September 11, 2014

5 Healthy Afternoon Snacks to Avoid the Afternoon Munchies

It's almost time to head home for the day and you're starving! The vending machine down the hall in your office building is calling your name! The pantry, full of oh-so-delcious chocolate cookies, is begging you to come by for a visit!

If you're on the journey of losing the baby weight or just want to stay on a healthy path try curbing those afternoon munchies by eating one of a healthy snack that is 100 calories or under, which low in sugar and high in protein.

So what should you eat?  I've put together a list of my favorite 5 healthy snacks that will give you a boost of energy in the afternoon and keep you on track of looking and feeling great.

1. Almonds

 I love keeping a stash of these almonds in my desk drawer when the afternoon munchies start to creep up. Almonds are a great snack for weight watchers since they are high in protein and full of minerals to keep your body strong and your blood pressure under control.

Almonds make are such an awesome afternoon snack that can be easily brought with you in the car if you're running errands or on your way home from work or school. 

2.  Low-fat cheese stick

Low fat cheese sticks are another great mobile snack that are healthy and provide portion control. I find that when I'm hungry, I HAVE to stick with individually wrapped items or containers or else I will eat five times what a single serving size is.  I personally go for low-fat cheese sticks rather than any kind of 'fat free' cheese since I find a little bit of fat in my snack helps me feel more satisfied and curbs my hunger.

3.  Sliced apple with peanut butter

Another great healthy snack that is also easy on your wallet.  Since there are so many varieties of apples, there always seems to be a sale.  Adding a bit of peanut butter to the apple slices gives this snack a bit of kick in the fat department but still keeps it a healthy option. I personally love these these natural peanut butter snack cups that you can toss in your bag without thinking twice about it.

4.  Individual nonfat plainGreek yogurt mixed 1 tablespoon of honey and sprinkle of cinnamon

I absolutely loveGreek yogurt any time of day, but it's especially great in the late afternoon when I'm starving and am craving a little 'comfort eating' which for me means something with a spoon. Adding a little bit of honey gives it a bit of needed sweetness and helps me avoid adding something unhealthy like chocolate sauce (although that does sound good!) and the cinnamon is just another bit of flavor on top. 

5.  Protein bar

If you haven't tried these mini protein bars, you're missing out! Each bar is only 100 calories or less (very rare to find this for any protein bar) and absolutely delicious! As a busy mom of three kids, I buy these in bulk and keep them in the glove department of my car, in my gym bag, and in my office desk drawer. They are naturally sweet so I feel like I'm 'treating myself' even though they are super healthy!

September 10, 2014

What to Wear on Date Night in DC

Image from here

 This weekend my hubby and I are going out for a much needed and long overdue date night to celebrate our 12-year wedding anniversary.

We haven't been out on date night since February when I was 8 months pregnant. This is what I wore:

A burberry that I wore throughout my pregnancy

 To say that I'm excited is an understatement. I am VERY excited! Not only because it means relishing in a few hours of uninterrupted adult conversation with my husband, but also because it means shopping for a new outfit. 

What?  Did you think I was going to wear a dress I already had??? Ha! Not a chance! 

image from here

As part of my journey of losing the baby weight, I want to celebrate and treat myself to a new dress....or two.

So, what to wear for a date night in DC? After looking and looking, this is my favorite date night dress that is a mix of sophistication and sexiness. I love that you can dress this up or down and even though it's sexy, it's still very classy as well.

Looking for some DC restaurant recommendations? Please check out this article I wrote a while back about DC restaurants and feel free to pass this information along to friends and family!


September 9, 2014

Postpartum Exercise: Top 5 Tips on How to Stay Motivated and Not Give Up

I will never forget standing inside a newly opened exercise studio, 6 weeks postpartum, among a sea of perfectly toned women with their perfectly flat stomachs while I felt and looked like a huffalump. And of course I chose a studio that surrounded with mirrors so it wasn't like I could just hide in the back (which I tried to do anyway).

 Prior to taking this class, I hadn't been doing any postpartum exercise since I got a bad case of mastitis, which scared the heck out of me and I wanted to fully recover from that before thinking about working out again. During my pregnancy, I stayed active and since I was fairly fit before getting pregnant, I thought getting back into it would be easy both mentally and physically. Wrong!

