Monday, September 30, 2013

First Date :)

1. Picking the venue. 
If you are given the task of selecting a restaurant or activity, pick something that isn't too over-the-top or expensive. Opt for a something reasonably priced. When it comes to restaurants, pick a place with a wide variety of menu options. (You never know what your mystery man palate requires...he might be vegan or allergic to shellfish!)

2. Meeting up. 
Ideally, the guy should pick you up from your home and drive you to the destination of the date. However, if this is not possible, meet at the location and don't be a second late. It's also a good idea to give a confirmation call the day before the date to make sure everyone is on the same page. This way you can avoid any confusion.

3. At the dining table. 
Throughout the date, sit up straight and maintain good posture. Slouching and leaning on your elbows is considered rude and unladylike. Use your best table manners throughout the meal (I'll do a blog on restaurant dining etiquette soon!). And absolutely, positively do not look at your cellphone. It communicates boredom and disinterest.

4. The conversation. 
Ask questions about your date and listen. It's in bad taste to talk about yourself the entire time. (Remember that episode of Sex & the City when Carrie nervously blabs on about herself to Aidan throughout their entire date? Don't do that.) When in doubt, ask him a question. If you're afraid the conversation will be dull, catch up on current events and pop culture as fallback topics. A few areas of conversation to avoid include politics, religion, money, previous relationships, deep dark secrets and the economy. Most importantly, never be critical in conversation or bad mouth anyone.

5. Ordering. 
Be considerate of what you order. Just because you're on a date doesn't give you a free pass to order the most expensive thing on the menu. Instead, pick something at midrange price point. If you're still unsure, take a cue from your date: Ask him what he is ordering and pick something of equivalent or lesser value. If your date orders an appetizer or starter salad, follow suit and order something to start with as well. That way, you will be eating at the same time and can avoid the awkward "Do I dig in?" or "I don't want to sit here and watch you eat." This same rule of thumb goes for cocktails as well. If you decide to order an alcoholic drink, keep it to a minimum as they can get pricy and you definitely should not get drunk. Let your date learn about you in a sober state. Lastly, order items that are easy to eat and do not require your hands (no sandwiches, burgers, spaghetti etc.). I also suggest staying away from foods with excessive herbs and leafy greens. It's not worth risking the embarrassment living through 45 minutes of an intimate dinner with oregano lodged between your front teeth. Finally, take it easy on the garlic and onions too.

6. Eating. 
Put your knife to work! As you make your way through your meal, cut each bite into a manageable size to avoid looking like a hungry baby bird. Don't cut it up into pieces first and then eat, instead cut as you go. If you do not finish your meal, do not take it to go. Doggie bags are considered passè on a first date. (I wish I had known this when I started dating!)

5. Bill. 
A gentleman should always pay the bill. It may sound old-fashioned, but it's proper etiquette. The best way to navigate the bill is to subtly offer to pay. It's important to make sure your date is aware you didn't go on the date just for a free meal. The best way to do this is to reach for your purse when the bill comes to the table. Most likely your date will tell you not to worry about it and will take care of paying. If he doesn't stop you, don't be hurt. At this point, just split the bill. It should be noted that some guys find it insulting when you offer to pay so this is definitely something you need to feel out. Personally, I suggest sticking with the "subtle offer" since it's the best way to gauge the situation.

6. The goodbye. 
Some dates go really well and the chemistry is on point, while others fail to impress. I suppose the silver lining of a bad date is that you walk away with a great story... Needless to say, for most, "the goodbye" is the most puzzling part of the entire date. By the end you should have a pretty good idea whether or not there will be another date. If you're hoping to rendezvous again, give him a warm hug, thank him for dinner and imply that you'd love to do it again soon. Save your kisses for date #2 (unless he is a cheek kisser). Otherwise, if you can't get away from him fast enough, shake his hand, thank him for dinner and leave it at that.

I hope you ladies find this helpful!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuesday Ten: Foods That Beat the Blues BY: LAUREN CONRAD

This ARTICLE really help me when I'm in a mood swing. When I'm tired in work, stressed out and when I'm hungry. You should read this and be sure to save this.

1. Feeling stressed? Eat chocolate.
Yep, you read that right. Chocolate not only tastes great, it also helps to reduce stress hormones that can make you moody. Even eating a tiny bit has proven to reduce anxiety and keep you level-headed. Opt for dark chocolate, which is packed with more antioxidants than milk chocolate.

2. Feeling anxious? Eat salmon.
Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help calm nerves and keep you in a happier state of mind in general. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3s, so eat up. Plus, it will give your skin a glow and make your hair shiny too!

3. Feeling angry? Drink green tea.
I think that everyone should make green tea a staple in their daily diet. Besides lowering your cholesterol and helping to prevent cancer, it can also keep you calm, concentrated and focused too. If there’s something that’s eating away at you, brew yourself a nice warm cup of green tea. You’ll be sipping up a ton of antioxidants and calming down at the same time.

