Crop Tops & Kale http://www.croptopsandkale.com Chase feeling good. Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:22:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Weekend Reads http://www.croptopsandkale.com/weekend-reads-12/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/weekend-reads-12/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:22:14 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=2824 Happy Friday, friends. What’s on tap this weekend? Don’t tell me Coachella, I’ll virtually smack you. I would like to be there. Alas, I’ve got some fun stuff lined up including a bridal shower for D-Money (weeee!) as well as… Continue Reading

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Avocado-Chocolate-Chip-Oatmeal-Cookies-WM-e1425872507528

Image via A Whisk and Two Wands

Happy Friday, friends. What’s on tap this weekend? Don’t tell me Coachella, I’ll virtually smack you. I would like to be there.

Alas, I’ve got some fun stuff lined up including a bridal shower for D-Money (weeee!) as well as a Kentucky Derby puppy paw-ty. Yes, you read that right, and yes, it’s going to be paw-some. With a splash page like this, how could it not be? In all seriousness, does anyone know where I can find a dog-sized, preferably polka dotted, derby-style hat for Lucy?

What else, what else…

These, I must try. Avocado? Yes. Chocolate chips? Yes. Cookies? Yes. The recipe from Sarah at A Whisk and Two Wands is right this way.

Ever wonder how Eva Mendes looks so damn good all the time? Turns out it’s all in the belted waist, ladies. Just kidding, pretty sure there’s more to it than that … but these five slimming style tips from Who What Wear do go a long way.

When it comes to running a big race, I find training plans are the way to go. Some people, cough-Leisha-cough, can completely dismiss training, and yet somehow still cross the finish line. Unfortunately that wouldn’t fly with these little leggies of mine. Here’s a great way to create your own training plan from Beth at Running with the Sunrise.

Where my creative gals at? Feeling crushed by the ole 9-5? I hear you. The Chalkboard has some tips for how to balance your creative side with the daily grind. That’s right, you can kill it at work and still do you.

I am embracing a minimal wardrobe with open arms these days, and I gotta tell you: it’s awesome. This article from Harper’s Bazaar only reinforced why it’s the way to go when it comes to getting dressed everyday. Less choices FTW!

 

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Should I Quit My Job? http://www.croptopsandkale.com/should-i-quit-my-job/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/should-i-quit-my-job/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 18:51:27 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=2797 I’m jazzed to share some big news with you guys today: I’m taking a sabbatical. A day or two after our wedding on June 6th, Joel and I (and Jacko of course) are packing up the new pickup truck, hitching… Continue Reading

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I’m jazzed to share some big news with you guys today: I’m taking a sabbatical.

A day or two after our wedding on June 6th, Joel and I (and Jacko of course) are packing up the new pickup truck, hitching the Airstream to the back and hitting the open road. We plan to travel for just over three months all across the country. I couldn’t be more excited … or terrified.

Photo Sep 13, 11 00 15 AM

The rough sketch of our route has us going from Rochester (where we’re getting hitched), straight out to the Grand Canyon, over to the West coast, meandering up the Pacific Coast Highway, all the way to Victoria Island and Vancouver, up into the Canadian Rockies, hitting Whistler and Jasper and Banf and Lake Louise, and then back down through Montana, Colorado and Mt. Rushmore, and then finally making our way back East to Vermont for our friend’s wedding in September.

Photo Apr 14, 1 25 55 PM

Holy shit, right?! Joel is going to make me stand in front of so many points of interest in order to take awkward pictures.

I think it’s going to be magical (… and a challenging few months of intensive exposure therapy for my fear of the dark and aversion to being cold).

This trip is not on a whim. We’ve planned and worked and saved for it. We moved from a beautiful loft in Brooklyn with a deck to a small apartment in New Jersey with a commute in order to save money. We’ve attempted to stick to an incredibly tight budget for over a year. We negotiated out of our lease early. We’ve forgone dinners out, new clothes, other trips and Christmas presents in order to save. But we were happy (most of the time) to do it.

This is a shared dream of ours.

We want to take a step back and out of the daily grind and the lifestyle we find ourselves in currently, to catch our breath and reestablish how we want to live our lives going forward. We want to be a bit more deliberate about it. We want to remind ourselves that we have choices. Not everyone lives this way, and we can design any life that we want.

Joel is part owner of his company and his awesome partners are being supportive in granting him a few months of unpaid leave. We don’t have kids or a mortgage or any real debt to speak of so, I think were looking at as many green traffic lights as we will ever see.

