My Kind of Eye Candy

Well hello lovelies. Happy Wednesday to you! Lately I've been finding myself falling down the internet hole of home tours.  I absolutely love seeing peoples houses, how they style it, how they organize their stuff, how they live (or pretend to live...nobody has fresh flowers in their guest room at all times!) Seriously, I think I could look at pictures of homes all day long. Perhaps it's because I'm extremely nosy, but I like to think it's because looking at other people's spaces is the BEST form of inspiration.  We're hoping to move in 6 months or so & with a move comes the perfect opportunity to update our stuff AKA let's start stalking the internet for ideas!  I love my our bedroom furniture, but it is all SUPER match-y match-y.  My mom & I literally walked into Pottery Barn & bought an entire bedroom set. It is beautiful, but very large & very dark.  My style has definitely evolved over the years, so the PB furniture will be moving into our future guest bedroom, which now allows for us to really find pieces that fit us.  So, with that in mind, here are some rooms I'm definitely grabbing/stealing inspiration from!


Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone or The Importance of Getting Over Yourself

Last Friday I got pretty serious (for me that is) & opened up about issues I have within myself I desperately want to fix overcome (read it here.)  I struggle with comparing myself to others.  I don't  feel worse about myself or become jealous of those who have more than me because I know my life is pretty fucking great & in general, I like myself (Jew nose aside.) Comparing myself results in avoiding situations that will make me look weak.

One of my major obstacles is working out with friends.  I've taken many yoga classes, spinning classes, I even went to a tap aerobics class last year. I tend to prefer working out alone because if I need to slow down or go into child's pose, nobody I know is actively judging me.  When I don't feel 100% confident in my abilities, I feel safer doing said activities alone.

One of my closest friends has been trying to get me to take yoga classes with her & I've always managed to come up with legit excuses to get out of joining her.  We don't live near each other & with LA traffic, that is an actual reason to not get together during the week. About a month or so ago, she mentioned this "yoga thing" that was happening once a month, taught by a yogi who she really liked.  The night of the first "yoga thing", I actually had prior plans.  AMEN.  A legit excuse that didn't involve lying.  I "regretfully" declined but told my friend to DEFINITELY count me in for next month.  Truthfully, I put the commitment in the back of my mind & totally forgot about it.  Then March hits & BAM, she sends me a link to buy my tickets for the March yoga session thing.  Oh. Shit. She's serious.  The excuses started flowing thru my brain on how I was going to get out of this.  Honestly, I didn't even fully understand what it was. I read & re-read the invite to see if I could gather just how rough this was going to be. It was called #ShineTribe: The Sessions. WHAT does that mean? All I could decipher was it was an hour of yoga, there was limited space & I needed to bring a journal.  There was some talk about community & building a tribe...I had NO idea what I was getting myself into.   I was really hesitant to buy my ticket & commit, but even more so I  didn't want to disappoint my friend by bailing.  So I reluctantly & skeptically bought my ticket. 

Let me tell you, I am an IDIOT for even considering not going. This was one of the most uplifting & positive experiences I've ever been a part of.  #ShineTribe was started by two beautiful souls, Jocelyn & Laura who were yearning to create a tight-knit community of women of all different ages & backgrounds; a "tribe" if you will in LA.  Women you can lean on when in need. Women who won't judge you when you're at your best or worst. Women who will help you grow.  Women who will celebrate you.  Women who won't laugh at you when you need to go into child pose because you feel like you're about to die.  Women who will accept you as you are, no questions asked.

Photographer (& founder) Laura happened to snap this pic while I was introducing myself.
Initially, we spent time meeting each other & sharing what we hoped to get out of the evening & possible future gatherings.  I've never been a total girls girl or tomboy. I've always had a mix of male & female friends, but at different points in my life I have always had what I consider to be a really strong "tribe" of women around me.  I grew up spending my summers at an all girls camp, I joined a sorority in college & when I moved to Chicago, I had a really supportive group of girlfriends there thanks to camp & the sorority.  But when I moved to LA, I knew one other woman (thanks to a camp friend).  I didn't & still don't have a big group of girls to surround myself with here.  LA can be such a tough place to live, but it can also be absolutely incredible as I experienced last Friday.  Is it bad that I don't have a big group of women to surround myself with? No, not necessarily.  But after spending an evening talking about it, I realized how powerful it can be to have a solid group of women supporting you.

After the introductions were complete, we transitioned into an hour of yoga, which was way more intense than I was anticipating. The nerves set in because my girls were about to see just how inflexible I really am. While in my first downward dog, I glanced over at my friend  & noticed how she was so focused on herself, she was paying ZERO attention to me. My nerves instantly just melted away. I was able to continue on for the next hour completely unaware of how I looked or what my friends were even thinking. Btw, I don't think my friends are judgmental assholes. These are ALL my own issues.

After yoga, we spent time setting intentions,  journaling & sharing intimate moments with each other. I found myself opening up to complete strangers; something I never do.  I don't want to give too much more away of what else transpired that evening,  but I can tell you those two hours completely changed me.  The women I met were incredible & if I hadn't gotten the F over myself, I never would have had a chance to meet them.  In just 2 hours, I got over my fear of doing things that I'm not an expert at in front of my friends & it's OK if they're better than me. WHO CARES.  So please, learn from my mistakes. Don't be afraid to go somewhere or try something new because you fear you'll look dumb.   I learned so much about myself that night & while I've only been to one #ShineTribe session, I know there will be a lot more in my future & I can't wait.


{Recipe} Deli Style Macaroni Salad Lightened Up!

It's no surprise I love macaroni & cheese.  I love it in ALL ways & ALL forms. That love carries right on over to macaroni salad. Oh, I could eat an entire vat of macaroni salad right now.  The only problem is my pants don't agree with what my heart (& stomach) wants.  Moderation, Rachel. Moderation.  Anyways, summer is (hopefully) on its way & side salads are one of my favorite parts of summer dinners. So with that in mind, I went hunting for a low-fat recipe to see if A. one existed & 2. if it would really suffice in replacing a traditional salad. To my surprise, (with some of my own modifications) this recipe was actually really good!  Is it healthy? Well, no. But it is definitely a healthier option that will leave you feeling quite satisfied!

Serves: 12 (1 cup/person)
Prep/Cook Time: 20 mins + 1-2 hours of refrigeration time
How difficult was this for me? Easy!

1 12 oz box of macaroni noodles (whole wheat if you want to be extreme)
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1/2 cup sweet red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
3/4 cup light mayo
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Splenda sweetener (or your favorite sweetener)
1/4 Tbsp salt
1/4 Tbsp pepper (optional)

Cook noodles according to directions on the package. Drain pasta & set aside.

While the noodles are cooking,  in a small bowl, combine mustard, mayo, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, Splenda, salt & pepper.

In a large bowl, combine veggies, mayo mix & noodles. Mix thoroughly.

Yes, the carrots are missing. Who knows why I didn't take a pic with them included.

Cover & refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Skinny Mom


{Recipe} One Pan Italian Chicken & Artichoke Bake

Ya'll know how I feel about chicken.  It is NEVER something I crave.  I'm actually quite jealous of those who do yearn for it.  Maybe I'd be a pant size smaller if I ate more chicken & less...everything else.  But, I do have to say, this chicken was pretty damn good & SO easy to make.  I love one pan dishes & I know Joey my dishwasher appreciates them too.  I did lie just a little bit though, this recipe does require one mixing bowl in addition to the baking pan, but I swear, that's it!  This chicken packs a ton of flavor, plus it's surrounded by artichoke, tomato & topped with low fat cheese. I'd say that's a win!  The original recipe served this dish over pasta. Personally, I think that would have been a bit too much so we ate it just as is.  I'll be making this again, so I think next time I might try serving over some rice!

Serves: 4-6 (Servings 1/2 chicken breast = 6 servings)
Cook time: 30-35 mins
How difficult was this? Not too bad!

4 Boneless chicken breasts, cut in half width wise
4-5 roma tomatoes, chopped but leaving the pieces a bit larger
4 garlic cloves, minced
Small jar of artichoke hearts, drained 
2 Cups fresh spinach
1 Package low sodium Italian Seasoning or Italian mix found in the seasonings aisle 
1 tsp sugar
2.5 Tbsp flour
1/5 Cups reduced fat (or part skim) shredded Mozzarella cheese
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, artichoke hearts, spinach, olive oil, sugar, flour, salt & pepper. Mix well.
Place chicken breasts evenly in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. 
Spread spinach & artichoke mix evenly over chicken making sure to place in-between chicken breasts.
Sprinkle package of Italian Seasoning over top. 
Place dish in oven until chicken is almost done, about 15 mins.
Remove from oven & sprinkle cheese over each piece.
Turn on the broiler.
Place dish back in oven & broil until cheese is golden brown, approx. 5 mins but keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. 
Remove & serve!

Adapted from Our Story


Comparison Kills Joy

I was all set to post a recipe today, but a few days ago someone on Facebook posted a quote that simply stated "Comparison Kills Joy" & those 3 little words have been bouncing around in my head since I first read them because I am completely guilty of them.  So sorry one pan garlic honey chicken dish, you're going to have to wait till Monday, I have some things I need to get off my chest.

I've always struggled with comparing myself to others. Don't get me wrong, I know I have a pretty awesome life & I'm so incredibly lucky in so many ways.  I have a pretty fantastic family, I'm getting married to just the best person ever in a few short months, I have a job I love, I have 3 crazy dogs who just make every day better, I have a lovely home & I'm healthy (want me to shut up now?) Life is pretty good.  I GET THAT. There are many times when I'm so happy with how my life has turned out I could just burst. But why doesn't that stop me from comparing myself to others? I don't know.

Since starting my blog back up after an almost 6 month hiatus, I've noticed my numbers have been down just a bit.  This should come as no surprise. Any blogger (or person with a brain) knows the more you post, the more likely you'll get traffic.  However, it can still be incredibly disheartening! With the way our world is, it's really really hard not to compare yourselves to others. I look at other blogs & I see they have tons of people commenting, or they get tons of likes on Facebook & it's hard not to be jealous!  But what about when your own friends/family aren't reading your blog or aren't commenting on your posts?   There are times when I KNOW some friends or even my own family hasn't been following along.  How does that make a person feel?  I had a family member ask me the other day if I HAD a blog. I mean, REALLY? In my twisted brain, I look at all these other successful blogs & think to myself "Oh I bet all their friends read their posts" & yet, the complete opposite could be true! But for some reason, my mind immediately goes there.  Also, I'm pretty sure my people all have crazy hectic lives...it's selfish to think they would read every post. Does it mean they aren't supportive? Of course not. Now, if only I could remember that.

But, it's also really hard not to compare yourself to the people you're closest with.  Take my sister for example. I LOVE her to pieces. LOVE. She's my best friend (although ask me that when we were growing up & I think we both would have laughed in your face) & one of the few people I can TRULY be myself around.  She's been on this awesome fitness kick for the last few years & has lost a ton of weight. She's a HUGE inspiration to anyone who wants to lose weight but she STILL enjoys a cheeseburger now & then.  With the wedding coming up, she's been kicking her workouts into overdrive & the scale is constantly dropping for her. Which is awesome...for her.  Yet, I, as the bride have NOT gone into crazy workout mode & have lost 0 lbs. SHOCKING.  Is it my own fault? OF COURSE IT IS. Do I want to be thinner for the wedding? WHO WOULDN'T.  Yet, I'm crazy jealous of how well she's done & how great she looks. Even though it is 100% my fault, is it still hard for me not to compare myself to her? Yes.

Sometimes, I find I'm so caught up in comparing myself to others or worried what others will think that I end up missing out on something great.  Over the last few years I've practiced yoga on & off.  Truth be told, I'm not a flexible person. Never have been, never will be.  I danced for 15 years growing up & even then, I wasn't flexible. A few of my girlfriends enjoy yoga & while speaking with one of my friends, I mentioned my lack of flexibility. Her response was "Yeah, I'm pretty bend-y" & then she proceeded to ask me if I wanted to take a class with her. HAHAHA that's funny. Let's take a class where I fall on my face while you're holding a pose perfectly. That sounds like a great opportunity for me to not feel bad about myself.  But now looking back, her comment was completely harmless...I'm the one who blew it out of proportion by comparing myself to her. She's a wonderful friend & a lovely person who will love me whether I fall on my face or not.

So what the hell is the point of this post? No, it's not just to complain because I do realize, I'm kind of all over the place. But writing also isn't something I claim to be good at. Anyways, back to the point.  The point is, I have GOT to stop comparing myself to others, what their doing with their lives & I've GOT to stop comparing my blog to other blogs.  If we spend all my time comparing ourselves to others, we WILL miss out on all the good things in our own lives. COMPARISON DOES KILL JOY.

In the spirit of this new mindset, tonight I agreed to go with two girlfriends to a yoga class where despite being the least flexible person there (I assume, though probably a safe assumption) I'm going to NOT compare myself to my more advanced friends & just enjoy the moment, or try to if I'm not dying.

I am a firm believer in personal self growth, so here's what I'm going to be working on. No more comparing myself to the people I love. No more caring if the people closest to me pay no attention to my posts.  I am responsible for my own happiness, nobody else is.


Want to be a guest blogger?

Happy Thursday! It's almost the weekend & I CANNOT wait. So, back in the day when I only blogged about food,  I had a few guest bloggers & I really loved being able to share my family & friends' recipes.  I absolutely love blogging (even if my own friends & family don't read my posts) & I want everyone to have the chance to do so.  So it's time to bring back the guest bloggers but I'm opening it up to anything...& I mean ANYTHING.  Nothing is off limits (well, you know, within reason) so if you've been dying to share a recipe, a particularly cute outfit, something clever you did in your home, a DIY project, pictures of your dogs (you know I'll gladly show those) or if you just want to complain about something...here is your platform!  

Email me at Rachel.Phillips120@gmail if you're interested & make sure to put "Guest Blogger" in the subject line.


4 Years!

I CANNOT believe it's been 4 years since I started Chaos in the Condo (formerly known as Khaos in the Kitchen) & I've yet to set our house(s) on fire!   It's always fun for me to look back at old posts (& catch all my spelling errors & terrible writing), so today I'm sharing my Top 10 Most Viewed Posts since my 3rd Blogiversary! Some of these should be expected, but there were a few that did surprise me!  Thank you everyone for all your love & support this past year & for not killing me with flooding your social media with my posts! (Shameless plug: if you haven't liked us on Facebook yet, please do so here!)

Reading Challege: Book #5 Review - This totally surprised me!

The Proposal - No Real Surprise Here

Ch Ch Chaaaanges - No real surprise here either. And no cute picture to go with.


Ok, before you scroll another inch. I have to say, when I saw how many views this post had, my jaw hit the floor.  With 25,692 views, the #1 post this past year was...

Did you have a favorite post? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!