4. Feeling sluggish? Eat spinach.
Besides being amazing for your health, spinach will also give you a major midday energy boost. According to iVillage, this leafy green has enough nutrients to help increase blood flow to your brain and help you recall information, so a spinach salad is the perfect lunch to pack for work or school.

5. Feeling cranky? Eat a handful of berries.
Eating a handful of blueberries will give you body a big dose of antioxidants, which will keep your neural pathways running smoothly, promoting positive energy. New research even shows that compounds in the berries help to re-write our genetic code so that the body becomes its own antioxidant factory, churning out feel-good enzymes in the brain, according to What’s Cooking America.

6. Feeling sad? Eat a bowl of cereal.
For those downer days when you need a little happiness boost, a bowl of healthy cereal and milk can do just the trick. Sometimes we get sad because our bodies aren’t getting the right vitamins. Vitamin D, which is in milk and healthy cereals, helps to promote happy thoughts in your brain. A good way to give your body this boost every day is to have a bowl of cereal for breakfast.

7. PMSing? Eat eggs. 
We’ve all been there. Your hormones are out of whack and nothing is making you feel better. While you might want to reach for ice cream or salty chips to cure your cravings when it’s that time of the month, these foods can actually make you feel grumpier because they won’t give your body the right nutrition (more like dehydration and added bloating). Consider scrambled eggs on whole grain toast your new best-PMS-food-friend. Eggs have happiness-boosting nutrients, and healthy carbs like whole grain breads are a healthy way to replace your cravings for bagels and chips.

8. Feeling ornery? Eat an orange.
Orange you glad that oranges boost your mood? This citrus fruit is packed with nutrients and vitamin C, which helps to pump oxygen through your body to your brain. The citric acid will also recharge your system. Oranges are such an easy snack to bring anywhere that there’s no reason not to carry one when you have a case of the grumps.

9. Feeling worried? Eat a bowl of chicken soup.
Everyone loves a bowl of chicken soup. It’s one of my ultimate comfort foods, and I included it in my list of foods that boost your immune system. But did you know that it makes you less stressed too? According to WebMD, a hearty bowl of chicken soup with veggies has the water-fiber-protein trifecta that fills you up before it fills you out. I suggest making your chicken soup homemade so that you can add in as many dark, leafy green veggies as possible for an extra boost.

10. Feeling unsettled? Eat a PB & J.
Carbs tend to get a bad rap. Whenever I feel anxious about something, I find that having a snack with some carbs helps to settle my stomach and mind. Peanut butter and jelly on a half an English muffin is a comforting snack that actually helps to raise your levels of serotonin, the brain’s natural antidepressant. A snack that is a little bit indulgent and comforting but not too unhealthy will satisfy your cravings and make you feel a little better.

I hope you all learned something new! Be sure to bookmark this page and make it your go-to guide for when you need to beat the blues. Also, while these foods might be quick fixes when you’re having a moody moment, if you’re really upset about a big issue talk it out with a friend or trusted family member.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

FACT: What Your Cravings Are Really Telling You

I've always heard that craving salty or sweet foods can actually be your body’s way of telling you it needs something. The other day, I had a serious sweet tooth and before I knew it I found myself researching what my craving really meant. What I discovered was that there is a pretty surprising list of cravings and their real meanings. It’s fascinating! It is also very helpful to see what your body really needs (hint: it’s not actually those French fries).

1. If you're craving SWEETS...

It means your body really needs chromium, carbon phosphorous, sulfur, and tryptophan. Get these by filling up on, fresh fruit, cheese and sweet potatoes when you have a sweet tooth. This craving may also mean you’re tired, according to Evaluate how much you’re sleeping lately if you find yourself wanting sweets. Instead of heading for the chocolate cake, take a nap if you can. Or, go for a walk to boost your energy levels.

2. If you're craving CARBS...

It means your body needs nitrogen, which is found in high-protein foods like fish, meat, nuts, and beans. Eat a turkey burger, a handful of almonds, or a black bean burrito bowl (black beans, corn, pico de gallo, guacamole and brown rice). You might also be craving carbs because you’re trying to cut them out of your diet completely. If this is the reason, make sure you’re eating every food group in moderation to prevent a big, unplanned carb-fest that will leave you feeling way worse than, say, an open-faced sandwich.

3. If you’re craving FRENCH FRIES, SODA, and PIZZA…

And other junk food, it means your body needs calcium. Instead, fix a kale salad with steamed broccoli, chicken, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese (um, yum.). It might not sound quite as good as those French fries at first, but it will leave you feeling way better, not to mention guilt-free.