And so, I have a decision to make.

You see I have a full time job, too. Not necessarily one that I love, I’m grateful for it, of course, or at least I try to remind myself to be. But, what I really want is to do is be a full-time blogger. I know, super easy, right? About as easy as my best friend being a stand-up comic.

The decision I need to make this week is whether or not to ask my boss for an unpaid leave. He could say yes. He could say no. I really have no idea. I’m prepaid for either of those situations but, the question I face remains: Do I want to ask?

Argument for asking: (the argument of logic) There is no harm in asking. We’re hitting the road either way, and I might as well give myself as many options for the future as possible. He could possibly say yes and then I’d have the peace of mind of having an income again in September. With Joel at his job and me coming back to this one, we’d be in a good financial situation to do whatever we want going foward. If I could just be happy in this goddamn job, we’d have all the money we need for as long as I stayed.

And again, if my boss says no, we’re going anyway.

Argument against asking: (not to be dramatic but, the argument of my soul) I don’t want to. There, I said it. I don’t want to come back to this job. I don’t want to give myself the option to come back to this job. I don’t want to even think about this job while I’m on the trip. I want to be contemplating what I’m going to do going forward not whether or not I’m going back. I want to be free. Rip off the bandaid. Not. look. back. Asking feels like not fully committing to what  I really want and sending mixed signals to the universe … or something. Feel free to roll your eyes at me.

I don’t know what to do or why I am making such a big deal of it in the first place. I am just trying to listen to my body. As I make the decision to ask, how do I feel? As I make the decision not to ask, how do I feel? I’ve been practicing listening to my gut for years now and it’s never steered me wrong, but I just can’t really hear it at the moment.

The wedding/trip is just under eight weeks out and I feel I should talk to him about it in the very near future, if I’m going to talk to talk to him about it at all.

And so I continue to contemplate…

Any thoughts? I sure would love to hear ‘em.

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Why I’m Giving The Online Dating Thing a Shot http://www.croptopsandkale.com/why-im-giving-the-online-dating-thing-a-shot/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/why-im-giving-the-online-dating-thing-a-shot/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 15:00:04 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=2777 Last week our bride-to-be, D-Money, recalled her harrowing tales of dating in New York City. Fortunately, she has since met Joel, and is one of the biggest advocates for online dating that I know. I’m waiting for the day she… Continue Reading

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Last week our bride-to-be, D-Money, recalled her harrowing tales of dating in New York City. Fortunately, she has since met Joel, and is one of the biggest advocates for online dating that I know. I’m waiting for the day she drags him to an E-Harmony commercial audition. She’s talked about it.

I, on the other hand, have been skeptically averse to online dating for years, which was only reinforced with the advent of Tinder. (“Wait which direction is no? Why don’t they just have a no button?”) So I always shrugged off suggestions to give it a shot, declaring that it just isn’t my cup of tea.

I’m pretty content on my own, and work toward feeling good about myself every day, but sure, it would be nice to meet someone great and share my life with. Easier said than done, right?

The first problem: dating is exhausting.

As the token single gal here at CTK, I feel it my duty to vent about this for a sec. Not only does dating require planning something, small talk (I loathe small talk), getting dressed (suppose I can’t show up in yoga pants), usually drinking, and the ever-stressful ‘are we going to see each other again’ question, but it’s mentally draining as well. The nerves, fear, excitement and anxiety can all wage emotional warfare on our fragile little minds.

The second problem: actually meeting people.

It doesn’t happen often. That could have something to do with the fact that many a Saturday night you can find me elbows deep in frozen yogurt, rounding mile 15 of a Netflix marathon, but still … it’s a real jungle out there.

After a series of mediocre dates over the years (shout out to the guy who only conversed with me on Twitter … while at dinner), my faith is steadily trending downward. I know meeting people is theoretically as easy as approaching someone in a bar, or joining a meet up group of some sort, but can we please be honest? I cannot be the only person who thinks those things are actually not all that easy.

Which brings me back to online dating. Maybe it is the best (only?) way to meet people these days. Is it possible that there may be some good guys hanging out online? Dana would rightfully argue yes.

My brother has also embraced the world of online dating with open arms. After a couple of beers the other night he convinced me that I should “get with the times” and proceeded to set up a Hinge profile on my behalf. That’s right gentlemen, I am now online, or on an app I guess. Form an orderly line, please.

