My go-to low carb snacks and treats

I have been super open about my postpartum weight loss journey and how the F-Factor diet helped me lose the baby weight. Since I lost the weight, I have found myself still living the f-factor lifestyle but sort of taking the tools I learned from it and creating a plan that works for me. I am no longer actively trying to lose a ton of weight. I am not against losing weight, but it is not at the forefront of my mind and I feel really good in my body right now. That said, I have learned SO MUCH about food this past year. I no longer just eat the f-factor way. I like to describe the way I eat as, low-carb, with a combination of lean proteins and high fiber but the focus being low carb. By eating low carb most of the time, I find it so easy to indulge once in a while with absolutely NO guilt or change in my body. For example, yesterday I had Shake Shack with Charlee for dinner. I ordered the shack burger no bun, and a side of french fries. I had eaten a super low carb breakfast and lunch so I was in fat burning mode all day. I ate the side of fries and enjoyed every single bite because for the other 90% of my day, I focused on choosing low carb, high fiber options! With low-carb becoming a very common way of eating, there are so many amazing new products I have found that help me stay on track. I thought I would put together a list of my go-to low-carb products in case you live that low-carb lifestyle too!

Brooklyn Bites: I must say that Brooklyn Bites is my FAVORITE brand that I have found for treats. They make this incredible cookie brittle in all kinds of flavors. My go-to is the chocolate with sea salt and Matt’s favorite is the cinnamon. All of their brittle is Kosher, non-gmo, contains no soy, no white flour, no gluten, no white sugar, no preservatives and they are dairy free. Not sure what the heck they put in it haha but it is AMAZING. I found their cookies at a random bodega in Brooklyn and contacted them immediately. They sent me the whole line of flavors and I just think their product is fantastic and can’t speak more highly of it! 3 pieces of cookie brittle have only 100 calories and 9 net carbs.

Paleo Bakehouse: I discovered this company on Instagram and I was immediately intrigued. They market themselves as low-carb, keto and paleo friendly sweets. I decided to try a few of the products and give a review for you guys. I purchased the April box and have tried every item in the box. I must say the treats are AMAZING! They are all low carb and natural and totally fill my sweet-tooth craving. I love the blueberry cake the best but you really can’t go wrong. I highly recommend!

Catalina Crunch: If you follow me on Instagram you know that I love this product! I love it so much that I accidentally ordered 8 bags of it this week ha! It’s ok though since I’ll have enough to last me for two months! I can honestly say that this is the BEST low carb cereal I have ever tasted. It tastes almost exactly like cinnamon toast crunch and is such a wonderful replacement for high sugar and carby cereals.

Wanu Water: I actually partnered with Wanu Water a few months ago and I still love this water! You can read all about why in this blog post.

Smart Sweets: I guess I was living under a rock because I only just discovered these. These amazing gummy bears have 28 grams of fiber and 33 grams of carbs and 90 calories per bag (only 5 grams net carb). Which is insane because they legit taste just like gummy bears! They also have a Swedish fish treat but I am not a huge fan of Swedish fish in general. That said, if you are you should totally get them!

Whisps: These are more savory and a great snack and low carb of course. I like to pop a few in a salad for added crunch, or use them to use as a scoop into a healthy dip.

Califlour foods no carb crackers: I am obsessed with these crackers. Everyone that comes to our house for drinks and appetizers always asks what they are and are excited when I tell them that they are zero carb crackers!

Choc Zero Chocolate bark: I use the Choc zero chocolate syrup on my F-factor pancakes and until a friend of mine mentioned that the bark was on Amazon I had no idea they made this! I LOVE this chocolate and can tell zero difference between this high fiber, low carb chocolate and your typical dark chocolate. LOVE!

Low sugar frosting: Ok this one is so weird but I have to share haha. I have this weird obsession with frosting, and I have had this obsession forever. I was getting into a weird habit of eating a small scoop of vanilla frosting every night which is super bad for you as it’s high in sugar, fat and carbs! I found this no sugar frosting and it tastes JUST as good. Now to be clear, this is sweetened with splenda so it’s not really good for you, but if you are looking for a frosting substitute that has less carb and no sugar, this is the one for you!

Raw Rev Bars: I have talked about these before, but they really are so good and a great source of fiber. I love the sea salt and peanut butter, and to be honest, so does Charlee! It’s a great breakfast on the go or afternoon snack.

