Last Minute Gift Ideas to Give Yourself!

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

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Last Minute Gifts for Your #1 Fan (YOU!)

Last week I talked about the value of giving gratitude and love to others. It’s amazing that something so free is actually priceless. Now, don’t forget gifts for yourself… Yes, you need to treat yourself.

If you are not your #1 fan, ask yourself why not? Why should other people believe in you more than you do? When I decided to run my first (and only) 50 miler, it was because I said “I can’t” and a stranger said to me “yes, you can”. I signed up because I thought “it’s not cool that this stranger believes in me more than me.”

You Can Do It Challenge: Give yourself one gift.

If you don’t love yourself wholeheartedly (fully and completely) then imagine how freakin’ hard it is to put yourself first. Why would you want to take care of yourself? It’s a lot to  

5 Gift Ideas For You

  1. Books I’m loving 14,000 things to be happy about (in case you need all of them!) Embody (my favorite body image book that came out this year) and for lots of laughs Yes Please (Amy Poehler’s memoir)
  2. Workout “stuff” whether you need better shoes, clothes, more tunes, a pedometer or a splurge on classes for a new kind of workout, invest in yourself.
  3. Lavendar oil from calm to sleep and nausea to dry skin, I l-o-v-e this essential oil.
  4. Loving kindness meditation (this one is FREE) Meditation is so Zen, so effective, and so f-ing hard (at least for me). It’s something I want to work on. My favorite is loving kindness. Here’s an intro and here are 5 reasons LKM makes you happier.
  5. Anything to inspire you in the kitchen. Whether it’s a new cookbook/recipes, kitchen gadget, or dropping some coin on new ingredients. Spending an hour on a meal might not be realistic most days of the week, but when you find recipes you love, you learn a new skill for gifts that keep on giving.

We finally splurged on a waffle maker! Yes, the nutritionist has a waffle maker — a double! We can’t wait for all the wonderful memories and moments that will come with making fresh waffles for our daughter, their friends, cousins, and anyone else who enters our life and breakfast table. Food is way more than just food. It’s nourishment for body, mind, and soul. That counts way more than calories!

You Can Do It Challenge: Give yourself one of these gifts or something special  you have in mind that shows how much you love yourself.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.

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Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge. Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c

6 Holiday Gifts That Don’t Cost a Thing! #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

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No Money? No Problem! Give Love Instead

How’s that holiday shopping going? If you’re like me, this time of year brings out my innermost giver. I want to recognize everyone in my life during the holidays…my family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, mail carrier, fitness instructors, and the list goes on! But like everyone, I don’t have an unlimited amount of time or money.

Give a piece of your heart this holiday season.

Give a piece of your heart this holiday season.

So what’s a giver to do?  I’m all about reducing stress and increasing wellness and self-care. Buying gifts for every single person you want to thank can drain your bank account and your sanity. But there’s good news! Gratitude is free. Giving and receiving gifts of any value (monetary or emotional) brings more happiness in both the giver and receiver. We get a nice “boost” of oxytocin (a.k.a. the happy hormone, the bonding hormone, the love hormone).

You Can Do It Challenge: Give love & kindness – it’s FREE and it’s good for you!

Take a minute, think of all of the people in your life who you’d like to recognize, and give them the gift of gratitude instead. Trust me, they’ll like that way better than a new pair of socks or any other material item.

6 Gift Ideas That Don’t Cost A Thing

Want to give gifts that will make a lasting impression? Then ditch the shopping mall, and try one or more of these ideas instead. 

  1. Give help. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. Maybe your elderly neighbor needs a little assistance. Or your friend needs someone to help her through a personal problem. Or your dog needs an extra long walk tomorrow morning. Giving a little bit of help to those around you will undoubtedly bring the spirit of the holidays back in full force!
  2. Give gratitude. All of us have those people in our lives that make life so much better. Yet we often times fail to tell them how much they mean to us and how much we appreciate them. So this season, TELL them what they mean to you. It can be in person, in a card, over the phone, whatever. The hearts of everyone involved will swell.
  3. Give a personal service. Are you handy around the house? Good with numbers? An amazing seamstress? I’m sure all of you have a skill that’s either part of your day job or a serious hobby. Either way, share your talents! Give someone a homemade gift certificate for something that you happen to be good at…it will surely brighten their day.
  4. Give a meal. Time…it’s one of those things that nobody has enough of these days. We are all. so. busy. So if you know of someone who is having a particularly rough go of it, why not double up whatever you’re making for dinner, and help a friend in need?
  5. Give back. This is the season of giving, after all. So pick a worthy organization, and sign up! Better yet, find a friend to go with and make that your “present” to each other. Search for one that works for you here: http://www.volunteermatch.org/. I promise, it’ll make you feel amazing.
  6. Give creativity. Still want to give a physical gift? That’s okay – it doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. Make some bath salts for your coworkers, create a favorite recipes booklet for your friends, or fill a mason jar with some of your famous cooking. None of these ideas grab you? Get other ideas here: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/25-easy-homemade-gift-ideas.html

Giving is one of those things that is a win-win for everyone involved. Both the giver and receiver feel like a million bucks…and it didn’t cost you a thing. And the added bonus? None of these things are holidays-only activities; you can do them all year long.

