Week In Review (September 16 – 22, 2013)

Fall is officially here and with it comes change.  There are the obvious changes in nature happening right outside with cooler, shorter days, changing leaves, and fading summer flowers.  There’s also the changes taking place inside and outside my home as I start pulling out my fall decor and opt for cheery mums to replace our summer annuals in the flower beds.  Additionally, there are changes happening for me personally, both on the outside as I transition into my fall wardrobe of jeans, boots, scarves, and sweaters, and on the inside as I take time to evaluate where I’ve been, where I am heading, and, most importantly, where I am right now.  Changes all around are stirring up with the autumn wind.

Welcome Fall!

OJ|MHWL 9:23:2013_1Sure signs of Fall abounded this past weekend, most apparent of all being the clear shift in weather from muggy, humid days in the 80s to cooler, drier temperatures hovering in the upper 50s and 60s.  It is absolutely stunningly gorgeous weather right now.  This is one of my favorite times of year weather-wise in the Chicagoland area.  The sun is shining enough to keep you warm outside with a light jacket, and the cool autumn breeze feels refreshing.  The leaves have just started to shift in our neighborhood and I look forward to the full turn that will occur in the next several weeks.  This is perfect Winnie Weather as I like to call it.  My little pup has extra pep in her step on our walks and we’re very much enjoying our twice dailies together.  I even pulled out her fall leash, which, like all the rest of her leads and collars, is by Up Country.

Another sign of Fall’s return for me is Martha Stewart’s annual special edition Halloween magazine.  I spied this while waiting in line to check out at Whole Foods just the other day and was happy to see a new cover, as opposed to last year’s reprint from a previous edition.  I am hoping this year’s copy includes new and fresh ideas.  More than anything, I enjoy the beautiful pictures that Martha Stewart prints always include.  This definitely puts me in the mood to start decorating for Halloween, which I will most likely do in my home next week.  It also reminds me that it’s time to pick up some pumpkins for our front porch.

The start of a new season of the Joffrey Ballet is yet another joy I look forward to every autumn.  The standard season doesn’t normally begin until late October, but this year the Joffrey added a special Russian Masters program.  I was happy to snatch up tickets considering there were only four performances.  My Mom and I thoroughly enjoyed the program, half of which we’ve seen Joffrey perform in years past, but half of which was a new experience for us.  I especially enjoyed the contemporary pieces choreographed by Yuri Possokhov.  I am looking forward to the official start of the season with La Bayadare, which we will see later next month.  It’s always fun to go to the ballet with Mom!

Changes on the Inside

OJ|MHWL 9:23:2013_2I’ve been experiencing some minor but chronic health issues over the past few months, which I touched on in my latest target=”_blank”>Tea & Talk with Jen video on MHWL.  After receiving a clean bill of health from my GP months ago, I decided I needed to make some changes on my own to see if I could alleviate some of the issues I’ve been experiencing.  I figured the best place to start was my diet.  I made small changes gradually over the course of the summer and now am at a point where I’ve cut out alcohol, most caffeine (aside from green & white teas), and most important of all, refined sugar.  I’ve even been putting less honey in my tea!  I’ve been focusing on eating whole, unprocessed foods when I can and incorporating a more balanced approach to each meal.  I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater for the most part, but my sweet tooth used to get the better of me.  Now, I am proud to say I have cut dramatically back to just one treat per week (for real!).  This is huge for me and I am very proud of my progress weaning off of sugary treats.  I’m still working on getting back to a place where I feel like my most healthy self again, but I know that these nutritional choices will pay off in the long run.  I am even exploring a new way of reaching optimal health through acupuncture, something I thought I would never be brave enough to try.  I’ll keep you posted on how these things impact my overall health (for better or worse) over the next several months.  In the meantime, I know that the silver lining of not feeling 100% is the opportunity to explore new ways to improve my general health and wellbeing.  This quote from my Mary Engelbreit Page-A-Day calendar today is quite fitting in that respect:

Clouds may come, but clouds must go,
and they have a silver lining,
For beyond them all, you know,
the sun or moon is shining.

