4 Simple Tips That Will Help You Stick to a Diet

grapesSummer is here, and that means those bikini bodies need to be in top condition. However, if you’ve had a cold winter – like the northeast, you might just be peeling off those layers and wondering, what happened!?

You can’t sip on that warm sugary cocoa anymore. It’s time for chilled coconut water and pool side grilled chicken. I think it’s a fair trade.

At any rate, here are some tips that help keep me on the straight and narrow during the spring and summer seasons:

Sparkling Water with Frozen Fruit

Coke (excuse me, I am from Texas – and soft drinks are known as just ‘coke’ there) but – it’s horrible for you. Gross. I recently watched a video of a woman literally cooking it over the stove and once the water evaporated, it was not a pretty picture – it contained loads of dripping sugar.

So, it’s off limits while dieting and should be just in general because it’s nasty for your temple. This also includes diet drinks. Think about how many ingredients are in that Diet Pepsi (I choose Pepsi, because that is my weakness.) Swap your soft drinks for sparkling water – and to make it fancy add some frozen fruit, fresh lemons or mix up a little half iced tea and half sparkle water.

Just Lace Up Those Shoes

I find that if I get into my comfy clothes after work and just walk around my apartment in the sky barefoot that I am way less motivated to get moving. However, if I change out of my work clothes, put on some yoga pants, T and tennis shoes, I am so more likely to go on a stroll, jog or jump on that elliptical.

Look at Inspiration Pictures

I’ve tried to with and without – especially at work. Look at pictures of inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram. It just helps plain and simple. Those cookies in the work kitchen or candy in the bowl look less than tasty when you see motivational quotes to get your tush moving or pictures of hardcore yogis.

Post your Meals on Social Media

Seriously, post your meals on Instagram (maybe not Facebook – that could get annoying). People can get over seeing delicious meals on their feed every now and then. And, it not only holds you accountable to your little community of people on your social media platform of choice, it might just inspire someone else as well. Spreading the clean eat goodness around!

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Winter Blues? Sip on These Teas

ginger teaEveryone has heard of SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. Well, it is that time of year when the days are darker earlier and you feel like all you do is sleep in your office. Driving home is a drain because you feel like it’s midnight.

Getting the blues is easy this time of year. However, these teas are proven to boost your mood alleviate those seasonal boo hoo’s! Give them a try.

Ginger Tea

Ginger root is sometimes called the “universal medicine.” This pungent herb improves alertness and mood. Its calming properties help lower your stress and tension. This is thought to be due to a combination of the strong aroma and healing properties.

Chamomile Tea

Traditional healers have long recommended chamomile tea as a simple, healthy (and delicious!) way to relieve anxiety, and current scientific studies support this tea’s long-time reputation as a stress reliever and nerve relaxant, showing it to be an effective way to reduce anxiety and depression.

Lavender Tea

Inducing relaxation is a traditional use of lavender tea, primarily because of the soothing aroma. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that scientific studies suggest that inhaling the scent of lavender may slow nervous system activity, promoting relaxation. This can help with anxiety, insomnia, stress and depression

Lemon Balm Tea

Drinking lemon balm tea can have a calming effect and help to induce sleep. Many studies have investigated lemon balm’s use in treating insomnia and anxiety, but most of the clinical trials used a combination of lemon balm and other herbs like valerian, hops and chamomile, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Rooibos Tea

This reddish, earth tea is quite calming. Due to its high mineral content and lack of caffeine, it’s known to help people to feel calm and relaxed.

How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?

water bottleWater. You love it; yet – you hate it. After a long run, water is like the nectar of the gods; however, just sitting at your desk, you’d rather sip on a refreshing coke, right?

Well, sorry to say to those who don’t like water – we need it. Of course there are ways to spice it up (fresh fruit or yummy cucumber pieces).

But the simple fact is water really is a necessity to the human body. Did you know that our brain is made up of 73% water? Wow.

I decided to stick to a daily water schedule (as outlined in this picture on the blog). It is an ingenuous idea that I cannot take credit for – but can speak with a glowing review.

Not only does sticking to a water schedule decrease your appetite, it makes you more alert, your skin supple and your mind sharp.

Don’t believe me, try it. Just get a cute little nalgene bottle and use a sharpie to mark out the times you are supposed to drink your water by! I am a competitive person by nature – so having little times on my water bottle really drives me to complete this goal that I set for myself.

