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by Borderstan.com June 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

"Summer"

Some healthy tips for your summer cooking. (Chelsea Rinnig)

Healthy meal tips to keep you on track this summer

Barbecues, picnics, beach and beer — all a recipe for fun activities this summer. But frankly, I begin to feel it after a weekend of drinking beer all day; all of a sudden, a beach weekend becomes a looming fear where you wished you’d toned up a little more and drank a little less.

So, here are a few tips and past articles that may allow you to indulge a little in the outdoor events while staying healthy and looking good!

Substitutions

  • Instead of butter, use extra virgin olive oil and just a drizzle. Roast vegetables on the grill for a side instead of the potato chips and go for the ground turkey or chicken breasts when making your burgers.
  • Instead of bringing that baguette and cheese to the picnic, try these collard wraps.
  • Try out zucchini hummus instead of chickpeas for a backyard bash: roast a large zucchini, whole, at 425 for 30-40 minutes (until tender). Cool, slice, and blend with a ¼ cup olive oil, juice from half a lemon, and 3 tablespoons of Tahini. Serve with carrot sticks — it’s delicious. Add spinach for a boost of iron and extra green! The color is beautiful.
  • Swap a juicy, fresh watermelon for dessert — they will be in season soon! Or roast some peaches and serve with plain vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt.

So have a beer for being good all week and enjoy the best your local markets have to offer this summer!

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by Borderstan.com May 31, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Dear Chelsea,

I am trying to make business attire work for me. There are so many different opinions about what acceptable professional business attire is though. What makes sense for the modern young women? I know it can depend on your industry to an extent… But some basic guidelines would be nice — specifically for us women that do not like to wear pants everyday! I am tired of being told ‘a woman’s clothes shouldn’t be memorable! I want to wear dresses and skirts that I feel like myself in. Any advice?

Dress Me for Success 

Dear Dress Me for Success,

This definitely depends on your industry, and to a great extent, the city you live or work in. Business attire can definitely vary greatly across the board, especially considering the age group you work with, too. Since I wear a nose ring and pretty much start Casual Friday on Thursdays, I completely sympathize with the desire for comfort and individuality.

However, certain wardrobe staples must populate your closet for those moments that require a degree of professionalism, and particularly if you seek to impress a client or your boss. A neutral colored pencil skirt suit with tan hose for the summer can suffice, which I personally pair with a tan pointed heel for some femininity. Flats, generally, are acceptable too so long as they are not scuffed or wildly patterned (patent leather works well). A white blouse or perhaps something with vertical stripes on top — clean and classic is what you’re going for, the point being that your attire should not distract from your ideas or work.

Once you get a sense of who you’re working with, you can see how much you can play with this basic start. Perhaps in the right context, a more exotic blouse or some playful jewelry, or various pops of color (which seems to be the trend these days, but I’m no fashion expert). You will have an idea of what you can get away with and mix into your outfits after you have established yourself better among your colleagues and clients.

That being said, don’t ever show off too much leg or cleavage. When in doubt, don’t wear it.

Same goes for you too, boys: buy a suit that fits. Go to a tailor and get fitted for a suit. There is nothing worse than a man in a suit that does not fit him. Trust me.

Anyone out there have any other advice or suggestions? DC gets a lot of flak for dressing poorly–let’s prove them wrong?

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com May 24, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

"Scones"

Red Wine-Rhubarb, Yogurt-Ginger Scones. (Chelsea Rinnig)

The Lighter Side of Springtime Sweetness

I have to admit, I’ve never been much of a baker. Such practices requires patience and measurement and a whole other set of intuition and flavor profiles compared to cooking. By the third step in, I’ve tossed the measuring cups into the sink and poured half the bag of sugar into the bowl and substituted baking soda for baking powder.

Like I said, I’m not a great baker.

But this recipe is forgiving for non-bakers like me and the steps allow for more cooking and improvisation.  The ingredients are fun, fragrant and health-conscious, so much so that choosing which ones to include in the title was the greatest challenge!