As the class started, I heard the workout cues but my postpartum body wouldn't cooperate and moved like molasses through each move.  The entire time, I kept thinking, "I hate this! This studio sucks! The lights are too bright! The instructor is going too fast! Why the hell did I even come here! What a waste of money!" And then the hour was up and I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Once I got home, I complained and vented to my husband about the exercise class and vowed never to go back.  Fast forward 5 months postpartum and not only have I been back, but I love the classes. So, what happened? Why did I change my mind?

From 6 weeks to 5 months postpartum, I kept reminding myself a few things to stay motivated in getting back in shape and losing the baby weight and I wanted to share them with you:

1.  Successful people do what others refuse to do or won't do.  Isn't this so true in all areas of life? When it comes to working out and eating right, it's super HARD to eat healthy and say no to all of the ooey gooey foods that are calling your name. It's also super hard to push yourself past your comfort levels at the gym and really sweat and really work. But that's where success will come from. 

2. Think about losing the baby weight as a 'journey' that won't happen overnight but WILL end successfully.  I once watched an interview between Simon Cowell and Oprah who said, 

"It will normally happen over time. And it's the getting there which has been the most fun. You've got to be patient and enjoy, as I said before, the process of getting there."

I remind myself of this quote every time I want to give up and not workout. When I just want to eat a big piece of chocolate cake even if I'm not hungry or in a celebratory mood. I remind myself that getting back in shape is a journey that I need to embrace and believe that I will finish.

3. You're tired, your baby is sick, your boss needs that report yesterday so you have zero time to workout today. You know what? It's okay! Try again the next day, or the day after that. Just keep trying.

You know how they say, 'You won't get fat by eating one cookie."? Well, it's true. And it's also true that you won't lose all of your strength or endurance if you skip a workout for a day or two. The KEY here is working out the next day or the next. Cut yourself some slack and try again tomorrow. 

4. If working out was easy, the word "work" wouldn't be part of it.  For some people, working out is fun. For the majority of us, it's work and it's NOT easy. Especially after having a baby and your body is screaming at you to stop! now!  Believe me, I know. Believe me, I get it and I'm going through the same thing.  But each day, it gets a little bit easier and you get a little bit stronger. I don't think I will EVER thinking of working out as fun but I'll do it anyway since the benefits are plenty.

and last,

5.  Cleaning the house, chasing after the kids, running (ok, walking briskly) around the grocery store COUNTS as physical activity.  As mentioned here, there are great ways to be active without having to step foot inside a gym.  Working out is just part of the equation. It's also very important to lead an overall active lifestyle and of course have a healthy diet on an every day basis. As moms, especially new moms, time is not our friend because he/she is never around. We're so busy taking care of the house and kids that a dedicated hour (especially when you have a newborn) is not even remotely possible. And that's okay! After going back and forth several times across a huge grocery store and loading and unloading many many grocery bags, I that's a pretty good workout by the time you are done. And let's talk about what a good workout just doing the laundry for a family of five is: Carrying the overflowing laundry basket, bending over again again to load the washer and dryer, carrying the clean clothes back to the bedrooms, and spending the next 30 minutes putting away all of the clothes? Yeah, that's a pretty good workout!

If you're interested in reading more about postpartum exercise, please read this article I wrote where I share more GREAT tips on losing the baby weight and check out another article I wrote about staying stylish after having a baby!


September 8, 2014

The BEST workout to lose weight fast

I just finished one of the BEST workout videos to lose weight fast and in the comfort of your own home.  I absolutely love working out at home for two main reasons:

  • It's cost-effective (no driving, no gym membership fees, and no need to hire a babysitter if you have kids)

  • You can do them at any time in any space (a small bedroom, a large living room, even outside in your backyard or a park!)
If you could see me now, my face is bright pink from working hard for simply 20 minutes for a combination of cardio and strength training. It doesn't get better than that. I used to do these workout through You Tube but they've added commercial in the middle of the workouts, which is super annoying and disrupts your workout.  The whole point of working out for short periods of time is not to take any breaks (unless your body is telling your otherwise) so the commercials are not a good welcome for me. I love being able to pop in the DVD quickly and get my workout done and done.

My mantra these days while I continue to lose the baby weight (here are some more fitness tips and advice on losing the baby weight for all of you new mamas!) is do what you can.  Some days it might mean a 10 minute walk and on other days, it's definitely one of my favorite workout videos.

Some of my other favorite workouts to lose weight fast are these workouts that combine 
workouts that combine cardio and barre (have you heard of barre workouts? If not, here is a great explanation of barre workouts) that will make you sweat, lose the fat but is also easy on your joints.