You Can Do It Challenge: Give love. Pick 1 or 2 of the ideas above, and give someone a little piece of your heart.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.

blog_mailSignup 

Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge. Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c

Healthy (and easy!) Holiday Entertaining

Feeling overwhelmed by the holidays?  Are you looking for ways to simplify holiday entertaining so you can focus on the things that really matter, like hanging out with your family and friends?  I totally get it, which is why I recently appeared on WBAL in Baltimore to share my best tips for easy entertaining.  Yes, I said it, easy – it’s really all about keeping the food healthy and the people happy, which is so much simpler than it sounds!  Keep reading to learn my favorite time-saving tips and tricks.

rebecca wbal

Bring a Hostess Gift

If you’re not the one doing the actual entertaining, it’s always thoughtful to bring a gift for the hard-working hostess.  I love bringing all the fixings for a signature cocktail station with quality foods.  Some of my faves are Sweet Scarletts, which are sweet, Vitamin C-loaded grapefruits with a beautiful red color,  antioxidants and potassium-rich POM Wonderful juice, and POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils which do all the work of scooping the seeds for you.  Make cocktails with the juices and some vodka or champagne, or make mocktails by adding sparkling water.  Use the fresh Sweet Scarlett segments and POM POMS arils for a nutritious and gorgeous garnish.  POM has loads of drink recipes on their website for more boozy inspiration.

image source: pomwonderful.com

image source: pomwonderful.com

Another great hostess gift is a cheese board – bring it stocked with your favorite healthy snacks, and then leave it behind when the party ends.  I always include cubes of my favorite cheese (I love a sharp Cheddar) and Wonderful pistachios, which are full of protein and filling fiber, and have a big serving size – 30 pistachios have only about 100 calories.  Round out the cheese plate with Vitamin-C boosting-Halos, which are sweet, seedless, and easy to peel.

Score a Touchdown at Your Tailgate

Tailgate parties are all about the dip.  And did you know that Sabra is the official dip sponsor of the NFL and that you can win prizes like a trip to the 2016 Pro Bowl in Hawaii when you buy their dips?

Image source: sabra.com

Image source: sabra.com

There are tons of easy, festive ways to use Sabra dips during the holiday season.  I’m personally partial to their hummus because it has plant protein, fiber, and good-for-you fats, plus it tastes amazing.  Try warming it up since the weather is a bit cooler outside and top it with beautiful red pomegranate arils for a festive touch.  The Greek yogurt dip is another family favorite – serve it with your favorite veggies and warm pita triangles (just cut the what pita into wedges and microwave for a few seconds).  I like using red and green bell peppers at this time of year for a little kick of holiday cheer.  Speaking of red and green, pair up Salsa and Guacamole for a pretty party platter; just place them side by side and fill the rest of the platter with tortilla chips and you have a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Visit sabradiplife.com for coupons, recipes, and prize info.

Serve Wheat Foods with Confidence 

image source: wheatfoods.org

image source: wheatfoods.org

Wheat is the basis of just about all holiday baking and recipes! All your favorites share the benefits of wheat. Wheat foods help provide nutrients everyone needs, including B vitamins, fiber, and carbohydrates. It’s important to remember that carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced eating. It can be a real time-saver to pick up items for breakfasts and snacks like muffins, banana bread, and scones – serve it with plain yogurt and fresh fruit for a well-balanced start to your day. Check out WheatFoods.org for versatile recipes like this Chicken Cashew Pasta, which you can serve hot or cold. Or a favorite especially around the holidays, Whole Wheat Spinach Lasagna.  If you have weight concerns, allow yourself to enjoy all foods in moderation and stick to an exercise routine that’s joyful through the holidays and into the New Year.

Sweeten Your Meals, Naturally

California Raisins are a great way to spice up your holiday menus and they offer a unique twist on traditional family favorites. Make them part of your holiday cookie decorating with festive gingerbread cookies freckled with California raisins. Raisins are an ingredient you can feel good about. They are an all-natural, dried-by-the-sun fruit, with no added sugar, no cholesterol and zero fat

Image source: calraisins.org

Image source: calraisins.org

I also love using them in festive side dishes like this Acorn Squash with California Raisins. It’s a beautiful presentation. California Raisins add a natural sweetness to dishes – and with only one ingredient – raisins! Visit LoveYourRaisins.com for these recipes and more!

Now it’s your turn – what are your favorite tips and tricks for holiday entertaining?  Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter @ScritchfieldRD.

