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Great News on the Healthy Chicks Front: The Books Have Arrived!

24 Dec

Happy Christmas Eve all! Besides the fact that this Christmas season has already brought me much joy  (a boy I’m dating whom I kinda sorta really like, wonderful family reunions, SNOW, sisterly chats, more SNOW, and tasty eats, it’s also brought me a very special package that arrived just in time. What is this mystery package, you ask? Why, it was a big, big cardboard box filled with 25 of my very own “Healthy Chicks in the Kitchen” recipe books. 

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been working on these recipe books for some time now – from writing the intro and table of contents to coming up with fun titles and descriptions of each recipe. Oh, and I’ve also been busy cooking…gotta test ’em out, right?

Anyway, they finally came in the mail late Wednesday night, and after my mom and I ripped open the package, stared at the front cover, and flipped through the book (multiple times), I think it was safe to say I was oozing with happiness. I couldn’t – and still can’t – believe that I designed these babies all by myself, I came up with every single recipe in the book (all 64) and I was on the front cover. Me. With my full name. WOW. Now that’s a good feeling you can’t just get from anything. 

Naturally, my mom wanted to take some to work to sell for her daughter (she owns a pretty sweet hair salon), so she laid them out nicely in a big pretty basket with tissue paper to take with her to work yesterday. I signed them of course so they’d have that personal touch… What I didn’t realize was that by the time I came to visit her yesterday evening, she would have already sold SEVEN of them. How neat? Seven people have my recipe book on their kitchen counters as we speak. I’m getting chills just thinking about it. 

Well, just thought I’d give you a little update on the Healthy Chick front before things get crazy with the family/the food/the presents/and the additional food. Happy holidays to all. I wish you all a warm, healthy, happy, merry Christmas : ) 

XoXo,
Rachel

50 Happy Thoughts

21 Dec

People who know me say that I’m always happy, and therefore when I’m not smiling or perky as ever, they assume there is something wrong. What can I say? I’m just a happy person and I feel there is no other way to be in life. However, lately I’ve been especially happy, like one big ball of happiness. I can’t stop smiling and feeling all warm & fuzzy inside. Maybe it’s the holidays or something but I am feelin’ good. That’s why I decided to share with you today 50 things that make me especially happy. Hopefully some of my happiness will spread to you…

