Birthday celebrations, family, and lots of eats.

I think I spoke too soon last week when I said that I thought spring was here. It’s been cold and windy this week, and I don’t think it’s going to warm up much next week either. Boo.

But I’m here once again with more dinner ideas and recipes for you all! I had a lot going on this week, so I really didn’t cook dinner until mid-week!

Sunday: Take-out pizza and salad from Mellow Mushroom

My sister and her family moved this weekend (only two miles from where they were living), so David and I picked up pizza and salad to bring over so to they didn’t have to think about cooking after a weekend of moving with two little ones. I forgot to take a picture of the food, but I did get some photos of Giuliana with her Uncle Dave. She wanted to sit on his lap and feed him her pizza. She sure does love him!

Monday: My birthday dinner!

Monday was my birthday, so David and I went out to eat at Maggianos, a nice Italian restaurant near us. When I saw salmon on the menu, I knew that’s what I wanted so I ordered the salmon salad with a a side of gluten-free spaghetti. I couldn’t go to an Italian restaurant not get pasta! David got his favorite Italian dish, Chicken Marsala, with a side of mashed potatoes. I forgot to take a picture until we had already started eating, so the photo is not the best. But all the food was delicious!

We then headed over to my sister’s house for dessert and to watch the season finale of The Bachelor. David and I picked up gluten-free cupcakes and gluten-free hummingbird cake from a gluten-free bakery near us, and oh my gosh…SO GOOD!

(And serious kudos to my husband who tolerated watching The Bachelor with my sis and I. I didn’t want to miss watching The Bachelor Finale with my sis, but I also wanted to hang out with my hubs on my birthday. I think he spent like 99% of the time catching up on social media on his phone, but I’m still glad he was there. 🙂 )

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Tuesday: Leftovers

We had leftovers from both Sunday and Monday, so our dinner consisted of the random leftovers before we headed to small group.

Wednesday: Ground turkey stir fry

I originally had a different meal planned, but I was missing a few ingredients and I didnt want to go back out to the store. I had some ground turkey in the freezer that I thawed, along with a bunch of veggies, so I opted for a stir-fry. I sauteed some garlic, carrots, and onion in sesame oil and then added ½ lb. ground turkey. Once the meat was cooked, I added some veggies (peas, brocolli, cauliflower rice), along with a homemade stir-fry sauce that consisted of coconut aminos (gluten-free soy sauce), almond butter, and a dash of ginger and chinese five spice. I am seriously obsessed with the flavor of this sauce! It is so good! You could easily leave out the chinese five-spice if you wanted, and it would still be delicious.

Weekly Eats Week 9

Thursday: Scrambled eggs, pancakes and roasted veggies

I never get tired of breakfast for dinner, as you can tell in these weekly posts. We had a banana that was turning brown, so I decided to whip up my easy gluten-free pancakes that consist of a ripe banana, two eggs, a dash of cinnamon, and then whatever else you want to add. I typically add chia seeds and protein powder or collagen if I have it. You literally just mix everything together and then cook them in a pan like you would any other pancakes. I also sometimes feel like the batter is a little runny, so I’ll add a couple tablespoons of coconut flour to thicken it up. I added a couple scrambled eggs and roasted broccoli on the side.

Weekly Eats Week 9
Cheesy eggs (I leave the cheese off of mine), topped with a few cherry tomatoes I had in the fridge, roasted broccoli, and my easy gluten free pancakes.

Friday: Lemon Pesto Salmon from Running In A Skirt with asparagus and baked potato

I found a dairy-free pesto at Trader Joe’s that used cashews instead of cheese and since I haven’t had pesto in so long,  I knew that I had to try it! I found an easy salmon recipe that called for lemon and pesto, so I baked that up, along with a baked potato and roasted asparagus.

Weekly Eats Week 9

David thought the meal was great, and I thought it was okay.  The flavor of the salmon was good, but I think I am just getting tired of salmon. I bought a big bag of frozen, wild-caught salmon from Costco awhile ago, which is why salmon has been on the weekly rotation. But I think I’ll have to take a break for a little bit. I also thought the asparagus were a little tough, but you win some, you lose some.

