Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip

Cooking, Health & Wellness, Kitchen

Don’t look any further for an Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip recipe… This is the EASIEST recipe that only takes 5 minutes! Plus, it’s made with protein-rich Greek yogurt and herbs, so it’s good for you, too!

When hosting kid-friendly parties, my favorite food options are easy appetizers and finger foods. This grab-and-go food set-up makes it so much simpler for families to eat whenever they’re hungry and spend more time playing and socializing. Can you imagine trying to get several toddlers to sit down for a formal brunch? YIKES! They’re much more interested in playing with friends while taking bites here and there.

I believe every party has to have a veggie option. Living in Southern California, there is ALWAYS at least one person who loves eating veggies or looking for healthier food options at parties. For this reason, I love to make a yummy veggie plate paired with an irresistible dip to upgrade what can sometimes be a boring crudite platter. I like to add festive touches, like special bowls or holiday decor, and fill in empty space with parsley and kale leaves to create a beautifully appetizing veggie platter.

The perfect Veggie Platter for Easter with Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip!

If you know me, I’m all about EASY! I have two toddlers (ages 3 and 18 months), so when hosting a party, I’m not interested in spending hours in the kitchen prepping food. But, the “hostess with the mostest” in me also doesn’t like serving store-bought dips. I want the occasion feel special with food that’s homemade! Plus, sometimes you don’t know what you’re getting in those pre-made store-bought dips, which can sometimes include lots of sugar and preservatives – yuck! This Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip recipe is just as the name suggests – EASY! Most of the ingredients you probably already have at home. To prepare, all you have to do is combine all the ingredients and stir! No blenders, no chopping!

I also love this recipe because it’s light and healthy! So many veggie dip recipes include mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese and/or SUGAR (which I think totally defeats the point of eating veggies!), but this recipe features protein-rich Greek yogurt, a variety of herbs, and fresh lemon juice. I’ve always liked to eat healthy, but since becoming a mom, I pay extra attention to what’s in the food I’m serving to our kiddos. This is a recipe that everyone can feel good about eating!

For this Easter brunch party, I put the Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip in an adorable stoneware bunny platter with a dip bowl from Target. I put the bunny platter on a large wooden serving tray and added cut veggies, RW Garcia crackers, and a bowl of hummus for guests to have a couple dip options.

Easter themed veggie platter

Best Veggies for Dipping:

  • Cucumbers – slice into rounds or cut into matchsticks
  • Baby Carrots
  • Rainbow Carrots – peel and cut in half length wise
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Bell peppers – Sliced into matchsticks
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

Other Snacks for Dipping:

Recipe: Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip

Yields: 4-8 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (non-fat or 2% fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Mix well until combined.
  3. Serve with vegetables and/or crackers of choice. Top with finely chopped fresh parsley or dill.
Perfect Veggie Platter

Recipe Tips:

  • If you choose 2% fat Greek yogurt, your dip will be thicker. I like to add more lemon juice to thin it up a bit. You could also add a teaspoon of olive oil.
  • You can choose to use fresh herbs instead of dried, but be sure to double the amount of fresh herbs than what the recipe calls for with dried herbs.

I hope you love this Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip! I’m always looking for easy appetizer recipes, so feel free to share yours in the comments below! Connect with me on Instagram and TikTok for more family-friendly ideas!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

10 Self-Care Tips for New Moms

Health & Wellness, Mom & Baby

Finding self-care as a new mom is REALLY hard!

The day after my firstborn joined our family, I remember thinking to myself, “I’ll never be alone again!” Suddenly, finding time for myself felt almost impossible, and if I did find a moment alone, I felt guilty. As an anxious new mom, my thoughts revolved around the baby while also trying to maintain my pre-baby relationship with my husband. Self-care swiftly moved to the bottom of my priority list, and it became even more challenging to find “me” time once I started working again. So much of my life changed so quickly that I felt like I lost myself overnight! I was three months into life with a new baby, and I broke down… I realized this was my new life, and the excitement of it being new had worn off. I was exhausted and desperately craved some self-care time!

If any of this sounds familiar, I hope it’s brought you some assurance that you’re not alone! I also hope it inspires you not to let yourself get to a breaking point like I did!

Soon after my breakdown, I realized that I had to make a plan to take care of myself or else I’d end up angry and depressed. I loved our newborn and I loved my husband, and I didn’t want to start resenting them. It was up to me to make the changes in my new life to ensure I got the self-care that I needed to be a happy mommy.

