Goodbye Hair Buildup

This winter my hair was plagued with a heavy, greasy feeling. I hated it. No matter how many times I washed my hair it felt like it was getting worse and worse. When I went to visit my hairdresser she noticed the same thing. Turns out my cheap shampoo was ruining my hair.

People have always told me that my hair is my best trait. When my hairdresser told me that my best trait is being ruined I had to change my ways. She told me to use regular soap on it 2 or 3 times to get the buildup out. I also needed to switch shampoos. I’ve done both, but I can still feel some of the buildup. Before I did another round of soap I decided I’d try this organic baking soda paste.

Image from the original pin. IMAGE IS VERY MISLEADING!! Your hair will not look that shiny afterward.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared about trying this. Petrified is more accurate. I know “hair grows back” but I thought all sorts of crazy things. “what if it strips the color from my hair?” “What if it all falls out”. RACHEL GET AHOLD OF YOURSELF!

Just to ease my fears, I googled more about this trick. It all relates to chemistry. The amount of baking soda you use in the paste is directly related to other aspects of your hair. Chemistry is NOT my forte. Art is my forte, so I just followed the directions of the pin. Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with 3 Tablespoons of water. You’re supposed to let it sit for 10 minutes and then wash out.

30 seconds in I panicked. My hair felt so dry and frizzy! It felt like it was eating away at my hair. I hated it. I jumped it he shower and immediately started washing it out. Once I felt my hair was once again safe I began to check it. It was all still there, but it did feel lighter. I began to add the rest of the batch to various part of my hair. I massaged it in and rinsed instantly. The worst parts of buildup on my hair were much less. One more good wash with soap should do the trick to get it back to the way it way. Fingers crossed!

Grade: Cost: Time:
A (Works, but be wary….) Free 1 minute
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
WATCH OUT! It says do it for 10 minutes. 1 minute did a lot on my hair. If you already have dry hair, be careful.
Overall Impression:
I put it on the worst buildup spots on my hair. It removed a lot instantly, but dries out the hair really fast. I only left it on for a minute. If you want to try this I’d suggest testing this in spots just a little at a time. Then leave it on longer the more you trust it. The soap trick worked just fine for me too. Honestly I’d rather wash my hair with soap for a week straight than try this again… Too much stress involved.

Wedding Prep – Fitness and Nutrition

Earlier this month I was a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding. While I tried to eat healthy and have a regular fitness plan in the months leading up to the big day, I was nowhere near where I needed to be. In fact I might have gained a little weight since I bought my dress. The dangerous trio (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years) did a number on me. And that number was bad. Once New Years was done I made a goal for myself. I wanted get into shape.

I mostly focused on my arms, but to get the definition quickly I needed to improve my nutrition too. I read up a LOT about what I needed for better nutrition. Here’s a taste of many of the things that helped me.

Weight Lifting. It’s not just for guys.

Here is the simplest guide on what you need to cut out of your system:

After 21 days I didn’t crave any of this. In fact the thought of eating it made me sick. I’ve heard people say that if you work on something for 3 weeks it will become a habit. Now I have to talk myself into eating the chips or pastries.

Some of the key things I learned:

  • You don’t need to cut what you’re eating, you just have to make healthier choices.
  • If you’re doing weight training (which I was) eat foods high in protein and low in fat. It will help fuel and repair your muscles, keep you full while also being healthy.
  • Weight training isn’t just for guys. It will help women get in shape too. And no you won’t look like a female Arnold Schwarzenegger if you pick up 5lb-ers.
  • Cardio is great for losing weight quickly, but weight training is better for keeping it off. The more muscle you have, the more it will help break down the rest of the fat in your body.
  • Incorporate work out moves anywhere you can. Washing dishes? do some squats. Watching TV? Do any of the number of TV workout pins available. Katie did a Dr. Who one.
  • Eliminate processed sugars, white bread, candy, soda, etc.
  • You can eat carbs, but choose healthier options like rice instead of bread. You can still eat bread but chose a healthier option like multigrain versus white.  If you want to lose weight quick though, skip the extra morning toast.
  • Drink more water. Did you know feeling tired is one of the first signs of dehydration? Neither did I.

I’ve compiled a list of the different pins I found helpful.

Nutrition

35 Amazing Foods for Weight Loss – Try to incorporate these in your daily diet. I would eat a banana every morning at 10 AM and an Apple at 3PM. I’d also incorporate avocados in salads or scrambled eggs.

5 Advantages of Drinking Water in the Morning – I would drink an entire glass of water, drive to work and make oatmeal in the kitchenette. My metabolism was already boosted for an hour before I gave it something. Then it was ready to go and process what I was feeding it.