Saturday: Leftovers from the family birthday lunch

Both my sister and I have March birthday’s, so my parents planned a joint birthday celebration for us. We all meet at my sister’s house and ordered take-out Chinese/Thai food from a restaurant near them. We got a several different orders to share, and I was able to find a dish that was gluten-free which was great. My mom also made her famous (well, I think it should be famous), Boston Creme Pie, which my niece G couldn’t stop talking about all day. “I wanna see the birthday cake in the fridge.” “Birthday cake.” “Birthday Cake.” “I want birthday cake in fridge.” It was super cute…but I also wasn’t the one that had to give her the news of “It’s not time for cake yet…”

Dinner Eats Week 9

It was so great to have my family all together again and such a fun celebration. My mom, sister, niece, nephew and I also had a dance party in the living room which was super fun and will always be such a great memory for me. I think it was a combo of the babies laughing and having fun, along with being with the people I love that made my heart so happy.

All that to say, we had leftovers from lunch and ate that for dinner. My mom came back with David and I to stay with us because she was leaving for Florida in the morning and was going to ride MARTA to the airport. We live super close to MARTA, so it just made sense, and it gave us some extra mother/daughter time (aka a trip to Costco so I could use her membership card. Thanks mom!!!)

I hope your week was filled with much fun, family and love too!

 

Guest Post: Self-Love & Self-Acceptance

Guest Post: Self-Love & Self-Acceptance

I am so excited to have one of my wonderful friends and a fellow Nutritional Therapy Practitioner share on the blog today! Stef and I met in our NTP training class in Ann Arbor and became friends right away! (We paired up to be each other’s practice clients, and I think we spent more time chatting about each other than talking about our food journals and Symptom Burden Graphs. Whoops!)

I feel like her and I are soul sisters-you know those friends who you relate to on so many levels, can be vulnerable with, and totally understand one another, with no judgement? Well, that’s this girl for me. Many times, I feel like we are the same person, with similar interests, passions and struggles. Stef’s post today is about her journey toward self-love and body acceptance, something that I think we can all relate to. Stef and I talk a lot about this, especially as we both seek to get our hormonal health in balance and the challenges that come with it. I love what Stef writes in this post, and I know you will too! Enjoy!

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I’m so excited to guest post on Simply Health. Jenn and I became fast friends in our Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program last year. She’s one of those women you feel like you’ve known forever– but it’s only been a year! We sat down next to each other in our first NTA workshop last January and have been great friends ever since. Jenn has been nice enough to let me share her little piece of the internet with me today and I’m so excited.

Since many of you do not know me, I thought I’d share a little bit about myself. Like Jenn, I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and am a banker by day, holistic nutritionist by night. I see clients and write for Whole Hog Nutrition, my blog, where I share meal ideas, tips to practice self-care and my personal trials and tribulations.

Self Love and Self Acceptance

Many of my posts these days are related to body acceptance. Over the past year, I have been working to heal myself from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, or lack of menstrual cycle. Before starting this journey, I was competitive runner. I coached, trained and raced distances from 5Ks to marathons. Though I ‘looked’ the like picture of health on the outside, on the inside, I was struggling. I lost my period, sex drive and was perpetually fatigued. I struggled with sleep and dealt with bouts of anxiety and depression. My friends and family warned me that I was running too much, but I thought they didn’t understand. The truth is, I just wasn’t ready to hear it.

Self Love and Self Acceptance

Running was a part of my identity and wasn’t ready to give it up. Years later, after an eye-opening conversation with my boyfriend, Andrew, I was finally ready to address the elephant in the room; overtraining. I vowed to cut down on exercise after completing the 2017 Boston Marathon and get serious about my health.

After Boston, my lifestyle really changed. I went from running 35-50 miles a week, at the peak of marathon training to ‘jogging’ three to five miles when it feels right. I cut out racing and coaching. Gained almost 10 pounds and started prioritizing sleep. Though this journey has not been easy, it has been worth it.

