1. Be a Better…Bartender.

    It’s as hot as balls out Edition:

    If you are in NYC right now along with the rest of us suckers, I’m so so sorry. It’s a sweltering 987937598 degrees out today with about 99% humidity. Let’s just say parts of my body are sweating that I didn’t know had pores. 

    I digress. 

    Here is a video response defeat this shit weather (this is not me if you were confused) and then better than that…an excellent cocktail down below.

    This woman gets it: (NSFW for language) 

    Warning, this kind of heat isn’t the type that one or two cold bevvies help. You’re gonna need to get super drunk and then forget that you can control your sleeping and waking…it’s just that bad out. 

    Passionfruit Lychee Fizz:

    + 1 oz. Passion Fruit Puree

    + 1 oz. Lychee Puree

    + Splash of Club Soda

    + Fresh Basil

    + 1 1/2 oz. Cucumber Pearl Vodka

    In a cocktail shaker, combine purees and vodka. Shake with ice, vigorously. Strain and pour over ice and add basil to taste & garnish. Top with a dash of club soda. 

    Happy summer…f*ck.

    xo Chinae

     


  2. Be a Better…Dresser.

    Recently, a Be Better Blog reader wrote in with this (witty) query: 

    "I just started dragging my ass back to the gym and I’m finding that I’m in dire need of an updated workout wardrobe. My mesh gym shorts from college don’t seem quite sufficient when I know that space-age wicking technology exists. ALSO, I would like said ass not to be hanging out while I do leg things. Could you (pretty please) do post that gives like 5 combinations of gear that I can mix and match, but won’t require doing laundry every five minutes?"

    This is a great question as workout clothes can be tricky tricky. As an example of failing, I tried out some NEW athletic shorts this morning and hadn’t looked in the mirror until I arrived to the gym. TOTAL AIR FUPA people. You know as a kid when you loved filling your swimsuit with air, looking like either you had a boob job or beer belly? Yeah, those shorts looked like that except I wasn’t in a pool, nor am I 5 years old. Not to mention the lining was too short (apparently according to the manufacturer I have an elongated crotch region?!) so I had perma-camel toe. No one likes camel-toe squats. NO ONE.

    When building your workout wardrobe, here are a few basic items you’ll need: 

    //SUMMARY SHOPPING LIST//

    -2 Pairs of Loose Sporty Shorts/Booty Shorts

    - 2 Athletic tanks

    -1 Pack of White Tees

    -2-3 Supportive Sports Bras

    - Tennis Shoes

    - 1 pair of Yoga/Running Pants

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

    -Non-see through colors: You DO NOT want your days of the week undies showing through. 

    -Built in liner: It’s just a must these days, folks.

    -Great fit in the crotch region (as I learned previously): Avoid air fupas, avoid wedgies.

    -Ample coverage: Unless you are ONLY running, you’ll be bending, squatting, leaning, and burpee-ing for a full hour or more…so it’s best if you don’t accidentally get pregnant via the leg extension machine. Think enough coverage so your lady bits stay ladylike.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

    -Happy Colors: Pick a couple fun colors for tanks that make you WANT to work out. You’ll feel better about that 6am gym time and bright pops of color make your no-makeup face more alive looking!

    -Athletic or Natural Materials: This is a non-negotiable. Cotton OR Dri-fit hi-tech sh*t. If you show up at the gym in a Forever21 Polyester tank top and you’ll end up being the smelly/overly sweaty gal on the mats. The good news? You’ll have plenty of room to stretch because your odor and general wet aesthetic will have caused everyone to flee.

    -Refresh Often: Hanes men’s white v-neck tees cost a whole $10 per pack. Re-buy them every month or two to keep your whites looking fresh. 

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

    -Cups/Liner: Don’t risk poking your trainer’s eye out mid-workout with a rogue nipple. Make sure your sports bra has thin cups that keep pancake boob away and protect you from chronic NHO. 

    -Great Fit: High-knee runs should not include kicking your tatas ala David Beckham. Keep ‘em high and tight. 

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

    -Essential Fit: Be sure you get the right size for the types of workouts you’ll be doing. You may need to go a size or 1/2 size up…the best thing to do is ask your shoe salesperson to fit you properly. 

    -Keep An Eye Out: Every couple of months, check the bottoms of your shoes…especially if you’re having back or knee pain. You may be wearing out your shoes, therefore wearing out your much needed support.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

    -Dark Colors: Dark color minimize trouble areas like ass, thighs, and giant calves..not to mention the whole “mask the cellulite” game we’ve all played at one time or another. Also, you’ll want these to be able to be worn over and over without recognition so black or dark grey will always work. 

    -Wide and Flexible Waistband: A general rule of life, avoid muffins and muffin tops. You want your pants to be comfortably tight in the leg region, but beware of thin super tight waistbands. They’ll make you feel self-conscious and you’ll spend half your workout tucking in rolls, rather than getting rid of them.

    -Non-See Through: A little tip, when in the fitting room to buy workout pants, lean over and spread eagle. Can you see your vagina? Yes? You need a different pair. No? You’re good to go.

    I think that covers it. 

    A few tips and tricks for lazy people like me:

    -Mid-week, toss your workout shorts/bras/pants in the shower with you and rinse them out with a little detergent. They are made to dry quick so they’ll be fresh and ready for the next workout. Yes, you’ll still need to do actual laundry once in a while, this is just to freshen in between real washes if you are one of us who doesn’t have in-home laundry.

    -Avoid Patterned Workout Gear. The more nondescript the gear is, the more you’ll be able to wear it. Still feel free to inject bright colors but those snake skin print yoga pants might be a bit much. 

    -Keep things snug. As much as you might want to roll out of bed and throw on a huge t-shirt and basketball shorts…you should avoid this. More fitted items let you actually see your body as you work out, you’ll be able to perfect your form because you won’t be lost in a sea of college-age jersey material. As a bonus, you’ll be able to see your progress more easily when those booty shorts look a little more filled out. Feeling hot (even at the gym)= instant motivation  (And no, that does not mean to put on makeup).

