It’s Gotta Be Tough Being Rachael Ray

30-Minute Meals? Try 15-minute meals! Hm, I should trademark that before Rachael Ray gets a hold of it.

Yes, that’s right! I’m cooking up some super-quick meals. My husband is putting together a fitness product for his new website, Fit in a Hurry. I’ve already started using his workouts, and let me tell ya, my legs are pissed at me for the 90 jump squats I did yesterday.

Part of his fitness product is quick and easy meal ideas. Enter the Fitness Wife. I’m all about quick and eay. If it’s more than 5 ingredients, I ain’t cooking it. Unless I’m in a fancy mood, I might cook something with 10 ingredients in it. But when the ingredients list is longer than 1 page, forget about it!

So my husband asks me, “Can I record you cooking dinner tonight for my product?”

Me: “Um…sure?”

Forget the fact that I had never even cooked that meal before, my kitchen is small and is a mess. Why not?

Let me tell ya, I have so much more respect for the Rachael Rays and Giada De Laurentiis’s of the world now. Cooking while talking – and sounding somewhat intelligent and composed – while chopping and staying organized is not an easy task.

8 Reasons It’s Gotta Be Tough Being Rachael Ray

  1. It’s gotta be tough having to say “extra virgin olive oil.” Hence “EVOO”. Why don’t we acronym-ize everything? “Place the WCKSF on a plate and season with CBP and KS. Drizzle some FSLJ and press into TSS.” 10 bucks to anyone who can translate that one.
  2. There aren’t enough vowels in the alphabet to create variations on existing words. Case in point: “YUM-O”. Why not “YUM-A,” “YUM-I,” or “YUM-U”? Quit discriminating the other vowels!
  3. “How to appropriately use hand gestures while talking” class must have been tough. I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually point to myself with my thumb every time I say “I”.
  4. Being on the air after Giada De Laurentiis. The Food Network loses about half its male audience when her show ends. At least she won the Iron Chef Challenge!
  5. Having the public criticize my weight. I have a hard enough time criticizing my own weight, let alone having everyone else do it for me!
  6. Having to figure out how to talk about my Italian grandfather from the upstate New York mountains in every single episode. Hm, my great-great-great grandfather was Spanish, and I used to have cousins in the mountains of Baguio City, Philippines. Does that count?
  7. Typical Day: Wake up, whip up a 30-minute meal at the studio, stop by the magazine and give them a recipe for this month’s issue, travel to some random place like Ashland, Oregon and spend $40 in a day, go interview Michael J. Fox and Hulk Hogan and cook a meal with them, formulate a new all-natural dog food recipe, go home and do it all over again the next day!
  8. The cooking while talking thing. Did I mention how hard that is?

Seriously though, all joking aside, I love Rachael Ray. Here’s a woman with no formal cooking training (like me!) who ran with her passion and became a wild success! She has her cooking show, a talk show, magazines, books, more TV shows, and even an all-natural dog food line. She’s like the Oprah of the cooking world! If I became half as successful as her, I certainly wouldn’t be complaning!

So, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a snippet of my cooking show fiasco. Enjoy!

And keep an eye on Fit in a Hurry for some quick home and office workouts and some fast and easy meal ideas!

Advertisements

My Hubby’s Blog on Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training!

I know, I know…I just posted a blog last night, and most of you probably haven’t even read that one yet. But I just had to throw this up this morning too. I’m so excited!

My husband is the guest blogger on Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training fat loss blog! Check it out here! Woohoo!

Craig Ballantyne is a workout and fat loss expert, and writes for Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines.

Enjoy!

http://turbulencetraining.blogspot.com/2009/03/simple-home-and-office-workouts-to-get.html

Surround Yourself With the Right People: Lessons Learned from New York – New Jersey too! (Part 3 of 3)

new-brunswick

Three days is so not enough time to explore New York City. We covered so much ground in so little time, I almost can’t even remember any of it! After running around uptown, downtown, midtown, and Chinatown, we hopped on a New Jersey Transit train and headed for the one, the only (well, not really – there’s one in Canada too) New Brunswick!

In my last two posts, you read about the lessons I learned from this awesome vacation. Remember, lessons are everywhere if you’re willing to see them. First, from Jersey City I learned that now is the time to invest in myself to prepare for the upcoming spring. Secondly, from New York City I learned that “Anything Can Happen If You Let It.” And in New Brunswick, I learned another important lesson. This time from my husband.