Below are my best tips for finding self-care as a new mama. I’m so happy I put these tips into practice a couple months after having my first baby. They became routine habits for me with baby #1 and then made the adjustment to baby #2 (when time is even more limited!) so much easier! With that said, these tips aren’t just for NEW moms… All busy mamas can utilize these tips!

Sometimes, we need some retail inspiration to motivate a new self-care journey! To shop some of my favorite self-care items on Amazon click here!

Getting my hair done with a baby on my lap… Just an example of how finding “self-care” with a new baby can be challenging!

10 Self-Care Tips for New Moms:

  1. Take Advantage of Early Mornings

If you’ve never been a morning person, having children will change that. If your kids are anything like mine, you’ll never sleep past 7 a.m. again! My tip: Wake up before your children! While getting up even earlier than your kids may sound miserable to an exhausted new parent, hear me out… Those early morning hours can be PRECIOUS “ME” TIME. If you can take 10-15 minutes to yourself in the morning before your day with the baby starts, I promise you’ll already feel more in control of your life. The days where my children dictate when I start my mornings are always harder than the days I choose when to get up. I personally prefer to wake up 30 minutes to 1 hour before my children to drink coffee, write in my journal, and read the newspaper (yes, I read the good old fashioned newspaper!). But, even if you only woke up 10 minutes before the baby, that’s 10 golden peaceful minutes to be with your own adult thoughts before the chaotic day with kids begins. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it so much that you’ll become a morning workout person! You could also meditate, read a book, do yoga… make those mornings for YOU!

2. Find Joy in Micro Moments

When there’s a new baby in the house, it may seem impossible to take an hour-long bubble bath whenever you wish. Instead of seeking those big self-care moments, try to find joy in micro moments throughout your day. When I started feeling trapped by my babies, I made a promise to myself that I’d do one small thing every single day that was just for me — for ONLY ME and nobody else! Every morning when I’d make my to-do list, at the very top I’d write one small feasible thing I could do that would bring me joy – a walk in nature, a phone call to my mom, 10 minutes alone to write in my journal, etc. At the end of a day revolved around needy little people, I always felt relief that I was able to do at least one thing for ME. And, as my babies grew and got more self-sufficient, these small things became bigger and longer: an hour-long hike by myself, a day at the spa, brunch out with girlfriends, etc. I believe this practice also taught me to find joy in the simple, which has been such a blessing.

3. Sneak in Exercise

So many moms complain that they can’t exercise because they don’t have TIME. I get it… adjusting to life with a new baby is hard! If you’re used to going to a pilates studio every day after work, but now have to come home to relieve the nanny, it can certainly feel like your exercise routine is a forever goner. This is my tip: JUST MOVE! Movement is exercise! Sneak in all the movement where ever and whenever you can! Take the baby on a stroller walk as soon as you get home from work, run up and down your stairs while the baby is napping, do a yoga video first thing in the morning before the kids wake up… And, don’t forget to plan a time that you can go back to your old pilates class, too! Because feeling like yourself and enjoying your favorite workouts is important, too! You may not be able to do everything like you did before baby, but you shouldn’t have to give it up completely. Personally, I found that I enjoyed working out so much at home that I never rejoined our expensive fancy gym after having a baby. Here on the blog, I’ve shared all my fave home gym equipment from Amazon, as well as my best tips for how to work out when you have young kids!

I go on a run while pushing the babies at least once a week, but I also make it a priority to do a solo run sometimes to feel like myself pre-baby

4. Prioritize Your Health

We mamas get so wrapped up in taking care of our family’s health that we often end up completely neglecting our own! This is your sign to drop everything you’re doing and take inventory of your health! When was the last time you went to your primary care physician? Have you been to the dentist in the last year? Is it time for a dermatologist visit? Put aside 15 minutes, call all your health providers and make those appointments! Your kids cannot be healthy without a healthy mommy!

5. Go to Sleep Early

If you’re not getting adequate sleep, you’ll never feel (or look!) your best — enough said! The best way for me to get enough sleep to is go to bed shortly after I put the children to sleep. I’m often in bed at 8:30 p.m.! I know it’s tempting to stay up late to find more “me” time, but I’ve discovered that limiting my nighttime sleep ultimately makes me feel like crap the next day. Recently, I’ve optimized my nighttime sleep with the help of Juna Nightcap Sleep Drops and Juna Nightcap Sleep Roller, which assist in getting me into a deeper sleep date — and it’s way healthier and more effective than melatonin or any other sleep aid! I’ve explained how Juna works for me in more detail in this blog post.

6. Make a Date with Friends

There’s almost nothing better than a good laugh with girlfriends. But, I know firsthand that friendships can easily take a backseat when you have a new baby in the house. Sometimes, around months 2 to 4 with a new baby, your friends may stop calling or checking in on you. Don’t take this personally, especially if none of your friends have had babies yet. Most likely, they’re assuming your new life with baby is consuming all your time, so they’re giving you space. It’s up to YOU to reach out to friends to fill your social cup. One of my favorite sayings is, “To have a friend, you have to BE a friend!” Make the effort to schedule a time to meet up with friends, and I’m certain they’d love to see you — with or without baby in tow! If you’re struggling getting out of the house, invite them over. Be vulnerable. Tell them you’re covered in breastmilk, haven’t made your bed in weeks, but really just need a gal pal to vent to. A REAL friend loves nothing more than being there for you. I recommend scheduling something with girlfriends at least once a month. If you can, try allowing your partner or caregiver to look after the baby when you meet with friends to really connect without distractions. Quality time with girlfriends is so good for the soul!

7. Join a Mommy-and-Me Class

Joining a mommy-and-me baby class was probably the very best thing I did after my first baby was born! Because we recently moved to the area and knew no one our age, in addition to being one of the very first of my friends to have a baby, joining the mommy-and-me class was the best way for me to connect with other local moms going through exactly what I was currently experiencing! I developed several good friendships from that first class, and now its fun watching our kids go to preschool together! Those ladies were the best sounding board, too, for when we were going through sleep regressions or I needed to vent about anything!! Our teacher was absolutely fabulous and taught me so much about conscious parenting and establishing solid family values, too. I liked the class so much that I signed up for a mommy-and-me class for toddlers! If you want more info about the local class I took, please feel free to contact me!

8. Communicate to Your Partner What You Need

Based on conversations with my other mom friends, I’d guess that maintaining a cordial relationship with our partners is probably one of the most stressful parts of having a newborn in the house. As mamas, we’re going through so much emotionally and physically during this time, and it can be infuriating watching our husbands continue about their lives as if nothing has changed… Must be nice to have adult conversations at work every day… Wow, you can play golf for 5 hours without having leaky breasts?… Why didn’t you know we needed more diapers?… How can you sleep?!… But, here’s the deal… Our spouses cannot read our minds! It would be amazing if they could, but men weren’t granted that superpower, unfortunately. I’m no marriage counselor, but my best advice is to effectively COMMUNICATE to your partner what you need. Tell them when you’re calm and there’s no other distractions. Clearly explain why you need 15 minutes every morning alone or why you want them to start helping with bath time or whatever it is you need! And in turn, ask them what they need! While it may not seem like it on the outside, it’s very likely they’re going through some hard changes, too… They now worry more about providing for the family, they fear they don’t know how to take care of the baby as well as you, they’re embarrassed to admit that they don’t know how to help, so sometimes they do nothing! Empathize with your partner and create a game plan to help each other through this life transition.

9. Start a Gratitude Practice

I believe it’s almost impossible to be depressed when you’re grateful. Instead of wasting energy wishing you could get your old pre-baby life back or grumbling to your partner that they don’t help enough, make a list of things you are grateful for and you’ll instantly feel better. I like to start my day with writing down three things I’m grateful for in my journal, because it sets the tone for a positive day. When times are hard, sometimes I’m simply grateful for a cup of coffee and not much else! But, since I begin my day in gratitude, I find myself adding things to the list in my mind as I go about my day! Look around… What are you grateful for that’s right in front of you?

10. Reconnect With Yourself Doing Something You Loved

If you haven’t experienced it yet, there will probably be a moment when you see an old picture of yourself from pre-baby days and think, “I miss you…” LOL! I promise your old self is still there! Make it a priority to reconnect with what makes you, YOU! Even if you haven’t taken dance since high school, join an adults’ hip hop class or take a virtual class on YouTube! Did you love traveling? Here’s your sign to go ahead and plan your first international trip with baby! Maybe you always loved and appreciated handwritten notes… Try taking up calligraphy! Love yourself by doing something you love!

My self-care time: Writing down what I’m grateful for while enjoying the sunshine. OH! And you can copy my cheapy sunglasses here!

If you need some additional inspiration, below is a list of 20 simple self-care activities! Copy and save this list in the notes section of your phone so you can always reference it when you need some T.L.C.!

