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Friday, February 16, 2018

The End of My 30 Day Yoga with Adriene Journey #YWATRUE

The end is really the beginning. As I sit here today, still rocking my now-baggy leggings and my somewhat loose-fitting tank top, I am overcome with a lot of emotion. I will tell you about days 21-29 first and get into today's practice at the end.

Day 21 Finesse: I sit taller, walk better and find myself choosing to move over sitting still. I dance around the house more. I take the dog on a walk. I am choosing activity over remaining sedentary. I haven't chosen that in a long time. I have lost over 20 pounds at this point and over 12 inches overall on my body. Today's practice was a welcomed nice and easy one today!
Day 22 Release: Adriene always knows what to say because its always what I need to hear. Gosh I adore her!
Day 23 Balance: Hard balancing poses. They are fun but very challenging. My whole body shakes. Guess I got to shake it to wake it, eh?
Day 24 Be Kind: Lots of stretching and meditation. What a breath of fresh air. 
Day 25 Be Awake: Abs-oh my! Walk the plank, Arrrrggh!
Day 26 Be Still: The lizard pose was very difficult but I did it!! I am left wondering if I will be able to walk tomorrow?!!
Day 27 Be Free: My whole body is sore but I answered my question; yes I am able to walk today!
Day 28 Be Fearless: I am still so sore. Lots of legs today. I feel good
Day 29 Be Brave: What a day of self-love. It sure is amazing. I am really proud of myself.

Day 30 BE YOU: I only just finished my last day of this TRUE yoga journey so I knew I needed to sit down and get it all out. I was excited to don my clothes and hit the mat today. What I was expecting was not at all what I received. As she always does, Adriene welcomes you to the mat and sets your intention for the day's session. She is emotional, as am I as I start to cry a little. I cried because I DID IT! I decided to do something for me and I committed to it. Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Hell yes! Then Adriene says she is going to turn off her mic and we were going to do our own thing. What? Wait a minute here! Well, Adriene always tells us to trust her so trust I did.

I am not going to lie to you but today was the sweatiest and my least favorite day of all. My mind wandered everywhere {for the first time in these past 30 days} and I just didn't feel connected to myself. Did I have a great workout? Yes. Did I feel like a lost soul? YES! I discovered that I am not ready to be left to my own devices yet. I found myself looking up at the giant 65" TV inches from my face too often and I was not able to close my eyes. Why? Well because I didn't want to remain standing in Mountain pose with my eyes closed in anjali mudra while Adriene was in Cobra. 

I wanted to hear her crack a funny joke. I wanted her to remind me to listen to my breath. I wanted to hear her go through the poses so I could relax and know what to expect in mere seconds. I just didn't feel as though I was ready to be kicked out of the nest yet. I did my absolute best to stay true to myself {no pun intended but that was good!} and move in a way that was authentic to me while following my friend through the poses. I sweat like crazy and, at the end, for the first time in a month I very much missed my new best friend tell me that she loves me and send me off on the day with a "Namasté". 

Once we bowed and I whispered "thank you, Adriene with much love. Namasté" I looked up and the screen was black and I read her final words. I started sobbing uncontrollably. I cried and cried-a big ugly cry. I cried for my commitment to myself. I cried for believing I could and then doing it. I cried because now I can plank/extension easier that I could at day 18. I cried because I see myself differently now. I am now capable of far more than I was a month ago and for that I am forever grateful. I am so overwhelmingly grateful for the spirit that led me to Adriene and I am most thankful and grateful for her Charisma. She believed in me when perhaps I didn't and together we grew in many ways. I jump out of bed in the morning looking forward to seeing my friend and hearing her lead me on a journey back to myself.

Adriene, you are one amazing goddess and I am incredibly thankful for all of the hard work that you put into your videos. You have absolutely changed my life for the better and I cannot wait to continue this journey with you. I love your sense of humor, your charm, your cute smile, Benji, oh Benji and I love fixing my gaze at your window locks. I am not sure why they are what I always pick, but it works. Thank you for coming to me at a time when I needed you most. Thank you for inspiring me to keep on keeping on and for making me want to continue showing up. You make me want to be a better person and that is something money cannot buy. 