Both balancing the flavors of spring in the rhubarb and lemon-sugar and lighter from the yogurt and oil substitutions, these scones are perfect served warm at your next backyard brunch.

Red Wine-Rhubarb, Yogurt-Ginger Scones

Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Grapefruit, Honey and Yogurt Scones

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons date honey  (regular honey works fine, too)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil (original recipe calls for 6 tbsp. butter)
  • 4 thin stalks rhubarb, chopped into about a cup (pictured)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt – I used local full fat yogurt from Clear Spring Creamery
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 1 lemon to zest

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Directions

  1. Combine dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Pour red wine in a large saucepan set to medium heat. Reduce for 8 minutes.
  3. Zest your lemon entirely and press zest into the brown sugar with the back of a spoon. Add two tablespoons of the lemon-sugar to the dry ingredients, and stir in another tablespoon to the red wine.
  4. Return to the red wine. Add ginger and rhubarb until coated in wine and lower heat to a simmer for additional 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb has softened to form compote. Remove from heat and cool briefly.
  5. Cut olive oil into the dry mixture using a table knife. The mixture should form tiny pebbles and, subsequently, a course grain. Add the honey of your choice, yogurt and rhubarb reduction compote.  Stir using a fork, or if you’re like me, your hands. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a circle. Cut into six triangles and top with remaining lemon-sugar.
  6. Bake on a lined baking sheet for 15 minutes. Or, make ahead and refrigerate the dough overnight. You can pop it into the oven right before your brunch guests arrive and serve warm–plain or with fresh strawberry jam.

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by Borderstan.com May 17, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Dear Chelsea,

I recently met a guy visiting my hometown on vacation. The conditions upon which we met are somewhat complicated (he is the brother of my brother’s friend, the friend of my brother being someone I have only been acquainted with via some facebook interactions). Not sure if that info is relevant…Anyhow, met this guy, felt attraction right away, on my end at least. Saw him a few times during the week he was in town.

Conversation was easy, we laughed, chatted etc. and I felt myself wanting to know everything about him. Maybe he was just being a ‘nice guy’ as he certainly is, but now that he has returned home I am still thinking about him. How can I wisely (and should I) maintain contact with him? Should I just be grateful that the fates brought us together for some sweet moments and let it go? hmm?

Sincerely, still thinking about him.

Dear Still Thinking,

I completely sympathize with your story and I, too, have dedicated quite a bit of thought to this idea of chemistry. A rare but distinctive feeling that draws you when you least expect it — for me, it creates a craving to seek that moment again just to remember that these emotions and excitement exist! Particularly because dating itself and waiting for, or choosing, “the one” can become so tiring.

But all this is to say, I and many readers know exactly this kind of chemistry, and subsequently, the fear of coming on too strong. It is that desire to maintain contact mixed with concern for coming at your object of desire out of left field. Honestly, though, you’re more likely to send some kind of embarrassing drunk text or sociopathic email if you repress this instinct to keep contact with this person.

My advice is to go for it — ask your connection, even if bizarrely complicated or distant, for the guy’s contact information. You don’t really have all that much to lose other than rejection (which sounds bad, but makes moving on easier). If he felt the attraction on his end too, then your reaching out won’t seem so weird.

The unfortunate and more likely circumstance may be that the distance may mean that the timing just isn’t quite right for either of you right now. But who knows? You never know where your future may bring either of you and there’s nothing wrong with trying to establish some kind of connection — even if you forgo contacting him by phone directly and it’s as simple as a Facebook friend request. You never know where your paths may cross again and Newsfeed updates certainly facilitate those kind of meet-ups.

I hope, though, that, even if none of this works out, you can then resort to the ideas you express in your last question: appreciate it for what it was. Even if you take the risk and don’t succeed, you can at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you tried and knowing that you have the capacity for such feeling about a person.

You can still revel in the memory! In fact, I believe it’s important to do so even if things don’t work out, so that you can recognize those feelings again when the next instance of chemistry comes along…

Bold feelings require bold actions, and better to lead with your heart than with fear.

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com May 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

"Sweetlife"

Great crowd at the Sweetlife Festival. ( Jennifer Sisto)

From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

The Sweetlife Festival, now come and gone, provides such a great concept. With many young people attracted to the headliners and festival scene, Sweetlife captured the opportunity to promote local food, healthier options and sustainable practices on a large scale, hopefully setting an example for the festival circuit to follow.

"Sweetlife"

Oysters a favorite to some. ( Jennifer Sisto)

The day began with some ominous clouds and light showers in the morning, clearing to sunny skies in time for a fantastic, soulful performance from Solange. Perusing the Food Forest, fresh strawberries from the Freshfarm Markets, KIND bar and Honest Tea samples, photobooths and sweetgreen salads provided a bright, light lunchtime. Festive youths flocked to the food trucks (including district natives Takorean, Pepe and the Big Cheese) and camped out on the green while the weather held up.

From the inside of the Pavilion, Gary Clark Jr. stole the audience’s hearts with a mesmerizing set of rock and roll and blues. Despite the pouring rain, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs kept the audience engaged and cheering as lead singer Karen O provided quite the show in a sparkly yellow short suit and fierce, studded leather jacket.

"Sweetlife"

Great music. (Jennifer Sisto)

The rain cleared in time for dinner — I chose an oyster pancake from Toki Underground, where the chefs teamed up with Woodberry Kitchen and utilized every part of the pig you can imagine (including roasted head on the menu). Fully fed and having danced to a song or two at Holy Ghost! at the Treehouse Stage, I waited in the mud for Phoenix to close out the day. A set with many ups and downs, lead singer Thomas Mars ended on a high note, crowd surfing and then breaking the mike to throw it out to one lucky member of the audience.

At no other music festival could one have so many choices — from the usual fare of fries and chicken sandwiches, to chia pods, vegetarian falafel and even oysters (not a wise choice for the faint of heart or enthusiastic imbiber, however). Though teens tend to flock to this festival, opting for the Pavilion or VIP ticket provided another option for an older crowd to get up close with musical artists as well, and at least stay dry for most of the day. All in all, another success for the innovators at sweetgreen.

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by Borderstan.com May 10, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

"Sweetlife"

Sweetgreen is sponsoring the Sweetlife Festival at the Merriweather Post Pavillion. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Return of the Sweetlife Festival

Sweetlife is back tomorrow, May 11, at the Merriweather Post Pavillion for another full day outdoors of top-notch musical talent and a food forest highlighting healthy snacks alongside the best of DC’s restaurants and chefs.

New to this years’ festival is a group outdoor yoga class before the opening act and an ecostore of sustainable and local products to help you get through the day.

While VIP and Pavilion tickets have sold out, General Admission tickets are still available to witness an impressive lineup. Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kendrick Lamar, Passion Pit, Gary Clark Jr., Solange and Lindsay Sterling headline the festival at the Mainstage. The Treehouse stage will feature additional acts like Holy Ghost!, Youth Lagoon and MS MR, to name a few.

Lastly, the 9:32 Club, sponsored by the 9:30 Club, will host guest artists like Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem, Mr. JPatt of The Knocks and others at a stage catered to those looking to dance off some of those festival day calories.

More Than Just Music

Speaking of food, plenty of salads, yogurt, wraps and sweetpress will be available to attendees for purchase at the sweetgreen café, along with snacks from locals like sticky fingers and Docezza. Toki Underground, Kushi Izakaya, DGS and food trucks Takorean, Pepe and the Big Cheese will also be on site throughout the day. Local breweries and vineyards will provide libations as well — so go ahead and have that extra beer — it won’t matter as much when you’ve had a salad for lunch.

Sweetgreen recently opened another Borderstan location this past week at 14th and W Streets NW, to add to the Dupont Circle and Logan Circle locations in the neighborhood. Three locals first opened a location in Georgetown in 2007 and since then, the business has expanded to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Sweetgreen promotes sustainable practices, healthy living and organic, farm-fresh ingredients.

