Apartment Decorating- New York City Love

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In my recent quest for a new home I have become obsessed with looking at small apartments and seeing how people utilize their space and decorate. The website Apartment Therapy has become a nightly indulgence. I look at beautiful pictures of homes in sprawling urban cities and I am just amazed by the  creativity and imagination out there. People can transform 500 square feet apartments into homes big enough to fit a family of 3.

 

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Two weeks ago I was in New York City visiting 2 of my closest girlfriends for a late birthday celebration. Over the years my girlfriends have lived in various apartments within Manhattan.  With each visit not only have I been lucky enough to explore new neighborhoods, but I have also been able to see the unique way that only New Yorker’s can live. Whether it was the East Village, Kips Bay, or Brooklyn each neighborhood and apartment offered something truly endearing and unique.

 

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After spending 8 years in Manhattan by girlfriend Lauren recently decided it was finally time for more space and made the big move over to the trendy side of New York, aka Brooklyn. She has found an amazing apartment in an up and coming neighborhood called Bedford Stuyvesant, aka Bed Stuy to the locals. The neighborhood still has a little ways to go, but new amazing restaurants are starting to slowly pop up and with the old brick stone houses lining the streets you can see why this area will become the next big thing.

 

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Lauren has truly amazing taste and I have always been in love with every one of her apartment’s. I guess when you are a designer decorating is something that just comes naturally to you. However I have to say her new apartment took my breath away the first time I saw it. Walking in and seeing the hard wood floors, white walls with crown molding, the updated kitchen, and all of the natural light it not only made her place feel cozy and inviting, but also stylish and intimate.

 

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I have to say out of everyone I have ever known, Lauren is by far and away my style soul mate. The pictures were all taken in her amazing place and I only hope that when I go to decorate my new home it will feel half as beautiful and trendy as hers. Hopefully I can bring a piece of New York style to San Francisco.

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Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 7/27/14

Finding Balance Between Your Life and Your Diet– This article is definitely an opinion piece, however I really like a lot of what he says. He has 3 basic ideas for living a balanced life where you are not tied to a diet. First is to try intermittent fasting, second is to make smart food choices, and lastly train and be very active. These are 3 things I personally practice.

What Happens to Your Brain When You Eat Junk Food (And Why We Crave It) – I for one have read a few books on this subject. It is interesting to know why our body craves certain foods and how companies work hard to make you want them.

How Our Arms Help Us Run– “The results showed, as the scientists had expected, that the volunteers used the least energy and were most efficient when they ran normally, their arms swinging at their sides. With each change in arm position, their efficiency dropped.”

Could a probiotic prevent obesity?– “Since it worked in mice eating a high-fat diet, it does suggest that it will be beneficial, even if people don’t change their diet to something including more vegetables and less junk food. But we expect that it would likely provide the most benefit to those who do change their diet and try to get sufficient exercise.There are lots of people who are doing their best to change their lifestyle and it still isn’t enough for them to get to and keep a healthy weight, we think this strategy will really help them.”

The HPV Vaccination Rate Is Still Too Low, CDC Says-“Though the CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for all 11-year-old and 12-year-old boys and girls, the 2013 study found that doctors had not recommended it to one third of girls and more than half of boys.”

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Photo from Huff Post

 

Burn Extra Calories During The Day, Here Are 10 Tips on How

Let’s face it, we all just sit more now then we used to. We sit on our commute to and from work, we sit at the office all day, then we come home and sit in front of the TV. In an era where it so so easy to sit all day you have to work harder in order to move your body more. I have found some easy ways to move my body throughout the day which ultimately helps me to burn extra calories all day long. None of these tips seem like life changing events, but if you do them daily they will make a change to your body over an extended period of time. Of course nothing will replace exercise completely, but every change you make can make an impact to your overall health.

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10 Tips on How

1. Always take the stairs. No matter how tired you are or how much longer you think the stairs will take you, just walk up them.  I find at work when I take the stairs and someone else takes the elevator 9 times out of 10 the stairs end up always being faster.

2. Park  in the farthest parking spot you can find and walk. It might add a little extra time, but those extra steps every time you park far away can quickly add up. I also park at least one street over from my morning coffee spot in order to just get some extra steps in the morning before work.

3. Find opportunities for quick cardio bursts. I lift my legs and do high knees while brushing my teeth, I run in place while I blow dry my hair, and I hop around and dance while I vacuum, fold my laundry, or any other household chores.

4. Find time to cook more. Not only does cooking more help with eating better, but chopping, stirring, and mixing all help to burn extra calories. Plus you are also standing while you cook, which also helps burn additional calories.

5. Walk more. I have a problem with snacking when I get home from work so I try to use this time to take the dog on a longer walk. I also like to go on walks when I am talking on the phone. It is a good way to move your body while you do not even realize you are moving.  A walk to catch up with friends or co-workers is another great thing to incorporate in your day to day routine.

6. Stand up more. Stand while you are on the phone at work or at home. Stand at your dining table while you read through mail or browse online. Stand while waiting for an appointment, stand on the subway or bus, just anytime you have the ability to stand instead of sit do it.

7. Keep things farther away so you have to get up and in order to get them. For instance don’t use your remote control for the TV, make yourself get up and change the channel. When serving dinner leave everything in the kitchen. If you want more you will need to get back up and walk over in order to get more.

8. Fidget more. Tap your toes, dance around, pace back and forth. People who fidget a lot can burn up to an extra 300-350 calories a day just by doing small movements all day long.

9. Dance more. I for one love dancing as a way to get me out of a bad mood or as a way to relieve stress. 20 minutes of dancing can burn up to an extra 100 calories. The beauty of dancing is you can dance solo around your house or go out with girlfriends for a night on the town. This is a fun way to exercise.

10. Shop more. I like to grocery shop most nights as it helps me just walk more. I will walk the store a few times back and forth just to get extra steps in. Also this way I am hopefully not over buying groceries and instead I am just getting what I need for the night or next day.

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 7/20/14

Technology addiction- how should it be treated?– A topic that is near and dear to most of us. I for one have a hard time going extended periods of time without checking my phone. We have become so intertwined with technology in our day to day lives. “The symptoms and nature of this perceived addiction vary from case to case but hinge around a perceived excessive engagement with a user’s smartphone, the Internet or social networking sites that comes at the expense of their mental well-being. Persistent checking of instant messaging apps and frequent changing of status updates – as well as the notorious uploading of “selfies” – are linked in addiction cases to insomnia, depression and social withdrawal.”  

Break 3 Rules, Build More Muscle– This article has a lot of great content on how to build muscle and where to focus. It is a little long but the top three things are; “Partial or incomplete reps can be very effective,” “Learning to feel a muscle makes it easier to stimulate and grow,” and lastly “Use a large arsenal.”  

Let’s Cool it in the Bedroom– I for one sleep so much better in a cold room, but this is really interesting and another reason to keep it cool in the bedroom. “Cooler bedrooms could subtly transform a person’s stores of brown fat — what has lately come to be thought of as “good fat” — and consequently alter energy expenditure and metabolic health, even into daylight hours”

Xylitol 101- Everything You Need to Know– There was a time in my weight loss journey where I drank a ton of diet soda and used artificial sweeteners in order to save calories. Xylitol is a more natural added sugar with lower calories, but is it healthy for you? Here is a good article that breaks it down for you. “Bottom Line: Xylitol is a type of sweetener called a sugar alcohol and is found in some plants. It looks and tastes like sugar, but has 40% fewer calories.”

It’s Time to Finally Convince Your Clients That the Scale Doesn’t Matter– For me the number on the scale is always fluctuating, which can really make or break my day. I really let it affect my mood and because of that I thought it would be good to this share article on how our weight is really determined. Every time the scale is not where I want it to be I think through a lot of these points. This is one of the best articles I have seen on the subject, hope you enjoy! 

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Photo from Huff Post

 

Things I Love This Week

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What can I say about coffee. I love it. I drink it every morning. Not because I need the caffeine, but I just love the taste and the sipping on something warm. One of my favorite coffee places in the city is Philz. Their slogan is “One cup at a time” and boy can you taste the difference. I typically order the same thing every time I go. However the other day it was a warm afternoon in the city and I decided to try something new. I got their iced mint mojito coffee. Now I am addicted and starting my morning off in a whole new way.

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One of my biggest weakness is baked goods. Now I am not one to eat sweets really, but savory baked treats is where I indulge.  I could never imagine my life without bread, although I do have to eat it in moderation. It is rare for me to indulge in something like this without an occasion, but the other morning while out to eat for brunch the biscuit looked too amazing to pass up. And it was! I ate the whole thing, no regrets.

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The other night after dinner with some of my favorite girlfriends we wandered into a bar in Bernal Heights called Holy Water for a night cap. I immediately became obsessed with their light fixture’s. I might need to re-create this in my new place.

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Another morning brunch, this time I went for a little healthier option. Chia seed porridge with peaches and nuts. This was at one of the best brunch places in the city Plow. It also happens to be in my lovely neighborhood too.  Get there early though, there is always a long wait.

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While walking through the SOMA district I stumbled into this little coffee shop. It felt very New York to me and was a great place to get a little work done while sipping on something warm.

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A beautiful bouquet of flowers from my team at work in celebration of my birthday. They are so me and very summer. Love.

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 7/13/14

10 Mistakes Women Make in the Gym– I am still surprised by how many women I know that work out all of the time, but still feel like cardio is the only way to lose weight and stay fit. They completely neglect weight training, which I believe to be key in staying in shape. “Too often women end up blending elements of all those practices and as often happens when you combine too many recipes, that dish won’t cook. Women make little progress and often end up looking worse than when they began, sometimes developing a body that’s “skinny fat,” a cruel, paradoxical condition where they appear thin in clothes, but actually have a higher body fat percentage than they did before they started to exercise because they lost muscle instead of body fat.”

 Training Footwear 101– One of the most important things when working out is making sure you have the right gear to do it in. Shoes are key. For someone like me who is an avid runner I have to replace my shoes very frequently. If not my body can feel it.This article does a nice job of laying out how footwear geared to what you are doing is key.

Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants– “A comprehensive review of earlier studies found substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic fruits, vegetables and grains compared with conventionally grown produce.”

Workout Nutrition Illustrated– In a great fitness book I read it broke out bodies into 3 types and talks in depth how you have to cater how you work out and eat based off of your body type. This illustration captures it quite nicely and is a good first step in my opinion.

Do Carbohydrate Sources Matter?– The writer of this article definitely has a strong opinion, but the topic is one that I feel a lot of people are curious about and so I wanted to include it. “Some studies show that a lower GI diet may help with cholesterol and in lowering inflammation levels in the body [4][5]. I do believe that the majority of your diet should be made from those types of foods.”

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Photo from Huff Post

Small Town 4th Of July Fun

 

As I mentioned in my previous post this last weekend we went up to Trinity National forest to go camping for the 4th of July weekend.  First let me say I love camping. Something about being outside, no technology, and living simply for a weekend has always been really appealing to me. I love cooking over an open fire, hiking and exploring the surroundings, and sleeping under the stars.

The camp trip started on Thursday with a long drive up north. We arrived later than expected and were only able to grab a quick bite to eat before having  to setup camp. There is nothing like putting up a tent in the pitch black with a headlamp to guide your way. The next morning Dustin and I were up early at 5:30am and headed into town to meet our friends Erica and Alex for a 4th of July Fun Run.

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The race was a lot of fun! There was an option for a 2.5 mile race or a 5 mile race. Erica did the 2.5 mile run and got first place, so she totally kicked butt!  I did the 5-mile run and ended up being a little disappointed with my performance and time.  I started the race with a goal to just to have a nice time and to not get competitive.  I began leisurely and did not run at my full potential.  So when I deiced to actually race I was already a little behind. Of course trail running is not my usual kind of run. Over 2 miles of the run was all up a steep hill and on a narrow trail. Which let me just say that 2 miles was HARD! Once I made it to the top I started my downward decent. With the narrow trail I would get trapped behind people and it would take me a little while to pass them. Then I ended up getting lost twice and had to back track.  So coming into the finish line I was disappointed with my time. Oh well though. I ended up coming in 9th total and 2nd in the girls division.  On a less competitive note I was really proud of myself for doing a very different run then I usually do and it was just fun to be doing something active with friends!

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So what does one do after a run? Well we decided it was time to attend the pie and ice cream social. Let me say I have never had pie for breakfast and it was by far the most glorious thing! Dustin and I split a piece of apple and berry pie. Everything was amazing! I now have a new goal to make a pie from scratch within the next few months. Next on the agenda was the 4th of July Parade where the whole town of Weaverville was out, dressed from head to toe in red, white, and blue, and ready to cheer on their fellow neighbors. It was just so fun to feel like part of this small community.