1. Breakfast for dinner. Think: french toast, omelets and pancakes. This never gets old. 

2. Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Green Tea

3. Road trips, like the 5-day one I just took to Florida

4. Yummy scented candles like Pumpkin Pie, Vanilla Frosting and Gingerbread. I swear I could eat ’em. 

5. People watching…on the sidewalks, on the T and in the mall

6. Baking muffins/cookies/cakes/breads, even though I’m really not the best at it. 

7. Catching snowflakes on my tongue 

8. Kissing inside by the fireplace when it’s chilly and snowing outside

9. Decorating the Christmas Tree. I still love putting up the Bert and Ernie ornaments every year. 

10. The soup & salad combo. Seriously, is there anything better? 

11. Sparkly, glittery things, especially stickers ‘n’ decorations 

12. Fuzzy slippers that you never want to take off

13. Hot hot showers that you turn into a “steam room”

14. Getting a surprise letter in the mail

15. Sending a surprise package to a friend

16. Gettin’ & givin’ presents

17. The smell of fresh Christmas trees…mmm

18. Laying down with a good magazine and a good cup o’ tea

19. Snuggling

20. Wearing bright red lipstick even on a non-special occasion

21. Getting new undies, new nightgowns and new lingerie especially at VS

22. Hitting the slopes for some skiing & feeling like you are on top of the world

23. Hot cocoa with marshmallows…especially when you are so cold your face goes numb

24. Talking to strangers and learning something new each time

25. Pea coats… all pea coats in every color 

26. Blasting oldies and dancing around my apartment 

27. Homemade dinner when I go home to my house in CT

28. Taking pictures…of everything & then putting them all over Facebook 

29. Catching up with an old friend when it’s wayyyyy overdue 

30. Peanut butter fudge

31. Twitter and all my friends I “meet” on the web

32. Friends that are there for you no matter what, like my neighbor who brought me Gatorade when I was sick last night

33. Random notes…on post-its in unexpected places

34. Cinnamon & sugar 

35. Running outside…when you feel like you can run forever 

36. Sunsets… in the mountains

37. Laughing until my stomach hurts over absolutely nothing

38. Mixed CDs

39. Trail Mix (homemade)

40. Hot tubs, especially when your muscles are sore

41. Being recognized for doing a good job

42. Random acts of kindness like giving up your seat on the train 

43. Coffee in the morning…Gingerbread coffee from Trader Joe’s 

44. Surprise spur-of-the-moment trips with the fam

45. The feeling I get after one glass of wine…flushed ‘n’ flirty

46. Good news

47. Reading my horoscope…when it’s really, really good & believing it 

48. Long naps

49. Yummy tasting lip gloss 

50. Laundry just out of the dryer 

Lookin’ Good in Them Genes

13 Dec

The other day, I was complaining about being Color Blind to the boy I am dating. It’s extremely rare for a girl to be Color Blind, but I unfortunately got the bad gene – something about dominant traits in my dad mixed with my mom’s carrier trait turned into Rachel being Color Blind. I complain like it’s the end of the world, but it’s not like I can’t see color. Whenever I tell people, they ask me “What color is the sky?” “What color is the grass?” Yellow and purple, duh! Seriously, people. Along with my lovely Color Blind trait, I also got the brown hair and the brown (sometimes green, so I guess hazel) eyes, while my sister is blonde with crystal blue eyes. C’mon gene pool, why me?

But as much as I complain, I realize all my traits (weird, bad, ugly and good) come from my family, and that makes me love everything about myself all over again – even if that means calling a friend over every time I need to find the “green” in Word and not being a blonde, blue-eyed babe. In fact, I actually love the fact that I’m naturally brunette- it matches my skin and eyes perfectly. I’ll also accept the fact that I got the curvy genes with the tiny waist, big butt and thighs. It makes wearing an LBD so much more fun!

But it’s not just the exterior traits that come from my fam. It’s everything about me. Since my parents are from Connecticut, I’m lucky enough to get to see them a few times a month to catch up and share some good laughs. Yesterday, they came up to spend some time with their lovely daughter and to meet….dun dun dun…the boy she’s dating, and it only reminded me how much I freakin’ love my family…just the way they are. My dad’s one of those outgoing guys who knows everyone and can work his way into anything, and would do absolutely anything for his daughters, and my mom’s his adorable little sidekick who says the most hilarious things when she’s not even trying to be funny. We may laugh at her a little more than we should, but we love her nonetheless! (ha, hi mom!) Then there’s my beautiful sister who is my other half; we balance each other perfectly. 

Anyway, after spending some time with my parents yesterday I realized I get all my quirky little traits from them. I’m silly and sometimes ditzy like my mom, I talk too much like my dad, I pick at my food (and everyone else’s food) like my mom, I can take back tequila like my dad, I am sensitive and caring like my mom, I have a sense of humor like my dad, I like to write letters and homemade cards for my friends like my mom, I like going out and talking to anyone and everyone like my dad, I laugh at myself like both of my parents, and can sometimes think I am always right like…both my parents. I love to go shopping and cook like my mom, but learned to run and attempt to like sports like my dad. I am me because of both of them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

So Color Blind or not, I love living in the genes I was given. 

Are you more like your mom or your dad? What are some of your unique traits? 