Aim to drink two 32 ounce cups of water a day. It is not hard, if you space out the time. Trust me. Also, think about cutting out soft drinks – if you want to see a major difference in your body.

Some of the wonderful benefits of drinking more water are: clearer, wrinkle free skin, decreased bags under eyes, bright eyes, strong hair and nails and weight loss.

5 Motivating Tips From a Beginning Runner

RUNNING SHOES

Absolutely love running in the fall weather. The colors of the leaves – are perfect.

I will be the first to tell you – yes, I am a novice runner – an enthusiastic novice runner, no doubt – but a beginner. Going to run my first real 5k over Thanksgiving with The Veggie Girl {prayers, prayers, prayers – for a full completion with no walking}. Hey, you have to start somewhere on a running journey!

Here are a few tips this novice runner has learned. So, from a beginner’s spirit to yours – take these tips to heart. They just might improve your mood – and make lacing up those kicking tennis shoes easier and more enjoyable.

Run outdoors: there is something totally different about being in nature than on the grind of the treadmill. There is so much to observe outdoors – the crunchy leaves, scurrying squirrels, business people commuting, your neighbors etc. I also like feeling the brisk wind in my lungs. Get over it being cold, just make sure you bundle up (you are sure to warm up getting that body moving).

Get Nike + on your iphone: just download it now – even if you are just thinking about starting running. This free app has helped me out so much. You can create a running playlist and map your run. It tracks calories, measures your heart rate and talks to you. It is like a little coach in your phone. You can also build a community of running friends from the app.wake up

Post your workout to social media: don’t usually brag about my workout routine; but, posting your Nike + running route on Instagram and progress invigorates me and motivates me. Not only do you have awesome runners like your run; but, this support spurs you on to do more. And, you will feel bad when you skip a day posting a workout.

Buy cute, nice running shoes: mine are orange/pink and I love them. They were not the most expensive shoes in town {$69}, but they fit great. I love strapping them up and hitting the pavement in bright, fun shoes. If you don’t know too much about running shoes [read up on what you need here].

Drink a cup of coffee/tea before your run: this just gets me revved up. Not only does it warm my body and brace it for the cold outdoors; but the caffeine is a motivator. It will get you through those longer runs [which for me is about 3 miles right now].

Bonus Tip: browse through Pinterest key word ‘running motivation.’ If that does not get you up off the couch, not sure what will!

Hope these little tips help you on your brave, awesome, beneficial journey to become a kicking runner! As Olivia Pope would say – go forth Gladiators. Will let y’all know how race day goes – gobble, gobble.

One Week of Flats – And I Lived To Tell About It

shoes

Shoes from: Nine West, Steve Madden, Target, Shoe Carnival and Sperry

Well, one major problem about being a working woman is dressing up for work. I used to absolutely love it. I don’t know if it’s me getting older or the fact that it takes so much effort, and I have so much to do (nobody’s got time for that!). Haha.

At any rate, I challenged myself this week to dress up – but wear flat shoes instead of those ouchy high heel beauties.

Let me tell you, this was a good challenge for myself. Being a little lady, around 5’ 4” tall, I really like having that extra height the heel gives you. However, after running around on them all day (press conferences, concrete floors…etc) they can really take their toll on your back, feet and just overall weary feeling.

So I did – picked out 5 pairs of cute flats in my closet (they literally get no wear and tear at all) and wore them with choice outfits all week. And my feet feel fantastically rejuvenated. Here are some benefits that I deducted from my little experiment this week.

Flats are practical.

In my job, I run around a lot. Press conferences, media hits. These are all punctual things – and if you are running a tad late – it is full on sprint time. Um – heels were not designed for running. I have darted down the hallways in heels, not fun and not good. So, flats are so practical if you are on your feet during the day.

Flats excel in inclement weather.

Do you live in a place that has testy weather? If you do, flats are a better choice. Like really, try walking down the sidewalk in a big city while it’s pouring down rain or hailing a cab in heels while balancing an umbrella. Not my idea of a grand old time.

Flats preserve your health.

I don’t want to have back problems. Do you? I am not saying high heels are bad all the time – but don’t wear them every day. Flats will give your body a rest from the unnatural state of standing in those spiky heels. A report in The Daily Mirror notes, ‘Heels cause problems because they force your foot forward, altering the angle of your body so your weight isn’t evenly distributed over the spine, which can trigger pain from your knees all the way up to your back,”

Flats can be super cute.

