The Restaurant Series: Another Broken Egg


This weekend I visited Huntsville, Alabama for my Alma Mater’s Alumni Weekend. Many know that Huntsville is known as the Rocket City. However, what most people don’t know is that Huntsville is filled with many great restaurants. So of course while I was in town I took the time to visit one of my favorites, Another Broken Egg. This restaurant is a Brunch spot, with most of the locations having hours from 07:00 am – 2:00 pm and are somewhere in the South/West Coast.

My fiance and I dined in on Easter Sunday, which is usually a busy time for most Brunch locations. There was about a 35 minute wait for a table. Luckily, they had games such as Corn Hole set up outside, which made the wait seem very quick. We ordered the New Orleans inspired Beignets for an appetizer, which was a sweet start to our meals. They also come in half-orders which is great for those who fill up easily on appetizers. I decided on the Huevos Rancheros for my meal, which was delicious. Although I went with coffee for my drink of choice, there is also a full bar for those who prefer mimosas or bloody mary’s.

One of my favorite things about Another Broken Egg is the antique-inspired china. The atmosphere is a Sunday afternoon at grandmas vibe. Overall, my rating would be an 8.5/10. They would have had a perfect score however, the tortilla shells were a bit difficult to cut into. Usually, they are fresh, light, and crunchy. All in all, Another Broken Egg has multiple other tasty items, including the Cinnamon Roll French Toast and Eggs Benedict. They are also vegetarian friendly, which gives a women like me much to choose from!

Rating: 8.5/10


The Restaurant Series: Pirata Pittsburgh

So I have been in search of trendy places in Pittsburgh to take my sister, who just moved here from New York City last year. Pirata, located in the Cultural District of Downtown Pittsburgh is the first place to give me the feel of trendy New York City in Pittsburgh. The Caribbean and Afrobeats music playing inside sets the tone for the Caribbean influenced restaurant and Rum Bar. When you are seated, the server hands you what they call the “Rum Bible”, which has a variety of Rums from different countries. They had me sold when I saw Barbancourt, which is a Haitian Rum! We started our meal with the vegetarian empanadas, which were amazing. Being that my sister and I are both pescatarian/vegetarian, dining can sometimes be a challenge. We tried the Escovitch Salmon, Macaroni Pie, and Fried Plantain. Overall, the drinks were awesome with much variety from Old-fashioned to Tropical. The food is overall on the spicy side with more seasoning than most restaurants. However if you have a taste for Caribbean food and/or are looking for a trendy spot in Pittsburgh, Pirata is right for you!

Tofu Stir-Fry Made 3 Different Ways

Prep Time 15 Min | Cook Time 15 Min| Total Time 30 Min

First Recipe: Kung Pao Tofu Stir Fry
Author: @iDreamOfAlice
Recipe type: Entrée
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 3

1 Cup of Minute Rice
1/2 package firm or extra-firm tofu
2-3 cups Broccoli
6 Cups of Spinach
6 Tablespoons of PF Chang’s Kung Pao Sauce
Pam Olive Oil Non-Stick Spray

Second Recipe: Mexican Tofu Stir-Fry Bowl
Recipe Type: Entrée
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 3

1 Cup of Minute Rice
1/2 package firm or extra-firm tofu
2-3 cups Fajita Mix (Onions, Green Peppers, Red Peppers)
¾ Cup of Asiago Cheese
3 Tablespoons of Black Bean Hummus
6 Cups of Spinach
Garlic Salt & Pepper to Taste
Top with Salsa, Sour Cream & Guacamole
Pam Olive Oil Non-Stick Spray

Third Recipe: Tofu Florentine Bowl
Recipe Type: Entrée
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 3

1 Cup of Minute Rice
1/2 package firm or extra-firm tofu
2-3 cups Chopped Onions, Green Peppers, Red Peppers
¾ Cup of Feta Cheese
6 Cups of Spinach
Garlic Salt & Pepper to Taste
Olive Oil Non-Stick Spray