When I came to start this journey I said "I took the first, albeit small, mental step to doing something positive for ME!" I had no idea at the time that what I thought was a small step ending up being a catapult straight to self-love, joy and a fulfilled heart.

What now? Don't worry, my BFF and I will be continuing right along with Love Yo'Self for February! Stay with me and tell me all about what you do to stay true to yourself. If you recently started doing YWA or with anyone else, I want to hear about it, too! Leave me a comment or send me an email.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Yoga with Adriene-My TRUE Yoga Journey Days 11-20

Yoga, what exactly does that term mean to you? To me its meaning has changed in the last month. As my yoga journey continues and my mind/body connection deepens; to me, yoga means life. As you likely remember me talking about how I found my yoga teacher through divine intervention {thats definitely what I am calling it now!} and how I decided to start. Then, a couple of days later I gave a recap of how things are going so I can check in and keep myself accountable. I did this by documenting my journey as a reminder of where I came from in my quest to find a better version of myself.

Monday, January 22nd, 2018 DAY 11 Soften: I woke up sore but eager to get on the mat. I was happy and slightly relieved that today's practice was easy on me especially because I needed the extra stretching.

Day 12 Center: WOW what an intense session! Hard core-CORE!
Day 13 Strength and Harmony: Holy Cow I am so sore and we had another huge core workout!
Day 14 Listen: So I really didn't want to practice today. I am so sore and tired. Then I decided that I'd like Adriene to tell me that she is glad that I showed up and that was good enough for me to take the mat. I also hoped for an easier sesh today. Well, I got it!! Mind and body connection. In my earlier blog post I mentioned "going to town" well Adriene said that a few times today and I giggled. Her humor is SO ME! We are like mental twinsies. I <3 her="" p="">
Day 15 Believe: Back and sides are sore. I stand taller now. I am ready for you today, Adriene!
Day 16 Self Love: Great stretch and leg workout. WOW. I discovered that I love my laugh.
Day 17 Charisma: Sore arms, back and obliques. Great practice today, LOVE IT!
Day 18 Surrender: My arms and chest are sore. YWA totally kicked my butt today. Its really hard to do the plank to extension especially when you're a big girl. I struggled and took my first water break in the middle of the practice today after yelling "FUCK YOU, ADRIENE!" at my TV. I felt really bad saying it but WOWzies I don't like feeling incapable of doing something. I guess it taught me to just try again and keep going. Thats all I can ask for, right?
Day 19 Thought: Great calm session. It was EXACTLY what I needed!
Day 20 Awaken: Lots of leg work. I feel so tall and relaxed all the time.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Yoga with Adriene A Spiritual Journey

Last week I wrote about my awakening and my promise to myself to get stronger and to strive to be the best version of myself that I could coming into the newness of the year. I am still feeling pretty damn awesome and today I finished Day 18-Surrender with Adriene on YouTube. Today was the last day of the TRUE Yoga journey with her but I started late and take Saturdays and Sundays off. I decided to do that to make the journey more realistic for myself. Weekends are family time and the boys are crazy and life is anything but Zen like it is during the week with me and Blu. Speaking of Blu, have you seen that handsome beast roaming around my IG feed and Facebook? Here is a pic of him getting up on my biznass while hanging with Adriene.

As I mentioned previously, I briefly journaled my thoughts on this YWA True Journey and I want to share them with you. I have had a couple people reach out to me on Facebook and Messenger and tell me that I inspired them to start as well. Well HOLY CATS that makes me smile. If I can show up everyday and do this for myself, I know you can, too!

Day 1-I feel great. I had an awesome sesh!
Day 2- WOW-I am sore but I am feeling taller!
Day 3- So Sore <3 and="" challenging="" p="" s="" stretch="" today="" warm="" was="">Day 4- I am excited to see Adriene today. You guessed it, I am sore! I can barely lift my arms and my back is sore, too!
Day 5- Snow Day for the kids. They stayed away. I am not as sore today and I am motivated!

