Christmas

Super-Fast Holiday Workouts

November 28, 2012 at 9:54 am , by

‘Tis the season when your “I’m too busy to exercise” excuse seems 110% legit. You’ve added parties, Christmas shopping, travel planning, holiday card-addressing and about 50 other things to your already packed schedule, so how are you supposed to find time to work out too? Don’t sweat it! We found plenty of quickie at-home workouts you can easily sneak into your day.

* Got 5 minutes?

No matter what your fitness level, Jim Parker of Muffins to Marathons (how great is that name?) has a cardio blast that’s perfect for you. The beginnerintermediate and advanced versions are all on YouTube.

* Got 7 minutes?

That’s just enough time to target every muscle in your butt. Bonus: The moves are pretty TV-friendly so you don’t even have to tear yourself away from Elf to work on your rear view.

Got 8 minutes?

A fast core workout that doesn’t involve crunches? It’s a Christmas miracle! All you need is a towel and a mat and you’re good to go.

Got 10 minutes?

The best things about trainer Andrea Orbeck’s full-body circuit workout: 1) It doesn’t require equipment, and 2) There’s no complicated footwork, so even hopelessly uncoordinated people like me won’t get lost.

Got 12 minutes?

If you need to avoid high-impact exercises, this quickie cardio routine from Andrea Metcalf will help burn off those gingerbread latte calories—no leaping and jumping required.

Got 15 minutes?

Denise Austin’s fat-burning yoga sequence is intense enough to sculpt muscle yet soothing enough to calm your holiday-frenzied brain.

Image via Shutterstock.


Cheat Sheet: 4 Things You Maybe Missed While Holiday Shopping

December 23, 2011 at 9:06 am , by

1.Dancing In Public with an iPod: Christmas Edition

We all fell a little bit in love with Preston Leatherman last week, so even though you’ve probably seen this already, I had to include him.

2.Glass Harp Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

3. Shufflin’ Grandpa

Not technically a holiday video, but I think this man might be Santa.

4. Animals Wearing Yarmulkes

Check out this link to see one for every night. Happy Hannukah!

photo via Buzzfeed


Country Spotlight: Margaret Durante’s Nashville Diaries

December 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm , by

It was so much fun getting to share a stage with Jason Aldean!

I’ve been writing the Nashville Diaries blog for five months now and things are getting pretty serious between us, wouldn’t you say? I guess that means I can share a secret with you then: I cried when I watched Taylor Swift’s 60 Minutes special over Thanksgiving. I bawled like a little baby, wondering what had overcome me. I guess what overwhelmed me was the way she answered her questions with such poise, all the clips of young girls crying and screaming for her at her concerts, and ultimately my desire to someday affect people the same way she does.

Still, when I saw her at a Christmas party the other day I couldn’t bring myself to tell her how much she had inspired me, let alone even just introduce myself. I’m still wondering why I hesitated—and it’s not that I’m too cool for school (which, by the way, is overrated and dumb). I think it was just that I was afraid of bothering someone who probably hears praise like that all the time yet, when I think about it, that makes no sense at all. True, the saying goes, “If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all,” but I think there should also be a saying that goes, “If you have something nice to say, then by all means, say it!” Well, at least I’ve confessed my sob session to you all and I’ve put it out there in the universe. In the future, though, I’ll try to remember that it’s never inappropriate to pay someone a heartfelt compliment, and that applies to all times of the year, not just when spreading Christmas cheer! (Rhyming is cool.)

Truth be told, emotions always run a little high for me around the holidays. The music business winds down for a bit this time of year and I’m, of course, excited about the holidays but I’m also anxious to tie up various loose ends before everyone takes a break. Don’t even get me started on my tendency to procrastinate when it comes to Christmas shopping. Luckily I have two very proactive sisters who have helped me quickly and painlessly get the shopping done for my family.

So much has happened in the past months that it seems like Christmas has totally snuck up on me. I’m getting ready to put a single out in March (I can’t wait for you all to hear it!) and a full album shortly after, so I’ve been in the studio working on getting everything just right. I also recently opened for Jason Aldean during CMA week in downtown Nashville right by the Riverfront, which was … AWESOME! I’m a big Jason Aldean fan so it was so much fun to share the stage with him. We were promoting an AMC show called Hell on Wheels, which has some very ruggedly handsome men and a post Civil War revenge plot—juicy stuff! I attended the CMA awards the next day, which was fun and surreal. I also spent a day giving interviews to all the radio stations that had traveled to Nashville to broadcast from Music City during CMA week. And then, last but not least, the LHJ Nashville Diaries Sweepstakes winners—Angie and her 10-year-old nephew, Jake—visited me. We got to hang out in the studio and Jake laid down some smooth vocals on one of my new songs!

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Martina McBride Lends Her Voice To “A Home for the Holidays” Adoption Special

December 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm , by

Photo: Randee St. Nicholas.

If you drew Martina McBride’s name in the country music superstar Secret Santa and you need a last-minute gift idea, I’m so about to hook you up. “Everybody always says I’m hard to buy for, and I’m not,” McBride tells me. “Just give me bath stuff and candles, and I’m happy!”

What would probably make the Grammy-nominated country singer even happier this holiday season, though, is if you tuned in to the 13th annual A Home for the Holidays this Wednesday, December 21, on CBS. “I was really honored to be asked to do this,” says McBride, who will be hosting and helping the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Children’s Action Network shine a light on the more than half a million U.S. children in foster care in need of a permanent home. “It’s a really important show that is literally making a difference to future generations,” she adds, noting that some parents featured on this week’s show had been inspired to adopt from watching prior A Home for the Holidays installments.