    Now, go shopping.

    Chinae

     


  3. Be Better at…Fitness.

    5 Tips to Get Your Ass Out of Bed and to the Gym:

    I used to be a die-hard nighttime gym person…but between stupid adult errands, after work events,  and my obvious drinking schedule, I’d only be able to make it to the gym 3-4 days a week which in reality, is not enough for me to reverse the effects of years of “4th meal” I indulged in, in college (damn you Whataburger Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit). So what did I do? I learned to get my ass out of bed, and get to the gym before heading to work. 

    Yes, it sucks getting up when it’s dark and snowy or muggy and rainy….but trust me, you’ll be glad when your thigh meat isn’t creeping over on the next subway seat…AND the asian lady that did the impossible by forcing herself into a 1x1” space between you and fat business guy with laptop, will also be grateful for your new-found workout plan.

    I won’t lie to you and tell you it’s easy. It’s not. WARNING: It doesn’t look like a godforsaken Playtex commercial where you’re doing sunrise yoga, giggling over your newfound feminine freedom. But level with me here, getting up completely blows ass anyway. Doesn’t matter if it’s 8am or 6am…that alarm is equally annoying, so why not shrink your growing jowls in the process?

    People are always like…”I don’t know how you do morning workouts!!!! It’s so hard!…I could never do that!” and today’s the day that you need to shut the f*ck up (in a nice way) and realize that YOU CAN. No, I’m not trying to get all Obama on you (but Michelle’s arms tho)…but the first step to gaining discipline is changing your head…and then the schedule will follow. I am just like you, lazy and grumpy…if I can get there, so can you.

    Here are 5 practices that get me to the gym by 6AM everyday:

    #1 Stop Gradual Wake-ups: No snoozing or rolling around in bed. GET UP. Just do it. It feels like Chinese water torture for like 30 seconds, and then it’s done. As soon as your alarm goes off, your feet should be on the floor and you should start the next part of your new found routine (below). Then proceed to the bathroom to do full face blast with cold water, seriously, it’s better than coffee. 

    #2 Clothing Check: Once your feet are on the ground (because you’ve just launched yourself out of bed like a Hanes V-Neck coming out of a t-shirt cannon), make sure your clothes are within arm’s length. Seriously. Put them on a chair near your bed, or on the floor …when your step 2 is inches away, procrastination and sleep gets harder to convince yourself of. Pick every part of your workout gear (bonus points and motivation if you are excited about the ensemble) the night before, and even lay your shoes out…LITERALLY be able to practically roll into your clothes. I know some morning gym devotees like to sleep in their gym clothes, but to me, that promotes snoozing and let’s be honest…I don’t think a spandex gauntlet is good for the girls up top or the lady bits below, overnight. 

    #3 Plenty of Prep: I need caffeine to function as a human being with thoughts and emotions, so I need coffee to do this. Before I workout, I guzzle (literally) an iced coffee, but who has time to make coffee that early? NO ONE. So, make your coffee the night before and have it in the glass ready to go in the fridge. Chug it on your way out the door and you’ll be ready to engage with the rest of the human race in 10-12 minutes. Another part of your prep should be your post-workout meal. You should eat a little something within 30-45 minutes of finishing your workout, so planning your breakfast the night before can help with the morning rush. Boil some eggs, make a greek yogurt parfait, or munch on a protein bar for instant energy, the thought of a healthy breakfast looming will also provide some good motivation for finishing your workout strong.

    #4 Weekly Pump Plan: If you know you need to hit target areas of your body, make a weekly workout plan…Monday-Leg Day, Tuesday- Arms, Wednesday-Core, Thurs-Strip Aerobics…WHATEVER. If you have a schedule, you’ll be less likely to skip the gym…because you just can’t miss leg day. 

    #5 Buddy System: If you have trouble feeling self-motivated, go with someone. Even if all your friends are too lazy to get their asses out of bed, make a friend at the gym and commit to checking in with them or send a damn photo of you at the gym every morning to a friend who’s agreed to keep you in check (who knows, they might be inspired to join you one day). On a personal note, I went on vacation for the last week and I didn’t know this, but I have a couple of accountability partners including two city bus drivers, a random lady, and the front desk worker at New York Sports Club who mentioned my absence to my actual gym buddy. Only in New York can you get a guilt trip from strangers.   

    Why it’s awesome…

    -I feel more awake ALL day. I even said goodbye to my afternoon coffee ritual.

    -My eating is better all day, because I have already made a serious sacrifice to be healthy, so eating an entire sleeve of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles looks a little less appetizing.

    - My ass is smaller.

    - and the best thing….my nights are now wide open and available to the call of bourbon (and friends) if I so choose.

    Need more motivation? Send me your questions!

    Squat or Go Home,

    xo Chinae

     


  4. Be a Better…Cook.

    Spicy Parmesan Almond Crackers Edition:

    Usually, I don’t miss much on my low-carb diet…(minus buckets of chips and salsa), but one thing that can be challenging is to find a crunchy, crispy alternative to a good ol’ fashioned cracker. What the heck am I supposed to shovel a pound of guac or cheese in my face with? 

    I have found the answer folks and it is GLORIOUS. If you’re a regular reader, you know my love of almond flour…but this might be the best things I’ve ever done with that magical dust of the Gods. 

    Here’s the recipe for crackers that won’t make you fat and WILL make you happy.

    image

    2 cups almond flour

    2 egg whites

    1/2 tsp. thyme

    1 tablespoon fresh rosemary roughly chopped

    1/2 tsp. garlic powder

    1/2 tsp. onion salt

    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (lessen if you’re spice sensitive) 

    5 T. grated parmesan cheese

    Sea Salt garnish

    Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and to prep your pan, cut two pieces of parchment paper the exact size of the pan. Line the pan with one, and leave the other aside. Mix all your ingredients together until combined thoroughly. Place dough mixture on the pan and apply the second sheet of parchment paper on top. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough as thin as you can without touching the edges of the pan. Then, score the dough into the desired size squares…Mine were about 1”x1” and turned out perfectly. Top the uncooked crackers with a generous shake of course sea salt. Then, cook for 10-12 minutes and then break up the crackers and sprinkle on some extra parm. Finish up baking by keeping an eagle eye on the browning of the crackers and remove when they are crispy and medium in color. Let cool and then just TRY to not eat the entire pan in one sitting. 