4. If you’re craving CAFFEINE…

It means your body needs salt and iron. To get these nutrients the healthy way, eat lean meats like chicken or turkey, eggs, or black cherries, surprisingly. If you can, a great option here would be to make an omelet with turkey and veggies, with a handful of black cherries on the side. Craving caffeine can also mean you’re actually just really thirsty or dehydrated, according to Huffington Post. Drink an entire glass of water before you reach for that second (or third) cup of coffee—you might realize you don’t even need it.

5. If you’re craving SALTY foods…

It means your body needs chloride, which is essential in order for your body to maintain healthy digestion and keep your electrolyte levels in check, according to Nutritional Wellness. Avoid super salty junk food like potato chips and eat goat’s milk yogurt or fish instead. I would recommend making a tuna fish sandwich or salmon salad for lunch with goat’s yogurt as a snack the next time you have a salt craving.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Things you should know.

1. The important questions can’t be answered.
If all of life’s most challenging moments had answers, everyone would be going through the motions without actually living. Do not get frustrated when you face a tricky situation that does not have answers. The future is exciting and scary for a reason. So instead of worrying, choose the course you want your life to take, and then work hard to make it happen.

2. Life is a marathon, not a race.
This lesson may sound cliché, but most of us try to sprint through life—whether we realize it or not. There is no “first place” in life. Making comparisons will only leave you feeling unhappy, unappreciative, and unaware of how many blessings you have. To be the happiest you can be, concentrate on fulfilling your own personal goals in the timeline that is right for you. People will get promotions, get engaged, and start families at completely different times. There's no right or wrong time for any of those things.

3. Stand up for yourself.
There is a graceful yet assertive way to ask for what you want. Learn this and you will have unlocked the key to getting what you want in life without burning bridges along the way.

4. Worrying about things you cannot control is the biggest waste of your time.
Throughout your entire life there will be situations that you want to control but the outcome is 100% out of your hands. This is for a reason. If we could control everything, life would be one pre-written story. It wouldn't be exciting, and you wouldn't learn a single thing. You can live a stress-free life if you learn to let go of the things you cannot control. Because when we do try to control situations, we often times look back years later and wonder why we wasted so much time on them.

5. Exercise isn't about numbers.
Once you realize that treating your body well and being healthy isn't about being “perfect,” you will free your mind. Exercising is about getting your blood running through your body, pumping oxygen to your brain, strengthening your heart and muscles, and reaping the wonderful benefits of those mood-boosting endorphins. You will find that the more you accept your natural physique and embrace the figure you were given, the more you will fall in love with your body and treat it like a temple.

6. Make your mother proud.
When it comes to deciding right from wrong, ask yourself if your mother (or another mentor) would be proud of you for making the decision at hand. It can be easy to lose sight of where we came from, who brought us into the world, and the sacrifices that our loved ones made to ensure we would be happy. This doesn't mean you should hold back from taking risks or trying new things—that is what life is about. Just make sure you keep your moral compass in mind. Honor your family by making choices they would approve of and I can guarantee you will look back with fewer regrets.

7. The happiest people have low expectations, few desires, and great appreciation for the little things.
Every so often, we are all guilty of focusing on things we don’t have, things we want, and things that aren’t perfect in our lives. These thoughts will only lead to an ungrateful mentality, and the never-ending search for a “perfect” life that doesn't exist. It is great to have goals and things to look forward to. Don’t get me wrong—I love saving up for a brand new purse as much as any girl! But I find that I am much happier when I focus on the small blessings and the things I have instead of worrying about what I don’t have. Take a few minutes each day to yourself and think about how grateful you are for your family, your friends, having food on the table, and all the other small pleasures in life that go unnoticed.

8. Helping your community will enrich your life.
It’s easy to get wrapped up with doing something that makes your resume look well rounded. Sure, saying you were involved in a charity might help you look good when you apply to college or go to job interviews. But community service will also add a special touch to your life. You will gain valuable insight, become more grounded, and gain an understanding for people in ways you never thought you could.

9. Never settle.
One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received was to never settle in relationships, friendships, your career, or your dreams. Never accept less than what you think you deserve, and aim for bigger and better (because you will probably get it!). You never want to look back and think, “I could have done more.” You can do more…right now. Stop saying “someday.” Start saying “today.”

10. There is no such thing as a perfect life.
The overall goal in many people’s lives seems to find the perfect partner, reach the perfect weight, have the perfect job, or wear the perfect wardrobe. The problem is, none of these things exist. Everything has its flaws, and most of those flaws are what makes your life exciting, challenging, and, in fact, pretty perfect if you look at it the right way. Your boyfriend is going to make mistakes, your job will have its down days, and you will have moments where you want nothing more than a full-fledged makeover. Take these moments as positive opportunities to make exciting changes instead of dwelling on the negative aspects. And, enjoy the next chapter that awaits you after these changes do happen.