Tag Archives: friends



With losing my Mother and my move from LA to Houston I was not able to deliver my blankets to the Midnight Mission, but my wonderful friend Luke delivered them for me and volunteered at an event they held to help the homeless. I am beyond grateful to Luke. I am as good as the company I keep. He is a wonderful friend and the best of company and I am honored to know him. Thank you Luke.

Below is my thoughts about the significance of blankets to those who sleep on the streets. Much love and Light to all. If you have ideas for future charities in and around The Woodlands Texas and Houston Texas hit me up. I have more weight to lose and I would like to continue my efforts to help those in need. 


Happiness is a warm blanket. 

Charlie Brown

Today I had some extra time to myself when a friend cancelled on our morning coffee. It was extra time to do nothing but to snuggle with my two Siamese cats and a big fluffy blanket. As I lay there completely content to be idle, my mind started to reflect how lucky I am to have such a simple yet happy moment blanketed from all the woes found outside our front door. 

A blanket is one of those items you probably never think about, but think how attached you are to it. A blanket comforts your body and your soul. On a hot summer night do you still curl up with your blanket?  It is much more than an item that keeps you from getting cold, it is a security blanket. A blanket protects in the wee hours of the night. Even our beloved pets feel safe when there is a cozy blanket to curl up in. A blanket is warmth, and warmth is love.

For the homeless a blanket is all of these things and so much more. A blanket is a safety net from the elements of the street, a barrier against all the dangers that exist when you dwell without four walls to keep you safe. To a homeless person a blanket is shelter, a soothing hug in the middle of the night, a coat to keep you warm. A blanket is a veil of privacy, a sleeping bag, a layer between you and the mean streets. To a homeless person a simple item like a blanket is home.

This wraps up my latest Charity Project.  New blankets were delivered by Luke for the homeless at The Midnight Mission in Downtown Los Angeles. Thank you again Luke, you rock. http://www.midnightmission

As I type my two Siamese cats Rascal and Spanky are in dreamland curled up with a blanket and probably content to be there all day. Creature comforts are so important for both humans and animals. 

Much love and light.

Chasing goals and trying to help others is my aim




Tonight the party I was supposed to work cancelled, and I had an impromptu night off. I never got the call and went into work anyway.  Life throws surprises all the time. Instead of being upset that I went all the way there, I adjusted my sails and walked home and was happy to have the night off. I ended up making Black Bean Brownies and hanging out with my husband James and our two Siamese cats, precious time with my busy schedule. Life has been hectic these last few months but I am so happy and grateful to be back in Los Angeles. A simple night, tomato soup and my loves made me very happy.


That got me thinking, what is the game changer when it comes to weight loss and fitness success? Why do some people gain the weight back and other people are able to get to their goals and maintain weight loss and fitness? I believe I accidentally figured what it takes, or I figured out what is keeping me on the path to weight loss and fitness success.

I gear my workouts to all the changes that my life brings me. Life is not constant, but I adjust my sails and ride the waves to the destination of my goals. I realized the beginning of a weight loss journey is the easiest, but keeping the momentum going takes work and takes consistency. It take a willingness to adapt to the changes that life brings.

I have been through a lot, a lot I write about and a lot I have kept private. I started this blog and my weight loss/fitness/philanthropic journey in 2013 with the help of a trainer that introduced me to fitness. I was having success with my LA lifestyle and it was amazing having someone tell me I can do it. I was able to help various charities and lose weight in the process. It was smooth sailing for me.

Rose Bruno Bailey Weight Loss

In  autumn 2014 my husband James and I moved to The San Francisco Bay area, a move that came on rather suddenly. There was a big fear that I would quit, that I would regress and lose all I was working on. A rational fear that everything I worked hard on would fall apart.

All of a sudden my lifestyle completely changed. I was living in a brand new city, working a lot more than I did in LA, and I no longer had a trainer pushing me. I had to adjust to my new life. It took a few months but I did find my footing in the bay area,I did some charities and met some amazing friends. I ran in a 5K with my boss and made my best time in a race. I adjusted my journey to my new reality. I did not give up, I just worked with my new lifestyle. I started Melissa Bender Fitness workouts and I realized I can do this. I believed and stayed consistent in my endeavors, despite the challenges of a brand new life. There were a lot more temptations in San Francisco, a city known for food but throughout the challenges I continued on and I am grateful for my experience there.







We recently decided to move back to Los Angeles, and again my whole lifestyle went through another transition, another new job with different hours. Yet last week I hit my lowest weight since I began my journey. What is it that has kept me going? 


