Let’s Talk About Sweets, Baby…

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Yesterday we talked about staying in shape, which is very important.  But a little indulgence can be good for you too!  Especially this time of year, with Valentine’s Day looming around the corner.  Which reminds us…when is the last time you got your loved one something extra special for Valentine’s Day?  I usually opt for the heart shaped box of chocolate conveniently located near the toiletries at the Duane Reade.  Luckily, this year we have gotten some sage wisdom — ahead of time — from our friend Rachel, whose awesome store Chocolate Works UES is tearing up the sweet scene uptown.  In a good way.

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Here’s Rachel’s take on some yummy, simple treats for your sweets:

We all know chocolate is a favorite Valentine’s Day gift but it can seem a little “tired” just to give (or get) the same old box of chocolates year after year. But with just a little touch of creativity, you can take your chocolate gift to the next level.

For your sweetheart:

4oz photo chocolate

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For your kids’ class at school:

Chocolate lollipops

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For your kids’ teachers or tutors:
Chocolate heart

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For your mother:
5 long-stemmed strawberries in a macaron box

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For your work colleagues:
Chocolate heart box with assorted chocolate-covered pretzels and Oreos

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These are all great ideas.  Thanks, Rachel!  We also love the shot of you in HEUCY’s #HighSchoolReunion.  Red is indeed a happy color.  Have a great weekend, friends.

xx,

The HEUCY Team

Finding Time to Work Out…When You Have No Time. Top Five Ways You Can Just Do It!

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Our friend and HEUCY Gal Amanda Freeman is a role model on many levels: she’s a super-smart, witty, successful entrepreneur and people just love her.  She’s also an exercise enthusiast, and CEO of SLT (Strengthen-Lengthen-Tone) in Manhattan and other locations in the tri-state area.  For more info, go to SLT’s website: www.sltnyc.com.  If you haven’t heard of SLT, it’s basically — in a nutshell — Pilates meets cardio meets strength training.  And it’s one of the toughest workouts you’ll ever do.  But, as it generally goes with these types of things, if you do it you can see some major results.

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But, alas, many of us don’t have time to make it to a class during the day.  And that’s okay, because there are ways to stay in shape without leaving your office or home.  Which is a nice thought during these cold winter months!  And when there’s a pile of work on the desk.

Amanda has kindly shared her list of Top 5 Tips To Stay In Shape For Those of Us Always in a Hurry.  

  1. Multi-task – When you are pressed for time and squeezing in a workout, find ways to multi-task. Work arms and legs at the same time by adding arm weight exercises to your treadmill or indoor cycling routine.
  2. Workout Anywhere – Be open minded about what is considered a workout and where you consider appropriate workout venues. If you work behind a desk all day, consider ways to turn your office into a gym (medicine ball chair/treadmill desk). If you have tons of errands to run, be creative about how you get to and from each errand (skip or run maybe?!) and squeeze in exercises like squats while waiting on line. You may look a little odd while you’re doing it, but you’ll look better after!
  3. Mix it up – Varying up your workouts is both good for the mind and the body. Avoid getting into a rut and getting bored with your workouts by keeping some variety in your fitness regimen. The variety will also ensure better results, as muscles will continue to change with the diversity of challenges it is presented with.
  4. Full Body Exercises – Rather than spending 15 minutes of your gym time on leg work and then 15 focused on abs, focus on exercises that work your whole body at once. Go for push ups, lunges with arm weights, and squats with a medicine ball.
  5. No more Hour Long Workouts – So many of us assume a good workout should last 60 minutes. Screw that. Use whatever time you have and give it your all. The shorter the time period, the higher intensity the workout should be.   30-minute workouts here we come.

Thanks, Amanda!  You’ve inspired us.  Happy Weekend…and happy workout!

xx,

The HEUCY Team

In Honor of National Puzzle Day: Some Tips to Keep Your Brain Active

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Today is “National Puzzle Day”…who knew?  My husband, who is a loyal HEUCY blog follower, made a great suggestion: why not tell HEUCY Gals and Dudes about the latest super-cool movement, Hour Of Code?  What is “Hour of Code?”, I asked.  My husband directed me to the Internets.  The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 30 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.

President Obama Meets With Students Participating In An Hour Of Code Event

Take a look at the Hour of Code video above and the website, which enlists everyone (women, men, old, young, in-between) to do at least one hour of code a day.  Why, you ask?  Not just because Ashton and POTUS are doing it…although in the world of peer pressure, it does help.  We should learn to code because there are five year olds out there who will be able to do it in a few years, if they aren’t already.  Knowing how to write code, and implement it, is incredibly empowering and it keeps your brain active.  Also, knowing code and the way it works will help all of us stay relevant in this new digital world!  You can even do your code in private if that’s more your style.  Lots of resources available on the site.

You’re not quite ready to jump in to full-blown coding yet?  Okay, we get it.  There’s also an app called Lumosity, which has tons of games to help you improve your memory and problem-solving skills.  You can build a personalized “Brain Training Program” by going to Lumosity’s website and picking what you’d like to improve in the following categories: Memory, Attention, Speed, Flexibility and Problem Solving.  The “fit test” is fun and this app is popular for a reason.

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We’re all working on becoming our “best selves” this year, but don’t short-change your cognitive health.  It’s just as important as the physical.  Shameless plug: studies have shown that wearing the HEUCY #ProblemSolver or #PerfectTen can actually help you solve problems.  True story!

xx,

The HEUCY Team

A Party in a Box…Literally! You’ll Love This, We Promise.

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Winter isn’t really a time you think of celebrating a lot…it’s cold, we’re dodging real and imaginary blizzards, we are wearing skull caps and amorphous, puffy outerwear. But, in fact, a lot of reasons to throw a party are coming up quite soon. Super Bowl Sunday! Valentine’s Day! St. Paddy’s Day! Derby Day! And then Summer…which is one big reason to party.

Well, fortunately we recently met two of our new favorite HEUCY Gals, Seri Kertzner and Michelle Bachman, who are the masterminds behind Little Miss Party Planner. Seri and Michelle became friends while working at J. Crew, and soon discovered they both had a passion – and a talent – for creating incredibly memorable and fun events that aren’t that difficult to pull off. After endless discussion regarding parties they had planned for themselves and for friends on the side, Seri and Michelle realized it was time to leave their corporate jobs to start their second act: Little Miss Party Planner.

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We love these gals because they are fun, smart, creative and bold…and they look darn good in HEUCY! Seri is rocking the Problem Solver and Michelle is owning the Alter Ego jumpsuit in these great photos by Raquel Langworthy of Raquel Bianca Creative. 

We also love Seri and Michelle because they just launched the most wonderful thing ever for a person who likes to entertain, but who probably doesn’t have a lot of time to plan and prepare. Sound familiar?

The product is called “Little Miss Party in a Box” and it’s brilliant. The Valentine’s Day version (Little Miss Valentine’s Day Party) has everything you would need for a party of twelve…whether it consists of children, adults or a little of both. The box includes thoughtfully curated items such as birch wood forks with hand-printed gold hearts, bamboo cupcake toppers with red glittery lips, clear glass vases and pale pink honeycomb paper flowers. In addition to the right amount of super-cute cups, straws, napkins and plates. So whoever comes to your party will think, She’s got it all together. Even if you arrived just a few minutes before they did.

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And the “Little Miss Birthday Party in a Box” includes similarly crafty and cool items, as well as the LMP Party Blueprint with suggested set up and styling tips. Finally, a pro’s list to help you cut through the chaos and just plan a party. Simply and successfully.

Cheers to Seri and Michelle! And thank goodness for the Party in a Box…which is just a click of a mouse away.

Xx,

The HEUCY Team

It’s National Australia Day…Let’s Celebrate with Our Top Ten

According to Wikipedia, today marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, Australia, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site.  Since this may be perceived as good by some people, and not-so-good by others…we thought we’d keep it light and celebrate the holiday by listing our very Top Ten Favorite Things About Australia.  Here goes.

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#1. It’s warmer in Australia than it is here right now.  It’s around 67 degrees Fahrenheit in Sydney.  I’ll admit it, I’m feeling a little bitter right now.  Sorry, Aussies, but it’s true.

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#2. Dead Calm.  This edge-of-your-seat thriller is one of the best, in our opinion.  We love seeing Nicole Kidman in her pre-Cruise days.  Also makes us wonder, where did Billy Zane go?

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#3. The final scenes of Point Break, where Patrick Swayze’s character Bodhi chases “the hundred year storm” on Bells Beach.  Or was it Bondi Beach?  It’s been debated…but this we know.  If you are looking for mindless, fun entertainment, then this movie will set you up right.

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#4. Australian and Harper’s BAZAAR writer Laura Brown’s very funny musings in BAZAAR and on Instagram and Twitter.  This chick is #witty and we would love to see her in one of our jumpsuits.  Follow her if you want to laugh: @laurabrown99

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#5. Koala bears.  Fun fact: these adorable (and yes, believe it, sometimes fierce) furry creatures dine on eucalyptus, which is the source material for some of HEUCY’s super-soft, comfy and sustainable fabric.

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#6. INXS.  This band shaped our pre-teen years.  The good, the bad and the ugly.

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#7. Gallipoli.  An amazing Australian film starring a very young and handsome Mel Gibson (pre-apparent breakdown and drinking problem…or at least it wasn’t public then).  Gibson plays an Australian sprinter sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I.  It’s gripping.

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#8. The Australian Open.  Which is happening now through Feb. 1.

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#9. Cate Blanchett.  We know she wears couture to most events, but this lady — in addition to being one of the most talented actresses on the planet — is a major multi-tasker.  She has three kids, is co-artistic director of the Sydney Theater Company with her husband and she won an Oscar last year for her spot-on performance of a wronged Upper East Side lady-who-lunches in Blue Jasmine.  Oh, and she played Bob Dylan in a movie.  And she played Queen Elizabeth, our Tudor version of a HEUCY Gal.  The list is endless.  HEUCY hearts Cate.

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#10. Tim Tams.  According to CNN, “Arnott’s (which produces Tim Tams) say that around 35 million packs are sold each year.  That’s 400 million biscuits at an average of 1.7 packs per Australian.”  And now, thank goodness, you can find these delicious chocolate biscuits in most supermarkets stateside!  Stock up before the storm, you won’t regret it.

Stay warm today if you’re north of the Mason Dixon…and envision yourself having shrimp cocktail on Bondi Beach!  Some day…

xx,

The HEUCY Team

Top Five Ways to Show Confidence

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Remember this?  It’s one of Team HEUCY’s favorite movies of all time: Working Girl.  Tess has bad hair and a pretty strong accent..but she’s a smart cookie, and after a getting a haircut, working on her “game” (no more fidgeting) and stealing some outfits from Sigourney Weaver’s closet, she gets the job and the guy.  (A 1980s Harrison Ford…nuff said).  The only thing missing from Tess’s makeover was a HEUCY wardrobe.  Can’t you imagine her killing it in the board room in the Date Night, and then heading out for drinks with Mr. Ford?  Zipper up!

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This movie reminds me of entering the workforce after college, and thinking that many of my elders in the room (mostly men, I’m sad to say) were really smart and “on it”.  As I sat in my poly-blend black skirt suit and square toed pumps from Loehmann’s, I would watch the “Directors” in the room talk and think to myself, these people must really know what they’re doing.  When I grow up, I want to be just like them!

Now that I’m grown up, and a bit wiser, I realize that most of those people were actually winging it.  They sounded “right” and people listened to them because they were poised and confident.  If you want your point to be heard, and followed, then how you say something matters as much as what you say.  An English accents helps too, but in lieu of that, you can really use your body language to show confidence.  Whether you’re in a conference room, a coffee shop or a toddler’s bedroom explaining “why not”, these tips are great to keep in mind.

1. Put your hands out.  If this makes you uncomfortable, put them on your hips.  Never in your pockets!  Having hands out in the open shows you have nothing to hide, which is very important when negotiating with old and young people.

2. Chin up, eyes forward.

3. Stand up straight!  When you’re walking, try to remember to push your shoulders back slightly.  Not too much.  Holding in your stomach helps.  (Yes, we know this is hard…especially if you’ve had kids and/or consumed too many bagels that day…we’ll follow up with some quick core strengthening and toning exercises 🙂

4. Smile.  I have a friend who used to compensate for her size (she’s very petite) by never smiling in a meeting.  She wanted to be revered, so she felt like she had to act tough.  Now she acknowledges that a softer approach would have been more effective.  You want people on your side.  You can be nice and smart.

5. Make contact.  Think of Bill Clinton’s double-handed hand shake and a pat on the back…people like this.  Obviously, too much is too much sometimes in a professional setting, so gauge appropriately.

TGIF, people!  Have a great weekend.

xx,

The HEUCY Team

Getting Back on The Good Habits Wagon

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Yesterday, Team HEUCY was bouncing all around Manhattan and we saw the most humorous “news post” in an elevator.  Prepare to be enlightened.  It said something like, “Studies have shown that alcohol distributed at sororities can significantly impair judgement.”  I actually wish I had seen this before I embarked on my first day of “sorority rush”…but I doubt I would have paid attention.  The posting failed to mention that “Cookie cakes distributed at sororities can significantly impair self esteem.”

Anyhoo, this news piece made me think of how easy it is to regress into those bad, college-y habits (e.g. washing down bags of sugary candy with a Big Gulp of Mountain Dew, eating mac ‘n cheese as a snack, and other more tawdry things we won’t put in writing).  Especially when you’re busy, stressed out, tired and/or cold.

So, in the spirit of “staying on track” with good habits this month, we thought it would help to include a list of things to keep on-hand in your pantry.  Because it’s really easy to eat the frozen (expired?) Girl Scout cookies when you’re starving, it’s late and there’s nothing else to eat in your kitchen.  See illustration below.  Does this look familiar?

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Here’s a list of healthy, long-lasting foods we’ve created with the help of Health Magazine:

1. Balsamic vinegar — it’s flavorful and has been proven to open up your blood vessels to improve blood flow.

2. Nuts — any kind, any time (be sure to remove, of course, if someone with a nut allergy visits 🙂

3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (obviously)

4. Canned olives — they have a long shelf life, and are full of monounsaturated fats

5. Honey — it’s also long-lasting and (bonus!) has been known to cure a hangover (if you’ve fallen off the good habits wagon)

6. Beans — full of protein and fiber

7. Quinoa — see #6 and yes, we know this product has been mentioned a million+ times in the past year.  There’s a reason.

8. Eggs

9. Sea salt — too much sodium is bad for you, but that’s really the kind you find in frozen food.  Sea salt from the shaker can add flavor.

10. Tomato paste — Tomatoes are full of cancer-fighting lycopene.

11. Dark chocolate — not found in cookie cakes.  The bar version has disease-fighting polyphenols and it tastes soooo delicious.

12. Shrimp! — easy to freeze, and unfreeze…delicious and low in fat and calories.  Buy wild shrimp.

13. Oatmeal — lowers cholesterol and it’s filling.

14. Broth — The New York Times recently published an article about the new broth/paleo craze.  Broth is a great thing to keep in your pantry, to eat warm or make into a soup when you’re “on it” enough to have fresh vegetables and protein in your home.

15. Tea and coffee — whether you like the “high test” or decaf versions, a hot beverage is always great to have on-hand!

xx,

The HEUCY Team