Friday Recap: 4 Things I Learned This Week

10 Dec

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TGIF fellow Healthy Chicks! You’ve finally made it to Friday, and can officially enjoy the week being over. However, instead of celebrating the weekend, I’m going to do a little recap on this week as I’ve learned a lot these past few days…

# 1. Fake Christmas Trees Just Don’t Cut it (And Never Will): The other day I witnessed my first real Christmas tree of the season. I walked into my friend’s apartment and the second I stepped foot inside I could just smell it, fresh pine needles mixed with Christmas that is. I immediately felt warm and happy inside. You see, since we live in a teeny tiny apartment, we decided to settle with decorating our fake palm tree with ornaments and a little tinsel. While it looks pretty, it’s simply not the same. I will never understand fake Christmas trees, and you can ensure I will never have one once I can afford my own place. I already have a whole box of ornaments stored away for when I finally have my first tree (my mom gives my sister and I a few each year for Christmas)!

#2 A Restaurant Serving of Pad Thai will Last You Three Meals: The other night, I went out for Thai and of course ordered my absolute favorite dish: Pad Thai. Some of you may be squirming in your seats because obviously Pad Thai isn’t the healthiest dish – it sometimes comes in at a whopping 900+ calories. However, that’s no need to deprive yourself of a dish you love! Get what you truly want, eat until you’re satisfied and then take the rest home. Let me tell you, I ate my little heart out the night I went out to eat, and still had enough for TWO additional meals- yes, two! Restaurant servings can be far too large for the typical Healthy Chick, but you don’t have to fear them. Just doggie bag them (hehe).

#3 Don’t Overdo it When You’re Sick: I felt a cold coming on a few days ago, but tried to be Super Woman with an “I can do anything” attitude. I did Core Fusion (hey, gotta tone the butt), I hung out with The Boy (all day, oops), I went out for a nice dinner, I ran around like a mad woman trying to finish my Christmas shopping, I drank coffee when I knew it would further dehydrate me, I stayed up late (watching movies and reading blogs), I vigorously cleaned the entire house…I simply didn’t stop. Today it finally hit me and it hit me hard. That’s why I’m currently wrapped up in a blanket on the couch with my laptop and The Apprentice on DVR. Enough is enough. 

#4 Coconut Oil is a Miracle Oil: Ever since I used a heaping scoop of coconut oil in my gluten free cupcakes a few weeks ago, I’ve seen this oil everywhere. In fact, one of my Twitter followers @meagher_erin sent me some Kelapo Coconut Oil to sample. I never realized how much you can do with this stuff! It’s good for your skin (works like a moisturizer), can help with digestion (add some in your next cookies, or even thai rice dish), and can even smooth your hair-move over, expensive conditioners! Honestly, how many oils can you eat, rub onto your skin and put in your hair – that actually smell good. Not many!

How has your week been? What did you take out of your week…learn anything new? 


The Secret (To Getting What You Want in Life)

7 Dec

So a few years ago, I was roaming through some old books in my grandma’s church “Rummage Sale” and came across a book that caught my attention: The Secret“The Secret. The Secret to what?” I thought to myself as I read the inside cover. The book quickly intrigued me, so I bought it. Heck, I’ll buy anything at a bargained price, but there was something about this book that got me. 

I must say, to this day, I’ve never read a book quite like The Secret. To sum it up, it basically tells you that you can have anything you want in life (yes, anything) as long as you believe it’s yours…and I mean,really believe it. That’s the “secret” after all to changing every aspect in your life to lead to ultimate happiness. 

At first, I thought the book was kind of a whole bunch of bologna. HA. I can just want something so bad and I’ll have it? Yeah right. If that’s the case I’d be in a relationship with a bangin’ body and a phenomenal job. [negative, doubtful talk]

But when I let myself open up to the idea that this philosophy may actually work, I started tobelieve…and boy did I start seeing some changes. After I read the book from front to back in one sitting, I decided to make a “visionary board,” something they talk about in the book. Basically, it’s a drawing of everything you want in your life: a new house, a new job, a new boyfriend, etc. etc. So I made a list. Mind you, this was a few years ago, but I drew everything I wanted at the time. I started off with a stick figure of myself in running shoes (I used to hate running) and wrote “lose 5 pounds.” I then drew a picture of a book and wrote “Healthy Chicks.” Mind you, at this time I didn’t even have a health blog [I actually had a relationships blog], never mind the visions of ever writing a book in the near future. I also drew a picture of myself at a desk and wrote “job,” among some other minor things that I don’t even recall. 