Top 10 Belly Fat Burning Foods - I would only eat eggs or oatmeal for breakfast. Mostly oatmeal. I’m not a big fan of eggs.

10 Meatless Sources of Protein – Vegetarian? Here are some good ideas for you. Careful, some are also very high in fat.

Fitness

17 Freeweight Exercises for Toned Arms - My go to list. I tested this once before. It has all the key arm exercises and I really owe this one a lot!

10 Ab Exercises - These you can do on the floor! Those days I was feeling lazy? This was my go to workout.

Lazy Girl’s Inner Thigh Workout - I did these, but I would also do a variation of #2. I would put weights under the back of my knee. With the weights firmly in place I would open and close my legs (sounds so trampy but it works really well). The extra weight worked those inner thigh muscles getting them in shape quickly.

I could tell you the number of lbs I lost from this, but the number isn’t what’s important. I did lose weight. It helped me slim down everywhere, but the combination of better nutrition and working out is what really matters. My entire body looked more toned. I felt confident and happy.

Not sure where to begin? Try the pins I mentioned above. They were really helpful.

And remember this:

Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ Free Ongoing
Level of Difficulty:
Medium
What I Would Change:
It’s all about your motivation. Keep going. If you find yourself struggling. Make smaller goals to yourself. “If I wait 30 minutes I can treat myself to that chocolate… I’ve made it 30 minutes, what’s another 15?… Only 15 away from an hour!” Before you know it time will fly and you’ll have faced your challenge.
Overall Impression:
You don’t need to make all the changes at once. Quitting cold turkey leads to rebounds. Work on a few things, then once you’ve mastered those, try a few more. I didn’t eat plain chicken and veggies for 3 weeks, but I wasn’t eating brownies while watching Netflix either.

Hungarian Paprikas

Earlier this week I told you about the homemade spaetzle I made. It was only the companion to the real showstopper: Chicken Paprikas. I had a hard time deciding which variation of the recipe to use. Eventually I settled upon the one from food.com. It had a lot of good reviews and also talked about boiling the meat in the mixture for a long while. That’s something I remember my grandma doing when she made it, so I deemed it VERY important when picking the recipe.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. De-fat, and tenderize chicken. Cut into bite-sized pieces. With oil, brown chicken in a large pan on medium-high heat (6-10 min).
  2. Add paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper, and chicken broth to the chicken in the pan. Stir them to mix. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer and put a lid on and let simmer for 25 minute. ( left mine for a little longer)
  3. In a container with a lid (tupperware is good) mix water, flour and sour cream for the chicken. Shaking the mixture aggressively is the best way to ensure a smooth mix. Set aside mixture for later.
  4. Make spaetzle during this step. See instructions for spaetzle here.
  5. Meanwhile, the chicken should be about done simmering. Using a spoon, draw some of the chicken sauce and put it into the sour cream/flour/water mixture that you had set aside. This is important to prevent sour cream from curdling. Put the lid on and shake the mixture once more. There should be no flour or sour cream chunks in the mixture.
  6. Finally, stir the mixture into the chicken pan. Mix until consistent. Bring the sauce to a boil stirring occasionally for sauce to thicken.
  7. Serve paprikas over spaetzle.

My Notes:

  • Turns out I don’t have onion powder. I googled what to do and it said dried minced onion is the best substitute. 1 tablespoon minced onion is approx. 1/3 tablespoon of onion powder. I only added 6 tablespoons because 9 seemed like WAY too much.
  • My mom said to also add some Cubinelli peppers for extra flavor. I bought them and ended up forgetting them. *sigh*
  • Let the chicken simmer for longer than 25 minutes. The longer it simmers the more the flavor gets into the chicken.
  • I used small 1 inch pieces of chicken breast. It was all I had.
image

Hungarian Chicken Paprikas with Nokedli (Spaetzle)

 

Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ Most are basics. I spent no more than $10 total for the sweet paprika, sour cream and peppers (see my notes) 1 Hour
Level of Difficulty:
Medium/Hard There is a lot of multitasking involved if you’re also making the spaetzle. I suggest making this with someone else.
What I Would Change:
Add Cubinelli peppers for a little extra flavor. They are a sweeter pepper, and give just a hint of flavor. They’re my favorite for making stuffed peppers.
Overall Impression:
Excellent! Not exactly like my grandmother’s but still a great meal on a cold day. You can’t go wrong. And that paprika sauce… mmm. I was licking the plate clean.

 

Homemade Spaetzle

Sunday was NOT my day… I woke up with a bad headache, my back hurt and my fridge defrosted overnight. Not only did I lose $20 worth of brand new yogurt, but my ice packs were practically useless as well. There was also an ever expanding puddle on my floor from the melting ice. We fixed the fridge, but my day was ruined. Those wonderful plans of getting up early, working out, eating healthy were gone. Gone like my yogurt.

