Miracle Marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

August 7, 2014

What if every mile you ran could help create a miracle? Registering for The Children’s Miracle
Network Miracle Marathon could do just that. It isn’t your typical marathon; the run is spread across 27 days and you are asked to complete a mile a day for 26 days whenever and where ever you like, and the final 1.2 miles is completed as a group. Instead of running 26.2 miles, you will run 27.2. Proceeds from the run are donated to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I am running on behalf of the Wellmont Health System in Tennessee.

Wellmont Health System, a part of the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals has created the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Next Generation campaign to raise funds for much needed renovations. The entire project is expected to cost $2.5 million. Miracle Marathon runners like myself who are participating on behalf of Wellmont will be raising money for the Next Generation campaign.

According to Vickie Hungate, Assistant Director of Development for Wellmont,

All monies raised from this event will support Children’s Miracle Network at Wellmont Health System and this year will help renovate and expand the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
The NICU operates at near-capacity and cares for premature infants born as young as 24 weeks, weighing as little as 15 ounces.  Close to 2,000 babies are born each year to our hospitals and more than 250 of these newborns need to be admitted to the NICU.  Of those, 60-80% are admitted for the treatment of complications of prematurity; some premature newborns need to stay in the NICU for several weeks and even months, as their bodies were born too little and too immature to sustain life on their own.
This ‘NICU Next Generation’ initiative will allow us to prepare for the next generation of miracle babies.

I am asking my family, friends, and readers each to sponsor me for a day of the run. I am hoping to find 27 donors, but I would love to find more.

Can you spare at least $10 to donate? You can donate here.

I will post a photo on social media each day of the marathon showing when and where I plan to run with the hashtag #JessRunsMM, and I will acknowledge who sponsored me for that day.

If you decide to sponsor a day please leave a blog comment and let me know if there is a specific day you would like to sponsor; I will try to accommodate all requests.

You can also register for the Miracle Marathon here and choose a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital to support.

Turning up the heat with Thermo Heat: Fitness Friday

June 20, 2014
The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Thermo Heat.
Thermo Heat Maximum Strength Fat Burner
It is no secret that I gained a little weight this winter, and it was entirely my own fault. I unintentionally cut back on running and working out, but my eating habits and calorie intake remained the same. The added stress of my engagement and subsequent wedding planning hasn’t helped either. When Fitfluential offered me the opportunity to review Thermo Heat, I jumped at the chance.
We are planning a late September wedding. I would love to loose twenty pounds, but I would be happy with fifteen. For this to be a realistic goal, I need to eat a low calorie die and work out regularly. I routinely use supplements such as a high quality multi-vitamin, calcium, and fish oil to fill in dietary deficiencies. The addition of Thermo Heat should give me the boost that I need to help me meet my goal.
Thermo Heat and Fiffluential

About Thermo Heat:

The basic idea behind Thermo Heat is that it increases thermogenesis and in turn increases your metabolism. So what is thermogenesis? Thermogenesis is the process by which your body produces heat and can help you burn excess fat.

Appetite Management:

The biggest benefit I noticed was appetite suppression. I am a foodie, I love to cook and eat. I struggle with managing my appetite. Thermo Heat helped to take the edge off my cravings. It was easier to skip snacks and motivated me to make healthier food choices.Increased Energy and Mental Sharpness:
Thermo Heat did give me a significant energy boost. I generally experience fatigue shortly after lunch, but I didn’t when I was taking Thermo Heat. I was concerned that it would interfere with my bedtime, but I had no problem falling asleep at night.

Boost Metabolism:
I have only taken the product for two weeks, so it is hard to estimate metabolic effect during a short period of time. I haven’t significantly altered my diet or exercise routine, and I have lost three pounds. The weight loss leads me to believe that this supplement does boost metabolism. I have friends who have issues swallowing pills so instead, they turn to patches like sliminazer to help them reach their goals. It is different for everybody and that needs to be remembered.

Thermo Heat and Fiffluential

My personal experience with Thermo Heat:

I started off with the recommended dosage of one pill in the morning and one in the afternoon. It made me slightly jittery, but I don’t consume caffeine regularly. This significantly declined after the third dose. I experienced the feeling again when I increased to the full dosage of two pills in the morning and two in the afternoon, but this declined after the third or fourth dose. I no longer experience any jitteriness. The product contains 250 mg of caffeine, the equivalent of 2.5 cups of coffee. If you are sensitive to caffeine you might have difficulty with the product.

I didn’t experience any other side effects. I have taken the product for two weeks and I have lost three pounds so far. I plan to continue the product and I will post results when I finish the bottle.

I would recommend this product to anyone looking for a supplement to boost weight loss. I have experienced success during a short period of time and I think it will help me meet my long term goals.

For more information on Thermo Heat:

Whenever you change your diet, exercise, or decide to try a dietary supplement, you should consult your physician or healthcare professionals. Ingredients in this product may not be suitable for all individuals and you should read the label carefully. This blog is not intended to give medical advice, I am sharing my personal experience with the supplement.

Getting my #MorningWin with Oikos and belVita

April 29, 2014

I have partnered with belVita and Dannon to help promote the belVita and Dannon 
partnership. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which 
includes writing about the promotion and product. However, my opinions are entirely my 
own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. 

When I was in high school and occasionally even as a college student, my grandmother would make breakfast every morning. It was generally something I could carry on my way to school or work. Wasn’t it great to be a kid?