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by Borderstan.com May 3, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Dear Chelsea

I have been dating a girl for almost three months. Right off the bat she said she just wanted to date and wasn’t interested in a relationship. I understood where she was coming from, and it didn’t bother me since I wasn’t really looking for anything myself. Since then it’s starting to feel like a relationship, but she refuses to call it one. Why is she putting up such a barrier and what should I do about it?

Sincerely,  Non-boyfriend

Dear Non-boyfriend,

A number of reasons could exist as to why she does not want to call your “dating” a relationship. She could have had a serious relationship in the past that traumatized her, emotionally; she might believe that calling it a relationship would scare you away if you too have given the impression that you aren’t really looking for one; she might value her independence and feel that committing to you would give that up.

Have you tried asking her?

I could make suppositions all day long to explain her reasons for acting as such — you will not get the true answer until you ask her. The key is not to phrase it in the form of an accusation, i.e. “why are you putting up such a barrier,” or “why don’t you want a relationship.” Rather, ask her this: “I get the sense that there’s a reason you don’t want a relationship, do you want to talk about it?” and “Is there anything I can do to make this more comfortable for you?”

Maybe understanding her past and, likewise, sharing yours can bring you two together in a way that breaks down that barrier. Show her that you understand and sympathize with her limitations, and that you’re willing to accommodate to them.

Oftentimes it can be easy to think that your behavior has influenced another’s treatment towards you. Most of the time, though, you have absolutely nothing to do with it. Everyone carries their own baggage through life that can be as complex as a difficult childhood experience or as simple as a tough day at work. Understanding this and listening to that person when they need you, especially when it comes to your significant other, will both increase your patience for a person and bring you two together.

Maybe it’s starting to feel like a relationship — well, then let it be what it is and enjoy it. Who cares about the definition? If you end up wanting more and become interested in having a relationship, it sounds like you’ll need to be the one to ask for it. And who knows? Maybe she says she doesn’t want a relationship because she’s waiting for you to make the first move.

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com April 19, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

"Chelsea

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Dear Chelsea, My current living situation is a bit expensive for my taste, and I’d like to arrange a group housing situation in DC with some friends. However, I’m not sure how to broach moving out to my current roommate, and I’m not even sure how to collect the right group of friends for the group house. Do you have any advice for how to arrange a group house here in DC, and how to navigate my current roommate situation?

Thank you! – Moving-On Molly

Dear Moving-On – Molly housing in DC is a total catch-22. While the greatest selection comes available during popular moving seasons at the beginning and end of the summer, the increased demand manifests in a noticeably higher price tag for rent. How nobody has invented a tech company to expand outside craigslist and revolutionize the real estate industry is beyond me.

First, the most important thing is to sit down and have a conversation with your roommate, which you should do as soon as possible. For all we know, she may have similar thoughts about moving out and living with someone else. But should she not, out of fairness to her you should give her significant time to either find a roommate to replace you or to find a new home of her own.

I would suggest an open conversation that does not begin with “I want to move out and live with someone else,” but rather with “What are your plans? What have you been thinking?” You can move on to tell her that while you are unsure of your timeline, you would like to find less expensive housing, possibly in a group house. It may make both of you feel awkward, but it is honest.

Second, there are many routes to finding housing. The most comprehensive “database” (if you can even call it that) for openings is craigslist. Other means for finding housing that I have tried, and sometimes succeeded with, are as follows:

  • an email to the listserv or human resources at your office
  • calling local management companies in the area to ask of upcoming rentals for their properties
  • post to Facebook (or look out for friends’ posts)

As for finding the right group house dynamic, that is entirely personal. While some can fortuitously find an available group of friends who live in close quarters amicably, others prefer a cohort of relative strangers that can more individualistically coexist.

Consider these factors though: what do you value most in a living situation? What can you live with, what can you be flexible on, and what are your non-negotiables?

Most of all, I would caution against jumping into anything too quickly; the key is to remain patient even when you feel most desperate. Your dream team and house will surface, and casually begin to put the word out there to your friends. If it does not work out, the next step would include considering other options (joining an existing group house, downsizing to just a two-bedroom with the perfect roommate, etc.).

Readers with other suggestions, I invite you to comment below and contribute! What are your suggestions for finding housing in DC?