I hope you guys found this list helpful. I figure I’ll keep updating this post as I find more yummy low carb options. What do you think? Anything I missed?!

xoxo-J

 

My go-to Crockpot Mexican Chicken

Hi Guys! I hope you’re all having a great week so far. I have been posting this recipe a ton on my instagram stories and realized I never typed it up! As all of you know, I am all about convenience when it comes to cooking. I have a small crock pot that I like to cook chicken in and one of my go-to recipes is my Mexican chicken. You can use this chicken mixture in tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, or over a bed of lettuce for lunch. It’s SO tasty and delicious. Not to mention EASY to prepare!

 

Ingredients:

-Chicken breast (I use about 3-4 medium chicken breasts)

-1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

-1/2 cup salsa of your choice

-Taco seasoning mix (at least half the package) The more you add, the spicier it becomes

Directions:

-Add all ingredients to the crock pot.

-Coat the chicken and flip over so it is fully coated

-Cook on low for at least 3.5 hours. You can cook on low for longer but it will be done after 3.5 hours

-Devour

Once the chicken is cooked, I love to make enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas or even a taco salad. It’s so delicious and easy!!

xoxo-J

 

Mornings with Charlee

Photography by Shadi Garman

Coat: Canada Goose Leggings: Spanx Sneakers: Golden Goose Charlee’s Coat: Amazon (Only $30 and has been our go-to all winter long! It runs a little big. She is wearing a 12-18 month size)

The last few months and I guess the toddler stage in general can be super crazy and at times have made me feel a little out of control. On one hand, I love this age because Charlee is learning new words daily, communicating more and just being the cutest thing on the planet. On the other hand, she is also going through a frustrating time because sometimes she can’t communicate what she wants and gets really frustrated herself resulting in meltdowns and tears. She also just got all of her molars AT ONE TIME which was so painful for her, poor baby. It’s all typical toddler behavior but at times I find it hard to navigate.

One thing I think I actually have down pat is our morning routine. Charlee is a dream to be with every morning, and I think it’s because of the structure and schedule I have set up for us. I thought I would share a little bit about it with you guys!

I wake up before Charlee (around 6:30ish) and get myself and the apartment ready for the day. I like to get myself ready, make the bed, unload the dishwasher from the night before and just start the day with a clean apartment.  Charlee usually wakes up around 7:30 A.M. which gives me plenty of time to prep for my day. Matt has to be at the office by 7 A.M. so I do the mornings solo. I have found that my mornings with Charlee are pretty seamless, because Charlee knows exactly what to expect. We have a routine and schedule we follow pretty much to the t every single day. As soon as Charlee wakes up, I change her diaper and get her dressed for school. Then we do her hair. I take her into the bathroom and prop her onto the toilet lid (I just bought a stool to eliminate this but for now this has worked for us.) I do Charlee’s hair and give her her toothbrush and she brushes her teeth while I do her hair. She is SO patient, it’s incredible. After that, we go to the kitchen and I pour her milk and give her a snack. I usually let her snack on berries, bananas, a smoothie pouch or yogurt (she eats her breakfast at daycare.) After snack we play in the playroom together and just hang out until it’s time to go. Around 7:55 A.M we leave the apartment and walk down to school. It’s my favorite walk :). Charlee LOVE to walk and I can tell she feels like such a big girl. When Charlee was about 18 months old, I decided to skip the stroller and start walking her to school. We are lucky enough that our daycare is leased out of the same building as our apartment so this walk doesn’t take too long. She walks almost the whole way! We stop in front of the elevator bank to look out the window and say “hi” to all the birdies. Then we try and guess which elevator is going to come, which has become Charlee’s favorite new activity. Then we walk together outside and she knows to hold my hand. It’s just so cute and I love our little walk together.

It can be a bit tough to navigate the mornings by myself with Charlee but by introducing the same schedule every single day, has really helped keep mornings predictable and enjoyable. I really love this special time with my girl and look forward to seeing her smile up at me when I go in to get her in the mornings.

What does your morning routine look like?

xoxo-J

Toddler must-haves 15-18 months!

Photography by Brandon John

I can’t believe Charlee is 1.5 years old! It’s crazy she will be 2 in less than 5 months. WHERE did the time go?! I have been doing these must-haves posts since she was a newborn. You can check all of those out here.