Self Love and Self Acceptance

I’ve learned the importance of self-acceptance. That my body is the least interesting thing about me. My family and friends love me no matter what I look like. Sometimes it’s much easier to obsess about a training goal then address what’s really going on in your life. But let me tell you, these changes have not been easy.

The other day, I was talking to Andrew about my HA journey. I was struggling with areas of self-doubt and wanted to share it with him. This was a very vulnerable moment for me, admitting to someone I love that I do not always love myself. This conversation got me thinking.

You know the red car theory, right? The idea that we notice things that we have personal connection to. The connections can be based our experience, desires or interests. These connections shape what we see and observe. An example; when your best friend buys a new car, you see it everywhere.

My red car has been self-love and acceptance. This journey has shaped the way I see and observe the world around me. Like I mentioned in my rant a couple of weeks ago, diet culture is all around us. We are bombarded with messages, telling us we are not enough. Sometimes those messages sink in and trap us in a negative feedback loop. I’ve been there and done that. Instead of playing victim to diet culture, I’ve come up with a few simple tricks to stop it right in its tracks.

Self Love and Self Acceptance

CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET

Get rid of anything that does not bring you joy. For me, this meant go through my closet and getting rid of things that didn’t fit or I just wasn’t into. I either donated the items or sold them to a local consignment shop. The act of removing the stress of ill-fitting clothes from my life empowered me to own my body.

BUY NEW CLOTHES

Invest in yourself. Buy clothes that fit and make you feel good. I learned early on in this journey, if I am not comfortable in my clothes, I am not comfortable in my skin. I went out and replaced things slowly, starting with jeans. I treat myself to a new top, jacket or pair of work pants when needed but do my best not to go overboard. I like the idea of having a closet filled with things I love and wear.

PRACTICE SELF CARE

Self-care is a personal act. Do what works best for you. The main goal here is to show yourself some grace. This can be something that is simple as focusing on sleep. Relaxing. Reading. Bubble baths. Wine. Anything, really. If you can’t think of an act of self-care, spend some time reflecting on what makes you tick and do that.

REFRAME YOUR THOUGHTS

Start each morning with an empowering affirmation. Here are some examples:

Self Love and Self Acceptance

I am enough, I have enough. (my personal favorite)

I am worthy.

I am loved.

I love myself.

I am deserving of love and attention.

CLEAN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

Social media can be toxic. We’ve all heard the quote, the stories we tell ourselves reflect how we think, act and feel. I think social media has the same power. Follow people who make you feel good. Unfollow those who don’t. And if it’s all too much, take a hiatus. You won’t miss much, I promise.

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For more from Stef, make sure to check out her blog at www.wholehognutrition.com . 

A Sense of Purpose

We woke up today with a layer of ice and snow on the ground, with the Department of Transportation advising everyone to stay home. I’m already tired of being snowed in, and it’s not even 9 am yet. Ughhhh.

What is your purpose?

Anddddd now back to the regular scheduled post for today.

The past couple of months have been a huge time of transition for me. As you know, my husband and I moved from North Carolina to Atlanta last November. I went from having a 8am-5pm (plus lots of domestic travel) career working with national partnerships and promotional events at a large nonprofit, to starting a wellness business and working from home. I went from knowing a lot of people in our small mountain town, to knowing basically no one. Don’t get me wrong, this has been a GREAT move for us, but there has definitely a period of transition and figuring out our new normal.

What is your purpose?

I feel very fortunate and grateful to be where I am now in life though, with a blank canvas in front of me and being able to pursue my passions, while also being able to take a breather from a busy work life I had in North Carolina. But, as a Type A personality (times 10!), this is a very hard thing for me. I like to know how much money I will be making so I can plan and save for our future. I like to know what I need to get done for the day so that I am “productive.” (What does that word even mean really? I may do a post on that another time because I am really trying to redefine what that word means for me.) I like to have everything laid out perfectly so that I have a plan and know what I can expect.

