Gift Ideas for your next gift-exchange party

Gift Ideas for your next gift-exchange party

Tis better to give than to receive, but sometimes coming up with that ‘just-right’ gift is challenging. Especially when it’s for our coworkers, teachers, or neighbors whom we may not know as well as our close loved ones. Often I see people spread holiday cheer with homemade treats or fancy chocolates. It’s true that many people enjoy sweets but isn’t there plenty of that to go around already this time of year? Why not gift something different to stand out from the crowd and that’s not food?

Here is a roundup of awesome gifts that your loved ones, friends, colleagues, teachers and neighbors will love.

DIY gifts come from the heart. Who wouldn’t want this delicious wreath and sweet stove-top potpourri? Okay, oranges are food but it was too cute to not include it.

Affirmations are powerful, but sometimes, they feel a bit cheesy. Perhaps these can help. If your gift receiver won’t mind a little swearing here and there (okay, a lot) then these bad a** affirmation cards will make them smile and feel awesome every day.

Everyday Badass Affirmation Card Deck by AngieBeeHotz

If you like the idea of non-cheesy affirmations, but not the curse words, here is another option.

Affirmators! 50 Affirmation Cards to Help You Help Yourself – without the Self-Helpy-Ness!


Help them relax: Essential oils can be a great stress reliever and mood booster. Give the gift of essential oils on-the-go with an aromatherapy necklace. They can simply add a few drops of their favorite oil and reap the benefits wherever they are. (Click on the pictures for links to the products.)

Aromatherapy Necklaces from Etsy


Practical and inspiring: We all use our cell phones everywhere we go, which means we all have dirty cell phones. Gift these screen cleansing towelettes that come in a meaningful package. The pattern honors Steve Dezember, John McNeeley and others battling ALS. The art for this design was created by Steve who drives over a canvas with his wheelchair. A portion of the proceeds from this pack will be donated to ALS awareness.

Well-Kept Screen Cleansing Towelettes


Serve it up: These beautiful and functional serving spoons are a must for the entertainer you know. They rest nicely on your serving bowl with that fun zig-zag design and no one will know it, but they help you spoon out just the right amount. The set of 4 spoons are made in standard serving sizes: 1 cup, 3/4 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1/8 cup. It is all about serving up fresh food in healthy serving.

Livliga Serving Spoons

 Spice up their life: Primal Palate offers gift sets of 3 spice blends like this one below. The owners of Primal Palate say,  “we want you to experience cooking with spices like never before; using spices that are the highest quality, the freshest, and quite simply… the best. 

Gift-giving can be so rewarding! Hopefully, we gave you some new ideas for your gift exchange party, neighbors, family, and friends.

What is your favorite gift to receive? 

Kristen’s Friday Favorites

Kristen’s Friday Favorites

Hey, everyone! I hope your week went well! I recently read in Parents magazine that 31 % of women say prep time remains the number one challenge to cooking weekday dinner. Are you among those women? I know I am! The next greatest hurdle is clean up. Weeknights can be so challenging! So, what can we do? Throw in the towel? Nope. Today I share some resources to help us get over these hurdles.

Favorite blog for meal prep ideas: Sweet Peas and Saffron

I am really digging how each month, she picks a type of meal prep recipe and shares seven different varieties with you. Like this one below, marinated chicken 7 ways.

7 Chicken Marinade Recipes You Can Freeze. Get a head start on dinner prep by getting your chicken into a marinade! Seven flavors so you'll never get bored.

Favorite way to save on clean up time: Sheet Pan Dinners like these shared by Cooking Light.


Sheet Pan Honey Soy Salmon Dinner

That’s it! Short and sweet this week.

What do you do to save time on food prep and clean up! Share your secrets in the comment below.

Kristen’s Friday Favorites

Kristen’s Friday Favorites – a little local love

Happy Friday! How are you feeling? I hope you had a healthy and productive work week!

I’m feeling grateful because I’m just coming back from a “stay-cation” with my husband and little ones. We were able to slow down our busy lives for 7 days and enjoy each other’s company in town. It was a lovely reminder of how much I love spending time with my family and how much we love the Durham/Raleigh/Chapel Hill area. Therefore, I thought I’d show some local love in this week’s Friday Favorites.

Favorite Gluten-Free Local Restaurant: Primal Food and Spirits in Durham, NC


I don’t have to follow a gluten-free diet and for some people it’s a fad, but for those with Celiac disease it’s a serious matter. That’s why I think it is really awesome that Primal Food and Spirit keeps a 100% gluten-free kitchen, meaning there is no possibility of cross-contamination. We’ve been there a few times, not because it’s gluten-free, but because the food is really good, unprocessed, healthy and unique. I was very happy with my Valentine’s Day lunch there: chopped kale salad with hard boiled eggs and bacon-wrapped dates.