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After the full day of activities we went back to camp and just relaxed for the rest of the day. We stayed that night in Erica and Alex’s cabin, which was nice after our late night the night before. The next morning after feeling fully rested Erica and I went on a 4 mile hike before we had to check out of the cabin. I forget how nice catching up with friends can be when you are just moving your body. Something about walking through nature is just very relaxing. I find some of my best conversations with people happen while hiking. It is just a great way to bond.

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That day we made our way back to Weaverville and on the agenda was a picnic in the park while watching the local arm wrestling contest. A park date is not complete without playing catch and throwing a Nerf ball around. After sitting in the sun all day it was time for the demolition derby for our main evening event. That is right, we watched old beat up cars hit into one another in a big ring of mud. This is just one of the many reasons I love small towns! The derby was a great time and afterwards we were beat from too much beer and sun. We grabbed a burrito and headed back to camp for the night.

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The next morning I got up and went on a 4 mile run before we packed up and headed back to San Francisco. I always like to move my body before any long period of sitting. The drive was a lot quicker this time and I was able to get home in time to still do laundry, go grocery shopping, and prep for the week ahead. All in all it was a great time celebrating America in probably the most American way I ever have before. Can’t wait for next year!

Easy Turkey Potato Salad Recipe

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Over the 4th of July weekend Dustin and I went up to Shasta Trinity National Forrest  to go camping with some of our closest friends for the weekend. Over the trip a debate started with the group on whether or not our generation still eat’s potato salad. I mean yes, if potato salad is at a picnic we will eat it. However if there was going to be a pot luck or party would this be a dish we would think to bring? In a generation where we are being over saturated with new grains like quiona, farro, barley and trendy leafy greens like Kale, have we forgotten about a classic dish like potato salad? After discussing this topic the only solution I could come up with was I was craving potato salad and decided I needed to make a healthy version at home. This recipe was not from a cookbook or found online, I simply made it up. So feel free to tweak and add to suit your liking.

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Ingredients

  • 2-3 Large Carrots diced
  • 2-3 Large Celery Sticks diced
  • 1/2 Chopped Onion diced
  • 1 Large Bell Pepper diced
  • 1 1/2 Cups of grapes
  • 2 Medium potatoes cooked (also can use 5-6 small russet potatoes)
  • 1 Cup diced turkey (I used the Trader Joes pre-cut version)
  • 1 Cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (Fage is my favorite)
  • 2 Tablespoons of honey mustard
  • Splash of salt, pepper, and garlic salt
  • Option to add a tablespoon of curry

Makes about 6 servings. Mix everything together and enjoy!

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 7/06/14

Calories: Should You Be Counting?– Recently I have become very interested in the topic of counting calories. Does everybody need to in order to have success with weight loss and maintenance? I for one know my weight loss would not have been successful without it, I wonder how important are total calories if you are eating the right kind of food? This article is really good at dissecting who should really count calories in order to reach their fitness goals and who should focus their efforts else where.

Should ‘junk food’ companies be sponsoring major sporting events?– This article talks about the correlation between increased consumption on junk food and unhealthy beverages during big athletic/sporting events like the current World Cup or the Olympics recently in England. Should these events let un-healthy food and beverage companies like Coca Cola and McDonald’s sponsor their events? “These events are huge opportunities to educate people about what healthy diets actually look like, instead of implying that world-class athletes get that way by eating fast food and drinking soda.”

Flame Retardants Are Everywhere– “Just over 10 years ago, Dr. Arnold Schecter, a public health researcher in Texas, started finding traces of chemical flame retardants in the breast milk of American women. It appeared that the compounds were carried into the milk from fat in the mothers’ bodies. The real question was how flame retardants were getting into women’s bodies in the first place. One unexpected source turned out to be food. Dr. Schecter surveyed Dallas supermarkets and discovered flame retardants in lipid-heavy items including butter and peanut butter, bacon, salmon, chili with beans, sliced lunch meat and more.”

How Heavy A Weight Should I Use– “Classically, weights that you can lift for 1-5 repetitions will make you stronger, weights that you can lift for 6-12 repetitions will make your muscles grow, and weights that you life for 13 or more reps will train your muscular endurance.”

