Archive for the 'Tips and Advice' Category

A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep! 27Dec11

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas weekend! I hope it was full of family, friends and food…lots of all three! But, now that Christmas is over and 2011 comes to an end, we have end of the year work to get done, and New Years resolutions to make and stick to for 2012!

ELLIPTICAL
New Years resolutions are tricky entities. We make New Years resoltuions because we want to make a change in our lives…we have the best of intentions for our New Years resolutions, but somehow our want to make a change becomes a burden or too difficult and we fall off our new wagon and back into our old ways. For 2012, let’s make a real change – let’s stick to it! The goal of the 2012 New Years resolution is to follow through – so make your resolution something you truly can do! Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you’ve never worked out before and you want to lose some weight, don’t make your resolution to hit the gym 5 days a week and go on a super-strict diet 7 days a week. Start with smaller steps, such as Cook healthy meals at least one more day a week and exercise at least one more day a week than before. This way, you’re able to accomplish your goal and you’ll be setting yourself up for easier success. If you like to stay active but you’re too busy to hit the gym, and too cold to go running outside, take the plunge and purchase that elliptical you’ve been looking to buy but never did!


This year, take the time to really think about your New Years resolution for 2012. Make a change in your life that you believe you really can make without feeling guilty. Make your New Years resolution right for you this year!

Holiday Travel Preparations 21Nov11

It is time to start planning for holiday traveling. This week is a short work week for me. I will be leaving the office early on Wednesday afternoon, so I can brave the day-before-Thanksgiving traffic to get home for Thanksgiving.


GPS MATWhile it shouldn’t take more than 3 hours to get to my family’s, I have the potential of being in the car for a good 6 hours. So, I am getting prepared. I have already printed out the directions that I would like to take to get home. I have the
GPS Nav Mat already set up and waiting for the GPS just in case we have to change our route. I have my travel tote hanging in my
bathroom so I can start packing things as I use them. I made sure to purchase some food to bring in the TRAVEL TOTE” width=car for snacks just in case the ride does to take 6 hours.


Have you done any travel preparation yet for the holiday? Do you have any other tips for me to prepare my car and friends for the potentially long ride?


Sewing Machine 18Oct11

SEWING MACHINE” width=Has anyone given thought to Halloween costumes for this year yet? Do you buy your costumes or do you make them? Do you get dressed up in costumes or do you just get costumes for your kids to wear? Do you get dressed up as a group all together or does everyone get dressed up separately?


I am not crafty by any stretch of the word. When it comes to Halloween costumes I find every way possible to get out of figuring out what to be for Halloween (I love it when Halloween lands on a weeknight and I can get out of the Halloween parties) because not only am I not crafty, I am not very creative. And because I am neither one of those things I am also unmotivated to get dressed up in costume. I am totally jealous of all of the people who are creative enough to come up with a costume idea and then find great ways to execute the costume. Some people even take out their sewing machine and actually make their costumes! I cannot do that.


What I need to know is where do you go to find pieces for a costume without going to a costume store? People tell me thrift shops, and to me this sounds great, but then again how will a thrift store have exactly what I am looking for in my size? This is my biggest problem: I spend so much time worry about how to get my costume together that I never really leave myself enough time to get it done.


Enjoy The Sun Without The Burn! 13Jul11

We all know that to stay healthy, we need to eat healthy foods. But making good nutrition choices in the summertime is difficult. Let me give you just one more reason to continue to eat those healthy foods our bodies need: sunburn prevention.


SUN PROTECTING FOODS” width=No, not all healthy foods will prevent sunburn and no matter how much of these foods you eat, you will still need to use sunscreen. However, there are certain healthy foods you can eat to help reduce your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and increase your own natural protection by up to a third! Recently, I came across this article that explains how these foods can help. I bet a lot of these foods are already in your diet, just not in great enough quantities. When you go grocery shopping this week, think about adding more of these foods to your list: tomatoes, dark chocolate, carrots, watermelon, broccoli, spinach, salmon, green tea, and berries.


If you’re looking for different and interesting ways to use those regular foods I listed above, feel free to do what I do, and surf the internet for new recipes. Watermelon and broccoli salad? No. Feel free to share any recipies you have using these SPF-boosting ingredients.


UMBRELLABack to the sun. As I mentioned, eating those foods won’t prevent you from getting sunburned all together. You need to take serious precaution while in the sun. And remember, just because you might be someone who doesn’t burn, doesn’t mean you’re not going to experience the same serious effects of the sun. So, just be smart and safe if you plan to be in the sun. Wear sunscreen, and re-apply it throughout the day. Ladies, hats are a hit right now, so embrace your inner fashionista and wear a big hat to protect yourself. When it gets hot, don’t be afraid to sheild yourself under an umbrella, or go inside if you feel your skin start to burn.


Be careful in the sun, and enjoy it.


Food Safety: A “Pressing” Issue 08Jul11

Do you know the “10 Dirtiest Foods You’re Eating”? When I first came across this article, my thought was, “this is proof that vegans are doing the right thing,” since the first 5 foods were animal or animal product. But then I got to numbers 6 through 10 and realized it was so much more.

HAMBURGER PRESSWe know that chicken carries Salmonella, but do you ever think about your friut being a carrier? The article stresses buying USDA Organic peaches, apples, grapes, etc, because they are contaminated with fewer pesticides than inorganic fruits. Caution and knowledge when purchasing your food is only half the battle. Knowing how to handle and prepare your food is just as important…but not difficult. For example, you can use fresh spices, like oregano, in ground beef to help abate E. coli. Many common spices have anitbacterial properties, so for dinner tonight, I’ll be spicing up my burgers that I make with my Hamburger Press. Now, do I go for the traditional beef patties or the healthier turkery burger option?

These are just a few of the tips I learned from the article. I highly recommend reading the article for the great information on what to look for at the store as well as what you can do at home to keep your family’s food safe.


Summer cooking is fun! Make sure you do it right.

The Weekend, Finally 03Jun11

It is finally Friday! Isn’t it funny how the short weeks that begin on a Tuesday always seem to pass by so slowly? Work is so crazy, but it’s funny how one night, just 3 hours (and getting out of work at 5:30 instead of 9:00) can make a world of a difference.


Happy FridayYesterday I had a goal: leave work at 5:30 on the dot. No questions, no saying “yes” to the “Alissa, can you just do this real fast before you go?” because “real fast” never means “30 seconds or less.” I meant to get into the office early, but I slept late…so late I didn’t even have time to put make-up on my face (girls have to make the worst decisions when we should have left the apartment 5 minutes before: blow dry my hair or put on make-up). Anyway, I was still motivated to get out the door at 5:30, so I worked through lunch to get in the extra hour – best decision ever! For the first time in 3 weeks I finally felt relaxed three hours after I left the office. I took a walk with a friend, made a simple veggie burger for dinner, was lazy and put all dishes, pots and pans in the dishwasher (mom, don’t yell at me, I promise I won’t do it if I ever own expensive pots and pans…or a wok), cleaned up my apartment, tried on a pair of shoes my mom shipped me and they FIT (thanks mom!), went for a walk to get frozen yogurt with rainbow jimmies (sprinkles…whatever) and finally I felt amazing! I am not sure if it was the clean apartment, the fact that I actually ate dinner 2 hours before I was used to even getting home from work, the fact that I could walk for a sweet treat and not be completely exhausted, or the fact that the perfect shoes fit my feet…but whatever it was, I was finally feeling better. My mom called as I sat down at my computer to catch up on my favorite blogs and eat my frozen yogurt, but she wanted to share in my shoe excitement with me.


