Monday, February 23, 2015

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Rangers Spring Training But Are Too Afraid To Ask

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Do you have a trip planned to Surprise, AZ for Rangers Spring Training? Wondering about the Rangers schedule? How to meet players? Where to stay, eat and play?

So many questions! I got your answers.

Check out "Everything You Wanted To Know About Rangers Spring Training But Were Too Afraid To Ask Hangout".

I cover anything and everything Rangers Spring Training.

Press PLAY to watch the Hangout HERE

How To Watch The Hangout
There two ways to watch the hangout:
  1. Click THIS link to watch on YouTube. 
  2. Simply watch from the video box in the blog post.
Click HERE to download my Rangers Spring Training cheat sheet featured in the video.

Shop My Rangers Spring Training Essentials

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Is Our Breakfast Cereal Is Making Us Fat? Maybe.

breakfast cereal makes you fat, does breakfast cereal make you fat

There are few things I love more than a huge bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Seriously. The cinnamon-y sugar goodness on top of those little squares is better than, know...a lot of things.

The thing is, a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (or just about any other cereal, for that matter) can do more diet damage than good.
Here are 3 reasons why cereal makes us fat:
  1. 1. We don't stick to one serving size. Who does? I don't. A serving of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is only 3/4 of a cup. Really? NO ONE eats only 3/4 of a cup. It's more like two cups. That's serious damage: 325 empty calories and 22 (!) grams of sugar, without even adding the milk. Try eating your cereal with a teaspoon, instead of a tablespoon and out of a coffee cup instead of a bowl to trick your mind you're eating more. (Tweet this).
  2. 2. We add too much dried fruit and other crap. Craisins, raisins, dried apricots and the like can all be fat pills. They have barely any water which means they're dense in calories. While nuts are great, don't go too far. Add a few, not a handful. Use fresh fruit to get the benefit of more fiber and water content to help fill you up. Try higher-fiber and lower calorie berries. Half a cup of raspberries, for example, have 4 grams of fiber. 
  3. 3. We eat kids cereal. There's a reason I don't keep Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the house: I would eat the whole box. These children's cereals provide a ton of sugar but little nutritional value. Kinda scary, actually. Look for cereals with fewer than 5 grams of sugar. Or make this oatmeal with peanut butter, apples and cinnamon. Delicious. 
Why I Gave Up Breakfast Cereal 
I gave up breakfast cereal about 15 years ago. Not coincidentally, I believe, I lost weight. I have no "off button" when it comes to breakfast cereal. I can't stop eating it, that's why I rarely eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Even when I'm trying to be "healthy" and have something like Fiber 1 or Kashi Go Lean, I usually end up eating two bowls of it and, you know what, I'm hungry a few hours later. Cereal is not a satiating food. In my opinion, it's a fat pill (Tweet this).

When you're eating breakfast, get some protein in the mix, whether it's eggs, whey protein powder, nut butter, low-sugar/high-protein yogurt or lean meat. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and keeps you full longer. 

I love two scrambled eggs with salsa and spinach with a side of berries or a green smoothie with whey protein powder (make it with two handfuls of spinach or kale, half a banana and whatever berries you or other fruit you have on hand). When all else fails, I'll grab a few hard boiled eggs (boil a half dozen of them at the beginning of the week).  If you can't give up your cereal, here are some low-sugar cereal options.

Do you like cereal or are you like me and try to keep out of the house? I'd love to know what your favorite breakfast is. Let me know in the comments section. 

Want Smart, Simple Diet Tips?
diet tips, diet secrets, simple diet tips, simple diet secrets, easy weight loss
Get my free guide HERE.
Get my free guide, "The 10 Easiest Diet Tips: Simple Secrets To Help You Lose Weight & Maintain Your Weight Loss For Good". It's yours free when you sign up for The Real Skinny, my weekly newsletter that shares super simple diet and fitness tips like this one.

Friday, February 20, 2015

More Coffee & Eggs, Please! The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Explained

2015 Dietary Guidelines, Eggs are good for me, is coffee good for me
Eggs and coffee can be part of a healthy diet. Whoo-Hoo!
Coffee and eggs are hip. In a big, fat healthy way.