How to Know When You Have Eaten Enough– This topic is near and dear to my heart as it is something I really struggled with during the beginning of my weight maintenance. Actually if I am being honest I have weeks where I still struggle with this, a great example is this week. Darya’s blog is one of the few blogs I follow pretty religiously and I feel like she has very good, honest, and doable advice and perspectives. I personally found this article helpful, so I wanted to share.

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Photo from Huff Post

Tips For Gym Motivation- We All Need It!

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Yoga in the Park with some girfriends- I am on the far right

Let’s face it, if going to the gym and working out was fun and easy everyone would be doing it. We would all be in tip-top shape, more productive, have more energy, and sleeping better. However the truth is working out is hard, I mean it is called working for a reason. I work out everyday, but this was by no means natural for me in the beginning.  Pushing your body to do something physically strenuous daily takes a lot of discipline, motivation, and practice. This skill like any other needs to be learned and honed through trial and error. It comes down to first figuring out workouts not only you enjoy, but are also effective. Next is finding ways to motivate yourself to go and then lastly continuing to persuade yourself to go. Below are some of the tips and tricks that have worked for me in continuing to go for that daily sweat session. These may not work for everyone, but hopefully there will be something that you find useful. Enjoy!

Reward yourself-

We are all more likely  to do something when we get an incentive to do it right? Part of the reason we go to work everyday is because we get paid money for doing so. Hopefully we also get self satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment from work, but the main reason is the pay. When you reward yourself for going to the gym and keeping up with a regular routine it helps to make the experience better. Try buying yourself new workout clothes. Trust me, if you have something you are excited about wearing it will help push you to want to go to the gym. Is there a new song or album you have been wanting to buy? Download songs that you can only listen to when you are at the gym or on a run. Sometimes I will get so anxious to hear that new pop song it makes me excited to get my morning run in.  If you keep up with your workout routine for an entire month treat yourself to a massage. If you know the only way you are going to get a massage is by keeping up with your routine it helps keep you on track.

Know what you are working out for-

Equate gym time to what the ultimate pay offs are. For most people about 10 minutes of cardio exercise is a calorie burn of 100-150 calories.  This means for 30 minutes of working out you can potentially burn about 300-400 calories. I try and eat healthy most of the time, so I use my exercise as my budget for what I can go above and beyond with. For instance if I know I want to go out with friends later that night I will push myself to do an extra 10 more minutes of cardio so I can have one more glass of wine which clocks in at about 130 calories a glass. For me finding ways to understand what burned calories actually equals helps me stay more disciplined. Knowing that about a dozen M & M’s is the equivalent of 10 minutes of cardio makes the food way less appealing.

Pre-Plan your gym time-

Have your gym routine planned out for the week in advance. I know every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I do spinning and every Tuesday I do Body Pump and every Thursday I do a Barre Class. Saturdays and Sundays are free days to do whatever I want. Typically this is running, or going on a hike, trying a new class, or taking a rest day if my body needs it. Having a routine helps take the guessing out of it. Since I know what I am doing every day during the week I just get up and do it. I don’t have time to question whether I should or should not, it is like going to work. It is just part of your day.

Prep for the day ahead-

Lay your gym clothes out the night before. This is simple and effective. The next morning when you are half asleep everything is already setup for you to get up and go. Same thing goes with working out in the afternoon. Pack your workout bag the night before so you can pick it up on your way out the door in the morning.

Be strict with yourself-

Don’t give yourself permission to skip the gym, but allow yourself to do only a light workout. On days I really don’t want to go to the gym I tell myself all I need to do is go for 15 minutes. I can do anything for 15 minutes, even stretch. I find 95% of the time once you are at the gym and working out you end up doing your whole workout routine anyways. Sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to do less and know it is ok if you do. Plus 15 minutes is way better then nothing!

Focus on the good-

Remind yourself how you will feel after you work out. Have you ever finished a workout and thought I wish I had not done that? No, typically you always feel pretty good when you have pushed yourself to do something your body was not sure it wanted to do. Reminding yourself of how you will feel after the workout instead of focusing on how you will feel during is a good mind trick. I never look forward to spinning, but I always love how I feel after I have really gotten a good sweat session in.