  1. Take a walk outside
  2. Read a book or magazine
  3. Take a nap
  4. Meditate
  5. Pray
  6. Call a good friend or relative
  7. Start a gratitude list
  8. Write a bucket list
  9. Watch funny videos
  10. Stretch or do yoga
  11. Pour a special coffee, tea or beverage and drink it slowly
  12. Light a candle
  13. Listen to music
  14. Exercise
  15. Paint, draw or color
  16. Write down 5 things you like about yourself
  17. Give yourself a massage
  18. Paint your nails
  19. Take a bath
  20. Do a breathing exercise, like this one

Do you have any tips for finding self-care that I missed? I’d love to hear what you do to take care of yourself as a mama! Comment below or connect with me on Instagram or TikTok!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

7 Ways to Workout When You Have Babies and Toddlers

Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
A typical setup of me trying to workout surrounded by toys

Hey mama, I hear you… Finding time to workout when you have a baby and/or toddler in the house is HARD! I think it can be especially challenging for new mamas who are so exhausted from newborn middle-of-the-night wakings or simply trying to adjust to their new normal of never being alone! Believe me, I’ve been there!

One morning when I was home with my 3-month-old firstborn (who was colicky and a horrible sleeper), I got fed up with my life feeling controlled by a tiny human. I missed my workouts and I missed feeling like myself. So, I decided right then and there that my new motto moving forward would be, “Something is better than nothing.” What started as a few minutes of movement during his first nap every day turned into me really getting into the swing of finding time to commit to my workouts with kids in the house. Here’s my tips on how to do it!

1. Allow them to join you

This isn’t always easy, but I promise that the more you do it, the easier it gets! Your children may not like it at first, but soon it becomes a routine and they come to expect (and respect!) mama’s workout time. At our home gym, our son likes to pretend to workout with us, and our daughter likes to play with her toys around us. Yes, we have to stop and start our workout a few times to attend to their needs, but it’s much better than not working out at all. And, we get the opportunity to model for our children what taking care of our body and minds looks like and help instill healthy habits for them early! If you want tips on how to build a good home gym, I linked all our Amazon home gym products here.

2. Provide kids rewards for being patient during your workouts

I know it can be a challenge for babies and toddlers to entertain themselves long enough for you to get a good workout in. Before I workout, I’ll tell my children what fun we’re going to have after the workout so that they behave and have something to look forward to. I try not to make it revolve around food because then that’s a weird habit to start with so early (We’re going to workout so we can have cookies later?? NO!!). The rewards are usually that we get to go to the playground, library or even Target! Or, we’ll play a game that they love or watch a movie together as a family.

3. Try shorter but more frequent workouts

If your kids simply can’t give you a solid 30 minutes to get a workout in, try breaking up your workouts into two 15-20-minute workouts throughout the day. For example, I’ll do a 20 minute walk in the morning and then a quick 15 minute HIIT in the afternoon.

4. Workout during their nap

This can be tough in the early infant stages when you’re so exhausted from night feedings and the adjustment to life with a newborn! Even though you’re tired, I recommend working out during the baby’s very first nap of the day. It’s usually their most routine and longest nap of the day (so you could potentially workout AND nap!), so it will give you a guaranteed workout time every day. I know all you want to do is nap when they nap, but if you move a little bit first thing in the morning during that first nap around 9am, I promise it will make you feel better and give you more energy for the rest of your day! Even if it’s only a quick 20-minute workout!

5. Take turns with your partner

My husband is great about this! On the weekends, one of us stays with the kids while the other gets to have their own solo workout time. It’s typically when we do our most intense workouts of the week, because we’re able to focus without child distractions. We take turns. Afterward, we usually do something active as a family, and it’s a really rewarding day!

6. Add more movement throughout your day

If you’re really struggling to find time to workout while caring for your children, try to find all the small opportunities to move more. Take the stairs, play “tag” with your kids, have a dance party with your kids, park far away so you have to walk further to get to the store or work, stand when you’d normally sit… anything!

7. Stay up late or get up early

I’m only mentioning this because I know so many have had success with working out before their kids wake up or going to the gym after kids’ bedtimes. This isn’t for me now, but I hope it will be in the future. I used to always workout at 6am but that changed when I had kids, because I have early rising babies. My husband has a very demanding job, so I remain the kiddos #1 caretaker while he gets ready and leaves for work super early. I go to bed at 8:30 so the idea of squeezing in a sweaty workout at 8 p.m. sounds dreadful – LOL!

I hope these tips are helpful! You can do it mama! If you’re looking for more ways to optimize your health and wellness as a parent, check out my post on small changes that make a big difference here.

Let me know what you do for your workouts in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO Maggie

Small Ways I’m Optimizing My Health & Wellness This New Year

Health & Wellness, Lifestyle

Happy 2022! Here we go again… New Year, New Resolutions!

I love goal setting, visualizing, dreaming, manifesting, all things positive life improvement, you name it! For me, the New Year is the perfect time to revamp my goals around health and wellness, because it’s a fresh start after all the holiday indulging, in addition to starting a new year after my birthday (Dec. 23). I love that I get to enter a new calendar year at the same time as a new year in my life!

I haven’t always been successful with resolutions, though. I used to set these big, lofty and sometimes unspecific goals – often with no real reason behind them other than vanity or comparison. I have yet to run a marathon or get “super toned,” and the years that I made those resolutions were typically some of the hardest years for me. I always felt like I was failing and usually resorted to worse habits, like crash dieting, overexercising, or giving up completely. After some time, maturity and therapy (seriously!), I’ve learned that the best health and wellness resolutions are the ones that are realistic and easy to keep. I know that when you have a big goal, like losing 50 pounds or running a marathon, the idea of making only a small change can sound disappointing, but trust me… the smallest changes can lead to the biggest impact over time! I’m so proud to say that I’m the healthiest and happiest I’ve been in my life – all without running a marathon LOL!

So, this year for me is all about small changes that help me OPTIMIZE my health and wellness. I’m at a stage in my life where my health maintenance is pretty good. My diet consists of 80% healthy and 20% fun food. I prioritize finding time to move throughout the week. I get a lot of sleep. I take the time to journal and work on my mental health. These things are good, but I feel they can be taken to a higher level.

I don’t just want to move 30 minutes a day, I want to make sure I’m doing the right type of movements consistently and improve my resting heart rate. I don’t just want to sleep for 8 hours, I want to have the deepest, healthiest sleep without middle-of-the-night interruptions. I don’t want to simply journal every day, I want to continue taking a proactive approach toward enhancing my mental health.

With this in mind, below are the detailed ways I plan to OPTIMIZE my health and wellness in 2022. You also can check out my YouTube vlog where I share more details! Let’s get it!!

Better Workouts:

First, let me tell you a bit about my workouts… I workout about five days a week doing something active. That could be a HIIT workout, a 30 minute walk around our neighborhood, yoga, or a 5k run around the Rose Bowl. What I do for a workout usually depends on the time I have that day and how my body is feeling. Trying to squeeze in a 30 minute workout 5 days a week, plus adding movement where ever possible (taking the stairs, playing outside with my kids, etc.) has worked for me the last four years in maintaining my fitness. I don’t belong to a gym. We built a makeshift gym in our garage during the pandemic, and now I honestly wonder if I’ll ever join a gym again (you can read about our home gym here).

Apple Watch Series 7

As I started examining how I could optimize my fitness this year, I realized that I wasn’t doing any sort of tracking to truly understand how I could make it better. Enter the Apple Watch Series 7. Yes, I know I’m late to the Apple Watch game, but that’s because I never had a reason to have one… In fact, I didn’t want one, and I actually thought it would make my life worse! I’m too connected to my iPhone as it is – I don’t need another Apple device on my wrist!! But, here’s the truth: I’m less connected to my iPhone now because of my Apple Watch! When I’m with my children, I now leave my phone in the other room and can be PRESENT without the lure of opening a social media app or browsing the internet. If I receive an urgent call or text message, I’ll receive it on my wrist, but I often decide to respond to it later. I love the activity app on my Apple Watch that tracks my movement, exercise and standing. It’s my goal every day to close my “activity rings” by doing enough movement to burn 310 calories, exercise for at least 30 minutes, and stand for at least a minute each hour. It’s very motivating to see my daily progress and try to move more to close my rings. I also love that the Apple Watch tracks my heart rate. Heart disease runs in my family, so I believe it’s super important to be aware of your resting and active heart rates. I honestly like the band that my watch came with – I chose the Starlight color. But, when I don’t want it to look like I’m wearing a fitness tracker, I switch out my band for this pretty two-tone stainless steel band that’s super affordable on Amazon.

Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 22 Running Shoe

Running is my preferred method of cardio, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m way behind on updating my running shoes! Experts recommend changing running shoes every 300-500 miles. Of all the running shoes I’ve tried, Brooks brand has consistently been the best running shoe for me and for many other runners. Brooks are like the Heinz Ketchup of distance running shoes. Every bada** long-distance runner loves them! For me, it’s the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 that does the job… WOW, they are comfortable and offer lots of support! I have thin feet and a high arch, and these shoes protect me from getting plantar fasciitis while also adding extra support for my knees and hips. Adding these new shoes will make my runs longer, more comfortable and injury-free. I recently purchased the shoes in the Grey/Rose/Black color combo (below). I like the neutral colors with the subtle girly nod with the pink accents!