    Let me know what you think!

    xo Chinae

     


  5. Be Better at…Health.

    For the last few months, I have been pretty dedicated to whipping my body into submission by amping up my morning workouts, eating super clean, and taking 80 bajillion types of vitamins so my body simply cannot fail me. I also have lessened my drinking and that absolutely is the worst thing ever. The elevated effort is working as much as I can tell, so I thought I’d share some of the new things I’ve added that have been helpful/fun/painful.

    And just a reminder…72 days until summer, people. Get your ass in gear. 

    -Cobra Planks: I hate wasting time. So, if I’m gonna be at the gym, I want to feel on the verge of death the entire time I’m there to make it worthwhile. Enter, cobra planks. Now, I do regular planks a ton in my workouts, but these combine three moves for a gut-busting workout that may or may not make you feel like throwing up. The cobra plank incorporates a plank, tricep-pushup AND a cobra pose to give you insta-core strength. Start by laying on the ground with arms and legs extended. Go into cobra pose then place hands under the shoulders and lift into your full plank. After 20 seconds in plank pose, lower your body SLOWLY, with arms near your sides (note: tricep pushups are different than a regular push up)…take about 4-5 counts to lower back onto the floor. Do this 10x in addition to your normal workout and you’ll be seriously regretting that you read this blog. HOW-TO VIDEO

    -Training/Combat Ropes: Someone recently likened my arms to the FLOTUS. I almost died and now anytime I am feeling body-depressed, I will be googling Michelle’s arms. Get your flabby wings in shape by trying out training/combat ropes next time you’re at the gym. I was intimidated at first because I thought I would look dumb but after trying them once, I was hooked. In a slightly crouched (abs engaged, legs slightly bent-hip width apart) position, whip ropes up and down into the air…simultaneously or alternating. Start with 30-sec intervals and then progress up in time from there. Next step…we’re all gonna have Kelly Rowland arms and hopefully a Beyonce career. 

    -Trader Joe’s Freeze Dried Fruit: I’ve been a low-carb eater for years now and have lost a little more than 60lbs total. Since I’ve been trying to shred the last few months, I’ve started carb cycling to get my body burning the most it can, so 6 days I’m low-carb/high protein/moderate fat, and 1 day a week…I am high carb/high protein and NO fat. So this pretty much means I eat whole grains, ultra lean protein (usually turkey), and tons of fruit on my carb up day. To liven up these days…(they are f*ckin boring and I hate them) I’ve incorporated a couple different snacks, my favorite being the Freeze-Dried Fruit packets from Trader Joe’s.  They contain no other ingredients other than the fruit itself and they taste like Astronaut Food from the museum gift shops. Could it get better? These are a far cry from normal dried fruit and would be awesome for that upcoming trip to Jupiter or just to throw in your work bag for an on-the-go snack. My favorites are: mango, banana, and blueberry.

    -Biotin: Listen, I have no idea if this is all placebo effect, but I started taking the vitamin Biotin about 2 months ago and instantly I feel like my hair grew in Rapunsel-like ways. The bottle was 7.99 at Vitamin Shoppe so you really can’t go wrong here folks. Anyone else take this and notice a difference?

    Any new health stuff I should know about? Leave it in the comments!

     


  6. Be a Better…Cook.

    Low-Carb Waffle Edition:

    Usually low carb food is pretty good…steak, shrimp, veggies, etc. but when you try to make carb foods into low-carb foods, sometimes the result is dismal at best. It’s like getting a cat because you can’t have a dog…it’s just not the same shit and they still poop in a box.

    Last night however, I stumbled upon something that changed the direction of my life path. OK, maybe it was just a low-carb waffle, but seriously y’all, it was fantastic. 

    Now I thought, a savory waffle not made of any floury goodness? Sounds like bullshit to me. But try them, you’ll thank me later. 

    Low-Carb Savory Cheese Waffle: (adapted from Your Lighter Side)

    • 1 cup riced (grated), raw cauliflower (should resemble coarse crumbs)
    • 1/2 cup mozzarella shredded cheese
    • 1/2 cup cheddar shredded cheese
    • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1 Tbsp fresh chives
    • 1/3 cup cooked and finely chopped turkey bacon

    Mix all your ingredients together (warning, the batter won’t be runny like waffle batter) in a large bowl. Heat your waffle maker and spray with a tiny bit of non-stick cooking spray. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, spoon batter into the waffle iron and spread out loosely over the surface. Cook for 4 minutes, and then take a look and see if your waffle is ready. Remove after throughly browned. Cool on a wire rack for a minute or two to promote crispiness and you’re ready to nosh. 

    Makes 6 Waffles or 5 Texas shaped waffles (in my case)

    These would be bonkers with low-carb fried chicken and sugar free syrup. Just saying. 

    Do it. 

    xo Chinae

     


  7. Be a Better…Cook.

    The Best Chicken You’ll Ever Eat Edition:

    When I got home from the gym at 9pm last night, I wavered between eating a protein bar and calling dinner a failure OR roasting an entire chicken (I bought one for the first time this weekend) due to the fact that I needed to cook it ASAP before it went bad. 

    So I started on a chicken adventure last night that I have to say, was well worth it people. 

    Some thoughts before I post the recipe:

    -I’ve never cooked an entire chicken before.

    -I had no idea really what I was doing.

