Monday, November 8, 2010

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." - Henry David Thoreau

Hey everyone!

It’s been a few days since I’ve last blogged – things have been so hectic with me the past week, I haven’t had a chance to breathe.  Here’s the gist of it.

Wednesday, 11/03 – My company’s dress rehearsal for the Autumn Performance Series.  I worked all day, then watched the rehearsal at 7:30.  Left the office at 9:00pm, caught the 9:46 train and made it home around 10:30.  No exercise that day.

Thursday, 11/04 – Opening of the Autumn Performance.  Didn’t get into work until about 12:30, but when I attempted to wake up at 8:00 that morning to do my workout, I was exhausted.  So I slammed the snooze button on my alarm like 2 or 3 times.  Stressful work environment always yields stress eating (for me, anyway), and I think I ate pizza for lunch.  BBQ chicken pizza from City View is really slammin’.  It tastes even better when you dip it in ranch dressing.  I’m sure my arteries thanked me for that one.  By the way, that little habit of dipping pizza in ranch dressing stems from my days at Bloomsburg.  I always used to eat the buffalo chicken pizza from the pizza kitchen on campus, and I ate it with ranch.  Guess old habits die hard.

Friday, 11/05 – Closing performance at work, plus an after party.  I worked about 12 hours that day.  Party ended about 11:30, but I worked in the office until 2:00 that morning, finishing up the programs for the touring engagement they had this past Sunday. Lucky for me, my coworker Judy was drinking wine and chatting with me while I completed my work. (That’s something else I’ll miss about this job when I leave – being able to “drink” on the job. It’s really only a glass or two of wine, but hey – where else is it legal to do that?”

Saturday, 11/06 – Awoke at 8:30am and made it to Office Max by 9:00 to photocopy the programs and deliver them back to the studio by 10:00.  Headed to Bloomingdale’s where to buy some Spanx for my cousin Tara’s wedding that evening.  Wedding ceremony and reception lasted from 5:00-10:30.  Lots of food and alcohol.  Left the reception with friends of mine, Ashley and Bob (who also got married 3 weeks ago), and met my college roommate at a bar around the corner.  More drinking.

Sunday, 11/07 – Woke up around 8:30 with a massive hangover. Popped 4 Advil and ate leftover wedding cake.  I realized that the bracelets I wore to the wedding were so heavy, that when I was dancing around they actually left BRUISES on my wrist and hand! War wounds definitely prove how awesome I was at cutting a rug lol.  Ash and Bob left around 9:30.  I ran around and did some light food shopping, went to my grandparents’ and my aunt Stacey’s house to pick up a package.

So, now that you’re caught up to date, I can get down to the details of this post:  Transitions!  The first call was last night.  There are three other women on the Sunday night call with me, along with my trainer.  Last night was just an introductory call.  We were assigned to write our commitment statements and our relationships with food.  A part of this exercise was to also state what we expect to gain from the program and challenges we may face, as well as plans to overcome those challenges.  Here are some of mine written below.

“I, Rachel Iannotti, promise to read the entire Transitions Daily Journal and put forth my best efforts to follow all components of the Transitions Lifestyle System.  My date for starting the program to become healthier and leaner is November 7, 2010.”  And I wrote my signature.

Write down why it is important for you to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
It is important for me to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle for lots of health reasons.  I have symptoms of hypoglycemia/low blood sugar.  By following Transitions, I will be able to manage healthy glucose levels.

Make a list of all the challenges you may face and how you will overcome them.

Potential Challenge – Plans to Overcome
Over-eating at home – No eating past 8:00pm
Getting caught off guard – Plan meals ahead of time
Feeling guilty for cheating – Do not berate myself

Today is also day 8 of the 21 Days Before Thanksgiving challenge.  Since I did not exercise for the past 5 days of the challenge, I’m just going to follow the program for the next 2 weeks and make up for the missed days during the week of Thanksgiving.  Today was a great start for me.  I power walked and jogged 4 miles!  I used one of Leslie Sansone’s workout DVDs and it took me about an hour to complete.  That’s 60 minutes of cardio!  I also used a resistance band for one of the miles as well.  What a great start to my week!

Before I sign off, I have a bit of an issue that I’m hoping you might give me advice with.  Everyone knows how important it is to drink at least 64oz. of water each day, but I find that as the temperature drops, it becomes harder for me to remember to drink water every hour or so.  Does anyone else have this challenge?  If so, what is your idea to drink more water?  I’ve been drinking a lot of hot tea lately, which is essentially just flavored hot water.  Any other thoughts?

Goodnight folks!  Until next time.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Election Day!

I hope you all rocked the vote today.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to vote.  It’s your civic duty.  Exercise your right to be informed and to choose.  Okay, I’m off the soapbox.

So. Did everyone have a wonderful Tuesday?  Today didn’t start out on the right foot for me.  I set my alarm to go off at 6:00 this morning, and the next thing I know, my eyeballs popped open at 8:06.  Yikes!  I’m always on the train by this time.  Lucky for me, my workplace is casual and relaxed. I sent a text to my boss and said I’d be in around 10:30.  No biggie.  As I was getting ready to put my sneakers on to head out the door, I realized that my argyle socks were inside out!  Oh well.

Being that I was in a rush, I made the not-so-healthy choice of a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast.  There is an Au Bon Pain (conveniently) located in the concourse of the train station, so I figured it can’t hurt.

Next stop was Starbucks. I usually indulge in their pumpkin spice latte, but seeing as it’s November, the peppermint mocha is back. So I had to get it.  My first peppermint mocha of the season, and probably my last.  Because Transitions starts on Sunday!  I talked to Meredith today and she said that there are definitely three people on the Sunday call, and possibly as many as five.  I may as well get the indulgences in now before I make the jump to cut out my bad dietary habits.

Work was a crazy blur, as usual.  We have a performance coming up this Thursday and Friday.  YOU need to buy your tickets!  There is also an after party on Friday immediately following the performance, hosted by yours truly.  I’ll be tending bar that night too.  My company was fortunate enough to have a beer sponsorship by Philly-based Yards Brewery.  So, beer and wine tastings are included with your door fee.  $25.  Tax deductible.  Come!

Didn’t have a chance to eat lunch until 3:30 today.  I got a chicken salad sandwich on rye toast from my favorite pizzeria, City View Pizza, on 16th & Spring Garden.  This sandwich was massive.  I’m telling you, it could have fed a small country.  I only ate half and saved the other.  Lunch tomorrow!  While we’re on the topic of City View Pizza, I highly recommend their BBQ chicken pizza.  Seriously.  It’s slammin’.  And when you dip it in ranch dressing – heavenly.  Their slices are ginormous as well, so one slice will definitely satisfy.  I have to put that on my list for lunch this week.  Last slice of pizza for a bit!  And, since I will be changing jobs, I won’t be around the corner from the joint anymore.  Next time I am in the neighborhood, I can look forward to CVP as a treat.  Treats aren’t so bad in moderation.

Today marks the second day of the 21-Day Challenge!  Day two was a light exercise day and only required a 1-mile walk plus upper body strength training.  I did complete the one mile DVD, plus I used 3-pound hand weights.  I also walk to work everyday from the train, so that’s one mile each way.  I completed a total of three miles on foot today!  That deserves a pat on the back J

Here’s a little tip from me before I sign off for the night.  If you go into itunes and search Gabrielle Bernstein, you’ll be able to download her meditations right onto your ipod.  When I first put them on my ipod, they were free downloads.  I’m not sure if they are still free, but it’s worth checking out.  One of my favorite meditations is the Sleeping Meditation.  Every night when I go to bed, I put that meditation on repeat.  Just a few deep breaths and I am out like a light.  Gabrielle explains when you are in a meditative state, you calm your beta frequency brain waves and relax into your alpha frequency brain waves.  When your brain is in the alpha state, your mind is very creative.  In the Sleeping Meditation, Gabby helps you to practice calm breathing.  At night when I lie in bed, I inhale and say to myself “I have courage.”  When exhaling, I think “I have faith.”  I repeat the breathing pattern and use different phrases – peace, serenity, calm, acceptance, etc.  And I always end with breathing in “stillness” and breathing out “silence.”  Works every time.

Let me know how things are working out for you!  Thanks for the comments and emails.  I’ve received a few already.  Keep them coming!

Live well,

Monday, November 1, 2010

"I woke up this morning, the sunshine was shining.  I put on my happy face." - Destiny's Child

Hi everyone.  How was your Monday?  I can't complain.  I have two more weeks before I start my new job, so now I am just relaxing and enjoying the time off before I go back to work full time.

Today is Day 1 of the 21-Day Challenge!  I started off the day well!  I woke up at 8:00, laced up my sneaks and popped in one of my favorite walking DVDs. Today's challenge required a 3-mile walk to be completed in 45 minutes or less.  And that I did!  I thought I would be tired and winded, seeing as I have not done a Leslie Sansone exercise in a few months, but turns out, it's just like riding a bike.  And, it was a great aerobic workout.

I sat down after my workout and plugged into my ipod.  I always start my day with a quiet meditation, one of Gabrielle Bernstein's exercises.  Usually her Morning Meditation.  Her voice is calm and soothing.  I love that I can just zone out the world and create my own little utopia.  That's the power of meditation.

I had a doctor's appointment today and I was completely enamored by the foliage on my commute home.  I exited Rt. 1 and came to a stop off the exit ramp.  There were rows and rows of trees, all different shapes and sizes, in beautiful colors of reds, oranges and goldenrod yellows. If I hadn't taken 10 minutes this morning to set my intentions with love and gratitude, I guarantee you I wouldn't have paid any attention to anything around me (only my growling stomach).

Today was also fantastic because I was able to enjoy the company of my college roommate, Maria.  We had lunch at our favorite diner, the Eagle Diner, where we munched on their award-winning salad bar and coffee.  I enjoyed a piece of cheesecake as well (hey, Transitions hasn't started yet!), since I was in such good company I wouldn't be able to berate myself.

We sat at the diner drinking coffee and chatting for about 2 hours.  We then headed to Maria's apartment to engage in classic Bloomsburg University-style roommate bonding.  We watched about 5 hours of trashy, on demand cable tv (including Jersey Shore, Intervention and Teen Mom) and had grilled cheese for dinner. Maria then brought out the boxed wine and everything we had planned on doing went out the window. That's what happens when you drink vino - you don't get anything accomplished.

Here we are graduating from college.  May 2006

We did, however, make plans to cook for Maria's 27th birthday in 3 weeks.  She's inviting some friends over for food, drink and good times.  I'm looking forward to it.  I really miss that we don't live together anymore :( Those were two of the best years of my college life.  I sometimes wish I could go back to college, when all my friends lived no more than a few blocks away, and my only "problems" were deciding what to wear to the bar.  Le sigh.

Until next time.  Over and out.

Happy healthy,

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Helloooo out there!  Happy Halloween and welcome to my first-ever blog!  I decided to start this blog on a whim.  I woke up in the middle of the night, grabbed a pen and paper, and wrote down the word BLOG.   Before you start thinking about how nuts I am, let me first introduce myself and tell you what this story is going to be about. I’ll also let you in on my lingo as well.

First and foremost:  My name is Rachel.  You can call me Rae.  I live in Philadelphia. I’m an aimless (and proud) twenty-something young woman who loves life, food, music, and fashion.  I’m a marketing professional, entrepreneur and a certified makeup artist.  I’m a daughter, sister, niece, grandchild and friend.  I’m loud and obnoxious.  This is also known as Italian.  I’m basically a bundle of fun.  If you know me, then you understand this.  If you don’t know me, well then hopefully you’ll gain an insight through my chatterings.

So, about this blog.  As you know, we’re right in the heart of the Autumn season.  My favorite time of year.  You know that buzz that comes around right at the end of the summer, where everyone goes back to school and vacations come to a close?  That’s the absolute best. For me, the Autumn signifies change.  Change of seasons, change in me.  Some people use the New Year as a time for new beginnings.  For me, it’s the Fall.  And, being that tomorrow is November 1, I figured it’s a great time to start some new work on myself.  This is where the blog comes in.

I’m going to use these next 12-15 weeks (maybe more!) as my time frame for a total transformation of myself.  My goal is to change how I feel about myself for the better.  I will accomplish this by utilizing a variety of media and methods.  And I’ll talk about those too.  The blog is to hold myself accountable.  Because I live alone, it is really easy for me to slip up and cheat.  Nobody will see me!  But if I document it here, on the web, for everyone to see, then it’s kind of a way to keep myself in line. 

Okay, so why the change?  Well, because when I tried this transformation before, I didn’t give it 100% effort.  Even when I didn’t commit totally, I felt better about myself.  So, why not give it the full effort and feel totally rockin’ every day?  It sounds good to me.

The first method of change I will make use of is weight loss.  This is a big one for me.  I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I went away to college, back in 2002.  It’s eight years later, and it isn’t getting any easier.  So, I’ve hired myself a Personal Trainer and a Healthy Living Coach to kick my butt into shape, and to help me make the right decisions.  My trainer is a certified Pilates instructor and her name is Meredith Riley Stewart.  She’s a kick-ass lady.  And she’s my friend.  Anyway, one of Meredith’s specialties (among her many talents) is teaching and coaching others how to live happy and healthy lives through a program called Transitions Lifestyle System.  I’ve completed the program a few weeks ago.  Half-assed, really.  She knows it and I know it.  I told myself I’m going to do the program again and follow it exactly as it was designed.  I had awesome results with the program, and I know if I do it correctly, then I’ll have REALLY awesome results.  So, the program will start again in a week or two.  If you’re interested in joining myself and others, contact me.  I’ll get you in touch with Meredith for more information.  In the meantime, check out Transitions Lifestyle System.

We all know that to be successful in losing weight, ya gotta exercise.  True story.  Lucky for me, I like to exercise most of the time.  There are days that I wish I could lose the weight by sitting on my ass, but that doesn’t work for me.  Exercise it is.  I can’t afford a gym membership right now, so all I’ve got is my own body. And the outdoors.  I do, however, have a DVD player and a television, so exercise videos will work.  My method of choice: walking.  Over a year ago, after eating a massive plate of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, I felt like a slug.  I clicked on my TV and found a walking program through my on demand cable service.  It’s called Walk at Home and the founder of the program is Leslie Sansone.  Leslie has designed the program to be easy and accessible to everyone.  And it is!  You can do the program if you have two legs and can move. Each month, Leslie offers up a different challenge for walk enthusiasts such as myself.  Her new challenge for the month of November is the 21 Days Before Thanksgiving challenge.  The goal of this challenge is to prepare your mind and body before the stress of the holiday season sets in. Sounds good to me!  It begins tomorrow, November 1. You can check out Leslie Sansone and the Walk at Home program on the web and her Facebook.

One last thing.  To change your body, you have to be willing to change your mind as well.  Enter positive thoughts and meditation.  For this, I follow the teachings and practices of Gabrielle Bernstein.  Gabrielle is the author of the book Add More ~ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness.  She is also a motivational speaker and life coach.  For Christmas last year, my mother gave the book to me.  I absolutely dig it.  Gabrielle teaches you to bulldoze negative thought patterns through her ~ing method: Rethinking, Moving and Writing. It’s really powerful stuff.  ~ing stands for inner guidance. When you follow Gabrielle’s ~ing equation, you learn to tune out your ego and listen to the love and guidance that you have inside you.  Gabrielle describes the ego as that nasty voice inside your head that says “You are too fat” or “You will never amount to anything.”  It happens to all of us.  I’ve been practicing listening to my ~ing for almost a year.  I’ve gotten so good at listening that I am now able to say to my ego “Thanks for sharing that thought.”  I tune out my ego and I listen to my ~ing.  My ~ing represents love and kindness.  When you choose to live in love instead of negativity, pretty soon the only thing that’s left to choose IS love.  And really, who wants to live in a negative state of mind anyway?  Check out Gabrielle Bernstein’s book.  Check her website at And, if you’re a woman, visit Her Future.  Her Future is a social network for women to find a mentor and be a mentor to others.  It’s such an awesome community.  I highly recommend it.

Okay kids, that’s about enough.  I applaud you if you’ve made it all the way to the end of my first post!  Thanks for checking in.  I’ll try to blog daily.  If you feel moved to do so, you can follow me on twitter @riannotti.  And email me your thoughts, questions, comments, rants, raves, whatev.  I’d love to hear from you!  Send them to me at  Sending you lots of love on this gorgeous fall day.  I believe in you.