Archive | Lifestyle RSS feed for this section

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

Personal Records are the Best Kind of Records

20 Dec

[Morgan & I pre-race]

Confession: I take my personal records very seriously (in all parts of life), so much that I nearly knocked down ten Santa Clauses and a few men in Speedos to beat mine at yesterday’s Jingle Bell 5K Run. I had my arms flailing, my legs moving faster than ever and I think I even boxed out a few Santas (oops). According to the timer on my iPod, I beat my PR of a previous 27:11 with a record-breaking 27:05. However, according to the online race results, I got 27:15, but I’m going to trust my iPod and celebrate anyway. If I had a clear pathway at the end (sans reindeer, Santas and fat men in Speedos), I totally could have broke 27 minutes. That’s all I’m sayin’. I was on a roll, baby!

But whether my time was 27:05 or 27:15, I am more than proud of myself. I am also ecstatic for my best friend who completed her first ever 5K! She hasn’t ran 3 miles straight in ages, yet finished the entire race like a champ just a little over 30 minutes. (Good job Morgs!) You see, her goal was simply to finish the race and that she did…beating a good 3,000 people or so too. If that’s not breaking a PR, I don’t know what is.

But, back to the point. I’ve never been an extremely competitive person. I don’t really care for gambling and I’ve never cried after a rec basketball loss. However when it comes to me and my personal achievements, that’s when I get competitive. That’s how it should be, after all. Who cares if your roommate ran the race in half your time? Why get down if your friend from college was offered a great job (and a raise) within one year after college? Why let someone else’s success completely break you down? If you think about you and you only, other people’s success won’t get to you. Be proud for them, and move on with it. They are them and you are you. Nothing else matters, really.

After all, there’s nothing quite like the feeling  of knowing that you did it, that you reallllly did it. Whether that’s completing a 5K at record-breaking time, signing up for your first marathon, going after your dream job or pushing yourself to do yoga twice a week or aiming to be a better mother/friend/girlfriend, that’s completely up to you. But the fact that you did it all by yourself is the most rewarding thing there is in life.


Cross the Coast Trail Mix

14 Dec

YAY! The day has finally arrived. I’ve been up since 5 a.m. because I’m road tripping to Florida with… this boy (hehe). He has to drive his grandparents car down to Florida, and asked if I’d like to tag along, and let’s face it: I can’t say no to road trips. In order to ensure a happy, smiley trip (especially this early in the a.m.) I whipped up some trail mix for the road. Keeping in mind what he likes (yogurt-covered pretzels and Craisins) and what I like (raw almonds ‘n’ dark chocolate chips), I think I came up with the perfect blend. 

-1/2 box original Puffins

-1 c. dark chocolate chips 

-1 bag yogurt-covered pretzels

-2 c. raw almonds

-1/2 c. dried cranberries 

-1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional) 

-whatever else you have hangin’ around the kitchen

~Combine into a big plastic bag, shake up and enjoy!

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

[source]

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? 


7 Healthy Ways to Get into the Holiday Spirit (& Burn Some Cals)

9 Dec

The other day, I went to the Prudential Center to tackle some Christmas shopping. When I came out with nothing but some makeup for myself and a couple trinkets for my family, I was a little bummed. Of course, I was happy with my new Sephora goodies, but for all the efforts I went through in the mall, you’d think I’d at least get to cross off half of my Christmas list. Yes, I said efforts…my trip to the mall was more of a workout than a shopping spree. From dodging moms with strollers to running around like a mad woman (I was sweating after just 20 minutes of shopping), my annual Christmas shopping felt like 60 minutes on the treadmill. “Welp, guess I don’t have to work out today,” I said joking to a friend. But really, maybe I was right. With a little research and a little help from Health Discovery’s calorie calculator, I learned that many of our holiday activities are actually burning lotsa calories. So what I’m sayin’ is if you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen all day baking double-fudge brownies, skip that cardio and do a little butt toning instead ; ). Alas, here are 7 ways to burn the cals* big-time this holiday season, while having a bangin’ time while you’re at it! 