    -This chicken was $5.00 at Trader Joes, for a 4lb bird…pretty stellar deal.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • A small/medium chicken (4-5 lbs)
    • Fresh Rosemary spears
    • 1 Red Onion
    • Butter 
    • Salt and Peps

    1) First, you’ll need to remove the giblets and plastic bag from the interior of the chicken…bc plastic tastes like shit when it’s melted into your meat. Amirite?

    2) Wash the chicken with cool water, in and out and pat dry with a paper towel.

    3) Stuff the interior of the chicken with your chunks of onion and a couple of spears of rosemary. Lift the skin on the chicken breasts and shove a couple spears of rosemary, there too. 

    4)Take 2-3 Teaspoons of softened butter and rub down the bird, then liberally salt and pepper the whole shebang. This will give you a crispy skin and will lock in the juices.

    5) Leftover onions and rosemary can sit around the outside of the chicken.

    6) Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour and half/forty five. The internal temp should be 160 degrees at least. Baste with it’s own juices every 20 minutes. 

    7) After the roasting process is done, remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. 

    Enjoy!

    xo Chinae

     


  8. Be Better at…Life.

    How to NOT Completely Demolish Your New Year’s Resolutions by February 1st Edition:

    Did you spend the first half of the winter packing on enough pounds to embark on a 6 month tour of Himilaya’s sans food supply? Finally join the gym only to realize that you have to actually hike your ass there to lose weight (bum central)? Want to finally meet someone that tickles all of your fancies (ehem) in 2013? 

    We all make New Year’s Resolutions and SWEAR it’s gonna stick and beach body 2013 will be in check by June, right? WRONG. Fast forward to June and you still look like a member of the Boo Boo family (Mr. and Ms. Honey, that is)…and then soon after, you find yourself once again watching Ryan Seacrest’s NYE Broadcast, a little bit fatter, a little bit poorer, and still kissing Puurrrfect your cat at midnight. 

    5 Be Better Tips to Keep Your Resolutions:

    DIETING: I don’t care if you are The Bundchen herself, I KNOW you still aren’t totally happy with that residual gut you may have gained during your sudden interest in Gingerbread Home-Constructing this holiday season. I get it. As a recovering fatass (Jesus take the wheel), I can honestly say these are a couple pointers that keep me in check daily and have ensured keeping off the poundage:

    • Tell Everyone: No, not in an annoying “look at me, tell me I’m not that fat” way (you are actually huge, btw). Let those closest to you know the details of your diet plan. It’s way harder to cheat when you’ve got a couple people checking in with you and lovingly examining your ordering skillz. You find it’s a sure fire way to deter your casual suggestion for splitting that family-style Brownie Explosion while out with friends.
    • Be Militant: Make a list of approved foods and stick to it like glue. Write it in your phone. Save it to your desktop. Tattoo it backwards on your forehead. I don’t care. There is an awesome amount of freedom in this sort of discipline and having little choice in what to eat…and yes, I know it sounds contradictory and yes, I can see you rolling your eyes. If you bend once, you’ll bend again and again so just stick to it in detail and it’ll become easier by the day. 
    • Stop Lying To Yourself: Making excuses of why you’re allowed to go off the bandwagon is utter and complete bullshit. “I had a hard day”, “I was travelling and there were no options”, and “I’m on my period” are no longer in your food coping vocabulary. Deal with it.

    EXERCISE: Now, as much as I hate waiting for a grown man to do 10lb sets on the leg extension machine (complete with the soundtrack of clanging weights from over-zealous/too easy lifting), I really feel hopeful for people getting their butts in gear and getting active in the beginning of Jan. Some easy gym-motivators:

    • New Music: When new tunes comes out, I make myself wait to listen until I get to the gym. That way, pop pop gets a treat AND I’m focused on something other than my quads burning with hellish fury on squat set #3.
    • Look Good: Now, I’m not saying to put on a full face of makeup before a tough workout, because we all know that that’s a big waste of Laura Mercier’s* time and efforts (*a brand of makeup for my male readers). BUT I am saying pull your shit together…you DO know you are in public, right? You’ll be more motivated to push yourself you don’t look like a dog giving birth in the mirrors of the gym, TRUST ME. Buy workout clothes that are slim-fitting (so you can see your body working and moving), swipe a coat or two of waterproof mascara on before hitting the mats, and for God’s sake gentlemen…buy a new pack of Hanes V-Neck T-shirts and run a damn comb through your hair. 

    DATING: I love the newfound hope a calendar-shift can bring. I really do. But girl/duder, if you think that by doing the exact shit you did last year is going to bring the love of your life to you, I think you might be mistaken. Make a plan to do things differently this year, mix with different circles, ask to be set-up through friends, join groups or find new interesting places to meet people. A hot/smart/downright hilarious girl is not going to walk into your decrepit living room, turn off your Law and Order SVU marathon, and sweep your Olivia Benson-loving butt away for a romantic vacation in the Alps. Get off the couch and make an effort, because expecting different results from the same action is insanity..and no one wants to bring an insane person on their mid-February beach getaway. 

    MONEY: Ah, saving money…SUCH an annoying concept. This one’s my personal resolution this year and man, the prospect of letting my split-ends just sit there and rot due to budgetary constraints is downright depressing. Here are some ways I am gonna try and beat my budget into submission:

    • Make a monthly goal: I’ve made my monthly goals and have to stick to them, or else I get no treats the next month. If I hit my goal mid-month…I get to treat ma’ self! This month’s treat is a hair cut and color…now all I have to do is save, save, save. 
    • Buddy System: Share a copy of your goals and progress via Google Doc with a friend/loved one/spouse/therapist….give them the responsibility and freedom to check in on it whenever they want (this will keep you updating the document and sticking to writing in specifics), and also set up a standing check in every three months to track progress.
    • Drink Less, Cook More: Ugh. Yeah, I get it…

    WORK: Want to be more positive at work and not plot your ballsy escape every afternoon? Want to feel less like you want to kick the water cooler over after a meeting? A couple tips for a great work/life balance:

    • Stop Eating At Your Desk: Chances are, if you are scarfing down your tuna melt while glued to your computer, you are overeating, you are more tired and less satisfied, and your day feels like it lasts an eon. Get up, stretch your legs, insist on eating out or at least get out of your seat and relocate. Even if it’s 15-30 minutes, you’ll feel more productive the rest of the afternoon and less like you want to slam your forehead into the keyboard to see if it would really hurt (it does). 
    • Arrive On Time: This is easy. If you start your day off rushed and off-kilter, that feeling will follow you all the live long day. Get up early enough so you’re not channeling a Cathy comic by the time you get to your desk.
    • Leave On Time: Be clear about what time work is O-V-E-R. You’ll feel less burnt out and you now have NO excuse not to get to the gym/happy hour/date night. Voila! All New Year’s Resolutions are met!

    Happy New Year and Here’s To Being Better in 2013,

    Chinae

     


  9. Be Better at…Friday.

    Because it’s Friday and I have the attention span of a gnat on Fridays…I have a few things I want to discuss that have been on my mind but perhaps don’t warrant a typical long-winded post where I write for way longer than people want to read. Here we go. 

    The Best Acorn Squash You’ll Ever Eat:

    A mini recipe for today…pretty low carb and the PERFECT winter dessert.

    Baked Acorn Squash:

    • 1 Acorn Squash
    • Granulated Splenda
    • Butter
    • Cinnamon
    Step 1: Cut (very little) off the tips of the squash off so when you slice it in half, it sits steadily in your pan. You are basically just giving it a flat surface. Don’t cut all the way through, you’ll want to keep your two little squash bowls intact.
    Step 2: Layer slices of butter, then a layer of Splenda, then a layer of cinnamon, and repeat until the squash bowl is almost full. 
    Step 3: Bake at 400 for 45-hour…you should be able to tell when it’s soft enough
    Step 4: Scrape the insides of each squash down into the buttery/sweet/spicy goodness and enjoy. 

    Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain Sucks:

    Mainly I have a bone to pick with L’Oreal for taking away Beyonce Red Infallible Lip Color…I went into the drugstore one day to get my Beyonce fix and it was just…GONE. Like…NOT EXISTING ANYMORE and was replaced by some orangey red that made me look like I just went cannibal on a bloody oompa loompa. It was not a good day and certainly a low point with me shrieking to the Rite Aid employee that “They can’t just take it away!” 

    I digress. 

    A few weeks later, after my meltdown…(let’s call it my Blue (Ivy) Period) I dragged my ass back to a different Rite Aid (because I think I am banned from the first one) and picked up a Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain in the color “Flame” to help fill my Beyonce void. I took it for a Friday night test run and at first it was AWESOME. Rich color, ridiculous staying power, and it was cheap as hell. Then…shit hit the fan. Suddenly, the next time I went to use my new magic wand, it was as dry as the Sahara and the tiny bit of color I got to my lips suddenly made my lips feel like they’d been in a Ronco Food Dehydrator for two weeks.

    BULLSHIT I tell you! To add insult to injury, the “balm” end of the stick just fell off the second I tried to apply it. It’s like an over-extended chapstick…we all know what will happen. This just proves…you can’t just replace BEYONCE. EVER. 

    If anyone has any lip stain faves in a bright red, let me know…I’m still on the hunt.

    iMessage is Confusing as Shit:

    I am convinced that no one knows what iMessage vs text messaging is unless you’ve looked it up (which I did and now I kinda get it after 2 hours of research). It is mondo-confusing and only works about 60% of the time and now I’ve just turned it off completely. Figure your freakin’ shit out APPLE. Fix those fracking maps and make iMessage less confusing..ok? Also, I love you pleasenevergoaway.

    Foam Rolling to Heaven and Back: 

    I have tight IT bands apparently. They are making my knee feel like my patella (knee cap) is going to pop off at any moment when going up and down stairs. I live in NYC, so this feeling happens about 645 times a day. I am trying a lot of different things including not running anymore and looking like a complete douche trying to give myself a good, hard, workout on the elliptical before I lift at the gym. 

    Side Note: You cannot use the arm things on the elliptical and look like a normal human being. Just don’t do it.

    Anywaysssss…Jon’s brother Dave who is now offisshhhh a Dr. said I need foam roll the living crap out of my IT bands (located on the side of my thighs) to get some relief.

    Does anyone else foam roll and have noticed these things?

    1. It hurts like someone steam rolling your leg.
    2. You always look like you are having weird gym sex.
    3. It makes any small bit of leg-meat fat look super gross because of all the squishing. 
    I don’t have any advice or anything about it…just general whining here.

    Alright, that’s enough blabbing. See you guys next week for more coherent posting.
    xo Chinae
     


  10. Be a Better…Cook. {Guest Post by Laurel Dailey}

    Friends, 
    Everyone once in a while, my wild ego takes a break and I let someone else write on my very mediocre blog. Today is that day.
    Welcome.   
    Laurel Dailey is a friend of many friends (including the BF) but I couldn’t help but steal her away partially from all of them and make her a personal friend of mine as well. She started low carbing months ago and this is a journal into her first foray into low-carb baking…pretty stellar I would say. During her time not ranting HERE, she’s making people look good with her photography skills, HERE. She resides in LA with her enormous fur pelt collection.
    Enjoy.
    xo Chinae
     
