About Anna Watson

Former farm girl turned business student, Anna is a marketing maven and blogger who holds a deep love for moscato, superhero movies, and all things chocolate. She channels her practical outlook to help women become the best version of themselves at work and at play. When not working, Anna can be found exploring life in D.C. with her husband and little one.

Posts by Anna Watson:

BREAKFAST

4 Reasons To Eat Breakfast

You’ve heard it from your mom, your best friend, and probably your doctor too: “Don’t skip breakfast!” But between the stress of establishing your career, trying to drop a few lb’s, and trying to get in a few kicks, breakfast often becomes a last priority as you rush out the door in the morning.

Besides, let’s be honest, most of your at-home breakfast foods don’t really say “eat me”. Cold sugary cereals, or greasy eggs and sausage—is your mouth watering? While more enticing breakfast options might be out there (cinnamon rolls  anyone?) they often leave you high, dry and another-pound-oh-my in the health department.

There are plenty of medical reasons for opting out of morning mealtime but the hidden effects on your lifestyle and health can be surprising:

1. Weight: Skipping breakfast means that you’ll end up eating more than usual later in the day as your body tries to overcompensate for lost calories. Also denying your body its morning fuel tricks it into entering starvation mode which leads to blood sugar imbalance and insulin irregularities.  And of course eating breakfast means your energy levels are higher so you’re able to move around more.

2. Hormones:  Do you have a bad period? Skipping breakfast has been known to contribute to painful periods and irregular bleeding.

3. Memory/ Cognition: Not having breakfast means not having brain fuel. It’s hard to be as sharp as a tack when you’re body is working hard to conserve energy.

4. Mood: Having a bad case of the mornings isn’t necessarily just a lack of sleep. Skipping breakfast contributes to low blood sugar. (Aka you become Miss Crabby Pants.)

So, that’s interesting. But I’ll admit it, I rarely eat breakfast. I usually just have a cup of coffee and hold out for lunch. When I do eat breakfast, it’s maybe a nectarine as I run out the door or donuts that someone kindly brought in to work.

But, for the next week, I’m going to eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast! I’m going to track the benefits and I’d love if you did it with me! Let me know if  you notice a difference in your mood? Weight? Sleep pattern? Let me know and I’ll do the same!

HOLIDAYPIE

5 Holiday Recipes With A Twist

We’re all familiar with the traditional holiday recipes — the sweet potatoes and stuffing, cranberries and turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. These classics have made Christmas dinner one of the most anticipated meals of the year that has us coming back for seconds (and thirds).

But what if you wanted to take these traditional dishes to the next level, carrying them to soaring heights of culinary delight? Here are five easy recipes that will take your holiday meal from normal to bougie.

Red Wine Cranberry Sauce

Your basic cranberry sauce made magical by the simple addition of red wine and a touch of cinnamon and citrus.

Recipe: Alexandra Cooks 

Maple Butter Sweet Potatoes

The hints of maple goodness take this dish from ordinary to out of this world extraordinary. I made these for Thanksgiving and could not stop enjoying it. I told my boo that if I could marry these sweet potatoes I probably would.

Recipe: She Knows

Brown Butter Green Beans

Say goodbye to green bean casserole. This super easy recipe makes seemingly boring beans glam with butter, pine nuts and a hint of garlic.

Recipe: Food Network

Chiffon Pumpkin Pie

Gingersnap crust and a rum laced filling that’s as smooth and light as silk chiffon. Need I say more?

Recipe: Simply Recipes

Spiced Bourbon Apple Pie

There is only one thing that could possibly make apple pie any more comforting and delicious—the rich flavor of bourbon. This special addition accentuates and draws out the flavors of caramel and vanilla.

Recipe: A Beautiful Mess

HOLIDAYFOOD

4 Ways To Eat During The Holidays… With Food Allergies

Having food allergies is a major pain but can be especially difficult during the holidays. You either end up feeling left out of the fun or have to awkwardly dance your way around the issue when you’re invited to parties. While the holidays may force you out of your regular food habits, there is no need to despair of enjoying the season.  We’ve  put together a quick guide for not only surviving, but thriving during the holidays with food allergies.

1. Speak up. If you’re invited to a party or get-together, don’t be afraid to gently remind your host or hostess about your allergy. If he or she is truly a friend, they will graciously accept the reminder and go out of their way to make sure your food needs are met. Also, don’t be afraid to ask what when into a particular dish when you show up. It could save you a lot of grief.

2. Party up. If you’re very allergic, or just worried you won’t be able to enjoy yourself thinking about all the potential food traps, host your own party. You don’t have to go out of your way to make it an extravagant celebration, but inviting friends to come to you can make sure you’re in control of food prep. Also consider roping in your friends to help cook. Not only will they’ll learn what kinds of things you can eat, but also how to prepare them.

3. Cook up. Indulge in your favorite dish. Whip up a batch of your favorite allergy friendly food and bring it with you to social gatherings. Its a chance to share part of your life with those around you while gently making them aware of your needs. And chances are they will love being introduced to your special dish.

4. Live it up. Don’t become preoccupied with the constraint food allergies might put on your holiday adventures. Christmas and New Year’s are about so much more than that. Have fun with family and friends: go ice skating or sledding, have fun making decorations and crafts, celebrate with dancing and music and laughter. At the end of the day, your memories aren’t going to be built primarily on what you ate for dinner.

Where to shop: 

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have an array of products and foods that are compatible with most common allergies such as wheat, soy, dairy and nuts. Although, Trader Joe’s chocolate is not soy allergy friendly. My friend B. who is soy/dairy allergic suggests trying Vivani chocolate which you can buy on Amazon.com.

CRAYONS

Get Creative!

Think back to when you were a little kid…I know, I know, its like trying to see a pin prick of light when you’re at the bottom of a well…Now ask yourself, what did you spend most of the day doing? Playing. And what did this play entail? Singing, dancing, writing, hunting for treasure…you remember?

Somewhere along the way, time spent daydreaming and playing became less and less, and time spent doing ‘more important‘ things became more and more. That’s not to say that as adults we don’t still get a good dose of fun, but when is the last time you reveled in the joy of pure creativity?

But you cry, “I just stepped out into the big wide world and its stressful! I ain’t got the time!” Staying on top of new job, maybe trying to establish roots in a new city, just really figuring out life…being a successful professional and person requires a lot of energy, a lot of time, and a lot of worry. Some might say let the creative types in the world be creative and leave me to my conventional life.

Before you proceed ask yourself: Am I often stressed out? Do I have a hard time feeling confident? Does my brain feel like a bowl of pudding?

While there are many causes for disgruntlement and even sadness in everyone’s life, part of it might just be that all work and no play is making Jane a very dull girl. Humans are meant to constantly expand their minds and make a creative contribution to the world in one form or another. For each person this takes on a different form, but the bottom line is that creativity make us much more happy and productive people.

Creativity reduces stress — it redirects focus away from the million responsibilities and worries of everyday life. It gives you a chance to kick up your heels and do something genuinely enjoyable, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. Creativity gives you confidence — it allows you to make or do something for the sense of pure satisfaction it brings. It gives you a peace of mind and heart that comes from fulfilling passion, and the conviction that you have enough nerve to do something great. Creativity gives you a healthy mind — it forces you to go outside your routine and challenge all those little neurons to make new connections and learn something new.

Challenge: spend one hour a week doing something creative that challenges your imagination. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a creative person, there is a creative aspect to who you are. Below are a few creative types and suggestions.

 

  • Performer: Act! Community theater anyone? Dance! Ballroom, Latin, Tap, like a crazy person! Tell a story! Read up on some tall tales.
  • Musician: Sing! By yourself, in a quartet, in a choir, heck even karaoke. Play! A new instrument, pick up an old one.
  • Artists: Write! a poem, a story, in a journal, on a tree. Create! A drawing, painting, sculpture, anything really.
  • Academic: Learn!  A new language. A new interest. Visit (or listen to)! A lecture, a class, a planetarium, a museum. Tackle! A crossword puzzle, a book.
  • Tactile Artist: Cook! Garden! Knit!

And this is just the beginning of creative possibilities. What is your favorite way to play?