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5 Realistic Resolutions You Can Keep in 2018!

Transitioning between jobs, friends, or even years is usually accompanied with a sudden desire to do things differently — and, if possible, better than the time before. A new year is upon us as is another opportunity for us to, yet again, try to better ourselves and our choices.  What have you considered improving in the next year? Are your goals personal or professional?  As a band of moms, we have collaborated on a few resolutions and goals for the next year and found five common themes in New Year’s goals — but not only do we have themes, we ideas how to actually accomplish those goals:

Don’t Say “ I Will Spend Less Time on Social Media”

The Social Media Addiction is Real (especially for bloggers!)

The Social Media Addiction is Real (especially for bloggers!) It is amazing how this problem affects everyone. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what gender you are or where you are from, everyone is known to ‘spiral’ on social media. In some ways, the natural shift in our society towards social media is natural; but if this is something you are trying to reduce, start with small goals. Find a way to resist the urge once a day. Whether this means putting your cell phone away in a drawer for an hour or two or going on airplane mode, this realistic goal will give you a place to start.  My sister also takes periodic respites from various platforms by deactivated for an amount of time. For many, including my sister, the all-or-nothing tactic can prove to be cathartic and therapeutic.  Also when using media, be mindful of what you are posting, check out our post on Social Media: Friend or Foe for what we mean. 

Don’t Say “I Will Lose Weight”

Instead, consider starting with being more mindful of your weight. What this means is that instead of weighing yourself obsessively or subconsciously avoiding the scale out of fear, setting periodic times to check your weight is the first way to face the facts. Whether it is even 3 or 4 days or on a weekly basis, being mindful will subconsciously stay with you as you move through your day — in turn, helping you lose weight.

PS Of course, studies have shown that tracking your calories on platforms such as My Fitness Pal will help dramatically. But always remember that the key to this method is to stay committed!

Don’t Say “I Will Eat Healthier”
Salad with Dinner
Salad with Dinner

Instead, commit to eating a salad with dinner each night. This is an example of starting small, especially if salad isn’t already a part of your diet. Such a strategy will not only taper your appetite, it will also help you get your greens and fiber!  This modification is easy to add to your diet, especially with the tasty ready made salads now available at most local grocery stores. Our favorite is the Sweet Kale Salad available at Costco (see some of our other Costco favorites here).

Don’t Say “I Will Spend More Time With the Kids, Family, and/or Friends”
No Phone Zone
No Phone Zone

Be specific about how you plan to do this.  Consider starting with phone-free meal times or designated phone-free zones in your home such as kids rooms.  Also, by announcing these goals to your family, they can help keep you accountable (I know my kids love to tell me when I have broken the rules).

Don’t Say “I Will Be Less Stressed”

This could be one of the most difficult on the list. We often think our stresses are out of our control. We can perceive our stress as something that happens to us but in fact, we can control our stress. Begin by creating a plan, and starting small. We don’t want to sound cliche but meditating (AKA just not thinking about anything) can be a useful way to tackle stress. Downloading helpful apps such as HeadSpace or SimpleHabit can be a great first step. Set daily alarms on your phone to check in with yourself and meditate! There is a reason why meditation gets a lot of hype and it’s because it works.  Just three minutes of peace and quiet can keep you focused for the rest of the day.  It’s true, I have been mindfully meditating several times a week for years — and it definitely took some getting used to.  The advantage of using this strategy is that you can do it anywhere, it requires no materials, and does not take a lot of time.

Don’t Say “I Will Be More Positive”

This one is also hard, especially if you have young children or complexities at work. BUT  instead of focusing on how to see the glass half full, if you pay attention to how often you see the glass half empty, you will inadvertently start seeing things on the bright side.  By tallying your complaints each day, you will become more aware of your negative tendencies. Doing so can hone one’s optimism and avoid negative thinking.  Don’t believe me? Just try it!

Hopefully one or some of these resolutions resonate with you and hopefully you can find a way to incorporate these suggestions into your life in the coming year.

Thanks for your support this past year.  We will continue to develop our content in a way that is meaningful to you in 2018, stay with us!

Xo,

Rina

Loreal Elvive – Your Solution For Dry And Dull Hair

Ever since hair serums hit the market a decade ago, I have seen friends multipurpose them: for weight, for styling, for texture, on dry hair, and on wet hair. Hair serums were designed to assist with hair movement and to protect against the elements of everyday styling — this means that using them arbitrarily doesn’t optimize their use. But us chicks have found the ultimate hair tool. L’oreal Paris recently released the Elvive Extraordinary Serum in the United States to set the record straight on what a hair serum is supposed to do.

Using products according to the directions and knowing what is in the products you use is easier than ever.  The Elvive serum is a versatile serum but because it is not a very heavy oil, it doesn’t work that well for weight, I found that it works best on damp and freshly shampooed hair. It is designed to provide moisture and protection therefore applying it to clean hair will make all the difference.  Without adding more than a few drops, you can avoid too much weight and enjoy full, vibrant hair texture.

Before And After
Before And After
Before And After – The picture on the left is my hair without product and looks heavier and less voluminous, whereas the photo on the right is after using the Elvive serum.  The photos only tell part of the story since you cannot feel the difference.  The hair on the right is softer and lighter to the touch.

Having used a variety of serums myself, the blended botanical extracts and oils combined with the overall feel and smell is the perfect storm for my hair. I might have a lot of hair but it quickly turns dry and dull if I don’t protect it. But don’t take my word for it, check out the amazing reviews on Amazon.


If hair loss is something you deal with or if you are looking for more natural solutions to getting #HairGoals, check our post about the no-poo and inversion method!

XOXO,

Rina

**A sample of the product was given complimentary via Inflenster to Chicks And Salsa in exchange for this review, however the opinions held herein are all our own.**

Why Diane Von Furstenberg is a Girls Girl- Food, Fashion, and Friends

“I design for the woman who loves being a woman.” ~ Diane Von Furstenberg

This is exactly what came to mind when an invitation to preview the new DVF collection at Neimen Marcus popped in my social feed a few weeks ago.  I have always admired women who find a way to make themselves and other women feel good about themselves (see Why We Blog).  Women are so multifaceted and intricate that there are so many ways to speak to the core of a woman and for DVF, it is through clothing.

So I grabbed my #MomSquad and made a Mom’s Night Out (#MNO) out of it to enjoy in the creative collection at Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue.

Sonia With Ceta Walters of Clark And Stone

Sonia With Ceta Walters of Clark And Stone

Live Models Giving Inspiration
Live Models Giving Inspiration

Hosts Ceta Walters and Sam Saifer Berngard created a festive and fun atmosphere with live models, nibbles, and cocktails.  DVF did the rest, her collection was vibrant, playful, and sexy. Obviously anyone in a bright yellow dress or blue fur jacket will exude confidence and fun!

As a Mom, getting out of the house with some of my favorites ladies was already a win, but being part of an event designed specifically to speak to women who love being who they are was the cherry on top!

Here are some of my favorite pieces:

Gibson’s Italia

Also, for those of you in Chicago, we were able to score a table at the new Gibson’s Italia, this hot spot did not disappoint. As a vegetarian, my menu was limited, but that was not a problem. I ordered their Italian grain bowl which was a perfect blend of salad with substance.  The farro and barley added a hearty and yummy touch!  The spaghetti dish was cooked to al dente perfection.  Since I wanted to try multiple things, I halved my order with my husband and secretly had wished I had the whole thing to myself (shhh!). My absolute favorite was the Mozzarella de Buffala.  As a vegetarian we often order this as a starter and I can honestly say this one stood out from the rest.  It was a delicious blend of avocado, basil and cheese…yummm!

Grain Bowl With Farro and Barley
Grain Bowl With Farro and Barley

Overall, I’d say the night was a win ….who knew a spontaneous weeknight could turn into so much fun!

XOXO,

Sonia

Tips for Navigating Awkward Conversations with Semi-Strangers

This time of year can seem super hectic! With schedules in school, at work, and socially in overdrive you may have run into some people that you don’t under ‘normal’ circumstances. Work parties, large family gatherings, and school functions may have you caught off guard when talking to what we call semi-strangers.

Luckily, Savvy Chick, Avani, has a gift for connecting people and handling the inevitable interactions that come with being out and about during the holidays!

We took on this topic during one of our recent Chick Chats. Check out the episode here!

Girl Talk

Be sure to listen all the way to the end where she really drops some wisdom.

Let us know if you would like to hear us speak on a specific topic. Also, like us on Facebook to stay up to date with our latest chats and other thoughts.

XO,

Your Chicks


Turmeric – Why Your Body Needs It (and How to Use It)!

What is turmeric and why is it so talked about these days? Turmeric benefits are comprehensive, and most are due to its active compound, curcumin. For the last 2 years, I have probably missed a handful of days where I have not consumed turmeric. Let me tell you, it is probably the best thing I have done to my diet (Never going back!).

There are seriously so many benefits of Turmeric and I would need multiple blog posts to go through them all. Here the benefits that are most important to me! Side note: Black pepper contains piperine, which has been shown to help our bodies absorb the turmeric by 2000%. Try to use black pepper with any turmeric consumption!

Turmeric goes beyond the kitchen!
Spices that go beyond the kitchen!
ANTIOXIDANTS and IMMUNITY

Curcumin is a power antioxidant. We always hear about berries having a significant number of antioxidants and how important it is for our bodies.  Antioxidants can fight molecules known as free radicals, which negatively affect cell health, and may reduce or help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Winter Immunity Shot:

Juice fresh turmeric, lemon, ginger, and gooseberries. Add a teaspoon of wheatgrass powder. Every morning through the winter months to keep the viruses away!


Easy smoothie recipe:

Blend 1 cup of coconut milk with 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, the juice of one lemon and/or one orange, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, a tiny pinch of black pepper, and about a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger root. I don’t add any sweeteners but if you need it you can use agave nectar or stevia.

Being mindful of what goes into your body can go a long way, it can even help you have healthier hair.

SKIN BENEFITS

MY FAVORITE BENEFIT (Obviously.) Research suggests turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties make turmeric effective in treating skin conditions. It can help speed wound healing, calm the pores, and help control psoriasis flares.

Turmeric - Natural Face Mask
Natural Face Mask

My weekly Turmeric Face Mask Recipe:

Mix 2 tablespoons of unsweetened yogurt (I use homemade yogurt) with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of honey for a soothing and cooling face mask. I leave it on for about 5 minutes and wash off. (I’ve never had problems with it staining skin, but use an old towel just in case.)

Acne Spot Treatment:

I make a paste of honey and turmeric (2 parts honey to 1 part turmeric) and dab on to spot treat.

BRAIN

This benefit is important to me for my toddler! Curcumin has been shown to have positive effects on brain function and memory by increasing levels of the brain hormone that boosts neuron growth (and fights decay in old folks).

Ever since my toddler has been on whole milk I have added a pinch of turmeric to her milk servings every day. She is 2 and still drinks her milk with a pinch of turmeric! You can also give it to them in a smoothie!

TEETH WHITENING:

I have not tried this yet, but it is next on my list!  We are all busy and sometimes it’s hard to get around to doing some of these things that are beneficial for our bodies. To make life easy: There are Turmeric Supplements (which also include the black pepper) that you can take daily!

Let me know what works for you, comment below!

Love,

Neema

Mom’s You Can Only Do So Much…

Pack kids’ lunches.  Grade class spelling tests.  Make sure N’s book report is started.  Plan for the next Language Arts unit.  Make sure kids’ laundry is washed before Friday.  Make copies for Social Studies project.  Oh crap, I have to send out the minutes for the PTA board meeting.  Wait — did I really sign that field trip mission slip?  When is the next girls’ outing…is it this week or next?  Did I call my mom?  When do I need to have report cards done by?

Always Multi-Tasking
Always Multi-Tasking

These are my current thoughts.  I am now up at 3 AM on a Monday morning thinking of all the things I wish I would have had time to complete over the weekend.  Why am I up right now?  Why can’t I just get this noise out of my head?  Oh right — because I don’t just wear one hat, I wear like 20.  I’m (and in no particular order) a mom, wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, teacher, neighbor, friend, best friend, coworker, peer, subordinate…and so on and so forth.

Constantly…working moms around the nation are on overdrive.  Moms are always on the go and always “on.”  I know I’m always “on” — mainly because I’m an elementary school teacher…looking out for children is a constant in my life.  I don’t think it really matters if you’re a teacher or not — the constant to-do list runs through our minds day and night (see my earlier post about achieving balance).


When I took a year off last year, I noticed that I was relieved from that element of my life — which was work.  I didn’t have a boss to report up to because I was my own boss.  I didn’t feel this constant feeling of having to “report” anywhere by a certain time or fulfill my own set of work obligations.  Now — even when I love what I do and wouldn’t imagine another career for myself, I do feel a constant loyalty to my students day in and day out…even on my evenings and weekends.  Would I trade what I do to stay home?  Never.

All at once, I take turns wearing all the other hats — and try to juggle it all at once.  Sometimes I wonder why I even try to juggle it all because it seems humanly impossible to be everywhere all at once…but I try anyways because that’s what I am.  I am the type of person, like many other amazingly strong women out there that try to do everything all at once.  I am the type that will put too much on my plate because I know that I work best under pressure and can’t stand not giving any aspect of my life my 110% all the time.  Is it healthy?  Probably not, but that hasn’t stopped me once.

Constantly, I am reminded to take a moment for myself to unwind and take a “time-out.”  A moment to just be with my own thoughts and be myself, a moment to find my zen.  To shed away all those hats for a moment to gather my own ideas and to just be.  As I get older, I do find that listening to my inner self is getting more and more important.  When I feel that anxious, robotic, out of body experience.  When I feel that I’m slipping away from myself…

Mama Challenge - Time Out Card
Mama Challenge – Time Out Card

I have found a few ways that help me gather myself and recharge.  Whether it be making a Target run to just roam around aimlessly with a Starbucks in hand.  Or to get on that treadmill and run away the feels.  Or by meeting up with some girlfriends for some “wine and whine” time.  Or even by taking the long way home from work to just sit and listen to the radio in silence.    

I have found the importance of finding your “time-outs.”  What makes you feel like you the most?  What makes you feel so content that it feels like you’re recharging your “battery?”  What could possibly help you strip away all your hats for just one moment?  

So ladies, take a moment.  Not because I’m urging you to do so, but because you feel that it’s about time!  Take that moment for yourself — just for you.  You can only give and give so much…

You’re in “time out!”

Your Brainy Chick,

Komi

Disclaimer:  No way do I feel that moms staying home to take care of their household and family don’t deserve a time out either — get out there ladies…you need that break!

Chick Picks:

You Are The Company You Keep : Why We Blog

It was a life lesson my parents tried to teach us at a young age: if you surround yourself with go-getters and motivated individuals, it would ‘rub’ off on you and make you that way.  We didn’t always understand what they meant – or if they just didn’t like our friends growing up – but the older we got, the more we understood. Surrounding yourself with like-minded and successful people can inspire motivation.  Success, learning, and networking is like an addiction — once you get a taste of what it is like to be ‘one-of-those-people’, you become empowered to continue to learn and create.

Getting a graduate degree was step one for us. We were surrounded by colleagues who were motivated to pursue further understanding and deeper thought. We began learning the importance of not just accomplishing a task, but enjoying the process of collaborating with peers. And it may sound silly, but our lifestyles as a whole began to shift; we started spending more time in coffee shops getting to know people and their passions rather than partying at bars and nightclubs where the discussions were more superficial.

Once Upon a Dollhouse
With Dani and Caitlin of Once Upon a Dollhouse

Most recently, we discovered blogging. Once we entered this sphere, we quickly recognized that this was largely a female-dominated industry filled with creative influencers, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists.  The desire to have these women ‘rub’ off on us was real.  We have always had a strong network of women in our lives, from our Mom to our five aunts to our cousins and  to our friends, it’s hard to ignore the magnetic energy that a room full of women can produce.


We didn’t know at the time what we were bringing to the table. We did know that we had something to offer.  In this past year, we have truly grown as individuals and as bloggers.  Joining groups where women were open to listening and sharing ideas (e.g. the Windy City Collective, Chicago Grammers, and Style Collective) has been meaningful and beneficial.  Somewhere along the way in these discussions, it did ‘rub ‘ off and we caught the bug to try something new and push ourselves professionally and creatively. This infectious transfer of motivation among women helps us to enjoy the blogging process and to have fun even when things seem hectic.

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We are getting a second chance in our thirties to redefine the next fifty years of our life. Although we don’t know what we are going to do with that opportunity yet, we do know that we will continue to grow.  We are truly grateful to the people we have met along the way who have been generous with their ideas and time – shout out to Annie Spano and the dolls from Once Upon A Dollhouse to name a few.  They inspired us to see a bigger picture and talk through a path with us chicks.

Blogging is about reciprocal influence by sharing who you are with the universe and letting the universe shape you. At Chicks and Salsa, we are trying to do just that one week at a time. Thanks for hopping along for the journey. Get out there, form connections, empower yourself and inspire others. Check out our Chicks And Salsa Chick Chat podcast to hear us think out loud about other things in life that motivate us!

Until next time,

Your Chicks,

Rina and Sonia

Fall Shopping Haul – 4 Trends to Watch For

The chicks have compiled a list of items that we have splurged on this season.  One thing we noticed is that this fall has the most unique sweater trends we have seen a while!

Free People Off The Shoulder
Cold Shoulder is Still a Thing
So grateful that we can hang on to this summer trend!  The cold shoulder and off-the-shoulder sweaters are surprisingly comfortable and warm! Our pick from ShopBop below is a winner!  Although it won’t help you beat the cooler temps, looking extra ‘hot’ may help.
New Textures
Anyone notice that suddenly velvet and suede are everywhere?  These fabrics are super fun, they have an iridescent look to them that brighten up any outfit. Velvet has a way of feeling formal and fancy, so grab at least one thing velvety for your wardrobe this year.
Red Is the New Black
We started to take notice when Clark and Stone had suddenly splashed red all over her Instagram and blog that red really kind of looks nice with natures fall colors and of course our favorite lipsticks.  The chicks tend to gravitate to nudes and blacks so it was fun to finally add some red to the wardrobe this season.
Statement Sleeves
Ok, this one is what makes sweaters this year different.  The sleeves this year are so unique and chic that they do all the talking this season.  Some are layered, ruffled, multi-colored, and ballooned!  These loose fitting looks make a girl feel good and on trend.  Abiha Khan shared some of her Asos and Nordstom finds and we could not agree more with the variety that she scooped up!
Chick Picks:


Check out our post on outerwear for some inspo.
Thanks for checking out the blog.
XOXO,
Rina

Chick Chat Podcast on iTunes NOW!

Hey Chicks!  We have heard from women we know and women that we don’t that having a sister and a best friend you can talk to often is such a blessing.  We know first hand, that we can’t do this “Life” thing alone, many of us have sisters and speak daily.  To listen in on our phone calls, aka Chick Chat, look up Chicks And Salsa on iTunes for our podcasts where we discuss a variety of things from dieting, parenting, and what is trending.

Chick Chat Podcast
Chick Chat Podcast

Have a topic? Let us know!

How do I find a Podcast on my iPhone

Chick Chat Podcast
Chick Chat Podcast

If you have not yet discovered podcasts, they are a game changer and a real way to learn on the go.  I listen to them in the gym and in the car.  I have learned so much about blogging, and also listened to podcasts for kids (please check out Brains On!, a science channel for kids).

For iPhone users its easy, swipe right on your home screen and search for Podcasts.  Then type in Chicks And Salsa and our channel should pop right up.

Chick Chat Podcast
Chick Chat Podcast

Please check it out, let us know what you think!

Cheers,

Your Chicks And Salsa Team XOXO

 

Botox and the Indian Community      

Botox, everyone has thought about it, many of us are doing it, so why aren’t we talking about it?

Growing up as first generation Indian Americans, my sister and I had the impossible task of representing our Indian side, our American side, and our hybrid side with grace and full understanding.  This meant being respectful yet assertive and exploring our interests while not wandering too far outside of our parents understanding. It also meant looking and acting within certain cultural norms without compromising our opportunities here as Americans.

Aging is one of those unusual paradoxes where being Indian and American does not agree.  It appears that Americans embrace doing things make you feel good — from facials to chemical peels to plastic surgery to Botox. There is discussion and a sharing of experiences that is a part of the American culture.  I can’t speak to other communities and cultures but the Indian community from both the immigrant and first generation perspectives does not embrace artificial enhancement. Indo-American women will undergo a variety of procedures and services behind closed doors and lie about their genetics and diets to no end.   An acceptance of anti-aging tools that we have available to us as Indians in America has been a difficult pill to swallow for many.

Avani getting her bi annual Botox shots.I am 36 years old, I have been getting Botox for 3 years.  When I looked in the mirror after having two kids and moving homes twice, my body directly experienced the stress. My body had undergone both of those life-changing events and left me with deep wrinkles which made me feel older than I was. My friends, co-workers, and sisters were supportive when I first considered Botox (see our article here about facing judgement). We talked about it, read about it, researched it until I eventually went for it.  Some family members, on the other hand, discouraged me from doing it and hesitantly added that if I did get it, I should keep it to myself.  After seeing my results and my satisfaction, two short years later, they too went ahead and tried it out. But they have since kept their “genetic” advantages to themselves.

Before And After
Before And After

Without getting too carried away, I am grateful that I can take little steps to look the way I feel.  I am not in denial of aging or of my life circumstances; this is a personal choice and one that has left me satisfied. By not sharing ideas and privatizing our desires, we cannot lift each other up in a way that can be positive in the right context.

I hope to get the discussion started.  We are fortunate that one of our Savvy Chicks’, Avani, has a husband who is a plastic surgeon — if you have any questions please leave them in comments below and we will be happy to get you an expert’s perspective.

Cheers,

Rina

If Botox is not your thing yet, here are a few Chicks Picks from Beauty Chick, Neema (check out her take on sunscreen).