Five on Friday {October 30}

Hey y'all,

It is Friday, meaning another round of Five on Friday and linking up with the ladies. Let's get started.

one. Trader Joe's Vanilla & Cinnamon Black Tea. I am currently fighting off a cold so tea has become my best friend. I am talking about 3 cups to get through the work day so I am glad I picked up this tea. It has a sweet taste to it and is very soothing.
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two. Tory Burch York Tote. During Tory Burch's Private sale this past weekend I decided to treat myself to a new tote and since I have been looking for a brown leather bag and have dark leather riding boots it was a perfect choice. Now to wait for it's arrival.
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three. Hocus Pocus. Tonight, I am headed to my little(mGk) and grandlittle (kBm)'s apartment to hang out and watch the best Halloween film ever. Hocus Pocus. I can't believe the film is 20 years old!
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four. 10 Truths You Learn in Your Late 20s.I found this article earlier this week and I think it applies to your mid-20s as well. I love the topic of moderation and raising standards throughout your life.

five. City of Oaks Half Marathon. This weekend I am going to attempt to complete my second half marathon. I haven't been consistent with training and with this cold, my goal is to power walk it and finish in 3hrs or less.

What are you doing for Halloween this weekend?

Thyme for Thursday {Skinny Taco Soup}

Hey y'all,

Now that it is fall I love breaking out the crockpot and making quick, easy dinners and lunches. The tricky thing about fall and winter is that a lot of the recipes we want to enjoy are more comfort food=heavier and not the best if you are like me and trying to be healthier and lose a bit of weight. Well, if you love tacos, chili or soup, I have the recipe for you! Adapted from one of my go-to meal planning websites, Skinnytaste, I bring you Skinny Chicken Taco Soup.

 photo Chicken Taco Soup_zps7uqsqkcj.jpg Ingredients:
-1.5-2lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breast (I used two frozen chicken breasts)
-1 medium onion, chopped
-10 oz can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
-15 oz canned or frozen corn, drained
-8 oz tomato sauce
-16 oz fat free refried beans
-1 packet taco seasoning (I used 40% less sodium)
-2 1/2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth

The original recipe includes bell pepper and more beans but I am not a fan of super spicy foods or beans in my chili.Also, the nutritional info is listed on Skinnytaste.

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Directions:
In your slow cooker, place your chicken at the bottom then smooth the refried beans on top of them. Then add in the tomato sauce, Rotel tomatoes with chilies, corn, onion, taco seasoning and chicken broth. Stir everything to combine.
Place the slow cooker on low and cook for 7-8hrs. Take out the chicken and shred it. Place the chicken back in the soup and enjoy!
Serve with a few baked tortilla chips and your favorite toppings such as low fat sour cream or greek yogut, reduced fat cheese, chopped onions, or cilantro. You can even freeze leftovers for those nights when you don't want to make anything, you have something ready to go.

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What the Heck Wednesday {Undead and Unwed}

Hey y'all,

I am a big bookworm so get ready for lots of book reviews on Wednesday. I think I am going to post an official review and then a "Book of the Week." These are books that are suggestions via BookBub or Book Gorilla that based on their descriptions have me and my friends in giggles and can't believe that any publisher would promote a book.

As for my real review, this week I reread Undead and Unwed. This is first in a series that I never completed by MaryJanice Davidson. Let's get to it:

It'a been a helluva week for Betsy Taylor. First, she loses her job. Then, to top things off, she's killed in a car accident. But what really bites (besides waking up in the morgue dressed in a pink suit and cheap shoes courtesy of her stepmother) is that she can't seem to stay dead. Every night she rises with a horrible craving for blood. She's not taking too well to a liquid diet.

Worst of all, her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious, power-hungry vampire in five centuries - a badly dressed Bela Lugosi wannabe, natch. Frankly, Betsy couldn't care less about vamp politics, but they have a powerful weapon of persuasion: designer shoes. How can any self-respecting girl say no? But a collection of Ferragamos isn't the only temptation for Betsy. It's just a lot safer than the scrumptious Sinclair - a seductive bloodsucker whose sexy gaze seems as dangerous as a stake through the heart...


What I love about this book is the humor. Betsy isn't your typical vampire and this isn't your typical romance story. At the beginning of the novel, Betsy is killed and realizes that she has woken up in a funeral home in her step-mother's knockoffs. For someone who is obsessed with designer shoes, she wishes she was actually dead. From figuring out that she is part of the undead to dealing with her loved ones, this book will have you laughing out loud and reaching for the second novel, Undead and Unemployed.

Wednesday photo WW2_zpsrituz5eb.jpg Now the book of the week is also a vampire novel. If you want a laugh, read the description of this book Eternal Service. There is even a book trailer.

Miscellany Monday {Grocery Haul}

Hey y'all,

I flew back into North Carolina this afternoon after a week visiting my best friend, aMl. It was so much fun to visit her in Chicago, but we are back to the real world tomorrow. One of my favorite types videos to watch on Youtube are grocery hauls. I think it is facinating to see what people buy at the store and hear different meals they anticipate making. So, since I ran to Trader Joe's earlier, I thought I would quickly share what I grabbed and the meals I plan on having this week. I hope you can forgive my blurry photo!

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What I Grabbed:
Celery Hearts
Mini Pearl Tomatoes
Thompson Raisins
Wisconsin Mild Cheddar
Lemons
Frozen Strawberries
Green Onions
Guacamole
Unsweetened Almond Milk
Red Onion
Spinach
Salad Mix
Organic Yellow Tortilla Chips
Cucumber

Meals
Breakfast: Chocolate Peanut Butter Strawberry Smoothie(recipe up next week)
Lunch: Leftover Taco Soup with Chips & Guacamole (recipe up Thursday)
Snacks: Ants on a Log; Apples & Peanut Butter
Dinner: Cobb Salad or Pasta with Meat Sauce or Salmon
Drinks: La Croix, Water with Lemon, Tea with Stevia

What are your go-to meals after you have been on vacation?

Sunday Sayings {October 25}

Hey y'all,

I love to spend Sunday reflecting on the past week and setting my intentions for the week ahead. I love that I have this new, clean, creative space and I hope to inspire you week after week even if it is only through these Sunday Sayings posts.

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We all have to learn to speak up and find out our normal. It is easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others with the world of social media but over the past 3 years after graduating college I have learned that I need to set aside at least one night at home without anything going on each week as my recharge day. I can only give to others when I myself have the energy to do so.

What is one lesson you have learned recently?

Five on Friday {Oct 23}

Hey y'all,

I am linking up with Darci, Christina, April and Natasha for Five on Friday. These are some of my favorite posts to read and write, so let's get started.

one. Degas. I am actually currently in Chicago visiting my best friend of 10 years and I spent six hours yesterday in the Art Institute of Chicago. My favorite section was the Impressionist gallery. Seeing Monet, Manet, Degas, Van Gogh, Renoir, Seurat, Matisse, Picasso, and more in person was overwhelming and made this art historian happy. 
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two. Adult Coloring Books. As a treat for my vacation, I grabbed this coloring book at Walmart and I have not been disappointed. I have always enjoyed coloring and even colored to de-stress in college. I might after this book, be adding more adult coloring books to my Christmas list.
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three. Blindspot. If you have not been watching Blindspot on NBC, catch up on Hulu right now. As a person who loves puzzles, it is such a great mystery and I look forward to a new episode every week.
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four. A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. I went to the DPAC last weekend with CW and EC from work to catch the Tony Award winning musical. Y'all, it did not disappoint. It had a lot of humor in it and the actors all had amazing voices.
 

five. Halloween. Halloween is actually my second favorite holiday. I think it stems from the fact that my mother decorates like crazy for Halloween and Christmas so it is always a special time to me. From decorating, pumpkin carving, to dressing up I love it all. I am having a pretty relaxing Halloween since I have my half marathon the next morning but my sweet sorority little, mGk, and grandlittle, kBm, are hosting a Hocus Pocus night next Friday and I have been avoiding watching the film until we all get together.

Do you have Halloween traditions? 
Favorite Fall TV?  

Getting the Party Started

Hey y'all,

I don't know about you but I like a schedule and a to-do list. Really, I have a whole drawer in my desk dedicated to post-its and notepads. So to start this blog off I thought I would give myself a little bit of a schedule and the goal to post a minimum of three times a week. Here are the themes I came up with.
 Weekly2 photo schedule dual_zpsrizxvvcj.jpg
 Sunday Sayings. This was started on my previous blog: Preppin' Postgrad. I typically spend Sundays getting ready for the week so I love to share a little bit of inspiration through quotes to meditate on throughout the week.

Miscellany Monday. Obviously this category is a catch all for things whether weekend updates, tales of my non-existent dating life, etc.

Toning Tuesday. As I attempt to lose the post-grad transition fluff I will post all things regarding fitness under this header whether a new routine, recipe, or cute work out gear.

What the Heck Wednesday. So my friends ESC and CNW are all avid readers and we send each other "book of the day" from suggestions we get from BookBub and BookGorilla. These books are commonly ones we think needed a lot more love from an editor based solely on the description. They give us a good laugh at lunch time. So Wednesdays will probably include some of these descriptions so y'sll understand along with other book reviews.

Thyme for Thursday. Obviously this one will be jam packed with all things food related whether favorite Trader Joe's items, snacks, Whole30 recipes, grocery hauls, etc.

Five on Friday. I love linking up with Darci, Christina, April and Natasha so I thought it should have a permanent place on this blog.

Saturday Snaps. A catchall of random things. Not just instagram round ups but snapshots into my life like OOTDs.

With all these categories I have already come up with over 50 blog post ideas! I have never had a list like that so get ready for at least 3 posts a week(my goal) or more!

Am I missing anything in my big categories?

Hey Y'all

Hi!

Welcome to Just Jess. A space of food, fitness, faith, fashion, and lots of fun! This is my third attempt at blogging and I can't wait to use this space as my own creative outlet.

I guess it's time for me to introduce myself.

I'm Jessica. 
I am a 20-something living in the Triangle of NC.
I'm a Tar Heel. 
I'm a book lover. 
I love school supplies and never go anywhere without my planner.
I have the best family ever. 
My sorority, Phi Beta Chi, gave me the best family and hundreds of sisters in college and beyond.
I love a preppy, classic, style. My favorite brands are kate spade, Lilly Pulitzer, J.Crew, LOFT, Vineyard Vines, etc.
My favorite food is beef stroganoff. Slowly learning to love green juices and quinoa.
Froyo is my jam.  
Country music has my heart.
Pink, Navy, and Carolina Blue are prominent in my life.

Any other questions? Ask away!