Who do you spend your time with?

One of the reasons we hopped on a 6-hour, turbulent airplane and endured 6 hours of leg-cramping, foot-swelling, jet-lagging in-flight service (or lack thereof), was so my husband could partake in a “Mastermind Group.”

Comprised of 10 people in his industry who are either where he wants to be in his career or are on the same path, this group gets together to learn from each other, network, and share ideas. Yes, one could think that they could be each other’s competition, but they understand that building your business is about creation, not competition. There’s more than enough to go around. Much more will be accomplished if they help build each other up rather than tear each other down.

At first one would think that my husband is crazy to spend airfare and hotel, not to mention the fees required to join this group and the opportunity cost of being absent from clients for 2 weeks. But my husband understands something that these people do as well: In order to grow you must surround yourself with people you want to become. That goes for your personal life as well as your business life.

Picture this: I want to be a world-class sprinter. As I train and prepare myself for the Olympics, I hang out with second-class sprinters, whose speeds are eons behind what I need to obtain. Yet I run with them everyday.

Are they going to push me as hard as if I were running with sprinters who are running as fast, if not faster than I need to go? Are they going to fuel me to run harder and push myself past my limits? Are they going to give me proven tips and advice that I can use to make myself better and faster?

Of course not! They’re going to slow me down! It doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate them as runners or that I discount what they are trying to do. But I know that for me to grow to the level I need to be at, I need to be around runners who are already there.

The same goes for any aspect of life. If I want to be a millionaire, I need to hang out with millionaires who will give me million-dollar ideas and introduce me to million-dollar clients.

If I want to exercise and eat right, I need to hang out with people who eat healthy foods and who live physically active lives. If I eat every meal with people who eat junk food and mock me for eating healthfully, I’ll likely fall off the wagon and scarf down a cheeseburger with them.

If I want to live life to the fullest and grasp every moment as an opportunity to live, love, give, and grow, I need to hang out with high-energy, passionate people who cherish life and all its blessings. If I hang out with “energy vampires”, they’ll drag me down into their dark world of pessimism and self-pity.

I’m not saying that it’s impossible to be strong and hold onto your vision despite being surrounded by people who are the opposite. But wouldn’t it be so much easier and more fun to surround yourself with people who support your vision? Who give energy to it, feed it, and encourage it?

Isn’t it much more likely you’ll learn from people who have already achieved what you want to achieve rather than people who aren’t even on the same path?

Who are you spending time with? Who are you really learning from? Are there people in your life who are dragging you down? Maybe it’s time to pull away.

I’m so proud of my husband for seeking out people he wants to become and learn from. He gets it. They get it. I get it.

Do you get it?

And so our trip drew to a close. I spent a couple days exploring New Brunswick. I found cheap, but good eats at Celebrity Cafe, got some reading done at the local Starbucks, and even walked up to Rutgers University and pretended I was a college student. And I got to hang out with some of the best in the online fitness industry – for those of you familiar with them, Craig Ballantyne, Arnel Ricafranca, Zach Even-Esh, and Paul Reddick to name a few.

The trip home was bittersweet. It was good to sleep in my own bed and to see my crazy pug again, but New York City – and New Jersey too! – are beckoning for my return.

To all those jay-walking, crazy-driving, subway-cramming, loud-speaking, go-getting, tourist-assisting, diversity-loving, energy-projecting, life-embracing New Yorkers – and New Jersey-ers too – in the famous words of the Terminator Governor himself, “I’ll be back!”

Anything Can Happen: Lessons Learned from New York – New Jersey Too! (Part 2 of 3)

Rockefellar CenterAh, New York City – the center of the universe. I had always dreamed of coming to this city, and December of last year I finally did. (Thank you, work, for sending me!) I loved it so much, I just couldn’t stay away!

So 3 months later I was back. This time my trip was personal and was centered around volunteering for a self-development seminar and my husband’s “Mastermind” group. As I mentioned in my last post, I had a few epiphanies while I was there. From my time in New Jersey, I learned that now is the time to invest in yourself to prepare for the upcoming spring.

What was my lesson from New York? Firstly, I learned that New York shopping is cheaper than Washington shopping (no sales tax on clothing! YES!!!). Secondly, I learned a very important lesson from the lovely, the magical, the “Practically Perfect in Every Way” Mary Poppins.

Anything Can Happen…If You Let It
The drive from Jersey City to New York City was perfect. Just as we emerged from the Holland Tunnel and entered the glorious bustling city, the satellite radio kicked in on cue and provided us with the perfect Broadway soundtrack to our drive up the Manhattan Island. I couldn’t have planned it better myself.

After brunch with our friends in the Village, we decided to catch an evening Broadway show. We checked into our hotel smack dab in the middle of Times Square and scooted on over to the TKTS booth. Because it was so late in the day by the time we got there, it was slim pickin’s, so we decided to go with the peppy Disney musical, Mary Poppins.

I don’t know about my husband, but I was excited to “Go Fly a Kite” and get “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” stuck in my head. It was a great, upbeat show, and stuck in the middle of all the sugary, splendid musical goodness was a song that packed a great message: “Anything Can Happen If You Let It.”

The basic premise of the song is that anything is possible if you are open to it, if you believe that it can happen, and if you’re willing to reach for your dreams. Of course this has some larger implications, but I immediately thought, this could really apply to health and fitness.

Many times I’ve seen people start new fitness programs, almost asking not to succeed. They fork over the big bucks for a program or a personal trainer, but they immediately start throwing up objections like, “That won’t work for me. I’ve tried interval training, and I know it won’t work.” Or they say, “I’ve tried diet after diet, and they never work.” So they go into the program with an attitude that, just like every other fitness and nutrition program they’ve tried, it won’t work.

To these people I ask, “When will you let it work for you?”

The first step in achieving your dreams is to believe that achieving them is possible. Rather, take that one step further and know that you’ll achieve them. If you don’t believe that something will work, it most likely won’t.

It’s almost as if these people want to prove to the universe that nothing can help them, so they can stop trying and say, “There’s nothing I can do about my situation!” So they no longer have to point the finger at themselves and instead place blame on external circumstances as to why they haven’t obtained the body and level of fitness they desire.

Anything can happen if you’re open to it, if you let it. Clear the path to allow your dreams to come to you. Assuming that “it probably won’t work” is only building up a dam that blocks them from flowing to you.

After 3 days of running around the city, exploring all of downtown, uptown, and every town in between by foot – my feet were killing me! – we headed back to New Jersey for the next adventure…

I leave you with the lyrics to Mary Poppin’s song. Remember, anything can happen if you let it.

Anything Can Happen

Anything can happen if you let it
Sometimes things are difficult but you can bet it
Doesn’t have to be so
Changes can be made
You can move a mountain if you use a larger spade

Anything can happen, it’s a marvel
You can be a butterfly or just stay larval
Stretch your mind beyond fantastic
Dreams are made of strong elastic
Take some sound advice and don’t forget it
Anything can happen if you let it

Anything can happen if you let it
You won’t know a challenge until you’ve met it
No one does it for you
No one but yourself
Vacillating violets get left up on the shelf

Anything can happen, just imagine
That should be epitaph
I wear the badge in
Honor of the world’s free thinkers
Those who see beyond their blinkers
Jelly isn’t jelly until you set it
Anything can happen if you let it

Anything can happen if you let it
What good is a whistle unless you whet it
Broaden your horizons, open different doors
You may find a you there that you never knew was yours.

Anything can happen
Things you thought impossible
Will soon seem certain
Though at first it may sound clownish
See the world more upside-downish
Turn it on its head and pirouette it
Anything can happen if you let it

If you reach for the stars
All you get are the stars
But we’ve found a whole new spin
If you reach for the heavens
You get the stars thrown in

Anything can happen if you let it
Life is out there waiting so go and get it
Grab it by the collar, seize it by the scruff
Once you’ve started living life you just can’t get enough

Anything can happen, it’s official
You can choose the super or the superficial
Sally forth the way we’re steering
Obstacles start disappearing
Go and chase your dreams you won’t regret it

Anything can happen
(Anything can happen)
Anything can happen
If you let it.

