It’s holiday time, and you all know what that means: a long list of stuff to do and all of the relevant stress. Instead of getting overwhelmed, let your smart phone do the work for you and enjoy a very h”app”y holiday season!
Here are 15 of my favorite holiday smartphone apps in the categories of gifting, travel, entertaining, and even exercise to help you get through the season with ease.
Santa Tracker ($.99) – My kids have always been enormous fans of the NORAD Santa tracker – but using the computer site tends to tie you to the house. Use this app to track Santa, send a letter, or even visit his blog.
Christmas Gifts List (free) – We’ve all done it. You bought a gift for someone and then realized that you spent more on her sister. This app will help you avoid that sticky situation. You can track gift giving by amount, note individual preferences and add wish list items.
Mint.com (free)- The pinnacle of budgeting, now conveniently located on your phone. Manage your money, budgets, expenses and bills in the palm of your hand. Add categories, and never lose money again.
By Lisa Eirene from 110 Pounds and Counting
What I love about the holidays are the traditions. My mom loves to tell the story of holidays when as a child I stuck black olives on the tips of my fingers and ate them. I love the frenzy in the kitchen, my mom trying to get all the food done at the same time. I love the aromas of baked turkey and stuffing, the ritual of making sure each bite of pumpkin pie has whipped cream on it.
Any way you slice that pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving and Christmas are days of Gluttony. We can avoid it, we can restrict our food intake on that day and longingly watch our family indulge or we can go hog wild and just eat everything on that table.
There has to be something in between, right?
As a reformed obese girl who has had a lifetime of struggles eating, I am faced with this decision every year. See, I used to weigh over 250 pounds. In those days I didn’t care that I was ingesting over 5,000 calories in that one meal.
Anda T. writes about her weight loss struggles, victories and every day life at www.leavingfatville.com. She also runs www.greatclothingexchange.com in her spare time when not chasing a toddler, cooking, cleaning, working and trying to take over the world.
Holidays mean a time for family to get together, share good food and maybe some wine and enjoy each other’s company. Sounds like a great time, right? It wasn’t until I started my weight loss journey back in 2009 that I realized how the holidays could make or break my diet. Suddenly, November and December struck fear into my heart. How would I get through all the food? How was I going to track the calories? How was I not going to be starving all the time?
The first year, I got ambitious. I decided I’d cook everything. No one had to bring a dish, desserts were Cooking Light approved, and sides never saw one ounce of canned soup. The menu was amazing and diverse and people never missed the favorites. Me, though? I missed everything because I was in the kitchen. There was no visiting, and no chatting over some wine or an appetizer before lunch/dinner. I was dashing around the kitchen like a madwoman. I did it not once, but twice. By New Year’s Eve, I was exhausted. My holiday vacation wasn’t a vacation at all. I’d stressed out so much the entire time about food that I completely forgot to have fun. Sure, I stayed on track, but I missed so much of the festivities, I still felt like I’d been cheated.
You no doubt have a million holiday parties to attend this year, which leaves you with the dreaded decision of what to bring as a hostess gift. If you are sick of giving out the same bottle of wine to every host and hostess, go with a healthy, nutritious gift that is fun to give and can be personalized for every occassion.
For me, there is nothing I crave more on a cold winter’s day than a big bowl of thick, filling soup. Curling up on the couch to watch a movie with the cold rain falling outside (I live in Seattle, snow is a rarity) really gets me into the holiday spirit. Give your hostess everything they need to make a big batch of healthy, filling soup in one easy package using Bob’s Red Mill soups.
Bob’s Red Mill soups come in handy bags full of all the delicious and wholesome ingredients you need to make a big batch of hearty soup. Available in a variety of flavors and full of beans and whole grains, Bob’s Red Mill soup mixes are ready to go*- you can just pour the soup mix into a pot with water or broth, add any of your favorite spices, and let simmer.
By Toni from RunningLovingLiving.com
The holiday season encompasses November, December and January, and throughout these months a lot of drinking, eating and celebrating occurs. My number one goal for the holiday season is to get through it without gaining weight. This year, I have taken it upon myself to start a new tradition in my family along with all the drinking, eating and celebrating…… we plan to run!
Racing during the holiday season is a great motivator to keep on track with training and healthy eating. With scheduled races throughout the holidays the excuses not to run or eat healthy become less likely to rear their ugly head. First off, I hate paying for a race then not putting my best foot forward or worse yet, not running it at all. Plus this year I have recruited my husband making the races a family tradition so I don’t want to let him down or vice versa.