*all calculations are for an average, 150-pound woman 

1. Lend your hubby a hand with the snow shoveling for once. He’ll appreciate it so much & then you have an excuse to down some hot cocoa after when your hands are numb. > 30 min, 216 calories burned 

2. Veg out with a holiday classic like Elf, Love Actually, The Holiday or The Grinch. We even burn calories resting, ladies! >90 minutes, 102 calories* burned (*Note, our bodies are always burning – even when doing nothing – so each additional activity only burns MORE! Neat, huh?)

3. Clean the house for this weekend’s holiday shindig. Blast Christmas tunes & light wintery candles to make the time fly by faster. >60 minutes, 252 calories burned 

4. Grab your best friend, bundle up in your cutest holiday gear, and go ice-skating > 45 minutes, 378 calories burned 

5. Brace the streets or the mall for your annual holiday shopping spree. Warning, wear layers so you can take them off as the time goes by…it gets HOT in there! > 2 hours of moderate walking, 576 calories burned 

6. Head North & hit up the slopes for a skip trip with the entire family! There’s nothing that gets me in the holiday spirits than a good ol’ escape to the mountains! >2 hours downhill skiing, 864 calories burned (cross-country comes in at a whopping 1,152!) 

7. Let’s Get it on…to Christmas tunes, under the mistletoe or by the Christmas tree, perhaps? >45 minutes, 81 calories burned (and that’s at a moderate level, ladies!) 

Happy holidays all! 

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? 


What’s on My…iPod, workout schedule, mind?

3 Dec

Happy Friday fellow healthy chicks, and hooray for the glorious weekend ahead! Since it’s Friday and I know you’re all just itching to get out of work and get your hands on a martini, I’ll keep this post short ‘n’ sweet. Today we’re going to play a little game over at Healthy Chicks so that you all can get to know me better, and I too can hopefully get to know YOU better along the way. 

What’s on My…? 

iPod: Newly downloaded songs= Katy Perry’s “Firework” (totally motivating and great for an energy boost, plus she totally rocked it at the VS Fashion Show), One Republic’s “Secrets” (also gets me going in the morning along with my coffee), Paramore’s “The Only Exception” (how can you not love this song?), Sad Brad Smith’s “Help Yourself” (have been obsessed since watching the movie “Up in the Air“), George Harrison’s “What is Life” (an oldie but a goodie).

Refrigerator Shelves: Honestly, I’m embarrassed ’cause there isn’t much right now- definitely time to hit up Trader Joe’s. Currently I have eggs (I heart making egg white omelets), a bunch of veggies (including spinach, cucumber, carrots and zucchini), marinara sauce (leftover from when I made “Spaghetti (squash) & Meatballs”, light string cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese (I’m a sucker for the real thing), apples, an orange and brown rice wraps. 

Workout Sched: This afternoon I’m going for a 2ish mile run with my best friend (she’s running her first 5K in a couple of weeks, yay her!) followed by some Core Fusion Body Sculpt in the apartment. I’m going to try to squeeze in a long run this weekend (5 to 6 miles I hope) as well as some yoga/weights at the gym!

To-Do List: It’s a little scary, but it includes interviewing a salon owner for my PT job, buy Christmas presents for mom, dad, sister, friends, etc., edit recipe book & place orders [will probably order 50 to 100 and sell holiday specials], buy a scarf for a special girl who deserves it, pit-stop to Sephora for some makeup, pit stop at CVS for all the essentials, browse Victoria’s Secret for Christmas goodies, grocery shopping, buy mini things for Florida trip so I won’t have to check my bag (gotta follow the 3.4 oz. rule), and the list goes on and on…

Mind: “I can’t wait for Florida…”, “What’s for lunch?…”, “Wow, that dude next to me has crazy hair…”, “This cappuccino is delish…”, “Seriously, what do you get dads for Christmas?…”

Lips: Vaseline (so good for winter chapped lips) & Bath and Body Works’ “My Favorite Lip Balm” with shea butter and almond oil. (It really is my favorite lip balm-I swear by this stuff)

Cool Bookmarked Pages: Hallmarkcontests.com, OMG Facts, PostSecret, Etsy

Calendar next two weeks: Comedy show, Sunday Funday with my friend Megan, a few meetings, two work holiday parties, Ugly Sweater Party (debating whether to go or not), 4 day road trip to Florida, 5K Jingle Run!