Preparing for Spring: Lessons Learned from New York – New Jersey Too! (Part 1 of 3)

statue of liberty ellis island

I just got back from an amazing trip to New York City – and New Jersey too! Hence, the lack of posts in the last week or so. What an awesome trip. My husband and I killed three birds with one stone: 1) We volunteered for a self-development seminar, 2) we explored New York City, and 3) my husband networked with some of the best in his industry.

Our vacations are usually planned as relaxation trips – go to the beach, sit around, soak in the sun, sleep in until noon – or family trips – run to one auntie’s house, eat, run to another auntie’s house, eat again, hang out with cousins. This time we decided to make it a productive trip by planning it around events of giving and self-investment.

It was 10 days of non-stop action, and throughout those 10 days I had many epiphanies. Besides learning that “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signs are merely suggestions, that you better “move in” on the subway during peak time, and that I could never drive in Manhattan without killing someone or getting killed, I had a few “aha” moments related to health, fitness, and mindset that I thought I’d share with you.

Lessons are everywhere, as long as you’re open to seeing them.

So, this is Part 1 of 3 of my New York City/New Jersey vacation diaries. Here we go!

Getting Ready for the Spring
We flew into Newark Airport, and damn was it cold! The residents of New Jersey and New York City just had tons of snow dumped on them, and remnants greeted us on the sidewalks and side of the streets. Winter was definitely in the air.

Remember, my husband and I are from Seattle, where it rarely ever gets colder than 33 degrees, and we walked into 20-degree weather. After wandering around Jersey City, we finally found our friends’ condo and got ready for a long first weekend in New Jersey.

The first part of our trip was spent in Jersey City. We volunteered to be on a coaching/support team for an awesome self-development seminar which teaches you how to live your life with passion and purpose, and how to maintain harmony among all areas of your life. It was high-energy, highly purposeful, deeply moving, and extremely conscious. I learned things about myself and others that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Five hundred people flew in from all over the world for this event. Twenty-two volunteers flew in from all over the world as well, on their own dime, to help. I looked around at the sea of faces in that hotel ballroom, and thought to myself, Recession? What recession?

I was glad to be surrounded by people who weren’t afraid to invest in themselves during these “tough economic times.” It takes some kahones to see beyond the world in constant worry, bombarded by negative messages from the media that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket and doomed for starvation and pillaging, and understand that it’s part of the regular cycle of our economic world.

I recently read in the latest edition of Success Magazine that some of today’s largest and most successful companies were founded during our nation’s toughest economic times. For example, Microsoft began during the 1975 recession, and HP began during the Great Depression. I once heard that Warren Buffet made his fortunes by investing when everyone else was holding tightly to their money.

These people, along with the 500+ I spent time with in Jersey City, understand that in times of struggle, there is opportunity. And when we’re on a downturn, it must mean that there will be an upturn to follow.

This is our winter. The trees are bare, ice covers the ground, and all looks baren and desolate. But if you look hard enough, you can see the beauty in the snow, and the sun just might peak out from behind the clouds. And no matter how dark and gloomy it looks, you know that spring is coming, when everything will be born anew, and all will flourish.

An optimistic view? Yes it is. Did you know that research has shown that a high level of optimism is a vital component to predicting high achievers?

The lesson I learned from Jersey City? Now is the time to study, invest in yourself, and prepare to take full advantage of the spring when it comes. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that understand this. We are encouraging people to invest in themselves, get training, build their skillsets so they are able to take advantage of opportunities today and so they can flourish when we get through these tough times. And we will get through them.

It’s scary, I know, but we must trust that the spring is coming. It has to. The lower you crash, the higher you’ll rebound.

The weekend was packed with information, memories, and lots of love. I was inspired by those around me and by myself as well. Our days started at 6:00 in the morning and ended at 12:30 in the morning. But it was well worth the 2 hours of sleep, the time, and the money we put into it.

By volunteering for this event, I learned a lot and helped myself by helping others. I invested in myself, which is one of the best investments you could ever make.

Our weekend in Jersey City came to a close. I made some new friends and got to know some old ones better. I invested in myself, in others, learned that the New Jersey Light Rail system is awesome, and that ShopRite has some great deals on Greek yogurt. And then after a fulfilling and enlightening three days in Jersey city, we set out for New York City.