    **********************************************************************************
    Low Carb Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookie Edition:
    Love will make you do crazy things.
    Though I’ve yet to make any kind of insane proclamations for the sake of a fella (but if that day comes, I’m going to request that each and every one of you kindly refrain from wagging your finger and crowing, “I told you so!” because yes, I know. And you told me so. And I didn’t believe you. And, as of Monday, October 8th, I still don’t, but you all keep saying, “Just you WAIT!” And I keep saying, “Pffft.” All clear? Good.) Er…though I’ve yet to experience that lovely little slice of life cake, I will tell you that having a best friend, and then loving that best friend, will make you do crazy things as well. 
    Such is the case with one of my best friends, Jess Kemp. She’s one of my low-carb lifestyle spirit guides, as is the eternally bodacious Chinae Alexander (HEY THAT’S ME). Jess turned 30 last week, and, though I partially blame the heat for this feverish idea, it’s also love that compelled me to take the following completely-out-of-character actions:
    1. I came up with a recipe for low-carb bourbon bacon chocolate chip cookies.
    2. I baked a test batch on Monday’s triple-digit heat day. 
    3. I adjusted the recipe and baked a SECOND batch for Jess on Friday.
    4. Did I mention that I baked? Because I did. I used a mixing bowl and a whisk and I greased a cookie sheet, and I didn’t even make any lewd jokes in the process. 
    If you can believe that I, Laurel Dailey of “I don’t cook EVER, don’t make me, I can’t even boil water” fame achieved all of these things, then the only explanation I have for you will take you right back to the beginning of this post:
    Love will make you do crazy things. 


    If you’ve got a hankering for the kind of cookie that is inherently awesome (because of the bourbon) and also low-carb, then here’s my recipe. I made a recipe. And though it does contain alcohol, it isn’t a cocktail. Oof. These growing pains I’m getting from going from awesome to awesome-r are really starting to bug me.
     



    -LD

     


  11. Be Better at…Health.

    I’ve pledged my allegiance to butter many a time on this blog, but today, I’m introducing you to a new friend I made over the weekend.

    Coconut Oil. 

    I’d heard a lot of buzz over this stuff lately, and decided to do some research, haul my ass to Trader Joe’s, and take this jar of slick goodness on a date. 

    I think I’m in love. I haven’t used it in the kitchen yet, but I’ll tell you, my body is already thanking me for spending that hard earned (not so hard earned) $5 bucks.

    My first thought was…putting oil on my body is reserved for beachtime and I would NEVER put it this Exxon-Valdez oil spill of a face (too soon?). But after reading a lot of info on the interwebz, I tried it out. First, I dipped my proverbial toe in the water with using it on my legs after shaving. Result? My legs were smooth, supple, not greasy, and smelled lightly of a beach vacation. Not pissed. 

    Next up, I used it to take off my makeup and as an eye cream before bed. Now, it did feel super oily when I went to sleep, and I was uber paranoid that I would wake up with a face full of pimples. My coworkers might disagree, but I am simply glowing today. My skin felt fresh with no signs of coconut related acne this morning, and my legs still felt incredible. Lastly, I fell and scraped my knee pretty bad last week, yes I am a five year old child, and I applied some coconut oil on my wound before bed…my knee looks SO much better this morning, just saying…

    Here are some properties of coconut oil that make it fucking awesome:

    • Anti-microbial/Infection Fighting 
    • Anti-bacterial (kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum diseases, and other bacterial infections)
    • Anti-carcinogenic 
    • Anti-fungal (kills fungi and yeast that lead to infection)
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • An Antioxidant
    • Anti-parasitic (fights to rid the body of tapeworms, lice and other parasites)
    • Anti-viral (kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other viruses)
    • Infection fighting
    • Known to improve nutrient absorption (easily digestible; makes vitamins and minerals more available to the body)
    In my www.research, there are a million cajillion uses for coconut oil but here were some of my favorites and some of the especially surprising:

    After Shave 
    Body Scrub – mix with a little sugar and insta-exfoliation!
    Diaper Salve 
    Eye cream – apply on the lids directly at night.
    Lubricant – an all natural substitute, but not compatible with latex.
    Makeup Remover – use with a Q-tip or cotton pad.
    Sun Burn Relief 
    Fitness - when ingested, coconut oil has been proven to jumpstart your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and raise energy levels!
    Allergies (seasonal hay fever)
    Cellulite - And all God’s women said “AMEN!”
    Gum Disease and Gingivitis-(use as a toothpaste or rub directly on gums)
    Nutritional Supplement – melt and add to cooking or juices.
    Insect repellentmix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract and brave the outdoors
    Seasoning cookware: great for cast iron pans!
    Moisturizing and cleaning leather products: hello, newly revitalized Fall boots!
    For a full list of uses, look here and here
    One warning…when you open the jar, it’ll look like hardened candle wax but the moment you put it in your hands it will go Alex Mack on you and instantly liquify!
    Let me know what you think when you try it out!
    Later bitches,
    Chinae

     


  12. Be Better at…Seasonal Change.

    Well…sorta. 

    New York winter was my favorite winter that’s ever existed. One day of snow, I can handle that. The only deep, dark, sadness was there were very few fur-worthy days this year….sigh.

    Still, the mental and emotional change from Winter-Spring is drastic and needs some serious attention peeps. Here are some tips and tricks to get you de-winterized and motivated to be in sunlight again, you vampires:

    5 Tips to Get Sprung:

    -Vitamin D: My skin has actually turned into a slight shade of grey, it’s so pale. Other than looking like a dead person, I also feel sorta dead in the wintertime and in a general malaise. Well, it’s time to be normal again. I would say most of us, unless you live in a tropical environment, suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency or have reduced levels of Vitamin D in the winter months, which can cause fatigue, among a lot of other things. Some excellent ways of upping your Vitamin D are: exposure to sunlight (yes, go outside you freaks) and adding in D-rich foods such as: fatty fish, cod liver oil, orange juice, milk, egg yolks, and of course Vitamin D supplements. But seriously…you should probably go outside either way…your thigh meat is blinding me.


