How To Be A Morning Exerciser

April 24, 2014

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Working out in the morning has it’s perks. It’s energizing, it starts your day off right, and there are no excuses when work and life get in the way later. The downside: you need to actually get your butt out of bed and do it!
Becoming a morning exerciser is possible; even for those of us who like to press “snooze” more than we like to get our sweat on. Trust me, once you get going, you will be so grateful that you did. And it only hurts for a few minutes, before the adrenaline kicks in.

Here are a few ways to get yourself going in the morning:

1. Schedule your workout (whatever time of day you do it) as you would a meeting or a doctor’s appointment, and show up!

2. Book a class, a trainer or a training buddy to ensure that you really do show up.

3. Commit to your rest days in advance. This keeps me accountable. I can decide in advance when I am not going to work out, so I don’t just make the call when the alarm goes off and I don’t feel like getting up. Just deciding not to go in the morning is a non-negotiable.

4. Plan ahead. Lay out your gym clothes the night before. Pack your gym bag if you shower there to make sure that you have everything you need when you get there. Getting out of the shower and realizing you have no clean underwear is not fun.

5. Plan your pre-workout breakfast. Whether it’s a glass of water or juice, or a light breakfast, decide in advance what it will be to avoid wasting time in the morning. Make it enough to fuel your workout, and keep you hydrated, but light enough not to weigh you down or cause stomach upset.

6. Tell yourself you just have to do a certain amount and you can quit. Set a minimum amount of work, such as run a mile, do one set of a circuit, or put in 10 minutes on the bike. Chances are, once you get past that small amount of exercise, you will be pumped up to do more. Getting to the gym is half the battle. Once you are there, you are highly likely to workout.

7. Congratulate yourself on your diligence. Working out every morning is no small feat, but you will be so much better off for it. Pat yourself on the back, give yourself a treat and keep up the good work!

8. Don’t give up! Studies show it takes 21 days to form a habit, and 66 days to make it permanent. Push through it. You will thank yourself in the long run.

photo: glasshouse images

 

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: How To Peel A Carrot

April 22, 2014

carrots, vegetables, nutrition

Most of us have peeled our share of carrots in this lifetime, but clearly, we haven’t been doing it very efficiently.

Did you ever notice that peelers have 2 blades? They are there for a reason. This tip first seen at Eat The Love, changes the way you will look at a carrot forever!

Hold the carrot at a 45 degree angle on a flat surface or cutting board. Slide the peeler up and down while rotating the carrot. Only attempt to peel about 1/2 way up the length of the carrot with each swipe. Flip the carrot, and repeat the process on the other end. You will be amazed at how quickly that skin comes off!
Confused? Check out their video tutorial and see for yourself courtesy of The Daily Meal.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Eggs and Asparagus

April 21, 2014

What symbolizes springtime more than stalks of green asparagus, eggs and a lemony sauce? We served this last night as a first course, but it could be a great main dish for a light dinner, accompanied by soup and some crusty bread (hello meatless Mondays!) or as an entree for Sunday brunch.

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Roasted Asparagus With a Poached Egg and Lemon Mustard Sauce:

recipe adapted from Foxes Loves Lemons

Clean asparagus and trim the tough stems. Coat lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and roast in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until cooked but still crisp. Timing will depend on the thickness of the asparagus, so be prepared to cook thick stalks longer, and very thin ones for less time.

In a sauce pan, heat about 3/4 cup heavy cream,  and simmer until it reduces to about 1/2 cup, and has a thick, saucy consistency; about 6-8 minutes. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the juice of 1/2 a lemon, a little lemon zest, a generous tablespoon of butter, 1/8 teaspoon dried mustard, and a little finely chopped fresh tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a large pot or high sided sauté pan, and then reduce the temperature so that it is gently bubbling. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (plain white vinegar will also do) to the water, and gently slide in the eggs. We recommend cracking them 1 by 1 into a small dish and pouring them into the water to avoid breakage. Cook 3-5 minutes. Three minutes will yield a very soft, runny yolk, and at 5 minutes it will be nearly hard boiled.  Using a slotted spoon, gently remove the eggs from the water, and place on a paper towel to drain.

