Posts tagged Fall Fashion
November – Grateful & Thankful
 

Where did the time go?  Phew! What a month October has been. I’ve had so much going on, more than usual. I’ve had many challenges in my personal and business life, dealt with health issues, the continuous care for my parents and being present with my family. At one point I was so overwhelmed, it felt like the world was caving in on me. Then, one day, I had an epiphany. I suddenly felt the urge to step back, slow down, say no to many things and put my responsibilities into perspective. I realized that I did not have to do it all, I am not responsible for everyone’s happiness, and success is a journey that I will continue to pursue. I stopped pushing myself to the limit and started being in the moment.  This action reminded me to appreciate what’s present and to continue to be inspired by my challenges and experiences. It seems quite fitting that Thanksgiving is slowly approaching. I am grateful and thankful for taking the time to change old habits and start new ones that are much more gratifying and fulfilling.   It’s a great reminder to look around and be grateful for all the things you’ve overlooked. As I get ready to enjoy my family and the Thanksgiving holiday, I encourage you to pause and take note of the good things and people in your life.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Renate

 
 
food-photographer-jennifer-pallian-146575-unsplash.jpg

Food

Seasonal Dishes

 
 

I love food! And when the holiday season approaches, I am even more excited to pull out my menu and recipes to get ready for all the delicious dishes my family and I look forward to indulging in as we celebrate. I know many people are concerned about gaining weight during this time of the year and are afraid to enjoy the extra dishes that come with the season.  A question I often get from my friends is, “How do you manage to stay in shape and not gain weight during this time?” Here are my tips:

  • I eat as I normally do on a regular day, consuming my usual portions.

  • When there are many dishes and sides, I take a little of each. This way I get to taste everything without being stuffed.

  • Even though it’s the holiday season, I keep my normal daily exercise regimen.

  • And, most of all, when I prepare my food, I pay attention to the ingredients. If you can spare the time to cook your meals, do that! If time doesn’t allow, then select dishes that aren’t full of sodium, high sugars, and preservatives. 

Here is my delicious, quick and easy to make, fresh cranberry sauce recipe. Give it a try!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and drained

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • (5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) 1/3 cup water

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 3 whole cloves

  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 orange, zest and juice

In a medium pot, combine the cranberries, sugar, and water. Stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. Mix well and let continue to simmer for 5-7 minutes. Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole. Add the orange zest and juice and stir. Remove from heat, remove and discard the cinnamon stick and cloves. Cool before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

 
 
2014-11-20 11.33.41.jpg

Fashion

Holiday Ready

 
 

Thanksgiving is always held at my house where I am the chief-cook-and-bottle washer, so I keep my style casual with a dash of modern, classy and of course elegance.  I like to look polished and pulled together even if our Thanksgiving celebration leans a little more on the casual side.

Here are a few fashion ideas I have discovered and am fond of for the Thanksgiving weekend. Whether I am going out to visit friends or family, they are appropriate and versatile:

  1. Leggings + Sweater + Flats

    Leggings are the ultimate casual comfort pants, but there’s a fine line between looking chic in leggings and looking frumpy.  It is important to have a top that covers your bottom and longer in the back than it is in the front. A beautiful sweater will create a polished look when paired with leggings along with flats or mules.

  2. Sweater Dress + Riding Boots + Scarf

    This is one of my favorite fall and winter styles. I love the easy-going look of a classy sweater dress with a pair of riding boots.  Add a beautiful scarf and you’re good to go!

  3. Skinny Jeans + Poncho + Booties

    This style is a good example of how to do easy elegance. It is simply jeans, a t-shirt (white) and booties with a poncho thrown over the top. This look is special because of the sophisticated individual elements. Choose a poncho that has nice color and color blocking (brown, purple, grey tones) with unique details and style such as pockets and fringe. Add a nice handbag to complement your outfit. All of these individual pieces are lovely in this outfit and will work well with other items in your closet. Be on the lookout for these kinds of versatile things!

I hope you find one of these outfits helpful and show up in style for Thanksgiving dinner.

 
 
IMG_4836.JPG

Family

Gratitude

 
 

Thanksgiving is a special time to be thankful for great families, fortunate events, caring friends, and all the other gifts of life. As my family gathers around our dinner table to enjoy the delectable feast, we share what each of us is thankful for. One thing we all have in common is that we are grateful for being a close-knit family despite the challenges we endure.

I’ve realized that life tends to whiz by without hesitation or any sign of slowing down and, in the madness, it’s very easy to forget to be thankful for all the awesome things we are given in life. Consistently keeping track of what you are thankful for and acting on those feelings of appreciation can not only make you happier, but it can actually boost your immune system and keep you healthier. So as you get ready to gather with your family and friends, take time to recognize the positive things in your life. Expressing gratitude can be a cleansing, wholesome experience!

 
Fall Fun
 
chili4.jpg

Food

Chilly Weather

 
 

It's cozy time: the season of warm and hearty soups, stews, and my favorite Chicken Chili, which is another delicious recipe featured in my cookbook Just Eat! This makes a great weekend meal and is perfect for an intimate gathering around a beautiful lit fire pit with family and friends. It will keep bellies full and warm. Slow down and enjoy food, family, and friendship with bowls of Chili that won’t make you chilly!

Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 10 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded (if desired)

  • 1 sweet white onion, peeled and halved

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4-6 pieces of skinless, boneless chicken thighs, diced into very small cubes

  • ¼ cup chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon Adobo all purpose seasoning

  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning & dash of paprika

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 or 2 (depending on your taste for heat) canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce - seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained

 

Method:

  1. Wash and drain chicken well; season with the Creole seasoning, Adobo seasoning, poultry seasoning, paprika and Worcestershire sauce. Marinate for 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven broiler with rack about 3 inches from heat source. Arrange tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, and garlic, cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until starting to char, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Pulse tomatoes and jalapeno in a blender or food processor until chunky or smooth (as desired). Separately, chop onions and mince the garlic.

  3. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat; add olive oil; add the chicken and cook until brown for 5-10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring for one minute; stir in chipotles and add chicken, raise heat to high. Stir in tomato mixture and cook scraping up browned bits, 3-5 mins. Stir in broth; simmer for 20 minutes. Taste for the desired flavor. Add beans and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Tip: Enjoy with sweet cornbread, fragrant cooked jasmine or basmati white rice and mixed green salad. Healthy, nutritious and delicious.

 

 
 
annie-spratt-466752-unsplash.jpg

Fashion

Autumn Hues

 
 

Have you ever found yourself staring blankly at the nail polish wall of your favorite store? You're not alone. I love switching over to the serene colors of fall, but along with the excitement, I become overwhelmed with the number of shade options...and the number keeps growing when my favorite nail polish brands add new shades into the mix!

To help me with my “nail color dilemma,” I apply the same strategy as I do with clothes and shoes: I seek out what’s in for the season by reading magazines, watching runway shows, and browsing boutiques and salons. Then, I save time by narrowing it down to what’s suitable for my complexion, age, and style.

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up during my research:

  • When you're in the mood for a low-key manicure color, choose warm beige.

  • Try jewel-toned polishes! Like switching back to hot coffee or cocoa when the temperature gets cool, a rich emerald nail color feels natural for the season.

  • Adding a metallic element to any jewel-toned shade gives the fall staple a whole new look.

  • A mauve-y shade is ideal for Ultra Violet purple fans looking to transition their favorite shade into the new season. 

  • Nothing screams fall quite like a deep, oxblood manicure.

  • My #1 pick for the season is a luminous sapphire or ice blue polish!

  • Burnt orange nail polish reminds me of pumpkin spice and is another fall-favorite that makes its triumphant return every year. Whether you go with a terracotta, turmeric, or rusty, the earthy shade is a great neutral. However, it’s not a shade that goes with everything

  • The autumn alternative to millennial pink is a warm rosy polish by Essie.

Whether you stick to neutrals or you're a fan of bold colors (as I am), I hope you are less overwhelmed and more enthusiastic as you set out to shop trendy, fun colors...no matter your manicure vibe!

 
 
IMG_0246.JPG

Family

Carving Family Fun

 
 
IMG_0336.JPG

You may have heard me say this quite a few times, but I absolutely love fall. What I love the most is the wonderful memories I’ve created, or shall I say carved (in honor of Halloween), with my family. We marked the calendar for going to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch to pick apples and pumpkins and even scheduled watching scary movies. Everyone looks forward to drinking hot apple cider, eating apple cider donuts, and roaming the orchard picking a variety of apples. Then comes pumpkin carving day. We get creative – no contest, just plain fun and family time spent together. Though my son and daughter are adults, we still get together for this lovely autumn family tradition.

 

Explore all the happiness and beauty autumn offers by starting your own Fall Family Traditions! Here a few tips:

  • Seek out an apple orchard and check the schedule for the picking season. It’s fun to have one that offers hayrides and pumpkin patches.

  • When picking out pumpkins for carving, choose a funny-shaped pumpkin that will look even more unusual when carved.

  • Pick a day or evening for the family to get together for pumpkin carving time. Play some Halloween music or put on a movie; it’s nice to set the ambiance for this fun time! Carve away and share conversations while you create your spooky or cute jack-o-lantern. 

  • After carving, rub a little petroleum jelly on the carving areas. This helps preserve the jack-o-lantern and prevent it from drying out as fast.

  • For added safety, try using a battery operated tea light candle instead of a regular candle.

  • Most of all, have fun with your family! Dress up in a nice or scary costume while handing out candies to the trick-or-treaters.

September is Here!
 
2015-09-20 12.18.22 HDR.jpg

Food

Autumn Soups

 
 

September is finally here! I get excited with the cooler weather, trees changing colors, and pulling out my soup recipes to warm up with. My family and I look forward to visiting apple orchards, drinking hot cider and indulging in everything pumpkin spice and maple syrup. One of our favorite autumn soups is my Butternut Squash Soup. As soon as, the first touch of cool temperature sets in, we look forward to this easy-to-make, highly nutritious, and hearty meal. Low in fat, it delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.

Follow my recipe and enjoy bowls of it with your family. It’s such a requested soup among my friends that I’ve been asked to add it to my collection of recipes in my soon-to-be-released cookbook, “Just Eat”.

Butternut Squash Soup: Makes about 12 servings

  • 1 (2 1/2 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (or 1 container of prepared butternut squash from the supermarket)

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

  • 1 large sweet Vidalia onion, thinly sliced

  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped

  • ½ yellow bell pepper, chopped

  • 2 celery stalks, chopped

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, plus more as needed

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

  • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, red and yellow peppers and chopped celery. Stir and cook for 3 minutes, then add garlic, lower heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly golden, about 8 minutes; lower heat as necessary to prevent burning.

Add squash and carrot to the pot and mix well. Add stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, or with an immersion blender, until completely smooth. Pour soup back into the pot and return to the stove on medium heat. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste and simmer for 5 minutes. Thin, if necessary, with additional stock until desired consistency is reached.

Serve soup into warmed bowls and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds.

 
 
IMG_6389.JPG

Fashion

Fall Fabulous & Fresh

 
 

Fall is one of my favorite seasons (along with winter). I recently celebrated my birthday — and, of course, with each birthday, I reflect on many things. I also make sure I pay attention to my sense of fashion because I feel that age is no longer a barrier when it comes to dressing with panache and style.

As you may know, I LOVE fashion. I like to think I got it from my Mom. She was quite the fashionista in her young days and I’m proud to see that she still upkeep her image. I realized that so many stigmas are noted for women as they get older and I wonder why? Why can’t we just enjoy dressing and being happy? Getting older shouldn’t mean we have to stop dressing nicely and enjoying the latest styles and trends, just as long as they are well suited, of course.  For example, I don’t think ripped jeans are my style at 53!

Here are a few things that I’ve done as my fall refresher, and it’s quite fitting because it ties into celebrating my birthday.

I got a hair trim and refreshed my highlights. In the past, I’ve tried wearing short hair but I feel it doesn’t suit me (although I’ve received compliments and comments that I wear it well).  But it still didn’t feel right for ME. So I wear my hair long, because that is what I enjoy.

I’ve visited my favorite boutiques and catalogs and picked out seasonal styles for work and outings. Adding a new scarf is a part of my sprucing up my closet. You don’t have to always buy many new clothing, but adding the latest accessories will brighten your outfit.

I bought new ballerina shoes in shades of brown and taupe as they are beautiful hues for fall. Navy blue and grey are nice colors, too.

 I don’t care for some styles; here are a few of my “no-no’s”

  • Don’t wear match-matchy jewelry. 

  • Don’t wear “boxy” clothing. 

  • Don’t wear workout clothes as an outfit – except to work out!

Though simple, these things are important to me and self-care is the best you can do for yourself. I hope I’ve encouraged you to take some time for self care and enjoy shopping for a new scarf or cardigan as you get ready to enjoy the cooler temperature. I know I am! Just embrace the new, fresher, younger looking you and dress the part. You ARE fabulous after all!

 
 
danielle-macinnes-222441-unsplash.jpg

Family

A New Chapter

 
 

Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer and most students are back in school or heading off to college. For some parents this can be bittersweet, which can make them feel nostalgic and overwhelmed at the same time. I remember going through that when my son went off to college and my daughter was finishing high school. It all felt surreal and I had a deep drop in my heart as I realized they are no longer little children. A lot of the things we did together had changed and I started to get sad by overthinking a lot of things.  Fortunately, I learned how to take those melancholy thoughts and turn them into happy memories. I comforted myself that they have become the people I hoped they would, which meant I could focus on watching them continue to grow. 

Here’s what I found helpful and beneficial — I started my own business. This lead to meeting new people, and I have been kept successfully busy since then. I have enjoyed watching my children’s growth; all the emptiness that I thought would have existed did not get a chance to happen. It was always great when our family did get together and we continue to do so whenever the opportunity arise and make memories.

Just because your children have grown up and are ready for another level of class or off to colleges, it doesn’t mean your life should become empty.  Get involved in something that serves your purpose and make new friends. This is another chapter of our lives to be lived well and enjoyed!