    -Hair Removal: Hey, Harry from Harry and the Henderson’s…I know that beard/chest hair/happy trail/furry leg/toe hair thing was working in the winter because you could just cover that shit up and look like a rugged hispter lumberjack, but it’s time to get it under control now. You are going to be displaying parts of your body that when covered with hair, make me feel like I need to exit the room and go scrape my tongue. I’m not saying I’m into guido dudes that are into full body waxing or anything, but there is no excuse for you to have a beard tan. Ladies, this goes for you too….those pits/legs aren’t going to take care of themselves. We know you haven’t shaved since November…and you’ve pretty much grown enough leg hair that you don’t need to wear tights any longer. This is a great time to head to your local Russian/Israeli/Polish waxing tech and get that cleaned riiiight up. Ask for Tommi at Red and White spa in SoHo, she wax you and then commiserate about long distance relationships with you…

    -Switch Up Workouts: You finally can stretch your legs outside. Walk everywhere you possibly can and add in some variation to your gym workouts. Head to your local playground where a myriad of exercises can be done, and you feel like a 5 year old, which is awesome. Another great idea, instead of taking a trip upstate to drink beers and antique shop, head there in your workout gear and find a great trail to hike and have a workout in the mountains…and then go drink beers. Compromise. 

    -Eat Live Food: After a long winter your body is comprised of 90% stew, chili, mac and cheese, and things made in a crockpot. The time has come to reintroduce yourself to fresh fruits, veggies, and things that we’re actually breathing at one time or another (or photosynthesizing for my vegetarian readers). A great way to transition out of winter is to change your eating and I promise you’ll feel different in a matter of hours. YOU TOO CAN BE A WOMAN THAT EATS SALAD AND LAUGHS.


    -Date Differently: The classic date nights of winter are typically movies, eating copious amounts of food, and getting tipsy on hard alcohol in some industrial-influenced speakeasy type joint. Am I right? There’s really not much more you want to do when you are wearing 16 layers of clothing to meet up with that hot guy you met at the Union Square Bank of America (insta-chastity belt!). Well, Spring is here and that means date night just got WAY better. Go on a walk near a body of water, dine al fresco, take a fun day trip, take surf lessons, go to the drive-in, or BBQ in your own backyard to mix up your romantic life. Also, spring is the perfect time to be able to walk your date home, and enjoy a little romantic outdoor smooch. 

    Love you all.

    xo Chinae

     


  13. Be Better at…Health.

    Apple Cider Vinegar Edition:

    So, I usually can’t stand the idea of “at-home” remedies, and I really HATE meds. I try to never take them, unless my forearm/face are simultaneously falling off, or I am on my period and have cramps that make me want to use Chinese water torture on pretty much, the whole world.  BUT…I may be changing my tune. I’ve been doing a little experiment with a very special liquid and it’s changing my life. 

    Apple Cider Vinegar. 

    Half of you are like “shutthefuckupweveknownaboutthatforlike100years” and the rest of you are probably like “I think I put that on a salad once”. I get it. But let me preach the gospel of ACV for a sec, peeps. 

    I started adding it into my daily diet about 2 weeks ago…every day, 2tsps added into a glass o’ water (and I put a splenda in with it because I’m a little bitch about things that taste like butthole). Drink it down. 

    Here’s what I’ve noticed:

    • -Clearer skin
    • -Better digestion
    • -Feeling not-very farty
    • -Lost weight 
    • -Generally feeling like my body is better off

    After some research, here’s what “they” say ACV can do for you in the long run:

    • -Help with lowering blood sugar levels related to diabetes
    • -Lowers Cholesterol
    • -Improves Heart Health
    • -Weight Loss
    • -Help with Allergies
    • -Acne
    • -Arthritis
    • -ETC.

    Disclaimer, I am not a doctor (and if you thought I was…you have a larger issue), but I really feel like this is working. Maybe it’s all in my head, but if a placebo effect is making me thinner, less bloated, and clearing up my skin, I don’t give a shit. 

    Did I mention I paid, $4.99 for a whole bottle?!

    I’ll do an update post with any other changes, but for now…call me a believer. 

    xo Chinae

     


  14. Be a Better…Cook.

    Got a fatter ass than usual this holiday season? Want to avoid people fawning over your non-existent pregnancy at the Christmas Eve service? Yeah, me too.

    How?

    Well, my poison is low-carbing. One of my NEW favorite low-carb weapons is Almond Flour/Meal. Yes, mofos…Almond Meal. Straight from the mean aisles of Trader Joe’s. 

    Essentially Almond Meal is for lazy people, like me. I thought at first it was some g*ddamned ancient Chinese secret…turns out, it’s almonds, crushed into a meal. JUST ALMONDS. 

    Whatever. I digress. 

    You can buy this glorious substance at a lot of places, but I get mine at TJ’s for about $3.99 a bag. 

    Almond meal is extremely low carb, has almost no taste and can be used all sorts of ways. I’ve got two low-carb examples for you to work from today…

    Southern Fried Chicken That Won’t Give You The Meat Sweats:

    -Chicken pieces, I like breasts (TWSS)

    -Oil or butter

    -Almond Meal

    -Mrs. Dash Spice Mix or whatever blend of spices you prefer

    -Salt and Pep

    -1 Egg

    Step One: Beat your egg in a bowl. Cue arm workout.

    Step Two: Combine Almond Flour, Salt and Pepper, Spices into a dry mix on a plate, use common sense to get your ratio right. 

    Step Three: Dip your chicken pieces in the egg and then dip them in the dry spices/Almond Meal mixture. Coat each piece throughly.

    Step Four: Heat enough oil or butter to cover the bottom of your fry pan, and let it get to a hot temp, typically reserved for frying. If you don’t let your oil get hot enough, your chicken is going to turn into a hot, oily sponge, and consequently…your ass will get fatter due to the sheer amount of oil you are going to be ingesting. 

    Step Five: Place your chicken bits in the oil gently. Be careful, you don’t want a burning hot oil explosion to accidentally spray your face and then go really deep into debt paying off your reconstructive surgery bills (because you know you aren’t going to go all V for Vendetta for life).

    Step Six: Once your pieces are perfectly browned on both sides and throughly cooked in the middle, remove from your fire pit/stove/bunsen burner and place the pieces on a paper towel to get rid of any access oil.

    Step Seven: Eat ‘em up and feel your butt shrinking.