To serve, place several asparagus spears on a plate. Add the egg, and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, and garnish with a few tarragon leaves and some lemon zest. Enjoy!

photo: indigojonesnyc instagram

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Festival Chic: Vintage Floral Toppers

April 18, 2014

Music festival style is a well curated melange of denim, merged with feminine items with a bohemian vibe. While this look may not work for most of us on a day to day basis, there are great items to incorporate into your wardrobe to add an element of boho chic.

The sheer floral print top was a big trend at Coachella. Whether it’s a vintage robe or dress, or a new piece inspired by them, these were the topper of choice over denim shorts and bra tops.

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This floral piece with flounced sleeves adds a girlie touch to distressed denim and an oversized tee. Accessories compete the look.

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Long and languid cabbage roses top a laced edge camisole and cutoffs.

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Lingerie inspired boy shorts and bra top are covered by a floral kimono.

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High waisted shorts and cropped top are feminized by a long sheer rose printed robe.

Want to try to inject this into your wardrobe? Try a floral top or dress over jeans, slim pants or even a pencil skirt.  Add some necklaces, and channel your inner hippie.

Photos: Pinterest

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Exercise Your Way Young?

April 17, 2014

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We all know that exercise benefits our health in many ways, but a new study shows it might also help us look younger too.

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada found that mice became ill when sedentary, but thrived when given access to a running wheel. The theory was then applied to humans, with positive results.

A group of  men and women ages 20-84 were split into 2 groups; the first exercising vigorously for 3 hours per week, and the other less than 1 hour per week. It was discovered that after age 40, those who got more exercise also had thinner and healthier status cornuems and thicker dermis layers, a skin composition more similar to those aged 20-30.

They also studied a sedentary group of people over the age of 65. After three months on an exercise programs, the participant’s skin was found to be similar in make up to that of 20-40 year olds, and they looked visibly younger.

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Instead of investing in costly lotions and potions to battle the visible signs of aging, perhaps it’s time to start working out. You heart, lungs, bones and skin will thank you.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Festival Style: LACE

April 16, 2014

It’s music festival time, kicking off with Coachella last weekend. Festival dressing has a style all it’s own, with sexy, boho looks ruling the day. While flower crowns and hippie inspired dresses may not fit into most of our day to day lives, there are some trends to be extracted. Such is the case with lace. Textural cotton laces and crochet add a feminine, yet casual twist to any look. Why not try a lace trimmed blouse with your jeans this weekend, and embrace a little festival chic!

Here a just a few of our favorites:

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Softly tiered cotton with insets of rustic lace give this dress a sweet, yet edgy vibe. Add a sheer floral top to complete the look.

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This voile blouse trimmed with cotton lace is tucked into distressed denim cutoffs.The  tapestry bag is the perfect finish to this haute hippie look.

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Vintage lace and high waisted denim looks flawlessly chic.

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These macrame sandal-boot hybrids, leather bracelets, and woven bag take this eyelet top to another level.

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A soft peasant top and lace shorts make a case for tough and tender, when paired with studded leather accessories.

Photos via: Pinterest

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Centering Egg Yolks

April 15, 2014

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With both Easter and Passover occurring this week, many people have hard boiled eggs on their minds.

When making deviled eggs, it’s nice to have the yolks perfectly centered in the whites, to allow them to be stuffed evenly, and to look more presentable on the plate. Here is a little trick that will make that possible.

The night before you plan to boil the eggs, lay the carton on it’s side in the refrigerator. Use a rubber band to keep the eggs from rolling out of the carton. Leave them for 12 – 24 hours. Cook as usual, and viola! Perfectly centered yolks.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Marbled Matzoh Brittle

April 14, 2014

Here is a simple, yet delicious version  of the matzoh brittle we have posted previously. It has all the properties of the perfect confection. It’s a little bit salty, a little bit crunchy and a little bit sweet. And did I mention it has chocolate? What’s not to love?

