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Abs, Abs, Abs

Hey y’all! For this Wellness Wednesday, we’re going to be talking about abs. That’s right, it’s winter time, and I am still working on my abs, keeping them from disappearing even though sweater season is right around the corner. At least, in my case, I sure hope it is, Florida seems slow on the winter update.

So before you start moaning and groaning, let me first say that having a strong core can help you with so much more than just looking great at the pool or beach. While it definitely has that benefit, it’s also helpful for keeping you balanced, as well as helping you to build muscle in other areas. Not to mention, if you are a dancer or even singer, a stronger core will help you to perform better. I remember my ballet days, and despite the main focus being on my posture and form and stretching my legs, I also had to have a good core to be able to do some of those moves. So if you’ve ever wanted to pursue dance or singing, then you’ll definitely want to work on those abs.

Now, you may be thinking, ick crunches, I hate crunches. I actually don’t hate crunches, but they can get a bit boring. Not to mention, regular crunches only work one part of your abs, while you have other parts that need to be worked too. Luckily, there are some variations on crunches, which I do every single night.

  1. Froggy crunches. I’m sure there’s a better name for them, but they make me think of frogs for some reason. Basically, lay down on your back and put your feet together, with your knees on opposite sides, like the butterfly stretch, except laying down. Then do your crunches as normal.
  2. Legs up crunches. Again, a simple variation, you’ll just want to lift your legs up in the air, bent at the knees and do your crunches as normal.
  3. Planks. Oh planks, can’t say I don’t hate those, but they are fantastic for working on your abs. They aren’t necessarily a crunch variation, but they’re a great workout so they had to make the list.
  4. Standing crunches. These are better if you don’t want to get down on the floor. So you’ll stand with your feet shoulder length apart, and you’ll bring your leg up to your chest, one at a time, alternating, while also crunching your stomach inward.

I am trying to keep my health a focus and priority, and that means not taking many days off from workouts. These are some of my go-tos for every day, and so far I’m really seeing progress that I’m very happy with. I hope they help you out and that you continue to make fitness a priority in your life as well! And don’t feel that you can’t start now, New Years doesn’t have to be the starting point to getting your health where you want it.

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Take On Extra Work

I know, I know, y’all were not expecting me to suggest adding even more work onto your already full plates, but that’s exactly what this weekly tip is about. Taking on extra work in all areas of your life shows not only initiative, but it also shows a desire to get ahead and to make changes in your life.

So what does this take on extra work mean exactly? It could mean anything you want it to. For some, it’s asking for more responsibility at work, for others it could mean pitching in with household chores more. Take things on slowly, and see what you reap from it. You’ll never regret working hard.

No Bake S’mores Bars

Find the original recipe here: http://turniptheoven.com/easy-no-bake-smores-bars/

This easy no bake s’mores bars recipe will have you feeling like you’re outside near a campfire in no time.

Everyone always says s’mores are a summer snack, but to me, they’re a winter snack. That’s when you’re out sitting by the fire with friends and family, so I always associate them with this time of year.

You’ll Need:

  1. 1 whole stick of unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 2 cups graham crackers, crumbled into small pieces
  5. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  6. 1 teaspoon sea salt (I usually use less salt in my recipes and would take this down to 1/2 teaspoon)
  7. 1 can condensed milk
  8. 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
  9. 1 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows
How to Prepare:
  1. Line a 13-x-9-inch baking pan with foil or parchment and spray lightly with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in the graham cracker crumbs, flour, and salt. Beat in the condensed milk. With a wooden spoon, stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 cup of the marshmallows.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and use a spatula to press into an even layer. Sprinkle the surface with the remaining chocolate chips and marshmallows, pressing gently. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Skincare Must Do’s

Hey y’all so one thing I’ve really been focusing on lately is my skincare. It’s soo necessary, especially as we age, and there are so many things that can help. So for this Wellness Wednesday, it’s all about our skin.

Fun fact, did you know the skin is the largest organ on the body? Since that’s the case, it’s more important than ever to take care of your skin.

