We have had a rough week. We lost a member of our animal family and it has been rough. Emma entered our lives 9 years ago and has been such a funny and spirited part of our family. Her passing was unexpected and very sad, but we decided to take some time to remember all of the wonderful memories we had with her. As silly as it sounds, I (Jenna) learned one really important lesson from my dog: Stop to smell the roses. It’s an old saying but one that Emma really practiced well. Every walk and adventure outside, she would stop to smell literally every single rose, bush and mailbox. Now, I know that she was a dog and it’s something that dogs just do, but it was pretty inspiring.
A few years ago after I noticed how my walks with Emma that should have been 10 minutes turned into an hour, I began to really appreciate the world and the neighborhood through her eyes. She wasn’t in a hurry. She was so curious. These walks were our time together and in such a busy world, I sometimes forgot that these walks were her world. I stopped getting frustrated with her after that realization. I started loving that she wanted to stop and explore and smell everything.
This past weekend I was traveling and I had 2 hours to spare in the Miami airport. Normally I would sit on Instagram while I ate something quick and convenient, but I decided to do something different this time. I went to eat by myself and didn’t touch my phone the entire time. I just sat and ate and listened to my thoughts and enjoyed the delicious food in front of me. After that, I wandered around the Miami airport and discovered some incredible artwork. Most people are rushing through airports and probably never realize that there is actually a lot to appreciate and not just terminals.
It’s important that we take the time to appreciate our surroundings. There is so much beauty, culture and love in the world. Take the time to look around you, stop to smell every flower, look at every picture, taste every bite, feel every kiss. The world and your life have a lot to offer, sometimes you just need to open your eyes and your mind a little more to realize it.
It seems these days that we get so caught up in work, social life, chasing our dreams, etc., that we often don’t take time to appreciate and be grateful for what and who is surrounding us. We become concerned with what we don’t have and take for granted all of the wonderful things that we do have.
One of the biggest things that is easy to take for granted is family. We all have one. Some of us were born with really good ones, some of us were accepted into one and some of us had to make our own. Family does not always mean blood, but rather a group of people that completely accepts you at your best and your worst and has your best interest in mind.
Sometimes, all we really need when we feel stressed or overwhelmed, is to simply be with our families. Turn off our phones, don’t go out with friends, stay off Instagram. Just be with your family and have real conversations and soak in all the wonderful feelings you can get from just simply being surrounded with people that you love and who love you back.
We got a lot of that this past weekend and it did wonders. It’s better than a spa day. It’s a rejuvenation for every part of you.
Instead of just turning-off your electronics today, turn-off all of your worries and cares and let the love of your family consume you.
We’re getting closer and closer to sweet sweet summa time and we couldn’t be more excited! We seriously cannot wait for yummy cocktails by the lake/beach and lots of fun in the sun!
It’s really starting to warm up (ESP. in California where C is) and we’re doing the best we can to stay relaxed and to stay cool and hydrated!
This drank is perfect for all of the above!
→ 3 cups of watermelon
→ 1 cup of coconut water
→ 1 lime, juiced
Put your watermelon, coconut water and lime juice in a blender and mix well. Pour over ice and garnish with some fresh mint!
Yep, that easy!
We love coconut water for soo many reasons. It’s one of the best ways to stay hydrated and keep all your healthy nutrients in your body. When it’s hot out, we lose a lot of water/nutrients and that can be super dangerous.
Watermelon is also super good for you! It’s full of antioxidants, can help reduce body fat, it’s great for your cardiovascular system, great anti-inflammatory properties, aids in bone health, diuretic and kidney support, muscle and nerve support, improves eye health and helps prevent cell damage!
We’ll definitely be sipping on this drink all summer long!
Test it out tonight for your turn-off Thursday and let us know how it turns out! We might try to throw in some blueberries next time! Talk about a delish antioxidant powerhouse! YUM!
In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, we have found some amazing Irish-themed recipes on Pinterest for y’all to try out the next time you turn-off!
We both have Irish in our blood, so we just LOVE St. Paddy’s Day and all of the festivities!
What better way to celebrate a holiday all about the Irish heritage than cooking up (or mixing) some traditional Irish cuisine & drink? Okay, not all of this is traditional but it is all delicious!
Now, you could just pour a bowl of lucky charms and call it a day, but you will probably regret it after the sugar crash an hour later. Our suggestion? Boxty! It’s essentially a potato pancake. Here’s our pick for a delicious recipe:
And don’t forget the Irish Coffee! (As long as you don’t have to drive anywhere!)
Um, Avocado Deviled Eggs? We’re sold! Plus, they are festive!
And you can’t have a traditional Irish celebration without soda bread!
Lunch & Dinner:
For those of you who want to stay SUPER traditional…
Corned Beef & Cabbage! Obviously!
Or how about Shepherd’s Pie? You can change the protein in this dish and really make it what you want!
For those stuck in the cold weather or craving something a little heartier, Potato Soup or Guinness Stew!
Last but in no way least…DESSERT!
How cute are these festive cupcakes? A great recipe to make with kids!
And then you have the Bailey’s & Guinness cupcakes for adults only!
Just a warning, none of these recipes are all that “health-conscious”, but cut yourself some slack today and indulge!
All of these recipes and more can be found here. Follow us on Pinterest for more of our favorite recipes, tips and inspiration!
Well, we have a great idea for your phones-free plans this week!
We attended a party for Amplify Austin which is a community-wide day of giving back!
Ok, so you do need to make donations online, which may require a phone, but after the donation is made…hands off!
Amplify Austin involves over 500 non-profits and this year their goal is to raise a combined $7 million! We attended the launch party for Austin Habitat for Humanity and what a blast it was!
The launch party was hosted by Pint House Pizza and they could not have been more generous and welcoming! All proceeds from one of their craft beers plus 25% of proceeds from all other sales were donated to Austin Habitat for Humanity.
This event and others like it are a great way to not only make a difference and give back to your community, but to surround yourself with good people! If you lucked out like us, you also get to surround yourself with good food and beer!
What better way to spend some time away from distractions! Turn-off and get involved!
There is still time to donate to a non-profit of your choice.
With the chilly weather and possibility of rain this weekend, we were thinking of ways to relax and stay indoors! What better time to dream of Summer and all the wonderful things you want to do! So, our plan…making dream boards!
Dream boards are awesome because they are a constant and daily reminder of the life you want. When you have that reminder to look at everyday, it gives you the extra push you need to keep working towards your goals!
Dream boards are so easy.
What you need:
1) Poster board (Target, JoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby…)
5) Music (We like girl-power music for this project! Click here for an article on great pump-up jams!)
6) Wine or mocktails!
Start by going through magazines and cutting out images or words that really capture you! Vacation spots, inspiring women, fitness goals, powerful words or phrases! The great thing about a dream board is that it’s all about you!
What do you want to create in your life?
A new job? A dream vacation? A healthier lifestyle? More Positive people? A new city?
Whatever it is…put it on the board! Focus your energy on positive, encouraging thoughts, goals and dreams and let your board do the talking!
We like to make new boards every year or when we have a new set of goals in mind. You can even personalize them to one aspect of your life. Trying to get in shape? Find pictures of healthy, inspiring women to keep you motivated! (And remember, healthy doesn’t mean super skinny! Health and beauty comes in all shapes and sizes!) How about a new career? Find pictures that inspire your job search and quotes from women who have the career you want!
Grab some friends or spend some quality time with yourself and get creative! Just remember, turn off your phone and TV so you can escape from outside distractions and really be in the moment with your vision! You are wonderful and you deserve to have the life you want. Create it on a dream board and you can create it in reality!
Life is so busy and oftentimes we use that as an excuse not to workout. But guess what?! There are plenty of short workouts that you can do that are just as efficient as working out for a full hour! These workouts are high intensity interval training or HIIT.
We usually try our best to wake up earlier in order to get a full workout in but sometimes that just isn’t possible because we got to bed too late the night before. So instead of saying “OH WELL” and not working out, we throw together a little HIIT workout and make the most of it!
These workouts are super fun and go by extremely fast because you’re constantly switching it up. The end result is amazing. You feel like you just worked out for an entire hour because you pushed yourself that hard.
We love to combine these in our hour or two sessions at the gym too because they give us such great results. We’ll spend 15-30 minutes on the stairclimber and then we’ll do a 20-30 minute HIIT workout and some abs. You always want to mix up your workouts because if you do the same thing over and over again, your body gets used to it, expects it and it doesn’t burn as many cals as it was in the beginning.
You want to shock your bod and not let it predict what is coming up next. We love spin class and kick boxing for this reason!
Strength routines also qualify as HIIT workouts as long as your are doing them correctly!
According to Women’s Health Mag, both HIIT cardio and HIIT strength workouts get your heart pumping, fire up your metabolism and create afterburn. Afterburn is the additional calories your body burns off in the hours or days after your workout. We’re all about keeping those cals burnin’ and burnin’!
Here is a fun little workout we put together for the elliptical. These are the interval levels we try to start at. Sometimes we up each one if we are feeling stronger and sometimes we lower it if our muscles are fatigued. The point of the HIIT workouts are to push as hard as you can the whole time. When we get to the higher intervals (12&13), we use those as our “active recovery”. We are still pushing ourselves but the slower speed let’s us recover slightly.
Make sure you have fun and are super safe! Don’t push yourself to the point that you get dizzy and extremely out of breath. You are the judge of your own body so make sure to listen to it. These HIIT are extremely intense and you may need to work yourself up to them! And make sure your drink plenty of water afterwards!
Last week we talked about taking yourself on a date but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we want to give you some ideas for an electronic and crowd-free date night! Now, these fun ideas can be used for couples, friends or groups. There is no reason we all can’t celebrate love, regardless of our relationship status.
We both LOVE Valentine’s Day. Jenna is running strong on her 8th Valentine’s Day without a significant other, while Chantelly is celebrating her 2nd V-Day with her beau and they both love the holiday more than ever. Between baking sweets for friends and family, pink champagne all day and an extra excuse to tell people you love them, it’s a great time!
Since we want to encourage you to put down the electronics at least once a week, we have come up with some great ways to spend Valentine’s Day without making a reservation or sitting quietly in a dark theatre. This is a time to celebrate LOVE and you can’t do that without looking at or speaking to the people you love. That being said, try to spend your time together without phones, TV’s, computers or anything else that could distract you from really enjoying each other’s company.
1) Bike Ride and Picnic: This is so easy and so much fun. If you don’t own a bike, they are usually easy to rent or you can opt for a nice walk around town. Find a park, beach or other spot you love and unpack the picnic. Make some of your significant others/friends/family’s favorite treats, include their favorite beverage and maybe a deck of cards or other fun game. If it’s cold in your area, picnic inside! Set up a blanket and basket in your living room so you can feel like you aren’t at home! You can really enjoy just spending some quality time together.
2) Hiking: We love to hike! Whether it’s an easy, long trail or an intense, uphill battle, it’s gets blood pumping and the scenery is amazing. There is nothing but you, your company and nature and it is a wonderful time to talk and be present in the moment.
3) Make Dinner Together: There is something about cooking with other people that really forms a bond. You have to work together and agree on something you both enjoy. It’s a perfect time to turn on some feel-good music, have a cocktail and learn more about the people you are with. Make dinner a theme! Italian food, wine and opera music. Mexican food, margaritas and Selena (we love her), Southern food, homemade lemonade and country music. It will be a great time no matter what you choose!
4) Try Something New: Has your friend/ partner always wanted to teach you something? Have you been putting off exploring a nearby attraction? Are you a new couple or new friends? This is a perfect excuse to learn something new and to learn more about your Valentine’s Day PIC. Try something you have never done, let a guy teach you about his favorite sport, go somewhere you have never been and play 20 questions along the way. It will be a great way to learn more about someone, even someone you thought you knew everything about.
5) Write letters: With all the love in the air, it’s a perfect time to express how you feel. Gift giving can sometimes be a daunting and expensive task, so why not give them something that really matters. A hand-written letter is a great way to tell someone how you feel without actually having to speak the words (that can be scary)! Write the letters in the same room, then exchange them and read them either out loud or to yourself, whatever is more comfortable. A great way to bond!
6) Volunteer Together: There is always good to be done, so why not take the time to do good together! You can volunteer at a local food bank, homeless shelter, children’s organization, Habitat for Humanity, etc. The options are endless and doing good together will strengthen your bond.
7) Game Night: Who doesn’t love games? Okay, well we know a few people, so just don’t play with them! Pick 1 or 2 of your favorite games, get a group of friends together, have everyone bring a dish and just hang out! There will surely be a lot of laughter and a little competition never hurt anyone? We have found that games leave a lot of room for flirting as well!
8) Memory Lane: Break out the photo albums! Whether you haven’t looked through photos since you started dating or you have old yearbooks stashed away in the closet, looking through old photos is a great way to bring back good feelings and maybe even reignite a spark in your relationship. Turn on popular music from the years that you are looking at and enjoy the laughs and tears that will surely ensue!
9) Care Packages: Long distance? We LOVE care packages. Care packages are a great way to remind people you love them and are thinking of them. Whether it is something silly, something practical or some treats, they will really enjoy getting the gift and you will enjoy putting it together!
10) Tours: Wine tasting, brewery tours, museum, art shows…the list goes on. It’s fun to see things people have made, history or just sip on some delicious drinks! Couple, group, family…it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re together!
11) Bake Treats: Try out some new recipes and give them to friends and coworkers! Have a few friends over and you can each choose a recipe from Pinterest and bake away! There will be so many goodies to try and even more to give out on Valentine’s Day! A great way to get your baking bug cured and have an excuse to not leave all the sweets at home!
There are so many great ideas that don’t cost money and will help you spend quality time with your loved ones. It is so important to be present and to give people your time and complete attention. Being on your phone or computer or watching TV is a distraction and basically just rude. Communication is so important in friendships and relationships of every kind. If we take the time to really talk, really listen and really just enjoy each other’s company, we will be amazed with how much we learn, grow and enjoy the people we are with.
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and whatever day you choose to Turn-Off this week, make sure you do it with someone you love!