Echelon Smart Connect Fitness Bike

I already mentioned that my preferred method of cardio is running outside, but my husband and I felt we needed a cardio machine to add to our home gym for when it’s raining or can’t leave the house with kids napping. Since my husband is a big mountain biker and cyclist, we considered getting a Peloton. Then, he discovered the Echelon Smart Connect Fitness Bike, which is basically like the Peloton but much more affordable! To be honest, I’m not a big cyclist and don’t necessarily love cycling classes. I prefer choosing my own music, pedaling to the beat and switching up my resistance based on whether the song is fast or slow. We didn’t really feel like we needed to pay for all the bells and whistles of Peloton’s fitness classes (especially the monthly fee!), and Echelon provides cheaper options to do without! We got the bike without the screen, because we can add our own. However, there are options to add a screen and Echelon also has plenty of live, on-demand rides and classes to choose from, including yoga! If you want something as similar to Peloton as possible without paying an arm and a leg, this is the bike to get! It’s quiet, sleek and works like a dream. But, if you’re rich and need Ally Love (or whatever instructor) to move your butt, go the Peloton route. I can’t wait to level up my cardio at home with this Echelon Smart Connect Fitness Bike!

New Workout Outfit

Sometimes you just need a new outfit to inspire you, right? I’ve been on the hunt for the cutest pink workout set, and these are so hot! Most of my workout gear is black, but I’m ready to switch it up this year with fun colors!

Better Sleep:

Some background on my current sleep: I feel really fortunate that I have pretty great sleep already and part of that is because I made a priority several years ago to develop good sleeping habits. Thankfully, both of our children sleep through the night. My children go to bed at 7-7:30 p.m., and we’re in bed by by 8:30-9 p.m. every night except for weekends. Despite having fairly good sleep, there are still some nights I have trouble falling sleep and some mornings where I wake up really groggy for no apparent reason. Because of this, I was curious if there were any ways I could optimize my sleep.

Juna Nightcap Sleep Drops and Juna Nightcap Sleep Roller

I used to be really resistant to wellness products that included CBD, and honestly, that’s only because I didn’t know enough about how beneficial they truly are! I used to think that CBD for sleep was like habit-forming melatonin, and I knew I didn’t want to be knocked out or have to take a pill every night. Also, because of the messaging around marijuana I’d heard my whole life, I had a weird subconscious voice telling me I’d get high or addicted… Even though the science around CBD told me otherwise! Then, my girlfriend told me about Juna, a botanical wellness company founded by two busy moms and career women who were looking to optimize their overall wellbeing with plant-based solutions, and the effectiveness of their Nightcap Sleep Drops. I was skeptical, but after I looked into it, I learned about the different stages of sleep and how Nightcap helps restore your natural sleep cycles and get your brain to Stage 3 Deep Sleep (when your cells and body repair themselves). I started incorporating Juna Nightcap Sleep Drops into my nightly routine by simply putting the drops under my tongue before bed. I did this regularly for two weeks, and I truly started noticing a difference in how well I slept and how refreshed and clear-headed I felt the next morning! If you have any interest in optimizing your sleep, you won’t regret trying these sleep drops! And, if you use code MAGGIEJACKSON at checkout, you get 15% off!

I took better sleep a step further and started pairing the Nightcap Sleep Drops with the Juna Nightcap Sleep Roller before bed. The rollerball is a NON-CBD product, so it’s a great solution for pregnant or breastfeeding moms who want great sleep but are concerned about the effects of CBD prenatal or postpartum. I put the Nightcap Sleep Roller on my wrists and behind my ears before bed, I take a couple deep inhales, and it’s like a magical sensory experience that calms me for a deep sleep. Again, if you use code MAGGIEJACKSON at checkout, you get 15% off, which is awesome if you get more than one product!

My nighttime routine is now so peaceful and sets me up for a great sleep. One hour before bedtime, I drop the Juna Nightcap Sleep Drops under my tongue. Then, I take a warm shower or bath. I absolutely adore a warm bubble bath with Dr. Teal’s Foaming Bath Soothe & Sleep. I brush my teeth, put on body lotion, then put on silky PJ’s from Cleobella or Lunya (my favorites are here and here). Then, I put on my Juna Nightcap Sleep Roller on my wrists and behind my ears. Sometimes, I roll it on my chest, too! I take a deep breath or two into my wrists, then climb in bed. I read a calming book for the next 15-30 minutes, then turn out the light and Zzzzz! It’s important to mention that I have NO SCREENS during this nighttime routine, which I think is HUGE if you want to reach a better, deeper sleep!