But for me at this point in my life, knowing all of those things is not possible. And that’s okay. It’s a really good thing, but it’s also a really scary thing. Basically every other day, I say to my husband “WHAT the heck am I doing with my life? But really, WHAT the heck am I DOING?!?!”

My husband is amazing great at reassuring me that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing right now, even if I don’t even know what that is half the time. Bless that man for listening to my anxiety thoughts about this ALL THE DANG TIME and loving me so well.

Well, I was listening to a podcast while I was running the other day (I always seem to do my best thinking on my runs…anyone else?), and the guest on the podcast was Dan Buettner, a National Geographic explorer and writer. He wrote the book, The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From the World’s Happiest People, where he identified the statistically happiest places on earth and what it is that makes those people happy. He mentioned that you can’t measure happiness per se, but you can measure things like a person’s sense of purpose. He defined purpose with this question:

Are you using your strengths to do what you do best everyday?

And that question really hit me. Ultimately, we want to be living out our purpose each and every day, right? Being “productive” or getting my to-do list done means nothing if I am not following God’s purpose for me life. The million questions that were running through my head were then redirected into that one really good question to think about. Am I using my God-given gifts to do what I do best everyday? Or better yet…HOW can I use my God-given gifts to do what I do best everyday?

What is your purpose?
Christ the Redeemer statue in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. This was taken on one of my work trips. Beautiful country!

I am still thinking through my answer, and I think our answers can be ever evolving as we change and grow. You may be in a place like me, with a blank canvas out in front or you, trying to figure out the next steps for your life. Or maybe you are going through the motions in your life, just trying to get by each day. Or maybe you are loving your life, truly passionate about the things you are doing.

But I challenge you today to think through this great question with me-

Are YOU using your strengths to do what you do best everyday?

 Happy Wednesday!

What is your purpose?

Life Lately (Since moving!)

Life Lately (Since moving!)

Whew. Did anyone else feel like December flew by? In fact, this whole year seemed to fly by…Remember when we were kids and the thought of waiting a couple months for the next holiday or break seemed to take foreverrrrrrrr? Now a year seems to go by in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, I thought I would give you a little update on what I’ve been up to the past month since my husband and I moved from a small town in the mountains of North Carolina to the big city of Atlanta. Things have definitely been a whirlwind…It was only about three weeks from the time my husband was offered his new job to the time we were actually in Atlanta!

WHERE?

We are renting an apartment in Sandy Springs which is just outside of Atlanta. There are so many places around Atlanta that we could have lived, but we knew that we wanted my husband, David, to have an easy commute into Atlanta (Thank you MARTA!), and I also wanted to be close to my sister’s house. (No one has time to be late for Bachelor watching parties or girl’s nights!) So when I started looking for places to live, Google brought me to Sandy Springs. And so far, we have loved this area. We are within a mile or two of Aldi’s, Trader Joes and Whole Foods. We have two Targets within five miles of us, which is totally different from the one Target we had within an hour and a half of us in North Carolina. David’s commute consists of a 10 minute drive to the MARTA station and then a 25 minute ride on the train, giving him time to listen to all his audiobooks (and saves me from having to listen to them at home!!) And I only have a 20 minute drive to my sister’s house. We are also really close to lots of other cities like Roswell, Buckhead, Brookhaven, etc. that provide many things to do and see.

Life since moving to Atlanta!
Photo by Joey Kyber on Unsplash

And what about Atlanta traffic??? Well yes. There is traffic. But we have learned (and are learning) what areas to avoid and when. If I want to run errands during the day, I know it’s best to go between 9:30 am and 3 pm. And for us, we knew that more options and opportunity in a big city would bring more people and more traffic and we are okay with that. We love having so much more to do here. I keep telling people that normal things, like a Trader Joes or Target, make me way too excited.

 

PEOPLE.

In terms of having a community, we know a close community will take time to find, but it’s definitely hard starting over in a new place. We are very fortunate to have found a church that we both enjoy, and plan to get involved in their small groups when they resume in January.