Anywho, within a couple of months, everything I had written down had become reality. I got a job (no, it wasn’t my dream job but I got a job and could finally move out of the house to Boston), I got an apartment with my best friend, I started my own blog “Healthy Chicks,” and eventually wrote my own cookbook “Healthy Chicks in the Kitchen.” Oh, and I now run at least 3 times a week (I started slowly) and the weight easily came off, I think mostly due to me being happy and content with myself.  

You see, the book isn’t magic in any way. It just teaches you to change your thought process so you think in a more positive, optimistic, “I can do anything I want” sort of way. Be a little cocky at times. Dream bigger than you ever thought you could dream. And go out and get what you want, girl!

A couple of weeks ago, I made another visionary board for 2011. I won’t share what’s on it yet…that’s a secret (hehe). But I will tell you, some things are already starting to come true. Funny how life works sometimes, huh? 

Did you read the book “The Secret?” If so, what did you think of it? Did you ever make a visionary board? 


Beat that Negativity With Happy Thoughts

30 Nov

[my dog Sunny…how can he NOT make you smile?]

I woke up this morning feeling gooooooood. You know, just one of those mornings you wake up on the right side of the bed, and you just know it’s going to be a good day. Naturally, I hopped out of bed and made my favorite breakfast (an egg white veggie omelet with feta cheese, side of toast and coffee…lots of coffee). Then I headed to my office (ahem, room) for some tweeting, blogging and article writing. It was only fitting to blast some Christmas tunes as well to go with my joyous mood. 

Then my mood was quickly taken down…about ten notches. For some reason, everyone I’ve talked to so far today were being Negative Nacys to the max. Complaining, being grouchy, being bitter, being mean. At first, I let it get to me and began to feel bad/guilty/sad/frustrated too then I realized I am my own person and am not going to let other people’s moods effect my own. So today I am dedicating this post to “happy” things to hopefully help brush off all that negativity, and make you smile. Life is far too short not to… 

Things that Make me Happy (and hopefully YOU too):

-long, hot showers on a cold, cold day

-fuzzy slippers, socks and blankets especially Christmas-themed ones

-homemade soup, particularly a huge bowl of my mom’s homemade chicken noodle

-chocolate (fudge, covered-strawberries, whipped cream-yes, it exists!, hot cocoa)

-My iTunes Christmas playlist that I have on replay

-Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

-happy, positive people 

-family gatherings with lots of food, drinks & laughter

-finding the good in every situation

-Victoria’s Secret Warm & Cozy PINK lotion 

-kissing in the rain or the snow

-cuddling by the fireplace

-cuddling in general

-my dog Sunny 

-true love stories & asking old couples how they met 

-watching sodes of Sex & the City for hours and hours

-Christmas movies i.e. Love Actually, Elf and The Holiday

What makes you smile? How do you wash away unwanted negativity? 

Have a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving!

25 Nov

Guest Blog Post: Rules of Dating By Relationship Expert Jenny Jen

24 Nov

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Happy Hump Day fellow Healthy Chicks! Today I am proud to entertain you with a guest post from one of my favorite readers/fellow blogger Jenny Jen. She is one Blonde Bronzed Twenty Something who knows the ins and outs of relationships, dating and men (something I am totally clueless about). Alas, let me give the floor (er, blog) over to her! Jen, you may take it from here…

Healthy as we might be with other aspects in our life, we’re not so much with men.  We are told to go for the good guy, yet fall for the bad.  We are meant to walk away from a relationship without looking back, not wanting the ass hole even more.  We are supposed to take the oh-so-obvious hints that he’s just not that into us, but instead we focus on the signs that show us he is.  We my friends are twentysomething women who – although healthy and in control in other areas of our life – lack the same nutrients and wholesome diet in our dating life.