Okay – so, I have thought for a long time that flats are ugly. I love, love high heels. The designs are cute and they just look so feminine. But, flats can be darling. You can get girly ones with bows (no, you are not too old for that) preppy ones with little buckles or edgy ones with zippers – etc. You can find a flat to suit your fashion taste.

Live a little and take the flat challenge (this week or next!) It is worth it. Really. It is.

5 Natural Foods Your Dog Will Love

Ever grow tired of just feeding your furry friend just plain ol’ dry food? I do. I mean, think about it, we pepper our days with all different types of foods – fruits, vegetables, meats and starches. Why wouldn’t our little pets want and enjoy different texture type foods?

Now, there are some foods that are off limits for dogs. Namely – chocolate. If you are a dog however, you should know that for sure. Other foods to add to the list are: avocado, bread dough, grapes, raisins, hops, macadamia nuts, moldy foods, onions and garlic.

So whatever you do, try and steer clear of those foods!

However, there are some awesome natural foods that your pup will truly enjoy. And, rather than feeding them that processed packaged food – give them some natural food. After all, they can benefit, just like you can, from munching on living food.

So here are some snacks for your pup to try:

Carrots: Rick Woodford, author of Feed Your Best Friend Better, says, ‘Try a frozen carrot in place of bones to keep a dog’s teeth healthy and cool them down in the summer.’ And, if this idea is a no-go with your favorite pet, Woodford suggests grating a carrot and adding it their meal, or steaming it for them.

doggie ice

What a fun DIY! Kids will LOVE this.

 

Red Apples: this is a favorite snack for my little puppy. Modern Dog, reports, ‘They [apples] are a source of vitamins A and C and fibre.’ Cesar Millan, the famous dog whisper, also gives this healthy treat a giant thumbs up!

Kale: this is a super food not only for you – but for your dog! Raw and cooked, kale harbors anticancer compounds that can keep people and pups healthy. Modern Dog suggests chopping, lightly steaming, and adding kale to your dog’s dinner. Kale is an excellent source of calcium.

Yogurt: make sure this is yogurt without artificial sugar in it. Yogurts with active bacteria can act as a probiotic and are good for your dog’s digestive system. However, if you are giving yogurt for the first time, start with small amounts to prevent a stomach upset. (The quantity should be 1 tsp. for a puppy and 1 tbsp. for a medium-sized dog.)

Green Beans: ASPCA lists green beans as a healthy treat for pets. Fox News reports, ‘Green beans add fiber and to dogs’ diets and make them feel full without having the extra calories.” So this looks like the perfect diet food for your pup!

BONUS: for a special summer treat try this little awesome idea – a frozen chicken stock cake! This is an awesome DIY project. Just freeze toys or treats in water or chicken broth in a bucket and place outside in the summer to keep your dog cool (and occupied) during the day!

Find A Nature Walk Near You

kimi walk

Me and my puppy on a nature walk!

I have fallen head over heels in love with walking. But not just any walk – nature walks. There is something serene and absolutely beautiful about walking by a flowing creek or pathway of tiny rocks. Seeing squirrels scurry from tree to tree and hearing birds crisply chirp in the distance is awe inspiring.

Living in the city has really opened my eyes to the beauty in nature. It makes me miss the big open Texas skies and sunshine.

However, thank goodness for technology because there are certain websites and apps that can now help you locate beautiful places in your areas to walk/hike (even if your abode is in a high-rise in the middle of the city).

The American Heart Association has an awesome website: Start Walking Now. Just got to this website and you can enter in your current location and viola – there before your eyes are commonly walked paths with mileage numbers. Pretty great! You can select the intensity level along with the type of walk you would like to go on ie: mall, nature walk, airport…etc.

Trails.com is another good link. Simply choose your state and enter your city and limitless trails and bike paths pop up. It is super easy. You can even customize the website to whatever activity you enjoy the best like biking, hiking, rafting…etc.

Map My Walk is extremely easy to use as well. You can also get this on your phone! Again, just enter your state and city and trails pop up with distances. This interface is really easy to look at and it displays the current weather conditions for the day.

Adding a nature walk, even if it’s just for the weekends, is a great prescription for your health.

Walking in nature can have positive impacts on disposition and memory—researchers have found that students with moderate to severe depression demonstrated a significant increase in both mood and short-term memory after a walk through a natural setting, as compared to a walk through the city.

Also, natural elements like plants, trees, water and sunlight have been said to absorb negative energy.

Start walking in nature today. You really have nothing to lose.

