Hands On Charlotte…

Hands On CLT

Hands On Charlotte is a nonprofit volunteer service organization. We promote volunteerism and direct community service to meet Charlotte’s most critical needs. Our mission is to strengthen our community and enrich lives by mobilizing a diverse corps of citizens in direct, volunteer service.”

When it comes to volunteering I have high hopes and dreams but minimal follow through.  For example: I love animals and would love to volunteer at an animal shelter … yet I don’t want to get attached to animals that might ultimately be put down.  So I do nothing. :/

My wonderful and dear friend, Leticia, called me earlier this week about Hands On Charlotte.

Leticia has been volunteering with the organization since she moved to Charlotte several years ago.  She mentioned their upcoming volunteer event on January 19th, and wondered if I would be interested in helping … spread the word.  Absolutely!  I will do one better … I will even volunteer! 🙂


MLK serve 2013

“Each year, Hands On Charlotte honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by organizing special volunteer service projects on and around the holiday that bears his name. These projects not only deliver valuable assistance to nonprofit organizations, schools and other service providers around the area, but also allow thousands of citizens to reflect on the meaning of Dr. King’s life of service for today’s America.”

This year Hands On Charlotte is hosting 3 events at local area schools.  Here are the deets:

  • When:  Saturday, January 19, 2013
  • Time: 10am – 2 pm
    • Drop in (you don’t have to stay the whole time)
  • Where:
    • Harding University High School
    • East Mecklenburg High School
    • Blythe Elementary School
  • Who: Everyone is invited! 🙂
  • What:  Activities include a range of on-site service projects
    • Inspecting and sorting donated food and clothing
    • Wrapping presents for children living at local shelters
    • Videotaping personal “thank you” messages for troops serving overseas

To learn more about the event, click here.

Mark your calendar! 🙂   I would love to see some familiar faces!

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature


Let Me Introduce You…

… to Sarah Gilbert!  Sarah is my wonderful new intern that started this week {jumping for joy!}.  She loves to blog .. and travel .. and .. why am I spoiling all the fun.  I should just let you read her post. 🙂


Traveling abroad in Australia

Traveling abroad in Australia

Love the quote! :)

Love the quote! 🙂

Hanging with Cam Newton ;)

Hanging with Cam Newton 😉

Hi everyone! I’m Sarah and I couldn’t be more excited to start this internship with Pure & Simple… I hope to be Jennifer’s right-hand girl over the next semester, helping with projects, talking to all you sweet folks online through social media, and plenty more… I’ll even bring her coffee if she asks nicely! 😉  {OH MY!}

One of the things I’m especially stoked about with the internship is that Jennifer has graciously welcomed me into her little online “home”.  She has invited me to do some re-occurring guest posts on the blog.  Keeping with the overall theme (or lack there of) here, I don’t have any specific subjects I’ll always cover.   I do have lots of ideas and projects to show everyone, so we’ll see where this goes.  I’m a bit new at blogging, so I’d absolutely love to hear from readers for feedback and just to say, “hi”!

Of course, no one likes to talk to strangers, so here’s a little bit about myself:

I’m currently a junior at UNC Charlotte where I’m studying Marketing and Managerial Information Systems. {And a Business Honors Student .. just like me!} Once I graduate, I hope to transition into something with online/viral advertising or eCommerce… not quite sure yet, I’ll see where life takes me!  Until then, I’m working part-time at the mall and sneaking in fun wherever I can!  In my free time I do lots of crafts, watch a bit too much TV, and play with my three big, beautiful dogs.  I also love traveling (both internationally and in my own town), the Carolina Panthers, and fancy lattes… but who doesn’t love a good fancy latte?

Again, I’m so excited to be working with Jennifer and to have the chance to talk to everyone here!  Don’t forget to say hello 🙂


I couldn’t be more happy about having Sarah come on board!  There are projects high and low to start on — so we will keep you all up-to-date! 🙂

Sarah’s post will appear in the “Something From Sarah” category over there —–>

Under “In the Meantime..”  And like she said, don’t forget to give her a warm welcome! 🙂

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

My Theme for 2013…

I shared with you last week that my theme for 2012 was “Try It On”.

My theme for 2013 is “Trust & Patience”.

Theme for 2013



I have to trust that I am on the right path.  I have to trust that all roads lead to Rome.  That the hard work will mean something.  Without trust, life is harder than it has to be.