Unknown Author

One of the great joys for me in this life is that there are infinite opportunities to learn more about myself, the people around me, the world, and the way things work.  If you are open and willing, you never stop learning or growing in ways you could never imagine.  Isn’t that wonderful? 🙂


51 thoughts on “Week In Review (September 16 – 22, 2013)”

  1. Hope you’re feeling a little better now.
    We enjoy the same kind of weather than in Chicagoland : warm sunny days and cooler and refreshing nights. Perfect for long walks. I can’t wait for October to begin as I long to decorate my house for Halloween.
    It’s so nice to hear from you. I’m always lookinf forward to your videos.
    Be safe, take care and enjoy wonderfull Fall. 🙂

  2. Fall has always been a personal favorite of mine. Glad to hear you are hanging in there. I’ve been told to cut out all refined sugar as well. It’s a difficult task, of which I am still working on 🙂

  3. Jen
    I don’t know exactly what type of symptoms u r having but u may want to consider limiting ur protein shake consumption. I am from a family of chronic intestinal issues and it really doesn’t matter what type of protein powder we have after a while we need to cut back on them if not cut out completely. And if u don’t already start keeping food journal so u can track items that bother u more. So glad to hear u don’t have major health issues. Best of luck and feel better soon

  4. I’m welcoming fall with open arms! It’s my favorite season. I especially love the scents and all the fall treats and eats. Sorry to hear you are having health issues, and hopefully you will get it all figured out and be back to your “old” self very soon! Sending hugs your way! 🙂

  5. Happy Fall, so glad you are branching out with many options to see what works best for you, acupuncture is very helpful in many people and some not so much. My brother in law is an acupuncturist who studied in China and has helped many people “walk” again!!! Many well wishes for your “feel yourself” journey. Enjoy the “Winnie weather”

  6. Beautiful post, Jen. Thank you for being so transparent. Your honesty is always inspiring. I’m also excited for fall and the changes it brings (one of which is a brand new puppy!). Take care 🙂

  7. I love Autumn too, it’s my favourite season following closely by winter! It’s absolutely stunning here in Canada, northern Quebec to be a little more precise, even the wild rabbits have begun to change colours as the temperature drops. By winter they will completely white as snow. I love reading your blog Jen and it’s good to hear that you’re taking good care of yourself.

  8. Great post today Jen! I too love Fall, it’s my favorite season, perfect temps for me & love walking in the crisp fresh air of Fall!

    By the way Jen, I have been searching all your videos trying to find the one where you picked up a container for your Shiseido Facial Cotton…could you tell me which video it was & where I can get that container please. I need to get one for my October trip. Thank you!

      1. Thanks Jen, guess I’ll have to make another trip to The Container Store. Even though I bring a list with me I always manage to roam around & spend more. I usually only get to go there about twice a year because it’s an hour away from me.

  9. Thank you for this post, Jen! You have such a gift of putting it all into perspective. I’m grateful I “found” you on the World Wide Web because you have added so much “positivity” to my life. I hope that you can draw on the strength and love from your many fans and that it may be a positive in return for you! Hugs and happy fall!!

  10. Jen I hope you feel better soon.I too suffer from IBS and tummy issues (my whole family does) and I know how it can affect your whole spirit,well being and immune system sometimes.Hang in there you’re doing all good things for health.You do such a good job with keeping a positive attitude and it shows in all the videos you share.You set a great example.Before my housewife days I was a nurse and I can tell you that the acupuncture and eating whole,no processed,low sugar foods do help as does routine exercise.(which you are doing so well on) Hang in there and hope it improves quickly.Am hoping that the nice fall weather and all the fun times that come with fall brings happiness to you and your family.Am looking forward to seeing what you share with us in the upcoming season.prayers for good health to u <3

  11. Hi Jen,

    I don’t know if this is helpful but one of my favorite restaurants is called True Food Kitchen. They have several here in So. Cal, AZ and Denver. I am hoping they expand across the country but until then they have a cookbook. I don’t know if the recipes are easy to follow but this is the restaurant I go to both when I am at home and when I travel (if they have a location there) because I know it is easy on my tummy. They cook in a way that work well for me. But, when I travel I have to balance out my meals so I try to find a restaurant like this or some kind of healthy restaurant to offset what I have eaten. I also have been trying to get a beet salad in ever now and then or find a green juice. These are just what works for me but I have tummy issues and traveling can be hard on it.