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Adapted from Salt and Serenity.

Marbled Matzoh Brittle:

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and cover it with parchment paper. If you skip this step, you will be scrubbing for a long, long time. Trust us on this!

Line the pan with sheets of matzoh. If you have room, break pieces to fit the extra space.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 sticks of butter, and 1 cup of brown sugar. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until it comes to a boil and blends together. If it looks separated, keep stirring. Stir for couple of  minutes or so until it forms caramel. Pour the caramel over the matzoh, and smooth it with a spatula.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes until the caramel is golden in color, and bubbling. Don’t let it burn!

In the meantime, melt 1 1/2 cups of white chocolate chips. Place the melted white chocolate into a pastry bag. (see our tip for doing this here.)

Remove the matzoh from the oven. Sprinkle it with semi-sweet chocolate chips and allow them to soften. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly across the matzoh.

Cut the end off of the piping bag, and pipe the white chocolate in a zig zag pattern across the matzoh in both directions. Don’t be too worried about precision. Use a skewer, or the tip of a paring knife to smear the white chocolate, forming a marble effect.

Sprinkle the matzoh lightly with sea salt.

Pop the pan into the refrigerator, and chill until the chocolate is firm.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the chilled matzoh into squares, and enjoy! (Don’t forget to share!)

photo: Salt and Serenity

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: What NOT To Microwave

April 8, 2014
Do you think they had a microwave disaster?

Do you think they had a microwave disaster?


While microwave ovens can speed things up in the kitchen, they can also lead to disaster. I actually ended up in the hospital due to  a freak microwave accident,  but alas, that is a story for another day.

Here are some things that should stay out of the microwave:

Metal should never be put into the microwave. Even the smallest bit can send plasma through your microwave, melt the metal, or in the case of aluminum foil, start a fire.

Many plastics are labeled microwave safe, but although those products themselves are safe in the microwave, they can give off unhealthy chemicals that are not safe for humans to ingest. Just. Say. No.

Hot peppers contain an ingredient called capsaicin, which gives them that hot, spicy flavor. Once microwaved, it also gives off a vapor that is unpleasant to inhale. Skip it, and use the stove.

It seems as though hard boiling an egg in the microwave would be a good idea, right? Wrong! The center of the egg gets very, very hot, the steam inside has no way to escape, and bam, you guessed it: they explode.

Have you ever had a microwave disaster? Tell us about it in the comments below!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Overall Impressions

April 7, 2014

Overalls, once the go-to outfit of farmers and toddlers, has made it’s way into the fashion scene. This time around, they have a sexy, almost sophisticated edge, taking the workwear staple to a whole new level. Being a woman of a certain age, I’m fighting the urge to give this trend a try. But looking at these chic ladies, I’m thinking  I can rock this look. You be the judge:

Donna Karan sent these overalls down this runway for DKNY this spring, adding a polished blazer and trench coat to complete the outfit.

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A slim fit, high heeled booties and a great flyaway sweater give these overalls a casual, yet pulled together  sensibility.

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How chic is this women, walking through the Tuileries in Paris, with gold toed pumps, a clutch bag,and her red coat tossed nonchalantly over her shoulders?

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Leave it to Alexander Wang to pair a leather bra top with his white overalls. A little skin makes the look sexy!

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Blair Eadie of the style blog Atlantic Pacific is known for her ladylike chic. Her messy undo, pointy stilettos and red lips and bag give this outfit an air of sophisticated ease.

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Want to try this look yourself? Just abide by a few simple rules.

Overalls should be on the slim side. Nothing oversized or sloppy.

Add a touch of the unexpected, through accessories, makeup or a great piece of outerwear.

Roll the legs and add a chic heel.

Accessorize to the hilt. Shoes, bags and scarves play a huge role in upping the fashion ante. Keeping it chic is key.

Take a little extra care with your hair and makeup. This isn’t the time to get sloppy.

Keep the tops fitted, or go ahead and show some skin. Let the world know there is a woman under there.

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