And for all my gym friends out there, I have not yet found a gym! I know, I know, I thought that would be the first thing I would do when I moved. We have many options, but more options make it harder for me to decide (#indecisive)! I tried out one of the ginormous chain gyms when I first got here since it was only a mile from our apartment, but it was only okay. It was super big and salesy (I’ve literally gotten two calls a week from them in the past month asking if I was going to join), and it just didn’t feel totally right. But I have found some great deals on Groupon for some fitness classes, so I think I will try out a few different options before I fully commit to a gym. I’ve loved attending Pink Barre classes, especiall BarreTramp(oline), and plan to attend Burn Boot Camp soon as well. Other than that, I’ve just been running wayyy too much and doing some strength training in the small apartment complex gym. I do miss my gym and gym friends from Boone though, but I don’t miss the whole gym at 5:30 am thing that I used to do.

LIFE.

Being close to my family has also been wonderful. I’m able to stop by my sister’s house to hang out and see the babies whenever I want, and I’m also see my parents more regularly. When I left Georgia for college, I was convinced that I never wanted to go back to Georgia, but now it feels so right to be back. Funny how God works.

I’ve also volunteered to be a Girls on the Run Coach for a nearby elementary school. I’ve always wanted to be involved in this program, but my schedule never allowed me to until now. If you aren’t familiar, Girls on the Run is a “non-profit organization that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident while using fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” I am so excited to be part of this program, to encourage and empower girls in their self-worth. (And the running aspect is pretty great too. 🙂 )

I’ve also become a Certified RESTART instructor, and will be teaching RESTART classes next year. The RESTART program is part nutritional education, part sugar detox and part support group that focuses on how to use real food to boost your energy, reduce inflammation and get rid of sugar cravings so that you can feel your best. Now, if you know me, I’m not a fan of diets or restrictions or even typical detoxes, and that is not what I want this program to be. The program will be focused on learning how to fuel your body with real food.  It’s about learning what foods work for you, and becoming aware of how you feel. Yes, there are foods that are encouraged and foods that are not. But the framework is built around getting your body back in balance and not relying on sugar to get through the day. However, my favorite part of the program is the educational component. I believe that knowledge is the key to making real changes for your health, and this program will provide great insight into digestion, blood sugar balance, fats and more. I will teach this both in person and also virtually, so it’s literally open to everyone! Be on the lookout for more information soon.

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And then the holidays…where do I even begin?! David and I attended his work Christmas party at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens which was so beautiful. I didn’t know what to expect, and the gardens were absolutely amazing, all decorated in lights with music synced to the lights display. It was also fun getting all dressed up and meeting David’s work crew.

For Christmas day, we headed to my sister’s house for presents and food! My parents were also there, along with my brother-in law’s family. It was a full house, but the day was filled with much love and joy.

Life since moving to Atlanta!
My hubs, me, my dad, mom, sis and brother -in-law. The kiddos were napping during this photo.

On the 26th, my father-in-law came to see us in our new place. We cooked a Christmas meal with a turkey breast, gravy, green bean casserole, cauliflower rice stuffing, kale salad (omg the best recipe!) and Japanese sweet potatoes (also a new fav of mine). Oh and apple cranberry crisp and vanilla ice cream for dessert! This was the first time David and I really cooked a whole big holiday meal by ourselves, and I felt like such an adult after! But it was delicious and we had leftovers for days, which is always the best. While my father-in-law was here, we took him to downtown to show him where David works and also to the Coca-Cola museum. I know, I know…Coca-Cola. I may not support Coca-Cola as something to drink on a regular basis, but I do support the experience of visiting the museum with people you love. 🙂 And the history of Coke really is quite interesting.

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Christmas meal we made for my father-in-law. Turkey breast, cauliflower rice stuffing, green bean casserole, harvest kale salad, cranberry sauce, gravy and sweet potatoes! YUM!

New Year’s was pretty low key. I hung out with my sister Sunday afternoon, and then David and I had a relaxing evening at home. We were asleep by 10 pm… just the way I like it. 🙂

I know this was a long post, so thanks for sticking with it. I hope this gives you a glance into our new lives in Atlanta, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for us in 2018!

