Monthly Archives: November 2013


FITNESS BUCKET LIST  REVISITED…adding more items as I get more inspired. Feel free to suggest new ideas. It keeps growing and growing.  Fire Dancing classes is my newest idea, thanks to my friend Francie. Namaste’

1. Trapeze Classes at the School of Trapeze in Santa Monica

2. Synchronized swimming classes at Aqualillies in Los Angeles

3. Michael Cornell Ballet Classes at  I am doing this very soon.

4.Ballroom Latin Classes at 3rd Street Dance in Los Angeles

5. Go to Pittsburgh, work out with best friend at Melissa Bender Fitness

6. Go to San Diego, take yoga and aerial yoga with one of my best friends Tracy Gittens at Galaxy Lifestyle, Fitness, and Aerial Yoga. Grand Opening July 19, 2013.

7. Surf if I am not too afraid of sharks, lol  Ok, I have an update on this, Mike my trainer has offered to teach me when I am ready and when I can do a good push up, and I will take him up on that. He said nest summer when the water is warmer, so if James and I are still living here in Los Angeles I will conquer this.

8.Take a Tracy Anderson class in Los Angeles.

9.Some type of Yoga Retreat by the ocean.

10. Be in or on the cover of Weight Watchers Magazine. (Hey, a girl can dream and they use real people all the time). e.I am no longer going to Weight Watchers but I do it on my own so I do not know if this could be possible.

11. Do a 5K in 2014. This is in the works.

12. Practice my yoga and get into the difficult poses I am struggling with. Do inversions, backbends, and anything to do with my leg behind me. This means gaining more flexibility in my quads.

13. Do a 30 day yoga challenge, and do yoga every day for 30 days in a row.

14. Swim with dolphins, not really fitness related but is in a way. I would love to have this experience.

15. Learn Tai Chi or some sort of Martial Arts.

16. Get some sort of certifications down the line so I can pass on my new knowledge and help those who need it. Maybe volunteering for the needy.I am going to do this through ACE, The American Council of Exercise.

17. Take Fire Dancing classes at Firegroove here in Los Angeles. Francie did it and it sounds amazing, maybe a little dangerous but that makes it even more intriguing.

18. Aerial Yoga here in Los Angeles.

19. Audition for The Ole Skool Crew in 2014. They are the dancers over 40 that dance at the Sparks games at The Staple Center.

20. Take a reformer Pilates class.


Happy weekend to all, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for life, living, breathing, love, family, friends. I can go on and on.  My dinner turned out wonderful, and I cheated but not really like I planned to. Cooking took all day, and by the time I was finished I was not as interested in the food as I expected to be. I had allowed myself to be over hungry and tired and I really did not eat too much. I did not even finish my dinner, but I did have a piece of my pecan and chocolate pie. 

Today I went to Trader Joe’s to stock up on some healthy essentials, so I can eat the turkey and avoid the fattening sides. I knew I needed a plan of action to get through the weekend on track. I picked up all of my essentials so I should be good to go.

Cheating is a tricky thing. I had every intention to cheat and I did but according to my husband I did not eat like he thinks I should have. Your body gets so accustomed to eating healthy, to fueling your temple with only the best material to ensure the construction of a healthier body. You are afraid one day of deviation will trash your temple and the whole thing will come crumbling down in a pile of rubble. I am happy I chose not to overdo it, and I can go into the holiday season with the reassurance that I will not undo five months of hard work with a month of mindless eating. I can deviate in small ways without going overboard.

Francie joined us for Thanksgiving, and we loved having the company. We talked and talked and she gave me some wonderful ideas to add to my fitness bucket list. She once took a Fire Dancing class at Firegroove here in Los Angeles. At first I questioned the sanity and safety of such a thing, but once we watched the video I was hooked. I am definitely going to take a class and learn the art of dancing with fire. Passion requires you to live a life of light, and dancing with flames sounds like the perfect metaphor for passion.

Off for now, I am writing some new poems and feeling the creative surge and the time to do it in. Wishing everyone love and light. 


On this Thanksgiving Eve it never escapes my mind and heart how lucky we all are to be breathing. I feel so grateful for life and all of the amazing souls that have touched my world, beginning with my dearest Mother. It is the middle of the night, and I am up finishing my dessert baking. I almost had a bit of a meltdown, my oven is not cooperating with me tonight and my apple crisp did not turn out as planned, but my chocolate pecan pie looks decadent and delicious. Every time I cook a holiday meal something seems to go amiss, and it reminded me of when I first learned to cook. 

James and I were living in Connecticut in 2005, and he worked on that Thanksgiving. I decided to try to whip up Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings for him when he arrived home. My day was utter chaos, my pie burned but I luckily the rest of the dinner turned out as planned, and it tasted amazing. I wrote about that experience soon after, and here is the essay from that Thanksgiving back in Connecticut in 2005.

I wish blessings and abundance to all.
Happy Thanksgiving


My sisters and I used to love to go to the grocery store with my mother. We would follow like little disciples, contributing our wish list of meal choices for the family dinner. This was the one thing that kept us together, the family meal; the one thing that protected us from the ominous storm that was about to brew.

Growing up in Cleveland Ohio was not an easy feat, with my fathers disappearance at the age of ten, well lets just say things were bleak to say the least. After that fateful day, memories of that time are a mish-mash in my head. My father was an Italian Restaurant owner, and the one thing he did well before he vanished was to pass on one last gift to my family; he taught my mother to cook with passion. We were far from well off, and we had many tough struggles, but there was always something delicious waiting for us at the end of the day; comfort food personified.

When my mother was growing up, she had artistic abilities, talents that she never had the opportunity to fulfill. She could pick up a pencil and sketch a portrait, and sing like a songbird, but her mother taught her dreams were unrealistic and unattainable. Over the years those dreams were left at the wayside, replaced with children to raise, and the constant need to just get through a day and survive. When my father first met my mother, her cooking skills were so lacking, she could not even boil an egg. I believe when she picked up that wooden spoon for the very first time, the artist in her was reborn; the wooden spoon was her pencil, and the food she created was her masterpiece. Her cooking would be the light that kept us from despair during those challenging years of childhood, and I believe her culinary talent became the basis of her identity and our lives together.

Our home did not have many creature comforts, and we lived in sparse spaces lacking color and light. However, our humble kitchen was my mom’s oyster; and a place we all came together and connected, a place where we all came alive. I can remember coming home from a long day at school, pre-teen angst causing confusion within, and my mother would whip up my favorite meal, roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli and homemade biscuits with butter. Suddenly all the grief I felt from not belonging disappeared, and was replaced with something that would stick to my ribs along with the meal; my mother nurtured and loved me, and showed it through her passion of cooking.

My mid age school days were turbulent to say the least, yet I always knew no matter how my day went, as soon as I walked in the door my mind would clear. My Mother would whip up something fabulous, even if it was incredibly simple. She had a way of taking whatever ingredients she had on hand and turning them into a culinary work of art. Home was a place that may have been lacking material possessions, but we made up for them in love and spirit and there was plenty of laughter and love to go around. We were nourished in more ways then one.

As we grew into our teens, birthdays meant big meals with spaghetti with meatballs, and all the accompaniments that go with a a huge Italian meal. Our friends were always welcome, and there was always enough food to share with anyone who stepped on our doorstep; kindness to others always came first. We might not have had much, but there was always enough to share. Through my mother I learned it is so much more important to give than to receive. A value I believe has shaped me through the years.

As the years went by I never took a liking to cooking, I was always off doing my own thing and lets face it; who needs to cook when you have someone always doing it for you. I could never compete nor did I want to; that was her arena. Then the day came when I wasn’t within driving distance of my mother. My husband had an opportunity too good to resist and we had to relocate to Hartford Connecticut. It didn’t dawn on me until  that Thanksgiving when I found out my husband had to work that first holiday away from home. I had an ethical dilemma, do I go home and see my family or stay and attempt Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings? I decided on the latter, I could not leave him alone, that would be wrong; but what to do now? I had not the slightest idea what to do with a turkey, let alone a whole Thanksgiving meal.

I consulted my mother and through the phone she guided and taught me how to cook my very first Thanksgiving dinner; and oh what a challenge it was. She always made it look so easy and simple. I was a wreck that day, literally calling home every five minutes. It was like a comedy, me with flour in my hair totally clueless. The first challenge was when my Mother told me the first step, to remove the neck from the main cavity.Excuse me? I was totally repulsed, I had been a vegetarian for almost ten years and here I was removing a neck from a body cavity…I took a deep breath and conquered the cleaning the turkey; next I had to baste it and place it in the oven for hours. I mastered the stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, yet I burned the sweet potato casserole. The last step was to remove the turkey and make sure it was cooked thoroughly and finally make the gravy. To this day gravy is not my forte. Both my sister and mother in law called to check on me, and asked if I remembered to remove the other bag from the other crevice. Pardon Moi? What other bag from what other crevice? I cooked the bird with the bag of giblets in tow. The bag burned, I removed it and the turkey was no worse for wear, but I could not say the same for me.. I questioned myself how she made it look so effortless.

The meal was on the table when my husband finally walked through the doors at seven pm tired from a long day at his new job. The table looked lovely, I on the other hand, well I was a disheveled mess.. How do women time and cook such a large elaborate meal and find the energy to make themselves presentable and pretty? He didn’t care about my unruly hair nor the fact I was wearing sweat pants, he just wanted to sit down and eat Thanksgiving dinner with me, his family.

It was just the two of us, and it was a bit melancholic being so far from our family and loved ones. Traditions are so hard to break, and you can either wallow in your woes or find ways to remember your far off loved ones. We chose the latter, sat down to try my very first culinary feast courtesy of my mothers teaching via the phone. I sat nervous wondering if I had pulled off a success. The look on his face when he took the first bite said it all as he proclaimed ”this tastes like Cleveland Ohio.” I smiled wide, took my first bite and giddily. agreed, I had cooked a replica of my Mothers famous Thanksgiving dinner and did so on my first try.

Lights went off in my head. I cooked much more than a meal. I cooked memories of Mom and I realized what I had learned that very first Thanksgiving away from home, and it was priceless; I would have my mothers traditions for the rest of my life and the lessons that came with them. My mother taught us to be kind to others, to share your gifts even if you do not have much, because it is far more important to give rather than receive. I could not have had a better teacher of life and I am grateful for my treasured upbringing. I wouldn’t trade those memories for all the money in the world. Those teachings have been the basis that has shaped my identity as cooking shaped hers.

In the years since that first Thanksgiving away from home I moved to NYC and now I reside in Los Angeles California. I have mastered most of my mothers beloved recipes, with her famous spaghetti and meatballs to be my next challenge. Everything I have cooked and learned I did on the phone with my remarkable mother who could put even the food network to shame, and I do so with love and gratitude. I am farther than ever from my mother in distance, yet I feel closer in heart because of the new connection we have formed. We bonded over cooking,sharing, and the blessings of life. We are two very different individuals yet we found such a common ground built of tradition, family,giving, and love.

Tomorrow I think I may cook Sunday dinner, roast beef with all the trimming ala Mom, and sit down to a meal and be transported to a modest yet magnificent kitchen somewhere in Cleveland Ohio; never forgetting to make enough in case someone shows up hungry on my welcome doorstep.


Good morning to all, I have been so busy and I really want to write a post about all of the things that are flitting through my mind. Thanksgiving, and what it means to be grateful. I will have to wait for downtime tonight and tomorrow to write the way I wish to write, for now just a quick update for the week.

Yesterday at work Gigi from the Richard Simmons video was having lunch at Seasons 52, it was such a surprise when my co-worker Ryan told me I think these ladies know you. I also met her lovely friend Dawn who happens to be best friends with one of my amazing friends Jami. I love the way the universe dishes out inspiration. I promised to attend another Richard Simmons class Saturday Morning with them. It made my day and talking with Dawn gave me some wonderful ideas for charities, more to come on that note soon. My mind is spinning a bit out of control.

I worked out with Mike, my trainer and friend last night at the park. We are going to take some photos in the near future so I can share them here. We ran, and I was so proud to say I ran twice around the track at the park. I am not sure how far that is but it was the first time I ran that far without stopping. I was shocked, excited and surprised but of course Mike said he knew I could do it and I did. My anxiety about running was in my head. So onward, training for a 5k in March with the crew and management from Seasons 52. I think we are doing the Bad Prom Run, and even though it is a theme run I convinced Mike to do it with us, he is my trainer after all and it will be tons of fun.

After we ran we did the most creative workout to date. The park in the autumn after 5 pm is perfect for that, there are not a lot of people so you can really utilize all of the options there. We actually went into the children’s playground and he came up with exercises there. The artist in him comes out in his unique workout ideas. I did stairs on the kiddie stairs and did some other moves too, some a little more awkward than others. I do think sometimes your mind holds you back, so I am working on correcting that. We had a lot of fun and by the end we sprinted for a short time, and I ran pretty fast if I do say so myself. I told him I was not delicate and kind of disagreed with me, but really I am not delicate. I will prove myself and I am a work in progress. I am beyond grateful to him and happy to have made such a new and wonderful friend in the process.  Working out with Mike at the park makes me feel like a ten year old kid, getting dirty and not caring a lick what people think. It is a lesson in life, never letting go of the child inside. 

Like I said, my mind has so much going on at the moment, and I wish I had time to really write, to delve deep into the emotions and thoughts that ramble through my muddled mind. I was thinking about all of the wonderful souls that have crossed my path since I started this last July, people I would have never met. I am so grateful for all the people in my life. More on that later. For now, I am off to work, then shopping for some last minute items for Thanksgiving. Later in the evening I will be baking, cleaning, and hopefully I can sneak in a run and some writing time. Whew, I am just tired writing all of that.
I wish you a beautiful day full of sunshine and smiles.


Good Tuesday Morning to all. Oh the process of slow weight loss. Do not get me wrong, I am so grateful for my results and I know I am losing inches as well as pounds but it sure is a slow process to see the numbers go down on a scale from week to week. I lost .6 today. That is not much for the books but I will take it. It does make me nervous though, what will happen when I have my cheat day come Thanksgiving. I am going to have to do a lot of cardio.

With that said, I am totally excited for the Thanksgiving, and the holidays. It will be a challenge to lose instead of gain but I can do it. Just two more work days and I am free. I am working out with Mike either tonight or tomorrow night. I had this dream I was running with ease and it felt so good. I am going to try to do that when we run. My running is getting easier, so maybe it is a sign of things to come.

Off for now, work beckons. Wishing you safe travels if you are traveling early for the holiday.
Namaste’ Love and Light


Toast and Popcorn for Thanksgiving, Snoopy Style

Good Monday Morning to all. I am so excited about Thanksgiving. I think I picked the perfect day to cheat on my healthy diet and lifestyle, but I am going to try to sneak a run in as the turkey cooks. My friend from the Richard Simmons video Francie is coming to join us for dinner, and I am calling it our Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. It is going to be so much fun, you do not have to have tons of people to have a good time. We miss family but we love life and make the most of moments every chance we get. Yesterday we pulled out the Christmas tree, and it is ready to go. Only three more days of work.

I weigh in tomorrow, and I hope I lost a little weight. I know I am losing inches and well as weight but it is so rewarding to see the scale go down. My stomach feels so flat, lol, that is the best feeling.

Off for my day, this week I will be doing less yoga in class because I have things to get ready for my Thanksgiving, but I will sneak a class in and of course go running/walking. There is no schedule for that, you just step out the door and go.

Happy Monday


Thanksgiving is almost here, and I am excited to have one day where I deviate from my healthy lifestyle. I get a one day opportunity to cook, bake and eat some wonderful food. I have worked hard and it is really starting to show. Today I was shopping for some bake ware and I saw my reflection in a mirror and I admit I stood there for some time staring at my weight loss results.  I do not have a full length mirror and I should have bought one today, but I decided to wait and get one next time. I am very happy and proud of how far I have come. It is surprising to see yourself when you do not own a full length mirror.

I have decided in 2014 I am going to get certified with The American Council of Exercise (ACE)  for Group Exercise Instruction. I am going to order the premium package and take the test into the new year. I want to share my experience of getting fit with others. I am already working on my list for what my New Year’s Resolutions will be, and I am so happy that I am ending this year on such an upbeat and positive note. I am beginning training for 5K in the end of March. Seasons 52 is sponsoring us and it looks like we are going to do the Bad Prom Run, a fun filled 5K.

It is a cool night here, and I am going to stay in and do the treadmill. Wishing everyone a wonderful Sunday night.
Sweet dreams, Namaste’


I have been pondering my former lifestyle of being a vegetarian. I was a vegetarian for almost ten years in the 90’s, and then for over two years since I moved to Los Angeles. I started eating meat again exactly one year ago and to be honest I have been in denial about it. I have lost weight, and eating protein and less carbohydrates may have helped me to do so. With that said, as my weight drops I am tinkering with the idea that I will return to being a vegetarian in 2014.

To live your authentic self, it sometimes is difficult to follow a path even though you know it is the right way. You get lost, you stumble and you find yourself on the wrong side of the tracks so to speak. You deviate from your beliefs, and as in my case you choose not to think about it. That is how I feel about eating meat. I by no means wish to come across preachy here, or to pass judgement on anyone or myself for that matter. I just feel like I have strayed from my authentic self and I need to be true to everything I am about. Eating meat for me makes me feel like a hypocrite, and that is the last thing I want to be. I need to breathe, forgive myself and turn around and head back in the direction that fits my spirit.

I am going to make it a New Year’s Resolution, to return to my former vegetarian lifestyle. To try again to make it work and continue to lose weight will not be easy, it will be a process, everything is but it will be worth it to me. I will start slow, and not be hard on myself if I slip up. I will also have to plan and make sure my protein is not lacking. Just another challenge in my quest to be a better version of myself. I am always up new challenges.

Happy Weekend to all and to all a goodnight.


Good Morning, Happy Friday to all. I am so excited, the holidays are coming. I was making my morning coffee and tragedy ensued, no raw sugar. I was forced to use Stevia instead, which is supposedly healthy but a little bit bitter. I gave up Splenda for good, it caused side pain every time I used it. I was later diagnosed with three liver hemangiomas and one adrenal adenoma and even though they are benign and are not supposed to cause pain, every time I used Splenda my side would ache for days. So I gave up Splenda for good.

What do you use in your coffee? I prefer a little raw sugar, it is just a hint of delightfulness every morning. I was also out of my morning think thin bar, I am just devastated.
The sun hopefully will peak out today, it has been so overcast and believe it or not rainy. I have to admit I missed the sunshine, California is spoiling me.

Wishing you a bright and beautiful day. Love and Light to all.
Namaste’ Love and Light all


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