Our conversation, I’m sure, amused a few patrons sitting nearby:

Can you make my username mustlovedogs?

There aren’t “usernames,” it doesn’t work like that.

It worked for Diane Lane.

John Cusack isn’t on Hinge. Also, let’s remove some of these tags, like ‘early bird’.

But I am an ‘early bird’.

I’m still trying to get behind a matching algorithm that’s largely based on photos, plus it seems like everyone is putting forth the ideal version of himself or herself. This is clearly a good strategy to get more matches, thus more opportunities to meet people. But I’d argue that being honest about my early bird tendencies or a mild obsession with my dog from the start will benefit both parties. Let’s know what we’re getting ourselves into right? I know, I know, I’m over-thinking it. At least that’s what Joe told me when he tapped ‘complete’ on my profile.

He then made the mistake of telling my mom about it, who called me to say she doesn’t want a “Craigslist Killer” situation on her hands. I said “Well, that makes two of us.”

Jokes aside, there is one third, and very real problem in dating, and that is fear.

Most of us have been hurt at some point, and that’s a feeling we’re not exactly chomping at the bit to feel again, agreed? Which is why we keep things under control: to minimize the risk. The less we allow ourselves to feel, the less predisposed we are to disappointment.

Not to go all Carrie Bradshaw on your ass but [insert words typing across the screen here], does the potential reward outweigh the risk in dating?

I have decided for now that yes, yes it does. As scary as it may be, the alternative is scarier. We’ll see what happens. If I suddenly go missing, please reference my latest matches on Hinge.

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How To Stay Sane While Planning A Wedding http://www.croptopsandkale.com/how-to-stay-sane-while-planning-a-wedding/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/how-to-stay-sane-while-planning-a-wedding/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 17:11:24 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=2752 I originally wanted a simple, laid back, backyard wedding at the house I grew up in. It was all going to be so easy and awesome and cozy and homey and I could put my wedding dress on in my… Continue Reading

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I originally wanted a simple, laid back, backyard wedding at the house I grew up in. It was all going to be so easy and awesome and cozy and homey and I could put my wedding dress on in my childhood bedroom and say my vows under the big tree in the back yard.

Magical. Big, super-dramatic sigh. Commence pinning.

But then both my mom and Joel promptly shat on that dream.

Joel said he didn’t think he could handle my mom not being able to handle hosting a wedding at her house. And my mom (KPal) said “I simply cannot handle hosting a wedding at my house. I will go crazy. We all know this. You saw what happened on my 60th birthday when it almost rained. I had a borderline nervous breakdown in my bathrobe and that was 50 guests and some pasta salad.”

We had to move along to other ideas. I learned early that I would need to be flexible if this was going to go smoothly.

So we decided on that simple wedding (ha, that’s hilarious to me now) on the farm of a family friend outside of Rochester. It’s gorgeous up there, the farm is gorgeous, the barn is gorgeous, our friends up there are unbelievably hospitable and helpful, it’s all good. We’re less than two months out and I honestly feel pretty good about things.

I really hope I am not kicking myself in the ass in the very near future for writing this but (knock on wood) wedding planning really hasn’t been too bad. At least, it hasn’t been the straight-up nightmare that I know a lot of people experience. I’m very grateful.

So, I thought I’d share how I’ve been attempting to stay sane and happy during this process. Seems to be a hawt tawpic.

1. I read this book.

A practical wedding

Always with the books, I know, sorry. I always start with a damn book. But my friend, Catherine, who I believe to be super grounded, happy and intelligent, suggested it to me immediately post engagement drinks. She’d successfully navigated a wedding in the recent past, so I promptly ordered it on Amazon. It was stupendous. Every newly engaged woman should read it.

2. I decided what I was going to care about and what I was not going to care about.

I care about our budget. I care about the ceremony. I care about my dress. I care about honoring my mother and grandmother’s requests and I care about our guests’ enjoyment.

The rest, I don’t really care about.

I don’t care too much about the particulars of the menu, or the flowers, or the invitations, or my bridesmaids outfits, or the groomsmens outfits, or a signature drink or the tablescapes or whatever. I don’t think I have the emotional capacity to micromanage everything that comes along with a big wedding so, I decided early what was really important to me and what was not. I think it’s been serving me well and making me a more agreeable, easy-to-deal-with bride. But you’d really have to ask Joel, my mom, and my friends about that.

I basically decided that if KPal wants shrimp at every course, then KPal can have shrimp at every course. I am not going to argue with her.

THE SHRIMPS WILL BE HAD!

3. I decided I was going to be as nice as possible. 

People do a lot for us around our wedding. They give gifts, they plan things, they listen to us tweak out, they spend money, they spend their time and they care. Some people care more than others but, everyone cares. And it’s really nice. I thought I’d be more uncomfortable with the attention and celebration but, turns out I like getting gifts and people asking me about the wedding. It’s nice to be cared about and fussed over a bit. And I just keep reminding myself that no one is required to do any of this. So I’m going to be kind and gracious and appreciative. Even when unsolicited advice and opinions roll in :)

Have I freaked out at KPal and Joel a few times though? Of course I have. I’m human. #doingmybest #winehelps

4. I keep reminding myself that none of these details have anything to do with marrying Joel. 

This one I think is the most important.

We could get married in our kitchen this afternoon if we wanted to. We don’t actually have to do any of this in order to get married. And honestly, when my mom gave me a check to cover the wedding, part of me wanted to take it and sprint like a running back off into the night with it tucked under my arm and never return. But I didn’t because it was our choice to throw this big wedding, nobody forced us to.

And I can’t wait to marry Joel. I’m pumped to say my vows in front of everyone I love. He is the kindest, most patient, handsome, interesting, funny, smart, supportive and loving guy I’ve ever met. And he can make things. And he can cook. And he has a beard most of the time. And he came as a package deal on the internet with Jacko! Dream scenario. A boyfriend and cute Shiba Inu, 2 for 1! A two-fer! I nailed it.

Joel

Jacko

And Leisha and BShan have been really helpful in reminding me of this fact: no matter what happens on my wedding day, if it rains, if the caterer doesn’t show up, or the band doesn’t show up or the flowers go brown or the shuttle bus gets lost, whatever. I am still going to be surrounded by my friends and family and I am still going to marry Joel. And that’s really all that matters.

Plus, my grandma told me at my cousin’s wedding that marriage is not about a party. She said marriage was going to be the hardest thing I ever do in life, aside from raising a child but, it could also be the most rewarding. She said dance now but, get ready for the long haul, because these parties don’t matter nearly as much as you kids think they do. And then she told me to go dance with my grandpa because he was driving her crazy.

Grandparents

I always keep that conversation in mind. I mean, I watched her take care of him for fifteen years as Alzheimer’s slowly took over and that looked incredibly hard to me. But that is one of the vows right? In sickness and in health. And they always seemed happy together. They loved each other and they seemed to really like each other as well. Plus, they raised a great family to boot. I hope Joel and I last 65 good years like they did.

So I just keep reminding myself that the quality of those potential years ahead of us won’t have all that much to do with the party we are throwing on June 6th anyway.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing to try to hold it together, ya’ll. I hope this adds some value if you’re in a similar situation.

Oh and now I’m crying at my desk. That’s another thing I’ve been doing. I’ve been crying a lot. Because, well, I have a lot of feelings.

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The Perfect Female Body: Which Team Are You On? http://www.croptopsandkale.com/the-perfect-female-body-which-team-are-you-on/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/the-perfect-female-body-which-team-are-you-on/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:55:06 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=2704 In case you hadn’t heard, there is a new ad campaign by Lane Bryant: I’m No Angel. At first I was feeling pretty positive about it. I get why we need to buck the ridiculous, idealized version of a perfect female… Continue Reading

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In case you hadn’t heard, there is a new ad campaign by Lane Bryant: I’m No Angel.

I'm No Angel

At first I was feeling pretty positive about it. I get why we need to buck the ridiculous, idealized version of a perfect female body brought to us by Victoria’s Secret. I think we can all agree that the campaign below was nauseatingly bad for most women’s body image.

the perfect body

We definitely don’t need a bunch of tall, thin, and yet somehow busty women telling us that they have society’s version of the perfect body while simultaneously reminding us that we do not. We’re well aware, thank you very much.

It’s confusing to me that anyone at Victoria’s Secret could have looked at the photo and thought “Yes, this is a good representation of our target demographic and will garner a positive response from the public coupled with an uptick in revenue.”

But I guess it’s also confusing to me that anyone with boobs big enough to need a supportive bra would shop there to begin with. I personally prefer the old lady section at Macy’s, the land of thick straps, muted jewel tones and comfort.

So sure, a positive, inclusive conversation about realistic female bodies is better than the eating-disorder-inducing kind. However, this new #ImNoAngel campaign really got me thinking:

Why do we need to keep talking about women’s body’s at all?

Aren’t we tired of this conversation by now?

Are ads like these really the answer?

We all know that feeling good in our own skin is really important for a positive life experience. Feeling good about ourselves and confident in our own skin makes life better. Sometimes we need to talk about it because we might need help getting to that confident place. And we should talk about it, because feeling insecure about our body can induce shame and aid and abet our playing small in the world, which is no bueno for anyone.

But is the antidote to Victoria’s Secret’s version of the perfect body, as defined by media-driven societal pressure, to simply shift the version of the perfect body? Or worse, to go a step further and cause a dichotomy between women of different body types?

No. No it is not.

I fully, 100%, reject that it’s either the bigger, curvier women that are “real women” or the skinny yet somehow-still-busty ones.

We are all real women and we should try to overcome the body image issues forced on us by society by dropping the obsession with how we look altogether. I think we should work instead on loving and accepting ourselves exactly as we are, no matter what … and then going about our business in the world with the confidence that comes from doing so.

When I first saw the ad yesterday I thought:

Okay but I’m a size 4/6 with skinny legs, big boobs and a frustratingly short torso.” (Note: my torso is only frustrating because I love crop tops and they are hard to pull off when they’re just sort of regular-length on you.)

Then I thought:

Where exactly are my homegirls clad in underpants? Where is my representation? Neither of those ads make me feel included. Are you saying that me and my short torso do not equal a real woman?

But then, I literally thought (this is all on the bus ride home, mind you):

Wait, why the hell am I even thinking about this? Why am I sitting here contemplating which ad for underpants makes me feel more like I fit in as a real woman? Why do I feel like I need to pick an underpants team? I have a business to build, a wedding to plan, a school to raise money for, a job to tend to and books I wanna read. Who gives a flying f…?

And I think that’s the issue here.

I think that this entire conversation about women’s bodies need to stop. Let’s end the obsession with who has a real woman’s body by starting to shift our focus to other things involving our gender, like equal pay, reproductive rights, personal safety, access to clean water and education plus, all the cool tricks we can do, like … anything we want.

Let’s stop talking about which version of a woman’s body is right and start using our time, energy and resources to do better stuff in the world.

I don’t think we would have to battle so hard to get to a good place in terms of confidence and body image, if the world wasn’t talking about our bodies so damn much to begin with.

So while I agree that the Victoria’s Secret as the ideal body conversation needs to change, and while I totally understand that Lane Bryant was just taking a jab at it with their ad, I don’t think ads like theirs are the answer.

I just don’t think they’re going to be effective.

Sure, we need to reverse our fat shaming culture and create a more realistic portrayal of women’s bodies, but we’re not going to do it by saying some other version of the female body is better.

My concern is that we’re just starting to pit women of different body types against each other. I mean, shall we actually make everyone choose sides or pick teams as well? No. Because then we might end up ending fat shaming only to replace it with some other form of shaming, and that is definitely not the answer.

Maybe it would be more effective, not to just broaden the spectrum of body types in the conversation about what the female body should look like, but to just stop having that conversation at all.

Maybe the antidote to the harmful, media-driven idealization of the female body isn’t to change the ideal, but to stop the idealization in the first place.

But who knows? I mean, what do me and my short, left-out torso know about anything anyway? I think this as I kick the dirt, shove my hands in my pockets and walk away with my head down because I wasn’t picked for any underpants team at all.

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Egg, Sweet Potato & Kale Muffins http://www.croptopsandkale.com/egg-sweet-potato-kale-muffins/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/egg-sweet-potato-kale-muffins/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:25:00 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=2700 When I got home from the gym last night I was starving. Then I opened my freezer to pull out some chicken only to find that I didn’t, in fact, have any chicken. Bummer. Normally at this point the hunger… Continue Reading

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When I got home from the gym last night I was starving. Then I opened my freezer to pull out some chicken only to find that I didn’t, in fact, have any chicken. Bummer. Normally at this point the hunger takes over and I give up on cooking altogether. I’d open a box of crackers, or opt for yogurt and granola and call it a day. But I’ve recently put a halt on the processed food, as I realized this pattern was happening way too often. The processed stuff makes me feel sluggish. Gotta get myself back on the whole foods train.

Here’s the challenge: no processed food, whole foods only, with one “cheat day” a week. On cheat day, everything is fair game. You know we’re not big fans of deprivation or dieting around here, and I haven’t given myself a specific timeline, but I’m about three weeks in and feelin’ pretty rad. What’s great is that it’s forcing me to be creative with vegetables (the ole’ spiralizer has been earning its keep), plus I’ve noticed a dramatic decrease in sugar intake. The most important thing though, is that I’ve been eating more mindfully, really thinking about the fuel I’m providing my little bod pod, instead of shoveling in whatever’s around.

Breakfast has been, that I will admit. My usual avo toast or yogurt with fruit and granola do not make the nothing-processed cut, and as much as I’m intrigued by the idea, I’ve never been a huge fan of the salad for breakfast concept. I love a good omelet, but weekdays don’t exactly allow for time in the kitchen. Enter: my new fave, egg, sweet potato & kale muffins. I’ve been making these little guys in batches over the weekend, and heating them up during the week. Pair one or two with a few avocado slices and breakfast is served! Super easy, and they’re just so damn cute.

When I first made these muffins I had sweet potatoes and kale on hand, but you could really throw any ingredients together. A spinach and sun-dried tomato combo comes to mind, or fresh herbs with garlic. Here’s how to make them.

Ingredients

3 eggs

1 medium sweet potato

2 cups chopped kale (or any type of green)

2-3 chopped scallions

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons garlic powder

Optional: 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Optional: 1 teaspoon turmeric

Sea salt + pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash and chop the sweet potato into small cubes, and mix in a small bowl with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Line them out on a tray and bake for about 30 minutes. They’re going to go back in the oven later, so they don’t need to be completely done.

While those are baking, lightly grease a muffin tray (this mixture will fill about six cups, so feel free to double the recipe if you have a larger tray) and chop the kale and scallions.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, kale, scallions, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, turmeric, another dash of salt and pepper, and then add the sweet potatoes when they’re done baking. Mix again thoroughly.

Pour the mixture evenly across the six muffin tray cups and bake for 15 minutes (until the eggs have set). Let them sit for a minute, and then serve warm. You can also store in the fridge so you have breakfast for the week, or even freeze them for a couple weeks. Enjoy!

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Give Yourself Some (self) Love http://www.croptopsandkale.com/give-yourself-some-self-love/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/give-yourself-some-self-love/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 12:46:21 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=2684 Hi friends! I found this amazing video last week and had to share. We could all use some more self love, we’re all battling body issues to some degree and we could all stand to cut ourselves some goddamn slack. Props to Dove for another… Continue Reading

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Hi friends!

I found this amazing video last week and had to share. We could all use some more self love, we’re all battling body issues to some degree and we could all stand to cut ourselves some goddamn slack.

Props to Dove for another great video. Take a look below:

On a related note, if you’ve been following along about being nicer to ourselves and making a radical shift in self-acceptance, you’ll have read about our unwavering support for Sarah Jenks and her work in the world. We’re really excited to announce that enrollment has officially opened for Live More Weigh Less!

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Make Every Man Want You? http://www.croptopsandkale.com/make-every-man-want-you/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/make-every-man-want-you/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:28:01 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=2664 BShan suggested that I write about dating. When I said “But I don’t know shit about dating, no one does. None of us have any idea what we’re doing. I’ve never even used Tinder.” She replied something along the lines… Continue Reading

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dating

BShan suggested that I write about dating.

When I said “But I don’t know shit about dating, no one does. None of us have any idea what we’re doing. I’ve never even used Tinder.” She replied something along the lines of “Well whatever, you met Joel. You’re getting married. You must have done something right. I’m sure as hell not going to write about it and our people want to hear about it.”

Don’t worry though, I’m going to make her write about it one day too. I want her to go on every online dating site there is and report back on all the fun and awkward details. I actually can’t wait for that, now that I think of it.

I digress…

Dating or rather, dating advice. No. I’m not even going to call it that because, like I said, I have literally no idea what I’m talking about.

There are no tips, or strategies, or go-to mantras that worked for me when I was navigating the New York City/online dating scene. Sorry.

There was a time, as a single woman in New York, that I told my brother “get your future kids ready for drunk Aunt Dana that lives in the basement.” I was even the Maid of Honor in a wedding and invited without a date. They really weren’t betting on me meeting someone I guess, not even nine months out, not a chance in hell. I mean, come. on. you guys.

But then I met Joel, online, on Eharmony to be specific, over four years ago.

I was the first person he ever met online so he likes to say that he is ‘the best ever’ at online dating. I can’t disagree with him there. I am awesome. I wish I had met me on my first online date.

But, I didn’t.

My first online date in New York was so far down on the lower East side that I thought I’d mixed up the address. I didn’t know Manhattan went that far down, and I lived in StuyTown. Let me see, yes, there it is… the blue circle on the bottom. The Google calls it a “relaxed bar with eclectic bites”.

First Date

It occurred to me, while walking around down there in the dark with no other humans around, that I was going to be murdered. Damnit. I thought about running, but then I figured, I’d already met all my friends’ boyfriends’ friends and my guy friends’ friends and none of that had worked out. And my mom had begun reminding me that my clock was ticking every time I saw her blonde ass so, I just decided “Whatever, let’s do this.”

And it was fine.

He didn’t try to murder me. He liked Iron & Wine and craft beer and I was in a super emo phase, so that was nice. Turned out though, he had some unusual, genetic disease where his hands were slowly starting to fail him and he was going to get really sick in the near future. Not exactly the best news on a first date that’s going well.

But he was really excited to hear that it was my first internet date so we talked all about what I could expect, what to look out for and good ways to make a rapid exit gracefully. He bought all my drinks and we played darts. I love darts. It turned out to be the best, first, online date ever. I left feeling really hopeful, which was hard to explain to my mom. (“What do you mean, weird disease? Well, can he still have kids?”)

Between that first date and meeting Joel, there were a lot of mediocre dates, laughable dates and shitty, awful, awkward dates. One time, a guy tried to french me in the street so I smashed his knee with the cab door. One time, I dated someone for six weeks and then poof, he vanished, never heard a peep from him again. Not an awkward “It’s not you, it’s me” text. No email. No call. Nothing. He was either a total jerk or he got hit by a bus and no one else in his life had my number to let me know. I’ve decided on the latter and made my peace with his passing. R.I.P., homie.

I tried a bunch of different sites, I took a month off here and there, and I learned that drinking wine at home on a Tuesday and responding to online dating emails doesn’t always turn out well. More importantly though, I learned that if your mom is also online dating, try not to forget who is logged in on her laptop when you visit, ‘lest you have 84 responses from men over 60 waiting for you on a Sunday morning in New Jersey.

Through it all, I learned that dating can actually be really fun and comical, while simultaneously making you lose your will to go on but, it’s all gonna be okay. Really. Even if you think your clock is ticking, it’s not the end of the world when it doesn’t work out … if you don’t let it be.

Like so many things in life, it’s all about the story we are telling ourselves in our heads. We just have to calm down, try not to take anything personally, and leave our expectations at the door of the bar.

The other thing I did though, was read this book by Marie Forleo called Make Every Man Want You. Más importante, mi gente.

Make every man want you

I know it looks and sounds like a ridiculous book, one you might never admit to wanting to read, and definitely one you’d put inside of another whilst reading it on the subway but, I promise, that title is the Trojan Horse for a book about standing in your own worth. It gives you tools and strategies, not just for dating but, for living your life right now and for feeling good now versus waiting for your life to start when you get a boyfriend.

If I have any dating advice at all, it’s to calm down and read this book.

It’s fantastic. And I think implementing these strategies is what ultimately lead to feeling really good about me, my own life, and who I was, so that when I finally did meet Joel, I was feeling really good about D-Money.

So even though I really, really wanted to meet someone great, I was happy on my own too. And there’s nothing more attractive than a happy woman, amiright? Well, maybe a happy woman who is also really good at darts.

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Weekend Reads http://www.croptopsandkale.com/weekend-reads-11/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/weekend-reads-11/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 00:37:49 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=2645   Happy Saturday, friends. I hope you have some fun stuff lined up! I for one am tackling my closet today and have never been so excited to organize something, ever. I was serious last week when I said sign me… Continue Reading

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Parsnips-At-A-Glance-RL

Image via My Pretty Brown Blog

 

Happy Saturday, friends. I hope you have some fun stuff lined up! I for one am tackling my closet today and have never been so excited to organize something, ever. I was serious last week when I said sign me up for this capsule wardrobe business. I really think Caroline from Un-Fancy is on to something.

Here’s what we’re getting into this weekend:

Easter is swiftly approaching and these Carrot Cake Cupcakes (with coconut frosting!) from Taylor at Food Faith Fitness look fab. Thinking things will go over smoothly if I show up to family dinner with a tray full in tow.

Lori at Mussel Fit is spot on with this post about the power of community when it comes to fitness. As she writes, being a part of a group of like minded women can be life changing.

I made a sorry attempt at zucchini chips last weekend, and still not sure how it went south. But I’m thinking I may have better luck with parsnips, and this recipe from Artney looks could be just the ticket.

Who wants to send me to Italy for this food and prep styling & photography workshop with Annette Joseph? Don’t all jump at once.

One of my favorites, Anna, got real on The Yellow Table. Here’s a killer line for ya: “despite how you may feel, here’s the truth: you are enough. Right now. Exactly as you are.” The fact is, what we see and consequentially interpret to be other people’s lives on Instagram or Facebook is never really the full story. So let’s quit it with comparing ourselves to others, eh? We’ll all feel a whole lot better.

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Quick Turmeric Chicken Lettuce Wraps http://www.croptopsandkale.com/quick-turmeric-chicken-lettuce-wraps/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/quick-turmeric-chicken-lettuce-wraps/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:29:36 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=2626 When I was a teeny tiny BShan my favorite activity was to get dressed up, jam my favorite tape into the cassette player and perform a “show” for anyone who would watch. Namely, my parents. This hobby lasted through childhood… Continue Reading

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When I was a teeny tiny BShan my favorite activity was to get dressed up, jam my favorite tape into the cassette player and perform a “show” for anyone who would watch. Namely, my parents. This hobby lasted through childhood and progressed, I’m embarrassed to say, into college, when I drank too a little too much vino one night and tried to convince my friends to create a choreographed dance for my graduation party the following day. Haven’t been able to live that one down.

My performance of choice was, you guessed it, a cooking show, in which I’d recreate recipes I saw on the Food Network. I was notorious for leaving the kitchen in a state of destruction, and my mom with an ulcer.

babybshan

Circa 1990, and look how focused.

Years later I admittedly still love my cooking shows, but really who has time to recreate those recipes? Most days it’s a struggle to pick up ingredients let alone marinate, season and roast them. I blame Rachel Ray. 30 minutes my ass.

I’m all for cooking meals at home. You’ll save some money, skip the excess sugar, salt, etc., and know where the ingredients are coming from. It’s a surefire way to feel good. But you know what really feels good? Not spending a ton of time on homemade meals. That’s why I love shortcuts. These are key.

If I’m starving on the way home from work or the gym, I’m waaaay more likely to stop at the store and grab whatever (usually processed food) looks delicious if I know I don’t have anything quick to make at home. Same for you?

Stocking up on things that are easy to assemble helps, as does having a few weekly regulars, or easy dishes you love and never get tired of. This recipe is a newcomer, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be sticking around. Lettuce wraps are so simple to put together, and freakin’ delicious.

Things I already had at home: turmeric (anti-inflammatory and adds awesome flavor), chicken (I always keep some in the freezer), Peanut Dipping Sauce, and Sesame seeds.

Things I picked up at the store last minute: broccoli slaw and lettuce.

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Want five simple steps to feeling really good? Click to download the free CTK Feel Good Formula.

 Turmeric Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Makes 10 lettuce wraps

Ingredients

2 boneless chicken breasts

10 large lettuce leaves (I used bib lettuce)

1/2 bag of organic broccoli slaw (dry mixture of sliced broccoli, carrots and cabbage). Sliced daikon and radish could also be used here.

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tablespoon sesame seeds + extra for topping

Salt and pepper for seasoning

1/4 cup dipping sauce: I use this Peanut Sauce (if I’m short on time), but you could also make your own. Here’s a great recipe from Brittany over at Eating Bird Food.

Method

Season the chicken with turmeric, salt and pepper on both sides and a tablespoon of the dipping sauce. Add the sesame seeds and cook thoroughly.

While the chicken is cooking, you can assemble the lettuce wraps. All you have to do is arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate, spoon some slaw into each, add a sprinkle of turmeric and another sprinkle of sesame seeds. When the chicken is done, slice it up into strips and add a couple pieces to each lettuce leaf. Then roll em’ up like tacos and keep the dipping sauce nearby. Enjoy!

 

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