If you have the time, fill in the blanks on some of the above questions…I’d love to learn more about you too!! 

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? 

Tame Holiday Stress the Healthy Way

29 Nov

[don’t be a Grinch!]

As I’m sitting here in my cozy apartment with a “Warm Baked Apple” candle lit listening to Christmas tunes, I couldn’t agree more with Andy Williams when he said, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” I’m absolutely obsessed with the season, and kind of turn into an overly happy, overly energized, overly joyous Santa’s elf around this time. I’m one of those girls who wants to listen to Christmas music 24/7, decorate the apartment with snowflakes and pretty tinsel, and glitter-ize everything! 

So I guess I don’t understand that when I go to the mall I see so many grinches out there. Mothers screaming at their children, people fighting with sales clerks and billions of people walking around with the most scary looks on their faces. What gives? It’s the holiday season, after all! SMILE! But I get it…I really do. While the holiday season brings lots of joy to many, it can also be quite stressful. After a trip to the mall, it’s very tempting to want to pound a few spiked ciders or vodka on the rocks. But let me tell you: that’s not the answer. 

That’s why I went out and asked my friends (Twitter & real life) how they handle holiday stress, and many people got back to me with some great answers that don’t include screaming at your husband or punching a hole through the wall. So I’ve taken what other people have said to me and thought up a few ideas of my own to help YOU handle holiday stress this year…and make it through the season alive. 

Sip On Tea Throughout the Day: Seriously, never doubt the power a cup of tea can do for your stress levels and inner balance. Head on over to your local supermarket or specialty tea & coffee shop and pick up some caffeine-free teas of choice. I love chamomile, peppermint and ginger this time of year, but the flavors are endless! Oh, and tea is calorie-free so you can enjoy it absolutely guilt-free all day, every day if you so wish.

Make Lists: You’d laugh if you saw how many lists I make, but there is a reason to it. And that is they help me organize my days and my life in general. I make all kinds of lists from goals & dreams to groceries and to-do lists. They are all over my apartment, so that I can visually see what it is I need to get done. Make lists for upcoming events, items you need for the sweater you’re knitting, who’s left to buy presents for, and the ingredients for that new recipe you’ve been dying to try for your best friend’s holiday party. Trust me: lists solve all problems.

Fake It: Even if you’ve had the most stressful day ever, fake a smile and move on with it. After all, smiles are contagious, so smile and smile big. It’s so much more difficult (and much more effort) to be angry and mean to someone. If the line is long or the new coffeepot you purchased doesn’t work, take a deep breath and don’t yell at the cashier. She didn’t do anything to you, so don’t bring her good mood down in the dumps too! Instead, realize it’s not worth it to sweat over the little itty-bitty things in life. Instead, move on with it and you’ll be much happier in the long run! 

Make Your Own Gifts: If the mall stresses you out, make your own gifts to save time and money. Homemade gifts are also more special and will be a lot more fun to put together. Get creative this year with your gifts, even if you just design your own holiday cards. I’m planning on making homemade corn bags (heating pads) for my friends, and also printing a few more copies of my recipe book to give away to friends and family for the holidays. You also can’t go wrong with anything involving pictures, liquor or yummy food! 

Get Your Rest: Don’t stay up all night long to get things done. Our bodies and minds need a rest, and you need to give your body what it deserves. So even if you have to save some stuff for the morning or sacrifice your late-night TV watching, it’ll be worth it when you wake up bright ‘n’ energized. Hey, us women need our beauty sleep after all.

Get Away: Sometimes it can be stressful when you get wrapped up in your daily routine. So go on a mini vacay even if you just take a day trip to go ice skating or wine tasting. Little things like this get us through the holidays easy and breezy. I’m taking a four-day road trip to Florida in a couple weeks with a pit stop to Disney World and couldn’t be more excited! I urge you to do the same…even if it’s just a mini getaway. Anything helps. 

What do you do to cope with holiday stress? Any suggestions and ideas to add? 

%d bloggers like this: