Happy Glow Yoga Flow & Cinnamon Apple Scent for Holiday Calm #GladeHolidayJoy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GladeHolidayJoy #CollectiveBias 

Happy Glow Yoga Flow to help lessen stress and promote calm this holiday season.On the morning after Halloween, my neighbor started putting out her winter holiday decorations. Later that afternoon, I noticed my grocery and big box store were doing the same. I also bumped into a friend who was already getting a head start on Black Friday shopping. Being a little competitive in nature, these harbingers of the holiday season triggered a wave of stress that I knew a brisk jog around the block couldn’t completely cure.

With so many other life obligations piled high on my plate right now, I knew I wasn’t ready to deck the halls, fatten the goose, and jump on the sleigh to start celebrating just yet. In fact, because of this chaos in my life, I needed to find a new routine to slow down and relieve stress before all the winter festivities start ramping up.

Yoga has always made me feel calmer during times of heavy turmoil or just minor everyday stress. That’s because yoga forces me to connect my body and mind in a way that I never do normally day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute (that is, unless I’m yoga-ing)! I also notice how certain scents can trigger an emotional and, often, physical response in me. For example, the smell of lemon makes me feel really alert and focused while lavender can put me to sleep.

I recently found out that cinnamon, a scent I already love, has a prolific list of perks. According to the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (1995) the scent of cinnamon has numerous benefits including the ability to ease depression and stress . .. and relieve constipation and indigestion (come on, you know this can be a problem when stressed out)! Plus, I personally have so many wonderful childhood memories centered on cinnamon – like those hard candies my dad used to sneak to me in church and cinnamon apple pie, my all-time favorite dessert. There is no way to NOT be comforted in a hug of cinnamon.Glade Happy Glow - candle and plug in

glad-in-heb-jenThat’s why I was so excited to see the Glade® Limited Edition Holiday Scents  on my last visit to HEB, my local market. There are a lot of different home fragrance options from Glade®, but I picked up the Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil Warmer and Glade® 3.4 oz. Small Jar Candle in the Happy Glow Apple Cinnamon Scent. The Glade® Limited Edition Holiday Scents aren’t found on the regular home fragrances aisle, instead they will be on end caps (like at my HEB store) or in special wood rack displays.

The candle is absolutely fantastic! Not only has the apple cinnamon scent been calming me down, it’s lasted a long time and blends beautifully into my home décor thanks to the stylish glass container. However, I NEVER keep candles burning when I leave the house or go to sleep. The Glade® PlugIns®  Scented Oil Warmer allows me to enjoy my home fragrances 24/7 safely with no open flame, the dispenser just plugs into the wall outlet to warm the oil.

glade-plug-in

Putting Glade® PlugIns®  Scented Oil Warmer in my Yoga Space to enjoy the Happy Glow™ scent without worry.

So, in addition to smelling the Happy Glow™ scent to feel more joy and less “oh boy” this holiday season, I also have been doing a 10 minute yoga flow with poses that are calming. You need to try these easy yoga poses, surely you have 10 minutes for a surprising burst of joy!

Happy Glow Yoga Flow to lessen stress and promote calm this holiday season!

Here is my Happy Glow Yoga Flow breakdown (practice each pose for about 2 minutes):

Lotus (or just criss-cross legs): Relax in this seated position while you settle your busy mind and let negative thoughts start to melt away.

Puppy Pose: Relieve back tension that is associated with stress and cast away worries that are weighing you down with this playful, stretching position.

Bridge: Elevate hips and engage glutes as you breath slowly in this pose that opens the chest and heart and promotes circulation.

Forward Fold: Relax and bend forward at the hips, reaching down downward the ground as far as possible while moving nose into knees. Slowly rise, rolling up the back, and repeat several times.

Crow or Corpse: Practice crow pose or variations for a couple minutes unless you find it too hard or stressful. I like a challenge at the end of of my yoga sessions, even if I am trying to relax. But, if still stressed, lay on back looking upward with arms and legs slightly splayed in corpse pose – try not to fall asleep!

Are you ready to Feel Joy, Feel Glade™? Work my YOGA FLOW into your day and check out Glade®  and how their Limited Edition Holiday Scents can help you take control of the mental and physical chaos during this stressful time of year! For more information and more surprising burst of joy, connect with Glade® on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

What is your favorite holiday scent? What is your favorite yoga pose? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

5 Ways to Make Gift Wrapping Less Stressful + Empty Roll Workout

Wrapping presents this holiday season doesn’t need to be stressful. In fact, it can be fun!  I recently visited my local Hallmark Gold Crown store to pick up some wrapping paper. I was so impressed by both the selection of gorgeous designs and also the heavy quality of the paper – plus the grid marks on back are nice for geometry-challenged folks like myself.

Hallmark Wrapping PaperSome people are truly artists when it comes to gift wrapping and others just aren’t – I probably fall into the “aren’t” category, but I actually like real wrapping and not just sticking stuff in a gift bag.

Although, I have to say that wrapping bulky items can be a little challenging – that’s why I like to make paper bows to “wrap” the larger holiday gifts at my house. Usually, I leave a little box wrapped up with scavenger hunt clues leading the recipient up to the hiding place – it’s so fun!

5 Ways to Keep Gift Wrapping Stress Fress

Here are some ways to make gift wrapping less stressful:

  • Have all your supplies on hand: I always keep a plentiful stash of scissors, tape, gift cards, pens, tissue paper, ribbon and of course, wrapping paper from Hallmark Gold Crown.
  • Don’t worry about perfection: You may see the little folding flaws or unmatched ends on your gift, but most recipients won’t care – if they even notice at all. Instead, it’s the time and thought you’ve put into thinking of them that will make the biggest impression! For example, I know my teen boys can’t wrap gifts well, but I appreciate that they make the effort and don’t pass the duty on to someone else!
  • Get creative: There is no rule that says the entire gift has to be wrapped or that there is only one way to get the job done. If gifts are huge, make a little scavenger hunt game as I mentioned . . . or if gifts are very small, wrap them up in a large box to throw off your recipient!
  • There is more than one way to make a bow: While silks and satins are lovely, it’s also fun to make a bow out of wrapping paper. My sister-in-law is a pro at this and she showed me how to take paper scraps and make pompoms, bows, fans, feathers and more – search Pinterest!
  • Get in the right frame of mind: Put on holiday music, make hot chocolate, turn on the holiday lights, make it an EVENT!

May I suggest a little workout to help get you in the right frame of mind for wrapping presents?  Breaking a sweat always lowers my stress level and when I have less to fret over, everything seems more fun – like gift wrapping.  This workout might seem a little silly (who couldn’t use a smile this time of year) but it’s actually based on some mobility workouts I do with a basic PVC pipe — you really need to try the workout, I’d hate for you to pull a muscle while wrapping presents!  Ideally, use an empty roll so you don’t mess up your nice, new paper — or not!

Wrapping Paper Roll Workout - TheFitFork.com

Also, while I was in Hallmark Gold Crown, I was surprised to find so many gift items that would make the family and friends in my life smile.  In the past, I have thought of Hallmark as a greeting card and wrapping paper store — but, WOW, they have everything from grab-and-go gifts to jewelry, home décor, kid’s items (I saw Star Wars and Peanuts gifts galore)!  I picked up a few bars of wonderfully scented soap from the Crafters & Co. Line – the soaps are packaged in the prettiest paper (hey, they almost don’t need wrapping, how’s that for stress-busting) and the scent made my car smell dreamy on the way home.  These  little luxuries are quite affordable and just perfect for teacher, neighbor, work Secret Santa and hostess gifts!

Crafters & Co Soap - Hallmark Gold Crown

So, do you like wrapping gifts or look at the process as a chore? What’s the weirdest shaped thing you’ve ever wrapped up?  What’s your go-to teacher or neighbor gift? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Cinco de Mayo Means Guacamole and Limey Drinks #ZestyInADash

This post is sponsored by ConAgra RO*TEL.

otel Rockin Guac and Lime-A-Ritas are a festive addition to Cinco de Mayo.