I leave you with a picture of our amazing group of volunteers, the “Dream Team”, and a question: What are you doing to prepare for the Spring?

The Dream Team

The Recession Slim-Down to Bulk-Up Plan

dollar_sami-keinanenRecession this, recession that. Everything is about this darned recession lately! Frankly, I try not to dwell on it, but I have to admit that sometimes – just sometimes – I catch myself thinking twice before purchasing something because I should be saving money during “these hard times.”

Today, for instance, I was standing in line at the Starbucks stand in my building, eyeing the pumpkin loaf. Mmmm, pumpkin loaf… As I unzipped my wallet and reached for the dollar bills, my hand stopped, and the thought flashed through my head, I really should save my money.

Like the $1.45 was that significant, since I can honestly say I never purchase the pastries out of the Starbucks case (when I’m at work, at least. *wink*) But then it occurred to me: Hm, this recession thing just might work to my advantage in some ways.

As Leo Babauta would say in his ever-popular uber-blog, Zenhabits.net, “Less is more.” Here are ten ways you can save money during these “tough economic times” while improving and simplifying your life for the better, and maybe even while getting healthier and happier.

1. Cancel your cable. If you’re anything like I was, you’re wasting too much precious time watching celebrity reality shows on VH1 or reruns of Sex and the City. Save yourself 50 to 100 bucks a month, and save your brain from turning to mush. Aren’t there better things you could be doing with your time?

2. Eat more veggies. Eat less meat (the average person usually needs no more than 4-6oz. per meal) and replace it with tons and tons of vegetables! I got a bunch of organic kale for less than $1 the other day, and splurged on exotic veggies like baby bok choy and chayote squash for mere pennies too! Experiment with different kinds, and you won’t get bored. Head down to your local farmers’ market or Asian market and be adventurous!

3. Walk, take the bus, or bike. Save cash on gas, save the earth from your car’s emissions, and save yourself the stress. Instead, get some exercise or read a good book on the bus.

4. Cancel your newspaper subscription. What are you absorbing into your brain on a daily basis? The news is full of cynical, pointless, and depressing stories that only make you believe the world is a horrible place, and we’re all going to hell in a handbasket, so why even try. Try going on a media fast, and you’ll find that you just might be more energized. If you’re the type who absolutely has to know everything that’s going on, try a modified version: Allow yourself to skim the homepage of a news website, but allow yourself to only click on links to positive stories.

5. Learn to cook. The other day I made a healthy, fulfilling meal for about $5 per person: grilled organic free-range chicken in a homemade Asian-inspired sauce, steamed chayote squash, and brown rice. Cooking is so much cheaper than eating out, and you’ll save yourself the artificial ingredients, saturated fat, and sodium you’d get at a restaurant.

6. Just be. What is the cheapest possible form of entertainment? Doing nothing. What do you mean, Julie? How can I do nothing? Sit in a quiet place – somewhere in nature or even your favorite arm chair will do nicely – close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Pay attention to your breathing, quiet your mind, and just be. That’s right – for literally $0 you can reduce stress in your life, get some good oxygen circulating through your body, and get to know yourself!

7. Cut the venti caramel macchiato. Drink tea. Venti caramel macchiato: $4.00, 300 calories, 39 grams of sugar, caffeine jitters. Tall unsweetened green tea: $0.45, 0 calories, antioxidants, minimal caffeine. ‘Nuff said.

8. Play. Instead of paying an arm and a leg at the movie theater to sit in a dark room and not talk to your family or significant other, why not spend some quality time with them by playing in the park, playing a board game, or going for a walk?

9. Get a library card. It’s an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord for your mind – and it’s all FREE FREE FREE! Take advantage of your local library and all the free knowledge, adventures, romance, and laughs that live in its books.

10. Volunteer. Head down to your local homeless shelter, elementary school, or check out United Way for a volunteer opportunity that excites you. In “this economy”, rather than focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have, give thanks for it, and give it freely – whether it’s your time or your money. It’ll come back to you tenfold in ways that you don’t expect.

There you have it – my “Recession Slim-Down to Bulk-Up Plan.” The recession is a great excuse to slim down on things that waste your time or aren’t good for you or the environment, and bulk up on things that feed your mind, body, and spirit.

How are you slimming down to bulk up?

Photo credit: Sami Keinanen