Life as a single mom is hectic. On a good day, I remember to grab something while I am walking out the door, and usually I just skip breakfast altogether. I have a toddler to get ready for school every morning, and I tote around several bags for work. It is easy to forget breakfast, and this just reinforces my bad eating habits.

Reporter/Photojournalist essentials laptop bag, camera bag, and my purse.

Implementing a healthy breakfast routine was part of a series of lifestyle changes that I chose to make. I wanted a breakfast that tastes good, but also has a sufficient amount of protein and fiber. Crunchy belVita Breakfast Biscuits and Dannon® Oikos®* Greek Nonfat Yogurt made it easier for me to change my bad habits. On hectic mornings, I put the yogurt and biscuits in my bag to eat at work. 

Occasionally, I get to enjoy my breakfast lounging on the front porch.  

Crunchy belVita Breakfast Biscuits are available in five delicious flavors which are Blueberry, Golden Oat, Cinnamon Brown Sugar, Chocolate and Apple Cinnamon. The biscuits are a good source of energy to start your morning moving forward. 
One individual pack contains 4 biscuits:
  • 3 grams of dietary fiber
  • 19 grams of whole grain

Dannon® Oikos®* Greek Nonfat Yogurt is available in a large selection of flavors, and has nearly twice the protein as regular low fat yogurt. 
  • 12 grams of protein per 5.3 ounces. 
  • 80 to 130 calories per 5.3 ounces. 
You can pair the two with a serving of fresh fruit for an easy, delicious, and healthy breakfast. 

The Productivity Pro, Laura Stack has a few tips that will help you get organized and score a  #MorningWin. 

  • The secret to a smooth, sane morning is doing as much as you can the night before. Leave as little preparation as possible until the last minute – you’ll thank yourself in the morning. 
  • Spend twenty minutes at the end of each day planning your to-do list. When you download the next day’s activities beforehand, you can devote your morning to enjoyment rather than stress. 
  • Be sure to start your morning with a delicious, balanced breakfast. Together, the nutritious steady energy of belVita and 12 grams of protein in Dannon Oikos Greek nonfat yogurt along with a piece of fruit will help you get more out of your morning. 
For more information check out belVita and Oikos on social media. 
Do you have a morning breakfast routine? 
Do you have any tips to help others get a #MorningWin? 

Easy as Pie: Southern Buttermilk Pie Recipe

April 9, 2014

I haven’t always been a fan of pie. If I were offered the choice of cake or pie, a few years ago my choice would have always been cake. What was I thinking? My palate changed significantly as an adult, and I love a good slice of pie.

My favorite recipe is a Southern Buttermilk Pie. I thought I would share two versions with you today, a plain Southern Buttermilk Pie and a Chocolate Buttermilk Pie. These pies are super easy to make and disappear quickly.  

For both pies you will preheat the oven to 325 F 
Southern Buttermilk Pie
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 9 inch pie crust 

Chocolate Buttermilk Pie
  • 1 c. to 1.5 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (depending on taste)
  • 1 c. sugar 
  • 1/4 c. flour 
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 9 inch deep dish pie crust 
My original recipe called for 1.5 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips. It is a delicious version, but you can only eat a sliver because it is so rich. I personally prefer 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  
I start by melting my chocolate chips in the microwave. I put them in a microwave safe bowl, turn them on 30 seconds on medium, and then stir. I microwave them on 15 second increments and stir until they start to get glossy and smooth.  
If you are making the plain Southern Buttermilk version start here:
I advise to sift your flour, if you have a sifter. It will not ruin your pie if you do not, just mix all the dry ingredients first (sugar, flour, salt). Add the eggs and mix well, and then add the vanilla.  
Here is the difference between the Chocolate and Southern Buttermilk:
For the Southern Buttermilk version add 1 cup of softened butter 
For the Chocolate Buttermilk add 1 cup (or 1.5 cups) of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. 
I strongly advise that you water bath the pies while they bake. It is easy, and it will help ensure the center of your pie sets when it cools without burning your crust. If you have never water bathed a pie or cheesecake, I am going to include instructions.  

Water Bath
I use an old roasting pan, and I fill the pan up with enough water to just below the first joint on my index finger when submerged. You have two options for putting the pie pan in the roasting pan after the water is added. 
  • Be VERY careful, pull out your top oven rack some, place the roasting pan on the oven rack, place the pie in the roasting pan, and carefully try to slide the rack in without sloshing water everywhere.  
  • You can sit the pie down in the roasting pan, and trying to gently move the roasting pan filled with water to the oven.                

Either way you choose, just take care to not get burned.  

Bake the pie at 325 F for 60 minutes
To remove the pie, slightly pull the oven rack out and lift the entire roasting pan out. You don’t want to spill water on your freshly baked pie, so do this slowly. I let the pie sit on the oven in the roasting pan until the water has cooled off significantly, but if you are in a rush a few ice cubes in the pan (around the pie) will help it cool faster.  
  • Please don’t burn or scald yourself, take caution when removing the pie from the water.  
I have baked the pie without the water bath, but I don’t advise it. You need to bake that pie long enough so that the pie “sets” when it is cooled, and that can cause you to scorch your crust. 
After it has cooled down, transfer the pie to the refrigerator and chill for an hour. 
This pie is great with fresh whipped cream.