professional and did a thorough job – I learned my BMI and got all my vitals checked (she determined I’m healthy – haha)!  Additionally, I got the results of my blood work (cholesterol, blood glucose, etc.) right there in the exam room with her – at my primary caregiver I have to wait a week for the results!

This new sign-in tool is going to make my life so much easier; you need to give it a try! It’s the #CureForTheCommonWait

What would you do with your spare time if you weren’t waiting in andoctor’s office? What’s the longest “wait time” you’ve had for an appointment?  Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Get Active Outdoors in Austin #FromHereForHere

 

This post was sponsored by Ozarka Water, however all opinions, recipes, and enthusiasm are my own.Hi How are You Mural from AustinI love living in Austin, Texas and, with the exception of a few boomerang moves, I have called this little place (well, now a BIG place) home my entire life – not many folks can say the same! Sure, the live music scene and hipster vibe has made this town trendy and it’s also the place to be for high tech, politics, and a good food truck fix.   However, the opportunities for being active are what I appreciate most about being right here in the ATX. The weather is wonderfully warm and the sun seems to never stop shining on the abundance of parks, lakes and local events where I stay active. And, there are so many local businesses that make products #FromHereForHere (like Ozarka Water) that keep me hydrated and fueled up for my healthy fitness journey.

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  My neighborhood has over 20 miles of hike and bike trails to run and explore . . . 

#FromHereForHEre Trail Run in Austin

My house is sublimely sandwiched between two bodies of water. Three miles one way is Lake Travis, the largest reservoir of the Colorado River and home to swimming, boating, scuba diving, and even legal nude bathing in the Hippie Hollow park area (we all want to #KeepAustinWeird). Another three miles down the road the other way is the return of the Colorado River at Mansfield Damn before it turns into downtown’s Lake Austin (more recently renamed Ladybird Lake).

I like to paddle board toward downtown for miles or until my arms tire out . . .

Paddle Boarding Lake Austin

#FromHereFor Here Jet Ski in Austin

 

Some days I get my motor started by taking the jet ski out . . . 

 

 

 

 

 

Or, sometimes I just relax and sit in a chair while my son enjoys after-dinner fishing while our dog standing on guard . . . 

davis fishing with lucy

And, if the water sports in Austin weren’t enough, there is every type of endurance sporting event imaginable – my favorites are probably the Spartan Race in nearby Burnett at Reveille Ranch and the Fit Foodie Race.

Of course, being so active in Austin requires the proper hydration and snacks! And that’s where I can count on Texas to treat me right again! There are so many beverages and foods #FromHereForHere that make it heaven for the adventurous, healthy foodie like myself.

Ozarka Water  by Lake Austin

jennifer ozarkaWith the heat and amount of physical activity I do in the summer, I always concerned about getting enough water. At the top of my cooler you’ll find Ozarka ® Brand Natural Spring Water, sourced from three nearby springs, this water has a uniquely Texan fresh taste! It’s so easy to stay hydrated with this clean-tasting, crisp water that’s available in convenient single-serve bottles and for Ozarka® water delivery at home.

Gotta have that Ozarka ® Brand Natural Spring Water! I try to drink an ounce per pound of my body weight, even more if I’ve run far or worked out hard!

All these outdoor workouts in in Austin makes a girl hungry So, I came up with a super easy nut recipe using a few local ingredients #FromHereForHere . It’s perfect to pack up in a snack baggie for on-the-go munching at the lake or post run!  My Habanero BBQ Almonds use Yellowbird Sauce (a peppery condiment that puts the whoowhee hot yum on EVERYTHING, Sweet & Spicy Mustard Seeds from Taste Elevated that add in interesting mustard sweet-heat flavor and BBQ Sauce from Snow’s BBQ Sauce (named best in the state by Texas Monthly staff).

Habanero BBQ Almonds

To make, heat skillet to medium- high over stovetop. add 1 cup raw, unsalted almonds. Toast, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, 2 teaspoons habanero sauce, 1 tablespoon moist, jarred mustard seeds (with sauce) and 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt. Cook over medium-low for an additional 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Makes 1 cup.

JElly Queens Spice Kings Grill OzarkaI also found some new local ingredients for my grilling creations — I can’t wait to try them! The Black Garlic Rosemary BBQ Sauce from Jelly Queens  is an umami bomb of flavor! I first learned about black garlic about a year ago as an ingredient, but have never seen it used in a prepared artisan product – this stuff will send your taste buds out of bounds!  They also make a fab-looking Steak Rub that will be so on fleek crusting up my flat iron!

Chips Queso Bean Salad OzarkaWhen I’m packing a picnic lunch for the lake, my recipe for Mom’s Best Black Bean, Avocado & Corn Salad is ALWAYS a winner – in fact, the California Avocado Association even named it the winner in the July 4th All-American Recipe Contest in 2014! But add some local love to this salad, I take along Queso con Salsa Escabeche from CookWell & Company  (built around a blend of blue and cheddar cheeses!) and Paqui’s  Tortilla Chips (“better for you” tortilla chips named after the Aztec word for “to be happy”). The family and I are snacking happy until the sun sets!

What do you love most about your hometown? Do you have any must-try local food products? Do you drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer