Sunday, March 4, 2012

New blog!

Hi all! I know it's been a while, but if you're still interesting in reading my blog posts, check out my newest blog: Enjoy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Frugal Friday: Online Clothing Deals

I'm really not much of a shopper. During the wee morning hours of Black Friday, I was warm under my bed covers with no regrets over ditching the insane shopping day. However, I do recognize that there are tons of great deals around this time of year. Even better, there are online deals for the lazy shoppers (aka me). Therefore, this Frugal Friday post lists some online deals happening at some of my preferred clothing stores. Ch-ch-check it out:

Express: $90 off your $250 purchase (Now-Dec 5th)

 American Eagle: Buy One Get One 50% Off for Sweaters/Hoodies (Now-Dec 14th)

Forever21: Free shipping for orders over $50 (Now-Dec 21st)

Anthropologie: Free standard shipping for orders over $150 (Now-Dec 23rd) 

 Victoria's Secret: Free scarf with sweater purchase

 Madewell: 25% off sweaters & free shipping on order over $100 (Now-Dec 5th)

Delia's: Major sale markdowns (Now-Dec 6th)

What are your favorite clothing stores? Do you prefer going out to shop or shopping online?

Today's Recommended Read: 9 Foods That May Help Save You Money (

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Fruit Juice, Worth the Sugar?

This post was inspired by my afternoon snack. I just enjoyed the sweetest apple—the kind that requires a nearby napkin because it’s so gosh darn deliciously juicy. It made me realize that when it comes to beverages, I basically just stick to water and tea, never buying apple juice or other fruit juices. I thought this was rather odd, since I grew up drinking a glass of orange juice practically every morning. I strictly stuck to the no-pulp Tropicana variety.
Am I missing out on an important healthy beverage by missing liquid forms of fruit in my diet? Hence, today’s (slightly late) Thirsty Thursday post will look at the pros and cons of drinking fruit juices.
While trading in soft drinks for fruit juices is definitely a step in the right direction, my internet digging seems to yield the consensus that only certain juices have health benefits.

Since apples, oranges, and other fruits naturally contain a lot of sugar in the form of fructose, 100% juices can contain the same amount of sugar as certain sodas. Juices that are less than 100% juice may contain high-fructose corn syrup that leads to the same amount of sugar content.

There are definite perks to drinking your fruits. Juices are a convenient way to get your recommended daily serving of fruits and veggies. A 4-ounce, 100% fruit juice glass equals one serving of fruit. Many juices contain disease-fighting phytonutrients and cleansing antioxidants, and provide fluid replenishment.

Here are some healthy fruit juice suggestions:

  • Pomegranate Juice: This antioxidant-rich drink is linked to heart health.
  • Concord Grape Juice: Similar benefits as pomegranate juice, plus reduced blood pressure.
  • Cranberry Juice: This Vitamin C-packed drink can decrease risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Fortified Orange Juice: Many OJs are fortified with calcium, a good option for those who don’t drink a lot of milk (guilty!).

However, grabbing a whole piece of fruit is even healthier than pouring a cold glass of OJ. Juice provides a much lower amount of fiber than whole fruits. One glass of OJ requires ten oranges; if you’re concerned with calories, eating one orange is a better option.

One thing’s for sure; steer clear of “fruit drinks!” They contain very little actual fruit juice, but rather are full of chemicals, preservatives, colorings, and other nutrient-lacking additions. Basically, go for the 100% juices or grab a whole fruit. As always, moderation is the key!

My personal conclusion is that I’m not missing out on anything by skipping over the Tropicana aisle, but a healthy amount of fruit juice is not necessarily a bad diet addition. After all, it’s hard to resist those classic Welch’s Grape Juice ads…

Are you a fruit juice lover? Do you like "pulp" or "no pulp" when it comes to OJ?

Today’s Recommended Read: The Biggest Food Trends for 2011 (Boston Globe)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Whatever Wednesday: Happy Chanukah!

Is it really December already? Where did November go? Where did this semester go?? Where did TIME go???

The only fact more surprising than the new month's arrival is that Chanukah started tonight. Last year, the first night occurred on December 11th. This year, the menorah and dreidels need to be brought out of hiding quite a bit earlier. Can you tell my mind was on Chanukah while I should've been taking notes for class today:

Therefore, today's Whatever Wednesday post serves to wish a happy holiday to those who also celebrate Chanukah! (Hanukkah? Hanuka? Meh...)

No first night of Chanukah is complete without some yummy latkes. I attended "Latkepalooza" tonight, an event hosted by my university that offered free latkes, gelt, donuts, veggies, cider, and other goodies to all attendees. I gobbled up four latkes (potato pancakes) with apple sauce, tried the sufganiyot (donuts...these ones were much too sweet for me though), and enjoyed a hot apple cider.

It's always a bummer to be away from family on holidays (who else thinks colleges should give students a break for Chanukah? ;-)), but at least I got some traditional cooked goodies without having to break out my own frying pan.

However, my mom did send me this super easy recipe for making latkes:
Rather than grate potatoes from scratch, this recipe just requires me to buy a ready-to-use package of hash browns. The short ingredient list and easy instructions just might have convinced me to try out this recipe later this week. After all, I have 8 crazy nights before Chanukah ends...

Sorry, I had to! :-)

To those celebrating, Happy 1st Night of Chanukah!

Anyone else feel like November flew by? Have you ever tried a latke? Any recipe suggestions?

Today's Recommended Read: 5 All-Natural Cold Cures (Woman's Day)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tune-In Tuesday: Moving Beyond Marie Claire

As many "healthy living bloggers" may already know, there was recently a controversial article published in Marie Claire magazine. The article, titled "The Hunger Diaries: How Health Writing Could Be Putting You at Risk," took a very critical, negative stance toward some of my favorite blogs: Carrots N Cake, Meals and Miles, Healthy Tipping Point, and three others.

Although the piece raised some legitimate issues, I felt that the content was presented in a malicious manner. Many even considered it hypocritical for the magazine to criticize these well-meaning women when the publication frequently posts articles showing size zero models and get-thin-quick tips.

Basically, the whole thing made me think twice about the type of magazines I buy.This Tune-In Tuesday post will list the magazines I do enjoy reading. These publications made the list because they provide mostly reasonable, healthy, realistic cooking/fitness/lifestyle tips.

What are your favorite magazines? What are your thoughts on the Marie Claire article?

Today's Recommended Read: In Conversation with Eco-Chef Louisa Shafia (

Monday, November 29, 2010

Munchies Monday: Best-Bet Energy Bars

While I was home for Thanksgiving break, my brother walked in with the following purchase:
My brother does exercise a lot and often doesn’t have time for food preparation, so the PowerBars seem like a decent way to fuel up. However, it got me thinking; are “energy bars” and “nutrition bars” really good for you? Or are they simply the edible version of unhealthy energy drinks and candy bars in disguise?

Hence, today’s Munchies Monday post is all about energy bars.

I started my research on these fat-, protein-, and carb-packed bars at—where else—Wikipedia. I found this fact particularly interesting: “The first energy bar in the American marketplace was Space Food Sticks which Pillsbury Company created in the late 1960s to capitalize on the popularity of the space program.”

Space Food Sticks? Intrigued, I decided to do a little more digging. According to, Pillsbury developed long, chewy, edible sticks that could fit into an astronaut’s helmet for emergency consumption. They decided to sell them commercially, touting them as a “non-frozen balanced energy snack in rod form containing nutritionally balanced amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein.” After a brief production hiatus beginning in the mid-70s, these gimmicky bars are back on shelves, currently being sold at the Kennedy Space Center, Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, the Johnson Space Center, the Museum of Flight, Disney World, and other locations.

I was even able to find an old TV commercial for the Space Food Sticks on YouTube. Tell me these don’t look appetizing: (HA! Jokes.)
Now there are a plethora of energy bar brands in the marketplace, such as Clif Bar, Promax, Tiger’s Milk, Power Bar, ProMax, Labrada, Power Harvest and more.

The different ways people use these bars include:
Pre-Workout Fuel (sufficient carbs)
Post-Workout Food (high in protein)
Meal Replacement (lots of fat, protein, and carbs)

If you decide to eat these bars, here are some tips for purchasing relatively good ones:

  • Watch the sugar content. Some nutrition bars contain more sugar than a Snickers bar.
  • Don’t go carb crazy. Unless you are a professional athlete or a bodybuilder, you don’t need that much carb-driven fuel.
  • A decent fiber content will help you feel fuller longer while getting in some of your fiber RDA.
  • Check the calories. Unless you’re attempting to replace a meal, try to find snack bars under 200 calories.
A closer look at my brother’s purchases showed that the PowerBars contained the following ingredients:

While the company’s website boasts, “The nuts, oat bran and 10–11g protein deliver nutritious, long lasting energy and muscle-building power,” I’m not too keen about all that corn syrup and sugar content. If you’re not looking for a major power boost, but rather want a snack-size bar, I recommend trying mini Lara Bars, mini Luna Bars, or mini Clif Bars:

Mini Larabars
The raw ingredient list in these bars is so impressive. There are only a few ingredients, usually nuts, fruit, and spices, and absolutely no chemicals or added sugars. Flavors include Cherry Pie, Cashew Cookie, and Apple Pie. (90 Calories, 2 g Dietary Fiber, 3 g Protein)

Luna Minis
These bite-size bars contain calcium, folic acid, iron, and protein, and are 70% organic. Flavors include Chocolate, S’mores Caramel Nut Brownie, White Chocolate Macadamia, Peanut Butter Cookie and LemonZest. (80 Calories, 2 g Dietary Fiber, 4 g Protein)

Mini Clif Bars
These on-the-go bars are made with all-natural, 70% organic ingredients, and contain 23 vitamins and minerals. Flavors include Crunchy Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Brownie, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Blueberry Crisp and Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch. (100 Calories, 2 g Dietary Fiber, 4 g Protein)

Ideally, you should try to maintain a balanced diet by eating as many unprocessed foods as possible. If you can, ditch the bars and grab an apple with peanut butter, a whole-wheat bagel, or some low-fat yogurt.

Do you eat “energy/nutrition bars?” If so, do you have any recommendations?

Today's Recommended Read: A Stale Food Fight (

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Frugal Friday: College Discounts in Boston

First off, apologies for the tardy post! I’ve been really diligent about posting every weekday, but with the recent holiday, this Frugal Friday post is clearly not up on time.

Something I’ve learned during my time in Boston—a city that houses over 35 colleges—is that when in doubt, present your college ID card. So many restaurants, retailers, museums, theatres, even hair cutters have student discounts available.
Although there are a ton of free things to do in Beantown, if you’re a college student looking to open your wallet without totally emptying the contents, here are some frugal opportunities:

“The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum's core function is to collect, preserve, and make available for research the documents, audiovisual material and memorabilia of President Kennedy, his family, and his contemporaries.”
Open 7 days per week, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
College ID: $10.00 (Savings: $2.00)

“Visit the Skywalk Observatory, Boston's only sky-high vantage point for sweeping 360 degree views of Greater Boston and beyond. Let your eyes and ears do the walking as you experience the exclusive state-of-the-art.”
Open 7 days a week. Winter Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. November 1 - March 28.
College ID: $10.00 (Savings: $2.00)

“The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is at once an intimate collection of fine and decorative art and a vibrant, innovative venue for contemporary artists, musicians and scholars. Housed in a stunning 15th-century Venetian-style palace with three stories of galleries surrounding a sun- and flower-filled courtyard, the Museum provides an unusual backdrop for the viewing of art.”
Tue.-Sun., 11 am-5 pm
College ID: $5.00 (Savings: $10.00!)
*Also, receive free admission on your birthday or a $2 discount if you’re wearing Red Sox paraphernalia (Isabella was a Red Sox fan!).

Movie theatre…enough said.
College ID on Thursdays: $8.75 (Savings: $2.00)

Fancy shmancy clothing.
10% off total purchase discount for students

“FiRE + iCE Grill + Bar is a smokin’ hot restaurant showcasing an incredible variety of fresh food, cooked on our open grill in a fun, refreshing atmosphere. Select from a delectable array of fresh meats, seafood, vegetables, and pasta available in our in-house market place. Choose the types of internationally inspired sauce to add to your entrĂ©e. Dictate grilling preferences as you watch our grill chefs expertly work their magic on our huge open grill.”
Monday College Nights: unlimited dinner for $9.95

“Boston Symphony Orchestra offers a College Card during the regular season.  For only $25, attend up to 15 select performances.  A limited number of College Card tickets are available on certain performance dates, usually Tuesday and Thursdays.  All tickets must be picked up in person with a valid student ID and College Card the day of the performance.”
“College students can get Aquarium admission tickets for $19.95,  (Adult: $21.95) buy tickets for standard presentations at the Simons IMAX Theatre for only $7.95 and get an Aquarium/IMAX combo ticket for $25.95.”

Hilarious mprovisational comedy shows.
College ID: $7.00

Have any of you Bostonians visited these places?

Today’s Recommended Read: How To Eat Healthy While You Travel (