Monday, December 31, 2012

Oh, 2012

So how do I look back on an entire year for a blog post?  I know I am supposed to keep this brief, not be boring, etc.  So, I will try.

First, the highlights that came to mind:

I started this blog.

I ran my first 10K!

I stood up for myself, my feelings, my individual self more than ever.

I learned how to sit, breathe, and just be.

I got an old lady.

I fostered two lost dogs and reunited them with their owners.

I went on a few road trips and didn't worry about getting in fiery crashes or pooping my pants.

I had a low-blood sugar incident where I didn't feel real but didn't let it ruin my day!

I spent time with family and friends and have tried to be helpful and loving without jeopardizing my own sanity.

Second, just a handful of my favorite pictures:

4 year old costume love.  It doesn't last nearly long enough.  Enjoy it!

Soda pop!

My sister, Levi and I.  I tried to find moments to spend with my sister this year.  I think I did good.  What do you think, Mom?  

Day trips with my boys.  If memory serves, this is the waterfall at the Westin Crown Center, also the back drop to my prom picture :p
This guy.  Patient, understanding and fun to spend time with.  He needs to take me on more dates in 2013 <3

12 years later we all got together and it was exactly the same.  Same conversations, same giggles, same...everything.  Don't forget your friends.  They are the only ones that loved you then and now.  They are the only ones that can transport you from 32 to 19.

I love his laugh.  I hope it stays this way forever.  E and I talk about my uncle's strong, wonderful laugh quite often because it is easy for him to remember when he is feeling sad.  Ezra's laugh is just as organically perfect.

It would be really easy to sit and think about all of the sad, bad, not-so-great things that the year contained.  But it is much more rewarding to look back at the good.  The great.  The perfect little moments that made the year worth it.

Happy New Year, friends.  2012 was pretty fantastic, wasn't it?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Frozen Pumpkin Ball

Sometimes you just have to stop everything and play.  That is exactly what we did last Friday.  I think JF and I both would like to come home from work on Friday evening and sit on the couch in an iPhone/Netflix coma.  Sometimes we might.  But we usually try our hardest to fight it.
As a family we put on our snow gear and headed outside into the snow and ice.

We used our tie-dyed toboggan:

Made snow angels 

and then  

I had the best idea ever!

We had a couple of pumpkins on our front porch left over from Thanksgiving.  They were frozen.
Frozen pumpkins + ice-covered driveway = 
Frozen Pumpkin Ball!
A hockey/soccer/curling/silliness hybrid. We had so much fun and thankfully no broken bones.  We played until the pumpkin broke open.

I just love spontaneous family games.  And the fact that we were playing outside made it even better!

What's your favorite winter moment so far this year?

Will you be trying Frozen Pumpkin Ball anytime soon?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My week in just a few snapshots

Hello!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I am taking this week and next to do some behind the scenes work for the blog so that I am ready to start 2013 with a lot of exciting posts.  This is a health and fitness blog, after all, so January will be my time to shine :)

Here is what I have been up to this week:

Inspired by Pinterest I made ugly magnets for my staff at the studio.  They are kind of starting to grow on me, but I did write an apology with each gift :)

We had a little snow that turned to ice last week and some of it is still around.  I love how the snow melted in to natural "garland" on this banister.

Levi indulged me and I was able to snap my dream photo of him driving a cozy coupe with a Christmas tree on top.  Isn't he handsome?

We dropped of an amazing Secret Santa gift to a local family.  This was our first year doing something like this and I definitely want to do it again!  Plus it was fun going on a secret mission to drop the package!

Ezra as a shepherd for the second year in a row on Christmas Eve.  He asked us what a shepherd does and JF told him it's in the name. "So...they shep?" he asked.  I love 10!

I sort of already miss the Christmas season.  Every year I get annoyed by the decorations, get stressed with the shopping and baking, only to miss it all come December 26.

How was your Christmas?  
Have you taken your decorations down yet?
Got any cute kiddo stories?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fresh Friday 12.21.12

Real Food Runner

Happy Friday to my friends!  This week I think we all looked at our lives a bit differently, cherishing small moments just a little more and taking time to enjoy the world around us.  For me, taking part in the Fresh Friday link up has been doing that as well.  Picking 3 things that made my week happy.  Here's this weeks:

Taking my boys and my sister to see The Nutcracker.  I really like to watch ballet and it was fun to do something with my sister!

Enjoying Christmas with my family and indulging my boys requests just a little more than usual :)

Taking a few fun gift card promo pictures for the studio.  This one will be "Give Flexibility."  See--I am holding a gift card.  I love my ideas!

So, tell me:  what made your week, the last week before Christmas, Fresh?

5 Random Things

This pops up a lot on Instagram, to list 5 random things about yourself.  I have been so busy in my day-to-day life that I haven't had much time for blogging, so, here are 5 random things about me, today:

1.  I really like baked goods.  I know, I am not supposed to.  I am the healthy, Pilates practicing, veggie juice making type, right?  But I also really, really, love brownies, cookies, cupcakes, you name it!  It makes me wonder "What if I didn't eat those things...geez...I would have the body of a Victoria's Secret model!"

2.  I am still kind of worried that the world will end today.  For a magical thinking, OCD lady like myself, there is nothing like a good end of the world scenario.  I am truly in my panicky element prepping for bird flu, waiting for the Yellowstone volcano to go off, and, today, waiting for...what is it that is supposed to happen?  In my imagination we all just go flying off the surface of the Earth.  Dunno.  But I am cautiously spooked and optimistic all at once.  Here's hoping we make it!

3.  I like being hungry.  Huh?  She just said in the first one she likes cookies?  Yes, I do.  But for my overall day, the feeling of an empty belly makes me happy, especially in stressful times.  I can't imagine boarding a plane, taking a test, or meeting a work deadline with a full stomach.

4.  I like shoveling snow.  I really do.  It's great exercise and very gratifying to see the strips of snow be cleared away.  So if you see me out shoveling, don't feel bad for me.  Unless there is another blizzard that drops 3 feet of snow.  Then please come by with your snow blower.

5.  Arthur's Perfect Christmas is one of my favorite holiday movies!  I have always been a fan of the Arthur books and cartoon.  Confession:  I watched Arthur on PBS for years before I had children.  If you have never seen this movie, check it out.  The songs are infectiously cute and the story is perfect.  There is a book, too, so check that out if you aren't the movie type :)

Tell me 5 random things about yourself!  Or at least just one...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Workout Wednesday V8 featuring The Fat Whisperer!

I am so happy about this Workout Wednesday post!  My first fitness celebrity!  Mary and I met through Instagram and Twitter, thanks to our mutual love for and education in Pilates.  If you do not follow her yet make sure you do!  Her posts range from inspirational to hilarious and I am so happy that I can call her a friend.  I can't wait to see how her Spine Align Sling System changes the Pilates world for the better!

  I also love that she used pieces of material from her slings to create Mantra Whisdom Bracelets.  More on her bracelet line soon!  For now, click here to shop :)

Name: Mary Ascension Saulnier aka Fat Whisperer
Location:  Los Angeles, CA
Occupation:  Body Practitioner and Celebrity Trainer
Fun Stuff:  I love to write movie scripts and comedy in my free time. It's great stress relief that uses my imagination and I love to laugh! I also like hanging out with family and friends.

1) How long have you been in the health and wellness field?
   Since 1979

 2) What do you love about Pilates?
   The power it has to transform everyone's body and have a profound health impact no matter what your fitness level is. Anyone can and should do Pilates!

3) What is your favorite piece of Pilates equipment?
   Spine Align Sling System. It's a new product that I developed which integrates aerial movement into Pilates exercises and is made with 100% organic, gluten-free and hypoallergenic ingredients. It provides broader range than the typical Pilates equipment. It  was designed to help achieve perfect posture and spinal alignment, as well as immediate back pain relief, but you can also do a full body workout with it. I designed the sling to be versatile: it can be used by itself in floor exercises or it can be fully integrated with all Pilates equipment (e.g., the reformer or other Pilates systems such as CoreAlign). It works equally well in group classes, in yoga, for physical therapy, while traveling or working.

4) How often each week do you work out?  Do you ever find it hard to get in your own workout?
    I work out 3-4 days a week. Exercise is a priority for me so I don't typically skip my sessions; I love to move my body and be active.

5) What kind of cardio exercise do you do?
      I run, I jump the trampoline (it's a great workout and so much fun!). I also do cycling and skating. I try to switch up my routine to keep things interesting and not get bored.

6) Do you do weight training?
     Some and I use Body Blade.

7) It seems like you are very disciplined when it comes to nutrition.  What is a typical days menu like for you?
     I see nutrition as a critical component of a healthy lifestyle. I am vegan by choice. A typical day's menu consists of a protein drink for breakfast, buckwheat cracker for a snack, steamed veggies (whatever is in season and I can get at my farmer's market) and raw salad for lunch, and a healthy dinner (with plant proteins). I like to drink green juices and matcha green tea throughout the day.

8) Do you have a favorite cheat meal or treat?
     I love So Delicious coconut ice cream. My taste buds can't resist it. It instantly reminds me of a tropical vacation. 
9) How long have you been doing embroidery?  What inspires you when it comes to those designs?
     I have been doing it for 3 months and I love it! It's my new favorite hobby! I started when I was trying to make a case for my new Pilates equipment, the sling system. I had some extra material so I was thinking of ways I can use it. I don't like to waste stuff. So I made a bracelet and embroidered my favorite mantra on it just to see how it would turn out and wow, I loved it! Designing embroidery is actually the easiest part for me. I integrate textures and colors that I like and then add my own personal mantras on the bracelets (I like to call them "whisdoms", a fun word play on my moniker the Fat Whisperer). I also get inspired from current fashion trends.
10) What is your favorite exercise?
     Aerial Pilates exercises using the Spine Align sling system

11) What is your least favorite exercise?

      I don't like swimming.

12) How do you stay motivated?
     I try to live my life each day to its fullest because I don't want to have any regrets. I love what I do and making a difference in people's health. The transformation can be truly amazing to witness. I also feel connected to the world we live in and try to keep an open mind to all that life throws my way and enjoy the ride. 
Mary's Sample Workout:
Trampoline: 1-2 hr
Aerial Pilates moves on the sling: 45 minutes
CoreAlign: 45 minutes
Plies/lunge teaser: (100 times)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Vegetarian Mexican Pizza

Back in my carefree days when I ate Taco Bell without worrying about what I was actually putting into my body, one of my favorites was their Mexican Pizza.  Even back then I would leave the meat off, but it still isn't the healthiest of options.  A few weeks ago I was craving the crunchy goodness of a Mexican pizza, and came up with this recipe.

Vegetarian Mexican Pizza

8 Flour Tortillas

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp fresh minced garlic
2-3 bunches of fresh spinach or kale, finely chopped1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package of Tasty Bite Madras Lentils, or any brand of lentil/bean chili
Shredded cheddar cheese
Your favorite salsa

Pre-heat oven to 325*
Prick each tortilla 2-3 times with a fork (to prevent giant air pillows while baking.)  Place flour tortillas directly on the oven racks.  Check ever 5 minutes and turn and rotate positions as needed using a pair of tongs.  You will know they are ready when the tortillas are crispy and just starting to brown.


Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add the spinach, stirring frequently, and saute until shrunk.  Add the black beans and lentils.  Stir until well-mixed, cover, and reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for at least 10 minutes but up to 30 minutes.  Allow mixture to cool to warm.

Place a single layer of tortillas on a cookie sheet.  Top each tortilla with the bean mixture and then sprinkle with cheese.  Top with another tortilla, spread a thin layer of salsa and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.

I snuck a few banana peppers on top of mine!


Zombie eyes, but he ate it and loved it!

Kid Approved!

Monday, December 17, 2012

These fears are not new to me

I wasn't going to blog about this.  Like every other person on this planet, I was absolutely horrified by the events that took place on Friday, and, while I do blog about dealing with fear, panic and all sorts of emotions, I didn't feel like this was a subject I wanted to bring up.  I mean, in a situation like this, you have doctors, therapists, religious leaders...all sorts of experts...helping us to get through.  But all weekend, and especially today, I see my friends and acquaintances struggling.  And isn't that the point of me sharing my experiences with anxiety?  To help others deal with theirs?  Like I always have said, if I can help just one person by sharing what I go through, then it is worth it.  Maybe this will help you.

The fears people are dealing with right now are not new to me.  Part of what I deal with is fear and anxiety mixed with OCD and magical thinking.  Huh?  Basically, I get anxious about something, I then obsess over it, and I use magical thinking to try and make myself feel better, but then only feel worse.

Magical thinking is something most of us do.  It's more or less harmless most of the time: "If I wear my lucky socks my team is going to win." or "If I imagine myself winning the race, I will."
Neither of those statements are true, but it helps us feel good, right?

It's when magical thinking becomes too obsessive that it can be a bad thing.  For years I thought if I could imagine the worst possible situations then they would never happen.  Prior to taking a trip I would imagine my plane crashing into the ocean...things along those lines.
I remember the night before E started preschool I suddenly remembered the Russian Beslan school hostage crisis.  Explosions, gun fire, casualties.  I was panicked.  How could I send my baby to school when things like that happen?  So, yes, I have imagined the worst.
I have imagined my children being shot.
I have imagined a gunman coming into my Pilates class.
I have imagined coming home to my find my family inside a carbon monoxide filled home.
I have imagined both of the boys schools, under attack, worst case scenario.  In addition I have imagined just about every horrible event that could happen to my children.   It sounds like a very tortured existence, but for me it was absolutely normal.  It was how my day would play out.  
Brush my teeth.
Eat breakfast.
Picture my child in a fiery bus crash.
Head to work.
So on and so forth.  I can speak of it here easily but, trust me, I know how serious this is.  It took over my day-to-day life until there was no room for anything else except for anxiety and worry.

There is a big part of me, and I am sure a big part of everyone, that just wants to say "Screw this. We live in a world where a horrible thing like this happens?  I don't want  try and deal with it.  I just want to quit everything and stay home." And that thought is completely natural right now.  But it is also natural that we need to return to our lives.

So now what?

What I can do today is give you advice for how to try and stop the what if thinking.  To try and help you deal with the fear that is gripping all of us.

  • Think of how many people went to school and work on Friday and made it safely home.  At first it sounds uncaring, but it is necessary to do if you just can't get past your fear.  Think of all of the schools, all of the children and teachers, that had more or less normal days and went home.  That number greatly surpasses the number of those that didn't.

  • Mass shootings seem to be happening at an alarming rate, it's frightening to go anywhere.  But again, think of the actual chances that you will be at a mall, at a school, at a gas station when it happens.  Do you want to let the very small chance of that happening to you keep you and your loved ones from going out and enjoying life?  

  • Say what you are afraid of out loud.  Whether it is to a friend or family member, or just to yourself.  By actually saying what you are afraid of it makes it less scary.  Then continue the dialogue.  You will be surprised how much just saying your fears out loud will help you.

Imagining the worst, spending your days and nights in a state of worry, will not protect you or your family, it will only rob you of valuable moments in time that you will never get back.  
Look at your daily life objectively.  
What are the actual chances of the things you fear happening?
Keep your eyes and ears open for people around you that may be struggling.
Talk about what is troubling you and listen when your friends or family are troubled.
I have learned how to deal with my fears and worries.  How to stop the magical thinking.  But I will tell you this:
Although I am just as guilty as the next person of spending too much time on my phone, saying no to playing Memory for the 67th time, sighing when I have to tie a shoe, I do...

  • Smell my children's hair and breath every chance I get.
  • Hold JF's, E and L's hands as often as possible.
  • Dance and laugh and have fun with my children each day.
  • Tell them I think they are perfect and magical.
These little things, that's really all we can do.

The Road to Weight Loss with Ronnie: Part 1

'Move your body, and don't eat crap.'
By Veronica Batton

My name is Veronica. I am 31 years old, recently married and lately, a bit thick. I'm starting my weight loss journey and sharing it with you along the way. Once a month, I'll share my progress and my thoughts with you. I hope you'll stay with me and cheer me through it. This is gonna be tough!
"Just move your body, and don't eat crap," my doctor said. 
He said these words to me after I talked to him for two months about how I want to lose weight. 
It's funny, but true. I focus too much on doing the workout than actually doing it. It's a bad habit, and it's one I want to break.
I've always battled with my weight, but I've never reached this point before. 
I got married on April 21, 2012, and Sally helped me go on a quick diet to fit in my wedding dress. More on that here.

I felt great on my wedding day, but I didn't keep up any of the healthy eating habits she taught me or any physical activity and ended up gaining (gulp) 35 pounds. 
Ouch. That was hard to admit, but I have to start somewhere. 
So, here I am. I want to eat healthy, exercise and buy a pair of skinny jeans in a skinny-mini size. 

Eating healthy doesn't bother me; I'm just more familiar with eating poorly. 
It takes time to learn new things, and I've never been great at "creating" recipes. 
However, I need to stop making excuses, branch out and try new things. 
I tried a recipe from Sally's blog, and I have to say, it was delicious! 
I tried the "I don't feel like cooking" dinner, and it was a hit. I served the dish with steamed broccoli, and I even had leftovers for the next day. 

Of course, I burned it the next day because I was distracted by Star Wars Angry Birds. 
It was still good, though. 
Body movin' 
One of the biggest problems I have with exercise is doing it. I'm the queen of, "oh, I'll do it tomorrow," workouts. 
I usually use work or my "lady time" as my excuse. 
I've dieted and bought gym memberships before, but nothing ever seemed to stick. 
Except for an accountability partner. 
My friend and co-worker Stacy is a runner, through and through. The girl's done a marathon and runs eight to 10 miles just because it's a Saturday. 
She lives just a few blocks away from me and asked if I wanted to join her on a run/walk. 
We've been going on run/walks for a few months off and on, and Stacy is kind enough to slow down as I heave and wheeze my way down the road. 
It doesn't even feel like exercise when you can go out with a friend and gossip for 45 minutes. 
I also really liked going to Sally's classes at the Studio on Main. I remember, on more than one occasion, performing an exercise on the reformer and thinking to myself, "Whoa. Has that muscle always been there?" 
Her reformer class is so much fun, and I would occasionally even feel graceful! 
The point of all this is that having an accountability partner helps keep me motivated. 
So here I am reaching out to you, my future accountability partner. 
Will you, blog readers, do me the honor of reading my posts, leaving me motivational and non-judgmental comments until I'm in those size tiny skinny jeans?
Please, say "I do!"
Goals for December:
  • Exercise no more than six and no less than four days a week
  • Experiment with new healthy meals
  • Stop drinking soda!
  • Current weight: I will tell you when I'm skinny. See? Now you have an incentive to keep reading my posts! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Hey friends!
Some of you have already met my best friend Veronica when she did a guest spot last summer about the 5 Day Slim Down diet I created for her literally 5 days before her wedding.

Starting tomorrow, and after that each month, Veronica is going to be sharing her weight loss journey on my blog. The posts are tentatively title "The Road to Weight Loss with Ronnie" so keep an eye out!

I am so excited to be able to share her experiences on my blog.  As we all know, it's tough to lose weight and change eating habits, and I think shared experiences can be very motivating and helpful.

I have been friends with Veronica for 15 years (yep, you are correct, we were 10 when we met, haha) and I think she is gorgeous in any size, but I completely understand her desire to shed a few pounds, become more comfortable in her body, and skinnify her wardrobe.

I think this was my 29th birthday.  V bought me a Redbull and Vodka shot.
It's the only one I have ever had.  It was like a panic attack in a cup.  But I still love you, V-Dog!

I will never be able to post enough pictures of her wedding day!

September of this year, I think Ezra took this :)

I would love to see you leave comments on her posts with tips, tricks, and any other motivating comments you have.  

If you happen to be in the same spot, wanting to eat better, add more physical activity to your day, and lose some weight, this would be a great time to start!  You will have an accountability buddy right here on my blog!

So, please make sure to start following this blog so you don't miss a post!

I want to know:

Will you be following Veronica's posts?

Do you have any weight you want to lose?

Could your diet be a little healthier?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fresh Friday!

Hooray, it's Friday!
Tonight is my work Christmas party and Sunday I am taking my boys and my sister to see the Nutcracker!  Lots of holiday fun.  As long as I ignore the fact that I still have 5 or 10 gifts to buy.  Eep!

So, what made my week Fresh and Fun?

Strawberry juice!  Pureed strawberries with 2 cups water.  Add 1/4 cup chia seed if you want.  So good!

A lovely package from Shwings!  I love adding wings to just about anything and I am so excited to be able to have wings for my running shoes.  Shhh!  Don't tell anyone, but there may be a giveaway in the near future!

Did you say Fresh?  Well, fresh veggies and fruits totally made me happy this week.  After a trip I always feel so starved for fresh veggies.  On Monday I went to Whole Foods and Costco and loaded up.  Organic cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, clementines...delish!

So, tell me, what made YOUR week Fresh?  Comment below or click here to join the link up!