    This is just what works for me as I can no longer be the adventurous eater I once was and as we all know there are sometimes issue when traveling, especially plane travel, it can take our systems a while to get used to it. I see an acupuncturist as well. They help with so many things. It doesn’t really hurt like people think it might but I find it hard to sit still all that time.

    Love your last statement. Brilliant!

  12. Hi Jen, I thought I’d pass along this info…don’t know if it will help or not, but my mom has IBS and while reading up on things that might help her I came across an article on coconut being beneficial. This was several years ago, so I don’t have the reference. But my mom tried it and she said it did help with some of the symptoms. The article mentioned coconut macaroons specifically. So just thought I’d share that with you. I’m sure you can google it if you’re interested. Love to you and your family!

  13. So glad you’re trying acupuncture!! It’s so wonderful for treating symptoms and imbalances that western medicine deems “normal”. Enjoy 🙂

  14. Hi Jen,

    I was wondering if you’d consider doing a post about your favorite things to do/places to eat/shop in the Chicagoland area. I relocated to Illinois recently and would be interested in your recommendations! 🙂

  15. Greetings from the internet! Sorry to hear about your health issues and I hope you get well soon! I’m intrigued by this green smoothie above. Did you like it? Was the kale too overpowering? I decided to try the protein smoothie you posted in a video last month and I love it! 🙂 Perhaps you could do a future video on how much of each ingredient you used for the green smoothie? Hope to see you in “Vlogtober”!

    Until an asteroid,

  16. I work for an acupuncturist, it really does work wonders and the needles are so small most people with needle phobias don’t have a problem with it. I know stress can contribute alot to tummy issues.

  17. You have a gifted talent for writing Jennifer. I enjoy reading your blogs and watching your videos. I love this time of year as well. It sounds like you have a plan for getting healthier and I will keep you in my prayers….Don and Winnie too! I seriously miss you…but more important….I want you to be healthy and happy.

  18. Hope that the changes you are making help you to feel better! I’m looking forward to hearing how you’re enjoying the fall season this year!

  19. Hi Jen,
    Great blog! I always enjoy discovering things we have in common. In this post – it’s the Joffrey Ballet ~ my mom and I will be going at the end of November to see them perform The Nutcracker at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC. It will be the official kick off to our holiday season. Can’t wait! but before then — Loving the transition to Fall!
    the weather & colors (similar to Chicago, just perfect, great walking weather)
    the food (soups, risotto, chili, potpies, pho, mac and cheese, all yummy fall favs)
    the drinks (cider, hot choc, pumpkin lattes and more)
    the clothes (sweaters, boots, tights, knits, layers)
    the feeling.
    the warmth.
    love Autumn


  20. Happy Fall, Jen! Enjoy the crisp air, beautiful leaves and the beginning of the Joffrey Ballet season! I love the ballet and think it’s fabulous that you and your mom share this wonderful ballet tradition every year!

    It sounds like you’re taking positive steps and eating healthier but I must say I’m very hesitant on those “green drinks”. A friend at work bought me a wheatgrass shot for my birthday one year and it was HORRIBLE! I kept tasting it all day long – it was so disgusting, as I do not like the taste of the front lawn!!! But, hey, to each his own!

    You’ll find what works best for you and hopefully in the process it will help you determine your triggers and you’ll find a way to feel better really soon. Chin up, so you can see the silver lining hiding in and amongst those clouds! I look forward to your next OLJ and MHWL videos whenever you’re ready. Big squeezes to you, Don and extra squeezes to little Miss Winnie!

  21. Hi Jen! Regarding nutrition, you might want to take a look at marksdailyapple dot com. They are currently hosting a 21 day primal challenge.
    It’s a brilliant lifestyle and delicious way of eating. I bet that Don would enjoy it immensly 🙂 My husband and I switched over two years ago and and will never go back to the standard way of eating/exercising.
    Take care!

  22. It’s such a beautiful time of year and so hopefully, that is helping you stay perky. Well done for kicking the sugar habit, it’s such a positive change to make and great for your health overall, I wish I had the willpower to do the same!

    I’d be interested to hear how you’re finding the accupuncture. I had it once and quite enjoyed it, once I’d gotten over the initial moment of “ohmygodthereareneedlesstuckinmyarmsandmyfaceohmygod…oh wait, they’re supposed to be there. Its fine.”