Favorite Local Museum Marbles Museum  in Raliegh, NC

I can’t say enough great things about this place. My little girl is just the right age (almost 4) for the Around Town exhibit. She spent hours exploring and playing in the pint-size town on the first floor. They had a grocery store and kitchen area that (of course) I just loved watching her play in. As I dietitian, I really appreciate the emphasis on healthy living in the kitchen area, farm area and the Power2Play area.


Favorite Family Dinner Time Saver for Busy Weeks:

Did you know that Foster’s Market in Durham and the Root Cellar in Chapel Hill have family dinners? If you know you are going to have a crazy hectic week, can’t plan/prep ahead, or just plain need a break from cooking simply order a week’s worth of family meals in advance and you can eat local, scratch-made, delicious food without any fuss. All you have to do is heat and eat! LIFESAVER!
















Have a healthy, happy weekend!!!


Kristen’s Friday Favorites

Lucy’s Friday Favorites


Local charity: Activate Good

Activate Good is located in Raleigh and offers volunteer opportunities around the Triangle. That are affiliated with hundreds of local nonprofit organizations to provide volunteers for the local charity events and programs. 

 Mark your calendar for April 23-29, which is national volunteer week!


Favorite TED talk: You are what you think

I love TED talks! This one spoke to me because of the touching story and the wonderful message explaining how our spoken and unspoken words lead to actions that lead to our destiny. Powerful stuff. 

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 10.06.42 AM

Daily Mindfulness blog: Daily Om

“All too often our lives can be spread too thin and it becomes important to gather our thoughts and center ourselves to become whole again.” -Madison Taylor 

Sign up to receive these free inspiring emails:

Recipe of the week: Roasted Beets ‘n Sweets Beets and sweets

If you don’t think you like beets, I am guessing you have not tried them roasted. This is a simple, delicious, and nutritious side dish (or dessert if you’re weird like me!).

Kristen’s Friday Favorites

Kristen’s Friday Favorites

Wow. It’s February! How did that happen? I don’t know about you but it really snuck up on me. Seems like it was just New Years Day. Well, here we are in February and today is #WearRedDay for heart health awareness. Yay! Which brings me to my first of today’s favorites.

Favorite Heart Health Awareness Video:  Sometimes women, myself included, care for everyone else while ignoring their own needs. If we aren’t putting our mask on first – our efforts to help others can be completely sabotaged. It’s not until we can love and care for ourselves, that we can truly do the same for others.

Favorite Heart Healthy Dessert: Sometimes fruit just doesn’t cut it and we need a little chocolate in our lives. I love that Trish at Mom on Time Out made these brownies without oil or butter so they are low in saturated fat. I would take it a step further and try this with almond flour or whole wheat pastry flour and opt for dark chocolate chips to increase the fiber, protein and antioxidant level.

Favorite quote this week: If you follow along you know that we don’t encourage regular calorie counting at Well Balanced Nutrition. When you embrace more natural foods and adopt a healthy mindset around eating it’s just not necessary. So when I came across this, I was nodding my head in complete agreement.






















I hope you all have a fun and healthy weekend doing what you love with people you love.


Kristen’s Friday Favorites

Lucy’s Friday Favorites!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Favorite hiking trail in the triangle: Company Mill Loop at Umstead Park Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 5.53.57 PM

If you’ve been following, you already know I’m addicted to walking, hiking, and playing in the woods! It’s probably my favorite pastime and often where I get inspired to write these lovely blog posts. About 7 years ago I was introduced to Umstead State Park and quickly adopted the Company Mill Loop as my “training hike” for backpacking excursions. This trail is moderate in difficulty with some beautiful views along the water. The entire loop is 5.8 miles, so be sure to bring plenty of water and maybe a well-balanced snack. 

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 5.29.24 PMNew Favorite app: Happy Scale

I have to admit something, I’m not really an app person; however, this one is worth sharing! A wonderful client of mine brought it to my attention and here’s why does what they say about their free product:  

“Happy Scale will use fancy math behind the scenes to give you insights into how quickly you’re losing weight and when you’ll achieve your goals!

Also, you know that feeling of disappointment when you step on the scale and discover that in spite of how hard you worked, your weight barely changed? Well, Happy Scale will help you change your relationship with the scale because you’ll see your trend line moving down, slowly but surely, even when your scale won’t budge.”

We already know one of the easiest things you can do for weight loss is to step on the scale daily. Now you can add Happy Scale to your toolbox! 

Favorite whole grain: quinoa! 

Quinoa is my favorite no-plan-nutritious-meal base. I make a quinoa bowl by heating the pre-made whole grain and topping it with whatever leftover or steamer veggies are in the freezer. Then comes the protein! That may be a piece of fish, 2 fried eggs, chicken, or cheese.  

Favorite quinoa recipe: A Delicious Kale-Quinoa Bowl in 20-minutesScreen Shot 2017-01-27 at 5.43.18 PM

This vegetable-lover dish can be enjoyed by the meat eaters in your family as a nutrient-packed side dish to accompany any baked, grilled, or slow-cooked creation.


Photo credit: Izy Hossack of Top with Cinnamon