    Skinny Spiced Low Carb Cookies:

    -2 Cups of Almond Meal

    -1Tsp Cinnamon

    -1/2Tsp Nutmeg

    -Pinch of Cloves

    -1/2Tsp Salt

    -1 Egg

    -1/2 Cup of Splenda Baking Version or the equivalent sugar substitute (note: if you aren’t using the baking version, look at the box and make sure you are using the equivalent amounts not actually 1/2 cup of Sweet N’ Low)

    -1/2Tsp Vanilla

    -1 Packet of Splenda/whatever to sprinkle on top

    -1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries (optional)

    WARNING: These cookies are awesome but they taste like sugar substitute which I happen to like and am totally used to. If you are wanting something that tastes like sugar, you are going to have to eat sugar and then deal with that weird stomach pooch thing that is going to happen.

    Step One: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

    Step Two: Combine all your dry stuff together and whisk to make sure it’s evenly mixed.

    Step Three: Add your egg, vanilla and cranberries (again, this is optional in case you can’t read what I already clearly stated above) and mix well. You’ll be left with a quasi-crumbly ball of dough.

    Step Four: Make little 1 1/2 inch diameter dough balls. Flatten your balls on the (parchment paper lined) baking sheet with your manos (hands for the white people). 

    Step Five: Sprinkle lightly with that packet of Splenda. You shouldn’t need more than one packet for the whole pan of cookies.

    Step Six: Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

    Give yourself the gift of a sexy ass this winter,

    Chinae

     


  15. Be Better at…Health.

    7 Ways to Stick to a Diet:

    Well, first off…we’ve got to chuck the word diet. Let’s use a better word…LIFESTYLE. Diets equate to short term fixes for long term issues. It’s like Kim Kardashian and black men…she’s on a diet (engaged to a half white guy), but she’ll be back on the bandwagon soon, trust. Yes, lifestyle changes are tough, (I haven’t had carbs in a year…see you later 55 lbs.) BUT totally doable. 

    See, the problem is…we want to change our lives, but aren’t actually wanting to take action to see it through. Let’s all get off our lazy asses and do something about our hotness level and oh yeah..that whole health thing. 

    7 Ways to Stick to Your New Lifestyle:

    1) Tell Everyone: Yeah, you talk a lot. So put your big, fat, mouth to good use with your new plan. Tell everyone you know: gym keycard checker, neighbors, friends, mailman, orthopedic surgeon, mom, dad, and the cigarette sales guy at your local deli. The point is…the more people you tell, the more you have people watching you…you are less likely to cheat. And honestly, you’ll have more people encouraging you to make the right choices. Just think, with all that talking you are doing with your mouth, you’ll have a lot less time to eat. 

    2) Pick the Right Change: Pick the right plan for yourself. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing, because the likelihood that it will work for a stay-at-home mom in the midwest AND a busy New Yorker is low.

    Example…I was looking for a nutrition switch up about a year ago. Here’s how I decided which plan to execute:

    -I really dislike cooking… especially difficult things.

    -I eat out ALL THE TIME.

    -I don’t want to go to f*cking meetings.

    -I have no time to think and count points, calories, or any of that nonsense. (Ironic asian, not wanting to count, I know..)

    -I heart vodka.

    So, after making my list of likes and dislikes…I decided on low carb as the best option for myself. Pretty much I can drown myself in vodka, steak, and bacon (all easy to cook, especially the vodka), find something to eat at any restaurant with a few annoying substitutions, and I don’t have to think about counting anything so that leaves space in my brain to write this annoying ass blog. 

    So, pick something that fits with your lifestyle, if you are a social butterfly, eating Jenny Craig at home for every meal probably isn’t for you and you will be crying in your low calorie cereal every morning. The upside to that? I hear tears are lower calorically than milk.

    3) Never Cheat: Just don’t even let yourself for a bite. Not for special occasions, not for vacation, nothing. Unless the Russian Mob has a gun to your head and a latke to your lips…but since that isn’t probably going to happen, don’t go there. One taste can be the first step off the proverbial fatass cliff.  If for some reason you accidentally fall off the wagon after consuming some adult beverages and find yourself face down in a chorizo/egg burrito…STOP, DROP, and ROLL (away from the burrito). A common issue for people is that they cheat a little so they think the whole day/weekend is shot so they let themselves off the hook. Pick up in your next meal, right where you left off weakling!

    4) Be Creative: If you have to eat gelatinous egg whites, a dry ass chicken breast, and a cup of greens for lunch everyday…you are going to quit (or go on a shooting spree in your office). And I don’t blame you. Figure out things you actually REALLY like to eat within the constraints of your new lifestyle plan..and if there are things you are really going to miss, find a close alternative that will tide you over. Make a list of things you’ve really liked eating while on the plan, so when you are stumped for lunch one day, instead of cheating…you’ve got your handy list of deliciousness. 

    5) Exercise Your Way: I hate to run. So I don’t (weak ankles..weeble wobble). Find ways to move your body without putting yourself through what feels like Ancient Chinese water torture. Take up LARPing, jump rope to work, do the worm on your lunch break through the halls of your department…whatever. Set a goal for times per week of exercise that you can actually attain because you’ll become more and more frustrated and guilty if you set your goal too high. I choose weightlifting because it makes me feel badass. So yeah, figure it out. 

    6) Attainable Goals: If you need to lose a buck fifty…don’t set a goal to lose that much in a year. Some people could reach that goal, but to set yourself up to fail miserably is going to consistently make you feel like you are playing catchup rather than rewarding yourself for being on top of your game. Also, don’t weigh yourself daily…do it once a week at a similar time of day. You’ll drive yourself nuts if you are tracking it every day and we are also trying to minimize the crazy in all of our lives.  

    7) Long-Term Plan: Don’t think of this as a jolt or a patch, figure out a long term plan for keeping it up. When you are starting a new plan, think about the fact that you should be incorporating some form of it into the rest of your life…and choose accordingly. 

    Cheers to a less fat ass,

    Chinae