This stage in Charlee’s life has been really fun, but also really exhausting. Charlee was quite possibly the easiest baby of all time so it has been a tough transition into toddler life if I am perfectly honest! All of a sudden she has started to have melt downs and makes sure to let Matt and I know, along with the whole world when she doesn’t like something. I have been feeling a little out of control with this new phase of life with Charlee and decided to sign up for the Positive Parenting Solutions annual membership and feel like I have gotten some amazing tools to help me handle her changing moods and curveballs she has been throwing my way.

The below items were awesome in helping us navigate this period of Charlee’s life!

Toy Kitchen: We got this toy kitchen for Charlee for Christmas and it has become her favorite toy of all time! She loves to spend  her time at the kitchen, making “soup” and “coffee” for Mommy and Daddy. The one we bought is from Ikea (you can see it above in the photo) and we really love it. The quality is awesome and it only took about an hour to put together. It’s also a great apartment size kitchen, plus it’s $79!

Silicone Toddler Plates:  I found these on Amazon and ordered them on a whim. These are super durable, machine washable and I like the compartments. Charlee is funny about different foods touching so she is also a fan. I like that they are also silicon and soft.

Sippy cup with straw: This has been the best cup to teach Charlee how to drink from a straw. Plus they don’t leak.

Lid-less kids cups: I did a little research and decided on these lid-less cups for Charlee. Luckily, in Charlee’s daycare class they no longer allow bottles so she has gotten really good at drinking for a cup with no lid. I like these since they are non-toxic and reusable.

Sticker books: From 15-18 months, Charlee would sit and play with her sticker books for an hour at a time. I love this specific set since she is a huge fan of The Hungry Caterpillar book.

Large comfy sleep sack:  Charlee has been in a sleep sack since she was out of a swaddle, but this sleep sack is a little different than the others. It is super cozy and a bit heavy making it feel more like a comforter or blanket, rather than a thin sleep sack. Charlee will eventually be sleeping in a big girl bed with a big girl blanket, but until then this has been a great item. She sleeps so well in it and it keeps her from trying to escape the crib since she doesn’t have much mobility in it.

Big Girl toys: My first purse, broom set, vacuum : Charlee started showing a huge interest during this development stage in copying Matt and I in household tasks or basic every day things. She loves to pretend to carry a purse, vacuum the house etc. Every time Matt and I vacuum, she runs to get her toy vacuum and join us! So cute.

Travel Harness:  During this time we reached the point where it no longer worked to have Charlee sit on our laps on a plane. She is a really tall toddler and she hated feeling cramped. This harness makes her feel safe and snug and acts as a car seat. It has been such a game changer for flights!

Carter’s Toddler Pajamas: I have bought a few different types of pajamas, but I feel like the Carter’s PJ’s are the best option for the price. We just had to order 2T. She is getting so big!

Scooter: Charlee’s Nana bought her this scooter for Christmas! It’s such a cute little scooter and she loves rolling around on it in the house and at that park.

Best ipad games: Peek a boo Barn!: I love this app and we keep it on Charlee’s tablet. It has been the way that Charlee learned all her animals! It makes me feel better about giving her screen time since it’s such an educational app!

Baby Shark Book: This is the best thing you can buy your toddler!!! This book plays every single Baby Shark song and has pictures and buttons. Charlee LOVES it!

Did I miss anything that you couldn’t live without during this toddler stage? Leave a note in the comments!

Xoxo-J

Tips for Working from home

 

Photography by Shadi Garman

Top: Mango Leggings: Spanx Shoes: old, similar here: Steve Madden

Hi Guys, as a lot of you know, I work from home a few times a week…every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. You can read more about my schedule and routine in this post. I have been doing this consistently for over a year now and have figured out a few tips for staying focused. If you don’t work from home, a lot of these tips can be applied to just being more productive in general! I hope you all enjoy!

Time Blocking: I first heard about time blocking from my insta girl-crush Purely Pope. She mentioned that time blocking was a game changer for her time management and productivity so I decided to do some research. Basically, time blocking is exactly what it sounds like; Blocking out specific time for specific tasks. For someone like me, who is super ADD and jumps from one task to another, this can be super challenging. That said, it has taken a few months of practice and this method really helps me stay focused and productive! Not only do I time block my days, I actually time block my entire week in regards to work and social events etc. starting on Monday. Doing this helps me visualize what is in store for me that week and allows me to be fully present in the current task or event without getting stressed about things I need to get done. I make sure to block time for all my tasks so things get done. It sounds simple, but it has made a big difference for me!