Dr. Teal’s Foaming Bath Soothe & Sleep, Cleobella and Lunya pajamas

Better Mental Health:

I have done A LOT of work on myself the last 15 years, including therapy, reading tons self development books and listening to a multitude of self-improvement podcasts. Some of you may know that mental illness runs in my family, so I have made it a priority to work toward improving my mind the same way that I work out to improve my body. Here are the ways I’m optimizing my mental health this year:

Daily Gratitude, Love and Intention in my Moleskine Classic Notebook

I use my Moleskine Classic Notebook for almost everything, including to-do lists, brainstorms, and mapping out my three, five and 10 year goals. But, I use this notebook the most during my morning routine where I jot down my daily gratitude, love and intention. I got this idea from two great influencers I follow, Lauryn Bosstick and Rachel Hollis. First, I write down what I’m grateful for and make it specific. For example, I don’t simply say, “I’m grateful for time with my kids.” Instead, I’ll write, “I’m grateful for the time I got to spend present with my kids at the playground yesterday.” Next, I’ll write down who I’m sending love to. Sometimes, this is a list of people who I know are going through a rough time. It’s also people that are just on my heart. It’s like a little prayer for those I care about. Lastly, I’ll write down an intention for who I want to be that day by stating an affirmation, like “I am a fun, energetic mother. I am a loving, devoted wife. I am going to be a national TV host.” Stating these intentions stick with me throughout the day and help me live up to them! I highly recommend that you grab a Moleskine and start doing this first thing in the morning while you sip your coffee (or lemon water or protein shake or whatever your routine) to set your mind in a positive, grateful place for the rest of the day. I’ve used Moleskine notebooks for years, because they’re the highest quality, come in lots of color options, simple to write in, and last forever! It’s my goal for 2022 to do this practice at least 5 days a week, and I’d love for you to join me!

An example of my morning journal routine in the Moleskine Classic Notebook

Juna Balance Drops

Here I am talking about Juna, again, because the product is really that amazing! I started incorporating Juna Balance Drops in my morning routine and have sincerely seen a difference in my overall mood and daily productivity. After taking these drops consistently for two weeks, I noticed that I felt more clear, more relaxed, and more “on.” This may sound crazy, but I relate these drops to the pills that Bradley Cooper takes in the movie “Limitless.” Okay, I’m not some magical Wall Street master, but I do feel more like Super Mommy! I used to find my mood all over the place throughout the day where it was hard to stay focused and present. When using these drops, I feel a bit more even keeled, ready to bounce back and forth from cooking family breakfasts to answering emails to playground playdates to writing projects. According to Juna’s website, the Balance Drops are “a reliable dose of brain nourishing phyto-actives that centers the mind and balances the body… Balance truly helps us reduce daily stress and calm nerves.” It’s like vitamins for your brain! Use my code MAGGIEJACKSON to get 15% off at juna-world.com!

Juna Balance Roller

Similar to how I pair the Nightcap drops and roller together in the evening, I pair the Balance Drops with the Juna Balance Roller for a heightened mood lifting experience. As the last step of my get-ready routine, I put the rollerball on my wrists and take two deep inhales… AHHH! According to the website, “Juna’s nanoparticle mood-shifting Balance Halo is a complex essential oil rollerball that uses scientifically proven functional botanicals that will reset the mind and shift your mood.” For me, it’s like an instant mood boost with the relieving scents of cedarwood, peppermint, grapefruit and eucalyptus. And, you can keep a roller in your purse for instant relief on-the-go! Check it out and get 15% off with code MAGGIEJACKSON.

Toss Juna Essential Rollers in your bag for on-the-go wellness

Meditation

I love journaling and practicing mindfulness, but as a super busy mom who often feels pulled in 5 different directions at one time, it can sometimes be difficult to find my zen! I decided that 2022 is the year that I really make meditation a habit. It’s my goal to feel more centered and in-tune with my body, so when the stressful days and moments do arise, I’ll have a great foundation to stand on.

I learned the 4-7-8 breathing technique several years ago from a therapist when I was learning coping skills for anxiety. It’s an awesome way to just slow down and ground yourself for a minute. Some people claim that it puts them to sleep after several rounds! I’ve found that it’s also an awesome way to meditate or begin meditation. If you’re not familiar with the 4-7-8 breathing technique, let me explain: breathe in for 4 seconds; hold for 7 seconds; then breathe out for 8 seconds. Once I do a couple rounds of 4-7-8, I switch to 4-4-4 and keep my mind only on my breath. If my mind wanders, that’s okay. I just come back to the breath. It’s actually kinda cool to see what pops up! I’m, like, now why did my brain go there?! LOL! My favorite time to meditate is after a workout or while taking a warm bath before bedtime. I love the calming scents of lavender from the bubble bath while I slip into deep relaxation.