Here are some skincare must do’s:

  1. Drink water. This is the biggest thing you can do, your skin will be glowing and you’ll feel great!
  2. Apply a face mask once a week. As someone with sensitive skin, this can be a bit difficult sometimes, and it took some trial and error, but I finally found some that worked well for me and relax my skin without causing irritation. It’s also great for self-care.
  3. Remove your makeup each night. I’m not going to lie, I slack at this one way too often. But there are studies saying it can age you, not to mention give you acne and other skin issues, so make sure to set aside some time to remove it every single night.
  4. Use a toner. Even if you don’t have oily skin or an acne issue, use a toner. It’ll help even out your skin tone and keep your skin from getting oily or acne-filled.
  5. Moisturize. Again, sometimes with oilier skin you may think you don’t need any more moisture, but moisturizing is good for your skin, especially as we get into colder weather (everywhere but Florida anyway).
  6. Exfoliate weekly. Even if you wash your face every day, build up can still happen, so make sure you exfoliate each week. It’ll help clean out the buildup and gunk that can gather.
  7. Get a good cleanser. There’s no question that you need a quality cleanser for your skin. I’ve tried several kinds, my favorite is one by SheaMoisture and they have several options.
  8. Use a jade roller. This is good if you deal with puffiness under your eyes or wake up with some puffy skin one morning. The best part, you can put it in the fridge and it’ll really cool your face down.
  9. Stop touching your face! Again, this is one thing I’m horrible about, but I’m trying to work on it every day. Touching your face multiple times can cause wrinkles, acne, and more.
  10. Eat for your skin. You are what you eat, so make sure you are eating healthy foods and nourishing your body and your skin. Cucumbers are not just good for over your eyes 🙂

 

Take the Time to Focus on Your Goals

In our crazy world, sometimes it seems like there’s never enough time in the day. I know I certainly feel this way sometimes between working full time, trying to get my exercise in, cooking healthy meals, keeping up with the house, and still trying to find time to relax and focus on side projects and other things, while also sleeping can be quite the juggling act sometimes. And usually, while doing this juggling act, something slips to the wayside. For a lot of us, it may be something related to our goals, and sadly, it’s so important for us to take the time to focus on our goals.

I know it’s hard to make time for things, trust me, I do. With everything going on, and if you have kids, you have their schedules in addition to your own, but you have to take the time to focus on your goals. Set aside a chunk of time, whether it’s 30 minutes in the morning before everyone else is up or it’s an hour at lunch to just focus on your goals, no matter what they may be. Maybe you’re trying to race in a marathon but can’t find time to train or you’re trying to learn how to cook, but never have time to actually take lessons or watch videos. Make the time! It’s so important and I’ve found setting out a chunk of time is the only way I can force myself to get it done. Otherwise, the days pass to quickly, and before I know it, I’m in bed, getting prepared for another day.

Mug Cookie

I don’t about y’all, but some nights I just want a big warm cookie. Buuuuttt, I know if I make a whole batch, I’ll eat way more than I should or have to toss some. So rather than waste ingredients, try the mug cookie!

You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 3 drops pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • a handful of chocolate chips

To Prepare:

  • Mix all your wet ingredients and sugars together in a large mug.
  • Add flour and baking soda and mix in.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Microwave for one minute. Check beginning at 40 seconds, as some microwaves can cook faster than others.
  • Enjoy!

It’s simple, delicious, and prevents you from having to make a whole batch of cookies when you really only need one.

Get Your Greens

Hey y’all so by now we’ve all heard it enough since we were kids to eat our greens. In fact, it’s just as important now to eat your greens as it was then. No, you’re probably not still growing into a big strong kid, but your body still needs that fuel and for this Wellness Wednesday, it’s all about getting your greens!

A colorful plate is a healthy plate is what health experts are saying, and while it’s tempting to look at a bowl of M&Ms or Skittles that’s not quite what they mean when they talk about a colorful plate. Instead, think about veggies!M&M's Chocolates in Bowl

I personally have always been pretty good about eating my vegetables, even since I was a kid. I always like broccoli, green beans, peas, even lima beans. But thankfully, my palate has expanded since then to now include other greens like kale, spinach, and asparagus. However, I understand that not everyone loves these things, which is why there are some easy ways to sneak it into foods, so you won’t even taste it. These tips are great for if you have kiddos too or simply struggle to make those healthy meals each night!

Get your greens tips:

  • Blend them in a smoothie. Adding fresh or frozen kale or spinach to a smoothie automatically bumps the healthy up a level, and with it blended with other fruit and delicious protein powder, you won’t even taste it! I even found a protein powder that has greens and the protein, I ordered some this weekend and once it arrives, I’ll start making my smoothies that way. If you’re interested, it’s Tone It Up Greens and Vanilla Protein Powder. Their protein is plant-based, and tastes fantastic.Clear Glass Bottle Filled With Broccoli Shake
  • Add them to pasta dishes. I know when I was a kid, I was a bit of a picky eater, but you know what would guarantee I’d eat it? Put it in pasta. I’d eat anything if there was pasta over or under it, and sadly, that hasn’t changed. But it’s a great way to get some spinach or even zucchini in your diet, without really noticing the taste.unnamed (2)
  • Speaking of zucchini, did you know there are zucchini brownies and muffins out there to make? They taste great, and I can assure you, you won’t even taste it. One of my favorites is pumpkin zucchini muffins, which you can find the recipe here. 
  • Eat them with rice for a delicious power bowl. These can be prepped ahead of time, and are so easy to make. Just start with a bed of brown rice, then add your favorite veggies, heavy on the greens, and voila, you have a delicious and healthy lunch that didn’t take too long to prepare.
  • Add them to casseroles. With the blend of different flavors, you won’t even realize you’re eating a whole bunch of veggies, because it tastes so good! There’s a plethora of healthy casserole dishes out there, all you have to do is a quick web search to pull up some recipes.
  • Make a veggie soup. Simple, delicious, and perfect for the cooler weather, soups can be a wonderful option for dinner with sandwiches or bread or salad, and you can get plenty of greens in there.

 

Iron Before Your Week Starts

Whether you plan your outfits for the week or you just decide in the morning, make sure to iron before your week starts. This will save you time and energy, and make sure you can wear that cute dress or nice shirt when you want to, rather than having to iron before work or push the outfit back for another day.

Polyjuice Potion

Hey y’all for this delicious treat, you’ll need some fresh fruit and some liquors, but I promise, this will be much easier than getting hairs of those you wish to turn into.

You’ll Need:

  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 apple
  • 30 ml white rum
  • 30 ml lime juice
  • ice

To Make:

Blend up the kiwis and apple after you’ve sliced them into bite-sized chunks. Pour into a cocktail shaker and add rum, lime juice, and ice. Shake, shake, shake, and enjoy your batch of Polyjuice Potion.

This is perfect for Halloween which is coming up this week, and absolutely perfect for any fellow Potterheads! Witches and wizards everywhere can enjoy this delightful green cocktail!

 

Chia Seed Pudding

Hey y’all! If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast option or even an afternoon snack, look no further than chia seed pudding. It takes literally 4 ingredients or less, and is super easy to make. Check it out! Oh and it also tastes amazing, since that part is super important 🙂

chia seed pudding

Chia Seed Pudding (Serves 1)

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of almond milk (I use Silk Unsweetened Original)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of chia seeds (I used about 3.5 tablespoons to make mine thicker)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey (add this at the end, I added mine at the beginning and it didn’t mix too well and wound up at the bottom)
  • Fresh fruit to top (I like a good mix of berries)

How To:

  • Stir in chia seeds in with almond milk until well mixed.
  • Put in fridge overnight or at least 3 hours.
  • Add honey and fresh fruit when ready to eat.

What did I tell you? Super easy, healthy, and delicious!

If you’re not sure why you need chia seeds, check out this article to read up on this superfood https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds

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