Life since moving to Atlanta!

Happy New Year’s everyone!

 

 

You have TWO weeks left.(A Holiday gift guide for those last little things.)

I know I’m a little late to the game all the Holiday Gift Guides going around, but I started this post weeks ago and then took a break because Christmas seemed so far away! And now, here we are, exactly two weeks out from Christmas!!! Woah!

If you need a few more small gifts for people, then this guide is for you! Nothing too expensive (cause let’s be real, I don’t buy expensive things), but these are all things that I love, use pretty much everyday, and will make great gifts!

Lodge cast iron pans: I recently rediscovered my love for cast iron when I unpacked all my pans from our recent move. They all had been in storage from a previous move, and I had not used them in a couple years. I love this 6.5 inch size skillet-it is the perfect size for frying or scrambling eggs. The grill pan is also great. I gave one to David when we were dating so that he could still cook up some burgers when it was too cold or snowy in the winter. And a fun fact for ya-Cooking with cast iron is a great source of iron, especially if you are iron deficient!

A Holiday gift guide for those last little things
LOVE both this cast iron and stainless steel mini spatula.

Mini stainless steel spatula: I seriously use this every day. Like the above, it is perfect for flipping or frying eggs. The metal is sturdy, and the flat spatula part is thin enough where it can easily get under eggs, pancakes, etc. and flip them easily! Such a good gift, and for a great price! Mine came from Mast General Store, but the one in the link above is very similar.

Essential oil diffuser : This is always a great idea for those in your life who lead a more natural lifestyle. And I don’t think anyone can ever have too many of these! I use three different ones on a daily basis…in the living room, at my desk and in the bedroom. I also bring one when I travel. Young Living has some great diffusers, but Amazon also has some great options.

A Holiday gift guide for those last little thingsChapstick: I absolutely love chapstick and have become quite the chapstick diva. I feel like I have tried sooo many brands, and now I have a few favorites that I must have with me at all times. One of my current favorites is from Niadele. I especially love her Just Be Peppermint balm, but she has some great tinted options that are beautiful and feel oh so nourishing too! I also love supporting small businesses, and I happen to know Laura from when I lived in Boone. She has such a true passion for what she does and loves creating cosmetics for women! (Her face powder is also pretty great!) I also love the chapstick from Blue Haven Bee Company. My my mom introduced me to this local Georgia company a couple years ago when she gave me a chapstick in my Christmas stocking. I now can’t go a day without. I love the flavors, and they are super hydrating.

A Holiday gift guide for those last little things
Why does my hand look crazy red in this photo?

Hydro Flask: I think I have talked about my love for the Hydro Flask on the blog several times (here and here). I’m still loving my 32 oz which makes drinking water throughout the day so easy. You can also buy additional tops and straws which can make for great stocking stuffers. (Side note: My 2 year old niece LOVES drinking out of my bottle whenever it’s around. So much in fact that she took a chunk out of my straw lid. Needing to buy another lid asap!)

A Holiday gift guide for those last little things
I bring this with me EVERYWHERE.

Penzeys Spices: My mom got me started on these spices, and I have been hooked for years. They have so many different spice blends that taste amazing and make favoring vegetables or meat super easy. My favorite spices at the moment are the Roasted Garlic, the Fox Point seasoning and Cajun. Penzeys also has gift sets that come in a in a nice box with preselected spices. And these aren’t just for the ladies wither. The Grill and Broil Blends are great for the guys! Make sure to get on their mailing list too…I often get coupons/deals for free spices!

A Holiday gift guide for those last little things
My current favorite spices from Penzeys!

Beautycounter: I’ve been using Beautycounter for awhile now and recently became a consultant to join in their mission of getting safer skincare into the hands of everyone. They eliminate 1,500 harmful or potentially harmful ingredients in ALL of their products, so you truly know you are getting something safe for your family and loved ones. I am especially loving their limited edition holiday gift sets this year. They come ready to give in either a pretty red box or blue and gold tin, so there is no need to wrap. They are also fun (what women doesn’t like to get new makeup?!?!), effective and safe! I also love this for any new mamas (or soon to be mamas), this or this for your friends, or this for the men in your life. P.S In order to guarantee delivery by Christmas, orders much be placed by 3 pm EST on December 13.