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services assemble experts every five years to study and recommend dietary guidelines. Why? Because it's a dynamic thing. Scientists and experts are continually studying and learning new data. New dietary guidelines will be released at the end of 2015 but preliminary recommendations were released on Thursday.

Among the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's recommendations:
  • Eggs Are Ok - experts say that dietary cholesterol is "not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption". In English - don't be so worried about the cholesterol in egg yolks or shrimp, for that matter. 
  • Coffee Is Cool - between 3-5 cups of coffee per day can be a part of a healthy diet and can actually reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Don't add extra calories with tons of milk, cream or sugar. Out on coffee? Drink green tea. 
  • Watch Added Sugar - added sugar should be no more than 200 calories a day. Average Americans are getting about 268 calories from added sugar right now. These are completely empty calories.
  • While You're At It, Watch The Salt - stay under 2300 milligrams per day. This can add up quickly. 
  • Eat A Plant-Based Diet - duh. We know we need to do this. 

Read the full 571-page 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report HERE.

So much of what they are promoting is good, old-fashioned common sense: eat more produce and lean protein, enjoy saturated fats and sugar in moderation. The news on cholesterol in eggs is a reversal of what the government told us for years.

Sounds A Bit Like The Mediterranean Diet, Doesn't It? 
Their recommendations sound strikingly similar to the principles that make up the Mediterranean Diet which focuses on produce, lean protein (fish primarily), nuts, olive oil, wine and chocolate. Learn more about the Mediterranean approach to eating (and why it's my favorite) HERE.

Want Smart, Simple Diet Tips?
diet tips, diet secrets, simple diet tips, simple diet secrets, easy weight loss
Get my free guide HERE.
Get my free guide, "The 10 Easiest Diet Tips: Simple Secrets To Help You Lose Weight & Maintain Your Weight Loss For Good". It's yours free when you sign up for The Real Skinny, my weekly newsletter that shares super simple diet and fitness tips like this one about the wonders of, what else, coffee.

As always, take all this advice to heart but check with a trusted medical professional if you plan on making significant dietary changes.

Image via Justin Leibow

10 Mistakes To Avoid Making During Your Internship

internship advice, 10 mistakes to avoid making during your internship, internships, intern's playbook,

From jocksniffing to dawdling and donkeyjacking (the art of doing nothing when you should be doing something), I have seen interns do it all. Too often, we see interns doing things they shouldn't be. It's not solely their fault. Many times young professionals come into an internship without a solid understanding what is and isn't acceptable behavior. While we don't want to dwell on negative experiences, it bears discussing.

Whether you're a first-time intern or a seasoned, internship pro like Suzi Mellano (click HERE to read Suzi's story), here are important things to consider during your internship.
Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dermaplaning Facial Review: A Simple Way To Get Glowing Skin With No Downtime

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What Is Dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning is a fancy name for shaving your face with a scalpel blade. It takes off superficial layers of dead skin cells while also removing hair. It leaves your skin baby-bottom soft.

Every time you shave your legs don't they feel super soft? You're dermaplaning them! That's because you just shaved off superficial layers of skin.

But just how well does it work on your face?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How To Diet On A Date

real world diet tips, how to date on a diet

If you are dieting and happen to have an avid dater (first of all, Lucky You!), the marriage of the two can be a bitch, though. You don't want to be that person who orders a salad with no dressing or pulls out your Weight Watchers app to calculate your point total for the day.

So how can you date while you're on a diet? It's not that difficult. You can still find love without losing control over your eating habits. Here are a few tips:

4 Tips To Diet While Dating & NOT Be High Maintenance
1. Don't Hesitate To Recommend The Restaurant - pick a place whose menu you know and trust.
2. Plan Ahead - when you know where you will be dining, check out the menu online so you can  figure out what to order and what works within your diet.
3. Give Yourself A Break - this is perhaps my favorite tip. When you eat a quality, well-balanced diet, you don't have to be that high maintenance chick on a diet. There are so many ways to incorporate dining out into an overall healthy eating strategy.
My Bonus Tip: Order two appetizers for dinner: select the smaller one as a starter and the larger one as your main course. The portions are smaller while the options are generally more interesting. Plus you can always nibble on your date's dish.

U.S. News & World Report has more

Want More Simple Diet Tips?
Get my free guide, "The 10 Easiest Diet Tips: Simple Secrets To Help You Lose Weight & Maintain Your Weight Loss For Good". It's yours free when you sign up for The Real Skinny, my newsletter sharing diet and fitness tips designed for the real world.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tips For New Moms Struggling With Breastfeeding

breastfeeding is hard, how to breastfeed

I'm sorry. I can't help it.

I have to vent: I have met so many new countless new-moms who are struggling with breastfeeding their newborns. You are not alone.

Three years ago, I was that struggling-to-breastfeed, sleep-deprived, maniacal new mom. I hear loads of stories from mothers who went through the same thing when their kids were young, too.

There are thousands of mothers out there struggling with this and not enough women talking about it.
Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Price Of An Hermès Birkin: More Than A Car, Luxurious Jewelry, Designer Bags & Shoes Combined. Really.

Hermes Birkin Price, price of Hermes Birkin

I love luxury goods as much as the next girl but I just don't think I could do this. Moda Operandi is offering Hermès goodies from Dallas' Heritage Auctions. There are a three iconic Hermès Birkins costing $75,000.
Friday, February 6, 2015

How To Love Exercising...Even When You Hate It

How To Learn To Love Exercising, How to Love Exercise

Even when I was fat, I loved to exercise. A good workout produces chemicals, called endorphins, that make you feel better. 

If you absolutely dread the thought of exercise, there are some tricks to help you learn to love it more. 
  • Listen to a book or podcast on your iPod while walking or running. They key is to allow yourself to listen to them ONLY while working out; not in the car, at home or at the nail salon. This will get you excited about your workouts. A long power walk while listening to a book becomes an indulgent retreat. Listening to Stieg Larsson's Dragon Tattoo trilogy had me pushing my hour-long power walks to 90 minutes or two hours when I was trying to lose the baby weight. A good story makes time fly.
  • If you're at the gym, download some favorite TV shows or movies on your iPad. Sign up for Amazon Prime and watch whatever you like  (assuming your gym has WiFi) while doing your cardio. Currently, I am catching up on season 2 of the The Americans on Amazon Prime when I do my cardio workouts. This is an easy way to, again, enjoy every minute of your workout.
  • Think of it as an indulgence. Just like a massage, facial or visit to the nail salon, exercise is a brief moment during the day when you focus solely on yourself. You're not folding laundry, running errands or doing office work. You're doing something for you. And it's awesome.
  • Focus on how good you will feel AFTER your workout. This takes some energy but it works. When you're dreading that trip to the gym or power walk, remind yourself that you will feel a million times better after your workout. This simple act has gotten me out the door. And the thing is, it's not hooey. You really will feel a million times better after your workout. 
Get The Real Skinny
So I wrote an ebook: "The 10 Easiest Diet Tips: Simple Secrets To Help You Lose Weight And Maintain Your Weight Loss For Good".

There is no food combining, disgusting diet powders or whacky MLM scheme involved in this book. It's simply a list of the easiest diet tips that can help you reach your goals whether you want to lose five pounds or 50.

It's yours free when you sign up for The Real Skinny, our digest of diet and fitness updates designed for people who have real lives in the real world. No trainers or personal chefs required (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Get Your eBook Here:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Is Your Skinny Latte Making You Fat?

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For the first time in about a year, I had tall a Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte on Monday. It tasted like a warm hug on a cool Beaver Creek day. It was the perfect balance of sweet and toasty with a nice touch of cinnamon. It was heaven in a cup. 

There's a reason, though, it was the first one I had in a long time: consuming lattes regularly, even skinny ones, can be a fat pill. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ridiculously Easy Diet Secrets To Help You Lose Weight For Good

Learn how I lost 55 pounds and kept it off for more than a decade! 

80% of my friends, girls AND guys, are on diets at any given time. They hate them. They stress over losing weight. They're miserable. They're making their spouses and significant others miserable, too.

Dieting doesn't have to be hard. Really.

By implementing simple changes, like the two-bite rule, you can save calories which will help you lose weight and maintain your weight loss for good. These tricks are designed for the long haul, not losing 10 pounds in a week. They're ridiculously easy tricks you can do the rest of your life without going crazy.

How do I know? I use one or two of them every day. They helped me lose more than 55 pounds and keep them off for more than a decade.

Learn The Secrets To Effortless Weight Loss & Maintenance
So I wrote an ebook: "The 10 Easiest Diet Tips: Simple Secrets To Help You Lose Weight And Maintain Your Weight Loss For Good".

There is no food combining, disgusting diet powders or whacky MLM scheme involved in this book. It's simply a list of the easiest diet tips that can help you reach your goals whether you want to lose five pounds or 50.

It's yours free when you sign up for The Real Skinny, our digest of diet and fitness updates designed for people who have real lives in the real world. No trainers or personal chefs required (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Get Your eBook Here:

Day Trips From Paris: The Champagne Region

How To Visit Champagne From Paris, Visit Champagne Houses, Visit Champagne Vineyards

If you're in Paris and have even the slightest interest in wine, making a day trip to Champagne should be on your list of "Must-Dos". The terrain is gorgeous, the wine and food are magnificent and it's a relatively easy region to access....once you figure out to get there.

The first time we tried to visit Champagne was in June 2013. I consulted a number of my friends who work in the wine industry and represent the likes of Dom Perignon, Moët & Chandon and Ruinart in the states for help. They told me it would be impossible to get into of the Champagne houses for a tasting. Taking that into account, we didn't make any advance reservations. We ended up visiting not one but two houses without any advance reservations on that trip but it cost us. A lot.

On Thanksgiving 2014, we visited Champagne again having learned our lessons: we made tasting reservations in advance for only one house and took the train to get there. It was a much more enjoyable experience and affordable to boot.

Visiting Champagne

There are 320 houses (and growing!) Champagne houses in the region. Gaining access to these houses is, for the most part, different from typical tasting experiences in the states. In Napa, for example, you can pop into most wineries without a reservation or make a reservation the day of your desired tasting. (Click HERE to learn about visiting Napa Valley with kids).  In Champagne, most tours are by appointment only and it is suggested that you make reservations a few weeks in advance.

This can be done easily online at the Champagne house's website or you could work with a tour company.

Getting to the Champagne Region

The 1st Time

When we went in 2013, we hired a driver to take my husband, my daughter and me from our rental apartment in Paris to Moët et Chandon in Epernay and then on to Tattinger in Reims. This cost us a fortune. Like $1,000 for the day. Jaw. Dropped.

Moet et Chandon, how to visit Moet & Chandon
A salon at Moët et Chandon
Granted our driver was able to finagle all three of us into Moët et Chandon and Tattinger without a reservation but the cost was ridiculous. (btw...and I almost divorced my husband over this).

The 2nd Time
In 2014, there was no way I was forking over that kind of cash for a private car. We booked two TGV tickets (our 2-year old daughter traveled for free) on Thanksgiving Day from Paris' Gare d'Est station to Reims, the older station in the heart of the city, which takes about 45 minutes. This cost about $92 per ticket. You can also take the train to the Champagne-Ardenne station in Bezannes. We met a couple from Houston on our train who bought a tasting tour which included train tickets, transfers to the chateaux and entry fees. They had priced out the package and determined it was comparable to piecing everything together on their own.

Reims train station, French train station
Reims train station

Having gone the private car route and the train route, I can wholeheartedly recommend using the train. Once you exit the main entrance at train station in Reims, there is a line of cabs waiting to take you anywhere. Beyond that, cabs are easy to get throughout Reims. Any restaurant or Champagne house will call one for you.

Visiting the Champagne Houses

For our visits to both Moët et Chandon and Tattinger in 2013, we did not have reservations. Our driver, Amadeus, was able to get us into a group tour at each house. These tours were informative and thorough but they were packed with about 20 people in each group.

Ruinart, Visiting Champagne,
The grounds at Ruinart

For our visit in 2014, we made reservation at just one house: Ruinart, the oldest house in Champagne producing the bubbly since 1729. They were quite specific as to when we could visit and at what time. We were invited to enjoy either a 10am or 2pm tasting.

When we arrived in Champagne, it was a cold, rainy, French day. Our cab took us straight to Ruinart which got us there around 9:30am. The guard at the gate would not let us in, even simply to sit and wait for our appointment. This annoyed the heck out of me. I pleaded with him in my bad French to accommodate my daughter, husband and me and let us just stand in a covered area out of the rain. He wouldn't budge. So we paid the cab driver to drive us around the city.

Moving on.

Once we did get into Ruinart at around 9:50, we were greeted by a lovely young woman named Kelly. There were only two other people on our tour, a couple from Brazil. This made for an intimate, educational and overall much better experience.

The Ruinart Visit 

Any chateau in Champagne is impressive but Ruinart was stunning. The house had recently been renovated but the "sprucing up" resulted in timelessly elegant French style that can withstand another 100 years.

How to get to Champagne from Paris, Ruinart, Champagne Tour
There are 38,340 bottles of Ruinart aging here!

Sediment in a champagne bottle, Ruinart, Champagne tasting tours
Sediment in a Ruinart bottle

We learned about the family history of Ruinart (started by Nicolas Ruinart), the reason behind its bottle shape (it results in a better product) and why Ruinart is in a class by itself (the Blanc de Blanc is made exclusively of chardonnay grapes, for one).

Champagne caves, Ruinart, Ruinart tours
Climbing down to visit the caves at Ruinart
Champagne, Ruinart, Tours of Ruinart
Riddlers turn 50,000 of these a DAY

Our tour took us deep into the caves beneath the beautiful Ruinart gardens where we saw a glimpse of Champagne's heritage. Ruinart bottles are aged on decades old racks, where riddlers twist them 1/8th of a turn daily. Kelly claimed Ruinart's two riddlers can manage 50,000 bottles a day!

The visit concluded with a tasting of our choice of two of four wines offered: Blanc de Blanc, Dom Ruinart, Dom Ruinart Rosé and R de Ruinart. I went with the R de Ruinart and Dom Ruinart.

Where to Eat in Reims

On our first visit, we had lunch on the patio at the popular Brasserie Flo centrally located on the main promenade. It's one of those places you can't miss.

For our second visit, we had a stunning lunch at Au Petite Comptoir. I couldn't tell you how to get there to save my life. Kelly at Ruinart drew directions for us but it's located on one of those typically French side streets that disappear the moment you blink. When I stopped at a police station to ask for directions, the station chief smiled and told me I was in for a phenomenal treat. God, I love how the French flirt! I simply ordered the specials. My daughter was asleep in my lap while my husband left his phone at Ruinart and had to run back there to grab it. While I enjoyed my meal alone, alas, there are no pictures to capture the experience as my phone's battery was dead. #1stWorldPains.

EVERYONE recommends Les Crayeres, the 3-star Michelin restaurant located in the Relais et Chateaux property, Chateau Les Crayeres. We couldn't get in there for lunch.

There are a number of decent places to eat on the main promenade in Reims, Les Basses Promenades.

If you're on the fence about visiting Champagne, don't be. Go! It's an easy day trip from Paris! 

France is full of stunning, historic and magical places. Champagne's beauty is in a class by itself. If you are in Paris you should, without question, try to visit this region.

My suggestions to approaching a day trip to Champagne: 
  • Find a producer that interests you and start from there. I have always loved Moët et Chandon and Ruinart. I would love to visit Krug and Veuve Cliquot on my next trip.  
  • Email the maison about reservations a few weeks prior to your trip. You will likely have pay at the time of booking. 
  • Do some Googling about your trip to get a general sense of where you will be going. The train and cab route was a breeze but it might not be for you. 
  • Tentatively schedule your day but bring an open mind. You never know where the day may take you. 
  • Most maisons will accommodate children. Check, though, to ensure they do. At both Moët et Chandon and Ruinart they provided juice and snacks for our daughter.