Our new tradition started with a Virtual 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. We chose a virtual race because I was cooking Thanksgiving by myself and my time was tight. Unfortunately, Chris was sick and could not participate in the virtual run but I still got myself out there at 10 am!! I ran my virtual 5K in 28:28 and a tradition has begun which Chris will participate in next year. The accomplishment of getting out and running before eating a huge turkey dinner felt fantastic, plus the calorie burn helped to lessen the guilt associated with all the over indulgences from dinner….maybe we will make it a 10K next year!
A new trend in bachelorette parties may lead to changes in the traditional way we celebrate other special events. Instead of dragging around a half a dozen bride’s maids from bar to bar to consume copious amounts of calorie laden alcoholic beverages only to wake up and feel like hell warmed over for the big wedding day, health minded women are choosing to bond with a special, private yoga and fitness class designed specifically around the bride-to-be.
For example, at Flywheel Sports studio in the Flatiron district of New York brides and their posse can find themselves in a Pilates class infused with some dance and light weights, sweating to songs like “Chapel of Love” before they head out to get their hair and nails done for the ceremony. Yoga for Weddings, a Los Angeles based company who’s slogan “Bringing the Deep Breath to the Big Day” caters to new brides by offering private 90-minute classes with a focus on heart opening poses in preparation for the life changing commitment ahead.
So, if health conscious brides are swapping a night of drunken debauchery to celebrate with exercise, why can’t we do the same for other grand celebrations such as birthdays, Christmas holiday parties or New Year’s Eve events? We can! Here is how you can get started with this new trend in your neighborhood.
If you’re looking to eat healthier this holiday season, you may not need to look further than your spice rack. Not only can some of your favorite seasonal spices add a little holiday cheer to your favorite dishes, they can also increase the nutritional benefit of each bite that you take.
Historically, ginger has been credited with settling an upset stomach; however, the benefits of ginger go far beyond occasional stomach relief. In fact, ginger contains very powerful anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These compounds have been shown to reduce pain in those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis when consumed regularly. Gingerols may also help inhibit the growth of human colorectal and ovarian cancer cells.
To get more ginger in your diet, try Broiled Nectarines with Ginger Syrup
Nutmeg is a flavorful herb that enhances the flavor of potatoes, chicken, fish, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage dishes. In a recent study, nutmeg has been shown to play a role in tooth decay prevention due to its antibacterial properties.
To get more nutmeg in your diet, try Greek Yogurt with Honey Roasted Figs
By Deb Roby from Weight for Deb
The holidays are fast upon us, but maybe -for you- this year is different. Either through a move, a divorce, or a death, someone isn’t going to be at your holidays. Maybe nobody will. You might be looking at a week or more of spending quiet days and nights with a spouse or an adult child and you just Do.Not.Feel.In.The.Mood.
Fourteen years ago, I moved across the country from all of my family. In the years since then, parents have died, nieces and nephews have moved to new cities. There is no reason to return to hometowns. It’s just the two of us. Yet here, all our friends are with their families. Some have extended an invitation; it always feels like being the outsider looking in. It’s easier to decline than go.
So I’m speaking from experience. How do you keep from feeling alone when you’re alone during the holidays?
Hanging Christmas stockings never gets old. Even though you may be the one that packs them, it’s still an exciting and integral part of many families’ holiday traditions. Instead of packing them with candy, here is a list of pint sized products – every one of them completely tested! – that can help your family members get a leg up on a healthy, active lifestyle before the New Year’s Eve ball drops!
– Originally created because company owner Jennifer Ferguson couldn’t find a flattering sports bra, this pocket sized product is a dream come true for smaller breasted ladies. Holding you firm without flattening or causing the dreaded “Uni-boob” image, this is the one sports bra that does it all. I let my two older daughters try this bra, and it has already become a favorite. It doesn’t ride up, it flatters and holds everything into place. In other words, it does exactly what it’s *supposed* to do and none of what it isn’t. Attractive enough to be worn alone, or flattering under a traditional work out top, this bra would make a wonderful addition to a Christmas stocking.
Myorope Balls – These “balls on a rope” appear innocent and safe, but one quick trial and you’ll know that these balls mean business! I’ve long been a fan of self-massage and trigger point pressure, even going so far as to carry a lacrosse ball in my boxing bag. It can be tricky to get the ball at just the right spot, which is where the unique design of the Myorope comes in. Offered in 2, 4 or 6, the design allows for one ball to be anchored and lets the rest get into every nook and crevice that needs help. If you’ve got a runner, CrossFit enthusiast or triathlete – or if you are a fan of foam rolling, these will be the hit of the day. (I’ve been badgered for my set every time I enter the gym!)