Day 6- I am not sore. Today was the hardest workout yet.
Day 7- Not sore today either. Salud was full of movement.
Day 8- I am excited to start week 2. I feel powerful, relaxed and so zen!
Day 9- Today my mind was busy but Adriene brought me in. Sequenced. I sweat!
Day 10-Difficult-ish to breathe. Lots of movement. SORE tonight and sore for 2 days!

I hope that reading this makes you want to believe in yourself and give yourself a little something to look forward to everyday! You are worth it!


Monday, January 15, 2018

2018-How the Universe Led me to Yoga with Adriene

I am so not one to make fancy resolutions or shout outs about how "this New Year I am going to be the best." You won't hear me go on and on about a "new me" or a "fresh start". I think thats unrealistic. What you will hear me say is that my goal is to be better than I was yesterday.

Better than I was yesterday, well you are probably wondering what that means. To me, that means that I am a real person and I have real struggles, problems, triumphs and issues. I am a busy Mom and I am a mindful wife. I try to keep my household running smoothly but sometimes laundry piles up. Sometimes the dishes pile up. Sometimes my kids hit each other. I can't control it all but I CAN control me! I have always loved being spontaneous and I love trying new things. I love surprises. So why not make 2018 a year of trying new things and trying to be better than I was yesterday? Sounds like a great personal mantra for me.

So, exercise is such a gross and un-fun topic to discuss. I like being out there in nature and doing things but I hate feeling like I have to go to the gym or I have to go for a walk. I want to do something that I want to make me feel better about each new day. So along with trying new things, yoga came to mind. I have done yoga in the past but its been a long time. I have great flexibility and I love a good meditation session so it made sense to me. I am a big believer in the universe showing you signs and all the signs pointed to a woman whom I have never met or seen on video...Adriene.

I remember vaguely a few months ago or maybe longer a good friend of mine posting something about Yoga on YouTube and how she was really enjoying it. Her post, come to find out just recently, was about Adriene! I didn't really pay much attention to it then. When 2018 was just around the corner and I was looking for more purpose in myself and the newness of the year I was thinking about ways to improve my daily outlook (so to speak). I thought about new dinners to cook, eating more fruits and veggies (we eat a lot of them and our diet is pretty healthy already but theres always room for improvement) and then one morning I woke up kinda stiff. I thought about how long it had been since I gave myself a good stretch and I concluded that maybe yoga or something of the like would be a good thing to bring into my life. It would accomplish things that I have been neglecting. It would restore my flexibility, it would bring me some time to work on meditation/myself and hell, maybe I would lose a few pounds. Then I thought about the crappy yoga DVDs that I own and how much they annoy me. I think that out of all the DVDs I have done in the past only one Pilates instructor, Ana Caban, has made me feel like she is a real person. So, I set out to find a way to do yoga at home and in a way that would not be boring, would not be dreadful and one that I could do everyday because I want to.

Then, it happened. I saw someone talk about Yoga with Adriene (YWA) again in one of my spiritual groups that I am active in on Facebook. I thought, right then and there, that this was the sign that I needed. I should look this Adriene girl up. So I did. The kids were around when I got my laptop out and when I first started reading about YWA I was inspired. Who me? Yes, a workout that seemed far too good to be true. First of all, everyone talked about how much they thought Adriene to be a real down to Earth person and someone they could relate to. CHECK Second, its FREE and on Youtube which I can stream from my Apple TV CHECK and lastly, I can do it from home whenever I wanted and each day would be new and different HELL YES CHECK!! 

So now I have a little idea of what I am going to do, mind you this is right around Christmastime. Then I forget about it with the chaos of the holidays and the kids being home from school on break. Then one day, as I forcibly took the TV over from the kids so I could watch some Rachael Ray while folding laundry the Universe slapped me again. As I folded towel after towel and I got to enjoy Rach cook up some fun new recipe there was a story about a young college girl who had recently lost about 80 pounds. Rach interviewed her and gave her a fresh new look (who doesn't love those stories?) and then the girl said "I owe it all to Yoga with Adriene that I found on YouTube". Say what? Oliver looked over at me and said "hey its that lady you were looking at on your computer!" It was at that very moment that I knew what I needed to do. I NEEDED TO BRING ADRIENE INTO MY LIVING ROOM!