The next step for me will to start doing guided meditations, and I’m looking into which app, like Headspace or Calm, may be best for me. I’ve also heard great things about Deepak Chopra’s Meditation Experience! If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

What do you think: Would you try any of these simple hacks to optimize your health and wellness this year? I’d love to hear ways you’re getting healthy in 2022! Drop me a comment below or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson.

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Best At-Home Workout Finds on Amazon

Health & Wellness
Outdoor workouts at home

My husband and I have been working out at home long before the Covid-19 pandemic. After we had our first baby, we wanted to spend more time at home to be close to him, but it was still important for our mental and physical health to get our workouts in. So, we made a mini makeshift gym in our house with free weights, resistance bands and a floor mat to do what we could until we were ready to go back to our official gym. We ended up liking working out at home so much that we recently built a more legitimate gym in our garage! But, I still find myself working out all over our house – running the stairs while baby naps in her nursery, jumping rope and lifting free weights in the backyard while our toddler rides his bike, doing yoga in our living room, and other creative at-home workouts. We’ve found that there’s really no excuse not to squeeze in a 20-minute workout at home – especially when you have the right gear. Plus, we’ve saved tons of money by getting rid of our expensive gym membership!

Below, I’ve put together a round-up of my favorite at-home workout gear that you can easily find on Amazon. I also will be sharing some of my favorite workout moves on Instagram, so be sure to follow me @maggiehjackson for frequent updates.

Resistance Loop Bands

I use these resistance loop bands all the time for booty workouts. I love that they come in a fun pink palette, but they also come in a muted gray color palette for guys or those who aren’t super into pink like me. These hardly take up any space at all, so they’re easy to store for at-home workouts.

Ankle and Wrist Weights

I use these ankle weights way more than I ever thought I would. When the baby is napping and I want to do cardio, I’ll often strap these on and run up and down our stairs.

Yoga Mat

This pink yoga mat comes in six other colors. I don’t love the super thick yoga mats, because I want to feel steady when I’m jumping up and down and happen to step off the mat, so this 1/4-inch thick mat is perfect. I also like that it comes with its own carrying strap to take to a yoga class.

Jump Rope

Another great tool for at-home cardio is this jump rope. It comes in six colors, and for under $10, it’s a steal. My favorite way to use the jump rope is to break up weight training. I’ll jump rope for 1 minute straight, then do a weight circuit, and repeat.

5-Pound Free Weights

10-Pound Free Weights

We have adjustable dumbbells that go up to 50-pounds each, but I find myself always going back to my 5-pound and 10-pound free weights. I like that they are easily transportable, so I use them in our garage gym but also take outside or anywhere in the house where the baby is napping or playing.

Functional Trainer

We worked at home for a couple years before pulling the trigger on getting this functional trainer. If you want a full-body weightlifting workout, this is the only gym equipment you need. We’ve transformed our garage into an at-home gym and use this there.

Weight Bench

This adjustable weight bench works great with the functional trainer, but I also use it for other workout moves, like as a step-up bench for some cardio.

Perfect Pushup

I bought the Perfect Pushup stands for my husband as a gift several years ago, and they’re still used all the time in our at-home gym. They help keep uncomfortable weight off your wrists and encourage you to do a pushup with better form.

Home Gym Flooring

Get this home gym flooring to protect the floor in your home, as well as provide a safe, soft ground for your workouts.

adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Shoes

I have these adidas Cloudfoam shoes in black but heavily considering getting them in pink, too. They’re affordable and comfortable, so great for at-home workouts, running errands or chasing the kids around the park. I use these ONLY for weight and HIIT workouts – NOT running. These do not have the support I need for running. There’s so many color combos, so you can pick exactly the shoes you want for your style.

Workout Leggings with Side Pockets

These workout leggings are by 90 Degree but are so similar to my Lululemon Wunder Unders. In fact, I find myself wearing these leggings more than my Lulus these days. They have a side pocket, so they’re super convenient when I’m running around with my phone (or baby monitor!). The best part is that they’re about one-fourth the price as Lululemon leggings!

adidas Workout Cap

If you’re going to workout outside, like I often do, I like to wear a breathable cap to protect my face from the sun and keep me cool. This adidas workout cap matches with the Cloudform shoes that I recommended.

So, that wraps my Amazon list of fitness gear for home. What else would you like to see? Want to know more of my workout routine? My fave workout clothes? Let me know in the comments or contact me on Instagram.

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.