Well consider me your relationship trainer.  I’m going to give you the core tips to energize your love life.  So are we ready girls?  Time to swap those Nike runner’s for a pair of Manolo thigh-high boots and start walking:

1)     Keep a ‘dating diary’:  The same way you would record the calories and eating items you intake to notice patterns and how each food makes you feel after consumption, do the same with men.  We often forget the bad and overwrite it with rosy stories that are far from accurate.  Keep this journal to understand your patterns, in hopes to prevent making the same mistakes again.

2)     Everything in moderation:  We are always told that too much of something is never a good thing.  If he uses excuses such as work, studying, moving, etc., realize that someone who wants to see you will fit you into his schedule, no matter what.  I’ve dated people in high demand jobs such (think doctors and hockey players), yet they still managed to make time for me.  Got it?  Alternately, be aware of spending too much time with the man of your affection.   If you’re together 24/7, you likely don’t have room for other aspects of your life and wellbeing since he has become it.  Neither of the two choices are a healthy alternative.  Instead, indulge in him but make sure to make time for yourself and your friends, because at the end of the day, if Casa Nova and you break it off, you and your friends are the only one who can pick up the pieces. 

3)     Work it:  You’re not going to burn calories, release endorphins and start noticing changes on your waistline unless you start working out.  Wish as we might, sitting at home playing on our Macbooks won’t get us into shape.  Same with dating.  Though we can try to peruse the net for potential suitors, it’s going out, meeting people and putting ourselves in a social environment that will get us to reach our goal.  So put on a hot little number, head out and make it happen.

4)     Avoid Toxins:  You wouldn’t dare ruin your diet with something that was unhealthy or distructive to it, so why would you do that you with your men?  You know that hung over feeling you experience the morning (and day, and evening) after drinking?  Those are the effects of toxins in your body.  Toxic relationships are destructive to your well being.  Not only do they halt motivation and make you less productive, but they also deter others from you (no one wants to get toxins).  And deny as you will that the boy is toxic, listen to those around you who refer to him (and who you become with him) as such.  No one should be bringing your fabulous, foxy-self down.  A partner is meant to bring out the best in you, not worst.

We wouldn’t settle for a bad gym, we wouldn’t feel good from a half-assed work out, and we certainly wouldn’t feel clear headed and airy if we ate a meal full of junk.  If you put in the same thought and awareness as you do with your health, I can assure you you will find that grade A relationship you so desire. 

-Jenny Jen

Thanks for such a wonderful, fun post Jen! You may contact Jen on Twitter @BlondeBronzed, read her hilarious, informative relationship blog here and email her at blondebronzedtwentysomething@hotmail.com. 

I am Thankful For…

23 Nov

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Lately, I’ve seen a lot of people on Facebook doing an “I am thankful” countdown of sorts. I’ve been amazed and touched by how creative and inspiring people are getting with these things. Therefore, I’ve decided to dedicate a post for myself on things I am thankful for in my life. I thought it was only fitting that Thanksgiving is just two days away, and it’s been one of the only things on my mind for the past month. I guess you could say I am in the Thanksgiving mode, and have decided to treat my neighbor for lunch today because of it. He’s one of the millions of things (er, people) I am thankful for and I think it’s nice to give back sometimes and give a little “thank you” of my own. So here goes…

I am thankful for…

1. My wonderful friends who live all over the place (as far as Virginia) and the fact that whenever I see them it’s like old times again…like time hasn’t even passed.