YWA was about to start a 30 Day YWA for the New Year starting on January 2nd and I mentally committed to it! I did it. I took the first, albeit small, mental step to doing something positive for ME! The kids were still home on break so I told myself I would start the following Monday and commit to Monday-Friday of YWA for her brand new TRUE Yoga Journey. YAY! I had a plan, I already have a yoga mat and lord knows I can throw on a pair of my favorite LulaRoe leggings and a tank top and go to town. No, not really because thats what the best part is. I can STAY HOME and still "go to town".

I started 2 weeks ago and I have not only not missed a day but I have relearned a lot more about myself in the meantime. I have been briefly journaling about it each day and will write it all out here week by week. If you are like me and looking for some JOY and ABUNDANCE in your every day life, try YWA, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Beet Salad--A Love Story

Impressive & Addictive Beet Salad
{a foodgasm story}

Tonight I splurged and gave in to one of my absolute favorite foods....beets!  I know, I know what you are thinking, but seriously, beets are amazing.  I think about them all the time and I have perfected the ultimate beet salad recipe that would impress anyone.  Bear in mind that I don't write my recipes down so when I say "eye ball it" or "a pinch" I truly mean just that.

Roasting the beets {plain and simple}: I preheat the oven to 400º then get to cleaning my beets.  I trim the steams and leaves and place them into a ziploc bag for another day {and another blog post}.  Then I scrub the beets with a spaghetti scrubby.  I then carefully peel the beets and slice them into about 1/4" slices.  I toss the beet slices into a medium size bowl where I drizzle them with olive oil {until coated} and then I arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle your little gems with kosher salt then toss the sheet into the oven and roast until tender {approximately 15-20 minutes}.

{other INGREDIENTS}:While your beets are preparing to blow your mind gather up some soft goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, toasted walnuts and some arugula.  For an entire sheet tray covered in beets I use approximately 5T of olive oil and 2T of balsamic vinegar.  Whisk together your oil and vinegar until it emulsifies.  Toss in two handfuls {very scientific again, I know} of arugula and 1/4c chopped and toasted walnuts {toss to coat}.  Set aside and wait for the fireworks {you can put your goat cheese away if you want it to remain somewhat intact in your salad}.

Once your beets have finished roasting...remove them from the sheet tray and place on a wooden cutting board.  Cut into desired size and let them cool for a moment {sometimes I pop them onto a plate and stick them in the freezer for a couple of minutes}.  Once your beets have cooled, toss them into your salad until they are incorporated throughout.  Last, but certainly not least, add your goat cheese.  I like a decent amount in mine so I use about 4-5T for an entire batch.  Stirring a lot will turn your cheese into a smooth coating for the entire salad which, to me is perfectly alright.

Finally, dig right in.  What are you waiting for?  EAT IT and experience PURE.FOODGASM.DELIGHT!

I would love to know what you think!  How was my 'recipe'?  How do you like to eat beets?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


November 10th 2017


Imagine a holiday gift that will delight dogs ... and their two legged parents! 

Envision a 5-gallon easy-to-open, yet dog-proof reusable Bucket covered with delightful dogs created by TADO and celebrated designer, Paul Budnitz, sure to become a collectors' item. 

Visualize this Bucket is filled with six favorite dog toys from Hartz!  The toys include the Hartz Tuff Stuff Nose DiversQuackersSqueakerZDura Play BallDura Play Bone and Chew 'N Clean.

What you've imagined is Barkens Bucket, a Bucket full of goodies named for one of the signature dogs in possibly the fastest growing dog-focused social media platform in the last two years: Sniff & Barkens.
"Our passion for pets is at the forefront of everything we do and we are excited to partner with Sniff & Barkens on this Holiday Bucket, which will benefit the Pilots 'n Paws Rescue that helps animals in need," said Stacy R. Kisla, Senior Director of Marketing for The HARTZ Mountain Corporation.