1. Cut tofu widthwise into 4 equal pieces; cut each piece crosswise into 1/2-inch squares. Place tofu on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels.
2. Heat a large wok or skillet over medium to high heat. Spray with non-stick spray to coat pan. Add tofu to pan and season with garlic salt and pepper to taste; stir-fry for 8 minutes, turning until brown on all sides. Remove tofu from pan and place in a separate bowl.
3. For the first recipe, steam broccoli and spinach. Cook 1-minute rice. In three small bowls or meal prep tubberware, layer 1/3 cup cooked rice, spinach, broccoli, then 10 pieces of tofu on top. Add 2 tablespoons of Kung Pao Sauce to each bowl.
4. For the second recipe, sauté the onions and peppers, then add the spinach. Cook 1-minute rice. In three small bowls or meal prep tubberware, layer 1/3 cup cooked rice, 1 Tablespoon black bean hummus, spinach, onions & peppers, then 10 pieces of tofu. Sprinkle ¼ cup of asiago cheese on each bowl over tofu. Top the bowls with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

5. For the last recipe, sauté the chopped onions and peppers, then add the spinach. Cook 1-minute rice. In three small bowls or meal prep tubberware, layer 1/3 cup cooked rice, spinach, onions & peppers, then 10 pieces of tofu. Sprinkle ¼ cup of feta cheese on top of each bowl over tofu. Voila!

*Each serving is a 300-350 calorie meal.
**Save other meals in the fridge to meal prep for the week. Happy Eating!


Staying Motivated Beyond the New Year’s Resolution

93950ED8-A35D-4687-977C-41976079EDD2We’ve all done it before… It’s January first and we write down 10 things we want to accomplish in the year. For most people, health and wellness is usually included in this list of goals. However, by the time February comes, we’re a long ways from our goals and our resolutions are a distant memory. So what are some ways to remain motivated throughout the year and actually accomplish your health goals?

Here are my 4 tips:

Create a vision board

Where do you see yourself? What would you like to accomplish? Grab a poster board from your local craft store and some old magazines. Cut out anything you see in the magazine that reminds/inspires you of your goals then paste them onto your poster board. Once you’ve designed yours, hang it up some place where you’ll encounter it often. I have my vision board right next to my bed, on the side where I usually wake up. Every morning I am reminded to be healthy, to exercise…and surprisingly it works!

Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Setbacks

So you slipped up and ate the cupcakes at your work party… It’s okay! Setbacks happen and recognizing them as such will help you move on from them. Often times, setbacks makes a person feel like all their hard work is ruined so they give up. Remember that every minute of every day is another opportunity to make a good health decision and get back on the right path.

Family/Friend Support

Another great way to remain motivated is to enlist the support of friends and family who will hold you accountable. My fiancé and I turned our fitness goals into healthy competition to keep each other on the right track. My favorite exercise includes playing Dance Central on the Xbox with my sister. Surrounding yourself with people who have the same desire for fitness places you in the position to accomplish them. “Birds of a feather flock together” right?

Celebrate The Little Wins

Reward yourself for sticking to your goals and achieving each milestone, no matter how small. If you’re trying to lose weight, remember that weight maintenance is a win and not a loss. When you’re deciding what to reward yourself with, try to celebrate yourself with non-food related rewards, such as a new hairdo or a manicure. Remember: Beyonce wasn’t built in a day, so celebrate the process!

Is Night Shift Making me Fat?


The Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners says that greater than 50% of nurses are overweight/obese. The same study also supports previous research in that there is a relationship between nursing shift work and obesity. It also suggests that modifiable contributors such as poor diet, smoking and sedentary lifestyles were a greater risk factor for obesity than the actual night shift work alone. So what can shift workers do to maintain their weight?

  • Eat your larger meal closer to the beginning half the shift

We’ve always heard don’t eat a big meal before bed. However, when you’re a nurse coming home in the morning from night shift work, the first place you’re heading for is the kitchen. Try to limit smaller meals when you come home such as soup or light salad before going to bed. Eat a larger meal during the ½ half of your shift during then night.

  • Increase Activity

It is recommended for people to exercise three times a week for 30-60 minutes for optimal heart health and weight loss. No time for the gym? Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or choosing a farther parking spot. There are many ways to increase activity for those who are low on time.

  • Limit Caffeine

This one was hard to type because I LOVE coffee. However, sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle and for weight loss. Limit caffeine to one cup and only prior to midnight when working night shift. Therefore, you can have a more restful sleep once you get home in the morning.

  • Proper Diet

Avoid any starvation and/or unrealistic diets because the effects are not long-term. Do not skip a meal, especially at work. Have healthy snacks on hand to get you through the night. Fruits can provide a healthy night shift snack and it also will give an energy boost. Avoid any processed foods or sugars. Maintaining a diet that is low in carbs and high in protein is the best type of diet for health and weight loss.

  • Be A Role Model for your patients

Our last and most important tip is to be a role model for your patients! You can’t preach to patients about changing their lifestyle if cannot do so for yourself either. Changes in lifestyle habits can reduce the risk of obesity in nurses. Although shift work has some relationship to being overweight, those who live healthy lifestyles aren’t as affected by shift work as those who have other risk factors. We hope you try implementing our tips for maintaining a healthy weight while working your next night shift!

-Author: Alice Charitable, Co-owner of Graceful Med Boutique


** Miller, S., Alpert, P., & Cross, C. (2008). Overweight and obesity in nurses, advanced practice nurses, and nurse educators. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 20(5), 259-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2008.00319.x.


Making Time for Time Management


Time management is the act of scheduling out how time is spent to increase efficacy and efficiency. Work, school, and life at home can often present itself with many tasks that must be accomplished. Many of those tasks involve a specific deadline. As most of you already know, recently my sister and I have launched a new online business called Graceful Med Boutique. However, I am still currently maintaining my three other jobs. Balancing my clinical bedside job in Same Day Surgery, Adjunct Faculty roles at two Universities, and an online business can leaving me feeling like 24 hours in a day isn’t enough. Therefore, it has been important to be able to incorporate time management into my everyday life because it allows me to accomplish more work by having planned outcomes.

Time management requires a variety of tools and skills set to accomplish tasks within that specific time-frame. There are three main themes in time management, which is to set the atmosphere, prioritize, and to act based on priorities.

Setting the atmosphere of productiveness is essential to time management. For me, my bedroom is my safe place when it comes to work productivity. This might not be the case for most due to the sleep distraction but find out what works best for you. Designate a place that is conducive to the work required, whether it is studying or work. Eliminate distractions that can inhibit effectiveness.

The second theme is to prioritize important tasks starting with the most difficult tasks. Doing so provides the most difficult tasks with more energy to reduce the risk of not completing tasks. When prioritizing, keep in mind the level of importance of the task to you. Too often we spend our valuable time on things of little value to us. The prioritized tasks should also have goals and a timeframe for completion. Remember to keep your time frames arranged realistically.

The last theme in time management is to act based on priorities using the planned outcomes that were set during prioritization. Acting on priorities includes completing assigned tasks, meeting deadlines, and reviewing outcomes. Ask yourself were the methods used effective? Consider alternate approaches that could have made this process smoother.

As a new business owner, I’ve realized that effective time management occurs with proper organization. Although all themes are critical to efficacy, prioritization is the main theme that ensures important tasks are completed. There are many ways to organize activities such as creating a task list, grouping similar tasks, and evaluating outcomes. When many complex tasks are presented in a work environment, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Managing time wisely can give you a sense of control over what needs to be done. Proper time management can reduce stress, enhance performance, and improve your overall quality of life.

Optimizing the Healing Environment

The environment can play a great role in how people function in their daily life. Every aspect of the environment can have an effect on the people that experience it, either positively or negatively. This is also true in health care where there is a relationship between the healing environment and the outcome of the patient. The healing environment is anything that the patient encounters in that setting which can be the décor, lighting, furniture, or room color.

Nursing was intended to be the act of utilizing the environment of the patient to promote recovery and healing. However, today hospitals can be viewed as anything but an optimal healing environment due to constant interruptions, noise, and increased pressure placed on nurses to perform tasks. Therefore, the healing process is then hindered by the nature of the hospital system.

Here are a few ways you can optimize the healing environment for your patients and even for yourself at home:

Aromatherapy – Certain scents such as Lavender can assist in decreasing anxiety.

Increase natural light – Open the blinds in the room and let the natural light shine through. Are you sad when winter comes along but are happier in the summer? Natural light is linked to increased serotonin levels, which improves mood.

Give yourself sufficient space – Have you ever came home from a long day to an unclean house and felt anxious? Clearing clutter is vital for optimizing your healing environment.

Breathe in fresh air – Open the window and/or go for a walk. Not only will you get Vitamin D from the sunlight, but you’ll also enhance the gas exchange of the lungs by bringing in more oxygen to the cells.

Surrounding yourself with colors of nature – Critical Care Medicine recommends artwork of nature in greens and blues due to its ability to decrease stress levels for patients.

Nurses have the responsibility to apply integrative therapies as appropriate, therefore, consider these methods to optimize healing for patients and for your own lives. Always remember that healing of the body begins with healing of the mind and spirit.

Creative by His Design

FullSizeRender (4)When you look at nature and all the wonders of this Earth, you can vividly see the evidence of Creation. Because we are made in the image of the Creator, we too are also designed to create. He is the One who instills these desires in our hearts with a unique purpose in mind.

Recently, I was back home at my parent’s house. In their closet, hangs a high school project of mine called “The Road Map of My Life.” Although it had been hanging on the wall there for some time now, it had been years since I truly looked at what I wrote. Of course there were some unmet goals, such as being married by 2015 (a way far off projection…YIKES). Conversely, I was surprised to see how many met goals there were as well. My Road Map declared that I would graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree, which I completed in 2013. However around year 2016, there was a shift in my goal planning. My Road Map stated I would go back to school for Fashion Design and start my own fashion line. Without even looking back to this Road Map until recently, our business Graceful Med Boutique was already being planned and designed in 2016. How fitting is it that my Nursing background and my love for fashion design would eventually merge into one?

Finding this Road Map again, served as a great reminder to walk in my purpose. Being a thought leader, places a unique burden on those also challenged with this mindset. It’s easy to get comfortable in the lifestyle of a Monday through Friday 9-5. The creative lifestyle is hard work. It requires early mornings and late nights without the guarantee of a return. It requires a humble spirit to accept criticism. It requires authenticity and patience. The alternative, which is walking away from the purposeful design God has created us to be or hoarding our gifts, only leads to a life unfulfilled. Therefore, embrace your God-given talents and develop them. Start Something.

CAUTION: Toxic Waste

Caution toxic waste onboard

I promise this is not another weight loss blog post. However, as a registered nurse and as someone who has struggled with my weight for a majority of my life, I’ve learned a thing or two about weight loss along the way. I know that certain food items that we put into our bodies allow toxins to accumulate, which ultimately impedes weight loss. It is not until we can recognize and act on the need for detoxification that we maximize our weight loss goals. The same concept also goes for toxic friendships/relationships in our life.

The most obvious form of toxic friendships/relationships are those that are physically and verbally abusive. However, they don’t always come in this cookie-cutter form. They come disguised as friends who do not support you and never have something good to say when a blessing comes your way. They also come disguised as relationships that have great chemistry but lack maturity, only bringing negative qualities out of each other. They come disguised as friends who constantly drain you of your energy, who always need reassurance and feed off your emotional strength. They come disguised as friends who never have anything nice to say about anyone, including you… (behind your back of course!) They come disguised as people who are so quick to take from you but are never willing to give.

If you recognize any of these toxins in your life, it may be time to reevaluate your friend list and I’m not talking about Facebook. The only real way to rid yourself of these toxins is to go through the detoxification or a cleansing process. For some that might mean blocking/unfriending on all social media sites but it takes much more than that. It is realizing these relationships are a threat to your self-care. It is realizing that you have to let them go and acting upon it.

We need to realize that maintaining relationships with toxic people adds unnecessary baggage in our life to carry. It depletes your energy and eventually prevents you from reaching your goals. Sometimes as you grow and progress, relationships that weren’t toxic to begin with can become toxic. Just like the weight loss journey, if you hang on to toxic friendships/relationships long enough, you end up right back where you started.

It’s time to drop the weight!

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”. – Proverbs 13:20