Rachel Dolecheck

www.racheldolecheck.com

central park, nyc

For anyone who doesn’t know, I made a brave decision to move to the NJ/NY area, and I have officially survived this crazy place for three weeks now. Some days are better than others, but overall, it has been life changing. I have, however, learned so much about this foreign world that I wanted to share with anyone who might be curious.

So here are my amateur NY tips for anyone who wants to know or wants to be wild like me and move up here straight out of college. Starting from most important lol.

  1. There is no good mexican food here. NONE. No happy hour margaritas. No queso. No El Paso. Ugh the list goes on.

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    You’ll start to really appreciate gauc tho

  2. However, the pizza is on point. Always.
  3. With the pizza being so good, I may or may not of gained a few pounds. But, you’ll most likely walk everywhere so you’ll have kick ass legs after a few weeks.
  4. Subways are the scariest thing ever. Or maybe I’m just dumb. Refer back to 3. – I walk. a lot.
  5. Moving so far away, you can truly start over. Forget the past. Forget the horrible people and delete any negative person in your life.

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    You’ll be so happy that you’re glowing. Ok maybe it’s just too much highlight, but you get the point.

  6. People are actually so kind. The stereotypical northerner does not exist, and they all think southern accents are cute so I’m actually winning.
  7. The wind is the worst thing my hair and I have ever experienced.
  8. The views are great though, and you’ll never get tired of seeing something new in the city.

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    Like the snow and the beautiful buildings.

  9. Everything isn’t actually that expensive, but don’t go shopping in Soho. All I gotta say.
  10. Lastly, always be confident and never let your guard down especially when you’re alone in the city.
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Having a friend does make everything so much better tho 🙂

Most importantly, moving so far away is like living in a world you never knew existed. Sure we see the city in movies and shows, but actually experiencing it is a totally different story. My advice to anyone who is eager to get out of their small town – DO IT. Do not even think twice. You will grow, prosper, and learn that there are so many bigger, better opportunities than your small hometown has to offer. It’s been a journey these first few weeks, but it’s a journey I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Have a great day loves and stay warm. ❤

-R

importance of a plant-based diet

This was originally written for Pildora, but I feel so passionate about the subject, I decided to repost on my site. 🙂

A plant-based diet can seem impossible, especially if you are accustomed to eating meat on a regular basis. Going plant-based, however, does not mean giving up meat altogether. Environmental researchers actually recommend a “flexitarian” diet, which involves eating meat occasionally. Eating just one or two plant-based meals a week can be essential to combating climate change; soil, air, and water pollution; ocean dead zones; and a multitude of other problems caused by industrial livestock production. 

Why is it important?

Working toward a plant-based diet is essential for our environment and our health. How we grow and produce food can be nourishing for our bodies and the planet, yet industrialized animal agriculture is ravaging our environment. There are some startling facts about the meat and dairy industries and how they are destroying our planet on OMD.com

For instance, animal agriculture contributes 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gases, making it the #2 leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Animal agriculture is also the #1 contributor to extinction and biodiversity loss because of the land needed for grazing and growing feed for livestock. These are devastating facts for our planet. 

Benefits to the environment

The food industry is responsible for 30 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, and we now know the meat industry makes up 14.5 percent alone. This means switching to a plant-based diet can make one of the greatest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. 

By shifting to a more plant-based diet, you can also help preserve animal and plant habitats. Almost a third of arable land is used for animal agriculture — much of it just to feed pigs, cattle, and chickens. On average, beef requires twenty times more land, per gram of protein, than growing beans, and a 2017 study projected that if Americans ate more beans and less beef, we would require 42 percent less cropland. 

A plant-based diet also helps to save water. Agriculture accounts for about 70 percent of freshwater use, making it “the world’s largest water-consuming sector.” Did you know just one serving of beef uses 570 gallons of water and 36 square miles of land? If 570 gallons of water for ONE serving of beef doesn’t blow your mind, I’m aren’t sure what will. Animal agriculture is also the leading cause of water pollution and ocean dead zones. This pollution comes from factory farm waste and toxins from manure, which find their way into groundwater, then rivers and oceans, destroying marine ecosystems. These are startling but very real facts that all contribute devastating effects to our environment and to climate change. 

Benefits to your health 

Plants play a huge role in keeping our bodies healthy. A plant-based diet may reduce the risk of diabetes, keep your heart healthy, lower blood pressure, decrease your risk of cancer, and provide many other health benefits. On top of those major health benefits, plant-based diets are generally higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and lower in unsaturated fats, which can provide for a healthy gut. 

Meat, on the other hand, has major health risks, especially processed meat, which the World Health Organization determined to be a carcinogen that “increases one’s risk of colon or rectum cancer by 18 percent.” Meat also carries the highest risk of food-borne illness, with beef listed as the top cause of outbreaks. 

A common misconception people have about a plant-based diet is that it lacks protein. This is simply not true. Animal protein is only one of many sources of protein. Quinoa, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, chia and hemp seeds, nuts, and many vegetables all contain substantial amounts of protein. And you won’t believe the variety of meals you can make with each. 

In conclusion, if you are passionate about the environment, it’s important to stay hopeful and continue spreading awareness about the horrible effects caused by the meat and dairy industries. I also hope this encourages anyone who has been curious about plant-based eating to try at least one plant-based meal a week, because with that one meal, you can lower greenhouse gas emissions. 

References: 

https://www.bustle.com/articles/137865-8-reasons-meat-is-bad-for-you-yes-even-chicken

https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/scientific-benefits-following-plant-based-diet/

https://theconversation.com/five-ways-the-meat-on-your-plate-is-killing-the-planet-76128

https://www.pcrm.org/news/blog/how-eating-more-plants-can-save-lives-and-planet

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/how-eating-more-plant-based-foods-benefits-the-environment/embed/#?secret=iNCFsbXZqq

oatmeal banana pancakes

I tried this 2-ingredient pancake trend on Tik-Tok and soon realized a better version. Oatmeal banana pancakes. Such an easy, healthy way to have one of my favorite childhood foods. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, these are amazing, much healthier than the ones I ate growing up, and vegan!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup of oat milk
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Toppings

  • Any fruit toppings you like – I added strawberries and blueberries
  • Maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Mash your bananas in a bowl
  2. Add your rolled oats, mashed banana, cinnamon and a little of your milk in a blender. Blend and add rest of milk throughout blending. Batter should be thick and smooth (resembling pancake batter of course).
  3. Heat skillet to medium heat and add butter and/or Pam to cook the pancakes on.
  4. Pour batter into skillet to form pancake circles and wait for some bubbles like your typical pancakes. Flip after about a 1-2 min.
  5. Serve with your favorite fruit and don’t forget some syrup or honey!
apartment wall collage

Re-decorating without buying anything new seems to be my sole purpose in life, because it’s something I actually do well and truly enjoy. Lately, I have been consuming less and making more thoughtful purchases, including any decor for my apartment.

Disclaimer: all pieces are new at some point, but the key takeaway from this post is to spend more time making conscious purchases and really thinking about the lifecycle of a product. Ask yourself, “Will I use this for a few months and then toss it or will I treasure the life of this new item for as long as I possibly can?” I highly recommend the second option. 😉

So welcome to my journey of redecorating without having to buy anything new. It’s amazing to see what I’ve done with some of my favorite, reusable pieces.

Decorative green vines

My trusty fake green vines deserve the first spotlight of this blog because they are so inexpensive, and I have been able to use these in so many ways. I originally bought these vines 2 years ago, and they are still as good as new. These green vines look amazing behind a bed, in a small corner, a living room space, or even a bathroom.

Real and/or fake plants

I take both sides to fake vs. real plants because I love them equally. Right now I have mostly fake because my current apartment does not get a lot of outside light. I have also accumulated many small plants over the years, which makes for great redecorating since they don’t lose value.

Wall collages

An easy way to accumulate amazing pieces is by starting a wall collage and moving items around later in order to create something somewhat new. I did thrift some items for my wall, but I tried to use decor on other walls to really bring this look together. See below for my beautiful transformation. 🙂

DIY crafts

Next is a personal favorite—DIY crafts. Crafting will most likely be another blog post, but an important part of a redecorating journey without buying anything is the practice of zero-waste. When I grocery shop, I try to minimize my plastic intake and opt for something in a glass jar instead. For example: spaghetti sauce, salsa, drinks, etc, which provides for the best zero-waste crafts. Shown below is old sauce jar that I painted and transformed into decor, and a water bottle I used as a vase.

If you are really up for redecorating without buying anything new, it’s important to stay creative and optimistic. It is so easy to go out and buy new, amazing items, but try this strategy first and see how you feel after you finish. If you absolutely feel the need to buy a piece of decor, I recommend thrifted pieces like these vintage wall decor butterflies. I found these on Poshmark for $10, and just the fact that I was giving them a whole new life made me so much happier than buying something traditionally new.

thrifted butterfly decor

Thank you for following along with my redecorating journey, and if you decide to do something similar in your own space, please tag me or let me know because I would love to see what you come up with. ❤

Until next time,

-R

summer essentials outfit

With our planet getting continually hotter because of climate change, I thought I’d write a little something about my favorite summer staples to help survive this heat. Continue reading for the pieces that have gotten me through the countless droplets of sweat in this current heat wave.

A mask

I had to throw this one in here first because let’s be real – masks are not fun to wear (especially if your commute is 80% of walking), but if we all want life to go back to normal, I think it’s best if we wear these bad boys. In the meantime, get creative or find a mask that matches your style.

Updating as soon as my new reusable masks come in. 🙂

The easy breezy dress

A good versatile dress is so necessary for those days when you just want to throw something on and even better if you can wear it as skirt. I love this Convertible Mini Dress from Free People, and it is my go-to dress this year. If your agenda this summer is breathability, I highly recommend any linen cotton blend for the easy breezy summer dress.

A silk scarf

This might be one of the most trending accessories this year, and I’m all for it. I almost gave up on this look when I couldn’t figure out how to wear them. It’s safe to say I finally know how to tie scarves around my hair, and I’m never looking back (p.s. the key to this look is securely pinning the scarf down with barrettes and pulling some hair in the front of it). A fun silk scarf can also serve as a top, maybe a belt or a swimsuit coverup.

This styled silk scarf was passed down from my great great grandmother. ❤

Vintage blue jean shorts

There is just something about a pair of high waisted 80’s style vintage denim shorts. I found these from a vintage shop in Brooklyn – Awoke Vintage, and they are my absolute best friend. I’m here for all the vintage mom vibes. These shorts are so comfortable and another easy piece to throw one with a bodysuit or tank top.

A full vintage denim, silk look paired with my black (you.swim) one piece.

Hint: I’ve loved the look of vintage jeans forever but could never find any that fit my curvy body because of their lack of stretch. The key to finding the perfect pair is sizing up about 2 sizes to get them over those beautiful hips. They will eventually stretch out a bit around the waist, but that’s what belts are for. 😉

That go-to handbag

I may or may not have a slight handbag obsession, but I make myself feel better by only purchasing secondhand. A fun vintage purchase puts the perfect finishing touches to any summer outfit. My newest piece is this colorful Douney & Burke bag I found on Poshmark.

My newest vintage bag by Dooney & Burke.

Check my latest Poshmark listings here.

The everyday jewelry

I have slowly become a major jewelry person, and I’m obsessed with the idea of the “stack”, whether it be necklaces, rings, or earrings. A sparkle of gold or silver will 9 times out of 10 will take an outfit from okay to major selfie moments. I find Mejuri to be an affordable, ethical jewelry brand with high quality pieces. If you’re looking for summer fun, you must of check out crumi stuff — handmade clay earrings and I promise there’s a pair for every mood.

The perfect one piece swimsuit

The final summer staple that has saved me on so many occasions is my go-to one piece swimsuit. More specifically youswim, a sustainable swimwear brand that carries swim suits that fit 7 sizes in 1. It’s skeptical, I know, but the blend of nylon and elastane makes for the stretchiest most comfortable piece of clothing you’ll ever put on. These swimsuits are actually magical because they are always sold out online, but they deserve the positive word of mouth. *See photo under vintage blue jean shorts.*

That’s it for my go-to summer staples that have been a life saver when all I want is to feel cute yet comfortable. Oh and don’t forget the most important summer essential this year — sunscreen. Protect that skin. 🙂

Tell me, what are some of your summer staples?

-R

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