10% of the proceeds from each Bucket helps save innocent displaced animals!

Sniff & Barkens, along with presenting sponsor Hartz, created this Bucket full of toys as a unique holiday gift that also helps save dogs' lives.  This $50+ value is being offered to Sniff & Barkens' millions of followers for $34.99, with a portion of the proceeds going to Pilots N Paws, a nonprofit organization that provides life-saving transports and rescue missions for dogs.

 "Our goal is to bring joy to furry family members while supporting an organization that helps save the lives of other dogs," said Joe Pappalardo, founder of Sniff & Barkens.  "We're delighted Hartz came on board as our presenting sponsor, helping us raise funds for Pilots N Paws, which provides invaluable services, especially in times of crisis like the recent hurricanes that devastated communities and displaced not only thousands people, but also thousands of dogs."

The Barkens Bucket will be available for order at until Nov 28th.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Healthy Eating with Not Being Boring

Now that the holidays are around the corner, its easy to cut back now so maybe you can splurge on some of your favorites once Thanksgiving and Christmas get here!

Here are some tips that I have found to keep food tasty while helping to cut the calories. 

1. Use good fats- Olive oil is considered a good fat, butter is not.  When I would make omelets in the morning I would use Olive Oil to saute my vegetables instead of butter.  I thought for sure that I wouldn't like it but it was tasty.

2. Replace fruit juice with Crystal Light- I don't know if I am the only person in the world who has to have juice with breakfast but I have found that I can use Crystal Light or Kool Aid made with Splenda and I am just as satisfied than I am when I drink orange juice.  This cuts my daily intake by 200-300 calories!

3. Spices really are the spice of life- Oregano is delicious sauteed with vegetables and its a really yummy additive to many other meals.  Instead of using fats and meats to add flavor I suggest you try adding some spices.  I also love curry-a lot!

4. Brown rice instead of white rice- Brown rice helps to stave off hunger longer so it leaves you feeling fuller, longer.  White rice has no nutritional value and should be avoided.  You can make a batch of brown rice on a Sunday and portion it out for the rest of the week.  I use it in stir frys and lettuce wraps and just about anything else where a carb or two is needed.

5. Chocolate is evil and so is ice cream- HAHA!  I love ice cream so much and it is hard to get that feeling from anything else.  I have found that mini Drumsticks (150 calories) or Fudgesicles are perfect for that little something that we all crave.

6. Vegetables are your friends- Vegetables help add bulk to your meals while keeping the calorie content low.  For instance, when I make my omelets in the morning, I sautee a bunch of onion, spinach and mushrooms and add some tomatoes at the end so they don't get too mushy.  I add oregano to the vegetables while they are cooking for extra zest.  I put this in my 3 egg white (one yolk) omelet and top with shredded parmesan cheese.  The parm is low in calorie and this breakfast is so satisfying and delicious.  You can also have a piece of whole grain bread or a whole grain english muffin to round out this meal.

7. Chicken stock instead of water- When you are cooking your whole wheat pasta, brown rice or vegetables you can increase flavor ten-fold by cooking with Chicken or Vegetable Stock rather than water.  This intensifies the flavor without the added calories!

8. Water is your friend- Drinking 8 glasses of water a day can help stave off hunger so you don't go crazy come dinner time.  A handful of almonds provides the same filling factor.  This is more of a tip than a transform your meals but it is very helpful nonetheless.

9. Fruit- makes an excellent dessert or quick breakfast.  I love fruit smoothies using frozen fruit, non-fat yogurt and a splash or water or skim milk.  This makes a light and refreshing snack too.  Yogurt provides the calcium that all women need and the fruit is loaded with anti-oxidants.

10. Craving something cheesy but don't know what to do? Reach for the Babybel cheese.  Laughing Cow and Babybel have 30-40 calories per serving and you can spread it on sandwiches, fruit, whole wheat crackers or vegetables.  The possibilities are endless.

What are some ways you have found to make your favorite foods healthier?