Create a to-do list at the beginning of your day: This is the other part of time-blocking that is super important. I sit down at my desk when I start my work day and write a list of priorities I need to get done. Then I set a time for those tasks. I always start with an hour of email catch up, then go into more specific tasks that require more focus after I have sort of checked the maintenance items off my list. I also love checking things off my list, it weirdly makes me super happy haha!

Eat breakfast: I always take time to make myself breakfast before I start working. I like feeling satiated so I don’t get distracted in the morning. I find that I am more productive first thing and being fed keeps me focused.

Take scheduled Breaks: It is so easy to just plow through work especially with no people around you potentially distracting you. I find that if I take at least a full 5 minute break every hour, I am calmer and more focused.

Get dressed…don’t work in your pajamas: I know this sounds weird, but I always get dressed and ready before starting work. Doing this helps me mentally check in 100% to work. Doing this also keeps me from taking “work time” and using it to do my hair or makeup.

Take a lunch break: This kind of goes into the scheduled break category, but it’s really easy to fall into the trap of sitting in front of your computer and eating your lunch. I find that by making myself leave work for 30 minutes to eat and focus on something totally different helps make me more productive!

Designate your workspace: Matt and I recently purchased a desk and storage unit from West Elm and it has been a game changer. I love my workspace and look forward to sitting down and getting to work in my little home office. I also have a really comfortable chair that I sit in which is also super important.

Go outside: When I first started working from home, there were a lot of  days where I literally didn’t go outside at all until I left to pick up Charlee at 3. The days that I do go outside I am just a happier person! I actually like to work outside on nice summer days. Nothing better than a little fresh air to put a pep in my step.

Start your day with a clean workspace: This is huge for me. Before I even think about starting my workday, I make sure my bed is made, the dishes are put away and the house is clean. If I don’t, I find myself distracted by housework.

Allow yourself to indulge the pleasure of working from home: Working from home is amazing and something I consider a luxury and one thing I do not take for granted. I love being able to throw a load of laundry in, or do a quick load of dishes. I also like to workout during my lunch break. Working from home is awesome and by integrating the tips above I find I am actually more productive at home than I am when I go into the office!

Share in the comments any tips that you recommend in regards to working from home!

xoxo-J

 

 

Les Georgettes Custom Bracelets

Photography by Brandon John

Bracelet c/o Les Georgettes

I am always on the lookout for beautiful yet affordable everyday accessories. I like to experiment with statement earrings and hair accessories, but when it comes to arm candy I find that I wear the exact same thing every day. I was so excited when Les Georgettes reached out to me to partner on a post. I loved their designs and the concept was so cool. They combine fine custom jewelry with interchangeable colors and reversible leather or fluid-perspex. In just a few seconds, you can transform your jewelry by changing or reversing the colored insert to go with your outfit! I chose a super neutral bracelet because I wanted to wear mine every day! I just love it and get a ton of compliments on it!

You can purchase their pre-made designs, or even customize your own. It’s such a unique concept! Here are some of my other favorites from their site. They even make rings! For a limited time, you can take 15% off your order using code LETSJESSUP15.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Xoxo-J

Cheesy chicken sausage and peppers low carb pasta!

I came up with this recipe on a whim the other night and holy moly it is SO GOOD. I love these Palmini noodles and make a lot of different pasta dishes using them. I swear these noodles really fill the pasta void! This recipe is basically no carb considering it’s made of almost all fiber and veggies. It’s one of my favorites. Let me know what you guys think if you make it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
  • 3 pre-cooked Italian chicken sausage links (sliced into bite size pieces) Any brand will do
  • 1 can of Palmini Hearts of Palm Noodles
  • Sliced red, green and yellow peppers. I use about 1/4 of each and slice the pieces up
  • 1/3 of a white onion sliced
  • 1 cup of sliced white mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons of low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions:

  • Run the Palmini noodles under cold water for 1 minute. Pat dry using a paper towel until they are almost dry. Set aside. I recommend using a salad spinner if you have one. This really helps dry out the noodles!
  • Heat a large pan and melt the ghee in the pan
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper
  • Sauté the mushrooms for 5-8 minutes, until they begin to soften
  • Add the onion and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes
  • Add your peppers and Sauté until a bit soft, 8ish minutes (feel free to cover the pan to cook faster)
  • While your veggies cook, prep your ricotta sauce
  • Mix the ricotta, onion powder and Italian seasoning into a bowl. Set aside.
  • Once your veggies are cooked, add the Palmini noodles to the pan and mix them so everything is evenly combined
  • Add the ricotta mixture to the pan and coat the noodles and veggies
  • Once all coated, place into a pasta bowl
  • sprinkle a little pecorino Romano cheese on top for added flavor
  • ENJOY!

