Monday, January 21, 2013

There is nothing good about getting sick...except love. THANK YOU ILs!

I've been extremely sick for the past seems like forever, but it was only six days. I always have friends that I can turn to and inconvenience if necessary, but I always turn to my family first. and they certainly did not disappoint. I can handle a certain amount of sickness, but I definitely exaggerate and turn in to a giant baby. No matter where I am in the world, I always call whining to my mother, and to a lesser extent share with my dad as well. My mother was in Washington DC celebrating the 100 year anniversary of her sorority, so I had to rely solely on my siblings.

The first night I was curled up in the bathroom, and unexpectedly one sibling came in and asked if I needed anything and handed me a cup of ice water with a straw.

The next day my sister's boyfriend stopped by to check on me and my grandmom even called me. That day was the fake out day, because I thought that I was all better because I didn't have any symptoms after 10:30AM, but then everything started back up at 8PM.

The day after that when I really thought that I was going to die (here is the exaggeration). My sisters tried to call me and when I couldn't talk they texted with me to find out what I needed. They communicated with each other and my mother to help me the best that they could. One sister even brought my niece and nephew over to visit., which was kind of horrible since I couldn't come near them, but it was still really great to see them. And they also decided amongst themselves that I was exaggerating and wouldn't call my doctor, which I am still a little bitter about.... My other mother, my mom's best friend, even called to check up on me, and offered to stop by.

I have been sick like this one time before when I was living in Chicago. I was alone, had to get everything for myself, and the whole experience was just draining. I did have a housemate who bought me a few items, but my internet connection wasn't what it is today, and I wasn't able to talk on the phone to anyone, so I was pretty much alone on the bathroom floor for several days.

This time it was completely different, I have wonderful extended family members and friends that also would have helped me out if I needed them to, but for those of you that have siblings, you know that it is a different type of relationship. I am very blessed and fortunate to have three such wonderful people in my life, and love them very dearly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Music List for 2013

Justin's ready...or so he says. This promo video came out to tease us a couple days ago, and at midnight on 1/14/13 he made "Suit and Tie" available. Still no word on when the album drops, but Justin Timberlake is as spicy as ever. (Yes I am a little bit biased. I have loved him ever since the N'Sync days)

Destiny's Child: "Love Songs"

I'm not sure how I feel about this song. Apparently it was previously recorded but unreleased? DC did an excellent job of hyping up fans though, rumor has it that there are only a few new songs, and the rest are from the hey day of DC. I hope that they include this track.

KE$HA: This video is kinda weird, but I loved Ke$ha's last album and I'm sure this one won't disappoint.

Solange-I think she's found her own voice and her own image. This is probably one of the most fashionable videos out there. You can see her playful personality, her willingness to experiment, and fortunately there are some great vocals to back up the story line.

Of course I'm also feelin' AKeys' new music, reluctantly eagerly anticipating whatever foolishness Nicki Minaj has cooked up this year and am waiting for Dev and Lady Sovereign to put out something new. I haven't heard anything, just putting positive vibes out there!

But the artist I'm most excited for is Tamar Braxton!!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fashion in Bulk

I think I'm like most people sometimes when I shop. When I find an item of clothing that works for me, I buy it in as many colors as possible. I've got 20 or so silk collared shirts, cause I was on a kick this fall. I have several cotton blend cardigans from the same store, more than a few shirt styles in two or more colors, and I own at least 10 pair of shoes that are multiples as well.  Fall 2012 I came across these DKNY skinny jeans at TJMaxx. I really loved the color, there was a good blend of cotton and elastic that make them very comfortable, and they fit perfectly.

I found another pair right before Thanksgiving in this dark turquoise blue, and then last week I scored with a pair in gray and a purple pair that were on sale. Cha-ching!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Healthy Heart, Stylish Heart.

My name is JRochelle and I have a confession to make. I have had high cholesterol since I was 19 years old. Although my eating/fitness habits are a factor, genetics play a big part in my "condition". My father is a certified personal trainer and has been battling high cholesterol for years until recently when his doctor told him there was a genetic component and began prescribing "statins". Statins are prescription drugs that lower cholesterol by targeting the liver. Although they are very effective there can be major side effects on the liver after prolonged use. In my mind my liver is already shot based on years of partying, so ingesting statins for the next 40-50 years does not sound promising...

I will admit that my fitness and eating habits have tanked over the last two years which may have increased my cholesterol levels, so I decided to get some extra support to get back on track. I have been researching fitness centers and my health insurance benefits in order to figure out what steps I should take.

My health insurance covers six visits with a registered dietician per year, so I last week I scheduled an appointment with Diamond Nutrition Counseling. I had a great session with Rita. We went over my eating habits; we talked about my goals and we compromised on ways to make changes. She wanted me to cut out my desserts, but instead I agreed to eat whole wheat bread and drink more water. There were some other changes that we both agreed on, and one other that we disagreed upon. I generally have the discipline to control my food choices and portion sizes, but I have let my hectic work schedule dictate my choices in the last six months, so I was looking for some additional accountability. Ever since that session I've been thinking more about my food and beverage choice at mealtimes, so far so good.

Photo Credit: Diamond Nutrition Counseling

I've also taken some steps to change my exercise habits from occasionally walking to something more fixed. First I checkout my health insurance benefits. My plan offers a refund after 120 workouts in a 365 day period. I then researched local gyms in the area, comparing prices, group fitness classes, amenities, location, and finally settled on the 12th Street Gym. The location is convenient. There are five weekly Pilates classes, a steam room, a sauna, and best of all as a Zipcar member the initiation fee was waived. Also the sales rep made an error so I got an additional month for free. According to my calculations after deducting the refund, my membership is a whopping $15.38 per month!!!

The next step was to figure out an exercise routine that would fit my lifestyle. I've finally decided, after six months of talking about it, to start walking to work every day. I am also attending three Pilates classes per week, and doing 60minutes of cardio and weight lifting for three days/week.

On Wednesday I started off strong. I put on my sneakers and walked the 2.1 miles to work in only 30minutes. I planned to go to a mid-day Pilates class, but couldn't fit it into my work schedule. Thursday I walked again, and after work headed to the evening Pilates class. Friday I started to walk to work, but only made it 10 minutes into my journey before I got tired. After work I did 30minutes of cardio and then lifted weights for about 15minutes. Despite my fatigue on Saturday I made it to the 11AM Pilates class.

I did go a little overboard this week, and my body has been screaming at me constantly. My abs hurt when I sneeze, laugh or even look at them the wrong way! My other muscles have recovered from the shock of increased exercise, but I am currently being plagued with increased fatigue and cravings for protein which is certainly not unusual.

I'm excited to see how far I can push myself in the next few weeks before I scale back to something that is a little more manageable and less time consuming.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Boots Galore

For the record I have been trying to fight this "bootie" trend since it came back in '04/'05. I was around in the '90s when they had their moment, and I even owned a few pairs, but when they came back I said to myself and my dear friend "DP" agreed that booties are confusing. They aren't real boots and they aren't shoes like pumps so they have no real identity or purpose. Fast forward to October 2012. I jumped head over heels onto the sneaker wedge trend. I fell in love when the Isabel Marants came out. I love the versions by ASH and I even love the Jeffrey Campbells. All of my favorite celebrities and bloggers were showcasing a pair, so I jumped on the bandwagon. I can't wear sneakers to work, so I rocked my sneaker wedges every weekend, at trade shows, fashion events, out to dinner and even just for walking around downtown. I was wearing pumps and sandals to work, but then all of a sudden it was cold, and it was real, and I was struggling to find shoes to wear to work that wouldn't cause my toes to freeze. Sidebar: I used to rock heels in the winter with no socks or tights, but I spent four brutal winters in Chicago and I now have a fear of being cold. I wear way too many layers and have even dared to wear flats to work in order to wear my wool socks....and it really hasn't been that cold here.

So I decided, since I prefer to wear heels to work and my wool socks, and I had already conformed to the sneaker wedge trend, it wouldn't be a stretch to explore booties. Well I went overboard, especially with the Holiday's a few of my purchases!

Monday, January 7, 2013

MLK Jr Day...Not Just a Day Off From Work...

Looking for something to do? Visit the official site for MLK, Jr. Day of Service (Philly Tri-State) volunteer opportunities. Register online and you can find activities that range from haircuts for children, food prep, outdoor and indoor clean up, painting, beautification projects, and awareness events, such as this one organized by City Year. You can also check out the national site for more information.

Register Here.

The Food Trust brought us the Night Markets but they do more than just bring food trucks together. They run farmer's markets, community education and more! Other local food-based organizations include the Mitzvah Project, MANNA, PhilAbundance and SHARE.

Many organizations offer opportunities year-round with flexible schedules that work with your own. Donate your time to children in South Philly's United Communities,or victim/survivors at Women Organized Against Rape or DelCo Women Against Rape. Bring smile to someone's face by spending time at your nearest hospital including the Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

You can even join the Philly Clean Up , attorneys can volunteer with ACLU, and all skill levels are welcome to join Back on My Feet: Philly Chapter to train together for the Broad Street Run in May 2013.

If you prefer you can even become a foster parent for a pet of a military service member through PACT or a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA's mission " to train and support community volunteers to advocate for the health, safety, stability and well-being of abused and neglected children. " Philly Chapter, Delaware County Chapter.


Don't feel like giving up your only free day, or unable to take time off from work? 
No worries, all non-profit organizations accept donations, many online, 
but also check out these local companies that make a difference...

United by Blue "For every product sold, UBB removes 1 pound of trash from our world's oceans and waterways."

KNO Clothing "When you shop at KNO, we give 50% of our profits to help end homelessness. Your purchase provides an article of clothing to someone in need and supports the work of our partners in over 150 different communities across the United States."

When you shop at thrift stores (not consignment or vintage shops) such as these, you help the environment by recycling garments, and the money from your purchases help to fund worthy projects, Impact Thrift Stores , Philly AIDS Thrift Store, The Wardrobe Boutique supports The Career Wardrobe.

Didn't find anything that interests you? Donate to the American Red Cross to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, military service members and other Americans in need. Check out these search engines to find an opportunity near you: VolunteerMatch, IdealistMainLine Patch.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year’s Eve Reflections

Happy New Year!!!

Photo Credit: Tiffany & Co.

This time of year I, like everyone else in America, begin to reflect on the progresses and failures of the previous year and what I could do differently to make the next year better.  This has actually been an amazing year. I started the year unemployed and nervously considering starting a business, and I am ending it with a career and a business that has grown into something wonderful, and has the potential to continue to grow. This was also a year of beginnings in my personal life. I turned 30; started a new decade and I have a new nephew (5years old) and a baby niece. Watching her grow in the few weeks that she has been alive has been so inspiring! I am so excited to watch her personality develop. Most of her time is consumed with sleeping or nursing, so it’s great that she is beginning to play and become aware of the world around her.  She is already ready to walk; everyone comments on how strong her little legs are already. She bounces and can bear weight (with assistance obviously), and I’m convinced she’s going to be a track star. 

Despite all of the positive experiences this year, I also have had some negative ones as well. There are mistakes that have been made, opportunities missed out on, some relationships that I wish to repair and others that I know ended naturally. There were times when I thought that I was just going to drown in failure and had no idea if I really had what it takes to develop a successful business. I’ve never been one to regret anything that I’ve done. I try to learn from all of my mistakes so that I don’t repeat them, and I also try to associate with people that understand me and can compensate for my weaknesses and flaws. I have also learned that I am horrible at photography and marketing. My business needs are quickly outgrowing my limited skills, but fortunately I have met people that excel in both of those areas and are interested in working with me.  
I’ve also had a variety of experiences and feedback that has helped to shape my vision and plan for my business moving forward, so get excited for 2013. I certainly am!