Maybe I am feeling grounded again because I have fun, relaxing things planned for the weekend. My friend out in Virginia owes me breakfast, so I am cashing in and I cannot wait to spend some quality time with him. I am going to relax at the pool with some other friends, and shopping with the girl who says “It’s not spending money if you use your Victoria’s Secret credit card.”


Have a great weekend. Talk to you on Monday!

Samuel Adams Adventures 25May11

I have a friend who is a serious beer fanatic! He loves beer. He loves trying new beers, brewing his own beer, rating every beer he drinks on some website (and I am pretty sure he has rated over one hundred kinds of beers), and keeping his fridge and my fridge stocked full of good beers. We are currently on a beer mission…let me explain.


Whenever he wants a particular beer, he finds a way to get it no matter how difficult it proves itself to be to find. Part of the fun of our, what we call, “beer adventures,” is the adventure. We will go to as many stores as it takes to find what he is looking for. When we walk somewhere we might take the longer route just because we know we will pass more liquor stores to go check in on our way to our destination. So, you might ask yourself, “Why not just call the stores to see if they have it?” Like I said, part of the fun is the fun in the adventure – going, looking, finding new things, and hopefully finding what he came for.


Samuel Adams UtopiaThe current mission: Samuel Adams Utopias. We had some time to go on a little adventure this past weekend. I think we hit 6 stores in hopes of being able to fill up his brand new Samuel Adams Glasses with the Sam Adams, what seems like impossible-to-find, Utopias. Samuel Adams Pilsner GlassSince we failed in our mission this weekend (we will not quit!) we bought some other beer, and filled up regular pilsner glasses, watched a movie, and continued to brainstorm other ways and places we would go to accomplish our Sam Adams Utopias undertaking. In the meantime, I have written a letter…maybe it will bring us luck!


Dear Samuel Adams People,


If you are currently, by any chance, reading this blog post, we have been all over Washington, D.C. looking for Samuel Adams Utopias. Every place we have been has given us sad looks with the same story, “So sorry guys…we were only allotted [1, 2, or 3] of them and we are sold out.” We even went to one place in Virginia. Finding Samuel Adams Utopias would be simply heaven to him…I’m in it just for the fun. While I really enjoy going all over the place with him to find Samuel Adams Utopias, I really, really wish it could somehow just land right outside my door so I could give it to him because he would be so happy to have it in his hands. He is a huge Sam Adams fan (he makes posters with your beer cases, is the first to buy the newest flavor, and no matter how many beers he tries, he always uses Sam Adams as his staple and go-to beer) – he deserves this! So, if anyone from the Sam Adams brewery is reading this, please comment, or contact us, so hopefully we can work out how I can get my hands on Samuel Adams Utopias.
Thanks so much!


Kindly,
Alissa

Smart Eating During a Busy Week 24May11

One thing I love, particularly when work is way too busy to stop and take a break for lunch, is having fresh fruits and vegetables waiting for me ready to eat. It is so easy to grab pizza, fast food, or something pre-made on the way home after a long day at the office. But every time I know I can cook and eat out instead out of pure laziness, the food doesn’t taste as good. Plus, I always feel better from the inside out when the food I do eat is fresh and cooked by me.


Healthy EatingSince I learned my lesson last week that I will not have time or energy this week to really cook, I decided to focus my meals this week on leftover pizza from Sunday night (made by me with pre-made thin crust pizza crust, pizza sauce, spinach, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese), veggie burgers, fruit smoothies, bagel thins with cheese, spinach, tomatoes, and salad…lots of salad. The better I feel on the inside the happier I will be out on the outside – just have to plan for it. The worst part about it, is with so little energy to actually do anything with food, things like salad can get really boring (which is when I would simply revert to a pint of ice cream…probably not the best decision). So, I do what I can to keep the “boring” food exciting.