DIY Affordable Vitamin D Eye Cream

eye cream

Use this in the morning and night!

Every woman in her mid to late 20’s should have an eye cream. You can keep thinking that you are dipping into the fountain of youth – to be surprised when you are 40. Or you can be proactive and treat those problem areas before the problem starts. Let’s choose the latter.

We all know how great Vitamin D is for our skin. Did you know that about 1/3 of the U.S. population has low levels of this awesome vitamin? Crazy. I don’t want to be included in that statistic!

According to You Beauty, over time, the skin’s ability to create vitamin D decreases (up to 75 percent from the age of 20 to 70).  That’s not good.

It has been said that having sufficient vitamin D in the skin helps minimize acne, boost elasticity, stimulate collagen production, enhance radiance, and lessen lines and the appearance of dark spots.

With all those benefits, especially for the skin, we definitely want vitamin D in our face creams. There are serums, suntan lotion and tanning sprays out there that incorporate this good stuff. However, you will pay a bundle for it. I don’t know about you, but I am thrifty woman living in the city and paying an arm and a leg does not appeal to me – especially when I can make a cream so easily (with all the benefits of a store bought one!).

process

The process.

You will need: 2 tbsp. organic coconut oil, 3 vitamin D tablets, a little beauty jar and a safety pin.

Yep, this is the whole list for a beautiful, smoothing eye cream.

First scoop out 2 tbsp of coconut oil into a small bowl. Heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. When you take it out it should be liquidly.

Use the safety pin to puncture the gel capsules of the vitamin D and squeeze the insides into the bowl of melted coconut oil. Stir.

Pour your mixture into your tiny cosmetic jar and set in the fridge for about 30 minutes. It will turn into a solid and then use your homemade cream to your heart’s content.

Way to be proactive in taking care of your skin and be frugal at the same time! See, it can be done.

Are You Drinking Enough Water?

waterDid you know that your body is made up of 60% water? That’s a fact that is somewhat hard to believe, but it’s true. Knowing that, do you think you’re guzzling enough water each day?

I know it’s really hard for me to meet my water goals. I see images on Pinterest of a gallon of water marked for the day with various times to drink up and it discourages me. But is that overkill? Maybe not.

We’ve read and been told for years that 8 glasses of water a day is all you need for your health. However, is this little fact true?

The Mayo Clinic suggests “an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.” Wowsa. So take those 8 glasses and add at least one more glass to your daily total. And men, looks like 8 glasses is a poor excuse for y’all!

Drinking water should not be a chore. Think of it as fueling and cleaning your insides. Try new ways to sneak in a glass of the cold stuff. When you wake up, drink 8 ounces before that daily cup of joe. Attempt to drink a cup before each and every meal. Make a log of when you drink your water.

Put something up on your desk at work or up at home- like this.

We often refer to various soft drinks as the ‘nectar of the gods.’ But, hello – people. Water is a God given gift that was perfectly designed for our health. It nourishes your body not pumps it full of chemicals and sugar.

A whopping 75% of American are chronically dehydrated. That’s because we choose soft drinks over this pure life giving drink. Add lemon to your water or some fresh strawberries for a fruity taste. But, remember it’s super important to drink this up for your health. Let’s make a toast to water!

DIY Cellulite Coffee Scrub

coffee scrubLove the smell of coffee, but not the taste? Well, I have the perfect scrub for you. OK, you can enjoy this scrub if you love drinking the robust stuff too.

This has easily become one of my all-time favorite body scrubs. In addition to giving you silky smooth skin, it eliminates the appearance of cellulite (yes, you heard me right). Women of all ages deal with this pesky little thing.

You will need: 2 cups coffee grounds (buy the cheap stuff, it works just as well), 1 cup raw coarse sugar and 3 tbps. olive oil.

Simply mix all of these ingredients into a large mixing bowl. You may need more oil than listed above. However, everyone is different. Make the scrub as oily or dry as you prefer.

The caffeine in the coffee helps diminish the appearance of cellulite and varicose veins! It also it increases circulation and reduces water retention. Score!

While in the shower rub the scrub onto your thighs and other problem areas in a circular motion. Let this scrub set for about 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water to close the pores. And remember to clean the shower soon after your coffee scrub action to avoid any brown stains.

Slip into those shorts or mini-skirt with no shame and show off those beautiful coffee scrubbed legs! Remember this is a temporary fix – for maximum results use this scrub at least 3x a week. Overtime, exercise and drinking loads of water will also help with those problem areas!