Good luck! Always, Chelsea

 •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

Dear Chelsea,  Should I get Spotify Premium?

Dear Spotify Customer – After reading reviews, it seems much of that depends on how much you care. Do you care about the 160kb versus 320kb improvement in sound? Do you listen to a lot of music? Do you need to download or use the app to play it from a smartphone or tablet? And lastly, do you have a limited data plan.

If you answered yes these questions, then the investment seems well worth it. I cannot as an advice columnist promote one product over another, however, Spotify has pretty good reviews and appears to be a program catered to this kind of consumer.

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com April 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Spring is here. (Chelsea Rinnig)

Spring greens are here. (Chelsea Rinnig)

The thawing of winter means the coming of a new crop of fresh spring produce… well, eventually.

Asparagus, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and melons are on their way, but not quite ready to be picked and sold at the market. A longer than anticipated winter delayed much of the growing process, and so we will have to wait until June for rhubarb.

However, manipulation of the greens and fruits available can certainly brighten up and lighten your dishes while sticking to the concept of local. A recent New York Times article also demonstrated examples of spring flavors, but with innovations in farming such as greenhouses, one does not have to, as the article suggested, “cheat” by buying artichokes from California.

For example, many of the available greens, such as arugula, can make for a beautiful pesto when blended or processed with pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and top any baked white fish or pasta for a light Spring dinner. Apples in fresh lettuce with walnuts, celery, gold raisins and Dijon dressing serve as a healthy modified Waldorf salad. And the recipe below makes Spring wraps perfect for your next lunch picnic in Meridian Hill Park or at the Cherry Blossoms.

Now, who’s bringing the white wine?

Collard Wraps with Carrots, Cucumber and Lentils

Ingredients

  • One bunch of rather large Collards or Swiss Chard
  • One bunch carrots
  • Cucumber
  • One chopped white or red onion
  • 2 cups dry red lentils
  • Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp. Tahini
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • Sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 cups water
  • Warm water and vinegar in a pan

Directions

  1. Rinse and sort lentils. Toast chopped onion and dry lentils in the bottom of a medium sized saucepan on medium-high heat for one minute, stirring a couple times.
  2. Add water and white wine, cover and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Slice the stem and extra stalk from the leaves of the Collards or Swiss Chard. While the lentils simmer, soak green leaves in a shallow pan of warm water and vinegar for approximately 10 minutes. Chop carrots and cucumber into sticks.
  4. Whisk the lemon juice, tahini, and EVOO together for an optional dressing, or process with half of your carrots and the sunflower seeds.
  5. Once the lentils have cooked and cooled, assemble wraps using two leaves layered in opposite directions (be careful not to overstuff). Depending on the size of your leaves, slice in half and/or wrap in aluminum foil. The soaking should help maintain the shape of your wrap without breaking.

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by Borderstan.com April 5, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Stop living by your fears and start living by your passions.

It’s the time of year that asks the questions: what am I doing, what is my next step and where am I headed? As the admissions letters arrive, the mid-year reviews roll around and another year earns a tick mark on the calendar, we are reminded of our goals and often wonder where our professional lives may be leading us.

Especially among my young friends (who may be too embarrassed to email these questions to Borderstan), I’d like to address this condition commonly faced by such driven individuals, particularly in a constantly striving city. So here it goes; my unsolicited advice:

“Happiness is not a destination but rather a manner of traveling.”

We spend so much time worrying about the end game and developing some kind of five-year plan for success that we blind ourselves from our current happiness and the opportunities that may arrive in the present.

"Chelsea"

Start your traveling. (Chelsea Rinnig)

From my experience, what I want to pursue changes constantly–instead of concerning yourself with what you think you might want in the future; think about what you want right now.

My advice is to stop living by your fears and start living by your passions. Now is the time. Not next year, not after the next promotion, not in ten years. If you do not commit yourself to that which you love wholly and totally, you will never succeed at it.

This doesn’t mean living irresponsibly — we’re not all cut out for the MLB or the White House. But if you’re questioning where you are at right now, consider taking some time to distance yourself from the throes of the workplace through a retreat or vacation of sorts and really evaluate what sort of daily work gives you happiness.