We know how to put on a fiesta every weekend here in Texas. But, Cinco de Mayo is an extra special reason to celebrate because five out of seven years the party falls on a work day – and that’s a legitimate reason to tell the boss “adios” and cut loose early to enjoy some patio time. This year, Cinco de Mayo is on a Tuesday which so conveniently aligns with Taco Tuesday, Tostado Tuesday and Guacamole & Tortilla Chips Tuesday. I am a food blogger and thus allowed to make up these extra observances dedicated to food and drink.

Kick back and relax with a Bud Light Lime-A-Rita and Plate of Rockin' Guac -- get the recipe at RO*TELThere can be no fiesta without guacamole. In these parts, guacamole is not just a healthy dip and satiating snack — it’s an appetizer that draws people together, have you ever seen the mob scene near the guacamole bowl?! Smashed up avocado is also a condiment smeared on everything from eggs and enchiladas to burgers and burritos, and salads and sandwiches – and, of course, devoured right off a dipped chip.  You can even serve it up with a super healthy spin by serving it in tomato cups along with mild green chilies! Ole!

RO*TEL's Rockin' Guac is perfect for dipping and stuffing!

RO*TEL's Rockin' Guac -- this avocado guacamole is easy to make and delicious!

There are only four ingredients (plus salt and pepper) in RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac – more time to enjoy the fiesta!

 

 

One of the best recipes I’ve found is RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac – it’s so simple to make and gets a zesty (but not too spicy) kick from the tomatoes and green chilies.

 

 

 

I’m keeping things simple this Cinco de Mayo and making Black Bean, Zucchini and Corn Tacos – they are just screaming for  RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac! It’s a vegetarian recipe, but even those carnivorous folks in the crowd love it (I think it’s the guac that makes it so satisfying). The beauty of this recipe is that I can sauté the veggies up in a skillet, keep it warm, and then sit back and enjoy the party – no sweating over the grill!

veggie black bean tacos

 

Start your Cinco de Mayo off right with a Bud Light Lime-A-Rita!

 

So, what will we all drink?  Creamy watermelon smoothies for the kids and the adults will enjoy Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas, a margarita-like drink that isn’t quite as strong. Tequila has never agreed with me, so these perfectly-portioned cans of yum (made with malt alcohol) don’t give me a hideous hangover the next day. That is a GOOD thing to ensure I can fiesta on the Seis de Mayo, too!

 

 

rotel rockin guac

 Zest up your fiesta with RO*TEL’s Rockin Guac and Bud Light’s Lime-A-Rita. How are you planning to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

Bud Light Lime-A-Rita® is a registered trademark of Anheuser-Busch. ConAgra Foods, Inc. All Rights Reserved

12 Ideas for Hosting a Healthy Holiday Breakfast or Brunch

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – it’s a season for eating and greeting and spreading good cheer! If you are hosting a morning get-together over the holidays, it needn’t be fancy or fussy to be successful. In fact, some of the best memories I have are sitting around in my pajamas after the stockings have been unstuffed and ribbons unraveled to share a leisurely breakfast with family and reminisce about the glories of yore.  When I’m in town, I also like to don my most festive “ugly” sweater and invite the neighbors over for a holiday brunch.

Check out 12 Ideas for a Healthy Holiday Breakfast or Brunch

by The Fit Fork at Foodie.com


I have to admit though, the thought of hosting breakfast or brunch sometimes intimidates me – especially knowing I’m not a graceful waker-upper. So, I like to have many of the menu items prepped ahead of time so I’m not running around like an overworked, grouchy elf in the morning. Make-ahead egg casseroles are ideal as are muffins and quick breads that can be baked a day or two earlier. Even pancakes can be cooked and kept in the freezer for a no-stress holiday breakfast celebration. Some of my favorite breakfast recipes are included in the Healthy Holiday Breakfast and Brunch collection I created for Foodie.com.