I didn’t quit, I am persistent and consistent. I have adjusted my workouts, my running, my diet to fit my new lifestyle. I find myself being too tired in the morning to work out since I am working later at night than I am used to, so I do my workouts after work.  Who said workouts cannot be done at 11 pm? Are there rules to working out? If so I am breaking them and making my own rules and it is working for me. I started a six month countdown to my December Birthday with no cheat days for the whole six months, and stayed consistent to my benderfitness workouts. I continue to meet wonderful people that inspire me.


My advice to anyone beginning a diet and exercise program is to be prepared to change and evolve because life brings on changes and transitions. Every time my life dramatically changed paths, I adjusted my route to stay on course. I am successful despite the constant changes in my life. I am proud to say through it all I never gave up. My life continues to change, and I have changed inside and out and continue to adjust my sails to the whim of the mighty wind that is uncertainty. Bring it on life. I am a master of challenges and change.


unnamedThe other day two young guys gave me a random compliment, they saw how spirited I was and they told me they were “vibe-ing off my energy.” It is a new word and I like it. Think about it, we are all energy based. Positive not only attracts positive but it also negates negative energy and can turn it around. A bad day can become worse with negative thoughts, it spirals out of control the minute you decide today is a bad day. So if you tell yourself today is a good day it will be. It may seem simple and cliché’, but it is also absolute truth and the law of the universe. If you see someone loving life, make sure to “vibe” off their energy. Their positive energy does not mean their life is perfect, it just means they find the beauty of living despite the obstacles life throws at us all. After all you are alive, so how about acting fully alive.

My blog became challenging two years ago when I found out were relocating to San Francisco. I knew I would no longer have a personal trainer at my convenience and I was afraid I would undo all of my hard work. On top of that I loved LA, I did all my charities in LA and I didn’t think the bay area was a fit for me. I did make it work while I was there for what I call my year and a half sabbatical, and my blog continued in the time I was living there. I even made some life long friends and mentors, hit some fitness milestones and volunteered and helped raise food for the hungry at The Second Harvest Food Bank. I survived a personal crisis and a spontaneous move back to LA recently.



Through it all I woke up each and every day not only with a smile for myself, but for everyone I encountered along my travels. It helps you cope when you just slow down and remember to first be kind first. Sometimes it takes effort when all you wish to do is hide under the covers, but keeping a positive attitude even on the hardest days has helped me survive. In hindsight if I would have kept to myself and sulked, I never would have met the many wonderful bay area souls that have inspired me and touched my life.

It has been six months since we arrived back in LA, and three months since I began my countdown until my 50th Birthday. In this six months leading to The Winter Solstice I am eating completely clean and not cheating or having a cheat meal. It is a huge undertaking, considering we tend to want to splurge when life throws us disappointments. Yesterday was such a day, I am hoping to have my book signing here in LA at an esteemed book store but I let some time lapse from the first moment I corresponded with the book store due to my move back and all of the commotion of getting a new job and settling in. I am not going to jump to conclusions, but I may need a back up plan if this particular book store turns me down. Again I have to reach into my little bag of positive tricks and truck on forward.

This leads me to how often we reach for food to dull the ache in the pit of our stomach when things do not exactly go our way. It is not hunger we feel, but that need for comfort and soothing that we get when we treat ourselves. My husband James said “let’s get cake, no one will know.”  I regress, I will know. Back to the four agreements, “always be impeccable with your word.”

So no cheat day for me. This is teaching me to face my feelings and deal with them in a non food manner. I work in a world famous deli with the most amazing food and homemade bakery so this is extra difficult for me but I am standing by my commitment. I am a work in progress, moving forward despite everything that comes my way. I am leaning on my energy and attitude to keep me going. That and morning coffee.

They say life does not have a dress rehearsal, and this is it. So I continue to vow to be grateful and joyful an to not let obstacles chase off my dreams, and I vow to keep going.


I am vibe-ing off the energy of the beauty of being alive. 




Where are you from?

As I  embark on transitioning this journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco I wonder, where are you from? 

I was born in Chicago IL , raised in Cleveland OH. I have lived in Pittsburgh PA, Farmington CT. NYC, LA, and now heading to San Francisco CA. I would not change a moment, I have met so many amazing souls along my way that I call dear friends. These people I have met along my way have shaped who I have become, and I am constantly evolving.

Where is home for you and does your city offer a lot of tools to make your fitness goals a reality?
Happy Tuesday to everyone, near and far on this beautiful globe of ours.Today is day ten of the first three months of Melissa Bender’s Bikini Competition series. I got this.

Me with my first NYC friend and soul sister for life
Up the street from my current West Hollywood home
May 2014

Love and Light


It is almost the one year anniversary of this blog, and I remember saying I will always follow through with what I say I will do. That promise began when I was set to be in the Richard Simmons Video. I was not feeling well days before, and I almost backed out. Then I decided to stick to my word and it changed me in so many ways. I met the best people at that video shoot, and I had the best time ever. Almost one year later I find myself reflecting on that promise I made, and continue to make to myself over and over.

I have experienced some personal challenges in the last five days, life’s stresses that we all have them from time to time. Sometimes though, I get so caught up I forget how to breathe. I am coming out of the worry now, and back to work on all of my goals. I had a few days of rest because I strained my knee a bit, and now I my plan is to work out and focus my energy like I in the very beginning. Totally motivated and inspired.  No excuses, I am going to work super hard on my exercise and diet like this is the first day of my blog. Back to square one.

Yesterday I had plans to meet my friend Francie and her Mother Fran for lunch in Beverly Hills. She asked me if I was up to it, and I said yes. I had made a commitment and I followed through, plus I so wanted to meet Fran. I am so happy I did, Fran is as lovely as I imagined her to be and I am blessed to be friends with Francie and well as Fran. Guess where I met Francie? The Richard Simmons Video. No regrets, follow through with promises.

So it is Tuesday, and I am focusing on focusing, breathing, and my weight watchers points. Yes, I am back to counting. It is funny when life throws you curve balls you tend to skip meals and forget how to eat balanced and healthy. Back to the drawing board for me, working out with Mike my trainer tonight. A lot has happened since our last workout less than a week ago, and I am going to have to get my hyper energy back.

To quote one of my favorite movies of all time, It’s A Wonderful Life
Dear George, remember, no man’s a failure who has friends.
I think I need to watch it soon.



It is my birthday, the winter solstice, the day with the least amount of light yet I feel like I am surrounded my the radiant wonder above. I am so blessed beyond belief, and as I get ready to kick in my Birthday with a class at Richard Simmons. He is having his holiday bash and there is no other way to begin my birthday than with a holiday dose of health with my guru himself. I am excited beyond belief, I love the energy that comes from those four walls. You could bottle it up and raise a mint for charity.

I am also going to Musso and Frank’s tonight with James for dinner, it is a bucket list must. Read my post about Huell Howser and you will understand why. More to come later, and lots and lots of photos.

I feel like I am celebrating life and making dreams come true. The Toy Drive is coming along with the amazing assistance of Seasons 52, and more on that tonight or tomorrow. I am happy to say as the New Year approaches I do not have one regret. I am making it happen, with a lot of help from my friends. Without them I would not be where I am today, or get to where I will be tomorrow. The sun does always come out tomorrow, even on the shortest day of the year.

Lots of love and light


Just a quick blog, a gratitude moment of all the people I have encountered because I decided to take on this project. Tonight after yoga I am meeting with Francie, we met during the Richard Simmons Hair Do video shoot and have become fast friends.  Here is a few photos of the amazing people I have met along the way, and there are many more who I do not have photos of. It is the friends, old and new that keeps you going. We are never in it alone. I will add captions later, I am running so late today. Love to all my friends, old and new.
Have a great day all.

With Richard and Tori

Mike on the left with The Monday Night Mission

Joanne and Susan, my faves.

The Monday Night Mission with Courtney and Danny, Mike and Maria

Susan, a lovely friend, Richard Simmons, me, and Joanne

Francie, Erin, Richard, George, Me, Shoshana

Francie and me, fasr friends forever.

Me with Erin

Me Gigi with the Guess Marketing Team and Richard

Richard Simmons and me after the video shoot

My first and current yoga teacher at Pink Iron with Nicole

Francie and me

The O’donnell Family


When you learn something new that is outside your comfort zone, you feel awkward doing it. For me, exercise has always been dance related. When I speed walk I dance in my head to the music I am listening too, everything for me up until this point had a rhythm to it. My heart would follow the beat, and it was seamless and natural for me and I loved it. 

I still love to work out to dance moves or  walking outside or on the treadmill to music, but I have added a lot of new exercise moves to my regimen since I started working out with Mike my trainer and friend. Like I have said before in recent posts, his help is invaluable and I am learning so much. He is really helping me through our weekly workouts. Now, a lot of what I do with him is completely foreign to me, and some things are down right difficult since I have never had arm strength. In the six weeks we have been working out though, I can see significant changes in my form as well as my strength. I am definitely getting better, and that is when he mixes it up and makes it more difficult for me. I love a challenge and I am working really hard, and each week I get a little stronger and more fluid in my movements. I am so grateful for his expertise, assistance, and time.

Burpees feel so awkward to me, and I am yet to master the push up part so I do the burpees without the push up. I do not know what my hang up about this exercise move is, but for some reason I feel like I look completely silly when I do it. My best friend Melissa at Melissa Bender Fitness has asked me to see if Mike would video tape me doing burpees for her website. He loved the idea, me not so much. It looks like we will tape me doing burpees next week. I am going to practice the hell out of them in the week to come. This is an adventure, and sometimes you have to not fear and just do. 

We also worked out a lot with a kettle ball, and a jump rope as well as the machines that are at the park we go to. I can jump rope fast but my endurance is not as good. More things to improve upon. Each week is different and each week I get a little more natural at everything we do, and if I do say so myself I am very proud I have stuck to my regimen thus far. I have a long way to go to my goals, but I am definitely just around the corner to my first ten pound goal. I can tell I am losing inches too.  I feel stronger and I have more energy, and it feels completely wonderful. 

Tonight is yoga with Nicole, and I look forward to it so much. Last week she was explaining the difference between sensation and pain. I still cannot decipher which is which. I also signed up for a Groupon for one month unlimited classes at YogaWorks, thanks to  my friend Francie from the video shoot. She sent me the link and I had just enough time to get the amazing deal. I have to say I am so happy our paths have crossed, she is a fantastic human being and friend. We are both excited that the Richard Simmons video comes out this Friday. We had so much fun dancing in it.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Wednesday full of love and light.




These innocent little beauties have taken hostage of my nights. Rascal every night around three am wakes me up unplugging the air conditioner and now he has moved on to the alarm clock. Spanky likes to chew on my hair or bite my toes when I am sleeping. A few days of this and I feel so groggy and incoherent, that coffee is not just something I love to drink for the taste but a necessity. My husband is not a morning person, and he wakes up tired always. I on the other hand, If I do not get enough sleep I usually still wake up on the right side of the bed. The fact I am not so cheery this morning means it is finally catching up to me. With all the exercise I have been doing, the cats interrupting my sleep is making me feel completely fatigued. Plus I did not feel well yesterday, and it took all of my energy not to let it show to anyone I interacted with. I hope I was not rude to anyone, I doubt it I am never rude but if I was I apologize. I never get outwardly crabby but I can sometimes get quiet and of course people are usually shocked when that happens. It usually means I do not feel well, or I am in a very reflective mood. I will not elaborate why I did not feel well, but let’s just say I hope I do not gain any weight on Tuesday. 🙂

Of course on days like that, all I want to do is be with my friends and family back east. My wonderful friend Larry was one of those people. I would call and he would be there, we both lived in Astoria and worked in Manhattan.  I met him in Pittsburgh in 1999 and he moved to Los Angeles. I moved to Connecticut. He moved to Boston, and then NYC and finally I moved to NYC too. He one of the most fun people I have ever met and  he still has a way to make me laugh even across the miles. There are so many people I miss, but I a blessed to have wonderful friends here in California too. If I never would have moved here, I never would have met anyone of them, so I have no regrets and I love Los Angeles as much as NYC just for different reasons. 

Larry and Rose December 21st 2009 in Manhattan

I took my rest day Thursday since I was not my usual 100% and since Richard Simmons is traveling and out of town. I am so bummed out about this, I have grown accustomed to his high energy inspiration. It will be a couple weeks before he returns, so that means more treadmill and yoga and maybe a Zumba class to throw in for good measure. I will not slow down at all, one rest day is all I need. Today I am back in full force after work even though I still do not feel completely well. Nothing that time and a little extra weekend sleep cannot cure.

Wishing everyone a big Thank God It Is Friday. Much love and light to all. 


Yesterday was my weekly  Tuesday workout with Mike my friend/trainer. I felt stronger this time, and I feel I am making strides, long strides. The workout is not easy but I put my all in, and Mike is a fantastic trainer. He pushes without pushing to the point of an injury. I love the workouts we have been doing and I am so grateful to him for his support and help.

Working out in the outdoors is definitely fun and refreshing. You are sweating but instead of cold stale air conditioner air blowing in your face, there is a beautiful breeze to cool you off. The trees are overhead, and there are kids and dogs playing nearby. It is fun, like I said last week it feels like being a kid playing in the great outdoors. I planked in the grass, and yes I got dirty and it is completely liberating to do so. I even drank from a water fountain, and I have decided it is the water fountain of youth. I have always said I am an old soul, yet young at heart. I feel like I am getting younger at heart by the day with this project.  Life is too short not to feel every moment, and to love every minute. To get the most out of everything you do because life really is a gift, you just have to open it and live in the present.

So today, healthy breakfast, light stretch and work. After work I plan on going for a 45 minute walk. I am going to do that almost daily, Mike suggested it and of course I love to speed walk so it is a no brainer for me. I may have to purchase a pedometer.

Tomorrow is my Thursday class with Richard Simmons at Slimmons. So basically more inspiration to get me going even more. I will take more photos tomorrow, and next week I will take some of my Tuesday workout. I am feeling motivated, inspired and completely grateful.

Wishing you a day full of sunshine and joy.
Love and Light