We're back with another installment of All Worked Up!
Chesney Blue is a registered dietitian and co-owner of Blue Counseling and Wellness Center, a nutrition and mental health private practice in Montclair, NJ. She offers nutrition coaching and nutrition therapy sessions year-round, and also hosts group nutrition coaching sessions twice a year for women of color who are looking to have a better relationship with food and body image, and who want to improve their overall well-being.
Read on for a glimpse into Chesney's day!
Where do you reside and what is your favorite local spot close to home?
I reside in East Orange, NJ. I’m a tea drinker so my favorite go-to spots are Black Swan Espresso in Newark. They have a great iced hibiscus tea (I love cold drinks). Harper’s Cafe in West Orange offers a variety of tea choices. My favorite so far is the strawberry pineapple green tea. For lunch I treat myself to takeout at Freetown Kitchen, a Pan-African soul food spot in Maplewood, NJ. I usually get the wood fire grilled chicken or salmon with honey garlic sauce (the sauce is really good), plantain fries or jollof rice with sautéed spinach. For drinks, me and my girls will hit up Papillon 25 Restaurant and Martini Bar in South Orange. They have the best cocktails, hands down. My favorite drinks are the caipirinha (Brazilian rum drink) and the mango martini. All of the businesses I mentioned are black owned.
What is your current go-to meal?
I am always encouraging clients to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption, however with my busy schedule it can be hard to cook meals for myself. However, my go to easy meal is a sheet pan veggie bowl meal with colorful bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, red onions, chickpeas and brown rice. The prep time can be tedious chopping up the ingredients but most of the vegetables can be purchased pre-cut to reduce the prep time. Once all chopped up, spread out on a sheet pan, sprinkle olive oil, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika and bake in the oven. You can always replace the vegetables listed above with the ones you like to make sure you will get your daily produce intake in. My family are big meat eaters, but they love this dish when I cook it. FYI: I am not a vegetarian.
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 medium size sweet potato
½ cup of chopped red onion
1 cup of carrots or broccoli
4 cups of cooked brown rice
1 can of chickpeas, washed and drained
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp of garlic powder
2 tbsp of black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread all ingredients out on a baking sheet pan. Massage seasonings and olive oil over vegetables and chickpeas. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked. Enjoy.
As the world opens back up, what activities are you most looking forward to?
Going to restaurants and bars to unwind and socialize with my friends. I love girl time with my besties! I also like traveling and want to go back to Italy (Amalfi coast area) for my birthday next year!
Describe your workwear style.
I dress for comfort. My family doesn’t always agree with this, but I really need to be comfortable with what I wear top to bottom including my shoes (and I have a wide foot). I can’t concentrate on my work if my clothes or shoes are ill-fitting. I wear a lot of dresses and pencil skirts as I feel they are easy to put on and accessorize. A dress is usually 1 piece so it makes my life so much simpler when I choose to wear one. I must have stretchy material in my clothes. If I feel too constricted I will not wear the outfit even when I am going out for the evening. I like fitted clothing but not tight clothing. I hate wearing girdles and body shaping undergarments (but sometimes I do depending on the outfit). I don’t change shoes during the day as I meticulously look for stylish, yet comfortable shoes I am able to wear all day. Since I have a wide foot I am willing to pay extra for that comfort. My favorite stores I purchase most of my clothes from are Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack.
Do you have a favorite workwear item that you can't live without?
My baby blue 3/4 length sleeved cardigan is a must as the temperatures in my office can fluctuate from hot to cold on any given day, plus it has gold buttons to make the sweater look fancy.
What are the top three hair/beauty products you can't live without?
I'm big on skincare so my go-to products are the Clinique 3 step skin routine (cleanser (bar soap not the liquid), toner and dramatically different moisturizer gel). For the last year I have consistently put on sunscreen, as we all should to protect our skin through any season. I see a dramatic difference in my skin since using Good Beauté Vita C Moisturizer SPF 50. Wear your sunscreen ladies!
You're about to give a big presentation/have a big meeting, what are you wearing:
A jewel-toned Adrianna Papell wrap dress with heels (black or nude depending on the color of the dress). I don’t wear earrings daily but I would put on a pair of earrings for a more put together look. And I can’t forget my red lip (MAC Russian Red).
How do you prepare for said big presentation or meeting?
I study the materials, usually a day or two before the big meeting. I don’t like looking at notes so I try to memorize the major points in the presentation. I take selfies in front of my full-length mirror for an extra confidence boost while playing an uptempo song from either Beyonce, Rihanna, Meg Thee Stallion or Lizzo.
What constitutes a good day at work?
A good work day for me is completing my to-do list and answering all of my emails for the day. I also make sure I check in with staff and have a conversation with them to see how they are doing personally and professionally. Being able to stop and engage in the happenings of co-workers is something I like to do to foster more teamwork in the work space while also showing them I care.
How do you unwind and turn work off?
Four months into the pandemic stay-at-home orders, I stopped taking work home and working on weekends to help avoid burnout and reduce stress. I leave everything at work and unplug when it is time to be home. I schedule more movement by working out at least 3 days a week at the gym or in the park. Exercise is a great stress reliever. On the weekends I will either take myself out for a spa treatment or dine out at a nice restaurant. I also like to hang with family and friends on weekends.
Regardless of whether your work is your passion or your path to the weekend, what is your favorite thing to allocate time to outside of “the office?”
I just like to have time to myself, to think, to enjoy the sights and sounds around town. To be able to just get up and go do something fun without having a scheduled work-focused meeting or event. I mention my family and friends a lot in this interview and I truly love socializing and hanging out with them on the weekends even if we just stay in the house. I also want to read the dozen books I purchased during the early part of the pandemic. I thought I would have time to read more books but I didn't. I am shooting to finish at least 3 by the end of the season!