All good things come to those that wait?  Nah — wrong quote.  I’m not waiting, but I have to be patient.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and everything doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes some time.  Be patient and keep moving forward.

I’m reading this book, Life On The Wire, by Todd Duncan.  {Great book btw.}

“It also comes from believing that [your] purpose looks more like a path than a destination.”

Well said!  It’s not the end result, it is the journey there that matters. 🙂

A friend of mine sent this to me earlier last year.  Ditto to all of you!

What is your theme for 2013?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

What Should I Write About?

Happy Monday!  Hope you all had a great weekend!  I spent the weekend taking down Christmas and cleaning.  Yes that Christmas was still up — but no more!

I need to ask you a favor.  Yes … you.  What should I write about?

I’m looking for a great story idea for my next organizing article for Fort Mill Magazine.  C’mon — show me what you got.  🙂  What would you like to read about?

Side note:  It does have to be organizing related. 🙂

And since we are talking about Fort Mill Magazine.  I thought I would share some pictures of their headquarters.  It is uber organized for all they accomplish over there! 🙂

I reached out to Tracey (editor-in-chief) last spring.  I ran across their magazine while out and about with Raymond on a Sunday Scavenger hunt.  I loved the magazine (it is SO pretty) and thought they might be interested in working together.

They hold quarterly meetings in which the magazine contributors contributors get together and brainstorm for the next issue.  Fun group to mingle with, but also a very well put together group of smart individuals.  Thanks FMM! 🙂  I’m happy to be apart of your family!

Tracey's workstation. Fort Mill Magazine Headquarters.

Tracey’s workstation.
Fort Mill Magazine Headquarters.

Tracey & Emily recording a podcast.

Tracey & Emily recording a podcast.

Love IKEA.  Love the red EXPEDIT shelving unit.

Love IKEA. Love the red EXPEDIT shelving unit.

Close up of how they keep the unit organized.  Love the magazine file boxes!

Close up of how they keep the unit organized. Love the magazine file boxes!

Tracey's ... piles? ;)

Tracey’s … piles? 😉

So — what should I write about? 🙂

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Foodie Friday {Breakfast Casserole}…

Happy Friday — first Friday of the new year! 🙂

In keeping with my January resolution, the Foodie Friday posts for this month will be healthy recipes. 🙂

One way I’m working to keep this resolution is to eat breakfast and lunch.  I love this breakfast casserole recipe because it’s easy to make and easy to heat up throughout the week!  If I’m prepared, then I’m more likely to eat breakfast.

Modified from this recipe


  • 1 can (8 ct) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • (1/4) Gimme Lean Soy Sausage Roll
    • We don’t eat pork hence the soy sausage.  It is awesome btw!
    • Regular sausage could be substituted (not as healthy) 😉
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spray baking dish with non stick spray.
  3. Unroll crescent rolls.  Press into bottom of baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle with sausage crumbles.
  5. Top with cheese.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk egg whites, eggs, and skim milk.
  7. Pour over top.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

We eat the casserole with sliced avocado, salsa, and a piece of fruit.

Very easy.  Very yummy.

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Resolution {Take Better Care of Myself}…

So January is in full swing!  Three days into it and I’m already feeling the resolutions fall off the wagon.  Why?  Because life happens.  We are busy people.  Busyness takes over and we forget about those promises we made to ourselves .. just 3 days ago.

I’m glad I resolved to work on one thing per month instead of everything at once. 😉

Here is my attempt to quantify and specify how I plan to achieve my January resolution of   taking better care of myself.

Drink more water.  

I don’t drink soda or tea very often.  I understand the negative side effects that soda, diet or not, can have on your body so I generally stay away.  I love a good glass of sweet tea, but I rarely make any.  All that to say, I do realize that water is super important to how we feel and our internal health.

My trick to drinking more water?   Infuse with cucumbers and lemon.  Always have a glass by the computer.

I infuse my water in a mason jar.  When the day starts, I simply add a straw and 3 cups are down in no time!  🙂

If I’m short on infused water, then I just add a straw to a bottle of water and it too is gone in no time.  Something about the straw I guess. 🙂

Eat more fruits & veggies.

I’m pretty good with the veggies part.  I love a good salad.  I love avocados with my eggs.  For some reason I’m really bad about eating fruit.  I love sugar, so I’m not exactly sure why this is.