After cleaning up the water and getting the fridge going again, I had to spend my Sunday morning at the food store. Since I was already in a rotten mood, and it was -1 without even factoring in the wind chill I wanted to GOOD MEAL. The first and only thing that came to mind was Chicken Paprikas. Never heard of it? It’s a Hungarian dish and my absolute favorite. It’s usually served with Nokedli, more commonly known as spaetzle.

I don’t have my grandma’s recipe so I turned to Pinterest for both the spaetzle and chicken paprikas recipe. Today I’m going to let you in on the spaetzle recipe. I did not use the paprikas recipe attached to this one. The one my grandma would make would sit in a put until the meat started to fall off the bone. This one didn’t seem right. The spaetzle recipe did.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cups water
  • 1 tablespooon butter, melted

Instructions:

Originally from American Heritage

  1. I suggest you make the spaetlze while your chicken is simmering in the broth. I made mine too early and they sat around for way too long.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  3. Whisk together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs, water and butter.
  4. Stir until the batter is smooth and thick.
  5. Drop batter (each dollop about a teaspoon) into boiling water with a spoon; dipping the spoon into the water each time. This will keep your spoon clean and make the whole process less painful. [You can make these larger or smaller to your taste]
  6. Cook only half the dough at a time to avoid over crowding. Stir the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, so that the dumplings will rise to the top. After the dumplings rise to the top, let them boil about 2 minutes more.
  7. Remove to a large colander and drain while you repeat the process with the second half of the batter.

My Experience:

  • The spoon took too long. I coated my cutting baord and hands with flour. I rolled the dough into small snake-like pieces and began ripping and throwing pieces into the boiling water. It was fun. Plus it gave it that great “chewing gum” look that it’s supposed to have.
  • I used more flour than I should have. My spaetzle was pretty heavy. It should be pretty light. I might not have let them cook long enough. We’ll see after I eat my leftovers today.
  • The smaller the pieces the better. They cook faster and they’re easier to eat.
Making the dough for spaetzle or nokedli.

Making the dough. I added a little extra flour on top so my hands didn’t stick as I mixed it.

 

cooking spaetzle.

The dough will begin to rise to the top of the water when it’s done cooking.

 

Grade: Cost: Time:
B+ Free 20 minutes
Level of Difficulty:
Medium
What I Would Change:
Less flour and cook longer. I put flour on my hands as I ripped my pieces apart. I think this is what made the pieces heavier than I remember.
Overall Impression:
I need to make a few slight modifications (mainly beginners errors). Otherwise this is a fairly simple recipe. It does take awhile to make. This process is great to have two people for. I would throw the pieces in the water and I had my boyfriend scoop them out for me.

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Dipped Krispie Treats

Hey Guys,

It’s me, Katie.

There is a holiday coming up.  Some people like it, some people don’t.  I’m not talking about President’s Day.  I’m talking about the big V.

Valentine’s Day.

Whether you have a Valentine or not, I’ve got a treat here that will make anyone fall in love with you.  Chocolate. Dipped. Rice. Krispie. Treats. With Sprinkles, because sprinkles are for winners.

I started by making the rice krispie treats with the recipe on the side of the box.  I line my pan with wax paper, and then used another piece of wax paper to help me smooth the top.  I put the whole thing in the fridge to harden up.

Once they were cool, I pulled the edges of the wax paper to lift the whole pan of rice krispies out.

I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out 11 hearts (if I had been a little more careful, I probably could have gotten 12).  I melted some vanilla almond bark and dipped 5 halfway in.

image

Then I added some red food coloring to get some pink chocolate and dipped the other 6 halfway in.  Guess what happened next? I broke out my sprinkles!  I just kind of did what I felt like, and I left a few without sprinkles.

image

Grade: Cost: Time:
A $7 tops (my grocery store is on the expensive side) 1 hour (including the wait times for the rice krispies to set up and for the almond bark to harden)
Level of Difficulty:
Easy +Melting the almond bark in a double boiler can be a bit tricky if you’ve never done it. Try microwaving it in 30 second bursts, stirring every time.
What I Would Change:
This is pretty customizable. You could color the almond bark any color, and cut out any shapes you wanted.
Overall Impression:
Rice krispies are pretty universally loved. Dipping them in chocolate/almond bark and decorating them with sprinkles is a cheap, fun and festive way to celebrate. I brought mine to work and everyone loved them.