You may fail. If this is the worst that can happen, then you are bound to grow and become better as a result of failure. So follow what pleases you and start living by that standard — not some other standard of success by which we perceive the world judges us.

The path will unfold before you so long as you keep yourself grounded in what exists in the present and what you love right now.

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com March 29, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

"Farmers"

The 14 & U Farmer’s Market is open spring through fall. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Spring, finally upon us, means the opening of many farmers markets in the area–a great pit stop after work or destination for a Sunday morning stroll (or date!). The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and the summer harvest is just around the corner.

Farmers markets connect consumers to the food they eat and the people that grow it. They also bring neighbors together to admire and appreciate fresh produce and homemade products. Hint: It’s also the best spot in town for people-watching.

The few that seem to forget these romantic sentiments can really bring down the whole communal vibe. While tolerance is key for any sales position, acting like a conscientious customer helps everyone else enjoy themselves more, too.  Here are some etiquette tips that go a long way with farmers, patrons and salespeople alike!

Tips for the Market

  • DO try out the samples. That’s what they are there for. Ask questions–tell your salesperson flavors you like and they will probably let you try before you buy.
  • DON’T sample the entire table as you pass by and then walk away. You can’t hide. Farmers are not in the business of making money and every apple used for samples is one less apple sold for profit.
  • DO save change during the week and use your coins! Exact change makes the math easier and gets you out of the checkout line quicker.
  • DON’T use a $100 bill for a purchase under $10. The cash register is not an ATM machine. Singles and tens can be hard to come by, so try to break your twenties before coming to the market if you can.
  • DO bring your own bags. Reusable (cloth) bags cut down on the cost of plastic on our environment as well as costs to farmers who make and purchase bags. If you need a plastic bag, reuse it for bagging your produce the following weeks or to line a waste bin at home.
  • DON’T hold up the line by talking on your cell phone during checkout–interact with the person behind the counter! Be considerate of those behind you–hang up the phone and organize your bags, money, tissues, receipts, change, gum wrappers, trash, etc. before you get in line.

The Dupont Freshfarm Market‘s spring hours begin Sunday, April 7: 8:30 am to 1 pm. The Penn Quarter Farmers Market runs every Thursday from 3 to 7 pm. Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market opens April 6 and the 14 and U Farmers’ Market opens May 5 (Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm).

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by Borderstan.com March 22, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Dear Chelsea, 

I am currently in a very loving and compassionate relationship with a boyfriend of 6 months. Everything is great, except that I seem to have trouble connecting with one of his friends (let’s call her Margaret), with whom he is closest.  She and I tend to compete for his time and affection. Further Margaret and my boyfriend used to have an intimate relationship which makes me feel really uncomfortable that they are so close. When I am unable to attend an event or party with my boyfriend, he brings Margaret and I feel like she is his replacement girlfriend. My boyfriend says there is nothing to worry about, but I don’t trust Margaret and have a hard time being my normal self when we hang out with her or see her out.  

It’s not that I don’t trust my boyfriend and I don’t want to force him to change a relationship or friendship.  I just can’t shake the idea of their past relationship out of my head.  Thoughts on how to proceed?  Thanks!

– Nervous Nancy

Dear Nancy,

First off, relax! Your nerves about this and in these situations involving “Margaret” are what are causing you to not act yourself. The first step is to take a deep breath and remind yourself that your boyfriend is currently with you and has already tried things with Margaret. If he wanted to be with her, then he would not be with you.

Second, I completely sympathize with the difficulty in feeling like an outsider, perhaps when Margaret and your boyfriend share inside jokes or reminisce on a past that you have yet to share. It is easy to feel excluded in this kind of situation–watching from the sidelines while the two of them have a great conversation might lead you to doubt your own connection to your boyfriend and feel left out.

So jump right in! You must allow your confidence to lead you through this trying social situation, and not your doubts. Instead of shrinking in her presence, engage her directly and with a smile on your face. When she brings up a story from the past, inquire about it and laugh along. If she refuses to include you when you approach her with acceptance and kindness, then this will only reveal her true character to all of those present.

You already recognize that you cannot control the company your boyfriend chooses to keep — and the more you emphasize your dislike of Margaret to him, the more he will seek ways to hang out with her without you. My advice would be to suggest group events where it’s not only the three of you, but also a larger group of friends that can help you relax and remove some of the pressure and tension. Both you and Margaret will want to be on your best behavior if other friends are involved.

The key is to be open and accepting to all parties involved. Perhaps you will find that you and Margaret have more in common than you originally thought — I mean, you have both dated the same person. Continue to trust your boyfriend and try to gain Margaret’s trust too, as she is probably just as protective of him as you are. She does not have to be your best friend, but your boyfriend does.

Always, Chelsea

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only.

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by Borderstan.com March 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm 1 Comment

From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

"Recipes"

Know what you are eating. (Chelsea Rinnig)

Ever check the labels on your store-bought goods? Any idea what sucralose is? What about maltodextrin or xantham gum? These corn-based food additives, in addition to well-known sugars like high fructose corn syrups, appear frequently on grocery store shelves.

While preservatives and additives have revolutionized the food industry, subsidizing the cost of mass food production and ease of access to a variety of foods, they lead us consumers farther astray from nature.

Next time you peruse the aisles of your grocery store, compare your options and see how many ingredients you recognize on the back of the package. See how close you can stick to what you know and avoid those unidentified ingredients.

I understand though — baking your own bread can seem a little daunting. But these two DIY recipes for granola and rotis are very simple and well worth the extra effort — no added sugar, corn or unidentified ingredients in these recipes.

Whole Wheat Roti

Makes 8 rounds and can be used like tortillas if rolled thinner

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup warm filtered water

Directions

  1. Mix salt and whole wheat flour. Then, mix in olive oil until the flour is lump-free. Next, gradually add warm water a little at a time until the mixture incorporates all of the flour.
  2. Use your hands to mix it in until you can form one dough ball (the dough will be sticky, at first).
  3. Let the dough rest with a damp cloth over it for 15 minutes (hint, start prepping the rest of your meal while you wait!).
  4. Heat a heavy skillet to medium and divide the dough into golf-sized balls. Roll out using some extra flour into flat, circular thins.
  5. Cook each round on the heated skillet, flipping from one side to the other once bubbles begin to form on the uncooked side. Cook until browned and cooked through.
  6. If using an open flame, you can put the nearly finished roti on the burner using tongs, and let the bread puff up before serving.

Note: This process may cause some smoking, so make sure to open and window or use an overhead fan if this occurs.

Homemade, Too-Good Granola

Ingredients

  • 3 cups oats
  • 1/6 cup oil
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts of your choice: I like hazelnuts, brazil nuts, and almonds
  • ½ cup dried fruit of your choice: I like white raisins or dried figs
  • ¼ cup flax seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately.
  3. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and spread around a parchment or foil lined baking sheet until the dry mixture is entirely coated.
  4. Bake for 15-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until granola is golden brown.
  5. Let the granola cool before adding in some dark chocolate, if you’re like me and can’t resist…

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by Borderstan.com March 8, 2013 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Dear Chelsea,

I have a close friend who has had a drinking problem for a decade. She has lately moved into full alcoholic mode. I am not sure her family understands the severity — she is hiding certain aspects of her drinking, not surprisingly. It has gotten very serious.

Do I talk to her directly? Do I go directly to her significant other? Do we do an intervention? Have you ever dealt with this situation?

Thanks, Moving On

Dear Moving On,

This situation understandably presents multiple issues — the most difficult is that, in order for your friend to change, she must seek help of her own volition. But, this doesn’t mean that as your friend you must passively watch her continue down a negative path.

Let me remind you readers that I am by no means a professional on this subject and there are people who do specialize in alcoholism. I, personally, have encountered this situation indirectly to a variety of degrees — alcoholism presents itself in a range of forms and, as DC culture includes so much drinking, is probably more common than many of us are willing to admit.

It can be as simple as getting carried away more frequently than one should, straddling the line that separates social and compulsive drinking, or as complex as missing opportunities to grow socially or professionally because of an alcohol problem — even leading to violence.

“Full alcoholic mode” and hiding her drinking seems to suggest to me that she cannot control her drinking but also indicates that a part of her understands that she has a problem.

As I haven’t dealt with this issue as much post-college (where both alcohol and resources for helping your friends are equally plentiful), I read up on both Alcoholics Anonymous as well as the National Institutes of Health and their opinions on intervention. While AA suggests that an alcoholic is in denial and will often refuse help until they hit rock bottom, your friend’s case to me sounds similar to what the NIH cites as recognition of her problem with alcohol coupled with the fear of social stigma and unwillingness to abstain.

Your job as her friend — and yes, perhaps with the help of her significant other and other friends and family — is to make an alcohol-free environment and lifestyle one that is more rewarding, satisfying, and positive. Promote activities together that steer totally clear of drinking. And perhaps when the time is right, suggest in the gentlest way possible that she seek outside help.

I would suggest looking up different resources for friends and family of alcoholics, for example the CRAFT program, which stands for Community Reinforcement and Family Training. The program seeks to not only help your friend, but to help you, too, by encouraging positive communication strategies and suggestions of treatment. As the model states, it follows studies that have illustrated that motivation works better than confrontation. And it sounds like you’re looking to move on as well after ten years of watching your friend’s devolution.

Much of what you decide to do depends on how far gone you think your friend is.  My advice is to keep your lines of communication open, and if you do decide to conduct an intervention, steer clear of accusatory and demeaning statements.  Stay positive and supportive and hope that your friend will decide to seek change on her own with your efforts and love backing her up.

Always, Chelsea

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only.

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by Borderstan.com March 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

"Carrots"

Chelsea Rinnig. (Courtesy Chelsea Rinnig)

I recently returned from a 10-day, culinary-focused trip to Israel that was nothing short of life-altering. Imagine: a country rich in culture, history and nature — bountiful and plentiful in agriculture and produce.

Enamored, I walked through fields of carrots, herbs and strawberries in the Negev Desert. I navigated the outdoor markets in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, sampling halva and gawking at rows of rugelach and dried dates.

Lucky for me, upon my return to the States, The New England Journal of Medicine published a piece stating that a traditional Mediterranean diet promotes cardiovascular health and diminishes risk of coronary heart disease — not that I needed further convincing after such a rich and delicious trip to incorporate Israeli food into my diet.

But really, the study does further emphasize the nutritional philosophy I try to convey in my recipes: a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals, moderate intake of lean meats like fish and poultry and less consumption of processed foods and red meat. Lucky for all of us, red wine in moderation with meals is acceptable.

Fragrant spices I picked up along my trip now fill my kitchen cabinets to remind me of the beautiful journey I encountered, and this Za’atar Spiced Carrots recipe triggers all of my favorite memories. Za’atar’s savory combination of oregano, sesame seeds, marjoram and thyme adds robust, distinct flavor contrasts to the sweetness of the carrots and raisins, while the pepper of the arugula blends and cuts through the salad, adding freshness.

Za’atar Spiced Carrot Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. carrots, washed thoroughly or peeled
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • Za’atar Spice
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup of grains (Israeli couscous, quinoa or brown rice)
  • ½ cup of chopped pine nuts or walnuts
  • Optional: ½ cup finely chopped red onion

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut carrots into halves lengthwise and then two-inch segments. Toss carrots and raisins in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Za’atar Spice until evenly coated — about two tablespoons of each. Spread carrots along a baking sheet and roast in oven for about 20 minutes, or until browned.
  3. Roasting time will vary depending on the thickness of your carrots, but pierce with a fork to check. The raisins will also plump up nicely.
  4. While the carrots are roasting, rinse and cook your grains according to package instructions.
  5. Once both carrots and grains are cooked and slightly cooled, combine remaining ingredients and serve.
  6. Dish can be served warm or cold (hint: leftovers). A squeeze of fresh lemon juice is nice, too.

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