Snow Men Milk Bottles - Kid's Craft - TheFitFork.comIf your gathering is anything like mine, there will probably be at least a dozen kids racing around the Christmas tree high as flying reindeer jacked up on candy canes. I have an entertaining little activity that will slow down these busy bodies for a just a few minutes and also provide the opportunity to pump them with a wholesome glass of milk (soy, almond or whatever!).  These Snowman Milk Bottles are adorable and a super easy craft that most any youngster can make with minimal supervision – however, I suggest pre-cutting the felt and assisting with the glue gun lest there be no emergency room trips on a holiday. And, BTW, TheFitFork.com has not turned into a DIY Craft blog, but these were just too fun not to share!

Snowman Milk Bottle Christmas Craft - TheFitFork.com

Supplies needed for each Snow Man Milk Bottle:

  • Empty mini milk bottle (available at craft store or recycled Starbucks Frappuccino bottle)
  • 1 ½ inch x 8 inch piece of colorful felt
  • 3 black buttons
  • Glue gun or glue dots
  • Scissors
  • Striped paper straw

For the scarf, use scissors to snip ½” long fringe into each end of the felt. Wrap around neck of bottle and knot to one side; secure with glue or glue dot if needed. Glue three buttons down front of bottle.  Fill with milk and add colorful paper straw.

So, what do you like to serve on Christmas or holiday mornings?  Do you have a once-a-year special holiday recipe or do you stick with your standard-issue morning meal?

This post was sponsored by Foodie.com, however all recipes and editorial comments are my own.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Oat Bread & #LoveYourAge Inspiration

healthy pumpkin bread with white chocolate Feed your face . . . I mean soul . .  with this wholesome recipe for a fall season-inspired, no-fuss pumpkin quick bread.  This autumn recipe for Pumpkin Oat Bread with White Chocolate Chips is all treat with just a few tricks tossed in to make it a touch healthier than the traditional pumpkin bread I grew up baking. For example, in lieu of some of the sugar, I’ve used a Stevia blend and also reduced part of the oil with extra pumpkin puree for added moistness. Additionally, instead of using entirely all-purpose white flour, I swapped in oats for extra fiber and texture. Oh, and those white chocolate chips are a sweet splurge, but you could substitute nuts or dried fruit.   And, if this flour-y pumpkin bread recipe doesn’t float your boat, I have a gluten-free, paleo friendly Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pumpkin Bread I created last year.

single loaf pumpkin oat bread Pumpkin Oat White Chocolate Chip Quick Bread Recipe

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. milk of choice (dairy, soy, almond, etc)
  • 3/4 cup stevia baking blend
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin puree (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1/3 cup oil of choice (canola, olive, coconut, etc.)
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (divided)*
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Stir in oil, pumpkin puree, and sugars until well combined.
  3. Stir in pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking powder until well combined. Next, stir in flour and ¾ cup of oats. Gently fold in white chocolate chips.
  4. Lightly spray loaf pans with cooking spray. Pour batter into one large load pan or divide equally among three mini loaf pans.  Sprinkle tops of loaves with remaining ¼ cup oats.
  5. Bake in center of oven for approximately 60 – 70 minutes for large loaf and 35 – 40 minutes for mini loafs, or until toothpick inserted into the center pulls clean.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire racks before removing and slicing. Bread may be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  7. Makes one large loaf or three mini loaves.

pumpkin oat white chocolate bread overhead loaves

 

super oats chia*You can use any oats you prefer – gluten-free, old-fashioned or quick oats.  I actually used Love Grown Foods® Super Oats (Simply Pure variety) – these awesome oats throws in extra like quinoa flakes, amaranth flakes and chia seeds. It’s meant to be eaten as a hot breakfast cereal, but makes a really wholesome recipe ingredient too!  BTW, this isn’t a sponsored post; I just really like the oats!

 

 

 

#LoveYourAge

I also want to share with you some of the ladies who responded to my #LoveYourAge shout out – they are rocking life and proving that age is just a number. I also remind you of the upcoming #R3Summit  (Refresh, Revive, Reinvent) being put on by Prevention magazine October 16 & 17th in Austin.  Register and use discount code R3VIB for $20 off your ticket.

Do you eagerly await for the arrival of pumpkin flavored foods in the fall? What is your favorite pumpkin food?