xoxo-J

Seeing stripes

   

Coat: Club Monaco Turtleneck: Wolford Skirt: Asos Necklace: Amazon Hair clip: Asos Earrings: Mango Handbag: Gucci Bracelet: Amazon


Hi guys! I am heading to Austin for SXSW with my sister Britta and my sister in law Lisa in two weeks and the countdown is ON. I have been doing some shopping for the weekend and bought this really cute skirt from Asos. It’s lightweight but I figured I’d try to style it for the winter to get more wear out of it! I paired it with a black turtleneck bodysuit and my Stuart Weitzman over the knee boots to help keep me warm. I bought this Club Monaco coat two years ago and have gotten SO much use out of it. I have worn it in posts here, here, here, here and here! I love it so much that I also bought the same coat in pink which you can see here, and here ! They still make this same style and it’s currently on sale for $350. I have clearly gotten my wear out of it and I think it’s so timeless.

I am home with Charlee today because they decided to close our daycare due to the storm.  I fully expected a winter wonderland when I woke up, but it basically is just rain! Oh well, at least I get to spend some special time with my girl :).

I hope you guys have a great start to your week!

xoxo-J

 

Found my Happy

  

^^Gummy bears are what make Charlee happy! ^^

Photography by Brandon John

Found my Happy Women’s tee | Found my happy toddler tee

I think your personal definition of “happy” changes when you have a baby. It did for me anyway. Instead of happiness being 100% about myself, my happiness extends into the happiness of another human being, my sweet Charlee! The things that make me happy, have quite simply, simplified. I find joy in the little things. Charlee humbles me, and the things that used to make me happy don’t really do it for me as much anymore. I guess a good example would be how much a designer bag used to make me happy. I used to save up and buy bags. They would bring me so much joy! Want to know something really funny? I have’t bought a new bag in over a year! Why not? It doesn’t make me feel as happy as it used to. Instead, I find so much joy in buying Charlee new Stride Rites, or wearing matching outfits haha!

I was so excited when Found My Happy reached out to partner. Found My Happy is a new, feel-good apparel & accessories brand that lets you live, wear & express your happy! They have apparel for the whole family and their message is to spread happiness!  “Always Happy Your Way Through Life” is the Found My Happy mantra because life is so much better when you do! How sweet is that?

They have so many cute options of matching tees including the ones we are wearing above! As a gift to you guys (because you all make me so happy!), we are offering a 20% off discount on any item on their site using the code “Let’s Jess Up.”

Make sure to head over to www.foundmyhappy.com to scoop these up! Check out my other faves below:

 Women’s Girl Power Tee  | Toddlers Girl Power Tee

 Always Happy Your Way Through Life Toddler Tee

Finally, I thought I’d share a really random list of things that make me happy:

-When I go into Charlee’s room in the morning and she smiles so big

-When you catch the subway just in time and your morning commute goes seamlessly

-Date night with my husband

-Sunny days

-Summer

-When I nail a new recipe

-Cooking for my family

-Spending time with my family and friends

-Travel

-Fresh sheets

-a bath

-Watching TV on the couch with my hubby

-A really good glass of red wine

-When Charlee randomly hugs me

-My alone time in the morning

-Drinking on a NYC rooftop

-Sweden

-Spending quality time with my Momma

-Checking everything off my to-do list

-A clean house

-That feeling you get after a really hard workout

-Coffee first thing in the morning

-Laughing with my sister and brother

-My nephew Joe

-Getting dressed up

-Friday and Saturday nights

-Giving back to those less fortunate

-My blog and all of you who read it!

-Massages or any type of self care

-SLEEP!

What makes you happy?! Leave a note in the comment section below!

 

 

Hair swag: The new go-to accessory

Photography by Shadi Garman

Hair accessories are all the rage right now. From oversized fabric headbands, to dainty hair clips like the one I am wearing in the photos above, the hair accessory is the new IT accessory.

I recently got a hair makeover and weirdly having short hair makes it easier to style and use accessories! I wanted to share some of my favorite hair accessories for you guys to shop in case you want to try this trend for yourself!