A Holiday gift guide for those last little things

Fun gift cards or subscription based services: Gift cards are always a great idea! As much as I know Amazon or Target gift cards will be loved, I always try to think outside the box. For the females in your life, consider gifting a subscription to Birchbox or Stich Fix. For me, I would never buy these for myself, so I loved getting them as a gift to enjoy throughout the year. If you need a gift for a couple, look into Datebox or a gift card to their favorite restaurant for a date night. David and I tried Datebox this fall, and we were so impressed! Each month (you can sign up for just one month too!) Datebox sends you a box with everything you need for a fun, creative and different date night! You fill out a survey when you sign up, and they tailor your date to your preferences. This fall, David and I got a Datebox filled with an “Escape Room” game, apple cider, caramel apple kit, kettle corn, a Spotify playlist link and conversation starters! Such a creative way to have a date, and we didn’t have to plan anything!  I also love the idea of a gift card to Etsy. There are so many beautiful and unique items on Etsy, and it’s a great way to support small businesses too.

A Holiday gift guide for those last little things
The Datebox David and I received in October! So creative!

Bannor Toys: I recently fell in love with the handmade wooden toys from BannorToys. They are a small family-run company who started making toys for their own children and daycare center. People started requesting custom made pieces, and the business grew from there. Their toys are eco-friendly, and made with organic wood and organic paint. I bought my nephew this cute wooden car for Christmas, but they have so many more great pieces too!

A Holiday gift guide for those last little things
I found these on their Etsy page!

I hope this helps you to finish off your Christmas shopping! I, in fact, need to get going with it. Happy shopping!!!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Big News! (You won’t want to miss this!)

And no, I am not pregnant. (Sorry Mom!)

But I do have some fun news for ya! David and I are moving to Atlanta! This week in fact.

Big News!
Photo by Andrew Schultz on Unsplash

I know, I know. It’s all happening really fast. But we are really excited for this next chapter in our lives!

We had been feeling for some time that God was calling us away from the NC Mountains and to a larger city to be closer to my family in Georgia. So when my husband finished his second masters (yes, second!!! Gah.) around the same time that I completed my Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program in June, we had a feeling that it was time to look at the next steps in our lives.

Around three weeks ago, my husband accepted a job in Atlanta, and he will be starting mid-November. We have been in a rush the past couple of weeks to find a place to live in Atlanta, pack up our house and get ready to leave this place we have called home the past 6+ years. This small town was where we met (actually set up at work! #awkward), fell in love and got married. It was where we were able to travel the country and world with our jobs. It was where we met some great people and friends. It will definitely be hard to leave.

But we also know so strongly that this next step is so right for us. We want to live in a bigger city, with more things to do and more opportunities, both professionally and personally. We want to be near my family (I actually grew up in Atlanta!) and be able to see them more than once or twice a year. (Okay, okay…I really want to be able to watch The Bachelor with my sister again too. David isn’t as much fun.) We want to be in a place that feels so right for us.

Big News!
Excited for this next chapter with my Love!

My husband has a new job in Atlanta, so what does this mean for me? Well, my plan is to spend more time growing my Simply Health business through the blog, Beautycounter and wellness coaching! You will be seeing me around here more often, providing content about life, health and wellness. I am SO excited to have the time and opportunity to pour my heart into something I am so passionate about!

These next couple of weeks will be a little crazy for us during the move, so please bear with me as we get settled in Atlanta. But I promise, I’ll be back soon with more fun and exciting content!

For any questions regarding Beautycounter or my wellness coaching services, reach out to me here or at simplyhealthbyjenn@gmail.com.

