rachelle renée

bits o' this & bits o' that

August Goals!

July flew by! I feel like I was just checking my mid-year goals and thinking about the rest of the year and events that I am attending and Christmas shopping.

Yes, I said Christmas shopping. I don’t want to be near a shopping center come November and I make sure I get everything needed by August. Seriously. I only step out for bags, ribbons, etc. or yarn after November.

Now that you know my thoughts on Christmas shopping… 

So I have some new goals for the month of August and challenges. Are they really challenges or more like tests for self discipline? Tests for self discipline is too long, challenges it is! 

No dairy. No Sugar. Dairy is such a love/hate relationship. I had a nearly dairy free month until going to my family reunion last weekend and then I had two days of dairy and my skin is freaking out! So, I need to not feel sluggish and have clearer skin. Dairy dulls my taste buds, anyone else notice that? I’ll admit that I was irresponsible with sugar for two days at our family reunion, I had to try everything! The crash was bad and I don’t even want to have sugar in moderation.. I don’t want any sugar!

MORE PLANKS! Yes, I’m keeping up with my planks and even told my Aunt Darlene about her grand daughters influencing my personal plank challenge. After telling her she then said, ‘planks are nothing!’ and told me about their other work outs. 

Every morning I get out of bed, roll out my mat, do my planks and this video from Cassey Ho to improve my posture. Most mornings I complete the exercises in that video or some morning yoga moves.

BUDGET. I’m keeping on my budget. I had a Target haul two weeks ago, but I really did buy things I needed. No unnecessary spending! (CONFESSION: this is limited and I bought four. I HAD TO).

ORGANIZATION. My never ending closet project is still in the beginning stages, but it also made me aware of how much more organization I need to perfect with my other things. Yes, I said ‘perfect’. I thought I was organized. I am an organized person. But then I fell down the Pinterest Rabbit Hole and learned just how unorganized I am. Almost everything I bought at Target was for organization and then I stayed up till 2am on a Friday cleaning and organizing my bathroom.

I am going to tackle the shelf in my closet and organize my clothes.

… this organization thing is getting bad!

This month I am also starting to work with a personal trainer. I am really excited about this because I will be challenged and I’ll learn a lot. I need guidance and further education!

I want to spend more time reading and writing this month. I have some stuff to get out and more playing around to do with this blog layout. I’ve really been encouraged by some friends and readers!

Alright, so what are your goals for August? What are some things you are looking forward to?

Do you really think June and July are too early to think about Christmas?!

2015 Summer Vacation

The weather has been great, except for a few storms, and it’s made for some great semi-vacation time.

Semi-vacation: still going to work and have frequent time scheduled that it doesn’t seem like you’re really working.

I got to celebrate one of my best friends/sister’s oldest graduating high school! Graduation time is my favorite time of year! (other than the autumn).

Get it? I have such a clever friend.

I then went to western Pennsylvania for a family reunion and got to drive through the most beautiful back roads in Lancaster:


Lancaster is gorgeous when you take the back roads and avoid the year round tourists.

I went to the drive in and saw Minions and Inside Out:


It was such a gorgeous night and I learned that my mom’s car can’t turn off it’s headlights. We had the windows down and had to listen to the movie from other cars. I’m so glad the neighboring vehicles were pick up trucks and everyone was sitting on their lawn chairs with the volume loud. HAHAHAHA.

My mom’s side of the family consists of hunters and gatherers. My mom and I are the city folk (but she can’t forget her roots!) and I get the wise cracks for my lack of knowledge or life style. I learned that Facebook can make it easier for them to make jokes to my face :)


I kept up with my planks, there were a few sugar splurges and I got to catch up with family and spend time joking around. My Pappy lost a bet when the Steelers lost to the Browns and he had to wear a Browns t-shirt the entire family reunion. He wore it over top of another t-shirt because ‘such a t-shirt’ should not touch his skin. Ahahahahaha

Where did you go on vacation? Where are you going on vacation?!

Keeping It Together & Mid-Year Check-in

This is one of my belated posts, since I had a user error scheduling the post! It was going to go up July 1st… but here you go :)

In 2013 I was looking around the internet to buy a really good planner. All throughout high school and college I had bought planners and used them to write down EVERYTHING. Mind you, this was all before smart phones. Blackberry existed, but what college student was walking around with a Blackberry and using the calendar extensively?

I wrote down EVERYTHING and even added in post-its with more stuff. I still have two(?) from college, as I have some information in them that I haven’t re-written anywhere else… perhaps I should get on that.

In 2010 I opted to try and use my phone calendar to keep information, but it just wasn’t the same. Even though I didn’t like it, I kept going with it to try and see if eventually I’ll grow to like it. Nope. I didn’t.

In 2013 I was browsing around Etsy and came across Keeping It Together. AMAZING. I mulled over spending that much on an organizer and missed my opportunity, so I bought my Taschen planner (they were always French themed) and waited till December 2014 to get my awesome planner for this year.


When I received the planner it was packaged in bright pink tissue paper, confetti, candies and a package of stickers, paper clips, several markers, a separate notebook, a gold permanent marker, and clips. Oh, there was also a dry erase marker with this grocery list keeper.


I liked that there’s a Quarterly Check In page, a Monthly Goals page, and a full month calendar on each page beginning the new month. I use the Budget portion and cross out the parts that don’t apply and write over them; however, I haven’t gone back to review my statement and check the ‘actual’ part. I also really like the tabs, Taschen calendars do not have tabs and I was replacing rubber bands and clips around my previous months like no other!  Not only are the clips gold, but extremely sturdy for keeping the previous six months pages together.


On each day you have a spot for you Gratitude and Fitness & Fluids. Honestly, I haven’t consistently written in those spots. I use an app to keep track of my fluids and write my workouts in on the space above. It’s easy to separate the larger space due to the diagonal lines on the right hand side. I do enjoy the daily quotes and the Fit & Fab Tips are neat to read.

I do wish Saturday and Sunday had their own pages. I tend to use a post-it on the weekend or stuffing a loose paper in there to expand what I need to have written down.

I really love this organizer. It has been great to keep me on track, no matter how silly the reminder!



The extra notebook that came with it I have used for lists of things to buy, crochet projects to complete for Christmas, if I come up with a post idea, when I’m reading a devotional and need to jot something down, or anything else… it’s like a traveling journal of some kind. My journal that I write my reflections in is a large sketch book because I also will put collages in or other scrapbook like things.

I would definitely re-purchase this again for 2016 and I highly recommend it for anyone who needs something like this because they haven’t converted to the electronic way of life :) In addition, I loved knowing that I was supporting a group of ladies with a dream, a business, and it’s Made in America!

So, what do you use to keep track of daily life? Goals? Your To Do Lists? What are your methods?!

Silly Conversations

A part of my sanity comes from having amazing friends and the ability to have silly conversations with them.

Life would be awful if it were only serious conversations. YUCK.

So, this afternoon after discussing the ingredients to spinach dip and whether to use regular sour cream and mayo or the vegan versions (WHY?!) and it first lead to whether eggs are dairy or not.


My immediate searches said no, eggs are not a dairy product. The explanation made sense. BUT my reply was this:

Me: I know chickens don’t have nipples. But still.

Danielle: LMBO!!! and eggs don’t drip from their non nipples. lol hahahahhaahah. chicken nipples visual

<insert loads of laughter>

Me: eggs are a binder, like most dairy products. cheese holds things together. EXCEPTION: when sitting on top of sauce it can slide.

I had sent a link to a HuffPost article about eggs not being dairy and Danielle said the article would benefit from mentioning chicken nipples. Upon searching something about chickens having nipples I found this.

Danielle: LMBO! and why do you buy them with surge protectors???

This unintentional educational lesson taught us that baby chicks need to get their water from somewhere and that’s from poultry nipples.

IN ADDITION, regardless of the HuffPost article and whatever the internet/people say, do you think eggs are a dairy product? what’s your stance on using/not using eggs?

Saturday’s Bits

#SaturYAY  <— I saw that hashtag and I really like it

It’s been a really slow moving morning… we all deserve those, right? YEAH! Later today I am celebrating Bastille Day at the Eastern State Penitentiary. I’m really excited for the festivities and my friends wanted to get VIP tickets so we’re not part of the ‘heckling lower class’. My normal place in society is not with the snooty upper class, so I’ll need to behave myself.

Whole 30 has been going well! I’m feeling really good and have even made the effort to reduce my coffee intake. I started that about a month ago, but now I’m feeling it even more. I grilled my seafood/fish (this week’s proteins) on a cedar plank with some lemon juice, YUM! My mornings have been full of delicious smoothies… oh so good! I’m quite content without the dairy, carbs and sugar, but I do miss some grains/legumes.

On Monday I’m going a post that was suppose to go up on July 1st will finally go up. Turns out I scheduled these posts to go up, but forgot to hit another important button and nothing went up! I needed some better photos for this post anyways, so it all works.

I’ve really been enjoying the new Gungor album. SO GOOD. I’m a big fan of this band and really like everything that Michael and Lisa Gungor do and contribute to the creative world. I’ve also been listening to the new Jon Foreman EP and Joy Williams’ new album, Venus.

I’m waiting for my Champagne Pop highlighter by to arrive from Sephora! This is limited edition and I really wanted to get my hands on this… so I caved and splurged. In recent years I haven’t bought new make-up unless it was something necessary: new mascara, foundation or concealer. I need more lipgloss/lipstick and eyeshadow like I need a whole in my head. It’s taken a long time for me to get through what I have and when I’m at work I forget to retouch lipstick/gloss, so it’s really only on the weekends I get that in… whenever I go out. Anyways, I’m pumped that Jaclyn Hill had this opportunity and I’m glad she created such a beautiful color that works with so many different skin tones!

Alright, I need to start getting ready for my day!

How was your week? Any new events taking place? Any good tunes or good reads?

Smoothie Prep

I used to be a huge prepper. Food prepper, not the End of Days kind of prepper.

(BUT one of my best friend’s husband is one of those preppers)

I initially got into this practice because I was working early, you know when you get to work while people are still waking up because you are much fresher in the morning? I’M ONE OF THOSE. Working late? Ugh, yuck. I prepped my meals so that I wasn’t going to the food trucks too often (however, Philadelphia has THE best food trucks!) and saving money. My normal commutes while living in the city were an hour-ish whether it was by train or el/bus, so I wasn’t getting in till after 6. Getting dinner ready, eating it, do a few things, work out… the getting dinner ready part was what I wanted to eliminate Monday through Thursday.

When I moved out of the city my commute and hours became drastically different. I became part of the large population that puts in a several hour round trip commute and taking care of myself, with healthy meals, became a huge challenge with such limited time. So, I had to get more creative with my food prepping to make my Monday through Friday as efficient as possible. I couldn’t waste time in the mornings or evenings and I had to master eating a sliced apple while driving. I didn’t know this skill until I embarked on this commute.

SO, I’d like to go over my prep tips and things, because you just never know who else is enduring such a commute or work several jobs and have limited time for themselves.

Breakfast really is important and other than a delicious, piping hot cup of coffee it is important to get in your fruits and veggies. Thank God for smoothies!

This prep is so simple and you only need to dedicate 30ish minutes to it!

Figure out what fruits you want in your smoothies: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, bananas, mango, pineapples, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc. Figure out what veggies you might want in your smoothies: kale, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, beets, carrots, etc.

I just did this last weekend, so my fruit is fresh; however, frozen fruit is great to because it’s available all year round.

After you figure out your ingredients, get your stuff, clean it/slice it, and create your work station.


Take a sandwich baggy and stick in a handful of each ingredient. In this case, I had a handful of spinach (a large handful), strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. What’s not shown is the watermelon I sliced. I have that in a huge tupperware container and pull that out each morning as I plop this into the Vitamix.

I will prep enough for a month’s worth of smoothies. I also vary the bags and some others I prepped previously were cantaloupe, watermelon and mango. Some are just banana and kale. I switch it up. I also make sure that if I want to add any protein, spirulina, maca, or wheatgrass powder that they are handy. Not all of my ingredients will be frozen, but they will be prepped in some way.

There are times when I’ve added carrots and I do that buy cooking them in coconut oil and keeping them in the fridge. Beets I will peel and slice, but I will not cook them. I prefer raw beets in my smoothies. Depending on how I’m feeling, I will roast or boil the sweet potato, dice it, keep it in the fridge. I do prefer to pre-clean and de-stem kale, this makes it much easier during the weekday mornings.

Again, you need to devote some time to this, but in the long run it really saves you a lot of time during the week when you’re on the run! And if you happen to get home really really late and you have no energy and nothing ready to eat, drink a smoothie. OR make it more meal-like and create yourself a smoothie bowl!


(it’s humid right now and my deep freeze is in the garage!)

July 30 Day Challenges

Right, so it was brought to my attention none of my posts posted last week!


Okay, so let’s start new this week?! 


So it’s a new month and I have some new challenges for myself. Well, one challenge will have some cheat moments.. yikes!

I wanted to do The Whole30 challenge, but it’s a little difficult this month since there’s a family reunion at the end of the month and I really have no idea what I might eat there, Bastille Day, and a graduation/sending off to college party. On Bastille Day I’m most likely going to have something that’ll have gluten and dairy. For the family reunion, I’m packing a meal just in case… I don’t eat meat, so I most likely won’t be able to eat anything other than fruit salad. The graduation party will be whole30 friendly, as my sister practices a gluten-free and mainly dairy free lifestyle. 

You know what, it’s gonna be a Whole30 month minus Bastille Day. I’m really going to practice it except that day will be rough.

Okay, next challenge…

No frivolous spending, all saving! I’m on a spending embargo.

I don’t spend money on unnecessary things or lose track of my monthly budget, but I wanted to become even more aware of habits that I may not have paid mind to. Like, how I was enjoying my lattes three times a week. My local coffee shop doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for them, but it’s still something to pay attention to and save money.

Plus, it’s great to have money tucked away! 

30 day plank challenge.

I’m not insane. My goal is to plank 3 times a day: morning, noon and night. What inspired this? My 14(?) year old cousin beat her training by planking for 30 minutes.


I don’t have a goal to reach a 30 minute plank, but I’ll be happy at whatever time I get up to. 

This post went up late, but there will be a halfway-ish check in!

Okay, so do you guys set up a challenge each month for yourself?

What are your most recent goals made or accomplished?

bits o’ this & bits o’ that

bon samedi! hello!

This morning I am, several days before the end of the month, I’m going out to breakfast with one of my best friends, Ann. Carb overload at Cracker Barrel! C’mon, you know that you can’t just eat one biscuit there..

I didn’t post much this week because the weather was soooo nice and I’ve enjoyed the evenings outside and not hanging with my laptop. desolee! Well, Tuesday evening I was hit directly with that storm that swung through the Midwest to the East coast. I was standing at my window checking out the sky and watched the lightning strike the electrical box thing and was without power till sometime in the middle of the night. I’m so thankful that it came back on!

Reads: I started re-reading and [first time] journaling my way through She’s Got Issues. I’m expecting some serious growth from this! As I said last week, I read the book before, but where I’m at right now is such a crazy/interesting shift in life and I truly believe this book will uncover some things within me. I’m diggin’ deep.

Listens: While working out I’ve been enjoying the Echosmith and Saint Motel Pandora stations. I’ve also been enjoying Elle King. Hey, did you know she’s Rob Schneider’s daughter? Rob Schneider who films with Adam Sandler, THAT Rob Schneider.

Sometimes I wish I filmed my face when reading stuff on the internet. Probably some of my best facial expressions are done in front of a computer screen. Oy vey.

Eats: For the month of July I am going to do the Whole30 diet and I’m really looking forward to this. So, as a prep I’ve been eliminating some things from my diet. I know just above I mentioned I’m going to Cracker Barrel, but that very rarely ever happens! I’m really looking forward to omitting grains/legumes and expanding my options. It’ll also make me get a bit more creative with my meal preps.

Lusts: hey, those Disney Vans I mentioned two weeks ago? WELL, I bought them. I had to. It just seemed like an essential that was needed. I’ve been doing A LOT of closet/clothing/shoes purging, so I can use another pair of sneakers (complete lie). I’m also cleaning and purging through my make-up collection. Both projects deserve their own posts.

In other news, I’ve started my Christmas shopping. I know, that’s nuts! But, I never have an issue finding or getting anything after November.

So, anything interesting to share?

Have you completed the whole30? Aside from their resources, have you found good boards on Pinterest or blogs? 


bits o’ this & bits o’ that

Today I’m driving to see my dad for an early Father’s Day breakfast and then visiting with some of my favorite family members. Yes, I’ll openly admit that I play favorites. BUT can I back that up with saying that I have known different family members as a child vs. adult. There are some who have communicated more with me as an adult and social media has played a huge role in this area. However, these peeps I’m seeing tomorrow I grew up with and aren’t on social media, so they talk to me because they haven’t been exposed to my Mad Men, Taylor Swift, random music video, God, and vegetarian posts on Facebook :) 

Moving on…

Reads: I’ve been reading Carlos Whittaker’s Moment Maker and I love it. It’s very timely, as I’m learning to relax and enjoy certain moments in life more.. I built up moments before and just thrived off of them and now I can read about truly allowing them to happen and not going over board. It’s a really great read and I’d recommend it to anyone. What’s even better is that Whittaker doesn’t get technical with his Bible references, it’s straight to the point. That’s something that we need more of, straight to the point Bible teachin’.  

My next read is going to be Nicole Eunice’s She’s Got Issues. This will be a re-read for me, but with a lot of journaling. I really think rereading this book is a need for the new place I’m at in life. 

Listens: I’m still enjoying Empires and my Taylor Swift binge ended since the concert happened. I’m really pumped about the new Frank Turner song and excited about the new album. I also can’t help but turn the volume up a little more every time Saint Motel’s Just My Type is on AltNation or XMU. 

Eats: Today I plan on having brunch with my dad at Mitzi’s Table. I’ve never been and I know he hasn’t. I’m really looking forward to going there and checking it out. I know that I said I’m on a 30 no meals out challenge, but I’m pretty sure Father’s Day weekend can be an exception?! 

I plan on making this tomorrow: C’mon, doesn’t that look AMAZING?!  I had a lemon sweet tooth goin’ on and baked these: Mine are bigger and gooey-er looking, but oh so delicious. I also added a cup of unsweetened coconut to the mix for some added texture/flavor. It was a great idea!

So, any reading/listening suggestions?  Eat anything amazing? 


Best title ever, right?

It was nearly mid-May and I started getting severely sick everyday. I wasn’t eating dairy or gluten, so they couldn’t be the culprits. My diet was very clean at the time: no dairy, no gluten, no sugar… very little fats or carbs. The only foods I could eat safely were apples and cucumbers, they were great on my stomach and on those days I didn’t got sick.

For over 3 weeks I ate very little and at the end of the day would drink copious amounts of ginger tea, as that would slightly ease my stomach. Again, the only days I didn’t feel depleted of all energy were days I ate apples and cucumbers. Not only did I lose my appetite because of getting sick, there were times I actually felt afraid to eat.

I didn’t feel as though this was a medical emergency, I figured my body was trying to get rid of something. Eventually, I realized this wasn’t going to just pass and needed to do something. Turns out, I needed to receive hydro-colonic therapy for parasites. This happened a week ago and I can say that I’ve successfully been able to eat and not get sick, woo! While I was there I was instructed that I need to wash all my produce with lemon water. It seems as though my method of washing and soaking wasn’t good enough. Clearly, because I got a parasite.

I would use baking soda and hot water or the all organic produce spray, but occasionally there were the moments when I’d use my dish soap…hey, they use Dawn to clean off the animals caught in those horrendous oil spills!

Moving forward I will wash my produce with the following concoction:

Juice of 1 lemon, 2 Tbsp. of baking soda, and 1 c. of water

You can put this together and funnel it into a spray bottle or if you are cleaning berries I’d put them in a bowl with the mixture. It’s the best natural way to kill anything that may get on the outside of your produce, even your organic produce. I know :( , that’s not even safe!

You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, however you want to dilute it as to not have the taste of vinegar all over your produce.

You can always Google having parasites and read all sorts of information till the cows come home, but I particularly like reading Organic Olivia‘s blog and prior to finding her on Instagram I (and my mom) have had most of the books that she’ll reference.

I hope you aren’t too grossed out, but that you’re also informed that this can happen to ANYONE.

(The sad/interesting part of this: at the time when I got sick, all my food was prepared by me. I wasn’t going out to eat. I bought my food at my local farmer’s market and stored it on my fridge, cleaned it, prepared it, ate it… like I have for all these years)

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