Disclosure: I was compensated by California Raisins, Wheat Foods Council, Wonderful brands, and Sabra Dipping Company for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

Hug It Out for Happiness #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Happy Holidays

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

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Get High on Hugs

Do you know one thing that we can give and receive that’s absolutely free is that feeling of warm, comfort, and safety that makes you feel all happy inside.

Nothing delivers it better and quicker then a hug. When you hug someone, you feel an emotional “high” and it’s absolutely chemical. 

Enter oxytocin (i.e. the cuddle hormone, the bonding hormone) Whatever you want to call it, I know I was high on the stuff when 3 seconds after childbirth I told everyone in the room “I love you! I love you! I love you!” Yes, having a baby releases a practical overdose and it makes sense right? The new mom and baby must bond.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to have kids to get a dose of the good stuff. Just hug it out.

You Can Do It Challenge: Hug someone. Heck, hug a lot of people. Just make sure it lasts at least 20 seconds.

 

The Magic of 20 Seconds

You can’t do those quick love tap fake type hugs where you were really only joking about a real hug. You need to actually hold it for a specific length of time and that is 20 seconds. The reason why is because it takes 20 seconds for the body to realize that it’s an embrace, feel the comfort, and signal the release of oxytocin. 

Alternatives to Hugging

If you are just anti-hugging, here are a few other things you can do to boost the happy hormone oxytocin.

  • have more sex (yay!)
  • sing in a group (I touched on this last week)
  • 10 minutes of alone time with a loved one (maybe to have sex, or sing, or really just relax… )

Make the Time

Time is tight these days, but it’s pretty amazing that 10 minutes (or even 20 seconds) can reduce stress and boost your mood.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.

blog_mailSignup

 

Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge. Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c

#HappyHolidaysChallenge: More Singing Please

Happy HolidaysHello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

blog_mailSignup

 

 

Scrub-a-dub-dub…Let’s Sing in the Tub

With our endless to-do lists and jam packed schedules it’s rare we find a minute to ourselves.  If you’re like me, taking a break to recharge is vital to my sanity and stress managment. There’s one activity I find that is always relaxing (and necessary)…a shower!  No matter the length of time I’m able to spend in that steamy porcelain palace it’s a phone-free, kid-free and stress-free zone.

I’m pretty certain everyone (including me) seems to love the sound of their voice in the shower. What’s so special about this private venue? Maybe it’s my tiled floor and porcelain tub and the steady tempo of the hot water to accompany as my back up vocals. There’s no doubt about it that the bathroom creates a pleasing acoustic environment.

How Singing Makes You Healthy and Happy

Singing is an ageless enjoyment. From the time of infancy we’ve been babbling tunes, either to ourselves or any listening ear. Some of the first songs we learned were nursery rhymes…over time that might have evolved into Busta Rhymes, but the point is singing is something we all enjoy.

Regardless if you sing off key there are health benefits that come along with belting out your favorite tunes.

  • Singing improves our mood by releasing the same feel good brain chemicals as sex, chocolate, and childbirth (seriously, it does)
  • It gives our lungs a workout by helping us breathe more deeply, taking in more oxygen so we feel more alert and energized
  • Signing helps tone our abdominal muscles and strengthen our diaphragm to improve circulation and posture
  • It boosts our confidence and helps strengthen our concentration and memory

Learn more about how singing changes your brain. 

sing in the shower

Challenge: Sing Yourself Happy and Fit

This week give yourself permission to spend a few extra minutes suds-ing up in the shower…don’t just sing in the shower–perform! Sing loud and proud like your grammy nomination depends on it.

If you’re looking for some backing vocals create a free playlist on Pandora or join Spotify’s “Songs to Sing in the Shower” playlist for some favorite one-hit-wonders. ( They have playlists for everything!) Or maybe you prefer singing acapella, in that case Whitney and Mariah never steer me wrong.

My Favorite Songs to Sing

I’ll admit I’ve been secretly listening to holiday tunes before Thanksgiving, which is usually my guidelines. No matter the time of year these are some of my faves.

  • Running – I love the entire Hairspray soundtrack, but I especially like “You Can’t Stop the Beat”. Who doesn’t love MJ? I absolutely love to run and sing and clap like I’m in a Baptist Church on Sunday to “Man in the Mirror”
  • In the shower – My best friend and I loved Salt-n-Peppa growing up so I just can’t help it as I’m loofahing to chant out at least one “ooooh baby baby…. ba baby baby” from Push It.
  • With my daughters – Every night before bed the each get their own rendition of “Maybe” from Annie. I love that song. I love the original movie and I’m so excited there will be a new one coming out on my birthday!

How about you? Leave a comment below on your favorite song to sing and you could win a free private coaching session with me (via Skype). You need to be signed up in the challenge to win.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.  You’ll get weekly emails, along with my free guide to making over your kitchen with healthy food staples.

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Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c