2. My goofy, caring, and sometimes crazy family for loving me for me, and being there for support no matter what. 

3. Peanut butter, and the fact that I can put it on top of anything and it still tastes just as delicious. 

4. My tiny waist that allows me to wear form-fitting dresses, halters & spaghetti strap tanks. 

5. The practice of yoga and how it gives me a sense of balance, energy and serenity every time I do it. 

6. My curvy body which I used to hate and am now learning to embrace. Hey, we may as well rock the body we were given.

7. My ability and talent to write and keep up with it, especially in my “Healthy Chicks” blog. 

8. My lovely readers (you guys) who come back day after day and leave inspiring comments and wonderful advice. 

9. All of my guy friends, who let me in on the minds of dudes so that I can greater understand the other species. 

10. All the kind-hearted people out there, like the nice gentleman at Trader Joe’s who gave me a discount on my coffee and the old woman I met at the Laundromat the other day who struck up a conversation with me while waiting for our clothes to dry. 

11. Having the guts to talk to strangers and share my emotions with people…even if I can be overly chatty and honest. 

12. My dad’s silly text messages and pictures that make me crack up with laughter every single day. 

13. My sister Krista because she’s the only sister I’ve got and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

14. My mom’s silly notes and packages she sends me that can bring a smile to my face even when I’m having one of “those days.”

15. My new-found love for running…and that high I get after mile 3. 

16. My daily coffee and the way it greets me every day so I can be perky, energized & smiley in the morning. 

17. The wonderful people I “meet” through Twitter, blogging & the entire social community like my absolute favorite blogger rock star Rachel Wilkerson. (Seriously, check her out if you haven’t yet, she’s freakin’ hilarious) 

18. Food of all kinds and all flavors and my ability to enjoy every single bite, instead of fear it like I once did. 

19. Warm winter scarves, boots, fuzzy blankets & slippers. 

20. Hot tea after a long, stressful day. 

21. People who are happy and love life (and show it). There aren’t enough of them. 

22. Love, and finding it at the least expected of times…all around. 

23. Whoever invented sushi, especially the Spicy Tuna roll. 

24. Everyone in my life, as you have made an impact on me somehow. 

25. Home cooked meals and clean sheets waiting for me every time I go home.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

19 Nov
 
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Ok, confession: While you probably already know from my last post, I'm kind of already in Christmas mode...that is, in full-fledged Christmas mode. You can't really blame a girl though. The malls have been dressed up in pretty lights for ages, holiday stuff is all over the place, and tomorrow is Faneuil Hall's tree lighting- Santa's even gonna be there and they light up the tallest tree in New England. OK, you get it, I'm over-the-top excited for the holiday season. 

And to get even more into the mood, my roommate and I are having a holiday movie marathon tonight with homemade cute snacks and all our favorite holiday classics including Elf, The Holiday and my all-time favorite: Love Actually. I’ve already watched it once this season, but this is one movie I can watch again and again and again. I absolutely love the message it sends out, and if anyone knows me, I am a hopeless romantic so this movie gets me every time. 

I especially like one of the first lines in the movie, and want to touch upon it in my post today: “If you look for it , I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” And this year especially I couldn’t agree more. I have to admit, sometimes I get a little sad around the holidays because it draws attention to my single-ness and lack there of boyfriend as you see all the couples prancing around galavanting under the mistletoe…kissing in their matching outfits. 

But, I realized that’s not really what the holidays are all about, and love doesn’t necessarily mean being in a relationship or having the perfect life. I guess it doesn’t hurt that my dating life is going pretty good right now, but I realized that love means many things. Love means having a family that cares about you and makes you feel at home. Love means having those few great friends you can tell absolutely anything to, and who are always there for you. Love means loving yourself and your body, inside and out. Love means having a good heart, and sharing that with the world. 

And when you think of it that way, love really is all around. You can see it on the train on your commute to work, you can see it in the eyes of families walking down the street, you can see it in the couple kissing in the park. There is no one definition of love; it’s everywhere. At least that’s how I see it this year! So go ahead, and open yourself up to love this season. Share your love with friends/family/your significant other and most importantly yourself

What do you love about this time of year? What brings love into your life? And lastly, what are your favorite holiday movies to watch? 


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