Trick to getting in more fruits and veggies?  Add a piece of fruit to breakfast and lunch.  Eat a crunchy snack while at the desk working.  Edammae is my new favorite find thanks to the Steamfresh bags!  {Thanks Katy for introducing me to it!}  Carrots are an option too.

I’m digging these flavored greek yogurts as well.  I prefer to add my own fruit and honey to plain nonfat greek yogurt.  I’ll get there. 🙂


Workout (minimum 3 days/week)

Anything that I enjoy doing that works up a sweat will count as a workout.  The workouts don’t have to be perfect.  They don’t have to work every single muscle group.  I just need to get my heart rate up to rev that metabolism! 🙂

Since my resolution is to “take better care of myself” and not “lose weight”, I don’t feel nearly as bad about cutting myself some slack on what each workout should look like.

Don’t skip meals.

If I workout in the morning, then there is no doubt that I will get in all 3 meals plus snacks for the day.  BUT if I go from bed, to coffee, to office then it is likely that I will skip breakfast and barely eat lunch.  Awful awful habit!  Must change!

What I am not doing?

I’m not keeping a food journal.  I tried this over and over.  I really stink at it.  I’m either all in or not in at all.

Trying to lose weight.  Could I stand to lose a few l.b.s?  Sure.  But I’m not focused on the scale or the outward appearance.  I want to feel better and stack the odds in my favor by taking care of myself.


Will you help keep me on track?  Will you be my accountability partner? 🙂

Resolve to Get Healthier…

Yesterday I shared my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions.  I plan to blog about my January resolution shortly.  You know … the why and how. 🙂

But I also promised that I would blog about ways to keep New Year’s Resolutions.

If you resolved to make 2013 your year of health, then keep reading. 🙂

What does “healthy” mean to you?  Eating better for your body.  Working out and moving more often.  Taking better care of yourself.

One reason this resolution is so easily left by the wayside is the enormity of it.  The responsibility is too large and too vague.  Break it down and define it.

Eat better for your body

When you feed your body what it wants, it thanks you.  When you drink a lot of water, your kidneys are happier.  When you eat fruits and vegetables, then you have more energy than when you eat greasy burgers and fries.

  • Eat less sugar
    • Sugar is a sneaky thing.  A lot like salt.  It is hidden in everything.
    • Virtually all processed foods have sugar
    • A serving of spaghetti sauce can have as much sugar as 2 chocolate chip cookies!
    • The AMA recommends no more than 24 grams of sugar per day for the average American woman.
      • Comes out to roughly 6 teaspoons.
      • That ain’t much!
    • Read labels and eat fresh!
  • Eat what is in season
    • This is a good way to eat those fruits and veggies
    • It is also a great way to try out new dishes and recipes
  • Don’t skip meals
    • Going hungry does nothing for you.
    • I can attest to this.  When I skip breakfast, it is a rough morning for me.  I barely make it to lunch and then when I do … I feel horrible as my body tries to break down the food for nutrients.
  • Pack your lunch

Lose some L.B.s

  • Weigh yourself regularly
    • Knowing your weight could help you manage it.
    • What is that old saying, “You can’t get where you want to go if you don’t know where you are.”
  • Write down what you eat
    • It is all about the accountability
    • When you see … in writing … what you put in your body, then you can know what to change and improve upon.
  • Sweat less
    • 30 minutes is enough time to burn calories and rev metabolism without getting either too hungry or too exhausted to stay active after
    • I try to keep my cardio at 30 minutes.  I do add strength training and stretching before and after, but cardio?  30 minutes! 🙂

Take better care of yourself

  • Sleep will help my mood
    • Do you feel underrested?
    • Most people I would imagine get around 6 hours.
    • Did you know that sleeping can help boost your mood and outtake on life?
    • Give yourself a bedtime every night and wake up call every morning
    • Stick with it!
    • Don’t forget about the weekends either — sleeping in is a no-no.
  • I will be selfish
    • Remember to take care of yourself.
    • You are your top priority.  Not your job.  Not your kids.  Not your husband.
    • Take care of you first!
    • Whatever that might mean — pedicures, massages, spa days, girls night out, some alone time in the morning to read.
    • Get really disciplined about how you handle your stress through exercise
  • Download the life coach app called Bloom
    • Free iPhone app
    • It reminds you to start living better
    • 1st:  Use the app to establish your priorities
      • Drink more water
      • Save for European vacay
    • 2nd: Attach visual motivators like music and pictures
    • Throughout the day, it creates and sends you little pop-up reminders of the things that you are working toward! 🙂 Fun!