The fact that McBride and her husband, John, are blessed to have a family with three beautiful daughters (Ava, 6, Emma, 13, and Delaney, who turns 17 this week) was specifically one of the reasons why hosting this year was important to her. “We kind of take family for granted sometimes,” she explains. “I mean, we decorated our Christmas tree last night and halfway through it I thought, think of all the kids out there that don’t have a family to decorate a Christmas tree with. And yet we take it for granted. We do it every year—it’s a tradition. It really makes you stop and think.”

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Merry Christmas, Everyone!

December 24, 2010 at 10:00 am , by

Here’s to a peaceful and fun-filled holiday. We hope Santa brings you just what you asked for, unlike this poor three-year-old:


5 Reasons the Holidays Are Good For You

December 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm , by

The holidays get such a bad rap for being the time of year when overwhelming stress and irresistible, fattening treats lurk around every corner. Yes, it’s stressful and double yes, it’s hard to resist the myriad cookies and candies and cocktails just begging to be consumed. But there are things about the holidays that are good for you—as long as you remember to rein it in and relax.

So we say enjoy! Here are some healthy tidbits about five of our favorite holiday staples.

  1. Holiday Cocktails
  2. Alcohol in moderation (no more than a drink or two a day) has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and possibly even diabetes. In fact, moderate drinkers live longer than those who don’t drink at all, so you can feel good about imbibing a bit. Just be sure to designate a non-drinking driver!

  3. Shopping
  4. The stress from packed malls and frantic fellow shoppers is enough to make you want to give up on gift-giving altogether. But remember this as you’re doing that last-minute buying: Exchanging gifts makes you happier by strengthening bonds and evoking gratitude, which studies show makes for a longer, healthier life.

  5. Chocolate
  6. There’s no replacement for fruits and vegetables, but chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is packed with some of the same antioxidants found in plants that protect against heart disease and cancer. Sure, even the darkest chocolate has some sugar and fat, so savor it slowly and you’ll feel satisfied.

  7. Family Time
  8. Getting together is so much more fun if you can forget about expectations and enjoy your loved ones, quirky as they may be, for who they are. If you feel a conflict coming on, take a few deep breaths and just let go. You’ll find a kind of liberation in compromise and acceptance. You don’t always have to be the peacemaker, either.

  9. Nuts
  10. When in doubt, reach for the nut bowl—all types of nuts are rich in the monounsaturated or “good” fats that are crucial for heart health. Walnuts in particular are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce your risks for a whole host of health problems, from high cholesterol to arthritis. Nuts are crunchy and loaded with fiber so you’ll feel full on a small handful and maybe even not as tempted by the other goodies.

Happy, healthy holidays to all from your LHJ health editors!

Photo via Fashion&Style


Go Ask Gab: What I’m Giving This Year

December 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm , by

gag- pink santa

I love giving gifts almost as much as I love getting them. We gave you some great gifts ideas in the magazine and online, but here’s what I’m buying this holiday season!

My Best Friend Who Has Everything: A girl who has it all is always a tough person to shop for, but coffee table books are a safe bet. This year I think a wonderful gift is the Barbie Fashion Model book. As a person who is impossible to shop for, I would love this book (I have a weird obsession with Barbie and doll images… I have a collection).

My Football Fanatic Brother-in-Law: The minute I saw this toaster that imprints the logo of your favorite team on your toast, I knew I needed to get this for him (he’s a huge Dallas Cowboys fan). I like that the toaster design is sleek so my sister won’t get mad at me for uglying-up her kitchen.

My Adorable Nephew: He asked Santa for cars, trucks, toys and pots and pans (seriously how cute!). Of course I will get him toys but I will also be picking up some practical gifts like clothes (of course). Mini BodenThe Children’s Place and The Gap always have the best stuff for boys.

My Pregnant Older Sister:  I always like to give gifts that give back so I think getting a pair of Toms for my sister is perfect. The gold ones would be great because they’re an easy way to look chic while you’re pregnant and chasing after a 2-year-old.

My Twin Sister: She is in the process of buying an apartment so I thought I would get her some art for her walls. I made her something (yes, I am bit of an artist!) and I also plan on getting her this Shining-inspired poster. Creepy twins… perfect!

My Fabulous Mom: My mom is hard to shop for so I will check out one of her favorite stores, Talbots. I’m thinking she could use a new pair of gloves and this pretty necklace.

My Wino Dad: Just joking—he just loves his wine. I’m getting him some of my new favorite, affordable wine: “Red” from the St Francis Winery. Not only is it good, but it’s inexpensive and has nice packaging too… very Pollack-eque, no?

Hostess Gifts: I’m stopping by a few holiday parties this year so I’m going to grab some of these Marimekko bread baskets. I love them! (In fact I’m going to keep one for myself to store all my bracelets in… One woman’s bread is another woman’s bracelets.)

The Best Boss in the Whole World: Um, considering she works here… I’m not telling! But it will be something cool for her new home from one of the following places: Anthropologie, Johnathan Adler or Etsy.

So what gifts are you buying this year?

** Pink Santa photo taken by me at Hotel Shangri-La, Santa Monica, CA!

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