Valentine’s Day Fun Facts

AA92QxK 300x229 Valentine’s Day Fun FactsValentine’s Day is a holiday for love, romance, flowers and candy.  Every year thousands celebrate this time to show appreciation and affection for their loved ones, just as they did this past weekend.  Here are a few Valentine’s Day fun facts that you might not know regarding this recent Hallmark holiday.

 

  • The holiday got its name from the Christian Martyr, Saint Valentine and dates back to the 5th century
  • By the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine’s Day became common in England which eventually spread to America
  • Over 75% of candy sales for Valentine’s Day are comprised of chocolate confections
  • The famous conversation hearts, Sweethearts, were first made by the New England Confectionery Company in 1866 and every year 10 new conversation-heart sayings are created
  • Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the most popular holiday for greeting cards; it is the second coming in behind Christmas
  • Richard Cadbury, in 1868, introduced the first Valentine’s Day box of chocolates

Did you enjoy your Valentine’s Day?  Let me know if you received something special!

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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Winning at The Big Game Commercials

The ‘Big Game’ did not disappoint this year with the over play and with it being a tight game.  The Patriots won against the Seahawks 28 – 24 with the win being attributed to one of the worst play-calls in all of Big Game history.  Aside from the game itself, I enjoyed some tasty football fair to snack on while watching the most expensive commercials, reported to cost be 4.5 million per 30-seconds, that had the expectation to entertain and provide a wow factor.  I was disappointed in general with most of the adds not being exceedingly memorable or engaging.

download Winning at The Big Game CommercialsMy favorite was the Budweiser commercial, “Lost Dog,” featuring the cute puppy that finds its way back home to his owner after almost being devoured by a wolf only to be saved by his friends, the famous Clydesdale horses.  This commercial also trended highly with male and female audience members alike making it the overall top rated commercial.  The Always brand had an inspiring add, “Like a Girl,” which emphasized the importance of giving young girls the confidence to do amazing things in life.

What was your favorite commercial this year?

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Super Food for The Big Game

how to make vegan cauliflower buffalo wings ranch dip recipe on hotforfoodblog 300x200 Super Food for The Big GameI look forward to watching the commercials every year during the Big Game and sure I love watching the game too but the creativity in those ads is at its best.  However you can’t have a Big Game party without great food and drinks.  In the spirit of staying healthy and eating clean I have shared below some of my favorite game day foods with a fresh spin.

grilled sweet potato nachos 62 200x300 Super Food for The Big Game

Wings are a staple for the Big Game party but can be really high in calories.  Try this lighter version which still packs all the flavor, Cauliflower Buffalo Wings.  If it’s nachos you crave, these Grilled Sweet Potato Nachos come fully loaded but you can add your favorite toppings and give them your own twist.  To top off the nachos, make this delicious vegan queso for a dairy-free rendition.  Your guests won’t be able to tell the difference.

Spicy Black Bean Sliders with Chipotle Mayo 2 214x300 Super Food for The Big GameFor a heartier fare that can stand alone as an entrée or large appetizer, I love to make sliders, which are mini-sized burgers.  These Spicy Black Bean Sliders with Chipotle Mayo will make any super bowl fan cheer.  If you are hosting any guests that adhere to a gluten-free diet, this Cheesy Black Bean and Quinoa Taco Bake makes a great main dish.

In the spirit of football and the Big Game Sunday, I recommend enjoy what you serve as well as the company you have!

What are your favorite Big Game Foods?

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Keeping it Clean in 2015

We are all guilty of trying to attain perfection instead of progress when it comes to achieving our goals and then tend to beat ourselves up when we slip.  If your resolution of eating clean (consuming a largely plant based diet with few organic meats and fish and avoiding gluten, sugar, dairy, and processed foods) has taken a U-turn, here are a few recipes to get you back on track to feeling healthy and energized!

smooothie grande 150x150 Keeping it Clean in 2015This green smoothie from one of my favorite clinical nutritionists, Kimberly Snyder, will not only leave you feeling satisfied and energized but it also aids in weight loss, fights ageing, and helps you have clearer skin.  It’s clean drinking packed with fiber, vitamins, enzymes our body needs, and is very hydrating.  I also love this protein-packed smoothie from Sakara.

Lunch can get boring very fast as we reach for the same thing over and over again out of habit.  Switch things up with this Vegetarian Taco Salad that is a huge crowd pleaser and has lots of bright, bold flavors (I omit the cheese to keep it clean and use Kale for the greens).

bowl done3 200x300 Keeping it Clean in 2015After a hard day at work, dinner can seem like a free-for-all.  We justify indulgent (poor) food choices because our day was long or overly tiresome.  A lot of dishes can be prepared ahead of time on the weekend making it is easier to eat clean, healthy foods.  Try this Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl which is hearty and perfect on a cold night.  Spaghetti Squash is a great substitute for pasta noodles.

What are some of your favorite clean eating recipes?

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New Year’s Resolutions Go High Tech

MaleSmartPhone.adamr  199x300 New Year’s Resolutions Go High TechIt’s that time again, where everyone set’s a lofty list of resolutions for the New Year and usually winds up breaking them within the first few weeks.  Only about 8% of American’s actually are successful in keeping their goals.  How can make sure you stay on top of your list and fall privy to the norm?