I blog, as you know. Many times I will find delicious recipes on other bloggers’ sites. I usually stay away from the salad recipes because I am usually not interested. Insulated Lunch ToteThe other night, I just so happened to come across a salad recipe that actually sounded good. Also, I do not believe in putting fruit in my salad (tomatoes don’t count as fruit in my world), but this salad, made by Caitlin on Healthy Tipping Point has fruit and still looks amazing. This will be my lunch or dinner tomorrow night, and I know it will be amazing!


This week, I will focus on filling up my lunch bag every night before I go to sleep. If I have to work a million hours a day, I might as well have a lunch and snacks to enjoy!

A Not So Relaxing Weekend 23May11

Pile of WorkAs I mentioned to you last week, my life at work recently has been incredibly busy. This weekend it was crucial to relax, sleep, and lay low. So, that is exactly what I did, and it was just what the doctor ordered…almost!


After such a busy week, and leading into another busy week, nothing was more important than taking care of myself this weekend. It started on Friday, at 5:45 p.m. (should have been 5:30, but like I said, work is too busy) with a happy hour with some people from work. We rarely do a work social happy hour, so it was the perfect week for this to have been planned. Happy hour was followed by a relaxing night in: reading, TV, and off to sleep early. After sleeping until an amazing 10 a.m. my friend and I took a drive together before we made dinner, drank beer, and watched a movie to complete another relaxing night. Would you ever believe that I slept in until almost noon on Sunday!?!?


On Sunday, I was supposed to have some time in the morning/afternoon to continue to re-coup and then go to the movies and grab early dinner/late lunch with some girl friends. As it turns out, in my crazy work week the week before it seems I missed the email about dinner after the movie becoming lunch before the movie. So, after waking up, making coffee, taking a shower, and relaxing before leaving for the movies, I got to the movies to see my friends all sitting there waiting for me (I am always early but they were super-early), which is when I found out that they had already eaten and I went from having dinner plans to no plan and no food in my stomach…great.


After the movie I went back to my friend’s house to hang there for a short while, and then come back home. I immediately parked my car and went to the store…I had 15 minutes before the grocery store around the corner closed. Pizza PeelI quickly grabbed some things that I needed for lunch for the week and the very handy pre-made pizza crust for dinner since I suddenly had to cook. One of my favorite kitchen tools is my pizza peel. Let me tell you what – on a night when the last thing I want to do is cook and I have to, the first thing that would happen is me burning myself on the oven I didn’t want to use in the first place. The pizza peel takes the risk of me burning myself more or less out of the equation.


Anyway, I really wanted to bake for my co-workers who have helped me so much during this very busy time, but it was either cook for them, or cook dinner for myself. Hopefully they won’t mind, and I can make it up to them later. So much for a “relaxing” weekend. Maybe another time.

Late Night Work 19May11

This week has been a very busy week at work for me. I have been in the office early and working late every night. I have to admit, I am extremely tired. I love working and I love being busy, but sometimes it is just really nice to come home.


I had been eating dinner not before 8:30pm every night, which was keeping me wide awake throughout the night – no good. So, last night I made a decision. I decided I was leaving work at 5:30 on the dot. Not that that meant work was over, just that I was going home. At the very least, I could eat dinner early enough so I would not be energized and full of food shortly before I need to go to sleep. So that is exactly what I did. I have the ability to log into my work computer from home, I emailed myself information so I could obtain the information easily, I printed out documents to proofread, and I brought it home.


So, was last night the most relaxing night of my life? My Place CozyAbsolutely not! Was it more relaxing than staying at the office until 8:15 and not getting home until close to 9? Yes! I got too relax, eat dinner and watch a little television before I got started on the workload I brought home with me. Then it was lots and lots of work. But, it is so much nicer to work on my couch with the TV on rather than my not-so-comfortable desk and chair at the office. So, I grab my work, my laptop desk, pen, papers, and I worked.


While this may not have been a nice, relaxing night at home – carefree and fun – at least I was still able to finally be home.


What would you prefer: working late night at home, or late night at the office?