Weekend Recap and a Good Lil’ Reminder

It’s Monday night, and I can’t help but feel so content and refreshed when I think back to the weekend. It was my husband and my third wedding anniversary last Wednesday, so we decided to take a night away to celebrate! And boy, did we need this! I feel like the time we see each other has been few and far between lately. I’ve been traveling a lot for work, and in my spare time I’ve been working on building my Simply Health and Beautycounter business. My husband works on Saturdays and also works a contract marketing job for a film production company after his normal 9-5. Needless to say, we were ready for some time together away from the busyness of life!

With me not traveling for work last weekend, we took advantage and drove a short two hours down the mountain to Davidson, NC. We visited Davidson a little over a year ago and stayed at this little bed and breakfast (adorable and amazing food!) and loved the little town! We decided to return again this year since it wasn’t too far away, but was still away from home.

What we really need is to take a step back, breathe and just be. Be with the people we love.
Downtown Davidson, NC

We arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday and headed to Birkdale Village for a little shopping. Living in the mountains, we don’t have the best options for shopping, so I always enjoy finding a great mall…aka anything with more than 4 stores. Surprisingly, my husband was up for it as well. (I’m sure it had nothing to do with the Venti Frappuccino I bribed him with!)  We walked around a bit, then hit up Clean Juice because I always love a good juice and smoothie place! We didn’t want to spoil our appetites for our dinner reservation later, so we opted for a few juice shots!

What we really need is to take a step back, breathe and just be. Be with the people we love.
A Matcha Express shot and a Turmeric Tonic

We had dinner reservations at Flatiron Kitchen and Taphouse in downtown Davidson, and it did not disappoint! We started out with the brussel sprout salad which was delicious! The salad made me remember how much I like brussel sprouts! They are definitely going on the shopping list next week. My husband got the steak, and I got the pan roasted trout with roasted brocolini and cauliflower. We could not stop talking about how good our food was!What we really need is to take a step back, breathe and just be. Be with the people we love.

After dinner we went to Whit’s Custard which seemed to be a town favorite! I remember reading about Whit’s Custard, along with our breakfast place on Sunday from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers (Thanks for the recommendation!!!). The line was long and almost out the door, which is always a good sign. I try and stay away from dairy as best I can, so I got a chocolate covered frozen banana, but my husband got a peppermint chocolate Whitser! (Basically like a Dairy Queen Blizzard.) Both were delicious!…Yes, even I couldn’t stay away from stealing a bite of his custard!

What we really need is to take a step back, breathe and just be. Be with the people we love.

We slept in Sunday morning, and it was glorious! I forgot what sleeping in felt like! We laid around the hotel a bit, watched some HGTV, wandered down to the free hotel breakfast to see if anything was worth eating, came back to our room…and then I was still tired so I got back in bed. Oh how I want more lazy mornings like that! When I eventually got up, we decided to walk the mile or so to downtown Davidson and hit up Famous Toastery, a local breakfast place. I ordered an omelet (it came with egg whites so I asked for an extra whole egg, because hello, the nutrients are in the yolks people!) with roasted veggies and turkey, skillet potatoes and gluten free cinnamon raisin toast. Omelet was amazing, but the GF toast was only okay. However, I did enjoy munching on it since I hardly eat bread anymore. After breakfast we went by Summit Coffee Co., and I got a Café a Lait with almond milk. My favorite drink of choice these days. We walked back to the hotel and then headed home.

What we really need is to take a step back, breathe and just be. Be with the people we love.

This short 24-hour getaway reminded me how important it is to spend quality time with the people you love. We easily get distracted by our busy lives and in order to keep up, we continue to move a mile a minute, failing to realize that what we really need is to take a step back, breathe and just be. Be with the people we love. Spend time talking about life, about real things, and not about work or the agenda for the week. Sleep in. Enjoy good food and coffee, and enjoy truly being with those around us.

So I encourage you this week to carve out some extra time for you and someone you care about…maybe it’s a mid-week date night with your significant other, or taking your daughter to ice cream after school. Or maybe it’s a phone call to your best friend from college. Something. Anything. Our relationships are worth it. The busyness of life can wait.