I'm wearing my new Lucy Perfect Core Halter Top today and I am loving it. The fit (this time I made sure to buy a medium since the size small was a bit too tight) is perfect and the quality is superb.

If you're interested in more tips and advice on how to losing weight without joining a gym, check out this article and please leave me a comment on how they work for you!


September 3, 2014

Top 5 Beauty Products - September Picks

Are you ready for my Top 5 Beauty Beauty Products for this month? I love talking about beauty products (in addition to fashion and fitness of course) and sharing my finds since there are so many out there these days! 

Top 5 Beauty Products - DC Fashion Gal September Picks

All of my picks are my personal favorites that I've tried and truly love. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a 'beauty product junkie' and love to share what I find fabulous, fun, and effective! Check out these great beauty product that are among the best out there and treat yourself this month to one or all of them!

3. L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipcolour, Gilded Pink


4. Clear Total Care Nourishing Shampoo 

 5. MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microfinish Powder

Which of these products do you already love? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet and let me know! Please come back for my October Best Beauty Product Picks next month!

DC FASHION GAL ALERT: Be sure to follow Fashion Gal in DC on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter to find out about some fun upcoming giveaways and contests!!

September 2, 2014

Healthy Weeknight Meal Ideas that are Quick and Easy

Here are a few weekday dinner ideas I love and can be made relatively quickly:

Marinated chicken cubes

Throw some chicken tenders in a baking dish the night before, pour on your favorite marinade. I like this one, cover with saran wrap and let it sit in your fridge overnight.  When it's time for dinner the next night, simply place the chicken tenders in a sautee  pan until each side is brown.

Kids tip:  Cut up the chicken, place colorful toothpicks in them, place ketchup or mustard in a dipping bowl and voila:  fancy chicken that your kids will love!

Kale side dish

One of my favorite things to make that is super healthy and easy to make is a simple sauteed kale.  After tearing off pieces, make sure to wash the kale really well before cooking to get the grit off. Next add one teaspoon or tablespoon of olive oil in a sautee pan and about 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (I love buying the bottled kind just to save time) and quickly stir until the garlic is warmed up.  Next, throw a bunch of torn kale pieces in the pan and sautee until the kale gets wilted and bright green. It only takes a few minutes. Add a little pepper and if you like a little spice, add a little red pepper flakes and you're done!

Broiled salmon

Salmon is full of Omega 3s and again so easy to make that it's worth stocking up on a few salmon fillets that you can make in a pinch.  I like to keep things simple and add a bit of olive oil on top of each fillet and then my favorite spices like dried basil, lemon seasoning, cajun seasoning...anything at all! I like to broil my salmon fillets for about 16 minutes but it's best to eyeball it with your broiler. The tops should be nice and crispy. Delicious and sooo healthy!

Spinach and garlic frittata

I love making frittatas since it requires so few ingredients that you probably already have AND you can add so many ingredients based on your preference.  For me, a simple garlic and spinach frittata is the perfect weekday dinner dish. Here is one of my favorite frittata recipes.

Just a few ideas to keep you motivated to make healthy weeknight meals!

Fall Focus: What to Buy, What to Do, and What to Eat

The summer has ended, which is bittersweet, but the good news is that it's the perfect time to recharge your batteries in all areas of your life.  I'm ready to recharge myself as well and focus on finding:
  • Fashionable Fall 2014 Clothing Must Haves (while sticking to a budget)
  • Fall Washington, DC area family friendly activities, and
  • Healthy family-friendly meals that are easy and quick for my busy family of five

What to Buy

As a working mom, I love clothes that can take me from day-to-night or could be worn with different accessories on the weekends.  You can mix and match my picks as well whether you're heading to your K Street office during the week or going out for drinks at the newest hot spot at night.

Ann Taylor Faux Leather Trimmed Sheath Dress

Ann Taylor Creme Jacket

Vince Camuto Shoe Bootie

Banana Republic Sloane Pants in Cabernet

DVF Gilmore Printed Chiffon Blouse

What to Do

As the weather finally gets cooler, I highly recommend checking out some of these fun, family-friendly Fall activities in the DC area this month:

What to Eat

Now that summer is over and the kids are back in school, why not try some new recipes that are healthy and delicious? Here are a few of my recent favorites:

As the Fall season gets underway and your schedule gets hectic, try to focus on just a few things each day that will make you feel good whether it's fashion, exercise or cooking. Enjoy!