There are several mobile apps that can help keep you motivated and on track whatever your resolutions maybe.  If you are trying to lose weight or get healthy check out apps such as Happy Scale, MyFitnessPal, WellnessFX, CodyApp (one of my favorites), or SleepCycle.

Did you know that two-thirds of Americans don’t have a budget, according to a Gallup poll?  If keeping your finances in check is your resolution, look to download Level, Mint, or a mobile app provided by your personal bank.  This can keep you on budget while on the go and help you set goals for spending and saving.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions and how do you plan to keep them?

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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Surviving Visits with Family

UpsetWoman 300x199 Surviving Visits with FamilyEven after the Holidays it can be a stressful time surviving visits with family.  For some, visits can last a while and big family gatherings can lead to more anxiety.  It’s easy to set high expectations for this time of year since being with the family is supposed to have happy, peaceful, and cheery overtones.  However, this can also cause us to overextend ourselves which inevitably can result in stress, resentment and/or frustration.  Here are a few tips to surviving the extended time with family:

  • Don’t set expectations – this can lead to disappointment if a family member is not living up to what you envisioned or if the schedule you wanted to follow is not going as planned.
  • Focus on the true reason for the company – don’t get caught up in the menus, shopping and entertaining.  This is when you need to enjoy spending time with those you love and be grateful.
  • Accept family members for who they are – people’s values, opinions and ideals can change over time. Focus on what you have in common with each other.
  • Forgive one another – if you do get into an argument forgive each other and agree to move forward.

How do you handle extended visits with family?

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

 

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Hostess with the Mostess

TableDecoreP 300x199 Hostess with the MostessWhether you plan to host a last minute soiree or have been planning one for weeks, there are some helpful tips to keep you stress free reduce your stress levels.  I have been planning to host my own party for a few weeks now and here are some helpful tips I live by:

  1. Menu Planning – Two or three weeks before your event sit down and make a list of everything you want to make for your party including food, drinks or any party favors or decorations. Opt for dishes that can be made ahead of time.
  2. Grocery Shopping – Depending on what you are preparing, buy all ingredients a week before hand. If you leave anything off the list you still have plenty of time to get it.  Also, buy more than you think you will need (double recipe batches); you don’t want to run out of food for your hungry guests!
  3. Baking and Cooking – For the recipes that can be made in advance, start preparing these a few days ahead of time. I made a few different items each night which means I won’t be rushing to get everything done the day of the event.
  4. Presentation – We eat with our eyes first so make sure your food is presented on beautiful platters, cutting boards, serving trays or some other creative fashion to create a beautiful spread of food and drinks.

Guests will be impressed with your soiree and how calm and collected you are as a host.  More importantly you will enjoy being the hostess with the mostess as you are able to enjoy your party along with your guests.

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Digital House Hunting

DigitalTools.p 300x208 Digital House HuntingIn an age where it seems almost everything we need done these days can be accomplished via a phone app or the internet, why shouldn’t this be true when searching for a house to buy?  Thanks to technology, it is!  Several different digital tools make this process easy and allow you to hunt from the comfort of your couch.  Here are a few digital tools to check out:

  • Mortgage Calculators – there are several apps or websites that breakdown all the details of a mortgage based on interest rate, term of the loan and property value. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator, which is free, is online.
  • Home Search Locators – BidSelect, Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin all allow you to search digitally for a property based on different search criteria. Some of these websites also offer smart phone apps.
  • Sex Offender Lists – If you have children this is especially important to consider when buying a home. There are now two major sex offender registries that can be accessed digitally online.

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

 

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How to Get a Little R&R

ChristmasP 300x262 How to Get a Little R&RThe Holiday Season is in full swing now with Thanksgiving behind us.  December, for many of us, is full of parties being thrown by friends, workplace socials, and family gatherings, as well as traveling.  As the hustle and bustle of this time of year start to commence, how does one find a little R&R (rest & relaxation)?  Here are a few tips:

  • Say No: This is a favorite of mine and sometimes the hardest to do. If you are overbooked and stressed, it’s okay to RSVP no to an invite.  Stay home that night instead or get a spa treatment.
  • Hire Some Help: If you are hosting a party or the big Christmas dinner, hire people that can do the cooking for you, the clean up afterwards or to do the grocery shopping.  This will give you more time to get some R&R. If you can’t afford to hire the help ask your friends to volunteer to bring food or drinks.
  • Workout: It sounds counter-intuitive to try to squeeze in time to work out when you barely have time to sleep but even 30 minutes of a quick walk or yoga practice can help distress you and leave you feeling reinvigorated and relaxed.
  • Breathe: Really breathe – deep inhales and exhales with intention. This has been shown to reduce stress immediately and has a calming effect on the body and mind – instant R&R anywhere, anytime and fits any budget.

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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An Attitude of Gratitude

MapleLeaf 300x207 An Attitude of GratitudeThanksgiving is this week and before you know it Christmas will be here.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with traveling, cooking, shopping, and parties to attend.  But it’s important to make time for practicing gratitude – taking time to reflect and being thankful for what you have in your life.

Recent studies have shown that people who practice gratitude regularly experienced stronger immune systems, more optimism, lower blood pressure, better quality sleep, and are happier.  Simply taking time out of each day to reflect on what you are grateful for, be it big or small, can help you to slow down and be present in the moment.

I personally have gratitude for time with family and friends, my sweet pit bull, my faith in God, warm summer days and big kale salads.  What are you grateful for this holiday season?

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