    I hope you’re feeling better soon and I’m sure I’m speaking for all your subscribers when I say we can’t wait to see some more videos from you – especially that fall Beauty Haul 😉

    Take Care!

    Beth x

  23. Jen,

    Thank you for all your videos. I appreciate your stand on “just being a housewife”. It’s a very important job and I love all your ideas. I have began a healthy eying journey as well. I’m very thin but have daily migraines so that’s my reason for he changes. I would suggest listening to the podcasts by Jonathan Bailor with The Smarter Science of Slim. Listen to episode 1 and go from there, you will learn so much. I also believe I can heal my body by what I put in it. I have also cut out all added sugar, wheat, and processed foods for about 3 months now (which is HUGE for me as well). Let me know if you listen to it and what you think. I’ve been slowly cutting back more and more on my migraine pills and I’m felling so much better new veggies are my primary food. I hope this helps you be the best person you can be by feeling better.

  24. Hi Jen, Congratulations on cutting out alcohol, sugar etc. from your diet. I am going to try cutting out sugar too, I know it will be very hard but will take it one day at a time. You are an inspiration. Also I would love to hear how you get on with the acupuncture as this is something I have always been interested in trying x

  25. Happy Fall Jen!

    I LOVE fall!! It is one of my favorite seasons for two reasons. 1. My birthday month (November) 🙂 2. My favorite holiday (Thanksgiving). I am so looking forward to your Holiday Prep series and hopefully you will be able to share some of your Fall family traditions with us. I am praying you are feeling better body, mind, and spirit! Thank you for being such a bright spot in my life! God bless you and take care!

  26. Just wanted to let you know of something that has helped me and my family. It is called Young Living Essential Oils. There is a video on my website page under that title that tells about it and gives wonderful testimonies of how using these all natural oils helps with so many health conditions. We have been very blessed by it. I hope it helps you.

  27. Hi Jen

    Hope you feel 100% again soon. Autumn, has a special place in my heart. Not just the change in trees, and weather. My daughter, is an autumn baby (Oct 93).
    I wanted to ask, the two meals, either side of the smoothie, look delicious. I’ve lost over 4 stone in weight, and am always on the look out for new ideas. Can I ask, what they are, and is there anything on youtube, to go with them.

    Take care x

  28. This post posted on my birthday! 😉 I just wanted to drop by and see what you were up to! Now I am excited about Fall as well! I really miss the videos. Hope you feel better soon!

  29. Absolutely love this post. I agree with you, fall is the best time of the year as it’s a great change from summer. I also agree with your point about learning more about yourself, I’m constantly trying to improve 🙂

  30. Hi, Jen! I just wanted to say that I am so happy to see you back on the blog and on YouTube! My mom and I just love you, you really brighten our day 🙂

    I am so excited that you will be going to Disney soon and possibly running in the Wine and Dine! Your Disney vlogs are one of my favorite things 🙂 I am running the Tower of Terror 10 Miler this weekend and then getting married at the Grand Floridian at the end of this month so I can’t wait to see what fun you have at my favorite place. Hope you have a great day!

      1. Hi Jen! Lindsay’s mom here!! We really do love you and enjoy or girlie time drinking tea and watching your vlogs…I have been inspired by you in many ways…also have some anxiety that I deal with …thanks for sharing and inspiring!! I am also now a LUSH junkie thanks to you!! I love my bath now…have had this huge tub for 15 years and never used it til I watched your vlogs!! Really….you are awesome. God bless you and your family….take care!!

  31. OH and we actually saw you in the wee hours of the morning walking to the start before the princess half marathon….didn’t want to bother you but we’re excited to see you and your wonderful hubby! Take care!

  32. I’m so happy you are back and feeling better. You said you were going to try to catch up on Winnie’s Channel, Please I need some advice on traveling with a dog, it’s my first time and I am completely lost.

  33. Hi Jen,

    I have a sensitive stomach and the number one thing the doctor said it was important to eliminate was dairy. (I haven’t had dairy now in about 15 years and I felt so much better without it.) Also, believe it or not the other foods important to be careful about eating are raw vegetables. Cooked are much easier to digest ~ especially big on the list to eliminate if your stomach is bothering you: broccoli, onions, cabbage…..these type of foods. These tips and the products by Digestive Advantage have been a big help. …..oh and I love acupuncture and would go routinely if it weren’t so expensive. :0) Take care and feel better.

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