Research shows that the keys to keeping resolutions are achievability and specificity.  Can you do it?  What is it that you want to do?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

New Year’s Resolutions 2013…

Happy New Year!  Cheers to 2013 — it is officially here!

Before I start listing off my resolutions, I would love to hear from you!  What are you resolving to change or do better this year?  🙂

I went digging this morning.  Digging for last year’s New Year’s Resolutions.  I also came across a few good articles on “How to Start the New Year Fresh” and “How to Accomplish Your New Year’s Resolutions“.  🙂

Pure & Simple 2013 Resolutions

Jennifer’s New Year’s Resolutions {2013}

January {Take better care of my body}

I know this one is cliche, but the older I get the more I notice “stuff”.  That cookie takes a lot longer to work off than it used to.  If I eat a big greasy burger for lunch, then I feel terrible afterwards.  “Stuff” like that.  🙂

  • Drink water during the day.
  • Eat breakfast … and lunch.
    • Yes, I have a habit of skipping both.
  • Workout
    • Yoga, weight lifting, cardio, workout classes, swimming, tennis, and running will all count 🙂
  • Eat more natural.  Eat less processed.
    • When I eat fruits and veggies I notice that my body reacts in a positive way.
    • When I eat Pasta Roni and cookies, my body reacts in a … non positive way. 😛

February {Get Up Earlier}

I love the idea of being an early bird.  I wish that I was better at this.

Research shows that early risers generally have a more positive outlook on life than their sleepyhead counterparts.  Probably because they max out daily exposure to morning light, which boosts mood-lifting serotonin.

Why didn’t I accomplish this last year?  Because I stayed up too late.

This year:

  • Set a bed time and stick to it.  No matter what I am doing or what Raymond says (he is a night owl).
  • Give Myself A Break:  If I am in the middle of a good movie or show, all I have to do is hit “record”.  No need to stay up till the end. 🙂
  • Do A Little Different:  Set a wake up time and stick with it no matter what time I went to bed.  7am.
  • Take Cody for a quick walk first thing.  The movement and exposure to natural elements (air & sunrise) will help wake me up. 🙂
  • Great article on the Why and How! 🙂 http://shankman.com/why-you-need-to-get-up-earlier-and-how-to-do-it/

March {Learn}

I love to learn which is why I think I loved being in school so much.  One way that I learn and grow is through reading.  I’m a self-help kinda book girl.

  • Books that count:  time management, spiritual growth, and business success
  • Book reviews will be completed after each book to reiterate the points.
    • This is helpful to me so I can actually put into action what the book suggests.
    • I will keep with last year’s theme of “Try It On
  • Be prepared and have books on hand and ready to read.
  • Plan to read one per month.
  • This might start before March. 🙂

April {Make Time A Priority}

I have found that I let time slip away from me because I don’t know how to say “No”.  I feel bad saying no.  I will die a slow death from a thousand opportunities.

Focus.  Streamline.  Enjoy.

May {Meditate}

Must.Do.This.  I think I’m scared of it.  What if I can’t do it.  What if it is a hoax.

Try it on for size.  If it fits, then keep it.  If not, then ditch it! 🙂

June {Be In The Moment}

I find myself worried about tomorrow and next week and next month.  I will be running down the list of what I need to do today while eating breakfast with Raymond.  Write out the to-do list and focus on the present moment.

Tomorrow will come.  Things can wait.  Things work out the way they are supposed to.

July {Try a New Hobby}

Pinterest is an awesome tool and website.  However, I find that I try to become 400 versions of myself based on Pinterest ideas.

Crocheter?  Sure.  Seamstress?  Why not.  DIY Queen? You got it.

I need a better plan.  I will spend this month trying out a few Pinterest hobby ideas like learning to sew.


I’m going to stop there for now.  I feel like that list is pretty ambitious.  If I go overboard, then I know I won’t bother with any of it.

I plan to blog about each resolution at the first of the month.  My game plan will be more specific and concrete.  This also gives me time to develop said game plan and takes pressure off from doing it right now.

I have other plans and goals for the year like take a trip to Europe (never been!) and complete apartment projects.  Our bedroom is embarrassing.  Very little decoration going on in there!  But I don’t feel like these are resolutions but more yearly goals.

I love reading about what others are striving to do.  I love reading the progress report even more.  One in particular?  Money Saving Mom.  She is very inspiring!

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature