Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sweet Ideas: Healthier Ways to Tame That Sweet Tooth

So, the other day over lunch my friend and I began chatting about that inevitable, uncontrollable desire that comes upon us after each meal for something sweet
Every time I finish a hearty meal, I rush to the fridge or pantry for some chocolate chips, peanut butter or anything sweet I can get my hands on. After all, who wants that icky taste of fish, meat or veggies in their mouth leftover from dinner?
While most of the time I have my cravings under control, sometimes they can get just a tad out of hand. . . and that's exactly why I want to help you all. 
Below you'll find 8 healthier tasty ideas to tame that post-meal sweet tooth...and the best part is you still get to eat!

1. Sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey/agave syrup
2. 1 oz. dark chocolate or small handful (10-15) Ghirardelli 60% Cacao bittersweet chips
3. Mini bag of Trader Joe's Lite Kettle Corn (1 bag has only 110 calories) or make your own sweet 'n' salty fix by popping a bag of all natural, fat free popcorn and sprinkling it with a dash of salt and real sugar. (None of that fake stuff!)
4. Sliced banana dipped in cocoa powder or cinnamon
5. Handful dried fruit 'n' nuts, or no more than a measured 1/4 cup if you can't control yourself!
6. 1/4 cup frozen berries with 1-2 TB light cool whip
7. Grapefruit or orange wedges-perfectly sweet on their own (Think: soccer practice/game days!)
8. Cup of herbal, black or green tea with a dollop of honey, or make my favorite late night "latte" treat. Heat 1 cup organic, light plain or vanilla soy milk in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes in a microwavable mug. Place tea bag in mug (flavor of choice, but a chai based, cinnamon or black tea would taste best) and brew for 4 minutes. Remove bag, and add 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg, stir and enjoy : )

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beauty: It's Undefinable

For a good part of my teenage life, and well into my early 20s, I considered skinny to be pretty, as after all that is the conventional wisdom. Skinny girls with big boobs, flat stomachs, no thighs, rock-hard abs and arms that don't jiggle are perfect. Oh and you must be a size 2 to be desirable, right? 
HA, I laugh so hard at myself for believing I ever thought that way, and I laugh even harder and somewhat pity those that still do think that way. I mean c'mon, we are only human. Why must everyone have to fall into a perfect barbie doll physique category?
The thing is, which I've finally come to realize after far too long: beauty comes in all different shapes and many, many different sizes.
But, and trust me on this one, inner beauty and confidence in oneself is the most beautiful of them all, and it really does show. I know of girls who may be a size 2 with gorgeous faces and perfectly formed bodies who act bitchy, snobby and self-conceited about their looks, whom by that point I consider them not so pretty anymore. In fact, people like that go down about 10 notches in my book. Yes, maybe the drunk dude at the bar will want to take them home, but being considered beautiful and a keeper? Um, No.
Then there are young, peachy women I know who are sizes 10, 12, 14, 16+ and are downright beautiful to me, and you know why? They carry themselves well, smile a lot, walk with confidence and are happy with the body they have. They simply know how to work it. And that to me is sexy, and trust me, guys think so too. 
I used to be so self conscious in how I looked, constantly comparing myself to the skinnier, prettier, bigger-boobed girl, which in turn would just lower my confidence even more, prompting me to hold back. If I was out at a bar and saw a good looking guy talking to some little blonde, I'd tell myself, "She's much hotter than me...I'm not even going to try."
But now  I realize, why bother thinking like that? It's strenuous and downright stupid. I am who I am, I'm healthy and most importantly I am finally happy with the way I look and feel. 
I realize now that there is no "perfect girl" or "perfect body." Everyone is soooo different, which makes us beautiful in our own little way.
All my friends are beautiful to me (flat chested, skinny mini, big thighs, long legs, freckled, no butt, big butt, large breasted, etc.) because I value their personalities, confidence and way they carry themselves, not just because they are pretty to look at (while they are that as well).
It just saddens me to see beautiful women become so hard on themselves because they think they aren't "conventionally beautiful." 
Well, it's time to stop that today and take a deep look at yourself on the inside, letting everyone see what a great catch you truly are.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Reach Your Goals. . . NOW!

So, today I woke up at the crack of dawn (aka 5 a.m.) unable to sleep due to butterflies in my stomach. No, not because I had a hot date or some big important presentation to give. Rather, my nerves were flying because of my 5K race-the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure- that was to start at 9 a.m. (Yes, 4 hours from the time I woke up.) 
Sure, I had done a 5k before, but this time I had a specific goal in mind: I wanted to break my 27:58 from last time...and I wanted to break it bad.
You see, the first time I ever ran a 5k, I was a tad out of shape and it took me a whopping 33.5 minutes! Mind, you I was also huffing and puffing and complaining to my dad the entire time on top of that. 
My second 5k I did in 27:58, and was thrilled I could run 3 consecutive 9 minute miles, something I never thought that I'd be able to do. After all, I have never really been a runner, and still wouldn't consider myself one.
So, today was important for me, not because I'm some big shot competitive runner, but more so that I'm competitive with myself and reaching my own personal goals.
Well friends, I did it! I ran my fastest 3.1 miles today in 27:10, which I was so proud of myself for.
I think it's so vital for people to set their own goals, and work to achieve them on your own, sans all the comparing to everyone else in the world. Yes, there are going to be people faster, stronger, leaner, skinnier and more muscular than you. But that doesn't mean they are any better.
Sit back, relax and focus on yourself and what you need to work on, and you'll be so darn proud of yourself when you see those little goals being met!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trader Joe's: The Way to Go

I admit: I am (or was) a Whole Foods fanatic. I'm obsessed with their bulk nuts isle, ginormous salad bar and sampling tables. 
Well, the other day at work I was rambling on about my out-of-control obsession with Whole Foods Market, and a coworker responded, "You Mean 'Whole Pay Check?'" While at first I laughed, I got to thinking about how true that statement actually is. 
Seriously, every time I walk into Whole Foods, even if I'm just getting a small salad for lunch, I spend at least $10. Then on the days I actually go on a shopping spree, I rack up a quick $50 in no time!
Do we really have to throw away our entire pay checks just to eat healthy? Why must we pay such a great price to stay healthy and fit?
Well, good news is, we don't.
I've now thrown aside my Whole Foods phase, and have moved onto good ol' Trader Joe's, and couldn't be happier about my smart decision.
Trader Joe's has many of the same options as Whole Foods, but for much cheaper prices. Their vegetables, organic items, meals to go and signature chips, various nut butters and dips could not get any cheaper.
The other day, I went there and bought a package of organic veggie burgers, fresh garlic hummus, a tomato and eggs for (I kid you not) just a little over $5! If I had bought those same items at Whole Foods or another health food venue I'd be paying double or triple the price.
Seriously, Trader Joe's is the way to go when you wanna save some mullah. 
So ditch your expensive shopping routine for a more reasonable price and hit up Trader's today. Nothing's better than some delicious healthy cheap eatin'! 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

7 Savory Money Savers: Healthy Choices to Save Big Bucks at the Supermarket

1. Sweet potatoes (about 50 cents a pop and so darn delicious)
2. Eggs (Got a dozen for $1.79 the other day--thats about 15 cents per egg...can't get much cheaper than that!)
3. Brown Rice (Buy it in the bulk section at any health food store for MUCH cheaper than boxed varieties, and this allows you to buy as much as you want)
4. Canned Tuna (Always a cheap favorite of mine--buy it in a big package of 6 or 12 for cheaper)
5. Apples: This time of year, they have bagged ones at grocery stores from local farms for great deals.  The other day I bought a dozen for $3.00, which is excellent considering they go for $2.00 a pop sometimes. Fall is also the perfect time of year to go apple picking with your guy or can pick 'n' eat as you go too!) 
6. Oatmeal 
7. Bananas-soooo some today at Trader Joe's for 19 cents each!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

LATE to Bed, Early to Rise. . .

OK, so I know how important sleep is. . . get your 8 hours of sleep each night, blah blah blah. But last night I ending up going to bed around 1 a.m. because I couldn't sleep from the jitters my black coffee gave me that  I had around 7 p.m. (I know, stupid move, especially when I am no longer a daily java-consumer as I used to be). 

But anyway, my point is that even though I went to bed so late, I still forced myself to resist pressing the snooze button on my 6 a.m. alarm and was able to drag myself out of bed this morning for a 7:15 bootcamp with Jaylin Allen from AIR Personal Fitness (Thanks Jaylin, great class today!) 

And the funny part is that I wasn't even that tired. In fact, while it may sound contradictory, waking up early to exercise actually made me more energized than ever! I had previously planned to go back to bed immediately after class, but I instead find myself awake, perky and ready to start my day (and already blogging!) 

I have to admit that with my new cave like room in Boston (the sun doesn't shine on my side of the apartment), it's extremely easy to sleep in. I have to be honest, I've been taking advantage of the darkness and sleeping in far too long, and consequently feeling ultra lazy throughout the rest of the day. 

So listen up ladies: I do stress the importance of getting your sleep, but also making time for morning exercise because it works wonders for your body and mind! 

Yes, I very well may crash later and might have to hit the sack a bit earlier tonight, but I feel better than ever right now due to me a.m. adrenaline rush I got from working out. 

So, be daring: set your alarm for the wee hours of the morning and get a run/walk in before work, school or whatever it is you do during the day! Don't worry: your snooze button won't miss you and will be there again tomorrow. : )

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Healthy Tip of the Day: Make Your Own Din!

Save money and cals by making your own din tonight! Get your roomies or fam involved too, assigning different tasks to each person. Tonight, I made a delicious egg white omelet with tomatoes, avocado, spinach, oregano and basil. Both super cheap and super delish. 

Other quick healthy dinner suggestions are brown rice with veggies, a large sweet potato with toppings of choice, a turkey burger with a side salad or chicken/veggie fajitas! Be creative, and you'll find plenty of ways to savor the flavor and save some cash at the same time. 

What are some of your favorite easy, healthy homemade dinners? 

Friday, September 4, 2009

Budgeting Your Moolah the Healthy Way

Hi all! Sorry I haven't written in a few days. I have been moving into my apartment in Boston...and settling into the city. So far, I must say I am absolutely in love with everything about the area so far. From people watching on the t, sitting in quaint little cafes, walking everywhere I go and exploring the city, life has been good. No, I take that back: life has been great.

Anyway, the one thing that is not great about city life is how fast your money can go. I've found in the past few days that I am realllyyyy going to need to learn how to budget my bank account in Boston. 

Here, 5 ways to budget your money the healthy way:

1. Make your own coffee/tea at home: Do you realize that those daily trips to Dunkin Donuts and Starbuck's are damaging your bank account, majorly? Instead, purchase a coffee pot or tea kettle (split it with your roomies if you can) and make your own drinks at home cafe style. You can even add your own personal touch of love!

2. Research Farmer's Markets: Today, I came across the cutest little Farmer's Market by Kendall Square in Boston, and I purchased several fruits 'n' veggies for just $1.50. I'd pay almost $10 if I had purchased that at a typical grocery store. Seriously, Farmer's Markets and local non-chain grocery stores are the way to go to save big bucks on produce!

3. Walk, Walk, Walk: Walk wherever you can! Don't waste your cash on gas money or expensive public transportation when the place you're heading to is a walkable distance. Yes, I understand sometimes we are lazy and just don't want to walk the whole distance, but walk as often as you can...and get some exercise while doing it too! 

4. Donate Your Clothes: Donate the clothes that are too big on your, or just don't look good anymore. Why hang onto your "fat clothes" when you can purchase new, flattering clothes. Many consignment shops and stores these days even pay you for your old clothes, if they are in decent condition! Also, at the same time, you can purchase hand-me-down clothes in fabulous condition for super cheap prices at these kind of places. (Hey, they are new to you!) Look up local consignment shop listings to to find stores like this near you. 

5. Bring Out Your Inner Chef: Seriously, with tipping and high-priced menu items, restaurants can really rack up your spendings! Sure, it's fun to splurge and go out to eat once in a while, but why not try cooking on your own sometimes? Host fun, creative themed nights with your roommates or boyfriend, where each of you cook something healthy and delish. For example, you could have an Italian night with tomato and fresh mozzarella as an app, roasted veggies and whole wheat pasta for dinner with a delicious espresso style dessert (with maybe a touch of whipped cream!)  Visit my recipe blog at for more fun ideas in the kitchen!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Question of the Day: When Do YOU Feel Your Most Confident and Sexy Self?

I know this may sound strange, but I always feel my "best self" when I'm wearing barely any makeup, tight yoga pants, and a fitted tank. Maybe it's because it's my typical gym outfit, and when I'm at the gym I feel good about myself, so I'm correlating the two? There's also nothing like coming back from a long run, sweat dripping down your face with that phenomenal feeling aka an adrenaline rush.

But, I'd like to know what does it for you. Whether it's a certain dress, a specific activity you take part in or even a special perfume, what is the #1 thing that makes you feel absolutely gorgeous, sexy 'n' strong inside and out?