Getting Down to Business and Keeping the Motivation Alive

Can you believe January is almost over? Where is time going? I wrote a few weeks ago how I am doing a book challenge as part of my new year’s resolutions. (So far I have finished 3. Woohoo!). That’s not all. I also have a secret to share, I’m taking online classes! It’s taking up more of my time than I’ve realized. I’m also figuring out that being out of college really can make you out of touch with the latest trends.

I follow a lot of tech boards on Pinterest that are always telling me the latest trends in web design, graphic design, print design, social media, etc. You get the picture. Now that I’ve been at my “new” job almost a year, it’s time to focus on ways to improve my job, not just play catch up. It also means it’s time to get around to revamping my personal website. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile, but couldn’t get motivated. After all it was going to be a huge project. My website is not mobile responsive. My sister’s is… yeesh even worse. This was motivation to get my life together.

My coworkers are also very tech savvy, and one was fortunate to find a certification program for Javascript. If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, it’s one of the three “languages” that make up a website. The way I like to explain it: HTML is the boards that build the house (website), CSS is the paint (or design), and Javascript is the electricity (or the things that interact with everything else). I could talk about websites and technology for hours, but that’s not what this blog is about. We’re here to test things from Pinterest. This week I really don’t have anything to “test”, but recently I’ve found a lot of posts that are great for getting my life in order. The majority are coming from my Quotes board.

My favorite is from C.S.Lewis. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” I’m highly considering using this quote in my next piece of art for my apartment. It’s motivational and universal. A goal can be as small as cleaning out that drawer to as big as going to the moon! After graduating I felt excited about all this free time. I would get home and do whatever I wanted. Usually that was eat, sleep and watch TV. I started this blog and learned to craft again. I started to pick up more books and now I can’t stop. I learned how refreshing it is to work out after a long hard day. I learned that one should never stop learning.

I’ve found that the hardest thing about making a new commitment or resolution is keeping the motivation alive. Working, reading, class, working out, cooking, cleaning. It’s easy to get burnt out.  That’s why I really love this compilation of motivational phrases. No matter what, I always find a way to get motivated. “I will succeed!”

If my future self could go back to my old self from a year ago, and tell old me where I’d be now, I’d probably be greeted with a half-assed smile and a quiet “thanks”. I was in a dead end job with a miserable commute and no time for friends. Now, i live with my best friend, have a job I love, a new(ish) car, and free time to do what I want. I’m living life how I want to live it. I have a lot of dreams and this past year has taught me that I can accomplish almost anything if I set my mind to it.

There are so many things I envision for this blog. I want to get more creative with my projects. I want to read every book on my books to read list, and cook every meal I have pinned while also looking incredibly fit (courtesy of all the workouts I pin). I want to build out our facebook and pinterest pages more. There’s so much I want, but everything takes time. I will accomplish these things. It may not be all as once, it may be piece by piece, but I will get there. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

-Rachel

I will leave you all with this piece of wisdom:

Adulting: How to Become a Grown up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps

This past year I’ve made a lot of changes in my life. I’ve found a permanent job, bought my first car, moved out of my parents place, and now just signed up for my own health insurance. Hello adulthood! As a college student I had no idea what the real world was like. Well, that’s not true. I had SOME idea. I had a job in college, i learned to pay my bills, manage my money, cook some semblance of food. Now that I was out on my own I was expected to do a lot more than I ever dreamed.

This is how I came across Adulting: How to Become an Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps. It was on a list of 14 Books to Get You Through Your Quarter Life Crisis. This list also included Graduates in Wonderland which might possibly be one of my all time favorite books.

Adulting was listed in the Humor section of my library. I was expecting a pretty hilarious book. In fact I was expecting it to be on par with Graduates in Wonderland. It was not. I’ll admit I was dissapointed, but once I got through the first chapter I started to get into the groove of this book.

I see why my library listed it under humor, but I felt that it belonged more under self-help. Actually no. It belonged in both those categories and neither. It was too humorous to be in self help (plus, who in their target audience would ever find it?), but it was also too straight forward to be humor.

The ideal place for this book would be on the end shelf next to all the college graduation materials. In fact it’s perfect for someone who just graduated, or someone who is about to start life on their own. This book provides a lot of helpful tips including what to look for in an apartment, acceptable cleaning standards, paying your bills on time, etc. It really is a nice guide on how to get your life in order.

I’ll admit I found the dull in some spots, but extremely helpful in others. It’s hard to rate this because I came into it with such different expectations.

Grade: Cost: Time:
This is a hard one… I would have to give it a B Free (Library!) N/A
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
I wish the book were a little more quirky.
Overall Impression:
It wasn’t what I expected but was good in its own right. There were parts I felt didn’t apply to me and others that I found to be really useful.
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